Skip Navigation
 
 

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Blunham > List of Blunham Rectors

List of Blunham Rectors

Blunham Rectory August 2009
Blunham Rectory August 2009

Advowson

The advowson of Blunham was always in the hands of the Lord of the Manor until manors were abolished by successive Law of Property Acts in the 1920s, when it reverted to the crown. At present [2009] with the addition of responsibility for the other parishes, the Rector is chosen by turn, the Crown once, Trinity College, Cambridge, twice and Balliol College, Oxford once in every four incumbents. 

In 1971 the Rector of Blunham also became responsible for Little Barford and Tempsford and additionally, since 1999, Great Barford and Roxton. Each parish retains its own parochial church council, churchwardens and services, however. Mogerhanger, once part of the parish became a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1860.

The figure of Christ from the east window August 2009
The figure of Christ from the east window August 2009

List of Rectors

  • Thomas de Hanville;
  • Walter Muschet, in succession to Thomas de Flanville, who was appointed to another benefice: 1233;
  • Stephen de Holewell, subdeacon: 1249;
  • Edward;
  • Stephen de Lond'; chaplain;
  • Nicholas de Marleberg, subdeacon, on the death of Stephen de Lond', chaplain of Edward, last Rector; John de Seleston, chaplain, was presented by Lord of the Manor Henry de Hastinges, but renounced the post: 5th August 1271;
  • Nicholas de Marleborg': 9th June 1278;
  • John de Sancto Walerico, clerk, presented as a minor by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, custody of him was committed to Philip de Waltham, he was instituted when of age: 21st December 1286;
  • William de Boudon, chaplain, on the resignation of John de Sancto Walerico: 16th April 1308;
  • Edmund Lestrange, priest, on the death of William de Boudon: 10th June 1336;
  • William de Heuele;
  • Peter Brown of Belgrave, priest, on the death of William de Heuele: 3rd May 1349;
  • (William Herle "parish chaplain" - i.e. curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1379);
  • John Stacy, priest, on the death of Peter de Belgrave: 6th March 1386;
  • Roger Grey, subdeacon, brother of Reginald Grey, 3rd Baron Ruthin, on the death of John Stacy who died 18th October 1394 at Waterford, Ireland; dispensation was given to Roger Grey, as he was not yet of age: 2nd December 1394;
  • Giles Retone, chaplain, on the death of Roger Grey: 6th June 1408;
  • John Gardiner, Rector of "Saint Mark's Otewych" [St.Martin Outwich?], City of London by exchange with Giles Reton: 15th January 1408;
  • Thomas Felde, Rector of Ross-on-Wyre [Herefordshire], by exchange with John Gardiner: 29th January 1409;
  • Thomas Crystmesse, on the death of Thomas Felde: 25th August 1419;
  • (Philip - 1420 "chaplain of the parish" i.e. curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1420);
  • William Grepnale, priest, on the death of the last Rector: 12th December 1433;
  • (Richard Hende, "chaplain" known to be at Blunham in this year: 1442);
  • Thomas Boteler, priest, on the death of William Gropenale: 20th January 1462;
  • Robert Browns, on the death of Thomas Botiller: 1st November 1472;
  • Thomas Markham, on the death of Robert Browne: 26th January 1476;
  • Henry Sleford, priest, on the death of Thomas Markham MA: 27th October 1503;
  • (Thomas Bruer known to be "parish priest" i.e. curate);
  • William Bell, clerk, known to be at Blunham in this year: 1528;
  • William Witter or Wittown, known to be rector in this year: 1534;
  • (Edward: 1535 "parish priest" i.e. curate known to be at Blunham in this year - wages thirty three shillings and fourpence: 1535)
  • (William Lewes, former chaplain of the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity "but meanly learned, no table to serve a cure and hath a pension of four pounds a year of the King's Majesty out of the late Monastery of Warden [dissolved 1537]: c. 1530s or 1540s;
  • Roger Tonge MA, on the death of William Wytton: 7th June 1542;
  • (William Glenton or Gleynton, "parish priest" i.e. curate known to be at Blunham in these years: 1544-1546);
  • George Joie or Joyce, clerk, on the death of Roger Tonget, Joyce died 1553: 15th November 1549;
  • Barnard Standiforth: 1553?;
  • Gabriel Power AM, on the deprivation of Barnard Standiforth presumably for not being a Roman Catholic: 12th May 1554;
  • Edward Blenerhasset also Hasset, his will was proved in PCC in 1570: 13th November 1559;
  • Thomas Nortone, clerk, on the death of Edward Blannerhasset, Nortone was buried 11th March 1621, his will was dated 25th February 1621 and proved 9th March 1621, he was buried in the chancel on the north side near his wife: 20th June 1570;
  • (William Butcher, curate, known to be at Blunham in this year: 1607);
  • John Donne DD, Dean of Saint Paul's, London, he had a dispensation to hold the Rectory of Blunham in plurality and was a famous poet: 14th March 1621;
  • (Richard Pearce, John Donne's curate known to be at Blunham in these years: 1626-1629);
  • Timothy Archer DD: 11th April 1631;
  • (John Willmer - died 1650; known to be at Blunham in this year);
  • (John Goodman - died 1659; known to be at Blunham in this year);
  • Samuel Fowler, vacant by the death of Timothy Archer, Fowler was ordained priest 3rd February 1660 by Thomas Winniffe, Bishop of Lincoln, he married Mrs. Ann Radcliffe at Flitton 21st August 1673 and was buried 1st December 1704: 13th January 1672;
  • Richard Berrow MA: 16th December 1704;
  • (John York - 1718-1720; curate known to be at Blunham in these years);
  • Ralph Hancock DD of Saint John'sCollege, Cambridge, chaplain to the Duke of Kent: 5th December 1728;
  • Philip Birt MA, on the death of Ralph Hancock: 9th March 1741;
  • Hadley Cox MA, on the death of Philip Birt, he had dispensation to hold Silsoe Vicarage with Blunham dated 19th January 1763: 8th December 1762;
  • Samuel Lawry MA, on the death of Hadley Cox: 19th April 1782;
  • (Amos Hayton, curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1805);
  • Robert Porter Beachcroft MA, on the death of Samuel Simon Lawry: 2nd June 1806;
  • (Edmund Grey, curate known to be at Blunham in these years: 1817-1819);
  • (W. F. Mansel, curate: 1819);
  • (James Cooper, curate: 1820-1823);
  • (Eardley Childers, curate: 1824-1826);
  • (Charles Pritchard, curate: 1826-1829);
  • (John Mendham, curae: 1829-1831);

Jacob Henry Brooke Mountain [Z50/19/21]
Jacob Henry Brooke Mountain [Z50/19/21]

  • Jacob Henry Brooke Mountain MA, on the death of Robert Porter Beachcroft: 29th January 1831;
  • (Richard Seymour, curate: 1831-1833);
  • (Francis de Lynes, curate: 1834);
  • (W. K. Clay, curate known to be at Blunham in these years: 1834-1837;
  • (John Brereton, curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1839);
  • (John Clare Pigot, curate: 1840-1843);
  • (Richard Hull, curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1843-1844);
  • (William Edward Edwards, curate known to be at Blunham in this year, salary £80: 1850);
  • (Vincent Brooke Clementi, curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1854);
  • (William Gashell Rouse, curate known to be at Blunham in these years, salary £50: 1854-1858);
  • (Alfred Field, curate known to be at Blunham in this year; salary £100: 1859);
  • (Graham Smith, curate known to be at Blunham in this year: 1868);
  • (J. G. C. Campion, curate known to be at Blunham in these years: 1869-1872);
  • Thomas Marlborough Berry MA, on the death of Jacob Henry Brooke Mountain: 9th November 1872;

Charles Henry Farmer [Z50/19/22]
Charles Henry Farmer [Z50/19/22]

  • Charles Henry Farmer: February 1893;
  • George Paul Davys: December 1910;
  • William Henry Hopkin: December 1918;
  • George Mostyn Prichard: June 1941;
  • Theodore Charles William Cooper Teape-Fugard: September 1948;
  • Gerald Claude Francis Edwards: 1954;
  • Thomas Purchas: 1971
  • David Kenneth Williams: 1981;
  • Peter W. Ricketts: 1986;
  • Richard D. Seymour-Whiteley: 1993;
  • Barbara Ebeling: 1999

The crucifixion from the east window August 2009
The crucifixion from the east window August 2009

Visitations

Volume 81 published by the Bedfordshire Historical Records Society (2002) is devoted to returns made during episcopal visitations to the county by the Bishop of Lincoln in the early 18th century, edited by former County Archivist Patricia Bell. It throws some interesting light on the state of the church in the parish.

At this date it was common for a rector or vicar to not live in the parish he nominally served, often because he had more than one, and so employed a curate to undertake their parochial duties for him. The Rector of Blunham, however, Richard Berrow lived in the Rectory, though he still employed a curate.

The returns ask for numbers of communicants, whether any came to church that were unbaptized, the frequency of services and other matters applying to the congregation. Rev. Berrow, or his curate, seem, to judge by reports, to have been a reasonably conscientious parson. The returns for Blunham are as follows:

  • 1709: "Two or three unbaptized come to Church. They promise speedily to receive that Holy Sacrament. Many of late Confirmed. Communicants about 30. But 17 received last Easter";
  • 1712: "The Rector resides in his Parsonage house. Two Adults Baptized since my last Visitation [i.e. the last one the Rector had to complete a form for - 1709]. One remains un-baptized who comes to church. Few not Confirmed. Divine Service twice every Lord's day, once upon Litanie days and Holy-days. Catechizing [i.e. teaching the scriptures] generally every Sunday in the year. Communion 4 times a year. Not above 26 usually receive".
  • 1717: "I do reside Personally upon my Cure, and in my Parsonage House. My Curate resides with me, to whom I do allow Twenty Pounds per annum Salary, beside Board and many other Conveniences. Several are not Confirmed…The Public Service is read in Our Church twice every Lord's Day, and on all the Feasts and Fasts of the Church and State Days of either Kind. There are Sermons twice on the Lord's Days…The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered in Our Church at least 3 times a Year, viz. the 3 Great Festivals [Christmas, Easter and Whitsun]; and sometimes at the Michaelmas season [September]. Our Communicants are 26 or a few more, I hope. Last Easter but 13 received. Sometimes more and sometimes fewer. Alas! Alas!"
  • 1720: "I do reside Personally upon my Cure, and in my parsonage House. I have a Residing Curate. His name is John York; He hath been Curate near upon Two Years. He is duly qalified and lives with me in my Parsonage Huse. I do allow Him twenty Pounds per Annum together with Board and Fire and Candle in his Chamber, and Washing and Lodging. Unbaptized - I know of none. The Publick Service is read in our church, and duly perform's twice every Lord's Day, as also on The Festivals and Fasts enjoyn'e by the Church or State…the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administer'd in Our Church at least three times every Year. The whole Number of communicants We do suppose to amount to Six and twenty. Sixteen received last Easter at Church and One at Home challeng'd a Private Communion as testifying Her constant adherence and it was duly performed…The chief Difficulties are in bringing Servants as well as Children to be Catechized".

View from the north door August 2009
View from the north door August 2009

Ecclesiastical Census

On Sunday 30th March 1851 a census of all churches, chapels and preaching-houses of every denomination was undertaken in England and Wales. The local results were published by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1975 as Volume 54, edited by D. W. Bushby. The return for Blunham church was made by the Rector - Jacob Brooke Mountain, who noted that the morning service attracted 133 adults and 89 Sunday scholars, that in the afternoon 250 adults and 78 Sunday scholars - totals of 222 and 328 respectively. He noted that average attendances were 260 and 492 respectively (Sunday 30th March was cold, wet and windy). He added: "The Church belongs to the four Hamlets [Blunham, Mogerhanger, Chalton and South Mills]. The numbers are at present below average from several families having been driven by agricultural distress into the union workhouse".