BHO

The Chapel Royal: The vestry

Pages 297-300

Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (Revised), Court Officers, 1660-1837. Originally published by University of London, London, 2006.

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The Vestry 16601837

The offices of the vestry, sometimes referred to as the sergeant, yeomen and groom of the chapel, were in the gift of the dean of the chapel royal. Appointments were made by his warrant to the sub dean. (fn. 1) There were two yeomen of the vestry from 1660 to 1686. From 1720 the sergeant also served as clerk of the cheque.

According to the dean's order of 28 May 1728, the sergeant's duty included opening the door of the vestry during hours of prayer, setting out the candlesticks and books on the lesson desk, walking with his verge before the dean, the bishops and sub dean to their seats, keeping the altar clean 'and in decent order,' providing bread and wine for services, new books, surplices, and furniture for the use of the chapel, and washing the surplices. The yeoman was 'to open the Pew Seats within the Chapel at the Hours of Prayer,' to place the forms and hassocks within the chapel, to arrange the prayer books and provide and arrange the wax candles in the main body of the chapel and 'to keep out of the Chapel, Persons and things not fit to be there'. In this he was assisted by the groom, whose first duty was 'to take care of all Publick Doors...To take care that the Chapel be not crowded by letting too many persons into it, so as to hinder the passage to the Communion -Table.' The groom was also responsible for cleaning the chapel, providing candles for the ante-chapel and gentlemen's vestry and assisting the gentlemen with their surplices. (fn. 2)

In 1685 the sergeant of the vestry was established at 54 15s; the two yeomen at 41 10s each and the groom at 36 10s. In 1689 the sergeant was raised to 6 16s 10 1/2d in wages, 66 3s 1 1/2d in ; the yeoman to 5 wages, 49 15s in ; and the groom to 5 and 43 12s 6d. (fn. 3) In addition, the sergeant made 120 per annum for the provision of books, surplices, etc. (fn. 4) From 1702, this was reduced to 60 'for washing Surplices for Strewings, and all Other Necessaries in lieu of Bills' but from 1714 he was also paid an additional 49 2 for providing similar items at Whitehall. (fn. 5) The groom's were raised to 51 12s 6d in 1703. (fn. 6) Throughout the period, the groom took vails from those who wished to be seated in chapel. (fn. 7)

Sergeants of the Vestry 16601837

1660 5 Nov. Haynes, T.
1687 Parker, H.
1715 14 Mar. Alford, M.
1715 11 May Smith, J.
1752 13 Feb. Lovegrove, W.
1777 1 May Dickes, W.
1790 20 Nov. Roe, J
1816 28 Feb. Howse, R.

First Yeoman of the Vestry 16601686

1660 5 Nov. Williams, W.
1665 Aug. Phillips, O.
[1675 c. 30 Aug. Whitcher, G.]
[1681 c 5 Feb. Alford, M.]

Second Yeoman of the Vestry 16601686

1660 5 Nov. Whitcher, G.
1675 30 Aug. Alford, M.
1681 5 Feb. Morer, M.

Yeoman of the Vestry 16861837

1686 Nov. Alford, M.
1715 14 Mar. Hill, J.
1722 1 Oct. Langhorne, T.
1754 3 Sept. Rowling, W.
1778 2 June Foster, T.
1816 27 Feb. Berry, H.

Yeoman of the Vestry in Extraordinary 1664?1688

1664 21 Mar. Dunkley, T.

Groom of the Vestry 16601837

1660 5 Nov. Cleaveland, A.
1662 15 June Powell, H.
1672 20 Mar. Ouldner, R.
1675 29 Sept. Ouldner, G.
1695 23 Jan. Cooke, I.
1697 14 Apr. Fairlace, M.
1708 23 July Lenton, J.
1719 14 May Duncomb, W.
1730 1 July Norton, R.
1756 10 Nov. Wraith, R.
1760 4 Aug. Smith, W.
1768 2 Feb. Horn, W.
1784 10 June Jackson, M.
1801 17 Mar. Stokes, G.
1814 7 Dec. Samson, W.

Deputy Groom of the Vestry c. 1737c. 1755

By 1737 Laurel, J.
By 1741 Bailey, W.
By 1755 Turner, T.

Bellringer 16661685; 16891837

The bellringer was appointed by the dean by warrant to the sub dean. According to William Lovegrove, the bellringer was 'To go round a certain part of the palace with his stand bell, to give notice that the time of Divine Service is approaching.' He made 15 4s 2d per annum. (fn. 8)

By 1666 Blayton, S.
1673 4 Jan. Watkins, A.
1678 26 Nov. Watkins, H.
1689 5 Oct. Sampson, W.
1703 2 Apr. Ellis, I.
1711 22 Mar. Brooks, T.
1733 9 Feb. Herring, J.
1737 10 Oct. Martin, J.
1743 19 Apr. Williams, J.
1761 8 July Seamour, W.
1791 29 Nov. Wynn, J.

Chamber Keeper to the Vestry c. 1701

By 1701 Cook,-

Footnotes

  • 1. See Lovegrove MS., p. 66.
  • 2. NCB, ff. 3, 1112 quoted in Baldwin, pp. 35859, 36263, 365.
  • 3. LS 13/38, f. 16; LS 13/39, p. 34.
  • 4. Ibid.; Chamberlayne (1694) II, 215.
  • 5. LS 13/43, f. 19v; LS 13/44, f. 20.
  • 6. LS 13/258, f. 27.
  • 7. See, for example, Baldwin, p. 243.
  • 8. LS 13/39, p. 35; Baldwin, p. 370, quoting Lovegrove MS.; Lovegrove MS., p. 27.