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List Of Potsgrove Parsons

The central panel on the altar February 2012
The central panel on the altar February 2012


Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1913. It states that the advowson of Potsgrove was granted by King Henry II (1154-1189) to Saint Albans Abbey, with whom it lay until the abbey was dissolved by King Henry VIII (1509-1547) in 1539. By 1588 the advowson had been granted to the Duncombe family, who became Lords of the Manor in the 17th century and the Lords held the advowson into the 20th century, by which time the Lord was the Duke of Bedford.

In 1732 the parishes of Battlesden and Potsgrove were united. Potsgrove had a vicar and Battlesden had a rector. The incumbent of the united parish was known as the Rector of Battlesden and Potsgrove.

From 1928 to 1960 Battlesden with Potsgrove shared an incumbent with Milton Bryan. In 1961 Battlesden with Potsgrove was joined with Woburn, sharing the same incumbent. Potsgrove church was closed in 1966.

Since 1979 so that the Rector of Battlesden has also been Vicar of Woburn, Rector of Eversholt and Rector of Milton Bryan though each parish retains its own parochial church council, churchwardens and services. The living, along with the others in the group is in the gift of the trustees of the Bedford Estate.

Note: When speaking of the ecclesiastical parish the name Pottesgrove is commonly used whereas the civil parish is spelt Potsgrove.

The rood screen February 2012
The rood screen February 2012

List of Vicars of Pottesgrove

  • Richard;
  • Henry de Brantingham, priest, on the death of Richard: 1260;
  • Waldewyn Peleyn, chaplain, the the death of Henry: 1st June 1281;
  • William de Wyni;
  • Simon de Leycton, on the resignation of William de Wyni: 3rd April 1297;
  • Henry de Coblington, chaplain, on the resignation of Simon: 21st December 1312;
  • Adam de Fordham, priest, on the resignation of Henry de Cobelynton: 23rd June 1323;
  • William Dean of Leighton, priest, on the death of Adam: 24th April 1350;
  • Ralph Haddon;
  • John Fakenham of Caddington, priest; on the resignation of Ralph Haddon: 3rd April 1364;
  • William Hanne of Wootton, priest; on the resignation of John de Fakenhame of Dodington: 20th June 1369;
  • John Curteys;
  • Hugh Carpenter, priest, on the resignation of John Curteys: August 1380;
  • John Bilcok on exchange with Hugh Carpenter for Millbrook: 8th April 1385;
  • Geoffrey Tymkoc: 19th May 1389;
  • John Saunders, priest, on the death of John Bylkok: 12th November 1399,
  • John Payntour, Vicar of West Farley [Kent], by exchange with John Saunders: 9th December 1400;
  • William Smyth, chaplain, on the death of John Peyntour: 26th October 1402;
  • Walter Clent, on resignation of the William Smyth, exchanged to the Vicarage of Threckingham [Lincolnshire]: 13th August 1406;
  • William Etyngdon;
  • William Skynnere of Wrangle [Lincolnshire], chaplain, on the resignation of William Etyngdon, exchanged to Rectory of Tynchehurst: 3rd November 1408;
  • William Sankervyle, priest, on the resignation of William Wrangle, exchanged to the Rectory of Pickworth [Lincolnshire]: 26th August 1415;
  • Henry Gustard, priest; on the resignation of Robert Sankervyle: 22nd October 1415;
  • Thomas Dalton, priest; on the resignation of Henry Gustard: 16th July 1423;
  • William Honyborne;
  • John Brygge, priest, on the resignation of William Honyborne: 12th October 1440;
  • Robert Meridale, chaplain: 27th March 1454;
  • Thomas Webbe, on the resignation of Robert Merydale: 3rd September 1460;
  • Thomas Tyler, priest; on the resignation of William Webbe: 1st May 1463;
  • Thomas Baker, on the resignation of William Tyler: 26th November 1463;
  • Humphrey Graunger, priest, on the resignation of Thomas Baker: 13th July 1465;
  • John Ely, priest; on the resignation of Humphrey Graunger: 4th August 1467;
  • John Lewys;
  • John Garlond, priest, on the death of John Lewys: 15th December 1502;
  • Richard Pigott: 1526;
  • William Saunders: 11th May 1549;
  • Roger Singleton, clerk, on the death of Richard Pykett: 19th June 1549;
  • John Barker, clerk; on the resignation of the last Vicar, 24th June 1561;
  • Henry Wattes, vacant by cession: 18th October 1571;
  • John Raynes M. A., will dated 7th February 1649, proved in P. C. C. on 28th May 1653: 29th September 1594;
  • Thomas Baker M. A., clerk: 13 May 1661;
  • William Vaughan, minister, Curate of Linslade c.1635-1664, buried 10th September 1684;
  • Henry Layng A. M , on the death of the last Vicar: 4th March 1707;
  • William Capell, clerk, on the death of Henry Lang: 15th March 1726.

List of Rectors of Battlesden with Pottesgrove

  • Edward Bouchier, M. A., to Battlesden cum Potsgrove on the resignation of the last incumbent: 22nd June 1732;
  • Henry Watkins, B. A., on the cession of Edward Bouchier: 23rd November 1738;
  • George Charles Black, on the death of Henry Watkins: 15th August 1759;
  • Thomas Sawell, M. A., on the death of George Charles Black: 12th April 1775;
  • Edward Henry Whinfield, B. A., on the death of Thomas Sawell: 11th December 1784;
  • Henry Wrey Whinfield, M. A., on the death of Edward Henry Whinfield: 17th September 1821;
  • Henry Edmond Fryer, M. A., on the death of H. W. Whinfield: 8th June 1849;
  • Edward Norman Coles, clerk, on the resignation of H. E. Fryer: 24th November 1857;
  • James Davidson: 13th October 1888;
  • Heneage Horsley Jebb, M. A., exchanged to Streatham [Surrey], died 18th January 1913: 1895;
  • Harold Sellon Watts: January 1905;
  • William Joy Clarke: October 1918;
  • William Nevitt Westmore: October 1922;
  • Arthur Arnold Carter: September 1930;
  • Garnet George Stapylton Kenyon: 1946;
  • William George Dean Pitt Mercer: 1960;
  • Robin Orbell Osborne: 1961;
  • John Terence Wenham: 1965;
  • Paul Richard Miller: 1979;
  • James Alan Heslop: 1999;
  • Stephen W. Nuth: 2004.

Fragment of a cross by the font February 2012
Fragment of a cross by the font February 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 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 Potsgrove are as follows, suggesting there was no habitable vicarage:

  • 1709: William Capell, Rector of Milton Bryan from 1710, served as curate of Potsgrove. “Communicants between 20 and 30. Few who are of years of discretion but what receive some-times, and there Servants”.
  • 1712: The Rector, Chaplain to the Lord Bathurst, does not reside, nor his Curate John Little, but will speedily [later Resides]. Divine Service once every Lords day here, and the other time at Battlesden, contiguous to it … Communion 4 times a year. About 16 usually receive”.
  • 1717: The curate John Little wrote “I Reside at Battlesden within half a Mile of this Place. I am duly qualyfyed. My Allowance if £35 per Annum for supplying this place and Battlesden (as is aforesaid answered in your Lordship’s Query for Battlesden). I don’t know of any who come to Church that are not baptized, but some being baptized and of a Competent Age, not confirmed. No Adults Baptized. Public Service is read once every Lord’s day. It is not performed twice because of an adjacent Parish Battlesden where I likewise serve … Sacrament Three times. Sixteen Communicants: six of them commonly receive, Eight last Easter”.
  • 1720: Thomas Martin was the new curate: “I reside at Little Brickhill. Unbaptized No. The service is perform’d once every Lord’s day, most commonly in the Morning … sacrament Four times a year at Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and Michaelmas. Number of Communicants about forty; nine only received at Easter”.

The lych gate February 2012
The lych gate February 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 Potsgrove church was made by the rector, Henry Edmund Fryer, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • The church had 76 free seats and 18 others;
  • The general congregation that afternoon was 32 with 28 Sunday scholars.