Silhouette picture of Elizabeth Dring

Dring Family Research

St Mary Magdalene Church, Warboys

Warboys Church

St. Mary Magdalene Church in Warboys, taken on 22nd August, 2000 . One shows the thirteenth century font where perhaps John DRING born before 1657 was christened. John married Joane HILLS in this church on 14th April 1692 and it is where they were both buried: John on the 8th May 1731 and Joane on 2nd April 1722





Index to St Mary Magdalene's Church page details

Kelly's Directory of Huntingdonshire 1903 for Warboys
Warboys Church" by Bryan Upchurch
A Further Glimpse at Warboys Church. by Gladys Stratton Aged 13.
A Glimpse at Warboys Church Records By Janet Adams, aged 13.
Rectors of Warboys,
A Famous Warboys Rector.
The Black Monk of Warboys.
The Seal of John of Warboys.

This is an extract from Kelly's Directory of Huntingdonshire 1903 for Warboys
"The church of St. Mary Magdalene, Warboys, is a handsome and spacious edifice of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel and nave and a tower with spire, containing a clock and 5 bells: the chancel was restored about 1832 and is separated from the nave by a Norman arch: the tower is a beautiful specimen of modern Early English: and was redecorated in 1900: the east window, and another in the chancel, placed in 1896, are stained, and there are monuments by Bacon to John Leman esq. and Mrs.Strode: a new organ was provided in 1900 at a cost of £200: the church affords 640 sittings. The registers of baptisms date from 1551; marriages, 1565, and burials, 1556. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £493, including 957 acres of glebe, with residence in the gift of Alfred Fuller esq. of Ramsey, and held since 1901 by the Rev Justus Stephen Serjeant M.A. of Christ's College, Cambridge. The school building in the Fen district has attached to it a consecrated burial ground. The Rev. Robert Fowler, by will dated August 3, 1824 left £200 the interest thereof to be disposed of yearly amongst such of the poor of the parish as should regularly attend church: the interest is distributed in meat on St. Thomas' day. The church estate formerly produced about £40 yearly, but is now somewhat depredated in value; the produce is applied by the churchwardens to incidental expenses in connection with the church".
by Sexton, Alfred Thomas.

Interior of Warboys Parish Churchh

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Extracts from the Warboys School Magazine, sent by Arthur Stokes.

"Warboys Church" by Bryan Upchurch.
"A church stood in Warboys at the time of the Doomsday Book. Warboys Church is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. It has many interesting things in it.The sanctuary knocker is at least 750 years old and there are only three like it in England. One of these is on the door of Durham cathedral. A ship carrying six bells for Warboys Church managed to lose one of them overboard, so for a long time there were only five bells, but a sixth one was added to celebrate the coronation of our Queen".
The font used to have a lock on it to stop witches from stealing the holy water. You can still see where the lock and hinges used to be. The church has a fine Norman arch and a wonderful spire. Canon Trafford told us all about it.

Warboys Parish Church

A Further Glimpse at Warboys Church. by Gladys Stratton Aged 13.
One day I visited Warboys Church. St. Mary Magdalene Church stands on the west side of the village and its steeple stands high above the tree tops.
As I entered the church I noticed the fine Norman arch which was erected in the middle of the twelfth century. I noticed the thirteenth century font and I tried to think of some of the many children who had been christened in it.
It is beautifully ornamented with rosettes, fleur de lys and sprigs of foliage.
The marble monument in the chancel is another interesting feature because it commemorates Mrs. Strode, a daughter of Captain Philip Worth who was a noted commander of the East India Company.
This is a link with my history lessons at school about trade with India and how, in the end, after Clive's great victory at Plessey, India became "the brightest jewel in the British crown".
The old grey church carries us back to the victories of Agincourt, Crecy, Waterloo and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. I expect that after all these events thanksgiving services were held in the church.
As I left the sacred building to wend my way homeward I noticed on the chancel door a rare sanctuary knocker, which consists of a carved lion holding two fighting dragons in its mouth. Nearby is a stone coffin lid which nterested me. As I looked at the dates on the weathered tombstones I tried to get a picture in my mind of the sort of people who worshipped here centuries ago.

A Glimpse at Warboys Church Records By Janet Adams, aged 13.
During this term the Rector kindly gave us permission to see the Warboys Church Records. They are dated far back to 1551. About 1545 a law was made that records of births, deaths and marriages should be kept in churches.
When we examined this ancient parchment we noticed the signature of Dr.Francis Dorington, who gave evidence against the Warboys Witches. It was interesting to note that Dr. Dorington did not always spell his name in the same way sometimes he used one "r" and at other times two.
In 1557. we observed that 118 people died of the plague in Warboys, and that the Puritans in the time of Cromwell turned out the old Rector and installed their own minister. Some of the pages were beautifully decorated with large old fashioned capital letters, written with quills.

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St Mary Magdelaine Church, Warboys

1120 Alfricus.
1148 Nicholas de Sigillo.
1160 Richard Clerk.
1180 Adam de Aumurs.
1218 Thomas.
1224 Hugo Sautreya.
1225 Ilnell de Upton.
1235 Jeremias de Caxton.
1249 Roger de Ravelingham.
1276 Walter de Odiham.
1293 Nicholas de Aylingham.
1300 Reginald de St. Albans.
1311 Robert Hunter de Abyonton.
1313 John de Jargalio.
1313 Buchardus de Vernon.
1335 Galfrid de Badington.
1356 Giles de Wyngreworth.
1359 Robert de Morton.
1367 Thomas de Ashton.
1384Thomas de Brandon.
1390 John Longville.
1422 John Nowell.
1422 John Leek
1462 Thomas Maunchell.
1465 John Lilyford.
1467 Thomas Toby.
1475 Thomas Tailarde, D.D.
1485 Richard Burton.
1495 Thomas Hutton.
1497 Hugo Oldham.
1591 John Dobbys.
1542 Roger Bromhall.
1562 Richard Whesley.
1565 Gregorius Garth.
1565 Francis Dorrington.
1611 John Bowen.
1643 Eusebius Hunte.
1647 William Johnson DD
1667 George Stallebrace
1672 Philip Leman.
1694 John Warburton.
1722 William Leman.
1732 Allen Cooper.
1772 Thomas Stona.
1792 Robert Fowler.
1828 William Finch;
1871 Charles Grey Hill.
1894 William Henry Bromley Way.
1901 Justus Stephen Serjeant.
1942 Nelson Trafford.

It will be noted that five of these rectors held the living for over 40 years each.

Francis Dorrington, who gave evidence at the witch trial, was rector for 56 years. William Finch, a wealthy bachelor with a town house, held the living for 43 years. He paid for the building of a new chancel, the Endowed School and the modern Rectory.
The Revs. John Dobbys and Justus Stephen Serjeant each held the living for 41 years. Of those whose tenure of office was short, John de Jargalio, John Nowell and Gregorius Garth each did not survive a year. Eusebius Hunte was installed minister by the Puritans, but did not hold office long.

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"William Johnson, D.D., rector of this towne, was author of a book intituled "Deus Nobiscum' 1648. wherein it is said that 'he was twice shipwrakt, and that he lived four days without any sustenance. and lay two days and two nights upon a rock in the deep several times, all hope of life being taken away'. The said Dr William Johnson had been Fellow of Queen's College Chaplain and sub-almoner to King Charles II and the most witty and pious man living; he died archdeacon of Huntingdon, March, 1667, and was buried at Westminster."

John de Wardeboys was a noted monk of the Benedictine order. From the colour of their outer habits the Benedictines were often known as the Black Monks, and this John de Wardeboys is sometimes referred to as the Black Monk of Warboys. He was the last Abbot of Ramsey and an active supporter of the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. For his help he was rewarded by Henry with an annual pension of £266 I3s. 6d, which was continued till his death in 1553,.

Readers will be interested to know that the seal of John of Warboys has been found. Tony Mattley, a 14-year-old Desborough schoolboy, was picking potatoes in a field between Desborough and Rothwell, when he picked up a disc two and a quarter inches in diameter with a design cut on one side. He discovered that it was made of brass and took it to his teacher at the Kettering Junior Technical School.
His teacher identified it as a die, or matrix, used for impressing a wax seal such as is found at the bottom of old documents. He took an impression of it and found that it bore what appeared to be a picture of the Madonna
and Child, with an almost illegible Latin inscription round the edge. The teacher showed it to the Secretary of the Northants Record Society, who sent it to the Public Record Office in London. Here an expert identified it
without doubt as the seal of John of Warboys, Abbot of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire.
The inscription reads: "SIGILLUM IHNS GURDEBOIS ABBIS MONASTERII DE RAMESII:" "The seal of John of Wardboys, Abbot of the monastery of Ramsey."
The seal is the personal seal of the abbot. Ramsey Abbey was dedicated to the Virgin Mary-hence the device of Madonna and Child.
There were two abbots of Ramsey of the name of John Wardboys. One was Abbot from 1473 to 1489, and the other was elected in 1507 and was the last Abbot, reigning until the Dissolution of the monasteries some 30 years later.
Possibly the seal belongs to the last of these two, and he may have thrown away his seal when he was turned out. His surname was Lawrence. Like all other monks he dropped his surname in the world when he entered the monastery and took the name of his native place - Warboys.
After the Dissolution, John Lawrence was given a house at Bodsey, a pension of £226 13s. 4d, a swanmark and profits thereof and 100 loads of wood for fuel How his seal came to be found in such perfect condition 400 years later in a field near Desborough remains a mystery.
The seal is now in St, Ives Museum. Through the kindness of the Curator it has been examined by the senior scholars of our school. We also have taken an impression of the seal in red sealing-wax. We hope the ghost of John de Warboys looked kindly on while we were so doing !

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In Pre-Reformation Days there were five lights in Warboys Church. They were:-
The light of the Blessed Virgin, at the High Altar;
The light of the Sepulchre, probably in the Chancel;
the light of the Holy Cross at the Rood Loft;
The light of St. Catherine, possibly at an altar in the South Aisle.
The fifth light is not named.
In 1279 the Abbot of Ramsey held the Manor of Warboys, "including a windmill, a messuage with a garden of 24 acres, and gallows, tumbrel, view of frank-pledge and all appurtenances."
The Coped stone of 14th century date with a cross and large rosettes, which lies near the chancel door of Warboys Church, bears an inscription in Lombardic Capitals. All that can be read are the words, "Dieu de sa alme eyt merci, Amen."
St. Catherine, a 4th century martyr, to whom an altar was erected in Warboys Church, was beheaded because the wheel on which she was to be broken was miraculously destroyed. When next we set a match to a Catherine Wheel on Guy Fawkes Day we may call this to mind.

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