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1979/4 p.3–4

As it was in the beginning: II


This series is based on the published Registers of the Bishops of Winchester 1282-1539. We are grateful to the Canterbury and York Society, Surrey Record Society, and the Hampshire Record Society for making this information readily available.


St. Mary’s Ewell 1317–1322

Master James (Sinobaldi) de Florencia, Archdeacon of Winchester and later Vicar-General of the Diocese, held Ewell for a time in 1317–18 although the actual dates are not recorded in the Register of John Sandale (Bishop 1316–19). Clerks in the king’s service were allowed to hold a large number of rectories without residing in the area and to retain the income from those rectories. This was in compensation for arrears of payment against salary and loans to the King, Edward II (to finance the war with Scotland). Early in 1318 Pope John XXII issued a new Constitution requiring the immediate surrender of all benefices held in plurality, one benefice only to be retained, because of abuses where the income was taken and no provision was made for services in the local church. Bishop Sandale replied on 29th May 1318 certifying the carrying out of the new constitution against pluralists, enclosing a list of the churches where the incumbents had been removed including the Ecclesia de Ewelle and giving the value of the benefice as still 50 marks (£33 6s 8d).


Earlier, in 1317, the Bishop issued a mandate to the clergy to collect arrears of tenths and instructed them to offer prayers on Sundays and Festival Days, the people to be ‘assiduous at Mass and in prayer, almsgiving, fasting and other works of charity, so that God of his Divine Mercy may direct and prosper the King and his army and restore peace to the Kingdom’ (Bishop Sandale 12th August 1317).


On 17th March 1318 the Register records the institution of Richard de Denecastre, acolite, to the church of Ewell on the presentation of the Abbot and Convent of Chertsey and on 1st June 1318 the church was excused payment of the ‘autumnal fruits’ as the benefice had been vacated 15th February following the dismissal of Master James de Florencia. An acolite is the one who bears the lighted candle whilst the gospel is being read or whilst the priest consecrates the host. Earlier the Bishop had complained of the lack of vicars, curates, etc. to fill the vacancies resulting from the new Constitution. Full services ‘as in olden times’ required them to take place during the weeks of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, and on all double feasts as well as on every Sunday, namely Matins, Mass, Vespers and Compline, and Mass on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


1st November 1322 – installation of Walter de Clerkenwelle, priest, to the church of Ewell, vacant on the death of Richard de Denecastre, again on the presentation of the Abbot and Convent of Chertsey (Register of De Asserio, Bishop of Winchester 1319–23 f.26).














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