An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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In Domesday book is called Berlei, from Bur or Ber, a hill by the water: Turchetel was lord of it, but on his deprivation, King William I. gave it to Peter Lord Valoins; at the survey, William held it under this Lord Peter, who who was probably ancestor of the family of de Berney, now baronets. It contained then 2 carucates of land, 14 borderers, 2 carucates in demean, one among the tenants, &c. 14 acres of meadow, 14 breeding mares in the wood, &c. 60 sheep, 40 goats, &c. and 17 freemen, which he claimed, with 80 acres of land delivered to him to complete the lordship. There were also 2 carucates and 6 acres of meadow, valued in all at 4l. was half a leuca long, and half broad, and paid 6d. gelt.
One of the King's servants claimed 13 of these freemen and the moiety of another, as belonging to Ralph, (Earl of Norfolk,) when he forfeited it as a rebel, appealing to any trial or judgment; and the hundred witnesses, that they held 80 acres of land, and 2 of meadow, paying to Snaring lordship 17s. 4d. per ann. (fn. 1)
Roger de Valoins, son of Lord Peter, confirmed the grant of his kinsman, Walter de Valoins, before he was shorn a monk, of his lordship here, with land at Thursford, with the consent of Rohais his wife, to this priory, by laying on the altar a knife, and the service of the third part of a fee. (fn. 2)
Ralph Tregoz and Petronel, his wife, confirm the gift of Walter aforesaid, of the moiety of this town and advowson, with, soc, sac, &c. This moiety was from the right corner of the garden of the court to the park, so to Crokeston bounds, and from the cross before the court gate, to the bounds of Swaneton; the said Petronilla, in her widowhood, gave also 22 acres.
John, son of Bernard, and Sibill his wife, grant their right in the church, and lands by fine, ao. 6 of King John. Richard de Germain of Berney gives an acre near his court, and Aveline his daughter all her land, on a certain payment of money and barley for her life.
Walter, son of Robert de Horkesly, and Alice his wife, all their land here and in Thursford, on the prior's paying 10l. per ann. and the said Walter remitted 5l. of it per ann. afterwards. Sir Robert de Horkesly was son and heir of this Walter, and gave them 100s. rent here, in the 5th of Edward I.
An assíse was brought in the 24th of Edward I. before William de Ormesby, and Thomas de Hakeford, justices at Norwich, by Walter, prior of Binham, against Robert Burgulun, &c. for disseising him of his right of common, in this town and Thursford, viz. in 1200 acres of pasture, and 300 of heath, &c. when he was found to have a right in Thursford, and no tenant in Thursford had any right in Berney. Adam, prior of Bynham, confirmed a fouldcourse for life, to Henry de Berney, and another to him and his heirs, in the 27th of Edward I.
On the dissolution of the priory this lordship was granted, November 15, in the 33d of King Henry VIII. to Thomas Paston, Esq. Edward Paston was lord in 1572, and Mary Paston, widow of Thomas Paston, Esq. son and heir of Edward Paston of Appleton; and Winter Berningham, held it in jointure in 1625; she was daughter of Sir George Brown of Shelford in Berkshire, and remarried Sir Henry Compton of Sussex, Knight of the Bath.
The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and was a rectory valued at 8 marks. King Edward III. gave license, October 10, in his 24th year, to appropriate it to the priory of Binham; and William Bateman Bishop of Norwich appropriated it, November 14, 1350. The convent settled it on the sacrist to find candles. On this a vicarage was appointed, when the vicar had a dwelling-house and 10 marks per ann. assigned him, and a pension of half a mark was reserved to the Bishop.
Christian, wife of Henry de Berney, wills in 1403, to be buried in the chancel by the tomb of Henry Berney, her husband's father: (fn. 3) she was relict of Clement Herward.