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Priors of Goldcliff

List of the known priors of Goldcliff

William: occurs as prior 1186x9.

Vincent: occurs as prior in August ? 1203x4.

William: had resigned from office by October 1219.
In October 1219 William was elevated to the See of Llandaff.

Maurice: occurs as prior in 1233.
According to a fourteenth-century inquisition a Prior Maurice officiated at Goldcliff 1262 x 63; this is either an error or there were two priors called Maurice. A court case of 1349 mentions Prior Maurice as having held office in the time of Walter, archdeacon of Taunton (1241-63).

Henry: occurs as prior in April 1249.

Walter's position in the sequence of priors is not clear.

Osbert: occurs as prior in 1293, 1294, 1295, and 1296. Osbert had left office by August 1313.

Ralph de Roncevill(e) / Ronchevilla / Runcevill(a): 1313-18.
Ralph was a monk of Bec who formally officiated as prior until 1318 but was duly accused (in November 1320) of withholding the priorship for one and a half years against his successor, William de Sancto Albino. [Read more about the disputed deposition.]

William de Sancto Albino: 1318-28.
A monk of Bec. William had a difficult start to his priorship for his predecessor, Ralph de Ronceville, allegedly prevented him from taking up his position for one and a half years (see above). William had left office by April 1328 when the house was declared void by cessation and there was a mandate to take over the temporalities of Goldcliff. William was later restored to office (see below). Two seals survive from William's abbacy and are now preserved in the National Museum of Wales.

Philip de Goupillariis (Gepillar / Gopillariis): 1328-32.
Philip received the temporalities of Goldcliff in April 1328 and in 1332 was removed from office. In December 1331 Prior Philip was granted protection and whilst he had allegedly been removed from office by February 1332 he occurs as prior in March 1332. In September 1332 Prior Philip was absolved from excommunication for neglecting to pay tithe and was removed from office; he was later restored to office (see below). His seal survives, see, Archaeologia Cambrensis 137 (1988), no. 281 (pp. 126-7).

William Martel: 1332.
William was a monk of Tintern Abbey. He claimed to have been appointed to office at Goldcliff by apostolic authority on 1 February 1332, following the removal of Philip de Goupillariis (see above). Philip was certainly excommunicated at this time but was not seemingly removed from office and William's papal bull was found to be a forgery. The sub-prior of Goldcliff was entrusted with administering the priory until Philip was restored. William's seal survives see R. M. Ellis, Catalogue of Seals in the PRO: Monastic Seals 1 (London, 1986), p. 38; Walter de la Birch Grey, Catalogue of Seals in the BM, no. 3213. William was dead by 1333.

Philip de Goupillariis: was restored to office in 1333-34 (see above), when it was found that William Martel (above) had used forged papal documents illicitly in order to take up office. Philip had therefore wrongfully been removed from office and was restored to his former position and absolved from excommunication. He occurs in 1334, 1335, 1336, and 1337. Smith Supplement, p. 41, notes that these dates indicate that Philip remained in office despite the temporalities of the priory having been granted to Thomas de Leonibus in 1334 and William de Sancti Albino in 1336.

Thomas de Leonibus (de Leone): 1334-6.
Thomas was a monk of Bec. By 10 July 1336 he had been relieved of his position by the abbot of Bec.

William de Sancto Albino: 1336-49.
William (see above) was restored to office by the abbot of Bec in July 1336. He occurs as prior of Goldcliff in April 1347, and his last recorded appearance comes at Easter 1349. By May of that year he had been relieved of office by the abbot and monks of Bec on account of infirmity and was replaced by Bertrand, prior of Steventon (see below).

Bertrand Maheil (Maaheil): 1349-1351/2.
Bertrand was the prior of Steventon, Bec's alien priory in Berkshire, where he was described as Bertrand of Pont-Audemer. He was officially relieved of office at Goldcliff in March 1352 but had likely given up the position earlier, in 1351.

William de Sancto Vedasto (St Vaast): occurs as prior in Michaelmas 1351 although it was in March 1352 that he was formally granted the care of the priory by the king. William was a monk of Bec. He occurs in 1352, 1354, and 1356.

German de Sancto Vedasto (St Vaast): pre October 1367-pre 21 October 1418.
German occurs as prior of Goldcliff from October 1367 until April 1410 when he was granted permission to bring seven or eight monks from Bec to Goldcliff to augment Divine Service. German was dead by 20 October 1418.

Lawrence de Bonvilla (Bonvile, Bonevyle): November 1418-?
Lawrence succeeded to office after November 1418. He is mentioned as prior in a dispute over the priorship in 1443 when the monks of Goldcliff / Bec appealed to the pope claiming that John Twymyng, a monk of Gloucester, had falsely claimed the office of prior. Read more. He occurs in 1433, 1435, 1440, and 1441.

John Twenyng (Twymyng / Twynyng): December 1441-?
In December 1441 John was presented to the bishop of Llandaff by the archbishop of Canterbury and others seised of the priory. The king granted the advowsons of Goldcliff to Tewkesbury abbey and it was agreed that following the death or resignation of John the abbot of Tewkesbury would appropriate the priory and have the right to appoint a Benedictine monk to be prior and to nominate two other religious to celebrate Divine Office there.

July 1442: papal confirmation of the annexation of Goldcliff to Tewkesbury Abbey.

John Abyndon: March 1442-44.
John was cellarer of Tewkesbury and was appointed prior of Goldcliff by the abbot and monks of Tewkesbury in March 1442. Two years later he was elevated to the abbacy of Abingdon (Berkshire).

Richard Newent: 1444-45.
Richard was expelled from office in 1445.

? Hugh de Morainvilla (Moramvyle): ?-pre Nov. 1457.
Hugh was a monk of Bec and ordained as priest. He had been sent to the priory by his abbot but some two years later was expelled from Goldcliff by the abbot of Tewkesbury. In November 1457 Hugh was described as former monk or prior of Goldcliff.

2 April 1451: Goldcliff Priory was granted to Eton College but this had not been effected by 1455.

In February 1462: Goldcliff Priory was granted to Tewkesbury at the behest of Earl Richard of Warwick and his consort, Anne, who was patroness of the house. The abbot and monks of Tewkesbury requested that the king exempt them from the 1455 Act of Resumption and asked that the four monks at Goldcliff could continue to stay there and pray for the souls of Henry IV, Henry V, Queen Catherine and the earl and countess of Warwick.

Sites associated with this person

Goldcliff Priory, Newport

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, I, 940-1216, ed. D. Knowles, C. Brooke and V. London (London, 1972; 2001) pp. 103, 263

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, II, 1216-1377, ed. D. M. Smith and V. London (CUP: Cambridge, 2001) 162-3

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, III, 1377-1540, ed. David M. Smith (CUP: Cambridge, 2008) pp. 177-8

Archival sources

The National Archives, 'Treasury receipt with seal of Goldcliff appended', (Document), (View website)