Rectors | St Peter's Great Berkhamsted

The Church of St Peter Great Berkhamsted


On the southwest tower pier is a plate recording the Rectors of Great Berkhamsted from the 13th century to the present day. The plate itself dates from the 19th century, but its list begins with Robert de Tuardo (1222) and continues to the present day.

The sequence of incumbencies can be quite revealing; there is a rapid succession of rectors during the Fourteenth century at a time when England was ravaged by bubonic plague. Between 1369 and 1386, eight successive rectors are listed.

Notable names among these rectors include:

  • John de Waltham (1379-1380), Lord Privy Seal of England and later Bishop of Salisbury, who enjoyed an especially close relationship with King Richard II and is the only commoner to be buried in the Chapel of Edward the Confessor at in Westminster Abbey;
  • Rev John Cowper (1722-1756), father of the poet and hymn-writer William Cowper;
  • Rev John Wolstenholme Cobb (1871 to 1883), author of The History and Antiquities of Berkhamsted (1855) who also oversaw Butterfield’s restoration of the building.


List of Rectors of Great Berkhamsted St Peter

Ecclesia petri apud Berkhamsted ordo Rectorum. Quorum nomina extant.

Eorum qui antea per annos sexgentos huic ecclesiae praefuerunt non est memoria sed nomina scripta sunt in coelis.
Benedicite sacerdotes domini domino laudate et superexaltate cum in saecula.

Rectors of St. Peter's Church in Berkhamsted whose names are known. Of those who had previously presided over six years of the church of this nation, there is no memorial, but their names are written in heaven. With the priests of God, bless the Lord: praise him, and magnify for ever.

Name Date (Roman numerals) Date (modern numeric)
Robert de Tuardo   MCCXXII 1222
Hugh de London   MCCXXIII 1223
John de Merse   MCCXXXVIII 1238
Walter de Braclesham MCCLXX 1270
Roger de Castro MCCXCIV 1294
Richard Abel MCCCVI 1306
Thomas de Bamville    
Walter de Bamville MCCCXXXI 1331
John Conde MCCCXXXIII 1333
Richard de Odecott MCCCXXXIV 1334
William Wenlock MCCCXLIX 1349
Philipe de Leghe MCCCLII 1352
Ralph de Iddebury MCCCLVI 1356
Nicholas de Bede MCCCLVII 1357
John Osborn    
Nicholas Turney MCCCLXV 1365
Thomas Somenor MCCCLXIX 1369
John de Waltham    
Peter de Burton MCCCLXXXI 1381
John Long MCCCLXXXII 1382
Robert .de Bolton MCCCLXXXIV 1384
John Milton MCCCLXXXV 1385
John Cheeton MCCCLXXXVI 1386
Thomas Brydde    
Robert Bodersale MCCCCVI 1406
William Watford MCCCCXXXII 1432
John Staunton MCCCCXXXII 1432
Michael James MCCCCXXXV 1435
John Goddeslond    
Richard Plomer MCCCCLXII 1462
Henry Matthew MCCCCLXXXIV 1484
Thomas Lee MCCCCXC 1490
John Harden MDI 1501
William Hone MDIV 1504
Richard Lessy    
John Dent MDXXII 1522
Thomas Abell MDXXII 1522
Richard Baker MDXXX 1530
John Chamberlain MDLIV 1554
William Parker MDLX 1560
John lane MDLXVIII 1568
Thomas Wethered MDLXXIII 1573
Nicholas Clayton MDLXXVIII 1578
William Painter MDLXXXIV 1584
Thomas Newman MDXCVIII 1598
John Napier MDCXXXIX 1639
Robert Brabant MDCLXXXI 1681
John Cowper MDCCXXII 1722
John Jeffreys MDCCLVI 1756
Charles de Guiffardiere MDCCXCVIII 1798
John Crofts MDCCCX 1810
James Hutchinson MDCCCLI 1851
John Wolstenholme Cobb MDCCCLXXI 1871
Arthur Johnson MDCCCLXXXIII 1883
Henry G Constable Curtis MDCCCCII 1902
Reginald de V Hart Davies MCMVIII 1908
William Chipchase Stainsby MCMXX 1920
Horace Spence MCMXLVIII 1948
Robert Saville Brown MCMLIII 1953
Edward M Norfolk MCMLXIX 1969
H Roger Davis MCMLXXXI 1981
Mark Bonney MCMXCVI 1996
Michael Bowie MMV 2005
Timothy Pilkington MMXIV 2014

 Not recorded on this plaque: during the Civil War "intruder" priests were installed by Parliament; Napier, a Royalist, was ejected in 1650 but returned in 1661.


Friends of St Peter’s

Support our heritage: St Peter’s Church is a cherished part of our national and local history. Support the Friends of St Peter’s and help to care for our historic buildings and cemeteries.

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