William Champion Streatfeild (1865-1929)*

*Father of the author Noel Streatfeild

In 1921, Alfred Morris wrote an historical sketch of St Peter’s Church at St Leonards-on-Sea, including its second vicar, the Rev W C Streatfeild (1902-11).

“His energy was untiring…He was a great organiser…His preaching was widely popular…He was great also in social doings…Mr Streatfeild had so endeared himself to the people that the whole parish rang out with regret when it was known that the Bishop had chosen him to be Vicar of Eastbourne…His genial temperament and ready help in all cases needing it still keep him in grateful remembrance.”.

Streatfeild became Bishop of Lewes for just a few months before his early death in 1929.

Dr Clemence Schultze is a retired Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University. Her essay on Noel Streatfeild, Vicarage and other Families, appears in Anglican Women Novelists, published last month by Bloomsbury.

Schultze begins her article for the Church Times of 12/07/19 with the quotation from Noel Streatfeild: “I wonder if God knows how difficult it is being a saint’s family?” and goes on:

“The remark about the difficulties of a saint’s family is put into the mouth of Vicky, the misfit middle daughter in A Vicarage Family (1963). This is a fictionalised account of Noel Streatfeild’s own upbringing in the various Sussex parishes where the High Anglican William Streatfeild served, and where his wife had the unenviable task of running a household of five children plus two servants on inadequate means but still in a style befitting a clergyman’s position in pre-1914 England…

…Streatfeild’s novels often emphasise the damaging effect of this extreme lack of perception, where wives and children conspire to shelter the beloved husbands and fathers from hurtful truths that would shatter their ideal. The adult writer conveys vividly how the child accepts and yet resents this saintly blindness.”.

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