Alien houses: Priory of Lyminster

Page 121

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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Roger de Montgomery, earl of Sussex, granted an estate at Lyminster to the abbey of St. Peter of Almenesches, of which his daughter was abbess. Shortly after the death of his wife in 1082 he gave for the good of her soul half the manor of Climping, with the church of that vill. These two estates constituted the abbey's possessions in Sussex at the time of the Domesday Survey, but the church of Poling was probably added shortly after this date, and in 1178 Pope Alexander III confirmed to the nuns of Almenesches all their rights in the churches of Lyminster, Climping, Poling, Ford, and Rustington, as well as in the manors of Climping, Rustington, Ford, Preston, and Poling. Some twenty years later Seffrid II, bishop of Chichester, in consideration of the poverty and good fame of the nuns of Almenesches granted them pensions of 100s. from the church of Climping, 60s. from that of Rustington, and 40s. from that of Ford. (fn. 1) So far there is no reference to any priory at Lyminster, but later tradition asserted that it was founded by Earl Roger, (fn. 2) and the fact that the abbey's portion of Lyminster was called 'Nonneminstre' in 1086 (and 'Nummenistre' in the bull of 1178) suggests that there may have been nuns resident here from an early date.

The first actual mention of the priory of St. Mary of Lyminster appears to be in an action brought in 1263 with reference to lands granted some years earlier to a former prioress, Mabel. (fn. 3) Of history this priory had none, and its name only occurs in connexion with its periodic seizure into the king's hands during war with France. It was a very small house; in 1380 there were only two sisters, Julia and Margaret, besides the prioress, Katherine, (fn. 4) and it came to an end when the alien houses were suppressed by Henry V, its property being granted by Henry VI to Eton College.

Prioresses of Lyminster

Mabel, before 1263 (fn. 5)

Agatha, occurs 1277 (fn. 6)

Agatha de la Poynte, occurs 1294, (fn. 7) 1296 (fn. 8)

Omelina, occurs 1320 (fn. 9)

Joan del Isle occurs 1346 (fn. 10)

Joan de Ferrariis, occurs 1364 (fn. 11)

Katherine de Lisle, occurs 1377, (fn. 12) died 1400 (fn. 13)

Georgia la Cloustiere, (fn. 13) Gloustiere, (fn. 14) Glovernestre, (fn. 15) appointed 1400, (fn. 15) died 1409 (fn. 16)

Nichola de Hercez, appointed 1409 (fn. 17)


  • 1. Cal. Doc. France, 246.
  • 2. Inq. p. m. 14 Ric. II, 118.
  • 3. Assize R. 912.
  • 4. Cler. Subs. 1/19;.
  • 5. Assize R. 912.
  • 6. Feet of F. Suss. file 25, No. 35.
  • 7. Pat. 22 Edw. I, m. 5.
  • 8. Pat. 24 Edw. I, m. 21.
  • 9. Close, 13 Edw. II, m. 6 d.
  • 10. Pat. 20 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 29.
  • 11. Pipe R. 37 Edw. III.
  • 12. Chan. Misc. bdle. 18, No. 3.
  • 13. Chich. Epis. Reg. Reade, fol. 79.
  • 14. Pipe R. 6 Hen. IV.
  • 15. Mem. R., K. R. Hil. 3 Hen. IV.
  • 16. Chich. Epis. Reg. Reade, fol. 130.
  • 17. Ibid.