Hundred of Diss


Institute of Historical Research



Francis Blomefield

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'Hundred of Diss: Burston', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 1 (1805), pp. 125-130. URL: Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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The Church and Gild here were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; it was a rectory (fn. 1) appropriated by John of Oxford, Bishop of Norwich, to Butley priory, (fn. 2) who were patrons, it being given them by King Henry I at their founder's request, before he gave the manor to the Fitz-Walters. In 1293, their temporals were taxed at 26s 6d. and their spirituals at 17l. 6s. 8d. The impropriation was confirmed by the archbishop, and the vicar had a pension of 26s. 8d. payable by the prior, out of the great tithes, all which were afterwards disappropriated, by the prior and convent's resigning up the church and tithes, and presenting a rector. In 1510, upon Drayles's institution, a pension of 40s. per annum was reserved to the prior out of the rectory. The lands that belonged to the priory were granted by Queen Elizabeth to different persons, some to Edward Dyer, Hugh Cressiner, and others.

King's Books.Tenths.Synodals.Archd. Procur.Acres Glebe.
16001120024077ob. 7400

Rectors and Vicars.

Wybart, rector: sans date.

1299, 2 kal. Mar. The rectory was void, and a sequestration granted to Adam de Cokefield, (fn. 3) who was presented to it, with this clause, that the bishop might recall it when he pleased.

1304, 5 ides June, Richard de Schadenfield, priest, was instituted to the vicarage, with certain portions newly assigned by the Bishop, at the presentation of the Prior of Butley, who presented the following vicars:

1314, 11 kal. July, Alan de Bedyngtone, priest.

1325, 15 kal. July, Robert, called Baldewyne, priest. He resigned in

1331, id. Dec. and Richard de Botone, priest, succeeded.

1349, 2 July, Walter Stannard de Diss, priest.

1349, 28 July, John Mortimer, priest.

1351, 14 Octob. Robert Mast of West Lexham, priest.

1401, 22 Jan. John Cok, priest.

1408, 9 Septem. Richard Bailly, priest.

1424, 26 June, William Balle, priest.

1432, 2 Dec. William Smythe, by lapse; and the year following the 16th of April, the prior resigned the impropriation; and in

1433, (fn. 4) 18 Apr. Robert Syre, priest, was instituted to the rectory, saving to William Smyth his right as vicar; Syre held the rectory single to 1436, and then resigned, and the prior presented Smyth to the rectory, from which time it hath continued a rectory to this day. The prior presented the following rectors:

Richard Goneld, who resigned in

1453, 20 Dec. and Adam Bulman succeeded.

1457, 24 Mar. John Bukke, chaplain.

1466, 1 May, William Keene, (fn. 5) at Bukk's death.

John Drayles succeeded, on whose death, in

1510, 31 Aug. Walter Terald, or Tirrell, was instituted; on his death, in

1546, 20 Aug. Ralph Pyllyng, chaplain, was presented by Thomas Mildmay, Esq. one of the King's Auditors, who had this turn from Nicholas Arrowsmith, Esq. who had it by grant from the prior, before the house was dissolved.

1550, 24 May, John Deane, (fn. 6) or Deen, priest, presented by King Edward VI. from which time the following rectors have been presented by the Crown, in which the patronage now remains.

1564, 27 May, John Hilton, priest.

1589, 21 May, Henry Wiseman; he died, and

1626, 12 March, Hugh More, A. M. was instituted, being ordained priest this year, Jan. 12, by Theophilus Bishop of Llandaff; he subscribed Aug. 16, 1662, having held it the whole time of the rebellion.

1674, 9 May, John Rand, A. B.

1706, 9 May, the Rev. Mr. Joseph Henchman, the present [1736] rector, at Mr. Rand's death.

The Church is small, and is leaded; the south porch and chancel are tiled; the steeple is round at bottom, and octangular at top, having five bells, on one of which is this:

Quœsumus, Andrea, Famulorum suscipe vota.

Here are no memorials, save a black marble in the church, for "Francis Alpe, Gent, who died July the 15th, 1670, aged 86 years."

And in the yard, at the east end of the chancel, a grave-post much decayed, for

"Hugh Moore, late Rector;" by which it appears that he was a Scotchman, though it is now almost illegible.

In 1475, Reginald Smethe, chaplain, was buried in this church, and gave 40s. to peynte a candle beme therein. (fn. 7)

Burston at first (fn. 8) was in three parts, though the whole was held of Robert Mallet, lord of the honour of Eye, successour of Edric, under whom Aculf, a freeman, had one part in the Confessor's time, which in the Conqueror's was held by Walter, who now had another part, which Moithar held in King Edward's days. The third part was Leofric of Torendun's, which the Conqueror gave to his Queen, she to Robert Mallet, and he to his mother, who now had it: the whole town then was two miles long, and one mile broad, and paid 12d. to the Geld.

These parcels soon after became two manors, one called Brockdish Hall, from a family of that name; the other Meauling's Hall, from Peter de Meauling, or Melding, lord thereof, and now by corruption Milding Hall, both being always held of Eye honour.

The manor of Brockdish Hall

Was given by King Henry I. to the Fitz-Walters, from whom it went very early to

Geffry de Brokedish, from him to his son

William, who left it to

Thomas, his son; and he to

Reginald; and he to his son,

Sir Stephen de Brokedysh, whose heir enjoyed it in 1327. This Stephen purchased lands to this manor, of Ernold de Monteney, and had view of frankpledge allowed him in 1286, and assize of bread and beer.

Stephen, son and heir of Sir Stephen, purchased divers lands and tenements, to be held at 10s. per annum rent, lying in Burston, Thelveton, and Brisingham, to be held of Hugh de Vere, and Dionise his wife; Gilbert Prior of Butley gave him 3 acres of land for life, (fn. 9) parcel of that land which Alfwet Cnot, and William, son of Edmer, gave to that convent, viz. the whole tenement that Wybart, the parson of Burston, held of them and their ancestors anno 1307; he left

Reginald his son and heir. In 1380, William Ufford Earl of Suffolk, as lord of Eye honour, claimed the fines and amerciaments of his tenants in Burston and elsewhere, in the half hundred of Diss, where Walter le Fitz-Wauter of Wodeham was lord, as being the capital lord of whom this manor was held. I cannot find how it went from the Brockdish family; but it was in the

Boylands, from whom it passed by Maud, the heiress of that family, to

John Lancaster of Brisingham, and went (fn. 10) as Boyland Hall, till about 1500, when it was aliened to

Sir John Sharpe, Knt. who, in 1514, obtained license to alien it to

Will. Tyler, or Tylot, and his heirs, to be held as formerly, by the service of a red rose yearly, payable to the Duke of Suffolk, to his honour of Eye. In 1518, this Sir John Sharpe, Kt. and Wm. Tyler, Knt. &c. lords of Brockdish Hall, and John Millegate, Prior of the priory of the holy Virgin, and St. James the Apostle of Old Bokenham, and the convent there, lords of the manor of Meldynghall, agreed to divide the two manors, which having for a long time been farmed together, were now so intermixed, that they knew not their separate rights; wherefore they got two books in indented bindings, the one having the convent seal affixed thereto, and the other the seals of the two knights, &c. in these the division was entered, and the one was delivered to the prior, and the other to Sir John Sharpe, &c. which is now among the evidences of the manor, from which I collected, that Meldyng Hall abuts on Knot's Lane north; the demeans were about 137 acres, copyhold held of it 439 acres, the quitrents about 18l. per annum. Brokedysh Hall abuts upon Northgate Green north, and was then, with 13 acres adjoining, copyhold; this manor was about half the value of Meldyng Hall, John Mellegate, prior, Tho. Beverly, sub-prior, and Tho. Browne, sacrist, signed it. Brockdish Hall paid then 10s. per annum freerent to Winfarthing: it appears that

Robert Browne was cousin and heir to Sir John Sharpe, from whom it came to the

Pettuses, and from them to Bolton, and from Bolton to

Thomas Proctor, senior, clerk, whose kinswoman and heiress married to

John Buxton of St. Margaret's, who finding no license for the alienation from Bolton to Proctor, was forced to get a royal pardon, (fn. 11) from which time both these manors have been in that family, Elizabeth Buxton, a minor, being now lady [1736.]

Melding Hall manor

Was purchased by Sir Peter de Meauling, or Melding, of King Henry I. to be held by this serjeantry of service, that the owner of it should always sell the beasts taken in Norfolk or Suffolk for the King's debts; it was then valued at 8l. per annum.

William, his son, had it next; and after him

Peter, his son, who owned it in 1226; and in 1249 sold it to

Sir Robert du Bois of Fersfield, reserving a rent of 4l. and the service of a quarter of knight's fee, the whole of which he gave with his sister in marriage to Reginald de Nuttun; for which alienation the King seized the serjeantry, which was taken off this manor when it was sold, and laid on Meling manor in Suffolk, according to a feoffment made by this Peter de Meling to Laurence de Meling; but he gave them the value in exchange. Sir Robert du Bois, senior, left it to

Sir Robert his son, (fn. 12) who gave it to

John de Bosco, his brother, who, in 1286 had weif here; but before 1308 it was again in Sir Robert de Bois and Christian his wife, who afterwards settled it on

Sir William Carbonel, Knt. her son, (this Christian being widow of Sir John Carbonel, Knt. when Sir Robert married her,) who was lord in 1315; and in 1397,

Robert Carbonel, Knt. and Margery his wife, had it, and John was his son and heir, 14 years old; Robert died seized this year, on the 24th of Sept. to which Mr. Le Neve's Collections agree, though he says it had been out of the Carbonel family in that time, and was the inheritance of

Sir Robert de Caston, and descended to Margery, wife of Sir Robert Carbonel, and Mary, wife of Sir William Fastolf; however it was,

John Carbonel, son of Sir Robert, inherited, who gave it to

Sir Roger Swillington of Ditchingham, and Joan his wife; he died seized of this and Old Hall manor, in Swillington in Yorkshire, and soon after his wife died also, upon which, the King received the homage of

Robert de Swillington, brother and special heir of John, according to the form of the gift made to Roger. Some time after it came to

Sir John Swillington, Knt. at whose death it was divided; and in 1424,

Sir John Graa, Knt. had two parts of the manor, in right of Margaret his wife, sister of Sir John Swillington; all which was mortgaged to Thomas Murstede, Esq. for 200 marks. From this time to 1454 I know nothing of it; but in that year

Sir Andrew Ogard, Knt. died without issue, seized of this manor of Melding Hall; and it looks as if he gave it to

Bokenham Priory; for it appears from the Book of Accompts of that house, that this manor belonged to it, and in 1479 was let at 15l. 10s. at which time the prior hired the other manor, at 5l. 10s. per annum, and let them together; and from this time it continued in the convent till its dissolution, and then went to the

Crown, and being afterwards granted off, it belonged in 1570, to

Francis Boulton; and in 1573 it came by exchange to

Thomas and Michael Heneage; and after that, having passed through divers families, though but with small continuance in any of them, it came to the

Buxtons, and was then joined to the other manor.

Mr. Le Neve says, there was a manor here, (which was this, as I take it,) that all along attended the fate of the Albanies of Bokenham castle, from whom it came to the Orrebys; John of that sirname had it in 1315; from thence to the Cailys, and so to the Cliftons, and was settled by Sir John Clifton, Knt. in 1447, by his will, on Joan his wife, and her heirs, whose daughter Margaret married Sir Andrew Ogard, Knt. of the Rye in Hertfordshire, who died seized as aforesaid.

This might be held of them as capital lords, under Eye honour, till the whole fee came to Sir Andrew, about 1450, whether by marriage, purchase, or descent, I cannot learn. The ancient family of Burston of Burston, bears,

Here is 10s. a year given to the poor, payable out of Mr. Alpe Ward's farm, and was given by one of the Alpes, and also two townhouses.

In 1603, here were 80 communicants, and now [1736] there are 48 dwelling-houses, and about 250 inhabitants.

The old tenth was 2l. 12s. The valuation at the association, was 780l. and that to the King's tax is 528l. per annum.

The Commons are Pound Green, Church Green, and Burston or Northgate Green, where they common solely.

The Custom of the Manor is to the eldest son, and the fine at the lord's will.

The Leet belongs to the hundred, to which it pays 2s. leet fee.


1 Regr. Butley, fo. 55.
2 "Prior de Buttelee habet eam in proprios usus, habet mansum cum 50 acris terre, estimatio ejusdem cum vicaria xxvi. marc. Vicarius habet alteragium suum, cum 2 acris terre. It is the same in the Norwich and Lincoln taxations. There is a rectory - house here.
3 He was instituted to Naulton in Suff. 7 Apr. 1300.
4 Regr. ix. fo. 61.
5 In his will, dated and proved 1472, he desired to be buried in Cretingham chancel, in Suffolk. (Registr. Gelour fo. 16.)
6 He was rector of Great St. Bartholomews, London, in 1555, prebendary of Carlton in the church of Lincoln; his name occurs in Newcourt's Repertorium, vol. i. fo. 295.
7 Regr. Gelour.
8 Norf. Rex. Dice dim. hund. (Domes. fo. 10.)
Watlingeseta (manor had) In Borstuna vi. soc. de xl. acr. tre. et semp. i. bord. tunc i. car. et dim. post et m° i. et ii. acr. prati.
Terre Regis quam Godricus servat, Dice dim. Hund.
Wineferthinc (manor had) In Bors tuna iiii liberi homines Algari T. R. E. commendati tantum de xl. acr. de ter. et j. bor. semp. i. car. et iii. acr. prati.
Fersevella (had) In Borstuna i. beruiuita de i. car. tre. pretinens in Fersevella semper ii. villi. et i. bord. tunc dim. car. in dnio. post nichil mo dimid. (fo. 38.)
In Borstuna xi. libi. homines Alsi T. R. E. de xxx. acr. tre. semp. i. car. et i, acr. prati. (fo. 39.)
All these manors extended into Burston, the capital manors of which are thus described. Domes. fo. 77.
Terre Roberti Malet Dice dim. Hund. In Borstuna tenet Galterus quam tenuit Aculfus, liber homo Edrici commend. tantum xxvi. acr. et ii. bor. semper i. carruca, et ii. acr. prati et i. soc. de ii. acr. terr. Semp. val. viij.s.
In Borstuna tenuit Moithar, Eber homo Edrici. xxx. acr. terre. iiii. bord. tunc i. car. in dnio. modo dimid. in eadem iiii. liberi homines sub eodem. de xxvi. acr. terre semper dim. car. et ii. acr. prati tunc et post val. viij.s. modo xv.
In Borstuna i. liber homo Lefrici de Torenduna comend. xx. acr. modo tenet R. Malet ex dono Regine semp. ii. bord. et sub eo i. lib. vi. acr. semp. dim. car. semp. val. iii. sol. et modo tenet mater Roberti Malet. (fol 78.)
Borstuna habet viij. quart. in longo, et iiii. in lato, et de Gelto xij. d. (fol. 39.)
9 Regr. Butley.
10 See Boyland manor in Brisingham, fol. 57.
11 See Shimpling, and Hewode Hall manor in Diss.
12 See Fersfield, fol. 77.