An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Edric, a thane, or nobleman of Danish extraction, (as I take it,) held this great lordship in the reign of King Edward; of whom see in Sutton: 21 villains, 20 borderers, and 3 servi, had 13 carucates of land, there were three in demean also, with 9 carucates of meadow among the tenants, paunage for 16 swine, 4 cows, 18 swine, and 200 sheep; and 21 socmen held then 86 acres, and 5 carucates; twelve freemen held 4 carucates of land, of whom Edric had the protection only, and 8 villains, and 9 borderers, and a moiety of another belonged to them, with one servus, and half a carucate. These Edric, a man or dependant of Alan Earl of Richmond, seized on or invaded, and pledged them: there were then 10 carucates, and Ralph, the Earl of Norfolk, (who had a grant of this lordship on the expulsion of Edric the Dane,) added those freemen to the lordship, and so subjected them to the lord, with certain rents and duties, who before only chose one of power to protect them.
On this, we find that their tenures were taxed with the lordship, and Ralph Guader, Earl of Norfolk, was their lord, when he forfeited this manor, on his rebellion, valued at 7l. and what the freemen had at 40s.
In Ralph's time it was valued at 10l. at the survey it paid in all, 16l. quitrent, and 20s. for an income, and was one leuca and a half long, and the same in breadth, and 30d. also income whoever may be lord. (fn. 1) Robert Malet claimed this lordship, and says that his father possessed it, when he was made marshal of the army, and the hundred witnessed this, but yet he did not hold it at the time of his death. (fn. 2)
After this, the Conqueror granted it to Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk. He gave it in frank marriage with his daughter, Maud, to William de Albiny, the King's, butler ancestor to the Earls of Arundel and Sussex.
This William, on his foundation of the priory of Wymondham, granted this whole town of Hapesburgh (except the land of Ansgot the chamberlain) to the said priory, which was a cell to the abbey of St. Alban's, (fn. 3) and, afterwards, at the burial of the aforesaid Maud his wife, confirmed the aforesaid grant, and on the said day gave the priory possession by delivering them a cross of silver, &c. King Henry I. and Richard I. granted them many privileges, and the prior, as lord of this manor, enjoyed the same privileges as the abbot of St. Alban's.
King Henry III. in his 39th year, April 17, directed his writ to Robert Savage, high sheriff of Norfolk, to cause a jury of 12 men, as well knights as lawful freemen to enquire, on oath, whether this prior, &c. had, or ought to have, the privileges that he claimed; witness, Henry de Bath, at Westminster; and he proved his right by charter; he had wreck at sea from the bounds of Eccles to the boundaries or division of this hundred, and that of Tunstede, and all ecclesiastical jurisdiction in this manor, (fn. 4) as appears by a sentence given for them against the dean of Waxham, &c. by virtue of the privileges of Popes to the abbey of St. Alban's, of which this priory was a cell.
It was, April 11, in 1549, firt granted by King Edward VI. to Thomas Thirlby Bishop of Norwich, and his successours; but on June 19, 1550, the King reassumed it, and gave it to Sir John Clere; but by another grant of the said King, in the said year, it came again to the see with the impropriate rectory, and advowson of the vicarage, and so remains.
William de Milliers and William Hawteyn, in the reign of Henry III. held a quarter of a fee of Robert Lord Montalt, lord of Rysing, who married one of the sisters and coheirs of Hugh de Albiny Earl of Arundel.
In the said reign a fine was levied between Godfrey de Melliers, petent, and Thomas de Whimpwell, tenent, of 30 acres of land; and in the 41st of that King, the said Godfrey impleaded William de Millers, on account of land.
In the 13th of Edward III. Simon de Crispin granted lands to Robert de Cockfield; and in the 9th of Edward II. Robert Crispin had a lordship in this town. John Crispin and his parceners, in the 3d of Henry IV. held a quarter of a fee of the honour of Rysing.
John Crispin, Esq. by his will, dated August 2, 1429, desires to be buried in the cathedral church of Norwich. In 1417, this John intailed this lordship and that of Lilleford, in Essex, on his nephew, John, son of Roger Crispin, his brother, and gave to Happesburgh church, by will, 3s. 4d.—and 40s. to the building a new rood-loft there.
The rents of assise of this manor, in the 20th of Henry VII. of the free and copyhold tenants, were 3l. 11s. 9d. ob. q. per ann. the whole profits of it in rent, farms of land, &c. amounted to 13l. 2s. 6d. ob. paid out of this to Happesburgh manor, 16s. 8d. per ann. and a pound of pepper valued at 12d. To East Ruston manor, 22d. per ann. and to the lord of the hundred 18d. and for Herringby fee (viz. an acre of land) 1d.
Alan Earl of Richmond, had a small fee here, of which 2 freemen were deprived at the conquest, who held 100 acres of land, 60 of which were the demean lands of Happesburgh, when Earl Ralph forfeited it, but Edric invaded it, and calls on Ivo de Tailbois and his parceners to warrant and pledge it; five borderers belonged to it with a carucate, and 60 acres valued at 6s. and 40 acres at 4s. (fn. 5)
This seems to be held of the honour of Richmond, by the Lords de Valoines, who also held Hickling, Ingham, by the same tenure, see there. James Scambler, Esq. lord, died in 1633, and left it to his nephew.
In the reign of Edward I. it appears that the vicar had no house or land, and the priory had the patronage of the vicarage, which was settled before the year 1229; (fn. 6) it was to consist of all oblations in the tithes of flax, hemp, calves, colts, geese, of merchandise, in wills and oblations of the dead, and of yards, (curtilagiis,) and homestalls.
Here were the guilds of St. Mary, Trinity, St. John Baptist's, and St. Ann, and the lights of St. Mary, St. Nicholas, St. Margaret, and St. Erasmus. The arms of Clifton, Erpingham, Fellbrigg, Ufford, Fastolf, and Aslake.
In a letter dated at Norwich, November 17, 1659, of Sir Thomas Browne, to Sir William Dugdale, the great antiquary, he acquaints him that there were then to be seen here the head and bones of a very large fish, by the fall of the clift into the sea, and said to have lain near the top of the clift, which original letter I have.