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.
48. THE PRIORY OF SIXHILLS
The Gilbertine priory of St. Mary at Sixhills was founded as a double house between 1148 and 1154, by one of the de Greslei family, possibly Robert, the founder of Swineshead Abbey, or his son. (fn. 1) William son of Haco of Saleby and Thomas his son gave all their land in Sixhills and the church of the vill, and the sixth part of the church of Nettleton. Thomas son of William gave the churches of Saleby and East Rasen. Jocelin, brother of the queen, with the assent of King John, and of Agnes de Percy his wife, gave the manor of Ludford for £100. Robert son of Robert [Twenge] gave the manor of Legsby. (fn. 2) Doubtless in view of the considerable possessions of the house, the numbers were limited by St. Gilbert to 120 nuns and lay sisters, and 55 canons and lay brothers. (fn. 3)
Before 1205 the prior and convent held the manor of Ludford on the condition of a yearly rent of 10 marks to be paid to the proctor of the prior and canons of St. Lo at Boston Fair. (fn. 4) The prior and convent possessed before 1235 the rectories of Sixhills, Market Rasen, North Willingham, Tealby, Saleby, East Wykeham, Cadeby, and a moiety of West Wykeham. (fn. 5) In 1252 they obtained the right of free warren in their demesne lands in the manors of Sixhills, Legsby, Barkworth, Wykeham, Kirmond, Binbrook, Tealby, Willingham, Nettleton, Kingthorpe, and Blesby. (fn. 6) Henry III also granted them at the same time a weekly market in their manor of Ludford and a yearly fair on the vigil and feast of St. Peter ad Vincula. (fn. 7) In 1254 the spiritualities of the house were assessed at £66 8s. 8d., the temporalities at £100 11s. 8d. (fn. 8) Within the next forty years their acquisitions of land included the manor of Toft, (fn. 9) and added as much as £75 to their endowment. (fn. 10) Robert Burnell, bishop of Bath and Wells, gave this manor of Toft near West Rasen with the advowson of the church. (fn. 11) The wool trade was exceedingly profitable, and at the beginning of the fourteenth century the average sale was 18 sacks a year. (fn. 12)
In 1303 the prior held a knight's fee in Willingham, and one-twelfth of another, one-third of a fee in Tealby, a quarter in Grimblethorpe, onefifth in Kirmond, one-sixth in Herdwick and Wykeham, one-eighth in Hainton, one-tenth in Nettleton, one-twelfth in Binbrook, one-twentieth in Helpringham, one-twentieth in Burgh and Girsby, one-fortieth in Covenham, one-fortyeighth in Lissington, one-fifty-first in Walesby. In 1402 he also held a knight's fee in Toft Newton. (fn. 13)
Among the nuns from 1283 to 1336 was Gladys, daughter of David, prince of Wales. (fn. 14) After her father's execution Edward I sent the little girl to be veiled in a Gilbertine convent, afterwards making an allowance of £20 a year for her maintenance. (fn. 15) Robert Manning of Bourne was living at Sixhills in 1338, when he wrote The Story of England. (fn. 16)
In the middle of the fifteenth century the number of inmates had greatly diminished, and the house was very poor. In 1462 it was alleged that all the lands and possessions of the priory for the maintenance of twenty-eight persons did not exceed £40 a year. (fn. 17) Shortly before the dissolution the convent suffered from an epidemic sickness. (fn. 18)
In 1535 the net yearly value of the whole property amounted to £135 0s. 9d. (fn. 21) The demesne lands at Sixhills were worth £26 13s. 4d.
In the hands of the crown bailiff four years later, the property, unencumbered by a number of small charges previously upon it, brought in £168 1s. 3½d. (fn. 22) It included rents in Kirmond, Hainton, Howton, Ludford, Toft Newton, Nettleton, Legsby and Tealby, several mills and the rectories of East Rasen, Tealby, North Willingham, Sixhills, Ludford, Cadeby, East Wykeham, Sawlby and Legsby.
Priors of Sixhills
Simon, occurs 1292 (fn. 27)
John de Henton, 1302-3 (fn. 28)
Richard Wakefield, occurs 1462 (fn. 29)
William Saleby, occurs 1472 (fn. 30)
James Wales, occurs 1522 and 1538 (fn. 31)
Prioress of Sixhills
Joan Manby, occurs 1538 (fn. 32)
A seal attached to a charter dated 1245 (fn. 33) is in shape a pointed oval, and represents the Virgin with a crown, seated, the Child on the left knee, on the left three kneeling ecclesiastics, and in the field an estoile and three roundels. The legend is—
SIGILL' CAPI . . . . . ATE . . . . . SIXELE.