{Rev} Henry Doyle Sewell
1806 - 1886

The following obituary appeared in The South Eastern Gazette, Saturday, April 3, 1886
and was kindly shared by John Rees in March 2013.
FUNERAL OF THE LATE VICAR. – On Friday afternoon the interment of the late vicar (the Rev. H. D. Sewell) took place at Chantry Chapel, where the grave had been dug by permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The mournful procession left the vicarage at a quarter to three, and the coffin was followed, in addition to the relatives of the deceased, by a large number of parishioners and friends, including Dr.Tuke, Dr. Warren, Messrs. J.H. Grand, A.E. Stuart, G. Homewood, G. Oyler, G. Oyler, jun., T.H. Oyler, Keener, and W. Coveney (churchwardens). J. Hosmar, T. Jones, G. Knight, O. Ellis, T. Gibson, J. Tassell, &c. The cortége was met at the churchyard gates by the following clergy, the Rev. Dr. Reyner, rector of Staplehurst; the Rev. E.J. Selwyn, rector of Ulcomb; the Rev. J. McLachlan, Rector of Sevington; the Rev. – Amos, curate of Headcorn; the Rev. W. Peterson, rector of Biddenden; the Rev. – Mercer, vicar of Egerton, &c. On entering the church the Dead March was played by Mr. R.J. Theakstone. The coffin was covered with beautiful wreaths and crosses. The service at the graveside was read in a most impressive manner by the Rev. Joseph Lauphier, and after the congregation passed before the grave to take a last look at the resting place of their pastor. The coffin was of massive oak with brass fittings, and bore a brass plate the following inscription: – “The Rev. Henry Doyle Sewell, Vicar of Headcorn, died March 19th, 1886; aged 79.” The funeral arrangements were conducted by Messrs. Chaplin and Wills.

The following obituary appeared in The Kentish Express and Ashford News, March 27, 1886. I found it while perusing a copy of a manuscript left by {Rev} Edmund Willoughby Sewell (1800 - 1890) that was kindly shared by W. Darcy McKeough.
. . . Robert Sewell, January 2008

DEATH OF THE VICAR. On Friday last the Rev. Henry Doyle Sewell, M.A., for thirty-six years vicar of Headcorn, departed this life, after little more than a week’s illness, though he had been gradually failing for some time. Mr. Sewell was a native of Canada, son the Right Hon. Chief Justice Sewell, but was a graduate of Oxford. He was formerly Chaplain to the Bishop of Montreal, 1838-42, Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Canada, assistant minister of Holy Trinity Chapel, Conduit Street, 1843; curate of Hadlow, 1844-48; Chaplain to H.M. Embassy, Constantinople, 1848-50, when he was appointed to the vicarage of Headcorn, by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He has consequently been incumbent of this parish for the period of 36 years, during which time he accomplished several very important material works. He built excellent parochial schools and school-house, which were, however, subsequently superseded by much larger Board Schools, and within the last few years, by the indefatigable labour of his wife and daughter, he substantially repaired the fine old parish church and added a new organ. These are the material works which he leaves as a visible monument of labour, and those who have accomplished such works know well what labour and anxiety they imply. The material work which the late Vicar leaves behind him, thought, perhaps the most appreciated by the world, is, however, much less important than his faithful ministry of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Mr. Sewell, from his ordination, was a decided preacher of the doctrines of grace, and never compromised what he knew to be the truth, however unpopular that truth might be. When Chaplain to the Embassy at Constantinople, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe did not at first like the doctrine which he preached, viz., God’s election and predestination, and Christ’s particular and eternal redemption, and asked him if he could not preach some other. “No” replied the Chaplain, “The doctrines which I preach are the doctrines of the Bible and of the 39 Articles of the Church of England; and I refer your Lordship to them.” When the Ambassador next saw his Chaplain he said to him, “Well, Mr. Sewell, I have read the 39 Articles of the Church of England, and I must admit that you are right.” Ever afterwards the Ambassador and Chaplain were on excellent terms, and the Chaplain was much esteemed for his uncompromising faithfulness. He did not follow with the times and adapt his religion to the fashion of the day. He kept to the black gown in the pulpit and rejected the advice of Dr. Pusey to wear the surplice in the pulpit as the first step to every other Romish intrusion into the Protestant Church of England. He eschewed also sacramentarianism, as the root and soul of popery. Mr. Sewell was what is popularly called a “Calvinist,”(1)  as were all the reformers and bishops of the Church of England – up to the time of Laud and this will account for his separation from the fashionable religionists of the day, and withdrawal from clerical meetings. He was, however, a pleasant, amicable man, and friendly with all his neighbours who did not oppose his religious principles. His chief friends were those of like mind with himself on the fundamental doctrines of religion, and these were the late revered Charles Rolfe, rector of Shadoxhurst, at whose funeral he assisted; and who was still more separate from the religious world that himself; the Rev. Dr. Ed. Wilkinson, late rector of Snargate, now  of Leamington, and who will (D.V.)(2) preach his funeral sermon next Sunday afternoon; the Rev. Joseph Lanphier, and few others. He “came to his grave in a full age, like a shock of corn cometh in his season,” and was buried at Headcorn last Tuesday with every mark of respect. Special permission had been obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow the burial to take place in the church. The mournful cortége left the vicarage at about a quarter-to-three, and the coffin, which was covered with handsome crosses and wreaths, was followed, in addition to the near relatives, by the following parishioners and friends: – Messrs. Keener and Coveney, churchwardens; and Messrs. J.H. Grant, A.E. Homer, G. Oyler, G. Oyler, jun., T.H. Oyler, C. Ellis, T. Gibson, T. Paige, T. Jones, etc., etc. By the request of the late vicar, a muffled peal was rung as the procession entered the church, and again on leaving. The following clergy met the coffin at the churchyard gates: – Rev. Dr. Rayner, rector of Staplehurst; Rev. Joseph Lanphier, rector of Ulcombe, Rev. Amos, curate of Headcorn; Rev. E.J. Selwyn, rector of Pluckley; Rev. Mercer, vicar of Egerton, Rev. James MacLachlan, rector of Sevington, Rev. W. Peterson, rector of Biddenden, etc., etc. On entering the church the “Dead March” in Saul was played by Mr. R.J. Theakstone. The coffin, covered with its floral adornments, was placed in the chancel while a hymn was sung. A lesson was then read by the Rev. Dr. Rayner. The grave had been dug in the Chantry Chapel, and here a hymn was sung before the body was committed to the earth. The burial service was most impressively read by the Rev. Joseph Lanphier, and many eyes were filled with tears as the solemn words came from his lips. After the service the large congregation passed by the grave to take a last mournful look at the coffin. The wreaths and crosses were placed in from of the alter rails. The coffin was of massive oak, with brass fittings, and on a handsome brass plate was this inscription: “Rev. Henry Doyle Sewell, vicar of Headcorn, Died March 19, 1886, aged 79.” The funeral arrangements were most satisfactorily carried out by Messrs. Chaplin and Mills.

(1) Calvinism is a Christian doctrine as interpreted by John Calvin and adoped in Scotland, parts of Europe; and  by the Puritans in England and New England. Its central doctrine is predestination, under which certain souls (the elect) are predestined by God through the sacrifice of Jesus to salvation, and the rest to damnation. 

(2) D.V., Deo volente, God willing, if God will.

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