Extract from ‘The Rayner Family of Great Wakering” by Albert Rayner Bsc (Econ) FCA [page 78]
Edward Dodson, born at Castle Hedingham in Essex, had been Vicar of the Parish since 1839, in 1871 he was aged 77 and a widower. Two sisters were living with him, aged 72 and 69, the younger acting as housekeeper. They employed a young girl aged 16 as servant.
In 1873, Mr Dodson was succeeded by Henry Malim from Middlesex - he was aged 60 in 1881. He lived with his wife aged 38 and his daughter by his first wife, aged 26. They employed two girl servants, aged 15 and 17, and a groom aged 16. By all accounts, Reverend Malim was a difficult man with whom to deal. He was somewhat addicted to brandy, hence his nickname 'Brandy Jack1. He took exception to ministers of other denominations holding funeral services in his churchyard. Even after the passing of the Burial Act of 1860, he was not prepared to co-operate. Reverend Malim also took exception to one of the Great Wakering farmers allowing his family to attend Little Wakering Church.
Until 1869, the Reverend Phair had been the Minister at the Congregational Church; he exercised a great influence on both young and old. He was on very friendly terms with Edward Dodson and both believed that a great revival was on its way. In 1869 the Reverend Phair was succeeded by Samuel Oliver who, in 1871, was 67.