The fourteenth century: Prior John de Carleton

The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 1. Originally published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1921.

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E A Webb, 'The fourteenth century: Prior John de Carleton', The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 1, (Oxford, 1921), pp. 165-167. British History Online [accessed 15 June 2024].

E A Webb. "The fourteenth century: Prior John de Carleton", in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 1, (Oxford, 1921) 165-167. British History Online, accessed June 15, 2024,

Webb, E A. "The fourteenth century: Prior John de Carleton", The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 1, (Oxford, 1921). 165-167. British History Online. Web. 15 June 2024,



The election, after the cession of Prior Edmund, resulted in the choice of Brother John de Carleton, who, like his predecessor, was a canon of the house. The king signified to 'Michael the elect and confirmed Bishop of London' (fn. 1) the royal assent to the election on the 20th April, 1355; (fn. 2) and two days later issued a mandate to the mayor 'to deliver the temporalities to John de Carleton who had done fealty to the king'. (fn. 3)

Immediately on the cession of Prior Edmund, the escheators of the various counties in which the priory had possessions seem to have again taken possession, but on the same day that licence was granted to elect (April 18th) the king issued letters close (fn. 4) to the escheators to remove the king's hand in accordance with the decisions (already described) by the king himself in the year 1350 and by Edward I in 1299.

This John de Carleton, while a canon of the house, had in the year 1352 (as was shown in the chapter dealing with the monastery) (fn. 5) been granted indulgence, owing to the Black Death, to choose a confessor who should give him plenary remission at the hour of death. It is more than probable that he himself succumbed to this plague, for he died in the year 1361, when there was a fresh and virulent outbreak. (fn. 6)

But few records of the doings of this man during the six years of his priorate have been found.

In the year 1355, ten days after his appointment, the king again granted licence, as he had already done in the year 1337, for the prior and convent to acquire in mortmain land and rent, not held in chief, to the value of £20 yearly. (fn. 7) Under this licence, in the year 1359, after inquisition held at 'West Smythefeld', on the 9th May, 1358, (fn. 8) and another held at Little Perndon, Essex, on the 29th January, 1359, (fn. 9) and a third in Benyngton, Hertfordshire, on the 18th January, by which it was in each case found that there would be no damage to the king, the prior and convent acquired the following properties: (fn. 10)

From Hugh de la More of Carleton, chaplain, 1 messuage, 150 acres, and 11s. 4d. rent in Hendon, and 1 messuage and 168 acres in 'Great Stanmere', Middlesex.

From John de Affebrigg, 20 acres of land in 'Great Stanmere'.

From Master Roger de Kempele—on March 6th of the same year—the tenant's interest in a messuage and one acre of meadow in 'Shortegrave' in the parish of Newport and 'Lanelegh' next Clavering, Essex; and 19½ acres in 'Tewyngg', Herts.

From Master Richard de Shamelesford, clerk, a messuage, a toft (fn. 11) and 91 acres and a lane called Pakeswey, and 2s. 6d. rent in Theydon Bois and Theydon Gernon, Essex.

From Robert de Thorp a messuage, 60 acres of land, and 7s. rent in 'Tewyngg', which, in addition to the rents, was worth £3 14s. 1d.

In the year 1357 it is recorded (fn. 12) that John de Burstall, citizen and vintner, and his wife Cecily, gave the prior and convent the sum of £200 (for which they gave their bond). (fn. 13) In return for this the prior and convent granted to John and Cecily a quit rent or pension of £12 a year for their lives, and to John a furred robe of the suit of their esquires (or 20s. in lieu) to be delivered yearly at Easter. Also a plot of land within the gates of the monastery, measuring 40 ft. by 24 ft., upon which they might build a house to dwell in, but which they might not demise without licence.

A further record of this prior is contained in an agreement which he, with the convent, entered into with Benedict de Fulham. The deed was sealed in the chapter-house on the 6th March, 34 Edward III (1360), and is now amongst the MSS. in St. Paul's Library. (fn. 14) By it Benedict de Fulham agreed that he was liable to pay rent to the prior and convent (who had power to distrain) for houses in the parishes of St. Augustine's the Little and of St. Antony's, which Idonea, daughter of Andrew Blund, granted to Prior Peter in the year 1251 (as previously mentioned). (fn. 15)

We have already referred to the fact that Pope Innocent VI issued a mandate to this prior in the year 1355 in reference to a priest of the hospital who was an apostate. (fn. 16)

Letters Conservatory for the bishop and clergy of London were addressed to Prior John in conjunction with the Abbot of Westminster and the Archdeacon of London, commanding them to enforce the decretal of Boniface VIII Super Cathedram. (fn. 17)

The last record of him is dated two months before his death, when an inquisition (fn. 18) was held to inquire whether there would be any damage to the king to allow (fn. 19) a grant to be made to the priory of the manor of 'Great Stanmere'; but the prior died before the licence was granted on the 16th January following. (fn. 20)

His death probably occurred on the 14th May (1361), for the Memoranda Rolls record that on the 15th of that month the revenues of the priory were entrusted to the sub-prior (fn. 21) and convent, and licence to elect his successor was granted on May 16th. (fn. 22)

Stow, writing in 1598, mentions among the monuments in the church that of a John Carleton. If this refers to our prior, it may be one of the stone coffins in the stone screen in the north transept.


  • 1. Michael de Northbury elected but not then approved by the pope.
  • 2. Cal. Pat., 29 Edw. III, 20 Apr.
  • 3. Ib., 22 Apr.
  • 4. Cal. Close, 29 Edw. III, 18 Apr. (1355).
  • 5. See above, p. 16.
  • 6. There was a John de Carleton, prebendary of Totenhall, St. Paul's, in the year 1349; this is probably not our prior, but the cleric of the same name who, in 1365, was Archdeacon of Suffolk, in 1378 was Sub-Dean of Lincoln, in 1385 was Prebendary of Bromesbury, in 1387–98 was Archdeacon of Colchester, and in 1399 was Vicar-General of Norwich.
  • 7. Cal. Pat., 29 Edw. III, 30 Apr.
  • 8. Chanc. Inq., a. q. d., Ser. I, File 329, No. 12.
  • 9. Ib., I, File 329, No. 1.
  • 10. Ib., I, File 333, No. 15; Pat., 33 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 16(1359).
  • 11. A homestead.
  • 12. Cal. Close, 30 Edw. III, dated 'in the Chapter House', 20 Jan.
  • 13. Ib., 24 Jan.
  • 14. MSS. St. Paul's, A, Box 2, No. 585.
  • 15. See above, p. 120.
  • 16. See above, p. 16.
  • 17. Cal. Pap. Reg., 583.
  • 18. Chanc. Inq., a. q. d., Ser. I, File 340 d, No. 9.
  • 19. Later, p. 347.
  • 20. Pat., 35 Edw. III, pt. 3, m. 5 (1362); also Cal. Pat. 141.
  • 21. Mem. R. L.T.R., 37 Edw. III, Mich., R. 23, m. 41.
  • 22. Cal. Pat. 21, 35 Edw. III, 16 May (1361).