Vicars of Arncliffe from 1394 to 1895

This list of Vicars is mainly based on that in W.A. Shuffrey, The Churches of the Deanery of North Craven, (Leeds 1914), pp.11 ff., with extra material mainly provided from A. B. Emden’s Biographical Register of the University of Oxford (BRUO), J. Foster’s Alumni Oxonienses (AO), the College Register of University College (CR), the Admissions Register of University College and W.A. Shuffrey, (ed.) The registers of the ancient parish of Arncliffe, including those of Halton Gill and Hubbenholme, 1663-1812 (Bradford 1910).

1394                Thomas de Newton
            Thomas was last Rector of Arncliffe before the Rectory was given to University College. He seems to have had no Oxford links (he is not mentioned in BRUO).

7 Oct 1451    William Dixon
            No Oxford links are known (he is not mentioned in BRUO).

11 Feb 1471    Ralph. Thompson
            No Oxford links are known (he is not mentioned in BRUO).

3 Aug 1472    Richard Fawcett
            No Oxford links known (he is not mentioned in BRUO).

9 Nov 1500    Edmund Crofton
            Crofton (spelled Croxton in BRUO) was Principal of Brasenose Hall in 1501–1502 and at later times until his death on 27 Jan 1508. In addition to being vicar of Arncliffe, he held the following posts: rector of Bucknell, Oxon., 1498–1503; vicar of Caversfield, Oxon., before 1501; vicar of Kidlington, Oxon., 1503–1505; rector of Winwick, Northants., 1505–1508; canon of Lincoln and prebendary of Biggleswade, 1506–1508. A memorial brass to him still exists in St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford (all from BRUO). Although Crofton/Croxton was never a Fellow (or, so far as is known, a Commoner either) of University College, the College owned the freehold on Brasenose Hall at this time, which may explain his appointment.

9 Dec 1506    John Lethum
            John Lethum was a Fellow of University College between 1493/4 and 1506/7. He was vicar of Faringdon, Berks., in 1501, and was presented to Arncliffe  in 1506, remaining in both posts until his death in 1509. His will is dated 14 Feb 1509 (BRUO). Lethum is the first Fellow of University to become vicar of Arncliffe.

19 Mar 1508/9    Edmund Collyer
            Collyer was a Fellow of University College by 1504/5, and is last recorded there in 1507/8. He was admitted to Arncliffe on 19 Mar 1508/9, and remained there until he died before June 1517 (BRUO).

9 Jun 1517        Christopher Ellison
            Ellison had no links with University College, or indeed with Oxford, so far as is known. It is, however, possible that he was related to George Ellison below.

9 Oct 1552    George Ellison
            Ellison was elected a Fellow of University College on 1 May 1543 (CR), and was elected Master of the College on 30 Nov 1551 (CR). He became Rector of the mediety of Burnsall, Yorks., on 25 Sept 1551 (BRUO), and vicar of Arncliffe in 1552, all in plurality with his Mastership. He died on 30 May 1557 (BRUO).

1558        Thomas Wilson
            20 Nov 1551: Thomas Wilson elected a Fellow of University College on 20 Nov 1551 (CR). The College Register also says that on 11 Nov 1557: “dominus” Wilson, Fellow of the College, was made vicar of Arncliffe. Thomas appears to have been the only Wilson who was Fellow of the College at that date, and he was certainly just young enough not yet to have his MA (“dominus” being a term used to describe someone who was a BA).

[no date given; after 1561]    Anthony Topham
            Neither Anthony nor Henry Topham seem to have had any prior link with University College, or indeed Oxford in general before being elected vicars of Arncliffe (neither man appears in AO). However, the College Register reports that on 23 Feb 1560/1, the College granted to Robert Wright, yeoman, and his heirs the next two presentations of the living of Arncliffe. Anthony Topham therefore must have been appointed by Wright, and Henry Topham likewise.

27 Oct 1585    Henry Topham

5 Jul 1608    Arthur Coldcoll
            Arthur Coldcoll matriculated at University College on 4 Feb 1591/2 aged 16, getting a BA on 4 Jun 1594 and an MA on 22 April 1597 (AO). The College accounts for 1595/6 and 1596/7 record him as renting a room there. He was elected Fellow 6 Dec 1597, and resigned on 14 Aug 1608 (CR). Al. Oxon. also says that he was licenced to preach on 9 July 1606, and became rector of Plumpton, Northants., in 1604. No source yet indicated when he ceased to be vicar. Shuffrey, p. 17, notes that Arthur Coldcote was still in office in 1650, when he was described as a “preaching minister”, and allowed to retain his job. Since his age at matriculation gives a birth date of 1575/6, it is quite possible that he stayed there until 1658/9, dying in office an octogenarian.
                The spelling of Coldcoll’s surname has been a cause of some confusion: Whitlock’s The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven spells it Coldwell; Shuffrey in The Churches of the Deanery of Craven Coldcote, which is supported by references to him in the University College Bursars’ Accounts from the 1590s; the College Register spells him Colcoll; but Foster spells him Coldcoll, which is how the one example of his autograph signature in this collection (UC:E4/1C/1) spells it, so this version is followed here.

Marmaduke Lambert
            Marmaduke Lambert matriculated at University College on 2 Jun 1652 (AO). He was elected to a Freeston exhibition on 14 Jan 1652/3; then elected to a major Freeston exhibition on 29 Mar 1656 (CR). He became a BA on 30 Jan 1655/6, and an MA on 6 July 1658 (Al. Oxon.). He was elected a Skirlaw Fellow on 22 Jul 1657, and then presented to Arncliffe on 27 Aug 1659 (CR). The College register says that Lambert had resigned before July 1661. He was deprived of his Fellowship at University College in August 1660 (UC:GB1/X3/4).

13 Aug 1661    Josiah Lambert.
            Josiah Lambert was elected to be vicar of Arncliffe on 21 Jul 1661 (CR). The Arncliffe parish register says he was buried on 31 Oct 1681.
            Lambert appears to have had no previous link with University College, or with Oxford in general (he is not mentioned in AO). The CR entry says that he had been recommended to the College by Richard March, Dean, and Thomas Bradley and Antony Elcocke, Prebendaries, of York, which suggests that he was not known to the College, and that the College had no internal candidate for the vacancy.

13 Mar 1682    Miles Tennant
            “Mylo Tennant”, son of John Tennant of Buckden, Yorks. (a village within the parish of Arncliffe), signed the College’s Admissions Register in August 1677. He was a servitor (a class of poor student who partly paid his way through carrying out some servant’s duties), which suggests his father was not well off. AO says he was aged 18 in 1677, and took his BA on 8 Mar 1680/1. Miles Tennant had been a Hearne Scholar at University College, and resigned this post, when he was elected to the parish on 23 Dec 1681, following Lambert’s death (CR). He was never a Fellow of the College, and was probably appointed vicar so young because of his local links. The Arncliffe parish register says he was buried there on 24 Dec 1732.

11 May 1733     Thomas Kay
            Kay signed the Admissions Register of University College on 10 Feb 1721/2, writing that he was the son of William Kay, of Newton, Yorks., Gent., and was aged 16 years. He was a servitor. He got his BA on Mar 1726 and his MA on 3 Jul 1728. Kay was elected a Fellow on 29 Nov 1729 (CR). The Register does not record his appointment as vicar of Arncliffe; in any case, it seems that he was resident in Oxford throughout his tenure. He resigned the vicarage in November 1736, and his Fellowship in the following year (CR).
                According to an inscription in the church there, a Thomas Kaye was appointed to another College living in Yorkshire, at Melsonby on 11 Jun 1736. There is no mention of this in the College Register, but this could well be the same man, exchanging Arncliffe for a more profitable parish.

1737        John T. Chapman
            John Chapman, son of John Chapman of Stanbridge, Yorks., signed the Admissions Register on 16 Mar 1718/9 aged 19 years. He took his BA on 13 Oct 1722. He had been a Freeston scholar, but was not elected Fellow (CR). He was made Vicar of Arncliffe on 12 Nov 1736, made vacant after the resignation of Thomas Kay (CR). The Arncliffe parish register says Chapman was buried on 8 Nov 1764.

30 Apr 1765    Henry Tennant
            Henry Tennant signed the Admissions Register of University College on 10 February 1721/2, writing that he was the eldest son of Miles Tennant of Arncliffe, Yorks., Clerk (i.e. Miles Tennant, vicar of Arncliffe as above), and was aged 18 years. He took his BA on 14 Oct 1725 and his MA on 17 Dec 1729. He was elected a Fellow on 29 Nov 1729 (CR), and retained his Fellowship for many years, albeit being largely non-resident, until 1 May 1765, when he was given a year’s grace, his successor being elected on 7 Aug 1766 (CR). UC:EB1/A1/4 pp.75–6 is a copy of the presentation of Henry Tennant, Fellow of University College, to the living of Arncliffe on 12 April 1765. The College Register says that he died on 23 Jun 1779, and the Arncliffe parish register says he was buried on 26 Jun 1779.

11 Dec 1779    George Croft
            George Croft signed the Admissions Register at University College on 23 Oct 1762, writing that he was the second son of Samuel Croft “plebeius” of Skipton, Yorks., and that he was aged 15. He took his BA on 16 Feb 1768, his MA on 2 Jun 1769, his BD on 19 Jan 1780, and DD on 21 Jan 1780. He was elected to a minor Freeston exhibition on 9 May 1768, and elected and admitted a Fellow on 16 Jul 1772 and 16 Jan 1773 respectively (CR). He was also elected to a Lodge Exhibition on 16 Dec 1773 and to a minor Freeston exhibition on 22 Mar 1777 (CR). He was instituted as vicar of Arncliffe on 11 Dec 1779, and resigned his Fellowship on 11 Dec 1780 (CR). Croft’s death is recorded as being on 11 May 1809 (CR).
                A biographical sketch of Croft may be found in W.A. Shuffrey, Some Craven Worthies (London, 1903), pp. 154–179. These show that he came from humble origins, yet rose to became Headmaster of Beverley Grammar School in 1768–1779. In 1779–1791 he was Headmaster of the Grammar School of Brewood, Staffs., and in 1791 he moved to Birmingham where he became Lecturer of St. Martin’s Church and Chaplain at St. Bartholemews. He also delivered the Bampton Lectures in Oxford in 1786. Unsurprisingly, he almost never visited Arncliffe, living mainly first in Brewood and then Birmingham.

1809        Eardley Norton
            Eardley Norton signed the Admissions Register at University College on 24 October 1801, writing that he was the eldest son of Eardley Norton of London., Esq, and was aged 19 years. He took his BA on 20 Jun 1805 and his MA on 16 Jun 1808. He was elected to a Bennet Exhibition on 21 Mar 1806, and He was elected to a Bennet Exhibition on 21 Mar 1806, and then to a Bennet Fellowship on 11 Dec 1806, being admitted a Fellow on 11 Jun 1807(CR). UC:EB1/A1/4 p.442 is a copy of the presentation of Eardley Norton, Fellow of University College, to the living of Arncliffe, 25 Oct 1809, but the College register says he was instituted there on 30 Oct 1809, and granted a year’s leave. His successor was elected on 21 Feb 1811 (CR). His death is recorded on 28 Jan 1835 (CR). Norton was also largely non-resident, spending most of his time in Suffolk.

19 Jun 1835    William Boyd
            William Boyd signed the Admissions Register at University College on 29 Jun 1827, writing that he was the second son of William Boyd of Newcastle upon Tyne, Esq., and was aged 18 years. He got a Third in Literae Humaniores in Easter 1831. He took his BA on 13 May 1831, and his MA on 23 Jan 1844. Boyd was elected a Fellow on 18 Jun 1833 (CR). He is recorded as being instituted at Arncliffe on 23 Jun 1835, and given a year’s leave, and his successor was elected on 3 Dec 1836 (CR).
                Unlike his predecessors, Boyd made a point of living in Arncliffe, becoming Rural Dean of North Craven in 1847, and Archdeacon of Craven in 1880. In his later years, he acquired the nickname “the Patriarch of the Dales”, and seems to have been regarded with great affection by his parishioners and others. Warm personal tributes are paid to him in William Boyd Carpenter, Some Pages of my Life (London, 1911), pp.212–219 (Boyd Carpenter was Boyd’s Bishop in his later years), and W.A. Shuffrey, Some Craven Worthies pp.247–285. In W. Boyd and W.A. Shuffrey, Littondale: past and present (Leeds 1893), Boyd himself wrote an amusing account of his first visit to Arncliffe in 1835 (when, after the death of Norton, he had been sent by the College to report on the parish), giving some idea of its remoteness at this date.

Feb 1893 William A. Shuffrey
            Shuffrey had been appointed Vicar of Halton Gill on 29 Jul 1881. He had purchased the advowson of Arncliffe from University College in 1888.