Robert French Laurence
Robert French Laurence, priest, social reformer, 23rd April 1885
Vicar of St Mary, Chalgrove and St Helen, Berrick Salome for 53 years until his death in 1885.
Born in 1807, Laurence was educated at Christ Church and Vicar of St Mary, Chalgrove and St Helen, Berrick Salome for 53 years until his death in 1885. He opened a school for the villagers and taught there himself, but he is best remembered for fighting for better cottage accommodation for agricultural labourers and the small thatched cottages he built remain to this day. His campaigning on behalf of the poor farm workers brought him into conflict with the landowners (including some of the Oxford Colleges) and he was secretary of the local agricultural labourers’trade union. He is mentioned in Bishop Anthony Russell’s The Clerical Profession. He died in 1885.
Picture courtesy of Godfrey French Laurence