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List of Higham Gobion Rectors

Higham Gobion church from the south April 2015
Higham Gobion church from the south April 2015


Volume II of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1908. It noted that the advowson of Higham Gobion was held by the Markyate Priory from its foundation in 1154 until it was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547) in 1537.

In 1543 the advowson was passed to Richard Andrews. In 1565 Robert Burgoyne (who presumably had purchased it from Andrews) conveyed the advowson to Henry Butler. In 1647 Lord William Butler, who had mental health issues, died without heirs and the advowson became the right of his six sisters, eventually, by a series of settlements, the advowson passed to Mary, wife of George Villiers, Viscount Grandison in 1664. In 1714 the advowson was conveyed to Richard and John Harrison. Mary, wife of rector Geoffrey Hawkins presented the living in 1727 and she may have been a daughter of Richard Harrison. In 1787 Rev John Hawkins conveyed the advowson to Robert Cooper Lee. By 1855 the rector, William Henry Marvin held the advowson.

Today [2015] Higham Gobion is held in plurality with Barton-le-Clay (and has been since 1951) and Hexton [Hertfordshire]. The right to present the rector is held by the Crown, which has the first, third and fourth turns, shared with Patrick Ashley-Cooper, who has the second turn. Despite being held in plurality Higham Gobion remains a separate ecclesiastical parish with its own parish officers.

 The church from the north-east April 2015
The church from the north-east  April 2015

List of Rectors

  •  Roger Gubiun, clerk: 14th November 1222;
  •  Thomas de Limbery, subdeacon: 1224;
  •  Robert de Berkamsted;
  •  Gilbert de Keynesbir', chaplain: on the death of Robert de Berkamsted: 1st October 1290;
  •  Gilbert de Arderne, rector: 1298;
  •  Alan de Pollesworth, chaplain: on the resignation of Gilbert de Markyate: 23rd June 1300;
  •  John de Kynesbur', subdeacon: on the resignation of Alan de Pollesworth: 30th July 1300;
  •  John de Saxton, clerk: on the death of John de Kinnesbury: 10th May 1323;
  •  Richard de Barwe: exchanged the benefice with John de Saxton: 1338;
  •  William de Rous of Eyton. Priest: on the death of John de Saxton: 13th January 1342;
  •  Thomas de Woubourne, priest: on the death of William le Rede: 12th August 1349;
  •  John Stauerne;
  •  John de Hauerbergh, Rector of Silchester: by exchange with John Stauerne: 4th May 1358;
  •  William de Asshton;
  •  John de Brunne, priest: on the resignation of William de Asshton, exchanged to Edmerthorp [Edmondthorpe, Leicestershire?]: 8th December 1379;
  •  Thomas Lygh, Vicar of Sabrichworth [Sawbridgeworth [Hertfordshire]?]; by exchange with John de Brunne: 27th February 1380;
  •  John Lamasse, priest: on the resignation of Thomas Legh, exchanged to be Vicar of Hitchin [Hertfordshire]: 18th November 1388;
  •  Alexander Smyth alias Denny, priest: on the death of John Lammasse: 17th July 1409;
  •  John Blome alias Thetford, Vicar of Finchingfield [Essex]: on exchange with Alexander Denny alias Smyth: 21st September 1422;
  •  John Billesfeld: exchanged with John de Thetford: 1426;
  •  Robert Goldsmith;
  •  Thomas Lammer: on the death of Robert Goldsmith; registered as a Brother in Gild of Holy Trinity, Luton in 1478: 5th March 1473;
  •  John Clerke: on the resignation of Thomas Lammyer, presented to Thenford [Northamptonshire], registered as Brother of Holy Trinity Gild of Luton in 1478: 10th June 1477;
  •  William Parker, priest: on the resignation of John Clerke: 16th June 1484;
  •  Thomas Tuppyng, chaplain: on death of William Parker: 14th March 1519;
  •  Richard Hutton LLB: on the death of John Typping: 19th November 1535;
  •  George Garthwaite, priest: on the resignation of Richard Hutton: 12th March 1546;
  •  George Granger: 1547;
  •  John Carter: 18th March 1553;
  •  Richard Kent: 10th June 1553;
  •  Thomas Shell, clerk: 13th July 1554;
  •  Thomas Atkinson: 24th November 1557;
  •  Richard Atkinson, recusant: 1562;
  •  Bryan Bywater: 24th April 1572;
  •  George Lewis: 12th October 1574;
  •  Walter Gyles BA: admitted 22 May 1576 in succession to George Lewis; resigned 31st December 1604: 11th July 1576;
  •  Timothy Bristowe BA: on the resignation of Walter Giles: 27th May 1605;
  •  John Harman AM: 22nd January 1610;
  •  Henry Lynne BA: married Elizabeth, daughter of John Pigot of Abbington [Cambridgeshire] by Anne, daughter of Henry Hall on 4th June 1644: 15th June 1630;
  •  George Lawson AM, clerk: on the death of Henry Linne: 19th September 1662;
  •  Edmund Castell STP: 29th January 1663;
  •  Thomas Houghton MA: priested 5th September 1675; on the death of Edmund Castle STD: 9th January 1686;
  •  (John Hayes, curate: priested 23rd April 1696);
  •  (Benjamin Newman, clerk: buried 4th December 1695);
  •  (John Jacobus La Porte, licensed curate: 4th Jun 1712);
  •  Geoffrey Hawkins AM: on the death of Thomas Houghton STP; son of Geoffrey Hawkins AM, Rector of Chesterton [Huntingdonshire], who was one of the suffering clergy in 1641; he died in 1727; Mary, his wife, widow of Richard Carryer died in 1750: 6th May 1719;
  •  Robert Manlove AM: on the death of Geoffrey Hawkins: 17th January 1728
  •  Francis Hawkins BA: on the resignation of Robert Manlove: 5th November 1737;
  •  Francis Hawkins MA: on his own cession: 18th September 1772;
  •  John Hawkins MA: on death of Francis Hawkins: 1st February 1776;
  •  William Mead MA: on cession of John Hawkins: 16th November 1782;
  •  William Mead MA: on cession of William Mead: 22nd August 1800;
  •  John Gascarth Ella, clerk: on the cession of William Mead: 17th December 1807;
  •  John Reynolds Wardale MA: on the cession of John Gascarth Ella; he resigned 27th February 1857: 6th March 1813;
  •  William Henry Marvin MA: on the resignation of John Reynolds Wardale; he died on 16th November 1888: 19th March 1857;
  •  Henry Newington Clarke Hewson: March 1889;
  •  Robert Frederick Cory: 1893;
  •  John Vander Horst Rees: April 1945;
  •  John Morgan Walters: August 1948;
  •  Albert Henry Willson Cleaver: 1951;
  •  Edwin Arnold Wild: 1962;
  •  Ian Henry Gaunt Graham-Orlebar: 1970;
  •  Peter Harold Whittaker: 1992;
  •  Graham Newton: 2004;
  •  Andrew Johnson: 2013.

The east end April 2015
The east end  April 2015


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. The returns for Higham Gobion are as follows:

  • 1709: the rector lived at Writtle [Essex], John Hayes acting as curate, who resided at Upper Gravenhurst;
  • 1712: the rector still lived at Writtle, which he held in plurality; the curate was now John de la Porte of Pulloxhill. Divine service was held every Sunday in the afternoon and communion was held four times a year, five people receiving;
  • 1720: the new rector, Geoffrey Hawkins resided in the parish and services were held once on a Sunday and communion was now held just three times a year.

 The south door April 2015
The south door April 2015

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 Higham Gobion church was made by the rector who noted the following pieces of information:

  • The church had no particular name (evidently ignorance on this issue was widespread as John Martin in 1847 stated that the churchwarden he met did not know the name of the saint to whom the church was dedicated).
  • Average congregation for the last year was 20, with 14 Sunday scholars in the morning and 40, with 14 Sunday scholars in the afternoon.