Priors of Ely

Pages 47-50

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 2, Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces). Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1971.

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The Benedictine abbey which had been refounded between 963 and 969 became a cathedral priory in 1109 with the creation of the see of Ely.

No formal agreement on the method of appointment of priors has survived, butby 1271 the system of free election by the bishop's licence seems to have operated.


Occ. [1109 × c. 1128] (Liber Eliensis pp. 279, 346), (fn. 1) and witnesses a charter sameperiod (Ely, Almoner's Cart. fo. 69v). (fn. 1)


Occ. [c. 1129] (cart. of Thorney: C.U.L., Add. MS. 3020 fo. 166v), (fn. 2) and [1114 × 30](Chron. Ramsey, ed. W. D. Macray (Rolls ser. lxxxiii) p. 249). (fn. 3) Res. by 5 Jan. 1134(Liber Eliensis pp. 288-9), prob. in 1133 (ibid. p. 289 n. 1).


Appd. between May 1133 and 5 Jan. 1134 (Liber Eliensis pp. 288, 295). Deposedbetween Nov. 1135 and Nov. 1137 (ibid. pp. 295-6). But a 'W-prior' occ. [1140 × 42](Chron. Ramsey, ed. W. D. Macray (Rolls ser. lxxxiii) p. 307). Commem. 29 Jan.(Ely obit. I fo. k1 v). (fn. 4)

Theinbert or Thembert

Occ. 1144 and 1145 (Liber Eliensis pp. 335, 337; cf. pp. 340, 386), and before 1151(Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28) pp. 150-1). (fn. 5) Perhaps to be identified with'frater noster Theinbertus' who was commem. 28 June (Ely obit. I fo. k6v).


Monk of Ely (Liber Eliensis p. 316). First occ. as prior [Feb. 1151 × June 1152] (ibid.p. 351). Last occ. after c. 1158 (Ely D.R., Liber R (C.U.L., MS. G.3.27) fos. 213v-214r). (fn. 6)


Presum. precentor of Ely (Liber Eliensis p. 351 and n.). First occ. as prior 1163(Bentham, Ely 1 216, citing 'Chartular. Vetus penes D. & C. Elien. fol. 263'), and beforeMay 1169 (E. Miller, Abbey and Bpric. of Ely (Cambridge, 1951) p. 286). Prior untilbecame abbot of Thorney (Ben., Cambs.), el. 1176 (cart of Thorney: C.U.L., Add.MS. 3020 fo. 6v; Mon. Ang. 11 611; cf. Pipe Roll 22 Hen. II (Pipe Roll Soc. xxv) p. 76). (fn. 7)


Said to have succeeded Solomon in 1177 (Bentham, Ely 1216). Last occ. 2 Dec. 1189(reg. of see of Ely: B.M., Cotton MS. Tib. B. ii fo. 254r). Prob. previously subprior,possibly author of portions of 'Liber Eliensis' (Liber Eliensis p. xlvii).

Robert de Longchamp

Brother of William de Longchamp, bp. of Ely (1189-97) (Diceto 11 151), and therefore prob. the brother, previously Ben. monk of St. Étienne, Caen (Calvados, France),who was intruded into the abbey of Westminster 1191 (Chron. of Richard of Devizes, ed.J. T. Appleby (1963) pp. 39, 54-5), but ejected before 9 Oct. 1191 (Diceto 11 100). Firstocc. as prior of Ely 3 June 1194 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28) p. 318).Prior until became abbot of St. Mary's, York (Ben.), el. 17 March 1197, blessed 23March, instal. 2 Apr. (Diceto 11 151-2).


Occ. 28 June 1200 (Rot. Chart. p. 73b). Called John de Strateshete and said to havebeen el. at the end of Feb. 1198 (Bentham, Ely 1 217, citing MS. now B.M., Add.MS. 9822 fos. 39, 40, but these fos. now lacking). Called John de Stratfeld or Stragetand el. said to have been conf. by abp. 1 March 1198 (Ang. Sac. 1 684).

An unnamed prior or priors occ. in office: 25 March 1201 (Rot. Chart. p. 91b),6 Oct. 1202 (Pleas before the King or his Justices, ed. D. M. Stenton 11 (Selden Soc.lxviii) no. 834).


First occ. Jan. 1203 (C.R.R. 11 140). Last occ. between May 1207 and May 1208(Fines relating to Cambs., ed. W. Rye (Camb. Antiquarian Soc., 1891) p. 7). Said toocc. between May 1199 and May 1200 (Bentham, Ely 1 217, citing 'Chartular. Vetuspenes D. & C. fo. 263'), but cannot be right (cf. John, above p. 48).

Roger de Bergham

Monk of Ely (C.R.R. 11 140). First occ. as prior before Feb. 1215 (cart. of Waltham:B.M., Cotton MS. Tib. C. ix fo. 152r; Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28)p. 167 (iterata)). Last occ. [June 1225 × Dec. 1228] (cart. of Thorney: C.U.L., Add.MS. 3020 fo. 172r; Ely D.R., Liber M p. 407). (fn. 8) Said to have d. early in 1229 (Bentham,Ely 1 217, citing MS. now B.M., Add. MS. 9822 fos. 39, 40, but these fos. now lacking).Priorate vacant 6 March 1229 (Close R. 1227-31 p. 235).


Said to have been conf. as prior c. 25 March 1229 (Bentham, Ely 1 218). First certainocc. Aug. 1233 (reg. of see of Ely: B.M., Cotton MS. Tib. B. ii fo. 252r). Last occ.Apr.-May 1238 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28) pp. 599-600).


First occ., as W- prior, Apr. 1241 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28)p. 385). Last occ. 16 March 1259 (T. Madox, Formulare Anglicanum (1702) p. 310).Commem. 13 May (Ely obit. II fo. 130v).

Robert de Leverington (fn. 9)

Monk of Ely (cf. C.P.R. 1247-58 p. 530). Said to occ. first 6 March 1260 (Bentham,Ely 1218, citing 'Chartular. Vetus penes D. & C. Elien. fo. 109'). First occ. as Robertprior Jan. 1261 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28) p. 599), and prob. to beidentified with unnamed prior who occ. 5 May 1260 (Close R. 1259-61 p. 37). Last occ.1 Jan. 1271 (Ely D.R., Liber M pp. 316-17). D. shortly before 23 Sept. 1271 (ibid.p. 195). Commem. 12 Sept. (Ely obit. II fo. 130v). So presum. d. c. 12 Sept. 1271.

Henry de Banes

Bp.'s lic. el. gr. 23 Sept. 1271 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS. G.3.28) p. 195).El. between 20 Oct. 1271, when priorate still vacant (C.P.R. 1266-72 p. 581), and 11Nov. 1271, when first occ. as prior (cart. of St. Paul's, London: Bodl., MS. Ashmole801 fo. 102v). Last occ. 28 Nov. 1273 (reg. of chapter of Ely: B.M., Add. MS. 41612fo. 5r). D. 25 Dec. 1273 (Chron. Bury p. 56; cf. Ely D.R., Liber M p. 196).

John de Hemmingestone (fn. 10)

Monk of Ely. Bp.'s lic. el. gr. 27 Dec. 1273 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS.G.3.28) p. 196). El. 1273/4 (Chron. Bury p. 56). Last occ. 24 Feb. 1288 (reg. of chapterof Ely: B.M., Add. MS. 41612 fos. 14v-15r). D. shortly before 16 Nov. 1288 (ElyD.R., Liber M p. 208). Commem. 9 Nov. (Ely obit. II fo. 130v). So presum. d. c. 9Nov. 1288.

John de Shepreth (fn. 11)

Monk of Ely. Bp.'s lic. el. gr. 16 Nov. 1288 (Ely D.R., Liber M (C.U.L., MS.G.3.28) p. 208). El. n.d. (Chron. Bury p. 91). D. 22 Apr. 1292 (ibid. p. 113).

John Salmon alias of Ely

Subprior of Ely. El. 1292 (Chron. Bury p. 113). Bp.-el. of Ely 1298-99 (see abovep. 47). Last occ. as prior 26 Oct. 1299 (C.P.R. 1292-1301 pp. 457, 520). Bp. of Norwich, prov. June 1299, cons. Nov. (below p. 58).

Robert de Orford

Presum. not el. until after 26 Oct. 1299 (cf. above). Presum. to be identified withunnamed prior who occ. 10 June 1300 (C.P.R. 1291-1301 p. 522). Prior until becamebp. of Ely, el. Apr. 1302, cons. Oct.


  • 1. Temp. Hervey, bp. of Ely (above p. 45), and presum. before Henry became prior.
  • 2. Circa time of dedication of Thorney (Ben., Cambs.).
  • 3. Temp. Reinald, abbot of Ramsey.
  • 4. B- occ. as prior some time after 1133 (Rot. Hundredorum (Record Comm., 1812-18) 11 358),but prob. a mistake, as B- not in a 13th-century list of Ely priors (Camb., Trinity Coll. MS. O.2.1fo. k14r; and cf. A. Gray, Priory of St. Radegund (Camb. Antiquarian Soc., 1898) p. 3 n. 1).
  • 5. Temp. Robert, abbot of Thorney.
  • 6. Temp. Richard Fitz Neal, king's treas. (below p. 50).
  • 7. Gesta Hen. II 1 173 gives c. 12 June 1177, and Ann. Thorney, C.U.L., Add. MS. 3021 fo. 421v gives'1172, 23 Hen. II' = Dec. 1176-Dec. 1177 (see Heads of Monastic Houses, 940-1215, ed. D. Knowles,C. N. L. Brooke and V. London (forthcoming)).
  • 8. Temp. Geoffrey de Burgh, bp. of Ely (above p. 46).
  • 9. Prob. Leverington, Cambs.
  • 10. Prob. Hemingstone, Suff.
  • 11. Prob. Shepreth, Cambs.