Colleges: Spilsby

Page 236

A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section



The college of Spilsby was founded in 1347 by John Willoughby Lord de Eresby, in connexion with a church which he had built close by the original chapel of Spilsby. It was his purpose to endow it for the purpose of supporting a master and twelve chaplains, to sing for ever for the souls of the founder, his ancestors, and successors. The master was to have full powers of correction, and statutes were to be drawn up for the use of the chaplains; and the churches of Eresby, Over Toynton, and Kirkby were to be appropriated to the college, that it might have an income of 80 marks. (fn. 1)

The scheme was approved by the pope in 1347, and by the king in 1349, (fn. 2) but the founder died before it was fully carried out. His son, John, in 1351 obtained a fresh licence from the king to complete his father's work, (fn. 3) but it seems doubtful whether the college was ever served by twelve chaplains. (fn. 4) The master in 1378 was presented by eight chaplains, (fn. 5) the one in 1422 by five, (fn. 6) and the one in 1443 by two only. (fn. 7) Sir William Willoughby, who died in 1503, left £200 to the fabric of the church, and £6 a year for a chaplain to sing for his soul there; (fn. 8) it seems probable that before his time the revenues of the college were much diminished, and the original foundation no longer observed as at first, for in 1547 he was reckoned as the founder. From his death till the suppression of chantries and colleges there was a master at Spilsby, assisted by three chaplains. (fn. 9)

At the outbreak of the Lincoln rebellion one of the insurgent leaders came to Spilsby and rang the bells, and sware the master and all whom he found there 'to be true to God, the king, and the commons.' (fn. 10) They were not, however, brought to trial.

The clear value of the lands belonging to the college in 1547 (when the advowson had been granted to Katharine, duchess of Suffolk) was £40 19s. 11d. (fn. 11)

Masters of Spilsby College

William of Scrafield, (fn. 12) resigned 1378

John Atte Howse of Hagworthingham, (fn. 13) presented 1378

William Hardegray, (fn. 14) resigned 1414

John of Scotton, (fn. 15) presented 1414, died 1422

William Styrope, (fn. 16) presented 1422

John Garard, (fn. 17) resigned 1443

John Forman, (fn. 18) presented 1443

Richard Shaw, (fn. 19) died 1532

Thomas Maltby, (fn. 20) presented 1532, occurs 1547


  • 1. Cal. of Pap. Pet. i, 126. The church of Eresby, to which the chapel of Spilsby was appendant, is not named in the Papal Petition, but it appears in the Patent Roll, and was finally appropriated in 1384. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Bokyngham, 284. The dedication of the chapel was to St. James (Ibid. Memo. Beaufort, 36), but the college was dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
  • 2. Pat. 22 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 40.
  • 3. Ibid. 24 Edw. III.
  • 4. It was stated in 1377 that the scheme had not yet taken effect, as the churches were not yet appropriated. Ibid. I Ric. II, pt. i, m. 4.
  • 5. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Bokyngham, 93 d.
  • 6. Ibid. Memo. Flemyng, 16.
  • 7. Ibid. Memo. Alnwick, 91.
  • 8. Dugdale, Baronage, ii, 87.
  • 9. Duchy of Lancs. Cert. of Coll. No. 2.
  • 10. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xi, 967 (ii).
  • 11. Duchy of Lanes. Cert. of Coll. No. 2.
  • 12. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Bokyngham, 93 d.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Ibid. Inst. Repingdon, 71.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Ibid. Inst. Flemyng, 16.
  • 17. Ibid. Inst. Alnwick, 91.
  • 18. Ibid.
  • 19. Ibid. Inst. Longlands, 34.
  • 20. Ibid, and Duchy of Lanes. Cert. of Coll. No. 2.