Small outline map

Merton Priory

Time Line

In 1114 Gilbert of Normandy was granted the 'ville' of Merton by Henry 1st.

Gilbert took up residence in Merton and had a small church built there.

Dates Events Daughter Houses.
1114 Dec Canons arrive from Huntingdon to found the new monastery
1117 Site removed to River Wandle with the founder, Gilbert the Norman, overseeing
May 3 Inaugural procession with consecrating bishop present.
1118 Queen Matilda visits the new foundation with Prince William.
1120 Nov. ~ite Ship disaster Prince William drowned.
1125 July 26 Founder dies and body brought to Merton for burial.
Nicholas Breakspeare arrives from St Albans to become an Augustinian Canon. Daughter monasteries founded by Merton canons.
1120 Taunton (Guy)
1121 Plympton (Geoffrey)
1122 Holyrood (Alwin)
1123 St. Gregory, Canterbury. 1124 Bodmin (Guy)
1131 Cirencester (Serlo)
1131 Dover failed.
1132 St. Lo, Normandy
1149 Twinham (Christchurch) 1162 Newnham
1253 Bilsington
1130 Priory built in stone. Italian master Guido begins school at Merton. Gilbert Becket sends son Thomas to the school.
c1155 Chancellor Becket persuades Henry II to complete the building of the church.
1162 Becket elected archbishop, returns to Merton, and chooses Canon Robert to be his confessor.
1193 Hubert Walter made canon ofMerton following his election as archbishop.
1196 Enlarged Priory completed.
1202 King John visits priory. Richard de Morins, canon ofMerton, becomes Prior ofDunstable.
1217 Sept 18 Peace Conference at Kingston between Henry III (age 10) and Dauphin of France.
Priory used for accommodation. The Annals ofMerton record that all were present here
when the terms were confirmed. (SAC 36 1925)
1218 Convocation ( church council) held at Merton.
1222 Tower ofMerton fell down in storm. (Annals ofDunstable. III 76)
1228 Priory supplying books to students.
1230 Dec. King Henry at Merton. Elias consecrated bishop ofLlandaff
1232 Hubert de Burgh sought sanctuary at Merton.
1233 King Henry at Merton.
1236 Jan King and nobles present when the Statutes of Merton were formulated.
Queen Eleanor (Henry III wife) crowned
1237 King at Merton.
1239 Ordination at Merton.
1240 Stone memorial erected outside precincts to mark death of John Warenne, Earl of Surrey.
1241 New silver seal of monastery introduced. Merton recorded as possessing its own quarry.
1258 Merton Priory writes to Pope supporting the canonisation ofEdmund Rich (1170-1240)
Gallows erected in Merton.
1263 Murderer claimed sanctuary at Merton.
1264 Armed militia of London came to Merton to destroy Chancellor Walter de Merton's
1265 Prior surnrnoned to attend Parliament. (H.142). Priory releases advowson ofMalden church
to Walter de Merton for the House of Scholars of Merton. (H.143).
1267 Important exchange of properties with Valle Abbey, Normandy, giving Merton certain
churches in Devon and Cornwall and releasing a church in Caen. (H.147)
1273 Robert Kilwardly consecrated archbishop at Merton. (H.154)
1275 Robert Burnell consecrated bishop of Bath and Wells at Merton. (H.156)
1276 General Chapter of Augustian Order held at Leicester under the presidency of the Prior of
1280 Over 1500 swine were owned by the Priory in Derbyshire. (H.l63)
1282 Commendation ofMerton by the archbishop to the Pope "amongst the best of the religious in his Province" (H.165)
1300 Golden chalice and ciphus sold for 450 which was paid to Pope for the king's debts. (H.186)
1301 Edward I borrows 50 from the priory. Merton sells over 200 quarters of grain from Eyton
Grange to raise money for subsidy required by Boniface VIII for the Holy Land. (H.187)
1305 Visitation made to Merton. Prior Edmund forced to resign but given a place of residence in
the precincts
1306 Convocation held at Merton.
1307 Ordination held at Merton. (H 199)
1310 Merton pleads that it is "manifestly oppressed with poverty".(H.202)
Merton accused by Pope of making excessive grants and leasing in perpetuity. (H.204)
1314 Bishop ofWinchester issues injunctions to Merton. (H.212/3)
1316 Ordination at Merton. (H.217)
1318 Apostolic Nuncio threatens excornrnunication of the Priory .
1335 Visitation made. (H.232)
1336 Merton owning property in 22 counties of England. (H.239)
1346 King attends a play at Merton (Archaeologia xxxi p.43)
1356 Priory provides 52 oaks from its woods near Reading for the round table at Windsor.
1376 William ofWykeham seeks refuge at Merton.
1387 Bishop issues further injunctions.
1393 Nave of church and Lady Chapel needing repairs.
1394 Dormitories require repairs.
1395 John de Yakesley, canon, nominated Prior ofReigate though not approved by Pope. (H.288)
1412 Privy Council held at Merton
1437 Henry VI crowned at Merton.
1485 Cellarer occupying an upper chamber near the dormitory. (H.305).
1509 Visitation held at Merton. (H.318). The Prior is diffamed with divers women as specified by
name, between whom and him is sprung up no little suspicion. (H.319).

1125 Nicholas Breakspeare d 1159.
In 1114 Gilbert the Norman founded Merton Priory which attracted many worthy men, and from its early days was able to provide a sound basic education. The father of Breakspeare was a clerk in the king's chamber involved with finance, and no doubt would have known Gilbert who was sheriff of Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Surrey
The suggestion that Nicholas received his early education at Merton was first made by R.L.Poole in 1925.1 He refers to a letter of John of Salisbury when he was petitioning Pope Adrian on behalf of the canons of Merton. John, who was virtually the Pope's Confessor, reminded him of conversations of when Nicholas was a canon of St. Rufus, Avignon and "the sweet savour of the Merton canons reached him and he often reminded John his servant."2 Nicholas did not make his profession as an Augustinian canon until he was at Avignon but would have been influenced by his early association with Merton.

1236 The Statutes ofMerton.
Magna Carta formalised some fundamental freedoms but the written constitution had to wait for the Statutes of Merton (1236), the Provisions of Oxford (1258) and the Provisions ofWestminster (1259). The laws made at Merton have always been recognised as the first statute and they appear as such at the head of the printed Statutes of the Realm.3