Thursday 10 December 2020

The naughty vicar's past

I've found a few references to Mr. de la Mothe from before his time at Dogmersfield.

First, a couple connected with his ordination.

Holding a public ordination at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday morning, the Bishop (Dr. C. E. Curzon) admitted the following to Holy Orders: Deacons: Whately lan Eliot; Hugo Dominique de la Mothe, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; Alec Edward Osmond, A.K.C., King's College, London; and Denys Edward Hugh Whiteley, B.A., Pembroke College, Oxford. Priests: Raymond Morris Beck, B.A.. Magdalen College, Oxford; and Oliver Leonard Willmott. 

The following were afterwards licensed to their respective curacies: The Revs. W. I. Eliot, to Wolborough; H. de la Mothe, to Bideford; A. E. Osmond, to Plympton St. Mary; and D. E. H. Whiteley, to Woodbury. 

The Bishop was attended by the Rev. H. Darnley Smith as chaplain; and other clergy present included the Dean of Exeter (Dr. S. C. Carpenter), the Bishop of Crediton (the Rt. Rev. W. F. Surtees), the Archdeacon of Exeter (the Ven. A. H. Thompson) Canon E. F. Hall, Preb. F. M. Wallington. the Successor (the Rev. R. C. B. Llewellyn), and the Rev. R. W. B. Langhorne."
Western Times - Friday 09 June 1939, page 3

Which tells us that he got an M.A. at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. And that he was a curate in Bideford, in the Southwest pf England. Not far from Exeter, where he was ordained.

A year later, he became a full priest:

Yesterday’s Service at the Cathedral At a public ordination held by the Bishop (Dr. C. E. Curzon) in Exeter Cathedral yesterday (Trinity Sunday) the following were admitted to Holy Orders: Deacons: Albert William John Delve, B.A., College of the Resurrection, Leeds University; William Henry Jones. B.A., St. David's College, Lampeter University; Charles Murray Rosers. B.A., Queen's College, Cambridge. 

Priests: Frederick Hugh Wright Crabb, B.D., London College of Divinity, London University; Whatley lan Eliot; Alec Edward Osmond. A.K.C., King's College, London University; Charles Mark Mansfield, Chichester Theological College; Hugo Dominique de la Mothe. M.A., Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; Denys Edward Hugh Whitcly, B.A., Pembroke College, Oxford. 

The following were afterwards licensed to their curacies:— Rev. A. W. J. Delve, to All Saints' Brixham; Rev. W. H. Jones, to St. Jude’s, Plymouth; Rev. C. M. Rogers, to St. Andrew’s, Plymouth. Gospeller was the Rev. C. M. Rogers; Bishop's chaplain, the Rev. H. W. Darnley-Smith; and the preacher the Treasurer (Ven. A. H. Thompson, Archdeacon of Exeter)."
Express and Echo - Monday 20 May 1940, page 3.

 Nothing outrageous there. But more than a decade earlier, Mr. de la Mothe was behaving more like we'd expect.

Motorist Wins Appeal—At London Sessions yesterday Mr. Hugo Dominique de la Mothe won his appeal against a conviction at Marlborough street for being drunk in charge of a motor-car.
Daily Mirror - Saturday 18 September 1926, page 2."

I've read enough newspaper reports of drunk driving cases to know that between the wars you had to be falling down drunk to get charged. And even then you still had a chance of getting off if you swore that you'd only drunk a couple of halves of Mild. He'd need to have been as drunk as when he fell off his bike and sat in a bush for a couple of hours.

It wasn't his last conviction for drunk driving:

The Mayor in the chair.
Suspension Removed. Hugo Dominique de la Mothe, Chatham Hall, Great Waltham, applied for the restoration his motor driving licence. — Mr. A. Tinsley, for the applicant, said that Nov. 20 last his client was convicted driving motor car while under the influence of drink, was fined £10 and his licence was automatically suspended.— Applicant said he would become total abstainer. The Bench decided remove the suspension from Sept.l next.
Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 24 June 1932, page 5.

Given how little chance there was of being caught or prosecuted for driving whilst pissed, he must have been doing it pretty regularly. Probably just as well he could only afford a bike while at Dogmersfield.

We've also learnt that, in addition to being a pisshead, Mr, de la Mothe moved around quite a bit. In 1926, he seems to have been living in London. While in 1932, he was residing in Great Waltham, which is a few kilometres North of Chelmsford in Essex.

If his address of Chatham Hall sounds swish, that's because it was. It's a substantial building, which is now a listed monument. This is what it looks like:

That must have cost a bob or two, even in the 1930s. Rather nices than the outhouse he inhabited in Dogmersfield. Had a change in fortunes prompted him to join the clergy?

Clearly de la Mothe had quite a history of pissing it up.

1 comment:

Michael Foster said...

Corpus Christi college will surely have some documents on our Naughty Vicar. Archivists at Oxbridge tend to be quite helpful and responsive, roon

Ron, you must dig deeper!