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welth, and prosperyte, the which I pray Jhesu long to contynewe to your hertes desyre, and thanckyng your mastershipp for your greatt kyndnes shewid to me att all tymes, whereas itt pleasyd yow that so sone I shold come to your speache, with so lytell expense in lyeng att Londone, and also for your good and gentle wordes, kynde and lovyng offre and profre, nott havyng for the same pleasure or commodytie of me as yett, trustyng by some specyall gyfft of grace to acqwyte itt x. fold. And whereas I had a letter sendeme, that our monasteryeshold be gyven to Mr. Archard, your servant, and that itt was also in the commyssyon, I submytt myselfe fulle and holle to your mastershipp, as all my refuge, helpe, and socor is yn yow, glad of my voluntarye mynde to be bounde in obligacion of one hunderd powndes to be payed to your mastershipp, so that our house may be savyd, although itt be converted intoo thuse of a college, to have both lernynge and lernyd men go forwardes theryn. I was loth to attempt your mastershypp any ferther, seyng I had such gentle answeres, onlesse the greatt rumour of the towne and universite compulsed me, bycause of the forsaid gyfft to the said Mr. Archard, besechyng your mastershipps kynde letter agaynst the surveyoures comyng to dyscharge them, that itt may be as a sheld or buckler to defende me, that yow may gett yow a memoryall to be prayed for for ever. And thus almyghty Jhesus send your mastershipp longe lyfe and moche
honour. NicoLAs by the grace of God abbott of Royallyen.
Sir Thomas Audley, afterwards baron Audley of Walden, in Essex, lord chancellor of England, the writer of the following letter, was a zealous promoter of the dissolution of the monasteries, and obtained large grants of the estates which came to the crown by that great measure.
Barking, or Berking, in Essex, was one of the oldest nunneries in England, having
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been founded by Erkenwald bishop of London in 677. It was remarkable also for its riches. Dorothy Barley was the last abbess, and surrendered the house to the King on the 14th of November, 1539.
SIR. THOMAS AUDLEY TO CROMWELL,
[State Papers, Vol. I. p. 450.]
After my right herty commendations, these shalbe to advertyse you, that I have sent forth wryttes for prorogacion of the parlament, commy'ssions and proclamations for corne, and also proclamations for clothiers, accordyngly as ye heretofore advertysed me that it was the kynges plesure that I shuld so do. I have also made redy wryttes for adjournement of the terme til Halowmas, and also sent letters in your name and myne for certificate of the residewe of the bokes of the spiritual possessions yet beyng onretourned ; wherin the comyssioners, I promyse you, have been very necligent. I send to you a boke of the instructions for courne. I have usid my poor wytt in yt, trustyng it shalbe taken in good part. I am enformed that doctour Lee is substitute by you to visite al the religeous houses in the diocese of London. My sute at this tyme ys to you, that it may plese you to spare the visitation of the house of Barkyng, til your retourne into these partiez, that I and you may speke together, and ye shal comand me as moche to my power. If it like you that this abstynens may bee at my request, I then hertely desire you to direct your letters to doctour Lee for the same. In good fayth, my request ys, not for any defaut or suspect that I have in doctour Lee, for I here not but that he suith hymself right indifferently in the execution of his charge; but it is for other considerations that I wold be a sutour to you for the said house. And when ye and I have spoken togethir at your retourne, do as ye shal seeme best; trustyng for my sake, and at my contemplation, ye will use the more favour to the house. Praying you to remembir al my requestes in my last letters to you directyd, and eftsones desire you to make myn most humble recommendations to the kinges highnes and to the quenes grace. And thus fare ye as hertely well as I wold my self. Wryten the morow after Michaelmas day. Your assured to al his power, THOMAS AUDELY, k. chauncelour.
To his hertie loving frend, Mr. Secretary, be this yoven.
The following account of the capture of the abbot of Langdon's concubine is singularly ludicrous. Langdon, or West Langdon, in Kent, was a small abbey of Premonstratensians, founded and endowed by William de Auberville, in 1192. The name of the last abbot was William Sayer. The private posterns or “startyng hoilles” of the monasteries are frequently mentioned by the old satirists. One of the injunctions (MS. Cotton. Cleop. E. iv. fol. 21) seems to have been particularly aimed against such houses as that of Lanngdon. “Also, that ther be no enteryng into this monastery but one, and that by the great for-gate of the same, which diligently shalbe watchyd and kept by some porter specially appoynctyd for that purpose, and shalbe shute and openyd by the same bothe daye and nyght at convenyent and accustomyd howres, which porter shall repell all manner women from enteraunce into the said monastery.”
DR. LAYTON TO CROMWELL.
Pleasit your goodnes to understonde, that one Friday xxij". Octobris, I rode bake with spede to take an inventarie of Fowlstone,” and from thens I went to Langden. Wheras immediatly discendyng from my horse, I sent Bartlett, your servant, with alle my servantes, to circumcept the abbay, and surely to kepe alle
* At Folkestone in Kent, Eadbald king of Kent founded a nunnery, on the site of which Nigellus de Mandeville founded a priory in 1095. This house was surrendered on the 15th of November, 1535, as will be seen by a subsequent letter in the present volume.
bake dorres and startyng hoilles, etc. I my self went alone to the abbottes logeyng jonyng upon the feldes and wode, evyn lyke a cony clapper fulle of startyng hoilles, a goode space knokkyng at thabbottes dore, nec vow nec sensus apparuit, saveyng thabbottes litle doge that, within his dore faste lokked, bayede and barkede. I fownde a short polax standyng behynde the dore, and with yt I dasshede thabbottes dore in peisses, ictu oculi, and set one of my men to kepe that dore, and aboute howse I go with that polax in my hande, ne forte, for thabbot is a daingerouse desperate knave and a hardy. But for a conclusion, his hore, alias his gentle womman, bestyrrede hir stumpis towardes hir startyng hoilles, and ther Bartlett wachyng the pursuet towke the tendre damoisel, and affter I hade examynede hir, to Dover ther to the maire to sett hir in sum cage or prison for viij. dais, and I browgt holy father abbot to Canterbury, and here in Christeschurche I will leve hym in prison. In this soden doyng ea tempore to circumcept the howse and to serche, your servant John Antonie his men mervelede what felow I was, and so dyde the reste of thabbay, for I was unknowyn ther of al men. At last, I fownde hir apparel in thabbottes cofer. To tell yowe all this commodie, but for thabbot a tragedie, hit were to long. Now hit shalle appere to gentilmen of this contrey, and other the comons, that ye shall not deprive or visite but upon substanciall growndes. Surely I suppos Gode hym self put hit in my mynde thus sodenly to make a serche at the begynnyng, bycause no chanon apperede in my syghte; I supposede rather to have fownde a hore emongiste them then in thabbottes chambre. The reste off alle this knaverie I shall differ tyll my cumyng unto yow, wiche shalbe with as muche spede as I can possible, doyng my assurede deligence in the reste. This mornyng I ryde towardes the archebisshop to visite hym; now whan I have visite hys see, this nyght I wilbe at Feversham abbay.” This ys to advertise yowr maistershipe. Scribullede this Satterday, an writen with the hasty hand of your assurede servant,
* The abbey of Faversham in Kent was founded about 1147, and filled with Cluniac monks from Bermondsey.
RychARD LAYToN, Preste.
The following letter was written by the same William Barlow, who wrote the letter printed before at page 6. He appears to have been moved, at his desire, from the priory of Haverfordwest to that of Bisham, which he quitted on the 22nd of February 1535-6, for the Bishopric of Asaph, which in the following April (1536) he exchanged for that of St. David's. His predecessor in the latter see, against whom he here complains, was Richard Rawlins, appointed in 1523.
The priory of Haverfordwest was founded before the year 1200 by Robert de Haver
ford, the first Norman lord of this district. The ruins are still visible by the river side, near the town.
WILLIAM BAR LOW TO CROMWELL.
Pleasith your good maistershipe with compassion to advertise the complaynt and unfayned peticion of your humble oratour, disquietly vexede without cause or any pretenced occasion motioned of your saide oratours partie. Whereas the quene of here graciouse bounte advouched me unworthy the priorshipe of Haverfordwest under here graces foundacion, syns the tyme of my ther contynual residence, consideryng the hungry famyne of heryng the worde of God and desolate scarcete of true prechers, I have endeveryd my self with no smalle bodely daunger agenst Antichrist, and all his confederat adherentes, sincerely to preche the gospell of Christ, whose verite as hit is invincible so is hit incessantly assautyd of faythles false perverters; by reson wherof they whiche of dutie ought to fortifie me in mayntenyng the truthe maliciously have concevid a malivolent mynde causles to maligne agenst me, in suche wise that I was forced from theire tyranny to appele unto the kyng his honorable councelle, as playnly apperithe by the un