Revd. John Alfred Latham (1865-1950), Chaplain

John was born in Northwich, Cheshire 27 September 1865 but was resident with his grandfather in Halliwell, Bolton by 1871.

He was a graduate of Oxford University having matriculated at Merton College on the 16 October 1884 at the age of 19. He gained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in 1887 and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in 1892. He became Curate of Whalley in 1889 and at the 1891 census was boarding with Thomas Tomlinson, a farmer and his family in Whalley.

Only weeks after the Consecration of Abbey Lodge (15 November 1984) by which time he was the Vicar of Worsthorne, Reverend John found himself in Lawrence, Massachusetts being married to Caroline Josephine Butler of that town. The Burnley Express reported on this joyous occasion in some detail in their 1 December 1894 edition. According to the report he was married on the Thursday and sailed for England on the Saturday. He returned to the United States in 1907 on a family visit.

He wasn’t a member of the Union Club (he joined in 1902) nor was he a Freemason. He was the last of the Founders to be Initiated (at Red Rose of Lancaster Lodge, No. 1504, Padiham) and it was achieved as late as 3 May 1894. Reverend John was Abbey Lodge’s first-ever Chaplain but appears to have lost interest by late 1902 having resigned he was offered Honorary Membership which he declined. By 1904 he was no longer on the Abbey Lodge scene according to the Minute Book but he must have had a change of heart as he attained the Master’s Chair in 1916 and the Lodge Centenary Book lists him as one of our Honorary Members. Our Centenary Book has his surname as Lathom which caused a little angst when research commenced. He gained the rank of Past Provincial Grand Chaplain. He was also Exhalted into Abbey Chapter, No. 2529 and was the First Principal in 1923.

He died at Burnley General Hospital on 17 May 1950 aged 84 years.

Rev John Latham