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List of Shillington Vicars

The parish vexillum March 2014
The parish vexillum March 2014


Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912. It noted that the advowson of Shillington church belonged to Ramsey Abbey "from earliest times". When the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547) in 1539 Lord Wriothesley held the advowson until it was given, along with the Manor of Shillington Rectory, to Trinity College, Cambridge. The current patron [2015] is, however, the Bishop of Saint Albans

In 1942 the hamlet of Pegsdon was transferred from the ecclesiastical parish of Shillington to that of Hexton [Hertfordshire] [P44/2/1/12]. In 1972 the parish of Lower Gravenhurst was united with Upper Gravenhurst, the church at Lower Gravenhurst being declared redundant. At the same date the parishes of Gravenhurst and Shillington began to be held in plurality [P44/2/1/14]. The church at Upper Gravenhurst was declared redundant in 2007 and that parish united with Shillington . Since 2004 Stondon has also been held in plurality with Gravenhurst and Shillington; the two parishes Gravenhurst with Shillington and Stondon have their own parish officers and parochial church councils.

The pulpit March 2014
The pulpit March 2014

List of Vicars

  • Stephen de Eketon/Ekinton [Eggington]: instituted vicar 1220 and rector 1221;
  • Andrew;
  • Henry de Akeholt: on the resignation of Andrew; he was appointed chaplain to Pope Gregory IX (Ugolino de Segni): 1229;
  • John de Crachale: 1240;
  • Roger de Ravenigham: on the death of John de Crakehal: 1259;
  • Ralph de Hengham;
  • Gilbert de Bouvir', priest: vacant because Ralph de Hengham , who held it for a long time, had no title to take it: 20th March 1298;
  • Edmund de Bereford, subdeacon: on the death of Gilbert de Roburn: 12th May 1321;
  • William Bacheler, canon of Lincoln: 1330;
  • Matthew de Assheton, priest: on the death of William Bacheler (his will dated 27th December 1400 was proved 10th February 1401); he was prebend of Clifton in Lincoln Cathedral, Rector of Slapton [Buckinghamshire] to which he was instituted on 14th December 1393; also Rector of Walpole [Norfolk] and canon at York and Lincoln; he was buried in the chancel where he has an epitaph; he was appointed to the household of John of Gaunt c.1372: 14th July 1349;
  • William Hamerton, chaplain: 2nd January 1401;
  • John Eluet, chaplain: on the resignation of Henry[sic] Hamerton: 15th January 1401;
  • Henry de Hamerton, clerk; on the death of John Eluet; he was prebend of Hedon-cum-Walton which he quitted for the prebendal of Brampton [Huntingdonshire] in 1405: 19th November 1404;
  • William Walsthef, priest; on the death of Henry Hamerton: 25th September 1407;
  • William Lassell, priest: on exchange with William Walsthef for Therfield Rectory [Hertfordshire]: 1st October 1407;
  • Richard Heth: vacant; he died 8th October 1443 and has a brass in church: 15th December 1421;
  • Thomas Maunchell, priest: on the death of Richard Hethe: 13th October 1442;
  • William Breuster, priest: on the resignation of Thomas Maunchell who exchanged to the Rectory of Terfeld [Therfield?]; his will was proved in 1465: 27th October 1443;
  • John Hurle, priest: on the death of William Brewster; his will proved in  1469: 3rd November 1465;
  • John Radclyff, priest: on the death of John Hurle: 1st January 1470;
  • Thomas Portyngton: on the resignation of John Radclyff; he was Treasurer of York Minster: 12th March 1472;
  • John Raven, clerk; on the death of Thomas Portyngton; his will was proved in 1500: 29th July 1485;
  • Hugh Oldham LLB, priest: on the death of John Raven; he was Rector of Saint Mildred, Bread Street, London from 19th September 1485; Dean of Wimborne Minster [Dorest] from 1485; Archdeacon of Exeter from 1492; Canon of Saint Stephen's, Westminster from 1493; Rector of Swineshead [Lincolnshire] from 3rd February 1494; Rector of Cheshunt [Hertfordshire] from 22nd July 1494; Master of Saint.John's Hospital, Lichfield [Staffordshire] from 1495; Prebend of church of Saint.Aulton in Sarum Diocese from 1495; Prebend of Leighton Buzzard from 1497; Rector of Warboys [Huntingdonshire] from 31st March 1499; Master of Saint Leonard's Hospital, Bedford from 12th January 1500; Rector of Overton [Hampshire] from 2nd April 1501; instituted to the free chapel of Saint Luke in parish of Barton Bradstock [Dorset] on 23rd March 1502; Bishop of Exeter 1505-1519; a member of the household of Margaret Beaufort, his will is dated 16th December 1518 and proved on 16th July 1519: 17th August 1500;
  • John Oxenbrigg LLD: on consecration of Hugh Oldham as Bishop of Exeter; Canon of Windsor 1509-1522: 23rd February 1505;
  • John Taylor LLD: on the resignation of John Oxenbrige; he became Master of the Rolls 1527-1534: 27th July 1522;
  • Peter Ayshton MA: on the resignation of John Tailor; member of Gild of Holy Trinity, Luton: 24th July 1531;
  • Francis Miller: 1543;
  • John Key BA: vacant: 1568;
  • William Butcher: vacant by deprivation of John Key: 10th June 1575;
  • Humphrey Totnam: 25th August 1592;
  • John Parrat MA: on the resignation of last incumbent: 12th October 1599;
  • Peter Ashton DD [fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; son of Thomas Ashton; he died on 30th November 1638; also Rector of Achurch [Northamptonshire]: 1633;
  • George Nelson, vicar; buried 14 January 1654;
  • George Olyphant MA, clerk: he was buried 30th December 1676: 22nd July 1662;
  • Blastus Godly MA: on the death of George Oliphant; he was ordained on 9th March 1677 and died on 26th October 1717, aged 69, at Hempton [Norfolk]: 12th March 1677;
  • John Eusden MA : on the cession of Blastus Godley; he married Anne Hare at Millbrook on 28th April 1692 and was buried on 17th September 1695: 3rd August 1683;
  • William Collins AB, clerk: on the death of John Eusden; priested 16th March 1690; he was buried on 27th January 1709: 18th April 1696;
  • Henry Wheatley AB: on the death of William Collins; he married Margaret, widow of Matthew Lee, gentleman, at Clifton on 13th February 1711: 12th July 1710;
  • (John Leach, Rector of Upper Stondon, licensed curate 19th January 1722);
  • (George Story, curate: he died 13th May 1765 aged 63: 1727-1764);
  • (John Slater MA: licensed curate: 26th March 1730);
  • John Bowles AM: on the death of Henry Wheatley: 6th November 1756;
  • Anthony Routh MA: on the death of John Bowles: 18th July 1763;
  • Thomas Paris BA: on the cession of Anthony Routh: 23rd May 1766;
  • Francis Howes BA: on the death of Thomas Paris: 29th October 1801;
  • Thomas Robinson, clerk: on the cession of the last incumbent: 24th April 1816;
  • John Hull MA: on the resignation of Thomas Robinson: 16th November 1816;
  • Robert McNeill MA: on the death of John Hull; he resigned 1st February 1853: 7th June 1845;
  • John Alexander Frere MA: on the resignation of Robert McNeill; he was ordained deacon on 27th March 1842 and priest on 3rd December 1843: 25th June 1853;
  • James Armitage Bonser: 16th November 1877;
  • Langdale Horwood Postgate: 3rd September 1898;
  • Frederick Herbert Sayer: 26th February 1942;
  • James Ernest Farmiloe: 22nd October 1945;
  • Wilfrid John Crick: 22nd October 1955;
  • James Ainsworth Yates: 5th December 1960;
  • Richard Paul White Lanham: 4th January 1980;
  • Denis Morgan: 1985;
  • Jane S. Wheatley: 1999;
  • Richard C. Winslade: 2013.

The crucifixion in the east window March 2014
The crucifixion in the east window March 2014


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 Shillington are as follows:

  • 1706: "The value of the Vicarege is certain. The College allows One and thirty pounds, and a Noble a year (a gold coin worth 6/8). Twenty shillings is a Legacie left to the Vicar by one Mr Pilsworth. Out of this He pays for tenths 36 shillings. The remainder is his own". Thus it was not a lucrative position.
  • 1709: "None come to church Unbaptized. Many that were never confirmed. Communicants at Easter last 45. The rest seldom or never receive at all".
  • 1712: "The Vicar lives at Clifton (distance 3 miles). The parish reaches almost thither. The House too small for his familie. None come to Church Un-baptized. Divine Service once every Lord's day. On Holy days, and Wednesday, Fryday and Saturday before every Communion … Communion 4 times a year. Of 600 communicants about 50 usually receive. At Easter last 61".
  • 1720: "The Vicar resides at London by your Lordship's permission. The Rev Mr John Leach has been curate halfe a Year. He resides at Standon a little Mile from the Church, and as near to a great part of the Parish as the Vicarage House. Unbaptized No. Service on Sunday Mornings. The sacrament administer'd four times a Year. At easter last on account of sickness then in this Parish there were but 50 communicants, when there us'd to be about 80".

The ascension in the east window March 2014
The ascension in the east window March 2014

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 Shillington church was made by the vicar who noted the following pieces of information:

  • The church had free seating for 400 with another hundred as well;
  • Congregation that afternoon had been 152 with 49 Sunday scholars.
  • All landowners non resident and little interest taken in the labouring population. Great ignorance prevails".

The south door from the interior March 2014
The south door from the interior March 2014