An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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Ralph de Beaufoe had a grant of this town, of which Aldulf, a freeman, was deprived; and Odar, at the survey held it under; 2 carucates belonged to it, with 7 villains and 8 borderers, and 3 servi, one carucate in demean, and 3 among the tenants, &c. with 10 acres of meadow, paunage for 3 swine, one runcus, 2 cows, &c. 180 sheep, and 60 goats. Two socmen had half a carucate, and there was a church endowed with 8 acres, valued at 16d. In King Edward the First's time, the whole was valued at 40s. at the survey at 50s.; it was one leuca long, and half a leuca broad, and paid 8d. 3 farthings gelt; the King and the Earl had the soc. (fn. 1)
The Draytons probably descended from Odarus abovementioned; from the Draitons it came to the Bellomonts. William de Bellomont was living in the 4th of King John, and witness to the foundation deed of Mountjoy priory, in that reign, and was father of William, by Alice his wife, daughter and coheir (as I take it) of William de Draiton, which Alice married first, Gervase de Bradfield, who was lord in the 14th of Henry III.
In the 15th of this King, the said Geffrey, John de Crek, and Ralph Berners, brought a writ of right against the abbot of Bury, for the lordships of Semere, Groten, &c. in Suffolk, on which a duel was fought, and the abbot's champion was overcome.
Their claim was from Nesta de Cockfeld, who dying s. p. her three aunts were found to be her heirs; Alice, married to William de Bellomonte; —, to Robert de Crek, and Beatrix, to Ralph Berner. Godfrey dying s. p. in the 21st of the said King, lord of Assington, Trimley, the 3d part of Semere and Groten, and of Bokebroke in Suffolk, &c. Sir John de Bellomonte was found to be his brother and heir, who was lord in the 25th of that reign, and left by Alice his wife, a son and heir, Richard de Bellomonte, who was lord in the 27th: but in the 33d, Alice, widow of Sir John, conveyed this lordship to Walter de Langton Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry, (her interest herein for life being excepted,) as did her son Richard by fine, for 100l.
On the death of this prelate, in the 15th of Edward II. it was found that he held this lordship, and that of Taverham, of the honour of Hokering, by 2 fees, paying 7s. 6d. per ann. and valued at 20l. 11s. per ann.
Among the many that he possessed, I find also those of Wendy, Everton, and Coldham in Cambridgeshire;—Carleby in Lincolnshire; Grene and Chetwin in Shropshire;—Ashley and Botleagh in Northamptonshire;—Overton and Offord Daneys in Huntingdonshire;— Edworth in Bedfordshire, and Stretton in Staffordshire.
I have seen an old pedigree, wherein he is said to have descended from —de Langton, who had lands at Eversden in Cambridgeshire, who married Wymara, daughter of Hugh de Berners, (who lived in the time of the Conqueror) and had by her Stephen de Langton, who was father of Simon de Langton, Archdeacon of Canterbury, of Stephen de Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and cardinal in the reign of King John, and of Roger de Langton, which Roger was father of Robert de Langton, of Eversdon, and from whom descended this Walter Bishop of Litchfield, who was his grandson.
By the escheat rolls, in the 5th of Edward III. Edmund was found to die seized of this manor, containing 312 acres of land, 8 of meadow, 2 parts of a windmill, and John was his son and heir, by Elizabeth his wife, who dying s. p. Margaret his sister and heir, brought it by marriage, to Sir William de la Pole, son and heir of Sir Richard, by Hellen his wife, and Sir John was his son and heir.
Sir William and Margaret his wife, held this lordship, with those of Aspale, Debenham, Grimston, Trimley, and Assington, in Suffolk, in the 26th of Edward III. and in the said year, settled on Sir William his uncle, 4 marks annuity, out of this lordship, and that of Creshale in Essex; and in the 36th on Sir John Mowbray, the manor of Ashby-Davy, in Northamptonshire, and on John Lord Cobham, an annuity out of his manors of Sything in Norfolk, and of Grimston in Suffolk.
In the said year there was an agreement between him and the said lord, that his son, John, should marry Joan, daughter and heir of the Lord Cobham, and that he would settle in lands or rents 100l. per ann. on them.
In the 3d of Richard II. she was the wife of Sir Robert Hemenhale; in the 3d of Henry IV. of Sir Reginald Braybrook; and in the 9th of that King, of Sir Nicholas Hawbeke, and of Sir John Oldcastle, in the first of Henry V.
But part of this lordship was alienated probably about the end of Edward III. by Sir John de la Pole, in the 19th of Richard II. John Gourney, and Alice his wife, conveying it, with the advowson, to John Winter and his heirs, by fine, which Joan, wife of Sir John de Seaton, held for life; yet in 1398, and 1491, John Gurnay presented (as lord) to this church.
John de la Pole Duke of Suffolk was lord in 1480, and presented. In this family it continued, till forfeited to the Crown, on the death of Edmund de la Pole Earl of Suffolk, who was beheaded in 1513, April 30, though his widow had an interest in it for life, and was granted by King Henry VIII. to his great favourite, Charles Brandon, created Duke of Suffolk, on whose death, escheating to the Crown, it was granted April 11, in the 4th of Edward VI. to Thomas Thirlby Bishop of Norwich, and his successours; the Bishop of Norwich being the present lord and patron.
In the chancel a gravestone, In memory of Barbara, eldest daughter of Thomas Jegon, D.D. master of Corpus Christi college, in Cambridge, arch-deacon and prebendary of Norwich, wife of John Tayler rector of this church, who departed, &c. July 25, 1652.
On the pedestal of the cross in this town, is an inscription in French, now through time almost quite defaced, setting forth a pardon to all who would pray for the souls of William de Bellomonte and Joan his wife: