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List of Tilsworth Vicars

All Saints name board December 2008
All Saints name board December 2008

The following list of the vicars of Tilsworth is as complete as sources will allow. The first known patron was the convent of Saint Giles in Flamstead [Hertfordshire] in 1237, which continued as patron until it was suppressed at the Reformation during the reign of Henry VIII. Sir William Skipwith was patron in 1564 and Gabriel Fowler in 1573 and 1574, with Sir Henry Chester in 1632. The advowson stayed in the Chester family until at least 1775, after which it resided with the Crown until sold to Sir Edward Page-Turner by 1845. In 1927 the advowson was transferred from Frederic Augustus Page Turner to the Bishop of St.Albans [P130/2/1/12] and at the time of writing [2008] the patron is still the Bishop of St.Albans.

 Church interior with font about 1910
Church interior with font about 1910 [P130/28/5/6]

Since 1923 Tilsworth and Stanbridge have shared an incumbent, being officially united in 1937 [P130/2/1/14]. The Vicar of Stanbridge and Tilsworth has also been Vicar of Totternhoe since 1978. This grouping is now [2008] part of the North Chilterns Group Ministry, itself established in 1982. Each parish retains its own identity with its own parochial church council and churchwardens, however.

 Tilsworth church from the south December 2008
Tilsworth church from the south December 2008

  • Roger Reinfrey - 1237 [chaplain];
  • Thomas de Dagenhale - 18 Nov 1283 [chaplain];
  • John de Stok - 3 May 1297 [chaplain; on death of Thomas Bagenhale];
  • John de Lenno;
  • William Dyne of Tillesworth - 8 Apr 1326 [on death of John de Lenno];
  • John Athelard;
  • John Smyth - 23 Jul 1373 [priest; on resignation of John Athelard, exchanged to Grana Rectory];
  • William Phylypp - 23 Nov 1399 [of Hocclive [Hockliffe]; on death of John Smyth];
  • William Fynche - 29 Sep 1406;
  • John Attewelle - 4 Jan 1406 [priest];
  • William Bewell - 14 Feb 1417 [chaplain];
  • Thomas Bradschaw - 17 Jun 1444 [priest; on death of Richard Bywell];
  • William Mild - 6 Sep 1446 [priest; on resignation of Thomas Bradschaw, exchanged with Werysley Vicarage];
  • John Buxsum - 12 Sep 1447 [on resignation of John Milde];
  • Robert Clerk - 31 Aug 1448 [priest; on resignation of John Buxhum alias Wodhall];
  • John Hunte - 24 Jul 1501 [priest];
  • Robertus Loo - 1508 [Sir Robert Low, vicar, registered as brother];
  • Edward Skinner - [Will dated 24 Sep 1562; proved 28 Jun 1564, to be buried in the chancel];
  • Robert White - 1567 [clerk];
  • William Graye - 25 May 1573 [clerk; on death of last incumbent];
  • William Cailie - 1 Mar 1574 [clerk; in succession to William Graye];
  • John Lawson - 11 May 1596 [Catholic];
  • Thomas Percival - 28 Jul 1612 [B.A., Jesus College, Oxon];
  • Thomas Houghton - 1613 [vicar];
  • John Turner - 27 Jun 1631 [B.A.];
  • Francis Kinnes - 26 Jul 1632 [B.A., sequestered 12 Oct 1645];
  • Valentine Cressy - 1706 to before 1717 - curate;
  • T or J Cressy signs as curate - 1724;
  • Thomas Hill signs as minister - 1728;
  • Thomas Hill - 6 Nov 1730;
  • Henry Hinde - 7 Feb 1754 [M.A., on death of Thomas Hill];
  • James Smyth - 2 Dec 1775 [B.A., on surrender of Henry Hinde];
  • William Mead - 2 Dec 1807 [clerk; on death of last incumbent];
  • Thomas Lister Joseph Sunderland - 7 Feb 1833 [B.A.; on death of William Mead; resigned 5 May 1845];
  • John Cumberlege - 21 May 1845 [clerk; on resignation of T.L.J. Sunderland; resigned, 12 Oct 1859; in plurality with Eggington];
  • Joseph Simpson - 15 Nov 1859 [M.A., on resignation of J. Cumberlege];
  • Thomas Green - at least 1880 to 1922;
  • W. St. J. Landars - Jan 1923;
  • Edward Reinagle Souper - Oct 1927;
  • G. Dale - Jan 1939;
  • Michael Joseph Shiner - 1956;
  • Robert Clifford Butler - 1963;
  • Michael Reginald Abbott - 1973;
  • Derek Edward Cook - 1978;
  • Peter Christie Holland - 1989;
  • D.Janet R.Spicer - 2002

 Tilsworth Church about 1920
Tilsworth church about 1920 [Z1130/124]

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. In 1712 the Vicar reported: "Divine Service once every Lord's day…Communion 3 times a year. About 20 communicants, of which 12 received at Easter last". In 1717 the Vicar reported that he lived at Houghton Regis and had no curate. He reported as to services: "The first Sunday in every month the morning service is read throughout etc. Upon every other Sunday in the Afternoon. the Prayers etc. are duly performed". The sacrament was administered three times a year "at the least", with about twenty receiving it at Easter. The return of 1720 indicated that the Vicar still lived in Houghton Regis and had no curate.

 Mr Horn the verger about 1875
Mr.Horn the verger about 1875 [P130/28/5/13]

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 Tilsworth was made by the Vicar J.Cumberlege who noted that the church had seating for 160. The attendance at the morning service had been 55, with a further 55 Sunday Scholars for a grand total of 110. The average in the preceding six months had been 50 and 50 in the morning with 80 and 50 in the afternoon. Cumberlege explained: "Sittings are for grown up persons. One service morning and afternoon alternate with Eggington. The sittings and averages are given as near as possible".