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List of Old Warden Vicars

Pulpit April 2007
Pulpit April 2007


The first known advowson for Saint Leonard's was held, as might be expected by Warden Abbey. Following the dissolution of the abbey the following patrons are recorded:

  • 1581: the Bishop of Lincoln;
  • 1607: John and Thomas Marburie of Old Warden, gentlemen by reason of a grant;
  • 1738 to 1776: the Smyth family

Chancel north window - crucifixion detail - March 2008
Chancel north window - crucifixion detail - March 2008

From 1797 to 1867 the parish was united with Southill. Since 1981 it has been united with Caldecote and since 2000 also with Northill as part of the Ivel Group Ministry. Each parish still maintains its own parochial church council, officers and services, however.

 Chancel south wall - last supper detail - March 2008
Chancel south wall - last supper detail - March 2008

List of Vicars

  • Adam, chaplain: 1215-1220;
  • Hugh de Pateshill, clerk: 1236;
  • Nicholas de Hiche, subdeacon: 1241;
  • Benedict de Ramarye, subdeacon, on death of Nicholas de Hithe: 23rd December 1274;
  • John de Lameley, clerk, vacant: 31st March 1341;
  • Thomas de Woubourne;
  • Stephen atte Roche, Vicar of Great Waltham [Essex] by exchange with Thomas de Woubourne: 31st July 1355;
  • Simon de Pabenham, Rector of Shenfield [Essex] by exchange with Stephen atte Roche: 13th January 1359;
  • Robert de Warderopp, priest, on the death of Simon de Pabenham: 20th December 1360;
  • John Gifford, Rector of Slindon [Sussex] by exchange with Robert Warderoppe: 31st January 1365;
  • (William Lawnpage, curate: 1526);
  • George Dike, he was buried 11th September 1607; 1581;
  • Matthew Eaton, clerk, vacant, he married Dorothy Lillye on 28th April 1608, he was buried 22nd October 1639, his wife being buried on 19th October 1639, he held Old Warden n plurality with Turvey from 1635: 13th October 1607;
  • John Craddocke: 13th November 1639;
  • John Eaton, minister, he married Mary Tompson 16th August 1660; ihe held Old Warden n plurality with Cardington 1664-1670, he was buried 18th January 1672: 1660;
  • (Thomas More: 1672-1680 [curate at Old Warden and Southill: 1672-1680)
  • Thomas Ward: 1682;
  • John Wyborne BA, on the death of Thomas Ward, he held Old Warden in plurality with Stotfold: 17th May 1682;
  • Charles Lidgould, minister: 1684;
  • Thomas Miles, he held Old Warden in plurality with Biggleswade: 1689;
  • Humphrey Hall, clerk, he married Sarah Smith 23rd August 1692: 1692;
  • (Edward Gibson AM, curate: 10th August 1708);
  • Matthew Hanscomb AB, vacant: 29th April 1727;
  • Robert Lambe, clerk, on the death of Matthew Hanscombe, he held Old Warden in plurality with Bedford, Saint Paul and Bedford, Saint Cuthbert: 7th September 1738;
  • Thomas Wells AB, on the cession of Robert Lambe: 24th September 1739;
  • Laurence Smyth MA, on the resignation of Thomas Welles 10th January 1770;
  • John Smyth MA, on the death of Lawrence Smyth: 24th April 1800;
  • Frederick Hervey Neve MA, on the death of John Smith: 3rd May 1816;
  • John Gerard Andrewes Baker MA, on the death of Frederick Hervey Neve, he resigned Southill to be Vicar of Old Warden, the parish being disunited from Southill by an Order in Council dated 2nd February 1867]: 27th May 1843;
  • John Gerard Andrewes Baker, he died in 1880: 1867;
  • Francis Bourdillon, formerly Vicar of Saint Mary, Huntingdon, Priest in Charge of Shipley [Sussex], Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity, Runcorn [Cheshire], Rector of Woolbeding [Sussex] then of Saint.Mark, Brighton [Sussex], he resigned in 1892 to become Rector of Eastbourne [Sussex], he was a prolific author on religious subjects, he died at Eastbourne on 21st April 1912 aged 96 and was buried there: 1880;
  • Robert Lang: September 1892;
  • William Hodgson: January 1903;
  • Gilbert Kennedy Cassels: July 1903;
  • Frank Stooke: January 1927;
  • James Desmond McCarthy: March 1929;
  • Edward Wells: December 1936;
  • George Stanley Derington Turner: June 1947;
  • Frederick William Meager: 1959;
  • William James Lancaster: 1964;
  • Francis William James Pickard: 1968;
  • Allan Ernest Newport Bliss, he held Old Warden n plurality with Caldecote: 1981;
  • Frank Coleman: 2000.

Pulpit panel March 2008
Pulpit panel March 2008


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. The returns, made by the vicar, throw an interesting light on the state of the church in the parish at the time. In 1712, for example, the Vicar, as was common at the time, was not resident in the parish and employed a curate to perform his duties. He was not resident either. He held: "Divine service once every Lord's day. Communion 3 times a year. About 30 rerecive".

In 1717 curate Edward Gibson reported, somewhat puzzlingly, to a question asking whether he was resident in the parish: "This supplyed only in the After Noon". He continued: "Services Once every Lord's day in the Afternoon. I am at Hawnes [Haynes] in the Fore Noon...Sacrament Thrice every year. About twenty did communicate last Easter. Warning given of sacrament. No Names sent in. None refused". In 1720 Gibson stated: "No Parsonage or Vicaridge [sic] house for the Minister to reside in...Sacrament administered three times in a year about twenty communicants that usually receive".

font March 2008
The font March 2008

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 Old Warden church reported that 200 had attended in the morning and 300 in the afternoon, with 80 Sunday Scholars at each service for grand totals of 280 and 380. The Vicar, J.G.A.Baker, gave seating accommodation in the church as 500.

The interior looking east April 2007
The interior looking east April 2007