An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Was a beruite belonging to the great lordship of Snetesham in this neighbourhood, held by Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, in the time of King Edward, who being in arms against the Conqueror, was deprived not only of his see of Canterbury, but of all his lay fees and inheritance, of which this was one; and was given by King William, to Odo Bishop of Bayeux in Normandy, half brother to the said King, who held it when the Book of Domesday was made in 1085.
It then consisted of 3 carucates of land, held by 12 villains and 38 borderers, 3 servi, and 14 acres of meadow, 2 carucates in demean, and 2 amongst the tenants, and 7 socmen had 24 acres of land, to whom there always belonged one carucate; there were 3 mills, 12 salt pits, (fn. 1) or salt works, and a fishery, and 3 socmen held 60 acres of land, with one carucate, and one socman, 60 acres and one carucate, and 26 borderers, one carucate and 8 acres of meadow, one mill, and one salt pit. (fn. 2)
Odo Bishop of Bayeux, and also Earl of Kent, being in arms against King William II. in the beginning of his reign, in behalf of Robert Duke of Normandy, the Conqueror's eldest son, who laid claim to the crown of England, was deprived of this manor and all his other estates in England, and this was given by the said King to William d'Albini, styled Pincerna Regis, the King's butler, ancestor to the Earls of Sussex and Arundel, of that name. He was son of Roger de Albini, a Norman, by Amicia de Mowbray his wife, and married Maud, daughter of Roger Bigod, ancestor of the Earls of Norfolk, (fn. 3) with whom he had 10 knights fees in Norfolk. William was his son and heir.
In the battle of Tinchebrai, fought September 27, 1106, between Henry I. King of England, and his brother, Robert Duke of Nor mandy, a French historian (fn. 4) takes notice that one William D'Aubigny, Knt. of the county of Dol, distinguished himself much, and makes him to be the ancestor of the Earls of Sussex and Arundel.
This probably was the William above mentioned, son of William, the Pincerna, who was created by King Henry I. Earl of Sussex, remarkably famous for his gallant actions, and married Adeliza, the dowager Queen of King Henry I. daughter of Godfrey Duke of Lorain; by whom he had William, his son and heir, who sealed, as his father did, with gules, a lion rampant, or.
In this family this lordship continued till the death of Hugh de Albiney on the 7th of May, 1243, in the 27th year of Henry III. who leaving no issue by Isabel his wife, daughter of William Earl Warren and Surry, his four sisters and coheirs divided his large inheritance between them. About that time the lady Isabel, relict of Earl Hugh, had an assignation of dower in these knights fees, held chiefly, if not wholly, of the honour of Arundel and Sussex; (fn. 5) viz. three knights fees held by John de Bulmer in Wotton; two held by Thomas de Grimston; two by Hugh de Verley;—half a fee by Hubert Hacun;—the fourth part of a fee by Thomas de Ingaldesthorp; three fees by Henry de Shelton; two by Giles de Wachesham; three, and a fourth part, by William de Brom; one by William Rusteng; one by Ralph de Ho: half a fee by Thomas de Hengham; six by Henry Tregoz; two by John le Fleming; three by William Aguillon; one by William de Dive; one by Peter de Hotot, and half a one by Walter de Cherlcot. And in the 28th of the said reign, she gave a fine to the King that she might marry to whom she thought proper, or pleased; and for a relief of lands late Joan de Beauchamp's, as one of her heirs.
This Earl Hugh gave to King Henry III. in his 18th year, a fine of 2050 marks, to have seizen of the King's term of his inheritance till his full age, for all the castles and manors whereof his brother died possessed, and of all the Earl of Chester's and Lincoln's inheritance, his uncle; which was in the King's hands, by reason of his nonage, reserving to the King the presentations to all the churches till his full age.
This township, with the castle, and the fourth part of the Tolbothe at Lynn, &c. was assigned to Roger de Monte-Alto, Lord of Montalt, or Mohaut, who married Cecily, fourth daughter of William Earl of Sussex, and sister and coheir to Earl Hugh, who made it his chief seat and place of residence. In the 29th of the said reign, the heirs of Hugh Earl of Sussex, accounted for 76l. for 76 knight's fees, on the aid for marrying the King's eldest daughter: this Roger gave to the King three palfreys to have a partition of the late Earl's estates; and in the 38th of the said King, had a grant of a fair in this town, and a charter for a free-warren here. (fn. 6)
Roger (called Robert, by Dugdale) Lord Montalt died in the 44th of Henry III. and left John, his son and heir, who married first, Allen, widow of Robert de Stockport, and secondly Millecentia, daughter of William de Cantilupo, and coheiress with her sister, lady Joan Hastings, mother of John de Hastings,) to her brother, George de Catelupo; she was relict of Eudo le Zouch, lord of Harringworth, in Northamptonshire, by whom she had William le Zouch, her heir, but had no issue by John Lord Montalt; she appears to be his widow in the 13th of Edward I. and died in the 27th of the said King. (fn. 7)
I find upon record Cecilia de Monthalt, relict of Roger, was in the King's hands in the 52d of Henry III. who claimed the power of giving her in marriage, she holding in fee 60l. per ann. (fn. 8)
Robert Lord Montalt succeeded his brother John, about the 52d of the aforesaid King, and Richard Hawardyn held of him one fee here, and in that year, the King's bailiff was not permitted to enter into this village, the lord having the return of all writs.
On his death in the 3d of Edward I. he was found to have held it in capite, to have a chase, free-warren, assise of bread and beer, the lete, wreck at sea, and other royalties; (fn. 9) and the heirs of William de Milliers held of him here and in Wymondham, &c. one fee and the fourth part of a fee.
He was succeeded by Roger, his son and heir, by Isabel his wife, who married Julian, daughter of Roger Clifford, and was impleaded on account of the rights of his chase, in the 18th of Edward I. by William Rusteng, lord of Congham, a dog of his tenant having his claws cut off by this lord's servants. He dying in the 25th of the said King, aged 27, without issue, was succeeded by his brother, Robert Lord Montalt, who was the eighteenth lord of parliament, who sealed the famous letter sent to the Pope, in the 29th year of Edward I. denying the kingdom of Scotland to be of his fee, or that he had any jurisdiction in temporal affairs, dated at Lincoln, February 12, 1301.
In the 1st of Edward II. he was summoned, amongst other nobles, to attend the King's coronation, to be solemnized the Sunday next after the feast of St. Valentine, by writ dated at Dover, January 8. In the 12th of the said King, the charter of wreck at sea, in all his lands in this county was confirmed to him.—Snetsham, Hecham, Hunstanton, Thornham, Tichwell, &c. are particularly mentioned.
This Robert appears to have inherited large possessions, as heir to his brother: he paid to King Edward I. for relief on his entrance on them 25l. for the 4th part of the earldom of Arundel.—6l. 5s. for the 4th part of the earldom of Chester.—12l. 10s. for two fees and an half held of the King in capite in Cheshire.—10l. for the manor of Kenynghale, in Norfolk, the manors of Wymondham and Bukenhum held of the King by being his butler; also he held the manors of Hawerden and Boseley in Cheshire of the King in capite, by the service of being steward to the Earls of Chester, and placing the first dish on the table of the said Earl, at Chester, on the nativity of our Lord and Saviour; the manors of Leston and La Lee, the moiety of Wrichholm in Cheshire, of the King, by the service of two fees and an half, and to find a judge to sit every six weeks at Chester to try causes.
This Robert, and Emma his wife, conveyed by fine to Henry de Cliff, clerk, the castle and manor of Montalt in Wales, the castle and manors of Hawardyn and Neston in Cheshire, the stewardship of Chester, the manor of Boseley in the said county, the manors of Walton on Trent, Dere and Cheylesmore in Warwickshire, 107l. yearly rent from the priory of Coventry, with the homage and service of the prior, the castle of Rysing, the manors of Rysing, Snetesham, and Kenynghale; the fourth part of the Tolbothe of Lenne in Norfolk; Cassingland and Framesden in Suffolk, with all their rights, privileges and appertenances thereunto belonging; which the said Henry reconveyed to the said Robert and Emma, and their heirs male, lawfully begotten; remainder to Isabella, Dowager Queen of England, for life, then to John of Eltham, second son of King Edward II. Earl of Cornwall, and his heirs; with a remainder to King Edward III. and his heirs, by a deed dated at Nottingham, May 8th, in the first year of King Edward III. witnesses, John Bishop of Ely, the King's chancellor, Sir William de Herle, Roger de Bylney, Roger de Watevill, Nicholas de Gonevill, and John Walewyn, Knts.; for this settlement the King paid to the lord Montalt 10,000 marks.
This Robert Lord Montalt died on Tuesday next after the feast of the nativity of our Lord, in the year 1329, in the 3d of Edward III. without issue, and was buried in the priory of Shouldham in Norfolk, being the last heir male of that family, who took their name from a hill, in Flintshire, in Wales, where they anciently resided, and had a castle.
The lady Emma, his widow, by deed dated at London, December 3, in the 5th of the aforesaid King, surrendered up all the aforementioned castles, manors, &c. with all her rights in London, (for 400l. per ann. annuity,) to the Queen Dowager; to this deed is a round seal about the bigness of a shilling, with 2 shields; one being quarterly, with a bordure, the arms (as I take it) of her first husband, (fn. 10) the other, azure, a lion rampant, argent, the arms of her second, and,
Soon after this, she died, and was buried in the body of the church of Stradgeset, in Norfolk, a large gravestone of black marble lying over her, at this day. Whose daughter she was, does not appear; she was probably a daughter of De Stradsete, a family of great antiquity, lords of Stradsete.
At her death, the Queen Dowager Isabell took possession of this lordship and castle, &c. and Sir Robert de Morley, (cousin and heir to Robert; the last Lord Montalt,) son of William de Morley of Morley, and the lady - - - - - -, sister to the said Lord Robert, by his deed dated at Swanton Morley, in Norfolk, May 2, in the 8th year of King Edward III. released and confirmed the settlement aforesaid, made by his uncle, &c. on the said Queen, with all his rights to the lands of his uncle in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and Oxfordshire; he sealed with argent, a lion rampant, sable, crowned or, circumscribed,
King Edward III. in his eleventh year, October 1, settled the reversion of this manor and castle on his eldest son, Edward, after the death of his mother; John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall, (his brother,) being dead, and leaving no issue, on whom it was before settled.
Grafton tells us, that the King, by the advice of his council, committed his mother (as prisoner) to be kept close in a castle, (but does not name it,) where she remained during her life: her commitment was in King Edward's 4th year, 1330.
In the 14th year of his reign, the King and his Queen were at this castle, paying a visit to his mother, and made some stay here, as appears by the account rolls of Adam de Reffham and John de Newland of Lenn, by Risinge, and sending a present of wine to him.
In his 18th year, the King, on the 3d of August, was lodged here, as appears from several letters dated from this place, (fn. 11) and sent to William Bishop of Norwich, at Avignon, to be presented to the Pope.
On April 4, in 1357, (the 31st of Edward III.) a safe conduct was granted to William de Leith, a Scotchman, to wait on her here, (fn. 12) and in the next year following, (1358,) she died at this castle, on August 22, and was brought from hence about the end of November following; on the 20th of which month the King directed, by letter, the sheriffs of London and Middlesex to cleanse the streets of London, called Bishop's-gate and Aldgate, from dirt and dung, against the coming of the body of his mother; and directs by another, (dated December 1, following,) the treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer to allow 9l. which the sheriffs had expended for that purpose: she was buried in the midst of the choir of the Gray-friars church in London, and had a tomb of alabaster erected to her memory.
On the death of Queen Isabel, this lordship (and honour, as it is called) descended to her grandson, Edward Prince of Wales, and was valued, as appears from an account of his revenue, at 90l. per ann. and on the death of this prince, to his son Richard, soon after King of England, by the name of Richard II.
On Monday after the feast of the decollation of St. John Baptist, in the 2d year of this King Richard II. an inquisition was taken before Thomas Gissing, Richard Withermersel and Simon de Fincham, assigned to make a true value of the castle and manor of Rysing, with its appertenances, by the oaths of honest and lawful men, viz. Edward Warren, William Sefull, John de Teversham, John Salmon, William Lambrith, Sim. de Hall, John Boteler, John Pinchto, Richard Florys, John Sekelow, John Drye, John Seman and Roger Bately; who say upon their oaths, that the lord's fields, pastures, and marsh lands appertaining to the said manor, are let to John Salmon, to farm for the term of 7 years, giving 40 marks per ann. with the part of the Talbothe at Lynn, belonging thereto, and is let to Jeffrey de Talbothe, paying 40 marks per ann. to the King; that 5 mills belonging to the manor, are worth, above all reprises, 10l. per ann. that the perquisites of the courts, view of frankpledge of Rysing, North Wooton, and Ridon, belonging to the said manor are worth 10l. per ann. that the rents of assises belonging to the said manor are worth 20l. per ann. that the sale of conies in the warren of the said manor, are worth 20 marks per ann. that the sale of wood is worth 10 marks per ann. without any waste or destruction to be made. That there is a certain dovecoat worth 6s. 8d. per ann. that there is a certain watermill in the marsh of the said manor worth 20s. per ann. that there is a certain water called Brodes, worth 5s. per ann. that the toll of Rysing is worth 40s. per ann. that there is one meadow, called Wardele meadow, worth 12d. per ann. and several parcels of land let to several men worth 9s. 2d. per ann. and certain water, called Wigenhall, which Edward Noun holds for life by the grant of Edward, late Prince of Wales, worth 8 marks per ann. that John Kadeneys holds certain lands and tenements in Rysinge, Ridon, and Wootton, for term of life, by grant of the said prince, worth 2l. 10s. per ann. also there were certain knights fees belonging to the castle and manor, viz. Roger Colvill, Knt. holds in Carelton, and Petoughe one fee,—Thomas de Latymer Clynal holds in Gissingland one fee,—Robert de Brokenhul, holds in the same town the 10th part of a fee,—Emma Wylot holds in Framesden the seventh part of a fee,—Ralph Holyday in the same town, the fifth part of a fee,—John Winston holds in the same town the seventh part of a fee,—John de Inglose holds three knight fees and an half in Loddon and Stratton,— Richard, son of Osbert, the 6th part of a fee in Besthorp,—William de Rokingham, in Elingham, the fourth part of a fee,—Thomas de Hengham, in Baconsthorn, half a fee,—John L'Strange, Knt. in Hunstanton, Totington, Ringsted, and Holm, five knights fees,—William de Milliers, in Wymondham and Rysinge one fee,—Emma de Warren, in Wooton, three fees, Roger de Scales, in Middleton, half a fee; and they say that the advowson of the church, &c. of Rysinge, and South Wooton belongs to the said castle and manor.
In the aforesaid second year of his reign, the King granted to John Montfort, sirnamed the Valiant, Duke of Britain and Earl of Richmond, and to Joan his wife, called by the King, in his grant, his sister, in exchange for the castle of Brest in Britany.
Of this Joan, a query arises: Godfrey, in his History of King Charles VII. of France, says that he married to his second wife, a daughter of Edward the Black Prince, father of King Richard II. but as none of our genealogists have mentioned this, he must be mistaken. Philip L'Abbe, in his Tableaux Genealogiques, observes that the second wife of the aforesaid John, was Joan, daughter of Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, by Joan his wife, called the Fair Maid of Kent, daughter of Edmund Plantaginet Earl of Kent; and afterwards married to Edward the Black Prince, and so was (as he words it) "Soeur Uterine de Richd. le II. Roy d' Angleterre," that is, sister by her mother, to Richard II.
On Montfort's defection from the crown, of England, (and deposition from all titles of honour in England, by act of parliament, in the 14th of the said King) it was seized into the King's hands, who in the said year gave it to Thomas de Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, sixth son to King Edward III. who being murdered at Calais, in the 21st year of King Richard, Edmund de Langley Duke of York 5th son to King Edward III. obtained a grant of it, (fn. 13) with the manors of Beeston, and Mileham, &c. in Norfolk, and died possessed of it in the 4th of King Henry IV. when it descended to his eldest son, Edward Duke of York; who being slain in the famous battle of Agincourt, in France, in the 3d of Henry V. it came to his brother, Richard de Conningsbergh Earl of Cambridge, who being beheaded in the said year, it fell to the Crown, where it remained till the 36th of Henry VIII. when an act of parliament passed, ratifying an exchange between the King, Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk, and Henry his son Earl of Arundel and Surry; they giving to the King the manors of Walton, Trimley, Falkenham, with the rectories of Walton and Felixton, in Suffolk, for the castle manor, and chase of Rysing, and all its appertenances, with the manors of Thorpe, Gaywood, South Walsham, Halvergate and Ditchingham in Norfolk, Doningworth, Cratfield, Hoo, Staverton, and Bromswell, in Suffolk, to be held of the King in capite, by the 30th part of a knight's fee and the rent of 26l. per ann. payable at St. Michael into the court of augmentations. Henry, the son, Earl of Arundel, &c. being attainted in his father's life time, the Duke enjoyed this manor, &c. till his death in the 1st and 2d of Philip and Mary, when an act of parliament passed for the restoring of the son of the attainted Earl.
In the accounts of Sir John Arundel, Knt. receiver of the dutchy of Cornwall, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, (as I take it) he had allowances for 40s. per ann. paid to Sir Henry Marny, Knt. as steward of this lordship; 13l. 8s. as constable of the castle: 4l. 11s. 3d. as ranger of the chase, and for two under foresters, called walkers, 53s. 4d. per ann. at this time Sir Thomas Lovel, Knight of the Garter, was farmer of the demeans and the warren.
On the attainder of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, in the 15th of Elizabeth, it came again to the Crown, and she granted it to Edward Earl of Oxford, with the demeans of Gaywood; but this grant was soon revoked, and it was granted to Henry Howard Earl of Northampton, brother to the Duke of Norfolk, attainted; who held it to his death in 1616, and having no issue it descended to Thomas Howard Earl of Arundel, his heir; which Thomas was grandson to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, aforesaid, and brother to the Earl of Northampton; and in this family it remained till it was was bought by Thomas Howard, Esq. (one of the tellers of the Exchequer, son and heir of Sir Robert Howard, Knt. auditor of the Exchequer, sixth son to Thomas Howard Earl of Berkshire) of Henry Duke of Norfolk in 1693.
The Duke of Norfolk has the title of Lord Howard, of CastleRysing; Henry Howard of Castle-Rysing, heir of the said family, being so created by letters patents, March 27, in the 21st of King Charles II.
Two members of parliament are chosen by the free burghers, their representatives, therein. (fn. 14)
The town takes its name from its site, (Rye is the name of a river in Yorkshire, &c. and of a borough town in Sussex) by a river, on a hill, which affords a fine prospect, overlooking a large arm of the sea, and from Ing, a meadow, or marshy ground.
The said author observes that it is a burgh of such antiquity that the royal archives and records give no account of it; the site of it such, that he thinks the Romans had a place of defence here, some of their coin being found here, and a Constantine being brought to him.
That the sea had formerly its course near to, and came up probably to the town, appears in some measure from its being drowned in winter, frequently, on spring tides, the salt water overflowing the banks between this town and Babingley, and from the name of a street, that comes up to this town from the low ground, called by the inhabitants at this day, Haven-Gate Lane, which is very ousy, and in this lane there was some years past, in digging, taken up a piece of an anchor belonging to some ship.
In the 31st of Elizabeth, on the 1st of August, a survey of this lordship was made by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Knt. John Hill, Esq. one of the auditors of the Exchequer, Robert Buxton, Esq. and Robert Shephard, Gent. commissioners appointed by that Queen, to survey this manor, part of the lands of Philip Earl of Arundel, attainted and convicted; who on the oaths of Henry Mordant, Gent. Thomas Winde, Gent. Thomas Spratt, Gent. Joseph Wright, Gent. and 15 others, present an affirm, that the town of Castle Rysing is an ancient burgh, and hath in it a mayor and burgesses; and many ancient privileges, franchises and liberties have been granted to Hugh de Albini, Earl of Sussex and Arundel, some time lord of the manor, which privileges have been heretofore found by divers inquisitions, viz.
First, it is granted to this said Earl and his heirs, his stewards and tenants from this time, to be quit and free of panage, tallage, passage, payage, lastage, stallage, portage, pesage and terrage, through the parts of England; also that they shall have a mayor, that by them shall be chosen, and be presented to the Earls and his steward.
If actions, or strife shall happen between burgess and burgess, in the town, or without, the mayor shall have them attached, shall set them a day until the Monday next, and before him shall their tales be told and brought,
Also full amercement in court the burgesse that is guilty, and hath trespassed shall make to the mayor, and that shall he present to the steward, or lord's bayleif, and they shall do therein their wills.
Also they shall give no custom, or usage, in the havens of the lord in the marsh. (fn. 15)
That the warren hath been by the space of 2 or 3 years past greatly surcharged, the warrener being covenanted to leave for his view, 3800 coneys; he has killed the last year, 17000, and may kill for this year as many or more, his number for view being treble reserved, and by this the castle stock of 600 weathers is utterly overthrown, and the inhabitants and tenants of the towns adjoyning, injured, which will be an occasion of impairing her majestie's rent, and the undoing of the inhabitants, &c. and that by the increase of these conies by the warrenner, and their breeding in the castle ditches and banks, the same are decayed, and the walls are already in part, and the rest in danger of overthrowing, that the said banks and ditches are no parcel of the warren, and that the constablery of the castle is no part of the warren of Rysing, and that the burgh, and the closes belonging, &c. are also no part of the warren.
By this presentment it appears that Hugh de Albini Earl of Arundel and Sussex had a charter for many royal privileges and liberties, with that of a mayor, in this lordship, and this must be in some year between 1233, (the Earl being then a minor) and 1242, in which year he died,
=== Rex, (the name is omitted (fn. 16)) archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatib; priorib; ducibus, comitib; baromb; militib; justic. vicecom. major. corstabular. ballivis, p'positis universis et omnib; fidelib;suis, &c. sciatis qd. nos de gratia nostra speciali, et ex certa scientia, et mero nost. concessimus et confirmavimus, et p. p'sentes concedimus, &c. p. nobis hered. et successornostris quantum in nobis est majori et burgensib; burgi nostri de Rysinge, in com. Norff. et success. suis et ballivo nostro, Dominij Nostri de Rysinge. &c. et tenentib; (fn. 17) et inhabitantib; ejusdem Dominij, &c. omnes libertates, franchias, leges et consuetudines suas quas ipsi, predecessores, et antecessores, sui, &c. tempore nostro aut progenitor. nostror. habuerunt, &c. et ulterius de uberiore gratia nostrá dedimus, et p.p'sentes concedimus &c. eidem majori et burgensib; &c.
The burgesses, &c. through the whole kingdom, as well by land, as by water; as well in London as without, may buy and sell of and to foreigners, and natives, all manner of merchandise, &c. without hindrance, and as the citizens of London do.
No merchant, or any other person, shall hinder or oppose any merchants, or others coming to this burgh by land, or by water, with victuals, or any other things to be sold, or to buy, before they shall arrive here, under the penalty of - - - - -
This decayed and superannuated burgh has a mayor, (but no aldermen, at this time,) who is chosen annually, the day before St. Michael by the free burghers, or voters, who were about 60 or 70 in number, in 1716, but he is not sworn into his office till the court lete, which is held about All-Saints day, and has a mace carried before him to church on Sundays by a serjeant, and on other public occasions.
The mayor is obliged to take an oath at the court lete, before he enters on his office, to be administered to him by the steward of the manor, which the new elect in 1662, refused, and had a fine of 40l. set upon him then in December, at the lete, by the steward, for not complying.
"We do most humbly desire of your honour to be pleased to hold a court lete yearly, presently after the feast of St. Michael, that the new elect may then be sworn, and have some reasonable allowance for the time of his office, sufficient to countervail the loss of his time, not heretofore considered."
There was formerly a burgh court kept, as appears from a large table of fees kept by the mayor, to which there belonged a steward and a jury of 12; which is now laid aside, as is an old custom and punishment of the clog and shackle. No market is now kept, but a mean pedling fair on May 1, said to have been anciently for 15 days.
By what has been observed, it appears that the publishers of Britannia Ant. et Nova, in 6 vols. are mistaken in saying that there is a market kept here, 12 aldermen, that the Molbrays were ancient lords of it, &c.
The castle of Rysing was built after the grant of the town and lordship by King William II. to William de Albini, that King's pincerna, or butler, and probably by his son, William, the first Earl of Sussex, who died in 1176; it stands upon a hill, on the south side of the town, from whence is a fine prospect over land, and an arm of the sea. Great part of the walls of the keep, or inward tower, are still standing, being a Gothick pile, much resembling that of Norwich, and little inferior the walls being about 3 yards thick, consisting chiefly of freestone, with iron, or car stone, encompassed with a great circular ditch, and bank of earth, on which stood also a strong stone wall, as appears from the presentment above mentioned in the 31st of Elizabeth, when the wall on the said bank is said to be in part, and the rest in danger of being, overthrown by the warrenner's conies. This ditch, now dry, was probably, formerly filled with water; there is but one entrance to it, on the east-side, over a strong stone bridge, about 30 paces long, (with a gate-house thereon,) about 8 or 9 paces broad, and is supported by one arch. The inward part of the castle, or keep, is all in ruins, except one room, where the court lete of this lordship is held; no doubt the apartments here were grand and sumptuous, when Queen Isabel here resided, and when the great King Edward III. with his Queen and court, were often entertained, and lodged here. (fn. 18)
On the walls, which are decaying, (having no cover,) were towers, or turrets, which the lords of the manors of Hunstanton, Reydon, and the Wottons, were by their tenures obliged to guard and defend. The compass of the ditch that incloses the whole is above 1080 paces.
It seems to have been by its site a place of strength and consequence. In the 18th of Edward II. September 22, that King sent his precept to the Lord Montalt, the lord of it, to have great care and guard of it, on account of the approach of Mortimer; as he did at the same time, to the Lord Bardolf, of his castle at Wirmegay.
Mortimer, the great favourite of his Queen, making his escape out of the Tower of London in the preceding month, was then with her in France, and both preparing to land with an army in England, to dethrone this King, which they soon after effected.
"Know ye, that We, for the good and faithful service which our beloved servant John of Herlyng hath long since performed to our thrice dear son the king, and likewise to Us, have granted to the said John, for the term of his life, the constableship and guard of our castle of Rysing, and to be surveyor of our chace there, he receiving of Us the said offices during his life, every day 12d. of the profits of our manor there, by the hands of our bayliffe and provost, for the time being, wherefore we command all them whom it shall any wayes concern, that to the said John, as to our constable, guardian, and surveyor there, they be attending and respondent in the manner as appertains to the said offices. In testimony of which, we have caused these our letters patents to be drawn."
"We, for the affection we beare to the person of the said John Herlyng, &c. at his request confirm to him the grant which our said lady and grand mother hath made, &c. and besides, in consideration of the contumelies and hardships, the said John hath from day today in the service of our said lord and father, the king, and being therefore willing for that cause to shew him more especial favour, We doe, and grant, &c. to the said John, in case the said castle and manor should come into our hands, by the decease of our said lady and grandmother, &c. the reversion being in Us, the said constableship, &c. to hold for the terme of his life, &c."
"In witness whereof, We have caused these our letters to be made patents. Given at London under our privy seale, the 21st day of July, in the reign of our said lord and father the King of England, the 27th, and of France the 14th."
The aforesaid John de Herlyng, Knt. was a famous soldier, remarkable for his skill in maritime affairs, and had the custody of the sea coasts, about Bristol, in 1342: he was lord of East Herling, in Norfolk.
Ralph Lord Cromwell was constable in the reign of Henry VI. The said King, in his 27th year, granted to Thomas Daniel, Esq. the office of constable, keeper of the forest, chace, or warren, then held by Ralph Lord Cromwell, on the death of the said lord, or on rendering up his letters patents, or any other way, when they shall be vacant, to him the said Thomas, and to his heirs lawfully begotten, to receive the same fees and perquisites, &c. as the said Ralph holds; dated at Canterbury, the 8th of September. This Thomas was afterwards made a knight, and married Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Howard, and sister of John, the first Duke of Norfolk, of that family; he is said to have been attainted in the first of Edward IV. but was afterwards restored in blood and possessions, in the 14th of that King. (fn. 19)
In the 1st of Henry VII. John Vere Earl of Oxford was made constable of the castle, steward of the honour of Rising, and ranger of the chase for life, who commanded the vanguard in the battle of Bosworth, wherein King Richard III. was slain.
In the time of King Henry VIII. Sir Henry Marny Lord Marny was constable, and had 13l. 8s. per ann. fee allowed him: it is reasonable to suppose, it was at that time in a good state and condition. This Lord Marny was one of the chief commanders under Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, on his taking Montdidier in France, in the 15th of Henry VIII.; he had also 40s. per ann. as steward of this lordship, and 4l. 11s. 3d. per ann. as ranger of the chase, and 53s. 4d. per ann. for two under foresters, or walkers.
The town is remarkable also for an hospital built by Henry Howard Earl of Northampton. In the accounts of Owen Shepherd, Gent. in the sixth of King James I. receiver of the lands, &c. of the said Earl, he accounts for 451l. 14s. 2d. 0b. paid in that year to Richard Hovell, junior, Esq. for building this almshouse.
It stands near to the east end of the churchyard, and is a square building, containing 12 rooms or apartments for 12 poor women, and one good room for the governess, with a spacious hall and kitchen, and a decent chapel, which projects from the rest on the east side; the letters patent for the foundation bear date June 1, in the 13th year of the aforesaid King.
It is endowed with 100l. per ann. out of lands lying in Rising, Roydon, South and North Wotton, and Gaywood, also with 5l. every fifth year from an hospital in Greenwich, founded by the said Earl for a stock or fund to repair it.
Their monthly allowance is 8s. each, and the governess has 12s. but on certain festival days appointed by the founder, viz. All-Saints, Christmas, New Year's, Epiphany, Purification, St. Matthias, (which is the founder's birth day,) Annunciation, Easter-day, Ascension, Whitsunday, Trinity Sunday, St. John Baptist's, and St. Michael's day, they have an addition of one shilling to the governess, and 8d. to every poor woman. Every year each poor woman, (and the governess,) has for their constant apparel a gown of strong cloth, or kersey, of a dark colour, and every seventh year a livery gown, (and a hat,) of blue broad cloth lined with baize, with the founder's badge or cognizance set on the breast, being a lion rampant, argent, embroidered. The governess is allowed two chaldron of coals per ann. and the rest one chaldron, each. They are obliged to be regularly and constant at the church of Rising on Sundays, and at their own chapel every day at 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, by the toll of a bell, where the governess reads prayers; they are also enjoined to use certain prayers (appointed by their founder) morning and evening, in their own apartments, and not to go out without the leave of the governess.
The qualifications required on admission are; They must be of an honest life and conversation, religious, grave and discreet, able to read, if such a one may be had, a single woman, her place to be void upon marriage, to be 56 years of age at least, no common beggar, harlot, scold, drunkard, haunter of taverns, inns, or ale-houses; to lose their places if, after admission, any lands descend to them of the value of 5l. per ann. or goods to the value of 50l. To go to prayers 3 times every day, and to say the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and a prayer ordered by the founder; to go to church morning and evening every Sunday and holiday, and Wednesday and Friday. On being guilty of atheism, heresy, blasphemy, faction in the hospital, injury, or disgracing the assistants, neglect of duty, or misbehaviour in the performance of duty, to do any thing to the hurt or prejudice of the hospital, is expulsion.
The duty of the governess it to preserve the household stuff of the hospital, to take care of the sick, to cause the gates to be shut morning and evening at due hours; to deliver out the blue gowns, every Sunday and holiday morning, and to receive the same back again at night. To ring the bell every morning and evening for prayers, to shut the gates at prayer time, to look to the reparations of the hospital, that not so much as one stone be missing either in the walls, or upon the hospital, by the space of a month, to keep the piece of ground on the north-west side of the hospital next adjoining to the walls, and to preserve the trees, to keep her garden plot fair and handsome, to reside constantly there, not to lye abroad without license, nor above 7 days (with license) in any one year; to give security in 20l. penalty upon her admission, for the performance of duty, the security to be given to the mayor of Rising; she is also to read prayers appointed in the chapel twice every day, not to permit any stranger to lye in the hospital, to dine and sup with the poor women in the hall on festival days.
The offences of the governess, by the statutes of the founder, are to be certified to the Earl of Arundel, or his heir, (who is now the Earl of Suffolk) by two of the assistants, and then the Earl to take order therein, by expulsion, or otherwise, as he shall think fit.
This noble Earl, who was highly eminent for his learning, and many great endowments and virtues, founded two other hospitals: one at Greenwich in Kent, for 20 poor men, and a warden; the other at Clun, in Shropshire, for 12 poor men and a warden; he was buried in the chapel of Dover-castle, in Kent, of which he was governour in 1614, afterwards removed, placed and deposited at the east end of the chapel of his hospital at Greenwich, in 1696, together with his monument, by the order of the mercer's company, trustees of the said hospital; in his epitaph he is styled,—Inter Nobiles Literatissimus.
In the 39th of Elizabeth, great disputes arose about the bounds and limits of them, between Ann Countess of Arundel, widow of Philip Earl of Arundel, and William Cobb, Esq. Henry Spilman, &c. and other neighbouring lords of manors, this lordship being part of her jointure; and in the said year depositions were taken at Lynn, on the 26th of July, before Thomas Fermer, Richard Stubbs, John Willoughbye, and William Guybon, Esq.
John Jeffrey of Rysing castle, labourer, aged 76, then deposed that he had known Rising chase and warren 60 years; that he dwelt in Wotton and Rising all his life, and boundeth the limits, purlewe, or walks of the chase, thus:
From Rysinge to Babingley-Mill, from thence to Rattleman's Lane, so to Hall Lane, so to Butler's Cross, so in a green way leading to Newton, so to Wades-Mill, so southward down a way leading to CappMill, so to Pedder's Lane, or waye, so to Gatton, so to Hillington bridge, so southward over the moor to Homeston, so into Ruston's Lane, so to two lanes, the names he remembreth not, so southward to Bones bridge, so along the river to Weyvelinge house, so along the river to Bawsey Dike, so by the old river to Bawsey water, and so along the river to Gaywoode bridge. And further saith, that so much of the ground as lyeth in the towns of Rising, North and South Wotton, Ryfflye, Grimston, Wyvelingham, and Rydon, are within the limits of the chase, and have been reputed, used, let, &c. as parcel of the said chase. He saith also that the bounds and limits of the said warren extend from Rydon, to Hall-Hill, and so near to Rydon church, and thence down a waye to Hillington Causey, thence to Querne Hill, and so to Wardyke; and he saith that the keepers, &c. have at their wills, used to chase and rechase the deer, within the said limits; that in the 9 acres, there were burrowing a 1000 conies and diverse falls; that the warrenners have at ther wills, until now of late, quietly and peaceably hunted, hayed, ferited, digged, killed, and carried away all such conies as bred and burrowed upon the 9 acres, Congham Lyings and Moor, and that the warrenners always paid tithe conies thereon to the parsons of Congham, and he never heard any farm conies to Mr. Spilman, or any other for the nine acres and Congham Lyings: he saith Mr. Waller's grounds begin at King's Thorn, where sometime was great store of conies, and so southward to the said pitts, so to Hall-Hill, so to the hangings of Goldworthy Hill, unto the south side thereof, and never knew it ploughed but by Mrs. Waller: he knoweth the grounds in Mrs. Waller's occupation in Rydon, extending to Shepherd's Hill, with all Rydon Lyngs and so to Skegny Fen, and thence to Rydon Shrubbs, and so to Eleven Herne, called Rydon-Common; and saith in both these places last bounded in Rydon, the warreners used like liberty as before in Congham 9 acres and Lyngs; and paid tithe conies to the parson of Rydon; that in Wyveling grounds used the like liberty, as in any other part of the warren, without any interruption, until now of late years: he deposeth the same of South Wotton grounds, and of Great Cromer's Close, and Little Cromer's Close, both which lye in Risinge.
The Church of Rising is an ancient pile built in a conventual manner, with a tower between the body of it and the chancel, which last is now in ruins, the walls only of part of it being standing; also a south cross isle joining to the tower, which is entirely in ruins: the west end is adorned with antique carving and small arches, in the tower are 3 bells, but one is split, the roof of the church is flat, covered with lead, long but narrow, and is dedicated to St. Laurence.
In the porch was a grave-stone, with part of an inscription, viz. Isabella Reginœ, in memory no doubt of some of that Queen's servants, or retinue, which induced some persons to fancy that she herself was here buried.
It pays no procurations, only synodals; being exempt from all episcopal jurisdiction, and archidiaconal, except induction by the archdeacon of Norwich, and the patronage is in the lord of the manor. The rector has the probate of wills, not as rector, but as commissary, nominated by the lord of the manor, derived, as it is said, from a Norman custom, rather claimed, by the lord, in right of his castle, &c.