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List of Cople Vicars

plaque to Henry East Havergal February 2008
Plaque to Henry East Havergal in Cople church February 2008


The advowson of All Saints, Coplewas granted to the Gilbertine priory of Chicksands by Simon de Beauchamp in the latter 13th century and confirmed in the early 14th century by his son William.  After the Dissolution, the advowson was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, who still hold it.

Since 1969 the Vicar of Cople has also been incumbent of Willington and, since 1998, of Mogerhanger too as part of the Ivel Group Ministry, though the churches retain their own parochial church councils and services.

Crucifixion on east window February 2008 
Crucifixion in Cople church east window February 2008

List of Vicars

  • Adam de Herlingdun, chaplain: 12th June 1237;
  • Geoffrey;
  • Thomas de Haregrave, chaplain, on the death of Geoffrey: 8th October 1276;
  • Nicholas de Camelton, chaplain, on the death of Thomas 16th September 1294;
  • William de Camelton, priest, on the death of Nicholas de Camelton: 20th October 1318;
  • Roger de Hoxon, priest, on the resignation of William de Camelton: 27th July 1339;
  • William de Trusthorp, on the resignation of Roger de Hoxon: 25th February 1342;
  • William Austyn: priest, on the resignation of William: 10th December 1349;
  • John Heye, priest, on the death of Walter Austyn: 11th May 1362;
  • John Marchall, priest, vacabt: 2nd April 1433;
  • William Midleton, priest, on the resignation of John Marshall: 28th October 1433;
  • Robert Clerke, chaplain, on the resignation of William Myddilton: 10th July 1435;
  • William Gunwardby, vacant: 22nd December 1441;
  • John Irener: 31st October 1442 [priest, on resignation of William Gunwardby, Bishop of Dunkeld];
  • William Coupill, monk of Warden, on the resignation of John Irener: 3rd January 1454;
  • Alexander Wode, priest, on the death of John Irener: 3rd October 1463;
  • Thomas Noke;
  • Thomas Barker, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Noke: 17th August 1489;
  • Thomas Bamford, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Barker: 20th December 1501;
  • Thomas Stykney, on the death of Thomas Bamforth: 17th May 1525;
  • Reginald Hogeson, chaplain, on the resignation of Thomas Stykney: 18th December 1526;
  • Adam Mowlesworthe, chaplain, on the resignation of Reginald Hogeson: 7th August 1532;
  • John Rossell, clerk, on the death of Adam Molesworthe: 1567;
  • Richard Hodgeson, clerk, vacant by the death of John Rossell: 10th December 1579
  • Roger Hudson/Hodgson, vicar, buried on 7th January 1607;
  • William Greenough M.A., on the death of Roger Hudson: 24th February 1607;
  • William Spencer: 1622;
  • John Gwynn: September M.A., he married Margery Smith on 15th May 1634: 1633;
  • Samuel Milborne: 1659;
  • Joseph Gascoyne: 1668;
  • Robert Hawkins: curate, at Cople in plurality with Goldington: 1706
  • Benjamin Holloway, curate at Cople in plurality with Renhold and Willington: 1717;
  • Barwell Collins, on the cession of Benjamin Holloway, L.L.B.; held Cople in plurality with Cardington: 17th June 1725;
  • Charles Potter, on the cession of the last: 21st January 1728;
  • John Betts, clerk, on the cession of Charles Potter, he held Cople in plurality with Willington: 9th June 1730;
  • John Pemberton, clerk, on the death of John Betts, he held Cople in plurality with Cardington and Keysoe: 27th September 1745;
  • Thomas Birt: 18th September 1746;
  • Angel Silke, clerk, on the cession of Thomas Birt: 5th June 1761;
  • John Graham M.A., on the death of Angel Silke: 31st December 1795;
  • Jonathan Trebeck M.A., on the death of John Graham: 18th July 1826;
  • Robert Chomley Price M.A., on the death of J Trebeck, he resigned on 5th April 1847: 14th July 1846;
  • Henry East Havergal M.A., on the resignation of R C Price: 2nd July 1847;
  • Harry Hocken M.A., on the death of H E Havergal: 11th April 1875;
  • Joseph John Atkins: April 1915;
  • William Hambley Norman: September 1936;
  • Julian Leslie Stewart: April 1938;
  • Richard Charles James Bunter Colthurst: May 1939;
  • Horace Spence: April 1946;
  • William Chipchase Stainsby: May 1948;
  • Theodore Reginald Thomas Bennington Hayes: October 1950;
  • Edward Arthur Nobles: 1969;
  • Christopher Philip Huitson: 1977;
  • John A Terry: 1990;
  • Nicholas T.MacNeill: 1998;
  • Lynda Klimas: 2004;
  • Fiona Gibson: 2017

  A garden party at Wood End House 1919 note Rev Joseph John Atkins
A garden party at Wood End House 1919 note Rev Joseph John Atkins [Z50/33/1]


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. The entries, made by the Vicar or Curate, throw and interesting light on the state of the church in the parish at the time. In 1709, for example: "One Un-baptized comes to Church, and some few not confirmed. Communicants above 60, of these 56 received Easter last". In 1712 it was reported: "The Curate does not reside; he lives at his Parish of Goldington. None Un-baptized come to Church. Divine Service once every Lord's day; the other time at Goldington. Communion 4 times a year. 60 Communicants. About 50 received at Easter last".

By 1717 Benjamin Holloway had become curate and: "I have taken an House in this Parish, and shall also make use of my vicarage House, which is near my other dwelling". He went on: "I know of none that come t ochurch unbaptized, and all that are of a competent Age either have been, or are ready to be confirmed. Publick service is read in the Church once every Lord's day, because the vicarage does not afford a competent maintainance, and when there is no service in this church, the Parishioners hear it very conveniently at Willington or Cardington...The Sacrament is administered four times a year. Here are usually about forty communicants, particularly we had about that number at Easter last. I give open and timely warning of the sacrament before Administration. The parishioners do not send in their Names, but they shall be admonished so to do. I have not refused the Sacrament to any".

In 1720 Holloway confirmed: "I do reside upon my Cure: But not in the vicarage House which is not capable of my Family. I have a Curate for the churches of Renhold and Willington, Mich: Arnald A.B. He boards at Renhold in a Farmer's House near the Church. He is duly qualify'd and I allow him £24 Per Annum" The curate thus had a curate. Holloway continued: "Publick service is perform'd in our church once every Lord's day, the other time the Inhabitants go to Church at Willington or Cardington, which lie near and commodious. The Poverty of these Churches is the unhappy cause of this Defect here, and in the neighbouring Parishes...The Sacrament of the Lords Supper is Administred in our Church 4 times every year, viz: at Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and Michaelmas. We have usually about 50 communicants. We might have above twice so many".

church from south east February 2008
The church from the south-east February 2008

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 figures given for Cople were 58 attending in the morning and 100 in the afternoon, with 72 Sunday Scholars in the morning and 70 in the afternoon - grand totals of 130 and 170. The average for the preceding twelve months was given as 65 and 75 in the morning and 130 and 75 in the afternoon for grand totals of 140 and 205 - the census day was very wet and cold, not enticing people to travel far.

The Vicar, Henry Havergal noted: As the greater part of the morning congregation do no tattend in the afternoon or evening the average number of those who attend at one or other service may be reckoned at 240 or 250 distinct individuals". He gave seating accommodation in the church as 170.

church from the north east February 2008
The church from the north-east February 2008