Houses of Benedictine monks: Hermitage of Goathland

Page 107

A History of the County of York: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.

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The ecclesiastical establishment at Goathland was at first a hermitage. Henry I, (fn. 1) by a charter addressed to Archbishop Thomas (1109-14), Nigel de Albini and Osbert, Sheriff of Yorkshire, granted to Osmund the priest and the brothers of ' Godelane' that place for entertaining the poor, and the brothers were to hold it free of all interference from the king's foresters and others, in perpetual alms, and Nigel de Albini and the sheriff were to give them seisin.

By a later charter, (fn. 2) addressed to the same persons, the king granted that Osmund the priest and the brothers of Goathland might transfer themselves and their hermitage with all its appurtenances to the Abbot and convent of Whitby, in perpetuity, to be received to the habit of religion in the chapter of the monks. The king enjoined the abbot and monks to receive the brethren to the rule of St. Benedict, and confirmed the hermitage with all its appurtenances to the abbey of Whitby.

King John (fn. 3) confirmed the grants made by Henry I, which included also the gift of a carucate of land, and from a certain William Boie the brothers had also received a toft in Lockington, both of which were transferred to Whitby. There is really no evidence that the hermitage of Goathland, after it passed into the possession of Whitby, became a cell of the abbey. Apparently the hermitage had at one time or other been turned into a house for the abbot. On 22 December 1538 (fn. 4) Henry Davell, Abbot of Whitby, leased to Robert Cokerell of ' Godland' for eighty-one years at a yearly rent of 20s. 'one fermehold in Godland called the Abbot House.' Nothing is known of Goathland after it passed to Whitby.


  • 1. Whitby Chartul. 161. Dr. Atkinson gives good reasons for expanding the ' T Archiepiscopo ' of the charter into Thomae rather than, as Burton and the Monasticon, into Turstino.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. iv, 545.
  • 4. Conventual Leases (P.R.O)., Yorks. no. 929.