Alien houses: The priory of Cogges

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

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'Alien houses: The priory of Cogges', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907), pp. 161-162. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Alien houses: The priory of Cogges", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907) 161-162. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "Alien houses: The priory of Cogges", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907). 161-162. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

In this section



The alien priory of Cogges, near Witney, attached to the Benedictine abbey of Fécamp, was founded by Manasses Arsic in 1103. The original deed (fn. 1) gives the history thus; on 3 November, 1103, the charter which Manasses Arsic had previously granted to the church of Fécamp was renewed by him at Cogges in the presence of William, the third abbot, (fn. 2) his monks and servants; and there and then he gave them his house of Cogges to build a priory (ecclesiam): he gave them the church of Cogges, and two carucates of land; at Fringford (Oxon) the church, two carucates and two mills; two-thirds of the tithe of his demesne at Somerton (Oxon), Nutstead, Maplescombe, Farningham, Tunstall, Sheppey, and Combe (all in Kent), at Swindon (Wiltshire), Cassington and Wilcote (Oxon); all he had in Tew (Oxon); two-thirds of the tithe of the demesne in Newington, Barton, Fritwell, and Ledwell (Oxon), and of Toft, Owersby, and Fillingham in Lincolnshire. (fn. 3) Four years later Manasses and his wife, being present at Fécamp, granted also the church of Somerton; and King Henry confirmed the whole at Stamford, 5 July, 1110. It may be that Manasses was following the example of the foundation made by Robert d'Oilly at Oxford some thirty years earlier: the same patron saint, St. George, was chosen, (fn. 4) and the method of endowment was the same, namely, by giving two-thirds of the tithe of the demesne of the manors he held. The fee of Arsic came into his hands about ten years before this foundation, but as some of the manors, Balscott (Oxon) and Ramesham for instance, did not contribute tithes to Cogges, we may conclude that they had already been granted out to knights.

With this beginning Cogges might have become a great house, but it seems as if this was the only gift that was made to it. Moreover these portions of tithe in distant counties, as they could not be collected in kind by the prior, were granted away for small annual sums, and produced but little. Thus St. Frideswide's, Oxford, paid 2s. for the tithe at Fritwell; (fn. 5) Oseney 10s. for the tithe of Barton Odonis; (fn. 6) Jordan de Ros had the tithes of Farningham at 2s. a year for life; (fn. 7) and those of Maplescombe were held by the rector for 2s. (fn. 8) In 1294 there was also a pension of 10s. a year from Eynsham Abbey, (fn. 9) no doubt for the tithes of Cassington. Also the possessions of the priory seem to have been gradually alienated. In 1233 the law courts decided that the advowson of Fringford did not belong to the priory; (fn. 10) the church of Somerton also was lost; and in 1291 the income was only £16, derived from rents in Fringford and Tew, and from the church of Cogges, with a pension from the church of Fringford.

In 1294 Cogges with other alien houses was taken for a time into the hands of the king, and on many subsequent occasions. In 1338 the king allowed the prior to hold it at a rent of £10, but in compassion of the poverty of himself and his house, and for the glory of God and St. George the Martyr, granted that he should be quit of that rent. (fn. 11) In the reign of Henry V the priory was seized by the king and was given to Eton College (fn. 12) in 1441.

Priors of Cogges (fn. 13)

Samson, c. 1160 (fn. 14)

Michael, occurs 1195 (fn. 15) and 1202 (fn. 16) and 1205 (fn. 17)

Roger, occurs 1221, (fn. 18) resigned 1226

Hugh, appointed 1226, (fn. 19) resigned 1227

John de London, appointed 1227 (fn. 20)

Elerius, appointed 1238 (fn. 21)

Gervasius, appointed 1248 (fn. 22)

William de Esmerville, appointed 1251 (fn. 23)

Hugh, resigned 1262 (fn. 24)

William Barbeyn, appointed 1262, (fn. 25) resigned 1277

Hugh, appointed 1277 (fn. 26)

Stephen de Alba Malla, resigned 1291 (fn. 27)

Mathew de Ponte, appointed 1291, (fn. 28) resigned 1299

Roger Hardy appointed 1299, (fn. 29) resigned 1302

Vigor, appointed 1302, (fn. 30) resigned 1303

William de Limpeville, appointed 1303, (fn. 31) died 1333

Ralph le Frison, appointed 1333, (fn. 32) resigned 1341

Walter de Stauren, appointed 1341 (fn. 33)

William Hamon, the king's surgeon, occurs 1347, (fn. 34) and in 1367 (fn. 35)

Thomas Tynny, appointed 1377 (fn. 36)

Nicholas Goyn, appointed 1380 (fn. 37)

Richard de Byannay, appointed 1402 (fn. 38)


  • 1. Cart. Antiq., S. 9. It is printed in Dugdale, Mon. vi, 1003, but with several errors, especially in punctuation. It appears also in Round, Cal. Doc. France, 40, but from a chartulary which omits part of the deed.
  • 2. Among the Cart. Antiq. S. 1-8, are deeds which show that the abbot was in England in 1103.
  • 3. The identifications are due to Mr. J. H. Round (Index to Cal. Doc. France).
  • 4. Pat. 12 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 8.
  • 5. Cartul. of St. Frideswide, ii, 222 (Oxf. Hist. Soc.).
  • 6. Oseney Chart. No. 144.
  • 7. Rec. Transcripts, Ser. ii, 140 A, No. 373.
  • 8. Cal. Doc. France, 47, 49.
  • 9. Add. MS. 6164, 13.
  • 10. Bracton, Note Bk. (ed. Maitland), No. 798.
  • 11. Pat. 12 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 8.
  • 12. Bishop Tanner asserts that there were many deeds of Cogges preserved at Eton in drawer No. 2; there is a drawer labelled 'Coggs,' but a search among the muniments of the college, aided by the vice-provost, failed to discover any deeds of Cogges.
  • 13. The priors seem to have been the regular agents for the abbey of Fécamp in England. See Cal. Doc. France, 50, 51.
  • 14. Eynsham Cart. No. 131.
  • 15. Feet of F. (Pipe Roll Soc.).
  • 16. Cal. Doc. France, 50, 51.
  • 17. Rot. de Finibus (Rec. Com.), 319.
  • 18. Oseney Chart. No. 144.
  • 19. Roll of Hugh Wells.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. Roll of Grosteste.
  • 22. Ibid.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Roll of Gravesend.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Linc. Epis. Reg. Sutton, Inst. fol. 128.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Ibid. 140.
  • 30. Ibid. Dalderby, Inst. fol. 143.
  • 31. Ibid. 146.
  • 32. Ibid. Burghersh, Inst. fol. 267.
  • 33. Ibid. 289.
  • 34. Pat. 21 Edw. III, pt. iii, m. 7.
  • 35. Bodl. Chart. Oseney, 77.
  • 36. He was appointed by the bishop. 'The post belonging to the collation of the bishop by lapse of time.' Linc. Epis. Reg. Buckingham, Inst. fol. 366.
  • 37. Ibid. 370.
  • 38. Ibid. Beaufort, Inst. fol. 210. He is called Richard de Beaumeney in Acts of the P. C. 4 Hen. IV.