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The following information was compiled by the late Revd JAS Castlehow, Vicar of Witheridge between 1925 and 1965. He took all names (except the first three) and dates directly from the printed Bishop's registers and from the work of Mr. W. H. Bowers, who extracted the Witheridge Institutions from the Bishop's registers.

1154-89: Occurs Ralph. All we know of this rector is his name. He is described in an Assize Roll of 54 Hen III as being rector in the time of King Henry grandfather of the present Lord the King.

1255: Occurs (1) Robert Terry Patron - Margery la Payne. In 1256 Robert Terry seeks to gain possession of one furlong of land in Parkarigg as frankalmoign of his church of Wytherigg, (2) against Robert De Crues. He fails to get the land but received on pound of wax of Michaelmas. In the Assize Roll of 1238 a witness concerning the lordship of the Hundred is Robert, son of Terri, who had been seneschal of Roger, son of Pain, who died just before 14 October 1237.

1269: Occurs Robert of Totton who brought again the action against Robert de Crues. He also failed to get possession of the land, but recovered 10 marks of arrears.

1282: 2nd November, Thomas de Gorges, to whom Bp Quivil gave the custody of the church, Patron - Sir Robert Fitzpayne. He was also Precentor of Wells, and in 1292 he was on of those who brought news of the death of Robert Bp of Bath and Wells to the King, and returned with license to elect (3).

1317: Sir Wm De Wengrave instituted in commedam. Patron Sir Robert Fitzpayne. through the neglect of the predecessor the church and the rectorial buildings and the benefice generally had suffered great injury. He had license of non-residence and to put out his benefice to farm in 1329, 1324 and 1333. Occ. Sir John Perour. In Bp Grandson's register, page 1208, there is this entry partly in Latin and partly in French. Parson of Wytherugge against the rich and proud Hospitaller. It is written in the scriptures, Eccles III, 'All things have their time'.

1361: 24th March. Sir Robert atte Crosse. Patrons - The Prioress and Convent of Cannington in Somerset who were patrons to the Dissolution. they last exercised their right in 1521. The Institution of Crosse was at Chudleigh and letters of Institution and Induction were addressed to the Dean of Molton and the Rector of Church Stanton, Master John Thelbrugge.

1362: 10th February. Henry de Littone, rector of Spraxton, Somerset in exchange with Crosse.

1379: 6th October. Master Edmund Demalmeshulle, rector of Stormouth Kent in exchange with Henry de Litlyntone.

1391: 17th September. Sir William Vexford chaplain on the death of Malmeshalle.

1396: May. John Luffewyk, rector of March, dio. Of Lincoln in exchange with Vexford.

1425: 16th September. Master John Hody, Bachelor of Laws, on the death of Sir John Lowicke. Master Philip Polton of Lovecok, the last rector, who's Institution is not recorded. He was the last rector and after him the priory of Cannington sent their vicars, the rectory being appropriated to the priory the deed which endows the vicar against the impropriators being signed by the bishop at Bishop's Clyst on 16th December 1428, and by the prioress in chapter on the 13th of December.

1429: 16th March. Sir Walter Hoggis, chaplain instituted, Sir Thomas Bowring occurs, his institution not recorded.

1431: 6th or 3rd October. Robert Sir Gaunt in exchange with Bowring for the chantry of Walton Glanville in the diocese of Salisbury.

1448: 4 June. Sir John Wohmere on the death of Gaunt.

1451: 16 July. Sire William Clyffe on the resignation of Wolmere.

1474: 17 June. Sir John Wynd on the death of Clyffe.

1476: 15 March. Sir Richard Facy, on the resignation of Wynd.

1517: 15 February. Thomas Tremayne MA, admitted to the vicarage then void. Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.

1521: 23 September. George Venay brother of Cecilia Verney, the last prioress of Cannington. Prebendary of Exeter. He is described in 1561 in bishop Alley's return as 'non conjugatus, nec concubinarius, bene doctus, non predicat quia senex est, et ob defectum memoriae'. He also held Jacobstow. Died 1562. At the Dissolution the rectorial property and advowson was first granted on lease to Rogers who had also the Cannington property. The reversion was sold with other monastic lands to a syndicate, who divided up their purchase, the Witheridge share going to Lewis Stuckley of Affeton, whose widow married Thomas Melhuish, of Witheridge and whose son sold the rectory to his stepfather.

1562: 9 October. Henry Squire on the death of Verney Patron, Lewis Stuckley, gent.

1587: 6 April. Ralph Nycolson, Patron - Queen Elizabeth.

1587: 14 August. John Gaydon. Patron for this turn George Southcomb of Rose Ash, gentleman, by reason of the advowson granted to him by Thomas Melhuish of Witheridge, gentleman, and which Melhuish has purchased of Lewis Stuckley of Afton and John Stuckley, Esq., son and heir of the said Lewis (Dr. Oliver) Lewis Melhuish, brother of Thomas calls Gaydon, brother-in-law.

1620: 19 February. William Tyler (or Taylor) Patron - James Dirham, gentleman, this turn by grant of Lewis Melhuish of Chawleigh, gentleman. Tyler quarrelled with his wife, to whom he would not pay alimony, and who brought an action against him in the Court of High Commission. He was committed to the Gatehouse until the alimony was paid (April 24th - June 26th 1634) The case was finally settled 27th November 1634.

Defendant about thirteen years ago intermarried with his wife who brought him a portion of £1450. He held the vicarages of Witheridge and Bishop's Nympton worth 200 marks a year, and possessed besides lands and tenements worth £90 a year. Proof was given of great violence and cruelty of conduct on the part of the defendant towards his wife with scandalous speeches; and on the other side there was evidence of great provocation and of very wicked and outrageous speeches on the part of the wife. The Court condemned them both, but laid the greater blame upon Tyler in respect of his holy function, and therefore the present allowed his wife £40 per annum towards her necessary alimony, but declared if she continued to live with her sister Elizabeth Gator, who keep a common alehouse, the alimony would not be continued.

[See Acts of the Court of High Commission. Calendar of State Paper. Domestic, 1633-34, p.481, and 1634 p.336.]

1643: 19 September. John Radford instituted, patron Robert Melhuish of Witheridge, gentleman.

1644: 15 November. John Radford, same patron, Mr W H  Bowers suggests that this is probably re-admission of John Radford of 1643 owing to the benefice having become vacant in some unexplained way by this Institution to Puddington on 28th March, 1644. Dr Oliver gives his second Institution to Witheridge in 1643, and says "'Perhaps son of the above'. John Radford was instituted to Thelbridge on 22nd October, 1632."

1650: 27 February. Hugh Shortrudge, same patron.

1661: 27 February. William Borough on Shortrudges resignation. Patron - Thomas Melhuish of Hansford, Ashreigny, gentleman.

1672: 5 March. Samuel Shebbeare, Magd, Hall, Oxford, 1669 on Borough's death. Patron - Thomas Melhuish of Northam whose daughter, Elizabeth, married Shebbeare in 1673.

1717: 4 December. John Shebbeare. Queen's College, Cambridge, BA, 1702, MA 1707 on the death of his father Samuel Shebbeare, presumably John Croker, LLB, rector of Woolfardisworthy who married Gertrude, daughter of Thomas Melhuish of Northam (above)

1742: 5 January. Charles Earle, All Soul's College, Oxon, BA 1732, on death of John Shebbeare. Patron - Roger Melhuish of Northam, gentleman.

1745: 23 September. Thomas Melhuish, Exeter College, Oxon BA, 1741, MA 1744, on Earle's resignation. Patron - William Melhuish of Northam. Esq. (Elder brother of Thomas).

1793: 14 June. Pery Dicken, Ball College. Oxon, BA 1790, on Thomas Melhuish's death. Patron - Richard Melhuish of Bradford.

1832: 3 April. William Prockter Thomas, LLB, Trinity Hall, Cambridge (grandson of the Revd Thos Melhuish, and nephew of Richard). Patron - himself. He was also prebendary of Holcombe and Wells Cathedral, vicar of Wellington, Somerset, and for a short time rector of his prebendal church, Holcombe Burnell and Devon.

1843: 22 March. John Peter Benson, Exeter College, Oxon (son-in-law and stepson of W P  Thomas). Patron - W P  Thomas on his resignation.

1876: 25 January. Prockter Melhuish Benson, MA, Oxon (son of J.P. Benson) on the death of J.P. Benson. Patron - Mary Melhuish Benson.

1893: 7 June. John Peter Benson, MA, Exeter College, Oxon (brother of P.M. Benson). Patron - Himself.

1921: 6 January. Mark William Melrose, MA, Oxon. Patron - Prebendary J.P. Benson of Bradford.

1925: 20 May. John Allen Scott Castlehow, BA, 1912, MA, 1916. Exhibitor of Selwin College, Cambridge on the session of Melrose who became vicar of St Mathew's Exeter. Patron - Prebendary J.P. Benson of Bradford.

Revd Andrew Theodore Hugh Jones - 20 March 1966 - 16 January 1977, last service was Evensong and Presentation.

Revd W Reginald Hudson - Licensing Tuesday, 17th October 1978 - 30th July 1986. (Did a Burial Service Thursday 23rd October 1986 for a Mr Kenneth Albert Stone after he had retired.)

Revd Laurence Meering - Induction and Institution at 7.30pm on 30th April 1987. Last Service 3rd July 1994.

Revd Vernon Ross - Licensed 12 November 1994. Last Service 30th July 2000.

Revd John Hanna - Induction and Institution on 3rd August 2002. In post in 2003.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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