Sources: Overseas religious houses

Pages 110-112

A Survey of Documentary Sources for Property Holding in London before the Great Fire. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1985.

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At least 10 overseas religious houses, including at least 6 in Normandy, held property in London at an early date (mid 11C to mid 12C). In several cases this was subsequently transferred to, or regarded as held by, a dependent priory or cell in England. Thus for the property of the priory of St. Bernard, Montjoux, see Hornchurch (166); for St. Ávroul, Normandy, see Ware (243); see also Ghent, Bec, St. Stephen, Caen, and St. Valéry, below. By the mid 15C no London property remained in alien hands: the dependent priories had either been 'naturalized' or suppressed, or the parent house had lost or disposed of the property in some other way. Much of the property so lost went to new 14C or 15C religious or collegiate foundations. See D. Knowles, The Religious Orders in England (3 vols., 1948–59), esp. ii, 157–66; M. Morgan, 'The suppression of the alien priories', History 26 (1941–2), 204–12. An inquisition of 1324 into lands of religious houses de potestate regis Francie is recorded, with textual variations, in PRO, E106/7/18, mm. 4, 9, and King's College, Cambridge, Muniments, 'Oak Cartulary' (Davis, no. 146), f. 68; details under individual houses. PRO, E106, extents of alien priories, was not fully searched; none of the items relating to specific houses contains any London material, but some of the general extents or 'states' may.

The aim here has been to identify overseas religious houses with London property, and where possible to indicate where these properties lay and what became of them, but not to undertake a full search for all records relating to those properties. The references given below derive largely from a search of Regesta, Cal. Docs. France, and Tax. Eccl., and any printed records and other works relating to the houses in question. Dates of foundation, etc., are taken from L. H. Cottineau, Répertoire topo-bibliographique des abbayes et prieurés (Macon, 1935–70), which includes extensive bibliographies for each house. The uncertainties noted below as to the location or fate of the estates can probably be resolved by further research. It is also possible that further religious houses with interests in London might be discovered.

266. Belgium: Ghent, abbey of St. Peter (Mont Blandin)

Fd. 610×35; Benedictine.

Many of the Ghent charters are suspect or spurious, but by the early 12th century, and probably in the 11th, the abbey held a property called Wareman acre (probably in 53, and neighbouring parishes). See A. van Lokeren, Chartes et documents de l'abbaye de Saint Pierre au Mont Blandin à Gand (Ghent, 1868); P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters, an annotated list and bibliography (RHS, 1968), no. 1002; Regesta ii, nos. 730, 1148; ibid. iii, no. 340; J. Dhondt, 'La donation d'Elftrude à St. Pierre de Gand', Académie Royale de Belgique, Bulletin de la Commission Royale d'Histoire 105 (1940), pp. 117–164. See also O. Oppermann, Die älteren Urkunden des Klosters Blandinium und die Anfänge der Stadt Gent (Utrecht, 1928), reviewed in EHR 43 (1928), 615–17. A rental or survey of the abbey's property in 1281 (printed in van Lokeren, Chartes, no. 896, p. 420) incl. references to 53, and Walbrook. In 1291 the abbey had property in: 53, 90, 108, 156. The dependent priory of Lewisham (179) later held a property in 156, possibly the same.

267. France: Bec, Normandy, abbey of B.V.M.

Fd. 1034; Benedictine.

In the late 11C the abbey acquired a property in London (Regesta ii, no. 1013); c. 1181 the abbey had an interest in a property, possibly the same, called Musterlinbur' (Windsor, St. George's Chapel Muniments XI G II (early 13C roll of Bec charters), printed in Select documents of the English lands of the abbey of Bec, ed. M. Chibnall, Camden 3rd ser. 73 (1951) no. 8). For other references, see also Early charters of St. Paul's, ed. M. Gibbs, Camden 3rd ser. 58 (1939), no. 165; Cal. Wills i, 62. The location of this property or properties is uncertain; it or they probably passed to the dependent priory of Ogbourne, Wilts. (193). See M. Morgan (Chibnall), The English lands of the abbey of Bec (1946); A. A. Porée, Histoire de l'abbaye du Bec (Ávreux, 1901).

268. France: Caen, Normandy, abbey of Holy Trinity

Fd. c. 1066; Benedictine nuns.

In the late 12C the abbey acquired property in 92: Charters and custumals of the abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen, ed. M. Chibnall (British Academy, Records of Social and Economic History n.s. 5, 1982).

269. France: Caen, Normandy, abbey of St. Stephen

Fd. 1064; Benedictine.

The abbey acquired a house in 151 in 1069×79: Placita Anglo-Normannica, Law cases from William I to Richard I, preserved in historical records, ed. M. M. Bigelow (1879, reprinted 1974), pp. 261–3; Regesta i, no. 105; ibid. ii, no. 1575; Cal. Docs. France, nos. 452–3, 459, 1409. By 1291 the property was held by the dependent priory of Panfield, Essex (199).

270. France: Fécamp, Normandy, abbey of Holy Trinity

Fd. 658, 952; Benedictine.

In 1291 and 1392 the abbey had property in 38. In 1324 the abbot had an inn in Castle Baynard ward, in which his bailiff stayed when in London, and 18s. rent: King's College, Cambridge, Muniments, 'Oak Cartulary' (Davis, no. 146), f. 68; PRO, E106/7/18, m. 4.

271. France: Grestain, Normandy, abbey of B.V.M.

Fd. c. 1050; Benedictine.

In 1189 Richard I confirmed the abbey's English possessions, including a house in London, the gift of Maud, wife of Robert, count of Mortain, the founder (d. ? 1091): C. Breard, L'abbaye de Notre Dame de Grestain (Rouen, 1904), 29, 206–8. In 1291 the abbey held property in 1.

272. France: Montreuil-sur-Mer, Picardy, abbey of St. Saviour and St. Winwaloe

Fd. c. 600, 878; Benedictine.

The abbey had property in Westcheap (apparently 81) in the 12C: Cartulary of St. Mary Clerkenwell, ed. W. O. Hassall (Camden Soc. 3rd ser. 71, 1949), no. 273. The abbey had lost the property by the mid 13C. Deeds relating to the same property are in the archive of Balliol College, Oxford (396).

273. France: Paris, priory of St. Martin des Champs

Fd. 1060, 1079; Cluniac.

In 1107–8 William Giffard, bishop of Winchester, gave land in foro or in magno vico, formerly belonging to Odo, bishop of Bayeux (d. 1097), to the priory of St. Martin de campis: J. Depoin, Recueil des chartes et documents de St. Martin des Champs, monastère parisien (Ligugé and Paris, 1912–21); Regesta ii, no. 646. The archives of St. Martin des Champs, in Archives Nationales, Paris, are noted in Inventaire, sommaire, et tableau méthodique des fonds conservés aux Archives Nationales, I, Régime antérieur à 1789 (Paris, 1871), pp. 499–501. To judge from papal confirmations, the priory ceased to lay claim to the London land between 1143 and 1147 (Archives Nationales, LL 1351, ff. 5, 6v, 9v), and no London rents are noted in the later 13C rentals (ibid., LL 1375, passim). The land may have passed to the English dependent priory of Barnstaple (fd. c. 1107), but no London land is recorded for either house in 1291.

274. France: St. Valéry-sur-Somme, Picardy, Abbey

Fd. 611, 10C; Benedictine.

In 1291 the abbey had property in 144. In 1324 the renter of St. Valéry had an inn in Cripplegate ward in which he stayed when in London, and 6 shops, rendering 50s.: King's College, Cambridge, Muniments, 'Oak Cartulary' (Davis, no. 146), f. 68; PRO, E106/7/18, m. 4. The property subsequently passed to the dependent priory of Takeley, Essex (233).