Derbyshire> Miscellany> This page
Shirland: St. Leonard's Parish Church
A Genealogy and Local History Resource on The Andrews Pages web site
Chronological List of the Rectors of Shirland's parish church. Who they were.
Miscellany Index
Previous | Next

There has been a rector at Shirland Parish Church for over a thousand years. "The manor of Shirland was purchased by the Shrewsbury family in the reign of Edward IV."[1] "The advowson of the rectory was long annexed to the manor. Two-thirds are still vested in the Earl of Thanet and Mr. Nightingale, as annexed to their shares of the manor : the other third belongs to the heirs of the Reverend J. Bourne. The proprietors of the advowson present in rotation" (Lysons, Derbyshire, 1817).[2] St. Leonard's was to transfer from the diocese of Southwell to the diocese of Derby in 1927.

Charles Cox wrote an extensive Addenda in the final volume of his series on Derbyshire's Churches in 1879[3]. It included what he believed was "a complete list of Rectors from 1320 to 1879". His list of names has been used as a starting point for this page, although a few more Rectors have been discovered from earlier times - as you would expect with information more readily available today. The list does not include curates unless they became rector.

From the 1785 terrier we learn that the "Parson of Shirland receives a fat goose for Christmas from Sam. Lindley of Shirland. His predecessors had paid this 'time beyond the memory of man' and also 'a good gammon of bacon at Easter.' (Lambeth MSS 944, No. 28)"[1]

Chronological List of Rectors, before 1320 - to recent times
The Revel Chantry
Additional Notes and References

Please note: if deceased or died is given after the name of a rector in the earlier entries it means that they died whilst they were still serving the church at Shirland.

Chronological List of Rectors, before 1320 - to recent times.
1312. Robert de Deneford; patron, Sir John de Grey.[3].
1320. Hugo de Dalby : patron, Sir John de Grey. On the resignation of R. de D.[3].
1335. William de Catesby ; patron, Sir Henry de Grey. On the resignation of H. de D.[3].
—— Nicholas de Wadden.[3]
1369. Walter GILKUS; patron, Sir Reginald de Grey, dns de Wylton. On the death of N. de W.[3].
1394. John BOWER; patron, Sir Henry de Grey de Wylton. On the death of W.G.[3].
1441. Hugo PENYALE; patrons, Richard Grey de Wilton, and Margaret his wife[3].
1451. William FELOWE ; patrons, Thomas lord de Richemont, and Margaret his wife, lately the wife of Richard Grey de Wilton. On the death of H. P.[3].
1465. John CLERK; patron, Reginald Grey de Wilton. On the death of W. F.[3].
1500. John DAWSON; patron, Edward Grey, lord Grey de Wilton. On the death of J. C .[3].
—— William HOLMES[3].
1512. Thomas ALEN; patron, George, Earl of Shrewsbury. On the resignation of W.H.[3].
He was referred to in Endowments of the Rectory, "Valor Ecclesiasticus, 27 Hen VIII. Dominus Thomas Alanus rector ibidem habet in communibus annis ut sequitur ..."[1]
Died 30 Jan 1559[4]. CCEd also records a Radolph Alen in 1558, but no other source mentions Radolph.
1558. John HORWOOD; patron, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury. On the death of J. A.[3].
He resigned 9 Jun 1563[4].
1563. John HORNE; patron, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury. On the resignation of J. H.[3].
CCEd gives him as John Holme[s], with varying dates. He had been ordained as a priest 4 Jun 1547 at Durham.
Instituted as Rector 13 Apr 1653[?] and 9 Jun 1563. There are other references to him in records of 1573, 1579 and 1584[4].
1601. Laurence BRODBENT [various spellings].
Clergy List for Derbyshire, 1602-3: Shirland - Laurence Brodbene, Parson ... Mr. of artes ... a preacher by ye Lo. archbushop of Yorke. ... xs. in ye kinges bookes[5].
Instituted Rector 1 Apr 1601.
On 19 Jul 1605 - showed his letters of ordination to the deaconry by William, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield on 3 Oct 1585. Ordained priest by same bishop 4 Oct 1585. When instituted at Shirland in 1601 this was also by same bishop. Licensed to preach within diocese of York by John, Archbishop of York 19 May 1589[4].
Death: 3 Jul 1609.
1609. Nicholas HALLAM, M.A. Instituted as Rector 3 Jul 1609. Resigned 1624[?][4].
1623. John PAINE.[3]
Appointed/instituted 28 Jan 1624[4].
Venn: PAYNE, John. Adm. sizar (age 126) at Caius, Jul 10, 1634. S. of John, gent. B. Spixworth, Norfolk. Bapt. Dec 27 1617. School Norwich (Mr. Stoneham). Matric 1635. Ord deacon (Peterbr.) June 8; priest, June 9, 1623. Perhaps of Shirland, Derbys, clerk. Will (P.C.C.) 1656.[6]
1650 - Mr. John Payne described as "honest and able" (Parliamentary Commissioners)[1]. Will: John Payne, Clerk of Shirland, 21 November 1656, PROB 11/259/387 (TNA).
1656. Joseph STOCKS ; patron, Sir George Savile[3].
Sir George Savile presented Joseph Stock, late minister of Otley, YKS to the Rectory 29 Sept 1656 (Add. MSS. 6671, f. 533)[1].
Venn: STOCK, Joseph. M.A. 1623 (Incorp. from Oxford). Probably s. of Alexander, R. of Kirkheaton, Yorks. Matric. (University College, Oxford) June 18, 1613; B.A. (Oxford) 1617; M.A. 1620. V. of Gt Sandall, Yorks., 1625. R. of Shirland, Derbs., 1656-66; formerly minister of Otley, Yorks. A Royalist. Married Judith Power of Wakefield. Died 1666. Probably brother of the next [Nathaniel, 1616] and of Alexander (1625). (Cox, Churches of Derbs., i. 341; Al. Oxon.).[6]
Buried at Shirland 23 Apr 1666.
1666. Henry ALSOP; patron, James Wright. On the death of J. S.[3].
Venn: ALSOP, Henry. Adm. sizar (age 18) at ST. JOHN's, Mar 16, 1645-6. S. of Francis, artificer, of Darley Dale, Derbys. B. there. School Bakewell. Matric 1645-6; B.A. 1649-50; M.A. 1659. Probably R. of Shirland, Derbys. 1666.[6]
Buried 15 Jul 1672 (Shirland BTs).
Will: Henry Alsopp, Rectory of Shirland, 1675 October 21 (Lich). Wife Hannah and five children.
1675. Michael SMITHURST; patron, Sir John Talbot. Buried March 1st, 1680[3].
Another source says buried 2 March 1680/1.
Appointed as Rector 22 Nov 1675[4].
Probate: 12 March 1680/01 Michael Smithurst cler Shirland.
Inventory: Michael Smithurst Clark Rector of Shirland deceased the 28 February last past [1680/1] apprised 11 March. Administration granted to Elizabeth Smithurst, his wife (Lich).
1681. Nicholas SILVESTER[3].
Venn: SYLVESTER, Nicholas. Adm. sizar (age 17) at Christ's, June 10, 1674. S. of James. B. at Twyford, Staffs. School, Tamworth (Mr Antrobus). Matric. 1674; B.A. 1677-8. Ord. deacon (York) June, 1680; priest. May, 1681. R. of Shirland, Derbs.[6]
Will: Nicholas Silvester, Rector of Shirland, 1687/8 March 21 (Lich). Executrix wife Elizabeth. Three children named - daughters Mary and Elizabeth, son James.
1688. William SLEIGH; patrons, Thomas Maxwell, and Jane, [Dowager] Duchess of Norfolk.
Had been appointed 5 Apr 1688.
Buried November 27th, 1727[3].
His Will: Wm Sleigh, Clerk, 3 Oct 1728 (Lich). Son John, daughter Susannah and grandchildren Sleigh and Rockforth.
His Bible, dating from 1603, given to Church in 1910 by Mr. Huish; it is in a glass topped case. Inside is written "Mr. Sleigh, ye minister of Shirland. W. S. 1711." ("Alfreton Journal", 13 May 1910).
1727. John TOWN; patron, John Edwards, Buried March 28th, 1749[3].
In some sources, including Cox, he was incorrectly recorded as John Gown.
Marriage: (Archdeaconry Court & Peculiar Of Southwell Marriage Licences, 1701-1853) Licence: 1738 Dec 25. John Town, Clerk, p. St. Peter's, Nottm., 35, bac. & Ann Broughton, p. St, Mary's, Nottm., spr. at Lenton or St. Peter's. Married Lenton St. Anthony 26 Dec 1738.
1745/6, Shirland Constables Accounts: 'Going to Chesterfield with the money raised by Subscriptionn towards suppressing the Rebellion £0-1-0. John Town contributed the sum of £6-6-0 to the fund' [7], p.71.
Probate John Town Clerk Rector of Shirland 18 Oct 1749. (Web mistress has examined the Will and although one of the names looks as if it may begin with a G rather than a T, the capital G is very different.)
1749. Francis HARRISON; patron, Rt. Hon. Countess of Thanet[3].
Appointed 20 Apr 1749.
Death: 14 Dec 1754[4]. No burial or will found.
1754. Thomas FIDDLER; patron, Peter Nightingale and others. Buried September 11th, 1792[3].
Christened 25 Oct 1705 at Chesterfield, DBY.
Venn: FIDLER, Thomas. Adm. sizar (age 18) at St John's, Nov. 29, 1723. S. of Jasper, farmer, of Derbyshire. B. at Chesterfield. School Chesterfield (Mr. Burroughs). Matric. 1731; B.A. 1727-8; M.A. 1731. R. of Shirland, Derbs, 1754-92.[6]
The death of Thomas Fidler was mentioned in The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868.
Will: Tho. Fidler 1793, 24 Apr, Clerk (Lich). Wife Elizabeth, daughters Mary and Elizabeth, son Thomas.
1792. George BUCKSTON; patron, George Buckston[3] (1753-1827).
Son of George Buckston the elder of Bradbourne (d.1810).
Educated Trinity College, Cambridge - B.A. then M.A.
He was an absentee Rector. He was also a lecturer at Ashbourne (1782-1827), domestic chaplain to the Earl of Macclesfield and Vicar of Bradbourne (from 1903-death).
Buried Ashbourne, DBY 3 Jan 1827, aged 74.
Will: PCC PROB 11/1721/393, Reverend George Buckston, Clerk of Ashbourne. Probate Executrix Frances Buckston, Ashbourne.
1827. Thomas GRINFIELD[3], M.A..(1788-8 Apr 1870).
Born at Bath, passed away at 25 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol.
Appointed to the benefice in 1827; inducted 27 May, 1827[8]. In 1841 this was in the gift of the Earl of Thanet and others. However, at his death it was in the gift of Sir R. Tufton and others ("Derby Mercury", 20 Apr 1870).
It was said that he only resided at Shirland for a short time before being compelled to leave because of ill-heath; Shirland was then left in the hands of the curates-in-charge until his death ("The Alfreton Journal", 5 May 1882). He then became curate-in-charge of St. Mary-le-Port, Bristol.
He was the longest serving absentee church rector at Shirland. There is no evidence in the newspapers that he ever returned to the village although he retained the rectorship and its income until his death. The curates-in-charge lived at The Rectory in his stead[9].
1870. Joseph HALL (1831-4 May 1882). On the death of T. G.[3].
b. Ireland. Educated Trinity College, Dublin (Kelly's Directory, 1881).
1861 curate of Dresden, living in Longton STS with sister.
1868. Rev. Joseph Hall, B.A., appointed to the curacy, nominated by Rev. E. W. Michell, M.A. ("Pall Mall Gazette", 2 October 1868).
Rev. Joseph Hall, Rector of Shirland. Patron, T. W. Foster, Esq., Belgian Consulate, Hull (Preferments and Appointments, "Exeter and Plymouth Gazette", 13 May, 1870).
He passed away at Shirland Rectory, aged 53 ("Derbyshire Times", 6 May 1882).
1883. Rev. Francis Ratcliffe HARPHAM.
b. West Hills, LIN 22 Sep 1851, d. 6 Mar 1908.
In 1871 he was a student and staying with his Uncle, Rev. Judd, in Halifax.
Studied at Merton Coll., Oxford. He was curate of St. George's Church, Leeds and chaplain of Leeds Infirmary. Rector of Shirland 1883-1889. He was instituted as Rector by Dr. Maclagan, Bishop of Lichfield ("Derbyshire Times", 10 Feb 1883)
He exchanged livings with Rev. Stoney and moved to St. John's Wednesbury ("Norfolk Chronicle", 14 March 1908).
He was Rector of the parish of Cantley NFK when he died, aged 56 (M.I.).
1889. Rev. Robt. Baker STONEY, M.A. (1828-18 Oct 1904).
His family were Irish. Ordained deacon in 1851 and priest in 1852.
M.A. Trinity College, Dublin (Bulmers Directory, 1895)
Previously Rector of St. John's, Wednesbury (from his M.I.). He exchanged the living with Rev Harpham ("Alfreton Journal", 21 October 1904).
The patronage of the living with W. G. Turbutt, J.P., of Ogston Hall.
In 1902 Rev. Stoney fell out of his carriage, sustaining some severe facial bruises ("Derbyshire Times", 23 August 1902)
An entry in the National School Admissions Register for the Edward Revell Endowed Primary (Hallfield Gate) School reads:
1904 Oct 19 Wednesday. "I have to record the death of the Rev. Robert Baker Stoney M.A. Rector of Shirland and a Foundation Manager of this School. He died last night. - W. Stoney, Esq. visited this afternoon".
Two days later a wreath from the Scholars and Teachers was subscribed for.
"He has given all his stipend away in charity and towards deserving objects." ("Derbyshire Courier", 29 October 1904).
The lectern is dedicated in his memory, as a token of love and esteem by parishioners and friends.
1904. Rev. Bernard HALLOWES (5 Oct 1869-10 May 1951).
Born Punjab India.
Graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge (Kelly's Directory, 1912).
Inst. and inducted Dec 1905 ("Derbyshire Times", 30 December 1905)
Patron J. F. Hall, Hanover Square, Brighton.
Previously vicar of Brackenfield.
Became Assistant Diocesan Inspector.
Hallowes accepted the living of Langtree, DEV ("Alfreton Journal", 25 September 1914).
1915. Frederick Charles PHEASANT (1867-1936).
b.1867 Southampton, Hampshire. Son of John, a sergeant in the Royal Engineers, and his wife Margaret. The family moved to Oxford, where John was a surveyor. Frederick became a schoolmaster there (1891).
1897, 17 Dec. - B.A. Oxford University (Congregation to confer degrees). Frederick C. Pheasant, Non-Collegiate ("The Standard", 18 Dec 1897).
Ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Oxford 1899 and priest the following year. Then curate of Clifton-Hampden.
1901 Visiting Culham Training College - he was senior master there. Curate of St. Andrews, Peckham until 1905.
Organising Secretary for the Additional Curates' Society for the diocese of Chester, Liverpool, Sodor and Man, and Southwell.
Appointed Rector of Shirland late 1914; he had previously been at Nottingham.
Resigned the living due to indifferent health and accepted the living of Fenny Bentley ("Alfreton Journal", 7 October 1927).
Then also became Diocesan Inspector for Church Schools in the Rural Deaneries of Ashbourne, Derby, Longford, Melbourne and Repton.
His funeral took place at Fenny Bentley ("Ashbourne Telegraph" Friday, 4 Dec 1936).
1928. Rev. E. Hugh PAYNE, B.A. (14 Mar 1894-2 Jan 1979)
Edward Hugh was born in Lincoln, the 2nd son of Rev. Charles A Payne and his wife Ellen.
In 1911 he was attending St Cuthbert's College, a boys school at Sparken Hill Worksop (from 1911 census), having first been a pupil at Boston Grammar School.
WW1 - Served in Salonika. Captain of 8th O.B.L.I. (Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry).
Graduated St. Chad's College, Durham. B.A. Jun 1921. Diploma in Theology and M.A. Dec 1921.
1922 appointed to St. Mark's, Lakenham, where his brother had previously trained.("The Boston Guardian", 7 January 1922).
Before he moved to Shirland he had been curate of St. Mark's, Fakenham, NFK ("Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 February, 1928).
His father d. aged 90 at the Rectory in Shirland in 1846; he had been curate in a number of places before becoming a vicar and when he moved to Shirland to live with his son he intended to help at the church("Spalding Guardian", 6 September 1946).
Died Southwold, SFK.
1948. Rev. Charles BROWNE.
Graduated University of Barcelona 1931.
Had served in the navy during the war.
Postwar studied at the University of London and Edinburgh Theological College.
Ordained Deacon 1947 ("Lynn news and advertiser", 2 Apr 1954). He had previously served as curate at St. Margaret's, Glasgow.
1948 Rev. Charles Browne inducted as Rector ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 24 January 1948).
Whilst at Shirland he formed a football club with two teams.
Appointed Vicar of Apethorpe-with-Woodnewton, NTH ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 29 January 1952).
1952. Rev James ARMITAGE (22 Aug 1900-13 Nov 1961).
He was appointed Rector of Shirland in 1952, having previously served as Vicar of Cobham in the diocese of Guildford ("The Times", 19 April, 1952).
Accepted Rectory of Matlock ("Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 19 July 1957).
See his name on Rectors of St. Giles Church, Matlock - 1300 to 1981+.
1958. John William CHISMON (14 Mar 1895-26 Mar 1973).
Served as a Private in the Leicestershire Regiment in WW1.
He worked for some time as a preacher in Hull in the 1930s, where there was great unemployment.
In 1939 he was a theological student in Manchester.
By 1946 he as vicar of St. James' Church, Oldham.
He died at Chesterfield.
1966. Rev. Victor CRABTREE (25 Feb 1918-1998).
b. Halifax, YKS. In 1939 he was a Theological Student at House Of The Sacred Mission, Kelham, NTT. Ordained 1943.
He was the curate at Shirebrook and then at Burton before being appointed at vicar of Shirebrook in 1950.
He became the "New Rector, Rev Victor Crabtree was to conduct his first Remembrance Day service, having moved from Bradwell, near Tideswell" ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 11 November 1966).

The Revel Chantry

The Revel family founded a chantry at the church in the fifteenth century when Thomas Revel of Higham bequeathed C [100] markes for "the byeinge of lands for a prests wags to synge and saye masse perpetuallye for his soule, etc". In 1495/6 Roberte Revell left money " to fynde a prest to syng in the challepell of Shyrland ... for four score and nineteen yeares"[1].

At the dissolution of the chantries by Henry VIII, Robert Revell took the the chantry priest of the time, Christopher Haslam, into his home. Gladwyn Turbutt tells us that Revell also managed to transfer some of the chantry leases into his own hands so they did not fall into the King's hands [or those of his son and his advisors]. The Earl of Shrewsbury acquired the remainder[10].

Additional notes and references:

[1] Cox, J Charles (1875) "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol I, Hundred of Scarsdale ", Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings; and Derby.

[2] Lysons, Rev Daniel and Samuel Lysons Esq. (1817) "Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire" London: Printed for T. Cadell, Strand; and G. and A. Greenland, Poultry.

[3] Extracts, with some additions, from: Cox, J. Charles (1879), "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, vol. IV" pub. Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings; and Derby. Addenda, fourth volume pp.476-7.

[4] CCEd. The Church of England Database has been used to fill in some of the gaps.

[5] Cox, Charles J., LL.D., F.S.A (1890) "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals", Vol I. pub. London: Bemrose and Sons, 23 Old Bailey; and Derby (pp.332-4).

[6] Venn, J. A. "Alumni Cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge", pub Cambridge University Press.

[7] Turbutt, Gladwyn (1978, reprinted 1997), "A History of Shirland and Higham" Higham Press p.93 ISBN 0 9504692 1 1.

[8] Foster, Joseph (1890) "Index ecclesiasticus; or, Alphabetical lists of all ecclesiastical dignitaries in England and Wales since the reformation.", Oxford, Parker and co.

[9] See transcripts of Shirland, Derbyshire: Trade Directories from Rev. Grinfield's time as Rector.

[10] Turbutt, Gladwyn (1978, reprinted 1997), "A History of Shirland and Higham" Higham Press p.93 ISBN 0 9504692 1 1.

Related pages about Shirland:

St. Leonard's, exterior

St. Leonard's, interior

Shirland is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes P - S.
The Glossary of Terms is also useful.

The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868, p.58-59.

The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire section. Two references.

Other lists of Derbyshire Rectors or Vicars

Ashbourne Vicars (this section of the site).
Matlock Rectors (Matlock section).

Page researched by and © Ann Andrews.