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Adam Ace - Violent Vicar

South wall of the chancel showing piscina and sedilia March 2011
South wall of the chancel showing piscina and sedilia March 2011

Adam Ace was Vicar of Oakley from 1351 to 1390. He was clearly not a man to give a Godly, righteous and sober life. In 1969 Bedfordshire Historical records Society published transcriptions and translations of entries in the roll of the sessions of the peace in Bedfordshire from 1355 to 1359 and 1363 to 1364. The originals are held by The National Archives at Kew. The editor was Elisabeth G. Kimball. There are three entries relating to Adam Ace, unfortunately none of them dated, as follows:

“Adam Ace vicar of Oakley, at Oakley, at night assaulted Agnes wife of Adam le Bere of Oakley, beating and wounding her, and breaking her left arm in two places”. Ace had to pay a fine of forty shillings for this barbarous act.

“Adam vicar of Oakley, at Oakley, assaulted Edward, a clerk who was his servant, beating, wounding and maltreating him”. His fine this time was only six shillings and eightpence.

“Adam vicar of Oakley who was indicted for assaulting Adam Polet and pursuing him with a drawn knife to the church at Oakley”. This time the size of the fine is not mentioned.

Given that we only have extracts from a total of seven years it seems likely that there were other brushes this turbulent priest had with the law and with his flock. He is the only priest indicted in the transcribed rolls.

In 1390 Ace finally left his relieved parishioners. He went off to a living in Rutland having exchanged with the vicar of that place, William Cotyngham, who came to Oakley.