8th April 1817

Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born

William Collings Lukis was a renowned antiquarian and priest. He was born on Guernsey, educated at Elizabeth College in St Peter Port, then Trinity College, Cambridge.

He spent some time in France, perfecting his French, and subsequently served over three decades as a rector in Yorkshire. Lukis wrote several renowned antiquarian books – and one on church bells – and recovered several hundred historical artefacts from archaeological sites.

His father, Frederick, was also an antiquarian, whose work chiefly concerned the various Neolithic monuments of the Channel Islands.

Lukis and religion

Lukis served at various parishes following his ordination at Salisbury in 1841, eventually arriving at the Church of St Nicholas in East Grafton, Wiltshire. He moved to Wath-juxta-Rippon, Yorkshire, where, in March 1861 he was appointed rector. He also joined the freemasons.

During his time in Wath he instituted many improvements, including to the church and the local schools. The latter of these all benefitted from significant expansion under his direction.

He was generous with his work. In 1885, The Star reported that he had presented a copy of his illustrated work “The Prehistoric Stone Monuments of the British Isles, Cornwall”, to the Guille-Alles Library. The British Museum holds a collection of 909 objects that he uncovered.

Death and burial

He died in Wath 31 years after his appointment, following a lingering illness, on 7 December 1892. On doing so, he left the rectory vacant, which the Manchester Guardian advertised as being available from the Marquis of Ailesbury, with an annual salary of £785 (around £92,000 today).

He was buried on 17 December in St Mary’s Parish Church, Wath, and left behind nine children and his wife.


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