The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1. Originally published by WS Crowell, Ipswich, 1846.

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'Burgh', in The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1, (Ipswich, 1846) pp. 328-340. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/suffolk-history-antiquities/vol1/pp328-340 [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section


Burgh, commonly called Burgh Castle, and widely known as the reputed site of Garianonum, occupies the bold promontory which terminates the north-western extremity of the island of Lothingland. It is a locality of more than common interest, arising from associations which connect us with the earliest periods of authenticated history. Here, at the very base of the promontory, in the days of our aboriginal ancestors, the turbulent Gar rolled its eddying tides, covering the present wide tract of marshes, and wrestling with the strength of the ocean. Struck with the extended view commanded by such a position, the conquering Roman here fixed his fortress, whose
"Towers yet
Unmodernized by tasteless art, remain
Still unsubdued by time."

Stern monuments they are of ancient art and massive masonry. Old—full a thousand years ago; yet still defying time: but bearing no positive testimony of their origin, and no certain evidence of identity;—a striking instance of the vanity of conquest, and the nothingness of man's proudest works.

By whomsoever erected, or by whatever appellation this encampment was originally known, and which it will be our province presently to consider, it was placed with that consummate judgment which marks the military skill of our Roman subjugators, occupying a strong point at the very confluence of two important rivers, and commanding their united channels. Its form is a parallelogram, 640 feet long, by about 325 feet wide; the shorter faces fronting the north and south. Its walls are still about fourteen feet high, and nine in thickness. On the east side, which is the most perfect, are four circular and solid towers, fourteen feet and a half in diameter; two of which are placed at the angles where the walls are rounded; and two at equal distances in the length of the curtain. The north and south walls were also defended, each by a similar tower; that attached to the latter being now prostrate, but still entire. The whole mass is built in the most careful and durable manner, the foundations having been laid on planks of oak which rested transversely on a solid bed of concrete. These were covered with coarse mortar, composed of lime and unsifted sand, mixed with gravel, on which was roughly spread the first course of stones. The walls are formed of rubble, faced with alternate courses of flints and bricks. The latter measure eighteen inches in length, by one and a half in thickness, and are about a foot in breadth; being of a fine red tint and firm texture. There seems to have been no wall on the western side, which overlooked the river, whose high and precipitous bank rendered such a defence unnecessary. The area of the encampment measures about four acres and three-quarters within the walls. On the top of each tower is a hole about two feet wide and as many deep, supposed to have been formed for the reception of watch-turrets, probably of timber. From the circumstance that the towers are unattached to the walls, except in their upper courses, it has been thought that they are of subsequent construction; but the similarity of the respective masonry, and the defenceless state of the walls without these bastions, argue against such a conjecture. Probably the architect, who guarded against any subsidence in his foundations by the precaution related, feared that the weight of such ponderous masses, if attached, might draw the walls of the curtain from the perpendicular; an effect which, after all, has partially occurred by the settling of the north tower, which has thereby breached the wall to the extent of several feet. An opening or gateway has been left in the centre of the east wall, which Mr. King considers to have been the Porta Decumana, but which Mr. Ives calls the Porta Prætoria. The former writer calculates that the enclosed area was capable of containing one whole cohort and a half, with their allies. More extensive remains of Anglo-Roman masonry undoubtedly exist in Britain, but I question if any can be found so perfect as these at Burgh, or more deserving of examination.

Plan of the Roman Encampment at Burgh.

Such are the construction and site of the Roman station at Burgh. The next inquiries are, what was its ancient appellation? when was it built? and for what purposes was such a durable fortress erected? Spelman and Camden, the venerated fathers of English topography, have taken opposite views of these points. The former denies it the honour of having been the Garianonum, or station of the Stablesian Horse,—considering, and with reason, that the narrow limit of an island, whose greatest extent does not exceed ten miles, is too confined an area for the operations of an active body of cavalry. He, therefore, fixes Garianonum on the opposite shore of the estuary, at Caistor, in Norfolk; overlooking the fact that this very spot anciently laboured under the same disadvantage, which he had objected to Burgh, namely, of being situated on an island; the sea then spreading over the low tract of marshes by Horsea Gap, and reducing the Hundreds of Flegg to a more limited island than Lothingland. Camden avows himself as "thoroughly convinced that the Garianonum was at Burgh Castle, in Suffolk, and that Yarmouth rose out of its ruins." Ives, with a warmth of fancy which has produced on this subject an amusing book, rather than a sound dissertation, considers the matter as "above conjecture," and not only fixes Garianonum at Burgh, but leaps at once to the conclusion, that because Ostorius Scapula defeated the Iceni, about the middle of the first century, "to him we owe the founding of Garianonum." The most rational method of ascertaining the precise age of this fortress will be to bring its masonry to a comparison with that of Roman workmanship of well defined periods, and subject it to the same test as is applied to deduce architectural facts of a later era; for the masonry of the Romans, both in Italy and the provinces, exhibits very distinctive features. At the time of Ostorius Scapula, who died about a. d. 55, a fashion in building, very different from that employed at Burgh, and greatly surpassing it in execution, universally prevailed under the Romans. The walls of their public buildings were formed of squared stones, very accurately jointed together, and admitting a very thin layer of mortar. In the remote province of Britain, the same careful and accurate system was observed nearly two centuries later, as is proved by the wall erected by the Emperor Severus not long before his death, which took place in the year 211. Portions of this extraordinary barrier remain, notwithstanding the ravages continually made upon it for above sixteen centuries. "The wall was twelve feet high, guarded by flanking towers, and exploratory turrets, and eight feet broad. The facing, on both sides, was of squared freestone; the interior of rubble, run in with quicklime between the two faces, and uniting the whole in a solid mass."

Masonry similar to that at Burgh, and which is usually found in Britain, where the work is bonded with occasional courses of bricks or flat stones, with wide joints and coarse mortar, is demonstrative of a late period of the empire; and it is doubtful if any building can be shown, even in Imperial Rome, so constructed, much prior to the reign of Constantine. If these premises be correct, as I believe them to be, Burgh Castle could not have been founded before the year 300 or 350. Let us again consider the claims of this encampment to the title of Garianonum, the station of the Stablesian Horse. The inconvenience of its position for the operations of cavalry has been already noticed: cooped up in a narrow island, and cut off from the main land by rivers, impassable but by means of boats,—a business always of difficulty, and not infrequently of peril,—such a body of troops must have been altogether ineffective. But independent of these disadvantages, I see nothing to favour the position that this was the Garianonum. Mr. Ives observes, "it appears from the Notitia Imperii, that the Præpositus equitum Stablesianorum was stationed at the mouth of the Yare." But the Notitia makes no such assertion: let it speak for itself. "Sectio lii. Sub dispositione viri spectabilis comitis littoris Saxonici per Britanniam: Præpositus equitum Stablesian: Garrionnonensis, Garrionono." Under the government of His Excellency, the Count of the Saxon shore, was the Commander of the Stablesian Horse, styled Garrionensis, at Garriononum. No mention is here made of a station at the mouth of the Gariensis. It might have been any where on the banks of that river; and Mr. J. W. Roberts, in an interesting little work on the eastern valleys of Norfolk, considers Wheatacre Burgh, in Norfolk, as better entitled to this claim. A glance at the subjoined plan, which is traced from a modern map, in preference to a copy from the old Hutch map at Yarmouth, will show the true positions of the various Roman stations in this part of Icenia, and prove at once the advantages of Wheatacre as a cavalry station.

But a strong objection presents itself to Mr. Roberts's hypothesis. Can Wheatacre Burgh be considered as seated on the shores of the Gar, for is there any proof that the channel, which then, and now again, empties itself at Lowestoft, ever bore that name? If Manley's 'Interpreter' can be relied on, it was called the Avona.

There is a village, of considerable importance in the Roman era, which prefers better claims, I think, to be considered the Garianonum than any yet noticed: I allude to Bergh Apton. Seated in the heart of a fertile district, and placed almost equidistant from several of the larger encampments, and the points most likely to demand protection, it was still not further removed from the ancient banks of the Gar than three or four short miles. Spelman, though he overlooked the probability of discovering Garianonum here, was far from unconscious of its former importance, and even ventures to hint the probability of its having been the more celebrated Venta Icenorum. His words are these: "Decurrit hinc fluviolus ad Romanam alteram munitionem, sed an Ventam illam Icenorum, quâ nihil olim apud nos illustrius, ego subitò non definiam." The fluviolus, or little stream, now called the Welbeck,—possibly the Saxon Vallum beck,—which Spelman mentions as flowing beneath the Roman station at Bergh Apton, unites its waters with the Gar, near the modern Hardley Cross. It must have been navigable at the period of Roman domination, for small vessels at least, when the expanse of marshes which now borders the river was covered with the tides. (fn. 1) Mr. Ives adduces a circumstance connected with Burgh Castle, which he considers to carry his opinion as to the site of Garianonum "above conjecture;" namely, the frequent discovery of fragments of "anchors, rings, and other pieces of iron, which, however uncouth in their appearance, could have been of no service but for maritime uses." I confess myself unconvinced by such a deduction, having yet to learn the application of marine stores to the equipments of cavalry; unless, indeed, the Stablesian Horse had been what are now facetiously termed Horse Marines. The presence of these relics of naval armaments would rather indicate Burgh to have been a considerable port, for which it possessed more than common advantages, as the state of the country was then constituted. A Roman fleet could ride secure from the storms of the ocean, anchored in the deepest part of the channel, under the very walls of the fortress, with the choice of proceeding to sea by either of two navigable entrances.

But while endeavouring to show that Burgh Castle could not have been Garianonum, I confess to have failed in proving what it actually was. The quæstio vexata remains yet undetermined, and very possibly the name of this interesting spot is now irretrievable.

Coins of various periods, but principally belonging to the Lower Empire, and of copper, have been, and are still, frequently found within the area of the walls, and in several of the adjoining fields. A Gallienus, and a fine Constantine, almost as perfect as new, are in the possession of the Rev. Charles Green, the present Rector of Burgh. Mr. Ives informs us that in the year 1756, a space of five yards square was opened in the field adjoining to the eastern wall, and that about two feet below the surface, a great many fragments of urns were discovered, which appeared to have been broken by the plough and carts passing over them. The discovery of similar vessels is still not infrequent. On the 29th of December, 1843, two very perfect urns were found by two men employed in sifting gravel in a field on the east side of the church, called Brick-kiln Piece, in the occupation of Mr. J. D. Martin, lying about two feet deep. They contained fragments of bones, with several very large iron nails, greatly corroded. The urns were formed of a blue clay, which Ives tells us the Romans brought from the neighbouring village of Bradwell: an assumption without warrant, as earth of that nature is found in abundance, close upon the ancient walls. The same writer relates that about the year 1770, urns and ashes were also discovered in great abundance within the area of the encampment, amongst which was found a stratum of wheat, pure and unmixed with earth; the whole of which appeared quite black, a great part of it resembling a coarse powder. This was, probably, the result of a method of separating the grain from the ear by the process of burning. He also says that a cochleare, or Roman spoon, of silver, with rings, keys, and fibulæ, have at various periods been ploughed up. Gillingwater mentions a Roman spur which belonged to the Stablesian Horse, as found some years ago within the station, which was, when he wrote, in the possession of Mr. Jex, of Lowestoft. But the most curious discoveries made in this parish, are those of small circular pieces of stone, about an inch in diameter, flat on one side, and slightly convex on the reverse; of a dingy black colour, interspersed with dull red spots: they are evidently artificial, and found only in one particular field. Their use, and the period of their manufacture, are alike unknown.

The traces of an ancient causeway, commencing near the church at Burgh, and running in a south-eastern direction, are discoverable for several miles. Tradition ascribes it to the Jews, and it is called the Jews' Way in several old surveys and court books of the manors of Burgh and Gapton. It can have had no connection with that outcast people, and is doubtless of Roman construction. May not its name be a corruption of Jovis Via, or Jove's Way? It is very remarkable that the Jews are associated with the remains of numerous Roman works in various parts of the kingdom. Thus a portion of the Roman wall at Leicester is called the Jewry, and at Silchester and Ribchester, where the foundations and fragments of temples have been dug up, the former occupancy in each case is ascribed to the Jews.

Early in Saxon times, the village of Burgh, then called Cnobersburg, became the seat of a monastery concerning which very little is known. Indeed, the exact site is uncertain; some writers stating that the monks dwelt in wattled houses within the walls of the Roman encampment: and truly, considering the lawless state of society which then prevailed, no safer retreat could have been found. The monastery was founded, however, by Sigebert, the fifth king of the East Angles, by the advice and assistance of Furseus, an Irish monk and saint, about the year 640. (fn. 2)

Tanner says, several historians, ancient and modern, have confounded this monastery, where Furseus lived, with another monastery founded by the same king, Sigebert, wherein he turned monk, and whence he was fetched out to that fatal battle, wherein he lost his life. It is uncertain how long the religious occupied the establishment here after the death of their principal patron, King Sigebert; but Furseus, soon after that event, quitted his retirement at Burgh, and went to France. (fn. 3) Bishop Usher says Furseus committed the monastery which he built in castro to the care of his brother, Fuillanus or Fallanus. Felix, the bishop of Dunwich, favoured the establishment of this house, and it was afterwards enriched by the bounty of King Anna, and his nobles, before the year 654. (fn. 4) It is probable that the society was dissolved at a very early period, for the manor of Burgh was held in soccage by Bishop Stigand, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, (fn. 5) and was granted with the site of the monastery and its appurtenances, by Henry III., to the Priory of Broomholm.

The Manor.

In the time of Edward the Confessor, Bishop Stigand held Burgh in soccage, with four carucates of land, for a manor. There were ten villains, five bordars, and two slaves. Three carucates were held in demesne, and the tenants had four. There were ten acres of meadow, three salt-pits, three draught horses, seventeen swine, and one hundred and sixty sheep. The church was endowed with ten acres of land, and one of meadow. The value of the whole was one hundred shillings. William the Conqueror granted this manor to Ralph Balistarius, one of his captains of the cross-bowmen, who raised its value to one hundred and six shillings. (fn. 6) Whether the descendants of this Ralph assumed the name of Burgh from their property in this village, or alienated it to another family, is not very clear, but the manor was shortly after held by Roger de Burgo, or Burgh, and Ralph his son, by serjeantry, and the service of finding a cross-bowman, with three horses, for forty days, at his own cost, for the King's use; which service was valued at one hundred shillings. (fn. 7) Ralph de Burgh granted the manor to Gilbert de Wesenham, who also held it by the service of finding a cross-bowman. (fn. 8)

Henry III. gave the manor to Vincent, the Prior of Broomholm, which Ralph, son of Roger de Burgh, held of him in Burgh in Lothingland, by serjeantry, which serjeantry Ralph granted to Gilbert de Wesenham, and he afterwards re-granted to the King; and the King confirmed the manor free to the convent, reserving the advowson to the Crown; and the dower of Alice, widow of Roger de Burgh, for her life; and in consideration of this grant, the convent released to the King a rent charge of 5 marks per annum, from the Exchequer, which the King had granted. (fn. 9)

In the reign of Edward I., the Prior of Broomholm was returned as holding the manor of Burgh of the King, in capite, by the same service of finding a cross-bowman to follow his army into Wales, at the prior's expense, for forty days, which service was then valued at £30. (fn. 10) The prior also claimed view of frank-pledge, the assize of bread and ale, and free-warren and wreck of sea, in this manor. (fn. 11) The prior and convent obtained an augmentation to their revenues in the same reign, derived from this village and its neighbourhood, as the following charter will show.

"Rex &c. saltm' quia accepims p. inquisicoes qd non est ad dampnum vel p'judicium n'rm aut alior si concedams priori et conventui de Bromholm, qd ipsi octo acras et unam rodam trē, et unam denaratam reddits cum p'tin in Wytton juxta Bromholm, et Ridelington in com: Norff, quas de Johe la Veille qui, &c. et quatuor acras trē in Baketon in eodem com: quas de Anselino de Brigge, et unam acram et unam rodam trē cum p'tin in pdcā villâ de Wytton quas de Radō de Smaleprud, et quatuordecim acras trē et octo denaratas redditus cum p'tin Burgh, in Ludinglond, in com: Suff, quas de Radō de Oliver, et unum mesuag: et duas acras trē cum p'tin in eadem villa, que de Robto de Loges, et unam acram trē cum p'tin in Carleton Colevill, in eodem com, quam de Ricō le Clerk, et medietatem unius acre trē cum p'tin in eadem villa quam de Willo le Wodeward, post publicacōem statuti de trīs et ten: ad manum mortuam non ponendis, &c., p'donavim, &c., et concessim p'fatis priori et conventui qd ipsi teneant sibi et successoribz suis salvo jure cujuslibet salvis nob: et heredibz n'ris s'viciis de p'dcis octo acris et una roda trē et una denarata redditus cum p'tin in sup'dca villa de Wytton debitis et consuetis." (fn. 12)

In the register book of St. Bennet's Abbey, at the Holme, occurs an agreement made between William, Abbot of St. Bennet's, and Clement, Prior of Broomholm, whereby the latter grants the abbot liberty to draw water at his wells, called Elbewells in Burgh, in Lothingland, to water his sheep in the two marshes near the river of Norwich, called Southcotes, paying for the same two cheeses yearly. The abbot and convent of St. Bennet soon after released all their rights in Burgh to the prior and monks of Broomholm, who continued in possession of the manor till their dissolution by Henry VIII., when the lordship was valued, as parcel of their possessions, at £19. 10s. (fn. 13) It continued in the Crown till the year 1560, when it was sold to William Roberts, on the 10th of May, for the sum of £468. It was then called manerium de Borowe Castell. Nathaniel Bacon, Esq., was lord in 1604, (fn. 14) and Sir Owen Smyth, Knt., in 1630. On the 1st of July, 1652, the Right Honourable Charles Fleetwood, and Bridget his wife, covenanted with Peter Ball, Esq., and Nathaniel Shirrop, Gent., to levy a fine unto them of the manor of Burgh Castle, in Suffolk, with the appurtenances, and all other manors, late of Simon Smyth, Esq., and of Sir Owen Smyth, Knt., in Burgh, alias Borough Castle, Gorleston, Braydon, and Bradwell, in the county of Suffolk, or elsewhere. On the 25th of August, 1697, Smith Fleetwood, Esq., by his will, inter alia, gave and devised the manor of Burgh Castle, with lands, &c., unto trustees, to be sold for the payment of his debts and legacies, in case his personal estate would not suffice; and the remainder, or surplus thereof, to be disposed of among his children, &c. He died soon after, leaving two sons and five daughters, viz.: Charles Fleetwood and Smith Fleetwood; Frances, Caroline, Jane, Elizabeth, and Anne, who afterwards married . . . . Cogney, Esq. The trustees afterwards sold the manor of Burgh, and on the 18th of April, 1704, John Smith, Gent., held his first court as lord. He was succeeded by Joshua Smith, Esq., his son, who drowned himself in the North River at Yarmouth, leaving a widow, Judith Smith, who held her first court, as lady of the manor, on the 9th of May, 1745, and granted a field of two acres, called Maggot's Yard, to the inhabitants to build a house upon, for the use of the poor, at an annual rent of one shilling. (fn. 15) She left, by her unfortunate husband, two daughters, Elizabeth and Judith; the latter died single. The former lady married a Mr. Barret, by whom she had a daughter, Mrs. Lydia Barret, who inherited the manor of Burgh Castle. Mrs. Barret died in 1845, bequeathing this lordship to Richard Ferrier, Esq., and three others, in trust, to be sold by them to satisfy certain purposes mentioned in her will.

The parish of Burgh contains 1496 acres, 3 roods, 12 perches of land, of which 47 acres, 3 roods, and 11 perches, are glebe. The tithes have been commuted for £ 369 per annum, including the rent charge on the glebe. A good school has been erected within a few years, at the cost of £80. 16s.; to defray which, the following sums were subscribed by—

Mrs. Barret £15.
Rev. Charles Green 5, and the land to build upon.
Mr. Nesbitt 10.
Mr. Ferrier 20.
Suffolk Diocesan Society 10.

The roof of this school-room is tied across the centre by an ancient beam, mentioned by Ives as being in his time "a balk of a kitchen in a small farm-house." The farm-house having been pulled down, not long since, this relic was destined to the unworthy fate of propping a stable at Bradwell, and had been actually taken away, when Mr. Green recovered it, and caused it to be placed in the position which it now occupies. The following inscription, in good and firm black letter, is cut across it, in one line:

From which it would appear, that the old house having been twice consumed by fire, was again re-edified by the Rector. Many readings, and various dates, have been given of this curious relic; but the fact that Robert Thorne was instituted to the rectory of Burgh in 1531, and was succeeded in 1554 by Richard Thacker, brings the date to a narrow compass for controversy; more especially, as the beam was put up in the reign of Edward VI., it must lay between January, 1546, and July, 1553. The words of the inscription are too clearly carved to admit of a mistake.

There is an excellent parsonage-house, built by the present Rector close upon the west side of the church-yard, and nearly upon the site of the ancient rectory, the offices of which appear, from an entry in the parish register, to have been greatly injured in 1779 by a violent gale of wind. "January 1st, 1779, about 4 o'clock in the morning, the parsonage-barn, from the stable to the south-west porch, was blown down; the expense of rebuilding which, exclusive of the old materials, was £77. Belward, Rector."

The benefice is a rectory, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, and was granted by Roger de Burgh to the prior and convent of St. Olave, at Herringfleet, and confirmed to them in the fifty-fourth of Henry III. The prior presented to the rectory as patron, and had a reserved pension of four marks out of it. £1. 2s. 8d. are now paid to the owner of St. Olave's. After the Dissolution, the right of patronage was exercised by the Jerningham family, and in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Thomas Crofts presented. The patronage was then claimed by the Crown, where it has since remained.

The Church

is a small unpretending edifice, comprising simply a nave and chancel, the latter deviating at a slight angle from the right line of the nave, though two arches, now closed, in the north wall of the chancel, and the discovery of foundations in that direction, seem to prove the existence of a small aisle or chapel in former days. The prominent architectural features of this building are late perpendicular. At the west end of the nave stands a circular tower of flint-work, from the top of which, seventy churches, besides Norwich Cathedral, may be seen with the aid of a telescope; most of which, with the assistance of a map, have been identified. In this tower hang three bells, the oldest of which was cast by John Darbie, in 1663. There is a small piscina, and a niche for an image, in the south wall of the chancel; and at the west end of the body of the church stands a good octangular font, the panels of which, besides bearing the emblems of our Lord's Passion, and of the Trinity, show the arms of the bishopric of Ely. John Alcock, who presided over that see in the reign of Henry VII., is said, by a collateral descendant of that prelate, now living at Yarmouth, to have been prior of St. Olave's. As the church of Burgh was a dependency of that house, could the presence of these arms on this font be connected with this circumstance, supposing the tradition to be true, which I very much doubt, as no such name as Alcock occurs in the list of priors there? Some fresco paintings have lately been laid open on the walls of this church, amongst which the figure of St. Christopher appears as usual.

Monuments.—William Fisher, Esq., of this parish, and of Great Yarmouth, died 30th July, 1835, aged 80. William Nesbitt Fisher, died 9th January, 1834, aged 17. William Greenwood, Esq., buried in 1656. Thomas Greenwood, Esq., a staunch loyalist, died 17th January, 1677, aged 57. These gentlemen appear to have been lessees of Gapton Hall, for, in an old survey of that manor, dated 1656, the death of William Greenwood, Esq., is presented, and Thomas Greenwood, his only son and heir, was admitted. Greenwood bears . . . . a chev. ermine between 3 crosses saltire, each charged with a crosslet. John Ellys, A. M., Rector of this church and Belton, died 13th Jan. 1728, aged 62. Johannes Pitcairne, huj. eccl. et vicinæ de Belton, per xxv annos rect. ob. 1753, æt. 63. Catharine, his wife, died 26th Nov. 1766, æt. 72. Henrietta Maria, wife of the Rev. Jacob Hugo North, vicar of Carbrooke, and eldest daughter of Benjamin and Maria Dowson, of Great Yarmouth, died Jan. 22, 1843, aged 25 years. Mary, the second daughter of Thomas and Margaretta Maria Kay, of Botesdale, died 5th March, 1843, aged 18 years.

The parish registers of Burgh commence in 1697, and are in beautiful preservation. In the year 1403, it was presented by the jurors appointed to inquire into the misconduct of the clergy, "that the rector of Burgh church, dean of Yarmouth, keeps and maintains fornicators in the town, taking of them bribes, and does not correct them. Fined 40s." (fn. 16) With more pleasure I record the amiable character of a worthier successor in this preferment. "Died, Sept. 30th, 1792, most poignantly lamented by all his friends, relatives, and parishioners, the Rev. Mr. Belward, Rector of Burgh Castle, and Ashby, and Perpetual Curate of Herringfleet, in Suffolk. His literary attainments merited and procured the respect of the learned; his Christian virtues, accompanied with the most amiable mildness and softness of manners, attracted the esteem and affection of all who knew him. A stranger to envy and ambition, he kept the humble tenor of his way through the sequestered paths of life, though his knowledge and his piety would have irradiated and adorned the most elevated public station. Mr. Belward was the author of an excellent sermon, entitled 'The Established Mode of Subscription Vindicated,' preached at Beccles, in Suffolk, April 18th, 1774, before the Archdeacon and clergy, and published at their request." (fn. 17)

Extracts from the parish registers, 1784.—"Belonging to the parish of Burgh Castle is a marsh containing, by estimation, about eight acres. It has been letten for some years past at £4 per an. to Mr. John Killett; now to his tenant, Charles Thacker, which rent is applied in aid of parish rates. Mem. There is no modus or established custom of any kind, relating to the small or great tithes of this parish, to the prejudice of the rector; but every thing titheable, by law or custom, is paid in kind, or ad valorem. Surplice fees of all kinds are likewise due. I have usually, indeed, excused the payment of these fees to the poorer sort, which I mention to prevent their pleading with my successor any right of exemption from such payments, if he thinks proper to demand them. John Belward, Rector."

Rectors of Burgh Castle.

Rectors. Date. Patrons.
Peter de Hechem 1302 Prior and Convent of St. Olave.
Thomas de Bradwell 1313 Id.
Matthew de Rollesby 1328 Id.
John de Garboldesham 1339 Id.
Adam— 1344 Id.
Peter de Normandby 1345 Id.
Robert Bernard, de Poringland 1349 Id.
Reg. Wychie 1370 Id.
John de Carleton 1380 Id.
Galf Waltre 1403 Id.
William Foster 1425 Id.
John Kilborne 1452 Id.
Robert Wrenn 1483 Id.
William Wrenn
William Jakson 1504 Id.
Robert Thorn 1531 Id.
Richard Thacker 1554 Henry Jerningham, Esq.
Christopher Winnington 1556 Id.
Roger Wright 1558 Id.
John Underwood 1558 Id.
Thomas Bower
Richard Russell 1575 Thomas Crofts, Esq.
John Underwood 1584 The King.
William Coo 1586 Id.
William Ward 1614 Id.
William Wardell 1617 Id.
Samuel Fleet 1660 Id.
Thomas Clarges 1694 Id.
John Ellys 1714 Id.
James Pitcairn 1728 Id.
John Belward 1753 Id.
Harry Charles Manning 1792 Id.
Charles Green 1829 Id.

Estimatur ad x. marc.

Population in 1841,—327.


  • 1. The exclusion of the sea from these valleys must be ascribed to the natural disposition of all rivers flowing through level countries to deposit a vast quantity of sediment over their channels, and to the barrier, since opposed to the tides, by the sand-bank at Yarmouth; and not to any fanciful theory of the depression of the ocean. If a depression in the level of the German Ocean has taken place since the Romans were masters of Britain, where, at that period, was Holland? But Belgium presented the very same appearance two thousand years since as it offers to the eye of the traveller now; or where was the force of the poet's observation: "Tellurem fecêre Dei, sua littora Belgæ."
  • 2. Taylor's Index Monast.
  • 3. Taylor.
  • 4. Id.
  • 5. Domesday Book.
  • 6. Domesday: Terr. Radulfi Balistarii.
  • 7. Testa de Nevill.
  • 8. Testa de Nevill.
  • 9. Blomefield ex Chartal. Broomholm.
  • 10. Inquisit. 14 Ed. I.
  • 11. Plita de quo warr. ap. Gyppeswic.
  • 12. Rot. Scacc. Ed. I. Ro. 13.
  • 13. Valor Eccles. p. 344.
  • 14. North Leet Rental.
  • 15. MSS. Jermyn and Davy.
  • 16. Blomefield.
  • 17. Gentleman's Magazine.