Houses of Cluniac monks: The priory of St Andrew, Northampton

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

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, 'Houses of Cluniac monks: The priory of St Andrew, Northampton', in A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906) pp. 102-109. British History Online [accessed 22 May 2024].

. "Houses of Cluniac monks: The priory of St Andrew, Northampton", in A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906) 102-109. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024,

. "Houses of Cluniac monks: The priory of St Andrew, Northampton", A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906). 102-109. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024,

In this section



The priory of St. Andrew, Northampton, was founded between 1093 and 1100 by Simon de St. Liz, earl of Northampton. (fn. 1) According to an account given in the chartulary of the monastery, (fn. 2) Simon was the younger of two brothers—strenuissimi milites—who accompanied the Conqueror to England in 1066. The elder, Garnerius le Ryche, on the death of their father returned to France to claim the paternal inheritance; Simon remained to take his chance as a soldier of fortune. On the disgrace and death of Waltheof, earl of Huntingdon, the king bestowed his eldest daughter Maud in marriage on the favourite together with the honour of Huntingdon, (fn. 3) and Simon de St. Liz became the first earl of Northampton of that name. In 1084 he is said to have founded the priory, which is described by Leland (fn. 4) as situated on the north-west side of Northampton, abutting on the town walls and bordering on the river Nen, and planted there monks from the powerful priory of St. Mary de Caritate or La Charité-sur-Loire, France, to which it was henceforth a cell.

During the reign of Henry I. the earl of Northampton died on his homeward journey from the Holy Land at La Charité and was buried there. His heir, Simon the younger, was placed in the custody of David, brother of the king of Scotland, to whom the king granted the hand of the widowed countess. Both he and Simon the third earl were buried in the priory church. (fn. 5)

The new foundation was largely endowed by the noble founder and his descendants. (fn. 6) Simon the first earl in conjunction with Maud his wife confirmed to the monks of Caritate the possession of their own church and the gift of all the other churches of Northampton. (fn. 7) Simon the younger, his son bestowed on them a tenth of his profits from the fairs of All Saints, Northampton, (fn. 8) and confirmed the gift by Maud de Mandeville of the manor and church of Sywell. (fn. 9) Simon the third earl signified to Robert, bishop of Lincoln, that he had granted the church of Potton to the monks of St. Andrew for the good of his soul and for the souls of his father and mother, (fn. 10) and 'on the day of the burial of Simon my son' he bestowed the advowson of the church of Whissendine, in pure and perpetual alms on the brethren. (fn. 11) Among other benefactions Henry I. gave to the monks the church of St. Sepulchre with four acres of his demesne for the soul of his father and mother, (fn. 12) as well as the church of St. Giles, (fn. 13) and confirmed all gifts granted by the first earl Simon with an annual rent charge of 40s. out of the town of Bedford, the gift of the Countess Maud. (fn. 14) Hugh of Wells, bishop of Lincoln, 1209-1235, at the request of the monks, confirmed the following churches in their possession: All Saints, St. Giles, St. Michael, St. Sepulchre, St. Mary, St. Gregory, St. Peter with its appurtenances the church of Kingsthorpe and chapel of Upton, St. Edmund, St. Bartholomew, and the chapel of St. Thomas; the churches of Ryhall and Exton (Rutland), 'Newenton' (Newton), Sywell, Moulton, Brafield, Preston, Billing, Horton, Quinton, Hardingstone, 'Stotesbyry,' Sulgrave, and Potton. (fn. 15) According to the Taxation of 1291, the priory held spiritualities in the diocese of Lincoln amounting to £30 12s., their temporalities in the same amounted to £54 16s. 8d. (fn. 16)

The position of this Cluniac house thus largely endowed, and in the possession of all the churches of Northampton, was one from the first of great importance and influence. One of the earliest references we have to the house is contained in a letter of Peter the Venerable, ninth abbot of Cluny, and friend of St. Bernard, whose rule from 1122 to 1157 raised the order to the summit of fame and prosperity. It was addressed to the brethren dilectis filiis et fratribus de Norantone, and stated with great affection that, though it was unlikely the writer would ever visit their house in bodily presence, they were daily, nay, continually, in his thoughts. The fame of their good conversation, and particularly of Thomas, their prior, who was personally dear to him, had reached him. Thomas was an intimate friend and most beloved in Christ, and therefore nothing could be more grateful to him than to receive their gifts with others from the Cluniac houses in England. The brethren should not regret the prior's absence, for their coming together would be to the profit of all. (fn. 17)

Notwithstanding its size and importance, (fn. 18) the priory of St. Andrew's was at times anything but popular. The priors, according to the policy of centralized government initiated by the order, were appointed by the mother house and not by the chapter. Hence the superiors were almost invariably foreigners, and were usually promoted from some smaller French house. Even then several of them spent more time on the continent than in the priory, as may be gathered from the leave of absence so frequently noted in the patent rolls. In the case of Cluniac houses, the withdrawal of a superior by the parent house was generally quite arbitrary, and ad interim appointments frequent. (fn. 19) For the discipline and management of the monastery the sub-priors must have been very largely responsible.

The jealousy displayed by the town of Northampton towards the ecclesiastical jurisdiction exercised by this foreign priory at their very gates appears to have been shared by many of the parochial clergy, who though nominated by the prior and convent founded, or permitted the laity to found, chapels for divine offices outside the control of the priory. The brethren, however, brought this infringement of their privileges before the Roman Court, and Innocent III. in 1202 issued a mandate to the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of London and Ely (the see of Lincoln being then vacant) strictly prohibiting this independent action of the Northampton clergy. (fn. 20) This was not the only dispute in which the priory engaged. In 1186 Robert, then prior of St. Andrew's, entered into a solemn agreement with Vivyan, abbot of Aunay, whereby the tithes of Mears Ashby were granted to the monks of Aunay on payment annually at Michaelmas of six loads of wheat, according to the king's great measure at Northampton, in the barn at Ashby. (fn. 21) The dispute of the prior and convent with the prior of the Knights Templars respecting the church of Hardwick was brought before the king's court in the octave of All Saints, 1199. (fn. 22) In 1233 a quarrel between the prior and convent of St. Andrew's and Philip son of Robert de Northampton, for the advowson of the hospital of St. David's without Northampton, was settled by arbitration to the effect that the prior should have the right of patronage in the said hospital, and that Philip should present two among the brethren to the hospital, one lay and one clerical, so that the total number be not increased. (fn. 23)

Various encroachments and withdrawals of ancient service or custom are recorded against the priory in the Hundred Rolls, among others that the prior and convent, who were bound to find a chaplain to celebrate annually in the chapel of St. Martin, Northampton, for the souls of all the kings of England, had so neglected the chantry that the chapel had become ruinous, to the loss of the king and his ancestors of five marks a year and more. (fn. 24) That they had encroached on the king's highway by the west gate of the town, had enclosed a spring called 'Nonnewoll,' with a piece of land adjoining, to the injury of the whole commonalty, and had appropriated to themselves under the wall of the town all the holmes once pertaining to the townsfolk with a garden adjoining, from the holm of Giles to the water, and had enclosed a common way under the wall of the town. (fn. 25) Another instance of the unpopularity of this alien house may be found in the account of the siege of Northampton by the king in 1264, given in the 'Annals of Dunstable,' wherein it is stated that the town which was being held by the citizens for the barons was betrayed to the royalists by a ruse of Guy, the prior of Northampton. (fn. 26)

The priory received various grants of royal favour from time to time. In March, 1208-9, King John signified that he had taken under his protection the monks of St. Andrew of Northampton and their nuncios sent to preach for their church, and that they were to be protected and assisted with alms in the work of building. (fn. 27) Henry III. on 1 January, 1223-4, issued an order for the prior of St. Andrew to be allowed timber (fusta) for beams to build the tower of his church. (fn. 28) In connexion with this tower we read that on the vigil of St. Clement, 22 November, 1237, there was a vehement storm of wind and rain, and, as the chronicler describes, something wonderful, if not actually miraculous, happened at the monastery of the Blessed Andrew. As the monks were serving God in the quire, the pinnacles round the great central tower (turres quæ circumbant turrim magnam ultra chorum) fell with a crash, breaking through into the church after a piteous fashion; nevertheless, through divine mercy, all escaped unhurt. (fn. 29) In the first year of the reign of Edward I. an order was sent to acquit the prior of St. Andrew's, Northampton, of the sum of £13 6s. 8d. in which the sub-prior and convent made fine with the late king for the custody of their houses in time of voidance, the said sum having been paid by the prior to the keeper of the wardrobe on Thursday after the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr (7 July), 1270, unless they had already received acquittance thereof by writ of the late king. (fn. 30) The prior and convent were requested with other religious houses to aid the king with victuals for the Scotch expedition in 1310, (fn. 31) they were summoned in 1322 to raise as many men-at-arms and foot soldiers as they could to march against the earl of Lancaster and his adherents, and to muster at Coventry on the first Sunday in Lent. (fn. 32)

In addition to other incidents of aid and subsidy the crown exercised to the full the royal prerogative of imposing pensioners as on houses of royal foundation or patronage. In April, 1311, Benedict de Watford, who had long served the late and present king, was sent to the priory to receive food and clothing and other accessories in the house according to his estate, and to have a suitable chamber within the precincts. (fn. 33) In October, 1316, Roger de Scardeburgh was sent to receive the allowance that John de Pycherhous, deceased, had had in the house. (fn. 34) In September of the same year, John de Ditton, clerk, had letters to the prior and convent to receive the pension due from them to one of the king's clerks by reason of the new creation of a prior. (fn. 35) On the appointment of a superior in 1320, Peter de Pulford, clerk, obtained royal letters for a similar pension. (fn. 36) On the death of Benedict le Sejourner, Richard Swyn, the king's envoy, was sent to take his place, 12 October, 1325, (fn. 37) and in 1335 John Swyn, who had long served the king and his father, was sent to receive from the convent such maintenance as Richard Sywn, deceased, had had by the late king's request. (fn. 38) This last order was repeated in November, 1338, (fn. 39) and some confusion seems to have arisen, probably owing to the fact that the grant to John Swyn was made before the death of Richard had actually occurred. The prior and convent received a request in February, 1338-9, to admit Robert de la Chapelle into the house, in place of Richard Swyn, deceased, (fn. 40) and in March, 1339-40, they were peremptorily summoned to comply with the order; (fn. 41) the monks having proved that they had admitted the said John Swyn by reason of a like grant long before Richard's death, the order was revoked. (fn. 42)

The frequent absence of its head, (fn. 43) with the usual accompaniment of slack government, and other causes soon plunged even this well-endowed house into debt and difficulty. In April, 1338, Thomas, then prior, addressed a letter to the abbot of Cluny in which he stated in pitiful terms that his house was gravely burdened with debt from the defective harvests of the last two years, from the payment of royal dues, and from the heavy exactions of the papal legate, with the frequent reception of guests. He claimed that though his house was directly subject to the house of La Charité, yet all priors of their order ought to turn for aid to the great mother church of Cluny when in distress, and with considerable shrewdness pleaded that if their seriously indebted condition came to the ears of the bishop of Lincoln, Robert Grossetête, he would instantly take into his hands all their goods. The bishop, he added, had shown such rancour towards their order, and was in particular so badly affected towards their house of Daventry, that not one of them dared to go personally before him to acquaint him with their condition. (fn. 44) The letter was forwarded by the hands of William, one of the Northampton monks, who was commended to the kindness of the abbot. The financial condition of the priory at this particular date was probably brought to a head by the papal grant of 'three years' tenths' on all ecclesiastical benefices, though, perhaps wisely, the prior refrained from so definite a statement.

Although exempt by papal authority from visitation and supervision by the ordinary, it is evident that St. Andrew's, like other houses of the order, was subject to a certain amount of control or interference by the bishop. In 1228 Bishop Wells received a letter from Stephen, prior of La Charité, asking for confirmation of Thomas de Longa Villa, as prior of St. Andrew's, in place of Ralph, former prior. (fn. 45) In 1258 Guy was admitted prior by Bishop Gravesend, though not without letters of protest from the mother house. (fn. 46) The confirmation of several succeeding priors is recorded in the diocesan registers. The chronicle of St. Andrew states that in the year 1285 Prior Bernard de Kariloco left the house on the first Sunday in Lent and crossed the seas; and about Easter, with the common consent of their brethren, ten of the monks went to the king and represented that the prior had left them, that they were as sheep without a shepherd, and their house was desolate. (fn. 47) In May, 1285, the temporalities of the priory were restored to Odo or Eudo, formerly prior of Longueville, on the presentation of the mother house of La Charité. (fn. 48) According to the diocesan registers, however, Odo was not admitted prior till 1288, when Bernard, the former prior, is said to have deserted the house. (fn. 49) The probable explanation is that the latter represents the date when formal episcopal sanction was obtained, but that Odo had acted previously on royal authority. During the absence of Prior Odo at a general chapter in 1292, (fn. 50) the monks obtained a new water supply by an underground conduit from a spring to the north-east of the town. (fn. 51) Prior Bartholomew, who succeeded to the rule in 1298, (fn. 52) together with the sub-prior, cellarer, and sacrist, was excommunicated by Bishop Dalderby in 1311 for refusing to receive William de Pocklington, a Templar, to do penance within the priory. (fn. 53)

The diligence of Sir G. F. Duckett in collecting the original records of the Cluniac order in the National Library of France enables us to give various extracts from the visitations of this priory, mostly of an early date. These visitations were undertaken not merely for the sake of promoting uniformity in discipline, but also for the purpose of maintaining temporal rights against encroachments, and the prevention of waste and dilapidation. The priory was visited in 1262 by priors John and Henry, of Gassicourt and Bermondsey, under the authority of the twenty-fifth abbot of Cluny. They found that the house had a debt of 272½ marks, that all divine and solemn offices were duly celebrated, that all necessaries for the use of the community were sufficiently provided, and all obligations rightly carried out. In addition to this satisfactory report, it was stated that the number of the brethren was thirty-four. (fn. 54) During the rule of Prior Bernard de Kariloco, 1272-85, St. Andrew's was honoured by a short visit of Ivo, lord abbot of Cluny; he arrived on 17 July, 1277, and left on the following day. (fn. 55) In 1275-6 the visitation of the English Cluniac houses was undertaken by John, prior of Wenlock, and Arnulf, equerry to the abbot of Cluny. They arrived at Northampton 6 January, and found at the priory thirty brethren and a debt of 700 marks. As the priory had been visited just previously by visitors on behalf of the prior of La Charité, who had corrected everything that required amending, they forbore to make a further report. (fn. 56) The priory was next visited in the year 1279 by the prior of Montdidier, in France, and by the prior of the English house of Lenton. The visitors arrived at St. Andrew's on 10 July, and found there twenty-five resident monks, which they reported to be about the average number. They further stated that the prior rendered all due obedience to his diocesan, and acknowledged his jurisdiction, and this had been the case for the last sixty years; that the brethren kept their rule, and all sacred and devotional services were properly celebrated; that there was a sufficiency of grain and stock up to the time of the next harvest; that the prior had taken over the house in 1272 from John, prior of Wenlock, with an ostensible debt of 272 marks, but that he found the debt was at least 100 marks more; that the present obligations were 200 marks, but that prior Bernard had leased the estate of Eastby for five years to one of the creditors, Walter de Sham, that he had made over to the said Walter for a large sum of money the living or benefice of Easton, Northants, which was worth £60, that other transactions must be explained verbally, as it would take too long to explain in writing; and that the buildings were in good repair. The visitors condemned the administration of the late prior as most objectionable and negligent. Prior Bernard, they stated, truly pleaded that when first appointed he was but a boy and somewhat careless (aliquantulum puer et minus diligens), but that now by God's help he carried out his duties well, honestly, and with diligence. (fn. 57) In 1314 it was reported at the general chapter that sufficient provision was not made for the infirm at the Northampton house on account of the loss of rents pertaining to the infirmary, and that the customary alms had not been distributed because the almoner, for thirty or more years, had been wrongfully deprived of twenty-five quarters of wheat, as assigned by the late Prior Odo. The prior of La Charité was ordered to see at once to the correction of these evils. (fn. 58) At the general chapter of 1317 the English visitors reported that brother Hugh of St. Margaret, sub-prior of Northampton, had refused to carry out the mandates of the visitors; it was ordered that the English province should see to his due punishment. (fn. 59) In 1331, Conon, who was appointed prior of St. Andrews in 1320, was deputed by the abbot of Cluny to visit as his proctor all the English houses of the order. (fn. 60) The English visitors in 1321 reported to the chapter-general at Cluny that they had received unseemly and irreverent treatment at Northampton Priory, that the prior had refused to pay according to custom their necessary expenses in moving from place to place, and that a monition proving of no avail, they had pronounced excommunication. It was decided to confirm this statement, and to insist upon the sub-prior publishing it in chapter on certain days. (fn. 61)

On the outbreak of the war with France Edward III. seized the lands of all alien priories into his hands; but, at the petition of their superiors, in July, 1337, he granted the custody of the same to them for the payment of a yearly ferm. From that date throughout the reign we find numerous presentations by the crown to Northamptonshire and other livings pertaining to the priory duly recorded in the patent rolls. In 1337 the king appointed John de Grandisson, sub-prior, and Stephen de Bruggenorth, monk of St. Andrew's, to the custody of the priory at an annual rent of 200 marks; the custody was soon afterwards transferred to William de Thonville, prior of Newton Longville. It came, however, to the king's ears that William was managing badly, and staying at St. Andrew's with a large and costly household. (fn. 62) The crown therefore in July, 1339, reappointed Stephen de Bruggenorth to the wardenship. (fn. 63) This office was held by him (the post of prior being in suspension) until May, 1342, when a mandate was issued by the king to deliver up the temporalities to brother Francis, a monk of La Charité, nominated by the prior of that house to be prior of St. Andrew's. It is explained in the mandate that although the prior of La Charité was of parts then at war with England, the king had admitted the appointment because Francis was a native of Flanders, and had taken his fealty on condition that the ferm of the priory should be answered to the king during the war with Philip of Valois. (fn. 64) In July of the same year Thomas de Pabenham and four other of the king's sergeants-at-arms, in conjunction with Simon de Hoghton, were appointed to collect rents and pensions pertaining to the priory of St. Andrew's, many of which were in arrears, so that the prior was unable to pay his ferm. (fn. 65) The recently appointed prior obtained a grant of protection and safe conduct on 26th January, 1342-3, to last until Whitsuntide, on his departure to visit the bishops of Palestrina and Frascati, cardinal-envoys from Rome to France, on business affecting himself. (fn. 66) On the resignation of Prior Francis in 1345 the prior of Wenlock, as commissary of the prior of La Charité, collated Thomas de Synarcleus to the vacant post, praying the king by letters patent to admit him. The presentee had to produce sureties that he would pay the £100 ferm for the custody, that he would act well and faithfully by the king and his subjects, and would not convey apport beyond seas. (fn. 67)

On the conclusion of a peace with France restitution was made 16 February, 1360-1, of the alien priories taken into the king's hand, the priory of St. Andrew's, Northampton, being included in the list. (fn. 68) In February, 1385-6, when it had again devolved into the hands of the crown owing to the war, the abbot of St. James, Northampton, with the sheriff and others was appointed by Richard II. to visit and examine the condition of the house, to correct any defects that might be found, and to report thereon. (fn. 69) The king in December, 1396, granted the custody of the priory to Thomas More and John Everdon, clerks, for as long as the war should last. (fn. 70)

In the first year of his reign Henry IV. restored the alien priories, stipulating only that they should pay to the crown as long as the war lasted the ancient apport due in time of peace to their superiors across the seas, that they should maintain monks and others to the number of the first foundation, and should join with the other clergy of the realm in all charges and subsidies due from the spirituality to the king. (fn. 71) The priory of St. Andrew's, Northampton, was committed to Richard Napton, and the king confirmed to him and his convent the grant that he and his successors would only demand the apport in time of war; the amount is stated here to be 20s. (fn. 72) Prior Napton in 1407 successfully maintained his right to present to the hospital of Kingsthorpe against the crown, and the king formally revoked his former presentation. (fn. 73)

That the priory had suffered greatly from the heavy war indemnity and from a constant succession of custodians appears in the charter of denization granted by Henry IV. in May, 1405. The deed recites that the house was in such ruins, and the estates of the monks had been alienated for such long periods, that there was neither enough to maintain the convent and keep up the divine offices nor to pay the ferm which had been imposed on them. The king therefore, for the glory of God and for the souls of his progenitors, in augmentation of the divine offices and for the relief of the priory, granted, in return for the sum of £100 paid by the prior and convent, that the said house should in future be indigenous, and that the temporalities should not be seized into the king's hand in the occasion of any future war, or any tax or subsidy imposed on them as on an alien house. The community should have the right of free election, and no one should be prior unless he were English and of English birth; both prior and convent should be of English nationality, and have as much freedom as the prior and monks of Thetford or any other priory in England. (fn. 74) Henry VI. confirmed this charter of denization, and signified that for the payment of £20 the prior and convent were henceforth free and quit of anything that might pertain to the king and his successors by reason of a vacancy in the house. (fn. 75)

A roll of receipts of the priory for 1455-6 by Simon Dunstall, receiver of the priory, gives details as to the property of the monks. The total amounted to £210 17s. 9½d., but after the payment of all dues, allocations, tithes, and other necessary expenses had been made, there was only a clear balance left of £89 3s. 2½d. (fn. 76) In November, 1469, during the rule of William Hammond, a commission was issued to the mayor of Northampton and others to arrest and bring before the king John Hamerton and Thomas Grove, monks of St. Andrew's, who had put off their religious habits, and with other evildoers had so threatened William Hammond and his fellow monks that they were unable to fulfil their monastic duties. The arrest of the offenders was not at that time effected, and in 1472 a further mandate was issued to all sheriffs, mayors, etc., to arrest these refractory monks who had spurned religion and to deliver them to the superiors of the Cluniac order for chastisement. (fn. 77) A fifteenth-century compilation of various visitation reports of English Cluniac foundations describes the priory of St. Andrew as a cell directly subject to La Charité. The number of monks, it states, varied from twenty-five to thirty; there were five daily masses, of which three were with music. The ordinary monks' loaves ought to weigh 52 pounds, and a tenth part of what was baked for conventual purposes was given to the poor. (fn. 78)

On the resignation of Prior Hammond in December, 1473, the choice of the convent, licence to elect having previously been obtained, fell on Thomas Sudbury, monk of St. Saviour's, Bermondsey, to whom the temporalities were restored, his election having been confirmed by the prior of Lewes as vicar and commissary of the abbot of Cluny. (fn. 79) In August. 1480, Philibert, prior of La Charité, accepted the appointment of William Brecknock, monk of St. Andrew's, void by the death of John Holder, as prior of that house; the crown granted him a licence to hold the temporalities according to the rule of the Cluniac order, saving to the king fealty; and at the same time he was appointed by the prior of La Charité proctor of all his English cells, viz., Bermondsey, Wenlock, Northampton, Pontefract, and Daventry. (fn. 80)

In 1488 the priory of St. Andrew's was claimed by Thomas Sudbury and William Brecknock. (fn. 81) The dispute probably arose through some clash of authority between the crown and Cluny. Both claimants were cited to appear before the archbishop of Canterbury in February, 1488, but the immediate result is not recorded. (fn. 82) However, on 11 February, 1491, William Brecknock appeared in Lambeth Palace chapel and resigned the priorship, and on the same day the archbishop re-admitted Thomas Sudbury. (fn. 83)

Thomas Yorke, alias Skit or Shere, became prior in 1503. He was presented by papal dispensation in 1509 to the vicarage of St. Bartholomew's, Northampton, and in 1512 to the neighbouring rectory of Holdenby. (fn. 84) He was elected abbot of Whitby in 1517. The last prior of St. Andrew's, Francis Abree or Leicester, is given in the Valor of 1535. (fn. 85) The clear annual value of the priory, after the many outgoings and pensions had been paid, amounted only to £263 7s. 1¼d. (fn. 86)

An account of the surrender of this house 2 March, 1538, to Dr. Layton, and of the pensions granted, with the promotion of the prior to be the first dean of Peterborough, has been already given. (fn. 87) Layton reported that the house was greatly in debt, many lands sold or heavily mortgaged, and the actual walls ruinous. The site seems to have been speedily cleared of its buildings. A year after the dissolution Leland wrote after visiting Northampton: 'St. Andreas, the late monastery of blake monkes, stoode yn the north parte of the toune, hard by the north gate. Simon Saincteliz the first beying erle of Northampton and Huntendone made this house: but he is not buried there; for he dyed in France and there buried. But Erle Simon the seconde and Erle Simon the 3, sunne to the seconde, were both buried in S. Andreas. There was also buried under a flat stone in the quier an archbishop. (fn. 88) There was buried also one Varney that was made knight at the field of Northampton.' (fn. 89)

It is a somewhat curious and not a little interesting fact in the history of the fabric of St. Andrew's Priory, used from time to time for so many purposes of a non-monastic character, that the Cluniac prior made no difficulty about finding the considerable accommodation required for the general chapter of the Benedictine order. Northampton was, no doubt, one of the most convenient centres in England for such a gathering; thus in 1246 when the Benedictine chapter had been summoned at Oxford on St. Matthew's Day, it was proposed that it should be adjourned to Northampton in consequence of the paucity of members, and was shortly after held there. The Benedictines had no house of their own in Northampton or the neighbourhood, and were doubtless glad to avail themselves of the accommodation provided at St. Andrew's. It is known that the general Benedictine chapter was held in this Cluniac house in 1225 (when the abbots of Westminster and Reading presided) in 1246, 1292, 1426, 1429, 1432, 1435, 1471, and in 1473 and 1481, and doubtless on other occasions that have not been recorded. (fn. 90)

Priors of St. Andrew, Northampton

Thomas, (fn. 91) temp. Stephen

Robert Trianel, (fn. 92) made abbot of Ramsey 1180

Robert (fn. 93) occurs 1186

Henry (fn. 94) occurs 1192

Walter (fn. 95) occurs 1200

Samson (fn. 96) occurs about 1220

Ralf (fn. 97) resigned 1228.

Thomas de Longa Villa (fn. 98) appointed 1228

Walter (fn. 99) occurs 1238

Arnulf (fn. 100) occurs 1246

Ralf (fn. 101) occurs about 1250

Robert of Winchester (fn. 102) occurs about 1255

William de Fonville (fn. 103) appointed 1256, resigned 1258-9

Guy appointed 1258-9, (fn. 104) resigned 1270

John of Thetford (fn. 105) appointed 1270, resigned 1272

Bernard de Kariloco (fn. 106) appointed 1272

Odo (fn. 107) appointed 1285, died 1292-3

Robert Darcy (fn. 108) appointed 1293, resigned 1298-9

Bartholomew Wood (fn. 109) appointed 1298-9, resigned 1316

Guichard de Kariloco (fn. 110) appointed 1316, resigned 1320

William Conon (fn. 111) appointed 1320

Francis de Bruges (fn. 112) appointed 1342

Thomas de Synarcleus (fn. 113) appointed 1346

Guy (fn. 114) appointed 1359

John Dokesworth (fn. 115) appointed 1387

Thomas Culverdon (fn. 116) appointed 1309-10

John of Tudenham (fn. 117) appointed 1391

Richard Napton (fn. 118) occurs 1399

Henry Braybrook (fn. 119) occurs 1446

William Hammond (fn. 120) occurs 1469, resigned 1473

Thomas Sudbury (fn. 121) elected 1473

John Holder (fn. 122) died 1480

William Brecknock (fn. 123) elected 1480, resigned 1491

Thomas Sudbury (fn. 124) re-admitted 1491

Thomas Roche (fn. 125) elected 1491

Thomas Yorke alias Skit or Shere (fn. 126) succeeded 1503

William Rekner (fn. 127) elected 1518

Francis Abree alias Leicester (fn. 128) occurs 1535, made first dean of Peterborough.

The first seal of the priory of St. Andrew is twelfth century (fn. 129) and represents the apostle seated lifting up the right hand, in his left hand a book, his feet resting on a foot board. Legend:


Another seal, 1259-1262, attached to a Harleian charter (fn. 130) is very imperfect. The obverse:

. . . . NO . . .

Reverse: A smaller pointed oval counterseal with an eagle displayed. Legend:


Seal of Prior William de Fonville, 1258. (fn. 131) Pointed oval, represents St. Andrew with nimbus, three-quarter length, seated, lifting up the right hand and holding in his left a book. Legend:


Signet of Prior John Tudenham, 1394. (fn. 132) Oval represents St. Andrew crucified on his cross saltire in a carved and canopied niche. In base under an arch the prior half-length. Legend:


Seal of Prior Thomas Roche, 1422. Pointed oval, an indistinct fragment of the upper part remains representing the crucifixion of St. Andrew. Legend wanting.


  • 1. No importance can be attached to the statement of Ingulf that in 1076 he found at Crowland two monks who had been professed at St. Andrew's. Ingulf (Gale ed.), 76. The usually accepted date for the foundation of this priory is 1084, but Mr. Round (V. C. H. Northants, i. 293) has shown that it is probably about ten years later.
  • 2. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 1.
  • 3. Ingulf states that the Conqueror first offered Judith the widow, but that she refused Simon on account of his lameness. Ingulf (Gale ed.), 72–3. Dugdale, Baronage, i. 56, 58.
  • 4. Leland, Itin. (Herne ed.), i. 9.
  • 5. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 9.
  • 6. In the fine chartulary of the monks of St. Andrew's containing innumerable grants to this wealthy house appear the names of different kings of England as benefactors, as well as of David, earl of Huntingdon, brother of the king of Scotland, who afterwards ascended the Scotch throne; Malcolm, king of Scotland; Henry, son of the king of Scotland; and William, king of Scotland.
  • 7. Royal MS. 11 B. ix. f. 55d.
  • 8. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 3.
  • 9. Ibid. f. 3d.
  • 10. Ibid. f. 4.
  • 11. Ibid. f. 6.
  • 12. Ibid f. 13.
  • 13. Ibid. f. 14d.
  • 14. Ibid.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Pope Nich. Tax. The entries relating to this priory have been extracted by Dugdale, Mon. v. 186, note c. An entry in the chartulary of the monks states that Prior Canon on his preferment to the house in 1320 found the priory, according to an old document (veteri papiro) of Prior Guichard de Kariloco 1316, seised of the following churches in 'proprios usus': All Saints, St. Sepulchre, St. Giles, St. Edmund extra Northampton, Exton, Ryhall, Moulton, Brafield, Horton, Preston, Hardingstone and Sulgrave, and that the monks had the patronage of the churches of Potton, 'Newenton in Kesteyn,' Sywell, Weston Favell, Little Billing, Quinton, 'Stotesbyry,' as well as the churches of St. Gregory, St. Michael, St. Mary, St. Bartholomew, and the hospital of St. David of Kingsthorpe. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 263.
  • 17. Petri Ven. Abb. Clun. Epistolæ, lib. ii. 8.
  • 18. Mention has already been made in the Ecclesiastical Section, p. 8 of the ever-memorable escape of Thomas à Becket from St. Andrew's, and of the holding of Parliament within its walls. On Ascension Day, 12 May, 1338, the Great Seal was delivered to the king in a chapel of the priory, who forthwith delivered it to the bishop of Lincoln for custody. In January of the following year the bishop waited on the king in a chamber of St. Andrew's Priory, wherein Queen Isabella was then lodging, and in the presence of the earls of Surrey and March delivered the seal to the king in a sealed bag.
  • 19. See Bermondsey, V.C.H. Surrey.
  • 20. Bodleian Charters, Northants, ch. 7.
  • 21. For the due observance of this charter six priests signed as witnesses, three on one side and three on the other. Cal. of Doc. France, 187–8.
  • 22. Rot. Cur. Regis, ed. by Palgrave, ii. 118.
  • 23. Cal. Anct. D. (P.R.O.) ii. C 2280.
  • 24. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii. 2.
  • 25. Ibid. pp. 2, 3.
  • 26. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.) iii. 229.
  • 27. Pat. 10 John, m. 1.
  • 28. Close, 8 Henry III. m. 15.
  • 29. Corpus Christi Coll. Camb. MS. cclxxxi. sub anno. This MS. is termed a Chronicle of St. Andrew's, but is in reality a chronicle of general history extending from A.D. 901 to 1339; the early part is a transscript of the Melrose Chronicle. A note in the volume says that it belonged at one time to Burton Abbey, but is evidently the work of a Northampton monk. In the latter part there are a very few entries of local interest of which the above is the most original and valuable.
  • 30. Close, 1 Edw. I. m. 8. On 21 January, 1383–4, the prior and convent received acquittance of five marks paid for the temporalities during the last voidance. Close, 12 Edw. I. m. 9.
  • 31. Ibid. 3 Edw. II. m. 5d.
  • 32. Parl. Writs (Rec. Com.), ii. div. 111, 1230. They were returned in 1297 from the county of Northampton as holding lands and rent to the value of £20 yearly and upwards, and as such summoned under general writ to perform military service beyond the seas. Ibid. i. 762.
  • 33. Close, 4 Edw. ii. m. 7d.
  • 34. Ibid. 10 Edw. II. m. 23.
  • 35. Ibid. m. 25d.
  • 36. Ibid. 13 Edw. II. m. 4d.
  • 37. Ibid. 19 Edw. II. m. 25d.
  • 38. Ibid. 9 Edw. III. m. 6.
  • 39. Ibid. 12 Edw. III. pt. iii. m. 22d.
  • 40. Ibid. 13 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 14.
  • 41. Ibid. 14 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 34.
  • 42. Pat. 14 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 23.
  • 43. Not only was attendance at the general chapter of the order compulsory, but each superior on being appointed appears to have obtained leave of absence for a period, sometimes extending to a year or even eighteen months, while he visited the mother house.
  • 44. Duckett, Chart. and Rec. of Cluny, ii. 110, 1. In 1243 Pope Innocent IV. issued a mandate to the prior of St. Andrew's to annul whatever was done by the bishops or prelates of England to the prejudice of the Cistercian monasteries during the voidance of the apostolic see. Cal. of Papal L. i. 204.
  • 45. Linc. Epis. Reg. Roll of Wells.
  • 46. Ibid. Roll of Gravesend.
  • 47. Corpus Christi Coll. Camb. MS. cclxxxi. sub anno.
  • 48. Pat. 13 Edw. I. m. 18.
  • 49. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. of Sutton, f. 14. It is here stated that admission to the house was always made by the bishop, as appeared from the registers of Bishops Wells, Grossetête, Lexington, and Gravesend, which were then extant.
  • 50. In 1287 Odo absented himself beyond the seas from July to Martinmas, and from July, 1290, until the following Easter. On 26th August, 1292, he obtained safe conduct to go beyond the seas to attend a general chapter of Cluny and La Charité. Pat. 15 Edw. I. m. 6; 18 Edw. I. m. 16; 19 Edw. I. m. 25; 20 Edw. I. ms. 5, 8.
  • 51. Ibid. 20 Edw. I. m. 1.
  • 52. Pat. 26 Edw. I. m. 8.
  • 53. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. of Dalderby, ff. 195, 198.
  • 54. Duckett, Visitation of English Cluniac Foundations, p. 13.
  • 55. Corpus Christi Coll. Camb. MS. cclxxxi. sub anno.
  • 56. Duckett, Vistation of English Cluniac Foundations, p. 16.
  • 57. Duckett, Visitation of English Cluniac Foundations, pp. 22, 23.
  • 58. Ibid. p. 303.
  • 59. Ibid. p. 317.
  • 60. Pat. 5 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 28.
  • 61. Duckett, Visitations and Chapters-General of Cluny, p. 326.
  • 62. Under date of 1347 it is stated in the Patent Rolls that the king had lately, at the request of Robert de Ufford, earl of Suffolk, committed to brother William de Thonville the keeping of the alien priory of St. Andrew's, so long as the priory should remain in his hands on account of the war with France, at a rent of 200 marks yearly; that the said William had afterwards petitioned to be relieved of this custody, and his prayer was granted; and that now, fearing lest he should be prosecuted in time to come by his enemies for trespasses or waste done during his custody, he prayed that he might be pardoned such possible offences by the king, as he had paid his ferm during the whole time he had the custody. A certificate to this effect was granted. Pat. 21 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 7.
  • 63. Ibid. 13 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 26. The king assigned in December, 1341, 156 marks yearly during pleasure out of the ferm of the priory to Robert de Artoys. Ibid. 15 Edw. II. pt. 2, m. 20.
  • 64. Ibid. 16 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 1.
  • 65. Ibid. pt. 2, m. 24d.
  • 66. Pat. 17 Edw. III. pt. 1, m. 41.
  • 67. Fine R. 19 Edw. III. m. 22.
  • 68. Rymer Foedera (Rec. Com.), iii. pt. 2, 602.
  • 69. Pat. 9 Ric. II. pt. 2, m. 30.
  • 70. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 267. The list given in the chartulary of the priory of the different custodians of the house during the war varies somewhat in the dates of their appointment from entries in the Patent Rolls.
  • 71. Pat. 1. Hen. IV. pt. 2, m. 18.
  • 72. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. ff. 268, 269.
  • 73. Ibid. ff. 23, 25.
  • 74. Pat. 6 Hen. IV. pt. 2, m. 25. Cited in the chartulary, Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 25.
  • 75. Pat. 16 Hen. VI. pt. 2, m. 12.
  • 76. Harl. Rolls, K. 7. See also Harl. Rolls, K. 8.
  • 77. Pat. 12 Edw. IV. pt. 2, m. 32.
  • 78. Duckett, Visitations of English Cluniac Foundations, p. 41.
  • 79. Pat. 13 Edw. IV. pt. 2, ms. 14, 16.
  • 80. Ibid. 20 Edw. IV. pt. 1, m. 3.
  • 81. In April, 1487, the temporalities of Wenlock were restored to Thomas Sudbury, appointed by Prior Brecknock as proctor of La Charité. Ibid. 22 Edw. IV. pt. 1, m. 22.
  • 82. Lambeth Registers, Morton, f. 8.
  • 83. Ibid. f. 29. The convent petitioned Henry VII. that whereas in 'late yeres past' there had been great trouble between one Thomas Sudbury 'pretending' to be prior and William Brecknock 'pretending' to be likewise, and the goods of the house had been greatly wasted and annuities granted away recklessly, he would annul all such grants, leases, and obligations except such as were approved by the chancellor and the bishop of Lincoln and another. R. of Parl. vl. 434.
  • 84. Browne Willis, Hist. of Mitred Abbies, 11, 159.
  • 85. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv. 313–15.
  • 86. Ibid.
  • 87. See Eccl. Hist. above.
  • 88. The archbishop of Treves, who died while attending the council at Pipewell.
  • 89. Leland, Itin. (Hearne ed.), i. 9.
  • 90. From information kindly supplied by Mr. E. Bishop.
  • 91. Epistolae Petri Ven. Abb. Clun. lib. ii. 8.
  • 92. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 241.
  • 93. Cal. of Doc. France, i. 187–8.
  • 94. Cott. MS. Vesp. E. xvii. ff. 80, 82.
  • 95. Harl. MS. 6952, f. 208.
  • 96. Reg. of St. Andrew's, 'penes Joh. Theyer de Coupershill juxta Gloucester,' f. 20, as cited in the original Mon. This register cannot now be traced.
  • 97. Linc. Epis. Reg. Roll of Wells.
  • 98. Ibid.
  • 99. Duckett, Charters and Records of Cluni, ii. 110–11.
  • 100. Assize R. 614, m. 44.
  • 101. Reg. of St. Andrew's penes Joh. Theyer, f. 21.
  • 102. Prynne's Coll. ii. 892.
  • 103. Linc. Epis. Reg. Roll of Gravesend.
  • 104. Ibid.
  • 105. Ibid.
  • 106. Ibid.
  • 107. The house is represented as vacant in 1288 'by the desertion of brother Bernard the last prior' (Ibid. Roll of Sutton), but the Patent Rolls (13 Edw. I. m. 18) record that the temporalities of the priory were restored to Eudo or Odo in May, 1258.
  • 108. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. of Sutton, f. 52, and Pat. 21 Edw. I. m. 12.
  • 109. Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. of Sutton, f. 66.
  • 110. Ibid. Inst. of Dalderby, f. 136d. and Pat. 10 Edw. II. pt. 2, m. 20.
  • 111. Ibid. 13 Edw. II. m. 16.
  • 112. Ibid. 16 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 1.
  • 113. Fine R. 19 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 22.
  • 114. Browne Willis, Hist. of Mitred Abbies, ii. 159.
  • 115. Pat. 10 Ric. II. pt. 2, m. 9.
  • 116. Ibid. 14 Ric. II. pt. 2, m. 37.
  • 117. Ibid. 15 Ric. II. pt. 1, m. 16.
  • 118. Reg. of St. Andrew, penes Joh. Theyer, f. 135.
  • 119. Vesp. E. xvii. f. 19.
  • 120. Pat. 9 Edw. IV. pt. 2, m. 20d.
  • 121. Ibid. 13 Edw. IV. pt. 2, m. 14, m. 16.
  • 122. Ibid. 20 Edw. IV. pt. 1, m. 3.
  • 123. Ibid.
  • 124. Lambeth Reg. Morton, f. 29.
  • 125. Willis, Coll. cited by Bridges, Hist. of Northants, i. 454.
  • 126. Willis, Hist. of Mitred Abbies, ii. 159.
  • 127. Pat. 9 Hen. VIII. pt. i. m. 4.
  • 128. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv. 213.
  • 129. B. M. lxix. 82.
  • 130. Harl. Chart. 84 f. 40.
  • 131. Harl. Chart. 84 d. 21.
  • 132. Add. Chart. 19,951.