Alien Cell
Priory of Edith Weston

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Victoria County History

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William Page (editor)

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1908

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163-164

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'Alien Cell: Priory of Edith Weston', A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 1 (1908), pp. 163-164. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=39914 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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ALIEN CELL

6. THE PRIORY OF EDITH WESTON

The abbey of St. Georges de Boscherville for Benedictine monks was founded by Ralf de Tanquerville, chamberlain to the Conqueror, about the year 1050: (fn. 1) and the manor and church of Edith Weston were added to its endowments by the founder's son William as early as 1114. (fn. 2) The grant was confirmed by Henry I and Henry II, with other lands and privileges in the forest of Rutland; (fn. 3) but the date of the actual building of the priory cannot be exactly fixed. A prior of Edith Weston is first mentioned in the Hundred Roll of 1276, (fn. 4) when complaint was made of the aggressive behaviour of the king's escheator at some time during the late reign.

It is probable that there were never more than two or three monks at Edith Weston, whose chief business was to collect the rents and remember the souls of the founder and other benefactors. In the 14th century the lands of the priory were frequently in the king's hand, on account of the wars with France. (fn. 5) Just before 1357 there was but one monk in charge, and his conduct went far to justify the charges often made against alien cells. It was complained that he had laid aside the habit of religion and the tonsure, had neglected to say mass and the divine office, and had consumed the substance of the house in luxurious living. He had kept women in the priory, and maintained his illegitimate children from its revenues; he had cut down the trees and destroyed cottages, and driven out villeins from their homes with blows and other ill-usage. (fn. 6)

There was still a prior in residence in 1361, when he presented a clerk to the parish church. (fn. 7) But before 1394 the abbot of St. Georges obtained permission to sell his rights in the manor to the Carthusians of St. Anne's, Coventry: and when the alien priors gathered before the king in 1403 to ask leave to retain their lands, no prior of Edith Weston appeared among them. (fn. 8) From this time forward the church and manor belonged to St. Anne's.

The priors of this cell were not instituted by the Bishops of Lincoln, and very few of their names can be recovered. Robert de Cunebaud was the name of the prior who was so unworthy of his office: another Robert is mentioned in the Episcopal Register in connexion with the year 1361, (fn. 9) and John occurs as prior in 1379. (fn. 10)

The value of the priory lands was said to be £26 19s. 11d. in 1325: (fn. 11) in 1387 it was given as £38 7s. 5d. (fn. 12)

Footnotes

1 Dugdale, Mon. vi (2), 1066.
2 Round, Cal. of Doc. France, 66.
3 Ibid. 66, 69; Dugdale, Mon. vi (2), 1066.
4 Hund. R. (Rec. Com.) ii, 50. In a case of disseisin dated 1220 the abbot of St. Georges appeared on behalf of his lands in Rutland; no prior is mentioned. Maitland, Bracton's Note Bk. i, 72.
5 See the Patent Rolls of Edw. II and Edw. III.
6 Misc. Chan. Inq. file 172.
7 Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Buckingham, i, fol. 158 d.
8 Pat. 1 Edw. IV, pt. vi, m. 29-27 (Inspeximus of 14 Ric. II). See Acts of the P.C. (Old Ser.), i, 192-4.
9 Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Buckingham, i, fol. 158 d.
10 a Cler. Subs. bdle. 35, no. 7.
11 Add. MSS. 6164, fol. 125.
12 Ibid. fol. 499.