Thieving Vicars of Barnoldswick and Clitheroe

It would seem that the vicar of Barnoldswick, with fellow clerics, was tempted like Ahab by the pleasant looking land belonging to another:

1361 Oct. 26 at Westminster: Commission of Oyer and Terminer to John Moubray, etc., etc. : Complaint by the kynge's son Edmund de Langele that .... John de Radclyf parson of the church of Bury Robert de Cliderhowe John del Holt of Salforthshire .... Robert that was the monkesservant of Bernelswyke chaplain .... John parson of the church of Bramworth .... broke his parkes and closes and entered his free warrens .... hunted in the warrens and in his free chases cut down his trees fished in his several fisheries dug- in his several turbaries and carried away the turves thrown up his fish trees and other goods and took and carried away deer from his parks and chaces and hares conies and partridges from the warrens.

To hunt animals belonging to the King’s son sounds rather risky to me, but these greedy vicars took the risk. The court’s outcome is not recorded. Those employed by the Church are just as prone to greed as anyone.

From Rev JH Warner, A History of Barnoldswick, Skipton, 1934