An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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Robert Malet, baron of Eye in Suffolk, had a grant of this town, for his eminent services to the Conqueror, on the deprivation of Edric, lord of it in King Edward's reign, when there were 2 carucates and an half, 5 villains, 5 borderers, 2 carucates in demean; one amongst the tenants, and 4 acres of meadow, and paunage for 160 swine; with one mill, one rounce and 3 cows.
Here were also 30 sheep, 15 skeps of bees; twenty two socmen also held a carucate of land, and 2 acres of meadow, and there was a carucate and half of meadow: of two of these socmen the King and the Earl had the soc, and the forfeiture of 6 others valued then at 3l. at the survey at 110s. it was one leuca and an half long, and paid 17½d. gelt. (fn. 1)
Robert Lord Malet enfeoffed one of his knights (Walter de Cadomo, (fn. 2) who attended him into England at the Conquest) of this lordship, which was called the barony of Horseford, to be held of the honour of Eye; and here this Walter built a castle, whose ruins, Camden says in his Britannia, were then overgrown with bushes and briars, and laid a large park or chase round it, in some deeds called the forest of Horseford.
Robert son of Walter, married Sybilla, daughter and heiress of Ralph de Cheyney, and is often called Robert Filz Walter, and was founder of Horsham priory; by her he had three sons, who assumed the name of De Cheyney; Roger, (fn. 3) who died s. p.; John, called the vicecomes, or sheriff, who died without issue male, and William de Cheyney who was lord of Horsford, living in the 2d year of Henry II. and sheriff of Norfolk, sometimes called William de Norwich.
King Stephen granted to him the hundred and half of Fourhow, with the manor of Hingham, and the hundred of Taverham, in exchange for Moleham, &c. and King Henry II. gave him the lordship of Bliburgh, by charter, dated at Lincoln;—witnesses, II. Bishop of Durham, chancellor, R. Archbishop of York, R. Bishop of Lincoln. He was founder of Sibton abbey in Suffolk, and left by Gilla, his wife, three daughters and coheirs.
Margaret, married to Hugh de Cressi;—Clementia, to Jordan de Sackvile, and Sara, to Richard de Engaine; and on a division of their inheritance, this came to Hugh de Cressi, who in the 21st of Henry II. was (with Ralph de Granvile) a justice itinerant, and settled the tallages of the royal demeans. (fn. 4)
Margaret had by Hugh, a son, Roger de Cressi, who in the first of King John, married Isabel, (fn. 5) youngest daughter and coheir of Robert de Rye, with whom he had 17 fees and an half, and the moiety of the barony of Rye. He was in the barons wars against King John, and that king gave his lands in this county, and Suffolk, to Robert de Ferrarijs, but were restored by King Henry III. he had 2 sons by Isabel; Hugh de Cressi, the eldest, who paid a relief of 100l. for his lands, about the 30th of Henry III. and died in the 47th of that King, and in the following year it appears that Isabel was dead; and that Oliva her sister was to have certain lands delivered to her, on condition that Ermentrude, widow of Sir Stephen de Cressi, son of Sir Roger de Cressi and Isabel, was not with child, but if she was, then the lands to be in the King's hands.
But the male issue in this family failing in William de Cressi, who was summoned to parliament as a baron, the 25th of Elizabeth, but soon after died; it is certain this lordship came, probably by some entail to Robert Fitz Roger, (great grandson of Margaret de Cheyney and Robert Fitz Roger, founder of the priory of Langley in Norfolk, in which divers of his descendants were interred,) which Robert had summons to parliament, from the 23d of Edward I. to the 3d of Edward II. in which year he died, and was succeeded by John, his son and heir, who constantly used the sirname of Clavering, from his manor of Clavering in Essex. This John married Hewesia, daughter and heir of Robert de Tiptoft, by whom he had an only daughter named Eva.
Eva had 4 husbands; first, Thomas de Audley, Esq. by whom she had no issue; 2d, Sir Thomas de Ufford, son of Robert de Ufford, justice of Ireland, and brother of Thomas Ufford Earl of Suffolk, by whom she had 3 sons, Sir John, Sir Robert, and Sir Edmund de Ufford, who was killed at Sterling, in Scotland, and buried at Langley abbey; as was Sir John, his eldest brother, and Thomas his father.
Her 3d husband was Sir James de Audley, by whom she had two sons, James and Peter, and 2 daughters, Anne and Hewesia; James the eldest son, was the famous Lord Audley of Helagh, remarkable for his gallantry at the battle of Poictiers.
The 4th husband was Sir Robert de Benhale, and she appears to be his wife in the 11th of Edward III. in which year he was in an expedition made into France, and had summons to parliament among the barons in the 34th of that King: Barns says, he fought a remarkable duel with a Scotchman, and killed him: his arms were, gules, a cross moline, argent, surmounted by a bendlet, sable, and was buried in Langley abbey.
The lady Eva died in the 45th of Edward III. and was buried in Langley abbey, as was her third husband, Sir James de Audley; I have seen a curious seal of this lady; in the centre was half the arms of Ufford, impaling the arms of Audley, and above in a triangular position, three small shields of her own arms, De Clavering, in a lozenge.
Sir Edmund de Ufford, her 3d son, by her second husband, inherited this lordship; he married Sibilla, daughter of Sir Simon Peirpont of Belstead, and Henstead in Suffolk; by his will dated —, and proved October 3, 1374, he was buried in Langley abbey; he was father of Sir Robert de Ufford, who married Hellen, daughter of Sir Thomas Felton, died in 1400, and was buried in Langley abbey, leaving Amey his daughter and coheir, who brought it by marriage to Sir William Bowet, of an ancient family in Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c. as appears by the list of sheriffs of the county of Lincolnshire, where they had a seat at Rippengale near Bourne; brother, as I take it, of Henry Bowet, Archbishop of York, who bore the same arms, argent, three stags heads caboshed, sable.
In the 10th of Richard II. a fine was levied between this Henry Bowet, clerk, then archdeacon of Lincoln, and Sir Robert Parning, whereby the manors of Blackhall, Staynton, and Bocardby in Cumberland, where settled on Parning in tail; remainder to Thomas Bowet, sen. and Margaret his wife in tail.
Sir William was living and Amey his wife, in the 11th of Henry IV. and resided at Wrentham in Suffolk, in the 5th of Henry V. and was taken prisoner by the French at the battle of Bangy in France, in the 9th of the said King, in which the Duke of Clarence was slain; it is probable he died a prisoner there soon after, for it appears that he was dead in the 10th year of Henry V. and was buried, with his lady, in Langley priory: she after his decease however married a second husband, Sir Henry Inglose.
Elizabeth, daughter and heir of the aforesaid Sir William Bowet and Amey Ufford, married Sir Thomas Dacre, son and heir of Thomas Lord Dacre of Gillesland, and in her right was lord of this town, Joan, his daughter and heir, brought it to Sir Richard Fiennes, who was Lord Dacre, in her right; in this family it continued (Lord Dacre of the South) till issue male failing, the 37th of Queen Elizabeth, Margaret, sister and heir of Gregory Lord Dacres, marrying Sampson Lennard, Esq. (son and heir of John Lennard, Esq. of Chevening in Kent, sheriff of that county the 13th Queen Elizabeth) carried this lordship, with the estate and honour, into that family, whose grandson, Richard Lennard Lord Dacre, gave this manor to Richard Lennard his son, (fn. 6) by Dorothy, daughter of Dudley Lord North, his 2d wife, which Richard afterwards took the name and arms of Barret in consideration of the manor of Belhouse, &c. in Essex, bequeathed to him by his cousin, Sir Edward Barret Lord Newburgh, who died Anno 1644; he was succeeded by Dacre Barrett Lennard, his son and heir, who had issue, Richard, who dying in his father's life time, left an only son Thomas, the present Lord Dacre, in which title he (anno 1755) succeeded his mother Anne Lady Dacre, who by the death of Barbara, her eldest sister, without issue (anno 1741) inherited that honour as sole heir to her father Thomas Lennard Earl of Sussex, son of Francis Lord Dacre, son and heir of the afore-mentioned Richard Lennard Lord Dacre, by Anne, daughter of Sir Arthur Throgmorton, his first wife, which Thomas Barrett-Lennard Lord Dacre, is the present owner of this manor. Arms quarterly, 1st and 4th, or on a fess, gules, three fleur-de-lis or, for Lennard; 2d and 3d, party per pale barry of four counterchanged argent and gules, for Barrett.
In the 34th of Henry III. Hugh de Cressy, lord of Horsford, granted by fine before Henry de Bath, John de Gates, Robert de Brewer, Gilbert de Preston, Master Simon de Wanton and William de Wilton, the King's itinerant justices at Norwich, to Berengar, prior of Horsham St. Faith's, common of pasture in his park of Horsford, (fn. 7) for all the cows and oxen of the said priory, from the feast of Pentecost, to that of St. Michael yearly, and for their swine, from St. Michael's day, to that of St. Martin, with a drove way for the same.
The ancient lords, as barons of Horsford, had a castle here, the site of it is still to be seen, and was inclosed by a circular moat, and the keep was about 50 feet from this moat, and surrounded by another moat; though this indeed seems rather to have been a station for observation in the outward works of the castle, after the fashion of those times; for the area on the top is too small to have contained a building of any size. Of Horsford many manors and lands were held by knights service in Norfolk and Suffolk, as appears by a list of them in a curious survey of the manor made in Queen Elizabeth's time.
The Home park at Horsford, by an entry in the court books, appears to have been still stocked with deer, in the reign of Henry VIII.; and it appears by old writings (now in the possession of the Right Honourable Lord Dacre) that in the 10th of Henry V. the chase (now only a naked heath of nine hundred acres) was furnished with trees and underwood; of which indeed, by old accounts of sales of wood in Queen Elizabeth's time, by Gregory Lord Dacre, there appears, till then at least, to have been still remains.
The Church is dedicated to All-Saints, and was a rectory valued at 20 marks, but appropriated to the priory of Horsham St. Faith's, and a vicarage was settled in the patronage of that house, valued at 6 marks, Peter-pence 17d.
I find in the 13th of Queen Elizabeth, a portion of 40s. per ann. paid to the vicar out of the lands belonging to Horsham priory, and the arms of Bishop Goldwell, Fiennes Lord Dacres, and Dacres Lord Dacres.
The building of the new tower mentioned in 1456, and on June 22, 1493, the Bishop granted to the messengers of this village, power to ask alms of the citizens (and through the diocese) of Norwich, for the repair and building of their church and tower.