Meanwhile, canons of the house were causing some trouble. John of Tickhill, whom we have seen ordained at Blyth in 1274, and corrected by Wickwane in 1280, had gone into apostasy and had been brought before the justice of the forest, presumably for poaching. Having received bail for his appearance at the forest eyre, the justice asked the archbishop to send him back to Newstead. Corbridge, on 30th January, 1301-2, ordered the prior to receive him if expedient, and if he brought the justice's written guarantee for the indemnity of the monastery. He was to be treated severely, to take his meals by himself on bread, small beer, vegetables and one course only, and to take the lowest place among the priest-canons till further notice. In case of disobedience, the prior and obedientiaries were threatened with deprivation.1 This order was without effect, and was followed by a further mandate on 23rd August following.2 Apparently, the prior was unwilling to admit Tickhill. In March, 1301-2, Tickhill came to the archbishop at Bishop Burton, near Beverley, bringing with him two other canons, Thomas of Burton and William of Dingley, of whom Burton came with leave of the prior. The archbishop judged it best that they should keep secret what they told him for the quieting of their consciences, until he or a deputy should come to Newstead. In the meantime, he sent them back, enjoining the prior and convent to receive them without reproach or blame, to admit them to their former state and treat them with brotherly love in accordance with discipline. Tickhill's penance was remitted.3

This matter does not seem to have been touched upon at Mar's visitation, held shortly after; and Corbridge appears to have felt some confidence in Burton, as he put him upon the commission for managing the finance of the house. A licence, dated 22nd February, 1302-3, for the enclosure of the waste land given by the Crown with the "souches" or saplings from the convent wood, is supplemented by a command to certain canons, who had disobeyed the prior by going outside the cloister and precincts without leave, to return to their obedience. In future, the prior was to refuse admission to transgressors without special licence from the archbishop.4 About a month later, the prior and convent notified him that Tickhill had again left the monastery without leave. This time, on 11th April, 1303, they were ordered to search him out and bring him back, treating him as a disobedient rebel according to their statutes and rule, and inflicting upon him a penance not to be relaxed without special order.5 Later in the year, on 12th September, Corbridge visited Newstead, where he seems to have found Tickhill. Whatever credence he may have given to the story which the canons had told him at Bishop Burton eighteen months before, his visitation did not predispose him in their favour; for not only did he send Tickhill for a time to Kirkham priory, but he banished Burton to St. Oswald's at Nostell.6

He left injunctions behind him which were promptly disregarded. The difficulty of enforcing decrees upon individuals to whom a bishop can devote only a small part of his attention is not peculiar to the middle ages, but for various reasons it was greater then than it is even now.7 Corbridge, however, was not inclined to wink at disobedience. On 20th July, 1304, he sent his clerk, William of Beverley, from Laneham, with a supplementary decree and with power to punish offenders. Leave was too easily granted for excursions outside the priory. No one was to go out of the precincts without proper leave or roam about within them without reasonable cause. Riding in the neighbourhood was forbidden, unless in cases of urgent necessity and evident advantage to the house, and then only with leave. The whole attention of each member of the convent was to be given to his religious duties in a spirit of obedience and brotherly love. The injunctions were framed with a view to the economy demanded by the backward finances of the community. The prior and the custos (presumably the prior of Felley) must decide with a majority of the convent when it was expedient to send obedientiaries on horseback about the business of the house. The convent was restricted to keeping two horses only, which were to be fed on hay and to have corn only when at work. Two grooms, maintained by corrodies and acting as general servants, were to be appointed to look after them. The prior might have a groom, to be paid out of his allowance; and any other grooms must be found out of the allowances received (as in other houses, though this was contrary to the spirit of the rule) by the canons. Only two servants, the gate-keeper and the infirmary serving-man, were to look after the guests in hall, taking turns. Guests were not to be introduced or invited, unless they were necessary or brought profit to the house, and these only with leave from the prior or custos or their deputies. No timber, whether from ten acres of wood lately measured or from elsewhere might be sold without the archbishop's leave, which he was ready to give with good cause. Although the canons had been inhibited from adding to their expenses by admitting more members, they had presumed to admit a novice in the previous December. His maintenance was to be deducted out of their several allowances until they could afford to keep him, and he was not to be professed without special licence. Disobedience on the part of the prior to these and the former injunctions was to incur the greater excommunication and deposition: refractory canons were threatened with excommunication and expulsion. Future offenders and offences were to be notified to the archbishop.8

On 20th April, 1303, there is a certificate of an enquiry by the archbishop's official into the appropriation of the church of Hucknall Torkard, then vacant. It was said that the advowson had been granted to the house by Geoffrey Torkard and Maud his wife, and that the church had been appropriated to the prior and convent by archbishop Gray some fifty to sixty years before.9

We have noted a visit of Edward I. to Newstead in 1280. He was there again on 15th and 16th September, 1290, and on 6th December, 1300.10 On 26th March, 1304, he allowed the prior and convent to postpone their payment of tallage for the manors of Papplewick, Walkeringham and Misterton, which the prior declared to be held in frankalmoin.11 A reasonable tallage, however, was demanded in March following.12 Meanwhile, on 20th May, 1304, the king granted them, with a licence to enclose and bring into cultivation, 180 acres of waste land in the hay of Linby, consisting of 60 acres in "le Swynehaghe," and 120 acres in "le Herdewyk," Holewelleclif and Shepelawe, for a rent of four pounds to be paid through the sheriff.13 The grant, however, did not include a licence to pasture sheep; and a petition of the prior and convent, representing that the forest authorities had prevented them from doing so, was answered by an order, dated from Carlisle, 28th March, 1307, directing the justice of the forest to allow them to put out sheep on the waste, and to build a cow-house and sheep-fold, and a grange for storing their corn, provided that they had no more common upon the waste than the king's charter allowed them.14 Further, on 30th March, they were granted all tithes from the premises, if not within the limits of any parish.15

Later in the same year, on 27th September, 1307, Edward II. came to Newstead, and a subsequent visit is noted at the end of October, 1315.16 The first visit seems to have been the cause for letters close of 23rd January, 1308-9, excusing the prior and convent £10 out of £32 owing from them for arrears of the rent of £4 due from the assart noted above, and respiting payment of the remainder, in consideration of the charges which they had incurred on behalf of the king and his men.17 On 20th May, 1309, they paid a fine and were pardoned for having acquired half an acre of land in Walkeringham from Robert Denby in the previous reign, without licence in mortmain: they had built a mill on the land, for which they had exchanged some of their own in the same place.18 They were still oppressed with debt, and on 30th December, 1310, the king took them into his protection, appointing John of Hotham, the future bishop of Ely, to administer the revenues and apply them to the payment of debts, reserving a suitable allowance for the prior and canons.19

If the financial state of the priory was bad at this date, its internal disorders also continued. Corbridge's mandates leave an unsatisfactory impression, which is increased by those of archbishop Greenfield. Greenfield, who had succeeded Corbridge in 1305-6, sent back an apostate canon, William of Dingley, of whom we have heard before, to Newstead on 27th June, 1307, with a heavy penance. Dingley was excluded from the common life of the convent, and was to dwell in a separate lodging within the precincts, where a serving-man must sleep with him by night. Here he must say his hours: he was to hear mass daily outside the convent,20 which means merely that he was not allowed to enter quire for mass, but had to go to mass in the nave. His allowance of food was not to be different from that of the other canons, but on Friday he must have bread, beer and vegetables only. He was to have no opportunity for going abroad or for unhonest or unnecessary conversation with canons and seculars. Every week he must recite the psalter and say the penitential psalms and litany daily. On Friday the prior or a deputy was instructed to converse with him on the health of his soul and give him advice kindly and gently, hearing his confession and giving absolution, not forgetting a moderate discipline,21 with the other disciplines appointed by the order. This was Dingley's last chance of repentance: he was to expect no further lenience; while the prior and convent, if they disregarded the mandate, were threatened with canonical punishment.22

Greenfield's first visitation was held early in 1307-8. He found the prior accused of incontinence with a certain Emma of Quernley and of relapse into incontinence with Emma of Papplewick. The charges were denied, and on 27th January the archbishop, writing from Thurgarton, appointed a commissioner to receive the prior's purgation with six or eight of his fellow-canons and to certify it before Mid-Lent.23 We hear no more of this affair; and for a few years the York registers are silent about Newstead. In 1308, the proctor of the convent, brother Robert of Willoughby, appeared before the archbishop at Appleton Wiske to answer for the appropriation of the churches of Papplewick, Stapleford and Hucknall Torkard, and exhibited various documents, including bulls granted by Alexander III. and Innocent III. As in several other cases recorded in Greenfield's register, the appropriations were not confirmed without delay. The proctor, after his long and inconvenient journey to a place in the far north of the diocese, was ordered to appear for a decision at Cawood on 19th November. The case was then adjourned to the following 10th January in York minster, when no one seems to have appeared, and was not finally settled until 16th April, 1311, when the archbishop was at Long Bennington in Lincolnshire. Greenfield, although noticing that vicarages had not been ordained at Papplewick and Stapleford, did not take action upon this, probably on account of the poverty of the house.24

Poverty, indeed, was probably the chief cause of the want of discipline which was characteristic of Newstead at this period. Apostasy among canons continued. On 18th November, 1313, Greenfield wrote from Scrooby, enjoining the convent to receive one of the canons, Philip of Candlesby, whom he had absolved from excommunication incurred on this ground. He was to perform the special penance assigned him and to be treated kindly.

The wandering sheep, however, did not return at once to the fold; and, twelve days later, the archbishop sent further orders that he should be fettered and put into prison when he came. Good watch must be kept over him and his food ministered to him through a narrow window until he showed signs of better behaviour.25

Soon after this a visitation was held by the archbishop's commissaries. Of definite injunctions issued by them there is no trace, but a special mandate bears date 19th April, 1314, with regard to two canons, Robert of Sutton, the sub-prior, who was found to be unfit for his office and to have abused it to the damage of the house, and Thomas of Burton, who had been implicated in many serious excesses. The sub-prior was to be deprived of his office, to stay in cloister, and not to go outside the precincts until further notice without licence from the archbishop, under pain of excommunication. Neither he nor any other religious or secular of the house—a curious phrase which suggests that John of Hotham, appointed curator in 1310, had put in secular clerks to look after the accounts for him—was to keep harriers or other dogs, which were at once useless and superfluous and might breed suspicion of poaching in the royal forest. Burton was similarly to confine himself to the ordinary occupations of the cloister and to divine service, and not go out of the precincts without the archbishop's licence. He was ordered further to be put on a purely vegetable diet, without fish, every Friday for a whole year; on which day he was also to receive a weekly discipline from the president in chapter, and say the penitential psalms and litany prostrate before the altar of our Lady. Neither Sutton nor Burton might be put in any office until the archbishop was certified of their improvement in conduct.

John of Tickhill, although he had been more than forty years a member of the house, was still causing trouble. He was now relegated to Newburgh priory, where he was to undergo a somewhat similar penance to that of Burton : his keep, rated at four marks a year, was charged upon Newstead. The prior and convent, who, as we have seen, had been warned to receive no more canons, and whose numbers were obviously lessened by frequent apostasy in addition to natural causes, were allowed to admit two or three fit persons; and a faculty to this effect was issued on 26th April.26 Later in the same year, they were found to be £60 in debt to the Crown: on 26th July, the archbishop licensed them to sell timber which was fit for cutting in their wood of Scarcliffe and other woods, a licence apparently superseded by another granted on 12th September, which gave them the alternatives of selling the timber from Scarcliffe, of leasing the manor of Scarcliffe to fit persons, or of leasing the manor of "Calueouere" (sic). The maintenance of Tickhill at Newburgh was probably beyond their resources, and they asked to have him back: their petition was granted on 26th July.27

If Edward II. caused the priory serious expense by his sojourn there in 1315, he compensated for it by a licence to the prior and convent to appropriate the church of Egmanton, dated at Clipston the day after his departure, 31st October28; and on 24th July, 1317 a licence was granted them to acquire land and rent in mortmain to the value of £20 a year.29 A further benefit was a licence, granted on 25th October, 1318, by which the custody of temporalities after the next vacancy of the priory was secured to the convent, the king reserving to himself any fees, advowsons, wards, reliefs and marriages that might fall in.30 The appropriation of Egmanton did not take place for some time: the papal bull ordering the archbishop of York to issue the necessary decree, with ordination of a vicarage, bears date 29th September, 1326,31 but these measures were delayed until 22nd June, 1329, when archbishop Melton published a decree from Ripon. In the preamble of this the reasons for appropriation are stated, as expressed in the tenor of the petition exhibited by the prior and convent:

"The same priory, which is situated in a wood hard by the public road, is, by reason of the distance of the villages on every side, so grievously and continually burthened beyond the resources of its possessions, which are notoriously slender and scanty, by hospitality both to the rich and the poor, that the very things which are in readiness for its daily victuals have to be made common and set before guests who come unexpectedly to the same priory. Wherefore also the due number of canons, as ordained therein of old, cannot be conveniently maintained by reason of manifold anxieties, especially seeing that this district is more than usually disturbed by new troubles that arise every day; and for the causes aforesaid they cannot repair their church, which is clearly seen to be in a ruinous condition.32

We may note here that the advowson of Egmanton, belonging to the fee of Mowbray, had originally been granted to the canons by sir John Deyvill in the reign of Henry III., as was found by inquisition in 1342.33

Melton's register is the last of the York archiepiscopal registers which contains really interesting information about Newstead. His first visitation of the monastery, fixed for 24th October, 1319,34 was deferred or not completed till 12th June, 1320. His decree, dated at Bishop Monkton, near Ripon, on 5th November, 1320. contains a series of injunctions which illustrate the continuance of old evils. The brethren are to foster charity and concord, banishing all strife, envy and quarrelling. They are diligently to observe all previous injunctions, which, with the present set, are to be read publicly on the first of each month. The house is burthened with corrodies, pensions and debts: henceforward a certain sum must be put by yearly by the prior and obedientiaries towards the liquidation of debt. The obedientiaries must render their accounts yearly to a committee composed of the prior and two or three seniors. The foot of the account, i.e., the sum total, is to be made known to the whole convent. Accounts were now four years in arrears: they must be made up and returned by next Hilary at latest. Two bursars are to be appointed, viz., the cellarer and another canon to act as his socius, who are to receive all money coming in, making indentures and tallies of all such receipts. They are to distribute money to the obedientiaries as their needs require, for which a receipt must be obtained. An infirmarer is to be appointed, who is to be provided by the cellarer with necessaries for his department, as the resources of the house may allow; it is noticeable that suitable provision for the infirmary was always a source of difficulty at Newstead, as long as the circumstances of the convent remained straitened. The rule is to be studiously observed: if the prior and sub-prior do not see to this, they are threatened with deprivation. All canons and conversi staying outside the house are to be summoned to attend visitations. From this injunction we may infer that the archbishop had found several canons absent on leave, perhaps upon the monastery granges. He also had found certain canons absent in a state of apostasy: these, if they return, are not to be admitted without his special licence. Every canon was allowed 13s. 4d. a year for clothes: he is to give an account of his expenditure to the chamberlain and restore any money that he has not spent: thus the grant of individual allowances is not to be abused as an excuse for hoarding up private property. The convent is so grievously laden with the payment of corrodies, liveries and pensions of all kinds that the strictest means must be taken not to add to the burthen. The admission of canons and conversi, all grants of corrodies and like liveries, leases of manors, sales and gifts of timber—all transactions, in fact, which, for the sake of a little ready money, tend to become charges upon the common fund—are forbidden without special licence from the archbishop. Corrections made personally by the archbishop at the visitation are to be observed.35 As regards apostate canons, Melton, on 22nd July, 1320, had already sent back Philip of Candlesby, against whom archbishop Greenfield had taken stringent measures, to the priory. His directions in this case were of the usual kind. Candlesby was to take the lowest place in quire, cloister and frater. He was not to leave the precinct or have intercourse with seculars, male or female. Letters received or sent by him were to be inspected by the prior or sub-prior. On Wednesdays and Fridays he was to receive a discipline in chapter, and to say the penitential psalms and litany prostrate before the altar of our Lady; while he must recite the psalter once a week. On Wednesday he must fast on one kind of fish and on vegetables : on Friday he must have vegetables only, abstaining from eggs, milk foods and fish. No office was to be committed to him, and he must not take part in the ministry of the altar until the prior and convent were able to make a favourable report about him.36 On 1st March, 1321-2, however, the archbishop, hearing that he had been behaving himself and that the prior and convent had felt themselves able to send him out sometimes on business, granted him a faculty to come and receive full orders.37

(1) Ibid. fo. 127d.
(2) Ibid. fo. 132d.
(3) Ibid. fo. 136d.
(4) Ibid. fo. 147. (5) Ibid.
(6) Ibid. fo. 156d.
(7) The subject is discussed in the introduction to Visitations of Religious Houses (Lincoln Record Soc.) II
(8) Reg. Corbridge, fo. 170d.
(9) Ibid. fo. 147d.
(10) Cal. Close Rolls, 1288-96, p. 102 ; 1296-1302, p. 414.
(11) Ibid. 1302-7, p. 200.
(12) Ibid. p. 251.
(13) Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1302-7, p 205.
(14) Cal. Close Rolls, 1302-7, pp. 494, 495.
(15) Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1302-7, p. 513.
(16) Ibid. 1307-13, p. 8 ; 1313-17, pp. 364, 371 ; Cal. Close Rolls, 1313-18, p. 313.
(17) Cal. Close Rolls, 1307-13, p. 91.
(18) Cal Pat. Rolls, 1307-13, p. 159.
(19) Ibid. p. 302.
(20) The convent is, of course, not the monastery, but its inmates. To order him to go to mass outside the monastery would have been to expose him to the temptations from which he was strictly guarded.
(21) In this case, a penance.
(22) Reg. Greenfield I., fo. 226.
(23) Ibid. I,, fo, 238d.
(24) Reg. Sede Vac. fo. 154.
(25) Ibid. II. fo. 191d.
(26) Ibid. II., fo. 196 and d.
(27) Ibid. II., fo. 201d.
(28) Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1313-17, p. 398.
(29) Ibid. 1317-21, p. 6.
(30) Ibid. p. 205. (31) Cal. Papal Letters, II., 254.
(32) Reg. Melton fo. 448d.
(33) Cal. Close Rolls, 1341-3, p. 16.
(34) Reg. Melton, fo. 409.
(35) Ibid., fo. 413 and d.
(36) Ibid., fo. 410.
(37) Ibid., fo. 418.