Churches & Chapels> This page
Rectors of St. Giles Church, Matlock, 1300 - 1981+
List of the Rectors of Matlock's parish church. Who they were.
Matlock & Matlock Bath Index
About Matlock | About Matlock Bath | Churches & Chapels | Images | Find a Name
Related pages: Funeral Garlands at Matlock Church | Congregational Church Pastors
Historical Records | Hatches, Matches & Dispatches | MIs
 

Chronological List of Rectors, 1300 - 1887 | Later Rectors, 1887 - 1981 | Additional Notes
Further Bibliography, although information was found previously in other sources

The first section includes the names that were published in Cox's Churches and extracted by him for the most part from the Episcopal Registers at Lichfield[1]. All were Rectors at St. Giles', apart from two. Biographical details from other sources have been added. Cox was later to add more Derbyshire names in his "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals" (see Searston, for example, below).
As F. N. Fisher was to later point out[3], some manuscripts we know exist today were unavailable to Dr. Cox.
Spelling variants may occur either from the original or in the other sources; this is to be expected as there was no real consistency until the nineteenth century. Old manuscripts can be hard to read, making interpretation difficult, something Cox himself acknowledged.

 
Chronological List of Rectors, 1300 - 1887
Walter de FODRINGEYE, instituted 4 Kal. September 1300[1].
- Cox[2] records Walter de FODRINGEYE as Rector of Darley (from 1279) prior to becoming Matlock's Rector. He resigned from there in 1300.
Ralph de ERGOM, inst., on the death of his predecessor, 17 Kal November, 1315[1].
Robert de BRYDELINGTON, inst., on the resignation of his predecessor, 3 Ides February, 1316[1].
Richarde BARGRAVE, inst. 11 Kal. February, 1328[1].
Michael, son of John de HAYELTON, inst. 3 Kal. March, 1332[1].
Henry de WICHINER [sic WITHAM], inst. 15 Jan., 1361[1].
Fisher (1948) tells us that this entry should be Henry de WITHAM, instituted Feb. 1361/2 (Lich.) instead of Wichiner (from Lichfield Episcopal Registers, Salt Soc[3].
Hugh HYKELING, rector in 1366, and had leave of absence from his church for two years' study[1].
- Fisher[3] gives the grant of absence as 1364, also extracted from Lichfield Episcopal Registers, Salt Soc.. One can deduce that Hykeling may have been, and most probably was, rector before 1364.
- Exchanged with his successor for the precentorship of Crediton[4].
William de LOUNDEY, inst. 1372. Exchanged Precentorship of Crediton, Devon, with his predecessor, for this living[1].
Lawrence de SUNDRISH, inst. 2 Kal. May, 1373. He was only an acolyte at the time of his institution, and was admitted to the rectory "in persona Henry de Foston."[1]
John de ASSHEBURNE[1]. [no date]
Richard de STEPULL, inst 9 Kal. June, 1387[1].
John TEKYLL[1]. [no date]
Robert CONYNGHAM [KEYNGHAM], 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[1].
- His name is shown as KEYNGHAM in the list of Rectors of Brailsford (Cox[1] vol.3, p.38, no date given).
William EGGE, inst. 1 May, 1435. Exchanged with his predecessor the living of Brailsford for Matlock[1].
- EGGE is not shown as a Rector of Brailsford, but Keyngham's predecessor there was (1406) John Wyggeston and Robert Hassull followed on from him (Cox[1] vol.3, p.38, no date given). It seems this entry is probably incorrect and is unclear what role he may have had at St. Giles'..
William LOWTHE[1].
- Was it Lowthe who was instituted in 1435?
Henry ANSE, inst. 29 December, 1459[1].
Oliver DYNHAM, M.A. inst. 26 October, 1467[1].
Thomas REYNALD, inst. 1482[1].
James BASFORD, alias BERESFORD, B.L. inst. 31 August, 1497; resigned 12 August 1504, and accepted the Vicarage of Wirksworth[1]..
- One of the 16 sons of Thomas Beresford of Fenny Bentley where he - James - founded a chantry in 1512. He was BAFFORD in the Chantry Roll. Wolley states he was then bachelor of laws, canon residentiary of the cathedral church at Lichfield and prebendary of Prees in that church. Domestic chaplain of Sir John Leake at Sutton Hall before accepting the Rectory at Matlock.
- In 1500 he was appointed a Chantry priest at Osmaston (near Derby), with Thomas Bradshaw as his Patron.
- He had also been a Vicar at Chesterfield, from 1484, and was re-instituted there in 1497 having resigned to avoid the plurality canons (Cox vol.4, Addenda p.453). On his death in 1520 he was followed in this vicarage, by Thomas Lyllylowe (Cox vol.4, Addenda p.453, footnote) (see below).
- Beresford resigned from Matlock in 1503 [sic] to accept the Rectory of Wirksworth (Cox, vol. 2, p.465) where he rebuilt the church porch (no date), resigning from there in 1520.
- He also founded two fellowships and two scholarships at St. John's College, Cambridge (Cox, vol. 2, p.563)[1]..
- He was buried at Lichfield in July 1520.
There seems to be a gap in the list of Rectors names at this point.
Thomas LYLLYLOWE, held the rectory 27 Henry VIII[1]. [1527 or before]
"Valor Ecclesiastica" records him holding a mansion, and glebe lands adjoining, of the annual value of 33s. 4d. There were various tythes, making the total value of the living £11 12s. 0d[5]. He was a pluralist as he was also the Rector of Bonteshalle (Bonsall) which had a value of £10 8s. 8d[1].
In 1520, before arriving in Matlock, he had been vicar of Chesterfield, following on there from James Beresford (Cox vol.4, Addenda p.453, footnote) (above). He also held the rectory of Thorpe in conjunction with Chesterfield. Cox, who described him as an eminent pluralist, said that all the benefices he held were in the gift of the Dean of Lincoln and that, in 1526, there were some remonstrances about his holding Matlock and Bonsall (Cox vol.4, Addenda p.453, footnote[6]).
Robert HORNE, inst. 23 March, 1545, on the death of his predecessor[1].
Peter HART[E] [no date] (Strype's Memorials, iii, 108)[1].
In 1553, during the reign of Queen Mary I (who was influenced by Bishop Gardiner), officers were appointed in every diocese to inquire about, and then "turn out of their livings and livelihoods, all priests that had taken wives in the reign of Edward VI, and to divorce them asunder" as a means of reinstating the Pope.
R. Sampson, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry sent out commissaries to enquire about such priests. Tho. Chedulton, canon of the church of Lichfield then articled other priests and deprived them. Amongst the names listed was that of Peter Hart, Rector of Matlock[7].
Edmund WYLD [WILD], inst. 10 May, 1554[1].
See WILD in Pre 1858 Wills, Surnames W-Z
Christopher GRANGE[R], inst. 10 December, 1560[1].
- The year 1560 has be a typing error as Wild (above) did not die until 1570.
There is possibly another gap in the list of Rectors names at this point, despite searching through the various university lists.
John SEARSTON, Parson (before 1599)
- Searston was not mentioned in "Churches" and Fisher (1948) also notes the omission[3]. Probate records show him as John Sher[e]ston.
- However, we find him recorded in: "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]

- Mentioned in Will of Edmund Haslam, 1599, which indicates he was Rector before 1602.
- The following has been found in Venn (part1, vol.3, p.64)[8] and seems likely to refer to the Matlock parson. The entry does not mention Matlock but this was possibly because he wasn't listed in "Churches". Venn records that he was of Nottinghamshire. Matric. sizar from Queens' College, Cambridge Mischs 1573. B.A. from Christ's College, 1577-8; M.A. 1581. Schoolmaster at Swavesey, Cambs, 1577. Vicar of Lockingham, LEI, 1583.
- 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.
Henry SMITH, obit. 1640[1].
- Henry Smith, Mr. of Arts, was listed as a Licenced Preacher at Ault Hucknall (Cox, Annals - above - Clergy List for Derbyshire, 1602-3, p.250) before moving to Matlock.
- He started the parish register on 27 September 1637. See Baptisms Index.
- His Curate was "Mr. Haslam". See Pre-1858 Wills, Surnames S
- See his burial in 1640 | his widow Catherine's burial in 1655.
- There is an MI for Henry SMITH inside the Church.
- Henry Smith is named in the Wills of BOWNE Anthony of the Lime Tree p. Matlock Yeoman 1619/20 14 Feb | WOLLEY Adam Riber p. Matlock 1619
William THORPE succeeded Smith; was rector for about two years [1].
Thorpe had the misfortune to be at Matlock during the Civil War, when many clergy were put out of, or abandoned, their livings.
- Found in "Dr. John Walker and the sufferings of the clergy", Tatham, G.B (1911), Cambridge University Press:
Appendix 1, p.276, Fol. 80. "Some account of the sufferings of Mr. William Thorp", rector of Matlock and Carsington.
- Cox[1] mentions him at Carsington in notes by a later rector: "1638. The View tree [yew tree?] was sett in the Churchyard of Carsington by William Thorp, rector ... upon the feast day of Simon and Jude".
-The only William Thorpe the web mistress has found in Venn[8] (Part1, vol.4, p237), who may fit because of dates, is the following, which uses information extracted from from Nichols, John "The History and antiquities of the county of Leicester", vol.4.
Matric. sizar from Trinity College, Cambridge, Easter 1623; B.A. 1626-7; M.A. 1630; Vicar of Great Wigston (Wigston-Magna), LEI 1658-64. Buried there 10 Jan 1664/5.
- Will of William Thorp of Great Wiggton Clerk (Leicestershire wills and probate records), written 28 day of December 1664. Probate granted 27 Mar 1665. Inventory of William Thorpe Minister of Great Wiggston taken 17 Jan 1664/5. Total £177-18-3.
- Mentioned in the probate grant of William Wood of Woodseates Matlock, 1642
Thomas SHELMERDINE, A.M.
- He was a Lancastrian by birth and was the Presbyterian Minister who held the living at Matlock during the English Civil War and then in its aftermath, i.e. during the Commonwealth period.
- Venn[8] shows him to have "Matric. sizar from Christ's College, Cambridge, July 1618. B.A. 1629. Vicar of Crich 1629; of Matlock 1650".
- His patron at Crich in 1629 was "John Eley" [sic, John Clay[9]], gen.
- He appears to have followed on from William Thorpe somewhat earlier than 1650, and possibly not long after the outbreak of the Civil War.
- He married Faith Wigley, dau of Richard of Wigwall, at Wirksworth on 17 Feb 1633/4.
- Five of their children were christened at Crich 1638-1641 and one son was buried there; two were christened at Matlock in 1646 | 1648.
- Calamy[10] (p.160-161) commented that "He was a diligent preacher at Criche divers Years; where he was encompassed with many good old Puritans, that lived in that parish and about it, who Strengthen'd his Hands much in his Work".
- The Parliamentary Commissioners Report of 1650 describes "Mr. Thomas Shelmardine, able and honest"[1].
- On 27 Sep 1653 he was one of 7 Derbyshire preachers to sign a Certificate for the Classis of Wirksworth for the approval of Samuel Oggen B.A. (Calamy[10], p.190-4).
- In 1656 he was described as "minister and registrar" of Matlock[1].
- "He was a Man very Cheerful in converse. A kind Husband to an Holy but very Melancholy Wife. ... He remov'd thence [i.e. from Matlock] when he was Silenc'd to a dwelling at Wirksworth, when he did not long survive" (Calamy[10], p.166).
- He was ejected for nonconformity in 1662[1] when John Chappell became the minister in the December (see bottom of baptisms for 1662 which mention Chappell). According to Calamy, he was reported to have told a friend that "That next to my Hopes of heaven, I rejoyce that I turn'd out of Matlock". There seems to be no record of whether Matlock, in turn, rejoiced when the parish learned of his departure.
- "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[1]: footnote at the bottom of p.526). There is a full transcript of the Memoranda in the list of baptisms, 1656.
- The entry for Shelmerdine's son Daniel, M.A. of Barrow (Calamy[10], p.160-1) indicates that he, too held strong views. He was educated at Repton and, like his father, at Christ's College, Cambridge. Daniel was imprisoned several times for his beliefs.
- Also see: Lists Through the Centuries : The Seventeenth Century: Religion Under the Commonwealth | Wolley Manuscripts, volume 6672 ff.266-267
- Thomas Shelmerdine witressed the Will of Edward Bankes/Banks of Matlock, 1649
- Daniel Shelmerdine was mentioned in the Wills of Anthony Wigley (1685) and his mother Mrs. Millicent Wigley (1695) of Senior Field.
John CHAPPELL, prebend of York, inst. 7 November, 1662. Obiit circa. 1688[1].
- 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".
- His marriage is listed under Strays, Surnames C.
- He was buried at Matlock in 1688 and left a Will (see Calendars).
- Venn[8] (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.
- There are several references in the Wolley Manuscripts (scroll down each volume):
Volume 6675 f.208 | Volume 6676 ff.162-172, 174-182 | Volume 6677 ff.9-10 | Volume 6688 ff.202-5
- John Chappell was a witness to the Will of John WALKER Butcher, 1680
Joseph FERN(E), M.A., came here from the Peak, November, 1688; obiit 1716[1].
- Venn[8] (Part 1, vol. 2, p.133) states that he was adm[itted] sizar at Christ's College, Cambridge, May 29, 1673. Son of George and born at Fairfield, DBY. School Ashby-de-la-Zouch (Mr. Shaws [school]). Matric.1674; B.A. 1676-7; M.A. 1680. Ordained at Lichfield Sep 1677; priest June 1979. Married Jane dau of Godfrey Walkinson [sic, Watkinson[w]] - of Newhouse, Brampton, Gentleman (his probate 1674). Jane was born about 1665 and died on 8 Aug 1714, aged 49 and her husband died in 7 Apr 1716, aged 85 - "leaving issue"[w]..
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 |
See details of his Will - Pre 1858 Wills, Surnames F
There is an MI for the FERN family inside St. Giles' church
Reference in the Wolley Manuscripts: Volume 6669 ff.276d-277 Scroll down
Rev. Ferne and other Ministers were mentioned in the Will of Mrs. Millicent Wigley of Senior Field, 1695.
Thomas HINCKEYMAN [sic, HINCKESMAN], vicar of Chesterfield, inst. 19 July 1717, and held it with Chesterfield, where he died 1739[1].
- On the cover of Vol. II. (1732 to 1780) of the parish register is written "The Register Book of the Parish, of Matlock begun in the year 1732. Thomas Hinckesman, Rector. George Maddock, Curate."
His burial was recorded in the church registers.
There is an MI for Thomas HINCKESMAN inside the church.
Also See Strays, Surnames H.
Probate records for Thomas Hinkesman of Chesterfield Clerk. Administration 12 Apr 1739.
Charles CARTWRIGHT. He exchanged for Clarborough, Notts in 1753[1].
s. of John of Wolverhampton, STS, pleb. Attended Exeter College, Oxford, matriculated 6 Mar 1733/4, aged 19. Graduated at Christ Church, Oxford, B.A. 14 Feb 1737/8[11].
Charles Cartwright, Clerk, was buried at Hayton St Peter, NTT on 17 Nov 1775, aged 52 [a transcript of a photograph states that he was 32, so clarification would be gratefully appreciated].
Benjamin BURROW, A.M. inst. 1753; held it with Morton[1] (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[8] (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[1].
- Venn[8] (Part 2 vol.3 p.407) states that he was Admitted as sizar (age 19) to St. John's, Cambridge 11 May 1775. Son of the Rev. George, Rector of Pwllchrochan, Pembs. Born St. David's. Pembs School (under his father). Matric Michaelmas 1775; Scholar 1775; B.A. 1779; DD 1806. Ordained Deacon at Peterborough 27 June 1779; priest (St. David's) 24 Feb 1780; Rector of Matlock 1780-1836; Rector of Ogasthorpe LEI 1796-1836.; Rector of E and W Leake 1804-36; Prebendary of Canterbury 1815-22; Prebendary of Westminster 1822-32.
- Married Catherine d of Francis Hurt of Alderwasley on 23 Feb 1781. Catherine and her husband are mentioned in Francis Hurt's Will (probate, 1783). Their daughter Jane married Thomas Leacroft of Matlock and lived at Cliffe House (see Leacroft pedigree).
- On Friday 13 March 1786 he was appointed a chaplain in ordinary to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, later George IV ("Derby Mercury", 26 Mar 1789). 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 "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). He was living in East Leake in 1811 (Cox, Annals - above - p.200).
- George Holcombe was also a J.P.
- He was an executor of the Will of Thomas Leacroft Esquire of Matlock, 1815, his son in law.
- "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 still being Rector of Matlock.

See his name in Horse Tax Register, 1785 | Eighteenth Century: Game Duty Lists | Nineteenth Century - Game Duty Lists |
List of Subscriptions for the Erection and Support of the Intended Derbyshire Infirmary, 1805
Philip GELL, M.A.
Philip Gell's name is missing from Cox's list, and from several other lists of rectors. Rather sadly for Gell, George Holcombe remained Rector of Matlock until his death, although it looks as if he was often absent. Despite this, Gell was often referred to as Rector.
- A newspaper report of 1811 places Philip Gell 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).
- In 1829 it was announced that had been appointed Minister of St. John's Derby ("Cambridge Chronicle and Journal", 28 August 1829).
- 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 was ordained the following year. He was long afflicted with deafness, which rendered conversation almost impracticable towards the end of his life. It was said that in the pulpit he was usually effective for his terseness and vigour of diction, and grave earnestness of tone and manner. 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.
- Children christened at Matlock (father's occupation clerk, abode Rectory): 1817 | 1817 | 1818 | 1819 | 1820 | 1822 | 1824 | 1826 | 1828 | 1829 |
- Children buried at Matlock (abode Rectory): 1828 (2) |
- He was a witness to the Will of Joseph Fletcher the younger Victualler of Matlock, 1810 |
-Where he was living in census returns:
i. 1851 He, Elizabeth and 1 daur were at Duffield Bank. His occupation was stated as Protestant Lecturer of All Saints', Derby.
ii. 1861 He, Elizabeth 2 daurs and 2 grandchildren were at Duffield Bank. His occupation was stated as Clergyman of the Church of England without cure of souls.
William Job Charlton STAUNTON, inst. 1836[1].
Cox gives his surname as Stanton, but this was changed to Staunton here following research undertaken in Feb 2011.
- Shown in 1814 the Third Form, Upper Greek A of Eton School (p.85); his home was given as Staunton Hall, NTT[12].
- Alumni Oxonienses[11] states he was the only son of John of Calverton, NTT, doctor. Matric Magdalen College 2 May 1821, aged 18. B.A. 1827.
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. Also announced in "The Gentleman's Magazine" Vol. 6 (1837) by Sylvanus Urban (pseud.), Ecclesiastical Preferments, p.204.
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.
- Children christened at Matlock (father's occupation clerk): 1836 | 1838 |
William Rylance MELVILLE, inst. 1839[1]
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).

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".
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 and an alabaster tablet in memory of his infant son - see MIs in the Church
v. He filled in the the Religious Census of 1851 for the church.

Children christened at Matlock (abode Rectory) in the on site transcripts: 1841 | 1844 | 1846 | 1848 | 1852 |
Children buried at Matlock (abode Rectory) in the on site transcripts: 1842 | 1855 |
Some of his children can be found under Strays, Surnames M

Pigot's Directory, 1842 | Bagshaw's Directory, 1846 | Kelly's Directory, 1848 | Kelly's Directory, 1852 | Kelly's Directory, 1855 | White's Directory, 1857 | White's Directory, 1862 | Kelly's Directory , 1864 | Kelly's Directory, 1876
Census entries for the Melville family: 1841 | 1851 | 1861 | 1871 | 1881

Bryan[4] 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.
Later Rectors, extracted from other sources
1887 - James William KEWLEY
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 ("The Times", 29 Jan 1935).
See Canon Kewley and his sisters.- photos and biographical details.
Garden Party at Matlock Rectory
Starkholmes Sunday School Picnic, about 1920/1
Kelly's Directory 1895 | Kelly's Directory 1899 | Kelly's Directory 1908 | Kelly's Directory 1912 | Kelly's Directory 1916 |
1923 - Alban URLING-SMITH[13]
Reverend Alban Urling-Smith was born 20 Dec 1872 at Teddington and 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.
He had previously been curate-in-charge of St. Mary's Church, Buxton ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 28 Nov 1922) where he had been for a little over 12 years.
He made notes on the history of the church, a number of which were reproduced in "Matlock Parish Church, Derbyshire" (1969) Pictorial Guide and Souvenir, The Church Publishers, Ramsgate.
- Probate records show that he died on 27 Feb 1951. After retirement he had lived at Hazelnut on Lime Grove Walk and was survived by his widow and sons.
- He can be found in:
Kelly's 1925 and 1928 Directory (Rev. Alban Urling Smith L.Th. rector, & surrogate ; Rev. Edward Victor Blackburne M.A., hon. C.F. curate)
Kelly's 1932 Directory (Rev. Alban Urling Smith L.Th. rector, & surrogate ; Rev. Cecil Frank Winton Whiteside M.A., curate)
Kelly's 1941 Directory (Rev. Alban Urling Smith L.Th. rector, & surrogate ; Rev. William Stuart Elliot M.A., curate)
- He was one of the local ministers who took part in Matlock Bath: Holy Trinity Choir, Procession of Witness, 1935
1949 - Charles Henry FERRIS[13]
Charles Henry Ferris was ordained by the Bishop of Derby at Derby in 1932, became curate at Bakewell (1932-35), Curate at Buxton (to 1939), went to France with the B.E.F. as chaplain and remained there until the evacuation in 1940. He was appointed to Ambergate as its third vicar in 1941 having resigned his commission on health grounds. Moved to Matlock at the beginning of 1949 ("Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 26 November 1948). Whilst he was at Ambergate he founded the Ambergate Flower Show in his time as Vicar and in 1952 his wife, the daughter of a Crich doctor, attended the tenth show ("ibid.", 8 August 1952).
He died aged 60, at Frome in Somerset on 17 Apr 1964 and was survived by his wife.
1957 - James ARMITAGE[13]
Rev. Armitage (b. 22 Aug 1900) had been ordained by the Bishop of Guildford in 1939 and served his first curacy at Chiddingfold in Surrey ("West Sussex Gazette", 10 October 1957). 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). He then moved to Matlock - with Tansley - in 1957. He passed away on 13 Nov 1961, aged 61, and his widow moved from the Rectory to Gloucestershire.
1962 - Thomas Richards PARFITT[13]
Thomas Richards Parfitt (24 May 1911-1984) was educated at St John Baptist Coll., Oxford. Attained BA Oxon 1933 and was awarded his M.A. in 1936. In he 1939 was a Clerk in Holy Orders and living at Rugby in Warwickshire; he had been welcomed at Holy Trinity Church as its Curate at the beginning of March, having been highly commended by the Bishop of Derby. He had previously served, from 1935 when he was ordained, as assistant curate at New Mills (Rugby Advertiser, 3 March 1939). He left Rugby in 1943 to become a Royal Naval Chaplain (Rugby Advertiser 25 June 1943). Post war he appointed perpetual curate St. Andrew’s Church, Derby ("ibid.",3 May 1946) although other newspapers show he was inducted as Vicar on 6 Jul 1946 (Derby Daily Telegraph, 4 July 1946). He became Rural Dean of Derby. He was consecrated as Bishop of Madagascar at Southwark Cathedral by the Archbishop of Canterbury ("ibid.",1 Feb 1952). It seems as if he was popular at Rugby as a number of people from there attended the service, albeit that they were late. He had been Assistant Bishop in the diocese of Derby, since 1962. At the time of his death he was living at St. Paul's Vicarage, Old Chester Road, Derby.
1981 - John Francis STATHAM[13]
3 others since then

Additional notes and references:

[1] *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.
"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" footnote at the bottom of p.525].
Additional material from this volume has been extracted from Carsington, Fenny Bentley and Wirksworth. Other volumes have also been checked, as noted in the text.

[2] Cox, J. C. (1905) "The Church of St. Helen's, Darley Dale". Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, (vol 27, p.34). Extracted from Lichfield Episcopal Registers.

[3] Fisher, F. N. (1948) Supplementary Derbyshire clergy list. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, (vol 68, p. 51).

[4] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[5] "Valor ecclesiasticus" temp. Henr. VIII. auctoritate regia institutus, volume 3, p.170 (pub. 1818).

[6] Cox, vol IV, quotes as his source Lichfield Registers vol.xiii and xiv, fo.41. The case came before Thomas, Cardinal Archbishop of York, in 1526 as legate a latere.

[7] Strype, John, 1643-1737 "Ecclesiastical memorials : relating chiefly to religion and the reformation of it, and the emergencies of the Church of England, under King Henry VIII, King Edward VI and Queen Mary the First ... with a large appendix to each volume, containing original papers, records, &c.", volume 3 Part 1 Chapter 12, pp.168-9 (Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509). Cox provided the wrong page number.

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

[9] Cox ("Churches", Vol.1, p.52) misread the name of Shelmerdine's sponsor at Crich. It was John Clay, not John Eley. There were no Eley's at Crich at this time. John Clay, gentleman, was buried at Crich 10 Jun 1633. (from personal family surname research by A.A.)

[10] Calamy, Edmund, 1671-1732. "An account of the ministers, lecturers, masters, and fellows of colleges and schoolmasters : who were ejected or silenced after the Restoration in 1660, by or before, the Act of Uniformity ; design'd for the preserving to posterity the memory of their names, characters, writings, and sufferings".

[w] Glover, Stephen (1833) "The History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby ..." Edited by T. Noble. pub. Derby and London. Pedigree of Watkinson (p.145) shows Godfrey Watkinson as the father of Jane Fern(e). Jane's brother, also called Godfrey, who was to look after one of the Fern children, was sheriff in 1736..

[11] "Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford", 1715-1886; their parentage, birthplace and year of birth, with a record of their degrees. Being the matriculation register of the University".

[12] Stapylton, E. H. (1884) "Eton school lists from 1791 to 1877, with notes and index" Pub London, Simpkin, Marshall, and co.

[13] From: Matlock St Giles MIs in the church published with kind permission of the Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group.


Further Bibliography, although information was found previously in other sources

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (1884), volume 6. An Elizabethan clergy list of the Diocese of Lichfield. Cox, J. C. (pp. 157-180).
Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (1932), volume 53. Derbyshire clergy: additions to the Rev. J. C. Cox's lists. Godfrey, W. E. A (pp. 025-038).
Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (1935), volume 56. Derbyshire clergy list II. Godfrey, W. E. A (pp. 001-007).


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

   


Some of the Curates were involved with running St. John's Church in Matlock Dale


Note from the web mistress:
When I first started this page over twenty years ago it was a simple list of names. Things began to expand when I was given access to a number of old photos by Ray Ash, showing the Kewley family. I had already found members of my own family, not linked to Matlock, in old books such as Venn and eventually also used these old sources to find more about Matlock's Rectors. George Holcombe and W. W. Melville stood out because of their longevity in their role, Thomas Shelmerdine for his coming to the parish during the Commonwealth before being removed, Philip Gell for not being a Rector. So I searched further and was recently saddened to learn of the treatment of Peter Hart and William Thorp(e), though it was not unepected in those turbulent times. There are still a number of unanswered questions.
This page was re-designed in August 2019.