George WHEELHOUSE (1820–1901)
His wife Mrs Sarah WHEELHOUSE (1819/20–1895)
St Michael section: Row 14, Grave C48
TO THE DEAR AND HONOURED MEMORY OF
BORN AUGUST 18TH 1820
DIED NOVEMBER 22ND 1901.
FOR 32 YEARS A FAITHFUL AND ZEALOUS EVANGELIST IN OXFORD
ALSO OF SARAH HIS WIFE
WHO DIED SEPTEMBER 27TH 1895
THROUGH WHOSE EXAMPLE AND TEACHING BY THE
GRACE OF GOD, HER HUSBAND AFTER HIS RETURNING FROM
TWELVE YEARS' SERVICE AS A SOLDIER IN INDIA WAS
CONVERTED TO THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL AND
THEREBY LED TO DEVOTE HIMSELF TO WIN HIS FELLOW
MEN FOR CHRIST.
THE FOLLOWING LINES ARE PLACED HERE BY HIS
DESIRE AS EXPRESSIVE OF HIS FAITH.
MY HOPE IS BUILT ON NOTHING LESS
THAN JESU’S BLOOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS.
I DARE NOT TRUST THE SWEETEST FRAME
BUT WHOLLY LEAN ON JESU’S NAME.
ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK I STAND,
ALL OTHER GROUND IS SINKING SAND
George Wheelhouse was born in Coleman Street, Little Moorfields, London on 18 August 1820. His gravestone says that he spent twelve years serving in the army in India, which probably explains why he is hard to find in the 1841 and 1851 censuses.
His wife Sarah was born in Spitalfields in 1819/20.
They were probably married in the mid-1850s, possibly in India, and had the following children:
- Sarah Wheelhouse (born in Spitalfields in 1858, reg. Whitechapel district second quarter)
- George Wheelhouse (born in Spitalfields in 1859/60, reg. Whitechapel district first quarter of 1860).
At the time of the 1861 census George Wheelhouse was an ironmonger, living at 7 Vine Yard, Spitalfields with his wife Sarah and their children Sarah (2) and George (fifteen months).
Their daughter Sarah died at Fleet Street, Bethnal Green at the age of five and was buried at Hackney on 21 December 1863.
By 1871 George and Sarah (who would both have been about 51, but the ages they give vary) had moved to Oxford, and were living at Nelson Street, St Ebbe’s with George junior (11). George Wheelhouse senior was described in that census as a City Missionary, and a report about the British and Foreign Bible Society in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 8 November 1873 stated that:
the Rev. H. C. Bazely, of Brasenose College, and his lay missionary, Mr. Wheelhouse, had recently
sold at eight fairs, viz., at Oxford, Witney, Reading, Wallingford, Abingdon, Chipping-Norton, Banbury,
and Stow-on-the-Wold, 130l. worth.
His son George Wheelhouse junior did well academically: in December 1873 gained a First Class prize at the Oxford Wesleyan Boys’ School; in July 1874 he won a Physical Geography prize at the Oxford School of Science and Art; and in 1877 he passed the Oxford & Cambridge Schools’ Examination Board in Greek, elementary Mathematics, and History, and with distinction in Divinity. He then attended Abingdon School, and on 31 May 1879 he was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Pembroke College at the age of 19, gaining his B.A. in 1883.
George Wheelhouse was described as follows by someone who remembered him in Arthur Tilney Bassett, S. Barnabas' Oxford: A record of fifty years (A. R. Mowbray & Co., Oxford, 1919):
Wheelhouse was a man of striking personality, strongly built, vigorous, and venerable looking. A man of humble origin, he was for many years a well-known figure in Oxford, and many will recall the old man with his long grey hair descending to his shoulders. He and Mr. Noel [Father Montague Noel, Vicar of St Barnabas's Church from 1869 to 1899] were on friendly terms, and on at least one occasion joined forces. It happened that Mr. Noel had to deal with the case of a house of ill-repute in the parish, and decided to ask Wheelhouse to go with him and endeavour to get the tenants to leave the district. They visited the house together and succeeded, partly by persuasion and partly by threats, in getting rid of the plague spot, the tenants evidently thinking that the combined forces of Church and Nonconformity were too strong to resist. Indeed they remarked that “All parties were against them!” In this tour de force it is said that Wheelhouse did the gospel and Father Noel the law!
At the time of the 1881 census George Wheelhouse senior was still described as a City Missionary and was living at the Mission Room in Canal Street, Jericho with his wife and their son George (21), who was still an undergraduate.
Their son was married near the beginning of 1885:
- In the first quarter of 1885 in the Sculcoates district of the East Riding of Yorkshire, George Wheelhouse junior married Harriet Elizabeth Prescott.
At the time of the 1891 census George Wheelhouse senior, now described as a Scripture Reader, and his wife Sarah, who were both aged 61, were living at 16 Juxon Street.
Sarah died that address in 1895 (with a death notice inserted in Jackson’s Oxford Journal):
† Mrs Sarah Wheelhouse died at 16 Juxon Street at the age of 75 on 27 September 1895 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 September (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).
At the time of the 1901 census, George Wheelhouse senior (80) was a lodger at 30 Jericho Street, in the home of George Hedges, a general labourer, and his family. He died there later that year:
† George Wheelhouse died at 30 Jericho Street at the age of 81 on 22 November 1901 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 November (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).
George Wheelhouse junior (born 1859/60)
George junior was ordained in 1885, and at the time of the 1891 census he and his wife Harriet Elizabeth were living at Edge Road, Dewsbury, Yorkshire with their daughter Beatrice Caroline Wheelhouse (born in Cottingham in 1886, reg. Sculcoates third quarter) and their son Robert Clive Wheelhouse (born in Chapelthorpe, Wakefield on 22 December 1888 with no forename).
In 1901 they were living at 27 Memorial Road, Walkden, Lancashire and had a third child: George Noel Prescott Wheelhouse, born in New Brighton in 1894/5 (reg. Birkenhead first quarter of 1895).
In 1911 they were at 153 Lesmore Terrace, Warwick Road, Carlisle with all three of their children: their son Robert (22) was a variety artiste, and George (16) was a student. Robert served as a Private in the Canadian Infantry in the First World War, and died in France in 1915.