Reverend Reginald Leighton Houghton

Vicar of St Mary's Church 1942 - 1950

Reverend Reginald Leighton Houghton
St Mary's Church records
Benfleet Pageant booklet
Betty Matson
Reverend Reginald Leighton Houghton inspects the church bells.
From Bygone Benfleet by Norman Chisman


Reginald Leighton Houghton was born in Warwickshire  on 21st May 1910 to John and Florence Houghton.  The 1911 census shows Reginald as 10/12 months old with a sister Florence of 2 years old, living in Weston Super Mare.

Little is known of Reverend Leighton Houghton. The Durham Diocesan Records, Catalogue of Ordination papers for the year 1935 show that he was admitted as a Priest at that time.

In 1948 he married Laura Joy Tuffield, a well known family of Benfleet.  Laura’s mother was a member of the Brand family, again a well known local name.

During his time at St. Mary’s Church he was well known for his interest in acting and writing.  During his lifetime he wrote many books and was an accomplished author. His works were many and varied and included prayer books, childrens’ books, stories and historical interest books.

‘Benfleet  Pageant’, which was performed in the grounds of The Gables, Vicarage Hill in 1946, saw Reverend Leighton Houghton write a short play named The Rose of Contention.

Reverend Leighton Houghton himself played the lead roll, Master John Chamberlain (the Vicar of Benfleet), with the locals playing the other parts.

This picture, right, shows Reverend Leighton Houghton inspecting the church bells shortly before they were to be re-hung in 1949.

In 1950 there was to be a new Vicar for St Mary’s and Reverend Leighton Houghton moved away, to be replaced by Reverend Henthorne.

Reverend Leighton Houghton continued to write many books after leaving Benfleet and he died in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1999 aged 89 years.

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  • Reverend Leighton Houghton was the vicar of the beautiful St Michael’s Church in Bartley Green, Birmingham when I moved to Bartley Green aged 10 in 1960. I attended St Michael’s School (which is still there) and ‘the vicar’ often took assemblies there. As I was a confident reader he regularly asked me to read during the family Eucharist church service on Sunday mornings. He ran a successful weekly youth club which was well attended in the draughty church hall. I also attended his confirmation classes and still have the book I was presented with upon my confirmation at the age of 12 or 13. He took his parish duties seriously and was a compassionate, friendly man with a good sense of humour. I was most impressed to discover that he’d written a children’s book,(something about a Tor), which I borrowed from the local village library. He conducted the marriages of two of my older sisters in 1965 & 1966 in his church (I was a bridesmaid both times) and made regular pastoral visits to his parishioners.
    I moved from Bartley Green in 1968 although my parents lived there until their deaths. Sadly the original St Michael’s (& all Angels?) church was demolished and a modern building replaced it at a different location. There are now a few houses built on the site of the original church although the small graveyard still remains.
    Having found this page I intend to search for more of his written works so I’m really glad I found it! RIP ‘vicar’.

    Editors note: There is a page on this site detailing the works of the Reverend Leighton Houghton, please click here.

    By Carol Brandrick (20/10/2018)

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