the turn of the century, Philip had developed a wander-lust and he
sought opportunities to work outside as his father had done. He had
a love of plant life and he held, over the rest of his life, many jobs
working on the private gardens of the landed gentry in Southern England.
Early jobs saw him travel as far as Sussex and back to St. Ives in
Cornwall in search of suitable employment. At St. Ives, he found early
contentment and during this period he lodged with a fisherman and his
family by the name of Hodge.
St. Ives 1900 ©
period was to affect the rest of his life for it was from the Hodges
that he learned the teachings of the Plymouth Brethren* and he followed
these teachings until his death. Life was very frugal, work was hard
(but never on the Sabbath) and pleasures were almost sinful. However,
Philip was contented with this life and seven happy years were spent in
St. Ives. At this time, he began reading the Bible on a daily basis and
became very knowledgeable about the stories and the predictions for the
Grandfather Philip Stentiford. c. 1910
period of the Great War, however, found Philip working in the Whiddon
Down area of Devon at a country house, now a hotel called "Great
Trees". As he was in a reserved occupation, he was not called up,
and did not volunteer because of his deeply-held religious beliefs.
Each Sunday, he would walk into Drewsteignton to attend the
Gospel Hall prayer meetings.
It was here that he became acquainted with the Lasky family - John and
Harriet and their youngest daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth worked as a
maid at Rushford near Chagford and although she lived in, returned home
to Drewsteignton and also worshipped there at the Gospel Hall. In 1918 they were married
and this prompted a job change for Philip and a move to Parford House
near Sandy Park. It was here that two of his daughters - Mary and Grace
- were born in 1919 and 1922.
his third daughter, was born in 1925 whilst he was working at Holystreet Manor in
Chagford. Sadly, his happiness with his wife Elizabeth
was short-lived and when Lucy was seven years old, her mother died of
cancer. She is buried on the hillside of Leusden Church. The family were
living at nearby Hannaford House at the time and the children walked to
school in Holne.
Philip's daughters Grace, Mary and Lucy
with their mother Elizabeth
The Plymouth Brethren developed in the 1820s from a breakaway group of
Irish Protestants who believed that anyone could administer Holy
Communion or preach. A follower called Benjamin Newton had a home in
Plymouth where a few people met to study Biblical prophecy, hence the
name, but as the
movement grew, a chapel was acquired in that area, attended not only by
lay people but by local clergy. By 1851 there were over 7000
followers throughout England and Wales, divided into two distinct sects
- Open Brethren and Exclusive Brethren. Readers of "Oscar and
Lucinda" by Peter Carey will already have met the Brethren.
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