In All Saints’ Church, Warlingham, there is a simple alabaster tablet inscribed to the memory of Charles Langton Lockton (1856-1932). Few remember him now, but some may know of the collection of his paintings of local scenes which he gave to the Parish, and which can be seen in the library (click here to see the gallery). Many depict a rural community now long gone.
Charles Langton Lockton was born in Tasmania on the 2nd July 1856. He was the second son of the Reverend Philip Langton Lockton. In 1864 the family returned to England, and the eldest son, Philip, became a pupil at Merchant Taylors’ School in London. Charles joined him in 1866.
Charles did not achieve any exceptional scholastic but did develop into a fine natural athlete, outstanding at school and in nationwide competition. In 1873 and again in 1875 he won the National Long Jump Championship, and at 16 he became the youngest English Champion on record. Charles retained his connection with sport by qualifying as an official starter, a position he filled at most athletic championships between 1890 and 1911, including the 1908 Olympic Games in London. From 1877 to 1881 he worked in the library of the India Office, moving on to a position as a Clerk in the House of Commons, where he remained until retirement in 1921.
He married Jane Emma Seale of Croydon and they had two children, Noel and Dorothy. In 1894 they moved to live in Warlingham, Surrey, then still a very rural village. Charles purchase a plot of land and a house was built to his requirements. Completed in 1898, he named it ‘Teeton’.
Now settled in Warlingham, Charles built himself a studio in his garden. During the 30 years that followed, he passed many happy hours there painting, a hobby he found relaxing. His grandsons, Philip and Tom, recalled the studio as friendly and untidy, glass jam jars full of brushes, jars of turpentine and tubes of oil paints everywhere. They were allowed to sit and watch, enthralled. Charles did not sell his paintings but gave them away, either to local people or for village fundraising purposes. He was a prolific artist, and most of his works are on board as canvas was expensive. The Parish Collection, which since 1970 has been displayed in the local library, provides a glimpse of rural life long gone. These paintings are mostly uniform size but larger paintings do exist. few people appear in the paintings and any animals are usually sheep at a distance.
Charles soon became involved in village activities, including sport, of course. he became a sidesman at All Saints’ Church, and in 1901 was appointed Vicar’s Warden, a position he held until his death. During the 1920s he served five years on the Parish Council, due to his involvement in many local affairs he was very well-liked and respected in the village.
In 1921 his wife, Jane, died and his son Noel and his wife came to live with him at ‘Teeton’. Following his retirement later that year he was made a Justice of the Peace.
Charles was a sincere, straightforward man, always willing to help others with his kindness and generosity. In 1932 his health began to fail, and he was often unable to attend to his many duties and interests as diligently as he would have wished. he died peacefully on the 30th October 1932, aged 76.
From the introduction to the Lockton Collection at Warlingham Library by Dorothy Tutt, Vice-President, The Bourne Society, in Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in Surrey, published by the Public Catalogue Foundation.
Click here to see a gallery of images from the Lockton Collection at Warlingham Library.
Click here to see the catalogue of the All Saints, Warlingham, Parish Records (1653-1954) held at the Surrey History Centre.