Emma Joan Brunel - sister of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was voted in 2002 as Britain’s second greatest person after Sir Winston Churchill – but what has he to do with Langdon Hills– very little, so why mention him?  Well it’s all to do with his sister Emma Joan Brunel who married widower Rev. George Harrison at St Mary’s, Rotherhithe on 31st October 1836.

So, what – well we find her living with Rev. Harrison at the rectory in Langdon Hills, in 1841, where he had previously been appointed curate of St Mary’s the Virgin and All Saints, Langdon Hills on 14th March 1833 at a stipend payment of £80 per annum plus the rectory and just over a year later he was also appointed curate of All Saints, Vange on 20th July 1834 on a stipend payment of £70 per annum plus surplice. The 1841 census also has Rev. Harrison being clerk to Langdon Hills, which presumably means that in addition to being curate at Langdon Hills and Vange he was also clerk to the Parish Council of Langdon Hills. George was in fact an Essex man being born in Feering in 1801

By 1844 they had moved to New Brentford where he was appointed curate and his son John was born. By 1861 he had been appointed Rector of Holy Trinity, Sutcombe, Devon where he saw his days out, dying at nearby Bidford on 14th March 1875. – his effects being £6000 – a wealthy man.

The name George Harrison rung a bell so after a search through my papers I found reference to a plaque in the Old Church of St Mary’s, the Virgin and all Saints which recorded the increase in the church accommodation and who’s name at the bottom, yes our Rev. Geo Harrison – Minister.

The church as we know is in private ownership but Bobby Mill the owner allowed me to take a photograph of the plaque.

The Plaque
Ken Porter
The Old Church of Langdon Hills
Ken Porter

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