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List of Kensworth Vicars

The parish vexillum June 2012
The parish vexillum June 2012


The advowson of Kensworth church was held, and still is held, by the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, the institution which held the Manor of Kensworth. Presumably between 1649 and 1660 the advowson was held between the man who bought the manor from parliament, and then was deprived of it at the Restoration, William Barbour of Redbourn [Hertfordshire].

The pulpit June 2012
The pulpit June 2012

List of Vicars

The following list of Vicars of Kensworth is as complete as records will allow. Since 1982 the vicar has also been the Vicar of Studham and the Rector of Whipsnade. Each parish retains its own parochial church council and parish officers.

  • John de Sancto Laurentio: 1207;
  • Nicholas de London: 1220;
  • Geoffrey de Lucy, Archdeacon of London: 1224;
  • Henry de Wenrick, subdeacon: 1225;
  • Barthlomew de Brunn, deacon: 3rd September 1236;
  • Alexander de Ferentin, died 1238;
  • William le Affite, subdeacon: 1238;
  • Nicholas: 1243;
  • Bartholomew de Brunne: 1246, vacated 1248;
  • Robert de Drayton: 18th October 1294;
  • William Leychamstede: 1300;
  • Hugh de Badeford, chaplain: August 1300, resigned 1312;
  • William de Storteford: 16th January 1312, died 1349;
  • John Fabri, priest: 4th August 1349;
  • John de Stewkley: 1353;
  • John atte Hurne or Hyne de Lichelade: 13th December 1353;
  • John Seward: 2nd November 1377;
  • Richard Pirington: 1380;
  • William Shenley: 12th Jun 1380, died 1392;
  • John Preston :3rd March 1392, died 1418;
  • James Stodlomb: 8th March 1418;
  • William Fermor, priest: 5th February 1439, died 1453;
  • John Hedges, chaplain: 31st January 1454;
  • John Rodeford: 1462;
  • Francis Furnyvall: 7th January 1462, died 1476;
  • Ralph Bygoode, priest: 2nd May 1476;
  • Roger Worsley, priest: 13th November 1478, resigned 1481;
  • Laurence Banaster, priest: 11th December 1481, died 1524;
  • Thomas Shell, chaplain: 8th July 1524, resigned 1533;
  • John Gale M. A.: 15th March 1533;
  • John Smith: 9th December 1543;
  • John Hale: 1st July 1544, resigned 1546;
  • Alan Percy: 7th November 1546, died March 1560;
  • John Wright: 7th May 1560;
  • John Sydall: 1645;
  • Isaac Bringhurst: 8th March 1661, resigned 1666;
  • Byshop Lyster M. A.: 3rd August 1666, died 1690;
  • John Lord, B. A: 25th January 1681, resigned 1704;
  • John Lord junior, B. A.: 25th October 1704, ceded 1714;
  • John Lord senior, M.A.: 9th March 1714, died 1728;
  • Charles Sear, M.A.:7th February 1728, died 1733;
  • William Pitman, M. A.: 4th July 1733, died 1765;
  • Weldon Champnes, M. A.: 16th December 1765, ceded 1767;
  • Henry Wareing, M. A.: 11 April 1767;
  • John Gibbons, junior, M. A.: 4th April 1775, ceded 1795;
  • William Holmes, M. A.: 9th September 1795, resigned 1802;
  • (Thomas Warren, curate: 1800);
  • Richard Webb, M. A.: 10th May 1802, died 1829;
  • Edward George Ambrose Beckwith: 19th June 1829, ceded 1830;
  • Thomas Charles Boone, B. A.: 12th May 1830, died 1851;
  • (N. R. Tarpley, curate: 1851);
  • Richard Allen, M. A.: 13th June 1851, resigned 30th November 1853;
  • James Gratrix, M. A.: 9th December 1853, died 1862;
  • Henry Windsor: 8th September 1862, died 25th March 1873;
  • George Edward Oscar Watts, M. A.: 26th July 1873;
  • William Brian Somerville Litle, M. A.: 8th June 1893;
  • William Adams Challis: 1926;
  • Ivan Richard Young: 1937;
  • John William Shepherd: 1982;
  • Peter Malcolm Palmer: 1986;
  • Linda Mary Lane: 1997;
  • Nicola Yvonne Lenthall: 2003.

The font September 2011
The font September 2011


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 Kensworth, then in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, are as follows:

  • 1709: three adults baptized since the last Visitation, 2 women and one man. There are about 16 others un-baptized who come to church. Scarce any Confirmed. Communicants about 55. There are severall who seldom or never receive at all;
  • 1712: Mr. Lord resides in his Vicarage House. Severall un-baptized come to church. 18 adults baptized since the last Visitation. Some still un-confirmed. Divine Service twice every Sunday … Communions 6 times in the year. 42 received at Easter last. The usual number about 36. Due notice given”.

The crucifixion from the chancel east window June 2012
The crucifixion from the chancel east window June 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 Saint Mary’s church was made by the curate, N. R. Tarpley, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • There were 148 free seats in the church and 128 others;
  • Congregation in the morning was 13 with 50 Sunday scholars;
  • Congregation in the afternoon was 76 with 57 Sunday scholars;
  • Average congregations were about 20 and 50 Sunday scholars in the morning and 80 or 90 with 60 Sunday scholars in the afternoon.

The attendance compared very poorly with that of the Methodists in the village, no doubt in part due to the great distance of the church from the main village in Common Road. Eventually, thirty years later, a new mission church was opened in the grounds of the National School.

The south door June 2012
The south door June 2012