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List of Pulloxhill Vicars

Christ - a detail from the east window June 2011
Christ - a detail from the east window June 2011


The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1908 gives a brief history of the advowson of the church of Saint James the Apostle, Pulloxhill. The advowson belonged to Dunstable Priory by the late 12th century and was held until the priory was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1540. Elstow Abbey had claimed the right but the dispute, which occurred at some point between 1159 and 1181 was settled in Dunstable's favour by Pope Alexander III. The priory was able to fight off a claim to the advowson by William Pyrot, Lord of the Manor of Beeches alias Upbury, in 1262

After the Dissolution the Crown held the advowson but it was soon given to Thomas Wye and then in 1549, to James Rogers and Richard Veale. In 1550 Thomas Kent and John Robbins both claimed the advowson and the dispute was settled in Robbins' favour. Robbins was then involved in a dispute with Christian Barber and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In the end Christiana settled for half the rectory and Trinity Hall the other half together with the advowson. The rectory meant not a parsonage house but the living, i. e. the profits, of the church. That Christiana held half the living and could profit from it, the vicar being partly her representative, but Trinity Hall could appoint the vicar and held the other half of the living. The advowson seems to have passed quickly to John Page, whose son Richard conveyed it to Sir William Briers who took possession in 1624.

From that point the Lord of the Manors of Pulloxhill and Greenfield also held the advowson, eventually descending to the Lords Lucas who still held it in 1908. At the present time [2011] Pulloxhill is held with Silsoe and Flitton and the right to present the vicar is shared between the Bishop of Saint Albans and Balliol College, Oxford.

The font June 2011
The font June 2011

List of Vicars

The following list of vicars of Pulloxhill is as complete as records will allow.

  • Robert de Suivelesho: deacon: 1220;
  • Simon de Cateby: resigned in this year: 1231;
  • Simon de Bardeneia - 1231;
  • Simon de Hornecastr': chaplain: 1232;
  • John;
  • Nicholas de Maydenbur': priest; on the death of John: 9th October 1266;
  • Laurence de Dunstaple: priest; on the death of Nicholas: 7th October 1274;
  • William de Faldo: priest; on the resignation of Laurence: 17th April 1315
  • Robert de Hanewell: priest; on the death of William: 8th June 1349;
  • William Wadesle of Edlesborough [Buckinghamshire]: priest; vacant: 24th November 1382;
  • John Danvers of Berkhamsted [Hertfordshire]; priest; on the death of Walter [?] Wadeslee]: 29th May 1394;
  • Henry Fewer: Rector of Aspley Guise; priest; on exchange with John Danvers: 1395;
  • John Langley: Vicar of Shoreditch [Middlesex]; on exchange with Henry Fewer: 31st July 1410;
  • Richard of Pulloxhill: clerk;
  • Oliver Mylle;
  • Robert Webbe: priest; on the resignation of Oliver Mylle: 11th June 1470;
  • Richard Cranfeld: priest: on the death of Robert Webbe: 15th January 1506;
  • Thomas Dyckyns: on the death of Richard Cranfeld: 26th January 1507;
  • Oliver Stondishe: chaplain; on the resignation of Thomas Dekons: 19th June 1515;
  • Arnold Wode: chaplain; on the death of Oliver Standishe; he was vicar in 1521 when he was registered as a Brother in the Gild of The Holy Trinity, Luton: 31st January 1519;
  • Ralph or Randall Wood: chaplain; on the death of Arnold Wood; his will was written in 1538: 6th March 1528;
  • Thomas Colson: chaplain; on the death of Ralph Wode: 29th April 1539;
  • Richard Kente: chaplain; on the death of Thomas Colson: 4th May 1540;
  • Robert Cayton: priest; noted as Vicar in this year: 1545;
  • John Jones: clerk; on the death of Richard Kente: 28th April 1554;
  • John Turke: clerk; on the death of John Jones: 11th May 1560;
  • John Collins: buried 3rd June 1615; vacant by resignation of Thomas Turke: 9th July 1574;
  • Thomas Percyvall: 18th October 1615;
  • Samuel Hopkins: minister; buried 17th October 1657; his will of 18th July, proved on 24th November 1657: 22 February 1623;
  • John Wright: minister; noted as Vicar in this year: 1660;
  • Christopher Hall: 28th August 1660;
  • James Jacobson: 23rd February 1663;
  • William Glover: clerk; on the death of the last Vicar: 24th October 1664;
  • William Harris M. A.: on the cession of William Golver: 2nd June 1669;
  • William Rawlins: minister; buried 27th December 1673; will 16th December 1673, proved 4th January 1674: 16..;
  • Wiliam Harris;
  • Richard Hill: 21st May 1686;
  • Benjamin Norman M. A.: ordained priest 22nd December 1667 by William, Bishop of Lincoln: 19th January 1688;
  • John Searle A. M.: on the death of Benjamin Norman, clerk: 4th May 1696;
  • Hugh Wilson A. B.: of Saint Mary's College, Oxford; ordained 21st September 1701; on the cession of John Searle; he married Catherine Crawley of Dunstable at Eaton Bray on 30th October 1702]: 22nd September 1701;
  • James Stewart M. A.: 28th March 1705;
  • James Stewart M. A.: 25th October 1706;
  • Thomas Fenton A. M.: on the cession of James Stewart: 7th April 1707;
  • John James Laporte: on the death of Thomas Fenton: 10th March 1710;
  • Ralph Hancock A. M.: on the death of last the Vicar: 18th June 1716;
  • Philip Birt A. M.: Vicar of Flitton; on the cession of Ralph Hancock: 5th February 1729;
  • Ezekiel Rouse A. M.: on the cession of Philip Burt: 3rd August 1742;
  • Ezekiel Rouse M. A.: on the death of Ezekiel Rouse: 14th July 1792;
  • (William Pierce Nethersole - curate 1793-1797);
  • (Montague Rush - curate 1798);
  • William Pierce Nethersole L. L. B.: on the death of Ezekiel Rouse: 29th August 1799;
  • (William Henry Greene - curate 1838-1840);
  • (W. A. Dawson - curate 1841-1843);
  • Edward Lane Sayer M. A.: on the death of William Pierce Nethersole: 11th March 1844;
  • (Paul Methuen Steadman - curate 1846);
  • (J. H. Watson - curate 1846-1853);
  • William Gill B. A.: on the resignation of Edward Lane Sayer; ordained deacon 15th April 1849 and priest 16th March 1851; resigned 17th November 1854]: 25th June 1853;
  • George Smith Drew M. A.: on the resignation of William Gill: 25th November 1854;
  • (W. S. Spenser - curate 1857);
  • William Harker M. A.: on the cession of George Smith Drew: 24th September 1858;
  • David Wheeler B. A.: on the cession of William Harker; resigned 9th October 1873: 5th July 1861;
  • William Talbot Hindley B. A.: on the resignation of the last Vicar: 15th January 1874;
  • William Cowper Johnson: 1875;
  • Aspley Chase Ranger: 1881;
  • Percy Frederic John Pearce: December 1887;
  • Alfred Ernest Houfe: January 1903;

Pulloxhill and Flitton held together from this point

  • William Steele Dobson: Apr 1931;
  • Basil Gordon Williams: December 1938;
  • Frederick Arthur Johnson: August 1945;
  • Frank Mortimer Eagles: 1954;
  • Reginald Burman: 1961;
  • Peter John Millam: 1970;

Pulloxhill, Flitton and Silsoe held together from this point

  • Bernard Lawrence Nixon: 1982;
  • Stephen C. Holroyd: 1997.

Crucifix behind the pulpit June 2011
Crucifix behind the pulpit June 2011


Volume 81 published by the Bedfordshire Historical Records Society (2002) is devoted to returns made during episcopal visitationsto 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 Pulloxhill are as follows:

  • 1712; The Vicar lives at the Duke of Kents at Wrast [sic]. When he is absent he has one to supply his cure at 10s. a Sunday. None come to Church unbaptized. All of a Competent age now to be Confirmed. Divine Service once every lord's day here; the other time at the next parish of Higham [Gobion], where he is Curat [sic]. Communion 4 times a year. Communicants between 30 and 40 Of which 24 received at Easter last.
  • 1717: I Reside [in the parish]. I know of None that come to Church unbaptized, but of many not Confirmed. I read the Publick [sic] service once a Day. I serve a Cure besides. Sacrament Four times a Year. The Number of Communicants about 20. So Many last Easter.
  • 1720: I do [reside in the parish]. I read the service once every Lords day. Sacrament Four times in a year – when I have about 20 Communicants.

The parish vexillum June 2011
The parish vexillum June 2011

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 Pulloxhill church was made by the registrar, J. Marshall, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • 100 general congregation in the morning and 100 in the afternoon;
  • 150 Sunday scholars in the morning and 150 in the afternoon;

"The above is stated to be the average attendance".

Pulloxhill church from the south March 2011
Pulloxhill church from the south March 2011