The Dean and Chapter of Worcester: Volumes

The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1895.

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Historical Manuscripts Commission, 'The Dean and Chapter of Worcester: Volumes', in The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII, (London, 1895) pp. 165-184. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

Historical Manuscripts Commission. "The Dean and Chapter of Worcester: Volumes", in The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII, (London, 1895) 165-184. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

Historical Manuscripts Commission. "The Dean and Chapter of Worcester: Volumes", The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII, (London, 1895). 165-184. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

In this section


The records of the Prior and Convent, and of their successors the Dean and Chapter, of the Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Worcester, are preserved in a room adjoining the Bishop's Registry in the Gateway Tower, to which they were removed in recent years from the long chamber over the south aisle of the nave of the church, where is now the cathedral library. The muniments have in past times suffered considerably from damp and from the ravages of mice. At present there is no danger of damp since fires are constantly kept in two or three of the adjoining rooms, and both in January and April I have found the documents in a satisfactorily dry condition. It is right, however, to add that the room in which the muniments are stored, while separated by a massive stone wall from the Clerk's Office of the Registry, is divided only by a light partition from the Registrar's room; and in both these rooms there are open fires unprotected by guards. I also observe that the cupboards in the muniment room itself are not, nor is the door of the room, kept locked, so that all the records are open to the servant who cleans the rooms in the morning and to anyone who may chance to obtain access to them while the servant is otherwise engaged. I would venture to urge upon the Dean and Chapter the desirability of purchasing a safe large enough to hold at least the older volumes and deeds, or else to have the muniment room itself made fireproof. If a change of this sort were carried out it would be advisable to have shelves made sufficiently roomy to allow of the books standing upright. As it is, they are subjected to a great deal of unnecessary friction and ill-usage in consequence of their being stored in piles. The charters, which are preserved in drawers, ought to be laid out flat, or nearly so, instead of being folded in small squares and tied up in bundles with string. It is also most desirable that they should all be furnished with numbers and so arranged that it should be possible to verify a particular reference without a long search through several drawers. At present, even in the case of those charters which have received a pencilled number and been roughly calendared, it is impossible to say with certainty in which of several drawers they are contained: it is necessary to go through the tied-up bundles in a drawer packed full of documents, only to find perhaps that the document bearing a particular number is not among them. An attempt was indeed made nearly seventy years ago to establish a regular system of numbering and arrangement; but this system (as Bishop Edmund Hobhouse observed when he examined the collection in 1881) is now broken up, and the numbers supply no certain guide to the whereabouts of the documents.

I.—The Priors' Register Sede Vacante.

Of the two classes of documents into which the collection is naturally divided, (1) books, and (2) deeds, letters, and miscellaneous papers, I take the former first (fn. 1); but before enumerating the registers and ledgers in their order, it is convenient to mention one book which stands altogether by itself among the muniments. This is the Registrum Sede Vacante, a register drawn up after the pattern of a bishop's register, and in the name, not of the prior and convent, but of the prior alone, acting as official and administrator of spirituals in the diocese during the vacancy of the see. The register includes the deeds relating to the institution and deprivation of clerks; the collation of dignities and benefices; the receipts of wardships, fines, and other revenues; and the records of visitations, of ecclesiastical causes, and of the exercise of the entire episcopal jurisdiction vested in the prior during the vacancy by virtue of a Composition made between archbishop Boniface of Canterbury and the prior in 1268. It contains also the lists of persons ordained by the bishops of Llandaff, Enaghduñ [Annadown], and other sees, acting under the authority of the prior. The book begins with the vacancy caused by the death of Bishop Godfrey Giffard, 26 January 1301–2, and extends to 1434, during the interval between the death of bishop Polton and the appointment of bishop Bourchier. This volume has been taken in hand by the Worcestershire Historical Society for publication by means of a calendar, and is intended to form the first of a series of editions of the Episcopal as well as Capitular Registers of Worcester. (fn. 2)

II.—The so-called Registrum Prioratus.

The so-called Registrum Prioratus was apparently unknown to William Thomas, (fn. 3) Nash, and Valentine Green. (fn. 4) It had been carried away from the church, presumably to Italy during the pontificates of the four Italian prelates who occupied the see from 1497 to 1535, and afterwards bound in red morocco, as it seems, by an Italian bookbinder. At this time the incorrect and misleading title of "Registrum sive Liber Irrotulatorius et Consuetudinarius Prioratus Beatæ Mariæ Wigornensis" was written on the second of six vellum leaves inserted at the beginning, and a table of contents on those following. On the foot of the title-page is written, "E. M.S.S Thom. Astle"; and the book is known to have been in the possession of Thomas Astle, afterwards keeper of the records in the Tower, in 1765 (fn. 5), but whence he acquired it is not stated. It was subsequently restored to the dean and chapter; but how and at what date, is not recorded in any of the papers in the muniment room that I have examined. Mr. Noake says it came as a present from Astle. The volume was edited by the late Archdeacon W. H. Hale for the Camden Society in 1865. (fn. 6) The title quoted above was understood by Hale to represent "most probably the original title." He assumed, it is evident, that the existing title and table of contents stood in place of an old and worn leaf (or leaves) removed at the time of binding. To this supposition there are several objections. First, the book is not strictly speaking a register at all. Although interspersed with occasional charters and miscellaneous documents, it is essentially a Rental of the monastery, written in a handy shape for carrying about on visitation of the various manors. (fn. 7) Secondly, it may be questioned whether at so early a date as the latter part of the thirteenth century, when the book was written, the style "Registrum Prioratus" would be used in preference to the form "Prioris et Conventus" or "Monasterii." It was only by degrees that the prior obtained so commanding a position that his title could absorb that of the society over which he ruled; and at Worcester the great advance of the priorial dignity took place towards the middle of the fourteenth century. Thirdly, the spelling "Wigornensis" for "Wigorniensis" is of extremely rare occurrence in documents of the thirteenth century. It is curious that Hale should have silently changed it into "Wigorniensis" on his title page, while in the text of his book he uniformly prints "Wigornia" for the substantive and "Wigornensis" for the adjective, the manuscript itself offering only Wigorñ or Wig'. A practical objection to the use of the term "Register" for this Rental is that it introduces an unnecessary confusion with the regular and orderly series of Registers of the convent.

The book being already published, no account of it need here be given; but one point in connexion with it, the knowledge of which I owe to the kindness of Dr. Liebermann of Berlin, deserves a brief mention. On f. 16a there appear some excerpts from the so-called "Laws of Edward the Confessor," which present the text in its second redaction. Now the manuscript of the "Laws" in the Cathedral Library, cod. 87 folio, which I have examined and partially collated, was not written until about 1300 and gives the text in its earlier form without the changes and interpolations which it subsequently underwent. It may therefore be inferred that at one time the monastery of Worcester possessed two copies of the "Laws."

III.—The Liber Pensionum.

The Liber Pensionum is distinguished from the Registers by the fact that its contents, properly speaking, relate not to the property at large held by the church of Worcester but exclusively to its spiritual possessions and spiritual privileges. It comprises copies of deeds of confirmation of the churches appropriated to the monastery, grants of "pensions" or fixed payments due to the church of Worcester from certain churches in the diocese and from certain religious houses in respect of particular churches in the diocese appropriated to them. The documents range from the time of bishop Roger [1164–1179] to the beginning of the fifteenth century, which is the date of writing of the book. The ground of the payment of a pension by a religious house is usually expressed as in consideration of the advantage gained by it through the appropriation of the church, and of the trouble that might be given to the prior of Worcester in the event of a vacancy taking place in the see. Thus f. 4, "Pensatis equo libramine dampnis et interesse que, occasione consolidacionis et appropriacionis vicarie ecclesie parochialis de Wynchecome Wygorñ dioc' nobis et monasterio nostro predicto per venerabilem patrem et dominum, dominum Tidemannum, Dei gracia Wygorñ episcopum nuper facte, priori et capitulo ecclesie cathedralis Wygorñ quociens eiusdem ecclesie cathedralis sedem futuris temporibus vacare contigerit et alio modo accidere poterunt multipliciter in futurum," abbat William and the convent of Winchcombe agree to pay an "annuitas" or "census annuus" of 3s. 4d. to the said prior and chapter (1398). Another formula appears on f. 14, where the provost and scholars of the Queen's college at Oxford, desiring "in recompensacionem congruam fructuum seu emolumentorum, quos tempore vacacionis dicte ecclesie solent vel debent in futurum percipere, debitum reddere repensivum," bind themselves to pay 20s. of silver whenever there is a vacancy in the see. Oxford 1350.

Among the documents included in this book are:—

f. 5b. Agreement for the payment of 40s. in lieu of 100s. under conditions by the prior and convent of Great Malvern to the church of Worcester on the vacancy of the see. 1337.

f. 12. Award of B[artholomew] bishop of Exeter, delegated by the pope to decide a cause between the churches of Oseney and Worcester relating to the rights of the former in the church of Begeberia [Bibury, co. Glouc.]. For Oseney appeared Eadward abbat, Harding prior, and the canons; for Worcester, Roger bishop, Ralph prior, and the monks. Witnesses: Hamet of Gloucester, A. of Evesham, John of Messend' [Missenden], William of Lileshell [Lilleshall], abbats; Robert of Kenilworth, Rem. of Selford, priors; Robert of Oxford, R. of Surrey, Simon of Winchester, archdeacons; John dean of Chichester; John treasurer of Exeter; William dean of Lichfield; J. chancellor of Chichester; Master Moyses, Master Silvester, Robert monk, master Robert de Auc', (fn. 8) master Roger and Trustin, canons of Exeter; Osb. canon of Kenilworth, Philip canon of Derby, master Robert of Gildeford, Nicholas priest of Auinton [Avington], John of Lilleshell, Ascat' of Messend', canons. Salisbury 1173. This document shows that John of Salisbury (unless there was another John) held the office of treasurer of Exeter a year earlier than was previously known. (fn. 9)

f. 16. Confirmation by William [Courtenay] Archbishop of Canterbury of the various churches, pensions, and tithes, held by the church of Worcester. Kempsey, 29 October "anno ab incarnacione Domini secundum cursum et computacionem ecclesie Anglicane" 1384, Ind. VIII. anno pontif. Urban. VI. 7.

f. 17. Bull of Clement VI. appropriating the church of Croppethorne to the monastery. Axignon, 9 March, anno 8 [1350]. The special cause assigned is the need for repairing the cathedral church: "quod eadem ecclesia et eius campanile ac quamplura edificia prioratus eiusdem ecclesie, quorum refeccio et construccio ad eosdem priorem et capitulum noscitur pertinere, in tantum minantur ruinam et tanta ac tali refeccione indigent quod ad illa reficienda ac reparanda minime ipsorum prioris et capituli redditus sufficiunt, absque eo quod aliuude super hoc subveniatur eisdem; et quod ipsi prior et capitulum per hospitalitatem tam nobilium quam popularium ad ipsum prioratum confluencium, et propter sumptus necessarios circa defensionem iurium prioratus eiusdem nuper factos, ere alieno sunt multipliciter onerati, eciam et gravati; quodque redditus et proventus eorundem, propter obitum tenencium possessiones et bona ab cis qui tempore epidemie in illis partibus nuper ingruentis decesserunt, in magna parte diminuti existant," &c.

f. 18b. Confirmation by Clement VI. of the appropriation to the prier and chapter of the church of Overbury in their gift, in relief of their burthens and to assist them in sending two monks to study at Oxford ("pro supportacione huiusmodi onerum leviori ac sustentacion eduorum monachorum quos in Oxoniensi studio tenere oportet"), the latter obligation being made a condition of the grant. Avignon: 2 October anno 5 [1346].

f. 19b. Appropriation by Clement VI. of the church of Wolvardeley [Wolverley] to the prior and convent, substantially in the same terms as those cited above with reference to Croppethorn. Avignon: 11 June anno 10 [1351].

f. 26. Inspeximus by John [Green], prior (1388), of inspeximus of Henry [Wakefield], bishop, of a chirograph of a fine levied in the king's court for a month from Easter 49 Henry III. [1265] between John, master of the Carnaria at Worcester, and Walter [of Cantelupe], bishop, and of the deed of the said bishop Walter establishing four chaplains in the chapel of the Carnaria, or charnel house, at Worcester, 31 Jan. 1265–6 (fn. 10); bishop Henry now appropriating the said chapel to the sacristry of the church of Worcester, 2 Oct. 1385.

The documents are arranged according to churches, and the part of the volume which is strictly the Liber Pensionem ends on f. 29. After this, with a new gathering, comes a series of leading documents bearing upon the rights of the prior sede vacante (the composition between archbishop Boniface and the prior, 1268, &c.), followed by miscellaneous documents relating to the property, rights, privileges, and exemptions of the convent. Among these are:

f. 31. Appropriation by bishop Walter [Maydenstone] of the church of Tibberton to the precentory, on the ground "quod officium precentorie in Ecclesia nostra Cathedrali supra dicta propter sui exilitatem ouera dicto officio incumbencia tam in librorum novorum scriptura quam antiquorum raparacione (fn. 11) et emendacione Clericorumque dicto officio deserviencium exhibicione (Equm quoque ac famulum propter negocia dicte Ecclesie expedienda adinvenire tenetur ex consuetudine hactenus approbata) nec non in multis aliis rebus ipsi officio necessariis consistencia sustinere non valebat quovis modo." Fladbury: 19 March 1314–5.

f. 34. Escheator's inquisition as to the tenure of the priory's temporalities. Sept. 1 Edw. I. [1273]. The witnesses declare that all its possessions are held in pure and perpetual alms

f. 46. Grant by Henry III. (fn. 12) of a market to be held by the prior and convent at Shipston on Stour weekly on Saturdays and a yearly fair (feria) on the feast of St. Barnabas, its vigil, and morrow. Woodstock: 28 June, an. 52 [1268].

f. 47b. Indulgence of Clement [VI.] to the prior and monks to eat fleshmeat from Septuagesima to Quinquagesima, but not in the refectory, and for the rest of the year in the refectory. Villanova: 15 May, an. 10 [1351].

f. 50. Composition between Bishop William [of Blois] and the convent concerning the election of the prior [1224].

f. 51. Bull of Clement [VI.] authorising the prior John of Evesham to make use of "mitra, baculo, tunica, et dalmatica pastoralibus"; and to give the solemn blessing, except a legate or bishop be present (Avignon: 8 Jan., an. 9 [1350–1]): followed by other confirmations of privileges by Boniface [IX.] (Rome: 11 Dec., an. 8 [1396]), Nicolas [IV.] (Rome: 5 Jan., an. 2 [1288–9]; and Rieti, 1 Aug., an. 2 [1289]) and Boniface [IX.] (Rome, 13 Dec., an. 10 [1398]). The earlier rescript of Nicolas IV. contains a license to the prior and chapter to preach, considering "quod plures ex vobis sunt in divina pagina, in qua studium infra claustrum ecclesie vestre continue sicut asseritur vigeredinoscitur, plenius eruditi"; the second one empowers them to wear hats (pilleis vel almiciis non curiosis) during divine service in cold weather.

f. 52b. Letter under privy seal of Henry [IV.] forbidding the bailiffs of Worcester to have their maces carried before them within the church, cemetery, priory, and sanctuary. (Bubwith: P.S.) Westminster: 6 December an. 2. [1400].

f. 54b. Endowment of a secular chaplain to serve the altar of the blessed Mary "at rededore" in the cathedral church (or, as it is in the rubric, "ad rubrum hostium in Navi ecclesie"), 1315.

f. 55. Settlement of a complaint of the sacrist with reference to the expense he incurred "in exhibicione pecunie pitancie piscis et vini pro O Oriens," 1339.

f. 58. King's writ concerning a dispute between the bailiffs of the city and the church of Worcester as to the coroner's jurisdiction, Westminster: 19 December 22 Edw. III. [1348] and other documents of the legal proceedings down to Whitsuntide 23 Edw. III. [1349].

Inserted are a few documents in hands of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, f. 49b, 62b–67b (end of book).

f. 62. Commission to Arthur, prince of Wales, and Thomas, prior, to execute the statutes relating to the keeping of the peace, the use of liveries, &c. [undated] with the oath of a justice of the peace [in the same hand].

f. 63b. Confirmation by Thomas [Cranmer] abp. of Canterbury of the possessions of the prior and chapter of Worcester. Gloucester: 30 August 1534. [The date is given by error as "Anno domini millesimo quingentesimo tricesimo quarto decimo. Et nostre consecrationis anno secundo."]

f. 64. Note of a customary payment: "Memorandum quod Prior Ecclesie Cathedralis Wigorn in prima creacione sua percipiet de singulis Maneriis et dominiis suis speciale subsidium anglic' Saddell silver viz. de dominio de," &c. (fn. 13)

On the last flyleaf is an account "Staurorum diversorum Maneriorum ab Antiquo Assignatorum Officio Coquinarii Ecclesie Cathedralis beate Marie Wygorn'." The sum is 159 swine, 318 hens, 3600 eggs, 280 geese.

The volume contains two flyleaves cut out of a manuscript of Statius of the eleventh century. It is written in double columns, and the left-hand column in the first leaf and the right-hand one in the second have been mutilated to fit the cover. The passages are from the Thebais x. 877– 900 (i. col. 1), 902–924 (col. 2); x. 778–800 (ii. col. 1), xi. 53–75 (col. 2). This singular derangement of the order is apparently to be accounted for by the hypothesis of some leaves in the archetype, containing lib. x. 801–876, 925–939, xi. 1–52, having been misplaced. In a manuscript in the Cathedral Library, Qo 8, Dr. H. Schenkl found similar flyleaves which were manifestly taken from the same MS. of Statius and begin with lib ii. 70. Dr. Schenkl however erroneously assigned the writing to the ninth century. (fn. 14)

IV. Register I.

The volume designated by Thomas and Nash Register I. and by Dugdale "registrum quoddam penes decanum et capitulum ecclesiæ cath. Wigorniæ," is a small folio in gatherings of twelve leaves written as far as f. lxiii in a hand of the middle of the 13th century. The uniformity of the handwriting is interrupted by insertions on ff. lviii, lix, lx. The book opens with the 'Nomina fundatorum Wigornensis ecclesie" (Inc. "Tempore Æthelredi"), followed by the charters of Edgar (Inc. "Altitonantis dei largiflua clementia"), of William I. to Wulstan bishop and Ur[so] de Abetot sheriff (confirming their customs and rights "Alfstano decano et monachis de Wigrecestra"), of bishop Wulstan concerning Alveston and concerning Tapenhal', of William I., Henry I. and his successors down to Henry III., papal bulls, charters of bishops and of private persons. F. lxi has a new heading, "Incipiunt transcripta cartarum"; but the documents are of the same character as the foregoing.

The documents are of great local interest and contain notices of value for the topographical history of the city of Worcester: e.g. "Hucsterestrete" is mentioned on ff. lv, lvb, "vicus cirothecariorum" on f. lvii.

On f. lxiii is a charter of Henry III.: "H. Dei gratia rex Anglie dominus Hibern[ie] dux Normanñ Aquitanñ et comes And[egavensis] omnibus baillivis et fidelibus suis ad quos presentes littere pervenerint salutem. Sciatis quod suscepimus in protectionem et defensionem nostram specialem priorem et monachos ecclesie Sancte Marie Wigorñ in qua corpus Regis patris nostri ecclesiastice traditum est sepulture," &c., 1241.

This charter is followed by entries of documents in a handwriting of the end of the thirteenth century, and the book becomes more and more irregular in respect of writing, ranging from that of the time of Henry III. to that of Edward I. Then from f. lxxi to f. lxxxviii the writing is of the 14th and 15th centuries. The volume deserves a full calendar: between 30 and 40 of the documents are printed at length by Thomas. Among the contents are:—

f. lxvib. The composition between archbishop Boniface and the monks (1268) on procedure during a vacancy of the see.

f. lxviib. Cardinal Otho's constitutions concerning regulars:

"In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen. Cum grande sit opus et arduum civitatem Dei, que est sancta religio, novis et innovatis propugnaculis premunire contra versuti hostis insidias, qui eam novis et antiquis iugiter nititur machinis debellare: nos O'o miseracione divina sancti Nicholai in carcere Tulliano diaconus cardinalis, apostolice sedis legatus, ex iniuncto nobis legationis offitio adiuvandum pro viribus tam favorabile opus obnoxios reputantes, quedam tum ex sancti patris beati Benedicti Regula, tum ex sacris conciliis et canonicis sanctionibus, tum ex statutis etiam abbatum ordinis eiusdem heati Benedicti colligi fecimus et notari; que si servati fuerint, sacre religioni erunt in presidium et tutelam.

"Inprimis igitur duximus statuendum quod nullus ante vicesimum annum completum ad professionem et nonumdecimum ad probationem in monasterio decetero admittatur. Item qui ad probationem admissus erit professionem incontinenter (fn. 15) faciat anno probationis elapso vel exeat monasterium. Abbas alioquin vel prior qui aliquem sine profess[ione] sustinuerit ultra annum per presidentes capitulis graviter puniatur, et ille novitius nichilominus profiteri cogatur et habeatur pro professo. Item quod ab aliquo qui velit monasterium ingredi nichil exigatur omnino, sed pure propter Dominum et sine aliqua pactione qui admittendi fuerint admittantur. Recipi tamen poterit sine culpa si quid sine pactione et taxatione aliqua fuerit gratis oblatum. Item quod monachus aliquis decetero proprium aliquod non habeat, et si habet sine dilatione suo abbati assignet. Item quod aliquis monachus decetero ad firmam aliquod manerium vel possessionem aliam etiam a prelato suo recipere non presumat. Alioquin ut proprietarius haberi debeat ac puniri. Item quod in maneriis monachi non morentur, nec etiam in ecclesiis nisi plures fuerint, saltem duo. Item quod discreti ac fide digni ad officia deputentur, qui ter saltem in anno prelato suo presentibus aliquot de senioribus reddant de suis administrationibus et officiis rationem. Et tunc quicquid eis superfuerit, sive in pecunia sive in aliis quibuslibet quibuscunque rebus consistat, sine difficultate qualibet omni fraude amota suis prelatis restituant et assignent penam proprietariorum contra facientibus incursuris. Abbas quoque vel prior non habens abbatem saltem in anno semel coram conventu vel aliquot de senioribus ad hoc a conventu deputatis reddat de statu monasterii et administratione sua plenariam rationem. Item statuimus quod prelati bis saltem in anno publice in conventu in omnes proprietarios excommunicationis sententiam ferant, alias nichilominus nisi non resipiscant punientes maxime per ignominiam sepulture. Item statuimus quod silentium sp[ecialiter] in locis debitis et horis statutis iuxta Regulam observetur, et quod signa studeant scire omnes. Ad hec, cum esus carnium sit monachis iugiter ordinatis per Regulam beati Benedicti et per statutum nostrum nec non et abbatum Anglie presidentium eorum generali capitulo interdictus, ut monachis qui consueverunt vesci carnibus per abusum tollatur materia et occasio murmurandi, precipimus abbatibus et prioribus ut loco illius cibi eis vetiti studeant et procurent monachis iuxta facultatem domus competenter alium ministrare. Item quod monachi tam ad dorsum quam ad lectum secundum Regulam et facultatem domus habeant sufficientia et congrua indumenta nec camiseis lineis vel birretis utantur. Item quod simul dormiant monachi, lectos habeant iuxta regulam, nec in eorum dormitatione desit lumen. Hospitalitem vero tam a prelatis quam a subditis secundum regule sanctionem et facultatem loci cum caritate et hilaritate observari statuimus et mandamus semper, et ad hoc benignus et mansuetus monachus iuxta Regulam deputetur. Idem cum infirmis fratribus statuimus observandum. Item quod omnes horis intusint divinis et maxime collationi et completorio, nisi ex honesta causa aliquis circa hospites occupatus de speciali licentia seu prelati necesse habuerit remanere. Numerum vero equorum et familie prelati studeant in quantum poterunt moderare. Item statuimus quod abbates et priores continue iuxta Regulam scribi faciant constitutiones et sanctiones summorum pontificum ad eos et eorum ordinem precipue pertinentes que in compilatione domini Gregorii noni pape sub infra scriptis titulis continentur, videlicet de regularibus et transeuntibus.

Ad religionem (fn. 16) Ex parte.
Ne religiosi.
De statu monastorem (fn. 17) Monachi.
Cum ad monasterium.
In singulis.
Ea que religionis honestate.
De symonia Quoniam simoniaca labes.
De sententia excommunicationis Monachi.
Cum illorum absolutis.
De monialibus.
De fideiussoribus. Quod quibusdam.
De solutionibus. Si quorundam.

"Ideo districte precipimus abbatibus et prioribus quod predictam regulam beati Benedicti et Decretales et constitutiones suprascriptas scire studeant et ea secundum speciem habeant. Curent etiam diligenter quod ea subditi non ignorent. Item statuimus et districte precipimus observari quod in conventu quolibet monachorum una lectio diebus singulis de predicta regula vel prescriptis sanctionibus et statutis hora competenti legatur et minus intelligentibus exponatur."

f. lxviiib. Writ of Henry III. to the sheriff of Worcester. Having ascertained by inquisition made by Mr. Symon de Walton that the prior of Worcester and his predecessors from time whereof no record is preserved "habuerunt salsam suam in villa nostra de Wych' et sal suum bullire consueverunt et uti quodam bukecto communi ad hauriendum salsam suam, et pro illo bukecto aliquando dare plus, aliquando minus, et quod solebant locare homines de eadem villa ad hauriendum predictam salsam et ad bulliendum sai suum et ad reparandum plumbos suos, et per quatuor plumbos bullire consueverunt, neque ad tempus quo baillivi nostri de Wych' ceperunt manerium de nobis ad firmam; et quod idem prior per predictos baillivos super premissis est impeditus: tibi precipimus quod eundem priorem de premissis seysinam habere facias, qualem inde habuit ante quam predicti baillivi eandem villam de nobis ceperunt ad firmam. T[este] me ipso apud Messenden." N. d.

f. lxviiib. Inspeximus by Henry III. of Charter of Henry II.: "Precipio quod prior et monachi sancte Marie de Wyreter [sic] habeant iuste omnes fugitivos suos cum tota pecunia sua ubicunque inventi fuerint. Et nullus eis super hoc eos iniuste detineat super decem libras forisfacture. T[este] Canc[ellario] apud Wyreter."

Confirmed: Westminster: 8 March 50 Hen. III. [1265–6].

f. lxx. Reply of Guido bishop of S. Sabina and legate of the apostolic see [afterwards pope Clement IV.] to the English nobles in rebellion against Henry III. Amiens: 26 July [1264].

"Gwydo miseracione divina Sabinensis episcopus apostolice sedis legatus viris nobilibus comitibus baronibus militibus et comitatibus (fn. 18) regni Anglie salutem in Domino. Si gens Anglorum ad antiquam veritatem hystorie sedula meditatione recurreret, si sedis apostolice beneficia circa se pluries inculcata cognosceret, si eiusdem sedis dominium quo regi dominatur et regno reverenter attenderet, in insolentiam erigi non deberet sed pocius ad obsequium inclinari. Est enim gens peculiaris populus et thesaurus gratissimus alme sedis, quem beatus Gregorius per Anglorum apostolum Augustinum a dupplici servitute liberans Deo noscitur (fn. 19) adquisisse, quemque nostris temporibus, ut vetera taceamus, ab inclite memorie domino Ludowico patre domini regis Francorum qui modo regnat ex parte maxima subactum, per . . . legati sui prudenciam pariter et potenciam de manu liberavit eiusdem, et si gentis eiusdem saluti consuleret et honori, Francorum regnum exasperare non timuit tam carum, tam nobile, tam sublime, regnum a Domino benedictum. Miratur igitur terra et celi desuper obstupescunt ad hanc ingratitudinem Anglie nune delapsam, si in matris et domini manifestam iniuriam legatum suum, non quemlibet sed corporis sui partem, si non merito saltim officio reverendum, irreverenter abiciat et eiusdem legati nuncios simplices et pacificos non admittat. Mira siquidem tarditas[?] et detestanda crudelitas negari matri quod Tartaris, paganis, scismaticis, et penitus infidelibus non negatur, quorum legati ab omnibus regnis et curiis et curialiter admittuntur et pacienter auditi ab omni gravamine liberi remittuntur. Sane vos viri nobiles et capita populorum nobis scribitis quod communicato consilio sic Lond ordinastis et asseritis privilegium vestrum esse quod ad vos legatus non veniat non petitus. Sed absit ut Romana ecclesia lege propria se artaverit, ne possit per alios visitare quorum visitacionem presencialiter nequit implere; nec potuit aliquis summus pontifex legem ponere successori, quia non habet imperium par in parem, nec papa unius predecessoris heres est sed successor. Cessant tamen hec omnia ipso facto, cum rex vester institerit et inportune pecierit, sed nichilominus oportune, ad regnum suum multa dilaceracione concisum destinari legatum: et nunc contempnitis destinatum, querentem vos et non vestra, salutem vestram et aliorum omnium sicientem ad pacem salubriter reformandam, et iusticiam misericordia temperandam piis visceribus hanelantem. Porro quem sic despicitis inverecunde rogatis ut exercitum contra vos evocatum faciat revocari et inducat dominum regem Francorum (fn. 20) ad pecuniam non solvendam vestris, ut dicitis, emulis que debetur pro quingentis militibus regi vestro. Nos vero quo ad primum articulum preces vestras prevenimus, et in ipso convocacionis exordio quibus modis potuimus laboravimus ut nulla fieret militum congregacio: sed quod volumus non valuimus optinere; et tamen cessari tunc poterat sine dampno, cum nunc in mari et terra multis stipendiis persolutis optinendi creverit difficultas. Ad secundum articulum non processimus, quia rem integram non invenimus pecunia iam soluta. Ceterum ad id quod finaliter petitis ut vestris nunciis apud Bonoñ. occurramus, sic vobis duximus respondendum: quod videlicet apropinquare proponimus et ad vestros nuncios nostros mittere quorum communicato et intellecto tractatu, si dignum nobis videbitur nostram presenciam exhibebimus, et quicquid boni poterimus faciemus honore sedis apostolice in omnibus conservato. Demum monemus vestram nobilitatem obnoxius [sic] quatinus discreto consilio communicato a sinistra ad dextram redeatis. Et si vobis non sufficiunt exaggerata discrimina nova veteribus non addatis. Nec enim credimus vos ambigere, quod omittere non potuimus, quin apostolice sedis iusticiam prout decuerit et licuerit prosequamus. Dat. Ambian. vij. Kal. August' pontificatus domini Urbani quarti anno quarto."

f. lxxb. Bull of Innocent [III.] confirming the exemption of the Cistercians from paying tithes. Inc.: "Audivimus et audientes mirati sumus." N. d. [Reg. Innoc. III., Suppl. xxxiv. (Migne, Patr. Lat. ccxvii. 62); dat. Lateran, 26 May 1200.]

f. lxxvib. Pleas in the king's bench, Westminster, 28 Edw. III.

f. lxxxvib. "This endent' (fn. 21) made bytwene the Prior and the Couent of the monastry and the Cathedrall Churche of oure lady of Worcestr on the oon partye and the Balyffes (fn. 22) and Comynalte of the Cyte of Worcest' on the othyr partye beryth witnesse that the sayde Priour and Couent haũ geuyñe lysance and grauntede to the sayde Balyffes and Comynalte that the sayde Balyffes and ther successoures Balyffes of the sayde cyte and yche of the sayde Balyffes for ther worshype and honor schall haue ther maces borñ a fore them by ther sergeauntes when they cõme in to the sayde monaster and Cathedrall Church and wythin the same monastry Church and Cymitory of the sayde Priour and Couent called Seyntmary (fn. 23) Churchay (fn. 24) and with inne seynt Johannis and all soo ther' sergeaunts may bere there maces undur' ther' gurdylles yeff they wyll with inne the same monastry Churche and Cymitory and seynt Johannis afore wrytt in the absense of ther masteres and as for as moche as the sayde monastry Curche and Cymitory and seynt Johannis byn closely within the fraunches Jurisdiction and liberte of the sayde priour' and Couente and owte of the fraunches Jurisdiction and liberte of the sayde Cyte and that the bailyffes of the sayde Cyte nor noñ other officers nor ministres of the sayde Cyte have no maner power nor auctorite nor never hadde to make any Areste or do any other execucion be longyng to any of the officeres wythin the sayde monastry Churche and Cymitory and seynt Johannis. The sayde Balyffes and Comynalte of the sayd Cyte graunten and permittoñ (fn. 25) to the sayd Priour and Covent thatt (fn. 26) yeff her' after any sergeant of the sayde Cyte a rest or do any other execucion by colour' of hys office wythin the sayd monastry Churche Cymitory or seynt Johannis that then the Balyffes of the sayde Cyte att that tyme beyng' schall take awey the mase from the same sergeante and that the same sergeant' schall never be sergeant nor bere mace wythin the sayde Cyte afterwarde. And yeff ther be any arest or any execucion don' wythiñ the sayde monastry Churche Cymitory or seynt Johannis by any of the balyffs of the sayde Cyte for the tyme beyng by colour of hys office or by any sergeant or other by hys commaundement and that dewly proved before the supprior' and (fn. 27) celerer' of the sayde monastery for the tyme beyng' and iiij of ther brethryn Monkes of (fn. 28) the sayde monastery by them therto chosyn and afore ij Aldermeñ of the sayde Cyte for the tyme being' and iiij of the worthyest of the syttsens of the sayde Cyte by the sayde aldyrmen all soo ther too schosen yeff the sayde aldyrmen and iiij sittesens be so schosyn and wyll ther too attende wyth that they have ther' of warnyng by the space of vii dayes and yeff nott then the dew preffe (fn. 29) ther off made and hadde be foure the suppriour and Cellerer' and there iiij brethern that then noon of the sayde bailyffs of the sayde Cyte for the tyme beyng' schall never have therafter any mase boron' a fore them within the sayde monastery Churche Cymitory or seynt Johannis. In wytnes ther off &c. Mr. John Carpynter then beyng' Byschoppe of the Dyoc' of Worcestr Syr thomas lytylton Sergeant of the lawe Syr Walter Sculle Thomas Frogmorton (fn. 30) Thomas Everdon and Humfrey Salwey (fn. 31) viz. that non of ther sargeants to have ther maces boron under ther' gurdellis nor opynly with inne the sayde monastry Churche Cymitory or seynt Johannis."

On the back of the last folio (which should be "89") is written (fn. 32); "Anno ab incarnacione domini m° cc° l tercio facta est hec remissio particularis sive relaxatio servicii quod non tanget regulam de consensu conventus adomino Th. priore ut divinum servicium protraxius pungtacius honestius et sine tedio fiat. (fn. 33) Pro hac autem relaxacione dicet conventus cotidie particulatim (fn. 34) totum psalterium per porciones cuilibet assignatas."

Facing this leaf is a leaf, mutilated on the left-hand side, and pasted on to the end-cover, from a manuscript of the Vulgate written in a noble English hand of the 8th century. The one side visible contains the passage Marc. x. 26–33.

IV a. The (lost) Second Register.

Of the Second Register mentioned by Nash there is now no trace in the muniment room. It may be assumed to have bridged over the interval between the First Register and the Liber Albus.

V. Liber Albus.

The Great Register or Liber Albus is a massive volume of 497 vellum leaves written at various times in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A note attached to the flyleaf by Mr. Henry Clifton, formerly chapter clerk, attributes the name presumably to "the circumstance of its being originally bound in boards of white sycamore which were so full of grubs and so worm-eaten as to require removal from the book, which was bound in vellum under my superintendence in the year 1824." It is probably best to retain the name since, owing to the loss of the Second Register, it is impossible to say whether it continues an old, or begins a new, series. Chancellor Price, in his "Notitia Diœc. Wigorn." (fn. 35) seems to distinguish this from its predecessors, as the register of the priory from the older registers of the church; a distinction which will not bear examination. It is, however, a real mark of division that, whereas the First Register accumulates its documents without exact regard to the order of time or the official years, this Liber Albus is divided strictly under the administrations of successive Priors. The heading of p. 1 is "Registrum incipiens in prima creacione Fratris Johannis de Wyk Prioris Wigorn'. Anno domini m° ccc° Primo." The register is continued regularly down to the time of Prior Wulstan Braunsford. Of the two Simons who are said to have occupied the priorate from 1339 to 1340 nothing is registered; Braunsford being followed immediately by Prior John of Evesham, 1340 (f. clxiii). The register of Prior John Malvern stops short abruptly in 1408 (f. ccccxxxv). Then follow (f. ccccxxxvi) first the record of the appeal of Cardinals Angelo of Ostia, Anthony of Palestrina, bishops, Conrad of St. Chrysogonus. Jordan of St. Martin in montibus, priests, and 3 others deacons, against certain acts of pope Gregory XII., heard at Pisa, 7 May 1408; secondly, a mandate of Thomas [Arundel] abp. of Canterbury for convocation, addressed to Richard [Clifford] bp. of London, Lambeth 25 June 1408, printed from the abp.'s register in Wilkins' Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ, iii. 306–308; and thirdly, the instructions given to Robert Heremyte, sent by the king to the Duke of Albany regent of Scotland on church business. This last ends imperfectly at the end of the gathering. A new gathering opens in the middle of a document of 25 June 11 Henry VI. [1433], at which date John Fordham was prior, having occupied this position at least as early as 2 March 1418–19. (fn. 35) The formal register is now resumed and continues into the priorate of John Hartlebury. Nash says it ends in 1456; Clifton, in 1446: in fact the regular register closes with entries of Dec. 1455; after which (ff. cccclxxxxi–cccclxxxxv) in a different style of writing are entered documents of 1457 and 1456–7; and then several detached and partly fragmentary documents, one of which bears date January 1493–4. To the beginning of the volume are prefixed sundry documents, the last of which is an appointment to the vicarage of Overbury, dated February 1545–6. The register in any case may be said to end with Hartlebury, though the exact year be undefined owing to the irregular and unbusinesslike habits which had now for some time characterised the management of the convent. The next volume (the First Ledger) begins, though defectively, with the priorate of Thomas Musard and the year 36 Henry VI.

The Liber Albus contains charters of donation and confirmation, releases and bonds, relative to churches and lands in the gift of the chapter, letters of appointment for proctors in convocation, numerous deeds of manumission of bondsmen, and some miscellaneous documents.

Among these are—

f. clxiiib. Charter of King Edward [III.] confirming the privileges of the city of Worcester. Oseney: 12 July an. 4 [1330].

f. clxxxxix. "Acta et processus provisorum domini Clementis pape sexti coram fratre Iohanne de Evesham priore ecclesie cathedralis Wigorn' per venerabilem in Christo patrem dominum Wolstanum Dei gracia Wigorn' episcopum auctoritate apostolica executorem unicum graciarum infra scriptarum subexecutore earundem constituto habit[a]" 8 Nov. 1342.

f. ccclxxxviiib. "Ista sunt que concessit dominus papa priori Wygorñ quantum ad usum mitre et baculi pastoralis.

"Primo quod in presencia episcopi existentis in ipsa ecclesia cathedrali posset uti mitra aurifrittata sine lapidibus et gemmis preciosis, burdono non facto ad modum baculi pastoralis, anulo, et cyrotecis tantum, nisi contingat quod propter indisposicionem episcopi seu aliquam aliam causam prior celebret missam: quo casu ob reverenciam divinorum concessum est sibi in presencia episcopi uti mitra preciosa, baculo pastorali, et aliis insigniis pontificalibus; dum tamen inter preciositatem mitre et baculi episcopi et preciositatem mitre et baculi prioris apparens et notabilis existat differencia.

"In presencia vero episcopi extra ecclesiam cathedralem concessum est sibi uti mitra preciosa, baculo pastorali, et aliis insigniis pontificalibus, cum huiusmodi notabili differencia.

"In absencia vero episcopi, tam in ipsa ecclesia cathedrali quam extra, concessum est sibi uti mitra preciosa, baculo pastorali solenni (fn. 36) tunica, dalmatica, et aliis insigniis pontificalibus, sine aliqua restriccione vel limitacione differencie." This document is inserted in the register of Prior Malvern, a. 1397. In 1351 Pope Clement VI. had conferred the privilege on prior John of Evesham, but only in the absence of the legate of the holy see or of a bishop: Lib. Pensionum f. 51. (fn. 37) Another grant to the same effect was made by Urban V. in 1365. (fn. 38) The arrangement spoken of above must be later than abp. Courtenay's inspeximus of Jan. 10, 1386–7. It differs also in several particulars from the agreement arrived at between bp. Wakefield and prior John Grene, 13 Nov. 1391. (fn. 39)

f. ccccxxxvi. "In dei nomine Amen. Anno a nativitate eiusdem 1408 Indictione prima die dominica vij° die mensis Maii hora terciarum vel quasi, presbiteris (fn. 40) sanctissimi in Christo patris et domini nostri domini Gregorii divina providencia pape xii Anno secundo, in Civitate Pysarum in Archiepiscopali palacio videlicet in camera, infrascriptus Reverendissimus Antonius Episcopus Penestrñ presencialiter residebat, presentibus ibidem magnifico et egregio viro Iohanne quondam domini Francisci de Urcinis laurencio Aiubalbi de Stephanest' valeriano de Fregiã panibus de urbe regionis transtiberĩ, domino Bartholomeo Iohannis de Monte gwacie, domino Angelo de Fuscis canonico lateranensis, et lorvo gunsalvi canonico lametensi ac aliis quam pluribus (fn. 41) testibus ad hoc specialiter convogatis et rogatis: Cum hoc scilicet (fn. 42) quod pridie videlicet die Veneris iiii.ta mensis predicti Maii hova terciarum vel quasi prefatus sanctissimus dominus noster dominus Gregorius papa xii infrascriptus et aliis reverendissimis dominis Cardinalibus sancte Romane ecclesie tunc residentibus in Civitate Lucana circa mandata fecerit de quibus infra fit mencio. Inprimis quod infrascripti domini Cardinales quamvis predicta mandata crederent, reputarent, ymmo tenerent fuisse et esse nulla et omnino invalida de iure et ab eis in quantum ferentur fuisse et esse nulla et omnino invalida in iure," they make appeal.

f. ccccxliiii. in marg. "Quomodo Basileñ et alii plures naciones honorabiliter venerunt obviam episcopo Wyg' et priori Norwycenci ambassatoribus domini regis Auglie ad consilium Basiliense concurrentibus." The text, giving the order of the reception, is printed by Thomas, doc. 123 pp. 140 f.

VI.—The Ledgers.

The Liber Albus is immediately followed by three volumes called by Nash the Ledgers (or as he writes the word "Legers"). Although these are precisely of the same character as their predecessor, and are in fact designated "Registra" in sundry sixteenth century notes on the flyleaves, it is desirable to retain the distinction of name not only for the sake of avoiding confusion but also because they are denoted by the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the (modern) bindings.

(1.) The First Ledger has lost a leaf at the beginning, and the first date in it that can be fixed is 1 July 36 Hen. VI. [1458]. It begins therefore with the priorate of Thomas Musard: it is carried through those of Robert Multon and William Wenlock, and ends in 1498.

Among its contents are—

f. 13b. Note of receipts by the prior "in prima creacione sua de singulis maneriis se[u] dominiis suis" of the special subsidy known as "Sadell selver."

f. 14. Rental of the prior, 1463.

f. 17. Order by Henry VI. (9 April, an. 38 [1460]) for the reception of the oaths of John Hampton and Henry Lombe, whom the king has pardoned for their rebellion before 20 November last past. With the oath of allegiance in English.

f. 22. Letter of Edward IV. to the prior asking for a benevolence to aid him against the invasion threatened by "oure grete Adversary Henre namyng hymselfe Kyng of Englond by the malicious counseille and excitation of Margarete his wyfe namyng her selfe Quene of Englond." Stamford: 13 March an. 2 [1461–2].

f. 35b. Declaration by bishop John [Carpenter] of the boundaries of the sanctuary or cemetery ("cimitorium") of the church of Worcester (21 May 1460).

f. 55. Revocation of licence to William Walewen, S.T.B., "ad scolatizandum" at Oxford or Cambridge, 7 February 1468–9. (Walewen was shortly afterwards admitted to the monastery of Eynsham, f. 55b and f. 57b.)

f. 74b. Appointment of the prior's servant, John Salwey, gentleman, to the office of "gentylmankerver" at his table, 1472. The document is headed "de Officio Sironomontis ad Mensam."

f. 107. Title of prior Wenlock's register, with the arms of the church (argent, ten torteaux gules) and of himself (azure, a lock or), and the dates 1492–1498.

(2.) The Second Ledger begins in 1499 and contains the registers of priors Thomas Mildenham, John Weddybury or Weddesbury, and William More.

On a blank leaf (f. 107) is scrawled:

"Md that owyr (fn. 43) Mastr ye p'or shall ress' (fn. 44) off eu'y vicar & p[ar]son pr[e]sent by owir (fn. 45) place at ys dezth suche duyteis as yer folowit

Itm. A Hatt A Typet & Tache A Rydyng Gowne & A port[uos]. (fn. 46)

A purs a gyrdyll a peyer of knyves a hors sadyll & brydill & hernes thereto.

A peyre of bots & sporys. A Kanger."

f. 182. "Ordo quidam observandus erga dominum regem Henricum octavum &c. Et in quali estimacione habebimus Episcopum Romanum:" a deed whereby prior More and the convent of Worcester unanimously declare their fidelity and obedience to king Henry VIII. and queen Ann his wife; acknowledging him as "caput ecclesie Anglicanæ" and denying that the bishop of Rome hath any greater jurisdiction in this realm of England than any other foreign bishop, &c. 17 August, anno 26 [1534].

f. 183. The oath in English follows:

"Ye shall swere to bere fayth trothe and obediens to the Kynges mageste," according to the act of succession.

f. 187. Archbishop Cranmer's "Iniuncciones et provisiones" for the order and discipline of the convent: on the reading of the Bible, and its exposition in English; the use of the common seal; the need of making an inventory of the moveable goods of the monastery; the keeping and rendering of accounts; the provision of properly cooked food; and the general conduct of the officers of the house. Knoll: 22 February 1534–5 anno consecr. 2°.

(3.) The Third Ledger is that of "Henry Holbeche S.T.P., monk of Crowland and prior of the black monks studying at Cambridge, who was elected prior of the cathedral church of Worcester by the convent at the same place, 13 March 1535 and by . . . Henry VIII. . . . under Christ supreme head of the English church on earth confirmed, 22 March 1535." It ends on 10 January 31 Hen. VIII. [1539–40, eight days before the surrender of the house].

VII.—The Registers of the Dean and Chapter.

In succession to these ledgers are the many volumes variously known as the Ledgers or Registers of the Dean and Chapter, Holbeche having retained his office as first dean of the cathedral church. This series is numbered continuously with the ledgers, and thus begins with vol. iv. (fn. 47) It extends to the present day and to fifty-five volumes.

Volumes xv. and xvi. mentioned by Nash seem to have disappeared. The former ran from 12–17 Charles I. [1636–1641]. The latter began in 1641 but was presumably discontinued in the troubles of the civil war. Possibly all that was written was eight leaves ending 23 June 1641 and now prefixed to vol. xvii, which begins in September 1660.

Among other volumes are:—

VIII. A book in parchment covers containing transcripts of charters relating to the possessions of the church in handwritings of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. At least one leaf is lost at the beginning.

IX. A chartulary and rental arranged under manors and written in hands of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

X. A small chartulary written in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. At the end is written, "Browne Willis."

XI. A volume containing a journal and accounts of William More, prior, chiefly from 1513 to 1534. This has been copied by or under the direction of Mr. Hooper, who has placed his transcript at the disposal of the Early English Text Society for publication under the editorship of Mr. Littlehales.

XII. "The book marked +" (thus cited by Green) or "Liber chartac. p. & cap." (as referred to by Chancellor Price in his MS. "Notitia Dioec. Wigorn.") is a volume in rough calf with a cross drawn on the back in ink. The volume contains miscellaneous collections, notes, inventories, and memoranda, written principally between 1532 and 1540.

The following articles may be noted:—

f. 1. "The provisions for stuff of howsold with impliments [on] our Manors of Crowle, Batnall, and Grymley, by the reverend father William More prior of Worcester" 1 May, 1532.

f. 3. Accounts of purchases, including many of books, made by prior More, October 1518.

f. 7. Receipts of fixed corn-rents from the capitular estates, 1513.

f. 12b. Receipts in money of the officers of the house, 15 Hen. VIII.

f. 13. Rental of the priory, 5 Hen. VIII., 1513.

f. 27. "The indulgence to the Pater noster et Ave Maria."

f. 28. "The scripture upon the iiij bells in the leddon stepull.":

The first bell.. Campanas dia serues has virgo maria.
The ijd bell. Cristus vincit. Xpc regnat. Xpc imp[er]at. Xpc nos ab om[n]i malo.
The iijd bell. Joh[an]es Lyndesey.
The iiijth bell. p. [Tho]mā myldenh[a]m priore[m]. Hoc op[er]e impleto. Xpc virtute faueto. Aue maria gracia plena dñs tecum the clocke bell.

f. 28. The prior's allowances, and the receipts and expenses of the several officers of the house.

f. 52b. "Soluciones ad le Spycery money," and receipts for "le Saddulselver."

f. 53b. Rental of the prior, 1518.

f. 56. Salaries of the servants, and their livery.

f. 57b. "Nomina qui habent hose money ad natalem Domini."

f. 62b. "Composicion betweene the prior and coventt of Worcetter and the baylyes and cytesons of the same," 1 Aug. 1516, 8 Hen. VIII.

f. 65. "Composicion for berynge of macis," 20 Jan. [1472], 1 Edw. IV.

f. 66. Perambulation between the liberties of the monastery and the city, 12 April, 12 Hen. VII.

f. 77b. Annals of the building of the fabrics of the church and monastery, 1372–1386, headed in a later hand "Ædificiorum chronologia."

f. 103. Ordinance respecting wills and customary dues at death.

f. 104. Chronological lists of the bishops and priors, drawn up before 1535 and continued in later hands down to the seventeenth century.

f. 114. "Lyvereye of bred" and "Lyvereye Ale."

f. 124b. Procurations charged upon the officers for Cardinal Wolsey's legatine visitation, 17 April, 1525.

f. 125b. "The Scholars Pension of Oxforde.

"In primis of the cellerar for ther bred ale fewell and other necessares payd of ye rent of Blackwell to every one of them . . . vi li.

"Item of the chamberar for ther comens and other necessary dewties . . . . xxx s.

"Item of the kesynner for ther mete by the hands of ye abbot of Oseney out of ye churche of Bybery for ye pension . . . xxx s."

f. 129b. Rules for painting portraits of saints.

f. 130b. Expenses of the cellerar, 1529, and other accounts.

f. 133. "De missis celebratis quotidie in ecclesia cathedrali beate Marie Wigorn."

f. 135b. Historical notices concerning the church and diocese of Worcester.

f. 138. Indentures between the monasteries of Malmesbury and Worcester transferring to the latter certain chambers at Gloucester College, Oxford, 1412 and 1440: (fn. 48)

"Indentura terre nostre in glowcester college in oxonia.

"Hec indentura testatur quod Thomas permissione divina abbas monasterii de Malmmesbury et eiusdem loci conventus assignaverunt [et] concesserunt ex communi concensu Iohanni priori ecclesie cathedralis beate Marie Wigornie et eiusdem loci conventui quoddam solum sive fundum cum edificiis ac aysiamentis dicto fundo pertinenlibus: quod fundum iacet in prioratu dictorum abbatis et conventus in Stockwelstrete in suburbio Oxoñ, continens in longitudine viginti et quatuor pedes et dimidium a camera Wynchelcombie versus boriam et in latitudine viginti et unum pedes; et camera superior eiusdem fundi continet in longitudine quinquaginta et duos pedes versus cameram Wynchelcombie, cum camera parva inferiori inmediate situata inter edificium de Tewkesbury et Wynchelcombie, continente duodecim pedes in latitudine et viginti et duos pedes et dimidium in longitudine: pro mora et habitatione monachorum dicti prioris et conventus causa studii vel necessitatis illuc destinatorum sive imposterum destinandorum. Et eciam predicti abbas et conventus concesserunt quod predicti prior et conventus ibidem possunt quocienscunque eis placuerit de novo editicare ac premissa habere et tenere pro monachis suis qui illuc causa studii sive necessitatis vel more fuerint transmissi vel imposterum transmittendi absque impedimento vel contradiccione cuiuscumque dictorum abbatis sive conventus vel successorum suorum. Reservata prefatis abbati et conventui et suis successoribus proprietate soli predicti. Racione tamen istius concessionis aliquam terram extra edificia predicta predicti prior et conventus ocupare sive vendicare non debent nisi causa reparacionis edificii predicti. In cuius rei testimonium uni parti huius indenture, penes dictos priorem et conventum remanenti, sigillum commune dictorum abbatis et conventus est appensum. Et alteri parti eiusdem indenture penes dictos abbatem et conventum remanenti sigillum commune dictorum prioris et conventus in domo eorum capitulari est appensum. Dat' in domo capitulari ipsorum abbatis et conventus ibidem die Veneris proximo post festum exaltacionis sancte crucis. Anno regni regis Henrici quarti tercio decimo.

"Item indentura alia de eadem.

"Hec indentura faeta inter religiosos viros Thomam permissione divina abbatem monasterii Malmmesbury et eiusdem loci conventum ordinis sancti Benedicti ex parte una, et Thomam eadem permissione priorem ecclesie cathedralis Wigorñ et eiusdem loci conventum prefati ordiuis ex parte altera, Testatur quod prefati abbas et conventus tradiderunt, concesserunt, et assignaverunt dictis priori et conventui ecclesie cathedralis Wigorñ quandam cameram cum fundo eiusdem infra prioratum dictorum abbatis et conventus de Malmmesbury vocatum nune Glowceter college in Stocwell strete infra precinctum universitatis Oxoñ, subtus cameram et mansionem superiorem scolarium (fn. 49) predicti monasterii de Wigorñ directe situatam, continentem infra muros viginti pedes in longitudine et duodecim pedes in latitudine: Habendam et tenendam predictam cameram cum fundo predicto prefatis priori et conventui et eorum successoribus pro se et suis infra predictum prioratum Oxon. causa studii et doctrine aut alia causa honesta pro tempore contingente ibidem morantibus et imposterum moraturis: Ita quod prefati prior et conventus et eorum successores valeant edificare super predictum fundum quociens sibi visum fuerit et per suos dictum fundum sive cameram occupare [et] ad usum proprium retinere absque impedimento seu perturbacione predictorum abbatis et conventus seu alterius cuiuscunque: proprietate tamen soli sive camere predicte dictis abbati et conventui in omnibus semper salva: quas quidem tradicionem, concessionem, et assignacionem prefati abbas et conventus sub forma predicta warantizabunt (fn. 50) et defendent contra quoscunque imperpetuum. In cuius rei testimonium partes predicte (fn. 51) hiis scriptis indentatis sigilla sua communia alternatim apposuerunt. Dat' quo ad abbatem et conventum de Malmmesbury in domo capitulari eorundem, vicesimo secundo die Augusti anno Domini Millesimo ccccmo quadragesimo: Et quo ad priorem et conventum monasterii sive ecclesie cathedralis Wigorñ in domo capitulari eorundem, vicesimo sexto die mensis Augusti anno supradicto."

f. 148b. "The Copie of the Actes for Holydays."

f. 165b. List of sanctuaries authorised by 32 Hen. VIII., cap. 12.

f. 166b. Recipes for cooking and medicine, interspersed with various notices, some of events in public history.

f. 170b. "The surrender of the priory of Worceter," followed by an inventory of plate, printed by Green, whose text extends somewhat further than that now preserved in the manuscript, which has suffered much from ill-usage and of which at least one leaf has been lost within the last hundred years.

Besides these there are numerous books of acts, registers of admissionsand installations, patent and seal-books, rentals, and other volumes. Among these may be mentioned:—

XIII. "Liber Visitacionis domini Johannis . . Wigorniensis episcopi . . . 1540."—The book thus entitled on the parchment wrapper contains in fact principally valors, but has also the depositions, 26 April, 1541, touching the opinions of one Matthew Price of Staunton in Worcestershire concerning the sacrament of the altar and the use of holy water; evidence (22 May an. 33) against Sir James Darkes, priest of the college of Stratford, for immorality, given before Dr. John Bagard, vicar general, "commissioner . . . for thexecucion of a certeyne acte of parliamente concernynge the syx articles;" evidence against Roger Waxmaker of Bristol, 7 May, 1541, who "dyd see god"; and others. Then follow certain visitation detecta relating to heresy (imperfect), John Dydson's answers to articles, with a note on books found in his possession—"Lutherus in postill' Bucher in epāla Pauli ad Romanos et Zyngulus unica (fn. 52) exposicio,"—and many other sets of depositions during the visitation of 1540.

XIV. A volume, marked on the vellum wrapper "Liber Canonum Ecclesiæ Cathedralis Wigorn.," containing sundry articles of visitation, 1578–1639; injunctions, acts, &c., of the dean and chapter, and caveats. Among the contents are:—

"Articles to be inquired of for the Cathedrall Church in the Visitacion of the Right Reverend Father in god John Lo. Bpp. of Worcester Anno domini 1636."

Requisition by Henry VIII. to Hugh [Latimer] bishop of Worcester for an account of the revenues of the churches in the diocese, 20 February, an. 28 [1536–7].

The Return, under Deaneries, follows; and a table of procurations.

f. 29. The "Liber Canonum Ecclesiæ Cathedralis Wigorn'," torn and damaged.

f. 47. Articles of visitation of the diocese and cathedral church by bp. Freake, 1589, in fragments.

f. 59. "Detecta in visitacione Ecclesie Cathedralis Wigorn." by bp. Whitgift, 1580.

f. 107. "A rate of the arms and military furn[iture] assessed upon "the Clergie within the Co[untie] and Dioces of Worc'," by bp. Henry Parry, 1615. The same list has been used for a return about fourteen years later, and some of the names and specifications changed. The arms are almost entirely corslets, muskets, and calivers, furnished.

XV. A volume containing the depositions in the matter of charges alleged against the late dean and the present prebendaries of the church for mismanagement of the capitular estates. 1587.

XVI. A treatise of the bishoprick and Church of Worcester, a thin volume in small folio, ending with the dissolution of the priory. A note on the fly-leaf asks, "Was this written by Dean Hickes (obit 1715)? or Browne Willis?" It is believed to be Habingdon's. The volume was deposited in the muniment room in 1822.


  • 1. The only printed list of these volumes approaching completeness is that given by T. Nash, Collections for the History of Worcestershire, vol. ii., App. p. xciv. (1782). A description of some of them will be found in J. Noake's Monastery and Cathedral of Worcester, intr. pp. xxv–xxx (1866).
  • 2. The first fasciculus of this edition has been issued since this report was in type.
  • 3. Survey of the Cathedral Church of Worcester (1736).
  • 4. History and Antiquities of the City and Suburbs of Worcester (1796).
  • 5. Archæologia, vol. viii. (1787) p. 440.
  • 6. Registrum sive Liber irrotulatorius et consuetudinarius Prioratus beatæ Mariæ Wigorniensis (1865).
  • 7. It should be noticed that the words "Explicit Registrum" on p. 174 of Hale's edition have been silently inserted and have nothing corresponding to them in the original.
  • 8. Auc' written Au[symbol], but the person is probably the Robert de Auco who is mentioned as holding the prebend of St. Pancras in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1145 and 1450 (Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic. ii. 423, ed. Hardy), and who was living in or after 1181 (9th Rep. of Hist. MSS. Comm., p. 68a, where he appears in company with dean Ralph de Diceto)
  • 9. Le Neve, i. 414.
  • 10. Printed by Thomas, append. 43, p. 26.
  • 11. Sic.
  • 12. Printed by Nash, ii. 436.
  • 13. Cf. 1st Ledger, f. 13b.
  • 14. Wiener Studien, viii. (1888), 166–168. I am indebted for this reference to the kindness of Mr. W. M. Lindsay, M. A., Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.
  • 15. MS. incontinenti.
  • 16. In marg.: "li° 3°."
  • 17. In marg.: "li° 3°."
  • 18. Sic: not "communitatibus."
  • 19. MS. nossitur.
  • 20. Franc'.
  • 21. Cf. Nash ii. 309. Another copy of this document is in the 1st Ledger, f. xxi.
  • 22. MS. Balyffe, in the singular throughout. I correct from the 1st Ledger.
  • 23. So 1st Ledger: MS. Seyntuary.
  • 24. Churchehay in 1st Ledger.
  • 25. Sic.
  • 26. So 1st Ledger: MS. and.
  • 27. "And" omitted in the MS., but so in 1st Ledger, f. xxi.
  • 28. "Of" written twice, in error.
  • 29. The 1st Ledger has provc.
  • 30. Throgmorton, 1st ledger.
  • 31. In 1st ledger the document proceeds: "With mony other yeven at Worcettur the xx day of January the yere [of the] Reigne of Kyng Edward the fourth after the conquest the Fyrste."
  • 32. Of this there is a copy in the book marked + (No. xii, below) f. 57.
  • 33. MS. inter archiv. episcop., p. ii. See below, p. 205.
  • 34. "Particulatim": MS. -lat'im.
  • 35. See Reg. sede vac. f. ccxxix.
  • 36. MS. solennennis.
  • 37. Printed by Thomas, p. 125, and (in an inspeximus) by Wilkins, Conc. iii. 201.
  • 38. Green, i. 220 (where misdated 1363): cf. vol. ii. append. p. xxxi, Dugdale (ed. 1817) i. 619a, Wilkins, iii. 202.
  • 39. See Reg. Wakefield, ff. 93b, 94.
  • 40. Presbiteris, a mistake for pontificatus.
  • 41. MS. quam de pluribus.
  • 42. Scilicet: MS. sc.
  • 43. Corrected from yowyr.
  • 44. Partly erased.
  • 45. Corrected from yowir.
  • 46. The end of this word, about six letters in length, is erased. I supply the termination from another copy in the book marked + (infra No. xii) f. 50.
  • 47. Nash open this series with a Third Register, extending from 13 March 1535 to 10 January 1539; but a glance at the foregoing notice of the Third Ledger given by him will show that he is by accident describing the same volume again under a different name.
  • 48. How entirely the arrangements had changed and the whole Worcester tradition disappeared by the seventeenth century,—and this too in buildings which not long after became the home of a revived college bearing the name itself of Worcester,— may be seen from Anthony Wood's City of Oxford (ed. A. Clark), ii. 252–255, Oxford 1890.
  • 49. MS. scolaciū.
  • 50. MS. warantizabant.
  • 51. MS. predicti.
  • 52. The word is written unmca; but the book referred to is no doubt Zwingli's "Christianæ Fidei brevis et clara Expositio."