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15th Century

As a result of St Dogmaels' continuation of being regarded as a dependency of Tiron, it Pill Priory and its daughter houses were placed under episcopal jurisdiction and in April 1405 Pill Priory, under prior Walter Robjoy (who occurs as Prior in October 1399, 1406, 1409, 1415), was subject to its first episcopal visitation.
Henry V

It was alleged that Prior Walter had laid waste to the priory, alienating its goods and possessions (including a ship). Moreover, it was said he had a married woman as his mistress. It seemed hard to believe that Pill Priory was the scene of one of the greatest scandals of the 15th Century - the Profumo affair of the Middle Ages?-. Apparently tongues began to wag at the scandalous doings of the Prior Walter and eventually reached the ears of the Bishop of St Davids, Guy Mone and such was his concern that he conducted a visitation of the Priory in 1405. The Prior was so hardened that he didn't take a slight bit of notice and continued his ungodly ways. Some 18 months later the Bishop wrote "...we say it with grief that thou, brother Walter, Prior of Pill has not troubled to observe in your person such injunctions but has lightly presumed daily and dost still presume to infringe and violate them to the scandal of thy order...". The Bishop then went on to catalogue the Prior's misdeeds. The Bishop pointed out that though it had been written 'maintain parents', it did not mean literally. Apparently Prior Walter had his mother and father living with him in the Priory and was spending the Priory's income on them. The Bishop went on to say that neither did it mean that he should entertain quarrelsome friends and wickedly consume the goods of the Priory with Joan Morris, wife of John Hicke, the paramour, who thou has held in adulterous embraces for some years. So lavishly had Prior Walter converted the Priory's income to its own use that it had become heavily into debt. Furthermore, he 'sorely oppressed' any of the monks who criticized him and aloud those who 'turned the other cheek' to go in or out as they pleased. Not surprisingly, there was a public outcry. Thus, the internal government of the house was placed in the hands of the cellarer, Walter Jordan, who in 1404 was officiating as tenant-in-chief of the secular manor of Pill. What became of Prior Walter isn't known. Suffice to say that his successors were discreet and godly men which is as it should be for a Priory.

A deed issued by Henry V (picture) in 1417, furthermore, forbade anyone to ‘harass or molest’ the prior and monks of Pill. It is apparent from two records that Pill Priory had suffered some of the decline that characterised most Welsh monastic houses during the 15th century, but had escaped the worst. Indeed, only one less monk was present at Pill than at St Dogmaels Abbey.

Pill Priory however possessed its own lands and churches, issued its own charters and granted its own leases and the fiscal bond with St Dogmaels was limited to the payment of a small annual pension, which at the dissolution stood at £9 6s 8d.

David is believed to be the Prior in October 1436 and July 1453, William Henry is believed to be the Prior in July 1436 and William(?) in 1486 and 1489.

 

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