Houses of Benedictine monks: Priory of St Swithun, Winchester

A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1903.

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'Houses of Benedictine monks: Priory of St Swithun, Winchester', in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 2, (London, 1903) pp. 108-115. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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The history of this monastery has been already so much dealt with in the Ecclesiastical History of the county that there is comparatively little to add. This monastery, is said to have been founded in honour of Sts. Peter and Paul, by Cenwalh, King of Wessex, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 643, (fn. 1) and according to the Annals of Winchester in 639, (fn. 2) and was known after the foundation of Newminster or Hyde as the Old Minster.

It was probably after the rebuilding of the cathedral church by Bishop Athelwold in 971 that the church and the monastery received the additional dedication in honour of St. Swithun by which it was afterwards known, though the joint dedication to Sts. Peter and Paul and St. Swithun lingered on for some time in official documents.

There was apparently no distinction in early times between the lands of the bishop and the lands of the monastery. Grants were made to the church generally, but the lands granted appear to have been under the control of the bishop. About the middle of the tenth century certain lands seem to have been allotted for the maintenance of the monastery, but they remained still under the management of the bishop. (fn. 3) At the time of the Domesday Survey the lands allotted for the support of the monks were mostly held by the bishop, those in Hampshire being Chilcomb, Nursling, Chilbolton, Avington, Whitchurch, Freefolk, Witnal in Whitchurch, Hurstbourne Priors, Clere, Crondal, Droxford, Polhampton in Overton, Exton, Alverstoke, Worthy, Wonston, Brainsbury in Barton Stacy, South Stoneham, Milbrook, Hinton Ampner, Fawley, Itchingswell, Hannington and Hoddington in Upton Gray. (fn. 4) The monks themselves held Boarhunt, Wootton St. Laurence, Hayling Island, Brockhampton and Havant. (fn. 5) The lands of the bishop and prior formed a great fief for which the bishop owed, at the end of the twelfth century, the service of sixty knights. (fn. 6)

There are two chartularies in the British Museum of the priory of St. Swithun, both of which were unknown to the compilers of Dugdale's Monasticon.

The first of these, acquired in 1844 from the dean and chapter of Winchester, contains a large collection of royal and other charters in Anglo-Saxon and Latin, from the reign of Cenwalh of Wessex, 688, to the time of Edward the Confessor, with the addition of a few Norman charters granted by William I., Henry I. and Stephen. It is beautifully written and in good preservation in the original stamped binding; it is supposed to have been compiled between 1130 and 1150. (fn. 7)

The other chartulary, acquired in 1873, opens with a brief history of the church to the year 967, followed by a notice of the bishops up to Egbald, 793. This is followed by charters from the time of the Confessor to 1242. Among the other entries are agreements with the monasteries of Canterbury, Peterborough, Worcester, Gloucester, Reading, Tewkesbury, Chertsey, Burton, Ely, Abingdon, St. Albans, St. Pancras at Lewes, Glastonbury, Durham, Merton, Malmesbury, Bury St. Edmunds, Westminster, Wherwell, Romsey, Bec (Normandy) and Battle, as to mutual masses for the dead; a list of plate and vestments, the gifts of Bishop Henry de Blois; notices of the deaths and benefactions of Bishop William de Raleigh (1243) and Bishop John of Exeter (1262); copies of charters and agreements between priors and bishops, and as to pensions or oblations of parochial clergy from 1284 to 1334; together with the comuetudines elemosine and other customs of the church. The chartulary contains eighty-three folios, and was compiled in the thirteenth century, save that there are a few fifteenth century entries towards the end. (fn. 8)

The prior furnished Thomas Cromwell, on his appointment as general visitor, with a succinct account of the early history of their house from the year 604, giving what they termed the annals of their first, second, third and fourth foundations. There is a copy of this in the Harley manuscripts. (fn. 9)

In September, 1243, the monks of St. Swithun obtained papal sanction to wear caps (pilleis) in quire on account of the cold, provided that due reverence was shown at the gospel and the elevation. (fn. 10) In the same month Innocent IV. issued his mandate to the priors of Rochester and of Holy Trinity, London, in a matter affecting this priory. The convent of Winchester had complained that, on the voidance of the priory (1239), Andrew, a monk, by secular force and by the assistance of the archdeacons of Winchester and Surrey, had obtruded himself into the office of prior. Andrew was therefore excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury; but of this he took no heed, and introducing an armed band into the cloister by night, ill-used, bound and imprisoned Richard de Triveri and many other monks. Further, at his instance, the archdeacon of Winchester issued sentences of excommunication and suspension against many members of the convent. The pope ordered the two priors to go to Winchester, to relax provisionally the archdeacon's sentences, and if, on examination, the facts justified it, to provide a prior by canonical election. At the same date a papal faculty was forwarded to the sub-prior and convent of Winchester to use their privileges, although they had not done so for a long time on account of their ignorance of the law, the disturbance of the realm, and the change of prelates of the see. This was accompanied by a general licence to the priory to administer their property, wherein is recited the particulars of their manors, advowsons, pensions and other rights. (fn. 11)

The monks paid dearly for yielding to the pressure exercised by the Crown in the matter of the election of Aymer to the bishopric. Soon after his election Aymer treated them with the utmost indignity and violence, driving the prior and his obedientaries from the house. In 1254 Prior William de Andrew visited Rome to lay his grievances before the papal court. Innocent IV. treated him with every consideration, and granted to him and his successors the use of mitre, ring, tunicle, dalmatic, gloves and sandals; the right of blessing chalices, altar palls and other church ornaments; the giving of the first tonsure; the conferring of the minor orders of doorkeeper and reader; and the giving of solemn benediction in divine offices and at table. (fn. 12)

The disturbed state of the unfortunate monastery at this period of its history is shown by a patent issued by Henry III. in July, 1255. It took the shape of a precept to the abbots and priors throughout England, inhibiting them from receiving into their monasteries and houses any of the monks of Winchester, very many of whom of their own will and pleasure wander all over England in contempt and despite of monastic religion, and to the peril of their own souls, unless by letters of permission from the elect of Winchester or the prior of the same place. (fn. 13)

It was not until 1256 that this quarrel between bishop and prior was temporarily settled. The right of the monks to elect their own prior was formally conceded in 1258, (fn. 14) but this was again disputed in 1266, and once more settled in their favour in 1273. (fn. 15)

On 4 May, 1264, the citizens of Winchester rose against the monks and burnt the priory gateway, the gate called Kingsgate, the upper part of the church (ecclesia) of St. Swithun, and all the houses near the wall that belonged to the convent. The annalists do not mention any cause for this popular tumult, which was sufficiently severe to cause the death of several of the prior's servants. (fn. 16)

Considerable disputes again arose between the Bishop of Winchester and the prior of St. Swithun's at the beginning of the rule of Bishop Pontoise, as to the appointment of the obedientaries or officials of the monastery. In October, 1282, the bishop appointed Ralph Chaunterel, one of his attendants, to the important office of kitchener to the priory, stating in his register that it was on account of his faithful service to him. (fn. 17) In the following year the bishop collated John de Nortwold to the still more important office of cellarer; this appointment is entered in his register among other collations and institutions to benefices. (fn. 18) This last nomination gave rise to vigorous remonstrance on the part of the prior and convent. Eventually in July, 1284, the bishop covenanted to yield to the prior the liberty of appointing and removing obedientaries and secular servants; but the priory did not obtain this covenant in their favour without making a substantial concession. On the same day and year that this episcopal ordinance was issued the prior and convent conceded to the bishop the very valuable manors of Droxford, Alverstoke and Havant. (fn. 19) As the Crown had on several occasions appointed obedientaries and sergeants for the monastery during the vacancy of the see, it was thought well to obtain royal sanction for this episcopal ordinance. Consequently Edward I., in September, 1284, granted letters patent confirming the episcopal covenant, and also granting to the prior the power of appointing to the sergeanties or other secular offices pertaining to the house. At the same time the chapter was granted the custody of the priory during voidance. (fn. 20)

About ten days after the sealing of the covenant between the bishop and priory, through the resignation of William de Basing, there was a vacancy in the office of prior, and the bishop, with the unanimous assent of his brethren, put the custody of the house into the hands of Nicholas de Merewell, the subprior. On the same day (13 July) the bishop issued a letter to the retiring prior and the obedientaries giving them absolution after certain scandals, the nature of which is not stated. On 18 July the sub-prior and chapter asked leave of the bishop to elect a new prior; in the bishop's letter of sanction he referred to the resignation of Prior William, stating that it was not caused through any crime or conscious fault, but for the sake of humility and true religion. (fn. 21)

On 25 August, 1284, the bishop gave his assent to the election of William de Basing as prior, and issued the usual injunction to the sub-prior and convent to yield him due obedience. (fn. 22) From this it would appear that the ex-prior was, with episcopal assent, reelected. (fn. 23)

Bishop John of Pontoise was probably anxious to see if the re-election was satisfactory, for on 14 September he issued notice of a personal visitation of the cathedral priory to be held at the ensuing Michaelmas. As no injunctions were issued consequent on this visitation it may be assumed that everything was found to be satisfactory. (fn. 24)

By 1291 the possessions of the prior seem to have been definitely separated from those of the bishop, and the estates of the former had considerably increased. The total yearly value was £701 0s. 7d. (fn. 25) At the same time it will be noticed that as late as 1346 the bishop owed the service of five knights' fees for his own land and also for all the lands of the prior. (fn. 26) From the aid for making Edward the Black Prince a knight in this year we find that the prior of St. Swithun's held with John Frilende half a knight's fee in ' Nywenton '; he held also with two others half a fee in Stoke in St. Mary Bourne (Crokerestok), and half a fee in Long Sutton. (fn. 27)

On the death of Prior William in May, 1295, leave to elect was applied for and granted by the bishop. The monks on this occasion elected by way of 'compromise.' The chapter appointed William de Hoo, Adam de Hyde, Roger de Entingham, Henry Bacun, Henry de Merwell, Nicholas de Tarente and William Wallup to act as electors. Their choice eventually fell upon Henry de Merweli alias Woodlock, and the bishop's assent was given on 7 June. The particulars as to this election are set forth in the episcopal register with much detail. (fn. 28)

On 13 June, 1305, Bishop Henry granted leave to fill up the vacancy in the priory, caused by his own elevation to the episcopate, and gave the custody during the vacancy to William de Somborne, John de Donketon and Ralph de Canne. On 31 July entry was made in the episcopal register of the process of election, and a week later the bishop's consent to the appointment of Nicholas de Tarente was signified, and he was duly installed. (fn. 29) The bishop visited the priory in 1308, and apparently found nothing to correct.

In 1297 mandate was issued by the Crown to the justice of the forest to permit the prior to grant and make stable-stands, according to the term of the king's charter to him and his successors, in the demesne lands and woods where they had chases in Hampshire, and to carry away venison, and to keep their dogs not expeditated, but on condition that they set or stretched no nets for taking such venison. (fn. 30) John de Ford, monk of St. Swithun's, received a royal pardon in June, 1344, for taking a doe and a sorel in the New Forest and carrying them away. At the same time Prior Alexander was pardoned for receiving the said doe and sorel. (fn. 31)

The various acta relative to the election of Richard de Eneford as prior are briefly cited in Henry de Woodlock's register under the date of 8 September, 1309. (fn. 32)

An important visitation of the priory of St. Swithun's was held by the bishop in 1315, which resulted in a considerable number of injunctions. The greater part of these are of the usual character, and partake more of enjoining a careful observance of the rule than of dealing with any particular delinquency. Such were orders to attend all the offices, night and day; frequent celebrating by the monks in priest's orders; silence at the appointed time and places; never to break bounds without leave; to speak to no women, religious or secular, save in public; to wear nought save the statutory dress; and juniors to respect seniors. Others related to the due keeping of the cloister gate, to the custody of the seal, and to the annual rendering of accounts by obedientaries and bailiffs. Two or three are less usual, and probably refer to specific faults, such as directions against selling surplus food, and that parents or relatives visiting the inmates were to be invited to contribute according to their means. One order has a decidedly local touch, by which all the monks, save the sacrist and his servants, are forbidden to go out of the monastery by the gate called ' Redebreck ' (fn. 33) The bishop had the advantage in this visitation of full personal knowledge of the house during the ten years that he was prior.

In the second year of Bishop Stratford's rule (1325), a complete list of the monks of St. Swithun was drawn up. It begins with Prior Richard; the second name, presumably the sub-prior, is Adam de Hyde, and then follow the names of sixty-two other monks. (fn. 34)

Bishop Stratford held two visitations of St. Swithun's during the ten years that he administered the see. In the last case penalties were imposed and then taken off. (fn. 35)

The priory was visited in February, 1410-1, by John Cattyk, chancellor of the diocese. He visited as the commissary of the diocesan, Bishop Henry Beaufort stating that he was not able personally to visit owing to the pressure of other arduous affairs. (fn. 36)

The earlier episcopal registers are for the most part somewhat sparing in their reference to the work and administration of the cathedral priory, but the entries are frequent in William of Wykeham's days.

The rectory of the church of Littleton was appropriated to the office of guest-master of the priory in the year 1171. In March, 1373, Bishop William of Wykeham licensed John Hyde, the monk guest-master, to hear confessions and to administer the Eucharist at Littleton during Lent and at Easter, for the depression of the times prevented the parishioners employing a parochial chaplain to assist the vicar. The licence was to expire at the end of the Easter octave. (fn. 37) This temporary and useful licence was renewed to the guestmaster year by year up to 1379.

Hugh Basing was prior when Wykeham was elected bishop. On his death in 1384 Dr. Robert Rud borne succeeded, and he was followed in 1394 by Dr. Thomas Neville. The friction between bishops and priors is illustrated by the action that took place during Wykeham's episcopate with regard to a comparatively trifling but very interesting custom dating back to time immemorial. According to this ancient custom whenever the diocesan visited Wolvesey, or any other residence in Winchester, the domicellus of the priory presented him with eight loaves of fine wheat flour and four gallons of wine, saying at the same time these words in French: 'Moumeigneur, Seint Pere et Seint Paule vous envoient.' Prior Hugh set the example of reducing the offering to a single loaf and one gallon of wine, and his example was followed by Prior Rud borne and by Prior Neville for the first four years of his office. But in 1398, other disputes having arisen, a covenant was made between Wykeham and Neville for the resumption of the full customary offering of bread and wine, and that the ancient words should be said in French, Latin or English. At the same time it was agreed that disputes between the tenants of their respective estates should be tried in the bishop's or prior's court and not in those of the king; that the priory should maintain the bridge over the Lockburn in College Street, and halve the expense with bishop of the bridge over the river; and that the priory should abstain from feeding sheep or taking rabbits in the episcopal chase and warren at Morestead. (fn. 38)

In June, 1373, Wykeham visited the priory and was apparently content with its condition, as no injunctions were entered.

Another visitation of the cathedral priory was arranged by the bishop to be held in the autumn of 1386, but in November a mandate was issued postponing it, in consequence of urgent business, to 10 February. (fn. 39) On 6 February, 1386-7, Wykeham addressed a letter to the prior and convent on the serious reduction in their numbers, and two days later he directed his official and another to conduct the visitation on 10 February. (fn. 40) It was at this time that the bishop issued a code of directions or revised rule for the guidance of the monks, providing in various ways against laxity. (fn. 41) The number of the monks was at that time reduced to forty-six. It still stood at that figure during a third visitation, 1393, and though Wykeham again specially insisted on the raising of their numbers, the roll had fallen to forty-two at the time of his death. (fn. 42)

Much of the administration of the priory can be learnt from some of the old account rolls that still survive. A fourteenth-century roll in the possession of the dean and chapter contains an interesting account of the obligations of the officers of the priory in connection with the frater. (fn. 43) The prior was bound to provide the frater with bread, beer, wine, salt, cheese and butter; also with the necessary rush-woven mats and with straw litter for the floor. Cheese was to be served daily at dinner and supper from Easter Day to Quinquagesima Sunday, and butter on Wednesdays and Saturdays from I May to 14 September. New mats were to be furnished on the vigil of All Saints, and fresh straw seven times a year. The chamberlain provided a new cloth for the high table every Palm Sunday, and canvas cloths for the other tables as often as necessary; he had also to find old cloths for cleansing the silver and other vessels. The sacrist had to send the fraterer fifteen wax candles on the vigil of All Saints, to be renewed as often as needful down to Maundy Thursday. The precentor. and his fellows, who on Sunday and other feasts at 12 o'clock (after nones) have said the Placebo, were to have a 'punchard' of good beer. The almoner was to give the fraterer a clapper (signum) on Maundy Thursday. The kitchener was to receive his food daily with the under-cooks, but was to sit at the high table and have a punchard. The gardener was to provide apples on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Advent and Lent; the sub-prior, third prior and fourth prior, the fraterer and other officers were to have ten apples each; if the prior was present he was to have fifteen. The same was to be done on St. James' Day, when there was the blessing of apples. At the east end of the frater, between the windows, stood a celebrated old cross or crucifix, from which, according to tradition, a voice proceeded, deciding the controversy between St. Dunstan and the ejected secular canons. The guardian of the altar of Our Lady and the keeper of the cloister garth had to provide tapers to burn before this cross on certain high days, and the fraterer to provide seven branches to burn in the like place daily during the second collation. The custom of carrying round the ancient cup of St. Athelwold to be kissed by all on his festival has been already described. (fn. 44) The cellarer had his meals with the community; it was his duty to provide meat and drink and food of every kind, to produce and keep in repair all the necessary vessels for the cellar, kitchen and frater, to attend to the lighting of the chandelier and of the three flat lamps that hung before the cross. A curious entry further records that he was to have the care of all the animals acquired by different brethren. Pet animals were frequently found in religious houses: occasionally visitors ordered their expulsion, particularly squirrels and birds in cages, from nunneries. The curtarian looked after the due allowance of bread, and the corrodies or due provision for bishops, kings and other visitors. It was the porter's duty to clean out the frater against Easter, and to make the fire on the hearth in snowy weather.

The daily life of these Benedictine monks can be traced from point to point in the large number of Obedientary Rolls of the different officials of the house that still survive of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. (fn. 45) The obedientaries were monks told off to fulfil certain duties, and to superintend particular parts of the administration of the convent and its property. Their duty at St. Swithun's was essentially connected with the exercise of hospitality; their priory lay in a chief city on one of the most important highways in England, and it was their well sustained boast to keep open house for all comers. In this and in other respects the monks of the cathedral priory of the diocese maintained on the whole an excellent character. The ideal number of monks at which all the large Benedictine houses was supposed to aim was seventy; but this was seldom attained. In 1325, as has been stated, the roll reached to sixty-four; but the priory never recovered from the staggering blow of the Black Death. The numbers, even under the stirring episcopate of Bishop Wykeham, did not exceed forty-six, and at his death were only forty-two. Only once did they subsequently rise, and that by a single figure, the total in 1533 being forty-three. The Obedientary Rolls show that the lowest level was in 1495-6, when the numbers were only twenty-nine.

Dean Kitchin, in his introduction to the Obedientary Rolls, makes a helpful division of the monastic officials of St. Swithun's into four groups, a division which applies broadly speaking not only to other Benedictine houses, but to most of the other religious orders:—

(a) Round the Prior (the most dignified personage, the bishop acting as abbot) were grouped the Subprior, the third Prior, and the fourth Prior, who all had definite claustral duties to fulfil. This group was responsible for the general order of the house. With these may be associated the land Steward, who was not a monk, and who is usually described as the prior's steward.

(b) The second group was attached to the church, and included the Sacrist and Subsacrist who had charge of all material things pertaining to the services; the Chanter and Subchanter, who were responsible for the actual conduct of divine worship; the Anniversarian, who had charge of the obit days of benefactors; and the Warden of the Works, who looked after all repairs of the church and other buildings.

(c) The internal officers of the house were the Receiver, to whom were paid the rents of the several estates; the Hordarian, who had charge of the material resources of the convent supplying the frater, etc., and also having charge of estates and income specially assigned for such purposes; the Refectorian who received all the eatables, passing them on to the Kitchener; the Chamberlain, who had charge of the furniture; the Cellarer who looked after the beer and wine and took charge of all the outbuildings and stables; the Almoner who distributed to the poor in kind and money; and the infirmarer, or physician monk in charge of the farmery.

(d) The fourth was a little group of officers dealing with external affairs, as the Outer and Inner Porters, and the Guestmaster.

The extant Obedientary Rolls of St. Swithun's are most numerous in connection with the office of hordarian, of which there are fifteen, and of the almoner, of which there are thirty-two. The Diet Roll for 1492 describes precisely how the Winchester monks fed at their two meals, apart from beer and vegetables, which are not entered. On an ordinary day, such as the Monday before Christmas, they had on the table a dish of marrow and grated bread, eggs, venison, beef, mutton and calves' feet. On Christmas Day they had in addition onion broth, the total cost being 10s. 9d. against 8s. 4d. of the previous Monday. On a day of strict fast, such as Friday in Passion week, they had salt fish, figs and raisins, and rice. Another interesting item is that the monk gardener of St. Swithun's was bound to provide flowers to deck the church at certain festivals, as well as to find the apples for Advent and Lent consumption.

Bishop Fox visited St. Swithun's on 26 August, 1521, and subsequently (1 February, 1521-2) issued a variety of injunctions that tell of some disorder. The injunctions open with blaming the chanter and subchanter for lack of quire books, and that those in use were torn (rupta) and out of repair. The most interesting rebuke to the monks was that they neglected to choose scholars to send to the University of Oxford in accordance with the Benedictine constitutions. (fn. 46)

The election of Henry Brook as prior in the time of Bishop Fox is set forth with great circumstance in his registers. Application for licence to elect was made in December, 1524, but the new prior was not installed until 7 March, 1524-5. (fn. 47)

Dr. Hede, commissary of the prior of Canterbury, during the vacancy of the sees of both Canterbury and Winchester, visited St. Swithun's on 27 February, 1500.

In addition to Thomas Silkstede, the prior, the following office holders were examined at the visitation: Thomas Manhouse, sub-prior; John Dorsett, third prior; John Pury, gardener; Richard Aunstell, sacrist; Philip Yong, almoner; Thomas Cyan, hordarian; John Stonkton, master of the works; Walter Hyll, firmarius; John Beste, hostilar; John Cerne, deposttarius; John Wodesun, warden of Our Lady; Peter Marlow, chanter; Arnold Gylbert, chamberlain; John Westbury, curtarian; Henry Broke, fourth prior; and Tympany Alt, depositarius. Twelve others were also examined, giving a total of twenty-nine who appeared before the visitor. Of these three were deacons, one a sub-deacon, and one an acolyte. Two are simply entered as professed of the order of St. Benedict, and were novices: Thomas Manydon, aged 16, who had been three weeks in the monastery, and Fulk Hampton, 18, who had been there for a like period; neither of them had as yet received the first tonsure. The evidence was wholly in favour of the order and administration of the house. The statutory number of the monks was at that time reduced to forty, and there were then only thirty-five, but the treasurer reminded the visitor that there had been five recent deaths. At the close of the evidence Dr. Hede's only injunction was as to the speedy filling up of the full number of the monks. The visitor called upon the prior to take an oath of canonical obedience to the prior and convent of Canterbury during the vacancy of the see, and to the Archbishop of Canterbury when the see was filled. Prior Silkestede however declined, unless the prior of Canterbury took an oath to observe the rights of the cathedral church in the same way as the Bishop of Winchester did at the time of his consecration. The question was adjourned till the following day, when Silkestede submitted. (fn. 48)

The story of the end of St. Swithun's as a monastery, and the desolation effected in the church in September, 1538, has already been told in the Ecclesiastical History.

At the time of the dissolution the monastery held the manors of Nursling, Millbrook Morecourt, Hursley, 'Oxenbridge,' Avington, Exton, 'Hadington,' Bransbury, Upsomborne, ' Henton, Wymanston,' the city of Winchester and the soke, and lands and rents in Dean and Lovington in Hampshire; and the manors of 'Hynxton,' Overton with the rectory, Alton with the rectory, Stocketon, Patney, West wood ' Langfischedide' next Endford, and Shipton Bellinger in Wiltshire; and the manor of Bleadon in Somersetshire, as well as pensions from divers churches. (fn. 49)

The steps by which the ancient Benedictine house of St. Swithun was turned into a dean and chapter in 1539-42 have been already mentioned in the Ecclesiastical History. A whole series of documents touching this change, eleven in number, are extant at Winchester, and have been printed and edited by Dean Kitchin. (fn. 50) The first letters patent formally establishing the new body are dated 28 March, 1542.

On 1 May, 1542, the newly-formed dean and chapter were endowed with the following manors and lands, most of which had previously belonged to the prior and convent, viz. Avington, Berthon Priors, Bransbury, Chilbolton, Crondall, Exton, Haddington, Hanton, 'Littleton,' Manydown, Millbrook, Moorecourt, Nursling, Silkstead, Sutton, Upsomborne, West Meon, Whitchurch and 'Wonsington' in Hampshire; and Alton, Ham, Hinton 'Langefysshehre 'near Endford, Overton, Patney, Shipton Bellinger, Stockton, Westwood, 'Winnaston' and Wroughton in Wiltshire, and Bleadon in Somerset. (fn. 51)

The possessions of the dean and chapter in 1682 consisted of the Hampshire manors of Barton and Newhouse, Sparsholt and Wyke, Compton, Sparkford and 'Fulfludd,' Chilcombe and Morstead, 'Wynall,' Ovington and 'Brixden,' Crondall, Sutton, Manydown, 'Boghurst,' Hannington, Whitchurch, Freefolk, Charlcott, 'Wonsington,' Bransbury, Chilbolton, Littleton, Upsomborne, 'Thurmunds,' Silkstead, Exton, Hinton Ampner, Shipton, Morecourt and Oxenbridge, Lovington, the city of Winchester, office of woodward and the liberty of the fair of St. Mary Magdalene; in the county of Wilts the manor of Hinton, Ham, 'Bechinstoke,' Botwell and Longstreet, Wroughton, Little Alton, Westwood, 'Elmestubb' and Eversley, and a large number of churches in both counties. (fn. 52)

The manors of inheritance, which belonged to the dean and chapter and were handed over to the ecclesiastical commissioners in 1861, were Crondall with Sutton, Warblington, and Hinton Ampner. (fn. 53)

Priors of st. Swithun Of Winchester

Brithnoth, about 970, made abbot of Ely
Brithwold, about 1006, became Bishop of Winchester
Elfric Puttoc, 1023, made Archbishop of York
Wulfsig, died 1065
Simon or Simeon, 1065-82, brother to Bishop Walkelyn, made abbot of Ely (fn. 54)
Godfrey, (fn. 55) 1082-1107. A volume of his epigrams is among the Cott. MSS. Vit. A. xii.
Geoffrey, (fn. 56) 1107-11. He was deposed Geoffrey II., (fn. 57) 1111-4, made abbot of Burton, Staffordshire
Eustace, 1114-20
Hugh, 1120
Geoffrey III., died in 1126
Ingulph, made abbot of Abingdon in 1130
Robert, 1130-6, made Bishop of Bath and Wells
Robert II., (fn. 58) 1173, made abbot of Glastonbury
Walter, (fn. 59) 1171-5, made abbot of Westminster
John, (fn. 60) died 1187
Robert III., surnamed Fitzhenry, (fn. 61) 11871214, made abbot of Burton Roger, 1214
Walter IL, (fn. 62) died 1239
Andrew, (fn. 63) 1239
Walter III., 1243, resigned in 1247
John de Cauz, 1247-9, in latter year made abbot of Peterborough (fn. 64)
William Taunton, 1249-56, made abbot of Middleton in Dorsetshire, (fn. 65) and afterwards elected Bishop of Winchester, but the election was invalidated
Andrew of London, (fn. 66) 1258-61, resigned Ralph Russel, (fn. 67) 1261-5
Valentine, (fn. 68) 1265-76, deprived John de Dureville, 1276 (fn. 69) -8 (fn. 70)
Adam de Farnham, 1279, (fn. 71) excommunicated for disobedience July, 1282, and absolved in the following month
William de Basynge, 1282, resigned in 1284, but was re-elected the same year; finally resigned in 1295
Henry Wodelock, alias Mereville, 12951305, made Bishop of Winchester (fn. 72)
Nicholas de Tarente, (fn. 73) 1305-9
Richard de Enford, (fn. 74) 1309, 1326
Alexander Heriard, (fn. 75) 1327, died 1349
John Merlaw, (fn. 76) 1349-56
Hugh Basyng, (fn. 77) 1356-84
Robert Rudborn, (fn. 78) 1384-95
Thomas Nevil, (fn. 79) 1395
Thomas Shyrebourn (fn. 80)
William Aulton, (fn. 81) died 1450
Richard Marlborough, (fn. 82) 1450-7
Robert Westgate, (fn. 83) 1457-70
Thomas Hinton, (fn. 84) 1470-98
Thomas Silkested, (fn. 85) 1498-1524
Henry Brook, (fn. 86) 1524-35
William Basyng, alias Kingsmill, (fn. 87) 1535-9

Deans Of Winchester (fn. 88)

William Kingsmill, D.D., 1541-8
Sir John Mason, knt. (layman), 1549-53
Edmund Steward, LL.D., 1554-9
John Warner, M.D., 1559-64
Francis Newton, D.D., 1565-72
John Watson, M.D., 1573-80 (Bishop of Winchester, 1580)
Lawrence Humphrey, D.D., 1580-89
Martin Heton, D.D., 1589-99. (Bishop of Ely, 1599)
George Abbot, D.D., 1599-1600-9. (Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1609; London, 1610; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1611)
Thomas Morton, D.D., 1610-16. (Bishop of Chester, 1616)
John Young, D.D., 1616—dispossessed by the Commonwealth
Alexander Hyde, LL.D., 1660-5. (Bishop of Salisbury, 1665)
William Clark, D.D., 1666-79
Richard Meggott, D.D., 1679-92
John Wickart, D.D., 1693-1721
William Trimnell, D.D., 1722-9
Charles Naylor, LL.D., 1729-39
Zachary Pearce, D.D., 1739-48. (Bishop of Bangor, 1748)
Thomas Cheyney, D.D., 1748-60
Jonathan Shipley, D.D., 1760-9. (Bishop of Llandaff, 17695 St. Asaph, 1769)
Newton Ogle, D.D., 1769-1804
Robert Holmes, 1804-5
Thomas Rennell, D.D., 1805-40
Thomas Gamier, D.C.L., 1840-721
John Bramston, D.D., 1872-83
George William Kitchin, D.D., 188395.
William Richard Wood Stephens, D.D., 1895-1902


  • 1. Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Rolls Series). i, 48, 49.
  • 2. Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), ii. 5.
  • 3. See Athelstan's charter to Winchester A.D. 938, enrolled on Charter Roll, 12 Edw. II. No. 48.
  • 4. V.C.H. Hampshire, i. 463.
  • 5. Ibid. 468.
  • 6. Red Book of the Exchequer (Rolls Series), i. 72, 91, etc.
  • 7. Add. MS. 15,350.
  • 8. Ibid. 29, 436.
  • 9. Harl. MS. 358, fo. 600-64.
  • 10. Papal Registers, i. 200.
  • 11. Ibid. 200, 201. The licence or bull is set forth at length in the Motiasticon, i. 211-2.
  • 12. Papal Registers, i. 305; Ann. Winton. 95.
  • 13. Pat. 39 Hen. III. m. 9d.
  • 14. Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), iv. 122.
  • 15. Ibid. ii. 122, 389.
  • 16. Ibid. ii. 101, iv. 450.
  • 17. Winton. Epis. Reg., Pontoise, f. 100.
  • 18. Ibid. f. 2.
  • 19. Ibid. 106-9, Maneria de Drokensford, Alvarestok cum Gosport, et Havante cum tenentibus eorum de Heling et Hamelettam de Conoel.
  • 20. Pat. 12 Edw. I. m. 3.
  • 21. Winton. Epis. Reg., Pontoise, 70, 70b.
  • 22. Ibid. f. 73.
  • 23. The Monasticon and other printed lists of priors make out that there were two successive priors called W. de Basing; but this seems improbable if not incorrect.
  • 24. Winton. Epis. Reg., Pontissera, 73.
  • 25. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 213.
  • 26. Feudal Aids, ii. 335.
  • 27. Ibid. 325, 330, 333.
  • 28. Winton. Epis. Reg., Pontoise, 16, 17.
  • 29. Ibid. Woodlock, 9-11.
  • 30. Pat. 25 Edw. I. pt. 2, m. 14.
  • 31. Ibid. 18 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 1.
  • 32. Winton. Epis. Reg., Woodlock, f. 113b.
  • 33. Ibid. f. 23 (2d. numbers).
  • 34. Ibid. Pontoise, f. 143. It is curious that this list should be entered on a blank leaf of an earlier register; it was probably an error of the scrivener who made the entry.
  • 35. Ibid. Stratford, ff. 13b, 19b, 17113-4.
  • 36. Ibid. Beaumont, f. 32 (2d. numbers).
  • 37. Ibid. Wykeham, iii. f. 88b.
  • 38. Ibid. f. 323.
  • 39. Winton. Epis. Reg., Wykeham, iii. f. 225b.
  • 40. Ibid. f. 226.
  • 41. Moberly's Lift of Wykeham, pp. 737-9, citing New College MSS.
  • 42. Winton. Epis. Reg., Wykeham, iii. f. 255b.
  • 43. A Consuetudinary for the Refectory of the House of S. Switbun, edited by Dean Kitchin.
  • 44. V.C.H. Hants, ii. 7.
  • 45. Compotus Rolls of the Obedientaries of St. Swithun's Priory, edited by Dean Kitchin (Hants Rec. Soc. 1892).
  • 46. Winton, Epis. Reg., Fox, iv. ff. 67, 67b.
  • 47. Ibid. Fox, v. ff. 74-83.
  • 48. Sede Vacante Register, Christ Church, Canterbury.
  • 49. Dugdale, Monasticon, i. 217.
  • 50. Documents relating to the Foundation of the Chapter of Winchester (Hants Record Soc. 1889).
  • 51. Dugdale, Monasticon, i. 70.
  • 52. Documents relating to the Church of Winchester (Hants Record Society), ii. 182.
  • 53. Information supplied by Mr. Hugh de B. Porter, Deputy Steward.
  • 54. Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), ii. 33.
  • 55. Ibid. 43.
  • 56. Ibid.
  • 57. Ibid.
  • 58. Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), ii. 61.
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. Ibid. 63.
  • 61. Ibid.
  • 62. Ibid. 323.
  • 63. Ibid.
  • 64. Ibid. 91.
  • 65. Ibid. 96.
  • 66. Ibid. 99.
  • 67. Ibid. 102.
  • 68. Ibid. 123.
  • 69. Ibid.
  • 70. Ibid. iv. 475.
  • 71. Ibid. 476.
  • 72. Pat. 33 Edw. I. p. I, m. 17, and Winton. Epis. Reg., Pontoise, 9.
  • 73. Winton. Epis. Reg., Woodlock, 11b.
  • 74. Ibid. 113b.
  • 75. Ibid. Stratford, 107.
  • 76. Ibid. 46b, 51.
  • 77. Ibid. 113-5.
  • 78. Ibid. Wykeham, 157-9.
  • 79. Ibid.
  • 80. His name occurs in the Obedientaries Rolls from 1413 to 1433.
  • 81. His name occurs in the same, 1435 to 1447.
  • 82. Winton. Epis. Reg., Wainflete, i. 29-34.
  • 83. Ibid. 85.
  • 84. Ibid. ii. 1.
  • 85. His name occurs in the Obedientaries Rolls from 1498 to 1517.
  • 86. Winton. Epis. Reg., Fox, v. 83.
  • 87. His name occurs in the Obedientaries Rolls from 1536 to 1537.
  • 88. List from Woodward's Hants, vol. i., collated xwith Dioc. Calendar and Dioc. History.