The Priory

I've examined the medieval translations of documents held at the University of Toronto pertaining to the Manor of Mansfield Woodhouse and concluded that the Stuffyn Chantry at St Edmunds church and the Priory are connected. The English Heritage listing of the grade II* 'Priory' situated on Priory Road, Mansfield Woodhouse dates it to 15thC origins. It is infact 14th century - founded in 1344 and was the home of the Stuffyn Chantry priest. The first chantry priest in 1344 was John Stuffyn who died in 1349 in the 1348-50 plague that killed 40% of the total population of England.

I came across the term 'manse & glebe' in manorial records but I had not connected it with anything relevant but after further investigation into the Stuffyn Chantry and founder Robert Stuffyn, the term appeared a number of times in connection with the chantry at Woodhouse and of another he established at Newark. Both chantries were endowed with a manse and glebe. The medieval-Latin evolved word, 'manse', was the term used for the house of the priest and the 'glebe' was an area of land within a manor and parish used to support a parish priest.

It is recorded in 1516 (doc2.3) ' At this court comes Thomas Southworth of Felley Priory and claims to hold of the Lord at Mansfield Woodhouse the Chantry and 6 acres of land with the appurts by Suit of Court and rent of six silver shillings yearly'.

The 'church wealth' survey (Valor Ecclesiasticus) established before the dissolution of the monastries in 1535 records that.....

'administrators of Felley Priory were paying £4 per year to the Woodhouse chantry priest who had the additional benefit of the 'manse & glebe' worth 12 shillings per year'.

The Stuffyn Chantry founded 1344 was effectively brought to an abrupt end in 1536 after the 'dissolution of the monastries' as the assets of Felley Priory were seized by Henry VIII.

Coincidentally, the last of the Stuffyn chantry priests at the time of the dissolution was Thomas Southworth who made a court claim to the 6 acre manse & glebe in 1516 at the time of the manor transfer to Simon Digby's wife.

we don't have to look too far to identify the Stuffyn Chantry priest's dwelling (manse) built on the 6 acres of income-bearing land (glebe). Old maps reveal that the six acres sits comfortably around the house still known as the 'Priory' and which did at one time extend to Castle Street, neighbouring the manor house grounds. The road upon which the Manor House stands is still called Priory Road.