The following account of the Masters of Sherburn Hospital is incomplete and probably can never be otherwise. In some cases, particularly the early ones, the available records are inadequate: even in some of the later ones information is lacking. Some sources are mutually contradictory.
Up to the end of the eighteenth century it was the accepted system in the Church of England for appointments of clergy to depend on personal, family or political influence. The holding of several posts simultaneously was an economic necessity if they were poorly paid, and was condoned even if they were well paid. Dates of appointment obtained from different sources do not always agree, and dates of resignation sometimes cannot he found at all, except, as will he seen, by searching in the records of places far from Durham. It must not he assumed, therefore, that plurality was as great as appears at first sight.
The information available does show, however, that many of the Masters of the Hospital were eminent and able men, that some of them took their duties very seriously and served the Charity loyally, while others abused their position scandalously to their own personal profit and to the detriment of the Foundation.
Arnold or Ernold de Auclent or Aclent (Auckland) “rector of the house of lepers”. His name occurs 1200-1210.
Ralph the Monk by 1225.
Martin de Sancta Croce “rector, proctor or procurator”. His name occurs 1245 – 60. Rector of Bishopwearmouth 1249, of Gerardeston, Sarum 1237. Prebendary 1 of York 1260.
Roger de Seyton “custos” occurs about 1270. Official 2 to Bishop Kirkham. Rector of Wyke Harnon, Lincs. in 1258, Judge of Common Pleas 3 1268. Chief Justice 1272-78. Canon and Prebendary of York.
William de Insula “rector” in 1302. Rector of Wearmouth in 1288. Baron of the Exchequer 4 1332. 5
Lambert de Torkyngham “custos” by 1315. Judge of Common Pleas of the King’s Bench 1316-20, Baron of the Exchequer 1320.
Thomas de Hessewell 1330-39. The first to be styled “Master” as were all his successors.
Thomas de Nevill(e) 1339-62. Rector of Sedgefield 1313. Prebendary of Chesterle-Street 1333, of Norton 1330, of St. Patrick’s, Dublin 1335, of Lincoln 1340, of Darlington, of Howden 1351. Archdeacon of Durham 1334. (The Nevilles, of Raby, were a very influential family).
Alan de Shotlyngton “presbyter” (i.e. in priest’s orders) 1362-67. Rector of Hemingburgh 1348-75, of Middleton-St. George 1359-65, Steward of the Halmote Courts 1362-72 6 Vicar-General 1365 7
Thomas de Bernolby 1367-80(?). Master of St. Mary Magdalene Hospital, Bamburgh 1366. Canon and Prebendary of Auckland 1373.
John de Waltham 1384-88. Canon of Abergwili 1349, of Shrewsbury 1353, of Lichfield 1361, of York 1368, of Auckland 1379, of Lanchester 1381, of Hereford 1380, of Lincoln 1381, of Southwell and of Howden. Master of Bawtry Hospital 1362. Archdeacon of Richmond 1384-88, Rector of Berkhamstead 1379, Lord Privy Seal 1386, Master of the Rolls 8 and Bishop of Salisbury 1388.
Thomas Haxey Master in 1388. Rector of Pulham 1384, of St. Nicholas, Cole Abbey 1384, of Toppesfield 1386, of Dengey 1387, of Crawley 1387, of Histon St. Andrew 1390, of Laxton 1393, Master of Leysingbury Hospital 1391, Canon and Prebendary of Chester 1384, of Lichfield 1390, of Southwell 1405, of Sarum 1390, of York 1405, of Ripon 1419, of Beverley 1423, of Howden. Treasurer of York Minster 1418. Master of York Mint 1423.
Henry Godebarne LI.D. Master in 1389. Rector of Egremont 1372, of Hornsey 1374. Master of Leysingbury 1384. Canon and Prebendary of Ripon 1371, of York 1372.
John Burgeys or Burgess 1388 (?) -1403. Canon and Prebendary of Llandewi Brefi 1379, Master of Greatham Hospital 1384-1407, Vicar of Hesledon 1384-5, Rector of Meldon 1384-87, Bishop’s Treasurer 1387, Dean of Lanchester 1388-99, of Auckland 1395-1409. Removed from Mastership by Bishop Skirlaw for malversation.
Alan de Newark 1403-9. Canon and Prebendary of Lanchester 1399, Vicar of Norton 1401, Archdeacon of Durham 1408, Master of Nantwich Hospital.
John Newton 1409-1427. Rector of Ashe, Essex 1395, of St. Benet-Sherehog, London 1396, Master of St. Edmund’s Hospital Gateshead 1407-10, Rector of Haughton-le-Skerne 1410, of Wearmouth 1424-26. For some reason he was regarded as a great pluralist, though not obviously worse than some others. Is said “to have nearly ruined the Foundation by leases, grants and pensions”.
Nicholas Dixon 1427-33. Rector of Cheshunt, prebendary of York, Howden and Sarum. Baron of the Exchequer. Did much to repair the harm done by his predecessor.
John Marchall 1433-69. Ll.B. Vicar-General of the Bishop Langley, Prebendary of York.
Alexander Lyghe or Legh 1469-89 (?), M.A, Ll.D.(?). Rector of Fen Ditton 146873. Canon of Windsor 1469. Prebendary of York 1471-1501. Temporal Chancellor 9 1490. Rector of St. Bride’s, London 1471-85, of Houghton-leSpring. For some years the King’s Resident Ambassador in Scotland.
Robert Dykar 1489-1501. came from Bath and Wells with Bishop Fox. He was a layman and a Notary Public: he was ordained sub-deacon four months before becoming Master. When Bishop Fox left Durham for Winchester, Dykar plundered the Hospital to his own profit and allowed the buildings to decay. He sold the advowson of Kelloe, but it was taken later by the Bishop, with whom it still remains. 10
Roderick Gundisalve 1501-?. Appointed by Henry VII during a vacancy of the See.
Geoffrey Wren, M.A., Known to be Master in 1524. Chaplain to Henry VII and Henry VIII. Rector of Loughborough, Rector of Boldon 1502-05, Prebendary of York 1508, of Lichfield 1511. Rector of St. Margaret, Fish Street, London and of Hanslope, Bucks. Canon of Windsor.
Edward Fox, M.A., D.D., 1527-35. Provost 11 of King’s College, Cambridge. Prebendary of York 1527, Rector of Combe Martin, Devon. Archdeacon of Leicester and Dorset. Bishop of Hereford 1535. Often employed as Ambassador.
Thomas Leghe LI.D. 1535-45. One of the King’s Commissioners for the Visitation of the Monasteries. Followed the example of some of his predecessors in plundering the Hospital. Had valuable grants of land on the dissolution of various monasteries and was one of the Commissioners who received the surrender of Durham Abbey.
Anthony Bellasis 1545-52. Prebendary of Chester-le-Street. Rector of Whickham 1533, Vicar of St. Oswald’s Durham 1533-39, Rector of Brancepeth 1539. Prebendary of Westminster 1540, of Auckland 1541, of Ripon 1543. Archdeacon of Colchester 1543. Prebendary of Lincoln 1543, of York 1549. Master of St. Edmund’s Hospital, Gateshead; in addition to other appointments.
Anthony Salvin B.D., 1552-59. One of the Salvin family of Croxdale. Prebendary of Norton 1544. Rector of High Ham, Som. 1552, of Winston 1545-59 Prebendary of Durham 1556-59. Master of University College, Oxford 1557-58. Vicar-General of Durham 1558. Rector of Ryton 1558-59. Rector of Sedgefield 1558. Deprived 12 of all his offices 1559.
Ralph Skynner, M.A. 1559-62. Warden of New College, Oxford 1551-53. Rector of Sedgefield 1562-63. Temporal Chancellor of the Diocese 1561. Dean of Durham 1561-63. M.P. for Leicester 1547-52, Bossiney, Cornwall 1554, Westbury 1559. Rector of Broughton Astley 1550-53.
Thomas Lever M.A., B.D., 1562-77. Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge 1551-53. In exile at Zurich during the Marian persecution: chief pastor of the English congregation there. A staunch puritan and non-conformist. but was not on that account barred from the Mastership. Rector and Archdeacon of Coventry 1559-77.
Ralph Lever M.A., D.D.,1577-85. Brother of Thomas. Rector of Washington 1565-76, of Howick 1566-74, of Stanhope 1575-77. Prebendary of Durham 156785. Archdeacon of Northumberland 1565-73.
Valentine Dale, D.C.L.,1584-89 A layman 13 Dean of Wells 1574. Archdeacon of Surrey 1573. Mostly absent, being frequently employed by Queen Elizabeth as an ambassador.
Robert Bellamy M.A., D. Physic. 1589-1608. Chaplain to Bishop Barnes. Rector of Egglescliffe 1577-89, of Houghton-le-Spring 1584-89. Prebendary of Durham 1573-85.
William Shawe MA., DD., 1623-36. Rector of Egglescliffe 1623.
John Machon M.A.,1636-42. Prebendary of Lichfield 1631-71. Vicar of Hartburn 1632-36. Ejected by the Parliamentary Commissioners 1642.
John Fenwick, layman. 1642-54. A Newcastle tradesman. Guide to Lesley’s Scottish army when he invaded England.
John Fenwick 1654-60. Son of the above.
John Machon, as above, 1660-79.
John Montagu M.A.,1680-99. Fourth son of Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich and nephew of Bishop Crewe. Master of Trinity College, Cambridge 1683-1700. Prebendary of Durham 1683-1700. Dean of Durham 1700-28.
Thomas Rundle D.C.L.,1727-35. Chaplain to Bishop Talbot. Rector of Sedgefield 1722-27. Treasurer of Salisbury and Archdeacon of Wiltshire 1720. Bishop of Derry 1735 (resigning all his appointments in England).
Wadham Chandler M.A., 1735-38. Younger son of Bishop Chandler. Rector of Bishopwearmouth 1732-35, of Washington 1733-35. Prebendary of Durham 1735-38.
Robert Stillingfleet M.A.,D.D., 1738-59. Chaplain to Bishops Talbot and Chandler. Rector of Gateshead 1731-32, of Ryton 1732-38. Prebendary of’ Worcester 1737, of Durham 1743-59.
David Gregory, M.A.,1759-67. Canon of Christ Church Oxford 1736-56, Dean 1756. The first Professor of Modern History in Oxford 1724-36. Erected the range of buildings comprising separate rooms for the In-Brethren, with a central common hall.
Mark Hildesley M.A., D.D.,1767-72. Vicar of Hitchin, Herts. 1731-55, Rector of Holwell, Beds 1735-67. Prebendary of Lincoln 1754-72, Bishop of Sodor and Man 1755-72.
Thomas Dampier, M.A., D.D., 1774-1802, Dean of Rochester 1782-1802, Prebendary of Durham 1778-1808. Vicar of Bexley, Kent 1771-74, Bishop of Rochester 1802-08, Bishop of Ely 1808-12.
Andrew Bell LI.D., D.D., 1809-32. Was born at St. Andrew’s in 1753 and graduated there. He took Holy Orders and in 1789 became minister of St. Mary’s Church, Madras and Chaplain to Fort St. George. Becoming interested in the Military Orphanage there and finding an unworkable ratio of pupils to teachers, he devised the “Madras System”. A master taught the older children, who in turn taught their juniors, stimulated by financial rewards for success. In 1797 he published a book on his system and was asked to organise schools in England, where there were at one time over a thousand schools using this method, including the Bluecoat School in Durham City. The National Society for the Education of the Children of the Poor in accordance with the Principles of the Church of England, which supported him, founded the first teacher training college in this country. At his death he left about £30,000, almost the whole of it for educational purposes in Scotland. He was alleged by his successor to have neglected the material welfare of the Hospital.
George Stanley Faber, M.A., B.D., 1832-54. Vicar of Stockton-on-Tees 1805-08, Rector of Redmarshall 1808-32, of Longnewton 1811-32. Prebendary of Sarum 1830. Greatly improved the Hospital estate. He was the last Master of the old order having charge of finance and administration as well as the cure of souls.
Edward Prest, M.A.,1854-57 ad interim. Rector of Gateshead and Master of King James’ Hospital 1861-81. Canon and Archdeacon of Durham 1863-82. Rector of Ryton 1881-82.
Edward Prest, M.A., 1857-61. Did much to restore the Hospital estate.
James Carr, 1862-74. Perpetual Curate of South Shields 1831-62, of Westoe 1853-62.
Henry Arthur Mitton, M.A., 1874-1914. Vicar of St. Andrew Auckland 1868-74.
Douglas Samuel Boutflower MA., 1914-34. Vicar of Newbottle 1887-96, of Monkwearmouth 1896-1909, of Christ Church, Bishopwearmouth 1909-14.
Percy L’Argent Bell, M.A., 1934-37. Vicar of Monkhesleden 1908-25, of Muggleswick 1925-34.
Thomas Romans, M.A.,F.S.A., 1937-58. Vicar of St. Mark, Millfield, Sunderland 1922-37. Hon. Canon of Durham. A distinguished archaeologist.
Jack Norwood, B.A., 1958-72. Vicar of St. Aidan, South Shields 1938-46, of St. Giles, Durham 1946-58. Hon Canon of Durham.
David Edward Davison, M.A., Vicar of West Harton and Chaplain to South Shields General Hospital 1949-61. Vicar of Shotton 1961-72. Master of Sherburn Hospital and Curate-in-Charge of Pittington 1972-77. Hon Canon of Durham.
Graham Bentley Pattison, B.A., 1977- Team Vicar of Tong and Holme Wood 1970-74, Rector of the same 1974-77. Master of Sherbum Hospital and Social Responsibility Officer for the Diocese of Durham 1977-.
- Prebendary – one who enjoys a prebend, a share of the income of a cathedraI or collegiate church, granted as a stipend.
- Official – the presiding officer or judge in an archbishop’s or bishop’s court was known as the Official Principal: he is now identical with the Spiritual Chancellor. In an archdeacon’s court he was known as the Official, but not the Official Principal.
- The Court of Common Pleas – one of the divisions of the Royal Court. Originally it was the only higher Court of Record having jurisdiction in civil actions between private individuals. It is now the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.
- Baron of the Exchequer – before the Judicature Acts of 1873 the Judges of the Exchequer Courts were called Barons, and the chief judge was the Lord Chief Baron.
- The Court of Exchequer – one of the divisions of the Royal Court: it bad a separate existence by 1200. Originally only for matters concerning public revenue, e,g. Crown v debtors, it later dealt with actions between private individuals. It was divided into two parts, Common Law and Equity, but the latter was later transferred to the Court of Chancery. It is now represented by the Queen’s Bench Division.
- The Halmote Court was a manorial Court dealing with small debts, minor misdemeanours and all matters relating to copyhold tenures.
- Vicar – general, a deputy for the bishop for all official acts not requiring episcopal rank.
- Master of the Rolls – originally a keeper of records and assistant to the Lord Chancellor: now a Judge of the Court of Appeal who is also responsible for the custody of manorial and tithe documents.
- Temporal Chancellor – the judge of the Chancery Court of the County Palatine of Durham (absorbed into the Chancery Division of the Supreme Court 1972).
- Advowson – the right of choosing the incumbent of a parish.
- Provost of King’s College, Cambridge – the Head of the College.
- “Deprived”, for refusing to submit to the Act of Uniformity of the Second year of Queen Elizabeth I
- Lay Dean – According to an Act of Parliament of the reign of Charles II, a dean must be in priests orders, but previously laymen might hold the office by special licence from the Crown. There were two lay Deans of Durham, Thomas Wilson, 1580-81 and Adam Newton, 1600-20.