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List of Roxton Vicars

Jesus from the east window March 2010
Jesus from the east window March 2010

Advowson

The advowson of the church of Saint Mary the Virgin was owned by Caldwell Priory from at least the early 13th century. Caldwell was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1536 and since 1546 the advowson has been owned by Trinity College, Cambridge.

In 1736 the parishes of Great Barford and Roxton were united under the same incumbent and have shared the same vicar ever since. Since 1999 Blunham, Little Barford and Tempsford have had the same incumbent, in what has become known as the Riversmeet Benefice, part of the Ivel Group Ministry. As there are now four separate churches the holder of each advowson takes it in turn to nominate the next incumbent, Trinity College taking the second and fourth turns (as the college also holds the advowson of Great Barford). Great Barford, Blunham, Roxton and Tempsford each retain their own parochial church council and parish officers as well as their own services.

 The font March 2010
The font March 2010

The following list of Vicars of Roxton is as complete as records will allow.

  • William: 1215-1220 - chaplain;
  • William de Newetun: 1235 - chaplain;
  • William de Undel: chaplain;
  • Giles de Watford: 1259 - chaplain, on the death of William de Undel;
  • Augustine de Hecham: 5th April 1275 - priest, on death of Giles de Watford;
  • Robert Blanchfrunt: 19th August 1286 - chaplain, on the ingress of Augustine de Hecham to an order of Friars Minor;
  • John de Elington: 8th June 1307 - on the death of Robert Blanchfrunt;
  • John de Everton: 19th August 1316 - chaplain, on the institution of John de Elyngton to the Rectory of Aspeden [Aspenden, Hertfordshire?];
  • Roger de Graveleye: 7th January 1334 - priest, on the death of John de Everton;
  • Henry [died in the Black Death?];
  • Henry de Charwelton: 1st September 1349 - priest; on the death of Henry;
  • William Broket: deacon;
  • Richard de Kempston: 20th March 1368 - priest, on the resignation of William Broket, exchanged to Rectory of Sibesdon [Sibson or Sibstone in Leicestershire?];
  • Geoffrey de Bythern': 19th February 1371 - priest; on the resignation of Richard de Kempstone, exchanged to the Rectory of Cranford Saint Andrew [Northamptonshire];
  • John Hogges;
  • William Smith: 5th November 1375 - priest, on exchange with John Hogges to the Vicarage of Hitchin [Hertfordshire];
  • Ralph Hayward: 2nd September 1388 - priest, on the resignation of William Smyth, exchanged to the Rectory of Woketon;
  • John Couper: 15th August 1389 - priest, on the resignation of Ralph Haywarde, who exchanged to the Vicarage of Great Gransden [Huntingdonshire];
  • John Gamelyn;
  • John Bayton: 24th January 1401 - chaplain, on the resignation of John Gamelyn, who exchanged to the Rectory of Estbitham;
  • John Aud: 26th November 1403 - priest on the resignation of John Baynton, who exchanged to the Rectory of Blatherwycke [Northamptonshire];
  • Hugh Parke': 21st February 1409 - chaplain; on the resignation of John Aude, who exchanged to the Rectory of Gaxton [Caxton in Cambridgeshire?];
  • William Typper;
  • William Edwarde: 15th November 1444 - priest, on the resignation of William Typper;
  • William Pope: 24th October 1445 - priest, on the resignation of William Edward, who exchanged to Saint Leonard's Hospital, Bedford;
  • Henry Rudyng: 25th August 1464 - priest, on the resignation of William Pope;
  • Richard Hyndeman L. L. B.: 28th December 1470 - on the resignation of Henry Rudyng, who exchanged to the Hospital of Saint John the Baptist, Bedford;
  • Thomas Trent: 26th April 1472 - on the resignation of Richard Hyndman;
  • Robert Halam D. D.: 18th July 1516 - on the death of Thomas Trent;
  • John Whalley: 9th March 1521 - chaplain; on the death of Robert Halam;
  • Edward Hunt: 28th November 1527 - clerk; on the death of John Whalley;
  • Gilbert Hatley: 30th April 1555 - clerk, his will is dated 9th May 1557, proved 15th June 1557;
  • John Smithe: 25th March 1558;
  • William Froste: 5th April 1560 - clerk, on resignation of John Smith;
  • Robert Broke: 14th January 1562 - clerk, on the death of the last incumbent;
  • Anthony Hopkins;
  • John Haveringe: 10th November 1562 - clerk, on the death of Anthony Hopkins;
  • Joseph Wolstenholme M. A.: 17 March 1602 - on the resignation of the last incumbent; married Margaret Havering on 12th May 1603, buried 17th November 1641;
  • Oliver Halfhead: 1641;
  • (Daniel Smith: 1654?)
  • John Mabbison: 1662 - clerk;
  • George Ferne: 17th August 1663 - clerk, on the cession of the last Vicar;
  • Heritage Badcocke: 17th May 1665 - clerk, on the promotion of George Ferne;
  • Richard Hale B. A.: 8th June 1669 - on the cession of Heritage Badcocke, buried 17th August 1684;
  • John Rewse B. A.: 31st December 1684 - on the death of Richard Hale; married Grace Sampson at Barton-le-Clay on 14th December 1693, buried 18th September 1720;
  • Thomas Dresser A. B.: 30th August 1706-1709 - deacon;
  • William Penson A. B.: 23rd February 1721, on the death of John Rouse;
  • John Key - 17th June 1728 - clerk, on the cession of William Penson.

Union of Roxton with Great Barford: 1736

  • Newman Hughes: 1st June 1736 - clerk, vacant;
  • Nathaniel Crutchley M. A.: 20th March 1741 - on death of Newman Hughes;
  • William Morgan B. D.: 20th April 1744 - on the death of Nathaniel Crutchley;
  • William North M. A.: 26th March 1747 - on the cession of William Morgan;
  • Charles Mason: 23rd June 1748 - clerk, on the cession of William North;
  • Marwood Place B. D.: 10th July 1761 - on the resignation of Charles Mason D. D.;
  • Richard Newbon B. D.: 19th August 1763 - on the cession of Marwood Place;
  • Thomas Sharp B. D.: 20th July 1764 - on the cession of Richard Newbon;
  • William Cumming M. A.: 27th September 1765 - on the cession of Thomas Sharpe; he married Anne, the daughter of Rev. Barwell Collins, Vicar of Cardington;
  • James Hassell M. A.: 26th September 1778 - on the death of William Cumming;
  • William Ward B. A.: 4th October 1780 - on the cession of James Hassell;
  • Roger Buston B. A.: 24th February 1789 - on the death of William Ward;
  • John Clarkson M. A.: 16th August 1817 - on the death of Roger Buston;
  • Thomas Peirson Richardson M. A.: 2nd July 1847 - on the death of John Clarkson, resigned 14th July 1874;
  • Carleton Greene: 9th January 1875 - on resignation of last Vicar;
  • William Frederick Pym: January 1914;
  • Alexander John William Pym: July 1920;
  • John Stuart Must: 1961;
  • Frank William Warnes: 1968;
  • Norman Jeffery: 1978;
  • Geoffrey Norman Dobson: 1986;
  • Lawrence Blanchard: 1993;
  • Barbara Eveling: 1999;
  • Margaret E. Marshall: 2009.

The pulpit and reading desk March 2010
The pulpit and reading desk March 2010

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. The returns for Roxton are as follows:

  • In 1709 the Vicar, John Rewse, noted "The Vicar lives in the Parish, but not at his Vicarage house". About thirty people had communicated the previous Easter. A deacon named Thomas Dresser was also active in the parish, presumably on account of the parish size as it included not only the village of Roxton but the outlying hamlets of Chawston and Colesden.
  • In 1712 Rewse elaborated on why he did not live at the Vicarage - it was "too small and inconvenient". The deacon was now John Fox, who had been licensed in that year. The vicar stated: "Divine Service twice every Lord's day, once every Litanie and Holy day…Communion 3 times a year [presumably Easter, Whitsun and Christmas]. About 40 received at Easter".
  • In 1717 Rewse was still living in the parish but not at the Vicarage "it being very small and not capable of receiving my Family". He had no curate. He may not have enjoyed the best of health,  as he stated: "Publick [sic] service is performed twice every Lord's day, if I am well". He had had about twenty five communicants the previous Easter. Rewse died in September 1720 and there is no return from Roxton for the visitatio nwhich took place in July that year.

The vexillum March 2010
The vexillum March 2010

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has no records relating to the vicarage at Roxton, other than the mentions in the visitations above. This is, presumably, due to the union of the parish with Great Barford in 1736 which meant there was no need for a Vicarage after that date..

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 Roxton church was made by the Vicar, Thomas Pierson Richardson, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • The church had 117 free seats, 57 other seats and "Children in aisle 30";
  • The general congregation that morning had been 69, with 160 in the afternoon. There had been 69 Sunday scholars in the morning and 71 in the afternoon.

Medieval tomb chest March 2010
Medieval tomb chest March 2010