Houses of Carmelite Friars: Shoreham

Page 97

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

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The only establishment of Carmelite friars in Sussex was the house of the Blessed Virgin founded at Shoreham by Sir John de Mowbray (fn. 1) in 1316. The founder's father-in-law, William de Braose, shortly afterwards gave them a messuage adjoining their house, (fn. 2) and in 1348 Sir John de Mowbray obtained leave to give them a further 1½ acres extending from their dwelling to the High Street on the north. (fn. 3) They also obtained from the Hospitallers in 1326 a house and chapel in Shoreham which had formerly belonged to the Templars. (fn. 4) Some fifty years after their foundation they appear to have enlarged their church, as in 1368 Sir Michael de Poynings left £20 to the Carmelites of Shoreham towards building their church. (fn. 5) They were also the recipients of numerous other, but small, legacies.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century the inroads of the sea threatened to sweep away the friars' house, and accordingly in 1493 they removed to the vacant buildings of the priory of Sele, which had been suppressed and made over to Magdalen College, Oxford, by permission of whose fellows the friars were allowed to take up their quarters there. (fn. 6)

These Carmelites appear to have been at the time of the dissolution the poorest of all the Sussex friars, against none of whom could charges of luxury be levelled. The other houses all contrived to struggle on in poverty till suppressed, but when the bishop of Dover came in July, 1538, to the White Friars of Sele, he found 'neither friar nor secular, but the doors open'; there was no prior, 'nor none to serve God,' and had not been for some time; the house, chapel, and 4 acres of land belonged to Magdalen College, being only leased by the friars, and with the exception of choir stalls valued at 20s., and a bell in the church steeple which the parish claimed, the furniture of the priory, including 'a sorry bell' and some ragged vestments, was valued at only 3s. 4d., and that the bishop considered 8d. too much. (fn. 7)

Priors Of Shoreham

Nicholas de Bedynge, occurs 1329 (fn. 8)

Nicholas, occurs 1342 (fn. 9)

John Bromlee, before 1383 (fn. 10)

John Crawle, occurs 1414 (fn. 11)


  • 1. Harl. MS. 539, fol. 144.
  • 2. Pat. 19 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 17.
  • 3. Pat. 22 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 14.
  • 4. Magd. Coll. Mun. 'Shoreham,' No. 36.
  • 5. Suss. Arch. Coll. xv, 22.
  • 6. Ibid. xii, 128.
  • 7. L. and P. Hen. VIII (1), 1394, 1456.
  • 8. Magd. Coll. Mun. 'Shoreham,' No. 43.
  • 9. Pat. 6 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 4.
  • 10. A bequest to him as 'quondam prior'; Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Courtenay, fol. 203.
  • 11. Ibid. Chicheley, pt. 1, fol. 276.