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List of Campton Rectors

Campton parish vexillum April 2015
Campton parish vexillum April 2015

Advowson

Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908. It noted that the first mention of the advowson of Campton church is 1220 when Beaulieu Priory, near Beadlow in the neighbouring parish of Clophill, presented the rector. The Victoria County History speculates that the advowson may have been given to the priory when it was founded in 1150. In 1428 Beaulieu was annexed by the abbey of Saint Albans [Hertfordshire]. A number of patrons are then recorded: John Depyng, clerk in 1440; Thomas Berkyngton and Roger Huswite in 1441; Thomas Bekyngton in 1441 and Edmund, Lord Grey de Hastynges in 1464. The abbey of Saint Albans then took over the advowson until the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547) and the Crown took the advowson.

In 1547 the advowson was granted to Thomas, Lord Seymour. He was an adviser to Edward VI (1547-1553) but was executed for treason in 1549. Richard Snowe was the next to be granted the advowson. By 1605 Daniel Goldsmith held it, probably after purchasing it from Snowe's son. George Noble was patron of the living in 1644 and in 1685 it was Sir John Osborn, whose family held it into the 20th century.

Shefford was once a chapel of ease in the ecclesiastical parish of Campton. It became a separate parish in 1903. From 1955 to 1982 the two parishes were held in plurality, the parson living in Shefford.

From 1982 until 2004 Campton shared a priest with Meppershall and Upper Stondon. In 2004 the parish was, instead, held in plurality with Campton and Haynes. Each parish retains its own churchwardens, parochial church council and parish officers but shares a priest. Currently [2015] the patronage of the combined living is shared between the Bishop of Saint Albans and Balliol College, Oxford.

 Jesus in Gethsemane from the south aisle west window April 2015
Jesus in Gethsemane from the south aisle west window April 2015

List of Rectors

  • William , chaplain: between 1215 and 1220;
  • Richard de Camelton, on the resignation of William, late rector: 1244;
  • Simon de Hemmesby, chaplain, on the death of Richard: 2nd December 1273;
  • John de Hecham , subdeacon on the  death of Simon de Flegg: 6th April 1292;
  • Peter de Conesgrave, subdeacon, on the death of John de Heygham: 19th November 1298;
  • Alan de Gonshill , deacon, on the death of Peter: 23rd January 1327;
  • John de Ganeworth, priest, on the resignation of Allan de Gonsill: 27th June 1344;
  • Thomas Attebrigg: 1340s;
  • Ralph Snowe of Hetwyk, clerk, on the death of Thomas: 18th October 1349;
  • Giles atte Well, Vicar of Meldeburn, Ely diocese [Melbourne Cambridgeshire] by exchange with Ralph Snow: 30th July 1356;
  • John de Monte Acuto;
  • Thomas Crouch, Rector of Eversden, Ely diocese [Cambridgeshire], on exchange with John de Monte Acuto: 6th November 1383;
  • Thomas Tydy, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Crouche, who exchanged to Corby Rectory [Northamptonshire]: 6th April 1392;
  • William Den, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Tydy, who exchanged to Letchworth Rectory [Hertfordshire]: 10th January 1398;
  • John Chokwold, priest, on the resignation of William Dene, who exchanged to Swaueseye, diocese of Ely [Swavesey, Cambridgeshire]: 7th January 1400;
  • Henry Everedon, chaplain, on the resignation of John Choowold, who exchanged to Walkern Rectory [Hertfordshire]: 10th January 1402;
  • Robert Merston, Rector of Magna Childerley, diocese Ely [Great Childerley, Cambridgeshire], by exchange with Henry Evedon, Rector of Campton: 11th April 1405;
  • William Tappe, Vicar of Hytte [Hitchin, Hertfordshire?], on exchange with Robert Merston: 10th April 1409;
  • John Wryght of Wythern [Withern, Lincolnshire], Rector of Wydyngton, London diocese [Widdington, Essex], on exchange with William Tappe: 2nd April 1416;
  • John Ram, chaplain, on the resignation of John Wryght: 9th December 1416;
  • Thomas Thorne of Charleton, on exchange with John Ram: 25th January 1417;
  • John Bevyll, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Hore: 20th October 1431;
  • William Maxey, priest, vacant: 31st October 1440;
  • Elias Holcot M.A., on the resignation of William Maxeye: 26th June 1441;
  • William Northwold, priest, on the resignation of Elias Holcote: 5th November 1441;
  • William Halle, priest; on the resignation of William Northwold, who exchanged to Aston Rectory: 27th April 1462;
  • Thomas Large, clerk, on the resignation of William Hall: 12th November 1464;
  • William Northwold, priest, on the death of Thomas Large: 9th November 1466;
  • John Caller, priest, on the death of William Northwold: 14th February 1467;
  • Oliver Elke, priest, on the resignation of John Caller: 15th November 1505;
  • Robert Catton, on the death of the last incumbent: 4th August 1539;
  • Edward Robinson: 2nd July 1552;
  • Robert Fitzhenry, clerk, on the resignation of Edward Robinsonne: 1566;
  • Hugh Stanbridge BA:  6th October 1586;
  • William Gouldsmith MA (he died in 1666): 9th March 1604;
  • Daniel Gouldsmith, clerk (buried 2nd October 1685): 8th May 1644;
  • William Hill –MA, on the death of D. Goldsmith; he married Mary Buckley of St. Giles-in-the-Fields [Middlesex], spinster, on 26th Jan 1686 and was buried on 16th January 1703: 7th January 1686;
  • Antelminelli Kelynge BA, on the death of William Hill; he married Mary, widow of William Hill on 9th July 1705 and was buried on 12th October 1726: 10th February 1703;
  • (Richard Finch, licensed curate: 6th September 1709);
  • (John Keye BA – licensed curate 7th August 1711);
  • (Matthew Hanscombe, curate: 1716);
  • Thomas Osborn MA, on the death of the last incumbent, Rector for 63 years, buried 20th March 1790: 22nd June 1727;
  • (Jacob Janeway BA, licensed vicar on 25th September 1748);
  • Edmond Williamson M.A., on the death of Thomas Osborn: 16th August 1790;
  • Edmond Riland Williamson MA, on the death of E. Williamson: 12th March 1839;
  • William Best BA, on the death of Richard Williamson; he resigned 30th December 1869: 1st December 1864;
  • George Montague Osborn BA, on the resignation of the previous incumbent: 28th January 1870;
  • A.E. Lloyd: May 1911;
  • Francis Fairchild Greig: September 1916;
  • Henry James Tanner: November 1928;
  • Arthur Sydney Ponsonby McGhee: March 1933;
  • David John Lawrence: 1955;
  • Harold Percy Hansen: 1966;
  • George Thomas Botting: 1971;
  • Roy Frederick Day: 1976;
  • Gordon Hamilton Waller: 1982;
  • William David Brynmor Williams: 1987;
  • John Henry Barrall: 1991;
  • David W Renshaw: 1999;
  • Dean Henley: 2006

The font April 2015
The font April 2015

Visitations

Volume 81 published by the Bedfordshire Historical Records Society (2002) is devoted to returns made during episcopal visitationsto 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 non-residency and the general 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 returns for Campton are as follows, one wonders if the curates were for work in Shefford:

  • 1709: A curate, Richard Finch, had been licensed that year. "None come to church un-baptized. Most not Confirmed. Communicants but 50 at Easter last. Great numbers there are who seldom, or never receive at all".
  • 1712: The Rector resides in his Parsonage House. He has also a residing Curate cum [with] Stipend £35 per Annum. None come to Church unbaptized. Many not Confirmed. Divine Service in the Church twice every Lord's day, once every Holy day and Fast. Litanie days in Lent …Communion 4 times a year: About 50 receive".
  • 1717: "I do reside in my Parsonage-house. I have a Curate, who resides, and has a license. I allow him to the value 35 pounds per annum. I know of none of the former sort [unbaptized]. There are many I believe not confirmed. No Adults Baptized. Publick Service is read twice every Lord's day, and once on every Festival and fast, and Wednesdays and Frydays in Lent … The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administred 4 times in the year. The number of Communicants is about 50. Near that number communicated at Easter last. Timely warning is given. I have not insisted much upon their sending in their Names, lest it should hinder some from coming (for a very small thing hinders some). I have not refused any".
  • 1720: "I do reside in my Parsonage house. I have a curate. His name is Matthew Hanscombe. He hath been with me near 4 years. Is duly qualified according to the Canons. Lives with me in my House. I allow him to the value of 35li Per annum. Unbaptized I know of none such. Publick Service is read in my church twice every Lord's day, one every festival or fast, and on Wednesdays and Frydays in Lent … The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administred constantly, four times in the year. The usual number of Communicants is about fifty. About that number received at Easter last".

 The pulpit April 2015
The pulpit April 2015

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 Campton church noted the following pieces of information:

  • 425 at the afternoon service (morning service was at Shefford)
  • 213 Sunday scholars at the afternoon service"Crowded Service".