Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

The Venerable Hopkins (Hops) Badnall DD 1821 -1891, vicar of Fishlake 1886-1888.


venerable h badnallh badnall seated

Pictures thanks to Mr Philip Wilson.

Although Hopkins Badnall was only incumbent at St Cuthberts, Fishlake for 2 years, he was a man with a truly remarkable career and much appreciated by his parishioners while at Fishlake despite such a short time all of which is well worth relating here.

Badnall was the second son of Richard and Sarah Badnall born in Leek, Staffordshire, on 12 September 1821. He was christened Hopkins, the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Harriet Hopkins. In time he adopted the nick named Hops.

His father was a prosperous silk manufacturer, the Badnall's had been in the silk business for generations.

His early education was provided by an uncle, Rev William Badnall of Wavertree, Liverpool. Then he went to the University of Durham graduating in classics and general literature in 1844. He then became a divinity student gaining a licentiate in theology in 1845, he also became a fellow of University College. Afterwards having left University he gaining an MA in 1851 and 11 years later a doctorate in divinity by diploma. In 1845 he was ordained deacon and priest the following year.

His work and life in the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Badnall arrived in South Africa February 20 1848 with Bishop Robert Gray, newly consecrated Bishop of Cape Town, as his Chaplin. A year later in 1849 he became Vice-principal of the Diocesan Collegiate school.

Then in 1853 he married Sarah Elizabeth Smith and resigned his Cape Town posts to return to England. On arrival back in England he took up the post of Rector of Goldsborough and later curate of Cawthorne in the West Riding. With Sarah they had six daughters and three sons.

Nevertheless, he kept in touch with the Cape as the Bishops Commissary. As a gifted orator he was in great demand as a speaker and preacher.

Then came a second episode in the Colonies beginning in October 1862, when he accepted the position of Archdeacon of George (1862-1869). In 1869 he was appointed Canon of St George Cathedral and Colonial Chaplin until 1885. During this episode he was heavily involved in religious education at the emerging University of Cape Town.

After the death of his friend, Bishop Robert Gray, Badnall acted as vicar general. He was even supported as a candidate for the vacant Bishopric but it was not to be.

Badnall decided to sail back to England in the latter part of 1885, partly due to ill health, lumbago. On returning he took up an appointment as vicar of Fishlake in June 1886, after the death of Cannon George Ornsby.

On announcing his resignation from his incumbency at Fishlake (probably due to ill health as he is known to have suffered from Lumbago), on 18 th October 1888 Mr Walker, vicar’s warden made a presentation unanimously signed by the parishioners.

" We, the undersigned, being the churchwardens and other parishioners of this township, do hearby desire to express our deep sorrow and heartfelt regret at these circumstances which have brought about your resignation of the living of Fishlake. During the short period of your ministration among us the church has made considerable progress, the congregation has grown larger, and the number of communicants increased. The services have been more efficiently rendered and the building better lighted. By your uniform kindness you have won the esteem of the entire parish, your residence here will be long and affectionately remembered, and you will carry with you to your new home the best wishes towards yourself and family of the entire population.

In rely to the church wardens and other parishioners of Fishlake.

"My dear friends - I thank you most warmly for your kind expression of regret at our departure from among you. I am thankful that you think my ministrations in this parish have been productive of good, the permanence of which I sincerely trust will be shown by a steady increase in the number of communications and of the congregation generally. It will always give me a very great pleasure to hear of your welfare, and I hope we shall not be so far removed by distance as to be unable to pay you an occasional visit in the time to come. It is a source of great regret to me that I am about to leave you so soon, and I shall treasure the most affectionate remembrance of my sojourn among you - I am, my dear friends your affectionate friend and pastor in Christ.  H Badnall DD".

Fishlake Vicarage, October 18 th 1888.

Taken from Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Monday 22 October 1888. 

His career in brief; curate in Stockton-on-tees in 1845 to bishop Gray whom he subsequently accompanied to South Africa in 1847. rector of Goldsborough 1855-1857, rector of Cawthorne 1857-1862. Vicar of Fishlake 1886-1888 before retiring to London, were he died 27 th September 1892 aged 71. He was buried in the family vault at Leek parish church, Staffordshire

There is a good deal of documented history regarding his life and related matters in Cape Town.

Gratitude to Mr Philip Wilson, Badnall Family History for Photograph and information. 


Rob Downing January 2019