“A Short History of Eversholt” is the title of a booklet by Rev C H D Grimes, published in 1926 and printed by Fisher & Sons, printers, of Woburn. It’s hard to find, but there is at least one copy in the reference section of Bedford library. It has just 20 pages.
C H D Grimes was Charles Hugh Duffy Grimes, born about 1875 in Stanton, Shropshire, and died in 1963 in Plympton, Devon, according to ancestry.com. He wrote a number of small books. He was a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, and was at one time principal of St John’s College, Perth, Western Australia. The fifth lecture to the college in his series on the history of the prayer book (!) is reported at length in The Western Australian for Saturday 4 October 1913
. Quite what he was doing in Eversholt isn’t clear. He writes as though he is in partnership with the rector, who around 1926 would be William Escott Collins
. There’s a reference to his being “English chaplain at Bruges and Ostend, formerly chaplain at Le Havre.” There are many references to him on the web. He was English rector at Vienna before WWII, and got into trouble for allowing the Duke of Windsor to read a lesson there after his abdication. He may also have been involved in the conversion of Jews to christianity to avoid a pogrom, although the details are hidden by Google Books’ benighted “snippet view”.
The book is still copyright, so isn’t reproduced here. Copyright ceases in 2133, and if I am still alive and competent then, I hope I can remember to publish a copy here.
The author has clearly researched widely. Unfortunately, the sources of many of his statements are not listed in the booklet, which makes following them up tricky. He seems to make a mistake in his tale of the founding of Eversholt Church, mixing up two different Simon de Beauchamps. His information likely comes from the Cartulary of Newnham Priory
but that remains to be checked in detail. He suggests that the church was founded before 1166, pushing back the foundation slightly. He was familiar with the negotiations with Dunstable Priory
and the court case about the rector’s rights
. He makes a remark about a “Rectory Manor” which is most confusing. He may be basing this notion on the word “suis” in the record of the court case, in the phrase “his tenants”. That’s quite a stretch but without more detail his thinking remains obscure.
Speak of the devil!
I (EJW) had only written the above a few days before, when I saw this news story on the BBC website:
CHD Grimes becomes famous overnight (after 70 years)!
Our Very Own Copy
In October 2021, Steve Nuth mentioned that he has seen a booklet titled “Ye Oulde Storie Of Eversholt”. On November 7th 2021, after the Sunday service at Eversholt church, Rita Chidley solemnly handed over this precious relic for copying. It turned out to be a copy of “A Short History of Eversholt” bound in a more quaintly-titled cover. Price, 8d. Rita says that it will be kept in the iron chest in Eversholt Church vestry. This copy is in much better condition than the one in Bedford Library. But it’s still in copyright, so is not reproduced here.
I (EJW) have photographed the book and can share a pdf of it for private use. Please ping via the contact forms here if you’d like to see it.
And Another One!
By complete coincidence, the same week that Rita provided the copy for the church, Martin Kennedy showed me another, pristine, copy of the same booklet! He’d just found it in John Abbiss’s bookshelves. Martin is keeping the copy and is happy to let others see it.