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Stuart Holman Biddlecombe
by Lafayettehalf-plate nitrate negative, 27 November 1931NPG x47899
by Lafayettehalf-plate nitrate negative, 27 November 1931NPG x47900
by Lafayettehalf-plate nitrate negative, 27 November 1931NPG x47901
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12 August 2019, 14:07
Another son, Paul, was born in 1911. A daughter, Mary, was also born (date unknown) but did not survive childhood.
22 February 2017, 09:33
Stuart Holman Biddlecombe was born on 31st December 1879 in Islington, London. He was the second son born to Thomas Biddlecombe, a leather merchant, and his wife Katherine. By the time of the 1891 census the family had moved to Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham where Stuart’s father was now a licenced victualler running and living in the Black Lion Hotel (now demolished) on High Street. By the age of 21 Stuart is recorded in the 1901 census as a boarder in Bristol working as a Church preacher and evangelist.
Stuart’s ministry records begin in Crockfords in 1903 when he entered the Church Missionary College, Islington. He became the Church Missionary Society Missionary for Isfahan, Persia in 1904 and held this post until 1926.
Stuart married Florence May in 1908, possibly in Isfahan. Their first two children Eric and Amy Ruth were born in Isfahan in 1908 and 1909 respectively gaining British Citizenship via parentage. The family were back in West Kensington, London at the time of the 1911 census, living with Stuart’s widowed Mother. Another daughter, Katherine, born 1914 in Isfahan suggests that the family were again living in Persia at this time. After the outbreak of the First World War Stuart enlisted into the Army Chaplains Dept. as a Temporary Chaplain to the Forces (4th Class) his date of entry recorded on his medal card as 29th December ’15. It was during his time serving as a chaplain that he completed his Licentiate in Theology, studying unattached and gaining the degree in 1917 from Durham University.
After the war Stuart is recorded in the London Gazette of 26/09/19 relinquishing his commission as Temporary Chaplain and gaining the title of Hon. Chaplain to the Forces. Returning to Persia, Stuart became Archdeacon of Isfahan and Honorary Chaplain to the Bishop in Persia 1921-’26. This was the last overseas ministry for Stuart and his family and they returned to England in May 1926 when he became the Vicar of Kew.
The London Gazette of 28th December 1928 records that Stuart returned to the Army Chaplaincy, albeit to the “Reserve of Officers”, with seniority backdated to his return to England in May 1926. During his time at Kew three portraits were taken of Stuart and these are held in the National Portrait Gallery.
In 1937 Stuart became rector of Whippingham on the Isle of Wight and on reaching his 60th birthday on 31st December 1939 he was removed from the list of available reservists and therefore was re assigned the rank of Hon. Chaplain to the Forces. This was gazetted on 26th January 1940.
Remaining within the diocese of Portsmouth, Stuart moved back to the mainland taking up the post of Rector at Blendworth in 1942. Stuart died at the Rectory on 5th August 1944 and is buried in Holy Trinity, Blendworth. Probate records show he left effects totalling £4864.
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