The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1801.
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ABBOTS OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S ABBEY.
1. PETER, from the first beginning of the building of this monastery, was designed and appointed, through the king's favour, to be the first abbot of it; hence the chronological tables put the foundation of it, and the constituting of Peter in the same year, 598, (fn. 1) as Thorn does in 605. This abbot was sent in 607, by the king, into France, and was drowned in his passage; (fn. 2) he was afterwards, on account of his sanctity, canonized. (fn. 3)
2. John, a benedictine monk, one of Augustine's companions, was made abbot in his room, being approved of by king Ethelbert, and receiving the benediction from archbishop Laurence in 607. In his time, anno 613, the church of this monastery was dedicated by archbishop Laurence, when the body of St. Augustine, with those of others, which had been deposited without the church, were removed into it. This abbot died in 618, and was buried within this monastery, in the church of the Virgin Mary, but his body, with those of other holy persons, was afterwards removed from thence and placed in the wall behind the altar of St. Gregory. (fn. 4)
3. RUFFINIAN, another of those monks, who came over with Augustine into England, was made abbot in 618. He died in 626, and was buried near his predecessor, His body was afterwards removed into the larger church to the others. (fn. 5)
GRACIOSUS, another of Augustine's companions, a Roman by birth, succeeded; and died in 638. (fn. 6)
5. PETRONIUS, a Roman likewise, was next made abbot in 640 He died in 654. (fn. 7)
6. NATHANIEL succeeded him in 655, a man noted for his probity, who had been sent with Mellitus and Justus into England. He died in 667, but there is no mention where he was buried. (fn. 8)
7. ADRIAN, born in Africa, was constituted abbot by the pope, after a vacancy of about two years. He had been abbot of Niridia near Naples, and was taken prisoner on his journey into England, and detained in France till the year 673, when being freed, he came to this monastery and took possession of his dignity. (fn. 9) He was, it is said, appointed a kind of coadjutor and inspector over the actions of archbishop Theodore. He is said to have been very expert in the liberal sciences of aftronomy and music, and was the first who with that archbishop, brought into fashion the singing in churches with tunes and notes. Having governed this monastery for thirty-nine years, he died a reverend old man in 708, (fn. 10) and was entombed in the church of it, at the altar of St. Gregory, in our Lady's chapel. (fn. 12)
8. ALBIN, an Englishman, Adrian's disciple, received his benediction as abbot in 708. He was a person well skilled in the Latin and Greek languages. Venerable Bede made use of his assistance, when he made his collections for his ecclesiastical history. (fn. 13) By some, he is said to have died abbot of this church in 732, and to have been buried in this church; and by others, to have been in his latter days, abbot of Tournay, in France, and if so, probably buried there. (fn. 14)
9. NOTHBARLD, a monk of this abbey, was shortly after the death or resignation of Albin, chosen abbot in his room, in 732. He died in 748, and was buried near his predecessors in this monastery. (fn. 15)
10. ALDHUNE succeeded as abbot in 748, in whose time the burials of the archbishops were taken from this monastery, which his brethren imputed to his supineness. He died in 760, and was buried here. (fn. 16)
11. JAMBERT succeeded him in 760 as abbot, and in 762 was elected archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 17)
12. ETHELNOD succeeded that same year, and died in 787, nor is it known where he was buried. (fn. 18)
13. GUTTARD was the next abbot, who died in 803. (fn. 19)
14. CUNRED succeeded the same year, and died in 822. (fn. 20)
15. WERNOD was the next abbot, and died in 844. He and his predecessor Cunred, the first being near of kin to the kings Offa and Cudred, and the latter to Kenulph, all three kings of Kent, procured from them different lands to this monastery. It is not known where he was buried. (fn. 21)
16. Diernod succeeded next, and died in 864, (fn. 22) of whom, as well as of his eighteen next successors, there is nothing known more than their bare names.
17. WYNHERE was abbot, and died in 866. (fn. 23)
18. BEADMUND died in 874. (fn. 24)
19. KYNEBERT died in 879. (fn. 25)
20. ETAUS died in 883. (fn. 26)
21. DEGMUND died in 886. (fn. 27)
22. ALFRID died in 894.
23. CEOLBERT died in 902.
24. BECCAN died in 907.
25. ATHELWALD died in 909.
26. GILBERT died in 917.
27. EDRED died in the same year 917.
28. ALCHMUND died in 928.
29. GUTTULF died in 935.
30. EADRED died in 937.
31. LULLING died in 939. (fn. 28)
32. BEORNELM died in 942. (fn. 29)
33. SIGERIE died in 956. (fn. 30)
34. ALFRIC died in 971, who in Thorn's Chronicle is confounded with his predecessor Sigerie. (fn. 31)
35. ELFNOTH, in whose time, anno 978, this church received a new dedication in honor of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Augustine. He died in 980. (fn. 32)
36. SIRICIUS was first a monk of Glastonbury, whence he was promoted to be abbot of St. Augustine's, and thence to the bishopric of Bath and Wells in 988; (fn. 33) from which he was preferred to the see of Canterbury in the year following. (fn. 34)
38. ELMER, a person noted for his great sanctity, succeeded him as abbot, from which dignity he was in the year 1022, advanced to be bishop of Shirburne; and after some years falling blind, he returned to this monastery again, where he spent the remainder of his days in the infirmary of it; and dying there, was buried in the habit of a private monk in the church of it, opposite to the altar of St. John.
This Elmer appears to have been abbot when the Danes sacked the city of Canterbury, in the year 1011, when this monastery was spared by them, and the abbot was suffered to depart unhurt. In the time of this persecution, says Thorn, many relics of the saints and the precious jewels of this monastery, were hidden in different places, nor were they in his time taken away again; for those being dead, who had been present at the hiding of them, the memory of the places, as well as of the persons themselves, was become extinct. (fn. 37)
39. ELSTAN, or Ethelstan, succeeded him, and received his benediction at the altar of St. Peter, in the church of this monastery, from archbishop Agelnoth. In his time the body of St. Mildred was translated from Minster, in the Isle of Thanet, to this church in 1030, or, according to others, in 1033. (fn. 38) He died, according to the Saxon chronicle, in June, 1044; but according to the chronological tables, in 1047, and was buried in the crypt, before the altar of St. Thomas. (fn. 39)
40. WLFRIC, whom we may call the younger, was his successor, being constituted abbot, according to the Saxon chronicle, in 1044; or according to the chronological tables, in 1047, and received his benediction at the altar of St. Peter from archbishop Eadsin, with the king's leave, and that of Elstan, who was then abbot, who was yet alive; but labouring under bodily infirmities, king Edward the Confessor in 1046, sent him with others to the council of Rhemes, and in 1056 he was sent by the king to Rome, to transant some business for him there, when he obtained the apostolical authority to fit in councils next to the abbot de Monte Cassino. He translated the body of St, Mildred to another place in the church of this monastery, which chruch he began to rebuild, but was prevented by his sudden death with going on with his design, for he died, accoriding to the above tables, in 1059, or as others have it, in 1061. (fn. 40)
41.EGELSIN, a monk of Winchester, was, upon the death of Wlfric, made abbot by the king, and received his benediction from archbishop Stigand at Windsor, upon the feast of St. Augustine, about the year 1063. He was sent on a message to pope Alexander II. and received from him the grant of the mitre and other pontificals; which, however, he was afraid to make use of at his return to England, lest he should incur the king's or indeed rather the archbishop's displeasure; on which account, the privilege of them was laid aside for a long time, and the archbishop does not seem to have forgiven him, for he fled out of England into Denmark, through fear of him, or rather, as Thorn says, of the Conqueror, in 1070, being the same year that the archbishop came to the see; and if what the chronicler tells us is true, of this abbot's accompanying archbishop Stigand and the Kentish men, to oppose the Conqueror at Swanscombe, there can be no wonder at his dislike to him, and the abbot's flying to avoid the king's resentment. In the above year, the Conqueror, in violation of his promiles, caused the monasteries to be searched, and commanded the money, as well as the charters, in the liberties of which the nobles put their considence, and which he had, when placed on the throne, sworn to observe, to be taken from the churches where they had lain in security, and to be deposited in his treasury. (fn. 41)
42. SCOTLAND, or, as he is called by some, Scoland,
a monk, and a Norman by birth, was, upon the flight
of Egilsin, constituted abbot in his room by the
king, who had seized on this monastery, which, with
all its possessions, he conficated to his own use, and
most probably he might owe this promotion to archbishop Lanfranc. The power which this abbot had,
through the favour of both the king and archbishop,
he made good use of to the benefit of his monastery,
by recovering some lands and procuring the grants of
others to it. He much improved the buildings of it,
for on his return from Rome, whither he had been
sent by the king on some business with the pope, he
turned his thoughts to the enlarging of the church of
the monastery; those buildings of it which his predecessor Wlfric had intended to carry forward, being too
small and contracted, and the rest being ruinous and
in danger of falling, he obtained the pope's leave to
pull the whole down, and rebuild them anew, according to his own pleasure, and to remove the bodies buried in it; these therefore, he first removed, being the
relics of St. Adrian, which he placed in the portico of
St. Augustine; of the abbots Albin and John II. of
that name, and of the other saints whose inscriptions
had been formerly destroyed by the flames; the bodies of the four kings, Eadbald, who had built the
oratory, Lothair, Mulus and Withred, with their
wives and children, and a long list of grand-children.
who likewise rested there. He then levelled this oratory to the ground, and in the place of it built the
crypt of the blessed Virgin, and upon that a place for
the reception of the relics of St. Augustine, with his
companions; thus this abbot made the new work,
beginning from the above oratory, as far as the portico
of St. Augustine, where he antiently lay, but death
prevented his proceeding further in this work, which
his successor completed, as will be further mentioned
hereafter. He died either on September 3, or 9, in
the year 1087, (fn. 42) and was buried in a vault under the
choir in St. Mary's chapel, with this inscription:
Abbas Scotlandus prudentibus est memorandus
……. Libertatis …. dare gratis
Actu magnificus generosa stirpe creatus
Viribus enituit Sanctis Sancte quoq; vixit.
43. WIDO, a monk, was next elected abbot, and
received his benediction from archbishop Lanfranc.
The Saxon chronicle tells us, that he was by violence
obtruded on the monks, by the archbishop, on the
seast of St. Thomas, in the year 1087. The new
church begun by his predecessor, was finished by this
abbot, (fn. 43) who translated the bodies of St. Augustine
and those others which had been buried in the chapel
of the Virgin Mary, as above-mentioned, into it.—The body of St. Augustine being privately reposited
in a stone coffin in a wall under the east window,
where it lay hid for upwards of 130 years. (fn. 44) Abbot
Wido died on August 6, 1099, (fn. 45) and was buried in the
crypt at St. Richard's altar, with this epitaph engraved on his tomb-stone:
Hunc statuit poni tumulum mors atra Widoni
Cui stans sede throni superi det gaudia doni.
44. HUGH DE FLORIAC, a Norman, being of kindred to king William Rusus, received the benediction
from the bishop of London, archbishop Anselm being
then in banishment. (fn. 46) He built the chapter-house and
dormitory from the ground, out of the riches he had
brought with him, and the pulpitum, or space between
the nave and the choir of the church. He bought a
great brass candlestick for the choir, which was called
Jesse; he made the lower silver table of the great
altar and other costly ornaments of his church, which
from his name, was called Florie. He appointed the
yearly commemoration of the benefactors of the abbey
to be celebrated on July 3, and that thirty poor persons should be sed in the hall for ever, on his anniversary. (fn. 47) He died on 7 cal April, 1124, and was buried
before the steps on the south side of the chapter-house,
built by himself from the foundation, (fn. 48) for whom this
epitaph was made:
Abbas, eheu! Floris specimen vertutis, honoris,
Hic jacet in tumulo presul peramabilis Hugo.
Floruit ut terris, pater hic, pace & quoq; querris;
Florent nunc celo Christi pugil iste sereno.
45. HUGH DE TROTESCLIVE, a monk of the church of Rochester, and chaplain to king Henry, being a man equally learned in monastical and secular discipline, the year after the above abbot's death, (fn. 49) procured the government of this abbey, when the arch bishop peremptorily refused to give him the benediction in his own monastical church; upon which the matter was controverted in a provincial council before the king and cardinal Cremona, the pope's legate, who notwithstanding the opposition of the archbishop to the contrary, commanded, by virtue of the apostolical authority, Sifred, bishop of Chichester, to perform that solemnity. This abbot restored to his convent the full number of monks, being sixty; he founded the hospital of St. Laurence, and left behind him the character of a prudent and good manager of the concerns of his monastery. He died on the morrow of St. John Baptist in 1151, and was buried before the steps in the chapter-house, on the north side, opposite to Hugh de Floriac, his predecessor.
46. SYLVESTER, prior of this monastery, was elected abbot in his room. Archbishop Theobald refused to give him the benediction, objecting to his want of character; to clear himself from which, the abbot elect went to Rome, when having so done, the pope Eugenius confirmed him in his office, and recommended him to the archbishop, and he received the benediction from him, by the pope's mandate, on St. Augustine's day, 1152; but this was not without much delay, and a peremptory rescript from the apostolic see. (fn. 50)
Archbishop Theobald carried his inveteracy against the abbot and convent of this monastery to such a height, that having excommunicated them, he deposed this abbot Sylvester from his office, and prohibited the celebration of divine service in the church of it, so that there was none in it from the time of Lent to the month of August, (fn. 51) when the excommunication was taken off, and the abbot was restored to his office again. Before his death, he ordained that there should be yearly received into the hall of the monastery, on the first day of Lent, as many poor persons as there were monks in it, who should there receive food and drink, during the whole time of it, for ever. He died in August 1161, and was buried in the chapter-house, at the distance of twelve feet westward from the reading-desk, under a plain white stone. (fn. 52)
Thorn, the chronicler of this abbey, and Gervas the monk, the writer of the history of Christ-church, have given opposite characters of this abbot, accordingly as they stood affected to him.
47. CLAREMBALD, a secular, (fn. 53) was obtruded in 1163, upon the monks as their abbot, by the king against their will, upon which account the convent never owned him as such, or admitted him into their chapter, or suffered him to celebrate any offices in their church, (fn. 54) nor would they insert his name among the catalogue of their abbots; he offered himself to archbishop Becket, to receive his benediction, but the monks making an appeal against it, it was deferred, and he was afterwards deposed by papal mandate directed to the bishops of Exeter and Worcester, and the abbot of Faversham, (fn. 55) principally on the allegation of the monks, that he was a bad man, and had wasted the goods of the monastery. However, since, he is by others stiled abbot elect, during which time they had no other abbot, and although the monks would not permit him to exercise any spiritual government in the monastery, yet he had the management of the whole temporalities of it, having obtained the custody of their common seal, (fn. 56) and not being formally deposed as abbot, he is here inserted as such. In his time, in 1168, this abbey was the greatest part of it burnt. (fn. 57) Clarembald was deposed in 1173, or, according to the chronological tables, in 1176. Upon his deposition, the king, highly incensed at it, seized on this monastery, and kept it in his hands for two years and an half, (fn. 58) when
48. ROGER, a monk of Christ-church, and keeper of the altar in the martyrdom there, (fn. 59) was elected in 1176. He refused to make prosessional obedience to the archbishop; who, upon this, refused to give him the benediction, and he took a journey to Rome, when in 1179, he received it from the pope himself at Tusculana, near that city, and at the same time the mitre and ring; after which, he sent him several presents, as special marks of his favour, together with the sandals and pastoral staff, (fn. 60) and his letters likewise to the archbishop, in which he pronounced a definitive sentence, that in future the archbishops should give the abbot elect, the benediction in his own monastery of St. Augustine, within forty days, without exacting any profession; which if they failed in, the abbot elect should go to Rome, and receive it from such bishop as the pope should appoint for that purpose. (fn. 61) But this does not seem to have put an end to these disputes with the several metropolitans, which were still carried on with much animosity on both sides; an account of them, and the various compositions entered into between them on this subject, are inserted at length throughout Thorn's chronicle, and are again related by Gervas, but are by far too tedious and uninteresting to recapitulate in this work.
The intercourse and favour which this abbot obtained at the court of Rome, together with the suggestions of the archbishop, highly incensed the king
against him, who being softened him to his favour, and the
letters in his behalf, restored him to his favor, and the
monastery to its possessions, which he had seized on
and retained in his hands, and a reconcilemement seems
likewise to have taken place between the archbishop
and this abbot; (fn. 62) after which, I find the latter making
fine to the king for a perambulation of his barony. (fn. 63) —He died an old man, having sustained much troble in
desending the rights of his church, on 13 cal. November, in 1212, (fn. 64) and was buried in the chapter-house, on
the north side, under a white stone, with this inscription:
Antistes jacet hic Rogerus in ordine primus
Pastor devotus quondam nunc nil nist simus
Mortuus in cists requiescit nunc semel ista
Qui vivus mundo parum requievit eundo.
49. ALEXANDER succeeded in 1212, and received his benediction from the pope himself at Rome. (fn. 65) He was a monk of this monastery, and a noted professor of sacred theology, a man of universal eloquence and exceedingly learned, as well in secular, as ecclesiastical knowledge, being most dear to king John, so that he was most graciously received by him; accordingly, he most firmly adhered to the king, at the time when most of the prelates and barons of the realm had left him, and when Lewis the French dauphin invading the kingdom had landed in Thanet, the abbot opposing him to the utmost of his power, excommunicated him and all his adherents. (fn. 66)
Matthew Westminster says, he was elegant in his person and of a venerable countenance, and that for taking part with his sovereign, he endured much trouble and suffered great indignity. (fn. 67) He died on 4 non. October, in 1220, and was buried on the south side of the chapter house. (fn. 68)
50. Hu H, the third abbot of this name, monk and chamberlain of this convent, was elected abbot in his room on 7 cal. Sept. anno 1220, by general con sent, (fn. 69) and afterwards went to Rome, where he received his benediction on April I, next year. In his return through France, he made some stay with king Lewis, with whom he was in intimate friendship; during the above time, John de Marisco, prior of this monastery, desirous of knowing where the body of St. Augustine was deposited, caused the wall to be broken near his altar, in the eastern part, under the middle window, where they found a tomb of stone, exceedingly well closed with iron and lead, on which was written
Inclitus Anglorum presul pius & decus altum
Hic Augustinus requiescit corpore sanctus,
After which, the silver shrine, the altar, and all the stone work, on which the shrine stood, being broken; in the middle of it, at the bottom, was found a large piece of lead, almost seven feet long, on which was written in Latin: In this is contained a part of the bones and ashes of St. Augustine, the apostle of the English, who being formerly sent by St. Gregory, converted the English nation to the Christian faith, whose precious head and greater bones, Guido the abbot honourably translated to another small stone vessel, as the leaden table placed with those same bones shews, in the year from the Incarnation of our Lord, 1091.
But because this work could not be effectually done,
unless the lead being removed, the above vessel of
stone was removed likewise; it was carried thence to
the great altar by the abbots of Battel and of Langdon, and by the priors of St. Edmund Bury, of Faversham, and of St. Radigund's and many other religious
persons, with great veneration, where it was watched
by the monks; after which it was opened in the prefence of the abbots, priors and great men of the land,
in the sight of the clergy and people, master H. Sandford the archdeacon, being invited to it; when there
was found a leaden plate, with the head and bones,
the superscription of which was, In the year from the
incarnation of our Lord, 1091, William, king of the
English reigning, the son of king William, who acquired
England; abbot Guido translated the body of St. Augustin, from the place where it had lain for 500 years,
and placed all the bones of that saint in the present casket, and be deposited other parts of the sacred body in a
silver shrine, to the praise of him who reigns for ever.
And in a third place, viz. on the summit of the silver
shrine there was found a small piece of lead, in which
was some of his flesh, but yet reduced to earth, but
which was like moist earth and coagulated blood; the
superscription of which was, this lead contains part of
the dust of St. Augustine, and in this his bowels were
likewise placed; near which were found several other
precious relics, and by these discoveries, it came to be
known, that the body was to be found in three different places; for king Henry III. and the convent
had caused the body to be so deposited; the major part
being placed as before, under the silver shrine, strongly
bound with iron, and well closed with lead; the second
part lower under the marble tomb, and the third part
under the middle window in the eastern part; but the
head, at the instance of the great men present, and to
excite the devotion of the people, was retained without the shrine, and was wonderfully decorated, at the
abbot's expence, in gold, silver and precious stones,
as it was then to be seen. (fn. 70) This abbot Hugh had the
character of being religious, honest and provident,
adorned with learning and with a godly life. He died
on November 3, 1224, and was buried in the nave of
this church, in the north wall, by the altar of the Holy
Cross, under a flat stone, with this inscription: (fn. 71)
Prosuit in populo domini venerabilis Hugo
Ettribuit sanctæ subjectis dogmata vitæ.
51. ROBERT DE BATHEL, a monk and treasurer of
this convent, was next elected abbot, on 8 cal. December 1224, (fn. 72) and received the benediction at Rome, by
the hands of the cardinal bishop of Albania, on Ascension-day, anno 1225. (fn. 73) During his time, in 1240, the
high altar of this church was new made and dedicated
anew in honour of St. Peter and St. Paul, apostles,
and St. Augustine, and the altar behind it, at the eastern extremity of the church, placed before the shrine
of St. Augustine, was dedicated to the Holy Trinity; (fn. 74)
and the altar of St. Adrian was new made likewise.—He died on 17 cal. Feb. 1252, and was buried within
the body of the chapel of St. Mary, in the nave of
this church, at the entrance of the chancel, with this
Abbas Robertus virrutis onore refertus
Albis exutus jacet hic a came solutus.
52. ROGER DE CHICHESTER, chamberlain of this
convent, succeeded as abbot on 3 non. Feb. 1253, (fn. 75)
being elected by way of compromise, (fn. 76) and received
by virtue of the pope's letters, the benediction in his
own church, from the bishop of London, the archbishop refusing to perform the ceremony. (fn. 77) In his time,
anno 1260, the new refectory was begun and finished
six years afterwards, (fn. 78) and in 1270, the altar, which
was placed before the shrine of St. Mildred, in the
church of this monastery, her body having been laid in
a new tomb, was dedicated to the Holy Innocents; (fn. 79)
and three years after this, the lavatory, which was before the door of the resectory, was finished by this abbot at his sole cost of 300 marcs. (fn. 80) He founded the
chapel of Kingsdown, in this county, and dying on St.
Lucia's day, 1272, (fn. 81) was buried before St. Katherine's
altar, under a marble stone, on which was engraved his
effigies in brass, and this epitaph;
Prudens & verus jacet hac in scrobe Rogerus
Constans & lenis, populi pastorq. sidelis.
During the time of his presiding over this monastery, Adam de Kyngesnothe, chamberlain of it, was a great benefactor to it; among other things, he built the bathing room entirely new, and made the baths in it; he caused one bell to be made in the church, and gave different cloths, ornaments and vestments, for the use of it, as well as garments and coverings, for the use and comfort of the monks; he caused seventy shillings to be allotted to the making of the prior's chamber; 100l. to covering the dormitory with lead; 30l. in aid to the charge of the backhouse and malthouse; twenty marcs to the building of the chapel over the gate, and twenty marcs to the repairing of the infirmary; twenty marcs to increase the ornaments of the church, and sixty marcs to make the lavatory decent, besides many other beneficent acts conferred on the monastery. He was afterwards, for his worthiness, promoted to preside over the monastery of Chertsey. (fn. 82)
53. NICHOLAS THORN, written in Latin De Spina, then third prior of this convent, was elected abbot, by way of compromise, on January 2, 1273, and was confirmed at Rome, where he received the benedicton from the cardinal bishop of Portsea, on Easter-day, 1273; after which, on his return, he received a subsidy from all his tenants, in the name of his palfrey. (fn. 83) During his time, anno 1276, the inner chamber of the prior next to the kitchen, and the cloyster, with the pillars and roof, were new made, and the resectory was ornamented. (fn. 84) In the year 1277, this abbot was appointed conservator of the order of the Præmonstratentians in England; (fn. 85) in 1283 he went to Rome and intreated permission of the pope to resign his dignity of abbot; (fn. 86) being, as it is said, discovered to have privately procured several bulls of privileges to this monastery to be fabricated, in order to make use of them at proper seasons against their adversaries. (fn. 87) After this, he turned monk of the Carthusian order, at Selby, in Yorkshire, and was relieved by his successor in this abbotship, with a yearly pension of ten marcs, being fallen into a languishing condition, or rather into extreme poverty. (fn. 88)
54. THOMAS DE FYNDON, the third prior of this
monastery, was nominated abbot by his predecessor,
for so it seems the pope required; accordingly he was
constituted and received the bebediction at London,
from the bishop of Dublin, by the pope's mandate, on
11 non. April, (fn. 89) but before his temporalities were restored, he was fined by the king 400 marcs, for being
constituted abbot without his royal licence; however,
at the request of the bishop of Bath, the king's chancellor, a fourth-part of the fine was remitted. (fn. 90) In his
time, in 1287, the new kitchen for the convent was
begun, though it was not finished in less than four years
at the expence of 414l. 10s. (fn. 91) the roof of the dormitory
was new made and leaded, the stalls made in the choir,
and the window in front, and many other things; the
charge of which, was 5961. 7s. 10d. The stone tower
(Torule) was built, as was the chapel of the abbot,
with the new chamber and the great gate; by his care,
about the year 1300, St. Augustine's relics were again
removed, with several of his successors, and placed near
the high altar, in a sumptuous monument, and the
former inscription put on it, with these two additional
Ad cumulum laudis Patris almi ductus amore
Abbas hunc tumulum Thomas dictavit honore.
About this time, king Edward I. being highly incensed at the pope's usurpation of his prerogative, called a parliament of his nobility and commons, from which he, however, excluded the bishops and clergy, and caused to be enacted in it, that these should be out of his protection, and their goods subject to confisca tion, unless they would, by submitting themselves, redeem his favour. Upon which, the abbot of St. Augustine, with many others, made liberal offers to be again taken into his favour and protection; this abbot giving to the king for that purpose, 250l. in money, though notwithstanding his haste in doing it, he had lost of the goods of his abbey, during this consiscation, 250 quarters of corn, which the king's officers had seized to his use, and had shipped for Gascony. (fn. 92)
In the 2d year of king Edward II. anno 1309, being the last year of his abbotship, he obtained licence from the king to embattle the gates of his monastery, (fn. 93) at which time it appears, that the abbot was charged with six horses with their appurtenances, to the ward of the coast.
Between this abbot and archbishop Winchelsea, the disputes concerning the privileges of this monastery were carried on with increased vigour, and the abbot having had them strengthened by a declaratory bull of pope Boniface VIII. ventured to institute three new deanries, in which he included all the churches of the patronage of his monastery; this new jurisdiction was of course, opposed by the archbishop, by the chapter of Christ church, and by the archdeacon, who jointly appealed to the court of Rome. At last, after violent proceedings and animosities on both sides, the abbot was compelled to humble himself, and to sue to the archbishop for peace between them, which was, in 1303, by the intercession and mediation of the earl of Pembroke and other friends, at last obtained, and various articles and concessions were agreed to, and ratified between them; one of which was, the abolition of these new deanries, and the restoring of the churches of them to their old jurisdiction. (fn. 94)
This abbot made a great seast, at which were present all the prelates of the county, and sixty six knights,
besides a great many other presons of note; among
which were J. de Berewick, and his sociates, justices
itinerant, here at that time; the whole company
amounting to 4500 persons. He had the character of
being watchful and assiduous in the government of his
church, sage and just in his determinations, greatly attentive to the assicted and infirm, and compassionate
in relieving the wants of the poor. (fn. 95) He died on 14
cal. March 1309, (fn. 96) and was buried before the altar of
St. Mary, in a small chapel where he had daily celebrated mass, opposite the place where St. Augustine
was formerly buried under a marble stone, on which
was his portrait in his mitre and pontisicals, inlaid with
brass, and this inseription round it:
En Jacet hic Thomas morum dulcedine tinctus
Abbas egregius, equitatis tramite cinctus.
Firma clumna domus, in judicio bene rectus
Nec fuit hic presul donorum turbine flexus
In pietate pater, inopum damnis miseratus
Nec fraudis patient curarum presbyteratus
Jussu pontificis summi…… Capit iste
Cetibus Augelicis nos Thome jungita Christe.
In the time of this abbot, John Peckham, one of the monks of this monastery, who was steward or bailiff of part of their estates, became a great benefactor to it, from the increase he made of them beyond his annual account, being of service to them in many difficult affairs, and paying many large sums of money to the different and urgent uses of the monastery, among which was forty pounds to the casting of a new bell, twenty marcs to the beginning of a new gate, twenty marcs to the making the new tower; and he devised to it by his will 300l. besides which, he made three good granges, large and fair, beyond the charges in his account, which he built anew, one in the parsonage at Littleborne, another at Little Mungham, and the third at Norborne. (fn. 97) It appears, by the writs of Edward I, of the time of the death of the above abbot, that the king, by his prerogative, claimed the palfry, cup, ring, and cry or kennel of dogs, of every abbot after his death, as his due from the abbot and convent; and the king, accordingly, always on these occasions, issued his writs to his escheators for the purpose. (fn. 98)
55. RALPH BOURN was elected abbot in his room, on March 7, 1309, (fn. 99) and received the benediction at Avignon, on II cal. July, from the cardinal, bishop of Hostia. On his entering upon this dignity, he made on his return a sumptuous and splendid feast, at which six thousand guests, of whom many were of good quality, are said to have been entertained with three thousand dishes of meat. The bill of fare, the prices of the provisions, and the whole expence of the entertainment, which amounted to 287l. 5s. are printed in a table in Thorn's Chronicle; (fn. 100) and next year, anno 1310, he received a subsidy from his tenants; as for his palsry, as his predecessors had done before. (fn. 101)
In his time, Peter Dene, LL. D. being canon of the churches of York, London, and Wells, retired to this monastery, and was made a monk of it, in order to avoid the enmity of the nobles against him, on account of the death of Thomas, earl of Lancaster. He was in his life-time, as well as by his will, which is dated in 1322, a very considerable benefactor to this monastery; by it he left his books, which were many, as well as his silver plate of various kinds, to it. (fn. 102)
At this time the archbishop of Armagh, consecrated
five crosses to be used in processions, and one cross for
Easter, and two for the chief altar, and the image of
the blessed Virgin, in the chapel of the dormitory. In
the year 1324, the high altar was repaired, and reconsecrated by one Peter, an Hungarian bishop, to the
honor of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Augustine. He
afterwards, says Thorn, (fn. 103) dedicated it anew to the blessed
Trinity, St. Augustine, and his companions. (fn. 104) He consecrated likewise the altars of St. John Baptist, St. Katherine, St. Stephen, and St. Laurence. The altars
likewise of the blessed Virgin, St. Michael, Gabriel
and Rabhael in the undercrost. The altars of St. Thomas, St. Blaze, and St. Cosmus and Damian. The altar of the blessed Virgin in the infirmary; and all this
he did by a general commission as the vicar of archbishop Walter. The altar of St. Adrian was then dedicated to the martyrs St. Stephen, Laurence and Vincent. The altar of St. Mildred had been before dedicated to the Holy Innocents, and therefore was not dedicated anew. (fn. 105) By means of these dedications we come
to the knowledge of such altars as this church abounded
with, in the different parts of it. At this time the abbot caused vines to be planted near the Northolmes,
then called Nordhome, which was before a hiding
place for thieves, and a resort for every king of wickedness, to which there was a common way by le Kenile,
by the subtersuges of which this iniquity was the more
easily carried forward. To remove this-scandal, the
abbot, by the king's licence and authority, levelled
their dark holes and hiding places, grubbed up the
thorns and bushes, cut down the trees, surrounded the
whole with a wall, and planted a choice vineyard in it,
as above-mentioned, much to his honor and the advantage of the monastery. (fn. 106) He died on 3 non. February,
1334, in a good old age, and was entombed under the
north wall, opposite the Countess's chapel, near the
altar of the Annunciation, with this epitaph: (fn. 107)
Pervigil in populo morum probitate decorus
Abbas hoc tumulo de Borne jacet ecce Radulphus,
Mille trecentenis triginta quater quoque plenis
In Februi mense celo petebat inesse.
THOMAS PONEY, (fn. 108) S. T. P. was elected on March
I, 1334, and received benediction at Avignon on
June 12 following; (fn. 109) the expences of which, till his
return into England, were 1481. 4s. 0½d. (fn. 110) He died on
id. September, in 1343, and was buried at the altar of
St. Katharine, under a stone, on which was his figure,
engraved on brass, and this inscription: (fn. 111)
Est abbas Thomas tumulo presente reclusus,
Qui vite tempus sanctos expendit in usus.
Illustris senior, cui mundi gloria vilis.
L. V. a primo pastor fuit hujus ovilis.
57. WILLIAM DRULEGE, chamberlain of this monastery, was elected abbot on October 2, the same
year, and had the benediction at Avignon. Thorn says,
he was, like Zaccheus, small of stature, but in keeping
and defending the rights of his church, powerful and
great, (fn. 112) He died on Sept. 11, 1346, and was buried
at the upper end of the chapter-house, with this epitaph: (fn. 113)
En parvus abbas hic parva clauditur arca,
In gestis magnus, major nec erat patriarcha.
Willelmus Druleg illustri dignus honore,
Conventum claustri qui multo rexit amore.
Pro dilectoris anima tui dulcitur ora
Sancti Augustini conventus, qualibet hora.
During this abbot's time, in 1335, Solomon de Ripple, bailiff of the convent's manors of Nordborne, Stodmerch, and Chistlet, built at Nordborne a most fair chapel from the foundations, and a barn there; and at Little Mungam he built much; and at Chistler a chapel, similar to that at Nordborne and Littleborne; besides other improvements, all the buildings of that manor were, as it may be said, wholly rebuilt, and were sumptuously erected from the ground. (fn. 114)
58. JOHN DEVENISSE was constituted abbot by papal provision in 1346. (fn. 115) He was a monk of Winchester, and had been elected by that convent bishop of that see, but the pope made void the election at the king's entreaties; (fn. 116) and on his being constituted abbot here, the king not only refused to restore the temporalities of this abbey to him, but commanded the convent, upon pain of the forseiture of all their goods, neither to admit him to come within their monastery, nor to suffer him, in any shape whatever, to intermeddle in the ordering or disposing of the affairs of it, as far as was in their power; so he kept his abode at a small distance from hence, on the estate belonging to the abbey at Nackington. In the mean time the convent elected William Kenington to be their prior, who ordered all the concerns of the monastery at his pleasure, and appointed the obedientaries and other officers, as was usual for the prior to do, when there was no abbot presiding over the convent. It should be observed, that this William had, upon the death of abbot Drulege, been elected by the convent for their abbot; but the pope took upon him to cassate the election, and to put in John Devenisse as above-mentioned, who never had more than the bare name of abbot; (fn. 117) in his room therefore, with both the king's and pope's consent, the dignity was conserred on
59. THOMAS COLWELLE, sacrist of this monastery, a sage and discreet person, was next made abbot by the pope's bull of provision, in October, 1349, anno 22 Edward III. (fn. 118) and received the benediction at Avignon (fn. 119) immediately afterwards, for he was in great savor and familiarity with pope Clement VI. insomuch, that he is said to have ofter offered him this abbey. On his return, having performed his fealty to the king, he had the temporalities restored to him, and on Christmas eve was installed into his abbotship. At length, having governed this mon tery wisely for twenty-seven years, he died full of year, on 4 cal. June, in 1375, and was buried in the north wall in St. Anne's, commonly called the Countess's chapel, opposite the altar of the Annunciation. (fn. 120) During his time, in 1358, the bells which were called Austyn, Mary, and Gabriel, and four in the tower, were cast by Thomas Hickham, sacrist. (fn. 121)
60. MICHAEL PECKHAM, chamberlain of this monastery, was elected abbot, and by the pope's licence received the benediction in England, from the bishop of Winchester, (fn. 122) and had the temporalities immediately restored to him. To avoid the charges of a public feast at his installation, he kept it privately with the convent, in the refectory. (fn. 123) He died on Feb. 11, 1386, and was privately buried in the chapter-house, on the south side of it. After his death there was a vacancy of the abbotship, till the year 1389. (fn. 124)
61. WILLIAM WELDE, doctor of the canon law, was promoted next to this dignity, by way of compromise, on Feb. 28, 1389; (fn. 125) but before he could be installed, he was forced to undergo the fatigue of long and tedious journeys, and to be subject to great expences; for as soon as he was elected, he was obliged to go to the king, who was beyond Lincoln, to obtain his assent to the election. He then sent his proctor to Rome, to use out the papal confirmation, who followed the pope from city to city, presenting his supplication with large gifts. Several English noblemen who were at that time at the court of Rome, intreated the pope for a quick dispatch in this business, but the delays were still prolonged; the proctor remonstrated to his holiness, that this monastery had been destitute of an abbot for near thirteen months, during which vacancy the king had received 100 marcs every month for the temporalities of it, which then amounted to the sum of 1250 marcs; and that the abbey was, besides, charged with 600 marcs towards the desence of the coasts op. posite France and Flanders; that it was dangerous for the abbot to cross the seas, left he should be taken prisoner by the enemy; that the abbot elect lay sick of a quartan ague, and was unable to undertake a journey to Rome, without evident danger of his life, and that more than 10,000 florins had been already spent, besides the proctor's charges during his attendance at the court of Rome; but all these representations were made in vain, for the abbot elect was cited to appear personally in the pope's court, and there prove the right of his election; this he was obliged to do, and then, after some further delays and expences, he received the benediction on St. Lucia's day, (fn. 126) and returning into England, his temporalities were restored to him on April 5. By these delays the abbot's stall remained vacant two years, two months and four days; the expences, which were very great, were, to the king for the temporalities 14181. 18s. to the apostolical court for first fruits, 1532 florins and four bolon, viz. to the pope's chamber 600 florins; to the chamber of the cardinals 600 florins; to the pope's attendants 405 florins, 37 bolon; to the servants of every one of the cardinals (who were present, to the number of fourteen) 46 florins, 16 bolon; besides the expence of the proctor's journey, and his attendance on the court of Rome. (fn. 127) Thus, this convent, by renouncing all obedience to the archbishop, threw themselves into the power of the court of Rome, which devoured great part of their substance. During this abbot's time, Thomas Ickham, sacrist of this monastery, died, who had expended no less than 3251 marcs in repairing the church, chapel and chapter-house of it. (fn. 128)
In the year 1293, king Richard II. with his queen, made their abode in this monastery from the octaves of the Ascension, until the morrow of the Holy Trinity; and being accompanied by the prelates and nobility of the realm, and a multitude of people, on Whitsunday and the day following, the king, as well in the processions, as at the table, took the lead, and being crowned, sat in his royal splendour, when he commanded, that the sealt of St. Ethelbert should be constantly held in due veneration. (fn. 129) This abbot died on the vigil of St. Mildred, on July 12, anno 1405, and was buried in the chapter-house, between the reading-desk and the tomb of abbot Sylvester. (fn. 130)
62. THOMAS HUNDEN was next elected abbot in 1405, (fn. 131) and received the benediction in St. Paul's church, London, from archbishop Arundel, on May 6, that year. (fn. 132) It appears by the patent rolls, that he had a licence in the 13th year of king Henry IV. anno 1412, to take a journey to the Holy Land; (fn. 133) he continued abbot till the year 1419, according to the chronological tables, at which time they end, and till his death, which happened on August 17, 1420.
63. MARCELLUS DANDELYON occurs abbot in 1426. (fn. 134)
64. JOHN HAWKHERST was the next abbot, (fn. 135) who was succeeded by
65. GEORGE PENSHERST, prior of this monastery, who being elected, obtained the king's consent, by his writ, dated February 27, 1430, anno 8 Henry VI. (fn. 136) but his temporalities were not restored to him till June 22, following. (fn. 137) He occurs abbot in the year 1450. (fn. 138)
66. JAMES SEVENOCK was elected the next abbot in 1457. (fn. 139)
67. WILLIAM SELLINGE probably succeeded him, but resigned this dignity.
68. JOHN, who is said to be John Dunstar, prior of Bath; (fn. 140) but this disagrees with an account of the succession of the priors of Bath, (fn. 141) for John the prior died in 1412, but John the abbot died towards the end of the year 1497. (fn. 142)
69. JOHN DYGON was elected on the vacancy of the abbot's stall, by the death of John, the last abbot, and had the temporalities restored to him on Feb. 17, 1497, anno 12 Henry VII. He died in 1509. (fn. 143)
70. THOMAS HAMPTON was next elected abbot, and had the temporalities restored to him on July 21, 1509. (fn. 144) He is said to have died in 1522, anno 13 king Henry VIII. but that could not be, for
71. JOHN HAWKINS occurs abbot in 1511. (fn. 145)
72. JOHN ESSEX succeeded him as abbot, about the year 1523, (fn. 146) and outlived the monastery itself, for now the fatal blow of its utter dissolution approached; little had all the former casualties been to the ruin of this goodly abbey, had not this sudden and tempestuous storm, which bore down before it all the religious structures of this kind throughout the kingdom, falling upon it, brought this with the rest, to irrecoverable ruin; to perpetuate which, this abbot, with thirty of his monks, among whom were the several officers of the monastery, signed the surrendry of it into the king's hands, on the last day but one of July, anno 30 king Henry VIII (fn. 147)
The deed of the surrendry of this abbey, which is
in Latin, is dated in their chapter-house, the day and
year above-mentioned. (fn. 148) By which the abbey, with the
scite and precinct of it, and debts, chattels and goods,
manors, houses, lands, advowsons, and churches, and all
other possessions whatsoever and wheresoever situated,
are surrendered to the king, to the use of him and his
heirs for ever. It is signed by
John Essex, abbot.
Infirmarer, Thomas Barham.
John Langdon, precentor.
Edward Benet, sacrist.
John Sandwich, sub-prior.
Richard Compton, iij prior.
Richard Canterbr, refectorer.
David Franklyn, fourth prior.
William Holyngborne, chaplain of the lord abbot.
And there is indorsed on the back of the instrument,
John Dygun, prior.
John Langport, treasurer.
William Wynchelse, celerer.
Robert Cenett, vesterer.
John Story, gate-keeper.
Robert Garwinton, sub-celerer.
Robert Saltwood, keeper of the chapel of St. Mary.
Thomas Strykynbow, chamberlain.
William Hawkherst, sub-sacrist.
Received, recognized and delivered before me Richard Layton, one of the masters of the chancery of our lord the king, in the year and on the day asoresaid.
More on the back on the instrument;
Inrolled on the back of the close rolls of the king's chancery under-written.
The following pensions appear by the rescripts in the augmentation-office, to have been granted to the abbot and the monks of this abbey, after the surrendry for their lives, or until they should be promoted to one or more benefices of the same value or upwards.
To the abbot for his support, a grant of lands equal to 200 marcs per annum, on the 3d of February following, being the manor of Sturry, with the lands and appurtenances belonging to it, for his life, or until he should be promoted to one or more benefices, of the same or superior value. (fn. 149)
The several pensions to the monks, granted anno 3d Sept. 30 Henry VIII. were as follows:
In all, thirty monks, being the exact number of those, who, together with the abbot, signed the instrument of surrendry; but how strangely they had altered their names immediately afterwards, cannot escape observation. (fn. 150)
The revenues of the abbey of St. Augustine were valued, according to Dugdale, at 1413l. 4s. 11¾d. being the gross value of them, the clear sum being, according to the manuscript valor, 1274l. Os. 10¾d. yearly value. (fn. 151)
A schedule of the plate and vestments delivered at the surrendry of the monastery to the king's commissioners, may be seen in Stevens's Monasticon, supplement to the 1st volume.
The coat of arms belonging to this abbey, was, Sable, a plain cross, argent.
The common seals of this abbey were only two;
the earlier, was the smaller of the two, a very antient
one, representing on one side the names and portraits
of St. Peter and St. Paul the apostles, with this inscription round it: + Hoc SIGILLUM FACTUM EST
ANNO PRIMO RICARDI REGIS ANGLORUM; and
on the other side, the effigies of an archbishop in his
pontifical habit, (probably meant for St. Augustine)
with this inscription: + SIGILL ECCLESIE SANCTI
AUGUSTINI CANTUARIE ANGLORUM APOSTOLI.
The other and later seal, the larger of the two, and
of more curious work than the former, representing
on one side a church, and in the middle of it both
the name and effigies of St. Augustine, together with
the arms of the abbey, viz. a plain cross, and some
other embellishments, with this inscription round it:
ANGLIA QUOD DOMINO FIDEI SOCIATUR AMORE
HOC AUGUSTINO DEBETUR PATRIS HONORE.
On the other side, a church also, with the figures of both those apostles, Peter and Paul, this with a sword, the other with a key in his hand, and underneath, what seems to represent the christening or baptizing of St. Ethelbert, by St. Augustine, with these words round it: SIGILLUM MONASTERII BEATORUM APOSTOLORUM PETRI & PAULI SOCIORUM AUGUSTINE ANGLORUM APOSTOLI CANTUAR.
THE FRONT OF this statcly abbey was towards the west, extending 250 feet, having at each extremity of it two handsome gateways, the northern one, being the most superb, was the chief approach to the monastery, (fn. 152) which was situated mostly at the back part of it; the other was the gate through which the entrance was to the cemetery. (fn. 153) After the dissolution of this abbey, the great buildings of it, such as the dormitory, kitchen, halls, and the like, to which may be added the church, being covered with lead, were, for the lucre of it, at different times, stripped of it; after which, the walls of them were either demolished for the sake of the sale of the materials, or being left uncovered, perished by the inclemency of the weather, and the mouldering hand of time; so that the very ruins of the far greatest part of this once extensive monastery scarcely appear, and the very foundations of them are with difficulty traced at this time. (fn. 154)
Notwithstanding, soon after the suppression of this monastery, many of the buildings of it had been demolished, there was sufficient left to accommodate king Henry VIII. as a palace for his own use; (fn. 155) but whether he or any of his royal successors ever took up their residence in it, for any time, is not mentioned, till queen Elizabeth in her 15th year, anno 1573, being on one of her royal progresses, kept her court in it for several days.
At this palace, on June 12, 1625, king Charles I. consummated his marriage with the princess Henrietta of France, whom he had met at Dover, and married at Canterbury (fn. 156) that day; after which, the dowager lady Wotton resided here during the time of the great rebellion; and king Charles II. lodged in it on his passage through this city, at his restoration; many of the buildings of it therefore, must have been demolished since that time, as there now remains of the whole of it, no more than is sufficient for the use of a common alehouse, into which it has been for some years converted.
Dugdale, in his Monasticon, has given a print of it, as it was in his time, anno 1655. The view was taken from the high tower of the cathedral, and shews how small a part was then left standing, being no more than remains at present, excepting the refectory and an apartment adjoining to it, since pulled down; so that considerable buildings must have been destroyed before that time. (fn. 157)
When we enter the scite of the monastery, the first object is Ethelbert's tower, whose beauty, though much defaced, (fn. 158) especially by sacrilegious hands of late years, will witness to succeeding ages, the magnificence of the whole, when all stood compleat in their glory together. (fn. 159) This tower was named in honour and memory of king Ethelbert, being built about the year 1047, when, as Thorn, in his chronicle, tels us, archbishop Eadsin, besides other marks of his bounty to this abbey, gave 100 marcs to the compleating of the tower, which they were then building; meaning, as Mr. Somner conceives, this tower. There are but small remains of the antient abbey church; the above tower, a wall of one of the isles on the southern side, and the east end of another, or at least of a chancel, with the stone case or frame of a pointed gothic window belonging to it, are all that are left of it, so that what the dimensions of it were, can hardly be traced with any degree of certainty. (fn. 160) The west side, how ever, of Ethelbert's tower being adorned with small pilastres from the top almost to the bottom of it, seems to shew that there never were any cross isles, nor any part of the church continued westward from it. This tower seems to have stood either in the centre of the west front of the church, or perhaps towards the southern part of it; (fn. 161) about sixty-six feet southward from it, was, till lately, a very massive ruin, composed of flint and rubble stone, of an extraordinary thickness, seemingly a part of the two sides of a hollow square tower, having to all appearance been once a campanile, or belfry, but whether separate from the building of the church itself, or contiguous, can only be conjectured; (fn. 162) an effort had been made, many years past, to undermine it, by which means it had been thrown much out of its perpendicular, and hung tremendous to the view in a very inclined position. (fn. 163)
The only thing that remains further for observance among these heaps of ruins, is the chapel of St. Pancrase, built, as Thorn tells us, (fn. 164) before the arrival of St. Augustine in this kingdom, and used by king Ethelbert, before his conversion to Christianity, for the place of his idol worship. If so, it was a very small temple for a king's devotions, being only thirty feet long, and twenty-one wide; the walls, which are yet standing, have quantities of British or Roman bricks among them. In the south wall is a small circular arch of a door-way, regularly composed of such bricks, being the work of that time; in the east wall is a large pointed gothic window, with an arch of those bricks, of the same pointed form, above the stone work of it. In this chapel, or a former one here, St. Augustine is said to have celebrated mass, having first purged it of its former idolatrous worship, though many suppose that this chapel was used before Augustine's arrival by queen Bertha, as an oratory for her christian devotions. (fn. 165)
During the great storm of wind, which happened in the night time in the year 1361, one Ralph, a chaplain, a very devout man, took shelter from it in St. Pancrase's chapel, to avoid the danger of it, and staid in the chancel as the safest part, it having been but lately new roosed; but a great beam being thrown down by the fury of the wind, over the image of the blessed Virgin, fell on him, whilst on his knees before it, and killed him; and he was buried in the chapel before the cross, under a marble stone. (fn. 166)
The ground north-westward from this chapel, being now a meadow of about two acres, is all over it very uneven, consisting underneath the surface, entirely of ruined foundations of buildings. Close to the wall of the east end of the ruins of the abbey church, is a plentiful spring of most excellent water, (fn. 167) with which the city, by the bounty of the family of Hales, owners of these precincts, is in a great measure supplied.
Just without the principal gate of entrance into the monastery, was that of the eleemosinary or almonry, vulgarly called the ambry, being under the government of an officer of the monastery, called eleemosinarius, or almoner. At this place the alms of the monastery, the remains of their food being sent thither, were distributed, as a main part of their subsi tence to certain alms people, consisting of a society of brothers and sisters. It had a chapel belonging to it, long since tumbled into ruins. (fn. 168)
After the suppression of this monastery, the king retained the scite and precincts of it, with great part of the adjoining domains, in his own hands; those buildings belonging to the abbey, which, on a survey, had been judged useless, were taken down, and the remainder fitted up as a palace for the king's use, that part of the domains adjoining to the precincts, retained likewise, was formed into a park for deer and beasts of chase, and called the king's new park. (fn. 169) In the 2d and 3d year of Philip and Mary, the scite of this abbey was, by the queen, granted to cardinal archbishop Pole, for life; on whose death, in the last year of that reign, it reverted to the crown, where it remained no long time; for although queen Elizabeth, in one of her royal progresses, in the year 1573, kept her court here, during which time she was magnificently entertained with all her attendance, and a great concourse of other company, by archbishop Parker, at his palace, on her birth-day; yet she had, some years before, on July 7, in her 6th year, anno 1564, granted it to Henry, lord Cobham, on whose attainder, in 1603, it was granted by letters patent, March 27, anno 3 James I. to Robert Cecil, lord Essenden, viscount Cranbourne, afterwards earl of Salisbury, at the yearly rent of 20l. 13s. 4d. (fn. 170) from whom it came into the possession of Edward, lord Wotton of Marley, who at times resided at it, and at his death in 1628, gave it to his widow Margaret for her life; she was succeeded in it by her only son Thomas, lord Wotton, who kept it likewise in his own hands, and died possessed of it in 1630, leaving four daughters his coheirs; by his will, he gave this palace, with its adjoining lands and appurtenances, to his wife Mary, who resided in it during the time of the great rebellion; when her house here was plundered, and the furniture of it destroyed, by order of the usurping powers, (fn. 171) from which time it has retained the name of lady Wotton's palace, and the space before it, that of lady Wotton's green.
She died here on March 17, 1658, and was buried in Boughton Malherb church. Upon her decease, and the partition of the lord Wotton's estates among their four daughters and coheirs, Anne, the youngest, marrying with Sir Edward Hales, bart. of Woodchurch, in this county, entitled him to the possession of this estate, which consisted not only of the scite and precincts of this monastery, but of the grounds called the Old Park, eastward of them, the North Holmes adjoining the north side of them, and much other contiguous land, amounting in the whole to upwards of 1000 acres, all parcel of the dissolved monastery; and in his descendants the chief and greatest part of this estate has continued down to Sir Edward Hales, bart. of St. Stephen's, the present owner of it. (fn. 172)