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List of Caddington Vicars

The parish vexillum June 2012
The parish vexillum June 2012


Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912. It noted that the advowson had been held by the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul’s, London from at least 1183. The dean and chapter were also lords of the manor. In 1421, however, Walter Cook, clerk had been farmed (leased) the advowson and appointed the new vicar Robert Lety. This practice no doubt occurred at other times. The dean and chapter remain patrons of the living at the time of writing [2012].

Christ in the south aisle window June 2012
Christ in the south aisle window June 2012

List of Vicars

The following list of Vicars of Caddington is as complete as records will allow:

  • William de Gudnay;
  • Richard de Greneforde: “to the mediety which was William de Gudnay’s: 1220;;
  • Roger, Archdeacon of Colchester: in succession to Richard de Greneford: 1226;
  • John Belesmeins, subdeacon: 1228
  • Theobald of Milan;
  • Henry de Cornhill: in succession to Theobald of Milan: 1229;
  • William; John de [...], chaplain, “on the ingress of William late Vicar into religion”: 1248;
  • Thomas de Laxton, chaplain, on the resignation of John de Stokes: 6th March 1291
  • William de Gravele, priest, on the death of Thomas: 27th February 1328;
  • Richard atte Seler, priest, on death of William de Gravele; 19th May 1370;
  • William; Richard Bowode, priest, on death of William: 15th May 1395: 
  • Richard Worthyng, chaplain, on the death of Richard Bowode;
  • William Stretele, chaplain, on the resignation of Richard Worthynge who exchanged to Creslow [Buckinghamshire]: 21st December 1409;
  • Robert Lety, priest, on the resignation of William Stretl: 16th February 1421: 
  • John Bukby;
  • John White, priest, on death of John Bukby: 2nd August 1443;
  • Thomas Horne;
  • John Tapitt, chaplain, on the resignation of Thomas Horne: 30th November 1459;
  • John Laster, on resignation of John White, last vicar: 31st December 1477;
  • Thomas Elston, chaplain, on the resignation of John Lyston; he paid a pension of £3/10/- to his predecessor: 27th August 1510;
  • Richard Mertyndale, chaplain, on the death of Thomas Elmeston: 15th April 1547;
  • William Pulleyne: 24th March 1553;
  • (T. Hardy, curate: 1554);
  • John Parrot: buried at Caddington on 14th September 1558: 4th July 1554;
  • John Foster, buried at Caddington on 1st January 1560: 26th November 1557;
  • John Wrighte, clerk, on the resignation of John Jones, clerk, he may also have been Vicar of Kensworth held in plurality: 22nd August 1560;
  • Maurice Penyall, clerk, vacant: 14th March 1561;
  • Rice or Richard Roberts B. A., buried 1st February 1610: 1586;
  • Richard White M. A., his will is dated 7th October 1640, proved 22nd November 1640, he was buried at Caddington on 15th October 1640; his wife’s name was Ann; he held Moulsoe [Buckinghamshire] in plurality: 10th March 1610;
  • John Firmin, clerk, buried at Caddington in 1650: 18th March 1641;
  • no record of ministers during the Interregnum;
  • Joseph Draper, his will was dated 21st February 1666, proved 31st March 1666, buried at Caddington: 14th September 1661;
  • Edward Gibson M. A., on the death of Joseph Draper, from 1690 he held Haynes, where he removd: 18th May 1666;
  • Edward Bowerman M. A., on the death of Edward Gibson, resigned 1702: 21st October 1690;
  • John Biby M. A., on the resignation of Edward Bowerman, born at Newnham [Gloucestershire], he held Whipsnade in plurality from 1720, he died 15th November 1729 and was buried in Caddington church: 14th July 1703;
  • (Thomas Bateman, curate: 1708);
  • (William Simpson, curate: 1713);
  • (Charles Squire, curate: 1720);
  • William Hatfield M. A., on the death of John Biby, he held Lilley [Hertfordshire] in plurality and served Caddington by a succession of curates, buried at Lilley on 17th January 1767: 8th December 1829;
  • (Thomas Scott M. A.: Jesus College, Cambridge; he was not the vicar but simply ordained priest to the cure of the church: 23rd December 1750);
  • Weldon Champnes B. A., on the death of William Hatfield, he was Vicar of Kensworth 1765-1767, resigned 1777: 4th April 1767
  • John Gibbons M. A., on the cession of Welden Champneys, Vicar of Kensworth in 1775 and served Caddington by a succession of curates, he became Vicar of Ruislip [Middlesex] in 1794 and died there in 1797: 3rd March 1778;
  • John Pridden M. A., on the death of John Gibbons, born 3rd January 1758, he was an antiquarian, amateur artist and architect, he built a new vicarage at Caddington to his own design: 27th December 1797;
  • William Ives, on the death of John Pridden, he was born 1800 and became Vicar of Haltwhistle [Northumberland] in 1829: 25th April 1825;
  • William Mellard M.A., on the cession of William Ives, from Cardiff, he died 3rd June 1862: 2nd June 1829;
  • Thomas Prescott M. A., on the death of William Mellard: 7th July 1862;
  • Thomas Bates M. A., on the death of Thomas Prescott: 17th August 1889;
  • William Feltrim Sullivan Duckworth, he became Rector of Thrale [Berkshire] in 1925: January 1911;
  • Robert Percival Waugh, resigned 1927: 1925;
  • Francis Neville Greaves: January 1928;
  • William George Henry Ward: January 1939;
  • Reginald Bridle: December 1940;
  • Ernest. Rutter: JUly 1946
  • Henry Robert Victor Foster: April 1950;
  • Kenneth Charles Habermehl: 1956;
  • David Arthur Clendon: 1965;
  • Basil George Alexander: 1972;
  • Austin John Denyer Smith: 1979;
  • Ruth C. Pyke: 2006

The pulpit June 2012
The pulpit June 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 such as service times and numbers attending communion. 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. Caddington seems to have had a resident vicar and also a resident curate, no doubt due to the size of the parish. The returns for Caddington are as follows [note the contemporary spelling]:

  • 1709: “One young woman, an Adult, lately baptized. Some Children come to Church not yet baptized, but there is hopes of them. Communicants between 40 and 50. Too many neglect this sacred Ordinance, though some have lately been got to partake of it, and there are Hopes of More”;
  • 1712: “The Vicar resides in his Vicarage House. His Curate lives with him, and has a stipend of £30 a year. 9 or 10 adults baptized since my last Visitation. Divine Service twice every day … Communions 4 times a year. Between 50 and 60 generally receive at a time”.
  • 1717: I am resident upon my Cure and live in my Vicarage-House. I have a residing Curate, duely qualifyed, and lives with me in my Vicarage House, and I allow him thirty pounds per annum. I believe there are some few frequenters of the Church not baptized; and others baptized and of Competent age not Confirmed. We have baptized great Numbers of Adults since the last Visitation. Publick Service is read twice every Lord’s day, and once every day in the week in the Parish-Church … The Sacrament is administered four times every yeare. We had nearly sixty communicants last Easter”.
  • 1720: “I reside Personally in my Viceridg house. I have a Residing Curate living with me in my house who assists me in my school. I allow him thirty pounds per annum and Diet and Lodging etc. His name is Charles Squire. Unbaptized I know of none. Publick service is Read every day in the weeke by my self or Curate in our Parish Church at eleven a Clock, and twice on Sundayes … The Sacrament is administered 4 times in the yeare. We have about fifty communicants that receive usually, and had 60 last Easter”.

The south door June 2012
The south door June 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 All Saints church was made by the vicar, William Mellard, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • There was a 21 congregation in the morning;
  • There was a 90 congregation in the afternoon;
  • There was no Sunday School.

The church had evidently lost a lot of ground. The Wesleyan Methodists in Aley Green had 200 congregation and 175 Sunday scholars afternoon and evening, the Wesleyans in Markyate had totals of 201, 226 and 240 and their three services. Even the Wesleyans in Chaul End had 70 at one service and 45 at the other. The Baptists in Caddington had 90 that morning.