Manuscripts and Special Collections

East Midlands Collection Periodicals, Lin: Injunctions relating to Markyate Priory (1442, English) from Visitations of Religious Houses Vol III, A.D. 1436-1449

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By the grace of God, William, Bishop of Lincoln, to Our well beloved daughters in God the Prioress and convent of the Priory of Holy Trinity in the Wood, near Markyate, of the Order of Saint Benedict, of our diocese - health, grace and blessing. Following our visit to you and your said priory, We found by our preparatory inquisition that it is guilty of certain notable offences requiring due reformation. Therefore, for correction and reformation We send you these our injunctions, ordinances and commandments for you and your successors, and each one of your nuns, to be kept under penalty here beneath written.

Firstly, We find by our inquisition that every nun takes in each year, for all their sustenance and clothing, only food and ale and two marks [13s 4d] of money; also, because they are so industrious about providing and preparing their food and provisions, very often they are absent from the choir during divine service. And frequently when they are present, their thoughts are on preparing their food instead of upon the service and worship of God and on keeping a religious house. And therefore they hold many households, by which means, as we fear, comes many evils and causes of weakening of the body [of the convent]. Therefore We command, enjoin and ordain by your full assent that from henceforth you all eat together in one house, either in the refectory, infirmary or the Prioressís hall or chamber, so that no secular persons sit amongst the nuns during dinner or supper, and that during mealtimes you have scripture or saintsí lives read aloud to you, during which reading you will give your attention and cease all idle talk. And that you, Prioress, and your successors, shall minister to [manage] your nunsí food and ale and other provisions necessary to your sustenance from the common goods of the house, out of one cellar and one kitchen, and that you pay every nun for their clothing allowance one noble [a gold coin worth 6s 8d] each year at the usual terms.1

1. Possibly the quarter-days normally used for collecting rent: Christmas, Lady Day, Martinmas and Michaelmas.

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