Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Nocton Park

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

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, 'Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Nocton Park', in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906) pp. 168-170. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Nocton Park", in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906) 168-170. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Nocton Park", A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906). 168-170. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

In this section


The priory of Nocton Park was founded by Robert Darcy in honour of St. Mary Magdalene, probably during the reign of Stephen, (fn. 1) and the patronage of the house remained for a long time in the family of the founder. Like many mediaeval patrons of monasteries, the Darcys were tenacious of their rights, and careful to keep the monks in mind of the exact limits of the original benefaction. In 1200 Thomas Darcy com plained that the bishop had admitted a prior without his consent. (fn. 2) In 1297 Philip Darcy protested against a similar case. (fn. 3) In 1202 the prior had a dispute with Thomas Darcy as to the exact measure of the common pasture which had been granted to the canons. Thomas procured a royal writ, and had it measured afresh, but the prior declared that this was unfair, as he had been disseised of 1,500 acres since the first endowment of his house; he appealed to the king to have the foundation charter confirmed. (fn. 4) Thomas is nevertheless said to have been a benefactor of the priory; perhaps it was after this dispute was settled. (fn. 5) In 1243 Norman Darcy again brought up the question of the common pasture, and for a time deprived the prior of it, but he finally gave it back, with pasture for sheep in addition and the right of way between Nocton and Brothermilne. (fn. 6) In 1315 another prior had to complain of trespasses committed by the Darcys, and received protection for a year from the king. (fn. 7)

The last prior, Thomas Hornell, (fn. 8) had to give up his house before Michaelmas, 1536; he received a pension of ten marks, and his four canons, after payment of their arrears of allowance, 20s. apiece. (fn. 9)

Little is known of the interior history of the house, as only one visitation report is preserved. In 1440 there were four canons beside the prior, as well as a canon of Thornton, whose presence in the priory was not at all to its advantage. Not much was said as to the order of the house, which seems to have been fairly good, though the prior's servants were insolent in their behaviour to the canons, and the bailiff in particular was said to be non utilis monasterio. It was complained, however, that the canon of Thornton had no business in the house, and brought scandal upon it, being suspected of unlawful connexion with a woman of Bardney. The bishop examined both him and the prior with care. It seems that he had been allowed by his abbot to come to Nocton (though no licence had been granted by the bishop for his transference), and had made obedience to the prior there. Afterwards, being guilty of some fault, he was summoned before the general chapter of the order, and condemned to banishment to a cell of St. Osyth's Abbey. Thence he had returned to Nocton Park without asking anyone's leave, and the prior had not been able to get rid of him since. The bishop ordered him to be dismissed. (fn. 10)

In 1518 the prior of Nocton Park was made one of the visitors for the order in the archdeaconries of Stowe, Lincoln, and Leicester, (fn. 11) at least an indirect testimony in favour of his house. Two poor boys were being educated in the monastery at the time of dissolution. They received 3s. apiece when the canons were sent out. (fn. 12)

The original endowment of the priory consisted of the demesne lands, with the churches of Cawkwell, Nocton, and Dunston, with mills and lands of smaller value. (fn. 13) The manors of Osbournby and Water Willoughby were granted in 1479 by Thomas Wymbish and John Ayleston. (fn. 14) The temporalities of the priory were taxed in 1291 at £46 17s. 2d. (fn. 15) In 1303 the prior held one third and one tenth of a knight's fee in Nocton, one third in Metheringham, and smaller fractions in Ingleby, Potterhanworth, and Dunston; (fn. 16) the same in 1346. (fn. 17) In 1534 the clear revenue of the house was £43 3s. 8d. (fn. 18) The . Ministers' Accounts give a total of £60 6s. 0½d., including the rectories of Nocton and Dunston. (fn. 19)

Priors of Nocton Park

Ivo de Scarla, (fn. 20) elected 1231

Thomas of London, (fn. 21) elected 1241, occurs 1243

Philip de Gunesse, (fn. 22) resigned 1258

Thomas of Navenby, (fn. 23) elected 1258, resigned 1267

Peter of Thurlby, (fn. 24) elected 1267, deposed 1276

Richard of Sarewell, (fn. 25) elected 1276

Hugh of Grimsby, (fn. 26) resigned 1293

John of Geveleston, (fn. 27) elected 1293, resigned 1297

Thomas of Louth, (fn. 28) elected 1297, resigned 1301

John of Hough, (fn. 29) elected 1301, resigned 1303

William Grimsby, (fn. 30) elected 1303, resigned 1319

Thomas of Louth, (fn. 31) elected 1319, resigned 1323

Walter of Navenby, (fn. 32) elected 1323, resigned 1349

Hugh of Dunston, (fn. 33) elected and died 1349

William of Mere, (fn. 34) elected 1349

Robert Frisby, (fn. 35) resigned 1400

Benedict of Lincoln, (fn. 36) elected 1400

John Stamford, (fn. 37) elected 1415

John Shelford, (fn. 38) occurs 1440

Robert Hanworth, (fn. 39) occurs 1522

Richard, (fn. 40) occurs 1529

Thomas Hornell, (fn. 41) last prior, elected 1532

There is a fifteenth-century pointed oval seal (fn. 42) representing the prior kneeling to the right before St. Mary Magdalene, crowned, in a garden.



  • 1. Robert is said to have been the son of Norman Darcy, the Domesday tenant of Nocton (Dugdale, Baronage, i, 369). He occurs as benefactor of Kirkstead and other monasteries during the reign of Stephen.
  • 2. Abbrev. Placit. (Rec. Com.), 26.
  • 3. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Sutton 22.
  • 4. Abbrev, Placit. (Rec. Com.), 40.
  • 5. Dugdale, Mon, vi, 341.
  • 6. Boyd and Massingberd, Abstracts of Final Concords, 344.
  • 7. Pat. 8 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 29 d.; ibid. 2 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 30.
  • 8. He signed the acknowledgement of supremacy in 1534 with three others (L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 1024 [32]).
  • 9. Mins. Accts. (27-28 Hen. VIII), No. 166.
  • 10. Visitations of Alnwick (Alnwick Tower), 78-79.
  • 11. Cott. MS. Vesp. D. I. fol. 66 d.
  • 12. Mins. Accts. 27 and 28 Hen. VIII, No, 166.
  • 13. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 341. The churches of Nocton and Dunston were claimed by the abbot of St. Mary's, York (to which the Darcys were also benefactors), in the reign of John, but secured by the prior. (Abbrev. Placit. [Rec. Com.], 94).
  • 14. Pat. 14 Edw. IV, m. 16.
  • 15. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 69.
  • 16. Feud. Aids, iii, 136, 141, 142, 144, 156.
  • 17. Ibid. 199, 200, 207.
  • 18. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 123.
  • 19. Mins. Accts. 27-28 Hen. VIII, No. 91.
  • 20. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Wells. 'R.' occurs in a charter of the twelfth century (Harl. Ch. 44, H 33).
  • 21. Ibid. Rolls of Grosteste; Boyd and Massingberd, Abstracts of Final Concords, 344.
  • 22. Ibid. Rolls of Gravesend.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Ibid.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Ibid. Inst. Sutton, 9. He went to the Friars Minor.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Sutton, 22.
  • 29. Ibid. Inst. Dalderby, 5.
  • 30. Ibid. 7 d.
  • 31. Ibid. 359.
  • 32. Ibid. Inst. Burghersh, 10.
  • 33. Ibid. Inst. Gynwell, 81. His institution and Walter's resignation are on the same page as the institution of William of Mere. The cause is probably the great pestilence.
  • 34. Ibid.
  • 35. Ibid. Inst. Beaufort, 23.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Ibid. Inst. Repingdon, 78 d.
  • 38. Visitations of Alnwick, 78. He may be the same as John Stamford; the name is not very clear.
  • 39. Linc. N. and Q. v, 36.
  • 40. L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv (3), 2698.
  • 41. Ibid. vii, 1024 (32). Linc. Epis. Reg. on resignation of Richard Stoke alias Hanworth.
  • 42. B. M. Seals, lxvii, 23.