Raphael Norman, Rector of Mavesyn Ridware

Raphael Norman was the Rector of Mavesyn Ridware just north of Lichfield from 1575 until his death in 1602. He was also Vicar of Harborne from 1584, probably in parallel

His father was possibly William Norman, Rector of nearby Blithfield. Raphael married Alice Burge in St Mary’s Lichfield on 3 Oct 1568 and left a will dated 1602. He was the father of Catherine Norman (bap 23 Apr 1579, Mavesyn Ridware), who married Nicholas Pudsey on 14 Apr 1607. He was therefore the grandfather of Thomas Pudsey and forebear of the Hayward and Bendy families discussed on this site.

He is listed as Prebend of Freeford (Lichfield), 1567 to 1574. He was appointed Rector of Mavesyn Ridware on 10 Oct 1574 and installed by the protestant Thomas Bentham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. There is no indication that he attended university. It is on this basis that we can speculate that he is related to William Norman, rector of Blithfield (1550-1574). William Norman was one of a handful of priests in Staffordshire, who managed to retain their posts through the three very different religious regimes of three different monarchs.

Ecclesiastical connexions, religious preferment and education are complicated in this post-monastic Renaissance world. It may be a coincidence that another such flexible priest was Nicholas Silvester, Vicar of Shenstone, who survived in post 1551 to 1597. Nicholas Silvester is mentioned in the will of Robert Silvester, the second husband of Nicholas Pudsey’s grandmother, Eleanor. These people all form part of a network of benefactors to free schools in the period. The most famous and earliest of these perhaps was Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield. John Vesey, Bishop of Exeter, a Catholic, was the uncle of Eleanor Pudsey.

Although the family connections may be tenuous, this was very much the circle of religious education in which Raphael Norman became literate and was called to the church. Many seem to have also had connexions to Magdalen College Oxford. The name Raphael itself, shared with a noteworthy number of boys born around 1530 in Sutton Coldfield, is perhaps also redolent of Renaissance thinking.

Raphael Norman’s short will mentions his wife Alice who was still alive in 1602 and his unmarried daughter Catherine. These two are appointed as executrixes. It also mentions his brother John Norman. Incidentally when William Norman of Blithfield died in 1573 probate was granted to a John Norman.

In a detached paragraph (codicil) of the will Raphael grants the lease of property in Harborne to his daughter Lea, during her lifetime. This suggests he had one other daughter married to a Lea, most likely Elizabeth Norman (bap 7 Jan 1570, St Mary’s Lichfield) . These two daughters would appear to be his only surviving children.

Raphael Norman died on 8 Jul 1602.


  • Will of Raphael Norman, Probate 28 Sep 1602, Lichfield Record Office
  • Probate of William Norman of Blithfield, 1573, Lichfield Record Office
  • Visitation of Staffordshire, 1583, ed Sydney Grazebrook, London 1885
  • Walter Noble Landor: Staffordshire Incumbents and Parochial Records, 1530-1680, from “Collections for a History of Staffordshire”, William Salt Archaeological Society, 1915
  • CCEd: Clergy of the Church of England Database