Rev. Alfred Preston, 1822-1882

notes by Ed Grimsdale

Photo of Alfred PrestonAlfred Matthew Preston had been born to the Reverend Matthew Morris Preston and Elizabeth (always known in the family as “Eliza”, née Garrett) on 28 March 1822 in Watton, Hertfordshire. Alfred had at least one sister, Eliza an elder brother, Theodore and another brother John William. Another brother, Francis, died prematurely, aged 16 in June, 1837. Both Theodore and Alfred graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, and the two brothers were ordained on the same day, 28 Oct 1845 by the Bishop in his cathedral at Ely.

The Reverend Alfred Matthew Preston married firstly Harriet Eley, the eldest daughter of Charles Eley of Hove. Alfred’s father conducted their marriage service which took place on 11 Sep 1851 in Hove parish church.  Harriet died at Hurst Pierpoint on 1 July 1854, aged just 27.  Within two years, Alfred married again, this time to Mary Louisa, the youngest daughter of the Reverend Thomas Harrison of Womenswold in Kent, at a church in her birthplace, Barham near Canterbury, on 27 March 1856. Two years later, Alfred’s father, Matthew Morris Preston died, aged 77. He had served as the enthusiastically evangelical Vicar of Cheshunt, Herts. His sons Theodore, Alfred and John (all clerks in holy orders) and his sister Rebekah Preston were executors, and his effects were valued at "under £30,000". Incidentally, Matthew Morris’s father, Matthew Preston, again an ardent evangelical, had been the Vicar of Sheffield. Alfred’s brother, Theodore, became a brilliant scholar and Professor of Arabic Studies in the University of Cambridge from which he retired in 1871 and then renounced his clerical vows. It would seem that Theodore’s time as Professor was expended on research but ministering to his students did not appear amongst his virtues. One putative student, Robert Bensly, it is suggested "often recounted the tale of his persistent attempts to induce one of his Arabic professors, Theodore Preston, an obdurate absentee, to come up and deliver lectures".

Bucks Herald 28 Oct 1882



We regret to record the death, since our last issue, in the early morning of Thursday last indeed, of the Rev. Alfred Matthew Preston, M.A., vicar of this town and parish. The deceased gentleman, who as "out and about" his parish on Wednesday, we understand, has for more than a year been seriously ailing, and was informed, on medical authority, that his end might be, in fact was, somewhat sudden. [Alfred had been suffering from a heart condition and before his death, he’d gone to Bournemouth "to recruit his health".] For nineteen years Mr Preston has been the vicar of Winslow, having been appointed by the Lord Chancellor in 1863, having previously been curate to Dean Fremantle at Claydon, curate also of Barnwell, and of Cheshunt, and Eastbourne. He was of the extremely Low Church party in the church, fraternising not merely in Christian courtesy but on what he regarded as religious principle, with all orthodox Nonconformists and Nonconformity; and expressing his views at clerical meetings of his brother-clergy with frequency and indeed whenever openings presented themselves. Of his exemplary piety and devoutness no one ever doubted, and if he was a "true blue Protestant" in the party sense, he was also a true Christian gentleman in the wider sense. In his intercourse with neighbouring clergy he was kindness itself, and consistent with his Evangelical religious views diligently and zealously endeavoured to lead his parishioners into the same way of thinking and acting.

He graduated about forty years ago, at Trinity College, Cambridge, and as ordained by the Bishop of Ely in 1845, to the curacy of Barnwell, Near Cambridge. He leaves a large family of children*, mostly married or otherwise settled in life, to mourn their loss, while rejoicing in his great gain; and it will be long before his people and his neighbours will grow accustomed to the absence of his well-known face from parish and pulpit. A recent correspondence in our columns respecting Church hymnbooks and the Winslow "use" thereof, well delineates what manner of man the vicar was, and many of our readers will fill in the outlines for themselves. While guarding the pulpit of Winslow Church with perhaps more strict jealousy than almost any incumbent in the diocese against its occupation by decided and unmistakeable Low Churchmen, Mr Preston never violated Christian charity, or wounded the feelings of any tacitly excluded High Church, or Moderate, or Broad Church brother.  The large Reading-Room near the Vicarage was erected at his own cost, and he was as charitable pecuniarily, we believe, as religiously contributing largely to the restoration of Winslow Vicarage, which he made into a very commodious and convenient residence. The benefice is in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, of the gross value of £200, with a population of 1,700 souls.

The children of Alfred and Harriet (née  Eley) and Alfred and Mary (née Harrison) were:

This poem is aimed at Mr Preston. It was printed anonymously, together with a poem attacking the decision to rebuild the Congregational Church. The author was apparently Dr Newham (Centre for Bucks Studies, D-X 58)

“If a man die, shall he live again?”  JOB.
“Let each man learn to know himself,
To gain that knowledge let him labour,
       Improve those failings in himself
That he condemns so in his neighbour.”

There are some Preachers, tis a truth most sad,
Oft drive their hearers melancholy mad,
Scare them with all the torments of the damn’d,
And on their foreheads fix the fatal brand.
And this they call converting souls to God;
Reclaim the drunkard, thief and social bawd.
How many victims to the Parson’s craze,
In lunatic asylums pass their days.
Rather than thus torment a man’s abode,
Stones would I break upon the public road,
For meanest pay my time I’d gladly sell,
Than from the pulpit damn poor souls to hell.
In early life it was my fate to be
Much in reputed pious company.
But while they made a very high profession
“Root of the matter” they had small possession.
They met, they said, to worship God above,
But more, methinks it was salacious love.
‘Twas then I thought religion but a blind,
And scepticism seized my tender mind.
One minister, I recollect him well,
Said he would shake them o’er the pit of hell.
Such preachers are a scandal to their cloth,
Who’re always pouring out the vials of wrath.
Give me the man, persuasive, bright as day,
Where heavenly smiles upon his features play,
Who tells you, like St. John, that “God is love,”
And points to blessings in the world above.
A short time back, a Parson of our Town,
Told me I ne’er should wear a heavenly crown,
That from this world I should go straight to hell,
When Edward Abbott toll’d the fatal bell. [Abbott was the sexton]
But pause awhile, avaunt the awful theme,
“A change comes o’er the spirit of my dream,”
What do I see? Angelic forms arise,
And call me to the mansions of the skies.
They tell me ‘tis the Priests for paltry pelf,
Have scheme’d a hell, just to provide for self.
Never believe what Parsons preach and say,
There’d be no Parsons if you stop’d their pay.
‘Tis but the jargon of the Church to tell
Benighted people that there is a Hell.
We know of old the image-makers said
“Great is Diana” just to gain their bread.
But to conclude, two lines I here will quote,
Which years gone by, the gifted author wrote:
“For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can’t be wrong whose life is in the right.”

Winslow,            October, 1882.

According to his obituary in the Schornian magazine from North Marston, Mr Preston was extremely Low Church, contributed to the rebuilding of the Vicarage, and paid for "the large Reading room near the Vicarage". The services of his Curate, Rev. R.C. Allen, were retained by a public subscription.

See Vestry minutes 1867 for some disputes between Mr Preston and the parishioners concerning, among other things, the church harmonium. "Churchman" criticised him in the local press for being too ecumenical and Low Church. He was blamed for provoking an exodus of the choir (read more).

In 1869 he introduced a new form of Harvest Festival.

Leighton Buzzard Observer, 21 Sep 1869
  HARVEST THANKSGIVING.- On former occasions the Winslow thanksgiving was limited to an evening service in the parish church, this year it has been somewhat improved; and on Thursday, September 9th, an excellent tea was provided on the Vicarage Lawn, to which between 300 and 400 attended, the various tables being presided over by many of the principal residents of the town.  The tables were decorated with stands of choice flowers, while here and there could be seen well-arranged sheaves of corn, which had a very pretty effect.  The arrangements were very complete, the lawn being placed entirely under canvas in the event of unfavourable weather.  The Winslow brass band delighted the company with an excellent selection of music, and after seven o’clock a service was held in the parish church, the congregation being very large.  The only decoration noticeable was two sheaves placed on each side of the aisle leading to the altar.  The prayers and lessons were said by the Rev. H. Hayward, and a sermon preached by the Rev. A. M. Preston, from John iv. 8.  The hymns used on the occasion were the 111, 362 and 308 from Windle’s Church and Home Psalter and Hymnal.  At the conclusion of the service a collection was made on behalf of the Bucks Infirmary..

In 1873, Mr Preston was involved in a dispute with his Winslow parishioners over the Infant School. He wanted to keep control of religious education in the school; they blamed him for obstructing the enlargement of the school.

In 1877 it appears that he tried to buy the Bowling Green in order to close it down. In the same year he was unsuccessful in proposing to restore the interior of the church by removing the galleries.

Bucks Herald, 26 Sep 1874: opening of the Reading Room (or Iron Room, not to be confused with the later Iron Room in Horn Street)

HARVEST THANKSGIVING. – A service of praise and commemorative of the late bountiful harvest was held in the parish church on Tuesday last, when a very striking and beautiful sermon was preached by the Rev. Henry Bame, vicar of Farringdon, from the words “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” &c., treating it under the very expressive heads of - 1st, the manner of His love;  2nd, the manifestation of His love;  3rd, the reception of His love; and, 4th, its results.  It was listened to throughout with rapt attention by about 500 people.   Collections were made at the close in aid of the Aylesbury Infirmary, amounting to £6..12..4½. 

This service was preceded by a tea in the new reading room, which proved a signal success, apparently falling in with the views of the inhabitant, upwards of 350 sitting down to the refreshing beverage.  We have much pleasure in describing to our readers what has been termed the new reading room, Winslow.   On the spot where stood a short time since in the centre of the town of Winslow some very old and dilapidated cottages, almost unfit for human habitation, and nearly the only relict of Winslow cottage antiquity, has been erected at the entire cost of the Vicar of Winslow, the Rev. A.  M. Preston, a very neat and commodious iron room, measuring 48ft by 30ft, built by Messrs. Braby and Co., of Fitzroy Works, Euston Road.  The object and design of the rev. gentleman has been to furnish the working men and inhabitants of Winslow with a reading room, which shall be supplied with a library and leading newspapers and periodicals of the day, and thus secure for them a quiet retreat, where they can spend their leisure hours.   The room is to be opened from 5 o’clock p.m. till 10 to members at the nominal payment of 4d per month.  Tea and coffee will be supplied during those hours at a charge of 1d per cup.   The room will also be used two hours of the week for voluntary and gratuitous education.  The whole of this very laudable idea has originated entirely with Mr. Preston;  and inasmuch as the value of goodwill towards and interest in others is invariably most thoroughly weighed by the test of L s. d. we feel justified in saying that this manifestation of Mr. Preston’s generosity unmistakably shows that he has most earnestly at heart the welfare and happiness of the people of Winslow.   We cannot but regard it as a great boon to the town, and we heartily desire that its promoters may realise the design of their work, and at the same time we trust that the working men and inhabitants of Winslow will show their appreciation by at once enrolling themselves members.

The Reading Room's location is described in A.J. Clear's 1932 lecture. It was where 13-15 Vicarage Road are now. The Reading Room closed in late 1879, "because it was under one-man government" according to a later comment (read more), but the building remained in use for church functions and was sometimes lent to organisations such as the Literary Institute (see below). It was described as "lofty and spacious" (Buckingham Advertiser, 27 Jan 1883); the size was about 134 square metres. Mr Preston bequeathed it to his wife. It was managed by J.L. French until its removal later in 1883. The site was sold for building in 1891.

Buckingham Advertiser, 29 Nov 1879
CLOSING OF THE READING ROOM.- The following notice has been issued by the Rev. A. M. Preston, president of the Reading Room.  “The room has been so little used lately by the members that it is thought desirable to ciose it as a Reading Room after November 29.  The kind attendance of the managers is gratefully acknowledged.”

Buckingham Express, 24 Nov 1883
  REMOVAL OF WINSLOW IRON ROOM.- We are sorry to announce that this spacious iron building, which, when first opened, was expected to be of great use to the inhabitants of Winslow, is taken to pieces.  We understand it is to be erected at Richmond as a Baptist Chapel.  It was opened in 1874, and at one time had a flourishing society, numbering 120 members, connected with it as a reading room.  It was erected at the sole cost of the late Vicar, and was the largest room in the town, measuring about 48ft. by 30ft.

Tent Mission

In 1875 Mr Preston gave his support to the Tent Mission in Winslow, an Evangelical and ecumenical movement which aroused much controversy among the local clergy and Anglicans. There was a lot of correspondence in the Bucks press, especially the Buckingham Express. "Lex", who began it, appears to have been Dr Newham, who kept cuttings of all the newspaper coverage in a scrapbook (CBS, D-X/58). This was the first contribution (Buckingham Express, 19 June):

To the Editor of the “Buckingham Express.”

SIR.- Last Sunday the following notices were given out by the Vicar:-
  1st.  That the Lords’ Supper would be administered after Divine Service next Sunday Evening.
  2nd.  That on Thursday next, and the following Thursdays, there would be a meeting for united prayer at the Reading Room, for the services of the forthcoming Tent Mission.
  3rd.  That on Monday Evenings there would be practice of the Music to be used at the Mission, and
  4th.  That the usual Prayer Meeting would be held in the Church after Service.
  I pass over the first and last notices with the simple remark that I believe evening communion to be lax in principle, and pernicious in effect, and that the prayer meeting in the Church is not only unnecessary but (from the use of extempore prayers by unauthorized persons) is also illegal.
  I turn at once to the object of this letter, namely, to ask that since information may be given to Churchmen as to the method in which the Tent Mission is to be conducted, by whom it is to be conducted, and whether it is to be based upon the ancient lines of our Church.
  It is only natural that in a Mission advocated by the Vicar of the Parish, some information should be sought by the members of his congregation, and some guarantee given that, while seeking to attract the masses, the teaching should be in accordance with the principles of the Church.  At the last Mission held at Winslow, there were numerous services in the Church, and sermons preached to large congregations, addresses were also given in the Schools, and Prayer Meetings were held.  Preliminary house-to-house visitation was carried out, and the results were, on the whole, satisfactory.  The Church was full, but not over-crowded, and if the present Mission is conducted as it ought to be, by one in so responsible a position as the Vicar, there can be no necessity for a tent.
  I am told that some preliminary visitation has been made, but not to Churchmen.  I know that Moody and Sankey’s Hymns are being rehearsed by a body of singers who, as a body are not of our Communion, and these facts added to the absence of services in our Church render me more than suspicious that the coming mission is be held upon a diluted Moody and Sankey programme.
  If such is the case, I humbly suggest that excitement is not Religion, and that no permanent good will remain.  I am at a loss to understand how service in a tent can tend to fill our Church, which all the time remains dark and closed, and I am grieved to think that clergymen of the Church of England strive without ceasing to encourage people to leave the church, instead of doing all they can to induce a congregation to worship within its ancient walls.  The painful alienation from the Church which exists amongst Churchmen in Winslow might easily be remedied but it certainly will be increased if all the rumours as to this Mission, be true.  I trust, however, that I may be anticipating explanations from the Vicar, and that he may relieve the feelings of many and scene their co-operation by simply saying that the doctrines of the Church shall neither be slurred over, nor exposed to contradiction.  If he will not do this, he must not be surprised if he is accused of eating the Bread of the Church unworthily.
                                                            I am,
                                                Your obedient Servant, LEX.
June 16th, 1875.

This printed notice was distributed:

Services will be held (God willing) in the tent at
Every Evening of the Week beginning
MONDAY, JULY 12th, 1875,
When Addresses will be delivered by the
Assisted by the Rev. R. C. Billing,
Rev. S. Pennefather, and an Evangelist from the Evangelization Society, and others.
  Arrangements will be made for Prayer Meetings, &c., of which due notice will be given.
  A Volunteer Choir has kindly offered its services.
  The prayers of all who desire a blessing for themselves and others are earnestly invited.
  “The collection of Sacred Songs and Solos” will be used.
REV. S.B JAMES                                                     MESSRS. J. CROSS
  “      M. D. MALDEN                                                               T.BIGGS
  “      A. NEWCOMBE                                                                R. W. JONES
  “      C. W. STUBBS                                                                  B. PARROTT
  “      A. M. PRESTON                                                               J. ROADS
      G. D. WIGLEY

Below are two extracts from longer letters:

Buckingham Express, 10 July, from "Lex"
… We are next advised [in a previous letter] to enlarge and restore our Parish Church.  We Churchmen of Winslow look with shame and contrition upon our infrequent services, our empty pews, and our dilapidated church.  Will Canon Fremantle, instead of taunting us, bestow on us his pity.  Will he never recognise the fact that the restoration must begin at the Vicar - and that unless the incumbent of the Parish is a sincere Churchman, no influence for good goes on in the Church.  There is no need for enlargement, for the Church has never yet been filled by any of the Rev. Gentlemen on the Committee of the Tent Mission or at any other time.  But as for the Restoration, let the Vicar call his parishioners together, let the Rural Dean attend, and then, perchance, he may become convinced that restoration is not possible…

Buckingham Express, 14 Aug, from the Rural Dean, Canon W.R. Fremantle
… You [i.e. "Lex"] say, “We in Winslow having watched the rise progress and departure of the Tent are now in a position to judge of its effects.”  I suspect it must be a very small minority which composed the “We in Winslow” for judging from the numbers who attended the services, notwithstanding the rain which continued almost incessantly for two days and two nights, we may ask where did the 600 people come from who attended on Monday night?  Of what class were the 800 composed who were present on Friday night? And the 1,000 on Sunday afternoon to say nothing of crowds in the Iron Room on two other days?  I quite believe that if some of the “We in Winslow” had been present at one of these occasions they would have been constrained to endorse what I copy from a London newspaper containing a correct and interesting report of the week’s proceedings at Winslow…

In or before 1881, Mr Preston seems to have set up an unsuccessful independent school. Each of the men taken to court had (in the 1881 Census) two daughters aged between 5 and 12, so it was apparently a girls' school probably run by a female member of the Preston family.

Bucks Herald, 1 Oct 1881
  WINSLOW.- PETTY SESSION, WEDNESDAY SEPT. 28TH.- Before G. R. Greaves, Esq., and Col. Hubbard.  Charles Samuel Tredwell, lay reader, Frederick Willmore, coal merchant, James Brazell, painter, and Sampson Smith, hawker, all of Winslow, were summoned by Mr. Arthur Clear, school attendance officer of the Winslow Union, for not providing efficient elementary instruction for their children.  The cases presented somewhat peculiar features, inasmuch as the children were admitted to be regularly attending a private adventure school ["a school established and run as a private speculation", OED] carried on in the Reading Room, under the supervision of the Vicar.  The children were publicly examined in Court, at the request of the Bench, by Mr. Mackenzie, master of the National School, North Marston, when they proved themselves tolerably proficient in reading, but failed in arithmetic and writing from dictation.  An order was consequently made for their regular attendance at a certified efficient school.

In 1882 it was reported that the school had been closed, which was "much in favour of the cause of education in the district". Read more.

Preston’s final crisis at Winslow Parish Church

It is worthwhile, perhaps, to recollect the public clash between the Vicar and his flock, played out across the pages of the Bucks Herald.

During September 1882, this printed notice appeared in all pews at St Lawrence following representations from its congregation that  that Windle’s Psalms and Hymns was passé:

It is proposed to change the hymn books now in use for a new hymn book entitled, 'Hymns for the Church Catholic,'  by the Rev. J.B.Whiting.
The change to commence on Sunday, October 8th.

The congregation felt that the Vicar’s action had been:

A round-robin "numerously signed by heads and members of thorough Church-going families" was "immediately" presented to the Vicar.

To the Rev. A.M Preston, vicar of Winslow.

We, the undersigned members of the congregation, request, in consequence of the notice given of a change of hymn books in the Church, if any alteration is to be made from the books now in use, that Hymns Ancient and Modern be substituted, for the reasons following:
  • That Hymns Ancient and Modern are now almost universally used in all Churches throughout the country.
  • That in the event of us having friends visiting us on a Sunday, they generally bring these hymn books with them for use in Church.
  • That in the event of our being absent from our own Parish Church on a Sunday Hymns Ancient and Modern would be serviceable to us in attending Church elsewhere.
  • That most of us are already provided with these hymns.
  • That in the event of Hymns Ancient and Modern not being adopted, any other change is unnecessary.
The feeling among Church-people is very strong in favour of Hymns Ancient and Modern as being much in use, and likely to be permanently so; and this proposed change is looked upon as vexatious, and taking money from the congregation which would be much better expended upon the Church.

Here is the trenchant peroration of the Vicar’s last extended letter answering these charges, written to the Bucks Herald, just a few weeks before his abrupt death:

As the case now presents itself to me, I will not at present introduce the new book, "Hymns of the Church Catholic," by Rev. J.B. Whiting. Meanwhile, if any wish to possess it – and I can assure them it is a valuable treasury of hymns – they may obtain it at the Reading Room.

As an antidote to the [Romish] tendencies to which I have referred, I would beg you to study the Thirty-nine Articles in the Prayer Book, especially the 22nd and the 28th, and the rubric at the end of the Communion Service, beginning, “Whereas it is ordained, &c”. Above all, search the Scriptures, in which you will not find the Apostles teaching either the veneration of the Virgin Mary, or of the Lord’s Presence in the Lord’s Supper.

And allow me to address to you the words of St Paul "Watch Ye, Stand Fast in the faith. Quit you like men. Be strong. Let all your things be done with charity."

Yours Faithfully,
The Vicar's opponents produced a printed statement entitled "The Vicar of Winslow and Hymns Ancient & Modern", signed by "Catholic Churchman". A copy preserved by Dr Newham, who may have written it (CBS, D-X/58) has the following handwritten addition:

The Vicar of Winslow died 10 days after publication of the above. It is supposed that the above was carefully concealed from him. R.I.P. T.N.

It has been claimed that Winslow’s Parish Church ministered to the middle classes in Victorian times. How did children, born into bastardy because their parents could not afford to marry in church, react to this hymn in the Reverend William Windle’s Psalms and Hymns, the protestant hymnal that Preston espoused for 19 years of his time in Winslow?

Wash off my foul offence,
And cleanse me from my sin;
For I confess my crime, and see
How great my guilt has been. 

Make me to hear with joy
Thy kind forgiving voice;
That so the bones which Thou hast broke
May with fresh strength rejoice. 

Blot out my crying sins,
Nor me in anger view;
Create in me a heart that's clean,
An upright mind renew.

Withdraw not Thou Thy help,
Nor cast me from Thy sight;
Nor let Thy Holy Spirit take
Its everlasting flight.

Alfred Preston had published his grave concerns about Roman Catholicism in a 58-page booklet produced by Seeley and Co. in 1873: Lent Lectures. The truths of the Gospel contrasted with five fundamental errors of the Church of Rome. He also published a lecture on Babylon.

Preston was a strong advocate of temperance and had seconded the successful motion to form a local branch of the Church of England Temperance Society in the Buckingham archdeaconry in 1875. Preston declared that he had been a total abstainer since 1855 and noted that “in his own parish [WINSLOW] there were 19 public houses, to a population of 1,800, and common sense showed that such a number was not required, and should be greatly reduced, and therefore, he would say, let the legislature go to work in the matter.”

The grave of Rev Alfred Preston

The Reverend Alfred Matthew Preston is interred in Winslow churchyard to the south of the church’s chancel. His grey, granite, polished sarcophagus records:
(from the Book of Revelation Ch.14, verse 13)

Reports of Mr Preston's death and funeral

Buckingham Express, 28 Oct 1882
  DEATH OF THE REV. ALFRED MATTHEW PRESTON, Vicar of Winslow.- Early on the morning of Thursday the 26th inst., the Rev. gentleman above named, died very suddenly at the Vicarage.  The Rev. gentleman had been in failing health for some time past, but no apprehension of a fatal termination so speedily was entertained.  He appeared as well as usual on the previous day, but the end came suddenly and unexpectedly.  He was a man of an extremely charitable disposition, and will be much missed by the poor, to whom he was a great benefactor.  His religious views were evangelical, a class of man fast disappearing.  The living is in the gift of the Lord Chancellor and is of the yearly value of £220 with residence.

Bucks Herald, 4 Nov 1882
  In the presence of a large crowd of mourners, the mortal remains of the late Rev. Alfred Matthew Preston, vicar of this parish, were consigned to their last resting place in the Churchyard, on Wednesday last.  At one o’clock the minute bell commenced its solemn pealing, and at two o’clock the funeral cortege left the Vicarage, in the following order:- Churchwardens, Messrs. George George and Charles Clare; medical men, Dr. Cheesman and Dr. Vaisey; clergy of the Rural Deanery, Rev. E. M. Holmes (Marsh Gibbon) rural dean, Rev. G. Parker (Quainton), Rev. A. Newcombe (Steeple Claydon), Rev. T. H. Gregory (Padbury), Rev. D. Greig (Addington), Rev. W. M. Myers (Swanbourne), Rev. J. Cross (Mursley), Rev. A. L. Smith (East Claydon); undertakers, Messrs. W. T. and R. J. Matthews; coffin; mourners- Mr. Alfred Preston, Mrs. Preston, and Mr. Frank Preston; Mrs. Harris, Miss Preston, and Mr. Harris; Miss May Preston, Miss Emily Preston, Mrs. Soutar (wife of the Lord Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand); Mr. Wilson, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Pownall, Rev. A. Kempson; the servants.  There also followed a number of friends, including Mr. E. W. Selby-Lowndes, Mr. G. R. Greaves, Dr. Newham, Dr. Wynter, Rev. J. Riordan (Congregational Minister), Rev. F. J. Feltham (Baptist Minister), Messrs. A. Barton, J. Hathaway, J. L. French, T. Sare, T. Curtis, the Misses Denchfield, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Wynter, &c.  The coffin was of polished oak, with black fittings, and polished brass plate, bearing the inscription-
Vicar of Winslow,
Born March 28th, 1822,
Died October 26th, 1882.

  A handsome black velvet pall, with white silk trimmings and corners of fleur-de-lis, covered the coffin, on the top of which rested two large wreaths of immortelles, sent by Lord Cottesloe.  On arriving at the north entrance to the churchyard the procession was met by the Rev. J. Branfill Harrison (brother-in-law of the deceased), of Great Mongeham, Deal, and the Rev. R. C. Allen, curate in charge, by whom the service was conducted in a most impressive manner.  The interior of the sacred edifice was filled, and on repairing to the grave there was some crowding, though just at the time a sharp shower of rain fell.  In accordance with the expressed wish of the deceased, only a plain grave had been prepared, and into this were now lowered the remains of one whose removal is greatly deplored, and by none more so than by the poor of his parish, on whom his charitable acts were liberally showered.  The crowd of mourners who listened to the words of the Rev. Mr. Harrison (who was visibly affected) sufficiently testified to the respect and esteem in which the deceased was universally held.

Mrs Preston and her daughters went to live at "Winslow", Holdenhurst, Bournemouth.

Will of Reverend Alfred Preston, 1881 (proved 1883)

BE IT KNOWN, that at the date hereunder written, the last Will and Testament of The Reverend Alfred Matthew Preston late of Winslow in the County of Buckingham Clerk deceased, who died on the 26th day of October 1882, at Winslow aforesaid was proved and registered in the Principal Probate Registry of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice, and that Administration of the personal estate of the said deceased was granted  by the aforesaid Court to Mary Louisa Preston of Winslow aforesaid the Widow \the relict/ and Francis Harrison Preston of No. 11 Ampton Street Grays Inn Road in the County of Middlesex Medical Student the Son the Executors named in the said Will they having been first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.
Dated the 6th day of January 1883
Gross Personal Estate £28648.10 .1
Resworn Oct 1884 £28,862.19.6

This is the Last Will and Testament of me the Reverend Alfred Preston Vicar of Winslow in the County of Buckingham Clerk in Holy Orders. I give and bequeath to each of my two children by my first wife namely Ellen Maude Preston and Alfred Eley Preston a legacy of Two hundred pounds Ordinary stocks of the London and North Western Railway Company as a token of love considering the provision made for them under their Mother’s marriage settlement and since then by the Wills of their great Aunts to be sufficient in proportion to what I am able to leave for my present wife and my children by her. I confirm the Settlement made on my marriage with my present wife Mary Louisa Preston and in addition to the benefits which she will derive thereunder I give to her absolutely all my household furniture and effects and consumable stores and all my pictures plate watches jewellery and ornaments of person and all other the articles and things belonging to me in my dwellinghouse at the time of my death and also the money in the house and at my bankers but not securities for money I also give to my said wife the residue of my Ordinary stock of the London and North Western Railway Company and all my five pounds per centum Guaranteed Stock of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company and South Indian Railway Company for her own use and benefit also lately I also devise and bequeath unto my said wife her heirs executors administrators and assigns all that my copyhold estate at Winslow aforesaid consisting of the Reading room and three adjoining houses and garden for her own use and benefit absolutely. And I devise and bequeath all the residue of my real and personal estate unto and equally between my four children namely Francis Harrison Preston Charlotte Isabella Preston Mary Emily Preston and Mabel Amelia Jane Preston or such of them as shall be living at the time of my death and their respective heirs executors and administrators equally to be divided between them my said children share and share alike as Tenants in common And I declare that if either of my said last named children shall die in my lifetime leaving issue who shall be living at my death such issue shall take the share which their parent if living would have been entitled to as between themselves as Tenants in common. And I appoint my said Wife Mary Louisa Preston and said son Francis Harrison Preston Executors of this my will and I appoint my said wife Guardian of such of my children as may be under the age of Twenty one years with power to my said Executors to apply all or any part of the income of the of a minor for his or her maintenance and education during minority And I declare that any legacy or share given by this my Will to a female who may be married at the time of my death shall be for her sole and separate use and benefit apart from her Husband and not to be subject to his debts control or engagements and her sole receipts notwithstanding coverture shall be good discharges to my said executors. And I give devise and bequeath unto my executors their heirs and assigns All Estates vested in me as Trustee or Mortgagee subject to the trusts and equities affecting the same. And lastly I revoke all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made. In witness whereof I the said Alfred Preston the Testator have set my hand this fourth day of March one thousand weight hundred and eighty one  Alfred Matthew Preston [signature] Signed and declared by the said Testator Alfred Matthew Preston as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other all being present at the same time have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

William Geare [signature] 57 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Solicitor William Frederick Geare [signature] 57 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Solicitor

On the 8th January 1883 Probate of this Will was granted to Mary Louisa Preston Widow and Francis Harrison Preston the Executors.

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