Rev. R. Leslie Morris (1892-1909)

As an accomplished school master, the Rev. Morris was  invaluable as Sir Charles Seely’s right-hand man on the Reading Room Committee and as a trustee of the Chale and Brooke Shipwreck Fund.

The photographs on this page show the Rev. Robert Leslie Morris and his wife Frances at their Golden Wedding when he was 78 years old. An accomplished school master, the Rev. Morris was  invaluable as Sir Charles Seely’s right-hand man on the Reading Room Committee and as a trustee of the Chale and Brooke Shipwreck Fund.

From newspaper clippings we can see that Rev. R. Leslie Morris (1892-1909) and his wife worked hard for the village community. They clearly enjoyed music and singing as their names crop up at several village entertainments and outings. He was praised for his singing of duets like the ‘Two Gendarmes’ and she for her accompaniments on the pianoforte. 

While the Rev. Morris’ diary confines itself to dates and facts, we learn that Winston Churchill visited Brook at least three times between 1903 and 1907, that electric lighting was installed at Brooke House in 1902 and that his bees died in the same year as Queen Victoria (and have an equal mention in his journal). We also hear that in March 1895, The Noordstar, a brigantine bound from Venezuela to Hamburg, came ashore at Hanover Point. A ring-tailed monkey miraculously escaped drowning by floating ashore in a sack and the Rector’s wife took it in.

Examples of the kinds of entertainments at the time include:

The Annual Harvest Festival was held on Thursday, September 16th 1886 at 8.30 am.  

Holy Communion and 3 o’clock Festival Evensong.  Grapes were sent to the inmates of the Hospital and workhouse.  Tea and amusements were at the Rectory after.  The party broke up at 10.30pm.

January 1st 1898 - Lantern slide show

An entertainment arranged by the Rector and Mrs Morris in the Parish Room for children of the village.  A series of fine lantern slides illustrating the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ from the original pictures by Tenniel, caused much delight and various other humorous pictures followed.

4th August 1900 - Brook Church choir outing

The Church choir made a very enjoyable excursion to Sandown and Shanklin.  The day was perfect, and the drive by way of Shorwell and Godshill in a four horse brake, was much appreciated.  The Rector and Mrs Morris were of the party  which numbered twenty in all.  A capital dinner at Seagrove, lessons in diving from the pier, wanderings by shore and cliff to leafy Shanklin, and a glorious drive home after tea made a programme not soon to be forgotten.