Collegiate churches: Shottesbrook

A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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'Collegiate churches: Shottesbrook', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 2, (London, 1907) pp. 102-103. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]

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Sir William Trussell, of Kibblestone, Staffordshire, founded a college consisting of a warden and five other chaplains and two clerks at Shottesbrook in the year 1337, and endowed it with the church of Shottesbrook, and a rental of 40s. on the manor of the same parish, held in chief, as of the castle of Windsor, by rendering 20s. yearly at the castle. The letters patent granting licence for this foundation also authorized the founder to alienate to the college a further yearly payment of 100s. of land or rent not held in chief. (fn. 1) In the following year licence was granted to the warden of the college to acquire in mortmain further lands or rents up to £10 yearly. (fn. 2)

There had been a parish church at Shottesbrook—a parish formed out of the older one of White Waltham—for some time before Sir William Trussell's days. Both the church and the college, subsequently attached to it, were dedicated in honour of St. John Baptist. The foundation ordinance laid down that the warden and the five chaplains were to keep the canonical hours, beginning at daybreak (in aurora diei); they were to follow in all things the use of Sarum and to sing from the heart with distinct and suitable voice (corde et voce distincte et apte psallere); they were to wear surplices and black copes, after the manner of the vicars of the church of Salisbury; and the mass of Our Lady was to be celebrated daily with the utmost devotion. Full provision was also made for high mass and for particular collects for the king and founder, with many other details both of a liturgical and household character. (fn. 3)

On 24 May, 1337, the founder presented John de Lodyngton to the bishop, as the first warden of the perpetual chantry of Shottesbrook. (fn. 4)

From that date onwards there are frequent entries of presentations to the wardenship or to the different chaplaincies in the episcopal registers. Thus, on 12 June, 1346, Thomas de Wokynge was instituted to the fifth place or grade among the chaplains, on the nomination of the founder; and John Fakenham to the second grade, on 16 November, 1351. (fn. 5)

Edward III in 1338 granted to Sir William Trussell, 'out of our special grace and on account of the affection we have for so beloved and faithful a servant,' the advowson of the Berkshire church of Basildon, with licence to transfer and appropriate it to his chantry or college of Shottesbrook. (fn. 6) In the same year Sir William, described as the king's yeoman, obtained a grant for him self and his heirs and all their tenants of the manor of Shottesbrook to be quit of expeditation of their dogs within the forest; (fn. 7) a grant of real value, as the officers of the forest exacted a fee for each case of mutilation. The whole manor was within the bounds of the forest of Windsor. On 8 June, 1341, Sir William Trussell added to the endowments to the extent of £7 yearly value (out of the £10 for which licence was obtained in 1338), by the gift of a messuage in Cookham, with lands, meadow, weir, and rent. (fn. 8)

Some difficulty (probably with the ecclesiastical authorities) must have arisen with regard to the appropriation of the church of Basildon; for the licence was repeated in 1340, (fn. 9) and again in 1344. (fn. 10) But it was not accomplished until many years later. Towards the end of the reign of Edward III the church and college were almost destroyed by fire, and all the priests and clerks left, save John Bradford, the warden. Thereupon the king once more, in 1371, repeated his licence for the appropriation of the church of Basildon, (fn. 11) but even now there was some further delay before papal and episcopal sanction was obtained. By letters patent of 1384, John Bradwell, the warden, and the chaplains obtained ratification from Richard II of the appropriation of Basildon, as sanctioned by the pope, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishop of Salisbury, when William Sharp was warden. (fn. 12) The episcopal registers show that the rectory was formally appropriated and the vicarage endowed in the year 1382. (fn. 13)

In 1386 a chantry was ordained in this collegiate church for the soul of William Frithe, a London merchant. (fn. 14) In 1392 the college endowments were slightly increased by some further messuages in Shottesbrook and White Waltham. (fn. 15)

The last warden but one of this college was Dr. William Throcmorton, who died in 1535. His alabaster effigy is still in the chancel. An account of this monument and inscription with many other particulars as to the manor and college of Shottesbrook was written by Mr. Hearne in 1711, and inserted in the second edition of Leland's Itinerary. (fn. 16)

The College and Chantry Commissioners of Henry VIII of 1546 reported that the college of St. John Baptist, Shottesbrook, was founded by the ancestors of the earl of Oxford to have a warden and two (sic) priests to say the divine office. They found that the warden at that time was a layman, Robert Vere, brother to the earl of Oxford; 'he recyveth the prophetts and comyth nott there.' They also reported that the college was a parish church situated between two other parish churches, each of which was but half a mile distant. The annual value was £62 14s. Out of this the two priests received £12 1s. 4d. and the clerk or sexton 33s. 4d.; £4 went to the vicar of Basildon, and 6s. for bread, wine, wax, and oil. The considerable balance was received by Robert Vere 'to his owne use and profytte.' (fn. 17)

The commissioners of 1 Edward VI, in which year the college was suppressed, gave the annual value as £59 5s. 8d., of which 'Robert Verre Esquire Mr. or Warden' received £31 3s. 11d. The two chaplains or 'co-brethren,' William Hall, aged 51, and Thomas Bersly, aged 50, each received £6 8s., whilst William Standysh the clerk had 33s. 4d. (fn. 18)

Wardens of Shottesbrook

John de Lodyngton, appointed 1337 (fn. 19)

William Sharp

John Bradford, occurs 1371 (fn. 20)

John Bradwell, occurs 1384 (fn. 21)

Richard Sprotburgh (fn. 22)

Thomas Rawlyns (fn. 22)

William Throcmorton, died 1535 (fn. 23)

Robert Vere, last master (fn. 24)


  • 1. Ibid. 12 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 24.
  • 2. Ibid. 11 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 11. The foundation was not carried out till this date, but the first licence had been obtained in April, 1336; Pat. 10 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 22.
  • 3. Sar. Epis. Reg. Wyville, i, 35–40.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid. i, fol. 171, 296.
  • 6. Pat. 12 Edw. III, pt. iv, m. 9.
  • 7. Rymer, Foedera v, 86.
  • 8. Pat. 15 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 43.
  • 9. Ibid. 14 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 10.
  • 10. Ibid. 18 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 1.
  • 11. Ibid. 45 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 35.
  • 12. Ibid. 8 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 7.
  • 13. Sar. Epis. Reg. Erghum (2nd Nos.), fol. 63.
  • 14. Ibid. fol. 93b.
  • 15. Pat. 16 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 22.
  • 16. Leland, Itin. (1744), ii, 119–35.
  • 17. Coll. and Chant. Cert. 51.
  • 18. Ibid. Nos. 3, 7.
  • 19. Sar. Epis. Reg. Wyville, i, 40.
  • 20. Pat. 45 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 35.
  • 21. Ibid. 8 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 7.
  • 22. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 56, No. 113.
  • 23. Leland, Itin. (ed. 1744), ii, 119.
  • 24. Coll. and Chant. Cert. 51.