RETIREMENT Florilegium Urbanum

Keywords: medieval Cirencester abbey pensions maintenance contracts property transactions food accommodations servants
Subject: Grant of a corrody by Cirencester abbey
Original source: Cirencester Cartulary, MS. Register B, f.62
Transcription in: Mary Devine, ed. The Cartulary of Cirencester Abbey, Gloucestershire, vol.3, London: Oxford University Press, 1977, 811.
Original language: Latin
Location: Cirencester
Date: 1310


Memorandum that in full hallmoot of Cirencester, held on 24 October 1310, an agreement was made between Adam, the lord abbot of Cirencester, and the convent of the abbey on one side and John son and heir of the late Thomas de Baudynton on the other. Which is, that in front of the hallmoot John, on behalf of himself and his heirs in perpetuity, turned over to the abbot all the tenements, lands, and rents in the town of Cirencester, its fields, and the fields of Chesterton that he acquired by inheritance from his late father Thomas de Baudynton; for the abbot and convent to have and to hold forever. For their part, the abbot and convent in compensation for this surrender have granted to John, for as long as he shall live, the following. That is, a place with a bed and other conveniences in a certain chamber built into the abbey's great gateway. Each day a white conventual loaf and a brown conventual loaf, with broth and two dishes of whatever happens [to be cooked] that day for the free servants [of the abbey]; and each Saturday 4 gallons of conventual ale and four gallons of the ale called chaplain's ale, received from the abbey brewhouse. For clothing and shoes and other things he needs to purchase, 20s. received from our treasury each year on 29 September, for as long as he lives. Furthermore they have granted his boy-servant each day a loaf called white bread, with broth and garnishes such as for grooms of free servants. If it should happen that John is unwilling or unable to warranty those tenements, rents, and lands to the abbot and convent, all those above items granted to him shall altogether be withdrawn. In witness of which matter the parties have each in turn appended their seals to the indenture.


Cirencester was a Roman settlement. At the time the abbey was founded (1133) Cirencester seems to have had borough status – the foundation charter mentions burgesses there, and such mentions appear repeatedly in the Pipe Rolls during the latter half of the twelfth century, although these types of evidence are not by themselves unambiguous demonstrations that Cirencester should be considered on a par with places that were clearly urban. The Cotswold town was making a living from the wool trade. However, the abbey and town were at odds for jurisdiction and Richard I gave the abbot lordship over the town. Henceforth the townsmen were forced into a struggle to defend the independence on which their prosperity partly relied. Matters reached a climax in the king's court in 1342, when the townsmen accused the abbot of, most notably, trying to suppress the rights and institutions (the town court) that made Cirencester a borough. The abbot's counterargument was that Cirencester was only a vill, a manor belonging to the abbey, not a borough. The abbey's influence – not least pecuniary – won out; in 1343 the king granted a charter confirming the its authority, and dismissed the townsmen's complaints.

Notwithstanding the tensions between abbey and townspeople, the abbey could be a generous patron, particularly to its loyal servants. There is some implication in the document that Baudynton may have been such. At least he was treated to retirement rights comparable to a lay, non-villein servant of the abbey. Turning over one's patrimony to another party was a serious matter, implying that John de Baudynton had no surviving heirs, who would normally have inherited the patrimonial real estate; his household seems to have comprised only a male servant. Most if not all of the property seems to have been accumulated by John's grandfather William, in the third quarter of the thirteenth century.



The meeting place of the community, or its representatives, to administrate communal business.

A hamlet just south of Cirencester.

The transcript has cornerium, but I can make no sense of this adjectivally and am going to assume (given the context) it may have been an incorrect transcription or inaccurate expansion of an abbreviation. A conventual loaf was one of a particular size and quality intended as the daily allowance of a monk.

I.e. if the abbey's rights to any of the properties received a legal challenge, so that it was obliged to call the previous owner, from whom title was obtained, to guarantee that he had had legal possession and was able to convey such.

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Created: August 18, 2001. Last update: November 23, 2002 © Stephen Alsford, 2001-2003