House of Cluniac monks: Priory of Monkton Farleigh

Pages 262-268

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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The priory of St. Mary Magdalene at Farleigh stood on high ground, about 4 miles east of Bath. A Cluniac foundation, it was the fourth daughter of Lewes, which had itself been founded from Cluny in 1077. About 1120 Humphrey (II) de Bohun expressed the intention of founding a priory at Farleigh, giving the church and land at Bishopstrow to Lewes as a partial endowment for the proposed priory. (fn. 1) Soon afterwards Farleigh was founded, probably by Maud, Humphrey's wife, and their son Humphrey (III). (fn. 2) In 1131 Innocent II confirmed to Farleigh all grants, past or future, by the king, Humphrey de Bohun and others, (fn. 3) but it was the charter of Humphrey III which formed the real basis of the priory's muniments of title. (fn. 4) The list of witnesses in this charter has sufficient in common with the list in that of his father to suggest that they were not widely separated in date. Unfortunately it appears to survive only in a late 15th-century copy. In it Humphrey joined the name of his wife Margaret with his own, and mentioned his mother, Maud de Bohun, as a benefactor of the priory. Amongst the witnesses were four other benefactors of the priory, Ilbert de Chaz, Robert Adalinus, Bartholomew de Bygot, and Humphrey de St. Vigor. It confirmed or gave to the monks the manor and park of Farleigh, lands in Broughton Gifford, Etchilhampton, Oaksey, Staverton, Stratton St. Margaret, Thornhill in Broad Town, Hanham (Glos.), and elsewhere; the churches of, or tithes in, Bishopstrow, Wilsford in Swarborough Hundred, Oaksey, Trowbridge, Heddington, Pomeroy in Winkfield, and Hartham, Clutton, Farmborough and Timsbury (Som.), and mills at Dowlish Wake (Som.), Box, Stratton, and Timsbury. Most of these holdings were the gifts of different benefactors who were all named in the charter. The grant of Clutton church and other property in Somerset was confirmed by 'R.' Bishop of Bath (probably Robert, 1136-66). (fn. 5)

The first priory church was probably completed about 1150, and Ilbert de Chaz was buried within it. (fn. 6) The Dunstanvilles, benefactors of Lewes, gave land at Codford between 1165 and 1169, and one of them was also buried at Farleigh. (fn. 7) The advowson of Chippenham with land in Foxhanger was given to the priory by the Empress Maud, and Jocelyn, Bishop of Salisbury, confirmed the gift. (fn. 8) A hundred years later his successor appropriated the church to Farleigh. (fn. 9) Other grants followed in rapid succession: William FitzRobert, Earl of Gloucester (from 1147 to 1183) gave quittance of toll and custom at Bristol; (fn. 10) William FitzJohn and his wife and son lands at Rowde and Harscombe (Glos.), and at Priddy and Keinton Mandeville (Som.); (fn. 11) and Adelwin FitzGeoffrey land in Horningsham. (fn. 12) Henry II confirmed the gifts of others, (fn. 13) and added, in or before 1158, a yearly payment of £5 from the issues of Wiltshire. (fn. 14) In 1185-7 he charged the priory 37s. 6d. a year for 40 acres of assart at Huntenhull in 'Westbury forest'. (fn. 15) Probably this was the same as the 'land of Haveringehull' for 'exchange' of which for 10½ years the Sheriff of Wiltshire paid the priory £10 10s. in 1208. (fn. 16) In 1184 the Pope, Lucius III, took the priory under the protection of the Holy See, and granted the rights of private worship in time of interdict, free sepulture, and other privileges. (fn. 17)

In John's reign, or perhaps earlier, Farleigh began to receive £1 2s. a year for the tithes of the king's fisheries at Garne Mill and Rodley in the manor of Rodley (Glos.). (fn. 18) Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln, left 10 marks to Farleigh by his earlier will of 1211, and in 1225 William Longespée, Earl of Salisbury, bequeathed to it 100 ewes and 10 cows. (fn. 19) Before 1209 the advowson of Wyville church in south Lincolnshire with a 'pension' of £2 was acquired, (fn. 20) and about the same time the monks had a tenement within Laffard's Gate at Bristol. (fn. 21) In 1204 Ralph de Lanvalai gave them land in Westbury Leigh in return for a life pension. (fn. 22) They disputed with Alan Bassett the advowson of Woptton Bassett, but were only able to secure an annual payment of 1 mark. (fn. 23) In 1194 they had to restore to William Burnel a tenement in Penleigh in Westbury, and pay 1 mark as a penalty, but they recovered £1 from him in 1199. (fn. 24) In 1227 Thomas le Ostricer sold them ½ virgate at Henton (Som.). (fn. 25)

In the same year Richard Poore, Bishop of Salisbury, came to Farleigh. At the request of the priory and Humphrey de Bohun he appropriated Box and Wilsford churches to it, recognizing the poverty of the house and its hospitality to all comers. (fn. 26) The appropriation was confirmed by his successor, Robert Bingham. (fn. 27) It was also in 1227 that the Abbess of Shaftesbury quitclaimed in return for a rent of 8s. the suit owed at her hundred court by the prior and his villeins of Farleigh, Wraxall, and Broughton Gifford. (fn. 28) In 1236 land in Little Broughton manor ('parva Brocton') was bought from Walter, son of Philip of Somerford, (fn. 29) and a rent in Broad Blunsdon was leased to Waleran of Blunsdon. (fn. 30) Three years later land was exchanged with Gilbert Basset. (fn. 31) During the reign of Henry III a number of further grants were made to the priory; by Robert of Farleigh, mason, of a messuage in Bradford and other property, in return for life maintenance in the priory; (fn. 32) by Samson Bigod of Box (who was alive in 1267) of land in Hazelbury, a mill in Box, a man with all his land, and the donor's rights in Box church; (fn. 33) by Walter Croc of 1½ virgate at Wadswick; (fn. 34) by Richard de Rudon of land in Chippenham; (fn. 35) and by Thomas Basset of land at Langley Burrell. (fn. 36) In 1246 the constable of Devizes was ordered to relieve the priory of tallage on a carucate in Foxhanger in Rowde. (fn. 37)

At the same time there were a great many exchanges and purchases of land by the priory. In 1249 land in Bishopstrow was bought from Walter de la Wyle, (fn. 38) and the wood of Holt was exchanged with William and Eve Mauduit for 15 acres in Westbury Leigh, next to the wood which Walter of Brockwey had given. (fn. 39) In 1251 land in Sopworth was exchanged with William de Valence, the king's half-brother, for land in 'Fulewell Furlang' in Stert, (fn. 40) and in 1259 a tenement in Cornwall was exchanged with Reynold de Buterell for land at Corton in Boyton. (fn. 41) The prior made an agreement with John Savory in 1265 as to property in Westbury. (fn. 42)

Humphrey (V) de Bohun ('the Good') gave the priory a new charter, (fn. 43) witnessed by John de Vernun, then (April 1255-November 1258) Sheriff of Wiltshire, and others. To a recapitulation of his great-grandfather's charter he added, notably, land which Philip the son of Edwin held in Nova Villa, given by Geoffrey the son of William; tithes of Humphrey's demesne in Wilsford and Manningford [Bohun] (in Wilsford), subject to the payment of 30s. a year to the hospital of St. Nicholas at Salisbury; and lands and men in his manor of Manningford. In 1267 the Abbess of Shaftesbury and one Martin, the chaplain, granted to Farleigh the chapel and hospice of St. Ouen at South Wraxall, with its appurtenant lands. (fn. 44)

The result of all these gifts, purchases, and exchanges was seen in 1291 and 1294, and proved a great deal simpler and neater than might have been expected. The priory shared the medieval landholder's genius for finishing, after much dealing in small and apparently unconnected parcels, with a neat list of manors. In 1291 the endowments of the priory were returned as £39 3s. 4d. for spiritualities in the diocese of Salisbury, £2 6s. 8d. in Worcester, 5s. in Hereford, and £2 in Lincoln; temporalities, £95 7s. 6d. in Salisbury Diocese and £13 17s. in Lincoln. (fn. 45) Three years later the lands were taken into the king's hands as possessions of alien religious during the war with France. In Wiltshire the priory then held manors at Thornhill, Chippenham, Slaughterford, Box, Farleigh, Leigh, and Broughton Gifford, with lands in Allington, Sopworth, South Marston, and Broom in Swindon. (fn. 46)

It is unfortunate, if not altogether surprising, that the first charter of liberties of the priory survives only at third hand, in an exemplification of a confirmation. (fn. 47) This is the charter of Hugh, prior of Lewes, who died in 1123, (fn. 48) to Humphrey de Bohun and Maud his mother. It promised Far leigh freedom from all services to, and exactions by, Lewes, except for an annual payment of 1 silver mark (the recognition owed in varying sums by every Cluniac foundation to its mother house), (fn. 49) and free election for its priors. This was not a charter which Lewes was anxious to preserve, and it does not appear in the cartulary of that priory, but it was confirmed by Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, and his confirmation survives in an exemplification by Stephen Langton, his successor, which was drawn up in the years 1213-15. But such independence was not usual for Cluniac houses, and had already been contested by Lewes. Richard, predecessor of these archbishops (1174-84), had confirmed an agreement of Margaret de Bohun conceding that the Prior of Lewes might remove the Prior of Farleigh, and substitute another, but she reserved the rights of Henry, her nephew. (fn. 50) Between 1189 and 1197 the prior Walter parvus was removed, without the consent of this nephew, Henry de Bohun, now Earl of Hereford. In the presence of the Bishop of Ely, legate and chancellor, Walter was restored, and again with Henry's consent removed; and in chapter at Lewes, with Henry's agreement, the chamberlain of Lewes was appointed prior. (fn. 51) This procedure, which gave a measure of independence to Farleigh and its patron, was apparently confirmed by Cluny; (fn. 52) the influence of the Bohuns was sufficient to retain a voice for themselves and their monks of Farleigh. In their dispute with Lewes a compromise was reached in 1201, (fn. 53) and a final settlement in 1218, (fn. 54) which regulated the relations between the patrons and the two houses as long as these survived. It was agreed that on a vacancy at Farleigh the patron (or his agents) and two monks should go to Lewes; the Prior of Lewes would nominate two candidates from any Cluniac house; and the chapter of Farleigh would elect one of the two as prior. The right of the Prior of Lewes to visit and correct was admitted, and it was stipulated that the Prior of Farleigh must attend at Lewes on St. Pancras day. The freedom of Farleigh from services and exactions, apart from the annual silver mark, was confirmed.

That this procedure was followed there is ample evidence. Within a few years Humphrey de Bohun sent his chaplain with two monks of Farleigh to Lewes, (fn. 55) and again in 1247 when brother 'H. de Farleigh' resigned on account of bodily weakness, the patron sent his proctors to Lewes, whilst Farleigh sent 'W.', the sub-prior, and 'S.', the chamberlain. (fn. 56) In 1281, 1292, and 1300 the same procedure was followed; the patron sent his two proctors and the priory sent two monks to Lewes at each vacancy. (fn. 57) In 1313 brother John, Prior of Farleigh, excused himself from going to Lewes; (fn. 58) presumably the annual visit was normally paid.

Meanwhile Farleigh had been involved in a dispute with the tenants of Marcigny (Sâone-etLoire) at Allington in Chippenham. This French priory had entrusted its English estates to Farleigh. The tenants claimed that Allington was ancient demesne; that Marcigny had compounded their services and then farmed the estate to Farleigh, that the prior had attempted, by imprisonment and distraint, to exact the former services. The prior denied the claims in detail, but a jury found against him in 1276. In the following year the king restored the property to him until Parliament met, but the final outcome of the case is not known. (fn. 59)

In 1276 also the Prior of Wenlock (Salop) and the Abbot of Cluny's constable visited Farleigh and in 1279 the priors of Montdidier (Somme), and Lenton (Notts.). (fn. 60) The former visitors found that the monks lived according to the rule, and gave instructions on minor matters of discipline. There were 18 monks and 2 lay brothers. The visitors of 1279 also found 18 monks who were without reproach, and the buildings were in good order; but their report on the prior was rather different. He was both disobedient and immoral. Nevertheless he appears to have remained prior until his death in 1281. (fn. 61)

It has been said that the priory was taken into the king's hands in 1294, (fn. 62) the dependencies of Cluny being treated as alien. However, the temporalities were released for a yearly payment in 1296. (fn. 63) It was found that the monks were English, that they did not pay tax or pension to any Frenchman, and that their only French tie was that the Abbot of Cluny sometimes visited them, received his expenses, and accepted their professions. Next year the collectors of the twelfth granted by Parliament were instructed to excuse the prior's goods with those of other religious. (fn. 64) In 1299 the Bishop of Salisbury presented to Sopworth church, the prior and convent having been excommunicated, (fn. 65) and there were further spells of confiscation. The priory was in the king's hands in 1300 and he presented to Slaughterford church. (fn. 66) From October 1324 until January 1325 receivers appointed by the Grown had the custody of this and other alien houses, (fn. 67) and about 1335 the Sheriff of Wiltshire was in possession of Farleigh. (fn. 68) Preparations to renew the war with France in 1337 involved further royal interference. The king presented to Farleigh's churches; the Prior of Farleigh became lessee of his own estates at a rent to the Crown of 40 marks, and from 1342 of 60 marks. (fn. 69) In 1351 the priory of Lewes obtained letters of denization, (fn. 70) and from 1355 to 1361 pressure from the Crown began to relax. (fn. 71) The prior now presented regularly to his churches. The king ordered him in 1356, and again in 1365, to suspend payment of all corrodies or pensions granted since the priory was taken into the king's hands, because the arrears of rent amounted in 1365 to £273 12s. 3d. (fn. 72) From 1370 Farleigh was again in the king's hands, but in 1373 the king agreed that the denization of Lewes extended to all its dependent priories in England, and henceforth Farleigh was not regarded as an alien priory. (fn. 73)

The moral standard of the priors of Farleigh was not high. Their extreme subordination to Lewes, amply illustrated by the Lewes cartulary, left little individual, strength or virtue in them. Prior Thomas of Montargis was deposed in 1300 by the Prior of Lewes, with authority from the Abbot of Cluny, but was re-employed at Lewes as housekeeper (mansionarius). The general chaprter took steps to cancel a bond for £162 which he had fraudulently extorted from Farleigh. (fn. 74) The monk-gardener of Lewes was appointed in his place. (fn. 75) In 1321 the chamberlain of Lewes was elected to Farleigh (fn. 76) but lingered in foreign parts, and the monks of Lewes committed the government to two monks of Farleigh. (fn. 77) Another monk of Lewes became prior in 1326, (fn. 78) and he and his successor spent some time in contracting and acknowledging debts. (fn. 79) William of Balsham was prior in 1335, when on St. Pancras day the Prior of Lewes sent a broadside of denunciation to all the daughter houses. (fn. 80) In the previous year the Bishop of Salisbury had presented to Farleigh church owing to his incapacity, (fn. 81) and in 1336 he left the priory. Once more the Prior of Lewes had to appoint two monks to administer the house. (fn. 82) William seems to have obtained support from Canterbury, (fn. 83) but by 1343 he was a deposed vagabond. (fn. 84)

In 1361 Humphrey (VIII) de Bohun, 6th Earl of Hereford, left 40. marks for division amongst the monks. (fn. 85) His successor Humphrey (IX), the last of the Bohuns, died in 1373. The patronage passed to his elder daughter, the wife of Thomas of Woodstock, Earl of Buckingham. (fn. 86) In 1384 the prior, like the Abbot of Malmesbury and many other superiors in the west country, failed to pay the clerical subsidy; certain lords dwelling in the Welsh marches were informed in 1386 and ordered to imprison these prelates until they paid. (fn. 87) The outcome is not known. On the death of Prior William of Preston after a long reign in 1409, it was the king, as the husband of Humphrey (IX) de Bohun's younger daughter, who committed the temporalities to Sir Walter Hungerford and William Stourton, and nominated a new prior. Hungerford was shortly charged with wasting the property. (fn. 88) In 1413 the patronage was said to descend through Eleanor, the elder co-heiress of the Bohuns. (fn. 89) However, her husband had been attainted in 1397 and the Crown usually had its way. In 1437 the king accepted the nomination of John Brugge by the Prior of Lewes. (fn. 90) In 1465, (fn. 91) 1468, (fn. 92) and 1472 (fn. 93) priors were appointed by the king. On the first occasion it was on the recommendation of Sir John Howard, who had received money for the favour. In 1472 the king prevailed, in spite of an appointment by the monks of Lewes and an action in Chancery in support of their candidate. On this last occasion the Prior of Lewes described Farleigh as 'destitute of all virtue and good rule'. The next prior obtained a papal indult of non-residence in 1478. (fn. 94)

Until about 1291 there had been continuous expansion of the priory estates, but the peculiar status of the Cluniac houses in the French wars made the struggle of the 14th century one to maintain rather than to expand their possessions. Only under Prior William of Preston, from 1388 (or earlier) to 1409, was expansion renewed. In 1389 he had quittance of services due to the tenant-in chief on 8 messuages and 4 carucates in Corton. (fn. 95) John Marreys, who was ordained deacon in 1393 and priest in 1397, and held one of the Farleigh benefices, (fn. 96) acted as an agent in the acquisition of the lands. In 1392 and 1397 the prior had licence at a cost of £4 to receive from Marreys and John Gore houses and lands in Slaughterford, Chippenham, Stanley, Langley Burrell, Cocklebury in Langley Burrell, and Allington in Chippenham, towards the maintenance of one monk celebrating daily in his church for himself and for John of Cherlieu, the fighting Prior of Lewes. (fn. 97) In 1397 Sir Thomas Hungerford and Marreys granted reversions in Farleigh, Farleigh Wick, and Ailington. (fn. 98) In 1400 Simon Porter granted property at Langley Burrell, Chippenham, and elsewhere; he and his son Gilbert were taken into the fraternity of Farleigh, the convent undertaking to give him and his heirs a belt and a knife every year at Michaelmas. (fn. 99) In the same year the priory was excused payment of £150 5s. 7d. arrears of the rent of Marcigny, which it had been discharging at the rate of 5 marks a year. (fn. 100) The Marcigny property was finally lost to Farleigh in 1440, when the estates of alien priories were transferred to commissioners for pious uses. (fn. 101) Payment of the rent of 57 marks had been excused in 1439 on condition of spending the money on repairing the convent's bell-tower, which had fallen in April 1438. (fn. 102) The farm of the Marcigny lands in Lincolnshire and Wiltshire had complicated the Farleigh estates for nearly 200 years. In Lincolnshire the priory had one other property from the early 13th to the beginning of the 16th century, the advowson of Wyville church and a pension from it. Apart from this the property was concentrated in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Somerset. In 1535 the priory drew an income of £43 18s. from eight churches in Wiltshire and one in Somerset, and £11 15s. 8d. in pensions or portions from 14 churches in Wiltshire. It received £162 1s. 8½d. from 9 manors in Wiltshire, one in Gloucestershire, and other properties in Wiltshire, Somerset, and Lincolnshire. All the demesnes except Farleigh were leased. The lease of Chippenham rectory had recently led to an action in Chancery by the lessee in which the prior was charged in effect with fraud. (fn. 103) Out of a gross revenue of £218, £42 was paid in rents, £18 in fees, £3 13s. 4d. in alms, and £1 16s. 6d. in other dues. (fn. 104) The clear income was therefore £154, and the priory was dissolved in February 1536.

Sir Henry Long, the chief steward, Thomas Moumford, the under-steward, William Burton, the auditor, and John Parsons and John Usher, collectors in two groups of manors, drew £2 a year each. Richard ap Henry, as receiver and as bailiff of the 'liberty' of Farleigh, had 4 marks a year, and two other collectors, Thomas Wilks and Thomas Yonge, 2 marks each. There were other bailiffs, collectors, and farmers; John Williams, 'alias Walshman', took over the bailiwick of Welby and Navenby about 1539. (fn. 105) The clerks who drew up the accounts received 2s. for each annual statement. (fn. 106)

Surviving accounts indicate mixed farming on the priory estates; there is no evidence that the monks were large wool-growers, and Farleigh was not mentioned in the late 13th-century Italian list of wool-exporting houses. (fn. 107) In 1294 (fn. 108) about a tenth of the Wiltshire acreage was meadow or pasture, carrying 186 oxen, 43 cows, and 62 other cattle, and at Farleigh and Thornhill 116 ewes and 51 lambs. In 1535 the manor of Farleigh had 36½ acres of pasture out of 836½ with 100 ewes; (fn. 109) in 1500-1 it supplied the house with mutton and pork. The account of the prior, John Stone, apparently for 1500-1, is unique. (fn. 110) The prior evidently acted as general-receiver or treasurer, which was not unusual in small houses. The monks had for some years let property for long terms (40, 70, or 80 years), (fn. 111) and nearly half of the income of £298 was derived from rents. Of the remainder £70 was in kind, all delivered for the use of the household at Farleigh. In addition he spent £60 on purchasing food from outside. Other expenses included pensions and fees £60, clothing for the monks £16 14s. 4d, staff, both at Farleigh and in the barton, £44, buildings £26, minstrels, &c., £5 18s. 3d., and expenses of the administration of the estates about £4.

The monks of Farleigh were professed (if the rules of the Order were observed) by the Abbot of Cluny, until in 1410 the Prior of Lewes obtained authority to receive professions. It was probably an echo of the old reproach that English Cluniac monks were seldom professed that the Prior of Lewes complained, about 1472, that there were not two monks of the Order at Farleigh. (fn. 112) The monks were ordained, in the normal course, either in their own diocese or in that of Bath and Wells. (fn. 113) In 1276 they numbered 18 with 2 lay brothers. (fn. 114) In 1377 it was said that there ought to be 20, (fn. 115) but apparently there were vacant stalls in 1294 and about 1405. (fn. 116) The Prior of Lewes, about 1472, said that the correct number was 14 without the prior. (fn. 117) In 1476 the Crown quoted— but later denied—the story told at a recent inquisition that Edward III had founded the house for 13 monks, and that it had forfeited an endowment by allowing the number to fall to 7. (fn. 118) In 1500-1 and again in 1536 there were 7 including the prior. In the former year there were also 5 novices, but none were mentioned in 1536. About 1265 Henry of Farleigh, the prior, and the convent had granted to Sir Peter de Percy's widow and her heirs the right to nominate a clerk as a monk of Farleigh, and his successor confirmed the grant. (fn. 119) Apart from this it is not known how the monks were recruited, though it may be noted that three of the 5 novices mentioned above bore the names of knightly families—Ratcliffe, Ludlow, and Stourton. In a letter from Lewes in 1281 three obedientaries were mentioned—thesub-prior, the chamberlain, and the sacrist. (fn. 120) An infirmarian was mentioned in 1265; (fn. 121) in 1500-1 only a sub-prior and third prior. (fn. 122)

The last prior, Lewis Brecknock, found money in or before 1532 for an annuity to Cromwell. (fn. 123) It was wasted: Richard Layton wrote to Cromwell in August 1535 sending St. Mary Magdalene's girdle, which the prior told him the Empress Maud had given to Farleigh; and he added that the place was 'a very stews'. (fn. 124) Sir Henry Long and three other local squires visited Farleigh, under the king's commission, in the summer of 1536. They raised the clear valuation to £195 2s. 8½d. a year, with £18 4s. 6d. in addition for the demesnes; some £50 more than the king's collectors were to account for. (fn. 125) They found 6 monks, all priests of honest conversation, desiring to continue in religion; 5 waiting servants, 8 officers of the household, and 5 hinds. The church, dwellinghouse, and outhouses were in a 'convenient' state, and the lead and bells were worth £28 8s.; the jewels and plate £30 3s. 3d., the ornaments £8 15s. 4d., the household stuff £10 13s., the stocks and stores £39 7s. The 100 acres of great wood and the 66 acres of coppice wood were valued at £62 16s. The house owed £245 2s. 7d. and £51 10s. was owing to it. (fn. 126)

Brecknock obtained a pension of £24 a year; (fn. 127) and out of the income for 1535-6 he had £50 0s. 7½d. for expenses of the household from Michaelmas 1535 to the Dissolution. William Burton, of Alton Priors, the auditor, claimed sums of £56 and £84 from the estate under obligations sealed by the prior and convent in 1528 and 1531, and Brecknock, giving evidence in support before the Court of Augmentations in January 1540, made it appear that Burton had for some years been the obliging friend, banker, and legal adviser of the priory. The court awarded £120 to Burton in full satisfaction, and in 1540-1 he drew the £2 a year which the prior had granted to him as auditor. (fn. 128) Another creditor, Thomas Stephens, claimed £36 13s. 4d. under an obligation dated in 1533, and £2 18s. 8d. on a bill for wheat delivered in 1535; he obtained in 1538 an order for payment in full. (fn. 129)

Sir Edward Seymour, then Viscount Beauchamp, obtained in 1536 a grant in tail male to him and his wife, Anne, of the site and ground of the late priory, its church, bell-tower, and churchyard, the manor and advowson of Farleigh, and all the property in Farleigh and some other places. (fn. 130)

As has been said, the first priory church was probably completed about 1150. (fn. 131) The priory was rebuilt in the early 13th century, apparently of Farleigh Down stone; the new and larger church with a tower over the crossing was built alongside the old. (fn. 132) In the 14th century the east end of the church was again rebuilt to form a larger and rectangular presbytery. About 1439 the bell-tower was repaired; a new sanctuary was built on the site of the tower and crossing; the east end of the nave became the new choir, and the transepts and former sanctuary were left unrestored. (fn. 133) The expenditure of 1500-1 on the repair of houses included four days' work by the glazier. (fn. 134) The condition of the buildings at the Dissolution was apparently satisfactory. (fn. 135) The site was excavated in 1744, (fn. 136) in 1841, (fn. 137) about 1880, (fn. 138) and under expert control in 1911, when Sir Harold Brakspear was able to trace the sites of the first and second churches, the chapter-house, the cloister, and a late 12th-century hall west of the church. The manor house stands close to the site of the conventual buildings, and its cellars belonged to them. (fn. 139)

A little north-west of the house are the remains of the monastic buildings; two tall partly restored 13th-century roll-moulded pointed windows with a roll moulding at sill level; in a shed adjoining there are a large number of carved fragments of the 12th and 13th centuries, some 13th-century tiles, a stone coffin and sepulchral slabs; two of knights in low relief with crossed legs, a priest in low relief, the effigy of a knight in chain mail broken into several pieces, one slab incised with head and shoulders of an ecclesiastic forming the head of a floriated cross, and one with a raised inscription. East of the house are two stone coffins said to be in situ and a tiled floor, turfed over, reputed to be the site of a chapel. The precinct covered about 20 acres, with the buildings in its north-west quarter; its south boundary probably ame within 100 yards of the road separating the nanor house grounds from the parish church. (fn. 140) Outside it, on the north, were the fishponds, next to the present Pond Piece. (fn. 141) The conduit-house, apparently 14th-century work but with a roof dating from 1784, is on high ground a little west of the manor house. (fn. 142) The gate-house was probably at the south-west corner of the precinct, where the south lodge now stands opposite the cross-roads. (fn. 143)

Priors of Monkton Farleigh

Stephen, occurs 1184. (fn. 144)

Walter 'Parvus', removed before 1197. (fn. 145)

Maurus (or Main), appointed before 1197, occurs to 1208. (fn. 146)

Henry of Farleigh, occurs 1227, resigned 1247. (fn. 147)

Simon, occurs 1249-65. (fn. 148)

Henry of Farleigh, occurs 1267. (fn. 149)

William of Chichester, occurs 1271(?), died 1281. (fn. 150)

Stephen, occurs 1282, resigned 1292. (fn. 151)

Thomas of Montargis, deposed 1300. (fn. 152)

John of Newcastle, installed 1301, occurs to 1314. (fn. 153)

Thomas of Wraxall, occurs 1318. (fn. 154)

John of Fécamp, occurs 1321, resigned 1326. (fn. 155)

Robert of Street, nominated 1326, occurs 1327. (fn. 156)

William of Balsham, occurs 1330, deposed before 1342. (fn. 157)

Lawrence Archebaud, occurs 1342, died 1350. (fn. 158)

John of Chalons, installed 1350, died 1353 or 1354. (fn. 159)

Geoffrey of Walton, installed 1354, occurs 1358. (fn. 160)

William of Preston, occurs 1388, (fn. 161) died 1409. (fn. 162)

John Hole, nominated 1409, (fn. 162) resigned 1437. (fn. 163)

John Brugge, nominated 1437, resigned 1462. (fn. 163)

John Stratton, administrator 1462, nominated 1465, resigned 1468. (fn. 164)

John Shrewsbury, appointed 1468, resigned 1471-2. (fn. 165)

Thomas Grove, appointed 1472. (fn. 166)

John Baylye, occurs 1478. (fn. 167)

John Stone, occurs 1496-1504. (fn. 168)

Lewis Brecknock (or Millom), (fn. 169) occurs c. 1520-36. (fn. 170)

A circular 13th-century seal of the prior, 23/8 in. in diameter, shows the martyrdom of St. Mary Magdalene, under a dome-shaped canopy topped with two small pent-roofs; at each side is a small round-headed arch. Another circular seal, 2¼ in. in diameter, of the same period shows the meeting of our Lord and the Magdalene in the garden. (fn. 171) The excavators of 1841 found 'a small round silver seal (now [1858] in Mrs. Wade Browne's possession) . . ., bearing a well-engraved head and legend of St Mary Magdalene'—probably the private seal of a prior; (fn. 172) it has not reached the British Museum. There are fragments of a large circular seal appended to an agreement of 1314 with Stanley Abbey. (fn. 173)


  • 1. Lewes Ckartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 22-23. In their early letters the monks often referred to Farleigh as 'Coniss'.
  • 2. Acta Stephani Langton (Cant. & York Soc.), 50-51.
  • 3. Anct. Chart. (Pipe R. Soc. x), 29; P.R.O., Lists and Indexes, xlix, 219.
  • 4. Dugd. Mon. v, 26; B.M., Cott. MS. Vesp. F. XV, f. 314. The possessions of the priory, with all the docs, relating to its revenues, were summarized and tabulated by Sir Charles Hobhouse in W.A.M. xx, 220-30.
  • 5. Cat. Anct. D. V, A 13645.
  • 6. W.A.M. iv, 282; xliii, 14-17 (Sir H. Brakspear).
  • 7. B.M., Harl. Chart. 43 C 23; W.A.M. iv, 283; xliii, 17.
  • 8. W.R.O., Acc. 192/545 Cat. Anct. D. iii, D 304.
  • 9. W.R.O., Acc. 192/54; L.R. 14/E 38; Sar. Reg. Beauchamp, ii, f. 121; W.A.M. iii, 45.
  • 10. B.M., Harl. Chart. 43 C 16.
  • 11. B.M., Campb. Chart. xiii, 12; Bodl. MS. Rawl. D 404, f. 129; Dugd. Mon. v, 27.
  • 12. B.M., Campb. Chart. xiii, 15.
  • 13. W.R.O., Acc. 192/54; Sir Christopher Hatton's Book of Seals, ed. L. C. Loyd and D. M. Stenton, 129.
  • 14. Pipe Rolls, passim.
  • 15. Pipe R. 1184-7 (Pipe R. Soc. xxxiv, 193; xxxvi, 162; xxxvii, 175).
  • 16. Pipe R. 1208 (Pipe R. Soc. N.S. xxiii), 192-3.
  • 17. Cal. Pap. Lett. v, 409.
  • 18. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 284b; Pipe R. 1204 seq. (Pipe R. Soc. from N.S. xviii); Close R. 1247-51, 138.
  • 19. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. Wells, i, 431; Rot. Lit. Claus. 1224-7, 71b. St. Hugh's wills are not free from doubt.
  • 20. Rot. Hugonis de Welles (Linc. Rec. Soc.), i, 8.
  • 21. Cat. Anct. D. iii, D 888.
  • 22. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 9; CP 25(1)/250/3/12; cf. Cur. Reg. R. 1203-5, 2.
  • 23. Cat. Anct. D. iii, A 4861.
  • 24. Rolls of King's Court, 1194-5, 71, 82; Memo. Roll, I John, 13 (Pipe R. Soc. xiv, N.S. xxi).
  • 25. Feet of F. Som. 1196-1307 (Som. Rec. Soc. vi), 56.
  • 26. Sar. Chart. & Docs. (Rolls Ser.), 185; E 135/19/13.
  • 27. Ibid. p. 282.
  • 28. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 18; CP 25(1)/250/7/76.
  • 29. Close R. 1227-31, 111, 237; Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 11951272, ed. Fry, p. 23; CP 25(1)/250/9/21.
  • 30. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 24; CP 25(1)/250/9/23.
  • 31. Cat. Anct. D. v, A 11540.
  • 32. B.M., Campb. Chart. xiii, 13.
  • 33. B.M., Harl. Chart. 46 161; Harl. MS. 61, f. 92; G. J. Kidston, Manor of Hazelbury, 124, 294.
  • 34. B.M., Campb. Chart. xiii, 11; Kidston, op. cit. 49, 252.
  • 35. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 231.
  • 36. Cat. Anct. D. ii, B 1870.
  • 37. Close R. 1242-7, 414.
  • 38. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 37; CP 25(1)/251/15/1.
  • 39. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 40; CP 25(1)/251/15/39.
  • 40. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 63; CP 25(1)/284/19/97; Close R. 1247-51, 550.
  • 41. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 70; CP 25(1)/283/15/366.
  • 42. Cat. Anct. D. iii, D 320.
  • 43. Dugd. Mon. v. 26, where it is wrongly credited to Humphrey III.
  • 44. B.M., Harl. MS. 61, f. 92; for St. Ouen's Chapel see V.C.H. Wilts. vii, 28; W.A.M. xiv, 100-3; liii, 480-1.
  • 45. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.); W.A.M. xx, 223.
  • 46. Dugd. Mon. v, 28-30.
  • 47. Acta Stephani Langton (Cant. & York Soc.), 50-51; DL 27/4.
  • 48. V.C.H. Suss, ii, 69.
  • 49. D. Knowles, Monastic Order in Engl. 157.
  • 50. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 17-18.
  • 51. 35th Dep. Kpr.'s Rep. 2; DL 27/3.
  • 52. 35th Dep. Kpr.'s Rep. 2; DL 25/6.
  • 53. L. Guilloreau, Congrès du millénaire de Cluny (Académie de Maçon, 1910), 316.
  • 54. Dugd. Mon. v, 27; Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 13-14; Cal. Pat. 1324-7, 260-1; DL 25/9. Several versions of this agreement are extant; in some cases the date has been misread.
  • 55. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 7.
  • 56. Ibid. 6, 9.
  • 57. Ibid. 6-17.
  • 58. Ibid. 21.
  • 59. Cal. Close, 1272-9, 247, 380, 494; W.A.M. xxxv, 93-100.
  • 60. Charters and Records of Cluny, ed. G. Duckett, ii, 126, 137; Visitations . . . of Cluny, ed. G. Duckett, 17, 27; L. Guilloreau, Congrès du millénaire, &c. 348-9.
  • 61. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 15-16.
  • 62. Dugd. Mon. v, 28-29.
  • 63. Cal. Close, 1288-96, 470-1.
  • 64. Cal. Chan. R. Var. 25, 50.
  • 65. Reg. Simon de Gandavo (Cant. & York Soc.), 587-8.
  • 66. Cal. Pat. 1292-1301, 532; Kidston, Manor of Hazelbury, 103.
  • 67. SC 6/1125/15, 1126/2, 1127/11 and 18.
  • 68. C 47/18/1(17)
  • 69. Cal. Close, 1337-9, 163, 335; Cal. Fine R. 1337-47, 28, 274.
  • 70. Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 47-48.
  • 71. Cal. Pat. 1354-8, 216-17; 1358-61, 82, 559; Cal. Close, 1354-60, 562-3.
  • 72. Cal. Close, 1354-60, 290; 1364-8, 94.
  • 73. Cal. Pat. 1367-70, 466; 1370-4, 23-24, 56, 226, 261, 286, 293.
  • 74. Visitations ... of Cluny, ed. G. Duckett, 277.
  • 75. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 14-15; Suss. Arch. Coll. ii, 37.
  • 76. W.A.M. xx, 220.
  • 77. Dugd. Mon. v, 26.
  • 78. Cal. Close, 1323-7, 477-8; Cal. Pat. 1324-7, 260-1.
  • 79. Cal. Close, 1323-37, passim.
  • 80. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 10-12.
  • 81. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. 30.
  • 82. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 8-9.
  • 83. Ibid. 13.
  • 84. Cal. Pat. 1343-5, 78.
  • 85. John Nichols, Royal Wills, 49.
  • 86. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 132, 7-77 (Index Libr.), 372; Cal. Close, 1377-81, 394-5; 1381-5, 511; Rot. Parl. iv, 137a.
  • 87. Cal. Close, 1385-9, 149.
  • 88. Cal. Pat. 1408-13, 143, 163, 181; Cal. Fine R. 140513, 149; Cal. Close, 1409-13, 28-29; KB 138/88.
  • 89. Bull. of Inst. of Hist. Research, xviii, 66.
  • 90. Cal. Pat. 1436-41, 120.
  • 91. Cal. Pat. 1461-7, 460; Manners and Household Expenses (Roxburghe Club, 1841), 457.
  • 92. Cal. Pat. 1467-77, 97.
  • 93. Ibid. 313; C 1/43/5.
  • 94. Cal. Pap. Lett. xiii, 636.
  • 95. P.R.O. Lists and Indexes, xxxii, p. 705; Year Bk. 1388-9 (Ames Foundation), 178.
  • 96. Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), 329, 344.
  • 97. Cal. Pat. 1391-6, 97; 1396-9, 121-2.
  • 98. Cat. Anct. D. ii, B 3676; B.M., Cott. Chart. ii, 22; P.R.O. Lists and Indexes, xxii, p. 702.
  • 99. B.M., Campb. Chart. xiii, 14.
  • 100. Cal. Pat. 1399-1401, 250-1.
  • 101. R. Graham, Engl. Eccl. Studies, 76.
  • 102. Cal. Pat. 1436-41, 237, 244.
  • 103. C 1/695/17. The Rector of Oaksey, in another suit (C 1/599/35, 36) accused the prior of forging an obligation, and causing him to be wrongfully imprisoned.
  • 104. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 11, 143-4; Dugd. Mon. v, 31-32; E 315/420.
  • 105. Dugd. Mon. v, 31-32; SC 6/Hen. VIII/3969 & 3972. The Rector of Oaksey had accused Brecknock of wishing to put a Welsh kinsman into his benefice.
  • 106. SC 6/Henry VIII/3970. Although listed with the accounts of Henry VIII, it appears to belong to the reign of Henry VII.
  • 107. W. Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and Commerce (5th ed.), 632.
  • 108. W.A.M. xx, 230.
  • 109. E 315/398; W.A.M. xx, 81-82.
  • 110. SC 6/Henry VIII/3957.
  • 111. E 315/420; SC 6/Henry VIII/3971, 3973.
  • 112. C 1/43/5.
  • 113. Reg. Stafford, ii (Som. Rec. Publ. xxxii), 337-405; Reg. Bekynton (Som. Rec. Publ. 1), 474-95.
  • 114. Chart. & Rec. of Cluny, ed. G. Duckett, ii, 126.
  • 115. Revue Bénédictine, xxxvi, 270.
  • 116. Visitations ... of Cluny, ed. G. Duckett, 249; Chart. & Rec. of Cluny, ed. G. Duckett, ii, 210.
  • 117. C 1/43/5.
  • 118. B.M., Cott. MS. Vesp. F. XV, f. 318.
  • 119. Tropenell Cart. ed. Davies, i, 298-9.
  • 120. Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 10.
  • 121. Cat. Anct. D. iii, D 320.
  • 122. SC 6/Henry VIII/3957.
  • 123. L. & P. Hen. VIII, v, p. 557.
  • 124. Ibid. ix, pp. 11, 49.
  • 125. SC 6/Henry VIII/3969.,
  • 126. SC 12/33/27; Dublin Review, cxiv, 272; W.A.M. xliii, 11.
  • 127. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii, (1), p. 575.
  • 128. E 315/133, f. 18-21; E 315/95, f. 79; E 315/398; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 26. A footnote to the record of Brecknock's evidence reads 'He me semys mekyn' (He seems to me a scoundrel).
  • 129. E 315/92, f. 65b.
  • 130. L. & P. Hen. VIII, x, p. 526.
  • 131. W.A.M. iv, 282; xliii, 14-17.
  • 132. Ibid. xx, 68; xliii, 14-15; Close R. 1251-3, 88.
  • 133. W.A.M. xliii, 16.
  • 134. SC 6/Henry VIII/3957.
  • 135. SC 12/33/27.
  • 136. Gent. Mag. xiv, 139; John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, iii, 586; W.A.M. iv, 281-2; xliii, 11.
  • 137. W.A.M. 1, 105.
  • 138. Ibid. xx, 74-75.
  • 139. W.A.M. iv, 281.
  • 140. Ibid, xliii, 13-14.
  • 141. Ibid. xx, 235.
  • 142. Ibid. xx, 74; xliii, 17.
  • 143. Ibid. xliii, 14.
  • 144. Cal. Pap. Lett. v, 409.
  • 145. P.R.O., DL 27/3.
  • 146. Ibid.; Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 13. The name 'Main', unless it is a form of Magnus, seems to be unique.
  • 147. Feet of F. Som. 1196-1307 (Som. Rec. Soc. vi), p. 56; Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 6, 9.
  • 148. Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195-1272, ed. Fry, p. 37; Cat. Anct. D. iii, D 320. The date 1248 in Cat. Anct. D. i, B 469, a receipt given by a Prior Thomas, is very doubtful.
  • 149. B.M., Harl. MS. 61, f. 92; W.A.M. xiv, 103-4.
  • 150. Tropenell Cart. ed. Davies, i, 300 (where the date 1261 seems incorrect, though it is correctly copied from the copy in the cartulary, p. 368); Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 10.
  • 151. Tropenell Cart. ed. Davies, i, 67; Lewes Chartulary, Wilts. &c. portion (Suss. Rec. Soc.), 6, 8, 17.
  • 152. Ibid. 15.
  • 153. Suss. Arch. Coll. ii, 37; Cat. Anct. D. iv, A 9366.
  • 154. Cal. Close, 1318-23, 98. He was a monk of the cloister in 1303 (Cartwright Memorial Hall, Bradford, Yorks., Trowbridge Ct. R. 1303).
  • 155. B.M., Cott. MS. Vesp. F. XV, f. 167; Cal. Pat. 13247, 260.
  • 156. Cal. Close, 1323-7, 478; 1327-30, 108.
  • 157. Cal. Close, 1330-3, 165; Year Bk. 1345-6 (Rolls Ser.), 58-61.
  • 158. Cal. Fine R. 1337-47, 274.
  • 159. Ibid. 1347-56, 245.
  • 160. Ibid. 391; Cal. Pat. 1358-61, 82.
  • 161. Cal. Pat. 1385-9, 418. William of Wenlock (Cal. Fine R. 1391-9, 41) was Prior of Farley Hospital in Beds.
  • 162. Cal. Pat. 1408-13, 143, 163.
  • 163. Ibid. 1436-41, 120; 1461-7, 197.
  • 164. Ibid. 1461-7, 197, 460; 1467-77, 97.
  • 165. Ibid. 1467-77, 97, 313.
  • 166. Ibid. 313.
  • 167. B.M., Cott. MS. Vesp. F. XV, f. 319.
  • 168. Sar. Reg. Blythe, f. 53; Sar. Reg. Audley, f. 115v.
  • 169. L. & P. Hen. VIII, x, p. 526.
  • 170. W.A.M. xx, 96.
  • 171. B.M. Cat. of Seals, i, 3145-6 (casts).
  • 172. W.A.M. iv, 284; 1, 106.
  • 173. E 40/9366.