A monastic connection with Winchester cathedral can be traced back to the seventh century, when it already had its threefold dedication to the Holy Trinity and Saints Peter and Paul. Some time after the death of the ninth-century bishop Swithun, his name was added, and from that date onward this single dedication was the one commonly used. The continuous presence of Benedictine monks can be dated from the arrival of the reforming bishop Aethelwold in 964 who introduced a group of monks from Abingdon to replace the married clergy then occupying the monastery.1 When the Norman abbot Lanfranc was appointed archbishop of Canterbury by William I in 1070 he initiated another wave of monastic renewal, beginning with his monastic chapter at Canterbury and spreading to other cathedral monasteries including Rochester, Worcester, and, probably, Winchester.2 Unfortunately, the first post-conquest bishop, Walkelin, was not a monk, unlike his episcopal colleagues at Canterbury, Rochester, and Worcester, but a secular canon of Rouen, whose presence as titular abbot of a monastic chapter proved a strain to all concerned.3 Relations improved, however, with the installation of his brother, Simeon, q.v., a monk of Saint-Ouen, as prior; and an ambitious building programme for a new cathedral church was soon launched by the bihsop with the co-operation of the monks.4
At Winchester the priors continued to be appointed by the bishops until the late thirteenth century; nominations to the obedientiary offices were also claimed as pertaining to the episcopal prerogative by Aymer de Valence in 1256 and by John de Pontissara in 1284; on the latter date Edward I intervened to settle what had been a long-standing dispute about this and other matters between the monastic chapter and a succession of bishops. The resulting agreement provided for free election of the prior on receipt of an episcopal licence, and free appointment and dismissal of all obedientiaries, the latter privilege being one that none of the other southern cathedral priories ever acquired.5 Episcopal interference in the internal affairs of the priory was thus greatly reduced, and the bishop was compensated by the relinquishment to him of several priory manors.6 The priorate of William de Basyng I, q.v., straddled this transition from appointment to free election; his resignation, which took place at about the____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Biographical Register of the English Cathedral Priories of the Province of Canterbury, C. 1066-1540. Contributors: Joan Greatrex - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 651.
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