A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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11. THE PRIORY OF PINLEY
The small priory of Cistercian nuns at Pinley, dedicated to the honour of the Blessed Virgin, was founded temp. Henry I by Robert de Pillarton, who endowed it with all his lands in Pinley. This grant was confirmed to the nuns of Pinley by three successive bishops of Worcester, Simon (1125-51), John of Pageham (1151-58), and Alfred (1158-64). (fn. 1)
Among their early benefactors, named by Dugdale, (fn. 2) were William Mareschal, who gave them half a virgate of land at Pinley; Ernald de Bois, one carucate at Shrewley; Robert de Tayden, a carucate in the same parish; Waleran, earl of Warwick, the tithe corn of Walton Mauduit, and some parcels of land in Claverdon; Walter D'Eiville, the tithe of his mill at Walton D'Eiville; William de Freynuse, a meadow in Rowington; and William de Curley, several parcels of land in Langley. Earl Waleran granted the nuns a further 2 marks of rent from Claverdon so long as they should have the upbringing of his daughter Gundrada and his niece Isabel, whom he had entrusted to their care. (fn. 3)
The nuns of Pinley were visited by Bishop Giffard on 13 November, 1269, when Lucy de Sapy was prioress. The bishop again visited this nunnery on 9 August, 1284, and preached from the text 'Audi filia et vide et inclina aurem tuam' (Psa. xliv. 12). In October the bishop wrote to the prioress granting them dispensation to use linen rochets so that they were not girded over them.
On 31 January, 1290, the nuns were once more visited by the bishop, who on this occasion preached to them from 'Oleum effusum nomen tuum' (Cant. i. 3). There is record of another visitation by Giffard in 1300. (fn. 4)
On 10 November, 1301, pardon was granted to the prioress and nuns of Pinley, in consideration of a fine paid into the Exchequer, for having acquired in mortmain a rent of 13 quarters of corn and 14 quarters of barley, from Peter de Montfort (who died in 1286), out of the manor of Whitchurch, without due licence, with leave to retain it. (fn. 5) Thurstan de Montfort, who died in 1216, granted the nunnery the tithe of all the victuals for his house, namely bread, beer, fish, and flesh, and whatsoever was dressed in his kitchen. His son, Peter de Montfort, who was slain at the battle of Evesham (1265), obtained the patronage of the priory from Roger de Pillarton, which was confirmed by Bishop Cantilupe. The tithe of victuals was confirmed by Peter son of Peter de Montfort, but exchanged in 1277 for the definite yearly supply of wheat and barley. (fn. 6)
Philip le Lou and Margaret his wife obtained licence in 1310 to bestow on the prioress and nuns of Pinley the advowson and rectory of the church of Whatcote. (fn. 7) But though the licence was obtained, the intending donors changed their mind, and the bequest was never made. In the next reign Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, obtained a like licence for giving the nuns a moiety of the church of Moreton Morrell, but the transference was never made. (fn. 8)
Dugdale mentions three indulgences granting pardon of penance for a certain number of days to those penitents who should assist, out of their temporal substance, the nuns of Pinley. The first was granted by Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1195, for ten days; the second by Bishop Cantilupe of Worcester, in 1253, for twenty days; and the third by Simon de Wauton, bishop of Norwich, in 1260, for twenty days.
The prioress and convent obtained licence in 1328 to acquire land and rent in mortmain to the annual value of £10. (fn. 9)
The various visitations made by the priors of Worcester or their commissaries to this house during the vacancy of the see in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have already been cited. (fn. 10) In no one instance did the visitors notice anything requiring amendment. But in 1350 the episcopal mandate was directed to the prioress and sisters, ordering the removal of certain seculars from their house within ten days, through whose presence they were being defamed. (fn. 11)
The Taxatio of 1291 gave the annual value of the temporalities of this little priory as £3 10s. 4d.; namely £2 6s. 4d. in the deanery of Warwick, and £1 4s. in the deanery of Guthlaxton, in the diocese of Lincoln. The Valor of 1535, when Margaret Wigston was prioress, puts the annual value at £27 13s. 4d., but £8 of this amount was reserved for hospitality.
The commissioners of 1536 gave the clear annual value of 'The Priorie of Pynneley White Nunnes of the order of Seynt Bardnard and Seynt Benets Rule,' as £25 5s. 5d. There were four professed religious with the prioress, 'of good conversation and lyvyng by reporte, and one desyryng "Capacite."' There were eight dependants, namely three hinds, four women servants, and one corrodian. The lead and bells were merely worth 13s. 4d. 'The house in metely good Reparation and most parte of ytt old.' The stocks and stores and goods were worth £22 14s. 2d. There were no woods except upon the demesnes and copyholds, and a waste or common called Pinley. The debts were £14 12s. 7d. (fn. 12)
The prioress, Margaret Wigston, was assigned the small pension of £4, but nothing seems to have been granted to her three sisters. (fn. 13)
The site and demesne lands were sold by Henry VIII in October, 1544, to William Wigston for £342 11s. (fn. 14)
Prioresses of Pinley
Lucy de Sapy, elected 1269 (fn. 15)
Helewysia de Langley, elected 1321, (fn. 16) resigned 1324-5
Elizabeth de Lotrynton, elected 1324-5 (fn. 17)
Amice de Hynton, elected 1342, (fn. 18) resigned 1352
Maud le Bret, elected 1352, (fn. 19) resigned 1358
Amice de Hynton, elected 1358, (fn. 20) resigned 1363
Emma de Chadderton, elected 1363 (fn. 21)
Joan Hilwene, elected 1365 (fn. 22)
Alice Myntyng, elected 1426 (fn. 23)
Margaret Wigston, occurs 1535-6 (fn. 24)