26 October 2017
Created by Barry Thompson © 2011-2017 Aston on Trent on Trent Local History Group, all rights reserved
Aston on Trent - The Big Houses - Part 1 - The Rectories The present Rectory was built in 1970 on a site that was formerly occupied by at least three earlier Rectories going back to the sixteenth century. The benefice of Aston on Trent was regarded as a good living. Evidence gathered so far indicates that Rectors during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries enjoyed the comforts of a substantial well appointed house and a style of life that was expected and accepted of an incumbent who was generally financially supported by land holdings and farming, together with the backing of the wealth and influence of his family. An examination of the Probate Inventory of Robert Porter, Rector of Aston on Trent between the years 1588 and 1617, reveals a house of at least twelve rooms with outhouses and stables. John Porter, who succeeded Robert and held office until his death in 1636, also provided a Probate Inventory which substantiated the property holdings of his predecessor. During the English Civil War of 1642 to 1651 the Rectory and the benefice became a “battleground” between Richard Clarke, who took office in 1636 and was a Royalist sympathiser, and Thomas Palmer, a clergyman of Parliamentarian leanings. In 1644 Richard Clarke removed himself and his family from Aston on Trent Rectory after suffering continued harassment from nearby Parliamentarians. He was considered to have abandoned his post and his living was sequestered to Thomas Palmer. For several years the dispute between these two clergymen rumbled on, with Richard Clarke’s formidable wife Beatrice playing a major role in preventing Thomas Palmer taking full control of the Aston on Trent benefice. Eventually Richard Clarke was restored to the benefice under the terms of the Restoration Settlement.   The Holden family came into possession of the Aston on Trent estate in 1648 and with this acquisition came the advowson (patronage of the benefice). Edward Holden succeeded Richard Clarke in 1681 and from that time until 1916 a member of the Holden family held the office of Rector of Aston. Edward Holden was succeeded by Thomas Holden in 1702 and an inventory taken after the death of the latter in 1726 indicates clearly a house of similar proportions to that occupied by his predecessors, but also gives a more detailed picture suggesting the existence of a working farm as part of the Rectory estate.