Houses of Carthusian monks: Priory of Kingston-upon-Hull

Pages 190-192

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

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Tickell (fn. 1) says that the site of the Hull Charterhouse was originally occupied by a small religious house, 'which appears to have been erected by Edward the First, and given by him, along with other lands in Myton lordship, to Sir William de la Pole. . . . This house, at first, was a College of six Priests: but they disagreeing among themselves were turned out, and the Friers minor succeeded; who, behaving no better than their predecessors, soon shared the same fate. This determined Sir William to pull down all the old buildings, and to erect, on the site of those buildings, a large monastery for the reception of Nuns of the Order of St. Clare.' Unfortunately no authority is cited for all these statements, although they are probably correct. The Letters Patent of Edward III (fn. 2) show that William de la Pole's original intention, for which he had obtained the king's licence, was to found a certain hospital of chaplains and poor folk, and to endow it with property in Kingstonupon-Hull and Myton, but that afterwards, in place of the proposed hospital, he determined on founding a religious house of thirteen nuns of the order of St. Clare, (fn. 3) one of whom was to be called abbess; a certain number of poor persons were to be maintained under their charge, and for this the royal licence had been granted that he might divert his originally proposed endowments of the hospital to the nuns, and also give the advowsons of the churches of Frisby, North Cave, and Foston to the nuns or sisters and the poor persons. William de la Pole dying before his scheme was carried out, his son and heir, Michael de la Pole, obtained from Edward III (fn. 4) power to alter the scheme, and in place of the nuns of the order of St. Clare to found a monastery for thirteen monks of the Carthusian order, one of whom was to be prior, and besides this, as originally proposed, there were to be thirteen poor men and thirteen poor women, one of the former of whom was to be master; the prior and monks and the master and the poor folk might live together, or separately, according to the ordinance which Michael de la Pole, or his heirs or executors, should determine. In consequence of this latter provision, although the Charterhouse and the hospital were more or less distinct there was a close connexion between them, the prior of the monastery was given a certain authority over the affairs of the hospital, and it was commonly known as the Charterhouse Hospital.

By charter dated 18 February 1378 (fn. 5) Michael de la Pole founded in his messuage outside the walls of Kingston-upon-Hull a religious house for thirteen monks of the Carthusian order, to the honour of God, the glorious Blessed Virgin Mary His Mother, the Blessed Michael archangel, and all archangels, angels, and holy spirits, and St. Thomas the Martyr, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, and other saints of God, which house he desired should be called the house of St. Michael of the Carthusian order. With assent of the prior of the Great Charterhouse, he appointed Walter de Kele prior of his house, which he endowed with the messuage aforesaid, containing 7 acres of land, lately parcel of the manor of Myton, and called the Maison Dieu, together with a chapel and other buildings erected there for their habitation, and also the advowson of the church of Foston, the manor of Sculcoates, &c. The monks were enjoined to pray for King Richard, for Katherine the founder's mother, (fn. 6) and Katherine his wife, Edmund his brother, and Michael his son and heir, Alexander Nevill, Archbishop of York, and a large number of other distinguished persons separately named.

In the reign of Henry IV John Colthorpe and Alice his wife endowed a cell for a monk of the order of the house, who was daily to say mass for their souls and for those of all faithful departed. (fn. 7) This cell, which was what would ordinarily have been termed a chantry, possibly augmented the number of monks. It was endowed with a rental of 20s. yearly, arising out of a manor in Essex. This the monks exchanged with Michael de la Pole for land in Myton. When the cell became vacant, the prior and convent were to appoint another monk within three months; if they neglected to do so, they were to forfeit £40 to the mayor and commonalty.

Richard II joined the prior and convent in a petition to Pope Urban VI, stating that the monastery had been founded for a prior and twelve monks, but had not been sufficiently endowed; that the patronage of the church of Hoggestorp (Hogsthorpe) in Lincoln diocese had been given to it by lay patrons. Urban VI thereupon appropriated Hogsthorpe Church to the monastery for five years, and Boniface IX in perpetuity, the values of the church and monastery not exceeding 120 and 180 marks, respectively. This appropriation had been included in a subsequent general annulment of appropriations by Pope Boniface in 1412, and the prior and convent petitioned Innocent VII that the appropriation of Hogsthorpe to their monastery might hold good, in spite of the general annulment. On 23 June 1406 he granted their petition, and confirmed the appropriation. (fn. 8) Subsequently the monks complained that John Brynnesley, priest, of the diocese of Lincoln, had despoiled them of their church of Hogsthorpe in spite of this confirmation, and consequently Alexander I, on 2 July 1409, directed the Archbishop of York to appropriate the church to them in perpetuity. (fn. 9)

The total annual value of the house in 1535 was £231 17s. 3d., and the clear annual value only £174 18s. 3d. (fn. 10) It therefore came under the operation of the Act for the suppression of the lesser monasteries, but it received the king's licence to continue, (fn. 11) though why it was selected for exemption is not known.

Among the Suppression Papers (fn. 12) there is a list of the members of the community compiled in 1536; against the names of all, except that of the prior, 'religion' is written in the margin. The names are: Ralph Mauleverey, prior (age 47), Robert Brewet (60), Robert Fuyster, claustral vicar (60), Robert Halle (60), Ralph Smyth (60), James Scooles (54), William Remyngton procurator (42), Adam Rede, sacrist of the church (32), John Rochester, James [ ] 'de London' (40), Nicholas Swyfte, priest, not professed (27), Helizeus Fumes, novice (30), and Brother William Gentil, convenus (34).

In the Monasticon (fn. 13) another and shorter list is given of pensions assigned 9 December 1539. Besides the names of Mauleverey, Brewet, Hall, Remyngton, and Rede, against whom pensions are entered in the preceding list, two other names are added, viz., William Browne and Thomas Synderton, each of whom received £6 13s. 4d., the same as Brewet, Hall, Remyngton, and Rede. Some of these can be traced in the pension inquiry list in the sixth year of Edward VI. (fn. 14) Ralph Mauleverey, the late prior, died on 10 May 1552. William Remyngton and William Browne received their pensions of £6 13s. 4d. Of Thomas Synderton the record is 'abest.'

Priors of Hull Charterhouse

Walter de Kele (first prior), 1378 (fn. 15)

John Craven, occurs 1410 (fn. 16)

Roger Billyngton, occurs 1412 (fn. 17) (Roger Rillington occurs 1415 (fn. 18) )

Richard, occurs 1423 (fn. 19)

John, occurs 1428. (fn. 20) John Wodrington, occurs 1430 (fn. 21)

John Caunsfeld, occurs 1433, (fn. 22) 1439 (fn. 23)

Peter Burton alias Johnson, died 1459-60 (fn. 24)

Rauf, occurs 1514 (fn. 25)

Rauf Smyth, occurs 1520 (fn. 26)

Ralph Mauleverey (last prior), (fn. 27) died 1552 (fn. 28)


  • 1. Hist. of the Town and County of Kingston-uponHull, 195. From the foundation charter of Michael de la Pole it would seem that a building called the Maison Dieu had previously occupied the site, and from the expressions used, it would seem that the chapel was given to the monks for their use.
  • 2. Pat. 51 Edw. III, m. 10.
  • 3. See the mandate of Urban V, issued 17 Jan. 1365. Cal. of Papal Letters, i v, 91.
  • 4. Pat. 51 Edw. III, m. 10.
  • 5. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 20, no. ii.
  • 6. The will of Katherine, relict of William de la Pole, senior, kt., dated 1 July 1381, directed that her body was to be buried in the quire of the church of St. Michael juxta Kyngestone super Hull of the Carthusian Order. Test. Ebor. (Surt. Soc.), i, 119.
  • 7. Tickell, Hist. of the Town and County of Kingsionupon-Hull, 200. John Colthorpe had been mayor in 1389, and he and his wife were buried in St. Mary's Church, Hull, where, in Tickell's time, an inscription asking for prayers for their souls still remained.
  • 8. Cal. of Papal Letters, vi, 81.
  • 9. Ibid. 162.
  • 10. Valor Eccl. v, 126.
  • 11. Tickell, Hist. of the Town and County of Kingstonupon-Hull, 162.
  • 12. Suppression P. ii, 199.
  • 13. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 22. The two lists no doubt are those taken at the first suppression and at the final surrender. There were only seven monks, including the prior, in the later list, thus indicating the change that had taken place in the personnel of the house in the interval.
  • 14. Exch. K.R. Accts. bdle. 76, no. 23.
  • 15. Foundation Chart. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 21, no. ii.
  • 16. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 19.
  • 17. Exch. K.R. Accts. bdle. 81, no. 7.
  • 18. Ibid. no. 10. No doubt the same person.
  • 19. Ibid. no. 11.
  • 20. Ibid. no. 13.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 100.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Reg. York Wills, ii, fol. 429.
  • 25. Tickell, Hist. of Town and County of Kings ton-uponHull, 143 n.
  • 26. Test. Ebor. (Surt. Soc.), v, 27.
  • 27. Suppression P. ii, 199.
  • 28. Exch. K.R. Accts. bdle. 76, no. 23.