Confiscation! The dissolution inventory

This inventory was made of all the goods of Eversholt Church. I did think it was made in September 1553, but I see that Edward VI had already died by then, so maybe I’m wrong. (Actually, Mary 1 was not crowned until 1 October 1553, and Jane Grey had recently been executed. Maybe it was convention to refer to the old king still?) Anyway, the process of wresting control of the church from catholicism, begun by Henry VIII, really forged ahead under Edward VI, and the taking of an inventory was part of that. The powers that were wanted to see what loot they could expect.

This text is from here. It’s


From Transcripts BY The Rev. J. E. BROWN, B.A. Vicar of Studham
which has been put online by the University of Toronto, who state that it is not in copyright. Good for them!
The text is an OCRd version of an print which has been transcribed from a handwritten original, so is particularly unreliable. The first text is the OCRd version straight from the website linked above. After, there is my (EJW’s) guess at its meaning with a modern spelling, and that’s even less reliable. Thou hast been warned!

This inventory indentyd of all manner plate juelles vestymentes ornamentes and belles belonginge to the paryshe churche of Eversoult in the countye of Bedforth. Made the ijde daye of Septembre in the vjth yere of the reynge of oure soverayng Edwerd the vjth by the grace of God kyng of Englond Fraunce and Irelond defender of the feayth and in erthe supreme hedd of the churche of Englond and Irelond, by the person John Slowgh the churche wardens Ryche Whytbreade Thomas Butterfyld, and the Towensmen. Edmonde Barlee gent. Ambrose Gryggory. Thomas Johnson, and John Brett.
Inprimis one challes of sylwer percell gylt wayinge f vij f owences iij quarters
Item one other challes of copper and gylte
Item ij copes one blewe velwett thother grene sylke.
Item ij vestymentes one blewe velwett thother grene sylke.
Item xvth auter clothes and towelles
Item one sheate 1
Item vj cortens of dornyx wherof ys made iiij playing cootes :
Item a coveryng for the auter of olde tawny sylke.
Item ami awter clothe of grene sylke which is a coverynge for the funte.
Item ij corporous cases of blacke velwett
Item ij corporous clothes
Item ij sacrynge belles
Item annolde hearse clothe
Item in the steapull iiij belles
Item the churche chaunsell vestery and steapull all coveryd with leade
f Commytted to the custodye and saffe kepyng of Thomas Jonson and John Burtf
[Signatures as before]

A Modern (mis)interpretation by E J Williams – almost certainly containing even more errors!

Dornick, dornyx. A species of silk, worsted, woollen, or partly woollen fabric, used for hangings, carpets, etc.; called after the Flemish town of Dornick (in French called ‘Tournay’) where such fabrics were originally manufactured (N.E.D.).
sacring bell: n (Christianity / Roman Catholic Church) Chiefly RC Church a small bell rung at the elevation of the Host and chalice during Mass

This inventory ? of all manner plate, jewels, vestments, ornaments and bells belonging to the parish church of Eversholt in the county of Bedford. Made in the 2nd day of September in the 6th year of the reign of our Sovereign Edward the 6th, by the grace of God king of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith and in earth supreme head of the church of England and Ireland, by the person John Slough, the church wardens Richard Whitbread and Thomas Butterfield, and the Townsmen, Edmond Barlee, gent, Ambrose Gregory, Thomas Johnson and John Brett.

First, one chalice of silver, partly gilt, weighing 7¾ ounces
also, one other chalice of copper and gilt
also, two copes, one blue velvet, the other green silk
also, two vestments, one blue velvet, the other green silk
also, fifteen other clothes and towels
also, one sheet
also, six ? of dornyx, whereof is made four ? ?
also, a covering for the altar of old tawny silk
also, an altar cloth of green silk which is a covering for the font
also, two bulky cases of black velvet
also, two bulky clothes
also, two sacring bells
also, an old hearse cloth
also, in the steeple, four bells
also, the church, chancel, vestry and steeple, all covered with lead
Committed to the custody and safe keeping of Thomas Johnson and John Brett

Sometimes the urge to edit overcomes everything else. A webpage has been sitting open on this screen all day nagging at me (EJW) while I’ve been trying to work. “Publish me,” it whispers, “Don’t lose me, I’ll be important one day…” So I have to stop work and write this.

Who’s who in the dissolution inventory.

Ambrose Gregory

The Ambrose Gregory who helped make the inventory may well have been the one mentioned here:

Grant, 1561, London. John, Ironmonger of London, Grant to Thomas Shypton, currier, his fellow citizen of London, in Latin, for £100 paid last Michaelmas “at the font of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, between two and four in the afternoon”, for land at Eversholt, Bedfordshire, comprising 13 acres lately held by Roger Barnewell, a total of 9 acres in several parcels lately held by Ambrose Gregory, previously by John Arnold alias Cowper, and a dwelling with garden and small piece of land at Church End, and two enclosures at Potters End, formerly of the late John Ponter.

That was from a digitised document someone American was trying to sell here, but the blog is broken and I can’t work out just where that information came from.

There are other people called Ambrose Gregory from Eversholt later, but no others that early, I think.

Roger Barnewell

Roger Barnewell is mentioned in the Index of Chancery Proceedings around then. For some strange reason, this book is very hard to search successfully, with different results from different digital formats. But:
On page 315 of the pdf, Margaret Punter, widow, sued John Keblewhite in a case involving Eversholt Rectory, and anyone who chases that tale to its end will earn the undying gratitude of the whole village.
On page 34 of the pdf, Thomas Barnewell, an infant, sues William Hull about a farm called “Leys”.

Thomas Johnson

There are too many Thomas Johnsons associated with Eversholt! But, interestingly, the patron of the living in 1557 was called Thomas Johnson. Was this the chap who helped with the inventory?

Edmond Barlee

I can’t find any Edmond Barlee with Eversholt, but the spelling of his name may be very variable.

Thomas Butterfield

There’s no Thomas Butterfield either.

Richard Whitbread

There are Whitbreads aplenty around Eversholt, but no Richard around the right time.

John Slough

And no John Slough either. Oh, well.

Leave a comment for publication