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Rectors of

St John Baptist, Frenchay

Until 1834, the villagers of Frenchay, if they did not attend the Unitarian Chapel or the Friends Meeting House, had a three mile walk to St Michael's, Winterbourne, to attend church every Sunday.

To alleviate this situation, George Worrall of Frenchay Park gave land on the Common, and a grant from the Incorporated Church Building Society, together with local subscriptions, enabled the church of St John Baptist to be built. It was consecrated on 21 August 1834 and had accommodation for 800 people, including 500 free seats for the poor.

At some time between then and 1841, Frenchay became a separate parish and a tithe map was drawn up in 1844, showing an income for the Rector of 153 per annum.

1835 - 1875

<< John Carter, BD

Rev Carter became minister in March 1835, but his first years were a financial problem for him. Already, by 1838, 150 was needed for church repairs and it was not until 1847 that the situation was eased by a gift of 1000.

More financial problems arose in 1856 when the church was robbed and a collection had to be made to make good the losses and take out an insurance with the Phoenix.

In 1857 the urinals attached to the church wall were considered to be unseemly, so a toilet was incorporated into the north porch; 30 years later this too, by request, was removed.

From 1870 to 1880 many costly changes were made. A new organ was installed by removal of part of the north gallery; choir stalls, a new alter table and a new font were also added.


John Carter, who later became Rector of Frenchay, rowed for Oxford in the first University Boat Race in 1829 at Henley upon Thames.

We are indebted to Derek Pickersgill,

of the Boat Race Founders' Society,

for this latest information, July 2009.

The Society is interested in hearing any information from descendants and relations of John Carter. Please write to the WebMaster to be put in touch.

1875 - 1880

Aubrey Lackington Moore, MA >>

One of the best known of Frenchay's rectors, his time at Frenchay was the only part of his adult life not spent at Oxford University.

At Oxford he was a teacher, a preacher, a lecturer and a writer. Moore taught Philosophy and Ecclesiastical History (of the Reformation period) but he was particularly admired for his ability to reconcile religious belief with science. Theories of evolution were being argued over, and Moore's writings, especially "The Christian Doctrine of God", which appeared in "Lex Mundi" were regarded as lucid and well balanced, likely to be of help to many others.

New academic duties were being offered to Moore and his reputation was such that he was invited by the Bishop of New York to visit America to lecture on "The Religious bearings of Modern Science". But the influenza epidemic of 1890 claimed him as a victim, and the former rector of Frenchay died, aged just 42. He was described at the time as combining strength and tenderness, as occupying a unique position; "the very best, purest and most potent influence that I have ever known in any human friend or helper".



1880 - 1890

<< Frederick Edward Warren, DD

In 1886 it was decided that it would be a good idea if the choir wore surplices, and 22 ladies offered to make them. Extended vestry space was needed, with a cupboard for the new surplices, and the tender received for the building work as 38.10.0d .... though 3 was saved by substituting deal for pitch pine in the construction of the cupboard.

The Queen's Jubilee celebrations provoked considerable discussion the following year. The provision of a scholarship to a bright pupil, or the purchase of a parish fire engine, were both suggested, and a further meeting was called. It is interesting to read that a current practice was already well established; the meeting was to be advertised by a notice in the Post Office window! Eventually a dinner for the elderly, a tea for the children, and music, a bonfire and fireworks on the Common were among the activities arranged.

But life was not all jollity. A new parish bier was purchased in 1889, and two palls. Child mortality then was much higher than it is now, one of the palls was for children. Detailed rules were compiled for the use of the bier, and the cost set at 1/- for parishioners and 2/6 for others. Coffins had to be buried at least three feet deep, the charge here being 3/- per foot for the first six feet, and 4/- for the seventh and eighth.

By 1891 Frenchay Ecclesiastical Parish contained 1172 acres and a population of 1132 (513 males and 619 females). There were 247 houses. About the turn of the century work was carried out on the church heating. The hot air ducts were replaced by a system of hot water pipes around the church. Attention was paid to improving the tidiness of the church yard.

Fire insurance values for the church, organ and windows, were raised, and discussion took place about the proposed new parish room and the provision of bicycle shelters. 174.19.6d was spent on re-flooring and on seating alterations, with the provision of a centre aisle. Also at this time Cathedral glass was put in, first in one window "to see the effect", then in the Queen Victoria window, and gallery windows, and finally throughout the church. Insurance premiums were raised accordingly.


1890 - 1892

Henry Deane, DD >>

Excerpt from the Frenchay Parish Magazine, Dec 1890...

Our late Rector, the Rev FE Warren, BD, has recently been inducted to the living of Bardwell, Suffolk; and we have now much pleasure in announcing that the Rev H Deane, BD, Senior Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, and late Vicar of St. Giles', Oxford, has accepted the living of Frenchay, and will shortly be in residence.

1892 - 1911

<< William Brooke, MA

Nov 1911, letter of thanks from the Rev and Mrs W Brooke...

Dear Friends, we cannot ever thank you enough for all your kindness to us during the years we have been among you, and especially in the last few weeks. We have received so many gifts from different people that we wish to put on record a list of them so far as they were public. The address and album which accompanied your generous purse of 130, and the handsome furniture, presented at the pleasant gathering on Sept 30th, will always be a reminder of Frenchay and its kind people. The beautiful picture given by the Guild, the Address and Smoking Cabinet from the Choir, the Picture from the Children, the framed Group of the Cricket Club, and the charming Italian Pendant given to Mrs Brooke by the Temperance Society, all came as surprises,. and we value them exceedingly. This is not the place to mention all the private gifts made to both of us, but you may like to know that the Clergy of the Clerical Society gave five volumes of theology to their departing member. Amongst other happy Sundays, the last one which we spent at Frenchay will always be kept in memory by us and by many of you for whose good wishes and earnest prayers we are sincerely grateful.

Your sincere friends, William and Gertrude Brooke.

1911 - 1924

Cyril Travers Burges, MA >>

Excerpt from the Frenchay Parish Magazine, August 1911...

The authorities of S John's College, Oxford, have sanctioned an exchange of parishes between two members of the College, namely our Rector and the Rev CT Burges, Rector of East Ferndon, near Market Harborough, in the diocese of Peterborough. The Bishops of Bristol and Peterborough have both signified their consent, and the change will take place about Michaelmas.


In November 1923, during a thunderstorm, the spire was struck by lightning and "huge chunks of stone were hurled incredible distances over the Common". Fortunately nobody was in the vicinity at the time. The stone courses of the spire were removed and laid in order in the churchyard, and re-used when the spire was rebuilt in 1924.

1924 - 1935

<< Edward Maitland Bald, MA

Excerpt from the Frenchay Parish Magazine, August 1924...

The living has been presented by St. John's College, Oxford, to the Rev Edward Maitland Bald, who graduated from that College in 1909, taking his MA degree in 1918. He was Curate in the large Parish of Portsea St Mary, from 1911-1920, serving as Temporary Chaplain to the Forces during the last two years of that period, since which time he has been Curate of Battle, Sussex. We are hoping to welcome him in Frenchay about the middle of September.

1936 - 1956

Geoffrey Frederick Greenup, MA >>

The second World War meant that Frenchay was temporarily without its usual rector, when Geoffrey Greenup was absent, serving as an army chaplain. David Marcus Brown served as locum tenens from 1940 to 1945.

The stained glass East window was so shaken by bomb blast that renewal was necessary. Changing tastes resulted in clear glass being used with the pleasing effect of the churchyard cedars providing a backdrop.

1956 - 1961

<< William HG Reed, MA

In 1958 the organ was rebuilt, while in 1961 and 1962 the church was re-wired and additional lighting provided by a suspended centre light.

1962 - 1973

William GHR Parr >>


The sanctuary was redecorated in 1963 followed by the nave, 6 years later. The church boiler was worn out by 1964, necessitating a new oil-fired central heating system. 



1973 - 1981

H Barry Trotter, BSc

During 1979 a Faculty allowed pews at the rear of the nave to be removed, to create an open area, and in the same year new altar frontals were purchased as a memorial to Miss Molly Elliott.

1981 -2001

Roger James Thomas, BA

As a result of the Sheffield Report the number of incumbents in the Diocese of Bristol was being reduced. During the 1981 interregnum the Pastoral Committee decided that Rev Roger Thomas should be licensed as Priest-in-charge of both Frenchay and Winterbourne Down Parishes, despite the fact that the inhabitants of Frenchay now numbered around 4,500.

2003 -

Derek Chedzey

As well as being in charge of both St John Baptist, Frenchay, and All Saints, Winterbourne Down, the Rev Chedzey also serves as Director of Lay Ministry in the Diocese.

But he manages to have Friday as his day off.