Records of Kendale: Valores ecclesiastici

Pages 33-34

Records Relating To the Barony of Kendale: Volume 3. Originally published by Titus Wilson and Son, Kendal, 1926.

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Pope Innocent IV, to whose predecessors in the See of Rome the First Fruits and Tenths of all Ecclesiastical Benefices had for a long time been paid, gave the same in 1253 to king Henry III for three years. This occasioned a valuation to be made in the following year, sometimes called Pope Innocent's Valor, sometimes the Vetus Valor, and sometimes the Norwich Taxation from the circumstance of its having been executed principally by the Bishop of Norwich. A second valuation was made at the instigation of Pope Nicholas IV, when, in 1288, he granted to Edward 1 all the Tenths of the Benefices for a period of six years. It was a grant towards defraying the expense of an expedition to the Holy Land, and, in order that the tithe might be collected to the full value, a survey known as the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" was made of all Ecclesiastical possessions. At the time of these Valors there were seven churches in the Barony, viz:—Kyrkeby-in-Kendale, Gressemere, Wynandermer, Everesham, Betham, Burton and Kyrkeby Lounesdale.

Excepting in respect to a certain number of Benefices that lay adjacent to the Border, which were considerably relieved by Pope Clement V in 1318 (see vol. ii, p. 2) and called the "Novo Taxatio," the "Antique" formed the basis of the Papal Taxation for nearly 250 years.

But during this long period great changes took place. As the spiritual power of the great monastic institutions declined, a very robust and personal religion animated the people to build private chantries and other foundations in almost every parish church. And with this personal enthusiasm there also grew up a disposition to doubt the validity of the Pope's title to supremacy and to question the political expediency of allowing the Church of Rome to encroach, as it was increasingly doing, upon the ancient freedom and property of the English Church. Therefore when the yoke was finally thrown off, 1533, a new Survey became necessary.

Parliament began a new session on 3rd November, 1534, the Commission to make the Survey was issued on 30th January, 1535, and the returns had to be made to the Exchequer by the Octaves of the Holy Trinity.

In the 14th item of Instructions to the Commissioners it is ordained that they "serche and know the nombre and names of ev[er]y p[ar]sonage vicarige chauntrie as well mortized as other and frechapell within ev[er]y denry . . . . . And the true and entire yerely value of all the londs ten[an]ts glebes demeanes rentts possessions tithes offerings porc[i]ons pensions and all other p[ro]fetts as well sp[irit]uall as temporall belongyng to ev[er]y suche p[ar]sonage . . . . . . And the true c[er]tentie of the annuell and p[er]petuall rentts pensions and synods and p[er?]xis paide and yerely goyng oute of suche p[ar]sonages vicara[g]es chauntries and frechapells and to whome suche rentts pe[n]sions synods and p[er?]xis bene yerly payde."

It will be seen then that this Valuation is pre-eminent amongst Ecclesiastical Records as it is an estimate of the entire ecclesiastical establishment and made on the very eve of the Reformation. As in Domesday Boke we are presented with a view of the feudal distributions of England as they were settled at the Conquest, so here we have the ecclesiastical distributions as they existed and had existed with scarcely any alteration from the close of the reign of Henry I.

The Valor at once shows to us that there were only seven Churches in Kendale before the Reformation, viz:—Kirkeby Kendall, Grysmer, Wyndeandermer, Evershame, Bethome, Burton and Kirk Lounsdalle, Further that there was a Hospital for Lepers near Kendall, a Free Chapel at Windermere and a Chantry under the Chapel of St. Leonard's at Kirkby Lonsdale. In order, however, to bring each Decanatus up to ten churches the Rural Deanery of Kendall at this time embraced the churches of7 Warton with a chantry, 8Bolton, 9Halton and 10Heisham. So too the Rural Deanery of Kirkby Lounsdall embraced,1 Sedberghe "et Scola Gram.",2 Kirk Lounsdalle" et Cant.,"3 Whittington,4 Tunstall "et 2 Cant.,"5 Mellyng,6 Tatham,7 Claughton, 8 Bentham,9 Claypham, and10 Thornton. And, although not strictly within the sphere ofthese Records, it is interesting to note that the neighbouring Decanatus de Furnes et Cartmell embraced 1Cartmel Priory,2 Hawkeshed,3 Ulverston, 4Penyngton, 5Conyngeshed Priory, 6Urswick, 7Aldyngham, 8Furnes Abbey, 9Dalton and 10Kirkeby Yerlethe.