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List of Leighton Buzzard Vicars

Sedilia in All Saints October 2008
Sedilia in All Saints October 2008

Advowson

The advowson was in the hands of the Bishop of Dorchester-on-Thames in Anglo-Saxon times, transferring to the Bishop of Lincoln shortly after the conquest when the Anglo-Saxon bishopric was abolished. Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln from 1209 to 1235 created the rector a prebend, in other words a canon of the cathedral, deriving income from the cathedral estates. In 1276, however, a vicarage was ordained, the vicar becoming the parish priest and the rector and prebend the owner of the advowson. The prebend remained the patron of the living until the mid 19th century, after which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners acquired the right and it now [2008] is in the hands of the Bishop of St.Albans.

A gargoyle from All Saints in the 1920s
A gargoyle from All Saints in the 1920s [P91/2/24]

The parish of Leighton Buzzard originally included the modern parishes of Billington , Eggington, Heath & Reach and Stanbridge, these, however, became separate ecclesiastical parishes in 1810, 1810, 1826 and 1735 respectively. Interestingly in 2006 this was somewhat reversed when the Ousel Valley Team Ministry was formed comprising the parishes of Billington, Eggington, Heath & Reach, Hockliffe and Leighton Buzzard. Each parish retains it own parochial church council and churchwardens, however and Leighton Buzzard continues to have its own vicar.

Rear of nave altar October 2008
Rear of nave altar October 2008

List of Vicars

  • William [Rector];
  • John - 1240 [Rector];
  • Thomas de Kyrlington - 1277 [priest];
  • Jacobus de Freston - 22 Nov 1292 [chaplain, on death of Thomas de Kyrlington]
  • John de Hampton - 7 Aug 1293 [chaplain; on presentment of Jacobus de Freston to prebend vicarage of Thame];
  • John de Schireburn - 16 Mar 1302 [chaplain; on resignation of John de Hampton];
  • John Crok - 19 Nov 1329 [of Wenge, priest, on death of John Hostage];
  • Ralph Chivaler - 11 Nov 1335 [priest, on resignation of John Crok of Wenge] he probably died of the Black Death;
  • Thomas de Penne - 8 May 1349 [priest, on death of Ralph Chivaler] - he probably died of the Black Death;
  • John le Govere - 19 Oct 1349 [of Lethebury, priest, on death of Thomas Penne];
  • Thomas de Foxton - 13-- [Rector of Tunveston, Buckinghamshire];
  • William Gregby - 1379 [Rector of Tunveston, Buckinghamshire, by exchange with Thomas de Foxton];
  • William Gynwell;
  • John Stacy - 23 Oct 1386 [priest, to become Prebend, on death of William Gynwell. Royal Brief as to Prebend, and commission to enquire as to vacancy c.1387];
  • William Packyngton - 20 Oct 1386 [priest of Bannebury, on exchange with John Stacy];
  • William Lynne - 1389 [priest, Vicar of Kempston, on exchange with Nicholas Poire, priest;]
  • Robert de Maryng - 6 Aug 1397 [priest, on resignation of William Lynne];
  • John Wadupp;
  • Nicholas Pyrr - 8 Jun 1407 [Vicar of Kempston, by exchange with John Wadupp];
  • William Taillour - 16 Apr 1415 [chaplain, on death of Nicholas Parre];
  • Thomas Wykes - 26 Apr 1420 [Rector of Ore, Diocese of Cirencester, on exchange with William Taillour];
  • Robert Horewode - 5 Jun 1420 [priest, on death of Thomas Wykes];
  • William Baylay - 30 Dec 1440 [Rector of Cheddington, on exchange with Robert Horewode];
  • John Smarte - 1442;
  • John Pulmond - 9 Feb 1443 [priest, on resignation of John Smarte];
  • Thomas Worley - 20 Mar 1452 [priest, on death of John Pulmont];
  • John Ippyng - 14 Mar 1469 [priest, on resignation of Thomas Wyrley];
  • John Assheby - 3 Oct 1470 [on resignation of John Ippyng, exchanged to St Peter's, Duxworth, Diocese of Ely];
  • John Griest;
  • Robert Watson - 19 Jun 1526 [priest. on death of John Grist];
  • Thomas Googe - 2 Jul 1549 [clerk, on death of last vicar];
  • George Conyngham - 16 May 1569 [clerk];
  • Anthony Sclater - 9 Mar 1571 [vicar];
  • James Dupont - 12 Nov 1641 [clerk];
  • William Rathband - 2 Mar 1642 [clerk];
  • John Goodwin - 1644;
  • Jacob Tompkins - 1645 [intruded];
  • Christopher Sclater - 19 Feb 1624;
  • Samuel Clarke;
  • William Annand - 1658;
  • John Thresher - 22 Sep 1665 [M.A., on death of last];
  • Joshua Pulford - 14 Jul 1673 [M.A., ordained priest 20 Dec 1663, by John, Bishop of Lichfield];
  • William Annand;
  • Joshua Pulford - 5 Jun 1710 [A.B., on resignation of Joshua Pulford];
  • William Whip - 12 Jun 1712 [buried 23 Apr 1719];
  • Thomas Snow - 6 May 1719 [A.M., on death of William Whip];
  • William Hawtayne - 28 Feb 1733 [M.A., on death of Thomas Snow];
  • Octavian Reynolds - 8 Jul 1748 [M.A.on death of WIlliam Hautayne;]
  • Richard Reynolds - 11 Jun 1759 [clerk, on resignation of Octavian Reynolds];
  • Henry Osman - 25 Oct 1773 [B.A., on death of Richard Reynolds];
  • Wiliam Oddie - 16 Oct 1781 [B.A., on death of Henry Osman];
  • John Wilson - 25 Oct 1786 [B.A., on cessation of William Oddie];
  • John Wilson - 2 Sep 1788 [B.A., on cessation of John Wilson (he had been presented to Witon Vicarage, Lincolnshire];
  • Joseph Stevenson - 2 Feb 1849 [M.A., on death of John Wilson. Resigned 25 Mar 1862 - he converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Jesuit];
  • Thomas Wallis Richards - 8 Apr 1862 [on resignation of John Stevenson];
  • G F Hills - Jan 1901;
  • Sidney Ernest Swann - Feb 1933;
  • Arthur Thomas Stephens - Feb 1937;
  • Stanley John Forrest - May 1943;
  • John James Frank Scammell - 1954;
  • Peter Harold Whittaker - 1981;
  • John Anthony Lovett Hulbert - 1992;
  • Grant Fellows - 2003

 Looking west from the chancel October 2008
Looking west from the chancel October 2008

 

Episcopal 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 general state of the church in the parish. In 1709 the vicar, Joshua Pulford, reported: "In Leighton 220 communicants, of which about 130 received at Easter last".

Interior of All Saints looking east about 1910
Interior of All Saints looking east about 1910 [Z50/72/182]

In 1717 the vicar, William Whip, reported: "I do live in my Vicarage house. I have [a curate] who is in all respects duly qualifyd and he lives with me. There are some persons who sometimes come to church and are not baptized. Several that are not confirmed but when opportunity offers will be. I have not baptized any adults. Services Twice every Sunday unless prevented by sickness or other necessary occasion…Sacrament Commonly eight times a year, when the usuall number of Communicants is about 60 - at Easter last above one hundred. I give Notice as required, but have no names sent in, nor have refused any one the H. Communion, because I know none deserving of such a refusal". In 1720 the new Vicar, Thomas Snow,  gave the curate's name as Phillip Whitaker.

Angel from chancel ceiling October 2008
Angel from chancel ceiling October 2008

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 All Saints was made by the Vicar, Joseph Stevenson who noted that the church had seating accommodation for 1,195 people. Attendance was 433, with 280 Sunday Scholars, in the morning, 56, with 280 Sunday Scholars, in the afternoon and 466, with 150 Sunday Scholars, in the evening – grand totals of 713, 336 and 616.