An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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LITTLE-HERLING, now called MIDDLE-HERLING,
Because it lies in the midst, between West and East-Herling, was held by Ulchetell a Dane, in the Confessor's days, and by Anschitell his descendant, (or son, as the name intimates,) in the Conqueror's; (fn. 1) the whole contained 4 carucates of land, whereof two were in demean; it was in Kenninghall soken, and worth at first 6l. then raised to 7l. but fell again to 5l. The part in West-Herling which belonged to the Furneaux family, and after became Berdewell's manor, was valued into the 4 carucates at half a fee, all which were held in capite, by Alan Earl of Richmond, (of whom Ulketell held it,) as part of his honour, at a whole fee; this and West-Herling, which was measured and taxed with it, was a league and a half long, and a league broad, and paid 27d. geld, out of every 20s. raised in the hundred.
This manor was infeoffed in the Furneaux family, by the Earl of Richmond, along with Bergham, of both which Sir Jeffery de Furneaux, Knt. was lord about 1180, and had his chief seat at Bergham in Cambridgeshire; he had Robert, Jeffery, and Ralf; Sir Robert de Furnell, the eldest, was a knight in 1219, and lord of Bergham, of whom Jeffery his brother held Herling, as of the manor of Bergham, it being given him by Sir Jeffery his father, and he was the first of the family that setted here. His eldest brother, Sir Robert, married Alice, by whom he had Sir Michael de Furneaux, Knt. whose wife Alice was buried in the church of the canons of the Holy Sepulchre at Thetford. Their son, Sir Simon de Furneaux, in 1281, had a market and fair granted to his manor of Berkham, or Bergham, where he resided, and free-warren in Bergham, Linton, in Cambridgeshire, and Swanyngton in Norfolk; and some time before this, he was licensed to grant a messuage and lands in Bergham, to the prior and brethren of the Holy Cross at Bergham. He was lord of Pelham Furneaux, (fn. 2) and married Alice, one of the sisters and coheiresses of Miles, son of Philip de Hastyngs; her sister Elizabeth married Giles Revel; and Margery, Roger le Botilere. Sir Simon left only one daughter, married to John de Lee, in King Edward the First's time, in whom the eldest branch of this family extinguished: wherefore we must now return to
Sir Jeffry de Furnaus, Knt. lord of Herling, whose wife Amy was buried in the church of the canons at Thetford, (fn. 3) to which house, he gave the ninth sheaf of all his demeans in Bircham and Herling, with a messuage and 12 acres of land adjoining, with commonage in the marsh, and shackage in the field, with Amy his wife, who devoted herself, both living and dead, to that house; and his son and grandson confirmed these grants. Their temporals here (fn. 4) were taxed at 2s. but their spirituals (fn. 5) were never taxed, for they always received a composition of 23s. 4d. a year, instead of the sheafs in kind. He left two sons, Richard the youngest, and
Sir John de Furneaux, his son and heir, who became lord in 1286, at his grandfather's death; he granted his manors of Aynderby, and Wythestepell in Yorkshire, with their advowsons, to Jeffry le Scroop, and Juetta his wife, and Henry their son, and his heirs, to be held by the payment of a red rose every Midsummer Day, for 20 years after the grant, and then by the payment of 40l. a year, to the said John and his heirs. He married Mary, daughter of Nic. de Twynsted, she being then a widow; he was buried by his father and grandfather, in the church of the canons of Thetford, leaving one son and two daughters; Anne, who became a professed nun at Thetford, in 1843; Elizabeth, married to John de Berdewell, with whom he gave the manor in West-Herling, afterwards called Berdewell's, to be held of Richmond honour at half a fee, which till this time was part of this manor.
Sir John Furneaux, junior, Knt. his son and heir, was a ward of Sir Will, Le-Vaux, who sold his wardship to William Le-Bustelere, and Thomas, his son, who kept court here as guardians: in 1320, Sir John, and Isabel, his first wife, kept court; and in 1348, he settled the manor and advowson on Sir John de Gonvile, rector of East-Herling, and Peter de Newton, rector of Brom, in trust for Elizabeth, his second wife, who died before him, and he married Amy, his third wife, who outlived him, and married Rob. Denney in 1384, in which year they held their first court for the third part of the manor and advowson, which she held in dower, and in 1430, they let it for 8 marks. By his first wife he had a son and one daughter, viz.
John de Furneaux, whom John Duke of Lancaster and Earl of Richmond, the King's son, seized, together with Elizabeth his sister, as his wards, by reason of his manor of Bergham in Cambridgeshire, of which Midle-Herling was held, as of Richmond honour, and soon after he granted their wardships and marriage to Hugh de Cliderhowe, who, in 1361, granted them to John de Herlyng, by deed dated at Bergham; this John died a minor this year, and Sir John de Herlyng kept his first court by grant of the Earl of Richmond.
Elizabeth Furneaux, sole heiress, married first to Thomas Crabbe, whose widow she was in 1401, in which year she settled this manor and advowson, with the reversion of Kymberlee manor, after the death of Margaret, late wife of Tho. Fastolf, Knt. on Sir Thomas Erpyngham, Knt. Tho. Halis of Crongethorp, John Poit, rector of East Herling, and William Garlond, chaplain there, to her use for life, and her heirs in tail; after which she married William Sandham of Kimberlee, who sold Kimberlee without her consent, though she give him Herling for life. Her will is dated in 1415. By her first husband she had two sons, John and William, who, in 1424, sued William Berdewell, Esq. for the manor, but Sir Tho. Erpingham proving that he and other feoffees had seizin of it, to the use of Eliz. Crabbe, his mother, for life, and then to John Crabbe, her son, and his heirs, it was confirmed to William Berdewell and his heirs.
John Crabbe, the eldest son, died long before his mother, leaving
only one daughter,
Eleanor, who married William Berdewell, (fn. 6) Esq. of West-Herling, in whose right he had the manor and advowson, all the feoffees releasing their rights in 1433, when they settled it on him and his wife and William their son and his heirs; from which time it hath continued joined to West-Herling, as it now remains.
The Church was dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, being always appendant to the manor; it was a rectory valued at 5 marks at the Norwich taxation. It is in Rockland deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry, and still pays 1s. synodals, and 2s. 4d. archdeacon's procurations; it paid 35s. 4d. tenths, and is valued now  with WestHerling to the land tax, there being 4 houses and about 30 inhabitants. The churchyard is now glebe; the church remained in use till 1543, and then it was entirely taken down, so that the foundations only are now visible, it stood by the lane's side, in the close going to West-Herling church. Here was a Gild dedicated to St. Andrew, to which, in 1504, Tho. Lulpek was a benefactor.
In 1321, Sir John de Furneaux Knt. in open court, enjoined all the tenants of the manor, under the penalty of 12d. for every default, to dig a St. Andrew's cross on each piece of their land, when they sowed it, to avoid all disputes between the rectors of West and MiddleHerling.
In 1344, the lord held a tenement and 9 acres freehold, of the Prior of the canons of the Holy Sepulchre, at Thetford, by the rent of 12d. a year, all which Amy Waterhenne held of the lord, by paying the prior his rent, and 1d. a year to the lord.
Robert Gildeuselve died in 1444, and gave a messuage called Purdye's at Middle-Herling Green, and 9 acres of land, 4 acres and an half lying at Dedmore, and 4 acres and an half at Blowlond, to the inhabitants of Middle-Herling for ever, who, in 1556, brought their deeds into court, and proved that on April the 13th, 1547, Henry Cooper, then feoffee, made a new feoffment of Gildensleves, to the use of the inhabitants, it being freehold, held of Berdewelle's manor in West-Herling, by suit of court, and the rent of 6d. a year and one capon.