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BENEFACTORS OF THE ABBEY.
taken in which it is stated that the Barony of Bulbeck extendeth into the Towns and Hamletts of Bromehaugh, Rydding, Helye, Shotley, Slaylye, and Mynstreacres All which Towns and Hamletts are very well Inhabited with Men of good Service and have very good ffarms and able to keep much Cattle and get plenty of Corn and Hay were it not for the continual Robberies and Incursions of the Thieves of Tyndall which so continually assault them in the Night as they can keep no more Cattle than they can Lodge either in the House or in like safety in the Nights.?4 On the 21st of October, 38th Eliz, 1596, Henry Widderington held the Manor of Bolbeck as the 10th part of a knight's fee and the Manor of Haughton and appurtenances, and Humshaugh, certain lands in Burkley [Birtley), Bingfield, and Stonecroft, Stanely field and Whitingham of the Queen's Barony of Tindale as one knight's fee. He died gth of March 40th Eliz. Henry Widderington son of Edward Widderington his son is heir.' The barony of Bolbeck came afterwards into the possession of the Bakers of Elemore hall, in the county of Durham. sold by George Baker to George Silvertop of Minsteracres, from whom it has descended to the present lord of the manor, H. T. Silvertop of Minsteracres.
When Walter de Bolbeck founded the abbey he gave to it the lordships, demesnes, and advowson of the church of Blanchland, the appropriations and advowsons of the churches of Harlow, Bywell, Styford, Shotley, and Apperley, dedicated to St. Andrew, the tithes of the village of Wulwardhope, and twelve fishes for their table out of his fishery at Styford, in lieu of tithe-fishes. Lands near Acton, on Bolbeck common, belonged to the abbey, and it had property also in the parishes of Wolsingham, Stanhope, and Bolam. The Nevilles were benefactors of the abbey; also John de Torrington and Peganus de Caducis, by deed of gift dated 1270, gave it nineteen acres of arable land on condition of prayer being offered daily at mass by the officiating priest for the souls of his family, deceased and living. 6 King John, in the sixteenth year of his reign, A.D. 1215, confirmed all previous benefactions. The mitred abbot, for such was his dignity,
* See a full copy of the survey, Arch. Acl. vol. xii. p. 110.
Spearman's Notes, from copy in possession of the Editor. 6 Trans. Durham f North. Architectl. f Archaeol. Soc. A.D. 1865, p. 136.
was summoned as a peer to parliament in the twenty-third year of king Edward I., A.D. 1295.
In 1322, on the 12th of May, Lewis Beaumont, bishop of Durham, wrote from Naburn, near York, to the archbishop, asking leave to bless the abbot-elect of Blanchland, and that permission, to perform an episcopal act in another diocese, was granted.?
In 1359 bishop Hatfield appropriated the church of Bolam to the abbey of Blanchland, which establishment, in their petition to the bishop for having its rectorial rights conferred upon them, represented their monastery as standing in a lonely desert which was rendered less productive than it had formerly been, by its inhabitants having migrated from it into more fertile parts of the country during the ravages of a recent plague. They also represented their rents and proceeds to have become so small and scanty by hostile incursions and incessant depredations as to be unequal to their own maintenance, the support of hospitality, and the discharge of other burdens with which they were encumbered. The deed of appropriation gives the advowson of the vicarage, the tithes of corn throughout the whole parish, the manse of the rectory, and other rents and proceeds not specially reserved to the vicar, to the abbot and convent and their successors, chargeable nevertheless with the repairs of the chancel; finding the books, robes, and other ornaments which had been supplied by preceding rectors; and with the payment of two-thirds of all ordinary and extraordinary burdens then or in future coming against the said church, the vicar for the time being having to pay the other one-third. The same deed also awards to the vicar a portion to enable him to live respectably, to pay his part of the episcopal rights, and to lodge and entertain wayfaring people, to do which it set off for him a competent house and buildings, to be awarded by
? Willemus permissione divina Ebor. Archiepiscopus, Angliae primus, Venera. bili in Christo fratri domino Lodovico Dei gratia Dunolm. Episcopo, salutem, et fraternae caritatis in Domino continuum incrementum. Petitioni et precibus vestris favorabiliter annuentes, ut fratri Johanni de Staynton, Canonico, monasterii de Alba-landa, vestrae Dunolm. diocesios, in abbatem ejusdem monasterii electo et confirmato, in aliqua ecclesia seu capella nostrae diocesios, quam ad hoc duxeritis eligendum, manus benedictionis impendere hac vice valeatis, de nostra speciali gratia, licentiam vobis concedimus per praesentes : jurisdictione, et jure diocesano, ac dignitate, et ecclesiae nostrae Ebor. ac successorum nostrorum, nobis competentibus, nobis in omnibus et per omnia semper salvis. Valete. Data apud Thorp prope Ebor., ij idus Alaii, anno gratiae millesimo cccmo xxij". Reg. Melton, 162a.
one honest man, and repaired and put up by the abbot and convent; also the tithe of hay through the whole parish, the tithe of lamb and wool, of dairies, mills, and fisheries; all mortuaries, obventions, and oblations : and the whole altarage of the church, and all small tithes then belonging to it and its rectors, either by law or custom ; it also gives to the vicar all the glebe land belonging to the living; the cottages, houses, and rents in the town of Bolum, on the outside of the manse of the rectory; and a pension of 2 marks, payable halfyearly, by the said abbot and convent.' 8
At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries the number of the brethren at Blanchland was fourteen, and the annual revenue of the house, according to Dugdale, was £40 Os. 9d., according to Speed £44 9s. 1d.
The Premonstratensians, or white monks, under whom Blanchland rose, formed an order slightly modified from that of the Augustinians, based on the same rules, those of poverty and community of goods, slightly less strict than those of St. Benedict, and was founded by Norbert, archbishop of Magdeburg, in A.D. 1120.9 He was a courtier and favourite at the court of Henry V., but after a while became impressed with religious sentiments and the vanity and hollowness of worldly things, and leaving the court he retired to a monastery, clad himself in sheep skins, and, by the authority of pope Gelasius II., travelled the country as a reformer and apostle. He was naturally eloquent and persuasive in his style of oratory, and had a wonderful power of convincing his hearers of the truth of what he taught. Struck with the carelessness and irregularities of the priests and monks of his time, he resolved upon establishing an order that should consist of men selected for their devout zeal and eloquent speech, who should combine the functions of the two classes, living together under rule and in community, and going forth to preach to the people, and in 1120 obtained papal authority for carrying out his object. When pondering over the question as to where he should establish his house, it is said that an angel appeared to him in a vision, and pointed out a meadow, near Laon, a lonely spot in the forest of Coucy. Hence the name given to the place was Premonstré, or, in Latin, Premonstratus, the foreshewn spot, and the brethren were called Premonstratensians. Hodgson, ii. i. 338, and iii. ii, 37. 9 Ross, p. 133.
In 1127 Norbert became archbishop of Magdeburg, but he remained the supreme head of the order until his death in 1134. The order spread rapidly, especially in France, and was introduced into England in 1146, when Newhouse, in Lincolnshire, was founded. A second house was established at Alnwick in 1150. Dryburgh, in Scotland, was founded in 1152, and Blanchland followed in 1165. A description of the daily routine of duties of the Premonstratensians will furnish a tolerable idea of the mode of life within the walls of Blanchland. It consisted of religious exercises, the cultivation of the fields, and the performance of their household duties; going abroad to preach, teach, and visit the sick and dying; and reading and copying manuscripts. The religious services in the church occurred seven times in the day.10
The Premonstratensians were called white monks on account of their dress, which was white, that is of undyed wool. They wore å white cassock with a rochet over it, a long white cloak and a white cap. The rochet was a garment resembling a surplice, but with narrower sleeves. The strange appearance of those white-dressed monks might well have given rise to the name of the place, Blanchland or Whiteland, as is popularly supposed, but we are assured by the chronicler Froissart that it bore the name long before the industry of the monks converted that bleak and dreary desert into a little paradise, even as far back as the good old days of king Arthur and the Round Table.
Blanchland occupies such a secluded position among the moors that in former days when roads were few it must have been difficult to approach or discover. Tradition says that when Henry VIII's. commissioners came down to dissolve the monastery they lost their way, and were unable to find the place. The monks, overjoyed at their escape, most indiscreetly began to ring their bells, and the sound, piercing through the still air in the hill country, reached the ears of the foes, who were still too near, and guided them to the spot. There may be some truth in the story, but it is more probable that the sounds heard by the commissioners were those of the bells calling the monks to prayer. To the lovers of folk-lore, however, it may be worthy of notice that the tradition appears in another form. Once, it is related, a party of Scotch freebooters paid an unwelcome visit to
10 See Ross, Ruined Abbeys of England, p. 133.