Wentworth Webster was the fourth child of Charles Webster & Elizabeth Wentworth, born June 16th, 1828 at Uxbridge & christened August 8th, 1828 at St Margaret's, Uxbridge, Middlesex.
Wentworth was obviously a great favourite of his grandfather, Philip Wentworth, who died in 1838. Wentworth benefited greatly from grandfather’s will, both financially & by receipt of all of Philip’s printed books (see Charles Webster’s page for details [we.2]).
Wentworth attended a private school at Brighton & went up to Lincoln College, Oxford at the age of 21.
At the time of the 1851 census Wentworth was at home with his parents, brother & sister at High St, Uxbridge, Middlesex. His occupation was scholar at Lincoln College, Oxford. Wentworth obtained an MA degree from Oxford in 1852. In 1854 he became a deacon at Cloford, Somerset. His ordination into the Anglican priesthood was delayed until 1861 due to ill health. Wentworth travelled widely around the world before settling in south western France in the early 1860s. He began as a teacher in Bagneres-de-Bigorre, where he met his future wife.
Wentworth married Thekla Laura Knipping on October 17th, 1866, at the Parish Church of St Giles Camberwell, Southwark, Surrey. Wentworth was a Clerk in Holy Orders living at Hillingdon, Middlesex & Thekla was of Champion Hill. Thekla was born c1837 in Germany, the daughter of Johann Peter Knipping, a schoolmaster of Cleves, Prussia.
Wentworth settled in Basque country, France around 1870. He was chaplain
at Biarritz and later St. Jean de Luz from 1869-1882. During these years Wentworth
& Thekla had 4 daughters & a son, Erwin Wentworth, who all spoke fluent
Basque. Wentworth himself was an expert on life and legends of the Basque
people. He wrote "Les Loisirs d'un Elvanger au Pays Basque", 1901
and "Basque Legends", 1877. He later lived at Sare, after his retirement
The 1891 census shows daughter Thekla visiting Frederick & Alexandrina Onslow in East Molesey. She was living on independent means.
In 1894 Wentworth received a grant of £150 conferred on him by Mr William Gladstone for his work on the Basque language, habits & customs. (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, February 7th, 1894)
Daughter Antonia sadly died of enteric fever in 1901 while working as a nursing sister in Kroonstad, South Africa.
There is a marriage for Thekla Webster, aged 36, marrying Robert Walls, aged 32, at St Mary the Virgin, Johannesburg, Pretoria, S. Africa on April 6th, 1904.
Wentworth died on April 2nd, 1907 at Maison Crespo, Sare, Basses Pyrenees, France. From the Times Obituary we learn ".. he lived in the little Basque Village of Sare in the Lower Pyrenees, His house overlooking the beautiful valley of Larrhun was well known to all those interested in the Basques and in Spain. It was here that Mr. Gladstone visited him." Apparently Prime Minister William Gladstone also paid Wentworth a pension. In recent years the Basque government has printed the Bidegileak Collection which includes a volume on 4 foreign figures who were united by their love for & work in favour of Basque language & culture. One of these was Wentworth Webster.
Wentworth’s will was proved on July 13th, 1907 by trustees brother Alfred Webster (gentleman), son Erwin Webster (fellow of Wadham College Oxford) & nephew George Charles WebsterWoodbridge (banker’s clerk). To his wife, Laura, he left all his household goods with the exception of his books which were to be sold. The remainder of his personal estate was left in trust to pay the income to his wife for life, & then the capital was to be divided equally between his children. His effects amounted to £9,736.9s.4d.
In 1911 widowed Thekla (74) was living at 8 Coronation Rd, Cheltenham, Goucestershire with her daughter Stella Ruth Webster, aged 39. Thekla was living on private mean & Stella was a school teacher at Ladies’ College, Cheltenham. The census revealed that Thekla was a German resident having been born there & that Stella was born in France but was a British subject.
Thekla died on January 28th, 1914, aged 76, at Lindfield, Coronation Rd, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Probate was granted on April 4th, 1914 to son Erwin & her effects were £497.2s.10d.
Tragically son Erwin was killed during WW1 & the address given on his medal card in 1917 was for his sister Stella at 79 Iffley Rd, Oxford.
Daughter Stella never married & in 1939 she was living on her own at 41 Leckford Rd, Oxford where she died in 1940 leaving an estate worth almost £14,000.
The children of Wentworth Webster & Thekla Laura Knipping were:
we.2.4.1 Thekla Webster born c1868 at Biarritz, France
we.2.4.2 Stella Ruth Webster born July 31st, 1871 in France; died January 21st, 1940 at 41 Leckford Rd, Oxford
They had 2 more daughters - Antonia Mathilda Webster who died June 3rd, 1901 in Kroonstad, South Africa & another unknown
we.2.4.5 Erwin Wentworth Webster born c1880 in France, died April 9th, 1917 at Arras, France