A History of the County of York: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.
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HOUSE OF AUSTIN CANONS of the Order of the Temple of the Lord at Jerusalem
59. THE PRIORY OF NORTH FERRIBY
According to Tanner, and others who have followed him, the house of North Ferriby Was founded as a preceptory of Knights Templars, and after the suppression of the Templars became an ordinary priory of canons of the order of St. Augustine, and so continued till the suppression of the lesser monasteries. (fn. 1) Torre's statement (fn. 2) is as follows: ' North Ferriby. Priory of St. Marie's. The house or priory of N. Ferriby was founded by William de Vescy. At first for three brethren of the Order of the Temple of St. John Jerusalem in England, to which number he added five more, which completed eight brethren for the future, when he gave them the church of N. Ferriby to be appropriated to them. The common seal of the, priory of North Ferriby was thus, when William, prior, and brethren thereof, granted to Robt. Robelott a certain toft in Austelmerly and an acre in Elveley.' Then follows a rude sketch of a seal, similar to that figured in The Temple Church (Bell's Cathedral Ser.), 62, but with no legend. In reality these canons were in no way connected with the Knights Templars. There were at Jerusalem two ' Temples.' The one, called the Temple of Solomon, was a palace, and from it the Knights Templars derived their name. The other, the Temple of the Lord, was a church served by a community of Austin canons under an abbot; it was to this abbey that North Ferriby was a cell. (fn. 3)
Archbishop Giffard wrote, on 25 September 1270, (fn. 4) to the rector of Kirk Ella, and the bailiff of Beverley, that he had heard that the Prior of Ferriby, of the order of the Temple of the Lord, proposed to go to foreign parts by direction of his abbot, and meant to sell the corn and stock or the house, and to take away two-thirds for the cost of his journey, leaving only one-third for the sustenance of the brethren at home. If this were done the property of the house would be wholly insufficient for maintaining the brethren and guests, for which it was specially assigned. The commissioners were ordered to admonish the prior either to abandon the project and look elsewhere for the expenses of his journey, or to take a less sum, as they might appoint, in order that the archbishop might not have to put a stop to his journey, or the brothers be driven to beg in a manner not seemly. The commissioners were also to enjoin the brethren to take good care of their business matters and property, and not to consent to the prior's proposal. If the prior or the brethren disregarded the admonition, compulsion was to be used by suspension or excommunication.
In March 1271-2 (fn. 5) Brother Walter de Sancto Eadmundo, claiming to be (qui se dicit) Prior of Ferriby, complained that the archbishop's official had issued certain mandates in which it was implied that he was an intruder and an ungodly person. The archbishop desired the Dean of York, in his stead, to hear the complaint, and to decide what ought to be done.
Archbishop Melton sent on 29 September 1334 (fn. 6) a monition to the Prior and brothers of the house of the Temple of the Lord of Ferriby, of his intention to visit the house on 14 May following, but there does not appear to be any record of the visitation itself. Fifteen years later there is evidence of the presence of the Black Death. (fn. 7) The sickness itself is not alluded, to, but there can be little doubt that it accounts for the fact that on 24 July 1349 Brother John de Beverley was elected prior, in succession to Walter de Hesill, deceased, and that the very next entry in the register records the election of John de Preston as prior on 3 August following, in succession to Brother John de Beverley, deceased—an interval of ten days only between the elections.
On 27 August 1372 (fn. 8) Archbishop Thoresby confirmed a provision made by John, the prior, and the convent, for their late prior John de Hedon. First of all he was to sit in fronte chori, in the second stall after the prior, on that side, when he wished to attend, but he was excused from all keeping of quire, and also of chapter, unless summoned for the business of the house, and the good of his soul, according to the discipline of the rule. He was to have a general licence for going in and out of the priory and its precincts. He was to have a competent and honest chamber within the priory, cum oratorio, chiminio, et privato, to be kept up at the cost of the house; If he were ill, or became blind, he was to have a canon to minister to him, ' tarn in missis quam aliis horis divinis.' He was to have three loaves daily, two of them de meliori pascu and the third de secundarie. He was also to have a lagena and a half of the better ale of the house, together with full secondary messes from the kitchen after the prior, both at noon (ad nonam) and at supper, such as two canons received, in the hall or refectory. He was to have a servant at his choice, assigned him by the prior, at the charges of the house. He was also to have five marks of silver yearly, for his clothing, and further he was to have every year 4,000 turves from the moor of Inclemore for fuel.
In 1380-1 (fn. 9) there were, besides the prior, five canons.
On 18 July 1396 (fn. 10) Pope Boniface IX conferred on John de Thornton, priest, ' Augustinian canon of the priory of Ferriby of the order of the brethren of the Temple,' the dignity of papal chaplain. Five years later, on 13 February 1401, (fn. 11) the same pope granted a dispensation to 'John Marton, canon of the priory of North Ferriby, of the Order of the Temple of our Lord of Jerusalem, under the rule of St. Augustine,' (fn. 12) who made his profession in North Ferriby and was in priest's orders, to hold any offices, &c., even principal, of his order.
The property of the priory seems to have consisted of lands in the immediate neighbourhood, (fn. 13) but nothing of importance except the church of North Ferriby, which was appropriated to the priory, one of the canons being usually appointed to the vicarage. In 1526 (fn. 14) the clear annual value of the priory was returned as £48 1s. 7d. According to the Valor Ecclesiasticus (fn. 15) the total annual revenues amounted to £95 11s. 7½d., the reprises to £35 10s. 5½d., leaving a clear annual value of £60 1s 2d.
Just at the end of its history there was a very quick changing about of priors, suggesting an endeavour to secure as much in the way of pensions as possible. On 5 June 1532 (fn. 16) a commission was issued to confirm the election of Brother John Bawdewynne, late vicar of Ferriby, who had been elected prior vice Thomas Burgh, resigned. On 20 June (fn. 17) Thomas Burgh, the ex-prior, was instituted to the vicarage of Ferriby. On 24 September 1534 (fn. 18) John Bawdewynne had resigned, and Brother Thomas Androwe, canon of the house, was elected. All three were living at the suppression, John Bawdewynne having changed places with Thomas Androwe and become prior for the second time as late as 7 June 1535, (fn. 19) when Androwe was assigned a yearly pension (fn. 20) of £3 6s. 8d., together with victuals for himself and a servant, quondam parluram vocatam M r Riddleston parlor with a chamber constructed over it, and a certain chamber contigua valvis de Ferribie, and every winter unum le chawdrey of coals, and pasturage and hay for two horses, &c.
The house was visited on 24 May 1536 and suppressed on 13 August following; (fn. 21) there were six canons and thirty-four servants and other boys.
Drs. Legh and Layton record under 'superstitio' 'hic colitur Sanctus Gatianus.' (fn. 22)
Priors of North Ferriby
Simon, occurs 1240 (fn. 23)
Robert, occurs 1284 (fn. 26)
William, occurs 1300-1 (fn. 27)
Walter de Hesill, died 1349 (fn. 30)
John de Preston, elected 3 August 1349 (fn. 33)
John de Hedon, resigned 1372 (fn. 34)
Thomas Beverley, died 1498 (fn. 41)
Thomas Cotingham, confirmed 1498 (fn. 42)
John Howlme, occurs 3 July 1532 (fn. 48)
John Bawdewynne (second time), succeeded 7 June 1535 (fn. 53)