An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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THORP - ABBOTS,
So called to distinguish it from other villages of this name, (fn. 1) it being for many ages, part of the possessions of the Abbot of Bury, and of those manors that were appropriated to the Abbot's own use; and from its being much larger than the other neighbouring vill called ThorpParva in Diss hundred, it is often named Thorp-Magna; and of late years, Thorp-Cornwaleis, from its lords.
This town belonged to Ailfric Bishop of Elmham in King Edgar's time, (for whom see vol. iii. p. 460,) who gave it to Bury abbey, (fn. 2) to which it belonged ever since, to its dissolution; the abbots of that house being always lords and patrons. At the survey, the manor had two carucates in demean, and was seven furlongs long, and six broad, and paid 4d. geld or tax. (fn. 3) The church had 12 acres of glebe, then worth 2s. a year; and the Abbot had the soke or superiour jurisdiction here exempt from the hundred, except the services of two freemen which belonged to Hersam; and in all returns made to the King, the Abbot is said to hold this town as part of his barony.
In 1285, Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk, as Lord of Ersham hundred, claimed freewarren here, but it was not allowed him, the Abbot recovering it against him, proving by Domesday, that he was sole lord, and had the paramountship of Thorp in right of his church, exempt from the hundred: about this time, Robert of Thorp held it by lease for life from the Abbot; and it appears, that he had a good estate in the town, for in 1271, he purchased of Arnold de Bedingfield and Orframnia his wife, two messuages, a mill, 120 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, 10 acres of wood, here and in Preleston.
In 1425, Will. Curteys, then abbot, leased it to Will. Grice of Brockdish for 10 years, at 22 marks a year. At the Dissolution, it was bought of King Henry VIII. by Giles Bridges, Esq. citizen and draper of London, son of Sir John Bridges, Knt. (fn. 4) Lord Mayor of London, who died in 1521, and is buried in St. Nic. Acon church in Lumbardstreet; his wife was daughter of Tho. Ayloffe of Braxted in Essex. This Giles married Eleanor daughter of John Robins, Gent. of Worcestershire, and they conveyed it to Robert Southwell Esq. who in 1546, sold it to
Thomas Cornwaleis, Esq. and his heirs: he was afterwards knighted, and became a man of great figure and reputation; an account of him and his descendants (who have been lords here) may be seen in the 4th volume of the Peerage, edit. London 1741, p. 175, to which I refer you.
The Right Hon. Charles Cornwaleis, Lord Cornwaleis of Eye, and Baronet, constable of the Tower of London, lord lieutenant of the Tower hamlets, and one of the lords of his Majesty's most honourable privy council, is now lord and patron, and hath the lete here.
In Domesday we find, that the church is dedicated to All the Saints, and the rector had a house and nine acres of land, that it was valued at 15 marks, (fn. 5) paid 2s. synodals, 7s. 7d. ob. procurations, and 7d. ob. Peter-pence. The vicarage was dissolved and fallen into the rectory. The Abbot of Bury was taxed for his temporals here, viz. the manor, demeans, mill, silva cedua, &c. at 20l. 4s. 1d. and the village paid 36s. clear to every tenth.
John de Rekynghale, S.T.B. (fn. 6) who exchanged for Fresingfield mediety with