Passenham Rectory

At the end of the Tudor period Francis Flower held the lease of the Rectory, paying the priest an annual sum paid from any profits from the Lay Landowners.

When it was leased to Flower in the late 16th century about £30 per year was reserved for the Incumbent. The old Rectory was rebuilt by Sir Robert Banestre (Bannister) in 1626. When Passenham was enclosed by Sir Robert Banastre, apparently in the 1620’s, he agreed to pay a similar sum as a composition for tithes in the township. In the early 18th century his successors as Patron were also paying 4/0d a year for tithes on Passenham Mill.

In 1776 when the rents on the Passenham Manor estate were raised following Lord Maynard’s death, the Rector successfully demanded payments of tithes in kind, which he then let to the tenants for £90.5.0d a year.

The oldest portion of the former parsonage adjacent to the church at Passenham dates from around the early 17th century and may have been built by Sir Robert Banastre. It was extended and modernised by Loraine Loraine-Smith in 1838 and sold in 1946, when a new house was built in Deanshanger.

It is thought the position of the tithe barns suggest the original Rectory was on the site of the new Manor House.

Views of Passenham Rectory late 1800s early 1900s

Skeleton under the floor at the Rectory - October 1965

On three separate occasions during the last 100 years skeletons have been unearthed between the rectory and the tithe barn but outside the churchyard. In 1873 six were discovered beneath the dining room floor of the Rectory. Expert examination showed them to be young men who had met a violent end which seems to indicate the remains of some of King Edward’s soldiery who had fallen in battle in or near his encampment.

Again in 1916, when a great gale blew down several trees on the Stony Stratford end of the Passenham Lane, two skeletons were found embedded in the roots of one of them.

More recently, in July 1947, workmen laying a drain only a few feet in front of the Rectory door came upon three skeletons, again only a few inches below the surface of the ground. S. F. Markham with the able assistance of Dr. W. A. Swinton of the British Museum published in the Wolverton Express of 25th July 1947 an article of which the following is an extract - ‘the skulls were all apparently those of young men in the prime of life, for the teeth were in excellent condition, not a sign of dental decay, though the molars appear to be ground down somewhat more than a modern diet of soft foods would warrant. The thigh bones were about eighteen inches long, showing that these young men must have been nearly five feet nine inches tall. Four of the bodies were buried with their heads to the west and feet to the east, whilst the fifth was head to the east. Most had arms stretched to the side of the bodies. It must be agreed that no internment’s were made in front of the Rectory, and indeed, close to it’s best rooms, once the Rectory had been built, so the burials must have been earlier than 1600 AD. But, for four hundred years before this there had been a church and parson at Passenham, the earliest Rectors being William de Cirencester and Hugh de London, who both flourished about 1180 AD. Once a church and churchyard are established, people like to be buried as near the church as possible, indeed burial outside the churchyard was the sign of a suicide or of a felon. Consequently, it is possible that these burials took place before the first Rector took up his dwelling in the Parish which would have been before 1170 AD.

Passenham Fete June 1928 - held in the Rectory garden

The Rectory Ruins in the 1960s & 1970s