Bushmead Priory

Founded: prior to 1187 by Hugh de Beauchamp.
William, Chaplain of Colmworth, listed in the foundation charter, and first Prior.
1215 William dies. Joseph, Chaplain of Coppingford, becomes Prior.
Under Joseph, the priory joined the Augustinian order.
Ended as monastery in 1536, victim of the “Dissolution of Lesser Monasteries Act” of 1535.


“Collins Guide to the Ruined Abbeys of England, Wales and Scotland” by Henry Thorold lists the founding of the Priory as 1185 by Hugh de Beauchamp. This is mentioned in a footnote on the Wikipedia page.
The main Wikipedia article lists the founding as 1195, by William, Chaplain of Colmworth. There are no sources given for this, the footnote only mentions the different information in the Collins Guide.
Pastscape says 1195 by Hugh de Beauchamp. The most likely of the references to be the source of this information is “Medieval religious houses in England and Wales” by David Knowles and R Neville Hadcock.
“A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1”, 1904, states that the founding of the priory can’t be after 1187, because that’s when Hugh de Beauchamp dies in the Crusades.
Trying to find some information prior to the 20th Century, I came across the Monasticon Anglicanum. This was initially written by Sir William Dugdale, and published in 1693. Bushmead appears in Volume VI, part of a self-described “new edition”, updated by John Caley, Henry Ellis, and the fabulously-named Rev Bulkely Bandinel. This edition features a description of each place in English, followed by the reproduced text of their charters in Latin.
This document confirms the founding by Hugh de Beauchamp, and in the Latin section seems to mention William.
The Monasticon gives a list of Priors, and the first listed is Joseph, presumably the same as listed in the Cheat Sheet.

William, Chaplain of Colmworth
Joseph, Chaplain of Copmanford/Coppingford, occurs 1231
John de Wildeboef/Wildebol, elected 1233, died 1251
Simon of Colesden, occurs 1260
Richard Foliott, occurs 1283, resigned 1298
Simon of Redburn, elected 1298, resigned 1321
Robert of Lubenham, elected 1321, resigned 1348
Richard of Stoughton, elected 1348, died 1349
Simon of Grantesden, elected 1349, resigned 1350
Adam of Leverington, elected 1350, resigned 1355
John of Risley, elected 1355, resigned 1385
William of Lidlington, elected 1385
Robert Tychemerssh, known to be in 1418
William Chanewe, elected 1444, resigned 1465
William Stoughton, elected 1465, died 1473
Thomas Stoughton, elected 1473, resigned 1481
Robert of Potton, elected 1481, resigned 1482
John of Bosworth, elected 1482, died 1493
Gregory Norwich, elected 1493, resigned 1510, made Prior of Huntyndon (Huntingdon?) in 1504.
Nicholas Smith, elected 1510, resigned 1531
Richard Rogers, elected 1531, died 1531
Robert Burre, elected 1531, “subscribed to the King’s supremacy Sept 30th, 1534.”
This list from “A History Of The County Of Bedford: Volume 1”, additional information from the Monasticon. The Monasticon lists about 6 of these, and seems to back up the History list. Robert Tychemerssh is not in either list. Wikipedia lists him, citing the Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas, which lists him as a defendant (can’t read it to verify, link further down).

Augustinianism, as far as I can tell, isn’t a uniform term, but speaking generally we can say they follow the Rule of St Augustine. But looking further into that, it turns out to not be a precisely defined list, more some general principles derived from some of Augustine’s works. These principles are probably mostly to be expected of monasticism: “chastity, poverty, obedience, detachment from the world, the apportionment of labour, the inferiors, fraternal charity, prayer in common, fasting and abstinence proportionate to the strength of the individual, care of the sick, silence and reading during meals.” (Wikipedia).
The variety of Augustinian monasticism that seems to have been popular at the time and place, and is attributed to this monastic community, has various names. Austin Canons, Black Canons. Seems to be an Augustinian subset of “Canons Regular” (last paragraph of the introductory part of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canons_Regular gives some particular explanation, and also the section about England further down the page)

It seems to be uniformly agreed that the monastery was dissolved in 1536. Only “A History of the County of Bedford” provides a reference to a pension provided to the last Prior, dated Feb 1536, so it seems he surrendered the monastery to the King really early in that year.
The first round of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, was The Suppression of Religious Houses Act 1535 (AKA the “Dissolution of Lesser Monasteries Act”, and similar). The second round, which closed the rest of them, was 1539.

The Monasticon reproduces founding documents, and a later survey of the Priory’s holdings.
Cartularies of the Priory exist, though not a complete record. The Bedfordshire Historical Records Society published them, though it’s now out of print. The DEEDS (Documents of Early England Data Set) at the University of Toronto in Canada, has some, if not all, of it viewable.

The History Of Bedfordshire (etc) mentions a bunch of documents in its footnotes. In abbreviation, so a bit “you don’t know, unless you know”. Found the explanation of abbreviations, so let’s give this a go:
*The Monasticon previously mentioned
*An abstract of the Bushmead cartulary, printed in Befordshire Notes and Queries iii, pages 130-145. Found the digitised text on archive.org, but as the plain text Google blurb and usage guidelines is full of errors, I suspect the hard-to-follow-ness of the actual text may be partly down to the same sort of error.
*The Bushmead cartulary. See the DEEDS link above.
*The cartulary of Warden. I searched for it, but didn’t find it. Perhaps Old Wardon, also in Bedfordshire? DEEDS has a cartulary listed for that.
*”Collections” by Leland. Wish they gave his first name, because I’m not finding anything useful.
*Bedfordshire Notes and Queries ii.
*Pope Nicholas’ Taxation (Record Commission) (Didn’t find Bushmead or Bissemead on that site, nothing obvious while browsing Bedfordshire).
*Patent Rolls (AKA Letters Patent), particularly of Edward I.  – though I didn’t find the parts mentioned (footnotes 12, 16, 27, 35, all quoting 11 Edward I “m. 13d”, m. apparently meaning “Membrane”, according to the Table of Abbreviations).
*Manuscripts from the Harley Collection at the British Library. Did a search for the one listed, but it doesn’t appear to be online yet.
*Thomas Rymer’s Fœdera. Lists vol 6, found vols 8-12 here:  Found vol 6 here, but it’s not in English.
*The Rolls Series is mentioned more than once.
Vol 3 of the Annales Monastici by H.R. Luard
Volume 2 of Gesta Abbatum Monasterii S. Albani by Thomas Walsingham, p 330
*The Lincolnshire Episcopal Registers are footnoted, particularly of Bishop John Dalderby and Bishop Henry Burghersh. Didn’t find them available for online viewing, but can pay for access, or copies, or translations, etc at http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/archives.
*Letters and Papers of Henry VIII (finding the Letter or Paper you want, not guaranteed).
*Bull issued by Pope Gregory IX, in the Cotton Library, Augustus ii 117 (part of British Library, didn’t find it in their digitized collection)
*The footnote says “Feud. Aids, i. 15.” The Table of Abbreviations only describes “Feud. Aids.” as “Feudal Aids”, which isn’t particularly descriptive. I found an entry for Feudal Aid on Wikipedia, and deep in the article is the sentence “Many examples of English Feudal Aids were published in Inquisitions and Assessments Relating to Feudal Aids, with Other Analogous Documents Preserved in the Public Record Office, A.D. 1284-1431, 6 vols. (1899–1920).” Well, with a title like that, I’d abbreviate it, too, though perhaps not if I were citing it as a reference… The volumes appear to be on archive.org, and volume 1 page 15 does reference “Bissemede” (entry: ETON), so there we go.
*The Valor Ecclesiasticus. Not on archive.org. Held by the National Archives at Kew. Found this and this – parts of the Valor that include Bedfordshire – but neither has been digitised, therefore neither is available to download (or view online).
*Episcopal Register of Hugh de Wells, apparently transcribed and reprinted by the Lincoln Record Society. There are three scans of a translation by Alfred Gibbons: 1, 2, 3, and some attributed to Phillimore: vol 1 pt 2, vol 2, and vol 3.
*Episcopal Register of Oliver Sutton (see “View the record at the level above this one”, then “Browse the 6 records at the level below this one”, which gets you this page). Reprinted by the Lincoln Record Society.
*Episcopal Register of Bishop John Gynwell.
*Episcopal Register of Bishop John Buckingham (1, 2, 3).
*Episcopal Register of Bishop William Alnwick.
*Episcopal Register of Bishop William Smith (1, 2).
*Episcopal Register of Bishop John Longland (Longland, Longland and Holbeach).

Wikipedia mentions a Prior and some Canons of the priory being taken to court, quoting “Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40 / 629; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/H5/CP40no629/aCP40no629fronts/IMG_0291.htm; ninth entry, as defendant”. Looks pretty, but I can’t read it.

*Pastscape lists an archaeological excavation in 1978, mentioned on a couple of pages of the Council For British Archaeology’s South Midlands Archaeology newsletter #9 (1979, pages 39-40), and the full report in the Bedfordshire Archaeological Society’s publication, the Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal #14 (1980, pages 47-55). Both of these publications are available on the Council for British Archaeology website.
*Pastscape lists a management survey undertaken in 1997, and an architectural survey in 2004. Both list the Archive Holder as “Bedfordshire Sites and Monuments Record”. The Sites and Monuments Record seems to be a blanket term for the department that holds that kind of record, in each county. The actual department name can therefore change from county to county. The relevant department here, appears to be the “Historic Environment Record” of Central Bedfordshire (nothing looks immediately useful there, unless you can plan a visit). The contents of what they hold can be found on the Heritage Gateway site. Doing a search for “Bushmead” on Heritage Gateway kicks up a few results, a bunch not the actual priory, and some that are not adding anything to the information I already have. The page about what The Historic Environment Record for Bedfordshire has on Bushmead Priory, lists a bunch of source materials they hold, some unpublished, which sounds interesting.

External links:
The Historic Environment Record for Bedfordshire‘s details on the priory, as provided by Heritage Gateway
Bushmead Priory on English Heritage
Bushmead Priory on PastScape
Bushmead Priory on Wikipedia
A History Of The County Of Bedford: Volume 1, Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Bushmead

Related PastScape pages:
Listed as related:
#1116251 – Priory gardens. No investigation history.
#1499927 – cropmarks “probably associated with” priory. Investigation consists of a photograph.
Not listed as related, but actually related:
#363446 – “The Camps”, moated enclosures in priory grounds. No investigation history listed in that section, but “Field Investigators Comments” listed in “Related Text”. References abbreviated, no obvious key to abbreviations. A search for the references (on the internet at large) yields nothing useful.
#363443 – coin found near priory, but now lost. Related text similar to the above entry.
#363451 – contains fireplace thought to be from priory.

Augustinian monasticism:
Rule of St. Augustine (Wikipedia)
Augustinian monasticism on Wikipedia
Monasticism in Britain on Britannia.com
Canons Regular on Wikipedia (follow the Rule of St Augustine, link goes to the section about England)

Collections of historical documents:
The Rolls Series on Wikipedia
The Harley Collection on Wikipedia
The Cotton Library on Wikipedia
Contents of the Cotton Library (Wikipedia)

Other related documents:
Bedfordshire Notes And Queries –
Volume 1
Volume 3

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