Blofield Hundred: Thorp, by Norwich

Pages 258-264

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.

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Called Torp in the survey. Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury was lord of it in the reign of the Confessor, in his own right, and held it as a lay-fee; on his deprivation, the Conqueror seized on it, and William de Noiers took care of it, or farmed it at the survey, as steward to him. (fn. 1) In Stigand's time, there were 3 carucates, with 24 villains, &c. and 5 borderers, 2 servi, 2 carucates in demean, &c. and 4 carucates among the tenants, paunage for 1200 swine, and 40 acres of meadow, one runcus, 2 cows, &c. with 36 goats. Twenty-six socmen held 2 carucates of land, and one of them had 3 bordarers, and there belonged to them 3 carucates and a half; of one of these, Ralph (late) Earl of Norfolk had a moiety, with 30 acres of land, and the soc was in Stigand. After Earl Ralph forfeited, who was lord of this town, and had the soc and sac; Robert Blund farmed it of the King, as William Nowers did, when it was charged and valued at 12l. one sextary of honey, and 2000 herrings; at the survey at 30l. quit-rent. It was 3 leucas long, and one leuca and 3 furlongs broad, and paid 8d. gelt. Here were also 3 socmen, and the moiety of another, with 32 acres of and, and 4 acres of meadow; and, among the tenants, a carucate, which Godwin Halden then held, with their soc and sac, by the grant of Earl Ralph, as the hundred testifies; but they belong to Thorp, with their customary dues; and besides there are 140 sheep, valued at 24d.

After Stigand's deprivation, Ralph de Waiet, alias Guader, &c. being made Earl of Norfolk in 1075 had a grant of this lordship, and on his rebellion it came again to the Crown, where it remained till King Henry I. granted it, on the 3d of Sep. 1101, (fn. 2) [see opposite page,] to Herbert the Bp. and the monks of the church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich, and their successours for ever, with all its appertences, sac and soc, &c. in as ample a manor as he, or, &c. had ever enjoyed it.

The aforesaid King, by his mandate to Roger Bigot, Ralph Passelew, and all his barons, French and English, of Norfolk and Suffolk, commands, that Herbert the Bishop, and all the church aforesaid, should be free from all gelts and payments, as he himself held it;— witness, Robert Malet at Hereford; and by another mandate to Roger Bigot, and R. Passelewe, &c. commands, that this lordship, with its appertenance, should be free from all aid, scots, &c. as it was when held by him;—witness Robert Bishop of Lincoln, dated at Norwich. And in a precept, dated at Rohan in Normandy, to his sheriffs, &c. of Norfolk, commands, that the Bishop have free warren here, and in Eton, and that no one should hunt, &c. herein, without his license on the forfeiture of 10l.—witness, the chancellor at Rohan.

In the 15th of Edward I. the Bishop of Norwich claimed here, and in Blofield, a gallows, view of frank-pledge, assise, &c. and was part of his barony, which was held by 5 fees: in the 20th of Edward III. the Bishop paid 10l. for the said fees, on the King's son, being made a knight. In the see it remained till the exchange made between King Henry VIII. and Bishop Rugg, of lands, &c. belonging to this see, &c. which were granted to the Crown by act of parliament, on Feb. 4, Ao. 27, Henry VIII.—The town of Blofield was the head of the barony.

On this exchange, this lordship came to the Crown, with the advowson of the rectory, the Bishop's house, or palace here: and was confirmed on Feb. 4, in the 27th of Henry III. by act of parliament. By an indenture under the great seal of England, dated Jan. 1, Ao. 35th of Henry VIII. this manor was granted to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, for life, remainder to Henry Earl of Surry, his son and heir, and the lady Frances, his wife, during her life, and their heirs, to be held by the 20th part of a fee, and the rent of 3l. 1s. 8d. per annum except 10s. for the reeve's fee On the top of this grant was the King's mark, and signed underneath by the Duke of Norfolk, the Lord Russel, Richard Southwell, and Walter Henby, officers of the Court of Augmentation. Earl Henry, being afterwards attainted and executed, left Thomas his son and heir, who was Duke of Norfolk in Queen Mary's reign; but being restored in blood only, and the Countess of Surry surrendering it in her widowhood to King Edward VI. the said King, on June 25, in his first year, granted it to Sir Thomas Paston, with the advowson, a fold-course, lands and tenements in this town, Plumstede Magna and Parva, &c. with the toll and profits of Mawdelyn —, and Thorp wood, late the Bishop of Norwick's, to be held by the payment of 5l. 2s. 1d. per annum; and the said King gave to the Countess the lordship of Earl's Soham in Suffolk. Edward Paston, (fn. 3) son of Sir Thomas, was lord in 1571, and his grandson Clement was living in 1643, in which year Nov. 7, in a court at Norwich, John Thacker, John Tooly, Adr. Parmenter, &c. justices, L. Sherwood, William Symonds, &c. alderman, it was agreed, that leave should be given to William Kettleburgh to buy of Mr. Clement Paston wood and timber at Thorpe wood, and grounds, in respect of the extreme scarcity of firing for the poor in this winter time; and the said William Kettleburgh hath undertaken to deliver to the poor of the city, ten thousand well-sized billets this winter, at 20s. per 1000; and 5000 two-band wood, in faggots, at 3d. per faggot; and the committee are content that he should pay the money, upon the bargain, to Mr. Paston, whose estate seems, at this time, to be sequestered.

From this, family, it came, by purchase to Rowland Dee, merchant of London, who presented as lord to this church in 1670; his son, Duncan Dee, Esq. inherited it, was serjeant at law, presented in 1706, and died May 30, 1720, but sold it, before his death, to Matt. Howard, Gent. of Hackney, in Middlesex; and, in 1742, Matt. Howard, Esq, was lord and patron.

The original grant of this manor, in 1728, was in Matt. Howard, and a copper-plate was engraven from it by Mr. Sturt.

The Prior's, now Dean And Chapter's Manor.

Bishop Herbert, lord of this town, by the grant of the manor abovementioned, on founding the priory at Norwich, gave the best part of it to the said convent, and kept the least part of it for himself and successours, which division he thought necessary; otherwise his frequent coming to Norwich, as he had no land there, would be very troublesome; (fn. 4) and he gave them for that part of Thorp, which he kept, the lordship of Gnatyndon, an hamlet of Sedgeford, with its foldcourses, the church of Thornham, with the land of Thurston, and a carucate of land at Gaywood, as appears from a pleading, in the 25th of Henry III.

In 1154, Pope Adrian the 4th by his bull, confirmed to the prior a moiety of Thorp wood, and all its profits, except the demean and right of hunting, which was in the Bishop; and, in 1156, he confirmed the heath, with all its wood, as Bishop William Turbe had granted it, there being a dispute between John of Oxford, the Bishop, and the priory, concerning a mill in Thorp, which was farmed of the Bishop at 20s. per annum the mill and ground were allowed to belong to the see, with the water-course:—Witnesses, William de Len, Mr. Robert de Gloucester, &c. in the 5th year of his pontificate. (fn. 5)

William de Raleigh, Bishop, and Simon the prior, agreed in 1236, that the part of Thorp wood, covered with oaks, should be divided into 2 equal parts, and that the part nearest to the manor-house of Thorp should be to the Bishop, and that the other part nearest to the Bishop's Bridge should be to the prior, saving to the Bishop his right in the said bridge; and that the heath should be divided into 3 parts; the Bishop to have 2 parts nearest to him, and the prior one part; and, for this agreement, the Bishop grants to the prior all his right in a moiety of Plumstede-wood; also free warren in the 3d part of the heath aforesaid: and if he had a desire to inclose and cultivate the same, he would assist, and support him in so doing; dated at Geywode, 8 calend. of Nov.—Witnesses, Peter de Raleigh, &c. by this grant of free warren, the prior had a manor, and so gave rise to, and was the original of, the prior's lordship, now called Pockthorp, and in the dean and chapter of Norwich at this time.

That the heath here was remarkable for plenty of timber and underwood, as appears from a compotus of William de Kirkeby, prior in 1283, wherein 37s. 4d. was received for underwood. In 1315, I find bark sold for 9s. 11d.—In 1335, in timber bark and faggots, received 6l. 16s. 9d.

The heath was called Mousehold; and, besides sheeps-walks, here was a netherd for the great cattle, and a swanherd, who had 26s. 8d. per annum wages. In 1428, the temporalities of the priory were valued at 3l. 8s 2d. per annum, and was called the cellarer's manor; the lete of assise, &c. belonged to it.

On the dissolution of the priory, which was surrended to King Henry VIII. April 1, 1538, by Will. Castleton, prior, &c. on May 2, in the said year, the King new founded it for a dean, six prebendaries, &c. and appointed Castleton the first dean; and the dean and chapter of Norwich holds it at this time

The tenths, with Pockthorp, were 2l. 7s.—Deducted 7s.

The Church is dedicated to St. Andrew, and was valued at 8 marks: Peter-pence 10d. carvage 2d.—The present valor is 8l. and pays first fruits, &c. and is a rectory.

In the chancel lies a marble gravestone,

In memory of Mrs. Mary Chapman, relict of Samuel Capman, late rector. She founded the house called Bethell, in Norwich, for poor lunaticks, and died in 1724.

Thomas de Middleton was vicar, and presented (as said) about 1200 by the prior paying 8s. per annum to St. Paul's hospital in Norwich, or Norman's Spittle.—The cellarer of Norwich had a portion of tithe of the same value.

William de Raleigh, Bishop, granted to the prior and convent, and to the hospital of St. Paul, the 3d part of the tithe of his assart lands in Thorp; and the dean and chapter have a portion of tithe, valued at 10s.


1303, John de Nassington, rector, collated by the Bishop.

1332, Thomas Cook. Ditto.

1339, Thomas Dattiltoff. Ditto.

1342, Simon de Cley.

1342, John de Breydeston.

1350, Laur. de Lyttylton.

Tho. Rery, rector.

1396, Nich. Fuller.

1399, Thomas Revell.

1405, John Cubet.

1428, John Benet,

1433, John Spurling,

Richard Wheeler.

1445, Robert Rogers.

1476, Robert Godfrey.

1477, Richard Foo.

1508, Stephen Thorp.

1531, Barth. Holf.

1551, John Brown, by Sir John Godsalve.

1558, John Barret, D. D. and prebend of Norwich, by William Godsalve, Esq.

1558, William Canvas. Ditto.

1569, Germ. Gardiner, by the assigns of William Godsalve, Esq.

1586, Robert Brook, by the Queen.

1587, Robert Garret. Ditto.

1587, Thomas Twaite, by Thomas Godsalve, of Buckenham Ferry.

1607, Robert Fielden, by Edward Paston, Esq.

1642, Robert Blofield, by Robert Blofield, Gent. being under sequestration.

1670, Samuel Chapman, by Rowland Dee, of London merchant. This worthy rector left by his will to the minister of Thorp, for a sermon to be preached annually, on January 6, 13s. 4d.; to the parish clerk, 20d.; and to the poor in bread, 9s. 2d. with a salary for a school-master. He was also a benefactor to Corpus Christi college, Cambridge: gave to the 2 hospitals in Norwich 200l. to each, and to the augmentation of the church, of Metfield a donative in Suffolk, ordering his tenements, and copyhold lands there, to be sold, and (which came to above 520l.) to be laid out in freehold lands, with a convenient house for the use of the minister. He lies buried in the chancel of this church, under a black marble, thus inscribed;

Samuel Chapman, an humble admirer of grace and wisdom of God, in a crucified Jesus, fell asleep in that Jesus, the hope of glory, the resurrection of life, June 29, 1700.

1700, Charles Cobb, by Robert Huntman, Gent.

1706, Thomas Tanner, by Duncan Dee, Esq.; he was afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph, &c.

1731, Edward Capper, by the King.

1753, Richard Humphrey, rector, (on the death of Mr. Capper,) by Thomas Vere, Esq.

The perpetual advowson of this church was granted by Richard Bishop of Norwich, and confirmed by the prior and convent, to Thomas Godsalve, register of the diocese, and his heirs, on May 1, 1535.

In the church was the guild of St. Andrew.

Ralph de Beaufo had here at the survey a socman, whom he had invaded with all his customary dues, who held 8 acres of land, as he received it from Eudo, his precedecessor, valued at 17d. (fn. 6) this was afterwards joined to the Bishop's lordship.

In this town, and in Limpenhoe, Rabel, the carpenter, had invaded the lands; 20 freemen had a carucate of land, and 20 acres, and 7 acres of meadow; and there were 2 carucatess valued at 10s. in King Edward's time, and 3 at the survey, valued at 11s. 6d. and Rabel had seized on it. This also soon after came into the Bishop's manor. (fn. 7)

On Musholt-heath, (fn. 8) about a mile from the hamlet of Pockthorp, to the north-east, was a chapel dedicated to St. Catherine, said to have been an ancient parochial chapel, about the time of the conquest, and afterwards rededicated to the honour of St. William, commonly called St. William in the Wood, from a boy that was crucified by the Jews, at Norwich, in 1137; a cell of monks belonging to Norwich priory being near to it, and was much frequented by pilgrims, but at the Dissolution was demolished.

Near to this was the chapel of the Translation of St. Thomas of Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.—Here was also the chapel of St. Michael, which stood on the brow of the hill, on the north side of the road, just out of Bishop's-gate; its ruins being still visible, and commonly called Kett's (the rebel's) castle, and was founded by Bishop Herbert.

There was also a priory dedicated to St. Leonard, standing opposite to St. Michael's chapel, built by Bishop Herbert, as a cell to Norwich priory) now in ruins. At the Dissolution, it came to the Crown, and King Henry VIII. granted it to Thomas Duke of Norfolk; his son Henry Earl of Surrey built a sumptuous house on the site, where he lived, and was called Mount-Surrey, and Surrey-house. On his attainder, it came to the Crown; and, in 1562, Queen Elizabeth granted it, with the prior's partible wood, to Tho. Duke of Norfolk, who having also forfeited it, King James I. conferred it, in 1702, on Thomas Howard Earl of Suffolk.


  • 1. Tre. Stigandi Epis. quas custodit W. de Noiers in manu Regis. Torp. ten. Stigand. Archiepis. T. R. E. iii. car. tc. xxiiii. vill. p'. xxiii. mo. xxii. et v. bord. sep. tc. et. p'. ii. ser. mo. i. tc. ii. car. in dnio. p'. et mo. i. sep. iiii. car. hom. silva ad mcc. por. et xl. ac. pti. tc. et mo. i. r. semp. ii. an. et xiii. por. sep. xxxvi. cap. sep. xxvi. soc. de ii. car. tre. un. ht. iii. bord. sep. iii. car. et dim. et de uno stor. habuit R. Comes dim. de xxx. ac. re. et soca Stigandi, et quando R. se forisfecit habuit soc. et soca. et p'. R. Blund. ad censu. mo. W. de Noiers in censu de Torp. tc. val. xii. lib. et i. sext. mellis et ii. M. allec. p'. et mo. xxx. lib. blancas. et ht. iii leug. in long. et i. leug. et iii. quar. in lat. et de gelto viii. d. et in eade. iii. soc. et dim. cum soca et saca de xxxii. ac. tre. et iiii. ac. pti. sep. intr. hoes. i. car. mo. tenet Goduin. Halden ex dono Comitis R. et hundret. testatr. s. pertinent in Torp. cu. consuet. adhuc cxl. ovs. sep. val. xxiiii. d.
  • 2. The grant of this King Henry I. is a curious piece of antiquity, beautifully wrote in Latin, made by him, as he declares, for his own soul, the souls of his father and mother, of King William, his brother, of all his ancestors and successours, in the presence of Queen Maud, daughter of the King of Scotland, and the illustrious men, eccleastical and secular, of all England, whose names are underwritten, that his gift may for ever remain; confirmed with the sign of the holy cross, and corroborated with the seal of his royal dignity, in the year of our Lord 1101, on the third, of the nones of September. Thorp, by Norwich. Ego Henricus Rex donavi et firmaviNomina Archieporu. et Eporum. sub s. † Ego Anselm. Archieps. Cantuar' s. † Ego Gerard. Eborac. Archieps. s. † Ego Gundulf. Rouecest. Eps. s. † Ego Mauriti London. Eps. s. † Ego Johs. Eps. Bathoniens. s. † Ego Osb. Exonicns. Eps. s. † Ego Rotbt. Cestrens. Eps. s. † Ego Rotbt. Lincoliens. Eps. s. † Ego Radulf. Cicestrens. Eps. s. † Ego Samsson Wicrecest Eps. s. † Ego Rannulf. Dunelm. Eps. s. † Ego Johs. Tusculan. Eps. Legat. Papœ, s. † Ego Tybius Camerarius Paschal. Pape, s. Mense Septembri ordinatione beati Papœ Gregorii, apud Windesores confirmavit hœc Ds. qi. operatur omnia in Scis. cui Regis offert munera incipientes ab jerlm. † Ego Regina Mahtilerd Ego Rotbt. Dux Normannor. fr. Regis Henrici concessi, et hoc signo crucis confirmavi. Nomina P'matu. et p ncipum. † Ego Rotbt. Depontivo Comes, s. † Ego Steph. Comes Britannie, s. † Ego Rotbt. Comes de Metlent, s. † Ego Eustach. Comes Bolonie, s. † Ego Hynric. Comes de Warwic. s. † Ego Symon Comes de Northampt. s. † Ego Wills. Comes de Ullarenna, s. † Ego Wills. Comes de Mauritan. s. † Ego Rogs. Comes Pictaviens. s. † Ego Eudo Dapifer. s. † Ego Haym. Dapifer. s. † Ego Wills. Pincerna, s. † Ego Ricard. Derctuers, s. † Ego Rotbt. fili. Harmonis, s. † Ego Alanus Flaaldj fil. s. † Ego Gisleb. fil. Ricardi, s. † Ego Rotbt. Maleth. s. † Ego Willm. Maleth. s. † Ego Rogerius fil. Ricard. s. † Nomina Abbatum et Clericor. † Ego Gislebt. Abbas Westmonast. s. † Ego Serlo Abbs. Glocestrens s. † Ego Hynric. Abbs. de Bello, s. † Ego Steph. Abbs. Eboracensis, s. † Ego Alduuin. Abbs. Ramesiens. s. † Ego Odo Abbs. Cersiensis, s. † Ego Ricard. Abb. Sci. Albanj, s. † Ego Ricard Abb. de Heij, s. † Ego Rogerus Cancellarius, s. † Ego Everard. Cappell. s. † Ego Roger Capell. s. † Ego Rotbt. Peccat Cappell. s. † Ego Thomas Cappell. s. † Ego Unfrid Cappell. s. † Ego Rotbt. Cappell. s. † Ego Osbn. Capell. s. † Ego Herbert. Regis Camerarius, s. † Ego Waldric. Cappell. s. † Ego Petrus Valoniensis, s. † Ego Will. de Ullareluuast. s. †
  • 3. Clement married Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Compton of Brambleby in Sussex, Knt.
  • 4. Plita. Cor. Reg. Ret. 23.
  • 5. Reg. i. Norw. fol. 83. 55. 47.
  • 6. Invasiones. Rad. de Bellafago.—In Torp. i. soc. viii. ac. tre. omi. csuetud. ab. antec. suo Eudone, clam. hoc. et val. xviiid.
  • 7. Invasion.—In Torp et Lipeh. tenet Rabell. carpentarr. xx. libos. hoes. commendatione de i. car. tre. et xx. ac. et vii. ac. pti. tc. et p. ii. car. mo. iii. tc. val. x. sol. mo. xi. et vi. d.
  • 8. Of this heath and places, see Blomefield's Hist. of Norf. vol. iv. p. 425.