Six Royal Charters
During the twenty-seven years (1174 to 1201) in which there are
no records of the names of the priors, with the one exception above,
several additional charters were obtained, both from King Henry
and King Richard.
Thus, in an undated charter (fn. 1) given by Henry II at Westminster
about the year 1176, all the gifts made to the church by Henry I
and others are enumerated and confirmed in simple frankalmoign. (fn. 2)
It was witnessed by:
Richard, Bishop of Winchester (1174–1188).
B., Bishop of Ely (as there was no 'B' bishop of Ely,
Geoffrey Ridel must be intended, 1174–1189).
J(ohn), Bishop of Norwich (John of Oxford, 1175–1200).
Bishop Richard de Luci (d. 1179).
Earl Albericus (Aubrey de Vere, created Earl of Oxford soon
after 1142; d. 1194).
Simon de Beauchamp.
Geoffrey de Sai.
Gervasse de Canvilla (of Canvell priory, Staff.).
The charter was therefore given between the years 1175, when
the Bishop of Norwich was consecrated, and 1179, when Richard
de Luci died. As the charter shows the possessions of the monastery
acquired by gift during the first sixty-four years after its foundation,
they are given here as they occur in the charter, with the addition
of the churches of Gorleston, of St. Nicholas, Little Yarmouth, of
the other moiety of the church of Mentmore, and of the church of
St. Michael Bassishawe, which are omitted from this charter; (these
are inserted within [ ] with references to charters where they occur).
1. By the gift of King Henry his grandfather (Henry I) the place
of Smithfield (Smerefeld) in which their (the prior and canons)
church was founded and the hospital house of the same church
with all its tenements and appurtenances which Rahere the
founder of the same church built for the use of the poor and
2. [By gift of the same king the church of Gorleston near Yarmouth
with other churches and chapels in Ludyngland. (fn. 3) ] (fn. 4)
3. [By gift of the same king the church of St. Nicholas, Little
Yarmouth, (fn. 5) with the chapel of Northville (Nortvilla)
annexed (fn. 6) and Lowestoft (Lodewistoft) and of Belton
(Beleton) (fn. 7) ].
4. By gift of Roger Bishop of Salisbury the church of St. Sepulchre
in the Bailey (de Balio) with its tithes and appurtenances
within borough and without.
5. By gift of Hugh Buisel (or Bussel) a moiety of the church of
Mentmore and a hide and a half which they have in the same
6. [By gift of William son of Milo another moiety of the same
church. (fn. 8) ]
7. By gift of Walter de Dunn (some omission here on the roll) and
a part which Robert de Cestresham granted them of his
tithe at Grove (fn. 9) (Granam).
8. By gift of Robert de Ramis the church of St. Bartholomew of
Elstree (Herts) (Tydulfnestre) with its appurtenances.
9. By gift of Roger de Ramis the church of St. Lawrence of Stanmore (Stanmere) with its appurtenances and whatever
William de Ramis or Adam Buchiunte or Earl Patrick or
Countess Ela have conceded to them in the village of
Edgware (Eggeswere) and at Elstree (Tidulfnestre).
10. By gift of Ralph Trichet (or Trochet) the church of St. Martin
Pomeroy (de Pomerio).
11. By gift of the same Ralph (fn. 10) a moiety of the church of St. Mary
12. [By gift of Gilbert Bishop of London (either Gilbert the Universal,
1128–1134, or Gilbert Foliot, 1163–1188) the church of
St. Michael Bassishaw (de Bassingeshagh). (fn. 11) ]
13. [By gift of William de Bosco the church of Theydon Bois
(Taiden) with its appurtenances. (fn. 11) ]
14. By gift of Earl William de Mandeville (fn. 12) a moiety of the church
of Danbury (Danningebere) (Essex). (fn. 13)
15. By gift of Geoffrey son of Ailwin a moiety of the church of
Wenhaston (Wennacheston) (Suffolk), with all its appurtenances.
16. By gift of Atropus de Merc the church of Little Bardfield (Berdefeld) (Essex).
17. By gift of William de Ramis the church of Bradfield (Bradefeld)
(Essex) [with the chapel of Manningtree (Mannester) (fn. 14) ].
18. By gift of Geoffrey the chapel of St. Bartholomew of Wenhaston
(Wennacheston). (fn. 15)
19. By gift of Miles de Verdun two parts of the tithe, with all the
movable property of his domain of Oslakester. (fn. 16)
20. By gift of Alan Dapifer (fn. 17) a part of the tithe of his domain of
Charleton (Cherbuton or Cherlinter) (Midd.).
21. By gift of Ralph de Berners half a hide in Peltend.
22. By gift of the same Ralph ten shillings' worth (solidatas) in
23. By gift of Miles de Verdun and William de Nineris two hides at
Shortgrove (Sortegrave) (Essex).
24. By gift of Oswald de Malden whatever they had at Malden.
25. By gift of Robert Lebel and by gift of Henry Cawesnefes and
by gift of Cecily daughter of Robert Bloet and by gift of
Lefumer the charcoal maker and Joscelyn the fishmonger
whatsoever they had [of the fee of Robert FitzRoger (fn. 18) ] in
Langley (Langeleia, Laindon).
A further charter (fn. 19) was also obtained from Henry II dated at
Windsor, but again without the year being given. It was a charter
of protection for the church and was witnessed by:
Geoffrey, Bishop of Ely (1174–1189).
Ralph de Glanvill (the chief justiciar of England; d. 1190).
Earl Albericus (the first Earl of Oxford, d. 1194).
Simon de Beauchamp.
G(eoffrey) de Sai.
As four of these five witnesses are the same as those of the previous
charter, its date is probably about the same year, viz. 1176. We
have not found either of these charters anywhere other than in the
Letters Patent of inspeximus
(fn. 20) given 11 Edward II.
A further charter (fn. 21) was apparently obtained from the same king
dated at Winchester in his thirty-third year (1187). It seems to
have differed from the earlier charter of about 1176 (No. 6) only in
the smaller number of the gifts confirmed and in the names of the
witnesses which are given in the Memoranda Roll of 1325; these are:
Richard, Bishop of Winchester.
Hugh de Beauchamp.
Very shortly after this, a fourth charter (fn. 22) was obtained by a prior
of the hiatus, viz. in the first year of Richard I (1190), when the king
was at Rouen on his way to the third Crusade. It is merely a confirmation of the charter of Henry II (fn. 23) of about the year 1173, which
simply recapitulated the great charter of Henry I.
It was sealed at Rouen on the 24th March by the Bishop of Ely,
he then being the chancellor.
The witnesses were:
B(aldwin) Archbishop of Canterbury (who died the same year).
H(ugh) Bishop of Durham (who, with William de Longchamp,
Bishop of Ely, was appointed justiciary during the absence
of the king).
R(eginald) FitzJoceline, Bishop of Bath (1174–1192).
H(ugh) Bishop of Coventry (1188–1198).
W(illiam) son of Ralph, seneschal of Normandy, and
W(illiam) the Marshal.
Another charter, (fn. 24) dated the 23rd March in the same year, recapitulates the grants of lands, churches, &c., which are set out in
full in the charter of Henry II of about the year 1176, and adds to the
gifts there enumerated, as mentioned above, (fn. 25) the church of St. Michael
Bassishaw and the church of Theydon Bois, (fn. 26) the second moiety of
the church of Mentmore, and states that what the prior and convent
had in Langley was of the fee of Robert FitzRoger; otherwise the
two charters are alike.
The witnesses were the same as those of the preceding charter,
except that the Bishop of Bath was not among them. The charter
only occurs in the Memoranda Rolls 1 Edward III and in part in
those of 19 Edward II.
It is known that King Richard granted many charters as a means
of raising money for the crusade, and it is probable that these two
charters were granted with that object.
The bulk of the possessions of the priory had been acquired by
this time; for the additions enumerated in King Henry III's charter
of the year 1253, and in the Rental of 1306, are few and comparatively
A sixth charter obtained during this period consisted of a short
reminder charter granted by the king at Rouen at the same time
(1190). It briefly confirmed all the charters, franchises and free
customs granted by King Henry I and King Henry II; and again
forbade that the prior or canons should be impleaded in the matter
of any of their tenements, save before the king or his chief justice.
It occurs in the Cartae Antiquae (L. 9), where the date is given as
March 22, but when recited in the inspeximus granted by King
Edward II in the year 1318, (fn. 27) the date is given as March 26th, which
is probably correct, being after and not before the longer charter.
It is only witnessed by William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely.
At the same time, on the 24th March, the king issued Letters
Patent from Rouen (fn. 28) to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex not
to interfere with the fair of the prior and canons of the church,
which he again says was his 'demesne' church (referred to in the
chapter on the fair). (fn. 29)
In the following year, 1191, the prior had to contend with the
agitation on the part of the hospital for a separate burial ground,
in favour of which the master (Alan) (fn. 30) and brethren had obtained
a letter from the pope. As shown in the chapter on the disputes
with the hospital, (fn. 31) this agitation for a separate graveyard was successfully resisted for nearly 200 years; it was temporarily parried at
this time with the assistance of Richard de Ely, Bishop of London,
who (as already mentioned (fn. 32) ) issued an ordinance in 1197–8 to allay
the quarrel, at which time the second Stephen had become master