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(Jtb&tn be £gn0febe* Sacrist from Michs. 1349 to
Michs. 1350.

The Rolls — Michaelmas 1346 — 1347,
Michaelmas 1347 — 1348,

Michaelmas 1348 — 13491
are all lost.

The information which we might have received from the first two of
these lost Rolls would have been v interesting to those who are anxious to
watch the progress of the construction of the new ritual choir and of the
carving of the stalls.

The last of the three Rolls would have had a pathetic interest by
reason of the great havoc wrought by the Black Death in the Monastery
from early summer to Michaelmastide. Contemporary history, however,
gives us some of the details of the losses experienced by the Convent and
the changes which took place amongst its chief officers.

The special obligations which fell upon Prior Alan with regard to the
management of the diocese, on account of the absence of Bishop de Lisle
during those trying months, will be found in Notes on Roll xv., page 107 ;
but the sorrows which one by one came upon him by the deaths of his own
closest friends, as they are connected with his well-loved Sacristy, may be
here touched upon for a moment.

If we look back to the second of the parchment slips which he handed
in on his leaving the office of the Sacrist (Roll ix a, parchment B, page
106), we shall see six names of monks most closely allied with him. Of
these the first-named, Philip Dallyng, was acting Sacrist in this sad year,
1349, and on the 9th July he was dead and buried. On the same day


84 QRoff (&©♦ XU

died Paulinus, who had been made Camerarius seven days before. In the
same month John of Wisbech, by whose side Alan had stood in 1321
officiating at the laying of the foundation of the Lady Chapel, passed
away 1 .

How many times the bell tolled for the monks who succumbed to the
pestilence, we should have learned from the lost Roll by the simple entry
which occurs, with less frequency, in other account Rolls, "dat. pulsantibus
campanas pro anima fratris...."

On the death of Philip Dallyng, as we have said, in July, Adam de
Lynstede was made Sacrist ; we may presume, however, that under the
special distress which fell upon the Sacristy, the Compotus of the Sacrist
up to Michaelmas 1349 (even if it were made) would have been of an
imperfect character.

Lynstede's extant Roll (Michs. 1349-50) suggests the idea that the
nerves of the monks had been so seriously shaken by the terrors of the
plague, that the ordinary business of the Convent had not yet recovered
its usual exactness 2 .

The parchment on which Adam's Compotus is written is only 4 feet
long, consisting of two skins sewn together. On each side of it there is a
heading, and each heading bears a different date, and gives different
names as " Socii " to the Sacrist.

The one side has the date 23 Edw. III., the regnal year, from January
26, 1349, to January 26, 1350, and may be regarded as the best statement
which Adam could make for the disastrous year in which he succeeded
Philip Dallyng. The expenses are given after the usual form, but towards
the end they are illegible owing to the bad condition of the parchment.

The other side has the date 24 Edw. III., and gives the receipts for
that year, which only reached the sum of ^167. 175. g\d.

Under these circumstances it is impossible to frame a satisfactory
balance sheet for the period included in the Roll.

1 Several men who hailed from the township of Wisbech appear in our Ely
documents in the middle of the 14th century. In the year 1343 John of Wysbeche
makes a return as Cellarer of Ely ; and we must suppose that he was the same
person as the builder of the Lady Chapel ; he is, indeed, termed by modern writers
" custos capelle Beate Marie," from the time when he appears as the advocate of the
new enterprise ; but in fact no "custos" was appointed to that building till after 1350.
In 1358, nine years after the death of John of Wysbeche, a deed was issued jointly by a
certain William of Wysbeche and Richard of Barynton, in which a landed endowment
was secured to the Lady Chapel of Ely as a gift to God, to the blessed Mary, to the Prior
and Convent, and to the custodian for the time being of the new Chapel of St Mary.

2 This year " graces " to 34 monks with six doubles, as against 49 monks in Roll x.
with six doubles.

(goff (Jto* xu 85

The Roll itself is in very bad condition ; the parchment was originally
of inferior character ; it may be supposed to have been of home manufac-
ture, as at the bottom of page 143 we find the entry, "in the making of
three dozen parchments." The ink also when first used must have been
poor and watery, as frequently letters are formed only by two nibs of a
hard pen, the fluid which should have joined them having disappeared.

No special building work is mentioned in the Roll. A few individual
entries are of interest, e.g., page 142, the "stathe," the landing-place or
wharf of the river at the Castle ; p. 142, the enclosure near the Black
Hostelry — the house of hospitality for monks of the Benedictine order —
in later centuries the home of the Canon of the 3rd stall. Its neighbour-
hood to the establishment of the Celerarius was in accordance with the
ancient customs of hospitality in Benedictine houses. All men in religion,
even Bishops, if they chance to be monks, pertain to the Cellarer, and are
to be entertained at the expense of the Convent 1 . A pair of garnets for
the Wyket near the shrine of St Etheldreda, p. 143. The mending of the
face of King Edgar, a stained glass figure in one of the windows of the
Lantern, p. 143.

As mentioned above, it is scarcely possible to present a balance sheet
to this Roll.

The arrears from the last account, in a note preceding the heading of
the Roll, are said to have been only us. ^d.

The summary, which should have been found at the end of the expenses
— a survey of 20 paragraphs — is not decipherable, and the amount cannot
be determined by the addition of the separate summas, for many of them
are imperfect.

The receipts appear to be not for the same year but for the next, and
they are headed by a good balance resulting from the previous year. The
shrine of St Etheldreda yields a large sum, nearly ^40, while from the
Grange farm comes only £2. 4s. z\d.

The total receipts for that period are set down as ^167. 17X. g^d.

l Memorials of St Edmund's Abbey. Rolls Series, vol. i. p. 243. " Omnes viri
religiosi etiam Episcopi si ipsi forte fuerint monachi, pertinent ad celerarium et ad
expensas conventus."




(JlMm tc fegnsfebe* Sacrist from Michs. 1352 to
Michs. 1353.

This is the fifth year in which Adam de Lynstede filled the office of
Sacrist, but the Rolls for his third and fourth years are missing, Mich.

iSSo-S^ Mich - x 35 r -5 2 -

This Roll is chiefly remarkable for the reparation of the roof of the new
Octagon, which seems already to occasion some anxiety ; a plumber is sent
from Leicester to look at the new Campanile (" ad videndum nouum
Campanile "), and a contract is made with a plumber " pro cooperacione
noui Campanilis super corum." We may presume that thus soon after its
completion, difficulty was found in keeping the rain from working under
lead on the Lantern.

The expression " super corum," over the Choir, gives the idea that by
this time the Ritual Choir has been fully completed and the divine services
renewed in it.

We must regret that neither in the Sacrist Rolls nor elsewhere, even in
the manuscripts of the monkish writers, has any account reached us of the
ceremony of opening the Choir and of the thanksgiving services which were
held to testify the rejoicing of the monks.

Ten years had elapsed since Alan had retired from the Sacristy, and
since the completion of the twenty years which he was supposed to have
given to his building work.

The new Lady Chapel was this year ready for divine service, and a
payment is recorded to the Chaplain of Bishop de Lisle "in dedicacione
Altaris Beate Marie" (page 155).

Bishop de Lisle was apparently at home this year, as he receives a gift
of calves and sheep and " onocrotuli," besides two pigs, six capons, and
three "loups de mer " (page 152), and wine (page 153).

The annual Synods were held, but the brethren to be ordained had to
present themselves at Swamsethe ; where that may be is not known, though
as the expenses were only is. lod. it could not have been far distant from

The receipts this year are given before the expenses ; from them we

(Roff Qto* xiu 87

learn of a severe drought, as there were no returns from the fisheries
or the ferries (botisgonges) " propter siccitatem 1 ." The Soham and
Stuntney Roads seem also for some cause to have fallen into such an evil
condition that a collection was made in the country for their improvement
(de perquisitione in patria cum indulgentia ad calcetum emendandum
£* 6s. 87/.).

Under the heading " custus domorum " in the payment of the workmen
an expression is introduced not before seen in these Rolls — "working
days " — " dies operabiles," but the meaning of the words is not given.

In the very elaborate customary accounts of the manors of the Priory
of Ely which we possess, the " working days " which are assigned to the
copyholders are modified only by the Saints' days ; but from a Roll
of payments of wages and purchases for the works at Westminster, 37
Henry III., we find in use an arrangement by which certain Saints' days
were reckoned to the King, and certain to the masons. For instance —
"first week after Easter containing the feast of St Philip and St James on
Thursday which belongs to the King, the feast of the invention of the Cross
on Saturday which belongs to the masons 2 ."

The Sacrist's building operations seem to be confined to repairs on
secular houses, and only one brief entry tells us that the erection of a new
Parish Church has not been altogether forgotten, " muldestone " (probably
shaped stone), bought for the windows of the Parish Church.

Master William of Hurle is still engaged and receives his fee.

The accounts for the year are as follows :

Expenses, including the excess of the year

preceding 251 4 3!

Total receipts for the year ... ... ... 192 3 7J

Adverse balance ... ... ... ... 59 o 8|

The length of Roll xii. is only 4 feet.

The heading good, also the marginal notes.

It begins with the receipts for 14 weeks. Then follow expenses for 32

"In dorso" will be found the expenses, for 22 inches, followed by an
account of the stores.

1 The excessive dryness of this year is recorded in the Historia Anglicana of
Thomas Walsingham. From March to July no rain fell in the land, all crops failed,
so that England was obliged to seek food from other places (" ab aliis regionibus
petere alimoniam coacta est "). William Duke of Zealand (Selandiae) sent many ships
laden with grain to London, out of pity for the distress.

Walsingham, Hist. Ang., Riley. Rolls Series, i. 277.

2 These entries are given in Sir Gilbert Scott's " Gleanings from Westminster
Abbey," in Appendix by Professor Willis. In a footnote is given a list of feast
days assigned alternately to the King and the masons.




(RoBetf of £$uffon + Sacrist from Michs. 1354 to
Michs. 1355.

For the chapter year, Michs. 1353 to Michs. 1354, there is no
Compotus, but we have evidence in Roll xiii. that Adam of Lynstede
continued Sacrist during part at least of that period, although probably
he did not survive to present the accounts for the twelve months.

Robert of Sutton entered on the Sacrist's office at Michaelmas 1354,
and early in his Roll there appear notices that Adam of Lynstede and
Robert of Sutton had been overlapping one another in the Sacrist's office,
or Sutton might have been the Socius Sacriste of the previous year, whose
name was illegible on the parchment. For instance, a double entry occurs
in the receipts (page 160) thus: "Per Ad. ^xxii. per R. lxx*. xd.," the
Ad. representing Adam of Lynstede and the R. Robert of Sutton, who each
received and paid in certain rents from Wentworth.

On page 162 an expense, incurred for receiving with others Lady
de Lyle in the camera, has a marginal note entered by Sutton to say that
it was done by Adam. A second entry, however, on page 169, which
speaks of a jewel bought and given to the daughter of Sir John de Lyle,
appears on Sutton's own responsibility.

The family of the de Lyles, or de Insula, was generally on terms of
kindly relationship with the Priory of Ely. In Alan of Walsingham's first
Roll (page 36) Sir Robert de Insula's name appears under the heading
" Gifts to the new work." In Roll xi. (page 141) wine is purchased and sent
to Sir John de Insula and his dame. It is possible that it was a branch of
this family which was settled in Ely itself and which has left its name in
the street at the bottom of the Fore Hill, called Lyle's Lane. In Bishop
Fordham's survey the original residence of the family may be easily traced.

(goff Qlo. xiiu 89

We have no reason to believe that Bishop Lisle was of this family;
his name is written in important documents Lylde, and Bentham used
that form.

From the Roll we learn that our Diocesan was in residence at Ely part
of this year, that part of the year also he was at his manor at Hadleigh, and
that for some time he was at the manor house at Wisbech, as the Sacrist
journeyed there to seek for chrism.

There was this year no special " nouum opus " and no appearance of
any special building ; the general staff of masons and carpenters being
employed on various buildings under the charge of the Sacrist. The
dormitory, which seems in these Rolls to require more frequent repair than
any other building, receives a glass window which cost no less than
£8. icy. nd., besides minor reparations.

An aurifaber appears with a name hitherto unknown in the goldsmiths'
clan — Roger — who makes silver dishes and salt-cellars, and one "caz de
coral Domini," whatever that may mean. He also makes a hand, or
perhaps we should say an arm, for the "crux ad fontem," which stood,
probably, in the south aisle of the nave, almost in a line with the western
termination of the Ritual Choir, and which marked the spot from which the
body of Queen Etheldreda had been disinterred by her sister Sexburga to
be transferred into the apse of the first Norman Church. It was from the
devotions of the people made before this cross that one item of the
Sacrist's income was yearly derived, and which is to be found entered in
his receipts regularly as " De cruce ad fontem." Further information on
this subject is to be found in Appendix A.

It is in this Roll that the name of the great carpenter, Master William
of Hurle, whom we find in charge of the timber work of Alan's " nouum
opus," in the year 1337 (page 73), appears for the last time ; a payment
due to his executors from the time of the Sacrist's predecessor seems
to prove that he died in 1354. He was, therefore, connected with the
work of the Cathedral for seventeen years.

A question of considerable difficulty arises from an entry which will be
found at the bottom of page 167, " In expensis factis circa prostracionem
veteris Campanilis."

The great tower at the west end is usually spoken of as the " magnum
Campanile"; and Walsingham's octagon tower becomes naturally the
" nouum Campanile " ; but where is the site of the " vetus Campanile " to
be located ?

One of the only notices of the old tower is to be found in the
Injunctions which were issued by Bishop Ralph Walpole, a.d. 1300. In
consequence of grave accidents having happened from the doors (ostia) of
the Church being carelessly guarded, it was ordered that the Pyx, with the

9o (goff (Jto* xxiu

body of Christ and the box of chrism, with the sacred oils, should be placed
in a new Chapel situated " juxta vetus Campanile," to be there honourably
preserved so that the " presbiteri seculares " should, day and night, have
access to them.

The pulling down of the old Campanile this year, 1354-5, was perhaps
in preparation for the building of the new Parish Church at the north-west
corner of the aisle, which, while spoken of in two earlier Rolls, was
commenced in the year 1359-60. A Chapel constructed at that corner
would have corresponded to the Chapel now known as St Katherine's, on
the south.

Another tower is mentioned in page 164 where large nails are bought
" pro magna turre emend. 1 " : this probably was the tower which gave
entrance from the High Street to the Cemetery, and which we have seen
in the notes on Roll v. spoken of in an ancient document as " turris
Sci. Petri."

The last entry in the Roll, in the expenses, is of interest ; the Sacrist
asked to be allowed to charge his account with the sum of 13s. 4^. because
he had lost that amount in the sale of some sheep which he had received
from the Bishop in payment of candle silver for the year. This item
appears annually in the Sacrist's accounts as " De garbis Episcopi,"
concerning which the original document will be found quoted in Appendix
A. But as this is the last Roll in which Bishop Lisle appears (he died in
1 361) it may here be mentioned that it was after his death that the stock
of sheep and cattle, etc., on the manors of the Bishop were found to have
been impoverished to such an extent that his successor, Bishop Langham,
felt it necessary to appeal for the King's assistance to repair the
losses 2 .

The fault, however, is not to be laid on Bishop Lisle's shoulders ; for
in the middle of the year 1356 the King had impropriated all the
temporalities of the see of Ely; and they were in the hands of his
Commissioners during the years when Bishop Lisle was sojourning in
Avignon and until the new appointment which followed his death in

The King's gift of restoration was provided evidently from the episcopal
revenues of Ely which he had appropriated ; and the oath which he
imposed on all future Bishops, that they would keep up and hand over to
their successors a settled quantity of stock, was calculated to deter not
only the Bishop, but also the agent who might be in charge during an
appropriation, from impoverishing the episcopal farms.

1 Magno in the parchment.

2 Registr. Epi. A, fol. 36. See Bentham, p. 164.

(Roff (£0* xiiu 91

The receipts for the year were ... ... 192 16 of

The payments, including the arrears of pre-
ceding year (^54. 7^. 7^.) ... ... 18210 5f

!° 5 7

At the close of the account the Sacrist therefore writes, " et debet
x/z. vs. vhy."

And this is the only occasion in which the Sacrist has left off with a
balance in hand.

The length of the Roll is 4 feet. The parchment is much frayed at
the edges, and in places is in bad condition. The ink is of a greenish

The receipts have the first place. Then follow the expenses as far as
" Custus domorum," they are then continued in dorso, a store account




(goBetf of ^Juffom Sacrist from Michs. 1357 to
Michs. 1358.

The Sacrist Rolls from 1355 to 1356 and from 1356 to 1357 are lost.

Associated with Robert of Sutton, the Sacrist, is Thomas of Lincoln.
They have the satisfaction of receiving a small balance from their
predecessors which they enter in the words : " de arreragiis compoti anni
precedentis xs. viii*/." With the medieval " computantes," whether the
balance they receive is a good or a bad one it is entered as an arrear.

The " custus noui operis " in Roll xiv. leads us into a part of the
Cathedral which, though not often specially referred to, has an interest of
its own.

About halfway between the octagon arch and the east end of the Church,
at that date, in the north aisle were located three altars named after St John
the Baptist, St Martin, and St Benedict, and so united that the area
occupied by the three was designated as "ad tria Altaria." In this area
the Sacrist was at work in the year 1357-58 ; pulling down walls, removing
timbers and inserting two new windows on the ground floor ; those
windows, being easily recognized to-day, not only mark out the precise spot
occupied by the " tria Altaria," but they serve as a historical link between
two periods of the development of the fabric of the Church.

Both windows are of the decorated style which had been introduced
into the Church by Bishop Hotham ; but the two windows displaced by
them had been of different orders of architecture, the more eastern one
belonged to Northwold's early English presbytery ; the western one to
Abbot Richard's Norman Church.


13 ' V^v


r *







•— •







1 FTf i I: i

The Eastern portion of the Norman Church.


(Roff (Jto, fa. 93

In the next Bay to the west a magnificent doorway had been
inserted, presumably by Bishop Hotham on closing an opening made
there by which his masons might have access to their work from the yards
of the Sacristy. This door, admirable in itself, must have blocked up the
light of the earlier window which it displaced.

By the date of this Roll also, the Lady Chapel, which ran parallel to
this aisle and at a distance of only a few yards, would have diminished
the light which reached the " tria Altaria " from the north.

In this, then, we seem to have the probable motive for the desire of
the Prior and Convent in 1357-58 to substitute for the two older windows
others of increased size.

Again, the relationship of the two windows to two periods of the
building of the Cathedral becomes clearer when we remember that the
pier which now stands between them marks the line of the easternmost
wall of the original Norman Church.

The eastern portion of the Norman Church, which disappeared under
the improvements of Northwold and Hotham, has hitherto received but
little attention ; yet while it was standing in its old grim strength, seven
Bishops ruled in the diocese of Ely, and memorials of six of them in
death were grouped across the Church, not many yards from the eastern

It is in the hope of reviving some of the half-forgotten facts connected
with that part, that the accompanying plan has been prepared, in which,
as far as may be, the floor space is delineated as it might have been when
Bishop Northwold first came to Ely in 1229.

The lines of the middle apse follow the drawings which were made in
1850, when the foundations of the east wall were laid bare; but the
suggestion of the two apsidal terminations of the north and south aisles
is mainly due to the kindness of a friend.

All burial places, altars, and memorials are marked with the initial
letters of the names, within square lines. The authorities for the places
thus assigned are to be found in MSS. which for brevity's sake are noted
by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, according to the footnote 1 .

l In order to relieve the text as much as possible from technical additions, the

authorities relied upon in the location of tombs and altars are given here. They are : —

A. — The manuscripts of the " Historia Episcoporum," which generally agree, usually

referring to the burials of the Bishops at the close of their several Histories.
B. — The Anglia Sacra.
C. — Lambeth, MS. 448, folio no, a list.
D. — Lambeth, MS. 448, folio 153.
E. — British Museum, Harleian, no. 3721.
F. — British Museum, Harleian, no. 258.

94 (goff QU w.

[Q. E] marks the tomb of Etheldreda, Queen and Saint.

[S l W] of St Wythburga, [S l E] of St Ermenilda, [S l S] of St Sexburga.
The story of the translation of the bodies of these saints, to and from these
positions, is fully told in the Liber Eliensis.

[H] Bishop Hervey's tomb, before the altar. "Sepultus quievit in Ecclesia
Eliensi " (A, B, E, F), " in Ecclesia magna " (C, D), that is in the central
part ; the aisles being spoken of as " ex parte boreali ecclesie," — " ex
parte australi ecclesie."

[N] Nigel's tomb, the second Bishop, in the north aisle, at the east
apse of which was a cross with an altar. " Honorifice collocatus in
Ecclesia Eliensi juxta altare See. Crucis " (A, B, E, F).

[B oi ] Boie : represents the place where " the Boie " — in medieval Latin
— in English, "the fetters" — were suspended, which Brithstan, according
to the legend, brought to Ely after his deliverance from prison by
St Etheldreda and St Benedict. The fetters were placed by the Bishop,
Nigel, at the side of the column which stood north of the High Altar, a
small cross being erected above them. Cf. Roll xii. p. 156, " Paid the

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