Reverend Robert Deane B.O. Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page

Reverend Robert Deane B.O.

Barwicker No. 112
December 2013

Robert Deane was the Rector of Barwick-in Elmet from 1772-1799. He lived in the Rectory for the greater part of his incumbency, dying in 1799 after 25 years service.

All Saints' Church is a fascinating building and records the lives of people who have sustained the parish since its creation. We often have little knowledge or awareness of who these people were, or the times in which they lived.

I only came across Deane's name when a small group of us were examining the Gascoigne armorial shield in the north wall, by the piano. (See article in The Barwicker No. 105). In pushing the piano to improve access to the shield, the castor scraped the stone on the floor underneath. On examination, we saw that this plain slab of stone marks Robert Deane's grave and very simply records his initials RD and 1799. He was the 40th Rector to hold this position in Barwick church.

Robert Deane was born in Dorking in 1735, his father was a distiller. He was educated at Westminster School and St John's College, Cambridge. He became B.A.1756, M.A.1759, and Bachelor of Divinity in 1767 and was admitted as Fellow from 1759-1773. He was ordained Deacon in 1757 and became a priest the following year.

He was appointed Vicar of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire in 1762, resigning his post in 1772 when he was installed at Barwick (valued at £300); the same year he was also instituted at Castleford (valued at £120). Robert Deane was a pluralist which meant that a vicar could hold more than one living at a time, it was how they were paid in those days. He married Hester Marriot, daughter of the Rector of Darfield, Barnsley in 1773 .

Robert Deane kept these two posts together until 1784 when he resigned Castleford and received authority to hold Barwick (now valued at £380) and take on Kirkbramwith (valued at £250) at Doncaster.

Patronage and influence was particularly important at this period and Deane owed his preferment to his Duchy of Lancaster livings to the Chancellor, the Earl of Clarendon, whose sons he had tutored.

Deane's predecessor at Barwick, the Revd. John Sumner was a great pluralist. He was appointed Head Master at Eton in 1745 and while holding the post was made Rector of Barwick in 1750, Canon of Windsor 1750-51 and Rector of Castleford 1753-54. On resigning from Eton in 1754 he became Provost of King's College, Cambridge in 1756 and at his death in 1772, he was also Chaplain to the King. It must be assumed then that after an incumbency of 22 years in Barwick, that the parish was neglected when Deane took it over.

Robert Deane had an excellent reputation. In his Will he makes reference to 'my dear wife Hester' and she erected the marble tablet in the chancel at All Saints' which makes reference to his many admirable qualities. (see back cover photograph).

Additionally, F.S.Colman refers to an obituary notice 'from the general confidence in his great integrity, and by means of small sums entrusted to him, he is supposed to have relieved more debtors from prison than any other individual in the kingdom.

Robert Deane's time in Barwick was very significant. He saw slavery outlawed in England in 1772 and in the year of his death, the introduction of Income tax by the Younger Pitt to help defeat Napoleon Bonaparte.

It is ironic that 214 years after his death, a scraped piano castor over a lost vault led to the discovery of the grave of an eminent and well trusted clergyman. How many more Barwick Rectors from the past await recognition today?


'Gentleman's Magazine' 1799 (p 172)
F. S. Colman A History of the Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet. 1909

Back to the top
Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page