Morse family

The Morse family were Primitive Methodists Primitive Methodism of a number of generations. Charles Morse (d.1877, aet 68) was one of the first Primitive Methodist converts in Wiltshire, a local preacher Local Preachers, he knew what it was to be prosecuted for preaching in the open air. A memorial to him is in Stratton St. Margaret’s Methodist.

Levi Lapper Morse (1853-1913) was born at Stratton St. Margaret’s, near Swindon, on 24 May 1853 and educated at Swindon High School. He became a prominent shopkeeper in the growing railway town of Swindon, owning a department store in Regent Street, a chain of stores in the South West, a large mail order business but was known as a draper and grocer. He was a Wiltshire County Council alderman, Mayor of Swindon, 1901, and the only local Nonconformist Justice of the Peace when appointed in 1893. He was the Liberal Member of Parliament for Wiltshire (South Division/Wilton). 1906 to 1910, but did not stand again on health grounds’ He died at Swindon on 10 September 1913.

His son, William Ewart Gladstone Morse (1878-1952), also born at Stratton on 23 January 1878, was likewise a life-long Primitive Methodist, Vice-President of the Conference, 1925, and represented the Connexion on the British Council of Churches. He served on the Methodist Union Committee, Bookroom Committee, and General Chapel & Chapel Loan Fund committee.

Educated at Swindon High School, he was a leading Swindon business man and in 1926 took over control of the family business. The firm had both a pension and profit sharing schemes he was also President of Swindon Chamber of Commerce and a Freemason for forty years. His South African born wife owned Croft Down Kennels, which bred championship dogs.

Politically a Liberal, he served on Swindon Council for twenty years, was twice its mayor and Chairman of the Finance Committee; he was also on Wiltshire County Council for thirty years. He stood unsuccessfully for Bridgwater in 1922 but won the seat in 1923, losing it in the following year. He stood again in 1929 for Weston-super-Mare without success.

He died on 8 December 1952

Stanley Carlton Morse joined the Royal Air Force Reserves and was killed on a bombing raid in 1941.

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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