Campsey
Community ID
 
1069
 
Alternate Names
 
The community was known as Campsey Ash, Campseyash, and in 1428 as Camppeseye. On a seal from the 14th century, the community is referred to as S. Mary de Campissey.
 
Town
 
Ipswich
 
Diocese
 
Norwich
 
Region
 
Suffolk
 
Medieval Location
 
West of Suffolk and South of the community of Bruisyard , a Clarrissan community, at Wickham Market , in the parish of Campsey Ash.
 
Modern Location
 
Campsey Ash
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary
 
Date Founded
 
1195
 
Date Terminated
 
1536
 
Religious Order
 
Augustinian
 
Rule
 
Augustinian
 
Foundation Information
 

The founder was Theobald de Valoines II, brother to NULL and NULL who were the first and second prioresses at Camspy. Oliva and Gilchrist claim Agnes and Joan de Valoine as the founders of the community (93). Theobald gave all his property to his second sister (Agnes?). The convent was founded on low ground near the River Deben. In 1347 the widow Maud de Ufford entered the house and endowed a chantry college of five chaplains (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 90).

 
Notable Heads
 

NULL / NULL / Basilia / Margery di Wingfield / di Felton / di Bruisyard / Corbet / Ancel / Rendlesham / Hengham / Katharine / Blennerhasset / Buttry

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

Maud, Countess of Ulster acted as a female benefactor and became a nun of the community. Katherine Babington Sub-Prioress in 1492 / Petronilla Fulmerton Sub-Prioress in 1514 / Marga Harman, Precentrix 1526, and Sacrist 1515. Several chantries & a college of chaplains were endowed by benefactors Maud & Roger di Boys, in 1347 and 1383. Edmund Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, and his wife were buried here in 1375 as was Isabel Ufford, Countess of Suffolk in 1475 (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 62).

 
Population Counts
 

There were 20 in 1492, 20 in 1514, and 21 in 1520 as well as in 1526. There were 18 nuns in 1532.

 
Visitations
 

In 1230 the community was involved in litigation with the male monastery, Butley, and is excommunicated. There are successful visitations in 1492, 1514, 1520, 1526. In 1532: another visitation finds the community austere.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Patrons included Simon di Brunna and J. L 'Estrange as well as Robert di Ufford, the Earl of Suffolk, in 1319 & 1342. Theodore di Hereford was a patron in 1346. Roger di Boys (endowed??) a college secular priests; he also gave land in mortmain. Sometime after 1332 Queen Phillipa of England is a benefactor. Philippa's relation to the community is questionable. Further research is necessary to verify this information. Another female benefator was Maude, Countess of Ulster who was a nun in the community at some time after 1346. Edmund of Ufford, the Earl's brother, granted considerable lands to Campsey Ash in 1353 and 1358. The Countess of Ulster used her influence with the Crown to exact a pardon for the nuns of Campsey Ash of their portion of the tenths in 1358. She also supported the community by founding a chantry in the convent in 1347. At this time she was a professed nun of the community (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 59). The foundation provided for a warden and 4 chaplains who were to say mass daily in the priory's chapel of the Annunciation of S. Mary for the souls of Maud's two husbands, three daughters, and two of her friends (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 59). In 1392, Robert Ashfield and others paid the nuns 50 marks to keep three tapers burning before the high altar in the convent church (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 61).

 
Social Characteristics
 

Many nuns

 
Relative Wealth
 

Campsey's aristocratic patronage made it the wealthiest house in the diocese, and the one which drew the greatest number of women from the upper ranks of society (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 59).

 
Assets/Property
 

The community has land holdings and a chapter house with seven chantries during the period from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Its endowments increased steadily during the 14th century. In 1291 the community's assets were valued at more than 107 pounds per year. The chapter house is worth forty pounds. By 1535 the community's assets are set at more than 182 pounds plus thirty five pounds from Ufford chantry.

 
Income
 

Income is derived from rents, tites, and chantries. (Ufford : provides for the chaplains and more than enough support for 2 nuns. The surplus from his donation went toward general support of the community.)

 
Other Economic Activities
 

An inventory taken at the time of dissolution lists a bakehouse and brewhouse (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 33). Although the convent had fishponds, these did not provide enough fish for the internal uses of the convent. A thirteenth-century cellaress's account indicates that the nuns routinely purchased large quantities of fish (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 34).

 
Early Documents
 

[1]King John's confirmation of the foundation. (January, 1204 )

 
Art & Artifacts
 

A seal exists with the Blessed Virgin Mary and child with a shield. It dates from the 14th century.

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

A plan of the ruins published in 1790 indicated an aisleless church forming the north range of the cloister, with an extant west range, a chapel of S. Mary in the south range and a dwelling house to the south of the cloister (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 90). Excavations on the site in the 1960s revealed an area near the south aisle of the choir which contained burials of the priory's most important patrons, the Uffords. A private burial chapel also appeared to be indicated. Evidence was recovered for internal thresholds, six burials, Purbeck marble tombstones, a marble tomb with a brick partitioned chamber, and a leaden bulla of Pope Clement VI, buried with the Uffords in the easternmost area. There were also found ceramic tiles which bear the Ufford's arms and the initials BM (Beata Maria). An important group of tiles in relief design consist of animal designs moulded in high round relief Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 90-91). Twenty small fragments of windwo glass were recorded, some comparable to the local grisaille of the mid-thirteenth century, and others colored blue, green and maroon. Evidence of domestic occupation also appeared in the excavation, including oyster shells and bones of small birds and animals (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 91). Archaeological evidence indicates that the Uffords maintained a private burial chapel at the convent in the sourth aisle of the chancel (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 62).

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

It has been suggested that part of the college survives inside the present house of Ash Abbey. Extant medieval fabric includes a large barn, re-used stonework in other outbuildings and possibly the watermill. Remains of extensive fishponds survive (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 90). The present barn appears to have been the original west range of the pirory. its east wall has a small blocked thirteenth-century doorway at the north end. Stone moulding runs for most of the length of the building Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 90).

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

In 1347 the community had 5 chaplains.

 
Admin. Notes
 

[V0229]

 
Contributors
 
Marilyn Oliva
 
Contributors Notes
 

There were several chantries in the chapter house & and a college of resident chaplains was founded in 1383. The chaplains were at the cathedral in Lincolnshire.

 
Date Started
 
1195
 
Date Finished
 
1536
 
Length
 
3551