Charles Lane

Charles Lane, the curate of Charlotte Chapel, like his rector Daniel Sandford, defined their identity as inheritors of a Norman ruling class. It is an understanding of self which appears out of place in Enlightenment Edinburgh, but it perhaps helped to inspire the Highland members of their congregation to reinvent their place in society, not as disreputable Jacobites, but as members of equally ancient families with an equally authentic title to lead their modern society. Charles himself was deeply inspired by Daniel Sandford, and in his ministry in Kent extended his influence throughout the Victorian period.

Lived
2 February 1793 - 23 March 1879
Origin
The Grange, Layton, Essex
Father
Thomas Lane, St Ann's, London, of the Grange, Layton, Essex (his third son). He was Clerk of the Goldsmiths' Company.
Mother
Barbara Fowler, d. 15 July 1823, daughter of Thomas Fowler of Pendeford
Address
11 Hope Street
Religious views
As curate of Bogner, Lane published in 1833 two sermons of religious apologetic, The truth in love: a word to atheists and The truth in love: a word to Unitarians. The former, reacting to rumours of Tom Paine's works circulating in the neighbouring parish, argued that,
unless he has always lived from the beginning, he cannot tell what has been; unless he has been and is everywhere present, he cannot tell what now is; unless he has all knowledge and understands all future mysteries, he cannot tell what shall be. Common sense, as well as the word of God, proclaims therefore the same thing, that "the fool," and he only, "hath said in his heart there is no God."'
The latter aimed,
to convince you that the Scriptures bear witness to the fact, that Jesus laid claim to be a divine person'.
These sermons are not particularly imaginitive or insightful. Yet by the end of his life, Lane had earned a similar reputation in his parish in Kent to that which Sandford had in Edinburgh. In the sermon preached by Rev Jaquet on Charles' death, he describes the influence Daniel Sandford had on him:
'It is now some sixty years since our brother began his ministerial work under that saintly man, Daniel Sandford, Bishop of Edinburgh; and you have only to read the life of this holy man to see what our religion can do, and what the life of a true Christian is. You cannot read the book without very great profit. I never remember having read an account of such a pure and holy life, and if the reading only of this life produces such impressions, what must have been the influence from the daily contact of such a character upon the life of a young man, very impressible for good, and just entering upon work in the Lord's vineyard! His whole after-life must have been greatly influenced by this early association. whenever he spoke of him it seemed with such deep reverence and ardent love. And is it not from this early influence in a great measure, now his earthly life is over, that we can thank God and say of him 'He has glorified Thee on earth, and has finished the work which Thou gavest him to do'?'
Lane's optimistic religion, interest in education, church interiors, and spiritual religion are all reminiscent of his mentor:
'His life proved that religion an give a man intense happiness. His amiability, his kind words (and who ever heard him speak ill of any man?), his love for others, his great interest in all things connected with this parish. How he laboured to get this noble church restored... These things, and all things round about you, speak of him to-day -- these walls, these many beautiful stained-glass windows, the bells, the chimes -- they all speak of him afresh to-day. We remember, and only lately, how he laboured, and what deep interest he took in building new schools in two different parts of the parish, of which buildings the inhabitants may well be proud... Speaking of his study of the Scriptures let me say here that there was one subject he loved above all others to dwell upon... I need hardly tell you, because you know his favourite theme so well. Oh! how much, how very much, he has written about it. I mean our Lord's Prayer, and especially that clause of it where we are taught to pray for God's Holy Spirit in the words, "Give us this day our daily bread". We know how earnestly he himself daily prayed for an outpouring of the same Holy Spirit; and what a special day in his calendar was Whitsun day!'
His choice of the Perpendicular Gothic style for Wrotham followed Sandford's St John's (see picture, below).
Rev Jaquet described Charles Lane's death:
'As his life was, so was his death. It was just what you might have expected. No fear nor sign of fear. Happy in death! His countenance -- that fine face, always so beautiful, the admiration of every man -- lit up in his last hours by the recital several times of... the Lord's Prayer; and by the reading of passages from the Scriptures, and the consolations of religion, this grand, good old man surrounded by those he loved, severally blessing his children, like the Patriarch Israel, amidst these prayers, and the commendatory prayer from the Church's service, he passed into the presence of God.'
Profession
Curate St John's, Edinburgh 1816-18. Perpetual curate of Bognor, Sussex in 1834. Rector of Deal 1838. Rector of Wrotham, Kent, 1845-1879. On his death an article which appeared in several papers titled 'A Fat Living' noted,
Mr Lane had held the living over thirty years, and during that period his income from the rectory amounted in the aggregate to upwards of £40,000. The present value of the living is nearly £1600 yearly, with residence, and is in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is the most valuable living in Kent, except that of Eastchurch. (7)
Lane's obituary in the Morning Post said, 'He had an extremely attractive presence and address, and was greatly liked and respected.' (8)
Story
Lane's entry in 'The Plantaganet roll of the Blood Royal' ensured his Rector and father-in-law a place in it. It is perhaps the only place where Daniel Sandford was (erroneously) titled 'Lord Bishop of Edinburgh'. (6)
Chapel connection
1816 (appointed curate)
Married on
1 July 1816
Spouse
Frances Sandford
Children
Jane (1817), Thomas Sandford (1818, privately baptised in London but christened in Edinburgh by Daniel Sandford
Connections
Charles' sister Sarah married William Cotton, an high-church London manufacturer and philanthropist, whose sister Phoebe married Thomas Bowdler, one of the family who were close childhood friends of Daniel Sandford. His elder brother Thomas' widow remarried Hugh Massy Ryves of Limerick, an Irish Norman family of whom Anne Ryves was also a member.

Wrotham Church, as
restored by Lane

Sources

  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. David Bertie, Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000 (Edinburgh, T and T Clerk 2000)
  4. Rev. J.H. Jaquet, In Memoriam: A Sermon preached in St George's Church, Wrotham, on Sunday March 30th, 1879, on the death of the Rev. Canon Lane, Rector of Wrotham (London, Hatchards, 1879)
  5. Lane pages in Halhead Genealogy and Family Trees (Website, accessed 28 July 2011). A particularly well-referenced genealogy source.
  6. Melville Henry Massue, The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal, The Anne of Exeter Volume (T.C. Jack, London, 1907) p.438
  7. Bristol Mercury 29 March 1879
  8. Morning Post 27 March 1879

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