Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Newstead by Stamford

Pages 176-177

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

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The priory of Newstead was originally founded, like that of Elsham, as a hospital. The founder was William d'Albini (third of that name); and the house was built near the end of the twelfth century, in honour of Blessed Mary, 'at the bridge of Wass between Uffington and Stamford,' (fn. 1) and was sometimes called the hospital of Uffington. (fn. 2) It was intended to maintain seven poor and infirm persons of good character, under the charge of a master 'of honest and approved religion,' who was to be assisted by another priest with a deacon and a clerk. (fn. 3) The founder a little later increased the revenues to endow thirteen beds in the hospital. (fn. 4) His son, however, seems to have consented to a change in the purpose of the endowment, for he confirmed all the property of the hospital to a prior and canons before 1247. (fn. 5)

There may have been as many as six canons at the first, (fn. 6) but as the value of the endowment decreased the number diminished. Small and insignificant as this house was, however, two of the general chapters of the order were held here during the fourteenth century, in 1340 and in 1362. (fn. 7) In 1440, when Bishop Alnwick visited the priory, there were only three besides the prior, and of these one was too ill to appear, and one was living at Ulvescroft Priory. The prior complained that the house was 20 marks in debt, and almost in ruins, through the improvidence of his predecessor. One canon said they did not rise to mattins because they were so few. The bishop gave general injunctions as to the keeping of the rule; the canon at Ulvescroft must return at once, and the canonical hours must all be recited, even though they could not be sung. (fn. 8)

Shortly before the dissolution a tenant of the priory was sued for not paying a certain rent to the prior; he defended himself on the ground that it was a bequest originally made that the canons might sing for the soul of Walter Huntingfield, but now they were so few that they could not afford to set apart a priest for this purpose for many years. Moreover they had made an agreement that the requiem should be sung sometimes at Badington and sometimes in the monastery, which was contrary to the conditions of the grant. (fn. 9) The state of things here described was probably true, by no fault of the canons, but only because of their poverty. Bishop Longlands, on the occasion of the election of the last prior, wrote compassionately to Cromwell of the poverty of the house, as if he had no other quarrel with it, and spoke of John Blakyth as a 'right honest sober man.' (fn. 10) There were at the dissolution only two canons and a novice besides the prior (fn. 11); he received a pension of £15, (fn. 12) and the others were paid off in the usual way.

The priory was endowed with several parcels of land in the neighbourhood, with tithes from the bread, fish, and flesh prepared for the household of William d'Albini, and with pasture for 100 sheep and a few cattle. (fn. 13) In 1301 Isabella de Roos granted to the prior and convent the advowson of Stoke Albany, Northants, (fn. 14) and in 1308 William Roos granted a moiety of that of Grayingham. (fn. 15) In 1321 they had also the advowson of Little Casterton, Rutland. (fn. 16) In 1291 the temporalities of the priory amounted to £42 19s. 5d. (fn. 17) In 1303 the prior held a small fraction of a knight's fee in Uffington, Tailington, and Casewick (fn. 18); in 1346 he had a quarter of a fee in the same places. (fn. 19) In 1534 the clear revenue of the priory was £37 6s. (fn. 20); the canons had no longer any churches. The Ministers' Accounts amount to £43 8s. 1d. (fn. 21) The bells, lead, &c., of the monastery were only worth £12 18s. (fn. 22)

Priors of Newstead

Adam of Herefeld, (fn. 23) presented 1226

Walter, (fn. 24) presented 1232

Walter de Crek, (fn. 25) elected 1247

Hamo de Gretford, (fn. 26) elected 1262

Simon, (fn. 27) occurs 1279

Thomas of Deeping, (fn. 28) resigned 1293

Robert of Stamford, (fn. 29) elected 1293, resigned 1308

Henry of Overton, (fn. 30) elected 1308

— Sutton, (fn. 31)

William Lilleford, (fn. 32) occurs 1440

Stephen Sherp, (fn. 33) occurs 1522

Thomas Hallam, (fn. 34) occurs 1534

Richard Lynne, (fn. 35) occurs 1534

John Blaky, (fn. 36) the last prior, occurs 1536


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 562; Chart. I.
  • 2. In the episcopal registers of Hugh of Wells.
  • 3. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 562; Chart. I.
  • 4. Ibid. Chart. II.
  • 5. Ibid. Chart. III. The earliest mention of a prior is 1247. The earlier appointments are masters, in 1226 and 1232.
  • 6. If the entry in Pat. 7 Edw. I, m. 5 d., charging Simon, prior of Newstead, and six canons with an assault and murder, refers to this house and not to the Gilbertine priory of Newstead.
  • 7. Cott. MS. Vesp. D. i, 47, 55.
  • 8. Visitations of Alnwick (Alnwick Tower), 82.
  • 9. Star Chamber Proc. (Hen. VIII), bdle. 33, No. 49.
  • 10. Wright, Suppression of Monasteries, 94.
  • 11. Mins. Accts. 27-28 Hen. VIII, No. 166.
  • 12. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 576.
  • 13. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 562.
  • 14. Pat. 29 Edw. I, m. 28.
  • 15. Ibid. 33 Edw. I, pt. i, m. 15.
  • 16. Ibid. 15 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 26.
  • 17. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 54, 69b.
  • 18. Feud. Aids, iii, 166.
  • 19. Ibid. 210.
  • 20. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 109.
  • 21. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 562.
  • 22. Mins. Accts. 27-28 Hen. VIII, No. 166.
  • 23. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Wells.
  • 24. Ibid. These two are presented as masters to the hospital of Uffington.
  • 25. Ibid. Rolls of Grosteste. This is the first prior who occurs.
  • 26. Ibid. Rolls of Gravesend.
  • 27. Pat. 7 Edw. I, m. 5 d. This may be the Gilbertine Newstead. It is the only entry where the words 'by Stamford' do not occur to prove the identity.
  • 28. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Sutton, 9.
  • 29. Ibid.
  • 30. Ibid. Inst. Dalderby, 22.
  • 31. Visitations of Alnwick (Alnwick Tower), fol. 82. William Lilleford calls him his predecessor.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Linc. N. and Q. v, 36.
  • 34. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 1024 (20).
  • 35. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 109.
  • 36. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1) 576.