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Rectors & Patrons of St Lawrence’s Church Harpley

Full Version

The parish church of Harpley, Norfolk, UK. If you’ve come here from some external place, then this link takes you to the village website.



Researching this page started out of interest, following from the fact that there is no rectors’ list in Harpley church. It’s grown into something of a monster as I kept following various by-ways, but it certainly shows the network of history and famous associations that is attached to a quiet village church. This is a list of the rectors of course and, until the nineteenth century when things were tightened up, it’s possible that these gentlemen didn’t actually visit Harpley very often. With all his other activities, it’s hard to imagine, for example, that Dr Bland spent much time in the parish, apart from when he was visiting his old friend Robert Walpole at Houghton. On the other hand, it does seem that many of the earlier rectors had a closer connection to this church, based on the number who are buried within the building. However, in earlier times, it was usually the curate or ‘chaplain’ who attended to the weekly ecclesiastical duties of the parish, and information about these men requires deeper research. To start, I have managed to find the names of a few of the mediaeval chaplains from will records.

There is also a basic version of this information which includes only the dates and names of the Rectors and Patrons, if you don’t want to do all this reading!

In the biographical details of both the Rectors and the Patrons, I’ve tried to show some of the connections between families that might not otherwise be obvious. As we would expect, in former times the rectors were generally younger sons of gentry or ecclesiastical families, often with connections to grander families, usually graduates of Cambridge (going to Eton helped as well!), and sometimes with literary or antiquarian interests. This being Norfolk, there is of course a Nelson connection!

The more recent Rectors are naturally within living memory for a lot of people, not to mention still with us in person of course, and I would like to fill out their details with some personal touches if possible.

For those who want to go to a particular period, these links below will take you to the appropriate century:



1100

1200

1300

1400

1500

1600

1700

1800

1900

2000



Now read on …





The ‘dynastic numbers’ used for the Gurnays are those used by Daniel Gurney in his history of the family (see references below). I’ve also generally used the ‘Gurnay’ spelling although of course there were variations within the family and at different times.

All locations are in Norfolk unless otherwise noted. Details of sources are given at the bottom.

For the dates, a ‘By’ date means that we know from documentation that the man was Rector by that date, but we cannot establish the precise year of presentation.

There is a brief list at the bottom of some of the Cambridge University jargon used.

Date

Rector

Details

Patron

During the reign of Henry II (1154 - 1189).


Jeffrey


Philip de Burnham, who was either a younger son or grandson of the first Earl de Warren (first lord of the manor after the Conquest. More on the manors of Harpley to come later).

The marriage of Rose de Burnham, daughter and heiress of Philip’s son, Reginald de Burnham (sometimes styled ‘de Warren’), to Matthew de Gournay in 1183 brought the manor and living of Harpley to the de Gurnay family.

By 1213

Alexander de Walpole

Alexander’s presence is known from an agreement with Godfrey, Dean of Brisley, granting Alexander and his successors 20 acres in Harpley.

Probably Matthew de Gournay


Unknown rectors


By 1243, Sir William de Gournay II, son of the previous.

By 1307; died 1332

John de Gurnay II

Younger son of the son, and eventual heir of the previous patron. His older brother, Sir William de Gournay III granted him all his lands in Harpley and elsewhere in 1294, so that John de Gurnay II became lord of the manor of Harpley (also owning the Harpley manor of Uphall from 1325), and acquired a number of other Norfolk estates by the end of his life. He was both patron and rector of Harpley church by 1307.

He obtained a grant for an annual fair to be held at the manor in Harpley on the 25th July from Edward I in 1307. Although by the nineteenth century this fair was ‘just for pleasure’, the proceeds were originally extra income for the rector.

During de Gurnay’s time as rector, and presumably at his expense, the first great re-building of the church took place. This period is responsible for the tower, the south aisle and the chancel. The modern east window is the result of another rebuilding in the early eighteenth century. However, the size of the original window can be seen from part of its jamb which has been left in the masonry of the later work and which shows that it would have rivalled the great west window in scale.

De Gurnay is buried in front of the altar in the chancel of St Lawrence’s under a marble slab. There are still the indentations which would have contained brasses (although the brasses themselves were gone by at least the late eighteenth century) of the figure of a priest under a canopy and the letters of the surrounding inscription:

Hic jacet corpus Joh’is de Gurnay, quondam Rectoris Patronique hujus ecclesie, cujus anime propicietur Deus. Amen’.

Here lies the body of John de Gurnay, one time Rector and Patron of this church, on whose soul may God have mercy. Amen’

In 1829, workmen excavating for the nearby grave of the Rev William Spurgeon, which lies immediately to the west in the chancel, opened De Gurnay’s grave and found his skeleton within clothed in the silk dress of a priest and holding a sacramental chalice. The chalice has not been seen since …

Self.

From 1332

Thomas Spendlove


John de Gurnay III, nephew of the previous patron.

By 1349

John de Pattesley


The previous?

From 1360

Hugh Wauncy

The De Wauncy family of West Barsham and Depeden were a land-owning Norfolk family with connections to both Earl de Warren and the Gurnay family.

Wauncy had previously been curate of Mulbarton in 1331 (perhaps a connection here is that Earl de Warren was also patron of this living) and rector of Edgefield in 1352.

Wauncy had also been a recipient of a three-year Cum ex eo licence. This system had been instituted by Pope Boniface VII in 1298 to enable unordained rectors to take higher education, provided they were ordained to the priesthood afterwards. When Wauncy left Edgefield, he left to that parish an ordinal ‘containing a notated hymnal, an exposition of the gospels, and some sermons’ 1.

Edmund Gurnay, son of John Gurnay IV and grandson of John III, and a prominent lawyer during the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. He died in 1387.

Although most land-owning Norfolk families would have had a townhouse in Norwich by this time, Edmund Gurnay is the first of the family with documented connections to Norwich. His wife was Katharine de Wauncy, niece of Hugh the rector. Through this marriage the Gurnays also acquired the manors of West Barsham and Denver in Norfolk, and Depeden in Suffolk. West Barsham was to be the family seat until 1660.

By 1374

John Knowles

Also prior of Coxford, and brother of Sir Robert Knowles who built the present church (although there seems to be some confusion here between different two different John Knowles, which will need further checking.

Sir Robert Knowles (or Knollys) KG was a famous general in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. His main estate was at Sculthorpe, where he died. Coming from humble origins, he amassed a great fortune from his military career, and built several churches, including Harpley. His arms and those of his wife are on the rood screen and on the external castellated stone frieze above the south aisle. He also built a bridge over the Medway at Rochester, and contributed to enlarging the Carmelite or White Friars priory off Fleet Street, London, in 1396.

He was knighted in 1351, and, amongst other exploits, he served under Henry of Lancaster in 1357 against the Normans, captured Bertram de Guechin in 1359, went with the Black Prince to Spain in 1367, was Governor of Brest in the first year of Richard’s reign and led a force in London against the followers of Jack Straw in 1381.

He died Aug 15 1407, aged 92, and was buried in the Carmelite Friars establishment in London.

Previous

By 1382; died 1387

John de Wolterton (or Walterton)

Warden of Mettingham College, Suffolk, in 1384, died 1387 and said to be buried in Harpley churchyard by the south door.

As one of the lease-holders of Mettingham Castle before the grant of the college, Wolterton was caught up in the ‘common’s revolt’ of 1381, having to pay £20 to the rebels following threats that he would otherwise be beheaded and all his goods seized.

There is no trace now of a grave outside the church, but there is an intriguing grave slab just inside the south door, partly covered by shelving these days. Across the width of the expansive west end of the church, from the south door to the rarely used north door, are the graves of prominent landowners of the parish with their families, from the seventeenth through to the mid-nineteenth century. There is no particular chronological arrangement, but Ravens, Herrings, Becks and others are here. The grave slab nearest the door appears earlier than all the others, has no remaining inscriptions on it, but it does have indentations where the brass figure and inscription would have been. It’s not mentioned in any guides: could this be the resting place of John de Wolterton?

Previous

1387 -1389

Richard de Taseburgh


Sir John Gurnay V, son of Edmund, died 1407. He was seneschal in Norfolk for the Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, 1400, and ‘Knight of the Shire’ (county representative to parliament) for Norfolk in 1404.

1389 - 1421

John Drewe

Blomefield has him as rector of Tharfield, Herts, at some point, but he was definitely rector of Pudding Norton, near Fakenham, 1387 – 1389; Harpley, 1389 – 1421; and Northwold, 1421 until his death in 1426.

He is described as a man of ‘considerable estate’, and seems to have combined his ecclesiastical duties to his associates with those of business. He was part of Lancastrian circles which included Sir John Gurnay, Sir Simon Felbrigg and Sir Thomas Erpingham; was trustee to Sir Henry Inglose and was Sir Robert Knollys’ trustee and executor. Both these last two were frequently away on military adventures and would have needed a competent person to look after their estates. Drewe organized Knollys’ funeral and the masses to be sung after his death.

He gave gifts to the churches of Thetford St Peter, Little Massingham and Salthouse.

In his will he asked to be buried between two pillars near the pulpit of Harpley (there are no pillars nor signs of a grave covering in the area of the present day pulpit, although they may have been removed or covered over in the mid-nineteenth century restoration - see later for Colman’s grave inscription). He left no bequest to the church apart from the torches and candles to be lit about his body, and asked that there be no bells rung at his funeral. However he did order his executors – his ‘dear friends’ – to organize a feast for the clergy and laity.

Previous

1421 - 1443

William Drye


Thomas Astele (Astley) of Melton Constable. The Astleys had originated in Warwickshire, and had long owned Astley’s manor in Melton Constable.

1443 - 1465

Robert Wylton


Thomas Gurnay, nephew and heir of John V, died before 1465. He is probably buried in Baconsthorpe church, where the family also had estates, and where there was once apparently an inscription to a Thomas Gurnay.

1465 - 1474

Henry Abraham

MA Cambridge before July 1467.

Admitted Rector of the moiety (a half share) of Houghton Conquest, Beds, 20 Nov 1464; vacated the parish Dec 1465. This parish had the unusual, and inconvenient, characteristic that it had two rectors simultaneously until the rectory was amalgamated in the seventeenth century. The normal custom where the advowson is shared is for the patrons to exercise their right alternately.

Rector of Harpley from 1 Oct 1464 until his death. In his will he left a number of volumes to Clare Hall, Cambridge, suggesting that perhaps he had studied at Clare College (which was known as Clare Hall until 1856).

Thomas Gurnay II, son of the previous, died 1469. He gave many gifts to various religious houses throughout Norfolk, including Walsingham Priory, and several in Norwich. His house was in St Gregory’s, Norwich, and later became the ‘Three Pigeons’ public house, the site of which is now occupied by the ‘Hog in Armour’.

His will directed that he be buried in the chancel of Harpley church if he died in the village, and that every resident get six pence on his death. Gurney, in his history of his family, suggests that the Easter sepulchre in the north wall of the sanctuary of the church is also Thomas’ memorial tomb.

1485 - 1511

Christopher Gurnay

Fourth son of William, the patron. Also presented in the same year to the living of Hempstead, near Holt, by his grandfather, Sir William Calthorpe (more will be given on the connections between the Gurnays and the Calthorpes when the manors of Harpley are discussed).

William Gurnay IV, son of the previous, died 1508. He was one of the escheats (an official appointed to look after royal affairs in a county) of Edward IV, and was on the council of the Duke of Norfolk.

His own eldest son pre-deceased him, so his grandson was his heir.

1511 - 1537

Thomas Higney

Possibly the same who was admitted to King’s College, Cambridge as a scholar from Eton in 1504.

Anthony Gurnay, grandson of the previous, died 1556. Married an heiress of the Mortimer family, and built a family mansion in Norwich at Gurnay’s Place, in St Julian’s parish. Gurney wrote in 1848 that this ‘fine old city mansion’ had been pulled down ‘within the recollection of persons now living’.

Through his mother’s family, Gurnay was also Queen Ann Boleyn’s second cousin, although a connection with the queen is not uncommon amongst Norfolk families. One of his daughters married Sir Richard Stubbs (see Edmund Gurnay below).

1537 - 1579

William Ugge

Or should this be William Rugge? The Rugge family were landowners in the Northrepps area, had connections with the Gurnay family, and one William Rugge is famous as both the Abbot of St Benet’s, Hulme, the only monastery which survived the dissolution, and Bishop of Norwich (a dual title which remains today).

Amongst the papers of the Flitcham estate are details of a dispute in 1574 between the parishes of Harpley and Litcham regarding ‘certain lands’. A William Rugg of Harpley and his wife are named as plaintiffs (apart from the period of Mary’s reign (1553 – 1559), it had been possible for clergy to marry from 1549). Rugg’s wife was probably Thomasine, who had been married firstly to William Curson, father of Thomas Curson a later patron (see the incumbency of Robert Kenyon (1579 – 1620)).

A Bernard Fowle, ‘clerk of Harpley’, had his will proved in Norwich in 1579, so it possible that he was the curate for at least part of this period..

Thomas Godsalve assignee of Anthony Gurnay, the previous.

Sir Thomas Godsalve (1481 – 1542) of Norwich appears in a double portrait by Hans Holbein, together with his son John, now to be found in the Old Masters’ Gallery of the State Art Museum in Dresden, Germany. Sir Thomas, as a public notary and Registrar of the Consistory Court in Norwich (this ecclesiastical court had much greater power at this time, having responsibility for matrimonial and probate matters, as well as church affairs, and was thus a very lucrative appointment) acquired various estates near Norwich, and had a grand house in the city itself. Through connections with Sir Thomas Boleyn, another Norfolk man, and Sir Henry Wyatt, both he and his son moved in the royal circles of Queen Anne Boleyn, and he was a colleague of Thomas Cromwell.

In 1538, Anthony Gurnay conveyed the Gurnay manor of Harpley to Richard Southwell, and it passed out of the hands of the family for good, although it is still known by their name (strictly speaking: ‘Gurnay and Calthorpe’, but that’s another story).

1579 - 1620

Robert Kenyon (Kenion, Kennion)

Matriculated sizar Clare College, Cambridge, Michaelmas 1572, BA 1757/6, MA 1579. Incorporated Oxford 1580.

Ordained priest at Norwich, 1579. Rector of Harpley from 1579.

For reasons that are now unclear, Kenyon was one of at least six East Anglian clergymen who refused to comply with a Privy Council order in the desperate Winter of 1596/97. This order asked local clergymen to recommend household fasting and alms-giving on Wednesday and Friday evenings to help the distress of the poor. It is possible that Kenyon was one of those who thought that actually not enough was being asked of the community 2.

HM the Queen, on the minority of Thomas Curson, whose father William had acquired the manor in 1557. The Curson family may have originally come from Derby but, by this period, they owned estates at Belaugh, near Coltishall.

1620 - 1648

Edmund Gurnay, BD

The ‘Puritan Rector’.

Son of Henry, and born 1578 into a large (one of thirteen children), well-read, and devoutly puritan gentry family at Great Ellingham. He was a great-grandson of Anthony Gurnay (above), and his older brother, Thomas III, was heir to the Gurnay estates of West Barsham and Ellingham.

Matriculated pensioner Queens’ College, Cambridge, 1595, BA 1598/9, MA from Corpus Christi, 1602, BD 1609. Fellow of Corpus Christi, 1601 – 14. Incorporated at Oxford, 1606.

Ordained deacon by the Bishop of Ely at the Bishop’s Chapel in Downham Market (due to the Bishop’s ill-health); made priest in the diocese of Norwich 1614.

Firstly rector of Edgefield, 1614-1620, (patron: his uncle and god-father, Sir Richard Stubbs of Sedgeford); rector of Harpley from 1620.

He had commenced his literary career by then, and the titles give an idea of his intensely anti-Roman ideas: Corpus Christi (an attack on Transubstantiation), The Demonstration of Antichrist (the Roman church as the Antichrist), The Romish Chain (the falseness of the popes’ claim to universal rule), and so on. Some of Gurnay’s most strongly worded published homilies were against the display of images in churches, and perhaps we see the effects of that belief today in the empty niches of St Lawrence.

It is possible that one of his sons was the child named Protestant, who died very young, and whose epitaph stone, with its promise to ‘defye Roome’s Heresy’ may still be seen set into the external south wall of the church next to the priest’s door. The stone is missing fragments now but with the help of Gurney’s transcription, from when it was perhaps more intact, it appears to read in full:

Protestant [Gur]nay heere vnder I lye;

Such name first was I christned by,

And as soon as my dayes dvbled seaven,

My name forever was written in heavene

Then still be bowld, both yong and owld, in horror gaynst Antichrist;

And showld all fayle these stones showld crye

Perpetually we doe defye Roome’s Heresy, Idolatrye,

Bloodthirstness, and boundless soveraynty.

Anno Domino 1623

Gurnay also attempted to suppress the ‘alehouses’ of Harpley with mixed success.

Despite his strictly puritan nature, he does seem to have inspired affection in his friends, who regarded some of his behaviour as more eccentric than unsociable, and who noted that he could also be humorous, as well as serious on occasion. On being chastised by the bishop for not wearing his surplice at services, he proceeded to constantly wear it.

One report of him combines a sense of his humour and forthright comment. Objecting to the tendency of people in church to stand and bow upon the entry of their ‘betters’, Gurnay is said to have declared: ‘I like an holy-rowly-Powlinesse; for there sure, if anywhere, we ought to be haile fellows well met’.

Gurnay appears to have retained the parish during the tumult of the 1630s, and into the Civil War, despite his rigorous puritan views. Under the reforms being imposed by the King and Archbishop Laud, Mathew Wren, Bishop of Norwich, performed a ‘Visitation’ of all the parishes of his diocese. A volume of regulations was circulated, and the incumbents had to guarantee their conformity to a lengthy list of requirements. These demands mostly involved the practice of ritual and arrangement of the church itself, and including many items that were anathema to the puritans and other non-conformists. For example they were required to have a railed-off area for the high altar, to face east during the service of Holy Communion, to use the sign of the cross at baptism, and of course wear surplices during services. Following the bishop’s inspection, Edmund Gurnay does appear on a long list of East Anglian clergymen who were deprived of their livings, censured in various ways or, as in his case, actually excommunicated for a time. Many fled to the Netherlands or, eventually, to the American colonies, but Gurnay seems to have managed to square his conscience and to be amongst those who saw the error of their ways, at least for the time being.

The puritans had their revenge: William Prynne, that puritan author who is always good for lively epithets, described Wren as a ‘little pope’ and a ‘Viper of the Church’, and the Bishop was arrested during a service in Ely Cathedral in 1641. He spent seventeen years in the Tower rule for his ‘Romish’ tendencies, narrowly avoiding Laud’s fate of execution.

Gurnay died in 1648 and was buried in St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, where his brother-in-law, Thomas Osborne, was minister, although any stone or monument seems to have been replaced or covered by those of later worthies.

Sir William Yelverton of Rougham Hall. Thomas Curson had sold the manor and living to Sir Richard Stubbs in 1590. Sir William Yelverton was the son of Stubbs’ daughter Dionysia, and her husband Sir William Yelverton senior.

1648 - 1668

George Heyhoo (Hayhoe, Haihoe)

Son of Robert Heyhoo, gent, of Saham Toney, near Watton and Thetford. Born 1621 at the nearby hamlet of Ashill, he was educated at Mr Gilbert’s school in Saham Toney.

Admitted pensioner at Caius College, Cambridge, 1637/8. Matriculated 1638, Scholar 1639 – 45, BA 1641/2, MA 1645.

Ordained deacon and priest in Lincoln Cathedral 1641.

No record of death, but his will was proved in Norwich 1668.

It’s possible that Anthony Burrell was the curate during some of Heyhoo’s incumbency. He left a will dated 1666 in Norwich, and is described a ‘clerk of Harpley’. Although slightly older than Heyhoo (Burrell was born in 1617), we can surmise a connection. Burrell was the son of William of Wymondham, and was educated in that town and in Thetford. He was a student at Caius College, Cambridge (BA 1637/8; MA 1641), and made deacon at Winchester and priest at Norwich cathedral on June 12, 1642.

Robert Heyhoo, presumably father of the incumbent.

1668 - 1700

Walpole Chamberlayne

Admitted pensioner Corpus Christi, Cambridge, 1663. Matriculated 1663, BA 1666/7, MA 1670

Rector of Snetterton 1668, then also rector of Harpley.

There was a John Chamberlayne who was a farmer and churchwarden of Dersingham in 1700. Is this rector perhaps of that family?

Thomas Dyke MD and Elizabeth his wife, and John Turner.

1700 - 1706

Charles Clarke

First son of Thomas Clarke, rector of Sigston-Kirkby, Yorks, where he was born in 1676.

His father was the son of another Thomas, gent, of Beverley in Yorkshire. Born in 1645 the younger Thomas had gone to school in Beverley and studied at St John’s, Cambridge. Charles’ brother Robert (1684 – 1759), the second son, was at Sidney College, Cambridge, (BA 1709/10, MA 1714), was ordained deacon in the diocese of Ely (although actually at the Bishop’s Palace, Holborn, London) in 1710/1, and was for 49 years curate and schoolmaster of Houghton Conquest, Hunts (is there a connection that the school was founded by a Sir Francis Clarke in 1632? And is it only coincidence that an earlier rector of Harpley was also rector of this parish?).

Charles Clarke was educated at Coxwold school (North Yorks) and Merchant Taylor’s (then near St Paul’s, London).

Admitted sizar (age 19) at Sidney College, Cambridge, 1695. Matriculated 1695, BA 1698/9.

Ordained priest Norwich May 1700, when made rector of Harpley.

Theophila Harris, widow. It is not obvious how Mrs Harris came by the advowson, but the connection with Clarke and Harpley may be related to the fact that a Theophila Harris left land in both Yorkshire and Norfolk to her son in a will dated 1690.

1706 - 1715

Henry Colman STP

This branch of the Colman family is a fine example of three ways in which a gentry family could raise their position: the law, the church and the court; although with mixed results as we shall see.

By the 1550s, Henry Colman’s ancestor Edward had become one of the wealthiest men in Suffolk from the cloth trade. With the decline of the trade later in that century, Henry’s great grandfather Samuel started to put the family money into land, buying, amongst other property, the manor of Brent Eleigh, near Lavenham, in 1607.

Henry’s father Richard, heir to the family estates, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1650, became regarded as a ‘rising star’ amongst young barristers, and was tipped to be Solicitor General. In 1661, he made a fortunate marriage to Anne Hyde, whose father was first cousin to the Lord Chancellor, Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon (Clarendon’s daughter, and first wife of the Duke of York, King Charles II’s brother and subsequently King James II, was also named Anne Hyde). He was appointed Recorder of Salisbury, and subsequently became MP for that city. Unfortunately he died young in 1672, without fulfilling his highest promise. His portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery where he is described as a ‘councell at law’.

Henry’s most famous relative was his father’s cousin, another Edward Colman. Richard’s influence at court probably gained a position for his cousin with the Duke of York’s entourage. Edward Colman had converted to Catholicism while at Cambridge, and he mixed in Catholic circles following his move to London. He became the Duchess of York’s secretary, and a member of the ‘Gentlemen Pensioners’, a royal ceremonial bodyguard, from 1670. However from this time, he was also actively working on York’s behalf as a sort of alternative foreign diplomat. Colman became a go-between, attempting to get backing for Charles II, and for assistance for their English co-religionists, from foreign Catholic powers. The papal nuncio at Brussels was approached, and also the French court itself and others. Although none of his negotiations on behalf of the Duke seem to have actually involved calls for overthrow of the king, Colman was amongst those denounced by Titus Oates in 1678. His entanglement in Catholic plotting, the discovery of English editions of the Catholic Mass at his printer, his publication of an illegal newsletter, and a series of letters from his foreign contacts which were seized following a raid on his house in Dean’s Yard Westminster, all led to an order for his arrest. He initially fled to the Continent, but returned, was tried and found guilty of the charges, and hanged, drawn and quartered in 1678.

Henry Colman’s life was considerably less sensational. He was the second son of Richard, born in 1669 St Andrew’s Holborn, London, and educated at Eton.

Admitted pensioner at Queens’ College, Cambridge, 1688, migrated to Trinity, Cambridge, 1690, BA 1691/2, MA 1695; BD, 1705; DD, 1712. Fellow of Trinity 1694, when he was ordained priest.

Rector of Harpley, 1706 and also Foulsham, from 1713.

He was author of some minor religious works including, perhaps significantly, Government and obedience : A sermon preach’d in the town of King’s-Lynn, Norfolk (1711).

However he also gathered an extremely important library of over 1,700 volumes and manuscripts. These included mediaeval manuscript copies of Roman writers, a wide range of divinity (particularly the Greek and Latin Fathers) and including St Margaret of Scotland’s own copy of the Gospels, together with classics, English and European history, some law, a few atlases, and much contemporary religious, political, and academic polemical writing (including Swift's Tale of a Tub, 1704).

He succeeded his brother Richard as Squire of Brent Eleigh, and died Oct 9, 1715. In his will he left his library to the church and incumbent minister of that village ‘for ever’, and a special chamber attached to the church was built to house it. However, despite the strictures of his will, the then rector and churchwardens sold the entire library piecemeal between 1887 and 1891. Recent literary historians have managed to trace every volume from the inventory in the Norfolk Record Office, and have found that they are now in various collections including the Cambridge University Library, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Glasgow University and, inevitably, libraries in the United States.

It would appear that Colman must have had some attachment to Harpley. A number of early nineteenth century references mention an ‘inscription’ in the church to his memory; while Blomefield actually gives the Latin text, although without saying what form the monument took, nor where it was placed. However it would appear to have been in the chancel, and the fact that it starts ‘Hic Jacet’, ‘here lies’, would imply that Colman was buried in the church. There is no trace of any such monument now, unless it’s hidden under the platform for the choir stalls, and it would seem most likely that it disappeared during the mid-nineteenth century refurbishment already mentioned.

William Hookes and Elizabeth his wife.

1715 - 1744

Henry Bland DD

Henry Bland is a good example of the benefits of a sound education or, at least, the benefits of meeting the right people while at school. As one county guide puts it: ‘Dean Bland was one of the … instances of men raised to great preferment from intimacies formed at great schools: he was educated at Eton, and was a contemporary there with Sir Robert Walpole’ 3. Walpole was also a friend at Cambridge, and continued to look after his friend as his own career flourished. This is not to suggest that Bland necessarily had an eye on his future in his choice of acquaintance; until he inherited the Houghton estates at 24, as the third son, Walpole was looking to enter the Church himself. Furthermore Bland had literary accomplishments in his own right, and contributed pieces to journals of the time. For example, The Spectator published his Latin version of the once famous Soliloquy from Addison’s Cato.

Bland was born Yorkshire 1677/8; school Eton

Admitted scholar into King’s College, Cambridge, in 1695. Matriculated 1696, BA 1699 – 1700, MA 1706, DD 1717. Fellow King’s College 1699.

Rector of Great Bircham (Patron Thomas Bacon. Although one source has Walpole as patron of this living) 1705 to 1744, and also Harpley from 1715.

Chaplain to King George I and Chelsea Hospital, 1716.

Headmaster of Doncaster School, Yorkshire, 1699 – 1710, and Headmaster of Eton 1720 – 1723.

Canon of Windsor 1723 – 1733; Dean of Durham Cathedral from 29 Feb1728 (Presented by the King).

Bland is also said to have written the inscription on the foundation stone for Walpole’s newly enlarged Houghton Hall in 1722 . The Latin appears to generally reassure us that the owner will always be known hereafter.

Provost of Eton (Chairman of governing body) 1733 -1746.

Died May 24 1746. Buried in the Antechapel of Eton.

Father of Henry and Robert (Al. Oxon. 1725). Henry Bland Junior, DD (MA King’s Cambridge 1728), was rector of a couple of livings in County Durham, was the Sixth Prebend at Durham Cathedral from 1737, and was buried in the transept of the cathedral.

Earl of Orford (Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister).

1744 - 1786

Horace Hamond DD

Born 1718, son of Anthony Hamond I (1685 – 1743).

Admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1735, matriculated Michaelmas 1736, BA 1739/40, MA 1743 and DD 1755. Fellow of Corpus Christi 1740 – 46.

Ordained priest in Norwich Dec 1744. Rector of Harpley and Great Bircham from 1744 until his death on 17 Nov 1786. Also Prebendary of Bristol Cathedral from 1754 – 56 and then Prebendary of Norwich Cathedral 1756 until his death.

Buried in South Wootton church, near King’s Lynn. The Hamond family were lords of the manor here, and there are monuments to his son, also Horace Hamond, and several others of the family in the church. For more on the Hamond family, see the notes for Horace’s great-nephew Robert (rector of Harpley 1829 – 1831), by which time another family member, Anthony Hamond III, was patron of the living.

For now it is sufficient to note that Hamond is an excellent example of the web of family connections, and presumably patronage, involved in all this. His mother was Susan Walpole, one of the sisters of Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, the Prime Minister and, perhaps not coincidentally, patron of the living of Harpley. Patronage works both ways of course; Walpole’s biographer, JH Plumb notes his sister’s marriage into such a wealthy family was very useful at one of the many times when Sir Robert’s finances were stretched 4. Hamond also managed to be related to Walpole by his own marriage. His wife’s grandmother, Mary Walpole, was married to Sir Charles Turner, Bt, of Warham (1665 – 1738), and was another sister of the owner of Houghton.

Furthermore, we have Hamond’s Norfolk trump card: a daughter of Sir Charles and Lady Mary Turner married the Rev Maurice Suckling, whose daughter Catherine married the Rev Edmund Nelson. This last couple are perhaps more famous as the parents of Horatio Nelson, the Hero of Trafalgar (to save you the diagram: this makes Horace’s wife the first cousin once removed of the great Admiral; and with the Prime Minister as her great-uncle and the rector’s uncle).

Horace’s son, also Horace, was Rector of Great Massingham, and his son, yet another Horace, was born there in 1805. Presumably helped by his contacts, apart from any personal ability he may have had, Horace III had a successful military and diplomatic career: he was aide de camp to the King of Hanover (brother of William IV of Britain, and to which title Queen Victoria would have succeeded if she hadn’t been a woman) and became a Knight of Hanover. He was précis writer to the Foreign Secretary, the Earl of Malmesbury, and ended his days as HM Consul at Cherbourg.

Earl of Orford (Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister).

1786 - 1829

Christopher Spurgeon MA

Born 1758 in Great Yarmouth, where his father, John, was Town Clerk, and grandfather had been Mayor. The family was originally of Dutch origins, probably arriving in Norfolk in the mid sixteenth century, when many protestants fled the Spanish Netherlands (in 1579 40% of the population of Norwich was Dutch, Flemish or Walloon).

Educated Harrow, he entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1775, gained his BA in 1780 and MA in 1787.

Ordained deacon in Norwich in 1780; he was made priest in 1782.

Rector of Harpley from 1786, and also of Great Bircham from 1788 (replacing Thomas Ball (1786 – 88). John Spurgeon was patron of that second living at this time.

He married firstly Marianne Cooper, daughter of the Rev Samuel Cooper DD, Rector of Yelverton and Morley (both Norfolk), and with connections to the Paston family. One of his wife’s brothers was the famous surgeon Sir Astley Paston Cooper Bt, who was Surgeon-General to both George IV and William IV, and who gave his name to a number of medical procedures and conditions. However Marianne died of consumption within two years of their marriage.

Spurgeon subsequently married Eleanor Palgrave, of Coltishall, and their son John, and his son, John Norris, were both clergymen (the latter of Twyford).

Both Spurgeon’s brothers were priests: his older brother John Groves Spurgeon was Rector successively of Oulton and Clopton in Suffolk, and was known as a lover of the arts, publishing a volume of his own etchings and leaving a large library and collection of engravings at his death; while the youngest brother Richard was Rector of Mulbarton until his death in 1842.

Spurgeon died in Harpley on Jan 23, 1829. His grave is in the chancel just to the west of that of John de Gurnay.

The inscription on the covering stone reads:

Beneath this slab lie interred the Mortal Remains of the Revd Christr Spurgeon Clerk M.A. who was Rector of this Parish for 43 years and departed this life the 23rd Jan 1829

Aged 72 Years

Also

Eleanor his wife (Daughter of Wm Palgrave Esq. of Coltishall) who departed this life on the 9th Oct 1826

Aged 62 Years’

To double the effect there is also a wall plaque in the choir. It includes the Spurgeon arms (a silver shield with black chevron and three cockleshells (to use non-heraldic language!), combined with those of his wife (a blue shield with a white rampant lion), and bearing the inscription:

Sacred to the memory of The Revd Christopher Spurgeon who was 43 years Rector of this Parish and of Great Bircham in this County. He died on the 23rd of January 1829.

Aged 72 years.

His uniform and unaffected piety

His Benevolence of heart, his suavity

And kindness of manners will ever be

Cherished with true affection by his Family

And with grateful recollections by his Parishioners’.

To continue with the gravestone theme: there is an interesting story connected with the Spurgeon family recorded on a stone outside the east end of the church in the church yard. This is sometimes the area of a graveyard where the rectors of a church are buried, although this has not been the custom at Harpley.

The stone reads:

Louis Carpentier

A native of France who fled his Country in the year 1793 and entered into the service of the Revd Christopher Spurgeon, late rector of this Parish.

He served his master faithfully during a period of 36 years and died on the 7th of February 1829 aged 72 years.

The family of Mr Spurgeon with feelings of gratitude for his long and faithful service have placed this to his memory’.

Apparently Carpentier married Frances Cullam, the Spurgeons’ nursemaid, and there are other gravestones alongside his for others of the Carpentier family.

As previous

1829-1831

Robert Hamond MA

Born 1785, son of Anthony Hamond II (1742 – 1822) of West Acre.

School Eton.

Admitted pensioner to Emanuel College, Cambridge, 1804; BA 1808. MA from Clare Hall and Fellow of Clare 1811.

Ordained deacon at Norwich Cathedral 1809; priest 1814.

Rector of Gayton Thorpe and East Walton 1818; of Pensthorpe 1818 – 1824; of Beachamwell 1824.

Rector of Harpley and of Great Bircham 1829 – 1831.

Hamond lived in Swaffham Manor with his unmarried sister Sarah. He was also an enthusiastic huntsman, initially with staghounds, but at the very end of his life he switched to foxhunting, and was on the Committee of Masters of the West Norfolk Foxhounds from 1830 until his death.

He was made a Freeman of Lynn in 1823; as was his father in 1784.

Died unmarried in the first part of 1831 5.

Anthony Hamond III (1805 – 1869) of West Acre, nephew of the rector.

(There is an Anthony in every generation of the Hamond family, so things can become confusing! Following Gurney’s practice with his family, we will call the father of Horace Hamond, the earlier rector, Anthony I; the father of Robert Hamond, this rector, Anthony II; and this patron, Robert’s nephew, Anthony III. Anthony III’s son will be called Anthony IV (1834 – 1895). Clear?)

Apart from his activities as a landowner, Anthony III was also active in politics, albeit with a complete lack of success. He stood on a number of occasions as the Liberal candidate for the Western Division of Norfolk, and once for Norwich (prompting the comment at one public meeting ‘that it would be a sad day for Norwich [if they] had to go to West Norfolk for a member!’). He was described by the Norfolk Chronicle at the time as an ‘extreme Radical’. This is not to say that one of the largest landowners in the district was some sort of socialist, but, rather, that he would have believed in parliamentary reform, free trade and moderately progressive policies.

As befits his position he was also a magistrate, was Deputy Lieutenant for Norfolk, and was Sheriff for the county in 1836. He carried on the family tradition of being a keen huntsman, and was a member of the Committee of Masters of the West Norfolk Foxhounds until the early 1840s. This Committee had been formed in 1830 as an interim body, between Masters, to revive the fortunes of the hunt club.

The Hamond family are mentioned in the Litcham and Lynn areas in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, but they became prominent in South Wootton. The parish church of that village is quite small, and the area in front of the chancel steps and across the west end is entirely paved with the grave slabs of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century Hamonds.

By the later eighteenth century, the family had established West Acre as the family seat, having bought the recently finished ‘High House’ in 1761, with large landholdings elsewhere in the Swaffham area. Further to the comment above concerning the benefits to Walpole of marrying into this family at an earlier date, it might be noted that by 1875 their holdings in Norfolk were, at about 10,500 acres, roughly the same as the main Houghton estate at the time.

One of the family established Hamond’s Free Grammar school in Swaffham, which has only recently merged to become a sixth form college. The chancel and sanctuary of West Acre church, again quite a small space, is more or less a mausoleum to the later eighteenth and nineteenth century Hamonds.

Particularly striking is the fine east window of 1907. Its central theme is the Annunciation and scenes from the life of Christ. However along the bottom of the window are four panes for each of the later nineteenth century Hamond brothers. Only Thomas the youngest was still alive at the time, and he is shown on the extreme right kneeling in robes behind the figure of the high priest. Kneeling at extreme left is Anthony IV (1834 – 1895), booted and spurred, and in his red jacket as Master of the West Norfolk Foxhounds (1865 – 1883). Next left is Philip, who died suddenly of illness in India while on active service, represented in his cavalry officer’s uniform. Completing the quartet is Richard Hamond in full admiral’s uniform.

Due to a combination of this generation either not marrying, not producing male heirs, or sons dying before fathers, the West Acre and Swaffham estates passed to the Birkbeck family in the early twentieth century through the marriage of Anthony IV’s eldest daughter.

1831-1832

Jermyn Pratt

The Pratts are a gentry family whose seat is still Ryston Hall, near Downham Market. The family were said by the English antiquarian, Sir Henry Spelman (1564 – 1641), to be one of only six Norfolk families who had owned the same land in the male line for the previous 300 hundred years. Pratt’s most famous ancestor was Sir Roger Pratt, who was a distinguished architect, and one of the three commissioners delegated by Charles II to oversee the re-building of London following the Great Fire. Two earlier ancestors were amongst the founders of Cambridge Massachusetts in 1630.

Jermyn Pratt was born at Ryston Hall, third son of Edward Roger Pratt, Sheriff of Norfolk in 1850, and Pleasance Browne of King’s Lynn. His school was Eton.

Admitted pensioner (age 19) Trinity, Cambridge, 1818. Matriculated Michaelmas 1816, BA 1821, MA 1825. Admitted ad eundeum Oxford 1843.

Ordained deacon Norwich 1825; priest 1822.

Rector of Bintry [Bintree] and Themelthorpe [near Reepham], 1823-6; Curate of Fordham, 1823-1830; Rector Great Bircham and Harpley, 1831-2; Rector of Campsea-Ashe, Suffolk, 1836-63.

Married May 4 1847 Mary Louisa daughter of the Rt Rev George Murray, Bishop of Rochester. The bishops’ father was another George, Bishop of St David’s, and his father was John Murray, the 3rd Duke of Atholl. There appears to be no close connection between this family of Pratts and that of the Pratts who are marquesses of Camden. However, intriguingly, Mary Louisa’s sister, Harriet Murray, was married to George Charles Pratt, the second Marquess of Camden, and the Rev Jermyn Pratt was one of his executors when the marquess died in 1866

Succeeded his brother to the Ryston estate on May 28 1863 (The eldest brother, also Edward Roger, had died unmarried in that year, and the second brother, Lt Col Henry Pratt had died earlier in 1860).

Pratt was a member for a number of years of the Camden Society. Early historical and literary texts are still published under its imprint, although the actual society merged with the Royal Historical Society in 1896. He was editor of Records of the College of Christ Church College of Brecon, 1861 [the probable connection here is that this College was within the Diocese of St David’s].

Died May 15 1867, when he was succeeded in the estate by his eldest son, Edward Roger Murray Pratt.

Previous

1832-1874

William Pratt BA

Born at Ryston in 1805, the sixth and youngest son of Edward Roger Pratt and Pleasance Browne (of King’s Lynn). School Eton.

Admitted Pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1823. Matriculated Michaelmas 1823, BA 1826.

Ordained deacon at Norwich 1827; priest 1828.

Rector Harpley (succeeding his brother) 1832 – 1874; and also Great Bircham from 1835. Anthony Hamond III was patron of both livings.

Married 1835 Louisa daughter of William Coxhead Marsh of Gaynes Park, Essex. Father of Dashwood (Cambridge, 1866), vicar of Barney, near Fakenham, Henry and Jermyn. We learn from a plaque in the sanctuary of Harpley church that this third son was a midshipman, and that he had died ‘falling from the rigging’ en route to Calcutta.

Died Nov 13 1874.

Previous

1875 - 1883

John George Bellingham

Born Madras.

Pensioner at St John’s, Cambridge, Apr 9 1829, Matriculated Easter 1829, Migrated to Trinity Apr 22 1831, BA 1833, MA 1837.

Ordained deacon 1833; priest 1834: both by the Bishop of London.

Domestic chaplain to Baron Audley of Heileigh Castle, Co Staffs, 1833 6.



Curate of Harmondsworth with Drayton, Middx, 1833-5, Curate of St-Mary-Le-Crypt, Gloucester, 1835-7, Curate of Coaley, Glos, 1838-9, Perpetual Curate of Aldsworth, Glos, 1839-65, Curate of St Mildred, Bread Street, London 1861 – 69; Rector of Begbroke, Oxfords, 1869 – 71; Rector of Bagthorpe, 1871-75.

Rector of Harpley 1875 - 83. In 1874, presumably on being offered the living, Bellingham signed a bond obliging him to resign the benefice if it was required by Beck’s son or nephew. A further bond on Horace Beck granted Bellingham an annuity of £190 in 1880 7.

Author of theological works: Sermons (1847), The Christian’s Refuge (1868), The Irish Church, No Anomaly (1868), The Reclaimed Convict (a tract) (1868) and A Short Account of the Early Heresies of the Christian Church (1871).

After his retirement from Harpley, he lived in North London until his death in 1886.

Horace Beck

1883 - 1935

Harry (Henry) Edward Beck

Born 1855, only son of Horace Beck, the patron.

Educated Brighton College

Trinity Hall, Cambridge, BA (Jun Opt) 1874; MA 1877.

Called to the Bar 1877; Inner Temple.

Deacon 1878, priest 1879, Ripon.

Married 1880, Caroline Durnford, daughter of the Rev George Hales, Barningham, Yorks.

Curate of High Hoyland and West Bretton, Yorks, 1878 – 1883.

Rector Harpley 1883 – 1935. Also Vicar of Houghton-juxta-Harpley from 1888 (Patron: The Marquis of Cholmondeley). By this period, Beck required a special dispensation to hold the two livings in plurality.

The Rev HE Beck seems to have been the epitome of the huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ rector, and he gave these as his interests in Who’s Who. He bred and trained retrievers, was reputedly an excellent shot, a salmon and trout fisherman, and was on the committee of the West Norfolk Foxhounds for 60 years, joining in 1873 during the Mastership of Anthony Hamond IV. There is a fine photograph of him on his horse in full hunting outfit, complete with top hat and full beard.

In March 1905, and again in 1930, the Hunt marked his silver and golden wedding anniversaries respectively by starting outside Harpley Rectory. It is said that in his 70 years of hunting, he only rode four seasons with other hunts, and one of these was with Napoleon III at Compiègne. He wrote up the hunt reports for local papers, and continued his involvement long after he could actually ride after the fox, as a verse from a set written about characters associated with the West Norfolk Hunt in the early 1930s suggests:

Parson Beck, in his way, a sporting old sort,

Who comes out in a car, and then writes the report.

This he does very well, and it gives untold pleasure,

For those keen on hunting but haven’t the leisure .

Away from hunting, he was very involved with public affairs, being on the District Council and various sub-committees, and served for many years on a number of committees connected with local affairs and church matters.

Died 1935.

Previous [Rev HE Beck was patron himself from 1911].

1936 - 1962

Anthony Horace Bek

Son of the previous Rector.

Scholar Lincoln College, Oxford, 1908

Deacon 1910, priest 1911, Lincoln.

Curate Glandford Bridge, Lincs, 1910 – 14; Rector Holbeach, Lincs, 1914 – 15 and again 1920 – 23; Caistor with Ailesworth, Northants, 1915 –20; Vicar Holme with Langford, Beds, 1923 – 25; Rector of Castleacre with Newton, 1925 – 36.

Rector of Harpley from 1936.

Rural Dean of Heacham and Rising, 1953 – 59.

Miss AC Beck

1963 – 1977

Oliver James Rooke MA

Born 1910.

Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, second class History Tripos pt i 1930, second class History Tripos pt ii, BA 1931; MA 1942.

He farmed in his native Suffolk, and was in the London Fire Service during the Second World War. He remained in farming in later life, and combined his duties at Massingham and Harpley with the breeding of Red Poll cattle which he exported overseas.

Deacon 1944, Chelmsford; priest 1945, Barking for Chelmsford.

Curate of Harlow, Essex, 1944 – 47; Vicar of Westhall, Suffolk 1957 – 51; Rector Holkham with Egmere and Waterden, 1951 – 55; Rector of Docking 1955 – 1961; Vicar of Fring 1956 – 61; Rector of Great Massingham 1961 – 1977; also Rector of Harpley from 1963.

In 1977 he retired to Eastholme, Walberswick, where he was born, and died in Southwold Hospital, on May 13 1982. He is buried in the graveyard by the south porch.

He published two volumes of poems 8.

Miss AC Beck

1977 - 1979

Charles McDowell

Born 1916

British Empire Medal 1965

Bishop’s College, Cheshunt, Herts, 1964

Deacon 1966; priest 1967; both Norwich.

Curate of Hilborough Group 1966 – 70; Rector of Colkirk with Oxwich (with Whissonsett and

Horningtoft from 1974) 1971 –77.

Rector of Great Massingham from 1977 and Priest-in-charge of Harpley 1977.

Executors of the estate of the late Miss AC Beck

1980 – 1981

Vacant


Previous.

1982 - 1990

Rev Anthony John Snasdell

Born: 1939

St Chad’s College Durham, BA 1963; Dip Th 1965

Deacon 1965; Priest 1966.

Curate Boston 1965 – 70; Non-stipend Minister Worksop Priory, Notts.

Priest-in-charge Great Massingham, Little Massingham and Harpley (as separate benefices) 1982 – 84. Rector of Great with Little Massingham and Harpley (combined) from 1984 9.

The Bishop, JH Brereton Esq and the Diocesan Board of Patronage (Joint). These patrons reflect the combined nature of the Benefice and the effects of the Patronage (Benefices) Rules of 1987. The Brereton family had long been prominent in Little Massingham.

1991

Vacant


Previous.

1992 - 1997

Canon (Herbert) Cedric Bradbury

Born 1930 in Yorkshire.

FPS Manchester University PhC 1953; Lincoln Theological College 1964.

Practised as a pharmacist in Southwold for six years before seeking ordination.

Deacon 1966; priest 1967.

Curate Stephen’s Blackpool 1966 – 71; Team Vicar Hempnall 1971 – 75 and Team Rector 1975 –81; Rector Fritton with Morningthorpe with Shelton and Hardwick 1974 – 77;

Secretary to the deanery synod 1974; then Rural Dean Depwade 1977.

Rector Belaugh 1981; Rector Wroxham with Hoveton and Belaugh 1981 –92; Rural Dean Tunstead 1983 –91; Honorary Canon Norwich Cathedral from 1990.

Rector of Great with Little Massingham and Harpley from 1992. Priest-in-charge South Raynham, East with West Raynham, Helhoughton etc; and Weasenham and Wellingham from 1994.

After 'retirement', Canon Bradbury was an associate priest at St Andrew’s, Holt; specifically taking services at Bale. He was also diocesan officer for clergy and widows.

He died in January 2011 10.

Previous.

1998 – 2005

(John) Martin Nockels

Born 1946.

Lichfield Theological College; Queen’s College Birmingham 1973

Deacon 1973; priest 1974.

Curate Eccleshill Bradford 1973 – 76; Curate Fawley Hants 1976 – 78; Vicar Southampton St Jude 1978 - 84; Rector Tadley St Peter Hants 1984 – 98; Priest-in-charge South Raynham, East with West Raynham, Helhoughton etc 1998 – 99.

Priest-in-charge Great with Little Massingham and Harpley 1998-1999; Rector of Great with Little Massingham and Harpley, Rougham, Weasenham and Wellingham 1999 – 2007.

The Bishop, the Earl of Leicester, Mrs PM Brereton, TF North Esq and the Diocesan Board of Patronage (joint). Again, reflecting the complexity of the Benefice: The North family had succeeded the Yelverton family (see above) at Rougham, and the Earls of Leicester had long been patrons of Wellingham.

2006

Vacant



2007 - 2011

Marie Thorne


Previous.

2011

Vacant



2012 - 2013

Tom Harris


Previous.

2014

Interregnum



Sources:

The main source for the names of the mediaeval Rectors and Patrons was initially Blomefield: An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk etc etc, Volume VIII, Frances Blomefield and Charles Parkin, London, 1808.

Precise details of dates of ordination, details of education and so on, for nineteenth century and earlier Rectors, came from: Alumni Cantabirgienses, various volumes, compiled by JA Venn, Cambridge, various dates from 1921 - 1953.

Details for the later Rectors and Patrons mainly from Crockfords’ Clerical Directory (various dates from 1860) and The Clergy List from 1841.

Detail for the Gurnay family came mostly from: The Record of the House of Gournay, compiled from original documents, Daniel Gurney Esq FSA, London, 1848; with some of the information on Edmund Gurnay from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which also provided much of the Edward Colman biography.

Some other sources were:

Archdeaconry of Norwich: Inventory of Church Goods temp. Edward III, Dom Aeldred Watkin (ed), Vol XIX, Part II, Norfolk Record Society, 1948.

Burke’s Landed Gentry.

County directories for various dates: White’s, Kelly’s, Pigot’s etc.

The Foxhunters of Norfolk, 1534 to the present day, Vic Brown, Fakenham, 2006.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, various dates.

Memoirs of Eminent Etonians, Edward Creasey MA, London 1850.

Norfolk Families, Walter Rye, Norwich, 1913.

Norfolk County Record Office, various.

The Times, various dates.

Walford’s County Families.

Who’s Who in Norfolk, Ebenezer Baylis and Son, Worcester, 1935

Other sources as footnoted.

Cambridge Jargon:

Matriculation: the formal act of admission to the university.

Sizar: a student of limited means, who were charged lower fees, in return for some duties at the college.

Scholar: a student who held a scholarship to give assistance with fees and lodging.

Commoner or pensioner: a student who paid their own fees and ‘commons’ or food and lodging.



1University Study Licenses and Clerical Education in the Diocese of Norwich, 125-35, History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 3. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 387-410, John R. Shinners, Jr

2Dearth, Fasting and Alms, The Campaign for General Hospitality in Late Elizabethan England, Past and Present, Number 172, 2001, p60

3A General  History of The County of Norfolk, Vol II, John Chambers, Norwich, 1829

4Sir Robert Walpole, the making of a statesman, JH Plumb, Cresset Press, 1956

5The Gentlemen’s Magazine, Jan – Jun 1831, Vol CI, Sylvanus Urban, London, 1831

6National Archives: Ref DR57 : Certificate from George John Thicknesse Tuchet Baron Audley of Heileigh Castle, co. Staffs., admitting John George Bellingham, clerk, as one of his domestic chaplains

7Norfolk County Record Office HMN 7/287/1  1935

8Information partly from his obituary in the Dereham and Fakenham Times, Jun 8,1982

9The Independent, Jan 29, 1994, ‘Church Appointments’

10Information primarily Crockford's, with additional points from the Eastern Daily Press, 7 Feb, 2011, Obituaries.