Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 02 January 1904

[Extracted from]

Born in Wexford Castle 27th January 1827, and after 43 years of service in our midst, Rev. J. W. Tottenham has been called hence after a useful service to the borough, the Church and the cause of religious education.  For the last ten years the late Mr. Tottenham has lived a quiet and retired life, however, the keenest interest in the Church work here and in Ireland, and always watching and enquiring after the Conservative cause locally and imperially from his many friends who remained in the fray, and in whom he never ceased to take an interest.

He came from his ministerial work at Clapham in January 1860, and he carried it on here for thirty years with over one thousand boys passing through his school, and finding their way into Holy Orders, the Bar, the Navy, the Army, Parliament and commercial life.  And he came from Clapham to St Leonards with the best of all testimonials, the friendship of the poor, for his Monday night mission services in Clapham brought under his care and knowledge a number of the best sort of the working classes, who with a penny subscription showed by the plate they presented him with their appreciation of his pastoral services with the Clapham mission.......

The description of the local press on his departure from Clapham was his characteristic in political life here.  "plain spoken and truthful in the pulpit; affectionately attentive to the sick."

One of his last works was to provide a rent charge for the upkeep of a parochial mission hall in the town of Wexford, where he was born.  He preached in every Evangelical church in the Hastings district and never took part in any hostile criticisms of his clerical brethren. ..... One of his most brilliant and telling speeches delivered to a Hastings audience was on the murder of Lord Mountmorres, and it made a wide and deep impression.”

Invarious copies of the  Observer are lectures he gave on his travels "Moscow and Old Russia" "The Greek Church and its Faith" and an account of his visit to the Yosemite Valley in America, and of repeated visits to Ireland.

He served on the Hastings School Board and was elected on to the St Leonards Commissioners in 1970.  In the hospital he had a keen and abiding interest.  He was a believer in citizen soldiers, and was chaplain to the Seventh Cinque Ports Artillery.

At a meeting discussing the immediate starting of a museum at the Brassey Institute, Rev. J. W. Tottenham, addressing the Mayor, used the following words: "That if the committee would accept his Museum just as it stood, cases, contents, and, in fact, the whole collection, he would very gladly and readily place it at their service.  He had lived in the town a great many years, and had received much kindness at the hands of the inhabitants, and nothing would give more sincere pleasure that to be able to place his small collection at heir disposal so that it might be a help to the rising generation and give a certain amount of pleasure to adults.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 January 1904

“worst fears of his family confirmed at 5.15 yesterday afternoon when he succumbed to heart trouble”.

There is a long pen portrait of him in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 24 May 1879.

Hastings Historico Biographies vol 4 p1-89 (available in the Hastings Library)