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A List of Segenhoe and Ridgmont Vicars

The parish vexillum June 2011
The parish vexillum June 2011

Advowson

The advowson of the church of Segenhoe was granted to Dunstable Priory in 1189 and passed to the Crown and then to the Lord of the Manor of Segenhoe until 1794 when it was purchased by the Duke of Bedford.

In 1720 it was noted: "This Parish is being consolidated with Husborne Crawley". In fact they had shared the same vicar since 1715 and may have continued to do so from 1720 to 1790. From 1844 to 1849 John Vaux Moore was Vicar of Ridgmont as well as Rector of Aspley Guise and from 1849 to 1866 William Charles Cavendish Bentinck was Vicar of Ridgmont as well as Vicar of Husborne Crawley. Ridgmont was held with Hulcote and Salford from 1934 to 1961. Since 1961 Ridgmont has shared a Vicar with Husborne Crawley and since 1980 with Aspley Guise and Husborne Crawley (in fact the new incumbent of Aspley Guise, Robert Hardy, later Bishop of Lincoln was in charge of all three parishes from his appointment in 1975 but was not officially Rector of Aspley Guise and Vicar of Husborne Crawley and Ridgmont until 1980). The parishes remain independent, with their own parochial church councils, churchwardens and services.

Bedford Estates is still one of the patrons of the living of the three churches and has one turn in four in nominating the vicar. The other patrons are the Bishop of Saint Albans (who has two turns in four) and the Lord Chancellor.

Christ the Good Shepherd from the east window of the north aisle of Ridgmont church June 2011
Christ the Good Shepherd from the east window of the north aisle of Ridgmont church June 2011

List of Vicars

The following list of vicars of Segenhoe and Ridgmont is as complete as records will allow.

  • Robert: clerk: 1220;
  • Robert de Sancto Edmundo;
  • Dionisius de Raveneston: chaplain: 1227;
  • Matthew de Lincoln: chaplain: 1236;
  • a vicar admitted: 1241;
  • John Sleigrom of Dunstable: resigned in 1247 on receiving the Vicarage of Sundon: 1245;
  • Robert de Sancto Edmundo: chaplain: 1249;
  • Robert de Bikeleswade: chaplain: 1252;
  • Thomas de Elhone: chaplain; on the death of Robert: 9th November 1273;
  • William de Lameleye: priest; on the death of Thomas: 15th October 1332;
  • William Herdwik of Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire]; priest; on the death of William de Lambeleye: 1st March 1334;
  • John Hynewyk: priest; on the death of William: 7th June 1361;
  • Rochard Clerk: of Ampthill; priest; on the resignation of John de Henewyk: 12th September 1363;
  • Henry Martin: chaplain; on the resignation of Richard Clerke: 13th March 1401;
  • John Rouland: Rector of Brychold [Bircholt, Kent], Canterbury Diocese; by exchange with Henry Martin: 30th April 1402;
  • Thomas Kemele: chaplain; on the resignation of John Rouland: 17th December 1402;
  • Thomas Exhalle: Vicar of Seagry [Wiltshire], by exchange with Thomas Kemele: 30th November 1404;
  • Nicholas Masonn;
  • John Bilneye: chaplain; on the death of Nicholas Masonn: 28th January 1411;
  • Roger Driver: priest; on the death of William Sylney [or Dylney]: 24th May 1421;
  • John White;
  • John Michell: priest; on the death of John Whyte: 12th March 1431;
  • Helias North: priest; on the resignation of John Michell: 11th March 1444;
  • John Baudryk: priest; vacant: 19th December 1453;
  • William Ryppon: on the death of John Baldryk: 26th January 1477;
  • John Pye: on the death of William Rypton: 18th September 1480;
  • Thomas Freston: priest; on the resignation of John Pye: 18th December 1480;
  • Thomas Stokes: priest; on the resignation of Thomas Freston: 8th January 1482;
  • William Barton: on the death of Thomas Stokys: 20th January 1504;
  • John Markham: chaplain; on the death of William Barton: 5th March 1506;
  • Richard Barcocke;
  • William Tryppe: priest; on the death of Richard Barcoke: 20th September 1524;
  • William Mott: clerk; on the death of William Tripp; buried 14th March 1570: 1566;
  • Richard Harrie: clerk; on the death of William Mott: 18th January 1573;
  • Humphrey Herret: buried 10th March 1619: 20th March 1579;
  • John Blackshaw: 29 March 1611;
  • Ralph Bower: 1618;
  • Ralph Noalton: 1633;
  • Francis Greene: 1679;
  • John Car: clerk: 1690;
  • ( - Knight: curate: 1706);
  • (Joseph Pulford, curate: 1709);
  • ( - Horne: curate: 1712);
  • Thomas Wilkinson: minister: 1715;

"This Parish is being consolidated with Husborne Crawley": 1720

  • (Edward Staunton: curate: 1720);
  • (Francis Richardson A. B.: vacant; died 1760; Vicar of Husborne Crawley and possibly also of Ridgmont;  13th August 1725):
  • (Thomas Tipping Aveling - 20 Jan 1795 [clerk; Vicar of Husborne Crawley and possibly also of Ridgmont: 20th January 1795);
  • Edward Tanqueray: clerk; sequestrator; licenced to serve the cure with the profits thereof, for serving it: 26th August 1790;
  • John Vaux Moore M. A.: Rector of Aspley Guise 1844-1864; vacant; living sequestrated; resigned 2nd July 1849]: 13th December 1843;
  • William Charles Cavendish Bentinck M. A.: on the resignation of John Vaux Moore; Vicar of Husborne Crawley 1849-1865: 23rd November 1849.

The new parish church in Ridgmont consecrated 1st November 1855

  • Hon. Arthur Charles Baillie Hamilton M. A.: on the death of William Charles Cavendish Bentinck: 7th February 1866;
  • Henry Joshua Lomax: January 1892;
  • William Wing Carew Baker: November 1896;
  • John Robert Hare Duke; September 1903;
  • John Shelton: October 1906;
  • Albert Rust: Vicar of Husborne Crawley 1900-1914 and 1926-1946: March 1914;
  • Charles Russell Dickinson: September 1919;
  • William Rashleigh: January 1928;

Ridgmont held with Hulcote and Salford 1934-1961

  • Irwin Frost Smith: July 1934;
  • Edgar Richards: September 1943;
  • A.Wilkinson: May 1949;
  • John Henry Seymour Spread;
  • Charles Edward Standen: 1953;

Ridgmont held with Husborne Crawley 1961-1980

  • Edward Cyril Forbes Bache:1961;
  • John Wesley Naylor: 1972;
  • Michael Saunders: curate in charge: 1976;

Ridgmont held with Aspley Guise and Husborne Crawley from 1980

  • Robert Maynard Hardy: later Bishop of Lincoln: 1980
  • Richard William Huband: 1981;
  • John Edward Ingham: 1992;
  • Graham Bradshaw: 2000

The font June 2011
The font June 2011

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 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.

Ridgmont seems to have suffered particularly badly in this regard, the Vicar serving as a chaplain to a wealthy man at Millbrook rather than living in either of his parishes, Ridgmont or Husborne Crawley. It is no wonder that nonconformity became very popular in the parish with first the Baptists then the Wesleyan Methodists winning many converts. The returns for Ridgmont are as follows:

  • 1709: Mr. Joseph Pulford Curate. None un-baptized who come to Church. Severall [sic] not Confirmed. Communicants but 15 at Easter last. Many of years of discretion seldome [sic] or never receive at all.
  • 1712: The Curat [sic] (Mr. Horne) not resident. Divine Service performed one part of the day here, the other at Crawley. Communions 3 times a year. About 15 received at Easter last.
  • 1717: I do not Personally reside upon my Cure, there being no Parsonage House, nor a Convenient place to board at in the Parish, and besides, the Revenue is so small that I am obliged to reside in a neighbouring Parish (viz. Millbrook) for the Conveniency of serving as Chaplain in a Gentleman's Family. I know none not Baptized who come to Church. Those of a Competent Age for Confirmation will, I hope, be ready when Your Lordship will please to order them. I have baptized no Adults. We have Publick Service but once every Lord's Day by reason in serve another Cure, beginning at ten of the Clock in the Morning or at two in the Afternoon. Sacrament At least Three times a Year at Easter, Whitsuntide and Christmas. There may be Seventy four Communicants of Church People. Fourteen or thereabouts usually receive, and sixteen exactly received last Easter.
  • 1720: the Annual Rents appertaining to the Cure are eight pounds three shillings and four pence. This Parish is being consolidated with Husborne Crawley, Divine Service is duly perform'd but once every Lord's Day. Sacrament Thrice in the Year. Between twenty and thirty communicants. Twelve of 'em usually receive. Fourteen did communicate at Easter last.

The pulpit June 2011
The pulpit June 2011

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 Segenhoe church (Ridgmont not being built until 1855) was made by the Vicar of Ridgmont and Husborne Crawley William Charles Cavendish Bentinck, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • 54 free seats, 142 reserved;
  • General congregation 54 in the morning and 88 in the afternoon;
  • Sunday scholars 61 in the morning and 61 in the afternoon.

Cavendish Bentick's sister married a Bowes-Lyon and was the mother of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother