Until 1140 the local church belonged to the Lord of the Manor, who at that time was William de Sherington. However, about 1140 William gave the church and its associated land to the newly established Tickford Priory. This action was similar to that of other landowners about that time, as they believed it would lead to the salvation of their souls.
About 30 years later, there seems to have been pressure to confirm the gift in writing before the heir-apparent King Henry, son of King Henry II. William wrote a letter (reproduced below) to King Henry apologizing for being unable to attend in person, but stating that his gift to the monks at Tickford had been made with the authority of the Bishop of Lincoln and David the archdeacon of Buckinghamshire.
The gift was subsequently confirmed in December 1170 before King Henry and his barons at his royal court at Woodstock. Two copies of the charter were created, with slightly different wording - translations are given below.
Part of the deal William made with the Tickford monks was that his younger son Gervase should be the secular priest and should lease the church at an annual rent of 20s. for life, in order to secure his livelihood. Following the charter before the King, this arrangement between Gervase and Tickford Priory was also confirmed in writing in 1171 before various local witnesses. A translation of this agreement is also given below.
In 1229, William's great-grandson John took the Prior of Tickford to court to try to reclaim the right to appoint the successor to his great-uncle Gervase, who had recently died. The Prior argued that William had given the church to the monks in perpetuity and Gervase was therefore merely their lessee, not William's appointee. The court found in the Priory's favour. Thomas De Schyreford was appointed by the Prior in 1230.
The Tickford Priory of St Mary was a cell of the French Abbey of Marmoutier at Tours for Cluniac monks. As it was accountable to the Abbot, rather than the Bishop of Lincoln, this led to friction between the two in the 1200's. The Bishop became increasingly concerned about what he perceived was the lax manner in which the Prior ran the Priory. After matters came to a head, an agreement was reached, which included the transfer in 1293 of the Advowson at Sherington (i.e. the right to appoint the Rector) from the Priory to the Bishop of Lincoln. The first Rector appointed by the Bishop was Adam de Ludford in 1300. The Advowson was not transferred to the Bishop of Oxford (the current situation) until 1852.
Letter from William de Sherington to King Henry
'Venerandis dominis suis N archidiacono et priori de Huntendone Willelmus de Syrentona Salutem. Quod ad presens lingua non possumus literis explicamus. Noverit discretio vestra me ecclesiam de Sirentone tempore bone memorie Alexandri Lincolniensis episcopi monachis de Tichefort pro animabus anticessorum meorum in perpetuam elemosinam dedisse. Et David archidiaconum ad meam presentationem auctoritate Lincolniensis ecclesie eos in eadem instituisse quam donacionem et concessionem a XXX annis retro factam ratam et firmam habemus quod et literis sigilli nostri impressione signatis protestamor. Valete.'
Chibnall's Note: N[icholas] may have been the archdeacon of Bedfordshire (1145-70) who became a monk at St Neots, but more likely Nicholas de Sygillo (c. 1165-89), archdeacon of Huntingdonshire. David succeeded Rich. de Wiville as archdeacon of Buckinghamshire in or after 1140. The letter must have been written prior to the drawing up of the confirmation charter of 1170-1. Although the 30 years mentioned in the letter must not be interpreted too literally, the evidence suggests that the Church was given to the monks in or soon after 1140.
William son of Randulf to all his men and friends, French and English, both present and to come, greeting. Know ye that I have given and by this my charter have confirmed to the monks of Newport the church of Sherington with all its appurtenances, for a perpetual alms free and quit of all worldly service and custom. And the said monks have granted the aforesaid church of Sherington to Gervase my son, to be held during his whole life from the said monks, by rendering to them therefor twenty shillings yearly. And the said monks now receive a half hide of arable land which belongs to the said church; and to Gervase aforesaid remains the house and croft with buildings for his whole life. This gift I have made in the presence of King Henry son of King Henry, and his Barons, at Woodstock.
Richard Archdeacon of Poitou
Earl William de Mandeville
Earl William de Ferrars
William de St. John
William Son of Aldelin
Thomas de Almari
Godwin the clerk of Newport
William de Blossomville
(endorsed) Notification of William de Sherington concerning Newport
The date of the document is between 14 June 1170 and 1 May 1173, but is probably December 1170 as that is when it is known that King Henry was holding court at Woodstock.
The following are different methods of referring to the same person:
|William, son of Ranulf or Randulf||patronymic|
|William de Sherington||home manor|
|William de Caron||family name (probably from Cairon in Normandy)|
William son of Ralf to all his men and friends, French and English, both present and to come, greeting. Know ye that I have given and by this my charter have confirmed to God and the Church of the Blessed Mary of Tickford and to the Monks of Marmoutier there serving God, the church of Sherington with all its appurtenances for a pure and perpetual alms free and quit of all worldly service and custom, for the salvation of my soul and for the souls of my ancestors. And the said monks have granted the aforesaid church of Sherington to Gervase my son, to be held during his whole life for the said monks by rendering to them therefor twenty shillings yearly. And the said monks then received two virgates of land arable which belong to the said church, namely one virgate free and quit of every worldly service and custom, but the other virgate free and quit of every earthly service and execution so far as to me belongs, saving service to the King. But to Gervase aforesaid remained the house and croft with buildings for his whole life. This gift I have made in the presence of King Henry son of King Henry and his Barons, at Woodstock.
Same witnesses as the document above
This agreement was made between the monks of Marmoutier dwelling at Newport and Gervase, son of William de Sherington, namely that the said Gervase shall hold the church of Sherington from the monks aforesaid, so long as he shall live in the dress of a secular clerk, by rendering to the said monks yearly twenty shillings from the farm. But the said monks [shall have] three crops of the church [land] with all the appurtenances, namely, in the three years from Easter next after the death of Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, and a half hide of the church land shall remain to them for ever. But if perchance (may it not be so!) it shall happen that the said monks bring a plea for the aforesaid church elsewhere than in the Court of Archdeacon of Buckingham, the monks and Gervase shall jointly find the costs out of the estate of the said church. The witnesses to this agreement are
|Ralf priest of Linford||Herman|
|Master Geoffrey||John Chamberlain|
|Jordan de [? Stokes]||William Brito|
|William Dorenge||William, son of Ansculf|
|Godwin clerk||Hugh, the writer of this agreement|
|and many others|
Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered on 29 December 1170 and this implies the date of the document was 1171.
Records Of Bucks Vol 11 pages 229-232, Early Instruments of Tickford Priory - 12th Century - G Herbert Fowler.
A C Chibnall, 'Sherington: Fiefs and Fields of a Buckinghamshire Village' , Cambridge University Press, 1965, pages 26-30
Archives du Dept. Indre et Loire, Serie H, Liasse 362.