Alien houses: Priory of Runcton

Page 121

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

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Roger of Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury and Chichester, gave the manor of Runcton to the Norman abbey of Troarn, some time before 1086, and several of his undertenants followed his example and bestowed lands and tithes in West Sussex upon the same abbey, which had further obtained the church of St. Cyriac in Chichester by 1155, when Henry II confirmed these grants. (fn. 1) A small cell was therefore established at Runcton under the charge of a prior some time in the twelfth or early thirteenth century. Accordingly, when Hugh de Neville confirmed his ancestors' grants of land in Waltham he stipulated that the prior of Runcton should hold the tenement in the name of the abbot of Troarn. (fn. 2) This deed being attested by 'William the fourth, earl of Arundel,' must have been executed between 1226 and 1230, and a few years later, in 1233, we find the rector of South Stoke abandoning a suit against the abbot of Troarn and prior of Runcton for the tithes of Offham. (fn. 3) An undated charter by John Sturmy conferring lands near Chichester upon the abbey, with reservation of the services therefrom to the prior of Runcton, gives us the only known name of any of the heads of this small house: 'For this grant William prior of Runcton has given me 40s. and a horse worth I mark and to Rose my wife a cloak of violet (pallium de violetta) and a bezant.' (fn. 4)

In 1260 the priory of Boxgrove made an agreement with the abbey about the tithes of Richard de St. John's lands, by which they undertook to pay 8s. annually to the prior of Runcton in exchange for the said tithes. (fn. 5) But in the same year, 1260, an arrangement was come to between Troarn and its daughter house the priory of Bruton in Somerset, by which the latter took over all the English lands of the abbey, (fn. 6) and as a result the priory of Runcton ceased to exist and became only a grange of Bruton.


  • 1. Round, Cal. Doc. France, 170.
  • 2. Bruton Cartul. (Somers. Rec. Soc.), No. 352.
  • 3. Ibid. 344.
  • 4. Ibid. 351.
  • 5. Ibid. 345.
  • 6. Ibid. 310-13.