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Harlington Rectors and Vicars


Vicar G T Johnstone P75-28-16a

Rev George Thomson Johnstone MA, Vicar of Harlington 1870-1879


According to volume 3 of the Victoria County History (published 1912) the church of Harlington was granted to the priory of Dunstable by Ralph Pyrot, before he himself became a monk at Woburn Abbey. In 1223 there was a legal dispute between Ralph’s grandson Richard and the prior over the advowson, or right to present the rector to the church. Richard claimed that Ralph had made the grant to Dunstable only after he entered Woburn and gave up his right to his lands, and that the grant was therefore void, whereas the prior claimed that Ralph had made the grant ten years before he became a monk. The law suit was won by the prior, but the dispute was revived later in the 13th century by Richard’s heirs.  

In 1291 the church of Harlington was valued at £10. In 1306 the canons of Dunstable obtained a licence in return for a payment to the king of 30 marks, permitting them to appropriate the revenues of the church for the support and repair of Dunstable Priory. This meant that instead of the church being served by a rector, a vicar was appointed by the Priory, which was then able to keep the balance of the income from Harlington after paying the vicar his stipend.  

When the monasteries were dissolved by King Henry VIII the rectory (meaning here the proceeds of all the property and land belonging to Harlington church) had been leased by Dunstable Priory to a William Belfield for a yearly rent of £12, from which the vicar was paid just £4. After the Dissolution Dunstable and its estates passed to the Crown, which did not renew the lease of the rectory Both the rectory and the advowson remained with the Crown until 1578, when they were granted to Edward, Earl of Lincoln. In 1595 they were acquired by Lady Jane Cheney, and from then onwards were held together with Harlington Manor. During the 17th century the tithes due to the rector were leased out at various times, and in 1631 the rectory house was morgaged to a Diana Bowles, who complained that it had been sequestered along with the Earl of Cleveland’s estate in 1644 and 1651.  


During the middle ages chantries were often endowed by wealthy members of a parish to pay a priest to pray for the souls of dead family members, or for their own soul after their death. Harlington apparently had endowments of this type as when the chantries were dissolved by Edward VI in 1548 the sum of 12 shillings and 4 pence annual rent for certain lands in the parish (after payment of 6½ pence to the king, 2 shillings to the poor of the parish and 19 pence to the lord of Harlington Manor) was applied to support a light to burn in the church, and a stock of eleven cow, valued at 106 shillings, which were to be used to support various obits (services to mark the anniversary of a death).  

Vicar W H Daubeny P75-28-16b

Rev W. H. Daubeny, vicar of Harlington 1879-1894

List of Rectors and Vicars of Harlington 


  • Philip of Harlington [de Herlingedone] - 1222 [died in this year];  

  • Richard of Oxford [de Oxon'] - 1222 [clerk; patron Prior & Convent of Dunstable; Royal Writ indicates that the Prior had recovered the advowsan as against Richard Pirot];  

  • John - 1260 [vicar for 12 years; died 1272];  

  • [1262 – Dunstable Priory recovered their right to the patronage to the church of Harlington from Ralph Pyrot, nephew of Richard Pyrot, in a case heard by the justices on eyre at Bedford]; 

  • Master William de la Mare - 28 Sep 1272 [subdeacon; patron Prior & Convent of Dunstable; died Oct 1279];  

  • Master John de Radenor - 13 Nov 1280 [subdeacon; resigned immediately after his appointment on the death of Master William de la Mare]; 

  • Master Walter de Lodeford - 30 Nov 1280 [subdeacon; on resignation of Master John de Radenor; this appears to have been the second of two appointments which Dunstable Priory were obliged to make under an agreement]  

Vicar A Hodgson P75-28-16d

Rev Arthur George Hodgson, Vicar of Harlington 1909-1929


  • Thomas son of John, called Carter [Carettarii] of Dunstable - 22 Aug 1310 [ordained vicar];  

  • Richard;  

  • John de Westworthing - 21 Jul 1349 [priest; on death of Richard];  

  • John Potton;  

  • William Rydie - 14 Nov 1402 [chaplain; on death of John Potton];  

  • John Benet - 17 Mar 1442 [priest; on resignation of William Redy];  

  • Edmund Atwode - 6 Dec 1471 [priest; on resignation of John Benett];  

  • Roland Smyth - 4 May 1515 [on resignation of Edmund Wode];  

  • Thomas Jamys - 30 Mar 1515/6 [chaplain; vacant];  

  • Henry Milward alias Smith - 8 Apr 1546;  

  • William Alison - 12 Apr 1546 [clerk; on death of last incumbent; patron Henry VIII];  

  • Henry Milward alias Smith - 25 Oct 1553;  

  • Thomas Johns - 28 Apr 1554 [clerk; on death of last Vicar; patron Mary I];  

  • Charles Shay - 26 Jun 1571 [clerk; presented at this date; no evidence he was instituted vicar];  

  • William Eames MA - 18 Oct 1574 [clerk; presented on petition of Mr Norton; patron Elizabeth I; also Vicar of Streatley; will dated 29 Oct 1604, proved 16 Apr 1605];  

  • Philip Lewgar MA - 22 Jan 1604 [on death of last Rector; patron James I; he married Anne, daughter of Henry Milner [Milward?] of Harlington by Cecily, daughter of Edmund Gostwicke of Willington; will dated 20 May 1626, proved 3 Apr 1627; to be buried in chancel; buried 21 Jan 1626];  

  • William Symmes - 25 Jan 1626 [patron Charles I];  

  • William Lindall DD - 1665;  

  • Thomas Cox - 1667 [clerk];  

  • Simon Gale - 1681 [minister];  

  • Samuel Hanber - 1687 [minister];  

  • Thomas Haxby;  

  • John Digby BA - 1 Jul 1693 [clerk; on death of Thomas Haxby, clerk; patron William III and Mary II];  

  • Walter Foote AB - 5 Apr 1718 [on death of John Digby; patron Sir Henry Johnson];  

  • Owen Gough MA - 17 Aug 1750 [on death of Walter Foote; patron Earl of Strafford; fellow of King's College, Cambridge; died 3 Aug 1750 [sic]];  

  • William Rowley;  

  • John Lambert - 5 Aug 1777 [clerk; on death of William Rowley; patron William, Earl of Strafford];  

  • John Henry Hogarth SCL - 15 May 1818 [on death of John Lambert; patron Henry Charles Edward Vernon Graham of Hilton Park [Staffordshire], esquire];  

  • Oswald Leicester - 13 May 1822 [clerk; on departure of John Henry Hogarth; patron John Cooper of Park House, Highgate [Middlesex], esquire];  

  • Robert Leicester BA - 21 Sep 1823 [on departure of Oswald Leicester; patron John Cooper];  

  • Thomas Pearse MA - 31 Jul 1826 [on resignation of Robert Leicester; patron Theed Pearse];  

  • Henry Milne MA - 21 Jul 1854 [on resignation of Thomas Pearse; patron W.D.C.Cooper of Toddington Manor, esquire; resigned 30 Oct 1858];  

  • George Ambrose Butler BA - 24 Nov 1858 [on resignation of Henry Milne; patron W.D.C.Cooper];  

  • George Thomson Johnston MA - 2 May 1870 [on death of George Ambrose Butler; patron W.Cooper Cooper];  

  • W H Daubeny – 1879; 

  • William Spencer - Apr 1894;  

  • Arthur George Hodgson - Nov 1909;  

  • Daniel Mclean - Jan 1930;  

  • William Price Ind - Aug 1945;  

  • Jack Sargent Strong - 1956;  

  • Kingsley Roberton Fleming - 1963;  

  • David Marlyn Hoare - 1970;  

  • Peter Stokes - 1977;  

  • Stephen James Williams BSC Cert.Theol. - 1986