Annex 3

Stoke Cartulary & Patronage

These notes are from the Stoke Cartulary part 3 reprinted and translated by the Suffolk Record Office as No VI. It bears on the ownership of our church. My summary of the history of the institution which moved to Stoke juxta Clare is:

Roman timesThe earthwork to the north of Clare is 1 mi from the castle & quite unconnected
Saxon times
A rich collegiate church of St John the Baptist was founded by Earl Alfric in the time of Canute & Edward the Confessor. It is described as being within “Clare castle” presumably this was the present riverside site in the town. It owned much property including the Parish Church of St Paul’s.
1090c.Benedictine Monks of Bec arrived in England & Gilbert de Clare gave them this collegiate church.
St John Baptist in Lt Yeldham is said to have the same foundation year.
1124They are sent to Stoke by Gilbert’s son Richard & given the church of St Augustine there; I guess this to be the medieval outline seen in recent aerial photographs 1 mi W of the present village in the field to the S of Chapel Farm. This was given them in exchange for St Pauls & on the understanding that they must build their own church of St John in their new grounds in Stoke; presumably this was built on the site of the present parish church.
This did not occur in 1134 as is sometimes said.
1124-1248The parish church was just the chapel within the Castle in Clare.
1125-1136They become an alien priory; list of Priors begins.
1248Augustinian Friars come to England they build the first Priory of their order in Clare.

[A celebration of the 750th anniversary was held in 1998]
1304Stoke cartulary completed with charters up to 1253.

[that of Clare itself goes on to 1464]
1395In July a charter of denization [= naturalisation] is granted for 1000 marks to be paid in instalments to the Abbot of S Peter Westminster to spend on his church.
1125-1395 appears therefore to be the duration of the alienation during which time it seems that appointments to the client churches were made by Royal Patent.
1411Wm Esterpenny appointed last Prior on 19 March.
1414Stoke Priory reverts to being a college of a Dean & six Canons on the orders of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March I suppose these to be Austin Friars who by now do not greatly differ from Benedictines . The first Dean is Thos Barnesley, 1415-54, who immediately follows Wm Esterpenny.
1510 approxDuring the time of Katharine of Aragon the College came under the patronage of the Queen’s of England.
1530 approxThis can explain why the dovecote has the Westminster (Tudor) portcullis in diaper; it is said to be Anne Boleyn’s badge v.i.
1538Clare Priory is suppressed.
1546/7Stoke college is suppressed. the last dean was Matthew Prior following Dr Shyrton.

It is quite clear that the College was still free on the accession of Ed VI so can never have been a present from Henry to Anne.

This summary is in my Library Volume A in file Stoke5b. The individual charters which refer to Stambourne are abstracted in files Stoke1 to Stoke4.

There is a useful map of the churches owned by the Priory. Some of the many vills giving rents are: Rgwl; B’brook; Claret; Ovington, Belchamp Otten; Tilbury; Gt Yeldham.

A prophecy of the present Upper Colne Benefice of five parishes can be seen in the two vills in bold type above and in the three on the map:

Location of client churches of Stoke Priory and College
Location of client churches of Stoke Priory and College

Some of the main points from the following pages of the SRO VI Stoke Cartulary are listed below:

p15A significant proportion of the Priory’s income was drawn from the possessions of the Pre-Conquest Collegiate Foundation within Clare Castle.
p16Clare:the church of St John the Baptist here was the early anglo-saxon collegiate foundation. The Parish Church St Paul was annexed to the college later.
p21Lt Yeldham:was granted by the founder, Gilbert fitzRichard de Clare, in 1090 (Charter#136).
p27Stambourne:Rob de Grenville granted our church, then called St Peter, to Stoke saving the life interest of John the Chaplain: this was at some time before 1174. The wording suggests that this Cleric John was, in our modern terms, the first real Rector.
p28Woking:Ingram d’Abernum first granted it: then in 1218-21 the bp of Winchester, Peter des Roches, appropriated it to the Priory of Newark nr Guildford for £ 6 14s p a. (There is a Stoke Priory just outside Guildford & I seem to recall a Stoke d’Abernon too).
p57The great majority of the writing is in a single hand though there seem to have been 2 assistants. The last charter [#513] is 1253. The volume was completed & bound not long after 1304.

Notes on The Monastic orders in England – by Dom David Knowles, 1941

He does not mention Stambourne by name but it is he that quotes Archbishop Pecham on p 29 [v.i. chapter 8]

There is a further three books on The Religious Orders of England. There are four references to Stoke. His volume I of 1948 on 1216 1340 contains much detail & I have tried to elucidate the differences between them in the lines that follow:

  • Friars were mendicant; canons preferred a single building.
  • Friars, Franciscan & Dominican, came later than monks.
  • Franciscans monks wore brown and were mendicant.
  • Benedictines monks wore black, as did most others, but white surplices were specified in some of the Stoke deeds though I can’t now find where. They did not have lay brothers.
  • Carmelites also existed, colour unknown.
  • Cistercians monks wore white, were more severe & solitary and did have laymen in their order.
  • Latterly black & white were much less distinctive & characteristic.
  • Stoke by Clare was a house of Austin Hermits [= Friars] and so members were not monks.

Return to Chapter 2 – Early history