Rectors of Cliffe - Cliffe History

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The Rectors of Cliffe at Hoo

By Canon Scott Robertson.

Reproduced by kind   permission of the Kent Archaeological Society.

THE Rectory of Cliffe has been held by many men of marked   distinction. Two of them were called to the high position of   Lord Chancellor of England; five attained episcopal dignity,   and of these two became Primates, one at York and the other   at Canterbury. Eleven rectors of Cliffe were archdeacons,   and three were Deans. As the manor of Cliffe, with its   extensive marshes, belonged to the Priory of Christ Church,   in Canterbury, and the Priory claimed exemption from tithe   for all its manors, the rectors were sometimes in bad case.   Mr. J. B. Sheppard* says that they became rich or poor   according as the tithes of these rich pastures were paid or   withheld. He adds that, in the thirteenth century, many   rectors in succession demanded tithe from these marshes, and   the convent refused to pay anything, alleging that their   manors were universally exempt. The Christ Church Register D   contains many records of these disputes, respecting which   Archbishops, Popes, and delegate Judges intervened, but   without effect. Mention of riotous outbursts of the   parishioners against two rectors, John de Bruyton and John   de Bishopston, will be found below. At length, from very   weariness, a compromise seems to have been arrived at.

We cannot ascertain with any accuracy what was the   value of the benefice in the Middle Ages. In the Taxatio of   Pope Nicholas, A.D. 1291, it is valued at £73 6s. 8d. per   annum. In the “King’s Book“ it is entered at £50 per annum.   A Commonwealth Survey made in 1649 estimates it at £200 a   year. In 1664, however, it was returned as having formerly   been worth £800; but, at that time, only £200. Hasted says   that, in 1797, by mutual agreement, the parishioners paid to   the rectors £500 per annum, in lieu of tithes. In 1889 the   tithes were commuted at £1891, but from that income £100 per   annum is now allotted to the vicar of Holy, Trinity,   Maidstone, and £150 to the vicar of Bredhtirst. By ancient   custom, the rector was bound to give, to each applicant at   the rectory, on St. James's Day, a mutton pie and a loaf.   About A.D. 1795, however, the incumbent found means of   compounding permanently for this dole, which had sometimes   cost £15 per annum.

The Cliffe Paten

The Rectory house has always been a very important   adjunct to this benefice. Its ancient hall, built in the   fourteenth century, still remains, and the original doorways   which then led to the kitchen and butteries are even now in   daily use. Its high pitched roof, open to the ridge from the   floor, is gone; in its upper portion a bedroom storey was   built in 1679. The hall was then divided into two rooms   above, and two below. Twelve years ago, however, the late   Mr. Lloyd began to restore the ground-floor of the ancient   hall to its pristine condition. His printed description of   the undertaking is extremely interesting.
Many curious   fragments of carved and moulded stonework, of the fourteenth   and fifteenth centuries, were discovered during the work.   Some of them had evidently formed part of the chapel,   erected by Dr. Laurence Fastolf in 1348, and consecrated by   the Bishop of Llandaff. Its altar was dedicated to Saint   Laurence. Among the debris found about the house was a large   fragment of a crossed coffin slab, of moulded stone,   probably of the fourteenth century.

RICHARD DE WALLINGFORD'S name is the   first that has become known to us of those which should be   inscribed upon the roll of rectors of Cliffe. He effected a   composition with the monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury,   respecting the tithes of its marshes in Cliffe. This   agreement was formally concluded, and settled, at a court   held in the parish church of Boxley, in May 1229. We know   nothing more about Richard de Wallingford.

HUGH DE MORTIMER was rector of Cliffe in   1254. In that year, without binding his successors, he, for   his own tenure of the rectory, released Christ Church Priory   from paying small tithes on their manorial lands, and from   great tithes on their sheep-cotes and mills. He was a man of   great legal acquirements, a graduate of Oxford University,   and Provost of Oriel College. Nevertheless the Chroniclers   tell us that he was born in Poitou. We first hear of him in   A.D. 1246 when he was an officer (probably "the Official")   of the See of Canterbury. Before Boniface had been installed   as Archbishop of Canterbury, while he was still "elect," or   “designate," he crossed the Channel early in 1245-6. Before   quitting England, he directed Hugh de Mortimer to see that   the available woods on his See-lands were cut down and sold,   and that tallages and collections were made in the   archdiocese. Mortimer served, during his lifetime, as   Official of the Diocese, as Vicar-General thereof, and as   Chancellor, successively. During his tenure of each of these   offices his name appeared upon the list of persons "who, for   services rendered to the convent, received annual pensions   from the Prior and Convent of Christ Church.

His   principal preferment, probably, was the important rectory of   Orpington, which gave him jurisdiction over St. Mary Cray,   Hayes, Downe, and Knockholt. Of that great manor, as of the   manor of Cliffe, the monks of Christ Church were the lords.   He retained the benefice of Orpington from 1253 to 1276, and   he may have entered upon it some years before a.d. 1253.   During that year he founded a Chantry at the altar of St.   Mary within Orpington Church, and endowed it richly with   land purchased by himself. The deed of foundation mentions   that he had a brother, William de Mortimer, for whose soul   prayer was ever to be offered by the Chantry priest whom   Hugh had endowed.

Mortimer became Archdeacon of   Canterbury, but in what year he was appointed the records   fail to specify. There is extant, however, his mandate to   the Archdeacon's official for inducting the Abbot of St.   Radegund into corporal possession of the Church of Alkham.   It is dated in March 1258-9, and I should suppose that he   was then Archdeacon of Canterbury. He remained Archdeacon   until 1275 or 1276. It is said that, in 1259, he held the   St. Pancras Prebend, in St. Paul's Cathedral, and   adjudicated between the rector of Hayes and the prior of   Riselep, between whom a controversy had arisen.

The   position of Vicar-General and Official of the Archbishop   seems to have been relinquished by him in 1272 or 1273. The   business of those offices he had frequently transacted at   Orpington. There, during the year 1270, he held his court in   the Hall of the Rectory, to hear a cause concerning Horton   Priory.

After the death of his patron, Archbishop   Boniface, in A.D. 1270, Archdeacon Mortimer, following the   example of his predecessor, Simon Langton, exercised his   power as Ordinary in a manner which was considered by the   monks of Christ Church to be an infringement of their   rights. He seems to have acted in league with the powerful   Abbot of St. Augustine's, and probably at that Abbot's   instigation. The acts complained of were his appropriating   the Church of Preston to the Abbey of St. Augustine, and the   Church of St. Margaret, in Canterbury, to the Hospital of   Poor Priests there. Expecting his action in this matter an   agreement was at length made, for his lifetime, between him   and the monks of Christ Church.

In what year Hugh de   Mortimer died, we cannot say. We know that it was on the 4th   of' October, and probably in the year 1276. We believe that   he retained the rectory of Cliffe to the last, but of this   we have not seen any direct proof. There is in Cliffe a   manor called Mortimer's, alias Blue Gates, which may have   been purchased by this rector. After his death it was   possessed (temp. Edward I) by John Mortimer and Gunceline de   Cliffe.

RICHARD DE STRATFORD seems to have been   instituted to Cliffe Rectory in 1277, probably in succession   to Hugh de Mortimer. He made an agreement with Christ   Church, respecting the tithes of their lands, in November   1277. It is a curious fact that, acting as Official of the   Prior and Chapter of Christ Church, during the vacancy of   the See in 1278-9, Stratford forbade the Archdeacon of   Canterbury to exercise those rights, of Provincial and   Diocesan jurisdiction, which his predecessor Mortimer had   claimed and exercised as Archdeacon. The matter was carried   into the Court of the See of Rome, but the cause was stopped   by the death of the Archdeacon, Robert of Yarmouth, at Rome.   Stratford did not long retain the benefice of Cliffe.

PHILIP DE WYLEBY was rector in April   1283, when he came to some arrangement with the Canterbury   monks as to their tithes. He Avas one of the Judges of the   Court of Exchequer. This incumbent of Cliffe became a baron   of that Court in the third year of King Edward III.   (1274-5), and -was appointed Chancellor of the King's   Exchequer eight years later, in March 1283

JOHN DE BESTANE (Doctor of Canon Law) was collated to Cliffe by   Archbishop Peckham, at Slindon, on the 13th of November   1288. The ceremony was witnessed by Master Luke, Treasurer   of Hereford, two Friars Minor, John de Ravenstone, and John   de Kelvesden, together with Clement Charlewood and the   Archbishop's relative, Walter de Peckham. Bestane had at   that time held the Archdeaconry of Salop during twelve   months, having been collated to it by a Kentish man, Richard   de Swinefeld, Bishop of Hereford. He retained it not long,   but resigned on the 1st of August 1289. This rector of   Cliffe was a personal friend, chaplain, and table-companion   of Archbishop Peckham, who twice granted to him letters of   safe-conduct during the autumn of 1291.

In the year 1298,   when the officials and servants of this rector went to   collect the autumnal tithes of certain lands in the parish,   the occupants caused them to be opposed, beaten, wounded,   and driven away empty-handed. Not only so, but the aggrieved   parishioners followed them even to the rectory with a crowd   of men armed with offensive weapons. There, these armed men   kept the rector's chaplains and servants constantly   besieged, so that they could not leave the house to attend   divine service, or collect the tithes. The mob likewise   scattered the tithe sheaves, and caused sheep and other   animals to trample the tithe com under foot. Archbishop   Winchelsey therefore desired the Bishop of Rochester to   cause sentence of excommunication to be published against   the offenders, in every church near Cliffe. Undoubtedly   these troubles arose out of a contest between Christ Church   and the rector, respecting those lands of the monastery for   which exemption from tithe was claimed.

After Dr.   Bestane had been rector for fourteen years, he became so   infirm, weak, and impotent, that the Archbishop found it   necessary to appoint a coadjutor, who should exercise all   the powers of the rector, acting in his stead. This was   accordingly done on the 21st of August 1302. The institution   of coadjutors for incapacitated incumbents preceded the   mediaeval custom of causing such incumbents to retire upon a   pension. A coadjutor in the Middle Ages was almost identical   with a modern “curate in sole charge." In fact the intruded   clerk soon came to be denominated “Curator," instead of   ”Coadjutor ;" and thus he was in title as well as in office   the forerunner of the curate-in- charge.

JAMES DE COBHAM, Professor of Canon Law, and Chancellor of the University   of Oxford, was the distinguished ecclesiastic whom   Archbishop Winchelsey appointed, as coadjutor to Dr.   Bestane, at Cliffe in August 1302. This gentleman seems to   have been a brother of Henry, first Lord Cobham, and of   Thomas, Bishop of Worcester ; and he held the family living   of Cooling, which adjoins Cliffe. He was Chancellor of the   University during four years 1300-4. When Dr. Bestane died,   James de Cobham was collated to succeed him. This took place   before the 28th of April 1305. In order that he might hold   Cliffe with Cooling, Dr. Cobham applied to Pope Clement V.   for a licence of indulgence or dispensation, which was   granted. It is edifying to observe that thus, at the   commencement of the fourteenth century, a wholesome check   was laid upon the system of pluralities. Scandalous it is,   however, to find that the Popes who could thus license   pluralists, became greedily forward in heaping English   benefices and dignities upon Cardinals, and other officers   of the Papal Court, who never saw the parishes or cathedrals   in England wherein they held preferment. When Archbishop   Reynolds made a Visitation of the diocese of Rochester in   1314, he summoned Dr. Cobham to shew cause why he should not   be deprived either of Cliffe or of Cooling. The dispensation   of Clemency, however, satisfied all enquiries, and the   Archbishop granted the necessary certificate for the   continuance of the pluralist's enjoyment of both benefices.   James de Cobham died, holding both livings, in December   1817.

JOHN DE BRUYTON, Canon of Wells and of   Exeter, and Chancellor of the diocese of Canterbury under   Archbishop Reynolds, was by that Primate collated to the   rectory of Cliffe, in December 1317. He was probably a   native of Bruton in Somersetshire. In June 1315 he had been   sent by the Primate to the diocese of Ely, as one of the   Archbishop's Proctors, to hold a Visitation thereof. He   retained Cliffe rectory not more than ten months, so he   probably never resided upon it. The rectory of Lyminge had   greater attractions for him; perhaps because it might permit   of closer attendance in the household of the Archbishop, who   had a manor-house at Lyminge. He exchanged Cliffe for   Lyminge in October 1318. Preferment flowed in quickly upon   Bruyton, w^ho became Treasurer of Wells Cathedral in   February 1318, and obtained a Canonry at Wingham in October   1320. He was also Rector of Saltwood and one of the   Chaplains of King Edward II, When the Archdeaconry of   Canterbury became vacant it was conferred upon Bruyton by   King Edward II. in April 1323, and he was collated to it by   Archbishop Reynolds on the 2ud of August. Pope John XXII. ,   however, interfered. He required this dignity for his   predecessor's nephew, Raymund de Farges, Cardinal Deacon of   St. Mary in Cosmedin. The Pope therefore issued a Bull   revoking the Archbishop's collation of Bruyton, and rebuking   the Primate for having collated him. Cardinal Raymund was   inducted to the Archdeaconry by Papal Mandate, dated Nov.   19, 1324.

It is remarkable that with respect to Lyminge   also, Bruyton came somewhat into contact with the same   Pope's habit of providing for Roman Cardinals, out of the   revenues of English benefices. John XXII., who occupied the   Papal throne from 1316 to 1334, thrust into the rectory of   Lyminge, as successor to Bruyton, his own nephew. Cardinal   Gaucelinus de Ossa. This Cardinal came to England as   Legate, and seems to have propitiated the favour of Edward   III., who forbade the exaction of the triennial tenth from   any of the Cardinal's benefices. He obtained and held   simultaneously, three Prebendal Stalls in England, and no   less than six English rectories, among them being   Hollingbourne and Lyminge in Kent. This Cardinal was also   rector of Northfleet, from 1320 to 1324

ADAM DE MURIMUTH, D.C.L., a Chaplain   (clericus) of Archbishop Reynolds, must have been quite a   young man when he exchanged the rectory of Lyminge for that   of Cliffe at Hoo in 1318. As he compiled a valuable History   of England, which covers a period of seventy-eight years   from 1302 to 1380, he must have lived at least sixty-two   years after his institution to this benefice. Young as he   was he had already held two valuable benefices before he   obtained Cliffe. His talent and legal attainments were   undoubtedly great. His career forcibly illustrates the   attitude of mediaeval prelates with respect to Holy Orders.   I have been so fortunate as to discover the record of   Letters Dimissory by which Archbishop Reynolds authorised   him to obtain Deacon's Orders and the Priesthood from any   Catholic Bishop. They are dated on the Ides of March 1314-5,   but he was then already rector of Hayes in the deanery of   Croydon, although not yet in Deacon's Orders. His preferment   to the Archbishop's benefice of Lyminge followed quickly, in   the same year 1315. After the lapse of three years he   exchanged it for Cliffe, in October 1318. It is possible   that he retained this benefice for nearly thirty years, but   we have no record of his resignation.

During the reign   of Edward II, he was employed upon foreign embassies; as in   1314 and in 1324. His legal attainments were utilized by the   Prior and Convent of Christ Church. The manor of Cliffe   belonged to that body and was probably visited annually by   some of the chief monks. We know that Prior Eastry was there   in 1327; and we find that he employed Murimuth as a Counsel   for the Priory, allowing him an annual pension instead of   repeated fees. There was, however, in the deed of   appointment a clause which provided that if the learned   Counsel should obtain a benefice of specified value, through   the influence of the Convent, his pension would cease. On   the death of Prior Eastry, applied for arrears of pension;   but the new Prior pleaded the saving clause as exonerating   the Convent from liability. This we learn from Mr. J. B.   Sheppard's admirable Calendar of the Christ Church Register   K, under date 1333. Nevertheless the Chapter ultimately   granted to him a gratuity of £10. Two years later, in 1335,   he and Robert Hathbrand (afterwards Prior) were appointed   Proctors to represent the Chapter in Parliament. Dr.   Murimuth served as Vicar General under Archbishop Stratford.   In 1340, he also acted as Commissary for the Bishop of   Rochester, Hamo de Hethe.

In the London Cathedral of St,   Paul, he held a Prebendal stall for many years. From that of   Neasdon, which he obtained in 1327, he was promoted to the   Harlesdon stall, but in what year we cannot ascertain. He   was a Canon of Exeter Cathedral in 1327, when he and another   member of the Chapter went to the King to announce the death   of their bishop, James de Berkeley. Murimuth was Precentor   of Exeter in 1328 and 1335, and probably he held other   preferment’s of which I have not found any record. His   History of England is a standard authority for the period of   which it treats, which was that of his own lifetime.   Constantly do we find modern writers, like Dean Hook, citing   the authority of Adam de Murimuth, as he was considered to   be the most eminent of the continuators of the work of   Matthew of Westminster.

LAURENCE FASTOLF, one of Archbishop   Meopham's Chaplains, was a rector of Cliffe, to whom his   successors were much indebted. When he was collated to the   benefice, however, or when he vacated it, we cannot   ascertain. In 1331 he obtained the Prebendal stall of   Twyford in St. Paul's Cathedral, which he still retained in   1349. He seems to have been in close attendance upon   Archbishop Meopham during his last illness. Upon Fastolf   devolved the duty of announcing the decease of that Primate   to the Prior and Chapter of Christ Church. The letter which   he wrote upon that occasion is still extant. To him the   Prior addressed his reply, respecting the funeral   ceremonies.

His sphere of usefulness was by no means   limited to Kent. We find that the Prior and Convent of Ely   appointed him one of the two Proctors who represented them   in the Convocation and Parliament of 1335-6 at Westminster.   He would there meet Adam de Murimuth (his predecessor at   Cliffe), who similarly represented the Canterbury Priory of   Christ Church. That Fastolf must have had much influence   with his contemporaries, we may gather from the fact that   Edward III. (when at Perth in July 1336) employed him, with   another canon of St. Paul's, to contract in the King's name   a royal loan for £60,000.

Notwithstanding his many other   engagements, Fastolf did much for his Kentish benefice. He   rebuilt or enlarged the Rectory House at Cliffe. To it he   added an oratory chapel, which was so far completed in the   year 1348 that he obtained a licence for its altar to be   dedicated. As his Christian name was Laurence, he determined   that the dedication of the altar should be a lasting   memorial of the good work achieved by him for the benefit of   future rectors of Cliffe. It was dedicated to his patron   Saint Laurence; and the ceremony was performed by John   Pascal, Bishop of Llandaff, during the vacancy created by   Archbishop Stratford's death. This Bishop of Llandaff acted   under a commission issued by the Prior and Chapter of Christ   Church, who employed him to ordain candidates for Holy   Orders, and to consecrate churches, during the vacancy of   the See of Canterbury. Subsequently, in 1349, Archbishop   Islip granted his licence, permitting Fastolf to use this   Oratory.

Like so many other rectors of Cliffe, he was an   accomplished lawyer, and in 1348 the Christ Church Chapter   appointed him joint Auditor of Suits or Causes in the   diocese, during the vacancy of the See. In this appointment   his colleague was Richard Vaghan, Archdeacon of Surrey.   Together they were sent to Maidstone, in November 1348, to   make a searching visitation, on behalf of the Prior and   Chapter of Christ Church. The College of All Saints had not   yet been founded, but they were empowered to visit the   Parish Church of St. Mary and all its appendant chapels; to   summon and interrogate all the clergy thereof, and such of   the people as they thought fit; and to set in order   everything that was irregular. The Commissaries, thus   empowered, found their mission anything but pleasant. When   they approached Maidstone Church its doors were locked, and   they were received by a jeering mob, whose threatening words   and looks caused them to fear for their personal safety.

This Laurence Fastolf was probably a member of the   well-known Norfolk family of that name; and perhaps he may   have been a brother, or near relative, of Thomas Fastolf,   who was Archdeacon of Norwich in 1344, and Bishop of St.   David's from 1353 to 1361. Mr. I. Grey Lloyd has suggested   that the chancel of Cliffe Church was rebuilt, and that   several decorated windows were inserted in the nave-aisles,   about the middle of the fourteenth century. If so, the work   may, most probably, be ascribed to the good offices of   Laurence Fastolf.

WILLIAM DE ISLEP alias JOCELYN was collated to this benefice on the 11th of March 1357-8 by   Archbishop Simon Islip. He did not retain it, however, but   resigned the living on the 30th of November. It is extremely   probable that he was a near relative of Archbishop Islip;   perhaps a nephew or a brother. He became rector of Merstham,   Surrey, in May 1356; and he was then holding, in the   Primate's household, the confidential position of "cross-   bearer” to his grace. We know not what his further career   was, but he seems to have held the Prebendal Stall of   Bedford Major in Lincoln Cathedral in 1379.

ADAM DE HOUTON, LL.D., of Oxford,   immediately succeeded Islep alias Jocelyn, being collated to   Cliffe upon the 30th of November 1358. He vacated it five   months later, exchanging with the rector of Croydon. A   distinguished lawyer and diplomatist, he was advanced to the   Episcopate in 1361 as Bishop of St. David's, where he built   a college. He was called to the exalted position of Lord   Chancellor by Edward III. (January 11, 1376-7), and retained   that high office until October 29, 1378. Bishop Houton died   in 1389.

WILLIAM DE WITLESEYE, rector of Croydon,   nephew of Archbishop Islip, was collated to Cliffe on the   30th of April 1359. He had twice held the Chilton Canonry at   Wingham, for a few months, during 1352-3, but he finally   exchanged it for a Prebendal Stall at Chichester in January   1353. Dean Hook, misled by Battely, makes a slight slip in   stating that "he was rector both of Croydon and of Cliff;"   the fact being that he simply exchanged the one for the   other. He graduated at Cambridge, from Peterhouse, but he   attended a course of lectures at Oxford also. His first   ecclesiastical dignity was the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon   (June 24, 1337). In September 1349 his College called him   back to Cambridge, to be its Master. Devoted to the study of   Canon Law, he went to Avignon to gain experience in the   Papal Courts, whereat he was made Proctor for the See of   Canterbury soon after his uncle became Primate. That   Archbishop afterwards promoted him to be his Vicar-General,   and advanced him to the Judicial Bench as Dean of the Court   of Arches. In the diocese of Lincoln his uncle had been an   Archdeacon, a Prebendary, and Vicar-General, consequently we   are not surprised to find that William de Witleseye obtained   the Prebendal Stall of Bedford Major in Lincoln Cathedral on   the 12th of October 1356. This he retained about four years.   After the death of John Shepey, Bishop of Rochester, October   19, 1360, the monks of St. Andrew's Priory quickly elected   Witleseye to be their Bishop, on the 23rd of October. He had   been their neighbour at Cliffe for eighteen months, and was   previously well known to them. There was consequently no   difficulty in obtaining his election. Without doubt the more   practical members of the Rochester chapter suggested to   their confreres that by selecting the Archbishop's favourite   nephew and legal adviser, they would ultimately benefit   their monastery. Nor does this anticipation seem to have   been vain. Witleseye's election was confirmed by the Pope on   the 31st of July 1361; the temporalities of the See were   restored on the 25th of December; and he was consecrated on   the 6th of February 1361-2, in the chapel at Otford, by the   Primate his uncle, assisted by Richard, Archbishop of   Nazareth (suffragan acting in Canterbury), and Thomas,   Bishop of Lamberg (suffragan acting in London). On the 24th   of October 1363 the Archbishop restored, to the monks of   Rochester and their Bishop, the patronage of Boxley parish   church, a boon which they had long desired, and which their   new diocesan obtained for them from his uncle.

Witleseye   resigned the benefice of Cliffe before he vacated the poor   See of Rochester. His successor was appointed before   Christmas 1363. On the 6th March 1363-4 the Bishop was   translated to the richer See of Worcester. He held it until   his elevation to the Primacy on the 11th of October 1368, by   a Papal bull, which confirmed the election made by the monks   of Christ Church, at the request of King Edward III. This   ex-rector of Cliffe occupied the Patriarchal Chair of St.   Augustine until 1374, when he died on the 6th June at   Otford. He is said by Dean Hook to have been a man of   commanding presence, eloquent, and discreet, who must have   been greatly surprised by his elevation to the Primacy, if   of modesty he possessed a single spark.

Once at least   after his promotion to the Episcopate did Bishop Witleseye   visit his former benefice of Cliffe. When his successor had   incurred the displeasure and forcible opposition of his   parishioners, a tumultuous assembly desecrated the parish   church. Consequently, the Archbishop of Canterbury deputed   Bishop Witleseye to proceed to Cliffe and reconcile both the   church and the churchyard. This he did in February 1363-4,   celebrating mass at the high altar, and preaching to the   people from the text, "I am sent to the lost sheep."

JOHN DE BISHOPSTON had been appointed   Archdeacon of Nottingham in June 1351, by the King, who very   soon afterward cancelled his appointment. In 1359 he became   Chancellor of the King's Exchequer. He succeeded Witleseye   in the rectory of Cliffe in 1363, when some proceedings   respecting tithe, and others connected with penances imposed   by him, aroused the wrath of his parishioners to such an   extent that at Christmas 1363 they endeavoured to waylay the   rector as he went from his rectory house to the church.   Failing to catch him, they besieged him in the church, and   severely maltreated some of his attendants, chaplains, and   servants. These brawlers were summoned to appear before the   Archbishops' Court, at Charing, to account for their   conduct, and to hear sentence thereon. Sentence was deferred   until February, but meanwhile they would be debarred from   Divine Service and Sacraments, as the church had been   desecrated. So they asked for an earlier day, that their   excommunication might not be so prolonged. Ultimately public   penances were imposed upon the ringleaders, and Bishop   Witleseye reconciled the Church. Richard Rain was condemned   to carry a sheaf upon his shoulder publicly, and to offer it   at the high altar of the church, together with the sum due   for tithes from his fields, unjustly withheld. Bishopston   resigned the rectory of Cliffe in 1366.

JOHN DE KEPESTON was presented to the   rectory of Cliffe, by King Edward III., during a vacancy of   the See of Canterbury in 1366, and was collated by the Prior   and Chapter of Christ Church on the 16th of September. He   was a simple presbyter from the diocese of Chichester, who   seems to have had influence at Court. This, however, was,   for some reason, overturned, and the King, after the lapse   of one year, recalled his presentation and dismissed   Kepeston from the benefice on the 25th of October 1367. It   is probable that this rector was closely connected, in   blood, with John de Kepeston and Alice his wife, who, in   1347, obtained possession of a tenement at the Causeway,   near Arundel.

ROBERT DE WALTON, Chancellor of   Chichester Cathedral, was presented by King Edward III., to   the rectory of Cliffe, before the temporalities of the See   of Canterbury had been handed over to Simon Langham, the new   Archbishop. That Primate admitted the new rector to the   benefice on the 26th of October 1367. This clergyman is   styled “dominus" only, and lacks the title "magister," we   must therefore suppose that he was not a graduate of either   University. Influence at Court, not special learning,   probably obtained for him this preferment, which followed   within eight months after he had obtained the Chancellorship   of Chichester Cathedral. It is remarkable that among the few   articles of property bequeathed by his will we find some   defensive body-armour. A haubergeon, a bascinet, and some   leg harness are specified. He held the benefice for nine   years, and probably resided much upon it. His grave was, by   his own desire, made just inside the choir or chancel of   Cliffe Church, close to the entrance or screen door.

ROGER DE SUTTON, LL.D., rector of Black   Notley, in Essex, was collated by Archbishop Sudbury to the   rectory of Cliffe on the 20th of Oct. 1376, as a mark of   personal affection. Probably the attachment existing between   this learned doctor and the Primate prompted Sutton at once   to exchange Cliffe Rectory for that of Charing, where the   Archbishops had a manor-house at which they frequently   sojourned. What occurred in his new parish at Charing it is   not our province here to ascertain, but in April 1377 he   received a mandate directing him to institute an enquiry   into the excesses of his parishioners. Dr. Sutton seems   subsequently to have become rector of Ramsden Belhouse, in   Essex, which benefice he held at the time of his death in   1388.

THOMAS THEBAUD (THEOBALD), of Sudbury   LL.D., was probably a brother of Archbishop Sudbury. The   Primate's parents were Nigel and Sarah Thebaud or Theobald   of Sudbury. Before Simon Sudbury had been six months in the   Archiepiscopal See he collated Thomas Thebaud to the good   living of Bishopsbourne (20 Sept. 1375), which Dr. Thebaud    exchanged, thirteen months later, for the rectory of Charing   (19 October 1376). This he held for a few days only, as he   exchanged Charing for Cliffe on the 23rd of October 1376.   Expecting his incumbency, the only particulars we can   ascertain shew that, in February 1377-8, some important   difficulty was raised, respecting tithe of wool in the   parish. The suit was finally submitted to the arbitrement of   two Commissioners, Master John Barnet, Official of the Court   of Canterbury, and Dr. Nicholas de Chaddesden, Dean of the   Arches.

THOMAS DE LYNTON was collated to Cliffe   at some time after 1378, but I cannot ascertain the exact   date. He was a man of erudition, and seems to have been a   courtier, but I think he was not an University graduate. He   held a Canonry at St. George's, Windsor, from January 1377-8   until Nov. 20, 1387. In his will he speaks of the stipend   due to him as Dean of Windsor, but I doubt whether this is   not a slip of the pen. The Prebendal Stall of Newington, in   St. Paul's Cathedral, was conferred upon him in 1381, Nov.   12th, and he was Treasurer of Wells Cathedral in 1383-4.   What connection he had with Ely I do not know, but he   possessed a complete suit of the Bishop of Ely's livery,   which he bequeathed to the Rector of Hoo St. Mary, Master   Henry Parterigg. Lynton seems to have been a diligent   student of the Bible, and possessed a number of books and   commentaries bearing upon that study. All of these he   bequeathed to the Prior of Wallingford, a man likeminded   with himself in love for such study. Other books of great   value he left to the Collegiate Chapel of St. George at   Windsor. They were (1) his own Missal, (2) Rationale   Divinorum, (3) Magister Historiarum, (4) Legenda Sanctorum   sive Legenda aurea, (5) Liber Decretalium, and (6) Liber   Clementinarum.

He died at Stoke Newington in November   1387, but he directed that he should be buried in Cliffe   Church, within the choir door, at the entrance to the   chancel, near the tomb of Robert de Walton, a former rector.   Over his grave he desired that a marble stone should be   placed. His interest in Cliffe was further evinced by a   legacy of £10 wherewith to purchase a Missal for the church.   As this sum would be fully equivalent to £50 of our money,   we can appreciate both his liberality and the costliness of   church-service books at that period. This rector of Cliffe   was probably a brother or near relative of Master John   Lynton, who was Registrar of the Arches Court, and rector   successively of Tunstall and Eynsford.

ADAM DE MOTTRUM, who was collated by   Archbishop Courtenay to the benefice of Cliffe on the 28th   of November 1387, was a Doctor of Laws and a Licentiate "in   Decretis." He occupied a judicial position as Chancellor of   the diocese under his patron, Archbishop Courtenay, who so   confided in him as to make Mottrum one of the executors of   his will. Ten years before his collation to Cliffe, he had   been placed by Archbishop Sudbury upon a judicial commission   appointed to hear the matrimonial complaint of Margery   Derford against John Brewes. His legal attainments obtained   for him preferment in several dioceses. At one time he was   Archdeacon of Ely ; later, he became Archdeacon of   Canterbury, July 28, 1390. He then resigned the rectory of   Cliffe.

When Archbishop Courtenay took proceedings   against the disciples of Cliffe in May 1382, Mottrum acted   as his commissary in the matter. He occupied a Prebendal   Stall at York in 1397, from March until October. Then he   obtained the Precentorship of Salisbury Cathedral.

It is   possible that he practically (though not apparently)   bartered away his Archdeaconry of Canterbury in exchange for   a Stall at York, as he vacated the one and obtained the   other during the same month, March 1396-7. In the previous   year, during a vacancy of the See, he had exercised that   jurisdiction as Archdeacon which had been claimed by his   predecessor, Hugh de Mortimer. He thus authorised the   appropriation to Maidstone College of the rectories of   Sutton, Linton, and Farleigh, on the 6th of March 1395-6. He   likewise in 1396 presented an Incumbent to the church of   West Hythe. Dr. Mottrum died in August 1415.

JOHN DE GODEWYK, LL.D., was collated to   Cliffe by Archbishop Courtenay on the 6th of January 1390-1   at Croydon. He was an intimate friend of his predecessor,   Adam de Mottnim, who survived him, and to whom Godewyk   bequeathed his bed of arras with its tester and all   appurtenances. He was a native of Godwick in Norfolk, and   possessed a small estate at Bicton, Salop.

About 1364,   he exchanged a canonry at Southwell for the church at   Croydon, which, to quote his own words, was dedicated to his   "special lord and patron Saint John the Baptist." Nor was he   unmindful of the parish he had left. In his will he   bequeathed forty shillings to Croydon Church, and fourpence   to every mendicant parishioner there. Probably he had been   employed upon embassies, or on other business, by King   Richard II; at all events that monarch presented a gilt cup   to John Godewyk, who bequeathed the royal gift to Archbishop   Arundel. According to the custom of the time, he made use of   blank pages and margins of books by writing upon them   important notes and memoranda. His copy of The Decretals was   thus utilized; and on a blank space therein he wrote down a   list of books which he desired to bestow upon the new   College at Rushworth in Norfolk, founded in 1360 by Edmund   Gonvile. This list he shewed to his executor, and in his   will he simply directed that his wish, thus made known,   should be carried out after his decease. The love of his   native place was not weakened by the fact that his   preferments had carried him to places of abode far away from   it. God had prospered him, and so his heart yearned to   benefit the place of his birth. He therefore bequeathed,   without stint or limit, such funds as should be needful to   wholly reconstruct the parish church of St. Nicholas in   Godwick. His friend and executor Master Robert Hallum knew   the place, and had promised to see this good work   consummated.

Practical goodness of heart is evinced by   his will, made on the 18th of April 1397, a day or two   before his death. To the fabric of Cliffe Church he   bequeathed forty shillings ; to every mendicant parishioner   there one shilling, and a like sum to every tenant on his   Bicton property. He had instructed his executor Robert   Hallum, canon of Sarum, not only to distribute alms to every   person present at the obsequies celebrated immediately after   his death, but also to buy beds for the poor, a very unusual   exercise of kindly consideration. Robert Hallum (who   ultimately became a Cardinal) is styled "my son and friend"   by    Godewyk. Perhaps he had been educated   in Godewyk's household, or at his expense; according to the   benevolent custom of that age, when all wealthy clergymen   and many laymen thus cared for the training of young men of   merit.

NICHOLAS RYSHETON may have been rector   of Cliffe soon after the death of good rector Godewyk. He   made a composition with the monks of Canterbury, which   appears in their Christ Church Register A, on fol. 232,   under date 1403. If that year fell within Rysheton's   incumbency, it becomes very probable that the chancel was   restored and newly roofed by him. The chancel roof formerly   bore the arms of Archbishop Arundel, who held the See from   1396 to 1414. This proves that the chancel was restored   during that period of eighteen years. Dr. Godewyk's kindly   nature could lead us to suggest that this work was done by   him; but, as he died in April 1397, the probability is that   Rysheton was the restorer, if he was the rector in 1403.


WILLIAM BICONYLL , LL.D., held the   rectory of Cliff e at the time of his death, in the autumn   of 1448; but how long he had been incumbent we cannot   ascertain. He was a Canon of St. Paul's, having been   instituted to the Prebendal Stall of Eald Street in November   1445. In the diocese of Canterbury he was well known as an   ecclesiastical lawyer. Dr. Biconyll was elevated, by   Archbishop Stafford, to judicial position as Commissary,   Official of the Court of Canterbury, and Chancellor of the   Diocese.

WILLIAM CLEVE, LL.B., succeeded Dr.   Biconyll, being collated hither by Archbishop Stafford, on   the 4th of November 1448; and he retained this benefice   until his death, twenty-two years later. One year before his   decease he was installed as a Canon of St. Paul's, in the   Chiswick Stall, but he resigned it before the end of the   same year, 1469, in exchange probably for the rectory of St.   Nicholas Cole Abbey. He died in 1470.

WILLIAM UTTYNGE, S.T.P., was one of the   first rectors of Cliffe who had graduated in Theology.   Doctors of Canon Law and Doctors of both Laws abound among   the previous incumbents of this benefice, but I am not aware   that any Professor of Sacred Theology had ever before been   collated to it. Archbishop Bourghchier commissioned Dr.   Utting to act as his deputy at the installation of the Prior   of Christ Church (John Oxney) in 1468. The long address then   made by Utting is still extant. He seems to have been rector   of Chartham, and the benefice of Cliffe was given to him by   Archbishop Bourghchier on the 26th of February 1470-1. Dying   in 1481, he was buried in the chancel of the parish church   of Lambeth.

OLIVER KYNG, LL.D., of King's College,   Cambridge, a Londoner (who passed from Eton to King's in   1449), French {i.e. Foreign) Secretary to King- Edward IV   (1476- 83), and a Canon of Windsor (1480-96), was collated   as Utting's successor on the 4th of July 1481. A man of   versatile talents and a courtier. Dr. Kyng obtained much   preferment. A canonry in York Cathedral was conferred upon   him in March 1479-80, six months before he received his   Windsor stall. At York he held two stalls in succession   (Botevant 1480-8, and Fridaythorp 1488-90), but he   relinquished his canonry there in December 1490. A Prebendal   Stall at Southwell was added in November 1480; so that he   received three canonries during one year and held them all.   Two years later (17 April 1482) he was made Archdeacon of   Oxford; in 1487, Archdeacon of Berks; and, in 1490,   Archdeacon of Taunton. In 1487 he likewise became a Canon of   St. Paul's, holding the Rugmere stall from May 2nd, 1487,   until 1493. He was Dean of Hereford in 1491. When elevated   to the See of Exeter, he vacated in 1492-3 the   Archdeaconries of Oxford and Berks, a Canonry at St. Paul's   and one at Southwell, but he retained until his death his   Canonry at Windsor and the Registrarship of the Garter.   Whether he did or did not retain the rectory of Cliffe I   cannot ascertain. When he died, in 1503, he was Bishop of   Bath and Wells, having been translated to that See in 1496.   The existing Abbey Church, at Bath, was commenced by Bishop   Kyng.

The rectors of Cliffe had a Peculiar Jurisdiction   by which the wills of their parishioners could be proved   before them, the churchwardens of Cliffe could be sworn in   at their Court, and many other acts of an   ecclesiastical-judicial character could be performed by   them. Consequently they had an official seal, wherewith   instruments issued from their Court were sealed and   verified. In November 1501 we hear something of this seal in   a neighbouring parish. At the settlement of a disputed   cause, respecting the right of Patronage of the benefice of   St. Mary in Hoo, the official of the Peculiar Jurisdiction   of Cliffe was present. A seal was required to be affixed to   the decree of Settlement by the Master of Strood Hospital.   He, not having a seal with him, borrowed that of the Cliffe   official, who sealed the certificate therewith.

WALTER GREEN 1509 - 1535

NICHOLAS HEATH, D.D., rector of Hever   since February 1531-2, was collated to Cliffe by Archbishop   Cranmer on the 2nd of February 1534-5. He was born in   London, circa 1501; became a Fellow of Christ's College,   Cambridge, in 1521, a Fellow of Clare Hall in 1524, and   almoner to King Henry VIII. Dr. Heath was employed on   Foreign Embassies in 1534-5. He assisted Cranmer in   translating the Bible, and he received further proofs of   that Archbishop's confidence in additional preferments.   Bishopsbourne Rectory and the Deanery of South Mailing were   conferred upon him, in 1537; the former on the 6th of   September, the latter on December 23rd ; and the Deanery of   Shoreham followed on the 23rd of May 1538. Dr. Heath became   Archdeacon of Stafford in 1539; but he was consecrated   Bishop of Rochester in the chapel of London House, on the   4th of April 1540, when Bonner was consecrated to the See of   London. As Bishop of Rochester he assisted at the   consecration of Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster, in Henry the   Seventh's Chapel, Dec. 19, 1540 ; he was the chief   consecrator of Knight, Bishop of Bath (May 29, 1541), and of   Paul Bush, Bishop of Bristol (June 25, 1542). In February   1540, Dr. Heath had resigned the Deanery of South Mailing;   receiving, however, a pension of £15 per annum out of its   revenues for his life. To supplement the small revenues of   the See of Rochester, Bishop Heath was allowed to hold the   benefices of Shoreham, Bishopsbourne, and Cliffe. When he   was translated to the See of Worcester, he resigned   Bishopsbourne in March 1543-4, but he obtained a licence to   hold for five years Shoreham and Cliffe, in commendam with   his new See. Ultimately, however, he resigned them, at the   expiration of that period, in 1549. As he refused to take   the oath of supremacy exacted by the Government of King   Edward VI he was committed to Fleet Prison in December 1550;   and he was deprived of the See of Worcester in October 1551.   From the Fleet he was removed, in July 1552, to the house of   Bishop Ridley, whom Dr. Heath called the most “learned of   the Protestants." Upon the accession of Queen Mary she   restored him to the See of Worcester, made him President of   Wales, and when she deprived Archbishop Holgate of the See   of York Bishop Heath was appointed to the northern Primacy.   His election thereto was confirmed by Pope Paul IV in a   Bill, dated June 21st, 1555. Two months later, on the 26th   of August, he welcomed at Greenwich Philip, King of Spain,   when he came to wed Queen Mary. The pallium was delivered to   Archbishop Heath in October following. Queen Mary appointed   him to be Lord Chancellor in January 1555-6. When Cardinal   Pole came to England, he was received at Westminster Abbey   by Archbishop Heath, and seventeen bishops. Subsequently,   the Cardinal was consecrated, as Archbishop, by this former   rector of Cliffe. When Elizabeth ascended the throne,   Dr.Heath, on the 17th of November 1558, declared her title   to be clear, and directed her to be proclaimed queen,   immediately; yet he would not crown her; and his refusal to   take the oath of supremacy caused him to be again deprived.   Committed to the Tower in June 1560, he was not kept in   prison more than two or three months. Having purchased an   estate of about 500 acres, at Chobham in Surrey, he retired   thither, and passed the rest of his days in quietude and   peace; not without honour, for the Queen came thither to   visit him once or twice. Dying in 1579, he was buried in the   chancel of Chobham Church. While he was Lord Chancellor, he   issued the writ for the execution of his old friend, and   patron. Archbishop Cranmer. Two hundred and seventeen   persons were put to death, for their religion, while he held   the Great Seal.

EDMUND CRANMER, Archdeacon of Canterbury   (1534-54), and Provost of Wingham Collegiate Church, was   coated to Cliffe by his brother the Archbishop. The formal   act of admission was performed by proxy, on the 2nd of July   1549, when Hugh Cartwright, gentleman, acted as Edmund   Cranmer's proxy. Eight months later, he obtained a Canonry   in Canterbury Cathedral; and two years earlier he had been   collated to the rectory of Ickham. It is recorded of him   that he was a man of singular integrity, and a married   priest. His marriage was an offence for which, in Queen   Mary's reign, he was deprived of all his preferments.   Summoned to appear before the Bishop of Dover (Richard   Thornden) and Dr. Henry Harvey, Vicar-General, on the 15th   and 10th of March 1553-4 in the Chapter House of Christ   Church, Canterbury, he acknowledged and defended his   marriage. He was deprived of his benefices, and fled to   Germany, where he survived several years. As he graduated   B.A. at Cambridge in 1513, he must have been about 60 years   old when he fled.

HUGH WESTON, S.T.P., a native of   Leicestershire, was probably born in the parish of Burton   Overy, where his family had been settled for several   generations. Entering Baliol College at Oxford in 1526, he   graduated as B.A. in 1530, and obtained a Darby Fellowship   at Lincoln College, of which he was rector from 1538 to   1556. In 1540, he proceeded in Divinity, and when appointed   Lady Margaret Professor, his lectures were very popular. His   powers as an orator and preacher were great; but he was ever   reputed licentious in his mode of life. His opposition to   the Reformation prevented his advancement under Henry VIII.   And Edward VI., but it is said that he was rector of St.   Botolph, Bishopsgate, in 1543, and Archdeacon of Cornwall in   October 1547. Dr. Weston had Queen Mary's Letters Patent   presenting him to Cliffe, and he was instituted on the 2nd   of April 1554. He had, in the previous January, been   appointed Dean of Westminster, and Archdeacon of Colchester.   When, however, Pakenham was made Abbot of Westminster in   1556, the Queen gave to Weston the Deanery of Windsor. His   stedfast adherence to the Roman faith, and his bitter   opposition to the Reformers, fully merited Queen Mary's   warmest gratitude. When presiding at the examination of   Bishop Hugh Latimer, in 1554, Weston told the good prisoner   that he had himself lain six years in prison. Under Queen   Mary this rector of Cliffe intruded himself (as confessor)   upon the last moments of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and of   Sir Thomas Wyatt, the unfortunate Kentish knight, when they   were beheaded; one on the 23rd of February and the other on   the 11th of April 1554. The duke twice thrust Weston down   the steps of the scaffold, to rid himself of his obnoxious   presence. He was elected Prolocutor of the Lower House of   Convocation, and when Archbishop Cranmer was examined at   Oxford, in April 1554, Dr. Weston presided over the   Commissioners, appointed by Convocation and the two   Universities, to dispute with the Protestant Archbishop.   Before the same Commissioners came Ridley and Latimer, upon   whom also arguments of dissuasion were urged by the eloquent   and learned Dr. Weston. To him Archbishop Cranmer entrusted   his letter of appeal to the Queen's Council, but when Weston   had carried it only halfway from Oxford to London he read   it, and was so dissatisfied with the contents that he sent   it back to Cranmer, instead of carrying it to its   destination.

His licentiousness was such that Cardinal   Pole deprived him of the Deanery of Windsor in December   1557. Weston appealed to the Pope, and was going to Rome,   when he was seized, and confined in the Tower of London.   While there, he made his will in November 1558, bequeathing   his property for pious and public uses. His directions   respecting his funeral, and the prayers to be offered for   his soul, were numerous and minute. He desired that masses   should be said for him by the Master and Fellows of Baliol   College, by the rector of Lincoln College, by a chaplain of   Oxford University, by the parish priest of Tslip, and by the   parish priest of Burton Overy. After the accession of Queen   Elizabeth, Weston was discharged on bail. He died in the   following month, December 1558, at Wintour's, in Fleet   Street ; and was buried in the Savoy.

EDMUND ALLEN, a Norfolk man. Fellow   (1536) of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Chaplain   (1549) to the Princess Elizabeth, succeeded Weston in this   benefice. Elected Bishop of Rochester (under a congé-d'elire   dated July 27, 1559) he died before he had been consecrated,   and was buried in London, August 30th, 1559.

EDMUND GHEAST, or GUEST,   S.T.B., a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, born at   Northallerton, in 1517, was collated to Cliffe by Archbishop   Parker on the 29th of January 1559-60. Upon the same day he   was elected to the vacant See of Rochester, to which he was   consecrated on the 24th of March following, with Bishop   Jewel, who was then consecrated to Sarum. In 1559 he had   been appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury. He held that   dignity and the rectory of Cliffe, in commendam, with the   Bishop of Rochester, and Queen Elizabeth made him her   Almoner. Many previous incumbents of Cliffe had obtained   this benefice through their great ability as lawyers, but   Dr. Guest won it by his great power as a divine, quiet and   humble, but judicious and deeply learned.

In a   disputation held at Cambridge before King Edward's Visitors,   on the 24th of June 1549, Guest was, like Grindal, one of   the four selected disputants against the corporal presence   of Christ in the Lord's Supper. In 1551, he received the   King's licence to preach, and became Vice-Provost of King's   College. He was one of the eight Protestant divines who were   chosen to dispute with the Marian Bishops in Westminster   Abbey, before the two Houses of Parliament, on the 31st of   January 1558-9, and two following days. Archbishop Heath, a   former rector of Cliffe, and Sir Nicolas Bacon, the Lord   Keeper, "kept the lists” on that occasion. When Secretary   Cecil selected a committee of divines who should revise the   Liturgies issued during the reign of Edward VI., Parker was   ill, and Guest was appointed to take the leading place. Upon   the completion of their work, it was Guest who wrote to   Cecil the explanatory letter, which accompanied the revised   Liturgy, when it was forwarded to the Secretary of State.   Its text has been printed by Strype in his Annals, i.   Appendix xiv, and by Proctor in a note to his History of the   Book of Common Prayer, pp. 54, 55. Guest's influence had   been paramount in the revision, and the book as it left his   hands was too Protestant for the Queen, and the Secretary of   State. They caused to be introduced into the   ornaments-rubric some of those words which have latterly   been so pregnant with difficulty. Guest had provided simply   for the use of the surplice, and of no additional   Eucharistic vestment. Ambiguous words, since fruitful of   strife, were introduced into the rubric before the revised   book was authorised by Parliament. He signed the Book of   Advertisements, in 1564; and during that year he accompanied   Queen Elizabeth to Cambridge, in August. He was a Lent   Preacher at Court in 1566. Guest's letter to Cecil in that   year has often been quoted.

While Dr. Guest held the   small Kentish See he assisted at the consecration of six   English bishops. After rather more than eleven years' tenure   of the See, he was promoted to that of Salisbury, where he   succeeded the learned Bishop Jewel, on the 24th of December   1571. He then vacated the rectory of Cliffe and the   Archdeaconry of Canterbury. Bishop Guest died on the 20th of   February 1577
and is buried in   Salisbury Cathedral.

JOHN CALVEELEY, LL.B., held the benefice   of Cliffe for several years, but whether he was the   immediate successor of Bishop Guest, or not, I have failed   to ascertain. In 1574, when John Bridgewater was "deprived”   of the Archdeaconry of Rochester, Mr. Calverley was   appointed to the vacant dignity. Two years later, in 1576,   he received additional preferment, the fifth Prebendal stall   in Rochester Cathedral being then conferred upon him. His   tenure of the stall was very short, as he died (holding the   rectory of Cliffe) during the same year.

GEORGE ROWE, M.A., was collated to   Cliffe on the 11th of December 1576, by Archbishop) Grindal.   He was at that time a canon of York, as he held the   Stillington Prebend in York Cathedral from the 25th of   October 1571, until his death in December 1578.

WILLIAM WILSON, S.T.B., succeeded Mr.   Rowe, and was admitted to this benefice, on the 12th of   January 1578-9, by Archbishop Grindal. He graduated at   Oxford, and was a man of deep erudition, a scholar and a   courtier. Within six years after his collation to Cliffe he   was promoted to a Canonry in St. George's Chapel at Windsor,   on the 10th of December 1584, so that we must suppose him to   have been a persona grata in the eyes of Queen Elizabeth. He   had graduated as Doctor in Divinity before he received this   appointment. Seven years later, the second Prebendal stall   in Rochester Cathedral was conferred upon him, in 1591. Nor   was that the only cathedral in which he held preferment. He   became Chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral during the reign   of James I., and at his death he held the Eald Street   Prebendal stall. Dr. Wilson, in 1614, gave to the parish   three pieces of land producing an income of £6 per annum, to   be thus distributed: — forty shillings each to the poorest   and oldest widow and widower in Cliffe, and forty shillings   to be doled out among the poor. This good rector died on the   15th of May 1615, and was buried in St. George's Chapel, at   Windsor. Of his curates, here, Thomas Uppington was buried,   Dec. 6, 1578, and William Gell was married, Sept. 9, 1583.

GERVASE NIDD , succeeded Dr. Wilson,   being collated to Cliffe by Archbishop Abbot, on the 15th of   July 1615. He was likewise rector of Sundridge, and when he   died, on the 13th of November 1629, he was buried there.   During his incumbency we learn the name of another of those   hardworking clergymen by whom the parochial duties of Cliffe   were actually discharged. It is quite evident that during   the six hundred and fifty years, throughout which I have   traced the names of the rectors of Cliffe, the majority of   them could not have been active parish priests in Cliffe.   Dignitaries of legal and ecclesiastical distinction, having   each of them other preferment’s, they must have left   parochial duties to their assistants whom we call curates.   The names of these good but humble men are, for the most   part, lost in obscurity. However, we know that under Dr.   Nidd the parochial curate in 1616-27 was Mr Roberts. The   names of some subsequent curates are on record; they will be   mentioned in due course.

GRIFFIN HIGGS , S.T.B., who succeeded   Dr. Nidd, was born at South Stoke, in Oxfordshire, in 1589.   His father, also named Griffin Higgs, was a son of Nicholas   Higgs, whose family belonged to Gloucestershire. Educated at   Reading, he was entered at St. John's College, Oxford, in   1606, and there, under Richard Tillesley's tuition,   distanced all his competitors. His Latin verses in honour of   Sir Thomas White, founder of the college, are still extant.   In personal appearance Higgs was as short and insignificant   as his name, but he obtained a probationer's Fellowship at   Merton College in 1611, and was an efficient Proctor in   1622. While he was a Fellow of Merton, he served two small   parishes in the neighbourhood of Oxford. In 1627, Mr. Higgs   was appointed chaplain to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia,   sister of King Charles I., and resided at The Hague, when   performing the duties of his chaplaincy. While there, he   attained the degree of Doctor in Divinity, in the famous   University of Leyden, a.d. 1629-30. By the influence of   Archbishop Laud he was brought to England, collated to   Cliffe rectory on the 15th of February, 1629-30, appointed   Chaunter or Precentor of St. David's Cathedral, and in 1638   Dean of Lichfield. He was likewise one of the chaplains of   King Charles I. At Lichfield he generously spent much of his   income on the adornment of the Cathedral. The pulpit in   Cliffe Church bears the date 1636; perhaps it was given by   this generous rector. His benefice at Cliffe was sequestered   from him in 1645, and he then retired to his native place.   South Stoke alias Stoke Abbot, where he died on the 16th of   December 1659, and there he lies buried. Dean Higgs was of a   generous temperament. He bequeathed £600 to be devoted to   the purchase of land which should produce £30 per annum, as   an endowment for a Free School at Stoke. His library, which   he left to Merton College, seems never to have got there. En   route from Lichfield to Oxford, it was stopped and kept at   Stafford, where it remained. His curate at Cliffe in 1630   and 1631 was the Rev. John Robinson.

SAMUEL ANNESLEY, D.C.L., to whom the   parish and church of Cliffe were sequestered when Dean Higgs   was removed in 1645, was a gentleman of good family in   Warwickshire, son of John Aneley, or Annesley, of Haseley.   His cousin, Arthur Annesley, Viscount Valentia, was created   Earl of Anglesey, in 1661, and became Lord Privy Seal. Dr.   Annesley's father died when Samuel was but four years of   age; consequently his mother had the sole care of his   education and early training. He was entered at Queen's   College, Oxford, during Michaelmas Term 1635, when only 15   years of age. At Oxford he was notable for his abstinence   from intoxicating liquors, his general beverage being pure   water. His political opponents called him "dull but   industrious." Desiring to act as chaplain on board the ship   Globe, under the command of the Earl of Warwick, he sought   Episcopal Orders, and received them on the 1st of December   1644, says Calamy. For preaching power Mr. Annesley seems to   have attained considerable reputation. He was only 25 years   of age when he was appointed to Cliffe. His enemies said,   "He preached long and loud, and got Cliffe, worth £300 per   annum." The parishioners were at first disposed to resent   very strongly the deprivation of Dean Higgs. It is said that   they repeatedly assailed Mr. Annesley (as an intruder) with   pitchforks, stones, and roasting-spits, seeking to terrify   him from remaining in Cliffe. He seems, however, to have   shewn courage, patience, and a truly Christian spirit. Again   and again he assured them that nothing should frighten him   away from Cliffe; but when he saw that his ministry had   fitted and prepared them to entertain a better pastor than   himself, he would then leave the parish. Having a judicial   position, through the Peculiar Jurisdiction of the rectors   of Cliffe, he sought, and through the Earl of Pembroke   obtained, at Oxford, the degree of D.C.L. in 1648. Some of   his former colleagues at Queen's College were irate at this,   and Dr. Barlow said, “If Annesley could have told the   meaning of Pandectæ, he should have had my support;" but he   believed that the new Doctor was ignorant even of such a   rudiment as that. The House of Commons appreciated more   highly than Dr. Barlow the talents of the new D.C.L. That   House appointed him to preach before the Parliament, in St.   Margaret's at Westminster, on the 26th of July, 1648, and   his sermon was afterwards printed "by Order." Exactly a   month later, he went to sea with the Earl of Warwick, as   chaplain; but after three months spent in the Navy, while   the Parliament's ships chased those which had gone over to   Prince Charles, he returned to London in December. He seems   to have been unanimously chosen in 1652 to be “Preacher” at   St. John's, Friday Street, in London, and in 1658 he was   appointed “Pastor “of St. Giles, in Cripplegate. "At Paul's"   he was the preacher in 1654, on the 3rd of September; and in   1655, on the 25th of March; but his actual appointment as   "Lecturer of St. Paul’s” seems to have been made in 1657. On   the 9th of November 1655 he preached in London, before a   large gathering of Wiltshiremen, who were citizens of   London, The discourse (on 1 Chronicles xii. 38-40) was   published with this title: — “The first dish at the   Wiltshire Feast." Eight other Sermons were published by him   between 1654 and 1676. Some collected into a volume were   entitled “The Morning Exercise at Cripplegate." Being   ejected from Cripplegate Church of St. Giles for   Nonconformity, in 1662, Dr. Annesley was silent for some   years. Under the Indulgence Act of 1672, however, he   established a chapel in Little St. Helen's, Bishopsgate   Street, London, at which he ministered until his death. It   became a great centre of Nonconformity. Monthly meetings of   ministers were held in its Vestry for Latin disputations in   Divinity. His family was so numerous that on one occasion,   when asked their number by Dr. Manton (who was baptizing a   child of Annesley's), he replied, "Two dozen or a quarter of   a hundred." At Cliffe, his son Samuel was baptized, November   30, 1645; and his first wife, Mary, was buried there   December 2, 1646. His daughter Ann married the Rev. Samuel   Wesley, father of the celebrated Dr. John Wesley; the eldest   daughter, Judith Annesley, married Mr. James Fremantle; and   another daughter was the wife of John Dunton the bookseller.   Of Dr. Annesley's sons we hear only of one, named Benjamin,   as surviving him. His life has been written more than once;   and to the first record of it was prefixed a Funeral Sermon   by Dr. Daniel Williams. A character of Annesley, written by   Daniel De Foe, is extant among De Foe's collected works. Dr.   Annesley, with his numerous engagements in London, must have   relinquished Cliffe several years before the Restoration.   Probably he occasionally revisited the parish, for at so   late a period as 1688 he is said to have been at Cliffe. He   died on the last day of the year 1696, in the 77th year of   his age.

HENRY HOLCROFT, a Fellow of Clare Hall   in Cambridge, and a son of Sir Henry Holcroft, of East Ham   in Essex, seems to have succeeded Dr. Annesley in the cure   of Cliffe about 1652. He retained his position there until   July 1662, when he was inducted into possession of the   parish church of Patcham in Sussex, by Samuel Cherry,   “minister of the Gospel in the city of London." There is no   truth in the statement that he abandoned his living rather   than conform to the Liturgy and Articles of the Church of   England. On the contrary, he survived, as incumbent of   Patcham, until 1712 ; when he died, at the great age of 92.   He was buried in a vault under the chancel of Patcham   Church, on the 16th of December 1712.

NATHANIEL WYLYE appears to have been   collated to Cliffe in 1662, but he held the benefice a very   short time. The curate in 1662 was the Rev. Henry Roberts.

GEORGE STRADLING, S.T.P., was admitted   rector of Cliffe on the 13th of November 1663, and retained   the living for a quarter of a century. Archbishop Juxon died   on the 20th of June, and was succeeded by Bishop Sheldon, on   the 11th of August, 1663; yet, oddly enough, the record of   Dr. Stradling's collation appears in the registers of both   Primates, under the same date November 13th. He was the   fourth survivor (but actually the eighth) of the sons of Sir   John Stradling, Baronet, of St. Donat's Castle,   Glamorganshire, and entered Jesus College, Oxford, as a   Commoner in Lent Term 1636, when fifteen years of age. In   the Lent Term of 1640-1 he was "Junior Collector of   Bachelors of Arts," and in 1643 he obtained a Fellowship at   All Souls, which he retained throughout the troublous times   of the Rebellion and Commonwealth, when he is said to have   commanded a troop of Royalist cavalry. So great was his   Chichester. Eight months earlier the London benefice of St.   Bride's, in Fleet Street, had been added to his other   preferments, several of which lie enjoyed until his death,   on the 19th of April, 1688. He was buried in Westminster   Abbey, five days later. In Kent he seems to have been vicar   of Sutton at Hone, as well as rector of Cliffe. In 1679 this   Dean of Chichester, Canon of Westminster, and Canon of St.   Paul's turned his attention to the state of his   rectory-house at Cliffe. Archbishop Sancroft issued a   commission of inquiry as to the condition of the old   kitchen, the old well-house, the fodder-house, and the   vicarage-house. The vicars of Higham and Hartlip, with the   rector of High Halstow, and Isaac Blake, Esquire, of Strood,   came over to view the premises, in May 1679. They   recommended that the vicarage -house, being useless, should   be demolished; that the old kitchen and well-house should be   taken down, and that the materials of the demolished   buildings should be utilized for the repair of the   fodder-house, and other portions of the rectory. They   suggested that, by inserting a floor and ceiling in the   lofty hall of the rectory-house, that ancient apartment   should be divided into two stories of rooms, two above and   two below the new ceiling and floor. These alterations were   carried out by Dr. Stradling, who caused the hall to assume   the appearance which it had when the late rector, Mr. Lloyd,   took the benefice in 1869. Dean Stradling's wife was   Margaret Salter, daughter of Sir William Salter, who held at   the Court of King Charles I. the singular appointment of   “Carver-in-Ordinary “to the King. They were married on the   3rd of November 1666, at Iver in Buckinghamshire, not in the   parish church, but in the chapel of Sir William Salter's   residence, Richings House. Mrs. Stradling's mother, a   daughter of Edward Croft, Esq., of Hereford, was the widow   of Sir William Smith, Knight, when Sir William Salter   married her. Dr. Stradling's children, Margaret and George,   were both baptized in Westminster Abbey, the former in 1670   (July 1), and the latter in 1671 (Dec. 5). Mrs. Stradling,   their mother, was buried in the Abbey, on the 1st of October   1681. A volume of Dean Stradling's Sermons was published in   1692, with a Preface by James Harrington. During the period   of Dr. Stradling's incumbency we find that there were at   least five successive curates of Cliffe. Their names occur   thus : —in 1663, Rev. C. Nairne ; in 1664, Rev. James   Nairne; in 1670, Eev. Robert Topp ; in 1679, Rev. Richard   Cater; in 1687, Rev. W. Carmichael, who died on the 18th of   October in that year. Probably, after the death of Dr.   Stradling, there was some delay in appointing a fresh   rector. It is said that old Samuel Annesley came back for   some reason, and is mentioned in the Register, in 1688, as   “S. Annesley, parson."

GEORGE GREEN, D.D., seems to have held   Cliffe benefice for half a century; a period far greater   than it had been enjoyed by any of his predecessors.   Nevertheless we know very little about him, save that he had   been a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 1730, Dr.   Green caused the roof of Cliffe Church to be taken down,   newly laid, and the lead new cast. Two years later he   repaired the chancel, putting on a new roof, inserting a   ceiling for the first time, and rebuilding the east window.   At the same time he caused a ceiling to be placed over the   nave. In the year 1735, for use at the Holy Communion on   Christmas day in that year Dr. Green presented to Cliffe   Church a silver flagon, and two silver patens, weighing   altogether 53 ounces and 14 pennyweights. Thus was he a   permanent benefactor to the Church and parish of Cliffe. Dr.   Green died on the 15th of October 1739, aged 84, and lies   buried in the parish church of Wilby, Suffolk. Among his   curates were Edward Turner, in 1711 ; T. Allet, 1719; Ra.   Leigh, 1720; W. Baler,  1725, who had been minister of   Barnwell, Cambridge, and who was buried at Cliffe in 1727;   John Francis Allen was curate in succession to Baker ;   Thomas Hall seems to have been curate of Cliffe during 25   years from 1730 until 1755, when he died. Many entries and   memoranda in the Registers are signed by Thomas Hall. He   served under four successive rectors, Dr. Green, Dr.   Blomberg, Mr. Jebb, and Mr. Darell.

WILLIAM NICHOLAS BLOMBERG, S.T.P., vicar   of Fulham, was collated to Cliffe by Archbishop Potter, on   the 7th of November 1739. He obtained a. dispensation, dated   2nd of November 1739, which authorised his holding both   benefices together. Dr. Blomberg died in 1750.

GEORGE JEBB, B.D., was the next rector   of Cliffe, but he did not hold the benefice much more than   one year.

EDMUND DARELL, LL.B., succeeded Mr. Jebb,   and retained this rectory about four years, from 1751 to   1755.

JAMES HARWOOD, M.A., who was also vicar   of Dartford (from the 6th of November 1755, until his   death), succeeded Mr. Darell in the Cliffe benefice during   1755, and retained it until the 15th of February 1788, when   he died. Among his curates at Cliffe were Walter Owen (1758)   ; Lewis Jones (1759); /. Home (1759); William Lewis (1760),   who lodged in Rochester, at the Old Deanery; W. Chester   (1761) ; Walter Owen again (1764); Vincent Green (1767); R.   Fountaine (1771-8).

M.A., vicar of Cobham,   in Surrey, was collated to Cliffe in August 1778, and   retained it until he died (aged 80) March 17, 1815. His   curates here were, inter alios, W. Shaw and M. Weddell   (1787-1812). To his memory the parishioners erected a   monumental tablet in Cliffe Church.

CHARLES BURNEY, D.D., born at Lynn   Regis, educated at the Charterhouse and at Caius College,   Cambridge, well known as a Greek scholar and a successful   schoolmaster, held Cliffe for two years only; being admitted   to the benefice in 1815, and dying in 1817. He was not   ordained until he had past middle age ; he then held   successively the benefices of Hernehill  (Kent), Hinton   Parva  (Wilts), and St. Paul's, Deptford 1811-17, where he   died on the 28th of December 1817, aged 60. The Deptford   rectory he held together with that of Cliffe; and, not long   before his death, he obtained a Prebendal Stall in Lincoln   Cathedral. Dr. Burney was likewise Chaplain in Ordinary to   King George III. His library of 385 manuscripts, and nearly   14,000 volumes of choice books, was purchased by the nation,   and is now in the British Museum. It included the Townley,   13th century MS. of Homer's Iliad (the oldest extant) ; two   MS. copies (of the 14th or 1 5th centuries) of the Greek   Rhetoricians; two early Greek MSS. of the Gospels; a fine   Greek MS. of Ptolemy's Geography; 166 editions of the works   of Euripides; 102 of Sophocles; 87 of Homer; 74 of   Aristophanes ; 50 editions of Demosthenes ; and 47 of   Æschylus. No less than 700 volumes of newspapers, in a   complete series from A.D. 1603 to 1817, formed part of Dr.   Burney's remarkable library. It was purchased, by   Parliamentary grant, for £13,500. This rector of Cliffe was   the second son of Dr. Charles Burney, the eminent musician   and composer, who wrote the General History of Music, and   who was organist of the parish church at Lynn Regis, when   his son Charles was born there in December 1757. The   parishioners of Cliffe testified their respect for Dr.   Burney by erecting a memorial tablet for him in their parish   church.

JAMES CROFT, M.A., was the next rector   of Cliffe, and he held the benefice for 51 years, from 1818   until the 9th of May 1869, when he died. This gentleman, who   married a daughter of Archbishop Manners Sutton, graduated   B.A. from St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1807. By   Archbishop Manners Sutton he was collated in 1812 to be   rector of Saltwood, where he dwelt during the greater part   of each year. Being likewise Archdeacon, and Canon, of   Canterbury, he resided the rest of the year in the Cathedral   Precincts. At Cliffe, like many of his predecessors, he   seldom appeared. Among his representatives there, were the   Rev. John Hamilton, whom he, in 1839, appointed vicar of   Lynsted, Kent; the Rev. Edward Allfree, who in 1850 became   rector of St. Swithin's, Cannon Street, London ; and,   1850-69, the Rev. E. H. Lee (now rector of Chiddingstone,   but for some time vicar of Boughton under Blean). While Mr.   Lee was curate in charge, much was done towards restoring   the transepts and tower of the church; and in 1862 the peal   of six old bells was recast by Taylor and Co. of   Loughborough. Two new bells (No. 5, weighing 8 cwt. 2 qrs. ;   and No. 8, weighing 14 cwt. 2 qrs. 18 lbs.) were added in   1864. Some account of the work done in the church under Mr.   Lee's auspices will be found in Archaeologia Cantiana, XI,   158

HENRY ROBERT LLOYD, M.A., was instituted   to Cliffe on the 30th of September 1869, and retained it   until his death, on the 30th of January 1880. He had been   chaplain to his uncle, Archbishop Longley, to which   circumstance he was indebted for his preferment, first to   St. Mark's, Kennington, and then to Cliff e (to which   Archbishop Tait presented Mr. Lloyd out of respect for the   previous Primate). A native of Kent, born at Woolwich on the   9th of August 1809, Mr. Lloyd was the son of a Welsh   gentleman, John William Lloyd, Esq., of Danyrallt,   Llangadock, in Carmarthenshire. His mother was Anna Maria,   daughter of John Longley, Esq., once Recorder of Rochester.   He married a daughter of the Hon. Edward Grey, Bishop of   Hereford. This rector of Cliffe graduated B.A., in 1831,   from Trinity College, Cambridge, and was ordained by the   Bishop of St. David's to the Lectureship of Llangadock in   1833. The Rev. Newton Smart, rector of West Grimstead with   Plaitford, Wilts, who had married his cousin, made Mr. Lloyd   his curate from 1839 until 1841, when the incumbency of   Taliaris, Carmarthenshire, was given to Mr. Lloyd, by his   brother-in-law, William Peel, Esq. He subsequently held the   benefices of Carew in Pembrokeshire, South Benfleet in   Essex, and Owersby in Lincolnshire successively, until his   uncle the Primate promoted him to St. Mark's, Kennington, in   1864. Mr. Lloyd was the first rector who had resided at   Cliffe, during the present century. He restored the   rectory-house, partially restored the chancel, and was   instrumental in effecting the erection of new schools — one   for 90 boys, and another for 150 infants; and in causing the   nave of the church to be reseated with open benches. A   description of his work in Cliffe Church will be found in   Archaeologia Cantiana, XI., 150-152. Mr. Lloyd's health   compelled him to be frequently absent from Cliffe, and the   curates who then took charge of the parish were: — his son,   the Rev. loriverth Grey Lloyd, M. A., now vicar of Wiston,   near Haverfordwest;  the Rev. Samuel  Goclher, M. A. ; and   the Rev. Edward Mayo.

STANLEY LEATHES, D.D., whose numerous   writings are well known, was presented to Cliffe by   Archbishop Tait on the death of Mr. Lloyd, in 1880. He is   the son of the late Rev. Chaloner Stanley Leathes, rector of   Ellesborough, Bucks, a scion of the old Cumberland family   whose patronymic appears in Lake Thirlmere's alternative   name " Leathes Water." Having graduated B.A. in 1852, from   Jesus College at Cambridge, Mr, Leathes obtained the first   Tyrwhitt, University, Hebrew Scholarship in the following   year. After serving as curate at Salisbury for two years,   1856-8, he became attached to the great mother parish of St.   James, Westminster (Piccadilly), in which he filled various   positions for many years. In 1858, he married the youngest   daughter of the Rev. J. M. Butt, vicar of East Garston,   granddaughter of Dr. George Butt, a chaplain to King George   III., by whom he has several children. He was Select   Preacher at Cambridge in 1865; Boyle Lecturer in 1868-69-70;   Hulsean Lecturer at Cambridge in 1873; Bampton Lecturer at   Oxford in 1874; Warburtonian Lecturer at Lincoln's Inn in   1876-80. He has been Professor of Hebrew in King's College,   London, since 1863; a member of the Old Testament Revision   Company since 1870; and a Prebendary of St. Paul's since   1876, The University of Edinburgh conferred upon him the   honorary degree of Doctor in Divinity, in 1878. Dr. Leathes   is now Examiner in the Text of Scripture and the Evidences   of Christianity to the University of London. He is   endeavouring to complete the restoration of the fine old   parish church of Cliffe. May full success crown his highly   commendable efforts.

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