of Gloucester in the early fourteenth century
This article follows the
Keynsham family in fourteenth century Gloucester and their relationships with
the Hospital of St. Bartholomew in the city. The Hospital of St. Bartholomew
was founded in the time of Henry II in an unconventional manner. A chaplain
named Nicholas Walred had begun to build the west bridge over the Severn River
and employed many workmen. William Myparty,
burgess of Gloucester
joined the project and had a house built beside the site which he had of the
king. Soon the chaplain, burgess and workmen were joined around the house by numerous
sick men and women. In no time a hospital came into being with the twin purpose
of maintaining the bridge and caring for the sick. A chantry chapel was granted
in 1232 by the abbot of Gloucester
recommendation of William Blois, bishop of Worcester
. In 1229 Henry III granted the church of St. Nicholas
to the brethren and sisters
of the Hospital for the support of the poor. This grant gave the hospital a
royal foundation and soon after it got the right to elect a prior.
The Hospital of St. Bartholomew
held a number of plots of land outside the East Gate of Gloucester.
February 10, 1302 John, the prior of the Hospital
of St. Bartholomew confirmed to Richard of Keynsham and Mabel his wife and
their children, an area of land in the suburb of Gloucester outside the East Gate.
This land lay between that held by Alexander the Duck and Richard Buckepotte.
The deed was witnessed by the two town bailiffs; Robert the Spicer and Roger
the Heiberer as was customary. The other witnesses were Richard of Hunteleye,
Peter of the Hill, Robert Bernard, William Payn, Robert Pope, Alexander of
Penedock and William Chose.
This piece of land had
formerly been demised in perpetuity by the Hospital of St. Bartholomew
1245. On that occasion the recipient was Fiell the Glover. The 1245 deed
mentions the land as between that held by Alexander the Duck and Richard
these names reappear in the 1302 deed. This reoccurrence is not to be taken
that both men were still alive after more than fifty years. It was often the
case in medieval times were the descriptive name upon a property continued in
use long after the original person who gave the place its name had died. Such
would appear to be the case in this incidence.
The use of the word ‘land’ to
describe the property in 1245 would suggest that it was undeveloped
countryside. In a deed of 1260 a different piece of property outside the East Gate
was described as ‘vacant ground’. This would suggest that the land outside the
East Gate was open countryside. By 1285 urban development had occurred of a
significant nature. The grant from William the Fremon to John Lucas was for two
shops situated between two tenements.
It is not known when Richard
left Keynsham in Somerset
. Did he leave of his own accord or
did he have relations all ready living in Gloucester. An inquisition was taken
in 1302 as to whether it would
damage the king’s revenue if the Hospital
. Bartholomew were to build a
water mill upon their land beside the river Severn. One of the jurors for this
inquisition was Alexander de Keynsham.
do not know if Alexander was a relation. Just because both were connected with
the Hospital of St. Bartholomew
is too thin a thread to
make a strong rope connection.
The town of Keynsham is about
five miles south-east of Bristol and about forty miles south-west of Gloucester.
The place was inhabited since early times and has a few Roman remains. In 1170
the Earl of Gloucester founded an Augustinian abbey at Keynsham in memory of
his recently deceased son. The abbey became an influential and prosperous
institution. The communication links between the religious houses of the
Bristol and Gloucester area may have assisted Richard of Keynsham in his
migration to Gloucester.
Richard of Keynsham was a
carpenter by trade and possibly served his apprenticeship in Gloucester
The growth of the town as noted earlier would have provided work. There was a
lot of work for a carpenter in medieval times. Many houses were timber-framed
and all had timber beams for the roof. The quantity of furniture in these houses
was not great but everything was made of timber. Outside the house were timber
carts and parts of harness for the draft horses.
The fabric accounts of Exeter
Cathedral, which was rebuilt in the years 1279 to 1353, show one of the
carpenters, Adam de Chuddeleghe, earning about 2s 1d (2 shillings 1 penny) per
is possible that Richard of Keynsham earned about the same amount, from time to
time. From his income Richard of Keynsham built a tenement on part of the land
outside the East Gate as by 1336 it is described as a tenement.
of Keynesham died before March 1326 and this is confirmed by his absence from
subsidy roll of 1327.
Sometime before March 1326
Mabel, widow of Richard of Keynsham, and her daughter Edith, made a lease of a
parcel of curtilage outside the East Gate to Robert Alleyn, a baker in Gloucester
. The lease was
for an unspecified number of years. On March 25, 1326 Robert Alleyn made a
sub-lease of the parcel for ten years to Roger Heued, burgess of Gloucester
. This sub-lease
was witnessed by John of Cheddewrth and William the Spicer, bailiffs; along
with Peter of the Hill, John of Boyfield, John of the Hill and Adam of Gamag.
At some, as yet unknown, date
before 1336 the Abbey of St. Peter acquired the two tenements on both sides of
the Keynsham tenement.
were the tenements formerly occupied by Alexander Duck and Richard Buckepotte.
It is possible that all three tenements were once the combined property of the Hospital of St. Bartholomew
From about 1300 onwards the Hospital suffered greatly due to poverty and
maladministration. This was especially so under the rule of Nicholas de
Hardwick and Walter Gibbes (1329-1385). A royal commission in 1344 found the
place to be greatly decayed.
On February 5, 1336 Mabel of
Keynsham dismissed in perpetuity to John Chaunflour, skinner of Bristol and
Edith his wife, a tenement outside the East Gate of Gloucester, between the
tenements of the Abbot of St. Peter on each side. The deed was witnessed by the
two town bailiffs, Richard Shot and William Bryun along with Robert of
Stapleton and John of the Hill. This John Hill appears to have been a friend of
the Keynsham family as he appears in a number of their deeds. Three other
witnesses were trades people in Gloucester
Stephen the Carpenter, Henry the Draper and Walter the Carpenter.
It would appear that the
aforementioned Edith was a daughter of Mabel of Keynsham. The tenement outside
the East Gate is mentioned specifically in the will of Edith of Keynsham and
the family of Chaunflour is connected with both women. We see this fully in the
probate of Edith’s will made on November 28, 1348. The probate of the will was proved
on December 23, 1348.
In her will Edith made a
number of bequests to religious shrines and houses. There was 12d (12 pence) to
the high altar of the church of St. Michael, Gloucester
and 6d to the parish chaplain of
same. The chaplain of St. Mary got 4d and his clerk got 3d while the poor of
of St. Bartholomew got 5s
(5 shillings). This hospital gave the Keynsham family a property foothold in
area as noted above.
To the local religious shrines
Edith of Keynsham gave a silken veil and 1d of wax to the image of St. Mary at
the four cross roads. Two images in the church of St. Michael
got a wax candle each, namely that of St. Katherine and St. James. In
additional to these, three trentals were given to the Friars Preachers, Friars
Minor and Friars Carmelite to celebrate masses for her soul.
Map of medieval Gloucester showing the chief places mentioned in the article
Edith of Keynsham gave to her
daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Adam Chaunflour, the tenement she held
outside the east gate between the tenements of the Abbot of Gloucester. The
residue of Edith’s property was to be distributed by her executors, her
daughter Elizabeth and John Carpenter, for the good of her soul.
The tenement outside the East
Gate was possibly dower land held by Edith after the death of her husband, John
Chaunflour. It is possible that the Keynsham family lived elsewhere in Gloucester
After 1348 we lose track of
Adam Chaunflour and the Keynsham family. The absence of records makes it
unclear if John Chaunflour and Adam Chaunflour were relations to each other
before they both married into the Keynsham family. We noted earlier that John
Chaunflour came from Bristol. In the time of Edward I a person called N.
Champflour held a toft in Gloucester near the Bare Land and Walker’s Lane.
records provide no clear evidence that the latter person was related to Adam
Chaunflour. Yet it is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
What the records do show is
three generations of one family in fourteenth century Gloucester. Unlike the
previous article dealing with Adam Pode [http://celtic2realms-medievalnews.blogspot.ie/2013/05/a-life-of-adam-pode-in-fourteenth.html]
where we had no occupation or place of residence for the chief character the
examination of the Keynsham family, who lived in the opposite end of town,
provided those personal details. Between both articles we get a picture of
fourteenth century Gloucester. We also see the town attracting people from a
wide area of the West Country, and even getting people to move from the big
city of Bristol to its smaller neighbour. The two articles show the activities
of the Gloucester religious houses within the town. In 1455 about 55% of town
properties were held by the various religious houses.
Further research and
publications will add to our knowledge pool and give a better understanding of
the history of Gloucester in medieval times.