Religion: Tickford Priory

Celestial Insurance: paying for an easy passage to Heaven.

Patrons of monasteries were hard-headed, powerful men. A gift to a monastery was seen as a shrewd investment. Monks and nuns were seen as having a direct line of communication with God and would regularly pray for their benefactors, who through the monks' mediation, would eventually pass through purgatory and be able to reach heaven. Philip de Cohaines (Keynes), as Lord of the Manor in Willen, gave Willen church to Tickford Priory in 1154. The tithes collected in the village would then go to the Priory and the Priory had the advowson, which meant that they appointed the vicar.
Here is a copy of a charter produced (in latin) on behalf of Gevase Paynell in which he donates his land at Chicheley to Tickford Priory in around 1187 with the purpose of ensuring that the souls of him and his family went to heaven when they died. Most of the Witnesses are local men, either land holders themselves or their officials.
Gervase Paynel to all his men and friends both present and to come, greeting. Know that I have given and granted and by this my present charter have confirmed all my land at Chicheley with all its appurtenances, that land namely which William Paynel held from me in Chicheley, by the consent and wish of my wife the Countess Isabel, to God and to the Church of the Blessed Mary of Newport and to the monks of Marmoutier there serving God, for the salvation of my soul and for the souls of my father and mother and of my wife the Countess Isabel and of all my antecessors, as a pure and perpetual alms free and quit of all temporal demand and service. But I and my heirs will warrant that land and alms against all men and completely, and if we shall not be able to warrant, we will give to the monks aforesaid equivalent exchange. These being witnesses

Isabel the Countess my wife, Fulk Paynel, Michael son of Osbert, William his brother, William son of Guy, Alan de Withacre, Payn de Emberton, Roger de Hageleia, Godwin the steward, Peter son of Adam, Simon the Chaplain, Henry the clerk of Aston, Walter the clerk, William de Lovente, William of the stable, and many others.

Sketch of Gervase Pagnell by Shiela Sancha courtesy of MK Parks Trust