Reverend Samuel Hey M.A. was the longest-serving incumbent in charge of Sawley.  He took up the position of  ‘Perpetual Curate’ of Sawley in 1845.  Before that he’d been the vicar at Ockbrook.  From 1866 the prebend (revenue) was returned from Lichfield to the parish and the title changed to Rector.  Samuel served as the first rector (and rural dean) until he died in 1893.

According to William Smith (1854-1947) Rev. Hey was a remarkable character.  “He was a bachelor and possessed great dignity, a sense of propriety, independence and was a stickler for principle and kept everyone up to a high standard of what he conceived to be right, always expecting homage to be paid to him especially by school lads.  If they failed to touch their caps it was reported to the schoolmaster and a caning was the penalty.”

He gave the field opposite the Methodist Church on Tamworth Road to the people of Sawley as a public open space.  For many years this was the playing field for Mikado Road School.   Hey Street is named after him.

After this death the clergy and lay representatives of the deanery contributed a stained-glass window to the Church, while another was dedicated by his relatives.

Samuel Hey by Richard James Lane, after Josiah Gilbert lithograph, 1851 (1850)

Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

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