Alien houses: The priory of Everdon

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

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, 'Alien houses: The priory of Everdon', in A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906) pp. 182. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Alien houses: The priory of Everdon", in A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906) 182. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Alien houses: The priory of Everdon", A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906). 182. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

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Soon after the Norman occupation the manor of Everdon was bestowed on the abbey of St. Mary of Bernay (Eure, Normandy) in the diocese of Lisieux, which had been founded about 1025 by Judith, wife of Richard, fourth duke of Normandy. Henry II., by charter of 1156-7, granted to the monks there serving God all that they had held in the time of King Henry his grandfather. (fn. 1) This included, amongst the English possessions, the manor of Everdon. (fn. 2) The same charter names the manor of Creeting (Gratingis), Suffolk, first in the short list of English possessions. Tanner says that Everdon was sometimes considered a distinct alien priory, but at other times reckoned as parcel of Creeting, which was the chief English cell of the Benedictine abbey of Bernay. (fn. 3)

In the reign of Henry II. the monks of Bernay held 2½ hides and 2 small virgates at Everdon. (fn. 4) According to the Testa de Nevill, the abbot of Bernay possessed about the year 1250 4 hides in Everdon, which were held (saving 10 virgates) by him as lord of the manor; but the abbey did suit twice a year in the hundred court of Fawsley and rendered 4s. annually to the king. (fn. 5)

At the time of the Quo Warranto proceedings in 1329 the abbot claimed a view of frankpledge, or right to hold a court leet, in return for the yearly payment of 4s. to the crown. He also claimed waifs on the manor, but the jury found that the abbots of Bernay had never possessed liberty of waif at Everdon, although the abbot had seized a brood-mare worth 3s. under that pretence. They also found that he had punished offenders against the assize of bread and beer by fining them 1 mark instead of imposing the legal corporal punishment of tumbril and pillory. For these offences the court leet was taken into the king's hands, but it was restored to the abbey on payment of a fine of half a mark. (fn. 6)

The advowson of the rectory of Everdon was in the hands of the abbey of Bernay. The Lincoln episcopal registers give a long series of institutions to this rectory, from 1218 downwards, on the presentation of the proctor of the abbot of Bernay. In March, 1347, the king presented, as the temporalities of the abbey were in his hands owing to the war with France. In 1367 a rector was instituted on the presentation of Roger Faber, prior of Everdon, who had been a monk of Bernay, but in 1404 the advowson was again in royal hands on the renewal of the war.

When the revenues of the alien priories were seized in the time of Henry V. the small priory of Everdon ceased to exist and was retained by the crown until its site and possessions were given by Henry VI. to his newly founded college of Eton in 1440. (fn. 7) This gift was confirmed by Edward IV. in 1462. (fn. 8)

The Valor of 1535 estimates the annual value of the rents, etc., of Everdon to the college of Eton at £15 13s. (fn. 9)

When Bridges wrote, about 1720, he said: 'The remains of the priory, which bear many marks of antiquity, are still to be seen in the lordship house which belongs to the college of Eton. In a close adjoining are the appearances and hollows of ponds.' (fn. 10) The priory stood at the east end of the village, but this 'lordship house' has long since disappeared.


  • 1. Round, Cal. Doc. France, i. 137.
  • 2. 'Ebredona.' This manor is conjectured to be that of Eversden, Cambs, in the index to the calendar, but there is no doubt that it is the Northants manor.
  • 3. Tanner, Notitia (ed. 1787), Northants, xv.
  • 4. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xxii. f. 94.
  • 5. Testa de Nev. (Rec. Com.), 37.
  • 6. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 533.
  • 7. Pat. 19 Hen. VI. pt. 3, m. 20.
  • 8. Ibid. 1 Edw. IV. pt. 3, 24.
  • 9. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv. 217.
  • 10. Bridges, Hist. of Northants, i. 58.