Houses of Premonstratensian canons: The abbey of Newbo

Pages 207-209

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 abbey of Newbo, between Barrowby and Sedgebrook, was founded by Richard de Malebisse (fn. 1) about 1198 in honour of the Assumption of Blessed Mary. (fn. 2)

In 1227 the abbot was involved in a suit with the prior of Thurgarton, Notts, as to the advowson of the church of Allington. Both parties produced charters granted by Henry Bisset, and both of these were declared genuine. It was not clear, however, which had been made first; so the abbot and prior thought it best to place themselves upon the assize, when the jurors gave their verdict that the prior's charter was of earlier date. (fn. 3) In 1307 the abbot had another suit in the court of King's Bench as to the advowson of Kneeton, Notts. He had certainly made the last presentation; but Joan of Kneeton said that the advowson was appendant to the manor, and both had belonged to her and her husband jointly. At the time of the last presentation her husband might have protested, but did not; and she was then under age and in his power, and could not. The case, however, was given for the abbot. (fn. 4)

In 1310 the abbots of Langton and Sulby, in obedience to a mandate from Prémontré, called upon the abbot of Newbo to summon a general chapter of the English abbots at Lincoln. (fn. 5) He accordingly did his part by sending a citation to the abbots of Welbeck, Dale, Beauchief, and those of Lincolnshire, warning them that they would be required to pay arrears due to the mother-house; (fn. 6) but the king's writ of prohibition stopped the levying of contributions at this time, and led soon after to the appeal made against Prémontré at the Holy See. (fn. 7)

In 1336 a general chapter was held in the abbey of Newbo. (fn. 8)

In 1401 the monastery was almost depopulated by the results of pestilence and poverty. A licence had to be granted to the abbot in this year to admit twelve canons regular of the order, priests or in minor orders, who should be willing to transfer themselves to Newbo for their lifetime, or until more novices should come to the house. (fn. 9) There was evidently some difficulty in finding enough to fill up the vacant places; for about the same time a further licence was granted to the abbot to dispense twelve secular persons from any kind of defect of birth, and to promote them to holy orders; they might hold benefices or any ecclesiastical dignities. (fn. 10) The indulgence of the Portiuncula was granted at the same time to penitents visiting the conventual church and contributing to its repair. (fn. 11) No doubt some time passed before the abbey recovered its numbers and prosperity; but by the end of the century all seems to have been fairly well.

Bishop Redman visited this house from 1475 to 1503. In 1482 he found it heavily in debt, and ordered a full statement of accounts to be made to the abbot of Tupholme, who with the abbot of Croxton was to be consulted in all matters of business until the next visitation. The canons were enjoined to give themselves to study, when the weather prevented outdoor work. All hunting-dogs were to be expelled from the abbey, on pain of excommunication. (fn. 12)

In 1491 the debt was much reduced, and all was well within the monastery. (fn. 13) In 1494 the abbot met Bishop Redman at Croxton, and was there enjoined not to allow any drinking after compline; canons absenting themselves from mattins were to fast the next day on bread and water. (fn. 14)

In 1497 the visitor prohibited all games played for money; the canons were forbidden to eat in secular houses; recreation twice a week, and on Sundays and festivals besides, was recommended, but left to the discretion of the superior. (fn. 15)

In 1500 the abbot's administration was praised, but a canon was severely punished for leaving the monastery when leave had been refused him, although he returned the same night. He was condemned to fifty days' severe penance and three years' banishment. Another was sharply rebuked for wearing slippers. (fn. 16) The numbers varied during this period from eight to twelve.

The abbey was dissolved before Michaelmas, 1536. The abbot received a pension of £12, the six canons had 20s. each, and a novice 6s. 8d. (fn. 17)

The original endowment of the abbey included the vill of Newbo, the church of Acaster, and one-third of that of Kneeton, Notts. (fn. 18) The church of Allington was claimed by the abbot at the beginning of the thirteenth century of the gift of Henry Bisset; but he had to quitclaim it to the prior of Thurgarton. (fn. 19) The advowson of Northorpe was granted in 1379 by John de Warrop, canon of Lincoln. (fn. 20)

The temporalities of the abbot in 1291 were assessed at £13 15s. 2d.; (fn. 21) in 1303 he held twoeighths of a knight's fee in Gonerby and a small fraction besides; (fn. 22) in 1346 the same with half a fee in Allington; (fn. 23) in 1428 half a fee in Casthorpe. (fn. 24)

In 1534 the clear revenue of the house was £71 8s. 11d., including the rectories of Acaster Malbis (Yorks.), Kneeton (Notts.), and Northorpe (Linc.). (fn. 25) The Ministers' Accounts amounted to £129 10s. 3d. (fn. 26)

Abbots of Newbo

Ralf, (fn. 27) occurs 1227

Matthew, (fn. 28) occurs 1242

William, (fn. 29) elected 1276, occurs 1310

Ralf, (fn. 30) occurs 1401

Simon of Mumby, (fn. 31) elected 1406

John, (fn. 32) elected 1412

William Gresley, (fn. 33) occurs 1433

William Bottesford, (fn. 34) elected 1436

Peter York, (fn. 35) occurs 1475 to 1478

John Mownckton, (fn. 36) occurs 1482 to 1491

John Colby, (fn. 37) occurs 1494 to 1500

William Broil, (fn. 38) occurs 1522

Richard Carre, (fn. 39) last abbot, occurs 1529


  • 1. One of the justices itinerant of Yorkshire; he was a leader in the attack upon the Jews of York, 1190, and died 1209 (Dict. Nat. Biog.).
  • 2. Sloane MS. 4935, fol. 48.
  • 3. Bracton's Note Book, case 1831.
  • 4. Plac. de Banco (1 Edw. II), No. 171, m. 82 d.
  • 5. Gasquet, Coll. Anglo-Premonstratensia, i, 6.
  • 6. Ibid. 8.
  • 7. Ibid. 9 et seq.
  • 8. Ibid. 230-2.
  • 9. Cal. of Pap. Letters, v, 429.
  • 10. Ibid. 383.
  • 11. Ibid. 384.
  • 12. Ashmole MS. 1519, fol. 29, 39, 45, 113. Between this visitation and the next one of the canons went out of his mind, and the abbot was ordered by the general chapter of that year 'to put him in prison or keep him in safe custody.' Gasquet, Coll. Anglo-Premonstratensia, i, 153.
  • 13. Ashmole MS. 1519, fol. 95.
  • 14. Ibid. 119-26.
  • 15. Ibid. 136. As to the money, it must be remembered that every canon lawfully possessed 20s. a year for clothing, and those who held benefices might have other small sums besides.
  • 16. Ibid. 154. It will be noticed here, as in other Premonstratensian houses, how severe were the penalties for all infractions of rule.
  • 17. Mins. Accts. 27 and 28 Hen. VIII, No. 166.
  • 18. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 887.
  • 19. Bracton's Note Book, case 1831.
  • 20. Pat. 3 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 10.
  • 21. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 70.
  • 22. Feud. Aids, iii, 144, 147.
  • 23. Ibid. 200, 202, 206.
  • 24. Ibid. 336.
  • 25. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 111.
  • 26. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 887.
  • 27. Bracton's Note Book, case 1831.
  • 28. Harl. Chart. 44 A, 9.
  • 29. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Gravesend, Sloane MS. 4934, fol. 27.
  • 30. Cal. of Pap. Letters, v, 383.
  • 31. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Repingdon, 22.
  • 32. Ibid. 67 d.
  • 33. Addy's Beauchief, 22.
  • 34. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Alnwick, 29, 31.
  • 35. Ashmole MS. 1519, fol. 5-21.
  • 36. Ibid. 29 d. 95.
  • 37. Ibid. 119-54.
  • 38. Linc. N. and Q. v, 36.
  • 39. L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv (3), 2698.