7. THE PRIORY OF STONELY
The priory of St. Mary at Stonely is said
to have been founded about 1180 by William
de Mandeville; but there is no better
authority for this statement than the tradition recorded by Leland. (fn. 1)
The earliest documentary reference to the
priory is in the Hundred Roll of 1274, when
the manor of Kimbolton was in the hands
of the family of de Bohun. (fn. 2) It was but a
small monastery, and probably never held
more than seven canons. Very little is
known of its history. One of its priors died
in the Great Pestilence. (fn. 3) In 1442 Bishop
Alnwick visited the priory; there were certainly six canons at this time. The prior
was accused of maintaining his own kinsfolk
out of the revenues of the house; but this
was only asserted by a brother who had just
been accused of visiting the village in secular
attire. No other charges were made. (fn. 4)
In 1534 the prior and canons signed the
Acknowledgment of Royal Supremacy. (fn. 5) The
surrender of the house was made under the
first Act in 1536; the prior receiving a
reward of £10, (fn. 6) and the canons probably a
'reward' of 20s. apiece or less, with capacities to serve as secular priests. (fn. 7)
There are no foundation charters extant.
In 1274 the prior had 3 virgates in Kimbolton,
and I virgate in Woolley. (fn. 8) In 1366 the parish
church of Kimbolton was appropriated to
the use of the canons. (fn. 9) In 1534 they had a
clear revenue of £46 0s. 5½d., including the
rectory. (fn. 10) The first account of the Crown
Bailiff gave a total of £69 1s. 2½d. (fn. 11)
Priors of Stonely
John de Ripton, (fn. 12) elected 1290, died 1309.
Simon de Woolley, (fn. 13) elected 1309, died 1310.
William de Brampton, (fn. 14) elected 1310.
John de Stow, (fn. 15) elected 1349, died 1369.
John de Ellington, (fn. 16) elected 1369, resigned
John de Ravenstone, (fn. 17) elected 1387.
John Stoneley, (fn. 18) occurs 1431.
Henry, (fn. 19) occurs 1442.
William, (fn. 20) occurs 1454.
George Holland, (fn. 21) resigned 1508.
Richard Rowell, (fn. 22) elected 1508.
Edmund Bonde, (fn. 23) last prior, occurs 1534.
A pointed oval seal (fn. 24) representing the
Virgin on a throne with the Child on her left
knee, on a diapered background. On each
side is a flowering branch and below, under a
trefoiled arch, is the prior kneeling in prayer.
S' [COM]MVNE: CANONIC . . . . . . . . MARIE: DE: STONLE