Harston vicars in the 16th century

John Roadley

Information about Harston vicars in the 16th century and earlier is scarce. Below are the vicars on whom we have some information:

Edmund Harvey 1572 – 73

Edmund Harvey was born around 1548, the son of William, a grocer. He entered Jesus college at Easter 1566 and gained his BA in 1570 and MA in 1573.

When he became vicar of Harston on 27 November 1572 the church had been in a long period of sequestration – without a vicar, served only by curates. He left Harston on 30 October 1573 when he became vicar of All Hallows, Bread Street, London. He died in 1576.

Griffin Rowland 1573 – 83

Griffin Rowland gained his BA from Jesus college in 1572 and his MA in 1575. He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1573 and became vicar of of Harston on 30 October 1573 until 15 May 1583. He subsequently became rector of Kennett, Suffolk until he died there in March 1606

William Lewis  1583 – 84

William Lewis was born in 1557. He obtained his BA from Pembroke college in 1576 and
probably his MA from Magdalene college in 1589  He was ordained deacon (Ely) in April 1580 age 23 and priest (Norwich) on 21 December 1582.
He was curate of Keddington, Suffolk in 1580 and became curate of Harston on 5 May 1583 until 6 May 1584 when he moved to St Mary, Newmarket.

Owen Rowland  1584 – 96

Owen Rowland entered Jesus college at Easter 1577 where he gained his BA in 1581 and MA in 1584. He became vicar of Harston on 6 May 1584 until 16 April 1592/7 ??. He also became rector of St Mary, Swaffham Prior, in 1589.
He was licensed to marry Agnes Sullis at Harston in April 1592.

Thomas Willowes 23/04/1586 & Richard Robinson 30/12/1586

The above dates for these two men are recorded in the Clergy of the Church of England Database as  Harston Parish schoolmasters. The dates are when Owen Rowland above was vicar. The Ely Diocesian Records state that in 1585 Willowes was ‘licensed to teach grammar’ and Robinson was ‘licensed o teach boys to read their mother tongue’.No record of a school at Harston this early has been found.

Edward Williams 1596 – 1606

Edward Williams entered Christ’s college at Easter, 1585 where he gained his BA in 1589 and MA 1592. He became vicar of Harston on 16 April 1596 until 31 July 1606. His son, Edward, was baptised at Harston on 1 January 1605.

In his time, church attendances were low, even though required by law. An exasperated Rev Williams threatened to take his churchwardens before the High Commission if they failed to get the parishioners to church

This page was added on 28/07/2018.

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