The Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Temple Hamlyn (1864-1929)
The Rev. Hamlyn was the vicar at Martham from 1921 to 1928 and had an impressive career in the Church.
Born in Totnes, Devon in 1864 to William & Emily his father must have been an entrepreneurial fellow as at various times he was an accountant, bailiff, clerk to the County Court, coal merchant, grocer, and a wine, spirit and ale merchant. Together they raised ten children and five of their six sons became priests, plus one of Nathaniel’s sisters married a clergyman. So, it may not have been seen as being unusual when Nathaniel entered the Church. He was educated at Totnes Grammar School and Durham University and ordained in 1891, beginning his career as a curate at the church of St Maurice, Eglingham, which is a small village in Northumberland about 7 miles north-west of Alnwick, from 1889 to 1893 and then at St Helen, Kelloe, Co. Durham from 1893 to 1896.
He married Isabel Louisa Rogers in about 1895 and they had two sons. His blossoming career took him to Africa in 1901 as a Missionary with the Church Mission Society. In 1904 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) was in the doldrums and it invited The Reverend to be the Assistant Bishop of Western Equatorial Guinea with charge of the Gold Coast and its hinterland. He took up residence at Sekondi in June 1904. Sekondi had had long connections with Europeans, especially with the trade in gold. The Dutch were there as early as 1640 but the British took over the Dutch possessions in 1872. The area prospered. Reverend Hamlyn built the Cathedral Church of St Andrew the Apostle at Sekondi (shown below left) which was dedicated by him on 30th November 1905. Sadly, the original building was destroyed by fire in 1932 but was re-built between 1933-1937.
In 1909 the Diocese of Accra was created out of the Diocese of Equatorial Africa and the Rev Hamlyn rose to become the first Bishop of Accra. He pursued a high church tradition oriented towards wealthy merchants, higher professionals and civil servants. The church believed in better education and in 1910 Rev. Hamlyn founded the SPG Grammar School named Adisadel College at Adisadel – shown above. It began with 29 boys, but in 1935 it had about 200. The school buildings were extended in 1950 and by 1960 enrolment had gone up to 545. When the school celebrated its centenary in 2010 there were over 1500 boys (all boarders) and 93 teachers. Its main purpose was to provide a grammar school for sons of Anglican parents and in particular a training ground for Church personnel.
The Rev. Hamlyn’s health did not stand up well in the West African climate and because of local diseases the area became known as the White Man’s Grave. And, so after six years he returned to England in 1910.
In 1911 he was listed as living at The Vicarage, Easton, Norwich with his wife and two sons William & Osbert. He was listed as being a Bishop and remained there until at least 1914, possibly longer.
He became the vicar at St Mary the Virgin, Martham in 1921 and was known to have owned a Trojan car with a crest on the door that he drove around the village. To the right is a photograph of him in the car. In 1928 he retired to The Rectory at North Creak where he died on 26th January 1929.
Sources: Appointment information courtesy of the: Clergy of the Church of England Database at https://theclergydatabase.org.uk