Register and Records of Holm Cultram. Originally published by T Wilson & Son, Kendal, 1929.
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IX Fourtheenth Century Events.
At the outset of the 14th century the great disaster happened to Skinburness. On Feb. 12, 1301, King Edward I granted a charter making Skinburness a port and a borough (Register no. 267c.) On August 8, 1301, Bishop John de Halton at Bridekirk authorized the abbey to build a chapel or church to serve their vill or burgh near the port of Skinburnese, then extra-parochial, with a cemetery as for a parish church. He allowed them all tithes and obventions whatsoever, from the inhabitants and others visiting the place, for [the purpose of] showing hospitality to guests and the poor, and appropriated these revenues to the abbey for ever. He desired that they and their successors should choose a secular priest to serve the church, one who should be appointed and removed at their will, and paid a suitable stipend. If the abbey did not carry out this proposal, or delayed more than a month in replacing the priest at a vacancy, the bishop should be free to suspend the church and to sequestrate its revenues until a fresh appointment was made—saving all privileges granted to the abbey and Order by the Holy See (Halton Register, i, 161f). This entry has been crossed out in the bishop's register; "For the same bishop by his charter bearing date at Linstock the 11th of April 1303 [read 1304] … grants to them licence to build a chapel or church within their territory of Arlosh, with all parochial rights, and all the tithes within their territories to the use of their monastery, with power to them to present a priest for institution upon a vacancy allowing him 4l. a year, and room for an house and curtilage. And in token of subjection, he to pay out of the said 4l. half a mark yearly to the bishop in the name of a cathedraticum, and 40d. to the archdeacon for procurations" (Nicolson & Burn ii, 177; see this Register no. 267b).
The reason of this change of site is given (ibid.);—"For in 1305, we find thus mentioned in the parliament records; 'At the petition of the abbot requesting that whereas he had paid a fine of 100 marks to the king for a fair and market to be had in Skinburnese, and now that town together with the way leading to it is carried away by the sea, the king would grant that he may have such fair and market at his town of Kirkeby Johan [i.e. near the new church of St. John, Newton Arlosh] instead of the other place aforesaid, and that his charter upon this may be renewed; it is answered, Let the first charter be annulled, and then let him have a like charter in the place as he desireth."
This fixes the disaster to Skinburness between August 1301 and April 1304. The charter of Edward I just quoted was given on March 28, 1305, and states that the abbot "has given us to understand that a grcater part of the said burgh and the way leading unto the same by divers invasions and storms is made such a deep haven that their men cannot come or inhabit there as they were wont before." It has been already said (p.108) that the opinion of geologists is against a catastrophic theory as to the cause of this disaster; there is no reason to suppose an earthquake or a subsidence of the land though the erosion of the coast has been enormous. In 1269 Stanlaw abbey, far up the Mersey, was inundated; about 1328 is the traditional date for the great drowning of the foreshore between Liverpool and Southport; but quite recently we have seen similar floods, in 1901–1903 at Silloth, still later at Blackpool and on Morecambe bay, and the surprising inundation at Westminster occurred as late as 1927. In the case of Skinburness, c. 1301–4, the ground lost was no doubt west of the present shore-line, and the road named was one that skirted the coast from the south, avoiding the marshes then undrained. Traces exist of ploughing below the present raised ridge showing that land now sand-covered was once cultivated.
A church of St. John the Baptist was built at Newton Arlosh in accordance with the bishop's licence of 1304, but the date of its erection—at any rate in the from of which we see its oldest traces —is not necessarily that of the permission to build. Its fortified pele-tower is the remarkable feature, and such towers were not built under Edward I. The fortified tower of Burgh-by-Sands, which most nearly resembles it, and was also built by Holm abbey, can be dated by the notice of 1360, in Bishop Welton's register, of a commission for enquiring into the fall of arches connected with that tower, described as then new (V.C.H. Cumb. i, 257). Indeed in 1304, when Edward I was taking the offensive against Scotland, there was no need for such defences. It was only after the raids culminating in 1322 with Bruce's great invasion that Cumberland awoke to the necessity, and even then showed very tardy activity. Most of the pele-towers date from the time when Edward III had been some time on the throne, and English courage and resources revived. And the confirmation in 1393 by the bishop of Carlisle and by King Richard II of the licence to have a church at Newton Arlosh, quoted below, looks as though it had not been built even at that late date.
1301. Whereas the abbot of Holm Coltram is indebted to the king in 100 marks, by which he made fine to him for having a charter for a fair and a market at Skynburnesse, co. Cumb. and the king is indebted to the abbot in 107 marks and 7 shillings for wool lately taken from him by Harsculph de Clesby for the king's use at Carlisle … the abbot has besought the king to cause the 100 marks to be allowed to him at the Exchequer in the aforesaid 107 marks 7s. The king orders them to inspect the tally and allow the sum to the abbot (Cal. Close Rolls, 29 Ed. I, Berwick-onTweed).
1302, Aug. 10. To Robert de Clifford, justice of the Forest beyond Trent; order to permit the abbey … of Holmcoltran to have in peace common of pasture between the … Caldewe and Alne, in accordance with the charter of King Richard, and to remove any hindrance… By petition of the Convent. (Ibid. 30 Ed. I, Westminster.)
1302. Safe-conduct for one year, directed to Bailiffs and others in Ireland, for the men whom the abbot of Holmcoltran is sending with two ships to Ireland for corn and victuals for the maintenance of the house. Similar safeconducts were granted, May 6, 1303; March 10, 1305 and Feb. 12, 1306. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 30 Ed. I, Havering atte Bower and later.)
1305, Ap. 15. To Robert de Tillol and James de Dalilegh, on the complaint by collectors and receivers of victuals in the parts of Carlisle that a ship laden in Ireland with wine, corn and other goods in coming to Scotland for the maintenance of the king's subjects in the war there, and for the munition of castles in those parts, was wrecked at Shunburnesh and 30 tuns of wine and one of wheat were cast upon the sea-coast between the abbey of Holmcoltran and the lands of Richard de Kirkbrid, and certain malefactors of those parts broke the tun of corn and carried away the tuns of wine and consumed them (Cal. Pat. Rolls; 33 Ed. I, Westminster).
1307, Feb. 26. To the Treasurer and barons of the Exchequer. The abbot of Holmcoltran has besought the king to cause him to be satisfied for £19 8s. 2d., in which the king is bound to him for 68½ quarters of wheat taken from him for the king's use at Karnarvan in the 25th year by the hands of Hugh de Leominstre, then the king's chamberlain there, whereof the abbot has a tally. The king orders the barons to inspect the roll, etc. (Cal. Close Rolls, 35 Ed. I, Lanercost.)
1307. Sweetheart Abbey petitions the king that, in redress for £400 damages caused by the Welsh soldiers when last at Dumfries, he would grant them Little Roseley in Englewood, containing 400 acres, or Blackayll, worth 5 marks yearly; also the value of 8½ sacks of good teased wool taken for the late king's use by Hasculf de Cleasby and others out of the grange of Holme [Kirkwinny?] where it had been stored for fear of the Scots (Cal. Doc. Scot. iii).
1309, July 22. King Edward II, from Woburn, to the abbot and convent of Holcoltram. He has caused Thomas de Ardern, who served the king and his father, to be sent to them and requests them to admit him to their house and to find him, and a yeoman and two grooms serving him, food and clothing according to their estates, and to find his horses reasonable sustenance for his lifetime; and to make him letters patent under their chapter seal. They are speedily to write what they have caused to be done herein. (Cal. Close Rolls, 3 Ed. II,)
1312. Bishop Halton to R[obert de Keldesik], abbot of Holm, communicating a letter from Arnald, cardinal of St. Prisca, at Paris [?], brought by Thomas Bonioni, a layman of the Carlisle diocese, who had been excommunicated for wounding Alan de Ireby, priest, in the arm with a sword, but has received absolution; and now the bishop is to enjoin upon him a salutory penance. As the bishop, writing from Meldreth in Cambridgeshire, does not know whether full satisfaction has been given, he passes the matter on to the abbot (Bp. Halton's register, ii, 56).
1314, August 12. To the abbot of Holmcoltran, request that he will bind himself, together with Andrew de Harcla, Robert de Leyburn, the bishop and the prior of Carlisle, for the repayment to them at the feast of All Saints of the money they shall deliver to the king's clerk, Gilbert de Bromlegh, of the tenth of the clergy for six years, unless the king in the meantime satisfy them from an aid to be granted by the clergy, etc.; the king having required the bishop and the prior to deliver him the said money upon the said security, as the prelates of the province of Canterbury lent him the money of the said tenth in aid of the war in Scotland for repayment found by John de Sandale and others. (Cal. Close Rolls, 8 Ed. II, York.)
1315, Jan. 29. The king to the bishop of Carlisle, pressing him, 'as often before,' to distrain William de la Chapele, rector of Louthr', collector of fifths with the abbot of Holm and others (Bp. Halton's register, ii, 101).
1315, Feb. 14. The king to the bishop of Carlisle, pressing 'as often before' that he would distrain Thomas de Kirkoswald, vicar of Penrith, and Henry de Overton, chaplain, executors of Richard, late archdeacon of Carlisle, collector of fifths in 25 and 26 Edward I with the abbot of Holm and others (Ibid., ii, 100).
1315–6. Petition of the abbot and convent of Holm Cultram, showing how they had been plundered and spoiled in the wars by the Scots, who of late had burned and wasted their goods and driven away oxen, horses and corn to the value of £500, and they themselves were so impoverished that they could not serve God without help; they beg for the advowson of the church of Broughunder-Staynmore in Westmorland, in his patronage. "The king understands that Sir Robert de Clifford claims it, and his heir being a minor and in the king's ward nothing can be done until after he comes of age." (V.C.H. Cumb. ii, 166, where the church is given as Kirkby Thore.)
1318–9, Jan. 16 and March 4. The abbot of Holm is one of those summoned to a convocation at York to discuss a royal subsidy, on Monday after the Sunday in the middle of Lent (Bp. Halton's register, ii, 180ff.)
1319. Taxation of the diocese of Carlisle. Temporals of the abbot of Holmcoltram, value £40, tithe £4; the church of Burgh [-by-Sands, value] 50s., tithe 5s.; "its vicarage is not taxed because it does not suffice for the stipend of a chaplain "(Ibid., ii, 184, 189). [St. John's, Newton Arlosh, is not taxed; probably it was not yet built. Note that the total value then was less than one-fifth of what it was in 1291, before the war.]
1319, Aug. 18. King Edward II requests the abbey of Tintern to admit to the Collegium William de Bromfeld, a monk of Holcoltram, whom the king is sending them that they may minister to his necessities as one of their own brothers until he shall cause ordinance to be made concerning his estate, or until the house of Holcoltram, which is of the same Order as they are, be released from its oppressions, as the king wishes for assistance for the monks of that house or other houses of the same order, because the possessions and goods of the abbey have been so wasted by the invasions of the Scotch rebels that they are now insufficient for the maintenance of the abbot and convent. (Cal. Close Rolls, 13 Ed. II, Amble.)
1321, Aug. 18. An order to the keeper of the port of Dover to permit the abbot of Holmcoltran … who is going to the chapter-general at Citeaux by the king's licence, to cross from that port and to have £10 for the expenses of himself and his train, provided he make no apportum contrary to the statute. (Ibid. 15 Ed. II, Westminster.)
1321, April 29. Confirmation to the bishop, prior and convent of Carlisle of an ordinance made by Cardinal Gualo and supplemented by Pandulph, papal legate, and his commissioners, the abbot of Holm Cultram and the prior of Hexham (Augusteldesham) concerning the division of their possessions and that made by Dean T. a canon and A[dam de Appleby] official of Carlisle, master G[ervase] de Loudre and T. sheriff of Carlisle (Papal Letters, i, 81 and 91, 112 and 256).
1321, Nov. 16. Power to the bishop of Carlisle, the abbot of Holmcoltran, Andrew de Hartcla and others to treat of a final peace with Robert de Brus and his adherents. The like to them or any four of them to extend the existing truce, which should expire at Christmas. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 15 Ed. II, Westminster.)
1324, May 10. To the bailiff of Holmcoltram. Order to cause all the ships of that port, capable of carrying 40 tuns and upwards of wine and grain, to be prepared and found without delay, so that they shall be ready to set out on the king's service at three days' summons, and not to permit such ships to go to parts beyond the seas. (Cal. Close Rolls, 17 Ed. II, Westminster.)
1325, March 15. To R., bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, to order John de Louthre, keeper of the King's victuals, to have an allowance for 140 quarters of wheat at 8s., 90 quarters of barley at 6s. 8d. a quarter, 40 quarters of beans and peas at 6s. 8d., which the said John caused to be placed in the abbey of Holmcoltran, in order to carry to Carlisle, which according to an inquisition by Sir Anthony de Lucy, constable of Carlisle Castle, was taken and burned and carried away by the Scots rebels against the will of the said John. (Cal. Close Rolls, 18 Ed. II, The Tower.)
1325, Nov. 30. Order to cause Robert de Barton, sometime receiver of the king's victuals at Carlisle, to have allowance for divers of the king's victuals which the king caused to come to Skymburnes for the maintenance of the garrison of Carlisle, which Robert caused to be deposited in the abbey of Holcoltram which was carried away by the Scottish rebels; and that on Oct. 3 in the second year of his reign the Scots carried away at Holcoltram 193 salted fish at 30s. a hundred and 19 quarters of salt at 6s. a quarter, at the grange of Harclau in Robert's custody. "Andrew de Harcla, the king's traitor, ten days after he adhered to the Scots likewise took and carried away at Carlisle 10 quarters of salt, and that the said fish and salt was not carried away by the negligence of Robert or any one else." (fn. 1) (Cal. Close Rolls, 19 Ed. II, Westminster.)
1327, Feb. 2. Order to permit Gilbert de Walton, abbot of Gray Abbey, to go to Holmcoltram with Thomas de Talkan, monk of Holm, from King's Beaulieu, as a prisoner bailed out by Robert de Barton and Robert Parnyng (sic, for Parvyng. Cal. Close Rolls, 1 Ed. III).
1327, Feb. 13. Licence to the abbot of Holmcoltran and any of his monks to go to Scotland during the truce and to survey his grange in Galloway, and treat with the abbot of Melrose, his superior, touching the condition of his house. The rule of his Order provided that neither he nor any of his monks should carry any letter prejudicial to the king, etc. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1 Ed. III.)
1329–30. The abbot of Holm Cultram and others appointed to settle disputes between the archbishop of York and the bishop of Durham. They asked to be excused, as there were no lawyers at hand and the distance was great (Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 320; V.C.H. Cumb. ii, 168).
1330, Dec. 10. Petition from the abbot of Holmcoltran that the king owes him 100 marks which John de Louthre received as a loan from the abbot … and the abbot owes the king £280 for victuals bought by him in the late king's [Edward II] time, which sum is to be paid at the rate of 40 marks yearly at the exchequer; and he has prayed the king to have 100 marks allowed him in the £280. The king therefore to order, etc. (Cal. Close Rolls, 4 Ed. III.)
1330, Dec. 15. Henry III had granted 10 acres of land, formerly held of the king by Holm Cultram, to the church of Caldbeck. Master Adam de Appelby, parson of Caldbeck, now complains that the king's keeper has taken the said 10 acres into the king's hands. The keeper explains that he has done so because the abbot and parson have taken more than they were entitled to (viz. 11 acres and 2 acres respectively, instead of 10 acres in all) and also because they were using the land for other purposes than grazing. The keeper was acting under orders from the prior of Carlisle, to whom the king had granted the Park of Caldbeck. On the production of Henry III's charter, the king orders that Adam should not be further molested. (Cal. Close Rolls, 4 Ed. III.)
1331, Jan. 27; Waltham. Pardon to the abbot and convent of Holmcoltram, in consideration of their Josses by frequent forays of the Scots, of £113 6s. 8d. out of £213 6s. 8d. due by them for victuals purchased from the late king. They may pay the balance by half-yearly instalments of 100s. from Easter next. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 5 Ed. III.)
1332, Mar. 29. John Gernoun and Margaret his wife gave the church of Wigton in consideration of losses by invasion of the Scots. The abbey to furnish four monks of their order to celebrate divine offices daily in the abbey church, and to found a chantry of two secular chaplains to do the same at Wigton (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 6 Ed. III.)
1334, Mar. 4. The abbot and convent to have respite, until Michaelmas next, for 20 marks owed to the king for victuals bought of him at Carlisle, in consideration of damage sustained by frequent Scottish raids. (Cal. Close Rolls, 8 Ed. III.)
1352, 15 Kal. Jul.; Avignon. To Simon de Sudbury, canon of Lincoln, mandate with regard to John de Foriton, monk of Holm Cultram, "who has left his monastery and sometimes also his habit, and desires to be reconciled to his order" (Papal Letters iii, 470).
1353. Bishop Welton's mandate to the abbot, recently made Official, and to John de Welton, learned in the law, to summon together the ecclesiastics of the diocese and to expound to them the business of the synod (V.C.H. Cumb. ii, 37).
1357. Hugo Pelegrini, papal nuncio, requested bishop Welton of Carlisle to report on monasteries exempt from his jurisdiction. The answer was that in the diocese of Carlisle there were only Holm Cultram and Shap (V.C.H. Cumb. ii. 164).
1360, July 15. Bishop Welton, in a commission of enquiry as to the fall of arches in the church of Burgh-by-Sands, mentions an arch "adhering to the work of the new tower in the said church" (V.C.H. Cumb. i, 257).
1374, May 4. To William de la Vale, escheator for Cumberland, concerning the grange or manor of Hildekirk of the abbot of Holmcoltran. The escheator found that Thomas de Lascelles granted to the said abbot land in Bolton in Allerdale called Hildekirk grange, to find one chaplain to celebrate for ever at Hildkirk chapel; that no chaplain had celebrated there, nor had any done so for ten years; that the said chantry was altogether withdrawn and brought to nought, and for that cause he took the premises into the king's hand. The king reckons that cause insufficient. At the same time the king orders the same escheator to withdraw his hand from a close of the abbot of Holmcoltran called Warnhill in the forest of Inglewood. (Cal. Close Rolls, 48 Ed. III.)
1374, March 18. Order to remove the king's hand and not to meddle with the church of Wygton and the fruits and profits thereof, delivering it without delay to the abbot of Holmcoltram and any issues and profits thereof taken, as lately the king ordered the escheator to certify in Chancery under his seal touching the annual value of the said fruits and profits, desiring to know the cause whereof the escheator took the same into his hand: and he certified that he found by inquisition that without the king's licence parcel of the said church had been crenellated for defence; that the church pertains to the said abbot, etc. and that the fruits are worth 100 marks a year. For that cause the church, etc. is in the king's hands. The king reckons the cause insufficient (Cal. Close Rolls, 48 Ed. III.)
1396, 3 Id. Nov. Indulgence to the undermentioned that the confessor of their choice may grant them, being penitent, in some cases plenary remission at the hour of death and in some cases plenary remission as often as they please … Dec. 18 (14 Kal. Jan.). Richard Gray, Cistercian monk of St. Mary, Holm Cultram. [He was made a papal chaplain in 1402 and again granted an indulgence in Sept. 1403. Cal. Papal Letters, iv, 316; V.C.H. Cumb. ii, 167.]
Robert de Keldesik, of whom account has been given. After his death in 1318 there is a gap which we cannot fill. We only know that in 1318 the abbey asked for a safe conduct in view of the new election (p. 134) and that in 1319 William, prior of Holm, went to Scotland to treat for the liberation of the bishop of Ely's men, captured at the battle of Myton (near Boroughbridge, Yorks.) This and some other notices of the period we owe to Canon James Wilson (V.C.H. Cumb. ii, 172f).
Thomas de Talkan was a monk of Holm, ordained deacon in 1319 and priest in 1320 (Bishop Halton's register). In February 1327 he was still described as monk of the abbey (p. 142) but he was the abbot in 1330 (p. 105) and in 1332 received from Margaret de Wigton the church of Wigton; a gift which Dr. J. R. Magrath, following John Denton, regards as a reward for assistance in the great lawsuit by which she recovered her inheritance (C. & W. Trans. N.S. xix, 53). In 1336 Thomas as abbot made presentation to the church of Dronnok (Dornock near Annan) granted to the abbey by King Edward Balliol, and to Wigton church. A cast of a seal attributed to him is in the British Museum (Seals 3290), representing the abbot under a canopy, holding a pastoral staff and a book, with legend SIGILLUM ABBA[tis de] HOLMCOLTRAM.
Robert de Southaik (Sothayk or Sitthayk) must have been of the family de Southaik, originally of Southwick in Galloway (Register nos. 131, 132). A namesake was ordained acolite at Carlisle in 1317, but certainly earlier was the man who was Official of Carlisle in 1303 (Bishop Halton's reg.) and about 1335 and 1341, and Vicar General in 1353 (C. & W. Trans. N.S. xi, III, 113). He was presented by Carlisle priory to the rectory of Bewcastle in 1306, ordained deacon in 1310, and acted as proctor at York for the bishop of Carlisle in 1314 (Bp. Halton's Reg.). In this Register he is named (no. 115b) as rector of Bewcastle and arbitrator in company with Richard de Resindon at a date not stated but probably 1334–50. The abbot is named on July 5, 1351, when the Pope at Avignon granted him leave to eat flesh on lawful days in consideration of his weakness through labour and sickness (Papal petitions i, 215). If the abbot was Official in 1303, he was then seventy or older, but he seems to have lived on for another ten years or more. In 1362 he occurs in a dispute with William, vicar of Wigton, about the will of William de Bromfield (V.C.H. as above, quoting Bp. Welton's register). Towards the end of his life he received moneys from the creditors of Thomas Bridkirk, formerly rector of 'Stanhoe' and prebendary of Bishop Auckland, (fn. 2) who had been outlawed; and when his successor was appointed, question arose about these moneys (Cal. Doc. Scot. iv, 210, quoted by Rev. G. E. Gilbanks).
Robert de Rawbanks or Rabankes made his profession of canonical obedience, 'salvo ordine meo,' to the bishop on August 24, 1365, and is named in 1379 (Bp. Appleby's register quoted in V.C.H. Cumb. ii, 173; Cal. Doc. Scot. iv, 47). In Hilary term 1373–4 the question arose about the money of Thomas Bridekirk, as above. In the church of Holm Cultram is part of this abbot's grave-cover inscribed … DE RAWBANKYS ABBAS … .
Gregory (?) is known only from a case for counsel's opinion in 1722 (see chapter XV) from which it appears that he was believed to have petitioned Richard II to grant him a parish church " whereby he might erect a parson, and the said parson might call for tithes… The parish church of Newton Arlosh," it is stated, " was never made use of by the abbot nor by any since, but only for a show to deceive the people with, that they might have corn and hay." (Rev. G. E. Gilbanks, op. cit. 80f.) If this transaction is that of 1411 (see p. 148) it may give a date for abbot Gregory.
1302, Dec. 22; as subdeacons, brothers Stephen de Grinnisdal, John de Hoton, William de Levington, Robert de Corkeby, John de Werdal; as deacons, Henry de Alverton, Richard de Raby; as priests, Thomas de Aspatrik, John de Raynington.
1314, March 23; as subdeacons, William de Byris, Henry de Tymperon, John de Crayssothen; as deacons, John de Crosseby, William de Gyle, William de Levington, John de Derwentwater; as priest, William de Denton.
1317, March 19; as subdeacons, John de Billington, Thomas Neuton, John de Cotinham, John Hert, Robert de Linstok, Adam de Graisothene; as priests, William de Biris, Henry de Timpauron, John de Graisothen.