Gilbertine houses: Priory of St Andrew, York

Pages 255-256

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

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About 1200 (fn. 1) Hugh Murdac, Archdeacon of Cleveland, granted to God, and twelve canons of the Order of Sempringham serving God at St. Andrew's in Fishergate, York, (fn. 2) that church, with the land adjacent, and an annual rent of 21 marks arising from certain stone-built houses near St. Peter's, and a stone camera adjoining, and other lands, &c., elsewhere.

In 1202 (fn. 3) the Master of Sempringham, the canons of St. Andrew, and the founder, demised in perpetuity to the dean and chapter and the church of St. Peter the land which they held of Hugh de Virly, before the western door of the major ecclesia, in order to extend the cemetery of the said church, and to avoid the risk of fire and damage thereby to- the major ecclesia and the buildings of the lord archbishop. In return, the dean and chapter gave the canons of St. Andrew 2½ marks rents in the vill of Cave. (fn. 4)

The buildings immediately adjoined those of the small Benedictine nunnery of St. Clement. Although the original intention of the founder was that there were to be twelve canons in the house, the probability is that their number was much less. In 1380-1 there were three canons besides the prior, and at the dissolution only two canons in addition to the prior.

On 20 August 1280 (fn. 5) the Prior and convent of St. Andrew addressed a formal letter to Archbishop Wickwane, reporting that Richard de Kyrkeby and Alan de Thorpe, their brothers and fellow canons, relinquishing the habit of their religion, had by night furtively departed, to the contempt of religion and the peril of souls. The prior and convent had unanimously denounced them, in chapter and convent, as excommunicate, and they asked the archbishop to do so throughout the diocese, and after forty days to invoke the secular arm. The letter is followed in the register by the archbishop's denunciation of Richard de Kyrkeby and Alan de Thorpe as excommunicate, with a notification addressed to the Bishops of Durham, Carlisle, and Whithern (Candida Casa), (fn. 6) and all archdeacons and officials in the diocese and province of York. On 30 January 1486-7 (fn. 7) Archbishop Rotherham issued a monition to [John] Beysby, John Shaw, Sheriffs of York, and others, citing them to appear before him for having gone to the priory of St. Andrew and seized certain persons by violence who had sought sanctuary within the precincts of the monastery, the churches of the order of Sempringham having the right of sanctuary granted them by Pope Clement III.

According to the Valor Ecclesiasticus (fn. 8) the total revenue was at that time £57 5s. 9d., and the clear income £47 14s. 3½d. At the Dissolution there were a prior and three canons, all of them priests. (fn. 9) The prior, John Lepington, (fn. 10) was awarded a pension of £10 (altered from £8), the three canons £4 each. They surrendered on 28 November 1538. (fn. 11)

Priors of St. Andrew's

Bartholomew, occurs 1208 (fn. 12)

Robert, occurs 1210 (fn. 13)

John, occurs 1214 (fn. 14)

Baldwin, occurs 1219 (fn. 15)

William, occurs 1225, (fn. 16) 1230-40, (fn. 17) 1254 (fn. 18)

Robert, occurs 1262 (fn. 19)

Adam de Aghton, c. 1278 (fn. 20)

Robert de Scalleby, c. 1288 (fn. 21)

Ralph, occurs 1335 (fn. 22)

Robert, occurs 1354 (fn. 23)

John Hawkesworth, occurs 1481 (fn. 24)

William Beseet (Bisset), occurs 1506 (fn. 25)

John Lepington (surrendered 1538) (fn. 26)


  • 1. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 966. Hugh Murdac, the founder, must not be confused with Henry Murdac, the archbishop, who was possibly his kinsman.
  • 2. Ibid. no. i.
  • 3. Ibid. no. ii.
  • 4. These are probably the free rents, &c., in South Cave, &c., mentioned in the Mins. Accts. 32. Hen. VIII; ibid. no. iii.
  • 5. York Archiepis. Reg. Wickwane, fol. 8b.
  • 6. The diocese of Whithern, or Galloway, was at this period included in the province of York.
  • 7. York Achiepis. Reg. Rotherham, i, fol. 73. The Christian name of Beysby is left blank.
  • 8. Valor Eccl. v, 126.
  • 9. Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii, App. 2.
  • 10. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), 185.
  • 11. Graham, St. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertines, 194.
  • 12. Yorks. Fines, John (Surt. Soc.), 147.
  • 13. Ibid. 162.
  • 14. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxviii, App. 182.
  • 15. Feet of F. file 13, no. 17 (Hil. 3 Hen. III).
  • 16. a Cott. MS. Nero D. iii, fol. 51.
  • 17. Ibid. file 33, no. 132; Baildon, Mon. Notes, i, 237.
  • 18. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 468.
  • 19. Baildon, loc. cit.
  • 20. Assize R. 1101, m. 84; 1098, m. 62 d.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. Cal Close, 1333-7, p. 465.
  • 23. a Cal. of Papal Letters, iii, 532.
  • 24. Reg. Corpus Christi Guild, York, 109.
  • 25. Ibid. 164.
  • 26. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), 185.