Records and Authorities: Manuscripts

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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'Records and Authorities: Manuscripts', in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 1, (Oxford, 1921) pp. xxiii-xliv. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]

In this section


Manuscript Records

Important records of St. Bartholomew's Priory are unfortunately but few. No register, ledger book, or cartulary seems to have survived the suppression of the monastery. It is probable that any such book or books were sold by public auction for some paltry sum in accordance with the rule followed in realizing the effects of the other suppressed houses. There is usually an inventory of such sales to be found among the augmentation papers at the Record Office, but there is none in the case of St. Bartholomew's; there is, therefore, no record of what books existed. There must have been a book in which the charters, papal letters, and other important records were entered, as there was at the hospital, whose fine cartulary is fortunately still in the hands of the governors; but unless it is hidden away in some unexplored library, that of the priory must have fallen into as evil hands as did the cartulary (fn. 1) of another of London's Augustinian priories, St. Mary Overy (now St. Saviour's, Southwark). All that remains of that volume are four leaves recovered from the head of a child's drum made in Exeter.

The cartulary (fn. 2) and two registers (fn. 3) of the Augustinian Abbey of Waltham survived and are now in the British Museum; and the cartulary of the Augustinian priory of Holy Trinity, Aldgate is in the Glasgow Library. (fn. 4) Failing a cartulary it is necessary to turn to the earliest records extant. First, to the Book of the Foundation, now in the British Museum, which gives a full account of the founder, of the founding, and of the founder's successor, Prior Thomas, down to about the year 1180; then to the cartulary of the hospital where there are transcripts of the papal letters of the twelfth century, episcopal ordinances, and other valuable records which concerned the priory as well as the hospital.

Preserved among the MSS. in the library of St. Paul's are original copies of the ordinances and other valuable matter. In the episcopal registers at St. Paul's are transcripts of ordinances, of injunctions, of citations to convocation and such-like.

Of great importance is the Rent Roll in the Bodleian Library, which gives very full particulars of all the possessions of the monastery. As this roll has never been published it is here printed in Appendix I. (fn. 5) The wills at Somerset House and elsewhere yield much authentic information.

In the Public Record Office are copies of the earliest Royal Charters. In the Patent Rolls are recorded the names and dates of election of most of the priors. The Close Rolls, Memoranda Rolls, and many other series of rolls in the Public Record Office, each yields its quota of history which would probably have been entered in the lost cartulary. Published MSS., such as the Chronicles and Memorials in the Rolls series and other chronicles, all give scraps of useful information. The calendars of Papal Registers now published have proved to be very valuable. The more important MS. records are described below, grouped according to the places where they are preserved (with the exception of the Book of the Foundation, which is placed first because of its importance).

The Book of the Foundation, the Liber Fundacionis Ecclesie Sancti Bartholomei Londoniarum, is in the Cottonian collection in the British Museum (numbered Vespasian B. IX). It is in a fine condition in a modern binding; it measures 10¼ in. by 71/8 in., and consists of 86 leaves. The text is in Latin with a translation in Middle English of about the time of Chaucer. The Latin version is a transcript from an earlier copy which no longer exists. The transcript was probably made at the same time as the English translation (pl. I), at the instance of Roger Walden when he was in retirement during the years 1400–1404. It is to his initiative we also attribute the erection of Rahere's monument and the great restoration of the church at that time, for Roger Walden and his brother John were then living within the monastic close.

The original Latin version was written, as we learn from the MS., by one of the canons of the monastery, and finished by him after the death of Prior Thomas (Rahere's successor), which occurred in 1174. As no mention is made of the next prior we assume the book was completed soon after that date.

The evidence as regards the date of the Latin and English versions has been fully set out by Sir Norman Moore in his introduction to the Middle English translation which he published for the benefit of the restoration fund in 1886.

The book is divided into two parts: Book I consists of twenty-nine chapters, eleven of which describe Rahere's conversion and his founding of the priory and hospital. These chapters have been printed in extenso in Latin in Caley and Ellis's edition of Dugdale's Monasticon. The remaining eighteen chapters each recount some miraculous occurrence in connexion with the priory during Rahere's lifetime.

Book II commences with two prologues which give a further account of Rahere's life after conversion, and of his death; also an account of Rahere's successor, Prior Thomas, and of the latter's death. Then follow twenty-eight chapters, each recounting a miraculous event of some kind which had occurred since Rahere's time, and, being in the time of the composer of the book, are written at greater length than the others. It is evident that the book belonged to the priory, because on the title-page is written, in the same character as the book, pertinens prioratui eiusdem in Westesmythfelde. At the suppression it is probable that the book was sold by auction with the rest of the library and the furniture of the monastery. At the end of the book occurs, 'Iste liber pertinet ad Thomam Otwell de London', who may have been the original purchaser. Lower down is written 'Thomas Powell stacioner', and on a blank leaf, 83 b, occurs, 'Mistress Otwell I bid you farewell for you do well and in bewtie beareth the Bell'. On the title-page is the signature of Sir Richard Saint George, who was Norroy King of Arms in 1603, and who died in 1635; and on the first page occurs the name of Thomas Cotton, who on the death of his father, Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, in 1631, obtained possession of his father's library. In 1702 this book, with the rest of Cotton's library, was transferred to the nation; but in 1731, whilst the collection was at Ashburnham House, the book was nearly lost in the fire which occurred there that year; after which it was, with the rest of the books, lodged in Westminster School, and moved finally to the British Museum in 1753.

It has been suggested that the book may have emanated from the imagination of Dr. Stone—a great legend writer who flourished about the year 1380—but there is too much circumstantial evidence throughout the book of the intimate acquaintance of the writer with the building and the monastery to permit of credence being given to the suggestion. The author of the book says that what he wrote was the testimony of those who had seen Rahere, had taken part in his work, and had conversed with him, and there is no evidence whatever to throw doubt upon this statement.

(An English translation of the Latin version has been made for use in this book by Mr. Humphrey H. King and Mr. William Barnard, as mentioned in the preface.)

The Rent Roll at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Middlesex Roll I), is the record next in importance to the Book of the Foundation. It is printed in extenso in Appendix I in the original Latin, and is quoted from fully in the chapter on the Possessions (fn. 6) of the monastery The first paragraph translated reads:
'In this roll are contained the areas of the lands and the services of all the tenants belonging to the priory of Saint Bartholomew, London. By Roger de Luda, (fn. 7) dated on the feast of Easter, the thirty-fourth year of the reign of King Edward the son of King Henry, (fn. 8) under Brother John of Kensington, then prior there.'

The possessions are entered under counties in the following order: Suffolk, Essex, Bucks, Bedford, Middlesex, Herts, and London. The roll consists of sixteen large and one small membrane. It is 38 ft. in length and 12 in. wide, and is in a good state of preservation. The first membrane is inscribed in a large clear hand, the others in a smaller and inferior style. The initials are in red and blue; the paragraph marks and underlinings are in red. From the style of the handwriting the roll would seem to be a transcript made in the time of Henry VII from Roger de Luda's Roll of 1306. W. H. Turner's Calendar of Charters and Rolls preserved in the Bodleian, gives a full list of the places mentioned in the roll with the exception of Blythburg.

The Cartulary of St. Bartholomew's Hospital is still in the possession of the governors of the hospital. It is in its original binding, protected by a great leather flap which projects 10 in. beyond the cover. The book measures 15½ in. long, 10½ in. wide, and 6¾ in. thick, and contains 636 leaves of vellum.

John Stow, writing of the hospital in his survey, says: (fn. 9)
'Sir John Wakering, priest, master of this house in the year 1463, among other books, gave to their common library the fairest Bible that I have seen, written in large vellum by a brother of that house named John Coke, at the age of sixty eight years, when he had been priest forty-three years. Since the spoil of that library, I have seen this book in the custody of my worshipful friend Master Walter Cope.'

The cartulary was commenced in the year 1456. An entry on folio 83 in the year 1466, reads, 'scriptum per ffratrem Iohannem Cok cum tremulenta manu in vesperi vite sue'. We therefore incline to the opinion that the 'fairest Bible' to which Stow refers may have been this magnificent cartulary, (fn. 10) for the old man could hardly have had on hand at the same time the writing of what we know as a Bible and of this great volume.

This Walter Cope was knighted in the year 1603. His daughter and heiress, Isabel Cope, married Sir Henry Rich, afterwards created Earl of Holland, who was the owner of St. Bartholomew's. The volume would therefore have come into the possession of the Earl of Holland through Isabel Cope, and he or his descendants may have returned it to the hospital.

In the absence of a cartulary of the priory, this one of the hospital is very useful in elucidating the early history of both foundations and their mutual relations.

The principal entries in the volume which concern the priory are given below; many entries have reference to the hospital only, and these have already been fully dealt with by Sir Norman Moore in his great work. The entries in the volume do not follow in strict chronological order; John Cok was no stronger in chronological sequence than Jocelin of Brakelond and others in the Middle Ages, and he was very weak in the matter of regnal years.

It is interesting that the original deeds copied by Cok should have survived the suppression by Henry VIII, and that they should still be in the possession of the hospital; and that even the Bull of Pope Alexander III (cir. 1173) should have escaped the surrender of papal documents. (fn. 11) As there is no mention of the grant of privileges of Anastasius IV in 1153 nor of that by Adrian IV as referred to in the Book of the Foundation, it is probable that those deeds had reference to the priory only.

In the year 1905, Mr. J. A. Twemlow was good enough to have a careful search made in the Vatican archives for bulls concerning the priory or hospital by any of these three early popes, but without success. There were found among Carampe's Rubricullae (which are copies of brief analyses of letters which formerly served as Indices to the volumes of the Registers) a confirmation of privileges granted to the hospital by Lucius III and Alexander III, but further search showed that 'Alexander III' was a mistake for Alexander IV. The Lateran Regesta at the Vatican were not commenced until 1198.

The omissions in the cartulary are rather remarkable: The important ordinance of Bishop Richard de Ely, made in the year 1197 or 1198, is omitted, though one of the original copies is still at St. Paul's. There is no entry of the injunctions made for the hospital by Bishop Gilbert de Seagrave in 1316 and recited by Bishop Richard de Newport in 1318: nor of the confirmation of the restitution of Simon Douglas, Master of the hospital, by Bishop Stephen de Gravesend in 1322, though all three are entered in the episcopal registers at St. Paul's. The names of the masters presented by the priors are entered in the cartulary but rather inaccurately.

The principal items which concern the priory in the hospital cartulary are as follows:

1133. The charter of King Henry I (f. 39).
1137. Rahere's grant of St. Sepulchre's church to Hagno (f. 46). (fn. 12)
1147. Prior Thomas's charter appointing Adam the mercer as Master of the hospital and concerning its further management (f. 46).
1162–70. The charter of St. Thomas (Becket) of Canterbury whereby he takes the church and canons into his protection and confirms to them their site and other possessions (f. 39 d).
1173–7. A bull of Pope Alexander III whereby he takes the hospital under his protection (f. 47). (fn. 12)
1184 (cir.). A bull of Pope Lucius III whereby he grants to the hospital permission to admit brethren to the order if necessary without the consent of the canons, to move their chapel, and to have their cemetery consecrated (f. 47).
1185 (cir.). A bull of Pope Lucius III addressed to the Abbot of Boxley directing him to suspend the prior for not reporting an appeal against his authority to excommunicate (f. 48).
1192. A confirmation by Pope Celestinus of the bull of Pope Lucius and giving further orders as regards funerals (f. 49). There are other bulls from this Pope concerning the hospital dated 1191 (ff. 48 d, 49).
1206. A grant by Richard the prior of a tenement to the hospital (f. 37 d).
1210–12. The consent of the Bishop of London (William of St. Mary Church) to the citizens using part of the hospital site as a burial ground during the great interdict which lasted from 1208–14 (f. 52 d).
1217. Confirmation by Pope Honorius of the bull of Lucius III (f. 50). (There are two other bulls from this pope in the years 1220 and 1225 (f. 50 d).)
1224. The ordinance of Bishop Eustace de Fauconbridge to allay the controversy between the priory and the hospital.
1373. The ordinance of Bishop Simon of Sudbury with the same object (ff. 55, 56).
1412–13. Writs of prohibition to the Archbishop and to the sheriffs of London concerning a matter considered to be wrongly brought before the ecclesiastical courts. A repetition of the declaration of the prior and a writ from the king to distrain on the prior (ff. 56 d, 57).
1419. An exemplification by Henry V of the charters of Henry I.
1420. A final ordinance by Bishop Richard Clifford to end the controversy between the priory and the hospital (f. 57 d).
1425. A confirmation of the ordinances of Bishops Eustace, Simon and Richard Clifford by Pope Martin V (f. 58).
1432. An agreement between the priory and the hospital concerning the water supply from Canonbury (f. 84 d).
1433. Letters Patent concerning the same (f. 85).
1439. An inspeximus by Henry VI of a charter of Richard II (ff. 81–3).
1453. A recital by Pope Nicholas V of the confirmation of ordinances by Martin V (ff. 64–6), and recital by the same of the bulls of Popes Lucius III and Alexander IV (ff. 66 d–67 d).
1123–1466. The names of masters of the hospital (32 names) (ff. 62, 63).


Lord Holland's Cartulary: Tanner in his Notitia Monastica says that 'a cartulary of this priory was formerly in the possession of Dr. Rawlinson', A.D. 1690–1755. This was the Dr. Rawlinson who filled London House (partly in St. Bartholomew's parish) from ground floor to attic with his books. He left his manuscripts, some 5,700, to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and the other books were sold at three auctions, lasting 68 days, in the years 1756 and 1757; but it is certain that there is no original cartulary in the Bodleian Library now. There is, however, among the Additional MSS. (fn. 13) at the British Museum a MS. book labelled Cartularium Prioratus S. Bartholomaei de Smithfeild, which is not a monastic cartulary but one made for Lord Henry Holland in the seventeenth century, and may be the one Tanner refers to, though not now at the Bodleian. It is described on the title-page as 'A Collection of severall Letters Patentes Charters Grants Judgments Records Deeds and Evidences concerning The late dissolved Priory of Saint Bartholomew the Great, commonly called Bartholomew Close near West Smithfield in the suburbs of London Whereby The Boundaries and privileges of the same place and Parish and the title of Robert now Earle of Holland and his Ancestors thereunto doth appeare'. It has the book-plate of Sir Thomas Phillipps, and a note saying it was purchased at the Phillipps sale, lot 594, on March 23, 1895. Mr. T. Fitzroy Fenwick, the grandson of Sir Thomas Phillipps, says that the book was bought of George Lackington, bookseller, between the years 1819 and 1830; and he thinks it is quite probable that this is the cartulary to which Tanner refers. There is still in the Rawlinson collection at the Bodleian (c. 182) (fn. 14) a book of 'Precedents collected by Edward Edkins' which contains transcripts of nine out of the seventeen deeds contained in Lord Holland's cartulary; but this cannot be the cartulary referred to.

In the year 1612 Robert Lord Rich granted the advowson of St. Bartholomew's and his property in the parish to his second son Sir Henry Rich by way of settlement on his marriage with Isabel Cope, the heiress of Sir Walter Cope of Cope Castle (now Holland House), Kensington.

The Fine made on that occasion was, it is stated in the book, examined in the year 1663. The Earl of Holland died in 1675, but as he succeeded to the Earldom of Warwick in 1673, and nothing is said on the title-page of his then being Earl of Warwick, the book in the Museum was probably compiled between the years 1663 and 1673.

It is of vellum and contains 182 leaves. Up to folio 168 the writing is in one hand, but the remainder is in another. Folio 56 has been cut out; it evidently contained the latter portion of Henry VI's Letter Patent. (fn. 15) The documents transcribed in the book are as follows:


A quo warranto concerning the liberties of the prior. 14 Edw. II.
Protection for those coming to the Fair. Pat. 38 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 1.
An indenture between the corporation and the prior concerning the Fair. Pat. 32 Hy. VI.
A confirmation of privileges and liberties. Pat. 2 Hy. VI, pt. 1, m. 4–1.
The like. Pat. 5 Ed. IV, pt. 3, m. 15 d.
Bounds of the close and Rents paid by the tenants. Partics. for grants no. 927.
Grant of close, advowson and fair to Rich. Pat. 36 Hy. VIII, pt. 12, m. 1.
Grant of the church etc. by Rich to Mary. Close 2, 3 P. & M.
A regrant by Elizabeth to Rich. Pat. 2 Eliz., pt. 4, m. 17.
An agreement between Rich and the corporation concerning the water. Pat. 3 Eliz.
An exemplification of a judgment concerning a discharge from fifteenths. Pat. 4 Eliz.
An exemplification of enrolment of the charter 5 Hen. VII. Pat. 25 Eliz.
An inspeximus concerning grant of houses for glebe. Pat. 25 Eliz.
Part of charter of the city concerning the close being subject to the government of the city. Pat. 6 Jas. I.
Conveyance from Robert Lord Rich to Sir Henry Rich on marriage with Isabel Cope. Pat. 10 Jas. I
A Fine thereupon. Pat. 10 Jas. I
Concerning 26/8 claimed by the King as given to an obit. Excheq. Pleas, 10 Car. I.

Other Manuscripts

In the Additional MSS., besides Lord Holland's Cartulary alluded to above, there is a 'Return of Benefices in the see of London in the year 1420' (No. 35,096), which gives the names of five stipendiary chaplains in the priory at that time, probably those of the parish priest and of four chantry priests. Other items among these MSS. are of only minor importance.

Among the Cottonian MSS. is a small volume (Vespasian D. I) (73/8 in. by 5¼ in.) which is in effect the Minute Book of 'The General and Provincial Chapters of the Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine in the Province of Canterbury, held in Various Places from the year 1325–1404'. But in the margin of one page is inserted the year (cir.) 1518, (fn. 16) and the entry evidently refers to Bolton, the prior at that time.

The Arundel MSS. give the Grant of Arms to Prior Bolton in the Year 1530 (No. 26).

In the Additional Charters is a conveyance (No. 38,861) with warranty against Richard Pultor, who was prior here from 1471 to 1480, and a bill indented (No. 1992) whereby Sir Edward North, Treasurer of the Augmentations, acknowledges receipt of part payment on account of the Manors of Holmes and Shenley, late possessions of the priory, and there is another acknowledgement of the balance in the year 1543.

In the Egerton MSS. (No. 2849) is the Obituary Roll of Hedingham priory A.D. 1191, in item 20 of which the 'Title of the church of St. Bartholomew London' occurs. Another copy at Hedingham Castle is reported by the Historical MSS. Commission.

Among the Harleian MSS., No. 60 has a list of the spiritualities and temporalities of the priory about the year 1291, but it is only a copy of the Taxatio Ecclesiastica.

No. 431, art. 108 is the Letter of John Prophete describing the funeral of Bishop Roger Walden at St. Paul's, with a eulogy upon him.

No. 3881, art. 15 is a lease for 60 years by Prior Reginald Collier, in the year 1463, of a house and ground in the parish of St. Benet, Paul's Wharf.

No. 2099, art. 19 and 20 give copies of the foundation of the Free Grammar School at Witton near Northwich by the first rector, Sir John Deane, and copies of the statutes of the same (1558).

The Harleian Charter, No. 83 A. 43, is the appointment of John and Thomas Burgoyne as auditors of the accounts of the collectors of the rents of the convent, with a fine impression of the priory seal attached.

There are among the Lansdowne MSS. two letters of the year 1563 (No. 6, art. 55–6) from Bishop Grindal to Sir William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's secretary, asking that the lead of the roof of the church should be given to St. Paul's, and that the old frater of the convent should serve as the parish church in its place.

The Sloane MS. No. 326 is a verbatim record of the speeches of Sir Walter Mildmay in Parliament and the Star Chamber, 1575–87.

The Sloane MS. No. 856, f. 6d. is a record of the appointment of Thomas Roycroft to be printer to King Charles II in the year 1669. His memorial tablet is in the church.

There are two other books in the British Museum which probably formed part of the library of the monastery at the time of the suppression, for which reason they may be referred to here, though they throw no light on the history of the priory.

One of these, among the Royal MSS. (Cleopatra 10 E. IV), is a remarkably fine folio copy of the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX, that is to say, the first volume of Papal decrees compiled by the order of Pope Gregory IX about the year 1231; one of the three volumes of the decretals which formed the books of the Canon Law. It measures 177/8 in. by 11 in. On the right-hand top corner of the second blank folio at the beginning is written, 'Liber Domus Sancti Bartholomaei in Smythfelde, No. 1059'. It is thought by some at the present time that the book belonged to the hospital because of the use of the word 'Domus', but that word is constantly also applied to the priory. To give one instance out of many: in the Close Rolls, 5 Henry VI (1437), on the dorse of membrane 5, which has no reference to the hospital, there twice occurs the expression 'Domus et ecclesiae Sancti Bartholomei'. Malcolm describes the book fully, and also attributes it to the library of the priory.

It is exceedingly well and richly illuminated, and there are on every page grotesque illustrations of fables and of the life and costume of the time. A portion of one page of the illustrations is given by Malcolm (fn. 17) and also by Henry Morley in his memoirs of Bartholomew Fair. (fn. 18)

The other MS. is a volume of sermons of Prior John Repingdon prior of St. Bartholomew's from 1391 to 1404. It is numbered 400 among the Lansdowne MSS. and is fully described in a later chapter. (fn. 19)

MSS. at Oxford

In the Bodleian Library, in addition to the rent roll, there is among the Charter Rolls, No. 75, a document showing that the prior, in the year 1362, was the collector of the tenths granted to the pope.

Among the Tanner MSS. both Tanner and Dugdale say there is a book of precedents marked B, 'Injunctions on the visitation of the priory by Walter Shirington, the custodian of the spiritualities whilst the episcopal see of London was vacant in 1439'. An exhaustive search through every MS. in the catalogue and through the original MSS. of Tanner's Notitia has failed to discover this volume. Many pages in the books of legal documents are quite illegible from having fallen into the water on their journey from Norwich to Oxford, and the injunctions may be on some of these pages. But as the Ordinance of Bishop Robert Fitzhugh (May 1, 1433), regulating the finances of the priory, was ordered to be carried out under the supervision of Walter Shirington; as the see of London was not vacant in 1439 but in 1436; as there is no mention of these Injunctions in the Episcopal Registers, and as an entry in the register of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's (W.D. 13, f. 156 d and 157) dated February 14, 1435–6, states that Master David Pryce, a prebendary of St. Paul's, was the guardian of the spiritualities of the bishopric during the vacancy (which lasted from January 15 to October 28 in that year), the lawyer who made the book of precedents purchased by Tanner probably meant to refer to the ordinance of the bishop and not to the injunctions of Walter Shirington.

No. 78 (f. 16) in these MSS. is a verbatim report of the speech of Sir Walter Mildmay in Parliament against Mary Queen of Scots, November 3, 1586.

In the Ashmolean MSS. at Oxford, Nos. 1479 (17) and 1483 (4) record the translation into Latin of the Book of Mercuries or Elixer Mercuriall in the priory of St. Bartholomew, 1443.

In the Twyne MSS. in the Archives of Oxford (vol. ii, pp. 98 and 99) are two pages or portions of pages from a lost cartulary of the Augustinian Friars of Little Yarmouth containing five deeds or portions of deeds. The pages are rubbed and in places illegible, and are cut off at the foot (fn. 20); they concern a compensation to be paid by the friars to the vicars of St. Andrew's, Gorleston and St. Nicholas', Little Yarmouth for loss of tithes, &c.

At Corpus Christi College, Oxford, there is a MS. which contains canons of the Augustinian Order published in a chapter held in St. Bartholomew's; the book had apparently formerly belonged to Llantony Abbey. (See Cox, Cat. Codic. MSS. Oxon. 123 C.C.C. cliv. 403.)


The Library of St. Paul's Cathedral is rich in manuscripts which have been well calendared by Sir H. Maxwell-Lyte for the Royal Historical MSS. Commission. Those concerning St. Bartholomew's are, for the most part, original deeds with seals attached. The more important are:

1. A bond of Alan the prior and the brethren of the hospital to pay a certain sum yearly to the canons of St. Paul's. The date is somewhere between the years 1181 and 1191. Though Alan is described as prior in this deed, he really was only the master of the hospital (Box 71, No. 1798).

2. The Ordinance of Bishop Richard de Ely in the year 1197, when he endeavoured to settle the controversy between the priory and the hospital (Box 25, No. 643). This has been printed by Sir Norman Moore.

3. A commission from Pope Innocent III in the year 1215, to the Dean of St. Paul's and others, to inquire into the controversy between the prior and convent and persons in the diocese of Lincoln (Box 77, No. 2069).

4. A bond given by prior Peter le Duc about the year 1245 to give seizin for life to Alexander de Swereford, Treasurer of St. Paul's, of land at Tewin which he had given to the priory (Box 40, No. 1452).

5. The prior's acknowledgement in the year 1250 of the receipt of a Psalter and Gloss in 2 vols. and of the Epistles of St. Paul and of an altar and altar linen from Master Richard of Wendover, a prebend of St. Paul's, whom they receive into their fraternity (Box 70, No. 1759).

6. The will of Nicholas Hosbond founding a chantry, dated 1347 (Box 66, Wills, No. 32).

7. The ordinance of Simon of Sudbury made in 1373; a further attempt to settle matters in dispute between the prior and convent and the brethren of the hospital (Box 25, No. 644).

8. The ordinance of Bishop Robert Fitzhugh in 1433 for the better management of the finances of the priory under Walter Shirington (Box 25, No. 645).

9. The confirmation of the election of prior Reginald Collier in 1436 whilst the see was vacant (Reg. Dean and Chapter, W. D. 13, f. 156 d. and 157).

10. An indenture dated March 1, 1553–4 relating to certain tenements described as 'lately belonging to Walden's chantry founded in St. Paul's', showing that the chantry was at St. Paul's and not at St. Bartholomew's (Box 7 a, No. 917).

There are many other deeds of less importance too numerous to refer to here.

The Episcopal Registers of the Diocese of London are kept in St. Paul's Cathedral, but they can only be consulted at the office of the Registrar at the entrance to Dean's Court, whither they are brought by appointment. The earlier registers of Bishop Fulk Basset, 1244–59, and others are lost. That of Bishop Baldock, 1304, is the earliest now existing. Some subsequent registers are also wanting, as those of Bishop Bynteworth 1338–9, Bishop Stratford, 1340–54, Bishop Northburgh 1354–61, and of Bishop Courtenay 1375–81.

The principal entries which concern the Priory are:

1303. The injunctions of Archbishop Winchelsea for the better government of the priory (Baldock, 6).
1306. The appointment of the subprior to be prior of St. Mary's Spital, Bishopsgate (Baldock, 6d).
1308. The sending of a canon of St. Osyth's to the priory for penance (Baldock, 16 d).
1319. The institution to a moiety of the church of Danbury (Stephen de Gravesend, 41).
1362. The appointment of the prior as collector of the clerical tenths (Sudbury, 88).
1373. The Ordinance of Bishop Simon of Sudbury further to arrange the disputes between the priory and the hospital (Braybroke, 24).
1382. The decree and confirmation of the election of William Gedeney as prior with the consent of the King. The names of 21 canons are given. The burial in the church of Thomas de Watford the previous prior is stated, and the first and only reference is made to the chapel of the infirmary (Braybroke, 264).
1407. The first entry of citation of a prior to convocation (Walden, 33).
1436. The first entry of ordinations held in the priory church (Gilbert, 131).
1517. The exemption of Prior Bolton from paying two tenths to the crown owing to the expense of rebuilding the conventual church. (The conventual buildings rather than the church were rebuilt at that time.) (Fitzjames, 121.)
1531. An award between the priory and St. Sepulchre's as to tithes and oblations (Stokesley, 49).
1532. The decree of confirmation of the election of Prior Fuller is set forth in full (Stokesley, 65).

The ordinance of Bishop Robert Fitzhugh for the priory in 1433, and the confirmation of Prior Reginald Collier in 1436 do not seem to be in the registers.

The institutions to the rectory after the suppression regularly occur in the registers, as do the leases of the Glebe houses.

There are many entries in these registers concerning the hospital which are not dealt with here.

As the registers are being published by the Canterbury and York Society there is no occasion for the author's transcripts to appear in the Appendix.

At the Lambeth Palace Library, among the Cartae Miscellaneae, vol. ii, no. 26, are the answers to questions by the Bishop of London in 1635 concerning the origin of the select vestry of the parish.

In the Archiepiscopal Registers are the wills of Roger Walden 1406 (Reg. Arundel 227 d), of his brother John in 1417 (Chichele 310 d), of Walter Shirington in 1448 and others, all bearing upon the history of the priory.


The Wills form a very valuable record for a history of this kind; from them are obtained the names of the chapels, altars, images, and lights in the conventual church; the dates of the building of the Lady Chapel, of the Walden Chapel, of St. Anne's chapel, the founding of chantries in the fourteenth century, the fact that Sir John Deane acted as rector during the occupation of the Blackfriars in Queen Mary's time, the names of residents within the monastic precincts before the suppression, and also the fact that there was a hostel there in 1349.

The earliest wills available are those of the Court of Husting, 1259 to 1668, of which there is an excellent calendar by Reginald Sharp printed for the Corporation of the City of London.

The next as to date are the Wills of the Commissary Court of London at Somerset House commencing in 1374: these have been searched to the year 1455.

The Wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury are the most numerous, because in the Archbishop's court were registered the wills of all those dying in the province who had possessions in some other diocese than the one in which the testator died. Search has been made in these wills (which have been privately indexed) from the year 1424 down to 1768. Among these wills are those of the last prior, Abbot Fuller, in 1540, the first rector, Sir John Deane, and Sir Walter Mildmay.

Other MSS.

In the Library of the Society of Antiquaries of London there is a charter of Prior John, No. 22 (1227–8), granting land and buildings in Milk Street to certain people named.

In the same library are the plans of the church made by Thomas Hardwick in 1791. They consist of a ground plan, a section of the church from east to west showing the arcading on the south side of the quire and the south side of the south aisle of the nave, and a section from north to south through the south transept, chapter-house and undercroft of the dorter. In the same place are the plans of the restoration of 1886 by Sir Aston Webb.

At the Victoria and Albert Museum are the plans of the restoration of 1864 by T. Hayter Lewis and William Slater; there is a duplicate set in the parish safe at St. Bartholomew's.

In the Guildhall there is a MS. calendar of deeds in the Court of Husting containing references to the prior in connexion with quit claims, &c., which came before the court. The first reference is in connexion with Prior Robert, 1258–9. In the Guildhall Library is the court book of the proceedings of the Court of Pie-powder from 1790 to the closing of the Fair in 1854. In the vaults of the record room of the Guildhall are the records of the Court of Aldermen and of the Court of Common Council, entered in the Letter Books (so called because each volume is marked with a letter of the alphabet). Letter Book A begins with the year 4 Edw. I (1275); there are 50 volumes in all; the last, ZZ, extends to nearly the close of the reign of James II (1688). At the end of the fifteenth century the proceedings of the Court of Aldermen were separated from those of the Court of Common Council. In Letter Book A it is recorded that the prior was one of those allowed to have a mill. In Letter Book H is recorded, in the year 1377, the arrangement between the Corporation and the prior about pickage (fn. 21) when Bartholomew Fair overflowed into Smithfield.

The proceedings of the Court of Aldermen are entered in the Repertories which commence with the year 1495. In 1498 there was a dispute concerning the fair, when the Court advised the Drapers' and Merchant Taylors' Companies to take their stands in Smithfield instead of within the priory gates (by way of a 'boycott'). In 1519–24 licence was granted to the warden of the Blacksmiths' Company to search the fair for faulty goods. In 1606 it is recorded that the Court desired to purchase the dissolved priory; and in 1670 that it was anxious to stay the excessive building in the parish.

In the Journals are entered the proceedings of the Court of Common Council from the year 1416. In them, among other things, is recorded, in 1761, the report of the City Lands Committee on the Bartholomew and Southwick Fairs.

The Liber Albus (fn. 22) is a compilation from the Letter Books and other archives made in 1419, in the last mayoralty of 'Dick' Whittington. It contains an account of the Whit-Monday procession of the Mayor and Aldermen which started from St. Bartholomew's; it also records that in the year 1177 a murderer fled to St. Bartholomew's for sanctuary.

The Liber Custumarum records that the church was called Sanctus Bartholomeus Magnus as early as 1303.

At the College of Arms is a description of Rahere's tomb and the coats of arms. Also a collection of Venetian Arms, among which are those of St. Bartholomew's hospital under the name Renier. (fn. 23)

At Sion College Library are the 'Records of the Provincial Assembly Begunne by ordinance of Parliament May 3 in the Convocation house in Paules, London, 1647' (MS.). Reference is made to Ralph Harrison, Rector, 1655–63, and to Anthony Burgess, Rector, 1663–1709.

At the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane the records of St. Bartholomew's are very numerous and occur in:

Ancient Deeds which refer to priors cir. 1174, 1232, and 1234, &c.

Ancient Petitions give two petitions from the prior to the king, 1295 and 1323.

Assize Rolls give pleas of privileges by the prior from 1194.

Cartae Antiquae of the Court of Chancery contain transcripts of Royal Charters, 1133, 1173, 1190, 1203, 1227, and 1253.

Charter Rolls contain transcripts of Royal Charters, 1203, 1227, and 6 others.

Clerical Subsidy Rolls give the names of Canons in 1379, &c.

Close Rolls (Chancery Royal Letters delivered 'closed') give numerous and varied references to the priory from 1273.

Court of Augmentations, time of Henry VIII, references are contained in the following:

Ancient deeds: a list of houses subject to quit rent cir. 1383.

Computi Ministrorum: a valuation for the king, 1540.

Conventual Leases: those granted before the suppression.

Deeds of Surrender, among which occur that of St. Bartholomew's.

Duchy of Lancaster Rentals and Surveys: early particulars dated 1542 of the sale to Rich.

Miscellaneous Books: the deeds of appointments by Prior Fuller.

Particulars for grants include those for the grant of the priory to Rich in 1544.

Cardinal Pole's book of Pensions given to the canons.

Treasurers' accounts: purchases by Rector Deane at Basingwarke.

Curia Regis Rolls are among the earliest records, but they are not calendared nor indexed. They have records of the priors from 1201.

Early Chancery Proceedings record a suit to recover money from the prior, 1445.

Exchequer of Pleas, Edward Henry Earl of Warwick versus William Frier for rent for three houses in Kelsey Row, &c.

Hundred Rolls: A quo warranto inquisition concerning the prior's courts in the city.

Inquisitiones ad quod damnum contain inquiries as to whether the king's revenues would suffer by certain grants being made to the priory.

Inquisitiones Nonarum show that the value of the 9th of goods and chattels of the priory in the time of Edward III was 40s. 10d.

Inventories of the Treasury record that a monk consenting to the robbery of the Treasury at Westminster in 1303 was committed to St. Bartholomew's.

Issue Rolls: payments by the king on account of the priory.

Lay Subsidy Rolls give the names of those paying the subsidy in 1543, 1564, and 1623.

Liber Institutionum gives the institutions of the rectors from 1660 to 1814.

Liberate Rolls record two grants by Henry III of £20 each for the works of the church and 8 lasts of herrings (about 100,000) given to the canons.

Memoranda Rolls record on the side of both the King's remembrancers and the Lord Treasurer's remembrancers matters to be kept in remembrance concerning the priory, such as releasing it from tallage in 1325, concerning revenues in time of voidance in 1363 and 1415, and releasing from paying subsidies in 1449, &c.

Oblation Rolls in 1204 record the giving of 20 marks to the king for the right to a debt the prior owed him, &c.

Originalia Rolls of the Court of Exchequer record grants by the Crown where any rent is reserved, as in the king's grant to Rich.

Patent Rolls contain the king's licence to elect a prior, licences for alienation after an inquisition held, licences for founding chantries, promises for repayment of loans to the king, pardons for outlawry, quittance from paying corodies, letters of protection, &c.

Feet of Fines, Pedes Finium, contain the agreements concerning the conveyance of properties of the monastery.

Parliamentary Writs, and Writs of Military Summons, show two occasions when the prior had to raise men-at-arms in the time of Edward II.

Particulars for Grants (see Court of Augmentations).

Proceedings in Chancery, time Queen Elizabeth, record the lawsuits concerning the Smithfield Gate-house and the glebe houses.

Rentals and Surveys. There is an exact survey of the inheritance in the parish of Henry Rich, and the profits of the Fair made in 1616.

Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records. In one of these is recorded the king's assent to the election of Prior Gilbert (the document is now missing).

State Papers. The calendars of these consist of Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic of the reign of Henry VIII, ed. by J. S. Brewer (1509–41); Domestic 1547, 1660. Committee for the Advance of Money, 1642–56; Committee for compounding, &c., 1643–60. The records in these papers are very varied and very numerous.

The Will of King Henry VII (see pl. IX, p. 224).



1. The Chronicle of England, by John Capgrave, refers to the grant of Indulgences by the pope in 1409.
4. Monumenta Franciscana, vol. i., ed. J. S. Brewer, records the gift of a quit rent by Prior Gilbert to the Grey Friars in 1261.
12. Munimenta Gildhallae: Liber Albus; Liber Custumarum, ed. H. T. Riley.
14. A collection of Political Poems and Songs (&c.) Edw. III-Hen. VIII: records the great earthquake of 1382.
28. Chron. Monasterii S. Albani. (1) Thos. Walsingham, Hist. Anglicana: refers to Roger Walden and to the pope's Indulgences. (3) Iohannis de Trokelowe et Henr. de Blaneford, Chron. et Annales, 1392–1406; Roger Walden's death.
36. Annales Monastici. (I) Ann. de Theokesberia, 1066–1263: the quarrel between the Archbishop and the canons in the church; Annales de Burton, 1004–1263: the absolution of the prior excommunicated in consequence. (III) Annales Prioratus de Dunstaplia: the election of G., canon of Osney as prior, 1213; Gerard substituted for Prior John, 1232.
57. Matthaei Parisiensis Chron. Maiora: the scene between the Archbishop and canons in the church, 1250 (there is a translation by J. A. Giles, 1893).
67. Materials for the Hist. of Thos. Becket. (III) Fitz-Stephen's description of the city of London (before 1179), a vivid picture of the Friday horse market and horseracing in Smithfield.
73. The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury: a list of nine religious houses in Middlesex, of which St. Bartholomew's is one.
76. Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II. Annales Paulini: an account of the risings of the barons against the Despensers. Lord Hugh de Audley was lodged at the priory, and the great meeting of earls and barons took place in the priory hall.
82. Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I: IV refers to one Johannis Raher.
85. Literae Cantuarienses. The Letter Books of the Monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, record that Archbishop Arundel directed 'Dirige' and 'Mass of Requiem' for Roger Walden.
91. Lestorie des Engles solum la translacion Maistre Geffrei Gaimar mentions one Whericus Rahere.
92. Chronicle of Henry Knighton, canon of Leicester, avers that Wat Tyler was drawn into St. Bartholomew's church.
95. Flores Historiarum (Matthew of Westminster). This and Matthew Paris alone give the correct date of the founding of the priory, 1123 (Fabyan and Hollinshed say 1102, Sprott 1112).


The Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond (time Richard I), ed. by Sir E. Clarke: a picture of monastic life in the twelfth century.

English Chronicle from 1377–1461 (Camden Socy., No. 64) tells of Roger Walden.

The Chronicle of William Gregory (Camden Socy., No. XVII N.S.): the acquittal of Roger Walden on the charge of treason, 1402.

A Chronicle of England during the reign of the Tudors, 1485–1559, by Chas. Wriothesley (Camden Socy., No. XI N.S.), records the suppression in 1539 and the resuscitation in 1556.

Chronicles of Fabyan. Reprinted from Pynson's edn., 1516. Index by Henry Ellis. Burnings and jousts in Smithfield. Gives a wrong date for the founding of the church (3 Hen. I).

Diary of Henry Machyn, 1550–63 (Camden Socy., No. XLII N.S.), records funerals and other events during the Dominican occupation of the church.

Hayward's Annals of Elizabeth (Camden Socy., No. 7). The author lived in Bartholomew Close.

Diary of Walter Young, Esq. (Camden Socy., No. 41) refers to the Earl of Middlesex.

The Journal of John Wesley records his preaching in the church in 1739, 1747, and 1748, and in the (late) chapter-house in 1750. (The parish registers record his conducting weddings here in 1750.)

Dr. Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (1706–90). He worked at Palmer's printing works in the Lady Chapel, 1725.


The Canterbury and York Socy. Diocesis London. Registrum Radulphi Baldock, Gilberti Segrave, Ricardi Newport, et Stephani Gravesend. (In progress.) (See records at St. Paul's above.) Diocesis Lincolniensis: Rotuli Hugonis de Welles (1209–35), Rotuli Roberti Grosseteste. Both registers have records of the possessions of the priory in Mentmore, co. Bucks.


Calendars of entries relating to Great Britain and Ireland are published. The Regesta at the Vatican commence in 1198, and are continued to the end of the sixteenth century. They consist of more than 2,000 volumes. References to the priory in these calendars are as follows: In 1238 and onwards are mandates to the prior to act with others to carry out the directions of the pope in many and various matters. In 1250 is a letter annulling the sentence of excommunication of the prior, subprior, sacristan, cellarer, and precentor of the priory, incurred in connexion with the visitation of the Archbishop. In 1252 is the pope's final decision upholding the Archbishop's rights in the case. In 1345 and 1353 are letters concerning the reservation of churches on voidance for the pope or for some individual. In 1352 Letters of Indulgence to certain canons of the priory to choose confessors to give plenary absolution during the plague. Four letters occur between the years 1390 and 1394 conferring on certain of the canons the dignity of papal chaplain. In 1398 are instructions to the prior to examine a priest, and in 1400 to examine a clerk not in Holy Orders, for the office of Notary. In 1406 Dispensation was granted to the prior, in the event of his resignation, to hold a benefice with cure. In 1409 the grant of Indulgences is given in full. The Grant is to all who visit the church on certain days and give alms for the repairs of the buildings; it states the causes which have led to the buildings being in such a ruinous condition, and enumerates the works of restoration that had been carried out by the prior; and in 1424 is a mandate to the Bishop of London to absolve from excommunication a canon of the priory (who eventually became prior); and in 1426 a confirmation of the Bishop of London's action in assigning a larger portion of the revenue of the priory to St. Sepulchre's for an assistant chaplain.


1st Report—MSS. in Kimbolton Castle, a compotus of Robert Glasyer, canon collector of rents in the Close.

4th Report—MSS. of J. R. Ormsby-Gore. Concerning the assent to the election of a prior in the absence of the king.

MSS. of Earl de la Warr. Transcript of Thomas Gundry's letter to the Earl of Middlesex which speaks of the poor of the parish as the commodity the parish had got by the Earl of Holland's building.

5th Report—MSS. of the Duke of Sutherland, at Trentham. Concerning the burial of Rachel Bromley in Sir Walter Mildmay's tomb and the Bede Roll of Prioress Lucy of Hedingham.

MSS. of the House of Lords. A man forcibly removed from the Liberty of St. Bartholomew's, 1643; a petitioner complains that one John Bickley accompanied by four soldiers repaired to his house, broke open his door, and carried him forth into the Liberty of the City.

7th Report—MSS. House of Lords. A certificate of those who made any stay in the parish after the time limited by proclamation.

8th Report—MSS. of the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty. Reference to Prior John de Pekesden, collector of a grant to the king, and the founding of a chantry for Walter Shirington in the priory church or in St. Paul's.

9th Report—MSS. of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's.

11th Report, Part I—MSS. of H. D. Skrine. Salvetti correspondence and his burial in the chancel of St. Bartholomew's.


Testa de Nevill, a book of knights' fees, Henry III and Edward I. It makes reference to some churches of Suffolk which were possessions of the priory.

Taxatio Ecclesiastica, 1288–91 (for granting tenths to Edward I for the Holy War). Records the valuations of the temporalities and spiritualities of the priory.

Valor Ecclesiasticus, 1535 (made to ascertain the first fruits due to the king). Records the valuation of the priory and its possessions.


Abbotsford Club, Account of the monastic treasures confiscated at the dissolution of the various houses in England, by Sir John Williams, Kt., late master and treasurer of the jewels. Gives a list of the plate of the priory.

Dugdale, Sir William, Monasticon Anglicanum, enlarged by John Caley, Sir Henry Ellis, and Rev. B. Bandinel, 1846, gives a list of the priors, though this is incomplete, and a brief history (which states that Rahere was supposed to have lived until 1213, though the Book of the Foundation, here given in Latin, shows that he died in 1143). The Miracles from the Book of the Foundation are not given. It gives the charter of privileges, 33 Hen. I (1133), the charter of 37 Hen. III (1253), reciting the possessions of the monastery, and a Brief exonerating the hospital from tenths and fifteenths and other burdens (26 Edw. III, 1351–3). The total valuation and the possessions of the monastery is given from Valor Ecclesiasticus in 1535, and the names and valuations of the possessions from Computi Ministrorum in 1540–1.

Dugdale, Sir William, Summons to Parliaments from 49 Hen. III. Records the summons of the prior to Simon de Montfort's parliament (1264).

Hastings, Lord, Ordinances of Chivalry, a MS. collection, published in Archaeologia, vol. lvii, 29, by Viscount Dillon. Gives a representation of a single combat in Smithfield with a view of the priory church (1441–2).

Placita de Quo Warranto, temp. Edw. I, II, III, published by the Record Commission. Shows an inquiry by what warrant the prior held his many privileges.

Rymer, T., Foedera. Records the special exemption of the priory by Edward III when legislating against frauds in the drapery trade.

Statutes of the Realm, 1 Eliz., cap. xxiv, s. 16. Enacts that St. Bartholomew the Great shall remain for ever a parish church.

Tanner, Thomas, Notitia Monastica, ed. 1737, has also been consulted.

Wilkins, D., Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae. Records the appointment of the prior in 1408 to a council on the Lollards; the signature of Prior Fuller to the 'six articles', 1539 (&c., &c.).


  • 1. B.M., Add. 6040.
  • 2. Ib., Harl. 3739.
  • 3. Ib., Harl. 391, 4809.
  • 4. Dr. William Hunter's Library; there is a transcript in the Guildhall Library.
  • 5. App. I, p. 428.
  • 6. Later, p. 321.
  • 7. Louth.
  • 8. 1306.
  • 9. Stow, 139.
  • 10. Sir Norman Moore does not take this view.
  • 11. For reproduction of the origina Bull see N. Moore, Hist. St. B. Hosp. i. 150.
  • 12. The original is in the possession of the Governors of the hospital.
  • 13. Add. 34768.
  • 14. Cox, Catalogue, p. 83.
  • 15. Pat. 2, Hen. VI, pt. 1, m. 4–1, and 2 Eliz., pt. 4. m. 17.
  • 16. See later, p. 24.
  • 17. Malcolm, Lond. Red. i. 282.
  • 18. p. 44.
  • 19. p. 184.
  • 20. Description furnished by the Rev. H. E. Salter through Dr. R. L. Poole, Keeper of the Archives.
  • 21. A payment for breaking up ground for booths in fairs.
  • 22. Pub. in R. Ser.
  • 23. An ancient Venetian family.