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.
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)
||Dugdale, Mon. vi (2), 1066.
||Round, Cal. of Doc. France, 66.
||Ibid. 66, 69; Dugdale, Mon. vi (2), 1066.
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.
||See the Patent Rolls of Edw. II and Edw. III.
||Misc. Chan. Inq. file 172.
||Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Buckingham, i, fol.
||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.
||Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Buckingham, i, fol. 158 d.
||a Cler. Subs. bdle. 35, no. 7.
||Add. MSS. 6164, fol. 125.
||Ibid. fol. 499.