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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Venereable Archdeacon Thomas Fancourt

The Venereable Archdeacon Thomas Fancourt, Diocesan Secretary, and Minister in charge of St. John's Church, Johnsonville, eldest son of the Rev. W. J. Fancourt, an English clergyman, was born 22nd of January, 1840 at Malvern, Worcestershire, and educated at Lancing College, Sussex. Mr. Fancourt studied for the Church at the famous Missionary College of St, Augustine. Originally an old monastery, it was saved from sacrilege by the Hon. Beresford Hope, who, having purchased the freehold, presented the property to the Church of England, and it is now a most important Missionary College. Mr. Fancourt completed his student's curriculum and received his College diploma in 1863. Before coming to New Zealand in 1865 per ship “Star of Tasmania,” he was for nine months at Cawnpore, India, leaving owing to a breakdown in health. The reverend gentleman was ordained deacon in 1865, being the last to be ordained in old St. Paul's Church, Wellington, and, singular to relate, he was the first priest ordained in the new edifice. Bishop Abraham officiated on both occasions, the order of priesthood being conferred in 1867. Mr. Fancourt had charge of Porirua, Karori and Johnsonville for nearly five years, ending in 1870. From that year till 1884 he had the care of the Hutt Parish. As Diocesan Secretary the subject of this notice has been indefatigable since his acceptance of the office in 1884. Two years later Mr. Fancourt took up the Johnsonville cure again. In 1888 he was appointed Archdeacon of Wellington. During the vacancy in the see the reverend gentleman administered the affairs of the diocese as Bishop's Commissary. Archdeacon Fancourt is called a moderately high churchman. His great work has been the General Church Fund, which he helped to establish to induce rich parishes to assist the poorer by providing a common fund out of which all stipends of the clergy might be paid.