Plantagenet, Richard, The Statutes Ordained by Richard Duke of Gloucester, for the College of Middleham

“The Statutes Ordained by Richard duke of Gloucester for the College of Middleham, dated July 4, 18 Edw. IV. [1478].”

James Raine [the younger], Editor

Archaelogical Journal 14 (1857): 160-70

We are indebted to Prof. Compton Reeves (Ohio University, Athens, OH), who located a copy of the Statutes which could be included in the Society’s compendium of online, original source materials.
In addition to the footnote below, explaining certain idiocynracies in the text, a note on this transcription must also be made. It has been reproduced as authentically as possible from the 1857 edition, except for the use of superscript letters. These have been replaced by italics, e.g, yt, wtoute, &c.

Original Documents

RICHARD, DUC OF GLOUCESTRE, grete Chamberleyn, Constable and Admiral of Englond, Lord of Glomorgan, Morgannok, Bergevenny, Richemond and Middelham, to all Christen people to whome thes presents shall come, greting in our Lord everlasting. — KNOW ye yt where it haith pleasid Almighty God, Creatour and Redemer of all mankynd, of His most bounteuouse and manyfold graces to enhabile, enhaunce and exalte me His most simple creature, nakidly borne into yis wretched world, destitute of possessions, goods and enheretaments, to the grete astate, honor and dignite yat He haith called me now unto, to be named, knowed, reputed and called Richard Duc of Gloucestre, and of His infynyte goodnesse not oonly to endewe me with grete possessions and of giftys of His divyne grace, bot also to preserve, kep and deliver me of many grete jeoperd’, parells and hurts, for the which and other the manyfold benyfits of His bounteuouse grace and goodnes to me, without any my desert or cause in sundry behalves shewed and geven, I, daily and ourly according to my deuty remembring the premisses, and in recognicion yt all such goodness cometh of Hyme, am finally determyned, into ye lovying and thankyng of His Deite, and in ye honour of His Blissed moder our Lady Seint Marie, socour and refuge of all synners repentant, and in the honor of the holy virgyn Saint Alkyld, –of part of such goods as He haith sent me, to stablisshe, make and founde a Collage within my Town of Middelham at the parrishe church yr, in the which shall be a deane, sex prests, foure clerks, sex queresters, and a clerk sacristan, to do divyne service yr daily, to pray for ye good astates of ye King our Soverayn Lord and ye Quene, and for ye gude astates of my lady and moder Duchesse of York, and of me, my wiff, my son of Salesbury, and such oy’ issue as shal pleas God to send me, whiles I liffe; and for the soules of my said soverayn lord ye King, ye Quene, and of me, my wiff, and myn issue after our decesses, and specially for ye soules of my Lord and fader Richard Duc of York, of my bretheren and susters, and oyer my progenitours and successors, and all Christen soules, in part of satisfaccion of suche things as at ye dredfull day of dome I shal answere for. The same my Collage to be called and named for ever ye Collage of Richard Duc of Gloucestre, of Middelham, and to be ordained, stablisshed, and made followingly, –Cum metuendissimus dominus noster et Christianissimus princeps Edwardus, Dei gratia Rex Angliæ et Franciæ, et dominus Hiberniæ [Ireland], vicesimo primo die Februarii, anno regni sui decimo septimo, per literas suas patentes de gracia sua speciali concesserit, et licentiam dederit pro se et heredibus suis, quantum in ipso fuit, michi prefate duci, qoud ego, heredes, vel executores mei, in honore Domini nostri Jhesu Christi et Beatissimæ Virginis Mariæ, et Sanctæ Alkildæ, quoddam collegium apud Middelham de decano et sex capellanis et quatuor clericis, &c.

[The document, of which the above is the beginning, then proceeds to recite the licence of Edward IV., and after making William Beverley, first dean; Laurence Squier, William Symson, Richard Cutler, William Buntyng, Hugh Leverhede and John Bell, the first chaplains; Thomas Patrik, Alexander Bank, William Brown, and Richard Walker, the first clerks; John Part, Thomas Sexten, William Sturton, William Griffith, Henry Farefax, and John Essam, the first choristers; and William Nanson, the first clerk; and giving to them half an acre of land, and one messuage in Middleham “pro mansione eorundem, quæ quidem dimidia acra jacet infra unum clausum voc. Burton close, ex parte boriali cimiterii ecclesiæ, –et unam acram terræ in Middleham jac. inter aquam de Quenhill. . . . ex parte boreali, et semitam quæ ducit de Middelham usque Wendeslawe, ex parte australi, cum advocatione ecclesiæ de Middleham.” — proceeds as follows.]

I the said Duc statute, make, and ordeyne by thauctoritie forsaid, that hereafter no maner persone by me or myne heirez, have or shal have graunt to be deane of my said Collage y’unto admitted affore he be prest, nor any of ye saide sex prests be admitted as chapleyn or chapleyns of my said Collage afore that he or they have taken thordure of presthode, and yat ye said deane and prests be always named by me and myn heires for ever, and have y’ letters of our collacion, and the deane to be admitted by the said sex prests, the eldest of yeme to yeve hyme his othe at high altare to be true deane and master y’, and observe and kep all ordinaunces and statutez and laudable custumes, and ye right and libertees y’of defend at his power, and y’after to say De profundis affore ye high altare, wt this collect Deus cui proprium, –following the antetem fundatoris mei, etc., and y’opon bring hyme to his stall and put hyme in possession of the same; and the said prets by ye deane to be admitted after the forme and othe among oy’s hereafter folowing.

ALSO, yat the saide Sir William Beverley, dean, and his successours, have ye principall place and stall of the right side of the high quere of my said Collage, which stall I wilbe called oure Lady stall; and Sir Laurence Squier forsaide, the first prest yt shalbe admitted therto, occupie the principall place and stall on the left side of the saide quere, and yat stall to be called Saint George stall; and the said Sir William Symson, secund prest, in the next stall to the deane on ye said right side, and yt stall to be named Seynt Kateryn stall; and the foresaide Sir Richard Cutler, therd prest, the secund stall on the saide left side, that stall to be called Saint Ninian stall; and Sir William Buntyng to for rehersid, the fourt prest, the thirde stall on the ye said right side, the same to be called Seint Cuthbert stall; and Sir Hugh Leverhede above writen, ye fift prest, the third stall on the said left side, the saide stall to be called Seint Antony stall; and Sir John Bell above writyn, the sext prest, the fourt stall on the saide right side, and yat to be called Seint Barbara stall; and two of the saide clerks on the saide right side, and ye oy’ two clerks and the clerk sacristane beneth yeme on the left side, at the assignacion of ye saide dean; and the sex queresters yere places accordingly as ye saide dean shal assigne yeme; and, whensoever any of the said prests decesse or resigne his stall, he yat in his rowme by me and myne heires therafter shalbe presented to be alweys admytte by the deane to ye stall of hyme beying voide, which I will, statute and ordeyne to be perpetuall, and in likewisse the clerks to be admitted by hyme to such place as he woll assigne theireunto.

ALSO, that no deane of my saide College, yat for ye tyme shalbe after the saide Sir William Beverley now deane of ye same, in any wise be by me and myne heirez named, or by our collacion constituted and ordenyd to be deane y’, enlesse he be one of the said sex prests, if eny of theme in litteral connynge, gude disposicion, and in worldely pollicie may be fondon able; and in defect of such emong theme I wol yt oon of the foure prests of my foundacion in the Quene College of Cambrige, abil in connyng, disposicion, and pollicie, as is affore rehersid, be, and for lak of such, yt a graduate, at the lest Master of Arte or Bachelor of Law, of the Universite of Cambrige forsaide, be named, constituted, and ordened to be deane of the same; and also yat none of the saide sex prests an fowre clerks so to be named prests or clerks y’ by our collacion, as is afforsaide, in eny wisse be by the saide deane and prests admitted, affore yt they by yeme be foundon sufficiently lierned, not onely in understanding and litterature, bot also in singing playne song, priked song, faburden, and descant of two mynymes at the lest, or yat one of the saide foure clerks be a player upon the organes, and daily to play as oft as it shalbe requisite and appoynted; and in case yt by the deane and prests y’ for the tyme beyng any prest or clerk, so by me and myne heires named and to yeme presented, be founde insufficient in lernyng, as is aforsaide, that yen I will, yt upon that certificate of the same, yat I and my heires within twenty days then next folowing to name and present unto yeme an oy’ able persone, plenarly instruct in the said sciences, and elles I woll y’ it shalbe lefull to the saide deane and prests after the saide twenty dayes to admytte to be prest or clerk yt, in the place and rowme beyng vacant, such one as they will answer fore and undertake unto me and myne heires, withoute coloure, fraude, or male engyne, to be in those behalves sufficient; which ther admission I will shalbe by me and my heires ratified and confermed, for the suretye of hyme so by theme admitted.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yt the dean for the tyme being of ye said Collage shal perceyve yerely for his exhibicion all the provents, frutes, oblacions, and deuetees as appertenyd to the church of Middelham, in eny wise, before it was Collegiate, wt other things by me to be gevene to hyme, as herafter shalbe expressed; and yt eny of the saide sex prestes for the tyme being shal yerely perceyve by the hands of the deane of my saide College, for ye tyme beyng, of the revenues of such landes, cherches, and possessions as I have geven, amortised, and now graunted to my seid Collage, and herafter shal geve, amorteise, and graunt y’unto, for ther exhibicion,; and every of the saide foure clerks of the saide revenues x. marks; and the clerk sacristane yerely of the same x. marks; and the saide foure clerks and the clerk sacristane alweys to be named and presented by me and myne heires, and admitted frome tyme to tyme by the deane of my saide Collage, for the tyme being; and yat the sex querestors be always chosen, elect and admitted by the saide dean and more part of ye said prests, and by theme to be examyned of their abilitie in singing and brest, and that they by ye said deane shalbe founden of all maner necessaries theme belonging, as of mete, drinke, clothing, and other, for ye which the saide deane shall perceyve of the revenues afforsaide yerely

ALSO, yt one of the said foure clerks yt shalbe electe by me and myne heires, in forme afforsaide admitted, be a man sufficiently lerned in practise of singing, aswel as in playne song, priked song, faburdon, countr’, descant of all mesures used in any Cathedrall church or Collage, the same to teche the said sex queresters his connyng, and he to be named the maister and techer of yeme, for the which teching, labor, besynesse and attendance abowte the same, I wol that he have of ye said revenues by ye hands of the said deane, for tyme being, over the said ten marks of his wages of oon of clerks, yerely five marks; and if he be licenced for any reasonable cause, according to my statutes under writyn, to be absent for a season, that yan he to find a sufficient persone plenarly instructe in ye said connyng duryng his said absence, to lerne, tech and instructe the saide queresters; and yat none of yeme longer abide as queresters yan ther brests serve theme to sing in childes voce, over ye space of half a yere at most.

ALSO, I do statute, make, and ordeyne that eny deane, yat for the tyme herafter shalbe of my said Collage, shalbe resident and continually abiding upon the same, and kep continuall houshold y’, and yt the said sex prests shal bord theme with hyme, and pay everich of yeme wekely for y’ boord sextene pennez; and also the said foure clerks and ye clerk sacristane in like wise, and everich of theme to pay wekely twolf pennes, during the tyme yat yei be not maried; and if eny of theme happen to be maried and dwel within my towne y’, then he to be at his libertee and chose in yat behalve, and ellys alweys y’ at bourd paying wekely as is afforsaid. And yt nouther the deane of my saide Collage, for the tyme beyng, nor the saide prests and clerks, in eny wise be absent frome my said College, over the spaces under written, that is to say, the deane over twenty and foure dayes in the yere, and everich of ye said sex prests sexteyn dayes in ye yere, and everich of ye said clerks over fiveteyn dayes in ye yere; so alweys yat ye said deane, prests, and clerks, for the tyme being, in eny wise be not absent frome yens high principall fests, nor the saide deane to be absent frome thens, or any oy’ season at one tyme over the space of the saide twenty and foure daies, enlesse it be for the defense and well of my said Collage, or sekenes or dissese, and yat notorily so knawne by the saide prests, withoute speciall licence of me and myne heyres, wtthassent of the saide prests; nor in like wise any of the saide prests be absent frome yens any oy’ season, at one tyme, over the space of sextene daies, nor eny of ye saide clerks over the space of fiveteyne daies, at one tyme, wtoute speciall licence of me and myn heires, wt thassent of the deane y’of, for tyme beyng; and over yis I wol yt my saide heires have auctoritee to graunt att y’ pleasur to the said deane, for the tyme beyng, with th’assent of the said prests, twenty daies in the yere; and to every of the said prests and clerks for the tyme beyng, wt thassent of the deane, twolf daies in ye yere; so alweys yt the said deane be not absent high principall fests and oy’ seasons over the space of twenty and foure daies above saide at one tyme, enlesse it be for the defence and weele of my saide Collage, or sekenes, or disease, and so notorily by ye saide prests knowen, wtout speciall licence of me and myne heires wt thassent of the said prests; nor any of the said prests and clerks in like wise to be absent frome thens high principall fests or oy’ seasons over the space of sexteyne dayes one tyme, withoute like licence of me or myne heirez, with thassent of ye said deane, or yat sekenesse or disease cause it: which yen I wil yat he or yey so beyng seke or diseasid be holde excused for the tyme of his or ther said sekenesse or disease: provided alwey yat over two personnes of the saide deane, prests or clerks I woll in noo wise shalbe absent frome yens at one tyme, nor none oder licensed to be absent unto their comyng home; and yat the saide prests geve licence to the deane at such tyme as he woll depart and have his daies, as is afforesaide, and yet in like wisse the the deane geve licence to ye saide prests and clerks at such tyme as eny of theme woll depart and have y’ daies; and over this yat none of ye said prests or clerks bring any straunger to dyne or soupe wtyeme within my said College, withoute ye licence of the deane; and, if eny such licence be to any of theme so graunted, yat yan he so asking licence pay for his straunger every mele two pennes: provided alweys yat if eny of yem bring ony of y’ frends, alies, kynnesmen, or oy’ straunger to see the church or Collage, or make hyme or yeme chere, that then I woll yat the said straunger so comyng be curtesly welcomed and served with brede and ale, so yat it be not ofte nor daly used.

ALSO, I statute, and ordeyne yat the said deane, prests, and clerks shal distinctly, nother to hastely ne to tariyngly, bot mesurable and devoutely, kep divine service daily in my saide Collage, be note after the use of Salesbury, yt is to say, matyns, messe, evensong, and complyn, and oy’ observances as herafter shalbe specified; and yat matyns begyn daily, frome the fest of ye Annunciacion of our Blissed Lady unto Michaelmesse, at sex of ye clok in ye mornyng, and frome Michael messe unto ye saide fest of Annunciacion, to begyn matyns at sevene of ye clok in ye mornyng, which done I woll yat prime and houres incontynent y’ after daily be saide in the highe quere by the prest, yat for ye woke shalbe Ebdomadarie, and the prest the woke yan next folowing shalbe Ebdomadarie; and yat ye saide prest Ebdomadarie kepe the charge for his woke of begynyng and ending of matyns, prime, houres, high messe, evenesong, complyn, and oy’ observances, enlesse y’ fall principall fest or fests or the day of obytte of me or my said wiff in yat woke; which if eny such fall I woll yat it be begon and ended by ye saide deane, if he be present, and by none oder, withoute sekenesse or oy’ cause lawfull lett hyme; and yat daily after matyns be said ye anthem of Libera nos be songen descant, or fabourden, with a versicle and collect accustumed, and furthwith ye antheme of Saint Ninian Confessor, vel — Euge serve bone, with the versicleAmavit eum Dominus, etc., and ye colet — Deus qui populos Pictorum et Britonum, and y’ after by all the whole quere — De profundis, etc., with the colet — Fidelium, etc., and after the decesse of me and my wiffe ye colet of Deus cui proprium est miscre[r]e, etc., — Propiciare animæ famuli tiu Ricardi ducis Gloucestr’, fundatoris nostri, vel animæ famulæ tuæ Annæ consortis suæ, eorum et liberorum, etc. And assone as prime and houres is saide, ye messe of our Lady to be song dayly, wt priked song and organes, wt ye maister, clerkes and queresters, except by there ordinall they say of our Lady, and except ye Friday wokely, which day I woll yat ye saide master, clerks, and queresters ye messe of Jhesu after prime and hours saide be song, and yat the prest yat wokely by course shall sing our Lady messe, ye messe of Jhesu, and high messe, during the liffe of me and my wiffe, say yis colet, —Deus qui caritatis dona per gratiam, etc. da famulo tuo Ricardo duci Gloucestr’ fundatori nostro, famulæ tuæ Annæ consorti suæ, famulo tuo Edwardo, eorumque liberis, etc. And after our decesse they to say yis colet — Deus cui proprium,affore rehersid. And after yat the messe of Jhesu be saide ye anthem of per signum Tau. furthwith be songen, and yet colet of Visita nos quesimus, Domine, wt, ye colet of Deus caritatis, during my liff, and after my decesse —Deus cui proprium be said by the prest yat sang messe of Jhesu at the high altare or he put of his vestiment, and yat done, high messe to begyn by all the hole quere, and after high messe be said the antheme of Stella celi, to be song priked song, with the versicle —Ora pro nobis Sancta Dei genetrix, and ye colet — Deus misericordiæ, Deus pictatis, Deus indulgenciæ, etc., wt de profundis, etc., and yat evensong daily begyn frome the fest of thannunciacion of our Lady unto Michaelmesse, at foure of the clok at after none or before; and also I wol yat assone as evensong is said, yt the memory of the Trinite libera nos,a memory of Saint Niniane, and a memory of Saint George, with ther versicles and coletts accustumed, be songen priked song nyghtly, and also y’after an antheme of our Lady in ye myddys of the quere at the letterne be song, enlesse yat it be principall fests, and if it be principall fest but onely an antheme of our Lady to be song at the lettern by all the hole quere, and yen de profundis; and yat every Friday nyght betwix five and sex of ye clok the antheme of Jhesu be songen, with the maister and clerks and queresters, and yat doone the suffrages appertenyng to the said Antheme be song and said by the said queresters, and yan furthwith ye antheme of Stella Celi be songen in like forme as before is saide, with the versicle and coletts —Dominus misericordiæ, and Deus qui caritatis, during our liff, and after our decesse, — Deus cui proprium est miserere— with —de profundis, in maner affore expressid. And over this yat every Wedynsday, if it be not a principall fest, yt a messe of requiem by one of ye saide sex prests, at the assignement of ye said deane, be said after our Lady messe be saide; and yat the prest so saying that messe say ye collett of Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam, etc., wt these words —ut animas famuli tui Ricardi ducis Ebor., famulæ tuæ Ceciliæ consortis suæ, after her decesse, et aminas erorum liberorum et ominum fidelium defunctorum, and after oure decesse to say this colet —Deus cui proprium, etc., with the colet of Inclina aforsaid, in maner aforsaide. And, when so ever it shal please God to call me or my wiffe to His mercy, I wol yat the saide deane, prests and clerks kepe a solempne obite the day of our decesses, if they have y’of knowlage, and else ye next day after yat they here first y’of, with Placebo, Dirige, and Commendacion ye nyght before to be song, enlesse it fall upon principall fests, which yan I wol yat it be deferred to the morn next y’after, and ye Dirige to be song after ye latter evensong of the said principall fest, and Commendacion to be saide after complyn, in the saide quere, and in like wisse and order of moneth mynds, and twolf moneth mynds, and so yerely our obits to be kept the day of the moneth of our saide decesses for ever.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that, in the admission of eny prest and clerk of the saide College, the prest and clerk so to be admitted by my collacion or myne heires shal make oth upon the holy Evangeliste to the deane, for the tyme being, yat he shal observe and kep al statutes and ordenances, with all other libertes and laudable custumes of the same College, in such as shal to hyme appertigne, or such oder laufull oth as shalbe thoght necessary by the saide deane in yt partie to be maide, for weele of the saide College.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat in my saide College shalbe a chest surely maide, lokid with thre looks of diverse keys, wherof one shal remayne in ye keping of the deane, an other in the keping of the prest keping the stall of Saint Kateryn, and the third in the keping of ye prest for the tyme occupying the stall of Saint Ninian, within the saide College, in the which chest I statute, make, and ordeyne yet the comon seal and principall jowelles and evidencez of the same College shalbe surely kepid.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat ichon of ye saide prests and clerks shalbe be within the qwere by the third peal be rongen, and yar continually abide unto thending of divyne service, y’ to be done, for the tyme, every day, except such as be before rehersid in this myne ordinance, under payne of forfotor of one peny, als oft eny shal offend in this party, to be convertid into the necessarie reparacion of the saide College; and if y’ be eny yat shal oftyn tymes use to be absent hyme self frome divine service agenst yis myne ordinance, yen I wol yat ye deane punysh hyme so customable absent at his resonable pleasor.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyn yet evere Friday in ye yere the deane, if he be present, or in his resonable absence his depute shal cause assemble of the saide prests, clerks, and oy’ ministers of ye saide College to be maide in the chapitor house, and yen, after preciosa and other suffrages, according to the ordinall of Salisbery said y’, the said deane or his forsaide depute shal inquire of all maner of defauts and excessez of the prestes, clerks, and other mynysters forsaide, committed and done in eny maner or forme in the woke preceding; and with payns in this myne ordinance comprised wher eny such payn is expressid, and els at his resonable wol and plesor, wt avise of one of the saide prests, corret and punyssh ye same defalts and excessez: provided alway yt if eny of the saide prests or clerks oftyn tymes committing or doyng eny trespasse, defalt or excesse, ayenst yis myne ordinance, or opynly ayenst ye helth of his owne soule, after thre monicions contenyng resonable space unto hyme made by the forsaide dean at his arbitrement, wol not amend hyme self, yt yen the saide deane shal expulse hyme oute of the said College for ever, wt oute hope of restitucion, and yt in every wharter of the yere ons the deane forsaide or his depute shal cause the statutes and ordinance of the same College to be opynly red in the same chapitor house.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyn yat evere prest, clerk, and other ministers of the saide College in commyng to the qwere and goyng fro the same incline unto the deane, beyng in his stall, and ayenst hym commyng into the qwere or chapitor house reverently rias, and yat none of yeme presume to begyn matyns, masse or evenesong afor the commyng of the same deane, if he be present in the College and wol come to the same.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyn yt none of the forsaide ministers hawnt tavern or oder unhonest place or persone at eny tyme, or lye out of the College eny nyght, withoute especiall licence of ye saide deane, except such personnes and tymes as to be for except.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat one day betwix the fests of Estre and Witsonday yerely the deane shal rede, or cause to be red, unto the sex prests ane inventorie of all the jowelles and ornaments apperteigneyng unto the said College, for the tyme; and if the saide sex prests or thre of yeme think it expedient, really shew unto yeme the said jowells and ornaments, which I wil shalbe be surely kepid in chests or oder c. . . . . and places within the saide College, in such maner and forme as shalbe thoght behovefull by the saide dean and two of ye eldest of ye saide prests; providid alwey yat the comon seal and principall jowells and evidence of the saide College be kepid in a chest loked with thre lokks of diverse keys, as is to fore rehersid.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yet noo corrodie, annuitie or fee for terme of liff or yeres shalbe yeven or seld oute of the saide College, or isshewes y’of comyng, nor other thing alieynd to ye saide College pertignyng, by the deane and felowes of the same College, or eny of yeme, wtout expresse consent of me or myne heires patrones of the same.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat if eny prest, clerk, or oder ministre of the same College use at eny tyme in ire eny inhonest or slaunderous words ayenst his felow, his superior or inferior, of the same College, he shal pay of his wagys at evere tyme two pennez. If he draw violently a knyff, he shal pay of his saide wage at evere tyme so doing four penys, and if he draw blode he shal pay of his saide wage as moch as the deane, wt one of the saide sex prests, shal resonable deme hyme to pay to be convectid in, to reparacion of the saide College.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat the deane of the saide College have rewle and administracion of all possessions spiritual and temporall, with all oy’ provents commyng of ye same, for the perfyte execucion of thies myne ordinances.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yt the clerk sacristane have rewle and keping, under the deane, of book, chalesse, vestments, and all oder ornaments, which most be usid in the church of the said College, which ornaments I wilbe delivered unto hyme by tripartite indentor, wherof oon part shal remayne wt ye deane, an oyr with the saide clerk, and the third wt the prest occupiyng the stall of Saint Kateryn; and at two tymes in ye yere, to be limited by the saide dean, the saide clerk shall yeld his accompt concernyng thornaments forsaide, and at all tymes according to yeffect of thies my statutes, and plesor of the saide deane, shal ring to matyns, messe and evenesong, and oder devine service, and over this shet and oppyn the church dures, at such convenient tyme as shalbe commaunde unto hyme by the saide deane.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that the prestes, clerks, and ministers forsaide, at all tymes and place behave yemeself reverently unto the deane, and hyme in all things lefull concernyng the profet, weele, and worship of the saide College, or eny of ye ministers of ye same, obey.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that ye clerk sacristane shal obey the commaundments of the deane, aswel as serving in attendance in the church, as in other places pertignyng to ye cure of eny of ye parisshyns for the tyme within the parich of Middelham abiding.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yt I and myne heires shal at al tymes bere thexpence and cost of evere messynger, which by the commaundment of ye deane or eny of the saide sex prests shal bring unto us certane knowlege of the vacacion of eny stall being within my saide College.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yt the deane forsaide have al maner tethes and offeryngs within my castell of Middelham, as of all oder place within the parissh of ye church of Middelham, in eny wise appertynyng, wtoute let or interrupcion of ye deane of ye chapell of my saide Castell, or eny other ministre of the same.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat the deane of my saide College, at all tymes shal kep his stall and prioritee, as most principall of ye same, geving noo rowme or place to the deane of the chapell within my saide castell, or other commyng at eny tyme unto the saide College, church, to ministre divine service, under the dignitee of a prior by privilege using a miter.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat the deane at his pleasour shal see all things appertignyng unto the College in whos rewle or governance it shal fortune yeme to be, and yat all servants necessarily to be had for attendaunce and serving in ye saide College, or at eny other place, y’unto belonging, shalbe namyd and takyn at ye plesor of the saide deane, and at his saide plesor shalbe expulsed and put away.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyn yat the deane for the tyme being, shall mow use and were in ye saide College and other place, as wel in presence of reverend faders bisshopps, as other inferior unto theme, as grey amyse.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that ye sex prests, clerks, and queresters shal mow use and were in the forsaide College at all tymes of divine service habites, accordingly to yabbitts used by such personnez in other honorable College churchys of the diocese of the church of Sarum.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat if it shal fortune the deane for the tyme being at eny season to be lawfully lett, as by sekenes or oderwise, to ministre divine service in ye church of ye saide College, after thaffect of myne ordinance to for rehersid, yen I wol yt it shal be lefull to the saide deane to name and depute at his plesor one of ye saide sex prests to ministre the same in his absence, and to execute at the expresse and speciall commaundement of ye saide deane al other things which he shuld do or exercise if he wer ther presonally present; and in defalt of such commaundement, I wol the preste occupiyng the stall of Saint Kateryn, in such absence of the saide deane, shal execute the premisses.

ALSO, I wol that the deane or suche of the prests of ye College as it list the deane to appoynt yerely, declare and show to all the parisshe and people aboute in such good forme as it list hym of his charitee to declare in the pulpite such statutes of this my first fundacion of the College, as the saide deane shal thinke expedient; that so redde and declared, I woll yat the deane or prest yat so declarith it desire all the people about of y’ charitee to pray for my soule, thos yt can say de profundis, evere man of his charitee to say it secretly by hymeselfe, or with his felowe, wheder it pleas yeme, and to begyn hyme self as to say de profundis. and all the quere to say and answere him; and when he committh to the colett, then to say the colett, Deus cui proprium est miserere, etc., in maner and forme afforsaide, for me and my wiff; this to be done and declared at the evyne before yat ye yere day come of my deth alweys, as sone as yt evinsong is done; than incontynent to begyn before complyne first to declare and specifie, as is rehersid in this forsaide article, and incontinent y’after Placebo, Dirige, and yan complyn.

ALSO, I wol yat suche saints as yat I have devocion unto, be servid in the church throughoutly as double fest, aswel thos that be not by the ordinall of Sarum as thos yt be, that is to say, Seint John Baptiste and Seint John the Evangeliste, Seint Peter and Seint Pall, Seint Simon and Jude, Seint Mihael, Seinte Anne, Seint Elizabeth, Seint Fabian and Seint Sebastian, Seint Antony, Seint Christofer, Seint Dyonyse, Seint Blaise, Seint Thomas, Seint Albane, Seint Gilys, Seint Eustace, and Seint Erasmus, Seint Loy, Seynt Leonard, and Seint Martyn, Seint William of York, Seint Wulfrey of Rippon, Seint Kateryn, Seint Margarete, Seinte Barbara, Seint Martha, Seint Venefride, Seint Ursula, Seint Dorathe, Seint Radagunde, Seint Agnes, Seint Agathe, Seint Apolyne, Seint Cithe, Seint Clare, Seint Marie Magdalene: provided neverlesse yat if eny fest of the forsaide Saints have noo fest or day in the kalender, or of yeme self be double fest, yt then the deane for the tyme being during my liffe shal take in this partie with myne adviace such good direccion as shalbe thoght most according to yeffect of this myne ordinance, which direccion so to be take, I wol be observid after my decese for ever.

ALSO, I wol that Seint George and Seint Nynyane be served as principal fests, whenso yt ther daies fallys, and also Seint Cuthbert day in Lent, and Seint Antony day yt fallys in Janiver’, be served as principall in like wise.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that al maner of spiritual correccion and punysshon of excesses and defalts commyt and doon by eny of the sex prestes, foure clerks, sex queresters, the clerk sacristane of the saide College, or eny other y’ servants or tennants, for the tyme being, shal onely belong and perteigne unto ye deane of ye same.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that ye constable of my castell of Middelham forsaide, the baliffe, nor other officere of the same castell or towne of Middelham, herafter for eny trespasse, defalt, or excesse done wtin my saide College arrest, attach, or in eny behalf vex or trouble eny ministre of the same. And if eny of theme make defalt or trespasse withoute the saide College within my lordship y’, ayenst the Kings peax or oy’wiace, to the hurt of me or myne heires, servants or tenants, yt then I and myne heires, or in myne or y’ absence, the constable of my saide castell, or baliffe of my saide towne of Middelham, and the deane junctly, shal previde for ye punysshon and correction of the same. And if the deane be remyse or wol not see effectuously for punysshment of the same, yen I woll yat I and myne heires, or the constable of my saide castell, or baliffe of my saide towne, in myne or ther absence onely, punyssh and correct the same trespasse, as shal apperteigne to the temporall correccion, and none other wiace.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne that power be reservyd to me duryng my liffe naturall to add, mynyssh, and exchaunge in evere part of thies my statutes and ordinance to fore rehersid; and over yat I woll yat power be reservid unto me during my liffe naturall att my mynde, will, and pleasour, at all times to discusse, determyn and interpretate all maner of doubts supposid to be fonden in eny part of the same myne ordinance.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yt the deane of my saide College for ye tyme being shal yerely perceve to his proper use and exhibicion, and sustentacion of his persone, ov’ isshewes, fructes, emolumentes and profetts commyng for ye tyme of ye saide church in eny wias to hyme affore in this myne ordinance assigned, the sowme of ten marks to be takyn of ye revenoux of the saide College.

ALSO, I statute, make, and ordeyne yat the dean of my saide College for the tyme being shal susteyne and beyrre all maner of charges of brede, wyne and wax at eny tyme to be hadde in the church of y saide College; and also of all maner of reparacion of and wtin the saide church and churchyerd, and of all other things wtin the siete of the same College, for the which charges so to be sustenyd and boore by the saide deane he shal yerely perceve the revennoux of ye College forsaide, after it shalbe by me and the same deane thoght to be fully finished, over al such parcels as ar to hyme in eny part of yis myne ordinance assigned, the sowme of twenty pounds; providid alweys that thenbabitance of my saide towne of Middelham for the tyme being be contributeres unto the same charges, in as ample maner and forme as they have bene in tyme past, unto such tyme as I, myne heires or myne assignes have made and accomplisshed such things both in enlargeyng or new makyng the church and churchyerd and mansions for and in the saide College: which so maide and accomplishide other by me, myne heires or assignes, I woll that ye saide inhabitannce shal be discharged of ye same contribucion, and yen the saide deane so being to receve the revenneux forsade the sowme of twenty pownd aforsaide, and in no wise affore. IN WITNESSH wherof unto thies presentes I have sett my seal. YEVENE ye fourt day of the moneth of July, in the yere of our soverayne Lord King Edward fourt after the Conquest of Yngland eghtynd.


  1. In printing this document the use of y as found in the original for the Saxon character representing th (or the equivalent to th) has been retained, e.g. — ye for the; yat or yt for that. &c., y’ for there, contracted, oy’ for other, &c., yabbits, the habits; yeffect, the effect, &c.

For the statutes of the Collegiate church of Middleham, the Archaeological Institute is indebted to the couresty of J. Bailey Langhorne, Esq., of Richmond in Yorkshire. They came into his possession with many other documents relating to the College, in an official capacity, and he kindly allowed the copy to be made, which is now, for the first time, printed.

The statutes are written in a bold hand upon two large sheets of parchment. At the beginning is the signature of the illustrious founder of the College, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, indicating, no doubt, that they had met with his approbation. It is extremely probable that they were made under his very eye, and the introductory paragraph may, perhaps, be of his own composing.

It does not appear that the benevolent design of the founder was ever fully completed. The College was indeed established, but it was never properly endowed, and these statutes, therefore, to a great extent, became inapplicable. It was the intention of Richard III., to have made an ample provision for the maintenance of his College, but he was prevented from doing so by the troubles which brought his reign to a premature conclusion. The shadow of the establishment which he contemplated continued to exist until a very recent period. There is now no Dean of Middleham, and the documents from which these statutes have been extracted have passed away into other hands.

The preceding valuable document has not been noticed by the Rev. William Atthill, who edited, in 1847, for the Camden Society, the “Documents relating to the Foundation and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of Middleham,” with an Historical Introduction comprising many notices of the former history of the establishment.


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