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14th Century


The will of John de Roche, the son of Thomas is extant, it is dated 1314 and proved in the same year and he tells us something of the family history. The testator of those days generally made his will on his death-bed, which was to the advantage of holy church. John seems to have postponed it rather late, as he says at the end that he cannot give any more thought to it and his executors must dispose of the residue. Among the bequests are his soul to the Blessed Mary and his body to be buried at Pill Priory (he is careful to add with a due regard for economy), 40 shillings to the convent of Pill and a like amount to the Friars Preacher of Haverford. To his mother, the Lady Margaret, half his farming stock at the manor of Pill, with the option of buying the other half at its market value to his sisters Elizabeth, Johanna, and Lucia, 20 marks each as a marriage portion and to his brother Thomas his armour which he had left at Pill. John de Roche was buried at Pill Priory in 1314, in return providing for three chaplains to celebrate divine mass, in addition legacies where left to an old servant of the Dominicans at Haverfordwest and of a book called The Sirculus to the Lady of Courtenay. John had in 1313 grants from Sir John Wogan of Picton in Llysyfran and Lambston, which latter Wogan had obtained from John's father.

The Chapel of St Catherine (St Thomas the Martyr), lay at the heart of the secular Manor of Pill to the east of the priory. It may have been appurtenant to, or appropriated by the priory and in 1330, William de Roche founded Chantry within the chapel for the souls of his deceased parents.

The relationship between the priory and St Budoc’s Chapel is also unclear, as it appears during the post-Conquest period to have been a chapelry of Steynton parish and therefore under the patronage of the Priory. Neither chapel is listed under the possessions of the priory at the dissolution, but both may already have been abandoned by then.

The later Roches appear to have enjoyed a more ambiguous relationship with their foundation at Pill, for in c.1350 David de Roche was accused by the prior of ‘laying waste the goods of their house and seized his monks to their great damage’. Richard IILike many other abbeys and priories, Pill had its ups and downs through the centuries. In the middle of this century for instance, the prior objected to the damage done by a descendant of the original founder, Adam de Roch. That such a disturbance could have occured is incomprehensible, given that the Roch family were customarily buried in the conventional church of Pill.

It is believed that Thomas de Roche died in 1383 and that the manor of Pill and Roch reverted to the crown. In the reign of Richard II (1388) in the Registers of the Archbishop Canterbury, John Sampson was commissioned to visit the Abbey of St Dogmaels and the Priory of Pill, but as there are no certificates of these visitations in the registers it is not known if these visitations were carried out or not.
Courtney 1388: Commission by the Archbishop to Master John Sampson to visit certain houses in the diocese of St Davids.
- On the 4th May the Abbey of St Dogmaels was visited.
- On the 8th the Priory of Pill.
The certificates of the above visitations are not entered in the registers.

Apparently, St Dogmaels' Abbey status saved Pill Priory and Caldey from dissolution as alien priories in 1391, unlike the four English houses, previously mentioned on the 12th century page, which were priories of Tiron itself. However it seems that St Dogmaels continued to be regarded as a dependency of Tiron, appearing in its Cartulary until the 16th century, while the brethren were referred to as 'monks of Tiron' in letters patent of the 15th century.

Phillip apparently is named as the Prior in October 1280 and on various occasions until March 1320 and Philip Rey(n)bod was apparently the Prior in 1380

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