Reverend Reginald Leighton Houghton
Vicar of St Mary's Church 1942 - 1950
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.