An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Hugh de Montfort, a Norman, (assistant justiciary of England, with Odo Bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's brother, and William Fitz-Osborn Earl of Hereford,) was lord of a manor, out of which Bund, a freeman, was ejected; there belonged to it one carucate of land, with 8 borderers, one carucate in demean, half a one amongst the tenants, pannage for 5 swine, one acre of meadow, one runcus, 2 cows, &c. 20 goats; and 3 socmen held 12 acres of land, and the moiety of a borderer, with half a carucate, then valued at 20s. at the survey at 30s. (fn. 1)
In the 9th of King John, Robert de Utlaghe granted by fine, to Hubert de Burgh, the 3d part of a knight's fee, in this town and Runton, and the 3d part of 2 carucates of land in Hindringham; and in the 11th of that King, Hubert purchased of Robert Fitz-Hugh, the 3d part of a fee in Beeston, and Runton, and the land in Hindringham, that is his right in them; this Hubert was after created Earl of Norfolk, and held them in capite of the castle of Dover.
Robert de Vere Earl of Oxford, held it in the 3d of Edward I. with Runton, by one fee, and paid 20s. per ann. to Dover castle; had wreck against his lands, assise of bread, and frank pledge. This Robert, and Alice, his wife, gave it in the 13th of that King, which the advowson of the church, to William, son and heir apparent of John Earl Warren, in marriage with Joan, their daughter, and it was settled on them in tail; some say he was son and heir of John Earl Warren, but died before his father.
On an inquisition taken after the death of John Earl Warren, who died July 18, in the 21st of Edward III. it was found there was in this town a capital messuage, valued at 5s. per ann. 200 acres of arable land, valued at 3d. per acre; autumn works, at 6s. 8d. rent of assise at 10 marks; pleas and perquisites of court, at 6s. 8d. per ann.: that there was a meadow, called Runton meadow, valued at 20s. and a windmill, at 8 marks per ann. and Richard Earl of Arundel was his heir.
In the 22d of Richard II. Sir Simon Felbrigg had a grant of it on the attainder of Richard Earl of Arundel, but on the accession of King Henry IV. to the Crown, his son, Thomas Earl of Arundel, was restored in blood, &c. and Thomas Earl of Arundel died seized of it.
William Earl of Arundel was the last of this family that presented in their right, as lords in the year 1464, and Elizabeth, Queen consort of Edward IV. presented in 1476, it being in the Crown, and settled on her for life, in the 5th of that King; and in 1521, the King presented. King Henry VIII. on February 12, in his 3d year, granted it to Thomay Wyndham, Esq. with the wards, marriages, reliefs, &c. for 7 years. In the reign of King Charles I. it is said to be valued at 20l. per ann. it remains in the Crown at this time, and is esteemed as a part or member of the dutchy of Lancaster.
Another lordship in this town was possessed at the survey, by William de Scohies, or Escois, and held of him by Ingulf; Turkil Haco enjoyed it in King Edward's reign, when there was one carucate of land with 3 villains, and 15 borderers, one carucate in demean, and one and an half amongst the tenants, &c. one acre of meadow, one runcus, 2 cows, &c. 22 goats, valued then at 20s. at the survey at 40s. was one leuca long, and 5 furlongs broad, and paid 11d. ob. (fn. 2)
The ancient family of de Norfolk were enfeoffed of this lordship; Gilbert de Norfolk, the last of that family, died possessed of it, leaving 5 daughters and coheirs; first married to Eudo, son of Adam de Multon; 2d, Maud, to William de Verdon; the 3d, to Roger de Felbrigg: 4th, Emma, to William de Maynwaryn; 5th, to Robert de Aguillon.
Richard de Felbrigge was son and heir of Roger; this Richard was living in the 3d and 4th of Henry III. and left William his son and heir, who died s. p. and married Mary, who after his death, remarried John de Merlai; and Eudo de Multon, in the 24th of Henry III. impleaded John de Merlai for the 5th part of a fee, which Emma de Beaufo late wife of Gilbert de Norfolk, held in dower.
William, son of Richard de Felbrigg, dying sans issue, Maud, his sister, was found to be his heir; and as appears by a fine, in the 41st of Henry III. was then the widow of Simon le Bigod of Happing, 3d son of Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk, by Maud, his wife, daughter of William Mareschall Earl of Pembroke.
In the 15th of Edward I. Roger Bigod de Felbrigg claimed wreck at sea in his lands, free warren, the assise, &c. and frank pledge, as held by his ancestors; and Simon Bigod de Felbrigg was lord in the 9th of Edward II.
The Church is dei cated to All-Saints, and is a rectory; the old valor was 27 marks. Peter-pence, 6l.; the present valor is 16l. it has a nave, north and south isle, covered with lead, and a chancel tiled
In the reign of Edward I. the Earl of Oxford was patron; and the rector had then 22 acres of land, with edifices that were ruinous; and Richard Lovetot was rector, presented by the Earl of Oxford, and Alice, his wife.
Thomas Symson prist departed, and lyeth under this ston, The ix of January alive, and also goon Not for an ornament of the body this ston was laid here, But only the soul to be prayed for, as charite requere.
In memory of Edmund Hook, woollen draper, twice mayor and justice of the peace of King's Lynn; he gave 100l. to be laid out in land for the poor of this place, and upper Runton's fewel, and after spending 89, years in piety and charity died Feb. 20, 1723. On it the arms of Hook, quarterly, argent, and sable, a cross engrailed between four escallops, counterchanged.
Beeston-Priory and Manor.
This priory was dedicated to St. Mary; founded by the lady Isabel de Cressy, in the reign of King John, for canons of the order of St. Austin. John de Merlai conveyed to that lady and her heirs, a messuage with 40 acres of land, in this town and Runton, with certain demean lands, rents, services, meadows, wreck of sea, fisheries, &c. here, which the said lady settled on it; also that part of the lordship which came on the division to Eudo de Moulton, was granted to it. This Isabel was daughter and coheir of Hubert, Baron de Rhia, married first to Jeffrey de Chester, and after to Sir Roger de Cressy. Olivia, her sister, married John Marshall, nephew of William Marshall Earl of Pembroke.
1532, Richard Hudson: he, with Nicholas Woodforth and 3 other canons subscribed to the King's supremacy, August 11, 1534. Hudson had a pension of 5l. per ann. for life, and enjoyed it in 1553, then rector of Newton Flotman; the canons had also pensions assigned them. In 1553, there remained 13l. 4s. in fees paid, and 13s. 4d. in annuities from the Crown.
John Fenne, who had been steward of the priory, had a pension in 1555, and Sir John Godsalve, Knt. an annuity of 13s. 4d.—At the Dissolution, Nicholas Woodforth was found guilty of incontinency, cum salutâ, by the commissioners.
The prior, as lord of a manor, claimed in the 14th of Edward I. frank-pledge, assise, &c. and in the 20th of Edward III. was found to hold half a fee, and the fifth part of fee, here and in Runton, of the Earl of Norfolk. In the 36th of that King, a patent was granted for lands and tenements in Runton, Jankesford, Randesworth, South Walsham, Wood-Bastwick, Berningham, &c. Richard Bond, in the 3d of Richard II. aliened two messuages, 39 acres of land, 8 of heath, with 57s. rent, in Runton, Randworth, &c. In the reign of Henry IV. a patent for the manor of Perers in Runton, and for tenements in Shipden, Aylmerton, and Felbrigg, was granted to it, and they had the grant of the moiety of the advowson of Beeston, and the advowson of Runton.
In the 6th of Edward IV. Isabel Lady Morley died seized of the patronage, (the Lords Morley had it, as heirs to the Cressys,) and Alianore, her cousin, wife of William Lovell Lord Morley, was her heir.
At its Dissolution, King Henry VIII. December 5, Ao. 37, granted the site of it, with the lordships of Beeston, Runton, and Ranworth Holtwood, and all other the lands and tenements, late belonging to it, to Sir Edmund Wyndham, and Gyles Seafoule, Esq. to be held by the 20th part of a fee. It was valued, as Speed, at 50l. 6s. 4d. per ann. as Dugdale, at 43l. 2s. 4d. ob.; here was a prior and about 4 canons.
Thomas Blofield, Gent. died seized of it, February 7, in the 13 of Charles I. Thomas, his son and heir, by Elizabeth his wife, dying before him, William, his grandson, by Thomas and Anne his wife, succeeded his grandfather.
The site of the priory and lands here was lately possessed by Mr. Thomas Woodrow, valued at 150l. per ann. and sold by a statute of bankruptcy, to Mr. James Barnham of Norwich, and Mr. Edmund Jewell of Ailsham, attornies at law.
Great ruins remain of this priory, and its church, which is near to the great German ocean; the whole west gabel wall of the church, with the arch of the window is standing: the whole length of the church, with the nave, tower, (in the middle) and chancel, was about 47 yards, the nave was 10 yards wide, the choir, or chancel 15 yards long within. South of the nave, was the cloister, the north and south transept were 12 yards long each, and 10 wide, and there were several chapels.