Similarly, in the case of canonicae founded in towns, we find wholesale appropriations of the churches within the borough, as at Huntingdon and Leicester.1 In the latter case, as we have seen, even the secular college of St. Mary fell under the administration of the abbey. The secular canons, however, did not disappear, but continued until the Reformation to be instituted to their meagrely endowed prebends by the abbot of Leicester. It may be questioned whether here there is not an example of a body of secular priests maintained by a house of canons regular for the purpose of looking after the town churches; and it is quite possible that the vicars of the various parish churches of Leicester, whose institutions are recorded in the Lincoln episcopal registers, may, at any rate in the earlier instances, have been stall-vicars in the quire of St. Mary's. We find similar instances of the grant of chapels, like St. Mary's, within the precincts of castles to abbeys and priories of canons. At Huntingdon the priory was placed in possession of the castle chapel and the town school.2 The chapel of St. George in Oxford castle with its dependent church of St. Mary Magdalene was given to Oseney abbey.3 Henry I. granted the free chapel in Tickhill castle to St. Oswald's priory4: with this gift of a distant chapel, which certainly could not be served directly from the priory, and appears, at no time of which we have record, to have been served by it, may be compared the gift to Plympton priory of the castle chapel of Exeter,5 a collegiate church over which it certainly ceased to have any control.

Large gifts of churches appear in the foundation endowments of two Nottinghamshire priories, Worksop and Thurgarton. To Worksop William Lovetot gave "all the chapelry of his whole house," which may imply that the canons took the place of his domestic chaplains, with all the churches of his demesne held of the honour of Blyth, viz.: Gringley, Misterton, Walkeringham, Normanton-on-Trent, a mediety of Treswell, Carcolston, Willoughby-on-the-Wolds and Wysall.6 These fall into three local groups, of which the last, including the last three, is a long way from Worksop. Ralph d' Eyncourt granted to Thurgarton priory all the churches upon his land. These, ten in number, included only one, Granby, which was in any way easily accessible from the monastery; and this actually lay at some distance across the Trent. One, Swayfield, was in Lincolnshire, south of Grantham; and a group of five, Blankney, Potter Hanworth, Kirkby Green, Scopwick and Timberland, lay between Lincoln and Sleaford.7 The only possible way in which such distant groups could be served was by detaching canons from the priory and placing them in residence at the churches in question. It is certain that this was occasionally done. For example, Bridlington priory in Yorkshire owned the churches of Edenham and Wytham-on-the-Hill, on the Ghent fee in south Lincolnshire; and we have one instance of the institution of a canon of Bridlington to the vicarage of Edenham, with the proviso, strictly in keeping with canonical custom, that he must have another canon with him to bear him company8. It is obvious that, if this course had been pursued with regard to the Worksop and Thurgarton churches, even assuming, which is not very likely, that two canons were sufficient for a single group, only a small remnant of canons could have been left in the quire of the priory church. As a matter of fact, in the 13th century and later, with scattered exceptions, the churches in question were served by secular clerks. Some, like Carcolston, were not appropriated till long after the original grant9: others, like Blankney and Potter Hanworth, remained in the hands of secular rectors presented by the prior and convent: in the case of Kirkby Green, the prior and convent of Thurgarton seem to have lost the patronage early10.

There is one striking example of a house of Austin canons which seems to have served the parishes of a neighbouring district. The abbey of Dorchester in Oxfordshire, founded and maintained by the bishops of Lincoln at the place which, before and for a few years after the Conquest, had been the seat of their diocesan authority, owned a peculiar jurisdiction, exempt from the bishop, in a group of surrounding villages, in which, or some of which, the cure of souls was held by the canons. From the account of the misfortunes which befell a canon, sent to minister to the faithful of Stadhampton towards the middle of the 15th century, the arrangement can hardly be said to have worked well11 ; and the extreme laxity of the house, which had very little resemblance to the popular idea of a well-conducted monastery, may have been partly due to the migratory habits of its inmates. In any case, this is an example of a compact district which, whatever the drawbacks of the arrangement, was manageable from a single centre.

The parochial view of foundations of canons regular receives some support from the privilege allowed to Premonstratensian canons of serving their appropriated churches by members of their order.12 Thus, from at any rate the beginning of the 13th century, the vicarage of Kirkby-in-Malhamdale, Yorks. was held by a canon of West Dereham in Norfolk.13 The vicarages of Tunstall and Melling in Lancashire were habitually held by canons of Croxton in Leicestershire;14 while that of Wymeswold in Leicestershire was held by a succession of canons from Beauchief in Derbyshire.15 The vicars of Tunstall and Melling may very possibly have lived with one or two of their brethren at the neighbouring priory of Hornby, a cell of Croxton; but it is difficult to imagine two Norfolk canons taking up their abode willingly so far from home as Malhamdale, while Wymeswold, in a not very accessible part of Leicestershire, would not have afforded many attractions to two exiles from Beauchief. While these remote cures certainly afforded freedom from conventual restraint, it may well be doubted whether, in isolated villages, such canons were constantly resident, or whether the cure of souls was not often left to hired secular chaplains. Remembering that each canon thus beneficed was in the nature of things obliged to take a companion with him, at once for mutual society and as a safeguard upon his behaviour, we may take the lists of the canons of Welbeck at the end of the 15th century, a period not remarkable for its strictness. In 1475 the community included the vicars of Cuckney, close to Welbeck, and Whitton in north Lincolnshire, the vicar of Whatton with an assistant chaplain, the vicar of Cotes-by-Stow, a small village some miles north-west of Lincoln, and the vicar or chaplain of Littleborough-on-Trent. The last two may very well have lived together. In 1478 we find the same arrangement, with the addition of the chaplain of Bothamsall and the information that the second canon at Whatton was chaplain of Aslockton. In 1482 Cuckney and Whitton are the only benefices mentioned: the vicar of Cuckney had a coadjutor, and there may have been a second canon at Whitton. There were certainly two canons at Whitton in 1488, when we find vicars of Whatton and Cuckney, and chaplains of Bothamsall and Littleborough. In 1491 there were vicars of Cuckney, Whatton, Whitton, Cotes, Littleborough and Bothamsall, with five other canons, whose names are in positions in the list which suggest that they may have been living with the vicars outside the convent. Six vicars appear again in 1494, with assistants only at Whatton and Cuckney; while in 1497 the only assistants were at Cuckney and Whitton. In 1500, the last list, there is no vicar of Cotes, but the canon who held this benefice in 1497 appears as vicar of Littleborough: the only assistant was at Cuckney. From these lists we may suspect that residence at a remote place such as Whitton, far away on the shores of the Humber, was intermittent. At Cuckney, on the other hand, where there were habitually two canons, the position of vicar was attractive, affording considerable freedom without cutting off these labourers in an external vineyard from intercourse with their brethren. It may be noted that the number of priest-canons in the monastery itself, exclusive of those presumably non-resident, was in 1475 thirteen, in 1478 and 1482 twelve, in 1488 seven, in 1491 and 1494 nine, in 1497 at least eleven, and in 1500 ten. As among these were obedientiaries like the cellarer, who were necessarily often absent, the provision for quire-services was certainly not large, if the vicars were constantly on their benefice.16

The difficulty of compromise between the duties of attendance in quire and cloister, which were inherent in the purposes of the foundations, and the non-residence involved in parochial cures, was certainly felt in the case of Austin canons. The impossibility that even a large house like St. Oswald's could serve the twenty-six churches and chapels which it acquired within a few years of its foundation is obvious. In some, as in the distant churches of Bamburgh and Breedon-on-the-Hill, cells might be founded with two or three canons under a prior: to take charge of all would split the convent up into scattered sections. As a matter of fact, whatever the intentions of founders and benefactors may have been, the ecclesiastical legislation of the 13th century placed canons regular in the same category as monks,17 Vicarages, to be served by seculars, were ordained in their appropriated churches18: even houses like Dunstable, which might have pleaded nearness as an excuse for putting canons in charge of benefices, were forced to present seculars to vicarages.19 Some houses, of which St. Frideswide's at Oxford and Chetwode in Buckinghamshire, both in the patronage of the Crown, are conspicuous examples, were allowed some latitude in this respect; but the rule was not relaxed until the middle of the 14th century. The dearth of priests during the great pestilence of 1349 was the excuse given by the prior and canons of St. Oswald's for presenting one of themselves to the vicarage of Tickhill in that year.20 The presentee was admitted by archbishop Zouche on the understanding that the arrangement was purely temporary. But the growing financial difficulties of religious houses made it convenient to appropriate the endowments of a secular vicar to the maintenance of one or two canons, and, on subsequent occasions, the archbishop's caution with regard to Tickhill was overlooked.21 A precedent had been set by special licences given to poor houses, e.g., the Trinitarian house of St. Robert at Knaresborough, to present their own members to their vicarages;22 and certainly from 1349 onwards, institutions of canons regular to vicarages are no longer rare. It may indeed be suspected that, if founders contemplated their houses of canons as communities of parochial clergy, they had in view the financial desirability of grouping parochial endowments in common centres, where the work of intercession for their own souls would be promoted by the pooling of scattered funds. On the other hand, the inevitable result was either the thinning of the resident body or the neglect of parish churches; and, even in and after 1349, this dilemma had considerable weight with diocesans. To send a canon of Bristol to serve a cure of souls at Gransden in Huntingdonshire or Halberton in Devon, or a canon of Keynsham to the vicarage of Burford in Oxfordshire, was an anomaly. Moreover, these distant cures did not bring happiness or security to their incumbents. The canon of Newburgh who, early in the 15th century, left the pleasant valley in which his monastery lay, to serve the church of Kirkby Hill on the moor north of Boroughbridge, had reason to complain of the loneliness of his cure and the violent attentions of the highwaymen who infested those parts and robbed and bound him.23 If, therefore, there was some relaxation of canonical practice in these matters, the non-resident and beneficed canon of a monastery never became a regular feature of medieval ecclesiastical life.

Some latitude may be given, however, to the conjecture that, in early days, there may have been some divergence in this respect. Canon Wilson, the well-known Cumbrian antiquary, writing of the somewhat obscure beginnings of the Augustinian priory of Carlisle,24 has attempted to distinguish between the canons engaged in the work of the priory church and the non-residents who lived at the external country churches. Any evidence which warrants the positive statement of such a distinction is wanting : but the conjecture is credible on the ground that Carlisle, a monastery outside the regular line of progress and in a debatable district, seems to be an instance in which it is hard to say where the history of the secular establishment ends and that of the priory of canons regular begins, so gradual was the process of development from one to the other. At the same time, the grant to the priory by Henry I. of the churches of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Newburn, with the reversion of four other Northumbrian churches, viz. Warkworth, Corbridge, Whittingham and Rothbury, clearly shows that there was no idea of supplying these churches with vicars who were canons of Carlisle. The clerks serving the churches—i.e. the existing rectors who held them for life—are directed to do the canons the service previously due to the Crown, "and after their death the churches shall be brought into the hands of the canons, so that the clerks who shall serve them may have what is necessary therefrom, and the canons may have the remainder."25The canons, that is, shall appropriate the churches, reserving a proportion of the fruits for secular chaplains or vicars who shall hold the cure of souls. The principle laid down is the normal principle which is recognised as years go by. In the foundation charter of Kirkham priory there are specified with the gift of the church of Helmsley, three tofts, one of which is the canons' toft and another the priest's, i.e., a distinction is made between the canons who enter upon the rectory and the priest who, as vicar or resident chaplain, is their deputy.26 In the case of Kirkham, again, the churches of three parishes in the north of Northumberland, Carham, Ilderton and Kirk Newton, were given to the priory,27 and a small cell was established at Carham; but it does not follow that canons from Carham superseded secular incumbents in the three churches, one of which, Ilderton, was never appropriated, while Carham was regarded as a chapel dependent upon the secular vicar of Kirk Newton.

We have given some consideration to this question, essential to the proper understanding of the nature of a house of canons, which has led us far from Newstead. Our conclusion is that, while there is some indication that such houses were founded in the beginning for a double purpose, the service of God in the church of the community and the supply of parochial ministrations to certain churches in the neighbourhood, these objects were in practice calculated to defeat each other; and the needs of the convent church were recognised as paramount. Of the three churches appropriated to Newstead within reach of the priory, only one, Hucknall Torkard, was served by a vicar with a statutory endowment. Papplewick and the more distant Stapleford remained mere chaplaincies or curacies. It is far more likely that the canons hired secular chaplains for these churches than that they served them themselves. A canon might indeed go without much trouble to say mass at Papplewick; but one could hardly be expected to take the journey to Stapleford as a frequent part of his regular duties. The fact that, at the end of the middle ages, we find a canon in charge of the cure of souls at Stapleford, does not warrant the conclusion that this had been the habitual practice at an earlier date.

Throughout the middle ages, the distinction between houses of canons and houses of monks was little more than nominal, a distinction of origin rather than one of fact. The points dwelt upon in the episcopal injunctions which followed visitations are so similar in both cases that, without the names of the monasteries concerned to guide us, we should be unable to tell whether they referred to monks or canons. The buildings of Haugh-mond and Newstead, the best surviving examples of the arrangements of an Augustinian house, display no idiosyncrasies of plan to differentiate them from those of a Benedictine monastery.28 Even Premonstratensian canons, with certain individualities of practice, can hardly be said to have evolved a monastic plan of their own. At Torre and Dryburgh we find plans which, had we no previous knowledge of their history, might well be Benedictine: the plan of St. Agatha's at Easby bears a strong resemblance in its details to that of the Benedictine cathedral priory of Durham, while its interesting peculiarities are entirely its own.29 On the other hand, it may be said that Austin canons, living under a very simple rule which might be reinforced, as in the well-known case of Barnwell priory, by special written customs,30 but was in itself open to no very rigid interpretation, were less easily kept in order than monks. The episcopal documents which are the chief source for our knowledge of the internal life of monasteries show that discipline, especially in the numerous small houses, was generally weak. The abbey of Dorchester in the 15th century was more like a college of secular clergy than a regular monastery: in reading the reports of bishop Alnwick's visitations of the house, we find it difficult to believe that we are reading of a body living under a monastic rule.31 In fact, there was a strong likeness in the later middle ages between the colleges of chantry priests which were founded in large numbers during the 14th and 15th centuries, and the older houses of regular canons. How easily one type shaded off into the other is seen in the case of Kirby Bellars priory in Leicestershire. Here the free chapel of seven secular priests, founded by Roger Bcler in 1319, was turned in 1360 into a house of thirteen Austin canons—a remarkably late date for such a proceeding.32 No other change was made: the canons seem to have entered into the buildings provided for the college without making a special cloister for themselves, and Alnwick's visitation of the house in 1440 shows that the change was little more than nominal.33

(1 Ibid. VI. (i.), 80, 474.
(2) Ibid. VI., (i.), 80.
(3) Ibid. VI., (i.). 251.
(4) Ibid. VI., (i ), 92.
(5) Ibid. VI., (i.), 54.
(6) Ibid. VI., (i.), 118.
(7) Ibid. VI„ (i.), 191.
(8) Lincoln Rot. Gravesend (Cant, and York Soc.), p. 33; a secular chaplain was also required to reside, probably to take charge of the chapel of Swinstead.
(9) As regards Newstead, Egmanton (vide infra) is a case in point.
(10) In this case the patronage of the vicarage, of which the prior and convent of Thurgarton were patrons (Rot. Hug. Welles [Cant, and York Soc.] II.. 75, 2n.) was transferred to the abbot and convent of Kirkstead.
(11) Visitations of Religious Houses (Lincoln Record Soc.) II., 82, 83 (cf. p. 79).
(12) This privilege, which was certainly observed from the foundation of the order, seems to depend on the general principle implied in Urban II.'s bull relating to the canons regular of Soissons, quoted by Frere, Fasciculus, u.s. p. 189.
(13) See Reg. Giffard (Surtees Soc.), pp. 235, 236.
(14) See Yorks. Archaeol. Journal, XXV., 143.
(15) The earliest vicars of Wymeswold seem to have been secular chaplains, but institutions of canons begin before the end of the 13th century.
(16) These details are taken from Collect. Anglo-Praemonstratensia (Camden Soc.. 3rd ser.) III.. 179-95.
(17) Although Decretals III., tit. xxxiv., cap. 1, Quod Dei, allows parish churches to be served by canons, each with a socius to bear him company, the danger of such licence is clearly recognised, with a reference to ibid. cap. 2, Monachi. Ottobon's 42d. constitution, Monachos, is clearly against it : two canons must serve a parish church, unless it is so poor that it cannot support two, which is equivalent to forbidding the practice, as few appropriated churches came into this category.
(18) Frequent instances occur in Liber Antiquus Hug. Wells, Lincoln, 1888.
(19) See e.g. The vicarages ordained in churches belonging to Dunstable priory, ibid. p. 20.
(20) Reg. Zouche, fo. 36d.
(21) It was obeyed, however, for a short period after 1349: see Reg. Thoresby, ff. iiid., 118.
(22) Reg. Zouche, fo. 24d.
(23) Yorks. Archaeol. Journal, XXV., 144, 145
(24) Scottish Hist. Review. April, 1920.
(25) Monasticon VI. (i.), 144.
(26) Ibid. VI. (i.), 208.
(27) Ibid.
(28) For Haughmond see the account of the buildings by the late Sir W. H. St. John Hope, and Mr. Brakspear, Archaeol. Journal, LXVI.. 281-310.
(29) See the article on the Praemonstratensian Abbey of St. Agatha juxta Richmond by the late Sir W. H. St. John Hope, Yorks. Archaeol. Journal X., 117-58.
(29) See Observances . . . of Barnwell, ed. J. W. Clark.
(30) See Visitations of Religious Houses, (Lincoln Record Soc.), II., 68-83.
(31) Lincoln Reg. Gynewell. Cf. the transformation of the collegiate chantry founded by William of Edington, bishop of Winchester, at Edinston, Wilts., into a house of "Bonhommes," a variety of Austin canons, at the same period.
(32) Visitations of Religious Houses, u.s. II., 164-8.