The Rectors of Cruwys Morchard

Compiled by Debbie Kennett

Date of
1261 or 1262 Godfrey de Sowy
1285 William de Yertcombe
1291 Richard de Erwes
1312 Sir Richard
1334 John de Hauntesforde
1348 William Avenel
1363 Henry Brokelonde
1363 Sir William Spridlington
He was presented as Rector of Cruwys Morchard by the Black Prince but never instituted. He was later called to be Bishop of St Asaph in North Wales.
1365 John Avenel
1375 Andrew Sedburghe
1379 Sir William Avenel
1382 William Mey
He moved to Hawkridge in Somerset in an exchange of benefices with his successor Richard Cadecote. His appointment was recorded in the Patent Rolls on 6th July 1382 at Westminster (Richard II, Volume 2, p.159): "Presentation of William Mey, parson of Cruwys Morchard in the diocese of Bath and Wells, in the king's gift by reason of his custody of the land and heir of Edmund de Mortuo Mari, earl of March, tenant in chief: on an exchange of benefices with Richard Cadecote."
1382 Sir Richard Cadecote
1390 Walter Robert
1407 or 1408 Matthew Doune
1418 Master John Knyghte
1425 Master Major Parys
1438 John Major
His appointment was recorded in the Patent Rolls on 23rd August 1438 at Glastonbury (Henry VI, Volume 3, p.184): "Presentation of John Maior, chaplain, to the church of Crewys Morchard, in the diocese of Exeter"
1440 Master John Odelone
1460 John Birges
1470 Thomas Herry
1489 Alexander Cruse
1510 John Gase
6 Apr 1532 Matthew Cruse or Cruwys
Matthew Cruwys was the son of John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard by his first wife Elizabeth Whitley. Matthew was a secular chaplain. He was admitted to Oxford University on 21st July 1522 and was in priest's orders by May 1522. He was Rector of Rackenford in 1526. He married Miss Walderon, the daughter of Thomas Walderon of Bovey, by whom he had three children. His daughter Jane married Sir Anthony Cope of Hanwell, Oxfordshire. Matthew died in 1570 in Llandulph, Cornwall.
20 Nov 1571 Alexander Morris or Morrish
There is a deed dated 8th April 1625 in the Cruwys Morchard papers at Cruwys Morchard House between Alexander Morrishe of Cruwys Morchard, clerk, and Lewis Cruwys and Alexander his son. Morrish grants Lewis and Alexander Cruwys and their heirs (as long as Morris remains parson of the parish of Cruwys Morchard) the tythes of the Barton of Morchard Cruse. Yearly rent £4.68. And after the decease of Alexander Morrish his son George is to be instituted to the Rectory of Cruwys Morchard on the same terms as before.
Signed Alexander Morrish.
21 Nov 1629 William Frank or Francke
He was instituted as Rector of both Poughill and Cruwys Morchard. His incumbency covered the troublesome Commonwealth Period (1649-1660). In 1658 William Frank was removed by Oliver Cromwell's Commissioners but was reinstated in 1659. He was summoned to appear before the Parliamentarian Commissioners at Exeter but he "was too good for them, upon which account they could not silence him, but Enforced him to put a curate in both Places [Cruwys Morchard and Poughill]". Jonas Holmes, who married Frank's daughter, was appointed as curate and later became rector. William Frank "was more than once Plundered... He was once likewise seizd either in (or as he was coming out of) the Church & Carried away Prisoner... He was a very considerable Scholar, a punctual observer of the Rules & Injunctions of our Excellent church, & a man of most Pious & Exemplary Life."
29 Oct 1674 Jonas Holmes
His daughter Elizabeth Holmes married Lewis Southcomb, rector of Rose Ash, on 12 Feb 1676/77 at Cruwys Morchard. "Mr Jonas Holmes Rect[o]r of this p[ar]ish" was buried at Cruwys Morchard on 6th January 1708/9.
13 Dec 1709 Mr Edmund Granger
Edmund Granger was instituted to the Vicarage of Brampford Speke on 24th August 1708. His successor there, Thomas Johnson, was admitted on 30th May, 1738, so it would appear that Edmund served as Rector of Brampford Speke and Cruwys Morchard simultaneously. Edmund Granger of Cruwys Morchard, clerk, left a will dated 20th August 1737 which was proved on 19th April 1738. He desired to be buried in the churchyard at Cruwys Morchard alongside his wife. He left bequests as follows: "To the poor, 30s; and to those of Brampford Speke, 20s. To daughters Elizabeth and Susannah Granger, £100 each. To sons Thomas and Edmund Granger, my Study of Books, 'they giving my two daughters such books of divinity and morality as shall be thought most proper and consistent for them'. Residue to said children, the two sons being joint Ex[ecut]ors." The witnesses were Daniel Domett, Peter Pridham and William Hakworthy. In accordance with his wishes "Mr Edmund Granger Rector of this parish" was buried at Cruwys Morchard on 21st January 1737/8.
17 June 1738 William Shepheard
11 Aug 1741 John Cruwys
See the will of the Reverend John Cruwys, Clerk of Cruwys Morchard (1791)
17 June 1791 Henry Shortrudge Cruwys
See the will of the Reverend Henry Shortrudge Cruwys (1805)
19 Aug 1804 Francis J'Ans
8 Feb 1835 George Sharland Cruwys
George Sharland was born on 30th April 1802 in South Molton, the son of George Sharland and Harriet Cruwys. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge. George Sharland assumed the name and arms of Cruwys by Royal Licence on 9th November 1831. He was curate of St Martin's, Exeter until 1831 and before becoming Rector of Cruwys Morchard he held the curacies of Loxbeare and Templeton. He married Mary Eliza Riddell on 28th October 1834 at Tiverton, by whom he had three children. He was a Justice of Peace for the County of Devon. He died on 9th October 1874 and was buried on 15th October 1874 at Cruwys Morchard.
See the Letter from George Sharland Cruwys to Frederick Stockdale dated 2nd January 1841
1874 Arthur Henry Cruwys
He was born on 12th July 1837 at Cruwys Morchard. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He married Ann Partridge in 1867, by whom he had three sons. He died on 10th February 1897 and was buried at Cruwys Morchard on 15th February 1897. There is a window at Cruwys Morchard Church in his memory and also a memorial stone in the churchyard.
1897 Philip Henry Owen
1905 Nesbit Edward Willoughby
1916 Robert Geoffrey Cruwys
He was born on 10th March 1884 at Cruwys Morchard, the son of George James Cruwys and Mary Helen Owen. He was educated at Blundells School, Tiverton, and Exeter College, Oxford. Robert was in the Oxford University cricket team in 1907. He married Annie Gwendoline Bennett on 5th September 1916 in Ilfracombe, by whom he had four children. He died on 25th August 1951.
1950 George John Bunce Bidgood
1957 John Kenneth William Maurice
1969 Michael Hewlett (Priest in Charge)
1973 Christopher Stuart Tull
1975 Harold Whitty
1994 Colin Henry Mee
2001 Godfrey Bell


The parish registers of Cruwys Morchard.
Cruwys, M.C.S. A Cruwys Morchard Notebook, 1066-1874. Exeter: James Townsend & Sons, 1939. Ogden, R.B. The Church of the Holy Cross, Cruwys Morchard, Devon: A Celebration, 1999.
Foster, Joseph (ed). Index ecclesiasticus, or, Alphabetical lists of all ecclesiastical dignitaries in England and Wales since the reformation, Oxford: Parker, 1890.
Jackson J.J., and Crisp F. (eds). Visitation of England and Wales, Volume 7. Privately printed, 1899.
Ogden, R.B. The Church of the Holy Cross Cruwys Morchard: A Celebration. Privately printed, 1999.
Alumni oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714 their parentage, birthplace, and year of birth, with a record of their degrees. 4 vol. Parker & Co.: Oxford (1891, 1892).
Alumni oxonienses; the members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886: their parentage, birthplace, and year of birth, with a record of their degrees. 4 vol. Oxford and London (1887). 8o.
Worthy, C. Devonshire Wills. London: Bemrose and Sons, 1896.
Alumni cantabrigienses: a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Cambridge: University Press (1922-1954).
Calendars of Patent Rolls. The Patent Rolls from 1216-1452 are available online, courtesy of Professor G. R. Boynton and the University of Iowa Libraries.
Robert Cruwys - cricinfo website.