A History of the County of York: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
207. CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. PETER, YORK
The Dean and Chapter of York in the Middle Ages were the direct successors of a body of secular clergy similar in constitution to the primitive chapters of Beverley, Ripon, and Southwell. There is no evidence of any monastic establishment in connexion with the church of the somewhat vague type which existed at Ripon in the days of Wilfrid and may have prevailed at Beverley before the Danish invasions. The clergy of the minster towards the end of the 8th century seem to have followed a definite rule of life; while a school was attached to the church which under Ethelbert and Alcuin obtained great distinction. (fn. 1) In the schoolmasters of the church, men of great learning and reputation, we see the prototypes of the later chancellors, whose duty was the oversight of the minster grammar-school. (fn. 2) The tradition held at York was that the first ministers of the church, corresponding to the later canons, were called Culdees, i.e. Colidei, and were seven in number. (fn. 3) The foundation of their common property was a grant of a thrave or sheaf of wheat from each plough in Yorkshire, which after the Conquest was transferred by the chapter to the hospital of St. Peter, later known as St. Leonard's. (fn. 4) The actual date of this grant is not known, but Athelstan, by a charter dated in 930, gave the whole of Amounderness to the church of St. Peter and Archbishop Wulfstan; (fn. 5) and the grant of the Yorkshire thraves, which may be compared with the more famous grant attributed to Athelstan of thraves from the East Riding to the church of Beverley, may belong to the same period. Athelstan was regarded in the 12th century as the founder of the liberties and customs of the church of York; and although they cannot be attributed to him with certainty, yet his fame in the north of England as a king whose conquests gave unity to the scattered fragments of his kingdom made his reign a convenient starting-point for the constitutional history of the Yorkshire minsters.
The privileges of the church as men remembered them to have existed in the days of the Confessor and Archbishop Ealdred are enumerated in a charter of confirmation granted by Henry I. (fn. 6) This seems to have been the result of an inquiry made in the shire-mote at York in 1106 by request of Archbishop Gerard, when the Sheriff of Yorkshire was attempting to override the jurisdiction of the church. (fn. 7) The land of the canons was declared to be quit of all claim from the king's officers or the sheriff; the canons themselves had all suit of their tenants and heard their pleas before the door of the church. (fn. 8) They were bound to contribute only one man to the army, who should carry St. Peter's standard to war at the head of the burgesses of York. The church had the right of sanctuary within its precincts and in the stone chair or stool of peace by the altar, where the criminal was safe from his pursuer; but at York the sanctuary-man does not seem to have been allowed the wider boundary which at Beverley and Ripon was marked by 'mile crosses.' In view of possible controversies between the canons and archbishop, all forfeitures from the chapter lands were decreed to belong to the chapter alone. The right of the archbishop was confined to the collation of canonries with the advice and assent of the chapter. These privileges, mutatis mutandis, are practically identical with those which we find acknowledged at Beverley and Ripon.
The common life of the canons was furthered by Archbishop Ealdred, who provided them with a frater. (fn. 9) The wasting of Yorkshire by William I drove the canons from the minster. Thomas of Bayeux found only three out of the seven in residence, and to his work of rebuilding the church added that of reorganizing its constitution. (fn. 10) He recalled the absent canons, raised their number, restored their frater and dorter, and appointed a provost to administer their common property. This, however, was evidently a temporary arrangement. For the eventual constitution he was indebted to the church of Bayeux, in which he had been treasurer. (fn. 11) The school had probably been disorganized by the events of the previous few years, and Thomas appointed a chancellor before he turned his attention to the other dignities of the church. The creation of a dean, treasurer, and precentor followed. With these appointments came the assignment of a fixed prebend in land and money to each canon, which made the provostship a superfluous office. By the custom of York, which was followed at Lincoln and Salisbury, the four major dignitaries took precedence of the canons. In Thomas's constitution the treasurer seems to have taken the first place after the dean, and the north side of the quire was known until late in the Middle Ages as the pars thesaurarii. (fn. 12) In the oldest existing statutes, however, the normal order of dean, precentor, chancellor, and treasurer was observed; (fn. 13) and the right of the chancellor to the third dignity was established by an inquest held in 1191, when it was ordained that he should take precedence of all after the precentor. (fn. 14)
Thomas of Bayeux is credited with the appointment of archdeacons, (fn. 15) but their territorial designations were not applied to them until a later time. No prebends were annexed at first to the dignities or the archdeaconries. The prebends eventually reached the number of thirtysix. The names of several places which became separate prebendal estates appear among the possessions of St. Peter in Domesday. (fn. 16) It is, however, quite uncertain how many prebends Thomas founded. The church of Laugh ton-enle-Morthen was granted to the minster as a prebend by Henry I in the time of Archbishop Gerard. (fn. 17) Archbishop Thomas II founded two more prebends. (fn. 18) Archbishop Gray founded the office of sub-dean, (fn. 19) and formed the prebends of Fenton and Wistow out of his barony of Sherburn. (fn. 20) The last prebend to be founded was Bilton, which was ordained by Archbishop Romanus in 1295. (fn. 21) With four exceptions the churches and manors from which the prebendal incomes were derived were situated in Yorkshire. Apesthorpe and Bole were in Nottinghamshire, and Thockrington was in Northumberland. The prebend of Botevant seems originally to have been a money prebend charged upon the common of the chapter. (fn. 22) The name of Botevant, for which no definite reason is forthcoming, seems to have been attached to it before 1339. (fn. 23) The prebends of Bramham and Salton were appropriated from an early date, Bramham to the Prior of Nostell, Salton to the Prior of Hexham, At the taxation of 1291, Masham was the wealthiest stall, assessed at £166 13s. 4d. Wetwang and South Cave followed, with £120 and £106 13s. 4d. Driffield, Langtoft, and Wistow were each valued at £100. Apesthorpe, Grindale, Dunnington, and Warthill were assessed at only £10 each. (fn. 24)
A share in the common fund at York, as in most collegiate churches, was obtained only by residence. The statutes required constant residence from the four dignitaries. An ordinary prebendary who intended to reside had to qualify for the 'minor residence' by a continuous 'major residence' of twenty-six weeks, during which he was bound to attend all the canonical hours, unless he was undergoing his periodical bleeding or was prevented by sickness. During this time he received nothing from the common fund, but was expected to bear the heavy charge of entertaining twice as many of the vicars and ministers of the church on double festivals as were entertained by canons in the minor residence. After passing through this stage of probation he might enter on the minor residence of twenty-four weeks in the year, which gave him his right to commons. This was counted, not by continuous residence, but by the number of days on which he was present at vespers, matins, and mass, the greater festivals alone being obligatory. Twelve full weeks had to be completed in the winter residence, between Martinmas and Whitsuntide. (fn. 25)
The amount of commons due to residents was fixed by a statute of Archbishop Gray in 1221 at 6d. daily, which was raised on feasts of nine lessons to 1s., and on double feasts, when the cost of entertainment was heavy, to 2s. At the end of the half-yearly residence a dividend was declared on the surplus of the common fund between the resident canons. (fn. 26) Gray recognized the principle that commons were annexed to residence and formed no part of a prebend. When the treasurer claimed double commons on the ground that he held two prebends, his demand was compromised by a grant of 3 marks in addition to single commons for his lifetime only. (fn. 27) Exceptions were made on behalf of the chancellor and the Archdeacon of Richmond, who held money prebends only; as these were paid out of the common fund they and their successors in the prebends were allowed to have 6 marks yearly, whether resident or absent. (fn. 28) The residence of archdeacons who held prebends was fixed at a minimum of twelve weeks only, on account of their necessary duties outside York. (fn. 29)
A decree for the assignment of the common fund, with details of the farms arising from the churches and manors belonging to it, was made by the chapter under the presidency of Dean Newark about 1291, when the habit of farming out these possessions was causing some inconvenience to the church. The farms, as they fell vacant, were now assigned to canons who had completed their greater and lesser residence, in order of seniority. (fn. 30) Statutes passed on 5 October 1291 fixed the necessary annual residence for each canon to whom a farm was assigned at twelve weeks, while six weeks were required of an archdeacon. The needs of the fabric of the church and its necessary expenses were met by assigning it the share of a single canon in the half-yearly dividend. The sum thus set aside was put in the common chest, of which the dean and the three senior residentiaries were entrusted with the four keys. (fn. 31)
Later statutes provided for the maintenance of the prebendal houses. Arrangements were made by which a non-resident might let his house to a residentiary who had no house assigned to his prebend. New prebendaries were required to set on foot an inquisition into the dilapidations of their houses, within six weeks after induction. A prebend might be exchanged or resigned after three years' enjoyment of the fruits. Every prebendary, on vacating his prebend, was bound to give a choral cope or its value, 20 marks, and his palfrey or 10 marks, to the church. (fn. 32)
Residence was too expensive to be popular. The statutes of 1291 were passed by eight canons who were present, in addition to Dean Newark. The clergy who composed this chapter were all intimately connected with the business of the church of York. (fn. 33)
At the chapter of 16 August 1325, which passed the statutes relating to prebendal houses, nine canons, including the Prior of Hexham, were present, and nine others appeared by proxy. (fn. 34) The number of residentiaries, however, was much smaller than that of the minority which came to York for chapter meetings. Thus in 1304-5 John of Nassington, writing from York to the auditor of the chapter of Beverley, said that only two canons were in residence. (fn. 35) In 1310 three canons only met in chapter to arrange a date for the election of a new dean. (fn. 36) On all these occasions the chancellor was one of the canons present. The duty of continual residence was certainly not regarded as binding by the other dignitaries. Bogo de Clare, who held the office of treasurer, and died in 1295, was seldom, if ever, in York; his many benefices were widely scattered over England, and the complaints made against him and his deputies at York probably found an echo elsewhere. (fn. 37) The Holy See, on the election of Newark to the archbishopric, attempted to provide Cardinal Francesco Gaetani to the deanery. William of Hambleton succeeded in obtaining possession, but on his death Clement V provided his own brother Raymond de Goth, (fn. 38) who also held the prebend of Wetwang, and was Dean of Lincoln and precentor of Lichfield. (fn. 39) The intrusion of papal provisors into the major prebends and the archdeaconries during the reigns of Edward I and Edward II was constant, while the Savoyard relations of the royal family swelled the number of nonresidents in the chapter. At Archbishop Romanus' death in 1295-6 at least a third of the chapter was composed of foreigners. (fn. 40) In Archbishop Corbridge's time, eleven admissions of foreigners to canonries and prebends are recorded, as against three of Englishmen. (fn. 41) Of fifty-one admissions in Melton's register, twenty-six are of foreigners. (fn. 42) Not all these succeeded in obtaining installation; and Cardinal Gaetani, Hambleton's rival in the deanery, failed to oust Walter of Bedwin, the nominee of Edward I, from the treasurership. (fn. 43) The Englishmen who held office were for the most part royal clerks, who held their benefices by grant or by the influence of the king and were also members at the same time of other chapters, such as Lincoln and Salisbury. (fn. 44) But Robert Burnell, chancellor of Edward I, during his tenure of the archdeaconry of York seems to have discovered the most prominent recruits for the chancery in young Yorkshiremen, who, as time went on, held their chief preferments in the church of York. William of Hambleton, of whom Edward I in 1299 said that there was 'no one else in his realm so expert in its laws and customs,' (fn. 45) was Burnell's right-hand man. (fn. 46) Of the younger generation which worked under Burnell and Hambleton, Adam of Osgodby and Robert of Barlby were Yorkshiremen and canons of the cathedral church. (fn. 47)
Apart from the claims of pope and king upon the obedience of the chapter, its independence was seriously harassed by the archbishops. The. struggle with Geoffrey Plantagenet has already been told elsewhere: (fn. 48) it ended in a drawn battle, with little advantage to either side. Archbishop Gray strengthened the hands of the chapter by enlarging its possessions and attaching the dignitaries to his personal service; (fn. 49) and, under himself and his successors, the chapter was largely composed of confidential clerks, whose ranks were recruited by Archbishop Giffard from relations and dependants of his family in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. (fn. 50) Gray conveyed his manor of Bishopthorpe on trust to the dean and chapter, (fn. 51) and numerous deeds in connexion with the transference of archiepiscopal property show that they were the normal trustees of the archbishop's manors, whose consent was necessary to any change in this direction. The increase of the chapter in wealth and independence brought it into collision with the archbishop, and, under Romanus, although some of its individual members still formed his consultative council, it asserted its rights with emphasis. Romanus, actively concerned in the reformation of his chapters, succeeded in subdividing the rich prebend of Masham into three, and that of Langtoft into two portions; (fn. 52) but this arrangement ceased with his death. He also did his best to strengthen the school under the control of the chancellor. (fn. 53) His reforms, however, were probably allowed by the chapter only as a result of a compromise, which was arrived at in November 1290, upon his powers as visitor. The dean promised obedience to the archbishop, with a clause, capable of wide interpretation, which safeguarded the rights of his church. Right of visitation once in every five years was conceded to the archbishop, who must visit in person, not by deputy. The visitation was strictly private: all the archbishop's attendants were to retire after his opening address, and two of the canons were to act as his assessors. Complaints and corrigenda were to be presented by the chapter in common and viva voce: written presentations were prohibited. The archbishop's business was strictly confined to a general injunction to the chapter to make their own corrections within a stated time; and only in case of neglect within that period was the archbishop empowered to carry them out himself. The chapter further provided against intrusion by making good their right of appeal, with the usual lengthy procedure. (fn. 54) This one - sided arrangement, however, was not final. Archbishop Melton, some thirty-five years later, attempted to override the compromise, and the chapter appealed to the pope, who committed the case to William Ayermin, Bishop of Norwich, and Hugh of Angoulême, Archdeacon of Canterbury. (fn. 55) Before the case could be heard the disputants arranged a compromise, which was confirmed by the commissioners in 1328. By this agreement, which remained in force until the Reformation period, the archbishop was allowed to visit once in four instead of five years, and at two instead of three months' notice. He was allowed his own assessors, three or four clerks, and a writer not a public notary. The corrigenda were first to be presented publicly by the chapter in common; but afterwards the archbishop, if he wished, might proceed to a private examination of individuals, whose complaints were to be invited without any threat of penalties, and were to be taken down in writing verbatim, without addition or comment. These written corrigenda were to be handed over to the dean and chapter that day or the next, and a period of ten months was fixed within which the dean and chapter were to act upon them. In case of neglect the archbishop might proceed to correction, after due notice and consultation with the canons. His procurations were fixed at 100s., to be paid at his first visitation, and not to be demanded again. (fn. 56) In spite of this agreement, dissensions continued between Melton and the chapter, of which there are traces as late as 1335; (fn. 57) and somewhat earlier a minor cause of quarrel had arisen over the right of sequestration in respect of the treasurership. (fn. 58)
The Great Pestilence of 1349 appears to have worked some havoc among the dignitaries of the church: the offices of precentor, chancellor, and treasurer were vacant during the year, and the sub-deanery changed hands three times within three months. (fn. 59) Serious quarrels took place, at York as at Beverley, between the chapter and Archbishop Alexander Nevill, who attempted to call in question the privileges of the canons upon their prebendal estates, (fn. 60) and usurped the rights of the chapter in the manors and churches appropriated to the common fund. (fn. 61) The canons held their own, and called in the protection of the king, who took the right of collation into his own hands. Between June 1386 and September 1388 the Patent Rolls are full of collations to the prebends and ratifications of the estates of preben daries. (fn. 62) After Nevill's deprivation, the succeeding vacancies in the archbishopric at short intervals gave the Crown much patronage. (fn. 63) Henry IV appears to have usurped the archbishop's rights of collation after the battle of Shrewsbury: this was one cause of Scrope's rebellion, (fn. 64) the failure of which was followed by a further succession of Crown appointments. (fn. 65) The fabric of the quire of the church, which was approaching completion in Scrope's lifetime, was hindered during these turbulent times; and the work of the great tower in 1407-8 was endangered by a dispute which broke out between the local masons and the master-mason appointed by the king, apparently upon the question of imported labour. (fn. 66)
The chapter visitations of the 14th and 15th centuries indicate a careless condition of affairs, which, however, was by no means peculiar to York. Non-residence throughout the 15th century was on the increase. In 1409 the precentor was found to neglect the payment of the subchanter's salary as master of the song-school. (fn. 67) In 1472 the precentor and chancellor were nonresident in defiance of the statutes: the residentiaries failed to appear at church, so that on double festivals the high altar was served by the parsons and vicars, and the custom observed by the residentiaries of saying mass at the high altar four times in the octaves of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost was neglected. The services were often slovenly: there was much talking and laughing outside the quire doors, even during mass. The parsons, instead of taking their place in the Sunday procession at the proper time, would wait for it in the nave and aisles, and stroll to meet it. One of them, who was treasurer of the fabric fund, presented no accounts. Notice is taken elsewhere of the shortcomings of the vicars. Dogs were suffered to roam about the nave, and howled and barked so that those in the quire could not hear the lection for the day. (fn. 68) In 1472, 1481, 1495, and 1519, there are long catalogues of defects in the churches, both in York and elsewhere, belonging to the chapter and its individual members. (fn. 69)
Archbishop Lee made a visitation of the chapter in August 1534, in which he abode by the composition of 1328 with regard to the comperta and corrigenda, but issued decrees of his own on general points. He commented upon the fewness of residentiaries, the unwillingness of the canons to give copes and palfreys to the church, and asked for a remedy against the withholding of pensions payable from impropriators to whom the chapter had leased their churches. Criminous women were forbidden to dwell within the close. Non-resident canons, if they happened to be in York, were enjoined to attend matins, processions, high mass, and vespers, especially on doubles and principal feasts. (fn. 70) These mild injunctions were followed, in Lee's lifetime, by the royal statutes of 1541. The expenses of the major residence were so irksome that prebendaries could not meet them from the fruits of their prebends, and therefore seldom came into residence at all. Only one prebendary was resident at the date of the statutes. The new measures, while changing none of the ordinary conditions of the major residence, removed its extraordinary burdens. The possibility of depriving the church of any residentiaries was guarded against by the provision that one residentiary out of two or three, two out of four or six, three or two out of five, must be present throughout the year. Twenty-four weeks constituted a minimum residence. If there was only one residentiary, his minimum was thirty weeks, and his presence was required on all double feasts. The entertainment by each canon of four vicars in his major and two in his minor residence was discontinued, and a yearly money payment was substituted. No canon was allowed to reside who had not a prebendal house in the close or could not spend £100 a year. To guard against the entire control of funds by the residentiaries, all canons, irrespective of residence, were to be summoned to chapter meetings. The chancellor, as in the older statutes, was enjoined to find preachers: these, however, were to be paid from a fund to which the prebendaries contributed in common. The preachers were to have the archbishop's licence; but the dean, chancellor, and others were not therefore excused from the duty of preaching themselves. (fn. 71)
By charter of 20 April 1547 Edward VI confirmed to the dean and chapter their spiritual jurisdiction within the common possessions and their various prebends. (fn. 72) In this year the treasurership of the church was resigned to the Crown, and the annexed prebend of Bishop Wilton disappeared with it. The monastic prebends of Salton and Bramham were suppressed with the priories of Hexham and Nostell. The two rich prebends of South Cave and Marsham were also secularized as a result of the Reformation. (fn. 73) Of the remaining prebends, Driffield, annexed to the precentorship, and Laughton, annexed to the chancellorship in 1484, (fn. 74) continued on the same footing. A list of prebends, drawn up early in the reign of Elizabeth, shows how freely the chapter property was leased at this time to laymen, who trafficked in the lands of the church without restraint. A boy of fifteen or sixteen, a kinsman of Archbishop Young, was admitted to the prebends of Husthwaite and Barnby, and enjoyed their fruits without a dispensation, while pursuing his studies at Oxford. The prebends of Osbaldwick and Grindale had been leased to the archbishop's secretary, and had been sold by him. (fn. 75) The nepotism of Archbishop Sandys in the matter of collations to prebends was one chief cause of his unpopularity. (fn. 76)
Royal injunctions in 1547 laid special stress upon preaching and the study of theology by the chapter. A library was to be set up in the church within a year, and four English Bibles were to be provided, two in quire, and two elsewhere for the use of lay-folk. The canonical hours were fixed so as to avoid services after dark as far as possible. Choral copes were forbidden; and the number of daily masses was restricted to one at nine in the morning. (fn. 77) Archbishop Holgate's injunctions of 15 August 1552 followed out the spirit of these commands, formulating a table of preaching turns, and establishing lectures in divinity for the benefit of the inferior clergy of the church, who were to submit to a monthly examination upon their subjects. The duty of constant reading of the Scriptures and committing them to memory was enforced on the vicars choral and deacons. The church was to be cleared of all its provision for images of the saints, and texts of Scripture were to be painted up on the cleansed surface of the walls. The organ was silenced, and singing was practically confined to Sundays and festivals. (fn. 78) Grindal's injunctions of 10 October 1572 revised Holgate's order of preaching turns. While Holgate had provided for the devout and frequent reception of the Blessed Sacrament, Grindal, allowing the chapter some discretion with regard to celebrations on Sundays and festivals, fixed compulsory communion at once a month, viz., on six festivals and six times on the first Sundays of months in which these festivals did not fall. He also took order for the revision of the statutes. (fn. 79) Such archiepiscopal injunctions were rendered possible by the changed conditions of the church. The republic which had imposed a compromise upon Romanus and Melton was fettered by new regulations. The dean, its president, was no longer freely elected by the chapter, but by a congé d'élire from the Crown. At the same time, Grindal's proposed alteration of the statutes never came into effect.
The injunctions concerning Holy Communion seem to have produced some slackness, for celebrations were practically confined to the great festivals until in 1617 Dean Meriton established a celebration once a month. (fn. 80) At the Restoration Archbishop Frewen did something to improve the state of the services, and brought back the organ, which, if it had not fallen into disuse as the result of Holgate's strict measures, had been removed during the Puritan ascendency. (fn. 81) Archbishop Dolben's injunctions, which bear date 10 April 1685, provided for the more decent conduct of services, and restored the weekly communion which Holgate had encouraged. (fn. 82) But, even during the most reverent period of the 17th century, the services suffered from defects, on which the famous letter of Charles I to the dean and chapter supplies some information. (fn. 83)
The statutes of residence were revised by royal injunctions in 1698. In the 18th century the resident chapter and governing body of the church consisted of the dean and four residentiary prebendaries, each of whom resided for a quarter of the year, and drew his stipend from his prebend. The remaining prebendaries received incomes from their prebends, but their connexion with the church was little more than nominal. The richer prebends were leased out, and the fines paid for renewal of leases amounted to a considerable sum. This state of things continued until 1840-1. In 1836 the list of prebendaries shows that the stalls were held for the most part by wealthy pluralists, whose chief benefices were in other dioceses. (fn. 84) The Act of 3 and 4 Victoria deprived succeeding prebendaries of their prebendal incomes, and thus converted the tenure of a stall into a distinction for honourable service within the diocese. The decanal congé d'élire was abolished, and the appointment to the deanery became subject to royal Letters Patent. Four residentiary canonries, also in the appointment of the Crown, were provided with fixed yearly stipends; these, to which a prebendal stall is not necessarily attached, are now in the collation of the archbishop. The dignities of precentor and chancellor, to which the stalls of Driffield and Laughton are still annexed, are usually, though not of necessity, held by residentiaries; while the offices of treasurer and sub-treasurer since the Reformation have devolved upon the dean.
208. THE BEDERN, YORK
The existence of vicars choral at York, as in other collegiate establishments, was the natural result of non-residence on the part of the canons, who delegated their duties in the church to deputies. The appointment of king's clerks, whose ordinary occupations made them incapable of constant residence, to canonries was a custom of early growth, and thus vicars came into being by degrees. In process of time each of the thirtysix canons had his own vicar. Although they were not incorporated by royal Letters Patent until a late date, the vicars possessed common property as early as the 13th century, and were placed in the time of Archbishop Gray under the control of the sub-chanter, whose duties as warden and keeper of their common fund were similar to those of the provosts of Beverley and other colleges. (fn. 88) Their common dwelling, known as the Bedern, was given to them by William of Laneham, canon of York, before 1248 (fn. 89); the name Bedern, which was in use at Beverley to signify the common hall of the college, probably means a 'house of prayer,' and was thus appropriated to the dwelling of clergy who were continually occupied in the service of the church. (fn. 90)
Many grants of property were made to the vicars and their warden during the 14th century. In 1331 Henry le Vavasour granted them the advowson of Ferry Fryston, out of which they were to maintain three chantry priests, two in York Minster and one in the chapel of Hazlewood or the church of Fryston. (fn. 91) The area of the Bedern was enlarged in 1335 by the grant of a piece of land at the corner of Aldwark and St. Andrew's Street made by the mayor and commonalty of York. (fn. 92) In 1339-40 they were appointed trustees for the chantry in the minster and the obit provided for by the will of Nicholas of Huggate, Provost of Beverley. (fn. 93) In 1348, Thomas de Ottely and William de Cotingham founded a chapel in the Bedern in honour of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin and St. Katherine. (fn. 94) There was also a chantry of 5 marks value attached to this chapel. (fn. 95) Although they had received no formal charter of incorporation they are called the college of thirty-six vicars in the Letters Patent of 1 January 1393-4, by which they received a grant in frankalmoign of the advowson of St. Sampson's in consideration of their purpose to resume their original common life in their hall by the churchyard of the minster. (fn. 96) They are stated to have been living in separate houses—a dispersion which was probably encouraged by their condition under Archbishop Nevill, whose tyranny was most successfully exercised over them. (fn. 97) The grant of St. Sampson's was made on condition that the vicars should keep the obit of Richard II and his queen yearly, and chant an appropriate antiphon and collect daily after compline before the image of St. John the Baptist in the minster. (fn. 98)
The revival of the common life of the Bedern is marked by the grant, in May 1396, of a licence to construct a gallery from the solar of the vicars' gatehouse to that of the gatehouse of the close, on the other side of Goodramgate, and so avoid the risk of crossing the street on their way to and from service, especially after dark. (fn. 99) In June of the same year vicars who were entertained, according to custom, by the residentiaries, were restrained from sharing the fruits of St. Sampson's during these absences. (fn. 100) The allocation of these fruits to the common fund and individual vicars was determined by an ordinance of the dean and chapter, bearing date 24 May 1399. (fn. 101) No vicarage was ordained in St. Sampson's, and Henry IV in 1403 allowed the church to be served by a sufficient conduct, without endowment of a vicarage. (fn. 102)
The habits of the vicars for some years before the revival of the Bedern are indicated by the comperta at some of the chapter visitations. Some of them in 1362 walked about the streets dressed like laymen and wearing knives and daggers. (fn. 103) In 1375 they objected to the use of the organ on the quire-screen at high festivals unless they were treated to wine by the residentiaries. (fn. 104) An order in 1408 was made forbidding the service of wine to them at or after meals, which led to a serious quarrel with the chapter and the expulsion of the sub-chanter. (fn. 105)
The incorporation of the vicars as a college, with the sub-chanter as warden, was obtained from Henry V by Letters Patent bearing date 26 May 1421. (fn. 106) In 1459, the dean and chapter acquired the advowson and impropriation of Nether Wallop, in Hampshire, (fn. 107) on their behalf. The most important addition to their property was the royal grant in 1484 of the advowson of the church of Cottingham with licence to appropriate. (fn. 108) A visitation in 1472 shows that the non-resident canons left the entire control of the minster to the vicars, and that the vicars were not careful of their trust. Some of them came into church as late and went out as early as possible. Quire services did not begin until some time after the last peal had sounded. The sub-chanter and three vicars were incontinent. Frequent absence from church was common; and, while the statutes required twelve vicars to be present daily on each side of the quire, as many as four were rarely to be found in their places. The Bedern gate was often left open and without a light until ten o'clock at night. Among the vicars, John Fell was conspicuous for his misdeeds. He said mass hardly once a fortnight; he was a nightwalker, seldom returning home by ten o'clock; he talked and laughed in quire, and excited some envy and strife by the messages which were brought to him in the common hall from 'temporal lords.' When the Bible was read in hall, Fell and others would sit by the fire and talk. (fn. 109)
Carelessness of this kind was probably responsible for the neglected state of the minster in 1519. (fn. 110) At the visitation of 1544-5 there were very few vicars, and several were in ill-health, while those who could attend to their duties took their full period of leave, as they had done when the college was full. (fn. 111) In 1546-7 their property was valued with that of other colleges, and was sold; it amounted to a yearly revenue of £255 7s. 8d. (fn. 112) It was subsequently restored to them; but the number of vicars was reduced, and the college, as it exists to-day, consists of a sub-chanter and four vicars, the revenues of whose estates have been commuted for fixed stipends.
209. ST. MARY AND THE HOLY ANGELS, YORK, alias ST. SEPULCHRE'S
The college of St. Mary and the Holy Angels, York, was founded some time between the years 1154 and 1161 by Archbishop Roger de Pont l'Evêque, (fn. 113) who endowed it with ten churches and their revenues, of which Otley (a moiety), Everton, Sutton, Hayton, Bardsey and the chapel of Scrooby were the archbishop's own gift; the other four were Calverley of the gift of William de Scoty, a moiety of Hooton Pagnell of the gift of William Paynell, Harewood of the gift of Avice de Rumilly, and Thorp Arch of the gift of Adam de Bruys and Ivetta his wife. (fn. 114)
The college was to consist of thirteen members. They were not called canons or prebendaries in the charter, but clerici. One of them was to be the sacrist, four were to be priests, four deacons, and four sub-deacons. Each priest was to have an annual stipend of 10 marks, each deacon was to have £5, and each subdeacon 6 marks. The sacrist was to administer the college finance, his own stipend to be at least 10 marks. If the revenue arising from the college properties were not at any time sufficient to pay the stipends of the staff, amounts pro rata were to be deducted from the various stipends, so as to leave a clear net income of 10 marks for the sacrist; but if there were more than sufficient for the stipends, then the surplus was to go to augment the stipend of the sacrist. The witnesses to the document were Robert the dean, Hamo the precentor, Master Guy, Ralph and John the archdeacons. (fn. 115)
The collegiate society continued under this constitution until May 1258, when Archbishop Sewall de Bovill added to the original number two priests, who should say 'mass for the dead every day,' together with two deacons and two sub-deacons, making a total membership of the society, with the sacrist, of seventeen. (fn. 116) With regard to the twelve existing canons, it was enacted that each of them residing in the city, near the chapel, should attend the various offices, and for each attendance at matins should receive 1d., at high mass 1d., and at vespers 1d.,—3d. daily. If absent 1d. was to be deducted for each 'hour,' a like deduction to be made even when present if they were quarrelsome or insolent. The new members of the college were to be present at the hours and high mass with the other ministers of the chapel, and were to say Placebo, Dirige, and other offices for the dead. And when the canons and ministers, through neglect or any other cause, should omit to say the office for the dead, the duty was to devolve upon the new members of the college. Each of the two priests was to receive 5 marks, each deacon 3 marks, and each sub-deacon 2½ marks yearly from the sacrist. For absence a priest was to forfeit 1d., and a deacon or sub-deacon ½d.
This ordination of 1258 confirmed the patronage of the prebends and sacristy to the archbishops, whilst the appointment and removal (fn. 117) of the six additional members pertained to the sacrist. It also made provision that the services at the churches (fn. 118) appropriated to the college should not be neglected, and in each of them a vicarage was ordained, the presentations to be in the hands of the sacrist. The sacrist at the time of Sewall's ordination was Gilbert de Tiwa, and at the end of the document it was ordered that, 'Since the labourer is worthy of his hire, and Master Gilbert de Tiwa has worked faithfully,' a solemn anniversary shall be celebrated in his honour each year in the cathedral as well as in the chapel and the various churches belonging to it. (fn. 119)
The invocation of the college chapel was 'St. Mary and the Holy Angels.' It has sometimes, but mistakenly, been called the chapel of the 'Blessed Mary, St. Michael and the Holy Angels,' (fn. 120) and frequently it was referred to, in the later stages of its history, as 'St. Sepulchre's Chapel.' (fn. 121) When it was first called by that name, and why, is not clear. The explanation is probably connected with the duties of the six officers appointed in 1258, who had, among other things, to celebrate daily in the chapel for the dead. But other explanations have been adduced. (fn. 122)
In the two lists of churches belonging to the college there are differences. In Archbishop Sewall's ordination Harewood Church and Scrooby Chapel (fn. 123) are missing, whilst Collingham, Clarborough and Retford are additional to Archbishop Roger's list. Harewood disappeared because of a claim made against the canons that the patronage belonged to the lord of the manor of Harewood. Trials took place in 1201 and 1209, and judgement was given against the sacrist. (fn. 124) Collingham was conferred upon the college by Richard de Morville. (fn. 125) The circumstances connected with the acquisition of Clarborough and Retford are not known. The church of Hooton Pagnell had been originally given to Holy Trinity Priory, (fn. 126) York, then later it was given by William Paynell to Nostell Priory, the donor threatening with a curse anyone who should interfere with the benefaction. (fn. 127) But, notwithstanding the malediction, the same William granted a moiety to Archbishop Roger for his new foundation. (fn. 128) The other half of the church belonged to the priory at York, though the chapel of St. Mary seems invariably to have exercised the right of patronage. The matter was probably arranged by a money payment to Holy Trinity, which was received until the Dissolution. (fn. 129)
According to Chancellor Raine, the founder took special care that there should be no collision between the new college and the minster staff. But, this care notwithstanding, frequent misunderstandings arose. The college was too near the cathedral (fn. 130) for perfect harmony, and the minster clergy looked with jealous eyes upon the new canons. As time wore on, however, they seemed to fuse, especially when the chapel canons relieved the cathedral clergy of some of their duties, and when the prebends of the chapel were tenable in plurality with the cathedral canonries. (fn. 131)
A considerable disturbance took place in connexion with the sacristy about 1290. Thomas de Corbridge, the future primate, in that year resigned the minster chancellorship in order to accept the sacristy. Then he discovered that there was much litigation with respect to the revenues of the college, and taking advantage of his conditional acceptance of the office he resumed his stall as chancellor. But a new chancellor had been appointed meanwhile, and great friction ensued, in the end Corbridge being under excommunication for the greater part of a year. (fn. 132) In the following year there was a dispute concerning the tithes at Collingham and Bardsey between Corbridge and the Abbot of Kirkstall, but the matter was amicably arranged. (fn. 133)
The sacristy and prebends became very lucrative possessions, (fn. 134) and were often held by distinguished ecclesiastics. (fn. 135) But just before the Dissolution things appear to have become somewhat slack, and Archbishop Lee, in a visitation made in 1534, complained of a number of irregularities, (fn. 136) which he ordered to be remedied. The college was, of course, untouched by the Dissolution, but was suppressed with other similar institutions in the reign of Edward VI.
The 1546 survey gives the balance sheet, showing a 'clere' remainder of £165 11s. 11d., and also the stipends and other charges according to the foundation rate as £161 1s. 8d. (fn. 137) The 1548 report gives details of the stipends of the staff, their ages, their condition, and also, with a view to the arranging of the pensions, their stipends from other sources. The sacrist, Thomas Magnus, was eighty-six years of age, and besides his stipend of £43 5s. held other benefices to the value of £572 8s. 9d., and most of the prebendaries also possessed additional sources of income. (fn. 138)
On the 1548 certificate is also a memorandum showing a sum of £26 13s. 4d. distributed yearly to the poor in the appropriated parishes. (fn. 139)
Peter de Erehun, appointed 1266 (fn. 142)
Percival de Lavannia, died 1290 (fn. 143)
Francis Gaeteno, occurs 1300 (fn. 146)
John Bouhs, appointed 1300 (fn. 147)
Gilbert de Segrave, occurs 1304 (fn. 148)
John Gisburne, appointed 1459 (fn. 156)
The 14th-century seal (fn. 159) of the canons is a vesica, 25/8 in. by 1¾ in., with a design of our Lady, crowned and seated, holding the child. Above is the sun between two angels issuing from cloud who support the canopy of the chair and the crown of the Virgin. On either side of her chair is a candle, and below is a mitred figure praying, probably representing Archbishop Roger de Pont l'Evêque, the founder. The legend is:
S' CANONICOR: CAPELLE GĒ MARIE ET ANGELOR EBOR.
210. ST. WILLIAM'S COLLEGE, YORK
In connexion with the cathedral church of York, a great number of chantries were founded from time to time. By the middle of the 15th century, in addition to those served by priests connected with the Bedern and St. Sepulchre's, there were no less than twenty-three whose incumbents were unattached to any corporate body. On 11 March 1455, therefore, King Henry VI, knowing that these priests, for want of a proper habitation, had to lodge in laymen's houses where women were, which was repugnant to the order of the church and the decency of the clergy, granted licence to Archbishop William Booth, Henry, Earl of Northumberland, Richard Andrew, dean, John Castell, precentor, John Bernyngham, treasurer, Stephen Wilton, Archdeacon of Cleveland, and John Marshall, canon of York, to erect a college for these unattached priests. The place intended was the house appropriated to the prebend which the Prior of Hexham held, namely, Salton House, (fn. 160) but the licence also added 'or any other convenient place as they may think fit.' (fn. 161) The college was to be dedicated to the honour of St. William, sometime Archbishop of York, and was to be called 'The College of Parsons having Chantries in the Metropolitical Church of York.' The priests were to elect yearly one of themselves to supervise the rest of his fellow-priests, their college and goods, and for that year he was to be called the 'supervisor' of the college. They were to be a corporate body, and the dean and chapter were to make statutes for their governance. (fn. 162) The king also gave permission for the college to purchase lands, &c., to the value of 10 marks yearly, in order to recompense the dean and chapter and the prior for their house, as well as for the maintenance of the college when built; such lands when acquired to be given to the dean and chapter and prior.
This grant was never carried into effect. (fn. 163) King Edward IV, however, on 11 May 1461, (fn. 164) made a re-grant of the licence with certain important differences. The licence was given to George Nevill, Bishop of Exeter, who became Archbishop of York three years later, and to his brother Richard, Earl of Warwick, and their heirs conjointly and severally. Instead of an annually elected supervisor there was to be a provost appointed for life, the first to be chosen from among the chantry priests by the said bishop and earl or their heirs. The priests were to be called 'fellows.' Vacancies in the provostry were to be filled within six days by the election of one of the fellows, to be decided by a majority of votes, such election always to be held in the mansion-house of the fellows. The college properties were to be administered by the provost for the general good of the house, and he was to have precedence over all his brethren 'in pre-eminence, priority, honour, and residence,' in all offices, masses, vespers, and processions, and no fellow was to intermeddle in any matter without the express command of the provost. They were to be a body corporate and have a common seal. (fn. 165) The provost was to choose the principal chamber for himself, and allocate chambers to the others. A committee of the provost and three of the brethren, who were to be chosen by the provost, were to have power to ordain statutes for the government of the college. All infringements of those statutes, &c., were to be punished by the committee, who, at their discretion, might expel from the college when necessary. The king also granted licence for the college to purchase lands, &c., to the annual value of 100 marks, with which they were to recompense the dean and chapter and other canons residentiary for the properties given to the fellows for their dwelling-place. (fn. 166) The site, as proposed by the grant of Edward IV, was to be 'within the close of the said church in any messuage or place belonging to any canonship, or in any other place within the city.' (fn. 167) Probably the place eventually selected included Salton House. At all events when the college was suppressed one of the items of annual expenditure was, 'to the prebendarye of the prebend of Salton for rente out of the saide college, 40s.' (fn. 168)
The building was taken in hand at once, it appears; and on 25 January 1465 a royal grant was made to the provost, 'Christopher Borough, and the brethren of St. William, York, of all those stones called "freestone" lying within the quarry of Hodlestone by the bank of the River Ouse, for the better building of the college.' (fn. 169) Further evidence of the building of the house is to be found in a will made March 1466-7 by John Marshall, (fn. 170) one of the fellows. 'I bequeath,' he says, 'for the building of the college by the parsons my brethren of the Cathedral Church, within the close of the same church, newly begun, 20s. I also leave for the use of the chapel of the said college, when it shall have been entirely finished, my portiferium cum boses and one book of morals to be chained in the said chapel.' (fn. 171)
In the 1546 survey the possessions of the college in York, Wilberfoss, Cleveland, Drax, Kirkburn, Gowdall, Rillington, Haworth, Helperthorpe, and Tollerton, amounted to £22 12s. 8d. a year. The yearly outgoings were £2 13s. 6¾d., leaving a balance of £19 19s. 1¼d. The goods were assessed at £7 6s. 8d., and plate £12 18s. (fn. 172) The 1548 survey gives the yearly income as £25 7s. 8d., the outgoings £2 11s. 7½d., the clear remainder £22 16s, 0½d., the provost being John Corney, sixty-one years of age, indifferently learned, but of honest conversation and qualities, with 40s. as his yearly portion out of the college, besides £8 for his chantry in the cathedral. (fn. 173) Twentyseven chantries were held by fellows of the college in 1546. (fn. 174)
There were, of course, other chantries in the Minster served by the vicars choral and others, and it is difficult to separate them.
According to the 1546 survey, the college was 'to be continued.' But the recommendation was ignored, and in 3 Edward VI the site was granted to Michael Stanhope and John Belloe. (fn. 175)
Christopher Borough, occurs 1465 (fn. 176)
Thomas Fox, occurs 1528 (fn. 177)
Thomas Fairehere, occurs 1546 (fn. 178)
John Corney, occurs 1548 (fn. 179)
The 14th-century seal, (fn. 180) a vesica 23/8 in. by 1¼ in., has a figure of St. William, the archbishop, seated and blessing. Below is a lozengy shield of his traditional arms. The legend is:
S' COMMUNE COLLEGII SBI WILELMI EBORACENSIS