Although Lodsworth was a manor from a very early date, the church was not strictly a parish church, but a chapel attached to the Augustinian Priory of Easebourne. Lodsworth was served by a priest from the Priory.6
After 1540 the priest serving Lodsworth was known as a ‘Perpetual Curate’. This title was retained well into the 19th century.
Lodsworth has always been a “poor” living: that is a parish which has small endowments. But many of the vicars in particular in the 19th century were rich men, so that the value of the stipend was immaterial to them. Charles Leopold Stanley Clarke is a notable example. He was vicar for 30 years. He enlarged the already sizeable parsonage, and is reported to have had at least six servants in the house plus two full time gardeners, groom etc.
Another vicar Charles Chilver (1884-1901) could afford a carriage and pair, and provided himself with a curate who seemed to bear most of the parish burdens!
Several of the sermons of Rev. Serenus Barrett, the incumbent from 1739 to 1756, have been published and are available on Amazon. One is 94 pages long!
Many incumbents also had other talents.
Rev. Loraine Estridge (1880-84) was a artist who exhibited three landscapes in London in 1891 including this watercolour of St Peter Port and Castle Cornet, Guernsey.
Rev. William Connor Sydney (1919-20) had previously been a journalist, a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and a prolific writer of textbooks on history. His books are still in university libraries around the World and are for sale on Amazon.
Basil Henry “Ixion” Davies, Curate of Lodsworth from 1920-26 was a journalist and broadcaster “as famous as … Jeremy Clarkson is to motoring now”. In 1905 he made his record motorcycle ride of 1279 miles in 6 days. In 1926, his was the first broadcast of a speedway meeting. In 1927 he made the first TT broadcast.
We don’t know the names of most of the visiting priests from the Priory, and even after its suppression, when the advowson had passed to Cowdray, it is difficult to find the names of the perpetual curates serving Lodsworth. There is an incomplete list in the church, but there is no complete roll such as found at Selham, where the names of the rectors are known from the 14th century.
The more extensive list of incumbents below is based on recent research using the sources listed.
|Serenus Barrett||Vicar/Minister/ Curate||1739||1756||2,4,9|
|Francis Whitcombe||Perpetual Curate||1810||1831||2,3,4,9|
|William Jenkins||Perpetual Curate||1831||1840||1,2,3,6,9|
|John George Ash||Perpetual Curate||1840||1846||1,3,4,6,8,9|
|Charles Leopold Stanley Clarke||Perpetual Curate||1846||1876||1,4,5,6,8,9|
|Arthur Barwick Simpson||Curate||1851||1857||1|
|Walter Francis Elgie||1861||1863|
|John Padmore Noble||Curate||1863||1872||1|
|Samuel Bryan Crowther-Beynon||Vicar||1877||1880||1,4,5,9|
|Charles Samuel Chilver||Vicar||1884||1900||1,4,5,6,8,9|
|James Bridger Philby||Curate||1886||1|
|Leighton Brooke Barnett||Curate||1887||1897||1,9|
|James Arthur William Bell||Curate||1897||1900||1,9|
|Edward Ord Edgell||Vicar||1900||1918||1,3,4,6,9|
|Archibald Harvey Robertson||Vicar||1918||1919||1,3,4,6,9|
|William Connor Sydney||Vicar||1919||1920||1,4,6,8,9|
|H H Hirst||Vicar||1920||1920||3,4,6,8,9|
|Basil Henry Davies||Vicar||1921||1926||1,4,6,8,9|
|James Thomas Collins||Vicar||1926||1940||1,4,6,9|
|George Henry Gibson||Vicar||1940||1944||1,3,4,6,9|
|Reginald Francis Stutely Abbott||Vicar||1944||1955||1,4,6,9|
|Wilfrid Leslie Lamb||Vicar||1955||1962||1,3,4,6,9|
|John Howe Greene||Vicar||1962||1969||1,3,4,7,9|
|William Dudley Dinnis||Vicar||1969||1978||1,3,4,7,9|
|Norman Gowen May||Priest in Charge/Rector||1978||1988||1,3,4,7,9|
|Dennis Henry Ronald Cornish||Rector||1989||1996||1,3,9|
|Jack Andrew Lusted||Rector||1997||2007||1,3,9|
|Derek Brian Welsman||Rector||2010||3|
|1||Crockford’s Clergy List and/or Clerical Directory, 1858-|
|2||Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835, www.theclergydatabase.org.uk|
|3||List in St Peter’s Church|
|4||Marshall, A.E. The Curates/Ministers/Vicars of Lodsworth, Sussex 1518-1978, unpublished paper Dec 1978|
|5||Hennessy, Rev. G. Chichester Diocese Clergy Lists, 1900 WSRO Lib 8198|
|6||Lamb, W.L., Notes for a History of Lodsworth, 1962|
|8||National Newspaper Archive|
|9||Marshall, A.E. 1999, List of clergy of Lodsworth 1380-1997, WSRO Par 128/7/1|
|10||Nominations for perpetual curacies, 1778 WSRO Ep/1/6c/2|