Canon William Wordsworth Leeke. M.A.

Canon Leeke was more referred to in the parish of Boultham as Willie Leake. A Cambridge scholar, he won his blues in both boxing and rowing. He was a man of strong Christian principals and if he had one failing it was that if he thought something was not correct or was being tackled the wrong way in the Church of England he did not remain silent but said his piece. This openness and his forthright views did not endear him to the church hierarchy so consequently he never advanced further than a parish Priest and a canon of the Cathedral in Lincoln.

I knew Canon Leeke throughout my youth but did not appreciate what a good example of a good living, Pious, Christian man he was and what a real privilege it was to have known and been taught by him. He served the Parish of Boultham, Lincoln for over 50 years. Whenever one speaks to the older folk in the parish about Canon Leeke it is always with respect and affection. At the same time one never fails to hear their memories about him on his "sit up and beg bicycle". About him being picked up out of the road particularly at Skellingthorpe road junction after one or other of his many spills or brushes with traffic.

William Wordsworth Leeke

Another tale I was told by one of the old people in the parish was that when he was a young parson leaving St Helen’s church one Sunday evening he was accosted by two men who were intent on relieving him of the services collection.

Willie sized them up and said it is here in my pocket and you shall not have it but you may try if you wish. After he had laid them both out he carried one of them so far towards the police station at the South Park roundabout and went back for the other one. If they looked like coming round he rendered them helpless again and carried both of them about of a mile to hand them over to the law.

I am told that when he received his stipend cheque each month one of the first things he did was to write half of it away to various good causes.

Holy Cross Church

It was Canon Leeke’s foresight which was to enable the parish of Boultham to have the land ready to build the new parish church of Holy Cross in 1939/40. and to get the church built and paid for when the parish had grown enormously after the war.

My own recollections of him include the time I went to see him about the banns of marriage when I got married. We were shown into his office which was full of books and papers. He cleared a chair of books for my future wife to be able to sit down but made me stand whilst he wrote out all the details. To the ladies he was a perfect gentleman, to me he was a saint.


Canon William Wordsworth Leeke


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