Easebourne
Community ID
 
796
 
Alternate Names
 
Priory of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, S. Mary de Eseborna (seal), Esseburn
 
Town
 
Chichester
 
Diocese
 
Chichester
 
Region
 
Sussex
 
Modern Location
 
Easebourne
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary of the Nativity
 
Date Founded
 
1248 or earlier
 
Date Terminated
 
1535
 
Religious Order
 
Augustinian
 
Rule
 
Augustinian
 
Foundation Information
 

Founded by a member of the Bohun family for a prioress and 10 nuns late in the reign of Henry III (1272). Dugdale suggests most likey it was Sir John Bohun.

 
Notable Heads
 

Alice, Isabel de Montfort, Edith, Beatrice, Mary, Margaret Wyvile, Margery, Elizabeth, NULL, Margaret Sackville.

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

Lucy daughter of William Basset, appointed by Bishop of Chichester in 1283. Philippa, neice of the Bishop of Chichester, appointed in 1374. King and Joan of Portsmouth flee here in 1478. Other families from Coventry. 3 or more novices moved by Thomas Boleyn and J. Hyllis in 1521. Ralph Pratt received in 1524.

 
Population Counts
 

There were 11 in 1250; more than 8 in 1442 and 1451; more than 12 in 1521; more than 4 in 1534. Knowles and Hadcock give 5 nuns in 1521 and 7 in 1524.

 
Visitations
 

There was a visitation in 1442 concerned with maladministration. Extravgance and much debt was the cause. An outsider was brought in to administer, replacing a lax Prioress. Another visitation took place in 1478 when the community was perceived to be even more lax. In 1521 conditions were better.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

John de Bohun 1332 donated property in Dorsetshire. Prior of the male monastery, Lewes Priory, donated a chapter house 1350. John de Bishopston, chancellor of the diocese, donated a bed for his niece Lucy.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

Thomas Cotnall, thought to be kin of the Prioress, used the property in 1478. He held mortgages in 1521.

 
Social Characteristics
 

Noble house

 
Assets/Property
 

In the 14th century, it held the church at Easebourn with dependencies and land holding on the Isle of Thorney, Dorset. It received a few donations, a chapter house worth 27 pounds, temporalities worth 41 pounds in 1291. In 1350 the community was poor and accumulated great debt in 1451.

 
Income
 

Chapter house, temporalities donated by male monastery Lewes after 1350. In 1535 the net income was over 29 pounds.

 
Charitable/Work
 

The community was a kind of 'reformatory' for strayed young woman of good family.

 
Litigations
 

Thomas Cotnall, thought to be kin of the Prioress, used the property in 1478. He held mortgages in 1521.

 
Early Documents
 

[1]Valuation [?] of the community property (1291)
[2]Bishop Reginald Stapledon (1313)

 
Art & Artifacts
 

Seal described, but no longer exists that depicted S. Mary & child under canopy with a man handing book to a nun.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

Public Records Office, London, Just I 909A: Sussex Eyre Roll of 1248, memb. 3.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

Document 1: Bishop's register (needs verification).

 
Admin. Notes
 

MAD 7/31
[V0327]

 
Contributors
 
WRL Project
 
Date Started
 
1248
 
Date Finished
 
1535
 
Length
 
1679