Ecclesiastical - the last 100 years

After Edward Ryley`s death the advowson passed to Geoffrey, the elder son, ordained priest in 1893, who made provision for Gilbert, the younger son, born in 1881, to become rector.

Gilbert, who had been curate at Holy Cross since 1908, had been educated at Wadham College, Oxford and Ripon Theological College, spending his first curacy at St George, Barrow-in-Furness (1905-1908). He too served as rector for a very long time, 38 years. After retiring in 1950, he lived for a time in Salisbury. He acquired the advowson of Holy Cross from Geoffrey Ryley and retained it until his death on 26 April 1959, after which date it passed to the Bishop of St Albans.

After the `91 Ryley years` the subsequent two rectors served for short periods. Vincent Roberts on, who had been ordained priest in 1933, became rector in 1950 and served until 1953, while Thomas McArdle, a Scot, born in 1916, was rector from 1953 to 1961. He had been ordained priest in 1949 and came from a second curacy, at St Mary`s Hitchin. He left to become vicar of Lyndhurst, where he spent ten years, followed by other appointments in that area. At Sarratt a period of vacancy followed before Jack Tomlinson arrived in 1962 from Furneux Pelham, where he had been vicar for eight years. Born in 1920, Jack had been a priest since 1949; he stayed for 23 years before retiring to Norwich. He was an extremely popular and well-loved figure, caring for everyone in the parish, especially the under-privileged folk. It was during his time that the old rectory was sold and a smaller, modern house built overlooking The Green in the village centre.

In 1970 a number of parishes, stretching from Chipperfield to Mill End and including Sarratt, left the deanery of Watford to form a new deanery of Rickmansworth.

After Jack`s departure there was a two-year vacancy, during which Michael Hewlett, a retired clergyman who had moved from Devon, became spiritual head. The next incumbent was Martin Culverwell, aged 39 who had formerly served in two London parishes, the RN as a chaplain, and in Yeovil as team vicar. He was appointed priest-in-charge, which meant that the incumbency was no longer a living, even though subsequent incumbents have still been addressed as rectors. The position now was part-time, the rest of Martin`s time being taken up by his work with an Industrial Mission at Mill End, Rickmansworth. During his incumbency the parish celebrated its 800th anniversary in 1990 and a history edited by Doris Rollinson, a long-time worshipper at Holy Cross, was published.

Martin resigned for personal reasons in 1990. His successor was David Dredge, born in 1932, who had served in several parishes as vicar, latterly in Brickhill from 1986 to 1990. David moved on in 1995, when Michael Hewlett again acted as head before Peter Hart took up the position in May 1996, having moved from Bridgwater. Peter, like David before him, supplemented his part-time service in the parish with work at HM Prison, The Mount, Bovingdon.