Revs. Edward Handley & William Clarke Leeper - 'Licences to Officiate' 1886

In 1886, Rev. Edward Handley was appointed Rector of All Saints’ Church, Winthorpe, near Newark, Nottinghamshire living at Muskham Grange, near Newark. A relative, Rev. William Handley of Muskham Grange who died in 1873 aged 61 years, was Rector of the Winthorpe Church from 1836 to 1873. In that same year 1886, Rev. Edward Handley decided that the existing Winthorpe Church, a Georgian building, was in such a bad condition it should be rebuilt at his own cost. This would be in the memory of his late cousin, Mr. Philip Handley 1809-1884 of Muskham Grange, who had left him property in Winthorpe.  

To meet the requirements of the parish until the new church was completed, an iron building was provided and made as comfortable as possible. There, for two years the Rector and his Curate-in-charge held services and officiated to crowded congregations.

Architect, Mr. Sidney Gambier-Parry of Connaught Mansions, Victoria Street, Westminster was consulted and plans were drawn of what would be a very beautiful and admirable Gothic church. 

Sir Hubert Parry, the well known composer of church music, is the half brother of Sidney Gambier-Parry.

The work of carrying it out was entrusted to Messrs. Mackenzie & Sons, builders of Newark.


Shown below is a copy of the original ‘Licence to Officiate’ in the iron church issued to Rev. Edward Handley by George Ridding, the First Bishop of Southwell.                                                                                                                                                                     

This document is dated 31st July 1886.

On the R H side of the document is the embossed seal of George Ridding which reads:

 The Seal of George Ridding First Bishop of Southwell 1884.

Underneath the seal is the signature:

George Southwell.



 Rev. Edward Handley's 'Licence to Officiate' for the Iron Church in Winthorpe 31st July 1886.


The above document reads as follows:

 George  by Divine Permission, BISHOP OF SOUTHWELL.

To Our beloved in Christ, 

Edward Handley, Clerk, M.A.

Rector of the Rectory and Parish Church of Winthorpe in the County of Nottingham within Our Diocese or Jurisdiction, or to any other Rector thereof for the time being, and to your Licence Curate or Curates, or any or either of you, and to any other person or persons in Holy Orders authorized by you, and officiating in Our Diocese with Our consent, GREETING.

 We do by these presents give and grant to you the said Edward Handley or your Curate, or other person as above-mentioned, Our Licence and Authority (during Our pleasure only) to officiate in the Iron Church situate at Winthorpe aforesaid, (the same being a Building approved by Us for the performance of Divine Service, for the convenience of the Inhabitants during the interval between the pulling down of the present Church of Winthorpe aforesaid) in preaching the Word of God, and in reading the Common Prayers in celebrating the Holy Sacraments, according to the Form prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer made and published by authority of Parliament, and the Canons and Constitutions in that behalf lawfully established and promulged. And We do direct you, in compliance with the provisions of the Statute in that behalf, to cause every Baptism which shall be celebrated in the said Iron Church in pursuance of this Our Licence to be duly registered in the Registry of Baptisms belonging to the Parish Church of Winthorpe.

In Witness whereof We have caused Our Episcopal Seal to be affixed.

Dated the thirty first day of July in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Six and in the third year of Our Consecration.


Also shown is a copy of a copy of the ‘Licence to Officiate’issued to William Clarke Leeper as Stipendiary Curate to Winthorpe Parish Church.

This document is also issued by George Ridding.                                                                                

This document is dated 10th July 1886.  

The Bishop's seal, which should be on the RH side of the document, is not shown in this copy but the signature is and reads :

George Southwell.



Rev. William Clarke Leeper's 'Licence to Officiate' at Winthorpe Parish Church - 10th July 1886.


The above document reads as follows:

 George, by Divine Permission, Bishop of Southwell.

To Our beloved in CHRIST,

William Clarke Leeper, Clerk. M.A.  


 We do by these presents give and grant unto you, in whose Fidelity, Morals, Learning, Sound Doctrine and Diligence, We do fully confide, our Licence and Authority to perform the Office of a Stipendiary Curate in the Parish Church of Winthorpe in the County of Nottinghamwithin our Diocese and Jurisdiction, in reading the Common Prayers, and performing other Ecclesiastical Duties belonging to the said Office, according to the Form prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and of the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, made and published by Authority of Parliament, and the Canons and Constitutions in that behalf lawfully established and promulged, and none other, except so far as shall be ordered by lawful authority; And We do by these Presents assign unto you the yearly Stipend of one hundred and forty pounds to be paid quarterly, for serving the said Curacy.

And you will reside in the said Parish in a house provided by the Rector.

In Witness whereof We have caused Our Episcopal Seal to be hereto affixed;

Dated the tenth day of July in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Six and in the third year of Our Consecration.



George Ridding (March 16, 1828 – August 30, 1904) was an English headmaster and bishop.

He was born at Winchester College, of which his father, the Rev. Charles Ridding, vicar of Andover, was a fellow.

He was educated at Winchester College and at Balliol College, Oxford. He became a fellow of Exeter College and was a tutor from 1853 to 1863. In 1853 he married. Mary Louisa Moberly, who died within a year of her marriage. He was appointed second master of Winchester College in 1863, and on the retirement of his father-in-law, Dr. Moberly, he succeeded to the headmastership.

During the tenure of this office (1867–1884) he carried out successfully a series of radical reforms in the organization of the school, resulting in a great increase both in its reputation and numbers. In 1884 he became the first Bishop of Southwell, and brought his powers of organization and conspicuous tact and moderation to bear on the management of the new diocese. There is a statue of him in Southwell Minster.

He took an active share in its educational and social work, and was materially assisted in these respects by his second wife, Lady Laura Palmer, daughter of the 1st Earl of Selborne. He resigned his see a short time before his death.

Pat Finn. June 2013. 


I wish to thank the family of the late Mrs. Cynthia Morgan for presenting me for the Winthorpe Village Scrapbooks the two 'Licence to Officiate ' documents. I have copied these and have forwarded the originals to the Nottinghamshire Churches Archives for their safe keeping. 

 I must make it quite clear that the Rev. Edward Handley's 'Licence to Officiate' document is original and the Rev. William Clarke Leeper's 'Licence to Officiate' document is a copy.

Clerk                                                                                                                                                                                                     Clerk or 'clericus' in Latin was the title given to all clergymen and appears after their name in all official documents. Generally it has been omitted in the entering of records for the CCEd, but it has been included, where used, if the office is not one which could only be held by a clergyman, such as schoolmaster.

MA                                                                                                                                                                                                     Master of Arts. Often written AM.