Houses of Benedictine monks: The abbey of Bardney

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

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, 'Houses of Benedictine monks: The abbey of Bardney', in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906) pp. 97-104. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Houses of Benedictine monks: The abbey of Bardney", in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906) 97-104. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Houses of Benedictine monks: The abbey of Bardney", A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906). 97-104. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

In this section


The abbey of Bardney was the most ancient of those monasteries of Lincolnshire which survived the Danish invasions, being founded in all probability about twenty years before Crowland, and certainly not later than 697. (fn. 1) The traditional founders of Bardney were King Ethelred of Mercia and his Northumbrian queen Osthryd; Bede, however, only says that they 'greatly loved, reverenced and adorned ' this house, (fn. 2) so it is just possible that it may have been in existence before their time. The great fame of the abbey certainly dates from the day when. Osthryd brought to its gate the honoured relics of her uncle, St. Oswald, whose noble example and devoted labours had done so much to secure the establishment of Christianity in the north of England. It is characteristic of the age of the Heptarchy that the Mercian monks of Bardney at first refused to admit the body of an alien prince, even though they knew he was a saint; and the legend says that the car remained outside the gates all night. But a shining column of light which rose above it, and was seen, says Bede, by some who were alive in his own day, made the monks ashamed of their prejudices; and the next morning they gave glad admission to the relics, and laid them in a costly shrine, where many signs and wonders were afterwards wrought. (fn. 3)

Queen Osthryd was murdered in 697 by certain Mercian nobles, and a few years later her husband Ethelred, like many other princes of his race, renounced the world and became a monk at Bardney. He was living there as abbot in 704, and was able to show much kindness and hospitality to St. Wilfrid, who came to the monastery in that year as a guest, bearing the papal letters which were meant to reinstate him in his see. (fn. 4)

Ethelred died in 716, (fn. 5) and was numbered with the saints; (fn. 6) and about a hundred and fifty years later the abbey was laid in ruins by the Danes. (fn. 7) It was remembered, however, as a great and noble house, where many men of high rank had lived and died in the service of God; (fn. 8) and when, soon after the Conquest, Gilbert of Ghent, nephew of the Conqueror, came into possession of the abbey lands, he determined to restore them to the church. In the last year of the Conqueror's reign, (fn. 9) and with his leave, a priory was built at Bardney for Benedictine monks, and dedicated as before to St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Oswald; its foundation charter was witnessed by Archbishop Lanfranc, by Remigius bishop of Lincoln, and many barons. (fn. 10) In 1115 Walter of Ghent, son and heir of the founder, raised the priory to the rank of a free abbey, confirmed all his father's gifts, and added others of his own. (fn. 11) The names of Gilbert earl of Lincoln, Simon de Montfort his son-in-law, Robert Marmion, Geoffrey Brito, Philip de Kyme, Henry Bek, and many others well known in the early history of this county, are found amongst the benefactors of the abbey. (fn. 12)

The monks were involved in several lawsuits concerning their churches and other property during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In 1192 the abbot secured the advowson of the chapel of Newton against William de Rochford; (fn. 13) in 1194 the churches of Hale and Heckington were claimed by the brethren of St. Lazarus, (fn. 14) but finally secured to Bardney; in 1199 the church of Spridlington, for a short time lost, was restored. (fn. 15) A long course of litigation towards the end of the reign of Henry III reduced the monks to great straits, and they were not at this time fortunate enough to secure abbots who were likely to help them out of their difficulties. Peter of Barton was indeed deposed by the bishop in 1275; (fn. 16) but he was restored for a while on appeal to the archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 17) In 1278 he and his convent presented a petition to Parliament, stating that their debts had brought them to the verge of ruin and begging permission to forbear for a while their wonted hospitality, and to disperse themselves to other houses, leaving but one brother to manage the estates and pay off the debts. They were referred to Chancery, (fn. 18) but it does not seem that the petition was granted; and in 1280 Peter of Barton resigned of his own accord. (fn. 19) His successor, Robert of Wainfleet, did not improve the condition of the house. His administration of discipline brought him into collision with Bishop Dalderby, (fn. 20) and he was accused also of dilapidation and alienation of monastic property. (fn. 21) Sentence of deprivation was passed upon him in 1303, (fn. 22) and the house was declared vacant by the bishop; and then began a long series of appeals to Rome and to the king, which lasted till 1318. For fifteen years the monastery was almost continuously in the hands of the king, and its revenues administered by seculars, except for a brief space in 1311, (fn. 23) when the temporalities were restored to the abbot. Robert of Wainfieet resigned in 1318; (fn. 24) but the house had little chance of recovering its prosperity during the time of the great pestilence and the wars with France. During the fifteenth century its condition was somewhat improved, and the abbots of Bardney were amongst those summoned to Parliament; but there were debts and difficulties again in 1440, (fn. 25) and the revenue of the house in 1534—£366—seems very little for a house originally so well endowed.

The last abbot, William Marton, signed the petition to the pope to expedite the king's divorce in 1530; (fn. 26) in 1534 he set his name to the acknowledgement of supremacy, with seventeen other monks. (fn. 27) Two years later the brethren of this house were conspicuous amongst those implicated in the Lincolnshire rebellion. A clear account of the part they played was given at the subsequent trial by Thomas Maur, the abbot's chaplain, and several others; and there seems no reason to doubt the main facts of the story which they agreed in telling. William Wright and Thomas Harlow, serving men, who were petty captains of the insurgents, came to the abbey on 4 October, and ordered the abbot to send some of his monks to the host. Four went forth in consequence 'by command of William Wright,' and returned again after the collapse of the insurrection, when the abbot received them 'without contradiction.' (fn. 28) The account is given in a quite simple and straight-forward manner, without prevarication or excuse; yet there does not seem sufficient evidence to account for the fact that as many as six (fn. 29) monks of Bardney were finally condemned to death, while the abbot himself was not brought to trial nor the house attainted. We may indeed guess at the means by which the abbot contrived to make his peace with my Lord Privy Seal; but it is a mere matter of private conjecture. (fn. 30) The six offending monks were condemned on 6 March, 1537, to be drawn, hanged, and quartered; (fn. 31) the house was not surrendered till 1 November, 1538. (fn. 32) At that time an annual pension of £66 13s. 4d. was assigned to the abbot; to ten monks annuities varying from £6 13s. 4d. to £5; to three others smaller amounts. (fn. 33)

The honourable reputation of this monastery in the early days before the Danish invasions has already been noticed. After the rebuilding by Gilbert of Ghent it was subject to the jurisdiction of the bishops of Lincoln, like all Benedictine houses which had not obtained special exemptions, and its visitation reports are unusually numerous and well preserved. It is, however, a real misfortune that its interior history has to be reconstructed almost entirely from such materials as these. If any chronicle of the abbey had been preserved, a much truer impression could be given, for the chronicler would help us to balance the criticisms of the bishops by some account of the happier side of the history of the monastery, and the good works of different abbots. It must be remembered, therefore, that the following account is very onesided, being mainly drawn from reports which show only what was amiss in the house from time to time. Nevertheless it must be frankly owned that there was a good deal that was seriously in need of reform early in the fourteenth and again in the middle of the fifteenth century.

It appears that the abbey of Bardney was one of those which suffered from the arrogant behaviour of Nicholas of Tusculum, (fn. 34) the papal legate, in 1215: a very good abbot, Ralph de Rand, being deposed or compelled to resign in favour of the prior of Lenton, a man of very different character. (fn. 35) The legate's nominee, however, only ruled the house for about a year. In 1243 Abbot Walter of Benningworth was deposed by the bishop (one authority says 'for ignorance'), (fn. 36) and an act of interference on the part of the royal patron of the house at this time called forth one of Grosteste's most characteristic letters. The king's escheator had received orders during the vacancy to provide all necessaries for the deposed abbot and those who favoured him, in greater abundance than for those whose cause had been espoused by the bishop, and Walter was to be allowed free egress and ingress to the church. Grosteste wrote to the king in great surprise at hearing of this mandate. He would not have believed the king capable of reconciling such procedure with his conscience. Whether the ecclesiastical sentence was just or unjust, the whole matter was entirely outside the royal jurisdiction, and the king, though patron of the house, had no business to interfere. (fn. 37) The answer is not recorded: but Abbot Walter had to accept the position, and William of Halton was elected in his place. (fn. 38)

In 1275 Bishop Gravesend deposed another abbot, Peter of Barton, 'for his offences,' as it was stated in a letter to the pope. (fn. 39) But Peter appealed to Archbishop Kilwardby, who decided that the sentence against him was unjust, and had him reinstated for a while. (fn. 40) The archbishop, however, thought it necessary to visit the house, which was in great debt and distress at this time; and amongst other injunctions ordered the banishment of four of the monks for a time to other monasteries. This injunction was apparently the only one which Abbot Peter was willing to carry out, and that rather from personal feeling than zeal for reform; for two years later the new archbishop, John Peckham, had to write and order him to recall these brethren and treat them with charity. (fn. 41) Another letter was written to the penitents urging them to return without delay and to fulfil their obedience, (fn. 42) but this letter was not delivered to them. (fn. 43) It became evident that the fault lay with the abbot, and the archbishop ordered a fresh visitation, (fn. 44) whereupon Peter thought it best to resign. The visitation was made, and injunctions issued under his successor, (fn. 45) Robert of Wainfleet. It was enjoined, in the form common on such occasions, that the rule should be better kept, and the accounts rendered regularly: faults involving severe penance were defined. (fn. 46) The abbot was to be more faithful than his predecessors in attendance at choir, chapter, and refectory, that he might be an example of regularity to the brethren.

Unfortunately Robert of Wainfleet was not the man to restore the prestige of the abbey or to mend its fallen fortunes in any way. In 1303 he was already in difficulties with his bishop, being, like his predecessor Peter, more ready to enforce discipline upon others than to submit to it himself. The abbot of Ramsey wrote to him at this time that he might still hope for reconciliation with the bishop if he would humble himself to ask for it, (fn. 47) but evidently he was unwilling to do so, for he was deposed before the year was out. (fn. 48) From this time until 1318 the monks of Bardney knew very little peace. The abbot appealed to the king, the archbishop, and the pope: he made at least four different journeys to Rome (fn. 49) in the hope of recovering his abbey, and was once, indeed, for a short time actually reinstated. (fn. 50) While he was in possession he was as unsparing as ever to the monks who opposed him, (fn. 51) and while the monastery was in the hands of the king's officials he annoyed and impeded their administration of its revenues as far as he possibly could. (fn. 52) During the short time when the temporalities were restored to him (probably between 1310 and 1312) his dilapidations and waste of the monastic property were worse than ever; it was alleged in 1315 that the losses of the house due to his maladministration amounted to 10,370 marks; and that if something was not done speedily to prevent his doing any further mischief, the utter ruin of the abbey was inevitable. (fn. 53) His last appeal to Rome was made in 1316, but it was evidently a failure, for in 1317 he expressed himself willing to resign on a competent pension. This was granted to him for the sake of peace, (fn. 54) and Robert of Gains borough, a monk of Spalding, was elected abbot in his place. But it may be easily imagined that it was some time before the monastery was reduced to order and peace after such a long season of unrest. (fn. 55)

Two visitation reports of Bishop Bokyngham are preserved, one dated 1383, the other somewhat earlier. (fn. 56) The injunctions are the same as those delivered to many other monasteries, and may be merely a formal reminder of the principal duties of the religious life; at any rate it seems that there was at this time no grave irregularity. The buildings were to be repaired; certain legacies and pensions not properly secured to the house were to be attended to; six boys were to be educated in the monastery; the clothing of the monks was to be free from all superfluous ornament; no hunting dogs were to be kept; better servants were to be engaged for making bread and beer, that the brethren might not be tempted to eat and drink outside the enclosure.

Bishop Gray visited the house before 1435. He ordered the rule and constitution of the order to be read daily in Latin and English; no women were to be admitted within the enclosure except the mothers and sisters of the brethren, and a certain Joan Martyn and her daughter were to be rigorously excluded. He noticed that there had been dissension at the visitation, and ordered its authors to do fitting penance. (fn. 57)

The state of the house in the middle of the fifteenth century was distinctly unsatisfactory. Bishop Alnwick visited it three times; the first time in January, 1437, (fn. 58) when he was received by the abbot and fifteen monks. On this occasion he dealt mainly with the question of finance, as the house was in debt and difficulty. It appears that at some time previous to this the monks of Bardney had received as a privilege of very doubtful value the right to live independently, each on a fixed income, boarding themselves and keeping private servants. The bishop now proposed to them that they should abandon this privilege of their own accord, and return to the use of a common refectory, letting their servants also eat at one common table, to see if expenses could thus be reduced. After deliberation the brethren agreed to try this plan. Of three brethren who had been suspended from voting in chapter and other common rights at the last visitation, one how made his submission, and was restored; the other two, who were still negligent of their duty, were to have only one kind of flesh or fish daily until they showed true penitence.

The visitation was continued 19 March, when it was acknowledged that the finances of the house were already improved by the new arrangement. There were other points, however, which needed attention. The abbot owned that he, the cellarer, and the sub-cellarer, did not attend the choir regularly—they were too much occupied, and when a few of the monks were ill or being bled, that left a very small number to keep up the divine office. The infirmary was much abused. The brethren went there on slight pretext, and sometimes turned it into a regular guest house, entertaining their friends there till late at night, and drinking great quantities of beer. The church and manor-houses were ruinous. The obedientiaries, especially the sacrist and almoner, were unfaithful to their trust, and made money for themselves and their servants (fn. 59) out of the common funds. Women visited the house freely, and ate and drank with the monks, to the great cost and scandal of the monastery. The brethren were dainty over their food, and on days of abstinence would not come to the refectory unless three kinds of fish were provided, disdaining the red herrings and stock fish which were the ordinary fare of mediaeval monks in Lent. There was no scholar at the university, and the house was still seriously in debt, and could not afford a barber or a cobbler. Games of chance were sometimes played at night, which kept some of the brethren from mattins. Only two of them, however, in the midst of this general laxity and neglect of rule, were actually charged with incontinence; though it was suggested by one brother that a woman servant at Southrey, where the monks went to be bled, was a source of danger, and should be dismissed.

There were numerous complaints of brother Thomas Barton, who was sub-cellarer, almoner, and pittancer. He withheld their yearly portions from the brethren, and yet lived at ease in the infirmary, receiving his friends there, and serving them with the best food. Indeed he was said to be the author of all the troubles of the house. He defamed the brethren to strangers, and the late abbot on his death-bed had said to him: 'Thou hast never been faithful in any office. If I had done according to thy mind, I should not this day have left a monk here, young or old.'

The bishop delivered injunctions dealing with all these points, and ordered Thomas Barton to be imprisoned until further notice. (fn. 60) There was another visitation in 1440, when it was noticed that there had been discords in the house on other points. There may have been some improvement, as very little was said. Brother Thomas Barton was to be let out of the prison where he had been confined for his misdeeds, but on no pretext whatever was he to leave the house. (fn. 61) He seems, however, to have speedily recovered his influence with the abbot, for in 1444 the monks were again loud in their complaints against him. (fn. 62) It was also alleged that in spite of the late injunctions the abbot had sold certain manors without consulting the brethren.

It may be that at this final visitation of Bishop Alnwick (of which the injunctions are not preserved) Thomas Barton was more severely dealt with. The general standard of observance throughout the monastery seems to have improved, and one of the monks was even sent by the bishop to visit another monastery in his name. (fn. 63)

No other visitations are preserved, except that of Bishop Atwater in 1519. His visitations were carefully made, and it is some satisfaction, therefore, to find that he had not such grave work to do in this abbey as Bishop Alnwick. Hunting dogs were to be removed; the books used in choir were out of repair by the carelessness of the chanter; the 'Lady Mass' was not as regularly attended as it should have been; two monks had been out without leave, and were irregular in coming to mattins. The injunctions ordered reform on all these points: the brethren were to keep themselves from secular conversation, to admit no women, and to grant no more corrodies. (fn. 64)

Very little is known of the state of the monastery between this time and the outbreak of the Lincolnshire rebellion, but at any rate nothing evil is recorded. As to their share in the insurrection, it is quite impossible now to discover how far they really approved or sympathized with its aims or its promoters. Like the monks of Kirkstead and Barlings (as will be seen hereafter), and some of the Yorkshire monks in the Pilgrimage of Grace, they were compelled 'to go forth to the host,' whether they would or no. It would not be a matter for much wonder if, after their scruples as to the propriety of bearing arms were overruled, they went cheerfully enough to aid what seemed to many at that time the cause of true religion. Most of them were probably of the middle class, (fn. 65) and may well have shared the sentiments of their friends and relations in the world. We are here, however, dealing only with facts, and so far as facts go there is no clear evidence at all as to the actual opinions of the monks of Bardney. There is no proof that they were in any way instigators of the rebellion; they went into the field under compulsion; they were conspicuous there only because they wore the habit of religion. Their punishment seems, therefore, to have been a very severe one, and its object was doubtless rather to deter others from following their example than to satisfy any real demands of justice.

The original endowment of the abbey by Gilbert of Ghent included the vills of Bardney and Osgodby, with land at Steeping and Firsby, and the churches of Bardney, Firsby, Partney, Skendleby (Lincs.) and Edlesborough (Bucks.), with tithes of several parts of his demesne. (fn. 66) Walter of Ghent added the churches of Barton (with chapel of All Saints), Stainton, Kirkby Laythorpe, and Hunmanby (Yorks.) with all its chapels, (fn. 67) and the chapel and hospital of Partney, as well as mills and lands in divers places, including the manors of Steeping, Edlington, Hagworthingham, and Barton, and the free passage of the Humber. (fn. 68) Other benefactors added at the same period the churches of Folkingham, Lusby, Edlington with its chapel, Irnham, Scampton, Steeping, Wainfleet, Hagworthingham, Spridlington, Claypole, Boultham, Sotby, Baumber, Hale, Heckington, with Gedling and Laxton (Notts) and Hertesholm, as well as small parcels of land chiefly within the counties of York and Lincoln. (fn. 69) The advowsons of most of these churches were retained until the fourteenth century, as appears from the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV, the Patent Rolls, &c.; but the heavy losses sustained by the, monks during the fourteenth century (fn. 70) no doubt compelled them to alienate some of their property without hope of recovery. Henry son of Walter Beck of Lusby granted to the abbey all his lands in Lusby, c. 1240; the grant no doubt including the manor. (fn. 71)

In 1291 the income of the house in temporals was assessed at £126 7s. 2½d., in spirituals it is not possible to give an exact value, but the profit of so many rectories probably amounted to another £100 at least. In 1303 the abbot of Bardney held one knight's fee in Calceby, Swaby, and Cawthorpe; one quarter in South Langton, one-eighth in Barton, and smaller fractions in Burton-by-Lincoln, Winceby, Potterhanworth, and Hagworthingham. (fn. 72)

In 1346 he was returned as holding the same, except the parcels of land in Winceby Burton, and Barton (fn. 73); in 1428 almost the same as in 1303, (fn. 74) and a share with several others in a knight's fee at Aby and Strubby.

In 1534 the clear income of the abbey was £366 6s. 1d., (fn. 75) including the profits of the rectories of Bardney, Barton, Skendleby, Steeping, Edlington, Hale, Heckington, and Hunmanby; and the manors of Bardney with Southrey (including the manor of Seny Place), Monksthorpe (in Great Steeping), Partney, Bardney Hall (in Barton-upon-Humber), Edlington and Lusby. (fn. 76)

The monastery was at this time bound to pay 30s. 2½d. annually to two poor men to pray for the soul of John Cooke, archdeacon of Lincoln; and 10s. had to be distributed annually on the anniversary of the said John. (fn. 77)

Abbots Of Bardney

St. Ethelred, ex-king of Mercia, made abbot about 704, died 716 (fn. 78)

Kenewin, (fn. 79) occurs 833

Ralf, (fn. 80) prior in 1087, abbot 1115

Ivo, (fn. 81) occurs about 1133

John of Ghent, (fn. 82) elected 1140, occurs 1147 and 1150

Walter, (fn. 83) occurs 1155 to 1166

John, occurs 1167 (fn. 84)

Ralf of Stainfield, (fn. 85) occurs 1180

Robert, (fn. 86) occurs 1191

Ralf de Rand, (fn. 87) occurs 1208, deposed 1214

Peter of Lenton, (fn. 88) intruded 1214

Matthew, (fn. 89) occurs 1218, died 1223

Adam de Ascwardby, (fn. 90) elected 1225, occurs 1231 and 1240

William of Ripton (fn. 91)

Walter of Benningworth, (fn. 92) elected 1241, deposed 1243

William of Hatton, (fn. 93) elected 1244

William of Torksey, (fn. 94) elected 1258, died 1266

Peter of Barton, (fn. 95) elected 1266, resigned 1280

Robert of Wainfleet, (fn. 96) elected 1280, resigned 1318

Richard of Gainsborough, (fn. 97) elected 1318, died 1342

Roger of Barrow, (fn. 98) elected 1342, died 1355

Thomas of Stapleton, (fn. 99) elected 1355, died 1379

Hugh of Braunston, (fn. 100) elected 1379, resigned 1385

John of Haynton, (fn. 101) elected 1385

John Woxbrigge, (fn. 102) elected 1404, died 1413

Geoffrey Hemingsby, (fn. 103) elected 1413, died 1435

John Wainfleet, (fn. 104) elected 1435, died 1447

Gilbert Multon, (fn. 105) elected 1447, resigned 1466

Richard Horncastle, (fn. 106) elected 1466, resigned 1507

William Marton, (fn. 107) last abbot, elected 1507

There is a fine thirteenth-century seal of Bardney Abbey, (fn. 108) the obverse of which is evidently of earlier art than the reverse, and may be of the date of the foundation. The Obverse shows St. Oswald crowned, seated on a throne, the sides of which terminate with small stars, and the feet with animal's claws; feet on a rectangular footboard; in the right hand a sceptre fleur-de-lizé, in the left hand a small cross.


The Reverse is a smaller pointed oval counterseal, showing a section of the abbey church with three arched niches, in the centre the Virgin, seated, holding the Child; on the left St. Peter, full length, with keys and book; on the right St. Oswald crowned, full length. In base, under a trefoil arch, the abbot half-length to the right, praying.


There is another seal (fn. 109) with obverse similar to the last, and reverse a small oval counter-seal, being the impression of an ancient oval gem, slightly convex. Full-length figure of a deity on an estrade. Very imperfect.

. . . LEGE . LECTA . . .

The legend when complete probably read 'Tecta lege, lecta tege.'

There is also a seal of the fourteenth century. (fn. 110) The pointed oval obverse represents the patron St. Oswald, crowned, seated on a carved throne under a trefoiled arch, pinnacled and crocketed with niches of four stories at the sides; in the right hand a sceptre fleur-de-lizé, background diapered lozengy, with a small pierced cinquefoil in each space. In base, under a carved, round-headed arch, with trefoiled panels in the spandrels, a shield of arms, a cross pattée between four lions rampant. Bardney abbey. The reverse represents St. Paul, full-length, with sword and book on the left, and St. Peter, full-length, with key and book on the right, under two trefoiled canopies, pinnacled and crocketed, supported on slender columns. Background of fine diaper-work, lozengy, with a small star or cross in each space. In base, under a carved round-headed arch, with arcading at the sides, the abbot, half-length to the left, with a pastoral staff, praying, between, the initial letters R.G., which probably refer to Richard de Gaynesburgh, abbot 1318-42, in whose time the matrix was apparently made. In the field above on the left a crescent, and on the right an estoile; at each side a wavy sprig with trefoil leaves and roses.


The seal ad causas (fn. 111) is pointed oval, under a pointed arch, pinnacled and crocketed, supported on slender columns, the patron St. Oswald, with crown and sceptre, full-length, turned slightly to the right. In the field on the left the keys of St. Peter, on the right the sword of St. Paul.


The pointed oval seal of Abbot John de Haynton (fn. 112) shows the abbot full-length in a finely-carved and canopied niche, with tabernacle work at sides; in the right hand a book, in the left hand a pastoral staff. On the carving at the sides two shields of arms, on the left a cross glory, between four lions rampant—Bardney abbey—on the right crusily a lion rampant debruised by a bend, Hayntone?


  • 1. Bede, Eccles. Hist. v, c. 24, p. 355 (the date of the murder of Queen Osthryd).
  • 2. Ibid. iii, c. 11, p. 148.
  • 3. Bede, Eccles. Hist. iii, c. 11, p. 148.
  • 4. Bright, Early Engl. Church Hist. 410-11.
  • 5. Florence of Worcester, Chronicon (Eng. Hist. Soc.), i, 49. The date 712 is also given for his death.
  • 6. He was the eldest of those five children of Penda who were canonized as saints. Bright, Early Engl. Church Hist. 168.
  • 7. The relics of St. Oswald were removed to Gloucester Abbey in 909. Ang. Sax. Chron. (Rolls Ser.), i, 182-3; ii, 77-8.
  • 8. The charter of Walter of Ghent declares that the monastery was 'of old time held in great veneration, as Bede testifies, on account of many miracles performed there, and the conversion of many nobles.'
  • 9. The date seems to be fixed by the fact that the priory is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, while the names of the king and his three sons, as well as that of Archbishop Lanfranc, appear on the foundation charter.
  • 10. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xx, 278d. (Charter of Gilbert of Ghent).
  • 11. Ibid. 55. The charter of Walter of Ghent was confirmed by Hen. I, Steph., Hen. II and later kings. Ibid. 40, and Cal of Chart. R. i, 147.
  • 12. Their charters may be found in Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xx.
  • 13. Ibid. 48.
  • 14. Curia Regis R. (Rec. Com.), i, 9, 10.
  • 15. Ibid. ii, 200, and Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xx, 198. There were several suits also between the monks and Gilbert of Ghent the younger in the reign of Henry II; e.g. concerning free passage across the Humber, an old right of the house, which Gilbert for a while resumed; Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xx, 47.
  • 16. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Gravesend, 1266; Cal. of Pap. Letters, i, 452.
  • 17. Pat. 5 Edw. I, m. 27.
  • 18. Arch. xxv, 344.
  • 19. Pat. 8 Edw. I, m. 20.
  • 20. Chron. Abb. Rames. (Rolls Ser.), 387.
  • 21. Rolls of Parl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 328b.
  • 22. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 62.
  • 23. Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 10. The order of events seems to have been as follows:—Sentence of deprivation was passed in 1303, and the king's escheator seized the house. In 1308 an inquisition was held, because of the great losses and damage done to the house and the neglect of divine service there; and it was found that the abbot and certain monks had impeded the king's ministers, impounded and starved the cattle under their charge, and imprisoned some of them (Pat. 2 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 19 d.). The king petitioned the pope to do what he could to reform the house (Dugdale, Mon. i, 628, charter xix); and in 1311 Robert was restored. He then began a suit against the king's escheators and their ministers, which dragged on till 1314 (Rolls of Parl. i, 323b, 478a), when a fresh inquiry was made, and Robert's delinquencies were more fully revealed (ibid. 328b). A last appeal to Rome proving a failure, Robert in 1317 expressed himself willing to resign (Pat. 11 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 19).
  • 24. Ibid. 11 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 3.
  • 25. Visitations of Bishop Alnwick.
  • 26. L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv (3), 6513.
  • 27. Ibid. vii, 1121 (6).
  • 28. Ibid. xii (1), 828 (7).
  • 29. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), 581. There should have been seven; for seven were arrested and examined, but one escaped by an oversight. When all were let out on bail, the recognizances of one of them were not entered nor written, so that he was not summoned to the next assizes, when his brethren were tried and condemned. Sir William Parr discovered this afterwards on a visit to the monastery, and charged the abbot with the custody of the monk in question. The one who escaped was almost certainly Thomas Maur or Mower, the abbot's chaplain, who occurs in the list of examinates, L. and P. Hen. VIII, xi, 828, but not in the list of the condemned, ibid. xii (1), 581. The surnames are variously given, sometimes the family name and sometimes the birthplace; but there is no Thomas among those condemned from Bardney, while the name of 'Thomas Mower' appears again on the pension list at the final surrender of the house. Of those who were condemned three had actually been in the field, like Mower; the particular offence of the others is unknown.
  • 30. It seems that he was not unwilling at any rate to be an informer against his brethren. A letter containing a charge of 'lewd words' against one of them was written by him to John Heneage, and sent up to Cromwell; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 1030.
  • 31. P.R.O. Controlment Roll, m. 6.
  • 32. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 737.
  • 33. Exch. Aug. Off. Misc. Books, 223, fol. 185 et seq.
  • 34. History of the English Church (ed. Stephens), ii, 217.
  • 35. Hominem pessimum . . . loco viri optimi. Spalding Register, quoted by Dugdale.
  • 36. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xx, 285.
  • 37. Epist. Grosseteste (Rolls Ser.), 308.
  • 38. Pat. 28 Hen. III, m. 5 and 4.
  • 39. Cal. of Pap. Letters, i, 452.
  • 40. Pat. 5 Edw. I, m. 27.
  • 41. Regist. Joh. Peckham (Rolls Ser.), i, 23. The same letter orders the release of other brethren who had been imprisoned more harshly than was right or than they deserved.
  • 42. Regist. Joh. Peckham (Rolls Sen), i, 41.
  • 43. Ibid. i, 102. The second letter, six months later than the first, threatened the abbot with excommunication if he did not receive the monks again within eight days; another order was given to release a monk from prison, and no injury was to be done to any of the offenders.
  • 44. Ibid. i, 408. It is evident that the archbishop saw that his predecessor had been taken in by fair words. This visitation was to be completed 'with the counsel of the bishop elect of Lincoln' (Oliver Sutton).
  • 45. Ibid. iii, 823. It is dated 22 Sept. 1284.
  • 46. These faults were (1) incontinence, (2) theft of anything important or frequent petty theft, (3) malicious conspiracy against superiors or any seditious conduct, (4) injury of a brother by word or deed, (5) disobedience and attempted apostasy. Only the abbot and one appointed confessor could give absolution for these sins, and that only once; and the culprit was to be separated from the company of his brethren until his penance was complete.
  • 47. Chron. Abbat. Rames. (Rolls Ser.), 387. A monk of Bardney had been sent to Ramsey to work out his penance; as it seems, according to the wishes of Bishop Dalderby, but in some points connected with the affair the abbot had evidently given cause of offence. The abbot of Ramsey, writing in the hope of preventing a complete breach, says of the bishop—'He loves your person as a father, but your works are hateful to him.' The bishop's authority was disregarded at the same time by the visitors of the order, who had sent another monk of Bardney to perform his penance at Ramsey without leave of the diocesan. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 75.
  • 48. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 62.
  • 49. Before 1307, Cal. of Pap. Letters, ii, 25; in 1310, Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 18; in 1312, Pat. 5 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 11; in 1316, Pat. 10 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 22. The Patent Rolls show that he had been at the court of Rome three times at least before his deposition, in 1284, 1291, and 1299, and this may possibly have been one of the complaints brought against him.
  • 50. The king gave orders for the abbot to receive a fitting dwelling outside the abbey, and 6s. 8d. daily from its property in 1307. Close, 5 Edw. II, m. 30. In 1311 Robert was restored at the request of the pope, Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 10; a complaint lodged by one of the king's officers (date uncertain) speaks also of his restitution by the archbishop of Canterbury—whether at the same time or another it is difficult to say. Rolls of Parl. i, 478a. In both cases the bishop withheld his consent.
  • 51. A certain brother, Simon of Hanworth, was imprisoned by the abbot for more than a year, in the dark, his feet bound by iron chains to a post: he was also accused of having stolen goods of the monastery. He cleared himself at last of these charges, and was released by the order of the presidents of the Benedictine order. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 215 d.
  • 52. Rolls of Parl. i, 478a, and Pat. 2 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 19 d.
  • 53. Rolls of Parl. i, 328b. In the same year Bishop Dalderby wrote to the king stating that the house had been vacant since 1303, and begging him as patron to do what he could on its behalf.
  • 54. The troubles and disorder of the house demanded that great care should be taken of procedure. First the monks had to make their oath of obedience to Robert as abbot: they were then absolved for all disregard of his authority in the past. The abbot formally renounced his appeal against the bishop's jurisdiction, and then made his resignation. The prior and the remaining brethren of the convent made submission to the bishop, and were free at last to elect a new abbot. Brother Robert, 'worn out w'ith age and infirmity,' received a much handsomer pension than he deserved: the fruits of the church and manor of Steeping, the vill of Firsby, and the cells of Partney and Skendleby; the 'Nova Camera' by the infirmary to live in; a chaplain and an esquire to serve him; and an honoured place in the community. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 356-7; and Dugdale, Mon. i, 635.
  • 55. In 1318 the bishop instituted an inquiry as to certain 'dissensions' amongst the monks of Bardney. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, 371. It is not wonderful that such should have occurred after a time of anarchy: and it is evident from records already quoted that Robert, with all his faults, had contrived to keep the favour of a certain number of the brethren.
  • 56. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Bokyngham, 184, 258 d.
  • 57. Ibid. Memo. Gray, 202.
  • 58. Visitations of Alnwick (Alnwick Tower), fol. 32 et seq.
  • 59. Mention is made of the pistor, faber, janitor, sutor, and others.
  • 60. This may be gathered from the injunctions of 1440: there are none preserved for 1437.
  • 61. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Alnwick, 37.
  • 62. Visitations of Alnwick (Alnwick Tower), fol. 24. 'Brother Thomas Barton is intolerable to the brethren.' 'Brother Thomas Barton sings the psalms too fast and makes a discord.' 'He consumes all that he has charge of in food and drink and tithes, and calls in the secular powers to help him.' 'He appropriates money to himself,' &c.
  • 63. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Alnwick, 56.
  • 64. Visitations of Atwater (Alnwick Tower), fol. 51. A curious complaint was made at this visitation:— That the monks' barber, contrary to ancient custom, shaved seculars in the shaving house of the monastery; and—still worse !—' for the most part he puts the seculars before the monks, to the injury of the brethren.' The bishop enjoined that in future 'he was not to shave seculars any more in that place, or to prefer them to the monks, but to do his shaving of the brethren diligently.'
  • 65. Their names in the pension list suggest this.
  • 66. Charter of Gilbert of Ghent (recited by his son Walter), Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, fol. 278 d.
  • 67. Wold Newton, Burton Fleming, Reighton, Argam, Middleton on the Wolds, Fordon, Muston, Buckton, and Barkesdale, are named ibid. 8 and 55.
  • 68. Ibid. 55, 64. In a document of the fourteenth century mention is made of the 'cells' of Partney and Skendleby. The cell of Partney is probably the same as the hospital named in the foundation charters. The cell of Skendleby may have been no more than a manor-house for the accommodation of one or two monks who served the church. As both 'cells' together formed only a part of the pension of one retiring abbot, they could not have been large or important houses.
  • 69. Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 8 (confirmation charter of Pope Alexander III) and elsewhere in the same chartulary. The largest of these gifts was the vill of 'Buteyate,' from Robert Marmion.
  • 70. Especially in the time of abbots Peter Barton and Robert Wainfleet.
  • 71. Linc. Notes and Queries, vi, 121.
  • 72. Feud. Aids, iii, 130-65.
  • 73. Ibid. 200-35.
  • 74. Ibid. 257-305. The land in Burton-by-Lincoln appears also in 1401: ibid. 248.
  • 75. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 81.
  • 76. Dugdale, Mon. i, 641, quoting Mins. Accts.
  • 77. Valor Eccles. (Rec. Com.), iv, 81.
  • 78. See Florence of Worcester Chronicon (English Hist. Soc.), i, 48 and note, and Ang. Sax. Chron. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 38 and 39.
  • 79. Ingulfs Chronicle in Rerum Angl. Script. (ed. Gale), i, 11.
  • 80. Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 40. Ralf had previously been a monk of Caroncous.
  • 81. In Browne Willis's list, as from Cott. MS. Vesp. E, 18. Pat. 3 Rich. II, m. 16, recites a charter said to be of Henry III, but obviously Henry I, in which the king grants the abbey to Ivo as abbot, and speaks of Walter of Ghent as still alive.
  • 82. Date of election is in Browne Willis; occurrences in Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 13, and Lans. MS. 207 E (Holies collection), 157.
  • 83. Cott. MS. E, xx, 15, 22; Lans. MS. 207 E, 163, 173, 197.
  • 84. In Browne Willis's list. A confirmation charter of 'T. archbishop of Canterbury' (in Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 29) may refer to this John if T. means Thomas, but if the archbishop is Theobald it may refer to the earlier John.
  • 85. Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 49.
  • 86. Ibid. 48.
  • 87. Ibid. 49; and Boyd and Massingberd, Abstracts of Final Concords, i, 83.
  • 88. Dugdale, Mon. i, 623; Ann. Mon. (Rolls Series), iii, 40, 41.
  • 89. Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 33 d; and Pat. 7 Hen. III, m. 2.
  • 90. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Hugh of Wells and Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, fol. 47.
  • 91. He occurs on Browne Willis's list, but Adam's name is found up to 1240, and Walter was elected in 1241.
  • 92. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Grosteste.
  • 93. Pat. 28 Hen. III, m. 5 and 4.
  • 94. Ibid. 42 Hen. III, m. 5.
  • 95. Linc. Epis. Reg. Rolls of Gravesend.
  • 96. Pat. 8 Edw. I, m. 20.
  • 97. Ibid. 11 Edw. II, m. 12.
  • 98. Ibid. 16 Edw. III, m. 14.
  • 99. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Gynwell, 45.
  • 100. Pat. 3 Rich. II, m. 21.
  • 101. Ibid. 8 Rich. II, m. 10.
  • 102. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Repingdon, 57 d.
  • 103. Cott. MS. Vesp. E, xx, 281 d.; and Harl. MS. 6,952, fol. 46 (transcribed from Linc. Epis. Reg.).
  • 104. Pat. 14 Hen. VI, pt. ii.
  • 105. Ibid. 26 Hen. VI, pt. i. John Bracy seems to have been first elected, and his election accepted by the king, but ultimately the temporalities were restored to Gilbert Multon.
  • 106. Ibid. 6 Edw. IV, pt. i, m. 5.
  • 107. Harl. MS. 6,953, fol. 14 (transcribed from Linc. Epis. Reg.).
  • 108. Harl. Chart. 44 A, 7, and 5 3 D, 50.
  • 109. Ibid. 45 A, 52.
  • 110. Ibid. 44 A, 8.
  • 111. Harl. Chart. 44 A, 10.
  • 112. B. M. Seals, lxvi, 81.