Chapter Six:
Depedale Priory Mark Three

Canons were summoned from Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire by William de Grendon, sometimes called William the Clerk, for a third attempt at founding Depedale Priory. William’s name appears on several deeds dated between 1190 and 1203. His conditions for founding the house included the stipulation that divine service should be celebrated every day by a priest in the chapel of Depe Dale, for his own soul, and that in an inn there, there should be placed, on a large table, a daily supply from the convent of bread and beer and it should be distributed among the poor of the neighbouring forest. This may well be the earliest record of a chantry foundation in connection with an English Premonstratensian abbey; William appears to have given the said chapel of Depe Dale (possibly the building on the site of All Saints’ church) to the abbey.  

Welbeck was a wealthy Premonstratensian abbey, worth twice as much as any other English monastery, and went on to found at least a further seven abbeys and priories, including Beauchief. It was founded by Thomas, brother of Ralph le Flemangh (the Fleming family of Cuckney were long-term benefactors of the abbey) in 1153 while Gerlo was abbot of Newhouse, and its first abbot was called Berengar. It was founded at the same time as St Mary’s Abbey, Barlings and Sulby Abbey, but there was an 18-year gap before the founding of St John the Evangelist’s Abbey, Croxton. The original foundation charter was signed by the prior, subprior and three canons from the Augustinian Priory at Worksop and dates from between 1154 and 1160. The abbey’s ordinal was drawn up in 1294, and a manuscript copy made by Hope existed when Thompson, the main source of details about Welbeck Abbey, was writing.

Further abbots of Welbeck were: Adam (is this the same person as Abbot Berengar?); Richard in about 1196, who died probably in the 1220s; William of Croxton before 1229 (the last mention of him is found on 3rd December 1247); Hugh 1262 and 1263, last mentioned in 1263; Thomas Sutton 1281 and 1282 (he was sent to Norway to bring the heir to the Scots throne to England, and last mentioned in 1309); John Dugmanton; John Cesterfield [sic]; William Kindale, who resigned in 1322; John Nottingham; William Aslakton; Robert Spaldyng, in whose time plague ravaged the abbey, killing three canons; John Wirsop, mentioned in October 1349; Hugh Langeley who died in about 1369; George Gamelston; John Bauk(e)well, under whom Welbeck became briefly the head of the Order in England; John Norton who died in 1450; John Grene; William Burton who transgressed and was sent to Barlings for punishment; John Acaster; Thomas Wither; Robert May; Thomas Wilkynson; John Maxe, under whom there were great irregularities at an election; Richard Bentley.