Rev. William Patrick Dott 1909-1919
William Patrick Dott was born in Stepney in 1867, where his father was a Customs Officer. Patrick (the eighth child) was just 8½ years old when his father died, leaving his mother with the responsibility for 10 children. Despite this, he graduated from Oxford in 1893. After ordination, his first curacy was in Croydon, followed by three years at All Hallows, Barking. After serving in Woodstock and Grahamstown in the Cape, he came to Dringhouses in June 1909 with his wife Annabel, whom he had married while in South Africa.
His time at St Edward’s (1909 to 1919) would see the momentous days of World War I and its repercussions. New bells were also presented to the church by Major & Mrs Close in March 1914, not knowing that within months war would have been declared, with new regulations issued, banning the ringing of church bells during periods when lighting restrictions were in force. With the onset of World War I, the church was open for daily prayer from the sixth of August 1914, and a National Solemn Day of Prayer service was held on the 21st August.
In June 1917, Patrick was commissioned as a Temporary Chaplain to the Forces and was posted to Blandford Camp in Dorset. Apart from very brief visits, the parish would see little of him for almost two years. No wonder the April 1918 Annual Minutes of St Edward’s record that ‘The Vicar explained that his absence from the parish was a matter of personal regret to him and that only the sense of duty would keep him away in the coming year.’
At the end of the war, the Annual Minutes for April 1919 announced Patrick’s impending departure for a new parish. His entry in the parish register on 6th July 1919 was written in capitals: THANKSGIVING FOR PEACE, and his final entry was on 3lst August that year.
His next move took him back south to Croydon for four years, and then followed thirteen challenging years in Barnes. One positive outcome of the time in Barnes was the building of a new church hall (costing £4,000) designed by Mrs Dott.
His final two years were spent at Winterslow near Salisbury. Sadly, dogged by poor health, Mrs Dott died not long after moving there with Patrick following just over a year later. Patrick and Annabel were laid to rest under the beech trees in the churchyard.