The Lincoln estate in Hanslope

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Charter of 1546

Inside the Lincoln Guildhall there is a tiny Charter room which holds many of the key charters tracing the development of the City.  Amongst these, in a draw of a cabinet full of charters, is the Charter of 11 December 1546 by which Henry VIII sold to Lincoln land and various rights in Hanslope and Castlethorpe, and also in three Lincolnshire villages.

Charter Room

Lincoln Guildhall

The Charter of 1546Charter is in Latin and runs to several pages.

It transfers to Lincoln "the advowson and right of the patronage of the rectory and parish church"; also "the same rectory"; and also "all and singular the manor, messuages, lands, glebes, tenements, rents, reversions, services, annuities, pensions, portions, fruits, tenths, oblations and all other the rights, profits, commodities and emoluments whatsoever to the same rectory and church ....".

Importantly, the Charter goes on to grant to the City the right "to create and establish one perpetual vicarage in the parish church of Hanslope".  This gives the City the right to keep the rents, tithes, etc. to which the rector had hitherto been entitled, and pay a vicar a lesser emolument (which seems over time to have declined to a trivial amount due to inflation).  It was not just the monasteries which Henry VIII looted!

The only concessions were to provide that the incumbent rector, Robert Bone, should enjoy the benefits of the rectory for the rest of his period in office; and the City assumed responsibility for "repair of the chancel of the church".

For these rights in Hanslope and three Lincolnshire villages, the City paid one hundred and thirty-five pounds, fourteen shillings and three pence halfpenny to "our Treasurer of our Court of the Augmentations of our Revenues of our Crown".

The term "manor" in the specification of what is transferred to the City of Lincoln has a specific meaning.  It implies that responsibility for a court was also transferred.  This court would have been used to settle local disputes, particularly concerning the rights to land.  However in this case, it seems almost certain that responsibility for the manor court of Hanslope was retained with lordship of Hanslope.  It may be that the reference in the charter to a "manor" was included because it applied to one of the Lincolnshire villages also referred to in the charter, or because a form of standard wording was used in the charter.

There must have been some doubt about the validity of the provisions of the Charter, as arrangements were made to have it confirmed in a statute in the 35th year of Queen Elizabeth I.

For a translation of the Latin text of the Charter click on transcription and translation.