Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Furness

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

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'Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Furness', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2, (London, 1908), pp. 114-131. British History Online [accessed 18 June 2024].

. "Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Furness", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2, (London, 1908) 114-131. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024,

. "Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Furness", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2, (London, 1908). 114-131. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024,

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The abbey of Furness was founded in the year 1127 by Stephen, then count of Boulogne and Mortain and lord of Lancaster. (fn. 1) Three years earlier Stephen had granted to the abbot of Savigny in his county of Mortain the vill of Tulketh in Amounderness; and it was from this place that the Savigniac monks retired to the deep vale of Bekanesgill. (fn. 2) The new grant comprised the whole of the forest and demesne of Furness, Walney Island, the manor of Ulverston, the land of Roger Bristwald, the count's fishery in the Lune by Lancaster, and Warin the Little with his land. The land of Michael le Fleming in Furness was excepted, but this limitation to the completeness of the abbot's sway in the peninsula was removed early in the reign of Henry III. From the first the abbey, a bulwark of the honour of Lancaster, was under the special protection of the crown. Its rights and privileges were confirmed and enlarged by nearly every king from Henry I to Henry IV. (fn. 3) The earlier royal and papal confirmations illustrate also the rapid increase in the possessions of the house during the twelfth century. (fn. 4) Throughout the thirteenth the abbey slowly rounded off its possessions in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and this process, if hindered, was not ended by the statute de Religiosis. The isolation of Furness increased rather than checked a power possessed by few religious houses in the north; and the abbot ruled vast territories with feudal independence and social advantage.

The historical importance of the abbey springs from this feudal ascendancy. As a religious house it left no great monument of learning or piety, and trained no great man. Its documents are feudal deeds; its instruction was confined to the children of the demesne; its internal history must be written on the basis of legal disputes; on the other hand, its independent lordship over a large self-contained tract gave political importance to the abbey for more than two centuries. So far as England was concerned Furness was like an island; (fn. 5) the abbot's relations with Scotland were, as will be seen, those of a border baron; (fn. 6) for long he took a responsible share in the conflict of north and south, of lay and ecclesiastical influences, which gave significance to the Isle of Man. Ireland was his granary in times of need, (fn. 7) his granges of Beaumont and Winterburn were stations on the way to York and the south; his messuage in Beverley gave shelter to his bailiffs as they mixed with the traders of the east. It is this combination of solitary base and wide-spread connexion which gives meaning to the frequent but not very clear or well-defined appearance of the abbot and his convent upon the political stage.

Until the settlement of England under the strong rule of Henry II, the new abbey was busied in maintaining its precarious position in the north. But the political storms of the period were at first less embarrassing than the problems raised by its relations with the monastic world. The events which led to a settlement of Savigniac monks in the domain of Stephen are not known; perhaps we can trace the first settlers by the Ribble in the enthusiasts who helped to arouse the reform party at York to retire to Fountains. (fn. 8) In any case the abbey was certainly of Savigniac origin, (fn. 9) and soon became involved in the disputes to which the union of Savigny and Citeaux gave rise. Savigny was surrendered five years after King Stephen confirmed his original grant of Furness, and in 1148 thirteen English abbeys joined the Cistercian order. (fn. 10) Furness did not submit without a struggle. Ignoring the charter of subjection to Savigny, the fourth abbot, Peter of York, hurried to Rome to appeal against the new order. According to the abbey tradition he procured a confirmation from Eugenius III of the existing state of things, but upon his return was detained at the mother house, and forced to give up his position. 'He entered Savigny, where he stayed, a most excellent monk, learning the Cistercian rule. Thence he was promoted to be fifth abbot of Quarr.' (fn. 11) The records of Savigny tell a more authentic story. Peter returned from Rome with letters appointing a commission to decide the case in Normandy. He succeeded in getting the date of the trial postponed, but failed to appear upon the day fixed. Whether he was detained at Savigny or was contumacious cannot be decided. The judges, after waiting in vain for the missing abbot, went into the case. The abbot of Savigny showed that Furness had been built and maintained at the expense of his monastery. Peter was forced to submit, and his fellow monks, under their new abbot, Richard of Bayeux, a learned monk of Savigny, joined in the transfer of their house to the Cistercian order. (fn. 12)

Although the authority of Savigny could not, in the nature of things, last very long or retain much force, (fn. 13) the decision had important results. The English abbey had to find its place in the Cistercian ranks. A dispute, finally settled in 1232, arose with Waverley about the right of precedence in the two orders. (fn. 14) As the middle ages wore on, our scanty authorities seem to show that Furness maintained the high position which it then secured. (fn. 15) But the event of most immediate importance to Furness was the loss of all possible influence at Byland. The story of the first colony at Calder, of its failure, repulse at Furness, and settlement at Byland must be sought elsewhere. The prosperity of the new abbey caused the older to claim superiority. The claim was disregarded, and Furness was rejected in favour of Savigny. A general council deputed the case to Ailred of Rievaulx, who called a large assembly of abbots and monks. The immediate tie between Savigny and Byland was confirmed. (fn. 16)

Meanwhile the abbey passed through troublous times in the north. In the days of King Stephen Furness was thrown violently into the conflict which made the whole of Northumbria and Cumbria a battle-ground between the scarcely defined nations. The sympathies of the monks themselves were as much Scottish as English. The Furness historian Jocelin wrote under the patronage of Scottish and Irish prelates the lives of northern saints. Pilgrims from Furness journeyed to their shrines. (fn. 17) As late as 1211 an abbot of Furness was consecrated at Melrose by a bishop of Down. (fn. 18) And when Carlisle was handed over to King David of Scotland, Furness must early have been included in a sphere of influence which embraced the barony of Skipton and the honour of Lancaster itself. (fn. 19) The abbey did not share in the peace which the Scottish king gave to more northern parts of England. In the year 1138, some months before the battle of the Standard, David's nephew, William Fitz Duncan, invaded Yorkshire and cruelly wasted Craven, where his own honour of Skipton lay; the lands owned there by the abbey of Furness were not spared. (fn. 20) A few years later the monks suffered from the tyranny of a man whose strange career stands out in history in a light only too fitful and puzzling. Among the earliest disciples of the new abbey was a youth named Wimund. He was of humble birth, but a lad of ready mind and strong memory, of noble presence, and with a latent power of stirring speech. He began his career as a copyist for some monks, and entered the abbey of Furness, where he soon made his mark, and when it was needful to send men to manage the affairs of the abbey in the Isle of Man, Wimund was chosen as leader. He won such favour with the islanders that they begged for him as their bishop, and bishop he became. The exercise of authority revealed his powers of speech and leadership; his desires and ambitions grew apace. Throwing aside his episcopal duties he collected a host, equipped a fleet, and sailed for the shores of Scotland. For long he was a terror to the people, and a thorn in the side of King David. David at last handed over to his care the province of which the monastery of Furness was lord. The raids ceased, and Wimund ruled over the scene of his earlier and less worldly life with the power of a king and the insolence of a bandit. The people rose, with the ready consent of the lords of the district; and one day, as the warrior followed his host on foot, they burst out upon him. Blinded and mutilated 'pro pace regni Scottorum,' Wimund ended his life at Byland, an object of curiosity to visitors, confident and boastful to the end. 'Even then he is said to have exclaimed, that if he had but the eye of a sparrow, his enemies would have small cause to rejoice over their work.' (fn. 21)

If we accept William of Newburgh's account of Wimund's youth, (fn. 22) we must date his mission to the Isle of Man soon after 1134, when the important connexion between the abbey and island began. In that year King Olaf granted land in the island for the foundation of a daughter house. The grant had apparently first been made to Rievaulx, but was not acted upon, nor indeed was the abbey founded until a century later. (fn. 23) In the. same charter Olaf gave to the abbey the control of elections to the new bishopric of Sodor and Man; and this curious privilege was exercised by Furness with papal approval, but with growing opposition until the end of the thirteenth century. (fn. 24) Wimund was hardly a happy choice, and the popular feeling which, we are told, caused his election was not always in such accord with the desires of the monastic patron. Early in the thirteenth century Nicholas of Argyll was elected by the clergy and people in spite of the loud protests of the monks, and his successor Nicholas of Meaux, the abbot of Furness himself, was never able to hold ground against the rival bishop Reginald. (fn. 25) The quarrels between Olaf II and his brother, king Reginald, no doubt produced this discord; the bishopric was a pawn in the game played between the two, a game in which the forces of north and south, of popes and kings, were called into play. (fn. 26) In 1244 came a fresh papal confirmation of the right, but in 1247 Laurence was elected without reference to Furness, and although he was not accepted, his successor was appointed by the archbishop of Trondhjem. (fn. 27) After the subjection of Man to the king of Scotland, the abbot of Furness made a vain attempt to recover his right of election. The king received him with smooth words, but secretly forbade the clergy and people of Man to receive any of his elect, under pain of severe punishment (1275). (fn. 28) In the next century William Russell and John Duncan were elected by the islanders; the former was abbot of Rushen and the abbot of Furness only interfered so far as to give his consent as father superior. (fn. 29) During all this time the abbey maintained less contentious relations with the island. It was appropriator of the ancient churches, Kirk Michael and Kirk Maughold. In the isle the monks found a market; in the abbey the kings and bishops could find a burying place. (fn. 30) Once, under Edward I, the abbot appears as warden of Man. (fn. 31)

The external history of the abbey from the accession of Henry II to the Dissolution is scanty. There is reason to believe that the monks, availed themselves of the power of John during King Richard's absence to drive out the upstart family of Lancaster from the Furness fells; (fn. 32) and John, when he became king, bestowed his usual attentions of privilege and extortion upon the abbey. (fn. 33) In 1205 the abbot incurred the large fine of 500 marks in a plea of the forest. (fn. 34) The thirteenth century saw a quiet accumulation of privileges and estates. The Scottish wars brought a change. The abbot of Furness placed political before ecclesiastical questions in 1297, and received special protection in return for his help against the machinations and invasions of the Scots. (fn. 35) A few years later the abbey felt the effects of the general distress so much that it fell into debt, and a royal bailiff was appointed to apply the revenues of the house to the discharge of its obligations. (fn. 36) In 1316 the Scots devastated Furness, and carried off much plunder and many captives. (fn. 37) Six years later Robert Bruce made a more elaborate invasion. Cope land and Cartmel were wasted, and Furness was only saved from a second disaster by the persuasions of the abbot, who went out to meet the invader, and entertained him at the abbey. (fn. 38) Next year the abbot was ordered to deliver the peel of Fouldrey to the sheriff of Lancaster, when required, and to cause it to be garrisoned and guarded. (fn. 39) After this we hear of no more troubles of this sort. The fort was maintained in repair until the days of Abbot John of Bolton, who caused it to be thrown down. Local opinion held that its maintenance was necessary in virtue of Stephen's grant of Walney, and a protest resulted in the seizure of the island by the royal escheator. The officer was removed by Henry IV after an inquiry, but the peel was restored. (fn. 40)

It is in casual official references and commands that the part played by the abbot of Furness best appears. As a member of the Cistercian order he is of course found at the general chapters, and as a visitor at daughter abbeys. (fn. 41) He assisted in negotiation with the king upon financial matters. (fn. 42) He received special protection from the pope against the infringement of Cistercian liberties, (fn. 43) and was entrusted with commissions by pope and archbishop. (fn. 44) The situation of his house made it a fit prison for offending monks. In 1533 Gawyne Boradalle, a monk of Holm Cultram, accused of poisoning his abbot, was sent to Furness while it was decided how to proceed against him. He was a masterful man and caused the abbot some trouble. Roger asks Cromwell how he shall keep him; at present he is put in the prison at night, and in church during the day, where he 'melleth with no person' except the prior. (fn. 45) The abbot was an important person at court when the king came north. (fn. 46) He collected subsidies, (fn. 47) assisted the royal officers and judges, (fn. 48) and acted as arbitrator. (fn. 49) He appears in the judicial records as the creditor of royal clerks and distant merchants. (fn. 50) From early days his wool was sent from the fells of Lancashire and Yorkshire to the markets of the East Riding. (fn. 51) King Edward III used the ships in his harbour. (fn. 52)

The power of Furness outside prepares us for the fulness of monastic authority within its borders. From the first it was privileged as a tenant of the honour of Lancaster. Stephen's foundation charter had granted the usual powers of jurisdiction; Count John protected the abbey from defending its demesne lands elsewhere than in the court of the honour; Earl William had granted freedom from tolls and customs in the port of Wissant; this was extended by Henry II, and King Richard 'de rebus ad usos proprios' to freedom in the whole kingdom, by land and sea. Henry III confirmed all the grants of his predecessors. The abbey paid dearly for this renewal of their charters and the grant of Michaell Fleming and his land; but the price was not too high for the first explicit definition of its judicial rights. (fn. 53) From the Fleming fief, as from its other Furness lands, the sheriff was to be excluded. The abbot's bailiffwas conservator of the peace. (fn. 54) Before the end of the century custom had established complex immunities on the basis of these charters. In 1292 the justices at Lancaster heard an elaborate plea in answer to the writ of quo warranto. (fn. 55) The abbot vindicated his right to the proceeds of assizes of bread and ale, to freedom from attending the courts of county and wapentake, (fn. 56) to market and fair. He had rights of wreckage (fn. 57) and waif, could take cognizance of thieves and erect his gallows in Dalton. In two cases the claim of the abbot was not allowed. He was found to be liable to common fines and amercements; and he was deprived of any control he had exercised in the sheriff's tourn. This had, according to the jurors, been first held in 1248, (fn. 58) and as no sheriff entered Furness was held by the coroner. The coroners had apparently been somewhat lax in making records and accounts; and this perhaps gave rise to the authority claimed as a right for the abbot's bailiff. Three years later the rights and proceeds of the tourn were handed over to Earl Edmund, and in 1336 Earl Henry of Lancaster, with the royal assent, gave it formally to the abbey. (fn. 59) The abbot now asserted that if he could hold a tourn, he could deal with cases of bloodshed. This privilege also was granted in 1344. (fn. 60) A second obvious deduction from the right of sheriff's tourn was the grant of a local coroner. The royal officer was now so shorn of his powers, and the sands were so dangerous, that the local courts might be entrusted with the election of their own. So in 1377 Edward III consented to save many valuable lives by granting the right to appoint a coroner for the return of all royal writs. (fn. 61) A formal return to a writ for the election of a coroner which is preserved (fn. 62) gives some idea of the attendance at a full court of the abbot. The lord of Kirkby was there, and the descendants of the Bardseys, Boltons, Boyvills and the rest who appear so often in the early deeds of the abbey. Up to our own days the lords of the manors of Dalton and Hawkshead have preserved the old forms. (fn. 63) In quieter times, indeed, suit at the abbey court was the most burdensome part of the service paid by the great tenants. The abbot was exempt from all feudal dues, except in Aldingham and Ulverston, (fn. 64) and did not press very hardly upon those below him. At the same time the more powerful vassals often chafed against the constant presence of a lord who never died, and disputes between the abbey and its feudatories were frequent. In Ulverston as early as 1224 William of Lancaster III maintained with success his right to erect gallows in Ulverston and to attend the superior court only by special summons. (fn. 65) In 1292 it was found that the bailiffs of Ulverston and Aldingham could claim a court for the trial of assizes of bread and ale; the lords of these manors also had control of thieves. In 1320 John of Harrington acquired freedom from all tolls for his men of the same manors except in the abbey demesne; John's court, moreover, acquired jurisdiction over offences which did not involve the shedding of blood. (fn. 66) Before Aldingham came to the Harringtons it had been the subject of several disputes as to the right of wardship between the abbot and the families of Fleming and Cancefield, who contested his claim to custody on the ground that they did not hold by military service. After two lawsuits the abbot's right was in 1290 fully recognized. (fn. 67) In public opinion at least, however, the victory of the convent was in reality the price paid by William of Cancefield for the murder of a monk by one of his followers. (fn. 68) Hence in an assize two years later, the jury refused to regard the case of Aldingham as conclusive evidence of the general custom of the barony; and the abbot failed to secure the custody of John of Kirkby. (fn. 69) But here also the corporate body overcame the single person in the long run. (fn. 70)

In the case of Pennington (fn. 71) and Kirkby (fn. 72) there was a further quarrel about services; like the rest, their lords attended the abbot's court every three weeks and paid annual money service. But just as they wished to be free from the burdens of military tenure on the one hand, so on the other they fought against the customary dues which were probably paid in less important parts of Furness.

All this was but a small part of the disputes to which the abbey was party. Some of these only illustrate the ordinary history of a great fief. We have the usual list of charges against persons who detained cattle and set up or broke down inclosures or failed to render their accounts. There are the usual suits and agreements about right of way, the usual endless series of quarrels about lands and houses. These were often complicated by acts of violence. Thus in 1338 the abbot accused Abbot Thomas of Jervaulx, together with some of his brethren and other evildoers, of breaking down his fences at Horton in Ribblesdale, and of carrying away goods to the value of £2,000. They had made a night assault with swords and staves, bows and arrows. (fn. 73) And there are graver episodes in the domestic history of Furness, dark tales of murder and wanton assault. In 1282 brother William Pykehod was accused of aiding in the murder of Walter Morsel, in Cumberland. (fn. 74) The Scottish wars provided a good opportunity to settle old scores without the delay of courts. When William of Pennington returned from the wars in 1315, he found his lands untilled, because Abbot Cokesham had forcibly impounded the plough-beasts; his tenants were too impoverished to pay rent or service. (fn. 75) Some years later it was the abbot's turn. Alexander of Kirkby took advantage of the king's absence in 1336 to go and ride around the abbey by day and night plotting to kill the abbot. He and his companions seized provisions coming to the abbey, hunted without licence in the chase of Ireleth and Dalton, and carried off the deer; men and servants were assaulted, 'so that the abbot dare not go out of the chace of the abbey nor can he find any to serve him.' (fn. 76) But perhaps most exciting is the arrest (1357) of Thomas of Bardsey in Ulverston. One day, when Roger Bell the bailiff went to perform his duties, Thomas seized and beat him. The hue and cry was raised; and Roger Bell went with a company, including Abbot Alexander, to avenge the insult. Thomas took refuge in the house of his father Adam; doors and windows were closed and barred. Bailiff, monks, and the rest made a grand assault, the door was forced, and Thomas carried off to gaol in Dalton. So in this case justice and might went together. (fn. 77)

As time went on the local importance of the abbey grew, and its domestic economy became more elaborate. An exhaustive writ of 13 Henry VII, if it is not of a formal nature, shows that the abbot had availed himself of his judicial independence to take over the whole process of legal activity. (fn. 78) There is but little to say about the more definitely religious side of monastic life. The relations between Furness and the neighbouring religious houses seem to have been as friendly as territorial interests would admit. The foundation of Conishead caused some opposition in early times, but a lasting settlement was arranged. (fn. 79) In Yorkshire there were lawsuits with convents who shared the privileges or bordered upon the lands of the Lancashire abbey; (fn. 80) and the fishery in the Lune produced considerable friction with the priory of St. Mary at Lancaster. (fn. 81) The usual problems of tithes had to be settled, (fn. 82) and the position of the churches in the gift of the abbey decided. (fn. 83) Its internal history is equally scanty. In the church a chaplain who celebrated daily for the souls of the faithful departed was supported by the proceeds of a messuage and six shops in Drogheda. (fn. 84) The occasional visit of a Scottish bishop would remind the monks in pleasanter fashion than did the approach of the Scottish kings of their proximity to the northern kingdom. (fn. 85) A more striking witness to the extra-national character of Furness is the long list of indulgences, granted by fiftyone Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, as well as English bishops, to penitents who should make a pilgrimage to or endow the monastery or any of its churches and chapels. (fn. 86)

The charters of the abbey illustrate several interesting elements in the Fur ness economy. In the Yorkshire moors and dales the monastic granges, Winterburn the most important, were the centre of a busy pastoral life. The great slopes of Whernside and Ingleborough were dotted with sheep belonging to the abbey; and many a powerful baron of Lancashire and Yorkshire gave them protection on their way from pasture to pasture, or shelter when sick or astray. (fn. 87) Along the shore of Morecambe Bay vassals of Furness dug turf and dried salt. (fn. 88) In the fish booth at Beaumont Grange the abbot's bailiffs stored the fish dragged from the waters of the Lune. Beaumont Grange was, indeed, a large and important colony. We hear of an abbot's court for the neighbourhood. (fn. 89)

The monks shared the fishing with the priory of St. Mary at Lancaster. In St. Mary's pot the Lancaster monks had every third throw, elsewhere every other throw. When the priory passed to the convent of Syon, the latter house made over the whole fishing rights to Furness. A few years before the Dissolution the tenants of Skerton complained that Abbot Alexander had 'edified' a fish-yard of such great height and strength that the water was stopped and did great damage to the town and highway. (fn. 90)

In the Furness peninsula the monastic occupation made great changes. At the Dissolution the woods of High Furness fed three smithies, and its streams turned five water-mills. (fn. 91) The abbot had his boats for fishing on Coniston Lake and Windermere from very early times. (fn. 92) He hunted and hawked on the hills between his manor of Hawkshead and the lands of Ulverston; at Hawkshead was a grange, half manorhouse, half cell, with private chapel for the monks, and gallows for misguided tenants. (fn. 93) In Furness High and Low were commons and woods kept for the maintenance of the monks' cattle. (fn. 94) In the course of time these had been inclosed, like many other woods and pastures of the abbey, to the great annoyance of the tenantry. (fn. 95) In Low Furness activities were still more varied; here too mills and smithies were kept in the hands of the brethren. (fn. 96) The abbey cattle were pastured on Angerton Moss. (fn. 97) The Duddon and other streams provided fish. The little borough of Dalton was six times in the year the scene of a busy fair, which brought distant merchants to quicken trade and gave dues to the abbey. (fn. 98)

Few of the men who gave and took all these benefits have left more than their names. In 1314 Thomas, bishop of Whithern, granted forty days' indulgence to those who prayed for the soul of brother Elias of Egremont, the cellarer. (fn. 99) In 1349 John of Collesham desired reconciliation; he had left his order, because he had been refused leave to visit Rome in the jubilee year. (fn. 100) Fortunately our knowledge of the tenantry is more definite. The isolation of Furness, together with the supremacy of the abbey, gave that independence of tenure which has been so characteristic of the district. The villeins rose out of their servile condition easily; (fn. 101) and early in the sixteenth century the customs of High and Low Furness could be put down definitely in writing. (fn. 102) Apart from the large freeholders who only paid suit and annual services, with no tithes, the tenants were customary, holding by tenant-right. The only copyholders seem to have been the burgesses of Dalton, who paid a relief of 3s. 4d. on the burgage and provided six men for the defence of the abbey. (fn. 103) The customary tenants agreed with Queen Elizabeth to pay a relief equal to two years' rent. This was perhaps traditional, but the usual payment had only been the formal 'God's penny.' They provided fifty-four men. (fn. 104) The customs of tenure were kept up by tradition and proven by inquest. Old men in the days of Elizabeth, when John Brograve, the attorneygeneral of the duchy, sought (1582) to restore the old provisions for which the commissioners had substituted a small annual rent, could remember the picturesque days of their childhood. However burdensome feudal obligations were in neighbouring districts, (fn. 105) the abbey repaid its sustenance with many privileges. Robert Wayles told how he used to visit a kinsman who was a yeoman (fn. 106) of the convent kitchen, and saw tenants come with twenty or thirty horses to take away the weekly barrels of beer, sixty in all, each containing ten gallons, and with each barrel went a dozen loaves. He also saw thirty or forty carts, called corops, which took away dung to manure the tenants' fields in Newbarns and Hawcoat; and another witness could remember carting it to the fields of a certain widow. Robert used to visit his father-in-law's smithy at Kirkby, and remembered how clott iron, called livery iron, was brought to be melted for their ploughs by the tenants. It was asserted, too, that every tenant having a plough could send two persons to dine one day in every week from Martinmas till Pentecost. Children and labourers could go to the abbey for meat and drink; one witness had been in the abbey school, which contained both a grammar and a song school. The tenants could send their children to this school, who were allowed to come into the hall every day, either to dinner or supper. Apt boys might be elected monks or to some office within the monastery. Perhaps it was from this school that the scholars, of whom we hear, went up to Oxford. (fn. 107) When, again, the dykes of Walney were broken by the sea, the abbot took his carts and men to renew them; and any tenant could take wood for his necessities, and gather whins and brakes for baking his oatmeal cakes. The abbey also had special clients. Thirteen poor men were kept as almsmen; and every year bread and meat were given at the gates. In Roger Pele's rental eight widows appear, who have the food of eight monks, amounting to £12 a year. (fn. 108) Sometimes a bargain was struck. More than one grant was given in return for a robe in time of need. (fn. 109) Alan, the son of the parson of Clapham, gave two oxgangs of land to the abbey in return for a promise to receive him as a monk if sickness or old age were to drive him to this course. In the meantime he was to be received at the abbey or its granges, and provided with food and drink for himself and his horse sicut unus eorum conversus. While he was in the world he was to receive twice a year at Winterburn a measure of corn. In addition to all this, the abbey was to receive one of his sons as servant, and if he desired it and was worthy, as a lay brother. (fn. 110) In 1264 Adam of Merton made a similar bargain full of curious details. (fn. 111)

During the fifteenth century the abbey took no share in public affairs. It was still in the days of Henry VII the most important place in north Lancashire, and the Earl of Lincoln thought its port a suitable landing-place in 1487. He had little success, and it was probably at this time that Innocent VIII's bull against insurrection was ordered to be read in the abbey. (fn. 112) As time went on, the prestige of the abbey seems to decline. There are complaints of cruel and malicious attacks, while on the other side are suspicious acts of favouritism and intrigue, which are the customary signs of weakness. The tendency becomes marked in the abbacy of Alexander Banke, who seems to have descended to the shelter of legal expedients. The privileges of the abbey did not escape question in the larger world. In 1530 William Tunstall gave information that the abbot had kept back £250 of a subsidy which he had collected, and also spoiled the king of harbour dues and the rents of the sheriff's tourn. (fn. 113) Disputes arose with the local gentry. (fn. 114) Since the gentry were becoming independent, and the influence of the new nobility was exerted everywhere, the monasteries had resort to favour. Annuities were paid to the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, to the Earl of Wiltshire, to Cromwell both as Master of the Rolls and Master Secretary, to the chancellor of the Duchy, to Sir Thomas Wharton, and by royal mandate to Mr. Thomas Holcroft. (fn. 115) In several pleadings it was asserted that the abbot or his monks had connived to defeat or thwart justice. There are ugly stories how a murderer had been pardoned at the instance of his kinsman the abbot; (fn. 116) how valuable deeds were kept from the owners in a locked casket; (fn. 117) how a monk, Hugh Brown, broke open a chest which contained the common seal of the abbey and sealed blank parchments upon which leases were afterwards made of its Yorkshire manors to the Earl of Cumberland. (fn. 118) This last episode, which was afterwards admitted by Hugh Brown in 1542, occurred just after the death of Alexander. After robbing the dead abbot's bedroom of gold and silver, he and others got a smith to break open the chest where the seal was. Afterwards the Earl of Cumberland sent to procure the confirmation of the lease from Roger Pele and the convent. The earl affirmed that he had got it from Alexander on his death-bed; but the plea was unavailing. The forgers were imprisoned, and the lease disallowed. The case throws light upon the inner and outer relations of the abbey just before the Dissolution, and it is not surprising that it shared in the contempt with which the new gentry and officials regarded spiritual dignities. (fn. 119) Roger Pele, the last abbot, adopted the futile policy of keeping up a constant correspondence with Thomas -Cromwell. In 1528 his predecessor had incurred the blame of Wolsey for negligence in attending to the minister's commands, (fn. 120) and there is evidence that Alexander's tenure of office was by no means smooth or even unbroken. (fn. 121) Roger secured himself by paying £200 for his admission and granting Cromwell a yearly pension. His good relations with the powerful secretary were needed to protect him from recalcitrant neighbours and importunate nobles. (fn. 122) One Seton, farmer of Aldingham church, entered information against the abbot for restoring certain wines brought to Furness by an Ipswich merchant. (fn. 123) 'I give him yearly £6 by patent that he should be gentle to me and our monastery; yet he goes daily about to do us displeasure.' (fn. 124) The Earl of Cumberland clamoured for the lordship of Winterburn. (fn. 125) The deputy of Ireland forbad the Irish tenantry to pay their rents to the monastic officers, (fn. 126) the king was induced to desire letters of presentation to the parsonage of Hawkshead. This last demand caused much uneasiness. Hawkshead, the abbot wrote, had never been a separate benefice, and was the peculiar property of the abbey; presentation would mean the undoing of the abbey, which would be compelled to give up hospitality. Roger sent a special present to Cromwell in order to be excused to the king. (fn. 127)

Such a man could not stand a storm. His servility lost him the respect of his brethren and the reverence of his tenants. The letters about the Borradalle case show that he was prepared to betray the visitors of the order to the centralizing policy of Cromwell. (fn. 128) The monks were insubordinate; Roger writes that he had been forced to put one, Dan Richard Banke, in prison. (fn. 129) It is suggestive that Doctors Legh and Layton singled him out for their unpleasant criticism. (fn. 130) The district of Furness, moreover, was ablaze with the ardour of the Pilgrimage of Grace. (fn. 131) Robert Legate, a friar who had been put into the monastery by the visitors to read and preach to the brethren, sent accounts of the violent speech and deeds which led to the surrender of the house. When the northern insurrection broke out, 3,000 men collected from the fells to the north and east of the abbey. (fn. 132) Most of them desired to get rid of real feudal grievances, (fn. 133) but they also gave expression to the feeling against the royal supremacy. Several of the monks desired to join the commons, and a coarse prophecy was current among them: 'In England shall be slain the decorat Rose in his mother's belly,' or in other words, 'Your Grace shall die by the hands of priests, for their Church is your mother.' (fn. 134) During the last months of 1536 words became more definite. John Broughton laid a wager with Legate that in three years all would be changed, and the new laws annulled. The bishop of Rome, he said, was unjustly put down. (fn. 135) Henry Salley, when overcome with ale, used to say that no secular knave should be head of the church; he was afterwards clapped into prison at Lancaster. (fn. 136) And Christopher Masrudder even heard one of the brethren say that the king was not right heir to the crown, for his father came in by the sword. (fn. 137) Legate could not get a hearing for his lectures of Holy Scripture. (fn. 138) On All Hallows' Eve the crisis came. Four brethren, Michael Hammerton, the cellarer, Christopher Brown, the master of the fells, William Rigge, and the plain-spoken Broughton had been sent to the rebels. They took with them over £20, came to terms, and returned to Dalton for recruits. The captain of the rebels, a man named Gilpin, was to meet the tenants at Furness. The monks advised their men to agree as they had done. Alexander Richardson, the bailiff of Dalton, testified that the monks encouraged the commons, and urged that now or never was the time, for if they sit down, both you and Holy Church is undone; and if they lack company, we will go with them, live and die with them to defend their most godly pilgrimage.

When arguments failed, threats were used. Brian Garner, the prior, and a fellow monk commanded the tenants to meet the commons in their best array, on pain of death and the pulling down of their houses. The vicar of Dalton fled into the woods to escape them. The abbot also fled. He had tried in vain to keep a middle course. When John Broughton uttered the prophecy about the king, he had said, 'Dan John, this is a marvellous and a dangerous word.' Three or four days afterwards he told the brethren that he could not stay there till the rebels came, or it would undo both himself and them. So on the eve of All Saints he and William Flitton, the deputy steward, put out in a little boat and came to Lancaster. Thence they escaped to the Earl of Derby at Lathom. According to Christopher Masrudder, he bade the monks ere he departed do their best for the commons. (fn. 139) The danger from the rebels did not last long, (fn. 140) but the abbot's difficulties grew greater rather than less. He is said to have written to his brethren from Lathom that he had taken a way to be sure both from king and commons. This may have seemed easy at Lathom, but it was impossible at Furness. When Roger returned he was met with a request to sign certain articles. What these were is not stated, but perhaps something may be gathered from the words of John Green, spoken on the Friday after St. Martin's Day, that the king should never make them an abbot, but they would choose their own. (fn. 141) The monks shared in the hopes nursed by the commons during this winter. Dr. Dakyn, the vicar-general of Richmond, hoped to get money from Furness. (fn. 142) The speech of the brethren was as unguarded as ever; only three took the king's part, and the abbot was so fearful that he 'durst not go to the church this winter alone before day.' (fn. 143) The royal officers began to arrive on the scene, and Roger in alarm insisted upon a strict observance of the statutes and of the visitors' injunctions. This was on the first Sunday in Lent. Three weeks later he heard that either Legate or the bailiff of Dalton had put in letters of complaint. (fn. 144) The commissioners, the Earls of Derby and Sussex, came to the abbey about the middle of March, (fn. 145) but they could learn very little. On the previous Sunday Roger had commanded the brethren in the chapter-house to say nothing, and threatened to put the younger men in prison if they were found telling anything outside. (fn. 146) Even the friar seems to have been silent. On 13 March the bailiff met him on the road between Furness and Dalton, and asked what would happen to the monk Salley, now my lords were come. Legate replied, 'Nothing; I will say nothing.' (fn. 147) On 21 March Sussex wrote that the monks of Furness had been as bad as any other; the king desired that the whole truth about their disloyalty should be sought out; but on 10 April Sussex replied that only two had been committed to Lancaster, 'which was all we could find faulty.' (fn. 148)

Still the general impression was too strong, and some damaging depositions had been made. The abbot saw that he could not hold out much longer. If the brethren had been united, and their head less selfish and weak, the abbey might have lasted till the suppression of the great houses, since nearly all the evidence referred to acts and speech done before the general pardon of the previous autumn. Sussex, in the letter just quoted, admits that there seemed no likelihood of finding anything further. But he knew with whom he had to deal, and found a way of getting rid of the monks, so that the abbey in his own words 'might be at your gracious pleasure.' (fn. 149) The abbot was brought to Whalley. After a futile examination, Sussex himself 'assayed' Roger. Would he be content to surrender his house ? The abbot was very facile, and thought the convent would not be hard to manage. (fn. 150) So, on 5 April, he signed his surrender, (fn. 151) Three gentlemen were sent off immediately to take possession. Later in the evening the justice, Mr. Fitzherbert, came, approved of the deed, and attested it; he also drew up a formal surrender, which was signed four days later by abbot, prior, and twenty-eight monks. (fn. 152) The earl then made the full examination which has given us the history of the last few months.

King Henry was much relieved, and at once made arrangements for the government of the barony and the dismissal of the monks. The conduct of affairs at the abbey was left to Sussex' discretion, since His Majesty knew he would both look to the king's profit, 'and yet rid the said monks in such honest sort as all parties shall be therewith content.' (fn. 153) Sir Marmaduke Tunstall was appointed deputy to the Lord Privy Seal in the Lonsdale district, with instructions to execute justice, exact lawful payments, and reconcile the tenants to the rule of the royal landlord. (fn. 154) At the end of the year Sir John Lamplugh was sent to the abbey with similar commands. (fn. 155) On 23 June Robert Southwell arrived at Furness to see the monks off the premises. He found them discontented and excited. Sussex had made large promises, but fixed nothing; and the brethren thought 20s. and their 'capacities' too little. Southwell speaks of them with the utmost contempt. None of them seem to have availed themselves of the permission to join other monasteries, and the commissioner had to threaten them with this fate before he could get them to submit quietly. They complained that they had been compelled to surrender; so Southwell had a document prepared which was read in the hall before 500 persons, and was then signed by monks and people. When he said that the king desired them to join other houses, they eagerly confessed their unworthiness to retain their habit, and went away with 40s. and their permits. Southwell says he could give them no less, since 'the traitors of Whalley' had the same, but he consoles himself and Cromwell with the reflection that most of it would be spent in the purchase of their secular weeds, without which he would not suffer them to depart. Precautions were taken that they should not wander over the moors to Shap, where a rebellious bill had been nailed upon the abbey door; as a last word, Southwell reminded them of some 'goodly experiments that hangeth on each side of York, some in rochets, and some in cowls.' So they departed with much chatter and grumbling, the victims of their own indecision and selfishness, of an unworthy abbot, and a spying friar. They were content to have infirmity to be their cause, but in no case would have it read in the hall before their neighbours. The writer wishes Cromwell could have heard it all.

After I denied them their liberty, and would assign them to religion, 1 never heard written nor spoken of religion that was worst, to be worse than they themselves were content to confess. I have not seen in my life such gentle companions; it were great pity if such goodly possessions should not be assigned out for the pasturing of such blessed carcasses. (fn. 156)

Roger Pele became parson of Dalton; and Cromwell was still mean enough to receive his petty gifts. (fn. 157)

Southwell valued the temporal possessions of the abbey; then, after the lead had been melted down, and the church and steeple dismantled, the survey of Furness Fells was completed. All the cattle were sold; and traders came from all parts of the south to buy in this fruitful isle. The inhabitants, however, were given the preference for six score milch neat. Throughout Southwell is kindly to the tenants. They were loyal, he says, and should not suffer for any gentleman's pleasure. He asks for allotments for the beadsmen, and puts in a special plea for seventy-two tall fellows who occupied Beaumont Grange. (fn. 158) Perhaps in the many small grants of the next few years we may trace the effects of his solicitude. (fn. 159) The later history of the abbey is bound up with the general history of Furness, and must be sought elsewhere. (fn. 160)

The original grant of Stephen to the abbey contained 20½ plough-lands. (fn. 161) In 1200 it has been estimated that the monks owned 37 ploughlands, or some 2,000 acres annually under wheat and other crops. (fn. 162) The difference is due to the grants made by Robert de Boyville of Kirksanton and Horrum in Copeland (before 1153); by Godard de Boyville, of a plough-land in Foss in the same district; (fn. 163) by Waltheof son of Edmund, of Newby; by William Greindorge, of Winterburn; and by Richard de Morvill and Avicia his wife, of Selside (before 1190), (fn. 164) During this period also the abbey made its well-known agreement with the lords of Ulverston for the partition of Furness Fells. (fn. 165) They became immediate lords of the land between the lakes of Coniston and Windermere, and had fishing rights in the waters; in later days Hawkshead manor was the centre of monastic rule in this district. Fordbottle, Crivelton, and Roos were received from Michael le Fleming in exchange for Bardsey; (fn. 166) in Amounderness Robert of Stalmine gave a plough-land which became the nucleus of Stalmine Grange; (fn. 167) in Copeland, William, the nephew of David of Scotland, and Ranulf Meschin, earl of Chester, endowed Calder; and King Olaf gave the abbey an important position in the Isle of Man. (fn. 168) Early in the thirteenth century Alicia de Rumeli, daughter of William Fitz Duncan, gave all Borrowdale with extensive rights and free transit through the barony of Allerdale and Copeland. (fn. 169) Walter de Lacy, lord of Meath, made a grant in 1234 of land and rights in Meath. This grant also was the origin of a valuable property. (fn. 170) King Henry III, in the eleventh year of his reign, made the abbot lord of all Furness by giving him the homage of Michael le Fleming for £10 a year. (fn. 171)

During the next two centuries, especially in the thirteenth, the abbey strengthened and extended the position gained by these grants. Small gifts enlarged their holding in the townships about Beaumont Grange. (fn. 172) The pasture allowed by the Gernets in Halton led to much litigation. (fn. 173) The origin of Beaumont Grange is curious. Warin the Little, whom Stephen had granted with his land, retired with his wife to the abbey in his old age, leaving to the monks half a plough-land in Stapelton Terne. This was converted into a grange. The story runs that King John saw, on a sojourn, 'that the grange was too small and poor,' and gave the whole vill of Stapelton Terne. The monks then transferred the men of the vill to the grange, and thus made one large colony. (fn. 174) In 1221 the rights of Furness in Stackhouse, which had been granted by Adam the son of Maldred in the previous century (before 1168), were upheld. (fn. 175)

In 1250 Alicia of Staveley granted for £600 a vast pasture in Souterscales on the fells of Whernside and Ingleborough. The monks tried to seize the neighbouring pasture of Ingleton, which covered 1,000 acres, and though William of Twyselton successfully maintained his rights, he surrendered them in 1316. (fn. 176) Alicia's grant was quite near the great pasture of Selside and Birkwith, which was said to comprise 5,000 acres. In 1256 John of Cancefeld quitclaimed 500 acres in Selside. Around the grange of Winterburn the abbey collected several ploughlands, often oxgang by oxgang. In Hetton, for example, it held two and a half plough-lands. (fn. 177) In Eshton the abbey possessed more than a plough-land. (fn. 178) It had burgages in Lancaster, York, and Boston, with the rents of some houses in Beverley. (fn. 179)

In Copeland the lords of Millom added largely to the privileges of the abbey. (fn. 180) In Furness proper the monks had in 1292 eleven granges, and had got into their own hands a great deal of their vassals' land, including the manors of Bolton and Elliscales, and the pasture and turbary of Angerton Moss. (fn. 181) The relations with Ulverston demand more than a passing word. As William of Lancaster III died without male heirs the manor was divided and ultimately came to William's illegitimate brother Roger, as two distinct halves. These became definitely separate in the families of Harrington and Coucy. (fn. 182) It is perhaps characteristic that the abbey shows a tendency to claim the service of 30s. from both. (fn. 183) The Harringtons kept their hold with only the ordinary experience. (fn. 184) But on the death of William de Coucy without issue in 1343 the king entered. William left a brother Enguerrand, but it was asserted that he was a French subject. It was probably at this time that the abbey first began to take possession on behalf of the king. (fn. 185) In 1348, however, Edward included this half of the manor in his large grant to John of Copeland and his wife. Abbot Alexander protested, (fn. 186) and finally received the reversion for forty marks. An inquest of 1376 uphed this, but in the next reign, when Enguerrand's descendant was a niece of the king and wife of the powerful Duke of Ireland, the abbey's hold became precarious. Another inquest found the abbot had been guilty of false allegation, and it was only after a long suit that the estate was retained. (fn. 187)

There is no doubt that from the first the two chief churches in Furness, Dalton and Urswick, were included in the spiritual possessions of the abbey. (fn. 188) In 1195 Celestine III confirmed its rights of appropriation and presentation, and a few years later it was recognized that the heirs of Michael le Fleming had no hereditary claim to the advowson of Urswick. The chapel of Hawkshead, which belonged to Dalton, was held separately by the monks. It was claimed as a chapel of Ulverston by the priory of Conishead, but the claim was surrendered in 1208, when Furness in return for certain annual payments gave up its rights to the churches of Ulverston and Pennington, which were asserted to be daughter churches of Urswick. (fn. 189) In the reign of Henry II, William son of Roger gave to the abbey the advowson of Kirkby Ireleth. It is uncertain if the tithes were appropriated; if so, they were soon lost, since in 1228 Archbishop Gray retained the church and advowson. (fn. 190) About the end of the century William son of Hugh gave to the abbey the church of Millom. The archbishop took half of this church also, and the right of appointing vicars to both halves. In 1241 he appropriated the revenues to his chantry in the chapel of St. Michael the Archangel in York Minister; and later the abbey got back the half on condition of maintaining the chaplain of this chantry. (fn. 191) In 1299 Bishop Mark granted to Furness the appropriation or the churches of St. Michael and St. Maughold in the Isle of Man. (fn. 192) In the diocese of Dublin the abbot for some time held the prebend of Swords, (fn. 193) and the convent also had a contingent interest in a Lancaster chantry. (fn. 194)

From the above account it will be obvious that Furness Abbey was very wealthy. Not many monastic houses in the north could pay £600 for a sheep-walk, or 500 marks for a charter. But with the exception of two great records there is little evidence from which to estimate the total revenues of the house. The occasional references to subsidies are misleading, for geographical as well as for more general reasons. (fn. 195) Its total assessment for tenths about 1300 was rather lower than that of Whalley Abbey, but included a much larger proportion of temporals. (fn. 196) In the new valuation of 1317, made after the Scottish raids, the temporalities were charged on the basis of 20 marks only. The Taxatio had fixed the annual value at £176, but as the monks kept much of their property in their own hands, this was not all realized. According to detailed returns of this year (1292) which are preserved in the Coucher the annual income was £40 14s. 8d. This included, besides rentals, the proceeds of live-stock, pleas, and, most important, of mines. When all expenses had been met this last source gave £6 13s. 4d. Lonsdale, including the Beaumont Grange, and Borrowdale sent the largest revenues from cattle. Since the fisheries, turbaries, dovecotes, and two or three vaccaries were reserved for the monks' use, these are not estimated. In 1317 the assessment of spiritualities was reduced from £21 6s. 8d. to £6. (fn. 197) Two documents preserved in the Coucher give the proportionate payments of the Cistercian abbeys to certain contributions. Furness, Rievaulx, and Fountains agreed to pay the same to provincial aids, (fn. 198) nearly one-third of the aids in all. To a Cistercian contribution of £12,000 Furness is to pay £44 6s. 8d.; Fountains £66 16s.; Stanley £68 12s. (fn. 199) For the time of the Dissolution we have three documents, the official Valor of 1535, the rental of Roger upon which this is based, and the survey of the commissioners of 1536. The survey gives of course a greater value, since there was nothing to reserve for private use; the difference between Roger's rental and the Valor is almost entirely on the debit side, due to the gifts to great men. Roger accounted for close on £950, and disbursed about £300 annually. Beck estimates that the possessions in the immediate occupation of the monks yielded £104 15s. 8d. (fn. 200)

The monastic officers, except the master of the fells, (fn. 201) call for no remark. Of the lay officers the rentals give a fairly complete list. The highest of these was the high steward, the protector of the abbey and its representative in the lay world. The office never seems to have been really important, although it was the source of some disputes at the time of the Dissolution. (fn. 202) At this time the Earl of Cumberland was steward of the Winterburn lands, which had needed special protection throughout. (fn. 203) The rental mentions eighteen bailiffs, of whom the chief was the bailiff of the liberty, who received £8 per annum. This officer had originally been the judicial deputy of the abbot, together with the coroner, (fn. 204) and probably still performed the duty, but as the time of danger drew near, the abbot seems to have bought off opposition by the increase of offices. (fn. 205) Apart from the bailiff's fees we read of grants pro custodia sessionum and pro custodia curie Birelay (fn. 206) et Sberyftorne; also of a general receiver. (fn. 207) A master mason is also mentioned.

Thirty monks signed the deed of surrender, and two were in Lancaster gaol. Sussex mentioned thirty-three. (fn. 208) Beck calculates, very fairly, that this number implies about one hundred servants in place of conversi. The full complement of the abbey in its best days is not known, but perhaps the decrease in 1536 was not very marked.

The daughter houses of Furness were Calder (1135) and Swineshead (1134 or 1148) in England; Rushen (1138), in the Isle of Man; and in Ireland, Fermoy (1170), Holy Cross (1180), Corcumruadh (1197), and Inislaunaght (1240). This last was subjected to Furness some time after its foundation. A Furness colony in Wyresdale removed to Wotheney in Limerick c. 1198. (fn. 209)

The Coucher of the abbey was compiled in 1412 by the monk John Stell, at the command of Abbot Dalton. A companion, probably Richard Esk, wrote the verses which relate the story, and drew up the tabula sententialis. (fn. 210) Perhaps this John is the monk of Furness who occupied one of the fellows' chambers in University College, Oxford, in 1400, at a rent of 13s. 4d. (fn. 211) The second part of the Coucher, which deals with the Lonsdale, Yorkshire, and Cumberland lands, has not been printed. (fn. 212) The first and more important part has always been among the Duchy documents, and has been edited by Mr. Atkinson. (fn. 213) The Coucher is based upon deeds, very many of which still exist and are calendered in the appendices to the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth reports of the Deputy Keeper. In the introduction the compiler of the Coucher refers to a libellus vetus et de vetusta littera as his authority for the foundation of the abbey. (fn. 214) The monastic library also included a register and chronicles of Ulster. (fn. 215) Celtic literature, indeed, seems to have been well known there in the early days. Jocelin, the only Furness chronicler whose name has come down to us, wrote lives of St. Patrick and St. Kentigern, under the direction of the archbishop of Armagh and the bishop of Glasgow. For the latter his authorities were a life used in the church at Glasgow, and another codiculum, stilo Scottico dictatum. The same monk also wrote the life of St. Waltheof, abbot of Melrose, in which he reveals a sympathetic knowledge of northern monastic history. (fn. 216) 'Jocelin is a close imitator of the style of William of Malmesbury, whose phrases he often adopts.' (fn. 217) A later Furness chronicle is based on William of Newburgh, of whom, together with the Stanley entries, it is called the Continuation. It is a purely Furness chronicle from 1263, and seems to have been written up at intervals from memoranda; perhaps, as Mr. Howlett suggests, in order to fulfil the king's commands in 1291, when Edward sent a transcript of the submission of the Scotch claimants to Furness, with the desire 'quod eadem faciatis in cronicis vestris ad perpetuam dei gesti memoriam annotari.' (fn. 218) The chronicle ends in 1298, and contains several records of local and monastic interest.

In a heraldic visitation of 1530 the arms of the abbey are given: Sable, a bend cheeky argent and azure. Behind the shield is a crozier through a mitre. (fn. 219) The common seal attached to the deed of surrender bears the legend, 'Sigillum commune domus beate Marie de Furnesio.' It represents the Virgin under a canopy, sublimis inter sidera, holding in her right hand a globe, while her left supports the infant Christ. On each side is a shield, dexter with the arms of England, sinister with those of Lancaster, suspended from sprigs of nightshade, and upheld by monks proper. Beneath is a wyvern, the device of Thomas, second earl of Lancaster. (fn. 220)

Abbots of Furness

(* According to the Furness custom, only those abbots were put in the mortuary roll who died as abbots after ten years' successive rule; Coucher, 10. These, previous to the date of the Coucher, are marked with an asterisk. Names not annotated only appear in the list in the Coucher.)

* Ewan d'Avranches (de Abrincis), 1127 (fn. 221)
Eudes de Surdevalle, occurs 1130, 1134 (fn. 222)
Michael of Lancaster
Peter of York, occurs 1147 (fn. 223)
Richard de Bayeux, (fn. 224) elected c. 1150
* John of Cancefeld, occurs 1152, 1158 (fn. 225)
Walter of Millom, occurs 1175 (fn. 226)
Jocelin of Pennington, c. 1182 (fn. 227)
Conan de Bardonle
* William Black (Niger), occurs 1190, probably ruled c. 1183-93 (fn. 228)
Gerard Bristald, c. 1194 (fn. 229)
Michael of Dalton, c. 1196 (fn. 230)
Richard de St. Quentin
* Ralph of Fletham, ruled c. 1198-1208 (fn. 231)
John of Newby
Stephen of Ulverston
Nicholas of Meaux, consec. 1211, resigned c. 1217 (fn. 232)
* Robert of Demon, elected 1217, alive in 1235 (fn. 233)
Laurence of Acclorne
* William of Middleton, occurs 1246, died 1266-7 (fn. 234)
* Hugh le Brun, elected 1267, occurs 1282 (fn. 235)
William of Cockerham, occurs 1289, 1294 (fn. 236)
Hugh Skyllar, occurs 1297, deposed 1303 (fn. 237)
* John of Cockerham, elected 1303, died 1347 (fn. 238)
* Alexander of Walton, elected 1347, died 1367 (fn. 239)
John of Cokan', elected 1367 (fn. 240)
* John of Bolton, occurs 1389, 1404 (fn. 241)
William of Dalton, occurs 1407, died 1416-7 (fn. 242)
Robert, elected c. 1417, occurs 1441 (fn. 243)
[Thomas or William Woodward] (fn. 244)
John Turner, occurs 1443-60 (fn. 245)
Lawrence, occurs 1461-91 (fn. 246)
Thomas Chamber, elected 1491, occurs 1496 (fn. 247)
Alexander Banke, occurs 1505, 1531 (fn. 248)
John Dalton, occurs 1514-16 (fn. 249)
Roger Pele, elected 1531, surrendered 1537 (fn. 250)


  • 1. Farrer, Lanes. Pipe R. 301; Coucher, A. 8, 21. The account prefixed to the coucher papers gives 'nonas Julii' as the exact date; the metrical history says July 1st. The Chron. Reg. Manniae gives 1126, and another old manuscript dealing with Man, quoted by Dodsworth, says 1112, making it as old as Savigny itself; Oliver, Monumenta de Insula Manniae, i, 144.
  • 2. Symeon of Durham, Opera (Surtees Soc.), 120; Coucher, 21; cf. Leland, Collectanea (ed. Hearne), ii, 357. Some early charters refer to the abbey as Bekanesgill.
  • 3. Farrer, op. cit. 308, 317; Coucher, 122-30, 199, 216. Henry IV's confirmation (216) included privileges which had been allowed to fall into disuse. The abbot took advantage of this licet clause in 1413 to recall suits of debt to his court, 220; the Patent Rolls also contain frequent letters of protection.
  • 4. The protection of Eugenius III (Coucher, 591-5) shows that before 1153 the abbey had gained a footing in Copeland and Man. For papal privikgia see 538 sqq. especially the full confirmation by Innocent IV, in 1247; 603-7.
  • 5. So called in Rot. Parl, iii, 657b.
  • 6. Among the Sackville MSS. is a document dated 31 Hen. VIII, which seems to be an inquiry into the validity of a grant by the abbot that his tenants hold by border service for the maintenance of a fort called Pile la Foudre, upon the borders of Scotland; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. vii, 258. For the peel of Fouldrey see p. 118. The 'marchers' of Copeland, Cartmel, and Kendal were summoned to perform military service in Scotland in 1258; Cal. Scot. Doc. 1108-1272, p. 409.
  • 7. The Furness continuation of William of Newburgh refers especially to periods of pest and famine, or to 'magna fertilitas frumenti in Hybernia'; Chron. of Stephen (Rolls Ser.), &c. ii, 560, 562, 570. The licences to trade with Ireland and to bring corn from the abbey lands there extend from the days of John to those of the Tudors. In early times the abbot frequently visited Ireland or obtained official sanction for his attorneys (e.g. Pat. 24 Edw. I, m. 2); but later he had longer leaves of absence. Ric. II granted this exemption in time of war together with release from military service, provided that the abbot left one or two monks to pay subsidies like the other religious in Ireland; Pat. 12 Ric. II, pt. 2, m. 15.
  • 8. Walbran, Mem. of Fountains Abbey, i, 20. These, if the founders of Furness, must have been already settled for three or four years.
  • 9. Stephen, both as count and king, seems to have made a double grant to the monks settled at Furness and to the abbot and convent of Savigny; Coucher, 24, 122, 124; Farrer, op. cit. 301, 304; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. vi, 419. The last document is printed by M. Delisle from the chartulary of Savigny and is translated in Round, Cal. of Doc. in France, 291. It belongs to c. 1142, and explicitly grants the abbey of Furness to Savigny.
  • 10. Engl. Hist. Rev. viii, 669.
  • 11. Coucher, 8-9.
  • 12. Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. vi, 420-2; see also Coucher, 9. The date is about 1150.
  • 13. The abbot of Savigny appears as mediator (c. 1208) in the dispute between Furness and Conishead (Lanes. Pipe R. 362), but after the twelfth century very little is heard of him. Mr. St. John Hope thinks he can identify 'the original camera for the father abbot of Savigny, or his deputy, when he held his annual visitation of the abbey' (Abbey of St. Mary in Furness, 68), but as this is marked 'early fifteenth century' on the plan, the suggestion is not very probable.
  • 14. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 311; Engl. Hist. Rev. viii, 641-2. The precedence of Waverley was maintained in general chapters of the order of Citeaux and in the order of Savigny abroad; the abbot of Furness was to have 'prioratum in tota generatione Elemosinae in Anglia et in generatione Saviniaci in Anglia tantum.' The general position of the Savigniac houses, retrospective and independent in its nature, is defined in Maurique, Ann. Cistercienses, ii, 104; A. du Moustier, Neustria Pia, 684 (cf. Gir. Camb. Opera (Rolls Ser.), iv, 114; Hist, de France, xiv, 518). When Boniface IX exempted the Cistercians in England from the jurisdiction of the anti-papal abbot of Citeaux, he addressed the abbots of Furness and Waverley; Cal. Pap. Letters, v, 358.
  • 15. In the fifteenth century the abbots of Fountains and Byland were visitors in the province of York; Foed. O. xi, 93. On the other hand, the abbot of Furness was one of the presidents at the general council of Combe in 1407 (Beck, Ann. Furn. 95) and visited Whalley in 1418 as reformator of the order (ibid. 289). Again, in 1441 the abbots of Furness and other Cistercian abbeys appear as orators of the order, Proc. of P.C. v, 151.
  • 16. Journ. Brit. Arch, Assoc. vi, 423-4; Dugdale, Mon. v, 349-53.
  • 17. Reginald of Durham, Libellus (Surtees Soc.), c. lvi. Jocelin's life of St. Waltheof of Melrose illustrates the intimate connexion between Scottish and English houses of the order; Acta Sanctorum, Aug. i, esp. 264 E, 276 A.
  • 18. Chron. de Mailros (ed. Stevenson), 111.
  • 19. John of Hexham, Hist. (ed. Raine), 163; Robertson, Scotland under her Early Kings, i, 223; see 'Political History,' 185. There was no break in the Scottish occupation of Carlisle from 1136-57. Abbot Peter was entrusted with papal letters to the king of Scots c. 1149; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. vi, 420. As late as 1174 the abbey received letters of protection from King William of Scotland, Lanes. Pipe R. 314.
  • 20. Ric. of Hexham, Hist. Reg. Stephani, 82; Whitaker, Hist. of Craven, 13. This is interesting for the light it throws on early acquisitions of the abbey in Yorkshire. It was William's daughter Alicia de Rumeli who afterwards gave Borrowdale to the abbey.
  • 21. William of Newburgh, Chron. of Stephen, &c. (Rolls Sen), i, 73-6. William, who saw him at Byland, brings Wimund into his story before the accession of Malcolm IV in 1153; his successor as bishop of Man was elected in 1152 (Chron. Steph. [Rolls Ser.], iv, 167); Mr. Skene tries to identify him with Malcolm Macbeth (Fordun, Chron. Gentis Scotorum, ii, 428-30); but since Malcolm was imprisoned for twenty years before 1156 (Robertson, op. cit. i, 219-21), and Carlisle was surrendered in 1157, this is obviously impossible. Again, Ailred of Rievaulx, in his account of David, quoted by Fordun (op. cit. i, 242), distinguishes the bishop from Malcolm. There is no need to reject the story altogether, with Beck.
  • 22. Both Robert of Torigni (Chron. [ed. Delisle], i, 263) and Roger of Wendover (Flor. Hist. [ed. Engl. Hist. Soc.], ii, 250) seem to identify him with a monk of Savigny. 'Primus autem ibi fuerat episcopus Winmundus, monachus Saviniensis, sed propter ejus importunitatem privatus fuit oculis et expulsus.' At this time Furness was still Savigniac; but, on the other hand, the tradition about Wimund's career is by no means easy to understand, and recalls suspiciously the history of Donaldbane. It is impossible to reconcile the Newburgh version with the statement in the Chron. Pontif. Eccl. Ebor.: 'Winmundum quoque Insularum episcopum idem Thomas [d. 1114] ordinavit, qui ei professionem scriptam tradidit, quae sic incipit—Ego Winmundus sanctae ecclesiae de Schith'; Hist. of Ch. of York (ed. Raine), ii, 372. This statement, however, is also opposed to the account of King Olaf's creation of a bishopric in 1134.
  • 23. Chron. Manniae, a. 1134; Coucber, ii, 594.
  • 24. Oliver, Monumenta, ii, i; Beck, op. cit. 123; Olaf asked Thurstan of York to consecrate the first bishop (Oliver, op. cit. 4; Munch's edition of the Chron. Manniae (ed. Goss for Manx Soc.), ii, 269; Raine, op. cit. iii, 58). Papal confirmation of elective power by Celestine III (Coucher, 667) about 1194; Oliver, op. eit. ii, 21.
  • 25. Munch, op. cit. ii, 272; Chron. Manniae, a. 1217; Beck, op. cit. 169; see below, note 232.
  • 26. Reginald seems to have favoured Furness, as the friend of the pope and Henry III. He was to pay annual tribute at the abbey, after his surrender to the pope; Oliver, op. cit. ii, 53; Cal. Pap. Letters, i, 69. Olaf oppressed the abbey; Close R. 11 Hen. III, m. 16.
  • 27. Chron. Manniae, a. 1247; Munch, op. cit. ii, 315. The letter of Innocent IV in 1244 is in Raine (op. cit. iii, 157). Archbp. Gray is to confirm election by the abbot and convent, with the consent of the archbp. of Trondhjem, and to consecrate the bishop elect, the voyage to Trondhjem being long and dangerous.
  • 28. Cont. Will. Newb. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 569.
  • 29. Munch, op. cit. ii, 336.
  • 30. King Harald took the vessels and goods of the abbey under his protection, with use of mines, free transit, and three acres apud Ballevaldevath ad Burgag. faciendum. He also granted freedom from customs and tolls (a. 1246); Oliver, op. cit. ii, 77-80. Furness was the port for the island, and the abbey a stopping-place for the kings; ibid, ii, 88. King Reginald was buried at the abbey in 1228; also bishops Richard (d. 1274) and William Russell (d. 1374). See Chron. Manniae, passim, and Cont. Will. Newb. (ii, 568).
  • 31. Duc. Lanc. Anct. D., L.S. 112 (1299). Cf. Oliver, op. cit. ii, 134; Goss in Munch, op. cit. i, 251. In Pope Nich. Tax. (fol. 309b, 329b) the abbey of Man appears under the archdeaconry of Richmond.
  • 32. The story in Reginald of Durham's Life of St. Cuthbert (Surtees Soc. 112) starts with the seizure of a long strip of land (35 miles by 4) by the fundator ecclesiae, against whom John the abbot appealed in vain both at home and in Rome. This is too vague to be worth much, but may have some reference to the grant to William of Lancaster by Earl William of Warenne. Anyhow, Earl John granted back Furness Fells to the abbey and forced the inhabitants to respect his arrangement; Coucher, 418-19. Gilbert son of Roger Fitz Reinfred retaliated in 1194 by taking 1,000 sheep; and the abbot proffered 500 marks for a settlement; Lanes. Pipe R. 78, 86. The Lancaster interest was restored by the final concord of 1196, two or three years later. (See below note 165.)
  • 33. Rot. Claus. (Rec. Com.), 64b; Rot. Pat. (Rec. Com.), 159; cf. Cont. Will. Newb. ii, 513.
  • 34. Lanes. Pipe R. 204.
  • 35. Pat. 25 Edw. I, m. 14. The share of Furness in the grant of a fifth shows that in 1299 the house was not very rich—62s.; see Vincent, Lanes. Lay Subsidies, i, 217.
  • 36. Pat. 33 Edw. I, m. 14. Probably the subsidies for which the abbot failed to account in 1295.
  • 37. Chron. de Lanercost (ed. Stevenson), 233. Yet in this year the abbot went to the general chapter at Cheaux; Close, 10 Edw. II, m. 28 d.
  • 38. Chron. de Lanercost, 246. His followers did some damage.
  • 39. Close, 16 Edw. II, m. 14; cf. Pat. I Edw. III, pt. 3, m. 21, permission to crenellate house on 'Foulney.'
  • 40. Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. bdle. 1, file 9, m. 7 (4 Hen. IV); Coucher, 215. Its repair and upkeep were considered important after the Dissolution; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (2), 1216. The surveyors of 29 Hen. VIII say £300 would be needed for its repair; Rentals and Surv. R. 376.
  • 41. Close, 10 Edw. II, m. 28d., 6 Edw. III, m. 20d.; Cont. Will. Newb. ii, 565; Cal. of Pap. Letters, v, 346.
  • 42. Cont. Will. Newb. ii. 571, a. 1275.
  • 43. The papal privilegia define extent of freedom from tithes (Coucher, 540, 549, 597); grant exemption from procurations and provisions (ibid. 585, 602, 669); forbid excommunication of benefactors and servants, and allow brethren of the house to bear witness in all causes to which the abbey is party (614). Honorius III ordered the archbishop of York to allow the monks a private chapel in the chapel at Hawkshead, and protected their vicars in Furness from crossing the sands in winter time to attend unnecessary chapters. In 1256 Alex. IV released the abbey from the attempts of Peter d'Aigueblanche to saddle it with the king's debts (545). This cannot refer to 1161, as Mr. Atkinson concludes; see Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii, 72.
  • 44. e.g. In 1254 Innocent IV appointed the abbot conservator of the order of Sempringham; Cal. Pap. Letters, i, 301; see also iii, 93, 280; iv, 73. For abbot in diocese of York cf. Testamenta Eboracensia (ed. Raine), iii, 314.
  • 45. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vi, 1557; cf. ibid. 287.
  • 46. When Edw. I in 1307 sent the great seal to the new chancellor from Carlisle, the abbot of Furness attached his seal to the purse in which it was inclosed; Madox, Hist, of Exch. i, 74. In 1306 he was called to the Parliament of Carlisle; Rot. Parl. i, 189.
  • 47. e.g. clerical moiety, 1294 (Pat. 22 Edw. I, m. 8); tenth of 1295 (Pat. 24 Edw. I, m. 22). In 1294-5 the abbot's arrears as collector amounted to £788 11s. 0¼d.; perhaps this is the debt referred to above. In 1313 he was ordered to pay most of this to the executors of Isabella of Forz; this he seems to have done, but, owing to a mistake in the allocation of the debt, he could not get a receipt. If his claim is correct, the episode is a curious instance of red tape; Close, 7 Edw. II, m. 15; 10 Edw. II, m. 21; 10 Edw. III, m. 27.
  • 48. In 1272 the abbot was appointed first justice in eyre at Lancaster, but was excused. The others, however,' omnia faciebant cum consilio dicti abbatis'; Cont. Will. Newb. ii, 561. In 1357 he was appointed with three laymen to lay the decisions of the Common Council before the men of Lancaster at Wigan; Pat. 11 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 3. As a baron he took oaths of fealty for the king (Pat. 4 Ric. II, pt. 2, m. 5), and made arrest of found treasure; L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 432.
  • 49. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. x, App. pt. iv, 228.
  • 50. e.g. Close, 3 Edw. I, m. 5 d.; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. Class xxv, 3, Nos. 57, 238, 347.
  • 51. Close, 9 Hen. III, m. 18. In 1390 a commission of inquiry was issued into wools shipped beyond the sea from Furness without licence and payment of customs and subsidies; Pat. 14 Ric. II, pt. 2, m. 44 d.
  • 52. Close, 7 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 16d.
  • 53. Lanes. Pipe R. 303-6, 309, 315-16; Coucher, 29, 122-9. Henry II also granted freedom from tolls in certain Norman ports; Vincent, Lanes. Lay Subs, i, 38 n. The abbot gave 400 marks for the renewal of the charters in 11 Hen. III.
  • 54. Coucher, 130; Chart. R. 11 Hen. III, pt. 1, m. 20; Pat. 11 Hen. III, m. 2.
  • 55. Coucher, 131-7.
  • 56. Coucher, 127. The abbey was careful to obtain freedom from suit for its lands outside Furness; Coucher B. Add. MS. 33244, fol. 100b.
  • 57. Except in Aldingham.
  • 58. Coucber, 137. This is a late date; Pollock and Maitland, Hist. of Engl. Law, i, 559.
  • 59. Coucher, 139, 143. The sheriff disregarded the grant, and was ordered by the king to desist; ibid. 164.
  • 60. Coucher, 141, 148.
  • 61. Close, 11 Edw. HI, pt. 1, m. 29; Coucher, 157-9. The petition of the abbey is in Rot. Parl. i, 436. The number of deaths by drowning is so great that 'pite deust prendre chescun Cristien.' On a similar plea the abbot asked for leave to appoint attorneys to answer vexatious pleas in Yorkshire (1411); Rot. Parl, iii, 657. The road over the sands was necessary, but not without danger. For the subject in general see Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. vii, 15-16.
  • 62. Coucher, 685; cf. p. 161.
  • 63. Pal. Note Book, iv, 13; Baines, Hist, of Lancs. iv, 637, 703.
  • 64. This was decided 30 Edw. III; Coucher, 153-7; cf. 217. Three years later a sumpter horse for the king's wars was given, but it was not to be a precedent; p. 176. In 21 Hen. HI, Roger of Essex took the abbey lands into his hands after the abbot's death, but he was ordered to give them back in peace, except the barony of the Flemings; Close, 21 Hen. III, m. 15. In the borough of Lancaster the abbot's men were exempted from payment of tallage, 33 Hen. III; Lancs. Inq. i, 176. When Duke John's daughter was married the abbot paid the aid for Aldingham and Ulverston; Coucher, 224.
  • 65. Curia Regis R. 83, m. 18 d.; Coucher, 394.
  • 66. Coucher, 213, 386.
  • 67. Coucher, 81, 464-72, 474, 483. But the abbey gave £400 to William of Cancefield for a settlement.
  • 68. Coucher, 313.
  • 69. Ibid. 310-14.
  • 70. Ibid. 315.
  • 71. In 1318 William of Pennington admitted the right of the abbot to the services of a reaper for each house, and a ploughman for each plough in the manor of Pennington. In 1329 this privilege was surrendered by the abbot; Coucher, 491-5; De Banco R. 273, m. 111d.
  • 72. In 1420 the same was claimed in vain in Kirkby, together with the right of the abbot's bailiff to food and drink in the hospice of Kirkby at the lord's cost; Duchy. of Lanc. Grants in Boxes, box B, No. 143.
  • 73. Coucher B. fol. 127b-129b; Pat. 12 Edw. III, pt. 3, m. 16d.
  • 74. Pat. 10 Edw. I, m. 5 d.
  • 75. Pat. 8 Edw. II, pt. 1, m. 2 d.; 9 Edw. II, pt. 1, m. 23 d. Of course we do not know the other side in these cases.
  • 76. Pat. 10 Edw. III, m. 14d.
  • 77. Coucher, 159-62.
  • 78. Pal. of Lanc. Writs de Quo Warranto, 13 Hen. VII; cf. Kuerden MS. 4to vol. fol. 60 (Chet. Lib.).
  • 79. See p. 141.
  • 80. e.g. Jervaulx (Coucher B. fol. 126b); prioress of St. Clement's York; 30 Edw. HI (fol. 129b); Sara, prioress of Ardington, 1241 (Anct. D., L. 477).
  • 81. See p. 170.
  • 82. In spite of privilegia, they were sometimes paid by way of compromise; e.g. for Newby and Clapham: Anct. D., L.S. 133. John of Eshton reserved the tithes due to Gargrave in Craven; Coucher B. fol. 167.
  • 83. Especially Dalton; Coucher, 654, 699, &c.
  • 84. Pat. 8 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 12.
  • 85. Anct. D., L.S. 118.
  • 86. Coucher, 621-3.
  • 87. Coucher B. passim.
  • 88. Ibid.
  • 89. Ibid, fol. 88. For forest rights cf. fol. 70-84.
  • 90. See Anct. D., L. 346, L.S. 128 (agreement of 1460 with Abbess Elizabeth of Syon); Lanes. and Ches. Rec. (ed. Selby), 268, 368; Lanes. Plead, ii, 241. From a petition of George Southworth L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), 1093, it appears that the 'fishing of salmons' had not been retained by the monks for their own use.
  • 91. Duchy of Lanc. Rentals and Surv. R. 376; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. viii (1), p. 90; Arch. Journ. iv, 88-105.
  • 92. Lanes. Final Concords, i, 4-5.
  • 93. Coucher, 111; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. xi (1), 7-16.
  • 94. Rentals and Surv. R. 376. Their annual value was £39 13s;. 4d.
  • 95. Lanes. Plead. i, 69. Abbot Alexander kept deer where none had been before.
  • 96. Coucher, 249-61.
  • 97. Ibid. 326, 331.
  • 98. By grant of Hen. III; Coucher, 131, 149.
  • 99. Anct. D., L.S. 118.
  • 100. Cal. Pap. Letters, iii, 355.
  • 101. Quitclaims of nativi to the abbey in Duchy of Lanc. Cart. Misc. m. 53, pp. 70, 68, 94; Anct. D., L. 456, 457; Coucher B. fol. 30b, 68-9.
  • 102. West, Antiq. of Furness, 149, 599.
  • 103. West, op. cit. 123-4. Copyholders and burgage tenants in Dalton seem to be regarded as identical.
  • 104. West, op. cit. 98. The commissioners give the number of abbey tenants in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cumberland, ready to serve the king, 'having harness jack, coat of fence with long spears, bows and other weapons,' in readiness as 1, 258, including 400 horsemen.
  • 105. The Gressoms are often referred to in the L. and P. Hen. VIII (see e.g. xi, 1246; and xii (1), 478).
  • 106. West, op. cit. App. viii.
  • 107. Abbot Roger's rental accounts for £10 for Oxford scholars, and £4 'pro contribucionibus collegii nostri apud Oxforth.' (The college was St. Bernard's, now St. John's.) See also Beck, op. cit. 279.
  • 108. Rentals and Surv. ptfo. 9, No. 73; cf. Valor Eccl. v, 270.
  • 109. e.g. Geoffrey de Boulton gets two cows and six ells of russet cloth 'in mea maxima necessitate.' (Coucher B. fol. 54).
  • 110. Ibid. fol. 114.
  • 111. Anct. D., L. 445. 'Abbas et conventus fumes concesserunt Ade de Merton victum et vesticum in hac forma, videlicet unam panem conventualem et unam lagenam bone cervisie per diem cum moram fecerit in Abbatia, et si mittatur ad aliquam Grangiam habebit eundem cibum et potum que habent conversi cum quibus commoratur. Dabunt etiam eidem unam robam annuatim ad Natale domini qualem dant pueris de hospicio, et duo paria pannorum lineorum et totidem paria caligarum et sufficientem calciaturam. Ad hec invenient ei pannos ad lectum suum, scilicet duo lintheamina et duos chalones quo advixerit; ita dumtaxat quod quociens novos reciperit, reddat cellarario veteres incontinenter.'
  • 112. Raine, Historians of York, iii, 337. In 1483 the abbot lent Richard III £100, perhaps 'to meet, in part, the expenses of Richard's second coronation at York.' Beck, op. cit. 298.
  • 113. Lanes, Plead, i, 195; Beck, op. cit. 311.
  • 114. e.g. with Christopher Bardsey, the earl of Derby's under-steward at Aldingham (Lanes. Plead, i, 93 sqq. (1521-2)). Turbary dispute at Stalmine accompanied by violence (ibid, ii, 74).
  • 115. The sums ranged from £10 to 40s., and are given in Roger's Rental; ptfo. 9, No. 73. They do not appear in the Valor Eccl., which is otherwise practically identical. The Survey also shows that such men as the Marquis of Dorset and the Earl of Derby were now titular tenants of the abbey and paid quitrents; Rentals and Surv. R. 376. Although Roger puts down the Master of the Rolls and the Secretary separately, the amounts agree with the different sums given to Cromwell in 1533; L. and P. Hen. VIII, vi, 632, 841. Cf. xi, p. 597. The previous annuity had been £4, now raised to £6 13s. 4d., with £10 as a gift in ready money.
  • 116. Beck, op. cit. 314, 315.
  • 117. Lanes. Plead. 116-118.
  • 118. Beck, App. lxxxvii-xciii. The invalid lease apparently granted the stewardship of Winterburn, and in the Valor and Rental he receives £6 'pro exercendo officium senescalli'; but the title was also a matter of dispute between the Earls of Derby and Northumberland; Corres. of Edward, Third Earl of Derby (Chet. Soc.), 115, 127. The Earl of Cumberland claimed the premises after the Dissolution, and got a promise of confirmation. According to a letter of Southwell he wanted Winterburn for less than it was worth; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (2), 206, 279. The suit of 1542 went against him.
  • 119. The abbot was one of the executors of Lord Monteagle, and visited Hornby Castle during the break up of the establishment. 'My lord of Furness was here with all his pontifical staff. Only thirty priests were needed, but above eighty came—4d. and his dinner to each'; L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv (1), 235.
  • 120. Wolsey desired the stewardship of the abbey for the young Earl of Derby, who was in his retinue; Beck, op. cit. 311; L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv (2), 4522.
  • 121. In 1516 the auditor of the apostolic chamber issued a decree on behalf of John Dalton, abbot of Furness, and certain monks named who had been thrown into prison by Alexander during the progress of a suit touching his rights to the monastery; L. and P. Hen. VIII (2), ii, p. 1529. In the Bardsey case, on the other hand, reference is made to the time 'when plaintiff was most cruelly and unjustly expelled' from the abbey; Lanes. Plead. i, 95. The dispute seems to have been carried on by Roger Pele also; Beck, op. cit. 315 note.
  • 122. Others made use of them also; L. and P. Hen. VIII, v, 740.
  • 123. L. and P. Hen. VIII, v, 849; viii, 1132; x, 51.
  • 124. Ibid. viii, 1132; the pension does not appear in the rental.
  • 125. Ibid. vi, 632.
  • 126. Ibid. viii, 1132. In 1420 the abbey petitioned Martin V to allow exchange for Irish and Manx lands, which 'sterilia et inutilia existunt' (Beck, op. cit. 290), but no exchange was ever made.
  • 127. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 520, 531. Is this another example of a chapel served by the regular clergy ? As for the plea of poverty Roger says that his predecessor had left the abbey in great debt to the executors of Sir William Compton; ibid. x, 51.
  • 128. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vi, 1557.
  • 129. Ibid. vi, 787.
  • 130. Ibid. x, 364.
  • 131. In 1533 a book entitled Unto Dissidentium was being studied by the parish priest of Dalton. Legate found William Rede construing the Paraphrases of Erasmus to his scholars, and dismissed him from keeping school in Dalton (ibid. vi, 287; xii (1), 842).
  • 132. Corres. of Earl of Derby (Chet. Soc. New Ser.), 49.
  • 133. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xi, 1246.
  • 134. Ibid. xii (1), 841.
  • 135. Ibid.
  • 136. Ibid. 841; cf. 840, 1089.
  • 137. Ibid.
  • 138. Ibid.
  • 139. Ibid. xii (1), 652 (ii), 840-2; Corres. of Earl of Derby, 45-6; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. vi, 445.
  • 140. See above, p. 43.
  • 141. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), 652, 841.
  • 142. Ibid. xii (1), 914, 965.
  • 143. Ibid. 841.
  • 144. The bailiff's testimony is dated 14 March, 1537, but there must have been information given before this.
  • 145. They were at Furness at the time of the bailiff's deposition.
  • 146. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), 842. According to Legate the abbot had pursued the same policy before the visitors came to the abbey: some of the monks admitted to him that 'they did sigh every day in their haste because they toke so much upon their conscience,' saying that if all had confessed what they were bound to do they should have been a sorry house; ibid. 841.
  • 147. Salley had repeated his saying about 'lay knaves' a fortnight before; this was one of the very few charges post indulgentiam. He confessed on 23 March, and was sent to Lancaster; ibid. xii (1), 652, 841, 1089. Salley complained of Legate's preaching, so the friar was rather considerate in his case.
  • 148. Ibid. xii (1), 695, 840.
  • 149. Ibid. 380.
  • 150. Ibid.
  • 151. Ibid.; Wright, Suppression of Mon. 153-4.
  • 152. Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii, App. ii, 21.
  • 153. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), 896.
  • 154. Ibid. 881.
  • 155. Ibid. (2), 1216.
  • 156. Ibid. 205; Beck, Ann. Fumes. 356-60.
  • 157. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 67; Beck, op. cit. 366. The living was given in lieu of a pension of 100 marks (L. and P. Hen. VIII, (xiii (1), p. 583).
  • 158. L. and P. loc. cit.
  • 159. Ibid. xiii (1), pp. 587-8.
  • 160. See Beck, 361-6; West, 137, and passim. The possessions were generally annexed to the Duchy in 32 Hen. VIII (L. and P. xv, 498). Cromwell had got a grant of the monastery with pastures, sheep-cotes, fisheries, &c. in the neighbourhood (March, 31 Hen. VIII); xv, p. 566.
  • 161. Lanes. Inq. i, 84; Lanes. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. Trans. xviii. This excludes the grant near Lancaster.
  • 162. Lanes. Pipe R. 125; cf. also p. 87 and addenda p. vi. In 1298 the Furness land held in free alms was calculated as 12 plough-lands; Lanes. Inq. i, 292. In 1292 the 11 granges in Furness contained 10½ plough-lands (Coucher, 634).
  • 163. Coucber, 591-4; Anct. D., L. 462.
  • 164. Coucher, 129, 662, 666; Coucher B. fol. 110113 for Newby charters. Waltheof gave a ploughland, and it was confirmed by Richard de Morville and Avicia his wife. Avicia got 80 marks in silver. The other half of Newby was given by W.'s daughter and her husband Robert de Boyvill, fol. 110b, 113; Anct. D., L. 475; the Selside charters in B. fol. 123; the Winterburn charters, ibid. fol. 132, sqq.
  • 165. The division of the fells was made about 1163 between the abbot and William of Lancaster I; Lanes. Pipe R. 310. William had lands both in Ulverston and the fells, as his grants to Conishead and the regrants to and by Gilbert Fitz Reinfred show (ibid. 356, 390, 399, 402); but it is uncertain when the abbey gave up direct control of the manor. Mr. Farrer thinks the Lancaster family held it. 'from the reign of King Stephen, if not earlier' (cf. Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. Trans. xviii); but there is a great deal to be said for the older view, that it was first granted to Gilbert and his wife in 7 Ric. I; cf. Notit. Cest. ii, 534. Before 1196 there were disputes about the fells, which at one time were all recovered by the abbey (see above, note 32). No mention is made of Ulverston, except as abbey property; cf. Coucher, 662. In the elaborate settlement of 1196 (Lancs. Final Concords i, 4) the service of 20s. for the fells is repeated from the earlier arrangement, and 10s. added for Ulverston. Moreover, this was the later monastic interpretation, levata fuit finis de excambio villae de Ulverston cum parte etiam montanorum, for forest rights in the other fells, quitclaim of Newby, and service; Coucher, 345; cf. 7. The plea about the gallows in the suit with Gilbert's son William (394) also tends in this direction (see above).
  • 166. Lanes. Pipe R. 317. Another dispute led to the transference of Foss and Urswick Parva to Michael; 307.
  • 167. Coucher B. fol. 90; Lancs. Inq. i, 47 (116070).
  • 168. See above, 117.
  • 169. Anct. D., L.S. 132; Lancs. Pipe R. 247; Cal. of Pat. (ed. Hardy), 152.
  • 170. Coucher, 18-20; Pat. 14 Edw. III, pt. 3, m. 25. In 1332 the abbot and convent of Beaubec in Normandy was licensed to alienate its manor of Beaubec, near Drogheda, with lands in Marinerstown and elsewhere, to Furness; Pat. 6 Edw. III, pt. 3, m. 3; 10 Edw. HI, pt. 1, m. 42.
  • 171. Coucher, 78, 130, 467; Pat. 11 Hen. III, m. 2. See Vincent, Lancs. Lay Subsidies, i, 38.
  • 172. Coucher B. fol. 32-59 and many of the ancient deeds. Adam son of Orm de Kellet gives a cultura 'ad sustentacionem infirmitorii saecularis' (fol. 46).
  • 173. Ibid. fol. 60-3; Lanes. Inq. i, 178.
  • 174. Coucher B. fol. 64; Lanes. Pipe R. 133, and Lanes. Inq. i, 84-6. It seems possible that the vill was an earlier grant of Henry II. For abbey lands in neighbourhood cf. also Surv. of Lonsdale Wapentake (Chet. Soc.), 66, 74; and for Ellel and Forton see Coucher B. fol. 86-9.
  • 175. Ibid. fol. 115, sqq.
  • 176. Ibid. fol. 119-21; Anct. D., L. 240.
  • 177. Coucher B. fol. 141-85; Surtees Soc. Publ. xlix, 190, 193.
  • 178. Coucher B. fol. 181, &c.
  • 179. Ibid. fol. 76-8, 190, 201.
  • 180. Ibid. fol. 205-11; Anct. D., L. 458-60.
  • 181. For the grant of Bolton by Alan of Copeland see Coucher, 515-36 (27 Edw. I). Elliscales was finally granted in 8 Ric. II, Coucher, 286. The grant of Angerton Moss at end of thirteenth century is very complicated, Coucher, 326 sqq.
  • 182. Coucher, 1-7, 482.
  • 183. Ibid. 368, 396, 386, 388.
  • 184. Ibid. 381-91.
  • 185. In the survey of 1346 it is said to hold half Ulverston by castleward for one twelfth part of a knight's fee; Chet. Soc. Publ. lxxiv, 77.
  • 186. Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. class xxv, 2, No. 250; 3, No. 154 (1352-4).
  • 187. Coucher, 368-77, 396-406; Inq. p.m. 21 Ric. II, No. 75.
  • 188. Coucher, 643, 657-60. For the vicars of Dalton see ibid. 699-702; Anct. D., L. 397. The relation of Michael le Fleming to Urswick is puzzling, but it is certain that the church belonged to the abbey (Coucher, 455; and charter of Henry Fitz Hervey on behalf of his ward, 452. Henry Fitz Hervey became guardian of Michael's heir in 1202-3; Lanes. Pipe R. 180).
  • 189. Coucher, 646, 650. Both the parson of Ulverston and Conishead Priory gave up claim to Hawkshead; Lanes, Pipe R. 362. Early in the thirteenth century it was severed from Dalton except for secular purposes; Coucher, 649. See also above p. 22 note.
  • 190. Coucher, 318, 653; Lanes. Final Concords, 52-3, where the abbey claimed that Abbot John Cancefield had been seised of the church as of his fee, and had presented Roger, his clerk.
  • 191. Coucher B. fol. 207; Coucher 653, 671; Thos. of Burton, Chronica de Melsa (Rolls Ser.), ii, 126. The abbey got back the half on condition of paying the expenses of the chaplain (34 marks) as a perpetual ferm. On the plea of war and pestilence it sought to reduce this, and a long suit ensued, which was taken even to Rome, and was settled by the chapter of York in 1362 (Coucher, 672-9). The rent was reduced to 28 marks, which was paid in the sixteenth century (Valor Eccl. v, 270; Page, York. Chant. Surv, ii, 434).
  • 192. Duchy of Lanes. Anct. D., L.S. 112.
  • 193. At first (1339) it was held at farm (Pat. 13 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 35.
  • 194. Raines, Lanes. Chant. 222.
  • 195. In the 'courtesy' of 1277 Furness contributed £38 3s. 4d. and Waverley £262 10s.; Pat. 5 Edw. I, m. 10, 15. In 1347 the abbey lent £40, as did Peterborough and Westminster; Pat. 21 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 23.
  • 196. The respective totals were roughly £197 and £225.
  • 197. Pope Nich. Tax. 308-9; Coucher, 633-7. At Dalton and Millom the reduction amounted to threefourths, at Urswick to about two-thirds.
  • 198. Ibid. 637-8; e.g. 20s. each to an aid of £10.
  • 199. Ibid. 639 (no date).
  • 200. Valor Eccl. v, 269-70; Rentals & Surv. ptfo. 9, No. 73; and R. 376; also Beck, op. cit. 325-34 and App. vi. Roger's rental amounts to exactly £948 11s. 3d., with deductions of £300 1s. 5d., of which about £100 were incidental. The Valor gives £203 4s. 9d. to this head. The net estimate of the commissioners (Rentals and Surv.) was £1,052 2s. 3¾d. The rentals give such an excellent picture of the economy of Furness that one can only refer the reader to Beck's reprint and comments. An independent rental of certain lands and tenements belonging to the late monastery in Lonsdale, in the possession of Mr. W. H. Dalton, of Thurnham, gives for these lands £112 4s. 6¼d. The places are not exactly the same as in the rental, which gives £110 18s. 11d. (e.g. Beaumont is included in the former).
  • 201. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), 841.
  • 202. See previous notes. Sir Robert de Holland appears in 13 Edw. III; and Sir W. Compton and Lord Monteagle preceded the Earl of Derby; Beck, op. cit. p. cv; Lanes. Pleadings, i, 69; L. and P. Henry VIII, xii (2), 1151 (2); Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iii, 247. It is possible that Cromwell's reference to the Earl of Northumberland may only refer to Borrowdale and Winterburn, as the Derby Corres. (pp. 115, 127) would suggest.
  • 203. Beck, op. cit; 332; Rot. Parl. iii, 657; Coucher B. fol. 116.
  • 204. The bailiff is called steward in the custom of Low Furness (West, Antiq. of Furness, 153), unless the deputies of the high steward had taken over some of his functions. For the coroner see above.
  • 205. Beck, op. cit. 337. On the fly-leaf of the rental is written in a later hand. 'the offes of vater bayle and bayle arround is oun onest mans levying in yat contre.'
  • 206. For the Burlaw see notes on Coucber, 84, 459.
  • 207. Rentals and Surv. ptfo. 9, No. 73; Beck, op. cit. 338.
  • 208. Beck, op. cit. 350-52.
  • 209. Coucher, 11-12; Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin (Rolls Ser.), ii, 105-110; for Wyresdale see below, p. 131.
  • 210. Coucher, 23.
  • 211. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. v, 478.
  • 212. Robert Treswell used it in 1597; Harl. MSS. v, 294, No. 70. In 1637 it was penes auditorem Bullock; Dodsworth MSS. 66, fol. 124. See also Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. i, 114; Clarke, Repertorium Bibliographicum, 263. It is now Add. MS. 33244 in the British Museum, which acquired it from the Hamilton Library.
  • 213. For the Chetham Society (New Ser.), vols. ix, xi, xiv. Unfortunately the editor has not used any of the original deeds, and is rather arbitrary in the use of notes. This is the more to be regretted since the Couchers, though beautiful in appearance, are not very carefully compiled.
  • 214. Coucher, 8.
  • 215. Ibid. 12.
  • 216. Pits (De Scriptoribus Anglicis, 884) gives him on the authority of Stow and Fitzherbert. He thinks he was Cambobritanus, and speaks of many books de Britonum episcopis. Tanner (Bibliotheca, ed. 1748, pp. 429-30) gives a good account of Jocelin and the history of his writings; see also 'Life of St. Kentigern,' (ed. Forbes, in Historians of Scotland, v, 63, 312); Hardy, Descript. Cat. i, 34, 63, 207. The 'Life of St. Patrick,' which was printed by Messingham and Colgan, was, according to Zimmer's theory, written in the interests of Armagh (Celtic Church, 104; cf. Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, i, 132). The prologue would allow us to date the author in 1185 (see Tanner), but the dedication of the life of St. Waltheof (Acta Sanctorum, August, i, 246) to William of Scotland and his son Alexander makes it difficult to identify him with the abbot Jocelin.
  • 217. Hardy, op. cit. 208.
  • 218. See Chron. of Stephen, &c. (Rolls Ser.), ii, pp. lxxxviii, 503-83. The contrast between this chronicle and the Chron. Manniae is so marked that there can be no connexion. It is unlikely that a lost Furness chronicle could be the basis of the Manx (Oliver, Monumenta, i, xii), to which Munch gives a Melrose origin (op. cit. ed. Goss, i, 34). A letter of March, 1538, refers to 'a book of the decisions of disputes heretofore in Furness,' in the possession of the deputy steward; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 427.
  • 219. Surt. Soc. Publ. xli, 92.
  • 220. West, op. cit. App. xiii; Beck, op. cit. 351. Beck also gives a plate of the abbot's seal.
  • 221. Coucher, 10. In spite of Mr. Atkinson's argument (Introd. xxvii), it seems better to assume that Ewan was appointed abbot by the Savigniacs before the foundation of Furness, or even of Tulketh.
  • 222. Coucher, 9; Oliver, op. cit. ii, 4.
  • 223. Coucher, 9; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. vi, 420-22.
  • 224. See p. 115.
  • 225. Coucher, 591; Lanes. Pipe Rolls, 308.
  • 226. Coucher, 9, 539.
  • 227. Coucher, 613; Anct. D., L. 374.
  • 228. Atkinson, Introd. xxxix.
  • 229. Anct. D., L. 449.
  • 230. Coucher, 9, 666.
  • 231. Coucher, 647; perhaps 'R. Abbas' of the deed in Lancs. Pipe Rolls, 339 (c. 1198). Chron. Manniae, s. a. 1189, has the wrong entry, 'Obiit Rodulfus, Abbas de Furness in Mellefonte.'
  • 232. The dates of previous abbots make it almost certain that it was Nicholas who was consecrated in 1211; Chron. de Mailros, 111. He was elected about 1217 to the see of Man (Chron. de Melsa, i, 380; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. vi, 328), which he resigned about 1224 (Cal. of Pap. Letters, i, 97). Some confusion has arisen from the fact that his predecessor as bishop seems also to have been called Nicholas; Chron. Manniae, which dates his episcopate 1203-17); Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. u. s.; cf. Anct..D., L. S. 111).
  • 233. Coucher, 254. 'G. abbas,' ibid. 246, is probably ah error.
  • 234. Anct. D., L. 451; Cont. Will. Newb. ii, 552.
  • 235. Coucher, 5, 381. Apparently it was Hugh who had been scholaris et discipulus of the archbishop of York; see Robert de Graystanes, Hist. (Surt. Soc.), ix, 62.
  • 236. Pat. 17 Edw. I, m. 13; Coucher, 450, 474; Coucher B. fol. 117b.
  • 237. Coucher, 478; Beck. op. cit. 245. In the De Banco Rolls he appears 32-4 Edw. I; R. 151, m. 97 d.; 159, m. 188.
  • 238. He professed obedience to the archbishop of York on 18 November, 1303; Beck, op. cit. 245. See also De Banc. R. 155, m. 133 d.; 348, m. 427 (20 Edw. III); Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iv, 392.
  • 239. Beck, op. cit. 267, 274.
  • 240. Beck, op. cit. 274.
  • 241. Coucher, 14, 351.
  • 242. Beck, 95; Coucher, 226. A brief-roll of 18 March, 1417, refers to the late Abbot William; it is addressed by Robert; Surt. Soc. xxxi, 102. In Anct. D., L. 396, is a document dated 1410 in which a Robert, abbot, appears. The Coucher stops with Dalton's reign.
  • 243. See last note, and Beck, op. cit. 289; Anct. D., L.S. 116; Pal. Lancs. Plea R. 3, m. 1.
  • 244. Given in the older lists, upon authority not traced by Beck or Atkinson; cf. Introd. p. liii.
  • 245. Beck, op. cit. 296; Anct. D., L. S. 128.
  • 246. Beck, op. cit. 296; Coucher, 13.
  • 247. Beck, op. cit. 299; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. x, App. iv, 228; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xxi, a, 26 d.
  • 248. Beck, op. cit. 300; Lancs. Plead, i, 68, 98; West, op. cit. 154.
  • 249. Lancs. Plead. i, 98; L. and P. Hen. VIII, ii (2), p. 1529; Beck, op. cit. 311.
  • 250. L. and P. Hen. VIII, v, 657. The last three abbots had disputes about tithe; and John, though he got papal support, did not maintain his hold. An inventory of the goods of Roger Pele, 'late parson of Dalton,' was made 24 May, 1541; Richmondshire Wills (Surt. Soc.), 21.