St. Lawrence Church Oxhill

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Notes on the Clergy

List of Rectors

1284

Lucas de Hercy

1558

Henry Mitchell

?

John de Pillarton

1597

James Palwin

1330

John de Boclande

1624

Daniel Smarte

1335

Walter de Bourtiton

1643

Walwyn Clarke

1336

Robert Godesale

1669

Nicholas Meese

1337

John de Egge

1715

Walwyn Meese

1339

John Davy

1728

Francis Bromley

1340

John de Baynton

1730

William de Hunt

1349

Walter le Hoppere

1746

Osborn Atterbury

1375

William Blockley

1752

John Mills

1382

William de Southe

1756

Thomas Bromley

1398

William Lambley

1760

John Mills

1414

John Tuttebury

1791

Austen Bushby

1416

Simon Sloley

1818

Walter Davenport

1422

Richard Norton

1824

Thomas Cox

1425

Richard Smith

1860

Thomas Langford

1442

John Stephens

1862

Samuel Raymond

1510

Wm. Smith

1863

Vincent Hardwick Macy

?

Richard? (Register Unclear)

1889

John Grant Ferguson

1540

William Lathener

1891

William B. Weighall

1894

Joseph Cornelius Hill

 

 

(20th Century onwards)

1905

James Carter (with Whatcote)

1920

John Oliver Vince (with Whatcote)

1924

George C. Daw (with Whatcote)

1929

Arthur Henry Brayn (with Whatcote)

1940

Geoffrey Shaw Hewins (with Whatcote)

1945

F. B. Merryweather (with Whatcote)

1965

Frank Marriott (with Tysoe & Compton Wynyates)

1970

Douglas S. Jephson (with Tysoe & Compton Wynyates)

1983

Ivan R. Lilley (with Tysoe and Whatcote)

1986

Canon Frank Gouge (Priest in Charge)

1987

Roy Brown (with Tysoe and Whatcote)

1994

David Knight (with Tysoe and Whatcote)

2006

Nicholas Morgan (Priest in Charge - Brailes, Oxhill, Sutton under Brailes, Tysoe & Whatcote.
Martin Leaton, Associate Minister in Residence at Tysoe.

 

Few of our Rectors have been men of national importance, and few have left visible traces of their stay here. Nicholas Meese was with us for the longest period of time (46 years) and was followed by his son, Walwyn. The beautiful silver communion flagon which belongs to Oxhill Church bears the words “Nicholas Meese 1715”. It is probable that it was given to Oxhill by the family in his memory, but no record of the gift has yet been found.

Osborn Atterbury is also worthy of mention, not so much for himself, but because of his father. He was the youngest child and only surviving son of Bishop Atterbury of Jacobite fame. Bishop Atterbury was Chaplain to Queen Anne and was present at her deathbed. He was also present at the coronation of George I (German Geordie), and he sought to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne. He stayed with Queen Anne in the firm hope that she would nominate her half-brother, the young Prince, as her successor, but when the time came her choice fell upon the House of Hanover. Bishop Atterbury was eventually imprisoned in the Tower for taking part in various intrigues. He eventually fled to France to be near his Prince, and remained in exile until his death.

Bishop Atterbury was devoted to his daughter Mary, who married (Bromley May 1715) William Morice, eldest son of Thomas Morice, Esq., Paymaster to the British Forces in Portugal, and Alice, daughter of Sir William Underhill, Knight, of Idlicote, Warwickshire. Many letters passed between them during his exile, and he had great fears for his son, Osborn, who was a “wild” boy. In 1728, Osborn left London to sail as mate on board the “Lynn” bound for the China seas. This was following another scrape of some kind, and Bishop Atterbury wrote to his son-in-law asking him to arrange this for Osborn in the hope that the hard voyage might help to calm him down.

On the death of his father, Osborn forsook the sea and took holy orders. It is not unreasonable to suppose that he obtained the living of Oxhill and Idlicote through the good offices of his brother-in-law's family, the Underhills of Idlicote. He married whilst here at Oxhill, and had at least one child born and baptised here before he left in 1752.

Another of our Rectors, Daniel Smarte, was thought to have been the father of Peter Smarte, the Puritan Divine. Peter Smarte wrote a book known as Old Smarte's Verses, being sermons and verses in Latin, and was imprisoned for eleven years for preaching against the Bishops and Idolatry.

However, this modest claim to fame cannot be verified with any degree of accuracy.

In 1662, culminating on St. Bartholomew's Day, all clergy had to swear, in person, an oath of loyalty at Worcester. Many changes took place in South Warwickshire parishes at this time, many Incumbents resigning rather than take such an oath. Many were ejected, and many retired at an early age. However, there was no change at Oxhill.

The 17th century was a class-conscious age, and taking orders was one sure way of rising in status. John Eachard of Cambridge in his “The Grounds and Occasions of Contempt of the Clergy” (1696) writes -

“I am confident that in a very little time I could procure hundreds that should ride bothe sun and moon down, and be everlastingly yours if you could but help them to a living of twenty five or thirty pounds a year”.

There would appear to have been no relation between the stipends and numbers of the population, and much depended on tithes and glebe land. Tithes were often commuted for cash, but at this period were collected in kind at Oxhill. In 1670, the estimated value of the living at Oxhill, with a population of 200, was recorded as being worth £110 per annum, whereas Tysoe with a population of 260 only yielded £30- £40 per annum. This is a significant sum when you consider that at that period of time a good living for a gentleman (say farmer or tradesman) was estimated at £80 per year. We may then assume that the clergy in Oxhill were able to live very comfortably on their stipend, and the living was probably much sought after.

At this time, the Churches themselves were usually much plainer in appearance, having no ornaments, plain glass in the windows, and plain whitewashed walls, possibly with the Creed, or texts painted on them. The clergy wore no vestments, but a plain surplice and hood provided by the parish.

Walter Blandford, Bishop of Worcester, was concerned about the state of Church buildings in the Diocese, and in 1674 he instructed that some “Clergiemen” should ride and visit all Churches and parsonage houses in a given area prior to the Visitation. Nicholas Meese was one of those so instructed, and in company with George Granger of Halford he inspected much Church property and reported at some length to the Bishop. e.g. Tysoe. “The boddy of the Church is in good repayre but not kept decently clean” etc. Unfortunately few such reports have survived.

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Last modified: October 15, 2006