Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Newark

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1967.

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, 'Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Newark', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2, (London, 1967) pp. 102-105. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Newark", in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2, (London, 1967) 102-105. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Newark", A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2, (London, 1967). 102-105. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

In this section


Tanner and Manning and Bray, followed by the editors of the Monasticon, state that the priory of Aldbury in the parish of Send, afterwards called Newark or the New Place by Guildford, (fn. 1) was founded by Ruald de Calva and Beatrice de Sandes his wife, in the time of Richard I. A long charter of inspection and confirmation, granted by Edward II. in 1320, (fn. 2) quotes the grant of Ruald and Beatrice by which they gave to God and the blessed Virgin and the blessed martyr Thomas and to the canons there serving God, in free alms, the land called 'Hamma de Papworth,' with all its appurtenances of woods, water, mills, fisheries, etc., half a hide of land at Ford, a little croft and a carucate of land adjoining it on the south, the church of Send with the chapel of Ripley, and the church of Shipton with the chapel of Snodington in Hampshire, to construct there in the place called Aldbury a church in honour of the blessed Virgin and the glorious martyr Thomas.

The same confirmation charter also recites the release to the canons by Beatrice after her husband's death of the Hamm of Papworth, then in her own power; the gift of Prior John of Aldbury of all his lands called Redecumbe in his manor of Mienes; (fn. 3) the gift by Andrew Bukerel, citizen of London, of the manor of West Bedfont (Middlesex) and his estate at Stanwell; the gift by Thomas de Hertmere of the manor of Hertmere in Godalming, together with rents under Guilddown, and at Putlond in Compton; and the gift in 1260, by Ralph de Treyon and Alice his wife, of lands in the manors of Burnham and Kirkeshye.

It would appear however that the charter of Ruald and Beatrice temp. Richard I. was one of re-founding rather than founding (as indeed is implied by the actual phraseology), and that the canons regular of St. Austin at Aldbury were of a far older establishment. The register of Bishop Woodlock states in 1312 that the house was first founded by a Bishop of Winchester. The house not unnaturally gradually changed its name from Aldbury to Newark or the New Place (novo loco) of St. Thomas near Guildford.

In 1262 the following churches were in the hands of this priory:—Working, with its chapels of Horsell and Pyrford; Leigh; Send; St. Martha, Guildford; Wanborough; Shipton; Weybridge; and Windlesham, with its chapel. (fn. 4)

In 1279 Robert the prior was summoned to justify his claim to hold court and view of frank-pledge at Ripley, and justified his position by citing the grant made to his predecessor, Prior Thomas, about twenty years before. (fn. 5)

At the same time Prior Robert made good his right to free warren over his manor at Newark; to the market at Ripley (though none then attended); and the assize of bread and ale, and view of frank-pledge at Puttenham. (fn. 6)

John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, stayed at this priory on two or three occasions about 1281 and 1283, and several letters from him are dated from Newark. (fn. 7)

The taxation roll of 1291 shows that the temporalities pertaining to this priory were at that date considerable. The priory held tenements or rents in ten London parishes, producing an income of £5 16s. 3d.; elsewhere in that diocese their temporalities produced £7 4s. 1¾d.; in Rochester diocese they amounted to £1 6s.; and in Winchester diocese to the large sum of £27 10s. 3½d.

During the rule of Alexander Culmeston an elaborately appointed chantry was founded in Newark Priory. On 20 November 1382, John Newdigate and Laurencia, the widow of Peter atte Wode, assigned £6 14s. rents of the priory and convent of Stoke, with the assent of the abbot of Bec in Normandy, which rent the priory of Stoke were accustomed to receive of the priory of Newark, for the founding of a chantry of one canon in priest's orders in the conventual church of Newark, for the good estate of the king and Bishop Wykeham, and of Laurencia whilst living, and of the soul of Peter, and the souls of the king, bishop and Laurencia when dead. It was ordained that this chantry mass should be celebrated every Saturday at the Lady altar with special collect; that the priory were to find all things needful, such as vestments, ornaments, book, light, bread, wine, chalice, altar cloth, and napkin, and a suitable clerk to serve; that the canon thus celebrating should be entitled each week to 7d. from the rents at the hands of the prior; that the obsequies for the founders' souls should be observed yearly, placebo et dirige on 10 February, and a mass of requiem on the morrow; that if through pestilence or other cause the number of canons should become so reduced that one of them could not celebrate this weekly mass, that then the duty should be assigned to some secular priest; that if a secular chaplain could not be found, that then the prior on the day of default should distribute to the poor at the gate of the monastery 3d. to pray for the souls of the founders; that every prior of Newark immediately after episcopal confirmation should swear on the Gospels in chapter to maintain this chantry; that the ordinance of the chantry should be read in chapter each Advent and Lent; that on the anniversary the prior should receive 14d. and each canon 7d. from the rents as a pittance; that if the chantry mass was ever omitted, without lawful impediment, that 2s. should be forfeited for each omission to the Bishop of Winchester, who was to use such fine in alms; that each successive prior, within six days of his confirmation and installation, was to make every canon take an oath in chapter to see to the observance of this foundation, under pain of ecclesiastical censure; that if the prior should not take the oath within three days, or neglect to impose it on the canons within six days, that he should forfeit 2s. for every day of default to the bishop, and that if the bishop or his official, or the guardian of the see when vacant should at any visitation detect any disorder contrary to the tenor of this ordinance, the prior and sub-prior should have liberty to be heard thereon, with an opportunity of purgation by the oath of six trustworthy persons. (fn. 8)

On 19 January 1387, Bishop Wykeham appointed a commission for the visitation of Newark Priory; and on 7 February a mandate was issued for the citation of various persons to answer charges arising out of this visitation. (fn. 9)

The eventual result of this visitation seems to have been the cession of Alexander Culmeston, the prior, on the ground of infirmity, and the acceptance of his resignation by Robert, prior of Merton, under commission of the bishop, on 25 October 1387. At the same time John Chesterton, canon of Newark, was removed from the priory, by the bishop's orders, on account of various scandalous excesses, and placed in custody within the priory of Merton. (fn. 10)

An annuity of twenty marks was granted by Henry V. to Thomas (Pyrie), the prior, and the convent of St. Mary and St. Thomas the Martyr, of Newark near Guildford; this was confirmed in 1423 by Henry VI. At the same time Henry V. sanctioned the transference by the priory of Newark to the abbey of Chertsey of the manor of West Bedfont and certain lands in Middlesex, (fn. 11) which concession was also confirmed by his successor.

Dr. Hede, as commissary for the prior of Canterbury, visited Newark Priory on 25 April 1501, during the vacancy of the sees of both Canterbury and Winchester. A certificate was exhibited by Canon Christopher Bold to the effect that Lawrence Harryson the prior was absent on a pilgrimage to St. James (of Compostello). The canons were then severally examined. William Baxter, sub-prior, testified to the good and spiritual condition of the house; when asked as to its temporal estate he said he could not reply, as the present prior did not render the accounts of the priory; the seal was left under four keys in the respective custody of the prior, sub-prior and two of the senior canons. Christopher Bold, George Swift, William Hurton, William Morton, Peter Muschamp, and Nicholas Broddoke had no complaints, but knew nothing of the financial position of the house. William Lanley and William Horrow were content to testify omne bene, and John Johnson said that the annual rents of assize amounted to 300 marks and that the house was not in debt. (fn. 12)

John Grave, who had been instituted to the vicarage of Send in 1533, resigned that benefice in 1534 and was appointed prior. He was prior at the time of the Valor of 1535, when the clear annual value of the house was declared at £258 11s. 11½d.

Richard Lipscombe was appointed prior just before the surrender of the house in 1538. Prior Richard received a pension of £40, seven of the canons £5 6s. 8d., and one £6. (fn. 13)

An inventory was taken by Dr. Legh on 15 January 1539, when the following plate was despatched to the master of the jewels in London.

Fyrste a basyne and ewer, iii standinge masers, ii saltes with one cover, xxii spones, a knife the hafte of the same covered with sylver plate, iii chalices, a cross enamelled, ii small belles, a paxe, i censor, a shippe for incense, ii cruettes, vi small relicks of cristall covered with silver, an other of cristall with copre and gilte, iii litle crosses of wode covered with silver plait—cccxi ounces.

There were also three bells in the steeple and a clock.

The ornaments of the church (other than the plate sent to London) with the stuff and utensils of the house were sold for £35 13s. 8d. The corn, hay, and cattle and all husbandry gear realized £52 3s. 8d.

'Rewards,' or temporary payments till the pensions were paid, were given to the prior of £6 13s. 4d., and 40s. to each of the eight canons. Forty-one servants and hinds received £18 6s. 8d. for their quarter's wages.

Priors of Newark

John, (fn. 14) temp. Ric. I.

Richard, (fn. 15) occurs 1259

Thomas, (fn. 16) occurs circa 1259

Robert, (fn. 17) 1272

Geoffrey de London, resigned 1280

Walter de Chapmannesford, elected 1280, (fn. 18) 1281

Roger de Eynham, collated 1312, (fn. 19) resigned 1344

John de Burton, collated 1344 (fn. 20)

Alexander Culmeston, resigned 1387

Thomas Pyrie, elected 1387 (fn. 21)

Robert Adderley (fn. 22)

Thomas, occurs 1415 (fn. 23)

William Whalley, died 1462

Richard Brigge, elected 1462, (fn. 24) resigned 1486

Lawrence Harrison, elected 1486, (fn. 25) resigned 1514

John Haskenne (Johnson), elected 1514 (fn. 26)

John Grave, elected 1534, occurs 1535

Richard Lipscombe, elected 1538


  • 1. On the Patent Rolls of Edward III. (Pat. 5 Edw. III. pt. ii, m. 23) is a protection for a year dated August 1331 for the master and brethren of the hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr at Guildford for collecting alms. It seems clear that this entry had reference to the priory of St. Thomas the Martyr of Newark near Guildford, as it is occasionally difficult, as already stated, to distinguish between hospitals and small Austin priories. It may however be said that at the end of Spital Street, at the junction of the London and Epsom roads, in the parish of Holy Trinity, Guildford, but on the border of Stoke, a small ancient building known as the Spital was standing up to the last century. The person who held the land was known as the prior or master, and under that name paid 6d. a year as quit rent to the lord of the manor of Stoke. (Manning and Bray, vol. i. p. 19). The land however was reckoned as part of the manor of Poyle, now in the hands of Smith's Charity Trustees, and the house behind it is known as Poyle or Spital House. One sick person, or cripple, seems to have been entertained here still in the eighteenth century (see Manning and Bray, cited above).
  • 2. Cited at length, Monasticon, vi. 383-4.
  • 3. This gift was confirmed by Bishop Pontoise in 1285, and by Bishop Woodlock in 1312.
  • 4. Certified from episcopal registers, not now extant, by Bishop Waynflete in 1464.
  • 5. Plac de Quo War. (Rec. Com.), 737.
  • 6. Ibid. p. 747.
  • 7. Reg. Epistolarum, J. Peckham (Rolls Ser.), i. 196, 197; ii. 548, 549, 764, 1018.
  • 8. Winton. Epis. Reg., Wykeham, iii. ff. 191-3.
  • 9. Ibid. iii. f. 226b.
  • 10. Ibid. iii. f. 182.
  • 11. Pat. Rot. 1 Hen. VI. pt. iii, m. 24; et 5, m. 20, cal.
  • 12. Canterbury, Sede Vacante Register.
  • 13. L. and P. Hen. VIII. xiii. (2), 1196; xiv. (1), 1355.
  • 14. Dugdale's Mon. vi. 383-4.
  • 15. Cott. MS. xxvii. f. 92b
  • 16. Plac. de Quo War. (Rec. Com.), 737.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 8 Edw. I. ms. 17, 7.
  • 19. Winton. Epis. Reg., Woodlock, ff. 171-2. His election was declared informal, but he was appointed by the Bishop.
  • 20. Ibid. Orlton, i. ff. 126-7.
  • 21. Ibid. Wykeham, i. f. 182-4.
  • 22. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surrey, iii. p. 111.
  • 23. Mentioned in Inspeximus of 1423, Pat. 1 Hen. VI. pt. v. m. 21.
  • 24. Winton. Epis. Reg., Waynflete, i. f. 118. He became prior of St. Mary Overy, Southwark.
  • 25. Ibid. ii. f. 118b.
  • 26. Ibid. Fox, iii. f. 30a.