An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1810.
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At the survey this town was found to be part of the possessions of the abbot of Holm, who had 3 carucales of land, 18 villains, 11 borderers, and 2 servi in the Confessor's time, &c. also 2 carucates in demean, and 6 among the tenants, 100 acres of meadow, paunage for 100 swine, one mill, a runcus, 4 cows, with 160 sheep, valued at 4l. was one leuca and an half long, and one broad, and paid 6d. gelt. (fn. 1)
The abbot and convent had also at the said time lordships in the following towns;—In Walsham hundred, Fishley, Walsham, Bastwick, Reedham, Upton;—In Fourhou hundred, Carleton;—In North Erpingham hundred, Thurgarton, Scripeden, Repes, Atting;—Fleg West hundred, Winterton, Rolleshy, Asseby, Thurn, Oby, Burgh, Billockby, Martham, Repps, Clipsby, Thordwesby;—In Henstede hundred, Shotesham, Grensvill, Saxlingham;—In Lothing hundred, Hardale;—In Eynford hundred, Wichingham;—In Taverhum hundred, Roxham, Rackey;—In South Erpingham hundred, Scothow, Eston, Swanton, Calthorp, Thwait, Hobois, Tutington, Baningham, Welterton, Belega, Wickmere;—In Tunstede hundred, Horning, Netished, Hoveton, Walsham, Felmingham, Paston, Widituna, Worsted, Beseton, Riston, Dilham, Saley, Smalburgh, Barton, Honing;—In Happing hundred, Ludham, Waxham, Wimpwell, Stalham, Hincham, Eccles;— In East Flegg hundred, Filby, Scroteby, Castor;—In Humble Yard hundred, Hecham;—In Deepwade hundred, Tibenham.
The family of De Glanvile were early enfeoffed of considerable lands in this town, &c. held of the abbot. Burtholomew de Glanvile, eldest son of William, founder of Bromholm priory, (fn. 2) had 3 parts of a fee here, and in Holm, (a part of this town,) of the old feofment in the reign of Henry II.
Holm was a solitary place in the marshes, called Cowholm, &c. and given (according to tradition of the monks) by Horus, a little prince, to a society of religious hermits, under the government of one Suneman, about the year 800, who (with the chapel of St. Benedict by them, here built) were all destroyed in the general devastation of this country by the Danes, under Inquar and Hubba, in 870.
In the next century, Wolfric, a holy man, gathered seven companions here, and rebuilt the chapel and houses; they had resided here some years, when King Canute, the Dane, founded and endowed at Holm an abbey of Benedictine monks before 1020.
This abbey was fortified by the monks with strong walls, &c. that it resembled more a castle than a cloister, and as tradition says, held out some time against King William I. till betrayed by the treachery of one of the monks, on condition of his being made abbot, and on his promotion, was ordered to be hanged directly.
From an old manuscript in the college of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, wrote by William Botoner, alias Worceter, gentleman, who lived in the reign of Edward IV. and in the family of Sir John Falstolf at Castre in Norfolk, and was one of his executors; many curious accounts relating to this monastery, I have transcribed.
The abbey church, from the east window, to the west door, together with the choir, was (as he expresses it) De gradibus meis, Anglice Steppys, 148.—The breadth of the choir and presbytery 17 gradus. The breadth of the south isle of this church, which was built by Sir John Fastolf, (fn. 3) 11 gradus, and the length of it from east to west, 58 gradus; this last appears to have been a beautiful pile, built of, and vaulted with, free-stone, and had 7 large windows to the south The length of the north isle was 68 gradus, the breadth 12 gradus. The length of the choir and stalls, 24 gradus. The length of the high altar was 17 of Botoner's spans, and that of the south isle, 5; the space of the bell tower that stood in the midst of the church was 22 feet.
The Frayter (fn. 4) was 40 virgæ long to the pantry door, and 7 broad.
1304, Sir Thomas Fastolf, on the 3d of the calends of March. 1306, John, Duke of Lancaster, Ralph Stafford. Nicholas Pelham, William Bayley. 1354, the lady Eve de Audeley with her two daughters. 1344, the lady Maud, wife of Sir John de Kayly. Lady Mary, Countess Marshal. 1347, Sir Ralph Bigot, rector of Trunch. 1348, Lady Joan de Hastyns Countess of Huntingdon. Sir Miles Stapleton, Sir Ralph de Benhales, Sir Richard de Ilney. 1354, Sir Ralph de Benhale, Sir Richard de Ilney. 1354, Sir John de Ufford. 1362, Sir James de Audeley, and Lady Eva de Audeley. 1339, Sir John de Bardolf. 1344, Sir Hugh le Peverel, and Lady Maud his wife.
Buried in the abbey church: Grynolf, a Dane, and alderman, who died October 1; and Duke Edward. 1075, Ralph Bygot, Earl of Norfolk, to whom the Conqueror gave it, and married the daughter of William Fitz-Osbert, and died December 3. (Botener is here much mistaken, the Bygots were not Earls of Norfolk till a considerable time after, the Ralph abovementioned was Ralph Guader, who rebelled against the Conqueror, and was an outlaw.)
Margaret, a blessed saint, killed in Littlewood, in the township of Hofton St. John's in Norfolk, in 1170, on the 11th of the calends of June, and buried under the high or principal altar of the monastery, amongst the relics. Sir John Vaux, lord of Caster. Sir John Bacon, died January 3. Thomas de Bresyngham, died January 16. William de Ring feud. Lady Joan de Brews, died the 3d of the ides of May. William de Ormesby, chief justice of England. Sir William Fastolf, son of Sir John Fastolf. Sir Richard Newton. 1444, Oliver Holcomb died April 3, he was one of the abbot's esquires for 50 years. 1451, Robert de Clypesby, died February 24.
King Canute, November 12. St. Wolfey, the first hermit at Holme, December 3. Ralph Earl of Norfolk, December 3. (of this Ralph see above.) Elsin, abbot, October 23. Thurston, abbot, October 7. Edelwold, November 14. Anselm, December 9. Daniel, November 9. Nicholas, November 15, and Henry, December 14, and Sir Henry de Hastyngs, May 13.
Abbots of St. Bennet, at Holm.
Thurstan de Ludham, buried in the abbey church, with this epitaph
on his tomb,
Abbas Mausoleo Thurstanus jacet in isto, Qui fuit egregius pastor gregis ipse secundus, Hujus cœnobej decus, sibi gaudia cœli Det, cujus exequias celebramus œque dolentes, Nonas Octobris cui Christus misereatur. 1604.
It seems to me that Richer and Conrade the abbots lived before the time abovementioned; this William gave to his relation Richard Basset, the manor of Heyham by Norwich, by deed sans date, to which deed William the archdeacon, &c. were witnesses, this was William Fitz Humphrey, who was made archdeacon of Norwich in 1124; and I find William Basset, (fn. 5) to be abbot in the 28th of Henry I Ao. 1127.
Daniel, (fn. 6) abbot in 1153, he was a layman, and a glass-maker, (vitriarius) or glazier; King Stephen declared, that if he had known how to sing mass he would have made him Archbishop of Canterbury: was a married man, and had a son, Henry Daniel, a great companion of Archbishop Becket, and, as Botoner says, became abbot of Ramsey, &c.
Reginald, (fn. 7) 1225.
In the Duke's Palace Yard at Norwich, at the entrance of a house near the river, lies a large grave-stone with an abbot in his robes cut thereon, brought from the ruins of this abbey and thus inscribed,
John Keving, (fn. 8) he resigned.
Wiliam Rugg, alias Repps, S.T.D. installed abbot April 26, 1530, on February 4, 1535, the see of Norwich being void, (fn. 9) an act of parliament was passed (though never printed) whereby the ancient barony of the see, and its revenues were separated from it, and the priory of Hickling, with the barony and revenues of this abbey, were annexed to the see of Norwich instead thereof; and in right of this barony, the Bishop of Norwich now sits in the House of Lords, the barony of the see being in the Crown: so that this abbey was never dissolved, only transferred by the statute, before the Dissolution.
After this Rugg was elected by the monks of Norwich, May 31, 1536, Bishop of Norwich;—Leland calls him—Vir profecto candidissimus, et mihi familiariter cognitus, tum prœterea, theologus ad unguem doctus.
Many of the royal family visited it in 1469, on Wednesday, in Whitsunday week; the mayor, and aldermen, and about 100 citizens of Norwich waited on horseback on the King's mother here, with a petition to her.
In 1487, John Jermy, Esq. of Metfield in Suffolk, deposited in the hands of Thomas Pakefield, then abbot, whom he appointed one of his executors, two hundred marks, as a maintenance for a priest, to sing herein for his soul.
The worthy Society of Antiquaries have at their cost, printed 2 views of the west (or principal) gate of this abbey now in ruins, by which it appears to have been a sumptuous stately pile; over one side of the arch of this is represented, a person, with a sword in his right hand, and on the other a lion, both injured, and much defaced through time. This, with submission I take to be figures much misrepresented.
A person in a close vest, or tunick, and a gown, part of it to be seen hanging behind him, with a lofty cap issuing out of a coronet, and holding a great broad sword in his right hand, wherewith he has pierced the nostrils of a great dragon segreant, (holding in his mouth by the waist a young man) and ready to seize on the person with the sword, and an oblong shield before him, and near the rim of this seal is in capital letters, the word—CARDIBAS. See the plate, vol. iv. p. 504.
All which is to represent the miraculous rescue of an idle young monk, (by St. Bennet, as the Romish Legends say,) who fled from his convent, and was forthwith seized on by the Devil, (represented by the Dragon,) and returned safe to his convent.
Fœnum Gladiale, Hospitalitas parcimoniale, Ignis in Caminis frigidale, Vadia Servientium valde vane. Ideo hospites ibunt, sine vale. Fastolf eis benefactor ampliale, Et valde cito monachis Immemoriale.
At the head of the causey going down to St. Bennet's abbey in the beginning of King Henry the Third's reign, was an hospital dedicated to St. James, under the government of the almoner of the monastery, and this was granted also to the see of Norwich.
The Church of Horning was dedicated (as I take it) to St. Bennet; the rectory was appropriated to that abbey, and the vicarage was valued then at two marks, the rectory at 12 marks, in the reign of Edward I. there belonged to the vicar a manse, with an acre of land, the present valor is 4l. 13s. 4d. the presentation was in the abbot, and so came to the Bishops of Norwich.