Houses of Austin canons: The abbey of Darley

Pages 46-54

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

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The history of the House of Darley has been hitherto so much neglected that it may be well to indicate the chief sources whence information can be gained outside the public records. Among the Cotton MSS. of the British Museum is a chartulary of Darley Abbey, which lacks however, its opening pages. (fn. 1) The part remaining (127 folios), is in good condition, and was for the most part compiled towards the end of the thirteenth century, but with some later insertions. It is strictly speaking a chartulary or transcript of charters. In 1780, Cole, the antiquary, made a transcript of a thin quarto of twenty-two pages, then in possession of the master of Emanuel College, Cambridge, which was part of a chartulary of Darley Abbey in a hand of the reign of Richard II. Most of the 112 charters given in this are identical with those of the older chartulary, but there are a few later, including some of Abbot Laurence de Burton, 1353-83. (fn. 2)

It has been stated by Tanner, and frequently repeated, that Robert Ferrers, second earl of Derby, founded a religious house of Austin Canons, near Derby, dedicated to St. Helen, in the reigns of either Henry I or Stephen. No authority is given for this statement, and no corroboration is forthcoming. Contrariwise there is a slightly mutilated and somewhat defaced statement on the last page of the Darley chartulary, in a thirteenth-century hand, which sets the matter at rest. (fn. 3) The entry is sufficiently clear for us to be able to state that in the year 1137, when Innocent II was pope, and Stephen king, a certain burgess of Derby named Towyne established on his patrimony an oratory in honour of St. Helen the queen, with the support of the greater part of the burgesses, and that it was dedicated by the bishop to be served by religious men (canons) under the rule of St Augustine. This house of St. Helen stood just outside the walls on the north-west side of the town, near the church of St. Alkmund, and its site is now occupied by the Grammar School.

Of the abbey of St. Mary, Darley, the real founder was Robert Ferrers, second earl of Derby. Just at the close of the reign of Stephen, 1154, with that king's sanction, and also with the sanction of his successor Henry II, the earl gave to the abbot and canons of the newly devised foundation the churches of Uttoxeter and Crich, a tithe of his rents in Derby, the third part of the meadow of Oddebrook, land worth 6s. at Osmaston with the oratory and cemetery there, 6 acres at Aldwark, and as much wood as might be drawn with one cart from the wood of Duffield or of Chaddesden. (fn. 4) There was apparently, however, a difficulty about the site the new house was to occupy, when Hugh, rural dean of Derby, came forward about 1160, and gave all his lands at Little Darley for the purpose of building thereon a church and a monastery. In consequence of this grant the greater part of the Austin Canons of St. Helen's moved from the immediate outskirts of the town of Derby, and occupied a site a mile to the north of the town on the banks of the Derwent, under Albinus their first abbot. (fn. 5) Hence it was that Hugh was looked upon as a joint founder; though that this is erroneous is shown by the crown assuming the patronage of the abbey on the confiscation of the Ferrers estates, which resulted in the house having always to apply for the royal licence to elect.

In the eighth chapter of the famous Chronicle of Dale, there is an interesting reference to Darley, at the time when the Austin Canons from Calke were endeavouring to establish a lodgement on that site, in the days of Henry II.

About the same time flourished Albinus, abbot of Darley, brightly manifesting so many of the requisites of a holy and virtuous life, that the interior of the cloister and the church, and the most inward sanctuary of religion, may be perceived to this day to be redolent with the fragrance of such a father. (fn. 6)

A comparison of several charters yields a little information respecting the founder. Hugh already referred to was the son of Simon of Derby, and a chaplain of the church of St. Peter in that town. He was rural dean of Derby at the time of the foundation; but it was an office that not infrequently changed hands, and there is more than one charter in which he is not so characterized. He had a son Henry; there were at that time certain avowedly married priests, but in this instance it seems more probable that he took orders later in life when a widower. There is no clue as to how he became possessed of the landed property that he bestowed upon the abbey. Other gifts speedily flowed into the new foundation, so that in a very short time the abbot and canons, in addition to lands at Crich, Wessington, Lea, Dethick, Tansley and Little Chester, and various mills, held the advowsons of the churches of Bolsover, Pentrich, Ripley, Ashover, South Wingfield, and the three Derby town churches of St. Peter, St. Michael, and St. Werburgh.

The Darley chartulary, though unfortunately incomplete, is full of interest as to the ecclesiastical affairs of the county at large, and of other religious foundations of Derbyshire with which the abbey was connected. (fn. 7) Various facts therefrom relative to the early establishment of vicarages have been already cited in the general ecclesiastical history. Details relative to the nunnery at King's Mead, so closely attached to this abbey; to their former establishment at St. Helens; to the hospital of St. Leonard at Derby; to the collegiate church of All Saints, Derby; to the ordination of a chantry at St. Peter's Derby; and to the estate of the Hospitallers at Waingriff, are given under the respective houses.

Henry III granted three charters confirming the possessions of the abbey; the first, (fn. 8) dated 5 February, 1229, refers to the property granted to them by Henry II which included the site of the church and other land given by Hugh the priest and his brother Agemund, the close of St. Helen, Earl Ferrers' bequest, a grant of two mills on the Oddebrook made by the abbot of Burton and others, the churches of Brailsford and Bolsover, the latter given by William Peverel, and the gift of William 'Barbe April' of the school of Derby; in connexion with this last item it may be mentioned that there is in the Public Record Office a mutilated fifteenth-century document which appears to be the complaint of William Bisshop late schoolmaster of Derby against a sentence passed on him by the abbot of Darley. (fn. 9) The second charter, 20 August 1236, (fn. 10) relates almost entirely to grants in Derby, including that of the advowsons of St. Peter's and of the church of Scarcliffe. The third, (fn. 11) 27 November, 1251, details a number of grants in Normanton, Wigwell and a few other places. It would be wearisome to go fully into all the very numerous early benefactions of this abbey, which was held in high regard by the burgesses of Derby, but from an inquisition (fn. 12) taken on the death of the abbot (Henry de Kedleston) in 1287 we learn that the abbey had a garden and courtyard—which was enlarged about 1308 by the inclosure of 3 acres of the adjacent common (fn. 13) —and 240 acres (4 carucates of 60 acres each) of land round it with 6 acres of meadow; there were also two mills but as there was no compulsory service attached to them their value depended largely on the goodwill of the neighbours; there was also a pigeon-house. This inquisition gives details of the abbey's holdings in Derby, £18 6s. 8d., the manor of Aldwark with Wigwell farm, a watermill at Aldport and land at Youlgreave, £4 13s., the manor of Normanton, £7 3s. 2d., the manor of Butterley, including the parks of Butterley and Herthay, (fn. 14) and its members Ripley and Pentrick with 60 acres in Crich and three mills —one on the Derwent—£22 19s. 3d., and the manor of Wessington with Glapwell, Scarcliffe, and Bolsover, £8 5s. 0½d; which, with the abbey demesnes at £15 17s. 2d., gives a total of £74 18s. 5½d., agreeing very well with the £72 19s. 3½d. of the return made by the commissioners for the taxation of Pope Nicholas in 1291, (fn. 15) of which there is a copy in the abbey chartulary. (fn. 16)

In addition to this then considerable annual income of £72 19s. 3½d. from their Derbyshire temporalities must be reckoned £1 6s. 8d. from temporalities in the archdeaconry of Stafford, and £1 4s. in the archdeaconry of Nottingham.

The Testa de Nevill (fn. 17) gives the abbot of Darley as holding two fees in Ripley, and also, of the grant of Henry II, 10s. rent in Derby. In 1285 (fn. 18) he is returned as holding Ripley, Pentrich and Chillwell as two fees of the barony of Crich, but in 1302 (fn. 19) and 1346 (fn. 20) he pays for two fees in Pentrich and two in Ripley, and still does so in 1428. (fn. 21)

Among the earlier deeds transcribed in the chartulary is one pertaining to the chapel of Osmaston in St. Peter's parish, which formed part of Earl Ferrers' original gift to the abbey. Osmaston was, from an early date, held of the Ferrers by the family of Dun or Dunne, whose chief residence was at Breadsall. Robert de Dun lord of Breadsall supported the Ferrers' gift by giving to the abbey of St. Mary at Darley, for the good of his soul and those of his wife and heirs, all the rights that he had in the chapel of Osmaston by virtue of being its patron. He coupled his gift, however, with the condition that the abbot and canons were to pay two silver shillings to the church of Breadsall every Michaelmas. (fn. 22)

In 1215 the king acknowledged the receipt of certain rings and other jewels which had been left in the care of the abbot of Darley, (fn. 23) and in 1216 Pope Honorius III issued his mandate to the abbot of Darley and to two other ecclesiastics to adjudicate in a dispute between the chapter of York and the priory of St. Oswald. (fn. 24) From this date onwards the abbot of Darley for the time being was frequently called upon to take part in papal and diocesan commissions.

Pandulph, the papal legate, was at Darley 17 July, 1220, and dated from there a letter to the bishop of Winchester and Hubert de Burgh, inclosing a petition of the men of Nottingham and Derbyshire for the release of their corn which had been seized by the crown. (fn. 25) Besides the visit of Archbishop Peckham in 1279 we find two distinguished guests in the persons of Henry III, who on 25 November, 1251, was at Darley (fn. 26) and there dated a grant to the abbey of free warren and of a market at Ripley and a fair there on the vigil, day and morrow of St. Helen, and Edward I, who was there from 21 February, (fn. 27) when he issued a writ for an inquisition concerning a gift of land to the friars of Derby, to 23 February, 1293. (fn. 28)

The charge of the parochial chapelry of Glapwell, with its tithes in Bolsover parish, was among the first of the benefactions to the abbey. In 1250 a dispute arose between the inhabitants and the convent owing to the chancel roof of the chapel requiring renewal. The dispute was settled by the freemen of the vill of Glapwell, described as 'our parishioners,' consenting to accept five acres of land at Glapwell from the abbey in discharge of all responsibility for repairing the chancel and its kindred obligations. (fn. 29)

About the year 1250 the abbey received an important acquisition of land at Wigwell, near Wirksworth; the grange at that place remaining one of their principal outlying farms until the dissolution. (fn. 30)

Between 1250 and 1252 Ralph, son of Ralph de Wistanton, made various important gifts to the canons of Darley. He bestowed on their tenants at Wessington rights of pasturage for twelve oxen, for six cows with their calves of two years, for four horses or four mares with their foals of two years, for twenty-four sheep with lambs of one year, for forty sheep without young, and for two sows and their litters of one year in the common pasture of Wessington. If the convent or their tenants had not so many animals of their own, they were entitled without hindrance to bring others. It was also lawful for them to pasture goats. If any of the animals of the convent's tenants entered Ralph's inclosed lands through the frailty or breakage of the fences, they were not to be impounded, but to be peaceably removed. The same Ralph also gave the abbey the land called 'Kard vilbeye,' eighteen acres of land in Wessington, and a further plot of thirtyfour acres in the same vill with rights of housebote, haybote and firebote in the woods. Another charter is simply concerned with giving the church of the Blessed Mary of Darley, and the canons serving God there, Maurice, son of Robert the carpenter, his native or villein with all his following, all his chattels, and two bovates of land which Maurice held in the vill and territory of Wessington. (fn. 31)

These and other donations must have been a serious drain on the resources of a man of quite limited resources such as Ralph of Wessington; but the explanation of this dispersal of his property is made clear in an agreement of 13 June, 1252, which is entered among the Fines of that year. (fn. 32) Ralph had fallen into the hands of the Jewish money-lenders of the day, and in order to effect his deliverance out of their hands—ad quietandum se de Judaismo—and to cheat them of their prey, for they could not seize church property, he eventually made over to the abbey all his possessions, merely making life provision for necessaries for himself and family. The convent undertook honourably to supply Ralph and his wife Maud for their lifetime with fourteen white loaves of the canons and fourteen gallons of good beer every week, and other dishes, in flesh or fish as befits the day, such as would suffice for two canons; twenty-eight service loaves and seven gallons of second beer weekly for a servant and handmaid ministering to them; honourable lodging for them and their servants with other necessaries especially wood or charcoal for fuel; a horse for Ralph as often as he should have need to travel to a distance; a tunic, super-tunic, and cape, or ten ells (at 20d. an ell) of russet or brown cloth yearly with lambswool for the super-tunic for Ralph; a tunic, super-tunic, and cloak or nine ells of russet or green or brown cloth (at 24d. an ell) with lambswool for the super-tunic for Maud; boots and white sandals in winter, and shoes and great sandals in summer for Ralph and boots and shoes of dressed leather for his wife; and twelve ells of linen yearly for Ralph and eight for his wife, for their underclothing and their bed. Moreover they granted to John, Ralph's son, four shillings yearly for shoes during his father's life, and after his death the place of a free servant in the house of Darley and ten shillings for clothing and shoes. To Nicholas, the younger son, they granted food and clothing in the house until the age of puberty, when he might have the place of a free servant like his brother, with half a mark yearly for his clothing whether at Darley or elsewhere.

In 1275 a controversy arose between Nicholas de Oxton, vicar of Wirksworth, and Henry, abbot of Darley, as to the small tithes of lands that the abbey held in that parish. A composition was made between the parties which was confirmed by Godman, the next vicar of Wirksworth, in 1278, and by the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, the prior and convent of Coventry, and the dean and chapter of Lichfield in 1285. (fn. 33)

The old composition between the abbey and the vicar of Wirksworth respecting the tithes of Wigwell was renewed in 1359 by Vicar Robert Ireton in the church of Wirksworth before William Wryght of Hopton, 'notary public by apostolical and imperial authority.' (fn. 34)

That energetic primate, Archbishop Peckham, during his visitation of Lichfield diocese in 1279-80 had various matters pertaining to the jurisdiction of Darley Abbey brought before him. (fn. 35) His settlement of the dispute between the canons and the parishioners of Crich will be referred to under that parish. The differences between the parishioners of the chapelry of Alveston and the canons as rectors of St. Michael's, Derby, relative to the repair of the chancel and finding the quire books and ornaments, as well as concerning the Priestsmeadow, which was said to have been given to sustain a lamp in the chapel, were submitted to Peckham. By his decision the expenses of repairing the chancel and of providing books, vestments, and chalice for the high altar were to be divided between the abbey and the parishioners; the Priestsmeadow was to be continued in the possession of the abbey on condition that the convent paid yearly 2s. at Michaelmas for the lights of the chapel; and with respect to the 5½ marks already handed over by the abbey to the parishioners for repairs of the chancel it was ordered that whatever had not been spent was to be returned to the abbot, and that the parishioners were to expend a like sum whenever repairs were necessary before calling on the abbey for any further money. (fn. 36)

The question of repairing the chancel of the parochial chapel of Boulton, in the parish of St. Peter's, Derby, and the finding of books, &c., was also brought before the archbishop. The abbey in this case was ordered to undertake the repairs of the chancel and to find all books and ornaments used in the chancel, save the missal and the chalice which ought to be found by the parishioners. (fn. 37)

By letters of the archbishop dated from Trentham on 1 April, 1280, it was certified that at his visitation of the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield evidences had been produced before him that the abbot of Darley was possessed of the churches of Bolsover, Crich, Pentrich, South Wingfield, and St. Michael's and St. Peter's, Derby, with their chapels. (fn. 38) St. Werburgh's, Derby, had before this date been transferred by the abbey to the Benedictine nuns of King's Mead.

In 1281 Robert Sacheverell, in consideration of 10 marks of silver, acknowledged that the advowson of the church (chapel) of Boulton was the right of Henry, abbot of Darley, as a free chapel pertaining to his church of St. Peter, Derby, the abbot on his part agreeing that Robert and his heirs should present a fit clerk or chaplain—the abbey reserving the right to remove him without consulting the patron if he be found unworthy—the chaplain to have a messuage and three bovates and nine selions of land, for which he shall not pay tithes, 12s. rent which had been given by Robert's ancestors to a charity in the said chapel, and all the small tithes and altar dues, paying for them 4s. to the abbot, who also reserved to himself the tithes of corn and hay. (fn. 39) In the same year Robert le Escryveyn acknowledged that three mills in Derby pertained to Henry abbot of Darley and his successors, and were held by him for life at a yearly rental of £4. (fn. 40)

In April, 1299, Walter de Upton made a grant to the abbey and convent of a messuage of 80 acres of land in Langecroft. (fn. 41) Licence for alienation in mortmain to the abbey by Robert Careles was granted in March, 1309, of a messuage, 20 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, two acres of pasture and 6d. in rent at Allestree (Athelardestre). (fn. 42)

Licence was granted by the crown in May, 1327, to Robert, vicar of St. Peter's, Derby, and Robert de Alastre, chaplain, to alienate to the abbey three messuages, three tofts and land, and rent in Burley, of the yearly value of 68s. 8d. in part satisfaction of a licence from Edward II to acquire in mortmain land and rent to the yearly value of 20 marks. (fn. 43)

In November, 1379, £30 was paid for licence to alienate in mortmain to the abbey, by Thomas Fraunceys of Osmaston, clerk, and William of Monyash, clerk, 15 messuages, 240 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, a rood of pasture, 20s. 10¾d. rent, and a rent of 1 lb. of cinnamon in Thurlston, Alwaston and Ambaston, of the yearly value of £6. In return for this endowment the abbey covenanted to find a chaplain to celebrate daily in their conventual church for the good estate of William Swyet while living, for his soul after death, and for the souls of Sir Godfrey Foljaumbe, his ancestors and benefactors. (fn. 44)

A commission was issued by Edward I in August, 1284, to inquire into the breaking of the park of the abbot of Darley at Herthay by certain persons, who hunted the deer therein and carried them away. (fn. 45)

On 21 December, 1214, King John signified to the keeper of the abbey and to the bishop of Coventry that Henry de Rapendon, canon of Derby, had been elected abbot with the royal consent. (fn. 46) It was henceforth accepted that the crown was to be regarded as patron or founder of the abbey, and therefore a royal congè d'èlire, with its accompanying fees and the retention of the temporalities, were necessary at every vacancy.

Accordingly on 7 April, 1287, the prior and convent of Darley sent word to the king at Westminster, by Simon de Derby, sacrist, and Robert de Melburn, canon, of the death of Henry de Kedleston, and obtained licence to elect. They made choice of one of their canons, William de Alsop, and the royal assent was granted on 6 May. (fn. 47)

In the early part of the fourteenth century the abbey felt the pinch of poverty, and an undated letter (fn. 48) of William, abbot of Darley, to the king, mentions that he has been obliged to send two of his canons to dwell in other monasteries owing to the poverty of their own house, due to the failure of their harvests and the heavy mortality among their cattle. From the similarity of this complaint to that of the prioress of King's Mead we may probably ascribe it to the same year, 1327, and in any case it was before 1340, as King Edward is not given the title of king of France. It is possible that there were other causes of poverty than those mentioned, as an anonymous letter (fn. 49) was addressed about this time by certain 'good and loyal persons' to the king, saying that the abbot of Darley was selling the woods and wasting the goods and leasing the lands of the abbey to its great impoverishment and begging him to forbid the abbot to continue in this way.

In 1330 inquiry was made into the abbey's title to its many rights and privileges; the abbot duly produced his charters which the crown, as a matter of course, challenged, but before their validity could be investigated the abbot died, so they were allowed to pass. (fn. 50)

On 12 December, 1330, the king wrote to the treasurers and barons of the exchequer that the abbot of Darley had shown, by petition, before him and his council in parliament, that the late king was indebted to him in 115s. 9d. for divers victuals (during his sojourn at the abbey in 1293), as appears by certain bills of the king's wardrobe, and the abbot was indebted to the king's exchequer in 20 marks for the voidance of the abbey, and that therefore the former sum if found correct was to be deducted from the sum due for the voidance. (fn. 51) But on this very day Roger de Coventry and Nicholas de Parwich, canons of Darley, brought news to Westminster of the death of their abbot William de Alsop, which caused another voidance, and obtained leave to elect. (fn. 52) On 3 February, 1331, the royal assent was given to the election of William de Clyfton, one of the canons, and the temporalities were restored on 3 March. (fn. 53)

Of one of these two canons who acted as messengers to the king we have an earlier notice, as Bishop Roger de Northburgh visited the abbey in 1325, and subsequently wrote (fn. 54) to the abbot that Nicholas de 'Peverwych,' canon of that house, upon whom he had enjoined as penance that he should not go out of the cloister and should content himself with small beer (debili cervis), may be dispensed therefrom in whole or in part as may seem advisable.

A long-standing tithe dispute between the abbey and the neighbouring church of Mackworth was brought to a conclusion in 1331, by the same bishop during a personal visitation. Edmund Touchet, rector of Mackworth then entered into a covenant whereby he expressed himself convinced by the evidences shown to him that the abbey was entitled to hold a place within the parish of Mackworth, qui vulgariter vocatur Hastowe, tithe-free, and he bound himself and his father, Sir Robert Touchet, patron of Mackworth, never to demand such tithes. (fn. 55)

Walter le Furettour, who had long served the king, was sent to the abbey on 25 August, 1318, to receive such maintenance in their house as Richard Charlemayne, deceased, had had in their house at the late king's request. (fn. 56)

Philip de Weston, king's clerk, obtained letters on 24 March, 1331, to receive the pension due from the abbot and convent of Darley to one of the king's clerks, by reason of the new creation of the abbot. (fn. 57) On 16 July, 1334, Henry de la Sale was sent to the abbot of Darley to receive such maintenance in the house as had been granted at the request of the late king to Richard Charlemayne, deceased. (fn. 58) It would seem that Henry de la Sale did not take up his pensioner's position here, or else his time was of brief duration, for in July, 1335, John Sewer, the king's messenger, was sent to the abbot to receive such maintenance as had formerly been granted to Charlemayne. (fn. 59)

To 1333 belongs a petition (fn. 60) of William, abbot of Darley, against contributing to the aid towards the marriage of the king's sister, and a similar protest of 1347, (fn. 61) when aid was demanded for the knighting of the king's son, sets forth that the abbey holds lands in Pentrich and Ripley, in frankalmoin, of the gift of Ralph FitzStephen, and by confirmation of the king's ancestors, and has never given to the royal aids except when in the late king's time they were forced by grievous distraint to give towards the marriage of the king's daughter.

On 1 July, 1339, the king promised to pay the abbot of Darley, half at Michaelmas and half at Easter, £21 3s. due for four sacks and six stone of wool at 100s. the sack, taken by Simon de Cestre of Derby and his fellows, appointed to take for the king a moiety of the wool in Derbyshire. (fn. 62)

The abbot of Darley was ordered on 1 September, 1340, to pay to Henry de Lancaster, earl of Derby, £2,661 of £3,677 17s, 4d. of the money of the first year of the subsidy of the ninth of the county of Derby. The abbot had been appointed receiver of the subsidy in place of the prior of Thurgarton. (fn. 63)

In November, 1344, Pope Clement III sent his mandate to the archdeacon of Norwich and another, to cause to be observed the ordinances touching apostates in regard to John de Scellye and Thomas de Doncastre, canons of Darley, who, having been maliciously thrust out of the monastery by the abbot, and now wearing the dress of secular clerks, desired to be reconciled to their order. (fn. 64)

A petition (fn. 65) of the prior and convent asking for the privilege of the custody of the abbey during its voidance, so that it might not suffer at the hands of the escheator, may probably be referred to the interval between the death of Laurence de Burton and the election of Thomas de Haddon in 1383; it is endorsed with the statement that in the time of the late King Edward III the abbot of Darley paid 20 marks that the prior and convent might have the custody of the temporalities at the time of the next voidance for half a year if it be so long vacant, and if it should be vacant for a whole year they shall pay the king 40 marks for the year, and so forth. It seems, however, that this arrangement was not continued, as in 1401 a mandate was addressed to the escheator of Derby to restore the temporalities to the new abbot, Simon de Repyngdon. (fn. 66)

The Valor of 1535, when Thomas Groves was abbot, gave the clear annual value of the abbey as £258 13s. 5d. which included the appropriated great tithes of Mackworth, Crich, South Wingfield, Pentrich, Bolsover, Scarcliffe, and St. Peter and St. Michael, Derby; tithes of lamb and wool in the parishes of Bolsover, Scarcliffe, and South Wingfield; and pensions from the churches of Brailsford and Uttoxeter. The annuities payable by the abbey were unusually numerous, and though mostly small in amount reached a total of £26 16s. 1½d. Amongst them may be named 5s. 6d. to the master of St. Leonard's, Derby; 8s. to the nuns of Derby; £11 to the sub-dean of All Saints; £4 13s. to the archdeacon of Derby, for the procurations of all their churches; 12d. towards the sustenance of a lamp in Bolsover church during the winter; 12d. for straw for the church of Scarcliffe in the winter, and 3s. 8d. to the Lichfield boy bishop at Christmas.

Darley abbey being well over £200 in annual value escaped the earlier destruction of the lesser houses. The cajoleries used at a later date to secure surrenders are illustrated by a letter from Thomas Thacker, Cromwell's chief tool among Derbyshire residents, to his master, dated 23 September, 1538, wherein he states that he had laboured for the past three months with the abbot of Darley, 'where I was born and where my poor lands lie' to surrender his house to the king; he hoped to receive shortly his letter of assent and he begged his lordship to help him (Thacker) to the house and goods. (fn. 67)

The actual 'surrender' was signed on 22 October, 1538, by Thomas Page, abbot, William Stonebag, prior, Richard Machyn, sub-prior, and ten other canons. (fn. 68) The surrender was made to Dr. Legh, the royal commissioner of evil repute.

In the Augmentation Office Books is a full record of all the 'Implements or Householde Stuffe corne catell Ornaments of the Churche and such other lyke' pertaining to this monastery, which were sold to 'Mr. Robt. Sacheverell, gent.' on 24 October, 1538, by the king's commissioners:— (fn. 69)

'The Churche. Fyrst on fayre table before the hye alter, ij tabernacles, ij great standers of laten, ij lampes, ij Candlestykes of leron, j great payre of Organs. The Chanons seates in the quire; ij other ould alters in our Lady Chapell or ylde, ij Candlestykys of Brasse before the same alter, oulde setes in the seid Chapell, j Clocke, j great Crucyfyx, ij alters and ij tables of Alebaster in seint Sythes Chapell and tymber about the same chapell and j Sacrying bell sould for vj li.

'Item all the pavyng ther the tombes and gravestones with the metell on them and the Roffes of the Churche and Ildes, the glasse and Ieron ther also, xx li.

'The Cloyster. Item the Roffe ther glasse leronn pavyng stones frestones and the laver of laye metell soulde for x li.

'The Chapter House. Item the glasse Ieron and pavyng stones and the Roffe ar soulde for xx s.

'The Frater. Item v oulde tables, j bell, the Roffe glasse Ieron the pavyng, ij oulde Chestes, iij tubbes for ale—lxvj s viij d.

'The Vestrye. Item j sute of ould wyte baudekynn, j sute of whyte counter set baudekynn; j other sute all of Armes, j suit of blue chamblett, vj copes of dyvers sortes, ij sutes on of whyte fustiann the other of Gren say, v oulde alter clothes and iiij towells, soulde for xlvii s.

The bedsteads and bedding of ten chambers particularized as the 'Lowe, Glasse, Second, Great, Mayfeld and Servantes rooms,' with four inner chambers, sold for a total of £4 17s. 4d.

The furniture and utensils of the hall, buttery, pantry, parlour, kitchen, pastry, larder, brewhouse, Bakehouse, 'Boultynghouse,' 'Yelynghouse,' and 'Blakehouse' realized £16 4s. 2d.

The grain (wheat, rye, barley, and pease) at the monastery and at Normanton Grange, together with fifty loads of hay at 2s. a load was sold for £31 13s. 8d. As to the cattle, there were only 'ij lame horses' at the monastery, which were valued at 5s. each, and seven horses and mares at Normanton Grange, at 46s. 8d. the lot. Twenty oxen at Darley realized 15s. each, whilst eighteen oxen at Normanton fetched 26s. 8d. the yoke. Ten 'keyn' at Normanton sold for 10s. a piece, and there were a large number of pigs at each place.

The inventory also includes several wains and carts and the contents of the smith's forge. A more important item was the six bells, which were sold for £30. The grand total amounted to £168 13s. 4d.

'Rewards,' that is gratuities for the immediate needs of the dismissed servants, and for the sustenance of the religious until their pensions arrived, were granted in accordance with the general custom. Thomas Page, the abbot, received £6 13s. 4d.; William Stonebag, the prior, and five of the canons, 50s.; whilst the eight other canons only obtained 40s. Fifty-six servants, including the hinds, and 'a lytell pore boye' received £23 8s. 8d. in varying amounts amongst them.

Among the goods that then remained unsold were

one Crosstuffe and ij Chaleses gylte wayenge, xcviij oz.; v spones one chales and a pyx all Whyteplate wayenge xxxvj oz.; clx fother of lead valued at cxl li.

The pensions assigned by the commissioners to the religious were £50 to the abbot; £6 13s. 4d. to the prior; £6 to the sub-prior and to two other canons; £5 6s. 8d. to three canons; and five each to the remaining five canons. It is pleasant to find an annual grant of 26s. 8d. assigned to 'Thomas Tutman, schoolmaster,' as that may be taken as evidence of some provision made by the canons for the instruction of the young. There is, however, one thoroughly discreditable annuitant in the list. The two commissioners for this dissolution and for the two other Derbyshire houses of Dale and Repton were Dr. Legh and William Cavendish, the latter acting as accountant; and yet they had the face to write down an annuity of £6 13s. 4d. to 'Mr. Doctor Legh.' It is satisfactory to know that Legh and Cavendish got into serious trouble over their accounts in winding up these three houses and others, it being proved that the latter had made entries (apparently among the 'rewards') after the clerks had withdrawn. (fn. 70)

The site was made over to Robert Sacheverell, as holder for the crown, by the commissioners on 24 October. Two years later it was granted by the crown to Sir William West, and has since, like so much monastic land, changed hands with remarkable frequency.

The pension roll of 2 and 3 Philip and Mary (fn. 71) shows that pensions were still being paid in 1555 to the prior, sub-prior, and three other of the former canons. The annuities to the earl of Shrewsbury and to various lay-folk were also continued.

Abbots of Darley

Albinus, c. 1160 (fn. 72)

William, occurs 1192 (fn. 73)

Henry, died 1233 (fn. 74)

Ralph de Leicester, 1233-47 (fn. 75)

Walter de Walton, elected 1247 (fn. 76)

Andrew, occurs 1259 (fn. 77)

William de Wymondham, 1260-75 (fn. 78)

Henry de Kedleston, 1275-87 (fn. 79)

William de Alsop, 1287-1330 (fn. 80)

William de Clifton, 1330-53 (fn. 81)

Laurence de Burton, 1353-83 (fn. 82)

Thomas de Haddon, 1383-92 (fn. 83)

John de Ashburne, 1392-1401 (fn. 84)

Simon de Repington, 1401-32 (fn. 85)

Roger de Newton, 1432-53 (fn. 86)

Henry de Killingsworth, 1453-77 (fn. 87)

John Ashby, 1477-1518 (fn. 88)

Henry Wyndeley, 1518-24 (fn. 89)

Thomas Grevys (or Groves), 1524 (fn. 90)

Thomas Page, surrendered 1539 (fn. 91)

The thirteenth-century seal (fn. 92) is a pointed oval, and represents the Blessed Virgin, with nimbus, seated on a throne; the right hand supports the Holy Child, and in the left is an orb with sceptre terminating in a fleur de lis. Legend:—



  • 1. Cott. MS. Titus, C. ix.
  • 2. Add. MS. 5822, fols. 151-191.
  • 3. Cott. MSS. Titus, C. ix, fol. 166b.
  • 4. This, with many other Darley charters at Belvoir, is translated in Derb. Arch. Soc. Jour. xvi, 14-43. It has been stated by Tanner and Dugdale that the foundation must have been a good deal earlier, because of the date 1121, given in the chartulary to a concord between the abbot of Darley and the Hospitallers, relative to lands at Waingriff; but this date is clearly, from a variety of evidence, an error of the copyist, and is probably intended for 1221.
  • 5. This foundation charter (Mon. vi, 359) is cited from Plac. coram Rege, 7 Rich. II, rot. 28 Derb. The probable date of 1160 is arrived at by an analysis of the witnesses.
  • 6. Thom. de Musca, Chron.
  • 7. a A full abstract of this chartulary was given by Dr. Cox in Derb. Arch. Journ. xxvi, 82-140 (1904).
  • 8. Chart. R. 13 Hen. III, pt. 1, m. 13.
  • 9. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 16, No. 336.
  • 10. Chart. R. 20 Hen. III, m. 20.
  • 11. Ibid. 36 Hen. III, m. 26.
  • 12. Inq. p.m. 15 Edw. I, No. 34.
  • 13. Assize R. 1347, m. 260.
  • 14. These two parks are said to have been newly made by the abbot in 1275: Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 58.
  • 15. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 263.
  • 16. Cott. MS. Titus, C. ix, fol. 41, 42.
  • 17. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 12, 18.
  • 18. Feud. Aids, 246.
  • 19. Ibid. 250.
  • 20. Ibid. 257.
  • 21. Ibid. 262.
  • 22. Cott. MS. Titus, C. ix, fol. 137.
  • 23. Pat. 17 John m. 19.
  • 24. Cal. Papal Let. i, 45-46.
  • 25. Royal Letters (Rolls Ser.), i, 138.
  • 26. Chart. 36 Hen. III, m. 27.
  • 27. Inq. a.q.d. File 20, No. 7.
  • 28. Pat. 21 Edw. I, m. 21.
  • 29. Cott. MS. Titus, C. ix, fol. 116b.
  • 30. Reliquary, xvii, 65-71, Derb. Arch. Soc. Journ. viii, 92-97. Copies of the whole of these charters appear in the chartulary, Titus, C. ix, fol. 130.
  • 31. Cott. MS. Titus, C. ix, passim; also Derb. Arch. Soc. Journ. xvi.
  • 32. Feet of F. 46 Hen. III, Sept. 24 to Oct. 20 and Derb. Arch. Soc. Journ. xvi.
  • 33. Reliquary, xvii, 165-7.
  • 34. Ibid. The notary's intricate mark is reproduced in fac-simile.
  • 35. The archbishop sojourned at Darley Abbey from 10 March to 19 March, 1279-80, Cant. Archiep. Reg. Peckham, fol. 168.
  • 36. Titus, C. ix. fol. 91.
  • 37. Ibid. fol. 100.
  • 38. Ibid. fol. 163.
  • 39. Assize R. 148, m. 11.
  • 40. Feet of F. 9 Edw. I, 13-28 April.
  • 41. Pat. 27 Edw. I, m. 32.
  • 42. Ibid. 2 Edw. II, pt. 2, m. 11.
  • 43. Pat. 1 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 21.
  • 44. Pat. R. 3 Rich. II, pt. 2, m. 33.
  • 45. Pat. 12 Edw. I, m. 7d.
  • 46. Pat. 16 John, m. 9.
  • 47. Pat. 15 Edw. I, m. 12.
  • 48. Anct. Corresp. xxiii, 121.
  • 49. Anct. Pet. 4089.
  • 50. Placita de quo Warranto (Rec. Com.), 133.
  • 51. Close, 4 Edw. III, m. 9.
  • 52. Pat. 4 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 24.
  • 53. Pat. 5 Edw. III, pt. 1, mm. 36, 26.
  • 54. Lich. Epis. Reg. Northburgh, fol. 18.
  • 55. Cott. MS. Titus, lix, fol. 145b.
  • 56. Close, 12 Edw. II, m. 29.
  • 57. Ibid. 5 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 21 d.
  • 58. Ibid. 8 Edw. III, m. 21 d.
  • 59. Ibid. 9 Edw. III, m. 14 d.
  • 60. Anct. Pet. 620.
  • 61. Ibid. 619; Rot. Parl. ii, 183.
  • 62. Pat. 13 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 38.
  • 63. Close, 14 Edw. III, pt. 2, mm. 44, 7 d.
  • 64. Cal. Pal. Let. iii, 170.
  • 65. Anct. Petition 2,089.
  • 66. Pat. 2 Hen. IV, pt. 2, m. 9.
  • 67. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 408.
  • 68. Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii, App. ii, 16.
  • 69. Aug. Off. Misc. Books, clxxii, 50-60.
  • 70. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 1233.
  • 71. Add. MSS. 5082.
  • 72. Foundation Charter.
  • 73. Cole MSS. 5822, fol. 153.
  • 74. Pat. 17 Hen. III, m. 5, 2.
  • 75. Ibid.
  • 76. Pat. 32 Hen. III, m. 7.
  • 77. Cole MSS. 5822, fol. 153.
  • 78. Ibid.
  • 79. Pat. 3 Edw. I, m. 32.
  • 80. Pat. 15 Edw. I, m. 11.
  • 81. Pat. 4 Edw. III, m. 24; 5 Edw. III, m. 36, 26. Called William Giffard; Lich. Epis. Reg. Northburgh, fol. 69b.
  • 82. Pat. 27 Edw. III, pt. 3, m. 2.
  • 83. Pat. 6 Ric. II, pt. 3, m. 5, 7; Rich. II, pt. 1, m. 38.
  • 84. Pat. 15 Ric. II, pt. 1, m. 27, 25.
  • 85. Pat. 2 Hen IV, pt. 2, m. 25, 9.
  • 86. Ibid. Boulers, fol. 28; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 357.
  • 87. Pat. 32 Hen. VI.
  • 88. Pat. 17 Edw. IV, pt. 1, m. 18, 12.
  • 89. Lansd. MSS. 963, fol. 59.
  • 90. Ibid. fol. 60.
  • 91. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), p. 599.
  • 92. Harl. Chart. 44 D. 18; Wolley Chart. iv, 60.