Gilbertine houses: Priory of Ellerton on Spalding Moor

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

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, 'Gilbertine houses: Priory of Ellerton on Spalding Moor', in A History of the County of York: Volume 3, (London, 1974) pp. 251-252. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Gilbertine houses: Priory of Ellerton on Spalding Moor", in A History of the County of York: Volume 3, (London, 1974) 251-252. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Gilbertine houses: Priory of Ellerton on Spalding Moor", A History of the County of York: Volume 3, (London, 1974). 251-252. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

In this section



Early in the 13th century (fn. 1) William Fitz Peter granted to God, Blessed Mary and the order of Sempringham land in Ellerton, and other property in the neighbourhood, for founding a priory of canons of the order, and for the entertaining (ad pascendum ibidem) thirteen poor persons. (fn. 2) About the middle of the century Peter, the son of Peter de Mauley, confirmed to the canons all that they had of his fee, including ' totum situm abbathiae in Elretona,' with the church of the same vill.

Alan of Wilton (fn. 3) gave to God, Blessed Mary, and St. Lawrence, and for the sustenance of the canons and thirteen poor folk, 12 acres in Hpwm (Holme-on-the-Wolds) and other lands, &c., including 12 skeps of salt from his salt works in West Coatham. In this charter first occurs the additional invocation of St. Lawrence. Alan de Wilton (fn. 4) also gave 6 bovates of land in Habton for a light at the altar of St. Lawrence in the canons' church, and for the maintenance of a chaplain to celebrate at that altar.

In April 1387 (fn. 5) it was agreed that German Hay, then patron, and his successors, lords of the manor of Aughton, should nominate eight of the poor supported by the convent, in addition to one who had previously been in the patron's nomination, and the prior and convent were to celebrate the obits of German Hay and Alice his wife, the prior, if possible, officiating in person. The indenture does not reveal any grant, other than a general confirmation of his ancestors' gifts, as a reason for these concessions.

A good many other possessions were granted to the prior and convent, and, as usual, are set out in alphabetical order by Burton. (fn. 6)

Archbishop Romanus, in 1286, (fn. 7) wrote to the master of the order of Sempringham to receive a canon of Ellerton who had left his house. In 1417 (fn. 8) there is a record of the appointment of John Zuesflet, canon of Ellerton, as temporal custos of their church of Aughton. Otherwise the history of Ellerton is almost a blank till the time of the Dissolution. In 1380-1 there were four canons besides the prior. In 1526 (fn. 9) the clear annual revenue was returned at £63. Tanner says that there were nine religious in the house, (fn. 10) but there was the same number at the surrender as in 1380-1, (fn. 11) which looks as if that were the normal strength of the establishment. Possibly he has included the poor who were maintained in the house, and whose number may have dwindled considerably.

The house was surrendered on 11 December 1538 (fn. 12) by John Golding, prior, and four canons. Golding had only become prior that year, (fn. 13) and there is some mystery as to the fate of his predecessor, Prior James Lowrance. The convent of Watton had elected him their prior in 1536. They had done this under compulsion, Robert Holgate the actual prior being still alive. Lowrance, it is said, 'would never take it upon him, nor did they (Watton) receive him for such indeed, but wanted him (Lowrance) to bear the name (of Prior of Watton) only, for fear of the commons.' He continued Prior of Ellerton till early in 1538, and then disappears from view; possibly he died a natural death as his name is absent from the list of pensions. John Golding first occurs as prior about a month before the Dissolution. (fn. 14) He alone of the members of the house of Ellerton was alive in 6 Edward VI, (fn. 15) when he was fifty-three years of age; his pension was £13 6s. 8d.

Priors of Ellerton on Spalding Moor

John, occurs 1219, (fn. 16) 1230 (fn. 17)

Ivo, occurs 1240 (fn. 18)

Geoffrey, occurs 1246, (fn. 19) 1248 (fn. 20)

Henry, occurs 1252, (fn. 21) 1269 (fn. 22)

Adam de Scarborough, occurs 1282 (fn. 23)

Robert, occurs 1294 (fn. 24)

Ralph, occurs 1305 (fn. 25)

Alan, (fn. 26) occurs 1335, (fn. 27) 1336 (fn. 28)

William, occurs 1348, (fn. 29) 1371 (fn. 30)

John Barnby, occurs 1436, (fn. 31) 1437 (fn. 32)

Thomas Finche, occurs 1437, (fn. 33) 1438 (fn. 34)

Giles, occurs? 1439 (fn. 35)

Henry Bell, occurs 1497, (fn. 36) 1506-7 (fn. 37)

Robert, occurs 1531, (fn. 38) 1533 (fn. 39)

James Lowrance, occurs 1534 to 1538 (fn. 40)

John Golding, occurs 7 Nov. 1538, (fn. 41) surrendered the house 11 Dec. 1538 (fn. 42)


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 975. Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, is named in and is a witness to the foundation charter; as he was deprived in 1207 or 1208, the date of foundation must be before 1209.
  • 2. Ibid. 976, no. i. Gilbert, second master of Sempringham, and John, Prior of Ellerton, acknowledged themselves bound (c. 1220) to provide for the maintenance of thirteen poor persons ' in hospitali ecclesiae de Elreton ' as had been arranged between themselves and William son of the founder; ibid. 977, no. vi.
  • 3. Ibid. no. vii.
  • 4. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. 918, no. ix.
  • 5. Ibid. 977, no. iv.
  • 6. Mon. Ebor. 259-62. William son of Ingram Aguillun granted to God, Blessed Mary, and the canons and poor persons of Ellerton, Roger Colwin of Cathwell with all that belonged to him. Among the witnesses to the charter is William Fitz Peter, the founder; Add. Chart. 20553.
  • 7. York Archiepis. Reg. Romanus, fol. 59.
  • 8. Ibid. Bowett, fol. 186.
  • 9. State Papers (P.R.O.), 1526 (return by Brian Higdon).
  • 10. Dugdale, Mon Angl. vi, 975.
  • 11. Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii, App. 2.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Cf. Conventual Leases, Yorks. (P.R.O.), no. 191, and no. 187; Graham, St. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertines, 182 &c. citing authorities.
  • 14. Conventual Leases, Yorks. (P.R.O.), no. 187.
  • 15. Exch. K.R. Accts. bdle. 76, no. 23.
  • 16. Feet of F. file 14, no. 78 (Hil. 3 Hen. III).
  • 17. Ibid. file 22, no. 3, 21 (Trin. 12-14 Hen. III).
  • 18. Ibid. file 32, no. 99 (Trin. 24 Hen. III).
  • 19. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 53.
  • 20. Feet of F. file 41, no. 19 (Mich. 32 Hen. III).
  • 21. Ibid. Hil. 36 Hen. III.
  • 22. Baildon, loc. cit.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Feet of F. file 66, no. 4 (East. 22 Edw. I).
  • 25. Baildon, loc. cit.
  • 26. Baildon's MS. Notes.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Ibid.
  • 30. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 53.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. Baildon's MS. Notes.
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 53.
  • 35. Subs. R. (P.R.O.), bdle. 66, no. 411.
  • 36. Test. Ebor. (Surt. Soc.), iv, 123.
  • 37. Ibid. 92.
  • 38. Conventual Leases, Yorks. (P.R.O.), no. 187.
  • 39. Ibid. no. 84.
  • 40. Ibid. no. 183, 190, 191; Valor Eccl. v, 128.
  • 41. Conventual Leases, Yorks. (P.R.O.), no. 187.
  • 42. Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii, App. 20.