Rector of Felsham
1822 to 1872
Also available from the author
The proceeds from the sale of this new booklet will go towards the digitalisation of photographs of Felsham in the Spanton-Jarman Collection. These photographs are held at the Suffolk Record Office on behalf of the Bury Past & Present Society.
Extract from the Foreword to
'Thomas Anderson ~ Rector of Felsham 1822-1872'
Any attempt to write the biography of someone who lived over a hundred and forty years ago in Felsham and who left behind no portrait, diary, letters or personal reminiscences is beset with difficulties. With the Rev. Thomas Anderson there is none of that interesting record left by other 19th century parsons who were his approximate East Anglian contemporaries: Richard Cobbold of Wortham, John Longe of Coddenham, John Henslow of Hitcham, and Benjamin Armstrong of East Derham.
We do not know what Thomas Anderson looked like because no drawing, painting or photograph of him has survived. We do know that he had his photograph taken in Bury St Edmunds sometime during 1864, along with other local clergymen, with prints selling in the photographer’s shop for one shilling each, but it has not been traced. So a biography without a written or pictorial portrait and without access to documents giving details of character, opinion and social attitudes, could be not only dry and uninteresting but seriously unbalanced.
As a well-educated man and ordained priest, Thomas Anderson would certainly have known George Herbert’s book The Country Parson, written one hundred and seventy years before he arrived in Felsham. In this seminal book he would have read Herbert’s description of the ideal parson’s life which included the stricture:
The Countrey Parson is exceeding exact in his Life, being holy, just, prudent, temperate, bold, grave in all his wayes
Despite the research constraints outlined above, this brief biography provides plenty of evidence that Thomas Anderson’s life reflected many of these virtues that George Herbert held in such high esteem.