A History of the County of Essex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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43. THE COLLEGE OF HALSTEAD
Edward III on 2 April, 1341, granted licence (fn. 1) for Robert Bourchier, chancellor of England, to found a college or chapelry of seculars in Halstead and to endow them with land and the advowson of the church of Sible Hedingham, and for them to appropriate the church. In the letters (fn. 2) of the king and Bourchier to the pope it is stated that the college was to consist of eight chaplains in the parish church. This licence appears, however, never to have taken effect; and on 2 May, 1412, Henry IV granted (fn. 3) licence for Richard, bishop of London, and others to found a chantry of five chaplains to celebrate divine service daily in the parish church of Halstead for the souls of Sir Robert Bourchier and Margaret his wife, Sir John Bourchier and Maud his wife, and Sir Bartholomew Bourchier and Margaret and Idonea his wives, and to grant to them lands and rent in Halstead, Sible Hedingham, Pebmarsh, Twinstead and Middleton, and the advowson of the church of Sible Hedingham, which they were to appropriate. One of the five chaplains was to be the master, and the chantry was to be called Bourchier's chantry.
The college was founded accordingly on 12 November in the same year and endowed with three tenements in Halstead, another in Halstead and Maplestead, and a fifth and a croft in Sible Hedingham and the advowson of the church there. This was to be appropriated to the chantry, which was to consist only of a master and one fellow chaplain until they were actually in possession. The church, however, never was thus appropriated; and Bishop William Grey ordered (fn. 4) that, notwithstanding the ordinances of his predecessor, it should always be governed by a rector, who should find a chaplain to celebrate divine service for the said souls. In consequence of this the college never contained more than the master and one chaplain; and they appear to have presented to the church of Sible Hedingham in 1433 only.
According to the Valor the net yearly value of the college of Halstead was £23 16s. 5½d., of which John Reston, master, received £17 16s. 5½d. and Gilbert Wygly, priest, £6. In the certificates of colleges and chantries it is described (fn. 5) as 'A chauntrie or collegge ther foundid to fynd two priests for ever by lycence of Kyng Henry the Fourth' and said to be founded within the parish church and worth yearly £28 8s. 0d., from which deductions were made of 41s. 6d. for rents, 22s. for four obits, 3s. 8d. for bread and wine to the church and 47s. 7¾d. for the tenth, so that the clear value was £22 13s. 2¼d. A detailed certificate (fn. 6) of its possessions, including a tenement with a garden called 'le Colleag howse' with a pasture called 'le Colleag close,' the manor of Hipforde, the tenement called Slowhouse, etc., amounted to £34 4s. 3d. yearly, and deductions for rents and the bailiff's allowance reduced this to £31 16s. 1d. The college was granted (fn. 7) on 24 June, 1551, to William, marquess of Northampton.
Masters of Halstead
Thomas Swattock (fn. 8) in 36 Henry VI and 3 Edward IV.
John Ashwell (fn. 8) in 16 Henry VIII.
John Reston in 1535.