The First Rector of Bingham.

By Rev. Fanshawe Bingham, M.A.

ON November 1st. 1925, the Church of All Saints Bingham, celebrated its Septcentenary and certain claims were made as to the identity of the first rector which a careful examination of the facts does not substantiate. The claims set forth were briefly these—that "Roger" son of the Count of Savoy, who was then rector, changed his name from Roger to Robert, and becoming "Robert de Bingham" he was made Bishop of Salisbury.

The references given have been examined both at the Public Record Office and the College of Arms and no trace of any son of the Count of Savoy named Roger can be found in the annals of those times. The name "Roger" is found only in Thoroton's "History of Nottinghamshire," where it is stated: "William of London had the King's presentation to the Church of Bingham, which before was Roger's, the son of the Earl of Saunty, then made Bishop, viz 10 H 3." (1226).

It will be noticed that he does not say " ishop of Salisbury" and the year given is 1226, not 1228.

At the Public Record Office it was found that Thoroton evidently got his information from the Testa de Nevill which runs: "Ecclesia de Byngham est de donacione domini regis, filius comitis de Sauveye tenet earn per dominum regem." An official there suggests that for once Thoroton has been caught napping and has misread 'regis' for 'Roger' and he adds: "The son of the Count was also owner of another Church in Lancashire viz, St. Michael's, Wer, and his name is given as William, who was in 1226 postulated Bishop of Valence and known thereafter as William of Valence. (Register of Pope Honorius III.)

As regards Robert de Bingham, Bishop of Salisbury (not, of course, in the Diocese of York, as were the Churches of Bingham and Wer,) in "lores Historianum" edited by Henry Richards Luard, Vol. 2, p 191, the election of Robert de Bingham, a canon of the Cathedral for some years by the other Canons to the then vacant See of Sarum in 1228, is set forth and confirmed by Pope Honorius III.

In the Visitations of Wiltshire in 1565 by William Hervye, the Bingham pedigree is as follows:—

"Sir Raulfe Byngham of Sutton Byngham married and had issue, Sir William Byngham knt., his eldest son died without issue male, Robert Bishop of Salisbury, second son, and Robert Byngham, third son.

At the visitation of Dorset in 1623 by Henry St. George, the pedigree was entered showing "Radulphus Bingham de Sutton, Bingham Miles having had two sons, Radulphus de Bingham, Miles de Sutton, who had issue, William de Bingham, and Robertus Bingham Episcopus Sarum obiit. 1246.

The Bingham family moved later to Melcombe Bingham, Dorset, and the pedigree in full will be found in "The Memoirs of the Binghams" by Rose McCalmont, edited by C. R. Barrett, (Spottiswoode and Co. 1915.) Here it is said that in 1900 the tomb was opened in the presence of the Dean and Colonel Bingham, (the then head of the family), and the pastoral staff, and mitre of the Bishop were discovered within.

Among the number of buildings erected by the bishop, there is not a single reference to Bingham, Notts. It could not be expected, never having held any benefice in the Diocese of York, and having been for many years a Canon of Salisbury, that he had anything to do with the building of Bingham Church.

So we must surely be convinced now that the owner of the Church of All Saints, Bingham in 1226 was "William son of the Count of Savoy" who was "postulated bishop" in 1226 and that the "figure at the base of the new reredos "represents" William of Valence," who resigned Bingham and Wer in 1226 when he was elected "Bishop of Valence," and not Robert de Bingham, Bishop of Salisbury 1228-1246.