Bourne Archive: History: Brand’sBrand.htm                                Latest edit 9 Jul 2010

©R.J.PENHEY 2008

The Bourne Archive

Simon Patrick’s Abbot Brand

The extract comes from Simon Patrick’s supplement in Simon Gunton’s, The History of the Church of Peterburgh, edited by Patrick and published by Richard Chiswell, London 1686 (pp. 260 to 262). Patrick’s long esses are here converted to modern ones. Otherwise, the spelling, capitalization and punctuation are his.

It happened that Simon Gunton not only knew the former Peterborough Abbey well but he was interested enough to take notes about its stained glass, tombs and so on. Later, particularly in April, 1643, damage associated with the English Civil War destroyed much of these. Afterwards, he saw the special value of his work and collated his notes but never published them. This was left to his younger colleague, Simon Patrick, who arrived at Peterborough Cathedral in 1679, after Gunton had died in 1676. He prepared Gunton’s work for publication and it was published with some of Patrick’s own, in 1686, by Richard Chiswell of London. The extract below was part of Patrick’s work which took the form of a history of the abbey, much of it using the abbots as its theme. It is thus a set of brief biographies beginning with Saxulf and continuing to John Chambers, the abbot at the time of the dissolution in 1539.

Brand was abbot of Peterborough from 1066 to 1069. Some of the information gathered by Patrick comes from Robert of Swaffham’s Book and is thereby to some extent, related to that about Hereward, which is bound into the same book, formerly kept at the Abbey and Cathedral and now in the Seeley Historical Library in Cambridge University.


While he was only a Monk in this Church1, he was not only a Coadjutor to Leofricus2 in all the good things that he did (as Hugo his words are3) but also a great Benefactor to the Monastery, out of his own Patrimony, and that of his Brethren. For he and his two Brethren, Askatillus and Syricus, purchased Walcote de proprio patrimonio4; and gave it to the Church, in perpetual inheritance, together with Scotere5, Scotune6 and other places mentioned by Mr. G[unton]. This was in the time of Edward the Confessor7; who confirmed this Grant by his Charter, rgoatus ab Abbate Lefrico, & Monacho ipsius nomine Brand*1. 8 Another writing mentions a third Brother named Siworthus in these words, Brand Abbas Burgensis & Askilus & Sericus & Sivortus fratres, dederunt has terras, Deo & Sancto Petro, & fratribus in Burgh, Sc. Muscham ex alia parte Trentæ, & Scotere9, &c. Which is related something more distinctly in a little Charter*2, containing the Names of all the Lands and Possessions of the Church (which was recorded for the honour of their Benefactors, whose names are written in the Book of Life, &c.) Among which it is said, Askill filius Toke dedit Walcote super Humbram, dum adhuc viveret, & post obitum illius & fratrum ejus, Sc. Scirici & Siworthi, dedit Brand Abbas frater eorum eidem Ecclesiæ Sancti Petri, Muskam10, &c. And in the Charter of Edward the Confessor, confirming this benefaction, it is said that Askil or Askitill, gave this Land, upon occasion of a journey which he undertook to Rome. Askitillus Romam pergens dedit Sancto Petro & Ecclesiæ suæ de Burch, septem carrucatas terræ in Walcote, duabus bovatis minus, & in Alcheburn unam Carrucatam, & totam Ecclesiam, & in Normandy unam Carrucatam, quæ sunt super fluvium Humbre11. William the Conqueror in his confirmation*3, petente Abbate Brand, saith the same, concerning the number of Plough-Lands in that place, held by the Monastery sub rege Edwardo12. Most of which, it should seem by trial, which John Deeping Abbot of this Church13 had about the Lands in those Towns in the 13th year of Hen. 4 14. were part of the possessions of the Abby from its foundation: and being alienated perhaps, were again restored or redeemed by Brand and his Brethren before mentioned. For that Abbot then before the Kings Judges at Westminster*4, declaring how he was destrained by the Servants of Thomas de Lancaster the Kings Son, pretending15 that he held a Mannor of his in Holderness16, and ought to do him homage and suit at Court, for six Carrucatæ of Land  in Walcote juxta Humbr, and one in Normanby (which they said he held of the aforesaid Thomas) alledged against all this, that Wolferus, King of the Mercians17, long before the Conquest gave and granted by his Charter (which he there produced and laid before them) to God and the blessed Apostle St. Peter, and the servants of God in Medhamstede, which is now called by another name Peterburgh, in puram  perpetuam eleemosynam prædictas sex Carucatas terræ cum pertinentibus, in Walcote juxta Humbr18, & prædictam unam carucatam terræ cum pertin. in Normanby in Lincoln19, &c. Of which Land he and his Predecessor were seised20, and held as parcel of the first foundation of the Abby from the King, and not from the aforesaid Thomas; of whom he held no Land at all, nor owed him any service, &c. And accordingly it was adjudged for the Abbot.

This Estate was in danger to be lost again after the Conquest, being got into the hands of Yvo Talbois21; but restored by him to the Monks, as I shall observe in my Remarks upon the next Abbot Turoldus22.

The Character which Ingulphus1 gives of Abbot Brand is, that he was a very Religious person, and, as he had heard from his Predecessor and many others, very much addicted unto Alms-deeds, wherewith he relieved the poor; and, in short, adorned with all Vertues.

They that have a mind may in the same Author23, find the form and manner, after which this Abbot made Hereward a Knight; which was a thing forbidden afterward, in the Synod of London held under Anselm, as Eadmerus24 informs us, p. 68. Where Mr. Selden25 calls this Abbot Brand Cœnobiarcha Edmundoburgensis*5; 26 not attending I suppose, to those words of Ingulphus, where he mentions Abbatem Burgi the Uncle of Hereward27, which he construes as if he spake of the Abbot of St. Edmundburgh.

There is mention of Brand as witness to a Charter of William the Conqueror, in the second year of his Reign (1068.) wherein he setled the Collegiat Church of St. Martins le Grand, in the City of London, indowed by Ingelricus and Girardus his Brother out of their own Revenues: as may be seen in the third Tome of the Monasticon Anglicanum2 28. But the next year after he dyed; as not only Hugo, but John29 Abbot of this Church tells us in his Chronicon. Where An.MLXIX. having spoken of the death of  Aldredus Archbishop of York30, he adds, Obiit etiam Brando Abbas Burgi, Patruus dicti Herewardi de Wake31, & ex Regis collatione sucsessit Turoldus. Brando dedit pro Fyskyrton XX. marcas auri, & alias XX. Pro Quametis, & pro ibidem …. VIII. marc. auri32. Our writings also mention his redeeming Burleigh33, as well as the forenamed places: which shows how studious he was of the prosperity of this place. Where he dyed 2. Kaland. Decembris, saith Hugo, agreeable to the Kalander which saith 30. Novemb. Depositio Brandonis & Will. de Waterville Abbatum34, &c.

Simon Patrick’s Footnotes

*1.     Hugo or Swap. pag. 5. f. 2. [RJP’s note. This will be Hugh Candidus as transcribed by Robert of Swaffham, in Robert of Swaffham’s Book.]

*2.     Ibid. pag. CXXII.

*3.     Ibid. pag. CIX.

*4.     Ibid. pag. CCCLII.

†1.     Pag. 70. Edit. Oxon.

*5.     Spicileg. Ad Eadmerum p. 207. N. 5.

†2.     De Eccles. Collegiatis. p. 26.


This article is part of a set, each part dealing with an abbot of Peterborough up to John Chambers, who was abbot at the time of the dissolution, in 1539. In the period of Brand’s abbacy, an important source of detail is Robert of Swaffham’s Book, which was kept by Peterborough Cathedral but is now in the Seeley Historical Library at Cambridge University. The main source of information about Hereward is bound into the same book and here, we have a little more light on Hereward’s family relationships.

1.     Peterborough Abbey.

2.      A coadjutor is one appointed to assist a bishop or other ecclesiastic (OED). Leofric was the abbot of Peterborough who preceded Brand.

3.       Hugo is Hugh Candidus, librarian or archivist at the abbey in the years around 1160. At one time it was fashionable to form the possessive using ‘his’ like this. It was thought that the apostrophe s was a shortening of this formula but it is much more likely to have been a contraction of the Old English genitive ending ‘-es’.

4.      … purchased Walcot from their own inheritance.

5.     Scotter, south of Scunthorpe; grid reference SE8800.

6.      Scotton, just south of Scotter: grid ref. SK8899.

7.       King of England from 1042 to 1066.

8.      … request from Abbot Leofric and from his monk named Brand.

9.       Brand, Abbot of [Peter]borough and Asketill and Seric and Siward, brothers, gave these lands to God and to Saint Peter and to the brothers in Borough: namely Muskham from the other side of the Trent and Scotter.

North Muskham is on the old Great North Road, at grid ref. SK7958, on the west bank of the Trent. The Abbey’s property there is listed in Domesday Book, as is other land which had been held by one Toki, as well as land still held post-Conquest by Siward, at that stage, one of the king’s thanes (DB). Toki of Lincoln was the father of the brothers.  In both Scotter and Scotton, pre-Conquest, Asketill was a principal owner. Post-Conquest, the current abbot of Peterborough, Thorold, was in his place. The Scotton manor included three burgesses in Lincoln; in keeping with Toki’s connections (DB).

Among the claims in the West Riding of Lindsey, The Shire testified that in 1066 and later, Asketill had from King Edward these three manors, Scotton, Scotter and Raventhorpe, under his free authority. Likewise he had Muskham in Nottinghamshire. He held one manor, Manton, on lease from his brother Brandr, the monk (DB).

10. Asketill, son of Toki gives Walcot on Humber while he still shall have lived, and after his death and his brother, namely Seric and Siward gives Abbot Brand, their brother of the same Church of Saint Peter, Muskham.

This seems to mean that Asketill and Seric gave Walcot to Peterborough Abbey in perpetuity, while Siward gave Muskham.

11.     Asketill, going to Rome on pilgrimage, gives to Saint Peter and to his church of [Peter]borough, seven carucates of land in Walcot, less by two bovates, and in Alkborough one carucate and all the church, and in Normanby one carucate, which are upon the river Humber. Grid references are: Alkborough SE8821, Normanby SE8816 and Walcot SE8721. H. C. Darby discusses carucates in The Domesday Geography of Eastern England, third edition. Cambridge University Press (1971) pp. 37-40.

12.     … under King Edward [the Confessor].

13.     John Deeping was abbot of Peterborough from 1409 to 1439.

14.     1413.

15.   To pretend is to claim.

16.     The south-eastern extremity of Yorkshire: across the Humber from Grimsby.

17.     Wulfhere, the first Christian king of all Mercia. (658 to 675)

18.     in clear perpetual ?eleemosynam The aforesaid six carrucates of land with things belonging to them, in Walcot on Humber.

19.     … and the aforesaid one carucate of land with the things belonging to it. In Normanby, in Lincoln etc. This seems to say that some of this holding was property in Lincoln but it may mean that Normanby is in Lincolnshire. The Lincoln city connection would fit with the interests of Brand’s father, Toki, in Lincoln. However, that would be a speculative line of enquiry. Normanby is north of Scunthorpe; at grid ref. SE8816.

20. This is a legal term arising out of feudal ownership. This is the technically correct spelling, though it is often written as ‘seized’ (OED). They owned the land.

21.     He appears in the Hereward story, as a particular adversary of Hereward in the court of William. Gesta Herwardi chapters XXIII, XXVII, XXVIII & XXXV.

22.    He was the first of the Norman abbots at Peterborough. He is therefore the next on Patrick’s list. According to the Gesta Herwardi, at one stage, he and Ivo Taillebois were leading William’s army (Chapter XXVII).

23.    This author would be Ingulph. He was abbot of Crowland from 1086 or 7 to 1109 but his name is best known from its association with the document, Historia Monasterii Croylandensis attributed to him but written in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It looks as though some of the information in it came from the Gesta Herwardi, which describes the circumstances of the event in Chapter XVI. However, the Pseudo-Ingulph as it is nowadays called, was a document from Croyland Abbey and the Gesta was bound into Robert of Swaffham’s Book in Peterborough Abbey. The two abbeys were not always on good terms since they had periodic arguments about property ownership. Also bound into Swaffham’s book were evidences of legal ownership of land, so it would not be lent lightly.

24.    Eadmer, a younger contemporary of Hereward. He was a religious at Canterbury and wrote several lives of saints.

25.   John Selden (1584-1654), English jurist and scholar.

26.     Brand, ruler of the convent of Saint Edmundsbury (Bury St. Edmunds, grid ref. TL8564).

27.    See Henry Riley’s 1908 translation. Go to page 141. It would be interesting to know which Latin word for ‘uncle’ had been used. A father’s brother is patruus and a mother’s brother is avunculus. On the face of it, this would tell us on which side of Hereward’s family Brand stood. Unfortunately, the Pseudo-Ingulf text was written at least two hundred years after the events it describes. If, in the meantime, the information had been transmitted by word of mouth, it will have been done in Middle English or Norman French. These languages do not use words which automatically distinguish between paternal and maternal uncles. Someone then writing up this oral tradition in Latin may easily have chosen the wrong one. This is important because understanding Brand as Hereward’s patruus causes great difficulty in piecing the wider family relationships together. If the abbot were the soldier’s avunculus, everything would fall comfortably into place. Riley’s translation does not help because 1: both he and Patrick use the undifferentiated word ‘uncle’ and 2: the possibility of an earlier mistake, in the Latin which they have translated, remains. However, see superscript 31.

28.    This will be the work of this name by William Dugdale.

29.    John Chambers

30. Ealdred

31.   Also died Brand, abbot of [Peter]borough, paternal uncle of the said Hereward of Wake. Here, John tells us explicitly that Brand was Hereward’s paternal uncle.

32.    and of the king a contribution passed to Thorold. Brand gave by virtue of Fiskerton twenty marks of gold and at another time twenty by virtue of Quametis and by virtue of the same place … eight marks of gold.

33.     Now spelled Burghley. Later, this became known as the home of William Cecil but its name means the leah (woodland clearing) of [Peter]Borough.

34.    Committed to the care of Brand and William of Waterville, abbots. William of Waterville was abbot of Peterborough from 1155 to 1175.