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"Entered at Stationers' ^all. 



For many years there has been a general and 
unceasing enquiry, by the strangers who visit 
Battel, for some account of its abbey : that noble 
monument of a victory, obtained by William duke 
of Normandy, which decided the fate of the king- 
dom, and completely deranged the whole of its 
political and civil institutions. The answer " There 
is none published" excited the utmost supprise and 
disappointment in the minds of those whose curiosity 
had been aroused by viewing the extensive and 
interesting remains of the once sacred pile. It 
certainly is extraordinary that an edifice so much 
connected with our national history, and affording 
so many specimens of the styles of architecture 
prevalent in former ages, should have been neglect- 
ed by the many eminent men who have greatly 
enlightened the public by their antiquarian re- 

This part of the county of Sussex is by the 
celebrated lord Orford, (better known as Horace 
Walpole,) in a letter to Mr. Bentley, written from 


hence the 5th of August. 1752, denominated "The 
Holy Land of Abbies and gothic Castles." Even 
the almost impassible state of the roads, " Where 
the young gentlemen drive their curricles with a 
pair of oxen," which he so graphically and amus- 
ingly describes, did not deter that ardent admirer 
of, and it may by said restorer of the taste for, old 
English architecture, from making a " pilgrimage" 
to view the numerous relics with which it abounds. 
" We have had" he says " Piteous distresses ; but 
then, we have seen glorious sights." " We bring 
you a thousand sketches, that you may shew us 
what we have seen." 

One would think that such observations, from 
such a character, might have moved the spirit of 
one of the numerous topographers and antiquarians 
of this century to visit these remains of ecclesiastical 
and baronial splendour, and search out some records 
respecting them, for the information of the public ; 
but, alas ! though the roads are now terraces and 
the inns palaces, in comparison with those in the 
days of Walpole's " pilgrimage :" and though the 
demand has increased and is increasing, the answer 
as regards Battel Abbey, till now remained the 
same, " There is none published." 

Among those who regret this deficiency is the 


person who presumes to offer this pamphlet to the 
public : and who for many years has treasured up 
every particular that fell in his way relative to the 
place of his nativity, and to the venerable building 
which, probably, is the first he ever beheld. These 
scraps he had not even arranged, and the thought 
of publishing them never occurred, till the continual 
enquiries for some information, induced others to 
incite him to do that for which he feels himself 
unqualified. He cannot suppose that his attempt 
will be satisfactory ; but he hopes that it may have 
the effect of inducing some one, really capable of 
doing justice to the subject, to produce a work 
more worthy of patronage. There is no dearth of 
materials for such a purpose. The Muniments of 
Battel Abbey lately purchased by Sir Thomas 
Philips, bart, are very voluminous : of which Mr. 
Thorpe's catalogue fills upwards of 150 pages. 
There are many manuscripts in the British Museum, 
containing much information on the subject: and 
in the Augmentation Office is a folio volume of 
between 300 and 400 pages, finely written, with 
the initials beautifully illuminated, intitled " Rental 
and Customs of the Hundred and Manor of Battel." 
Such treasures are not availible to general readers ; 
but, surely, the public would be grateful if some 
one well versed in such documents, were to extract 


the portions having local and public interest, and 
place them within their reach. 

The few particulars respecting this once cele- 
brated abbey which have appeared, scrap by scrap, 
in various trifling publications, are replete with 
errors : nor are some of much greater pretensions 
free from mistakes, that would have been apparent 
to the authors if they had carefully examined the 
place which they professed to describe. Some of 
these the writer of this trifle has noticed : and he 
believes that what he has mentioned is sufficiently 

Thus much is said as an apology for presuming 
to send forth so crude and imperfect a performance : 
and the author solicits that the readers will pass a 
lenient sentence on his humble effort to supply what 
has so long been wanting from more able minds ; 
who, to their reproach, though their pens have been 
employed on less interesting subjects, have left 
this to the public's 

Most obedient and humble Servant, 

November, 1st 1841. 



The circumstances which led to the Norman 
invasion. The Battle of Hastings. The Death of 
King Harold. The Coronation of William the Con- 
queror, and the Rewards to his followers. ... 9 

The name of the place before the Battle of 
Hastings. The founding of the Ahbey. The Charters 
of the Founder and subsequent Kings ..... 36 

Grants to the Abbey, by numerous royal and 
noble persons, and gentry; with notices of various 
families, and circumstances. ....*... 50 

List of the Abbots. 80 

The Dissolution of the Monastery. The Abbot's 
and Convent's Deed of Surrender. The Valuation of 
its Possessions. , . 90 

Battel Abbey Roll 110 

The Abbey subsequent to its Dissolution. King 
Henry the VJIIth's Grant to Sir Anthony Browne. 
Many particulars respecting Sir Anthony's family, his 
2nd lady "The Fair Geraldine," and his successors, 
the Viscounts Montague. The Abbey &c., purchased 
by Sir Thomas Webster, bark The Webster family &c. 119 

The Abbey in its present state. . . . . 137 

The Hundred. Parish. Township or Liberty 
the Parish Church, &c 158 





The circumstances which led to the Norman 
invasion The Battle of Hastings The 
Death of King Harold The Coronation 
of William the Conqueror, and the Rewards 
to his Followers. 

The very name of Battel is so connected with 
the history of the time immediately preceding 
the event from which it originated, that it is 
almost necessary, in giving any account of the 
place, to introduce some notice of the circum- 
stances which led to the foundation of the 
monastery, and changed the name of its locality, 
if name it previously had. 

On the death of Hardy-Canute, the last of 
the Danish race that reigned in England, the 
hopes entertained by the English of restoring 
the Saxon line of kings were stimulated by the 
presence of Edward, (afterwards surnamed the 
confessor,) brother of king Edmund Ironside, 


since whose murder, at Oxford in 1017, the 
Danes had retained the dominion. 

Prince Edmund the exile, eldest son of Iron- 
sides, had the preferable claim to the throne; 
but his long absence from England reconciled 
the people to his exclusion: and caused them 
to fix their choice on his uncle. 

On the death of Edmund Ironsides, Canute 
the great sent his two sons, Edwin and Edward, 
then minors, to his ally the king of Sweden, 
whom he requested to put them to death; this 
the king was too generous to do; but fearful 
of embroiling himself with Canute he sent them 
to Solomon king of Hungary. Edward was 
afterwards married to Solomon's sister, who died 
without issue. Solomon then gave his sister in 
law, Agatha, daughter of the emperor Henry 
the second, to Edward, who by her had Ed^ar 
Atheling; Margaret who married Malcom king 
of Scotland; and Christina who retired into a 

At the time of the decease of Hardy-Canute, 
Godwin earl of Kent was one of the most 
powerful noblemen in England. The Confessor 
had a great aversion to him on account of the 
death of his brother Alfred, which was laid to 
Godwin's charge and was thus compassed. On 
the death of Edmund Ironsides his younger 
brothers Alfred and Edward were conveyed by 
their mother, queen Emma, to the court of her 
nephew Robert duke of Normandy, for safety. 
Robert died in 1045; and, his son William being 
then a minor, the two princes no longer finding 


Favour in Normandy returned to England on a 
visit to their mother, who, having married Canute 
the great, was again a widow living in great 
splendour at Winchester : her son Harold-Harefoot 
being then king. Earl Godwin, gained by Harold, 
laid a plan for the destruction of the young princes. 
Alfred, who by a treaty between Canute and 
Richard duke of Normandy was to have succeeded 
Canute on the throne of England, was invited to 
London : and when he had reached Guildford was 
attacked by Godwin's vassals, about 600 of his 
train were murdered and himself taken prisoner; 
his eyes were put out, and he was sent to the 
monastery of Ely, where he soon died. Emma 
and Edward, thus cruelly warned of their danger, 
again fled to Normandy. 

Notwithstanding Edward's dislike of Godwin, 
that noble was too powerful to be slighted : he 
was earl of Kent, Sussex, and Wessex, his eldest 
son Sweyn was governor of Berkshire, Gloucester, 
Hereford and Oxford ; and his second son, Harold, 
governor of East Anglia and Essex. A prince 
of greater capacity than Edward would have found 
it difficult to succeed without the aid of so power- 
ful a family, therefore the assistance of Godwin 
was accepted. Indeed it may be said that he 
placed Edward on the throne ; for at an assembly 
of the nobles at Gillingham for the purpose of 
electing a king, he made an elaborate oration 
pointing out the necessity of fixing their choice 
on Edward, and suddenly placing him before 
them exclaimed " Behold your King ! " in return 
for this service Godwin had stipulated that 
Edward should marry his daughter Edgitha, and 


maintain himself and his sons in their honors and 

Edward having no heir, sent Aldred bishop of 
Winchester on an embassy to the emperor, to 
solicit his interest with the king of Hungary to 
procure the return of his nephew Edward the 
exile and his family, whose arrival in England in 
1057, caused great rejoicing among the people; 
but this was much damped by the death of prince 
Edward which happened a short time^afterwards. 

The Confessor had been educated in Normandy, 
and had a strong predilection for the Normans 
and their customs. Ulf, and William, two Norman 
priests formerly his chaplains, were made bishops 
of Rochester and London; and another, Robert, 
was placed in the see of Canterbury. Many 
Norman nobles were in Edward's court : and his 
cousin duke William came over to pay him a visit. 
These circumstances shewed Godwin that his 
influence was diminishing: and he contrived to 
prejudice the people against the Normans; and 
even proceeded to acts of violence. Edward sum- 
moned a great council to judge of the rebellion 
of Godwin and his sons. Godwin fled to Flanders 
with his sons Sweyn, Girth and Tosti, the latter 
of whom had married a daughter of Baldwin earl 
of that country. Harold and Leofwine, his two 
other sons, took shelter in Ireland. The estates 
of the family were confiscated their governments 
were bestowed on others queen Edgitha was 
confined in the monastery at Warewell and the 
greatness of the family seemed to be entirely 
overthrown. But Godwin was too strongly sup- 


ported by domestic and foreign alliances not to 
occasion further disturbances: he soon mustered 
forces and returned to England; and made 
Edward hearken to terms of accommodation. He 
pretended that his acts were not against the king ; 
but against the foreigners ; who were immediately 
sent out of the kingdom : and himself and his sons 
were restored on giving hostages. This consider- 
ably impared the power of the crown. Godwin 
expired soon after, whilst dining with the king : 
some say of apoplexy ; others that he was choked 
whilst invoking the judgment of God to clear 
him from the imputation of having caused the 
death of prince Alfred. 

Harold, the eldest surviving son of Godwin, 
succeeded to all his fathers honors and employ- 
ments, including the Stewardship, a place of great 
power; but was obliged to resign his own govern- 
ment of Essex to Alfgar, son of Leofric duke of 

Harold equalled his father in ambition ; but 
the means by which he accomplished his aim 
were totally different. Godwin was rough, positive 
and imperious; Harold, mild, fascinating and 
affable : the father forced his sovereign into 
measures ; the son allured him : the roughness 
of the one bordered on tyranny; the courtesy of 
the other concealed ambition under the cloak of 
obsequiousness. Godwin endeavoured to com- 
mand the king; but Harold absolutely did so, 
whilst appearing to submit with servility, his 
modest gentle demeanour won the good will of 
Edward ; or at least softened the hatred long borne 


to his family. He gained partizans daily by his 
bounty and affability ; proceeding in a more quiet 
and therefore more dangerous manner than his 
father had done, to increase his power. 

Edward soon saw the danger that Edgar 
Atheling would be in from Harold's evident inten- 
tion of succeeding to the throne : and therefore 
turned his thoughts towards his kinsman William 
duke of Normandy ; but his timidity and irresolution 
deterred him from taking measures to smooth the 
path of either of those princes : and sickness soon 
totally incapacitated him. 

Harold in the mean time took secure steps to 
obtain the crown ; which had not been worn by 
any rightful heir since the death of Atheling's 
grandsire, Edmund Ironside, in 1017. On the 
death of the Confessor, Jan. 5. 1066, he mounted 
the throne with as little opposition as if he had 
succeeded by the most indisputable hereditary 
title. To render the matter more secure he deter- 
mined to obtain the suffrage of the people without 
delay: and therefore caused the deceased king 
to be buried the day after his death. A great 
assembly of the nobility and all the prelates (except 
Stigand archbishop of Canterbury, who from real 
or pretended illness absented himself,) immediately 
elected Harold as king : and he was crowned by 
Aldred archbishop of York. This seemed entirely 
to obliterate the rights of Edgar Atheling, whose 
youth had greatly facilitated the machinations 
of Harold, by whom he was created earl of Oxford, 
and treated with great kindness. 

Harold commenced his reign with much popu- 


larity and clemency : and most likely would have 
secured the succession to his race but for William 
duke of Normandy, who was greatly exasperated 
at his elevation to the throne, which he pretended 
to on the ground of a promise made to him by 
the Confessor. Harold had himself entered into 
stipulations, and taken a solemn oath to assist 
William in obtaining possession of the crown. 
William termed him an usurper ; which he certainly 
was as regarded Edward Atheling; but William 
was equally so : he had no English blood in his 
veins; but merely a connexion with the royal 
family: his grandfather's sister Emma having 
married Ethelred the second of whom Edgar 
Atheling was the only surviving male heir. Harold's 
sister Edgitha was the wife of the Confessor ; but 
that gave him no legal claim. 

There can be no doubt that earl Godwin in 
procuring the marriage of his daughter with the 
Confessor intended that his own progeny, through 
her, should inherit the crown ; but that ambitious 
project was foiled by there being no issue of the 
marriage; and the thoughts of the family were 
turned to the attainment of their object, and main- 
tainence of their power by iniquitous means, which 
for a time were successful ; but ultimately caused 
their destruction. 

Many contemptuous remarks have been made 
on the assertion that Edward never consumated 
his marriage ; but, admitting that were the case, he 
might intentionally have neglected to do so, in 
order to prevent the sufficiently obvious design of 
Godwin and his family, whom he never could like, 


though compelled by circumstances to bear with 
and countenance them. 

Duke William soon sent to Harold demanding 
resignation of the crown in his own favor, reminding 
him of his oath and the stipulations between them, 
and threatening invasion in case of refusal. If his 
purpose had been to rescue the government from 
Harold and place it in the hands of his kinsman 
Edgar he would have merited applause ; but the 
duties of consanguinity were no more thought of 
by him, than were those of allegiance by Harold. 
Ambition was the ruling passion of both these 
men : and it overcame all sense of justice. 

Harold treated William's message with con- 
tempt, asserted his right from the assent of the 
people, and declared that he would maintain it to 
the hour of his death. This answer was what 
William expected, and was prepared for. He 
was then at peace with all the continental powers : 
and the first nobility and most valiant men of all 
parts of Europe were attracted to his court by its 
magnificence and his own personal character and 

William soon took measures for obtaining by 
force that which Harold had procured by craft. 
In this he was assisted by Harold's brother Tosti, 
who had been deprived of his earldom of North- 
umberland and who, as well as himself, had 
married a daughter of Baldwin earl of Flanders. 
Tosti with a considerable force landed at the Isle 
of Wight, where he levied great contributions ; 
and afterwards infested the coast till he arrived 


at Sandwich, where Harold sent forces to oppose 
him; but Tosti, hearing thereof, pressed all the 
seamen in that part, and sailed for the coast of 
Lincolnshire, where the earls of Mercia and 
Northumberland encountered him, routed his army, 
and detroyed most of his fleet: after which he 
took refuge in Scotland, with only twelve vessels 
remaining of the sixty supplied by his father-in- 
law Baldwin. Aided by Harold-Harfager king 
of Norway, Tosti made a second descent, and de- 
feated the earls of Mercia and Northumberland 
at Tuiford ; in consequence of which York became 
a prey to him; but Harold arriving five days 
afterwards another battle was fought Sep. 25th, at 
Stamford Bridge about six miles from York, in 
which Tosti and Harfager were killed, and their 
army mostly destroyed. Harold's admirals were 
equally successful at sea: the Norwegian was 
defeated and many vessels were captured in the 
Ouse. Olaf, Harfager's son, capitulated and reim- 
barked the remains of his force in twenty vessels, 
leaving all the immense spoil behind. 

These incursions, though unsuccessful, greatly 
assisted William; for though the kingdom was 
relieved from its formidable enemy Harfager, 
Harold was drawn from the parts where William 
intended to make his attack: and the battle at 
Stamford, though gained by Harold, forwarded 
his destruction; because instead of distributing 
the great booty among his followers as usual, he 
retained it to defray the expences of the impending 
conflict with William, and thereby save the people 
from contributions. This prudent course gave 
great offence to the soldiers, who considered that 


he had robbed them : and they grew cold in his 

William in the mean time had obtained assistance 
from the counts of Anjou, Ponthieu, Bretagne, 
Mortaigne, Bretteville, and Longueville; Odo 
bishop of Baieux; the viscounts Leon, Thouars, 
and Dinan, and many vassals of the emperor 
Henry the Fourth, then a minor. Philip the First 
of France was also a minor, and the regency being 
jealous of William's power, he could not succeed 
in procuring aid from that government; so his 
father in law, Baldwin earl of Flanders president 
of the council, being unable to furnish forces 
privately supplied large sums of money. But what 
gave most strength to William's enterprise was 
the sanction of pope Alexander the Fourth, who 
granted it for the purpose of extending the papal 
power which had not then reached England : so 
to obtain that end he sent to William an onyx ring 
in which was enclosed one of St. Peter's hairs ; 
and also a consecrated banner. He likewise issued 
a bull declaring the justice of William's cause, 
pronouncing Harold an usurper, and excommunica- 
ting every one who opposed William's design. 
This had great effect on the clergy of England, 
as well as on the spirited youth of many parts of 
Europe, who flocked to the standard of William, 
panting to obtain fame and glory. 

The services offered were so great that William 
was astonished : and to render them available he 
selected about 60,000 of the most effective, which 
he considered sufficient to overcome any force 
Harold could oppose to him. 


Not being able to obtain sufficient money from 
a diet of his barons William applied separately 
to the rich nobility and merchants, who endeavoured 
to outvie each other in their contributions. Having 
thus procured supplies for his forces, the utmost 
diligence was exerted and a large fleet (it is said 
3,000 vessels) soon rendezvoused at St. Pierre sur 
Dive, from whence it proceeded to St. Valeri, 
where it was detained by contrary winds so long 
that the army began to murmur, fancying that 
heaven was against the enterprise. To raise their 
drooping spirits and counteract this superstition, 
William had recourse to another by ordering a 
solemn procession with the relics of St. Valeri, 
and prayers to be made for favourable weather. 
The wind instantly changed, and as this happened 
on the feast of St. Michael, the tutelary saint of 
Normandy, the soldiers supposing that they saw 
the hand of providence in these concurrences, set 
out with great alacrity. Even the adverse winds 
had favoured William's cause, by inducing a belief 
that he had abandoned his purpose, at least for 
a season. The great fleet which Harold assembled 
at the Isle of Wight had on this supposition been 
dismissed : and the Norman meeting with no 
opposition arrived in Pevensey bay, where he 
quietly disembarked his army. 

The Harleian MS. gives the following account 
of William's landing. " When he first stepped on 
shoare one of his feete slipped a littel. The Duke 
to recouer himselfe stepped more stronglie with 
the other foote, and svnke into the sande somewhat 
deepe. One of his souldiers espying this say'd 
merrylie to him you had almoste fallen my lord, 


but you haue well maintained youre standing and 
haue now taken deepe and firme footing in the 
soyle of Englande. The presage is goode and here 
vpon I salvte you King. The Duke himselfe 
laughed, and the Souldiers with whome superstitione 
dothe stronglie worke were ravch confirmed in 
courage by the ieast." 

The joy and alacrity of William and his army 
were no way discouraged when they heard of 
Harold's success in the north. The Duke did not 
push forward into the country where it might be 
difficult to furnish his forces with supplies; but 
preferred awaiting on the coast the arrival of the 
English army. The Harleian MS. indicates that 
he took possession of Pevensey " and leauing his 
fortification with competent force to assvre the 
place as well for a retreate as for daylie landing of 
fresh svpplies matched forward to Hastynges : and 
there raised another fortress, and placed likewise 
a garrison therein." According to the inscription 
in the Baieux tapestry, where a person is repre- 
sented digging and another superintending the 
work, " he ordereth that a castle should be dug 
at Hastings ;" by which it is understood that he 
entrenched a then existing castle. Having thus 
secured these two important stations William 
remained quiet till Harold drew near. 

Harold had scarcely settled affairs in the north 
ere he received intelligence of William's arrival 
in Sussex, and consequently hastened to meet the 
new invader; but though he was reinforced in 
London and other places, he found his strength 
weakened by the desertion of many of his old 


soldiers who, from fatigue or discontent, secretly 
withdrew from his colours. His Brother Girth, a 
man of much bravery and conduct began to be 
apprehensive of the event and advised the king 
to prolong the war by skirmishes till he had 
obtained a larger force: or at least not to risk 
his own person in the conflict. He used many 
sound arguments to induce his brother to refrain 
from immediately attacking the duke; but Harold 
was deaf to all his remonstrances ; and, elated with 
his late prosperity, as well as stimulated by his 
natural courage, resolved, to give battle in person ; 
for which purpose he advanced towards the Nor- 
man forces. He was so confident of success that 
he sent to the duke, promising a sum of money 
if he would leave the kingdom without the effusion 
of blood. William disdainfully rejected the offer : 
and sent some monks with a message requiring 
Harold to resign the kingdom or to hold it of 
him in fealty: or to submit their cause to the 
arbitration of the pope. Harold replied that the 
God of battles would soon be the arbiter of their 

A different account of these messuages is given 
in the Harleian MS. which says " Harold sent 
to the duke demanding in haughtie terms that hee 
should immediatelie leaue the kingdome. The 
duke between mirth and scorne returned answer, 
that as he came not vpon his entreatie so at 
his command he shoulde not departe. But (said 
hee) I am not come to worde with your king; I 
am come to fyghte and am desireous to fyghte; 
I will be readie to fyghte with him, albeit I had 
but 10,000 svche men as I have brought o'er 


60,000. After some negociations it was determined 
to fyghte on the day following which was the 14th 
of October: this happened to be the birthe 
daye of king Harold, which for that cause, by 
a svperstitious erroure, hee conjectured would be 
prosperous to him." 

The two armies now prepared for the important 
decision ; but the aspect of things was very different 
in the two camps : the English spent the time in 
jollity and disorder; the Normans in prayer and 
other religious functions. 

Harold had taken the advantage of a rising 
ground for his station and there fixed his standard, 
opposite to a similar position occupied by William. 
Having drawn some trenches to secure his flanks 
he resolved to act defensively and to avoid all 
contest with cavalry; in which he was inferior. 
The Kentish men were placed in the van, a place 
which they had always claimed as their right. 
The Londoners guarded the standard by which 
<f Harold stoode on foote with his two brothers, 
Girth and Leofwine, as well to relieue from thence 
all parts that might be distressed as also to manifest 
te the souldiers that he retayned no thought of 
escaping by flighte." On the other side "The 
Normans were diuided into three battailles: the 
first was condvcted by Roger de Montgomerie and 
William Fitz Osborne: it consisted of horsemen 
of Aniou, Maine, and Britaine commanded by a 
Britaine named Fergent. It carried the consecrated 
banner which the pope had sent. The middle 
battaille, consisting of souldiers out of Germanic 
and Poietou, was led by Geoffre Martell, and a 


prince of Almaine. The duke himself closed the 
battaille with the strength of his Normans and the 
floure of hys nobilitie. The archers were diuided 
into wings, and also dispersed by bands through 
the three battailles. The Normans marched with 
a song of the ualiant actes of Roland, esteeming 
nothing of peril in regard of the glorie of theire 
aduenture." Har. MS. 

The first onset was by the Norman archers 
discharging a flight of arrows which greatly dis- 
comfitted the English, who were not used to those 
weapons, but received it with much valour, and 
stood their ground : a furious combat ensued with 
sword, spear, and battle-axe, the Norman archers 
still annoying and destroying their opponents. 
"And so they continued the greatest part of the 
day in close and furious fyghte ; blowe for blowe, 
wound for wound, death for death; theire feete 
steadie their hands diligent, theire eyes watchfull, 
their hearts resolute; neither there aduisement 
dazzled by their fierceness nor their fierceness anie 
thing abated by deuisement." " Never was furie 
better governed, never game of death better plaied. 
The more they foughte the better they foughte, 
the more they smarted the less they regarded the 
smart." " At last the duke perceived that the 
English would not be broken by strengthe of arme, 
he gave direction that hys men should retire and 
give ground, not looselie, nor disorderlie, as in a 
fearful and confused haste; but aduisedlie and for 
aduantage; keeping the front of their squadron 
firme and close without disbanding one foote of 
arraye. Nothing was more hurtful to the English, 
being of a frank and noble spirit, then that their 


uiolent inclination carried them too faste into a hope 
of uictorie. For feeling theire enemies to yielde 
vnder theire hands, they did rashlie follow them 
who were not hastie to flee : and in the heat of 
theire pursuit vpon a false conceit of uictory loosed 
and disordered their rankes, thinking then of nothing 
but executing the chase. The Normans espying 
the aduantage to be ripe made a stiffe stand, 
redoubled vpon the English, and pressing on with 
furie equal to their fauourable fortune with a cruel 
butcherie brake into them. On the other side it 
is scarce credible with what strength both of courage 
and hand the English even in despight of death, 
svstained themselves in this disorder; drawing 
into small squadrons and beating downe theire 
enemies on euery hande, being resolued to sell 
their lives with their place." Har. MS. The English 
were repulsed with great slaughter and driven back 
to the hill ; where, being rallied by the bravery of 
Harold, they were able, notwithstanding their loss, 
to maintain the post and continue the combat 
The duke tried the same stratagem a second time 
with equal success ; but after this double advantage 
he found a great body of the English maintaining 
themselves in firm array, and seemingly determined 
to dispute the victory to the last extremity. He 
therefore ordered his heavy armed infantry to 
make an assault while his archers from behind 
them should gall the enemy, who where exposed 
by the situation and were intent on defending 
themselves from the swords of their assailants. 
By this he at last prevailed. "A mischief is no 
mischief if it come alone. Besides the disaduan- 
tage of disarraye the shot of the Normans did 
continually beate upon the English with grievous 


execvtion. Among others king Harold abovt the 
closing of euening, as he was bvsie in svstaining 
the armie both with uoyce and with hande, was 
strooke with an arrowe throvgh the left eye into 
the braines; of which wovnd he presentlie dyed. 
Hys two brothers Girth and Leofwine were alsoe 
slayne, and also most of the nobilitie that were 
present, so long as the king stoode they stoode 
stovtlie, both with hym, and for hym : hys direction 
svpported them, his braue behauiour breathed 
freshe boldness and life into them. But hys deathe 
was a deadlie stabbe to theire covrage; vpon 
reporte of hys deathe they began to wauer in 
resolution, whether to truste to the force of theire 
armes, or to commend theire safetie to theire good 
footemanship. In this vncertainetie manie were 
slayne, many retired in reasonable order to rising 
grounde, whither they were closelie followed by 
the Normans ; but the English hauing gotten 
aduantage of the place and drawing covrage oute 
of despaire, with a bloody covrage did drive them 
downe. Count Eustachivs, supposing fresh forces 
to be arriued, fled awaie with fiftie souldiers in hys 
companie; and meeting with the duke rovnded 
hym secretlie in hys eare, that if hee went anie 
fvrther hee was vndone. Whilest hee was thvs 
speaking hee was strooke between the shoulders 
with so uiolent a blowe, that hee fell downe as 
dead, and uoided mvch blood at hys nose and 
movthe. In this conflicte manie of the first Normans 
were slayne, which moued the duke to make a 
stronge ordered stande, giuing libertie thereby for 
those English to retire. Others fled throvgh a 
watery channell the passages whereof were well 
knowen vnto them: and when the Normans did 


more sharpelie than aduisedlie pvrsue, the place 
being shadowed with sedges and reedes, and partlie 
with the night, they were either stifled in the 
waters - or easilie destroyed by the English, and 
that in so greate nvmbers that the place was filled 
up with dead bodies. The residue scattered in 
smaller companies, and had theire flighte fauoured 
by increasing darknesse : the enemie not aduentvring 
to follow, both in a strange covntrey and in the 
night. Earle Edwin and earle Morcar, brothers 
of approued covrage and faith did great seruice 
at that time in collecting these dispersed troupes, 
and leading them in some fashion to London." 
Har. MS. 

" Duke William svrprised with joie gaue publike 
charge for a solemne thanksgiuing to God: then 
hee erected hys pauiilion in the middest of the field 
among the thickest of those bodies whome death 
had made to lie qvietlie together. There hee 
passed the residue of the night; and the next 
morning mvstered hys souldiers, bvried those that 
were slaine, and gaue libertie to the English to do 
the like. The bodie of king Harold covld not 
be knowen by hys face it was so deformed by death, 
and by hys wovnd ; by hys armoure and certaine 
markes vpon hys bodie it was knowen.* As it lay 
vpon the grovnd a Norman souldier did strike it 
into the legge with hys sworde : for which vnmanlie 
acte hee was cassed by the duke with open disgrace. 
It was carryed into the duke's pauiilion vnder the 

* According to another ancient chronicler "The body stripped of its 
armour was so disfigured that the monks were unable to distinguish it 
In this emergency they had recourse to Editha " The lady with the swans 
neck" who with the keen eye of affection, recognised the remains of her 
lover by some private marks." Cott. MS. 


custodie of William Mallet. And when hys mother 
made suite for it to be bvried, the duke denied it 
at the first; affirming that bvrial was not fit for 
hym whose ambition was the cause of so manie 
fvnerals, The mother, besides her lamentations 
and teares, offered (as one Norman writer affirmes.) 
the weight thereof in gold. But the duke with 
manlie compassion gaue it freely; as holding it 
dishonovrable, bothe the ualue the bodie of a king 
and make sale of a slaine enemie. So hys bodie 
was bvried by hys mother at Waltham Crosse, 
within the monasterie which hee had founded. 
Verily there was nothing to blame in him, but that 
hys covrage could not stoup to be lower than a 

The town of Waltham (according to Farmer's 
history of that place) was founded by one Tovy a 
man of great wealth and authority, as being the 
king's staller or standard-bearer, who set up the 
standard on standard hill in Sussex, sometime 
before William the Conqueror joined battle with 
Harold. Waltham was bestowed by Edward the 
Confessor on his brother in law Harold, who 
immediately (1062) built and endowed a monastery 
therein for a dean and eleven secular black canons : 
who in 1177 were changed into regulars by king 
Henry the Second, the number increased to twenty- 
four, and the principal made an abbot. Fuller in 
his " Worthies " gives a relation, by Master Thos. 
Smith of Sewartstone in Waltham, of the discovery 
of a tomb containing the perfect anatomy of a man 
which fell to dust on being touched. It is generally 
conceived to have been that of Harold." Part of 
the tomb was in possession of Mr. Fuller the 


historian. Fuller describes the tomb as a plain 
rich grey marble monument, supported on each side 
by pillars, and adorned at top with a cross flowry. 
Weaver's Funeral Monuments gives the inscription 

"Heu cadis hoste fero, Rex, a Duce Rege futuro, 

Par pans in gladio railite et valido. 
Finnini justi lux est tibi, luci Calixti ; 

Pronior hinc supcras, hinc superatus eras. 
Ergo tibi requiem deposcat utr unique perennem, 

Sicque precetur cum, quod colit omne Deum." 

Which has been thus " Englished." 

" A Fierce Foe Thee slew, thou a King, he a King in View, 
Both Peers, both Peerless, both fear'd and both fearless. 

That sad Day was mix'd by Firman and Calixt; 

Th' one helpt thee to vanquish t'other made thee languish, 

Both now for thee pray, and thy Requiem say. 
So let good Men all, to God for thee call." 

His two brothers, Girth and Leofwine, lost their 
lives in the battle and were in like manner taken 
to Waltham and entombed. 

William of Poictiers, who lived at the time of 
the Conquest, mentions the solicitations of Githa 
Harold's mother and two monks Osbert and Aibric, 
and William's refusal, and asserts that the body 
of Harold was buried in the sea beach ; but that is 
improbable from the distance; and most of the 
English chroniclers say that the corpse was ulti- 
mately given to his mother and buried at Waltham. 
There is a romantic tale, told by Giraldus Cam- 
briensis, bishop of St. Davids 1199 to 1214, 
preserved among the Harleian MS. that Harold 
escaped and, recovering from his wounds, lived as 
an anchorite in a cell at St. John's, Chester ; but 
in an historical point of view this is totally undeser- 
ving notice. 


But to return to our subject " I haue been the 
more long in describing this battell, for that I 
esteeme it the most memorable and best execvted 
that euer was fovght within this lande : as well for 
skilfull direction, as for covragious performance, 
arid alsoe for the greatness of the euent. The 
fyght continued with uery great constancie of 
covrage and uariety of fortune, from seuen of the 
clocke in the morning vntill night. Of the Normans 
were slaine 6,000 and more, besides those that 
were drowned in the waters. The slaughter of the 
English is vncertainlie reported, but certaine it was 
farre greater then that of the Normans. Certaine 
alsoe that their death was moste honourable and 
faire; not anie one baslie abandoning the field; 
not anie one yielding to be taken prisoner. And 
yet one circumstance more I hold fit to be obserued : 
that the uictory was gotten onlie by the meanes of 
the blowe of an arrow." 

"The next morning after the uictory the dvke 
retvrned to Hastinges about seuen miles from 
the place f the recovnter, partlie to refresh hys 
armie, and partlie to settle in aduise and order for 
hys further prosecution. First he dispatched 
messengers to hys friends abroade. To the Pope 
he sent king Harold's stander which represented 
a man fighting wrovght cvriovsly with gold and 
preciovs stones.* Afterwards placing a stronge 
garrison at Hastinges, hee condvcted hys armie 
towards London." 

* Robert of Glocester says Harold's banner "toas 

fggur of a JHan fnghting blset al about tint!) goltj antt 
prcctossc stems, fcdjicf) banner after tlje IBattaile Due SBMUtam 
sent to tfje }3ope in token of the aictort?." 


It is recorded that the duke's armourer the 
morning before the battle put on his hauberk 
inverted: on which William observing that the 
incident cast a gloom on the countenances of the 
by-standers said "it is a forewarning that the 
strength of my dukedom shall become the strength 
of a kingdome." 

In the battle William was thrown from his horse 
and his helmet beaten into his face, which one 
of his soldiers named Truelove observing, pulled 
it off and rehorsed him : on which the duke said 
to him " Thou shalt henceforth from Truelove be 
called Air, because thou hast given me the air I 
breathe." After the battle the duke enquiring 
for him and finding him sorely wounded, his leg 
and thigh being struck off, ordered the utmost 
care to be taken of him. On his recovery William 
gave him lands in Derby in reward for his services ; 
and a leg and thigh in armour for his cognizance.* 
William had three horses killed under him one 
of which, according to Robert Wace, who was Clair 
Lisant to Henry the First and whose grandfather 
was at the battle, was a great favourite presented 
to him by the king of Spain. The incident before 
mentioned occurred on one of these occasions. 

The consternation of the English when the result 
of the battle was known could not be exceeded : 
and though it might have been possible to have 
mustered forces and further opposed William, there 
were vices in the Anglo-Saxon constitution which 

This honorary badge is still used by the Earl of Newburgh and all 
the Eyres in England who are descendants of the said Truelove. One of 
the family bad property in the borough of Mountjoy in Battel 1433. 


rendered it difficult for them to defend their 
liberties. The people had in a great degree lost 
all national pride and spirit, by their long subjec- 
tion to the Danes : and as Canute the Great had 
much abated the rigour of conquest, and had 
governed them equally by their own laws, they 
regarded with less terror the ignominy of a foreign 
yoke and deemed the inconveniences of submission 
less formidable that those of bloodshed and resist- 
ance. Their attachment also to the ancient royal 
family had been much weakened by their habits 
of submission to the Danish kings and by their late 
election of Harold or acquiescence in his usurpation. 
They had long regarded Edgar Atheling the only 
heir of the Saxon line, as unfit to govern them in 
times of tranquillity, and could less hope that he 
would be able to repair such losses as they had 
sustained, or to withstand the victorious arms of 
the duke of Normandy. They however took some 
steps towards adjusting ths disjointed government 
and uniting themselves against the common enemy. 
The two potent noblemen Edwin earl of Mercia 
and Morcar earl of Northumberland took the lead 
on this occasion, in concert with Stigand archbishop 
of Canterbury, a man possessed of great authority 
and revenue ; they proclaimed Edgar Atheling and 
endeavoured to put the people in a posture of 
defence and encouraged them to resist the Normans. 
In this attempt they were greatly assisted by 
Bertram de Ashburnham,* who was sheriff of 

Piers, Lord of Aahburnham, in Sussex, in the time of the Confessor, 
was succeeded by his son Anchitell or Anquitill, whose son Bertram abore 
mentioned, was with his two sons Philip and Michael beheaded by the 
Conqueror. Philip left a son from whom descended Reginald, who lived 
in the time of Henry the Second, whose grant to Battel and Robertsbridge 
Abbeys will be seen hereafter. 


Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, and governor of Dover 
castle, which he endeavoured to defend against 
William; but the terror occasioned by the late 
defeat, and the neighbourhood of the Conqueror, 
increased the confusion inseparable from great 
revolutions ; and their hasty, fluctuating, tumultuous 
resolutions, ill planned and worse executed, were 
disconcerted by fear or faction. 

William pursued his advantage without giving 
the English time to overcome the consternation and 
unite themselves. Most of the bishops and digni- 
fied clergy were either French or Normans ; and 
the pope's bull, by which William's enterprise was 
sanctioned and hallowed, was openly insisted on as 
a reason for submission. William's success even 
discomfited the earls Edwin and Morcar, who 
retired to their own provinces, and the people 
thenceforth disposed themselves to submit to the 
victor. Stigand made submission, and before 
William arrived in London, the nobility, and even 
Edgar Atheling, appeared before him and declared 
their intention of yielding to his authority. 

William affected to wish for a more formal and 
explicit consent of the nation ; but Aimer d' Acqui- 
taine remonstrated on the danger of delay, he laid 
aside his pretended scruples and accepted the 
proffered crown. 

Orders were immediately given to prepare for 
the coronation. The primate Stigand was not 
much in favour with William, because of his 
influence over the English, and of his having 
obtained the see of Canterbury on the expulsion of 


Robert the Norman. William therefore pretending 
that Stigand had irregularly obtained his pail 
from pope Benedict the Ninth, who was himself 
an usurper, refused to be consecrated by him, and 
allowed this honor to Aldred archbishop of York. 
The most considerable of the nobility of England 
and Normandy assembled at Westminster Abbey, 
on the 26th day of December, 1066, where Aldred 
made a short speech, and asked the former whether 
they were agreed to accept of William for their 
king. The bishop of Constance put the same 
question to the latter; and both being answered 
with acclamations, Aldred administered the usual 
oath, anointed him, and placed the crown on his 

William distributed great sums among his 
troops, and expressed his gratitude to the ecclesias- 
ticks, both in England and abroad in the manner 
most agreeable to them. He confirmed Edgar 
Atheling in the earldom of Oxford, which had been 
conferred on him by Harold, and treated him 
without the least suspicion; but Atheling was 
afterwards induced by Cospatrick, a powerful 
Northumbrian, to retire into Scotland on pretence 
of some impending evil. Atheling shewed himself 
on some occasions to be possessed of much bravery ; 
but the meanness of his talent in other respects is 
evident from his never attempting to obtain the 
crown, though possessing the affection of the 
English people. He accompanied Robert duke 
of Normandy in the first crusade, and died in 
England without issue in the reign of Henry the 
First. He is said to have married Margaret sister 
of Malcom Canmore, king of Scotland, and daughter 


of Duncan who was murdered by Macbeth. Mal- 
com married Atheling's eldest sister Margaret, who 
on the death of her brother became sole heir of the 
Saxon kings to the crown of England ; and their 
daughter Maude or Matilda having married Henry 
the First, the Saxon line was restored in the per- 
son of her grandson king Henry the Second : though 
not strictly in the male line till the accession of 
king James the First. 

Having shewn the cause that led to the founding 
of Battel Abbey it may perhaps be interesting to 
notice the rewards bestowed by the Conqueror on 
some of the most eminent of his warriors. To 
Hugh d'Abrinces, his sister's son, (afterwards the 
celebrated Lupus or Wolf,) he gave the whole 
county of Chester, which he erected into a palatinate 
and rendered it almost independent of the crown. 
The family became extinct in 1119. To his half 
brother Robert earl of Mortaigne, tbe castle and 
rape of Pevensey with 121 manors in Sussex; and 
the earldom of Cornwall with other lands compri- 
sing in all 793 manors: forfeited in 1106. To 
Alan Fergaunt husband of his daughter Constance, 
son of Conan earl of Bretamie, the earldom of 
Richmond with 442 manors, in Yorkshire and 
elsewhere. To Odo bishop of Baieux, another half 
brother, Harold's earldom of Kent with 439 manors. 
To Geoffrey bishop of Constance 280 manors. To 
William Giffard the earldom of Buckingham and 
107 manors. A Robert and William of this family 
lived in or near Battel in the 12th and 13th centu- 
ries and witnessed the grants of Stephen de 
Ashburnham and others to Battei Abbey. To 
William de Warrenne the castle and honour of 


Lewes 298 manors, 28 hamlets and the earldom 
of Surrey. To Todeni 81 manors, Roger Bigod 
123 manors. Robert earl of Ou the castle and 
rape of Hastings with 118 manors. William de 
Braiose, Bramber castle and rape, 63 manors. 
Roger de Mortimer 132 manors besides several 
hamlets. Robert de Stafford 130 manors. Walter 
D'Evreux, the earldom of Salisbury with 66 man- 
ors. Geoffrey de Mandeville, the earldom of 
Essex with 118 manors. Richard de Clare, 171 
manors. Hugh de Beauchamp, 47 manors. Henry 
de Ferrars 222 manors. William de Percie, 
1 19 manors. Norman D'Arcy, Pontefract with 33 
manors. Fitz Osborne (son of the count de Bret- 
ville, William's favorite^) the earldom of Hereford 
with immense possessions, Alberic viscount de 
Thouars the earldoms of Richmond and North- 
umberland which he soon forfeited, when the former 
was given to Fergaunt, as before said, and the latter 
to De Mowbray. Richard Fitz Gilbert, Tonbridge 
with numerous manors of which 49 were in Surrey, 
of which county he was the greatest proprietor. 
Henry de Newburgh son of Roger de Bellomont 
earl of Mellent, Warwick castle with the earldoms 
of Warwick and Bedford. William de Peverill 
the earldom of Nottingham, and large possessions 
in Derbyshire. William de Mallet the govern- 
ment of York and many manors. Ralph de Guader 
the earldom of Norfolk. Hugh de Grentmesnille 
large possessions which he forfeited within two 
years. Walter de Lacy ; Geoffrey de Rotrou ; 
Hugh D'Estaples; Fitz Eustace; D'Abitot; and 
innumerable other knights were richly rewarded: 
and the leader of the forces Roger de Montgomerie 
received the castles and earldom of Arundel, 


Chichester and Shrewsbury. In the latter he was 
succeeded by his eldest son, known as Robert de 
Belesme, and two other sons, Arnulf and Roger, 
became earls of Pembroke and Lancaster ; all of 
which were confiscated in 1102. One of these 
sons who retired into Wales, and from thence went 
to Scotland with Walter the Steuart, (son of 
Fleance, who fled from Scotland when Macbeth 
murdered his father Banquo,) obtained the manor 
of Eglisham, in Renfrewshire ; and his descendant 
Sir John, who took Harry Hotspur prisoner at the 
battle of Otterburne, married the heiress of Eglin- 
ton, and thereby acquired the lordships of Eglinton 
and Ardrossan, in Ayrshire. From whom are 
descended Archibald William, present and 13th 
earl of Eglinton, and his mother the baroness 
Montgomery (daughter of Archibald the llth earl) 
lady of Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb, bart., now 
residing at Beauport; a short distance from the 
spot on which her ancestor, Roger, won his English 

The name of the place before the Battle o, 
Hastings The founding of the Abbey Th 
Charters of the Founder and subsequent 

It is very uncertain whether the tract of land 
comprising the parish of Battle, bore any peculiar 
name previously to the battle of Hastings; further than 
that it is a part of the then hundred of Hailesalted. 
Camden calls it Epiton ; but this it appears is a 
mistake, as to the meaning of a term peculiar to 


Ordericus Vitalis, who wrote " Historia Ecclesias- 
tico" in the time of king Henry the First, and uses 
the term twice for " field." He makes the Conqueror 
on his death bed say, that he had conferred the 
dutchy of Normandy on his son Robert " antequam 
in epitonio Senlac contra Haraldam certassam." 
He also calls the field of battle, where the conqueror 
erected a church to the Holy Trinity, Senlac ; and 
Mr. Gough says, that the French historians give 
the name of Senlac (bloody lake) to the spot where 
the battle between William and Harold was fought. 
Sang Lac is the name of one of the boroughs in 
the liberty of Battel, and it is understood to have 
received the appellation, from the circumstance of 
it being the spot on which the most sanguinary 
part of the conflict occured. By this it appears 
that there is no authority for the name of Epiton. 
The chronicle of the abbey calls it Hetheland, 
and Hethe-Feld : and says that it is since called 
Battaille. In another place it calls it Herst ; but 
these terms were merely descriptive of the nature 
of the country. Heath is still plentiful in the woods 
and uncultivated tracts of the country. Feld is a 
Saxon word signifying an uninclosed, barren, rough, 
stony tract of land : and such was most of Sussex 
from Hastings inland to the middle of the county, 
as may be learned from the names of Westfeld, 
Helmingfeld, Cattsfeid, Nuenfeld, Nedderfeld, 
Hethefeld, Ukefeld, Mayfeld, Maresfeld, &c. 
Herst is a Saxon term for wood with which the 
county abounded, and from that circumstance many 
places are so called, and others have the appellation 
prefixed or added, as Cogherst, Crowherst, 
Ewherst, Peneherst, Henherst, Angmeresherst, 
Ticeherst, Burgherst, (now Burwash,) Bodeherst, 


(now Batherst,) Herstmonceaux, and others. The 
precincts of the Abbey had four woods, Hecheland, 
Bodeherst, Petlee, and one near Doningford: of 
which the first three now contain above 1000 acres. 

Some writers have held the opinion that the 
place was called St. Mary's in the wood because 
the parish church is dedicated to St. Mary ; but 
there was no parish church till half a century after 
the conquest. Others have thought the old name 
was St. Martin's, because the monastery was dedi- 
cated to that saint; but this opinion is equally 
erroneous: and originates in a supposition that, 
"The Monastery of St. Martin's at Battel" and 
" The Monastery of St. Martin's in the Wood/' 
were the same ; but sufficient proof that they were 
two distinct places is found in the muniments of 
Battel Abbey, among which is a deed of gift from 
Henry, the prior and monks of St. Martin in the 
wood, to the abbot and convent of St. Martin at 
Battel, that they may have a water-gang, of sixteen 
feet, through the middle of the marsh of the manor 
of Hoo, unto the sea. Among the witnesses is 
" Gilberto Barrier, tune Vis. Sussexiae," with his 
seal in white paste. The manor of Hoo was given 
to the abbey of Bee in Normandy by Henry 3rd 
earl of Ou who died 1 139 : and there was shortly 
afterwards an alien priory of Benedictine monks 
erected at Hoo, which was called " St. Martin's in 
the Wood" ; to distinguish it from the Monastery 
of St. Martin's at Battel. 

There being no sufficient authority for deciding the 
point, we must rest satisfied with the knowledge that 
the conqueror here founded a monastery as a lasting 


monument of the victory which he gained over king 
Harold, and gave to the hundred, manor, and parish 
the name of " Battaille." In the oldest documents 
among the muniments, the abbey is called " The 
Monastery of St. Martin of Battaille" ; indeed St. 
Martin was not omitted in the designation pre- 
vious to the year 1200 and not generally till twenty 
years afterwards when it was indifferently termed 
the monastery or abbey of Battaile. Robert of 
Glocester says, 

14 liing Wlliam tutf)ougi)t fajm alsoc 

<>f foUu tijat toas forlonu 
"SntJ slarm al' ti)oru? Ijym 

In tf>e fcattaille bifornc. 
3(nto tJjcr as t$e Iiattatic teas 

3ln l&fav fy let me 
f Setnt Jttartin, for t^e 
^at t^er slayn toer. 
t^e Jitonks tocll ijnoug 
cffeU tDit^out fa^Ie, 
ts tailed in lEnglontle 
of Battaile." 

The orthography of the name has undergone 
many changes. It was first Battaille, then Bataile, 
Batayle, Battayl, Battele, Battell and Battel, till 
within the last century, when it followed the verb 
and became Battle; but it is now become the 
fashion again to write it Battel : for which there 
can be no sound reason. If antiquity be the point 
aimed at, the original " Battaille" should be taken. 

In old writings in latin it is written " Bello" 
as in the Chronicle, Historia and Liber de Situ &c., 
of the abbey. 


It is said that William previous to the battle, 
made a vow, that if he were victorious he would 
found a monastery on the spot in commemoration 
of the event. The idea is said to have been sug- 
gested, or rather encouraged, by one William 
Faber, a monk of Marmoustier in Normandy ; 
which monastery being of the Benedictine order 
and dedicated to St. Martin, the conqueror decided 
that the monks of this should be of the same order, 
and that it should be dedicated to The Holy 
Trinity and St. Martin. 

Ordericus Vitalis, Robert of Glocester, William 
of Malmesbury, Henry of Huntingdon, Matthew of 
Westminster, Leland, Stowe, Dugdale, Speed, all 
agree that the abbey stands where the battle was 
fought. Gough in his additions to Camden says, 
the high altar stood on the spot where Harold's 
body and standard were found. William of 
Malmesbury says that the assertion of it being 
on the spot were Harold was killed is a mere 
invention of the monks. According to the " Liber 
de Situ, Institutione, Privileges, Possessionibus 
earumque Limitibus, Ecclesiae St. Martini de 
Bello." " The conqueror being anxious about the 
welfare of the institution made enquiry respecting 
the site on which it had been determined to build 
the church ; and it was suggested to him that the 
situation was dry and destitute of water which must 
necessarily be procured with great labour, and 
therefore it was desirable that some more fitting 
place in the neighbourhood should be assigned. 
The king heeded not the observation, but instantly 
commanded that it should be built on the spot 
remarkable for the overthrow of his enemy. And, 


that it might enjoy a royal foundation, the bountiful 
king then uttered the following memorable sentence. 
s I, if God vouchsafe me his protection, will remain 
patron of this place, and so favor it, that wine shall 
be more abundant than water in any other abbey'. 
Again the king replied to their complaining of the 
inconveniency of the country, particularly of the 
extent of the woods, and the impossibility of finding 
stone proper for the edifice, 'I will defray all 
expenses out of my own treasury.' He even sent 
his own ships to bring stone for the undertaking." 
The same work states that C( The foundation being 
now fully effected, as far as the time for the work 
would allow, in the second of his reign the great 
altar was erected, on the spot which the emblem 
of king Harold called the standard formerly occu- 
pied." The standard was not carried, like a 
banner, it was too large to be borne by any one. 
As the name implies, it was fixed so as to be easily- 
seen, and by it " Harold stoode on foote." It is 
related that Harold received his death wound 
whilst lifting his helmet to take a better view of 
the action; and it is most probable that he fell 
by the standard, which in such a battle was 
attacked and defended as the stronghold of the 
party to whom it belonged. 

The monks seem to have been more anxious 
about their own comfort and convenience than 
they were to fulfil the intentions of their sovereign 
and benefactor. They coveted valleys where 
the soil was richer, and water more plentiful, than 
on the spot where the victory was gained. As to 
stone, there was plenty; and there is no doubt 
that the principal part of the edifice was constructed 


with that found on the domain ; but the ornamental 
portions, of which many fine specimens remain, 
were wrought of the beautiful species known by 
the name of Caen stone, from being found near 
Caen, in Normandy ; and this no doubt the king's 
ships brought, as well as other from Purbeck or 
elsewhere, from whence it must have been procured 
even if another site had been selected. 

It is evident that Leland and Stowe erred in 
supposing that the building was not commenced 
till 1085-6. William was not a person likely to 
allow nearly ten years to pass away before the 
work was* commenced. The Liber de Situ 
indicates that it was begun in the 2nd year of 
William's reign ; and in consequence of the death 
of Robert Blancard, the first appointed abbot, 
Gausbertus was constituted abbot in 1076. Their 
mistake probably arose from one of William's 
charters being of that date, and termed " Carta 
Prima" in the Cartulary of the abbey. It is the 
principal but not the first charter that William 

The Cartulary contains thirteen charters granted 
by the founder to the abbot and monks of the 
monastery, nine of his son William Rufus ; twenty 
eight of Henry the First ; two of Stephen ; eight 
of Henry the Second ; one of Richard the First ; 
two of John ; two of Henry the Third ; and one 
of his brother Richard, earl of Cornwall and 
Poictou, of the year 1244. 

The first charter gave a tract of land termed a 
Leuga, (not a league about as generally stated,) 


around the spot chosen for the site of the abbey, 
to which the liberties of the place extend. The 
Liber de Situ describes the terminus or boundary 
of the Leuga as commencing at " The gate of 
Bodeherste, and passing eastward by the lands 
of Rodberti de Bovis, and those of Rogeri Moin, 
along towards Heciland, including Heciland, along 
by that of William the son of Rodberti the son 
of Widonis, and lands of Croherste on the south ; 
from thence by Cattesfeld and Puckehole towards 
West Bece, beside the land of Bodeham on the 
west ; then passing the land of Itintune along 
towards the north ; from thence it is bounded by 
the land of Wetlingtuna and the lands of Wickham 
and Setlescumbe, and so on to the first boundary, 
that is to say the gate of Bodeherste on the east." 

Besides the Leuga, the Conqueror also bestowed 
the royal manor of Wye, in Kent, to which apper- 
tained soc and sac of 22 hundreds, free from all 
aids, services, and impositions; together with his 
royal customs in Wye, his right of wreck in 
Dengemareis, (a member thereof,) as also that of 
any royal or great fish called Crassipes, which 
should be there driven ashore; except when 
happening in certain limits, in which case they 
were to have only two parts of the fish, and 
the tongue, which were all that the king usually 
had. He also gave the manor of Alciston, in 
Sussex, which paid geld for 44 hides, free from 
all service in the same manner as the former; 
Lymnesfeld, in Surrey, 25 hides ; Hou, in Essex ; 
Craumareis, in Oxfordshire, 5 hides ; Brychtwalton, 
in Berkshire, which was Harold's, rated at 10 hides; 
four houses in Wallingford ; the church of Redynges 


with 8 hides ; the church of Colitone, in Devonshire 
with 1 hide; and the church of St. Olave, after- 
wards the priory of St. Nicholas, in Exeter, with 
7 hides. The priory of Brecknock was afterwards 
made a cell to Battel abbey. Another of his 
charters recites the gift of the meadow of Bodeham. 
Two others relate to the general liberties of the 
Leuga. Another confirms all gifts of land bestowed 
by his subjects. One grants a market to be holden 
on Sundays. Another, liberation from all tolls, 
and empowers the abbot and monks so to make 
their markets throughout the kingdom; and one 
" de Corrodio Abbatis." * 

Bishop Tanner in his "Noticia Monastica" 
speaks of the Carta Prima as being then in the 
possession of Sir Whistler Webster, it is now 
among the muniments of the abbey. The privileges 
therein detailed are very great ; it not only exempts 
the monastery from episcopal jurisdiction, but 
confers the exemption in as ample a manner as that 
enjoyed by the metropolitan church of Canter- 
bury; grants freedom from all tax and service 
whatsoever; the right of free warren in all its 
manors; treasure-trove; the right of inquest; 
sanctuary in cases of murder and homicide; and 
even gave the abbot the royal power of pardoning 
any condemned thief, whom he should pass or 
meet going to execution. 

The Conqueror presented to the church the 
sword which he used in the battle, and the royal 

* A Corrodium was an allowance for the maintenance of a servant 
of the king in au abbey, with meat, drink,, and clothing. 


robe worn by him at his coronation. These the 
monks carefully preserved and exhibited as great 
curiosities, with a list, known by the name of " The 
Roll of Battel Abbey" of the nobles, knights, and 
gentry who came to England with William. The 
sword and robe were taken to Cowdray, by Lord 
Montague; most probably the roll was removed 
at the same time, and as there are now no traces 
of them, it is supposed that they were all destroyed 
when that noble mansion was burnt on the 24th 
September, 1793. 

King William intended to have endowed the 
monastery with lands sufficient for the maintenance 
of 140 monks; but was prevented by death in 
1087, before the building was completed. Though 
large grants were bestowed by subsequent monarchs, 
and by numerous other persons, it does not appear 
that more than 60 monks were ever on the 

In 1090, William Rufus when at Hastings, 
previous to his attack on Normandy, visited the 
abbey, and expressed great displeasure at the 
dilatory manner in which the work had proceeded ; 
and at the building not being so magnificent as 
the bounty of his father allowed. In 1094, Rufus 
was again at Hastings, from whence, attended by 
Wakelin, bishop of Winchester; Ralph, bishop 
of Chichester ; Osmond, bishop of Salisbury ; John, 
bishop of Bath; William, bishop of Durham; 
Roger, bishop of Constance, in Normandy ; Gun- 
dulph, bishop of Rochester; and a great number 
of temporal barons, he proceeded to Battel, and 
was present at the consecration of the abbey- 


church ; on which occasion he gave a charter 
confirming his father's grants ; and added to them 
the churches of Exelinges, Trilaune, Middlehala, 
Nortune, Eilesham, Saford, Bramford, Brantham 
and Mendlesham, with their several appendages. 
Besides this charter, and two others, confirming 
the general liberties of the abbey, Rufus granted 
to the monks, first the royal manor, and afterwards 
the church of Bromeham, in Wiltshire ; a distinct 
charter confirming the liberties of Wye; one of 
general privileges confirming treasure-trove; and 
another relating to the meadow of Bodeham; 
which by the description of the bounds of the 
Leuga, was at the western part of Battel. 

King Henry the First confirmed the charters 
of his father and brother, and all gifts and sales 
of land in the rape of Hastings, which had been 
granted or confirmed by Henry, third earl of Ou, 
who was lord of the rape ; and those of William 
and Cleorembaldus de St. Leodegario ; Anselm de 
Fraelville ; Geraldus de Normanville, and the lands 
of Bocestepe which William the son of Werbest 
gave; free from all customs and services; and 
prohibited any one from molesting the monks in 
their possession. He also gave a charter confirming 
their market, * and granting a fair to be holden 
three days at St. Martin's-tide. Among the 
numerous charters of this monarch is one " For 
the exchange of Redynge." And another "For 
a court for all purposes." 

* In 1566, Lord Montague got the market-day changed from Sunday 
to Thursday; on which occasion he shewed King Henry's charter in 
Parliament The bill was read in the house of peers the first time Dec. 
3rd ; second, Dec. I2th ; third, Dec. 2Ist ; and received the foyal assent 
Jan. 3rd. 


The following relative to Alciston is worthy of 
notice, as giving date to works at Pevensey Castle. 

* Henry, King of England, to Ralph, bishop of 
Chichester, and all the ministers of Sussex, sendeth 
greeting. Know ye &c., &c., that I command 
by my kingly authority, that the manor called 
Alciston, which my father gave with other lands 
to the abbey of Battel, be free and quit from 
shires and hundreds, and all other customs of 
earthly servitude, as my father held the same, most 
freely and quietly, and also free from the work 
of London bridge, and the work of the castle of 

And this I command on my forfeiture. 

King Stephen granted two charters. 

King Henry the Second granted eight charters ; 
one of which conferred protection to the abbot for 
himself and all his lands, besides permission to 
hunt in the royal forests. 

King Richard the First gave a charter of con- 

King John, one of confirmation; and another 
conferring on the monks the custody of the tem- 
poralities and goods of the abbey, on the decease 
of their abbots, for which they paid 500 marks. 

King Henry the Third gave two charters ; one 
of general confirmation, and extending the privilege 


of sanctuary for cases of murder and homicide, to 
all cases whatsoever ; the other in amplification of 
the liberties, allowed the abbot to have pleas of 
his tenants held before his own steward, dated 
1242. Subsequently the records of the abbey 
contain " Rolls of Gaol Delivery for the town of 
Battel," having the names of the itinerant justices, 
and those of the prisoners, their offences, the finding 
of the jurors, the sentences, &c. It appears that 
there were two Guildhalls in the town, one of them 
in Sang Lake, and the other in the western part 
of the town then called Claverham. 

King Edward the First by charter of the 9th 
and 26th of his reign, confirmed that of John, as 
to the custody of the abbey during vacancies, and 
added other privileges ; as that the abbot should 
have right to all fines and amercements of his 
tenants in the town of Battel, which had before 
been received by the king's clerk of the markets ; 
together with the assize of bread, and of weights 
and measures; and also the cognizance of all 
trespasses committed within a certain extent of the 
abbey precinct. 

King Edward the Second gave several charters 
confirming previous grants, and conferring new 
privileges. One for a market and fair at Hawke- 
hurst, where the manor of Merebuss belonged to 
the abbey. The advowson of the church of Hoton, 
in Essex. A remission of the fine usually paid on 
the admission of a new abbot ; and a license to 
acquire lands, to the value of forty pounds per 
annum ; which, as the statute of Mortmain had 
lately been passed, was an extraordinary favour. 


King Edward the Third granted the abbot 
special grace under his privy seal, to enclose the 
site of the abbey, of the foundation of his ancestors 
kings of England, with a wall of stone and lime, 
and to fortify and embattle the monastery. Dated 
Lopham, June 9th, 1330. 

King Henry the Fourth's charter recites and 
confirms the principal grants to his time. 

The papal and episcopal grants are not so 
numerous. In the early times they are either con- 
firmations of privileges, or grants of vestments, or 
of tithes ; those of later date mostly relate to appro- 

The Cartulary of the Abbey, a folio volume 
on parchment, contains transcripts of the charters, 
grants, and privileges, to the monastery of St. 
Martin at Battel, from the foundation thereof by 
William the Conqueror, to the time of Henry the 
'third ; with several bulls and indulgencies of the 
popes ; confirmations of the archbishops of Canter- 
bury ; grants of land by numerous benefactors of 
the fraternity, &c. ; entries by subsequent abbots 
continued to near the time of the surrender of the 
monastery are very numerous ; and with those in 
the " Chronicle," " Register," and "Liber de Situ" 
afford information on matters of which there are 
no other records extant. They have reference to 
the manors and possessions of the abbey in Battel, 
and its Leuga, Alciston, Aluriston, Angemeresherst, 
Anasti, Apeldrum, Basoe, Beckele, Bexle, Berg- 
herste, Bernehorne, Blechynton, Bocholt, Bocestepe, 
Bodeham, Bodeherste, Bromham, Brychtwalton, 


Craumareis, Cumbe, Cattesfeld, Dalyngton, Denge- 
mareis, Echynham, Ewherste, Fareleghe, Fannes- 
cumbe, Gestlinge, Helmyngfelde, Hooe, Holintune, 
Hentune, Hotune, Iltonsbathe, Iklesham, Ixning, 
East-Kyngesuode, West-Kyngesuode, Lymnesfelde, 
London, Mexfeld, Northey, CEsted, Pepplesham, 
Penherste, Philesham, Pevensey, Rette, Sedes- 
cumbe, La Snape, Snayleham, Schorham, Tone, 
Warbylton, Wadeherste, Westfelde, Wetlyngton, 
Willendun, Wiltinges, Wyke, Wye, Wechynden, 
Wilmington, and other places where the abbey 
had possessions. 

Grants to Battel Abbey, by numerous royal 
and noble persons and gentry, with notices of 
various families and circumstances. 

The instruments of other than sovereigns, are too 
numerous to be particularized in the narrow limits 
of this pamphlet ; but a notice of some of the most 
curious and important may be interesting. There 
are but few, if any, bearing date earlier than the 
year 1200, but the names of the parties, witnesses 
and other circumstances nearly fix the date of many. 

Walter de Boeuf, whose father came over with 
the Conqueror, and is mentioned in the description 
of the Leuga, under the latinized name of Roberti 
de Bovis, gave all his lands called Bodeherst, lands 
called la Grave, Beche, &c. The deed was wit- 
nessed by Robert de Amberville, who held some 
of these lands in Battel and Westfelde of Walter 
de Boeuf; and who also executed a feofment of 
them to the abbey, which was witnessed by 
Herebert de Burgh, then viscount of Sussex. 


Anselm de Fraelville, with the concurrence of 
his lord, Henry third earl of Ou, sold to Abbot 
Ralph and the monks, his lands called Dudeland 
and Bregesele ; and gave them an acre of meadow 
land, and the tithes of his Ville called Glesye, 
for the salvation of his soul, and those of his parents 
living and dead, with the concurrence of Roger, 
his son and heir. The witnesses on his part were 
the viscount Ingelram, Stephen de Thorneham, 
Bartholomew de Cruil, William de Sumeri, Helia, 
his son, &c. On the part of the abbot and 
convent is named their whole chapter, Reimbertus 
the abbot's servant, and ^Elfricus, steward of the 
monastery, This abbot Ralph died 1127. The 
father of Anselm was one of the Conqueror's 

William de St. Leodegario, gave all his lands 
beyond Winchelsea, called Dengemareis, which it 
appears was 240 acres. Clarembaldus his son 
confirmed the grant. This family came from Caen, 
in Normandy, and were lords of Dalyngton and 
Wercklinge, in the time of Henry the First, who 
confirmed this grant. 

Gerald de Normanville's grant of Bocestepe, 
was also confirmed by Henry the First, as was 
the deed of Henry, third earl of Ou, or Angi, 
confirming to the abbey of Battel, whatsoever his 
men, both in England and Normandy, have given, 
or shall give, to the said church, for the health of 
their souls ; except the head of the manor and the 
knight's service, which he granted for the salvation 
of his soul, of the souls of his father and mother, 
of the soul of Matilda his wife, deceased, of the 


souls of his kindred, and of all his parents and 
ancestors. The witnesses are Geraldus de Nor- 
manville, Dapifer meus; (the earl's steward;) 
^Egelramus, vicecomes; Anselm de Fraelville; 
Hugo de Fulcarmonte. On the part of the convent, 
^Elredus, steward of the abbey, and ten others who 
made each a cross, consequently the attestation is 
an autograph. 

Robert, earl of Ou, received from the Conqueror the castle 
and lordship of the rape of Hastings, which his son William 
de Anco, forfeited and died in 1096 ; but the lordship was 
restored to his brother Henry, the third earl, whose deed 
we have noticed, who dying in 1138, was succeeded by his 
son John, the fourth earl, who made acknowledgment 
that his grandfather and father had unjustly taken from the 
church of the Holy Trinity, at Chichester, their mother, 
the village of Bexle, (of which Bexhill is a corruption of the 
last century,) and notwithstanding the efforts of the bishops 
Godefrid, Ralph and Seffrid, held it against justice ; where- 
fore, with the consent of king Stephen, he restored it to 
bishop Hilary, at St. Paul's Church in London, in 1148. 
Bexle belonged to the bishop of Selsea, previous to the 
removal of that see to Chichester, in 1072; but when the 
Conqueror gave the rape of Hastings to the earl of Ou, the 
latter it appears kept Bexle as if it had previously been lay 
property- John married Alice, daughter of William d' Albini, 
earl of Arundel, by his wife queen Adeliza, daughter of 
Geoffrey duke of Brabant, and widow of Henry the First. 
He died in 1170, and was succeeded by his son Henry, the 
fifth earl, who in 1194 paid 62 10s. towards the ransom of 
Richard Co3ur de Lion ; in whose reign he died, leaving an 
only daughter, Alice, married to Ralph de Yssendon, who in 
her right, became earl of Ou, baron Tickhill, and lord of the 
rape of Hastings. Ralph died in 1218, when the lordship 
was held by the countess and her son William ; who forfeited 
it by adhering to the French in the ninth of Henry the 

Another deed of this earl confirms the gift of 
three wistas of land in Bernehorne, and tythes in 


Henry de Palerne, feoffed to the Church of St. 
Martin of Battel, and the monks there, the servants 
of God, for the good of his soul, and those of his 
ancestors and successors, all the lands which he and 
Helia (de Sumeri, the champion,) had recovered 
from the sea, (towards Bulverhithe,) with all his 
right of lands held of him by William Tirel. 
Henry his son confirmed the gift ; and Robert gave 
to the abbey the rent of a rood of land with a mill, 
&c., in the parish, for the salvation of his soul. 

Simon de Sumeri, feoffed to the abbey a mill- 
pool at Piperenges, within his fee of Cattesfeld. 
Samfrid de Sumeri, gave lands in Beausse and 
Ninefeld, which his nephew Robert confirmed. 

Others of the family were benefactors to the abbey. Two 
of the name are in " Battel Abbey Roll." It appears that 
William held the lordship of Catsfeld, in the reign of king 
Henry the First. John, who feoffed land in Bexle, to Simon 
bishop of Chichester, before 1210, married Hawyse, sister 
and heiress of Gervase Pagnel, and thereby acquired the 
barony of Dudley, in Staffordshire ; which became extinct 
in this family in 1761. 

William Munceaux de Bodeham, for the good 
of his soul, and those of his ancestors and successors, 
feoffed to the abbey all his possessions in the fee 
of Bodeham. Margaret his daughter, and Gilbert 
his brother, the same as to all lands in Rette. 

The lands here mentioned as being of the fee of Bodeham, 
are those mentioned in the description of the Leuga, and 
then formed part of the manor of Bodeham, which reaches 
to Brightling. The family of Monceaux is certainly French, 
and appears to have held the manor of Bodeham soon after 
the Conquest. In several deed& the name of Monceaux is 
dropped, and that of Bodeham only used. 


Isabella, widow of Gilbert Despenser, gave a 
tenement in Rikelherst, about 1200. 

Reginald de Hesseburneham, for the salvation 
of his soul, &c., feoffed to the abbey, land in Hooe 
called Cheleland; land called Denne, with two 
salt-pits in the marsh belonging to the said lands. 
His son Stephen confirmed the grant; Reginald 
also granted to ^Slred de St. Martin, all his lands 
of Dudewell, in fee, paying yearly half a mark; 
saving the rights to the king, the church, and the 
earl. Walter the priest ; Reginald, dean of Battel ; 
Waleran Malger ; Osbert de Glotingham ; Geoffrey 
and William, kinsmen of ^Elred, were witnesses. 
His son Stephen, and Stephen's son Richard, 
confirmed the grants ; and their confirmations were 
attested by Richard de Mundefeld ; Simon de 
Someri ; Robert de Giffard ; Giles de St. Leger ; 
Reginald de Beche; Thomas de Williamescote, 
constable of Hastings; Laurence de Mundefeld; 
William de Buericheston ; Geoffrey de Rokkeleghe ; 
Alan of Robertsbridge, &c. 

Reginald de Ashburnham was grandson of Bertram, whom 
the Conqueror beheaded. He held two knight's-fees of John, 
earl of Ou, in the reign of Henry II. Bartholomew was 
executed at Canterbury for rising with the earl of Lancaster 
to expel the Spensers, in the 15th of Edward II. John was 
sheriff of Sussex and Surrey, in 1395, and 1401 ; and knight 
of the shire in 1397. His grandson Thomas had two sons, 
John and Richard. John held Ashburnham in 1470 ; and 
from him descended John, celebrated for his devoted attention 
and services to the unfortunate monarch Charles the First, 
to whom he was cofferer. The earl of Ashburnham is his 
descendant, and holds through an unbroken male line, the 
estates which his ancestor, Piers, possessed 800 years ago. 
Richard, the second son of Thomas, before mentioned, mar- 
ried Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir John Stoneling, 
of Broomham, in Guestling ; where his descendant, Sir 
William Ashburnham, bart. now resides. 


Mired de St. Martin, married Alicia the widow of John, 
earl of Ou. In 1176 in conjunction with Robert his brother, 
he founded the monastery of St. Mary, at Salehurst ; where 
Robert built a bridge over the river Rother, which was called 
Robert's-bridgo ; and the abbey and town, which soon after 
sprung up, received the same appellation. It is written 
Pontu-Robertus in these muniments, which proves that it is 
from the builder, and not the river as some persons suppose, 
that the name is derived. The countess of Ou also gave 
seventy acres of land. The grant of Reginald de Ashburnham 
seems to have been made at the time that Robertsbridge 
Abbey was founded ; and in the confirmatory deeds of his 
son, and grandson, the land of Dudewell is mentioned as 
having been given by him to that abbey. 

William de Echyngeham gave the rent arising 
from land held by Mannasah de Herst ; Sir William, 
his son, gave release and quit-claim to the sacristy 
of Battel abbey, of two wax tapers yearly, by 
reason of the tithes of the Hope, in Salehurst; 
and a grant for the salvation of the soul of himself 
and of his father, to the abbey of Battel, of all his 
right and claim whatsoever in the fee of Whatlyng- 
ton ; and in the homage and service of Simon, son 
of Reginald at Brok, &c., in pure and perpetual 
alms. Sir Simon who was sheriff from 1233 to 
1237 and brother of Sir William, gave a coppice 
near Willenden, and twelve flemish acres of land 
in the marsh ; his son confirmed his father's gift, 
and granted to the abbey the perpetual advowson 
of the church at Whatiyngton. The stewardship 
of the rape of Hastings was hereditary in this 

Michael, son of Reginald de Beche, gave to the 
abbey a deed of release and quit-claim of his lands 
in Bodeherst, and afterwards feoffed them with 
eleven acres lying contiguous. Richard, his son, 


gave a messuage, situate between that of Gilbert 
Mowbray and mat in the keeping of the Almonry, 
in the town of Battel. Michael Fitz Walter de 
Beche, gave all his right and claim to lands in 
Battel, lately held by Richard Curteys. 

Ralph de Fillel or Filliol, confirmed a grant of 
his ancestor (who came over with the Conqueror,) 
of land in Pevensey marsh. 

Lambinus King gave release and quit-claim of 
land, lying near the Wind Mill, between the lands 
of Fulcon Pycot, and John de Penda. Sir William 
de Sokenesse, Michael de Beche, R. Cementarius, 
and others, are witnesses. 

Robert, son of Walter Cementarius, feoffed to 
the abbey a messuage in the place called a la 
Bore ; " (the Bower) and lands called Caldbec," 
(Cold-spring,) described as extending from the 
Plessett to the street of the Mill. The fines to be 
paid at the feast of St. Michael, to Fulcon and 
Laurence Picot. 

Gilebert Picot gave release and quit-claim " of 
that piece of land which accrued to him in a field 
east of the wind-mill." The witnesses are the 
same as in the deed of L. King, 

These documents are remarkable as proving the existence 
of a Wind Mill, soon after the year 1200, on the site of the 
most northern of the two now on Caldbec Hill. The south - 
most of the two is on the Caldbec lands, the original was not, 
though close by them. 

Gilbert Picot was the son of Fulcon, whose father Sir 
Warin, was the son of one of the knights that accompanied 


the Conqueror to England. He was related to William, 
whose ancestor Rollo, first duke of Normandy, was a Pycot. 
Adam the brother of Gilbert Picot ; William and Petronilla, 
children of Laurence ; Adam the son of Adam ; and Stephen 
(whose deed is dated 1304,) son of the second Adam ; were 
all benefactors to the Abbey. 

William de Coding gave to the abbey a release 
and quit-claim of rents arising from lands held of 
him, by Samfrid de Sumeri in Bernehorne. Sir 
Robert Basoc, Sir William de Sokeness ; Michael 
de Beech and Richard de Esburneham witnessed 
this and other of his deeds. 

Sir William de Sokeness held the manor of Sokeness, in 
Brightling, and lands In Mountfield. 

William de Hastings, knight, lord of Northey, 
son and heir of Matthew de Hastings, gave to the 
abbey, land in Battel, and land called Holybrede- 
land in Bernehorne. He also granted that the 
abbot and convent might drain all their lands, as 
well upland as marsh, through the demesne of the 
manor of Northey, viz. from Tradebridge, 
between the Trade and the demesne lands of the 
abbot, as far as Swaneflet, and from Swaneflet, 
between the lands of the priory of Hastings, close 
by the old sewer of Codyng. Robert de Hastings, 
knight, son and heir of Sir William, confirmed the 
grants ; and likewise gave a release and quit-claim 
as to all lands that were in dispute between him 
and Ralph the abbot ; which lands appear to have 
been given before, or in, the time of John de 
Duvra, who was abbot from 1200 to 1213. 

An ancestor of this family, which takes its name from the 
town of Hastings, settled in Normandy previous to duke 
William's invasion of England, on which occasion one of 


them accompanied him. Robert was port-reeve of Hastings 
in the reign of Henry the First. The marquess of Hastings 
and the earl of Huntingdon are descendants of these knights. 

William Hamond, for the health of his soul, 
and of those of his ancestors, feoffed to the abbey 
a tenement. By a note of the abbot it appears 
that the times when they were to be prayed for 
were twelve days before the feast of St. Thomas, 
and twelve days before that of St. John Baptist. 

Robert Fitz Hamon came over with the Conqueror, on 
whose death he embraced the cause of Rufus, against his 
brother Robert; and on the death of Rufus he took the 
same course in respect to Henry the First. In 1102 he found- 
ed the monastery at Tewkesbury, where he was buried. 
It is remarkable that the name continually occurs in the 
muniments of Battel abbey ; and the last abbot was a 
Hamond. Doctor John Hamond was M. P. for Rye, 1595. 
And Thomas who died in 1607, was mayor of Rye six times, 
and M. P. three times. John Hamond, to whom Anthony, 
third viscount Montague, in 1676, granted a lease of the old 
Mill at Peperenge, with permission to erect a Powder Mill, 
was the first manufacturer of the since universally esteemed 
Battel Gunpowder. Property in the parish still belongs to 
one of the family. 

Rengarius de Watlyngeton, Robert, Richard 
his son, and Thomas, son of Richard, gave lands 
in Buland, Eure, Cornore, Smayleville and Wick- 
wysse. Thomas, son of Thomas, gave land in 
Watlyngeton, for the perpetual burning of a lamp 
before the altar of the Virgin. 

Ralph le Hay, Adam his brother, and Robert 
made and confirmed several grants to the abbey, 
of the manors of Mexefeld, and Sneylham, Mexe- 
feld belonged to Lenota the mother of Ralph and 


Robert de la Hay, whose father was one of the Conqueror's 
warriors, married a lady of the royal blood, and King Henry 
the First gave him the honour of Halnaker in Sussex. He 
had a daughter, Alicia, married to Roger St. John ; and two 
sons ; Ralph, who adopted the cause of prince Henry against 
his father, Henry the Second, and was taken prisoner at Dol, 
in Brittany, in 1172 ; and Richard who married Maud, 
daughter of William de Vernun, died before 1185, and left 
three daughters his heiresses. Roger de Hay was sheriff of 
Sussex seven years, between 1160 and 1170. William, who 
died in 1170, settled in Scotland, and held the high office of 
king's butler under Malcom the Fourth and William the Lion, 
kings of Scotland ; He was ancestor of the earl of Errol and 
Marquess of Tweedale ; many of the name appear in the 
muniments. Thomas was almoner of the abbey in 1275, 
and another Thomas in 1385. One branch of the family was 
seated at Glynde, in the 16th and 17th centuries ; and another 
branch held considerable property in Battel and its vicinity, 
till the middle of the last century ; when on the death of 
Richard who resided at West Beech, and left no male issue, 
it was purchased by John, earl of Ashburnham. 

John Martel, a descendant of Geoffre, who 
commanded the centre of William's army at the 
battle of Hastings, held lands lying eastward, in 
the way from the Bower towards Donygton, in the 
borough of Montjoye, in Battel. 

Mabilla, widow of John, lord Mo win, gave to the 
abbey rents arising from land in Helmiggfeld, and 
Breggeselle, pertaining to her in the name of dower. 

The family of Maniers appears to have settled 
in this neighbourhood. Ingelram the son of 
Reginald, confirmed to God, the blessed Mary, 
and the abbot and monks of Robertsbridge abbey, 
a considerable portion of land, which Maud his 
mother had granted in her widowhood. 

Eleanor, countess of Pembroke, second daughter 


of king John, and sister of Henry the Third, 
granted to Battel abbey her houses and land in 
the manor of Sutton, which they had of Waldelin 
de Sutton. 

Her first husband was William Mareschall, earl of Pem- 
broke, who held the castle and honour of Pevensey. On his 
death she married the celebrated Simon de Montford, earl 
of Leicester. 

The Mareschalls held property in Battel, which Nicholas 
and Constance his wife, Richard, Stephen, and his children 
Peter and Avelina, severally feoffed to the abbey. 

Robert de Ycklesham released to the abbot Odo, 
(ante 1199,) all claim to land in the tenements of 
Bernehorne; Ralph his son, with consent of his 
mother Sybylla, gave lands in Bernsole and Effles- 
ham. Sybylla, daughter and heiress of Ralph, 
married Sir Nicholas Harengod, who confirmed 
the grants; and they released to the abbey the 
sendee of nine tenants, whose names are given. 
They also gave in perpetual alms, free from all 
services, for the salvation of their souls, all their 
lands of their fee in Cotingele, Bremsele, Berne- 
horne, Baldsmere, the Duna of Pigglond, &c. 
Sybylla also feoffed a virgate of land in Codingelea, 
which Duringus held ; and land in Mexefeld, the 
gift of Walter de Langhston. 

Sir Robert de Basoc de Sedlescumbe, made nine 
grants to the abbey, comprising Scottesland ; Hun- 
dredsland; a water mill near the bridge at 
Iltonsbathe ; part of the meadow called Gorwysse 
and Foss, with reflux of water to the said mill pool ; 
and his land towards the royal manor of Itonsbath; 
land called Wodeham ; certain rents arising out of 


lands held by Jocelin, son of Thomas de Haremere, 
Wercke, Bruere, Spliceregge and the Blancheland 
in Sedlescumbe ; a meadow near the church of 
Sedlescumbe, and a release of the service and 
homage of Alan, the son of Sigar. 

Sedlescomb was one of Harold's manors. After the con- 
quest it was held of the earl of Ou, by Walter Fitz Lambert, 
and afterwards by Geoffrey de Saye, who granted it to the 
Templars, who had a preceptory here ; and in 1235 recovered 
from this Sir Robert Basoc the advoweon of Sedlescomb 
Church. On the dissolution of the Templars, in the reign of 
Edward the Second, the order of St. John of Jerusalem, or 
Hospitallers, was invested with all their possessions ; and 
this preceptory became a commandery of the Hospitallers. 

Manserus de Scotegny, gave to the abbey, lands 
at Bereherst. 

Walter his son, who attested many grants to the abbey, 
was tried, found guilty, and executed at Winchester in 1259, 
for poisoning Richard, earl of Glocester, and his brother 
William de Clare, of which the former died. Whether his 
estates were confiscated does not appear j but In the reign 
of Edward the Third, his castle and manor of Scotney, near 
Lamberhurst, was in the possession of Roger de Ashburnham, 
who resided there in the second of Richard the Second. His 
successor sold it to Chicheley, archbishop of Canterbury. 
Peter de Scotney held 12 virgates of land in the middle 
borough of Battel, in 1344. 

Richard de Croherste, with the assent of Alice, 
wife of his son Anselm, feofled to the abbey land 
near Mundefeld. 

Alicia, countess of Ou, only child of Henry fifth 
earl, and relict of Ralph de Issolden, for the health 
of her soul, for those of her father and mother, and 
of her late lord Ralph, and of those of all her 
antecessors and successors, feoffed to the abbey 


the lands of Kaynworth, and De la Felde in 
Sedlescombe. The countess also made a grant 
confirming the gifts of Gerald de Normanville; 
Anselm de Fraelville ; William and Clarembaldus 
de St. Leodegario ; William the son of Werbert ; 
Walter de Boeuf; Reginald de Esburnham; 
William de Munceaux de Bodeham; Simon de 
Sumeri; Richard and Thomas de Watlyngton; 
Thomas de Haremere ; Robert de Basoc ; Richard 
de Croherste, and Manserus de Scotney. The 
deeds were tested by Simon and William de 
Echyngeham ; William de Munceax ; Robert de 
Hastings ; Roger de St. Amano ; Hugo de Haut, 
who was bailiff of the rape of Hastings when the 
grant was made; and Andrew de Ellham, who 
held the same office when the deed of confirmation 
was executed. 

Olivia de Wykham, or Ukham, for the health 
of the souls of herself, her antecessors and suc- 
cessors, feoffed to the Almonry of Battel abbey, 
when Richard was almoner, (who in 1218 became 
abbot,) meadow lands called Brodewisse and 
Trandelie ; and also lands to the Sacristary, meadow 
lands in Ukham contiguous to those of the almonry, 
and lying between the brook of Ukham and the 
park of Gilbert de Hode. 

It appears that Olivia afterwards withheld these lands, for 
there is an indenture of a fine, before Robert of Lexington 
and other barons, between Ralph, abbot of Battel, plaintiff, 
and Olivia de Wykhatn, deforciant, of 50 acres of land. 
Dated 1241. She then with consent of Walter de Wykham 
and his wife Agnes, her daughter and heiress, re-feoffed the 
same to brother Raymond, the sacristan, for forty years, 
commencing from the Michaelmas following the death of the 
venerable father of good memory, Edmund, archbishop of 


Canterbury. Olivia was daughter and heiress of Ralph de 
Wykham. William her ancestor gave lands to Robertsbridge 

Sir Nicholas Pessun, in 1270, gave a release 
and quit-claim of certain rents. 

Henry de Bromham made an agreement with 
brother John, the almoner of Battel, for an acquit- 
tance against the abbot of Fischamp, for all lands 
held of the fee of Fischamp. 

This family came from the abbey's manor of Broomham in 
Wiltshire. Abbot Odo, before 1200, granted land to William, 
Nicholas, and Geoffrey de Bromham, which appears to have 
been in Catsfeld, where they held 60 acres of land, 20 acres 
of wood, 200 acres of hethe, and ten shillings rent. A feof- 
ment of William, to his brother Robert is tested by Sir 
William de Echyngham, Simon his brother, who was Sheriff 
in 1233-4-5, and John de Smalefeld. It is remarkable that 
the land which now belongs to Sir Peregrine Palmer Fuller 
Palmer Acland, bart., was in 1838, occupied by a person 
named Smallfield. 

Henry Wardedu, lord de Bodeham, gave on the 
21st of May, 1278, a deed of release to the abbot 
and convent of Battel, and the Sacristy thereof, of 
all services for lands and tenements in the fee of 
Bodeham, Pryckele-Wode, and Angemeresherste ; 
witnessed by Sir Robert de Passeleghe, William 
de Penherste and others. 

This is the first occurrence of the name of Wardedu, which 
seems to have been assumed by Henry, a minor of the 
Munceaux family, who being a ward of the earl of Ou, 
assumed the cognomen of Ward de Ou. He held four knight's 
fees in Bodeham, Peneherst, &.c. ; and was knight of the 
shire in 1302. It has been generally supposed that Sir 
Nicholas was the first Wardedu that held Bodeham, and 
that it was granted to him by the earl of Richmond ; but 
Sir Nicholas succeeded Henry in 1315, and the grant to 


him was merely one of confirmation, when John de Dreux 
became lord of the rape of Hastings. By the rent-roll of 
Battel abbey for the year 1347, it appears, that Nicholas 
had taken the cowl and become a brother of that monastery. 
Richard his brother, who succeeded him in the family 
possessions, died in 1343 ; and Elizabeth his daughter and 
heiress, marrying Sir Edward Dalyngrygge, the lordship of 
Bodeham became the property of Sir Edward, who, by royal 
license of king Richard the second built Bodeham Castle in 
1386. His son Sir John held the castle and manors in the 
reign of Henry the Fourth, and dying without issue they 
passed to his sister Phillipa who married Sir Thomas Lewke- 
nor. In 1460 Richard Lewkenor, who married Katherine, 
daughter of lord Scales, widow of Sir Thomas Grey, and one 
of the ladies of the bedchamber to the queens of Edward IV th 
and Henry VHth, also held Brambertye, Hollington, and 
Wiltinge. Sir John Lewkenor was killed at the battle of 
Tewkesbury, May 4th, 1471. The muniments of Battel abbey 
shew that Sir Roger was living in 1542 ; for among them is 
King Henry the VHIths award and determination between 
Sir Roger Lewkenor, knight, and dame Elizabeth his wife, 
on the one part, and Sir William Barantyne, knight, and 
dame Jane Pole, widow, and others, concerning the said 
Sir Roger's estates ; having the great seal of England attached, 
and the autographs of the King; Sir Robert Southwell, 
Master of the Rolls ; William Whorwood ; and Sir John 
Baker, knight. Dated April 24th, 1542. Subsequent docu- 
ments show that the property was held by his heiresses or 
their representatives, till 1623, when Sir Nicholas Tufton, 
created baron Thanet in 1626, and earl in 1628, appears to 
have held Bodiam. His son John, second earl, sold it to Sir 
Nathaniel Powel, of Ewhurst, and the representatives of his 
widow sold it to Sir Thomas Webster, whose descendant Sir 
Godfrey, sold it to the late John Fuller, esq., of Rosehili. 

Sir Robert de Passeleghe was knight of the Shire in 1295, 
and succeeded his brother Edmund who was baron of the 

David Curteys before the year 1300 exchanged 
with the abbot, land called Clerksdoune in Cattes- 
feld, for land called Anseles Sterchuode in Battel. 

This is the first ancestor we meet with of the family now 


seated at Windmill Hill. Peter the son of John, in 1309, 
Simon in 1314, and Ralph in 1330, lived and had property in 
the neighbourhood. 

The documents of the 14th century are near 400 
in number and relate to property belonging to the 
abbey and other parties ; the most remarkable are 
king Edward the Third's grant to fortify the abbey, 
already noticed, and that of 

John de Dreux, duke of Brittany, earl of Riche- 
munde, and lord of the rape of Hastings, confirming 
all grants to the abbey of Robertsbridge by 
William de Echyngham, as also the water course 
of Poukheldebrook, and the mill-stream in the 
lordship of Wynhamford. Lord Robert de Has- 
tang, Peter de Graunteson, Robert de Felton, our 
knights; John de Stykeneye, our seneschal; 
Robert de Kersebrok, our bailiff of the rape of 
Hastings ; Matthew de St. Giles, our chamberlain ; 
Orgerus de Pogeyn, marshall of our household, 
and others, testators. Dated, London, on the 
sunday following the festival of St. Agatha the 
Virgin, 1314-15. The large and gorgeous seal 
nearly perfect, has an equestrian figure, armorial 
bearings, &c. 

When the castle and lordship of the rape of Hastings 
hecame forfeited in 1224, by William, seventh earl ofOu, it 
was successively held by several persons at the royal pleasure 
till 1245, when Peter de Savoy, earl of Richmond, uncle to 
Eleanor of Provence, the queen of Henry the Third, had 
custody of it. In 1248, the king granted it to his son prince 
Edward. In 1254, an exchange having been agreed upon 
between the prince and Peter, the castle was resigned into 
the king's hands for the use of Peter, and a grant thereof 
made to him, by the king, in lieu of a portion of the earldom 
of Richmond, which was transferred to the prince in 1269, 
Peter bequeathed the castle and rape to queen Eleanor, from 
whom the king obtained them for an annuity of 800 marks. 
John de Dreux, son of Peter, married Beatrix, youngest 


daughter of Henry the Third, who died 1272. John died in 
1306, and his eon John, whose grant we have noticed, 
succeeded to the earldom of Richmond, and a new agreement 
was entered into, by which Henry granted to him the rape, 
but not the castle, of Hastings, died in 1334. 

Indenture of agreement between the abbot of 
Battel, and William of Hodesdale, whose mill- 
stream had submerged the lands of the abbey, 
between Donyngton and Watlyngton. Dated Bat- 
tel, Monday following the nativity of our Lady, 

Robert de Sharnedenne one of the lords justices, 
and keeper of the liberties of Battel, gave license, 
dated Thursday before St. Katherine's day, 1345, 
for the removal of a building erected upon land 
holden of the manor of Battel, and which by 
Stephen of London, late sacristan of the monastery, 
had been sold by deed, contrary to the will of the 
lord, and contrary to the custom of the manor. 

Robert le Vynour, in 1359, gave to the abbey a 
certain house situate in Southwark, between his 
own tenement and a tenement belonging to the 
abbey, on the east &c., which house so granted 
measured 17 feet in length, and 16 feet in breadth. 
And on the 10th February, 1363, another " Cham- 
bre," annexed to one belonging to the abbot and 
convent called u le Stywardes Chambre," measuring 
20 feet in length and 15 feet in breadth, and 
standing next the ditch of the said abbot and 
convent on the north, and the garden of the said 
Robert, on the south. The Vyners of Lincolnshire 
are descendants of this Robert. 

Enrolment of the proceedings in Hilary term, 
1368, by the lord abbot of the monastery of St. 


Martin, of Battel, against Sir William de Echyng- 
ham, who, as steward of the rape of Hastings, 
refused to acquit the abbot from a knight's service 
for the free tenement of Whatlyngton, to John 
Plantagenet, surnamed of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. 

Nicholas de Quencv, of the family of Saier de 
Quency earl of Winchester, one of the 25 barons 
appointed to enforce the observance of Magna 
Charta, obtained considerable property in the 
borough of Sang Lake, about the year 1308, by 
marriage with Basilia, sister and heiress of Gilbert 

Vincent Herbert, alias Fynch, descended from 
Henry Fitz Herbert, chamberlain to king Henry 
the First, was in the time of Edward II. possessed 
of Nedderfeld Place, where he resided, and other 
property by Milestone, and in Sang Lake, What- 
lyngton* Mundefeld and Settlescomb. 

A son of his settled at Winchelsea, in and whereabout he 
possessed much property previously belonging to the Herin- 
gods which he probably acquired by marriage. His residence' 
called Old Place, in the parish of Icklesham, was pulled down 
about two centuries ago and another erected called New 
Place. Nedderfeld place with other property in Battel, and 
Watlington continued in possession of the family nearly three 
centuries. John Fynch was prior of Christ-church, Canter- 
bury, in 1377 ; and procured from pope Urban the Sixth, a 
Bull permitting the priors of that convent the use of the 
mitre, tunic, dalmatica and ring. Another Vincent was 
M. P. for Winchelsea in 1395, 1402, and 1419. William 
his son was M. P. in 1432 and Mayor in 1434. By the 
tenure of a messuage and croft in Sang Lake, he was bound 
" to bear the lord abbot's torch when he goes to parliament." 
Richard at the same time held Capenore and other property 
in Battel. Vincent seems to have been a favorite name in 
the family ; one was bailiff of the liberties of Battel, in 1499. 
The earl of Winchelsea is a descendant of this family. 


Robert de Mortimer, Richard de Vannere, 
Thomas and John Mileward, and Nicholas Fuller, 
all possessed property here in this century. 

Peter de Beche, John Edmund, Robert de 
Suthyne, John Atte Bure, Agnes Waleys, Thomas 
Foukes, Sarah Sprot, (whose husband Stephen was 
constable of Hastings Castle in 1277,) Robert 
Atte Park, Richard de Vannere, Thomas de 
Ivechurch, Ralph de Herst, Gervaise Pocoke, 
Nicholas de Cokefeld, Isabella Bartelet, John de 
la More, John de Catsfeld, and Peter de Scotney, 
bestowed lands, houses, or rents, on the abbey, 
and Nicola, widow of Baldwin de Aldham, gave 
license to Robert Allard of Winchelsea, to give 
a messuage and 100 acres of land in Biastenouere 
in Pevensey. At the same time the family of 
Germyn held the manor of Hauekham and other 
lands in Westhham. 

Towards the end of this century Battel could 
boast of having a resident Glazier, one John 
Swanton, who possessed considerable property in 
the parish. This is remarkable; for in 1361, 
Henry de Stanmore and John de Brampton, were 
employed to purchase glass in every place in the 
kingdom where it was to be had ; and also empow- 
ered to impress twenty-four glaziers and convey 
them to London to work for the king's wages, 
and to be employed in like manner within the 
castle of Windsor, then building. 

The rent roll of 1326, shews that the abbey 
had then a wind mill at Bernehorne ; that rendered 
by Robert Bregge, at Michaelmas 1383, shews 


a sum total of receipts 1244 3s. 6d. The monks 
then had a wine yard of the rectory of Hawkherst. 
Two pipes of wine were bought at Canterbury, 
and one in London. Their eels, stock-fish, salmon, 
white and red, were purchased of John Clayton 
their fishmonger in London. Among their expenses 
mentioned is the tenth of the revenues of the 
church of Ixning, which the abbey granted to 
the king. 

The documents of the 15th are as numerous 
as those of the preceding century, and mostly relate 
to property holden of the abbey by various families, 
of which the names of St. Leger, Fenys, Lonceford, 
Londenays, Fynch, Eyre, Barrett, Assheburnham, 
Hamond, Haye, Pyx, Oxenbregge, Quenteyn, 
Curtey's, (Richard was bailiff of the liberties from 
1408 to 1440,) and Farnecumbe frequently occur. 

The grants to the abbey are very few. The 
Statute of Mortmain having prevented the aliena- 
tion of property ; though the ecclesiasticks evaded 
the penalties of that act by obtaining grants to 
other persons, for certain uses, of which practice 
many deeds of the last century bear symptons. 
There were but few from persons of large posses- 
sions, except in confirmation of former gifts, and 
of rents. The feeling of the people was also 
against the immense possessions of the monastic 
institutions. The only feofment to the abbey which 
we meet with is one of John Tamworth, of all 
his lands called Feldereslands, (otherwise Fox- 
hunt's lands,) with land called Longreehe, dated 
March 4th, 1438. He had on the llth of Febru- 
ary, 1435, conceded ingress and egress of the said 


lands to the abbot and convent to repair, according 
to custom time out of mind, their conduit-pipe, 
which passed through the middle thereof to the 

This confirms the tradition that the abbey was supplied with 
water from a spring on one of its farms called " Loose." Some 
of the pipe was discovered on the site of the old kitchen, in 1812; 
but it had long been disused, probably from the time that the 
kitchen was destroyed. John Tamworth was M. P. for Winchel- 
sea, in 1422 and 1427 j and for Hastings in 1434. He inherited 
this land from Thomas Rok, dean of Battel. 

Among the curious documents of this century, 
are king Henry the Fourth's grant to John Pelham, 
knight, of the manors of Crowherst, Burgherst and 
Benylham, together with the rape of Hastings; 
dated November 21st, 1412. 

This family still holds the manor of Crowhurst and much other 
property in Hollington, Catsfield, and also in Battel, with which 
it has been so connected as to warrant a somewhat extended 

Ralph de Pelham held the manor of Pelham, in Hertfordshire, 
in the time of the Confessor. Another Ralph held two knight's 
fees there in the reign of Henry the Second, and his son Jordan 
in that of king John. Walter de Pelham held the same with the 
manors of Cottenham, in Kent, and Twinstead, in Sussex, in the 
21st of Edward the First. His son Walter, who settled at Hails- 
ham, had a son Thomas, the father of Sir John Pelham, who, 
with lord Roger de la Warre took John king of France 
prisoner at the battle of Poictiers, for which he was granted the 
buckle and belt, for a cognizance, as a mark of that honour, 
which was sometimes used as a sign manual ; and at others on 
each side of ( a cage, as an emblem of the captivity of that king, 
and in memory of his valiant acts. He was buried in Canter- 
bury Cathedral, and his figure with his armorial bearings on the 
breast, was painted on a window of the chapter-house there. By 
his wife Joan, daughter of Vincent Fynch of Nedderfeld Place, 
Battel, he had Sir John, to whom Henry the Fourth made the 
grant before noticed. This Sir John was esquire to John of 
Gaunt, duke of Lancaster ; and, from his youth, in the service 


of Henry Bolinbroke, who, when he became king, conferred on 
the 12th February, 1399-0, on Sir John and his heirs male, the 
office of constable of Pevensey Castle, with the honour of the 
eagle; (the rape of Pevensey was so called from Gilbert de 
Aquila who held it in the reign of Henry the First j) and all those 
his manors, lands, tenements, rents, services, fees, chases, parks, 
warrens, mills, rivers, fisheries, &c., as also all perquisites of the 
courts of the hundred, reliefs, escheats, franchises, returns, of 
writ, issues, fines and felons, and all other the profits whatever, 
and franchises, of the Cinque-ports within the rape of Hastings ; 
which grant was ratified and confirmed by letters patent bearing 
date the 1st of July following. Perhaps a grant of equal extent 
had never been conferred by any sovereign since the conquest. 
Lancaster great park (now Ashdown forest in Pevensey rape,) 
at that time, comprised about 13,000 acres, abounding with the 
finest timber, affording pasturage and shelter to thousands of 
red and fallow deer. Sir John was created a knight of the bath 
at the coronation of Henry j and had the honor of bearing the 
royal sword before the king, in all places, and at all times requi- 
site. In the same year he was a knight of the shire for Sussex ; 
in the year following sheriff of Sussex and Surrey j again knight 
of the shire in the 3rd, 4th and 5th of that reign. In the 4th he 
had grant of the manor of Cavendish-Grey, in Suffolk 5 in the 
same year he was treasurer of war, and, with lord Furnival, 
paymaster of the forces, by the assent of Parliament. In the 9th 
he was constituted butler of Chichester and all ports in Sussex. 
Two years afterwards Edmund, earl of March, rightful king of 
England, and his brother, Richard, earl of Cambridge were 
committed to his keeping, with an allowance of 500 marks per 
annum. In the 13th of Henry he was treasurer of England. 
He was witness to the king's charter creating Thomas, his 2nd 
son, duke of Clarence ; who, when he went to aid the duke of 
Orleans against the duke of Burgundy, empowered him to arrange 
all his affairs in all the courts in England. In the 1st of Henry 
the Fifth he was summoned to attend the coronation ; and had 
his robes of scarlet assigned out of the royal wardrobe. He was 
one of the ambassadors to treat of peace, and of the marriage 
of the king with the princess Katherine of France ; to whom, 
when queen, he was chamberlain. In the 2nd of Henry Vth the 
king granted to him the guardianship and government of king 
James of Scotland, with allowance of 700 per annum. In 1416, 
John, king of Portugal, styling Sir John noble and prudent, 
desired him by letter September the 16th, to shew the lady 
Beatrix, his daughter, widow of the earl of Arundel, the same 
favor and affection that he had ever done ; and which he would 
gratefully acknowledge. In 1418 he had the custody of Joan 
of Navarre, widow of Henry the Fourth j to attend whom, and 


bring her to his castle of Pevensey, Sir John appointed nine 
servants. In 1422, the last year of the reign of Henry the Fifth, 
he was again knight of the shire ; and one of the executors of 
that king's will. In the 1st of Henry the Sixth he was re-elected ; 
and the next year was one of the ambassadors for concluding a 
peace with Scotland, and setting at liberty king James (who had 
been a prisoner 18 years,) on payment of 40,000 marks; the 
treaty was ratified in 1424. His piety is shewn by liberal grants 
of land and tenements in Warbleton, his manor of Pelham, and 
land called Tornors, to the priory of the Holy Trinity in Hastings, 
for the building of a new church and convent; the old one 
founded by Sir Walter Bicet in 1196 being incommodious in 
consequence of inundations of the sea ; and also by his deed of 
release and quit-claim, for the salvation of his soul, and those of 
his father and all his ancestors, to Thomas, abbot of the monas- 
tery of Battel, and the convent thereof, of all his lands, tenements 
and rents, in the rape of Hastings. Dated Battel, July 24th 
1427. Which grant, illuminated with armorial bearings in the 
initial letter, is among the muniments of the abbey. By his will 
dated February 8th, 1428, he orders his burial in the church of 
the Blessed Virgin at Robertsbridge j bequeaths half a mark 
to each of his servants, and constitutes his wife Joan, (daughter 
of Sir John D'Escures,) Sir John Pelham his son, Sir Thomas 
Browne, and William Burgoyne, esq., his executors. It appears 
that he died four days afterwards. His son Sir John married 
Joan de Courcy, one of the queen's ladies, by whom he had 
Catherine ; (who married Sir John Bramshot and grandmother 
to lord Guildford Dudley, husband of the lady Jane Grey ;) John, 
who married Alice, daughter of Sir Thomas Lewkenor, and left 
no issue: William, who succeeded him ; and other children. 
William died without issue and was succeeded by William, son 
of his brother Thomas. Sir William died in 1539, His son Sir 
Nicholas defeated and drove the French from Seaford, in 1545. 
His son Sir Thomas, the first baronet, had Sir Thomas second 
hart., who had three wives ; by the first he had Sir John, ancestor 
of the earl of Chichester and the duke of Newcastle ; and by the 
third, Nicholas, knighted by king Charles the Second at the 
restoration, who inherited the Catsfeld estate, and was ancestor 
of John Cressett Pelham, of Crowherst, who died August 29th, 
1838, of small pox, on board the Nebudha, off the island of 
Mauritius. The estates are now the property of Thomas 
Papillon, esq., son of his sister, 

The sacristan's roll of disbursements for the 
year 1423, has items as to the repair and decora- 
tion of the abbey church. 


A requisition to Thomas Pulton, lord bishop of 
Chichester, that brother Stephen Fenesham, monk, 
should attend him in his episcopal visitation in all 
places obedient to the abbot of Battel, dated 
4th August, 1423, shews the tenacity with which 
exemption from such visitations was maintained 

William Waller, abbot of Battel, leased to John 
Lacy, of Ixning, the rectory of Ixning, with all 
rents, tithes, stock, living and dead, &c., for three 
years from the nativity of St. John Baptist; the 
rent in half-yearly payments of twenty five pounds, 
to be paid at the house of the abbot at Southwark, 
near London. Dated 12th April, 1435. 

The rectory of Great Samford, the manor of Mexfeld, and 
various other distant possessions were leased in a similar 
manner in this century. 

Among the disbursements of Robert Coleman, 
bedel, for the year 1462, is fourteen shillings to 
Richard Rudhale, collector of the pope's pensions, 
&c., as his holinesses due from the bedel. 

The Court Roll of the year 1461, shews that it 
is the custom of the manor of Battel, that if any 
one die seized of any lands or tenements, in fee or 
in fee-tayle, the principal utensils of his house of 
which he was possessed at the time of his death, 
shall remain to his next heir ; and judgment was 
given accordingly, 29th March, 1462. 

In 1471, the abbot leased the water-mill at 
Iltonsbath in Sedelescombe, then newly rebuilt, to 
Richard Shephard, of Battel. 

At this time the family of Farnecomb, (still 


well known in the neighbourhood, of which Thomas 
is now sheriff of London and Middlesex,) possessed 
considerable property in various places, held of 
the abbey manors. In Winchelsea they had several 
houses and a wind-mill, which had then been 
standing near a century on the site of the one now 
existing. The said mill had been the property of 
Richard Londenays, whose father Robert was M. P. 
for Winchelsea in 1369, 1373, and 1378. This 
family was seated at Brede, where the Oxen- 
bregges, previously of Winchelsea succeeded them 
by marriage with the heiress. Robert, the son of 
Richard, feoffed the said mill to Simon Farnecomb 
and his wife in 1450. In 1478 we find king Ed- 
ward the Fourth's grant and license to Maline 
(or Matilda) widow of Simon Farnecombe, to 
found a perpetual chantry in the chapel of the 
blessed Mary, in the church of St. Thomas, in 
Winchelsea; the prayers to be for the souls of 
the king and his dear consort, the queen Elizabeth ; 
for the souls of the said Maline, and of Simon, 
her late husband ; the souls of John Godfrey, and 
Alice his wife ; and of Simon Godfrey, and Joan 
his wife. Dated, Westminster, 27th November, 
1478. There is also the grant of Elizabeth, queen 
of England, and consort of king Edward the Fourth 
to the said Maline, that she may give a messuage 
called Haukeham, and one hundred and eighty 
acres of land in the parish of Westham, for the 
perpetual maintenance of a chantry priest, in the 
chantry of John Godfrey, in the chapel of the 
Blessed Mary in the church of St. Thomas at 
Winchelsea. Dated, Westminster, 24th February, 
1478. John Godfrey, father of Maline, was mayor 
of Winchelsea in 1433, and M. P. for that town 
in 1441. 


Sir John Peasmarsh, knight, in the early part 
of this century, held lands in Battel, which James, 
his son, in 1482, with the reversion of the lands in 
the borough of Monjoye, held by his mother, the 
lady Jane, widow of Sir John, as dower, feoffed to 
John Barett, who, in 1499 feoffed the same to his 
daughter Barbara Barett 

Thomas Hoo, esq., gave to John, abbot of the 
monastery of Battel, and the convent thereof, the 
yearly rent of twenty marks, arising from lands, 
tenements, &c., in the manor Rowghey, in the 
parish of Horsham and Rowspar ; of lands called 
Malerbys, Herstlonds, Gevelotts, and Fosters, in 
Rowspar, which manor was late Walter Urrey's, 
esquire; of lands, messuages, &c., in Horsham; 
a messuage and ten acres called Edwardes', pur- 
chased of Thomas Hortle and John Cloterwyn ; of 
lands called Mastots, purchased of William Cloter- 
wyn ; of land called Gawtron, purchased of John 
Gawtron ; of lands &c., purchased of William 
Waller, John Mighele, and James Bonewick ; of 
lands purchased of the feoffees of John a Dene ; 
of meadow lands comprising seven acres, called 
Turnoures and Aylewyns; purchased of William 
Miller the elder, and William Waller the younger ; 
of lands and tenements in Rowghey, purchased of 
the feoffees and executors of the will of Henry 
Boteler ; that is to say, the meadow of ten acres 
called Elliottis; twelve acres called Cokhuntis 
Grove ; land, wood, &c. ; forty acres called Hoth- 
lands ; five acres called Segrymes ; a messuage 
and garden, purchased of Robert Stanys ; other 
messuages and gardens called Cloterwyns, pur- 
chased of Thomas Hortle; lands purchased of 
William Lower; son of Walter Lower; lands 


and tenements purchased of Alicia Reyner; 
lands &c., called Langherst, purchased of George 
Brykis ; six acres called Redynsmore and Brynch- 
elersmede; the lands and tenements called the 
Old Park and the Home Park ; lands, tenements, 
and manors purchased of John, duke of Norfolk, 
now held by fine in the court of our lord the king ; 
comprising 100 acres called Goldstaple, eight acres 
called Alkesbornefelde near Roughey, and of the 
manors of Shapwise, Egle, Compton, and West- 
marden in Sussex ; lands called Croftesland in the 
parish of Bosegrove ; lands called Wattislonds in 
the parish of Farlegh, &c., for the maintenance of 
two monks in the monastery of Battel, to celebrate 
at the obsequies, and to all future times in the 
church of the said monastery, to pray for the 
salvation of the soul of Sir Thomas Hoo, knight, 
late lord of Hoo and of Hastings, deceased ; for 
the good state, and the health of the souls of the 
donor, and of Alicia his wife, and of Walter Urrey 
esq., father of the said Alicia, and Willme, mother 
of the said Alicia, now deceased; and also of all 
parents, friends, benefactors, and kin of the said 
Thomas Hoo, esquire, and Alicia his wife. Dated 
2 1st September, 1480. Two things make this 
document remarkable, viz. it shews how the monks 
obtained wealth, and evaded the penalties of the 
statute of Mortmain ; and also the great extent of 
property on which so small a sum as 13. 6*. 8d. 
was secured. 

Abbot Richard granted a lease for 21 years, to 
William Penny, dated from the chapter-house 
25th December, 1497, of the manor of Marley, 
with the demesne lands called Cheesehousefeld, 


Blossomfeld, Roloyfeld, Great Ukham, Wellond, 
Cornore, Bowlond meadow, Velondfeld, Shepelonds, 
Forstalfeld, Shepynfeld, the Old-Hawe, and the 
Butts, under Northboteherst, with pasturage in the 
woods of Petley and Velondwode, &c. 

In a cause instituted in 1499, it appeared by a 
roll of depositions of witnesses, that the church of 
Ixning belonged to Battel abbey. The roll contains 
extracts from early records, shewing that William 
Botenor did open penance in Ixning chapel, for 
going to plough on the day of St. Martin, the 
patron saint of the abbey. 

The muniments of the 16th century give much 
information as to property and persons in the neigh- 
bourhood, as well as of customs, but it does not 
appear that there was a feofment, gift, or release of 
any kind to the abbey. 

In 1502, the abbot leased to Thomas Assheherst, 
and Simon Tewesnoth, the dairy of East Kyngess- 
noth, with fourteen cows, and one bull, pertaining 
to the said dairy, with houses and lands. 

In 1509, Barbara Barett feoffed her house and 
roperty, which she inherited from her father, to 
" n Pyx and Edmund Franks. 

P r ] 

The roll of accounts for 1509 is a curious and 
most interesting record, affording much information 
on past usages ; amongst the numerous items is the 
cost of making the grave of the late abbot, which 
was only viiirf. For a printed book, bought at 
London viiid. In reward to the players of my 


lord the king vis. viicf. and in reward to two 
players of the earl of Arundel xxo?. 

The roll of accounts of John Hamond, sacristan, 
1512, has a statement of disbursements on the 
repairs of the abbey church, new vestments for the 
priest, two new silver candlesticks, two glass lamps 
to hang before the altars, and for repairing the 
clock in the cubiculo of the sacristry xxd. 

In the same year, the houses and land in Battel 
and Whatlyngton, belonging to the sacristry of the 
abbey, with all the dead and live stock, and the 
tithes of sheaves from Battel, which the sacristan 
was wont to receive, were leased to John Iglenden 
and Richard Reygate. 

In 1521, the tile-kiln belonging to the abbey, 
with the houses and buildings belonging thereto, 
with certain lands, land for digging clay and gravel, 
and pasturage for six oxen and two horses or mares, 
were leased for ten years to John Trewe. 

In 1526, the manor of Marley with all the stock 
living and dead, except the lands called Brygeselle, 
Wygbemys and Bronds, and the wood called 
Boteherst, were leased for seven years to John a 
Lye, Richard a Lye, and William Boys. There 
is a separate inventory of the stock. 

In 1528, the lands of Estbeche were leased for 
nine years to John Iden. 

Laurence Campion abbot of Battel, John prior 
of Lewes, Thomas Fenys, Richard Sakvyle, 


William Asscheberneham, John Goring, Edward 
Lewkenor, and Thomas Parker were the king's com- 
missioners for the county in 1526; and among 
these muniments is their certificate to my lord 
of Canterburye, president of the king's most honour- 
able counsell, of the number of able-bodied men 
for the wars, as also of the number of harness, &c., 
in the rapes of Hastings, Pevensey, Lewes, and 
Bramber. And also their letter to the archbishop, 
William of Warham. 

The abbatial documents go no later than 1536, 
and there does not appear to be one in which the 
name of John Hamond, the last abbot, is mentioned 
after 1531, in which year he was sacristan. 

These charters and grants, though of the latter 
but a comparatively small number are noticed, 
may give some idea of the immense wealth and 
power of this celebrated abbey. Its possessions in 
various parts of England, were very extensive. 
In Domesday-Book, Gausbertus, the first abbot, 
is named as holding fifteen manors in Sussex only. 
The manor of Battel contains nearly 10,000 acres ; 
of which the abbots retained about one half, and 
granted the remainder to various persons, at certain 
trifling rents, with fines or heriots on alienation or 
death, which remain the same to this day. 
Besides those charges the vassals of feudal times 
were subject to various onerous services to lords 
of manors, from which as copyhold tenants they 
are now free ; and for the loss of which the lord 
is compensated by his own liberation from similar 
duties to his sovereign. Numerous instances are 
found in which persons after receiving grants of 


property were induced to restore it to the abbey, 
for the salvation of the souls of themselves and 
kindred. Grants of the same were then made to 
others, who made similar restoration. Again and 
again, was this practised, to the great increase of 
the wealth of the abbey; for though the quit 
rent might be but triflingly if any thing increased, 
there doubtless was a premium obtained when a 
grant was made. Even the rent of property let 
on short leases, seems to have been nearly the same 
for many generations. In 1427 a water mill in 
Southwark, belonging to the abbey, was rented by 
John Bercestre at 66*. Sd. per annum, which at 
the dissolution of the monastery in 1538, was 
rented at the same sum. It cannot be supposed 
that in that space of time property had not in- 
creased in value, the difference must have been 
made up by paying a premium on obtaining a 
lease; by which means the rent was kept low, 
probably for some purpose equally profitable to 
both parties. 

List of the Abbots. 

The abbots of this monastery were mitred, and 
of course regularly summoned to parliament with 
the bishops, as spiritual barons. The only distinc- 
tion between them and bishops being that they 
bore the crosier, or pastoral staff, in the right hand, 
whereas bishops carried theirs in the left hand. 

The Conqueror brought several monks from the 
abbey of Marmoustier, in Normandy; one of 
whom, named Robert Blancard, he intended should 


be abbot of Battel; but Blancard having gone 
back to Normandy, to arrange some affairs, was 
drowned whilst returning to England to be invested 
with the abbatial dignity. 

Gausbertus, another of the Marmoustier monks, 
was then constituted abbot, in 1076. He is 
frequently mentioned in the Cartulary of the abbey 
as "primo abbatis Gausbertus." 

Willis says " He occurs in a Charter A. D. 1088, in Dr, 
Hick's Thesaurus. Soon after which, I presume, he died, 
for Ralph occurs Abbat A. D. 1089." The Liber de Situ 
Ecclesiae de Bello, which gives copious notices of the abbots 
and their elections, from the time of Gausbertus, states that 
he died 27th August, 1095 : the year after the long delayed 
consecration of the abbey. 

Henry, according to the authority of the Liber 
de Situ, and also that of Ordericus Vitallis, who 
was living at the time, was the immediate successor 
of Gausbertus. He was a scholar of archbishop 
Lanfranc, who brought him to England. In 1080, 
he was appointed the first prior of Christ-church, 
Canterbury; and on the llth of July, 1096, was 
promoted to the abbacy of Battel, by William 
Rufus, who was then at Canterbury. Thus it 
appears that there is not sufficient authority for 
placing a Ralph between Gausbertus and Henry, 
who died 19th July, 1102, and was buried in the 
chapter-house of this monastery. 

From some unknown cause the abbacy was vacant for 
several years after the death of Henry ; during which, ac- 
cording to Willis, " The abbey was first taken care of by a 
certain Clergyman, and then by one Vivian, the King's chap- 
lain, after whom Gaufridus, monk of St. Carileph's, was 
constituted abbot, who dying after eight years government, the 


abbot of Thorney had the care of the abbey committed to 
him j till one Ralph, monk of Caen, &c." It is extraordinary 
that Willis did not detect his error on this point. He 
correctly gives the date of Henry's death in 1102, and that 
of Ralph's Confirmation in 1107 ; which shews an interval of 
only five years, and yet he states that Gaufridus governed eight 
years, besides the time that " a certain Clergyman," and 
" one Vivian," and " the Abbot of Thorney, had the care 
of the abbey." His " certain Clergyman" and " one Vivian" 
are the same person ; and it does not appear that Gaufridus, 
or Geoffrey was ever constituted abbot. 

Radulfo, or Ralph, a monk of Caen, another 
of Lanfranc's scholars, was elected abbot 1st 
August, 1107. After presiding upwards of seven- 
teen years he died 28th August, 1124. 

On the promotion of Arnulph, second prior of Rochester, 
to the priorship of Christ-church, Canterbury, in 1096, the 
priory of Rochester was conferred on this Ralph, who it 
seems was highly esteemed by the monks of that place ; for 
Willis, in his account of Rochester, says that they attempted 
to elect him bishop of that see, on the death of bishop 
Gundulph in 1108. The Liber de Situ Ecclesiae de Bello, 
states that Ralph was previously prior of Rochester, " Radulfo 
prius Priore Roflfensis," and Willis errs in stating that from 
that place he was chosen abbot of Beaulieu. Perhaps the 
orthoepy rather than the orthography of the two names, 
Bello and Beaulieu, was floating in his mind and caused him 
to write the latter instead of Battel. 

Warnerius, or Warner, a monk of Christ-church, 
Canterbury, who was installed abbot 25th May, 
1124, resigned the dignity in 1138, and retired to 
the monastery of St Pancras, at Lewes. 

Walter de Lucy, brother to the lord Richard 
de Lucy, a powerful baron of king Stephen's court, 
was elected abbot 8th January, 1138-9. The 
Liber de Situ contains an account of his controversy 
with Hilarius, bishop of Chichester, from 1146 to 


1173; His petition to the synod of Chichester; 
and consequent suspension by king Stephen from 
the abbatial dignity, to which he was afterwards 
restored. Hilarius contested the right to exemption 
from episcopal jurisdiction, which the founder con- 
ferred and his successors confirmed ; Walter, of 
course, as strenuously maintained the privilege, and 
eventually succeeded. Some authorities state that 
he was excommunicated by the pope for contumacy. 
On his death, which occured 22nd July, 1171, 
his brother Richard presided over the monastery, 

Odo the 10th prior of Christ-church, Canterbury, 
was promoted to this abbacy, 10th July, 1175. 

During the time he presided over Christ-church he strenu- 
ously opposed Henry the Second, after the murder of Thomas 
a Becket, in defence of the privilege of that convent at 
archiepiscopal elections. He wrote several works, of which 
Dart gives a list in his antiquities of Canterbury. Leland 
says that he was a learned man, and an intimate friend of 
John of Salisbury and Thomas a Becket ; and mentions two 
of his works which he saw in the library at Battel abbey. 
*' Glossae Odonis Abbatis de Bello, super Psalterium." and 
" Expositio Odonis Abbatis super cap. libri Regnum." 
According to Willis ha died in 1199 ; the annals of Winches- 
ter say in March, 1200 ; but we suppose that both mean the 
same thing, one giving the old style, the other the new. 
According to Leland, he was buried in the lower part of the 
abbey church, in a tomb of black marble ; and was afterwards 
accounted a saint by the monks and people. His life written 
by himself, was discovered after his decease. 

John de Duvra, or Dover, succeeded Odo soon 
after his death, on the 1st of May, 1200; which 
proves that the death of Odo occurred in 1199, 
for in those days the new year commenced on the 
Feast of the Virgin Mary, then the 6th of April, 


and the first of May, 1200, would be soon after. 
John also had been a monk of Christ-church. In 
his abbacy the charter was obtained from king 
John, conferring on the monks the custody of their 
monastery during the vacancy of the abbatship. 
He died 21st July, 1213. 

Hugh, after a space of some duration, was elec- 
ted abbot; and in 1218 was promoted to the see 
of Carlisle, which had been vacant thirty two years. 

Willis says " I do not know whether he held the abbatship 
in commendam with his bishoprick ; but this is certain, that 
he died A. D. 1223, at an abbey in Burgundy, on his return 
from Rome, and that his successor in the abbacy was 

Richard, according to the annals of Dunstaple, 
was elected abbot in 1218; therefore Hugh could 
not have retained the abbacy with the see of 
Carlisle. Richard was previously almoner of this 
abbey: and the annals of Tewkesbury notice 
his death on 30th August, 1235. 

Ralph de Coventry, cellarer of the abbey was 
consecrated by royal assent 6th November, 1235. 

It does not appear whether he died or resigned. There is 
a deed of exchange of property in Battel between him and 
Humphrey de Beausire in 1251. 

Reginald, prior of Brecknock, which was a cell 
to this abbey, was promoted to the abbacy 27th 
November, 1260. His name frequently occurs in 
the grants and feofments ; and it appears that he 
was prior of Brecknock in 1248, and died at an 
advanced age. 


Henry de Aylesford, was invested with the 
temporalities of the monastery, as abbot, by letters 
patent, 9th of king Edward the First, 28th May, 
1280. Willis says he died 1297, and was sue- 
ceded the same year by 

John de Taneto, or Thanet, who according to 
the patent rolls of 26th Edward the First, received 
the temporalities 30th January, 1297-8. 

A grant by him to John de Deans, of land in middle- 
borough, in the 1 st of Edward II, is witnessed by John de 
Watlyngton, the seneschal. Willis says he resigned after 
ten years government. He had been a monk of Christ- 
church, Canterbury, wrote several legends, was skilful in 
music and mathematics, and set the church service to music. 

John de Watlyngton, according to the patent 
rolls of 1st Edward II, received the royal assent to 
his election 10th March, 1307. Willis states that 
he died 1311 ; and that he was succeeded in the 
same year by 

John de Northburn, who was elected by royal 
assent 25th May, the fourth of Edward II, which 
was 1310.* He resigned in 1317. 

John de Pevenese, was elected and invested 
with the temporalities the 6th May, 1317, or 
eleventh of Edward II. He died in 1323. 

There is some doubt as to the name of the next abbot 

Several similar errors occur in lists of the abbots, and seem to have 
originated in adding the year of the sovereign's reign to that of his 
accession; whereas one less is sufficient. For instance: Edward II 
ascended the throne 8th July, 1307, which year was the first, and 1310 
the fourth, of his reign. In some instances the commencing of the year 
at the feast of the virgin has been disregarded. 


Willis says that John de Pevenese was succeeded in the 
same year by 

John de Retling, and gives the patent of seven- 
teenth Edward II as his authority. He adds 
"When he died I know not, but the next abbat I 
meet with is Robert de Bello, who was elected 
1350. I presume he was the immediate successor 
of Retling, because no other abbat occurs between 
them in me patent rolls." 

Mr. Thorpe agrees with Willis as to the death of John 
de Thanet, and the succession of the next abbot, to whom 
he says the temporalities were restored 28th March ; but 
calls him Allan Ketlyng. He also states that Edward the 
Third, in the 12th of his reign, (1338,) granted to the 
abbot, Allan de Ketlyng, license to fortify and embattle 
his monastery. In his catalogue of the muniments, he 
notices that monarch's grant of special grace, as being dated 
9th June, 1330. Also a deed of release and quit-claim, from 
Richard de Ammeden, to Alan, lord abbot of Battel, dated 
St. Simon and St. Jude's day, 1337. He also mentions two 
deeds of John abbot of Battel. One being a grant to Nicholas 
de Cukefeud, of a tenement in middleburgh, in the town 
of Battel. dated 1327 ; the other, a grant of augmentation of 
28*. 4rf. yearly, to the vicar of Great Samford, Essex, in 
consequence of the scantiness of the said vicarage of Samford. 
dated 24th January, 1328. These shew that there was an 
abbot named John, after the death of John de Pevenese, till 
1328-9 ; though Mr. Thorpe's list of abbot's does not notice 
him : and that there was an abbot Allan from 1330 till 1337, 
whom Willis does not mention. The question is, were 
they the same person ? The names, Retling and Ketlyng, 
may mean the same : the initials being so similar as to be 
easily mistaken. Thorpe notices a grant of abbot Henry, to 
Adam Goldsmith, of the Whitepits-croft, in the borough of 
Monjoy, in which brother Allan de Retlinge, then seneschal 
of the liberties, is mentioned. The two Christian names, 
John and Allan, are not so easily reconcilable, as belonging 
to one person ; we therefore suppose, that whatever their 
surnames might be, there was an abbot John, and an abbot 
Allan, between John de Pevenese and Robert de Bello 


Robert de Bello, who, Willis says was elected 
in 1350, but gives the patent of twenty-fifth Edward 
III as his authority, which was 1351, in which 
year Robert was invested with the temporalities 
23rd March. He died in 1364. 

In the Cartulary is a bull of pope Innocent the Sixth, dated 
9th June, 1355, commanding John Jose, prior of Brecon, to 
conduct himself conformably to the accustomed rules of 
submission to the abbot of the monastery of St. Martin, in 
Battel, who was wont time out of mind to visit the said priory 
every three years ; but which visitation, John the said prior 
had resisted. The bull was granted on the complaint of this 
Robert de Bello. 

Hamo de Offyngton, according to Willis was 
elected in 1364, he gives the authority of the patent 
of the thirty-eighth Edward III ; in which year, 
as appears by his Register, he received bene- 
diction as abbot, from archbishop Islip, on the 
29th January. 

In 1375 he was appointed visitor of the monasteries of the 
benedictine order, in the dioceses of Canterbury and Roches- 
ter. In 1377 he bravely summoned his vassals, hastened to 
the defence of Winchelsea, and drove away the French, who 
had landed there and attacked the town, which would have 
fallen a prey to them but for his timely succour. Willis 
places this event as occurring in 1381 ; but on that occasion 
the Spaniards made the attack ; and Hamo was unsuccessful 
in his opposition, and one of his monks taken prisoner. 
Willis could not discover the time of his death ; and names 
John Lydbury next, but on that point he erred- 

John Crane, whom neither Willis nor Stevens, 
in their additions to Dugdale, mention, was elected 
abbot, by royal assent, 20th March, 1383, and 
received the temporalities of the monastery 1st 
May, following. 


John Lydbury, was elected on the death of 
Crane, and received the temporalities 1st March, 
1398. Willis on the authority of the register of 
Rede, bishop of Chichester, places his decease 
in 1404. 

William Mersch, or Meresham, obtained the 
royal assent as abbot, 10th Jan. 1404; received 
the temporalities on the 1st of February; and 
held his first court-baron on the Friday, before the 
annunciation in that year. He died in 1416. 

Thomas Ludlow, who had been cellarer of the 
monastery, was elected abbot llth May, 1417, and 
was invested with the temporalities on the 30th of 
the same month. He resigned in 1434. 

William Waller, according to Willis and the 
patent thirteenth Henry VI, was appointed abbot 
the same year. Thorpe says, 20th June, 1435, 
and that he received the temporalities 1st July 
following, and died at the close of the year 1436 
on the Monday before the annunciation of the 
Blessed Virgin, 1437. 

Richard Dartmouth, was elected on the Monday 
preceding St. Philip and St. James* day, 1437, 
received the royal assent 3rd May following, and 
was invested with the temporalities on the 15th of 
the same month. He is last mentioned in a feof- 
mentof the year 1461. 

John Nuton, cellarer of the monastery, was elected 
abbot in 1463 ; and the temporalities restored by 
patent 14th June. He died in 1490. 


Richard Tovy, was confirmed abbot 17th 
February, 1490; received the temporalities 8th 
March, following ; and died 20th August, 1503. 

William Westfield, after being many years stew- 
ard of this monastery, was made prior of the cell 
of Brecknock, 18th May, 1499, and elected abbot 
of Battel, 25th September, 1503. The tempo- 
ralities were restored 3rd July, 1504. He died in 

Laurence Campyon, received the temporalities 
8th December, 1508. 

Willis says " How long he continued abbat, I am not 
altogether assured, but have good reason to conclude his 
immediate successor was John Hammond, who occurs abbat 
Ao. 1533. Doctor Tanner conceives he was elected Ao. 1529, 
because on the Thursday after the feast of St. Laurence in 
that year, a proxy appeared from the prior of Brecknock, in 
the chapter-house of Battel, to elect a new abbat. At which 
time the convent probably chose the aforesaid John Hammond" 

If an abbot was at that time elected, he was one of whom 
there is no record. Certainly it was not Hammond ; for his 
rolls, as sacristan, for the year ending Michaelmas, 1531, 
are among the abbey muniments. 

John Hamond, whoever he succeeded, or 
whenever elected, was, it appears, abbot in 1533: 
and surrendered the monastery to the commissioners, 
Gage, and Lay ton, on the 27th of May, 1538. In 
the patent granting his pension it is said, that he 
had presided a good while before the dissolution. 


The Dissolution of the Monastery The dbbot's 
deed of Surrender The Valuation of its 
Possessions The Grant to Sir Anthony 

The dissolution of the monastic institutions, has 
generally been attributed to the personal feelings 
of Henry the Vlllth, and of his minister cardinal 
Wolsey, and most probably the event was thereby 
hastened; but it should be remembered that the 
Reformation was commenced by Wickliffe, in the 
reign of Edward the Illrd; and had gained so 
much strength, that the parliament of the 6th of 
Henry the IVth, complained of the clergy being 
in possession of one third of the land, besides 
receiving a third of the income of other persons, 
in tithes, and other payments and offerings, without 
contributing to the public expenses. A bill was 
drawn up empowering the king to seize on the 
temporalities of the church, and use them for the 
exigencies of the state. The bill was rejected by 
the peers; but the commons in the llth of that 
king, returned to the charge with renewed zeal; 
they calculated that the estates of the convents 
were sufficient for the support of, and might be 
divided among, 15 new earls, 1500 knights, 6000 
esquires and hospitals, besides 20,000 per annum, 
which the king might take for his own use : and 
they insisted that the functions of the ecclesiasticks, 
would be better performed by 15,000 parish priests. 
When abbot Ralph founded the parochial church 
of Battel, and turned over the parishioners to the 
care of one priest, the dean, because the numerous 
monks of the monastery were too much engaged to 
attend to the spiritual wants of the flock, he little 


thought that his plan would, 300 years after, be 
advocated as suitable for the whole nation, and 
ultimately be adopted. However the time was not 
then come, the bill met with the same fate as the 
former one. Parliament in the 2nd of Henry the 
Vth, made similar propositions with no better 
result The subject then rested for a time; but 
it cannot be supposed that principles which had 
gained so much strength were entirely dormant 
during the succeeding century: they had surely, 
though more silently, advanced, till Luther boldly 
stood forth as their champion. Though the 
doctrines of this great reformer were at first 
strenuously opposed by Henry the VHIth, they 
eventually had great influence on that monarch; 
and combined with various other circumstances, 
caused the completion of that noble work, the 
Reformation. There is no doubt that papal domina- 
tion greatly excited Henry's indignation; but it 
may be doubted whether the affair of Anna Boleyn 
had much influence in the dissolution of the 
religious houses, as only one was broken up previous 
to that marriage; and that by composition in 
July, 1532, when Nicholas Hancock, prior of 
Christ-church, Aldgate, surrendered that priory to 
the king, and received the vicarage of Braughing, 
in Hertfordshire, as compensation. The king gave 
the priory to Thomas Audley, then speaker of the 
house of commons. The marriage of the king to 
Anna Boleyn, took place privately 14th November, 
in the same year: and was publicly ratified in 
May, 1533 ; when she was crowned on Whitsunday. 

In 1534 the act of supremacy was passed, and 
the final breach with the pope took place. Thomas, 


lord Cromwell was appointed vicar-general, which 
gave him supreme power over the church : and 
Layton, Lee, London, Bedell, Price, Gage, Petre, 
Bellasis, and others, were employed as commission- 
ers for visiting the religious houses, and reforming 
abuses therein. 

In 1536, Anna Boleyn was accused on the 1st 
and beheaded on the 19th of May. On the follow- 
ing day the king was united to the lady Jane 
Seymour. In the latter part of the same year, the 
act was passed for suppressing the lesser monas- 
teries, not having possessions of above 200 per 
annum. The preamble to that act shews no 
intention of attacking the larger houses but rather 
a determination of supporting them. It is as follows. 

" For as much as manifest sin, vicious, carna. and abomi- 
nable living is daily used and committed, commonly in such 
little and small abbeys and priories, and other religious 
houses, of monks, canons, and nuns, where the congregation 
of such religious persons is under the number of twelve 
persons, whereby the governors of such religious and their 
convent, spoil, destroy, consume and utterly waste, as well 
the churches, monasteries, priories, principal houses, farms, 
granges, lands, tenements and hereditaments, as the orna- 
ments of the churches, and their goods and chattels, to the 
high displeasure of Almighty God, slander of good religion, 
and to the infamy of the king's highness and the realm, if 
redress should not be had thereof." 

" And, albeit, that many continual, visitations have been 
heretofore had for the space of two hundred years, and more, 
for an honest and charitable reformation of such unthrifty, 
carnal, and abominable, living : yet nevertheless little or no 
amendment is hitherto had ; but their vicious living shame- 
fully increaseth and augmenteth, and by a cursed custom is 
so grown and infested, that a great multitude of religious 
persons do rather choose to rove abroad in apostacy, than 
to conform themselves to the observation of good religion. 


So that without such small houses be utterly suppressed, 
and the religious therein committed to the great and honour- 
able monasteries of religion in this realm, were they may 
be compelled to live religiously for reformation of their 
lives, there can else be no redress or reformation in that 
behalf. In consideration whereof the king's most royal 
majesty, being supreme head on earth under God of the 
church of England, daily studying and devising the increase, 
advancement, and exaltation of true doctrine and virtue, 
in the said church to the only glory and honour of God, and 
the total extirping and destruction of vice and sin, having 
knowledge that the premises be true, as well by compts of 
the visitation as by sundry credible informations ; considering 
also, that diverse and great solemn monasteries of this realm, 
wherein, thanks be to God, religion is right well kept and 
observed, be destitute of such full numbers of religious 
persons, as they ought and may keep, have thought good 
that a plain declaration should be made of the premises, as 
well to the lords spiritual and temporal, as to the other our 
loving subjects, the commons in this present parliament 
assembled. Whereupon the said lords and commons by a 
great deliberation, finally be resolved, that it is and shall be 
much more to the pleasure of Almighty God, and for the 
honour of this his realm, that the possessions of such small 
religious houses, not being spent, spoiled, and wasted for 
increase and maintenance of sin, should be used and con- 
verted to better uses, and the unthrifty religious persons so 
spending the same, be compelled to reform their lives ; and 
thereupon most humbly desire the king's highness that it 
maybe enacted, by authority of this parliament, that his 
majesty shall have to him and to his heirs for ever, all and 
every such monasteries, &c." 

By this act three hundred and seventy-six con- 
vents were suppressed; and the crown acquired 
30,000 per annum, besides 100,000 in plate and 
other moveables. The commissioners began their 
visitation in October, 1536. In the same year all 
the festivals of the Romish church that happened 
between the first of July, and the twenty-ninth of 
September, were abrogated, as injurious to the 
the public weal, by the abstraction of the populace 


from the necessary attention to the ingathering of 
the fruits of the season. 

In 1537, the act for dissolving the great monas- 
teries was passed ; and the commissioners commen- 
ced their visitations in February. The following 
is a copy of the king's warrant to them to receive 
the surrender of the institution. 

" Henry the Eighth &c. To our Trusty &c. For as much 
as we understand that the monastery of Battell, is at this 
present in such state as the same is neither used to the glory 
of God, nor to the benefit of our common wealth. We let you 
wit, that therefore being minded to take the same into our 
own hands for a better purpose, like as we doubt not the 
head of the same will be contented to make his surrender 
accordingly ; We for the special trust and confidence that 
we have in your fidelity, wisdoms, and discretions have, and 
by these presents do authorize, name, assign and appoint you, 
that immediately repairing to the said house, ye shall receive 
of the said head, such a writing under the convent seal, as 
to your discretions shall seem requisite, meet and convenient, 
for the due surrender to our use of the same, and thereupon 
take possession thereof, and of all the goods, catties, plate, 
jewels, implements, and stuff, being within or appertaining 
thereunto. And further causing all the goods and implements 
to be indifferently sold, either for ready money, or days upon 
sufficient sureties, so that the same pass not one year and a 
half, ye shall deliver to the said head and brethren, such part 
of the said money and goods, as ye by your discretions shall 
think meet and convenient for their dispatch, and further, to 
see them have convenient pensions by your wisdoms assigned 
accordingly, which done, and moreover seeing the rightful 
and due debts thereof paid and satisfied, as well of the 
revenues as of the said stuff, as to reason and good conscience 
appertaineth, and your charges reasonably allowed, ye shall 
proceed to the dissolution of the said house, and further, in 
your name take possession of the same, to be kept for our 
use and profit. Ye shall furthermore bring and convey to 
our tower of London, after your said discretions all the rest 
of the said money, plate, jewels and ornaments, that in any 
wise shall come to your hands> by means of the premises, or 


any part thereof, straightly charging all mayors, sheriffs, 
bailiffs, constables, and all other our officers, ministers and 
subjects, to whom in this case it shall appertain, that unto 
you and every of you in execution hereof, they be helping, 
aiding, favouring and assisting, as they shall answer unto us 
to the contrary, at their uttermost perils, &c. Given &c." 

The commissioners Gage and Layton, arrived 
at Battel, towards the end of May, 1538. The 
following is a translation of the deed of surrender, 
now in the Augmentation Office. 

"To all the faithful in Christ, to whom the 
present writing shall come, John, abbot of the 
monastery of Battell, in the county of Sussex, other- 
wise called John, abbot of the monastery of St. 
Martin, of Battell, in the county of Sussex, other- 
wise called John, abbot of the monastery of Battell, 
in the county of Sussex, of the order of St. Benedict, 
and the convent of the same place, health ever- 
lasting in the Lord : know ye that we, the afore- 
said abbot and convent, with our unanimous assent 
and consent, deliberate minds, certain knowledge, 
and mere motion, for certain just and reasonable 
causes, us, our minds and consciences especially 
moving, have freely and spontaneously given, 
granted, and by these presents do give, grant, 
render, and confirm, to our most illustrious prince 
and lord, Henry the VHIth, by the grace of God, 
o England and France king, defender of the 
faith, lord of Ireland, and on earth supreme head, 
all that our monastery or abbey of Battell aforesaid ; 
and also, all and singular manors, lordships, messua- 
ges, gardens, curtilages, tofts, lands, and tenements, 
meadows, feedings, pastures, woods, rents, reversions, 
services, mills, passages, knights-fees, wards, 
marriages, bond-men, villains, with their sequel 


commons, liberties, franchises, jurisdictions, offices, 
courts-leet, hundreds, views of frankpledge, fairs, 
markets, parks, warrens, vivares, waters, fisheries, 
ways, passages, void grounds, advowsons, nominations 
presentations, and donations of churches, vicarages, 
chapels, chantries, hospitals, and other ecclesiastical 
benefices whatsoever, rectories, vicarages, chapels, 
chantries, pensions, portions, annuities, tithes obla- 
tions, and all and singular our emoluments, profits, 
possessions, hereditaments, and rights whatsoever, 
as well within the said county of Sussex, as within 
the counties of Kent, Southampton, Devon, Worces- 
ter, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Berks, Oxford, Wilts, 
Cambridge, as elsewhere within the kingdom of 
England, Wales and the marches thereof, to the 
said monastery or abbey of Battell aforesaid, in 
any wise belonging, appendant, or incumbent ; and 
all manner, deeds, evidences, writings, muniments 
in any wise concerning or belonging to the said 
monastery, manors, lands, tenements, and other the 
premises, with the appurtenances ; or to any parcel 
thereof, to have, hold and enjoy the said monastery 
or abbey, site, grounds, circuit, and precinct of 
Battell aforesaid ; and, also all and singular lord- 
ships, manors, messuages, lands, tenements, rectories, 
pensions, and other the premises, with all and 
singular their appurtenances, to our aforesaid most 
invincible prince and lord the king, his heirs and 
assigns for ever. To whom, in order to give all 
the effect of right which can or may thereupon come, 
we do in this behalf (as is meet) subject and 
submit ourselves and the said monastery or abbey 
of Battell aforesaid, and all rights to us, in 
any wise acquired, giving and granting, to the same 
royal majesty, his heirs and assigns, all and all 
manner of full and free faculty, authority and 


power of disposing of us, and the said monastery 
of Battell aforesaid, together with all and singular 
manors, lands, tenements, rents, reversions, services, 
and every the premises, with their rights and 
appurtenances whatsoever; and of alienating, 
giving, converting, and transferring, at his free-will 
and royal pleasure, to whatsoever uses pleasing to 
his majesty, raitfying, and by these presents we do 
promise to ratify, and for ever to confirm such 
dispositions, alienations, donations, conversions, and 
translations, to be henceforth by his majesty in any 
wise made. And, that all and singular the premises 
may have their due effect, the elections, moreover, 
to us and to our successors ; and also all plaints, 
provocations, appeals, actions, suits, and instances, 
and all other our remedies and benefits whatsoever, 
in any wise competent, and hereafter to be compe- 
tent to us, perhaps, and to our successors in this 
behalf, by force of the disposition, alienation, trans- 
lation, and conversion aforesaid, and other the 
premises. And all exceptions, objections, and 
allegations of deceit, error, fear, ignorance, or other 
matter or disposition, being wholly set aside 
and removed, we have openly, publicly and 
expressly, and of our certain knowledge, and volun- 
tary inclinations, renounced and yielded up, and 
by these presents we do renounce and yield up, 
and from the same do recede in these writings. 
And we, the aforesaid abbot and convent, and our 
successors, will warrant the said monastery or 
abbey, precinct, site, mansion and church of Battell, 
aforesaid, and all and singular the manors, lord- 
ships, messuages, gardens, curtilages, tofts, meadows, 
feedings, pastures, woods, underwoods, lands, tene- 
ments, and all and singular other the premises, 


with every their appurtenances to our aforesaid 
lord the king, his heirs, and assigns, against all 
men for ever, by these presents. In witness whereof 
we the aforesaid abbot and convent have caused 
our common seal to be affixed to this writing, dated 
the 27th day of the month of May, in the thirtieth 
year of the reign of our illustrious lord the king." 

The signatures to the deed were. John, abbot 
of Battell; Richard Salehurst, prior; Clement 
Westfeld ; John Henfeld ; John Hastings, sub 
prior ; Thomas Levett ; Vincent Dunston ; John 
Benyng; Clement Gregory; Thomas Cuthbert; 
William Ambrose ; Thomas Bede ; John Jerome ; 
Edward Clement; Bartholomew Ciprian; John 
Newton; and Richard Tony. Of these John 
Hammond the abbot, had been sacristan, from 
1512 to Michaelmas 1531. Richard Salehurst 
was also treasurer, from 1524 till the dissolution. 
Edward Clement was almoner in 1503, and then 
sacristan till 1512. Thomas Levett, otherwise 
Cranebroke, was almoner from 1520 to 1525 ; 
when he was succeeded by John Hastings, or 
Austen, who held that office at the dissolution. 
John Benyng was chaplain to the abbot, in 1520, 
and in 1530, steward of the household. 

The seal affixed to the deed of surrender bears 
two impressions. The obverse of white wax repre- 
sents a large and handsome church, or, according 
to some opinions, gateway, with a tower and four 
turrets, within a border in which is the legend, 
TINI DE BELLO." The reverse of red wax 
has the abbot's seal, which represents a gothic 


canopy, ornamented with the history of St. Martin, 
dividing his cloak with the naked beggar. Under 
the canopy is the figure of a mitred abbot, having 
his crozier in the right hand, in the other a book : 
in each of the side compartments is a figure ; one 
a bishop, the other a female with an olive branch, 
emblematical of peace; beneath the figures are 
two shields ; that on the right bearing England and 
France, quarterly ; that on the left, the arms of the 
abbey. Gules, a Cross, Or, between four Crowns, 
Or. Around the whole the legend " Sigil : Johes : 
dei : gra : de Bello." These bearings differ from 
those given by most authors. According to Fuller, 
in his Church history, " BATTAILE ABBEY 
gave Gules , a Crosse, Or, between a Crown, Or, 
in the 1st and 4th quarters; A Sword fbladed 
Argent hilted OrJ in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. 
Here the Armes relate to the Name, and both 
Armes and Name to the fierce fight hard by, 
whereby Duke William gained the English Crown 
by Conquest and founded this abbey. Nor must 
it be forgotten, that the Text $ pierced through 
with a dash, is fixed in the navill of the Crosse. 
Now though I have read, Letters to be little honour- 
able in Armes, this cannot be disgraceful, partly 
because Church Heraldrie moveth in a sphere by 
it self, partly because this was the Letter of Letters 
as the received character to signify Christus." It 
may not be amiss to notice that the house of 
Cobourg have borne a letter X in one of their 
quarterings, from the time that their ancestor took 
so determined a course in furthering the Reforma- 
tion. Having the convent seal in white wax and 
the abbot's in red, seems to have been peculiar to 
this abbey. 


In the year 1835, a friend of the Gleaner described so 
minutely a seal, which had been in his hands but a short 
time previously, as to leave no doubt that it was that 
of abbot Hamond; it was cut in ivory; having a handle 
similar to desk-seals of the present time. 

The following letter from the commissioners to 
lord Cromwell, preserved among the Cottonian 
MSS. gives us reason to believe that the abbot and 
monks had prepared themselves for the dissolution 
of their monastery, by disposing of their most 
valuable moveable property ; for it cannot be sup- 
posed that so rich an abbey was badly provided, 
after more than four centuries of uninterrupted 
prosperity, and continually increasing wealth. The 
accounts of the abbot himself when sacristan shew 
that new vestments, plate, and other articles were 
then purchased. 

" My Lord, 

This shal be to advertise yo r- Lordshippe, 
that we haue taken the assurance for the kyng, and 
haue caste o r bowke for the dispache of the monks 
and household, which amownttithe at the leaste to 
a 2 hundrethe pownds : the implements off the 
household be the worste that ev r I see in Abbaye 
or Priorie, the vestyments so old and so baysse 
worn, raggede and torne as your Lordeshipe would 
not thinke, so that very small money can be made 
of the vestrye ; if your Lordshippe send us a hun- 
drethe pownds by the bringer we shal make up 
the reste if hit be possible of the old vestrye stuffe ; 
if we cannot, we shal disburse y* till o r retorne to 
y r Lordeshipp. The church plate and plate of the 
household, we suppose by estimation will amount 


to cccc marks or more: there is no great store 
of catell; this day we be making an inventorie. 
Thus o r Lord continewe yowe in honour. 

From Battell Abbay, the 27th of May. 

Yo r Lordshippes to command, 

Yo r Lordshippes most humble 

to command, 

The Abbot, by letters patent, dated the 6th of 
July following, was granted out of the revenues of 
the monastery, a pension of 100 marks, or 66 
13s. 4:d. The sixteen monks who signed the 
surrender, also had pensions. Richard Salehurst 
15 marks or, 10. Westfeld, Henfeld, Hastings, 
Levett, Dunstan, Benyng, Gregory, Ambrose, and 
Bede 15 marks, or 6 13s. 4d. each; Cuthbert, 
Jerome, Clement, Ciprian and Dertmouthe, 9 
marks, or 6 each. Willis says that he found no 
pension assigned to Tony " except he be the same 
with Richard Ladde a novice, whose name is put 
separate in the Pension Book, in a distinct place 
after the rest. His allowance was only 4 marks. 
If we suppose Richard Ladde and Tony as afore- 
said, to be the same person, then every individual 
monk specified in the surrender was provided for. 
Richard Dartmouthe 6." He then says " A. D. 
1553, there remained in charge 26 6s. Sd. in 
Annuities payable out of the revenues of this 
convent, besides the following pensions : to Richard 
Salehurst 10, Thomas Bede, John Austin, Cle- 
ment Gregory, 10 marks each. Bartholomew 


Ciprian, R. Dolemouth ^mistaken for DartmoutheJ 
Edward Clement) John Jerrome, 6." The 
Richard Tony who signed the deed of surrender 
and whose pension Willis could not ascertain, is 
the same as R. Dartmouthe in the pension list. A 
mere novice, as he states Ladde to have been, 
could have had no authority in the chapter, nor in 
any way over the property of the abbey, to render 
his signature requisite to the surrender. It was no 
uncommon thing for the monks, as well as other 
persons, to use two names ; that of their family, or 
mat of the place from whence they came : some- 
times the former was entirely dropped, and that of 
the latter assumed. Richard Salehurst, for instance, 
appears under no other in the numerous documents 
wherein he is mentioned ; nor does Clement West- 
feld and others ; whilst Levett is sometimes called 
Cranebroke, as Tony was Dartemouthe. 

It is not necessary that we should go into any 
lengthened argument, to rescue the monks from the 
scandalous imputations cast on them by Stevens, 
Burnet, Speed, and others : the mere fact of pen- 
sions being awarded to them, is a sufficient refuta- 
tion : and the letters patent by which the abbot's 
pension was granted, mention that he had presided 
a good while before the dissolution, and contain a 
clause providing that he should resign the pension 
in case the king conferred on him any preferment ; 
which certainly would not have been thought of, 
if he had been so scandalously wicked as some, 
without shewing any authority, have asserted. 

Willis in his 2nd volume page 238, mentions 
two dissolved chantries at Battell, of which, in 


1553, there was paid to Bartholomew Berwicke, 
who had been the incumbent of that called Battel 
chantry, a pension of 6; and to John Harris, 
incumbent of De la Motte's chantry, 1 10s. 
These chantries there is reason to suppose belonged 
to the parish church; as they are not mentioned 
in the valuation of the possessions of the abbey ; 
which according to Dugdale amounted to 880 
4s. Id. per annum ; and according to Speed 987 
11s. 6d. Judging from the fact that the rental of 
1383 amounted to 1244 3s. 6d. these estimations 
must have been very low. 

The following are some of the particulars given 
in the Valor Ecclesiasticus. 


Profit of the demesne lands of different descrip- 
tions in the parish of Battell, Sedlescumbe, Cattis- 
feld, and Pevensey, appropriated to the maintenance 
of hospitality at the said abbey, 20. 

Annual profits of premises held under leases for 
terms of years by different tenants. viz. 

One farm with its appurtenances, in the tenure 
of Edward Feld, per annum 5 6s. 8d. This 
was Marley. 

One other farm (Beech) and its appurtenances, 
in the tenure of John Iden, per annum 5. 

Rents of divers small farms in the holdings of 
various tenants, collected by the bail iff* of the abbey ; 
with 26s. rent of a house called the Tyle House 
5 13s. 4d. 


Farmed to divers other tenants in Battell, and 
collected by the bailiff, 9 9s. 

Rents of divers customary tenants &c., 6 10s. \d. 

Rent of a mill in tenure of John Barker, 1 
3s. Id. 

Rents of divers tenements and houses in Battell, 
and in the parishes of Sedlescombe, Westfeld, 
Hollington, Beckle, Farleghe, West-Lym, Warbyl- 
ton, Dalynton, in the county of Sussex, in the 
collection of the abbey bailiff, 13 10s. 

Rents of divers houses of the abbey sacristry with 
a field and sundry lands, called Caldbek and Lidcox 
and the tenths thereof in the tenure of John Neston, 
9 6s. 

Rent of certain land called Estlond in the tenure 
of Christopher Dunk, 2 

Other rents in the town of Battell, 4 15s. 

Rent of the land called St. Mary Crofte, and 
divers other parcels of land adjoining to the same, 
in the tenure of Edward Felde, 3 12s. 

Rent of the Almonry meadow, and divers houses 
in the tenure of different tenants, 3 3s. 

Rents of divers tenants and sundry parcels of 
land in the said town of Battell, and in Worth 
3 Is. lid. 

Rent of Baron Viand, in Pevensey marsh, 6s. 

Rent of certain lands called Snaylham in Gest- 
ling, 1 Os. Gd. 


Rents of divers tenements in Battell, Watlyngton 
and Sedlescombe, 8. 5*. Od. 

Other rents in the town of Battell 5s. 2d., and 
of lands in the marsh of Rye, 3s. Summa Ss. 2d. 


In Gestling. Rent of a manor called Mexfeld, 
with its appurtenances, in the tenure of Robert 
Brachelen, 10. Ss. 

In Aicyston. Rent of the manor of Alcyston, 
with divers other rents and profits of the same, in 
the tenure of Thomas A. Wood, at per annum 
61. 17*. 

Rent of a house in the tenure of Richard 
Belham, 2. 

Alfriston. Rent of the manor, 3. 13-5. 4d. 

Lullyngton. Rent of the manor, 16. Us. 4d., 
and rents of Assize therein, 19. Ss. Od. 

Appultram. (near Chichester) rent of the manor 
29. Ss. 

Barnehorne. Rent of the manor, 27. 13*. 

Northey. (in Bexele) rent payable to the 
abbey from the manor, 12*. 

Other rents, viz. At Pevensey farm, for thirteen 
acres of marsh, 13*. At Wadeherst, for land 
called Snape, 17*. 4d. In Tyseherst, for the 
manor called Bereherst, 1. 13*. 4d. In Echyn- 



ham, for a tenement and certain lands called 
Stretnigs, 1. In Bodyham and Ewhurst, for 
a field called Battell Meadow, and certain lands 
annexed thereto, 3. 6s. 4d. At Merewell and 
Brodgrove, for certain parcels of land, 1. Is. &d. 
And at Cattesfeld, for certain lands called Chanters 
Down, 10s. Summa 9. Is. Sd. 


Wye. Rent of the manor and appurtenances, 
47. 13s. 4Jd Rent of a mill, 5. 13s. 4d. Of 
Townbourne, 6. 13s. 4d., and other rents of divers 
customary tenants, collected by the bailiff, 5. 

Estkyngnorth. Rent of the manor, 22. 15s. 5d. 
Westkyngnorth. Rent of a farm, 5. 

Byddyngden. Rent of the manor of Wachenden, 

Lydde. Rent for the parcel of the manor of 
Dengemershe, &c., 4. 9s. 

Cranbroke. For the manor of Anglyngle, 
7. 7s. 

Hawkeherst. For the manor of Merebuss. 

In Southwark. Rents of divers small farms and 
their appurtenances, collected by the abbey bailiff 
41. 13s. 4d. Rents of tenements belonging to 
the abbot near Battell Bridge, in the parish of St. 
Olave, held by various tenants 28. 6s. Rent of 
a watermill there, 3. 6s. 4d. 



Gross yearly amount of rents of the manors of 
Hoton, Alton, Bright- Walton, Pipe, Walkynford, 
Bromham and Clenche, situated in the said counties 
128. 5s. 8Jrf. 


County of Sussex: Rectories appropriated to 
the abbey. For Icklesham, per annum. For 
Westfeld 6. 65. Sd. Annual pensions, payable 
to the abbot, viz. From Mankesey, 16s. New 
Priory Hastings, 2s. Rectory of Warbleton, 20s. 
The Prior of Robertsbridge, 4. 


Tenths from divers villages near Battell, viz 
Watlington, Sedlescomb, Hollyngton, Brede, 
Udymere, Gestling, Ore, Bexle, Wartling, Beckle, 
and of divers other lands, estimated one year 
with another to 13s. 

Oblations for the same, one year with another 
13s. 4d. In Alcyston and Barnehorne manors, 
tythes for grain 2. 


Receivable from different rectories in annual 
pensions to the abbot, Summa 107. 5s. 4d. 



For pensions and portions to divers persons in 
different places, (including a yearly composition 
payable to the Dean of Battell of 5. 6s. 8d.) 14 
18$. 6d. per annum. 

The annual procurations and resolved rents, pay- 
able to different persons and places, 7. 13*. 2^d. 

In perpetual alms, amount of distributions to be 
to be made to poor people yearly for ever, in the 
Almonry, at different times in the year, particularly 
at the Feast of St. Martin, and at the Sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper, in money, bread, &c., left by 
Sybella de Iklesham, Durand de Sutton, Hugh de 
Martin, Henry Faber, and others, of ancient foun- 
dation, per annum 5. Os. IQd. 

Fees to seneschals, receivers, auditors, bailiffs, 
and collectors, viz : 

To Thomas, Earl of Wilts, seneschal of all the 
manors, lands, and tenements, belonging to the 
Abbey in the county of Sussex, his yearly fee, 
14. 6s. 8d. 

To Sir Edward Baynton, seneschal of the manor 
of Bromham, 26s. 4d. ; and to the seneschals of 
four other of the Abbey manors, for their yearly fees 
7. 7s. 4d. 

To the receiver for Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex, 
1. 6s. 3d. To the receiver for Berks, Wilts, 
Oxford, &c., 2. To John Chilton, the bailiff of 


Wye, 11. Lymnesfeld, 2. To Ambrose Com- 
port, bailiff of Battell, 2. 6*. 8rf. To the bailiff 
of Bromham, 16-5. 4d To Christopher Wygselle, 
auditor of the abbey, 2. 13s. 4d To the receiver 
of Dengemarsh, 7s. To the receiver of Lullyngton, 
1. 10s. And to private receivers of rents of the 
abbey, in various different places, 2. 13s. 4d. 

The Abbot of Battel's Inn, or Town-House, 
(says Stowe,) "stood between the Bridge-House 
and Battel Bridge on the banks of the river Thames. 
The Walks and Gardens thereto appertaining, on 
the other side of the way, below the gate of the said 
house, were called the Maze ; it is now the Fleur- 
de-lys Inn. The bridge was so called of Battel 
Abbey, and stood on the ground, and over a water- 
course flowing out of the Thames, pertaining to that 
abbey, and was therefore built and repaired by the 
Abbot of that house." 

We will conclude our " Gleanings" of the Abbey 
in its ecclesiastical state, with the celebrated 

Battel Abbey Roll. 

Though the original document is supposed to 
have been consumed in the lamentable fire at 
Cowdray, copies of it are extant in the works 
of Hollinshed, Leland, Dugdale, &c. Dugdale 
says there are great errors, or rather falsifications, 
in most of the copies of it, which he attributes to 
the monks having inserted and Frenchified many 
English names, to gratify the absurd pride of families 
who preferred the fame of being descended from 


foreign adventurers to the honourable and more cer- 
tain antiquity of Saxon origin. This may be correct in 
some instances ; but, with all deference to such high 
authority, it must be allowed that the Roll could 
not have been completed till many years after the 
foundation of the abbey. The Normans were quickly 
dispersed to all parts of the kingdom, and many 
assumed the names of the places where they settled, 
which may account for the seeming Saxon origin of 
some; indeed many Saxons had previously settled 
in Normandy, and doubtless, were among the forces 
with which William invaded England. The lists in 
the forenamed authors differ much from each other ; 
from what cause we will not venture to surmise. 
Leland saw the Roll, and in notes to his copy states 
that some particular marks are the same in the 
original. This gives a verisimilitude to his copy 
that induces us to prefer it to that of Dugdale. 






































































St. Cloyis 


St. Clere, 



St. Thomer, 

















Fitz Roger 


Fitz Robert, 




St. Ligiere 
























Soucheville Coudrey 









t [l] Sic cum duobus punctis. 



Neners et 
Chaumberlayn et 

Fitz Walter et 

Argenteyn et 

Ros et 

Hasting et 

Merkenfell et 

Fitz Philip et 

Takel et 

Lenias et 

Fourbeville et 

Saunzauer et 

Mountague et 

Forneux et 

Valence et 

Clerevals et 

Dodingle et 

Mantelent et 

Chapes et 

Cauntelow et 

Sainct Tesc et 

Braund et 

Fitz-Alayne et 

Maunys et 

Power et 

Tuchet et 

Peche et 

Daubenay et 
Sainct Amande et 

Ryvers et 

Loveday et 

Denyas et 

Mountburgh et 

Maleville et 





Ridel, ; 




















Panel alias Paignel, 







































De la Hay 































Saunz Peur 


Fitz Simoun, 



























[1] Sic, cum puncto sub posteriore parte liter, m. 
[2] Sic, cum tribus punctis. 



De la Launde 


Del Isle, 




St. John 


St. lory, 




De la Pole 









St. Leo 


















De Wake 


De la War, 

De la Marche 


De la Marc, 




' [1] 






















De la River 





















[1] Sic, cum puncto sub posteriore, 1. 

































































































1] Sic, cum puncto sub posteriore parte liter, in. 
































CoigherS; " 






























St. More, 






























De la Laund 

De la Valet 



De la Plaunche et 
















La Muile 












St. Amary, 
























St. Martine, 






















De la Huse 





















(1) Sic, cum duobus punctis. 







St. Barbe 
















































In this list there are above a hundred names 
more than Dugdale gives, though he has some 
unquestionable ones not to be found here. viz. 
Hamon, Normanville, Somerville, Courcy, Bohun, 
Fitz-Herbert, Turbeville, Berners, and others. 
It is somewhat remarkable that neither of them 
have the celebrated D'Abrinces, Todeni, Fitz- 
Osborne, Fitz-Gilbert, De Gauder, Grentmesnil, 
De Rotrou, D'Estaples, or Montgomerie. 

(1; Sic, cum duobus punctis, 


The Abbey Subsequent to the Dissolution, its 
Proprietors, Sfc. 

Having concluded the " Gleanings" respecting 
this abbey in its monastic state, we now proceed 
with those as to its lay condition, and proprietors. 

Willis in his short account of this abbey and its 
privileges, says, a All which privileges with the 
Abbey itself coming into King Henry Sth's Hands 
at the Dissolution, he soon after, as I was informed 
when I was at the Place, bestowed the Site of the 
Church with several of the Lands upon one Gilmer, 
who for lucre of the Lead, Timber, &c., in a little 
time pulled it down and sold the materials ; which 
sacriligious Act thrived not ; for it was soon after 
sold to Sir Anthony Browne. The posterity of this 
Gilmer do yet live in this Place, in a mean capacity." 
This appears to be incorrect, probably the tale was 
an invention of some of " The posterity" that they 
might appear of more consequence in the minds of 
their neighbours. The church and some other 
portions of the abbey were destroyed by the authority 
of the Commissioners, as was the case with many 
others, and it is probable that Gilmer was the person 
employed by them to effect the demolition; or he 
may have given for the materials of the parts to be 
destroyed, a certain sum, either in " reddy mony 
or Days upon sufficient Suretyes," and undertaken 
the demolition at his own cost; in which case he 
of course, sold the materials to remunerate his 
outlay. It is evident from the king's grant to Sir 
Anthony Browne, within three months after the 
surrender, that Gilmer never had any part of the 
place given to him. The letters patent of 'Henry 


the VHIth, dated August the 18th, 1538, granted 
Battel Abbey, and various of its possessions to Sir 
Anthony Browne, by the description of "The. site 
of the late Monastery or Abbey of Battell, in 
the county of Sussex, then dissolved ; and all the 
Church, Bell-Tower, and Church-Yard of the said 
Monastery or Abbey ; also all messuages, edifices, 
granges, stables, dove-houses, lands, &c., within or 
adjoining to the site, circuit, or precinct of the same. 
And one house called the Lodge ; and one garden, 
and one water-mill called the Park Milne, one lentin 
called the Tyle-House, and three acres of pasture to 
the same belonging, in Battell ; also the Great Park, 
in circuit two miles and a half, and containing by 
estimation three hundred acres of land, in Battell 
aforesaid ; and the Little Park, in circuit one mile 
and a half, and containing by estimation one hundred 
acres of land ; and also three fields of pasture called 
Lydbroke, otherwise Sextry, containing by estima- 
tion twenty-six acres ; five fields of pasture called 
Spytel Land, containing twenty-eight acres; one 
pasture called the Procession Strake ; one small 
croft of land containing two acres ; one pasture called 
the Vineyard- Pond, containing seventeen acres ; one 
pasture called Le Newe ground, containing twenty 
acres; the Clay Pits, and one other pasture lying 
without the Butts, containing twenty acres ; one 
pasture called the Little Maundsy next the end of 
the garden, containing fifty acres ; one other pasture 
called the Maundsy next the Butts, containing five 
acres; the Hay Park of two acres; Cellarers Bayles 
and the Broom-field, containing sixty acres ; Bellyng- 
felde of eleven acres ; the New Ground of twenty 
acres ; and another field called the New Ground, of 


twenty-two acres ; also a field called the Wek-mede, 
otherwise Sextry, of fifty acres; two fields called 
Bencrofte and Stewe-mede, of six acres ; Culver- 
mede, of four acres ; the Long-mede, of ten acres ; 
Long-mede, of two acres ; the Pasture-fields, ten 
acres : Almonry-mede, of three acres and a half; 
three meadows called Spytel-land-meadows, of fifteen 
acres ; Horse-pond-mede, of five acres ; Marshall- 
marsh, of sixty-six acres; and all that messuage, 
grange, and farm, called Bolsham-Felde, containing 
twelve acres; Hatham-Felde, of twelve acres; Rolfe- 
Felde, of six acres ; Petley, of seven acres ; a small 
field lying near Cornore, of two acres; Hetheboters, 
of sixty acres; Welland-Felde, of twelve acres; 
Shepe-Felde, of nine acres and two rods ; Corneore, 
of twenty-six acres; Marley Pond, of two acres ; 
three small crofts lying behind Marley Farm House, 
containing six acres ; Wellande-Mede of twenty 
acres; Rowland, containing eighteen acres; Seddles- 
comb-Mede, of twenty acres ; a meadow lying behind 
the bam of Marley Farm, of sixteen acres ; Cheese- 
Crofte-Mede, of eight acres ; Barnehorne Pond, 
situate in the parish of Howe ; and also ten acres, 
parcel of the manor of Barnehorne, and lying con- 
tiguous to the said pond." 

" Also all, and all manner of tenths whatsoever of 
all and singular the said premises ; and all tenths of 
grain and standing corn in the parish or town of 

ee All and singular which premises above men- 
tioned, are lying and being in Battell, Marley, and 
Howe, in the county of Sussex ; and belong to the 
said late Monastery." 


" Also all the lordship and manor of Battell, with 
its members and appurtenances, belonging to the 
said late Monastery ; and the Rectory, advowson, 
donation, presentation, and right of patronage of 
Battell ; and all advowsons, &c., of the Vicarage of 
the parish of Battell ; together with all and singular, 
messuages, lands, &c., in Battell, Marley, Seddles- 
combe, Watlyngton, Hertsmonceux, Warkling, Cat- 
tesfelde, Tellham,, Ukeham, Swynham, Willingdon, 
Westdene, Hollyngton, Bexle, Bodyham, and Ang- 
mereherst, in the county of Sussex, and in Romney 
Marsh in the county of Kent, belonging to the said 
late Monastery ; as fully as they were held by John 
Hamond, late abbot of the said late Monastery, or 
any of his predecessors abbots of the same." 

" To hold to the said Anthony Browne for ever of 
the King and his successors, in capite, by the service 
of two knight's fees, and a yearly rent of twelve 
pounds, in full of all rents, demands, and services 
whatsoever, &c., &c." 

The portions of the abbey destroyed immediately 
after the dissolution were the church; the cam- 
panile, or bell-tower; the sacristry; the chapter 
house, which stood on the south side of the choir ; 
the cloisters ; and perhaps some buildings at the 
south-east angle of the refectory, and the superstruc- 
ture of the vaults now remaining : though the latter 
may have been taken down by Sir Anthony Browne 
previous to commencing his new buildings which 
is supposed to have been in 1539. A curious 
letter is extant, relative to the works then carrying 
on, dated July the llth, addressed to Sir Anthony's 


steward, by an officer of the household, respecting 
the retaining the service of such roughlayers as 
he should send for employment to Battei abbey, 
as he hears that those sent by Mr. Bartlett are 
returned home to their own country. It appears 
that the extensive repairs and alterations then 
making to render the buildings suitable for a private 
establishment were undertaken by some builder 
by contract. As to the men sent, the writer, whose 
name is effaced by time, enjoins the steward, 
"that ye woll see them well handelyde in their 
wages, yf men feell no gayne by their labors and 
travel! hytt were as goode that they werre gone 
for they woll worke none theire after. As I under- 
stonde the worke ys takyn in greatt by one mann 
and he doweth gyve small wages by cause hys 
owne gayne shulde be the morre." He also says 
that, as soon as their pay was done he should 
send a substantial man as a mortar worker. 

The buildings then left standing were the refec- 
tory; the kitchen with its requisite offices, which 
stood on the southern side of the cloisters, between 
the refectory, and the buildings now standing; 
a range of buildings forming the western side 
of the cloisters, and extending further westward 
in the shape of the letter L ; the vaulted ground 
floor of which is now in tine preservation; the 
great-hall; the abbot's apartments, the vaulted 
store rooms, on which Sir Anthony Browne and 
his son the viscount Montague erected new apart- 
ments ; and the gateway. 

The kitchen was razed to the ground by Francis, 
4th viscount Montague in the autumn of 1685. 


Willis states that the kitchen was so large as 
to contain five fire places, and vaulted at the top. 
From this statement. Rouse, not being aware of its 
destruction, and seeing no other remains of a room 
sufficiently extensive, erroneously supposed that a 
room under the refectory was the kitchen. 

The name of Browne is in all copies of Battel 
Abbey Roll ; and an ancestor of Sir Anthony was 
created a knight of the Bath, at the coronation of 
king Richard the 2nd. Sir Anthony through his 
mother the lady Lucy Neville, widow of Sir 
William Fitzwilliam, and one of the daughters and 
coheiress of John Neville, marquess of Montacute, 
brother of Richard earl of Warwick, " The King 
Maker," was descended in various ways from 
Edward the 1st, Edward the 3rd, and John of 
Gaunt; and also otherways connected with the 
royal family, as well as the principal nobility. He 
was a knight of the garter, master of the horse to 
Henry the 8th, and one of that monarch's prime 
favourites. He was also one of the executors of 
Henry's will, a guardian of the young king and the 
princesses Mary and Elizabeth, and one of the 
council of regency of the young king Edward the 
6th. Sir Anthony died the 6th of May, 1548, 
being then master of the horse to Edward the 6th, 
and was buried in the chancel of Battel church ; 
leaving issue by his first wife, Alice daughter of 
Sir Gage, (one of the king's commissioners for 
visiting and receiving the surrender of monasteries, 
and to whom Henry gave the valuable manor of 
Alciston, which belonged to Battel abbey,) four 
sons and three daughters ; Mary married to John 


Grey, second son of Thomas, marquess of Dorset; 
Mabel married to Gerald llth earl of Kildare; 
and Lucy married to Thomas Roper, of Eltham, 
in Kent, ancestor of lord Teynham. Sir Anthony 
married secondly a lady whose beauty has been 
immortalized by the celebrated earl of Surrey as 
" The Fair Geraldine." She was the lady Eliza- 
beth Fitzgerald, daughter of Gerald 9th earl of 
Kildare. The earl was summoned to England 
to answer for his conduct in some violence offered 
to the earl of Ossory; and imprisoned in the 
Tower, where he died. During his imprisonment 
his son Thomas took up arms with other Irish 
nobles ; and having been taken prisoners with his 
five uncles, they were all brought to England, and 
executed at Tyburn, for high treason, the 2nd of 
February, 1535. The mother of the Fair Geral- 
dine was the lady Elizabeth Grey, a grand 
daughter of the lady Elizabeth, (daughter of Sir 
Richard Widdville, earl Rivers, and widow of Sir 
Thomas Grey, of Groby,) whose beauty and virtue 
raised her to the throne, as queen of Edward the 
4th. The countess was therefore niece in half-blood 
to king Edward the 5th, and his brother, Richard, 
duke of York, who were murdered in the Tower, 
and to the princess Elizabeth, in her own right 
queen of England and wife of king Henry the 7th. 
Consequently she was cousin to Henry the 8th. 
" The Fair Geraldine" was therefore second cousin 
to the princesses Mary, and Elizabeth : and after 
the ruin of her family, was brought up with them 
at Hunsdon, where Surrey first beheld her, whilst 
attending the duke of Richmond, who married his 
sister, on a visit to the princesses. This circum- 



stance, and her family, he thus alludes to in one 
of the poems written during his imprisonment at 

"From Tuscan came my lady's worthy race, 

Fair Florence was sometime their ancient seat ; 
The Western Isle, whose pleasant shore doth face 

Wild Camber's cliffs, did give her lively heat. 
Foster'd she was with milk of Irish breast ; 

Her sire an earl, her dame of princes blood. 
From tender years in Britain she doth rest 

With king's child, where she tasteth costly food. 
Honsdon did first present her to mine ey'n 

Bright is her hue and Geraldine she hight 
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine 

And Windsor, alas ! doth chase her from my sight." 

"Her dame of princes blood" applies to her 
andmother the marchioness of Dorset, who was 
aughter and heiress of Henry duke of Exeter, 
by the lady Anne, sister of King Edward the 4th. 


" The Fair Geraldine who was much younger 
than Sir Anthony, had no issue by him, and no 
great time after his decease was united to Sir 
Edward Clinton, the 1st earl of Lincoln of that 
name, ancestor of the duke of Newcastle, and 
lord high-admiral of England, who died 16th of 
January, 1584, and was buried in St. George's. 
chapel Windsor ; where the countess, on her decease 
shortly after, was also interred. There is a monu-y 
ment to their memory having their effigies lying on 
a curiously wrought mat ; the earl caparisoned in 
armour, the countess in her robes of state. On the 
sides of the tomb their eight children, five sons and 
three daughters are sculptured in bas relief, kneeling 
on cushions. 


Doubtless there are numerous spots in and about 
this old abbey which have been trodden by " The 
Fair Geraldine" ; and if it were possible to name 
one perhaps it might be as ardently visited, if not 
so much hallowed as the shrines of olden times. 

These were not the only weddings in which Sir 
Anthony was concerned; he had the honour of 
officiating as proxy for lung Henry the 8th, in the 
marriage with Anne of Cleves. His portrait, in 
the dress worn on that occasion, was at Cowdray 
House, where it was seen in 1749 by Horace 
Walpole, who thus notices it " He is in blue and 
white, only the right leg is entirely white, which was 
robed for the act of putting into bed to her ; but 
when the king came to marry her, he only put his 
leg into bed to kick her out." 

Sir Anthony, having many years enjoyed the 
highest favour of his sovereign, was the person 
selected to communicate to him the awful intelli- 
gence that his illness would shortly end in death ; 
and dying a few months after his royal master, was 
succeeded by his eldest son, 

Anthony, who was one of the forty knights 
created at the coronation of king Edward the 6th, 
1554, for the honourable reception of Philip 
of Spain, then about to be married to queen Mary, 
he was appointed master of the horse to that king ; 
and in September following received the honour 
of the garter, and was created viscount Montacute, 
which title he chose because his grandmother was 
daughter of the marquess of Montacute. He was 


then deputed, by order of Parliament, with Thurly, 
bishop of Ely, to the pope to render submission of 
these realms to an accordance and union with the 
church of Rome, and to obedience to that see. 
He was afterwards of the queen's privy council, 
and consulted in most affairs during her turbulent 
and mischievous reign. There is a tradition at 
Battel that the princess Elizabeth was to have 
been committed to his care, and to have inhabited 
one of the suites of rooms in the new buildings at 
the abbey ; but the death of queen Mary, put a 
stop to the intention, if it ever existed. 

The viscount's first wife was Jane, daughter of 
Robert Ratcliffe earl of Sussex, by whom he had 
only a son Anthony, who succeeded him in the title 
&c. ; but Battel appears to have been held by his 
father's second wife Magdalen, daughter of 
William lord Dacre, of Gillesland, who bore three 
sons and three daughters. There is a very splen- 
did monument to the viscount and his two wives in 
Midhurst Church. 

Anthony, 2nd viscount, came into possession of the 
Battel estates on the death of his mother in law, in 
1 607. He married Mary, daughter of Sir William 
Dormer; and dying in 1629, was succeeded by 
his son Francis, 3rd viscount, who married Eliza- 
beth, daughter of Henry Somerset, marquess of 
Worcester; and, dying in 1682, was succeeded by 
his eldest son. The estates of the viscount were 
sequestrated in 1650; and two thirds thereof seized 
by the Common-Wealth, because he was a papist. 
Those at Battel &c., were valued at 1200 per 


annum, and William Yalden of Blackdown, offered 
to pay 800 per annum for the two thirds. Those 
at Cowdray, &c., at 1575 per annum, and the 
same person offered to pay 1050 for the two 
thirds. The valuation was exhibited to the com- 
missioners for compounding of sequestrations in 
November, 1650, and the certificate signed by 
Richard Sherwin, auditor, 15th October, 1651. 
Mr. Yalden appears to have been security for 
payment of the sequestration. The valuation does 
not appear to have been excessive; for Paul 
Adams, the viscount's steward, shews receipts and 
disbursements for the year, from July, 1657, to 
July, 1658,^ amounting to 1945. 10s., which 
exceeds the two thirds paid as a recusant. Adams's 
account book is almost as great a curiosity as the 
earl of Northumberland's house book, and supplies 
much curious information as to the domestic econo- 
my of such a nobleman at that time. 

Francis, the 4th viscount married Mary, daughter 
of William Herbert, marquess of Powis, and dying 
in 1708, was succeeded by his brother Henry, the 
5th viscount, who married Barbara, daughter of 
James Walsingham, esq., of Chesterfield in Essex, 
by whom he had Anthony, who on his father's 
death 25th June, 1717, became the 6th viscount: 
and in 1719 sold Battel abbey, and the estates 
thereof, to Sir Thomas Webster, baronet. The 
viscount married Barbara, daughter of Sir 
John Webb, by whom he had Anthony, 7th 
viscount; whose only son the 8th viscount, lost 
his life, with Charles brother of Sir Francis Burdett, 
in attempting to descend the falls of Schaiifthausen, 


in 1793. The magnificent old mansion which was 
burnt the same year, and all his estates then 
became the property of his sister, the wife of 
Stephen Poyntz, esquire. 

The family of Webster, was seated at Lokynton 
in Yorkshire, before the reign of Richard the 2nd ; 
which estate was, on the Monday following the 
nativity of John the Baptist, 1388, feoffed by Alicia, 
daughter and heir of William Webster of Lokynton, 
to John Herynge of Southburton, and Joan his wife. 

In the 12th of Henry the 6th, John Webster of 
Bolsover, in Derbyshire, was returned into Chancery 
among the gentlemen of that county, who made 
oath for themselves and their retainers, for the 
observance of the peace and the king's laws. Part 
of that estate was in 1735 possessed by Peter, then 
chief heir of the elder branch of the family. 

William Webster of Chesterton, had three sons, 
John, William, and Hugh. John Webster, clerk, 
died in 1494, and by his will ordered his body to 
be buried in the parish church of Moreton; and 
that John Massen, priest, say there, Placebo and 
Diridge for the souls of himself, William his father, 
and Agnes his mother. Hugh died in 1503, and 
by his will, wherein he writes himself of Cambridge, 
directs his burial to be in St. Peter's Church, 
Cambridge, and gives "six pounds for supplying 
the effigies of his family in the painted window of 
that church ; " and other sums as obits and other 
remembrances for the dead to the convents of Gray 
Friars, Black Friars, and Austin Friars, in 


Cambridge: he mentions Jane his wife, Thomas 
his son and heir, Hugh his son, Katherine his 
daughter, and Richard and Thomas, sons of 
Thomas his son; William his brother; and John 
Webster of St. Margaret's, Southwark. This John 
died in 1504 ; by his will he ordered his body to 
be buried in St. Margaret's Church, and a trental 
of masses to be sung at his funeral : he bequeathed 
his lands in Bawey, in the parish in Laham, and 
Streteham, in Cambridgeshire, to Agnes his wife 
for her life, and then to Robert his son, and his 
heirs for ever. 

George Webster of Greenwich, was master cook 
to queen Elizabeth, an important office in those 
days, his will is dated the 13th of July, 1574, and 
probate is dated the 4th of October, in the same 
year : from him the present baronet is descended. 

William Webster of the Ford-end, in the parish 
of Eaton, Bedfordshire, died in 1587, his will is 
dated the 5th of April, 1587. 

Sir Godfrey Webster, knight, descended from 
George before named, and Peter of Bolsover, was 
seated at Nelmes, in Essex, he married Abigal, 
daughter of Thomas Jordan, merchant, of London, 
and of the Mere, in Staffordshire ; by whom he 
had Thomas, the 1st baronet, his only child and 
heir; and died 16th of January, 1720. Sir God- 
frey appears to have possessed considerable property 
in London, and built the Bear-key Coffee-house, 
and a public house called the Blue Leg, or old Hull 
house, adjoining in Thames street 


Sir Thomas Webster, baronet, was so created 31st 
May, 1703, by queen Anne, in consequence of 
having, as appears by the Great Roll of William 
the 3rd, maintained and supported thirty soldiers, 
for three years, for the defence of the province of 
Ulster, in Ireland. In 1700 he purchased of 
Charles Sackville, earl of Dorset, the poet, (who 
wrote the old song "To all ye ladies now at 
land,") the noble mansion at Waltham, in Essex, 
called Copt Hall, which had belonged to the 
abbots of Waltham. He represented Colchester, 
in 1715, and other parliaments. In 1715, Henry 
Howard, earl of Suffolk, gave him the lieutenant- 
colonelcy of the red regiment of foot of the 
trained bands raised by the earl. In 1717, he 
was elected by the freeholders of Essex, verdurer 
of the ancient forest of Waltham. He married, 
April, 1678, Jane, only child and heiress of Edward 
Cheeke, esquire, of Samford Orcas, in Somerset- 
shire, by Mary, daughter of Henry Whistler, 
esquire, of Abchurch Lane, London, and Epsom, 
Surrey, merchant. Lady Webster inherited from 
her grandfather Mr. Whistler, a very large property 
in Whistlers Court, Canon Street, Lombard Street, 
St. Katherine's, Ratclifl^ Wapping, and other 
places in and about London. Her son Sir Whistler's 
share thereof, independent of what he inherited 
from his father, and his grandfather Sir Godfrey, 
was 68,000. By this lady Sir Thomas had 
Abigal Mary, Jane Whistler, Elizabeth and God- 
frey : amongst the last five of whom their grand- 
father, Sir Godfrey, left the sum of 15,000, south 
sea stock ; Sir Thomas Webster and Sir Henry 
Hankey, knight, being trustees. The extraordinary 


fluctuations in this stock are well known. On 
Christmas-day, 1721, it rose one third, and the 
15,000 became at once worth 20,000. Mary 
died in 1722 and her share was withdrawn. In 
1734, Sir Thomas, by judicious transfers, had 
increased the shares of the four survivors, so as 
to be answerable to them for 43,355 16s, 6d.. 
Abigal married first William Northey, esquire, 
son of Sir Edward Northey, knight, attorney 
general : and secondly to Sir Edmund Thomas, 
baronet, of Wenvoe Castle, Glamorganshire : 
as she was married previous to her grandfather's 
death, it is probable that she had received her 
portion. Mary died unmaried. Jane married the 
rev. Bluet, whom she survived without 
issue. An old novel, " The Widow of the Wood," 
is said to have been written on this lady. Elizabeth 
married captain Edward Webster. Sir Thomas 
died 31st May, 1751, and his lady 30th January, 

In 1719, Sir Thomas purchased Battel abbey, 
with its estates at Battel, Barnhorne, Fairlight, 
Hastings, &c., of Anthony 6th viscount Montague, 
for little more than 20,000. In 1725, he purchased 
with part of his lady's fortune, (30,548 south sea 
and India stocks having been released for the 
purpose,) Robertsbridge abbey and estates there, 
of the annual value of 1,186, for 30,700. 

The abbey and manor of Robertsbridge appears 
to have been given by Henry the 8th, to Sir 
William Sidney. Sir Henry Sidney, lord lieu- 
tenant of Ireland, held it in the reign of Elizabeth ; 


and his son, the famous Sir Philip Sidney, died 
siezed thereof in the 28th of that reign : his daugh- 
ter and heiress Elizabeth, married Roger, earl of 
Rutland. Robert Sidney, earl of Leicester, cousin 
and heir of the countess of Rutland, next held the 
property. This earl was distinguished for his 
poetical ability, and was father of Algernon Sidney. 
Robertsbridge continued in the possession of the 
earls of Leicester till 1720, when John, earl of 
Leicester sold it to John Sambroke, esquire, who 
sold it to Sir Thomas Webster. 

A very curious account book of the year 1546, 
is preserved relative to iron works at Robertsbridge: 
by which it appears that wood-cutters, were paid 
at the rate of three pence a cord. Charcoal was 
carried from different woods to the furnace and 
forge, at four pence and six pence per load. The 
colliers were paid in cord wood and money, at the 
rate of twenty-two pence the load of charcoal. 
Mine or ore was dug in the neighbourhood at a 
place called Pannyngrydge : Black Jack and others 
were paid seven pence the load for digging it. In 
1609, the manor house, sometime called Elam, 
had various buildings for steel makers, with eight 
steel forges and a mill house ; and the great east 
gate was a store house for iron, &c. 

About the same time Sir Thomas purchased a 
great house in St. James's street, Westminster, for 
6,000, and expended thereon 2,000 more to fit it 
for his town residence. This house is now Boodle's 
club house. In 1727, he purchased Bodiam castle, 
with estates at Bodiam and Ewhurst, of the repre- 
sentatives of the widow of Sir Christopher Powel. 


Sir Thomas appears to have been a person of 
considerable commercial enterprize; an excellent 
manager of his property ; kept very regular ac- 
counts ; was economical, and yet liberal ; purchased 
many pictures and a good library, his copy of 
Rymer's Fcedera cost 59 15-5.; encouraged 
improvements in agriculture, and in 1731 purchased 
new implements of the celebrated Jethro Tull, to 
the amount of nearly 1 00 ; a plough cost 8 Ss. 
His payments to tailors, shoemakers, hatters, &c., 
shew that he was economical in his costume ; but 
on suitable occasions wore velvet coats, with gold 
or silver lace, &c. His undress bob-wigs, cost 4 ; 
but his dress perukes were 8 each. Many entries 
of disbursements are of a charitable nature, in gifts, 
and loans to persons in distress, donations to the 
poor of different parishes, subscription towards 
building a church at Derby, &c. In 1721, he paid 
40 for the faculty of a gallery pew in St. James's 
church, and presented 5 5s. to the churchwardens 
for their trouble. At christmas 1728, he paid 13 
10s. for exchanging his gallery, and gave the 
churchwardens 3 3*. and the two vestry clerks 
2 2s. One item affords a good idea of the roads 
in Sussex, when there were no turnpikes, though 
Sir Thomas might not have had his "curricle drawn 
by oxen," he paid for oxen to assist in getting his 
carriage from Robertsbridge to Battel, when 
journeying from London. 

It appears that after purchasing the estates in 
Sussex, Sir Thomas carried on the iron works at 
Beech, Robertsbridge and Echynham, for some 
years ; but the devastation which they caused in 


the woodlands, and the comparative cheapness with 
which iron was smelted in the coal districts, caused 
them to be discontinued. Nor is there a furnace or 
forge now remaining of at least a dozen formerly 
in this neighbourhood, once celebrated for producing 
the finest of iron. 

Sir Whistler Webster, the 2nd baronet, married 
Martha, daughter of the very reverend doctor 
Thomas Nairne, dean of Battel, a branch of the 
Scotch noble family of that name ; by whom he 
had no issue, and died 22nd of September, 1779. 
Sir Whistler left the abbey and some lands to his 
lady for her life, which terminated 25th of Decem- 
ber, 1810. 

Sir Godfrey, 3rd baronet, succeeded his brother, 
and died 6th of May, 1780: leaving issue by his 
lady, (Elizabeth, daughter of Gilbert Cooper, 
esquire, who died 17th of June, 1802,) three sons 
and two daughters. Godfrey, 4th baronet ; Eliza- 
beth who married Thomas Chaplain, of Blankney,in 
Lincolnshire, and died without issue in 1835; 
Gilbert, Henry, and Jane, who died unmarried. 

Sir Godfrey, 4th baronet, married 27th of June, 
1786, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Richard 
Vassall, of the Island of Jamaica, and St. James's 
Street, London ; which marriage was dissolved by 
act of parliament, in June 1797, and, on the 19th 
of July following, she married Henry, lord Holland. 
Sir Godfrey died the 3rd of June, 1800, leaving 
issue, by the aforesaid lady, Godfrey who succeeded 
to the title and estates ; Henry a lieutenant-colonel 


in the army, who married Miss Boddington, and 
has issue ; and Harriette, who married captain the 
honourable Sir Fleetwood Pellew, K. B., second 
son of admiral, viscount Exmouth. 

Sir Godfrey, 5th baronet, born 6th of October, 
1789; died 17th of July, 1836; married 23rd 
of August, 1814, Charlotte, eldest daughter of 
Robert Adamson, esquire, by whom he had issue, 
Sir Godfrey, present and 6th baronet, a lieutenant 
in the navy, who served on board her majesty's 
ship " Thunderer," at the siege, of Acre in 1840, 
born 3rd of July, 1815 ; Godfrey Harold, born 
13th of September, 1816, died 6th of March, 
1817; Godfrey Norman, born 8th of January, and 
died 2nd of April, 1818; Augustus Frederick 
George Augustus, born 18th of April, 1819; 
Frederick, born 29th of July, 1821; Arthur 
Henry, born 17th of September, 1822; and Guy, 
born 5th of November, 1831. 

The Abbey in its Present State. 

Walpole compares the situation of the abbey 
to that of Warwick Castle; and says that it is 
superior to that of most abbeys. On entering the 
town by the London or Lewes roads, the gateway, 
which may be ranked with the finest in the kingdom, 
breaks on the sight at the end of the principal 
street, which expands into a triangular space 
forming the market place; the south-east side 
thereof being occupied by this noble structure. 


It is a tower about 35 feet square and 54 high, 
comprising three stories, with an" octagon turret 
8 feet higher at each angle. The basement is 
divided into a double avenue by clustered columns, 
from which spring fine vaultings, the intersections 
of the ribs ornamented with sculptured bosses; 
those of the principal avenue have heads which 
folks pretend are representations of Harold and 
the Conqueror ; if so they are not flattering to 
either of those sovereigns. Those of the postern 
avenue are of foliage. Formerly there were gates 
at each end ; but now only next the street. The 
arch of the great gateway is obtusely pointed and 
formed by two segments of a circle; that of the 
postern is similar, and about half the size of the 
other. Over the avenues are two rooms, to which, 
and the battlements, there are stone stairs in the 
south-west turret. The south-east turret has a 
porch; and stairs to the lower room only. The 
possession of the room over the gateway seems to 
have been thought important ; for this porch had 
the (for a monastery) extraordinary appendage of a 
portcullis, the grooves of which are perfect. It was 
worked in a closet in the turret, which is entered 
from the first chamber by a narrow passage and 
steps in the thickness of the south wall ; discovered 
and opened about twenty-six years since by the 
" Gleaner." The floor of the closet is formed by 
the vaulting over the stairs, and has several aper- 
tures through which an enemy below might be 
assaulted. In a recess there is evidence that a 
cauldron was fixed for heating missiles. From the 
upper room there are similar narrow stairs in the 
east wall which afforded access to the battlements. 


The fronts of this building are similar ; over the 
gateway is a row of perpendicular mouldings 
supporting intersecting arches, the two central 
divisions forming a window to the first room ; above 
them are two niches, having corbels, on which 
figures formerly stood; and above them in the 
centre a handsome, pointed-arched window to the 
upper room. The embattled parapet is ornamented 
with perpendicular mouldings and pointed arches. 
The battlements of the turrets are plain. On each 
side wall is a miniature battlemented turret, being 
the tops of chimneys, shewing that architects in 
those days paid more regard to the appearance 
of those useful appendages than many of later times. 
The western wing of the gateway is 37 feet long 
and two stories high, it was formerly the prison of 
the liberty of Battel. The front walls appear to 
be coeval with the main tower; but the western 
end has a circular headed window that indicates the 
remains of a more ancient structure; at that end is 
a projection, forming a small cell which could be 
entered from the battlements only, and is now 
inaccessible. The angles have strong buttresses 
and turrets. The eastern wing is 70 feet long, 
and the eastern end with its buttresses and towers 
appears to be of the same age as the centre ; but 
the walls of both fronts were rebuilt by lord 
Montague when he obtained the act for changing 
the market day. The ground floor was appropriated 
for the market, and that above for a court hall, for 
which purposes they were used till the roof fell in, 
on the 28th of September, 1794. These walls are 
of the Elizabethean stile, the windows are square 
divided into six lights by mullions and a transom. 


The doorways have plain semicircle arches, whilst 
those of the fire places are of the Tudor form. 
It cannot now be ascertained what this wing was 
previously used for. The gateway tower shews 
that there had been a roof of loftier pitch than the 
last one. Its south-east turret, (which is ascended 
by steps from the court, and appears to be of an age 
anterior to that of the gateway,) has doorways and 
projections, which prove that some building was 
connected with it on the eastward. Part of an 
arch existed some years back, seemingly the remains 
of a gateway, which may have been the entrance 
to the sanctuary and abbey church yard. 

The style of the main tower and other parts 
prove that this cannot be the original gateway. 
There is not a more perfect specimen of the kind 
remaining in the kingdom; most probably it was 
erected by the abbot Retlynge, when he obtained 
license from Edward the 3rd, to enclose, embattle 
and fortify the abbey. 

Though the two fronts are nearly similar, their 
appearance is very different. Viewed from the 
town it is seen flanked by houses, and the tops of 
fine elm trees appear behind, above the battle- 
ments; the foreground often exhibiting a busy 
scene. In the court all is quiet; and the elms form 
a short avenue, consonant with the character of the 
building. Till about a century past there was a thick 
stone wall which extended from the western wing 
of the gateway along the sloping ground about 400 
feet, and then turned eastward to the two towers 
now standing, which were the western extremity 


of the buildings erected by Sir Anthony Browne, 
and his son the first viscount Montague. This 
wall, perhaps the remains of that of abbot Retlynge, 
inclosed the principal court of the abbey on the 
western, and about two thirds of the southern sides. 
There remains a short piece adjoining the gateway, 
which shews its original height; the remainder of 
the western range is understood to have been 
razed to the ground by Sir Whistler Webster; 
but it is supposed that the foundation might be 
found. The southern range still remains to about 
two thirds of its original height, level with the 
surface of the court, which is much more even than 
in olden times ; its former inequalities having been 
filled up with rubbish from the destroyed buildings. 
This range is strongly buttressed and had a postern 
entrance to the court now stopped. Those who 
shew the place state that it led to a subterranean 
passage. The engraving in " Buck's Views," which 
is merely a copy of one published when the place 
belonged to lord Montague, indicates that this 
once lofty wall had been lowered to a mere 
breast work by Sir Anthony Browne, or his 
son, in whose time, if not previously, there was 
a road from the hall door to a gateway in the 
western range, opening to the park, which was 
well stocked with deer; but was disparked by 
the 3rd viscount, about the year 1650. 

The abbey did not extend so far as the present 
two western towers by about forty feet, as may be 
seen by the basement story which still remains; 
the rooms whereof were the cellars or store rooms 
of the abbey, and connected with the domestic 


offices of the establishment. At the north end is 
a temporary descent to these vaults, by steps, into 
a dark passage about 75 feet long, running south- 
ward. On its eastern side are vaults, now filled 
with rubbish, having small pointed windows for the 
circulation of air, the entrance to which was from 
some other quarter. At the south end of this passage 
is a room, about 29 feet by 14, having a simple cir- 
cular vaulting, and a small lancet window at the south 
end. There are seven more of these vaults ; three 
eastward, and four westward; some of them have large 
circular headed apertures to the courts, for admission 
of air, in which were iron bars, whose ends and 
hooks for shutters may still be seen in the stone 
work. The last two westward, were not so long as 
the others; and the present entrance to them is 
merely a hole broken in the wall. The proper 
entrance as may be seen, was through another 
room at the north end, vaulted with pointed arches, 
supported by a pillar in the centre, now filled with 
rubbish. It appears to have been a vestibule 
through which all these vaults were entered from 
the courts; the dark passage being the internal 

On examining these vaults, it will be seen that 
they do not extend to the towers, which with the 
remainder of the basement is of the 16th century. 
The superstructure on these vaults was demolished 
soon after the dissolution, and in their place with 
the addition before mentioned, two fine suites of 
apartments were erected, which were never inter- 
nally finished. The north end contiguous to the 
great hall was the grand stair case. The apart- 


ments in both floors were similar. Next the stairs 
was a noble guard room, 46 feet by 22, then an 
anti-room, leading to a gallery, 162 feet long, with 
windows to the south. 

At the east end of the gallery was a drawing 
room, 31 feet by 29, having three windows to the 
south ; and on the north side several rooms having 
windows to the court. The walls of the stairs, 
guard room, drawing room, and the two western 
turrets, one of which had stairs, with a door at the 
bottom opening to the park, are all that now remain 
of this superstructure. 

The principal entrance to the house is now 
through a new gothic archway. It would be useless 
to form even a conjecture as to what, or where, was 
the principal entrance to the abbey. It has been 
ascertained that some buildings which extended 
westward, from the present vestibule and the ad- 
joining vaulted room, were taken down, and the 
parting wall cased by Sir Anthony Browne, or his 
son, in unison with the buildings erected on the 
old cellars. 

From the vestibule the great-hall is entered by 
a pointed arch doorway. The effect of this noble 
room is very imposing. It is 57 feet long, the same 
in height, and 31 feet wide. The entrance door 
is at the north end of the west side, opposite 
thereto is another archway with folding doors to the 
staircase. On the same side as the entrance door 
are three large pointed windows. The south end 
has a window of seven lights, reaching nearly to the 


top of the gable. The east side has an immense 
fireplace, constructed in 1812; before which the 
room had no such comfort. The north end has 
a music gallery extending its entire breadth. At 
the south end is a dais, which has a wainscotting 
ten feet high ; (designed from some remains of a 
room near the cloisters ; ) in the centre of which is 
a canopy and state chair. The other walls are 
also wainscotted, but it is lower and less ornamented. 
The fire place is lofty and decorated with wainscot 
mouldings and panels, and the arms of the present 
proprietor. All the doors, the wainscot and the 
gallery are of oak, varnished; which has a rich 
effect. Between the wainscotting of the dais and 
the great south window hangs Wilkin's enormous 
picture of the battle of Hastings, which is seventeen 
feet high and the entire breadth of the hall. The 
point of time chosen is that of finding the body of 
Harold. Over the wainscotting of other parts of 
the hall hang numerous family and other portraits ; 
among which are whole lengths of king William 
the 3rd; Queen Anne; Mr. Whistler, the grand- 
father of Sir Thomas Webster's lady; Mrs. 
Whistler; their daughter, and her husband Mr. 
Cheeke ; two of Sir Thomas Webster's lady ; a 
gentleman whose name was Digby, some say Sir 
Everard ; a very large one of king Charles the 2nd, 
in his robes and regalia, seated on the throne ; and 
a small one of Sir Thomas Webster, when a child, 
in a fancy dress. Three quarter lengths of king 
James the 2nd, in half armour; Sir Thomas 
Webster in a brown coat ; his daughter Elizabeth 
in a scarlet dress ; Sir Whistler Webster in a cut 
velvet coat, and another when a boy in scarlet; 


his lady ; and some others unknown. Half lengths 
of Sir Godfrey, the 3rd baronet, in a drab coloured 
coat; Sir Godfrey, the 4th baronet, his sister, 
Mrs. Thomas Chaplin, and Charles 4th duke of 
Richmond, by Hopner ; the present lady Webster, 
a head only, by Sir Thomas Laurence ; and several 
others unknown ; a miser weighing his gold ; a person 
writing, Rembrantish ; and a stag caught by dogs, 
Snyders. In the corner by the stair case is a fine flu- 
ted suit of plate armour, bullet proof, which belong- 
ed to Otho, duke of Bavaria ; who must have been 
6 feet 4 inches high. There are two other suits 
by the state chair, one brass the other steel ; over 
the fire place a resemblance of the suit in the 
tower, made for Henry prince of Wales, son of 
James the 1st. Over the picture of king Charles 
is a resemblance of some armour said to have been 
Guy of Warwick's : between the windows are 
various weapons and banners. The dais has an 
oaken floor ; the other part is paved with stone. 
Under the gallery is a large iron stove in good 
taste, similar to an altar tomb ; and two ancient 
chests, on one of which is an old wassail bowl, 
formed of Lignum Vitse. On the floor is a curious 
iron mortar brought from Bodiam castle. The 
present oaken roof was put on in 1812,- it is a 
copy of the original, then taken down, and was 
finished in six months. It is divided into four 
compartments by the principal timbers, the arches 
of which, with their spandrells, pendants, &c., 
appear to be supported by stone corbels projecting 
from the walls. From the centre hangs a handsome 
bronze chandelier with eight lamps. 


The vaulted drawing room, entered by a door 
under the music gallery, is 50 feet long and 22 feet 
wide. The vaulting of pointed arches is in eight 
compartments supported by a row of three pillars 
along the middle of the room, and twelve corbels 
at the sides and angles : the intersections of the 
ribs of the vaulting having a rich boss of foliage 
with a hook for a lamp. There are two pointed 
windows in deep recesses at the west end, and one 
in the north side, the heads ornamented with 
foliage and the arms of the Conqueror; Henry the 
3rd ; Edward the 3rd ; William de Warrenne and 
other barons of olden time. The walls have a rich 
wainscotting about three feet high, which with the 
doors, window frames, shutters &c., are of oak 
varnished. The walls above the wainscot are 
ornamented with foliage round the arches. 

This room is a part of the old abbey and 
probably was the locutorium, or parlour, where the 
monks were allowed to have interviews with their 
friends. Its form remains the same; but the 
arrangement has undergone alterations. The west 
end had two doors, where the windows now are, 
which led to the apartment before mentioned as 
having been destroyed; the west end had two 
doors, lately stopped, one leading to the cloisters 
the other to the dormitory stairs. It appears that 
the doorways now used are original; the one 
opposite to that from the hall then led to a spacious 
arcade; which is now appropriated to domestic 
offices. The effect of this room is very striking, 
though somewhat too low. It is said to be unique ; 
for though there are many ancient vaulted rooms 


now in use, this is the only one, appropriated to 
such a purpose, having a double range of vaultings 
supported on pillars along the middle. 

Returning to the hall we next notice the stair 
case which is spacious, and well lighted by three 
pointed windows. The doors, stairs, balustrade 
and corresponding wainscotting, window frames 
and linings are of oak ; and on the walls in oaken 
frames, are some large pieces of tapestry, the 
subjects of which are from Tasso's "Jerusalem 

At the foot of the stairs a door way leads to 
the dining room, which is 30 feet by 22, having 
three pointed windows, facing the east, from which 
the remains of the refectory are seen to great advan- 
tage. The arches of the windows are glazed with 
stained glass. The walls have a rich wainscot, 
which, with the doors, window frames, shutters, &c., 
are of oak. Over the side board is a portrait of 
the late Sir Godfrey Webster when a child, playing 
with two dogs, painted in Italy, by GuyHead; 
and over the chimney piece, which is of mona- 
marble, is a half length of Buonaparte, by L' Arville, 
which belonged to Josephine. 

The morning-room, which may be entered from 
the dining room, or from the great hall, is pleasant 
and comfortable. The lights of a pointed window 
on the east side, open as doors, by which access is 
had to the grounds ; and two windows at the south 
end afford a fine prospect, with Bexhill and the 
sea in the distance. It is of an irregular shape 


28 feet long ; and is a part of the old building : 
from its connexion and communication with the 
dais in the abbot's hall, it probably was one of 
his apartments. The chamber above retains its 
original stone window frame of four lights. 
Formerly winding steps in a turret afforded com- 
munication between these rooms. 

At the top of the stairs is a lobby from which 
there is access to the music gallery in the hall ; 
to an antiroom and drawing room over the vaulted 
drawing room, and to a boudoir over the vestibule. 
In these rooms are a portrait of James, duke of 
Monmouth (natural son of Charles the 2nd) in a 
carved oval frame; and one of the celebrated 
countess of Nottingham, who withheld the ring which 
Essex sent to queen Elizabeth : the ring is depicted 
on her ruff. There are also several cabinet pictures 
of which a pair of heads are very good ; and in the 
boudoir is a most curious toilet glass, which is said 
to have belonged to, or been intended for, queen 

On one side of the stairs is a dressing room, and 
a bed room, over the dining and morning rooms ; 
and above these four chambers. On the otherside 
is a long corridor with nine bed rooms and dressing 
rooms formed out of the old dormitory ; over which 
are two stories of servant's rooms, all of which have 
communication with the secondary stair case, from 
a vaulted room called the Beggar's hall. Whether 
that appellation belonged to it in monastic days, 
or was given to it as being the place in which alms 
were distributed by Sir Anthony Browne, and his 


descendants is not known. This room and several 
other vaulted ones adjoining, in excellent preserva- 
tion, are a portion of the old abbey, and formed the 
western side of the cloisters, to which there was 
entrance at both ends; that from the Beggar's 
hall is still open and faced the southern walk of 


The size of which is plainly denoted by the level 
space facing, and to the left of this doorway; 
which is near to the south west angle. The south 
and east ranges have entirely disappeared ; except 
the bases of a cluster of pillars at the south east 
angle against the refectory. The bases of some of 
the pillars still remain against the wall of the north 
side, of which the external bases and wall about 
two feet high were standing in 18 15; at which 
time the foundation of the external piers of the 
western side was discovered. The internal wall 
of the west side still remains, and now forms part 
of the east front of the edifice. It comprises nine 
beautiful arches, decorated with small pillars from 
which spring mouldings forming many compart- 
ments in the arches, in .the manner of windows, 
excepting the two nearest the south which have 
beautiful circles decorated with foliage. These 
circles have been copied for centres of the ceilings 
in the up-stair drawing rooms. It has been 
supposed that the other arches were formerly open 
as windows; but that was not the case, for the 
mouldings are wrought on the stones forming the 
wall. The external arches most probably corres- 
ponded and were open. The east and west sides 
were 100 feet long, the others about 90 feet. The 


old kitchen was on the south side between the 
refectory and the present dining room. 

The external wall of the dining room (which 
seems to have been erected on a formerly open 
court) was the interior of what must have been a 
very beautiful room; the walls of which were 
decorated with slender pillars supporting pointed 
arches and a very beautiful cornice, which has 
been copied for the drawing room; much of 
this has been destroyed by the windows of the 
dining room, but enough remains to shew its beauty 
and interest the antiquarian. On the southern side 
there was one lofty window, perhaps more, above 
the cornice, one jaumb of which with a portion of 
the cill now remain, and prove that the pillars &c. 
were internal decorations. The purpose to which 
this room was appropriated is now unknown ; but 
it is probable that it was the abbatial hall previous 
to the erection of the one now standing, which 
evidently is of a later style. 

At the south angle of the morning room a path 
passes under a triangular vaulting, one side only 
of which was formerly open, one was plain wall, 
and the other had a window, of which the arch, 
and a portion of the mullions and cill remain, the 
latter was too high for any one standing on the 
floor to look over. Every thing indicates that it 
was an oratory belonging to the abbot's apartments. 



This noble ruin is 154 feet long and 35 feet in 
breadth ; the east and west sides, and the south end 
with its lofty gable are nearly perfect ; the north 
end, in which was the principal entrance, was 
destroyed when that part of the roof fell in. The 
east side has ten lancet windows decorated with 
slender pillars and mouldings of Caen-stone ; a 
transom divides each window, and the lower part 
had a casement, there is also a niche and a door- 
way near the south end. The west side has but 
eight similar windows, and towards the north end 
a niche and a very beautiful pointed doorway. 
The south end has two lancet windows in the lower 
part, three more above them, and another almost 
reaching the apex of the gable. In the walls are 
several very small fire places, which must have 
rendered the room much more comfortable than 
one enormous one could do. In 1811 some of the 
original paving tiles were found. They were of 
excellent material and in good preservation ; four 
inches and a half square, and three quarters of an 
inch thick ; the bottom somewhat less than the top, 
the colour brown, figured with dull yellow; each 
one exactly alike, forming part of a pattern which 
required sixteen of them to shew it entire. 

Willis called this room the hall. The monk's 
hall it undoubtedly was ; but not the hall, for that 
appellation strictly speaking, pertained to the 
abbatial or baronial hall; which he does not 

It may not be amiss here to notice the errors of 


various authors respecting this and other parts of 
the abbey. 

According to Willis, the roof of this room " was 
leaded ; part of the lead yet remains and the rest 
is tiled." Gough says, the carved roof of Irish oak 
was carried by the late lord Montague to Cowdray : 
and a few lines afterwards he calls the same room 
a dormitory. Pennant says that this room had 
twelve windows on one side and six on the other, 
ornamented with pilasters; "and in the middle, 
vaulted rooms, with rows of noble pillars, with ribs 
radiating over the roof;" and evidently, mentions 
the same rooms again as several great vaults 
beneath : which is evidently the case. It is strange 
that antiquarians and topographers, who profess 
to have visited the place, should have made so 
many mistakes as are to be found in the descriptions 
of these and many other writers. 

Willis mentions the roof as existing a short time 
before lord Montague sold the estate to Sir Thomas 
Webster. So far he may be correct ; but is not so 
in stating that it was covered with lead. A portion 
thereof of great age and very ruinous was standing 
in 1811; and was covered with pieces of oak 
shaped like tiles, called shingles; the ridge and 
gutters within the parapet being leaded. The old 
roof of the abbatial hall was also at that time 
covered in the same manner; as is the north side 
of the nave of the parish church at present ; the 
whole was formerly so; and there is no doubt 
that such was the original covering of all these 


As to Gough's assertion that the roof was of 
Irish oak, and removed to Cowdray ; it is incredi- 
ble that oak should be brought from Ireland to a 
district known to have abounded with it ; and the 
lord Montague he mentions, never possessed the 
estate : his father held it but two years, at which 
time, according to Willis, the roof retained its 
original station. Many persons now living remem- 
ber the roof entire and the great folding doors in 
the north end. 

Gough also states that the abbey church ran 
north from hence, having two lofty west towers; 
and, that the foundations were not long since 
removed. Credit may be given for the towers; 
but the foundations were more covered up than 
removed : and trees, planted long ere Gough was 
born, were then growing on some of them. In 
1817 much of those foundations was discovered; 
and proves that the church did not, in the usual 
acceptation of the phrase, run north ; but east and 
west, as most others do. Again, he says "Its 
chapel is now a library." This was merely the 
north end of the old dormitory, converted into a 
chapel by the first lord Montague, who was a rigid 
papist. In his notice of the buildings before 
mentioned, as erected by lord Montague, he states 
that the walls are still standing ; and that " Two 
towers at the east end which were standing when 
Buck's view was taken in 1737, are now down." 
Gough's work was published in 1790. At that 
time there was no more standing than at this 
moment, nor had there been for forty years ; and 
as to towers at the east end, Buck's view shews 


none, nor ever were there any ; except at the west 
end, which still remain. Pennant says these towers 
belonged to a gateway. This is contrary to all 
appearance and evidence. 

The walls of the refectory are strongly buttressed, 

and a small square turret with stairs gave access 

to the eastern battlements. Beneath the whole 

extent are vaulted rooms of different heights, in 

consequence of the ground falling considerably 

from the north ; at which end is a room 55 feet 

in length by 35 in breadth, vaulted with pointed 

arches in fifteen compartments, supported by two 

rows of pillars in the room, and others against the 

side walls and in the angles. This room is low 

and gloomy, having the appearance of a crypt 

or under chapel; indeed the floor is below the 

external ground. In the middle of the north end 

wall some of the stones are arranged in the form of 

a cross, with arms somewhat elevated. Adjoining 

to this room is a low passage with semicircular 

arch entirely through the building. Next is another 

room, with pointed vaultings in six compartments, 

supported on two pillars, and corbels against the 

sides and in the angles, more ornamented than those 

in the forementioned room. Beyond this is a room 

of much more noble proportions, being 58 feet 

long, 35 in breadth, and 23 feet high, with pointed 

vaultings in eight compartments, supported on three 

massive pillars along the centre, six more slender 

ones against the walls and four corbels in the 

angles. On the plaster of the vaultings may still 

be seen some ornaments painted with vermillion, 

extending from the intersection of the ribs. The 


windows on the west side are irregular and small, 
excepting one which is divided by a mullion and 
has a quatre-foil head of the earliest style; but 
evidently of much later date than the building. 
The east side has three lofty transom'd lancet 
windows. Near the south angle is a narrow stair 
case in a buttress, which, as well as a doorway 
above, led to some apartment on the east ; of 
which only some bits of connecting wall now 
remain. This noble room is what Rouse mistook 
for the kitchen, though there is no appearance of 
the five immence fire places, nor is the vaulting 
stained by smoke. Perhaps it was the scriptorium 
or library. 

Eastward of the north end of the refectory is a 
row of fine lime trees, a little northward of which 
was discovered, in 1817, the foundation of a long 
building ; in the centre of which was a small mass 
of ruins about the size of a tomb ; perhaps that of 
abbot Henry, who died in 1 102, and was buried in 
the chapter house, of which this foundation was the 
only trace, and that is now removed. Near the 
south-east angle of these foundations is what 
appears to be a square pit ; but really is the remains 
of a subterranean cell, evidently a prison : the 
window cili is level with the ground : some projec- 
tions in the wall supported the ribs of the vaulting; 
and on the same side as the entrance, some steps 
of which still remain, is a doorway to a small closet. 

At last we come to the remains of the abbey 
church; the high altar of which, history tells us, 
stood on the spot where Harold's standard was 


fixed, and his body found. It is worthy of remark, 
that though the building had so long been destroyed, 
tradition fixed the very spot on which, in 1817, the 
foundations of the east end of the church were 
discovered; a little to the north of those of the 
chapter house. The part cleared, and left for the 
inspection of the curious on such points, formed a 
crypt beneath the east end. First is the foundation 
of a thick wall, the east end of the choir ; which 
seems to have had aisles, in each of which were 
steps decending to this crypt ; those on the south 
side are still perfect. The external ground plan 
is five sides of an octagon with buttresses at the 
angles. The interior is divided into three chapels 
by two massive piers, which sustained the vaultings. 
The walls of each of these chapels form five sides 
of an octagon : in a right hand division of each is 
a small niche, with a pointed arch, the inner moul- 
ding forming a trefoil head. The stone forming 
the bottom of the niche projects, and is wrought 
into a basin for holy water, having a small hole for 
draining it. The niche in the south chapel is 
perfect, the basin broken. The basin in the north 
chapel was perfect when discovered ; but a portion 
has since been broken off. The cill of the window 
of this division still remains, and shews that it had 
three lights. In the eastern division very little of 
the niche remains ; but there is a mass of stone 
work evidently the ruins of an altar. In the angles 
are corbels which bore the ribs of the vaultings : 
their mouldings and some foliage being as perfect 
as when first wrought. Enough of the ribs remain 
to prove that they were a low pointed arch, formed 
of two segments of a circle. The church seems to 


have extended along the north side of the cloisters 
over the present flower garden. It is remarkable 
that there is no appearance of transcepts: indeed 
there is strong proof that there were none. Many 
authors are of the opinion that transcepts were not 
constructed in England before the conquest ; 
some say that they were a subsequent invention; 
and the absence of them in a large church built 
by Normans, warrants such a conclusion. 

Several stone graves have been discovered, some 
of which are still open ; at the west end of them is 
a stone somewhat elevated and having a hollow for 
the head of the corpse. 

Part of the scite of the church is now a parterre, 
which in summer exhibits a fine collection of Flora's 
greatest beauties. Few persons have the pleasure 
of admission, in consequence of the unwarrantable 
liberties taken by persons who were not satisfied 
with permission to see and admire. Surrounded 
by firs and yews, fifty feet high, prehaps the tallest 
in the kingdom, is a large basin, constructed by 
Sir Anthony Browne, formerly a fountain, supplied 
with water by a branch of the conduit from Loose 
Farm, which laying very much higher would 
throw up a noble jet. From this the place was 
called the fountain garden. At present the basin 
is merely a reservoir for rain water. Two sides of 
this garden had a yew tree walk, forming a verdant 
cloister, which must have been one of the first 
planted in this kingdom. That on the eastern side 
is still standing, the one on the south side was 
destroyed in 1817. 


Having brought the description of this celebrated 
place to an end, we cannot conclude without remar- 
king that though the muniments of the abbey are 
very voluminous, and contain accounts of the 
stewards, treasurers, cellarers, almoners and sacris- 
tans, from within a century of its foundation, in 
which are various notices of repairs, there is no 
notice of the church or any other considerable 
structure being rebuilt; excepting the gateway; 
and yet we find, with trifling subordinate exceptions, 
none but pointed arches to vaultings, windows and 
doors, even beneath the refectory and the crypt 
last described : and almost every where the orna- 
mental parts are of Caen stone. Antiquarians 
generally concede the introduction of the pointed 
arch to the Normans. Numerous authorities are 
given for fixing the date in the reign of Stephen ; 
but in no instance is Battel abbey ever mentioned ; 
though undoubtedly it was the first church founded 
under the Norman dynasty, and here we find none 
but pointed arches. 

It may be presumptious to question the accuracy 
of a decission arrived at by many learned men; 
but as it does not appear that this abbey has been 
thought of by them, the point seems worthy of 

The Hundred. Parish. Township and Liberty 
of Battel. 

The hundred of Battel is part of that termed 
Hailesalted in Doomesday Book; and comprises 


9480 acres. The parish, township and liberty 7880 
acres. The inhabitants still enjoy the ancient 
privilege of exemption from serving elsewhere on 
juries ; though the criminals of the liberty are no 
longer tried in its own court, of which the seneschal, 
keeper, or steward of the liberty, for he was known 
by all these titles, sat as a judge ; assisted by the 
king's itinerant lords justices ; of whom Robert de 
Scharndenne, was himself keeper in 1345. And 
the earl of Wiltshire held the office at the time of 
the dissolution of the monastery. These instances 
sufficiently prove the importance of the office. 
By the rolls of Elizabeth's reign it appears that 
the steward had the power of licensing the ale- 
houses in Battel. The place of bedel, equivalent 
to that of town clerk, was filled by a lawyer or some 
other person of considerable consequence in the 
parish. Stephen Pessoner who held much property 
in the manor, had the office in 1334, John Bode- 
herst, (ancestor of lord Bathurst,) in 1376 ; Vincent, 
brother of Sir William Finch in 1499; and 
Ambrose Comfort at the dissolution; after which 
he appears to have been appointed Steward. From 
that period the stewardship has been filled by 
persons of the same class as previously held the 

The lord of the liberty still appoints the coroner. 
N. P. Kell, esquire, now holds the office. 

The constable of the hundred and liberty, and 
headboroughs of the five boroughs, Middleborough, 
Sang-Lake, Montjoy, Tellham, and Ukham, are 
chosen annually by the tenants in court leet. As 
are also headboroughs for the out-boroughs of 


Barnehorne, Glazy e, Buckstepe, Whatlyngton and 

The arms of the town are Gules, a Gryphon, 
Or, within a border, engrailed, Or. 

The manor, like many others, has some peculiar 
customs as to property holden of it, which have 
been used time out of mind and were ratified by 
Anthony, the first viscount Montague, in the tenants 
court, of Battell, holden on the 28th of March, 
being Tuesday in Palm- week anno. 1564. 


The building of the abbey of course drew a 
great number of artisans to the place, " some of 
whom," according to the Liber de Situ, "came 
from the provinces, and many from beyond the 
sea." At the first these men were accommodated 
in temporary sheds; but some were speedily 
induced to settle here. The celebrity of the 
monastery soon drew others, who obtained grants 
of ground for building on ; and within fifty years 
the town became so populous as to require a parish 
church. The chronicle of the abbey shews that, 
within a short time after the church was built, 
there were 115 houses, forming the streets as they 
now are. There were 31 on the western side; 
that nearest the gateway being the house of 
Hospitality, for strangers, (still called the Almonry,) 
erected by Brihtwine, the bedel of the liberties, 
with the proceeds of property at Baec, in Normandy, 
The next was the mansion of Reimbertus de Beche. 
On the north east side westward from the church 


there were 55 houses; most of which were in 
middle borough, and the others in the borough of 
mountjoy. On the same side of the way eastward 
from the church there were 15, and on the other 
side commencing at the abbey walls 14 houses. 
The name of every tenant is given, with the sum 
paid annually as quit rent, besides which they 
were bound to find " on some particular day a man 
for the fields, and capable of working at the mill ; 
for which every one shall have bread and pannage:" 
" and if occasion require shall make malt, and every 
one shall have one price." The malt seems to have 
been made at their own houses, for "the men 
ought when the malt shall have been prepared, to 
deliver it in the requisite quantity, and on that day 
each shall have two loaves with good pannage :" 
which was the run of woods, and headlands of fields, 
for their swine. It seems that the copyholders were 
allowed to perform these services by deputy ; but 
the monks dues they were obliged to collect with 
their own horse. It appears also that for these 
services " No one shall be compelled to go unjustly ; 
but if convenient they shall go, being required : he 
who is occupied in any business, and unable to go, 
shall not be compelled, nor be proceeded against." 

The tenement nearest the church westward, was 
then held by one Lefui. The next, with the land, 
was held free excepting the payment of tithe, 
and providing the abbot with two servants yearly : 
one when he went to Canterbury and the other to 
London. The third tenement, was holden by 
Oluric de Dengemere, free and quietly, only that 


he should give notice when certain works were 
necessary to be done, to prevent encroachments of 
the sea, on the lands in Dengemere, bestowed on 
the abbey by William de St. Leodegario. The 
last two tenements, if they might not be termed 
freeholds, approached nearly thereto, as they were 
not chargeable with quit-rent, fine or heriot. The 
fourth was held or rather occupied, by Benedict the 
steward of the liberties of Battel, who probably 
held it, in virtue of his office, free from all payment 
and service whatever. This tenement and the 
Almonry appear to be the only premises, in the 
town, that have never been separated from the abbey 
estate. Lefui the holder of the tenement before- 
mentioned, and those of the hundred and ten 
unmentioned, paid quit rents and fines, and did 
services, but paid no heriots. Many of them were 
persons of no vocation, as Roberti de Havenera ; 
Oluric D'Ot; William and Siward de Grey; 
Si ward de Crulli; Roberti de Barret; Alured de 
Curlebasse; and others. Mulgari, and Odwine, 
were smiths ; Orderic and Wulfric, pork-butchers ; 
William a cordwainer; Lambert, Oilnodi, and 
Baldwin, tailors; Gilbert a weaver; Goldwini, 
Oldwini, and Gosfrid, pedlars ; Rodberti a miller ; 
Petri, Alric and Lefwini, bakers; Oluric, an 
armourer; Berwaldi, a carrier; Wuluric, a gold- 
smith ; Rodberti, a wax chandler ; Bernulfi, and 
Wulfuine, builders and carpenters; Selaf and 
Blackmeri, neatherds and butchers; Rogeri a 
brazier ; and Ordrici, who made seals. 

The quit rent payable from seventy two of these 
tenements was seven pence per annum ; from eleven 


eight pence ; from one, three pence ; from six, 
sixpence; from fourteen five pence; from two, 
eleven pence ; from three, thirteen pence ; from one, 
ten pence ; from one, that of Alric the baker, twelve 
pence ; from one, fourteen pence ; and from that of 
Rodberti the wax chandler, fifteen pence : the other 
two as before shewn were free. 

The deanery built in the reign of James the 
first, is of that style now termed Elizabethean, it is 
of brick work with stone quoins, door case, window 
frames and battlements. The front has a gable in 
the centre, and two large bays. The house is 
commodious and far superior to the generality of 
old, or even modern, glebe houses. 

The benefice is a deanery and vicarage, to which 
belong about 18 acres of glebe. The vicarial tithe 
is a modus of two shillings in the pound, on the 
annual value or rental of such property, as the 
abbot and monks did not retain in their own occu- 
pation. Indeed they paid the same for that occupied 
by themselves when the parochial church was 
founded ; at which time the modus was estimated 
at eight marks, or 5. 6s. Sd. } and at all subsequent 
inductions to the living, the abbot, being the patron, 
compounded with the future dean for the same sum. 
Since the dissolution of the monastery the lay 
patrons have pursued the same course. The recto- 
rial tithes, and the patronage of the benefice passed 
to the lay proprietors of the abbey estates, and are 
now enjoyed by Sir Godfrey Webster. The very 
reverend John Littler, M. A. the present dean, 
was inducted on the resignation of doctor, Thomas 


Birch, in May, 1836. The benefice is valued in 
the king's books at 24. 13s. 4d. : it is exempt from 
episcopal jurisdiction. The dean holds his own 
visitation; his own court for the probate of wills 
and other ecclesiastical matters ; grants his own 
licenses for marriage ; and exercises the full pow r er 
of a bishop over his deanery; except performing 
the right of confirmation. When it becomes known 
that the bishop of Chichester intends performing 
that rite, it is etiquette for the dean to offer his 
lordship the use of the parish church, for the purpose 
of confirming the parishioners, and those of the 
adjacent parishes. 


As before mentioned, was founded by Ralph, 
who was abbot of Battel, from 1107 to 1124, 
because the monks were unable to attend to the 
spiritual wants of the parishioners, in consequence 
of their time being engaged by the great number 
of devotees, who flocked to the altars of the abbey 
church. The exemption of the abbey from epis- 
copal jurisdiction, seems to have been viewed with 
great jealousy, and also contested by the bishop of 
Chichester of whose diocese the Leuga had pre- 
viously formed a part. The bishop Ralph, who 
was so constituted in 1091, assisted at the consecra- 
tion of this abbey, and thereby admitted of all its 
privileges and immunities : yet when the parochial 
church was founded he immediately assumed a 
right over it, contending that the new church had 
no exemption. The Liber de Situ says " We have 
previously mentioned that the parishioners of Battel 
very early exercised, in the church of St. Martin, 


the rites of Christianity, and that, in consequence of 
the monks being so much disturbed, a chapel was 
constructed, without the walls, dedicated to the 
Blessed Mary the mother of God, in which the 
priest should officiate under certain conditions 
prescribed to him by the abbot and the fraternity." 

" Although the monastery of St. Martin enjoyed 
much dignity and freedom, and received particular 
privileges, yet the minister of the bishop endea- 
voured to sow dissention, by dissimulation, and 
abstracting from the chapel the holy oil or chrism, 
with other necessaries belonging to Christianity ; 
and various other species of improper conduct." 

" Abbot Ralph having weighed and considered 
carefully with his friends what course he should 
pursue, especially with the venerable Ralph bishop 
of Chichester, who had patronised and cherished 
the abbey with particular affection, thought it best 
to abandon the complaint." 

" Owing to the above affair the abbot and certain 
monks came to Chichester before a full chapter of 
that church, requiring that the church of St. Martin 
of Battel, and likewise the chapel of St. Mary of 
of the same town, should be free from all external 
usages to bishops, deans, and synods, and create 
bishops of their own. The priest of the chapel 
shall merely attend the synod and hear the com- 
mands of the bishop, but shall not be called up 
for judgment upon any fault, and shall have the 
liberty of attending the chapter without licence of 
the abbot." The affair was amicably settled: 


but on the death of abbot Ralph in 1124, and of 
the bishop, which, occurred about the same time, 
dissention again arose between bishop Seffrid and 
abbot Warnerius ; and in the time of Hilarius, who 
was bishop from 1146 to 1173, the violent con- 
tention arose between him and Walter de Lucy, 
mentioned in the notice of that abbot. 

Whether any of the original chapel remains is 
doubtful ; but some persons believe that the present 
chancel formed part of it. The nave with its 
massive pillars has all the characteristics of the 12th 
century, and the aisles those of the 14th century. 

The church consists of a west tower, nave, two 
aisles and a chancel. The tower is 26 feet by 24, 
and 70 feet high. The lower story is a vestibule, 
above it are three lofty chambers, to which, and the 
battlements, access is obtained by a small octagon 
turret at the south east angle. In the upper room 
is a set of eight fine toned bells, and in the middle 
one a clock. The nave is 80 feet long, 30 wide 
and 40 feet high : at the west end is a spacious 
gallery, erected soon after the restoration, in which 
a handsome and good organ, by Bevington, was 
placed in 1837, at a cost of 200, which was 
defrayed by subscription of the parishioners. A 
little eastward of the centre of the floor, in fine 
preservation, is a brass half length figure in armour 
of William Arnold, gent, who died the 9th of 
October, 1435. And a little further another with 
two figures and the following inscription. 

"Thomas Alfraye good curteous frend interred lyeth heere, 
Who so in actiue strength did passe as none vras found hi* peere. 


And Elisabeth did take to wyfe one Ambrose Comforts child, 

Who with hym thirty one yeares lyuid a Tertous spouse & mild. 
By whom a sonne and daughter eke behind alyue he left, 

And eare he fiftie yeares had rune death hym of lyfe bereft. 
On newe yeares daye of Christe his birth which was just eighty nine, 

One thousand and flue hundreth eeke, loe here of flesh the fine. 
But then his wofull wife of God with piteous praiers gann craue, 

That her owne corps w lh husbands hers might ioine in darkso grauc, 
And that her soule his soule might seeke amongst y" saints aboue, 

And there in endless blysse enioye her long desired loue. 
The which our gratious God did graunt to her of marche y" last, 

When after that deuorcement sower, one yere & more was past." 

The clear story of the nave which has eight lancet 
windows, is supported by massive pillars and five 
pointed arches on each side. A wide and lofty 
arch opens to the chancel ; and the west end has 
a similar one to the vestibule in the tower, which 
excepting a door, is now closed up. The east aisle 
is 17 feet wide, the west window and four similar 
ones at the side, are of three lights numerously 
subdivided in the arch. All have remains of 
ancient painted glass in figures of apostles, Romish 
saints, &c. In one is the effigy of Hamond the last 
abbot of Battel, who by his own desire was buried 
in Saint Katherine's chapel in this aisle. Between 
one of the large windows and the north door is a 
small lancet window curiously placed in an oblique 
direction, in which, within a circle of yellow glass, 
is a diapered shield with a pall shaped cross on steps 
with the letters &. 13. This is believed to be the 
site of the " Battel chantry" which was valued at 
6 per annum when dissolved: and received its 
name from the founder, Robert de Bello, who died in 
1364. The family of Haye were buried in this 
aisle. One inscription denotes that Mary the 


widow of Thomas Haye of Battell, gent., died 
the 3rd of October, 1597. 

The south aisle is only 9 feet wide, the windows 
were like those in the north aisle, but having 
become ruinous were soon after the restoration, 
displaced for others which have only two lights, 
with a quartrefoil in the head. The south door 
has a spacious porch. The east end of this aisle 
is extended by what was formerly a chapel ; having 
three windows like those of the north aisle. An 
archway affords communication with the chancel, 
which is 51 feet long and 20 wide, the south side is 
nearly in its original state, and besides the arch 
before mentioned, has three in which are lancet 
windows. The east end has a large window of 
the perpendicular style, five lights wide. It 
evidently is of much later date than other parts, 
and probably fills the place of three lancet 
windows. The north side corresponded with 
the south, except that it has no windows, in 
consequence of there being an aisle the whole length. 
The western archway is similar to that on the 
opposite side. It is supposed that the pillars sup- 
porting the original arches gave way in consequence 
of the grave for Sir Anthony Browne's first lady 
being dug too near them. These archways are now 
closed : beneath one of them is a magnificent altar 
monument, of white marble, to Sir Anthony Browne 
and his first lady, (Alice daughter of Sir John 
Gage,) whose figures are recumbent on the top. 
Sir Anthony is represented in armour with the 
collar of the order of the garter, his head resting 
on a helmet; at his feet is a wolf chained and 


gorged with a coronet of gold, being one of the 
supporters of the family arms. Her ladyship is 
in robes and a coif, her head resting on a cushion 
beneath a handsome canopy ; at her feet is a dog. 
Round the verge of the slab is inscribed in raised 
capital letters " Here lyeth the Ryght Honorable 
Sir Antony Browne knyght of the garter, master 
of the kyngs Maiestes horceys, and one of the 
Honorable Privie Cowncel of our dread soverayne 

Lord and Vic ne Kyng Henry the eyght, and 

Dame Alis, his wyfe, which Alis deceased the 
31 daye of Marche 1540, And the said Sir 
Antony deceased the 6 day of Maye 1548. On 
whose sowles and all christen I H V have mercy 
Amen." At each angle, and forming the divisions 
of the sides are elegant fanciful pillars. Each end 
has a splendid shield of arms blazoned in colours, 
and each side has three shields. The whole was 
originally ornamented with colours and gold ; and 
must have been very splendid ; but three centuries 
have nearly obliterated the colours ; otherwise it is in 
good preservation, except that the hands are broken 
ofl^ and the noses injured. The effect of the 
monument is greatly impared by the arch having 
been closed up ; with an iron railing in the front, 
so that only one side can be seen. 

Against the south wall is a handsome mural 
monument to doctor William Watson, a canon of 
Chichester, and dean of Battel, who died in 1689. 
On the floor is a black marble slab with a fine 
brass effigy, shields of arms, and inscription to the 
memory of doctor John Wythine, vice chancellor 
of Oxford, and 4*2 years dean of Battel, who died 



the 18th of May, 1615, aged 84 years. A daughter 
of his gave to the church the silver tankard and 
one of the plates now used when the holy sacrament 
is administered. 

Another slab has an effigy and inscription to 
Robert Acre, dean of Battel. 

A third slab has a fine brass figure of a knight 
in armour. 

The north aisle of the chancel is 50 feet by 20 ; 
but is now shut off by the archways being all 

The west wall of this room is very thick and 
has an archway to the north aisle, now closed,, 
excepting a small doorway. In the wall was a 
flight of steps, some of which remain, leading by 
a platform over the arch, to a small aperture in 
the wall of the nave ; supposed by some persons 
to have been the way by which access was obtained 
to a rood-loft; but there is no other indication 
of there having been such a place. The last 
sexton, who was eighty five years old, said that 
there used to be a small projection on the nave 
side of this aperture, on which persons stood who 
had been sentenced to do penance. 

Beneath the chancel is a spacious vault in 
which the remains of the Webster family are 
deposited. It was constructed in 1780, according to 
the will of Sir Whistler Webster : and on its com- 
pletion the remains of Sir Thomas Webster; his lady; 
her mother Mrs. Cheeke and some others were 


brought here from the vault in Waltham church, 
which Sir Thomas made in 1716. When the 
workmen were digging they discovered beneath 
Sir Anthony Brown's tomb a small vault, in which 
were the bodies of Sir Anthony, his lady, and a 
child encased in lead, not in the form of coffins 
but dressed close to the bodies : the outer coffins 
were entirely decayed. The vault after being 
open two days for the inspection of curious persons 
was again properly closed. 

The church is one of the most capacious and 
comfortable in the county : and when viewed from 
the west end, or from the chancel, has a much 
more noble appearance than an exterior view 
promises, in consequence of the road being several 
feet higher than the floor. 

There was formerly an old tablet hanging in the 
church, on which the following lines were painted. 

place of foar is ISattel calletf, fcecause in battle $ere, 
ttite conquered antf o&ertfyroton tfye 3ngltsf) nation toere ; 
slaughter fjappenetf to tf)cm upon St. edict's ttaj), 
Jje year tofyerEof (1066) tijts numfoer ttotf) arrau." 

The church yard is extensive, and has many 
fine elm trees at the east and west ends. Close 
by the east end of the chancel is a tomb-stone to 
the memory of Isaac Ingall, who lived in the 
Webster family above a century, and died the 2nd 
of August, 1798, upwards of one hundred and 
twenty years old. His son aged 75 years is still 
living in the place. 

There are several names of places in the parish 


that are believed to have reference to circumstances 
which occurred at the time of the battle. There 
is no doubt as to two of them; Sang Lake as 
being the spot where the battle commenced and 
where the most bloody part of the conflict occurred : 
and Mountjoy as the last point from which the 
Normans drove their Saxon antagonists. These 
districts are two boroughs of the liberty, 
middleborough lies between them. 

The borough of Tellham is that part of the 
parish lying southward of Sang Lake, being 
chiefly high ground adjoining Crowhurst. There 
is very little doubt that here the Norman forces 
were marshalled previous to the battle. It is 
said to have received its name from the circumstance 
of William having here numbered his forces and 
some folks call it Tell-man-hill ; but for this there 
is no authority. 

It is certain that for many centuries there were 
and still are tile-kilns in this borough. In the 
13th century Anselm de Tuelemunde and his 
son John possessed property here : and there was 
also a tenement called the Tile-house. Tuelemunde 
is evidently a corruption of the Norman or French 
word for tile; and munde or mound a term 
used in old times for a place where there was, 
or had been, an encampment. This is suspected 
to have been again corrupted, to favor the tradition, 
into Tell-man. Tellham, therefore appears to be 
formed of Tile, and Ham, the word so generally 
used for tracts of land where houses were scattered : 
or even for single houses. 


Ukham, the name of a borough north and east 
of the others, seems to have no connexion witli 
the battle. Persons bore the name in 1200. 
probably it is derived from a house near oak trees. 

St. Richard's hill, is a south west boundary of 
the liberty ; nothing is known as to the derivation 
of the name. 

Callback hill, as it is now corruptly spelled, is 
the high ground in the borough of Montjoy, where 
the windmills are. Some folks assert that it is so 
called because the Conqueror here recalled his men 
from pursuing the retreating forces ; but in the 
muniments the word is written Cald-beck; the 
Saxon term for a cold spring, which there is on 
the spot. It was here that the English made their 
last ineffectual attempt to oppose the invaders and 
at last left them masters of the field; here the 
trumpet of victory sounded ; and the district for 
this reason has ever since borne the name of 
Mountjoy. The street leading to this hill or mount 
was, 600 years ago, called Mill street. 

The muniments shew that the middle part of 
the town, now called High street, bore the name of 
King street, for several centuries. 

Why the western part of the town was called 
Claverham, has not been discovered; but such 
was the case. Here stood the guildhall of the 
liberty, aftd the house now belonging to Mr. G. 
Sargent, is supposed to stand on its site. The 
cellar is vaulted with pointed arches of great 


There are two places in the neighbourhood which, 
from their connexion with the battle of Hastings, 
it may be excusable if a few lines are added. 

Bulverhithe, is often spoken of as the place where 
the Normans disembarked ; but records seem to 
fix the spot nearer to Pevensey. It appears that 
William first took that place, and then Hastings, 
If he had landed here it is probable that the reverse 
course would have been pursued. The romantic 
tale of the name being derived from the circum- 
stance of one of the Pelham, or any other family, 
obtaining a grant of as much land as he could 
enclose with a bull's hide, deserves no more credit 
than those about Tellman, and Callback. The 
Pelhams were Saxons residing, as before shewn, 
in a distant county; and do not appear to have 
had any connexion with Sussex, till the time of 
Edward the first. The tract is somewhat larger 
than the most ingenious slitter of hides could have 
contrived to surround with throngs from the skin 
of one animal, though it were as large as the 
Durham Ox : which the bovine race of this country 
in those days are well known not to have been. 
The muniments of the abbey indicate that the 
land was called Bulington : and the sea at this 
place Bulworhede or Bulworhyth. The word 
Heda, or Hyth, is a barbarous, or law latin, term 
for a small bay or haven. In these days it is not 
uncommon to hear persons speak of Bulwerhide- 
bay, or Bulwerhithe-haven ; which is a gross 
specimen of tautology. We might as well say 
Bulworhaven-haven, or Bulverbay-bay. The name 
now used evidently appertains to the small bay 


between Bexhill and Bopeep ; and the parish is 
properly Bulington. "Bulington juxta Bulworhede" 
is mentioned in several deeds. 

Standard Hill, mentioned as the spot where 
Harold's standard was first set up, lies to the west 
of Battei in the parish of Ninfield : and was the 
rendezvous, for the king's army, from whence he 
marched to the field of Battei. 

Having communicated such of his gatherings as 
could be comprised in the limits of this publication, 
"The Gleaner" respectfully takes his leave of 
the public. 


DA 690 .832 T52 1841 IMST 
Ticehurst, F. W. 
Gelanings respecting Battle 
and its abbey 47227222