A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1926.
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65. THE COLLEGE OF BREDGAR
Richard II on 19 July, 1392, granted licence for Master Robert de Bradegare and others to found at Bredgar a college of one chaplain and two clerk scholars who should serve God and celebrate divine service in the parish church of Bredgar at all times except when the said scholars were busy with their studies; and also to grant in mortmain to the chaplain and scholars messuages, lands, and rents in Hollingbourne, Hucking, Bredgar, Wormshill, Borden, Tunstall, and Bicknor. (fn. 1)
Robert made an ordinance (fn. 2) for the management of the college on 7 April, 1393. The chaplain was to celebrate daily for the souls of the archbishop and others in the church of Bredgar or in the chapel of the college, the details of the service being laid down; he was to be nominated by the scholars within fifteen days of a vacancy, and was to receive 12 marks yearly, to reside in the college and not to hold any other benefice with a cure. One of the two scholars was to be of the founder's kin and the other of the parishes of Bredgar, Hucking, or Hollingbourne; and each when he could read and sing competently was to be nominated fellow and scholar by the master until he completed his twenty-fifth year or was promoted, married, or removed for just cause, but was not to be nominated until he was seven years old and had received the first tonsure, and was not to have any voice in the nomination of the chaplain until he was fifteen years old. Each of the scholars was to receive 40s. yearly for his maintenance, and the residue of the goods of the chantry was to be applied to its repair or otherwise to its use. Further detailed instructions were given as to the life of the scholars and the management of the property of the chantry.
On 3 April, 1398, an agreement was made between the prior and chapter of Christchurch, Canterbury, and John Prpmhelle, chaplain, and Thomas Webbe and Thomas Monk, clerks and scholars of the college, by which the prior and chapter bound themselves under a penalty of £100 to maintain for ever in their almonry school two poor clerks to be nominated by the chaplain and scholars. (fn. 3)
The founder made fresh ordinances (fn. 4) on 12 August, 1398, revising and adding to the earlier ones. The chaplain might absent himself for one month of thirty-two days from the college in each year, and might have a servant to assist him at mass and otherwise serve him; he was to have the northern chambers of the college and 40s. at the end of each quarter during the life of the founders and £10 (yearly) after their death. The clerk scholars were each to have 10d. weekly and a southern chamber of the college, and they were to take the order of sub-deacon at their twentieth year. In the first week of October in each year the anniversary of the founders was to be kept by the chaplain and the four scholars, and an account made up of the goods of the college. The chaplain and scholars were to retain a lawyer of the counsel of the archbishop of Canterbury at a fee of 6s. 8d. yearly. The books of the college were not to be lent out. At the same time John atte Wyse, ' the newest of the founders,' ordered that after his death 6s. 8d. yearly should be distributed by the chaplain to the vicar, churchwardens, parish clerk, sexton, and poor parishioners of Bredgar.
In 1403 Robert de Bradegare and others had licence (fn. 5) to add a messuage, lands and rents in Borden, Bredgar, Stockbury, Bicknor, Aldington, Hollingbourne, Hucking, Wormshill, and Milsted to the endowment of the college of the Holy Trinity, Bredgar; and further small additions were afterwards made. (fn. 6)
In the Valor of 1535 the gross value (fn. 7) of the possessions of 'the primary chantry of Bredgar,' given in the certificate of Sir Walter Dowle, chantry priest there, was £32 14s. 8d. yearly, and deductions of £4 18s. 5½d. reduced the net value to £27 16s. 2½d. In 1546 the gross value (fn. 8) of 'the late chantry in the parish of Bredgar' was £39 15s. 4d. yearly and the net value £36 12s. 7d.; and the return mentions a chalice of silver price 26s. 8d., a bell price 10s., and two old vestments and albs price 10s., ' all which stuff came into the hands of Walter Dowle, late master there.'
The ' chauntery house ' of Bredgar came into the possession of George Harper and was granted back by him to the crown in exchange in 1542. (fn. 9)
Chaplains of Bredgar
John Promhelle, occurs 1398 (fn. 10)
John Parterych, died 1490 (fn. 11)
Thomas Denway, appointed 1490, (fn. 11) died 1491 (fn. 12)
Thomas Colley, appointed 1491 (fn. 12)
Walter Dowle, occurs 1535 (fn. 10)