30. THE BLACK FRIARS OF CHELMSFORD
Nothing is known of the foundation of this
house, which was situated in the hamlet of
Moulsham; though it must have taken place
after 1221, when the Black Friars (fn. 1) first came to
England. Very little is known of its history.
Thomas Langford, (fn. 2) a native of Langford, near
Maldon, who flourished about 1320, began his
studies as a friar here, going afterwards to Cambridge, where he became a celebrated preacher.
Four works by him are recorded.
On 20 June, 1341, the friars had licence (fn. 3) to
acquire 3 acres of land in Chelmsford for the
enlargement of their dwelling-place, and to make
a conduit to it from a well in Chelmsford.
Elizabeth de Bohun, countess of Northampton,
bequeathed £20 to them in her will (fn. 4) in 1356.
The friary was returned in the Valor as being
worth £9 6s. 5d. yearly. It was received to (fn. 5)
the king's use in 1538 by Richard, bishop of
Dover; and from an inventory (fn. 6) of its goods it
appears that its debts amounted to £3 7s. 1d. at
the time. The sum of 31s. 8d. was given to the
friars, and also most of the stuff of the chambers
and dorter, which is described as poor. The
goods included a pair of organs and 86 ounces of
plate, but were of no great value; though the
buildings were fairly extensive, there being a
church with choir and chapels, cloister, vestry,
chapter-house, frater, buttery, kitchen and brewhouse.
The site of the friary with possessions belonging
to it in Great Baddow, Writtle and Moulsham
was leased on 2 July, 1539, to Thomas
Myldemay to hold for 21 years at a rent of
32s. 2d. yearly; and on 6 September, 1542, the
rent and the reversion of the premises were
granted (fn. 7) in fee to Antony Bonvix or Bonvise, an
Italian merchant of London.
Prior of Chelmsford
Walter Bayloul, occurs 1346. (fn. 8)