Chapter III Chapter V

HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE NOTICES OF THE PARISH OF SOULDERN, OXFORDSHIRE

Chapter IV.

THE CHURCH.*

In Parker's Eccles. & Architect. Topography of Oxfordshire, published in 1850, is this description :―

“Souldern, St. Mary, Chancel, Nave, with S. aisle and Tower. The Chancel is modern, the Aisle windows are good early Decorated,† the Nave has a clerestory and retains some ancient carved seats.‡ The Tower is early Norman, having walls of great thickness. A cornice of this Church is engraved in Rickman, p. 163.”

To this we may add that the Tower is very much out of the perpendicular, as is also the massive western arch. The font, which Mr. Parker does not notice, stands near the S. door, and is evidently very ancient, of the simplest form, without any sculpture, and large―but whether Saxon or Norman has not been determined. It has been roughly used, and pieces, the size of a man's hand, have been knocked out of it. The Tower contains five bells in all: four large bells, and a small prayer-bell; the dates range from A.D. 1631 to 1635, and one Bagle claims to be their maker, and has in­scribed his name as such on each bell.

1st Bell, or treble, “Cantate Domino Cantecum Novum. Henry Bagle made me 1635.”
2nd Bell (inscription illegible).
3rd Bell, “Preservor (?) H.B. 1631 Cum voce jucundissima.”
4th Bell, or Tenor, “Vobiscum cocrdo [concordo ?] Deum Laudare.”

In September, 1877, the Church was inspected by Arthur Hodgson, Esq., of Bloxbam (architect), who made the following report :―

“The Church of St. Mary, Souldern, is a very picturesque and interesting structure. It is at the present time sadly in want of a thorough restoration, and the Chancel is such a bad piece of modern

* Nearly the whole of the following notice is communicated by the Rev. Dr. Rottan, being abridged from a paper read by him before the members of our Society in 1882.

† In one of these windows were these arms (Rawl. MS. , B. 400 C.), “or, a lyon ramp., sab.―or, a cross engr, sab.―St. George's armes ―Gules, a castle or.”

‡ These seats were removed in 1855, when the Church was re-pewed.

work that it would be quite impossible to do anything but pull it down, and build a new one of the same size as the original, and, if possible, upon the old foundations―at the same time turning the line old arch again to its proper use.* The Nave is parted from the S. aisle by three pointed arches resting on round columns, the capitals and bases of which are early Norman, and appear to have been turned upside down. The N. and S. clerestory windows are very poor, merely square openings. Some of the windows of the aisle are elaborate and curious specimens of early Decorated work. The porch is also about the same date, and there is a well moulded doorway, without capitals to the jambs, and the labels terminate in heads leading from it into the aisle.”

Since this report of Mr. Hodgson's there has been a most strenuous effort, headed by the venerable Rector (Dr. Stephenson) and his family, to carry out all the improvements it was possible to make. In 1878 a “faculty” was obtained to remove the hideous gallery (partly erected in 1815, as a thank-offering) which blocked out the Norman arch above mentioned and two of the best windows in the aisle. The pillars and arches in the nave were scraped, the whole building cleaned, and the church fittings and furniture greatly improved by a series of gifts, up to the year 1883, which are entered in the register, including altar table, brass desk, oak lectern, service books, &c. from Dr. Rotton, brass cross from Mr. J. Cobbin, stained window-lights from the Rector, pulpit from Fred. Stanton, Esq. and his wife, curtains, &c.

The list of Vessels for the Holy Communion belonging to the church in August, 1880, is as follows:―

I.―Silver Flagon, given Christmas Day, 1879, by J. H. Gough, Frederick Stanton, and George Stratton, Esqs.

II.―Silver Paten (a thank-offering), 1880.

III.―Electro-plate cruet (Dr. Rotton).

The original Holy Vessels, made of the white silver of former days, are―

I.―A Paten of 1634.

II.―A Chalice, dated 1654.

“This,” as Dr. Rotton remarks, “is a standing historical witness of the parish's loyalty, in a time of general disloyalty, to the ancient faith and England's own old church.”

The following is an inventory of church goods, etc., removed from the church, in 6 Edw. VI., preserved amongst the records of the Exchequer.

* This act of vandalism in dismantling the fair medieval Chancel, destroying its arch and substituting the present monstrosity of a characterless window, was perpetrated between the years 1772 and 1806, during the incumbency of the Rev. John Horseman, B.D., Fellow of St. John's, Cambridge, and Rector of Souldern for 34 years. The area of the present Chancel is at least 8ft. less in length than the original one, and its breadth has also been considerably diminished.

“This inventory indented made tbe 2nd day of May the 6th in year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King Edward the 6th, of all the goods, plate, jewels, bells, and other ornaments pertaining to the parish church of Souldern, in the County of Oxford, between Sir William Reynolds, Knight, Thomas Breedy, and Thomas Cowsford, amongst others, Commissioners appointed in the said County, for the survey of the said goods with the premises, of the one part, and Thomas Bond and Thomas Symes, of Souldern, aforesaid, of the other part: Witnesseth that all the goods and other like premises hereafter written belonging to the said. Church were committed by the said Commissioners to the custody of Thomas Bond and Thomas Symes, with the sure undertaking that they will at all times be forthcoming and to be answered:―

Imprimis. Three pair of vestments of satin of Bridges (Bruges)
Item. Six pair of white vestments, on[e] satin of Bridges, and the other white fustian.
Item. One chalice of silver, parcel gilt.
Item. Six copes of satin of Bridges.
Item. Six candlesticks of brass.
Item. One censer.
Item. Six bells and a sanctus bell.”

In an appeal to the public for funds towards the restoration of the church, Dr. Rotton quoted the following lines from the “Miscellaneous Sonnets” of Wordsworth, which were written during one of the poet's visits to the Rectory as the guest of his College friend, the Rev. Robert Jones, then Rector of the Parish:―

A Parsonage in Oxfordshire

“Where holy ground begins, unhallowed ends,
Is marked by no distinguishable line;
The turf unites, the pathways intertwine,
And whereso'er the stealing footstep tends,
Garden, and that domain where kindred friends
And neighbours rest together, here confound
Their several features, mingled like the sound
Of many waters, or as evening blends
With shady night; soft airs from shrub and flower
Waft fragrant greetings to each silent grave;
And while these lofty poplars* gently wave
Their tops, between them comes and goes a sky
Bright as the glimpses of Eternity
To saints accorded in their mortal hour.”

* These poplars, which stood in a field now (1887) occupied by Mr. Rigby, were cut down some years ago.

When the above lines were written the Rectory garden came up to the north side of the Church, and was only parted from the churchyard by an invisible fence. A line of shrubs was afterwards put in which completely divided the two, but the grounds were recently (1885) restored to their original condition by Dr. Rotton, to whom is also due the planting and adornment of God's Acre with choice pines and flowering trees.

The Rectory itself is a well-built amd picturesque looking gabled house―said to be a good specimen of the Parsonage of days gone by. From the appearance of the garden upon the north and.west side, there must at one time have been good fish-ponds on the premises.

The only tombstones of any interest in the churchyard are the following, of which notes have been made by Dr. Rotton in the Register of 1667 :―

Headstone:―Ann, daughter of John Neale and Catherine his wife, died April 1, 1682. On the foot-stone:―“Kathern the wife of John Neale lying buried with her daughter in her grave, departed this life the laste day of April 1716 aged 75.”

On another headstone:―“Here lyes intered the body of John the ever dutiful and obedient son of John and Catherine Neale who departed this life the 11 day of July 1682 and in the yeare of his age 21.

Pray doe not disturb his bones.”

Altar-tomb, about which Dr. Rotton writes:―“On the morrow of St. Bartholomew, 1882, I refixed at my own cost the Neale monument, which had sunk from soil subsidence, and on cleaning away the gathering moss the following inscription appeared:―

“In full and certain hope of the second coming of Christ resteth here the body of John Neale who departed this life the 7 day of June, 1662, and yeare of his age 51. Mary his beloved wife and widow lying buried within this grave departed this life Aug. 4, 1705, in the yeare of her age 89.”

Old men report a tradition that Neale made his own tomb with his own hand. I believe his to be the oldest standing monument in the churchyard.” On the tombstone are engraved the arms of the Masons' Company, granted by William Hancheston, Clarencieux King at Arms, in the year 1474, incorporated by letters patent of 29 Charles II., 17 September, 1677.

Rawlinson says (in his MS. before referred to):―“In the churchyard 2 tombs against ye wall; i., plain stone, inscribed in front thus:―‘Here lyes interred the body of John King, gent., who departed this life December 24th Anno Domini 1712, in the year of his age 71.’ On the second thus:―“Here lyes interred the body of Esther the wife of John King, who departed this life November 16 1709, in the yeare of her age 78.”

Several members of the Hill family (see list of Churchwardens) are buried on the south side of the churchyard.

Monumental Inscriptions in the church.

The following notices are all that remain of the BIGNELLS, who for many years were landowners in Souldern (“In the S. ile,” Rawl. B. 400, MS. Bodl. Libr.):―Elizabeth, wife of Rob. Bignell, died March lOth, 1700; Mary, d. April 30th, 1708; Elizabeth, wife of Dodwell Colegrave, and d. of Robt. Bignell, February 26th, 1712; Jane, d. August 13th, 1713. On a slab over the south door of the Church is this inscription :―“Underneath this aisle lie interred the remains of the Bignell family for many generations past. This stone is erected to record also the interment of Thomas, son of Thomas and Mary Bignell, who died April 7th, 1796, aged 71 years, and of Sarah, his wife, who died March 5th, aged 72 years.” There is still an old parishioner of 92 years, whose maiden name was Bignell, and whose father was related to the late Miss Westcar.

BOWERS.―John, d. 5th October, 1611; William and Sarah, September 3rd, 1620; Anne, d. of the above William and Sarah, died March 5th, 16―(date erased); Willielmus filius Will. et Sar. uxoris, 1685; Sarah, June 11th, 1687; Thos., January 19th, 1689–90; Thomas, April 25th, 1694; George, January 16th, 1695 ; William, January 13th, 1695; Luce, d. of Will., August 26th, 1709; Mary, July 8th, 1729; Anne, October 29th, 1730; George, s. of Thos. and Elizabeth, December 26th, 1731.

BUCHANAN.―Lydia, the elder d. of John Hill, of Manchester, and Mary, his wife, who died 19th May, 1879, aged 80 years. This monument is erected by her nephew, John Hill Gough.

COLEGRAVE.―Elizabeth, d. February 26th, 1712 (Rawl. MS., B. 400).

DODWELL.―John DodweIl, d. February 3rd, 1669; Anne Dodwell, d. of John Dodwell, junr., August 13th, 1679; Philip Dodwell (‘seneex di Litt Oxoniensis’[?]), February 4th, 1683; John Dodwell, senex, October 11th, 1683–4; Isabella Dodwell, May 21st, 1686; Thomas Dodwell, 4th son of Richard Dodwell, of Oxford, and Anne, his wife, d. 3rd January, 1694–5. A tablet to Mary, wife of John Dodwell, gent., who died 14th March, l702, aged 67. Also the said John Dodwell, April 4th, 1723, aged 82 years, and Mary, his second wife, June 1720, aged 70. Thomas DodweIl, senex sepultus, September 16th, 1704. William Dodwell, June 6th, 1720; William DodweIl, April 6th, 1723.

GOUGH.―On a stone slab now (1886) in the Tower are the following lines to the memory of Ferdinando Gough.

“Friend, here thou seest my body in earth,
And how my life is now cut of by death;
But know my soule is now at rest with Him
Who from everlasting death did it redeem.
T'will not be long before that thou must dye,
And then in grave thyself will lye;
Be wise now, therefore, while that thou hast tyme,
That grace and CHRIST and glory may be thine.
Thyself deceive not with a Christian name,
Unless thou also be in heart the same;
Love GOD in truth, believe in CHRIST His Sonne,
Bid farewell sin, let vague delight be gone.
To be for heaven now, while still thou can,
Set on the work, and then, 0 happy man! ”

Dr. Richard Rawlinson says (Rawl. MS., B 400):―“On a freestone gravestone, in the middle Ile, in capitals:―Here lyeth the body of Ferdinando Gough, who died the 11th day of November, in the year of our LORD 1664, and is now buried in the chancel. Of Richard Gough, his father, who died about the 20th day of March, in the year of our LORD 1638. Next unto him, near lyeth the body of Anne Gough, his beloved wife, now buried in the grave of Elizabeth Gough, her mother, who dyed the 7th day of May, in the Jear of our LORD 1664. Both Father and Mother, husband and wife, are gone from hence to an eternal life.” Ferdinando Gough, buried January 23rd, 1671 ; Elizabetha (injans), March 13th, 1671 ; Sarah (virgo), May 29th, 1684 ; Richard Gough, gent., died May 13th, 1717; *Sarah, his wife, March 12th, 1755, aged 68. Drope Gough, Esq., who departed this life 3rd Februarv, 1761; Ann, his wife, who died 5th July, 1793. aged 76. Also to the memory of Mary, d. of the third Drope Gough and Ann, his wife widow of the Rev. Henry Gabell, formerly Rector of Standlake in this county, who died November 1810, aged 71.

These inscriptions appear upon two united diamond-shaped marble tablets.

“In memory of Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Gough, by Sarah, his wife, who died 1772, aged 61.” (A portrait of this lady is extant, and her prayer book is preserved in the family.)

There are also inscriptions on stones in the south aisle to Richard, Francis, and William Gough (dates illegible).

* Sarah Eeles.

On a slab over the old family pew, “erected by Mrs. Mary Longe as a memorial of her affection,” are the following names:―Richard Drope Gough, Esq., died May 18th, 1818, aged 63; Ann, his widow, died December 7th, 1825, aged 69. Mary, their daughter, died March 14th, 1792, aged 10. Harriett, their daughter, died July 10th, 1803, aged 16. And three of their children, who died in infancy. Francis Penrose, died November 11th, 1796, aged 52. Sarah, his widow (sister of the above R. D. Gough), died March 7th, 1814, aged 72.

Immediately under this is a carved marble and stone tablet, to the memory of John Moxon Hill, the only child of John Hill Gough and Anne Penrose, his wife, born June 4th, 1871, fell asleep October 8th, 1875.

And nearer the porch, a tablet to the memory of Sarah Drake (daughter of Francis and Sarah Penrose), who departed this life January 22nd, 1852, aged 74 years, relict of the late Mr. John Drake, of Woburn, Beds.

Other members of the Gough family lie buried on the N. side of the church, where there are memorial slabs to Richard Drope Gough, Esq., eldest son of the above R. D. Gough and Ann, his wife, who died July 12th, 1838, aged 58 years; Caroline, his sister, died July, 1836, aged 38; and of Emma Gough (his sister), who died in 1856, aged 67

On another marble slab is an inscription to the memory of Charles Gough (brother of the above), who died November 3rd, 1863, aged 70 ; and Sarah (younger daughter of John Hill, of Manchester), his wife, who died December 30th, 1867, aged 67.

And a monument has recently been erected to the memory of Sarah and Louisa, the last surviving daughters of R. D. Gough (the elder); Louisa died January 30th, 1880, aged 82; Sarah, January 26th, 1882, in the 88th year of her age

HURLSTONE.―“In memory of Caroline Ada, d. of Michael and Ann Rurlstone, 5th January, 1846, aged 7 years and 9 months;” also “In memory of Thos. Herbert, son of Thomas Page and Elizabeth Hurlstone, who was drowned on his return from the West Coast of Africa, aged 28.”

KILBYE AND COX.

Frances, uxor Ricardi Kilbye
obiit Dec., 1672.
Ricardus Kilbye, infans, fil. Ricardi, Aug. 21, 1677.
Ricardus Kilbye, armiger, senex, obiit Sep. 11, 1693,
aetatis suae 84. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

And also here lyeth the body of A . . . . Cox, daughter of Richard Kilbye, who departed this life 7th April, 1729, aetatis suae 53. Mrs. Jane Kilbye, December 19th, 1714, in the year of her age 66. Mary Kilbye, October 22nd, 1725. Alice or Alicia, wife of Richard Kilbye (gent.) d. Dec. 1st, 1714. Alice Reynolds, “vidua vetula, sepulta secundum ritus ecclesiae Anglicanae,” August 7th, 1694 Also Jane Reynolds (mother and daughter, died at Water Perry, buried at Souldern on the same day).

And, “Here lyes the body of William Reynolds (gent.) son of Alice Reynolds, who departed this life, February ye 23rd, 1718, aged 71.”

Helen, d. of Mr. Francis Bienfait, of London, and Eliza his wife, February 28th, 1771. Samuel Cox, March 18, 1781.

[The family of Reynolds, of Cassington, was founded by Edmund Rainolds, a younger son of Richard Rainolds, of Pinhoe, or Pin­hawes, near Exeter,* who purchased the estate at Cassington from the Coventry family towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth. Of this Edmund, Anthony à Wood remarks, “he was educated at Corpus Chr. College, of which he was a Fellow, but leaving that house because he was popishly affected, retired to Gloster Hall, where being a noted tutor for 60 years or thereabouts, he grew very rich.” He died November 21, 1630, aged 92, and was buried in the chancel of Wolvercot. Edmund Rainolds left his estate at Cassington to his nephew, William, who seems to have married Alice d of Thomas Whitgreave, Esq., of Moseley, in Staffordshire, and by her was the father of Alice Reynolds, who named Richard Kilbye, of Souldern. Another of the Reynolds married a Penrose. It may be remarked that a brother of Mr. Kilbye, named Francis, was at Moseley as a pupil under Father Huddleston when Charles II. arrived there after the battle of Worcester, and he assisted his uncle, Whitgreave in sheltering the King, There is a very old house close to the Church at Cassington which is still known as “Reynolds,” though it is evidently only part of a larger building, The family has long since disappeared from the place.]

Here lyeth the body of Anne, or Annette, the wife of Robert Kilbye (gent.), who died September 8th, 1754, aged 84 years. Here lieth the body of Robert Kilbye (senior), who died March 12th, 1757. (Some of these are from the Register, and are not to be traced on the stone).

Here lyeth the body of Helen Blewen, who departed this life on the 3rd day of October, in the year of our Lord 1765, aged 60 years.

MITCHELL.―“Here lyeth the body of Edward Mitchell, who departed this life the ...... day of January, Anno Domini, 1753, aged 74.”

MINN.

Mary Mynne, 1659,
Gulielmi Minn 1665,
} Rawl. MS., B. 400.f.

* Camden in his “Britannia” writes: “The next parish is Pinhoe, remarkable for bring­ing forth the two Rainolds (John and William), brothers, zealous maintainers both of the Reformed and the Popish Religion in their turns.”

On a stone in the S. aisle is the following inscription :―

“Sacred to the memory of William James Minn, seaman, son of Robert and Hannah Minn, of Shrewsbury, who perished at sea on the night of the 19th ,June, 1849, in 30 deg. S.E. and 10'30 deg W.longitude, aged 18 years and 10 months, to the great grief of all who knew him.”
And,

“To the memory of James Minn, soldier, brother of the above-named Robert. He likewise died at sea on his voyage to Canada, in the year 1831, aged 44 years. He served fourteen years in the Hussars, under the Marquis of Anglesey, and two years in the Peninsula, in the 3rd Regt. of Lancers, and had an honourable discharge from both Regts. His first action was Corunna, his last Waterloo.―“The sea shall give up her dead.”

William aud James Minn (mentioned at p. 9 in these Notes as a benefactor to the School) are buried in the churchyard.

ROUSBY.―James Henry, son of James Edwards Rousby, Esq., and Caroline, his wife. He died 18th October, aged 5 years.

TABRAM.―“To the memory of James Frederick Tabram, born 21st March, 1834, died 23rd November, 1838” (nephew of the Rev. Dr. Stephenson).

THROOKMORTON.―In the Chancel is a brass bearing a heart supported by two hands, with three scrolls issuing from the heart. The following words are written on the scrolls:―“Credo quod Redemtor meus vivit et in novissimo die de tra surrectur' su et in carne mea videbo Deu Salvatore meu.” Inscribed upon the heart are the words, “Ihu mcy,”―and below the brass―“Here lyeth buryed John Throckmorton, the sonne of Heugh Throckmorton (gent.) and Elizabeth his wife, who dyed 6 day of Oct. in the yere of our Lord, 1573.”*

* With reference to this interesting brass, we have been favoured with the copy of a letter from the Rev. Henry Burgess to Dr. Rotton, in which it is said that “Hearts are usual on brassses before the Reformation, and held in hands. They are Sometimes inscribed with “Mercy” or “Jesu Mercy,” (as at Souldern.) Tho passage from Job xix., 25 26, is frequently found in connection with the heart, the latter being insccribed “Credo,” and the scrolls, three in number, continuing the text, Sometimes the heart is held by two hands issuing from clouds (as at Souldern also). It is said that such memorials indicate that the deceased was enabled to perform a vow which he had made, but better still, I think, they are intended to embody the ancient invitatory “Sursum corda,” and to express a firm trust in the promises of God. I am also told that the heart was often interred in a different church from that in which the body was buried.” The attention of the present Sir Nicbolas Will Throckmorton having been called, in 1881, to the dilapidated state of this interesting family memorial, by the Rev. Dr. Rotton, he at once caused it to be restored.

Another brass, also in the chancel, brears the effigy of a girl of apparently 16 or 17 years of age. This has been recently (1882) cleaned and replaced at the expense, and by the direction, of Dr. Rotton.

WEEDON.―It will be seen hereafter that the Weedons purchased the manor of Souldern from the descendants of the Throckmortons and bequeathed the same to Samuel Cox in 1710. The following members of the Weedon family were buried in the body of the Church:―-Bernard Weedon, Esq., 1679; Ignatius Weedon, 1683; Mary Weedon, widow of Bernard Weedon, Oct. 17th, 1691.―(Rawl. MS. B. 400); Frances Weedon, wife of John Weedon, Esq., 1701. The said John Weedon, 1702; Elizabeth, wife of Bernard Weedon, jun., 1708; John Weedon, Esq., 1710; Bernard Weedon, 1713; Mary Weedon, 1728; William Weedon, 1741 ; and Widow Weedon, 1744.

Nearly all the Weedons seem to have been Roman Catholics. Their monuments may still be seen near the N. door. One of them has the Weedon arms, carved as an escutcheon empaled with the arms of the wife. There is another stone, on the other side of the church, with the names of Weedon and Gough upon it.

WESTCAR.―The Westcars are mentioned further on in these Notes as being benefactors of the Parish. Of this family the following are buried in the church:―Samuel, died May 11 th, 1793, aged 33; Thomas, died March 1st, 1809, aged 53; Mary, died June 20th, 1793, aged 35; Elizabeth. died March 31st, 1820, aged 65; children of Thomas Westcar (gent.) and Elizabeth his wife. Thomas Westear (gent.), died September 27th, 1788, aged 72; Elizabeth, his wife, died August 10th, 1805, aged 88.*

The Rectors are buried in the Chancel. The first in date is commemorated on a brass, recently restored by Dr. Rotton. “Of your charitie py for the soul of Maister Thom[a]s Warne, late person of this Church, which decesed XI die Aprilis, anno M°vcxiiij°.” There is a full length effigy of the priest in his vestments on this slab.

Hardinge.―“Here lies interred the body of the learned and reverend Thomas Hardinge, Batchelour of Divinity, sometyme one of the Masters Of Westminster School ; commonly called the Grecian, for his excellency in that tongue; Rector of Soulderne 26 years, and author of the great Ecclesiastical Historie†. His better monument he erected himself where his memorie and his successors live together, in the faire parsonage house, where he was not only eminent for his holy and pious conversation but for his hospitality and charitie to the poore. His epitaph is legible in the large volumes of his works. He suffered his mortal change October 10th, 1648, in the tyme of the great Revolution and change of Church and State: Living and dying himself in the same constancy of obedience, a true sonne of the Church and professor of the auncient Catholique faith.

Anima mea cum patribus.”

* Mr. John Rowland Crook is the only descendant of the Westcar family now living in the parish, though we believe Hill House Farm is still possessed by another branch.

† “A judgment of Archbishop Ussher, Thomas Gataker, and others commending a ‘History of the Church’ to the time of Charles I., by the Rev. Thomas Hardinge, B.D., late Rector of Souldern.” (The history seems never to have been printed, but Ussher and Gataker had read part of it). Bodleian MS. Tanner 89, fol. 4.

Mr. Hardinge's armorial bearings, a dolphin naiant impaling a lion ramp. (Stapleton), are engraved on the monument.

Twyne.―“Here lyeth the body of Mr. Wm. Twyne for divers yeares fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, Bachelour in Divinity, and late Rector of this Church, whose exemplar and conversation in both places, for solid learning and true piety, deservedly recommends him to the memory of others. He departed this life the last day of .January, 1665–6, and in the 41st yeare of his age. ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.―Ps. 116, ver. 15.”―Rawl. MS. B. 400 c.

Turner.―On another black marble at the entrance into the Chancel. “Hic jacet Bryanus Turner, S.T.P., e com. Lancast. oriundus, Coll. St. Joh., apud Cantab. socius, hujus eccl. annis xxx Rector, Eccl. Cath. Hereford canonicus, ejusdem demum archidiaconus nominatus. Qui vitam et munera summa laude gessit. Obiit Feb. xx MDCXCVII., anna aetatis LXV.” And “in the chancel on a white freestone gravestone―Hic jacent fratres gemelli, Isaack et Willielmus, filii Briani Turner, S.T.P., hujusce Ecclesiae Rectoris, Nat. x Aug. MDXCVI.―Isaack XXI. Aug. obiit MDCXCVI.; Will. xxvi. Aug.” (Rawl.B. 400. c.)

Shaw.―“Here lies the body of Jeffery Shaw, B.D., Rector of this Church, who fell down dead while he was reading Divine Service therein on Sunday, Nov. 17th,1706. ‘Blessed is that servant whom the Lord when He cometh shall find so doing.’ ”

Russell.

“M. S.
Reverendi viri
Joannis Russell, S. T. B.
Divi Joan. Evangel. apud Cantab. Socii,
Dein hujus parochioo annos
ultra 36 rectoris,
qui obiit 5° die mensis Martii
año { salutis 1772
aetatis 79.”

Juxta jacet
Elizabetha, J. R. uxor,
quae obiit die 26° m. Martii,
anno { salutis 1791
aetatis 84.”

Horseman.―“Rev. John Horseman, B.D., June 25th, 1806, aged 73,” and “Ursula, wife of the Rev. John Horseman, rector of Souldern, d. Apr. 19th, 1803, aged 66 years.”

THE REV. GEOFFREY SHAW

The following account of an apparition alleged to have been seen by him is found in Nichol's Illustrations of Lit. Hist. of the 18th cent., 1822, IV., 119.

Part of a letter from Mr. Edward Walter, Fellow of St. John's College, Camb., to a friend in the country; dated Dec. 6th, 1706:—

“I should scarce have mentioned anything of the matter on my own account, but since you have given yourself the trouble of an enquiry, I am, I think, obliged in friendship to relate all that I know of the matter, and that I do the more willingly because I can so soon produce my authority.

“Mr. Shaw, to whom the apparition appeared, was Rector of Soldern, or Souldern, in Oxfordsbire, late of St. John's College, [Cambridge], aforesaid, on whom Mr. Grove, his old fellow-colle­giate, called July last, in his journey to the west, where he staid a day or two and promised to see him again in his return, which he did, and staid three days with him. In that time, one night after supper, Mr. Shaw told him that there happened a passage which he could not conceal from him, as being an intimate friend, and one to whom this transaction might have something more relation to than another man. He proceeded therefore and told him that about a week before that time, viz., July 28th, 1706, as he was smoking and reading in his study, about 11 or 12 at night, there came to him the apparition of Mr. Naylor, formerly fellow of the said College and dead some years ago, a friend of Mr. Shaw's, in the same garb he used to be in, with his hands clasped before him. Mr. Shaw, not being much surprized, asked him how he did, and desired him to sit down, which Mr. Naylor did. They both sat there a considerable time, and entertained one another with various discourses. Mr. Shaw then asked after what manner they lived in the separate state? He answered, “Far different from what they do here, but that he was very well.” He enquired farther whether there was any of their old acquaintance in that place where he was? He answered, “No! not one;” and then proceeded and told him that one of their old friends, naming Mr. Orchard, should die quickly, and that he himself (Mr. Shaw) should not be long after. There was mention of several people's names, but who they were or upon what occasion Mr. Grove cannot or will not tell. Mr. Shaw then asked him whether he would not visit him again before that time. He answered, no, he could not; he had but three days allowed him, and farther he could not go. Mr. Shaw said, “Fiat voluntas Domini,” and the apparition left him.

This is word for word as Mr. Shaw told Mr. Grove, and Mr. Grove told me.

What surprized Mr. Grove was, that as he had, in his journey homewards, occasion to ride through Clopton or Claxton, he called upon Mr. Clark, fellow of our College aforesaid, and curate there, when enquiring after College news, Mr. Clark told him Arthur Orchard* died that week, August 6th, 1706, which very much shocked Mr. Grove, and brought to his mind the story of Mr. Shaw afresh. About three weeks ago Mr. Shaw died of an apoplexy, in the desk, of the same distemper poor Arthur Orchard died of. Since this strange completion of matters Mr. Grove has told this relation, and stands to the truth of it, and that which confirms the narrative is, that he told the same to Dr. Baldiston, the present Vice-Chancellor, and Master of Emanuel College, above a week before Mr. Shaw's death, and when he came to the College he was no way surprized as others were. What farthers my belief of its being a true vision, and not a dream, is Mr. Grove's incredulity of stories of this nature. Considering them both as men of learning and integrity, the one would not first have declared nor the other have spread the same were not the matter itself serious and real.—Yours etc., EDWARD WALTER.”

There is also another letter, from “the Rev. J. Hughes to the Rev. Mr. Borariker,” virtually giving the same narrative And in an extract from a letter “from the Rev. Mr Turner to Mr. Bonwicke,” we read:—“There is a circumstance relating to the story of this apparition which adds great confirmation to it. There is one, Mr. Cartwright, a member of Parliament, a man of good credit and integrity, an intimate friend of Mr. Shaw's, who told the same story with Dr. Grove's (which he had from Mr. Shaw at the Archbishop of Canterbury's table), but he says further that Mr. Shaw told him of some great revolutions in the State, which he will not discover, being either obliged to silence by Mr. Shaw, or concealing upon some prudent and politic reasons.” These letters are dated November, 1706, and MSS. copies are in the possession of the writers of these Notes.†

* Of St. John's College, Cambridge, B.A. 1662, M.A. 1666, B.D. 1673.

† For possesion of a scarce tract entitled, “Sermon by William Offley on the death of the Rev. Geffrey Shaw, Rector of Soulderne, Oxfordshire, who died whilst he was in the Church at evening prayer,” 4to. (1707), the compilers are indebted to the kindness of Mr. Madan. The Mr. Naylor, Vicar of Enstone, spoken of in this narrative, is mentioned in Jordan's “History of Enstone,” pp. 191 192, where we learn that he died in 1704, and was buried July 1st of the same year. “Affidavit (of his being buried in woo'len) was made before Mr. Brideoake, Rector of Swerford. On a corner buttress of the church porch there is a small diamond-shaped white marble slab to his memory,” bearing an inscription of which the following is a translation:—“Near this spot is deposited John Naylor, Master of Arts, Fellow of University College, and Vicar of this Church. He died June 29th, A.D. 1701, in the 49th year of his age, grievously dispirited (abjectus) in the house of the Lord.”

Chapter III Chapter V

HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE NOTICES OF THE PARISH OF SOULDERN, OXFORDSHIRE