Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Originally published by J Throsby, Nottingham, 1790.
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'Felley', in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, (Nottingham, 1790) pp. 271-275. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/thoroton-notts/vol2/pp271-275 [accessed 4 March 2024]
Radulph Britto of Annesley, (fn. 1) by the consent of his heirs, gave and confirmed to God and the blessed Mary, and St. Helen, and Frier Robert the Herbert, and his Succeessours, the place of Felley, with the appurtenances, in pure Alms. It was afterwards by the said Raph, and Reginald his son, given to Priory of Wirksop, as already is noted in Annesley.
(fn. 2) In the year from the incarnation, according to the course and computation of the English Church 1311, in the sixth year of Pope Clement the fifth, May 6, the Prior and Canons of the Monastery of Felley of the Order of St. Austin, having the Parish Church of Annesley for their proper uses, appeared in Southwell Church before the official of the Arch-deacon of Nottingham, and humbly besought him that their ancient evidences whilest they were yet perfect, might be published and recorded, whereupon he cited Sir Thomas Rector of the Parish Church of Kirkbi, Sir John Lord of Annesley, Knight, and Sir William de Manthorp Priest of Lincoln Diocess, whom the matter chiefly concerned, to appear the Friday next after the Feast of the Ascension the same year, in the Church of St. Mary at Nottingham before him, to show cause canonical of impediment, if they had any; but they not appearing, there was produced a Writing, which had an oblong Seal of very old white Wax hanging at it, the impression whereof contained the figure of a certain women standing in the middle of the Seal, and holding her right hand upon her right side, and carrying above her left hand stretched out the sign of a Bird. The circumference was Sigillum Leonie de Raines, The Tenor, That Leonia de Raines, and Henry de Stutivill her son and heir, gave the Church of Anneslei, with all its liberties and appurt. to God and the blessed Mary of Felley, and the Canons there serving God, for the health of King Henry, son of the Empress, and Robert de Stutivill, and her and their Ancestors; for which they were to find one Canon, and light to celebrate for the Souls of the forementioned King Henry and Richard de Stutivill, and their Ancestors, and for her and hers; the witnesses were William the Chaplain, Hugh Parson of Kyrkeby, John his brother, William de Mara, Alan de Bosco, Raph de Yvetost, &c. (fn. 3) There was another Writing produced whereat was hanging a round Seal of old white Wax, the impression whereof contained the figure of a Lion passant, and the circumference was Sigillum Reynaldi de Annesley; it imported, that Reynald de Annesley at the request of his father Radulph le Brett, gave to St. Mary and the House of Felley, and the brethren of that place, the dominion and whole right of his Patronage, which he had in the Church of Annesley, in pure Alms, for the health (or safety) of himself, and of his wife, and his heirs, and for the refreshment of all his parents departed: The witnesses were Andrew the Canon of Suthuel, Drogo brother of the said Reinald, Alan the Chaplain of Suell, Robert, son of Azor, Lisia de Barton, Reginald de Insula, William Brettun, Hugh de Anneslei, Daniel, son of Swan de Annesley. There was also another Writing with an oblong Seal of old green Wax hanging at it, the impression whereof contained the image of a certain Bishop standing in his Pontificals, holding his episcopal Staff in his left hand, and lifting up his right hand to bless: the circumference of it being Sigillum Gaufridi Dei gracia Ebor. Archiepi. The tenor whereof imported, that Gaufr. by the Grace of God Arch-bishop of York, and Primate of England, seeing the controversie between Lyonea de Raines, and Henry her son, and Reginald de Annesley, and Hugh, Parson of the Church of Kyrkeby, concerning the Church of Annesley, was appeased in his presence by all of them, giving their right to the Canons of Felley, he therefore confirmed it to them for their proper uses. (fn. 4) There likewise were produced Letters apostolical, signed with the Subscriptions of very many Cardinals and their marks, consigned with a true leaden Bull (or Seal) hanging in a silk string, in which Bull on one side appeared the heads of the blessed Peter and Paul the Apostles, with superscriptions set to them on the accustomed manner; and on the other side was coined Celestinus Papa iii. (fn. 5) The tenor of it imported, that Pope Celestine the third, took the Church and Prior and Covent of Felley into his own and St. Peter's protection, and confirmed to them the rule of S. Augustine for ever, and what ever possessions or goods they then had, or afterwards by the grant of Popes, bounty of Kings or Princes, offering of faithful people, or other just ways they could get, particularly the place where the Church was scituate, with all the appurtenances, of the gift of Raph de Anneslei, the Church of Anneslei, with all its appurtenances, Bradelei, with the seat of a mill, Lamberstorth, the Sart of Raph Sauteclif, the Sart of Robert, the Sart of Grocelin, Clauerthwayt, the Sart of Gilbert, Kyrkeleis, with the appurtenances, the Rent of Notingham, of the gift of Serlo de Pleslei the Land of Huluesdis, with the appurtenances, of the gift of Hubert Fitz-Raph five shillings, of the gift of Peter de Le twelve-pence, of the gift of Robert de Herz the Land of four shillings, of the gift of William Briton one acre of Land, and fifteen-pence of Rent at Chesterfeild, of the gift of Reginald de Infula two bovats of Land, of the gift of Galfr. Barre one bovat of Land, and twenty acres at Tiversold, the Land of Suell, of the gift of the Constable of Chester half a mark at Newark, of the gift of Simon de Leleshauc two virgats of Land at Hoverton, and one bovat at Colwyt; and that none should presume to exact Tythes of their arable Lands, which were in their own hands, or tilled at their costs, or of the nourishments of their Cattel; and that it should be lawful for them to receive to conversion Clarks or Lay, Free and absolved, flying from the world, and them without any contradiction to retain; and forbad that any of their brethren, after profession made in their place, should depart without licence of the Prior, except to obtain a more strict Religion, and none should dare to retain any so departing without the caution of common Letters. And that when there should be a general interdict of the Land, it should be lawful for them, the gates being shut, and excommunicate and interdicted persons excluded, the bells not stirred, to celebrate Divine Offices with a low voice. And inhibited left any should presume to publish sentence of excommunication or interdict against them or their Church without manifest and reasonable cause, or grieve them in new debts or exactions. And farther decreed, that the Sepulture of this place should be free, that none should hinder the devotion and last will of them who should have delivered themselves to be buried there, except by chance they were excommunicate or interdicted, yet saving the right of those Churches from which the bodies were taken; and the like, as free choice of the Prior, and security from all manner of trouble or disturbance; and a great curse and excommunication for all infringers of their liberties, &c. It was signed by all or most of the Cardinals then at Rome, and bore date Anno Domini 1194, and in the fourth year of Pope Celestine the third, the 14 of the Kalends of August.
(fn. 6) John the Prior and the Covent of Wirksop seeing that many times contentions were moved between them and the Prior and Covent of Felley, both because they were wont to receive ten shillings of that house yearly due to them from the begining of it by the imposition of the founder, and also challenged certain subjections and obediences, and to have interest and voice in their elections, and for these causes saw themselves burdened and wearied with expensive and laborious prosecutions, as well as the said House in the like defences, by the advice and consent of the Reverend Father and Lord Godefr. Archbishop of York, released all in his presence; the rest of the witnesses being the Abbats of Rufford and Welbeke, the Priors of St. Oswald, Thurgarton, Newstede, and Shelford, Mr. John Clarell, Sir Richard de Sutton Canon of Suthwell, Sir Robert de Stotevill, Walter de Ludham, Reginald de Annesley, Galfr. Barri, Simon de Aslacton, Knights, Sir William Rector of the Church of Kyrkeby, Alexander de Wandesley, and others, for which release Henry Prior of Felley, and the Covent of that place, granted to the Church and Canons of Wirksop the yearly Rent of twenty shillings, which composition was confirmed by the said Godefr. Arch-bishop of York by his instrument dated at Scroby, 5 Non. March, 1260, and in the third year of his pontificate.
(fn. 7) Yvo de Herz, for the safety (or health) of the Soul of his brother William, gave to God and St. Mary of Felley, and to William de Lovetot the Prior, and the Canons there serving God, twenty acres, &c. in Oggeston and Brackinpheyt: the witnesses were Hubert de Crich, William Barry, William de Heriz of Wyverton, Raphle Poer, Raph de Annesley, William Pyte, Symon the Chaplain of Wynfeld, and very many more.
Robert de Heriz gave them a Sart in Oggedeston, which Edward the smith of Wistanton held: the witnesses were Sir Walter Abbat of Darby, Gilbert Prior of Thurgarton, Albred Prior of Newstede, Symon, son of (or Fitz) Richard, Philip de Belmes, Philip de Vston, Richard Aaron, Robert le Aungevin, William Pite, Roger Pite, John Plungun, Will. de la Vale, Galfr. de Heriz, Robert, son of Robert de Heriz the Donour.
Yvo de Heriz confirmed this, according to the deed which the Monks had of his father.
(fn. 8) John de Herz for the health of his soul, and of Sarra (I suppose his wife) gave to that Church of Felley ten and eight bovats of his Land in Tibbeself, to sustain two Canons of that Covent, who should daily celebrate in that Church of Felley for ever: the witnesses were William the Prior of Thurgarton, Robert de Wylieby, Galfr. Berri, William de Heriz, Reginald de Annesley, Yvo de Heriz, Roger de Aencort, Raph de Wynfeld, Roger de Somervill, Ywan Beaton, and others.
(fn. 9) William Pite of Tibbeself released to the Canons of Felley and their successours, the homage and all the right and claim which he had in the heirs of Sir William de Heriz; and in all that Land, with the appurtenances, which Thomas the Miller sometime held of Warin Pite his father in Wylleby on the Wold.
(fn. 10) Galfr. de Langley for the health of his own soul, his fathers, mothers, and his wives Christina and Matilde, his children, ancestors, successours, friends, and benefactors, and all the faithful departed, gave to God, St. Mary, and Sir Raph the Prior of Felley, and the Canons there serving God, and their successours, his whole Land which he had in Essover, viz. Peynstonhyrst, which he bought of Symon de Marcham Rector of the Church of Essover, and Willamfeld, which he bought of William de Vston: so that his name and the names of his wives before mentioned, and the souls of his ancestors and successours, should be daily named and specified in the Mass, which is sung for the benefactors of the said house; and that every year one Mass should be solemnly celebrated, with Placebo and Dirige, on the day of his death (or obit) as for a Prior of that House; and on that day for his soul, and all the aforesaid, thirteen poor people should be fed, whereof every one should have one white Loaf, [Micham,] and two should have one sufficient Mess [Ferculum] and one Flagon [Lagenam] of the better Beer or Ale; and one other Mass should be celebrated for the soul of Maud his wife, on the day of her anniversary, viz. on the translation of Benedict the Abbat, and on that day five poor people were to be fed as before is mentioned, &c. The witnesses were Sir Gilbert de Preston, and John de Octon, then the Kings Justices [viz 52 H. 3,] Galfr. (de Langley) his son, William de Langeford, Knights, Robert de Wylleby, Raph de Rerysby, Galfr. Dethek, Roger de Somervill, Hugh de Chaunny, and others. (fn. 11) These Lands were confirmed by Robert, son of Raph de Rerysby, and Robert, son of Sir Robert de Wilweby, who were heirs of Serlo de Plesley a benefactor also, and formerly Lord of Essover (now Ashourne in Darbishire).
They had many other benefactors, some whereof will be noted in other places of this book, as others have been already where the Land lay.
(fn. 12) There is the exemplification of a Charter of King Henry the third, in 18 E. 1, which shows that the Canons of Felley should be quit of Toll, and all custom throughout all England.
(fn. 13) King Edward the first, in 34 E. 1, granted to the Priory of Felley the Tythes coming of the Kings Essarts in the Hayes of Lindeby, Romwood, and Willey, which are out of the bounds of any Parish whatsoever. In Attenborow is shown the interest which this Monastery had in that Church.
(fn. 14) The House and site of the Priory or Monastery of the blessed Mary of Felley, and all Messuages, Houses, Orchards, Gardens, Lands, and Tenements, within and without the said site in Felley and Annesley, and forty acres of arable Land and an half, twenty of meadow, three hundred fifty-six of pasture, with the appurtenances in Felley and Annesley; also one mess. one barn, one water-mill called Felley Mill, and two parcels of meadow, &c. Sept I, 30 H. 8, were granted to William Bolles, and Lucy his wife.
(fn. 15) They were granted 4 and 5 Ph. and Mar. to Sir Anthony Strelley, Knight, and Joane his wife, and the heirs of their bodies.
(fn. 16) King James, 7 Jun. 1 Jac. granted to Anthony Millington, and his heirs, the Reversion of the house and site of the Priory of Felley, &c. which King Henry the eighth had of William Bolles, at the yearly Rent of 17l. 3s. 0d. It was Gilbert Millingtons attained, named in Brunnesley, yet I think it remains to Edward Millington his son, or to Edwards son his grandchild.
[Throsby] Felly priory.
In addition to the very copious account Thoroton has given of this place, little need be written. It may be necessary to observe, however, that nothing of the building has withstood the ravages of time to form a picture; that part which remains, is now occupied by a farmer with additional buildings. I rather imagine it was a ruin of not any considerable note in Thoroton's time.
Copies from the ancient and curious seals in wax, mentioned above by Dr. Thoroton, and the Leaden Bull, if among the old writings belonging to any gentlemen, would have been an acquisition to this work; but most likely they met the fate of very many precious things at the reformation, among the desolation of religious relic's, and many ceremonies which even then dignified the simplity of the christian church.