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List of Chalgrave Vicars

The Sunday School vexillum June 2012
The Sunday School vexillum June 2012


Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912. It noted that the first mention of the advowson of Chalgrave church is in 1185 when it was bestowed on Dunstable Priory by Lord of the Manor of Chalgrave, Roger Loring. This was 34 years before the current church was dedicated.

Dunstable Priory was dissolved by King Henry VIII (1509-1547) in 1540 and nine years later the advowson was granted to William Smith senior and junior. The Smiths alienated the advowson to Thomas Sibley, whose son William conveyed it to Thomas Impie in 1569, in which year he presented George Midleton to the living. Oddly, seven years before, in 1562 John Cornwallis had presented Edmund Bastian as vicar and he seems to have sold the advowson to Nicholas Potts in 1579.

The Potts family held the right of presentation to the living into the 18th century, with John Potts presenting in 1720. Henry Henshaw presented in 1743 but soon after Thomas Gilpin, Lord of the Manor of Wingfield obtained the advowson. Thereafter it passed through many hands ending up with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts which transferred the advowson to the Saint Albans Diocesan Board of patronage in 1963 [P114/2/1/4].

The gap in vicars between Stephen Hoe Henshaw, who died in 1772 and the resignation of John Stubbs Neumann in 1861 is because Chalgrave was united with Hockliffe at this time until this was ended by an Order of 1858. In 1931 the parishes of Chalgrave and Toddington were united [P114/2/1/1] a state of affairs which continued until 1977. Today [2014] the two parishes once again share a vicar but each parish retains its own parochial church council and parish officers. The current joint patrons of the living [2014] are the Saint Albans Diocesan Board of Patronage and the Bishop of Saint Albans.

The pulpit June 2012
The pulpit June 2012

List of Vicars

  • Richard, chaplain: 1219;
  • Eustace, chaplain (died 1240): 7th June 1223;
  • William de Berckamested', chaplain: - 1238;
  • John de Bartune, chaplain: 1252;
  • William;
  • Walter de Frascinis or Radenhore [or de la March?], priest, on the death of William: 20th April 1273;
  • Richard de Northwode, subdeacon, on the death of Walter de la March: - 18th December 1294;
  • John de Egyngton, priest, on the death of Richard: - 19th June 1349;
  • Robert de Haylweston, priest, on the death of John: - 8th September 1349;
  • Thomas Umfrey of Southyeuell, priest, on the resignation of Robert: 15th December 1350;
  • Thomas Sotre, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Oumfrey: 30th November 1367;
  • William Botheby;
  • William Clerk, chaplain, on the death of William Botheby: 14th April 1418;
  • John Carter, priest: 9th July 1433;
  • Richard Pynnyngton, priest, on the resignation of John Carter alias Asse: 14th February 1446;
  • John Glover;
  • Robert Bradley, chaplain, on the resignation of John Glover: 17th February 1454;
  • Richard Letylton, chaplain. on the resignation of Robert Bradley: - 4th March 1456;
  • William Chapman, priest; on the resignation of
  • Richard Litylton: 21st June 1456;
  • John London, regular canon, on the resignation of William Chapman: 14th July 1459;
  • John Berege, priest; on the resignation of John London: 22nd July 1468;
  • [William Holand, noted as "Magister de Chalgrave" and registered as "Brother": 1501];
  • Johannes Bareford, priest; on the resignation of John Berege: 26th August 1501;
  • Edmund Wyngate, noted as "Maister de Chalgrave" and registered as "Brother" in 1522: 1526?
  • John Barfford, noted in this year as "layte Vycare of Chalgrave", he may be identical with Johannes Bareford above: 1539;
  • John Osburnby, priest, on the death of John Barford: 12th May 1539;
  • William Skaune, witness to the will of Richard Stocke of Chalgrave in the year 1556;
  • Henry Palmer: 14th September 1558;
  • Edmund Bastian, clerk; on the deprivation of Henry Palmer: 2nd October 1562;
  • William Paye, clerk: 19th July 1563;
  • George Midleton, clerk, on the resignation of William Paie: 22nd May 1569;
  • William Grey, on resignation of George Middleton; 22nd May 1574;
  • John Bellamy MA, vacant by death of William Grey: 22nd March 1582;
  • Sandys Potts MA: 7th October 1622;
  • Henry Stevens MA, clerk (Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1630; MA 1634);
  • Samuel Feake, married Elizabeth Potts 3rd October 1639: 1640;
  • William Groom, clerk (will dated 14th November 1657, proved in PCC 5th June 1658);
  • John Vaux: 1657;
  • William Sherlocke: 1664;
  • William Bedford BA, vacant: 8th September 1669;
  • William Barlowe MA, vacant (buried 21st October 1711): 18th March 1684;
  • Walter Foot, on death of William Barlow (Foot buried 4th April 1750): 23rd December 1712;
  • Stephen Hoe Henshaw BA, Pembroke College, Oxford (he died 24th March 1772; Susanna, his wife, died 1st August 1706, aged 35; both buried at Roade [Northamptonshire]): 18th October 1743;
  • John Stubbs Neumann: resigned 27th February 1861;
  • James Milne Hamilton MA: 7th May 1861;
  • John Willoughby Hodgson, clerk; on the cession of James Milne Hamilton: 24th February 1875;
  • Alexander Wood: February 1899;
  • Herbert Royal Pepperell Hutton: March 1901;
  • Thomas Edward Johnson: June 1924;
  • Alfred Loydal Bee: January 1932;
  • Fred Kettlewell: February 1942 [with Hockliffe];
  • Frederick Watson: January 1949 [with Hockliffe];
  • Peter Stokes: 1977;
  • Keith Steele: 1988;
  • William T. A. Matthews: 1997;
  • Anne E. Crawford - 2008.

The font June 2012
The font 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. 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. In the case of Chalgrave there was no vicarage for him to live in! The returns for Chalgrave are as follows:

  • 1706: The owner of the advowson, and Lord of the Manor, Captain John Potts, then aged 78, is described as a Papist: “He never did present to it, but has always left it to the Bishop to Collate by Lapse”. “His man”, presumably his steward, William Parton “is aged 62” and was also a Roman Catholic. There was no vicarage.
  • 1709: One adult had been baptized since 1706. Communicants were twenty or thirty “many come seldom, even to Church, the nearest of the two Hamlets being a mile off and some part of them two miles, and very bad way”.
  • 1712: Walter Foot, a deacon was now curate. “He teaches school at Toddington, a mile off, and lives there … Divine Service twice a [Sun]day. Communion at Easter, two received”. Clearly the church’s distance from Tebworth and Wingfield really was harmful.
  • 1717: Walter Foote was now vicar but: “I Reside in a Gentleman’s house at Tudington having no house at Chalgrave”. “I kow of none who come to Church that are not baptized, but very few Confirmed, neither have I baptized any Adults since the last Episcopal Visitation … The publick service is read once every Lord’s Day, the Benefice being very small and held with another”. The other benefice held with Chalgrave was Hockliffe. “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is administered four times in the year. Eight or nine generally receive, thirteen did last Easter”.
  • 1720: Walter Foote (now also Vicar of Harlington) wrote: “I reside at Tudington, which lies between Chalgrave and Harlington … Services Once every Lord’s day … sacrament Four times a year, twelve or thirteen Communicants last Easter”.

The south porch June 2012
The south porch 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 Chalgrave church was made by the Vicar, J. S. Neumann, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • There were 160 free sittings and 30 others along with forms for 50 children.
  • 81 attended in the morning along with 60 Sunday scholars
  • The average attendance was 130 general congregation and 60 Sunday scholars.
  • “The Parish being united with that of Hockliffe, the services are alternatively morning and afternoon in conjunction with those at Hockliffe. The average congregation in the afternoon is given above. N. B. The Church stands at a distance of 1¼ miles from the Village”.