William Worcestre

Observations on Bridgwater

William Worcestre or Worcester was an English chronicler c1415 – c.1485. He visited Bridgwater twice, and recorded the religious houses there. Taken from John H. Harvey, ed., William Worcestre: Itineraries (Oxford Medieval Texts, 1969).

54p78 In martilogio fratrum Sancti Francisci Ecclesie de Bryggewater extrascripsip79 In the martyrology of the church of the Friars of St. Francis at Bridgwater I have copied out:
1419 Frater Johannes Somour obijt anno Christi. 1419. sed quere diem obitus vt cronicis fratrum Norwici inueni scriptum dedit ad fabricacionem Ecclesie de Bryggewater 200 marcas et pro libris 40 marcas1419. Brother John Somour died A. D. 1419. (but query the day of his obit, as I have found it written in the chronicles of the Norwich Friars), and gave to the building of the [friary] church of Bridgwater 200 marks (£133.6s. 8d.) and 40 marks (£26.13s. 4d.) for books.1
1394 Johannes Tryvet chivaler obijt 3 die Januarij
Beatus Thomas dux Lancastrie obijt 22 die Marcij
Johannes Kemys miles obijt 15 die Maij
Dominus Ricardus Typetot decessit 29 die Maij obijt
1394. John Trivet knight died 3 January.
[1322.] Blessed Thomas, Duke2 of Lancaster died 22 March.John Kemys, knight, died 15 May.
Sir Richard Tiptoft died 29 May.
1440 Frater Galfridus Pollard obijt vltimo die Maij contemporaneus Fratris J. Somoura1440. Brother Geoffrey Pollard died 31 May, a contemporary of Brother J. Somour. [In Talbot’s hand: Query whether he wrote the chronicles.]
Eua Typetot obijt die 7 JunijEva Tiptoft died 7 June.
Matheus Gornay chivaler obij b27 die AugustjMatthew Gournay knight died 27 August [1406].
Dominus W. de Cantilupo fundator huius Ecclesie ordinis Sancti Francisci 25 die SeptembrisLord W. de Cantilupe, founder of this church of the order of St. Francis, 25 September.
Beatus Willelmus de Bytton Episcopus Bathoniensis obijt 4 die Decembris et creditur ipsum esse sanctum quia multis miraculis claret[1274.] Blessed William de Bytton, Bishop of Bath, died 4 December, and it is believed that he is a saint because he is renowned for many miracles.
Circa annum 7m Regni Regis Henrici quarti
cAlicia filia Comitis Warwici et vxor d domini Mathei Gornay e iacet in medio chori et obijt 26. die f Octobris
About the 7th year of the reign of King Henry IV [c. 1405]:3 Alice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick and wife of Matthew Gournay, lies in the middle of the choir and died 26 October [1384].
Rogerus de Mortuo Mari obijt 28 Octobris fundator Ecclesie Fratrum istius Ecclesie de BrygewaterRoger Mortimer died 28 October [1282], founder of this church of Friars at Bridgwater.4
BRYGEWATER
Longitudo nauis Ecclesie huius Sancti Francisci Brygewater 62 steppys m Latitudo vero 26 steppys m
BRIDGWATER
The nave if this church of St. Francis, Bridgwater, is 62 of my steps long and 26 steps wide.
BRYGGEWATER p126. 1420. Frater Johannes Somour obijt ibidem obijt circa annum Christi
Longitudo Ecclesie fratrum minorum Bryggewater 120 steppys et eius latitudo 30 steppys et latitudo nauis Ecclesie .14. steppys

Memorandum Frater a est gardianus dictorum fratrum Et Frater Pollard est legist’ fratrum
Gardianus Ecclesie minorum Brygewater vocatus frater Blakborow
Stevyn Byrkcombe discipulus fratris Johannis
BRIDGWATER p127. 1420. Brother John Somour died there about A.D. [1419]. 1
The length of the church of the Friars Minor at Bridgwater is 120 steps and its breadth 30 steps, and the breadth of the nave 14 steps.


Memorandum that Brother is warden of the said Friars, and Brother Pollard is the friars’ legist.2
The warden of the church of the Minorities at Bridgwater is named Blakborow.3
Stephen Byrkcombe is the pupil of Brother John.4
14p124. Comwych per 3 milaria de Brygewater est portus nauium Brygewater.
Pontis longitudino Brygewater est 70 steppys Longitudo
Ecclesie fratrum sancti Johannis ibidem sunt5  64 steppys
Combwich, 3 miles from Bridgwater, is Bridgwater’s port for ships.

The length of Bridgwater bridge is 70 steps.
The length of the church of the Brothers of St John there is 64 steps.

1 For Friar John Somour see Emden, Oxford, s.v. Somer. He was an astronomer and compiled a calendar with tables of eclipses, copied by Worcestre at Bristol at the instance of Richard Roper in 1438 (M. Dunsford, Histrocial Memoirs of the Town and Parish of Tiverton, 2nd ed. (1790), p. 308; E. S. Chalk, A History of the Church of St. Peter, Tiverton (1905), pp. 73-6).

2 Really Earl of Lancaster; his nephew Henry Wryneck (d. 23 March 1360/I), Earl of Lancaster, was advanced to the rank of duke on 6 March 1350/I.

a An hic scripsit chronica In Talbot’s hand.

b Sic.

c Alcea deleted.

d vxoris

e ia obijt deleted

f .10.bris Decembris deleted

3 Sir Matthew Gournay died 1406; his first wife Alice Beauchamp in 1384 (see D.N.B.).

4 Roger, Lord Mortimer of Wigmore, elsewhere stated to have died ‘shortly before 30 October 1282’ (G.E.C. Ix (1936), p. 280).

a Blank in MS.

1 For Somour see p. 80 n. I.

2 Dr. A. B. Emden suggests that this may be John Pollard, O.F. M., admitted to hear confessions and act as penitenciar in the diocese of Bath and Wells, in Bishop Lydeard Church on 16 Sept. 1448 (Reg. Bekynton. I. 102).

3 Dr. Emden suggests a possible identity with Robert Bagborgh, O. F. M., of the Bridgwater convent, ordained acolyte on 7 June 1438 (Reg. John Stafford Bishop of Bath and Wells, Somerset Record Soc., xxxii, p. 365).

4 Probably a son of the Stephen Bircombe or Berycombe of Bridgwater evidenced in 1436-46 (Bridgwater Borough Deeds, Somerset Record soc., I, p. 118; ii, p. 8); I owe this suggestion also to Dr. Emden.

5 sic

Dr Peter Cattermole. 10 January 2011.