chapter 16

Of the comyng of Willyam conquerour to this lande, and howe Hug. Lupe, his syster sonne, was founder of Chestre monasterye.

stanza 187

1304 Blessed Anselme at the erles supplicacion
Came vnto Chestre with gladde chere shortly:mood / soon
Where he founded an abbaye of holy religion,
A pleasaunt place and a noble monasterye,
In worshyp of god / and saynt Werburge, sothely,truly
The yere of grace by full computacion reckoning of time
A thousande .iiii. score .xiii. yere alon. 1 1093 years altogether

stanza 188

1311All secular prestes / and chanons also,priests
Within the sayd place afore-tyme dwellyngpreviously
Were clerely dismyssed / and letten go;let
Religious monkes, perfect in lyuynge,perfect in their manner of living
Receyued were gladly their rule professynge.
Saynt Anselme ordeyned Richard of Beccense
To be their abbot with great preeminence. 2

stanza 189

1318Landes / rentes / libertes / and great possession,
Franches / fredoms / and priuileges riall Rights / splendid privileges
Were gyuen mekely to that foundacion,humbly
Maners / borowes / townes / with the people thrall,boroughs / bound in service
And many faire churches / chapels withall,
Wardes and mariages were gyuen that seasonRights to control over property
To god and saynt Werburge, cause of deuocion; 3

stanza 190

1325 Kyng Wyllyam Ruff, son to the conquerour, 4
Confirmed the foundacion / with great auctorite,authority
Endowed the monastery with mycle honourgreat
Of fredoms / franches / also liberte.rights
The place that tyme was made as fre noble, privileged
As the sayd erle was in his castell,
Or as hert myght thynke / or tonge myght tell.

stanza 191

1332 Saynt Anselme departed thence vnto London
And was made archebisshop of Canturbury.
To the place he gaue a sure confirmacion,ratification
With singular priuileges to be had in memory;special
Of whom it is written here folowyng, truly:
Hic vir dum vixit, extirpantes maledixit
Werburge iura presentia siue futura. 5

stanza 192

1339 This noble prince gaue of his charite through his devotion
Riall riche enormentes vnto the sayd place,Splendid / ornaments
Coopes / crosses / Iewels of great rialte,Copes (liturgical vestments) / jewels / magnificence
Chales / censures / vestures and landes dyd purchace;Chalices / censers / vestments
A librarie of bokes to rede and synge there was -
Of whiche riall iewels and bokes some remayne
Within the sayd monastery to thys day, certayne.

stanza 193

1346 The founder also buylded within the monasterie
Many myghty places / conuenient for religion,
Compased with stronge walles on the west partie Enclosed / side
And on the other syde with Walles of the towne,
Closed at euery ende with a sure postron ,strong / gate
In south part the cimiterie inuironed rounde about.cemetery / encircled
For a sure defence ennemies to holde out.

stanza 194

1353The .ix. yere aftre this riall foundacion,noble
This noble founder the .xxvii. day of Iuly27th
Departed to-warde the heuenly mancion. 6 heavenly mansion
Next whom his son Richarde succeded, truly, 7
Than regnyng in honour was the first kyng Henry. 8 Then
Also the place had their fraunches and fredomSo / privileges
Afore the sayd cite a hundreth yere and one. 9 Before / a hundred and one years


See A.T. Thacker, Early Medieval Chester, Lewis and Thacker, 2003, 16-33, 31, also available via British History Online. Back to context...
Richard, a monk from Anselm's monastery in Normandy, became the first abbot. See Higden, Polychronicon, Book VII, Ch. VII (Babington and Lumby, 1865-86, vol. 7, 360). Back to context...
This stanza includes many legal terms which underpin the rights and possessions granted to St Werburgh's - many of which would still have been crucial to the abbey's status and wealth in Bradshaw's own time. Back to context...
See line 1291, above. Back to context...
'While this man [Anselm] lived, he cursed those who would eradicate the rights of Werburgh, whether present or future.' Back to context...
This line recalls the biblical phrase 'In my father's house [i.e. heaven] are many mansions' (John 14:2). Back to context...
Richard d'Avranches, second Earl of Chester, drowned in the White Ship disaster, 1120. See the end of the entry on Hugh d'Avranches in DNB (subscription only). Back to context...
King Henry I (ruled 1100-1135). See DNB (subscription only). Back to context...
Here Bradshaw makes the point that the monastery of St Werburgh's enjoyed freedom and independence long before the same privileges were granted to the city of Chester. The date of the charter to the city of Chester which Bradshaw is probably recalling is 1300, when Edward I recognised its mayoralty and granted the city certain concessions. See See A.T. Thacker, Later Medieval Chester 1230-1550, Lewis and Thacker, 2003, 34-89, 37 and 43-4, also available via British History Online. Bradshaw's comment hints at possible tensions and rivalries between secular and religious institutions and authorities in medieval Chester. Back to context...