Canon Carter in Clewer

One of a series of articles to mark the centenary of T.T. Carter’s death.

In Thomas Carter’s earliest years at Clewer, a lady living in Clewer village, influenced by the Rev. Wellington Johnson, a tutor at Eton, had started taking into her home some of the “fallen women” from “the ungodly garrison town” of Windsor.

The lady was Mariquita Tennant, the Spanish widow of an English clergyman. Quite soon she had more women than she could cope with. Carter’s answer was to found “the House of Mercy” to give these women a home, which he did in 1849.

In 1851 Harriet Monsell, another clergy widow, came to devote herself to God’s service and this was the beginning of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer.

The buildings, on Hatch Lane, were designed, free of charge, by the architect Henry Woodyer who also designed Clewer Church’s Lodge.

From these beginnings many charitable institutions were to spring up: many in various parts of England, some in India and some in the U.S.A.

(It may be of interest to note that one of them – All Saints Home, Hawley, Hants, which was for girls to be trained for service – was where, in 1975 Clewer Church obtained the beautiful altar, reredos and credence table now in the Lady Chapel. Clewer Church could also have acquired a stained glass window depicting St John the Evangelist with Carter’s face, but it could not be accommodated.)

So the work started by Carter spread far and wide and he always took a keen interest in the various institutions.

However, despite the noble character of his work, Carter had some severe critics in the parish, including some of the most distinguished residents, who disapproved of what they saw as his “Papistical tendencies”

Trouble lay ahead.

Denis Shaw