Houses of Benedictine monks: Priory of All Saints, Fishersgate

Pages 106-107

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

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In the vicinity of Fishergate Bar, York, and probably on a portion of the present cattle market, there stood in Norman times the parish church of All Saints. (fn. 1) This church was granted by William Rufus (1087-1100) to the Prior and convent of Whitby, with all its belongings, as a perpetual alms, on the condition that some of the monks should always be resident there and that they should pray for the king and his heirs. (fn. 2)

The election of William de Percy as first Abbot of Whitby took place in 1109, (fn. 3) and a charter of Nigel de Albini, addressed to Thomas, Archbishop of York (1108-14), shows that Serlo, formerly Prior of Whitby, had then become prior of the cell. There is no reference to Whitby in the document, but a special mention of All Saints, naming Serlo as the prior and referring to ' the other monks of that place.' (fn. 4)

The gift of All Saints to Whitby was confirmed by Archbishop Thurstan (1114-40) ' free and clear from every episcopal usage,' and with the same liberties as Beverley and Ripon Churches possessed. (fn. 5)

Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) made a confirmation to Whitby of its various possessions, among them being All Saints, Fishergate. (fn. 6) The charter was addressed to Abbot Benedict, who upon his resignation in 1148 retired to the cell of All Saints. (fn. 7)

The cell is named in two charters of confirmation of about this date, one of King Stephen (1135-54), (fn. 8) the other of Archbishop Murdac (1145-53). (fn. 9) In the latter All Saints was ratified as ' a proper cell for the monks of Wyteby free and clear from every episcopal usage.'

The revenues of the cell were derived from certain lands at Bustardthorpe which had been given ad hoc, and some other properties in the neighbourhood. (fn. 10) The land at Bustardthorpe (fn. 11) was doubtless that restored to ' Serlo Prior,'—the ' half carucate of land in Thorp with the dwellings on it,'—by Nigel de Albini, (fn. 12) mentioned in a remarkable deed printed in Surtees' History and Antiquities of Durham, (fn. 13) and quoted by Dr. Atkinson. (fn. 14) But the accounts were not kept separate, says Dr. Young, (fn. 15) from the parent house at Whitby. It was a small cell, with but few monks resident, in the valuation of York churches 1413-22, the value of All Saints Church being put down as £1. (fn. 16) Doubtless the needs of the monks would be supplied from the abbey at Whitby, all deficiencies being made up from the abbey revenues. Every trace of the small priory has disappeared, and as many changes have taken place in that part of York where it used to stand it is difficult to locate the site of the cell.


  • 1. Drake, Ebor. 250.
  • 2. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. i, 75; Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc. lxix), 5.
  • 3. Baildon, Mon. Notes.
  • 4. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 206-7; Atkinson, Whitby (1894 ed.), 110, 111.
  • 5. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 84; Charlton, Whitby, 86.
  • 6. Whitby Chartul. 119.
  • 7. Charlton, Whitby, 110; Whitby Chartul. 8.
  • 8. Charlton, Whitby, 114.
  • 9. Ibid. 117.
  • 10. Young, Whitby, 359.
  • 11. Bustardthorpe was between Bishopthorpe and Middlethorpe; the whole district was Thorp, it was afterwards divided into Bishopthorpe, Bustardthorpe, Middlethorpe, Nunthorpe and Clementhorpe.
  • 12. Whitby Chartul. 206-7.
  • 13. Op. cit. iii, 395.
  • 14. Whitby Chartul, 207.
  • 15. Young, Whitby, 359.
  • 16. Drake, Ebor. 234.