Curates & Vicars

A further extract from Revd. Henry Stapleton’s history of the Church – link to the full article

In the Middle Ages there were three main ways a parish might be served:  by a Rector, a Vicar or a Curate in Charge.  A Rector, as at Everingham and Harswell, received as payment for his duties both the greater tithes (corn, hay and wool) and the lesser tithes (chickens, lambs, etc.).  A Vicar was appointed by a Rector who kept the greater and let the Vicar have the lesser tithes.  Thirdly there were the daughter churches or Chapelries served by an assistant priest who was appointed by the rector or vicar of the Mother church, e. g. Shiptonthorpe (Market Weighton) and Bielby (Hayton).  Such priests were called in Latin Capellanus (English, Chaplain) and were later known as Curates.

Seaton Ross Church was ‘appropriated’ to the Priory of Warter.  In 1140 the care of the ‘Chapelry’ was given to the Monks and in 1291 when the country was assessed under the Taxatio Nicolai – a valuation of the whole country in parishes made upon Pope Nicolas IV’s grant of tenths to King Edward I in 1288 for six years towards the expenses of a crusade – Seaton Ross occurs under the Warter entry:

‘Church of Warter with a moiety of Seaton Chapel £24.’

The Monks were responsible for the spiritual care of Seaton Ross.  It would be simpler for one of them to serve the cure or to engage a stipendiary priest.  For this reason it is impossible to trace the names of the clergy among the Institution Books of the Diocese.

When the Priory was dissolved in 1536, who was now responsible for the parish? The duty fell upon the man who received the lands formerly owned by the Priory (the impropriator).  In this case it was the de Ros family.  They continued to receive the tithes and appointed a Curate to perform the pastoral cure.

The appointment was in the hands of the owner of the land and hence in the Parliamentary Survey of 1650 we find the following:-

“Seaton Impropriate – formerly belonged to Sir Edward Osborne but now the Commonwealth.  Sir Edward when he made his composition found the living worth one hundred yearly but we find (it) to be worth but yearly three score pounds that is settled by the Committee for plundered ministers upon Mr. Hammond and the person minister of Gunthwayte Chappell in the West Riding.”

This connection with Gunthwaite is interesting.  It is said that during the Civil War Parliament fined a Royalist supporter £1,000 and this was given to Col. William Bosville who was a Roundhead.  Perhaps in consideration of this he and his successors undertook to give £25 per annum to the Incumbent of Seaton Ross.  Richard Donn in 1716 writes:

There is likewise an augmentation of 25 p.a. being the interest of £500 lodged in the hands of Wm. Bosville Esq. of Gunthwayte Hall in ye West Riding of Yorks.  But as for ye security of this augmentation Qua re (Latin, ‘for what reason’);  for I find no better security than payment to me out of mind and confession of the party in whose hands ye money is lodged.

The family were faithful in their annual payments.  In 1955 Col. Bosville’s descendant, Sir Somerles Macdonald of Sleat commuted by paying a capital sum, the interest of which was for the Incumbent’s income.

It is not till 1706 that we have evidence of the separate existence of the parish.  Under Aughton in Archbishop Sharpe’s Manuscript occurs the entry:

The Chappell of Seaton, Dedicated to St. Edmund And is Parochiall.’

and below:

1706 Mr. Donne who serves this cure certifies that the value of Seaton Ross (which he calls a living) is £37  19/-.

At the back of the Church is a board headed ‘Vicars of Aughton and Cottingwith and Curates of Seaton Ross’ and below names to 1689 and afterwards ‘Curates of Seaton Ross’ beginning with ‘1706 John Donne.’  The compiler has obviously based his assumption that Aughton provided the priest from earliest times on Archbishop Sharpe’s manuscript but, as will be seen, there is no evidence that all the Vicars there served Seaton Ross as well.

Sir Edward Osborne bought the estate in 1620.  His son, Sir Thomas, was created the first Duke of Leeds in 1694.  Hence the presentation by the 4th Duke in 1749.  In 1788 the Constables of Everingham acquired the property.  But, being Roman Catholics, they could not present an incumbent and the presentation passed to the University of Cambridge in 1794. It is not clear how Kingsman Baskett was the presenter.  When Mr. King came to the United Benefice in 1931 the Institution Book states it was so long since an appointment had been made that the patrons were unknown.

Till 1931 there had never been a Vicar of Seaton Ross, only Curates in Charge.  Thus in the 19th Century William Alderson signs himself in the Register as ‘Incumbent Curate’ to distinguish himself from the other clergy performing ministrations.

The smallness of the Parish meant that it has frequently been served by priests from adjacent parishes.  In the 19th Century Thomas Browne appears never to have taken any of the occasional offices, but the parish was served by Assistant Curates or Vicars from neighbouring parishes.  Although William Alderson of Everingham was Curate in Charge from 1826-1839, the main connexion has been with Harswell.  As far back as 1668 Joseph Blande, the Rector there, was also Curate of Seaton Ross;  in the 18th Century, Robert Robinson, and from 1869  to 1931 when the United Benefice of Seaton  Ross, Harswell and Everingham was brought into being by Order in Council.  In 1959 Bielby was detached from Hayton and added to this group.

Parish Boundaries:
Starting on the road from Bielby the boundary goes North along an old footpath 500 yards West of Rythamgate – East along Gale Carr drain till it comes in line with Melbourne Lodge, when it turns South, across the aerodrome to the Foss Dike:  along this dike over the Selby Road to the junction with Foulness.  The boundary then turns North East along the Foulness (to include Lincoln Flatts) up the Black Beck and across the Carrs to Rythamgate.

Details of the Curates and Vicars of Seaton Ross can be found in the full article. link to the full article

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