CFHS code : PL128

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In Loving Memory of WILLIAM WHITELEGGE Rector of Syderstone Norfolk and for sometime Vicar of Threlkeld Widnes and Bramford Speke b 4 Aug 1818 d 16 March 1896

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Whitelegge headstone 2016


The headstone is at the end of the Avenue of Limes opposite the Lodge, in the parish area of St Paul.


Rector of Syderstone Norfolk and for sometime Vicar of Threlkeld, Widnes and Brampford Speke. Born Aug. 4. 1819. Entered into rest March 6. 1896.

” What I say unto you I say  unto all, watch.”

“Till He come.”

Also Mary Ann his wife (remainder hidden under soil)

Rev. William Whitelegge (4 August 1818 – 16 March 1896)  

 It is believed that William was the son of Thomas and Frances Whitelegge. He was born in Salford, and baptised at St John’s Church in Manchester on 10th September 1818. Thomas Whitelegge was working as a warehouseman at the time his son was baptised. William was working as a school teacher when he married Mary Ann Bugler on 6th January 1845 in Beaminster, Dorset.

William and Mary Ann had three daughters: Elenor Jane [1846-1922], Mary Frances [1849-1926] and Charlotte Susanna [1858-1936]. In 1851 he was still working as a schoolmaster in Beaminster, by 1871 he was the Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Widnes. In 1881/1891 he was the vicar of Syderstone in Norfolk and lived at the Rectory there. He died aged 77 years old at home at Syderstone Rectory. The Norwich Mercury reported that on the 4th March ‘he was struck with a paralytic stroke whilst kneeling in prayer at the Church Army Mission in the village Schoolroom. He had an hour previously opened the service with prayer when he appeared in his usual robust health. His last sermon was preached on the Sunday previous from John iii, 14’.

He had had started as Vicar of Thelkeld in Cumbria and then moved to Widnes as vicar in 1866. He was said to have remained in Widnes until 1877 ‘when his health being affected by the chemical gases he accepted the living of Bamford Speke near Exeter, where he remained until the rectory of Syderstone became vacant. This living was in the gift of his friend the Marquis of Cholmondeley and had long been promised to him, therefore on the vacancy occurring he removed to Norfolk. At that time the living of Syderstone was one of considerable emolument being worth about £800 per year’. He was said to be kind, devoted, and ‘especially beloved by the poorer members of his flock’. He was said to be particularly fond of carrying out mission work outside the church. He died at Syderstone, but was buried in Cambridge. His youngest daughter Charlotte had married Rev. Thomas William Thomas who was the Vicar of St Barnabas Church in Cambridge from 1892-1907 which is perhaps how Rev. William Whitelegge came to be buried at Mill Road Cemetery, having never lived in Cambridge.

Cornish churches – Brampford Speke Church Devon – St Peter

Mary Ann Whitelegge [nee Bugler] (1823 – 9 May 1895)

 Mary was the daughter of stationer Able Bugler and his wife Elizabeth, She was born and brought up in Beaminster, Dorset and married Rev William Whitelegge when she was c21 years old.

She died aged 72 years old at the Rectory in Syderstone. The funeral service took place in Syderstone and the coffin was ‘borne to the church by four tenants of the glebe land, and the procession was headed by the church wardens. Many parishoners and friends were present….several beautiful wreaths composed of arums and forget-me-nots were placed on the coffin in token of sympathy’ [Norfolk Chronical 18th May 1895]. After the service the coffin was taken to Fakenham railway station where it was taken to Cambridge for internment at Mill Road Cemetery.

Threlkeld Church, Cumbria

Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

Mary Ann Whitelegge; William Whitelegge