List of Vicars and Priests-in-Charge

The earlier names are taken mainly from Dugdale’s Antiquities Of Warwickshire, but there are no records before 1316. The names of some of the earlier incumbents are worth noting because of their similarity to place names of today. Also, during the twenty years of the Black Death (1349-1369), it will be seen that there were five vicars, including two in one year:

Roger de Boyvill, 1316
Thomas de Coventre, 1328
Nicholas de Haselovere, 1349
William de Bradweye, 1361
John de Toucester, 1361
William de Stoneley, 1362
Thomas de Napton, 1369
Richard de Rossale, 1377
William Sprunt, 1380
Thomas Hulle, 1394
John Broun, 1401
John de Barston, 1408
Richard Crewe, 1409
John Repton, 1409
Richard Ashby, 1416
John Racheford, 1417
Thomas Flynderkyn, 1425
Richard Browne, 1425
Thomas Weston, 1428
William Sutton, 1433
John Sokeling, 1439
John Clerke, 1456
John Furnevale, 1467
John Andeley, 1467
Thomas Prees, 1473
John Masty, 1487
Thomas Edwards, 1515
Henry Ellys, 1528
Robert Kinge (1529)


Church of England Established 1534
Richard Budworth (1558)
William Churchley (1560)
Anthony Offley (1569)
Humphrey Wilding
Nicholas Langridge (1604)
Humphrey Smallwood (1627)
Richard Chamberlaine (1656)
Nicholas Chamberlaine (1662)
Richard Chamberlaine (1664)
John Jackman (1701)
Robert Mills (1743)
John Clarke (1767)
Thomas Cox (1782)
Sir Henry Dryden (1824)
Leopold Erasmus Dryden (1837)
Frederick Leigh Colvile (1842)
Francis Grenville Cholmondeley (1880)
Edward Riley (1905)
Sidney Ernest Longland (1927)
Richard Geoffrey Adderley Etches (1943)
John Reginald Ryecart (1947)

Andrew Archer Thomson (1950)
James Cornes (1958)
Charles Nettleship (1965)
James Clive Raybould (1986)
Keith Maudsley (1989)
Guy Rupert Cornwall-Jones (1991)
Brian Pearson (2000)
Ian Duncan Kennedy (2007)

Jim Perryman (2008)


Vicars (1558-1656)

The following information is taken from the Clergy of the Church of England Database (

Rev Richard Budworth
Appointed Vicar of Leek Wootton, 28 Jun 1558
Office vacated due to death, 1560

Rev William Churchley
Appointed Curate of Castle Bromwich, 1 Jul 1558
Appointed Vicar of Leek Wootton, 29 May 1560
Office vacated due to death, 17 Sep 1569

Rev Anthony Offley
Ordained, 18 May 1561
Appointed Vicar of Leek Wootton, 17 Sep 1569

Rev Humphrey Wildinge
Ordained, 25 Sep 1575
Appointed Vicar of Leek Wootton, 7 Oct 1587 (Resigns, 7 Jun 1605)
Appointed Curate at Binley, 26 Jul 1605
Appointed Vicar of Stoke, 14 Sep 1614
Appointed Schoolmaster at Coventry St Michael, 14 Sep 1616

Rev Nicholas Langrishe
Appointed Vicar of Leek Wootton, 7 Jun 1605

Rev Humphrey Smallwood MA
Ordained a Deacon, 5 Sep 1623
Appointed Vicar of Leek Wootton, 14 Aug 1627

The Induction of Humphrey Smallwood as Vicar of Leek Wootton on 25 Aug 1627, from the Parish Registers
The Induction of Humphrey Smallwood as Vicar of Leek Wootton on 25 Aug 1627, from the Parish Registers

 Vicars of Leek Wootton
back to: List of Vicars & Priests-in-Charge | forward to: Richard Chamberlaine


Rev Richard Chamberlaine (1656-1662 & 1664-1701)

Rev Richard Chamberlaine was the brother of Rev Nicholas Chamberlaine. He would have been born circa 1630 and lived through the English Civil Wars (1642-1649) in his younger years, followed by the Interregnum (1649-60).

Unusually, he was installed at Leek Wootton on 19 September 1656, but was not ordained until 1660 or 1661.  This was because during the Interregnum Puritanism became the officially established church in England, the 1558 Act of Uniformity was abolished and there was no requirement to attend services in the established church. Puritanism rejected the excesses of Catholicism and wanted to return to the more ‘pure’ form of biblical christianity.  Puritanism was, by nature, anti-clerical and did not believe in the ‘catholic’ tradition of the priesthood, where one individual was ordained by the church hierarchy and had authority over his parishioners.  In Puritanism a Minister was chosen by the congregation to preach and carry out liturgical and administrative duties.

At the time of the Restoration of the monarchy, in 1660, the Church of England was re-established as the official church, and with it came the return to the ecclesiastical hierachy. Ministers who were in post rushed to be ordained before their livings were given to an ordained priest by the Bishop.

In 1662 a new Act of Uniformity was introduced, which made the Book of Common Prayer mandatory. This was followed by the removal of over 2,000 clergy, who refused to take the required Oath of Conformity. This ‘great ejection’ caused problems, because parishes were left without priests.  This may be why Rev Richard Chamberlaine was appointed to Radford Semele from 1662-1664.  During this time his brother, Rev Nicholas Camberlaine took over in Leek Wootton, but when he moved to Bedworth, Rev Richard Chamberlaine returned and remained in post until his death in 1701.

There is no evidence that Rev Richard Chamberlaine ever married or had children.  His Will distributes his wealth and property to his nieces and nephews.  His niece, Mary Chamberlaine was married to a Thomas Shakespeare at Leek Wootton in 1694 and Rev Richard Chamberlaine was buried here in 1701.

Vicar of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: Humphrey Smallwood | Successor: Nicholas Chamberlaine
Nicholas Chamberlaine | Successor: John Jackman



Rev Nicholas Chamberlaine (1662-1664)

1602-1604 The Rev Nicholas CHAMBERLAINE
The plaque on the north wall of the nave is a facsimile of an original, now covered by the dais (unveiled 2002)

Rev Nicholas Chamberlaine was born in 1632 in Whitnash, south of Leamington Spa, into the Chamberlaine family of Astley Castle near Nuneaton.

He was ordained on 4 July 1661 and appointed to the living at Leek Wootton on 16 September 1662. During his incumbency, he married Elizabeth Green of Wyken, who died in childbirth shortly afterwards.

On 4 February 1664, he was appointed Rector of Bedworth.  At the time he arrived, Bedworth had been without a Rector for some time, a predecessor Dudley Ryder had refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance and left in 1661 and his immediate predecessor, John Simcock had died in March 1662 after only two months in post.

Bedworth was a poor parish, populated by between 800-900 people, mostly agricultural labourers and in a state of political and religious unrest since the Civil War, Commonwealth and Restoration.

Nicholas Chamberlaine settled into the parish and, in time began to purchase property and eventually became the ‘Squire’.  He served the parish for over 51 years and on his death, with no family to inherit, his Will provided two schools, almshouses for the poor and apprenticeships; the Nicholas Chamberlaine Trusts continue to support the local community to this day.

On his death, he was brought back to Leek Wootton to be buried next to his wife.  The original East Window in the new church was given by The Bedford Society in memory of him – this was moved to the vestry in the remodelling of 1890 and later destroyed during World War II.  The plaque on the north wall [pictured above] is a facsimile of an original stone in the floor of the nave, which is now covered by the dais.  It was unveiled in 2002.

Vicar of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: Richard Chamberlaine | Successor: Richard Chamberlaine


Rev John Jackman MA (1701-1742)

Rev Jackman succeeded from Rev Richard Chamberlaine, who had served Leek Wootton for over 40 years. He was a student of New Inn Hall, Oxford, who received a BA in 1689 and MA in 1692, he was ordained in 1691 at Oxford.

He was around 30 years old when he was appointed to the living at Leek Wootton and lived 8 years as a bachelor. On 1 November 1709 he was married to Elizabeth Chernocke in Leek Wootton and they went on to have one son and four daughters baptised here as well.

In 1710 he was also appointed to the living at Long Itchington and he served both parishes until his death in 1742. In his Will he made a point of leaving £5 to the poor of the parish of Long Itchington and 50 shillings to those of Leek Wootton, explaining that he considered, “…that those latter poor [of Leek Wootton] have had the greater share of my Charity in my lifetime.”

His memorial, which would have originally hung in the mediaeval church, was placed high in the tower of the new church, which now places it in the Millennium Room (upper meeting room). It is clear from the wording of the memorial that he and his wife were well-respected by his parishioners:

Here lyes the Body of IOHN IACKMAN
who during 42 Years residence in this Parish,
of which he was Vicar,
illustrated by his example ye pure Doctrines of Xtianity
which he taught;
Nor was He less eminent for his Learning,
than his virtues,
He dyed 25 January 1743 Aged 72
Here lyes the Body of ELIZABETH his Wife
whose Virtues were equally amiable
with those of Her Husband,
They were mutually happy in each other,
A rare Blessing to their Family,
Esteemed by their Superiors,
Beloved by their Equals,
Courteous to their Inferiors,
and kind to all
who wanted their Assistance
She dyed 14 September 1747 Aged 63.
Let their Life be a Pattern for our imitation
Let their Death remind us of our mortality

Vicars of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: Richard Chamberlaine | Successor: Robert Mills


Rev Thomas Cox AM (1782-1823)

In 1782, Rev Cox was the last Vicar appointed to the living at Leek Wootton while the patron was The Hon Mary Leigh. He studied at Worcester College, Oxford, and was ordained at Christchurch, Oxford, in 1781.

He married Elizabeth Amey Clarke five years into his tenure, but lost his wife and second child in 1789. His brother-in-law, Rev Thomas Clarke, was Rector of Honiley as well as resident curate at Leek Wootton and his memorial is alongside Rev Cox, high on the north wall of the nave. His surviving son also took orders and was a curate of Leek Wootton as well, before he became Rector of Atherstone-on-Stour and Oxhill.

Rev Cox was incumbent at the time that the old medieval church was pulled down and rebuilt.

Vicars of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: John Clark | Successor: Henry Dryden



Rev Sir Henry Dryden Bt (1824-1837)

Rev Sir Henry Dryden (image courtesy of The National Trust, Canons Ashby)
Rev Sir Henry Dryden
(image courtesy of National Trust, Canons Ashby)

Rev Sir Henry Dryden was the second son of John Dryden (formerly Turner) and his wife, Elizabeth Dryden (John Turner adopted his wife’s surname and arms in 1791), grandson of Cassandra Leigh, the great Aunt of Chandos Leigh, and his cousin, Julia, was Chandos Leigh’s mother.

Sir Henry inherited the Dryden of Canons Ashby baronetcy in 1818 from his brother when he died at the age of just 36, by which time he was 31 and had been ordained in 1814.

Before arriving at Leek Wootton, he had been Curate at Longborough (1810), Broadwell with Adlestrop and Condicote (1814), all in Gloucestershire. In 1821, he became Vicar of Ambrosden in Oxfordshire. His uncle, Sir Gregory Page-Turner, was the patron of Ambrosden from 1807 and this living was later taken up by a younger brother, Lempster George Gregory Dryden.

Elizabeth Hutchinson Dryden (image courtesy of The National Trust, Canons Ashby)
Elizabeth Hutchinson Dryden
(image courtesy of The National Trust, Canons Ashby)

The incumbency of Leek Wootton was in the patronage of Lord Leigh and he became Vicar in 1824, when he and his wife, Elizabeth, had three young children between 3 and 6.

He died of pleurisy at Leek Wootton in 1837, aged 50, and is buried at Canons Ashby.

His obituary described, “The affliction which his death has occasioned to his parishioners of Leek Wootton; among whom it is no exaggeration to say, that on the day of his death there was not a dry eye. In every house, in every cottage, they seemed to deplore the loss of a friend, a teacher, and a guide … He was charitable to the full extent of his power of being so a liberal supporter of all useful institutions in his neighbourhood and hospitable without ostentation. (2 December 1837)

Rev Sir Henry Dryden's memorial in the church at Canons Ashby
Rev Sir Henry Dryden’s memorial in the church at Canons Ashby

Vicars of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: Thomas Cox | Successor: Leopold Erasmus Dryden


Rev Leopold Erasmus Dryden (1837)

Rev Leopold Erasmus Dryden was the third of five sons of Sir John Dryden and younger brother of Rev Sir Henry Dryden, who was presented with the living after his brother’s death in 1837.

Born in 1792, he was 45 when his brother died. He married Emily Vavasour in 1839 at Stow-in-the-Wold and they had one daughter, Helen Maria, a little over a year later. She was baptised at Leek Wootton on 5 April 1840.

In 1841 the family is listed on the Census living in East Woodhay, Hampshire and we know that Rev Dryden was not living in Leek Wootton at this time from letters from him to his successor, Rev Colvile’s father, in which he is negotiating the transfer of property at the Vicarage, Leek Wootton, in part due to disputes with the executors of his brother, Rev Sir Henry Dryden.

Sadly, Emily died in 1845 and was buried in Broadwell, Gloucestershire, and Rev Dryden himself died in 1846. Their daughter, Helen, was therefore orphaned at the age of 6 and went to live with her uncle, Charles Beville Dryden, a solicitor at Lincolns Inn, and his family.

Vicars of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: Sir Henry Dryden | Successor: Frederick Leigh Colvile