The parish churches of Lincolnshire are justly celebrated. The spires of Grantham and Louth, and the famous Boston Stump, provide a focal point from the surrounding landscape of fen, wold and marsh. The charms of remote country churches along the byways of the county have been extolled in prose and verse by writers such as Henry Thorold and Sir John Betjeman. Their architecture, their stained glass and sculpture, furniture and fabric, have all been carefully recorded. Yet little is known of the people who served these churches, the rectors and vicars who, in word and sacrament, taught the Christian faith to successive generations of parishioners.
This volume forms the first part of a much-needed survey of Lincolnshire parish clergy. The starting point is 1214, when Bishop Hugh of Wells introduced the earliest system of episcopal registration in Western Europe. The magnificent series of Lincoln bishop's registers provides a framework for the parish lists, setting out the succession of rectors or vicars for each church. Brief biographical sketches demonstrate the rich variety of the county's parsons - pastors, scholars, travellers and writers, soldiers and schoolmasters; while some, like John Wycliffe, achieved a wider fame. This biographical register gives to each of them their place in the history of Lincolnshire.
Dr Nicholas Bennett is General Editor of the Lincoln Record Society. Prior to retirement, he was Vice-Chancellor and Librarian of Lincoln Cathedral, where he was responsible for the historic collections of books and manuscripts.