Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Mills belonging to the Bishops of Carlisle in the 14th Century

 

Mills belonging to the Bishops of Carlisle in the 14th Century

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

 

In medieval times the bishop of a diocese was not just the spiritual head of each diocese but was usually a substantial landowner with estates scattered around the diocese. Just as in each parish the rector used his tithe income and possibly some landed property to pay for the upkeep of the chancel area of a church (where the altar was) and the parishioners funded the nave, so each cathedral church received about half its funding from the bishop’s revenue; mainly his estates but also spiritual dues. In about 1328 the spiritual income of the bishop of Carlisle was at least about £28 19s as some revenue due to the bishop for churches in Northumberland was not included in the accounts.[1] Most medieval estates were called a manor if they had a manorial court to administrate local petty crimes and property transactions. In the 13th and 14th century when arable farming was one of the main forms of agriculture, most, but not all, manors had a manorial mill to grind the wheat and barley into powder for making bread and brewing beer. The tenants of each manor were obliged to grind their corn at the manorial mill but exemptions were sometimes granted to individual tenants.

The bishop of Carlisle, in the north-west corner of England, was owner of a number of estates in the diocese and a few estates outside the diocese such as at Melboure manor in Derbyshire and Horncastle manor in Lincolnshire. The estate income for 1328 amounted to £153 17s 3d but this sum did not include the revenue for Melbourne and Horncastle or that for Bewley and Shap in Westmoreland. The bishop didn’t have a mill on every estate but the mills he did have generated £76 23s 4d of income in a normal year which was a substantial part of the bishop’s overall income.[2]  



Carlisle Cathedral


Multure obligations

The tenants of the manor of Dalston Magna were obliged to multure at the manorial manor to the thirteenth measure.[3] Ten tenants at Cumdivock were to pay multure for the thirteenth part at Dalston mill.[4] The tenants at Caldcotes did not have a uniform obligation. Instead some four tenants were obliged to multure a thirteenth measure at Morton while five other tenants were at a twentieth measure with another sixteen tenants having no declared obligations.[5] At Cummersdale Parva two of the four tenants had multure obligations to the thirteenth part while nothing is said of the other two tenants.[6] Elsewhere in the country, as in the diocese of Carlisle estates, the multure obligation varied from a thirteenth part to a twenty-fourth part. This part was of the grain at the mill was retained by the miller as his income.[7]  

Dalston Magna mill

In 1328 the bishop held a mill at Dalston in Cumbria which in normal times was leased for £32 per annum, but owing to the Scottish war, the rent was reduced to £24 per year. In 1328 Dalston mill was let on lease for three years at 100s per annum with the schoolmaster of Dalston holding the farm.[8] The ordinary tenants of Dalston Magna were obliged to maintain a fourth part of the mill house and pond at Dalston mill along with providing a fourth part of the carriage of millstones and timber to the mill. Some of the customary tenants were also obliged to maintain the mill pond along with ploughing, reaping and carting corn.[9] At Little Dalston (Dalston Parva), Simon de Dalston held 16 bovates of land in return for work service. Among his works was an obligation to carry four cart loads of corn and maintain a fourth part of the mill house and pond along with keeping in repair its carts, stones and timber. The other tenants at Little Dalston held their land by money rent without any work obligations.[10]

At Cardew, John son of William held his land by money rent and work service which included carting 6 to 12 loads of corn, carrying millstones and maintaining an eight part of Dalston mill house and pond.[11] It is not clear if the millstones were acquired locally or from Wales or were among the better stones from France. Depending on the work load anew millstone may be required on a yearly basis.[12] At Cumdivock ten tenants held their land by money rent and work service. Among these services was carting one load of corn or two cart loads without a meal allowance which was redeemed for 18d; and to maintain an eight part of Dalston mill and mill pond with the carriage of millstones and timber as required.[13] 

Cummersdale mill

In normal times Cummersdale mill in Cumbria was leased for 10 marks of rent per year but in 1328, due to the Scottish war, the mill was leased in a three year contract for 100s per year. The local schoolmaster held the farm of Cummersdale mill.[14] The bishop’s mills after grinding the grain went on to make malt for beer and flour to make bread as well as animal feed.[15]

Linstock mill

The accounts for 1328 record a manorial mill at Linstock manor (Cumbria) which was leased for 27 marks (£18) per year. The same accounts also mention two other mills at Linstock which appear to have been unused or in disrepair such that they generated no income. John Collan appears to have been the miller at Linstock.[16]

High Crosby mill

In normal times the manorial mill at High Crosby (Cumbria) was leased for £20 per year. But in 1327 the mill was only rented for £12 13s 4d. In 1328 the rent had increased to 27 marks, or £18, payable in two parts at Midsummer and Michaelmas despite the scribe recording that the mill had suffered from war damage.[17] It is not recorded what type of grain was taken to the bishop’s mills but the more common crops were wheat, barley or rye.[18]

Millers

At Dalston Magna William Lenechild the miller rented a messuage with 1½ acres of land for 20d.[19] In 1328 Joan, the daughter of Robert de Blamir, rented 1½ acres at Dalston Magna from the bishop at 18½ d per year. This land was once held by Joan, daughter of Thomas the miller.[20] At Cummersdale Parva a person called Richard of the Mill held a place and a grange for 3s rent while at Caldecotes he held a half acre at 23d rent.[21] At Linstock manor John Collan the miller rented 12 acres for homage, service and a pound of cumin with suit at the manorial court every three weeks.[22] The millers of rural estates usually held farm land along with their job as a miller to supplement their income as well as give them a job in the seasonal work at some mills.[23]

Fulling mill

In 1328 the bishop of Carlisle had a fulling mill on the River Caldew in Cummersdale Parva. The Caldew mill was rented by Adam Daliwager for 10s per annum. Nothing further is known about Adam Daliwager and his surname does not appear elsewhere in the bishop’s accounts.

Other mills

In addition to the mills owned by the bishop of Carlisle, the bishop also received money by association with mills owned by other people. In Cardew the bishop got 2s from the mill belonging to the lord of Thursby for use of the water course carrying water through the bishop’s land to Thursby mill in Cumbria.[24]

Conclusion

The mills belonging to the bishop of Carlisle were an important part of the income of the bishop. The mills were as important for the local community to help prepare the ingredients for food and drink. These benefits came at a cost and work load with the water courses bringing water to the mill needed maintenance. The mills also needed maintenance work on the millstones, mill wheels and the machinery. Although the tenants were under obligation to use their local mill, in an age of slow transport, even some people carrying their corn to the mill, the local mill was possibly the preferred location. the mills and the estates of the bishop were to help build and maintain the cathedral at Carlisle and even located in the border war area between England and Scotland, the cathedral stands today even if few remains exist of the mills which helped make it possible.  

 

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[1] Storey, R.L. (ed.), The Register of John Kirkby, Bishop of Carlisle, 1332-1352 and the Register of John Ross, Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-32, Volume II (Canterbury & York Society, 1995), pp. 1, 3

[2] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, pp. 18, 19, 20

[3] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 3

[4] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 12

[5] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 16

[6] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, pp. 17, 18

[7] Hunt, T.J. (ed.), The medieval customs of the manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone (Somerset Record Society, Vol. LXVI, 1962), p. xlvi

[8] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 18

[9] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, pp. 3, 4, 5

[10] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 5

[11] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, pp. 8, 9

[12] Hunt (ed.), The medieval customs of the manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone, p. xlix

[13] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 12

[14] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 18

[15] Hunt (ed.), The medieval customs of the manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone, p. xlvii

[16] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 19

[17] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 20

[18] Hunt (ed.), The medieval customs of the manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone, p. xlvii

[19] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 3

[20] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 4. Robert de Blamir held elsewhere at Dalston 2 acres of land and at another place a messuage with 2 bovates of land with another 2 acres of land attached to Dalston church along with land at Cardew, Hawksdale and Cumdivock = Ibid, 843, pp. 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18

[21] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, pp. 16, 18

[22] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 19

[23] Hunt (ed.), The medieval customs of the manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone, p. xlviii

[24] Storey (ed.), The Register of Bishop of Carlisle, 1325-52, Volume II, no. 843, p. 10

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Master John de Skyren: Official in the Diocese of Carlisle, 1324-5

 

Master John de Skyren: Official in the Diocese of Carlisle, 1324-5

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

In the medieval church you had the bishop with his cathedral dignitaries such as the dean, chancellor, treasurer and precentor. Attached to the cathedral but also out in the diocese was the archdeacon with a sub archdeacon in each rural deanery. The rural deanery was a division of the diocese where a group of parishes managed the church affairs in their area under the rural deanery archdeacon. At parish level you had the rector, vicar (assistant to a usually absent rector) and a curate or a combination of these as each parish was administrated differently depending if it was owned by an abbey, or had a small or big population. Behind all these people was the backroom staff who kept the show on the road such as the vicars choral in the cathedral; the seneschal managing the church estates; and the official who managed the church court system, granted probate and administrated of wills and oversaw the marriage laws. The bishop had his own official and the dean and chapter had their official while each archdeacon had their own official to administrate the law in each rural deanery. Most officials had a master’s degree from some university so as to know something about the law. During a vacancy in a diocese the provincial archbishop would sometimes appoint an official to oversee the diocese before a new bishop was elected.

Introduction

From November 1324 to February 1325 Master John de Skyren acted as the chief official in the diocese of Carlisle during a vacancy in the diocese caused by the death of John de Halton. His master’s degree from an unknown university (apparently not Oxford) would have qualified him to oversee the administration of the diocese and preside over its legal court system.[1] Master John de Skyren possibly came from the village and civil parish of Skerne in the East Riding of Yorkshire about one mile south of the River Hull.

Early years in York diocese

We don’t know much about his early life but that he went to some university and got a master’s degree with which he entered the service of the Church. In March 1316 Master John de Skyren was a clerk in the diocese of York. In that month he was given a commission by Archbishop Greenfield to examine with the dean’s official and the dean’s commissary-general, the transfer of the rectory of Baddesworth from Sir Robert Passelewe to Walter de Whiteby, clerk.[2] On 16th July 1316 Master John de Skyren, while still a sub-deacon, was presented to the church of Marton-in-Craven by the prior of Boulton-in-Craven.[3] On 19th September 1316 Master John de Skyren received letters dimissory to hold Marton even though he was still a sub-deacon.[4] On 30th May 1317 Master John de Skyren, along with Sir John de Hemmyngburg, rector of St. Wilfrid’s, were given a commission to visit Arthington nunnery and report to the archbishop on its affairs.[5] Arthington nunnery was one of only two nunneries of the Cluniac order in England. In 1307 Archbishop Greenfield had visited the nunnery where he found two nuns had left without permission and two other nuns, one of whom was a former prioress, were claiming goods of the nunnery as their personal property. In 1311 the prioress left the nunnery without leave after an argument with another nun over who was the boss. In 1315 Archbishop Greenfield visited the nunnery and issued a number of instructions about keeping proper accounts; restrictions on visits by lay sisters and secular persons; and nuns could only visit their families for a maximum of fifteen days before they had to return to the nunnery. Archbishop Greenfield sent a copy of his instructions to the nunnery over the succeeding years. Master John de Skyren and Sir John de Hemmyngburg were therefore sent to see if the instructions were followed which they seem to be as no further complaints were recorded. At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, in the late 1530s, the nine nuns present wished to continue their religious life.

Official of Richmond archdeaconry

On 6th June 1317 Master John de Skyren, rector of Marton, was appointed official of the archdeacon of Richmond by Archbishop Greenfield. The archdeacon, Sir Francis Gaytani, was recently deceased and the commission to his official, Master Michael de Harcla, therefore terminated with his death. On 8th June 1317 Master Michael de Harcla was ask to hand over his rolls and accounts to the messenger of the dean and chapter. On 24th September 1317 a new archdeacon, Sir Roger de Northburgh, was sworn into office.[6]    

Rector of Marton-in-Craven

In 1319 Master John de Skyren was rector of Marton-in-Craven and commissary-general of the archbishop’s court of York.[7] Hugh de Hertford was rector there in 1305. In late November 1319 Archbishop Melton of York issued a mandate to the bishops of Durham and Carlisle along with the dean and official of York to convene a meeting of all their clergy in York Minster on 20th January 1319/20 to prepare a grant in aid for the king to repel the Scottish invaders. Many abbots and priors did not attend this meeting and on 24th February 1319/20 Master John de Skyren was asked to compile a list of non-attendees in his area.[8]

Official of Carlisle

In late 1324 Master John de Skyren was given a temporary commission by Master Robert de Rypplingham, vicar-general of York, during the absence of Archbishop Melton from the diocese. The nature of this commission is unknown. On 19th November 1324 Master John de Skyren was still rector of Marton-in-Craven when he was appointed official of Carlisle following the death of John de Halton, bishop of Carlisle from 1292 to 1324. As part of his appointment, all acts made by Master John de Skyren during his temporary commission were ratified by Archbishop Melton.[9] On the same 19th November, Master John de Skyren received a mandate from Archbishop Melton to sequester all the movable goods of the late Bishop Halton of Carlisle from the time of his death with the exception of the goods claimed by the king, Edward II.[10] As official of Carlisle, Master John de Skyren not only managed the estate of the late bishop and oversaw the workings of the diocese but would also have presided over the Carlisle diocesan court system.   

On 31st December 1324 Master John de Skyren was given a commission to conduct a visitation of the diocese of Carlisle and report on his findings to Archbishop Melton.[11] On the same day Master John de Skyren received a separate commission to conduct a ‘careful and confidential’ enquiry into the oblations, tithes, monetary dues and other payments that were formerly paid to the mensa of the bishops of Carlisle from the churches of Askham, Barton and Dalston. Master John de Skyren was assisted by Alan de Frisington with this separate commission.[12] Alan de Frisington was a canon of Carlisle cathedral and in November 1324 was appointed by Archbishop Melton to report on any cases of heresy, simony, perjury, manslaughter or other irregularities among the clergy of Carlisle diocese.[13]



Carlisle cathedral: photographer unknown 


On 26th January 1325 Master John de Skyren, acting as the official of Carlisle, was to announce the election of Sir William de Ayremynne, canon of York, as bishop of Carlisle. Master John de Skyren was to discover any persons knowing of any impediment to the election and to report the same to Archbishop Melton.[14] It appears that Master John de Skyren discovered no impediment. Over the succeeding sixteen days the election of William de Ayremynne as bishop was confirmed by the sub-prior and canons of Carlisle, with the archbishop’s letter of confirmation and Ayremynne’s oath of obedience followed by a letter to the king announcing that all was in proper order.[15] On 11th February 1325 the commission to Master John de Skyren to hold the office of official of Carlisle, while the diocese was vacant, was revoked on the confirmation of William de Ayremynne as the new bishop of Carlisle.[16]

On 10th April 1325 Master John de Skyren was commissioned as the late official of Carlisle to collect all debts and legacies that were due to Archbishop Melton and in particular a silver or golden cup bequeathed by the late bishop of Carlisle, John de Halton, to Archbishop Melton.[17] In April 1325 it was reported that William de Feriby paid thirteen marks from the spiritualities of the diocese of Carlisle to the treasury of York on behalf of Master John de Skyren during his time as official of Carlisle. Of this amount Master John was paid five marks for his tenure as the official.[18] William de Feriby was parson of Bootle church in Cumbria since November 1319 and before December 1322 a clerk in the household of Archbishop Melton of York.[19]

Master John de Skyren was not fully finished with the diocese of Carlisle after his term as official there ended in February 1325 as on 10th April 1425 he was commissioned to act upon issues arising from his visitation of the diocese when his was the official.[20] Four days later William de Ayremynne resigned as bishop of Carlisle on hearing that the pope had appointed John de Ross as the new bishop to succeed the late John de Halton.[21] John de Ross gave his oath of obedience to Archbishop Melton in August 1326 and appointed Master Robert de Southeayke as his episcopal official.[22]

Joint Official of Norwich

Most of the time history is just a collection of dry facts giving little insight into the personalities behind the stories. As in our own time where things happen or don’t happen because we know somebody, or think we know someone, so it was in the past. It would appear that Master John de Skyren impressed William de Ayremynne with his management of the diocese of Carlisle because shortly after resigning Carlisle, William de Ayremynne was made bishop of Norwich and took John de Skyren with him there. Officials often passed from one diocese to another as their legal training was much in demand. A contemporary of John de Skyren called Thomas de Nassington was official of the archdeacon of Nottingham in 1311 and official of Exeter in 1329 before becoming in 1345 a commissary in the court of the archbishop of York.[23] Another contemporary, William de Nassington was official of Durham in 1345 and official of Salisbury in 1355.[24] On 13th October 1326 John de Skyren was rector of Rollesby, when he was appointed joint official and vicars-general of the diocese of Norwich with Sir Adam de Ayremynne, brother of William de Ayremynne, the newly appointed bishop of Norwich.[25] Elsewhere it is said that John de Skyren only became rector of Rollesby in Norfolk in 1327 by the appointment of Bishop William and continued as rector until 1337 when replaced by Gilbert de Welleton.[26]

Conclusion

After 1327 the records go silent on Master John de Skyren. Did he died in 1337 to be replaced by Gilbert de Welleton or retired about that time and lived out his retirement for some unknown number of years is not recorded. Instead this article recovers some of the life of Master John de Skyren who acted as an official in the diocese of York and was appointed by the archbishop of York to act as official in the diocese of Carlisle during a vacancy. Master John appears to have done a good job at Carlisle that impressed the brief bishop of Carlisle, William de Ayremynne; that resulted in John moving to the diocese of Norwich to act as an official there. His position as rector in York and Norwich was possibly as a source of income rather than performing the spiritual duties to the parishioners there. As an official Master John de Skyren was one of those backroom people who kept the administration of the church and its laws going within the church and society. In the modern world the church court system has being taken over by the civil court system and the administration duties within the church has come to the desk of other people. Thus Master John de Skyren was a person of his time whose life can give us a window into his age. 

 

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For more on William de Ayremynne see = http://celtic2realms-medievalnews.blogspot.com/2014/08/william-airmyn-government-official-and_16.html


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[1] Emden, A.B., A biographical register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 (3 vols. Oxford, 1957, reprint 1989), p. 1711

[2] Brown, Wm., & Thompson, A.H. (eds.), The Register of William Greenfield, Lord Archbishop of York, 1306-1316, Part V (Surtees Society, Vol. 153, 1938), p. 245, no. 2791

[3] Brown & Thompson (eds.), The Register of William Greenfield, Lord Archbishop of York, 1306-1316, Part V, p. 249, no. 2801. Master Hugh de Hereford was rector of Marton in 1307 = Ibid, p. 179, no. 2655

[4] Brown & Thompson (eds.), The Register of William Greenfield, Lord Archbishop of York, 1306-1316, Part V, p. 249, note 1

[5] Brown & Thompson (eds.), The Register of William Greenfield, Lord Archbishop of York, 1306-1316, Part V, p. 256, no. 2820

[6] Brown & Thompson (eds.), The Register of William Greenfield, Lord Archbishop of York, 1306-1316, Part V, p. 279, no. 2888

[7] Hill, R. (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1 (Canterbury & York Society, vol. LXX, 1977), no. 204

[8] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, nos. 201, 204

[9] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 249

[10] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 250

[11] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 253

[12] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 254

[13] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, nos. 251, 254

[14] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 255

[15] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 257

[16] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 258

[17] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 263

[18] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 262

[19] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, nos. 24, 67

[20] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 265

[21] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, no. 264

[22] Hill (ed.), The Register of William Melton, Archbishop of York, 1317-1340, volume 1, nos. 270, 272

[23] Emden, A.B., A biographical register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, p. 1339

[24] Emden, A.B., A biographical register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, p. 1339

[25] Miller, W., An Essays Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part 1 (London, 1806), p. 503

[26] Miller, W., An Essays Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11 (London, 1810), p. 187