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List of Dean Vicars

Figure at the base of a beam in the roof of the south aisle May 2011
Figure at the base of a beam in the roof of the south aisle May 2011


The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1912 gives a brief history of the advowson of the church of All Saints, Dean. The advowson was give by Alice de Clermont to the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem in the 12th century. The advowson was confirmed as being the knights’ by the Earl of Hertford and later by King John in 1199. The knights held the advowson until the Dissolution of the religious houses in England by King Henry VIII (1509-1547).

King Edward VI (1547-1553) gave the advowson to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester in 1547. It was still in the dean and chapter’s hands in 1912. At the present time [2011] Dean is held as part of the Stodden Churches and the patronage of the living is shared between the Diocesan Board of Patronage and the martyrs’ Memorial and Church of England Trust who present by turns.

Brass of Thomas Parker May 2011
Brass of Thomas Parker May 2011

List of Vicars

In 1926 Deann was united with Swineshead [P109/2/1/1] though this only laste dfor the duration of the incumbency of  Charles Canham. It was also held with Shelton from 1926 but neither parish archive has an Order in Council making an official union. Then in 1967 Dean was united with Shelton, Melchbourne and Yelden [P109/2/1/2]. In 1980 Dean became part of The Stodden Churches group with Shelton, Melchbourne, Yelden, Swineshead and Pertenhall. eachj church shares the same incumbent but keeps separate churchwardens and parochial church councils. The following list of Vicars of Dean is as complete as records will allow.

  • John de Rutha: subdeacon: 1238;
  • Walter de Undele: subdeacon; on the death of John: 28th May 1268;
  • Walter de Ireland;
  • Richard de Wotton: deacon; on the death of Walter de Ireland: 28th May 1311;
  • Ralph de Hoketon: priest, on the resignation of Richard de Wotton: 21st June 1314;
  • Walter de la Haye: chaplain; on resignation of Ralph de Hoketon: 2nd April 1316;
  • Robert de Retford;
  • Robert de Rishton: priest; on the death of Robert de Retford: 19th August 1316;
  • Robert Larcher: on the death of Walter de la Haye: 22nd September 1323;
  • Thomas de Collum: priest; on the death of Robert: 17th April 1328;
  • Ivo;
  • David Michel: priest, on the death of Ivo: 5th December 1361;
  • John West: rector in Worcester Diocese; by exhange with David Michell: 28th July 1375;
  • Henry Boyton;
  • Edward Lytell: priest, on the death of Henry Boyton: 26th September 1412;
  • Simon Hulles: priest; on the death of Edward Lytill: 29th October 1445;
  • John Benet: clerk; on the death of Simon Hullys: 14th May 1453;
  • Thomas Knyght: priest, on the resignation of John Benett, who exchanged to be Rector of Saint Mary Woolchurch, London: 8th July 1454;
  • Thomas Parker: Prebend of the College Church of St Mary, Shrewsbury: 14..;
  • Thomas Dalby: LL. D.: priest; on the death of Thomas Parker: 29th July 1501;
  • Thomas Drax: on the resignation of Thomas Dalby: 26th July 1506;
  • Edmund Gray, M. A.: on the death of Thomas Drakes: 6th July 1534;
  • Henry Slyfeld: priest; on the death of Edmund Gray: 17th May 1540;
  • Edmund Haltman: clerk; on the death of last incumbent: 5th December 1545;
  • William Chamberlayne: clerk; on the death of the last incumbent]: 23rd December 1550;
  • Thomas Dillingham: 1605
  • Richard Gardy: 1636
  • Robert Perrott: 1651
  • Isaac Bedford: buried 4th August 1672: 16..;
  • Robert Hood: 1673
  • John Rowlett: clerk; buried 3rd June 1675: 16..;
  • (Richard Hood: curate 1666 to 1679; died 1690; buried 12th July 1690; his wife Anne died 1669;  buried 16th June 1669: 1666);
  • Theophilus Dillingham: 1679;
  • John Freeman: 1680
  • Peter Boundy: 1688
  • (Thomas Miles A. M.: curate: 25th July 1730)
  • Barwell Dillingham: buried 6th August 1760: 17..;
  • Christopher Atkinson: clerk; on the resignation of Joseph Newcome: 9th July 1766;
  • Edmund Smith M. A.: on the death of Christopher Atkinson: 29th October 1777;
  • James Pye M. A.: on the death of Edmund Smith: 28th June 1815;
  • James Taylor B. A.: on the death of Henry James Pye; resigned 8th June 1847: 4th July 1845;
  • Charles William Palin B. A.: on the resignation of James Taylor; resigned 10th November 1860: 24th August 1847;
  • Charles Spooner M. A.: on the resignation of C. W. Palin: 19th March 1861;
  • Walter Copleston Furneaux: held with Swineshead: 1909;
  • Robert Phillips: August 1915;

Dean held with Swineshead 1926 to 1935 and with Shelton 1926 to 1980

  • Charles Russell Canham: August 1927;
  • John Rufus Walters: 1944
  • Owen Cadwallader Llewellyn Jones: 1948
  • George Heathcote: 1950
  • David Haigh Leonard-Williams: 1958;
  • Arthur Frederick le Dieu: 1967;
  • Benjamin Brian Dobson Aylott: 1972;

Held as part of the Stodden Churches from 1980

  • Neil R. Weston: 1980;
  • Paul Charles Delight: 1992;
  • Richard D.Seymour-Whiteley: 1999

 The tomb of Walter de Ireland in the north aisle May 2011
The tomb of Walter de Ireland in the north aisle May 2011


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 Dean are as follows:

  • 1706: [The cure] was granted to the present Incumbent Mr. Peter Boundy for term of life…a good parsonage House belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, in Upper Dean.
  • 1709: Two Adults baptized since last Visitation, One of Anabaptist the other of Quaker parents. Some Un-baptized, and many not Confirmed, come to church. Communicants about 43. Some there are who seldom, or never do receive at all.
  • 1712: The Curat [sic - in this case the Vicar who was known as curatum sive capellam nostrum (our curate or chaplain) by the owner of the advowson, the Dean ad Chapter of Worcester] resides in the Parish. Some Un-baptized come to church. Divine Service twice every lord’s day. Communions 4 times a year. Comminicants 40, of which about 30 received at Easter.
  • 1717: I Reside upon my Cure. I am Curate, and my salary is fifty pounds per Annum from the Dean and Chapter of Worcester paid quarterly. We have two Masters of Familys [sic] come to Church not baptized, severall [sic] of age not Confirmed, but I have Baptized no Adult person since the last Visitation. Services twice upon Lord’s days, also upon holydays, Wednesdays, and Frydays [sic]. Sacrament Four times in the Year. The Number of Communicants between 40 and 50, near 30 Usually receive. I did not take particular notice, but I suppose between 30 and 40 at Easter last.
  • 1720: I live at Dean. I have no Curate at Dean. Unbaptized yes, about 4 or 5 persons. Services Twice upon Lords Dayes [sic], and also upon Wednesdayes [sic], Frydayes [sic] and Holydayes [sic]. Sacrament Four times a Year. The Number of Communicants are above forty and about thirty Communicated at Easter last.

View through the squint in the north aisle into the chancel May 2011
View through the squint in the north aisle into the chancel May 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 Deanchurch was made by the parish clerk, Thomas Packwood, who noted the following pieces of information:

  • The general congregation in the morning was 30 and in the afternoon 140;
  • The number of Sunday scholars was 50 in the morning and 55 in the afternoon.