Cratfield, William (DNB00)

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CRATFIELD, WILLIAM (d. 1415), Benedictine, was camerarius and then abbot of Bury St. Edmunds. This latter appointment received the royal assent on 1 Feb. 1389–90; it was confirmed by the pope, and the temporalities of the abbacy were restored on 8 Oct. 1390. Cratfield is known solely as the compiler of a ‘Registrum’ of his house, which is preserved in the British Museum (Cod. Cotton. Tiberius B. ix. 2). From indications given by it we gather that Cratfield was a provident administrator. Thus it had previously been the custom for the abbot to pay three thousand florins to the papal curia for the confirmation of his appointment; from this obligation Cratfield obtained exemption on payment of a fixed sum of twenty marks a year, but it cost him nearly 800l. to secure the privilege. A similar liability to the crown was in like manner exchanged for a yearly tax under Cratfield's administration. It seems, however, from some remarks in Walsingham (Hist. Angl. ii. 180, ed. Riley), who calls the abbot Stratfield, that his financial arrangements were at the time considered to be disadvantageous to the monastery. During the latter part of his life Cratfield suffered from infirm health, and in 1414 had to transact the business of the abbey by a deputy. In the same year he resigned his office, and died on 18 June 1415. Dugdale, however, dates his death in 1418.

[Dugdale's Monasticon, iii. 112, 156, ed. 1821.]

R. L. P.