A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1948.
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8. THE PRIORY OF BARNWELL
The house of Canons Regular at Cambridge which became the Priory of Barnwell was among the earliest foundations of this Order in England. Picot, lord of Bourn and Madingley, and sheriff of Cambridgeshire at the time of the Domesday Survey, fulfilled a vow made by his wife Hugoline, when she fell ill at Cambridge, by building a church of St. Giles by Cambridge Castle, and establishing canons there about 1092. (fn. 1) When a death happened among the canons of Huntingdon or Colchester the canons of Barnwell were bound to pray for the dead man exactly as for a member of their own community 'because these canons are confederati with us'. (fn. 2) This links Barnwell with these, probably the earliest of all English Augustinian houses. (fn. 3) Certain religious at Colchester living together as 'hermits' had adopted that Rule, and the newly founded communities at Huntingdon and Cambridge seem to have followed the lead of Colchester. Geoffrey, a canon of Huntingdon, became first prior at Cambridge. (fn. 4)
Picot placed six canons at St. Giles, endowing them with two-thirds of the tithe on the demesne of all knights holding of his barony of Bourn, and with the rectories of Bourn, Madingley, Rampton, Comberton, Harston, Hinxton, Tadlow, and Guilden Morden. (fn. 5) Remi, Bishop of Lincoln, confirmed the foundation shortly before his death, (fn. 6) but 'before that little company had begun to live an ordered conventual life' Picot and Hugoline died, and their son Robert, being involved in the rebellion of 1095, fled overseas. The house of St. Giles came into the king's hand, and when, after a few years, Henry I gave the barony of Bourn to Pain Peverel, it was 'desolate and reduced to nothing'. (fn. 7) Peverel at once took it in hand, planned to raise the number of canons to 30, increased the endowment, and 'seeing that the place where their house stood was insufficient for their needs and had no spring of fresh water', he begged of the king a site on the green common of the royal demesne at Chesterton extending from the high road below the castle to the river. Here by a holy well, clearly going back to pagan times, a wooden oratory, dedicated to St. Andrew, had been built by a hermit, and deserted since his death. (fn. 8) About 1119 Peverel gave this site, and land in Bourn; (fn. 9) the canons had already left the place they had inhabited for about 20 years and in 1112 had solemnly taken possession, in the presence of clergy and people of Cambridge, of their Norman church of St. Giles and St. Andrew, which replaced the oratory of Godson, the hermit. Shortly after this Geoffrey of Huntingdon died and was succeeded as prior by Gerard, (fn. 10) to whom Pain Peverel gave further gifts of land, several churches and chapels, (fn. 11) and relics for the new church, which he had obtained on the First Crusade. (fn. 12) Before his death, about 1132, (fn. 13) progress had been made towards completing the church, and Gerard had built the dormitory and begun the other domestic buildings. (fn. 14) Gerard died about the same time as Pain Peverel's son William, (fn. 15) who was killed on crusade in 1148. (fn. 16) The Peverel inheritance was divided among coheiresses, Bourn, with Barnwell Priory, going eventually to the sons of Pain's daughter Alice, wife of Hamo Peche. (fn. 17) Richard Norel, the third prior, a pious simple man 'who could not bear the burden of government', resigned within two years and went to France. (fn. 18) His successor, Hugh Domesman, left a profound mark on the economic life of the priory. (fn. 19) At its first foundation it had little land, but was well endowed with churches; (fn. 20) after its second it possessed the original and the new site, and a considerable holding in Bourn. Soon small donations from the people of Cambridge began to build up a demesne which at last included a third or more of the eastern, or Barnwell Field, and much of the Cambridge Field across the river, (fn. 21) where Dunning, founder of the family which owned the 'School of Pythagoras', gave 50 acres. (fn. 22) Hugh Domesman himself gave 140 acres in the fields and many houses in the town—his whole patrimony from his father Osbert Domesman: (fn. 23) he also 'recovered' the church of Great Wenden in Essex for the canons and acquired land in Madingley. (fn. 24)
Hugh's successor, Robert (nicknamed 'Joel' for his harshness), ruled long and did much for the priory with the help of Sir Everard de Beche, (fn. 25) Sheriff of Cambridgeshire 1170-7, (fn. 26) one of its principal benefactors. He caused the unfinished conventual church to be pulled down, (fn. 27) and built a new one which was dedicated 1 April 1190 by William Longchamp, who granted an indulgence of 40 days. (fn. 28) The bishop also gave, or restored, the churches of Waterbeach, Caldecote, and the canons' first settlement at St. Giles. (fn. 29) This last the prior assigned for the infirmary and the minucio; (fn. 30) he also drew up new constitutions, established the daily Lady Mass, (fn. 31) and endowed the office of precentor with an annual rent of 3 marks. (fn. 32) These constitutions of Robert Joel may have been the first draft of the Observances of Barnwell, which are based upon the Customs of St. Victor. (fn. 33) It may also have been at about this time that a canon named Warin wrote a lost chronicle of the house which the author of the Liber Memorandorum quotes for the donation of Hugh Domesman. (fn. 34) Geoffrey Peche, nephew of William Peverel, who had inherited the patronage of the priory in 1185, (fn. 35) died in 1190, (fn. 36) shortly before the church was finished, as did Everard de Beche, whose tomb was made over against that of Pain Peverel, after whom he was reckoned as 'the second lover of that church' which he had helped Robert Joel to build. (fn. 37) During the reign of Richard I Saher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, gave the priory land and several villeins (including his huntsman) in Chesterton, (fn. 38) and on 27 April 1200 King John granted them that manor at a yearly rent of £30 blanch, on condition that a gift of £10 in alms, made a few months before, should be void. (fn. 39) The Hundred Rolls also credit John with having granted the Barnwell, or Midsummer, Fair to the priory during the Interdict, (fn. 40) but this grant is not recorded in the Liber Memorandorum, which speaks of an earlier festival at the 'Bairns' Well', (fn. 41) and the alleged charter of Henry II confirming the fair for four days 'from the vigil of St. Etheldreda in summer', relied on when, in 1299, the prior was called upon to prove his right to Barnwell Fair, (fn. 42) was probably that actually given by Henry III in 1229. (fn. 43) Robert resigned after 33 years as prior, and lived in retirement for about 3 years more: (fn. 44) William of Devon, who succeeded him, occurs 1202. (fn. 45)
In March 1203 King John lodged at the priory; (fn. 46) Henry III was at the priory several times, (fn. 47) and in 1267 his brother, the King of the Romans, was there. (fn. 48) When, in 1293 Edward I stayed at the castle, instead of at Barnwell, for two whole days, it was said that this had not been done before within the memory of man. (fn. 49) In November 1296 he was again at the priory. (fn. 50) Wine, of the king's gift, was sent from Boston on several occasions. (fn. 51)
In 1119 the patronage of Croyden Church had been given to the canons by Hugh de Crauden, who himself became one of them: in 1212 John de Crauden, one of his descendants, unsuccessfully contended that the gift was made after Hugh had entered religion. (fn. 52) About 1213 Maud de Dives and Asceline de Waterville, daughters of one of the Peche coheiresses, gave the advowson of Burton Coggles in Lincolnshire to Prior William of Bedford (fn. 53) who succeeded William of Devon in that year. (fn. 54) He and Richard de Burgh, who succeeded him, both died within the year, and in 1256 Prior Jolan de Thorley had to prove that he had actually taken seisin. (fn. 55)
Richard de Burgh was the owner, while he was prior, of a beautifully written copy of the Flores Bernardi, (fn. 56) now at Lambeth. (fn. 57) This is almost certainly the work of Laurence, chaplain to Priors William of Devon, William of Bedford, and Richard. He was remembered as the scribe who copied the Legenda in three volumes, which was read in the refectory, the Pastoralia of St. Gregory, a Remedarium Animae, and many other books, besides transcribing the charters of the house. (fn. 58) Little has survived from the library of Barnwell, but the space devoted to it in the Observances is large. (fn. 59)
The great work of Richard's successor, Laurence de Stanesfeld was the building of refectory, guest hall, infirmary, granary, stables, bakehouse, and brewhouse, gatehouse and inner gate of the inclosure. (fn. 60) The chapel for the Lady Mass, dedicated to SS. Mary and Edmund, was finished under him, and was roofed with lead, and the infirmary chapel (in which Laurence's own anniversary was kept) was dedicated 2 October 1222 by John of Fountains, (fn. 61) who dedicated the Lady Chapel 21 January 1229. (fn. 62) Possibly the Almonry was attached to the new gatehouse. The Observances, written down about 50 years later, contain a very full account of this department. (fn. 63) As in many of the larger monasteries, there was an almonry school, (fn. 64) and, in addition to the schoolboys, five poor men 'who are the prelate's poor' were constantly maintained there. (fn. 65) Three secular chantry priests also had their quarters in the almonry. (fn. 66) To the almoner's office were appropriated the church of St. John Zachary in Milnstreet, the manor of Toft, the tithes of Toft, and a number of small rents in and about Cambridge. (fn. 67) The almonry chapel was built by Acius Frere, who died before 1237; he also helped to endow the almoner's office and founded a chantry in the chapel, which was served by one of the three seculars, (fn. 68) another of whom served the chantry of Thomas Tuylet. (fn. 69) The third chantry was that founded by Prior Laurence himself at the prayer of Geoffrey de Barnwell, a priest who gave his large messuage with 5 acres of land and 100 marks to buy further property. By his foundation charter the priest was to be lodged 'in the court of our almonry, with our chaplains and clerks who live there', and was to have one mark a year for clothes, and the daily maintenance of a canon; he was to say mass daily in the almonry. (fn. 70) The five resident poor received their daily allowance from cellarer and kitchener; the schoolboys lived on alms and the almoner seems to have acted as schoolmaster, but his concern was chiefly with the outside poor. For this, over and above his endowments, he had all ale left from supper, all broken meats from refectory, prior's chamber, infirmary, and guest hall, and the portion set before the president in the refectory each day for the soul of the founder. These supplied three poor persons daily, and twice or thrice a week in Lent there were general distributions of beans and peas for pottage. (fn. 71) At Barnwell rotularii were received in the almonry. (fn. 72)
At the Provincial Chapter held at St. Frideswide's in 1234 Laurence de Stanesfeld was joint President. (fn. 73) The support given to Laurence by the laity, 'since there were not then begging Friars everywhere, as there are now', (fn. 74) was shown in continued gifts of land. Geoffrey de Hatfield, sheriff in 1229, gave a knight's fee in Barton; (fn. 75) 151 acres in Comberton were obtained for a rent of 6s. 8d.; (fn. 76) two virgates were given in return for a burial in the conventual church; (fn. 77) the advowson of St. Botolph's Church, given in or before the time of Bishop Eustace, was confirmed to the canons, with a pension out of the benefice, by Hugh Northwold. (fn. 78) In 1241 Hamo Peche, their patron, died in Palestine. (fn. 79) His body was brought back to Barnwell by his son Gilbert, who caused a tomb to be made for him and his grandparents, the elder Hamo and Alice Peverel. Some years later it was the existence of these family tombs in the conventual church which saved the priory from destruction. (fn. 80)
Laurence died in 1251. (fn. 81) He was remembered as at once ascetic and kindly; so devoted to the opus Dei that, when he was too old and sick to walk all the way to his stall, he would have himself carried to the entrance of the choir. His death was followed first by a period of difficulty and then by the Barons' War. The troubles of Henry of Eye, the tenth prior, are attributed in the Liber Memorandorum to the friars, (fn. 82) but it is clear that he, who had been an outstanding success as obedientiary, (fn. 83) could not face financial responsibility. After less than three years, and without the knowledge of his convent, he resigned to the official of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ely being vacant. (fn. 84) He was granted a lodging in the priory, the equivalent of two canons' allowance, and a canon to wait upon him. He lived in retirement for 14 years, supporting his companion out of his allowance, and generous both in almsgiving and in hospitality. (fn. 85) His successor, Jolan de Thorley, found the granaries nearly empty when he took office early in December 1254, and a debt of nearly 600 marks, which he at once set about wiping out. He is described as a shrewd, hard little man, learned in civil law, (fn. 86) the study of which, with that of canon law, was to become something of a tradition at Barnwell, though interest in learning seems to have declined later. (fn. 87) In 1257 the executors of Bishop William of Kilkenny gave 200 marks to the priory for the support of two priests, students of theology in the University of Cambridge, who were to maintain a chantry for him in perpetuity. (fn. 88) The convent covenanted to pay the students 10 marks a year, secured on their lands in Wiggenhall, and the chaplains were to be chosen jointly by the prior and the Chancellor of the University; (fn. 89) but in 1286 the chancellor had to sue the prior for arrears of the stipend of the scholar-chaplains. (fn. 90)
Jolan proved his right to the Burton Coggles advowson, (fn. 91) acquired additional land in Madingley and Barton, (fn. 92) and obtained the appropriation of All-Saints-by-the-Castle from Bishop Hugh de Balsham and assigned it to the infirmarian, subject to the payment of 10 marks yearly to Bishop Kilkenny's chaplains. (fn. 93) He also rebuilt the western range of the cloister, built a new lodging and chapel for the prior, and was at last able to raise the number of canons to the 30 for which Pain Peverel had planned his foundation. (fn. 94) Between 1263 and the end of 1266, when he resigned, misfortunes sufficient to cause a breakdown in his health overtook Jolan. (fn. 95) While the 'Disinherited' were holding out in the Isle of Ely there were raids from that refuge, in one of which the prior's manor-house at Bourn was burnt, (fn. 96) while at another time the priory itself was threatened, and the prior's own life in danger. Some of the insurgents held him responsible for the hanging of Sir Walter de Cottenham, a supporter of Earl Simon. Jolan took shelter in Waltham Abbey, and the priory was saved because Hugh and Robert Peche, who were with the rebels, protected the church where their father was buried. (fn. 97) Jolan lived for 18 years after his resignation and during that time made himself responsible for building the greater part of the chapter-house and two more sides of the cloister. Archbishop Pecham's visitation in 1283 reduced his lavish allowance to a pension of 100s. and a single chamber in the infirmary instead of a suite of rooms. Two years later he died. (fn. 98)
With the election as prior of Simon de Ascellis, the chamberlain, (fn. 99) an important chapter opened in the relation of Barnwell to the University. Simon had graduated in Arts at Oxford and been a lecturer in Civil Law at Cambridge before he became a canon. He helped to conduct negotiations between Henry III and the Pope about the war in Apulia, was the official of Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, and had been the king's custos in the archbishopric of York during a vacancy. (fn. 100) Having taken the habit of religion in consequence of a grave illness, he was excused his noviciate and installed among the seniors at Barnwell before he was professed or ordained. Ten years later he was elected prior.
A large part of Book III of the Liber Memorandorum, which relates chiefly to legal matters, is concerned with the relation of the priory under Simon to the University and to religious orders then newly arrived in Cambridge. (fn. 101) In 1274 Simon was summoned to the Council of Lyons, but, pleading ill-health and the need for economy, sent a canon, Richard de Needham, as his deputy. (fn. 102) William de St. Omer, one of the king's judges, stayed at the priory in 1268 with a large retinue, his wife, and a train of 22 women. On some pretext he tried to fine the prior 40s., but the fine was avoided by Simon's legal adroitness. (fn. 103) Perhaps the real reason behind the case of Alan de Freston, Archdeacon of Norfolk (who had been retained for life as advocate for the prior and convent by Jolan de Thorley and 30 years later sued Simon for arrears of salary), was that Simon, the lawyer, was doing the litigious business of his priory for himself. (fn. 104)
In 1277 Archbishop Kilwardby arrived at Barnwell 16 December, spent that day in visiting the Cambridge deanery, either in the chapterhouse or in the parochial chapel, and slept the night in the priory. Returning to Barnwell on the last day of the year, he rested there on Saturday, 1 January 1278, preached in the chapter on Sunday, and carried out his visitation on 3 January. (fn. 105)
It was probably about this time that Eve, the 'overseas' lady married to Hamo Peche, died at a great age, and was buried by the side of her husband and youngest son. (fn. 106) Her son Gilbert gave his rights as patron to Edward and Queen Eleanor, (fn. 107) and in 1285 his charter, by which he had defined the founder's rights, was confirmed by the king together with all the royal charters concerning Chesterton. (fn. 108) Henceforward on a vacancy one or two canons must be sent to the king to ask leave to elect a prior. Having asked, the convent was free to proceed to the election, even if no licence were granted. Until the election was complete the king might quarter one of his servants upon the priory, with a horse and groom, in name of simple seisin, to manage the temporal affairs of the house and its officials. (fn. 109)
During compline on 3 February 1287 the tower of the conventual church was struck by lightning, (fn. 110) and, as the mischief was not located until the cross and weathervane fell and set neighbouring buildings on fire, the church was almost burnt out. Bells and windows were broken, roofs melted, a clock destroyed, and for a whole year the original Lady Chapel was used for service. In March 1288, notwithstanding a dispute as to whether reconsecration or merely reconciliation was required, John de Kirkeby, Bishop of Ely, was asked to reconcile the church. He came, but finding the church still badly damaged, and being drawn into the dispute, quarrelled furiously with Simon de Ascellis, excommunicated everyone concerned, and rode away. Next day he withdrew the excommunication, but continued to nurse his anger against the canons; which, adds their chronicler, 'was very bad for them in their business with the Barons of the Exchequer, for he was then Treasurer'. (fn. 111) This business was that of the subsidies, of which they were sub-collectors. In July 1294 the priory was seized by the sheriff because the tenth due from the Bishop of Ely was three years in arrear: however, the bishop paid it promptly, and the temporalities were restored. (fn. 112) On 30 September a fresh mandate to collect was issued to both Ely and Barnwell, and protection given to all houses, including these two, which had paid their share. (fn. 113) Another appointment as sub-collectors was made in December 1295. (fn. 114)
At this period the Chancellor of the University was trying to assert his authority over the priory. Reynold de Gresinghale, the chancellor, was first witness to Gilbert Peche's charter of 1256, (fn. 115) and Robert de Fulbourn, who had held the office, (fn. 116) was a benefactor, 'whose like has not been found in our time', before he died in 1285 in the canon's habit, leaving them a stone house to found a chantry for him. (fn. 117) This house Ralph de Leycestre, a regent master, desired to hire as his hostel in 1292, but the prior was unwilling to accept his pledge. Leycestre then went to the chancellor, who accepted the pledge and admitted him to tenancy: he then refused to pay rent unless the prior sued him in the chancellor's court. Simon denied his liability to appear before the chancellor, and brought an action of novel disseisin 'whereat all the University was vehemently astonished'. (fn. 118) On another occasion the chancellor excommunicated a canon who refused to submit to his jurisdiction, and Simon for ignoring citation to his court. (fn. 119) In both these cases the official of the Bishop of Ely secured a compromise.
In Lent 1293 the king was at Cambridge Castle, but from 25 January until after Easter fifty of his horses were at the priory in charge of John de Ristone, who is called 'our good friend and a brother of our chapter', (fn. 120) that is, probably, a member of the confraternity. John Langton, the king's chancellor, also spent Easter there, (fn. 121) and in Holy Week William of Louth, Bishop of Ely, concluded a visitation of his whole diocese 'which had never been done before by a Bishop of Ely' by the further innovation of consecrating the chrism and reconciling penitents in the priory church. (fn. 122) In the octave of Epiphany 1295 Archbishop Winchelsey, returning from his successful suit to the papal court, passed through Cambridge on his way to do homage to the king in Wales, and lodged at Barnwell. 'A procession of the canons and of all the Cambridge Friars, and of the University, and priests' went out to meet him, 'and the canons were in silk copes'. (fn. 123) Later in the year Barnwell paid 6 marks in procuration to the legates who came to negotiate a peace between Edward I and the King of France. (fn. 124) In 1297 Simon de Ascellis resigned. (fn. 125) Internal evidence shows the Liber Memorandorum to have been begun in 1295 and finished about July 1296, (fn. 126) but a short note in another hand records his death on 8 September, and adds that he was held in honour among clerks, was frequently select preacher at the chapter of his Order, and often elected one of the presidents. (fn. 127) The records of most of these chapters of the southern province are lost for Simon's time, but he is known to have presided as deputy for the Abbot of Leicester at a chapter at Leicester in 1276. (fn. 128) At this meeting a statute that the sick must be nursed by conversi, and not by secular persons, was revoked. This may reflect an increasing difficulty in obtaining the unpaid labour of lay-brethren, although at Barnwell they played quite an important part at least until the last quarter of the thirteenth century. (fn. 129) Besides the lay-brothers there were numerous secular subordinates such as the servants of infirmary, tailor's department, and sacrist, who alone of secular persons might enter the dormitory; (fn. 130) the almonry servants, carefully chosen lest they should send scraps to outside laundresses or cobblers and to personal friends, (fn. 131) and the serving lads who were to accompany laybrethren going on business beyond the precincts. (fn. 132) Secular physicians visited the sick, (fn. 133) and the Observances provide for a laundress, (fn. 134) but there is no trace of women servants actually employed at Barnwell. The cellarer, to whom the laybrethren were responsible, was also to have charge of all who worked in the manors, 'the men who thresh and the women who winnow'. He was to be so constantly in the manors that, although he ought to keep the weekly time-table and hear or say mass every day, he had permanent licence to say his hours in private and be free of reading or serving in the refectory; (fn. 135) his work in the house was to be done by a sub-cellarer, (fn. 136) the cellarer thus approximating to an estate-agent. But the actual records of the priory show two receivers, one for Chesterton and one for the other manors, doing much of the work here assigned to the cellarer; (fn. 137) there is no trace of a sub-cellarer, and the cellarer seems to be fulfilling his usual function of storekeeper and head of the department to which refectorer and kitchener also belonged. The Observances suppose the existence of seventeen obedientiaries, (fn. 138) but it is improbable that all the offices were ever filled at Barnwell. Of the conversi, however, who appear in the narrative, the picture seems fairly accurate. A lay-brother might be received after only 8 days' training; (fn. 139) when he was dying he received unction from the sub-prior—the dying canon was anointed by the prior (fn. 140) —and he was carried to burial by other lay-brethren, wearing the scapular, which they alone used. (fn. 141) The sacrist was permitted to apply a corrody, equal to the allowance for one canon, to the maintenance of any mason, plumber, or glazier temporarily working on the church. (fn. 142) The prior was paramount within his monastery but had the assistance of the sub-prior, and theoretically of a third prior, (fn. 143) as well as of a committee of prudentiores et religiosiores, or seniors. (fn. 144) The only manual work done by the canons regular was probably writing, and the precentor, who was librarian, had charge of the scriptorium, as well as of all the books. (fn. 145)
How large the property of the priory had become in the town of Cambridge is shown by the tallage of 1312-13: under this levy the highest amounts paid by other religious communities were 40s. from St. John's Hospital and 22s. 5½d. from St. Radegund's; Barnwell paid £11 6s. in the town, and £2 13s. 10½d. in Chesterton, (fn. 146) where in 1313 the canons acquired a further 61 acres of arable and 4 of meadow land. (fn. 147) In 1299 Edward I gave to Margaret, his second wife, the farm of the manor of Chesterton, to be paid by the Prior and Canons of Barnwell, as part of her dowry. (fn. 148) In 1462 Henry VI gave the scholars of King's Hall a permanent grant of £25 6s. 8d. from the feefarm 'by the hand of the Prior of Barnwell'. (fn. 149) The king also claimed a corrody in Barnwell, (fn. 150) and in 1409 Henry IV demanded a pension from the priory for one of his clerks 'wherein they are bound by reason of the new creation of the prior' until they could provide the clerk with a benefice. (fn. 151) Henry VIII appointed his yeoman of the wardrobe to the corrody in 1513, (fn. 152) and at the Dissolution the Bishop of Ely as well as the king had the disposal of one of these. (fn. 153)
For long periods together Barnwell was appointed to collect clerical subsidies after almost every meeting of Convocation. (fn. 154) The anomalous position had arisen that, while the religious houses, which came to be looked upon as the chief bulwark of Rome, were collecting for the king, Peter's Pence and other papal exactions, such as the procurations of nuncios, were paid to the archdeacon, or the bishop's official—representative members of the secular clergy. (fn. 155) In this diocese these were probably paid to the archdeacon within the walls of Barnwell Priory, although not by the agency of the community; for at Barnwell, and not at Ely, the diocesan synod met twice every year, at Trinity-tide and about St. Luke's Day. (fn. 156) To these synods not only the parochial clergy but also representatives of all religious houses owning rectories in the diocese were summoned 'because the conventual church of Barnwell was the place appointed for the payment of synodals'.
In September 1315 Edward II was staying at Barnwell, (fn. 157) and on 3 December Canon John de Quy was sent to report Prior Benedict's resignation to him, and received the licence to elect. (fn. 158) On 23 January 1316 Fulk, prior-elect, was pardoned for having procured confirmation of his election from the Bishop of Ely before receiving the royal assent. In recognition of the pardon he undertook to say 25 masses within the year in his own chapel of the Holy Spirit for the good estate of the king and the realm. (fn. 159) Edward II, who again visited Barnwell in February 1326, (fn. 160) had, about 1317, given some books to the group of scholars under his patronage which developed into King's Hall, (fn. 161) and these Queen Isabel took away when, (fn. 162) later in 1326, she came from Bury to Cambridge under arms against her husband, and lodged for several days at the priory. (fn. 163)
The Augustinian chapter for the province of Canterbury had met at Barnwell in 1312, but its acts have not been preserved; (fn. 164) from 1334 to 1339 Fulk's successor, John de Quy, was president, or president-elect, of the chapter, and some of his correspondence in that capacity exists. (fn. 165) In 1340, when he should again have been president, he was probably sick, for his place was taken by the Prior of Bicester, (fn. 166) and he died at the end of the year. (fn. 167) There were only seven canons fully professed and in priests' orders to elect his successor, John de Brunne.
Lisle, the new Bishop of Ely, summoned his first synod for October 1342 in Barnwell. (fn. 168) He was abroad at the time and went abroad again in 1348, leaving six vicars-general, of whom Alan de Walsingham stood first in order of precedence and the Prior of Barnwell second. (fn. 169) While the Black Death was at its worst in April 1349, Lisle increased his vicars-general to eight, and this time the Prior of Barnwell stood first, with power to fill all vacant benefices, (fn. 170) but John de Brunne can never have received his commission, for he died in May. (fn. 171)
There is little to show how far the community at Barnwell was affected by the Black Death. The prior may have been a victim, but numbers were higher towards the end of the century than 4 years before the plague. The handwriting of the manorial register shows no break; the scribe worked on through the epidemic and survived it. (fn. 172) In July 1349 a canon, John de Wrattlesworth, was sent to Waterbeach instead of a secular vicar, (fn. 173) and he was followed by another, John of Canterbury, in July 1352, (fn. 174) but a secular priest was presented in 1390; (fn. 175) Henry Fencotes, a canon, followed him, (fn. 176) and for the last 100 years or so of the priory's existence Waterbeach was served almost entirely by canons. The Lateran Council of 1179 had forbidden the placing of one Regular alone in charge of a parish, but after the Black Death the practice revived, and in the last years of the century papal sanction was common. In April 1399 Barnwell was licensed to have St. John Zachary served by either canon or secular priest removable at will, (fn. 177) and this seems only to have regularized an existing state of things, for in 1396 John Asshefold, S.T.P., canon of Barnwell, had been presented by the prior and convent. (fn. 178) In 1402 Parliament forbade the practice, (fn. 179) but the regulation remained a dead letter, and in that very year John Barnwell, the prior, and Thomas Brassington, one of his canons, had papal dispensation to hold benefices generally served by seculars. (fn. 180) In 1407 Brassington was presented to St. John Zachary. (fn. 181)
The Corpus Christi and St. Mary's Gilds had licence to found their college in 1352, (fn. 182) endowing it largely with land purchased from Barnwell Priory for the purpose. In 1357 Canon John of Canterbury, the vicar of Waterbeach, entered the Corpus Christi Gild, (fn. 183) and in 1359 the priory sold property in Landbeach to the college. (fn. 184) St. Botolph's Church had been leased in 1353 for a rent of 4 marks. (fn. 185)
On the death of John de Brunne, Ralph Norton was elected prior, and about 5 months later a canon named Simon of Séez, a lawyer practising in the papal court at Avignon, appeared with a provision to the office of prior. (fn. 186) The canons refused him admission on the ground that they already had a prior, and that the king was their patron. Simon threatened action in the papal courts, and the canons reported the attempted invasion to the king. On 4 February 1350 instructions were issued to attach his person and those of his proctors for having brought into England undisclosed letters tending to undermine the rights of the king. (fn. 187) In 1352 he renounced all right to the priory by provision, and was given a protection for himself and his retinue to further the king's business at Avignon. Once there, he procured an annulment of Ralph Norton's election and a provision for himself to the Abbey of Bourne, to be held with Barnwell. He returned with this to England in 1355, but in 1356 was a fugitive from justice, and after 5 November of that year disappears from the records. (fn. 188)
The provincial chapters of 1325 (fn. 189) and 1356 (fn. 190) were chiefly concerned with the universities, the acts of the latter first mentioning a Prior studentium for Augustinians, and laying down that they should live together as far as possible. The chapter of 1365, held at Barnwell, went farther. A halfpenny upon every mark of spirituals as well as temporals was to be raised in each house before Easter 1366 for the students' maintenance, in as much as the order had not 'any special hostels as certain other Religious have'; prelates failing to send students were to be fined £10 for every year of default, and scholars proceeding to the higher degrees were to be paid for by their own houses. (fn. 191) At the chapter of 1368 the Prior of Barnwell was appointed with two others to receive the proceeds of the levy and of all fines in St. Michael's Church at Cambridge before 1 August, and to account for their receipts at the chapter of 1371. (fn. 192) This, which was held at Newstead, decreed that the two Priors of Students were to hold their chapters in St. Frideswide's and Barnwell respectively, and not in private houses. (fn. 193) No Augustinian college was ever founded at Cambridge, and Barnwell remained the centre for students of the Order at Cambridge until the Dissolution, although the visitors at another chapter at Barnwell in 1386 urged the enforcing of the levy with a view to founding hostels. (fn. 194) Nearly a century later Henry Burton (or Barton), Prior of St. Mary Overy, Southwark (1468-86), planned, with the aid of the prelates of the Order, to build a place in Cambridge for students of the Order, who should be under the rule of a Prior of the students. He bought 2 messuages in Cambridge for the site, and 112 acres of land in Teversham for its endowment, but after his death no more was heard of this scheme for a college of Austin Canons. (fn. 195)
Numbers had risen in the late 14th century and the house was prosperous, for in the clerical polltax of 1379 Ralph Norton paid £3 and his 16 canons at the highest rate of 3s. 4d. each. (fn. 196) An archiepiscopal visitation in 1373 which found much to correct at the Benedictine houses recorded nothing wrong at Barnwell. (fn. 197) The wealth of the house, however, the standing dispute with the town about common rights, (fn. 198) and the priors' policy of inclosure, made the priory an object of attack during the Peasants' Revolt, and the mob which attacked Barnwell was led by the mayor. On Monday, 17 June 1381, the townsfolk broke into the priory precincts, pulled down walls, and felled trees. They destroyed the pales of the water-gate and carried off the gates, and stole fish, turf, and sedge from the store. (fn. 199) At the assize held at Cambridge on 3 July the prior put the damage done in the close at £400, and his whole loss as £1,000 (fn. 200) —certainly an exaggeration, but not manifestly absurd. The mayor, Edmund Redmeadowe, pleaded that he acted under compulsion, and that a crowd of more than 1,000 persons had collected before the attack. He was imprisoned for a while, let out on bail, and finally removed from his office. (fn. 201) On 23 July Bishop Arundel issued an admonition to all who had been involved in the riot at Barnwell to make restitution on pain of the greater excommunication. (fn. 202) The prior had had licence on 7 July to recover all that he could prove was his by whatever means he could, no matter into whose hands the goods had come. (fn. 203) Immediately after the rising seven religious houses, of which Barnwell was one, made complaint that their tenants were throwing off their allegiance. (fn. 204) A week later Barnwell received a confirmation of its charters. (fn. 205)
Gifts of real property had come almost to an end by this time, although purchases continued; (fn. 206) one of the last alms was one of six shops and some houses outside Aldersgate in London, given in 1369 by John Noket, a priest of Barnwell origin. (fn. 207)
On 9 September 1388 Parliament met at Cambridge. The king and his court lodged at Barnwell Priory until the end of the session on 17 October. (fn. 208) On 20 September John Waltham, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and one of the most politically minded of the supporters of Richard II, was consecrated in the priory church by Archbishop Courtenay, having been provided to the see of Salisbury. (fn. 209) John Fordham, Richard's treasurer, took his oath of canonical obedience as Bishop of Ely at the priory on 27 September. (fn. 210)
Richard II extended the duration of Midsummer Fair from 3 to 14 days; (fn. 211) and in 1394 he intervened to prevent threatened meetings of the commonalty and of members of the University to break up the fair. (fn. 212) In 1392 Ralph Norton died, and was succeeded by John de Bernewelle, (fn. 213) whose personal name was Outlawe; (fn. 214) possibly a canon of West Dereham, and one of the three brothers of that name, all professed there, who were manumitted by Bishop Arundel with papal permission in 1387 at the request of the Bishop of Norwich. (fn. 215) A lease involving the tithes of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, was negotiated between Barnwell and West Dereham after Bernewelle became prior. This led to a case before the papal court in 1399, in respect of liability for repairs to the chancel, for which the prior was adjudged responsible. (fn. 216) Soon after the Dissolution, when a former canon of Barnwell was still incumbent of the parochial chapel of St. Andrew there, it was reported that many Barnwell inhabitants resorted to Holy Trinity as their parish church. (fn. 217) St. Andrew's was accounted an integral part of the priory, for when in 1377 the archdeacon's official intervened in a dispute between two women parishioners, it was found that he had exceeded his jurisdiction, the chaplain Dns. Robert 'notoriously dwelling within the said priory' and being exempt from the archdeacon's jurisdiction. On 14 February 1378 the bishop's official called the apparitor of the deanery of Cambridge before him in the chapter-house of Barnwell, Ralph Norton, the prior, the steward, John de Birton, and John de Kirkby, the sacrist, being present, and charged him with having carried his wand of office within the precincts of the priory 'to the injury both of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ely and of the exemption and immunity of the Prior and Convent'. The wand was surrendered to the official and restored at the prior's plea after formal apology. (fn. 218)
Inclosures at Chesterton had brought the disputes between the priory and its tenants to a head in the early part of the 15th century. In 1404 as lord of the manor of Chesterton the prior brought a suit against his 'bondsmen and tenants in bondage . . . who had leagued themselves together to refuse their due customs and services' against the provisions of the Statute of Labourers. (fn. 219) Thomas Paunfield, one of the tenants who had defied the prior, alleged that in 1405 he had been set upon between Cambridge and Sturbridge Chapel by William Downe (who had since become prior) and other canons and servants of the priory acting under the orders of the prior, John Outlawe, assaulted, and deprived of various books and documents. (fn. 220) In July 1411 the priory 'being of the King's patronage' was taken into his hand, and his half-brother, Thomas Beaufort, appointed keeper, because it had 'through bad governance become charged with great pensions and corrodies and burdened with debt', and many of its lands and churches had been unwisely farmed or alienated. (fn. 221)
On 6 July 1430 Martin V assigned the prior, with John Depyng, Canon of Lincoln, to examine alleged copies of letters, one of Honorius I, dated 7 February 625, and one of Sergius I, dated 3 May 699, which granted exemption from all episcopal or other interference to the 'Masters, Doctors and Scholars' of the University. Depyng did not act, but in due course the prior reported in favour of the letters and that the University had enjoyed the privileges which it claimed from time immemorial. On 18 September 1433 Eugenius IV confirmed the award, (fn. 222) and, when the chancellor of the Bishop of Ely appealed to Wolsey in 1528 against excommunication pronounced on him for infringing the privileges of the University by himself excommunicating one of its members, the cardinal rejected his appeal on the ground of this 'Process of the Prior of Barnwell'. (fn. 223)
Almost immediately after this award fresh impetus was given to the movement for separate colleges for the religious in both universities. (fn. 224) All the acts of the General Chapter of the Augustinians at Northampton in 1434 dealt with university and educational matters, (fn. 225) but the college, when it came, was at Oxford. At a chapter at Oseney in 1443 St. Mary's College was solemnly founded, (fn. 226) and Barnwell, like other houses of the Order, had to pay its quota towards building and maintenance. At the same time the prior, with 18 others, was fined for having had no student at either university for the past 3 years. (fn. 227)
In 1446, Henry VI having caused several religious houses to grant him land for the site of King's College, Barnwell lost St. John Zachary and St. Edward's; the first being pulled down to make room for building and the second made the church of both parishes. (fn. 228) The canons, failing to obtain the church of Kingston which had been promised in compensation, petitioned the Bishop of Ely for the appropriation of the church of Stowcum-Quy, which was granted to them in 1457, with permission to serve the church by a canon of the house. (fn. 229) In 1459 St. Botolph's Church was conveyed to Corpus Christi College, (fn. 230) who had held it on lease for the past 100 years.
During the Wars of the Roses the number of canons seems to have fallen again. In 1379 there had been 17; (fn. 231) in 1455 there were 12 canons including the prior, of whom 7 were obedientiaries —the sub-prior, cellarer, sacrist, precentor, kitchener, and the receiver, (fn. 232) in whose accounts the list occurs—as against the theoretical 17 of the Observances. Eleven—two or more of them in deacons' orders—took part in the election of John Whaddon as prior in 1464; (fn. 233) only 7, one being contumaciously absent, elected William Tebbald in 1474. (fn. 234) In 1489, however, there were 14 canons at the election of John Leverington. (fn. 235)
Although the place of Barnwell as a royal lodging had now been taken by certain of the colleges, visitors of importance still stayed there, as is shown by presents sent by the town treasurers. In 1425 £2 1s. 6d. was thus expended in wine for the Justices of Assize and money presents to their servants at Barnwell; (fn. 236) in 1486 wine and other presents were sent there for the Earl of Oxford: (fn. 237) Bishop Alcock stayed sometimes at the priory and sometimes at Peterhouse. In 1489 the treasurers paid 2s. for wine for him at Barnwell (fn. 238) and in 1496 sent fish to the value of 6s. 4d., a flagon of red wine and a flagon of Malmsey. (fn. 239) Bishop West wrote to Wolsey in 1516 from Barnwell, where he was lying very ill, (fn. 240) and was at Barnwell again in 1521 (fn. 241) and 1527. (fn. 242)
In 1487 Richard Brocher, rector of Landbeach, left to William Tebbald, the prior, an image of St. John in gold set with pearls, and to the prior and convent 20s. for prayers; (fn. 243) and in 1492 John Colyns, vicar of Madingley, left 20s. to the house collectively, 6s. 8d. to the prior, and 12d. to each canon. (fn. 244) Their benefactor, Sir John Cheyne, who desired in 1489 to be buried in the Lady Chapel at the conventual church near Dame Elizabeth, his first wife, was sufficiently important for his name to be written (as was that of his father) into the calendar at the beginning of the Liber Memorandorum. (fn. 245) The tomb for Sir John and his wife was to be made 'after the form of the sepulchre of my father Laurence Cheyne'. (fn. 246) These were perhaps the two marble tombs expressly mentioned at the Dissolution. (fn. 247) Prior John Leverington died in 1495 (fn. 248) and was succeeded by William Cambridge, or Rayson, a member of an important burgess family, (fn. 249) a fact which may account for benefactions to the priory from two merchants, one of the same family.
In 1502 John Keynsham, alderman, left to the priory his house in Bridge Street after his wife's death, in return for an obit to be kept every year on the Monday after 7 July with placebo and dirige in the evening and a sung mass on the following day. To ensure its continuance he appointed the mayor, bailiffs, treasurers, and subbailiffs of the town trustees, and willed that 6s. 8d. from the treasurers' funds should be spent on a 'jonchett' to be held immediately after the dirige, at which the mayor and other officers were to partake of bread and cheese and ale and give alms to the poor. To cover the cost to the town Keynsham and his wife surrendered to the treasurers their booths in Sturbridge Fair. (fn. 250) The supper long survived the dissolution of the priory, although the day seems to have been changed, and in 1669 the mayor and aldermen still went with the Twenty-four to feast on bacon and stewed prunes at the expense of the owner of Barnwell 'abbey' and received a gift of wine and sugar from the town. (fn. 251) In 1503-4 Thomas King of Wisbech founded an anniversary in Barnwell Priory secured upon his property, including the 'Falcon' in Petty Cury, the obit to be kept upon the first Friday in Lent and the endowment to revert to Michaelhouse in default. (fn. 252) Richard King was the husband of Alice, daughter and heir of Alice Baldwin or Rayson, wife of John Rayson, for whose souls the foundation was made. The will affords a clue to the average number of canons in Barnwell at the time, for he left for the obit 16d. to the prior, 8d. to every canon in priest's orders, not exceeding 12, and 4d. to every canon not in priest's orders, not exceeding 5. The prior or sub-prior was to be celebrant and the master of 'Michaelhouse was to be present, or represented by a fellow, and to have 2s. and his breakfast after mass at the prior's table, while his servant breakfasted with the prior's servant. Some idea of the household of the canons a few years after this may be gained from the poll-tax returns of 1512, when the Prior of Barnwell had 11 servants living in the priory. Of these 8 were officials receiving wages from £1 to £2, three took the wages of a 'common labourer', and one is so described. (fn. 253)
In 1498 Barnwell leased Midsummer Fair to the burgesses for one year: (fn. 254) and in 1505 it was agreed that the mayor and burgesses should hold Midsummer Fair of the priory in perpetuity, paying a rent of 4 marks yearly and recognizing the rights of the prior in proclaiming the fair. (fn. 255)
The chamberlain's account for 1498-9 (which was kept by the prior) (fn. 256) shows that at that time St. Giles and the rectory of Harston were farmed and the proceeds applied to the clothing account, (fn. 257) which at Barnwell, as elsewhere, had become a regular system of cash payments to the canons, of whom there were then 14, all but 2 of them priests. William Massey, the student of civil law, and now sub-prior, received 50s., 9 canons 40s., and 2 novices in minor orders had broken sums, representing the balance of an allowance for outfits at their 'Clothing' on entering religion. (fn. 258) These two, Thomas Rawlyn and William Cropley, were both ordained sub-deacon in 1500, (fn. 259) and Rawlyn became prior in 1522. Outgoings show a good deal of building material under the head of 'repairs', and parchment and ink for the receiver's account books cost 24s., and for copying an antiphonar 38s. 9½d.; alms to mendicant friars and the poor accounted for 4s. 2d., and a corrody for 31s. 10d. The total amount allocated was £393, the convent debt, £34 10s. 5¼d.
In 1507-8, when Warin Asche rendered the chamberlain's account, there were 9 canons and 3 novices. (fn. 260)
At the chapter at Leicester in 1509 the Prior of Barnwell was definitor and Master Andrew Sayne, Canon of Barnwell, one of three select preachers in English. (fn. 261) In 1518 Wolsey held a chapter at Leicester, as legate with commission to reform the Order, described as falling to ruin. At the chapter the prior of the students was appointed to represent Cambridge because no other representative was present. (fn. 262)
There is little doubt that the election of Thomas Rawlyn as Prior of Barnwell, on Rayson's death (fn. 263) (though perhaps carried out by the canons of Barnwell, since he was of their number) was made under Wolsey's influence. It is probable that he was related to Wolsey's influential clerk of the same name, and possible that he was the Thomas Rawlins whom Wolsey tried to impose upon Butley as prior in January 1529. (fn. 264) Wolsey finally allowed the canons of Butley to elect one of their own number, (fn. 265) and Rawlyn remained Prior of Barnwell until about January 1531, when, within a few weeks of the cardinal's death, he resigned. (fn. 266)
On 26 January 1531 licence to elect a prior was given upon the resignation of Thomas 'Cambridge', (fn. 267) and on 5 March the royal assent was given to the election of Nicholas Smythe, (fn. 268) who had been Prior of Huntingdon from 1503 to 1510 when he resigned to become prior of the small Bedfordshire priory of Bushmead. (fn. 269) He resigned Bushmead to accept Barnwell. In 1534 it was reported to Cromwell that the Prior of Barnwell had sued for 'free election and royal assent' without doing fealty by writ or otherwise or suing for restoration of the temporalities, although Rawlyn had done so; (fn. 270) the king thereupon ordered Thomas Goodrich, the new Bishop of Ely, to remove the prior and appoint another, failing which he would himself take action in virtue of the royal supremacy. (fn. 271) Goodrich, almost immediately after his appointment, had carried out a visitation of the religious houses of his diocese, and, coming to Barnwell on 27 September, had already 'deposed' Smythe. (fn. 272) Licence to elect his successor was given on 7 November (fn. 273) and on 22 November the bishop was directed to confirm the election of John, or Jonas, Badcock, (fn. 274) a canon of the house. Of the 15 members of the community at Goodrich's visitation, 5 appear to have been novices; they were apparently not priests, and in 1538 they neither signed the surrender nor received pensions. The prior's accounts for 15345 record heavy expenses about his 'election', and a payment of £3 6s. 8d. to 'Master Dr. Lee, the king's visitor'. (fn. 275) The value of the house in this year was put at £256 11s. 10d. (fn. 276)
Badcock, having been presented to Goodrich by the king himself, was regarded as well-affected, and in 1536 was summoned with 76 other persons of importance to attend the king in putting down the rising in Lincolnshire which preceded the more formidable Pilgrimage of Grace. On 12 October a letter under the Privy Signet informed him that the rebellion had been put down by the king's loyal subjects, but that he was to be prepared to apprehend fugitives. (fn. 277)
Like most of the monasteries dissolved at this time the priory contained more servants than professed religious, and here the disproportion was large: there were 16 or 17 secular persons in residence, including 2 singing boys, who were all given small sums on leaving the house. The prior received a pension of £60 and £4 reward; the rewards of the others were 40s. each. Richard Harnam, probably sub-prior, had a pension of £6 6s. 8d.; the veteran Warin Asche, who had been sub-prior at Goodrich's visitation, and two others, had £6; the other two £5 6s. 8d. each. Besides those who signed the surrender the two deposed priors had their pensions; Smythe's was reduced from £20 to £18; Thomas Rawlyn had £11. (fn. 278)
Among the church furniture sold by the commissioners (fn. 279) were 'tables of alebaster' from all the side altars, a 'payr of organis', a clock, a few images of wood and alabaster, and the usual lamps, candlesticks, and bell, as well as the choir-stalls and much timber from partitions and ironwork from grilles. The only pieces of plate recorded are 3 small spoons, 2 chalices, and a salt. Four chapels and two altars besides the high altar are mentioned as having been in the church, and there was a plentiful supply of vestments. The cloister was furnished, in addition to its 'ould laver of brass' and 'laver of laye metall', with 'certain ould seats', which suggests that it contained carrels for study, while the wooden partitions or 'cells' from the dormitory show that the canons had adopted the cubicle system. (fn. 280) The unroofed walls remained standing, and in 1540 the six bells were still hanging, and the material of the church was valued at £61 15s. 2d. By 1578 the place had become a quarry, (fn. 281) but substantial ruins existed until 1810, when deliberate and thorough destruction was put in hand: (fn. 282) as a result of this, careful excavation in 1886 yielded very little, and of the whole priory hardly anything remains but the building known as the cellarer's checker. (fn. 283)
Of the three former priors and six remaining canons at the Dissolution, Rawlyn may perhaps be identified with Sir Thomas Rawlyns, chaplain of Chesterton, who died in 1543: (fn. 284) Nicholas Smythe was drawing his pension in 1551, (fn. 285) and may be the Nicholas Smythe who had recently been chaplain at a Norwich church in 1555; (fn. 286) Warin Asche does not appear in the pension list for 1539, and can hardly have survived that year; Richard Irnham (perhaps the canon 'Harnam') was chaplain of St. Andrew the Less, the parochial chapel of his old monastery, in 1543, (fn. 287) and an Edward Ball was curate of Stanton All Saints in the same year. (fn. 288) Robert Wysse, William Raynes, and Thomas Palmer have not been traced beyond November 1539, when they drew their pensions. (fn. 289) Badcock, in addition to his pension of £60, had the rectory of Upwell, (fn. 290) and also farmed certain of the Barnwell lands and tithes. (fn. 291)
Priors of Barnwell (fn. 292)
Geoffrey, c. 1092, died c. 1112
Gerard, c. 1112, died c. 1150
Richard Norel, c. 1150, resigned c. 1152
Hugh Domesman, c. 1152, died c. 1170
Robert, called 'Joel', c. 1170, occurs 1199, resigned c. 1202
William of Devon, occurs 1202, died 25 May 1213
William of Bedford, elected 23 Oct. 1213, died shortly afterwards
Richard de Burgh, elected and died 1213
Laurence de Stanesfeld, elected 1213-14, died 1251
Henry of Eye, elected 1251-2, resigned after 6 Aug. 1254
Jolan de Thorley, elected 1254, resigned 1265-6
Simon de Ascellis, (fn. 293) elected 6 Sept. 1266, resigned 20 June 1297
Benedict de Welton, elected June 1297, resigned Dec. 1315
Fulk, elected 1315-16, died Jan. 1329
John de Quye, elected Feb. 1329, died Nov. 1340
John de Brunne, elected 20 Nov. 1340, died May 1349
Ralph de Norton, elected June 1349, died March 1392
John de Bernewelle, or Outlawe, elected March 1392, died Nov. 1408
William Downe, elected Nov. 1408, died Oct. 1428
John Chatteris, or Page, (fn. 294) elected Nov. 1428, died Apr. 1441
John Bernewell, or Poket, elected Apr. 1441, died Sept. 1464
John Whaddon, elected Sept. 1464, resigned Nov. 1474
William Tebbald, elected 26 Nov. 1474, died 6 Aug. 1489
John Leverington, elected 20 Aug. 1489, died Dec. 1495
William Cambridge, or Rayson, (fn. 295) elected Dec. 1495, died 11 Feb. 1522
Thomas Rawlyn, or Cambridge, elected Feb. 1522, resigned Jan. 1531
Nicholas Smythe, elected Jan. 1531, resigned Nov. 1534
Jonas (fn. 296) Badcock, or Cambridge, elected Nov. 1534, surrendered 8 Nov. 1538
The common seal (fn. 297) of the priory is oval (2¾ × 2 inches), showing an ecclesiastic, vested, holding in his right hand a staff ending in a tau cross; his left arm is upraised and the hand grasps an object, perhaps a book. Legend: SIGILLVM ECCLESIE SANCTI EGIDII DE BERNEWELLE.
The privy seal of Prior William (fn. 298) [? of Devon, 1202-13] is a pointed oval showing the prior standing on a corbel, with a book in his hands. Legend: SECRETVM . WILL'I . PRIORIS . DE . B'NEW'.
The seal of Prior John de Brunne, used in 1345, (fn. 299) is oval (2½ × 15/8 inches) and shows, under a triple canopy, St. Giles, holding in his right hand a pastoral staff, with his hind against his right side. Above the canopy is the Blessed Virgin with the Child; below, in a niche, the prior in adoration. Legend: S. IOHANNIS DE BRVNNE PRIORIS DE BERNEWELLE.
The seal of the priory ad causas (fn. 300) shows two figures beneath a double canopy: one wearing a mitre, with crozier in right hand and left hand raised; the other, vested, caressing a hind; below, under an arch, a kneeling canon. Legend: S. PRIORIS . ET . CONVENTVS . BERNEWELLE . AD . CA.