Colleges: St Peter ad Vincula (Tower of London)

A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1909.

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'Colleges: St Peter ad Vincula (Tower of London)', in A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark, ed. William Page( London, 1909), British History Online [accessed 25 July 2024].

'Colleges: St Peter ad Vincula (Tower of London)', in A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Edited by William Page( London, 1909), British History Online, accessed July 25, 2024,

"Colleges: St Peter ad Vincula (Tower of London)". A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Ed. William Page(London, 1909), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024.

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When and by whom the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower was founded is uncertain, though it must have been in existence long before 1241 (fn. 1) when Henry III directed various repairs to be made in the chancels of St. Mary and St. Peter, and the images to be repainted. (fn. 2) Edward I, in 1272, appointed a chaplain to pray for his father's soul at a salary of 50s. a year, (fn. 3) but whether this was in addition to the chaplain who had before officiated in the chapel at the same salary (fn. 4) is not clear. (fn. 5) In the reign of Edward III, however, the only chaplain mentioned was one who was called the rector, and who received 60s. a year from a tenement in 'Candelwykstrete,' (fn. 6) until the king, in 1354, made the chapel practically collegiate by the addition of three chaplains, (fn. 7) enlarging the foundation by two more in 1356. (fn. 8) To provide for their maintenance he granted to them a rent of 31s. 8d. from tenements on Tower Hill and Petty Wales, 5s. from a tenement near St. Katharine's, customs due to the Constable of the Tower for stal-boats and weirs on the Thames, 10 marks a year from the Exchequer, and annual sums to be paid by the master and workmen of the Mint. (fn. 9) At the king's request, moreover, the pope gave permission for the appropriation to them of the church of Allhallows Barking. (fn. 10) The faculty, however, cannot have been used, for Allhallows was not appropriated until the time of Richard II, (fn. 11) and then for the benefit of the abbey of Barking, to which the patronage of the church belonged, (fn. 12) and when Henry IV, in 1402, gave the church and chapel of Allhallows as an appendage of St. Peter's to Thomas Haliwell, (fn. 13) the abbess claimed them as her property and was successful in proving her ownership. (fn. 14) Edward III seems only to have set up a series of chantries in the chapel, and Stow is doubtless correct in designating the priest who in 1429 killed a friar imprisoned in the Tower as the parson of St. Peter ad Vincula. (fn. 15)

Edward IV intended to erect a college in the strict sense of the word, and in February, 1483, issued letters patent (fn. 16) establishing a corporation of a dean, sub-dean, treasurer, and precentor, who were to be known as the dean and canons of the royal free chapel of the household; they were to be governed by ordinances made by the king, and as endowment were to hold the chapel, its oblations, tithes, and profits, and had leave to acquire lands to the value of £100 a year. The king's death, however, before the fulfilment of his purpose, put an end to the scheme. (fn. 17) Presumably, therefore, the institution continued on the lines laid down by Edward III until the suppression of chantries and colleges (fn. 18) left the rector the sole incumbent of the chapel. In 1551 the chapel was deprived of the exemption it had hitherto enjoyed from episcopal authority and was made subject to the bishop of London. (fn. 19)

Rectors of the Collegiate Chapel of St. Peter in the Tower

Thomas, occurs 1393 (fn. 20)
Thomas Haliwell, appointed 1402, (fn. 21) resigned 1405 (fn. 22)
Geoffrey Wyke, appointed 1405 (fn. 23)
Robert de Morley, appointed 1413 (fn. 24)
John Dabrichecourt, appointed 1413 (fn. 25)
John Salmonby, appointed 1416, vacated 1421 (fn. 26)
Edmund Warcop, occurs 1440 (fn. 27)
John Forster, died 1445 (fn. 28)
John Palmer, appointed 1445, vacated 1446 (fn. 29)
John Clampayne, appointed 1446–7, vacated 1448–9 (fn. 30)
Thomas Carr, appointed 1449, (fn. 31) vacated 1457–8 (fn. 32)
Edmund Russell, appointed 1457–8 (fn. 33)
Richard Martyn, appointed 1476, (fn. 34) resigned 1482 (fn. 35)
William Fitz Herbert, appointed 1482 (fn. 36)
John Gunthorpe, appointed 1483 (fn. 37)
Richard Surland, appointed 1486, died 1509 (fn. 38)
Roger Norton, appointed 1509 (fn. 39)
Nicholas Willen, occurs 1535 (fn. 40)
Richard Layton, LL.D., resigned 1535 (fn. 41)
John Ogden, appointed 1535, (fn. 42) died 1537 (fn. 43)
John Button, appointed 1537 (fn. 44)
Richard Taylor, 1545–6 (fn. 45)


  • 1. Hennessy, Novum Repert. Eccl. Lond. 372, says it was founded probably by Henry I.
  • 2. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Strype), i, 68.
  • 3. Bayley, Hist. of the Tower of Lond. 115.
  • 4. Devon, Issues of the Exch. 26.
  • 5. If there was only one there when three were added in 1354, the papal grant of 1355 should have been made to four chaplains, not five as it was. Cal. Pap. Letters, iii, 562.
  • 6. Bayley, op. cit. 123.
  • 7. a Ibid.
  • 8. Stow, op. cit. i, 68.
  • 9. Bayley, op. cit. 123.
  • 10. Cal. Pap. Letters, iii, 562.
  • 11. Newcourt, Repert. Eccl. Lond. i, 237. Licence granted, 1385. Cal. of Pat. 1385–9, p. 43.
  • 12. Edward III had held it by grant of the abbess and convent, but Richard II gave the advowson back to the abbey. Cal. of Pat. 1385–9, p. 43.
  • 13. Ibid. 1401–5, p. 124.
  • 14. Ibid. 490.
  • 15. Stow, Ann. of Engl. (ed. 1615), 358.
  • 16. Cal. of Pat. 1476–85, p. 341.
  • 17. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 1458.
  • 18. The chapel could have been classed under either head, for the chaplainships were called chantries in a grant of 1362. Stow, Surv. of Lond. i, 68.
  • 19. Newcourt, Repert. Eccl. Lond. i, 530.
  • 20. Cal. of Pat. 1391–6, p. 265.
  • 21. Ibid. 1401–5, p. 124.
  • 22. Ibid. 500.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Hennessy, Novum Repert. 373.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Dugdale, op. cit. vi, 1458. Dr. Hutton's excerpts from the patent rolls.
  • 29. Hennessy, Novum Repert. 373.
  • 30. Ibid.
  • 31. Dugdale, op. cit. vi, 1458.
  • 32. Hennessy, op. cit. 373.
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Cal. of Pat. 1467–77, p. 563.
  • 35. Ibid. 1476–85, p. 256.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. That is he was created dean of the new college by Edward IV. Ibid. 341.
  • 38. Hennessy, op. cit. 372.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Ibid.
  • 41. L. and P. Hen. VIII, viii, 291 (11).
  • 42. Ibid.
  • 43. Ibid. xii (1), 539 (46).
  • 44. Ibid.
  • 45. Hennessy, op. cit. 373.