William Walter Wheatley (1811-1885)

William Walter Wheatley is thought to have been born in Bristol in 1811 and died on 1st March 1885 at the age of 74.

In the mid 1880's probably just prior to his death, it is recorded that he was quite old and living in reduced circumstances and lodging at Hatfield Buildings, Widcombe Hill, Bath. He is also known to have lived at Rode prior to 1860, and in 1923 was well remembered by a few members of the village. He lived there in a house in Marsh Lane with his wife and son. At that time there were recollections of his geniality and for possessing a tame cuckoo.

He was a prolific sketcher and watercolour painter, particularly of churches including aspects of their interiors. He was commissioned by a number of local worthies. G.W. Braikenridge of Brislington employed Wheatley to illustrate a new publication of Collinson's History of Somerset, originally published in 1791. He provided similar work for W. ADLAM and for Prebendary JSW Horner, which is now in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Earl of Oxford & Asquith respectively.The Somerset collection of Braikenridge was bequeathed to the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. (Illustrations in the collection of Som. Arch. Soc. are held in the Somerset Studies Library above the Public Library in Taunton.)

The drawing of the church in the Priston Millennium Book was by him. He has also sketched the ancient piscina (a basin used for washing the communion plate) which was discovered during restoration work in 19th century and now is now on the right side of the chancel. He is known to have exhibited his work at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1854.

In addition to the watercolour of the village street he also painted the Manor House. These two paintings are owned by Mrs. Southgate whose late husband, Mr. Anthony Southgate, was great-great grandson of John Hammond, Rector of Priston from 1820 to 1860.

Click on the following links for websites with other references to William Walter Wheatley:

Frome St John the Baptist - Parish Website (first image on page)
All Saints Church, Curland (second image on page)