Thomas Ragon was the eighth Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire. His term of office lasted from 1351 to 1369. His abbacy was predominantly occupied with recommencing the building works at Vale Royal—which had been in abeyance for a decade—and the assertion of his abbey's rights over a satellite church in Llanbadarn Fawr, Ceredigion, which was also claimed by the Abbot of Gloucester.
Abbot, meaning father, is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.
Vale Royal Abbey is a former medieval abbey and later country house in Whitegate England. The precise location and boundaries of the abbey are difficult to determine in today's landscape. The original building was founded c. 1270 by the Lord Edward, later Edward I for Cistercian monks. Edward had supposedly taken a vow during a rough sea crossing in the 1260s. Civil wars and political upheaval delayed the build until 1272, the year he inherited the throne. The original site at Darnhall was unsatisfactory, so was moved a few miles north to the Delamere Forest. Edward intended the structure to be on a grand scale—had it been completed it would have been the largest Cistercian monastery in the country—but his ambitions were frustrated by recurring financial difficulties.
CheshireCHESH-ər, -eer; archaically the County Palatine of Chester) is a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south and Flintshire, Wales and Wrexham county borough to the west. Cheshire's county town is the City of Chester (118,200); the largest town is Warrington (209,700). Other major towns include Crewe (71,722), Ellesmere Port (55,715), Macclesfield (52,044), Runcorn (61,789), Widnes (61,464) and Winsford (32,610), Northwich (19,924)
Vale Royal Abbey had been founded on its present site by King Edward I in 1277.Although intended to be the biggest and grandest Cistercian church in Christian Europe, building work was very much delayed (Edward had vowed to found the house in 1263, but recurring political crises, his own crusade, and the Second Barons' War prevented any work whatsoever taking place at least 1270). Work progressed until the 1280s when the abbey's construction was once again delayed by national events; this time, Edward's invasion of Wales. The King took not only the money that had been set aside for Vale Royal but also conscripted the masons and other labourers to build his Welsh fortifications. By the 1330s the monks had managed to complete the east end of the church.
Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and defeated the baronial leader Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. Within two years the rebellion was extinguished and, with England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.
The Cistercians officially the Order of Cistercians, are a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that branched off from the Benedictines and follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also known as Bernardines, after the highly influential St. Bernard of Clairvaux ; or as White Monks, in reference to the colour of the "cuccula" or white choir robe worn by the Cistercians over their habits, as opposed to the black cuccula worn by Benedictine monks.
The Second Barons' War (1264–1267) was a civil war in England between the forces of a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort against the royalist forces of King Henry III, led initially by the king himself and later by his son, the future King Edward I. The war featured a series of massacres of Jews by Montfort's supporters including his sons Henry and Simon, in attacks aimed at seizing and destroying evidence of Baronial debts. After a rule of just over a year, Montfort was killed by forces loyal to the King in the Battle of Evesham.
Thomas Ragonwas elected abbot of Vale Royal in 1351, two years after the death of his predecessor, Robert de Cheyneston.
Robert de Cheyneston was Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire between 1340 and 1349. De Cheyneston had already been a monk at the Abbey before his election as Abbot.
In 1353, Edward the Black Prince wished to "continue and complete the work begun by his great-grandfather." For this purpose, Thomas was granted a tenth of Cheshire's 5,000 mark fine (which the county had previously agreed to pay in exchange for delaying the eyre), and he also provided another 500 markswhen he visited Vale Royal in 1358. Thus, the Abbot was able to continue the building works on the Abbey as his predecessors had done; these works were expected to take six years. . However, the following year, in October 1359, during a massive storm, much of the nave (including the new lead roof put in place by only the last abbot) was blown down and destroyed. The destruction was comprehensive, ranging "from the wall at the west end to the bell-tower before the gates of the choir," whilst the timber scaffolding collapsed "'like trees uprooted by the wind."
Edward of Woodstock, known to history as the Black Prince, was the eldest son of King Edward III of England, and thus the heir to the English throne. He died before his father and so his son, Richard II, succeeded to the throne instead. Edward nevertheless still earned distinction as one of the most successful English commanders during the Hundred Years' War, being regarded by his contemporaries as a model of chivalry and one of the greatest knights of his age.
The mark was a currency or unit of account in many nations. It is named for the mark unit of weight. The word mark comes from a merging of three Teutonic/Germanic words, Latinised in 9th-century post-classical Latin as marca, marcha, marha or marcus. It was a measure of weight mainly for gold and silver, commonly used throughout Western Europe and often equivalent to eight ounces. Considerable variations, however, occurred throughout the Middle Ages.
An eyre or iter was the name of a circuit traveled by an itinerant justice in medieval England, or the circuit court over which they presided, or the right of the monarch to visit and inspect the holdings of any vassal. The eyre involved visits and inspections at irregular intervals of the houses of vassals in the kingdom. The term is derived from Old French erre, from Latin iter ("journey"), and is cognate with errand and errant.
Repairs slowly took place over the next thirteen years, and it was undoubtedly Abbot Thomas who was responsible for the "unique chevet of seven radiating chapels" that were installed, although the overall stature of the remodelled church was smaller than before.Abbot Thomas had personally contracted with the Master Masons completing the work: they would build the church while he would organise the construction of twelve chapels—and pay for them. However, Thomas does not appear to have adhered to the terms of the contract, as only three years later, the Prince of Wales had to order him to do so.
Thomas performed royal service when required (for example, in 1364 he took the fealty of John de la Pole)and also held a number of offices outside his abbacy. He was keeper of Aberystwyth Castle's gate, farmer of that town's subsidy, and rector of Llanbadarn Fawr, Powys, from early 1361. Under Thomas, the Abbey also received the advowsons of Lampeter and Llanbadarn Fawr church from a close advisor to Edward, the Black Prince. In 1360 these had been granted by King Edward III to the Prince of wales, who in turn granted them to members of his household—Peter Lacy, Richard Wolveston, John Delves and William Spridlington —who in turn "appropriated" them to Abbot Thomas. This was with the Prince's blessing, as it was intended to be a royal donation towards restoring the church after its earlier partial destruction. Llanbadarn Fawr was a wealthy church, whose rector was no mere rector; the wealth of his church almost gave him abbatial status. Henceforth, Abbot Thomas and his successors were declared to be "henceforth the true abbot of the church." The abbey's own chronicle, The Vale Royal Ledger Book, states that "the abbot himself being present, all the men aforesaid and the other tenants did their fealty in full court and acknowledged the said abbot to be rector of Llabadarn Fawr and their lord." Abbot Thomas visited the church in 1361.
An oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas (faithfulness), is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another.
Aberystwyth Castle is a Grade I listed Edwardian fortress located in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales. It was built in response to the First Welsh War in the late 13th century, replacing an earlier fortress located a mile to the south. During a national uprising by Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh captured the castle in 1404, but it was recaptured by the English four years later. In 1637 it became a Royal mint by Charles I, and produced silver shillings. The castle was slighted by Oliver Cromwell in 1649.
Farming or tax-farming is a technique of financial management in which the management of a variable revenue stream is assigned by legal contract to a third party and the holder of the revenue stream receives fixed periodic rents from the contractor. It is most commonly used in public finance, where governments lease or assign the right to collect and retain the whole of the tax revenue to a private financier, who is charged with paying fixed sums into the treasury. Sometimes, as in the case of Miguel de Cervantes, the tax farmer was a government employee, paid a salary, and all money collected went to the government.
The advowson of Llanbadarn Fawr church was to occupy much of Abbot Thomas' energies, as it became the locus of a dispute between Vale Royal and Gloucester Abbey, which later objected to the gift, as Llanbadarn Fawr had previously been a cell of Gloucester's.The church was wealthy enough to make it worth quarrelling over: it controlled no less than ten chapels, and brought in an annual income of at least £120 per annum. Even though Vale Royal had received permission from the Bishop, the King and the Pope, Gloucester Abbey still objected, and the case was to drag on many years after Thomas' death 9not being resolved until 1399). The case was to cause ill-feeling within Vale Royal Abbey itself, as well as into North Wales. Even into the fifteenth century, Abbots of Vale Royal were unable to travel to Llanbadarn Fawr without fear of assault on occasions.
Abbot Thomas died in the summer of 1369, probably from pestilence,and in 1383 he was mentioned as being a "former" abbot around the time of the Black Prince. He was succeeded by one Stephen, who, however, is not recorded in contemporary records as holding the office until 1374, so there may well have been another lengthy interregnum.
The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Shrewsbury is an ancient foundation in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire, England.
Evesham Abbey was founded by Saint Egwin at Evesham in Worcestershire, England between 700 and 710 AD following an alleged vision of the Virgin Mary by a swineherd by the name of Eof.
Brut y Tywysogion, also known as Brut y Tywysogyon, is one of the most important primary sources for Welsh history. It is an annalistic chronicle that serves as a continuation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae. Brut y Tywysogion has survived as several Welsh translations of an original Latin version, which has not itself survived. The most important versions are the one in Robert Vaughan's Peniarth MS. 20 and the slightly less complete one in the Red Book of Hergest. The version entitled Brenhinoedd y Saeson combines material from the Welsh annals with material from an English source.
Llanbadarn Fawr is an urbanised village and community in Ceredigion, Wales. It is located on the outskirts of Aberystwyth situated next to Penparcau and Southgate. It forms the eastern part of the continually built-up area of Aberystwyth. It holds two electoral wards, Padarn and Sulien which elect a Ceredigion County Councillor each and several Llanbadarn Fawr Community Councillors. At the 2001 census its population as a community was recorded at 2,899, increasing to 3,380 at the 2011 census.
The Abbey of Strata Marcella was a medieval Cistercian monastery situated at Ystrad Marchell on the west bank of the River Severn near Welshpool, Powys, Wales.
Saint Padarn's Church is a parish church of the Church in Wales, and the largest mediaeval church in mid-Wales.
The Cistercian Abbey of Rewley was an Abbey in Oxford, England. It was founded in the 13th century by Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall. Edmund's father, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, founder of Hayles Abbey, had intended to establish a college or chantry of three secular priests to pray for his soul, but his son Edmund substituted 'six Cistercian monks, having more confidence in them.' If this was the original plan, it was soon enlarged. In 1280 he offered the general chapter of the Cistercian order to found a college (studium) for Cistercians at Oxford, and the chapter accepted the offer, and decreed that the college should have the same privileges as the college of St. Bernard at Paris, and that it should be under the Abbot of Thame, as the other was under the Abbot of Clairvaux. The following year the chapter decreed 'out of due respect to the Earl of Cornwall' that the Abbot of Thame should be empowered to appoint an Abbot of his own choice for the house of study at Oxford, and that there should be a daily memory of the late Earl of Cornwall at Mass at the college (studium) of Oxford, according as the Abbot of the place shall ordain.
Darnhall Abbey was a late-thirteenth century Cistercian abbey at Darnhall, Cheshire, founded by Lord Edward sometime in the years around 1270. This was in thanks, so tells the Abbey's chronicler, for God saving him and his fleet from a storm at sea. It was dedicated to St Mary. It only existed for a short time before it moved to the better-known Vale Royal Abbey. The site chosen for the Abbey at Darnhall was discovered to be unfit for its purpose. Money was short, as Edward did not provide enough for the original foundation, but the Abbey was allowed to trade wool to augment its finances. The Abbey relocated a few miles north, and what remained of Darnhall Abbey became the monastic grange of the new foundation. There was probably only ever one Abbot of Darnhall before the Abbey relocated in 1275.
Stephen W Williams or Stephen Williams (1837–1899) was a civil engineer and architect who worked mainly in Radnorshire and Breconshire, Wales. He was County Surveyor of Radnorshire from 1864–1899. He had offices at Rhayader and lived at Penralley House, Rhayader, He became a noted authority on the archaeology of the Cistercian Monasteries in Wales and undertook excavations at Strata Florida Abbey in Ceredigion, Abbey Cwm Hir in Radnorshire and Strata Marcella near Welshpool in Montgomeryshire. He was appointed High Sheriff of Radnorshire in 1899.
In the early fourteenth century, villagers from Darnhall and Over, Cheshire, were in a major dispute with their feudal lord, the Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, over their bond condition. The Cistercian abbey had been founded by Edward I in 1274 as a result of a vow made after a rough channel crossing. The abbey was unpopular with the locals from the start, as it was granted, as part of its endowment, exclusive forest- and other feudal rights which the local villages had come to see as their own. Moreover, the rigorous enforcement of these rights by successive abbots was felt to be excessively harsh. The villagers resented being treated as serfs and made repeated attempts to reject the abbey's feudal overlordship.
Stephen, was a late fourteenth-century abbot of Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire. He is believed to have been born c. 1346, and in office from 27 January 1373 to possibly 1400, although the precise date of his departure is unknown. One of the earliest mentions of him as Abbot is 1373, when he received the homage of Robert Grosvenor for the manor of Lostock. He witnessed a charter between the prior of the Augustinian hermits in Warrington and the convent there in 1379. A few years later, Abbot Stephen provided evidence for the Royal Commission that was enquiring into the case of Scrope v Grosvenor, which sat for three years, concluding its business in 1389.
John Chaumpeneys was the last Abbot of Darnhall Abbey and first Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, from around 1275 to circ 1289.
Walter of Hereford was a twelfth- and thirteenth-century Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire. He was Abbot from around 1294 to approximately 1307. His abbacy occurred at a time of tribulation for the abbey, mostly due to poor relations with the local populace. Walter is in portrayed in his Abbey's later chronicler in superlatives. He is described as "greatly venerable in life and always and everywhere devoted to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary" and as
A man of most beautiful appearance, as regards externals...and in good works also he fought a good fight for Christ, for he used a hair shirt to conquer the flesh, and by this discipline subdued it to the spirit. He rarely or never ate meat.
John of Hoo was an early fourteenth-century Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire. His abbacy was from around 1308–09 to 1314–15.
Richard of Evesham was Abbot of Vale Royal from 1316 to 1342.
Peter was the fifth Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, in the first half of the fourteenth century. He is generally held to be the author of the abbey's own chronicle, which was published in 1914 as the Ledger of Vale Royal Abbey. Owing to a failure to finish the abbey's building works—which had commenced in 1277 and had been intermittently on-going ever since—the abbey was unsightly, and the monks' quarters probably near derelict. Abbot Peter oversaw the transplantation of the house onto new grounds. Much of his career, however, was focussed on defending his abbey's feudal lordship over its tenants. The dispute between the abbey and its tenantry had existed since the abbey's foundation; the abbot desired to enforce his feudal rights, the serfs to reject them, as they claimed to be by then freemen. This did not merely involve Abbot Peter defending the privileges of his house in the courts. Although there was much litigation, with the Abbot having to defend himself to the Justice of Chester and even the King on occasion, by 1337 his discontented villagers even followed him from Cheshire to Rutland—very much the other side of the country—which, following a confrontation between the Abbot and his tenants, resulted in the death of a monastic servant and the capture and imprisonment of the Abbot himself. But the King intervened, and the Abbot and his party were soon freed.
John was Abbot of Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, between 1405 and 1411, and although his abbacy seems to have been largely free of the local disorder that had plagued those of his predecessors, the Abbey appears to have been taken in to King Henry IV's hands on at least two occasions.
Vale Royal Abbey is a medieval abbey, and later a country house, located in Whitegate, between Northwich and Winsford in Cheshire, England. Over its 278-year period of operation, it had at least 21 abbots.