Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Northill > List of Northill Rectors

List of Northill Rectors

The pulpit May 2010
The pulpit May 2010

The following list of Rectors of Northill is as complete as records will allow. The advowson of the church of Saint Mary belonged to the Trailly family, at least four of whom served as rector, from at least 1224 and was always in the hands of the Lords of the Manor until the creation of the college in 1404, when the advowson was given to the college.

The college was dissolved in 1547 and the advowson passed to The Crown. In 1553 it was granted to Sir William FitzWilliam after which it followed, once again, the same descent as the manor until 1610 when the advowson was retained by Richard Browne and not sold to Edward Osborne. In 1652 the advowson was sold to Thomas Bromsall and within a decade came into the hands of the Grocer's Company where it remains.

Since 2000 the Rector of Northill has also been the Vicar of Upper Caldecote and the Vicar of Old Warden. The current patron of Northill [2008] is still the Grocer's Company but as there are now three separate churches in the benefice the Company takes the first and third turns in nominating an incumbent and the patron of Old Warden, the R. O. Shuttleworth Trust takes the second turn. Each church retains its own parochial church council and parish officers as well as its own services.

Detail of the Lady Chapel triptych May 2010
Detail of the Lady Chapel triptych May 2010

The following is a list of Rectors of Northill:

  • Richard de Loda: 1224 - clerk;
  • Henry de la Suche: 1252 - subdeacon;
  • William de Trailly: 17th May 1302 - acolyte;
  • Thomas Trailly: 22nd September 1326 - priest, on the death of William Trailly]
  • Roger de Lameleye: 18th January 1331 - Rector of Lameleye, by exchange with Thomas Trailly, Rector of Northill;
  • Thomas Trailly: 30th January 1346 - clerk, on the death of Roger de Lammeleye;
  • Andrew Ardenne: 3rd February 1347 - priest, on the resignation of Thomas Trailly;
  • Thomas Trailly: 11th March 1348 - clerk, on the resignation of Richard de Ardenne;
  • William de Ardenne: 24th April 1350 - priest, on the death of Thomas Trailly [due to the Black Death?];
  • Nicholas de Markele: 14th July 1354 - priest, on the resignation of William de Ardenne;
  • John de Logedon: 18th September 1369 - Canon of Lichfield, "Presbyter of Berulford there",  and Rector of Toresby [North or South Thoresby, Lincolnshire?], by exchange with Nicholas, Rector of Northill, for Toresby Rectory;
  • Nicholas de Markele: 18th November 1375 - priest, on the death of John de Logedone;
  • Thomas Herny: 7th May 1377 - priest, on the death of Nicholas Markele;
  • William Borskill: 22nd May 1378 - priest, on the resignation of Thomas Henry;
  • John Warde: 24th September 1389 - on the death of WIlliam Borstall, who died in the Rectory on 13th September last.

Creation of Northill College: 1404.

  • Richard Hethe: 5th July 1422 - Rector of Strithlington, to the Mastership of the Collegiate Church, on the death of John Warde;
  • William Graveley: 1443 - priest, on the death of Richard Hethe;
  • Thomas Taylard: 23rd March 1475 - to Church and Mastership of Northill College on the death of Thomas Grenele, last Rector and Master;
  • William Porter: 15th October 1493 - M. A., priest to College, on the death of Thomas Taylard;
  • Thomas Randolff: 14th November 1494 - licensed priest to the Mastership of College on the resignation of William Porter;
  • Andrew Beustede: 11th January 1499 - Rector of Multon [Milton?], in the jurisdiction of Church and Chapel of Canterbury, on exchange with Thomas Randolffe. Elected Warden by the subdeacon and fellows;
  • JohnUnderhill: 18th December 1507 - on the resignation of Andrew Bousted;
  • Robert Gostwyk: 4th August 1529 - L. L. B., on the resignation of JohnUnderhill;
  • Thomas Grene: 1534 chaplain, on the resignation of Robert Gostwike;
  • John Carter: 21st February 1536;

Dissolution of Northill College: 1547

  • Carter - 1548 - a Fellow of the former College, granted a stipend in place of a curate by Augmentation Warrant (this is probably the John Carter who had been Rector and Master of the College since 1536, now merely acting as Rector);
  • Robert Enewe - curate, buried at Northill in 1565;
  • William Hawkins: 1565 - clerk, buried 8th March 1566;
  • John Leche: curate in 1574, died 1580;
  • Anthony Hoggett: died 1591;
  • Thomas Adams: 1606;
  • John Wilmer: curate from at least 1612 to at least 1617, then rector; buried 20th November 1655;
  • Robert Cordell: 13th October 1662 - priest;
  • Thomas Moore: curate 1663-1664;
  • William Sclater: 1664-1665 - minister;

Painting of Edward Fowler in the north aisle May 2010
Painting of Edward Fowler in the north aisle May 2010

  • Edward Fowler: 1665-1672 - Doctor of Divinity; born 1632; B. A. of Corpus Christi College, Oxford 23rd December 1653; incorporated M. A. Oxon 5th July 1656; died at Chelsea [Middlesex] 26th August 1714 and buried in the churchyard at Hendon [Middlesex];
  • Robert Hancock: 1673 - minister, buried 10th September 1683;
  • James Calamy: 1683 - died 1708 - signs as curate in 1706;

The monument to Capell Berrow about 1820 [Z1244]
The monument to Capell Berrow about 1820 [Z1244]

  • Capell Berrow: 1709 - B. A. 1703; M. A. 1712, Christ College Cambridge; Chaplain to William, Earl Cowper; Sarah, his wife, buried 16th February 1723; he died 1st November 1751, aged 77, he styled himself as curate in 1709 and 1712;
  • William Seele Maxey: 1751- buried 20th September 1780;
  • John Markham: 21st November 1780 - M. A., to the curacy of Northill on the death of William Seele Maxey;
  • John Taddy: 27th July 1811 - M. A., on the death of John Markham;
  • Arthur Sidney Pott: 27th March 1858 - M. A., on the death of John Taddy;
  • Francis Pott: 28th June 1866 - M.A., on the death of A S Pott;
  • Clement Michael Greenstreet: August 1891 - B. A., on the resignation of Francis Pott;
  • H L D de Brisay: 25th December 1907;
  • Harold Curling Dunn: December 1930 - M. A.;
  • Alfred Jonathan Nix-Seaman: July 1943 - M. A.;
  • Thomas Albert Frost: 1956;
  • Charles Edward Jones: 1965;
  • Norman William Hill: 1974;
  • Timothy Havelock Girling: 1980;
  • ThomasDenisDesert: 1989;
  • Frank Coleman: 2000.

Fragment of stained glass in the north aisle May 2010
Fragment of stained glass in the north aisle May 2010


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 Northill are as follows:

  • In 1706 James Calamy completed the return and styled himself curate rather than Rector - saying "whether it be a Rectory, Vicarege [sic], or What, does not appear". He also noted "The Curacy is somewhat better than £100 per Annum".
  • The return for 1709 was completed by Capell Berrow, who also styled himself as curate, he noted that "scared one third part Confirmed" though there were sixty communicants, thirty five of whom had received the previous Easter. He stated: "Near 100 above sixteen who Seldom, or never Communicate at all".
  • In 1712 Berrow noted "The Curate resides in the Parsonage House" presumably referring to himself. He conducted two services each Sunday and "once every Litany or Holy-day". He administered communion once a month, unusually often for the time and noted "Of 350 about 50 receive".
  • In 1717 Berrow noted: "I do Reside Personally upon my Cure and in my Parsonage House. I have no Curate". He also noted: "I know not of any Unpabtized Persons who come to Church in my Parish, but of many Baptized Adult persons who have not been Confirmed. As fro services, he stated: "Publick [sic] service is Read in my Church Twice every Lord's Day, and once every Holy-Day, Wednesday and Friday, excepting in the time of Harvest, when I can get neither Clerk nor Sexton to attend". He administered communion on the first Sunday of every month  "unless it happens to be near one of the Three Great Festivals" [Easter, Whitsun and Christmas]. About fifty usially communicated, thirty or forty of them at the three great festivals and twenty at other times.
  • In 1720 nothing had changed significantly.

East angel on the chancel south wall May 2010
East angel on the chancel south wall May 2010

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 Northill church was made by the Registrar, P. Barker, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • The church contained seating for 340;
  • The general congregation had been 120 that morning and 250 in the afternoon, with 90 Sunday scholars at each service.

The font May 2010
The font May 2010