Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 5, Chichester. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1996.
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THE CATHEDRAL CHAPTER OF CHICHESTER 1066-1300
St Wilfrid's chapel at Church Norton, overlooking Pagham harbour from the western side, is the lonely remnant of a medieval church marking the site of the ancient cathedral of Selsey. Founded by St Wilfrid in the 680s, the minster served the diocese of the South Saxons until the late eleventh century. (fn. 1) Today, as gulls scream overhead, curlews call from the tidal flats and warblers shelter deep in the cover of the wind-battered bushes of the churchyard, the visitor is overwhelmed by the church's remoteness from human settlement and its vulnerability to the ravages of sea and wind. The decision to transfer the cathedral to the old Roman city of Chichester (fn. 2) seems now to have been the most sensible - and therefore inevitable - of the diocesan migrations that took place soon after the Norman Conquest.
But Selsey had not always been desolate, and it was not so much its remoteness from inland settlement as its accessibility from the sea that was decisive in its history. Its development owed much to its commanding position over the trading activities of the natural harbour, and likewise its demise came about through its openness to the sea - and to sea-borne traffic that could include enemies as well as friends. During the Viking raids in the late ninth century, and again between 980 and 1016, the walled town of Chichester (a fortified burh by 894) seems to have become a place of refuge for the inhabitants of Selsey. It is even possible that in the middle of the tenth century the episcopal see was temporarily transferred to Chichester, whose importance as a trading centre grew as Selsey declined. The landed endowment of Selsey, never large, suffered encroachment and loss in the tenth and eleventh centuries, from the predations not only of laymen but also of bishops. (fn. 3) In 1066 it was one of the poorest of the English bishoprics, with an income of £126. (fn. 4)
In the years immediately following the Norman Conquest, there was a movement encouraged, if not initiated, by archbishop Lanfranc, to transfer sees from villages to larger towns: Lichfield to Chester, Sherborne to Salisbury, Elmham to Thetford, Dorchester to Lincoln. (fn. 5) With the deposition of bishop Æthelric of Selsey in 1070, and the appointment of Stigand, a chaplain of the Conqueror, a new chapter opened in the bishopric's history. Approval of the move from Selsey to Chichester was given at the council of London, between Christmas 1074 and 28 August 1075. (fn. 6) The building of the new cathedral soon began on the site of the former Anglo-Saxon minster of Chichester, which like the church of Selsey had been dedicated to St Peter. (fn. 7) The rapidity with which the new cathedral was built may be a sign that the one at Selsey was in a dilapidated, if not ruinous, state.
Chichester, although the cathedral's high roofs and spire are now clearly visible from Church Norton, six miles to the south, seems a world away. The city has a simple cruciform street-plan, in which the south-west quadrant is occupied by the post-Conquest cathedral and its associated buildings, (fn. 8) bordered on the north and east by the streets that lead to the west and south gates, and on the south and west by the city wall, which follows the course of the river Lavant. Before Stigand's death in 1088, the major part of the cathedral was built: an aisled east end, transepts and the first four bays of the nave. (fn. 9) Bishop Ralph Luffa (1091-1123) had this church dedicated in 1108, (fn. 10) but it was severely damaged by fire in May 1114. (fn. 11) In the course of reconstruction, bishop Ralph probably added the western four bays of the nave and the two western towers. Before the middle of the twelfth century there is clear evidence that the church was known as the church of the Holy Trinity. (fn. 12) Bishop Hilary (1147-69) enlarged the east end by extending the earlier apsidal chapel into a three-bay Lady Chapel. This romanesque cathedral was largely destroyed in 1187 in a great fire that consumed much of the city, including also the bishop's palace and canons' houses. (fn. 13)
In the rebuilding, in early gothic style, vertical Purbeck marble shafting and quadripartite rib vaulting were introduced. The church was rededicated on 12 September 1199, (fn. 14) although it was not complete. Work continued in the years before the death of bishop Simon of Wells on 21 August 1207, which was followed by a vacancy until 1215, during the time of the papal Interdict between March 1208 and July 1214. In the 1220s the towers were repaired and the major roofs were built, for which great quantities of timber and lead were acquired by bishop Ralph de Neville (1224-44), and in 1240 the dean and chapter made a contract with John the glazier for the windows of the cathedral. North and south porches and nave aisle chapels were constructed in the middle years of the century, and buttresses were added and the high roofs rebuilt between c. 1280 and c. 1315. The Lady Chapel was extended to its present length by bishop Gilbert de Sancto Leofardo (1288-1305). (fn. 15) Today's cathedral is substantially the structure as it stood c. 1300, save for the later additions of the central spire and the detached belltower.
The achievement of its building is remarkable in the light of the slenderness of the resources at the disposal of bishop and chapter. Both the potential diocesan revenues and the income from landed estates were limited. The diocese itself was small, covering only the area of the ancient kingdom - later the county - of Sussex: this was a fairly narrow belt of territory, about 20-25 miles wide, stretching along the south coast for about 65 miles. The northern part of this area was deeply wooded, and the larger settlements were all in the coastal strip. The cathedral city was located at the extreme western edge of the diocese. The presence in East Sussex of the wealthy monasteries of Lewes and Battle, both possessing much land and many parish churches, and the latter claiming exemption from the bishop, reduced episcopal authority and therefore income. Even in the immediate vicinity of his cathedral, the bishop was excluded from the archbishop of Canterbury's two peculiars - the parish of All Saints in the Pallant, situated in the very heart of the city, and the country area dependent on Pagham, between Chichester and Selsey. Routine episcopal revenues were therefore restricted.
The see's landed endowment was also small. After the removal from Selsey the cathedral's possessions continued to consist largely of its ancient estates: in the Manhood peninsula in and around Selsey, at Sidlesham and Wittering; to the east of the city - the large manor of Aldingbourne; and further from Chichester, but still in West Sussex - Amberley and Ferring. There were also three manors at some distance, being situated in East Sussex, at Henfield, Preston, and Bishopstone. (fn. 16) As a direct result of the Norman Conquest, the church suffered the loss of two important estates in East Sussex: Bexhill and Hazelhurst. These both passed to the count of Eu as part of the lordship centred on the castle of Hastings. (fn. 17) After a struggle that began at least as early as 1088, the see recovered Bexhill (but not Hazelhurst) in 1148. (fn. 18) Another loss, which had occurred even before the Conquest, was that of the large estate of Pagham (including Tangmere), which seems to have been taken over by the archbishopric of Canterbury, probably in the mid-tenth century. (fn. 19) Despite resistance by the bishops of Chichester from Stigand (1070-88) to Hilary (1147-69), Pagham remained with Canterbury, gaining the status of a peculiar within the diocese. (fn. 20) During the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries some additions were made to the cathedral's endowment, especially in the form of grants of churches and small gifts of land, city properties and rents. The gain in income, though not negligible, was not large: its chief importance was probably in terms of liquidity.
The chapter that could be supported from the available resources was relatively small: four dignitaries - dean, precentor, chancellor and treasurer; the two archdeacons of Chichester and Lewes; and around twenty-six canons holding prebends. (fn. 21) The development of this chapter and its organization proceeded in a similar chronological and constitutional path to that in other, much larger cathedrals. The parallel with Salisbury is particularly close, although Salisbury's chapter was about twice the size. The dignities of dean and precentor were in existence before Ralph Luffa's death in 1123; those of treasurer and chancellor were founded and endowed by bishop Hilary in c. 1148 and c. 1162 respectively. (fn. 22) The division of the capitular lands into individual prebends cannot be dated with certainty. Clearly it occurred between 1086, when the canons held sixteen hides 'communiter', (fn. 23) and 1197/8, when twenty-three prebends were in existence. (fn. 24) Henry Mayr-Harting considered that at least one prebend had been created by the time of Domesday Book. (fn. 25) The evidence, however, is not conclusive. The man who held two hides in Treyford, 'in prebenda ecclesie de Cicestre', one Robert, is not described as a clerk, canon, or priest. The property was not in the tenancy-in-chief of the bishop, but was a sub-tenure of the honour of Arundel, and if a charter of bishop Ralph Luffa (1091-1123) refers to the same two hides in Treyford, there was no permanency about its prebendal status. (fn. 26) There is the added difficulty that while it is true that in 1535 glebe in Treyford belonged to the prebend of Ipthorne, there is no evidence of continuity: indeed the amount of land in Treyford that was attached to Ipthorne in 1535 was a great deal less than the equivalent of two hides (list 25). In this period, as Mayr-Harting has pointed out, the word 'prebenda' might mean no more than an individual allowance for livelihood, (fn. 27) and might be used of secular as well as ecclesiastical provisions. (fn. 28) In the only other case of a prebend being mentioned in Domesday Book in connection with Chichester, two clerks, named as Geoffrey and Roger, held one hide 'in prebenda' in Bexhill, but this small tenancy on land that had ceased to belong to the episcopal demesnes was probably closer in character to a food-farm than to a territorial prebend. (fn. 29) It should be stressed that the only unequivocal evidence in Domesday Book about the canons' property speaks of sixteen hides held by the canons in common.
Mayr-Harting suggested that 'a large number of prebends were probably created by the bishops before 1147 without surviving record'. (fn. 30) While this may be so, it is noticeable that the earliest unambiguous episcopal records that refer to prebends, dignities and the common fund all belong to the pontificate of bishop Hilary (1147- 69). He created the prebend of Ferring, (fn. 31) established and endowed the dignities of chancellor and treasurer, (fn. 32) and assigned the 'prebend' of Singleton to the common fund, for the distribution of bread among the canons. (fn. 33) He apparently also issued a statute concerning the distribution of bread, although it does not survive. (fn. 34) Thus he legislated for all three constituent elements of the prebendal system, in much the same way as bishop Roger le Poer at Salisbury before 1139. (fn. 35) It was probably on the model of the prebends at Salisbury that those at Chichester were classified as priest, deacon and subdeacon prebends, an arrangement that is first mentioned in the statute of 1197/8. (fn. 36) Another feature found at both Salisbury and Chichester is the monastic prebend: the abbot of Grestain's prebend of Wilmington in Chichester was paralleled at Salisbury by prebends held by the abbots of three Norman abbeys - Le Bec-Hellouin, Montebourg and SaintWandrille. (fn. 37) It seems likely that all these were modelled on the earliest of the type - the prebend of Sherborne, which was set up at Salisbury in the 1120s. (fn. 38)
The notes heading the lists of prebendaries below are designed to give brief histories of the properties of the prebends. Although far from comprehensive, these notes show the remarkable complexity of the division by which some prebends came to consist of small, scattered portions of lands and rents. Two documented examples - Eartham (list 14) and Ferring (list 15) - demonstrate that a mixture of near and distant possessions within a single prebend is not necessarily a sign that the process of individualization was long drawn-out. Rather, such diversity might be present at the formation of a prebend, representing an episcopal policy that sought to ensure canons' residence by avoiding, where possible, the creation of compact prebends far from the cathedral. (fn. 39) In fact, of the seven prebends whose property lay exclusively in East Sussex, and hence at a considerable distance from the cathedral, only one was founded by a bishop, and this, Seaford, consisted not in a landed estate but in a rent of 100s (list 29). (fn. 40)
The value of the prebends at Chichester varied considerably: the most valuable in 1291 was worth £40 (Wightring, list 37), which was only a little less valuable than the deanery, precentory and chancellery, at £53 6s 8d each, and the treasury at £46 13s 4d. But nine prebends were worth £10 or less, the poorest being valued at £4 13s 4d. Twelve prebends, however, were assessed at £20 or more. On average, the Chichester prebends were in a similar range of value as those at Salisbury, and far below those at Lincoln.
An additional emolument was available to resident canons in the form of the distributions of bread and cash from the common fund. In 1284, when archbishop John Pecham visited Chichester, he confirmed the possessions of the communa, which consisted of nine churches in the diocese, one in the diocese of Canterbury and another in that of Norwich, together with £10 from a church in Winchester diocese, and other portions and tithes. This collection of property had been built up in the century between 1150 and 1250. (fn. 41) In 1197/8 the administration of the common fund was placed in the hands of the treasurer and two fellow canons. (fn. 42) By the 1250s there was a single 'custos commune ecclesie,' (fn. 43) who by 1271 was called 'communarius' and was required to render his annual accounts on the morrow of St Wilfrid, 13 October. (fn. 44)
The statute of 1197/8 laid down that canons who were to receive commons must be present at Mass or Vespers and it also regulated the amounts to be distributed weekly - 12d to canons and 3d to vicars. (fn. 45) As deputies for the canons in choir, vicars formed an important element in the personnel of the cathedral: they are first mentioned in bishop Seffrid II's charter arranging for his anniversary, issued perhaps a few years before 1197, (fn. 46) and in 1197/8 it was ordained that they should not be in orders lower than that of the prebends they served. (fn. 47) It is clear therefore that by the 1190s not all canons were fully resident, though in fact the statute of 1197/8 was attested by the entire chapter of the time - four dignitaries, two archdeacons and twenty-three canons. A subsequent statute, dated 1232 and witnessed by only thirteen members of the chapter (fewer than half), legislated on a series of matters, including extra distributions of cash for wine on feast days, and ruled on distributions of bread when both canon and vicar were present, when neither was present and when either was absent through illness with the dean's licence. (fn. 48)
It is a sign of how far recognition and regulation of absence had proceeded that the next Chichester statute was witnessed in 1247 by eight canons appearing by proxy, in addition to eight who were present in person. This statute was wideranging in scope, and among its provisions were clauses clarifying some matters concerning residence and commons. The emphasis was strongly on the duty to attend services. Resident canons in 'full residence' were defined as those who attended services throughout the whole year, except for three weeks each quarter, by licence of the dean or his vice-gerent: they received full commons. Those who attended for half the year, by special grace of the dean or his vice-gerent, were deemed to be in 'half residence', and received half commons. (fn. 49) A clause in this statute, 'De deformitate in choro per absentiam vicariorum', makes it clear that by 1247 the conduct of services was dependent on the presence of vicars rather than canons. (fn. 50)
Not long after this, between October 1250 and June 1252, the dean and chapter wrote a very remarkable letter (it is so described in the rubric in Liber Y: 'que litera est valde notabilis') to the abbot of Westminster expressing a strong protest that the pope was allowing the non-resident archdeacon of Lewes, Robert Passelewe, to receive both the fruits of his prebend and commons. (fn. 51) Among the arguments ranged against the papal licence, a distinction is made between mere residence and participation in the office: the daily distributions are made not to those who reside, but to those who are present at the hours and offices, day and night, for 'distributions are the wages of those who labour, not the benefits of those who reside'. This kind of reasoning is fully consistent with the thought of bishop Richard de Wich: doubtless the dean and other members of the chapter at Chichester shared their bishop's concern for the proper conduct of worship and the discipline of the clergy. (fn. 52)
The last conglomerate chapter statute to be enacted in the middle ages was drawn up in April 1251, and attested by ten canons who were present and seven by proxy. One of the latter was Robert Passelewe. (fn. 53) The statute covered deceased canons' goods and the crops of their prebends, distributions for the dead and other matters. In one manuscript there is a final section on residence which was added in the late fourteenth century. (fn. 54) It is not certain, therefore, that it truly belonged to the statute of 1251. It purports, however, to define residence according to the antiqua consuetudo of the cathedral, and so may reflect custom dating from the first half of the thirteenth century. (fn. 55) Its interest is that it records two requirements of exceptional strictness. First, a canon coming into residence for the first time had to pay the considerable sum of fifty marks - twenty-five to the dean and chapter and twenty-five to the fabric: the magnitude of this initial outlay is appreciated when we set it against the commons distributions of 12d weekly. The second demand was that for the first year a resident canon was required to be present at all choir services, even a single absence necessitating that he begin the residence all over again. Doubtless the strictest residence requirements were imposed on the four dignitaries, along the lines of the extremely influential customs of Salisbury, preserved in the so-called 'Institutio of St Osmund', which was known at Chichester under the title antiqua consuetudo. (fn. 56) The dean of Chichester took an oath of perpetual residence, from which he could be dispensed only by the bishop and chapter. (fn. 57) On the whole, with just a few exceptions, the dignitaries in the thirteenth century seem, from the evidence of their numerous attestations to charters, to have been assiduous residents. Two exceptions were the pluralist Bogo de Clare, the precentor, who was cited for non-attendance by the archbishop in a metropolitan visitation in 1283, (fn. 58) and the learned M. William de Greenfield, the dean, who was allowed to continue his lectures at Oxford in 1299. (fn. 59)
Residence required adequate housing. Houses of bishop and canons are mentioned in 1147: doubtless 'canons' here should be taken to include dean and precentor. (fn. 60) The dean's house is first mentioned in the late 1170s, and those of precentor, chancellor and treasurer were certainly in existence by the late thirteenth century, and probably much earlier. (fn. 61) The bishop's substantial dwelling dates from at least as early as the first half of the twelfth century. (fn. 62) In 1187 the houses of bishop and canons were damaged by fire. (fn. 63) It was perhaps after the rebuilding that bishop Seffrid II issued the first surviving Chichester statute, in 1192/3, which contains the provision that canons' houses were to be assigned by the bishop only to those who were resident. (fn. 64) This statute was confirmed in one of 1247, which added the stipulation that the maintenance and repair of canons' houses, whether in the city or in their prebends, was to be paid for from prebendal income: (fn. 65) hence the charges fell on the prebends and not on the communa.
Although the statutes give only a sketchy view of the customs of the cathedral and chapter, it is clear that as its institutions developed, so did the chapter's sense of itself as a corporate entity. By the time of bishop Hilary (1147-69) the chapter's consent was recorded in certain episcopal charters, (fn. 66) and bishop John (1174-80), who had been dean under Hilary, transacted much business in the chapter. (fn. 67) From bishop Seffrid II's time (1180-1204), if not before, the chapter possessed its own seal. (fn. 68) It met to legislate on matters of common concern: the first three surviving statutes, from 1192/3, 1197/8 and 1204 × 1207, were all issued by the bishops, (fn. 69) but thereafter, in 1226, 1232, 1247, 1251 and 1271, statutes were promulgated in the name of the dean and chapter. (fn. 70) The sense of corporateness was enhanced by the particular routines of cathedral and Close. The 'Use' of Chichester governed liturgical practices, (fn. 71) and there was a strong tradition of commemorating deceased members of the community, with a system of anniversaries which began at least as early as the middle of the twelfth century. (fn. 72)
But the bishop was always supreme in the affairs of the cathedral. Only the deanery came to be elective: the earliest reference to the election of a dean by the chapter dates from 11 June 1229. (fn. 73) Otherwise the members of the chapter were appointed by the bishop, who collated to the other dignities and to every prebend, with the sole exception of the monastic prebend of Wilmington. It was the bishop who assigned canonical houses to residentiaries. (fn. 74) From the middle of the thirteenth century he undoubtedly had the right to hold disciplinary visitations of the cathedral: pope Innocent IV's ruling in the Lincoln case of 1245, which was adopted at other secular cathedrals, was copied into the Chichester cartulary within twenty years of its issue. (fn. 75) Unfortunately no evidence survives about episcopal visitation of Chichester cathedral until 1340, when a dispute between bishop and chapter was referred to the archbishop. (fn. 76) But before this, two successive archbishops of Canterbury in the later thirteenth century conducted metropolitan visitations of the diocese, in which they also visited the cathedral - and there is no reason to doubt that bishops of the period also held visitations. (fn. 77) An exceptional power claimed by the bishop of Chichester was to be able to annul legislation enacted by the chapter. In 1314 this claim was enforced, when bishop John de Langeton annulled a conglomerate statute which had been made by the dean and chapter, on the grounds that it had been passed without his consent. (fn. 78)
During vacancies in the bishopric, the bishop's patronage fell to the Crown. Before the end of the twelfth century the operation of this system is obscure, but it is clearer in the thirteenth century, thanks to the Patent and Close Rolls. In vacancies kings were able to appoint to dignities, archdeaconries and prebends: fourteen such collations sede vacante are documented. (fn. 79) But it was not only during vacancies that royal clerks and officials might be appointed to the chapter: such men could be of use to bishop and cathedral in a variety of ways, and it is not surprising to find at least seventeen among the members of the chapter in the thirteenth century, most of them doubtless collated by the bishops. (fn. 80) There is nothing to suggest that the appointment of royal curiales caused any resentment or friction at Chichester: in order to please the king, the canons even elected Robert Passelewe as bishop in 1244 (list 1).
The only other outside authority able to wield power over appointments in the cathedral was the pope. But papal provisions to prebends in Chichester were extremely unusual before the fourteenth century - there is evidence for only three, all of them disputed. Innocent IV's provision of a prebend to M. Laurence de Somercotes, a papal subdeacon, was initially opposed, but eventually he became the bishop's official as well as canon (list 42). The same pope's attempted provision to Albert, a canon of Milan, of a canonry without a prebend was also opposed by the dean and chapter, and seems to have come to nothing (list 42). In the case of Gregory IX's provision of the treasurership to M. Alatrinus, in 1231, there was the difficulty that by the time the papal letter arrived, bishop Ralph de Neville had already appointed his own candidate, M. William de Neville, who was his brother (list 5). The bishop resisted and finally prevailed, although the pope was still attempting to have Alatrinus made treasurer seven years later. It seems likely, too, that the pope was thwarted when he ordered that Blaise, a Roman scholar, was to be given a more valuable prebend than the one to which he had been collated by the bishop before 1222 (list 42). An example of reasoned opposition to papal intervention at Chichester is the dean and chapter's protest, c. 1251, already discussed, about the dispensation allowing the non-resident Robert Passelewe to take the fruits of his prebend and a share in the commons. (fn. 81) The impression that papal influence was minimal at Chichester seems to be reinforced by the fact that very few of the canons - apart from those already mentioned - can be shown to have been used in any capacity by the popes: only two collectors, five judgesdelegate and one subdeacon. (fn. 82)
The details of information given in the lists below show that on the whole the dignitaries and canons of Chichester between 1066 and 1300 were men of education, many of whom - including some royal servants - had university degrees. That the canons had the opportunity to study while at Chichester is clear. Although little is known about the early library, nine surviving twelfth-century manuscripts bear notices that they were given by bishop Seffrid [II] (1180-1204). The use of the library by the canons is attested by the statute of 1226 that allowed them to borrow as many books as they wished, so long as they did not take them outside the city. (fn. 83) The staple of the library was theology. Bishop Ralph de Neville (1224-44) required the precentor, M. William de Leuekenore, to give lectures at the cathedral (list 4). Later the same bishop reserved the prebend of Wightring (list 37) for someone capable of lecturing in theology in the Close. This provision came to be so important to the dean and chapter that when a canon who was not a theologian was collated to the prebend c. 1258, they objected, and were able to insist that the lectureship be transferred temporarily to the prebend of Selsey (list 30).
Both the provision setting up the lectureship and that concerning the library date from the pontificate of Ralph de Neville, the keeper of the king's great seal, whose contribution to the cathedral and chapter at Chichester has been underrated. One of Ralph's first acts after his consecration as bishop in 1224 was to fill the chancellorship, which he had himself occupied, with one of his protégés, M. Thomas, a royal clerk who came from Lichfield, where Ralph had been dean. As chancellor, M. Thomas of Lichfield would have been closely concerned with the statute concerning the library, and it seems likely that it was during his chancellorship that the arrangement was made about the lectureship in theology. In 1229 he was elected dean, and thus presided when the important statute of 1232 was framed and approved in chapter. A meditation and a prayer written by him survive in the cathedral's first book of statutes. (fn. 84) Some others of Ralph de Neville's appointments confirm the impression that he was seeking to build up the intellectual strength of the chapter at Chichester. (fn. 85)
On the whole, the bishops of Chichester between 1066 and 1300 were conscientious and constructive. The trend in the English secular cathedrals towards the election of their own members as bishops is well illustrated at Chichester. Between the election of the dean, John 'de Greenford', in 1173, and the end of the thirteenth century, there were only four bishops from outside the chapter. Two of these, Simon of Wells (1204-7) and M. Richard Poore (1215-17), had experience of office in other secular chapters, and a third, M. Ranulph de Wareham (1218-22), had been official of the bishop of Norwich, as well as prior of the monastic cathedral of Norwich. The fourth bishop from outside Chichester was M. Richard de Wich (1245-53), the most remarkable of all the bishops of Chichester.
After a distinguished career at Oxford, where he had been chancellor of the university and the first known doctor of canon law, Richard de Wich had become chancellor to the archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund of Abingdon, and had been present at Edmund's death in France in 1240, staying on in France to study theology with the Dominican friars at Orléans, where he was ordained priest. In 1244 he was nominated as bishop by archbishop-elect Boniface of Savoy, in place of the ill-educated Robert Passelewe, who had been elected by the chapter under royal pressure. Being excluded from his temporalities by the king, he appealed to the pope, by whom he was consecrated at Lyons in 1245. As bishop of Chichester, he was outstanding for the attention he paid to pastoral care, issuing diocesan statutes and directives covering all aspects of the Christian life, such as the training and discipline of the clergy, the payment of tithes by the laity, the duty to take part in Whitsun processions, and the regulation of the conduct of divine worship. All this added to his holy reputation, as did his enthusiasm for preaching crusades. It was on a preaching tour of Kent that he fell ill and died at Dover, on 3 April 1253, shortly after consecrating a chapel in honour of St Edmund. (fn. 86) His will, which provided for his burial before St Edmund's altar in Chichester cathedral, made numerous bequests: his glossed bibles, theological books and a copy of the Decretales - making up a fairly humdrum library - were divided between more than a dozen houses of Franciscan and Dominican friars; gifts of cash, jewellery, plate and other items were made to servants, friends, and religious (including five recluses); money was also given for the fabric of the cathedral, for the crusade, and for the poor. (fn. 87)
The canons lost no time after Richard's death in assembling the necessary documents to pursue the process of canonization. (fn. 88) His grave in the north aisle was regarded as a holy place, and only eighteen months after his burial a chaplain was appointed to look after it. (fn. 89) Formal canonization by Pope Urban IV followed in 1262, and was accompanied by permission to translate the saint's body to a more prominent place in the cathedral. (fn. 90) The translation was accomplished on 16 June 1276, an occasion of great splendour, attended by King Edward I, when St Richard was reburied in a silver-gilt shrine, encrusted with jewels, behind the high altar, the usual position for the shrines of patronal saints. (fn. 91) St Richard continued to be venerated and his shrine at Chichester was a place of pilgrimage throughout the middle ages.
Although poor in original charters, the Chichester archive is rich in cartularies. These contain copies of hundreds of lost originals, especially from the thirteenth century. The traditional way of referring to the cartularies and archive books of Chichester was by letter - Liber A, Liber B etc. The following list gives the present shelf-marks of those surviving cathedral Libri that contain material for the period between 1066 and 1300. All but one are preserved in the West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) at Chichester, where they are divided between diocesan (Ep.) and chapter (Cap.) collections: (fn. 92)
|Liber A||WSRO, Ep. VI/1/1|
|Liber B||WSRO, Ep. VI/1/2|
|Liber C||WSRO, Ep. VI/1/3|
|Liber D||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1146|
|Liber E||WSRO, Ep. VI/1/4|
|Liber K||WSRO, Cap. I/12/2|
|Liber P||WSRO, Ep. VI/1/5|
|Liber Y||WSRO, Ep. VI/1/6|
The Chichester archives have been described in several publications. R. L. Poole catalogued the muniments of both the bishop and the Dean and Chapter in Report on Manuscripts in Various Collections (Historical Manuscripts Commission) I (1901) 177-86, 187-204. His accounts of Libri B, E and Y are still valuable. The cartularies - Libri A-E, P and Y - were listed, with brief descriptions, by G. R. C. Davis, Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain: A Short Catalogue (1958) nos. 235-8, 240, 248. Systematic catalogues of both the diocesan and the chapter archives were compiled by F. W. Steer and I. M. Kirby, Diocese of Chichester, 2 vols.: I, A Catalogue of the Records of the Bishop, Archdeacons and Former Exempt Jurisdictions (Chichester, 1966); II, A Catalogue of the Records of the Dean and Chapter, Vicars Choral, St Mary's Hospital, Colleges and Schools (Chichester 1967). The most recent survey of Libri A, B, E and Y - the cartularies that contain copies of Anglo-Saxon charters - is provided by Susan Kelly in the introduction to her forthcoming edition of Charters of Selsey (British Academy Anglo-Saxon Charters vi, 1996).
The earliest of these manuscripts is Liber Y, which also tends to give the superior texts. It was begun c. 1250, when Richard de Wich was bishop. (fn. 93) W. D. Peckham took Liber Y as the base text for his great calendar of Chichester charters, The Chartulary of the High Church of Chichester (Sussex Record Society xlvi, 1946 for 1942-3), and he made out a case for identifying one of the hands in the manuscript as that of M. Geoffrey of Gloucester, dean by August 1241 to October 1254 or later. (fn. 94) Peckham gave a useful description of Liber Y, along with Libri A-C, E, K and P, with which he collated the texts of Y and from which he included in his calendar many not found in Y; he also calendared the twenty-five surviving original charters. In the course of preparing this volume of 1 Fasti, I have checked Peckham's work in every particular, and have found it very substantially accurate and reliable. Although it may be regretted that he chose to calendar the charters in English and not to give full Latin texts, his achievement in publishing so many Chichester texts was monumental.
Of the other manuscripts, six belong to the time of William Reed, bishop from 1368 to 1385. Liber A was the first of a series of books commissioned by the bishop and it seems to have been used by the compiler of Liber B, as was Liber P, which contains references to material in Liber A. The biggest of Reed's cartularies is Liber E, from which a large section containing texts of statutes and a Chichester obituary was separated and came to be known as Liber D; D left Chichester for Oxford in the seventeenth century. A sixth manuscript, Liber C, while lacking an inscription ascribing its compilation to the order of bishop Reed, (fn. 95) probably belongs to the same sequence of books: chiefly it consists of copies of a feodary, rental and custumary of the episcopal estates, though it includes copies of some charters.
Liber K was compiled in the early seventeenth century by the chapter clerk John Swayne. It consists of copies of numerous documents, including extracts from two cartularies now lost, called Liber A and Liber Æ. Liber A, which is described in K pp. 167-260, was not the same as the manuscript that is now known as Liber A. Swayne describes it as 'a leiger booke of the deanes and chapters in a very great folio with a woodden cover bound over with leather of a murray colour and with two claspes', 'called liber magnus evidentiarum', which was paginated from 1 to 430. Swayne's account of Liber Æ is found in K pp. 263-324. It was 'a leiger booke with parchment leaves in a very great folio, bound in bords, and covered over with leather of a murray colour and with two claspes', and was paginated from 1 to 393.
These books were among the sources used by Henry Mayr-Harting in his edition of The Acta of the Bishops of Chichester, 1075-1207, published by the Canterbury and York Society, volume lvi, 1964. In his introduction, Mayr-Harting gave an important account of the cathedral chapter, and in an appendix provided a skeleton fasti of the dignitaries, with notes on the careers of four canons. While the present volume supersedes Mayr-Harting's fasti, its debt to the earlier work will be obvious on every page.
The statutes of the cathedral are found scattered throughout Libri Y, B, E and K, and are also collected in University College, Oxford, MS 148, a volume apparently compiled between 1247 and 1271. This last manuscript was described and used by M. E. C. Walcott in the introduction to his 'Early statutes of the cathedral church of the Holy Trinity, Chichester, with observations on its constitution and history', Archaeologia xlv (1877) 143-234 (also published separately, 1877), which collects all the statutes and provides useful (though not invariably accurate) notes. Two other collections of Chichester statutes are available in print: C. A. Swainson, The History and Constitution of a Cathedral of the Old Foundation, illustrated from Documents... of the Cathedral of Chichester, published in 1880; and Statutes and Constitutions of the Cathedral Church of Chichester, edited by F. G. Bennett, R. H. Codrington and C. Deedes (Chichester, 1904).
The largest gap in the archives of Chichester is the absence of bishops' registers. The earliest surviving register belongs to the pontificate of Robert Rede (1396- 1415), in which the visitation articles of 1397 preserve information not otherwise known and so are used in some of the lists below. (fn. 96) Sede vacante business for the period between October 1287 and April 1288, recorded in the archiepiscopal register of John Pecham (1279-92), does not include material relevant to the cathedral of Chichester. (fn. 97)
Sussex monastic records
Several religious houses in the diocese have left archives that are useful for the Fasti. Battle abbey, in the course of establishing exemption from the bishop, produced a chronicle whose evidence is invaluable for the first half of the twelfth century. (fn. 98) Disappointingly little, however, can be gleaned about the chapter of Chichester from the charters and cartularies of Battle, (fn. 99) nor from those of Lewes (fn. 100) and Boxgrove. (fn. 101) More productive is the archive of the Sele priory, both its original charters, now at Magdalen College, Oxford, and its cartulary. (fn. 102)
Some comment is necessary on the dating of certain charters whose texts and witness-lists are of key importance in the construction of the Chichester Fasti in the late 1220s and early 1230s.
Peckham assigned to November 1227 a charter of bishop Ralph de Neville, Chart. Chichester no. 210. This date is found in a longer text of the same charter quoted in the papal confirmation, Chart. Chichester no. 393.
But the text of Chart. Chichester no. 210 in Y fos. 101v-102r bears no date. It has three witnesses - Thomas [of Lichfield], dean; Eustace de Leveland, chancellor; and William Durand, archdeacon of Chichester. Two difficulties immediately arise: Eustace was still archdeacon of Lewes in June 1228 and on 11 June 1229 (list 9), and the charter confirms the arrangement augmenting the deanery which is dated the morrow of Trinity (11 June) 1229 in Chart. Chichester no. 42 (Y fo. 70r). (fn. 103)
The longer text, quoted in the confirmation by pope Gregory IX on 16 May 1235, (fn. 104) Chart. Chichester no. 393 (Y fos. 143v-144r), has a further nine witnesses, including Reginald of Winchester archdeacon of Lewes, and gives the date as November 1227. But Reginald of Winchester was still the bishop's official on 31 January 1229 (list 9).
The origin of the impossible date, November 1227, seems to lie in a confusion between two papal confirmations. The date November 1227 and eight of the nine additional witnesses of Chart. Chichester no. 393, are found also in another Chichester charter confirmed by Gregory IX on the same occasion, 16 May 1235, Chart. Chichester no. 410 (Y fo. 148r-v). But the charter confirmed in Chart. Chichester no. 410 must date from a time earlier than Chart. Chichester no. 210, confirmed in Chart. Chichester no. 393, for it was issued by dean Simon [de Peregorz] and attested by Thomas [of Lichfield], chancellor, E[ustace de Leveland] archdeacon of Lewes and R[eginald] of Winchester canon. It seems likely that a textual confusion occurred between the two papal confirmations in the process of transcription.
If this interpretation is correct, there are four consequences for the dating of charters:
1. November 1227 is the correct date of Chart. Chichester no. 410.
2. 11 June 1229 is the correct date of Chart. Chichester no. 42, which clearly relates to the election to the deanery after the death of Simon de Peregorz - it refers to a chapter meeting summoned 'ad tractandum de electione [space] decani substituendi'. (fn. 105)
3. Chart. Chichester no. 210 has to be assigned to the period after 11 June 1229. Its date is given in the lists below as 'shortly after 11 June 1229'; it can in no case be later than 1232/3, when William Durand, archdeacon of Chichester, was dead (list 8).
4. The date of Chart. Chichester no. 544, in which dean Simon is dead and has been succeeded by Thomas, requires a simple emendation: MCCXXII must be an error, not for MCCXXVII, as suggested by Peckham, but for MCCXXXII. In fact, 1232 is the date on a charter which is closely related, Chart. Chichester no. 542.
The same style and conventions are used in this volume as in volumes I-IV of 1 Fasti. (fn. 106) The details in the entries are reduced to a minumum in order to focus on matters of chronology. Biographical information and notes of posts held in other dioceses are not intended to be exhaustive, but to assist the reader in anticipation of forthcoming volumes in the series.
The first names of individuals are normally anglicized. Surnames are given in the most usual Latin form found in the sources, except in cases of identifiable place-names, such as cities or major towns, or where there is evidence to support an identification. The title 'M.' is given in the entry headings for men who regularly appear as magistri, and references are given to A. B. Emden's biographical registers of the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Square brackets are used to enclose entries where the identification of an office-holder is conjectural or an appointment was ineffective.
The conventions used for dates are as follows. Two dates linked by a rule, as 1238-42, indicate a term of years, from 1238 to 1242. Two dates linked by a cross, as 1238 × 42, indicate a particular but undetermined date between the outer limits, thus a date between 1238 and 1242. An oblique stroke, as 1239/40, is used for old style/new style: a document dated '1239' may actually belong to any date up to 24 March 1240. When the date is approximate, c. for circa is used, but wherever possible it is avoided except to indicate a date within a year or two.
In the notes on the properties of each prebend, the classification as priestprebend, deacon-prebend and subdeacon-prebend is derived from the information on stall wages given in Valuation 1535, at the rate of one mark, a half-mark and a quarter-mark: priest 13s 4d, deacon 6s 8d, subdeacon 3s 4d.