An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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So called from its site (called also Deepden) in a great valley; the principal lordship was, we find, at the time of the survey, in the abbey of Ramsey, who held it in King Edward's reign. (fn. 1) —One freeman held then of that monastery, half a carucate of land, 18 bordarers, half a carucate, there were two carucates in demean, valued at 10s. and Roger Bigot was infeoffed of this by the abbot.
Wulgiva, wife of Ailwin Duke of the East-Angles, gave this manor, with Brancaster, &c. to the abbot of Ramsey on his founding the said monastery in 969, and King Edgar, and Edward the Confessor confirmed the said grant with many privileges, as may be seen in Brancaster.
Reinald, or Reginald, abbot, by his deed sans date, but in the reign of Henry I. grants to Boseline and Alfnia his wife, the land of Ulf, in Depedene (now called Depedale) on this condition, that they become the abbot's liege people.
Reinaldus Dei gratia abbas Ramesiæ (fn. 2) præposito et homnibus de Brancestre et omnibus vicinis Francis et Anglis salut.—Sciatis me dedisse terram Ulf in Depedene (hodie Depedale) huic Boselino et uxori ejus Alfniœ ita bene sicut homines de Brancestre illum testificant verum habuisse, eâ conditione quod effecti sunt homines liges.
The family of Brancestre seems to have held it of the abbot. Herbert de Brancestre lived in the 34th of Henry III. and was succeeded by Ralph his son, and the bailiff of the abbot in the said reign took a penny toll of every cart, or carriage, coming to or from Depedale, and Thomas de Brancastre held a quarter of a fee in this town in the said reign.
Adam de Brancastre held it in the 3d of Edward I. and one of the same name had the same tenure, (as appears from the inquisitions in the 20th of Edward III.) which Thomas de Brancastre formerly held, and Thomas de Brancastre held it in the 3d of Henry IV.
On the dissolution of monasteries, it came to the Crown, and King Henry VIII. May 5th, in his 37th year, (in consideration of the manor of Haynford, &c. conveyed by Sir Richard Southwell to the King,) granted to Sir Richard the lordship of Brancaster-hall, with a portion of tithes, belonging to Ramsey abbey, dated May 5th; and in the 19th of Elizabeth, June 20th, Thomas Southwell of Horsham St. Faith's, covenanted with Catherine Audley his sister, and Robert her son, in things related to this manor, and Henry Southwell, son of Sir Richard, was lord in the 12th of James I.
Another lordship in this town was possessed by Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk of that name, by a grant of the Conqueror, out of which Rochagana, who was lord of it in King Edward's time, had been ejected, and Humphrey de Cuelai, held it under Bigot, containing 1 carucate of land, 2 villains, 10 bordarers, 2 servi, 1 carucate in demean, and 2 amongst the tenants, or men, &c. valued formerly at 20s. per ann. at the survey at 16s. (fn. 3)
In the 34th of Henry III. Ralph de Depedale passed, by fine, land, here to Odo, son of Ede de Depedale; and in the 53d of that Kings Roger de Toftes was patent in a fine, and Henry, son of William de Depedale, was tenant of I carucate of land, in Depedale and Burnham, with all the homages, rents, wards, &c. granted to Roger and his heirs, paying to Henry for life 7l. per annum. This Roger had a quarter of a knight's fee, and in the 55th of the said reign, the abbot of Ramsey recovered a free tenement against Henry de Depedale, and Roger de Toftes, of which they had unjustly disseized him, being possessed of it for an 100 years past, by the gelt of the ancestors of Roger de Toftes. In the 15th of Edward I. Roger de Toftes claimed free warren in his demean lands here, and settled on Richard de Toftes this manor, in the 33d of that King, by fine, who in the 17th of Edward II. held it (as it is said) by the fourth part of a fee, of Sir John de Thorp; this Richard settled by fine on Thomas de Chamberlayne, and Elizabeth his wife, intail, this lordship, with 200 acres of land, 100 of marsh, and 40s. in this town, Burnham Sutton, Westgate, Norton, Ulp, &c. in the 2d of Edward III. which Roger de Ormesby and Alice his wife held in dower, and Thomas Chamberlayn held it by a quarter of a fee in the 20th of that King. After this, John, son of Simon Chamberlayn, and the daughters of the said Simon, conveyed it to John Leche of Egmere, clerk.
Sir John de Vernon and Catherine his wife conveyed by fine, to Sir Ralph de Pooley, Knt. Robert Aleyn of Stokesby, and Symon de Bermere, this manor, with 2 carucates of land, 100 acres of marsh, and 9s. rent here, &c. settled on Sir Ralph and his heirs; and John de Holcham by his will, dated on the feast of St. Stephen, 1384, and proved October 23d following, appears to die possessed of it. In the 14th of Henry 6th, Thomas Charles, Esq. and Alice his wife, passed it by fine to George Holkham, with 200 acres of land, 200 of marsh, 40s. per ann. in this town, Burnham Norton, Westgate, Sutton, Ulp, and Brancaster.
Thomas Shouldham, Esq. by his will, dated in 1467, gives it to Margaret his wife for life, and afterwards to be sold. (fn. 4)
In the 33d of Henry VIII. John Finham, Esq. was found to die possessed of it, as appears from the eschaet-rolls, and William Fincham his grandson died lord in the 14th of Elizabeth. After this it was possessed by Charles Cornwallis, Esq. who married the sister and heir of William. This Charles Cornwallis was second son of Sir Thomas Cornwallis, of Brome-hall, in Suffolk, privy counsellor to Queen Mary.
In Trinity term, the 13th of James I. a fine was levied between Henry Davy and Christopher Hyrne, plaintiffs, Henry Southwell deforciant of the manors of Burnham Depedale, and that of Brancaster, Helmingham, and Morton, 20 messuages, 20 tofts, 1 windmill, 5 dove-houses, 20 gardens, 1000 acres of heath, 10 of alder, 40s. a rent, a free fishing, and liberty of 2 foldages, &c.; and on Monday, February 22d, in the year 1617, it appears from the Council book, (fn. 5) that Sir Henry Southwell, Knt gentleman of the privy chamber in ordinary, claimed the rents of the manor of Depedale, retained from him by Sir Charles Cornwaleys, and belonging to him.
After this it was purchased by Stephen Soame, Esq. who was a knight, and Lord Mayor of London, in 1598, and John Soame, Esq. was lord in 1656; from the Soames it came to John Harris, Esq. who presented to the church in 1686, and Elizabeth Money in 1749.
Roger Bigot had also another manor held of him by Turstan, son of Wido, consisting of one carucate of land; which 2 freemen owned, in King Edward's reign, 10 bordarers, 1 carucate in demean, 1 amongst the men, 2 parts of a mill, 5 acres of meadow, valued then at 8s. at the survey at 18s. per annum; and in the same village 2 freemen had half a carucate of land, with 2 bordarers, &c. valued at 2s. at the survey at 12d. And in Depedale, Turstan held of Bigot half a carucate, which a freeman possessed, and 3 bordarers, with one carucate, valued at 20s. at the survey at 10s.
In the 35th of Edward I. Sir John de Thorp and his parceners held in Creyk, Depedale, Quarles, &c. 13 fees of Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk, and in the 23d of Edward III. John, son of Sir Robert de Thorp, was lord of this fee.
The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and is a rectory valued at 11l.; the ancient valor was 10 marks, and in the patronage of the abbot of Ramsey, and out of it the sacrist had a pension valued at 1 mark, the prior of Wymund a portion, valued at half a mark, and the prior of Castleacre one, valued at 7s. in 1428. Peter-pence 12d.
There was a controversy between William, abbot of Ramsey, and Godfrey the priest, concerning this church, terminated by Gilbert Foliot Bishop of London, in the reign of Henry II. Godfrey pleading, that one Sir Walter de Grisiomonte presented him, but he publickly before the Bishop acknowledged the right to be for ever in the abbey; and resigned all his right therein, to the abbot.
The church has a nave, a north isle, and a chancel covered with lead; in a window the arms of Calthorp, impaling gules, three cups argent, Argenton. Here is an old font, standing on five pillasters, a round tower, with one bell.
1554 Nicholas Pedder. (fn. 6) Ditto.
1656, Robert Roystan, by Sir William Palmer, Knt. (fn. 7)