Prioresses of Kirklees

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Gravestone of Elizabeth de Staynton; see further text in image / Walker, J. W. 'Robin Hood Identified', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, vol. 36, part 1 (1944), pp. 4-46, plate facing p. 44. Public Domain.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2015-09-01. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2020-09-18.

According to the Gest of Robyn Hode and Robin Hood's Death, a prioress of Kirklees and her illicit lover were responsible for Robin Hood's death. The prioress is not given a name in either tale, and it is quite uncertain if their authors had a specific historical prioress in mind. Nonetheless a list of prioresses follows here. I believe it includes all known incumbents, yet it is quite incomplete, and unless major new discoveries are made, it will probably remain so.

Note that a single year listed for an incumbent means that she is known to have been prioress (at least part of) that year. It does not mean she was not prioress the preceding or following year, only that it is not known if this was the case. Only for three prioresses do we know both the first and last year of the incumbency with reasonable certainty: Cecilia Hyk, Cecilia Topcliffe, and Joan Kyppes. Kirklees Priory was dissolved on 24 November 1539.[1]

Prioresses of Kirklees

Background

Also see

Notes

  1. [Dodsworth, Roger]; Armytage, George John, ed. 'Extracts from Mr. Roger Dodsworth's Manuscripts relating to Brighouse, Clifton, Kirklees and Hartshead, in the Wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the County of York', Yorkshire Archæological and Topographical Journal, vol. VI (1881), pp. 73-79; see p. 75 n. 1; Armytage, George John. 'Account of Excavations at Kirklees Priory, Yorks.', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Second Series, vol. XXI (1906-1907), pp. 175-86; see p. 176.
  2. Unless otherwise stated, information in this list is taken from Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Priory', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XVI, part 3 (1901), pp. 319-68, see p. 321 (and footnotes on that page); this in the main supersedes Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Nunnery', Yorkshire Notes and Queries, vol. I (1888), pp. 82-94, 97-105, see p. 85. Also [Dodsworth, Roger], compil.; Ellis, Alfred S., ed. 'Dodsworth's Yorkshire Notes (Agbrigg) [part 3]', Yorkshire Archæological and Topographical Journal, vol. VII, part XXVII (1882), pp. 401-28; see p. 404. All have Sybill as prioress in 1240. For her incumbency dating from 1234 or earlier, see: Armytage, George. 'Kirklees Priory', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XX, part 1 (1908), pp. 24-32, see pp. 31-32, and Anonymous, ed. 'Kirklees Charter', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XI (1911), part 4, p. 486 [+ 1 plate].
  3. The dates of her incumbency are given as 1306.10.04–?1307.01.14 in Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Nunnery', Yorkshire Notes and Queries, vol. I (1888), pp. 82-94, 97-105; see p. 85.
  4. Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Priory', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XVI, part 3 (1901), pp. 319-68, see p. 321, has her as prioress during 1307–1308 only. For later references, see Lister, John, ed.; [Stokes, Ethel, transcr.] Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, vol. III (Yorkshire Archæological Society, Record Series, vol. LVII (1917), pp. 147 (25 July 1316), 154 (August 1316); Walker, J.W., ed.; [Stokes, Ethel, transcr.], Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield. Vol. V. 1322-1331 (Yorkshire Archæological Society, Record Series, vol. CIX) (1945), pp. 173 (12 March 1331), 174 (5 April 1331). If Margaret de Claworthe's incumbency ended on 1307.01.14 (see note to preceding item), Alice de Screvyn's presumably started the following day.
  5. Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Nunnery', Yorkshire Notes and Queries, vol. I (1888), pp. 82-94, 97-105; see p. 85.
  6. Staynton is put between Seyvill and Mountenay based on the fact that she had been sent to the nunnery by, and probably not very long before, 1347: Walker, J. W. 'The Manor and Church of Woolley', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XXVII, part 3 (1923), pp. 249-318, see pp. 265-66.
  7. Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Nunnery', Yorkshire Notes and Queries, vol. I (1888), pp. 82-94, 97-105, see p. 85. The earliest known date for Hyk's incumbency had previously been 1486, but she was in fact appointed alrady in 1472: Armytage, George. 'Kirklees Priory', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XX, part 1 (1908), pp. 24-32, see pp. 30-31.
  8. Also Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Nunnery', Yorkshire Notes and Queries, vol. I (1888), pp. 82-94, 97-105, see pp. 85-86.
  9. Chadwick, S.J. 'Kirklees Priory', Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. XVI, part 3 (1901), pp. 319-68, see p. 321.
  10. Also cf. Chadwick (1888), see pp. 85-86.
  11. Clay, John Wm., ed. Yorkshire Monasteries. Suppression Papers (The Yorkshire Archæological Society, Record Series, vol. XLVIII) ([s.l.], 1912), p. 127. Also see Chadwick (1888), p. 86.
  12. Clay, p. 127. Also see Armytage (1906), p. 180; Chadwick (1888), p. 86.