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John Uvedale and the surrender of the Priory

Banner for surrender of Priory

The surrender of the Priory and its property to the Crown was delayed by the Pilgrimage of Grace until 1540. A power of attorney dated 20 March 1538 (surviving as a later copy) leaves no doubt about the religious community's own view of the Dissolution. It opens: "Be it openly known to all men by these presents that we the convent of Marrick of the order of St Benedict within the statute of suppression by authority of parliament being notoriously constituted & known …"

The main beneficiary of the surrender of the Priory was to be John Uvedale, one of the two commissioners who supervised its closure. Uvedale had first come to prominence in 1488 when he provided transportation for the royal household and was entrusted with provisioning the army at Flodden in 1513. He prospered in an exchequer post, Clerk of the Pells, and in 1529 his speculative business ventures extended to obtaining leases of coal, iron and lead mines in various parts of the country.

In 1540 Uvedale petitioned to be granted a twenty-one year lease of the Priory's surrendered property and he succeeded in 1543. No doubt his established commercial interests alerted him to the potential of the lead mines. In 1545 he proceeded to purchase the property outright for £364; a receipt from Henry VIII acknowledges a part-payment of £304. 6d.