Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Haltemprice

Pages 213-216

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

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With the exception of the two charterhouses at Hull and Mount Grace, (fn. 1) the Augustinian priory of Haltemprice was the last founded of Yorkshire monasteries. More than seventy years had elapsed since the establishment of any monastery in Yorkshire, and rather more than a century since the foundation of that of Healaugh Park, (fn. 2) the most recent of the Augustinian priories, when Thomas Wake, lord of Liddell, began his foundation of the priory of the Holy Cross at Haltemprice.

In December 1320 (fn. 3) Pope John XXII issued a mandate to the Archbishop of York to license Thomas Wake to found a monastery of the order of St. Augustine in his town of Cottingham, and to incorporate the church of the said town, being of the founder's patronage, with it. An abbot or prior was to be appointed, and the number of canons determined. In Cottingham, however, a secure title to the site could not be obtained, and on 26 June 1322 (fn. 4) Edward II granted licence by Letters Patent to Thomas Wake to confer a messuage in Newton on a religious house of whatever order he wished to be built there, and also to endow it with a carucate of land and other property, as well as with the advowson of the church of Cottingham. The original site was evidently in Cottingham itself, and Newton, about two miles south of Cottingham, was within the parish. On 1 January 1325-6 (fn. 5) Pope John XXII issued a bull, addressed to the archbishop, reciting that Thomas Wake had begun to build an Augustinian monastery in his town of Cottingham, and had erected the church and other of its buildings, and that several canons of the house of Bourne in the diocese of Lincoln had, with the leave of their abbot, taken up their abode in it, and were celebrating mass and divine offices, but that it had been found that owing to certain statutes, constitutions, and customs of the kingdom of England, the heirs or successors of the founder would have power to demolish it. The pope granted licence that the monastery should be removed to another fit place, and when so founded, the archbishop was to order the canons, and unite the church of Cottingham to it. The monastery therefore was removed to Newton. By his foundation charter, dated the Sunday after the Conversion of St. Paul (25 January) 1325-6, (fn. 6) Thomas Wake granted to God, Blessed Mary, and all saints, in honour of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and for his soul, and those of his wife, his father and mother, and his ancestors and heirs, &c., to the canons regular of Alta Prisa his manors and vills of Newton, Willerby, and Wolfreton, with the rents and services of the free tenants arid serfs, ordaining that those three vills Newton (que nunc Hawtemprice vocatur), Willerby, and Wolfreton should be made a liberty, with a court of frankpledge distinct from Cottingham, and should have assize of bread and ale, &c. He also gave half the toll of the market of Cottingham, and of the fairs there, (fn. 7) and the advowsons of the churches of Cottingham, Kirk Ella, Wharram Percy, and Belton in the Isle of Axholme. (fn. 8) The advowson of Kirk Ella (fn. 9) had originally been given to the abbey of Selby by Gilbert de Tyson, and confirmed to that house by Richard I, and it continued a rectory while it belonged to Selby. On the request of Thomas Wake, Edward III granted licence in 1328 to the Prior and convent of Haltemprice to give certain land in Hessle to Selby in exchange for the advowson of Kirk Ella, and to appropriate the church to their priory. The original grant of this church by Thomas Wake in 1325 suggests that the arrangement with Selby was in contemplation, but had not been effected in law. It was not, indeed, until 1331 that the Abbot and convent of Selby granted the church of Kirk Ella to Thomas Wake (and not to Haltemprice), and not till 1343 that Archbishop Zouch, on the death of Robert de Spirgurnell, then rector, appropriated the church to Haltemprice, and ordained a vicarage therein, which was to be held by one of the canons of Haltemprice. The appropriation of the churches of Kirk Ella and Wharram Percy to Haltemprice was confirmed on 13 June 1352 by Pope Clement VI. (fn. 10)

Other gifts were made to the priory, and in 1361 (fn. 11) John de Meaux gave or confirmed the manor of Willerby and 6 acres of land there, on condition that during his life the canons should pay him the sum of £32 yearly, and that three canons, while he lived, and six afterwards, should perform matins with the other hours, mass, vespers, and compline, with Dirige and Placebo for his soul and the souls of Maud his wife, Geoffrey de Meaux his father, and the lady Scolastica his mother, Joan, Countess of Kent, and all faithful departed. On 10 September 1325 (fn. 12) Archbishop Melton directed the Archdeacon of the East Riding and his official to go 'ad locum juxta Cotingham situatum,' which certain canons of the monastery of Bourne in the diocese of Lincoln were inhabiting, the report of whose excesses had reached the archbishop's ears, and to inquire as to them, and correct abuses. The expression juxta Cotingham seems to imply that the house was not then in Cottingham, and therefore at Newton, otherwise Haltemprice, but it was not until eighteen months later (5 May 1327 (fn. 13) ) that Thomas de Overton, a canon of Bourne, was appointed first Prior of Haltemprice. The rule of the first prior was brief, for on 28 January 1328-9 (fn. 14) the archbishop directed Denis Avenel, Archdeacon of the East Riding, to inquire into the election of Robert Engaigne as Prior of Haltemprice, vacant by the death of Thomas de Overton. The new prior had been elected by Brothers Walter de Hekyngton and Henry de Northwell, it being reported that there were only these three canons belonging to the priory at the time. The archdeacon replied on 28 February (fn. 15) that he had made the necessary inquiry, and having found that all had been rightly done, he had installed the new prior. Prior Robert de Hickling, who held office for the first time from 1349 till 1357, (fn. 16) when he was succeeded by Peter de Harpham, on whose resignation in 1362 (fn. 17) he was elected fora second term of office, does not seem to have been a successful ruler of the house, for in 1367 (fn. 18) Archbishop Thoresby ordered an investigation of the state of the house of Haltemprice, which public report declared was so gravely burdened by debt, and in so parlous a state owing to the indiscreet rule of the prior and the carelessness of the officials, that absolute ruin was threatened. To the prior (fn. 19) the archbishop wrote that Robert de Burton, one of the canons, was to be associated with him in the rule of the house till Michaelmas, without whose assistance he was to do nothing pertaining to the temporal business of the house.

On 10 November 1400 (fn. 20) Boniface IX granted an indulgence of the 'portiuncula' to penitents who visited and gave alms on the feasts of the Annunciation and St. Michael to the church of the Augustinian priory of 'Hautinprisse,' with an indult for the prior and six other confessors, secular or religious, deputed by him, to hear confessions, and on 21 May 1402 (fn. 21) the same pope granted an indult to the Augustinian Prior and convent of 'Hautenpriis,' who by the institutions and customs of their order were bound to wear sandals (ocreas), that in future they might wear shoes (calciamentis seu sotularibus bassis et communibus).

On 3 September 1411 (fn. 22) Pope John XXIII, having learnt that the building and foundation of the Augustinian priory of St. Mary the Virgin and the Holy Cross of 'Hautenpris' had been begun in times not far remote, and by reason of its founder's death was not completed and its endowment left insufficient, and, further, that the bell-tower of its church had been lately blown down, ruining the church and certain of the priory buildings, and that a fire had destroyed the costly priory gate and a number of the adjoining offices, and that a number of the other buildings were in ruin, so that the monastery was scarcely habitable for the prior and convent, regranted the indulgence of the 'portiuncula' for a period of ten years. This is the only information there is as to these disasters which had befallen the priory at this period. In 1424, (fn. 23) Richard Worleby having resigned the office of prior, John Thwynge (sub-prior) was elected by the other ten canons. (fn. 24)

When Henry VI in 1440 granted a charter to the town of Kingston-upon-Hull, constituting it a county of itself, the whole of the site of the priory was included in the county of the town. This, says Burton, (fn. 25) led to a dispute, which was referred to Bryan Palmes, serjeant-at-law, and others. The award was that the prior had all such liberties, franchises, and royalties as the lordship of Cottingham ever had, but that while Cottingham carried its felons and murderers to York Castle, the monastery of Haltemprice, being in Hullshire, carried theirs to Hull.

The commissioners supervised the house on 26 May 1536 (fn. 26) and suppressed it on 12 August following; Robert Collynson was then prior, and there were nine 'confratres.' Law expenses are recorded in going to London and Hull in actions 'versus homines ville de Hull.' There were forty servants and boys at the time of the suppression. As to superstition, Drs. Layton and Legh (fn. 27) say that there was a 'peregrination' to Thomas Wake for fever, and that an arm of St. George was had in veneration, and a piece of the Holy Cross, and the girdle of the Blessed Virgin, esteemed salutary to women in childbirth.

The clear annual value in 1535 was £100 0s. 3½d. (fn. 28)

In the return 6 Edward VI, (fn. 29) as to the payment of pensions, the commissioners reported under 'Alt'price'—'Robert Collynson nuper prior de Hawdymprice obijt circa xm diem octobris ultimo elapso [1551] [et] his pencon was by yere xx li.' No other names are given, from which it may be surmised that no members of the house were then alive.

Priors Of Haltemprice

Thomas de Overton, 1327, (fn. 30) died 1328 (fn. 31)

Robert Engayne, elected 1329, (fn. 32) resigned (fn. 33)

John de Hickling, confirmed 1331 (fn. 34)

Thomas de Elveley, confirmed 1332, (fn. 35) resigned 1338 (fn. 36)

William de Wolfreton, 1338, (fn. 37) died 1349 (fn. 38)

Robert de Hickling, 1349, (fn. 39) resigned 1357 (fn. 40)

Peter de Harpham, 1357, (fn. 41) resigned 1362 (fn. 42)

Robert de Hickling, elected 1362 (fn. 43) (query second time), occurs 1367 (fn. 44)

Peter (query de Harpham a second time), occurs 1370 (fn. 45)

Robert Claworth, died 1391 (fn. 46)

William de Selby, confirmed 1391-2, (fn. 47) occurs 1414 (fn. 48)

Richard Worleby, occurs 1415, (fn. 49) 1423, (fn. 50) resigned (fn. 51)

John Thweng, elected 1424 (occurs 1425, 1430-5, 1437) (fn. 52)

Robert Thweng, occurs 1435, 1439

Thomas Dalehouse, elected 1441, (fn. 53) resigned 1457 (fn. 54)

Robert Holme, confirmed 1457 (fn. 55)

William Maunsel, elected 1471-2, (fn. 56) died 1502 (fn. 57)

William Kirkham, 1502, (fn. 58) died 1506 (fn. 59)

John Wymmersley, 1506, (fn. 60) died 1514 (fn. 61)

John Nandike, confirmed 1514, (fn. 62) occurs 1517 (fn. 63)

Nicholas Haldesworth, elected 1518 (fn. 64)

Richard Fawconer, elected 1528, (fn. 65) resigned 1531 (fn. 66)

Robert Colynson, elected 1531-2, (fn. 67) last prior

The remarkable 14th-century seal is circular, 2¾ in. in diameter. On the obverse, (fn. 68) inclosed in an octofoil, having fleurs de lis and leopards' heads alternately in the spandrels, is a representation of the house, with two banners on, its roof of the arms of Thomas, Lord Wake of Liddell, the founder. On the right is a shield of his arms, two bars with three roundels in the chief, and on the left is a burelly shield which perhaps represents the arms of the Stutevilles of Liddell, whose heiress was great-grandmother of the founder. Below is a third shield charged with a cross paty. The legend is


The reverse, (fn. 69) in an architectural octofoil, shows a three-storied architectural composition with a rood in the uppermost compartment. Below, the prior kneels between St. Peter and St. Paul, and at the bottom are five praying canons. Outside this design are two kneeling figures. That to the left is the founder, Thomas, Lord Wake, with his arms upon his ailettes; that to the right is his wife. Above each of them is a banner of Wake, and the same arms are repeated on a small shield at the base of the composition. The legend on this side is a continuation of that on the obverse, and runs



  • 1. Hull 1377; Mount Grace 1396.
  • 2. Circa 1218.
  • 3. Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 210.
  • 4. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 519.
  • 5. Add. Chart. 20554 (printed, but not quite accurately, in Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 520, no. ii).
  • 6. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 519.
  • 7. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 313. According to Burton (p. 314) the founder granted the custody of St. Leonard's Hospital at Chesterfield to the priory of Haltemprice, but this is not mentioned in the original charter. Burton refers to his appendix (which has not been printed) for authority for this statement.
  • 8. Boniface IX confirmed the appropriation of Belton Church to Haltemprice on 1 June 1399, the value not exceeding 90 marks, and that of Haltemprice not exceeding 400. The church was to be served by one of their canons, or by a secular priest removable at their pleasure. Cal. Papal Letters, v, 185.
  • 9. See as to the church of Elveley (Kirk Ella) Burton, Mon. Ebor. 315.
  • 10. Cal. Papal Letters, iii, 468.
  • 11. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 317.
  • 12. York Archiepis. Reg. Melton, fol. 297b.
  • 13. Ibid. fol. 301.
  • 14. Ibid. fol. 311.
  • 15. Ibid. fol. 311.
  • 16. Ibid. Thoresby, fol. 197b.
  • 17. Ibid. fol. 207.
  • 18. Ibid. fol. 217b.
  • 19. Ibid. fol. 217b.
  • 20. Cal. Papal Letters, v, 376.
  • 21. Ibid. 515.
  • 22. Ibid. vi, 295.
  • 23. York Archiepis. Reg. sed. vac. fol. 349.
  • 24. In 1380 there were eight canons besides the prior. Cler. Subs. R. bdle. 63, no. 12.
  • 25. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 315.
  • 26. K.R. Aug. Views of Accts., bdle. 17.
  • 27. L. and P. Hen. VIII, x, p. 137.
  • 28. Valor Eccl. v, 127.
  • 29. Exch. K.R. Accts. bdle 76, no. 23.
  • 30. York Archiepis. Reg. Melton, fol. 301.
  • 31. Ibid. fol. 310.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Ibid. fol. 215.
  • 34. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. v, 519.
  • 35. Ibid.
  • 36. York Archiepis. Reg. Melton, fol. 327.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Ibid. Zouch, fol. 196b.
  • 39. Ibid
  • 40. Ibid. Thoresby, fol. 197b.
  • 41. Ibid.
  • 42. Ibid. fol. 207.
  • 43. Ibid.
  • 44. Ibid. fol. 217.
  • 45. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 80.
  • 46. York Archiepis. Reg. Arundel, fol. 31b.
  • 47. Ibid.
  • 48. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 80.
  • 49. Baildon's MS. Notes.
  • 50. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 80.
  • 51. York Archiepis. Reg. sed. vac. fol. 349.
  • 52. There seems to be some confusion here. John Thwynge has been found as prior by Mr. Baildon in 1425, 1430, 1435, 1437, while Robert Thwynge as prior occurs in the same list in 1435 and 1439.
  • 53. York Archiepis. Reg. Kemp, fol. 448b (a canon of Guisborough).
  • 54. Ibid. W. Booth, fol. 109.
  • 55. Ibid.
  • 56. Ibid. Geo. Nevill, fol. 142. Is called 'Manuell', Conventual Leases, York, no. 263 (10 Dec. 1496), and an alias 'Marshal,' Burton, Mon. Ebor. 318.
  • 57. York. Archiepis. Reg. Savage, fol. 51.
  • 58. Ibid.
  • 59. Ibid. fol. 59.
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. Ibid. Bainbridge, fol. 145b.
  • 62. Ibid.
  • 63. Conventual Lease (as John Nendyk), no. 264.
  • 64. York Archiepis. Reg. Wolsey, fol. 36b.
  • 65. Ibid. fol. 192b.
  • 66. Ibid. Lee, fol. 22.
  • 67. In Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 80, an alias 'Colson' is given. His name occurs in several Conventual Leases, and always as in the Archiepiscopal Registers Colynson or Collynson.
  • 68. Cat. of Seals, B. M. 3004, lxxiv, 36.
  • 69. Ibid. 3005, D.C., F. 13.