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THE INSTITUTION OF
THE PREBENDAL CHURCH AT HOWDEN.
BY WILLIAM BROWN, F.S.A.
THE recent meeting of the Yorkshire Archæological Society at Howden gives an opportunity of placing on record the way in which the church there became converted into a prebendal church in the third decade of the thirteenth century. Up to that time the church had been an ordinary parish church governed by a rector, in the patronage of the prior and convent of Durham.1 In a Durham MS., now in the British Museum,2 from which most of the information in this paper is derived, a list of the rectors as far as then known is given. They are as follows:
PETER SON OF THEOBALD,3 instituted by Archbishop Geoffrey Plantagenet, 1191-1212. He was a contemporary of Philip of Poitiers, Bishop of Durham, 1197-1208, and of his successor, Richard de Marisco, 1217-1226.
SIMON DE FARLINGTONA, instituted, on the presentation of the prior and convent of Durham, in the fifth year of Archbishop Walter de Gray, 1219-1220.5 He was Archdeacon of Durham.
JOHN DE HAUTAIN, called, more correctly, in Gray's Register (p. 151), John le Hauteyn, a nephew of the Archbishop; was instituted before Sept. 27, 1224.6
FULK BASSET, Provost of Beverley. There is a very full account of this person in the second volume of the Beverley
1 Mr. Burton, from the History of Peterborough, sets forth that "in the days of Edward the Confessor the manor church and lands of Howden were wrested from the monastery of Peterborough; and being in the king's hands, King William the Conqueror gave the said church of Howden, with all its chapels, lands, and appurtenances, to William Karilepho, Bishop of Durham, who immediately after conferred the same on the monks of Durham for ever. The manor and its privileges the prelates retained, and it still belongs to the See. (Hutchinson's History of Durham, iii, 447.)
Stowe MS., No. 930, fo. 79.
3 Called Petrus Theobardi' in the Stowe MS. and Petrus Theberti'
in the Feodarium Prioratus Dunelmensis (Surtees Soc., lviii, p. 254)
4 He derived his name from Farlington, a small village in the North Riding, 5 miles south-east of Easingwold. In the list of archdeacons of Durham in Le Neve's Fasti (iii, 302), S. de Farlington is said to have held this dignity in 1290 but S., who was also parson of Howden, was Archdeacon of Durham on St. Hilary's Day before the arrival in England of Pandulph the legate (Gray's Register, p. 136), no doubt referring to his second visit in 1218 (Nicholai Triveti Annales, p. 203).
5 Gray's Register (Surtees Soc, Ivi), p. 150. See also the Feodarium, p. 254. 6 Gray's Register, p. 151
Chapter Act Book (Surtees Soc., cviii, p. xxii). In March, II Henry III (1226-7), Archbishop Walter Gray, by the assent of Fulk Basset, parson of the church of Howden, and of the Prior and Convent of Durham, granted to Walter de Kirkham, clerk, afterwards Bishop of Durham, all the tithes of corn pertaining to the chapel of Estrington, by the name of a single benefice, without cure of souls or episcopal burdens, rendering thence yearly to the parson of Houeden and his successors three bezants as a pension on Martinmas Day. He was made Dean of York in Oct., 1239, when he seems to have resigned his provostship and, probably, this living. He was consecrated Bishop of London in 1241, and died in 1259.
JOHN LE MANSEL or MAUNSELL, also a Provost of Beverley. For a fuller account of him, the reader is referred to the Beverley Chapter Act Book, vol. ii, p. xxvi. The date of his death is uncertain. The Flores Historiarum says, under the year 1264, that he died beyond the seas. It is true he is named as an executor in the will of Henry III, June, 1269, but he must have been already dead, as the inq. p. m. of John Mansel, lately deceased, was taken in 50 Henry III, 1265–6. (Calendarium Genealogicum, i, 118.) That no parson is mentioned in any of the documents referred to below shows that the church was vacant, so the year 1264 is probably the date of his death.
Of these five rectors, it is very unlikely that any were resident. The two last, as well as being Provosts of Beverley, were eminent lawyers, and must have had their time largely occupied with the discharge of their legal duties, nor is it probable that an Archdeacon of Durham would have leisure to superintend in person the affairs of a parish, situated at such a great distance from his archdeaconry, even though the parish were one of such importance as Howden. To obviate, as far as possible, these evils, the following scheme was devised. There was to be no rector, but in his place five prebendaries were to be instituted, who were to be paid out of the revenues of the church. To each prebendary a certain portion of the parish was assigned, with a condition that he should provide a priest and a clerk in holy orders to ensure the spiritual needs of the parishioners being duly attended to. Even then these prebendaries would be non-resident, as was often the case, for we find some thirty years later a prior of Durham sought
1 Hutchinson's History of Durham, iii, 450.
to gain favour with the king in his quarrel with the bishop in the matter of an episcopal visitation, by giving prebends here to the clerks of the King's household.1
According to Robert de Graystanes, the Durham historian,2 this conversion of Howden into a church of prebendaries took place in 1265, during the vacancy of the See, after the death of Archbishop Sewall de Bovill, and that, although Archbishop Walter de Gray at first objected to the arrangement as having been made whilst the See was vacant, yet, being propitiated by gifts, his ordinance did not differ much from the one already made.
By the help of the documents in the Stowe volume, it is possible to give a somewhat fuller account of this transaction.
The first step in the matter was a letters of Hugh of Darlington, the Prior, and the Convent of Durham, dated at Durham, 15 kal. Maii (April 17), 1265, and addressed to William, the Dean, and the Chapter of York, informing them that they had submitted their church of Howden, in which heretofore the Prior had exercised the powers of an archdeacon, to the ordination given below; and the same day the Dean and Chapter gave their assent.5
The deed, by which the church was divided into prebends, is dated "pridie kalendas Maii" (April 30), 1265. The commissioners who carried out the arrangement were Hugh (de Cantilupe), Precentor of York, and Rayner of Skipton, and Simon of Evesham, archdeacons of York and Richmond and canons of York. The reasons given were that the Prior and Convent, the patrons, being desirous that the worship of God should be augmented, and better provision made for the salvation of souls, as the parish was of such wide extent and the income so large that the revenues would suffice for the support of more clergy; and having earnestly besought the Chapter of York that prebends might be ordained in the church of St. Peter,
1 Scriptores Tres (Surtees Soc.. ix),
2 Ibid., P. 47.
3 Stowe MS. 930, fo. 77d.
In qua nos prior iuribus archidiaconalibus hactenus usi sumus.
5 Stowe MS., 930, fo. 78.
There are two copies of this deed, one on fo. 27d, headed, Submissio prioris et conventus super ordinacione ecclesie de Houeden' in prebendas," and the other, on fo. 77 "Ordinacio ecclesie de Houeden' cum diuisione eiusdem
in prebendas." The variations are unimportant. There is an abstract of the document in Hutchinson's History of Durham, iii, 450.
"Affectantibus viris religiosis, priore et conuentu Dunelmensibus, in ecclesia sancti Petri de Houeden', ad eorum patronatum spectante, cuius parochia adeo est diffusa et prouentuum redditus habundantes quod plurium sustentacionem suppetant facultates, cultum diuini numinis adaugeri et animarum saluti salubrius prouideri.
of Houeden',1 out of its income, into which they said they had entered under an indulgence of Pope Gregory IX (12271241), they submitted their church of Houeden to the ordination of the precentor and archdeacons, so that they might ordain prebends in the same for the increase of the number of ministers, in such way as they should deem expedient for the honour of God and the cure of souls. To carry out this object, the commissioners ordained that there should be five prebends in the church, and that each prebendary should keep, at his own cost, a priest and clerk in holy orders, who should serve in the church in the habit of a canon after the custom of the church of York, and observe the manner of singing (psallendi) practised in that church, except as regards matins, which were to be said in the morning for the sake of the parish, and that each should take his turn as vicar for the week. Each prebendary was, by means of his own priest, to take care of the portion of the parish assigned to him, as was also the case at Beverley. The priests of the altars of St. Mary, St. Thomas the Martyr, and St. Katherine were to be present at the canonical hours, processions, and high mass (maior missa), in dress. like the others, and their altars were in no wise to be given over to the priests of the prebendaries, lest the number of the ministers should be diminished, and not increased. To encourage these three priests to be present on these several occasions, they were to receive yearly, in addition to their stipend, one mark apiece from the high altar by half-yearly portions at Martinmas and Whitsuntide. In return for this, the precentor
1 From Domesday and all through the middle ages Howden appears as Houeden or Houedene, but in a charter of King Edgar, dated 959, the word is spelt Hovedene in the heading and Heafuddæne and Hæafuddene in the body of the charter. A full abstract of this most interesting document has been given by the Rev. W. Hutchinson, a former vicar of Howden, in the Y.A.J., xi, 363, from Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus. Since then it has been reprinted in De Gray Birch's Cartularium Saxonicum, iii, 269, and is hereinafter referred to as A.S.C., i.e. the AngloSaxon Charter. I am indebted to Mr. A. S. Ellis for calling my attention to this document, and also for other valuable help.
2p' p' parochiam. This does not mean that there were no matins at York, but that on account of the parish they were to be said early in the morning, that parishioners might attend, if
they chose, and not in the small hours, as was usual in monastic and other choral establishments.
3 "Et singuli sint ebdomodarii secundum ordinem vicis sue." Each prebendary was to have a vicar choral as elsewhere, and each was to take his turn as vicar for the week. It is not quite clear whether singuli' refers to the prebendaries or to the vicars, or to both. Probably it means that each prebendary and his vicar between them were to be responsible for their week
Hebdomadary is defined in the N.E.D. as a member of a chapter or convent who took his (or her) weekly turn in the performance of the sacred offices of the church. Under the form Hebdomary, the following passage is quoted from the Rule of St. Saviour and St. Bridget, circa 1450: "The ebdomary is bounde to absteyn thynges that wyke (week) that myghte lette her to performe her office."
and the archdeacons assigned to the Prior and Convent, in proprios usus,' the chapel of Esterington, with the ecclesiastical revenues of the same vill and of the vills of Cayvile, Byreland, Portington, Ousthorpe, Hythe, Sandhol, Neuland, Dike, of the farrier's land, and the land of the chamber, Lympenhill, Grenayc, Belaysise, and Benedicta's land, together with the tithe of John de Warwyc, with the burial of the parishioners of the said vills, and with all the emoluments and burdens of the parish, so that the prebends should be for ever free from the payment of pensions or procurations.
All the rest of the parish of Houeden was assigned to the five prebendaries, the prebends being thus divided to the first prebend belonged all the predial tithes of hay, wool, and lambs from the vills of Houeden, Knedelington, and Bernhill; to the second prebend, from the vills of Barneby and Askelby; to the third, from the vills of Thorpe and Belleby, Balcolm,7 Linton, and Gayre, with the tithe of le Splen8 of Kylpin and Trandic; to the fourth, from Laxinton, Skelton, and Greseby; and to the fifth, from the vills of Saltmarsh (Salsus mariscus), Cothenes, Metham, and Uckesfleth.10
Offerings at the altar, mortuaries, and personal tithes from these towns were to be equally divided amongst the prebendaries. The area of the church was to be proportionally divided amongst the prebendaries for dwellings, and the price of the buildings thereon spent on the fabric of the choir.11 The patronage of the prebends was to belong to the Prior and Convent, who were to present the prebendaries to the Archbishop, and in case of vacancy to the Chapter, for institution and installation. In In case any question should arise about precedency, it was decided that on the south side the prebendary of the first prebend should have the first place, the prebendary of the third the second, the prebendary of the fifth the third, and the priest of the altar of St. Thomas the fourth. On the north side the prebendary of the second prebend should have the first place, the prebendary of the fourth the second, the priest of the altar of St. Mary the third, and the priest of the altar of St. Katherine the fourth.
1 Estrington, fo. 77.
2 Sandholm, ibid.
3 Terre marescalli et terre camere.
4 Belasis, fo. 77.
5 "Terra Benedicte," called Beneteland below. This place belonged to the Benedictine nuns of Thicket. (A.S.E.)
6 Tithes arising or derived from the produce of the soil.
Balcholm, fo. 77.
8 Le Spen, ibid.
11 Area autem ecclesie ad inhabitandum inter prebendarios proporcionaliter diuidatur, et precium edificiorum nunc ibi existencium in chori fabricam conuertatur