An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Takes its name from its site, a thorp, or village, by a river or water, called Pen; thus Penne in Bucks, Penneston in Yorkshire, &c. In Domesday Book it is wrote Penestorpa, and was then the lordship of Rainold, son of Ivo; Scula being deprived of it on the conquest; and Ranulf held it under Rainald, the capital lord. Here were 2 carucates of land, 13 bordarers, and 2 servi, 2 carucates in demean, &c. 3 acres of meadow, a mill, &c. 240 sheep, 4 skeps of bees, valued at 40s. per ann. it was 4 furlongs long, and 3 broad, and paid 6d. gelt. (fn. 1)
Who this Rainald Fitz-Ivo was, does not appear; he was, no doubt, a Norman, and had many lordships granted to him by the Conqueror, all which came into the family of the Earls of Clare, probably on the marriage of Rohais to Richard Fitz-Gilbert, (fn. 2) one of the daughters of Walter Giffard, sister and coheir to Walter her brother, Earl of Buckingham; Walter the son dying possessed of it in the reign of Henry II.
Ranulf, who was enfeoffed of this manor by Fitz-Ivo, seems to be the ancestor of the family of De Penesthorp. Simon de Penegisthorp was lord in the reign of Richard I. son of Sir Richard de Penegisthorp; and Simon was lord in the 18th of Henry III. Soon after this, Richard FitzSimon was found to hold one fee in this town of the Earl of Gloucester; and in the 41st of that King, Simon Fitz-Richard was sued by the prior of Coxford, for levying a market in Penesthorp, to the injury of the prior's market in East Rudham; and in the said year, Simon was found to have raised the dam of his pool, to the damage of meadows in Ryburgh. In the following year, Simon agrees and covenants by fine, with John, prior of Coxford, that he will not hold his mercate on Tuesday, or Thursday, without his consent, for which the prior received him and his heirs as benefactors.
In the 3d of Edward I. Simon Fitz-Richard was found to have the assize of bread and beer, free warren, and a gallows; and in the 15th of that King, the jury present, that he claimed a fair in this manor, on the feast of St. Margaret; and Thomas de Holt of Fakenham was, in the 25th of the said reign, sued by him for entering into his manor, or free warren, taking and carrying away his hares, rabbits, and partridges, without license.
Simon Fitz-Richard, in the 8th of Edward II. was found to hold 12 fees, and the fourth part of a fee, in Dunmow, Finching fielde Lacheley and Bolmer in Essex; in Pencethorp, Cley, Threxton, Buketon, Stivekey, West Winche, Clenchwarton, Wigenhale and Fordham, in Norfolk; and in the 21st of Edward III. Richard Fitz-Simon granted this lordship and advowson to John de Ufford, with that of Letheringham in Suffolk, and the advowson of that priory: he was son of Simon, by Nicholaa his wife, one of the daughters or Sir William de Bovill, Knt. and this was in trust. (fn. 3)
John Spoo was lord after this, in right, as I take it, of Nicholaa, daughter and heir of Richard Fitz-Simon; who in the 13th of Richard II. with Nicholaa, his wife, conveyed it by fine, quit of the heirs of Nicholaa, with the manor of Bawsey, to Sir Robert Carbonnell, Knt. John Spoo was also lord of Wood-Norton and Gestwick.
In the 21st of the said King, Sir Richard Carbonnel, as appears by the eschaet rolls, was found to hold it with Margaret his wife, and John was his son and heir, aged 14. (fn. 4) Sir Richard Carbonnel, by his will dated November 4, 1429, settled it in order to pay his debts; and Thomas Brigge, Esq, of Salle, lord of this town and Wood-Dalling, by his will dated May 6, in 1444, and proved May 29, following, died possessed of it.
John Heydon, of Baconsthorp, Esq. seems to be soon after seized of it, and died lord in 1480: to him the prior of Walsingham released the rent of 12d. per ann. out of this manor, granted to that convent by Simon Fitz-Richard: in this family it continued many years. Tho mas Heydon, Esq. a younger son of Sir John Heydon, was lord in 1572; in the 29th of of Elizabeth, William Haydon, had a præcipe to deliver it to Sir John Cotton, Knt. and in the 33d of that Queen, Thomas Croft, Esq. had one, to render it to Edmund Stubble, Esq.
By an inquisition taken at St. Edmund's Bury, September 10 in the 3d of James I. Edward Sulyard, Esq. son and heir of Sir John Sulyard, was found to die, May 10, last past lord of this manor and of Wetherden, Stratford-hall, Hawley, with the park, &c. in Suffolk, and left by Frances his wife, relict of Sir—Babthorpe, Sir John Sulyard, his son and heir, aged 30, married to Philipa, daughter of Ralph Sheldon, Esq.
In the 5th of James I. Dorothy Moor, widow, had a præcipe to deliver it to Thomas Corbet, Esq; and by an inquisition taken at Norwich, May 29, in the 5th of Charles I. Francis Houghton was found to die seized of it, held of the honour of Clare, and Robert was his son and heir, aged 3 years.