Brightwell Baldwin



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Parish church

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This photo of St Bartholomew was taken from across the road. The tower is completely masked by the large tree and the porch partially obscured. The church is directly opposite the public house, The Lord Nelson.

In 1895 St Bartholomew was closed for eight months while restoration work costing £1200 was carried out. A new roof of oak and lead (replaced by copper in 1947) was put on the south aisle, the outside wall being raised two feet. The stone work of the windows and walls was restored and the windows reglazed. The old oak pews were restored and oak seats took the place of the deal seats at the west end, and new oak seat under the south wall replaced the shelf previously occupied by the lads. A new door was made, and the old lock and key were preserved. The flooring and tiles were renewed, some of the remaining old tiles being set near the font and at the east end of the south aisle.

The rectors of St Bartholomew were as follows:



Presented by


Domino Waltero


John de Ander

Bishop of Chichester


John de Barton


Ralph Aunfrey

Oliver de Scallebroc, guardian of Thomas de Parco


Richard Roteland
John de Blebur


William de Apperle

Lord Thomas de Parco


Richard de Apperle

Lord Thomas de Parco


William de Apperle

Lord Thomas de Parco


Walter de Parco

Lord Thomas de Parco


Hugh Wace

Richard de Parco


Hugh de Berewyk

Richard de Parco


William de Wysshagh
William Tenerar

Richard de Parco


William Gunthorp

John atte Park


William Walcote

John atte Park


Robert de Beseby

John Park


Edmund Bardolf

John Park


William Dalton

John Park


John Soulby
John Crosby

Henry Soulby & John Eseby
Johanna Parke


Robert More

William Stonor & others


John Porter

John Fortescue, guardian of John Stonor


Nicholas Bradbridge

Adrian Fortescue & Anne his wife


John Cottisford

Adrian Fortescue, Kt


William Gefferye

Thomas Parrey & Lady Anne Fortescue


Edmund Wolffe

Anthony Carleton


Robert Edmunds

Anthony Carleton


Herbert Westphaling

The Crown


Nicholas Bond

John Semeon


John Howson

John Semeon


Richard Corbet

The Crown


William Paule

The Crown


Thomas Fiddes

John Stone


William Newlin

John Stone


Richard Vesy

Carleton Stone


James Stopes

John Stone


John Edwardes

Mary Stone


Allen Corrance

Francis Lowe


John Browne

Francis Lowe


Sir Matin Stapylton Bt

Francis Lowe


Samuel White

William White


George Day

William Francis Lowndes-Stone


Hilgrove Coxe

Roger Fletcher Lowndes-Stone-Norton


Thomas Hainsworth

Roger Fletcher Lowndes-Stone-Norton


Cyril Croome Roach

Roger Fletcher Lowndes-Stone-Norton


Sidney Reade

Fletcher William Lowndes-Stone-Norton


Charles Brockwell

Fletcher William Lowndes-Stone-Norton


Harry Horne

Fletcher William Lowndes-Stone-Norton


Geoffrey Weymont

Richard Noel Richmond-Watson


Edward Charlewood

Frank Dudley Wright


Ieuan Williams

Frank Dudley Wright


Martin Talbot (priest-in-charge)


Peter Renshaw

The Crown


Martin Wyatt Garner

Frank Dudley Wright and Merton College Oxford

Little is recorded of the rectors of St Bartholomew before 1572, but it is known that John Crosby was appointed after the Bishop of Carlisle, on the instructions of Pope Martin V, had rehabilitated and dispensed him on account of his having mortally wounded a glover - and that the said proceedings hold good - notwithstanding that he did not mention his illegitimacy as the son of a priest and an unmarried woman. Three years later John Crosby was moved by a scruple of conscience as to whether he can lawfully retain the church, as he had discovered that the previous rector was his father. The Pope decreed that he might retain the church and John continued to hold the living until he died in 1476, by which time he had also become a canon of Lincoln and prebendary of Thornegate.

During the long struggle for power between Papists and Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries, to have survived in office as a clergyman must have required the skill of a diplomat. During these years the rectors of Brightwell Baldwin not only retained their positions but four of them were made Bishops.

The earliest was Herbert Westphaling who became rector in 1572. One of the first students at Christ Church when it was founded by Henry VIII, he became an M.A. in 1555, a canon seven years later and was appointed Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in the same year. In 1566, during which year he learnedly disputed before Queen Elizabeth in St Mary's Church, Oxford, Herbert became a Doctor of Divinity. Whilst rector of Brightwell Baldwin he was vice-chancellor of Oxford and a canon of Windsor. In 1582 he published the Treatise of Reformation in Religion. Herbert left Brightwell Baldwin in 1586 to become Bishop of Hereford where he died 16 years later.

Herbert's successor, Nicholas Bond, was not made a bishop but had a distinguished career. A Doctor of Divinity, he was made canon of Westminster in 1581. He became rector of Brightwell Baldwin in 1586, a position he held for 22 years. During part of this time he was also rector of Alresford, chaplain of the Savoy and Chaplain in Ordinary to Queen Elizabeth. Nicholas was also vice-chancellor of Oxford and president of Magdalen College. He is buried in the college chapel.

John Howson, who became rector in 1608, was a Doctor of Divinity. He was a prebendary of Hereford and also of Exeter, a canon of Christ Church and had been vice-chancellor of Oxford. He was chaplain to Queen Elizabeth and later to James I. John was appointed Bishop of Oxford in 1619, a very learned man, and one plentifully endowed with all those virtues which were most proper for a Bishop, according to Anthony Wood (Athenae Oxonienses). John continued as rector of Brightwell Baldwin until he became Bishop of Durham in 1628. While he was rector, eight of his children, including twins, were baptised in the Brightwell Baldwin church. He died in 1632 and is buried in St Paul's Cathedral.

When John Howson became Bishop of Durham he was succeeded both as Bishop of Oxford and as rector of Brightwell Baldwin by Richard Corbet. Until he became bishop Corbet had lived at Christ Church for 30 years, first as a student and later as Dean. He was a poet and a bon viveur. John Aubrey (Brief Lives) describes Richard as very facetious and a good fellow - on one occasion he put off his gown and sang ballads at the Cross of Abingdon on market day. Richard left Brightwell Baldwin when he was made Bishop of Norwich in 1632.

Richard Corbet was succeeded by William Paule as rector, and was born in London in 1599. William became a clerk at All Souls at the age of 15 and a Fellow four years later. He was appointed rector of Brightwell Baldwin in 1632, the same year that he became a Doctor of Divinity. On the outbreak of the Civil War, ten years later, he became chaplain to Charles I. Under Cromwell's regime William was out of favour, but at the Restoration he was made Bishop of Oxford and given other appointments. He was possessed of private means and was at the same time a man of practical skill (Anthony Wood). William was given the task of rebuilding the palace at Cuddesdon which had been destroyed in 1644 by Colonel Legge, the commander of the royal garrison at Oxford, in order that the Parliamentary forces could not occupy it. William obtained timber for this purpose, but died in 1665 before the building could be started. He is buried with many members of his family in the chancel at Brightwell Baldwin, on the north wall of which is a large memorial placed there by his widow.

None of the later rectors achieved such eminence. James Stopes (1732-34) was also rector of Britwell Salome where other members of his family were farmers. James left very detailed instructions for his funeral at Britwell. The type of hatband and gloves to be given to those participating is laid down in detail and about two dozen of wine were to be provided for relatives and for none else.

James Stope's successor, John Edwardes (1734-40), wrote to his bishop the Youth of this Parish are commonly guilty of profaning ye Lord's Day by Spending ye Afternoons in Sports and Diversions such as Cricket. I have endeavoured to prevent it but to no purpose. If your Lordship wld be pleased to take notice of this Disorder, it would be a great obligation to yr Lordship's Most Dutifull and Obedient Humble Servant.

Sir Martin Stapylton (1750-1801) was related to Francis Lowe, patron of the living. In 1759 Martin reported to the bishop that a farmer's wife had only been to church on three occasions during the year as she was disgusted at my taking ye Glebe from them unto my own hands. In addition to the normal services, Martin also held weekday prayers when I can get a congregation wch is much too seldom. He adds that numbers of farmers' servants absent themselves Sundays in the afternoon, to play at cricket. Martin was rector for 51 years, but for the last 17 of these he had a resident curate and retired to his Yorkshire estate.

Martin Stapylton was succeeded by Samuel White (1801-41), who built the rectory in 1802 which replaced the old one which was north of the village street. Under the Enclosure Act of that year, the Lord of the Manor exchanged the grounds of the old rectory for the land on which the new rectory was built, described in 1805 as newly built of stone, brick and tiles - surrounded by garden and glebe, within a ring fence, of 38-39 acres. Small cottage in farmhouse occupies by husbandman - barn - stable - piggery - henhouse and cart hovel.

After 1807, in which year Samuel White was also appointed as perpetual curate of Hampstead, a post which was paid £887 in contrast to the £492 stipend at Brightwell, he only rarely officiated in the Brightwell Baldwin parish but had a succession of curates, none of whom stayed for long as he only paid them 60 guineas. Samuel was admonished on several occasions by his bishop, but to little effect.

During the incumbency of Hilgrove Coxe (1890-1914), many alterations and additions were made to the church, mainly due to his generosity. These included the restoration of the tower and the addition of three new bells and a clock, the restoration of the south aisle, and improvements to the floor and seating in the nave. The chapel screen and the porch were renewed and a prayer desk and lectern provided. The rector was a strong character and on occasions was at loggerheads with some of his parishioners over the appointment of churchwardens and other matters.

Thomas Hainsworth (1914-31) and those who came after him were also appointed to Cuxham with Easington. In 1979 the Brightwell Baldwin rectory was sold, the rector, Ieuan Williams, having moved to the rectory at Ewelme, which which Britwell Salome had been added to his charge.

Following Ieuan's retirement in 1980, Martin Talbot, his successor as rector of Ewelme, became Priest-in-Charge of Brightwell Baldwin. On his death in 1982 he was succeeded as rector of Ewelme and Priest-in-Charge at Brightwell Baldwin by Peter Renshaw. In 1983 the benefices of Ewelme, Brightwell Baldwin and Cuxham with Easington were united, and thus Peter became rector of Brightwell Baldwin.

Parish church

Parish church

Parish church

Parish church

Parish church