Father George Hamilton Douglas

When Father Douglas came to North Town in 1928 St. Augustine’s was a pleasant obscure little church known to few outside the Parish.  When he left in 1938 St. Augustine’s was a bastion of Anglo Catholic faith and worship known throughout the Home Counties.  How did one man achieve this?

Father Douglas like his predecessor Father Wickham was a product of Farnham Hostel.  Farnham Hostel was a small selective Theological Training College - very much the brainchild of the Rt. Rev. Randall Davidson.  While Bishop of Winchester, at the turn of the Century Randall Davidson set up the Hostel in the shadow of his official residence - Farnham Castle.  Randall Davidson went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury and several ordinants from his 'brain child' went on to make a particular mark on the history of St. Augustine’s ­especially Father Wickham and Father Douglas.

 Father Douglas had a direct and dynamic personality that appealed to youth and attracted to St. Augustine’s large numbers of the younger generation of North Town. His Anglo Catholic teaching opened up new visions and inspiration in Sacramental worship.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate his impact is to merely list those things which Father Douglas introduced and established at. St. Augustine’s -

The Sung Eucharist

The Eucharistic Vestments

The Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament

The Midnight Mass

Benediction

The Christmas Crib

The Easter Garden

Incense

The Calvary

The Sanctus Bell

even the Altar Crucifix itself goes back to the Douglas era. All this, and so much more this man gave to the worship in St. Augustine’s and the beauty of St. Augustine’s. But above all he gave to St. Augustine’s a sense of purpose.  A purpose of establishing and preserving the great tradition of the Anglo Catholic Faith in North Town.

FATHER DOUGLAS - R.I.P.

It is with the deepest regret that we have to record the death of our beloved Father Douglas on September 10th, just ten days after the retirement from his ministry at St .Michael's which was announced in last month's magazine. It had been growing clearer as the weeks passed that he was becoming a very sick man, and God in His Mercy spared him a long illness. It was my privilege to prepare him for his journey spiritually through the sacraments of Holy Unction and Holy Communion; he made a most devout Last Communion, and was fully aware of all the prayers, joining in and making them his own.

It was also my privilege to assist in vesting him in his own Eucharistic Vestments after his death in preparation for his cremation and burial; But the greatest privilege of all was to officiate at his Requiem Mass, Funeral Service, and final Burial in Hillfield churchyard amidst the Dorset hills around the Franciscan Friary at Batcombe, which he loved so dearly. If it is not presumptuous to do so, one almost feels it to be unnecessary to pray for the repose of the soul of George Hamilton Douglas, Priest - one feels sure that such a loving and devout soul is resting in peace, and all one wants to do is to thank God for the joy and privilege of knowing him here at St. Michael's, or wherever else he became our priestly friend.

We offer our sincere sympathy to his brothers and relatives in their bereavement, assuring them of our prayers for them all.

I have asked Fr. Flavell, Vicar of Hazelbury Plucknett, and a very close friend of Fr. Douglas, to write a short In Memoriam for publication in our magazine this month.
 


Past Clergy List
Webpage icon Father Edward Stephen Gladstone Wickham
Webpage icon Father A. R. T. Rose
Webpage icon Father Michael John Harvey