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1 In expensis Domini [Sacriste] apud London ad tractandum cum Domino Episcopo
et Archidiacono pro saluacione jurisdictionis sue. Transcripts, p. 82.

The Archdeacon of Ely at that time was John of Orford.

2 Cf. Lord Leconfield's MSS. in 6th Report of Historical Manuscripts Commission.

(goff Qto. x>\u 51

by the Sacrist. To which of the litigants the verdict fell is not recorded ;
the last entry of the expenses will be found in Roll viii. page 95.

We pass, therefore, to enquire what signs appear in this Roll vii. of the
advance of the Sacrist's building operations under the usual head of " Cost
of the new work."

The entries there are very few in number ; John Attegrene (not called
Magister) receives a courtesy present (ex curialitate) ; and Master William
Hurle, the carpenter, has the same large fee as in Roll vi.

A small quantity of stone is bought ; and seventy large oak logs are
carried in from Stourbridge.

The aggregate wages of masons (over and above small payments which
are entered under "minute") amount to nearly ;£io; those of carpenters
and sawyers to nearly ^38. There is no word introduced which can
indicate the parts of the building on which the masons or carpenters were

There is only one paragraph in the " nouum opus " which stands out
prominently by its length and importance. It is under the marginal
heading of "noua pictura" and it shows a considerable expenditure for
painting material and for painters.

The chief sign, occurring in the entry, which appears able to direct us
to any especial part of the Church where this work of decoration might
have been carried on, is in the word "vault," and the question at once
arises as to the vault to which Alan would be likely in the year 1336-7 to
be giving his attention.

The vault of the great dome had, as was noticed in the notes on
Roll vi., received its colouring in 1334-5; the second or higher vault
in the Lantern was not decorated until Roll viii. 1339-40, when the
Sacrist, departing from his usual taciturnity, states distinctly that the
painting materials and stained glass entered there, were for the upper story
of the Campanile.

On enquiring, then, for a vault on which the " noua pictura " of the
Roll now before us could have been expended, will not the vaulting
between Bishop Northwold's early English work and the eastward arch
of the Octagon, claim our attention? The idea that Alan would be
desirous at this time to complete all necessary work in that part of the
Church, is built on probabilities which are not without their force.

In consequence of the lawsuit with the late Bishop's executors no
further assistance could be expected from them ; all that was needed in
that part of the Church must, for the future, fall upon the Sacrist and must
have its place under the heading " Cost of the new work."


52 QRoff (&©♦ t>in

It is doubtful, indeed, whether a mere work of painting would have
fallen under the obligation which the Bishop originally took upon himself
of rebuilding the fallen bays; and if Alan of Walsingham shared the love
of the best men of his time, as we may be confident he did, for adding the
glory of colour to architectural forms of beauty, he would not have been
satisfied that a vaulting which looked down on the choir altar, the high
altar and towards the shrine of the foundress of the Church, should have
remained unadorned with colour, when the dome of the Campanile had
already received its decoration.

The character of the painting on Hotham's lierne vault has never been
altered (so experts have said), and its appearance today, with the colouring
confined to the points where the ribs meet and to a short distance from
them, with the vaulting between the ribs whitened so as to enhance the
brilliancy of the vermilion and the gold, answers in a remarkable way to
the notes introduced into the entries of the "noua pictura" in this Roll.

William Shank was evidently an artist of talent and reputation ; the
title given to him, Magister Willelmus Shank, indicates his position in his
profession, and the intrusting to him of work by contract shows the
estimation in which he was held by the Sacrist of Ely. As a workman
he was of a far higher calibre than the nameless painter who did the work
on the vault of the Campanile, mainly with red lead, and whose daubing
came to light some few years ago.

We have no information as to whether the scaffolding used by Bishop
Hotham's workmen for the groining, was still standing; if it was, it would
have counselled the Sacrist to finish without delay the decoration of the
vault, but if it had been taken down, there was a sufficiently strong body of
carpenters, engaged in pushing on the woodwork in the Lantern, to allow
of some being taken off to raise special scaffolding for the purpose.

As we have already noticed, the principal interest of the Sacrist's
general accounts in this Roll vii. gathers about Bishop John of Hotham ;
two entries relating to his burial in the Choir have already been referred
to, a third comes with a touching significance, " Item solut. pro j. somar.
venient. cum capella Episcopi nuper defuncti " ; a pack-horse arriving with
the private communion service of the late Bishop. Had Bishop Hotham
been a monk and a poor man we might have judged that the "capella"
belonged to the Convent and was restored to the Sacrist as the repre-
sentative officer ; but as the Bishop must have been very wealthy we may
suppose the "chapel" was a gift to the Church.

Two letters which issue from Bishop Hotham's sick room at Downham
are of interest, as showing the anxiety of a conscientious Bishop for the wel-
fare of his diocese, when he felt his powers impaired by old age and sickness.

(Koff (Jto* x>ii. 53

Copies of these have been preserved in a bound book of manuscripts at
Petworth, which evidently belonged once to the Muniment Room of the
Dean and Chapter of Ely.

Of these letters one, dated 26 August, 1336, is addressed to his nephew
Alan of Hotham, Canon of St Paul's and Rector of Dereham, Norfolk,
appointing him special coadjutor, for the performance of the Bishop's
duties in the diocese towards the Church in things spiritual and temporal
during his illness.

The Bishop declares that he has done this with the advice and consent
of the Chapter of the Church, and appends the formal approval of the
aforesaid Chapter, in which their belief is expressed that the assumption
of that coadjutor will be greatly for the advantage of the person of the
Bishop, for his Church of Ely and for the Chapter of the same.

The other letter of precisely the same tenour was addressed to Master
Nicholas of Stockton, Rector of the Church of Tydd in the diocese of
Ely, and bears a somewhat earlier date, May the 21st in the same year.

A copy of the letter to Alan Hotham, so far as the writing could be
deciphered, is given below 1 .

An interesting memorial of Bishop Hotham and his death, which the
Prior of Canterbury received from Prior Crauden of Ely, in the year 1337,
has been preserved in the Muniment Room of Canterbury Cathedral.

" It is in the form of a parchment Roll 7 feet long, of 3 membranes
containing 127 lines of Manuscript. A grandly illuminated Initial word
occupies the first line, and the central place of the Capital letter at the
head of the document is filled in with a full length portrait of the deceased
John Hotham Bishop of Ely. He is dressed in Alb, Dalmatic and

l Johannes divina permissione Epus. Eliens. dilecto nobis in Christo Magistro
Alano de Hothom Canonico Ecclie. Sancti Pauli London et Ecclie paroch. de Derham
Norwicen. Dios. Rectori — salutem, gratiam et benedictionem.

Ne nostre imbecillitatis pretextu qui Ecclie Eliens. regimini presidemus ipsa Ecclia
in spiritualibus et temporalibus dispendia patiatur nos in presentibus senio et invalitudine
corporali gravati aliasque impediti ut officium nostrum, ut vellemus, exercere nequeamus
curam turn ipsius ecclesie pro posse cum ea que decet sollicitudine gcrentes indempnitati
ejusdem procavere volumus, ut tenemur. Quocirca vos, de cujus industria et circumspec-
tione nobis experimento nota confidimus in immensum, de nostro consilio, et assensu
capituli ecclesie prolibata(?) auctoritate qua fungimur in hac parte ad dictum ofiicium
exequendum coadjutorem nobis assumimus specialem.

In cujus rei test, sigill., etc. (sic). Dat apud Downham vicesimo sexto die Augusti
An. Dni. mdcccvi 10 et consec. nostr. xx.

Et nos capitulum supra dictum habito super hoc sufficienti tractatu et plena delibera-
tione prefata assumptioni coadjutoris de persona superius nominata nostrum concilium et
consensum unanimiter prebuimus et prebemus, firmiter arbitrantes assumptionem ipsius
coadjutoris utilitati tarn persone Dni. Episcopi quam Ecclie sue Eliens. atque capituli
ejusdem, plurimum expedire.

Dat. in capitulo nostro die et anno supradictis.

54 (Koff Qto. x>iu

Chasuble. On his head is a low broad Mitre, and in his left hand an
ornamental staff 1 ."

It is a message from Ely to Canterbury telling of the death of their
Bishop and asking for the customary prayers and solemnities which, by
ancient compact between Benedictine houses, were observed on the death
of one of the fraternity 2 .

One kindly and thoughtful act of Bishop Hotham's in the interest of
the Prior and Convent came to the front a few days after his decease 3 .

On the 20th of January, 1337, a mandate arrived from the King to the
escheator on this side of the Trent, bidding him to take seizin of the
goods of the late Bishop in his palace, but to permit the Prior and Chapter
to have free administration and to receive all the goods of the Bishopric
during the vacancy, except knights' fees and advowsons ; the Convent
having engaged to pay to the King the sum of ^2000 if the vacancy
lasted a year ; or if it should last a less time than a year, then pro rata for
that year, and if for a greater time, pro rata for the said time beyond the
said ^2000 4 .

This privilege, the mandate stated, had been lately granted out of the
King's affection for J. de Hotham then Bishop of Ely, and was to be in
force in every future vacancy of the Bishopric.

This sum of ^2000, equivalent to at least ^40,000 in the present
value of money, gives us an unexpected estimate of the income of the
Bishopric 5 .

To what extent the Monastery benefited by this privilege during the
vacancy caused by Bishop Hotham's own death we cannot ascertain ; but
in a Pipe Roll in the Record Office which gives the profit which had
accrued to the King from the temporalities after the death of Bishop
Ketene in 1310", we may form some judgment as to the amount obtained
under like circumstances — a vacancy of 177 days resulted in a net pay-

1 Cf. Histor. MSS. Commrs.' 9th Report, Appendix, p. 124. The wording of
this mortuary Roll will be found in the Literae Cantaburienses. Rolls Series, vol. ii.

P- 59i-

2 An original document on parchment of the same character, decreeing the compact
between the Priory of Ely and the Priory of Hatfield Regis, is in the Muniment
Room of the Dean and Chapter of Ely. No. 163.

3 Bishop Hotham died on Jan. 15th, 1337.

4 Calendar of Close Rolls, 10 Edw. III. membrane 3.

5 Some curious information concerning the claims of the King on the temporalities
of a see during a vacancy or of any persons to whom he may have assigned his
claim, may be found in a MS. volume originally belonging to the D. and C. of Ely,
but which is now in the Registry of the Bishop, marked "Liber B. Almack."

6 Cf. Pipe Roll, 3 Edw. II. (2), membrane 6.

©off (Jto* viu 55

ment, after repairing houses on the episcopal estates and restocking the
farms, into the King's hands of ^1630. And supposing that the income
of the see of Ely had not decreased in 1337, we may calculate that for the
147 days which elapsed before the return of the temporalities to Bishop
de Lisle, after deducting the portion of the sum of ^2000 due to the
King, Prior Crauden and the Chapter would have enjoyed a profit of
about ^700, representing a very large sum in the money of today.

We do not find that the Sacrist's income this year received any
increase from this windfall ; but some improvement is to be remarked in
the reduction of the adverse balance which had become a regular feature
in the accounts 1 .

The accounts for the year Mich. 1336 to Mich. 1337 are as follows :

Expenses of the Sacristy including arrears
Custus noui operis












Total Receipts

Adverse balance at end of year 86 7 5!

A considerable portion of this Roll is obliterated by damp, etc.
The length of the Roll is 7 ft. 1 inch.
It commences with the Expenses.
"Custus noui operis" begins 19 inches from the end.
The receipts are on the back. The first two entries are exactly given
in the Transcript.

l A further note concerning Prior Crauden in the Calendar of Close Rolls for this
year enables us to follow a portion of his great gain in the vacancy of the Bishopric,
and to note its prudent employment for the redemption of a bond which the Convent
had given to some merchants at Florence. The entry runs thus : " Brother John,
Prior of Ely, acknowledges for himself and Convent, that they owe to John Barouncel
and John Stephani and their fellows, Merchants of the Society of the Peruzzi of
Florence, ^400 to be levied, in default of payment, on their lands and chattels and
ecclesiastical goods in the county of Cambridge." — " Cancelled by payment."

Calendar of Close Rolls, 11 Ed. III. pt 2, memb. 33d. August 25, 1337.




(glfon of Wdfeinglfattn Sacrist from Michs. 1339
to Michs. 1340.

No information has been preserved concerning the Sacrist's work on
the Church during the two years from Michaelmas 1337 to Michaelmas
1339, when the Roll viii. opens; but by the advance which is clearly
marked in the accounts of the new year, we have some measure of the
energy with which the new Campanile, at least, had been pushed forward.

The space given to the " Custus noui operis " is of especial length ; not
because there had been a more lavish expenditure of money ; but because
the scribe of the Compotus seems to have taken more pleasure than his
predecessors in setting out the details of the operations which he had to
record, and we shall not wonder so much that a more intelligent and
perhaps human spirit seems to have moved his pen, if we realize that his
story is of the almost final completion of the Octagon Lantern.

The history is, however, as usual, not to be read in flowing descriptions,
but to be picked out piecemeal, here a little and there a little, from the
items of the accounts. And by such a method we arrive at the idea
that the condition of the building before the end of the year 1340 was as
follows : — the Nouum Campanile had been safely roofed in ; the plumbers,
headed by a man of some importance, Simon the plumber, had finished
their work ; the upper story, designed for a ^elfry, must have been com-
pleted although the windows were only closed by canvas of which the
purchase is entered in page 97 ; the upper vault or dome of the Lantern
just below the belfry had been constructed, and an image or figure had
been worked by John of Burwell on the great central boss which was
152 feet 6 inches from the ground, other keys of the vault having been

©off (Jto, x>iiu 57

carved by John Roke a London man, and on the woodwork had been
engaged the two Middiltons, Geoffrey and John, carpenters in Ely for
several years, with John Feryng from London to whom is given a special
present when the work is done.

The Master Carpenter, William Hurle, who is again mentioned by the
Sacrist as called in to consultation with himself and other strangers, holds
his usual place.

John Attegrene in this Roll receives the special name of honour —
the Master Mason, William of Wisbech working with him and Galfrid

The smith's work is under the charge of John Amyot the blacksmith,
large quantities of nails of various sizes swelling the expenses, while to
Robert Fowke is assigned the fitting of the crossbars into the Oes of the
upper story of the stone Octagon.

Thus have we before us the " istoria superior " of the Lantern growing
to its consummation, and then there follows an account of the rich adorn-
ment of stained glass in the windows, and colour on the dome. And those
who are interested in the arts of the painter and glazier of the fourteenth
century may be thankful to the scribe of the Sacrist Roll viii. that he has
left such detailed statements in his paragraphs on the " Custus vitri " and
" Custus noue picture."

William of Brampton seems to have been both a merchant of glass,
and himself an artist ; and the transactions recorded in these entries shew
that the Sacrist had at that time in his possession a store of old glass,
perhaps saved from some of the older windows which had not been
altogether destroyed by the fall of the Campanile. The terms used
concerning the glass, panels and forms, will be variously interpreted;
probably by the latter we are to understand an entire window 'inserted
in the framework of wood or stone. A seme is the usual measure for

William of Brampton seems to have had a son with him, also another
glazier helping him who also had a lad in the business. All left at the end
of the work with gratuities from the Sacrist.

The Ritual Choir of which mention was made in the notes on Rolls vi.
and vii. comes before us again in Roll viii. ; and this time, it is Alan of
Walsmgham himself who calls attention to it, by telling us that the money
ordinarily appropriated for the celebration of the Sacrist's O, this year was
handed over for the making of the Choir Stalls.

Into whose hands this money passed he does not say, but it must be
presumed that it was to that somewhat mysterious person, Ralph of
Saxmundham, to whom a passing word was given on page 44 in the notes
on Roll vi.

58 (Roff Qto. win

It was there noticed that his name was found in a Roll of the Celerarius
for that year, " Paid to Radulphus de Saxmundham for three convocations
60 shillings," while an entry in a Treasurer's Roll for the same time was
quoted to shew the object of the payment. It may be here further added
that the name occurs twice afterwards in the same connection ; first, in
the Camerarius' Roll for the year 1336-37, "Paid R. de Saxmundham
for O et Olla for making of the Stalls 13/4"; the second time, in the
Roll of the Celerarius in 1340 N. de Copmanford (who two years later
succeeded Alan as Sacrist), " Paid to R. de Saxmundham for the making
of the new Choir for two convocations 40/."

In later years up to 1346-47 there appear notices of assignments by
the Precentor, the Sacrist and Camerarius for the making of the new
stalls, but no mention is made of the name of Saxmundham as the
recipient of the funds.

How then can we account for the introduction of R. de Saxmundham's
name in connection with the stalls, and by what authority may we suppose
he was then acting? The question is of some importance, and must be
faced even though involving the reader in a digression of some prolixity.

If the substitution of R. de Saxmundham for the Sacrist in this matter
really took place, it must have been authorized by the whole Chapter of
the Monastery, and it must have occurred either from consideration for
the happiness and welfare of the Sacrist, or by way of penalty. The latter
thought must be at once rejected, and we must fall back upon the more
natural idea, that there was at this time some good reason why part of
Alan's severe labours should have been removed from his shoulders and
laid upon another.

During seventeen years the strain of his many-sided labours may well
have told heavily on the indefatigable Sacrist; not many months before
this date, he had been engaged in the erection of a Camera which he
had designed as a house of restful enjoyment for the sick and aged of his
brethren, and it is very remarkable that in handing over that house of
retirement to the Convent, he stipulated that it should first be reserved for
his own personal use \

Many a great man half through his career, feeling the forces of youth
failing under a too great pressure, has in thought forestalled the day when
he should have rest from his labours ; and if in Alan's case the brethren
around him perceived the shadow of this distress falling on their beloved
Sacrist, they may have hastened to relieve him from the financial burden
which the new work of forming and carving the stalls of the Ritual Choir

1 This Camera has already been noticed in Roll vi. : the wording of the documents
which relate to it will be found in the Appendix B "On the Buildings."

(Roff Qto. viii. 59

must necessarily throw upon him. And, therefore, they may have given a
mandate to brother Ralph of Saxmundham to gather contributions for this
purpose, and so, as far as possible, spare the Sacrist unnecessary trouble.

A suggestion of this character might indeed have satisfied the difficulty
which was occasioned by the appearance of Saxmundham in this place,
were it not that in Wharton's history of Ely in the Anglia Sacra we
find a passage which attributes the actual making of the Choir to Ralph
of Saxmundham. His words run thus : —

"The new Choir was made in the time of Edward III. in his 13th year
a.d. 1328, and in the following year, by the brother R. de Saxmundham
who received from the executors of John Hotham, Bishop, forty shillings,
and from other officials and Olla and convocations of the brethren, very
much money."

This statement appearing in Wharton's work, strengthened by such
circumstantial particulars as to date, means of raising money, and a
subscription by Bishop Hotham's executors, has been hitherto received
without question ; so much so that it has given rise to the idea that Alan
of Walsingham had no hand in making the beautiful stall work, which is
still preserved in the Church.

A solution however of the difficulty, is to be arrived at by reverting
from the text of Wharton's history as he has given it in the Anglia
Sacra, to the actual text of the Lambeth MS. 448 from which it professes
to have been transcribed. It will then be seen at once that the entire
passage concerning Ralph of Saxmundham is an interpolation, made in a
very clumsy manner, in a later hand. It is crowded into the blank space
at the bottom of one page, and continued on the next.

The Text as given in the Lambeth MS. The Text as given by Wharton, Anglia

Sacra, vol. i. p. 644.

Summa omnium expensarum et librarian Summa omnium expensarum el librarum

tain pro officio quam pro nouo opere tarn pro officio quam pro nouo opere
mmmmmmxciv^". xviii sol. x den. ob. qu. mmmjimmcxiv^, xviii sol. x den. ob. qu.
Unde pro officio MMMDCLXXXV lib. xix Unde pro officio mmmdclxxxv lib. tax
sol. vi den. ob. et pro expensis circa nouum sol. vi den. ob. et pro expensis circa nouum
opus MMCCCCVin lib. xix sol. iii den. ob. opus mmccccviii lib. XIX sol. iii den. ob.
Ipse autem [i.e. Alan] fecit nouum pontem [JVouus Chorus /actus erat tempore Edwardi
lapideum apud castelhythe et expediuit in iii Regis anno xiii anno Domini ucccxxviu
CV solidis vi denariis, anno Edwardi iii, etsequcntibusperfratreiiiR.deSaxmundum
Regis xiii. J*** recepit de executoribus Domini Johauuis

Verum quia scribitur, etc Hotham Episcopi xl solidos et de aliis

officiariis et Olla et connocacionibus fratrum
plures peainias.] Ipse autem [Johannes
Episeopus] fecit nouum pontem lapideum
apud Castelhyth et expediuit in cv solidis vi
denariis anno Edwardi iii Regis xiii.
Verum quia scribitur, etc.

60 (Roff Qto. x>iiu

Why Mr Wharton suffered this interpolated sentence to appear in his
text without a word of warning to his readers, we know not ; perhaps his
transcriber was alone responsible for the oversight ; perhaps he was himself
persuaded by the decision of the language employed, that it was of genuine
authority, and worthy to form an integral part of the story ; although a
brief glance at any one of the other manuscripts of the Chronicle would
have rectified his judgment.

Having, however, the advantage now of being able to consult the Rolls
of the Sacrist and other officers of the Monastery of that period, we are
able to understand that the interpolated passage was probably the work of
some student of the Rolls who, failing to see any other good reason why
Saxmundham should have received contributions to the stalls, took it for
granted that he was the accredited designer and creator of them, and, to
vindicate Saxmundham's claim to this honour, he wrote the paragraph in

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