Thomas Shuttleworth Grimshaw: 1809–1843

Son of John, of Preston, Lancs, esq. Brasenose College, Oxford Matriculated 9 April 1794, aged 16. BA 1798. MA 1800. Rector of Burton Latimer, 2 Aug 1809, resigned 1843. Vicar of Biddenham, Beds., 1808 until his death 17 Feb 1850.

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

Thomas Shuttleworth Grimshaw was Vicar of Biddenham in Bedfordshire 1808-1850, at the same time as he was Rector of Burton Latimer. During the early years of his ministry the Baptist Church had a very small congregation and according to the account in the Burton Latimer Baptist Church Bicentenary Celebrations booklet, published in 1944, the Rev. T. Grimshaw was a popular and powerful preacher and it was not unusual for the Rector to join with his Nonconformist neighbours in their devotional services, and for the Baptist minister and his flock to return the visits. Only five years after he took on the living here in 1814, he gained a licence of non-residence for two years, on the grounds that the air was injurious to himself and his wife. He obtained further licences, each for two years, in 1826 and 1838 on grounds of health. During the time he was Rector he rarely signed the register entries on the occasions of baptisms, marriages and burials, most of the ceremonies were conducted by officiating ministers and recorded by a curate. The curate of Biddenham seems to have spent a certain amount of time here and even wrote a poem on the back cover of the 1813-1860 burial register, ending with the note:- “John Kitchener, Curate of Biddenham, occasionally officiating here in 1821.” Thomas Shuttleworth Grimshaw wrote a book on “The Life and Works of William Cowper.” which was published in 1835.

In 1838 Grimshaw was asked to support one of his Burton Latimer parishioners, Mrs. Ann Shipley, whose son George had been sentenced to transportation for life at Lancaster Assizes for stealing a horse and gig. Grimshaw wrote to the Queen and asked for the sentence to be mitigated explaining that he knew the family to be respectable and industrious and that the loss of her son would cause great hardship to his widowed mother. Unfortunately, the letter had no effect and George Shipley remained in Tasmania for the rest of his life.

In December 1840, Edward Craig, curate, wrote in the baptism register “I think it desirable to put on record on the flyleaf of this Register of Baptisms, that in the year 1840 several trees in the churchyard were felled and the proceeds of them applied to the railing off of a pathway to the two farms belonging to Mr. W. Boughton  and the Duke of Buccleuch in order to prevent the improper access of cattle to the churchyard, but that the ground between the railing and the house and farm which is only railed off for safety and convenience, has belonged from time immemorial to the burial ground as part and parcel thereof. This is to prevent the possibility of dispute arising in time coming as to the ownership of the strip of land so railed off.“ Grimshaw resigned the Burton Latimer living in 1843 but continued at Biddenham until his death in 1850.