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List of Bromham Vicars

Saint Owen from the chancel south east window May 2012
Saint Owen from the chancel south east window May 2012

The Advowson

The advowson of the church was, from the 13th century, held by Cauldwell Priory in Bedford. On the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII (1509-1547) the advowson was granted to Sir Walter Luke, who is shown appointing the new vicar in 1539, however, by 1542 it is the King who is patron of the living and then, in succession, the Bishop of Lincoln, Eton College and, from at least 1567, the Dyve family until they after the First Civil War, in which Sir Lewis Dyve was a prominent supporter of the King, raising his own regiment and who lost his estates when captured by parliament. From this point Eton College was patron again, though at the time of writing [August 2007] the patron is the Bishop of Saint Albans.

In 1818 Bromham became a shared benefice with Oakley, the two having shared a vicar in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The two parishes remain independent, with their own services, parochial church council and churchwardens. Since 1984 Stagsden has also shared an incumbent with Bromham and Oakley.

A detail from the chancel south east window May 2012
A detail from the chancel south east window May 2012

List of Vicars

  • Ralph de Bedford, chaplain: 1235;
  • Ralph de Bedford, priest; on the death of Ralph: 1st December 1277;
  • Roger de Graneby, chaplain, on the death of Ralph: 12th September 1288;
  • Hugh de Linford, chaplain; on the institution of Roger to Clifton rectory: 23rd March 1294;
  • Henry de Pertenhall, chaplain; on the death of Hugh de Linford: 11th January 1301;
  • Richard Ketering, chaplain; on the death of Henry: 29th November 1313;
  • Roger de Gravele, priest; on the death of Richard de Ketering: 23rd December 1333;
  • William son of John de Overton Longville, priest; on the resignation of Roger de Gravele;
  • John Beck;
  • Richard de Kempston, priest; on the death of John Beck: 8th April 1361;
  • Roger de Depham, on the resignation of Richard de Kempston, who exchanged to Siberton Rectory; 19th September 1306
  • John de Histone, Vicar of Armyngton, diocese of Ely, by exchange with Roger de Depham: 4th March 1370;
  • John Warde;
  • John Taillour, Vicar of Newenham [Newnham, Hertfordshire?], by exchange with John Warde: 23rd December 1375;
  • William Wandisford, priest; on the resignation of John Taylour, who exchanged to Heyford Rectory: 1st May 1386;
  • Elias Withiford, priest; on the resignation of William Wandisford, who exchanged to the Hospital of Saint John the Baptist, Lutterworth [Leicestershire]: 19th March 1387;
  • Robert Borough;
  • John Wrighte, priest; on the resignation of Robert Borough who exchanged for Bydenham [Biddenham] Chantry: 8th October 1390;
  • Thomas Cook, priest; on the resignation of John Wrythe: 18th March 1406;
  • Thomas Aythorpe;
  • Thomas George, priest; on the resignation of Thomas Aythorpe: 9th October 1460;
  • Richard Lound, priest; on the resignation of Thomas George: 6th October 1462;
  • John Fawne, priest; on the resignation of Richard Lounde, last vicar; 15th September 1474;
  • William Allen, priest; on the death of John Fawne: 24th January 1493;
  • John Wryght, priest; on death of William Alan: 6th March 1501;
  • William Aby, priest; on death of John Wright: 18th October 1504;
  • John Pateson: 1526 [known to be still the vicar in 1534];
  • Thomas Mendar, priest; on the death of the last incumbent: 29th April 1539;
  • Alexander Clerke, clerk; on the resignation of the last incumbent: 4th August 1542;
  • Ralph Manfield: 27th November 1551;
  • Thomas Symons, clerk; vacancy: 10th March 1561;
  • David Vaughan: 9th November 1564;
  • Henry Kinge, clerk; on the resignation of David Vaughan: 3rd July 1567;
  • Richard Maddocks: 31st October 1588;
  • Nicholas Barton: 19th July 1597;
  • George Danyell M. A. ; on the resignation of Michael Barton: 28th March 1605;
  • Thomas Stokes M. A.: 26th January 1609;
  • Antony Waters M. A.: 20th November 1633 [his living was sequestered by parliament on 12th December 1645];
  • Nicholas East: 13th December 1645 [intruded following Antony Waters' sequestration];
  • Andrew Carter: 15th August 1661;
  • Robert Whitehead M. A.; on the cession of Andrew Carter: 15th April 1672;
  • William Tucker M. A.: 30th June 1684;
  • Simon Gale M. A.; graduate of Queen's College, Cambridge; on the resignation of William Tucker: 1st May 1688;
  • Robert Richards M. A.; on the death of Simon Gale; graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; he died in February 1758, leaving Alice his wife, as a widow: 10th December 1712;
  • Wyat Francis M. A.; on the death of Robert Richards; he was a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford: 4th March 1758;
  • Thomas Richards B. A.; graduate of Sidney College, Cambridge; on the death of Wyatt Francis; he was the son of Robert Richards, who was born at Souldrop in 1704 and the nephew of Robert Richards; he was buried 23rd March 1799; Ann, his widow, died 2nd January 1803]: 9th February 1769;
  • Robert Measham or Mesham; on the death of Thomas Richards: 4th July 1799;
  • Robert Mesham M. A.; the living was legally vacant; Rosamond his wife died on 10thOctober 1819: 7th May 1818;
  • Robert Mesham - 8 Jul 1823 M. A.; on the cession of Robert Mesham: 8th July 1823;
  • James Joseph Goodhall M. A.; graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford; he resigned on 12th April 1866]: 20th September 1827;
  • Alfred James Coleridge B. A.; graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford; on the resignation of J. J. Goodhall: 17th May 1866;
  • Charles James Eliseo Smith M. A.; graduate of Saint John's College, Cambridge: 1880;
  • Charles William Browning: July 1901;
  • Alfred Elvis Burne: October 1925;
  • Ernest Denby Gilbert: 1937;
  • Daniel Trevor Evans: 1953;
  • Dennis Charles King: 1977;
  • Derek Vincent Draper: 1984;
  • Linda Bond: 2009.

The font May 2012
The font May 2012


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 Bromham are as follows:

  • 1709: "Some in this parish not confirmed. All baptized. Communicants about 20. Some are come to Competent age who have never yet received [communion];
  • 1712: The Vicar non-resident. He lives in the Parsonage house at Oakley. None come to Church Unbaptized. Several not Confirmed. Divine Service once every Lord's day … Communion 3 times a year. About 20 usually do receive".
  • 1717: "I live at Oakley, having the Cure of that Parish also. I supply the cure [of Bromham] myself. Some few there be that are batpized and of a competent age but are not confirmed. There have been no Adults baptiz'd since the last triennial Visitation. Public Service is read on Wednesdays, Fridays and holy days when the Lord Trevor's family is here; because then a congregation may be had. And every Lord's-day service is constantly performed, one part of the day at Brumham, the other at Oakley … Sacrament Three times a year. We have usually 16 or 18 Communicants. Last Easter we had 21 … My Parishioners give me no notice of their receiving the Sacrament unless it be the first time of their communicating. I have not deny'd the Sacrament to any person. Joseph Webb and Catherine his now wife did upon Sunday July the 23th [sic] 1716 (after service was ended) present themselves into the Chancel of the church of Brumham and perform such Penance, as was enjoin'd them by an order from the Revd. Mr. Thomas Frank Commissary and Archdeacon of Bedford".
  • 1720: "I purpose to reside in the Vicarage-house after Michaelmas Next, and do now personally supply my Cure … Public Service is read on Wednesdays, Fridays and holy days, some part of the Summer season, and so long as I can have a Congregation; and it's perform'd once every Lord's day, the Morning and Evening alternately … That Sacrament is administered four times in the year. There are about 20 communicants in the Parish, and of them 18 receiv'd at Easter last".

The pulpit May 2012
The pulpit May 2012

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 Saint Owen's church was made by the vicar J. J. Goodhall who noted the following pieces of information:

  • the church had 224 free seats and 106 others;
  • the morning congregation was 77, with 70 Sunday scholars;
  • the average for the preceding three months was 130 adults in the morning and 260 in the afternoon with 70 Sunday scholars at each service.

The south door May 2012
The south door May 2012