Local History Society

 Families: William Vincent

Harry Vincent

Vincents of Arborfield were the local wheelwrights and makers of wagons and carts in the 19th Century. They also acted as Undertakers for village funerals. The family was well represented in local celebrations; Miss Mena Vincent performed solos in the Glee Class concerts held in the school-room in the 1890s, and was a Sunday-School teacher.

At the 1891 Census, we find William Vincent, a 52-year-old wheelwright from Wayford in Somerset, and Sarah Jane his 50-year-old wife, from Broadwinser in Devon. Their children William, 24, Bessie, 21, Mena, 19, Amy, 17, Violet, 15, and Harry, 12, were all born in Arborfield; another adult son George had already left the village, as had eldest daughter Sarah Jane; she married Henry Woodbridge in 1900. 

In the early 1900s the family moved to Reading to make their fortune with the coming of the motor car. However, when the owner William Vincent died in 1904, he was buried back in Arborfield, to which he had originally moved as a carpenter in the mid-1860s:

From the 'Mercury' of 23rd July 1904:

VINCENT – On the 15th inst., at 76, Castle-street, Reading, William Vincent, late of Arborfield Cross, aged 66. Interred at St. Bartholomew’s, Arborfield.



The funeral of Mr. William Vincent, coachbuilder, etc., of 76 Castle-street, Reading, late of Arborfield Cross, who died at his residence at Reading on Friday the 15th inst., at the age of 66, took place at Arborfield Church on Tuesday afternoon amid many manifestations of sympathy. The church was crowded with sorrowing relatives and friends.

About 60 of the employees attended the funeral, and meeting the cortège about half a mile from the church preceded it to the church gates, where they lined up on either side of the path. Some of the employees also acted as bearers.

The Rector of Arborfield (the Rev. J. A. Anderson) officiated, and the hymns were "Fight the good fight" and "Peace, perfect peace". At the close of the service in the church the organist (Mr. Summersby) played Chopin’s "Funeral March".

The grave was beautifully lined with lilies and moss, whilst the coffin of polished oak with brass mountings was covered with floral emblems sent by "his sorrowing wife and family", Mrs. Hargreaves (Arborfield Hall), Mr. Hargreaves, Mr. John Simonds and the Misses Simonds, the Mayor and Mayoress of Reading, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ely, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Ely, Mr. and Mrs. Woodbridge (Acton), Mr. and Mrs. G. T. Vincent, the employees of Castle-street Works as "a token of respect and esteem", Mrs. Cox (London), Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Mr. and Mrs. Boswell, Mrs. and the Misses Tegg, Miss Hathaway, Mrs. Bentley and family, Mr. Cannadine and family, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Cox, Mr. and Mrs. Wells, Mrs. and the Misses Venner, Mr. and Mrs. Richards, Mr. and Mrs. F. Woodbridge, Mr. Alan Ely, &c.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Bentley, of Arborfield.

William Vincent's widow Sarah Jane later moved to Mortimer, but was buried with her husband in Arborfield, aged 75, on December 11th 1916. 

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