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Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Extracts from: "The Story of Haversham" by Rev. Samuel Hilton, M.A. Rector of Haversham (Published in 1937)

In olden days, yew trees were often planted at the consecration of churches, and there happens to be in the Rectory garden, a fine old yew tree, which is considered to be over a thousand years old. (Its girth 5 feet from the ground, is 12ft. 8 inches; its spread N. to S. is 48ft., and E. to W. is 46ft. [in 1937]). Of course, this cannot be advanced, as definite evidence of the existence of an earlier church, but in any case it is worthy of mention.

It may also be worth mentioning that about 55 yards away from the tree is a mound, where the outlines of an ancient large building are discernable, but what this building could have been it is quite impossible to say at present.

Yew tree in the Rectory garden

Haversham Church of 1160
Bernard E. Mather Rector Haversham Church 1160-1960

About the time of the building of the Church, clergy were instructed to ring the Church bell, not only to inform the villagers that it was time to go to work, or come home from the fields, but also when to put out fires and go to bed. Whether the Rector at Haversham was provided with a bell in his newly-built Church, and was therefore able to comply with the instruction, we are not told. Whether there was a Church in Haversham before 1160 is unknown. One or two experts have detected what they consider to be Saxon work in the west of the Church, but thier findings are inconclusive. What we do know, however, is the a Church, probably of a rectangular shape, and covering the part now occupied by the nave was erected in the early days of the reign of Henry II. The plan below shows the shape of the Church, except for the tower, which was added later.
It is believed that only the west wall remains of the Church of 1160, the tower being built in 1190, and a large part of the remainder of the Church in 1220.
The tower is of three stages, all of it, excepting the embattled parapet and the North-west buttress, is the original structure of 1190. There are two small windows in the ground floor stage, and four larger ones in the bell chamber, and it is considered that all these are original openings. The whole of the tower was restored in 1903.
It is considered that at least one bell was installed in the tower at an early date, but no trace of it has ever been found.

The Church of 1160 (Tower 1190)

Extracts from: "The Story of Haversham" by Rev. Samuel Hilton, M.A. Rector of Haversham (Published in 1937)

The Norman window
in the tower.

It can hardly have been an accident that the entry of the de Haversham family into the possession of the Manor coincided with the building of the Church (or was it the re-building?).

For about a century under the Norman invaders there had been but little church development in the land, apart from the establishment of monasteries. The first Norman bishop of this part of England, Remigius by name, removed his see in 1070 from Dorchester near Oxford to Lincoln, and in the diocese of Lincoln Haversham remained until so recently as 1845. Towards the end of the reign of Henry II there was a great activity in the erection of church buildings. In this county alone 116 churches where either built or rebuilt at that time, of which Haversham was one.

Obviously, it is the Norman window of the west wall which testifies to this date. A feature of this window is that the reverse side of it, which is now inside the tower, was apparently an outside window originally, pointing to the fact that the tower was added a little later, it is thought about the year 1190, which would be in the time of Hugh de Haversham.

A view of the reverse side of the window inside the tower

The Church of c.1220.

After having done duty for about 60 year, the Church was considerably enlarged, and of the former building, only the west wall and the tower were retained.

To Hugh de Haversham and his son Nicholas, who succeeded in 1221, belong the honour of rebuilding the Church almost to its present size; and if it were not already endowed, probably they too made provision for the maintenance of the services. The extent of the endowment has been placed on record as early as 1278.

This period of architecture, called Early English, is marked by its narrow lancet-shaped windows, three of which still remain. Other early 13th century evidence are the two buttresses with edge roll moulding at the east end of the Chancel, with an inscribed dial on one of them.

On the north side of the Church there is an old doorway from this period, which has long since ceased to be used. The former use of this door is uncertain but it is thought that its existence points to the probability that the Rector lived somewhere on this side of the Church, and that this was the entrance used by him.

In some parts of England an old disused doorway on the north side came to be known as “the Devil’s door,” from the prevalent superstition that the Evil One tried to exert his influence from this direction. At any rate, the doorway is now substantially built up against him or anyone else!

"The Devils' Door"

Rector Michael de Haversham, 1221 A.D.

It is from this date that the names of all the rectors are known down to the present day. [1937] The absence of earlier recorded names, however, cannot be considered as evidence that there were no previous rectors, because it was not until about the year 1213 that the Bishops began to keep registers of institutions.

The Bishop of Lincoln, Hugh de Wells, made two fairly long entries of the appointment of Michael. In the first it is stated that the charge of the Church of Haversham was entrusted to Michael de Haversham on “the Wednesday immediately before the feast of St. Dionysius,” and the Official of the Archdeaconry of Bukyngeham was commanded to enjoin the Capellanus (Chaplain) of Haversham, that he should warn Michael to come to the Lord Bishop to be instituted. In the second entry it is stated That Michael, “clerk, having been presented by Nicholas de Haversham, knight, to the church of Haversham,” was admitted to it and canonically instituted “persona” - the origin of the word parson.

The reference to the Chaplain of Haversham is interesting. In the earliest know account of the parish it was asserted that the name of the first recorded rector was “one William.” Either this “one William” was the predecessor of Michael, or else he was the chaplain referred to in the instructions issued by the Bishop of Lincoln.

It should be remembered that in early days there were chaplains at Haversham, evidently the private chaplains of the Lord of the Manor, as well as rectors of the parish church, and that in post-Reformation days there frequently curates. The names of several of them are known.

It is noteworthy that the first recorded rector was a member of the Manor family. Indeed, he was almost certainly a brother of the Sir Nicholas who presented him to the living, as it would appear from a legal reference in 1225, in which it is stated that Nicholas and his brother Michael obtained a writ of pone touching a tenement in Rutland, no doubt the property which Benedict de Haversham held at the beginning of the century.

Rector John de Chishull, Bishop.

On the death of Michael in 1264, Sir Nicholas de Haversham appointed one who brought no little distinction to the parish. His name is also spelt Cheshull and Chryshull. He had previously held livings at Holton in Lincolnshire from 1259 to 1260, and at Buckminster in Leicestershire. After being at Haversham for 10 years, he was appointed Bishop of London, and was consecrated at Lambeth on April 29th, 1274. He is said to have become also the Lord Treasurer and Lord Chancellor of England in the reign of Edward I. He died in 1280.

Master Angelus, Advocate.

Chishull was succeeded in the rectorship by “Master Angelus Cameracensis, advocatus dom. regis in curia.” Cameracensis was apparently his surname, and he was advocate of the Lord King in the court of Rome, his business being to advance the King’s suits in the Papal Court. He was appointed Rector by King Edward I, upon whom devolved the right of patronage during the minority of the heir Sir Nicholas de Haversham. Possibly Master Angelus was never able to come to Haversham at all, but delegated his duties to a chaplain. In the old mss, account of the parish he is described as “Master Angelus de Roma, the King’s Chamberlayne.”

List of Rectors down to the present time

Extracts taken from Bishops' Registers at Lincoln *More is said in the text of those Rectors indicated with an asterisk.
Michael de Haversham, clerk, presented by Nicholas de Haversham, knight, "ad ecclesiam de Haversham; admissus est in eo, et canonice persona institus." (Register of Bp. Hugh de Wells)
Master John de Cheshull, priest, on the death of Michael. P. Nicholas de Haversham kt. (Register of Bp. Gravesend
Master "Angelus Cameracensis, advocatus dom. Regis in curia," on the consecration of John de Chyshull to the see of London. P. the King.
William de Ledcomb, clerk. P. James de la Plaunch, vacant by the death of Master Angelus. (Register of Bp. Sutton)
William de Osegodeby, knight; vacant by the resignation of William de Ledcombe. (Register of Bp. Dalderby)
Raph de Turville, priest, presented by William de Plaunche, Lord of Haversham; vacant by the resignation of William de Osgodby. (Register of Bp. Burghersh)
(?) John de Helewell. (no record at Lincoln of his Institution)
Richard de Donnington, clerk; P. her most excellent ladyship Phillipa, by the grace of God Queen of England. Vacant by the resignation of dominus John de Helewell. (Register of Bp. Beck)
Roger de Aston, priest, presented by Lord William de la Plaunche, knight; vacant by death of Richard de Donington. (Register of Bp. Gynwell)
Robert Sturmy, priest, presented by Lord Edward, by the garce of God, King. (Register of Bp. Gynwell) According to the Patent Rolls of Ed. III., Aston and Sturmy exchanged livings in 1351, the King being patron in both places.
Thomas de Overe, presented by William, son of Fulk de Bermynham, knt., vacant by the death of Robert. (Register of Bp. Gynwell)
Laurence de Allerthorpe, presented to the Church of Haversham in the dioc. of Lincoln. (Patent Rolls of Edw. III)
Adam de Allerthorpe, parson of the Church of Evernygham in the dioc. of York, on exchange of beneficies with Laurence de Allerthorpe. In the King's gift. (Patent Rolls of Edw. III)
(?) Henry Brydhale. (no record at Lincoln of his institution)
Gilbert Thorburn, priest, presented by Sir John Russell knt. On the death of Sir Henry Brydhale. (Register of Bp. Beaufort)
Gilbert Bury, on an exchange with Gilbert Thornburn. (Register of Bp. Fleming)
Master John Boteler, Doctor of Decrees, on the death of Gilbert Bury, on the presentation of Thomas Thorp, Remebrancer of the King's Exchequer. (Linc. Reg. 19)
Master John Bukeley, priest, presented by Wm. Lucy, Esq. Vacant by the death of Master John Butler
Master John Clement, Presented by Thomas Lucy, knt, on the resignation of John Blwkley. (Linc. Reg 23)
Richard Talbott, presented by Wm Lucy, on the death of the last incumbent. (Linc. Reg. 27)
Robert Talbott, presented by Thomas Lucy, per deprivationem Richard: Talbott clerici conjugati. (Linc. Reg. 28)
John Rawlinson, priest, presented by Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, gentleman, on the death of Robert Talbott. (Linc. Reg. 28)
John Prestman, clerk, "presented to the rectory of Harsham alias Haversham," vac. by the death of John Rawlyson. Patron, "Thomas Lucy of Harsham alias Haversham, knt." (Register of Bp. Cooper)
Thomas Ashton, clerk, vacant by the cession of Sir John Prestman. Patron, Thomas Lucy, knt. (Register of Bp. Cooper)
Master John Cock, clerk, vacant by the resignation of Thomas Ashton. Patron, Thomas Lucy, knt. of Charlecote, Co. Warwick. (Register of Bp. Cooper)
John Bird, instituted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Liber Cleri)
Michael Bostocke, clerk, presented by Lady Constance Lucy (widow) to the r. of Haresham alias Haversham Co. Bucks: vacant by the death of John Bird (Presentation Deeds)
Robert Newman M.A. instituted by the Vicar General and Official of the Archb. Of Canterbury. Patron, Richard Lucy, Esq. (Liber Cleri)
Daniel Rogers M.A. on the presentation of Maurice Thomson. (Church Register)
Samuel Halton B.D. on the death of Rogers. P. Sir John Thompson Bart. (Church Register)
Thomas Gregory M.A. on the death of Samuel Halton. P. Sir John Thompson, Lord Haversham. (Linc. Reg. 36) [also Rector of Toddington, co, Bedford.]
Josias Hort, on the death of Thomas Gregory. Presented by the King, pro lapsum temporis et pro hac vice. (Linc. Reg 36) [afterwards Bishop of Ferns, Ireland.]
Henry Eliot. M.A. vicar of Olney, on the presentation of Maurice, Lord Haversham. (Linc. Reg 36)
John Mackerness M.A. on the death of Henry Eliot. Patron, Matthew Mackerness, for the turn only. (Linc. Reg 38)
Charles Moss, on the death of John Mackerness. Patron, Bishop of Bath & Wells, for this turn. (Linc. Reg. 39) [appointed a Prebendary of Wells in 1785]
William Gardner, on the resignation of Charles Moss. Patron, Alex Small, in full right. (Linc. Reg) [also Rector of Haversham]
Edward Cooke M.A. LL.B. on the death of Wm. Gardner. P. Thomas Kitelee of Castlethorpe, for his turn only. (Linc. Reg 40)
John Fisher, on the death of Ed. Cooke. P. the trustee of Alex Small. (Linc. Reg. 40) [also Rector of Wavendon]
Harry Alexander Small B.C.L., on the resignation of John Fisher. (Linc. Reg. 40) [also Rectort of Clifton Reynes; both rectories were sequestratedin 1850]
Diocese of Oxford
Arthur Bruce Frazer M.A. on the resignation of H. A. Small. Patron, Rev H. A. Small, "in full right." (Oxford Dioc. Registry)
Benjamin Legge Symonds M.A, on the resignation of A. B. Frazer, on his own presentation, "in full right." (Oxfgord Dioc. Registry)
Samuel Hilton M. A. on the resignation of B. L. Symonds. Presented by Sir Samuel Roberts Bt., Sir Thomas Inskip, C.B.E., K.C., J. H. Buxton, Esq., Ven. Archdeacon Joynt, Canon Lillingstone, Prebendary H. W. Hinde, Rev. T. C. Chapman. (Oxford Dioc. Registry)
William George Ellis Squire
James Rowland Walkney
Hugh Baird Richardson
Bernard Mather
David Lunn
Simon Weedon
Ian Pusey
Richard Caddell

Lord de Haversham.

The Nicholas de Haversham, who succeeded his father Hugh in 1221, died 30 years later possessed of other property besides Haversham, namely property in Thrap, Oxon, and a smaller manor of Compton in Wiltshire, which was allocated as dower to his widow Emma.

He was succeeded in 1251 by his son for the same name, who was “constable” of the Castle of Northampton in 1264, that is to say, the governor or keeper. He also came to be styled in official returns as Lord Nicholas de Haversham. It should be said, however, that the title of Lord was used at that time in a much looser sense than in later days. He further increased the possessions of the family by the addition of the Manor of Claybrooke in Leicestershire and other lands in Wiltshire. With his death in 1273 the direct line of de Havershams came to an end.

Queen Eleanor's tomb - Westminster Abbey

He was succeeded by his daughter Maud, or Matilda, a child of 6 months, and during her minority she was placed under the wardship of Queen Eleanor, the wife of King Edward I. The Queen was also granted the custody of the Manor and the other estates, the King retaining to himself the right of the patronage of the Rectory.

Judicial Enquiry of 1273.

Some most interesting pieces of information of this period have been preserved in two official enquiries made a this time.

As was customary on the death of a landowner, an enquiry or inquisition was made on the nature and extent of the property lately held by Nicholas de Haversham, so that a decision might be made as to his legal heir, and a dower awarded to his widow. To be precise, this enquiry was held on “the Saturday after St. Gregory in the 2nd year of Edward I.” It was found that his estate consisted of Compton Manor and other lands in Wilts., property in Southampton, Claybrok in Leicester, in addition to Haversham with the advowson of its Church, and that his daughter Maud aged ½ year was his next heir. The total value of all lands was given at £112 6s 8½d., of which Haversham alone accounted for £59 8s 3½d., “and so to the Lady (i.e., Joan his widow) ought to be dowered of £37 8s 10¾d., that is one third of the value.

Name and Endowment of the Church.

Two declarations in these returns are worthy of special note:-

It: dca: ecca: de Hav’sam donate est de LX and XII acr’ t’re. It. Deo & ecce: Be: Marie de Hav’sam ad luminar’ sustinedn; IX.s., which means that at this early date the Church was endowed with 72 acres of land, and that one of the tenants gave 9/- to God and to the Church of the Blessed Mary of Haversham for the maintenance of lights, as part of the rental for the land which he held.

The reference to the Blessed Mary is unique, as it is the only instance that has been discovered so far in old documents to the name of a patron saint given to this Church. It is true that this reference can hardly be considered a conclusive authority in this particular matter, yet it certainly seems to testify that the Church was popularly known at that time as “the Church of the Blessed Mary.” With this one exception the Church is invariably described in Bishops’ registers, Church Registers, Acts of Parliament, and all official documents from the earliest days to the present, as the Church or the Parish Church of Haversham.

Even the will of Lady Clinton in 1423, which contains several specific references to the Church, seems to be ignorant of its name, although, strange to relate, the will refers to the Chantry Chapel as being that of St. Peter the Apostle.


Arms: Argent billety and a lion sable.

Maud de Haversham was only 16 years old when the wardship of the Queen came to an end. She became married to Sir James de la Plaunche, and the following order was issued to Master Henry de Bray, the escheator this side Trent in 1289:-

“Order to deliver to John [this is an error for James] de la Plaunche and Maud de Haversham his wife, all the lands whereof Nicholas here father, tenant in chide, was seised at his death, to be held until the King’s arrival in England, so that there may be done what the King shall cause to be ordained by his council, as the King learns … that Matilda is of full age.”

Her husband was not to live more than 16 years afterwards, and of him two things only are told.

He exercised the right of patronage to the rectory on the death of Master Angelus in 1291, and appointed William de Ledcomb, of whose subsequent troubles on the death of his patron we shall soon hear.

The second matter is that he obtained licence in 1304 “to crenellate his dwelling place of Haversham, Co. Buckingham”; that is to say, to fortify it with embattlements, or as another definition says, “to furnish loopholes, through which missiles may be shot.” The reason for this fortification is not given, but there were many marauding bands of free-booters in those days, and no man’s goods were safe unless his house were well armed and protected.

It is possible, too that it was Sir James who constructed the moat, which remains to this day, the existence of which would seem to indicate that the Manor House at one time must have been situated at that place.

Besides this, there are the embattlements, which were added to the 12th century Church tower, quite possibly at this same time. The strength of this tower, the thickness of its walls, the small size of the windows, which are mere narrow slits, and no external doorway, all combine to suggest the watch tower and emergency fortress.

Sir James died in 1303, leaving a son and heir, William aged 5 years, and a daughter Joan. His widow Lady Maud, soon afterwards married Sir John de Olney, who appears to have been of a somewhat aggressive and even pugilistic nature.

Difficulties of the Rector.

The lot of the Rector was not always a path of roses, even in the Middle Ages. Although William de Ledcomb had been the Rector for 18 years, the new Lord of the Manor did his utmost to make things unpleasant for him. A Commission was appointed in 1309, on complaint by William, parson of the Church of Haversham, that John de Olneye, John le Hare, Robert le Long and Nicholas le Someter with others at Haversham, Co. Bucks., assaulted and imprisoned him, and forbade the inhabitants of Haversham to give him tithes, fire or water, or to speak with him, assaulted his servants, took away his plough oxen and other cattle from the common pasture there, and kept them without food, so that many of them died, prevented his servants from saving his hay and his corn, and with the cattle of the said John de Olneye depastured the herbage of his meadow and his corn.”

No reason is given for this violent hostility. Had the fault been entirely on Mr. Ledcomb’s part it would no doubt have been recorded. It is not surprising to discover that Mr. Ledcomb resigned two years later.

At the same time, Sir John did not have things all his own way, for he too had to make a complaint “touching a breach of the park at Haversham.” Feelings ran very high in those days.

A still more serious affair occurred 48 years later. The parson of 1357, Robert Sturmy, was attacked by William Golds, the bailiff of Newport Pagnell, and in defending himself against Golds, Sturmy accidentally killed him! Again no reason is given why the bailiff should have been so violent, but it is satisfactory to know that the Rector was pardoned, and that he was not obliged to resign in consequence. He died in office in 1361.

Chantry Chapel.

The days of the de la Plaunche family were associated with much Church re-construction, which experts group around the three dates 1290, 1325, and 1360.

First the Chantry Chapel was added, it is thought about 1290 (the Chapel arch being of that period), though it was reconstructed about the year 1325, as the two windows would suggest. This would be in the days of Lady Maud, who entered into possession of the estate in 1289, and lived until 1329. It was in the year 1325 that her second husband, Sir John de Olney, died; and in the same year John de Haversham, the Chaplain, and presumably her relative, gave an endowment of 12 acres of land in Haversham to the Abbot and Convent of Lavendon, for the maintenance of a chaplain there.

Bernard E. Mather Rector Haversham Church 1160-1960

Hagioscope (or squint)
Piscina & sedile
Picture: Mr. E. F. Instone

The restoration of 1934 revealed the existence in this Chapel of a hagioscope (or squint), an ambry( a recess for church vessels), originally much deeper, and a fine 14th century pisina which can be seen in the picture above together with the stone seat, or sedile, below the window facing south.
[From History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds by Oliver Ratcliff 1900. At the east end of the south aisle is a piscina, which shows that it was a chantry chapel. Beneath is the burial vault of the lords of Haversham Manor]

The Leper squint is of interest, and was, of course, (in the year 1200 when it was constructed) an opening from the outside of the Church. It was here where lepers, or suspected lepers, without mixing with the normally healthy congregation inside the building, might view the Rector as he administered the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

Few people realise that at one time a Chapel existed extending 18 feet 8½ inches north of the Chancel, the foundations of which were discovered in 1941.

At that time a piscina was found on the outside of the north wall of the chancel and was dated about 1280.
This piscina can now be seen clearly from the churchyard.

Extracts from: "The Story of Haversham" by Rev. Samuel Hilton, M.A. Rector of Haversham (Published in 1937)

On the outside of the south window of the Chapel it will be noticed that there is “a moulded external label having beast-stops.” The “beasts” are, (1) a cat with a mouse in its mouth; (2) a cockatrice, which is a fabulous monster represented in heraldry as having the head and body of a cock with the tail of a reptile. The one in the window is standing on its twisted tail, with its head looking upwards. The figure is more noticeable if viewed sideways.

The "beasts" (1) a cat with a mouse in its mouth
(2) a cockatrice, which is a fabulous monster represented in heraldry
as having the head and body of a cock with the tail of a reptile.

Those for whose benefit Chantry Chapels were built were usually people who had made some generous contribution or endowment of either money or lands to the Church. The liberality of John de Haversham, the Chaplain, has been recorded, and almost certainly Lady Maud had followed in the footsteps of her pious ancestors in supporting the Church. The association of their names with the construction of the Chapel would seem to be a legitimate assumption.

Mention may be made in passing, of the surprising fact that there is no indication of any endowment or charity being given to the Church or parish from that day to the present, except a bequest in 1896.

Church Enlargement.

About the year 1325 also, the south aisle was entirely rebuilt to be in line with the new Chantry Chapel. The south arcade was also rebuilt, as well as the Chancel arch. Perhaps it would have been more interesting to people today had the original archway been retained.

The last stage in the reconstruction work took place about 1360. This would be in the days when the Rector had his unfortunate contretemps with the bailiff of Newport Pagnell.

To this date is assigned the rebuilding of the north arcade, with its two noticeable head-stops over the pillars. The windows of the Chancel, which doubtless had formerly been narrow lancet shaped, were enlarged in this “Decorated period,” as were also the two large windows in the north aisle. The “Inventory of National Monuments” suggests that this section of the north aisle was not built until this time. To the end of the 14th century (about 1390) is assigned the south porch, the canopy over the tomb, and the font.

All through this reconstruction period, 1325 to 1390, the “ogee” style is much in evidence, as is seen in the east window (c.1325), the two square-headed windows on the south side of the Chancel (of the end of the century), the piscine in the Chapel, the canopy in the sanctuary, and the font.

The clerestory was added in the 1400's when the pitch of the original roof was lowered. Since then, over 500 years ago, apart from re-roofing and the re-building of a buttress or two, no addition has been made to the structure of the Church.

Haversham Church in Lady Clinton’s days.

It is worthy of note that the last improvements and additions to be made to the structure of the Church were during this period. Besides the canopy, the font, south porch, and the enlargement of three windows in the Chancel, all of which fall within this short period, there was also the addition of a clere-story in the earlier part of the 15th century, Even the old parish chest may belong to the end of Lady Clinton’s time. This oak chest, with its floriated iron-straps and two locks, the lid being in two parts, is probably early 15th century.

It was recorded in an account of the 18th century:

“Here are no ancient coats of arms or painted glass, except yt. in ye north window of ye Chancel is one coat, viz: Argt. a Lion rempt. sable, in an orbe of Billets sable, being ye arms of Plaunche, put up on doubt by ye last Heiress of ye Family, viz,. Elizabeth, Lady Clinton Daughter and Heir of Will. de la Plaunche.”

Unfortunately, this window with its coat of arms has since disappeared. A few fragments of 15th century stained glass have been found, and are now placed in the east window of the Chapel. Apparently they were part of the window referred to by the 18th century chronicler, though it is difficult to piece them together now so as to make any semblance of design.

The Clinton Tomb.
The chief interest of Haversham in Lady Clinton is an account of the canopied altar tomb, which is an outstanding feature of the Chancel.
It consists of:
(1) An alabaster recumbent effigy of a woman with clasped hands in widow's head-dress and pleated barb, the head resting on a cushion supported by angels, and a lion at the feet.
(2) An alabaster altar-shaped tomb, with six figures under trefoil-headed niches at the front, and another figure at the west end of the tomb; five of these figures represent angels holding tablets or shields, and two are figures of men "weepers" in the dress of the period; traces of the original paint still remain on the tomb and on the effigy.
(3) A canopy of stone, with a crocketed label of ogee shape; and at the back of the recess, a niche and bracket.

Until recently it was always confidently assumed that the tomb was that of Lady Clinton, although there is no inscription on it to say so. The two latest authorities have rather dropped a bombshell on local tradition by questioning this assumption, while at the same time they allow the date of about 1390. This raises quite an interesting problem. Are there any good reasons for the general belief? The writer thinks there are. It so happens that Lady Clinton left a will, which is preserved in the Archives of Lambeth. According to this will she appointed her “body to be beryet in the Chauncel of Hauersham byfore ye ymage of oure Lady Seynt Marie.” It used to be supposed that she had prepared the tomb for herself during her own lifetime, but there is no hint in the will that any tomb existed, or yet that there was one wherein the body of her sister Katherine lay. The bodies of her children were buried “in the chapel of Seynt Petir the apostell in ye same church of Hauersham.”

From this specification of the place of her burial, viz.: before the image of our Lady, a writer in the Records of Bucks in 1870 makes the following suggestion:

The Canopy of stone appears to be of a somewhat earlier date then the tomb and effigy of alabaster, and apparently this canopy was constructed originally between 1380 and 1390 for an Image of the Virgin, which would have stood on the bracket in the recess, and it was in front of this image that Lady Clinton willed to be buried. The date of the Tomb itself is probably 1423-4.

On the removal of images and shrines from Churches at the Reformation in 1547, the tomb was then fitted into the vacant recess or perhaps this was not done until 1665, when “Dorrite Thomson Stq. repeazzed this Toumb” (see inscription at one end of the tomb). The tomb also has the appearance of being slightly too long for the recess, and having been cut at the ends to make it fit in.

A second point to notice is that there are five tablets or shields which must have had coats of arms painted on them originally; and what could those arms have been but the five which Lady Clinton used in her seal towards the end of her life, namely those of her husbands Birmingham, Grey, Clinton and Russell, along with that of de la Plaunche? Recent photographs taken of these five tablets reveal traces of coats of arms on three of them which can be identified, namely:

On the end one there are distinct traces of the lion rampant of the de la Plaunche; the second on the front shows fairly clearly the Barry (argent & azure with the difference of a baston gules of the Grey of Rotherfield; and the fourth on the front shows faint traces of the chevron azure of the Russells of Northants. It will be noticed too that these arms, though not in the order given in her seal, are in the correct chronological order. This would seem to be conclusive evidence that the tomb could be none other then of Elizabeth Lady Clinton.

At her death on Sept. 11th 1423, the line of the de la Plaunche came to an end, as the children of Lady Elizabeth had all pre-deceased her, and the manor passed to a collateral branch descended from the original family of the Havershams.

Alicia Payn Brass

Mention must be made of a brass of 1427 in the Chancel of the Church to the memory of Alicia Payn, who died four years after Lady Clinton.

This brass was originally at the head of the Clinton tomb, from which circumstance it used to be assumed that she was a close friend of Lady Clinton, and had requested to be buried near to her. It is now known that she was a close companion of hers, and that she was left a very handsome legacy on condition that she was with Lady Elizabeth to her “last ende.”

Quite possibly her husband, Thomas Payn, Armiger, had been the Esquire or armour-bearer to Lord Clinton during the wars in France. Thomas Payn acted as one of Lady Clinton’s executors.

A record in 1860 states that the brass was then in a mutilated condition. It was restored in 1884, and fixed on the south wall of the chancel.

Here lies Alicia Payn, lately the wife of Thomas Payn,
Armiger, who died on All Souls’ Day,
In the year of our Lord M.CCCC.XXVII.
May the Lord be gracious to her soul. Amen.

John Maunsell Brass

On the floor of the chancel there is a brass on which is depicted a skeleton. The brass is in memory of John Maunsell who died in 1604


The two shields, at the top of the stone are the arms of Maunsell, viz., a fesse charged with a mullet between three manches. This John Maunsell lived at the manor house in 1598, and is supposed to have been the steward or principal tenant of the manor. He was rated for the pastures of Haversham as appears by an ancient rate.

At the north-east corner of this blue flag-stone is a similar one, robbed of its brasses, which probably commemorated some of the Salisburys, who lived at Haversham in the time of Henry VIII., and were buried in the church.

The Willis Bequest 1896.

During the rectorship of the Rev. B. L. Symonds the Church received a welcome windfall in a legacy of £800. It was left by Mr. George Weeks Willis, of Brighton, the godfather of Mrs. A. B. Frazer.

Actually, the gift was made for three purposes, namely, a stained glass window, a new organ, and a new peal of bells. As the old church bells had not been rung for many years owing to the unsafe condition of the tower, it was agreed by the legal representative of Mr. Willis to expend the money on the reparation of the tower, and to make it fit for the re-hanging of the bells and a new organ. The cost of the repair of the tower and the re-hanging of the bells came to £640.

A memorial window according to the design of J. T. Micklewaite, F.S.A., of Dean’s Yard, Westminster, was placed in the fine east window of c.1325. The window cost £200, in addition to which much had to be expended on the repair of the stonework.

It is in memory of the 33 years fruitful ministry of Mr. Frazer 1856-1889.

The east window is dated 1220, though the stained glass is modern.

Canopied Niche
In the wall, which divides the nave from the chancel, is a canopied niche, and the upper part or top of a window with rich tracery work, now filled in.

The Font and Lectern
The font is reputed to have been designed about the year 1380. It has an octagonal bowl and stem with pannelled sides, and is similar in design to the tomb in the chancel. It is estimated that about 7,000 babies have been baptized here. A very handsome carved oak eagle lectern ( the work of Messrs. Ratte and Kent of Cambridge), was presented in 1867 by Miss Hooper.

The Old Organ 1869
The old organ was built in 1665 by Ralph Dallam for Hackney Parish Church and is mentioned by Pepys in his diary (April 20th. 1667). It has been stated that only one other Ralph Dallam organ is in existence.

In 1738 the organ was removed from Hackney to Newport Pagnell, and after being there for over 100 years it was rebuilt and brought to Haversham in 1869 when a new case was made for it. Much of the pipework, however, is believed to be original, and there is difficulty in tuning many pipes as the metalwork is becoming very thin.

The New Organ 1962

Wolverton Express 25 May 1962

Our picture shows how work is gradually progressing on the installation of a 50-year-old two-manual organ in Haversham Parish Church to replace the historic “antique” instrument upon which Handel is said to have played.
This pleasant and ancient little church, usually so spick and span now looks more like a carpenter’s sop as the organ builders are gradually reducing the mass of pipes and woodwork in one corner of the nave and using them to rebuild this beautiful organ with its console in the chancel.The huge wooden framework , the bellows, and the 1,036 pipes will practically fill the old vestry. And the work will take the best part of three months to complete.Everyone agrees that the organ bought with donations, is a bargain. It has been dismantled from a disused church in Edinburgh and has been bought at a fraction of the £6,000 such and instrument would cost brand new.

One of the world’s finest builders

A few moments’ chat with organ builder Patrick Malone, of W. Starmer, Shaw and Son Ltd., of Weston Favell, confirms that here is an enthusiast. He and his colleagues, Roy Chater and Michael Clifton, are carrying out the rebuilding and modernisation work, after dismantling the instrument in Scotland.
Pipes and pitch pine case are all in first-class condition. “This was built by Harrison, one of the world’s finest organ builders,” Mr. Malone told me. “It’s a wonderful instrument and should last for 200 years, if not more.
The organ has 21 speaking stops for its two manuals and three couplers – giving the organist enough power for a church four times the size of St. Mary’s, but with a wide variety of melodic combinations that few village church organs can hope to rival.
The pedal action is being made pneumatic and certain other improvements carried out.
Over at the other end of the church stands the 300-year-old organ that the famous composer is said to have used when it was in Hackney Parish Church. Haversham bought the organ from Newport Pagnell Parish Church where it did good service for over 100 years.
This splendid “antique” is not leaving North Bucks. It is proposed to sell it to East Claydon Parish Church for £500.

Wolverton Express June 21 1962

Mr. D. R. Bird (secretary-treasurer) said that including transactions in connection with the new organ, income amounted to almost £2,000.

Wolverton Express 3rd August 1962

Sunday, July 29th, 1962, at 6-0

Sunday evening saw the dedication of a new church organ at St. Mary’s, Haversham, with a recital by Sir Thomas Armstrong, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, as a fitting climax to months of effort by organ builders and parishioners.
The 50-year-old organ came from a disused church at Edinburgh and was brought to Haversham in June 1961. Work on reassembling the pieces began in April and was completed on July 16.
It will replace the 300-year-old organ that stands at the other end of the church. Handel is supposed to have played on this instrument when it was in Hackney Parish Church, Haversham obtained the organ from Newport Pagnell where it did good service in the Parish Church for over 100 years.
When the work of organ building had finished volunteers set about cleaning the church – and a splendid job they made of it.

Dedication service

Nearly 300 people crowded into the small church for the dedication service, conducted by the Rector, the Rev. B. E. Mather. The organ was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. F. Houghton, Rector of Drayton, Banbury who was for ten years Bishop of East Szechwan, China.
He was asked to perform the ceremony “on behalf of the parishioners and friends of Haversham Church” by Mr. Steuart Symonds, son of th elate Rev. Benjamin L. Symonds, Rector of Haversham from 1889 – 1929, and brother of the late Miss Margery Symonds who was at one-time organist at the church.
The Lessons were read by Dr. Ingram, managing director of Messrs. Starmer Shaw and Son, of Northampton, the organ builders, and Mr. Michael Clifton, apprentice organ builder. The sermon was preached by the Bishop who spoke of the part music had played in the life of the church from the accompaniment for the Psalms of David in the early Christian hymns. But church music was not meant to be entertaining. If people left a service saying. “What a lovely voice the choirboy had got” or “What a fine preacher that was”, both singer and preacher had failed. Church music had to be judged by a different criterion altogether.

Brilliant recital

Following the service Sir Thomas gave a short recital, his brilliant playing showing the full range if this splendid organ. He played the first movement of Handel’s Concerto in F (“ The Cockoo and the Nightingale”.) Andante in B Flat by Tchaikovsky, Canon in B Minor by Schumann and Purcell’s Trumpet Tunes and an arrangement by H. G. Ley.
The early part of the service was accompanied at the old organ by 19-year-old David Miller, who has been the church organist for the past four years. He is a butcher at Canvin’s at Wolverton.

Rev. B. E. Mather, David Miller, Sir Thomas Armstrong, ?

Pulpit and Hourglass
The 17th century pulpit is of oak and hexagonal in form, though the base was new in 1934.

A pulpit, with an hourglass stand, is reminiscent of the days of really long sermons, when one preacher, turning over the hourglass for the third time, is reputed to have said "Nineteenthly, for we must hasten ...

The Singer's Trumpet
Rev. Benjamin Legge Symonds

Perhaps the most unusual relic of the 17th century is an instrument which was dug up in the churchyard in 1857. What its history is, or why it was buried out of sight, no one can say. Sheahan, in his History of Buckinghamshire of 1862, says that it is a sackbut, and that it was formerly used in the services of the Church, suggesting the use of the “sackbut, psaltery and all kinds of music” in the days when the village choir requisitioned every possible aid to the making of a joyful noise.

It is now thought that it would be more accurate to describe it as a singer’s trumpet, or vamping trumpet. It was used in the singers’ gallery, where the chantry chapel had previously been, so that it might augment the voices of the singers. The large end of the trumpet would be rested on the front of the gallery, while the other was held in the hand, and the bass of the tune hummed through it. The effect of singing or humming in this way was to give a depth and power to the voice.

Perhaps at one time these instruments were fairly common in the Midland counties, though very few of them are know to have survived; not more than five or six.

The one at Haversham is constructed of sheet iron, and is in two pieces, measuring 4 feet 4½ inches in length, though it must have been a little longer as the mouth piece is missing. The bell-mouth is 15 inches in diameter.

St Mary's Church Choir c1962

The Bells.

It was during the rectorship of Mr. Bostock, when Charles I was king, that two bells were hung in the church tower. A third was added after the Restoration of King Charles II. They are thus inscribed:-

CHANDLER MADE ME 1667, by Anthony Chandler

GOD SAVE OVR KING 1625, by James Keene

GOD SAVE OUR KING 1638, bY James Keene

There is also a “sanctus bell” of 1752.

Priest's Door


An interesting question arises as to the probable association of the Grange with the Church. That there must have been some connection may fairly be taken for granted.

The Chancel of the Church (33 feet long) is almost as long as the nave (40 feet) from which it is divided by a low archway, and it has the appearance of having been intended at the first for a religious community. It is thought too that in the Middle Ages the parish altar stood before the recess in the east wall of the nave, where the clergy prayer-desk now stands. We are left to imagine that the resident brotherhood, when coming to the Church for their devotions, would cross over the fields, and approach the churchyard by the old entrance, which is now blocked up, and so to the “Priests’ Door” on the south side of the Church.

The Puritans.

The period of the Commonwealth left its mark on the parish in more ways than one.

The Clinton monument was defaced and damaged to such an extent that it had to be “repeazzed” (repaired) in 1665. The church registers which almost certainly must have been kept since the time of Henry VIII, somehow disappeared in these days of upheaval. As early as 1538 the authorities in each parish were ordered to provide a register “wherein ye shall write the day & year of every wedding, christening, & burying made within yor parish.” The registers which now exist contain no entries earlier than 1665.

Not only did the registers disappear but the rector too! The Rev. Michael Bostock, who had been rector since 1623, is said to have been deprived of his living in 1646; it is also said that the minister put into his place by the Puritans bore the name of John Newman! The church records ignore this intrusion, so that it is not possible to verify it. At the Restoration of Charles II, in 1660, the Church of England ministry was also restored, and a duly ordained minister appointed in the person of Robert Newman M.A. Special mention is made of his ordination as deacon by the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield, and as priest by the Bishop of Rochester in 1643. He had been in charge of the parish since May, 1657, but could not be instituted until 1660, when the ceremony was performed by the Vicar General & Official of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the see of Lincoln being still vacant.

Nonconformity still lingered, for the house of George Martin (wherever that was) became licenced for Presbyterian worship in 1672. There was a John Newman in the parish at the time, and if he were the same individual as the Puritan minister of 1646, it would have been he, no doubt, who conducted these services in Mr. Martin’s house. The church register records his burial in 1676 without comment. Presbyterians continued to flourish for many years, for such entries as these are found in the diocesan records concerning this parish: in 1717 “some diss. Presb, as they say”; and in 1720 “Families 53, about 10 Dissenters.”

Box Pews.

It was probably during the Thompson regime that the high-backed box pews of thin deal wood were introduced into the Church. These pews were most emphatically “of mean extraction.” After being lowered and much altered in 1857, they were removed altogether in 1934, as they had become riddled with the ravages of woodworm.

One can readily imagine the great Lord of the Manor allocating to himself the spacious “manor pew,” where he listened to the eloquence of the rectors of that time preaching from the high pulpit, while the sands were running through the hourglass. (The iron stand of the hour glass is still to be seen in the pulpit.) One wonders whether the oratory of the rectors rivalled that of their distinguished parishioner in the pew, whom the Duchess of Marlborough (the favourite of Queen Anne) described as “a great speech-maker, and the mouth-piece of his party for extraordinary purposes of alarm.”

“Haversham Christians.”

An interesting sidelight has been thrown on the religious life of the parish at this period.

There was appointed to the church of the depopulated parish of Stantonbury in 1668 a well-known poet and religious enthusiast of the day, John Mason by name. It may be of interest to give an extract from an article, which was written about him some time ago.

“Hardly a mile across the river from the church of Stantonbury and the Wittewronge mansion lies the village of Haversham, commanded by its fine church on the high ground beyond. Mason used very frequently to minister to the people beyond the water meadows in default of parishioners of his own. Haversham was his ‘beloved place,’ and his affection was returned by those whom we only know as the ‘Haversham Christians.’” Even after he left Stantonbury in 1674 to become the Vicar of Water Stratford, near Buckingham, he kept up his connection with Haversham for a long time.

St. Peter's Church Stanton Low
Stanton Low Church - Cromwell's last Battlefield

Mason was one of the earliest writers of hymns used in congregational worship, and many of them are to be found in early 18th century collections. Some of his lines were well known to Pope and they are said to have influenced the Wesleys and Cowper, while the hymn-writer Watts borrowed from them freely. The influence of Haversham was evidently an encouragement to John Mason, and perhaps some of his compositions were first sung in its church.

There is an unfortunate sequel to this story, for which an assistant curate at Haversham must bear a large portion of the blame. Seven years after Mason had left Stantonbury, the Rev. James Wrexham, formerly Vicar of Kimble Magna and of Woburn, was appointed by the Rector (Samuel Halton) to be his assistant at Haversham. Mr Wrexham came with a reputation for piety and of learning of a sort, and afterwards he was described as “a melancholy Divine.” It was not without significance that the following entry was made in the Church Register, apparently in the handwriting of the Rector:-

“ James Wrexham, Minister of the gospel cam to dwell at Haversham and to officiat as an Assistant to ye Curat Jan. 3 1681. iTin.3.7. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without lest he fall into reproch and ye snare of ye Divill.”

Wrexham spent much time “in compiling a more exact and complete Scripture Chronology than is yet extant,” and he incurred the reproof of the Bishop of Lincoln “for wasting so much time and pains in a fruitless study.” He further claimed to have calculated the very year when the Millennium would begin. Mason now at Fenny Stratford formed very close friendship with him, and his intensely earnest nature imbibed all too eagerly the ideas of Wrexham about the Millennium. The death of James Wrexham in 1684 filled Mason with grief, and he dwelt more and more upon the “Revelation Thoughts” which he had learned of Wrexham. When the year foretold by the latter at length arrived, Mason verily believed that the Lord had appeared on earth, and he was convinced that he had seen Him with his own eyes. On his stating this publicly many acclaimed him as a prophet, and he attracted around him a large crowd of excitable and erratic people, whose foolish vagaries brought much discredit on him and led him from one delusion to another.

The Rector of Tyringham, H. Maurice, in the year after Mason’s death in 1694, wrote a small book which he called “An Impartial Account of Mr. John Mason and his Sentiments,” in which he sought “to transmit to Posterity as remarkable an instance of pure Enthusiasm as the Reformed World ever new.”

Maurice attributed Mason’s delusion partly to his unhealthy physical and mental condition, but especially to a snare of the Devil “to smite him with a Notion that will chase away Sobriety.” He also asserted that from taking too much Tobacco,” and “While he smoked he was in a kind of Ecstasy and all his People flock’d about him to receive his communications.”

The other point of view was well expressed in a letter written by Mason’s sister to Mr. Maurice shortly after her brother’s death. Among many other tributes to his memory she said, “He had such Zeal to the Glory of God and such a Flame of love to Jesus Christ that I never saw the like no Man on Earth before.

…. He was the self-abasingest Creature that ever I knew in my life …. He was the finest Man in the World against Sin, but the pittyfullest Man to the Sinner….The Haversham Christians are able to give a large account of his Life from first to last, ever since he enter’d into Ministry; and that honourable Family also can give you an account of a good part of his Life, therefore I shall say no more.”

Confirmation at Haversham Church

Last Sunday evening at St. Mary's Church Haversham, a confirmation servive was held. The service was conducted by the Rev. Mather, and the Lord Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev. Harry Carpenter performed the confirmation. Confirmation candidates were as follows: Edward J. Briggs, Dianne J. Cook, Arthur J. Elliot, Michaelle J. Grimes, Christine M. Holt, Angela S. Mallard, Rodney Mather, Alison M. Matthews, Ann Sutton, Julie Sutton, Caroline M.A. Osborn and Lesley A. Osborn. After the confirmation the Lord Bishop of Oxford gave the address, the theme was "The Family of Christ". The candidates confirmed will recieve thier first Holy Communion next Sunday morning.

Churchwardens’ Accounts.

It was during this period that a permanent record began to be kept of the expenses of the wardens, which are complete from Easter 1754. Such items as these are typical of what used to appear in their accounts:-
The account of What money Henerey Atterburey and John Dancer in the yer of 1754.
May the 1 Day for 3 polcat, to Thomas Vieals 1 0
Payed for 3 Duzsen of Sparrowes 6
December the 24, payed for Ringen the midnit peal 2 6
(in 1756) for the Children Eating and Drinking as went to be Conformd 9 0”

The churchwardens also “payed” 4d. for every hedgehog, and on one occasion gave 1/- for a fox (pace the Grafton Hunt!) The sparrow account was a regular item until so recently as 1884. Indeed it would appear from a perusal of these old accounts that the churchwardens of those days were more concerned in keeping down the sparrow and hedgehog population than in maintaining the church fabric in good repair.

Rector Cooke.

There came to Haversham in the latter days of the 18th century a young curate named Edward Cooke, who was destined to add real distinction to the parish. He was a native of the neighbouring small village of Wolverton, “the son of an opulent yeoman,” and had been educated at Berkhamstead School, and at Exeter College, Oxford. After a curacy of 5 years he was appointed rector in 1802.

Dr. George Lipscomb, in his monumental work “The History of Bucks” published in 1847, can hardly find words sufficient to express his admiration of his learning and ability, and apparently the twelve pages of information which he gave of this place were derived largely, if not entirely, from the notes of Mr. Cooke. Indeed, it is thought that this applies not merely to the chapter on Haversham but to a large part of Lipscomb’s work:-

This is what Dr. Lipscomb said of him:-
His attainment as a scholar were of the first order. Few among the most eminent literary characters of the age have united to a great strength of intellectual penetration and acuteness, so remarkable a degree of zeal and industry, as distinguished him in his literary pursuits. His inclination led him more particularly to the study of the laws of his country, and he was so intimately well versed in everything which related to its history, antiquities and jurisprudence, that upon these subjects his mind was regarded a complete dictionary of useful knowledge, ever accessible to those who desired his advice…. He was a large contributor to many of the periodical publications of his time, and though not the avowed author of any published work bearing his name, is known to have afforded his co-operative assistance to many distinguished writers.

He possessed a very extensive library, particularly of theology, law, history, antiquities, and classical literature, and including that immense collection of books and manuscripts relative to the history of his native county, of which, by his generous beneficence, the writer has so largely availed himself in the compilation of this work.” This high praise indeed!

Sunday School.

Mr. Cooke’s services to the parish were of a practical as well as of a literary nature. It was he who made a beginning of the educational work here. Among the property officially recorded as belonging to the rectory in 1822 occurs the item: “A small out-house, used as a Sunday School for boys, but calculated as Cow House or Cattle Shed.”

Possibly this school had existed for several years prior to this date. Here in “a lowly cattle shed” were first taught the rudiments of education to the children of the village. It was in this humble way that the foundations were laid of the educational system of later days.

Sunday School Pupils - date unknown

Friendly Societies.

Another matter of practical importance was the formation of Friendly Societies, in which Mr. Cooke took a prominent part locally. One such was established in 1810 for Haversham and Castlethorpe, and a copy of the revised rules of the society, drawn up in 1821, is preserved in the Church chest.

It was in such ways as this that the foundations were laid which developed into the National Health and Unemployment Insurances of the present day.

His Reward.

He died at the comparatively early age of 51, and according to his own modest directions, his gravestone bears this simplest of inscriptions, “E.C. 1824.”

A tablet to his memory was fixed over the entrance of the church porch, by those who appreciated his valuable work, and on it are engraven these words:-



Close to this wall in the grave-yard is laid the mortal remains of Edward Cooke, M.A., LL.B., He died, having attained his fifty-first year, on the 27th day of February, in the year of salvation 1824. His reward is with the Highest.

The Church Restoration of 1857.

Another Rector who left behind him many evidences of his energy and generosity was the Rev. A B. Frazer, who came here 32 years after the death of Mr. Cooke.

At his first Vestry Meeting he urged that steps should be taken to restore the Church, and the following resolution was passed:- “The state of the Church being taken into consideration, it was resolved that a rate should be levied towards the Expenses.”

The work involved the entire renewal of the roofs (except that of the south aisle) as well as extensive repairs to the flooring and box-pews; these pews were also lowered in height; screens and panelling were added. The most interesting part of this work was the discovery of the Norman window in the west wall, as well as an ambry and piscine in the chancel. Many gifts of value were made such as oak stalls for the chancel, lectern, sanctuary chairs, &c. Altogether about £700 was spent on this work.

An organ was introduced in 1861 into the Church for the first time. Unfortunately it was placed in the “singer’ gallery,” i.e., the old chantry chapel, and has since been removed.

It is said that most of this instrument was originally built for the parish Church of Hackney in 1664, and was acquired by Newport Pagnell in 1789.

The Rectory was further enlarged about this time by the addition of a new wing. Some of the older residents still remember the days when the Rector kept a sort of miniature “Whipsnade” in the paddocks around. The animals (kangaroo, deer, monkeys, &c.) eventually found their way to the Duke of Bedford’s collection at Woburn.

Church Rates.

Before the end of Mr. Frazer’s days, a noticeable change from the old order took place. Formerly the Church had been maintained by levies made on the ratepayers. The last rate which was levied for this purpose in Haversham was in 1882, and at 4½d. in the £, it was appointed in this manner:-

Henry Pike, tenant of the Manor Farm
William Scott, tenant of Hill Farm
Henry Pike, Pike's Farm
M. G. S. Knapp, Grange Farm
A. W. Greaves, Field Farm
Various smaller houses

From that time everyone who attended the services was given an opportunity of contributing voluntarily towards the maintenance of the parish Church.

The Advowson.

The right of nomination a new rector to a benefice was called in medieval times the advocatio, from which we get the word advowson.

Ever since 1221 at least, this right at Haversham had been vested in the Lord of the Manor, unless he were a minor, in which case it was usually exercised by the Crown. On the sale and division of the Manor estate in 1806, this right of patronage no longer went with the Manor, but was retained by the trustees of the heir of the former Lord of the Manor, so that he might be appointed to title when old enough. The Rev. H. A. Small was but 25 years of age when he became Rector of both Haversham and Clifton Reynes in 1828. Unfortunately he lived greatly beyond his means. Having been sued for a debt of £10,000, the Bishop of Oxford in 1850 was obliged to sequestrate both of his livings until the debt should be paid. Mr. Small formally resigned his position as Rector of Haversham 6 years later, and still being “the true and undoubted patron,” he appointed the Rev. A. B. Frazer in his stead.

The right of patronage was acquired 33 years later by the Rev. B. L. Symonds, and he held the rectorship for 40 years, a length of service only exceeded in the long history of the parish, viz.: by Michael de Haversham, 1221-1264. On Mr. Symonds’ resignation in 1929, he made a free gift of the advowson to the Patronage Board Trust of the Church Pastoral Aid Society, the Church’s oldest Home Missionary Society, of which His Majesty the King is the Patron. It was the Trustees of that Board, (viz., Sir Samuel Roberts, Bart., Sir Thomas Inskip, C.B.E., T. H. Buxton, Esq., the Venerable Archdeacon Joynt of Southwark, Canon Lillingstone, Prebendary H. W. Hinde, and the Rev. T. C. Chapman) who appointed the present Rector.

After living in retirement in the neighbouring village of Castlethorpe for seven years, Mr. Symonds died on Nov. 8th 1936, and was buried at Haversham.

The Restoration of 1934.

The extensive ravages of the death-watch and furniture worm beetle to the woodwork of the Church caused much concern, and a large scheme of the reparation caused much concern, and a large scheme of reparation became necessary, which was in a way a completion of the work that was begun 77 years previously.

Besides extensive repairs, the chief items of the restoration were the renewing in oak and new lead of part of the roof over the south aisle; taking up the decayed wooden floor, and making a new floor with concrete and teak blocks; removing all the deal pews, and providing new oak seating for the nave, and chairs for the north aisle. The organ also was renovated and removed to the west end of the north aisle. The chantry chapel was restored, as far as possible, to what it had been before it was built up at the Reformation. This hagioscope, which had been bricked up and plastered over; also an ambry and sedile – both of which were much damaged; and the beautiful piscine was now exposed, of which only the top portion had been visible before. The total cost of the work done in 1934 was £800.

Wolverton Express 1956

New Rector Instituted

The new Rector, the Rev. B. E. Mather, with his wife and thier young son.
The Rev. Bernard E. Mather has left Bacup (Lanes.) a parish of 163 chimneys and become the Rector of the countryside parish of Haversham. On Saturday last he was instituted by the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt. Rev. Robert Hay, in the presence of a congregation of sixty, visitors being present from Wolverton, Stony Stratford, and Cosgrove. The Rev. J. S. Benson, Rector of Cosgrove with Passenham and Deanshanger, presented the new Rector on behalf of the patrons. The Church Pastoral Aid Society.
The Rev. C. L. O. Hutchings, R.D., assisted the Bishop at the institution, and the Rev. J. E. Taylor (Wolverton) was Bishop's Chaplain.
Other clergv present were the Rev. Kenneth Wright (Stony Stratford) and the Rev. Conway Davies (Bradwell). Also present were Lay Renders Mr. C. Alderman (Loughton) and Mr. C Elliott (Wolverton), and Haversham church wardens Mr L. M Williams and Mr F. T. Cave. Mr H. M. Williams was organist.

Parish 800 Years old

Addressing the congrgation, the Bishop said the Rector was the latest of a long line to be in charge of the wonderful and beautiful little parish church. Saying he had been reading some of the history of Haversham parish, the Bishop said the church started with four walls over 800 years ago, but it was not large enough and a west wall was added and then followed the building of the tower. Then, encouraged by neighbouring churches, a Chapel was added, which was now used as the vestry. So that building had stood there over the ages as a silent witness to God and for men to worship.

"Men have gone from the Church with added strength to overcome the hardships and difficulties of life just as we do today " said the Bishop. Their Rector, said the Bishop, had a great responsibility and he could not carry out the responsibility without the help of his parishioners. They must not just stand by and see their priest at work; it was then responsibility as well.

The Bishop asked the parishioners to make thier new Rector, his wife and their young child who would now grow up among them very happy. Everything should be designed to make the ministry fruitful, helpful and encouraging both to te Rector and themselves.

The congregation and clergy were entertained in the schoolroom, tea being served by Mesdames L. M. Williams, T. Cave, S. Willis, S. Frost, L. Prior, Misses S. Willis, M. Russell, and J. Oakley.

Back Row L-R: Mr. Rose, Mr. Baskerville, Rev. Mather, Mr. Grace, Arthur North, Mr. Jacobs, Mr. Cave, Mr. Yates, Joe Geary
Seated: L-R: Mrs. Elsie Cook, Mrs. Deering, Mrs. Mather, Mrs. Will. Cave, Mrs. Prior, Mrs. H. Canvin, Mrs. Margarey Frost