History of The Old Vicarage

side of house with car

We moved into The Old Vicarage in Weare in August 2013.

We’re still researching its history (or rather we should say that our amateur historian neighbour Margaret is), but suffice to say we understand that the original vicarage, referred to as ‘the Parsonage’ in the statement below, was housed in a small cottage that still stands in the grounds of what then became the current main vicarage. You can see the original parsonage on the left of the picture above, connected to the main building by what appears to be a covered passage.

On 21 December 1818, the Rector Thomas Valentine wrote a statement for the diocese about how much of his own money he’d spent.

Photocopy of microfiche of 1818 statement by Thomas Valentine

Photocopy of microfiche of 1818 statement by Thomas Valentine

He had been: ‘instituted to this Rectory of Weare, and finding the Parsonage there to be only a small and ruinous Cottage, expended in enlarging it with additions of the new building, fitting up and repairs to the old Part, which was quite ruinous, in planting and laying out the gardens and ground near the House and in making a road to the same from the turnpike and other necessary things in and about the said Parsonage, more than eleven hundred (1100) pound out of his own pocket not having received any dilapidations …’

On 31 December 1822, the said Thomas Valentine vacated the Rectory by ‘taking up profession’ in the County of Sussex.

It appears therefore that the first part of the new vicarage (currently the back section) was originally built around 1818, making it a Regency building.

barn and rear of house

The photo above shows the old barn on the left (which still stands), the covered passage from the ‘parsonage’ cottage, and the rear windows of the Regency section that Thomas Valentine built with his own money.

old vic rear view

This is the Regency section of the house as it stands today, after we’ve been living here for just over two years.

The front of the house is very different, as can be seen from this old postcard:

postcard of 'Vicarage, Weare'

A Gothic style Victorian extension was added around 1870 by the Rev Frederic Charles Skey, at his own expense of £700. He and his wife needed the space it seems, as they had no less than 13 children, six of whom were born at Weare. During its time as a vicarage, a number of vicars and their families have lived in the building. The vicarage was eventually sold by The Church Commisssioners for England in 1971, and it became a private residence from then on.

On to The Vicarage Garden