Houses of Benedictine monks: Priory of St Martin, Richmond

Page 112

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

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The cell of St. Martin, Richmond, has very little known history. About 1100 Wymar, steward to Stephen, Earl of Richmond, gave to God, Blessed Mary of York, and the monks serving God there, the chapel of St. Martin of Richmond with other possessions. Whereupon a cell of nine or ten monks from St. Mary's Abbey, York, was established at St. Martin's (fn. 1) and afterwards the hermitage or chapel of St. Thomas of Bordelby or Bordebank was given by the abbey to St. Martin's, for the reception of leprous brethren. (fn. 2) Many other grants were made to the cell.

The cell was confirmed by Pope Eugenius III in 1146. (fn. 3)

The Taxation of 1291 gives the spiritualities of the cell as consisting of pensions from seventeen different churches amounting to £25 14s. 8d., and the temporalities as £6 0s. 8d., making a total of £31 15s. 4d. (fn. 4) In the account of the Provincial Council of 1311, which dealt with the case of the Templars, the Abbot of St. Martin's as well as the Prior of St. Martin's is separately entered among those summoned. (fn. 5) The former must necessarily be a clerical error. From a Subsidy Roll of 1380-1 it would seem that there was then only one monk at the cell besides the prior. (fn. 6) Archbishop Zouch issued a notice of his intention to visit the Prior and convent of St. Martin's on Saturday, 1 October, 1345, (fn. 7) but nothing is recorded as to the visitation. In the Valor Ecclesiastics (fn. 8) the temporalities are reckoned at £19 7s. 5d. and the spiritualities at £26 12s. 4d., making a total of £47 16s. (sic). (fn. 9)

Priors of St. Martin's

John Popilton (fn. 10) (first prior)

Herbert (? c. 1200) (fn. 11)

John, (fn. 12) occurs 1258

Roger, (fn. 13) occurs 1300

William, (fn. 14) (? temp. Henry VII)

John Matthew, occurs 1528, (fn. 15) as John Mather 1535 (fn. 16)


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. iii, 601.
  • 2. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 272. In neither instance is there any hint as to the date of the gift of this chapel by the mother house to the cell, nor how St. Mary's Abbey originally obtained possession of it.
  • 3. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. iii, 602.
  • 4. Ibid. 602, 603.
  • 5. Rec. of Northern Convocation (Surt. Soc.), 32.
  • 6. Subs. R. 63, no. 12.
  • 7. York Archiepis. Reg. Zouch, fol. 67.
  • 8. Op. cit. v, 11a.
  • 9. In Mon. Angl. (iii, 610), rentals and lordships in Cumberland and Westmorland of considerable value are by mistake assigned to the cell of St. Martin. The mistake has been followed by Lawton, ReligHouses of Yorks. 40.
  • 10. Leland, Coll. i, 25.
  • 11. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 289.
  • 12. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 174.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. iii, 605.
  • 15. B. Willis, Mitred Abbeys, ii, 282.
  • 16. Valor Eccl. v, 10b.