A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1909.
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33. THE COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF ST. MARTIN LE GRAND
The dedication in honour of St. Martin, a favourite saint of Christian Britain, and architectural remains found in the nineteenth century, point to the early existence of a church in this place, (fn. 1) but nothing certain is known except that in 1068 William the Conqueror confirmed a grant of lands made a few months before by a certain Ingelric to the church of St. Martin in London, which he and his brother Girard had built at their own cost as a foundation of secular canons. (fn. 2) Ingelric, who was a priest, most probably of foreign origin, appears to have held an official position under both Edward the Confessor and William, (fn. 3) and in consequence the college was from the first not only well endowed but highly privileged. To the lands given by Ingelric, viz. Easter, Mashbury, Norton, Stanford, Fobbing, 'Benedist' Chrishall, Tolleshunt, Rivenhall, and Ongar, a hide in Benfleet, a hide in Hoddesdon, and 2 hides with the church in Maldon, William added some land and moor outside Cripplegate; he made the college free from all episcopal and archidiaconal exactions and from services due to the crown, and granted them sac and soc, tol and team, infangenthef, blodwyte, burghbrice, miskenning, &c. (fn. 4)
The king directed the canons to choose of their number a suitable guardian of their goods who should keep them faithfully and distribute to each his share without deceit, so that the rest, freed from care, might devote themselves to prayer. (fn. 5) This appears to have been the origin of the deanery. Ingelric became the first dean, (fn. 6) but, like a number of his successors, seems still to have remained a royal official, (fn. 7) and so far detached from the college that the possessions of the deanery could be regarded as his private property. (fn. 8) The confusion caused by this dual capacity may be responsible for the grant made by the Conqueror on Ingelric's death of the church of St. Martin and all its property to Eustace count of Boulogne. (fn. 9)
If a charter in which the king refers to St. Martin's as his royal free chapel is rightly attributed to Henry I—though on this point there is room for doubt (fn. 10) —it is difficult to say what relations were established by this grant between the church and the count. Otherwise it would seem that Eustace thus became patron, for William Rufus, after a quarrel with the count, seized the land outside Cripplegate belonging to the church; (fn. 11) Queen Matilda, the heiress of Boulogne, speaks of 'my canons of St. Martin's,' (fn. 12) and William count of Boulogne was styled 'advocatus' of St. Martin's in 1158. (fn. 13) There is also no evidence of the appointment of a dean by the king, as such, before the death of Count William in 1160; as the Boulogne inheritance then passed to a woman, (fn. 14) it is possible that Henry II took the opportunity to make fresh arrangements with regard to the lands and rights of the honour.
The tie between St. Martin's and the Boulogne family being of this nature, the college might reasonably expect its fortune to rise when the heiress of Boulogne became queen; and it is perhaps worth notice that of the two churches added to St. Martin's in the reign of Henry I, St. Botolph's Aldersgate was given by Thurstan, a priest, (fn. 15) and St. Mary's Newport, through Roger (fn. 16) bishop of Salisbury, the dean, probably by him; while in Stephen's reign it was Queen Matilda herself who granted as provision for another canon the churches of Chrishall and Witham, with the chapel of Cressing. (fn. 17) King Stephen, moreover, gave to the canons free warren on their lands of Easter, Norton, Maldon, and Tolleshunt. (fn. 18) The position of the church, however, at this time, was most unenviable, and nothing gives a better idea of the utter anarchy then prevailing than the history of St. Martin's. Although the college could depend on the favour of both parties in the Civil War, for when the empress was in power (fn. 19) it was secure through its dean, Henry de Blois bishop of Winchester, her supporter, yet its property was seized again and again by various persons under cover of the general disorder. Their land at Aldersgate, (fn. 20) Cripplegate, (fn. 21) Maldon, (fn. 22) and elsewhere (fn. 23) was all taken from the canons at different times, and Geoffrey de Mandeville not only deprived them of the church of Newport (fn. 24) and its appurtenances, but committed depredations on other possessions of theirs in Essex. (fn. 25) It may have been before the beginning of the war that the rebuilding of St. Martin's or some extensive addition to the church was undertaken, since Nigel bishop of Ely offered an indulgence of forty days to those of his diocese who contributed, (fn. 26) and he was more likely to be interested in St. Martin's while his uncle, Roger of Salisbury, was dean. If so, the work probably extended over some years, for the begging letter sent out by the college speaks of the troubles of the kingdom as having affected the church. (fn. 27) The canons, to induce liberality, promised to receive all who helped this cause into the fraternity of their church, and set forth the various remissions of penance offered to the charitable: forty days by the bishop of Winchester to those of his diocese who gave alms; fifteen days by Alberic, bishop of Ostia and papal legate, to all benefactors of St. Martin's; and forty days every year to those who on 4 July, the anniversary of the dedication, visited the church and made an offering. W. bishop of Norwich, besides aiding the canons in this way, gave them leave to preach in the cause of their church throughout his diocese. (fn. 28) The gift of a piece of the cloth in which the body of St. Cuthbert had been wrapped, (fn. 29) made to St. Martin's by Hugh bishop of Durham at some time between 1171 and 1189, may have had some connexion with these building operations, for such a relic, even without the bishop of London's indulgence, (fn. 30) must have been a great financial benefit; it is more probably, however, a sign of the important position already held by St. Martin's.
The year 1158 marks the constitution of the prebends of St. Martin's. (fn. 31) William I had ordered the 'Custos' of the property of the college to assign a proper portion to each canon, but the arrangement cannot have been wholly satisfactory, since it was at the request of the canons that the share of each was fixed. The dean was to have the church of Newport and land to the value of 20s. in Tolleshunt, the prebend being called Newport; (fn. 32) Maldon provided for two canons, one of whom was called prebendary of Keton; (fn. 33) out of Good Easter were formed four prebends, known afterwards as Imbers, Fawkeners, Paslowes, and Burghs or Bowers; (fn. 34) the church and land of Chrishall, 10s. in Tolleshunt and 10s. in Hoddesdon made an estate for another canon, (fn. 35) and land worth 100s. within and without London for the eighth; the land assigned for the support of the ninth lay in Norton and 'Selga,' and appears to have been the prebend called Norton-Newerks. (fn. 36) The rest of their lands in and without London, the church of Witham, the chapel of Bonhunt, (fn. 37) the tithes of Tolleshunt, and anything in future accruing, were settled on the community of canons residing in the church.
The canons resident might be absent on their business four times a year, if they were not away more than fifteen days. If they should be absent constantly, clerks must be appointed as substitutes. The canons, moreover, who did not frequent the church had to find suitable vicars, paying to them 2 marks a year, to the community of canons a mark, or half a mark if their absence were for study, and to the work of the church half a mark.
A further readjustment was found necessary a few years later, and in the time of Godfrey de Lucy (fn. 38) some land which had belonged to the prebend of the dean and that of Master Ivo de Cornwall was assigned to the holder of the London prebend, the dean receiving in exchange the chapel of Bonhunt and land in London valued at 15s., and Master Ivo land there worth 12s. 6d.
The thirteenth century is an important period in the history of St. Martin's; it is a time of disputes and settlements of titles to possessions, of internal development, and of the establishment of its rights and immunities as a royal free chapel. Up to about 1250 there is a continual succession of agreements and suits: Innocent III in 1203 confirmed a composition made between St. Martin's and the House of the Holy Spirit at Writtle over tithes; (fn. 39) in 1235 Roger bishop of London, by command of the pope, settled a dispute between the dean and chapter of St. Martin's and the chaplain of St. Nicholas Shambles, about a pension; (fn. 40) the vicar of St. Botolph's Aldersgate seems to have refused to pay the pension owing from his church at intervals between 1225 and 1349, and as a result there were constant legal proceedings against him; (fn. 41) in 1236 the college was engaged in a suit against the priory of Brissant; (fn. 42) an agreement was made at the same date by Herbert, canon of St. Martin's, and the rector of Old Ongar about some property; (fn. 43) in 1238 Pope Gregory XI ordered an inquiry into the complaints of the dean and chapter against the abbot and convent of Walden, the master of the Temple, and other persons for injuries done to them in the matter of tithes, possessions, and legacies; (fn. 44) and in 1253 a case was begun between St. Martin's and St. John's, Colchester. (fn. 45)
The most striking change, perhaps, in the college itself, was the foundation, about 1240, of a new prebend (fn. 46) for two additional canons. (fn. 47) It was called Newland, and was formed out of property in Good Easter, (fn. 48) acquired for this purpose by Herbert, the canon mentioned above, who was chamberlain of St. Martin's, (fn. 49) and altogether an important member of that church. (fn. 50) It may be inferred that perpetual vicars were established in 1158 by the article ordaining that every nonresident canon was to appoint a vicar. They undoubtedly formed part of the college in 1228, for canon Richard de Elmham left by will in 1228 to each vicar 12d., and to their refectory a cloth and a towel. (fn. 51) As in 1304 there were only two resident canons (fn. 52) there should then have been eight perpetual vicars, or ten if the prebend of Newland be considered. Some statutes that date from the late fifteenth century, but are probably a recapitulation of earlier rules, (fn. 53) declare that each prebend shall find a vicar priest for service in the church except the prebend of Maldon, which ought to have a vicar deacon, and the prebend of Norton which finds the vicar sub-deacon. In 1503 there were eight perpetual vicars who were priests, (fn. 54) so that it would seem that at one time there must have been in all ten vicars.
There were seven vicars in 1235, for they witness a document, (fn. 55) but whether there were more at that date it is impossible to say.
In 1254 two chantries for the souls of Thomas Mauger and William de Winton, to be served by two perpetual vicars, were established in St. Martin's, (fn. 56) and the terms of foundation leave it at least uncertain whether two new vicarages were not then created. (fn. 57) If, however, the number of vicars was complete in 1254, these chantries may be regarded as a first attempt to supplement the original provision for the vicarages. That something needed to be done in this direction was probably even then evident, but no general measures were taken until Dean Louis of Savoy ordained (fn. 58) in 1279 that as the vicars could not live on what they received, each was to have 12d. a week, and that the canons should have of the gift of Adam de Fyleby, chamberlain of the church, in compensation for the diminution of their commons, the manor of Parva Benfleet, 7 acres of land in Good Easter, and houses and rents in London.
St. Martin's was one of the three churches in which the abbot of Abingdon ordered the sentence of excommunication and interdict against the baronial party and the city of London to be published, (fn. 59) and the dean, Geoffrey de Boclande, and the chapter were excommunicated with the canons of Holy Trinity and of St. Paul's for their refusal to obey. These three churches were no doubt selected for this work as the most important in London, but if a further reason for the choice is sought it may perhaps be found in the intimate connexion of the cathedral and priory with the City, and the peculiar position of St. Martin's, especially in relation to the crown.
The possession of the honour of Boulogne and the kingdom of England for a time by one person would undoubtedly foster the idea that St. Martin's was a royal chapel, and facilitate its becoming one in fact on the death of Count William. It is just after this event that the king first appears incontestably as patron, (fn. 60) though the candidate for the post of dean had thought it expedient to use the influence of the abbess of Romsey, the representative of the Boulogne family. (fn. 61) Richard (fn. 62) and John (fn. 63) subsequently appointed the dean as if by undoubted right. It was, however, some time before the point was reached when the king regarded an infringement of its privileges as an attack on his royal prerogative.
When in the reign of Henry II an attempt was made by the archdeacon of Essex to exact dues from the church of Maldon, which was exempt as belonging to St. Martin's, it was the archbishop who intervened at the request of the canons. (fn. 64)
In 1225 a similar case occurred, but it was treated in very different fashion. The archdeacon of Colchester tried to exact procurations from the church of Newport, and on the dean's refusal to pay impleaded him in virtue of papal letters before the archdeacon, chancellor, and dean of Oxford. The king, after ordering the archdeacon of Colchester in vain to desist from his suit, forbade the judges to proceed in the matter, as it might be prejudicial to his royal dignity. (fn. 65)
On another occasion, when Henry, rector of St. Leonard's, brought a cause in Court Christian in 1238 against Herbert, canon and procurator of St. Martin's, (fn. 66) about certain things touching the state and liberties of that church, the king directed that the case should be stopped until he had appealed to the pope. Again in 1250 Henry summoned Fulk, bishop of London, to answer for exacting jurisdiction in the churches of Newport and Chrishall which as prebendal churches of St. Martin's were not subject to the ordinary. (fn. 67) The struggle thus begun continued for a century, and Henry's successors showed themselves equally determined in their maintenance of the exemptions of their chapel.
Archbishop Peckham involved himself in a difficulty with Edward I for excommunicating the dean who had opposed the exercise of any jurisdiction but his own in Newport, (fn. 68) and the same king utterly forbade procurations to be exacted from St. Martin's on behalf of two cardinals in 1295. (fn. 69) The procurations demanded by the papal nuncio in 1309, (fn. 70) and by the collectors of the cardinal of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, and the cardinal of St. Mary in Via Lata in 1317 (fn. 71) were likewise prohibited by the king who in 1313 ordered the bishop of London to refrain from his attempt to exercise authority in St. Martin's and the churches annexed. (fn. 72)
Although the king in pursuance of his policy with regard to the royal chapels had refused to allow papal provisions to prebends, (fn. 73) he yet received the support of the pope.
Clement V in 1306 forbade delegates or subdelegates of the pope to promulgate sentences of excommunication, suspension or interdict against the king or his chapels without special licence of the apostolic see, (fn. 74) and in 1317 John XXII inhibited any ordinary, delegate, or sub-delegate to publish sentences, or do anything contrary to the exemptions of the king's free chapels. (fn. 75)
This freedom from all authority except that of the king, while it secured for the college a powerful position against the outside world, had drawbacks both material and spiritual. From the first the deanery was held by a royal official, and in many cases it can only have been bestowed for services to the king without any regard to the recipient's fitness for such a post. Dean Guy de Rossilian was freed in 1248 by papal indulgence from the obligation to take holy orders, (fn. 76) and William de Marchia, the treasurer, dean in 1291, was only a sub-deacon. (fn. 77) It must be remembered, too, that the canons, who were appointed by the dean, (fn. 78) were of the same class as himself, clerks attached to the households of royal or noble personages, (fn. 79) and holding many benefices besides their prebends. (fn. 80) This does not imply a slur on their conduct, but it would give a reason why the discipline, always less in a college of secular priests than in a body belonging to an order, may have been still further relaxed in this instance. In fact St. Martin's can always be better imagined as a corporation of officials than as a religious house. It seems indeed as if the spiritual side of the place was felt to be somewhat lacking as early as the beginning of the thirteenth century, or there would have been no need for Geoffrey de Boclande to make provision for the canons who left the college for a stricter rule. (fn. 81)
Since many of the deans may be said to have owed their appointment to their administrative ability, it might be presumed that the college suffered from maladministration less than other religious bodies. On the other hand it is quite as likely to have been neglected while the dean occupied himself with the king's business or pursued his own interests, and in support of this theory it may be remarked that Peter of Savoy while dean seems to have spent almost all his time abroad, (fn. 82) and could have felt little pride in his church or he would not have violated its customs by committing the task of hearing the accounts of its chamberlains and other ministers to persons who did not belong to St. Martin's, and who appointed places outside for this business. (fn. 83) It is, too, at least doubtful whether most of the deans who received higher preferment (fn. 84) were not promoted for services to the king rather than to St. Martin's.
The state of the college in 1323 therefore hardly causes surprise. It was found then that books and ornaments were lacking; that the officers and other ministers left undone the duties for which they received their stipends, and raised quarrels and scandals among themselves, while some led dissolute lives elsewhere, and that the sums which should have been devoted to the repair of the church, the payment of commons, and to salaries were applied to other uses. (fn. 85) The commissioners appointed by the king to make the visitation attributed the blame largely to the dean, Richard de Ellesfield, (fn. 86) and he was removed. Twenty years afterwards, in 1343, another inquiry was necessary owing to the waste and dilapidation of the church and its possessions through the negligence of its deans, (fn. 87) and in 1344 a lawsuit had arisen because Dean John de Heselarton, after declining to take the part he should have in the election of the master of the hospital of St. Leonard Newport, which was subject to St. Martin's, had refused to admit the priest elected, and had committed the custody of the house to another. (fn. 88) On the occasion of the visitation of 1343 the two canons resident had a grievance against Heselarton about the portion assigned to them from the commons of the church on account of residence, and it was ordained by the Lord Chancellor in 1345 that they and future canons resident were to receive £20 a year between them besides pittances and obits. (fn. 89)
An extensive improvement to the church appears to have taken place between 1258 and 1261 when Henry III gave the canons marble columns and stone for the construction of a pulpit, some sculptured figures of kings for decoration and 200 freestones for the chapel of St. Blaise. (fn. 90) It is not unlikely that the bishops of Coventry, Durham and Laodicea in offering relaxation of penance in 1260 to those who visited and prayed at the tomb of Matilda de la Fauconere de la Wade in St Martin's (fn. 91) may have intended to help the church as well as benefit Matilda's soul. The dean and chapter certainly secured a great benefit for themselves by obtaining permission in 1286 to close the road running from Foster Lane to St. Nicholas Shambles, (fn. 92) as the canons had found the public road between their houses and the church so inconvenient that in the reign of Henry III they had spanned it with causeways. (fn. 93) Although the outside world was thus shut out it could still make itself painfully evident to the ministers of St. Martin's, for dung-heaps were raised by the neighbours so near the wall of the close that, as the dean and chapter complained in 1331, the air in their church and dwellings was corrupted. (fn. 94) Unless the buildings of St. Martin's had been greatly neglected it is hardly conceivable that the wind could have played such havoc with the church, bell-towers and cloisters that the canons despaired of repairing them and in 1360 thought of abandoning the place. (fn. 95) The state of affairs disclosed in 1343 could not have been remedied at once, and a bequest of Dean Useflete shows that the cloister at least needed some repairs in 1348, (fn. 96) the eve of the Black Death. This terrible epidemic by carrying off the cultivators left the lands of the college waste and desolate, and its income consequently inadequate even to the ordinary expenditure. (fn. 97) The situation was saved in 1360 by the munificence of the dean, William de Wykeham, who at his own expense not only restored but beautified the church and cloister, and built a chapter-house adorned with a worked stone ceiling. (fn. 98) This new chapel was consecrated and dedicated (fn. 99) to the Holy Trinity (fn. 100) in 1378. It is evident that the resources of St. Martin's had received from the Plague a blow from which they took long to recover: in 1372 the pope granted a special indulgence to those visiting the church on certain feast-days during the next twenty years; (fn. 101) in 1381 the king exempted the canons from payments of tenths and subsidies during the life of Walter Skirlawe, then dean, (fn. 102) a term extended to thirty years in 1384, (fn. 103) and in 1385 gave them the advowson of the church of Bassingbourn with licence to appropriate. (fn. 104)
The income of the church or its ministers (fn. 105) was augmented during this period by the endowment of a chantry by Joan Hemenhale in 1361, (fn. 106) of others by John Band, canon resident, in 1370 (fn. 107) and Thomas Stodelee in 1395, (fn. 108) and the appropriation to St. Martin's in 1399 of St. Botolph's without Aldersgate. (fn. 109)
It is clear that in the fourteenth century the position of St. Martin's as a royal free chapel was secure, for its ecclesiastical immunities rather increased than diminished. A suit in 1354 over the tithes and oblations of St. Alphage's Cripplegate was brought by the former parson of that church against the priest who then held it, and because the advowson belonged to St. Martin's, though the church was not appropriated, it was held that the Court of Canterbury had no jurisdiction. (fn. 110) Again in 1381 the king claimed that the dean of St. Martin's had from time immemorial exercised all ordinary jurisdiction within the Tower of London, a right not based on any existing charter, and that the bishop of London had exceeded his powers in placing the Tower chapel under an interdict. (fn. 111)
In the fifteenth century St. Martin's had, however, to meet a formidable attack from another quarter on different grounds. The City beyond trying once or twice to make the college pay part of a tallage, (fn. 112) had hitherto scarcely questioned its special privileges. (fn. 113) While, however, it was becoming even more conscious of itself as a corporate body and more jealous and resentful of exemptions from its dominion within its bounds, the evils caused by the privileges of St. Martin's did not grow less. As the elements of disorder increased during the reign of Richard II, the precinct of the church owing to its right of sanctuary became a nest of corruption.
In 1402 the Commons complained to the king in Parliament (fn. 114) that apprentices and servants carried off their master's goods to St. Martin's and lived there on the proceeds of the sale, that forgers took up their abode and carried on their nefarious work there, that the inhabitants of the place bought in the City things for which no payment could be obtained, and that robbers and murderers used the place as a convenient refuge from which they issued to commit fresh crimes. The king ordered that the privileges should be shown before the council, and that there should be reasonable remedy, but evidently nothing was done.
In 1430 the mayor and sheriffs took the law in their own hands and forcibly removed from the sanctuary a certain canon of Waltham, (fn. 115) but they had to put him back. Undaunted by this check the sheriffs in 1440 took away from St. Martin's a soldier and the men who had rescued him as he was being taken from the prison of Newgate to the Guildhall. The dean and chapter appealed to the king, and in spite of the resistance of the City they won the day. (fn. 116)
One of the sheriffs and some of the goldsmiths of London in 1448 visited the shops of their craft in the precinct. The dean did not oppose their examination but prevented its being used as a precedent against the immunities of the place by himself ordering anything condemned by them to be destroyed and the offenders to be committed to prison. (fn. 117)
Although the privileges of St. Martin's were found to hold good even against the king himself as the cases of William Caym (fn. 118) and Sir William Oldhall (fn. 119) in 1451 sufficiently proved, the abuses of the right of sanctuary were too notorious to be ignored any longer, and the council in 1457 ordained (fn. 120) that persons taking refuge there should be registered by the dean; that they should not retain their weapons; that control should be kept over notorious criminals; that stolen goods should be restored to their owners if they claimed them; that makers of counterfeit plate and jewels should not be allowed in the sanctuary; that men exercising their trades there should observe the rules of the city in this respect; and that vice should not be countenanced. The exemptions of St. Martin's outlived the church itself, though the right of sanctuary was curtailed under Henry VIII.
Considering the relations that had always existed between the dean and the sovereign, it would not have been easy for him to remain neutral amid the dynastic changes which now took place. Dean Stillington did not make the attempt, but threw in his lot with the Yorkists, and was employed by Richard III in the negotiations with the duke of Brittany for the surrender of the duke of Richmond. (fn. 121) As a natural consequence he was removed when Richmond became king, James Stanley being put in his place. (fn. 122)
In 1503 St. Martin's le Grand entered on a new phase, for it was appropriated with all its possessions except the prebend of Newland to the use of Westminster Abbey as part of the endowment of the chapel founded there by Henry VII. (fn. 123) Stanley became bishop of Ely in 1506, (fn. 124) and must have given up his deanery then if he had not done so before; (fn. 125) the prebends of Keton, (fn. 126) Cowpes, (fn. 127) Chrishall, (fn. 128) Imbers, (fn. 129) Paslowes, (fn. 130) Knight's Tolleshunt, (fn. 131) and Good Easter (fn. 132) were resigned by their holders between February, 1503, and May, 1504; those of Fawkeners and Burghs appear to have been vacant. (fn. 133)
The abbey gained the issues of these estates, and the chapel services possibly lost little. There were still two canons resident and there seem not to have been more for two centuries, (fn. 134) in 1391, indeed, there was only one. (fn. 135) On the other hand the number of vicars may have been reduced: the accounts of 1391 mention eighteen vicars, a sacrist, and a clerk; those of 1385, seventeen vicars, a sacrist, and a clerk, (fn. 136) while after the appropriation there were eight vicars, three clerks, a sacrist, the keeper of the 'vestiarium,' (fn. 137) and the clerk of the church. There were four choir boys in 1503 as in 1304. (fn. 138)
No great changes can have been introduced until 1508 for the protest of John Fisher, one of the prebendaries of Newland, was made in November of that year. (fn. 139) Fisher complained that the abbot, with the bishops of London and Winchester, had visited the chapel, had abolished the ancient statutes and customs of the place without the consent of the canons and vicars perpetual, had taken away the common seal, and deprived the canons and vicars of their fruits and obventions, and Fisher himself of the emoluments of his prebend. The arbitrators decided in November, 1509, in favour of Fisher and his fellow canon: (fn. 140) they were to have the arrears of their prebend, but were to expend almost the whole sum on the chapel; they were to receive 5 marks a year each; compensation was to be given them for their loss of the profits of the convent seal; (fn. 141) they were to enjoy the statutes and old constitution and were to have the presentation of four vicars' stalls. The statutes made by Abbot Islip for the college (fn. 142) will enable some idea to be formed not only of the daily life of the members, but also of their standard of conduct. Two of the most discreet of the chaplains were to be named every year, and to govern the others as the abbot's procurators; each chaplain was to take his turn to act as seneschal for a fortnight and superintend the expenses of the house; no one was habitually to absent himself from the services, and there was to be no talking in the choir or presbytery before and after, but especially at the time of service, except of matters pertaining to the divine office, and that in a low voice; the priests were all to sleep in the dormitory unless they had good reason for their absence; at table one of the priests was to read the Bible or some homily aloud that vain conversation might be avoided, and no one was to withdraw before grace had been said, except by leave of the procurator or seneschal; no one was to write with his knife on the vessels, candlesticks or tables of the hall or rooms, nor wilfully tear the cloth or towel; the priests were commanded under certain penalties not to cause quarrels or discords among themselves or reveal the secrets of the house, not to use angry words to each other or hit each other with swords or sticks within the hall or close; the priests were to have tonsures and not to wear rings; they were forbidden to use bad language; they were not to engage in trade; they were ordered not to bring any woman suspected or defamed by day or night within the close to their rooms.
The college was suppressed in 1542, and all the members were pensioned, the one prebendary of Newland receiving £20 a year, three vicars £4 each, another £6, the fifth £6 13s. 4d., the sixth, who was to serve the cure, £10 16s. 6d., three clerks, 40s. each and two others, 53s. 4d. each. (fn. 143)
The plate possessed by the church at the time of the Dissolution was considerable in weight at least, 194 oz. gilt, 182 oz. parcel gilt, and 144 oz. white. (fn. 144) The vestments both in quantity and quality appear to have been worthy of the place: (fn. 145) there were forty-six copes alone, some of them costly and beautiful, among which may be noted four of cloth of gold, the gift of Dean Cawdray; another of the same material, the gift of Sir William Oldhall; (fn. 146) one of red bawdekyn, with stars of gold and orphreys of white bawdekyn; two of white damask with arms of silver; one of crimson velvet powdered with flowers and orphreys of green velvet; a green one barred with gold, the orphreys of red velvet with stars and crowns of gold; others decorated with birds and harts of gold, peacocks, eagles and dragons; one of blue satin 'oysters fedders and roses,' and orphreys of 'red saten fyne gold'; and several with needlework orphreys.
The income of the chapel in 1291 amounted roughly to £209. (fn. 147) In 1535 the annual value of its property then in the hands of the abbot of Westminster was worth about £356 1s 9½d., (fn. 148) but to this must be added the issues of the prebend of Newland and of eight chantries, equal to £90 18s. 9d. (fn. 149) Among the possessions of St. Martin's were the prebends or manors of Imbers, Fawkeners, Paston, and Burghs, (fn. 150) and other property in Good Easter, possibly the manor of Newerks, (fn. 151) and the manor of Mashbury, mentioned in 1273 as held by the college; (fn. 152) lands in Knight's Tolleshunt, Norton, (fn. 153) Maldon, (fn. 154) and North Benfleet, (fn. 155) co. Essex, and Hoddesdon, co. Herts; the rectory of St. Andrews, Good Easter, from early times a prebendal church; (fn. 156) the church of Newport Pound, of old appurtenant to the deanery; (fn. 157) the church of Witham, where a vicarage was ordained in 1222; (fn. 158) the chapel of Cressing, which belonged to Witham (fn. 159); the prebendal church of Crishall, (fn. 160) the rectory of St. Mary of Maldon, or the prebends of Cowpes and Keton, (fn. 161) co. Essex, and the rectory of Bassingbourn, co. Cambridge. A fair in Good Easter had been granted by the king in 1309, (fn. 162) and a portion of 5s. from the chapel of Bonhunt, co. Essex, had been paid in 1291. (fn. 163) St. Martin's in 1215 held one knight's fee in Mashbury. (fn. 164)
The tenements in London where the college had had holdings in eleven parishes in 1291 (fn. 165) amounted in 1535 to about half the entire revenues. (fn. 166) St. Martin's also held the appropriated church of St. Botolph without Aldersgate, (fn. 167) and a pension of 6s. 8d. from St. Katharine Coleman, 20s. from St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, and 60s. from St. Nicholas Shambles, which had been paid in 1291, (fn. 168) in some cases much earlier. (fn. 169) In 1291, and presumably in 1535, the college possessed, besides the advowsons of the above churches, (fn. 170) those of the following:—St. Agnes, granted to St. Martin's between 1140 and 1160 by Abbot Gervase and the convent of Westminster; (fn. 171) St. Leonard Foster Lane, built within the precinct early in the thirteenth century; (fn. 172) St. Alphage, which had been connected with St. Martin's since the time of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, (fn. 173) and in 1291 (fn. 174) and 1526 (fn. 175) paid a pension of 33s. 4d.
Deans of St. Martin Le Grand
Ingelric, the first dean (fn. 176)
Geoffrey (?), occurs 1077 (fn. 177)
Roger, bishop of Salisbury, appointed temp. Henry I, (fn. 178) died 1139
Fulcher (fn. 179)
Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester, appointed temp. Stephen, (fn. 180) occurs 1158 (fn. 181)
William, son of Count Theobald, c. 1160 (fn. 182)
Godfrey de Lucy, appointed 1171, (fn. 183) occurs 1177, (fn. 184) promoted 1189 (fn. 185)
William de Ste. Mère l'Eglise, appointed 1189, (fn. 186) promoted 1199 (fn. 187)
Richard Briger, appointed 1199 (fn. 188)
Geoffrey de Boclande, occurs 1211, (fn. 189) 1216, (fn. 190) 1222, (fn. 191) and 1225 (fn. 192)
Luke, appointed 1225, (fn. 193) promoted 1229 (fn. 194)
Walter de Kirkeham, appointed 1229, (fn. 195) occurs 1236 (fn. 196)
Guy de Rossilian, appointed 1244, (fn. 197) occurs 1248 (fn. 198) and 1254 (fn. 199)
Hugh, appointed c. 1253 (?) (fn. 200)
Henry de Wengham, appointed 1254, (fn. 201) occurs 1259, (fn. 202) promoted 1260 (fn. 203)
William de Champvent, appointed 1262, (fn. 204) promoted c. 1274 (fn. 205)
Louis of Savoy, appointed 1274 (fn. 206) resigned c. 1279 (fn. 207)
Geoffrey de Neubaud, appointed 1279 (fn. 208) occurs 1280 (fn. 209)
William of Louth, appointed 1283, (fn. 210) occurs 1284, (fn. 211) resigned 1290 (fn. 212)
William de Marchia, appointed 1290, (fn. 213) occurs 1292 (fn. 214)
Peter de Savoy, occurs 1294, (fn. 215) 1301, (fn. 216) and 1308 (fn. 217)
William de Melton, appointed 1308, (fn. 218) occurs 1314 (fn. 219)
Richard de Ellesfield, appointed 1317, (fn. 220) removed 1325 (fn. 221)
Richard de Tysshbury appointed 1325, (fn. 222) removed 1326 (fn. 223)
John le Smale, appointed 1326 (fn. 224)
John de Wodeford, appointed 1328, (fn. 225) resigned 1343 (fn. 226)
John de Heselarton, appointed 1343, (fn. 227) occurs 1344 (fn. 228)
Thomas de Useflete, appointed 1345, (fn. 229) occurs 1347 (fn. 230)
William de Cusancia, appointed 1349, (fn. 231) occurs 1354 (fn. 232) and 1355 (fn. 233)
William de Wykeham, appointed 1360 (fn. 234)
Simon de Northwode, occurs 1363 (fn. 235) and 1364 (fn. 236)
William de Mulsho, appointed 1364, (fn. 237) occurs 1370 (fn. 238)
Walter Skirlawe, appointed 1377, (fn. 239) resigned 1383 (fn. 240)
John Bacun, appointed 1383 (fn. 241)
Richard Mitford, appointed 1385, (fn. 242) resigned 1389 (fn. 243)
Roger Walden, appointed 1390 (fn. 244)
William de Pakyngton, appointed 1390 (fn. 245)
William de Assheton, appointed 1390, (fn. 246) occurs 1391–2 (fn. 247) and 1396 (fn. 248)
Thomas de Langley, appointed 1395 (?) (fn. 249)
Thomas de Stanley, occurs 1399, (fn. 250) resigned 1402 (fn. 251)
Thomas Tuttebury, appointed 1402 (fn. 252)
Richard Dereham, S.T.P., appointed 1403, (fn. 253) occurs 1414 (fn. 254)
John Stena, or Stone, occurs 1416 (fn. 255)
William Kynwolmersh, appointed 1420–1, (fn. 256) occurs 1422 (fn. 257)
John Stafford, appointed 1422, (fn. 258) occurs 1425 (fn. 259)
William Alnwick, resigned 1426 (fn. 260)
John Estcourt, appointed 1426, (fn. 261) occurs 1427 (fn. 262)
Thomas Bourchier, appointed 1427, (fn. 263) occurs 1430 (fn. 264) and 1434 (fn. 265)
Richard Cawdray, appointed 1435, (fn. 266) occurs 1443, (fn. 267) 1448, (fn. 268) and 1455 (fn. 269)
Robert Stillington, appointed 1458, (fn. 270) occurs 1464, (fn. 271) removed 1485 (fn. 272)
James Stanley, appointed 1485, (fn. 273) occurs 1499 (fn. 274)
A seal of the twelfth or early thirteenth century, (fn. 275) in shape a pointed oval, represents the sainted bishop with nimbus, lifting up the right hand in benediction, and holding in the left a crosier. Legend:—
The seal of Thomas de Useflete, dean in 1347, is attached to Add. Chart. 6,030. It is red in colour, and bears an impression of an ancient oval Christian gem engraved in intaglio: two half-length figures of a man on the left and a woman on the right lifting up their hands in prayer; between them, overhead, a crosslet. Above the impression of the gem is a half-length representation of the Virgin with the Child. In the base to the left is a bust, a fillet round the head. The setting is ornamented with four small carved circular openings. Legend:—
A seal of 1349, (fn. 276) a pointed oval, shows St. Martin dividing his cloak with the beggar. In the base is a shield of arms.