House of the Gilbertine order: The priory of Clattercote

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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'House of the Gilbertine order: The priory of Clattercote', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907), pp. 105. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "House of the Gilbertine order: The priory of Clattercote", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907) 105. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "House of the Gilbertine order: The priory of Clattercote", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907). 105. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

In this section



At Clattercote, six miles north of Banbury, there was a house of the Gilbertine Order, originally a hospital for lepers. A deed preserved at Lincoln Cathedral throws some light on its foundation and history. By this deed, William, master of the order of Sempringham, gives notice that 'as the house of Clattercote has so prospered in worldly possessions by the gifts of the faithful, that its own resources are sufficient to support the brethren who live there; and in place of the infirm, whose maintenance was of necessity more expensive, by a wiser plan, the healthy are elected, at our suggestion and request: we therefore quitclaim to Richard, bishop of Lincoln (1258-79), £4 from an annual payment of £6 10s., which was granted by Bishop Robert de Chesney, in place of certain tithes, for the more liberal maintenance of the infirm of the house of Clattercote.' (fn. 1) The house therefore existed in the time of Robert de Chesney (1148-66) and was possibly founded by him, Clattercote being a hamlet on the episcopal manor of Cropredy. (fn. 2)

A confirmation of Pope Innocent, 5 March, 1216, (fn. 3) gives the possessions of the 'house of St. Leonard for lepers' as 2½ hides in Clattercote (apparently the whole hamlet), 9 houses in Banbury, a virgate in Little Burton near Banbury, 2 virgates in Appeltree, Northants; in Warwickshire, 18 acres in Ratley, a virgate in Wormleighton, and 200 acres in Fenney Compton, with pasturage for 500 sheep, 8 oxen, and 4 horses. Four years later Pope Honorius granted a general confirmation (fn. 4) 'to the prior and brethren of the hospital of lepers at Clattercote,' with an exemption from the payment of certain small tithes.

In 1246, Robert, prior of Clattercote, having obtained from Robert, prior of Laund, a property in the adjoining hamlet of Claydon, to be held in fee-farm, (fn. 5) agreed to pay to the bishop of Lincoln 1 mark a year 'for the said manor' in lieu of reliefs. (fn. 6) Soon after, as we have already seen, Clattercote ceased to be a hospital of lepers, and became an ordinary Gilbertine priory. In 1291 the possessions of the priory, that are enumerated, are all in the immediate neighbourhood, the land in Fenney Compton being three carucates (fn. 7) and the land in Clattercote and Claydon reckoned at over £22; the total income was about £33, to which must be added the annual payment of £2 10s. by the bishop of Lincoln, a payment which was continued until the dissolution of the monasteries.

In 1343 Thomas earl of Warwick granted the canons of Clattercote the rectory of Ratley, Warwickshire, and five years later the bishop ordained a vicarage there. (fn. 8) We see from the Valor Ecclesiasticus that after payments to the vicar of Ratley, the archdeacon, the bishop, and the cathedral of Lichfield, this gift was worth £10 a year, yet in 1535 (fn. 9) the income is still about £35, the properties being much the same as before, but the rents from Clattercote and Claydon being less, and in 1526 the net income is stated to be only £12. In 1536, at the dissolution of monasteries, the house consisted of John Grene, prior, and only three canons. (fn. 10) The college of Christ Church, Oxford, obtained part of the property of the priory, but possesses few of the old deeds.

Priors of Clattercote

Adam, about 1180 (fn. 11)

Robert, 1246

John, 1344 (fn. 12)

John Greene, 1535

The seal represents a figure with a pastoral staff in the right hand, perhaps St. Leonard, with the legend:—



  • 1. This would amount to 2s. 6d. a week to be divided among the infirm, if their number was twelve.
  • 2. The Pipe Rolls of 1167 and 1168 record that while the bishopric of Lincoln was in the hands of the king, an annual payment was made to the infirm of Clattercote, amounting in 1168 to £10 9s. 8d.
  • 3. Oxf. Chart. No. 146, Bodl. Lib.
  • 4. Ibid. No. 147.
  • 5. It was a quarter of a knight's fee; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 707.
  • 6. From a deed at Lincoln Cathedral.
  • 7. And reckoned at a quarter of a knight's fee; Cal. Inq. Hen. III. 213.
  • 8. Dugdale, Warwick, 419.
  • 9. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 197.
  • 10. Rymer, Foedera, xiv, 608.
  • 11. From a manuscript note in the copy of Dugdale's Monasticon in the Bodleian Library. The authority for this name is not mentioned.
  • 12. Catalogue Add. MSS. B.M. 1894-8.