Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Studham > List of Studham Vicars

List of Studham Vicars

Saint Alban - stained glass window in the south wall of Studham church chancel November 2009
Saint Alban - stained glass window in the south wall of Studham chuch chancel November 2009


A charter of Saint Albans Abbey records that in 1064 Oswulf and Adelitha granted Studham Manor to the abbey and asked for wood to build a church in Studham. Some doubt has been cast over such grants as being later attempts by religious institutions to claim land  - the grant may, in this case, be a mid 13th century forgery. If not, then it is evidence for the earliest advowson being held by the Abbey.

In the reign of Henry II (1154-1189) the advowson was granted to Dunstable Priory. The current church of Saint Mary at Studham, was dedicated on 19th April 1219. The priory continued to hold the advowson until it was dissolved by Henry VIII and the advowson passed to The Crown. In 1558 it was granted to the Bishop of Lincoln. The advowson returned to The Crown in 1672. Now that Studham is part of the same benefice as Whipsnade and Kensworth the advowson, now called the patronage of the living, is shared by the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul's (who had been patron of Kensworth) and the Lord Chancellor, on behalf of The Crown, by turns.

In 1920 the parish of Studham and that of Whipsnade were bought under one vicar, with Kensworth being added in 1982. The three churches retain separate Parochial Church Councils and parish officers and have their own services. They are part of the North Chilterns Group Ministry, itself established in 1982, along with Eaton Bray with Edlesborough and the benefice of Stanbridge, Tilsworth and Totternhoe.

 The resurrected Christ from Studham church east window November 2009
The resurrected Christ from Studham church east window November 2009

List of Vicars

A list of vicars from the dedication of the present church in 1220 until the present, as far as can be determined from surviving documents, is as follows:

  • Henry - 1220 - chaplain;
  • William de Studham - 1222 - died in this year;
  • Roger de Elteston - 1235 - chaplain;
  • Roger de Elteston - 29th January 1245 - chaplain, died 1246;
  • William de York - 8th December 1246;
  • Walter de Kemeseye - 1254 chaplain;
  • Thomas de Hooneshende - 21st Jan 1267 - priest, on the resignation of Walter;
  • Thomas de Bokelond - 19th April 1275 - chaplain, on the resignation of Thomas;
  • William de Rysle - 17th August 1275 - priest, on the institution of Thomas to the Vicarage of "Wauken" in Archdeaconry of Huntingdon;
  • Robert de Morton - 19th December 1278 - chaplain, on the death of William de Risele;
  • Roger de Merston - 1st April 1305 - chaplain, on the resignation of Robert de Burton;
  • Alan Pecok - 13th September 1328 - of Bedford, priest, on the resignation of Roger;
  • William de Hau'bergh - 11th December 1350 - priest, on the death of Alan Pekok;
  • John Bolemere;
  • Walter West - 30th May 1377 - priest, on the resignation of John Bolemere, who exchanged to the Vicarage of Cadesden [Gaddesden?];
  • William Wastel - 12th Mar 1381 - of Bromham, priest, on the resignation of Walter West;
  • Nicholas Couper;
  • Walter Dunstall - 15th Oct 1400 - chaplain, on the resignation of Nicholas Couper, who exchanged to Stotfold;
  • Simon Baker - 26th April 1407 - priest, on the resignation of Walter Dunstall;
  • William Burnham - 17th Apr 1409 - Vicar of Chicksands, on exchange with Simon Bakere;
  • Thomas Bakhous - 28th October 1412 - priest, on the resignation of William Bramham, who exchanged to a chantry in the church of Bishop's Hatfield;
  • John Crowley;
  • John Helok - 3rd January 1436 - chaplain, on the death of John Crowley;
  • John Tubbe - 11th December 1439 - priest, benefice vacant;
  • Thomas Spake;
  • Thomas Pavenham - 2nd November 1452 - Canon of Dunstable, on the resignation of Thomas Spake;
  • Robert Patnam;
  • Roger Keye - 15th April 1484 - priest, on the death of Robert Patnam;
  • William Snowe - 4th January 1498 - priest, on the death of Roger Keye;
  • Thomas Olyver - 4th September 1510 - chaplain, on the death of William Snowe;
  • Roger Jefferay - 3rd September 1518 - priest, on the death of Thomas Oliver, his will was dated 28th October 1540, he registered as a brother of the Luton Gild of the Holy Trinity in 1522;
  • Roger Clerk - 22nd January 1542 - chaplain, on the death of Roger Jeffrey;
  • John Johnson - 20th September 1554;
  • Thomas Hooper - 1564 - clerk, on the death of last Vicar; noted as a recusant [Roman Catholic] on 20th May 1577;
  • Robert Griffyn - 22nd September 1573;
  • Francis Hodgekin - 14th March 1581 - clerk, presented on death of the last Vicar;
  • Thomas Dodkin AB - 7th July 1591 - benefice vacant;
  • Samuel Hopkins BA - 24th October 1610;
  • Thomas Pereyvall - 22nd Feb 1623 - minister;
  • Samuel Buckingham - 26th April 1672 - clerk, benefice vacant;
  • John Clarke AM - 3rd July 1710 - benefice vacant, he had been curate since 7th October 1691;
  • John Dodgson - 13th June 1720 - on the resignation of John Clarke;
  • David Jenks BA - 30th Mar 1811 - on the death of the last Vicar; patron George III; went to Aldbury [Hertfordshire] in 1818 and then to Little Gaddesden [Hertfordshire] in 1829; he married Anne, daughter of Rev. Joseph Eyre (Vicar of St.Giles, Reading [Berkshire] and Ambrosden [Oxfordshire] and prebend of Saint Paul's) by Anne his wife, daughter of W. Dyer, esquire of Bristol on 3rd November 1815;
  • Thomas Wynter Mead - 30th December 1818 - clerk, on the resignation of David Jenks;
  • Charles Wagstaff MA - 11th December 1850 - on the death of the last Vicar;
  • Arthur Anderson - January 1891;
  • James Edward Brown - June 1902;
  • Henry Toke Scudamore - March 1914;
  • James Cecil Williams - August 1925;
  • Lawrence Harold James - August 1933;
  • Robert Dallas Blackledge - September 1949;
  • Harold Percy Hansen - 1958;
  • Norman Abram - 1966;
  • John William Shepherd - 1977;
  • Peter Malcolm Palmer - 1986;
  • Linda Mary Lane - 1997;
  • Nicola Yvonne Lenthall - 2003

 The view from the pupit - August 2007
The view from the pupit - August 2007

Episcopal Visitations

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. Studham was different. From 1691 until 1719 it was served by the Rector of Whipsnade who ministered to both parishes himself as both together did not give him enough income to afford a curate. The returns for Studham are as follows:

  • 1706: the benefice was vacant and John Clarke was acting as curate, and had been since 7th October 1691. He had been Rector of Whipsnade since July 1681, having been ordained priest on 19th December 1680.
  • 1709: Clerke was still curate as well as Rector of Whipsnade.
  • 1712: Clarke was now Vicar, having been instituted on 3rd July 1710. He was also still Rector of Whipsnade, where he lived. He wrote: "None come to Church Unbaptized, some not confirmed. Divine Service once every Lord's day, and once at Whipsnade…Communion 4 times a year. Nine received at Easter last".
  • 1717: Clerke wrote: "No Vicarage-House, neither has been for the time of two or three of my Predecessors [i.e. since at least the early 17th century], so I reside at my other Parish a little Mile distant. No Curate, the Income of both Parishes not being £70 per annum". Services were still once per Sunday at both Studham and Whipsnade though the number of communicants the previous Easter had risen to twelve.
  • 1720: John Dodgson was instututed Vicar of Studham on 13th June that year, Whipsnade having had a new Rector (John Biby) since the previous year. Dodgson later also served as curate of Whipsnade, however, so Biby was clearly a non-resident. In 1720 Dodgson wrote: "I constantly reside in my Parish, Tho' the Vicarage House has been demolish'd several Years" so at that stage he must have lived at a house in the village. Two women and six children were unbaptized. Services were now twice every Sunday and the sacrament administered three times a year (traditional times being Christmas, Easter and Whitsun).

 The view from the south porch November 2009
The view from the south porch November 2009

Ecclesiastical Census 1851

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 David W. Bushby. The return for Studham church was made by the Vicar, Charles Wagstaff, who noted that the church contained seating for 250, the general congregation, however, fell somewhat short of this number, having been 18 in the morning and 120 in the afternoon, though on the latter occasion they were joined by 26 Sunday Scholars in addition. The Vicar noted that the average for the previous three months was 30 with 35 Sunday scholars in the morning and 100 with 38 scholars in the afternoon. Wagstaff noted: "The short time I have been in the Parish (little more than 3 months) has not enabled me to be so exact in the above return as could be wished".