Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Stonely

Pages 395-396

A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1926.

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The priory of St. Mary at Stonely is said to have been founded about 1180 by William de Mandeville; but there is no better authority for this statement than the tradition recorded by Leland. (fn. 1)

The earliest documentary reference to the priory is in the Hundred Roll of 1274, when the manor of Kimbolton was in the hands of the family of de Bohun. (fn. 2) It was but a small monastery, and probably never held more than seven canons. Very little is known of its history. One of its priors died in the Great Pestilence. (fn. 3) In 1442 Bishop Alnwick visited the priory; there were certainly six canons at this time. The prior was accused of maintaining his own kinsfolk out of the revenues of the house; but this was only asserted by a brother who had just been accused of visiting the village in secular attire. No other charges were made. (fn. 4)

In 1534 the prior and canons signed the Acknowledgment of Royal Supremacy. (fn. 5) The surrender of the house was made under the first Act in 1536; the prior receiving a reward of £10, (fn. 6) and the canons probably a 'reward' of 20s. apiece or less, with capacities to serve as secular priests. (fn. 7)

There are no foundation charters extant. In 1274 the prior had 3 virgates in Kimbolton, and I virgate in Woolley. (fn. 8) In 1366 the parish church of Kimbolton was appropriated to the use of the canons. (fn. 9) In 1534 they had a clear revenue of £46 0s. 5½d., including the rectory. (fn. 10) The first account of the Crown Bailiff gave a total of £69 1s. 2½d. (fn. 11)

Priors of Stonely

John de Ripton, (fn. 12) elected 1290, died 1309.
Simon de Woolley, (fn. 13) elected 1309, died 1310.
William de Brampton, (fn. 14) elected 1310.
John de Stow, (fn. 15) elected 1349, died 1369.
John de Ellington, (fn. 16) elected 1369, resigned 1387.
John de Ravenstone, (fn. 17) elected 1387.
John Stoneley, (fn. 18) occurs 1431.
Henry, (fn. 19) occurs 1442.
William, (fn. 20) occurs 1454.
George Holland, (fn. 21) resigned 1508.
Richard Rowell, (fn. 22) elected 1508.
Edmund Bonde, (fn. 23) last prior, occurs 1534.

A pointed oval seal (fn. 24) representing the Virgin on a throne with the Child on her left knee, on a diapered background. On each side is a flowering branch and below, under a trefoiled arch, is the prior kneeling in prayer. Legend:



  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. VI, 476. Leland, Collect. I,71.
  • 2. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), II, 621.
  • 3. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Gynwell, 343.
  • 4. Visitations of Bishop Alnwick, Alnwick Tower, Lincoln.
  • 5. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 921 (3).
  • 6. Ibid, xiii (1), p. 575.
  • 7. There is no record of the fate of the other canons, but this was the usual method of proceeding. See the history of the Lincolnshire Religious Houses in this series.
  • 8. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), II, 621, 627.
  • 9. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Buckingham, 49.
  • 10. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), IV, 258.
  • 11. Dugdale, op. cit., VI, 477.
  • 12. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Sutton, 84.
  • 13. Ibid. Inst. Dalderby, 24od.
  • 14. Ibid.
  • 15. Ibid. Inst. Gynwell, 343. The name of the prior who died is not filled in.
  • 16. Ibid. Inst. Buckingham, I, 295.
  • 17. Ibid. Inst. Buckingham, II, 253d.
  • 18. Cat. of Anc. Deeds, B 1535.
  • 19. Visitations of Bishop Alnwick.
  • 20. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. VI, 476.
  • 21. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Smith, 422.
  • 22. Ibid.
  • 23. L. and. P. Hen. VIII, vii, 921 (3).
  • 24. B.M. Seals, lxiv, 101; Dugdale, Mon. Angl. VI, 477.