Robert Sybthorpe:
1629-1644 & 1660–1662 

D.D. 1624 Deacon 15 June 1606 Pr 21 Sept 1606 when he was B.A., no college or university   being named Vicar of St Giles, Northampton 13 Feb 1607/8. Res 1617. Vicar of St. Sep Northampton 11 Mar 1618/9 res 1622 Vicar of Brackley 8 Apr 1622 ejected by the Puritans 1644. Rector of Burton Latimer 23 Sept 1629 on promotion of John Owen to the See of St Asaph, oc. As surr 1625. reinstated 1660. buried in the chancel of Burton Latimer 25 April 1662 being “one of his late Majesty’s Chaplains.”

Will dated 21 Apr 1662 pr 29 April 1662 by exor. He styled himself Dr of Divinity. Rector of Burton Latimer, and desired burial in the lower end of the chancel. He gave small legacies to cousin Wm Mattock his sister’s son; kinsman Ambrose Mattock; kinswoman Abigail Gates, Mary wife of *** Cox, Cicely Blake; Sara wife of cousin Edward Sibthorpe; and of the other bequests “to **** Daraston of Long Acre in the par of St Martin’s London (she and her husband having done me many friendly offices in the late tymes of my trouble). The feather bedd, curtaynes, and furniture of ye bed wherein I lye.” Poor of Burton Latimer £5; rest to careful servants Edw Hawes and Joan his wife. Edw hawes exor. Witnesses: William Philips, and Puleston Shrive.

Inventory taken 26 April 1662 £103 9s 0d, including “windscot” about the house bought of Dr. Owen £6 and study of books £15

Witness to will of J. Starton of N. 7 Jan 1613/4

Overseer of Michael Swinson of Burton Latimer 19 April 1630

Witness to will of H. Mace of Burton Latimer 18 Jul 1631

W. Vicars of Burton Latimer left 6s8d “to buy a book for ye common good of the parishioners to be laid out by discretion of Dr Sibthorpe and ye churchwardens or else be employed to buy a charger for the Communion table wherin they may gather ye Alms for the poor in the tyme of Communion, “ 21 June 1634.

(Reference “Northamptonshire and Rutland Clergy from 1500” (1938-43) by Henry Isham Longden)

Robert Sybthorpe came to Burton Latimer from Brackley but continued to hold Brackley. He was married to Susan, the daughter of Sir John Lambe of Rothwell and does not appear to have had issue. He was made a Chaplain to King Charles I and was a fervent royalist like his predecessor. He was noted for a speech he made at Northampton on the divine right of Kings. King Charles I was so pleased with it that he ordered it to be printed, but the Archbishop of Canterbury refused a licence and was suspended. From the time he took over the living at Burton Latimer in 1629, it is obvious from the notes in the Churchwarden’s account books that he was a meticulous man and wanted everything to be noted and written down. One of his first actions was to make a comprehensive list of all the items belonging in the church and any monies owing to the previous churchwardens. From then on he always seems to have attended the Easter Vestry Meeting which was held immediately after evening prayer the Tuesday in Easter week, although it is not certain how much other time he spent in Burton Latimer and how much in Brackley or elsewhere. The vestry meeting involved much of the day-to-day parish affairs, the local taxes were decided and certain local disputes were resolved. In 1632, a Glebe Terrier (a survey of land assigned to the incumbent of a parish as part of his benefice and the endowment of the church)  shows that the Glebe held leys and meadow together with the Parsonage Mansion house, and all other houses, farms, cottages and tenements belonging to the said Parsonage in Burton Latimer. The Parsonage consisted of “a dwelling house all slated except for the brew house and the curates chamber or study and a little room over the buttery between the dove house and that; All which together with the said dove house and also the said buttery, and a little cole house, dairy house etc. next to the parlour of the dwelling house are all thatched.” The terrier goes on to mention a garden surrounding the property with a rick yard, a kiln, a yard or court, a malt house, a stable and a cow house, also a little room once a tenement wherein is a chimney and with a stable, two barns and one hive house, a hog yard and hog sties all thatched. The Burton Latimer Churchwarden’s Account Books (deposited at the N.R.O.) contain much information from Sybthorpe’s time at Burton Latimer. Any controversy over land, furze and bracken (used for fuel and thatching), being used by the Lord of the Manor, which should have been available to the parishioners was duly recorded. When Sybthorpe’s wife was “forced by reason of notorious sickness” to eat meat on days specifically observed as fish days, his request to the Bishop for a licence was duly copied in the book and it was also noted that she would pay six shillings and eight pence to the poor of Burton Latimer, as was the custom. In 1637, during his incumbency, a survey was made of the church which showed that the fabric was in great disrepair and other items were missing. This prompted a sudden rush of building activity, repairs, painting and spending.

As previously stated, Robert Sybthorpe was a fanatical Royalist and during 1639 sent letters from Burton Latimer to his father-in-law who was Dean of the Arches and living in London, remarking on his worries about the developments in the area relating to local differences between those supporting the king and others. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1644 Robert Sybthorpe was one of those in the area to be singled out, and it is rumoured that he had to leave the rectory dressed as his curate to avoid the parliamentary soldiers. He lived in poor circumstances during the war and was at one time imprisoned in the Tower. His place was taken over at Burton Latimer by two intruders but he was reinstated to the living in 1660, where he stayed until his death in 1662. He is buried in the chancel of the church at Burton Latimer, as requested in his will.