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Wiltshire Community History

Wiltshire History Questions Search Results

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Question Date :

Monday 4th July 2011 10:03

Question:
What can you tell me about my ancestor William Page Roberts, Dean of Salisbury, who died on 17 August 1928, and of his wife who died on 21 April 1926? I know that he retired in 1919 and wonder whether there was a review of his career at the time. I have the bare details of his life but would like to have a more rounded portrait of the man if possible.

Answer:
Dr Page Roberts resigned the office of Dean of Sarum at the end of November 1919. His forthcoming resignation was reported in The Times dated 18 October 1919 page 12 col. 7, but there was no reference to his retirement in the local press. His death was, both in the national and local press. The Times dated 18 August 1928 page 12 cols 2-3 has his obituary with a photograph, while the issue dated 21 August has an appreciation by the Revd Charles Green on page 14 col. 4, and in that dated 22 August, page15 col. 1 there is the report of the funeral service (always useful for details of the family and friendship network). All of these can be found by accessing The Times Digital Archive, and conducting a relevance search on the phrase William Page Roberts, and with a limit on the dates of 1st January-31st December 1919 (for the resignation) and with a limit 17-31 August 1928 (for the obituary, appreciation and funeral report). There was also an obituary in the Salisbury Diocesan Gazette of August-September 1918 and a short entry, accessible on-line for (very many) public and academic library cardholders, in Who was Who, vol. 2, 1916-1928.

From the local press, there was extensive reportage on the Dean's passing: The Salisbury and Winchester Journal dated Friday 24 August 1928 carrying two and a half columns, and The Salisbury Times and South Wilts Gazette of the same date carrying just over two columns.

As for the Hon. Mrs Page Roberts, her death was noticed in The Times dated 23 April 1926, page 16 col. 4. Locally, her passing was noticed in The Salisbury Times and South Wilts Gazette dated 30 April 1926. This is scarcely worth your attention as it does little more than to reproduce the text of The Times' notice. Her funeral took place on Saturday 24 April 1926, at Farnham Royal, Bucks, as did that of her husband.

The reportage in The Salisbury and Winchester Journal was far more useful: a short obituary notice in the issue dated Friday 23 April 1926 - but with rather more about Mrs Page Roberts than her husband - and, in the issue dated Friday 30 April in a column headed 'In memoriam', a note of the funeral listing the main mourners and a summary of the sermon given at Salisbury Cathedral the next day, referring to Mrs Page Roberts' life, work and witness.

Should you need the extracts from the local press these can be provided on application to the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

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