Alien houses: Priory of Linton

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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'Alien houses: Priory of Linton', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 2, ed. L F Salzman( London, 1948), British History Online [accessed 25 July 2024].

'Alien houses: Priory of Linton', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 2. Edited by L F Salzman( London, 1948), British History Online, accessed July 25, 2024,

"Alien houses: Priory of Linton". A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 2. Ed. L F Salzman(London, 1948), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024.

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In 1086 Count Alan of Brittany held Linton (fn. 1) and an estate in Isleham. (fn. 2) According to the jurors in the great inquest of 1279, the Abbot of St. Jacut of the Isle in Brittany held in Great Isleham a messuage with the chapel of St. Margaret and 100 acres of land 'by gift of an ancestor of Alan son of Ferlant'; and also the tithes of the manors of Isleham and of the demesnes of the Abbot of Shrewsbury there. (fn. 3) The same abbot had the church of Great Linton, with its endowment of 20 acres of land, by gift of a Count of Brittany; (fn. 4) and there the abbot had eleven free tenants and three bond. (fn. 5) The Isleham entry suggests a confused memory of Alan Fergant, (fn. 6) but whichever of the counts gave the property to St. Jacut, the gift was made before 1163, when Pope Alexander III confirmed to the abbey the church of St. Margaret of Isleham and the church of Linton. (fn. 7) In 1291 the value of the property of the Prior of Linton in Isleham was returned at £6 13s. 7½d., (fn. 8) the rectory of Linton being then worth £20. (fn. 9)

These estates, being managed on behalf of the abbey of St. Jacut by a resident monk, were known as the Priory of Linton, or sometimes Isleham, and were liable to be seized into the king's hands during war with France, as for instance in 1324-5. (fn. 10) In 1337, at the opening of the Hundred Years War, the Bretons were regarded as allies and Linton was therefore not interfered with. (fn. 11) Early in 1344, however, a writ was issued against Roland, Prior of Linton, to pay to the king 10 marks of apport hitherto paid to the abbey of St. Jacut, and 160 marks arrears. Bishop Montacute replied that Roland had died 6 years before and that John Lerawe, his fellow monk, had carried off and alienated all his goods. (fn. 12) The exact position of affairs at this time is rather obscure. The bishop had collated, by lapse, to the priory of Linton on 17 March 1339 John de Berford, (fn. 13) and in December of that year a return was made, that John, Prior of Linton, is rector of Linton and resides there, and the church is taxed at £20 and is not worth more. (fn. 14) On 7 January 1341, however, Richard Porty, Prior of Linton, had leave of absence; (fn. 15) and on 21 May William Bourdet, monk of St. Jacut, was admitted on the presentation of Abbot Eudes to the priory, void by the resignation of 'John Porci'. (fn. 16) The priory and its lands were committed to William Bourdet, with William Talemache and Robert de Ketelstone, chaplain, in December 1344, (fn. 17) and they were still holding them in September 1348, when they were ordered to pay their farm of 40 marks to William Daubeney. (fn. 18) Bourdet seems to have died about the end of 1354, as on 21 June 1355 Bishop Lisle collated John Wittleseye, a monk of Thorney, to the priory. (fn. 19) Early in 1357 Robert Renaut, a monk of St. Jacut, appealed to the Pope stating that his abbot had presented him to the priory of Linton, vacant by the death of William Bourdet, but that John Wittleseye had intruded himself therein, (fn. 20) and on 25 May 1358 the papal commissary gave sentence in favour of Renaut. (fn. 21)

Nicholas Menfrey, monk of St. Jacut, was admitted as prior in 1370, (fn. 22) and was granted custody of the priory in 1377 at a farm of £20. (fn. 23) He and John Daniel farmed it at £23 6s. 8d. in 1387 (fn. 24) and at £26 13s. 4d. in 1405. (fn. 25) No later prior is recorded, and after the seizure into the king's hands of the alien non-conventual priories (fn. 26) custody of the priory of Linton was granted to John Daniel and Nicholas Parys. (fn. 27) In February 1440 a grant was made to the Master and scholars of Pembroke Hall of the reversion of the priory estates on the conclusion of a lease for 10 years which had been made in the previous July to Henry Fylyngley and William Cotton. (fn. 28) The college seems to have acquired this lease shortly afterwards, (fn. 29) and in 1450 obtained the appropriation of the church or priory of Linton with its endowments, which was confirmed by the Bishop of Ely. (fn. 30)


  • 1. V.C.H. Cambs. i, 374.
  • 2. Ibid. 378.
  • 3. Rot. Hundr. (Rec. Com.), 504.
  • 4. Ibid. 416.
  • 5. Ibid. 417–18.
  • 6. For the confusion between the three contemporary Counts Alan, see G.E.C. Complete Peerage, s.v. 'Richmond', and V.C.H. Yorks. N.R. i, 1–2.
  • 7. J. Gaslin de Bourgogne et A. de Barthélmy, Anciens Evêchés de Bretagne, iv, 278.
  • 8. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 130.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Mins. Accts. (P.R.O.), 1125, no. 2.
  • 11. Cal. Close, 1337–9, p. 94.
  • 12. Ely Epis. Reg. Montacute, fol. 93; E.D.R.
  • 13. Ibid. p. 357. He presented a portiforium to Linton church: Vetus Liber Archid. Eliensis, 63, 236.
  • 14. Ely Epis. Reg. Montacute, fol. 83; E.D.R. (1892), p. 671.
  • 15. Ibid., p. 379.
  • 16. Ibid., p. 416.
  • 17. Cal. Fine R. v, 422. Henry de Kettleston, bailiff of William, prior and rector of Linton, occurs in 1346: Ely Epis. Reg. Lisle, fol. 67 v.
  • 18. Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 484.
  • 19. Ely Epis. Reg. Lisle, fol. 46v.; E.D.R.
  • 20. Cal. Papal Petitions, i, 294.
  • 21. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. i, 70.
  • 22. Ely Epis. Reg. Fordham; E.D.R.
  • 23. Cal. Fine R. viii, 401.
  • 24. Ibid. x, 172.
  • 25. Ibid. xii, 308.
  • 26. Rot. Parl. iv, 13.
  • 27. Cal. Fine R. xiv, 59.
  • 28. Cal. Pat. 1436–41, p. 377.
  • 29. Cal. Fine R. xvii, 102.
  • 30. Ely Epis. Reg. Bourchier, fol. 25; E.D.R. (1903), p. 65.