Charles Henry Fairfax - a Lincolnshire vicar
These beautiful miniatures are portraits of Reverend Charles Henry Fairfax and his wife Emmeline Marion nee Cookson. Charles was vicar of Hackthorn and Cold Hanworth in Lincolnshire between 1877 and 1894.
They were presented to Charles and Emmeline in 1894. A local newspaper described the scene:
Lincolnshire Chronicle 21 December 1894
On Saturday evening last a deputation assembled at the Hall, representing the parishioners of Hackthorn and Cold Hanworth, for the purpose of making a farewell present to the Vicar and Mrs Fairfax, previous to their departure to Dumbleton, Gloucestershire. The presentation took the form of miniatures of Mr and Mrs Fairfax, and an illuminated address in book form, containing the list of subscribers, which included many names outside the boundaries of Hackthorn and Hanworth. Mr Cracroft, on behalf of the deputation, spoke a few words, and read the address, which expressed the regret of all at their departure, after a residence at Hackthorn of nearly eighteen years, and all good wishes for their happiness in their new home. Mr Fairfax expressed the thanks of himself and Mrs Fairfax, who was not present, and to whom therefore he was able to pay a well-deserved tribute, as one who has endeared herself to all in Hackthorn and Hanworth. The miniatures were then placed on view in the loan exhibition, where they proved a centre of attraction, and were universally admired, both as likenesses and works of art, a compliment to the artist (Miss Mabel Hobson, Fulham, London), and to Mr James Usher 192 High Street, Lincoln, who was entrusted with the mounting, so successfully carried out. The binding and illuminating of the address, which was much admired, were executed by Mr J W Ruddock, 252 High Street, Lincoln.
In January 1895 the portraits were exhibited in the window of James Usher’s shop in Lincoln.
So who were this couple and what happened to them after they left Hackthorn? Let’s find out.
Charles Henry was baptised on 3 February 1849 at Newton Kyme in Yorkshire. His parents were Thomas Fairfax Esq and his wife Louisa Constantia. In 1851 Charles was living with his family at Newton Kyme Hall in Yorkshire. His father Thomas was a landowner and a descendant of the Parliamentary commander Sir Thomas Fairfax. There were 6 other Fairfax children: 3 girls and 3 boys all of them being educated at home by their French governess A. Louisa Durback.
Meanwhile, Emmeline had been born on Christmas Eve 1850 and baptised on 29 January 1851 at Hurworth church. Her parents were James and Sybella Frances Cookson. On census night in March, Emmeline was living with her family at Neasham Hall in Co. Durham. James was a magistrate whose fortune had been made in industry. Emmeline had 2 older siblings: Joseph and Sybella. There were 9 servants at home on census night.
Emmeline’s sister Sybella died in1852 and her mother died the following year.  Her father remarried in 1859, in Switzerland, to Maria Elizabeth Gertrude Tindall. The reason they married in Switzerland was that Maria was the sister of his first wife Sybella and so it would have been illegal for them to marry in the UK. So in 1861 Emmeline was living at home at Neasham with her father, stepmother and younger brother. Her stepmother Maria also died in 1864 and she was buried at Hurworth on 8 March. On 8 June 1865 James remarried to Georgiana Margaret Rawlinson at Piccadilly in London.
In 1861, Charles Fairfax was living with his family at Newton Kyme. Charles had 4 siblings including his older brother Thomas Ferdinand who was a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards. There were fourteen servants living in the household: a butler, 2 footmen, coachman, groom boy, valet, huntsman, housekeeper, 2 lady’s maids, cook and 2 housemaids.
On the night of the 1871 census Charles was lodging in Littlehampton. He gave his occupation as Undergraduate. That was the year he got his Bachelor of Arts degree from St John’s College, Oxford. At the same time, Emmeline was 20 years old, living at Neasham with her father, stepmother and several step-siblings. Events would soon bring them together. On 30 June 1872 Charles was ordained as a deacon at Bishop Auckland Castle and appointed as curate for Hurworth parish, Emmeline's home parish.
Charles was ordained as a priest on 29 June 1873 at Bishop Auckland Castle.
On 9 October 1873 Charles married Emmeline at Hurworth. There was a beautiful description of the wedding in the local newspaper:
Marriage of Miss Cookson, Neasham Hall
On Thursday, the villages of Neasham and Hurworth were the scenes of great rejoicings, on the occasion of the marriage of Emmeline Mariane, eldest daughter of James Cookson, Esq JP of Neasham Hall, ex-Sheriff, and late master of the Hurworth Hounds, to the Rev. Charles Henry Fairfax, curate of Hurworth, and youngest son of Thos. Fairfax, Esq. of Newton Kyme Hall, near Tadcaster, Yorkshire. Shortly before eleven the bridal party left Neasham Hall, the residence of the bride’s father, accompanies by a large circle of the immediate relatives of the respective families. On their arrival at All Saints Church, Hurworth, they were greeted by a large and fashionable company, chiefly composed of ladies, who had assembled to witness the marriage ceremony. At eleven o’clock, the hour appointed, the bride, leaning on the arm of her father, and accompanies by her bridesmaids entered the church and proceeded to the altar, where she was joined by the bridegroom and the rest of the bridal party, including Mrs Cookson and Mrs Fairfax; Mr Joseph Tindall Cookson and Mr Francis Cookson, brothers of the bride; Colonel Fairfax, Major York and Mrs York of Weighill Park; Mrs Halkett, Mr W W Wickham and Mrs Wickham, of Swinnow Hall, Wetherby; Mr F H Dyke of Acomb, York. The bride was attired in a superb thick white corded silk train, with a white silk quilted skirt trimmed with tulle and Brussels lace. She also wore the emblematic orange blossoms, with white wreath, and Brussels lace veil. A beautiful gold bracelet, gold chain, and pearls, completed her tasteful toilet. The bridesmaid were: - Miss Florence Cookson, sister to the bride; Miss J Reynard Cookson, Miss Cookson (London), Miss Sugden, cousins of the bride; Miss Smith, of Dinsdale Rectory; Miss Wilkinson, of Harperley; and Miss Francis. Their raiment was exceedingly beautiful, and had a rich and harmonious effect. Each of the ladies wore a muslin dress, flounced to the waist, and trimmed with white narrow lace, with cherry sashes gracefully tucked on the left side. Their head-dresses were wreaths formed by a happy and effective arrangement of passion flowers, ivy sprays and orange blossoms. Mr Powlett Milbank acted as chief groomsman. The service was partially choral. Mr Fred Tovey presiding at the organ, played as the wedding party assembled, the ‘Priest’s March.’ The ceremony commenced with the Hymn 212 (Ancient and Modern), after which the Rev R H Williamson celebrated the service in a most impressive manner. He was assisted by the Rev G H Ross-Lewin BA. The bride, who was give away by her father, uttered the responses calmly, quietly, and fervently. So still was the crowded congregation that every word was audible. So soon as the wedding party had signed the register, the “Wedding March” burst forth grandly, and the church bells pealed merrily. As the bridegroom led his bride down the aisle and along the crimson-covered footpath leading to the gates, a number of young girls dressed in white strewed the path of the happy paid with pretty flowers, amid the cheers of the hundreds who had gathered on each side to witness their return to the Hall…After the arrival of the bridal party at Neasham Hall, a sumptuous breakfast was partaken of in the dining hall, to which a distinguished company sat down, including the oldest county families there are in Yorkshire and Durham. The breakfast over, the bride and bridegroom took their departure for the South by the 3.15 pm train en route for Devonshire, leaving the Hall amid a shower of rice and slippers, one lady expending a five-year collection of old slippers. In the evening a ball took place in honour of the event. The grounds were in beautiful condition, and reflected great credit on Miller, the head gardener, for his skill in preserving flowers. The presents to the bride are very costly and elegant, the number about one hundred. The bridegroom presented the bride with a very handsome dressing case. Mr and Mrs Cookson presented her with a pair of gold bracelets, necklet and earrings, of a choice design and exquisite workmanship…We understand the happy pair are to reside at Croft, on their return from the honeymoon. 
On 29 January 1875, Charles was instituted to the vicarage of Maltby in Yorkshire. But they weren’t there for long - Lincolnshire was calling!. In 1877 Charles was appointed Vicar of Hackthorn and Cold Hanworth. In 1879 Charles received his Master of Arts degree from St John's College, Oxford.
In 1881 Charles and Emmeline were living in the Vicarage at Hackthorn with their children: Sibelle born in Maltby in 1876 and Gabriel born in Hackthorn in 1879. In 1891, they were still in Hackthorn with four children present: 16-year-old Sybille, 12-year-old Gabriel, 6-year-old Mary born in Sidmouth in Devon and the smallest child with the biggest name: 5 year old Theophania born in Hackthorn. There were two visitors present on the night of the census: Brenda Nippert, a 53-year-old teacher of science and languages from Poznan in Poland and Edna Scotts, a 33-year-old dressmaker from Carrington in Lincolnshire. They had three servants, all in their teens, 17-year-old cook, Lily Casterton, Florence Popple a 15-year-old Hackthorn girl as house maid and Kate Allen, also from Hackthorn a 13-year-old nursery maid.
In December 1894 Charles was appointed to the rectory of Dumbleton in Gloucestershire and so they had to leave Hackthorn.
Emmeline died in 1898 aged 47. She was buried at Dumbleton on 13 May.
In 1899, Emmeline’s brother died and left an estate worth £28,000. Aside from some small bequests he left everything in trust for Charles until he remarried or died at which point everything went to Charles’s son Gabriel. There was a condition that Gabriel adopt the name of Cookson in order to receive the inheritance.
In 1901, Charles was a widower living in Dumbleton. His daughters Mary and Theophania were also present, as well as a new daughter called Elizabeth aged 7. They had four servants: a governess Elizabeth Theyes, Kate White a parlourmaid, Florence Newman the cook and Annie Haines a nurse.
In April 1904 Charles was appointed to Brailsford parish. On leaving Dumbleton he was presented with a silver rose bowl.
On the 1911 census he was a paying patient at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
Charles died on 1 July 1919 at Brailsford Rectory in Derbyshire. He had been ill for barely a week. Most of the village came out to attend his funeral. A newspaper report of his funeral described him as “of a sympathetic and kindly disposition”. He was buried, as he had requested, under the churchyard cross in Brailsford.
What about the artist?
Mabel Hobson was only 27 when she painted these lovely miniatures. 10 years after painting these she would go on to paint the first in a series of portraits of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (wife of George VI and grandmother to King Charles III).
With many thanks to the owner of the miniatures for allowing me to share them with you all.
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