Friday, 7 October 2016

Pilot Profile : William George Tabb

From "The Pilot", in 1965, comes this article. Tabb was born on 06th October 1897, was Rector of Trinity from 1934-1946, and Rector at St Brelade's Church from 1946 to 1971, where he died as the incumbent at the age of 74.

Marriages in Ontario also list him from his time there:

13327-24 William George TABB, 27, clerk in holy orders, Jersey - Channel Islands, Montague Rectory - Montague, s/o Charles Francis TABB & Ada SMITH, married Edith May OSMENT, 27, Jersey - Channel Islands, Rosedale - Montague, d/o Edwin Henry OSMENT & Erith Mary KELLAWAY, witn: John SALTER of Montague & Ada Zelie TABB of Rosedale, 18 Nov 1924 at Smith Falls.

Pilot Profile : William George Tabb

There is one record which the Rector of St Brelade can claim without fear of contradiction - that is that no other parish in the Island has had a post-war population increase on the scale of St Brelade. When he took office in 1946 his flock numbered 2,700. Now it is 9,000. Another distinction which he shares with Canon Norman, Rector of St Saviour, is that of being the last Rector still in office w ho served in the States Chamber before Rectors were dismissed by the electorate.

William George Tabb was educated at the old Church of England National School under that distinguished headmaster. Tom Adderson.

Born at the end of the last century and baptised in the old Wooden Church at First Tower by the late Rev P. J. Mourant• he was confirmed by Bishop McArthur, Bishop of Southampton, in the original St Andrew's Church on the Esplanade, now a potato store. Among his Sunday school teachers there were Mr and Mrs A. F. Hunt who for many years were in charge of the Church Bookshop in Waterloo Street.

He wanted to be a priest from an early age and he was much influenced by Mr Mourant, who became Vicar of St Andrew's, and by the organist of the Wooden Church, Harry Jerram. The latter became organist of All Saints and Mr Tabb followed him there and became a member of the choir, a server, a Sunday school teacher and a Lay Reader. There lie met his wife, Edith Osment and her family, all of whom were members of the choir.

The outbreak of the First World War brought to an end the 'old days'. Reminiscing, Mr Tabb would say that they were good in parts. It is true that it was necessary to arrive at All Saints for Evensong at 6 p.m. in Order to get a seat in Mr Foster Ward's early days, but it is also true that the country churches in particular were largely without heat or light, and they were shut and locked from Sunday to Sunday. When Dean Falle arrived in 1906 and was joined by his curate, the Rev HW Quarrie, they did much to stimulate the new life and energy into the Island Church.

Mr Tabb joined the Royal Navy and he had to grapple with New Testament Greek in a hammock. He saw active service in the North Sea and on Atlantic Convoy Patrols and he had the thrill of being present at the surrender of the German Fleet to Admiral Beatty. After the war he became the last private pupil of the late Ed Le Feuvre, Rector of Grouville - a brilliant coach. He then trained for work overseas at the Brotherhood of St Paul, Essex, supported by good friends at All Saints. Other scholars who had trained there included. Mr Curtis, curate of St Andrew, Prebendary L. Snell, sometime curate of St Helier and Mr Hornby, former rector of St John and St Clement.

From there he went to Canada for ordination in the Diocese of Ottawa. After caring for four churches in the Montague and Franktown areas, and doing intensive missionary work in an area three times the size of Jersey, he became rector of Bearbrook with three Churches to care for. Six years later he returned to England after a severe operation and took a curacy in Dartmouth. 

But Dean FaIle was always on the lookout for young Jerseymen to fill the Parish Cures and he offered him Trinity. After 10 years there he moved south to St Brelade but it was some 10 years! War and the Occupation brought great burdens. States work became more difficult. When Canon Cohu was sent to Germany he found himself on the Agriculture Committee in addition to the Public Health Committee under Edward Le Quesne. Apart from these two major committees he served at various times on the original Motor Traffic and Tourism Committees, Electricity, Markets and Westaway Crèche. 

Mr Tabb's knowledge of French together with his intimate knowledge of Jersey manners and customs, stands him in good stead as Chapter Clerk. There are few people he doesn't know with a Jersey name. Take the Balleines, for example. He can remember: The Rev J. Balleine. Vicar of St Andrews: J. A. Balleine, Rector of St Brelade: G. P. Balleine. Rector of St Martin and St Saviour: C. W. Balleine. Rector of St Clement: A. O. Balleine. Rector of St Lawrence: G. R. Balleine, retired. 

It was in 1942 that J.A. died and G.R. took over St Brelade's until Mr Tabb became Rector in 1946. He gave up his work as Chaplain to the General Hospital and H.M. Prison.

While at Trinity he was also chaplain to Athelstan Riley but St Brelade’s needed his undivided attention. It was a growing parish, it had a huge visitor population and Mrs Tabb had a large Rectory to run. Now in their twentieth year in the parish they can look back through a very happy period during which time their daughter Gwen married Mr de la Haye, Almoner of' St Martin. Their two grandchildren, Robert, 15,and Vivienne, 10 are a constant joy.

Few who have had the privilege of caring for such a lovely church have had the urge to move. And no wonder! It is interesting to note that Mr Tabb's predecessor, the Rev J. A. Balleine (who, like Mr Tabb. became a Vice Dean, was instituted and inducted in 1902. He put in 50 years faithful service. But the Rev Edward Falle was rector from 1829-1881, a total of 52 years. There have been only six inductions since 1758!

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