Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Tandridge

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 Tandridge', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2, (London, 1967) pp. 112-113. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Tandridge", in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2, (London, 1967) 112-113. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Tandridge", A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2, (London, 1967). 112-113. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

In this section


This priory, (fn. 1) as was the case with many of the smaller Austin priories throughout the country, was originally founded as a hospital for priests and poor brethren and sisters. It was dedicated to the honour of St. James and founded about the end of the twelfth century, for three priests under the Austin rule and several poor brethren. Odo, the son of William de Dammartin, was the founder and a considerable benefactor. The two charters of Odo cited in the Monasticon (fn. 2) only name him as a benefactor. By these he gave to the hospital of St. James all his land in Warlingham, with the windmill and all appurtenances together with all his relics, two silver cups wherewith to make a chalice, with all vestments and books belonging to his chapel, and all his stock of cattle at Southwick. One of the witnesses to the second of these charters is Thomas de Wllst, prior of Merton, who held that office from 1218 to 1222. But a charter of Walter, prior of Merton, dated June 1217, definitely names Odo as the founder of this hospital, and admits him, and all the brethren and sisters and benefactors of the hospital into the fraternity of the house of Merton. (fn. 3)

In June 1285 licence was granted for the alienation in mortmain by William de Acstede to the prior and convent of Tandridge of a carucate of land in Oxted. (fn. 4)

The taxation roll of 1291 returns the annual value of the temporalities of this small house, at Warlingham, at £2 6s. 8d. The parish church of Tandridge was at the same time declared of the annual value of £6 13s. 4d. This rectory was soon afterwards appropriated to the priory. In November 1302 the prior and convent obtained licence to hold the advowson of the church of Crowhurst, the gift of Henry de Guildford. (fn. 5)

Bishop Woodlock visited the priory on 21 November 1308. A month later he forwarded elaborate orders to the prior and convent. No special laxity was charged against the house, and the orders were of the usual character, namely as to attendance at mass and the quire offices, silence, keeping the doors, uniform habit, uncurtained beds in the dormitory, etc. This episcopal confirmation of their rule was ordered to be read in chapter four times a year. (fn. 6)

In an episcopal certificate as to vacant preferments dated 2 February 1309, it is stated that the income of this priory barely sufficed for the support of its ministers. (fn. 7)

The house suffered much under the negligent rule of Prior Thomas de St. Alban, and on 22 November 1312 Charles de Seggeford, rector of Coulsdon, was appointed by the bishop to act as the prior's coadjutor, (fn. 8) and a commission was issued to him together with Nicholas, rector of Oxted, and Master John de Tycheseye, in August 1321 by the Bishop of Winchester, to inquire into the grave charges made against the prior, with power of canonical coercion. (fn. 9) The result of this inquiry was to bring about the resignation of Prior Thomas. Again the administration of Prior John Hansard, the next prior but one, was so bad that Bishop Stratford interdicted his interference with the temporalities, and appointed Lawrence de Rustington to act as coadjutor. (fn. 10)

In 1352 Walter de Mertsham (probably a brother of the Prior John) had licence to alienate to the priory two messuages, 180 acres of land, 14 acres of meadow, 13 acres of wood and 2s. 8d. rent in Tandridge and Walkhamsted. (fn. 11)

Prior Richard Frensh died on 9 December 1403. Thereupon the canons elected William Sonderesshe in his place, with the licence of William Warbylton, the then patron of the house. His name was submitted to the bishop's commissaries in March 1404. The election was found to be invalid non ob defectum persone sed vitium forme. Bishop Wykeham declared the election void, but forthwith collated William Sonderesshe to the priory on his own authority. (fn. 12)

A rental of the priory was drawn up by the prior in the year 1451, when John Hammond was prior; a copy of that part relative to the rents of assize and farm rents in Tandridge itself is still extant. (fn. 13)

The Valor of 1535 gave the clear annual value of this priory at £81 7s. 4d. The priory then held the rectory of Tandridge worth £13 6s. 8d., the rectory of Crowhurst £8 6s., and half the rectory of Godstone alias Wolkensted £3 11s. 8d. John Lyngfield, the last prior, obtained a pension of £14. (fn. 14)

Priors of Tandridge

Thomas, (fn. 15) occurs 1226

Adam, (fn. 16) occurs 1235

Humphrey, (fn. 17) occurs 1263

Walter, (fn. 18) collated 1306, 1309

Thomas de St. Alban, (fn. 19) collated 1309, resigned 1323

Henry de Pecham, (fn. 20) elected 1323, died 1324

John Hansard, elected 1324

Philip de Wokingham, collated 1335, deposed on non-residence 1341

John de Mertsham, (fn. 21) elected 1341, resigned 1380

Richard Frensh, (fn. 22) collated 1380, died 1403

William Sonderesshe, (fn. 23) elected 1404

John Fremyngham, (fn. 24) 1441

John Hammond, occurs 1451, resigned 1458

John Grannesden, (fn. 25) elected 1458, resigned 1463

John Odierne, (fn. 26) collated 1463, died 1464

William West, (fn. 27) 1464, resigned 1467

John Kirton, (fn. 28) elected 1467, resigned 1469

Robert Mitchell, occurs 1469, 1474

William, occurs 1478

Robert Mitchell II., (fn. 29) occurs 1495

Robert Wodd, (fn. 30) collated 1499

John Foster, (fn. 31) occurs 1500, 1507

Robert Mitchell II, (fn. 32) occurs 1520, 1524

John Lyngfeld, (fn. 33) collated 1525, occurs 1529


  • 1. There is a long article on 'Tandridge Priory and the Austin Canons,' by Major Healey, in Surrey Arch. Coll. ix. pp. 19-151. A variety of documents and extracts from the Winchester Registers are there cited at length. Much of the article is concerned with the order of Austin Canons in general.
  • 2. Dugdale, Mon., vi. 604.
  • 3. Cott. MS. Cleop. C vii. f 86.
  • 4. Pat. 13 Edw. I. m. 16.
  • 5. Pat. 30 Edw. I. m. 3.
  • 6. Winton. Epis. Reg., Woodlock, ff. 148-9. This register contains full accounts of the dismissal by the bishop in 1308-9 of Henry de Pecham, cellarer of the priory; he was sent to the priory of Newark, there to be kept in solitary confinement, the priory of Tandridge paying 12d. a week for his maintenance. After four months' absence Henry was permitted to return to Tandridge. All these documents are set forth at length in an appendix to Major Heale's article.
  • 7. Ibid. f. 101b.
  • 8. Winton. Epis. Reg., Woodlock, f. 478.
  • 9. Winton. Epis. Reg., Asserio, f. 5b.
  • 10. Ibid. Stratford, f. 81.
  • 11. Pat. 25 Edw. III. pt. i, m. 12.
  • 12. Ibid. i. f. 345. The Winchester institutions are missing from 1415 to 1446.
  • 13. Harl. MS. 4785, f. 1.
  • 14. L. and P. Hen. VIII. xiii. (2), 1196.
  • 15. Feet of F. Surr. 10 Hen. III. No. 74.
  • 16. Ibid. 19 Hen. III. No. 181.
  • 17. Ibid. 49 Hen. III. No. 177.
  • 18. Winton. Epis. Reg., Woodlock, f. 40b.
  • 19. Ibid. f. 108b. He was formerly a canon of Newark.
  • 20. Ibid. Asser. ff. 481-2. He was formerly cellarer of the house.
  • 21. Ibid. Orlton, f. 109b.
  • 22. Ibid. Wykeham, iii. f. 186b.
  • 23. Ibid. i. f. 345.
  • 24. Ibid. Wayneflete, i. f. 15.
  • 25. Ibid. ff. 90b, 103b.
  • 26. Ibid. f. 108b. He was formerly a subprior.
  • 27. Ibid. f. 135b.
  • 28. Ibid. f. 154.
  • 29. Ibid. ii. ff. 142, 150, 156, and ibid. Langton, ff. 15, 56.
  • 30. Ibid. Langton, ff. 51, 52.
  • 31. Ibid. ff. 54, 55.
  • 32. Court Rolls, Harl. MS. 785.
  • 33. Winton. Epis. Reg., Fox, v. f. 95.