Wakefield Family History Sharing


Extracts from

Walkers History of Wakefield

2nd edition 1939 (privately printed)


Rectors, Vicars and Provosts of Wakefield


The earliest known record of a Rector of Wakefield was that of Peter, (Rural) Dean of Wakefield, who appeared as a witness on a deed granting a messuage and land in Hampole to the poor of the hospital of St Peter in York.  The charter may be have been dated 1175-1190.  Other instances of Rectors appear when they have witnessed land documents.

Cartadus, parson of the church of Wakefield found on documents between 1219-1229

Eachard, parson of Wakefield witnessed the charter of Nigel, son of Peter of Ledsham, quit-claiming land in Ledsham to the monks of Pontefract.  Another witness was Gilbert de Notton, who in fact was Steward of Pontefract from 1224-1232.

Richard de Fyghelden

Hugh, parson of Wakefield, was one of the witnesses to a charter of John de Bradewell, clerk, who granted land in Bradewell to God and St Pancras and the church of Lewes and the monks serving God there.  c 1236-44

Oliver de Wysete, became the rector of Wakefield in 1287

William Oliver, rector of Wakefield obtained the archbishop's licence to study, May 13 1318 and to reside "in a suitable place" within the diocese of York for one year.

William de Cusancia, 1325.  William became, intime, the Treasurer to John, Earl of Cornwall, the King's brother and in 1341 Treasurer and Keeper of the Wardrobe to the King, Edward III.  The offices he only kept for three years.  It is beleived he did not spend much time at his duties as Rector of Wakefield.  In 1333, he acknowledge that he owed the Archbishop of York 100 marks and two years later 40 marks to Walter Powers, clerk.   When the Church of Wakefield was transfered to St Stephen's College, Westminster, the rector was assigned the rectory of Southrepps in lieu of Wakefield.



Thomas de Drayton instituted 1349, but died within a few weeks, probably of the Black Death

Henry de Grenehod instituted 1349

John de Whytelay instituted 1362

John Stadefete instituted 1369.  He exchanged the living of Wakefield for that of Barton, diocese, Norwich

William Woderove, rector of Barton, instituted 1372.  William had a succession of papal dispensations on account of illegitimacy.  He exchanged the church of Drayton for the vicarage of Wakefield.

John Bolteby, vicar 1398-1416, outlawed in 1399 for debts owing to St Stephens College.  He later received a pension of £10 a year for life.

Oliver Hulgar, Walker mentions Hulgar as 'former vicar of Wakefield' and donor of a window by Dodsworth.  It is thought he was vicar between 1416 and 1425.

Robert Bever instituted 1425.  His will proved at York in 1437, states of his desite to be buried in the chancel of the church at Wakefield before the image of St Stephen. In his will he also wished to bequeath to the fabric of the chapel of St Mary upon Wakefield bridge 2s.

John Lounde instituted 1437

John Preston, Bachelor of Cannon law, instituted 1443.  In April 1453 he received a papal dispensation, being of noble birth and chaplain to the Earl of Wiltshire to retain the chaplaincy, as the value of Wakefield church did not exceed 40 marks sterling. After the battle of Towton, March 29th 1461 and the accession of Edward IV, the vicar of Wakefield was one of those included in the Act of Attainder and fled the country

Simon Stanffeld took charge of the parish March 30th 1462 after John Prestons leaving until another vicar was appointed.

Thomas Rogers instituted 1462 and died at Wakefield 1502

Thomas Knolles, born Westgate, York, instituted 1502. In 1546 he gave a piece of land to the trustees.  The piece of land in the Bredebothes, lying near the church yard on the east and another piece of land at the end of the churchyard of the All Saints Parish Church to Robert Chaloner, Thomas Gargrave, Robert Cokeson and John Bunny. The profits thereof annually to be distributed among the poor of Wakefield. Also to occupy with the poor people two houses built on the said land, the two houses called 'Almossehouses' to be for the use of honest persons of the parish of Wakefield.  Thomas died in 1547 and was buried in the south aisle of the church.

Thomas Robertson, born at Wakefield in 1507.  Thomas took part in the drawing up of the First Prayer Book of Edward VI, but welcomed the advent of Queen Mary who made him Dean of Durham in 1557.  On the accession of Elizabeth he refused to take the oath of supremacy and was ejected form his deanery and the vicarage of Wakefield in 1559.  In 1561, he was described as ' one likely to do much harm in Yorkshire '

Richard Robertson instituted 1560 and died 1592

Edward Mawde instituted 1539.  Edward came to Wakefield in 1589 as master of the school in Goodybower (known locally now as the Elizabethan Grammer School) and when the charter had been obtained became the first Head Master of the Queen Elizabeths Grammar School (the school moved and has been for many, many years on Northgate, Wakefield)

William Lister instituted 1598.  He was vicar of South Kirkby 1591-98; Prependary of York 1614-22.  He resigned the living in 1620 and was buried at Sandal Magna 1624

Timothy Mawde instituted 1621-2. He was buried in Wakefield church 1625 a nd his will was proved on January 8th 1626

James Lister, son of Martin Lister of Wakefield.  James was educated at the Wakefield Grammar School and instituted vicar of Wakefield January 24th 1626-7.  During the Commonwealth he was ejected from his living in 1647 but became Vicar of Leathley. He died at Wakefield aged 80 and was buried in the churchyard on January 17 1667-8

On the ejectment of Mr Lister, Nathaniel Cradock, was appointed Minister at Wakefield.  It is said he was a Puritan in a Presbyterian sense, but only remained in Wakefield for a short time.

Thomas Parker, Commonwealth Minister 1650-1653

The Parliamentary Survey of 1654 reports that the vicarage was vacant.

Thomas Walker held the post from 1655 until his death in 1660

The Reverend John Baskervile, DD, Head Master of the Grammer School, applied for the vacancy.  The appointment was not welcomed by the towns people who wished to appoint Obadiah Lee, who had been a curate and they petitioned the Crown.  Baskevile called at the Treasury who gave his cause due consideration but gave in favour of the local people.

And therefore in 1677-8 Obadiah Lee was instituted vicar of Wakefield.  He died at Wakefield and was buried there in 1700.

Thomas Scott, son of John Scott, Deputy-Steward of the Manor of Wakefield and a Govenor of the Grammer School was instituted in 1700.  Thomas died in 1707 and was buried in Wakefield.  His will left £20 to purchase a large brass chandelier, consisting of a globe to which six branches were attached, each terminating in a socket and a greasepan. It was surmounted by the Holy Dove and was suspended from the roof of the choir.  On the advent of gas in 1852 the vicar and churchwardens regarded it merely as obsolete lumber- to be sold for what it would fetch and it was placed in East Ardsley church, where it remained until 1875 when once again it was cast out for the same reason.  Together with its chain it was sold for £3 and now hangs (according to Walker in 1939) in the chancel of Wrenthorpe church.  The Vicar also left £30 to buy a large silver flagon.  This piece does remain with the Communion Plate of the Cathedral.

George Arnet instituted 1729. George was buried at Wakefield in 1750

Benjamin Wilson was appointed Head Master of the Wakefield Grammar School in 1720.  Upon being instituted to the vicarage of Wakefield in 1764 he resigned his Headship. Dr Zouch called him "one of the first great scholars of the age".  There appears to reasonable evidence that Oliver Goldsmith had Benjamin Wilson in mind when he penned his immortal work "The Vicar of Wakefield"

Michael Bacon instituted 1764, died at Wakefield and buried there 1805

Richard Munkhouse instituted vicar of St John's Church, Wakefield in 1795 and  was promoted to vicar of Wakefield and instituted 1805.  Shortly after his preferment he lost his sight and had a paralytic stroke, from which he never recovered and died January 20th 1810 aged 54.  In the Gentleman's Magazine vol. 80 p 104, he is mentioned as a hard case 'for twenty years he was a curate, he had a family of twelve children, of whom seven survived him, twice twins'.

Samuel Sharp, MA, was curate of Wakefield 1804.  In 1807 he was appointed incumbent of Edale, Derbyshire until the time of institution as vicar of Wakefield in 1810.  He died in March 1855

Charles Joseph Camidge, MA, instituted vicar of Wakefield 1855.  He was the last Vicar to reside in the old Vicarage House, which after the institution of the Reverand N D J Straton, was purchased by  Sir Edward Green of Heath Old Hall and in September 1876 was opened as a Conservative Club.  The Conservative Club in the late 1990's went into financial difficulties and the building is now divided up into various small shop units.

Norman Dumenil John Straton, MA, was born in November 1840 and instituted vicar of Wakefield 1875 and died at Tunbridge Wells 1918.

William Donne was born 1845 and instituted vicar of Wakefield and Archdeacon of Huddersfield April 1892. He resigned the former in July 1909 and the latter in 1913; he died in March 1914 in the Bay of Bengal and was buried at Sea.

Edward Ashurst Welch, MA, LL D, was born in August of 1860 and instituted vicar and Hon. Canon of Wakefield, September 1909.  He resigned the post in October 1918 on presentation to the rectory of Southchurch where he died in August, 1932



William Arthur Macleod, MA, born in 1867, instituted vicar of Wakefield February 1919 and died at Wakefield November 1932. 

By the passing of the Cathedral measure of 1931 the Vicar of Wakefield also became Provost of the Cathedral, a status equivalent to that of a Dean of the older cathedral foundations, and the Rev. W A Macleod was the first Provost of the Cathedral

Noel Thomas Hopkins, MA, born January 1892. Who during his carreer had been Minor Canon and Junior Cardinal of St Paul's Cathedral 1925-1933, was instituted as Provost of Wakefield in February of 1933.

Wakefield All Saints Registers are available at the West Yorkshire Archive Service under the Ref WDP 3 -                     baptisms 1613-1984, marriages 1613-1988 and burials 1613-1964

To read fully the events read 'Wakefield its History and People' by J W Walker OBE FSA



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