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Article dated : Fri, 2nd January 2004

The Rev. Henry Honeywood D’Ombrain

Henry D’Ombrain was born in Pimlico, London in 1818. The family were descended from Huguenot’s who had settled in East Kent in the 16th century. Both his parent’s were natives of Canterbury.

Rev. Henry D’Ombrain was the Perpetual Curate of the Church of St. George the Martyr in the High Street in Deal and later its first vicar when the Church of St George’s was made into a parish church in 1852. He served the people of Deal until 1868, when he moved to become the vicar of St. Mary’s, Westwell, Near Ashford where he served until his death in 1905.

Whilst Henry D’Ombrain had served the people of Kent for over 50 years many did not know that he had a second passion - A passion for roses. This passion probably came from his French ancestry, the rose being very fashionable in France, and Rev. Henry D’Ombrain travelled extensively in that country in the search for latest varieties.

In this respect he was described as "The Consul for French roses in England". Rev. Henry D’Ombrain became a celebrated amateur rose grower, a distinguished lecturer on horticultural subjects and the author of many articles on gardening matters written under the pseudonym: "D. DEAL dating from his time at the Church of St. George the Martyr.  In 1876 Rev. Henry D’Ombrain called a meeting of rose enthusiasts at the Adelphi Terrace in London at which the National Rose Society was formed. D’Ombrain was elected its first Honorary Secretary, a position he held for the next 25 years. Among his many achievements was the introduction of the Noisette rose into England, popularising the Bourbon rose, from 1860 until 1876 he edited "The Floral Magazine", and in 1876 produced his own volume "The Rosarian’s Year Book" – forerunner of "The Rose Annual".

The Rev. Henry D’Ombrain died at Westwell on 23 October 1905.