Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

The Rev Eliezer Flecker Vicar of Fishlake 1888-1911.



rev e flecker 1907


The Rev Eliezer Flecker in 1907 from Leeds Mercury, Thanks to The British Library.



Rev E Flecker standing outside Fishlake vicarage, see the ghost like figure on the far right is his wife Marion. Taken about 1910.


Rev Eliezer Flecker vicar of Fishlake from 1888 until January 1911 22 years.


Born in Austria about 1838. He came to England after 1861 becoming a naturalised citizen. Ordained Priest 1867 and priest in 1868. He was formally curate of St. Margaret's, in the parish of St. George in the East, London. Curate 1869-71 at Horton and lodging at South Blyth Morpeth and subsequently held the curacies of Shincliffe, Pittingham and in 1881 Curate at St Cuthbert's , Durham and living at 147 Crossgate, Durham between 1875-86. He was a KCL (not sure what that stands for) of the Univesity of Durham, University mathematical scholar and Univerity mathematical prize man, 1872. Trained at the University of Durham BA 1873 and MA 1876.

Flecker can be considered an intellectual, biblical scholar. In 1882 he had published a book/pamphlet 'Variations of Versions'. This relates to a major revision of the new testament being undertaken nation wide within the church community in the early 1880's.

Then in 1883 he authored a more substantial work entitled 'Scripture Onomatology being Critical notes on the Septuagint and other versions'. This is an important scholarly work. Onomatology is the study of name formation and naming practices. Septuagint (meaning 70), as 70 Jewish scholars translated the old testament from Hebrew into Greek. Original copies are still for sale and reproductions in 1923 are available on Amazon. The publishers ''believe this work to be culturally important'. From this we can determine that he was an Old testament scholar, which may account for his approach to Christianity and his later behaviour.

Scripture Onomatology


On 8 December 1888 he was appointed Vicar of St Cuthbert’s, Fishlake.
Rather late in life in 1891 he married Marion Harriet Barnes in Darlington.
1992 their daughter was born, Edith Gertrude but she died in1895.
1895 daughter Ellen Marion was born.

As an incumbent Rev Flecker could be awkward for example on 11 April 1896 at an Allyns charity committees meeting, "this morning the vicar recieved a communication from the charity commissioners informing him ""that he has no right to keep anything except the books and deeds"", in consequence of this he resigned as a trustee of the above charity"
This left questions for the committee and commissioners. Can the vicar legally resign his post as a trustee (the original deed anticipated the incumbent would be a trustee and preach a yearly charity sermon, at that time for 6s 8 p. Can they appoint a replacement? ( the answer was no). He was sent a form to sign but he refused, so technically remained a trustee. He also delayed handing over remaining charity monies.

In the Spring of 1901 Flecker organised the installment of a new church clock. He, with the help of his wife added quarterly clock chimes on 22nd May 1907.

On 30 th March 1904 at the meeting of school governors he threatened to exercise his right of veto. At the retirement of the old school master, Henry Brooks after a staggering 42 years of service. The governors were in a dilemma the school could not afford to appoint a master who was a graduate of Oxford or Cambridge. The foundation was about to become an Elementary school rather than a grammar school. Rev Flecker was clearly against this plan. The committee had no option but to request legal advice on this matter. The next head teacher was a women Miss Gould, unlikely to be Flecker's ideal choice. His old fashioned, stern and awkward matter set the scene for the next episode.

Then there was Monkey business...
1908 Flecker was taken to court for libel and slander by the village head mistress Winifred M Gould. At the West Riding Assize court hearing in Leeds where the Rev Flecker provided his own defence. He lost and was fined 40s.
This whole affair was triggered when Miss Gould began teaching Darwinian theory of evolution. The theory was misunderstood, derided and became a joke within the village community the teachings were simplified to 'man was descended from monkeys'. Rev Flecker being a strict old-fashioned traditionalist took great exception to this teaching in the village school and accused Miss Gould of imparting infidel teachings. Rev Flecker chaired a parish meeting at which various allegations were made all of these denied by Miss Gould. The County Council held an inquiry which completely exonerated her from charges of infidel teachings but concluded that her teaching was too advance for the children. Despite this outcome Flecker took to the pulpit to express his strong opinions, and wrote a number of letters to the Doncaster press criticising Miss Gould. It was this action which drove Miss Gould to court.

The impression we get is that Rev Flecker, to use a modern expression, was well past his sell by date, as the story goes that he was asked on three occasions to retire. In January 1911 he finally retired at the age of 72 and left the vicarage to live on Thorne Road, Doncaster at a house called St Cuthbert’s. He and his family actually moved out several months earlier. Several years later his family moved to 18 Melville Road, Brighton.

My family connection is through my aunt Rose Downing who worked as a domestic at the vicarage before he retired, then as a living-in house maid in Brighton during 1914.
In December 1921 his wife Marion Flecker died.

Eliezer Flecker died 29 January 1923 leaving a not insignificant sum of £13267. 12s 9d probated by Rev Dr William Herman Flecker, a nephew.

Rob Downing 14 February 2018.

Rob Downing research at http