An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Contained one manor only; at the Confessor's survey it belonged to a thane of Bishop Stigand, and was worth 5l. per annum. At the Conquest it belonged to Earl Eustace, and was worth 6l.; it was a mile and an half long, and five furlongs broad, and paid 6d. ob. q. geld. (fn. 1) It soon after this belonged to one William, sometimes distinguished by the addition of Norwich, where he lived; and that Roger mentioned in the record called Testa de Nevil, seems to have been his son; he was succeeded by Robert, called Fitz-Roger, and after by the name of Sir Robert de Massingham-Parva, who held 7 fees in Thorp, Massingham, Anemere, and many other towns, of the honour of Bononia or Bulloigne. His wife Eda survived him, and held Thorp in 1209, when she was called Eda de Thorp: (fn. 2) Hugh son of Robert lived at the same time; he is also called sometimes Hugh de Massingham, and was succeeded by Sir John the Knight, (fn. 3) son of Sir Hugh, often called John Fitz-Robert: he sealed with chequy or and G. a fess in a bordure arg. and was lord of Ashwellthorp, Fundenhall, Wreningham, Bonwell, &c.; he married Margery daughter of Sir Rob. de Creke, lord of North-Creke and Hillington in Norfolk, and Combes in Suffolk, and at length coheir to Sarah de Creke, daughter of Bartholomew de Creke, and wife to Roger Fitz-Osbert, (see p. 126,) their son.
Robert Fitz-John de Thorp succeeded them, who in King Henry the Third's time, Ao 1236, was one of the resident Barons of the Exchequer, his countryman, Master Hervy de Belet, being then Chief Baron, Ric. de Eye, rector of Fundenhale, released to him and Maud his wife, his niece, all his right after his death, to Sir Philip de Eye, his brother, in his manors and lands in Horham, Hoxne, Stradbrook, &c. in Suffolk; and Sarah de Halmo, Richard son of James Suddimere, (fn. 4) and Philip de Braseworth, released all their rights in Horham, Titshall, Fresingfield, Fundenhale, and the mediety of the advowson of Fresing field; and Robert de Hemenhale conveyed to them all his tenements in Norwich, which he purchased of the prioress and nuns of Haliwell, for a gold ring given to the said Robert; he was lord of Hapton, and bare chequy or and gul. a fess erm. In 1266, King Henry III. confirmed to Robert son of John de Thorp, free-warren in all his demeans here, and in Massingham and Fundenhale in Norfolk, in Cotton in Suffolk, and Sharpenhowe in Bedfordshire, by his charter dated at Cambridge Apr. 7, in the 51st year of his reign. This Robert, in 1264, had several manors, lands, &c. confirmed to him, by Robert son of Sir Richard Nerford, Knt. of Wreningham, in Wreningham, Thorp, Fundenhall, Hapton, Flordon, Ashwell, and Tacolneston. (See p. 119.) In 1271, he was impleaded for erecting a gallows at AshwellThorp, when the manor never had that liberty, which he took down again; but had then free-warren, view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale allowed to the manor in Eire. It seems Margery Creke his mother, was alive in 1274, and had an annuity out of the manor: in this year Rob. Fitz-John (fn. 5) was sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. In 1282, he had another charter for freewarren in his manors of Horham, Hoxne, Wytton, and Stradbrook in Suffolk, and in Wreningham, Bunwell, and Fundenhall in Norfolk. In 1284, he was allowed the liberties of a gallows, pillory, and weyf, in this manor.
John de Thorp, (fn. 6) son of Rob. aforesaid and Maud his wife, succeeded, being lord here, and of Fundenhall, Bunwell, Hapton, and Wreningham; it appears that he had two wives, Agnes and Alice, the former of which died about 1299. In 1293, he was summoned among the great men to attend King Edward I. at Portsmouth, on the first of Sept. in order to recover Gascoign, then possessed by the French King; and this year he procured his father's executors to advance by way of loan to the King, 167l. 2s. 10d. ob. on his going that journey. In his time, an extent was made of the several fees and manors held of him, as of this manor of Ashwellthorp, among which his sister Alice held 20l. in Mawtby. Will. de Colneys held 100s. in Tiben ham, &c. In 1303, Maud his mother held Sharpenhow manor in Bedfordshire for life, the reversion of which, was settled by Sir John de Thorp, on his son George de Thorp and Eliz. his wife. In 1307, he was summoned as one of the King's council; and in 1309, had another summons to attend King Edward III. at Newcastle upon Tine, to march against the Scots, who had broken the truce, (fn. 7) made with them, at the instance of Philip the French King. In 1314, he had been some time married to his second wife, Alice (fn. 8) relict of Sir William de Mortimer; on whom this manor, with those of Fundenhall, Tivetshall, Bunwell, Wreningham, and Horham, and the advowsons of Ashwellthorp, and the mediety of the church of Fresingfield, were settled by Alexander de Repham, rector of Sculton, their trustee; it being then held of Sir John de Clavering at one fee: in 1315, being appointed high sheriff of the county, he got a letter sent to Sir William de Norwich, to get him excused by reason of his corporal infirmities, and another to Hervy de Stanton, Chancellor of the Exchequer, from the Prior of Norwich, (fn. 9) by whose interest he got off serving the office at present. In 1321, a commission issued to Sir John de Thorp and others, to seize all persons in Norfolk and Suffolk, who should rise in arms against the King. In 1322, he and Thomas Bardolf, were appointed wardens to guard the coasts of Norfolk against any invasions from the Flemings or Scots; and the same year, he and Alice his wife conveyed the manor of Aileswesthorp in Freebridge hundred, and the advowson of the moiety of that church, after their deaths, with lands in Geyton, Walton, Wykes, and Bexwell, to the Prior of Pentney and his successours. In 1323, he was joined with Walt. de Norwich, Simon de Hethersete, and John de Redenhall, Knts. who were all appointed the King's justices to examine into the frauds committed by the collectors of the taxes, several of them, having collected more than they returned into the Exchequer, but dying on the 16th of May this year, (fn. 10) John le Claver was made justice in his stead. It appears from the inquisition, that he and Alice his wife, held jointly at his death, Hillington, Helmingham, Massingham-Parva, Titshall, Thorp, Wreningham, Fundenhall, Hapton, Combes, &c. manors, and that
John de Thorp, his eldest son and heir, 15 years of age, and John de Clavering, his chief lord, was his guardian. Alice his grandmother was alive in 1325. In 1336, Lady Beatrix his mother, was patroness here and of Massingham-Parva, where she resided, and held NorthCreke manor in jointure. He married this year, and settled on Robert Brown, parson of Shipden, John son of Robert de Ingham, and other trustees, his manors of Ashwell-thorp, Fundenhall, and Wreningham, and all his advowsons except North-Creke, to the use of himself, and Joan his wife, and their heirs. In 1338, he paid rent to the Earl of Suffolk for the moiety of his manor of Combes. In 1339, he made Sir George de Thorp, Knt. and John Yemme of Norwich, his attorneys, to present to his livings, during his being out of England, in the King's service in France; and this year, he settled on the chaplain of Ashwell chapel for ever, to pray for his soul, 100 shillings, and 100 pence annual rents, issuing out of lands here; and the next year granted to the minoresses of St. Clare's order by Aldgate, 20 marks annuity out of his lands in Congham, Combes, and Helmingham, during the life of Catherine, the widow of Sir John, son of Sir Oliver de Ingham. In 1340, his feoffees released to him all right in the church of North-Creke, and all the lands in Helmingham in Suffolk, which Sir Ralf de Bocking held for life; he died this year, and Joan his widow, who was heir to Lucy and Maud her sisters, daughters of Roger atte Eshe, was alive and married in 1345, to Sir Roger le Strange, who was lord here in her right, during her life; but they having no issue,
Edmund de Thorp, his brother, inherited; and in 1348, there was a suit commenced to prove Joan, his then wife, a bastard; but on trial, Bishop Bateman certified, that she was legitimate, and was sister of Thomas, son of Robert, son of Robert Baynard, who died seized of Colkirk and Gately manors in 1329, and cousin and heir of Robert Baynard, who lived in 1257, and therefore Edmund had those manors of her inheritance. He was lord also of Combes and Finingham in Suffolk, a moiety of the former of which, he held in fee-farm of the King, at 11l. 4s. 4d. a year, and 15s. scutage; and Robert de Ufford Earl of Suffolk had the other. In 1349, he settled 100 marks annuity on William de Bergh, rector of Cantley, Robert de Thirning, rector of Combes, Thomas de Bumpstede, citizen of Norwich, and Adam de Redgrave, rector of Bathele, out of Ashwellthorp, Fundenhall, Hapton, Bunwell, Nelonde, Wreningham, Horham, and Wotton in Stradbrook; he sealed with chequy on a fess three crescents. In 1351, Sir Miles Stapleton, Knt. and Joan his wife, daughter and heir of Sir Oliver de Ingham, released Fresing field advowson, and a messuage in Nether Conisford in Norwich, to Sir Edmund and his heirs. In 1358, he infeoffed his manors, &c. to raise 100 marks per annum, for 21 years, to pay his debts, and 100l. to each of his daughters, Beatrix and Joan, by the advice of Joan his wife: John his second son, who married Mary daughter of John Argentein of Halesworth in Suffolk, was to have Horham and Wotton in Stradbrook, and all his lands in Suffolk, to him and his heirs; Robert his third son to have Bunwell; and Eliz. his daughter married Robert Corbet of Asington in Suffolk. In his time, the several fees and manors held of the manor of Ashwell-thorp were extended, and by the extent renewed, it appeared, that
Half a fee in Sweynesthorp, Gouthorp, and Dunston, was held by the annual payment of a pair of boots to the lord of Ashwell-thorp, and a pair of buskins lined with felt, to the lady there, which was then held by John de Hethersete; and Nic. de Aldburgh held in Denton and Aldburgh, one fee by the payment of a pair of gilt spurs every Easter.
John Barford and Walter Calthorp, held a fee in Anemere, and John le Wassand held Frenge manor and advowson at one fee, which William de Colneye lately held; and Wichingham manor was held by John de Hall and his parceners, at two fees; Warine de Bassingbourn held Chishil and Shipneye manors in Cambridgeshire at one fee, and all of them, though held of Massingham, were held by the lord of Massingham, of Robert Fitz-Roger, lord of Horsford, as of the manor of Horsford.
Three quarters of a fee in Burnham, held by the Prior of Walsingham, half a fee in North-Creke and Burnham-Thorp, held by Bartholomew de Calthorp; a quarter of a fee in Depedale held by Roger de Tofts, another quarter there, by Thomas de Brancaster; one fee there by Thomas Bacon; a quarter of a fee in Burnham held by Will. Angre, half a fee in Stanhowe by Bartholomew de Calthorp, half a fee formerly held by Robert de Quarles, in Quarles, but now by Edmund de Baconesthorp, the Prior of Peterston, the Abbot of Creke, and the heirs of Richard de Redham; half a fee in Dallyng held by Simon de Pratis, or Meadows, &c. the 8th part of a fee in Shipden by Cromere, held by Will. de Bradenham, Roger de Reymes, Rob. Theland, and Will. Hervy; half a fee in Burnham by Sir Gregory de Thorp, half a quarter of a fee there by Sir Tho. Sniterton; the manor of Berningham in North-Erpingham hundred, held by the heirs of Eustace de Berningham at one fee; three quarters of a fee in Northwood Berningham held by Ric. de Berningham; half a fee in Basingham by Sir Rob. de Mawtby; the manor of Runton held by Will. de Valens at the 8th part of a fee; a quarter of a fee in Wickmere held by Robert de Baconesthorp; half a fee there by John de Irmingland, and two messuages and 42 acres of land in Riburgh, held by John Burnham at a quarter of a fee; all which, were held of North-Creke manor, as of Fitz-Osbert's fees, and by the lord of North-Creke, of the Earl-Marshal, as of Forncet honour.
John de Norwich held Melles manor in Suffolk at one fee, as of Sir John Thorp's manor of Fundenhall, he of the Earl-Marshal, and he of the King; and the Thorps held Fundenhall and all the fees held of it, as of the Earl-Marshal's manor of Forncet; but the manor of Melles belongs to Metingham chantry or college, by license from Sir Edmund de Thorp; half a fee in Carleton, Brakene, and Mulkebarton, was held by Edmund de Baconesthorp, and John Pycot; one fee in Carleton and Quarles, was held by Edmund de Baconesthorp, which fee Sir John de Thorp purchased of Sir Robert Hovel, and is now divided among Sir Thomas St. Omer, the Prior of Shuldham, the Prior of Alvesbourne, and many others. Besthorp manor was held at half a fee by Edmund de Baconesthorp; one fee in Creke and Nelonde, held by Ric. de Belhouse; one fee in Besthorp by John de Curson, one fee in Hockham by Mary Countess of Pembrook, one fee in Wynston and Cratfield in Suffolk, held by Ric. de Bocking; half a fee in Cratfield by Rob. de Wayland, a quarter of a fee in Bunwell by Will. de Bosevile; one quarter of a fee in Carleton Rode, by Will. de Rode.
One fee in Stikingland in Suffolk, by Rob. de Creke. One fee in Honyngton, as of the Earl-Marshal's manor of Chesterford, by James de Creyk; one fee in Kenton, by Nigel de Kenton; two fees in Westhorp and Finingham by Adam Conyers; half a fee in Flixton, held by Flixton prioress; a fee and an half in Middleton and Yoxford, held by Rob. de Creyk; all which fees in 1305, were divided, and were the fees of Rog. Fitz-Peter Fitz-Osbert, who had them of the inheritance of Sarah his wife, and were delivered to Sir John de Thorp, as cousin and heir to Margaret, one of the aunts and heirs of the said Sarah; besides which, the family of the Thorps inherited from her, the following estates and fees.
The south part of the moiety of the capital mansion-house of the Creke family at North Creke, and the moiety of that advowson, and the moiety of two fees and an half in Creke, and the moiety of the advowson of Hilingtone.
Sir William de Thorp, who was made a King's Serjeant in the 16th of Edward III. and afterwards justice both of the King's Bench and Common Pleas, and 26 Nov. 1347, Chief Justice of the King's Bench; in 1350, the record of judgment had against Sir Will. Thorp, late Chief Justice, (fn. 11) was affirmed, considering that against his oath he had received bribes, (fn. 12) but he was soon after restored to the King's favour, and made a Baron of the Exchequer; in 1353, (fn. 13)
Sir Robert de Thorp (as is supposed) brother to Sir William, was made the King's serjeant, and summoned to parliament among the judges and King's council in 1346, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1357, and Lord Chancellor of England 26 March, 1372.
Sir Edmund de Thorp, junior, eldest son of Sir Edmund aforesaid, was married by Sir Jeffery de Massingham, rector of Ashwellthorp, Oct. 6, 1368, to Margaret, daughter of Richard de la Rivere, in the presence of Sir Edmund his father, and dame Joane his mother, Sir Ralf de Shelton, Knt. and others; after whose decease, he married again to Joan daughter and heiress of Sir Robert de Northwood or Norwood of Northwood-Berningham, in Norfolk, and of Northwood in Kent, who was widow to Roger Lord Scales of Newcels; for which match, not having obtained the King's license, he was pardoned in 1387, upon paying the King 20l. for a fine for that transgression; the said lady holding divers lands in capile.
In 1370, Sir Edmund de Thorp, senior, was sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, as appears by a discharge given him by Robert Bacon, who succeeded him in that office. In 1380, Robert de Thirning, rector of Combes, and Tho. de Bumpstede, citizen of Norwich, were infeoffed by him in his manors, advowsons, and lands, in Ashwellthorp, North-Creke, Massingham-Parva, Fundenhall, Hapton, Wreningham, Nelonde, Hethill, Tacolneston, Bonwell, Horham, and Wotton in Stradbrook; by which they were settled on his son and others, paying him an annuity of 100l. per annum.
In 1381, Sir Edmund de Thorp, junior, Knt. and Joan his wife, purchased divers messuages, &c. and several villeins here, of Hugh son of Robert de Dunston, and Christiana de Bonington, which Peter de la Penne of Hethil, and the said Christiana purchased of Adam de la Penne of Hethil, and the said Peter sold them to Robert de Dunston, father of Hugh and William. In 1383, he, and Sir Richard de Waldegrave, Knt. Will. Winter and Tho. Wayte, had a grant of the temporalities of the Bishop of Norwich, during the forfeiture of Henry Spencer Bishop of the see, except the knights fees, and advowsons of churches, paying 50 marks yearly to the Exchequer; and in 1385, they had a writ directed to them to restore them to the Bishop.
In 1393, Sir Edmund de Thorp, senior died, (fn. 14) and was buried by Beatrix his wife, in the chancel at Ashwellthorp, and gave five marks to any one that would take a pilgrimage for him to St. James the Apostle; and legacies to his tenants at Thorp, Fundenhale, Hapton, Wreningham, Colkirk, and Little-Massingham, where he was lord; many rings, jewels, &c. to Joane his wife, for life, and then to Sir Edmund, his eldest son and heir; and particularly the murrey cup tipped with silver, which is the charter cup of Thorp, was to go from heir to heir, to all that shall be lords of Thorp of his blood, and three gold rings set with Oriental saphires; he gave Edmund his heir all his goods in his manor-houses at Colkirk, with Apleton-Hall, and Little-Massingham; he had Thomas, Robert, and George, his sons, and ordered to be buried under a plain tomb, without funeral pomp; Joane his widow died at Colkirk, Febr. 1399, and was buried by her husband, and then
Sir Edm. de Thorp, her son, held his first court here, and immediately after, put his estates into feoffees hands, viz. Sir Thomas Percy, Sir Robert Knowlles, Knt. John de Cleye, clerk, and others; at which time it appears, he had manors, lands, rents, fees, or services, here and in Hapton, Fundenhall, Wreningham, Nelonde, Brakene, Flordon, Tacolneston, Wimondham, Hethil, and the reversions of North-Creke, Horham cum Stradbrooke, and Wotton in Suffolk, which were held for life by his brother Robert; his seal hath three crescents 2 and 1, and a plume for a crest: and now also, he assigned to his mother for life, Hapton and Fundenhall manors; she sealed with Thorp as before, impaling Bainard. Upon his going beyond sea, he made his will, and gave Ashwellthorp for life to his wife, and North-Creke, and if his infant children died, then North-Creyk to go to his brother Thomas, Horham to his brother Robert, and if Little Massingham manor should fall into his hands, his wife to have it for life. His seal had always a label of three, during the life of his father. This Sir Edmund new roofed and glazed the church and chancel at Thorp, and founded Thorp's chapel for his own burial place and that of his successours, on the north side of the chancel; and by the covenant made with John Faudy of Salle, carpenter, it was to be 27 feet long and 12 broad, within the walls. He was mayor of Burdeaux in Gascoigne in 1399. In 1408, John Spencer and Katherine his wife, (fn. 15) released to Sir Edmund and Joan his wife, the manor and advowson of Stonham-Aspall, alias Antegain in Suffolk, and a moiety of Coulyng, which she had in right of her mother Catherine, who was daughter and coheir of Sir John de Aspale of Stonham-Antegain, who had Sir Ralf Hemenhale for her other husband. In 1415, Joan Lady Scales, wife of Sir Edmund de Thorp, died and was buried by her order, in Ashwell-thorp churchyard, and gave 20l. to make her a tomb; she gave her manor of Coulyng to be sold, and her manors of Stonham and Witlysford, to Robert de Scales and his heirs male, remainder to the Lady Catherine Savage, her daughter, remainder to her daughters Joane and Isabell.
Thomas de Thorp, Esq. second son of Sir Edmund de Thorp, senior, had Bunwell manor for life: in his will dated 1414 it appears, that by Elizabeth his wife, he had one daughter and heiress, named Eleanor. He ordered Cleydon manor in Suffolk to be sold, by Tho. Brewse, John Sprot, and John Snetyl, rector here, his feoffees; and gave 10l. as a stock to be always lent out to some person in Ashwellthorp, the interest to be laid out in buying new altar clothes, and ornaments for the chancel, in which it seems he was buried; his feoffees were to pay 5l. to the chief lord of the manor of Bale, for the relief of Eleanor his daughter, if that manor should come to her hands, Bunwell manor to go to Elizabeth his wife for life, then to his daughter and her heirs, remainder to his nephew John, son of Robert de Thorp, (fn. 16) and his heirs, but Sir Edmund his brother was to have the preference, if he pleased to buy the manors.
In 1417, Sir Edmund de Thorp, (fn. 17) John Nevile, and John Kemp, LL. D. were appointed by King Henry V. to treat of and compose all differences which arose from any violations of the truce between the Duke of Burgoin and that King. (fn. 18) This Sir Edmund, as I take it, is the same person whom Holinshed calls the Lord Thorp, who was killed at the seige of Lovers castle in Normandy, (fn. 19) with the Lords Scales and Darcy; but his body was brought over and buried in the new isle of his own foundation, under a fair tomb, on which he lies in complete armour, with his helmet under his head, and a crown and plume for his crest; his wife lies by him, with a pillow under her head; both the statues are of white alabaster, and lie under a wooden canopy. The arms of Thorp quartering Bainard are cut on his armour; he hath a chaplet about his head, and a sword lying by his side, signifying, that though he lost his life in war, yet he obtained the victory; at his head an angel holds an inescutcheon of St. George; at her head the arms of France and England, at his feet a greyhound, and at her's a lap-dog; on the south side are four angels holding four shields, 1, Thorp and Bainard quartered. 2, Northwood, erm. a cross ingrailed gul. on the first quarter, arg. a fess between two bars gul. 3, Clifton. 4, Barry, arg. a chevron between three bears heads cooped sab. muzzled or. And on the north side are shields with these arms; 1, or, a lion rampant gul. armed and langued az. 2, arg. two bars and a canton gul. 3, Kerdeston, gul. a saltier ingrailed arg. 4, Calthorp.
Sir Edmund left two daughters his coheiresses; Joan, who married Sir Robert Echingham, Knt. (fn. 20) and after to Sir John Clifton of Bukenham castle, Knt. (fn. 21) but on failure of issue according to the entail, (fn. 22) the estate of the Thorps vested in her sister Isabel, who married Phillip Tilney of Boston in Lincolnshire, Esq. and they kept their first court in 1436, in which year she died, and lies interred under a marble with a brass circumscription in Thorp's chapel, with the arms of Tilney, arg. a chevron between three griffins heads erased gul. impaling Thorp, quartering Bainard, and her effigies.
Hic iacet Isabella que fuit Uror Phillippi Tilney, (fn. 23) Armigeri una Filiarum et Heredum Edmundi Thorp Militis et Domine Johanne quondam Domine de Scales, Consortis sue, que obiit decimo die Mensis Novembris, Anno Domini Mccccorrrvio. cuius anime pro. picietur Deus Amen.
After her death, her husband retired from the world, took on him
a religious habit, and turned secular canon, and was admitted to St.
Butolph's prebend in Lincoln cathedral, where he was buried in 1453;
the arms of Tilney impaling Thorp, quartering Bainard, are on his
grave-stone there, and this,
Hic iacet Philipus Tilney, Canonicus et Residentiarius Ecclesie Cathedralis Beate Marie Lincoln: nuper Armiger; Filius Fre- derici Tilney Armigeri, Filii Philippi Tilney Militis, ac maritatus Isabelle uni Filiarum Edmundi Thorp de Ashwell-Thorp in Comi tatu Norfolcie Militis, et Domine Johanne Domine de Scales, nuper Consortis eiusdem Edmundi qui obiit penultimo die Mensis Octobris Anno Domini Mccccliiio. cuius anime propicietur deus amen: For Charity.
At his feet is this,
Passed the Pilgrimage of this present Lyf, Resteth Sir Philip Tilney, clased in your Sight, In his yourth Esquier, and so Wedded to his Wyf, The Daughter and Heier of Edmund Thorp Knight. And Awnt to Thomas Lord Scales discended of Lyne right. Disposed him after to God's Ordinaunce, Couth none find in him matter of Displeasaunce, Here he lyeth buried Canon and Residentiarie, Sumtyme of Patrimony sufficient in deed, But Death, that from her Nature cannot varie, Hath ceased him by Force, and we must all succeed; Consider heer a Karrion, Wormes to feed, Aud pray for his Soul, of Peyn to have a Iysse, And doo for hym, as thou wouldest he did, at thy need, Now Jesu for thy Passion, bring hym to thy Blysse. (fn. 24)
Elizabeth, who married Humphry Bourchier, Knt. eldest son of John Lord Berners; he was slain at Barnet Field, (fn. 25) on the part of King Edward IV. upon Easter day 1471, in the lifetime of his father, and was buried in St. Edmund's chapel in Westminster abbey, under a tomb of gray marble raised, and on it is curiously engraven on brass plates, the effigies of Sir Humphry armed cap-a-pie, his head on his helm, with a crest, and his feet supported, the one by a leopard, the other by an eagle, with the arms of
Bourchier, arg. a cross ingriled gul. between four water-budgets
sab. quartering billetè, a fess and a file of three, impaling 1st, Tilney. 2, Roos, arg. three bars gul. over all a canton sab. 3, Thorp,
az. three crescents arg. 4, Baynard. 5, three chevronels. 6, in a
bordure three de-lises. And this inscription,
Hic pugil ecce iacens Bernet, sera Bella cupiscens, Certat ut Eacides, fit saucius undique miles, Ui cecidit Vulnus Mars porrigit arma Cruore Sparsim tincta rubent, dolor en lachrymabilis hora, Lumine nempe cadit quo Christus morte resurgit, Bourchier Humfridus, (fn. 26) clara propagine dictus, Edwardi Regis, qui tertius est vocitatus, John Domini Berners Proles, et Parvulus heres, Quartus et Edwardus Belli tenet ecce triumphum, Quo perit Humfridus, ut Regis Uernula verus Cyronomon Mensæ sponse Regis fuit iste, Elizabeth, sibi sic sua virtus crescit Honore; Annis conspicuus quondam clarusque Britannis Hic fuit, ut Celis vivat, vibat, deposcite votis. (fn. 27)
Elizabeth his wife was a widow in 1470, and then made her first will, relating to all her manors except Stonham, Aspall, Eestbergholt, and Cowling in Suffolk; but before 1472, she was married again to Thomas son and heir of John Lord Howard, Knt. afterwards Earl of Surrey, and Duke of Norfolk, and made another will; (fn. 28) and in 1506, Nov. 6, by the name of Elizabeth Dutchess of Norfolk, she made her last will, which was proved at Lambeth in 1507, by which she ordered her body to be buried in the nuns quire, of the Minoresses without Aldgate, London, near the place where Anne Mongomery lieth. The Duke survived her, and held the manors by the courtesy of England, to his death in 1524, when he was buried in the priory church of Thetford, (fn. 29) commonly called Thetford abbey.
Sir John Bourchier, Knt. son and heir of Sir Humphry, and grandson and heir of John Lord Berners, was summoned to parliament as Lord Berners in 11 and 12 of Henry VII. and in the 1st, 3d, 6th, and 21st of Henry VIII. and died deputy general of the town and marches of Calais, 19 March 1532, 23d Henry VIII. He ordered his body to be buried in the chancel of St. Mary's church at Calais, and after the decease of his lady, gave his manors of Houghton, Offley, and Doxley in Hertfordshire, to the King, to satisfy the 500l. sterling that was due to his Majesty, and the overplus of their value was to go to perform his will, &c. He married Catherine, daughter of John Howard Duke of Norfolk, who survived him, and died 12th March, 27th of Henry VIII. 1535. This Lord Berners was only seven years old at his grandfather's death; in 18 Edward IV. he was made Knight of the Bath, at the marriage of the Duke of York, second son of King Edw. IV. with the daughter and heir of the Duke of Norfolk. In 7 Henry VII. he was retained to serve that King, with two spearmen, himself of the number, each having his custrel (fn. 30) and page, and nine demi-lances on horseback, in order to an expedition into France; and accordingly Oct. 1, the King took shipping at Sandwich, and the same day landed at Calais with a great army, and laid siege to Bologne, till Nov. 8, when a peace was made, to which all the peers consented, and among them this John Lord Berners. In 1495, he assented to a peace made with France, on the sea, near Bologne. In 1513, he had the King's letters of protection, being made captain of the pioneers at the siege of Therovene. In 6th Henry VIII. he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer for life; and that year attended the Lady Mary, the King's sister, into France, to her marriage with Lewis XII. In 19 Henry VIII. he obtained a grant from the King, of the inheritance of the manors and advowsons of Oakham, Effingham, Waldingham, Titsey in Surrey, Stratton, Audeley in Oxfordshire, Knoke in Wiltshire, and Up-Clatford in Southamptonshire, with all the knights fees belonging to them. It is also observable, that this John Lord Berners was a person so eminent for his learning, that by the command of King Henry VIII. he translated the Chronicle of Sir John Froisart, out of French into English: he likewise translated several other works, out of French, Spanish, and Italian, as, the Life of Sir Arthur, an Armorican Knt. The famous Exploits of Hugh of Bourdeaux. Marcus Aurelius, and the Castle of Love. Besides which, he composed a book, Of the Duties of the Inhabitants at Calais, and a comedy intituled, Ite in Vineam. He had issue, only two daughters,
Jane, her sister, by her death, became sole heir to her father; she
married Edm. Knevet, Esq. (fn. 31) serjeant-porter to King Henry VIII.
who became lord and patron of Ashwellthorp, and owner of the Thorp's
estate; he was second son of Edmund Knevet of Bukenham castle in
Norfolk, Esq. and settled at Ashwell-Thorp-hall, and had in his wife's
right, the manors of Barneholt, Horham, Thorp-hall, and Cowling in
Suffolk, Thetford in the isle of Ely, Loveden in Tyd St. Mary in
Lincolnshire, Ashwell-Thorp, Colkirk, North-Creke, Gateley, &c. in
Norfolk; Killingholm, Alyseby, Boston, Toft, Skyrbeck, Pynchbeck,
Thorp-hall, and Bacons, in Quaplode in Lincolnshire; Ryngburgh in
Yorkshire, (fn. 32) Fisherwick, Bacre, Bromwych, and Shefeld in Staffordshire, and Stonham Aspal in Suffolk, &c. of all which, except the six
last manors, the said Edmund Knevet, Esq. and Jane his wife, had
livery, 5th July, 25 Henry VIII. together with Walpole manor in
Lincolnshire. He was constituted receiver of the revenues of the
King's domains in Denbigh in North-Wales; and dying in 1546, was
buried in the chapel adjoining to Ashwellthorp chancel; and then
Jane his widow surrendered the manor of Thetford in Ely isle, to her
eldest son John, and Agnes his wife: and her manor of Gately in
1551, to William and Edmund Knevet, her younger sons, for life; and
in 1557, her manors of Quaplode, Holbech, Pynchbek, Multon, Skyrbek, Boston, Killingholm, and Aylsby in Lincolnshire, to the use of her
other executors, for 80 years, &c. and then to her right heirs. In
1560, she made her last will, and ordered her body to be buried by
her husband: she gave Colkirk to her 2d son William, (fn. 33) and Gately
and North Creke to her son Edmund, remainder to her right heirs,
her daughters, Rose widow of Oliver Reymes, Alice wife of Oliver
Shiers of Wreningham, and Christian wife to Thomas Foster, Gent.
had legacies. In the said chapel, is a gray marble with a brass plate,
on which is this,
Jane Knyvet resteth here, the only heir by Right, Of the Lord Berners that Sir John Bourchier hight, Twenty Years and three, a Widdows Lyft she ledd, Always keeping Howse, where Rych and Poor were fedd, Gentyll, just, quyet, void of Debate and Stryft, Ever doyng Good; Lo ! thus she led her Lyft, Even unto the Grave, where Erth on Erth doth lye, Gn whose Soul God grant of his aboundant Mercy The rvii of February Ao Dni. MDLII. (fn. 34)
John Knevet of Plumpstede, Esq. their eldest son and heir, was 22 years old at his father's death; and died in his mother's lifetime; in 1537, he married Agnes, daughter of Sir John Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire, and Elnhale in Staffordshire, Knt. who remarried with William Bowyer, Gent. of Wimbleton in Surrey. On this match, the manors of Horham, Thorp-hall, and Barneholt in Suffolk, and Thetford in Ely isle, were settled on them; and in 1342, they sold to Robert Reynolds, Esq. all their part of the manor of Illarys, alias New-hall, in Estbergholt, Stratford, WenhamMagna, Capel, Butley, Holton and Brantham in Suffolk; she died in 1579, and
Sir Thomas Knevet of Ashwell-Thorp, her eldest son and heir, succeeded, (fn. 35) and in the year 1616, having petitioned the King for the barony of Berners, descended to him from Jane his grandmother, he obtained a certificate (upon a reference of his petition by King James I. to the lords commissioners for the office of Earl-Marshal) of his right and title to the said barony, but died the 9th of Feb. following, before he could obtain the King's confirmation thereof. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in her progress into Norfolk; in 1579 he was high-sheriff of the county; his will was proved in 1617; by which it appears, that Thomas Knevet, Esq. his grandchild, was his heir; Abigail Mundeford, Katherine Paston, and Muriel Bell, were his three daughters; Eliz. Ashfield was his sister, and had a daughter named Abigail; he settled an annuity for life, on Edmund his son, out of Hapton manor, and was buried at Ashwellthorp Feb. 9, 1617. He married Muriel, daughter of Sir Thomas Parry, Knt. (fn. 36) master of the court of wards and liveries, and treasurer of the household to Queen Elizabeth, sister and coheir of Sir Thomas Parry of Welford in Berkshire, Knt. chancellor of the dutchy of Lancaster, and ambassour-leidger in France, in the time of Queen Elizabeth; she was buried here.
An elegy to the never dying fame, of that ever-living lover of vertue, the right worshipful the Lady Muriel Knyvet, late wife of the right worshipful Sir Thomas Knevet, Knt. who ceased to live among mortals 26 Apr. Anno Incarn. Dni. 1616.
This Sir Thomas, was a man of great repute, and much beloved for his hospitality and good nature, for which he was eminent, as the following ballad containing an incredible story (the tradition of which still remains) fully declares:
Sir Thomas Knevet of Ashwellthorp and Thornage, Knt. eldest son and heir of Sir Thomas Knevet the elder, and Muriel Parry his wife, died in Sept. 1605, in the lifetime of his father, and was buried in St. Mary's church at Feltwell, Sept. 20; he was knighted at the Charter-house, May 11, 1603, by King James I. In 1592, he married Elizabeth second daughter and coheir of Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Stiveky or Stucay in Norfolk, Knight of the Bath, who survived him.
Thomas Knevet of Ashwellthorp, Esq. their son, was baptized June 10, 1596, and inherited at the death of his grandfather; in 1625, he was summoned to receive the honour of Knight of the Bath, at the coronation of King Charles I.; he died at Henham-hall in Suffolk, the seat of his son-in-law, Sir John Rous, Knight and Baronet, and was buried at Ashwellthop, July 2, 1658, with this on a black marble gravestone in Thorp's chapel:
Hic jacet insignis Heros THOMAS KNYVET, Armiger, Baro hereditarius de BERNERS, Titulo, à JANA Filiâ JOHANNIS BOURCHIER Baronis de BERNERS, traducto. Virtutibus Publicis, Privatis, sincero Numinis Cultu, Moribus antiquis, priscâ. animi Indole, Ac veteri Prosapiâ illustris, leniori Seculo, et fœlici Caroli secundi Post liminio dignus. Sed exhalanti Monarchiæ vix superstes, Distichon Hocce, generosi animi specimen, proprio Calamo Exaratum, Posteris legavit.
On this stone are the arms of Knevet quartering Bourchier, and Bourchier quartering Berners and Knevet's crest, (fn. 37) a demidragon, his wings erect, az. langued gul. He married Catherine, fourth and youngest daughter of Thomas Lord Burgh of Gainesborough, sister and coheir of Thomas Lord Burgh, her brother, who died under age; she was buried at Ashwell-thorp, May 1, 1646, leaving two sons, John and Thomas.
Sir John Knevet of Ashwell-thorp, their eldest son, was made Knight of the Bath at the coronation of King Charles 11. he married Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Bedingfield of Darsham in Suffolk, Knt. in 1655; and settled on her, the manors and advowsons of Ashwell-thorp, Wreningham, and the manors of Nelonde, Fundenhall, and Hapton, and 96 acres of Thorp wood next the park (Fundenhall wood containing 180 acres, the upper end of Thorp wood containing 64 acres were excepted out of the settlement.) In 1662, he was appointed by Horace Lord Towneshend, one of the deputy lieutenants for the county: by his will proved in the prerogative court Feb. 13, 1673, he ordered his body to be interred without any solemnity in the east end of that chapel, in the church of Ashwell thorp, belonging to his family, where there is a stone with his crest and arms, thus inscribed,
Baro Hæreditarius de BERNERS, A CAROLI postliminio Eques Balnei, Antiquum Genus virtute insignivit, Ad exteras peregrinando, Selectissimos condivit mores, Doctrinam coluit et occuluit, Ritu solemni adoravit Numen, Regi Fidelitatem latè testatus, Altare ditavit DEI Elemosinarius, (fn. 38) Optimis auspicijs Uxorem duxit MARIAM Filiam THOMÆ BEDINGFIELD Equitis.
Here lyeth the Body of Dame Mary Knyvet, Wife of Sir John Knyvet Knt. of the Bath, departed this Life the 18th Day of April 1713, being in the 80th Year of her Age; they left two Sons and five Daughters.
1. Thomas Knevet, Esq. of Ashwell-thorp, eldest son and heir, was colonel of a regiment of the militia of the county of Norfolk, died unmarried, and was buried by his father under a marble thus inscribed,
Hic situs est, THOMAS KNYVET Armiger, Johannis de Balneo Equitis Filius natû maximus, Qui nobilem à quâ oriundus est stirpem Non minus generosâ indole Fide antiquâ, Spectatâ omnibus humanitate, Quam ingenij acumine, acri Judicio, Et exquisita politiorum Literarum Scientiâ, Expressit, illustravit, Spem vero quem Boni omnes, De illo conceperant amplissimam Præcox Fatum eripuit.
1. Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, married to Thomas Glemham of Glemham-Parva in Suffolk, Esq. where they were buried. They had only one child, Thomas, who survived his parents, and was captain of a company of dragoons under Brigadier Pepper, in Spain, in the service of the late Queen Anne, and died unmarried about 1711, at Valladolid, and was buried there.
2. Catherine, who by the death of all her brothers and sisters without issue, became sole heiress: she married first, to John Harris of London, Gent. by whom she had no issue, secondly, to Rich. Bokenham of Weston-Mercate, Esq. high-sheriff of Suffolk, by whom she had no issue; he is buried in Weston-Mercate chancel. In 1720, she being wife to the said Richard, claimed the barony of Berners, and after a hearing in the House of Lords, their lordships were of opinion,
That she had fully proved her claim to the said barony of Berners in fee, and had a right to the said barony in fee; and accordingly by his Majesty's command, she was allowed to be Catherine Baroness Berners by descent from John Bourchier Lord Berners, who was first summoned to parliament by writ dated 26 May 33 Henry VI. Her arms were, quarterly 1 and 4, Knevet. 2 and 3 quarterly or and vert. (fn. 39) She died in December 1743, and was buried at Weston by her husband, aged 89.
4. Jane, married to Oliver le Neve of Great Wichingham in Norfolk, Esq. but died before her husband, without issue 19 June, 1704, and is buried under a black marble in the chancel of Great Wichingham, with this,
Thomas Knyvet of Mutford in the county of Suffolk, Esq. second surviving son, but third son born, of Thomas Knyvet, Esq. eldest son and heir of Sir Thomas Knyvet, of Ashwellthorp, (fn. 40) who died in the lifetime of his father, Sir Thomas Knyvet, son and heir of John Knyvet, Esq. son and heir of Edmund Knyvet, Esq. by Jane his wife, daughter and sole heir of John Bourchier Lord Berners.
John Knyvet of Norwich, Esq. their only son and heir, who married Lucy, daughter and coheir of Charles Suckling of Brakendale in Norfolk, Esq. who are both dead, and lie buried at Trowse in Norfolk; they had five sons and three daughters.
1, Paston Knyvet, Esq. died without issue. 2, Thomas, who died unmarried. 3, John died young. 4, John Knyvet, Esq. captain of a company of invalids, died single, in May 1742, and was buried at Trowse, but hath been since removed to Ashwell-thorp. 5, Charles died unmarried.
1, Eliz. Knyvet, married Hen. Wilson, Gent. of Didlington in Norfolk, who was buried first at Trowse, but is since removed to Ashwell-thorp; she is still living his widow, and in possession of the manors of Ashwell-thorp, (fn. 41) Wreningham, Fundenhall, and Hapton, by the will of the late Lady Berners, with the advowsons of Ashwellthorp and Wreningham, and hath two sons and one daughter living. 1, Henry. 2, Knyvet. 3, Harriot, married to Mr. John Layton of London.
2, Lucy Knevet, now dead, married 1st to Mr. Thomas Holt, by whom a daughter named Elizabeth-Ann. 2dly, to John Field, carpenter, of Reading in Berkshire, by whom she hath two daughters, Lucy and Catherine.
So that now the barony of Berners is in abeyance, (fn. 42) both the sisters having surviving issue.
The church hath a square tower and four bells, a nave, chancel, and north chapel. There is a handsome stone font, erected by Thomas Knevet, Esq. and Katherine Burgh his wife: it is an octogon, and hath eight shields: 1, Thorp. 2, Tilney impaling Thorp. 3, Bourchier impaling Tilney. 4, Knyvet impales Bourchier. 5, Knyvet impaling Harcourt, or, two bars G. 6, Knyvet impales Parry, alias Vaughan, sab. a chevron ar. between three boys head proper, intwined with snakes noued proper 7, Knyvet and Bacon, gul. on a chief arg. two mullets sab. 8, Knyvet and Burgh, az. five de-lises erm. In the east window of the chapel, quarterly France and England Seales impaling Northwood. Burgh in the garter. Thorp and Bainard quartered gul. a falcon rising arg. In the east chancel window, Thorp siding Baniard, and A. a cross gul. In the belfry window, Baniard impaled with lozengè erm. and gul. In the other windows, Lord Morley. Northwood with the crest, and two bars gul. in the first quarter. Aslack, sab. a chevron between three catherine-wheels or
In the east window are the remains of a knight in armour, kneeling
at an altar tomb, and Knyvet and Clifton quartered by him, with a
crescent; against him is a woman kneeling, in the dress of that age,
with the said quarters in a lozenge, impaling or, a fess sab. surmounted
by a saltier gul. and there was a picture of it at Ashwell-thorp, which
I take to have been erected either to the memory of that Sir John
Knevet who married Joane, daughter and heir of Sir John Boutetort
of Mendlesham in Suffolk, Knt. or rather of Sir John his son, and his
wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Constantine Clifton of Bukenhamcastle, Knt. who was buried in Wimondham abbey church, (fn. 43) with this
Hic iacet Domini Elixabeth quondam Yro Johannis knebet militis Domini de Mendlesham, filia Constantini Elitcon, Domini be Bukhenham Castle, soror Johannis Elitton Militis, et Matre Johannis Anybet Irmigrei, per quam Castrum be Bukenham et multa alia Maneccia dicta Johanni hybet Armigero, iure Derrebitario bescendebent, que quidem Elizabetha ablit apud Mendicsham, in Mense Septembris Ao Dni. Meccchio.
The church is dedicated to all the Saints, and when Norwich Domesday was made, Sir Rob. Fitz-John was patron; the rector had a house and 10 acres of glebe, it was valued at nine marks, paid 6s. 8d. procurations, 3s. synodals, 2s. 6d. Peter-pence, and 3d. carvage. The terrier hath a house and about eight acres of glebe. The church of Ashwell is down, and immemorially annexed to Thorp. There is weekly service here. The village hath about 20 families, and it paid to each tenth 26s. clear. The etymology of its name is, the Thorp by the Well or Fountain at the Asshes. Here was a gild of the Holy Trinity, and in 1504, the tenor bell was made by the contribution of Sarah Sawer and others.
1488, to Tho. Greene, and Thomas Earl of Surrey, guardian of the West and Middle Marches of England towards Scotland, and Justice of all the King's forests beyond the Trent, and Lady Elizabeth his wife, presented him; and on his resignation in 1498, they gave it to Richard Eaton. In
1533, Sir Stephen Thompson succeeded, by the gift of Sir Edmund Knevet, and Joan, daughter and heir of Bourchier Lord Berners. He died in 1544, and Joan Knyvet, widow, relict of Edmund Knyvet, Esq. presented
John Browne, who held it united to Wreningham, (fn. 44) and dying 27 Dec. 1593, was buried here, and Sir Tho. Knyvet, Knt. gave it to