The fighting parson of Hawnby

One of the frustrating things about my posting here is the irregular nature of posts – I seem to go for ages without posting, then have so much to post from a visit somewhere, that I pack what I can into two or three posts then lapse into blogging oblivion for ages. Right now I have a multitude of pictures to share, and will atteempt to post reasonably regularly until I get through them. We’ve had a couple of trips recently, which have yeilded some really interesting [to me at any rate] memorials. Just a few to start off with today.

We spent last weekend at Hawnby, in part cemetery-stomping looking for family graves. One of the first that we found was a WW1 war grave, outside the village church.


18413 Pte W Garbutt of the Yorkshire Regiment died 16th February 1918 aged 22. The family must not have been desperately poor as the had Peace Perfect Peace inscribed at the bottom of the headstone, and familes were charged for additional wording by the letter [I think it was 3d per letter, but will check and update if I find out differently.  I haven’t yet fitted this young man into the family tree, but am confident that he is ‘one of ours’

Going into the church the first thing drawn to our attention was a framed copy of an old local newspaper, detailing the villages heroes of WW1. This is a really small village – the number of men who left to fight for their country, many never to return, must have been a huge loss.


Next we saw a beautiful memorial window, depicting WW1 soldiers at the foot of the cross.DSC05946and  the brass roll of honour, found  in the smallest village church through to our grand cathedrals.

DSC05949Pte Garbutt is mentioned here, as is a Corporal M Garbutt, another name for me to research.


There are two more memorial windows commemorating WW1 deaths in this little church:DSC05950In loving remembrance of Harold George Augustus and William Hughes killed in action in 1917. Sons of William Hughes rector of this parish, and Mary his wife. RIP .  Valiant dead take comfort where we lie.  So sweet to live, magnificent to die.

HUGHES, HAROLD GEORGE Lance Corporal 20686 21/04/1916 York and Lancaster Regiment United Kingdom Panel 36 and 55. YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

There are 332 records matching  William Hughes, died 1917 in the UK army.  There is more information about the church, and the Rev. Hughes on the All Saints parish church web site, which helps explain why the village lost so many men

DSC05953To the glory of God and in loving memory of **** Frederick William Orrey who died of wounds at W  near Ypres 16th September 1917. This window is erected by his widow and son.

The details on the Commonwealth War Grave site tell us:


Rank: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death:16/09/1917
Age: 35
Regiment/Service: King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  5th Bn. attd. 13th Bn.
Grave Reference I. D. 16.

Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Hannah Orrey, of Wrangle, Boston, Lincs.; husband of Elizabeth M. A. Orrey, of School House, Hawnby, Helmsley, Yorks.




One thought on “The fighting parson of Hawnby

  1. I have just returned from France. Whilst there I visited the grave of George Augustus Hughes, another son of the Fighting Vicar. He is buried at Caudry British Cemetery, about 8 miles west of Cambrai


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