Puttenham Church Week

The third of my occasional Surrey Medieval … Weeks was Puttenham Church Week, which happened in late October and early November 2016. It turned out to be an overambitious venture insomuch as seven days elapsed with only one out of four posts completed, but I landed the other three before the end of the following week. All things considered, I’m pleased I saw it through, as it proved to me – as I hope it will to readers of the posts – that Puttenham church is a medieval institution of no little interest in a variety of ways. In common with my Middle English Field-Names Week page, I’ve pulled together links to the constituent posts in a single page. In each case, the title of the post is followed by a synopsis of its contents.

1. An introduction to the parish church of St John Baptist – A summary of the architectural history of the church, from its foundation around 900 years ago through to the early post-medieval period. In several instances, the focus is on features of the church’s fabric that have not been noticed by previous accounts.

2. A fifteenth-century grave slab rediscovered in Puttenham church – An account of the identification of a large stone, now forming part of the ground floor of the tower, as the original slab on which the memorial brass of Edward Cranford (rector of Puttenham, 1400-1431) was mounted. Slab and brass were separated in the 1861 restoration of the church, and the former buried, before it was retrieved and put to a new use in the late 1920s.


Detail of the plaque from the medieval memorial brass of Edward Cranford. I’ve posted a lot of pictures of the brass over the years, but for good reason; it’s a unique direct physical link between the present church building and the medieval priests who ministered within it

3. Just how old is Puttenham church? – An updated, fully-referenced version of a paper of mine delivered in absentia to the Surrey Archaeological Society’s Medieval Studies Forum in March 2015, in which I argue that the various bits of evidence which could be used to suggest Puttenham church has early roots are all misleading, and a post-Domesday origin consistent with the historical and architectural testimony is to be preferred.

4. 1307 and all that: Puttenham in the Register of Bishop Henry Woodlock – Translations of several entries in the register of the Bishop of Winchester, detailing a dramatic but previously erroneously-understood period in the pastoral life of Puttenham church, with a changing cast of three priests in charge in the space of a few months in the middle of 1307.

Midway through the (first) week, I gave a talk to the Puttenham and Wanborough History Society, entitled ‘Lost rectors of medieval Puttenham’. In it, I introduced the various “new” medieval rectors of the parish I have discovered in the past few years (who I have written about previously here and here), as well as querying the credibility of the claim that one Henry le Sigher was “parson” here in 1272. Researching the context of the various records impressed upon me that the men in question were a varied bunch (and delivering it led to a crash course in the lower orders of Catholic priesthood in the questions afterwards!) but none were entirely removed from the affairs of the secular world around them. In time, I will produce a fully referenced version of my talk script to bear out this point and more (I know I say this every time, but this one is in actual script form, as opposed to cue cards, so will be a darn sight easier to work up). As and when I do I’ll upload it to this here page.

For the time being, I can provide a revised version of my list of Puttenham’s medieval rectors, updated with one or two tidbits derived from my talk research as well as brand new discoveries from the episcopal registers of John de Sandale and Rigaud de Asserio. Enjoy!

New list of pre-Reformation rectors of Puttenham December 2016