The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Rev. John Thorneycroft Hartley

Reverend John Thorneycroft Hartley

A small albumen print portrait of the Reverend John Thorneycroft Hartley (1849-1935), the only clergyman ever to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon.

His parents were John Hartley and Emma née Thorneycroft. His maternal grandfather was George Benjamin Thorneycroft, a partner in the Shrubbery Ironworks in Horseley Fields, who earned a fortune and in 1848 became the first Mayor of Wolverhampton. His father, John Hartley, established glass works in Dumbarton but soon afterwards moved to the Midlands and became a partner in Chance and Sons. He later became a partner with his brother-in-law, Colonel Thorneycroft, in Thorneycroft’s ironworks and collieries, earning another fortune. He also served as a Mayor of Wolverhampton (1858). For over 40 years he leased Tong Castle in Shropshire from the Earl of Bradford.

Born on 9 January 1849 while the family were still living in Wolverhampton, John Thorneycroft Hartley was his second son. He became a vicar (later a canon) of the Church of England and was appointed to the parish of Burneston, near Bedale in North Yorkshire, which he served for 45 years. He is remembered chiefly for having won the All England Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon in 1879 and again in 1880. He also reached the final in 1881, losing to W C Renshaw who went on to win the singles title seven times.

In 1875 he married Alice Margaret Lascelles, a granddaughter of the 3rd Earl of Harewood. They had no children. Canon Hartley served St Lambert's Church in Burneston until 1919. He died, aged 86, at Knarseborough in Yorkshire on 21 August 1935. He left an estate valued at £63,385.

Photographer unidentified.

From an album compiled by Charles Albert's sister-in-law, Louisa (née Stone), wife of George Thompson Hartley.


Code: 125531
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© Paul Frecker 2019