In other lands things did not on the whole go so well, and many causes at work during the later middle ages tended to bring about relaxation in the Benedictine houses; above all the vicious system of commendatory abbots, rife everywhere except in England.
An omophorion of the 11th or 12th century, with scenes from the Gospel in needlework, and a chalice of the 15th century with enamels, given by Cardinal Bessarion, the predecessor of Giuliano della Rovere as commendatory of the abbey, are among its treasures.
The extant works of Churchyard, exclusive of commendatory and occasional verses, include: - A lamentable and pitifull Description of the wofull warres in Flanders (1578); A general rehearsall of warres, called Churchyard's Choise (1579), really a completion of the Chippes, and containing, like it, a number of detached pieces; A light Bondel of livelie Discourses, called Churchyardes Charge (1580); The Worthines of Wales (1587), a valuable antiquarian work in prose and verse, anticipating Michael Drayton; Churchyard's Challenge (1593); A Musicall Consort of Heavenly harmonie ...
A commendatory letter from Erasmus gained him the good offices of Sir Thomas More.
There is reason to believe that in England a relatively good level was maintained throughout, thanks in great measure to the fact that the kings resolutely refused to allow the introduction of commendation - Wolsey was the first and last commendatory abbot in England.
He was born in Paris of a noble and influential family of Normandy; hence, being destined to the ecclesiastical state, he was when ten years old commendatory abbot of La Trappe and two other abbeys, prior of two priories, and canon of Notre Dame, Paris.