Stephen Wakefield Rector of Wistow from 1559 to 1587
With the emergence of Protestantism after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 support for the Catholic faith did not entirely disappear in Huntingdonshire. In 1584 the diocese of Lincoln investigated two ministers, Stephen Wakefield of Wistow and William Dickinson of Elton. They were accused of being Recusants, individuals who refused to attend Anglican services. The ‘Recusancy Acts’ began during the reign of Elizabeth I and imposed a number of punishments on those who did not participate in Anglican religious activity, including fines, property confiscation, imprisonment and in some cases those adhering to Catholicism faced capital punishment.
William Baker M.A. Rector of Wistow from 1642 to 1645 and 1661 to 1687
The period between 1643 and 1660 was a time of almost uncontested Parliamentary control of Huntingdonshire and some locals took advantage to overturn the old order. Puritans introduced their own ideas on church worship and deprived former ecclesiastical opponents of office. Then in 1644 the new Presbyterian Church government introduced an even more exacting ordinance, which evicted about twenty clergymen. Some were treated quite harshly, Mr Baker of Wistow being ‘imprisoned at Huntingdon jeyl where he was abused and barbarously treated’. William Baker returned as Rector of Wistow in 1661 after the Restoration of Charles II.