The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 1. Originally published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1921.
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THE RESUSCITATION AND SECOND SUPPRESSION
On the 17th December, 1555, Sir Richard Rich, who had now been created Lord Rich, made a grant of what remained of the church and of the monastic buildings, together with the advowson, to Queen Mary in order that she might resuscitate the monastery. This she did, and placed here the Dominican or Black Friars, with William Perrin as prior, their own house in Blackfriars having been demolished. Wriothesley thus records the event: (fn. 1)
The convent was composed of English, Spanish, and Belgian friars. Machyn in his diary says: (fn. 2) 'the wyche was the (first) (fn. 3) howsse that was sett up by quen Mare(s) tyme'. The priority, however, probably belongs to the Grey Friars at Greenwich, who were restored on Palm Sunday (April 7th), 1555. (fn. 4) The other monasteries resuscitated at this time were those of Dartford and Sheen, Westminster and Syon. (fn. 5)
'To all the faithful in Christ to whom the present deed indented shall come I Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche send everlasting greeting in the Lord. Know ye that I the aforesaid Richard Riche Lord Riche both considering our most serene princess and lady Mary, Queen of England, and for divers other causes and considerations me hereunto moving, have transferred demised delivered granted and by this my present deed indented have confirmed to our aforesaid lady the Queen all that parish church of Saint Bartholomew in West Smithfeild in the suburbs of London with its appurtenances now held occupied and used as a parish church there which church was late parcel of the late priory of St. Bartholomew in West Smithfeild aforesaid and all that ground and soil upon which the temple or church aforesaid was erected or built and the cemetery there with its appurtenances to the same parish church appertaining belonging or adjacent late parcel of the aforesaid temple or church of the said late priory And the house or building with its appurtenances late the sacristy (fn. 8) or vestibule (vestibulum) of the said late priory which is now used as the sacristy of the aforesaid parish church And all and singular the detached erections and places with their appurtenances in the crypt of the same parish church now used or occupied as parcels of the same church And also all the enclosure or square ambulatory now or late called "le cloyster" with its appurtenances and the ground soil walls and buildings of the enclosure or ambulatory parcel of the said late priory and all those four sides of the same enclosure or ambulatory And also all and singular the houses chambers places and erections above and beneath the said enclosure or ambulatory And also a long chamber or corridor being above the eastern side of the aforesaid ambulatory And also a great building or chamber now or late called "Le Dortour" late the dormitory of the said late priory And also the steps leading from the aforesaid ambulatory up to the great building called le Dortour And also a long building on the south side of the ambulatory now or lately called le fratry, late the refectory of the late priory And also a building with its appurtenances now or lately called "le old kitchen" late the cookhouse of the said late priory lying and being at the west end of the aforesaid "le fratry". And also a building or dining room (cenaculum) with its appurtenances now called a parlour and lately called "le misericorde" (fn. 9) at the east end of the said "le fratry" And a building now or lately called "le library" being above the said building called a parlour And an erection or building with its appurtenances lately called a "parlour" on the west side of the said "le fratry" And all the building land and soil with its appurtenances where is the passage from the said "le fratry" to the said building now or lately called "le old kitchen" And also the "rectory" of the aforesaid parish church of Saint Bartholomew with its appurtenances and the advowson nomination and free disposition of the same rectory and parish church And also all those six (sic) messuages or tenements with their appurtenances situate and lying within the precincts of the late close of the late priory which I Richard Lord Riche have lately given and annexed (adunavi) to the aforesaid rectory for the augmentation of the stipend and salary of the incumbent of the same rectory (fn. 10) And also all my right title and estate and interest which I Richard Riche Lord Riche have held or now hold as well of and in all the aforesaid buildings and other premises as in those aforesaid six messuages or tenements situate within the precincts of the late close of the late priory To have and to hold all and singular the aforesaid church cemetery enclosure or ambulatory buildings erections rectory advowson messuages tenements hereditaments and all other the premises with their appurtenances hereinbefore granted to our aforesaid lady the Queen her heirs and successors for ever to the behoof and use of our said lady the Queen her heirs and successors for ever And I the said Richard Lord Riche and my heirs will warrant all and singular the said tenements hereditaments and other the premises with their appurtenances to our said Lady the Queen her heirs successors and assigns against myself the said Richard Lord Riche and my heirs and for ever assure by these presents. In witness whereof to either part of this my present deed indented I the aforesaid Richard Lord Riche have set my seal with my bearings.
'Dated the seventeenth day of the month of December in the second and third years of the reign of Philip and Mary by the grace of God of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem and Ireland King and Queen defenders of the Faith Princes of the Spains and of Sicily Archdukes of Austria Dukes of Milan Burgundy and Brabant and Counts of Hapsburg Flanders and Tirol.
'And be it remembered that on the day and in the yeares abovementioned the aforesaid Lord Riche before our Lord the King and our Lady the Queen in their chancery having personally appeared acknowledged the aforesaid deed and all and singular the matters in the same contained in manner above-mentioned.'
Tanner in his Notitia (fn. 11) says that the 'friers began to rebuild the nave of the church', but we have no direct evidence of their having done so. In the east walk of the cloister, however, the friars apparently built up in brick the entrance to the north walk of the cloister, because the stone jambs of a door of that period were found in the year 1905 inserted in the brickwork. (fn. 12) Richard Bartlett in his will (already referred to (fn. 13)) dated the 17th January, 1556/7, bequeathed 20s. 'towardes the makynge of the churche wall', which may possibly refer to the wall of the nave. His executors were also empowered, at their discretion, to give something 'towardes the makynge of a Soller (fn. 14) in the parish church', (fn. 15) from which we should infer that the rood in the nave having been destroyed by Henry VIII a new rood had been erected, but that the rood-loft gallery was still wanting. The descriptions of the monastic buildings in this deed are helpful in locating the positions of the different offices, especially those of the misericord and of the library, which are nowhere else referred to. (fn. 16)
PRIOR WILLIAM PERRIN, B.D.
William Perrin (Peryn (fn. 17) or Pyryn) was probably of the same family as the Perrins of Brochton, Salop, who were descended from a family of the same name in Derbyshire. (fn. 18) As a young man William Perrin associated with the brethren of the Dominicans or Black Friars at Oxford and became a zealous member of their order. From Oxford he moved to their house in London and became such a violent preacher against those called heretics, especially at the time when Henry VIII denounced the pope's power in England, that he was obliged to leave the country. In April 1543 he supplicated to be admitted to the reading of the sentences and was granted the B.A. degree. In June 1547 he was called upon to recant at St. Andrew's Undershaft for preaching on St. George's Day that it was good to worship the pictures of Christ and of saints, and this he did, saying that he had been deceived, and expressed regret for having taught such doctrines. In the reign of King Edward he retired for a time, but on the accession of Queen Mary he appeared in the pulpit an open defender of those doctrines which a few years before he had renounced. (fn. 19) After the queen had made him, in 1555, the head of the Black Friars at St. Bartholomew's, he was held in considerable repute until his death in 1558.
'The viii day of February (1555/6) dyd pryche at Powlles crosse master Peryn, a blake frere, and at the sam(e) sermon was a prest on(e) ser Thomas Samsun, (who) dyd penanse for he had ii wyffes, and a shett abowt hym, and a tapur in ys hand bornyng a-for the precher, and the mayre of London and the althermen and worshepfull men, and mony odur.' (fn. 20)
On the 26th November following he records that at the funeral of the wife of Master H[eys]: (fn. 21)
'Doctur Perryn dyd pryche at her masse, and after a grett dener.' (fn. 22)
Machyn, himself an undertaker, describes several funeral services at St. Bartholomew's which give a good idea of the amount of ceremonial there during Perrin's time. Thus he says: (fn. 23)
'The xx day of September (1558) was bered my lade Cisele Mansfield (fn. 24) at Clerkenwell, with a harold of armes, and browth unto the blake frers in Smyth-feld, the wyche was sant Barthelmuw with iiij baners of santes and a ii dosen torchys, and ii grett whytt branchys, and iiii gylt candylstykes and armes on them, and many clarkes syngyng, and mony morners: and my lade Peter cheyff morner, and odur lades and gentyll-women and knyghtes and gentyllmen; and her servandes bare my lade, and bare the torchys all in blake cottes; and bered a-for the he auter (high altar) at the hed of the old pryar Boltun; (fn. 25) and the chyrche and the qwer (quire) and the raylles hangyd with blake and armes; and the frers (friars) song durge after ther songe, and bered her after ther fasyon, with-owt clarkes or prestes; and after to the plasse to drynke; and the morow iii masses songe, ii pryke-songe masses; and after to Clerkenwell to dener (dinner) to her plasse; and there was a godly sermon as ever was hard to lyf welle of; the father of the howsse dyd pryche, master' (blank).
Again he records in the same year: (fn. 26)
'The xxvi day of November (nine days after the accession of Queen Elizabeth) was bered at the Blake Frers in Smythfeld master Bassett sqwyre, on(e) of the [privy] chambur with quen Mare; and he had ii whyt branchys, and xii torchys, and iiii gret tapurs, and a harold . . . a cote armur, a penon of armes, and ii dosen of [scocheons (fn. 27)].'
Again: (fn. 28)
'[On the xii day of April (1559) was brought from Clerkenwell unto] Blake Frers in Smythfeld with ii haroldes of armes, master Clarenshux and master Somersett, ser Richard Monsfeld (fn. 29) knyght, with ii gret whyt branchys, . . . ii dosen torchys and iiij gylt candyllstykes and iiij gret tapurs, and the plasse and the frers hunge with blake and armes; and xxiiij prestes and clarkes [prayers] all Laten, and durge wher he ded (died), and wher he was bered; and there was a standard and a penon of armes, and a cott armur, and elmett, target and sword, and the[re were] iiij baners of santtes, and a xviij men morners in blake gownes and xx in blake cottes; and after to the plasse to drynke, and the morow masses in all the chyrches, and then after ys standard, cotte, elmet, target, [and sword] offered up; and after all done to the plasse to dener; and a vii dosen skochyons of armes to be bere[d].'
This was erected some hundred years after their death and is an obvious error for St. Bartholomew the Great. Dame Cecile was the third wife of Sir Rice Mansel. Before her marriage, as Cecile Dabrichcourt, she was one of Princess Mary's gentlewomen. Mary wrote of her to Secretary Cromwell 'whom for her long and acceptible service to me done I much esteem and honour', and later, when queen, Mary continued to make her presents. At the queen's coronation Lady Mansel attended dressed in crimson velvet, in a chariot with horses trapped in the same. (fn. 30)
St. Bartholomew's also occurs several times in the wills of this period. In the year 1556 John Garatt, citizen and salter, (fn. 31) willed to 'be buried within the churche of greate seynt Barthilmewes in west Smythfeld betwene the steppes of the same churche going up to the high auter and the channcell'. He bequeathed 12s. yearly 'unto th'order of Blacke Friers now being within the house of Greate Seynt Barthilmewes th'entente that they shall kepe . . .' yearly dirige and masse of requiem on the anniversary of his death and praying for his soul and those of his father, mother and two wives: his third wife Ursula was his executrix. There were various legacies for the poor in bread and cash, and provision was made for wax tapers.
To Dr. Bartlett's will reference has already been made. He gave 'to the Fryers of St. Bartilmewes sixe pounds'. On the 27th July 1558 Robert Urmestone willed, if he died in the city of London, 'to be buryed in the churche of the blak Fryers in Smythefelde', and he bequeathed to the church £3 6s. 8d. His executors were to provide a stone to be laid on his grave with his 'harmes theron to be set, and wt suche enpscription as they shall thinyke convenyent for a memoryall', (fn. 32) but there is no such memorial now in the church. On the 10th August following (fn. 33) William Hayes, a parishioner, willed to be buried 'in the parish churche yarde of greate Saint Bartholmew' . . . the witnesses being 'Sir John Deane p'son and his gostly father', and others.
Prior Perrin published three books of his writings: one is entitled 'Three Godlye and Notable Sermons of the Most Honorable and Blessed Sacrament of the Altar', (fn. 34) preached in the Hospital of St. Anthony in London, on 'Hoc est corpus meum', &c., London, 1545 or 1546 (48, 8vo), dedicated to his 'Special good lord and master Edm. (Bonner Bishop) of London'. (fn. 35) Another is mentioned by Wood (fn. 36) 'In defence of and for the frequent celebrating of the Mass', but Wood says that he had never seen it, neither do we know of the existence of a copy.
The third book is entitled, 'Spiritual Exercyses and Ghostly meditations and a neare waye to come to perfection and life contemplative verie profitable for Religyous, and generally forall other that desire to come to the perfect love of God and to the contempte of the worlde. Collected and set forthe by the helpe of God and diligent laboure of F. Wyllyam Peryn, Bacheler of Divinitie and pryor of the friers preachers of greate Sancte Bartholomes in Smythfoelde +.' This title is taken from a MS. copy of the book sold at the sale of the Trentham Hall Library in November 1906 and presented to the church by a member of the Restoration Committee. (fn. 37) The dedication on folio 4 is dated 'the last of December anno Do. MDLIIII'. If this date also refers to the title, in which he describes himself as prior, it would seem that the Blackfryers were installed earlier than Wriothesley chronicles, and that they were, as Machyn says, the first house that was set up, but, as Rich did not convey the monastery to Queen Mary until a year later, viz. December 1555, the date of their installation as given by Wriothesley, Easter 1556, is probably the correct one. It has been stated that this appears to be the author's own MS., and it may be so. It consists of 192 leaves (186 of MS.) and wants 4 leaves at the end. It is bound in old calf 12mo. Several leaves are blackened as if the MS. had been hidden in a chimney. It may be seen in the glass show case in the cloister of the church. The work was printed by John Waley in 1557 (8vo (fn. 38) and in 318 pp. Blk. Let.) and at Caen by Peter le Chandelier in 1598 (8vo, 136 pp.).
The book is dedicated by the author 'To the devout and very religious sister Katherine Palmer of the order of St. Bridget in Dermont and to Dorothy Clement of the order of St. Clare in Lovain'. This Katherine Palmer was one of the professed sisters of Syon monastery at Isleworth, Midd.; she received at the suppression of the house in 1539 a pension of £6 a year. (fn. 39) Most of the sisters were admitted into a house of their own order at Dermond in Flanders. In 1557 they were reinstated at Syon (fn. 40) by Queen Mary, when Katherine Palmer was elected abbess. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth they again took refuge in Dermond, and after many wanderings they settled in Lisbon. In 1861 they returned to England and are now established at Chudleigh in Devon, the only community that has survived. Katherine Palmer died on December 19th, 1576, in Mechlin, (fn. 41) where the sisters remained for a short time during their wanderings. The order of St. Clare, or Minoresses, to which Dorothy Clement belonged, had their house in the Minories.
Prior Perrin had a seal struck for the resuscitated monastery, which is fully described with the other monastic seals. (fn. 42) It was exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries in February 1805, (fn. 43) and was sold at Sotheby's a hundred years later, on March 14th, 1906. It was resold to the Restoration Committee in the following month, and is now in the glass case in the cloister by the side of Perrin's MS.
Reference has already been made to some of the executions for heresy which took place by burning in Smithfield immediately in front of St. Bartholomew's. In the reign of Edward VI only two cases are recorded: that of Joan of Kent (Joan Bocher), an anabaptist, who was burnt there in the year 1550 for denying the Incarnation; and van Parris, a Fleming, in 1551, on the same charge. But after Queen Mary married Philip of Spain in 1554 such executions became frequent. The first to suffer was John Rogers, a prebendary of St. Paul's (who had been vicar of St. Sepulchre's in 1550); he was burnt in Smithfield in 1555. Machyn thus simply chronicles the event: (fn. 44)
'The iiij day [of] Feybruary the bysshope of London went into Nugatt, and odur docturs, to dysgratt (degrade) Hoper, (fn. 45) and Rogers sumtyme vycker of sant Polkers. The same day was Rogers cared be-twyn x and xi of the cloke in-to Smyth-feld, and bornyd, for aronyus (erroneous) apinions, with a grett compene of the gard.'
It has been estimated that 288 people were burnt for heresy during the reign of Philip and Mary; of which number records have been found of nine being burnt in Smithfield in 1555, sixteen in 1556, and ten in each of the years 1557 and 1558. In March 1849, during the excavation of a drain at a depth of 3 ft. immediately opposite the entrance to the church of St. Bartholomew the Great, the workmen laid open a mass of unhewn stones, blackened as if by fire and covered with ashes and human bones charred and partially consumed.
Prior Perrin died in August 1558, and Machyn thus describes his burial at St. Bartholomew's: (fn. 46)
'The xxii (fn. 47) of August was bered docthur [Peryn] master of frers blake in Smythfeld, the wyche was the [first] howsse that was sett up by quen Mare(s) tyme, [buried] at the he (high) auter syd afor sant Bathelmue.'
After Prior Perrin's death Friar Richard Hargrave, a Dominican and confessor to the nuns of Dartford, (fn. 48) was elected to succeed him, but he never took office as prior because the queen died on the 17th November, and the Letters Patent of the master-general of the order, confirming his election, did not reach this country until Easter. 'The friar to whom they were directed,' says Mr. Birt, (fn. 49) 'fearful of incurring a praemunire, handed them over to the Privy Council, who took measures to prevent Friar Hargrave from entering upon his office. Friar Hargrave, from whose pen we have an account of these transactions, states that after Friar Perrin's death, some more of the friars, presumably old men, also died, while others who were foreigners returned to their own countries, no doubt when suppression was looming in the near future. Thus it came about . . . there were then in residence to quit the convent but three priests and one young man; and these, to quote Friar Hargrave's words, 'chose to remain in England and enjoy the flesh pots of Egypt to being abject in the house of the Lord.' (fn. 50) . . . It may be that they conformed.
'The xiii (fn. 51) day of July (1559) whent the frers blake in Smythfeld went away.'
The friars of Greenwich had gone on the 12th June, and the nuns of Syon on the 4th July. (fn. 52)
The Act was passed in the first year of Queen Elizabeth, chapter xxiv, and is entitled 'an Act to annexe to the Crown certayne Religious Howses and Monasteries and to refourme certayne abuses in Chantries'. (fn. 53)
The last section only, No. xvi, concerns St. Bartholomew's (fn. 54) and is as follows:
'And whereas the churche of Greate St. Bartilmewes next Smithefelde in London, which ys nowe used by the Relygious men there called the Fryers Preachers, otherwise the Black Fryers, as their Conventuall Church, was in the last yere of the Reigne of the said late King Edward, the parish Church and so used for all Thinhabitantes and Resiantes within the Close called Greate St. Barthilmewes next Smithfelde in London; Be yt enacted by thauctgoritee of this presente Parliament, That all the sayd Churche shalbe and remayn for ever a parische Churche for all Thinabitants and Resiantes which nowe bee and which hereafter shalbee within the said Close called Grete St. Barthilmewes; This Act or anything therein conteyned to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.'
The regrant to Rich by Queen Elizabeth was made for a money consideration, as is shown below; he therefore had to buy the monastic buildings twice over, but whether he received any money payment for them from Queen Mary does not appear.
'The Queen to all to whom etc. greeting. Know ye that we in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred and Ninety-eight Pounds, nine shillings and Four Pence lawful money of England at the receipt of our Exchequer . . . to our use by our beloved Richard Riche, Knight, Lord Riche, in hand well and faithfully paid whereof we acknowledge that we shall be fully satisfied and entirely paid and that the same Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche his heirs executors and administrators are therefrom fully quit and released by these presents Of our special grace certain knowledge and mere motion have given granted and confirmed and for ourselves our heirs and successors we give grant and confirm unto the aforesaid Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche the site of the house or late priory for a time of the Friers Preachers commonly called Lez Black Friers in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Apostle the Great next Smithfield in the suburbs of London by the authority of Parliament now dissolved and suppressed. And all those messuages erections buildings land ground and hereditaments belonging to us commonly named and called Le Cloyster Le Old Kitchen Le Frater Le Chapiter Howse (fn. 57) and Le Library and Le Dorter with their appurtenances together situate and being in the said parish of St. Bartholomew the Apostle the Great next West Smithfield aforesaid and in the close called Great Saint Bartholomew's Close there and all erections chambers and buildings whatsoever erected and built above the said cloister and above the said erections and buildings called Le Chapter Howse and Le Library And all houses buildings entrances ambulatories and gardens and lands and ground belonging to us whatsoever within the premises being And the advowson donation free disposal and right of patronage of the Rectory and parish church of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle the Great next West Smithfield in the suburbs of London All and singular which premises were formerly parcels of the possessions and hereditaments of the said Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche and which the same Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche lately gave and granted to our most dear sister Mary late Queen of England and to her heirs and successors for ever And which afterwards and lately were in the hands and occupation of the prior and convent of the Friers Preachers late for a time sojourning and inhabiting there And which afterwards devolved and rightly devolved into our hands and in our hands now are or ought to be by reason or virtue of a certain Act therefor amongst other matters passed in our Parliament held at Westminster in the first year of our reign We give also and by these presents we grant unto the said Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche all and singular the premises and every parcel thereof so fully freely and entirely and together with all and every kind those so many so great such the same of such kind and the like franchises liberties rights jurisdictions privileges exemptions free customs profits advantages emoluments quittances exonerations and hereditaments whatsoever as in number quantity and quality so fully freely and entirely as Ourself or the said Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche or of late the prior and convent of the said late priory Friars Preachers for a time or any other person or persons heretofore holding or possessing the premises or any parcel thereof or being thereof seised ever have had held or enjoyed the same or had right to have hold or enjoy the same by reason or colour of any charter gift grant collation or of any letters patent heretofore in any wise made or by reason or colour of any prescription use or custom or by any other manner or right or title whatsoever And so fully freely and entirely and in so ample a manner and form as all and singular the premises came to the hands of ourself or the hands of our most dear sister Mary late Queen of England or had right to have come and in our hands now are or ought to be or had right to be by any right or title whatsoever.'
'Excepting always nevertheless and out of this present grant entirely reserving all bells and all lead being upon the premises (fn. 58) save lead in the gutters pipes and windows of the same premises Excepting also all advowsons to the premises or to any of them appertaining save the advowson of the rectory and parish church of St. Bartholomew the Apostle the Great hereinbefore by these presents given and granted All and singular which premises in the said parish of St. Bartholomew the Apostle the Great . . . are valued at the clear yearly value of six pounds thirteen shillings and four pence . . . Unto the said Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche his heirs and assigns to the proper behoof and use of the said Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche his heirs and assigns for ever To hold the said site of the house or priory of the late Friars Preachers commonly called Lez Black Fryers and all other the premises in the said parish of St. Bartholomew the Apostle the Great . . . of us our heirs and successors as of our manor of Estgrenewiche in our co. of Kent by fealty only in free and common socage and not in chief.'
The tithes meadow and rents in Herefordshire were to be held on the same terms. The queen indemnified Rich and the premises from all corodies, rents, fees, and annuities of all kinds payable out of the premises, save the services to the queen and any life grants made of the premises: the production of these Letters Patent or their enrolment to be sufficient warrant or release.
'We will also and by these presents we grant to the aforesaid Richard Riche Knight Lord Riche that he may and shall have these our Letters Patent under our great seal of England in due manner made and sealed without fine or fee great or small to us in our Hanaper to be rendered paid or made. To the end that the express mention, etc.
This deed is here set out at some fullness because Lord Holland's 'Liberty' of St. Bartholomew's and the various privileges claimed therefor (which are considered later) depended in a large measure on the terms of this grant by Queen Elizabeth.
The assessment of the premises at St. Bartholomew's sold by Queen Elizabeth to Rich seems about the same as when King Henry sold to Rich, but whereas Rich bought from Henry on the basis of a nine years' purchase he bought from Elizabeth on a basis of over twenty-three years' purchase! Of the total sum paid, £298 9s. 4d., probably £160 only related to St. Bartholomew's.