Richard Skingle Rector of Roydon & Lexden, Essex (1653 – 1729)

Richard Skingle is my 8x great grandfather he was a loving Son, Husband and father and over the years he did what most of us wouldn’t be able to do, As acting Rector he buried his parents, wife and at least two children whilst holding down a service and I am sure he managed this with a big heart and with plenty of dignity too.

My relationship to Richard Skingle

Richard “Rector of Lexden & Roydon” SKINGLE (1653 – 1729)
is my 8th great grandfather

Mary SKINGLE (1683 – 1768)
daughter of Richard “Rector of Lexden & Roydon” SKINGLE and my 7th great grandmother

Thomas CHICK (1722 – 1753)
son of Mary SKINGLE and my 6th great grandfather

Thomas CHICK (1745 – 1801)
son of Thomas CHICK and my 5th great grandfather

Lucy CHICK (1775 – 1860)
daughter of Thomas CHICK and my 4th great grandmother

Hannah ROUSE (1824 – 1912)
daughter of Lucy CHICK and my 3rd great grandmother

Charles BARRITT (1861 – 1902)
son of Hannah ROUSE and my 2nd great grandfather

Hannah Maud Mabel BARRITT (1890 – 1957)
daughter of Charles BARRITT and my great grandmother

Rosie May JANES (1930 – 1997)
daughter of Hannah Maud Mabel BARRITT and my grandmother

Richard Skingle was born on the 14th February 1656 in Little Hadham, Hertfordshire, he was the son of Richard Skingle, Clerk “Parson” of Sawbridgeworth (1618 – 1695) and Judith Burnap (1620 – 1701).

Much of the Burnap genealogy can be found in the 1925 published book; The Burnap – Burnett Genealogy by Henry Wyckoff Belknap.

Richard was one of three known children, his elder sister Juda was born in 1647 and his elder brother John was born in 1653.
Richard was baptized on the 28 September 1656 at St Cecilia, Little Hadham, Hertfordshire.

St. Cecilia, Little Hadham Photo Credit: English Church Architecture

St. Cecilia, Little Hadham
Photo Credit: English Church Architecture

HADHAM (LITTLE), a village and a parish in Bishop Stortford district, Herts. The village stands on the river Ash, near the boundary with Essex, 3 miles WNW of Bishop Stortford town – Source:

At the time of Richard’s birth England was a commonwealth country with Oliver and Richard Cromwell as it’s head of state, it was a difficult and precarious time in English history. The English Civil war had only ended seven years previously, a war which affected Hertfordshire in a vast way including churches being vandalized one of which by a John Skingle of Stansted Mountfitchet.

Oliver Cromwell died on the 3 September 1658 and The Restoration of England began in 1660, Richard Skingle would have been four years old at this time and so unaware of the events and changes occurring in his country, this period lasted for several years whilst new political settlement was established.

The Skingle family were relatively wealthy and held land and property, they inherited and married well enabling many of their children to enter universities and take up prominent positions within local communities.
Richard Skingle being an ambitious young man Entered Sidney College, Cambridge on the 22nd May 1673 at the age of 17 years notably this is the same college that Oliver Cromwell attended, the college was Once the royally-favoured and fashionable college for aristocrats, gentry and ambitious young churchmen, it seemed to suffer somewhat under the stigma attached to its Cromwellian connections. I would love to know what life was like for students in the 17th century and maybe further down the road I will look into this more closely.

Sidney College, Cambridge Photo Credit: Wikepedia

Sidney College, Cambridge
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Richard was Ordained on the 26th February 1677/8, he would have been about 22 years old and it was around this time that he married too. Her name was Sarah, I have never been able to identify their marriage which may exist in either Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex or even London. So sadly her surname is currently unknown. In total they had nine children between the years 1678 – 1694.

Their first child Richard was born in March 1678 Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire and baptized there on the 10th March 1678 in Great St Mary’s Church, it is likely that the babies grandfather also Richard Skingle took the ceremony as he was recorded as being Parson of this church around this time.
Their second child Ann was also baptized at this church on the 7th June 1681.

Records and information begin to get a lot more interesting from here onward because as of 1682 Richard Skingle was given the position of Rector of St Peter’s Church, Roydon, Essex one he holds until 1706.

On 17th September 1683 Richard and Sarah Skingle’s third child is baptized in St Peter’s, Roydon, her name was Mary Skingle (1683 – 1768) she is my 7th great grandmother. Her baptism record below is very interesting. Her written record is bold and very defined compared to all the other baptisms on the page. On the bottom of every St Peter parish register page between the dates 1682 – 1706 we find the name Richard Skingle Minister.

Baptism record for Mary Skingle - 17th September 1683 -  St Peter's Church, Roydon, Essex

Baptism record for Mary Skingle – 17th September 1683 – St Peter’s Church, Roydon, Essex

On the 17th April 1685 their third child Judith (named after her grandmother) was baptized in St Peter’s, Roydon she sadly died when she was five days old on the 22nd April, both services were probably performed by her father Richard.

Five more children followed; Elizabeth (1687), Hannah (1688), Sarah (1690), Phoebe (1691) she died aged four months and lastly Hester who was born in 1694. So Richard had eight daughters and one son.

Richard Skingle’s parents Richard and Judith moved to Roydon, Essex sometime before 1695, perhaps due to age and ill health. Sadly his father died around Christmas time 1695 and he is recorded as being buried on the 28th December 1695 in St Peter’s. His record of burial also stands bold and defined and upon looking at the record your eye draws to it immediately.

Burial of Richard Skingle - St Peter's Church, Roydon, Essex, England - 28 December 1695

Burial of Richard Skingle – St Peter’s Church, Roydon, Essex, England – 28 December 1695

Richard Skingle wrote in this document:

Richard Skingle of Sawbridgeworth Clerke my dear and very loving father, was buried in this chancell on ye 28th day of December.
He was buried on ye south side, close by ye wall, about 2 yards above ye door Eastward.

He must have loved his father very much and it must have been very difficult to hold the service when your grieving at the same time. All I can imagine is that Richard Skingle was a good and very dignified man and very clever one too.
His detail is well thought, and I wonder if he knew that centuries down the line a descendant may one day stumble upon the information he leaves behind. (I too think this way)

In 1698 Richard Skingle published the book; Reformation and Union, Recommended: As the Present Duty and Interest of the Nation: in a Sermon Preach’d at the Assizes Held at Hertford, August the 1st, 1698. this book has only 15 pages (I have yet to see a copy)

On the 26th August 1701 Richard’s mother Judith also passed away and she too was buried in St Peter’s.

Burial of Judith Skingle - 26 August 1701 - St Peter's Church, Roydon, Essex, England

Burial of Judith Skingle – 26 August 1701 – St Peter’s Church, Roydon, Essex, England

Richard Skingle wrote:

Judith Skingle Wid was buried ye 26th day of August. She was the wife of Richard Skingle of Sawbridgeworth clerk (mentioned in this book, in the yeare 1695) and my dear, and very loveing mother. she is buried in this chancel. close by my afore registered dear & very loveing father.

Simple words, but enough to tell a very loving story.

Five years later in 1706, Richard Skingle was given the position of Rector for St Leonard’s Church, Lexden, Essex he held this until his death in 1729.

In 1711 the mayor of Colchester chose Richard Skingle, to preach at the oath-giving ceremony but the town clergy denied him a pulpit. Richard was an advocate for better conditions of the poor, he was probably outspoken and this may be the reason the town clergy refused the Mayors choice.

Sadly on the 21st June 1712 in Lexden, Essex Richard’s wife Sarah died she was buried within the church of St Leonard’s on the 25th of that month.

Burial of Sarah Skingle - 29 June 1712 - St Leonard's, Lexden, Essex, England

Burial of Sarah Skingle – 29 June 1712 – St Leonard’s, Lexden, Essex, England

Richard wrote this within the pages of the parish register.

Mrs Sarah Skingle my very dear and loveing wife, died ye 21, about three o’clock in ye afternoon, and was buried in a brick tombe on ye north side of ye comunion table in my chancel on ye 25 day of ye said June about nine o’clock at night.

This must have been a very personal a quite service for it to have taken place so late in the evening. Richard Skingle must have finished his days work first and spent the evening in service and mourning. She was buried very close to his communion table, which is a very heartfelt and loving deed, he placed her close to him at all times.

Sadly the church of St Leonard’s was re-built during the Victorian era and this very beautiful love story has been lost forever.

Between the years 1706 – 1729, we find Richard Skingle, Minister written on the bottom of every page of the parish register.

in 1715 Richard took part in the oath-giving ceremony and preached this service in Lexden church and in 1716 the corporation gave thanks there for the suppression of the Jacobite rebellion. In 1717 Richard successfully challenged the borough’s right to poor rates on the rectory.

Richard Skingle died in April 1729 and he was buried at St Leonard’s Church, Lexden on the 25th of that month, the document below records his burial. the left page is left unfinished as Richard Skingle did not live to complete it and his name is missing from the page. His burial record is the first to be written by St Leonard’s new rector Ja: Kilmer,

Burial of Richard Skingle - 25 April 1729 - St Leonard's, Lexden, Essex, England

Burial of Richard Skingle – 25 April 1729 – St Leonard’s, Lexden, Essex, England

Kilmer wrote:

Richard Skingle was buried ye 25th of April.

A very sad end and not enough words at all for somebody who loved his family, his church, his congregation and fought for better rates for the Poor of Lexden.


3 thoughts on “Richard Skingle Rector of Roydon & Lexden, Essex (1653 – 1729)

  1. So well done—I love the way you tell the story. And the photos of the pages are so effective. Amazing what records there are from so long ago.

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