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List of Aspley Guise Rectors

Aspley Guise Church on Inclosure Map
Saint Botolph's in 1761 from the parish inclosure map [MA94]


The rector of Aspley Guise is also Vicar of Husborne Crawley and of Ridgmont. Aspley Guise and Husborne Crawley were united, briefly, in 1795 under Rev.Thomas Tipping Aveling but this ended in 1813 and the incumbents remained separate until 1980 when Bob Hardy was appointed Rector of Aspley Guise and Vicar of Husborne Crawley and Ridgmont. The three parishes are not themselves united but continue to have separate parochial church councils, churchwardens and services.

Interior of the church from Victoria County History
Interior of Saint Botolph's, photograph used in the Victoria County History of 1912


The advowson is first recorded, in 1188, as belonging to Simon de Beauchamp. He granted it to Newnham Priory who managed to fight off a challenge by Falkes to Beaute on behalf of Dunstable Priory. In 1227, however, the advowson was granted to Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent and Justiciar of England, after his death, however, the advowson seems to have reverted to Newnham Priory, as de Beauchamp's grant was confirmed to them in 1317. Over the next hundred years, however, it passed from the priory to the Gyse family who held it until it was released to the Crown in 1544. Various patrons of the living followed including the Luke family of Arlesey Bury until it passed to a Martin Hill in 1682 and in 1718 a William Booth had the advowson. By 1752 the rector, Edward Hall, was patron of the living and in that year the Duke of Bedford bought the advowson from him. In 1927 the patronage of the living passed from the Duke of Bedford to the Bishop of Saint Albans.

The parish vexillum May 2017
The parish vexillum May 2017

List of Rectors

  • Henry de Carlion, clerk: 1223;
  • Richard filius Johannes de Swaneburne, subdeacon: 1224;
  • Geoffrey de Caune, clerk: 1224;
  • Reginald de Wrastlingeworthe - 1229 [capellanus];
  • Robert de Keleshey, subdeacon: 2nd September 1238;
  • Simon de Neyuill;
  • William Triket, chaplain, on the resignation of Simon de Keyuill: 1247;
  • Anselm de San Neoto, subdeacon: 1248;
  • Thomas de Bradewell, in minor orders, on the death of Anselm, ordained subdeacon 13th Decmber 1282 at "Wycumb": 19th December 1282;
  • John de Haremade, subdeacon, on the death of Thomas: 14th October 1288;
  • John de Hardemed, deacon, re-presented, the living being vacant because he had not procured himself to be ordained priest within a year: 22nd June 1290
  • John de Feriby, clerk, presented in minor orders and then ordained subdeacon and instituted on the presentation of John de Hardmed to the living of "Hattele": 23rd May 1293;
  • John de Feriby, deacon: 31 May 1294;
  • Stephen Buket, subdeacon, on the institution of John de Feriby to another church: 28th September 1295;
  • Thomas de Burgo;
  • Nicholas de Salford, priest; on the resignation of Thomas de Burgo, who exchanged this living to be Rector of "Wakerle": 21st October 1350;
  • Hugh Helm of Lutterwyk, priest, on the resignation of Nicholas de Salford: 17th June 1357;
  • Robert Fage;
  • William Bilton, Vicar of Ravensden, on exchange with Robert Fage, he held Aspley Guise in plurality with Bedford, Saint Peter Dunstable: 1389;
  • Henry Fuer of Bedford, priest, on the death of William de Bylton: 13th March 1390;
  • John Danvers, Vicar of Pulloxhill; on exchange with Henry Fiwer: 1395;

brass of John Danvers X67-934-11
Brass of John Danvers [X67/934/11]

  • John Benet, priest, on the resignation of John Danvers, who exchanged to be Rector of "Hoggeston": 20th November 1414;
  • Thomas Tybbay, Rector of "Suave", diocese of Kent, on exchange with John Benet: 20th August 1415;
  • Nicholas Fulburn;
  • William Clerk, priest, on the death of Nicholas Fulburn: 14th July 1420;
  • John Love;
  • John Legete - 16 Oct 1431 [chantry priest of "Yeldhale", "one of the five chantries in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary juxta Guildhall", City of London, by exchange with John Love, Rector of Aspley Guise: 16th October 1431;
  • Thomas Sabyn, priest, on the resignation of John Legette, who exchanged to be Rector of All Saints, Bedford: 13th November 1435;
  • Adam Brown, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Wendy, to whom a pension of 6 marks was given: 23rd October 1459;
  • Thomas Dorylett, priest, on the resignation of Adam Browne, who exchanged to be Rector of Radwell [Hertfordshire]: 8th November 1470;
  • John Bendebowe, on the death of Thomas Dorlette, the last rector: 8th March 1479;
  • John Lewenthorpe, priest, on the resignation of John Bendbowe: 29th January 1492;
  • William Pell, priest, on the resignation of John Lewynthrope: 14th April 1498;
  • John Markeham;
  • Richard Stratton, chaplain, on the resignation of John Markeham: 6th June 1533;
  • Adam Moldesworth, priest, on the death of Richard Stratton: 7th November 1557;
  • Thomas Birde, priest, on the death of Adam Molesworthe: 9th March 1558;
  • William Tatam, his will was dated 1st March 1581, and it was proved on 22nd May 1582, he was buried on 12th April 1582: 14th June 1558;

Monument to William Stone May 2017
Monument to William Stone May 2017

  • William Stone MA, of Burnham-next-the Sea [Norfolk], he was also incumbent of Wavendon [Buckinghamshire], he was presented on the death of William Tatamm, admitted 28th June 1582 and died in 1618 aged 72, he was buried in teh church on 9th September 1617: 29th September 1582;
  • John Beaumont [or Beamond], he married Temperance Carter at Kempston on 19th February 1611, and was buried on 21st August 1629: 17th September 1617;
  • William Greenough, he married Agnes, daughter of Geoffrey Moore of Colmworth on 12th May 1613 at Saint Alban's, Wood Street, London, his will is dated 5th June 1632, stating that he wished to be buried in the chancel, it was proved 17th July 1632: 26th October 1629;
  • Zachary Seton, he was buried 29th June 1638, having desired to be buried in the chancel, his will was proved 15th August 1638: 23rd September 1633;
  • Thomas Arkesden, he was buried 20th June 1682: 29th November 1639;
  • Edward Hall MA, on the death of Thomas Arkesden, he was ordained priest 19th September 1675 by Nathaniel, Bishop of Durham, he married, as a widower, Elizabeth Benson, widow, "old Mr.Lye's daughter", of Saint Mary at Hill, London on 22nd December 1699, he was buried on 21st June 1718: 25th July 1682
  • Edward Hall MA, on the death of Edward Hall: 24th October 1718;
  • Philip Tucke MA, of Clare Hall, Cambridge, on the death of Edward Hall: 19th July 1753;
  • Peter le Pipre MA, Queen's College, Cambridge, on the death of Philip Tuke, he was buried at Saint John's, Bedford on 29th September 1782: 1st July 1756;
  • William Aveling MA, Saint John's College, Cambridge, on the death of Peter Lepipre, he held Aspley Guise in plurality with Bedford, Saint Peter de Merton, he was buried 4th March 1790: 4th July 1783;
  • Edmund Williamson MA, Trinity College, Cambridge, on the death of William Aveling, he held Aspley Guise in plurality with Campton: 7th June 1790;
  • Thomas Tipping Aveling BA, Jesus College, Cambridge, ordained deacon and licensed as curate the next day, he was afterwards Archdeacon of Londonderry: 24th February 1793;

Benefice united with Husborne Crawley - 1795

  • Thomas Farmer MA, on the resignation of Thomas Tipping Aveling, he died 25th July 1843: 12th August 1813;

Monument to John Vaux Moore May 2017
Monument to John Vaux Moore May 2017

  • John Vaux Moore MA, Rector of Aspley Guise and Vicara of Husborne Crawley, both held in plurality with Ridgmont until 1849, on the death of Thomas Farmer, he died on 12th January 1864, aged 65 and was buried on 19th January 1864: 13th January 1844;
  • Hay Macdowall Erskine, clerk, on the death of John Vaux Moore, he resigned 24th September 1868 for the living of Long Marston: 8th June 1864;
  • Samuel Harvey Gem MA, on the resignation of the last rector: 9th February 1869
  • Daniel Pring Alford: 1878;
  • James Chadwick Maltby: 1880;
  • Thomas Francis Yule: December 1914;
  • Sydney Coleman: May 1920;
  • Arthur Henry Parnell: May 1925;
  • Charles Leonard Drew: June 1928;
  • Harry Legg Clothier: November 1938;
  • Ronald Charles Jefferyes: October 1949;
  • Alan John Samuel Freeman: 1960;
  • Robert Maynard Hardy, Bishop of Lincoln 1987-2002: 1975;
  • Richard William Huband: 1981;
  • John Edmund Ingham: 1992;
  • Graham Bradshaw: 2000.

The pulpit May 2017
The pulpit May 2017


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 state of the church in the parish. For example in 1712 the rector reported: "None Unbaptized come to Church. Many not Confirmed. Divine Service twice every Lord's day. Communion 3 tines a year. Not above 16 usually receive".

In 1717 Rev.Edward Hall was in his last year on earth, he reported: "Our Minister Resides in the Parish and Preaches twice a day one half yeare, and commonly Catechises. Reads publick service twice every Lords Day and preaches once a day the short Dayes and reads prayers in the Afternoon and Catechises. No Curate. Many Baptised few confirmed no Adults Baptised. Its [services] performed twice a day every Lords day forenoon and afternoon, seldom in the Night! Except at Buryals. The minister commonly catechises the school boyes in the Afternoon: but Very few of the Parishioners sends their children or any servants to be Instructed. They Like not to be Catechised upon any account, Unless they firce them; being unacceptable. The Sacrament is administer'd in my Church eight times in the year. Fourscore, and some more, are the usual number of Communicants in my Parish. About one hundred communicated at Easter last, at the least. I give open and timely warning of the Sacrament before it is administer'd. They do not send in their names to me as requird. I have refused the Sacrament to none". He also reported in a rather incoherent stream of invective: "Divers who have come to Church (now, since the Toleration) goes no where, mere Libertines, two chief farmers, besides the Prophane Rabble Goes no where!"

In 1720 Edward Hall's son, Edward junior was Rector: "I do reside in my Parsonage house...None unbaptiz'd that I know of. Some not confirmed, one Adult baptiz'd. Publick service is read Wednesdays, Fridays and saturdays between Lady-day and Michaelmass, except in Harvest; and twice every Lord's day. Catechizing Fridays and Saturdays. the Children are sent. They learn no Catechism but that appointed by the Church. Sacrament always four times, sometimes oftener. About forty [receive]. Between twenty and thirty, the number aforesaid Easter last".

The west door May 2017
The west door May 2017

Ecclesisatical 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 results were published by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1975 as Volume 54, edited by D.W.Bushby. The figures given for Aspley church were 150 attending in the morning and 250 in the afternoon, with 85 Sunday Scholars at both services - grand totals of 235 and 335. The average for the preceding twelve months was given as 200 and 95 in the morning and 350 and 95 in the afternoon for grand totals of 295 and 445 - the census day was very wet and cold, not enticing people to travel far. The Rector, John Vaux Moore, gave seating capacity of the church as 560.

Stone set into the threshold of the south door May 2017
Stone set in the threshold of the south door May 2017