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Rectors of St. Giles Church, Matlock
1300 - 1981, extracted (with additions) from Cox's "Churches*" up to 1887
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1300 - 1887 | 1887 - 1981 | Additional Notes

  List of Rectors, 1300 - 1887  

The following is a list of the rectors of Matlock, extracted for the most part from the Episcopal Registers at Lichfield:- [1]

  • Walter de FODRINGEYE, instituted 4 Kal. September 1300.

  • Ralph de ERGOM, inst., on the death of his predecessor, 17 Kal November, 1315.

  • Robert de BRYDELINGTON, inst., on the resignation of his predecessor, 3 Ides February, 1316.

  • Richarde BARGRAVE, inst. 11 Kal. February, 1328.

  • Michael, son of John de HAYELTON, inst. 3 Kal. March, 1332.

  • Henry de WICHINER, inst. 15 Jan., 1361.

  • Hugh HYKELING, rector in 1366, and had leave of absence from his church for two years' study.

  • William de LOUNDEY, inst. 1372. Exchanged Precentorship of Crediton, Devon, with his predecessor, for this living.

  • Lawrence de SUNDRISH, inst. 2 Kal. May, 1373. He was only an accolyte at the time of his institution, and was admitted to the rectory "in persona Henry de Foston."

  • John de ASSHEBURNE.

  • Richard de STEPULL, inst 9 Kal. June, 1387.

  • John TEKYLL.

  • Robert CONYNGHAM, inst. 15 January, 1423, on the death of his predecessor. This presentation was made by the brothers Simon and Henry, monks of Darley and Dale Abbeys, patrons for this turn by concession of the Dean of Lincoln.

  • William EGGE, inst. 1 May, 1435. Exchanged with his predecessor the living of Brailsford for Matlock.

  • William LOWTHE.

  • Henry ANSE, inst. 29 December, 1459.

  • Oliver DYNHAM, M.A. inst. 26 October, 1467.

  • Thomas REYNALD, inst. 1482.

  • James BASFORD, alias BERESFORD, B.L. inst. 31 August, 1497; resigned 12 August 1504, and accepted the Vicarage of Wirksworth.

  • Thomas LYLLYLOWE, held the rectory 27 Henry VIII[2].

  • Robert HORNE, inst. 23 March, 1545, on the death of his predecessor.

  • Edmund WYLD, inst. 10 May, 1554.
    See Pre 1858 Wills, Surnames W-Z

  • Christopher GRANGE, inst. 10 December, 1560.

  • Peter HART (Strype's Memorials, iii, 108).

  • John SEARSTON, Parson (1602/3)[3]

  • Henry SMITH, obit. 1640[4].
    Henry Smith started the parish register on 27 September 1637. See Baptisms Index.
    His Curate was "Mr. Haslam". See Pre-1858 Wills, Surnames S

  • William THORPE succeeded Smith; was rector for about two years.

  • Thomas SHELMERDINE, A.M. In 1656 he was "minister and registrar" of Matlock. He was ejected for nonconformity in 1662 [5].

  • John CHAPPELL, prebend of York, inst. 7 November, 1662. Obiit circa. 1688[6].

  • Joseph FERN, A.M., came here from the Peak, November, 1688; obiit 1716[4].
    See details of his Will - Pre 1858 Wills, Surnames F
    The christenings of his children can be found in the PR transcripts: 1690 | 1693 | 1696 | 1698 | 1701 | 1704 | 1707 | 1711 |
    Burials of his children: 1695 |

  • Thomas HINCKEYMAN, vicar of Chesterfield, inst. 19 July 1717, and held it with Chesterfield, where he died 1739[4].
    Also See Strays, Surnames H.

  • Charles CARTWRIGHT. He exchanged for Clarborough, Notts in 1753.
    Charles Cartwright, Clerk, was buried at Hayton St Peter, NTT on 17 Nov 1775, aged 82 [a transcript of a photograph read that he was 32, so clarification would be gratefully appreciated].

  • Benjamin BURROW, A.M. inst. 1753; held it with Morton (from 1757 to death). He died at Morton in 1779 and was buried at Holy Cross on 27 Dec 1779.
    His Will, held by TNA, was proved 23 March 1780 (PROB 11/1062/360).
    Venn (Part 1, Vol 1) tells us that he was a graduate of St. John's College, Cambridge (admitted 1 May 1736, aged 20). Awarded M.A. 1743. Born Chesterfield and educated there. Had been vicar of Clar[e]borough before moving to Matlock. Vicar of Tibshelf (1753-68). Chaplain to the Duke of Devonshire.

  • George HOLCOMBE, D.D., inst. 1780; made chaplain to Prince of Wales 13 March, 1789; died in 1836. Dr. HOLCOMBE also held the living of East and West Leake, Notts., where he resided[7].

  • Philip GELL, M.A.[8]

  • William Job Charlton STAUNTON, inst. 1836[9].

  • William Rylance MELVILLE, inst. 1839[10][11].

The Registers only commence in the year 1637.

Later Rectors, extracted from other sources

  • 1887 - James William KEWLEY[11][12]

  • 1923 - Alban URLING-SMITH[13][14]

  • 1949 - Charles Henry FERRIS[13]

  • 1957 - James ARMITAGE[13]

  • 1962 - Thomas Richards PARFITT[13]

  • 1981 - John Francis STATHAM[13]

View even more about the church by clicking on the images below:


*Extracts, with some additions, from: Cox, J. Charles (1877), "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. II" pub. Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings; and Derby. pp.525-527.
Note: Spelling and punctuation as it appears in the volume; case of surname changed to caps.
Spelling variants may occur in other sources; this is to be expected as there was no real consistency until the nineteenth century.

Additional notes and references:

[1] "A list of Matlock rectors is given in the Wolley Collections (Add. MSS., 6667, ff.260, 263) but we have added to it and amended it very considerably, by comparison with the Lichfield registers" [Cox, J. C. "Churches ... ": Footnote at the bottom of p.525].

[2] Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509.

[3] From: "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals, an Illustrated by the Records of the Quarter Sessions of the County of Derby from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Victoria" by the Rev. Charles J. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A Vol I. London: Bemrose and Sons, 23 Old Bailey; and Derby (1890)

Section IV. Ecclesiastical: Licenced Preachers.
Clergy List for Derbyshire, 1602-3. p.250.

Matlocke - John Searston, Parson ..... Mr. of artes ..... a preacher by the Lo : archbushop of Yorke his Grace xjli. in the kinges bookes [£12]

Probate Calendars at Staffordshire RO (formerly Lichfield) show that the estate of John Sher[e]ston Rector of Matlock was administered and probate granted on 19 Jan 1612/13 - i.e. 1613 in the modern calendar. The long inventory was praised by Robert Revell, George Stathan, John Spatmen, Anthony Haslam, Edward Haslam & William Ludlam.

[4] There are MIs in the church for the following Rectors: FERN | HINCKESMAN | SMITH

[5] "The registers of this church, which commence in 1637, contain the following _"Memorandum, that upon the 26th day of January 1654 Mr Thomas Shelmerdine was chosen Registrar for the Parish of Matlock before me John Spateman one of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Derby.
(Signed) Jo. Spateman." [Cox, J. C. "Churches": Footnote at the bottom of p.526]
There is a full transcript of the Memoranda in the list of baptisms, 1656.
However, he appears to have folowed on from William Thorpe circa 1642 and the baptism register lists the names of two of his sons in 1646 and 1648.
See Biographies

[6] Rev. John Chappell owned Riber Hall, which he bought from the heiresses of the last of the Wolley family to live there. His appointment is shown in the parish register for 1662. Below the December christenings for 1662 it states that "Mr. Chappell came the 26th November" and at the top of the next page is the statement that "Mr. John Chappell came to Matlock to be Rector November 26th 1662". He was buried at Matlock in 1688 and left a Will (see Calendars).
Venn (Part 1, Vol 1) shows that he was the son of Nicholas Chappell of Nottingham, and attended Repton School. He was admitted to Christ's, Cambridge, 4 June 1650, aged 19. Awarded M.A. 1657.

[7] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 17 Feb 1836. Announcement of death of George Holcombe, aged 80, on 7th February at West Leake. No mention was made in the death notice of him being Rector of Matlock. He was still involved with Matlock in 1806 as he was recorded in "The Bury and Norwich Post", when it was announced on 3 July that he had become a Doctor of Divinity, as being Rector of the parishes of Matlock and West Leake and also Chaplain to Earl Moira. Yet in February 1805 two advertisements were placed in "The Derby Mercury" as the Rectory, newly refurbished, was to let. Mr. Goodwin and later Miss Dod and her sister lived at the Rectory. Miss Dod was to marry Philip Gell (see Hatches, Matches & Dispatches). George Holcombe was also a J.P.
See his name in Eighteenth Century: Game Duty Lists | Nineteenth Century - Game Duty Lists

[8] Philip Gell's name is missing from Cox's list, and from several other lists of rectors. A newspaper report of 1811 places him in Matlock and his children were born at the Rectory and baptised in the church between 1815 and 1829. He was married at St. Giles' (see Hatches, Matches & Dispatches). He attended the ceremony to lay the Foundation stone of Matlock Bath church (reported in "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 16 June, 1841); "The Rev. P. Gell, formerly Rector of Matlock, but now of St. John's Derby, delivered a lengthy and fervent address". He was described as an Evangelist in some later newspaper reports. He became Rural Dean of Derby. He died at Derby on 7 Jan 1870, aged 86 ("The Times" Monday, 10 Jan, 1870). He was clearly a very able man, being listed 6th amongst the Senior Optimes when he took his degree in 1805 (Mathematics) at Trinity College, Cambridge ("The Pall Mall Gazette", Tuesday, 11 January, 1870). He had several publications to his name and compiled a hymn book that was used in Derbyshire's churches ("Derby Mercury", 19 Jan, 1870).
Also see Brewer's Directory, 1823 & 1824 (Rector) | Glover's Directory 1827-8-9 (curate!) | Pigot's Directory 1828-9.

[9] Surname changed from Stanton following research (Feb 2011).
The Rev. William Job Charlton Staunton M.A. was appointed to the Rectory of Matlock in 1836; his Patron was the Dean of Lincoln. Staunton had gained his M.A from Magdalen College, Oxford on 13th Nov 1828 and he married Isabella Gordon, a daughter of the Dean of Lincoln, on 3 Mar 1829 at St. Mary Magdalene, Lincoln. Staunton was not at Matlock long as, in September 1838, he "presented to the Vicarage of Aslackby". He died at Aslackby on 10th Apr 1840, aged 36, leaving 8 children under 10. Another child was born after he had died. Only two of the Staunton children, John (see baptism) and Mary Frances (see baptism and Strays), were born at Matlock.
An interesting story involving Rev. Staunton was printed in "The Derby Mercury" in October 1834. An ancient custom that "when any of the Royal family honour Belvoir Castle with their presence, the chief of the Staunton family appear personally to present the key" of "Staunton's Tower". Because his father was ill (in 1833) it fell to William Job Charlton Staunton to perform the ceremony.
i. Appointed Rector: " The Essex Standard, and Colchester, Chelmsford, Maldon, Harwich, and General County Advertiser", Friday, 15 July, 1836.
ii. M.A.: "The Standard" Friday, 14 November, 1828.
iii. Moved to Aslackby: "The Essex Standard, and General Advertiser for the Eastern Counties" Friday, 14 September, 1838.
iv. Death announcement: same paper, Friday, 1 May, 1840.

[10] Melville's appointment by the Dean of Lincoln was published in "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 6 March, 1839. The announcement of his preferment said he was "of St. Peter's College, Cambridge". Years later, Cox was to acknowledge Melville's help with his "Churches": "To the Rev. W. R. Melville, the present rector, we desire to express our obligations for the assistance he has given us in this account of Matlock church" (Cox, J. C. "Churches ... ": Footnote at the bottom of p.528).
i. William Rylance Melville was born in Nottingham on 8 Oct 1812, the son of William and Sarah Melville, and was baptised at St. Nicholas Church on 8 December. He married Susanna James of Ireton Wood at Kirk Ireton on 14 Jan 1836 ("The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 20 January, 1836). He was then given as "of Willoughby-on-the-Wolds".
ii. He was ordained as a priest by the Archbishop of York at Bishopthorpe on 18 Dec 1836 ("The York Herald, and General Advertiser", Saturday, 24 December, 1836).
iii. He was awarded his M.A. from Cambridge on 7 Jul 1838 ("The Essex Standard, ... and General County Advertiser", Friday, 13 July, 1838).
iv. There are some windows in the church that were given by the Melville family - see MIs in the Church
v. He filled in the the Religious Census of 1851 for the church.

[11] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.
Bryan records that William Rylance Melville died and was succeeded by James William Kewley in 1887.
Melville's death was announced in "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 13 April, 1887. "On Easter-day, at Matlock Rectory, the Rev. William Rylance Melville, M.A., for 48 years rector of Matlock, aged 74". His wife Susanna had died at the Rectory a few weeks before, on 5th February.

[12] "The Times", 29 Jan 1935. Death announcement records that he was Rector at Matlock 1887 - 1922. He had died at Matlock on 25 Jan, aged 88, and his funeral was the 29th.
See Canon Kewley and his sisters.

[13] From: Matlock St Giles MIs in the church published with kind permission of the Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group.
Charles Henry Ferris, who was ordained at Derby in 1932, had been the vicar of Ambergate ("Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 26 November 1948).

[14] Reverend Alban Urling-Smith made notes on the church history, a number of which were reproduced in "Matlock Parish Church, Derbyshire" (1969) Pictorial Guide and Souvenir, The Church Publishers, Ramsgate.
Urling-Smith was born 1873 at Teddington. Began his working life as a Stockbroker's Clerk (1891 census). "The Times", 21 Dec, 1898; Ordinations, Liverpool, Deacons. St. Aiden's Theol. Coll., Birkenhead to St. Dunstan, Edge Hill.