Thame Local History
The Licence for the Guild and Chantry of St Christopher

The following licence appears in the Patent Roll dated 12th December 1447, in the reign of King Henry VI :

" Licence, for 10, paid in the hanaper, for John, Archbishop of Canterbury, William, Bishop of Lincoln, Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham, William, Marquis and Earl of Suffolk, William Lovell, Knight, Ralph Cromwell, Knight, Ralph de Sudeley, Knight, Drew Barenteyn and Richard Quartermaynes, Esquire, and Sibyl his wife, to found a gild in the parish church of Thame of themselves and others;

and grant that the bretheren and sisters thereof may elect two or four wardens who shall have the names of wardens of the Gild of St Christopher, Thame, and shall be capable of acquiring lands, rents and other possessions and of pleading and of being impleaded in any court, and shall found a chantry of one chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in the said church at an altar in an aisle there called 'Seynt John ys Isle' for the good estate of the King and Queen and for their souls after death and the souls of the King's progenitors, heirs and successors and of the bretheren and sisters of the gild according to the ordinance of the founders and the wardens of the gild;

and that the chantry shall be called the chantry of St Christopher, Thame, and the chaplain be capable of acquiring lands, rents and other possessions and of pleading and of being impleaded in any court, and licence for the chaplain to acquire lands and rents to the value of 8 a year not held in chief.

Licence also for the wardens to found a hermitage at Tettisworth in the parish of Thame and a chapel of devotion there in honour of St John the Baptist, and to ordain a hermit to stay in the hermitage and labour with his hands for the maintenance of the highway between Stokenchirch and Hereford Brugge, which has long been a nuisance for lack thereof, and to pray in the said chapel for the good estate and prosperity of the King and Queen and for their souls after death and the souls of the King's progenitors, heirs and successors and of the bretheren and sisters of the gild;

and the hermitage shall be called the hermitage of St John the Baptist in Tettisworth, and the hermit be capable of acquiring lands, rents and other possessions and of pleading and of being impleaded in any court, and licence for him to acquire in mortmain lands and rents to the value of 40s a year not held in chief. "

Notes

The 'hanaper' was an office of the Court of Chancery where public writs were kept, and took its name from the containers in which the writs were stored.

The list of subscribers includes some influential people, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Lincoln, but it was Richard and Sybil Quartermain who provided the endowment required to set up the guild and chantry.

'Hereford Brugge' refers to the bridge over the river Thame near Wheatley. The road from Stokenchurch to Wheatley probably followed close to the course of the modern A40 from Stokenchurch to Tetsworth, but the A40 from Tetsworth over Milton Common dates from the eighteenth century. The hermit would probably have laboured to maintain the road from Tetsworth over Lubbersdown Hill (now the Oxfordshire Golf Club), through Rycote (the home of Richard Quartermain), Albury, Tiddington and Waterstock, before reaching what we now call Wheatley Bridge. This route from Tetsworth to Waterstock is now known as the Oxfordshire Way.

Sources

"The Quatremains of Oxfordshire" by William F. Carter, published in 1936 by the Oxford University Press.




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