Religious Houses: House of Trinitarian friars

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.

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'Religious Houses: House of Trinitarian friars', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century, (London, 1969) pp. 191-193. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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The earliest mention of a religious house at Hounslow occurs in the charter roll in 1200. (fn. 1) Twenty-five years later William Longespée, Earl of Salisbury, included a gift of ten cows to Hounslow in his long list of bequests to religious houses. (fn. 2) In 1242-3 the 'Master' of Hounslow held one knight's fee of John de Neville, who held it of the king. (fn. 3) This fee was probably the manor of East Bedfont, which with the advowson was given by Neville to the hospital. His gift was eventually confirmed by Edward II in 1313. (fn. 4) Early sources give no indication of the order, if any, to which the hospital belonged. Later it was a house of the Friars of the Holy Trinity, an order founded in France in the closing years of the 12th century. It is possible that Hounslow belonged from the start to the Trinitarians, but it is more likely that it was given to them in the mid-13th century by Richard, King of the Romans, brother of Henry III. Richard founded a house of Trinitarians at Knaresborough (Yorks. W.R.), (fn. 5) and at Hounslow he was the greatest benefactor, if not the second founder. To the friars there, whether newly-introduced or long-established, he gave his lands of Babworth in Isleworth, except the fishpond. These friary lands later comprised over 80 acres by or near the Crane above Baber Bridge, and in the enclosure cut out of Hounslow Heath further north. (fn. 6) In 1314 Richard's grant was confirmed by Edward II. (fn. 7) These lands of the friars were first described as the manor of Hounslow in 1296, when the minister and friars were granted a weekly market and an annual fair of eight days beginning on the vigil of the feast of Holy Trinity. (fn. 8)

Meanwhile in 1252 Henry III gave the minister and friars a silver cup for the eucharist, and also a silver thurible or censer, which second gift was confirmed in the following January. (fn. 9) Before 1275 Pain de Cleremont had given them 40 acres in Stanwell and in the 14th century the friars acquired further property outside Hounslow. (fn. 10) In 1338 and 1358 this included lands in East Bedfont from William de Odiham and Thomas Lenee under a licence to acquire in mortmain, which had been granted in 1320. (fn. 11) Meanwhile, having secured the advowson, they had been allowed to appropriate the church of East Bedfont in 1314, and were pardoned the fine for the appropriation in the next year. (fn. 12) They presented vicars to East Bedfont from 1325 until the Dissolution. (fn. 13) In 1353 and 1428 the East Bedfont holding was still returned as one knight's fee. (fn. 14) In accordance with the will of John of Gloucester, Rector of Harlington, dated 1332, the friars received a tenement in the parish of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate so that they should celebrate for him and his family at Hounslow and Harlington; and after the extinction of a life interest they received a further messuage and three cottages in the same place in 1369. (fn. 15) In 1338 and 1358 the friars received lands in Stanwell and Harlington, under the licence of 1320 already mentioned. (fn. 16) In 1367 they were licensed to acquire in mortmain further property in Staines and Stanwell, namely a mill, 34 acres, and 5s. in rent, worth altogether 27s. 9d. a year, from the vicar of Heston; (fn. 17) and in 1353 they also held a fifth of a fee in Acton. (fn. 18) In 1358 William Fitzwaryn had licence to make them a grant in mortmain to the value of £10. (fn. 19) From the same vicar of Heston the friars received in 1362 a messuage, a mill, two gardens, two fisheries, 27 acres, an ait in the Thames, and 4s. 4d. in rent, all in Kingston-on-Thames (Surr.). (fn. 20) They secured the advowson of Littleton from Guy de Brienne in 1372, and presented to Littleton rectory from 1395 until the Dissolution. (fn. 21) In 1370 they also presented to Feltham. (fn. 22)

In 1376 some buildings were erected at Hatton Grange on the land of the friars of Hounslow, so that the king might stay there. These buildings were to revert to the friars after his death. (fn. 23) At the same time the friary was granted £20 a year at the Exchequer that prayers might be said for the king, and to provide a chaplain to celebrate at Hatton Grange. In 1400 this grant was replaced by one of £10 a year from the fee farm of Kingston, which was confirmed at the beginning of the next two reigns and increased to £20 in 1462 but reduced to £10 again in 1468. (fn. 24) In 1382 the houses at Hatton Grange were leased to Richard II for his life at an annual rent of 50s. payable by the king's bailiffs of Kingston-onThames. (fn. 25) Hounslow was conveniently situated about half way between Westminster and Windsor, the most usual of all royal journeys, and from the time of Edward III, who gave them 10 marks to pray for the soul of Queen Philippa, (fn. 26) the friars enjoyed royal patronage. As late as 1530 they received 20s. in royal alms on Good Friday. (fn. 27) In 1349 Margery Barat bequeathed to the friars an ox and four bushels of corn, and in 1377 John Tornegold, merchant, bequeathed the reversion of certain sums of money to Hounslow and other religious houses. (fn. 28) In 1434 John Franks, Master of the Rolls, left 20s. for the repair of the fabric of their conventual church. (fn. 29) The friars had a brewhouse in Uxbridge which in 1523 was leased to Thomas Nicholas and figures in his will. (fn. 30)

The rules of the Friars of the Holy Trinity laid down that each house should have a minister, or prior, three clerks, and three lay brothers. (fn. 31) But, although occasional ordinations are recorded, (fn. 32) there is no evidence of numbers at Hounslow until 1537, when the minister, three friars, and one George Symson signed a lease. (fn. 33) Their revenues were supposed to be devoted to the relief of the poor and the redemption of captives. About 1352, when the Friars of the Holy Trinity at Oxford had died out, the Minister of Hounslow sent one of his friars to celebrate there. (fn. 34) The friars also seem to have provided a warden for the Hospital of St. Lawrence, Crediton, and a chaplain for Warland, near Totnes, both in Devon. (fn. 35) Fraternity was granted to prominent laymen, including, in 1508, Henry, Prince of Wales, who was to dissolve all the friaries thirty years later. (fn. 36) In 1406 the Minister was a collector in the deanery of Middlesex of the subsidy of 6s. 8d. granted by the clergy, and in 1440 of a half-tenth. (fn. 37) In the 15th century Robert of Hounslow, a friar of the house, became Provincial of the Order in the British Isles, and Clement Maydestone, who was a friar at Hounslow for a time before moving to Syon Abbey, wrote an account of the martyrdom of Archbishop Scrope. (fn. 38) It would appear from the will of Alice Lupton, who died in 1530/1, that Hounslow was at that time the residence of the minister provincial. (fn. 39) The will (proved in 1521) of John Gefferoy, a sergeant of the king, suggests that the house had a lay officer in some capacity and that he resided there. (fn. 40)

In 1535 the demesne of the house at Hounslow was said to be worth £5 2s. 6d. and other property there brought in £22 1s. 8d. Rents from other places were worth £34, the rectory of Bedfont £8 13s. 4d., and that of Hatton in the same parish £4. Altogether with the mill and the market the revenue of the friary was said to amount to £80, which was reduced to £74 by certain rents which it had to pay. (fn. 41) Nearly 200 ounces of plate were collected from Hounslow by the royal commissioners. (fn. 42)

In 1537 the minister and friars leased all their lands and possessions except the church and buildings of their convent but including the outhouses, gardens, and stables, to Robert Cheeseman of Southall for 80 years, at a rent of £26, of which £10 was to be paid to the minister and the remainder to the friars. The lease was signed by William Hyde, minister, three friars, and George Symson. (fn. 43) But the end was already at hand, and the lands in Hounslow, Heston, Harlington, East Bedfont, Littleton, Stanwell, Hatton in Hounslow, and St. Botolph, as well as the advowson and glebe of Littleton, the rectory of East Bedfont, the brewhouse in Uxbridge, and a water-mill at Kingston called 'Hogesmylle' were, with the perquisites of the courts, almost all annexed to the royal honor of Hampton Court, (fn. 44) Richard Forster being appointed bailiff and collector. (fn. 45) The manor of Harlington was then valued at just under £15, of which 3s. came from the manor court and the remainder from rents. (fn. 46) Richard Layton had reported to Thomas Cromwell about the leasing of the friary to Robert Cheeseman. In 1539 he wrote again that he was going to Hounslow to pay the debts of the friars who, he alleged, 'drank weekly all the town dry'. (fn. 47)

Parts of the friary buildings with the chapel survived as the manor-house and parish church of Holy Trinity until 1816, when they were demolished to make way for a new parish church, later erected on the old site. (fn. 48)

Ministers of Hounslow

Nicholas, occurs 1257-8 (fn. 49)
Robert, occurs 1296-7 (fn. 50)
John de Stanes, occurs 1320 (fn. 51)
Bartholomew, occurs 1363 (fn. 52)
William, occurs 1369 (fn. 53)
Walter, occurs 1401 (fn. 54)
John Mulsey, occurs 1437 (fn. 55)
John Wodhalle, occurs 1446 (fn. 56)
John, occurs 1466 (fn. 57)
William Marchall, late minister 1477 (fn. 58)
William, occurs 1477-8, (fn. 59) 1479 (fn. 60)
John, occurs 1503 (fn. 61)
Ralph Beckwith, occurs 1508-20 (fn. 62)
John Hammond, occurs 1520 (fn. 63)
William Hyde, occurs 1537 (fn. 64)

The common seal, in use as early as 1266 (fn. 65) and as late as 1382, (fn. 66) is a pointed oval, 1¾ by 1 in., and shows a seated figure with a cruciform nimbus, the right hand raised in blessing; under an arch is a figure, apparently that of an ecclesiastic, in prayer, facing right; at each side canopied niches. Legend, lombardic:


Another seal, round (diam. 1½ in.), shows the Father holding before Him a crucifix (there is no representation of the Holy Spirit); above is a canopy and at the sides canopied niches, each containing a shield emblazoned with a cross. (fn. 67) Legend, black letter:


In another version of the same seal the Father holds before Him a crucifix with His left hand, His right hand raised in blessing above the right-hand limb of the cross (there is no representation of the Holy Spirit); the canopy and the niches, which are empty, are highly decorated. (fn. 68) Legend, black letter:



  • 1. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 98.
  • 2. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), ii. 71.
  • 3. Bk. of Fees, 897.
  • 4. Cal. Pat. 1307-13, 578; 1313-17, 36.
  • 5. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 297.
  • 6. V.C.H. Mdx. iii. 106.
  • 7. Cal. Pat. 1313-17, 78.
  • 8. Cal. Chart. R. 1257-1300, 463.
  • 9. Close R. 1251-3, 65, 306.
  • 10. V.C.H. Mdx. iii. 41.
  • 11. Cal. Pat. 1317-21, 453; 1338-40, 159; 1358-61, 56.
  • 12. Ibid. 1313-17, 210.
  • 13. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 575; Lond. Reg. Gravesend (Cant. and York Soc.), 277; Lond. Reg. Sudbury (Cant. and York Soc.), i. 238, 264.
  • 14. Feudal Aids, iii. 374, 380.
  • 15. Cal. Wills in Court of Husting (Lond.), ed. Sharpe, i. 382; Cal. Pat. 1367-70, 250.
  • 16. Ibid. 1317-21, 453; 1338-40, 159; 1358-61, 56.
  • 17. Ibid. 1364-7, 380.
  • 18. Feudal Aids, iii. 375.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1358-61, 44.
  • 20. Ibid. 1361-4, 256.
  • 21. Ibid. 1385-9, 462, 478; Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 689.
  • 22. Lond. Reg. Sudbury (Cant. and York Soc.), i. 273.
  • 23. Cal. Pat. 1374-7, 256.
  • 24. Ibid. 401; 1399-1401, 290; 1414-16, 42; 1422-9, 71; 1461-7, 222; 1467-77, 67.
  • 25. Cal. Pat. 1381-5, 131; Cal. Close, 1381-5, 135.
  • 26. Issue Roll of Thomas de Brantingham, ed. F. Devon, 428.
  • 27. L. & P. Hen. VIII, v, pp. 749, 754.
  • 28. Cal. Wills in Court of Husting, i. 693; ii. 200.
  • 29. Cant. Reg. Chichele (Cant. and York Soc.), ii. 592.
  • 30. P.C.C. 11 Bodfelde.
  • 31. Dugdale, Mon. vi. 1558.
  • 32. Lond. Reg. Sudbury (Cant. and York Soc.), ii. 12, 97; Cant. Reg. Chichele (Cant. and York Soc.), iv. 322.
  • 33. Aungier, Syon, 490.
  • 34. Cal. Close, 1389-92, 472-3.
  • 35. Aungier, Syon, 492.
  • 36. B.M. Topham Chart. 48; Stowe Chart. 617.
  • 37. Cal. Close, 1405-9, 59; Aungier, Syon, 486.
  • 38. Ibid. 545; C. L. Kingsford, Eng. Hist. Lit. in Fifteenth Cent. 38.
  • 39. Guildhall MS. 9171/10, f. 161.
  • 40. P.C.C. 18 Maynwaryng.
  • 41. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 402.
  • 42. Aungier, Syon, 492.
  • 43. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xii (2), p. 268; Aungier, Syon, 489-90.
  • 44. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/2396.
  • 45. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), p. 772.
  • 46. S.C. 12/19/17.
  • 47. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), p. 185.
  • 48. V.C.H. Mdx. iii. 127.
  • 49. Feet of F. Lond. and Mdx., ed. Hardy and Page, i. 38.
  • 50. Ministers' Accounts of Earldom of Cornwall (Camd. Soc. 3rd ser. lxvi), 122.
  • 51. Cal. Close, 1318-23, 329.
  • 52. Lond. Reg. Sudbury (Cant. and York Soc.), i. 238.
  • 53. Ibid. 264.
  • 54. Cal. Pat. 1399-1401, 478.
  • 55. Aungier, Syon, 486.
  • 56. B.M. Topham Chart. 48.
  • 57. C 47/15/6/29.
  • 58. Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 29.
  • 59. Feet of F. Lond. and Mdx. i. 209.
  • 60. C 47/15/6/14.
  • 61. W.A.M., 6653.
  • 62. L. & P. Hen. VIII, i, p. 261; B.M. Stowe Chart. 617; Aungier, Syon, 488.
  • 63. Aungier, Syon, 488.
  • 64. Ibid. 490.
  • 65. St. Paul's MS. A. Box 76, 2015.
  • 66. E 42/422.
  • 67. B.M. Seals lxvii. 89 and clxx. 22; Aungier, Syon, 493-4.
  • 68. B.M. Seal clxiv. 1; Aungier, Syon, 493-4.