38. COLLEGE OF STOKE-UNDER-HAMDON
In 1303 Sir John Beauchamp obtained the
royal licence to convert his free chapel of St.
Nicholas at Stoke into a collegiate church of
five priests, of whom one should be warden or
provost. The priests were to wear the dress
of secular canons, to live together, under the
control of the provost. Rules were laid down
for the celebration of the five daily masses,
certain endowments were specified, including
half the tithes from the demesnes of Shepton
Beauchamp, and a clause was inserted in the
foundation deed forbidding Sir John and his
heirs to send horses, hawks or hounds to be looked
after by the canons. Reginald de Moncketon
was appointed first provost, and arrangements
were made by which the rectory of Stoke should
be appropriated to the college upon the cession
of the then rector, Robert Beauchamp. (fn. 4) Papal
confirmation was obtained in 1309. (fn. 5)
Bishop Drokensford (fn. 6) issued a commission
for the visitation of the college of Stoke in
December 1320, but the proceedings were not
recorded. In 1331 the warden of Stoke was
licensed to hear the confessions of his brethren
and of the family of Sir John Beauchamp. (fn. 7) A
corrody was granted to the rector of Stocklinch
on his resignation, by Laurence provost of Stoke
and his 'sodales' in 1335. (fn. 8) Towards the end of
this century the college was suffering from
poverty and disputes with the vicars of Stoke
over tithes; accordingly Bishop John Harewell
granted in 1375 that upon the cession of the
then vicar the vicarage should be united to the
rectory and the church served either by a resident
secular chaplain or by one of the canons. (fn. 9)
The college gradually dwindled and at the
time of its suppression in 1549 was farmed toone John Kyte, the value of its endowments
being £44 12s., from which £8 was paid to the
one priest who then served the chapel. (fn. 10)
Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 161. Chantry ordained Oct.
4, 1304, Drokensford's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 194;
quoted in full by Collinson, Hist of Somers. iii,
Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 63.
Drokensford's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 185.
R. of Shrewsbury's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 86.
||Ibid. 173. Laurence le Young had been appointed
on the death of Provost Nettlecomb in 1328; Drokensford's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 291.
Cal. Wells D. and C. MSS. i, 278.
||Collinson, loc. cit.