PRIOR JOHN DE CARLETON
The election, after the cession of Prior Edmund, resulted in the
choice of Brother John de Carleton, who, like his predecessor, was
a canon of the house. The king signified to 'Michael the elect and
confirmed Bishop of London' (fn. 1) the royal assent to the election on
the 20th April, 1355; (fn. 2) and two days later issued a mandate to the
mayor 'to deliver the temporalities to John de Carleton who had
done fealty to the king'. (fn. 3)
Immediately on the cession of Prior Edmund, the escheators of
the various counties in which the priory had possessions seem to
have again taken possession, but on the same day that licence was
granted to elect (April 18th) the king issued letters close (fn. 4) to the
escheators to remove the king's hand in accordance with the decisions
(already described) by the king himself in the year 1350 and by
Edward I in 1299.
This John de Carleton, while a canon of the house, had in the year
1352 (as was shown in the chapter dealing with the monastery) (fn. 5) been
granted indulgence, owing to the Black Death, to choose a confessor
who should give him plenary remission at the hour of death. It is
more than probable that he himself succumbed to this plague, for
he died in the year 1361, when there was a fresh and virulent outbreak. (fn. 6)
But few records of the doings of this man during the six years of
his priorate have been found.
In the year 1355, ten days after his appointment, the king again
granted licence, as he had already done in the year 1337, for the
prior and convent to acquire in mortmain land and rent, not held
in chief, to the value of £20 yearly. (fn. 7) Under this licence, in the year
1359, after inquisition held at 'West Smythefeld', on the 9th May,
1358, (fn. 8) and another held at Little Perndon, Essex, on the 29th January,
1359, (fn. 9) and a third in Benyngton, Hertfordshire, on the 18th January,
by which it was in each case found that there would be no damage
to the king, the prior and convent acquired the following properties: (fn. 10)
From Hugh de la More of Carleton, chaplain, 1 messuage, 150 acres,
and 11s. 4d. rent in Hendon, and 1 messuage and 168 acres in
'Great Stanmere', Middlesex.
From John de Affebrigg, 20 acres of land in 'Great Stanmere'.
From Master Roger de Kempele—on March 6th of the same year—the tenant's interest in a messuage and one acre of meadow
in 'Shortegrave' in the parish of Newport and 'Lanelegh'
next Clavering, Essex; and 19½ acres in 'Tewyngg', Herts.
From Master Richard de Shamelesford, clerk, a messuage, a toft (fn. 11)
and 91 acres and a lane called Pakeswey, and 2s. 6d. rent in
Theydon Bois and Theydon Gernon, Essex.
From Robert de Thorp a messuage, 60 acres of land, and 7s. rent
in 'Tewyngg', which, in addition to the rents, was worth
£3 14s. 1d.
In the year 1357 it is recorded (fn. 12) that John de Burstall, citizen and
vintner, and his wife Cecily, gave the prior and convent the sum of
£200 (for which they gave their bond). (fn. 13) In return for this the prior
and convent granted to John and Cecily a quit rent or pension of
£12 a year for their lives, and to John a furred robe of the suit of
their esquires (or 20s. in lieu) to be delivered yearly at Easter. Also
a plot of land within the gates of the monastery, measuring 40 ft. by
24 ft., upon which they might build a house to dwell in, but which
they might not demise without licence.
A further record of this prior is contained in an agreement which
he, with the convent, entered into with Benedict de Fulham. The
deed was sealed in the chapter-house on the 6th March, 34 Edward III
(1360), and is now amongst the MSS. in St. Paul's Library. (fn. 14) By it
Benedict de Fulham agreed that he was liable to pay rent to the prior
and convent (who had power to distrain) for houses in the parishes
of St. Augustine's the Little and of St. Antony's, which Idonea,
daughter of Andrew Blund, granted to Prior Peter in the year 1251
(as previously mentioned). (fn. 15)
We have already referred to the fact that Pope Innocent VI
issued a mandate to this prior in the year 1355 in reference to a priest
of the hospital who was an apostate. (fn. 16)
Letters Conservatory for the bishop and clergy of London were
addressed to Prior John in conjunction with the Abbot of Westminster
and the Archdeacon of London, commanding them to enforce the
decretal of Boniface VIII Super Cathedram. (fn. 17)
The last record of him is dated two months before his death, when
an inquisition (fn. 18) was held to inquire whether there would be any
damage to the king to allow (fn. 19) a grant to be made to the priory of the
manor of 'Great Stanmere'; but the prior died before the licence
was granted on the 16th January following. (fn. 20)
His death probably occurred on the 14th May (1361), for the
Memoranda Rolls record that on the 15th of that month the revenues
of the priory were entrusted to the sub-prior (fn. 21) and convent, and
licence to elect his successor was granted on May 16th. (fn. 22)
Stow, writing in 1598, mentions among the monuments in the
church that of a John Carleton. If this refers to our prior, it may be
one of the stone coffins in the stone screen in the north transept.