Alien houses: The priory of Lessingham

Page 463

A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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The lordship of Lessingham, together with the advowson of the rectory, was given in the time of William Rufus by Gerard de Gurney to the great abbey of Bec in Normandy. The small priory of Lessingham became subject to Ogbourne Priory, Wiltshire, which was the chief English cell of Bec.

In 1286 the abbot of Bec was successful, by pleading the confirmation charter of Henry III, in resisting the claim for the hundred from the manor of Lessingham. (fn. 2)

The taxation of 1291 gave the annual value of the abbot of Bec's possessions at Lessingham as £16 13s. 9¼d., whilst the church of Lessingham was entered at £6 13s. 4d.

It was dissolved with the other alien priories in 1415, and remained for some time in the hands of the crown. The possessions of the priory were, however, settled by Edward IV on King's College, Cambridge, in 1462. (fn. 3)


  • 1. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. ix, 328; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 1051; Taylor, Index Monasticus, 5.
  • 2. Plac. de Quo War. (Rec. Com.), 493.
  • 3. Pat. 1 Edw. IV, pt. iii, m. 23.