In 1843 the position of Rector at St Anne’s Church, Rettendon, had become vacant on the death of the Reverend George Adam Browne. The Reverend Browne had been appointed to Rettendon in 1838 and he was a Chaplin to the Duke of Sussex until the Duke’s death. The Reverend Browne’s successor was Samuel Wilkes Waud.
Samuel was born on 26 August 1801 at Killibeck, a district of Leeds situated near Seacroft and Whitkirk which are each stated as Samuel’s place of birth on census returns. He was baptized at St Mary Castlegate, York on 2 September and was the eldest son of Samuel Wilkes Waud, a lawyer of York and Justice of the Peace for the Ridings. Young Samuel received an education at Eton and was further educated at Magdelene College Cambridge where he later gave several lectures on the subject of astronomy. Samuel was ordained a deacon in 1827 and was ordained a priest at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London on 1 June 1828 by the Bishop of Ely, Bowyer Edward Spark (1759-1836). Samuel was a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.
A little over twelve months after his appointment to Rettendon Samuel married by license the spinster Martha Webb at St Pancras church, London, she being the daughter of John Webb, deceased. It should perhaps be noted that there are references to Martha being the daughter of Captain Williams HEICS and of a Captain Wilkinson HEICS. However, the marriage certificate, a marriage license index (for December 10), and the Civil Registration Index all show the surname as Webb. Unfortunately, the marriage certificate does not show John’s occupation. The marriage ceremony at St Pancras took place on 12 December 1844. Sadly Martha died at the young age of 28 on 15 February 1850. Samuel married again on 25 January 1853 to Louisa, the eldest daughter of Richard James Meeson.
The Reverend Waud had several interests, not least those associated with mathematics and science. In the 1830s he wrote “A Treatise on Algerbraical Geometry”, the second edition of which was published in 1835. On 13 November 1834 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1858 and before 1861 he was a member of the Essex Archaeological Society. He was also at one time the President of the Apirian Society which was formed to promote the understanding of bees so that they could be better managed. Meetings were held at the Entomological Society. Samuel may also have had an interest in fishing for it was reported that in May 1858 an S W Waud had caught a 4.5 inch long fish of the Gadidae family in the River Crouch. Waud was also chairman of the Rettendon School Board in 1875. In 1882 the Reverend Waud was offered the assistance of a cleric but he still chose to do most of the parish duties himself. He preached his last sermon, however, on Sunday 26 December 1886. During the following days his health deteriorated. He died on 24 February 1887 and is buried in the Rettendon churchyard.
The Reverend Samuel Wilkes Waud was succeeded at Rettendon by Thomas Calthorpe Webster, MA, who was a brother of Lord Alverstone (Sir Richard Everard Webster), the Lord Chief Justice of England and a regular visitor to Rettendon. Thomas resigned the living at Rettendon in 1905 due to ill health and moved to Mansfield Road, Ilford. He died on 7 May 1906 and his body was transported by train from Ilford to Battlesbridge for his funeral at Rettendon. He was succeeded by his cousin, Reverend Ernest Randolph Webster.
During Thomas’s tenure as rector at Rettendon the church was closed for three years to enable the church to be renovated and restored in the style of the thirteenth century. Some walls were rebuilt and the flooring replaced. The roof had been re-timbered with English Oak and the vestry, formerly a chapel or chancery had also been restored. The pulpit and the reading desk were new. The pulpit, made of pure oak, was erected to the memory of the Reverend Samuel Wilkes Waud by his family and parishioners. The Reverend Waud had served the parish of Rettendon for nearly 45 years.