One of the most significant figures in the history of Thistleton Church is the Reverend Sir John Henry Fludyer. He financed the rebuilding of the church at a cost of £2,993 in 1879, dedicating the work to the memory of his three eldest children who died from Scarlet Fever between 1841 and 1842.
To understand how John Henry Fludyer came to be Rector at Thistleton and how he was able to fund the rebuild of the church, it is necessary to understand something of the Fludyer family history.
John Henry Fludyer’s father was George Fludyer MP, the second son of Sir Samuel Fludyer, the 1st Baronet. George Fludyer MP inherited his wealth and social status from his parents. Sir Samuel made is fortune as a merchant and banker (at his death, his fortune was said to amount to £900,000) . His mother however, was Caroline Brudenell, niece of George Brudenell, 3rd Earl of Cardigan. Her father, James Brudenell, owned land at Ayston and Wardley near Uppingham and also Thistleton.
The Church was an accepted career choice for the 3rd son of the aristocracy in the 19th century. Ayston and Thistleton parishes being in the gift of his father, John Henry therefore was curate at Ayston from 1826, becoming parish priest at both Ayston and Thistleton from 1834 .As parish priest of both parishes, John Henry enjoyed a combined income of £312 a year which was at the upper end of the salary scale for parish priests in Rutland in the 19th century. He also collected a tithe and/or glebe,
From his obituary, part of which was published in The Guardian in 1896, it appears he was a kindly patient man, well respected by his parishioners in both Ayston and Thistleton. He is described as having ‘patient continuance in well doing’ and ‘untiring zeal and devotion to duty’, ‘a man of deep unobtrusive piety. Even allowing for late Victorian sentimentality, the last paragraphs of his obituary are touching and worth recording in their entirety – ‘This notice would be incomplete without recording two things which show a character of exceptional beauty……. The influence of the mother, who died in 1885 must have been most remarkable. To the very last he was wont, in anything that required judgement to say, “I wonder what my mother would have thought “ The other is that throughout nearly sixty years of married life Lady Fludyer never left the room without his rising to open the door for her; the first rose of the season in Ayston gardens was cut with his own hands and placed upon her boudoir table’. The Guardian 19th Aug 1896.