THIS month 150 years ago, The Northern Echo’s sister paper, the Darlington & Stockton Times, reported that “on Sunday night, the Venerable Archdeacon Charles Dodgson expired at Croft Rectory rather unexpectedly”.

It said: “He had been out a day or two previous, but succumbed under a sharp attack of diarrhoea.”

Which sounds a thoroughly unpleasant way to go.

The paper said how Mr Dodgson had been presented with the living of Croft, to the south of Darlington, by Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel in 1843 when it was worth £1,000-a-year – that’s about £125,000-a-year in today’s values, according to the Bank of England Inflation Calculator.

It noted how Mr Dodgson had “never scrupled to give utterance to his opinions, which brought on a pamphlet controversy between him and Dr Goode, the Dean of Ripon, some four or five years since”. A “pamphlet controversy” was where the clergymen published a series of pamphlets rubbishing each other’s views – it was the mid 19th Century equivalent of a Twitterspat today.

The D&S said that the funeral had taken place on June 26: “With becoming calm and solemnity the remains of the deceased were consigned to the family vault, in the secluded churchyard of the village.”

The paper then listed 28 North Yorkshire clergymen who had attended the funeral along with the names of many other local worthies. But it doesn’t mention Mr Dodgson’s eldest son who was most definitely present.

He was also called Charles Dodgson, although two years earlier, he had converted his name to Lewis Carroll and found a degree of fame with his first children’s book, Alice in Wonderland. Indeed, he had been negotiating the publication of the follow-up, Alice Through the Looking Glass, when he had heard of his father’s sudden illness. He dashed back to Croft Rectory from Oxford but arrived too late. The rector was dead, his body was laid out on a bed strewn with flowers beside a cross made from roses.

In his diary, Carroll wrote that the death was “the greatest blow that has even fallen on my life”.