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List of All Saints Vicars

The parish vexillum March 2012
The parish vexillum March 2012


Volume III of The Victoria County History of Bedfordshire was published in 1912 and traced the history of the advowson of Kempston. It was held by Elstow Abbey from early times. After it was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547) a succession of people were patron over the next three hundred years. Sir Edmund Harvey was granted the advowson in 1541 and his daughter Isabel married Sir Humphrey Radcliffe and the advowson was held by that family from 1553 to 1602.

In 1602 the advowson was conveyed to Matthew Bedell and remained with that family until some time after 1636 when they it was conveyed to Matthew Dennis, the two families being connected by marriage. Dennis was also Lord of the Manor of Kempston Daubeney and until the late18th century the lordship and the advowson were held together.

In the late 18th century the advowson was assigned to the Vicar of Kempston, James Aspinall and the successive incumbents also held the advowson until the middle of the 19th century when the right to present the vicar was transferred to John D’Allcroft of London. After 1895 the advowson was vested in the Bishop of Ely, transferring to the Bishop of Saint Albans in 1914 when Bedfordshire was moved from the Diocese of Ely to that of Saint Albans. The Bishop of Saint Albans remains the patron of the living at the time of writing [2013].

The pulpit March 2012
The pulpit March 2012

List of Vicars

  • Richard, chaplain: 1215-1220;
  • Matthew, chaplain: 1222;
  • (Brother Walter, chaplain, with the consent of the Vicar of Kempston: 1243);
  • Symon, chaplain, on the resignation of Matthew, the last vicar: 1248;
  • Hugh de Cotes, chaplain, on the death of Simon: 1274;
  • Thomas de Gunneby, deacon, on the death of Hugh: 23rd July 1311;
  • Robert Morice, chaplain, on the death of Thomas: 26th March 1319;
  • John Amice, presented on 3rd October 1332 to the Vicarage of Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire]: 1332;
  • John Cole, priest, on the resignation of John Amys, who exchanged to Newport Pagnell Vicarage: 5th October 1332;
  • Richard de Haregrave, Rector of Horseheath [Cambridgeshire], by exchange with John Cole: 23rd October 1336;
  • Richard de Weston;
  • John Sharpe, Rector of Chalton [Hampshire], by exchange with Richard de Weston, Vicar of Kempston: 8th December 1342;
  • John Unwyn;
  • William Brocket, priest, on the resignation of John Unwyn, who exchanged to Siberton[?] Rectory: 22nd September 1372;
  • William Lynne, on exchange with William Brocket, priest, for Elstow Chantry: 28th September 1382;
  • Nicholas Poire, Vicar of Leighton Buzzard, on exchange with William Lynne, priest: 1389;
  • John Wadupp, Vicar of Leighton Buzzard, on exchange with Nicholas Pyrr: 8th June 1407;
  • Thomas Toryngton;
  • William Bernard, priest, on the death of Thomas Toryngton: 31st July 1457;
  • Hugh Burton, priest, on the death of William Bernard: 5th March 1496;
  • Robert Gostwik, on the resignation of Hugh Burton; pension of eight shillings: 20th January 1507;
  • William Taillour, on the resignation of Robert Gostwik: 12th October 1516;
  • William Parke M. A., on the death of William Tailor: 2nd August 1521;
  • John Dewe, chaplain, on the death of the last incumbent: 8th May 1535;
  • John Smalle: 4th July 1554;
  • John Vernham: 8th February 1558;
  • Richard Wheeler, clerk, on the death of John Vernam: 23rd April 1570;
  • Alexander Fitzgeoffrey, clerk, vacancy by lapse: 27th April 1570;
  • Robert Millward: 28th April 1619;
  • John Newland M. A.: 25th February 1624;
  • Henry Randall: 30th December 1624;
  • Henry White, clerk, will dated 2nd March 1632: 1631;
  • Zachary Seaton, minister, married Dorothy Cokayne: 16th October 1633;
  • William Hayward, clerk, buried 1st April 1659, will proved 16th April 1659;
  • James Clarke, buried 1st May 1665: 25th April 1661;
  • David Faldo, clerk, on the death of James Clarke: 24th September 1665;
  • Joseph Margetts M. A., ordained priest 24th September 1676 by Joseph, Bishop of Peterborough; on the death of David Faldo; buried 31st August 1724: 26th July 1680;
  • John Billey A. B., on the death of John Margetts; his will [ABP/W 1742/36] was proved in 1742: 21st December 1724;
  • William Jenkins A. M., on the death of John Biley: 12th August 1742;
  • Richard Reddall M. A., clerk, on the death of William Jenkins: 18th December 1764;
  • James Grant L. L. D., on the death of Richard Riddal: 16th August 1766;
  • James Aspinwall, clerk, on the cession of James Grant: 25th September 1795;
  • Edward Tanqueray L. L. B., on the death of James Aspinwall: 5th August 1816;
  • George Owsley Fenwicke A. M., on the cession of E. Tanqueray: 4th June 1817;
  • Henry Clutterbuck B. A., on cession of George O. Fenwicke: 21st December 1834;
  • Hamilton John Williams, on the cession of Henry Clutterbuck: 12th February 1846;
  • Albert Whitmarsh: 1886;
  • Henry Baugh M. A.: 31st July 1888;
  • John Rosser: August 1895;
  • P Greaves M. A., Vicar of Saint Sepulchre’s, Cambridge, on the death of the last incumbent: March 1913;
  • George Herbert Cobbold Shorting: July 1919;
  • Frederick Oliver Houseman: April 1926;
  • Thomas Henry Woods Barker: November 1929;
  • Henry Charles Perry: 1947;
  • Roger Bagnall: 1947
  • Henry John: November 1950;
  • Kenneth Charles Habermehl: 1965;
  • Richard Neville Carter: 1987;
  • Richard J. Sutton: 1995;
  • Stephen L. Huckle: 2005.

The Bishop's chair March 2012
The Bishop's chair March 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 the general state of the church in the parish. The returns for Kempston are as follows:

  • 1709: “This Gentleman [the vicar] Catechizes every Sunday, and every Fryday calls the young persons of the parish together, and instructs them in Bishop William’s Cathecism … Some un-baptized come occasionally to Church. Many not Confirmed. Monthly Communions. Last Easter about 50 received. Many seldom or never receive at all”.
  • 1712: “The Vicar constantly resides. Some not baptized come to Church. One adult lately baptized. Many not Confirmed. Divine Service twice every Lord’s day, once all Litanie and Holydays … Communion every Month. The parish being large, the Number of Communicants which receive some time or other cannot be ascertained”.
  • 1717: “I do reside in the vicaridge house. No curate. Whether all that come to church are baptized can’t be known Because we are changing persons every year. We have several want confirmation and wait for an opportunity for it. No Adult persons baptized since the last Visitation. The Publick service is read twice every Lord’s day and every Wednesday and Friday and Holyday … the Sacrament is administered every month and they that cannot come at one time may at another. We seldom have fewer than 20. At Easter last near forty. The number of Communicants cannot exactly be known in a parish about 20 miles about. Warning is always given before every Communion and we commonly have the names of the communicants. None has been publickly Refused”.
  • 1720: [The vicar was] “Alwaies Resident and have been so for forty years. No curate but officiate my selfe. Unbaptized None that I know of. Publick service is twice every Lord’s day. And on Wednesdaies and Fridaies and Holidaies when any people will come … The sacrament is administered once a month. We seldome have less than twenty. At Easter last about thirty. The number of communicants can’t be punctually accounted for, because our Parish is one and twenty miles about. But they have frequent opportunities of coming, if they please. I alwaies give warning a week before”.

The Light of the World from the north aisle east window March 2012
The Light of the World from the north aisle east window March 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 Kempston church was made by the vicar who noted the following pieces of information:

  • There were 340 free seats and 140 others.
  • General congregation had been 243 in the morning with 172 Sunday scholars
  • General congregation had been 220 in the afternoon with 162 Sunday scholars
  • General congregation had been 120 in the evening.

The south door March 2012
The south door March 2012