Thame Local History
The Thame Prebendaries
The following details of the prebendaries of Thame is taken from the sources listed at the
foot of this page, and is predominantly derived from Lee.
What is a Prebend and a Prebendal Church?
The very early holders of the office of prebendary of Thame are not on record. They covered a period from around 1138.
Ralph de Wareville (1234)
In 1234 Ralph de Wareville, Canon of Lincoln, received a royal grant of wood for his house at Thame. It is thought that the chapel within the Prebendal House grounds dates from this time also. King Henry III, who made the grant, also made several grants of wood and other things to Thame Park Abbey around this time.
John Mansel (1241)
Appointed to the vacant Thame prebend by King Henry III in 1241. One of the country's richest ecclesiastics and Henry's former Chancellor. Rejected by Bishop Robert Grosseteste, who refused to institute him. Mansel is reported to have siezed Thame church by force, before giving up his claim to the prebend.
Simon de London (1241)
Bishop Robert Grosseteste's nominee for the vacant prebend in 1241. May have been the person for whom Bishop Grosseteste rebuilt the church and built a private chapel in the grounds of the Prebendal House.
William Frere, or Ferry (1292)
Died possessed of the prebend of Thame in 1292 and may have taken over from Simon de London.
Thomas de Sutton (1292 - 1315)
Archdeacon of Northhampton and nephew of Oliver Sutton, Bishop of Lincoln, who gave him the prebend of Thame in 1292. Pope Nicholas IV however awarded the prebend to Edward, son of St John de St John, who attempted to sieze the prebend by armed force, occupying the Prebendal House and expelling the servants of Sutton. In 1293 200 armed followers of St John attacked Thame church, and occupied it. The St John faction was eventually removed through a blockade of the church and the obstructing of all roads in and out of Thame, including the destruction of Long Crendon bridge.
Hugh de Normanton (1315 - 1316)
Appointed to the prebend of Thame in 1315, but a year later exchanged it for the prebend of Leighton Buzzard with Gilbert de Middleton.
Gilbert de Middleton (1316 - 1330)
Archdeacon of Northhampton in 1316, held Thame prebend till his death in 1330. Founded a college for a warden and four priests at Wappenham in Northants.
Peter de St Stephen, or de Mortuomare (1330)
Cardinal de Coelio Monte, succeeded to the prebend of Thame in 1330, the first of a line of Cardinals to do so.
Cardinal de Pelegrini (1340)
Appointed to the Thame prebend in 1340, but deprived of it in 1343 after he had sided with the French king against King Edward III.
William de KIlsdersby (1343 - 1348)
Received the prebend of Thame after it had been take from Cardinal de Pelegrini.
Talairandus de Petagoricis (1348)
"Cardinalis Beati Sancti Petri ad Vincula", possessed the prebend of Thame in 1348 and became Dean of York.
John, Bishop of Albano (1348 - 1363)
A cardinal-priest. Albano was a suburban see, ten miles from Rome.
Hugh, a Cardinal-Deacon (1376)
Held the prebend of Thame in 1376 but never in residence, he was represented by a deputy.
Stephanus, a Cardinal (1378)
Held the prebend in 1378, and farmed it out locally, when it was valued at 200 marks a year.
Nicholas, a Cardinal (1381)
Had the profits of the Thame prebend in 1381. He was said to be a relative of Pope Gregory XI, Pierre Roger de Beaufort, who was one of the Avignon Popes.
Henry Beaufort (1389)
The third son of John of Gaunt and the grandson of King Edward III. Installed as prebendary of Thame in 1389, when he was fifteen years old, but quit for a prebend in Buckinghamshire. He was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln, at age twenty four, in 1398, and became Bishop of Winchester in 1405. Beaufort was at various times a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Lord High Chancellor of England, but he spent only forty days as prebendary of Thame in 1389.
Richard Field (1389 - 1400)
The Rector of Ringwood in Hampshire, and the first prebendary of Thame for more than half a century not to be a cardinal.
Nicholas Bubwith or Bubblewith (1400 - 1404)
Became prebendary of Thame in 1400, and relinquished the prebend in 1404 upon becoming Bishop of London. Later became Bishop of Sarum and Bishop of Bath.
Richard Courtenay (1404 - 1413)
Became prebendary of Banbury in 1394, but resigned that in favour of the prebend of Thame in 1404. Became Bishop of Norwich in 1413.
John Wakering or Walkelyne (1413 - 1416)
Born at Thame and educated at Oxford, he was also at some time vicar of Thame. He was consecrated as Bishop of Norwich in 1416.
William Kildwoldsmersh (1416 - 1422)
Succeeded to the prebend of Thame in 1416 and died in 1422.
Robert Leeks (1422 - 1434)
Became prebendary of Thame in 1422 and died in 1434.
William Grey (1434 - 1454)
Rector of Amersham and consecrated as Bishop of Ely in 1454.
George Neville (1454 - 1458)
Prebendary of Thame from 1454 and became Bishop of Exeter in 1458, later became Bishop of York.
John Chedworth (1458 - 1464)
Archdeacon of Northhampton from 1457, prebendary of Thame from 1458, became Archdeacon of Lincoln in 1464, giving up the prebend of Thame. Also Provost of St Mary's and St Nicholas, Cambridge and Bishop of Lincoln from 1452 to 1471, whilst also prebenary of Thame.
Thomas Bonifant (1465 - 1470)
Succeeded to Thame in 1465 and died in 1470.
Peter Courtenay LL.D. (1470 - 1478)
Succeeded as prebendary of Thame in 1470, and became Bishop of Exeter in 1478, later to be Bishop of Winchester.
Lionel Woodeville (1478 - 1480)
Became prebendary in 1478, but resigned in 1480, becoming Bishop of Salisbury.
Adrian Tabarde or de Bardis (1480 - 1519)
Born at Moreton, Thame and educated in Florence. Installed as prebendary of Thame in 1480, he was a great benefactor of Thame church, Tetsworth Chapel and Rycote Chapel. Remained at Thame after he retired, supplying beer to the May Church Ale at Thame in 1520.
Richard Maudelay M.A.,LL.D. (1519 - 1531)
Installed as Archdeacon of Leicester and Rector of Sherrington in Bucks in 1518, he bacame prebendary of Thame in 1519. He was a renowned canon lawyer and theologian and took part in the debate within the University of Oxford in 1530 over the validity of the marriage between King Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. Supported the marriage, and opposed the views of John Longland, Bishop of Lincoln. Provided stalls for Thame church in 1529 and through his will made in 1530 he left a legacy to the church.
Dr John Rayne (1531 - 1536)
Installed as prebendary of Thame by Bishop John Longland in March 1531, on the death of Maudelay, who had opposed Longland. Rayne was vicar-general of the diocese of Lincoln and one of Longland's most trusted deputies. It seems he was not resident at Thame, as he continued as vicar-general and was killed by the Lincoln mob in the run-up to the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. A legacy to Thame church was left in his name in 1543.
George Henneage (1536? - 1547)
A lawyer of distinction who had studied at Cambridge and Bologna, Henneage had been appointed Dean of Lincoln Cathedral in 1528 by Bishop John Longland. He seems to have remained at Lincoln until 1546, and probably arranged the affairs of the murdered Dr John Rayne in 1543, from which Rayne's Thame legacy came.
In 1547, around ten months after the death of King Henry VIII, the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset, directed a leading lawyer called Robert Keilway and his own steward, Sir John Thynne, to take possession of the prebend of Thame and on 16th November 1547 George Henneage sold the prebend of Thame to Thynne and Keilway. There were to be no more prebendaries of Thame after George Henneage.
F.G. Lee, 'History and Antiquities, The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Thame', 1883
Margaret Bowker, 'The Henrician Reformation, The diocese of Lincoln under John Longland 1521-1547', CUP 1981
The Victoria County History for Oxfordshire, Volume VII, 1962
Brown and Guest, 'History of Thame', 1936