William Vigerons

The following information has been extracted from a number of sources including Volume 1 of An essay towards a topographical history of the county of Norfolk by Francis Blomefield and Newcourt's Repertorium, on the assumption that the date of death recorded for William in the former is incorrect.

The earliest recorded Rector of Thorley is William Vigerons (Vigorous, Vygorous or more fully William dictus Vygorous de London). He was presented to the benefice by Stephen de Gravesend, Bishop of London, on 20 March 1327 whilst still an acolyte, that is someone authorised to assist in liturgical services. He was ordained Priest whilst at St James', holding the benefice until 10 May 1329, when he was instituted Rector of St Mary's, Finchley.

During his tenure at Finchley, William was, on 2 December 1331, appointed Archdeacon of Essex. He subsequently resigned from the Rectory of Finchley, exchanging his Archdeaconry for the Rectory of Lopham, in Norfolk, where he was instituted on 5 September 1332.

Whilst at Lopham, William was appointed by Stephen de Gravesend as his Domestic Chaplain, receiving, on 1 March 1335, a dispensation for non residence to enable him to serve in that capacity. William was also collated to the Rectory of All Saints' Fulham on 9 November 1336. This was a sinecure appointment, that is one without the usual liturgical or pastoral functions of a cleric, there being an associated endowed Vicarage in the gift of the Rector.

William was one of the two executors of the will of Stephen de Gravesend, who died on 8 April 1338 whilst staying at the Rectory House at Bishop's Stortford.

In 1343 Hugh de Nevill, a knight and the envoy of King Edward III, petitioned Pope Clement VI on behalf of William for a Canonry of Wells with the expectation of a Prebend. This petition was granted on 29 November of that year, and William is recorded as holding the Prebendary of Compton Dundon in the diocese of Bath and Wells in 1352.


Philip Hargrave
September 2011


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