Colleges: Upholland

Page 166

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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In 1310 Sir Robert de Holland obtained a licence in mortmain to endow a college of thirteen chaplains, one of whom bore the title of dean, in the chapel of St. Mary and Thomas the Martyr on his manor of Upholland near Wigan. (fn. 1)

The college took the place of a chantry for two priests, projected three years earlier but perhaps not carried out. This was to have been endowed with two messuages and two plough-lands in Holland and a third in Orrell. (fn. 2) The grant to the college was limited to one messuage and one plough-land in Holland, but there was added the advowson of Child wall church, which the founder seems to have acquired from Thomas Grelley, the last baron of Manchester of his name.

The first dean was William le Gode, who died in the following year, and was succeeded by Richard de Sandbach. (fn. 3) On 9 January, 1313, William de Snayth and six other chaplains were instituted to prebends on the presentation of the founder. (fn. 4) The college may not until then have attained its full complement, but the institution of six priests not very long afterwards renders another explanation possible. (fn. 5) The situation was lonely, the prebends cannot have been of much value, and vacancies were probably frequent. Harmony, we are told, seldom prevailed in the college and ultimately the canons deserted it. (fn. 6)

After an interval the endowments were transferred in 1319 to a new priory of Benedictine monks. (fn. 7) Among them was the rectory of Whitwick near Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire, which Pope John XXII had appropriated to the college on the very eve of its dissolution, on the petition of Sir Robert de Holland and at the request of Thomas, earl of Lancaster and Leicester, patron of the church. (fn. 8) Childwall, of which at first it had only held the advowson, (fn. 9) seems to have been appropriated to the college somewhat earlier.


  • 1. Cal. of Pat. 1307-13, p. 233.
  • 2. Lancs, Inquests (Rec. Soc.), i, 322.
  • 3. Lich. Epis. Reg. Langton, fol. 59b.
  • 4. Ibid. fol. 32b.
  • 5. Ibid. fol. 61.
  • 6. Dugdale, Mon. iv, 411.
  • 7. Cal. of Pat. 1317-21, p. 353. See ante, p. 111.
  • 8. Cal. of Pap. Letters, ii, 188; cf. ii, 215.
  • 9. A rector was presented by William le Gode and the presbyters of the college in March, 1311; Lich. Epis. Reg. Langton, fol. 59.