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List of VICARS OF St. Giles's, Stoke Poges.

I 222

YEAR.

YEAR. Alarus de Netel

John Dogeson

1531 Geoffrey de Haverington... 1224 Oliver Stacey

1537 John Dryn ........ 1228 John Munday

1555 Nicolas de London

1274
Edward Purey

1563 Wm. de Mersham

1294
Samuel Kelbridge

1592 Walter de Gippswich 1321

John Duffield......

1601 Wm. de Medburn... 1333 Abraham Montague.

1620 Robert Nell 1365 Nicolas Lovell

1637 Thos. Bray 1365 Adrian Lugan

1659 · Milward 1386 Thomas Browne

1661 Thos. Chapman

1399
Roland Gower

1663 Thos. Clerk, exchanged for Robert Vill

1675 Leatherhead with John

John Provote...

1679 Gallup

1414
Richard Redding

1687 John Gully.. 1417 Francis Phillips...

1719 Edward Pepyng 1421 Thomas Dolben

1726 Thomas Howe 1454 William Duckworth..

1754 John Fowkes. 1461 Richard Kilsha ..

1794 Ambrose Repyngdon 1474 Arthur Bold

1803 Alex. White

1479 S. Godolphin Osborne...... 1836 Robert Blakeloke 1489 | John Shaw

1841 Robert Taylor 1508 Vernon Blake

1866 Milo Braythwayt

1530

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III.

THOMAS GRAY, THE POET OF STOKE

POGES. INTERESTING to the students of English country life is the history of any English village, but some spots there are round which lingers the memory of some departed genius, whose spirit seems even after death to hover round the haunts he loved in life, calling men and women from all lands to visit the calm retreat made famous by his muse.

Had Shakspere not lived, Stratford-atte-Bowe would have been as well known as Stratford-upon-Avon; and, but for Gray, Stoke Poges would have been a name unknown to the world at large. Born at his father's house in Cornhill, on December 26th, 1716, Thomas Gray was the only one of a family of twelve who reached maturity. His father was a clever man of business, with extravagant tastes, and cruel to a degree both to his wife and son. His mother (Dorothy Antrobus her maiden name), possessed the good sense and kindly heart her husband lacked, and seems to have fully deserved the affection her son ever showed her. About 1727 Gray was sent to Eton at his mother's charges, and there began his famous friendship with Horace Walpole and Richard West. There, too, he gained that love for the literature of Greece and Rome which makes its influence felt in almost every line of his poetry. At Eton he chose the student's life—"Gray never was a boy," says Walpole and that choice he never deserted. Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, was his home for a short time in 1734, but he soon left it for Peterhouse, Walpole going to King's a little later, and West to Christ Church, Oxford. His vacations he spent at his uncle's house at Burnham, where he revelled in the beeches, and doubtless found time to explore Stoke Poges. He left Cambridge in 1738, and six months afterwards started on his famous Continental tour with Horace Walpole. They began their travels on terms of closest friendship, but two years and a half of close companionship gave

birth to differences which parted them in 1741, to come together again in three years' time into a renewal of intimacy only broken by death. In November, 1741, Gray's father died, having before his death succeeded in squandering all his possessions. Mrs. Gray wound-up her business in Cornhill, and came to live with her sister, Mrs. Rogers, at the farmhouse in Stoke Poges, where Stoke Court now stands. Here, in June, 1842—the month and year that West (“Favonius ") 'died—Gray made his first of many visits to Stoke Poges. At that time the old manor house still stood in its original shape as built in 1555 by the Earl of Huntingdon, and was occupied by Viscount Cobham. Mrs. Rogers' house, where Gray stayed with his mother, was at West End, some three-quarters of a mile from the church Gray afterwards made so famous. In those days it was a two

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