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Priors of Llanthony Prima

A list of the known priors of Llanthony Prima.

Ernisius: founding prior.
He had previously officiated as chaplain to Queen Matilda, the wife of Henry I.

Robert de Bethune: ?-1131 when he was elevated to the see of Hereford.
Robert occurs as prior of Llanthony c. 1123, 1127 and January 1131; he was consecrated bishop of Hereford on 28 June 1131 and died seventeen years later in April 1148. Read more.

Robert de Braci: occurs as prior of Llanthony in April 1134. It was during his office that the Llanthony monks fled from Wales to Hereford, seeking refuge with the bishop who was their former prior. Robert presided as first prior of the new foundation at Gloucester (Llanthony Secunda) which was consecrated in 1136 and was buried there.

William of Wycombe: 1137-c. 1150.
William had been a canon of Llanthony certainly from 1134 and officiated as chaplain to Bishop Robert, 'a man adorned with many virtues but a little too austere'; indeed he wrote Robert's biography. William occurs as prior in April 1142, December 1146 and July 1147. He resigned from office c. 1150 but was effectively compelled to do so by Earl Robert of Hereford, the patron of Llanthony, as well as the brethren who complained that he was unduly harsh and even cruel. William retired to Frome. Read more.

Clement: c. 1150-?
A native of Gloucester, Clement had been a canon and thereafter subprior of Llanthony. He was elected as William's successor c. 1150 and occurs as prior in April 1152, January 1158, 1166 and probably also in 1169. The foundation history describes him as being prior 'of a good family and understanding'. Read more.

Roger of Norwich:
Formerly subprior of Llanthony, Roger occurs as prior of the house in 1174, 1177, 1178, 1184 and 1186x9. According to the Annals of Winchcombe, Roger died in or by 1191 and was succeeded by Geoffrey.

Geoffrey of Henlawe: c. 1189-1203.
Geoffrey was a canon of Llanthony and occurs as prior from March 1189 until 1203 when he was elevated to the see of St Davids. He died in 1214. Read more.

Martin: c. 1203-c. 1205.
The eighth prior of Llanthony, Martin is mentioned as prior of the house in 1203x5 and 1204x5. It was at this time (1205) that the two Llanthonys (Llanthony in Monmouthshire - Llanthony Prima - and Llanthony Secunda in Gloucester) were separated. Read more.

Roger (?de Godestre?): c. 1205-?
Roger occurs as prior in 1209 and in 1211x13.

Walter: is mentioned as prior of the house in 1217x24, October 1224 and September 1227.

Stephen: was the eleventh prior of the house.

Philip: was the twelfth prior of Llanthony; he occurs as prior in July 1236.

David: was the thirteenth prior and is mentioned in July 1241 and August 1242.

Thomas: was the fourteenth prior; he is cited as prior in October 1251.

Simon: occurs as prior in June 1253.

Bartholomew: occurs as prior in October 1258x9.

Walter: (Tope, Thope, de Langedon):. Walter is mentioned as prior in June 1266 and September 1267. Prior Walter Tope (Thope) occurs in 1266, 1267, and 1268, and seems to be the same man. Walter de Langedon is described in a court case of 1285 as the predecessor of the present prior, who can be identified as Nicholas. It is seems that Tope (Thope) was an alternate name for de Langedon.

Nicholas: occurs as prior on various occasions from Easter 1279 until September 1295.
In September 1284 Nicholas was pardoned for outlawry and in May and June 1301 his successor, Prior Thomas, was instructed to recall this vagabond back to the priory.

Thomas of Gloucester (Glocestria, Glovernia): occurs as prior in October 1296 and on various occasions until June 1301.

Nicholas: occurs in 1301, 1302, 1303, and 1304. He may be the same as Prior Nicholas de Feckenham, mentioned as former prior in a court case of 1323.

Walter (de Langeley(e)): occurs as Walter in 1305 and 1314, and as Walter de Langeley(e) in 1306 and 1308

Walter: is mentioned as prior of Llanthony in October 1305 and December 1314.

John of Kingston (Kyngeston): occurs as prior in July 1316.

John de Rufford: occurs as prior from April 1321 until March 1337. In January 1348 he is described as the late prior of Llanthony.

John of Gloucester (Gloucestre): occurs as prior of Llanthony in February 1338 and on various occasions until October 1357. He likely died in 1358.

Henry Ragon (Ragoun): occurs in 1358 and 1359.

Adam: occurs as prior in July 1362.

Nicholas Trinbey (Trillet, Trillek, de Trinleye, Trinbeye): ? -1373/6.
Nicholas occurs as prior in February 1363 and on other occasions until February 1376 when there was a mandate to accept his resignation. This states that having officiated well for eleven years, on one occasion when celebrating the Office, Nicholas was thrown to the ground whereupon his eyes were torn out by three of the canons. This act of brutality prompted Nicholas's resignation. He was still alive and described as former prior in 1380. Read more and see also.

John (de) Yatton: 1376-?
John is mentioned as occurs in April 1376 and on various occasions until November 1391.

John (de) Welyngton (Wellyngton, Wellynton, Welynton): occurs as prior in November 1395 and on various occasions until 1407.
John had been a canon of the house and as a young member of the community had violently attacked the then prior (Nicholas) causing him to go blind. The attack was not unwarranted since Nicholas had injured John and wasted the priory's goods. John was later given dispensation for this attack and appointed prior.
Read more.

William Cromp: 1409-?
William was elected to office in August 1409 and occurs as prior in 1415, 1416, and at Easter 1417.

John: occurs in 1434, 1435, and 1439. He may be the same as John Pembruge.

John Pembruge (Penburgh): ?-1469.
John appears as prior in March 1447, January 1448, November 1449, and in 1453. He was allegedly dead by 8 August 1469 although as Smith [Heads of Religious Houses, 3, p. 469] notes, given that John's successor, John ap Adam (below) occurs as prior as early as October 1466, this may be an error; or perhaps John resigned before his death.

John ap Adam alias Adams: ?-1481.
John occurs as prior in October 1466 and March 1479. In May 1481 the office was taken from him and granted to the prior of Llanthony Secunda on the grounds that John had wasted the priory's revenues and that numbers had fallen; there were just four canons living with the prior at this time. From this time the prior of Llanthony Secunda was to maintain a dative prior at Llanthony Prima, along with four canons. Read more. Smith (Supplement, p. 203), suggests that he might have been the canon of that name who appears in a court case in Gloucester in 1487.

The above agreement was not seemingly finalised until March 1504; from then there were dative priors of Llanthony Prima. They were:

John Chester: he appears as dative prior in August 1534.

Henry Wydon: occurs as dative prior before February 1537 when he was given dispensation to take up a benefice with change of habit and is described as recent prior of the house.

John Ambrose (Ambros): John acknowledged the Royal Supremacy in 1534 [View details]. By 1552 John was officiating as vicar of Beckley, Oxfordshire.

William Ambrose: occurs as prior in 1535.

David Kempe alias Mathewe: ?-1538.
David was prior at the time of Llanthony's surrender on 10 March 1538.

Sites associated with this person

Llanthony Prima Priory, Monmouthshire

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. 172-3

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, II, 1216-1377, ed. D. M. Smith and V. London (CUP: Cambridge, 2001) pp. 413-14

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, III, 1377-1540, ed. David M. Smith (CUP: Cambridge, 2008) pp. 468-9

Archival sources

Lambeth Palace, 'Life of Robert Bethune, by William Wycombe, fourth prior of Llanthony', (Document), (View website)

British Library, 'Life of Robert de Bethune by William Wycombe, fourth prior of Llanthony', (Document), (View website)