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Names, except the first three, and dates of Institution, are from the printed registers of the Bishops and from an extract made by Mr W.H. Bowers.


1154 - 1189 Occurs RALPH. All we know of this Rector is his name. He is described in a 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 ferling of land in Parkerigg as of frankalmoign of his church of Wytherigg, (2) against Robert de Crues. He fails to get the land but receives one pound of wax at 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 Oct 1237.

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

1282 2nd Nov. 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 one 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 commendam. 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, item written in the hand of the Lord Bishop. "Help for God and charity the feeble, poor and simple. Parson of Wytherugge against the rich and proud Hospitaller". It is written in the Scriptures, Eccles, III, " All things have their time."

1361 24 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 Thelbridge.

1362: 10 Feb. Henry de LITTONE, rector of Spraxton, Somerset in exchange with Crosse.

1379: 6 Oct. Master EDMUND DEMALMESHULLE, rector of Stormouth Kent in exchange with Henry de Litlyntone.

1391: 17 Sept. SIR WILLIAM VEXFORD, chaplain on the death of Malmeshalle.

1396: 14 May. JOHN LUFFEWYK, rector of MARCH, dio, of Lincoln in exchange with Vexford.

1425: 16 Sept, Master JOHN HODY, Bachelor of Laws, on the death of Sir JOHN LOWICKE. Master Phillip Polton or LOVECOK, the last Rector, whose 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: 16 March. Sir Walter Hoggis, chaplain, instituted. Sir Thomas Bowring occurs, his institution not recorded.

1431: Oct 6 or 3. Robert (Sir) Gaunt in exchange with Bowring for the chantry of Walton Glanville in the diocese of Salisbury.

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

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

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

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

1517: 15 Feb. Thomas Tremayne, M.A., admitted to the vicarage then void. Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.

1521: 23 Sept. George Verney, brother of Cecilia Verney, the last Prioress of Cannington, Prebendary of Exeter. He is described in 1561 in Bishop's Alley's return as "non conjugates, 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 step-father.

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

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

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1587: 14 Aug. 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 had 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 Feb. William Tyler (or Taylor) Patron - James Dinham, gent. this turn by grant of Lewis Melhuish of Chawleigh, gent. Tyler quarrelled with his wife, to whom he would not pay alimony, and who brought an action against a him in the Court of High Commission. He was committed to the Gate-house until the alimony was paid (Apr 24 June 26 1634) the case was finally settled Nov 27 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 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 for the present allowed his wife £40 per annum towards her necessary alimony, but declared if she continued to live with her sister Elizabeth Gater, who, kept a common ale-house, the alimony would not be continued."

See Acts of the Court Of High Commission, Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1633-4, p.481, etx. particularly, 1634.p336.

1643: 19 Sept. John Radford instituted, patron - Patron Robert Melhuish of Witheridge, gent.

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

1650: 27 Feb. Hugh Shortrudge, same patron.

1661: 27 Feb. William Borough on Shortrudge's resignation patron - Thomas Melhuish of Hansford, Ashreigny, gent.

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

1717: 4 Dec. John Shebbeare, Queen's Coll. Cambridge. A.B.1702, A.M.1707 on the death of his father Samuel Shebbeare. Presumably John Croker, L.L.B. Rector of Woolfardisworthy who married Gertrude daughter of Thomas Melhuish of Northam (above)

1742: 5 Jan. Charles Earle, All Souls College, Oxon. BA. 1732 on death of John Shebbeare. Patron - Roger Melhuish of Northam, gent

1745: 23 Sept. Thomas Melhuish. Exeter Coll. Oxon. B.A.1741 M.A. 1744 on Earle's resignation. Patron - William Melhuish of Northam, esq. (elder brother of Thomas).

1793: 14 June. Pery Dicken, Ball. Coll. Oxon. B.A. 1790 on the death of Thomas Melhuish. Patron - Richard Melhuish of Bradford.

1832: 3 Aril. William Prockter Thomas, L.L.B. Trinity Hall. Camb. (Grandson of the Rev. Thos. Melhuish, and nephew of Richard) Patron - himself. He was also Prebendary of Holcombe in Wells Cathedral, vicar of Wellington, Som. And for a short time rector of his prebendal church, Holcombe Burnell in Devon.

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

1876: 26 Jan. Prockter Melhuish Benson, M.A. Oxon (son of J.P. Benson) on the death of J.P. Benson. Patron - Mary Melhuish Benson.

1893: 7 June. John Peter Benson, M.A. Exeter Coll. Oxon. (brother of P.M. Benson) Patron - himself.

1921: 6 Jan. Mark William Benson. M.A. Oxon. Patron - Prebendary J.P. Benson of Bradford.

1925: 20 May. John Allen Scott Castlehow, B.A. 1912. M.A.1916. Exhibitioner of Selwyn Coll. Cambridge. On the sessions of Melrose who became Vicar of St Matthew's, Exeter. Patron - Prebendary J.P. Benson of Bradford.

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