St James Norton

the GREAT church

Past Incumbents

Norton Church is believed to date from at least 1170, when Robert FitzRanulph Lord of Alfreton founded the nearby Beauchief Abbey and bestowed St. James', along with other churches, to the Abbey. From the early days to the dissolution of the Abbey in 1536, it was the custom that a canon from Beauchief presided at St. James' and lived at Norton. He probably lived in the small dwelling on Norton Lane (opposite the end of Henley Avenue) which was formerly called Chantry Cottage (It was sold at auction about 20 years ago in a dilapidated condition, has had a lengthy restoration period and recently been privately occupied)

1180 Early years are unrecorded, although it is thought that the first incumbent was Henry de Treske.

1325 Thomas de Alfreton, Canon of Beauchief Abbey.

1349 Thomas de Tickhill

1351 William de Melbourne

1369 Robert de Bobenhull

1380 Thomas de Dronfield succeeded upon the resignation of Robert de Bobenhull. He was also Abbot of Beauchief from 1399 to 1413.

1425 Geoffrey Harnesby

1431 John Sheffield

1432 John Tanden

???? William Kychyne

1490 John Croke who was also the sub-cellarer of Beauchief Abbey in 1482 and sub-prior in 1488.

1510 John Sheffield, who was also known as John Greenwood, Abbot of Beauchief from 1519 up to its dissolution in 1536.

1519 Thomas Gilberte


1547 Michael Brothwell

1554 Thomas West

1558 Roger Watson for Geoffrey Blythe (his Proctor).

1559 Richard Bright Little is known of Richard Bright, and his name is absent from the incumbents board in St. James'. There is documentary evidence that he was vicar of Norton for this period, and that he was active in the parish up to his death in 1567.

1561 Henry Taylor was Vicar for almost 50 years until his death in 1614. The registers for this time are in his handwriting.

1614 Richard Edwards, married to Ellen Auckland. Four children. Died 1647.

1650 Kenelm Mainwaring was born in Cheshire early 1600s. Educated at Oxford: B.A. 1619, M.A. 1622. Ordained priest in 1623. Rector of Gravesend 1623-1650. Prebendary at Winchester in 1660, but never installed.

1657 Jeremiah Scholes was born 1629 in Salford. Became curate of Stretford before vicar of Norton. Died in Manchester in 1685. Left the post during the Great Ejection, following the Act of Uniformity and returned to Manchester.


1663 John Harpur Following the ejection of Jeremiah Scholes, "in nonscribendo juxta legem."

1667 Samuel Trickett who succeeded on the resignation of John Harpur.

1710 Cavendish Nevile was born in 1681 at the family seat of Chevet Hall near Wakefield. He was educated at University College, Oxford, becoming a B.A. in 1701 and M.A. and fellow in 1704. He married Catherine Pilkington in 1737 and died at Chevet aged 68 in November 1748. They had three children, none of whom survived childhood. Against family tradition, he was buried at Norton, not Chevet. His grave lies close to the east window, although there is no evidence of his stone. He was instrumental in the building of the rectory, and the stocking of an extensive library within - which he bequeathed to the parish. The books are now housed at Sheffield University for safe-keeping and reference.

1750 George Wombwell who was born in 1702. Died in 1756, unmarried.

1750 Robert Robinson DB was born 1694. Step-nephew of Cavendish Nevile. Married Mary Beach and had two sons, James and Peter. Died in 1773 and is buried at Norton.

1763 Peter Robinson MA was born in 1735. Son of Robert Robinson (above). Married Elizabeth Lowe from Heanor and had two sons, Peter and Robert. Died in 1811.

1812 Henry Pearson LLD was born in 1769. Educated at Manchester School and then Jesus College, Cambridge. He was ordained deacon in 1791 and priest in 1793. After a curacy of two years at All Saints, Leicester, he moved to Sheffield following the death of his first wife - Jane Arnold. His work as curate at Tinsley, a previously neglected parish, led to his appointment at Norton, where he married his second wife, Harriet Wilson. On leaving Norton, in favour of his eldest son, he took over the vicarage of Prestbury, where he remained until his death in 1858, aged 89 years.

1844 Henry Hollingworth Pearson MA Born 1807. Son of Henry Pearson (above). Educated at Shrewsbury School and then Lincoln College, Oxford. He was ordained in 1830, and became Vicar at St.James' in 1846, succeeding his father. He died in 1894, unmarried. He presided at the time of the redesign and renovation of the church in 1881-2.

1888 George Walker Hall Born in 1855, Sheffield, the son of a local grocer. He was curate at St. George's, Leeds before coming to Norton as curate in 1884. His induction followed the resignation of Revd. H.H. Pearson in 1888, which was also the year of his marriage to Annie Gladwin who lived at Norton Grange. The living changed during his tenure from vicar to rector in 1926. After his death, Corpus Christi College became patrons of St.James'.

1929 John Stanton Pegge He was born 1874 in Leicester, and married in 1912 at St.George Church, Mayfair. There is a memorial to the family in Church, including his son Richard, who died at Tobruk in 1941. He died in 1944.

1945 Rolf Gledhill Born 1905 at Haverfordwest. Pembrokeshire. Educated at Oxford, he married Bessie (Topsy) in 1932 at St.Asaph, Denbighshire. He was an accomplished author, having a number of works published, including "A Thousand years of Norton History." He is pictured in 1958, presiding over the induction of the "Boy Bishop", an ancient ceremony re-enacted during the 1950s. His efforts were instrumental in the building of the Church Hall and Youth Hall, which stood until recently on Norton Lane. He died in 1984 at Winchester.

1974 Mark Williams MA

1989 Michael Morgan BA M Ed

2000 Michael Bowie PhD

2006 Geoffrey White MA