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period than any of his predecessors for 500 years past. He is now the oldest, and amongst the most respected, of Wiltshire Incumbents. A few particulars may therefore be introduced concerning him.
Mr. Methuen is a younger son of Paul Cobb Methuen, Esq., of Corsham, and brother to the first Baron Methuen. He was ordained Deacon in September, 1804, by Bishop Beadon, of Bath and Wells, and in due course was admitted into Priest's orders at Lambeth, by Archbishop Manners Sutton. The first curacy which he held was that of Ickham, in Kent, under the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Rector in 1805. In 1806, he removed to the curacy of Newnton, near Tetbury, and was afterwards for a short time curate of Henbury, near Bristol. He was inducted to the Rectory of All Cannings, in September, 1809, by Dr. Bridges, Rector of Willoughby, Warwickshire. The circumstances attending his appointment to the living were remarkable; and we are gratified at being allowed to state, in his own words, what they were. It would appear that Mr. Methuen's father had been much pressed in 1806, to purchase the next presentation to the living of All Cannings, but he declined so to do. In the autumn of 1809, when on a visit to Mr. Estcourt, of Estcourt House, Mr. Methuen writes:-"Mr. Estcourt's eldest son rode over to breakfast, and said to me, 'the All Cannings Rectory is likely soon to be vacant, and I much want your father to purchase it for you.' Thus meeting Mr. Thomas Estcourt, and my old Rector and friend the Rev. Edmund Estcourt, his brother, taking the matter in hand and corresponding at once, two posts were saved." Again, writes Mr. Methuen, "as my father was then at Buxton, about two miles from the residence of Mr. Philip Gell, the patron, much time was saved in the negotiations respecting the purchase of the next presentation." Mr. Methuen dwells on these details, because he reverently acknowledges the providential appointment of these circumstances in his case, inasmuch as the decease of the then Rector, Mr. Nicholas Heath, took place a day or two after the negotiations with the patron on his behalf were brought to a termination, and he was called at once to occupy the important post in the duties of which he has now been engaged for well nigh sixty years.
CURATES OF ALL CANNINGS.
The first Curate of whom there is any record, is Robert Matthewe, whose signature occurs in 1602, and who seems to have made the first entries in the earlier register. Henry Higgins was curate during the incumbency of Robert Byng, from 1627-1640. Of Jeoffrey Simpkins, who appears to have been appointed by the Tryers, we have already made mention in the list of Incumbents. Other names of Curates, so far as they are known, are:
The earliest register now existing dates from the year A.D. 1579, but a note by the Rev. George Stodley, who was Rector in 1681, seems to imply the existence in his time of some other register now lost. He makes extracts of some memoranda about unimportant parish gifts, and adds.-"N.B., This memorandum was taken out of a register which was almost torn to pieces in the time of Mr. George Stodley."-These memoranda do not commence before the time of his institution to the living, but are to be found in no register now existing. Some of the leaves of the oldest registers have suffered much from damp and neglect and are in some cases hardly legible, the central part being almost destroyed.
The entries for the most part are regular, and seem to have been contemporary with the event recorded. During the time of the civil wars they are continuous, but few and irregular. Throughout the time of the Commonwealth, 1654-1659, there are no baptismal entries, the birth alone being recorded. The first mention of a baptism during this period is in 1659;—" Elizabeth, daughter of Walter Holloway and Mary his wife was baptized the first of Novr."-In the year 1658 we find this heading,—"A true and faith
ful register of all births, marriages and burials within the parish of All Cannings since the 29th Septr., 1653." Jeoffrey Simpkins who was appointed by the Tryers, and held the living from 1646 to 1651, has made a few baptismal entries. There have been some fraudulent excisions and erasures from the register. The burial entries from 1664-1680 are irregular. In a period of 18 years, from 1680 till 1698, there are no baptisms recorded. Possibly some leaves of the register, on which they are written, have been torn out.
In the oldest register book there are two references to Archiepiscopal visitations at Devizes. Thus in one place it is said, " All the names above written were delivered up at the Archbishop's visitation at the Devizes, the 31st May 1613." A similar entry is found in the year 1610, and both statements are signed by "Robert Matthewe, Curate." It would be interesting to ascertain whether other parochial registers refer to these metropolitical visitations1 which would seem to have taken place during the episcopate of Henry Cotton who held the see of Salisbury from 1598 till 1615. The Archbishop, in tho earlier visitation, was Richard Bancroft,in the later, George Abbot, whose elder brother, Robert Abbot, became two years afterwards Bishop of Salisbury. In the Churchwardens' accounts of another Wiltshire parish, we have notice of earlier metropolitical visitations. Thus under the date 1577 is the following entry :-"Item, at the Bysshopp of Canterbury his visitacon, expenses xvid."-And in an accompanying inventory of the church books a like circumstance is thus alluded to:-"Articles to be enquired in the Metropoliticall visitacon of the reverende father in God, Matthewe, Archebyshopp of Canterbury." One of these must have taken place between 1559 and 1576, when Matthew Parker held the See of Canterbury; the other, under his immediate successor, Archbishop Grindal.
Under the date of 1625 we have the following entry :“Memorandum,-that upon the 21st day of August, 1625, the book of 1In 1634 and the following years, Archbishop Laud was engaged in a Metropolitical visitation of the Province of Canterbury. His right to do so, as far as the Diocese of Lincoln was concerned, was disputed by Bishop Williams, but on an appeal to the Lords of the Council, the Archbishop's claim was established. See Le Bas' Life of Archbishop Laud, pp. 186, 203.
articles agreed upon in the convocation holden at London in the year of our Lord 1562, were read by Robert Byng, Master of Arts, and parson of All Cannings in the County of Wiltshire, in the parish Church of All Cannings aforesaid, in the time of Divine Service, and that the said Robert Byng having then and there publicly and distinctly read all and every of the articles in the book aforesaid, did openly declare his unfeigned assent and consent thereunto, in the audience of the whole congregation then assembled. In testimony whereof we whose names are underwritten have put to our hands the day and year first above written.
In 1660 is a notice of the induction of Henry Kinninmond as Rector, and of his publicly reading the 39 articles. On May 4th, 1669, occurs this curious entry :
"Bee it remembered that Henry Kininmund, Rector of All Cannings, did order his servant, Robert Bartlett, to put four cowes into the pasture ground of the farm, and that the said Robert Bartlett did actually put to depasture his master's cowes in every pasture ground, where the farmer doth severally put his cowes to depasture, except the ground called Awlands. This was done the day and year above written in the presence of us whose names are underwritten.
The object of this proceeding is clearly explained by the Terriers, to which allusion will presently be made, in which the right of the Rector to "depasture" his oxen with the farmers' oxen is clearly admitted; though even as early as 1608 the privilege seems to have been commuted for a money payment. Possibly the Rector in 1669 had some difficulty in obtaining "the four marks in money by the year, which the farmer did usually to the Parson," and therefore fell back on his original rights.
Ten years after this we find another mention made of the old Rector, so careful of the rights of himself and his successors. "Mr. Henry Kinninmond, who had been minister of this parish for eighteen years, was buried in woollen, according to the late act of Parliament, upon 30th Decr., 1678." His memorial, as we have already said, was contained on a stone slab in the chancel floor inscribed simply, "H. K., 1678."
The memoranda from some lost register, in Mr. Stodley's
writing, to which allusion has been already made, are these:"An account of the gifts to the Parish Church of All Cannings." "Anno Dom. 1680. Given by Wm. Blanch Lloyd grandmother to the present Rector of the parish a fine damask cloth, and a napkin of the same sort for the Communion Table."
"1681. Given by Mrs. Jane Smith a large fine purple cloth with a silk fringe for the Communion Table. Mrs. Jane Smith was the widow of Mr. Michael Smith, formerly Secretary to Dr. Sheldon, Archbyshop of Canterbury.
"WILLIAM BALDWIN, Rector.
"N.B.-This memorandum was taken out of a register which was almost torn
to pieces in the time of Mr. Geo. Stoodly, Rector."
The above extract is on the fly leaf of the register from 1710 -1773.
The Communion plate consists of a chalice, a flagon, and a paten. The two last have an inscription stating that they were the gift of W. Fowle, the Rector, A.D. 1757.
There has always been a public footpath through the Churchyard, beginning opposite the north porch, and afterwards winding round the chancel, and so leading to the village school, and further on to some fields. The church-yard is surrounded by walls, chiefly of thatched mud, on every side excepting a small portion to the east, where there is a hedge. There is one private entrance at the west from the garden of Lord Ashburton's farm.
There are, in the Diocesan Registry at Salisbury, four Terriers of "all the Tythes, Glebe lands, houses, orchards, gardens, with all the other profits and commodities belonging and appertaining to the Rectory or Parsonage of All Cannings". They are dated respectively 1608,-1680,-1704,-and 1783. They are all signed by the three Church wardens and three sidesmen, and, with one exception, by the Rector for the time being; the third being also authenticated by the attestation of William Fowle, Sen., who a few years afterwards was patron of the living, to which he presented his son. They are for the most part copies one of another, varied