A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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38. COLLEGE OF STOKE-UNDER-HAMDON
In 1303 Sir John Beauchamp obtained the royal licence to convert his free chapel of St. Nicholas at Stoke into a collegiate church of five priests, of whom one should be warden or provost. The priests were to wear the dress of secular canons, to live together, under the control of the provost. Rules were laid down for the celebration of the five daily masses, certain endowments were specified, including half the tithes from the demesnes of Shepton Beauchamp, and a clause was inserted in the foundation deed forbidding Sir John and his heirs to send horses, hawks or hounds to be looked after by the canons. Reginald de Moncketon was appointed first provost, and arrangements were made by which the rectory of Stoke should be appropriated to the college upon the cession of the then rector, Robert Beauchamp. (fn. 1) Papal confirmation was obtained in 1309. (fn. 2)
Bishop Drokensford (fn. 3) issued a commission for the visitation of the college of Stoke in December 1320, but the proceedings were not recorded. In 1331 the warden of Stoke was licensed to hear the confessions of his brethren and of the family of Sir John Beauchamp. (fn. 4) A corrody was granted to the rector of Stocklinch on his resignation, by Laurence provost of Stoke and his 'sodales' in 1335. (fn. 5) Towards the end of this century the college was suffering from poverty and disputes with the vicars of Stoke over tithes; accordingly Bishop John Harewell granted in 1375 that upon the cession of the then vicar the vicarage should be united to the rectory and the church served either by a resident secular chaplain or by one of the canons. (fn. 6)
The college gradually dwindled and at the time of its suppression in 1549 was farmed toone John Kyte, the value of its endowments being £44 12s., from which £8 was paid to the one priest who then served the chapel. (fn. 7)