A History of the County of Dorset: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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HOUSE OF UNCERTAIN ORDER
19. WILCHESWOOD (fn. 1)
The history of this priory, chantry, or free chapel is very obscure, and can only be partially reconstructed with the help of certain documents which came into the possession of the Coker family on the Dissolution. (fn. 2) Coker, in his Survey of Dorset (1732), states that this house, dedicated to St. Leonard, was founded by Roger le Walleys, lord of the manor of Langton Wallis and grandson of Ingelram le Walleys, in the fortyseventh year of Edward III (1373); (fn. 3) but it was certainly founded many years earlier, probably in the first part of the century. According to a charter, undated, Alice, once the wife of William de Ponsont and widow of Ingelram le Walleys, gave a tenement in the manor of Mappowder for the maintenance of William Bonet, chaplain, to celebrate an obit for the souls of the said William and their ancestors at Wilcheswood for life, with a proviso that in the event of the transference of the prior and brethren of the house the chaplain should receive satisfaction out of the revenues. (fn. 4) By another deed, also undated, William de Watercumb, chaplain, warden of the house of St. Leonard at Wilcheswood and the brethren there leased to William Aignel and his wife of Stour Provost a certain tenement with houses, lands, &c., for the term of their lives for the sum of 8 marks sterling in hand. (fn. 5)
Roger le Walleys, Wallis, or Walsh, whom Coker erroneously gives as the founder, appears to have added rather to the endowment of the house; in 1373 he presented Henry Attechapelle, chaplain, to the chantry, that he might find maintenance for himself and two fellows (socii) in the chapel of Wilcheswood and St. George of Langton (Matravers), serving God and St. Leonard there, with the grant for life of 1 carucate of land in Mappowder, and charged only with the provision of a lamp to burn during mass in the chapel of Langton. (fn. 6)
The advowson of the priory appears always to have accompanied the manor, and by a fine levied in 1398 between John Fauntleroy and Joanna his wife, granddaughter of Roger le Walleys, and John Foliol, the second husband of Margaret, daughter of the same, the manor of Langton Wallis, &c. with the 'chantry' of Wilcheswood was granted to John Foliol for his life with remainder to William Foliol his son and Joanna his wife and the heirs of Joanna. (fn. 7) In the third year of Henry V William Talbot, clerk, warden of the chantry of Wilcheswood, delivered over to William Foliol the muniments of the chantry, consisting of nineteen charters and indentures sealed, and one indenture unsealed, two papal bulls, four royal letters patent, and a copy of the presentation of Henry Attechapelle by Roger le Walleys. (fn. 8)
The lands of the priory in the reign of Henry VIII consisted of a carucate of land in Mappowder valued at 6s., lands in Knowlton, parcel of the manor of Woodlands, with other lands and a mill estimated at £6 16s. 4d.; (fn. 9) after the Dissolution these came into the hands of the Coker family.
Chaplains or Wardens
Adam de Watercumb, occurs in a deed without date (fn. 10)
Ralph de Sayr, occurs in a deed of 1316-17 (fn. 11)
Henry Attechapelle, presented 1373 (fn. 12)
William Talbot, occurs 1413 and 1417 (fn. 13)
Richard Petworth, presented 1417 (fn. 14)
Hugh Filiol, occurs 1506-7, and in the reign of Henry VIII (fn. 15)