From Manx Soc vol IV,VII & IX
The monks of Furness Abbey had a very singular custom of registering only such of their abbots as had presided over them ten years, and died in office. They were called, in consequence, "Red Letter Abbots" ; so that in a period of 270 years we find but ten names recorded in the mortuary. The list given at page 124 is from the Chartulary, down to the twenty-eighth abbot. This celebrated work, preserved in the office of the Duchy of Lancaster, Waterloo Bridge, London, is a large folio volume, 16 inches long by 10½ wide, and consists of 293 folios, written on vellum and superbly illuminated. Originally there was another and prior part, containing the various charters and grants bestowed upon the parent monastery of Savigny, but it is not now extant The first migration from this house arrived in England A.D. 1124, and settled at Tulket, near Preston, where they remained three years. During their stay there they obtained a grant of land for themselves at Furness, from Stephen, earl of Bologne, and erected the abbey, as is shown by the following charter : " In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, et in honore Sancte Marie matria domini nostri. Ego Stephanus, Comes Bolonii et Moretonii, providens et in deo consulens saluti anime mee et uxoris mee Matildis Comitisse et pro anima domini mel et avunculi Henrici Regis Angloruna et Ducis Normannorum et pro animabus omniufli fideliuna, tam pro vivis quain pro solutis debitum mortis, anno ab iucarnaciOne domini nostri Millesimo centesinlo vicesimo septimo, Indiccione quinta, Epacta decimo septima, Evi metas cotidie eciam videns ad occasum ruere, pompas omnes labentis bujus seculi, et fibres roseasque vernancium Regum Imperatorum Ducuna et omnium locupletum coronas et palmas marcescere, et omnium concreta simul in ununi redigere et ad mortem prepeti cursu cuncta properare. Reddo dono et concedo Deo et Sancte Marie de Fudernesio et abbati illius loci totam forestam meam de Fudernesio et Wagneiam, cum omni venacione que in eis est, et Daltofl nam, et omni dominicum meum infra Fudernesium, cum hominibus et omnibus el pertinentibus ; videlicet in bosco et in plano, in terra et in aquis ; et Olvestonam et Rogerum Bristoaldum cum suis, et piscariam meam de Lancastria, et Guarinuni parvum cum omni terra sua, et socum et sacum, et tollam et team, et infangene theof et quicquid infra Fudernesium continetur,preter terram Michaelis Flamengi; eo nimirum intuitu pariter et tenore, quatinus in loco predicto ordo monasticus ac regularis per divinam graciam teneatur. Quam donacionem ita solutam et ab omni calumpnia omnium mortalium quietam et liberam dono, sicut oblacionem Deo in odorem suavitatis, et sicut sacrificium nostrum quod Deo offerimus, saltim vespertinum. Signum + Stephani Comitis Bolonii et Moretonii : Signum Hugonis Campnauene : Signum Roberti + Greslati : Signum Oismelini + de Argentomaco : Signum Gaufridi + Buchel : Signum Rogeri + flu Ricardi : Signum Roberti + de Saccavile : Signum Robearti + de Archis.
" In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and in honor of St. Mary the mother of our Lord. I, Stephen, earl of Bologne and Moreton, providing and trusting in God for the safety of my soul, and that of my wife the countess Matilda, and the soul of my lord and uncle Henry, king of England and Duke of Normandy, and for the souls of all the faithful living and dead, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord eleven hundred and twenty-seven, fifth Indiction, and seventeenth Epact. Seeing daily the uncertainty of life, and that the roses and flowers of kings, emperors, and dukes, and the crowns and palms of all the great alike wither and decay, and all things with an unretarded step tends towards dissolution and death. I therefore return, give, and concede to God, and to the abbot of St. Mary of Furness, the whole of my forest of Furness and and Walney, with the right of hunting ; and Dalton and all my lordship of Furness, with the men and everything belonging to it, that is to say, in the woods and in the fields, in the land and in the water ; and Ulverston, with Roger Braith waite and all belonging to him ; and my fisheries in Lancaster and little Guaring, with all the land, and soc1 and sac,2 and toll3 and team4, and iufangenetheof,5 and everything contained within Furness, except the land of Michael Fleming, with the following object, and upon this condition, that in the before-mentioned place an order of regular monks, by Divine permission, be established. Which donation and gift is forever freely bestowed as an offering to God in his mercy, as our sacrifice that we make as an evening oblation. Signed, etc.
1 Soc, the administration of justice.
2 Sac, the power of fining vassals and tenants.
3 Toll, duty paid upon buying and selling.
4 Team, power to try villains and boudmen.
5 Infangenetlieof, trial of theft.