So called from its site (called also Deepden) in a great valley; the
principal lordship was, we find, at the time of the survey, in the abbey
of Ramsey, who held it in King Edward's reign. (fn. 1) —One freeman held
then of that monastery, half a carucate of land, 18 bordarers, half a
carucate, there were two carucates in demean, valued at 10s. and
Roger Bigot was infeoffed of this by the abbot.
Wulgiva, wife of Ailwin Duke of the East-Angles, gave this manor,
with Brancaster, &c. to the abbot of Ramsey on his founding the
said monastery in 969, and King Edgar, and Edward the Confessor
confirmed the said grant with many privileges, as may be seen in
Reinald, or Reginald, abbot, by his deed sans date, but in the
reign of Henry I. grants to Boseline and Alfnia his wife, the land of
Ulf, in Depedene (now called Depedale) on this condition, that they
become the abbot's liege people.
Reinaldus Dei gratia abbas Ramesiæ (fn. 2) præposito et homnibus de
Brancestre et omnibus vicinis Francis et Anglis salut.—Sciatis me dedisse
terram Ulf in Depedene (hodie Depedale) huic Boselino et uxori ejus
Alfniœ ita bene sicut homines de Brancestre illum testificant verum
habuisse, eâ conditione quod effecti sunt homines liges.
This shows that lords of manors had their lieges, who were bound
and sworn to pay allegiance to them.
The family of Brancestre seems to have held it of the abbot.
Herbert de Brancestre lived in the 34th of Henry III. and was succeeded by Ralph his son, and the bailiff of the abbot in the said reign
took a penny toll of every cart, or carriage, coming to or from Depedale, and Thomas de Brancastre held a quarter of a fee in this town
in the said reign.
Adam de Brancastre held it in the 3d of Edward I. and one of the
same name had the same tenure, (as appears from the inquisitions in
the 20th of Edward III.) which Thomas de Brancastre formerly held,
and Thomas de Brancastre held it in the 3d of Henry IV.
On the dissolution of monasteries, it came to the Crown, and King
Henry VIII. May 5th, in his 37th year, (in consideration of the
manor of Haynford, &c. conveyed by Sir Richard Southwell to the
King,) granted to Sir Richard the lordship of Brancaster-hall, with a
portion of tithes, belonging to Ramsey abbey, dated May 5th; and
in the 19th of Elizabeth, June 20th, Thomas Southwell of Horsham
St. Faith's, covenanted with Catherine Audley his sister, and Robert
her son, in things related to this manor, and Henry Southwell, son of
Sir Richard, was lord in the 12th of James I.
Another lordship in this town was possessed by Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk of that name, by a grant of the Conqueror, out of which Rochagana, who was lord of it in King Edward's
time, had been ejected, and Humphrey de Cuelai, held it under Bigot,
containing 1 carucate of land, 2 villains, 10 bordarers, 2 servi, 1
carucate in demean, and 2 amongst the tenants, or men, &c. valued
formerly at 20s. per ann. at the survey at 16s. (fn. 3)
In the 34th of Henry III. Ralph de Depedale passed, by fine, land,
here to Odo, son of Ede de Depedale; and in the 53d of that Kings
Roger de Toftes was patent in a fine, and Henry, son of William de
Depedale, was tenant of I carucate of land, in Depedale and Burnham,
with all the homages, rents, wards, &c. granted to Roger and his heirs,
paying to Henry for life 7l. per annum. This Roger had a quarter of
a knight's fee, and in the 55th of the said reign, the abbot of Ramsey
recovered a free tenement against Henry de Depedale, and Roger de
Toftes, of which they had unjustly disseized him, being possessed of
it for an 100 years past, by the gelt of the ancestors of Roger de
Toftes. In the 15th of Edward I. Roger de Toftes claimed free warren
in his demean lands here, and settled on Richard de Toftes this manor,
in the 33d of that King, by fine, who in the 17th of Edward II. held
it (as it is said) by the fourth part of a fee, of Sir John de Thorp; this
Richard settled by fine on Thomas de Chamberlayne, and Elizabeth
his wife, intail, this lordship, with 200 acres of land, 100 of marsh,
and 40s. in this town, Burnham Sutton, Westgate, Norton, Ulp, &c.
in the 2d of Edward III. which Roger de Ormesby and Alice his wife
held in dower, and Thomas Chamberlayn held it by a quarter of a fee
in the 20th of that King. After this, John, son of Simon Chamberlayn, and the daughters of the said Simon, conveyed it to John Leche
of Egmere, clerk.
Sir John de Vernon and Catherine his wife conveyed by fine, to
Sir Ralph de Pooley, Knt. Robert Aleyn of Stokesby, and Symon de
Bermere, this manor, with 2 carucates of land, 100 acres of marsh,
and 9s. rent here, &c. settled on Sir Ralph and his heirs; and John
de Holcham by his will, dated on the feast of St. Stephen, 1384, and
proved October 23d following, appears to die possessed of it. In the
14th of Henry 6th, Thomas Charles, Esq. and Alice his wife, passed it
by fine to George Holkham, with 200 acres of land, 200 of marsh, 40s.
per ann. in this town, Burnham Norton, Westgate, Sutton, Ulp, and
Thomas Shouldham, Esq. by his will, dated in 1467, gives it to
Margaret his wife for life, and afterwards to be sold. (fn. 4)
In the 33d of Henry VIII. John Finham, Esq. was found to die
possessed of it, as appears from the eschaet-rolls, and William Fincham
his grandson died lord in the 14th of Elizabeth. After this it was
possessed by Charles Cornwallis, Esq. who married the sister and
heir of William. This Charles Cornwallis was second son of Sir
Thomas Cornwallis, of Brome-hall, in Suffolk, privy counsellor to
In Trinity term, the 13th of James I. a fine was levied between Henry
Davy and Christopher Hyrne, plaintiffs, Henry Southwell deforciant
of the manors of Burnham Depedale, and that of Brancaster, Helmingham, and Morton, 20 messuages, 20 tofts, 1 windmill, 5 dove-houses,
20 gardens, 1000 acres of heath, 10 of alder, 40s. a rent, a free fishing, and liberty of 2 foldages, &c.; and on Monday, February 22d,
in the year 1617, it appears from the Council book, (fn. 5) that Sir Henry
Southwell, Knt gentleman of the privy chamber in ordinary, claimed
the rents of the manor of Depedale, retained from him by Sir Charles
Cornwaleys, and belonging to him.
After this it was purchased by Stephen Soame, Esq. who was a
knight, and Lord Mayor of London, in 1598, and John Soame, Esq.
was lord in 1656; from the Soames it came to John Harris, Esq. who
presented to the church in 1686, and Elizabeth Money in 1749.
Roger Bigot had also another manor held of him by Turstan, son
of Wido, consisting of one carucate of land; which 2 freemen owned,
in King Edward's reign, 10 bordarers, 1 carucate in demean, 1 amongst
the men, 2 parts of a mill, 5 acres of meadow, valued then at 8s. at
the survey at 18s. per annum; and in the same village 2 freemen had
half a carucate of land, with 2 bordarers, &c. valued at 2s. at the survey at 12d. And in Depedale, Turstan held of Bigot half a carucate,
which a freeman possessed, and 3 bordarers, with one carucate, valued
at 20s. at the survey at 10s.
Turstan seems to have been the ancestor of the family of De Creke,
lords of North Creke and of Depedale, from whom it came to the
Thorps, as may be there seen at large.
In the 35th of Edward I. Sir John de Thorp and his parceners
held in Creyk, Depedale, Quarles, &c. 13 fees of Roger Bigod Earl
of Norfolk, and in the 23d of Edward III. John, son of Sir Robert
de Thorp, was lord of this fee.
The tenths of this town were 45s.—Deducted 8s. 4d.—Lete fee to
the lord of the hundred, 2s. 1d.
The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and is a rectory valued at
11l.; the ancient valor was 10 marks, and in the patronage of the
abbot of Ramsey, and out of it the sacrist had a pension valued at 1
mark, the prior of Wymund a portion, valued at half a mark, and the
prior of Castleacre one, valued at 7s. in 1428. Peter-pence 12d.
There was a controversy between William, abbot of Ramsey, and
Godfrey the priest, concerning this church, terminated by Gilbert
Foliot Bishop of London, in the reign of Henry II. Godfrey pleading,
that one Sir Walter de Grisiomonte presented him, but he publickly before the Bishop acknowledged the right to be for ever in the abbey;
and resigned all his right therein, to the abbot.
The church has a nave, a north isle, and a chancel covered with
lead; in a window the arms of Calthorp, impaling gules, three cups
argent, Argenton. Here is an old font, standing on five pillasters, a
round tower, with one bell.
Geffcou, rector in the reign of Henry II. presented by William,
abbot of Ramsey, and the convent.
1305, John de Sautre. Ditto.
1316, Mr. John le Moigne. Ditto.
1318, Mr. William de Ramsey, presented by William, abbot, &c.
1324, John de Wycheford. Ditto.
William de Bladington.
1344, Nicholas Dockyng. Ditto.
1349, Thomas de Trypelowe, by the King in the vacancy of the
1364, John Toke. Ditto.
1385, Richard Atte Cherch. Ditto.
1397, Peter Baker. Ditto.
1398, Richard Locksmith, presented by Ditto.
1401, John Blake. Ditto.
1411, Nicholas Trych, alias Geddying. Ditto.
1424, Richard Ferrour. Ditto.
1445, William Aslak. Ditto.
1465, William Lewes. Ditto.
1488, William Wilby. Ditto.
1496, Thomas Doget.
1500, William Reede. Ditto.
1505, Thomas Bell. Ditto.
1541, John Palmer, by the King.
1549, John Gibson, by Sir Richard Southwell.
1554 Nicholas Pedder. (fn. 6) Ditto.
1578, George Page, by Henry Gunthorp, hac vice.
1603, George Byrton, by Thomas Southwell, Esq.
1610, John Boston, by William Armiger of North Creik
1656, Robert Roystan, by Sir William Palmer, Knt. (fn. 7)
1671, John Scambler, by the guardian of John Soame, Esq.
1672, Henry Spurling. Ditto.
1686, Thomas Groome, by John Harris.
1749, Humphrey Christian, on Groome's death, by Elizabeth Money.
Simon Bishop of Norwich, 1265, confirmed to the monks of Castleacre, two parts of the tithes of demean of William Fitz Henry in this