Vicars of St. Mary’s Church

Edwinstowe (Edenstou), St. Mary’s and its Early Vicars

At the rear of the church, there is a board which lists the previous vicars (incumbents) who have served the church over the centuries each with their own intriguing stories to discover, their lives and times. It is a reminder of their dedication and devotion to God, the church, the members of St. Mary’s and the community as a whole.

The one thing that they all have in common was their position in the church, and what we would hope, their love of God, the care of God’s people and the church building itself. In researching these individuals, I could not help but wonder what were their visions and dreams, in a moment in time, for Edwinstowe.

AD 633. A church in Edenstou was reputed to have been built over the site of the temporary burial of St. Edwin. Probably of Sherwood Oak on a stone foundation. We have no record of who the priest was. The Domesday Book, in 1086, only records that Edenstou had a church and a priest.

Later, in 1146, Edenstou and its chapelries, was given by William 11 to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln.

In the reign of Henry 11, 1168-69 Edenstou contributed three marks to the subsidy levied for the marriage of the king’s daughter. The priest at that time would have collected the money. Did it come from the villagers and/or the Lords?

In the late C12th, the first recorded Rector of Edenstou was William Parson. This was when the stone church was built in 1175. What a site he must have seen when the stones were being laid. What an enduring legacy he has left us.

The vicarage was ordained on the 15th January 1260/1. The vicar at that time was Richard de Melton. His family came from Yorkshire. His father was a Norman Knight. A relative, William de Melton, was Archbishop of York 1315-1340. In 1306, 28th July, he was replaced by William Thistleton when Richard moved to a new church. Later in 1318, he became rector of The Holy Cross at Gilling near Hull.

John de Ryston was then appointed vicar on the 13th October 1317. It is believed he came from Ristuna (Ryston) Norfolk, a deserted medieval village abandoned by the 18th century. We know very little about him except that in 1334, he broke the strict forest laws and was imprisoned for deer poaching; considered a major crime. There was a Forest Court in Edwinstowe but he was held at Nottingham Prison. Was he brave or foolhardy? It is hard to imagine he stole for his own needs.


1335 1 May Thomas Fox, son of Henry de Edwinstowe, priest. He was ordination as an acolyte on the eve of Trinity  on 30 May 1360 in the chapel of the manor of Cawood by John de Thoresby, archbishop of York. He was then ordained as a priest by John, archbishop of York, in the chapel of his manor of Bishopthorpe on the eve of Trinity 27 May 1363 to Rufford Abbey.

In 1342, Henry and Robert de Edenstou endowed a Chantry in the church. In effect they gave their property at North Muskham to Newstead Abbey and in return the Abbey undertook to provide two chaplains to serve at the altar of St, Margaret in Edwinstowe Church. The duties of these chantry priests were not onerous. Their prime function was to say mass daily and to offer prayers  for the souls of the founders of the chantry and their descendants. Additionally, they might assist the vicar in choral services and they may have held a school for some of the boys of the village. By 1399, the chantry was served by one priest and it continued until its suppression in 1545. It is thought that Henry was also Rector of Warsop until 1332. His son Thomas Fox was Vicar of Edwinstowe from 1335 to 1346.

Robert de Burton Vicar of Edwinstowe

12th August 1346 24th August 1349

Robert de Burton’s name, you could say, is just another name among many other vicars who came to Edwinstowe, with his name listed on the board at the back of the church. Very little is known about him but his family was very well known. Accounts about his family were recorded, from many different sources, in fact, you could almost write a bestselling drama about their deeds, actions and wrongdoings.

Burton (Bertune) was an ancient Norman family who came to England with William the Conqueror 1028 –1087) the First Norman king. The Conquerous’ Survey shows they owned a manor, a church and a priest, one border, one servant, one maid, 2 carts, 5 acres of land, 16 acres of meadow and an acre of woodland valued at one mark of silver.

Descendants of Robert de Burton gave the village of Great Hodenhall, in Warwickshire, to the nuns of Eaton. (Nuneaton)

During the time of EDWARD III 1327 – 1377, a relative of Robert, also called Robert de Burton, became Archdeacon of Winchester from 1345-1361. His responsibilities included six deaneries; Bournemouth, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Lyndhurst, Romsey and Southampton.

Another relative, again called Robert de Burton, was appointed in 1379, as ‘Master of the hospital of Playden’. However, in 1380 he cut down timber to the value of £20 at Brookland, he allowed hospital lands to go to waste so crops were lost, he took title deeds, bills valued at 40s and other documents proving another person’s title to land, he gave nothing to the poor so they had to beg daily on the streets and even worse he took cooking vessels instead of rent in which they prepared their dinners.

On another occasion Robert and three others, on the Friday after the Feast of the Annunciation, were accused of robbery and breach of the peace. They broke down the door to a manor house of William de Mere’s, tied him up, forced open a chest with an axe and stole £10. Robert took 6 marks as his share, 20 gold rings, value 60s and 4 girdles of silk with silver worth 100s. The group took flight and after being chased from village to village were caught. They appeared in the county court but denied the felony. William was the prosecutor and could have passed sentence himself, but instead a jury was called. We have no information about the outcome of the case.

Four weeks before ‘our’ Robert came to Edwinstowe, on the 12th August 1346, Robert’s father, also called Robert de Burton (a Norman Knight) sailed from Portsmouth on the 12th July with King Edward 111 and 1,200 men including 7,000 archers. The King’s mission was to invade Normandy. The Battles of Crécy, on the 26th August, followed with the French being defeated by the English longbow men. The first great English land victory of the Hundred Years War.

Life for ‘our’ Robert would have been so different. Settling into a new home and church, taking his first services, meeting the people of Edwinstowe and possibly thinking about his father in France with the King. Robert died in August 1349, just 3 years after coming here. We do not know why. However, during 1348-49 half the population of Nottinghamshire died of the plague (Black Death)! The villagers would have attended his funeral and he was probably buried in our graveyard.

Painting from a C15 illuminated manuscript of Jean Froissart’s Chronicles     Reference: French Wars volumeXparts1-2-2 Leicestershire Men at the French Wars

1349 24 August.Ralph Bole.  Bole is an Anglo-Scandinavian name which is found in Old Danish and Old Swedish.  In the Domesday Book (1086) it is called ‘BOLUM’, a Latin word ‘ derived from the Greek ‘BOLOS’, which means’ casting a fishing net. The Berewicks in Bolum (Bole) in 1086 belonged to the Archbishop’s Manor of Lavenham, Notts. This was later in ‘Bassetlaw’ Wapentake,

1356 11 July William Andrew. His ordination was celebrated in the church of the Carmelites, York, on Saturday in Whitsun week 10th of June 1346 by Brother John Pascale, bishop of Llandaff, by authority of William la Zouche, archbishop of York. His first appointment was at Garendon Abbey, Lincoln diocese.

1360 4 July William de Kynereshale. William son of John the smith (fabri) of Kneesall to title of Southwell collegiate chapter. Kneesall has had many names over time. Invariably known originally as ‘Cynehere’s nook of land’ ,Cheuersale or Cheversale and eventually Kirneshale, Kyrneshale, Kernesall and Kersal before its present spelling, it was mentioned in the Domesday Book as under the ownership of Gilbert of Ghent in AD 1086.

William was ordained as a Priest by John, archbishop of York, in the chapel of his manor of Bishopthorpe on Saturday the feast of St Mathew the apostle 21 September 1364.

1370/1 27 February. William de Bekyngham pr. Southwell Minster lists a church being established in Beckingham sometime between 1120 and 1135. William, a priest, would have come from Beckingham. In 1370, this included the manors of Leverton and Beckingham.  Visitors to Southwell Minster may see that one of the stalls on the north side of the choir shows the name Beckingham, as does one of the seats in the Chapter House.

1370 William White not recorded on the church incumbent board but is recorded as a “recent vicar”, by the Curia Ebor Court the ecclesiastical courts at York. 07/02/1370 — 31/07/1372

1375 17 August. William de Botterthwayte pr. In the 13th and 14th century Botterthwayte or Butter whett, now called Butterthwaite, is a hamlet in Ecclesfield, co. York, There are records of a Butterthwaite Hall in the Parish of Ecclesfield, Yorkshire 5.5 miles from Sheffield, at that time. William would have come from this place.

Acknowledgment – Discover Ecclesfield’s Working Past

William’s ordination was celebrated in the church of St Michael le Belfrey, York, on Saturday after the feast of St Lucy the virgin, 19th December 1349, by Br. Hugh, archbishop of Damascus, by authority of William la Zouche, archbishop of York. It is also recorded when he was ordained as a priest and Deacon.

There are some records of the Butterthwayte family in the early 1300s. On the 1st August 1318, British History Online records 2 incidents/complaints of Richard de Butterthwayte, and a group of his friends. Firstly,  assaulting Agnes, daughter of Robert de Reynbergh and stealing her goods and later robbing Beatrice, also a daughter of Robert de Reynbergh. He was fined on both occasions.

1386 29 April. Richard de Elton. Richard’s son, Hugh, was ordained in the parish church of Newark on Saturday in Whitsun week, 29th May 1344, by Br. Ralph, bishop of Leighlin, by authority of William la Zouche, archbishop of York.

1390 7 October. Thomas Bate Ordination as a Acolytes and celebrated in the church of St Michael le Belfrey, York, by Br. Robert, bishop of Dunkeld, the suffragan of Alexander, archbishop of York, on Saturday in the first week of Lent 1383, 5th of March. He was then moved to  St Clement’s Nunnery, York. 7 years later he moved to Edwinstowe.

1396 21 June Thomas de Norton, priest. Court Case for dilapidations of property 15/01/1397 — 18/03/1397

15th Century Vicars

1404 23 April. John Lunde priest. Ordination celebrated in the conventual church of Holy
Trinity, Micklegate, York, on Sitientes Saturday, 7 April 1397, by Br.
Oswald, bishop of Whithorn, the suffragan of Robert, archbishop of York

1405 Richard Alfreton.  Alfreton is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name from the Old English name Alvred. The name was popular in England because of the fame of Alfred the Great, the Anglo-Saxon King of Wessex. (849-899). The surname Alfreton was first recorded in Worcestershire.

1410 26 June Henry de Bilburgh priest.Henry, on 25th December 1405, became chaplain of Shelley. He had until then, been the chaplain of Beeston. He was priest at Edwinstowe for just over a year.

1411 9 July Edmund Hachet priest. His ordination as an acolyte, was celebrated in the parish church of St Mary Bishophill Senior, York, by Br. Richard, bishop Serviensis, on the eve of Trinity, 27 May 1396.

1419 10 December. Richard Gibbeson psb., per resigned.

1420 8 October. Robert, s. of William Gomondeley pr. Died in office in 1442. The name Gumley is a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon “Gutmundesleah or Gomondeley”,  which means Godmund’s lea or  clearing.

1425 31 August Robert Maior of Edwinstowe, acolyte, for all holy orders, from any
Catholic bishop. He was ordained and celebrated in the conventual church of Holy Trinity, York,
by Br. Nicholas, bishop of Dromore, by authority of Henry, archbishop of
York, on 19 September 1422.

1434 22 May.  John Colyngham of Edwinstowe 20th February 19 September 1439 he became a Deacon to Welbeck Abbey. In 1562 he was ordained at York by William, archbishop of York and became vicar-general in spirituals. His new title was John Colyngham of Harewood. In 1963, he became an archdeacon (later a deacon and ) at Kirkstall abbey.

1439 19 September. Ralph Wilbram of Edwinstowe.  Ordination celebrated in the conventual church of the Franciscans in York.

1442 9 July. William Colyngham of Beverley chap.  He was ordination as a Acolytes (a person assisting a priest in a religious service or procession) celebrated in the conventual church of the Dominicans, York, by Br. Nicholas, bishop of Dromore, the suffragan, by authority of
John, archbishop of York, on 20 September 1438.

1443 19 September. John Bewsher of Edwinstowe was ordained as a Acolytes (a person assisting a priest in a religious service or procession) for the Carmelites church at York. The York Carmelite Friary was established in about 1250, moved to its permanent site in 1295 and was surrendered in 1538.

1468 20 August. Roger Marton pr.  His ordination was celebrated in the conventual church of the Austin friars, York, on 23rd December 1452 by John, bishop Insulensis, the suffragan, by authority of William, archbishop of York, M. Richard Tone then being vicar-general in spirituals of the archbishop who was absent extra diocesim. 18 months later he was ordained as a priest in the conventual church of the Franciscans, York, on 15th  June 1454, again by John, bishop Insulensis. Roger died in 1473 and was buried in the Quire.

1473 22 September. John Myrfelde (Mirfeld) chaplain. His ordination was celebrated in the conventual church of the Franciscans at York on 27th March 1479 by Br. William, bishop of Dromore.

The John Meryfeld (or Mirfield) mentioned above among the clerici of the priory was not a clerk in holy orders, but a man of great eminence as a physician and surgeon. The first record of Mirfield in connexion with the priory is in the year 1362, for in the year 1390 an inspeximus and confirmation was granted by King Richard (fn. 33) of an indenture of Prior Thomas de Watford, dated May 9th, 1362, which granted to John de ‘Mirfeld’ for life a yearly pension of £4 8s., with a chamber and latrine on the south side of the church near the great altar, at the yearly rent of 4s. for the chamber and latrine; and if the prior failed in paying the pension, then John Mirfield (or his attorney) should have sufficient food from the prior and convent to satisfy the amount due; with power, in default, of entry and distress upon the convent’s possessions in London.

The Records of St. Bartholomew’s Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield show that John was a great benefactor of the priory. He was executor to the will of his friend John Chishull, clerk. In the year 1377, in part satisfaction of the ‘licence to acquire’ (granted, it is here stated, at the request of Isabella the queen-mother), licence was granted to the same John Chishull, clerk, and to John Mirfield, to convey to the prior and convent rents of 27s. 5½d.,

16th Century Vicars

1500 30 October. Master John Elton of North Collingham. He became an acolyte (a person assisting a priest in a religious service or procession) on 13th Jan. 1494. Letters of  dimissory were needed by any candidate for ordination, born within the York diocese, who for specific reasons wished to be ordained by a bishop other than his diocesan, the archbishop of York, or the latter’s officially-appointed suffragan acting on his behalf. A handful of such letters dimissory are entered in full in these late fifteenth-century registers but the vast majority (and there are over 800 letters dimissory recorded for the 1475-1500 period) are mere brief notes of  the issuing of such letters, often grouped together for convenience by the registry clerks when entering them in the registers.  John Elton of North Collingham, acolyte, 13 Jan. 1494/5 his  letter of Dimissory was received at this time.

1527 20 May Robert Palden pr. The Palden family, in the 1480s, lived in Doncaster. Palden is from the root name Paul and was a Roman family name..

1534 25 September. Ralph Balguy priest. The family was linked to Aston Hall, Derwent Hall and Duffield Park. In the 1300s and 1400s, “Balguy ancestors were made foresters of old time by William Peverel”.    The Valor Ecclesiaticus of 1535 records that the vicar of Edwinstowe, Ralph Balguy, held tithes in Ollerton,  Perlethorpe, and Carburton to the yearly value of £5.

Balguy of Duffield

1536 5 July William (Willimus) Sapcote. This was his second office and is presumably chaplain with dispensation to hold another benefice. Permutation clause. He resigned 15th of July, 1548.

1548 19 July  Richard (Richardus) Hadfelde M.A . He was ordained in 1545 at York. He died 22nd of  January 1554 of natural causes and it is assumed he is buried in the church yard.

1554 22 December. Henry (Henricus) Tinker. This appears to be his first appointment. When Henry Tinker died in 1584 he asked to be buried under the great stone outside the Quire door. This great stone was later discovered by the Revd. Bond in 1911. He was curious about the significance and had it turned over and discovered it to be the stone altar with the consecration crosses. It was dated 14th century and so presumed to be the original altar of the chantry chapel that had been ordered to be broken up and thrown away at the reformation. Obviously Henry Tinker did not have the heart to do this. He died of a natural death on 1st of January 1585.

John Stowyt was appointed vicar at Edwinstowe in 21.10. 1554. However, his name is missing from the list of incumbents at the back of the church. He was ordained in December 1540 at Salisbury Cathedral. He remained in office until 1563.

1584/5 26 January. Thomas Damporte. Ordained 1577. Appointed 1st of January 1585. He left 3rd of September 1586. Records show he continued as a priest until 1588.

1586, 3 September. Richard (Richardus) Barton. In 1587, charges were brought against him, Our vicar refuseth to weare the surplysse’. He recorded, in 1603, that the Parish had 240 inhabitants. He remained as a priest until 1625, possibly his death.  In 1598, it was reported by churchwardens and swornmen of the Carburton church, a subsidiary chapel of Edwinstowe , that ‘we have had about 10 sermons this year made by Richard Barton, vicar of Edwinstowe’. It was also noted that the register book was well kept and copies had been delivered every year. Two years previously in 1596 however, churchwardens had presented Barton for not wearing his surplice during divine service.

1625 7 October. George (Georgius) Rigges. Tithe (hops) 18/2/1637 — 3/8/1638 Ordained by Richard Sterns Archbishop of York. He

1646/7 17 March. Thomas Bowes pr. After the Civil War, Thomas Bowes, Vicar petitioned the Dean and Chapter for a resumption of the ‘Lincoln Dole’ , “11 nobles, 5 nobles for the vicar and 40s to the poor…relating near to 30 families”. And he would like the arrears since the Restoration. Unfortunately this letter is not dated but we know that the ‘dole’ continues to be paid until, in 1878 Earl Manvers, exchanged the church for St Mary’s in Nottingham so that he owned all the village, having also bought out the Duke of Portland’s portion.

1662 John Featley or Fairclough D.D. He was ordained 1638. He first appointment was Rector of Langar cum Barnstone. Then Curate at Acton  in 1640, before coming to Edwinstowe. Died 13th April 1667. Featley died at Lincoln on 13th April 1666, and was buried in a chapel in the Lincoln Cathedral.

Image of John available at the National Portrait Gallery

John Featley, also known as John Fairclough (c.1605 – 1666), was a chorister and divine. He was a chaplain to Charles 1. His uncle was the theologian Daniel Featley.

The son of John Fairclough, the elder brother of Daniel Featley, he was born in Northamptonshire in or about 1605. He was admitted either clerk or chorister at All Souls’ College, Oxford, and took his B.A. degree on 25 February 1624. After being ordained he went to Saint Kitts, the first preacher in the colony, in 1626. During 1635 and 1636 he was curate to his uncle at Lambeth, and probably at Acton. In 1639, he was made chaplain to Charles I, in the First Bishops’ War. When the First English Civil War was turning adverse for the royalists, he was persuaded by his uncle to return to Saint Kitts, for which he sailed with his wife, children, and servants from Tilbury on 24 June 1643.

In 1646, Featley was in Flushing, Netherlands. After the Restoration, he was appointed on 29 June 1660 chaplain extraordinary to the king, who presented him on 13 August to the precentorship of Lincoln, and in September following to a prebend in Lincoln Cathedral. In 1661, he was rector of Langar, Nottinghamshire; he was later instituted to the vicarage of Edwinstowe. On 7 June 1661, he was created by royal mandamus D.D. at Oxford.    – Reference Wikipedia

Further information here –

1680 5 April. Benjamin Brunning (Browning) priest. Adm. sizar at Christ’s, May 2, 1673 at
Ipswich. School, Woodbridge. Received in 1673 a B.A. 1676-7; then a
M.A. in 1681. He was ordained as deacon Norwich in December 1679.  Married
1679-80. He then became Vicar of Edwinstowe on the 5th Apr 1680. Later he became vicar of
St Mary-le-Wigford, Lincolnshire on the 2nd of May 1681. He resigned before the 6th of
March 1685.

Benjamin was a minister in Ipswich before the restoration. He was a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge . A man of great usefulness there, and of a general reputation in the university for his wit and learning. He was a man of considerable ability, and had,

“ the most judicious persons in the town and country , both ministers and people, for his auditors ‘’. He is buried In St. Clement’s Church , where a stone directly under the front of the gallery bears this inscription: Here resteth the body of Mr. Benjamin Brunning, sometime Lecturer of this town; who departed this life November, 1688 . Also his wife and daughter.

1680/1 12 February. William Silverton pr. In 1681, Revd. Silverton took up residence in the new 12 roomed vicarage. The main living rooms were ceiled and had rooms above them, one rather grandly known as the green chamber. There was a cheese room, a brew house though brewing vessels were also stored in the cellar and a “clositt” that held a plate, worth £10. Most interesting of all, Revd. Silverton, had a library though it is not clear whether this was a special room or just a collection of books. They were valued at £5.

He died in 1699 after 18 years and 6 months. In his Will he lists the tithes but nothing of the buildings. The parsonage received ‘the tithes of corn, hay in all the fields and meadows and one mark from a piece of land’. The vicarage received no rent only ‘tithe of wool, lamb, turkey, goose, duck, chicken, eggs, corn, hay, hops in the tofts and crofts and the fruit.’ And a petty pittance of 5 nobles from the Dean & Chapter of Lincoln. Patience, bequests to friends of his library, and a sum of 50s to the poor of Edwinstowe.

1699 26 October. Francis Peete B.A. He was ordained in 1662, as a preacher throughout the diocese of Lincoln. He became rector of Sedgewood East and Allington 18th September 1662 to 6th August 1688. He then moved to Edwinstowe in 1699. He died of natural causes on 20th June 1704.

18th Century Vicars

1704 20 June John Penn B.A. priest. He was ordained as a priest on the 11th June 1704 at  Oriel, Oxford. His first appointment was at Edwinstowe.

1715 21 June Thomas Inett priest. He was ordained deacon on the 23rd Sept. 1711, BA Magdalene, Cambridge

1718 18 September. William Carter priest. He was ordained as a deacon on the 9th of June 1723, BA Clare, Cambridge

1739 21 September. John Meyrick. His curate was Alexander Penn, who lived on £30 a year and lived in the vicarage house. In 1743 Revd. John Meyrick, received a questionnaire from Archbishop Herring of Yoek and in his reply to it he gave some interesting information about the village. There were 60 families (a population of about 200 to 250 people. A school which was simply one room in a cottage where the schoolmaster lived. This was in the High Street close to 2 cottages left for widows.  He performed the public service ‘once a fortnight in the afternoon in the same Manner and at other Chapels of Ollerton and Pelethorpe [Peverelthorpe].’ He also stated that catechizing took place once a fortnight in Lent and the sacrament was administered at Carburton three times a year.

This is the report compiled by Rev John Meyrick 21st September 1739

1758 11 April. Anthony Reynolds. He was born 1st January 1735 Buckden, Huntingdonshire. His  father was Rev. George Reynolds and his mother was (nee) Mary Hodson. His education was at St. John’s, Cambridge. (B.A. 1754; M.A. 1757; B.D. 1765 and a Fellow, 1756-69.) In 1768 he moved to Walgrave, Northants.

1768 19 May. Rev.d Edward Bristowe pr.

The Bristowe family had many local links.

John Bristowe, esq; of Edwinstowe, in this county, third son, was master of the Lyons, had by his wife two sons and a daughter, Thomas, a major in the army, Edward, rector of Edwinstowe, who left issue, but deceased, except the daughter. Thomas, fourth son, attorney at law, married one of the daughters and coheirs of Mr. Bookey, of Woodford in Essex, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, deceased. He was buried at St. Mary’s on the 4th April 1770.

1771 8 July. Thomas Hurst B.A. priest.He became curate at Ordsall on 9th June 1745 and then at Sturton le Steeple on the 19th May1748. He was then vicar at North & South Leverton, Littleborough and rector of Stanford on Soar before moving to Edwinstowe as vicar. He died on the 27th March 1787.

1787 27 March. Charles Gordon LL.B. pr. He dies 30th July 1802. He was appointed as deacon on the 4th March 1787 at Chester and priest on the 25th at Lincoln . He became Vicar of Wellingore on the 26th March 1787. He then moved to Edwinstowe as vicar until the 2nd of August 1802. He was then appointed Prebendary on the 24th March 1788 until the 30th of July 1802 when he died.

19th Century Vicars

Edwinstowe attracted many dedicated, hardworking and sincere vicars. In 1835 the Stipend (wages) were £639 a year which meant the church could afford 2 curates. The vicar of east Retford received only £140.

1802 2nd August.  John Cleaver M.A. pr. He retired on the 28 of May 1811 on a salary of £300 a year. George Mason was appointed curate on the 2nd of August 1812.

1835 17th February.  Rev. John Gordon M.A. pr. was ordained in 1794. In1835, he became vicar of Edwinstowe, and moved here with his wife, Sarah Matthews, actress. He was educated at Westminster School and Jesus College, Cambridge, B.A.

1843 19th July  Johnathan Blenman Cobham M.A. pr.

1854 15th July  Rev d William Haywood Ibotson M.A. pr. 1866 was a Guardian and clerk for Southwell Union. He died 6th March 1873 and was buried in the church graveyard. The curate at that time was Rev. Phillip Woodgate.

1873 4th July  John Robert Turing M.A. pr 

John Robert Turing was the vicar of St Mary’s Church, Edwinstowe from 1875 until 1884. Born in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, he graduated in mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1848, abandoned mathematics for ordination and became a Chaplain of Trinity college. In 1861 he married Fanny Boyd and left Cambridge for a living in Edwinstowe, where he fathered 10 children – two died in infancy and the surviving four girls and four boys. His parish included Ollerton (looked after by an assistant curate), Budby, Carburton and Clipstone.  In 1835 the total stipend was £639 out of which the vicar paid £140 for two curates.  As a comparison, it is interesting to note that at that time the vicar of Worksop received £388 a year and the vicar of East Retford only £140.

Old Vicarage pre-1900s

A magazine “Home News” approved by the Queen reflected the Victorian times, and in 1880 Rev. Turing decided to circulate a free copy of the magazine to 200 families in the parish, into which he added local information.  He hoped that sufficient subscribers would be found to make it worthwhile to circulate future editions for the sum of 1d. This proved to be the case. (“Home News” was the forerunner of today’s parish magazines.)

There were differing views over his attitude to his “flock”.   Some felt he did not fit in, yet he worked hard holding services regularly, with additional ones being arranged for special

seasons and occasions.  Harvest Thanksgiving Services were well attended, whilst the one held in 1883 held an additional interest: “The Lamps lighting it up brilliantly were used in church and were very much admired. The congregation in the evening was exceptionally large.”.  Previously Evensong was in the afternoon. The following article published in the Nottingham Journal on 18th September 1874 records the Rev. Turing’s outing with the Church choir:

The vicar was a regular visitor to the School where his wife and daughter (Fanny*) taught occasional needlework and knitting lessons.  In addition to the Sunday School, there was a Sunday School Club, and a Sunday School Treat.  He started the Girl’ Friendly Society in 1875 with the support of the Anglican Church as a pioneer youth organisation to protect working-class country girls who left home to take up urban employment. All of which ensured that the young people of the village were not neglected.

At Rev. Turing’s induction and institution, the Suffragan Bishop of Nottingham who officiated wrote that “A considerable number of Parishioners were present, who took a manifest and devout and intelligent interest in the service.”   After taking a while to organise things to his liking, and seeing some reward for his efforts, Rev. Turing suffered a bout of ill health necessitating time away from church duties.  During his absence various changes had taken place contrary to his expressed wishes.  On his return he was so disgusted with what had happened during his absence that he cut from the Vestry Book the three pages on which some of the events had been recorded and against a comment that “decreased collections were probably due to the severe winter and consequent reduced employment”, he wrote  “The cause of the decrease is the absence of the Vicar” .

However, he wasted little time before attempting to reassert his presence and zealously visited his parishioners.  In one month, he visited 156 out of 217 families in Edwinstowe, 37 out of 53 at Clipstone and 6 out of 32 at Budby. The remainder would receive a visit soon after. Sadly, after suffering a stroke Revd. Turing resigned the living in 1883 and spent the remaining few months of his life in Bedford.

* Lady Fanny Jean Turing Trustram Eve was a well-known social reformer. She stood out among the many exceptional women because of her different activities, as a Conservative Party politician and her WW1 work. 

Her nephew and Rev. Turing grandson, was Alan Mathison Turing, the renowned computer scientist, and mathematician who broke the German Enigma Code at Bletchley Park. Winston Churchill said of him that he had shortened the Second World War by two years.



Acknowledgements: M J Jackson Edwinstowe, Foster Hill Road Cemetery, The Nottinghamshire Countryside Vol 28, No.2 1967

1884 1st November.  Henry Telford Hayman M.A. pr Revd. Hayman, was an amateur county cricketer, musician, a Freemason and a keen fox hunter. He was one of the Edwinstowe’s most popular vicars. He was also chaplain to the Robin Hood Rifles.

20th Century Vicars,  Church Wardens & Vergers

James Stone – The Office of Verger from 1903 – at least 1937

Below the record he signed as a newly appointed Verger:

“I James Stone agree to take the Office of Verger of the Parish Church  of Edwinstowe from 8th November 1903, and as such, to attend all services in the Church, if required, with the exception of funerals.

I fully understand that I am not entitled to any fee for any of the services, except in case of weddings – when the fee will be 5/- for a Wedding performed by licence and 2/6 after banns.

I agree to warm and light the Church when required and to keep it clean.

I undertake to ring the Church bell for all services at which the bell ringers do not attend, if asked to do so.

I agree to cut the grass in the churchyard when required.

I recognise that in the absence of the Vicar I must obey the directions  of the churchwardens.

I understand the salary to paid to me half yearly is £7.10.0/£15 per annum”

The Churchwarden at this time was Ralph Lombe (second husband of Mrs Aurea Alexander) who lived at Edwinstowe Hall.

1907 16th July Revd. Edward Vines Bond  M.A. pr He came to Edwinstowe just as the new vicarage was built on Mansfield Road. He was particularly interested in History and Archaeology. He married Edith Bridges in September 1907 at Marylebone. He discovered the site of St. Edwin’s Chapel and hermitage in the forest near King’s Clipstone. He persuaded the Duke of Portland to erect a cross and a plaque to mark the site. This had been founded by King John as a Chantry to pray for the souls of his family and for all whom he had wronged. The Rev Bond searched the area for stones and persuaded the Duke of Portland to erect a cross and plaque to mark the site. He also discovered the stone altar in the belfry floor. In 1912 he obtained a Faculty to remove the wooden Altar steps and replace them with stone; to enlarge the Sanctuary and replace blue slates with mosaic; to open out a new window in the Chancel; and to erect the stone altar in the South Aisle. Edward in April 1917, took opportunity of saying, at the Easter Vestry Meeting that both himself and Mr. Oberbach had enrolled for National Service, and he, the Vicar, has been told that, “he cannot be released from his pariah, owing to its sine and population, and that he must stay and perform his duties. — With regard to his curate. Mr. Oberbach, with the vicar’s consent, directly after he came to Edwinstowe, offered his services as chaplain at the Front. and is waiting till his call comes, so that they as clergy could not do more than put themselves at the service of the State.”

1918 16 March Frank Cecil Day-Lewis B.A. pr. In 1918 the Rev Frank Cecil Day-Lewis became Vicar. His famous son, Cecil Day-Lewis was a young man at University at the time and he wrote in his memoirs:

When my father moved to Edwinstowe, it was a country village, … before he died, it had become a mining town … We lived on coal. Seams of it lay below our feet-rich seams which had hardly been tapped yet … and my father’s stipend of £600 a year came largely, I believe, from the titled patron of the living, beneath whose land the coal had been found.

In 1921 the south aisle became once again a memorial chapel, the stone altar was erected and the memorial stone to those who had died in the war, together with the British Legion flag. The lighting was replaced, first by acetylene gas and later by electricity. In 1935 expensive repairs were necessary to the organ and to the hanging of the bells. The Rev Day-Lewis died suddenly of a heart attack on 29th July 1937. In 1938 altar rails to the south aisle altar were erected in his memory.

His funeral was reported in many newspapers at that time:

“LATE VICAR OF EDWINSTOWE SERVICE IN PARISH CHURCH; INTERMENT AT BATH. The body of the late Vicar of Edwinstowe, the Rev. F. C. Day-Lewis, whose death we recorded last week, was conveyed on Tuesday to Bath, the home of Mr. Day-Lewis’ family. Before the early morning departure of the cortege from Edwinstowe requiem mass was said in the Parish Church, before a large congregation of friends and sympathises. They both were met at the church gate by the Rev. A. K. Moore (Vicar of Perlethorpe), and the Rev. V. E. A. Pugh (curate), who with the Rev. T. Hallam (Vicar of Strattonen-le Field. Staffs, and curate at Edwinstowe about 17 years ago), were the officiating clergy. The chief mourners were Mrs. Day- Lewis (widow), Mr. Cecil Day-Lewis (son) and Mrs. Persse (sister-in-law), with the Rev. W. E. A. Pugh, and Messrs. W. Bolton, R. Richardson, F. Hoe,  Smedley, V. Morley, Torr, Stone and E. Woodhead. amongst those in the congregation at Edwinstowe were the Rev. L. Butler, of Annesley, and A. W. Keeton, of Bilsthorpe (former curates), Messrs. W. Bolton and R. Richardson (wardens), Lady Evelyn Maude, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Armstrong. Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Greaves, Mr. F. Hoe (representing the Thoresby Estate). Mrs. Keeton. Mrs. A. Naish, Mr. and Mrs. Woodward and Mr. and Mrs. T. E. B. Young. Wreaths were sent by Lady Sibell Argles. the Countess Manvers, Edwinstowe Parish Council, Edwinstowe Parochial Church Council, the Mothers’ Union, Edwinstowe Nursing Association, the Women’s institute and the Women’s Section of the Edwinstowe Branch of the British Legion. A memorial service is to be held on Sunday evening at Edwinstowe, when the preacher will be (Canon Hales. Archdeacon of Newark.”

1938 19 February. Donald Haseler pr.  Rev. Haseler was Inducted to Edwinstowe Vicariate. He was formerly at Bulwell and St John’s, Mansfleld. He was inducted as Vicar of St Mary’s, Edwinstowe by the Bishop of Southwell, in the presence of a large congregation. The Bishop was assisted by the Rural Dean of Worksop the Rev. A. K. Moore. His curate at that time was Rev. William Snow. In the same year, new choir stalls and also a Chancel screen were given by Mrs J. W. Stevenson in memory of her husband. In 1941, during the Second World War, he wrote in the Church magazine,

“My dear friends, How terribly complicated life is! It used to be much simpler when we lived in our isolation in our nice little, tight little island, before scientists discovered all the various means of communication and travel………. the world is in a terrible state, but it’s a good training ground.”

He also supported the Church’s work for children, ‘The C of E WAIFS & STRAYS Society’ by handing out a penny a week boxes.

1946 4 October. William Basil Evans pr.

1957 5 Feb Harold Pickles pr. When the Rev H Pickles accepted the living the chapelry of Old Clipstone was transferred to the parish of New Clipstone in the Mansfield Deanery.

In 1969 Perlethorpe was given official independence with the appointment of a Priest in Charge. It had already had its last joint Church Magazine with Edwinstowe in May 1966. Earl Manvers built the present church in the 19 century and the priest was also his Chaplain.

In 1962, the Revd Harold Pickles, a keen musician, planned to bring the choir and congregation closer together. He moved the organ from the Chancel and re-sited it in the nave which necessitated the repositioning of the pulpit. However, there was opposition to moving the choir stalls! The church was rewired with new light fittings. The medieval aumbries were provided with panelled doors, one of which, in the Lady Chapel, now houses the Reserved Sacrament. Money was given by the Bolton family to provide a carving of the Virgin and Child for one of the plinths in the Lady Chapel; St Margaret was added to the other plinth in 1975, the 800th anniversary.

1978 11 October. John Ford pr. When the Rev J Ford accepted the living the chapelry of Carburton was transferred to the Priory Church of St Mary and St Cuthbert, Worksop.

1996 30 August. Annette Joy Cooper B.A., CQSW, Area Dean. In 1996 the church welcomed its first female Vicar, the Rev Annette Cooper. At the same time it became clear that the roof was in need of £100,00 worth of repairs. Once again money raising became almost paramount but with a Funding Campaign, the Historic Churches Trust, English Heritage, and good will from the villagers, all has been finished.

2005  Alistair David Littlewood