We Remember ... Heroes of the Faith at St. Michael's - Rev Francis Dent Vaisey

REV FRANCIS DENT VAISEY
1886 – 30 December 1933

Rev. Vaisey had a hard act to follow. His predecessor, Rev. Shelford, was St. Michael’s first vicar and had held the post with aplomb for 17 years. Rev. Vaisey had come from 6 years in a rural parish, after having suffered a health breakdown during the First World War. Chiswick posed quite a challenge to this diffident man. Yet he was immediately welcomed and earned the affection and trust of his parish through his hard work and dedication. At the time St. Michael’s had over 300 members and Rev Vaisey worked alone, until he was joined by a Curate, Eric Yeulett, in 1928.

During his incumbency he initiated the Church Fund (a forerunner of the Stewardship Scheme) and the St Michael’s Fellowship. He also oversaw the painting of the brickwork white in the Sanctuary, the making of the Lady Chapel altar, carved by Ralph Coombs (son of an ex-churchwarden), and the setting up of the ‘Children’s Corner’. There was even talk of a new Parish Hall, though this would not materialise for another 70 years!

A ‘tall and broad’ man, Rev Francis Dent Vaisey was born in Bromley, Kent in 1886. He graduated from St. John’s College Oxford in 1908 and then studied at Cuddesdon Theological College. His first curacy was in Southampton and then he moved to St. John at Hackney, where coincidentally Rev. Shelford had also been a curate. He served overseas with the YMCA during the War and was then offered the Living of Brereton, Cheshire before coming to Chiswick. He married Dorothy May Whatmore in London in 1917 and they had 2 children.

Rev. Vaisey left St. Michael’s in 1932 and died in the following year at Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire, aged only 47. There is a chair in the Sanctuary dedicated to his memory; the inscription conveys the warmth of the parish’s regard for this unassuming man.