Geoffrey de Ranhal (1229-1233) was the first incumbent of Renhold as Capellanus (Chaplain). The patron was the Prior & Convent of Newnham. Before him, visiting priests from Newnham Priory served the parish; the church had belonged to Newnham Priory, Bedford, since 1166. The rare Norman font is the only part of the existing church, which the first Vicar would have known
Robert de Ely (1233-1239) Capellanus (Chaplain) of Renhold. Robert resigned in 1239
Geoffrey (1239-?) became Priest of Renhold following the resignation of his predecessor
Magister (Master) Robert Ouray (?-1262) resigned from Renhold in 1262
Nicholas de Wylden (1262-1264) became Priest of Renhold. The Patron was the Prior & Convent of Newnham, Bedford. The Vicarage income was augmented by Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, with the tithe of hay and lambs. Nicholas died in 1264
John de Marchia (1264-1297) became Priest of Renhold on 28th September 1264. His Patron was the Prior & Convent of Newnham, Bedford
William de Ronhale (1297-c.1336) became Capellanus (Chaplain) of Renhold on 2nd January 1297. His Patron was the Prior & Convent of Newnham, Bedford. On 4th April 1336 John Picot, son of Michael Picot, Knight, established a Chantry in All Saint’s for the souls of various members of his family together with his late Majesty, King Edward, and “William late Vicar of Ronhale”. See The Picot Window. He must have died, therefore, in 1336 or shortly before.
John (c.1336-1349) died in 1349 possibly of the Black Death
John Message (1349-?) was from Elstow, Bedfordshire and became Priest of Renhold on 2nd August 1349
Dominus (Lord) Robert Hayn (?-1361) resigned from Renhold in 1361
Dominus (Lord) Simon Catalene or Catelyn (1361-1386) was from Cranfield, Bedfordshire and became Priest of Renhold on 1st June 1361 Simon went to Colchester in 1386 to take over from Chaplain Ralph Vernon
Dominus (Lord) Ralph Vernon (1386-1390) was from St Thomas Martyr in the Fields of St John, Colchester, Essex, and on exchanging with Dominus Simon Catalene he became Chaplain of Renhold on 14th September 1386. Ralph resigned from Renhold in 1390.
Dominus (Lord) John Ybbe (1390-1391) became Priest of Renhold on 28th October 1390. In 1391 he become Vicar of Dodington
Dominus (Lord) William Stoughton or Stoghton (1391-1420) became Priest of Renhold in 1391 and died in 1420
Dominus (Lord) Laurence atte Woode or Wode (1420-1449) became Priest of Renhold on 8th October 1420. Laurence died in 1449.
Dominus (Lord) Thomas Bylman or Bilman (1449-1453) became Capellanus (Chaplain) of Renhold on 13th October 1449. Thomas resigned in 1453.
Dominus (Lord) Robert Drury (1453-1457) became Priest of Renhold on 17th October 1453. Robert resigned in 1457.
Dominus (Lord) Thomas Burton (1457-1466) became Priest of Renhold on 27th October 1457. Thomas resigned in 1466
Dominus (Lord) John Luffenham (1466-1482) became Priest of Renhold on 18th December 1466. John resigned in 1482
Dominus (Lord) Hugh Glapthorne (1482-1489) became Priest of Renhold in 1482 and died in 1489
Dominus (Lord) John Wyon (1489-1528), became Priest of Renhold on 31st January 1489 following the death of his predecessor, Dominus (Lord) Hugh Glapthorne. Like Dominus (Lord) John Stucley who followed him, he had a long career as Vicar. He appears as witness to one of the few wills to survive from that period, that of John Warwycke who died on 1st February 1528 leaving “to high altar 3 shillings and 4 pence; an honest priest is to sing a trental for his soul; to the church of All Saints at Rownhall 2 torches; to the bells [the earliest mention of them] 12 pence.” It seems that John regularly appointed “mass-priests” to sing masses for the dead, because the Will of John Joye of 1521 leaves a legacy for “Sir Brian to sing for my soul in the parish church of Ronhall” John died in 1528
Dominus (Lord) John Stucley (1528-1561) became Clerk of Renhold on 18th March 1528. He was also Vicar of Harrold. Shortly after his appointment he appears as witness to the Will of Edmund Thode who died on 6th January 1529/30. Edmund left “20 pence to the high altar of Ranolde for forgotten tithes and to the reparations of the church and steeple 3 shillings and 4 pence”. As overseer of his Will he appointed “master vicar my gostly father to be god to my chylderne [the will makes it clear that Edmund’s children were not yet of age] and to my wyffe”. John Stucley’s three decades as Vicar saw the most dramatic changes. When he became Vicar, he was taking Roman Catholic services in Latin; when he died, Elizabeth I was queen and the services were Protestant and in English. During that time, there had been the fierce Catholic rule of the last years of Henry VIII, followed by the Protestant reign of young Edward VI, then the terror of “Bloody Mary” before her sister, Elizabeth, established the Anglican Church very much as we now know it. John Stucley served the parish through all of this upheaval. He must have been a remarkable diplomat! John died in 1561.
Roger Mawdley (1561-1566) became Clerk of Renhold on 8th August 1561. The Patron was William Jones, Gentleman of Inner Temple, London, by grant of John Gostwicke, Esquire, of Willington. Roger died in 1566
John Lamberte (1566-1570) Clerk of Renhold Church and the Patron was Alexander Scroogs of Renhold, Gentleman
Edmund Legge (1570-1602/03) became Clerk of Renhold Church on 6th December 1570 and the Patron was Sir William Petre of Ingatestone, Essex. He was buried at Riseley, Bedfordshire, on 28th March 1603
Henry Gale (1603-1612) was born in Bedfordshire in 1578 and matriculated from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in c.1593. He graduated BA in 1596/97 and MA in 1600. He was ordained Deacon and Priest at Lincoln Cathedral on 19th July 1601 and was presented by Sir William Becher of Howbury Hall, Patron, to the living of All Saints, Renhold on 14th July 1603. Henry was Vicar of Renhold until 1612. He was then Rector of Little Staughton, Bedfordshire, from 1612-1639 and was buried there on 16th August 1639.
Thomas Lloyd (1612-1616) matriculated from Jesus College, Cambridge Easter 1604 and he was ordained Deacon at Peterborough on 21st February 1608. On 25th February 1612, he became Vicar of Renhold as BA (He is not recorded in the Alumni of Oxford or Cambridge) and was Vicar of Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, from 1616 to 1630
He is the first of the Vicars of Renhold who we know to have been married. On 8th August 1614, only 46 years after the death of Mary Tudor finally removed the bar upon priests marrying, he married Elizabeth Pecke in the parish church of Renhold. “From the social and economic standpoints the change (from celibate to married clergy) had much to commend it, especially in a rural background. If in his earlier years the married parson had many mouths to fill, later on he had hefty sons to till his glebe, besides a wife to order his household, tend his poultry and organise his relations with female parishioners” (Professor A. G Dickens)
George Herbert (1616-1625) or Harbart is not the clergyman poet of the same name. He was baptised on 24th February 1584/85, the son of Ralph Herbert or Harbert of Holymers, Durham. He matriculated from Christ’s College, Cambridge, Easter 1604 graduating BA in 1607/08 and MA 1611. A brother, Stephen was admitted in 1606 and his third brother, Henry, was admitted in 1610. George became Vicar of Renhold in 1616 until 1625
He married Alice Tayler in Renhold church on 21st October 1616 - one of two marriages recorded on that day- but at that time he is not described as “clerk” so may not yet have become Vicar. Several of their children were also baptised in the church: Sarah on 30th August 1618, Joseph on 3rd December 1620, Abraham on 25th November 1621, Isaac on 14th March 1623 and Elizabeth on 11th May 1628. Abraham was buried on 6th February 1625.
Oliver Roberts (1625) became Clerk of Renhold in 1625. His will was dated 1st July 1625 and proved 15th January 1625/26
Walter Haynes (c.1630-1638) Walter was born in Renhold on 5th February 1608, the eldest son of Walter Haynes and Mary Watford, who had married at All Saints Church on 27th April 1607. Walter was admitted to Queens College, Cambridge Easter Term 1626 as Walter Haines of Bedfordshire and graduated BA 1629/30 and MA 1633. He probably did not become Vicar of Renhold until 1630, following a long inter regnum, but there are no records to confirm the actual date. Walter’s parents had eight children born in Renhold, two of whom and younger brothers of the Rev. Walter Haynes, emigrated to America. The brothers were Richard, baptised on 18th November 1621 and William, baptised on 6th January 1624. They were aged respectively 12 and 10, and sailed on the “Griffin” arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, on 14th September 1634. On arrival they went to live with the Ingersoll family from Sandy, Bedfordshire, who had emigrated in 1629 and whom the boys and their family must have known in England; the family settled in Haverhill, Massachusetts. William married Sarah Ingersoll in 1644. The descendants of William and Sarah Haynes had incredible adventures with Indians in their early days in America and branches of the family are still there in Canada and the USA. Rev. Walter Haynes sadly died at the early age of 30 and was buried in Renhold churchyard on 28th April 1638.
Nathaniel Hill (1638-1644) was baptised at Tingrith, Bedfordshire on 1st December 1605. He was the son of Humphrey Hill, Vicar of Tingrith. He was admitted to Pembroke College Oxford on 16th December 1625 aged 18 graduating BA in 1627/28 and MA in 1630 and MA from Cambridge in 1631, signing then as Minister of Husborne Crawley, Bedfordshire. In 1638, he became Rector of Bergh Apton, Norfolk and, probably in plurality, Vicar of Renhold. He went to join the Royalist army during the Civil War, which led to him being sequestered by the Bedfordshire Committee for Sequestrations in December 1644, i.e. removed from office for absence in the Royal Army. According to Joyce Godber, Bedford Historian, the wives and families of those clergy who sided with the King and were ejected suffered hardship - they were often allowed one fifth of the income of the living.
The proceedings of the Bedfordshire Committee for Sequestrations on 1st July 1646
“the Committee, being satisfied that the Goodes of Nathaniel Hill clerke a delinquent mentioned in an Inventary produced to this Committee were really made over to Thomas Fuller, for security for ten poundes lent by him to the said Mr. Hill, which was never repayd to the said Fuller, do order that the said Goods shall be left Free for the said Fuller to seize upon according to his clayme”
Nathaniel left the country around 1648 to attend the University of Padua, Italy and from 1650 to 1654 he was Chaplain to the Levant Company at Aleppo. In 1657 he returned to England and was “admitted to the Rectorship” of Fordwich until 1663 and he died in 1664.
Godfrey Barton (1644-1660) became Vicar of Renhold on 12th October 1644 and the Diocese of Lincoln records that the “Original certificate that Mr G Barton of Reynold had taken the Solemn league and Covenant” 15th January 1644.
Richard Bedcot or Bedcott (1660-1664) was born about 1625, the son of John Bedcot, Farmer. He was admitted to Sydney College, Cambridge on 10th November 1641 aged 16 and matriculated in the same year, graduated BA in 1645/46 and MA in 1649. He was ordained Deacon at Lincoln on 23rd May, becoming a priest on 27th May 1661.
He was installed as Vicar of Renhold in 1660 on the Restoration of King Charles II. He was evidently from a well-connected family - the Victoria County History tells us that he was presented to the living of Goldington by William Bedcott in 1663 and he was Vicar of that church from 1665-1675. His children Gideon (17th October 1660) and Sarah (named after her mother on 25th March 1663) were baptised in Renhold church; little Sarah was buried, alas, on 19th July in the same year.
Matthew Cocke (1664-1667) became Vicar of Renhold on 20th October 1664. The Patron was William Becher of Howbury Hall, Renhold.
John Ombler (1667-1672) was from Yorkshire and was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1660, matriculating in 1661 and graduated BA in 1664/65. He became MA in 1668 and BD in 1676. He was a Fellow from 1667-1680. He was ordained Deacon at York in 1667, Priest in Lincoln on 22nd July 1688 and “signed” as Minister of Renhold, Bedfordshire in 1667.
Nathaniel Spalding (1672-1673) was born about 1642 and admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1660 , matriculating in 1661 and graduating BA in 1667/67 and MA 1670. He was ordained Priest at Ely on 24th September 1670 and became Curate of Ravensden in 1671. The Lincoln Diocesan records state that he became Vicar of Renhold in 1672
Gilbert Reynolds (1673 -1678) was of St Neots, Huntingdonshire and he was admitted to Clare College, Cambridge on 16th January 1667/68 graduating BA in 1671/72. He was ordained Deacon at Peterborough on 22nd December 1672. He became vicar of Renhold in 1673 obtaining MA in 1675 and became Priest on 21st May 1676. He was buried in Renhold Churchyard on 31st July 1678
Vacant (1678-1710) the Patron in 1710 was Queen Anne by lapse
Matthew Jones (1710–1713) was admitted to Clare College, Cambridge on 19th September 1686 graduating BA in 1690. He was ordained Priest at Lincoln Cathedral on 24th September 1693 and became Curate of Yelden, Bedfordshire. On 19th September 1710 he became Vicar of Renhold. This was in plurality with Willington from 1698 until 1712/13 when he died and was buried at Willington on 20th March 1712/13.
Benjamin Holloway (1713-26) was born about 1691, the son of Joseph Holloway, Brasiator (Maltster) of Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. He attended Westminster School in London and was admitted Pensioner at St John’s College, Cambridge on 4th February 1707/08 under Dr Anstey; he matriculated in the same year and graduated LL.B in 1713 and was ordained Deacon at Lincoln Cathedral on 5th July 1713. He was ordained Priest at Lincoln on 27th May 1716. From 21st September 1713 to 1725 he was Vicar of Renhold and Willington, Bedfordshire, in plurality. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1723 on the recommendation of Sir Hans Sloane. In 1726 he became Vicar of Waddesdon, Bucks until 1736; however, in 1730 he was presented by Reynolds, Bishop of London, to the Rectory of Middleton-Stoney, Oxfordshire until 1759 and Bladon, Buckinghamshire, in plurality from 26th March 1736 to 1739, when he was able to hand Bladon over to his son, Benjamin. Towards the close of 1744, Benjamin was acting as Tutor to the future Earl Spencer at the house of his father, the Honourable John Spencer.
He died on 10th April 1759 and was buried at Middleton-Stoney on 13th April. He was an author of many sermons and translations.
Michael Arnold (1725-1742) was born c.1697 in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, the son of Thomas Arnald, Gentleman. He attended Oakham School and was admitted to St John's College, Cambridge on 5th July 1715. He matriculated 1715/16 and graduated BA 1718/19. He was ordained Deacon at Lincoln on 20th December 1719 and Priest on 24th December 1721. He was Vicar of Clapham, Bedfordshire form 1725 to 28 and became Vicar of Renhold on 29 April 1725. The patron was William Becher of Howbury Hall, Renhold. He was also Vicar of St Peter Martin, Bedford from 1727. During his incumbency in Renhold there is an echo of the modern fashion of being married in a picturesque rural church away from home. In January 1730 Maurice Cooper of Eynesbury married Sarah Emery of Eaton Socon, and in October of the following year Edward Bourne, the Vicar of Thurleigh, married Sarah Willis of the parish of St John, Bedford. Michael died in 1742.
Robert Phipp (1742-1743 and 1744 -1782) was born at Buntingford, Hertfordshire and attended Buntingford School under Mr Sherson. On 29th November 1729 he was admitted to Christ’s College, Cambridge graduating BA in 1733/34 and MA in 1737. He was ordained Deacon at Lincoln Cathedral on 5th June 1737 and Priest on 23rd September 1739. After ordination he was Chaplain to Marchioness Gray. He became Vicar of Renhold on 3rd November 1742, William Becher was Patron, and Rector. In 1743 he ceded his position as Vicar of Renhold having become Vicar of Roxton, Cambridgeshire but had a dispensation from Lambeth on 7th May 1744 to hold it again with Croxton. He died on 26th October 1782.
David Williams (1783-1787) became Vicar of Renhold on 29th January 1783. The Patron was Nathaniel Polhill, an infant, with approbation of Benjamin Way and Robert Maitland, Esquires, devisees in trust under the will of Nathaniel’s grandfather. David was LL.B and left the Parish in 1787.
Thomas Bull (1787-1797) was born about 1761, the son of William Bull of Carlton, Bedfordshire. He matriculated to St Edmund's College, Cambridge on 28th November 1781 and graduating BA in 1785. He became Vicar of Renhold on 22nd December 1787 and the Patron was Nathaniel Polhill Esq of London. He was married to Ann. Their daughter Mary Ann was baptised on 16th April 1792 and we are told in the Register that she was born on 2nd February. Her brother George was baptised on 25th September and buried on 1st October 1795; he, together with three brothers, is commemorated in a memorial tablet on the east wall of the vestry(plots Y25-Y29), now sadly weathered. So far as can be read, the inscription is:
Near this place lie the bodies of
WILLIAM, THOMAS & GEORGE, Sons
of the Rev. THOM BULL & ANN his wife
who all died in their Infancy
William July 7th 1795 Thom July 7th [illegible]
George Sept 2[ ] 1795
[several lines are illegible]
WILLIAM HENRY BULL
died June 11th 1813
Aged 12 years
There is but a step between
me and death
2 Sam 20, 3
John Elard (1797-1798) was born about 1757. He became Vicar of Renhold on 18th January 1797, the Patron being Nathaniel Polhill, Esquire with advice of Robert Maitland and Benjamin Way, Esquires, his guardians. He had a brief tenure as Vicar; he died on 18th January 1798 and was buried in the churchyard on 22nd January 1798. He was 41. The memorial to him can be seen in the Churchyard outside the Vestry window (plot X22). It is touchingly fulsome:
He was a Character of
Intrinsic and quiet Excellence
As a Son eminently filial
As a friend sincere
Courteous without the forms of
Politeness, pious without
Affectation and cheerfully
resigned under long sickness.
He adorned the everlasting Gospel
of Jesus Christ whom he invariably
preached and in whom alone he
trusted for Salvation and Glory.
Behold an Israelite indeed
in whom is no guile.
Abraham John Crespin (1798-1850) was baptised on 9th September 1771 in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, the son of John and Barbara Crespin. He attended Huntingdon School under Mr Edwards and was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge on 4th July 1788 aged 17. He matriculated in 1788 and was a Scholar in 1792 , graduating BA in 1793. He was ordained Deacon at Ely on 27th October 1793 and became Curate of Carlton, Cambridgeshire in that year. On 1st May 1798 he was appointed Vicar of Renhold and the Patron was Nathaniel Polhill, with advice of John Maitland, his guardian. In addition to being Vicar of Renhold, he was, in plurality Vicar of Ravensden from 1817. Ravensden is a small village about one mile west of Renhold.
In a letter dated 22nd May 1830 Philip Hunt, Vicar of St.Peter Martin, Bedford amongst other posts, to John Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln: Mr Crespin was also the chaplain of this House of Industry when I came to reside at Bedford, and during his chaplainship, there was Divine Service on Sunday Evenings, and also on Wednesdays or Thursdays, on which latter days some of the neighbouring clergymen, who were usually denominated 'Evangelical', frequently assisted him; and it was generally understood that not only the inmates of the House, but many of the middle and some of the upper classes of Society in the town and immediate neighbourhood attended those congregations, and not only members of our own Church, but Moravians, Dissenters, and Methodists.
On Mr Crespin's resignation of the chaplainship. Mr Mathews, curate of Colmworth and Bolnhurst,(in north Bedfordshire) succeeded him.
He married Mary Cumming, a widow of Great Barford, on 31st March 1807 at All Saints, Renhold. Like his predecessor George Herbert, he and his wife shared their wedding day with another couple. Mary Cumming was a native of Renhold who had married Robert Cumming of Great Barford, himself a widower, in Renhold church in 1784. An interesting entry on 20th September of the same year has John Exton North, a widower from Grantham, marrying Elizabeth Cumming, “a minor, with her parent and guardian’s consent”. We can trace a story through the parish registers - Ann, wife of Robert Cumming, farmer, buried 23rd June 1783 at Great Barford; Robert marrying Mary Newman at Renhold on 7th November 1784 – members of the Newman family are buried by the path leading to the porch; Elizabeth baptised on 5th February 1788 at Great Barford, and eventually Robert Cumming buried there on 26th March 1801. Finally on 3rd July 1809 John and Elizabeth’s first child “was received into the church, having been privately baptised at Grantham”. Plainly Elizabeth thought highly of her stepfather, for she called her daughter Mary Crespin North.
Abraham Crespin was buried on 30th December 1850 next to his wife near the vestry window (plot X24). His tombstone describes him as a “diligent and affectionate Vicar who lived the truths he preached” and states that he died suddenly on Christmas Day 1850, aged 79. Mary lies alongside him (plot X23), having died aged 70 on January 3rd 1832 and buried on 7th January. Abraham remarried to a Mary Nash at St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford on 28th November 1834.
Abraham Crespin was Vicar of Renhold and Ravensden until his death in Renhold.
William Conyngham Ussher or Usher (1851-1859) was born about 1803 in Dublin, Ireland. He served as Vicar in the following Parishes: Marton near Skipton from 1844 to 1845; Tunstall, Lancashire from 1846 to 1847; St George’s, Sheffield from 1848 to 1850 and Branfield, Derbyshire from 1850 to 1851. On 30th May 1851 he became Vicar of Renhold; the Patron was Joseph Margetts Pierson Esq of Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In the 1851 Census he had four sons– William 11, Henry 10, James 7 and John 7 months. His wife Lucy was 34 in 1851. He died on 4th August 1859 after a few hours illness and was buried in the churchyard. His memorial in the Churchyard, under the tree near the path leading to the old Priest’s Gate to the south-east of the church (plot V16), is distinctive, with a cross in a roundel at the top. The inscription reads:
Thy will be done
WILLIAM CONYNGHAM USSHER
VICAR OF RENHOLD
WHO DIED IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST
AUGUST 4TH 1859
AGED 56 YEARS
SORROW NOT EVEN AS OTHERS WHO HAVE
NO HOPE FOR THEM WHICH SLEEP IN
JESUS WILL GOD BRING WITH HIM
He was a direct descendant of Archbishop Ussher, the Primate of Ireland, who in the 17th century had confidently announced that Creation had taken place “upon the entrance of the night preceding the 23rd day of October” in 4004 B.C.
Leigh Spencer (1859-1885) was christened in Banstead, Surrey on 28th June 1817, the son of Richard Leigh & Ann Spencer; Richard was a Solicitor. He was admitted to Christ’s College, Cambridge on 2nd July 1835 and matriculated in the same year graduating BA in 1839 and MA in 1845. He was ordained Deacon at Hereford in 1840 and Priest in 1841. He became Curate of Wollaston, Shropshire, 1842-1843; Carlton with Chellington, Bedfordshire, 1844-1846; Long Marston, Hertfordshire, 1847-1850; Harpenden, Hertfordshire, 1850-52; and Little Linford, Buckinghamshire, 1852-59. He became Vicar of Renhold 25th November 1859 and the Patron was Charles Polhill Turner of Howbury Hall, Renhold. He married Philadelphia Rosa, born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and had two sons, Gerald Leigh, born 19th September 1854, who attended Jesus College Cambridge and became a schoolmaster and priest, dying in 1919; Lowther, who attended Lancing College and Magdalene College, Cambridge, but died of Scarlet Fever on 23rd May 1875 at Cambridge. They also had two daughters: Rosa Leigh Spencer, born in Harpenden c.1861 and Maude Leigh Spencer, born in Renhold in 1858.
Leigh died on 10th December 1885, aged 69 and is buried together with members of his family by the path he would have walked from the old Vicarage, which was opposite their church (plot R14). The Churchyard confirms that his son Lowther Leigh Spencer attended his father’s old university - dying in 1875 aged only 21, and is described as “scholar of Magdalen College”.
Leigh Spencer contributed from his own money to the thorough restoration of the church in the early 1860s. He was described by the Bedfordshire Mercury in 1891 as having been “a much respected Rural Dean”. His daughter Rosa Leigh-Spencer donated the lectern in the church in memory of her father in 1887.
Horace Rudkin (1886-1896) attended St Bees in 1879 and University College, Durham, in 1881 where he was ordained Deacon and Priest at the Cathedral in 1883. He was Curate of Eighton Banks, Co Durham from 1881 to 1883, Alnwick 1883 to 1886 and Vicar of Renhold in March 1886. He was described as “a most genial and kind-hearted clergyman” and continued the work of restoration and improvement undertaken by Leigh Spencer. He was responsible for the first lighting of the church (with pendant oil lamps) and what was described in 1891 as a “nice little organ” erected beneath the tower. The largest project undertaken was the restoration of the church bells in 1891; the bells had become out of tune and one of them was cracked. They were re-tuned and the cracked bell re-cast, and the bells were dedicated at a special service on 30th January 1891 - at which the ringers were so enthusiastic that they began ringing a peal without waiting for the service to end!
Charles Henry Piggott (1896-1898) from 1886 he attended Dorchester Missionary College and was ordained Deacon in 1888 and Priest in 1889. He became Curate of Tintern Parva from 1888 to 1889 and Perpetual Curate of Chapel Hill, Monmouthshire from 1889 to 1893. He then became Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, Frome, Selwood from 1893 to 1894, Paull with Thorngumbald, Yorkshire from 1894 to 1896. In March 1896 he became Vicar of Renhold until 1898 when he became Rector of Claremont, Australia until 1899. From 1900 to 1904 he was Curate of Thorpe Malsor; from 1904 to 1913 Cransley and from 1912 to 1915 of Padstow. In 1915 he became Rector of Hurstpierpoint, in the Diocese of Chichester.
Charles Edward Meadows (1898-1907) was from Norfolk, born about 1863. He was admitted Pensioner at Corpus Christ College, Cambridge on 1st October 1881 and matriculated Michaelmas 1881. He graduated BA in 1885 and MA in 1893. He was ordained Deacon in Rochdale in 1886 and Priest in 1888. He became Curate of All Saints, Lambeth from 1886 to 1889; Curate of St Matthew’s, Redhill from 1890 to 1893, Curate of Iver, Bucks, from 1894 to 1897 and Curate of St Paul’s, Dorking from 1897 to 1898. In June 1898 he became Vicar of Renhold until 1907. He was then Vicar of Emneth, Norfolk from 1907 to 1909; Vicar of Shefford, Bedfordshire from 1909 to 1913; Rector of Steppingley, Bedfordshire from 1913 to 1922; Vicar of Felmersham, Bedfordshire from 1922 to 1930 and Public Preacher in the Diocese of St Albans from 1930 to 1943, in which year he died aged 80 on 28th June. He was buried at St Andrew’s, Northampton.
Edward Ernest Nickisson (1908-1916) attended London University College of Divinity starting in 1893. He was ordained Deacon in 1893 and Priest in 1896 in London. He became Curate of St Andrew’s Hoxton from 1895 to 1896; Holy Trinity, Margate, from 1896 to 1901; Minister in Sheppey from 1901 to 1903 and St Matthew, Luton, Bedfordshire from 1903 to 1908. In June 1908 he became Vicar of Renhold and went on to become Vicar of Stagsden, Bedfordshire from 1916 until his death in 1932.
William Charnock Proctor (1917-1919) was ordained Deacon in 1906 and Priest in 1909. He became Curate of Hoylake from 1906 to 1909 and Association Secretary of the Church of England Pastoral Aid Society from 1909 to 1914. From 1914 to 1917 he was Vicar of Fisherton. In February 1917 he became Vicar of Renhold until 1919, when he left to become Organising Secretary of the Advent Testimony Movement until 1923, when he retired.
Frank William Breed (1919-1942) was educated at the Church Missionary College, Islington passing 1st Class in the Preliminary Theological Examination and was ordained Deacon in 1891 in London for work in the Colonies. He worked for the Church Missionary Society in Palamcottah, India from 1891 to 1895 having been ordained Priest in Madras in 1894. From 1895 to 1897 he was Priest for Tinavelly & Madura and then a short period in 1899 for Palamcottah. From 1899 to 1900 he was on furlough and then returned to India to work in Sachiapuram from 1900 to 1906, Palamcottah again from 1906 to 1907. From 1907 to 1909 he attended Durham University in England and graduated BA in 1909.
Philip Embury Curtis (1942-1947) was made Deacon in 1917 and Priest in 1918 in Lucknow, India. He was with the Church Missionary Society from 1917 to 1920 at Benares, India; Sikandra from 1921 to 1929; Mussoorie in 1929; Sikandra again from 1929 to 1931 and Hithras 1931 to 1935. He was then permitted, under the Colonial Class Act of 1835, to join the Clerical Deputation from 1936 to 1942 to the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society. He became Vicar of Renhold from September 1942 until 1947. He was then permitted to officiate in the Diocese of Chichester from 1949 until his death in the early 1950’s.
Robert John Thompson (1947-1954) attended St Aidan’s College and became Deacon in 1942 and ordained Priest in 1943 in Liverpool Cathedral. He was Curate of St Catherine’s, Wigan, Lancashire, from 1942 to 1945, Curate of St John the Evangelist, Everton, Lancashire, from 1945 to 1947. In November 1947 he became Vicar of Renhold until 1954 when he returned to Lancashire – Widnes in the Diocese of Liverpool.
Lewis William Kemmis (1954-1969) was born in Wicklow, Ireland 1898 and descended from a very distinguished family - the House of Cameys of the Manor of Cemeis - which came over to England with the Norman Conquest and was rewarded with large tracts of land on the Welsh border in Monmouthshire. Over the centuries, branches of the family acquired houses, land and castles in Ireland, Wales, Gloucestershire and in East Anglia. Lewis was educated at Clifton College and the Military College, Sandhurst in 1916. He later served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Regiments and as a Captain in the Indian Army. He retired from the Army in 1922, having served in Palestine during the years 1917 and 1918. In 1945, having attended Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, he was ordained Deacon. He was ordained Priest in 1946 in Rochester and was Curate of St John the Evangelist, Penge from 1945 to 1947. He was Rector of Beeston next Mileham, Norfolk, from 1947 to 1954 and became Vicar of Renhold from 1954 to 1969. He retired from Renhold to live in Oakley, Bedfordshire, but was an active member of St Peter's Church, Bedford. He died on 14th January 1972 and after a Funeral Service at St Peter's on 21st January, he was buried, aged 73 in Renhold Churchyard. His wife, Winifred Eva, née Harlow, died on 26th June 1975 aged 81 and was buried with her husband (plot X27).
Albert Henry Harland (1969-1980) was born in 1917 and was a Spitfire pilot in the Second World War. He attended Oak Hill Theological College in 1957 being ordained Deacon in 1959 and Priest in 1961. SAMS 1959-1960 and Curate of Holy Trinity Church, Jesmond, Newcastle, from 1961 to 1963. He was Priest in Charge of Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire from 1963 to 1968 and Vicar of Renhold from 1969 to 1980. He retired to live in Bedford in 1980 and was permitted to officiate in St Alban’s Diocese from that year. He died in 2002.
The Venerable Kenneth Mervyn Lancelot Hadfield Banting (1980-1982) was born in 1937 and known as Mervyn. He went to Pemboke College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1961 and MA in 1965. He attended Cuddesdon College in 1964, was ordained Deacon in 1965 and Priest in 1966. He was Assistant Chaplain at Winchester College from 1965 to 1970 and Curate at Leigh Park, Portsmouth from 1970 to 1972. In 1973 he became Team Vicar of Hemel Hempstead and from 1979 to 1988 was Vicar of Goldington, Bedford. While Vicar of Goldington, Mervyn was Priest in Charge of Renhold from 1980 to 1982 and Rural Dean of Bedford from 1984 to 1987. While in Charge of Renhold, Robert Branson, his Curate, looked after All Saints from 1980 - 1982. From 1988 to 1996, he was Honorary Canon of St Cuthbert’s, Portsmouth and Rural Dean of Portsmouth from 1995 to 1996. In 1996 he became Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight.
Robert David Branson (1980-1982) was born in 1946 and attended Lincoln Theological College in 1974. He was ordained Deacon in 1977 and Priest in 1978. He was Curate of The Church of the Transfiguration, Kempston, Bedfordshire from 1977 to 1980 and while Curate of Goldington from 1980 to 1982 officiated at All Saints, Renhold. From 1982 to 1991 he was Vicar of Marsh Farm, Luton, Bedfordshire and from 1991 Vicar of Aylsham, Norwich, Norfolk. In 1999 he also became Chaplain to Norwich Community Health Partnership NHS Trust.
David Lawrence Gamble (1982-1990) was born in 1934, the son of Frank and Alice Gamble. He was educated at South West Essex Technical College in Walthamstow. From 1950 to 1952 he worked for F. W. Berk, the Chemical Company. David was then called up for National Service and spent two years in Northern Germany with the Royal Artillery. In 1954 he rejoined F. W. Berk until 1958, when he went to Kings College, London obtaining AKC (Associate of Kings College) in 1961. He was ordained Deacon in 1961 and Priest in 1963. From 1962 to 1965 he was Curate in Charge of All Saints, Shrub End, Chelmsford, Essex, and, from 1965 to 1969, Curate in the Parish of St James, All Saints, St Nicholas and St Runwald, Chelmsford. From 1969 to 1973 he was Vicar of St Andrews, Chelmsford and Priest in Charge of Hatfield Heath from 1974 to 1977. In 1977 he became Team Vicar of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, until 1982. In that year he became Priest in Charge of Renhold and Chaplain of Her Majesty’s Prison, Bedford. In 1990 he moved to be Priest in Charge of Petersham in Southwark Diocese and Chaplain of Her Majesty’s Prison, Latchmere House. He moved to become Priest in Charge of St George’s, Portsea, Portsmouth in 1996 and in 1999 he officially retired to became Assistant Priest with special responsibilities for St James’s, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight.
Paul Edward Wilson (1990-1992) was born in 1943 and attended Radley College, Cambridge in 1981. He was ordained deacon in 1983 and Priest in 1984. He became Curate of Shorwell with Kingston from 1983 to 1986 and Team Vicar of Tring, Hertfordshire from 1986 to 1990. In 1990 he became Priest in Charge of Renhold and Chaplain to Her Majesty’s Prison, Bedford. In 1991 he moved to become Vicar of Buckfastleigh with Dean Prior, Devon, which he left in 1996 to become Priest in Charge of Stockland, Dalwood, Kilmington and Shute, Devon.
Alan Ralph Oakden Morris (1992-1993) was born in 1929 and attended Rochdale Theological College in 1959. He was ordained Deacon in 1961 and Priest in 1963. He became Curate of St Peter with St Margaret, Rochdale from 1962 to 1966 and Wrotham from 1966 to 1974. From 1974 to 1982 he was Vicar of Biggin Hill and, from 1982 to 1988, Rector of Kingsdown, and from 1988 to 1992 Vicar of St Peter, Seal. In 1992 he retired but became Priest in Charge of Renhold but on the death of his wife in late 1992 he retired completely and returned to Kent, permitted to officiate in the Diocese of Rochester from 1993.
Lawrence Ronald McDonald (1993 to 1999) was born in 1932 and after a career with British Telecom he entered the St Albans Ministerial Training Scheme in 1984. In 1987 he was ordained Deacon and Priest in 1988. He became a Non Stipendiary Minister for Sharnbrook and Knotting with Souldrop, Bedfordshire from 1987 to 1990. From 1990 to 1993 he was Curate of Bromham with Oakley and Stagsden, Bedfordshire In 1993 he became Priest in Charge of Renhold and retired in 1999. He was a most popular priest liked by all the congregation. He then became Honorary Curate of Stevington, Bedfordshire. He retired from Stevington in July 2002 to live in his house in Sharnbrook a few miles out of Bedford.
Clifford David Bradley (1999 to 2006) was born in Liverpool in 1936, the son of Robert and Annetta Bradley. He was educated at Alsop High School, Liverpool and attended Bedford and Birkbeck College, London University graduating BA in 1960. In that year he went to St Aidan’s Theological College in Birkenhead and was ordained Deacon in 1962 and Priest by the Bishop of Liverpool on Sunday 22nd September 1963 at Liverpool Cathedral. From 1962 to 1965 he was Curate of All Saints, Stoneycroft, Liverpool; from 1965 to 1968, Curate of Chipping Sodbury and Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire; from 1968 to 1970 he was in British Honduras as Rector of Pomona and Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Honduras. On returning to England, he became Curate of St Philip & St James, Leckhampton, Gloucestershire. He was Vicar of Badgeworth with Shurdington from 1971 to 1979. He became Diocesan Missioner in the Diocese of Sodor & Man from 1979 to 1984, holding the office of Vicar of Santan and Vicar of Braddan; He was also the Bishop’s Domestic Chaplain of Sodor & man, from 1981 to 1984. He became Vicar of Stroud and Uplands with Slad, Gloucestershire, from 1984-1989; Curate of Shepshed, Leicestershire from 1990-1992 and Rector of Leire with Ashby Parva and Dunton Bassett from 1992 to 1999. In 1999, he became Priest in Charge of Renhold and was a most respected and loved priest who cared about everybody in the village. He retired in 2006 to live in Clapham just outside Bedford and attends St Paul's Church in the centre of Bedford where he takes and assists with many services.
Sarah A Burrow (2007 - )
The use of the titles Dominus or Magister from the 13th to the 16th Centuries were titles of respect and not formal titles
Crockfords - various dates
Papers from the Diocese of Lincoln
Papers in Bedfordshire County Record Office
Beds Times - various dates
Gentlemans Magazine - various dates