This photograph shows the 'List of Rectors' board (along with an inserted detail) displayed in the Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chedzoy in Somerset.
It is included in Eydon's photo archive since it shows that the Reverend Francis Annesley, (1788 - 1811) the second son of Viscount Valentia of Bletchingdon Park, Oxon. and the builder of Eydon Hall in 1778/9 was officially Rector of Chedzey (now spelt Chedzoy) from 1763 to 1801. EHRG member, David Kench, who was recording the inscriptions on the Annesley Memorial tablets in the South Aisle of St Nicholas Church, Eydon, was intrigued by the text on the marble tablet for Francis Annesley which states "Rector of Chedzey" . Knowing that Francis built the Hall and afterwards both lived there and was buried at Eydon he contacted the present Rector of Chedzoy, a small Parish in Somerset, who passed on the request for information to a church member, John Weeks, who checked the display board and provided this photograph. The website "theclergydatabase" lists rectors of the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Chedzoy from 1554 - 1835 and shows that Francis Annesley was instituted as Rector on 14.07.1763 (shortly after his ordination) and remained Rector until his death in 1811. However, that database also shows that, within a few months of the appointment of Francis as Rector, a Curate by the name of John Sealy was appointed to that church. With Francis not residing in Chedzoy and with the appointment of a Curate so quickly after his institution, it is concluded that Francis Annesley was one of what became known as "absentee clergy" of which there were many in the 18th and earlier centuries, with such positions often filled by the younger sons of the gentry. This entitled them to the income from the parish (tithes and glebe income) out of which they paid a curate to live in the parish to carry out the day to day work while they seldom or never carried out any duties in the Church of which they were officially the Rector but in name only. It is thought that the 1801 date on the board displayed in the church at Chedzoy is an error and should read 1811, being the date of the death of Francis as recorded both on his memorial tablet and in the Burial Register for St Nicholas as well as in the clergy database.
Photographer: Mr David Kench
Image lent by : Mr David Kench