27. HOUSE OF FRANCISCAN FRIARS, WINCHELSEA
The Grey Friars were established at Winchelsea before 1253, in which year they are mentioned in the will of St. Richard. (fn. 1) Another
early reference is in a plea of 1263 concerning
land in Pevensey salt-marshes, when it is mentioned that the father of one of the parties, not
being able to afford the cost of protecting the
land from the sea, leased it at a low rent to 'a
certain prior of Winchelsea,' who can only have
been the prior of the Grey Friars, on condition
of his embanking it. (fn. 2) When the old town of
Winchelsea was destroyed by the great storm of
1287 and rebuilt by King Edward the barons
stipulated that he should allow no religious
establishment to be erected, save only a house
of Friars Minors. (fn. 3)
With the exception of a casual reference in
1294, when the abbot of Westminster, as a
penalty for harbouring an apostate friar, was
condemned to pay 60 marks to be divided between the houses of Winchelsea and Litchfield, (fn. 4)
and of numerous bequests of goods and money,
the history of the church of St. Francis (fn. 5) of Winchelsea is practically a blank until July, 1538,
when the bishop of Dover, who was visiting the
friaries to receive their surrender, came here. (fn. 6)
He found the Grey Friars very poor; the
warden was absent or would probably have given
up the house, as indeed he must have done
shortly after this.
Priors, Or Wardens, Of Winchelsea
John Beere, occurs 1510 (fn. 7)
Robert Beddington, occurs 1530 (fn. 8)
Suss. Arch. Coll. i, 167.
||Assize R. 912, m. 13.
||Parl. Proc. file 2, No. 6.
Mon. Francisc. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 60.
Obit. R. (Surtees Soc.), 28.
L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 1456.
Suss. Arch. Coll. xvii, 129.
||Ibid. vii, 220.