The Vicarage.

I have already remarked that the consecration of tithes to religious houses was not uncommon in England even before the Conquest. Thus a Dane gave the tithes of his demesne of Henreth to the abbey of Abingdon. The practice became more common after that event, inasmuch as convents rose in great abundance during the reigns of the four kings who in succession followed the Conqueror. The monasteries received, under the name of appropriations, from patrons both episcopal and lay, entire parishes; that is to say, the entire temporal endowments, together with the charge of all spiritual ministrations. As early as a.d. 1082 we find Carileph, Bishop of Durham, appropriating to his convent of that city in his foundation charter the churches of Elvet, Aycliff, Heselden, Dalton, Howden, Brantingham, and others. It is probable that for a time the religious would send first one and then another of their body to discharge the spiritual duties of their appropriated parishes; but the inconveniences of such an arrangement would soon suggest the obvious remedy of fixing a presbyter permanently in the parish, with a manse and endowment and perpetual succession. Thomas, Archbishop of York, the contemporary of Carileph, instructed the convent of Durham to place vicars in their churches, who should be responsible to him (so far as they were in his diocese) for the cure of souls, and to themselves for the temporalties.

The earliest existing endowment of the vicarage of Blyth bears date in 1287. In this instrument the vicar is called perpetual. He is, inter alia, to have a manse, as his predecessors have had, and reference is made to some previous "ordination." From all which circumstances we may conclude that a perpetual vicar had been in charge of the parish long before the date just mentioned. The document is important, and therefore I will give it at full length:—

"In the name of God. Amen. Whereas for some time a difference has arisen between the religious the prior and convent of Blyth of the one part and William perpetual vicar in the church of Blyth of the other, respecting certain tithes of sheaves of a place called Bettecroft in the town of Blyth, and of two cultures of the manor of Hodesake, of a place called Hyldirtrewongs and le Conyngher, of which three places the tithes are computed one year with another at sixteen shillings; and respecting the tithe-hay of a close called the Stubyngs, in the said manor, which is valued at two shillings; and respecting the tithe of wool and lambs of a certain place called Northenaye, which is on the north side of the bridge and water of Blyth, on the ground that the said place is not part of the town of Blyth, as the prior and convent allege, the vicar affirming the contrary, the tithes of which are valued at twenty-four shillings;—the dispute has at last, through the mediation of friends, been settled as follows, namely, that the said vicar, for himself and his successors, vicars in the aforesaid church, preferring the quiet of peace to the tortuous ways of contention, expressly consents and grants that from henceforth the prior and convent shall have, receive, and enjoy peaceably for ever the aforesaid tithes as their right and property, appendant to their rectory of Blyth; and the P. and C. for themselves and their successors have granted to the said vicar and his successors that he and his chaplain for the time being shall at twenty-four festivals in the year bo robed with the convent in the choir at mass as the festival shall require, and shall on those days have honest refection with the P. and C. They further grant to the vicar and his successors one quarter of maslin yearly at the feast of St. Michael, and pasture for four cows in the places where their own cows are pastured. They further voluntarily and unanimously grant that the said vicarage shall for ever consist in the matters under written, as in an ordination on this point is more fully expressed, namely, in the tithe of hay of the town of Blyth, in the tithe of lambs or money given in lieu thereof, in the tithe of wool or money instead of it, except the tithes of lamb and wool in Northenaye, in oblations made on Sundays with the consecrated bread as well in the town of Blyth as in the chapels adjacent, in all the profits of the chapels of Bawtry and Austerfield except the tithe of grain and the mortuaries, in oblations at funerals, marriages, and churchings throughout the parish. There are excepted also from the vicar's portion the oblations at the five principal feasts, namely, Easter, the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, All Saints, Christmas, and the Purification, as well as those which are offered at the altars of the monks within their rails on the festivals of the saints to whom they are dedicated, and those of missal pence, which are made to the monks out of devotion, saving to the said vicar and his successors the offerings named above. Furthermore, the vicarage is to consist in the bread which is called Maynport through the whole parish, in oblations of wax, and in such as come with children to be baptized and with their chrismals, in the tithes of pigs, chickens, geese, foals, calves, pidgeons, gardens, bees, apples, corn and hay of old inclosures, the places before named specially excepted, in the tithes of merchants and hired servants, of flax and hemp, in cerage (waxshot), in Lent eggs, in albo (that is white silver, an antient personal tithe levied upon the wages of all labourers and artificers, which were supposed to be paid in silver),* in other small tithes and profits, and other offerings throughout the entire parish, except those above specified. The vicar, moreover, and his successors, shall have a manse to dwell in with appurtenances, as the vicars before him have had; and observe, that the vicar for the time being shall serve the church of Blyth by himself or some other fit presbyter, and the two chapels of Bawtry and Austerfield by two other fit presbyters, and shall not be bound to bear any other burthen; and he shall have from the prior yearly, eight days before Easter, a robe worth twenty shillings, or the money, at his choice. For the better observance of the premises both parties have given up all letters past and to come whereby they might defeat the said premises, or any of them, and all redress of man and law, canon as well as civil. The venerable father John, by the grace of God Archbishop of York and Primate of England, at the instance of the parties aforesaid, accepts and approves of this amicable composition, which is to be for ever binding, and which is entered upon two indentures, and has appended his seal with the seals of the parties to the same in witness of the premises, saving in all things the dignity of the church of York. Dated at Scrooby, July 21, a.d. 1287."

Disputes again arose, for in 1346 we have an arbitration between the convent and vicar by the Archbishop of York at Scrooby, who, after calling the parties before him, and carefully examining the deed of 1287, decreed that oblations should stand on the old footing, the five great feasts being understood to last from the vigils before to the eves of the same; that all mortuaries, as well living as dead, should be paid to the vicar, except those of Bawtry and Austerfield; that he should have hay and corn tithe of a certain close called Finchcroft, and of all the closes of the aforesaid parish except as excepted in 1287, as also the tithes of the mills of Bawtry, Austerfield, and Olcotes, and of the underwood of Bawtry and Austerfield, of which he has already been in possession, of pannage (mast), agistment, fishing, and hunting, through the parish, except in the woods and places of the convent. The arbitration is intended as a supplement to the ordination, and is dated January 22, 1346.

Incidentally we gather a few interesting facts from these documents.

1.  Not one word is said about moduses. At a subsequent period exemptions from vicarial tithes, as well upon other places as especially upon the abbey lands, upon a certain district called Great Hodsock consisting of more than two thousand acres, upon the Spital containing more than six hundred acres, and upon Bilby consisting of nearly seven hundred acres, were pleaded on payment of the respective sums of six shillings, nine shillings and four pence, two pounds, and four shillings; and in the case of the three last pronounced valid in law, that is, as old as the time of Richard I. If this had been really true, would not such moduses have appeared upon the face of the deeds of 1287 and 1346? And is not their absence conclusive moral evidence that they were then unknown?

2.  The vicar is entitled to great tithes of all closes, that is old inclosures, throughout the parish, with certain specified exceptions. In point of fact, however, he had, before the commutation of tithes, simply the great tithes of the tofts and crofts adjacent to the outlying villages of the parish, and in Blyth, in addition to such tofts and crofts, of a few fields scattered here and there in the township, chiefly however situate near Blyth Wood, or by the sides of the river between Nornay Bridge and Blyth Mill. The inference is, that at the date of the documents cited above the parish was very nearly all open and uninclosed.

3.  We see that altars in honour of different saints were erected in the church, at which the monks offered mass.

4.  The personal tithes of profits of merchants, servants' wages, and others, have long fallen into disuse.

The vicarage in Pope Nicholas's Taxation is valued at 10l. per annum. The extract from the Nonæ Roll has been already given, so far as it bears upon the rectory and vicarage.

In the Ecclesiastical Survey, taken in pursuance of an Act of Parliament of the 26th Henry VIII. the vicarage stands thus:

Com. Nottingham, Decanatus de Rettford et Laneham.
Blythe vicaria, Robert Cressy vicar there, having a mansion with a tofte and gardeyne stede, of the yerely value of vis. viij d.
A pension paied by the patrone     xx s.
A quarter rye     iij s. iiij d.
Easter booke, communibus annis     vj li. x s.
Pigge and goyse     xx s.
Tiethe hey     xxj s. iiij d.
Hempe and lyne     xx s.
Eggs, co'ibus annis     viij s.
Prevy offerings, communibus annis     xx s.
Half of the tiethe woolle and lambe     xxxv s.
S'ma . xiiij li. ix s. iiij d.
    Xma inde xxviij s. xj d.

A chaplain is mentioned, both in the endowment and in the survey of Richard II. who was permanently endowed by the parishioners for the purpose of assisting the incumbent in his extensive cure. In the survey of chantries for the county of Nottingham, made 37 Henry VIII. and now in the Augmentation Office, it is stated that, "the stipendarie of Blythe is ordeyned by diverse men in consideracion that the parishe is large, and other foundacyon the incumbent hath not, but that he prayethe for all crystian soules and helpethe the vycare to serve there;" that he receives 66s.; that "Sir Thomas Twellys is stipendarie preste there; that the same is no parishe churche, but within the parishe churche of Blithe, wherunto belongithe 400 howseling people (i.e. of age to receive the Holy Sacrament) havinge no more priests but the vicare and this stipendarie priest to mynistre there." Again, the survey of chantries 2 Edward VI. sets forth that "the stipendarye of Blythe, founded by divers of the paryshioners ther to maynteyne a priest to sing masses there for ever, is worth by yere in landes, &c. in the said parish, 75s. 10d.; rents resolut', 5s. 8d.; rents decayed, 8s. 4d.; and so remayneth ycrely unto Thomas Twellys, chauntry prest there, of the age of 56 yeres, and unlerned, having no other promocion, 61s. 10d."

In another and somewhat earlier return than the first, in the General Record Office, made between the 31st and 37th years of Henry VIII. of the names of chaplains of churches and chapels whose stipends are not worth 8l., with their benefices, a clear value, a third part, and a fifth of a third, I find Thomas Lokewod parochial chaplain of Blyth with an income of 4l. 6s. 8d.

The provision and endowment of this additional minister to aid in the duties of an extensive parish reflect the highest honour upon the piety and liberality of its ancient inhabitants. There are attached to the church of Blyth to this day lands the rents of which, amounting to about 20l. a-year, are applied towards the liquidation of the general expenditure of the church. But even if these are a part they certainly are a part only of the landed endowment of the ancient stipendiary of Blyth, which producing as it did an annual rent of nearly 4l. in the time of Edward VI., would in these days be worth from 80l. to 100l. yearly. I fear that this estate was swept away like many others by a rapacious court, under the exceedingly convenient plea that it was a remnant of popery.

Well, and if it were so—if the church of our forefathers had become obscured and overlaid by objectionable tenets and practices, she might have been restored to her fair proportions without sucking her life's blood. To say nothing of the monastic bodies and their possessions, it is incalculable what benefit would have accrued to the Church of England and what strength it would have given her to cope with the spiritual needs of an ever growing population, if the endowments of chantry and stipendiary priests had been left intact and applied in furtherance of strictly parochial ministrations.

I return to the Vicarage. A survey was made Aug. 27, 5th Elizabeth, and runs in these words: "Edward Maude holds in right of the vicarage one tenement called the Vicarage, with a hall, parlour, chambers, kitchen, bakehouse, pantry, and other necessary houses, built of wood and covered with straw, with a barn, a stable, a croft, and a garden adjoining, containing in the whole by estimation half an acre, and lying between the churchyard path on the cast and north, the land called the Abbey land on the south, and the land and river of Blyth on the west. The said Edward holds a tenement in Barnby with a chapel and the chapel yard, an orchard, a garden, and a croft, containing together by estimation three roods, now or late in the occupation of Thomas Barnbye, by the yearly rent to the vicar of twelve shillings. The aforesaid Edward holds two selions of land containing one acre of arable land lying upon Briberhill, between the land of William Pye on the north and the land of William Heynesworth on the south, and abutting upon the road leading to Hodsock Mill towards the east. The before-mentioned Edward holds an acre of land lying at Cunnsdale between the land late of Richard Wright on the north and the land of William Heynesworth on the south, and abutting upon the land of Robert Lowe towards the east, and upon the land of Nicholas Cressie towards the west. And further the said Edward Maude holds as in right of his vicarage all the aforesaid glebe lands of the vicarage aforesaid, and also all small tithes, viz. of hemp, line, ducks, geese, milk, and fruit, with all other small tithes within the whole lordship of Blyth aforesaid, viz. Blyth, Styrrup, Woodhouse, Olcotes, Ranskill, Torworth, Barnby, Little Hodsock, Great Hodsock, Nornay, Bilby Grange, Costrop, Billingley, Houghton More, and Hallfield in the parish of Bolton, and with all other tithes, viz. of sheaves, grain, hay, wool, and lambs, as hereafter appears, viz. tithes of wool and lambs of the inhabitants of the town of Bly'th, all tithes of one piece of land in Ranskill called --------------------containing twenty acres, tithe of sheaves of Finchcroft containing twelve acres, of a close lying at Drawbridge Moor, and of one le Cunnygarth, in the tenure of George Inglishe, of sheaves of one close on the west of the Spital Barn containing six acres, of two closes belonging to le Spyttle near the stone cross containing eighteen acres, of one close near Hodsock Mill, and tithes of sheaves of Pecke Close containing twenty acres, tithes of sheaves of le Waterbutts, of one close at Styrrup in the tenure of Nicholas Hibbard, containing one acre, of one little close near the same, now in the tenure of Dionysius Hughe, all tithes of sheaves of Dyscarre and Costrop, with all tithes of tofts and crofts within the whole lordship aforesaid; and tithes of hay of the meadows and lands after written, viz., Waterbutts meadow, Finchcroft meadow, Briber Hill meadow, Prysting Syks, Bull meadow, Miln meadow, Westcroft Bottoms, Hcllings, and le Mr Shworth Holme yard; and also tithes of woods of Bawtry and Austerfield, with free offerings of the whole parish aforesaid, except the greater offering days and mortuaries of Bawtry and Austerfield, as by the composition of the said vicar more fully appears; and the yearly value is as is asserted. And further the said Edward has the herbage of the churchyard of Blyth aforesaid, which is worth annually, as is asserted, one shilling; and a certain annual stipend of 3l. 7s. 2d. to be paid yearly at the feast of St. Michael the Archangel by the farmer of the rectory."

In 1762 William and Charles Mellish, Esquires, and the Rev. Robert Pritchard, vicar, with the consent of the patrons and ordinary, made an exchange of properties, the former parties giving a messuage and croft adjoining (the present vicarage house and in part croft) and in Long Brechs 2 acres 1 rood, all then valued at 8l. yearly, in lieu of a messuage adjoining the churchyard, which is said to have been pulled down to widen the road of the vicarage yard near the Almry Croft, containing about 3 roods, and of other lands, the yearly value of all of which is stated then to have been 6l. This messuage near the churchyard, it appears from a terrier of 1743, was not the ancient vicarage house, but was given by Mrs. Hiron, the widow of the Rev. William Hiron, vicar 1694-1731, and was very probably inhabited both by her husband and by the vicars who came after him till the time of the exchange of 1762. The original parsonage house, as we learn from the earliest existing terrier of the living, that of 1714, was burnt down about 1650. Such was the fate of the two modest old manses of the vicars of Blyth for more than five centuries, which occupied a secluded and by their immediate proximity to the church a convenient position for their sacred duties, to say nothing of higher and holier advantages. The landed property of the vicar mentioned above was, I believe, most of it exchanged prior to or at the time of the inclosure with the owner of the Blyth estate for glebe more concentrated and nearer the vicarage. The chapel of Barnby, mentioned in the survey of Elizabeth, has long gone to decay. With respect to the small tithes of Billingley, in the parish of Darfield, Houghton More and Hallfield, in the parish of Bolton-on-Dearne, there must have been some mistake. I am not aware that any of my predecessors ever claimed or received such. Probably the error arose from the circumstance of the convent of Blyth having had endowments in these places.

The terriers mention the following compositions:—Every farm-house pays four pence; every cottage two pence halfpenny; every communicant two pence; for every cow that has a calf is paid one penny halfpenny, without a calf a penny; for every foal a penny; for a swarm of bees a penny; for hens at farms four pence, at cottages two pence; for a dove-house two shillings, dove-chamber a shilling, garden two pence. Tithes of pigs, ducks, geese, fruits, turnips, potatoes, hemp, line, rapes, hops, and all other vicarial tithes, are paid throughout the parish, except where the landsere under a modus. Servants pay five pence in the pound for their wages. These minutiæ are curious now, that we know nothing beyond acres and rent-charges standing opposite to them; and they will become more so as we recede further and further from the time when tithes were either taken in kind, or a specific statement given of the articles for which a composition was demanded.

My immediate predecessor filed bills in the Exchequer for three distinct matters connected chiefly with the township of Blyth. 1. Tithes of the abbey lands, which were alleged to be covered by a modus of six shillings; 2. Tithes of tofts and crofts purchased by Edward Mellish, Esq., of Sir William Clifton in the year 1685, and now part of the pleasure-grounds of Blyth Hall, for which a modus of five shillings was pleaded; and, 3. Tithe of milk and agistment tithe of barren cows, for which the compositions above named were pleaded.

1. In 1274 a survey appears to have been made of the Blyth demesnes of the convent. The contents of the different parcels of land and the names of the proprietors or tenants whose grounds lay adjacent to them are given in the Blyth chartulary. The monks then had 78 acres 1 rood beyond the water of Blyth and 29 acres 3 roods on this side of the water—in all 108 acres.

Whether this was all strictly within the township of Blyth, or whether some of it was comprised in the townships of Hodsock and Styrrup, is uncertain.

In filing his bill the vicar admitted, agreeably to the survey of Henry VIII., that there were formerly 169 acres of abbey land covered by a modus, but pleaded that the defendants did not by any evidence make out their farms to be parts of those lands, but on the contrary that such farms contained altogether 270 acres of alleged abbey land, which shewed an attempt on their part to extend the quantity. A decree was given for the vicar, on the ground that no description and no boundaries had been put in evidence, but without prejudice to the defendants, "in case a further and more laborious enquiry should enable them to comply with the conditions required of defendants relying upon a defence of this kind." Some little time after my succeeding to the living, the late Henry Walker, Esq., at that time owner of the Blyth estate and as a part thereof of the abbey lands in question, informed me that additional evidence had been discovered tending to identify these lands; and in consequence, as I was anxious to avoid litigation, and my predecessor had admitted that there were 169 acres belonging to the convent covered by modus, I consented at the period of the tithe commutation in 1838 to release this amount from render of vicarial tithes on payment of the old modus, and to receive an adequate rent-charge for the remaining 101 acres. Adhering to the old designation for the sake of simplicity, I have to add that in Blyth the abbey land is computed in the tithe apportionment at 228 acres 9 perches, paying a rent-charge to the vicar of 13l. 10s. 10d. and free from all other rent-charges. The rest of this land is in Hodsock and Styrrup.

2.   With respect to the Clifton Tofts and Crofts, a decree was also given for the vicar on the same grounds. Indeed the plea of modus was abandoned in the argument.

3.   The parochial moduses in lieu of tithes of milk and of agistment of barren cows were confirmed.

The messuage adjoining the churchyard, of which mention has been made as having been given to the vicarage by Mrs. Hiron, is stated in the terrier of 1743 to have been so given with a view of obtaining a grant from Queen Anne's Bounty in augmentation of the living—of so little value was the vicarage of Blyth in the former part of last century. Two grants were made by the Bounty Office, one in 1734, the other in 1742. With the first a public house in Retford, known by the name of the White Lion, was purchased: with the second a small parcel of land adjoining the same town. These properties, especially the first, which was an old house, and required constant repairs, it was by no means desirable to retain, and they were consequently sold in 1848 and 1849, and the proceeds invested in the public funds for the benefit of the vicarage. The White Lion stood on the site now occupied by the house and premises of Messrs. Liller, builders, between the parish church and the White Hart.

It remained for my able and respected predecessor the Rev. John Rudd, among other good services, to be the re-constructor (if I may be permitted to use the word) of the vicarage of Blyth. On his succeeding to the living in 1813, he caused a careful valuation to be made by the late Mr. Teale of Leeds of the vicarial tithes in every township of the parish, and the compositions subsequently paid both to him and to myself previously to the commutation of tithes were founded upon this document, which was drawn up with great leniency and moderation.

And now the vicar has rent-charges in every township with the exception of Austerfield and Barnby Moor, in which allotments of land in lieu of tithes were given many years ago.

I trust that the general reader will view these minute and personal details with indulgence, on the ground that, although purely local, they cannot be without interest to those who reside in, or are connected by property or family ties with, the parish of Blyth.

One point I must not omit. The vicar of Blyth it appears has the right of hunting through the parish. My noble neighbour, and, if I may be permitted to call him so, friend, the lord of Serlby, now takes my domain as part of his country: and I have no wish to disturb one who is so much and so deservedly respected and beloved in this as indeed in every other field of duty. An amicable and equitable adjustment of our respective claims may easily be effected by his conferring upon me the office of chaplain to the Serlby Hunt, in which situation I shall have the honour of treading, at however humble a distance, in the footsteps of many eminent ecclesiastics of ancient times, among whom ought specially to be recorded the name of the illustrious Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, patriarch of Jerusalem, and King of the Isle of Man, who was passionately fond of the chace, kept excellent horses and hounds, and, if he had lived in these days, would have been a most popular prelate.†

Catalogue of the Vicars of Blyth.

1.   Dominus Robertus, patrons the prior and convent, who presented in all cases, with such exceptions as arc specified, to the Dissolution. He died vicar.

2.   Dominus Willielmus de Flecham, cap. Instituted February, 1256.

3.   Dominus Symondus de Elton, presbyter. Instituted 25 March, 1295.

4.   Dominus Robertus de Burton. Instituted 18 February, 1295-6.

5.   Dominus Gregorius de Neuton, presbyter. Instituted 1 December, 1315.

6.   Dominus Radulphus de Benyngholm. Died vicar.

7.   Dominus Ricardus of Blyth, son of John of Clayworth, clerk; presented by Edward III. then in possession of the priory. Instituted 25 December, 1343, and resigned for the living of Mydelton in the diocese of Lichfield.

8.   Dominus Ricardus de Bekyngham, cap.; same patron. Instituted 8 December, 1348, and resigned for the living of St. Peter the Little, in York.

9.   Dominus Alexander de Newark, presbyter; same patron. Instituted 16 August, 1351.

10.   Dominus Johannes de Cheshunt; same patron. Died vicar.

11.   Dominus Rogerus de Normanby. Instituted December 1378, on the presentation of Richard II., and resigned for the church of Holbeach.

12.  Dominus Ricardus White, presbyter de Tickhill. Instituted 1 July, 1379, on same presentation, and died vicar. He made his will on Sunday, being the feast of St. Alban, June 17, 1393, which was proved 10 July following, desiring to be buried in the chancel of the parish church of Blyth. "For my mortuary (he says) I leave the best animal I have; of wax to be lighted around my corpse 10 pounds: half a marc to le torches of the parish church: to master Robert Beal, Prior of Mathirsay, one bed, namely, covering and quilt, the best I have: to my brother Nicholas a cart, and all the harness belonging to it, and a horse: to John Kelom, clerk, 2s.: to Hugh, son of John Kelom, the best brass pot I have except two: to Richard, son of Walter atte Well, 20s. and one bed, the best I have except one, namely, covering and quilt, two sheets, one mattress, and the best pot: to William, my servant, the best bed save two, that is, covering and quilt, two sheets, and one pot, the best save one: to Richard, son of John Clerk do Misne, two best table cloths and one cauldron: to each of the sons of William Twyer, 12d.: to each of the sons of my brother Nicholas, 12d.: to every chaplain coining to say placebo and dirige for my soul, 4d.: residuary legatees and executors Robert del Strete, chaplain, and William Twyer of Tickhill: to William Carter, 12d."

13.  Dominus Robertus Cumberton, presbyter. Instituted 1393, and resigned for the church of Fairford, in the diocese of London.

14.   Dominus Thomas Thorp, presbyter. Instituted 3 February, 1402, and resigned for the church of Goldsburgh.

15.   Dominus Thomas de Beston, presbyter. Instituted 6 September, 1411, and resigned for the vicarage of Wharrom Percy.

16.   Dominus Alanus de Neville, presbyter. Instituted 9 March, 1416, and resigned for the church of Colmer.

17.   Dominus Thomas Boswell, presbyter. Instituted 6 June, 1418, and held the vicarage till his death. His will runs thus: "In the name of God, amen. In the year of our Lord 1433, the 13th day of the month of August, I, Thomas Bosuyll, vicar of Blyth, make my will after this manner: First, I leave my soul to God, the blessed Mary, and all saints, and my body to be buried in the choir of the church of Blyth, and for my mortuary according to the custom of other vicars in the diocese of York. Also I leave in wax, funeral and other expenses, at the discretion of my executors. Also to Joanna my servant, for her long service, a cow, a bed, a jug and basin, a pot, a dish, a lead, a box and chest. The rest of my goods I give and bequeath to brother John Maunsell, prior of the house of Tickhill, to my own brother, and to master John Shyrlond chaplain, to pay my debts and do for my soul as to them shall seem convenient, with the supervision and aid of master John Cotyngham, prior of Blyth, and master Robert Laghton. Witnesses, Nicholas Peke, Edmund Tailliour, and others. Dated at Blyth the day and year above written."

Prob. 12 February, 1434.

18.   Dominus Petrus Trusbote, presbyter. Instituted 5 February, 1434, and resigned for a chantry in the church of Staynegate (Stonegate), York.

19.   Dominus Johannes Whynton, presbyter. Instituted 9 October, 1435, and resigned.

20.   Dominus Willielmus Faukes, cap. Instituted 6 July, 1437, and died vicar. In his will, bearing date February 4, 1444-5, he desires to be buried in the church of St. Mary Magdalen, Newark. He leaves six pounds of wax to be lighted around his corpse on the day of his interment: to every chaplain officiating then 4d., and to every clerk 1d.: to the fabric fund of Newark church, 6s. 8d.: to the Guild of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary in the same, 6s. 8d.: to thirty chaplains to celebrate for his soul thirty masses de Sancto Spiritu, 2s. 6d.: and to thirty poor persons to say for him the psalm of the blessed Mary, 1d. each. Residuary legatees, Nicholas prior of Blyth, and Robert Alyngton chaplain of the chantry of Newark. The seal of the deanery of Newark, at his special request, is attached. Prob. 22 Ap. 1445.

21.  Dominus Ricardus Kirkby, presbyter. Died vicar. Buried in parish church of Blyth. Leaves by will, dated Friday before Ascension Day, 1461, for a mortuary, 26s. 8d.: three pounds of wax to be lighted around his body on day of his burial and the seventh day after: to the high road between Holme and Blyth, 6s. 8d.: to the high road in Blyth called Abbey Lane, 6s. 8d. Residuary legatees and executors, Anthony Kirkby, chaplain, and John Caddeby: supervisor, William Bavere, of Blyth.

22.   Dominus Johannes Grene, d. gr. Insulensis Episcopus. Instituted to the vicarage 30 May, 1461, and promoted to the Bishopric of Sodor and Man. Between Torr, from whose MS. notes I have taken this catalogue, and Le Neve (Fasti), there is some discrepancy. The latter states that "John Grene occurs as bishop in 1448 and 1454."

23.  Dominus Edmundus Chaderton, presbyter. Instituted 27 April, 1462: resigned.

24.  Frater Robertas Bubbewith, prior of Blyth, and already mentioned in the list of priors. Instituted to the vicarage 25 August, 1462, on presentation of Edward IV.

25.  Dominus Johannes Albarn. Instituted 5 December, 1466. Died vicar June, 1476, and buried on south side of chancel in Blyth Church.

26.  Dominus Johannes Peek, clericus. Instituted 22 October, 1476, and resigned.

27.  Dominus Robertns Smyth, presbyter. Instituted 26 May, 1501, and died vicar.

28.  Dominus Willielmus Hudson, presbyter. Instituted 15 June, 1523, died vicar.

29.  Robertus Cressy, Cl. Decr. B. Instituted 5 June, 1533. On presentation of Henry VIII.

30.  Dominus Egidius Aleph, clericus. Patrons now and henceforth the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. He resigned.

31.  Edward Maude occurs as vicar in 1563.

32.  Edward Shepherd, clerk. Instituted 23 January, 1572. Died vicar and buried at Blyth February 1, 1588.

33.  Charles Ferrand, clerk. Instituted 21 April, 1588, and resigned.

34.  John Chadwyk, clerk. Instituted 28 November, 1588, and died vicar. Buried at Blyth 18 December, 1620.

35.   Samuel Sackvill, clerk, S.T.B. Instituted 10 May, 1621, and resigned.

36.  Samuel Simpson, clerk, M.A. Instituted 19 May, 1622, and died vicar. He was of the family of the Simpsons of Babworth. Buried at Blyth February 26, 1633.

37.  Thomas Vyncent, S.T.B. Instituted 17 April, 1633, and died vicar. Buried at Blyth 28 September, 1633.

38.  William Lyndall, clerk, M.A. Instituted 2 December, 1633, and resigned.

39.  Henry Priest, clerk, M.A. Instituted 19 December, 1634.

40.  Charles Fysher, clerk. He died intestate, and administration was granted to Isabel Fysher, his mother, 5 June, 1668.

41.  John Steele, clerk. Instituted 17 February, 1667, and died vicar. Buried at Blyth January 2, 1675.

42.   Samuel Turner, clerk, B.A. Instituted 1 March, 1675, and died vicar. Buried at Blyth 24 August, 1694.

43.   William Hiron. Instituted 28 January, 1695, and died vicar. Buried at Blyth, March 14, 1731.

44.   Matthew Tomlinson. Instituted 14 May, 1731.

45.   Robert Pritchard. Presented 13 May, 1763. Died September 1, 1812, and buried in the nave of Blyth church September 7.

46.   John Rudd. Presented 6 February, 1813. Mr. Rudd was a member of an ancient family of that name in the county of York, and was lineally descended from John Rudd, whose brother Anthony was Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and consecrated Bishop of St. David's in 1593. Robert the son of John settled in the early part of the seventeenth century in Cumberland, in which county the family appear since that period to have chiefly resided. The subject of this brief notice, John, was the eldest child of John Rudd of Cockermouth, Esq., solicitor, and Jane his wife, youngest daughter of William Thompson of Workington, Esq., and was born at Cockermouth December 23, 1770. After receiving his early education at the free grammar school of that place under Rev. Mr. Gilbank, he was removed to the school of Hawkshead, where he numbered among his schoolfellows William Wordsworth, the poet; Christopher Wordsworth, his brother, Master of Trinity college, Cambridge; and Robert Hodgson Greenwood, Senior Fellow of the same college; between whom with other pupils of the school and himself was thus laid the foundation of a long and valued friendship. Mr. Rudd was admitted a pensioner of Trinity College, Cambridge in October, 1788, and in 1792 graduated as Tenth Wrangler. He was elected Fellow of his college in the following year, and thenceforth appears to have divided his time and residence chiefly between Cambridge and Cockermouth, taking occasionally parochial duty for short periods in the neighbourhood of the latter. On the death of Mr. Pritchard he was, as already stated, presented to the vicarage of Blyth; and in April, 1813, married Elizabeth, the second daughter of Rev. Dr. Ferris, Dean of Battle and Prebendary of Chichester. The late Dowager Duchess of Newcastle and her second husband Sir Charles Crawford were then residing as tenants in Blyth Hall, and so exceedingly anxious were they that the parish should have the immediate advantage of an active and efficient resident clergyman, that they received into their own hospitable mansion the newly-appointed vicar and his bride, who continued for nine months the guests of these amiable and estimable persons, receiving from them the most unvarying kindness and courtesy, and not being permitted to take their departure until the vicarage was ready for their reception.

Between the Duchess of Newcastle and Sir Charles Crawford on the one hand, and Mr. and Mrs. Rudd on the other, a heartfelt feeling of mutual regard and esteem was thus formed, which terminated only with death. Mr. Rudd was at an early period of his incumbency placed upon the commission of the peace for the county of Nottingham and the West riding of York, and on the chairmanship of the quarter sessions at Retford being vacated by the late Colonel Eyre, of Grove, he was unanimously appointed to fill that office, in which as well as in his other magisterial duties no man ever acquitted himself with greater ability and integrity. Such indeed was the eminence which as a magistrate he attained by his rapid and intuitive perception of the merits of cases brought before him, by his scrupulous love of justice, and his patient investigation of truth, that his doors were literally beset from almost morning to night by parties from not merely surrounding, but even from far distant, districts of the county, between whom he ever strove to effect if possible a peaceable reconciliation without resorting to ulterior and more severe measures. In matters affecting the general welfare of the county his opinion was at all times sought by the late excellent Duke of Newcastle then Lord Lieutenant, by the late Dukes of Portland and Norfolk, and other noblemen and gentlemen of the shire, who always reposed confidence in the soundness of his judgment. He had the further privilege of enjoying the favourable regard of his diocesan Dr. Venables Vernon, Archbishop of York, who conferred upon him the mastership of the hospital of St. Mary Magdalene, Bawtry, and a stall at Southwell, in virtue of which he succeeded to the rectory of Waltham, in Lincolnshire. These preferments he held to his death.

As I have already mentioned one or two and shall have occasion in the course of this history to speak of other tithe suits in which my predecessor was engaged, I feel it due to his memory and to truth to guard my readers against any conclusions of an unfavourable character which they might be induced to draw from such circumstances. Mr. Rudd was by no means a litigious person; on the contrary, no man was more anxious in the spirit of the apostolic precept to seek peace and ensue it. When however on a careful survey of his parish he found districts varying from hundreds to thousands of acres covered by moduses, that is in fact, under the name and form of law screened from render to him of what he conscientiously believed to be his just rights—when further a diligent and earnest examination of ancient documents and of living witnesses conspired to demonstrate that these alleged moduses were really nothing better in general than mere modern compositions made between modern and interested proprietors on the one hand and modern vicars on the other, and were utterly inadequate in point of value and amount as equivalents for his vicarial tithes, he felt justified in appealing to the law of the land for the vindication of his rights. That he failed in the accomplishment of his purpose is most true: but he was not the first, neither will he be the last, to fail in substantiating a righteous cause before an earthly tribunal, for reasons which, although perfectly known both to himself and to his surviving friends, will never be brought to full light till the day of the Great Assize.

In all the private relations of life Mr. Rudd was most exemplary; and his memory is and will continue to be held in reverence and respect by all who had the happiness and the opportunity of knowing and appreciating his excellence, whether in the intercourse of private life or in the discharge of his public duties.

He died July 8, 1834, and lies buried in the north aisle of Blyth Church.

47. John Raine. Presented November, 1834.

Requirements of the Parish.

Mention has already been made of an additional minister, ordained and endowed by the ancient proprietors of the parish for the express purpose of assisting the vicar in the duties of his extensive cure. Herein, as in other matters, our ancestors have laid down a sound principle of action for our guidance and imitation, and it will be our wisdom to tread in their steps, rather than be guided by vicious legislation and a parsimonious and lukewarm age, which acting reciprocally upon each other cast on the incumbents of our extensive and populous parishes a large share of the burthen of the erection and maintenance of new churches and additional clergy. In the spirit of such legislation, the vicarage of Blyth has been already denuded of a portion of its ancient endowments, with a view to the construction of the new benefice of Bawtry-cum-Austerfield; and, when the size of the still remaining portion of the parish, the nine shillings' modus upon 2,200 acres of Great Hodsock, as well as other moduses, and the position which the vicar of Blyth is expected, nay required, to occupy in a by no means inexpensive part of the country, are all taken into account, I know not that the process of depletion can be carried any further. Unquestionably it is most desirable that at least two new churches should be built and well endowed in this opulent and intelligent parish, one at Ranskill and another at Barnby Moor. But, bearing in mind these facts: 1. that the vicar of Blyth received ever in times past many personal aids and advantages at the hands of his rectors, the prior and convent, now represented by Trinity College, who derive a revenue of nearly 3,000l. a year from the rectorial tithes of the parish; 2. that an additional presbyter was provided by the landed proprietors to aid in the spiritual ministrations of the parish, on the express ground of its great and extensive territory; 3. that our ancient lords of the soil, the Buillis of Bawtry, the Cressys of Hodsock, the Cossards of Cossardthorp, and the Barnbys of Barnby, all founded and maintained at their own cost chapels of ease, as it were, upon their own demesnes, which they unhesitatingly and ungrudgingly threw open to the use of their dependants and neighbours, I arrive at the conclusion, which I cannot persuade myself has any admixture of unreasonableness, or injustice, or impracticability in it, that upon the proprietors, and upon the owners of the great tithes, rests the duty both of originating and completing measures for the provision of additional religious services in this parish; and writing as I do after an experience of a quarter of a century, and under a calm conviction of the truth of my views, untinged by either prejudice or passion, I feel it my duty to place my opinion upon permanent record, with the full assurance that truth and justice will eventually prevail.

Claus. 1 Edw. III. p. 1, m. 22, in Turr. Lond.; Collect. Matt. Button, MSS. Harl. Mus. Brit. 6970, p. 234; Camden Brit.: Harpsfield Catal. Relig. Ædium, fol'. 762 ; Rolls of Parl. an. 1388; Torre MSS. penes D. et Cap. Ebor.; MS. Donat. Mus. Brit. 6164, fol. p. 393; Rites of Durham, published by Surtees Society in 1842; Hist. Dunelm. Script. Tres, published by Sur. Soc. 1839, p. 64, and Append, pp. 354, 3; Blyth Register, Harl. MSS. 3759, fol. 6 b.; Taxat. Pop. Nich.; Surv. of H. VIII. Edw. VI. and Eliz.; Terriers of Vicarage; Blyth Reg. ff. 18 b, 19; Archiep. Registers of York.

* See Whitaker's Craven, 2nd edit. p. 177.
† Bek was son of Walter Bek, Baron of Eresby in the county of Lincoln, and brother of Thomas Bek, Bishop of St. David's. He took a prominent share in the great events which marked the reign of Edward I. and his palace exhibited all the pomp and splendour and luxury of a court. But he himself was an active, a temperate, and a virtuous man. "Quietis impatiens, vix ultra unum somnum in lecto expectans, dixit ilium non esse hominem qui in lecto de latere in latus se verteret." Grayst. c. 18. This characteristic trait will remind the reader of the great Duke of Wellington. Again, "Ad satietatem vix comedit, castissime vixit, vix mulierum faciem fixis oculis aspiciens; unde in translatione S. Willelmi Eboracensis cum alii Episcopi ossa ejus timerent tangere, remordente eos conscientia de virginitate amissa, iste audacter manus imposuit, et quod negotium poposcerat reverenter egit." Id.