The Obedientiars were officers who once worked in Abingdon Abbey. Their accounts were recorded in Latin in a book edited by REG Kirk and published in 1891. Kirk explains that the Obedientiars were the Abbey’s principal officers and were so called because they were under subjection to the rule. Several officers had separate gardens of their own within the Abbey walls, in addition to the large garden of the abbey. The Gardener, like others, would have a team of servants and workmen.
The following consists of the Gardener’s Accounts for three separate years between 1388 and 1451. There is a fourth Gardener’s Account, namely The Gardener’s and Pittancer’s Account, 1369-70, which has not yet (to our knowledge) been translated. The typeface and layout below is, as far as possible, in line with that of the Kirk Camden Society 1892 book, and are therefore best viewed on wide screens. Thanks to Eva Race, and Michael and Gillian Harrison.
Three Accounts of the Obedientiars of
From a transcription edited by R E G Kirk and
published by the Camden Society, 1892
Translated from the medieval Latin by Eva Race, 2011
A note extracted from the editor’s introduction: “The Obedientiars were the Abbey’s principal officers and were so called because they were under subjection to the rule. The title was limited exclusively to such of the monks who held offices, and is never applied to lay servants of however great standing. Several officers had separate gardens of their own within the Abbey walls, in addition to the large garden of the abbey. The Gardener, like others, had a famulus (comprising “close attendants”) of his own, and employed other servants and workmen.
“The gardens included grape vines which were apparently cultivated in the Italian manner, but their culture was clearly neither extensive nor very profitable. Expenses included the gathering of fruit and nuts and in making cider.”
The accounts of nine other
Obedientars are included in the Latin transcription. They comprise the Pittancer,
the Lignar, the Infirmarer, the Treasurer, the Sacristan, the Chapel Warden, the
Trinity Warden, the Bailiff and the Chamberlain. Translation and
transcription matters are shown as follows: * translation uncertain ** transcription
uncertain ***translation not achieved
RECKONING OF BROTHER JOHN OF EYNSHAM, GARDENER OF
ABINGDON MONASTERY, AT THE FEAST OF JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE 12th YEAR OF THE
REIGN OF KING RICHARD THE SECOND AFTER THE CONQUEST, UNTIL THE SAME FEAST IN THE
FOLLOWING YEAR, THE KING’S 13th, AND THE 28th YEAR OF PETER OF HANNEY, ABBOT.
Receipt of rent. — He rendered the account of the rent of properties over the Stert,
namely, from the tenement of Dionis (Dionysia) Mundy for the year 18d.
And 9s 6d from the tenement previously of Ade Skyrwyzth, and no more
because he left it empty for three terms. And
9s 6d for (the property) previously held by Roger Champion which
now has. And a halfpenny and a base coin (rose bush*) for the
tenement of Thomas Chamberleyn at Brygge (by the bridge*) And 2s for the
empty tenement previously of Alicie at Dene (now Dean Court). And 18d
from the Treasury of the Abbey for the tenement previously of Johanne Parker.
And 18d for the tenement of Edmund Spersolte, which the widow of
Eustace Zonge/Yonge** now has. And 20s for three shops of the property
previously held by Roger of Fenello. And 2s for the property
previously of Wilhelm Tatyn, which John Cornuyle now has.
And 12d for the (same) tenement which Thomas Chamberleyn now has.
And 13s 1d from the Almoner for his houses over the Stert.
Total: 54s 7 ½d
Other receipts.– And 13s 4d from the Kitchener for purchases for the courts of the Chief
Gardener, handed to him as rent. And 7s from the Clerk of
Works for his garden. And 3s
from the Precentor for his garden. And four bushels of wheat from the Sacristan
for his garden, nothing in money because they are accepted in kind as
appears elsewhere. And one quarter of wheat from Wotton, nothing in money, for
the aforesaid reason. And 6s 6d from the Lord Abbot for the release of his
servant. And 7s 6d from the bailiff of Hornemere (now Hormer) for payment
of the same.
Total: 37s 4d.
Other receipts. —And 12s 8d for the sale of fish. And 4s for the sale of casks for
ale. And 10s for firewood and 6s for barley and bundles of vine wood. And
6s 6d for bundles of wood sold. And 2s 2d for hedges and roots. And 11s 2d
for fuel for the old houses. And
12d for one ash tree. And 2s for planks. And 8s 8d for bread and ale.
Total: 64s 2d.
Other receipts.–And 45s for hay sold. 13s 4d for wine. And 20s ½ d de vuis***.
And 2s for verjuice. 4d for vines*. And 13s 4d for cider sold according to
the estimate. And 32s 6½ d for the
sale of fruit, namely apples, pears and nuts.
Total £6 6s 7d.
6d for casks sold. And 21d for the needs of our servant. And 6d for one shepherd
for damage to property.
Total: 8s 9d.
Other receipts. – And 66s 3d for the sale of 33 quarters and 1 bushel of barley, price per
quarter 2s. And 2s 12d for the sale
of pulses. And 14d for chaff.
And 12d for thatching straw. And 20d for barley straw and no more,
because of the rest of the expense of thatching houses.
Total 71s 1d.
Total of all receipts: £18 2s 6 ½ d.
owed from previous years £8 2s 1¼d. Summa patet.***
Other expenses.– For ‘Oh Stem of Jesse’ (Advent anthem) 6s 10d. For spices
and good ale granted to the Treasury of the Abbey 6s 8d. To the Treasury of
the Abbey for customary services 48s 8d. For a room for spices 40s. To the
Kitchener for a house over the Stert 3s 4d. For High Mass 2s 2d. For Christmas
offerings 2s 3d. For masses for the Abbot and Prior 3s 6d. For
deacons and novices 8d. Among the servants 4s. Dimidia
a tithe) given to the Lord King 12d. For (hospitality for) visitors
2s 2d. To our chaplain 2s. Gifts for the chaplain and reader 2s. Our
offering 5s. Our footwear 3s 6d.
Expenses.–Servants’ table 41s. Their pay 27s 6d. Their clothes 7s.
Given to them at times 2s 6d. Salt 12d. Candles 15d. Locks 10d.
A trellis (hurdle*) 4d. Expenses incurred in sending
customary payments for the ‘Stem of Jesse’ 16d. For our medicines 5s.
Total £4 7s.9d.
Other expenses.– Cleaning
the great ditches 20s 10½d. Spades and rakes 16d.
2 ladles 6d. Repair to a ladder to make it as new * 8d. To workers
at times 12d. For injuries to two pigs 20d. Purchase of one plank
11d. For fishing 3s 2d. For repair to a net 6d. Purchase of
one net, namely flowe***, 12d. Purchase of one ash tree for the estate
Total 32s 3 ½d.
Expenses.–Paid to the Kitchener as a tenth (tithe*) of Monkcroft 3s 4d.
Reaping and binding at Munkcroft 7s 11d. Given to reapers 17½d. A
handcart 3s 10d. To the workers for putting sheaves in the granary 20d.
For threshing barley and pulses 6s 2d. For winnowing 22d. For
various pieces of boonwork (communal work for the landlord) at times
11s 8d. Weeding 15d. Cleaning paths 8d. Buying 5 quarters and
3 bushels of barley 10s 9d, the price of a quarter being 2s. Purchase of
harness, namely a collar 2s.
Total 52s 6½ d.
Other expenses. — For repair and improvement of houses over the Stert, namely: for the
carpenters’ table 18s 6d, their pay 17s 6d, carriage of timber 12d, laths
and lath-nails 6s, hooks, screws and keys 12d. Given to the tiler for
securing laths 6d. For one house, straw for thatching 5s 4d.
Carriage of straw 3d. Given to carpenters 12d.
Total 51s 1d.
Expenses. — For the
vineyard 2s. Cups 1½ d. 2 casks for storing cider 3s 4d.
Repair of vessels 8d. Collection of vuarum***
2s 4d. The collection of nuts 5½d. Collection of other fruits 3s
6d. Cider-making 3s 5d. Propping-up of vines 4s 6d.
Total 20s 4d.
Total of all expenses £26 19s 10d.
Excess of expenses over receipts thus £8 17s 3½d.
Debtors in previous years
The Lord Abbot………………………….£9.0s.4d
The bailiff of Hornemere
Adam Castel of
Eustace Yonge/Zonge **………………….4s
Richard at Wode ………………………………..11d
William brother of the smith at Colnham…….5s
Johannes Donne, charcoal burner..…….18d
Peter Crendon for
Willelmus Golafr’ for interest….…………..3s 4d
Alan Bayly for Roger Lee…………………..5s.10d
Johannes Brydecumbe, monk…………3s 2½ d
infirmary……….…………………………4s 1 3/4d
Debtors in this year
Johannes Schereman………………..……….3s 4d
– surety for Robert Clark
Dyonys (Dionysia) Mundy for rent…….……….9d
Total debts £12 13s 3/4d
The Abbey Treasury…………………..…….£4.4s.2½d
Item from the current
To the Pittancer………………….……£13.14s
To Roger Henreth……….………………………………13s
[The Chamberlain for the current
John of Eynusham………….……………3s. 2s(sic)
Total of all creditors: £21 10s 4d
entries which are in square brackets above are struck out
in the manuscript.
[On the back of the roll:]
When the Gardener
ceased to have responsibility for the Grange
* in the 28th year of Peter of Hanney, Abbot.
— He repaid the account for four bushels of grain received from the
Sacristy. One quarter received from Wotton.
Total one quarter, four bushels. Of which, for expenses of the
houses, one quarter four bushels. Total as above. Clear of debt.
Barley.—And ,on the exit from Monkcroft*, 33 quarters one bushel
measure. And one quarter and one peck heaped measure. And five quarters, four
Total: 39 quarters, five bushels, one peck.
Of these being sold as below, 33 quarters, one bushel. Given to the
merchant in heaped measure, one quarter, one peck. And for sowing the enclosed
field five quarters, four bushels. Total as above.
Pulses.– And five bushels from the cessation of responsibility*.
In selling them there were four bushels and one bushel as a gift. Total: five
bushels. Nothing owing.
STOCK IN THE GARDENER’S OFFICE AT THE TIME OF BROTHER JOHN
Namely: vine prop with a ladder. Two vine props. One bronze measuring
pot, and one taken from Roger Lee as payment. Two brewing vessels and one tub.
One three-legged stool and one hurdle *. One axe. One saw and three augers. Two
planks for tables and one tablecloth with a towel. One salt pot. Two
sacks. Two sieves with one riddle*. Two malt sieves. One rope. Two
harrows with iron teeth. One weaver’s shuttle. Two iron forks for the autumn
harvest, and one seed basket. One fishing-hook. One measure and one funnel*. One hammer and one trowel. One pair of tables with three leaves. One
pewter platter. One distaff*. Two benches. Three buckets for fish. Two elm planks. Three cups. Three
dishes. Two plates. Three saucers. One ladle with one bowl for broth (porridge).Two
large bowls. One cask holding eight gallons. Two trenchers. One tankard holding
one and a half gallons. One scythe for the pasture (meadow?). Two small
sickles for the autumn harvest. Three mattocks with three rakes (forks,
Three ladders. One wooden funnel. One cask for wine. Three pairs of traces with
fish-hooks* and pipes*. Three pairs of newly-bought horse collars.
Two linch-pins for a cart. One bowl. One axle for a cart with metal repair
patches and nails. One lopping hook for a mason. One chest for wine and
cider-making. One net called a wade***
and one flowe***, with another net known as a chain-net*. One saddle for a cart.
One bronze dish. One dray. One mallet for splitting* (logs for)
fuel. Three hammers for making cider, two baskets for catching fish
and pots. Twelve fish baskets. One dung pot. One iron spit. Six
planes. Three axe-handles. Two rakes for gathering moss.
Translated from the medieval Latin by Arthur E Preston and transcribed by John McGowan from the copy in the Preston archive in the Berkshire Record Office
RECKONING OF BROTHER JOHN HENRY, GARDENER OF ABINGDON
MONASTERY FROM THE FEAST OF THE BIRTH OF St JOHN THE BAPTIST, 13TH
YEAR OF THE REIGN OF HENRY IV TO 1st YEAR OF HENRY V, AND
15th YEAR OF ROBERT de SALFORD, ABBOT.
— From the foot of the account of the preceding year, as appears at the foot
of the same 5s 8½d.
of rents – From the rent of Dionisia
Munday 18d. From the tenement Skyrwyt 10s. From the tenement Champion 8s. From
the tenement Chamberleyn a rose and ½d
From the new building on the Stert 50s. From the Treasurers of the
Convent for tenement Parker on the Stert 18d. From the tenement of Edmund
Spersholt 18d. From the tenement of John Cornevyle 2s. From the Almoner for his
tenement on the Stert 13s. From the Rector of St Nicholas for a garden demised
to him in the same way 8d.
From Thomas Carpenter above the Stert for one garden demised to him in
the same way. From
Robert Fuller on the Stert for one garden let to him without indenture 4s. From
the garden of Robert Spenser demised to him without indenture 12d. From William
Panyour for a garden demised to him for half a year by indenture 6d.
receipts. – From the
Kitchener for the perquisites of the Courts of the Lordship let to him at farm
13d. From the Clerk of the Works for his garden 7s. From the Precentor for his
garden 3s. From
the Lord Abbot for the livery of our servant 6s 8d.
From the Bailiff of Hornemere 7s 6d. From one quarter, 4 bushels of corn
sold, as appears elsewhere 6s.
receipts from the garden. – From
the fish there sold this year 21s 4d.
From herbage there sold this year 6s.
From pasture there sold this year 16s 8d . From bread and old beer there
sold this year and not more on account of default of the buyers 20d.
From apples and pears there sold this year 2s 4d. From nuts there sold
this year 2s 1d. Nothing from grape-making this year because they remain in the
infirmary for making verjuice. From cider nothing this year. From one nut-tree
sold in the garden this year 5s. From two elms and faggots and branches sold
this year 6s 1d.
From old timber from the tenement Campion pulled down this year and put
up again (V 6)* 13s 4d.
from Moncroft. – Received
from corn in Monkcroft sold this year gross £4.
total of receipts £15 4s 2d.
– Of the 10/- for spices
and good ale and 18/8 paid to the Treasurers of the Convent by custom, nothing
this year, because it is allocated by a provision this year for rebuilding
tenement Campion as appears below. (V6 & 32)*. Of the £1 for O Radix
Jesse. nothing for the aforesaid reason. Paid to the Chamberlain 40s. Paid to
the Kitchener for excusing our tenants
on the Stert on the day of View of Frankpledge 3s 4d. To the oblation
against Christmas and the rest in other offices 6d. In things sent to the Abbot
and Prior and the rest as above 12d. To the deacons and novices 12d.
To our “Socius” nothing because in other offices. In our cowls and
shoeing 2s and it is assigned to the new work in the nave of the church, on the
north part. Between
the “Socii” at times and the remainder as above 8d.
To our readers nothing for the above reason. Paid to Thomas Abendon,
second scholar, for the corrody of John Otour and his wife for bread and beer
this 13th year 40s. Paid to the Lord King, Henry IV, for half of the
lender yielded to him 12d.
Paid to the contribution of the General Chapter for the ½d a pound,
yielded this second year 1d. In writing and duplicating the roll 12d. In
parchment bought for the same 2d.
Sum £4. 21s. 1d
in the garden.- In the wage
of Robert, our servant, per annum 10s. Paid to the same
his board, 1d a day 30s 4d. In a tunic for the same 6s 8d. For divers
labourers hired for making fences and for cutting and carrying billets and
branches 4s 10d.
In gathering nuts and apples this year 4d. In expenses incurred with the
fishery this year 22d. In weals bought 12d. In one package of figs bought in
London for the convent 6s. In figs bought in the town for the same for
quadragesima and Advent because no fruit in the garden this year 4s.
about Monkcroft.- Paid to the
“Custos” of Bayworth for the obits of Roger and Peter, Abbots, for Monkcroft
13s 4d. To the Kitchener, for tithes of the same croft 3s 4d. For ploughing and
reploughing the same croft for sowing at Quadragesima
10s. In five quarters of barley bought for sowing the same 15s.
In repairs made to the plough and in payment to the harrower there this
year 12d. In weeding the same croft this year 15d.
of the new tenement Campion.- The
wage of one carpenter for rebuilding the tenement Campion on the Stert with his
own timber, and repairing other defects of the same, by agreement in gross 48s.
In slabs of wood bought for the door and windows made in the same 7s 4d.
For 2000 slates bought for the same, besides those in stock 13s 4d. For
quick lime bought for the same 7s. For
1000 laths bought for the same 6s 8d. In lath nails, board nails and
other nails bought with hinge hooks, nails and hinge pins for the same 11s. In
slate pins bought 20d. The wages of Thomas Mylton, tyler (sic), for
roofing the said house and repairing other defects there, by agreement 18s. On
workmen brought for plastering the walls of the said house, by agreement 8s. 6d.
In carrying timber, earth and sand for the same 20d. In rewards for the workmen
and labourers there at times 2s. In repairs of tenement Skyrwyt, adjoining 18d.
For one lock and key for one cottage in the new building on the Stert 6d.
In expenses of carpenters and other labourers newly raising the timber 2s
£6 9s 6d (omitted by Preston)
of all expenses £16 9s 6d (sic)
so expenses over receipts 25s 1d (sic)
Creditors from the time of John Henreth
John Boure borrowed for tenement Campion on the Stert 23s 9d
John Henreth 20d
On the dorse of the roll
The Office of the Gardener
account there in the 15th year of Richard Salford, Abbot
Wheat.- Four bushels
of wheat received from the Sacrist. One quarter from the Reeve of Wotton by
one quarter, four bushels
is added in as sold above and nothing remains
Barley.- The issues
of five quarters of barley from Monkcroft, nothing there because sold under the
heading of corn as appears within (V no 33)**
the medieval Latin by A E Preston and transcribed by John McGowan from the copy
in the Preston archive in the Berkshire Record Office
THE ACCOUNT OF THOMAS DEWKESBURY (TEWKESBURY), GARDENER OF THE MONASTERY OF THE BLESSED MARY, ABENDON, FROM THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF St JOHN THE BAPTIST, 18 HENRY VI UNIL THE SAME FEAST THE NEXT FOLLOWING, 19 HENRY VI, AND THE 16th YEAR OF LORD WILLIAM, ABBOT.
Receipts – None; the cause appears at the foot of the account of the year immediately preceding.
Rent allowed – Rent of tenement, late of Dionysia Iremonger, per annum 18d.
Rent of tenement Skyrewitt with garden adjoining, once of John Portland, for the same 13s 4d. Rent of tenement Champion with garden adjoining, for the same ……..
(xxii in pencil?)** From John Uske for the tenement Chamburlayne, once Stanlake,
one red rose and one halfpenny. 13s 4d from the same John for the garden adjoining the same tenement, for the same. 4s from 4 gardens there, let to divers tenants there. Rent of tenements, late of Thomas Mylton, hatter, so demised to Richard Evesham, with garden adjoining, 10s 6d. Rent of 4 cottages there, with 4 gardens adjoining the same Rent of 4 cottages there of 36s with 4 gardens adjoining the same. From the garden lately demised to Geoffrey Boucher 12d for the same. From a garden, lately Robert Morecok’s, 12d for the same. From the Treasurer of the Convent for the tenement Parker on the Stert 18d. From Thomas Bydell, late of John Elys, hosier, for one garden demised to the same 12d. From the Trinity Warden for a tenement, once of Edmund Sparsholt, 18d. From one garden demised to the same 12d. From Thomas Carpenter for tenement, late of John Cornevile, on Stert, per annum 2s. From the same and the Almoner for the farm of one garden adjoining the same tenement, so let to the same 6s 8d, whereof 2s on behalf of the Almoner. From the farm of one garden next to the church of St Nicholas 4s. From the Almoner for a tenement on Stert 13s 1d. From the Rector of St Nicholas for one chamber standing on the soil of the Lord, so demised by indenture for a term of years etc 1d.
Sum, 113s ½d
Other receipts – From the Kitchener for perquisites of the courts of the lordship there, by an ancient ordinance, per annum 14s 4d (?mistake for 13s 4d. This alteration makes total correct.)* From the Clerk of the Works for his garden there, per annum 7s. From the Precentor for his garden there, per annum 3s. From the Abbot’s Treasurer for the livery of our servant 6s 8d. From the Bailiff of the Liberty of the Hundred of Hornemere 7s 6d. From the Sacrist of the monastery for 4 bushels of corn by custom, so sold to him this year, 3s. From one quarter of corn provided for the manor of Wotton, by custom this year, 6s.
Sum, 46s 6d
Farm of garden and croft – From the fishing water there, this year 10s 6½d. From pasture in the garden, this year 13s 4d. From Richard Evesham for one new garden made on the west of his lodging, this year 6s 8d. From the pasture under the trees, this year 4s. From fruits growing in the garden sold this year 10s. From the Prior for Monkecroft and other crofts on the west, and for Grascroft on the north towards le Berton, to be paid at 4 terms of the year etc 33s 4d. From the bread and a servant’s livery sold this year 10s 4d. From filberts sold this year 23d. From faggots sold this year 9s.
Sum, £4 19s 1½d
Sum total of the receipt – £12 18s 9d
Customs with default of rents – The same computes the payment of the Treasurers of the Convent for customs of this year, as appears in the provisions 100s. Default of rent of tenement of Thomas Willies vacant for one term of this year 2s 3d. Default of rent of one garden adjoining tenement of John Clerke as mistakenly within the time of the account for half a year 6d. In default of rent of one tenement called (vacant?)* late of Thomas Mylton, now of Richard Evysham 6d.
Sum, 103s 3d
Expenses in the Convent with repairs of houses—Paid to the Chamberlain, per annum 40s. Paid to the Kitchener for our tenants on the Stert being excused at the view of Frankpledge 3s 4d. In the oblations of the servants at Christmas by the hands of the Treasurers of the Convent 12d. In our cowls and shoeing 10s. In our oblation this year 4s. In things sent to the Abbot and the Prior 3s 4d. To the Oxford students for the feast of St Edmund 2s. To the deacons and novices by the hands of the Treasurers of the Convent 12d. Between the “socii” at times 16d. Paid to the contribution of the General Chapter viz ½d her mark for one year, this first year 2½d. Paid to the Lord King for the half of a lender granted to the same by the clergy 12d. To the Lord King for a certain subsidy granted to the same by Parliament 2s. Paid to the clergy for writing and duplicating the roll of the account 12d. In paper and parchment bought this year 4d. On our High Mass, twice this year 16s. To the “socii” celebrating, and to the readers this year 6d. Paid to the “custos” of Bayworth for the obit of Roger and Peter, abbots, for Monkcroft 13s 4d. Paid to the Kitchener for the tithes of the same croft 3s 4d. In our medicine this year 8d. In wages of servants of the Gardener and collectors of rents this year 10s. In gathering fruit this year 6d. The wage of a carpenter hired to make and repair the great gate next to the church of St Nicholas, with slabs of wood and nails bought for the same 22d. In wages of stonecutters, tilers and other workmen brought to make and mend divers defects in divers places badly needing it within our lodging this year, with lime, laths, lath nails and other necessities bought for the same as is particularly set out by the paper of this account 4s 5d. In wages of plasterers, carpenters and other workmen hired to make and plaster one longhouse behind 4 tenements on Stert, with rods, hazel-twigs, nails and other necessaries bought for the same as fully appears on the said paper 12s 2½d. For planning grafts this year 19d. For lopping trees and making fences in divers places as appears in the said paper 13d. For weals bought for taking fish in the Convent ditch 4s 10d. For one bucket bought for putting fish in 2d. For making one trunk for keeping fish 3d. In making 3 crates for keeping fish 8d. For one rake bought 4d. For fruit bought for the Convent this year 2s 8d. Paid for mowing the pasture under the trees this year 10d. For one goblet (pair of scales*) for gathering fruit this year 12d. For one spade bought this year 4d. For repairing one house within the tenement of Richard Evysham and in thatching the same with straw bought for the same 8d. Paid John Warewicke, a new priest, by custom this year 8d.
Sum £7 8s 4 3/4d
Sum of all allowances and expenses £12 11s 7 3/4d
And receipt over expenses 7s 1¼d
* Preston’s words
** Probably McGowan’s note