This single small photograph of Ireland at St Luke’s has huge significance, given the close (and in some cases lifelong) associations of the composer with the people captured in it. This is the eighth in a series of short blogs uncovering the personalities behind the faces.
The man stood in the very centre in the fourth row back is the Reverend W.H. Stewart, who went on to great things within the Anglican Church. Born in 1887 in Bakewell, Stewart was a slightly younger colleague of the composer, and son of another clergyman, the Rev. Ravenscroft Stewart (1845–1921). In 1911, aged 24, he was boarding with the Bates family in 8 Glebe Place, Chelsea. Perhaps surprisingly he was still there ten years later, in 1921.
In the meantime, Stewart had become rector of Chelsea Old Church (1916–26), which was sadly destroyed in an air raid in 1941. Stewart, who wrote a history of the Parish of St Luke, Chelsea at the end of this incumbency, married Margaret Clapham in Cambridge in 1932. In 1933 Stewart suggested acquiring land for a new municipal cemetery on Mount Scopus next to the British Jerusalem War Cemetery, allowing each different Christian congregation to use a specific section for its burials. From 1938 to 1943 he was the Honorary Chaplain to the Palestine Police Force, after which he became Bishop of the Church of England in Jerusalem (1943–57), as well as playing a significant role in establishing the CofE in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East. For instance, in 1956 he consecrated and dedicated the newly built St Paul’s Anglican Church in Kuwait.
Stewart was long lived, still working in 1966, when he installed the new Rector of Cosgrove in St Peter’s Church (Wolverton Express, 2 September 1966) on behalf of the Bishop of Peterborough, as seen right. He died in 1969 in Oakham, Rutland, where a stained glass window is dedicated to him.