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Rectors of Dummer, Hampshire

Wills of the Rectors of Dummer

A church at Dummer is mentioned in the Domesday Survey[1] whilst the first known rector was Geoffrey, son of Ralph Dummer, who was parson of the church in 1198.[2] The roll of rectors who followed Geoffrey included other members of the Dummer family who were patrons of the living until the latter part of the 16th century. John de Donmere (Dummer), was presented to the church in 1304[3] and another John de Donmere became rector in 1334.[4] Richard Dummer presented Roger Golde to the church in 1524.[5] His will and inventory is the earliest probate material included in this item.

During wars with France in the 14th century Nicholas Middleton, or Gervays, rector of Dummer from 1316-1330 ‘farmed’ (leased) two churches on the Isle of Wight, Arreton and Freshwater, the King having commanded the Bishop of Winchester to send foreign clergy living near the sea inland to avoid suspicion. Middleton took the income and would have been responsible for providing for the cure of souls.[6]

In the 18th century some well-known clergy served the parish. Charles Kinchin was rector from 1736-1742. A friend of John and Charles Wesley at Oxford he was one of the ‘Oxford Methodists’.[7] Two curates during his tenure at Dummer were George Whitefield who became a noted preacher on both sides of the Atlantic[8] and James Hervey, ‘one of the most widely read writers of the evangelical revival’.[9]

Eight wills and two inventories survive for rectors who ministered in Dummer and died in or near the parish. They provide an insight into the lives and interests of the clergy involved, of particular note is their generosity in legacies to the poor of the parish and to the education of poor children.

A glossary of unusual words appears below.


1564  Roger Gold/Golde, will & inventory

1588  William White, will & inventory

1624  Richard Marritt/Merriott, inventory 

1656  William Wither, will

1723  Thomas Terry, will

1730  William Oades, will

1848  Michael Terry, will

1882  Sir William Dunbar, bart., will

[1] Domesday, Alecto, 108.

[2] Feet of Fines Hants, East. 28 Eliz.

[3] Reg. Pontissara, 177.

[4] Reg. Stratford i, 1258.

[5] Reg. Fox v, 98.

[6] Reg, Stratford ii, 620/1.

[7] Isabel Rivers, ‘Hervey, James (1714-1758)’, ODNB (Oxford, 2014) article 13113. accessed 6 Aug


[8] Boyd Stanley Schlenther, ‘Whitefield, George (1714–1770)’, ODNB (Oxford, 2004) article 29281,     

   accessed 6 Aug 2017.

[9] Isabel Rivers, ‘Hervey, James (1714-1758)’, ODNB (Oxford, 2014) article 13113. accessed 6 Aug                      




Content derived from research undertaken as part of the Victoria County History project