[Rev. Harold Dymond Peel]

Rev. Harold Dymond Peel

Harold Dymond Peel was born in Wilmslow, Cheshire in 1885. After studying in Emmanuel College, Cambridge and Wells Theological College he was ordained and worked in northern churches such as York and Whitby.

[Portrait of the Rev Peel] In 1913 he followed two of his fellow Wells graduates (F.H. Campion and C.H.S Matthews) to Australia where he joined them in the Bush Brotherhood they had established some years earlier. This was a group of young Anglican priests who brought the sacraments of the Church to remote farmers, their families and staff in the outback of early Australia. Travel was by horse or horse and cart, [With horses] often sleeping in the bush under the stars, and conducting services in sitting rooms or wool sheds with the sacraments served on a portable communion set he carried with him. Brother Dym, as he was known, set up a new area based on Dubbo, NSW. When, in later years the Brotherhood bought a car he continued to ride his horse. ‘You can’t swim a car across a flooded river’ he said. (He was persuaded in later years to write some memoirs and these are held by the family. The story of the Bush Brotherhood is written by J.W.S. Tomlin and a copy can be found in Sarum Theological College Reference Library.)

When, in 1915, many of his farmers and young men volunteered to fight for England in the Great War, he felt he should join them so enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces and came, with his Battalion, to Hurdcott Camp, Fovant and was there when the map of Australia was cut into Compton Down.

[Rev Peel in uniform]
Rev Peel in uniform
[A cartoon of the Padre]
A cartoon of the Padre
[A group of Australians]
A group of Australians
He survived the fighting in France and Belgium, returning to Australia where he served a further 6 years with the Brotherhood. On his return to England he chose to settle and work in Barford St Martin, a parish he had grown to know during his stay at Hurdcott. Here he met and married Enid Horton, a talented artist, illustrator of children’s books but working at that time as a craft teacher to the blind.

After 12 years in Atherton, near Manchester, the family returned to the County he had grown to love. He became Rector at Donhead St Mary in South Wilts eventually becoming Rural Dean of Tisbury. He is remembered in the Parish for many reasons but mainly because he again refused the offer of a car. ‘I cannot stop and talk to my people if I am rushing past in a car’ he said. He continued to cover his extensive, rural parish on his ‘iron horse’ (bicycle) until his retirement in 1956. In 1953 he was to have dedicated the new Australian flag in Compton Chamberlayne Church before it was raised on the new flagpole in the centre of the restored carving of the map of Australia at Hurdcott, 5 miles east of Fovant, which was the HQ for the Southern Command of the Australian Imperial Force during the Great War. He could not attend due to ill health. He died in 1968 and is buried in the Churchyard by the Church he served to the end.

One of his daughters has returned to live in Fovant since 1984

[Australian map on Compton Down]
Australian map on Compton Down
[A later portrait]
A later portrait
[Rev. Dymond Peel’s gravestone]
Rev. Dymond Peel’s gravestone

M.A.M.
March 2007

Content last updated
3 March 2007

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