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The Canon of John Lydgate Project

The Lives of Ss. Edmund and Fremund: Introduction

Hatfield Regis (Hatfield Broad Oak)
[Picture of church at Hatfield Broad Oak] Hatfield Broad Oak (formerly "Hatfield Regis"), Essex (National Grid reference: TL5416), is on the B183 SE of Bishop's Stortford. All that remains of the medieval Priory of St. Mary, founded in 1135 by Aubrey de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, is the Church (now the Church of St. Mary the Virgin); the south porch and the tower are of the fifteenth century. At its height, the priory could accommodate a maximum of about 14 monks; at the time of the dissolution in 1536 there were four monks besides the prior. Lydgate was prior here for a decade, from 1423 to 1434, though he may have been actually resident in Hatfield for only the first few years. There are two documents related to the Priory in which Lydgate's name appears: "he is named in a deed from John Clerk, Simon Doom, Richard Garden and Thomas Goos, by which they give a quit-rent of fourpence to the priory charged on a tenement at Bush End"; in the court rolls Lydgate appears, having been "fined for a trespass by his cattle, for not repairing a fence, and not having a ditch secured" (Lowndes, pp. 146-147). The current church has a small memorial to Lydgate and his period as prior in the form of a stanza of his Testament hand-written and decorated in a picture frame standing on a table. See the description of the priory in the Victoria County History for Essex.

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© 1995 Stephen R. Reimer
English; University of Alberta; Edmonton, Canada
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Last revised: 9 Nov. 1995

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