A History of the County of Cumberland: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1905.
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'Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Carlisle', in A History of the County of Cumberland: Volume 2, (London, 1905) pp. 131-151. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cumb/vol2/pp131-151 [accessed 4 March 2024]
HOUSES OF AUSTIN CANONS
1. THE PRIORY OF CARLISLE
We naturally look to Carlisle for the earliest evidence of ecclesiastical life and movement in the new province which had been added to the English kingdom in 1092. It has been pointed out that very early in his reign, most probably in 1102, Henry I. granted a site within the city for the purpose of founding a religious establishment. (fn. 1) For various reasons already stated, little else seems to have been done till after the political changes of 1120-2, when Ranulf Meschin, the civil ruler, left the district and the king took it into his own hand. From this date onward a vigorous policy was carried on for its ecclesiastical development. How much progress had been made with the building of the church or the religious organization of the city during Ranulf's consulate we cannot tell. The happy turn of its fortunes may be ascribed to the pious instincts of Walter the priest, who, on taking the religious habit and becoming an inmate of the house, endowed the institution with all his churches and lands. (fn. 2) The king, at whose instigation the step was taken, granted the reversion of four churches in Northumberland which he had previously given for life to Richard D'Orival (de Aurea Valle), (fn. 3) his chaplain, and added to the gift two other churches in the same county. But the landowners of the neighbourhood were slow to emulate these great examples. It is true that Waldeve son of Gospatric, who had succeeded to the barony of Allerdale, was one of the first patrons of the royal foundation; the churches of Aspatria and Crosscanonby; the chapel of St. Nicholas, Flimby; and a house near the church of St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, were of his gift. (fn. 4) In the earlier stages of its history the priory does not appear to have created much enthusiasm. Its possessions consisted chiefly of spiritualities, with the notable exception of the manors of Linstock and Carleton bestowed by Walter the priest. But the king was pursuing a steady policy. In 1130 the canons were busy in completing their church. (fn. 5) The time was ripe for a fresh development.
The foundation of the bishopric in 1133, with the seat of the bishop in the new priory church of St. Mary, (fn. 6) gave unity and force to the ecclesiastical life of the district, and was chiefly instrumental in bringing in endowments to support the organizations which followed. Little is known of the constitution of the priory before it was raised to the dignity of a cathedral chapter. It was probably a house of secular canons. But it seems satisfactorily proved, if we trust the evidence of the chronicles, that it was Adelulf the first bishop, soon after his consecration in 1133, who changed the constitution of the priory by the introduction of regular canons of St. Augustine. (fn. 7) To this circumstance, there can be little doubt, we owe the unique position which the priory of Carlisle held as the only cathedral chapter of regular canons in England. Adelulf had been prior of the Augustinian house of Nostell near Pontefract, and was a well known patron of his order before he was raised to the episcopal dignity. (fn. 8) When we take into consideration the late creation of the bishopric and the antecedents of the first bishop, the singularity of the constitution of the cathedral church appears to need no further explanation. The bishop was not only master of his church, but he also enjoyed a participation in its endowments. The church of Carlisle was one ecclesiastical corporation with the bishop at its head. It is a curious fact in illustration of the bishop's predominance in his cathedral that the monastic order, to which the canons of his chapter belonged, could not make statutes or ordinances for the enlargement or modification of the rule under which they lived without his sanction. In 1302, many years after the endowments of the priory and bishopric had been separated, when the heads of Augustinian houses were assembled at Drax in Yorkshire, Bishop Halton sent a mandate forbidding them to enact anything to the prejudice of his church of Carlisle without his pontifical consent and authority, inasmuch as his chapter was composed of regular canons of their order, and those, making new ordinances and statutes, should be guided by moderation that the bond of love between subjects and rulers (inter subditos et parentes) might be strengthened. This mandate was carried to the conclave at Drax by Brother William, a canon of the house, nominated for that purpose by the prior and chapter. (fn. 9)
The bishop's supremacy over his cathedral church cannot be questioned. It has been already pointed out that the bishop and his chapter formed one ecclesiastical corporation and held the lands and spiritual possessions of the church of Carlisle in common. When a division of the property was made and the see became an institution in some measure separate from the priory, care was taken to define the relationship of the head of the diocese to the corporate body occupying the church which represented the unity of his diocese and contained the seat of his jurisdiction. There is little doubt that at the outset the appointment of the prior was in the patronage of the bishop, and perhaps of the king when the bishopric was void. When the terms of the arrangement for the separate endowment of the see were complete, this privilege seems to have been relinquished to the chapter in compensation for the redistribution of emoluments. At all events it was not until 1248 that the canons had the liberty of electing their own superior. On 25 November in that year, Pope Innocent IV. granted protection and confirmation of possessions to the prior and convent, and especially the chapelry of the church of Carlisle, with all offerings, tithes, and parish rights belonging to the said church, except the offering at Whitsuntide, all the land formerly belonging to Walter the priest, which King Henry gave and confirmed by his charter, and other possessions. The pope also granted to the canons the right of electing the prior and prohibited the bishop from disposing of their emoluments without their consent. (fn. 10)
The bishop however did not give up altogether his control of the internal affairs of the priory when the property was divided. It was part of the bargain that he should have a voice in the selection of the sub-prior and cellarer, the two principal officers of the house. By virtue of an ordination made on 2 September 1249, between Bishop Silvester on the one part, and R(obert), the prior, and convent on the other, it was stipulated that as often as the office of sub-prior or cellarer fell vacant, the prior and convent should nominate two or three fit persons and present them to the bishop that he might select one for the vacant post; if the bishop was absent from the diocese at the time, he was required to issue a commission within a month after the presentation had been brought to his notice, that the offices might not remain vacant beyond the aforesaid period; and that it should be at the option of the bishop when present, or of his commissioned deputy when absent, to select one of those candidates nominated by the priory and to admit him to the office. (fn. 11) This ordination remained in force throughout the history of the priory, and sometimes the canons were not backward in keeping the bishops up to the letter of the original agreement.
A vacancy occurring in the office of cellarer in 1331, while Bishop Ross was residing at his church of Melbourne in Derbyshire, the canons nominated two of their number, Brothers Geoffrey de Goverton and Ralf Gray, and requested the bishop by special messenger to select one of them for the post or issue a commission for that purpose. The letter of nomination was dated 25 July, and the latest time allowed to the bishop for signifying his choice was 8 September. 'Although we are not compelled by law,' so the letter runs, 'to write to you while you are out of the diocese (in remotis), yet for the sake of peace and under protest, lest it be quoted hereafter as a precedent against us, we are directing these presents for this turn.' It is evident that the canons were trying to impress their bishop with a sense of their magnanimity by pretending to confer a favour upon him, whereas in reality it was no favour at all, as they were obliged by law to do what was done. In response the bishop appointed the prior of Lanercost and the official of the diocese to choose the ablest and fittest of the candidates and induct him to the office. (fn. 12) A similar custom was observed in 1338-9, when Bishop John de Kirkby was residing at Horncastle, with respect to the vacant office of sub-prior. The official of the diocese was commissioned to select the fitter of two canons, R. Paule and T. de Stanlaw, submitted to him for the post. (fn. 13) In 1379 the tenure of the office of cellarer came before Bishop Appleby for his decision. For some reasons not stated, Prior John de Penreth removed Robert de Clifton from his office without the consent of the majority of the chapter, which caused dissension and discord in the house. Both parties submitted the dispute to the bishop, who ordered the restoration of the cellarer to his office as he had been irregularly deposed. (fn. 14)
In no instance have we met with the deprivation of a prior of Carlisle, (fn. 15) though Bishop Halton was obliged to deliver stern injunctions to Prior Adam de Warthwyk, and Bishops Ross and Appleby were reduced to the extremity of excommunicating Priors John de Kirkby and William de Dalston respectively. Many examples of resignation are on record. Pensions were allowed to the retiring priors and suitable provision was made in accordance with their exalted station for the rest of their lives. These pensions were voted by the canons as a charge upon their revenues and approved by the bishop. In cases, of course, where the voidance arose from preferment, no pension was assigned.
The bishops of Carlisle possessed an undisputed power of visitation of the convent, which they exercised as occasion called. Individual bishops as a rule took an early opportunity after their appointment to make a general visitation of the diocese, in which not unfrequently the priory of Carlisle was included. At other times they visited when a cause of dispute or some irregularity in the house was brought to their notice. The results of some of these visitations are not devoid of interest. In 1301, after Bishop Halton had visited by his ordinary authority the convent as well in head as in members at the request of Adam de Warthwyk the prior, and inspected the state of the institution within and without, he delivered a series of injunctions to the prior which show us how indispensable was the episcopal oversight to the internal discipline of the capitular body. By the depositions of certain canons of the said monastery examined according to custom, a copy of which was sent to Prior Warthwyk, the following charges were preferred against him: negligence and remissness in the discipline of his house contrary to the statutes of the order; his household was much too expensive in those days (familia vestra est nimis bonerosa biis diebus); in preferring and removing obedientiaries and in other matters affecting the house, he consulted only with Brothers Robert Karlile, William de Hautwysil, and William de Melburne, the advice of the rest of the chapter having been wholly omitted and despised contrary to the decrees of the holy fathers; incompetency to rule the priory, inasmuch as, owing to his failings, order was not preserved among the brethren, the business of the house was not transacted, and its goods were wasted beyond measure by his expensive entourage; by appropriating the perquisites of his court he had received the gressoms and profits of the green seal (gersummas et appruyamenta viridis cere), had held in his own hand for three years and more the grange of Newbiggin, whereof he received the issues and spent it at his own free will without consulting the majority of the convent, had returned no account contrary to the statute of the Legate 'de ratiociniis reddendis,' and worst of all he had converted the proceeds to his own private uses contrary to the vow of his profession; misappropriation of the profits of the trade in wine and other merchandise which Brother W. de Melburne carried on with his connivance without rendering any account; holding back money due from the tenants of the monastery and converting it to his own use, till the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer made a levy on the common goods of the house to its great damage and loss; the employment for a long time of W. the clerk, as a sower of discord between the brethren in his own interest; improvident concession of a corrody to Stephen, rector of Castle Carrock, for £4 without converting the money to the use of the house; letting to farm the houses and courts of his manors of Corbridge and Wyden without the knowledge or consent of the convent to its great detriment; failure to account for 100 marks paid to him by Master W. de Lowther in the name of the monastery, and £200 of old money and 40 marks of new money left in the treasury by Robert the late prior; appropriation to his own use of the profits of a ship made at the costs of the house; by reason of his negligence and the bumptiousness (elacionem) of Robert de Warthwyk his steward, the house had an evil reputation in the neighbourhood; want of sympathy with his sick brethren; and making known the proceedings of the daily chapter when the secrets of the order were discussed, and scoffing at them in his own chamber in the presence of the laity. Unless these charges were forthwith remedied and a reformation made without delay, the bishop informed the prior that he should be obliged to proceed against him according to the insistance of the canons and to decree against him what was just. (fn. 16)
A scandal of great magnitude convulsed the diocese in 1385 when the patience of Bishop Appleby was exhausted by the refusal of Prior William de Dalston to accept his judicial decision in some matters of debate between the canons or to give him canonical obedience. At last the bishop brought matters to a crisis by excommunicating the prior and ordering the parish priests of St. Mary's and St. Cuthbert's to publish the sentence at the celebration of mass. The city of Carlisle was in an uproar. Many of its leading citizens and clergy, espousing the cause of the prior, entered the cathedral as well as the parish churches at the head of an armed mob, and snatching the bishop's letters from the hands of the officiating priests carried them forcibly away. The bishop threatened to put the whole of the city under an interdict with the exception of the castle and its chapel. Charges of adultery against the prior were raised in the controversy. The majority of the canons implored the bishop to visit the house; the archbishop cited the prior and his abettors for their disobedience; the king wrote deploring the scandal and asking for particulars. The upshot of the unpleasant business was that Prior Dalston was induced to give obedience to the bishop's judgment and to resign his office. (fn. 17) Perhaps no period of equal length in the whole history of the priory of Carlisle witnessed more exciting scenes than the months of August and September 1385, while Bishop Appleby stood up so resolutely for the maintenance of discipline and order in his cathedral chapter in spite of the threats and opposition of the rulers and the mob of his cathedral city. (fn. 18)
Though we have notice of the resignation of several of the priors of Carlisle, only in one instance have we found particulars of a pension allotted to any of them out of the revenues of the church. The exception occurs in the case of Adam de Warthwyk, who showed such incompetence in administering the affairs of the house. In 1304, three years after the bishop's onslaught on his mismanagement, the prior resigned of his own free will. The reasons he alleged for taking this step do him credit. He confessed that, broken with old age and weakened in bodily senses, he was quite unable to rule the priory any longer. Bishop Halton, on his part, in assigning him a pension, was not backward in complimentary appreciation of the prior's long service to the church. For forty years he had lived as a canon regular under the rule (doctrina) of St. Augustine in the venerable assembly of the convent of his cathedral church, and for twenty-one years and more he filled the laborious office of prior in times of war and troubles, and now, as he had stated, he was so burdened with cares and stricken with age that he was no longer able to remain. In these circumstances the bishop determined, with the unanimous vote of the chapter, to make suitable provision for his comfort as long as he lived. Among the particulars of his pension may be mentioned the new chamber which the prior had built for himself and those who ministered to him daily; rations equal to three times those of an ordinary canon according to the custom of the priory; the tithe sheaves of Langwathby towards the expenses of his household, for as he was the scion of a noble family in the diocese, a provision in proportion to his station and the hospitalities expected of him should be made; an allowance of twenty marks yearly for his clothing; one servant and a boy to wait upon him; and when he went outside the precincts of the monastery for a change of air (ob æris intemperiem), or for recreation, or to visit the granges or manors of the priory, or any of his friends within the diocese, or for any lawful reason, the prior and convent for the time being, under their debt of obedience, were obliged to provide him and his household with suitable means of travelling. (fn. 19)
The traditional relationship of the cathedral as the chief temple of the diocese to the parish churches was preserved and perpetuated by an annual homage made by the parish priests during the week after Pentecost. Though the practice was not confined to the church of Carlisle, it is interesting to notice how jealously the bishops of that see insisted on its observance. In 1372 Bishop Appleby, on the complaint of the prior and sacrist that some of the rectors and vicars failed to put in an appearance, issued a mandate to the official of the diocese to proceed against the truants. The clergy were bound, the mandate continued, to visit the cathedral church once a year and to join in the procession in their surplices with the cross carried before them (processionaliter in superpelliciis crucem ante se deferri facientes), and to do other things requisite to show the reverence due from them to the bishop's seat. This custom which had been observed ab antiquo should on no account be allowed to fall into disuse. It was one of the most beautiful and instructive phases of medieval ritual in its assertion of the corporate life and work of the church. From a subsequent mandate in 1386 we learn that the procession wended its way up to the high altar when the clergy made their oblations due to God as a sign of their subjection to the cathedral church. (fn. 20) In this way annually, on some appointed day in Whitsun week, the clergy paid the cathedraticum due from every benefice in token of subjection to the bishop's jurisdiction and of allegiance to the church which represented the unity of the diocese.
Processions of various descriptions were not of unfrequent occurrence at the cathedral, inasmuch as it usually led the way in all matters affecting the welfare of the district. It was to the prior and official of Carlisle that the bishop addressed himself in 1365, when he instituted special processions with the solemn chanting of the seven penitential psalms, the litany and other suitable prayers to be undertaken in the cathedral and all churches collegiate and non-collegiate throughout the diocese, for good weather. The autumn of that year was remarkable for violent storms of wind and rain and the crops were much injured by the rains and floods. (fn. 21) Much the same procedure took place when processions were ordered as propitiatory ceremonies for the averting of a threatened pestilence or for success of the English arms against the Scots. (fn. 22) Another great day in the Christian year at Carlisle was Ash Wednesday, when penitents flocked from places far and near to receive the sacrament of reconciliation in the mother church of the diocese. It was the privilege of the bishop to attend personally on these occasions, but in his absence the duty was assigned to the prior. It was by the bishop's licence or commission that the prior was able to introduce penitents into the cathedral and reconcile them to the church ut est moris. (fn. 23)
A peculiar privilege was enjoyed by the prior and convent on very high authority. Pope Alexander IV. granted them an indult in 1258 to wear birettas or caps in the choir on account of the cold, provided they were removed at the Gospel and the elevation in time of mass. (fn. 24) At a subsequent period, when the utilitarian convenience of the privilege was forgotten, the canons of Carlisle were collated to their prebends by the delivery of a biretta (per byretti nostri traditionem) from the bishop, perhaps, like the verge or rod in civil life, as a symbol of seisin. This custom was in force at Carlisle throughout the reign of Elizabeth. (fn. 25)
From an early period the enclosure of the priory or monastic precinct at Carlisle has been called 'The Abbey,' though the church had never an abbot distinct from the bishop. Freeman (fn. 26) has pointed out that the same peculiarity existed at Bath and Durham. (fn. 27)
It was customary for the bishops at their first visitation to demand an inspection of the title deeds of all holders of ecclesiastical preferment or spiritual endowments within the diocese. When these were produced, letters of dimission were issued confirming the holders in possession. Numerous deeds of this nature are on record with respect to the spiritualities of religious houses to which churches within the bishop's jurisdiction were appropriated. From one of these records of dimission we may take a schedule of the spiritual possessions of the priory of Carlisle in 1355, in which the ecclesiastical status of each of the churches is declared as they existed at that date: the parish churches of the blessed Mary and St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, with the chapel of Sebergham, the churches of Hayton with its chapels, Cumrew and Cumwhitton (Comquityngton), the churches of Crosscanonby (Crossebye in Allerdale), Camerton, Ireby, Bassenthwaite (Beghokirk), Castle Sowerby (Soureby), Rocliffe (Routhecliff), Edenhall with the chapel of Langwathby, and Addingham with the chapel of Little Salkeld (Salkeld), all of which were held in proprios usus. In the churches of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, Hayton, Rocliffe, Ireby, Crosscanonby, Camerton and Bassenthwaite vicars were never instituted, nor were the vicarages ever taxed or 'ordained,' but all of them were served by stipendiary chaplains (per capellanos conducticios). The prior and convent also possessed the following pensions from churches, viz. 26s. 8d. from Lowther, 26s. from Kirkland, 6s. 8d. from Ousby (Ulnesby), 2s. from Hutton in the Forest (Hoton), 2s. from Castle Carrock, 2s. from Cambok, 6s. 8d. from Bewcastle (Bothecastre), 2s. 6d. from Allhallows (Ukmanby), and £6 from the abbot and convent of Holmcultram. (fn. 28) If this schedule be compared with the ecclesiastical surveys of 1535 and 1540, (fn. 29) it will be seen that the only addition of consequence which was made in the spiritualities of the priory, during the intervening period, was the rectory and patronage of the parish church of St. Andrew, Thursby, which Sir Robert Ogle, lord of Ogle and Thursby, and Isabel his wife gave to the prior and canons in 1468, with permission to appropriate the said church and serve it by a canon of their cathedral or any other suitable chaplain, without endowment of a vicarage in the church or compulsion to distribute a yearly sum of money to the poor of the parish. (fn. 30) The churches belonging to the priory in the diocese of Durham were not included in Bishop Welton's dimission as they were not within his jurisdiction.
The cathedral served as the parish church of St. Mary, Carlisle, from the date of its foundation, as the priory church of Lanercost had done for that parish. It can scarcely be denied that the churches with which Walter the priest endowed the priory, when he took the religious habit on becoming an inmate thereof, were those of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, and Stanwix. The rectory of the latter church was equally divided between the bishop and the convent in the great award of the papal legates, but the rectories of the two Carlisle churches were wholly appropriated to the canons. The church of St. Cuthbert may be numbered among the earliest ecclesiastical institutions in the diocese of Carlisle, of which authentic record has come down to us. A house near it was given to the priory by Waldeve son of Gospatric, one of its first benefactors. We have found no trace of a church of St. Mary apart from the cathedral and no vicarial jurisdiction over the parish of that name, except what was exercised by the prior as the impropriator of the revenues. An attempt was made in 1342 to raise it from its position as a chapelry to the dignity of a vicarage, and the provincial court of York was moved by the parishioners for that purpose. In the appeal to the metropolitan it was stated that the church of the Blessed Mary from its foundation had been and was at that time a parish church with an independent cure (per se curata), having people separate from the parishioners of other churches and a wide and extensive parish with limits and bounds of its own, insomuch that its own parish church had abounded in times past and did then abound with powers, issues, fruits and revenues sufficient to maintain a perpetual vicar of its own and to support all ecclesiastical claims upon it. Furthermore the parishioners complained that the sacrist of the priory, to whom the issues of the parish were committed, had neglected the cure of souls and that insufficient ministrations were supplied to the people. Notwithstanding the espousal of the cause of the appellants by the provincial court, the Bishop of Carlisle gave judgment in favour of the priory, because we have found, he said, after due examination of the evidences, that the prior and chapter are well able to serve the church through their own chaplains under the care and direction of the prior for the time being, no other vicar having been ever instituted in the same. (fn. 31) The parish of St. Mary was not unfrequently called the parish of Carlisle cathedral, (fn. 32) and the churchyard or burial ground around the church was known as the churchyard of St. Mary's or the churchyard of the canons of St. Mary's, Carlisle. (fn. 33) The parish church remained within the cathedral, probably in the nave, ab antique as it was within living memory, till 1869, when the present church of St. Mary was built within the abbey.
The ownership of the tithes arising from assart lands in the forest of Inglewood was a constant source of irritation and dispute between the bishop and the priory. It has been already mentioned that these tithes were granted by Henry I. to the church of Carlisle and confirmed by Henry II. In the division of the church property by the papal legates, the ownership of the tithes of lands to be assarted in the future was not clearly laid down. Edward I. however acknowledged in 1280 the claim of the priory to the tithe of venison in the forest. (fn. 34) The whole matter was reviewed in the king's court in 1290, when claims were separately set up by the bishop, prior and parson of Thursby for the tithes of two places, Linthwaite and Kirkthwaite, newly assarted in Inglewood, the king intervening as owner of the forest. Bishop Ralf stated that the places in question were within the limits of his church of Aspatria: Henry de Burton claimed that they were situated in his parish of Thursby; the prior of Carlisle produced a certain horn of ivory (quoddam cornu eburneum), by means of which, he said, Henry the old king enfeoffed the canons of Carlisle with the said tithes. (fn. 35) Ultimately judgment was given in favour of the king's claim, but in 1293 that claim was relinquished and the tithes were regranted to the canons. (fn. 36) From time to time the right of the canons was afterwards disputed by the king's foresters or by the bishop's, but the position of the canons on inquiry remained unshaken. It was found, after inquisition in 1330, that the prior and his predecessors were seised of the tenth penny arising from all extra-parochial agistments within the forest of Inglewood in the times of all keepers of that forest by the hands of the receiver of the issues thereof, from the time of the foundation of the priory by grant of Henry son of the empress (imperatoris), until Henry le Scrop, the late keeper, detained the said tenth penny. The king confirmed them in their possession. (fn. 37) It was at this date that a long dispute raged between Bishop Ross and Prior John de Kirkby about the tithes, resulting in the excommunication of the prior and the death of the bishop. (fn. 38) The revival of litigation was the means of procuring a confirmation from the Crown, in the shape of a notification of the record of a cause between Edward I. and Adam, then prior, tried at Carlisle before the justices itinerant, on the morrow of All Souls, 1285, on a writ of quo warranto touching the following liberties in Inglewood Forest: common of pasture in right of their church for themselves and their tenants within the metes of the forest: tithes of venison and of hay, pannage, after-pannage, agistment of foals, calves, lambs, swine, goats and other animals, also of fish taken in the lake of Tarnwadling, called 'laykebrait,' the hides of all beasts found dead by the foresters, the right to hunt the hare and fox with their hounds without the covert, and that their hounds be quit of expeditation; the right to a charcoal burner to make charcoal from all dead wood in the grass and to such oaks thrown down by the wind as they and their servants can, before others, mark with an axe stroke to the core: all which the canons claimed by immemorial usage, producing a horn which they said was given with the liberties by Henry I. the founder of their house. Edward III. also confirmed a writ, dated 7 February 1286, whereby these liberties were permitted to the canons with the exception of trees blown down by the wind. (fn. 39) It is probable that the horn of ivory above mentioned was seen by Tonge (fn. 40) in his heraldic visitation of the northern counties in 1530, when he described it as a 'great horne of venery, havyng certeyn bondes of sylver and gold and the versus folowyng graven upon, "Henricus primus nuster foundator opimus ac dedit in teste carte pro jure foreste."' The dean and chapter of Carlisle still possess certain objects catalogued in the inventories of the cathedral furniture as 'one horn of the altar in two parts' or 'two horns of the altar,' which have given rise to much antiquarian discussion. (fn. 41)
The property of the priory, scattered in small parcels over the border and central districts of the county, was frequently wasted and destroyed by the inroads of the Scots. Again and again the canons petitioned for redress or alms on account of their poverty and sufferings. The documentary evidences of the fourteenth century are burdened with appeals and complaints from Carlisle and the other religious houses describing the woes and wrongs perpetrated by the hereditary enemy. (fn. 42) It would serve no useful purpose to recount the numerous licences and gifts made in response to such appeals. The strong walls of Carlisle were insufficient to protect their church and cloisters from fire and damage. In 1316, when the Scots were particularly aggressive, the canons petitioned for a grant of timber to renovate their burnt cathedral, (fn. 43) and complained against the conduct of Sir Andrew de Harcla, sheriff of the county, who made a 'fosse' through the prior's ground under the wall of the city and set fire to all the priory houses outside the walls, which could not be replaced for £100. As the damage had been done for the safety of the priory as well as the town, owing to the rigorous necessities of the siege, the brethren were requested to wait for peace and the king would not forget their interests. (fn. 44) So heavily lay the destroying hand on the priory at this period, that Edward II. sent writs to the abbots of Leicester and Thornton on Humber, and to the priors of Thurgarton, Bridlington, Worksop and Kirkham, each to receive into their houses one of the canons of Carlisle to be nominated by the prior's letters patent and to maintain him as one of their own canons until the priory of Carlisle was relieved from its present state, as its goods were so robbed and wasted by the Scottish rebels that they were insufficient for the maintenance of the canons of the house. (fn. 45) It was a privilege of the Crown to exact a corrody from all the religious houses of royal foundation, and in times of prosperity the king was accustomed to demand it from the priory of Carlisle. In 1331 Richard Champion, in consideration of his good service to Edward I. and Edward II., was sent to the convent to receive such maintenance as Peter de Kirkoswald, deceased, had in that house at the request of the former king. (fn. 46) But the time came when the kings were obliged to relinquish the privilege. In 1386 Richard II., in consideration of the great losses and destruction by the Scots, remitted to the prior and convent and their successors for ever the right of corrody or maintenance, which his progenitors were accustomed to give therein and which the king in his time had given to John Hobcrone. (fn. 47) At that time their losses were exceptionally severe. As late as the reign of Queen Mary it could be said that the Scots 'are verey cruell at present.' (fn. 48)
The kings must have stayed several times at the priory on their various visits to Carlisle. Edward I. was certainly a guest there in August 1306, for on the tenth of that month he requested James de Dalilegh, his agent in Cumberland, to put the houses of the priory in readiness for his reception as he intended to occupy them immediately. (fn. 49) The cloisters were sometimes utilized as a storehouse for the provisions of the army. It was one of the complaints against Sir Andrew de Harcla in 1319 that his brother John broke through the wall of the 'lunge celer' in the priory and the doors of others, and took out twenty tuns of the 'élite' of the king's wine. (fn. 50)
The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a conspicuous figure among the 'ornaments' of the cathedral, as we should expect in a church entitled in her name. If we consider the ecclesiastical relation of the cathedral to the diocese we can in a measure understand the meaning of Bishop Welton's phrase when he spoke of the people under his jurisdiction as 'the subjects of God and the glorious Virgin Mary, His mother, in whose honour the said church was erected.' (fn. 51) The cult of the Virgin was a devotional instinct of considerable power in the religious life of the city and diocese of Carlisle. In 1363 Bishop Apple by obtained from the pope indulgences extending over ten years for penitents who visited the cathedral (which had been burned) on the five feasts of the Blessed Virgin, or who lent a helping hand to the fabric. (fn. 52) When the Scots were assaulting Carlisle in the time of Richard II., a woman appeared to them and announced the near approach of the king's army, but that woman, said Henry of Knighton, (fn. 53) was believed to be the glorious Virgin Mary, the patroness of Carlisle, who had often appeared to the inhabitants of that city. In 1380 Joan, wife of John de Dundrawe, bequeathed a girdle wrought in silver for the image of the Blessed Mary in the cathedral. (fn. 54) The prior and convent, inflamed with the energy of pious devotion, made application to Bishop Close and Archbishop Kempe in 1451 for an indulgence to aid them in procuring a richly decorated statue of the Virgin for the cathedral of Carlisle. Nothing would satisfy them short of an image or statue covered with plates of silver and overlaid with gold, gems, precious stones, and many other costly ornaments, for the praise of God, the increase of the veneration and honour of the most glorious Virgin and for provoking the devotion of Christ's faithful people daily flocking there on pilgrimage. (fn. 55) In 1469 John Knoblow, parson of Lamplugh, gave a legacy to the prior and convent that five candles might be lighted in honour of the five joys of the Blessed Virgin in front of her image in the conventual church every night after compline when the antiphon, Salve Regina, was sung. (fn. 56) This fervid devotion to sumptuous imagery was general throughout the diocese in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (fn. 57)
Though it was a special veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was the chief cause of making Carlisle a place of pilgrimage, its possession of some relics of the saints contributed not a little to its fame. According to a statement of J. Denton, (fn. 58) Waldeve son of Earl Gospatric brought from Jerusalem and Constantinople a bone of St. Paul, and another of St. John the Baptist, two stones of Christ's sepulchre, and part of the Holy Cross, which he gave to the priory. There can be no doubt that Alan son of the said Waldeve gave the Holy Rood which was in their possession as late as the fourteenth century. But it is not stated whether or not it was part of the real cross of our Lord. (fn. 59) Waldeve and Alan were great benefactors of the church of Carlisle in various other ways. As Hugh de Morvill, one of the assassins of Archbishop Becket, had a family connection with the diocese, it is not to be wondered at that some relics of the martyr should find their way to Carlisle. In the early years of the thirteenth century, when John de Courcy founded an establishment of regular canons at Toberglorie in the suburb of Downpatrick (Dun) in Ulster, and made it a cell of Carlisle, the new institution was entitled in the honour of St. Thomas the martyr out of respect to the canons of the mother house. (fn. 60) At that date it is evident that St. Thomas must have been held in high esteem in the church of Carlisle. At a later period we learn the cause. It was in the cathedral in presence of Bishop Halton that Robert Bruce in 1297 swore on the holy mysteries and on the sword of St. Thomas to be faithful and vigilant in the cause of King Edward. (fn. 61) It must have been the possession of this relic that made so great an impression on that king, for on several of his visits to the city he paid special veneration to the memory of the saint. In 1300 the king made his oblations at the altar in the church of the priory in honour of St. Thomas the martyr. (fn. 62) At a later visit in 1307, a few weeks before his death, the old warrior endowed the canons with the advowson of the church of Castle Sowerby for the devotion he bore to the glorious Virgin Mary and the relics of the blessed Thomas the martyr and other saints which they had. (fn. 63) In 1536, before the dissolution of the religious houses, the royal commissioners reported that the priory had a portion of the Holy Cross, the sword with which Thomas of Canterbury was martyred, (fn. 64) and the girdle of St. Bridget the virgin.
The only relics of the ancient ritual of the priory which have survived to our day are two copes, one of which has been ascribed to the fifteenth century and the other to the sixteenth. The older vestment has richly embroidered orfrays with representations of the saints, and the other is of cloth of gold. In a seventeenth century inventory of 'things to be provided, corrected, ordered and done in the cathedral church of Carlisle and about its revenues,' it was directed 'that the two copes be mended and worn by the Epistler and Gospeller.' The date of the inventory appears to be 1685-6. How long after they continued to be worn at Carlisle is not known. (fn. 65)
The revenues of the priory varied greatly from time to time according to the peaceful or disturbed state of the border. The value of the temporalities in 1291, which may be taken as a normal period, was assessed by the commissioners of Pope Nicholas IV. at £96 19s.; whereas in 1319, after the devastations of the Scottish wars, the value had fallen to £20. (fn. 66) The spiritualities, consisting chiefly of tithes and pensions, would fluctuate in a corresponding proportion. The prior contributed £4 to the subsidy granted by the clergy of Carlisle to Richard II. in 1379, the value of his benefice having been assessed at £200; each of the eleven canons contributed 3s. 4d. (fn. 67) In the valuation of 1535 the gross value of the spiritualities was set down at £332 5s. 10d.; and the temporalities at £150 2s. 3d., which make a total of £482 8s. 1d. The necessary outgoings in Crown and manorial rents, pensions, ecclesiastical payments, alms, and fees to civil officials, amounted to £64 4s. 8d., leaving a net revenue of £418 3s. 4d. (fn. 68) The alms exacted of the canons by ordination or foundation are of the greatest interest. The schedule enumerates (fn. 69) stated sums by ordination of Henry I., the founder of the priory, and Maud his queen, for the souls of themselves and their successors: by ordination of William Strickland, Bishop of Carlisle, for the celebration of a solemn obit for himself annually and for priests celebrating for his soul: by ordination of Bishop Marmaduke Lumley, for a wax candle to be continually burning before the most venerable sacrament of the Eucharist in their church for ever: by ordination of Bishop Gilbert Welton for a solemn obit celebrated for him and for priests celebrating annually: by ordination of Edward IV. given to three bedells annually: by ordination of the same king to priests celebrating for the souls of himself, Elizabeth his consort, and all his successors (fn. 70) : and by ordination of Sir Gilbert Ogle, lord of Ogle, (fn. 71) for an annual obit. Of the monastic houses in the county, the priory of Carlisle ranked after the abbey of Holmcultram in point of revenues. These two houses, having incomes of more than £200 a year, were reckoned among the greater monasteries, and thus escaped the first dissolution.
After the canons had obtained the privilege of electing their own superiors, they usually made choice of one of their body to fill the office. Almost all the priors of Carlisle were north-country men; several of them, like Adam de Warthwyk, William de Dalston, Thomas de Hoton, Simon Senhouse, and Lancelot Salkeld, are known to have belonged to families of distinction in Cumberland. As the election of the bishop was vested in the chapter, the way was open for a canon of Carlisle to obtain the highest ecclesiastical position. Perhaps it is to this consideration that we owe the social status of the families from which the priors of Carlisle were recruited. In the neighbouring priory of Lanercost, a house of the same religious order, no such family distinction is observable. It is scarcely necessary to suggest that some of the bishops, like Halton, Kirkby and Appleby, had been previously members of the cathedral chapter. Had the choice of the canons been always unfettered and had their elections been uncontrolled by the political necessities of the Crown or the growing arrogance of the papacy, the number of bishops of Carlisle trained in their own house would have been much greater. It amounted almost to a scandal that Prior John de Horncastle, who had been elected bishop by the chapter in 1352 and confirmed by the king, should have been ousted from the bishopric by a papal intrigue before his consecration. In other ways also preferment was open to the canons. In 1273 Geoffrey de Stok, canon of Carlisle, was appointed abbot of St. Patrick's, Saul, on the nomination of the Bishop of Down, with the counsel and consent of the king's lieutenant in Ireland. (fn. 72)
The priors of Carlisle were frequently employed in secular affairs as the occasions of state demanded. In the great controversy about the hereditary claims of the royal line of Scotland over the northern counties, the prior was appointed one of the king's assessors in 1242, for the purpose of assigning 60 librates of land in Cumberland to King Alexander towards a settlement, with instructions to return the 'extent' in writing under his seal that the king might know of what the allotments consisted. (fn. 73) It is not necessary to pass in review the various posts of trust they were called upon to fulfil from time to time in the civil administration of the district. The prior of Carlisle was found a convenient coadjutor or substitute for the sheriff, either as paymaster or overseer of the various repairs and alterations required in maintaining the fortifications of an important frontier town. (fn. 74) In 1524 a commission was issued to Thomas Lord Dacre, the prior of Carlisle, Sir Christopher Moresby and Richard Salkeld to settle disputes which had arisen between the subjects of the two kingdoms relative to the fishgarths of the river Esk. (fn. 75) Up to the very last the priors of Carlisle were found useful agents in forwarding the civil and philanthropic interests of the community.
Adelulf is reputed by a venerable tradition to have been prior of Carlisle when the bishopric was founded in 1133. The statement was accepted as early as the fourteenth century. On 17 September 1343 a return was made by the prior and chapter of Carlisle of the succession of the bishops of the see, as far as it could be ascertained from the chronicles and ancient books in their possession, at the request of the prior and convent of Conishead, with the view of settling some dispute about the church of Orton in Westmorland which had been appropriated to the latter house. In that return it was stated on the evidence then at their disposal that Adelulf, prior of Carlisle, was consecrated Bishop of Carlisle in the year 1133. (fn. 76) If that be the case, he is the first prior on record, but we have not discovered his name in any contemporary document.
Walter, prior of Carlisle, was a prominent figure in some notable functions of great interest in the ecclesiastical history of the district. With Bishop Adelulf he witnessed the foundation charter of the abbey of Holmcultram on 1 January 1150, and was also present at the courts of David I. and Malcolm IV. when the said charter was confirmed. (fn. 77) When Robert de Vaux founded the priory of Lanercost about the year 1169, Prior Walter of Carlisle witnessed the charter. (fn. 78) These two events are of considerable importance in fixing the exact period in which this prior lived. Walter witnessed two charters of Alan son of Waldeve, by which he granted land in 'Scadebuas' and 'Goseford' to the monks of St. Bees. (fn. 79) He must have lived for some time after 1169, for he witnessed several subsequent charters to the priory of Lanercost granted by Robert de Vaux and others of that neighbourhood. (fn. 80) His name is also found in connection with several deeds in the monastic registers of Wetheral and Whitby. (fn. 81) It is usually maintained that Prior Walter is the same person as Walter the priest who endowed the priory of Carlisle with all his possessions before he took the religious habit in that house, but no such supposition can be entertained without violence to chronology.
Gilbert, prior of Carlisle, made a composition with Robert de Vaux in the presence of Robert, Archdeacon of Carlisle, renouncing the right which his convent claimed in the churches of Irthington and Brampton. He also witnessed a charter of David son of Terry and Robert son of Asketill to the priory of Lanercost on the church of Denton and the hermitage which Leising held. (fn. 82)
John appears to have been prior of Carlisle for a considerable period, as his name is often found in local evidences of the reigns of Richard I. and John. In the monastic registers of Holmcultram, Lanercost and Wetheral there are recorded several deeds to which he is mentioned either as a party or a witness. (fn. 83) John was prior when the convent of Carlisle leased 'Waytecroft' to Thomas son of Gospatric, and quit-claimed the tithes of Scotby to the priory of Wetheral. With a number of Cumberland men, he was present at Winchester in 1194 when King Richard granted Old Salkeld to Adam, cook of Queen Eleanor, for his good services. (fn. 84) In 1196 Prior John had come to an agreement with Henry de Wichenton about the third part of the church of Lowther, and a similar agreement was arrived at between him and Ralf de Bray in 1204 with respect to the church of Rocliffe. (fn. 85) The priory was vacant on 6 May 1214, when the king bestowed the latter church on Odo de Ledreda his clerk. (fn. 86)
In the summer of 1214 four canons of Carlisle were deputed to carry the record of the election of a new prior for the confirmation of King John. (fn. 87) On 25 August in that year the king informed the archdeacon of Carlisle by letters close that Brother Henry, canon of Merton, was canonically and with his assent elected to the priory of Carlisle and had done homage: he was to be admitted without delay to the office. (fn. 88) The Chronicle of Lanercost, which gives his name as Henry de Mareis, adds that the appointment received papal confirmation in November 1214. (fn. 89) After the death of Bishop Bernard, Prior Henry confirmed the appropriation of the church of Crosby Ravensworth made by that bishop to the abbey of Whitby, (fn. 90) and did a similar service to the priory of Lanercost in respect of certain of their churches. (fn. 91)
Bartholomew was prior during some portions of the episcopate of Bishops Hugh and Walter. He was not only a witness to the charter whereby the former bishop confirmed the spiritual possessions of the priory of Lanercost, but also granted a charter to the same effect on behalf of the convent of Carlisle. (fn. 92) This prior did a similar service to the abbey of Whitby (fn. 93) in respect of the church of Crosby Ravensworth in Westmorland. He witnessed a charter which Bishop Hugh granted to the priory of Wetheral, confirming to the monks the churches of St. Michael and St. Laurence, Appleby; (fn. 94) and in company with Bishop Walter and Archdeacon Gervase he was a witness to the charter of Ivo de Vipont, granting lands in Alston to the priory of Hexham. (fn. 95) He also confirmed a charter of Bishop Hugh to the abbey of Newminster, (fn. 96) and witnessed the licence given by the same bishop to the priory of Conishead to appropriate the church of Orton in Westmorland. (fn. 97) Prior Bartholomew died in 1231. (fn. 98)
Ralf Barri, nephew of Bishop Walter, succeeded Bartholomew in 1231 and ruled the priory till his death on 9 February 1247. (fn. 99) When Bishop Walter confirmed the church of Burgh-by-Sands to the abbey of Holmcultram on 12 April 1234 Prior Ralf and Archdeacon Gervase were witnesses to the charter. The same prior afterwards issued a charter to the same effect on behalf of the convent of Carlisle. (fn. 100) With Bishop Walter and William, prior of Wetheral, he witnessed the charter whereby Roland de Vaux granted certain land of his fee in Treverman to the canons of Lanercost for the soul of Robert de Vaux his brother. (fn. 101) In 1235-6 Ralf de Duffeld and Emma his wife brought a suit in the king's court against Bishop Walter and Prior Ralf for an unjust ejectment from their free tenement in Sebergham, which had been previously bestowed on Prior Ralf by William Wasthose, father of the said Emma. (fn. 102) About the same period the dispute between this prior and the abbey of Holmcultram about the tithe of fish caught in the river Eden was submitted to the adjudication of Walter, Bishop of Carlisle. (fn. 103) Prior Ralf was a party to several deeds and leases belonging to the priory of Wetheral. (fn. 104)
When Robert succeeded in 1247 the custody of the lands of John de Vipont was delivered to him on the same condition as Ralf his predecessor had held it, the lands having been taken into the king's hand by reason of the death of the said Ralf, prior of Carlisle. (fn. 105) On 22 October 1248 Bishop Silvester of Carlisle and Robert, prior of the same, gave a bond to the prior and convent of Durham that they should be held free of cost and expense if they would confirm the appropriation of the churches of Newcastle, Newburn, Warkworth, Corbridge and a moiety of Whittingham, which Bishop Nicholas of Durham had made to the church of Carlisle on the ordination of Masters William de Kilkenny, Archdeacon of Coventry; Thomas de Wymundeham, precentor of Lichfield; Odo de Kilkenny and Walter de Merton, clerks. (fn. 106) Robert was prior on 2 September 1249, when the ordination already referred to was made between Bishop Silvester and the priory about the final redistribution of the property of the church of Carlisle.
Robert had ceased to be prior about 1258. On 17 December 1258 Pope Alexander IV. issued a mandate to the priors of Hexham, Lanercost and Wetheral, on the petition of the prior and convent of Carlisle, to inquire about the conduct of Robert, a canon, then prior, who, submitting to the bishop's visitation, and thinking that on account of his excesses he was about to be removed, resigned; on which the bishop ordered him to reside in the church of Corbridge in Northumberland with one canon at least, and to pay from its proceeds 40 marks a year to the prior and chapter, keeping the rest, which was estimated to amount to 90 marks, for their sustentation. The Bishop of Durham admitted Robert to the said church by order of the Bishop of Carlisle on the petition of the convent whose church it was. But the new vicar of Corbridge broke out into dissolute living, and was likely to perish, placed as he was outside all discipline. The pope ordered the priors, if the facts were found as stated, to cause Robert to return to his cloister and to remain there under his prior's obedience. (fn. 107)
The names of Adam de Felton and Alan are usually introduced after Robert de Morville in lists of the priors of Carlisle, but no reasons have been given for their adoption. As Nicolson and Burn (fn. 108) have apparently followed the list of Hugh Todd, (fn. 109) these priors should be received with the greatest suspicion till some evidence is put forward to establish their titles.
John, prior, and the convent of Carlisle, confirmed, on 15 May 1263, an ordination made by Bishop Robert de Chause between Isabel, prioress of Marrick, and Ralf de Kirkandres, chaplain, with respect to the church of Kirkandrews on Eden. (fn. 110)
Robert was prior of Carlisle on 27 December 1278, when the convent elected Ralf, prior of Gisburne, to be Bishop of Carlisle. (fn. 111) On 16 July 1282 Bishop Ralf de Ireton confirmed the appropriation of the church of Addingham with its chapel of Salkeld to him and the convent, the advowson of which had been granted by Christiane, widow of Robert de Brus. The prior and canons had petitioned for the licence on the ground of the extraordinary burdens the cathedral church had to bear by reason of its geographical position and the frequent concourse of clergy and people in confinio duarum regionum. (fn. 112) On 24 April 1283 Prior Robert confirmed a pension to Adam de Coupland, clerk, by grant of the same bishop. At a subsequent period it was stated that Robert had vacated the priory by resignation at a time when the house was in a good financial condition. (fn. 113)
The next prior was named Adam, against whom Edward I. in 1285 issued a writ of quo warranto touching certain liberties which the priory claimed in Inglewood Forest. (fn. 114) The full name of the prior afterwards appears as Adam de Warthwyk. In 1287 this prior confirmed the taxation of Walton vicarage ordained by Bishop Ralf de Ireton for the priory of Lanercost, (fn. 115) and in 1303 did a similar service to the abbey of St. Mary, York, by confirming the appropriation of the church of Bromfield to that monastery. (fn. 116) His name is inscribed on the famous Ragman Roll (fn. 117) of 1296 as Adam 'prior de Cardoyl del counte de Are,' a county in which the priory probably had some property. At the bishop's visitation in 1300 he heard some grievous complaints against the prior's negligent administration of the house, and delivered a code of drastic injunctions (fn. 118) for a speedy reformation. These injunctions have been already referred to. Adam de Warthwyk resigned the priory of his own free will and accord on 18 September 1304, when a very liberal pension and ample privileges were conceded to him, because he was a cadet of a noble family in the diocese (quia a magnatibus et personis nobilibus nostre diocesis procreatus et oriundus). He had been forty years a canon and twenty years and more prior of the house. The pension was decreed by Bishop Halton with the unanimous consent of the chapter. (fn. 119)
William de Hautewysil was prior for only four years, as he resigned on 28 September 1308. On the same day licence was obtained by Robert the sub-prior for the canons to elect a successor. (fn. 120)
On the cession of the last prior, Robert de Helpeston was canonically elected, and the Bishop of Carlisle, having examined the record of the election and found that it had been conducted according to the decrees of the holy fathers, confirmed him in the priory on 1 October 1308. (fn. 121) On the same day a mandate was sent to the official of the diocese to induct and install him. In 1320 Prior Robert demised to Robert de la Ferte a messuage, 13 acres of land and 2 acres of meadow in Salkeld, lands which were afterwards forfeited by the adherence of Robert de la Ferte to the Scots and delivered back to the priory. (fn. 122)
Simon de Hautwysell succeeded, but died after a short incumbency. On 13 July 1325, Roger, the sub-prior, and the chapter of Carlisle petitioned the bishop for his licence to elect a successor, William de Hurworth, a canon of the house, being the bearer of the petition. As Bishop Ross had just been consecrated, the canons had previously sent him a laudatory letter informing him that the receipt of the papal bulls announcing his appointment to the see of Carlisle had filled their breasts with ineffable joy. (fn. 123)
It is said that William de Hurworth was the next prior, but we have not succeeded in finding any good authority for the statement. In fact the evidences are against it, inasmuch as his name is found as a canon of the house for many years during subsequent priorates. (fn. 124) On 8 February 1329 Thomas Peytefyn, chaplain, was presented to the vicarage of Edenhall, which was in the king's gift by reason of the priory of Carlisle being in his hand. (fn. 125) We know for certain that John de Kirkby was prior in 1330, and that Bishop Ross issued an excommunication against him on 3 January 1330-1 for failing to pay the papal tenth granted to John XXII. by the clergy of Carlisle. (fn. 126) About this time there was a long and bitter dispute between the bishop and the priory as to the tithe of assart lands in the forest of Inglewood which was ultimately referred to the secular courts. (fn. 127) The controversy was brought to a sudden termination by the death of Bishop Ross and the elevation of Prior Kirkby to fill his place. When William de Hurworth and Richard de Whytrigg, canons of Carlisle, brought the news of the bishop's death to the king, letters patent were sent to the convent authorizing the election of a bishop to the vacant pastorate who should faithfully serve his church, king and country. (fn. 128) On 8 May 1332 the king signified to the Archbishop of York his assent to the election of John de Kirkby, prior of Carlisle, to be Bishop of Carlisle. (fn. 129) By a similar writ the temporalities of the bishopric were restored to him in the following July. (fn. 130) By an order in 1334 the prior of Carlisle was respited for rendering his account to the king for the time when the late prior (John de Kirkby), his predecessor, was receiver of the money for the victuals of the king and his father, sold in Cumberland. (fn. 131) From this it would appear in the absence of direct proof that John de Kirkby was the prior that succeeded Simon de Hautwysell, or at least that he was prior for some time during the reign of Edward II.
Geoffrey was the next prior, for on 8 March 1333-4, Bishop John de Kirkby acknowledged that he owed him £400, which was to be levied, in default of payment, on his lands and chattels in Cumberland. (fn. 132)
It is said that John de Horncastle was prior in 1352 when he was elected to fill the see of Carlisle. As the elect and confirmed but not the consecrated Bishop of Carlisle, he performed certain diocesan acts which are on record. (fn. 133) In 1363 a plenary remission at the hour of death was granted by the pope to 'John de Horncastell,' prior of Carlisle. (fn. 134) Bishop Appleby cited the prior and convent to undergo his visitation in 1366, to which citation the prior expressed his readiness, and conveyed to the bishop the names of the capitular body. It is interesting to note their names: John de Horncastell, prior; John de St. Neots, sub-prior; Thomas de Warthole; Thomas de Colby; Richard Bully; William de Dalston; Thomas de Penreth; Adam del Gille; John de Overton; Thomas Orfeor; William Colt; Robert del Parke and Robert de Edenhale, that is, a prior and twelve canons. It was intimated that Thomas de Penreth was absent for purposes of study, which was held to be a valid excuse. John de Horncastle signified his intention to the bishop in November, 1376, of retiring from the priorate on account of old age and bad health, and the Archdeacon of Carlisle was commissioned to receive his resignation and to absolve him from his duties. (fn. 135)
In obedience to the bishop's licence to elect a successor, the choice of the canons fell on John de Penreth. This prior had a dispute with Robert de Clifton, the cellarer, in 1379, with the result that the cellarer was removed from his office. The whole case was ultimately submitted to the arbitration of the bishop. (fn. 136) Prior John de Penreth was associated with Robert de Rawebankes, abbot of Holmcultram, and Lambert de Morland, abbot of Shap, in 1379, as collectors of a subsidy granted by the clergy of the diocese of Carlisle to Richard II. in the second year of his reign. (fn. 137) In the return of the collectors the benefice of the prior of Carlisle was assessed at £200, the amount of his contribution being equal to that of the bishop, viz. £4. The following canons were named in the assessment at the rate of 3s. 4d. each: Thomas de Warthehole, Thomas de Colby, John Cole, Robert Bury, Robert de Clyfton, John de Overton, Richard Herwyk, Richard Bellerby, Richard Brumley, Thomas Dalston and Hugh Thoresby, (fn. 138) a prior and eleven canons. For certain lawful causes the priory was resigned by John de Penreth on 9 August 1381. (fn. 139)
The Bishop of Carlisle, having learnt by proclamation that there was no opposition to the election of William de Dalston, a canon of the house, decreed that he should be installed in the vacant priorate. That was in August 1381. The choice of the canons was the source of a great scandal in the diocese of Carlisle. The prior had refused to make the declaration of canonical obedience to the bishop which led to his excommunication. He was ultimately persuaded to resign on 28 September 1385, after he had made the requisite declaration. (fn. 140) This prior had been employed under the Crown in January, 1384-5, as surveyor of the works for the repair of the castle of Carlisle. (fn. 141)
After the cession of Prior Dalston, (fn. 142) great circumspection was exercised by the bishop before he admitted a successor. The official of the diocese was commissioned to see that the election was conducted according to law, and to certify the formalities to the bishop. Having satisfied himself that Robert de Edenhall was the choice of the canons, and that there was no opposition, he directed his letters to the Archdeacon of Carlisle on 10 October 1385, to give the said Robert corporal possession of the prior's stall in the choir and his place in the chapter house. (fn. 143)
It is difficult to distinguish the priors during the fifteenth century, inasmuch as all those that have been met with bear the same Christian name. In the old lists no fewer than five priors of the name of Thomas have been mentioned. John Denton has given the order of succession as Thomas Hoton, Thomas Barnby, Thomas Huthwaite and Thomas Gudybour. (fn. 144) In their revised list, Nicolson and Burn have placed between Hoton and Barnby the name of 'Thomas Elye who built the grange of New Lathes near the city (of Carlisle) on the walls of which his name is legible.' From the latter source we learn that 'Thomas de Haythwaite erected the bishop's throne in the quire on the back part whereof his name was inscribed.' (fn. 145) Neither of these inscriptions is now to be found.
A few dates may help to ascertain the chronological order with more certainty. By letters patent, dated 4 January 1413-4, William, Bishop of Carlisle, appointed Thomas de Hoton, prior of the cathedral church of Carlisle, to collect the subsidy granted to the Crown by the convocation of York on 27 July 1413. (fn. 146) It was certified by Thomas, prior, and the convent of Carlisle, on 20 September 1423, that Joan, wife of John de Gaytford in the county of Nottingham, formerly wife of Elias de Thoresby, deceased, and daughter of Master John de Welton, was legitimate and born of the said Master John and Alice his wife in holy wedlock. (fn. 147) Thomas Barnby, prior of Carlisle, was returned in a list of gentry of the county of Cumberland by certain local commissioners, one of whom was Marmaduke Lumley, Bishop of Carlisle, in the twelfth year of the reign of Henry VI. 1433-4. (fn. 148) In the muniment room of Lowther Castle there is an original lease of a tenement in Cardew, dated at Rose on 11 August 1457, and given by William, Bishop of Carlisle. The lease was confirmed by Thomas de 'Huthuayte,' prior of Carlisle, on behalf of the convent. Damaged impressions of the seals of the bishop and prior still remain.
During an inquisition for proving the age of Hugh, son and heir of Hugh Lowther, late of Lowther, taken on 8 November, 1482, it was deposed that he was born at Lowther on the Feast of the Assumption in 1461 and baptized in the church of that vill, the godfathers being Richard Wherton, rector of the said church, and Thomas, prior of Carlisle, and the godmother, Elizabeth Moresby. (fn. 149)
In the statute of 13 Edward IV., 1473, it was provided—
that this Acte of Resumption, or any other made or to be made in this present Parlement, extend not nor in any wise be prejudiciall, disavauntage, derogation or hurt to Edward Bishop of Carlill, nor to his predecessours nor successours, nor to Thomas Priour of Carlill, and Covent of the Monestery or Priorie of Carlill, nor to their predecessours nor successours, nor to any of theym, nor to any yefte or yeftes, graunte or grauntes, licence or licences, ratifications, releases, assignations or confirmations to theym, or to their predecessours, or to any of theym, made, graunted or had, by what name or names the Bishop or Priour and Covent of the seid Monestere or Priorie, or their predecessours be or were named or called in the same. (fn. 150)
It is not known precisely at what date the priorate of Thomas Gudybour began or ended. It is certain that he was prior of Carlisle in 1476, for in the early part of that year he was present at Hexham when William Bywell was elected head of that house. (fn. 151) It is probable that he was in office for a considerable period. During his time the cathedral church had been renovated, (fn. 152) the legends of the saints stencilled on the back of the choir stalls, and the tithe-barn near St. Cuthbert's church built. His initials in monogram, T(homas) G(udybour) P(rior), have been found in various parts of the cathedral and monastic buildings, and it was stated in an inscription on the door of an old cupboard in the sacristy that the house flourished under his rule (domus hec floruit Gudebowr sub tegmine Thome). In 1484 King Richard III. granted to Thomas, the prior, and the canons of the cathedral church, a great part of the possessions of which had been destroyed by the Scots, two tuns of red wine of Gascony yearly in the port of Kingston on Hull for use in their church, that they might pray for the good estate of the king and his consort Anne, Queen of England, and for their souls after death and the souls of the king's progenitors. (fn. 153) Among the muniments of the city of Carlisle there is an 'indenture made at Karlell' on 1 March 1484-5 'betwixt the right worshipfull ffather in God, Thomas Gudybour, priour, and his brethre the convent of the cathedrall kirke of Karlell,' on the one part, and the mayor and citizens of Carlisle on the other, about 'the teynde multure of the mylnes belongyng to the said Citee.' To this deed the seal of the priory is attached, together with a counter-seal of singular design. (fn. 154)
Simon Senus, Senose, or Senhouse, is said to have been chosen prior of Carlisle in 1507, but there must be an error of some years in the date. On 10 December 1505 Thomas, Lord Dacre, and Sir Edward Musgrave entered into a recognizance of 1,000 marks for the finding of four sureties before Simon, prior of Carlisle, and Cuthbert Conyers, clerk, for the payment of 540 marks due to the king. The money was paid and the debt cancelled on 12 July 1509. (fn. 155) By a deed 'geven att Karlisle the xiii. day of June the viiith yere of the reign of our most naturall Soverayn lord king Henry the VIIIth' (1516), Simon Senhouse, prior of Carlisle, joined Thomas Lord Dacre, the lord warden of the Marches, Sir Christopher Dacre, Robert Coldale, 'maire of the citie of Karlell,' and other gentlemen, aldermen and bailiffs of the city in an appeal for funds for 'the reedifyeng and bulding of a new brige of xxi jowelles adionyng the wallis of the forsaid Citie standing over the river of Eden now beyng decayed, and a perte of the same fallen down.' (fn. 156) On 15 July 1518 a grant in frankalmoin was made by the Crown to Simon, prior, and the canons of Carlisle, of the fishery of Carlisle at the annual rent of one mark, and of one tun of red wine annually at the port of Newcastle for sacrament. (fn. 157) While Senhouse was prior, his chamber or residence was rebuilt or renovated, for in a room, now the drawingroom, of the deanery, there remains a curiously decorated ceiling with quaint couplets inscribed on the crossbeams. A drawing of one of these verses by Miss Close, daughter of the Dean of Carlisle, was exhibited at the meeting of the Archæological Institute held at Carlisle in 1859, (fn. 158) the record of which is as follows:
Symon Senus Prior sette yis roofe and scalope here, To the intent wythin thys place they shall have prayers every daye in the yere.
Lofe God and thy prynce and you nedis not dreid thy enimys.
Among the painted ornaments on the ceiling are roses, birds, the escallop shell, the ragged staff, and escutcheons of arms. Other verses have been recorded by Hutchinson, (fn. 159) but they have no particular interest. The whole of the ornamentation of the chamber is now very faint. The altar-tomb in the north transept of the cathedral, in front of the consistorial court, is reputed to commemorate this prior, but the inlaid brass plates, now to be found there, are no parts of the original structure.
Christopher Slee must have been prior for some time before 1528, for in that year the north-western gate of the precincts of the abbey was built. Around the elliptical arch on the inside, facing 'the Fratry,' there is an inscription now very much worn by the weather, but still legible: 'Orate pro anima Christoferi Slee prioris qui primus hoc opus fieri incepit A.D. 1528.' Christopher, prior of Carlisle, was joined in a commission on 22 September 1529, with Sir William Pennington, Sir John Ratclyf and Richard Irton to survey the castle of Carlisle, and to deliver the ordnance found in it to Sir Thomas Clifford and the castle to William Lord Dacre. (fn. 160) In 1534 'Christofer prior of the cathedrall churche of Karliol' was one of the signatories of the inventory taken on 9 May, 26 Henry VIII., of the 'moveables' of Lord Dacre remaining at his house of Naworth by the Earls of Westmorland and Cumberland. (fn. 161) He was returned in the ecclesiastical valuation of 1535 as prior of Carlisle and vicar of Castle Sowerby, a church appropriated to the priory. (fn. 162) In the discredited report of the royal commissioners on the condition of the religious houses, ascribed to the year 1536, Prior 'Slye' was charged with incontinency. (fn. 163) Soon after this date Prior Slee was deposed, but for what reason we have not ascertained. In an undated letter addressed 'to the ryght worshupffull Master cecretorie to ye kynges grace be this letter delyvered,' Robert Cokett thus informed Cromwell of the event:—
Right worshupffull Sr. I (thowgh unable) have me recomendyt unto yor discreitnes, besechynge you of yor grett goodnes to have me excusyd of my rude and symple letter. Pleasyth it yow to know that ye Prior of Carelell is deposed and put downe, wherapone yf it pleas yow of yowr goodnes to be so good unto one kynsmane of myne called Sr Will Florens, chanon of ye foresaid howsse, as make hyme Prior yerof, for of a trewth he is most able reportynge me unto ye kynges grace vicitours, and both he and I shalbe bownd unto yow to pay unto ye kynges grace all suche thynges as it shall pleas yow to require, and yow to have for yowr payn takynge an hundreth markes. Besekynge yow of yowr answere by ye berer hereof. Yor bedman, Robert Cokett. (fn. 164)
Lancelot Salkeld, a canon defamed in the report of the royal visitation, was made prior of the house for the purpose of its surrender. From an entry in Cromwell's accounts (fn. 165) under date 17 February 1538-9, 'prior of Carlyle by Dr. Bellysys, 40 marks,' we may gather that he had not been long appointed, (fn. 166) as the receipt suggests the amount for which the post was purchased. Sir Thomas Wharton was not a welcome visitor to the priory when he took up his abode there in December 1539, in anticipation of the coming of the commissioners for the suppression. He complained to Cromwell that he was 'straitly lodged,' and, while pleading for better accommodation, he urged his preferential claim to what was sold or let for the king's use. (fn. 167) The priory was surrendered with all its possessions by Lancelot Salkeld, prior, and the convent on 9 January 1540, and acknowledged the same day before Richard Layton, one of the clerks of Chancery. (fn. 168) Pensions were assigned on the day following to those canons who had retired, viz. a pension of £6 13s. 4d. to John Birkebek, and £5 6s. 8d. each to Richard Throp and William Lowther. (fn. 169) By letters patent, dated 2 May 1541, the king reconstructed the late monastery of St. Mary, Carlisle, as a cathedral of one dean and four prebendaries to be the see of Robert Aldridge, Bishop of Carlisle, and his successors, the new establishment to consist of Lancelot Salkelde, dean, William Florence, first prebendary; Edward Loshe, second; Barnaby Kyrkbryd, third; and Richard Brandeling, fourth. (fn. 170) A few days later, on 6 May, by royal charter, the new institution, henceforth to be known as the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Carlisle, was endowed with the revenues of the dissolved priory of St. Mary, and with most of the revenues of the dissolved priory of Wetheral. (fn. 171) Lancelot Salkeld, the last prior of the old institution, became the first dean of the new, thus perpetuating the succession.
The canons of the priory submitted to the new state of things with a bad grace. The name of the institution had changed but that was all: the old leaven was still there. It took time to reconcile the canons to the liturgical changes in the public service of the cathedral. Master 'Hew' Sewell, M.A., one of the most notorious of the local clergy of the Tudor period, lodged an information with the civil authorities against their non-compliance with recent ecclesiastical legislation. He brought to the justices of the peace 'one book called a legend' which, he said, was daily 'occupied' in the church of the late monastery of Carlisle, and in which, contrary to the Acts of Parliament, the service of Thomas Becket and the usurped name 'papa' of the Bishop of Rome were unerased. Lancelot Salkeld, late prior, and at that time (1 May 1540) guardian of the monastery, demanded the return of the book, and offered sureties for it; but the justices, John Lowther, Edward Aglionby, Thomas Dalston and Lancelot Salkeld, thinking the matter too high for their determination, sent it to the king together with the depositions of the sub-chanter and another brother. The effect of the depositions was that Lancelot Robynson, one of the deponents, would have rased out the service of Thomas Becket, but William Florence, chief chanter of the monastery, took the book from him, gave it to the clerk of the choir, and bade him keep it secret, for he would correct it. Before they rose in the morning of 2 May, Florence had disappeared. Salkeld, the guardian, informed the constable of the castle that the absent canon would return by noon on that Sunday 'or else he to be hanged.' Sewell added that John Austane, a brother of the monastery, exclaimed when the book was taken, 'Tush, it is but for a book, it will be despatched well enough for money.' (fn. 172) But matters soon settled down. William Florence remained a canon of the new capitular body till his death in 1547, when he was succeeded by Sewell. (fn. 173) Austane was one of the eight minor canons of the foundation. Salkeld died Dean of Carlisle on 3 September 1560, (fn. 174) leaving behind him a name for piety, rectitude and consistency second to none in the history of the diocese.
Priors of Carlisle
Adelulf, (fn. 175) ? circa 1133
Walter, (fn. 176) occurs 1150 and 1169
Gilbert (fn. 177)
John, (fn. 178) occurs 1194 and 1204
Henry de Mareis, (fn. 179) elected 1214
Bartholomew, (fn. 180) occurs circa 1224, died in 1231
Ralf Barri, (fn. 181) elected 1231, died 9 February 1247
Robert (fn. 182) de Morville(?), elected 1247, resigned circa 1258
Adam de Felton (fn. 183) (?)
Alan (fn. 183) (?)
John, (fn. 184) occurs 1263
Robert, (fn. 185) occurs 1278 and 1283, resigned circa 1284
Adam de Warthwyk, (fn. 186) elected circa 1284, resigned 18 September 1304
William de Hautewysil, (fn. 187) elected 1304, resigned 28 September 1308
Robert de Helpeston, (fn. 188) elected 1308, occurs 1320
Simon de Hautwysell, (fn. 189) died before 13 July 1325
John de Kirkby, (fn. 190) occurs 1330, elected Bishop of Carlisle 1332
Geoffrey (fn. 191) occurs 8 March 1333-4
John de Horncastle, (fn. 192) occurs 1352, 1363, resigned 1376
John de Penreth, (fn. 193) elected 1376, resigned 9 August 1381
William de Dalston, (fn. 194) elected 1381, resigned 28 September 1385
Robert de Edenhall, (fn. 195) elected 1385
Thomas de Hoton, (fn. 196) occurs 1413 and 1423
Thomas Elye. (fn. 197)
Thomas Barnby, (fn. 198) occurs 1433-4
Thomas Huthwaite, (fn. 199) occurs 1457
Thomas Gudybour, (fn. 200) occurs 1476 and 1484-5
Simon Senus or Senhouse, (fn. 201) occurs 1505 and 1518
Christopher Slee, (fn. 202) occurs 1528 and 1535, deposed circa 1536
Lancelot Salkeld, (fn. 203) appointed before 1 August 1537, surrendered 9 January 1539-40
Deans of Carlisle
Lancelot Salkeld, last prior and first dean, 1541; resigned in 1548
Sir Thomas Smith, knight, LL.D., 1548; resigned quasi sponte in 1554
Lancelot Salkeld, restored in 1554; died in 1560
Sir Thomas Smith, re-appointed in 1560; died in 1577
Sir John Wolley, knight, M.A., 1577-96
Sir Christopher Perkins, knight, 1596-1622
Francis White, S.T.P., 1622-6
William Peterson, S.T.P., 1626-9
Thomas Comber, S.T.P., 1629-42
Guy Carleton, S.T.P., 1660-71
Thomas Smith, D.D., 1671-84
Thomas Musgrave, D.D., 1684-6
William Grahme, D.D., 1686-1704
Francis Atterbury, D.D., 1704-11
George Smalridge, D.D., 1711-3
Thomas Gibbon, D.D., 1713-6
Thomas Tullie, LL.D., 1716-27
George Fleming, LL.D., 1727-35
Robert Bolton, LL.D., 1735-63
Charles Tarrant, D.D., 1764
Thomas Wilson, D.D., 1764-78
Thomas Percy, D.D., 1778-82
Geoffrey Ekins, D.D., 1782-92
Isaac Milner, D.D., F.R.S., 1792-1820
Robert Hodgson, D.D., F.R.S., 1820-44
John Anthony Cramer, D.D., 1844-8
Samuel Hinds, D.D., 1848-9
Archibald Campbell Tait, D.C.L., 1849-56
Francis Close, D.D., 1856-81
John Oakley, D.D., 1881-3
William George Henderson, D.C.L., D.D., 1884
The seal of the priory of Carlisle (fn. 204) is round, representing the half length figures of the Virgin and Child upon a bridge, between two angels with outstretched wings censing. A Gothic building stands on each side of the bridge, which has two trefoiled arches, within which, on the left, is an ecclesiastic, probably a canon, and on the right a bishop with mitre and crosier. Between the arches is, in a small countersunk oval panel, a cross. At the base is an embattled wall. The legend is: SIGIL' . . . CCLESIE SANCTE MAR . . . EOLI. Two impressions of this seal (fn. 205) are at the British Museum attached to deeds about the appropriation of the church of Bromfield in 1303.
A counter seal, (fn. 206) perhaps that of Adam de Warthwyk, the prior, is the impression of an antique gem representing a winged Fortune or Minerva with inscription in field: DIVS F . . ... In the metal setting at the points between the gem and the legend are two shields of arms: top three bars base fretty.
The seal of the dean and chapter (fn. 207) is a pointed oval showing the Virgin kneeling before an altar on which is an open book. Behind is a classical niche with a round headed arch, and below is the shield of arms of the chapter. The legend runs: SIGIL . DECANI . ET . CAP . ECCL . CATH . B . MARIE . VIRG . CARLIOL . 1660.