On this website, I have previously contributed articles
about two of the priests who served at St. Matthew’s church
in Horseley Fields during the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries – viz.
Revd. John Eddowes Gladstone, vicar of St.
Revd. Alfred Charles Howell, vicar of St.
Below, I present some biographical detail about seven other
priests who served as vicar at the church during the period
to 1945. The information has been abstracted from online
Census materials, directories and other sources.
Their contribution to Christian ministry at St. Matthew’s
church can be seen in its broader context within Glynne &
Debbie Watkin’s book ‘The Parish of St. Matthew: the
church and its people, 1848-1998’ (available at
Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies).
The Revd. Alexander Popham Luscombe
He was born at Exeter in 1822 and graduated from St. John’s
College, Cambridge. He was the first vicar of St. Matthew’s
and was instituted in 1846, the same year as the
ecclesiastical parish was formed and three years before the
actual church building was completed and consecrated. It was
APL that led the service of consecration at the church on
November 20th 1849.
He lived at the vicarage in Horseley Fields as a single man;
the 1851 Census reveals that he lived there with his older
sister (Susan) and a 20-year old local domestic servant
named Mary Ann Adshead.
In 1855, APL returned south to his native county of Devon.
He lived in the hamlet of Harbetonford (near Totnes) which
was formed into a separate ecclesiastical district in 1860.
There he became the first vicar of St. Peter’s church, which
was erected in 1859.
Luscombe was clearly a man moved into ecclesiastical
parishes as they were being formed and whose priority was
the building of new churches.
Luscombe was married to Elizabeth in September 1869 at
It seems that Luscombe remained at Harbetonford for the rest
of his life; the 1871 census local reveals that the
household included his Devonian wife (aged 31 years), his
unmarried sister (Susan) and two local female domestic
Luscombe died in Devon in January 1876, aged 54 years.
The Reverend Benjamin Wright(1855-1870)
He was born in Birmingham in 1817 and became the second
vicar of St. Matthew’s in 1855 at the age of 38 years.
Census records enable us to note some of his household’s
movements: the 1851 Census shows him living in Stoke Prior
(Herefordshire) with his wife (Mary Ann Benson, born in
Birmingham, 1810) and their four children – Benjamin (aged 9
yrs), Arthur (7), Josiah (4) and Emily (2). The household
also contained Ann Buck (a 27 yr. old London-born governess)
and Elizabeth Passey (a 17 yr. old local domestic servant).
At the time of the 1861 Census, the Wright household lived
at the vicarage in Horseley Fields. Two further children had
been added – Louisa (aged 9 yrs) and William Benson Wright
(6). Wright’s sister-in-law (Caroline Benson) was also part
of the household.
Wright was a strong evangelical. With the Reverends Maitland
(St. James) and Lister (Bushbury), he led the Wolverhampton
Annual United Prayer Meeting in 1861. This was an
inter-denominational association which tried to preserve
the missionary energy of the evangelical movement within the
Church of England. He was also a member of the executive
committee that organised the Church Congress at
Wolverhampton in 1867, at a time when he was becoming
concerned about ‘the alarming spread of Romish teaching and
ceremonial in the Church of England’ which he believed would
imperil the Church’s ability to witness God’s truth.
Wright left the church of St. Matthew in 1870. The 1871
Census shows the household lived at Norton Canes. Josiah
Wright (aged 24 yrs) was the only son remaining within the
parental home. Caroline Benson remained with the Wright
Wright died in Cannock on June 22nd 1879, aged 62 years.
The Reverend Samson Cordon (1889-1900)
Born in October 1854 at Toxteth (Liverpool), Cordon was the
third son of the eleven children born to Edward and Jane
Cordon. He was baptised in September 1856 at St. Peter’s,
At the 1871 census, the teenage Samson still resided with
his parents in his native Liverpool, and is described simply
as a scholar.
In September 1878, the 23-year old Samson married Agnes
Bousefield at St. Michael’s church in Toxteth. He resided at
Great Mersey Street and Agnes lived at Essex Street. Samson
Cordon was identified as a ‘Clerk in Holy Orders’ at the
time of his marriage. He had trained at St. Aidan’s
Theological College, Birkenhead. A daughter, Myrah Frances,
was born in September 1879 at West Derby, Liverpool.
His link to Wolverhampton can first be seen in the 1881
Census. He served as a curate at St. Matthew’s for three
years alongside the vicar of the parish, the Revd. John
Eddowes Gladstone. The Cordon household included wife Agnes
and daughter Myrah. It also included a domestic servant
named Martha Harris of Sedgley, aged 22 years.
From 1883, a second curacy was served at the church of St.
Jude alongside the vicar of the parish, the Revd. S.C. Adam.
By 1888, Samson Cordon had been appointed Chaplain to the
Wolverhampton Union workhouse.
A number of other children were to be born to the Cordon
family during these years: Winifred (1881), Archibald
(1883), Edith May (1885), Perceival (1890), Agnes Constance
(1893), Olive Irene (1895) and Ethel Kathleen (1900).
The 1891 Census shows Samson Cordon as the vicar of St.
Matthew’s and resident of the vicarage in Horseley Fields.
He remained as the vicar until 1900; thereafter he moved to
become vicar of St. Martin’s church in Bradley. The 1901
Census records that he and Agnes have seven children (Myrah,
Archibald, Edith, Perceival, Constance, Irene and Kathleen)
and a local domestic servant.
He died on August 30th 1907 at Prestatyn, North Wales, aged
52 years. His widow continued to live at Prestatyn, and the
1911 Census records that she resides there with her son,
Perceival, who is a theological student. Her daughter,
Kathleen, is a boarder at Manordeilo School in
The Reverend Donald Marten Wilson(1910-1919)
Donald Marten Wilson was born in 1855 in Lancashire to
Theodore and Barbara Wilson. His father (who had qualified
at Brasenose College, Oxford) was a priest, and the 1861
Census records the family as living at the parsonage at
Knott Lane, Ashton-under Lyne.
By 1871, the household has moved to the vicarage at
Haslingden, Lancashire (in the Rossendale valley), where his
father served as the vicar of St. James’ church. The
household included further siblings: Theodore (aged 14 yrs.,
Sophie (11) and Edmund (7).
At the 1881 Census, Donald Marten Wilson had completed his
academic studies at Oxford, been ordained (in 1879) and
served as a curate at Holy Trinity church, Nottingham.
The 1901 Census shows the 46-yr. old Wilson as married (to
Mary) and living in Brighton with their infant daughter
He became the fifth vicar of St. Matthew’s in April 1910,
having first entered the Lichfield diocese in 1906.
The Reverend James Davidson Lloyd (1919-1922)
He was born at the CMS Mission house in Agra (India) on June
9th 1881, where his parents (the Revd. James Abbot Lloyd and
Eleanor L. Lloyd) served as Christian missionaries.
By 1891, the household had returned to Norfolk, England,
where his father served within the parish of St. Giles. The
household had grown to include siblings – John P. Lloyd
(aged 7 yrs) and Eleanor L. Lloyd (6), both born in
Marleybone, London. Two female domestic servants added to
James Davidson Lloyd entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in
1900. He gained BA (in 1903) and MA (in 1907) degrees. He
was ordained as deacon at Gloucester in 1904 and as priest
He then served a number of curacies – St. John’s, Cheltenham
(1904-6), St. Leonard’s, Bootle
(1906-8), and St. Paul’s, Hyson Green, Nottinghamshire
He served as vicar of Plumstead, Norfolk (1914-1919) and
became the sixth vicar of St. Matthew’s, Wolverhampton in
He served only three years, dying in office of appendicitis
at the age of 41 yrs. on October 27th 1922. He was buried at
St. Phillip’s church cemetery, Pennfields, Wolverhampton.
The Reverend Thomas Stanton (1923 -1942)
Thomas Stanton was born in 1877 and was a native of
The 1901 Census identifies him as a Licensed Evangelist who
lived in Otterbourne, Hampshire. That same year he was
married to Ellen Susannah Gwillam in Burton on Trent.
He was ordained as a deacon in 1909 and as a priest in 1911.
He trained for ministry at St. Aidan’s Theological College,
Birkenhead, and served curacies at St. Phillip’s
(Sheffield), St. Jude (Hexthorpe) and at the churches of St.
James and Bushbury-with Essington, Wolverhampton.
The 1911 Census shows the
Stanton family as residents of 43 Stockton Road, West
Hartlepool. Thomas Stanton is identified as a 34 year old
Clerk in Holy Orders. He lives there with his wife (Ellen
Susannah, born at Burton on Trent) and his two young sons -
Thomas (aged 8) and Francis Edward Stanton (3, born in
He became the seventh vicar of St. Matthew’s in Horseley
Fields in April 1923, aged 46 years. He also served as
Chaplain to the New Cross Institution from 1923.
He died at a nursing home in Wolverhampton on May 16th 1942,
aged 65 yrs., and was buried at St. Mary’s church cemetery,
The Reverend Thomas Stanton (1942-1945)
Born in 1903, in
the son of the above. Thomas Stanton (Junior) was instituted
as the eighth vicar of St. Matthew’s in September 1942. He
first served within the parish as a Parochial Lay Reader
(1934-1939), living with his parents at the vicarage in
It is believed that he later served within the Trysull
He was succeeded in St. Matthew’s parish by the Revd. Arthur
Victor Yates (1946- 1953).