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CANON SPARKE
(Article 5 in the St Mary's Church Loop)

Edward Bowyer Sparke, rector of Feltwell 1831-79, was the son of Bowyer Edward Sparke, who was Bishop of Chester, 1809-12, and Bishop of Ely 1812-36. The late Walter Rye, the Norfolk Antiquarian whose pen at times Hill was dipped in gall, says that Bishop Sparke died in 1836 aged 76, "having in his tenure of office amassed a great fortune, as Bishops of the old type often did." Canon Sparke held the benefice of Feltwell, valued in 1831 at 1208; he was Canon Residentiary of Ely, the income of which was 303 and house; he was Registrar of the Diocese of Ely, which also brought grist to the mill; he owned 7,000 acres and was a man of decidedly large means. He was also most generous, for he built entirely at his own cost the Parish Church of Little Ouse and I believe built the North Aisle and Vestry of St. Mary’s Church, Feltwell, at a cost of 1,500, which was no small sum of money in those days. That Canon Spark was a good parish priest can be seen from the fact that he enlarged the Parish Church and in doing so doubled the seating capacity to accommodate the congregation. The late Mr Symonds, of Feltwell, once told me that the Church was generally full in Canon Spark’s time and explained that he was an open-handed man in the parish. I said that if it were merely a matter of loaves and fishes, attending church was not of much use; and he replied: "At all events he got them there and could speak to them from the pulpit."

Perhaps one of Canon Spakes last acts was this:-

A memorandum signed by Rev. E. B. Sparke and John Jacob states that on 15th April, 1879, they distributed the sum of 17-5/- which had been subscribed by 35 people (named) to "the sufferers by the late fires". There were 10 claimants, namely, Bartlett, Brown, Robert Hodson, Josh, Cole, Margetson, Adams, Hodgson, Chilvers and Spencer. From a list of the items lost in the fires it would appear that the more serious damage was confined to outhouses.

Canon Spark married Catherine Maria, sister of Clough Newcome, and there was one child of the marriage, Maria Hester, who married Henry Morris Upcher, J.P. and D.L., of Sheringham Hall; High Sheriff for Norfolk 1899.

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