Fonds MC 2707 - Memorandum Book of Canon Henry Thompson, Vicar of Eaton

Reference code

MC 2707

Title

Memorandum Book of Canon Henry Thompson, Vicar of Eaton

Date(s)

  • nd [? 1908]-1913 (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

1 volume

Name of creator

(1841-1916)

Biographical history

Born in Lewisham, Kent in 1841, Henry Thompson was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1860, graduating in 1864. He was ordained in London as deacon in 1865 and priest in 1866, serving as curate of Christ Church, Lee, Kent, 1865-1868, priest in charge of Farnham, Suffolk, 1869-1874, and vicar of Aldeburgh with Hazlewood, 1874-1904. In 1904, he became vicar of Eaton, Norwich, where he remained until 1910. He was an honorary canon of Norwich, 1898-1916. After his retirement in 1910, he lived at 68, Mill Hill Road, Norwich, where he died on 6 August 1916, aged 75.
Thompson became embroiled in controversy when in 1907 he refused communion to two of his Eaton parishioners, Alan and Emily Banister. Banister, manager of Norwich Electric Tramways Company and an active member of the church in Eaton, wished to marry Miss Emily Peterson, his deceased wife's sister. At this time, such a marriage was illegal in England, but Banister believed that if the marriage took place in Canada, it would be valid under the Colonial Marriages (Deceased Wife's Sister) Act of 1906. The marriage took place in Montreal on 12 August 1907, and became valid in England under the Deceased Wife's Sister Act, which came into force on 28 August 1907.
Following advice from the Bishop of Norwich, Thompson refused the couple communion. In July 1908, Banister brought a case against Thompson in the Court of Arches, claiming that the cleric had breached ecclesiastical law. When the Dean of Arches ruled in favour of Banister, Thompson sought a writ to prevent the Dean of Arches from issuing a monition to him, but this was refused. Thompson's subsequent appeal to the House of Lords was dismissed on 13 July 1912.
For an article about the case, see B.S. Bennett, 'Banister v. Thompson and Afterwards: The Church of England and the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act', 'The Journal of Ecclesiastical History', 49 (1998), 668-682. Thompson's obituary appears in 'The Times' of 9 August 1916.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 24 September 2009 (ACC 2009/189). List completed February 2010 (JW).

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Catalogued

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