Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Wormegay

Page 407

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

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The Austin priory of Wormegay, dedicated to the honour of the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Cross, and St. John the Evangelist, was founded by William de Warenne in the reign of Richard I.

The prior and convent of the church of the Holy Cross, Wormegay, obtained licence for alienation in mortmain in 1355 of the manor of West Dereham from John de Houton, chaplain, of a messuage, 40 acres of land, 5 acres of pasture, and 5s. of rent in Fordamhithe, &c., from Gilbert de Hethill, parson of the church of Tottenhill; and of 10 acres of land and a moiety of a messuage in Great Sechithe, from John Simand, chaplain, to find two of the canons as chaplains to celebrate daily mass in their church for the souls of Roger Carpel and his ancestors and heirs, and for the souls of the three donors. (fn. 1) In the same year the priory received a grant of 10 marks of rent from John Bardolf of Wormegay, on condition of finding three canons for daily mass for the souls of his ancestors. (fn. 2) In 1337 the priory had licence for the appropriation of a moiety of the church of Fordamhithe of their advowson. (fn. 3)

A mandate was issued by Innocent VI, in 1355, to the prior of Pentney, and two others to cause the ordinances touching apostates to be observed in regard to John de Valington, canon of Wormegay, who had left his order to come to the Roman court; and now desired to be reconciled to it. (fn. 4)

Licence was granted by Richard II, on 23 January, 1388, to the sub-prior and convent to hold a new election oh the death of Prior Robert de Fordham; the patronage of the priory was at that time in the hands of the crown, owing to the minority of Thomas Bardolf, whose ancestor was the founder. (fn. 5) On 8 February the king intimated to the bishop his assent to the election of Hugh de Fyncham, one of the canons, as prior. (fn. 6) For another eighty years this poor house continued to struggle on, but in 1468 its poverty was such that the bishop of Norwich united it to the priory of Pentney, of which, from that date, it was reckoned a cell.

Priors of Wormegay

Ralph, (fn. 7) occurs before 1234

Nicholas, (fn. 8) occurs before 1286

John de Boylound, (fn. 9) 1300

Nicholas de Elme, (fn. 10) 1302

Robert de Craneworth, (fn. 11) elected 1315

John de Cauntley, (fn. 12) elected 1330

Simon de Leverington, (fn. 13) elected 1349

Michael de Thornham, (fn. 14) elected 1349

Robert de Fordham, (fn. 15) elected 1370

Hugh de Fincham, (fn. 16) elected 1388

Hugh Watlington, (fn. 17) elected 1416

Robert Walsyngham, (fn. 18) elected 1448

John Methwold, (fn. 19) elected 1461


  • 1. Cal. of Pat. 9 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 6.
  • 2. Ibid. pt. ii, m. 27.
  • 3. Pat. 11 Edw. III, pt. iii, m. 25. An irregularity as to this appropriation was condoned in 1347; Pat. 21 Edw. III, pt. iv, m. 9.
  • 4. Cal. Papal Reg. iii, 57.
  • 5. Pat. 11 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 3.
  • 6. Ibid. pt. ii, m. 36.
  • 7. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. vii, 500.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. Norw. Epis. Reg. i, 61.
  • 12. Ibid. ii, 237.
  • 13. Ibid. iv, 94.
  • 14. Ibid. 116.
  • 15. Ibid. vi, 2.
  • 16. Ibid. 128.
  • 17. Ibid. viii, 610.
  • 18. Ibid. xi, 17.
  • 19. Ibid. 128.