Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Dieulacres

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1970.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


G C Baugh. W L Cowie. J C Dickinson. Duggan A P. A K B Evans. R H Evans. Una C Hannam. P Heath. D A Johnson. Hilda Johnstone. Ann J Kettle. J L Kirby. R Mansfield. A Saltman, 'Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Dieulacres', in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3, (London, 1970) pp. 230-235. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

G C Baugh. W L Cowie. J C Dickinson. Duggan A P. A K B Evans. R H Evans. Una C Hannam. P Heath. D A Johnson. Hilda Johnstone. Ann J Kettle. J L Kirby. R Mansfield. A Saltman. "Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Dieulacres", in A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3, (London, 1970) 230-235. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

Baugh, G C. Cowie, W L. Dickinson, J C. Duggan A P. Evans, A K B. Evans, R H. Hannam, Una C . Heath, P. Johnson, D A. Johnstone, Hilda. Kettle, Ann J. Kirby, J L. Mansfield, R. Saltman, A. "Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Dieulacres", A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3, (London, 1970). 230-235. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

In this section


The Cistercian abbey of Dieulacres beside the Churnet a mile north of Leek was founded in 1214 by Ranulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, possibly on the site of a former hermitage. The story is that Ranulph, after the dissolution of his first marriage in 1199 followed by a second marriage in 1199 or 1200, had a vision, while in bed, of his grandfather, Ranulph de Gernon, Earl of Chester. The elder Ranulph told his grandson to go to 'Cholpesdale in the territory of Leek' and found a Cistercian abbey on the site of the former chapel of St. Mary the Virgin there, providing it with buildings and ample possessions. Ranulph went on to command that in the seventh year of the interdict that was to be laid on England his grandson was to transfer to this new site the Cistercians of Poulton (in Pulford, Ches.); this was a daughter-house of Combermere (Ches.) and had been founded in the elder Ranulph's name by Robert the Butler between 1146 and 1153. When Ranulph told his wife Clemence about his vision and the proposed foundation she exclaimed in French: 'Deux encres' — 'May God grant it increase'. Ranulph thereupon fixed the name of the place as 'Deulencres' and gave it this name when he laid the foundation stone of the abbey. He transferred the monks from Poulton in 1214. The abbey chronicle states that the transfer took place particularly because of the attacks of the Welsh at whose hands the monks of Poulton suffered many injuries. (fn. 1) It has also been suggested that the foundation may have been a condition of the dissolution of Ranulph's first marriage in 1199. (fn. 2)

Poulton had been given extensive property in Cheshire — half the vill of Poulton, the manor of Byley (in Middlewich) with woods and a mill, land at Alderley, Bradford (in Davenham), Churton (in Aldford), Hull (in Great Budworth), and Wettenhall (in Over), pasture at Chelford and Withington (in Prestbury), and fishing rights in the Dee. (fn. 3) Ranulph made a number of new grants in free alms. He gave the monks Rudyard as the site of the abbey; the manor of Leek with its recently established Wednesday market and eight-day fair; the church of Leek with its chapels; land at Wetwood and 'Cocsuche'; a salt-pan at Middlewich (Ches.) free of toll and of suit at the 'wichmote'; and exemption from the payment of pannage dues, toll corn at Chester mills, and toll on all goods bought and sold on his estates. (fn. 4) He also granted the monks mills at Leek and Hulme in exchange for more distant property. (fn. 5) About 1230 Ranulph granted the advowson of Sandbach (Ches.) to the monks, and in 1254 they vindicated their right against the claim of Roger de Sandbach. (fn. 6) In 1256 the bishop appropriated the church to Dieulacres subject to the ordination of a vicarage and the payment of 40 marks a year to Adam de Stanford, Archdeacon of Chester, for life. (fn. 7) By 1223 the bishop had appropriated Leek church to the monks, subject to the appointment of a vicar. (fn. 8) At Ranulph's instigation King John granted 'the pasture' of Rossall (in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancs.) to Dieulacres in 1216; though subsequently seized by the Crown it was restored in 1227, and in 1228 Henry III granted 'all the land' of Rossall to the monks for 700 marks to hold in free alms instead of at the royal pleasure. (fn. 9) When Ranulph died in 1232 his heart was buried at Dieulacres at his own wish; (fn. 10) his widow was buried there in 1253. (fn. 11)

Some rights of patronage were evidently claimed by the family of Robert the Butler. William of Measham, Robert's grandson, opposed the move from Poulton, and his agreement was not secured until some 25 years later. About the same time, in 1241, he remitted (for 16 marks) the 20s. rent which the monks had been paying for Poulton, and he also gave his body for burial at Dieulacres. (fn. 12) The patronage remained with the earldom of Chester, and in the early 16th century Henry VIII acted as patron in right of the earldom. (fn. 13)

Several other donors made grants of land in the earlier 13th century, most of it in the Leek area but some in Cheshire (at Pulford, Dodleston, and Macclesfield, and salt-pans at Middlewich and Nantwich) and in Lancashire (at Great Eccleston in St. Michael-on-Wyre, at Thornton in Poultonle-Fylde, and at Little Bispham in Great Bispham); pasture was acquired at Saltney (Flints.). The advowson of Cheddleton was granted by Hugh de Cheddleton. The abbey was also buying or otherwise acquiring land around Leek during the 13th and 14th centuries, including land that had been granted in perpetuity to tenants. About 1270 it received a fee-farm grant from Shrewsbury Abbey of the vills of Norbreck (in Great Bispham) and Little Bispham at a rent of 8 marks a year. (fn. 14) By the 1240s Dieulacres had been granted an estate in London by Everard the goldsmith, son of Edmund de Angulo; it then sold this property for 100 marks except for a house in Wood Street which it retained as its London house. (fn. 15) The abbey was also granted a house in Stafford. (fn. 16) The abbey's possessions were confirmed by the Pope in 1246. (fn. 17) In 1291 its Staffordshire estates were valued at £37 13s. 8d. with Leek church worth another £28, (fn. 18) its Cheshire estates at £29 15s. with Sandbach church worth another £22 13s. 4d., and those at Rossall at £61 10s. (fn. 19) By this time Dieulacres was engaged in the wool trade — its sheep at Rossall are mentioned as early as 1228 — and the Black Prince was buying its wool in 1347. (fn. 20) By the mid 13th century numerous granges had been established in the Leek area, in Cheshire, and at Rossall; by the dissolution there were seven or eight granges, mostly in the Leek area. (fn. 21)

The development of the Staffordshire Moorlands led to clashes with other interests there, notably those of other religious houses. Early on Dieulacres agreed not to accept lands and pastures within a mile of Croxden Abbey, and in 1251, after a dispute had arisen, a further agreement was made with particular reference to the rights of Dieulacres in Field. (fn. 22) A dispute with Trentham Priory ended in 1244 with an agreement granting the abbey right of passage through the priory's land at Wall just south of Leek and allowing it to build a bridge over the Churnet there. (fn. 23) A dispute over tithe in Wall was settled in 1257 when Dieulacres waived part of its claim in return for recognition of the remainder and the payment by Trentham of 2s. a year. (fn. 24) A quarrel with Hulton ended in 1252 in an agreement setting out the rights of the two abbeys, mainly in connexion with pasture and tithes, at Mixon, Bradnop, and Morridge and in Leek parish generally. (fn. 25) In the same year another dispute with Combermere Abbey over pasture rights and vicinitas grangiarum in the manor of Leek ended in a full recognition of the rights of Dieulacres which in return agreed to pay Combermere 1 mark a year. (fn. 26) A dispute with William de Ipstones was settled in 1244 when Dieulacres secured pasture rights in Ipstones but recognized William's inclosures there, while the following year the abbey secured a payment in lieu of tithe of hay from William and his tenants at Ipstones. (fn. 27)

The abbot was in fact a great landowner, second only to the Abbot of Burton among the heads of Staffordshire houses. (fn. 28) In 1293 he was claiming view of frankpledge, gallows, markets, fairs, waif, and free warren in the manor of Leek. (fn. 29) His hunting rights covered a wide area north from Leek to the county boundary. (fn. 30) As late as 1504 a lease of Poulton manor stipulated that the tenant must entertain the abbot and 12 mounted companions for six days twice a year and the cellarer and other abbey servants whenever they came to Poulton. (fn. 31) At the Dissolution, besides the normal officials on the estates, there was a 'forester of the forest of Leek'. The abbey buildings included a rider's chamber and a butler's chamber, and there were 30 servants there. (fn. 32)

Quite apart from the 13th-century disputes over property rights the abbey had a specially turbulent history. By 1339 it had even been seized by the Crown on the plea that it had been acquired in defiance of the Statute of Mortmain, but the abbot had no difficulty in proving that it had been founded long before the Statute. (fn. 33) The main cause of friction with the Crown at this time was the royal claim to the right of imposing a corrodian. (fn. 34) In 1344 the king requested the monks to maintain Richard de Preston for life at Dieulacres in succession to Robert de Carmenton; the king alleged that Robert had at the request of Edward I been granted the food and drink of a monk, 18s. 9d. a year for clothing, and a room with fuel, lighting, and a bed. The abbot denied that Robert had been so maintained and also that the king had any right to impose a corrodian, the abbey being in the patronage of the earls of Chester. The king based his claim on the fact that the earldom was now in his hands, but a jury upheld the abbot. (fn. 35) Nonetheless corrodians continued to be imposed by Edward III, Richard II, and Henry VI. (fn. 36)

Royal grants of protection were frequent in the 13th and earlier 14th centuries: in 1334, for instance, two years' protection was granted to the monks and the servants whom they were sending to buy victuals in Staffordshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire — the abbey was described as 'situated in a lonely waste on the confines of the county of Stafford'. (fn. 37) The Black Prince as patron extended his protection to the abbey in the 1340s and 1350s. (fn. 38) In 1351 he ordered the justiciar of Chester to protect Dieulacres, along with three Cheshire abbeys founded by the prince's ancestors, from all annoyance; in particular he was to put an end to the impoverishment of the abbeys 'by the frequent visits of people of the country with grooms, horses, and greyhounds'. (fn. 39)

In fact the abbey appears as aggressor as much as victim in numerous breaches of the peace in the area during the later Middle Ages, the abbot maintaining armed bands like any troublesome lay magnate. A royal commission of inquiry in 1379 recited 'information that one William, Abbot of Dieulacres, desiring to perpetrate maintenance in his marches and oppress the people', had kept a band of 21 retainers 'to stay with him . . . to do all the mischief they can to the people in the county of Stafford and that they have lain in wait for them, assaulted, maimed, and killed some, and driven others from place to place until they made a fine with them'. (fn. 40) In 1380 a similar group was indicted for having beheaded John de Warton at Leek by command of Abbot William. The abbot surrendered and was imprisoned, but he was soon pardoned and released. (fn. 41) At the beginning of Henry V's reign the county was in a very disturbed state, and among the many indictments was one involving a monk of Dieulacres and a servant of the abbot. They were accused of being members of a group of 80 who had broken into William Egerton's park at Cheddleton in 1413 and stolen ironstone. The abbot, Richard Whitmore, was also accused of being privy to their action and of maintaining them afterwards at the abbey. (fn. 42) Abbot John Godefelowe was involved in various lawsuits connected with breaches of the peace, including the quarrel between the Meverells and the Bassetts in the 1440s when he supported the Meverells. (fn. 43) In 1517 Abbot William Albion and eight monks of Dieulacres were accused of having been involved the previous year in a serious riot at Leek. This aimed at preventing the arrest of Thomas Hyde, who was a servant of the steward of Leek and was accused of complicity in a murder. At one point the abbot was seen to 'take his bow from his monk Whitney and take an arrow from under his girdle and nick it into his bow'. William Egerton of Wall Grange, who had come to arrest Hyde, took sanctuary in Leek church, and the abbot's servants set up a road block of 'trees, poles, and ladders' and tried to prevent all access to him. (fn. 44) Both Albion and his successor were deposed, (fn. 45) while the last abbot, Thomas Whitney, was involved in several acts of violence against tenants of the abbey. (fn. 46)

There is little evidence about the internal life of Dieulacres, although its turbulent history must have affected the standard of observance. The size of the community seems to have dropped during the 14th century: in 1351 it was stated that only a small number of monks were serving God there. (fn. 47) In 1377 the number, including the abbot, was 7, but it had risen to 11 by 1381. (fn. 48) It was 13 at the dissolution. (fn. 49) There is little record of attendance on the part of the abbots at the general chapter at Cîteaux, although they seem to have attended in 1284, 1287, and 1333. (fn. 50) The last reference to Dieulacres in the Cistercian statutes is in 1344. (fn. 51) There is some evidence of literary activity. The abbey chronicle continued until the reign of Henry IV and is a valuable source for the history of Richard II's deposition. (fn. 52) A case has been made for connecting the 14th-century poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' with Dieulacres. (fn. 53)

In 1535 (fn. 54) the abbey's gross income was £243 3s. 6d. (fn. 55) — £174 13s. 2d. from temporal property and £68 10s. 4d. from spiritualities. Most of this latter was from Leek and its four chapels, but part was from Sandbach and its two chapels. The net income was £227 5s. The demesne, estimated at £8 18s. 6d. in value, was reserved for the use of the abbey guesthouse. Fees of £5 6s. 8d. were being paid to three collectors, one of whom was also steward of the courts. At some time between 1536 and 1538 Abbot Thomas Whitney stated that his predecessor John Wodlande had wasted the wealth of the abbey and in particular had granted blank pieces of parchment, sealed with the abbey seal, to various friends so that they 'might well at their liberty and pleasure write and convayn such matter as might be the utter distention and undoing of the said monastery for ever'. Abbot Thomas was then suing at law for the return of some of these blanks, (fn. 56) but in 1565 John Whitney, chamberlain of the abbey at the time of the dissolution and evidently the abbot's brother, stated that Abbot Thomas had himself issued sealed blanks shortly before the surrender of the abbey. (fn. 57) Whatever the truth, the abbot wrote to Cromwell shortly before the dissolution stating that he had fulfilled a request made by Cromwell on behalf of a servant and adding: 'We have no more churches but one adjoining our monastery, to which belongs no corn but oats, and no granges or demesne lands in our own hands, only a few closes to keep our horses and a few cattle. We beg therefore that such small things as we have may remain in our occupation, for divers gentlemen make great labour to the king to have them from us'. (fn. 58) The abbey's debts at the dissolution stood at just under £172. (fn. 59) The community consisted of the abbot and 12 other monks, with 30 servants, 8 'lauders and poor bede women', and 19 lay officials. (fn. 60) In 1538-9, the year following the dissolution, the abbey estates consisted of the manor of Poulton; granges in the Leek area at Swythamley, Birchalls, Westwood, Woodcroft, and Cheddleton and also New Grange, and two other granges at Byley and Rossall; lands and rents in Leek, Heaton, Leekfrith, Tittesworth (including Thorncliff), Longnor (in Alstonefield), Lowe, Birchalls, Cheddleton, Gratton (in Horton), Bradnop, Field (in Leigh), Stafford, Middlewich, Sandbach (including Hulme and Goosetrey), Newbold (in Astbury, Ches.), Alderley, Knutsford (Ches.), Great Eccleston, Thornton, Norbreck, and Little Bispham; the appopriated churches of Leek and Sandbach and the chapel of Poulton; and salt-pans in Middlewich. These estates were then valued at £285 14s. 2½d. gross. (fn. 61)

The abbey was surrendered to Dr. Thomas Legh on 20 October 1538. (fn. 62) The next day goods, furnishings, corn, and cattle were sold for £63 14s. 10d. to Edward, Earl of Derby, the steward of the abbey and of the town and manor of Leek; he was also put in possession of the abbey buildings and demesnes on behalf of the Crown. A certain amount of plate (including three gilt chalices), 175½ tons of lead valued at £720, and six bells worth £37 10s. remained unsold. (fn. 63) Alms of 26s. 8d. were given to the 8 lauders and bede women, rewards of £14 5s. 10d. to the 30 servants, and fees and annuities of £34 to the 19 officials, including £2 to Lord Derby. (fn. 64) Rewards were paid to the monks: £6 to the abbot, £2 10s. to the prior and two others, and £2 to the remainder. In addition the abbot received a pension of £60, the prior and two others £6 each, four others £5 6s. 8d. each, two others £5 each, and the remaining three £2 each. (fn. 65) In 1552 the site of the abbey and other property in the area, all of it in the hands of tenants, were granted to Sir Ralph Bagnall at an annual rent of £105 11s. 7½d. (fn. 66)

The monks had some difficulty in securing regular payment of their pensions, and by December 1540 Thomas Whitney, the former abbot, was evidently in some financial difficulty. He then wrote from Leek to John Scudamore, a receiver of the Court of Augmentations, asking for his pension due the previous Michaelmas and for 'the pensions of my poor brethren that are not able to labour for them'. He also requested that his pension should be paid regularly. (fn. 67) Five of the monks, including the abbot, were still drawing pensions in 1557-8. (fn. 68) The abbot, who died in 1558, was able to make several bequests, including his house in Mill Street, Leek; another legacy was a silver-gilt chalice left to his nephew 'on condition that if the monastery of Delencres be hereafter re-edified the said chalice to be restored to the said monastery'. (fn. 69) Three monks of Dieulacres are recorded as drawing pensions when they died — two of them in 1567 and 1569; the third, the date of whose death is not given, was buried at Dieulacres. (fn. 70)

Very little now remains of the abbey, but the buildings seem to have been on the normal Cistercian pattern. (fn. 71) The church, which consisted of nave, side aisles, transepts, crossing-tower, and chancel, was rebuilt in the 14th century; the work was begun by 'the good king Edward', and in 1351 the Black Prince visited the abbey and gave 500 marks towards the work. The inventory of 1538 shows '4 old altars in the aisles, 4 altars of alabaster in the body of the church', and this may indicate two altars in each of the transepts; there were also 12 candlesticks on the rood-screen. The conventual buildings lay on the south side of the church. The 1538 inventory mentions a glazed cloister with seats for the monks and a laver, the dorter, frater, and infirmary, a hall, 'the corner chamber' with an inner chamber, 'the rider's chamber', 'the butler's chamber', 'the laborars chamber', and the kitchen with its associated offices. The remains were uncovered in 1818, and much of the stone was used in the erection of outbuildings for the neighbouring farm.


Richard, the first abbot. (fn. 72)

Robert, occurs by the early 1220s and in 1228. (fn. 73)

Adam, occurs some time between 1230 and 1232. (fn. 74)

William, occurs at some time between 1237 and 1240. (fn. 75)

Stephen, occurs 1244. (fn. 76)

William, occurs 1251. (fn. 77)

Ralph, occurs some time between 1257 and 1266. (fn. 78)

Hamon, occurs 1266. (fn. 79)

Walter de Mortone, occurs 1272. (fn. 80)

Ranulph, occurs 1279. (fn. 81)

Robert, occurs 1282-3. (fn. 82)

Elias, occurs 1287. (fn. 83)

Richard, died or resigned 1292. (fn. 84)

Robert le Burgulun, occurs from 1294 to 1302. (fn. 85)

Nicholas, occurs 1318. (fn. 86)

Peter, occurs 1330. (fn. 87)

Ralph, occurs 1345. (fn. 88)

Robert de Brigge, occurs 1353. (fn. 89)

William of Lichfield, occurs from 1379 to 1382. (fn. 90)

Richard Whitmore, occurs from 1402 to 1424. (fn. 91)

John Godefelowe, occurs from 1443 to 1450 and in 1470. (fn. 92)

William, occurs 1472. (fn. 93)

John Newton, occurs 1490 and 1504. (fn. 94)

William Albion, occurs 1516, deposed 1519-20. (fn. 95)

John Wodlande, occurs 1520, deposed apparently for wasting the abbey's wealth. (fn. 96)

Thomas Whitney, occurs 1523, surrendered the abbey 1538. (fn. 97)

The common seal in use in the 16th century is a pointed oval, 17/8 by 1½ in., depicting the Virgin standing crowned beneath a Gothic canopy and holding the Child on her left arm and a fleur-de-lis sceptre in her right hand; in the base under an arch is an abbot with a pastoral staff. (fn. 98) Legend, apparently lombardic:



  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. v. 627-8; Complete Peerage, iii, 'Chester'. The source of the story was the abbey chronicle and not a history of England by Hen. of Huntingdon as stated by Dugdale: see M. J. C. Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey' (Keele Univ. M.A. thesis, 1967), 16-18; plate facing p. 228 above. The chapel of St. Mary may have been a hermitage and may be identifiable with a cavern which can still be seen near the abbey site: Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 27-28; M. H. Miller, Olde Leeke, i. 150-2. For the Irish Premonstratensian abbey known as Dieulacresse see Dictionnaire d'histoire et géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. R. Aubert and E. van Cauwenbergh, xiv. 452-3. For the date of Poulton's foundation see Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 15-19.
  • 2. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 294.
  • 3. Ibid. 329-39. The monks had formerly held land at Aldford (Ches.) but exchanged it for land at Bradford and Wettenhall.
  • 4. Ibid. 310, 311, 315, 316, 328, 353, 354, 363-4; Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 28 sqq. 'Gonedun' was associated with Wetwood in that particular grant.
  • 5. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 310-11.
  • 6. G. Ormerod, Hist. of County Palatine and City of Chester (1882 edn.), iii. 96, 105; S.H.C. iv(1), 130; Cal. Pat. 1247-58, 431; Reg. Johannis Pecham (Cant. & York Soc.), i. 145.
  • 7. B.M., Harl. MS. 3868, ff. 31–32. This was the settlement of a dispute over the church between the monks and the archdeacon.
  • 8. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 311-12.
  • 9. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 284, 474; ii. 160; Pat. R. 1225-32, 125; Close R. 1227-31, 62-63; Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 78; Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 70-71.
  • 10. J. Sleigh, Hist. of Leek (2nd edn.), 41; S.H.C. N.S. ix. 363–4; Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 34–35. Ranulph died at Wallingford (Berks.), and his entrails were buried there; his body was buried at Chester.
  • 11. Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 37, 208. The only miracle recorded at the abbey was said to have happened at her tomb when a blind monk received his sight back: ibid.
  • 12. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 361-2; Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 33 (based on Facsimiles of Early Cheshire Charters, ed. G. Barraclough, 5).
  • 13. Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 106-7, 135-6; Black Prince's Reg. i. 70, 129; see below p. 232.
  • 14. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 305-9, 312-27, 339 sqq.; S.H.C. 1911, 186–7, 326–7; ibid. 1913, 43–44; Cal. Pat. 1281–92, 137; 1313–17, 332; 1330–4, 562; 1391–6, 144–5; V.C.H. Lancs. vii. 235, 246, 279.
  • 15. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 328. One of the witnesses of the sale was Michael Tony, Mayor of London in 1244 and 1248: B. B. Orridge, Citizens of London and their Rulers, 210.
  • 16. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 327.
  • 17. Lambeth Palace Libr., Papal Docs. 40.
  • 18. This did not include Cheddleton church, valued separately at £8. By this time, and for many years after, the advowson was in dispute between the abbot and the Chetelton family: Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 102-6.
  • 19. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 243, 248, 252, 259, 329. The valuation of Rossall was reduced to £16 13s. 4d. in 1318 after the Scots invasion.
  • 20. W. Cunningham, Growth of Eng. Industry and Commerce (1922 edn.), i. 632; Close R. 1227-31, 35; S.H.C. N.S. ix. 350; Black Prince's Reg. i. 81, 137, 145.
  • 21. Lambeth Palace Libr., Papal Docs. 40; S.H.C. v(1), 118; ibid. N.S. ix. 325-6, 342, 345; Tax. Eccl. 252; see below p. 233.
  • 22. See above p. 226.
  • 23. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 359-60.
  • 24. Ibid. 358-9.
  • 25. Ibid. 356-8.
  • 26. Ibid. 356.
  • 27. Ibid. 360-1.
  • 28. On the evidence of the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535: Hibbert, Dissolution, 64. In the Taxatio of 1291 Dieulacres has a higher assessment than Burton: Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 56. The Abbot of Dieulacres was regularly summoned to Parliament between 1295 and 1305: ibid. 100.
  • 29. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 713, 714
  • 30. Mary Bayliss, 'Dieulacres Abbey', N. Staffs. Jnl. of Field Studies, ii. 83.
  • 31. Sleigh, Leek, 57.
  • 32. Hibbert, Dissolution, 238, 240, 242.
  • 33. Cal. Pat. 1338-40, 333.
  • 34. For examples of 13th-century corrodies in exchange for land see S.H.C. N.S. ix. 316; S.H.C. 1911, 429. For another granted by the monks of Poulton to Hen., son of Hugh the Jew, see S.H.C. N.S. ix. 336.
  • 35. Cal. Pat. 1345-8, 83-84; Cal. Close, 1343-6, 486; S.H.C. xiv(1), 65-66.
  • 36. Cal. Close, 1381–5, 418; 1392–6, 292; 1441–7, 47; 1447–54, 27.
  • 37. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, 9. For grants of protection by the founder see S.H.C. N.S. ix. 354, 355.
  • 38. Black Prince's Reg. i. 95, 97, 129; iii. 341.
  • 39. Ibid. iii. 18.
  • 40. Cal. Pat. 1377-81, 362.
  • 41. Ibid. 516; S.H.C. xiv(1), 153-4.
  • 42. S.H.C. xvii. 7, 23.
  • 43. N. Staffs. Jnl. of Field Studies, ii. 82-83; S.H.C. N.S. iii. 163, 182, 185.
  • 44. S.H.C. 1912, 9-13.
  • 45. See below p. 235.
  • 46. See Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 138-42.
  • 47. Black Prince's Reg. iii. 18.
  • 48. J. C. Russell, 'The Clerical Population of Medieval Eng'. Traditio, ii. 195 (which, however, omits the abbot in 1381: see E 179/15/8b).
  • 49. See below.
  • 50. Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 94-99; Cal. Pat. 1281-92, 130, 269.
  • 51. Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 99.
  • 52. Ibid. 172 sqq. The history of 1399 and the early years of Hen. IV's reign was written by a supporter of Ric. II.; the chronicle is then taken over by an equally strong supporter of Hen. IV.
  • 53. By Professor R. W. V. Elliott: see The Times, 21 May 1958. See also Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. J. R. R. Tolkien and E. V. Gordan (2nd edn.), pp. xiii-xiv. It is suggested, for example, that the country round the abbey's grange at Swythamley was the scene of the hunting episodes and that the climax of the poem took place at Lud's Church to the north-east of Swythamley. It is also suggested that the beheading of John de Warton at Leek in 1380 (see above) may have inspired part of the poem.
  • 54. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 123.
  • 55. This corrects the figure given ibid.
  • 56. C 1/930/42.
  • 57. Hibbert, Dissolution, 173-4. Thos. mentions 'my brother John Whytney' in his will of 1558: Sleigh, Leek, 64.
  • 58. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii(2), p. 515.
  • 59. Hibbert, Dissolution, 243-4.
  • 60. Ibid. 239-43.
  • 61. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/3353, mm. 34-42.
  • 62. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii(2), p. 251.
  • 63. Hibbert, Dissolution, 237-9, 241.
  • 64. Ibid. 240, 242-3. The fees and annuities were described as 'granted out by convent seal before the dissolution of the said late monastery'. One of the 'servants' was drawing an annuity of 26s. 8d. at his death c. 1560 and a Thos. Woodland (presumably a kinsman of Abbot Wodlande) was still receiving the same sum out of Dieulacres, as well as £4 out of Hulton, in 1574: E 178/ 3239, mm. 8, 13.
  • 65. Hibbert, Dissolution, 239, 242.
  • 66. Cal. Pat. 1550-3, 440-1. See S.H.C. N.S. ix. 301-4, for its subsequent owners.
  • 67. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 152. He stated that he had had to borrow £8 from his brother.
  • 68. S. W. Hutchinson, Archdeaconry of Stoke-on-Trent (1893), 166 (no source given).
  • 69. Sleigh, Leek, 64. In his will he expressed a wish to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
  • 70. E 178/3239, m. 8. Only one of these was among those listed 1557-8.
  • 71. For this para. see Gent. Mag. 1819, lxxxix(1), 120-2 (suggesting that the whole was of 5 bays and some 160 ft. long, with the nave and aisles 63 ft. broad and the chancel 29 ft. broad); Sleigh, Leek, 72-73 and plate facing p. 60; T.N.S.F.C. 1878, 29-30; ibid. 1889, 73; ibid. 1903, 150; Hibbert, Dissolution, 237-9. For the 14th-cent. rebuilding see Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 114-15, citing Chronicon Hen. Knighton (Rolls Ser.), ii. 75. This mentions 'miram structuram fabricae ecclesiae' in 1351.
  • 72. S.H.C. 1913, 73.
  • 73. B.M., Harl. MS. 3868, f. 7; Coucher Bk. of Whalley Abbey, vol. i (Chetham Soc. x), pp. 43-44; Final Concords of County of Lancaster (Lancs. and Ches. Rec. Soc. xxxix), p. 55. Sleigh, Leek, 63, citing Rossall deeds, gives 1229-38.
  • 74. S.H.C. 1911, 423; Sleigh, Leek, 63.
  • 75. S.H.C. 1911, 425 (no source given).
  • 76. S.H.C. N.S. ix. 360.
  • 77. S.H.C. iv(1), 244-5; S.H.C. 1911, 428.
  • 78. S.H.C. 1911, 425 (no source given).
  • 79. Sleigh, Leek, 63.
  • 80. S.H.C. iv(1), 200. He had become a monk at Croxden some time between 1242 and 1268: 'Extracts from Annals of Crokesden Abbey', Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, ii (1835), 309.
  • 81. S.H.C. 1911, 34.
  • 82. C 66/102, m. 23d.
  • 83. Cal. Pat. 1281-92, 269.
  • 84. S.H.C. vi(1), 205, 267.
  • 85. Eaton Estate Office, Eccleston (Ches.), Eaton Charters/ Edw. I/17 (reference supplied by Mr. M. J. C. Fisher); Sleigh, Leek, 63; S.H.C. 1911, 433; ibid. xi. 51. He was perhaps the abbot who was elected late in 1292: ibid. vi(1), 267.
  • 86. S.H.C. 1911, 433.
  • 87. Sleigh, Leek, 63.
  • 88. S.H.C. xiv(1), 65.
  • 89. Black Prince's Reg. iii. 130.
  • 90. S.H.C. xi. 153-4.
  • 91. Cal. Papal Regs. v. 398; S.H.C. xv. 98; xvii. 56.
  • 92. S.H.C. N.S. iii. 163, 182, 185; Lich. Dioc. Regy., B/A/1/10, f. 45v.; Harwood, Lichfield, 404 (admission of John, Abbot of Dieulacres, to the Lichfield Guild, 1470).
  • 93. S.H.C. N.S. iv. 180.
  • 94. Harwood, Lichfield, 409 (admission to Lichfield Guild, 1490); Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 130-1 (which also mentions a lease made by him around 1510). Dugdale, Mon. v. 626, gives an Abbot Thos. in 1499, and Sleigh, Leek, 64, an Abbot Adam de Whytmore in the same year.
  • 95. S.H.C. 1913, 10; Sleigh, Leek, 64. He was deposed after a visitation by the Abbot of Combermere: Fisher, 'Dieulacres Abbey', 134-6.
  • 96. Eaton Estate Office, Eccleston (Ches.), Eaton Charters/ Hen. VIII/14 (reference supplied by Mr. Fisher); C 1/930/42; see above p. 233.
  • 97. E 315/93, f. 148 (reference supplied by Mr. Fisher); see above p. 233. He was admitted to the Lichfield Guild in 1536: Harwood, Lichfield, 416.
  • 98. W. de G. Birch, Cat. of Seals in B.M. i, p. 533; E 326/9052. Dugdale, Mon. v. 627, gives the legend as: S' COMMUNE MON . . . DE DELACRES The seal shown in Sleigh, Leek, 63, bears no resemblance to the 16th-cent. seal.