A History of the County of Nottingham: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1910.
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21. THE COLLEGE OF SIBTHORPE
In November 1324 Thomas de Sibthorpe obtained licence to alienate in mortmain a messuage, a toft, 50 acres of land and 5 acres of meadow, in Hawksworth and Aslockton, to a chaplain to celebrate daily in a chapel to be built on the north side of the church of St. Peter of Sibthorpe, to be dedicated in honour of the Blessed Virgin, St. John Baptist, and St. Thomas the Martyr, for the souls of himself, his father, mother, brothers, sisters and ancestors, and others. (fn. 1) In October of the following year the just cited licence was surrendered and vacated. The chapel was then built, and a somewhat extended alienation was sought and obtained by Thomas de Sibthorpe. At the same time Thomas and William le Mareschal of Sibthorpe obtained licence to alienate 3 messuages, 3 oxgangs, 50 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, and 10s. rent in Sibthorpe, Syerston, Elston, Aslockton, and Thrumpton, to John Notebroun, chaplain of the chantry, just ordained by the said Thomas in this new chapel, to celebrate daily for their good estate and for their souls after death and also for the souls of Maud mother of the said Thomas, and for the brothers and sisters and ancestors of Thomas and of Simon de Sibthorpe, &c. (fn. 2)
By the time that the beginning of the reign of Edward III was reached, this chantry began to assume collegiate proportions. In April 1327 Thomas de Newmarket, kt., confirmed the grant by Thomas de Sibthorpe, presumably a native of Sibthorpe, who was then rector of the church of Beckingham, Lincolnshire, founder of the chapel and chantry, to John Notebroun, described as chaplain and keeper of the altar of St. Mary in the chapel, of certain lands in Hawksworth, held of the said Sir Thomas as chief lord of the fee. (fn. 3) In July of the same year Geoffrey le Scrop, kt., licensed Thomas de Sibthorpe to assign all the lands that he held of Sir Geoffrey, either in demesne or in service, in Sibthorpe, Elston, and Syerston to certain chaplains or other men of religion, to celebrate divine service daily in the newly constructed chapel. (fn. 4)
In February 1328 the deed was enrolled of Sir Geoffrey le Scrop, whereby he licensed John Notebroun, now called warden of the chantry in St. Mary's Chapel, and John Edwalton, chaplain of the said chantry, to acquire three messuages, 40 acres of land, and 10 acres of meadow in the three parishes mentioned above, to be held by them and their successors as wardens and chaplains of the chapel, without making any rent or service or custom to Geoffrey and his heirs. (fn. 5) In November of the same year William son of Geoffrey le Clerk of Sibthorpe had licence to alienate a messuage in Sibthorpe and Syerston, of the yearly value of 11s. 7d., to John de Edwalton, chaplain and warden of the chapel of St. Mary, Sibthorpe, in succession to John Notebroun, the late warden. (fn. 6)
There was a further advance in 1335, for in that year Thomas Sibthorpe, rector of Beckingham, who is then styled king's clerk, bestowed further lands in Sibthorpe and Syerston on John Cosyn, chaplain and warden of the chapel, towards the sustentation of the warden, two chaplains, and a clerk as their server, who were to celebrate daily in the said chapel of St. Mary and in the chapel of St. Anne, in the church of St. Peter, Sibthorpe, on behalf of the Sibthorpe family. (fn. 7)
In November 1336 certain small parcels of land were exchanged in Sibthorpe, to permit of the enlargement of the dwelling-house of John Cosyn, the warden. (fn. 8) The endowment of this collegiate chantry rapidly increased, for in December of the same year the founder gave fifteen messuages, a toft, 3 oxgangs, and 170 acres of land, 50 acres of meadow, and 30s. of rent in Sibthorpe and five adjoining parishes, together with the reversion of another parcel, for the sustenance of the warden and two other chaplains celebrating divine service daily in the chapel of St. Mary in the church of St. Peter, Sibthorpe, and in the chapel of St. Anne, St. Katherine, St. Margaret, and St. Mary Magdalene, of two clerks to serve them in the celebration and at other times, as well as for the finding thirty wax lights in the church and chapels and a lamp before the Rood there at certain times. (fn. 9)
In 1339 John son of Reginald de Aslacton and Joan his wife assigned certain rents to the value of 20s. a year towards the provision of the thirty wax lights in this chapel and church. (fn. 10) In the same year Thomas de Sibthorpe the founder, who was then rector of Kingham, Oxon, transferred certain lands and rents in Beckingham and other Lincolnshire parishes to John Cosyn as warden of the chapel at Sibthorpe. (fn. 11)
A yet further extension of this collegiate chantry occurred in 1340, when Thomas the founder obtained licence to alienate 6s. 7d. of rents in Sibthorpe and Sutton, together with the advowson and appropriation of the church of Sibthorpe, to maintain a warden and four chaplains in that church to say daily mass for the soul of Edward II, for the good estate of the present king, for his soul after death, for the souls of the heirs of Edward III, for the said Thomas the founder and certain others, and also for the distribution of weekly alms. (fn. 12) The advowson of Sibthorpe had belonged to the Knights Templars, and was transferred on their suppression to the Knights Hospitallers. In order to secure the advowson and rectory and certain other appurtenances, Thomas de Sibthorpe transferred to the Hospitallers valuable lands at Woolhampton and Midgham, Berkshire. From the entry of January 1341 recording this exchange on the Patent Rolls, we find it clearly stated that this appropriation was carried out in order to sustain a warden and four chaplains in the church, in addition to the three chaplains and two clerks already appointed; so that the college then consisted of eight priests and two clerks. It was further provided that seven wheaten loaves, each of the weight of 50s., were to be distributed every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to the poor of the parish. (fn. 13)
In this same year, before the justices of the bench at the pleas at Westminster, judgement was given in a variety of actions brought against Warden John Cosyn to recover certain of the lands wherewith the college had been endowed; but in every case the decision was in favour of the college. (fn. 14) Again in 1342 legal attempts were made to deprive John Cosyn, the warden, of the advowson and appropriation of the church of Sibthorpe, but they all failed. In the course of these pleas John the warden, in his evidence, mentioned that all the chaplains and clerks assembled in the chapel of St. Anne yearly on the vigil of the Annunciation, celebrating an anniversary for the souls of Simon de Sibthorpe and others and their heirs, ancestors, and relations, as for a corpse present, with bell tolling; and also in the chapel of St. Mary a like anniversary for the souls of Thomas de Sibthorpe the founder, William and Maud his parents, &c., and for all benefactors, and for the parishioners of the church; and that on the Annunciation, directly after mass, the warden distributed in the churchyard, among the poorer parishioners who had attended the mass, 60 farthings or the equivalent in bread, and gave yearly on the same day to each of the chaplains 2d., and to each clerk 1d. (fn. 15)
Another advance was made in 1343, when the reversion of the manor of Sibthorpe, valued at £6 5s. a year, was given to the college, and two other chaplains were added to the seven then existing, to pray daily for the souls of the king's father and the king and his heir, and for William and Isabel Durent, and for John son of Reginald de Aslacton, kt., and Joan his wife. (fn. 16)
In 1345 the endowments were increased by the gift of parcels of land by Reginald son of Simon de Sibthorpe, which permitted of the enlargement of the rectory manse, where the warden and chaplains lived, and also of the enlargement of the cemetery. (fn. 17) A reiteration of a previous licence to the founder on the Patent Rolls, inasmuch as it had originally only been sealed by the privy seal, brings out the fact that the endowments were also used for the support of a poor man who kept the gates of the chaplain's dwelling, and for the finding of a poor woman of the parish in food and clothing, who probably served as charwoman. (fn. 18)
Edward III, when staying at his favourite Nottinghamshire residence of Clipston, in December 1345, informed the sheriffs, bailiffs, ministers, and all purveyors and takers of victuals and other things for the king's household, that the king had taken under his special protection the chapel of St. Mary, Sibthorpe, with the warden and chaplains thereof and their lands and possessions, and that nothing was to be taken of their crops, hay, horses, carts, carriages, victuals, or other goods against their will. (fn. 19)
A licence for a further assignment of lands and rents to the college by the founder in 1399 shows that at that time there were eight chaplains and three clerks, in addition to John Cosyn the warden. (fn. 20)
John Cosyn the warden died, in all probability of the plague, in 1349, and was succeeded by Robert de Kniveton, one of the chaplains. (fn. 21)
When the Valor Ecclesiasticus was drawn up in 1534, Thomas Magnus was warden of Sibthorpe. The clear value of the college or chantry was declared at £25 18s. 8d. The gross value was £31 1s. 2d., of which sum £13 6s. 8d. came from the rectory of Sibthorpe. (fn. 22) There is no record of the number of chaplains at that date.
The surrender of the property that this college held in Sibthorpe, Hawksworth, Flintham, Beckingham, Kneeton, Syerston, Elston, Staunton, and Shelton, was signed by Thomas Magnus on 17 April 1545. The warden is described as Custos sive Gardianus Gardianati Collegii sive Cantariae Beatae Mariae de Sybthrope. (fn. 23)
In July of the same year, however, Thomas Magnus, described as clerk and king's councillor, obtained a grant for life, for £197 6s. 7½d., of all that had pertained to the college wardenry or chantry of Sibthorpe, both in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, as he held them when warden of the college. On his death remainder was granted to Richard Whalley and his heirs. (fn. 24)
Wardens of Sibthorpe
John Notebroun, 1324 (fn. 25)
John Cosyn, 1335 (fn. 26)
Robert de Kniveton, 1349 (fn. 27)
Thomas Magnus, occurs 1534 (fn. 28)