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Saint Cuthberts Rectory

14 Saint Cuthbert's Street June 2009
14 Saint Cuthbert's Street June 2009

The earliest known rector of Saint Cuthbert's is a man named Robert de Kelseya who was instituted in 1235. Clearly he, or his curate, must have inhabited a parsonage somewhere near the church, though its location is unknown. By the end of the 17th century the parish no longer had a rectory. In 1707 it was reported: "No parsonage house all the time I have known it for above 18 years" [ABE I page 11]. This was explained in notes on the parish written for the episcopal visitations of the Bishop of Lincoln. In 1709 the rector wrote: "Here is no Parsonage house" and in 1712: "It is said that Archdeacon Thorn about 40 years ago let the House fall down, and the materials be carried away, and no care has been taken about it since".  In 1720 the message was the same - there was no parsonage.

Henry Tatham
Henry Tatham [P120/28/4/1]

As far as can be determined this was the case until 1843 when a new rectory was built in Saint Cuthbert's Street for Rector Henry Tatham. The architect was James Woodroffe, who also drew up the plans for the new church of Saint Cuthbert, built between 1845 and 1847, so it looks as if it was decided to try to invigorate the parish with a suite of new buildings. The new rectory was on the west side of Saint Cuthbert's Street - number 14. The rectory had a new porch added in 1877 [X392/8/1-14].

2 Rothsay Gardens June 2009
2 Rothsay Gardens June 2009

The new rectory was not in occupation for very long. In 1923 the parish purchased 2 Rothsay Gardens to serve as a replacement rectory [P120/2/21]. It remained in this role until the abolition of Saint Cuthbert's parish in 1974. It is interesting to trace the occupation of 14 Saint Cuthbert's Street from 1923 via directories. The list below gives first and last known dates for each occupant as shown in directories held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service:

  • 1928 to 1932: Robert John Ozanne MA;
  • 1938 to 1939: Bedford Carriers and Ewart Harold Smith;
  • 1947: Ewart Harold Smith, Bedford Carriers (proprietor E. H. Smith) and Biggleswade Carriers (proprietor E. H. Smith);
  • 1949 to 1950: Ewart Harold Smith, Bedford Carriers (proprietor E. H. Smith) and Biggleswade Carriers (proprietor E. H. Smith); Thomas Henry Stanbridge and Silvery Ouse Pleasure Craft (proprietors N. and E. Smith);
  • 1952: Ewart Harold Smith, Thomas Henry Stanbridge and Silvery Ouse Pleasure Craft (proprietors N. and E. Smith);
  • 1955 to 1965: Pratt (Watford) Limited, roofing contractors;
  • 1966: R. Williams, florist;
  • 1967: empty;
  • 1968 to 1976: Kenning Tyre Services

At the time of writing the former rectory is occupied by Provincial Hospital Services Association.