Glimpses of the inner life of the priory are given in the Archbishop’s registers at York, which show how close and searching were the visitations by the Archbishop in person or his commissioners, and one of the documents throws light on the sad necessity for these inspections. It deals with Archbishop Wickwaine’s visit in 1280, and we find that the canons are censured for many short-comings. They were not to go outside the cloister after compline (the last service of the day) on the pretext of visiting guests. They were not to keep expensive schools for rich or poor, unless with special sanction. They were to turn out of the infirmary and punish the persons lying there who were only pretending to be ill, and the really sick were to be more kindly treated. There had evidently been discrimination in the quality of food served out to certain persons in the frater; but this was to be stopped, and food of one kind was to be divided equally. A more strict silence was to be kept in the cloister, and no one was to refrain from joining in the praises of God whilst in the choir. There seems to have been much improper conversation among the canons, for they are specially adjured in Christ to abstain from repeating immoral stories. Some of the canons who had made themselves notorious for quarrelling and caballing were to be debarred from promotion, and were commended to the Prior and Subprior for punishment.
In 1309 Simon Constable, a refractory canon of Bridlington, was sent to Guisborough to undergo a course of penance, change of residence being always considered to give an excellent opportunity for thorough reform. However, in this case no good seems to have resulted, for about five years later he was sent back to Bridlington with a worse character than before, and, besides much prayer and humiliation, he was to receive a disciplina every Friday at the hands of the Prior. This made no improvement in his conduct, for in 1321 his behaviour brought him another penance and still greater severity. A few years after this the Archbishop seems to have reproached the community for the conduct of this unruly brother, which was scarcely fair. The last vision of Simon Constable shows him to be as impenitent as ever, and the Archbishop makes the awful threat that, if he does not reform at once, he will be put in a more confined place than he has ever been in before! Can this suggest that the wicked canon was to be bricked up alive?