Rev Richard Chamberlaine (1656-1662 and 1664-1701)

Rev Richard Chamberlaine was the brother of Rev Nicholas Chamberlaine. He would have been born circa 1630 and lived through the English Civil Wars (1642-1649) in his younger years, followed by the Interregnum (1649-60).
Unusually, he was installed at Leek Wootton on 19 September 1656, but was not ordained until 1660 or 1661.  This was because during the Interregnum Puritanism became the officially established church in England, the 1558 Act of Uniformity was abolished and there was no requirement to attend services in the established church. Puritanism rejected the excesses of Catholicism and wanted to return to the more ‘pure’ form of biblical christianity.  Puritanism was, by nature, anti-clerical and did not believe in the ‘catholic’ tradition of the priesthood, where one individual was ordained by the church hierarchy and had authority over his parishioners.  In Puritanism a Minister was chosen by the congregation to preach and carry out liturgical and administrative duties.
At the time of the Restoration of the monarchy, in 1660, the Church of England was re-established as the official church, and with it came the return to the ecclesiastical hierachy. Ministers who were in post rushed to be ordained before their livings were given to an ordained priest by the Bishop.
In 1662 a new Act of Uniformity was introduced, which made the Book of Common Prayer mandatory. This was followed by the removal of over 2,000 clergy, who refused to take the required Oath of Conformity. This ‘great ejection’ caused problems, because parishes were left without priests.  This may be why Rev Richard Chamberlaine was appointed to Radford Semele from 1662-1664.  During this time his brother, Rev Nicholas Camberlaine took over in Leek Wootton, but when he moved to Bedworth, Rev Richard Chamberlaine returned and remained in post until his death in 1701.
There is no evidence that Rev Richard Chamberlaine ever married or had children.  His Will distributes his wealth and property to his nieces and nephews.  His niece, Mary Chamberlaine was married to a Thomas Shakespeare at Leek Wootton in 1694 and Rev Richard Chamberlaine was buried here in 1701.

Vicars of Leek Wootton
Predecessor: Humphrey Smallwood | Successor 1: Nicholas Chamberlaine | Successor 2: John Jackman