St. Lawrence Church Oxhill

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Notes on the Clergy

List of Rectors


Lucas de Hercy


Henry Mitchell


John de Pillarton


James Palwin


John de Boclande


Daniel Smarte


Walter de Bourtiton


Walwyn Clarke


Robert Godesale


Nicholas Meese


John de Egge


Walwyn Meese


John Davy


Francis Bromley


John de Baynton


William de Hunt


Walter le Hoppere


Osborn Atterbury


William Blockley


John Mills


William de Southe


Thomas Bromley


William Lambley


John Mills


John Tuttebury


Austen Bushby


Simon Sloley


Walter Davenport


Richard Norton


Thomas Cox


Richard Smith


Thomas Langford


John Stephens


Samuel Raymond


Wm. Smith


Vincent Hardwick Macy


Richard? (Register Unclear)


John Grant Ferguson


William Lathener


William B. Weighall


Joseph Cornelius Hill



(20th Century onwards)


James Carter (with Whatcote)


John Oliver Vince (with Whatcote)


George C. Daw (with Whatcote)


Arthur Henry Brayn (with Whatcote)


Geoffrey Shaw Hewins (with Whatcote)


F. B. Merryweather (with Whatcote)


Frank Marriott (with Tysoe & Compton Wynyates)


Douglas S. Jephson (with Tysoe & Compton Wynyates)


Ivan R. Lilley (with Tysoe and Whatcote)


Canon Frank Gouge (Priest in Charge)


Roy Brown (with Tysoe and Whatcote)


David Knight (with Tysoe and Whatcote)


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


George Heighton Vicar of Brailes, Rector of Sutton under Brailes, Priest in Charge of Tysoe, Oxhill and Whatcote.


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: December 28, 2017