The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
The Venerable George James Cholomondeley
The Venerable George James Cholomondeley, sometime Archdeacon of Christchurch and Vicar of Opawa, belonged to a branch of one of the oldest and noblest families of England; he was closely related to the Marquis of Cholomondeley, and was a cousin of the present Lord Delamere. The history of these families dates back to the eleventh century. The late Archdeacon's estate at Port Levy is named after the old family seat, “Vale Royal,” the residence of the present Lord Delamere. The subject of this sketch was born at Peel, Isle of Man, in 1833, and came to New Zealand in the early fifties, when he joined his cousin, Thomas Cholmondeley, and his brother Charles at Port Levy. Subsequently he returned to England, and studied at St. Aidan's College, Birkenhead, where he took deacon's orders in 1858, and priest's in 1859. After serving two curacies, one in Norfolk and the other in Gloucestershire, under the same rector, Archdeacon Philpott, he returned to New Zealand in 1861. He was temporarily located as curate at St. Michael's, Christchurch, and afterwards became vicar of the pastoral cure of the Waimakariri. In 1862 he was appointed to the parish of Heathcote, where he remained until 1875. He was Diocesan Secretary from 1887 to 1890, and became vicar of Opawa in 1875, a canon of the Christchurch Cathedral in 1882, and Archdeacon of Christchurch in 1890. During his lifetime Archdeacon Cholmondeley published many valuable works on religious subjects, notably, “Retrospect and Prospect,” and “Church Work,” together with other single sermons. In 1876 he wrote a reply to the tract, “Does the Church of England Sanction Auricular Confession,” and in 1885 he published a pamphlet, entitled, “Clergy Pensions.” Archdeacon Cholmondeley was a member of the Historical Committee of the Canterbury Natives' Association, and the very complete work, containing the names of the Canterbury pioneers who arrived in the ships of the Canterbury Association, was compiled mainly by him. After a long life spent in the service of the Church, Archdeacon Cholmondeley died at the vicarage of Opawa, on the 11th of December, 1901, deeply regretted by all classes and denominations. He left a widow and a surviving family of two sons and three daughters to mourn his loss. The youngest daughter is married to Mr. G. U. Tapper, accountant at the Christchurch branch of the Bank of New Zealand.