Another of Katesgrove’s notable residents buried in Reading Old Cemetery is John Cecil Grainger who was vicar of St Giles’ Church from 1834 to 1857.
John Grainger became vicar of St Giles’ on 17 December 1834 [ref 1] and held his first service on 21 December. He died on 6 May 1857 at the age of 55. He had been ill for some time and died while in London undergoing treatment [ref 2].
The inscription on the monument says:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN CECIL GRAINGER CLERK
ELDEST SON OF THOMAS CECIL GRAINGER
OF BRIDGE HOUSE IN THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX
CHAPLAIN TO THE LATE DUKE OF GORDON
INCUMBENT SUCCESSIVELY OF
BURCOMBE AND BRAMSHAW IN WILTSHIRE
AND FOR 22 YEARS VICAR OF
THE PARISH OF ST GILES
HE WAS BORN ON THE 7TH OF NOVEMBER 1801
AND DIED ON THE 6TH OF MAY 1857
HE THAT OVERCOMETH SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS: AND
I WILL BE HIS GOD AND HE SHALL BE MY SON REV XXI.7
Reading, along with the whole of Berkshire, was in the Church of England diocese of Salisbury when he was appointed, but in 1836 it became part of the diocese of Oxford [ref 3].
His funeral took place on Monday 11 May 1857 and the procession from the vicarage to the cemetery was led by Reading clergymen, followed by the family and other mourners. He was well respected locally and businesses closed on the afternoon of the funeral [ref 4].
The greatest respect throughout was paid to the memory of the departed, not only by those witnessing this solemn event, but by the principal tradesmen and inhabitants of the parish, whose business and private residences were closed throughout the afternoon, evincing the highest estimation in which the deceased rev. gentleman was held, and the universal feeling of sorrow which his comparatively unexpected decease had awakened.
On Sunday 17 May, sermons were preached to a well attended funeral in memory of the late vicar at St Giles Church by two former curates of the parish. The sermon by Bishop of Ripon in the morning and the Rev. Gordon Calthorp in the evening were reproduced in the Berkshire Chronicle over five columns [ref 5].
Soon after his death a subscription for a tablet in the church was started and this was unveiled in the chancel on 31 December 1858 [ref 6]. It was proposed that any surplus be used to erect a monument in the cemetery, but it has not been possible to establish if this was the case [ref 7].
His wife Margaret died on 27 January 1889. Her inscription on the side of the monument says:
WIDOW OF JOHN CECIL GRAINGER
VICAR OF THE PARISH OF SAINT GILES
AND SIXTH DAUGHTER OF THE LATE
OF TREWHITT HOUSE NORTHUMBERLAND
SHE WAS BORN FEBRUARY 6TH 1802
AND DIED JANUARY 27TH 1889
JESUS SAID UNTO HER I AM THE RESURRECTION
AND THE LIFE
The couple had married around the time that John Grainger began his ministry in Reading.
- John Cecil Grainger – Clergy of the Church of England Database, accessed 10 October 2016
- Reading Mercury 9 May 1857
- Diocese of Salisbury – Wikipedia
- Berkshire Chronicle 16 May 1857
- Berkshire Chronicle 23 May 1857 p6
- Reading Mercury 1 January 1859
- Reading Mercury 27 June 1857
- Rutherford Sarah, Paradise Regained in Reading
- Historic England Listing entry for Reading Cemetery (1001641).
Newspaper references from British Newspaper Archive, courtesy of British Library, online at find my past (subscription required), unless stated otherwise. Reading Central Library also has a full set of copies on the Berkshire Chronicle and Reading Mercury.