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Prioresses of Usk

A list of the known prioresses of Usk.

In 1246 the nuns of Usk were granted the right to elect their own prioress.

'B.': occurs as prioress in Dec 1269 / Jan 1270

Bridget: occurs as prioress in 1394, 1400, 1401, 1402, 1404, 1405, 1406, and 1407.

Joan Lewys: occurs as prioress on 25 April 1491 and also in 1497.

Agnes: occurs as prioress in 1498 and again in 1500-1.

Joan Harryman: ?-pre 1528.
Joan's election as prioress was contested for there was a case between her and Catherine Kemmys in 1516 which stated that Catherine should not usurp the office from Joan. Catherine, titled prioress of Usk, had seemingly been elected to office and received papal dispensation to retain this, notwithstanding the fact that her election was null and void. She duly appealed against Joan Harryman who, she claimed, called herself prioress; Catherine first appealed to the court at Canterbury and then to the papal curia. On 12 June 1516 a papal commission was appointed to look into the matter and decided in Joan's favour View details
Joan Harryman occurs as prioress on 6 October 1518 but had resigned on account of old age by the end of February 1528 when there was a petition to elect a new prioress of Usk.

Eleanor / Ellen Williams: ?- pre 1536.
Eleanor occurs as prioress of Usk on 1 August 1529, February 1530 as well as in September and December 1535. She was prioress when Usk was surveyed in June 153 and when she was awarded a pension, and was prioresses in August 1536 when the priory was suppressed. She is presumably to be identified with the Ellen who in December 1536 was given dispensation to leave the religious life.

Sites associated with this person

Usk Priory, Monmouthshire

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, II, 1216-1377, ed. D. M. Smith and V. London (CUP: Cambridge, 2001) p. 616

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, III, 1377-1540, ed. David M. Smith (CUP: Cambridge, 2008) p. 701

Williams, David H., 'Usk nunnery', Monmouthshire Antiquary, 4 (1980) 44-45