David Nicholas Lockwood (1923-2006) was a country clergyman, poet and biographer.
Lockwood was a native of Scarborough. His upbringing was not easy; his father deserted his family when David was only four. Although his mother worked as a librarian, the family was very poor. David attended Drax Grammar School, but had to leave at the age of fifteen to find work. He later said that leaving school early was one of the hardest things of his life. For four years, he was employed as a gardener at the local nursery. After that, he found work at a library; this helped him to achieve his secondary school certificate. In 1948, aged twenty-five, he entered St David’s College, Lampeter. He held a Phillips Scholarship for two years, and then graduated with an Honours BA in English. Price comments that Lockwood loved Lampeter.
It was also while Lockwood was at Lampeter that he met his future wife, Wilhelmina. In 1950 he was one of a group of Lampeter students who cycled across Europe to the Oberammergau Passion Play. He met a group of Dutch girls in Heidelberg, (having decided to have a beer rather than attend Evensong with his friends). One of these was Willy, then a medical student. The couple were married in 1954. They went on to have three daughters, Diana, Helena, and Laura, and an adopted son, Peter.
After leaving Lampeter, Lockwood prepared for ordination at Queen’s College, Birmingham. He served curacies at Halesowen and then at Bewdley, a few miles west of Kidderminster. In 1960 he became Rector of Great Witley and Little Witley, in the Malvern Hills.
Picture: Great Witley Church, where Lockwood was rector
He had always had literary leanings and alongside, his parochial work, he was able to find time to write. After four years, the family moved again, this time to the parishes of Hanley Castle and Hanley Swan, (still in the Malverns). They were to stay there for the next seventeen years.
Sadly, tragedy struck the family in April 1971; Helena, the middle daughter, was hit by a car and killed on her way home from school. She was only eleven years old. Although the tragedy shook Lockwood’s faith deeply, he came out of it with a renewed sense of God in his life. He later wrote a book about Helena, Love and Let Go (Mayhew-McCrimmon, 1975), to help him cope with his grief. Lockwood commented that he wanted to ‘pin Helena down, capture her as she was before time tidied up my memories of her.’ Writing in the Church Times, Pruen commented, ‘Gently and poetically written, it is deeply personal, and is indeed one of those volumes which the author has written for his own sake as much as for that of his readers, who in a sense are eavesdroppers.’
In 1981, Lockwood took early retirement, planning to spend his time writing. In the same year, he was awarded an MA by the University of Birmingham for a thesis on Thomas Carlyle. In 1962 he had joined the Kilvert Society, celebrating the work of the Victorian clergyman and diary writer, Francis Kilvert. Lockwood marked the 150th anniversary of his birth by writing the first biography of him, Thomas Kilvert, (Seren Books: Poetry Wales Press, 1990). Palmer commented of Lockwood’s writing, ‘He has researched far and wide … and has come up with many fascinating titbits of information.’ Two years later, Lockwood followed it up with Kilvert, the Victorian (Seren Books, 1992). He presented a selection of extracts from Kilvert’s diaries, arranged by years. Lockwood wrote an introduction to each year’s selections. Price commented that he could think of no better introduction to Kilvert. Lockwood became president of the Kilvert Society in 1999. He also published several volumes of poetry: Private View (printed by Stanbrook, 1968), Winter Wheat (Gomer, 1986), Marked Paper (Gomer, 1995) and The Coming of Age (Three Peaks Press, 2004).
Lockwood died at home on 9 March 2006. A service of celebration for his life was held in St Peter’s Church, Glasbury; he was buried in the churchyard of Llowes Church, a few steps from his home.
Price, D.T.W. (2006, November 2). The Revd. David Lockwood. Church Times. Retrieved February 1 2021 from https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2005/29-july/gazette/the-revd-david-lockwood
Price, D.T.W. (2005). Obituary. The Reverend David Lockwood M.A. President of the Kilvert Society. The Journal of the Kilvert Society, 17,1-2. Retrieved February 1 2021 from http://www.thekilvertsociety.org.uk/assets/downloads/archive/kilvert-society-journal-17.pdf
Cranston, P. (2005). A portrait of the Reverend David Lockwood priest and poet. The Journal of the Kilvert Society, 17,1-2. Retrieved February 2 2021 from http://www.thekilvertsociety.org.uk/assets/downloads/archive/kilvert-society-journal-17.pdf
Pruen, H. (1975, July 25). Life & death. Love and let go. By David Lockwood (Mayhew-McCrimmon, 80 p.) Church Times. Retrieved February 2 2021 from https://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/view/pagview/ChTm_1975_07_25_007
Martin, J. (1976, June 4). Enter the trouble-sharers. Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 2 2021 from https://go.gale.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=Newspapers&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=SingleTab&hitCou
Palmer, B. (1990, July 27). Doyen of diaries. David Lockwood. Francis Kilvert. Seren Books, Poetry Wales Press £10.99. Church Times. Retrieved February 2 2021 from https://www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/view/pagview/ChTm_1990_07_27_011