In March 1533, Henry promised that he would repair the insult to Kings Henry II and John, who had been tricked into offering the realm in tribute to the Holy See. He was also determined to reunite the crown with the goods churchmen had appropriated from it.
Letters & Papers No 235 1533 Volume 6, dated 15 March 1533
Gloucester to Leonard Stanley
6 August 1535
On the way to Leonard Stanley, a view across the River Severn
From Gloucester, directly to Berkeley Castle via the Roman Road is a little over 16 miles. Gloucester to Leonard Stanley is 11 miles and there is a sustained uphill climb at the end of the journey. Gloucester to Berkeley Castle via Leonard Stanley is 21 miles.
A five-mile detour, over more difficult terrain, adding an overnight stop to a journey that could have been done in a day.
But why not? Leonard Stanley was, and still is an idyllic, quintessentially English village. The Victoria County History describes it thus.
‘Three hides at Leonard Stanley, held in 1066 by Godric and Wisnod, had passed by 1086 to Ralph of Berkeley. Ralph's nephew Roger of Berkeley held the manor of STANLEY c. 1131 when he founded the priory there. Roger died soon afterwards and the manor passed to his son Roger (d. 1170) and his descendants the Berkeleys of Dursley. Roger son of the second Roger was dead by 1191, and his son, also Roger, some of whose land at Stanley was mortgaged to the Jews in 1207, was dead by 1221 when his son Henry granted dower in the manor to his widow Letuaria. Henry died the same year, and Engelard de Cigogne, as guardian of his son John, was recorded as holding Leonard Stanley c. 1228.John of Berkeley came of age c. 1240 but was dead by 1245. John's son Henry held the manor in 1285 and died c. 1287, when it passed in dower to his widow Joan who held it in 1316.By 1327 it had passed to her grandson, John of Berkeley, who died in 1349, when the manor was held for the few months she survived him by his widow Hawise. It then passed to their son Nicholas, who died in 1382 and was succeeded by his sister Maud who married Robert de Cauntelo. Maud died c. 1403 and was succeeded by Elizabeth, daughter of her son Robert and wife of Richard Cheddar. Jane, daughter of Elizabeth and Richard, married Thomas Wykes who held the manor in 1442 and died in 1473 when it passed to his son John (d. 1485). John's son Edmund (d. 1514) succeeded to the manor; it then passed to his son Nicholas (d. 1558) and to Nicholas's grandson, Robert Wykes, who held it in 1568, but apparently sold it soon afterwards.’
‘The priory of Leonard Stanley was founded c. 1131, and the village was usually known as Monks' Stanley in the Middle Ages, but later it was named from the dedication of the priory, Stanley St. Leonards or Leonard Stanley. The priory, which from 1146 was a cell to Gloucester Abbey, was built close to a Saxon chapel, which was included in the precinct and survives as a barn, the large priory church, which survives as the parish church, was built north-east of the chapel, with a cloister, mentioned in 1544, against the south wall of its nave; of the cloister only the corbels which supported its roof on the west wall of the south transept of the priory church remain. The priory house, later completely rebuilt, stood on the east side of the precinct. A medieval tithe-barn survives in the south-west corner of the precinct; it has a porch extension on the east, and in the north wall a blocked round-headed entrance, a blocked 14th-century cusped light, and another 14th-century light with damaged tracery.’
Perhaps the sun was shining, perhaps a lingering sunset on a warm evening, but here is the twist –
‘In 1535 the clear yearly value of the cell was £106 17s.Its possessions included rents in the vill of Stanley St. Leonard, in Slimbridge, Stinchcombe,[birth place of the arch evangelist William Tyndale] Easton Grey and elsewhere, the manor of Lorwing, the rectories of Cam, Arlingham, Coaley, Stanley St. Leonard and other tithes and pensions. At that time there were only three monks at the priory. As the revenues were under £200 a year the priory was visited by the commissioners who were appointed under the Act of 1536 for the suppression of the lesser monasteries. The prior showed that his house was appropriated to St. Peter's, Gloucester. The commissioners gave him an injunction to appear before the chancellor and council of the Court of Augmentations on 16 June, 1536, upon pain of a fine of 500 marks. On 11 June, 1538, Henry VIII sent an imperative request to the abbot and convent of Gloucester to recall the monks from Stanley St. Leonard and grant a lease of the priory to Sir William Kingston. They had no choice, and on 18 July the lease was drawn up at a rent of £36 13s. 4d., and a payment of king's tenths of £8 2s. 4d. On the surrender of the monastery of Gloucester on 2 January, 1540, the rent passed to the crown.’
That man Sir William Kingston again.
After incriminating Anne de Boulogne to be condemned to death and then delivering her to the executioner, it was he that the king (or Cromwell) intended to receive the grant of this very priory.
The Nicholas Wykes who held the manor in 1535 also held Dursley and Dodington. He also had land further north west at Arlingham, a ferry crossing point over the Severn, a route to South Wales.
Nicholas was married to Elizabeth Poyntz, and her nephew, also a Nicholas held Iron Acton which was on the itinerary to visit later in the month.
If Cromwell wanted to pick a fight with Anne de Boulogne about the future use of monastic buildings, then this was the place to bring her. It is difficult to imagine them spending that night under the same roof. The Wykes manor house was next to the monastic buildings, perhaps Cromwell stayed there. By a strange coincidence Thomas Cromwell’s wife’s maiden name was also Wykes.
Henry VIII, the Reign.
Henry VIII, the Reign.