Ellacombe, Henry Thomas (DNB00)
ELLACOMBE or ELLICOMBE, HENRY THOMAS (1790–1885), divine and antiquary, son of the Rev. William Ellicombe, rector of Alphington, Devonshire, was born in 1790, and having graduated R.A. from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1812, applied himself until 1816 to the study of engineering in Chatham Dockyard, under the direction of Brunel. In 1816 he proceeded to the degree of M.A., and was ordained for the curacy of Cricklade, a Wiltshire parish in the diocese of Gloucester. In the following year, having received priest's orders, he removed to Bitton, Gloucestershire, in the same diocese. He held the curacy till 1835, when he became the vicar. In 1850 he was presented to the rectory of Clyst St. George, Devonshire, being succeeded in his former benefice by his son, the Rev. Canon Ellacombe. He died at Clyst St. George, 30 July 1885, and was buried in the churchyard of Bitton.
In spite of many difficulties, Ellacombe restored the church of Bitton in 1822, and built three other churches in the wide district under his care. In 1843 his parishioners presented him with a testimonial, and in doing so the churchwardens stated that he had been the means of providing church accommodation in the district for 2,285 worshippers, and schoolrooms for 820 children. After his removal to Clyst St. George he rebuilt the nave of the church, and in 1860 erected a school-house and master's residence.
Ellacombe was the great authority on bells, upon which he wrote some valuable treatises. He likewise invented an ingenious apparatus of chiming hammers, which enables one man to chime all the bells in a steeple. He was a learned antiquary, and a skiliul florist and botanist. His chief writings are: 1. 'Practical Remarks on Belfries and Ringers,' Bristol, 1850, 4th edit. 1876. 2. 'The Bells of the Church,' London, 1862. 3. 'History and Antiquities of the Parish of Clyst St. George,' Exeter, 1865. 4. 'Memoir of the Manor of Bitton,' 1867. 5. 'Church Bells of Devon, with a List of those in Cornwall and a Supplement,' Exeter, 1872. 6. 'Church Bells of Somerset,' &c., Exeter. 1875. 7. 'The Voice of the Church Bells,' Exeter, 1875. 8. 'Church Bells of Gloucestershire,' &c, Exeter, 1881. 9. 'History and Antiquities of the Parish of Bitton,' 2 parts, Exeter, 1881-3. These works were privately printed.[Catalogue of Oxford Graduates (under the name 'Ellicombe'); Church Bells, 7 Aug. 1885; Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, iii. 230; Morley's Reminiscences, i. 75-81.]