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List of Clifton Rectors

All Saints vexillum November 2009
All Saints vexillum November 2009

The following list of Rectors of Clifton is as complete as records will allow. The advowson of the church was vested in Beaulieu Priory, Clophill, a cell of Saint Albans Abbey, it is not recorded when the gift was made but may have been on the priory's foundation by the Overlord of the Manor of Clifton Lacies, Robert de Albini about 1150. When the priory was annexed to the abbey in 1428 the advowson moved to the Abbot.

 Dean Colet in the chancel south window November 2009
Dean Colet in the chancel south window November 2009

When Saint Albans Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII the advowson was taken by the Crown, to be granted to Lord Thomas Seymour in 1547. After his execution in 1549 the advowson was granted to Richard Snowe in 1553. His son Daniel probably alienated it to Daniel Goldsmith, who had it in 1605. In 1644 the owner of the advowson was George Noble and in 1685 Sir John Osborn of Chicksands. It then remained with the Osborn family into the 20th century. The current patron of the living, i.e. owner of the advowson, [2009] is the Bishop of Saint Albans.

Southill church from the south July 2007
Southill church from the south July 2007

Since 1994 Southill and Clifton have shared an incumbent. Each parish, however, retains its own parochial church council and officers and holds its own services

 Saint Peter from the 15th century screen November 2009
Saint Peter from the 15th century screen November 2009

List of Rectors

  • Eugeranus de Sandy - 1202;
  • Thomas son of Simon - after 1202;
  • Thomas de Pertenhale -1229 - subdeacon;
  • Richard de Caysho - 17th December 1267 - subdeacon;
  • John de Auchoyl [?] - 27th July 1278 - clerk; subdeacon; on death of the last Rector;
  • Roger de Graneby - 23rd March 1293 - chaplain; Vicar of Bromham;
  • John Pickard;
  • Robert Spigurnel - 21st September 1297 - clerk; on the institution of John Pickard to another parish in the Diocese of Norwich; Sir Roger Peyure of Pertenhall had presented another clerk but he was held not to be entitled; the Spigurnel family were Lords of the Manor of Clifton;
  • John de Cheringdon - 12th April 1301 - acolite; on the death of Robert Spigurnel;
  • Nicholas de Eye - 21st March 1310 - clerk; on the resignation of John de Cheringdon;
  • John Blundel - 15th October 1313 - chaplain; on death of Nicholas;
  • John de Marcham;
  • John de Hale - 15th December 1340 - priest; on the institution of John de Marcham to be Rector of Sudbury in Norwich Diocese; instituted again 19th January 1341 by Walter de Stauren', canon of Lincoln;
  • Geoffrey de Sidelsham - 21st July 1345 - Rector of Selesby; by Nicholas de Benton, Rector of Wranby, his procurator, by exchange with John de Hale;
  • Thomas de Cumpton;
  • Philip Daubeny - 30th August 1351 - priest; on the resignation of Thomas de Cumpton who became Archdeacon of Bedford;
  • Roger de Wythyngton - 12th April 1352 - on the death of Philip Daubeney;
  • Thomas Yunge - 21st August 1357 - Rector of Oystermouth [near Swansea], Diocese of "Meneu" by exchange with Roger de Wythyngton;
  • Robert de Braybrok - 12th April 1359 - clerk; on the resignation of Thomas Yonge; dispensation "pro defectu etatis" in pursuance of a Papal Bull granted in consequence of the mortality caused by the Black Death; the Braybrokes were Lords of the Manor of Clifton;
  • Robert de Braybrok - 11th May 1362 - clerk; on the resignation of Robert de Braybrok;
  • Reginald Braybrok - 11th May 1368 - clerk; on the resignation of Robert Braibrok;
  • Walter Wodeward - 12th July 1373 - priest; on the resignation of Reginald de Braybrok;
  • John Cochowe - 18th May 1379 - Rector of Grytton, Ely Diocese, by exchange with Walter Wodeward;
  • John Burgate - 21st December 1394 - clerk; on the death of the last Rector;
  • John Turveye - 14th May 1396 - priest; in succession to John Burgate;
  • John Bodycote - 18th November 1396 - priest; on the resignation of John Turveye, who exchanged to be Rector of Yelden;
  • John Godard - 30th Oct 1399 - priest;
  • Walter Hollybred - 22nd April 1447 - died on this date; he has a brass in the church];
  • John Southell - 25th September 1447 - priest; on the death of Walter Halibred;
  • Edmund Lemyng - 30th May 1460 - priest; on the death of John de Southill;
  • Henry Babyngton MA - 29th March 1490 - on the death of Edmund Lemyng; the Babyngtons were Lords of the Manor of Clifton;
  • Ralph Cantrell - 14th Jan 1497 - priest; on the resignation of Henry Babington;
  • George Fage - 13th April 1531 - chaplain; on the death of Ralph Cantrell;
  • Evan David - 20th October 1569 - clerk; on the death of the last Rector;
  • Thomas Castell - 25th August 1572 - resigned 16th May 1575;
  • Benjamin Chambers - 8th June 1575 - admitted 16th May 1575; vacant on the resignation of John Castell;
  • Thomas Nicolson - 15th July 1578 - admitted on 2nd August 1578 on the death of Benjamin Chambers;
  • John Snell - 11th July 1579 - admitted 12th February 1579; vacant by deprivation of Thomas Nicholson;
  • William Maude - 7th January 1595 - minister; buried 12th August 1622; will dated 21st March 1621, proved 8th July 1623;
  • William Buckby STB - 1618 - married Ursula, daughter of Edward Osborne of Northill, esquire; buried 21st February 1648, aged 75; will dated 6th January 1648, proved 23rd April 1649;
  • Isaac Bedford MA - 12th September 1622 - buried 9th November 1661; will dated 16th September 1661, proved 8th April 1662;
  • Nicholas East AM - 25th Apr 1662 - clerk; on the death of Isaac Bedford; also Vicar of Pinchbeck [Lincolnshire];
  • William Slater STP - 22nd February 1668 - of ChristChurch, Oxford; on the death of Nicholas East; also Rector of Saint James', Clerkenwell; died 3rd March 1690 aged 68;
  • Thomas Cooke MA - 14th March 1690 - on the death of William Sclater;
  • Philip Oddy AM - 17th February 1708 - on the resignation of Thomas Cooke;
  • Samuel Sparhawke MA - 9th February 1733;
  • Thomas Osborn LL.D - 13th February 1738 - on the death of Samuel Sparhawke;
  • Daniel Stephen Olivier LL.B - 7th April 1790 - on the death of Thomas Osborn;
  • Daniel Josias Olivier MA - 30th January 1827 - on the death of Daniel Stephen Olivier;
  • Henry Hugh Miles MA - 23rd July 1858 - on the death of Daniel Josias Olivier;
  • Edmund Clement Alwyn Foster - July 1891;
  • John Pycock - April 1896;
  • Jervois Arthur Newnham - November 1921;
  • Reginald Merac La Porte-Payne - July 1925;
  • Theodore Robert Woosnam Lunt - December 1939;
  • Philip Humphrey Hall - August 1947;
  • Patrick Thomas Ashton - November 1951;
  • Ernest Hall - 1959;
  • Gerald Richard Stanley Ritson - 1969
  • David Arthur Ireland - 1976;
  • Peter John Pavey - 1984
  • J Kenneth Dixon - 1994
  • Mark-Aaron B. Tisdale - 2005

 Saint Nicholas in the chancel south window November 2009
Saint Nicholas in the chancel south window November 2009


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 general workings 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, for example. Philip Oddy, the Clifton Rector seems to be an honourable exception to this neglect, as soon as a new Rectory was built, as the returns indicate.

The font November 2009
The font November 2009

The returns for Clifton are as follows:

  • 1709: Whilst the rector was Philip Oddy, who had been ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1703, he had, at that stage, a curate called Samuel Bedford, who had been ordained the previous year. An Isaac Bedford had been Rector from 1622 to 1661, it would be interested if he and Samuel were related. Many of the congregation were not confirmed and only eleven had received communion the previous Easter.
  • 1712: Oddy reported "The Rectory is a new building, for which cause the Rector boards at Henlow, but is in his Parish every day". A licence to pull down the old Rectory had been granted just in that year. Most of the congregation were still not confirmed. He held Divine Service twice every Sunday and every Saturday afternoon. Communion was taken four times a year (it was then customary to take communion at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun and on very few other occasions). Communicants numbered between 18 and 24 out of a total congregation of 128.
  • By the time of the next visit in 1717 Oddy lived at the Rectory and had no curate. Still most of the congregation was not confirmed but: I have Baptised since the last Visitation nathaniel Butler, a Taylor [sic] aged about 20 and Ruth the Daughter of Widow Mouse, about 12 years old, a Clinic". As well as two services on a Sunday he now held them on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. Oddy noted that 28 usually received communion but 31 received the previous Easter.
  • 1720: The information given was little changed from that given in 1712.

Sedilia and piscinae about 1820 [Z1244]
Sedilia and piscinae about 1820 [Z1244]

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 Rector, Daniel Olivier, who noted the following pieces of information: the church contained 123 free seats and 156 reserved for a total of 279. At morning service there had been 60 in the congregation and 67 Sunday scholars, with 140 in the congregation as well as the same 67 scholars in the afternoon - totals of 127 and 207 respectively. The averages had been 115 and 275 but Sunday 30th March 1851 was cold and wet and not particularly congenial for stirring abroad. By contrast the figures for the Baptist Chapel were 290 and 390.

The pulpit November 2009
The pulpit November 2009