Rectors of Elmswell

Rectors of Elmswell with the year they took office:

Anselmas de Elmswell 1250
Richard-de-Berlawe 1316
John-de-Lyndwode 1312
John-de-Clare 1323
Richard Spicer 1349
Thomas-de-Chalkhyll 1349
John Thebaud 1349
John Smith 1404
Richard Facon 1412
John Burgeys 1414
John Coppynger 1418
Thomas Petite 1433
John Monmouth 1448
John Croftys 1449
John Spryng 1467
Robert Hamelyn 1487
William Maundevyle 1488
William Lane 1503
Richard Reve 1504
Hugh Tylney 1542
William Buckyl 1550
John Davy 1568
Edward Swallows 1612
Augustus Isham 1626
Edward Francis 1637
Francis Browne 1679
Samuel Gall 1726
John Casborne 1728
Joseph Hodgkin 1767
Joseph Lawton 1809
Wm Colbeck Luke 1863
Wm A Macfarlane 1878
James Hipwell 1893
John R George 1908
Joseph David Sayer 1919
George Dolman 1936
Edgar David Harborne 1945
Wm G Elliott Castell 1962
Alexander F L Colson 1965
David G Markham 1974
John A C Perrott 1978
Michael I McNamara 2003


Joseph Sayer (Rector 1919-36)

George Russell: The teachers were the two Miss Brands and the Rector, the Revd. Joe Sayer used to come and give a short talk and an invitation to attend the Church services, which we did – and soon we were asked to join the Church Choir.
And this is how we also came to be invited to spend time at the Rectory (now Hill Court).
Belonging to the Choir had its rewards – the outing to Gt Yarmouth by train once a year was one.
This was soon after the first World War and money was scarce, so a trip to the seaside, with the Amusement Park, Hippodrome, Circus and Woolworths(!) was a great adventure.
Another reward was the Choir Supper at Christmas and throughout the year we all had an open invitation to the Rectory.
A bachelor, Revd. Sayer had several hobbies – photography was one – I have several photos taken by him, in particular one of the Handbell Ringers. We used to ring at local fetes as well as in the Church.
The Rector always had a manservant; I can remember Jim Bloomfield, Joe Bloomfield, Willy Redit, Cyril Robinson, Cecil Cooper and Lance Scutcher.
At one time the Rector had a belt-driven 2-stroke motor cycle which some of the older boys used to ride round the driveway.
In about 1928 he bought an Austin Seven car, which Cecil Cooper drove.
Also at one time the Rector paid for a violin tutor to come from Stowmarket to give some of us lessons.
Besides belonging to the Choir, most of us belonged to the Boy Scouts, but when Revd. Sayer moved to Whepstead most of our activities centred around the Church and Rectory gradually folded up.

Ella Kinsey went to Joseph David Sayer’s Induction Service as a schoolgirl in 1919. He was an extremely popular Vicar and did a great deal for the village. He was kind to everyone whether they went to Church or not; he was always cordial and had time for everybody. He bought a billiard table and gave up one of his rooms in the Rectory to allow the boys of the village full use of the facility. He also built a tennis court in the garden and invited the boys and girls of the village to use it. He did everything he could to keep the youth of the village together.

J D Sayer was a bachelor who had three aunts that used to keep house for him. One by one the elderly aunts died and he stayed on with the help of a young lad of sixteen. He eventually left when he was given the chance of moving to another parish the other side of Bury St Edmunds where the stipend was greater.

May Fox: Sayer bachelor.
Dances in the old school in Sayers day, but the other vicars didn’t do anything of the kind.

Fred and Cicely Buckle: Rev. Sayer, wide as he was tall, woman hater (but not ‘one of those’), had a manservant, ran the Old Rectory, one of the nicest persons you ever met.
Joey we always called him (JD to his face, Revd. Sayer to adults). The boys had the run of the ground floor (only). He had Sunday Sch outing to Felix once a year, direct or catching the paddle steamer from Ips.
Strawberry tea on that big circular lawn at the front (still there) – boys used to play hell, but Joey didn’t worry about it.
Full-sized billiard table in one room, I remember Tidget (?) Mulley poking the score up with a cue, sitting there with Joey’s mortar board on
Tidget lived in Victoria Row. We was never allowed on the stairs.
F was confirmed at St Johns ( and was in the choir till he left sch) but fell away after that.
Joey was a marvellous cook, made the biggest Victoria sponges you ever saw, about that thick.
We (church choir) always had concerts in the old church hall next to the sch: he’d cut up the sponge and leave it on the kitchen table, because he knew we’d go in and pinch every bit of it.
He’d left just before the war because two old spinsters living up Church rd took too much interest in him (so he hinted on a visit later).
He came back specially to marry F & C, in 1947, without charge, and stayed for the evening.
Always had a men’s choir (he wouldn’t have a woman in the place), and an organist George Hammond from Stowmarket, who came every Fri night for choir practice.
Started half-hour early and George would play all the latest hits on the organ, in the church. Organ hand-pumped – Hilton baker was a polio cripple, he’d be pumping the organ like billy-o…
.. then in would come Joseph, George would break off, but ‘it’s OK I’ve been outside quarter of an hour listening!’

George Dolman (Rector 1936-45)

Stan King: Vicar was George Dolman, the German Vicar they had here
Name?Gran lived in Hawk End Lane too, same house; see cleaned the church hall, went once a month to Rev Dolman to get wages.
She’d say “Morning Rector, how are you?”; “Better in health than I am in temper.”
His wife took part in musical events in the village; remembers her singing “My curly-headed baby” when Ronald Garleaf from Children’s Hour came to do a show.

Ella Kinsey: The Reverend George Dolman arrived in 1936. He and his wife were both Germans. His German parents came to live with him in the Rectory and when they died they were buried in the old cemetery on the right hand side as you go up the drive. Much suspicion was aroused during the war. Rumours abounded that they were signalling to the enemy by showing lights! On occasions some of the village lads used to go down to Earthfield Lane to see if they could spot any torch beams! Subsequently Mr and Mrs Dolman moved to another living in Cambridge after the war.

May Fox: Dolman came after Sayer, foreigner with foreign wife; outgoing, brash; didn’t carry on the youth activities, not popular; low church, good preacher;

Stan King: Social evening once a week at the old church hall, radiogram, games, dance, refreshments in the wooden hut next door

Edgar David Harborne (Rector 1945-62)

Ella Kinsey: Reverend Edgar David Harborne came in 1945 having been curate in Stowmarket. He spent much of his time in a wheelchair (muscular disease?), and so he took services from the reading desk. His wife was an exceptionally good organist [and harpist too, according to Gordon Goymer]. “The organ had never been played like it, never before nor since”. Mr Harborne died nine years later and was buried in the last available space he had the foresight to purchase in the Churchyard. The black granite memorial stone with gold lettering stands near the door on the left hand side as you go up to it from the steps. Mrs Harborne moved to Stowmarket and took a job as organist in Felixstowe and she continued to give organ lessons as she had always done in the past. Ella and Mrs H exchanged visits from time to time. Ultimately she became ill and died.