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Sheen Priory

There used to be a royal palace in a place called Sheen that was then outside London.  Richard II demolished it in 1395 because he was distraught at the death of his wife, Anne of Bohemia, who had died in the palace. Henry V built a number of buildings as part of his ‘great work’ in gratitude for his success, or to gain favour for, his political and military activities related to the 100 Years war. One of his great works was a priory at Sheen he founded in 1414.  This was run by Carthusian monks  who were now less austere than they had been set up to be. The church land at Chewton Mendip and Hayling Island was awarded to the new establishment to finance the project.
The manor of Chewton Mendip was held by the Bonvilles who had close royal connections and were later resident in the village, probably living in a building on the site of Manor Farm.
The Carthusians of Hinton Chartrhouse had a sheep farm at Green Ore since 1347 and there probably as a Priory Farm in Chewton Mendip. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the new prior of Sheen would want to ensure that somebody of sufficient authority was on site to deal with a powerful lord of the manor and a well established  member of their order. This person would need a reasonably comfortable residence and the priory also had the obligation to provide hospitality of a reasonable quality.  The previous owners of the monastery lands in Chewton Mendip had a practical need to upgrade the chaplains accommodation that may have been on the site of Chewton Priory. Their priory on Hayling Island was disappearing into the sea. The Carthusians had different motivations and they probably continued with the same kind of agreement with the Bishop of Bath & Wells described in 1241.  The buildin may hav survived as the origional Church House or the rectory manor Court House.
The following incumbents of Chewton Mendip Church were appointed during the time Sheen priory held the advowson of Chewton Mendip.
Robert Colney Junior was the first vicar appointed by the Carthusians on 20th April 1420 when he replaced Robert Colney senior who had died.  The senior Robert Coleney, who may have been the father of Robert Colney junior, may also have been appointed by Sheen priory but no date is given for his appointment. The father and son link indicates that they may have been laymen because priests were not allowed to marry. It only became a requirement for parish priests to be ordained later so the Colney’s may have been laymen who could read and so qualified as clergymen. This is the basis of claiming ‘benefit of clergy’ to avoid criminal prosecution. Another explanation is that they were uncle and nephew or some other relative. A third explanation is that there was some transcription error because it was common for one person to have been appointed several times but in a different capacity.
 Thomas Short was appointed on 12th August 1427 after Robert Colney junior died.
 Thomas Short resigned and John Tailour was appointed on 23rd September 1433.
 Richard Pycheford was appointed on 3rd September 1440 after John Tailour had also resigned.
 William Choke was appointed on 18th september 1582 after Richard Pychforde had died. It is not known what relationship William was to Richard Chokke of Stanton Drew who bought Long Ashton 1454 and appears in several events related to Chewton Mendip. Richard was linked to the lead mines and the Bonville family so there probably was a family connection between Richard and William.
 William Choke also resigned and was replaced by Thomas Goldwege on 5th February 1490.
 Thomas Goldwege died and was replaced by Simon Lane on 29th April 1507.
 John Guy was appointed on the 29th May 1525 replacing Simon Lane who had died. John Guy had the misfortune to be the incumbent during the reformation. He may have been the John Gyes who was accused by the Prior of Green Ore of forcibly taking fish from Emborough Pond in 1532 and so lost his living when the Carthusians had the chance to get revenge. It is possible that he married when he was able to during the reign of Edward VI because he was dismissed when Mary I tried to reverse the reformation. He was deprived of his living by John Haines and John Joberne. Not much is known about John Haines apart from that he was a laymen linked to Sheen Priory. It is possible he was later appointed as a curate in another parish.
 The British History website provides more information about what happened during the dissolution. John Joberne was elected prior of Sheen in 1504. initially he refused to recognise the supremacy of Henry VIII as head of the church of England in 1534. He was allowed to resign and take what is assumed to have been am honourable retirement. He was replaced temporarily by some called Brian as prior of Sheen in 1534 but Prior Man was in control by 1536 and he surrendered Sheen Priory in 1538. Prior Man had previously been prior at Witham Friary and probably gained a reputation as somebody who put loyalty to the king above loyalty to his monastic order. This was not such an unreasonable thing to do when you consider what happened to Richard Whiting of Glastonbury Abbey who put up a perfectly reasonable and legal defence of his abbey. He was hung, drawn and quartered on Glastonbury Tor.
 It is assumed that Henry Grey acquired Sheen Priory because he was recorded as living there during the reign of Edward VI but he was subsequently executed for treason in 1554 so the lands would have reverted to the monarch. In this case Mary I. The charter that awarded Chewton Mendip to sir Edward Waldegrave in 1553 specified that the Duke of Sufolk (Henry Gray) was the previous owner of both the manor and church lands. The 1553 charter included the advowson of Chewton Mendip which confirms that Sir Edward, and probably Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, combined the role of lord of the manor and lay rector of Chewton Mendip.
Mary I temporarily reinstituted Sheen Priory so the last ‘honourable’ prior, John Joberne may have been reinstated to dismiss John Guy and appoint Roger Normecok on 25th May 1554. Mary left money to Sheen in her will in 1557 and it is possible that the advowson and the former lands in Chewton Mendip were returnd to Sheen by Mary but that is unlikly.  Roger Normecok was the last vicar appointed by the prior of Sheen and he is also the first one recorded in the Clergy Database. This source provides additional information and confusion.
 Firstly, several  variations of spelling of his name is used but that is normal. One significant difference is that the name of the person who was deprived of his living in 1554 is given as Andreas (Andrew)Thorne. He reappears as the vicar of Kingsteignton near Exeter in 1557. The most likely explanation was that the was a curate in Chewton Mendip but was able to gain a new living. Elizabeth I re-instated the protestant religion in 1558 but Andrew Thorne may have learnt that claiming to be a good Catholic was better than what ever he had been doing for the previous three years.
 Roger Normecok who had been appointed as a good Catholic in 1554 was examined in 1561 to make sure he was now a good Protestant. He was able to prove that he had made that change of heart so he retained. This contrast with Cameley where the Protestant vicar he had been deprived under Mary I was reinstated un Elizabeth I.
 The Clergy Database shows that a John Guy was appointed as a curate in Sullington near Chichester in 1564. He was ordained in Chichester it is unlikely that he was the same man as the vicar appointed in Chewton Mendip in 1525.
 It is not clear who appointed Anthony Thekeld in 1570.  Roger Manners was not awarded the rectory of Chewton Mendip until 1576 so the Court of Wards and Liveries or a similar body may have been managing the estate of Sheen priory when he was appointed.
 The Clergy database confirms his date of appointment but also shows that he was an archdeacon of Carlisle Cathedral from 1556 to 1558. He was also a Rector in Cumberland so he was obviously a pluralist who did not personaly minsiter to his flock in Chewton Mendip.  Some unspecified curate was probably apointed who may have been living in the medeival rectory house on the site of the modern Old Vicarage.
 Anthony Thekland  died in 1588 and was replaced by Anthony Eglesfield.
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