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Vicars of Chrishall and development of the church

by | Mar 30, 2016 | Holy Trinity Church | 11 comments

In the 12th century the church was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

1100: Richard de Bologne.  After the Norman Conquest, Eustace de Bologne was rewarded by King William with gifts of land, one of which was Chrishall.  So it looks like he installed one of his relations as the vicar. Queen Matilda, Eustace’s daughter, married King Stephen and as she was the heiress of the Bologne family she also inherited Chrishall.  That she cared for the village is evident from a letter she wrote to Alius regarding the welfare of her people in Chrystosale. Was Chrishall the home of a small order of Benedictine monks before 1100? – read the article ‘and the village was burned‘ here!

1121: Alius

1158: Theobald (the first vicar to be Canon of St. Martin le Grand in London)

The west tower and the nave were built towards the end of the 12th century

The church was rebuilt in the 14th century and it may have been at this time it was rededicated to the Holy Trinity.

1309: Roger de Nilliton

1356: William Hervey

1375 is the date of the brass dedicated to Sir John De La Pole and his wife Joan. A rather plain window in the church survives from this time (dated mid to late 14th century). See Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi.

1392: Mr Richard Wynwyk prebendary of Chrishall (Cresteshale) £6 13s 4d. Ecclesiastical Property in the City of London, 1392: Cripplegate Ward Within

1399: John Chittern

The north and south aisles were built around 1400. The Nave was rebuilt in the 15th century and this was probably when the Clerestory was added. The Chancel was rebuilt about the beginning of the 15th century, probably outside the walls of the former Chancel. The tower was also much altered at this time and the second stage added.

On the gable above the Chancel arch is a Sanctus bell cot of c.1400 with a slate roof.

1401: John Clerk (source: Mapping the Medieval Countryside)

1486: Ric Gynne (see comment below)

The North Porch was built in the 16th century.

1518: Richard Game

1534: John Harold

1538: Nicholas Masson

1540: Thomas Fletcher

1546: Leonard Taylor

1547: Richard Scarlett

1554: Richard Conway

1569: William Alexander

vicars of chrishall1580: David Lufkin


1604: William Scott

1605: Robert Baker

1609: Abraham Jenne

1609: John Griffin

1621 – the oldest of the bells in the bell loft.

1640: Thomas King


1657: John Debnam

1673: John Priest A.M.

1677: Henry Cornwallis A.M.

1682: Roger Banks A.M.

1689: John Doo.  The Doo family have many records in the church registers for children being baptised. However sadly John Doo met an early end when he died after falling from his horse on Thriplow Heath one night.

1712: Thomas Ashburner

1720: Thomas Melville – a man who believed in getting things sorted out. You can read here his solution to the ‘heart burnings and jangling’ that was being caused by grazing on Chrishall common.

1749: John Banks (Church Burial Register: The Revd Mr Bankes Vicar. Aged 84 years. Feb 19). Rev. Bankes had a curate in the 1790s who was John Buckworth (or Beckwith) Herne. We think he was probably the following:

Reverend John Buckworth-Herne was the son of Sir Everard Buckworth-Herne, 5th Bt. and Anne Herne.1 He married, firstly, Mary Anne Price, daughter of Sir Charles Price.1 He married, secondly, Elizabeth (?)1 He died in 1854, without issue.1
He was the Vicar at West Hendred, Berkshire, EnglandG.1 (presumably after he was curate at Chrishall)

1787: Butler Berry – “He was a typical late eighteenth-century Anglican, having plural livings from each of which he received an income; it was said of him that ‘he used to ride around on horseback, and if he found no congregation at one church he passed on to the next and so on’”. You can read the tragic tale of Butler Berry’s grandson here in the Thriplow Society Journal.

There are various references to a curate called Joseph Walter Berry. It seems likely that they were related. Joseph Walter Berry is named as a curate from 1825 onwards (he conducts most marriages until 1832 when the new vicar, Robert Lascelles takes over).

1830: Robert Lascelles

1839: Godfrey Everth (read about Rev Everth and his book of poems here)

The pulpit was made by a local carpenter in the 1840s.

1858: Robert Greene Hebbert Ware

In 1861 or ’62 the battlements of the North Aisle fell onto the roof and damaged it so there a new roof timbers in this part.

william way vicar of chrishall essex1864: William Way: William Way was responsible for a huge amount of work on the fabric of the church building.

1869 there was more work done in the church and a huge re-opening which you can read about here.

1878 the south porch was built.

1881: Edmund Leachman – a fellow of St John’s College in Cambridge and mentioned (unfortunately only as an obituary) in their newsletter from March 1889 (p377)

I have also found the following report in the Parish Magazine of August 1881:
“The Rev. Edmund Leachman was inducted into this benefice by the Rural Dean on the 25th July in the usual manner; the Inductor placing his hand on the key of the Church door, repeated the prescribed form, and then locked the new Vicar into the Church, who tolled the bells for a few moments. A short service was held previously attended by a good many parishioners. We heartily wish God-speed to the Vicar in his important work.”

1888: Charles Allen / Evans Beley

1911: Lawrence Hards – extract from The Sydney Morning Herald of 24th January 1914: “The Rev. Lawrence Hard, vicar of Chrishall (England) and the Rev. Henry J. Allen, curate of of St Cyprian’s, (Liverpool) have left England to take up appointments in the diocese of Christchurch (New Zealand). []

1913: William May – Rev. May and his wife are mentioned many times in the document ‘Chrishall at War’ documenting the First World War (and downloadable here). They did a lot of work fund-raising for those who were fighting abroad and also in supporting the village. However it seems that Rev. May did suffer from ill-health and was away from the village quite a bit as he mentions in his updates in the Church newsletters.

1914 the large spire was removed and replaced with a “temporary” spirelet. (Over 100 years later the spirelet is still there!) And another bell was added to the bell loft to make a total of six.

1924: Edward Arthur Hort A.K.C.  Chrishall School is a Church of England School so the current vicar of the parish was usually closely involved with the school. Rev. Hort was no exception and would go into the school every Tuesday morning to take prayers.[1. Source: B Rogers, Nov 2016]

1942: James Cornelius Morrice M.A.

1946: Albert Anthony Bagley M.A.

1965: William Henry Taylor

1980: William Hubert Branch

1981: William Hugh Alan Cooper

1988: John Lester Brennan

1991: David Wesley Parrott

1997: John Graham Simmons (to 2005)

2007: Rod J. Doulton

2009: Andrew Colebrooke



  1. Gary Frank Allison

    Dear Sir/Ms.

    My name is Gary in Australia & I am tracing my wife’s forebears including the following. Just wondering if there area any records about the following & I look forward to hearing from you.



    • Rosemarie Gant

      Thank you for getting in touch Gary. I have received the full copy of your message and will certainly check the entries out against our registers when I have a moment. I will email you privately.

  2. Barrett

    Do you have any information on William Henry (Harry) Taylor after he left the parish? My mother was married to him for some years. Roger

    • Murie

      I am William’s Grand-daughter – my mother Margaret was his daughter. I have just uncovered some good pictures of my Grandfather and Doris – I know things sadly didn’t work out. Do be in touch if you would like.

  3. Paul

    I would be interested to hear about the Rev. Doo’s family, I have ancestors called Dew from Chrishall and wonder if they are related.

    I look forward to heaaring from you and popping over to the archive next year.

    Regards, Paul

    • Frances Chivers

      I am a descendant of Rev John Doo and have researched some family history, happy to help.

  4. Phil Cresswell

    why does the list stop in 1991

    • Rosemarie Gant

      Because no-one has been back up to the church yet to get the later names 🙂

      • Rosemarie Gant

        All up to date now!

    • Rosemarie Gant

      Well spotted Barry – thank you for passing that on. And I hadn’t come across the HathiTrust so am now looking at their other entries for Chrishall. What a great find!


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