Dr Richard Marsh

Dr Richard Marsh DD – or Marshe – was born at Finchamstead, Hertfordshire.

He became a canon of York Minster and was given the Prebend of Husthwaite in 1634. He was vicar of Birstall before becoming Vicar of Halifax.

He was a Royalist and had to pay decimation after the Civil War. In 1633 and 1634, Charles I heard Marsh preach and was very impressed. On the King's personal orders, Marsh was appointed a Chaplain in Ordinary in 1634.

In 1638, Archbishop Laud used his personal influence to get Marsh the wealthy living of Halifax, against a competing candidate sponsored by the Earl of Elgin. In 1638, he became Vicar of Halifax.

As chaplain to Charles I, he attended the king during his imprisonment. During the Civil War, he was appointed Dean of York, an office which he was able to take up in 1660. In 1642, he fled for his life, but returned in 1660.

By 1643, he was Archdeacon of York, and one of the prebendaries of the collegiate church at Ripon Minster, and a prebendary of Husthwaite, and vicar of Halifax On 17th March 1643, the House of Commons confirmed the sequestration of his vicarage of Halifax The prebendary at Husthwaite was sequestrated in 1643 and he regained it in 1660. On 11th July 1643, the House of Commons ordered that Marsh be

sent for as a delinquent

although there is no indication of whether he was actually taken into custody.

In 1644, he was appointed to the vacant deanery of York by Charles I.

Watson writes that Marsh returned to the Parish Church directly after the Restoration, on Sunday morning, September 16th, 1660, and took possession of the church. As Bentley commenced the service, Marsh,

in surplice and red tippet, with the Prayer Book under his arm

marched up the aisle, removed Bentley from the desk, and conducted the service in the ancient manner. Marsh married three times:

  1. Thomasine Stephens: married about 1628.


    1. Frances
    2. Elizabeth
    3. Tobias
    4. Richard
    5. Stephen
  2. Elizabeth Batt: married about 1635.


    1. John
    2. Robert
    3. Henry
    4. Catherine – she married John Kay of Gomersall

    In 1644, when she had reproved John Aspinall, Robert Butterworth, and John Ellis for playing football in the churchyard, it is recorded that

    they gave the vicar's wife foul words

    Elizabeth was pregnant in August 1643 when Parliamentarians came to the vicarage to arrest her husband. Marsh had already fled but was captured and imprisoned as he rode to join the Earl of Derby. Unable to find Marsh, the men suspected that he might be hiding in Elizabeth's bed and stabbed their swords into the bed, frightening and wounding her, and she went into premature labour. The daughter, Catherine, was born and Elizabeth died

  3. Frances Grice: married about 1655. They had no children. Frances survived her husband

He died on the 13th October 1663 and was buried at York.

Martha, a granddaughter of Marsh, was recorded in 1766 when she was about 104 years old

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:04 / 12th May 2021 / 5629

Page Ref: X396

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