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Henry (Polly)

Clergyman, Town Councillor, Schoolmaster

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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Reverend Henry Alexander Chichele Hewitt -- Polly to his friends -- was born on 14 February 1878 in Riversdale.

His father was a clergyman and too poor to afford a good education for his son but a wealthy uncle came to the rescue and sent his nephew to Keble College (Oxford) where he was awarded a Master's Degree.

He thereafter went to Ely Theological College and was ordained at Ascot. At first he joined a celibate order -- Cowley Fathers -- but, on returning to South Africa in 1905 to be at the side of his ailing father, he found himself unable to rejoin the order and he later married.

Hewitt served at Graaf Reinet and Tarkastad before being transferred to East London in October 1911, where he became rector of St Peter's Church on the West Bank, a post he held for 27 years. He also became the principal of the West Bank High School from 1928 until 1938.

He was elected to the Town Council to represent Ward 1 in February 1913 but resigned in April the following year when he found that his ministerial duties were demanding too much of his time.

He eventually left East London to take up duties in Grahamstown as the warden of the Community of the Resurrection, where he was rector from 1940 to 1948.

He later became Archdeacon of King William's Town until his retirement in 1956, after which he proceeded first to Pretoria and then to Johannesburg where he continued preaching even at the age of 89.

Hewitt eventually died at Johannesburg in August 1973, at the age of 95.

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