DCD Reg. III f. 126r.

Registered copies of presentations by the prior and chapter, 1427

Presentations to benfices in the monks’ gift form a substantial element in the main registers. They followed a more-or-less standard form, but circumstances sometimes called for minor variations; it was a different matter for instance to present to an ordinary parochial benefice as against Durham's cell at Stamford in the diocese of Lincoln. The litigiousness which was a major recreation in the Middle Ages prompted the staff of bishops and archbishops to raise quibbles over wording from time to time, and hence perhaps changes in the group of three presentations here, to the new canonries and prebends of Hemingbrough, the church having been converted into a collegiate church during the latter part of 1426. Hemingbrough lay in the diocese of York and so the presentations are addressed to the archbishop, whom the prior and chapter honour by putting his name before theirs: 'Reuerendo in Christo patri et domino Iohanni dei gratia Eboracensi Archiepiscopo Anglie Primati et Apostolice sedis legato eius ve in remotis agentis in spiritualibus vicario generali.' [view] The greeting from the prior and chapter is fulsome: 'omnimodas reuerencias et honores debitos tanto patri.' [view] Then the benefice is specified, mentioning the newness of the collegiate establishment, and with the prior and chapter's right to present stated, followed by the name of the person being presented, with formal academic qualifications given: 'Ad primam {canonicatam et} prebendam in ecclesia Collegiata beate Marie de Hemmyngburgh vestre diocesis et nostri patronatus de nouo erecta et ordinata vacantem. et ad nostram presentacionem spectantem. Dilectum nobis in Christo dominum Marmaducum de Lumley in legibus Bacallarium vestre reuerendi paternitati tenore presencium presentamus.' [view] The archbisop is asked to admit and institute Marmaduke, and to do what is further incumbent on him.

The presentation to the second prebend reveals the outcome of Joan Beaufort's letter to the prior: Thomas Bradshaw is presented. If the monks thought that this was the end of the matter, they were mistaken, for the duke of Bedford wrote on his secretary's behlaf to the prior claiming that Bradshaw had been promised that the prebend would be worth £20 a year, but that 20 marks was the value, and he therefore asked for a pension of 10 marks a year to be assigned to Bradshaw, see Thomas Burton, The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Hemingbrough (York, 1888) p. 382 (Loc.XXV:116).

The fine script of the entries is extremely proficiently executed and the spacing of the lines is generous. This illustrates a phenomenon found in both the episcopal and the monastic registers: whereas those made in the fourteenth century  were quite unpretenious, very much working books, closely written and often untidy (e.g. Reg. II f. 51r, Reg. Hat.), their successors were of much higher quality (e.g. Reg. Lang), seemingly reflecting an attitude to such volumes that was more than utilitarian. Given how powerful records were perceived to be, as the townsfolk of Bury St Edmunds well realized when they broke into the abbey in 1381 and made the removal of the archives a very high priority, along with the monastic archivist's head, it was perhaps felt that they deserved to be made in a way that more adequately expressed their significance.