Bridgwater Heritage Group

Friarn Research
Bridgwater Archives Bridgwater Scientists Lost Bridgwater Friarn Research

William Worcestre visits Bridgwater

William Worcestre or Worcester was an English chronicler c1415 - c.1485. He visited Bridgwater twice, and recorded the religious houses there.

Taken from: William Worcestre Itineraries Harvey Oxford Medieval Texts OUP 1969


p78 In martilogio fratrum Sancti Francisci Ecclesie de Bryggewater extrascripsi

p79 In the martyrology of the church of the Friars of St. Francis at Bridgwater I have copied out:

1419 Frater Johannes Somour obijt anno Christi. 1419. sed quere diem obitus vt cronicis fratrum Norwici inueni scriptum dedit ad fabricacionem Ecclesie de Bryggewater .200. marcas et pro libris .40. marcas

1419. Brother John Somour died A. D. 1419. (but query the day of his obit, as I have found it written in the chronicles of the Norwich Friars), and gave to the building of the [friary] church of Bridgwater 200 marks (£133.6s. 8d.) and 40 marks (£26.13s. 4d.) for books.1

1394 Johannes Tryvet chivaler obijt .3. die Januarij

Beatus Thomas dux Lancastrie obijt .22. die Marcij

Johannes Kemys miles obijt .15. die Maij

Dominus Ricardus Typetot decessit .29. die Maij obijt

1394. John Trivet knight died 3 January.

[1322.] Blessed Thomas, Duke2 of Lancaster died 22 March.

John Kemys, knight, died 15 May.

Sir Richard Tiptoft died 29 May.

1440 Frater Galfridus Pollard obijt vltimo die Maij contemporaneus Fratris J. Somoura

1440. Brother Geoffrey Pollard died 31 May, a contemporary of Brother J. Somour. [In Talbot's hand: Query whether he wrote the chronicles.]

Eua Typetot obijt die .70. Junij

Eva Tiptoft died 7 June.

Matheus Gornay chivaler obij b.27. die Augustj

Matthew Gournay knight died 27 August [1406].

Dominus W. de Cantilupo fundator huius Ecclesie ordinis Sancti Francisci .25. die Septembris

Lord W. de Cantilupe, founder of this church of the order of St. Francis, 25 September.

Beatus Willelmus de Bytton Episcopus Bathoniensis obijt .4. die Decembris et creditur ipsum esse sanctum quia multis miraculis claret

[1274.] Blessed William de Bytton, Bishop of Bath, died 4 December, and it is believed that he is a saint because he is renowned for many miracles.

Circa annum .7m. Regni Regis Henrici quarti

cAlicia filia Comitis Warwici et vxor d domini Mathei Gornay e iacet in medio chori et obijt 26. die f Octobris

About the 7th year of the reign of King Henry IV [c. 1405]:3

Alice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick and wife of Matthew Gournay, lies in the middle of the choir and died 26 October [1384].

Rogerus de Mortuo Mari obijt .28. Octobris fundator Ecclesie Fratrum istius Ecclesie de Brygewater

Roger Mortimer died 28 October [1282], founder of this church of Friars at Bridgwater.4


Longitudo nauis Ecclesie huius Sancti Francisci Brygewater .62. steppys m. Latitudo vero .26. steppys m.


The nave if this church of St. Francis, Bridgwater, is 62 of my steps long and 26 steps wide.


.1420. Frater Johannes Somour obijt ibidem obijt circa annum Christi

Longitudo Ecclesie fratrum minorum Bryggewater .120. steppys et eius latitudo .30. steppys et latitudo nauis Ecclesie .14. steppys

Memorandum Frater a est gardianus dictorum fratrum Et Frater Pollard est legist' fratrum

Gardianus Ecclesie minorum Brygewater vocatus frater Blakborow

Stevyn Byrkcombe discipulus fratris Johannis


1420. Brother John Somour died there about A.D. [1419]. 1

The length of the church of the Friars Minor at Bridgwater is 120 steps and its breadth 30 steps, and the breadth of the nave 14 steps.

Memorandum that Brother is warden of the said Friars, and Brother Pollard is the friars' legist.2

The warden of the church of the Minorities at Bridgwater is named Blakborow.3

Stephen Byrkcombe is the pupil of Brother John.4


p124. Comwych per .3. milaria de Brygewater est portus nauium Brygewater.

Pontis longitudino Brygewater est .70. steppys

Longitudo Ecclesie fratrum sancti Johannis ibidem sunt5 .64.steppys

Combwich, 3 miles from Bridgwater, is Bridgwater's port for ships.

The length of Bridgwater bridge is 70 steps.

The length of the church of the Brothers of St John there is 64 steos.

1 For Friar John Somour see Emden, Oxford, s.v. Somer. He was an astronomer and compiled a calendar with tables of eclipses, copied by Worcestre at Bristol at the instance of Richard Roper in 1438 (M. Dunsford, Histrocial Memoirs of the Town and Parish of Tiverton, 2nd ed. (1790), p. 308; E. S. Chalk, A History of the Church of St. Peter, Tiverton (1905), pp. 73-6).

2 Really Earl of Lancaster; his nephew Henry Wryneck (d. 23 March 1360/I), Earl of Lancaster, was advanced to the rank of duke on 6 March 1350/I.

a An hic scripsit chronica In Talbot's hand.

b Sic.

c Alcea deleted.

d vxoris

e ia obijt deleted

f .10.bris Decembris deleted

3 Sir Matthew Gournay died 1406; his first wife Alice Beauchamp in 1384 (see D.N.B.).

4 Roger, Lord Mortimer of Wigmore, elsewhere stated to have died 'shortly before 30 October 1282' (G.E.C. Ix (1936), p. 280).

a Blank in MS.

1 For Somour see p. 80 n. I.

2 Dr. A. B. Emden suggests that this may be John Pollard, O.F. M., admitted to hear confessions and act as penitenciar in the diocese of Bath and Wells, in Bishop Lydeard Church on 16 Sept. 1448 (Reg. Bekynton. I. 102).

3 Dr. Emden suggests a possible identity with Robert Bagborgh, O. F. M., of the Bridgwater convent, ordained acolyte on 7 June 1438 (Reg. John Stafford Bishop of Bath and Wells, Somerset Record Soc., xxxii, p. 365).

4 Probably a son of the Stephen Bircombe or Berycombe of Bridgwater evidenced in 1436-46 (Bridgwater Borough Deeds, Somerset Record soc., I, p. 118; ii, p. 8); I owe this suggestion also to Dr. Emden.

5 sic

10 January 2011. P. Cattermole. All Content © Bridgwater Heritage Group, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, do not reproduce material without permission.

Comments on the site? Queries on Bridgwater history or heritage? Contributions to the site?
Contact us here.