John Farthing - Churchwarden and author c 1850

John Farthing was born in Somerset around 1805, and worked in London as a clerk. He then came into an inheritance, cared for his widowed mother until her death, and then married his cousin Agnes. He came to live at the Rectory in 1845, aged 40, with his wife Agnes and two sisters, namely Charlotte who was an invalid and Elizabeth who devoted her life to her siblings' care. Tragically, his wife was killed 3 weeks after their arrival, following a carriage accident. He spent considerable sums in renovating both the Rectory and the Church. He became Churchwarden in 1846, and repainted the church and bought a barrel organ and made various improvements. Notably, he wrote four manuscripts about Perivale with many charming drawings, particularly of the church before the Victorian restoration, which are an invaluable record of Perivale in 1850. These have never been published but available for perusal at Ealing Reference Library. Unfortunately he encountered serious financial problems, having stood security for a large sum of money, and was facing financial ruin. He took over the lease of Grange Farm in 1857, without any prior knowledge of farming, and wrote a detailed account of his unsuccessful efforts to make this venture succeed. He was asked to vacate the Rectory for a curate in 1861, and was rendered homeless. He left Perivale that year as a broken man, but within a few months had married Miss Eleanor Jessie Smart, who brought some happiness to him and his sister Elizabeth for a few more years. His wife is buried in the nave, marked by an inscription hidden by the carpet, and there is an attractive memorial plaque to his invalid sister Charlotte, who died in 1847, on the wall at the back of the nave, behind the font. His books contain many drawings and sketches which are reproduced here and in our image galleries (Farthing1 and Farthing2) . They provide a unique insight into the church and rectory around 1850.

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