The Reverend Stephen Richard Waller (1813 – 1875), Rector of St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford. And his family including son-in-law Dr Robert Henry Kinsey

The Reverend Stephen Richard Waller (1813 – 1875), Rector of St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford. And his family including son-in-law Dr Robert Henry Kinsey

For the last 7 years of his church ministry, until his death at the age of 61, the Reverend Stephen Waller was the Rector of St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford. He and his third wife, Sarah Albinia Elizabeth, are buried at Foster Hill Road Cemetery (FHR). His daughter, Agnes Eliza, is also buried at FHR with her husband, a well- known doctor in Bedford, Robert Henry Kinsey and 2 other members of the Kinsey family.  Stephen’s eldest son Alfred Lawrence by his second wife Harriet is buried in an adjoining grave. His second son with Harriet, Walter Augustus Ewen and his wife Fanny, and his fourth son George Herbert are also buried in the family plot nearby.

Birth. Stephen Richard Waller was baptized on 7 October 1813, the son of Harry and Maria Waller. His father, recorded as ‘clerk’ on the baptismal certificate, was the Rector of the parish church of Farmington, Gloucestershire. Like many of his social class Stephen was born into a family of church ministry and he and several of his siblings and relatives followed the same career path into the church.

Education. After his schooling, on 12 March 1831 aged 17 Stephen joined Brasenose College, Oxford University. He gained a B.A. in 1834 and an M.A. followed in 1837.

He began his church ministry in 1837 as the Assistant Curate of Holy Trinity Church, Ettingshall, Staffordshire.

Marriage and children. In September 1838 he married his first wife Lucy Cameron. Lucy was the daughter of the Reverend Charles Richard Cameron M.A. Christchurch, Oxford and the Rector of Swaby Church, Lincolnshire. In September 1839 a son, Stephen Bethel, was born and was baptized on 27th September in Ettingshall. On 23 November 1840 a second son, Charles Henry was born, baptized on 29 December 1840.

Family Tragedies. It was reported in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal and Huntingdonshire Gazette of 4 June 1842 that Lucy Waller had given birth to a daughter, Lucy Jane Maria, but she had died as a result of giving birth. The daughter had survived the birth and was baptized by Lucy’s father the Reverend Charles Cameron on 24 May 1842 but sadly died in October the following year. She was buried on 25 October 1843, 11 days after her brother Stephen Bethel was buried in the same churchyard. Stephen Bethel Waller, the eldest son of Stephen and Lucy, had died of Scarlet Fever on 13 October 1843. He was buried the following day at the Eccles Chapelry, Walkden, Lancashire.

Meanwhile it was announced in the Universities Herald, Cambridge in 1842 that Reverend Stephen Waller had been appointed Curate in Kidderminster. He served at the Chapelry of Lower Mitton and in 1849 was appointed ‘Perpetual Curate’ (akin to the role of parish priest) in Lower Mitton.

Second Marriage to Harriet Eliza Lea.  On 8 January 1845 Stephen married Harriet Eliza Lea at Astley, Worcestershire. Harriet was born on 20 May 1819 to Thomas and his first wife Elizabeth Lea. She was baptized at Harborne, Staffordshire on 12 August 1819. On her marriage certificate to Stephen her father Thomas is noted as ‘J.P.’

Children. Stephen and Harriet had several children, to join Charles Henry, the one living child from Stephen’s first marriage, then aged 4.

-Alfred Lawrence was born on 8 December 1845 and was baptised on 6 January 1846 at the Eccles Chapelry of Walkden Moor, Lancashire. An insight into social trends at the time reveals that a local newspaper reported the birth of a son to ‘the lady of the Reverend Stephen Richard Waller’ with the mother unnamed.

-Frances Lea was baptized on 13 April 1847 in the Eccles Chapelry.

-Walter Augustus Ewen was baptized at Catthorpe, Leicestershire on 16 August 1848.

-Agnes Eliza was born on 14 December 1849 and was baptized on 22 January 1850 at Catthorpe, Leicestershire.

-Percy was baptized by his father on 10 March 1852 at Lower Mitton where the Reverend Stephen Waller was then the incumbent.

-George Herbert was baptized by his father at Lower Mitton on 1 November 1854.

-Edward Cecil was baptized by his father at Lower Mitton on 24 June 1855.

-Emily Marion was baptized by her father at Lower Mitton on 8 March 1857.

Another Family Tragedy.  A sixth son was born to Stephen and Harriet in December 1858. Sadly Harriet did not survive the birth and she was buried, aged 39, at Lower Mitton on 23 December, the same day that the baby son, named Theodore Harry, was baptized there. Significantly, records show that, unlike for his previous 4 children at Lower Mitton, the baptism was not performed by Reverend Stephen Waller who presumably was in mourning for the loss of his wife.

The 1861 Census shows that Harriet’s unmarried sister, Ann Maria Lea, was in charge of the household at Lower Mitton with 6 of the youngest children from Agnes aged 11 to Theo aged 2 helped by 2 nurses and a servant. Walter and Alfred were presumably away at school and Frances had sadly died. Charles Henry, then aged 20, the son from Stephen’s first marriage to Lucy, was recorded in the household as ‘scholar’. He studied at University College, Oxford in preparation for the priesthood, following his father’s and grandfather’s careers.

Third Marriage to Sarah Albinia Elizabeth Hone.  On 13 August 1861 Reverend Stephen Richard Waller married Sarah Albinia Elizabeth Hone at Halesowen, Worcestershire.  The Dublin Daily Express reporting the marriage stated that Albinia was the eldest surviving daughter of the late Joseph Terry Hone, barrister-at-law but in the style of the time did not mention Albinia’s mother, Joseph’s wife Augusta. Albinia, as she was known, was born in 1812 in Gloucester and was 49 on her marriage to Stephen. Before her marriage, in the 1851 census, she was living with her widowed mother in Halesowen. In the 1861 census, immediately before her marriage, she was living with her brother Richard and his family in Halesowen. Richard was the vicar of the parish church there. There is no mention of any ‘occupation’ for Albinia in any of the censuses and presumably she lived on the family’s private means.

Appointment as Rector of St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford. On 29 February 1868 the preferment of Reverend Stephen Richard Waller as Rector of St Cuthbert’s, Bedford was announced in the Bolton Chronicle and other newspapers. He was replacing the Reverend Charles Trollope who was moving to a parish in Huntingdonshire.

The 1871 Census shows Stephen and Albinia installed in St Cuthbert’s Rectory along with 5 of Stephen’s youngest children by his second wife Harriet. By now the children, all ‘scholars’ ranged from Percy who was 19, studying for the priesthood at the London College of Divinity to Theodore who was 12, at Bedford School. Albinia was assisted in running the household by a cook, housemaid and kitchen maid.

Death of Stephen.  On 2 March 1875 Reverend Stephen Richard Waller died, aged 61. The obituary in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent of 6 March records that he had suffered with heart pains ‘angina pectoris’ since November 1874 and had been advised to abstain from the stress of preaching. He conducted his last Communion service on 7 February 1875 and from then on he suffered from increasingly regular and painful heart attacks leading to his death on 2 March.

The article pays tribute to his active support of the Church Missionary Society and the cause of Evangelical Religion.

His Successor at St Cuthbert’s. The post was advertised as a living worth about £150 with a house and 36 acres of glebe (church land). On 26 March the new incumbent was announced, Reverend Howard Kempson M.A. of Cookley near Kidderminster. He was the father of Maud Kempson who later married Reverend Stephen’s youngest son Theodore on 18 December 1888. Their marriage ceremony was conducted by Reverend Charles Henry Waller, Reverend Stephen’s eldest son, and Theodore’s oldest brother. The closeness and intermarriage of families committed to the Anglican Church is thus demonstrated.

Death of Albinia. She remained in Bedford until her death on 11 October 1897 at the age of 85. She was then living at 31 Goldington Avenue. She is buried in the Waller grave at FHR close to her husband.

The Waller gravestone is badly degraded. One side bears the names of Stephen and his son Alfred Lawrence and the other side bears the names of his wife Albinia and his son George Herbert. Fortunately the inscriptions were recorded on ‘Find a Grave’ in February 2020 by John Cope when they could still be read.

Stephen’s grave reference: E8.166 The family plot covers E8.166 and E8.176

Reverend Stephen Richard Waller’s family and social trends. Some of the Reverend Stephen’s family members illustrate common trends at the time:

Death of the mother in childbirth. Both of Stephen’s wives of childbearing age, Lucy and Harriet, died in childbirth, showing the hazardous nature of giving birth at this time in history.

Early death in childhood and before reaching adulthood. 5 of Stephen’s children died young. Stephen lost his eldest son Stephen Bethel at the age of 4 from Scarlet Fever, sadly all too common a fatal disease before the days of antibiotics. His first daughter Lucy Jane died at the age of 1 in 1843, infant mortality also being all too common. His eldest daughter, Frances Lea, born to his second wife Harriet, died at the age of 2. Stephen’s sons Alfred and George both died at the age of 19, before they were able to reach the age of majority, (21) at that time.

Another common trend was sons following fathers into the Anglican Church and daughters marrying into families of clergymen. Sons Charles and Percy became ordained members of the Church.

Reverend Percy Waller (1852-1920) studied at the London College of Divinity in Highbury London, where his older brother Charles later became Principal. He then served as a parish priest as Vicar of St Barnabas, Birmingham then of Holy Trinity Church, Cheltenham.

Reverend Charles Henry Waller (1840-1910) rose from being Minister of St John’s Episcopal Chapel in Hampstead to become Principal of the London College of Divinity in Highbury, London from 1884 to 1898. He was also a lecturer in Theology, the author of many theological works and Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Liverpool.  Due to ill health he eventually moved from Highbury and served as parish priest at Little Coxwell, Berkshire in 1898 until his death in May 1910.

Of the 4 sons that Charles fathered, Stephen’s grandsons, 3 joined the church, one in Canada and one in India, showing the links with the Empire and the remaining son in Chester, England. Stephen’s grandsons thus represented 4 generations of the Waller family following the career of their great grandfather, Harry Waller, in the Church.

Two of Stephen’s wives were the daughters of clergymen: Lucy Cameron and Albinia Hone.

One of Stephen’s daughters, Emily Marion, married a clergyman. Emily’s son joined the church, another of Stephen’s grandsons to follow the trend.

Emily Marion Waller (1857-1939)

Emily was the youngest daughter of Stephen and Harriet, born one year before her mother Harriet died.

Marriage in Bedford. In 1890 Emily married Reverend Thomas George, the vicar of Christ Church, Woking. The marriage took place at St Cuthbert’s where her father, Stephen, had been the vicar and involved many of the family. The ceremony was performed by her brother, Reverend Percy Waller, and she was given away by another brother, Dr Theodore Waller. Guests were invited afterwards to the home of Emily’s step-mother Albinia, Stephen’s third wife at St Cuthbert’s Street.

Two sons and a daughter were born to Thomas and Emily. Both sons became ordained members of the Church of England.

Death of Thomas George and Emily. Thomas George died on 8 September 1913. Emily was living at The College, Bromley, Kent when she died on 21 October 1939 aged 82. Her funeral took place at the College, originally a C17 foundation established to provide housing for the ‘poor’ widows of clergymen. At the time of Emily’s death it provided accommodation for retired clergy or their widowed spouses. She was buried at Bromley Old Cemetery.

The Medical Profession in family trends:

The Medical Profession featured significantly in Stephen’s family as in other families of his social status as an alternative employment to the Church.

Sons Walter Augustus Ewen and Theodore Harry both joined the medical profession.

His sister Agnes Eliza married an eminent surgeon, Robert Henry Kinsey.

 Dr Walter Augustus Ewen Waller (1848-1921)

Walter was the second son of Stephen and Harriet, born in 1848 at Catthorpe, Leicestershire. He trained for the medical profession as a student at Guy’s Hospital, London.

His L.R.C.P. (Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians) (London) was announced in the Daily News in November 1870. His M.R.C.S. (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) was announced in the London Evening Standard in July 1871. This completed his  double qualification in medicine and surgery.

Career. He held posts in the Royal United Hospital, Bath and at Guy’s hospital, London. He practised for a number of years in Rugby, Warwickshire as part of the partnership ‘Mackenzie and Waller’ and then as a General Practitioner from his home in Albert Street. He was still practising in the 1911 census from his home on Clifton Street, Rugby. Before retiring he was Hon. Consultant at St Cross Hospital, Rugby.

Marriage. On 2 September 1891 he married Fanny Petrie at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby. He and his wife were both 43 years old. Fanny had been born in Fife, Scotland and she too had joined the medical profession. In the 1881 census Fanny was a Ward Nurse at the Royal Infirmary, Liverpool. In 1891 she was the Matron of St Cross Hospital in Rugby, where no doubt she met Walter.

When he retired Walter moved with Fanny to Bedford where his father had been Vicar of St Cuthbert’s and was living at 50 Waterloo Road when he died, in December 1921. Fanny died on 26 December 1927; her address was still 50 Waterloo Road.

They are both buried at FHR in the family adjoining plots. Grave ref: E8.166 and E8.176

Dr Theodore Harry Waller (1858-1950)

Theodore was the youngest son of Stephen and Harriet, born in 1858 at Lower Mitton, Worcestershire. Harriet sadly did not survive his birth. He moved with his family to Bedford when Stephen was appointed to St Cuthbert’s Church in 1865.

Education. He attended Bedford School from 1868 to 1877 and then trained for the medical profession in London, gaining both the M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P.

Marriage. In December 1888 he married Maud Kempson at Ilkley Parish Church, Yorkshire. Maud was the daughter of Reverend Howard Kempson, Vicar of Ilkley and previously Stephen Waller’s successor at St Cuthbert’s.   Maud died in Chelmsford on 2 October 1898 aged 34. Theodore married his second wife Beatrice Copland in June 1901. She died suddenly in November 1925 aged 59.

For 40 years he practised medicine in Chelmsford, Essex. He had been Head Surgeon at Chelmsford Hospital and Medical Officer of the Workhouse. He was a member of Chelmsford Town Council for 10 years, and Deputy Mayor in 1913.

Retirement and Death. He returned to Bedford in retirement and lived at 13 Bushmead Avenue, where he died at the age of 91 on 27 April 1950. He had continued to take a keen interest in Bedford School and on his death he was then the oldest ‘Old Bedfordian’.

He left behind the children of his first marriage to Maud, 2 sons, Gerald Lea and Charles Kempson, the latter the Provost of Chelmsford Cathedral, and 2 daughters, Sybil Maud and Eleanor Sophie. A son, Albert Montague, from his second marriage to Beatrice pre-deceased him in May 1927 from acute meningitis.

His funeral took place in Chelmsford Cathedral attended by dignitaries as well as family members and friends. He was buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery, Chelmsford.

Edward Cecil Waller (1855-1930)

Edward was the second youngest son of Stephen and Harriet, born in 1855, 3 years before his mother died. His life was different from the other Waller children as, aged 25, he emigrated to the U.S.A, arriving in New York on 6 December 1880.

At the time of his marriage On 15 November 1884 he was living at Astley Farm, Worthington, Ohio. His wife was Marietta Lay, the daughter of a Canadian family from Quebec. Sadly a few months later, on March 31 1885 Marietta died after a short illness.

On 24 April 1886 he married his second wife, Christina Aletta Christianson, from a Norwegian family which had emigrated to the U.S.A. when Christina was a baby.

They had a large family with 10 children listed.

They were living in Minnesota on their deaths, Edward on 9 March 1930 and Christina on 23 June 1935. They are buried in Stacy Cemetery, Minnesota.

 Agnes Eliza (nee Waller ) (1849-1939) and Doctor Robert Henry Kinsey (1840-1917) Stephen’s daughter and son-in-law.

Agnes Eliza was the eldest living daughter born to Stephen and Harriet.

On 14 June 1870 she married Robert Henry Kinsey at St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford where her father was the ‘esteemed’ incumbent. The newspaper report continued ‘she had endeared herself by her gentle demeanor and her constant solicitude for the poor of the parish’. (Bedfordshire Times and Independent). The ceremony was performed by Reverend Charles H. Waller, her brother and Reverend George Lea, her uncle. The happy couple departed for a honeymoon on the Continent.

She and her husband lived at 2 Harpur Place, Bedford then 45 Harpur Street until, at the end of the 1890s, they moved to 10 Rothsay Gardens. Agnes continued living at 10 Rothsay Gardens after her husband died in 1917 and she herself died at that address on 30 November 1939. She was buried with Robert at FHR in the Kinsey plot. Grave Ref: E8.235

Doctor Robert Henry Kinsey

Robert was born in Lucknow, Bengal, India on 8 November 1840 to Robert Banks Kinsey M.D. a surgeon and Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals in Bengal and his first wife Eliza nee Bowling. He had one brother, William Edward, 3 years younger.

Education. He came to England to study and attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He then gained the M.R.C.S. in 1865 from St Bartholomew’s Hospital (Barts) and the L.S.A. (Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries) in 1866 from Guy’s Hospital, London. He was the House Surgeon at Barts for a while before coming to Bedford to live from 1867 to practise medicine and surgery.

Work in Bedford.    He worked as the junior partner with Henry Sharpin ‘Sharpin and Kinsey, Surgeons and Apothecaries’ until the partnership was dissolved at the end of 1891. (Read about the Sharpins here)

He then worked with Dr W. G. Nash, who had come to Bedford in 1891 and who became the junior partner of ‘Kinsey and Nash’. This partnership lasted until Dr Kinsey retired in 1899. He played an important part in the planning of the new County Hospital (South Wing) under J.F. Nutter which opened in 1899 (Read about John Frederick Nutter here)

He was appointed Surgeon to the Bedford General Infirmary and Fever Hospital in 1874 under Henry Wilson Sharpin, the Consulting Surgeon, until 1896 when he became the Consulting Surgeon.        

He served as Surgeon and Medical Officer to H.M. Prison in Bedford and attended meetings of Bedford Borough Council for the Urban Sanitary and the Education Committees. He became a J.P. in 1904.

In 1897 he served as President of Bedford Medical Association. He was a member of the Council of the British Medical Association from 1899 t0 1910.

After he retired he became Chairman of the Ethical Committee of the British Medical Association, ‘an arduous and responsible post’ (Bedfordshire Times & Independent).

A committed churchman he took a keen interest in the Church Missionary Society and the Church of England Men’s Society.

Death. He died on 18 February 1917 aged 76. The large funeral on 22 February was attended by his family, local dignitaries led by the Mayor Mr. F. Hockcliffe and many medical men including Dr Colby Sharpin, the elder son of Henry Wilson Sharpin, his first partner in Bedford, and Dr Nash. Also present were many local vicars and representatives of the County Hospital.

He was laid to rest at FHR in the Kinsey plot where he was later joined by his wife, Agnes. His younger brother William and their stepmother Ann predeceased him and are also buried in the family plot. Grave Ref:  E8.235

The section of dedication on the grave stone to Robert and Agnes.

William Edward Kinsey 1843-1874

William was born on 7 November 1843 in Bengal, India, the younger son of Robert Bancroft Kinsey and his wife Eliza and brother of Robert Henry Kinsey. He was christened on 4 March 1844 in India. He was educated in England at Repton Grammar School and his success in the 1862 examinations for the Indian Civil Service was announced in the Irish Times on 11 August 1863. He then returned to India and served in the Bengal Civil Service until his premature death in Alexandria, Egypt on 13 January 1874 aged 30.

He was buried at FHR on 19 February in the Kinsey family plot, where his stepmother, Ann, had been laid to rest.  Grave ref: E8.235

Ann Kinsey nee Peile

Ann was the third wife of Robert Bancroft Kinsey and stepmother of William and Robert Henry Kinsey, Reverend Stephen Waller’s son-in-law. She was born in London on 25 December 1829 and baptized on 8 January 1830, the daughter of Solomon, a merchant, and Ann Peile from London. She lived with her family in the London area until, in 30 May 1859, she married Robert Bancroft Kinsey in Bengal, India. Sometime after Robert’s death in April 1865 she returned to England and is recorded on the censuses from 1881 living again in London as a widow. She died on 21 December 1905 in Middlesex and her stepson Robert Henry Kinsey was one of her executors. She was buried at FHR on 23 December 1905 in the Kinsey family plot. Grave ref: E 8   235

The Kinsey gravestone below records the 4 burials in order of their committal.

The Kinsey Grave stone


Censuses 1841-1911
Ancestry, Family Search, Find My Past, Find a Grave Index 1300s-current
Gloucestershire Church of England Baptisms 1813-1913
Shropshire Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1901
Worcestershire Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1947
Warwickshire Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1910
West Yorkshire Marriages and Banns 1813-1935
Westminster Church of England Births and Baptisms
Oxford University Alumni 1500-1886
BMJ 1917
England and Wales National Probate Calendars
Repton Grammar School Archives
UK and Ireland Medical Directories (1845-1942) 1875

Many local newspapers including:
-Hertford Mercury and Reformer 9 December 1834
-Birmingham Gazette 0 December 1858
-Irish Times 11 August 1863
-Bolton Chronicle 1868
-Bedfordshire Times and Independent 18 June 1870
-The Hour 17 January 1874
-Bedfordshire Times and Independent 6 March 1875
-Hertford Mercury and Reformer December 1888
-Bedfordshire Times and Independent 5 March 1892
-Bedfordshire Times and Independent 23 February 1917

-Colin Woolf for details of Kinsey burials