Friaries: The white friars of Northallerton

Pages 270-271

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

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The Carmelite friary, situated in the east part of the town, (fn. 1) was founded in 1356 by the king, who, with the consent of the Prior and convent of Durham, on 8 November gave to Walter Kellaw, provincial prior, (fn. 2) and the friars a croft called Tentour Croft, with an adjacent meadow, containing in all 3 a. 1 r., which John Yole, merchant, of Northallerton, had granted to him for this purpose. (fn. 3) Two days later a writ was issued, ordering an inquiry to be made as to whether Thomas Hatfield, Bishop of Durham, lord of the manor, might grant to the friars 6 acres of land adjacent to their holding without injury to the king or others. The jurors made a favourable return, and declared the land to be worth 4s. a year. (fn. 4) The royal licence was granted 7 February 1354-5. Edward III, Thomas Hatfield, John Yole, and Helena his wife, (fn. 5) were henceforth reckoned the founders, as was also John de Nevill, lord of Raby, who is said to have built the church at his own expense (fn. 6); in his will, 1386, he left them 100 marks for the reparation of their houses. (fn. 7) His sister, Margaret, wife first of William, Lord Ros of Hamlake, and secondly, of Henry Percy, first Earl of Northumberland, was buried in the church (1372 ?). (fn. 8) His son, Ralph de Nevill, first Earl of Westmorland, left the friars of 'Alverton' in 1424 £40 'to repair and build the kitchen and other houses.' (fn. 9) Among other bequests may be noticed a chalice from William de Newport, rector of Wearmouth, 1366, (fn. 10) 40s. from Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham, 1401, (fn. 11) 5 marks from Sir Stephen le Scrope of Bentley, 1405-6, (fn. 12) and one 'towell de werk' from John Palman alias Coke, 1436. (fn. 13)

James, prior of this house, admitted Thomas Gayneng and Agnes his wife to participation in the spiritual benefits of the convent, 1487. (fn. 14)

The house was surrendered 20 December 1538 by William Humphrey, the prior, five priests, and five novices. (fn. 15) The goods were bought by Henry Wetherell for £4 15s. 4d.; out of this 6s. 8d. was given to the prior, and 5s. or 3s. 4d. to each of the friars. There were two bells, 15 fother of lead on the roof of the church, and two chalices weighing 31 oz. (fn. 16) The land consisted of the site with gardens and orchard (½ acre), two closes of pasture, all valued at 20s. a year; further, a burgage in Northallerton, near Sunbek, and a close called Chaple garth, let to William Hodgeson for 25s. a year. (fn. 17)

The seal represents the Annunciation of the Virgin in a carved and canopied niche, between two smaller niches, containing on the left an angel, on the right a saint, mitred, holding a crowned head, probably St. Cuthbert, with St. Oswald's head. Legend:—

S: COMUN . . . VM . ORD . . . RIE . DE . . . CARMELI (fn. 18)


  • 1. Leland, I tin. i, 68.
  • 2. He subsequently retired to Northallerton and died there about 1367-9; Tanner, Bibl. 451.
  • 3. Pat. 30 Edw. I, pt. i, m. 11 (bis); pt. iii, m. 19.
  • 4. Inq. a.q.d. file 323, no. 2; Pat. 31 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 23.
  • 5. She was buried in the quire; Coll. Topog. et Gen. iv, 75.
  • 6. BM. Harl. MS. 539, fol. 144; Coll. Topog. et Gen. iv, 75.
  • 7. Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc.), i, 40; Madox, Formulare, 427.
  • 8. Coll. Topog. et Gen. iv, 75; cf. Leland, I tin. i, 74.
  • 9. Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc.), i, 72.
  • 10. Test. Ebor. i, 80.
  • 11. Ibid. 308.
  • 12. Ibid. iii, 39.
  • 13. Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc.), i, 387.
  • 14. Cal. of Chart. and R. in the Eodl. Lib. 91*.
  • 15. L. and P. Hen. VIII, viii (2), 1105; Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii, App. ii, 33.
  • 16. Mins. Accts. 29-30 Hen. VIII, no. 197 (Yorks.); Harl. MS. 604, fol: 104.
  • 17. Mins. Accts. 30-1 Hen. VIII, no, 166 (Yorks.); Harl. MS. 604, fol. 104.
  • 18. B.M. Seals, lxxiv, 90.