A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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9. THE PRIORY OF BRADLEY
Neither the date nor the circumstances of the foundation of Bradley Priory are known. According to Leland, it was founded by Robert Bundy. (fn. 1) The priory is first mentioned in 1233-4, when Robert de Burnebi was the patron, (fn. 2) and it is possible that he may have been the founder. The priory is not referred to in the Matriculus of the Archdeaconry of Leicester (c. 1220), (fn. 3) so that the priory was probably founded between 1220 and 1234. The original endowment has not been recorded, though in 1317 it was stated that a windmill at Holt had belonged to Bradley Priory since its foundation. (fn. 4) In 1385 Lord Scrope of Bolton, with Thomas Shepesheved, a former rector of Allexton, granted to the priory the manor of Blaston, (fn. 5) and in 1392 Scrope obtained licence to grant some further small items of property to Bradley. (fn. 6) Leland describes Scrope as the fundator modernus of Bradley, (fn. 7) and he seems to have been its principal benefactor. In 1503 John Penny, Abbot of Leicester and from 1505 Bishop of Bangor also, became Prior of Bradley, but after Penny's translation to the see of Carlisle, Lord Scrope, as patron, presented a canon of Bradley, who was admitted as prior at the beginning of 1509. (fn. 8) In 1535 the priory's possessions consisted of land in the villages of Blaston, Slawston, Holt, and Holyoak, all adjacent to Bradley. The net yearly income of the house was only just over £20. (fn. 9) In 1535 it was reported that there were only two canons at Bradley; both were of virtuous conversation, and desired to continue in religion. The house had five servants, and a child was supported in the almonry. The buildings of the priory were in good repair. (fn. 10) Very shortly afterwards the priory was dissolved. The prior was granted a pension of £4 yearly. (fn. 11)
Bradley was probably at all times a very small monastery. There seems to be no doubt that it was a house of Augustinian canons of the normal type. In 1535 the prior stated that he and his companions were 'white canons of St. Augustine', (fn. 12) but canons of well-known Augustinian houses became priors of Bradley, (fn. 13) and one Prior of Bradley became abbot of the Augustinian abbey of Owston. (fn. 14) The colour of the habits worn by Augustinian canons seems to have varied. (fn. 15) The First Minister's Account shows a net revenue of £9. 14s. 5½d. (fn. 16)
Priors of Bradley
Robert, elected 1233-4. (fn. 17)
Henry, appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln, 1263. (fn. 18)
Walter of Drayton, confirmed 1290, resigned 1295. (fn. 19)
John of Kirkby, confirmed 1295. (fn. 20)
Walter of Drayton, elected 1300, (fn. 21) deprived 1302. (fn. 22)
John of Quorndon, elected 1302, (fn. 23) occurs 1309. (fn. 24)
Richard of Brownknave, (fn. 25) elected 1381, (fn. 26)
Richard Chanon, (fn. 25) occurs 1389. (fn. 27)
Richard Stokes, (fn. 25) resigned 1393. (fn. 28)
William Wenge, elected 1393, (fn. 29) died 1415. (fn. 30)
John Coventry, elected 1415. (fn. 31)
Henry Medburn, resigned 1481. (fn. 32)
Thomas Leicester, died 1493. (fn. 33)
Thomas Horninghold, elected 1493, (fn. 34) resigned 1503. (fn. 35)
John Penny, Abbot of Leicester, admitted 1503, resigned 1508. (fn. 36)
John Oundle, confirmed 1509, (fn. 37) last prior. (fn. 38)
No seal is known.