The parish: Descendants of Rich and the advowson

The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2. Originally published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1921.

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'The parish: Descendants of Rich and the advowson', in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921) pp. 292-296. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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Before recounting the history of the rectors and their times, some account of those who exercised the right of presentation to the benefice may be of interest.

In monastic times the cure of the parish church, which was within the monastic church, was supplied by the appointment of a priest by the prior and convent; and John Deane, so appointed, continued to act as parish priest for four years after the monastery was suppressed.

In the year 1544 Henry VIII himself exercised his right of patronage and appointed the same John Deane (fn. 1) the first rector and incumbent for the term of his life, and granted that his successors, incumbents, should for ever be called rectors. At the same time the king granted the right of patronage to Sir Richard Rich and his heirs, to be held in fealty only and not in chief, for all services and demands whatsoever. He directed that all future persons presented should be instituted and inducted by the ordinary. It is not recorded in the episcopal registers that Deane was so instituted, (fn. 2) neither is it of his immediate successor Ralph Watson. (fn. 3)

The benefice was valued for the king, in 1535, at £8, (fn. 4) which sum at the suppression was allotted to Deane by the Court of Augmentations as an annual stipend, and the king directed that it should be so assessed for firstfruits and tenths.

In the year 1555 Rich granted the advowson to Queen Mary, (fn. 5) and on her death it was inherited by Queen Elizabeth; who in 1560 regranted it to Rich. (fn. 6) Whether Rich exercised his right of patronage and presented Ralph Watson in 1565, or whether Queen Elizabeth presented by lapse, is not recorded.

The history of Sir Richard Rich, the first Baron Rich, has already been given. (fn. 7)

His eldest son Robert succeeded him in 1567 as second Baron Rich, and presented Robert Binks to the benefice in 1576, and James Stancliffe in 1580. Lord Rich accepted the doctrines of the reformation and made some figure at the court of Queen Elizabeth. (fn. 8) He married Elizabeth, the daughter of G. Baldrey, Esq., and died in 1581.

His eldest son Richard having predeceased him without issue in 1580, he was succeeded by his second son Robert, the third baron, who, in 1582, presented John Pratt to the rectory. At Pratt's death Rich allowed Queen Elizabeth to present 'by lapse' David Dee in 1587; but he again exercised the patronage in 1605, when he presented Dr. Westfield. This Lord Rich held puritanical views. He was associated with the queen's favourite, Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, in most of his successes, and married the earl's sister, Penelope Devereux, in 1580, which led to much unhappiness as she was in love with Sir Philip Sidney. It was to her that Sidney's sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella' were addressed. After Sidney's death she lived in open adultery with Lord Mountjoy, whom she married after she had been divorced by Rich. In 1616 Lord Rich, on the 14th December, married, at St. Bartholomew the Great, Frances, the daughter of Sir Christopher Wray, and widow of Sir George St. Paul. He was created Earl of Warwick in 1618 and died the next year.

It was this Robert Lord Rich who 'developed' the St. Bartholomew property, and covered the parish with narrow streets and small houses. With the view of continuing to maintain the place as a 'liberty', he obtained in May 1583 from Queen Elizabeth (fn. 9) an exemplification of the enrolment of the charter of confirmation of the privileges granted to the monastery by Henry VII in 1489, (fn. 10) and a month later, 15th June 1583, he was granted by the queen an inspeximus of the charter of feoffment, whereby his grandfather granted the glebe houses to the rector of St. Bartholomew's.

Robert was succeeded in his title by his eldest son Robert, who thus became the fourth Baron Rich and the second Earl of Warwick; but in the property of St. Bartholomew's he was succeeded by his youngest son Henry, on whom it had been settled in 1612 (fn. 11) as a jointure for his wife Isabel Cope, the daughter and heiress of Sir Walter Cope, builder of Cope Castle, Kensington.

This Henry Rich by his good looks greatly attracted King James I, who not only gave him Isabel Cope the heiress to wife, but also lavished large sums of money and honours upon him (pl. XCIII, p. 264). In 1622 he was created Baron Kensington, and in 1624 Earl of Holland, in consequence of which he renamed Cope Castle, Holland House. He was sent as ambassador to France on the negotiations for King Charles's marriage with Henrietta Maria, but on the outbreak of the Civil War he sided with the Parliament. In 1643 he went over to the king at Oxford, but he was not welcomed there, so, after the battle of Newbury, he again joined the side of the Parliament. Later on he plotted a rising in the king's favour at Kingston-on-Thames, but he was taken prisoner at St. Neots, and was beheaded 9th March 1649. (fn. 12)

We have no evidence that this Henry, first Earl of Holland, lived at the family mansion, the old prior's house in the Close, but (fn. 13) Lucie, a daughter of his sister, Lady Essex Cheeke, was baptized in the church in 1624, and Lucie's sister Jane was married there in 1641.

In 1644 the earl presented John Garrett to the benefice, on whose death during the Commonwealth the earl's widow, the dowager Countess of Holland, presented Randolph Harrison, by virtue of her jointure. His institution was not registered at St. Paul's until the Restoration in 1660, but the presentation must have taken place in or before 1655, as the dowager died in August of that year.

The Earl of Holland's eldest son Henry did not succeed to his father's titles, as titles were then suspended, and he died (without issue) in 1658. He did not present to the benefice, as the rector, Randolph Harrison, outlived him.

The second son Robert succeeded at the Restoration to the titles as the second Earl of Holland and second Baron Kensington, and on the death of his cousin Charles, in 1673, he also succeeded to the titles of the fifth Earl of Warwick and seventh Baron Rich. He showed much activity in the cause of the Restoration. In 1663 he presented Anthony Burgess to the benefice of St. Bartholomew's on the resignation of Randolph Harrison. It was for this second Earl of Holland that the collection of charters and deeds was made in 1663. (fn. 14) He died in 1675.

He was succeeded by his eldest son Edward, who thus became the third Earl of Holland and sixth Earl of Warwick. This earl led a loose and profligate life and, as the result of a drinking bout, killed a man in a duel, was found guilty of manslaughter, but was merely dismissed with a caution. He married in 1696 Charlotte, the daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Middleton, and died in 1701. After his death his widow married Addison the poet. He did not present to St. Bartholomew's because Anthony Burgess, the rector, lived until 1709.

Edward's only child, Edward Henry Rich, succeeded his father as fourth Earl of Holland and seventh Earl of Warwick. He presented John Pountney in 1709, and died unmarried in 1721. A further presentation was made of Thomas Spateman (fn. 15) in 1719, but the episcopal register at St. Paul's says that this was made by 'Edwardus comes de Warwick', the name and title of Edward Henry's successor to the titles but not to the Bartholomew property. As Edward, however, was not Earl of Warwick until after the death of his cousin Edward Henry in 1721, we may assume that the scribe of the register accidentally left out the name Henry which he properly inserted in the entry concerning John Pountney in 1709.

Edward, the second cousin of Edward Henry, succeeding to the titles, thus became the fifth Earl of Holland and eighth Earl of Warwick, and died in 1759; but the advowson went with the rest of the Bartholomew property to an aunt of Edward Henry, Lady Elizabeth Rich, who had married Francis Edwardes, the second son of Owen Edwardes, of Trefgarne, Pembrokeshire, by Damaris, daughter of James Perrot, Esquier.

Their eldest son Edward Henry Edwardes succeeded to the estates, and in 1738 he presented Richard Thomas Bateman to the rectory. He died unmarried in 1752.

Edward Henry was succeeded by his younger brother William Edwardes, of Johnson, Pembrokeshire, who became possessed of the property on the death of his mother, in accordance with the will of his brother Edward Henry made in 1737. On the death of Rector Bateman in 1760 or 1761, William Edwardes did not claim the patronage, and in 1761 Bateman's successor, John Moore, was collated by the Bishop of London 'by lapse'. On the death of Rector Moore in 1768, however, William Edwardes did exercise his right, and presented his first cousin Owen Perrot Edwardes to the living. In 1776 William Edwardes was elevated to the peerage of Ireland by the title of Baron Kensington, the former barony of Kensington, enjoyed by the Earls of Holland and of Warwick, having expired in 1759 on the death of Edward, the fifth Earl of Holland, without a son. He married, in 1762, Elizabeth, the youngest daughter and co-heiress of William Warren, Esq., of Longridge, Pembrokeshire, by whom he had an only son William, who was baptized at St. Bartholomew's on the 24th April 1777. William Edwardes, the father, died in 1801, aged 90 years.

His son William, the second Baron Kensington of the new creation, some time before 1814, sold the advowson to William Phillips, Esq., of Grosvenor Place, Middlesex, so there is no occasion to follow the history of the Edwardes family further.

William Phillips, the new patron, had married, as a second wife, a Miss Abbiss, whose brother John Abbiss was, at the time of the purchase of the advowson, at Oxford awaiting ordination. On the death of the rector, O. P. Edwardes, in 1814, Phillips presented John Richards Roberts to the benefice. At the expiration of five years Roberts resigned, by arrangement, and Phillips presented John Abbiss.

The Rev. Frederick Parr Phillips, the son of William Phillips, of Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey, and honorary Canon of Winchester, inherited the advowson, and presented William Panckridge in 1884 and Borradaile Savory in 1887.

Frederick Abbiss Phillips inherited, and presented, in 1907, William Fitzgerald Gambier Sandwith, the present rector.

On the death of Mr. F. Abbiss Phillips in 1908 the patronage devolved jointly on his widow, Mrs. Bowen-Buscarlet, of Stoke d'Abernon, and her son, Noel McG. Phillips, of Wanborough Manor, Guildford.


  • 1. As already shown above, p. 271.
  • 2. Above, p. 272.
  • 3. Below, p. 307.
  • 4. Bacon, Liber Regis, 566. In 1737 and 1768 it was valued at £120.
  • 5. See Vol. I, p. 276.
  • 6. Ib., p. 286.
  • 7. Ib., p. 289.
  • 8. J. Sargeaunt, Hist. Felsted School, from which much of this information is gleaned.
  • 9. See above, p. 232.
  • 10. Vol. I, p. 220.
  • 11. See also below, p. 319.
  • 12. Above, p. 278.
  • 13. Ib., p. 274.
  • 14. Add. MSS. 34768; and above, Vol. I, p. xxv.
  • 15. Below, p. 334.