Hundred of Giltcross

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.

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Francis Blomefield, 'Hundred of Giltcross', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1, (London, 1805), pp. 213-227. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Hundred of Giltcross", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1, (London, 1805) 213-227. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Hundred of Giltcross", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1, (London, 1805). 213-227. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


This Hundred takes its name from some remarkable cross that was gilt, which either stood in it, or was to be seen in great part of it; though Mr. Neve observes it was spelt anciently Gydecross, from some cross that was a guide to travellers; and I am apt to think it might be Rowdham Cross, which at that time was seen in great part of this hundred, and was certainly a very remarkable one, that town taking its name from it, Rowdham, or Roodham, as it is anciently written, signifies the Town of the Cross; and thus also Bridgeham in this hundred was so called from the bridge which was the passage to this cross, which, with the road, became remarkable, from being the common way by which pilgrims took their journey out of Suffolk, and other parts of the country, to our Lady of Walsingham. This hundred contains thirteen towns, all which are in Rockland deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. It was in the Confessor's hands, as belonging to the manor of Kenninghall, and came to the Conqueror, who held it at the survey, as belonging to the same, it being then worth 20s. a year, the soc of the whole hundred belonging thereto, all which was committed to Earl Godric's care, who had it but a little while, for the Conqueror gave it with Kenninghall, Bokenham, Snetsham, and Wymondham manors, to William de Albaniaco, or Albany, who came into England with him, all which were to be held by the service of being the King's butler on the coronation day; William de Albany, or D'Aughbiny, his son, succeeded; and in this family it continued till Hugh D' Aubigny died seized in 1243, leaving it in dower to Isabel, his wife, daughter of William Earl Warren and Surrey, and foundress of Marham abbey. But as this hundred hath continually gone, and still remains with the manor of Kenninghall, I have no occasion to trace its owners any further. In 1236, (fn. 1) it was found by a jury, that the King had more right of pleading in his county court, pleas of withernam, (fn. 2) and of taking cattle, than the hundreds of Frethebridge, Smithdon, Gildcross, and Shropham, had in their hundred courts; upon which Hugh de Albany being asked, Whether he had any charters of liberties? answered, That he knew not, his deeds being deposited in Wimondham priory, for which reason he desired time to search: the court ordered him to find security to answer the King all arrears from the time of his coronation; upon which Hugh surrendered seizin of the liberties to the King, and the King deferred amercing him for damages, till he had spoken with the Earl Warren. This gives opportunity to observe, that the King was then present in the court, and judgment was given by him, though in his own cause, which is directly contrary to the opinion of divers great men. And this assertion may be further proved, by a record in the 25th year of this King, where, in an appeal for felony, the entry on the roll is thus: "And because our Sovereign Lord the King was absent, and there being but few of his council there, they which were present would not give judgment for a duell, nor do any thing else in the absence of the King, or the major part of his council;" so that we see generally the King was present, or if not, there was no judgment passed, unless the greater part of his council were there. In 1249, (fn. 3) return was made, that Isabel Countess of Arundel held 40l. a year in land in this hundred, that her marriage was in the King's gift, and that the hundred was worth 7 marks a year, and had not liberty of return of writs, nor other liberties as some hundreds had; (fn. 4) and that it paid yearly 40d. to the King's use. In 1274, Henry Le-Noble, Sheriff of Norfolk, let Gildcross and Brothercross hundreds for 42s. a year, which used to be let at 15l.; this was when the King had the marriage of Isabel aforesaid, or when he seized some of her estates, for her bold but true speech, that she made unto him, which you may see in Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i. fol. 121 In 1286, when Roger de Montealt held it, it was then valued at 13l. per annum, out of which he paid the King 40d. yearly, and the liberties allowed to the hundred, in an Eyre at Norwich, were these, sc. view of frankpledge, assize of bread and beer, a gallows, and weyf. In 1311, in an inquisition then taken, it was found, that Roger de Montealt, and Emme, his wife, held it as a member of their manor of Kenninghall. In 1537, it was worth 6l. 13s. 4d. a year. In the court-book of this hundred, in 1578, which is among Mr. Neve's Collections, I find the following manors are held of it, by certain yearly payments, viz. the manors of Uphall and Bokenham's in Garboldisham, of Furneaux in Middle Herling, of Seckfora's in West Herling, Mainwarring's, Fawconer's, and Felbrigg's in East Herling; Bromehall and Semere's in Blownorton, Madekyn's manor in Quidenham, and Hockham's manor there, Marshal's, Grey's, and Beckhall in Banham; Esthawe, or College manor in Rushworth, and Boldham's manor there, which also belonged to the College; Uphall and Wretham's in Gasthorp; Clarke's tenement in South Lopham, and Porter's in Riddlesworth; Styward's and Russell's tenements there; Goodson's tenement in North Lopham, with divers other lands; all which do suit and service to the hundred court at Kenninghall, every three weeks, each suit being valued at 2s. The tenement or manor of John Church of Garboldisham, and Pakenham's manor in Garboldisham, owe suit every three weeks, or 2s. each suit. The hundred court was always kept at Kenninghall every three weeks, but on account of that market's being disused, it was removed, and kept at Market-Herling.

It is bounded on the east by Diss hundred, on the south by the river Ouse, that parts Norfolk and Suffolk, on the west by Thetford, and on the north by Shropham hundred, which is divided from it by the river that runs from Quidenham Mere to Thetford; the superiour liberty, as to the game, and many other privileges, belongs to his Grace the Duke of Norfolk, as lord paramount of the hundred, all which is in his peculiar liberty and jurisdiction called the Duke of Norfolk's Liberty, the original of which you shall have under Lopham; and as for the rest of the owners of it, I shall refer you to


A town of large extent, and great antiquity, so called from [Cyning] which in Saxon signifies a King, so that Cyning or Kenninghad, signifies the King's House, and according to the etymology, it hath been a seat of the East-Anglian Kings, who are said to have had a castle here, which indeed seems true; the site of it is now called the Candle-Yards; (fn. 5) (because the offices for that purpose were built in it, when Thomas, the great Duke of Norfolk, built the palace, this place being distant enough, to hinder the smell reaching it;) it is southwest of the palace about a furlong, being a square of four acres, encompassed with a spacious trench, at each corner is a mount, but that to the south-east is much the largest; the manor-house continued through all its changes in this place, till the Duke pulled it down, and built that stately house at the distance before mentioned, which was after called Kenninghall Palace, or Place; it fronted east and west, and was built in form of an (H), having a porter's lodge, and all things else in the grandest manner. It was situated in the midst of a large park, which contained 700 acres, well stocked with deer, the north side guarded with woods and groves, being distant at least a mile from the town, which lies westward. At the Duke's attainder it was seized by the King, and settled on the then Lady Mary, who kept her court here. To this castle (as Stow calls it) she removed from Hunsdon in Hertfordshire, (fn. 6) and hither resorted to her several lords and knights of this county, as Sir John Shelton, Sir Henry Bedingfield, Sir Henry Jerningham, and others, at the death of Edward VI from whence they went to Framlingham castle. Afterwards it was in Queen Elizabeth's hands, who was often here; she it was that ordered her tenant Chapman, who then lived in Fersfield lodge, to lay out the way now called Chapman's Entry, out of her own ground, the old way being so strait that the Queen could not conveniently pass through it; it is now disused, and is called Queen Bess's Lane, from her being scratched with the brambles in riding through it, as tradition tells us. It continued in the Norfolk family as their capital seat in this county, till about 90 years since, when it was pulled down, and the materials sold for a trifle, with which great numbers of chimnies and walls in the neighbourhood are built, as is evident from the Mowbrays and Arundels arms which are upon the bricks. Spelman, in his Icenia, (fn. 7) hath nothing more of this town, than that it was the seat of some of the chiefest barons. That it belonged to the Crown in the most early times is plain, for the Confessor had it in his own hands, (fn. 8) it being then worth 10l. a year and 5 sextaries (fn. 9) of honey; but it was risen by the Conqueror's time to 24l. of uncoined money, to be paid by weight, and 6l. of coined money, which was paid by tale, and a fine at each king's accession, (for so I take [Terthuma] in the Saxon to signify.) It had a freeman and 30 acres belonging to it in Gnateshall, and West Herling also was a berewic to it It was then three miles long, and one mile broad, and paid 25d. Danegeld. It always was and is now, privileged as ancient demean, the inhabitants being excused from toll, passage, and stallage, and from serving on any juries out of the lordship, and paying towards the charges of the knights of the shire, upon renewing their writ of exemption on the death of every king, and having it annually allowed by the sheriff of the county.

It remained but little while in the Crown, being given by the Conqueror to William de Albini, Albiniaco, or Albany, and his heirs, (fn. 10) together with the lordship of Bokenham, &c. to be held by the service of being chief butler to the Kings of England, on the day of their coronation, upon which account he was after called Pincerna Regis; but as I must treat of this family largely under Bokenham, the priory there, as well as that at Wimondham, being founded by them, I shall say no more of them here, than what is necessary, as to the history of this manor, which is this, that it always went with Bokenham, till the division of the Albany's estate between the four sisters and coheirs of Hugh de Albini, who died without issue, leaving this manor in dower to Isabel his wife, daughter of William Earl Warren and Surrey, who, in 1243, had it, among others, assigned to her by the King's license; at her death it went to Roger de Montealt, or De-Montealto, who had married Cecily, one of the sisters and coheirs of Hugh de Albani; this Robert died seized in 1274, (fn. 11) leaving it to Robert de Montealt, and Emma his wife, who had it settled upon Roger of Rising, parson of Hawardyn, her trustee, for her use, upon a writ of ad quod damnum, which was brought, the manor being held in capite of the King; the writ is dated at York, March 6, 1276, and the return thereof was the 5th day of April following, when the jury, sc. Roger del Hill of Harlyng, John, son of William of Garboldisham, Richard at Quidenham-Bridge, and others, found that it would be no damage to the King, if the manor was settled on Emma and her trustee; and they further say, that this manor, with Bokenham and Wymondham, are held in chief of the King, by the service of butler, as aforesaid, and that it hath a certain capital messuage, called East Hall, (fn. 12) and another called a Grange, with a ruinous dove-house, and 400 acres of land, 100 of which are arable, and yearly worth 10l. besides 18 acres of meadow, worth 18d. each acre, a windmill let for 13s. 4d. a large park, the herbage of which is yearly worth 5l. and the underwood 40s. a year. There is a market kept every Monday, which is let at 20s. a year, and also a fair, let at 2s. a year; the yearly quitrents are 8l. payable by equal portions, at St. Martin, Christmas, Easter, and Midsummer; also 1200 days works in autumn, worth 1d. each day, also the fishery called the Sewer, worth 2s. a year, the pleas, perquisites of courts, and views of frankpledge, and leets belonging thereto, are yearly worth 8l. To this manor also belongs Giltcross hundred, the pleas and perquisites of the hundred court, with all the views of frankpledge and leets belonging thereto, are worth 5l. a year, the whole of the value being 44l. 15s. And the jury further say, that the said Robert hath the manors of Rising and Snetesham, and the hundred of Smithdon, and the fourth part of Lyn Tolbooth unsettled, all which are valued at 80l. per annum. From this Robert it came to Roger de Montealt, (fn. 13) who, in 1286, had the following privileges allowed to this mananor, viz. freewarren, view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, a pillory, cucking-stool, gallows, and weyf, with a yearly fair, on the day of the Translation of St. Thomas [Becket], (fn. 14) and a weekly market on Monday. (fn. 15) In the 1st year of Edward III. (fn. 16) this Robert petitioned the Barons of the Exchequer, to be admitted chief butler on the coronation day, by reason of his manor of Kenninghall, which office he recovered against the Earl of Arundell, who claimed it as belonging to his earldom, and performed the office accordingly, and obtained a decree, that that office henceforward should be performed by the several lords of the manors of Kenninghall, Bokenham, and Wymondham, or their deputies, by turns, upon proving that Hugh D'Aubeney, late Earl of Arundell, held these and Snetesham manors, of King Henry III. by the said office, which he performed at that King's coronation, and died so seized, upon which Bokenham and Wymondham descended to Sir Robert de Tateshall, whose heir now holds them, and is under age; and Kenninghall and Snetesham came to the said Robert de Montealt, (or Mohaut,) who now holds them; and at the coronation of King Edward II. he claimed, and offered to perform, his part of the said service, in right of his said manors; but Edmund Earl of Arundell, by his great power (though he never had any of the said manors) performed the said service, to the disherison of him and his parcener, for which reason now, at the coronation of King Edward III. the said Robert claimed and performed the whole service, Tateshale's heirs being under age. The return upon search of the records says, that as to Snetesham having a turn in the office, they at present could find nothing of it, but that at the coronation of Eleanor, daughter of Hugh Earl of Province, grandmother to the present King, Hugh de Albani, then Earl of Arundell, in right of these manors, and not of his earldom, served the said office by his deputy, the Earl Warren, because he was then excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for taking away the archbishop's dogs from him, as he hunted in the said Earl's forest in Sussex, the archbishop alleging, that he had a right to hunt in any forest in England, whenever he would. This office still continues by turns to these manors, though in a petition directed to the Lords commissioned to receive all claims of services to be performed at the coronation of Quen Anne, by reason of their tenures, I find that Charles Earl of Carlisle, Earl-Marshal of England during the minority of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and Earl of Arundell, who was then out of the realm, claimed to perform this service, in a double capacity, viz. in right of this manor and of his earldom, setting forth that he held the manor by this grand serjeantry, which was performed in right of it at the coronation of Eleanor aforesaid, and at the coronation of Richard II. by the Earl of Arundell and Surrey, and of Henry IV. by Thomas then Earl of Arundell and Surrey, and by Henry Earl of Arundell, at the coronation of Edward VI. in right (as was said) of the earldom of Arundell, and by Henry Duke of Norfolk and Earl of Arundell, by his deputy, at the coronation of King William and Queen Mary, who then received all the fees and profits belonging to the office, viz. the best gold cup that the King drank out of on the coronation day, with the cloths, napkins, and linen then used, the cups both of gold and of silver used that day in the King's winecellar; with all wine vessels, pots, cups, glasses, &c. In 1327, a fine was levied between this Robert, (fn. 17) who was then Steward of Chester, and Emma his wife, by which this manor was settled on themselves, and their heirs male, remainder to Isabel Queen of England for life, and then to John of Eltham, the King's brother, in tail, remainder to Edward King of England, and his heirs. Robert and Emma had no male heirs, and so it came to Queen Isabel, and John of Eltham dying without heirs, the reversion after the Queen's death was in the King, who, in 1336, gave it to Sir William de Monteacuto, or Montague, (fn. 18) who, upon paying the Queen 600 marks, had a release from her, and immediate possession of it: he died seized in 1343, and was buried in the White Friar's, London, leaving the manor to William de Montague, (fn. 19) his son and heir, in whom it continued till 1377, and then he settled it upon Sir William Montague, Knt. his son, upon his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter to Richard Fitz-Alan Earl of Arundell, and the issue of their bodies, but he being unhappily slain in a tilting at Windsor, (fn. 20) by his own father, in 1382, he left no issue. Upon his death King Richard II. (fn. 21) kept court here, but soon after delivered it up to Elizabeth, widow of the said William, who according to the settlement, enjoyed it for life, and at her death it was to revert to her father-in-law, William Earl of Salisbury and Lord of Man. This Earl it was who, in 1355, (fn. 22) (before he had settled it on his son,) granted to Albred de Pakenham of Garboldisham a fold course for 300 sheep and 30 muttons, with common of pasture for his cattle, through the whole year, from a place called Howardsty, northward, partly to Kenninghall Gap, and from thence westward to Ringmere. and thence by the way leading from Kenninghall to Bury, as the way leads to Garboldisham Field, paying him a yearly rent for it, which right is now enjoyed, as belonging to Garboldisham, Uphall, or Pakenham's. This lady held the manor in 1388, at which time she was married to Thomas Lord Mowbray, Earl-Marshal of England, who was to hold it for her life in her right; and this year Richard Fitz-Alan Earl of Arundell and Surrey, (fn. 23) her father, purchased the perpetual inheritance of it, of William Earl of Salisbury aforesaid, and had a fine levied to settle it on him and his heirs, Sir Payne Tiptoft, Knt. and others; being trustees, but upon his attainder in 1397, the King granted the reversion of the manor and hundred, they being forfeited to the Crown, to Thomas de Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, and he being banished the year following, the King granted it by letters patent, dated at Leicester, to John de Montague Earl of Salisbury, (fn. 24) his great favourite, to be held by him of the Crown, in as free manner as William de Montague, his uncle, Richard Earl of Arundell, or Thomas Duke of Norfolk ever held it; but he dying in 1399, never enjoyed it, it being then held by Elizabeth Dutchess of Norfolk, who was then married to Sir Gerard Usflet, her third husband. In 1411, Edmund Blankpaine is said to hold the manor and hundred, as trustee only, I suppose; for in 1422, it was settled by Elizabeth Dutchess of Norfolk, late wife of Gerard Usflet, on divers trustees, to several uses; this was upon her fourth marriage with Robert Gowshall, Knt. (fn. 25) who, in 1426, held the manor and hundred in her right; she died soon after, for in 1428, Thomas de Montague Earl of Salisbury died seized, (fn. 26) leaving them to Alice, his only daughter by his first wife, then married to Richard Nevill, eldest son to Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmorland, which Richard, on her account, was made Earl of Salisbury, and had livery of her lands this very year; but soon after, he gave this manor and hundred in marriage with Joan, his daughter, to William Fitz-Alan Earl of Arundell, (fn. 27) who in the Feodary is said then to hold it; he, in all likelihood, sold it to John Duke of Bedford, who about 1435 sold it again to the Prior of Thetford, in trust for John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, who settled it on Elizabeth his wife, for life, and their heirs; he died in 1475, and she enjoyed it to her death, when it descended to Sir John Howard, Knt. son of Sir Robert Howard, Knt. by Margaret his wife, who was one of the coheiresses of Thomas Mowbray first Duke of Norfolk, it being assigned to him as part of the half of the Mowbrays inheritance. This John was created Duke of Norfolk in 1483, by King Richard III. and was slain with him in Bosworth Field in 1485, at whose death it went to his eldest son, Thomas, then Earl of Surrey, and afterwards Duke of Norfolk, he being restored in 1488, to that earldom and estate; in 1506, he had special livery of all the lands his father died seized of, was made Earl-Marshal of England by Henry VIII. in the second year of his reign, and afterwards Duke of Norfolk; he died in 1524, leaving Thomas his son, heir to his estate and honour.

In 1537, the quitrents were 33l. 3s. 11d. a year; the farm of the hundred 6l. 13s. 4d. the agistments of the park, and perquisites of the fair, 5l. besides the warren, windmill, and fishery. This Thomas being attainted, his estate was seized, and settled on the Lady Mary, who resided here; but it was restored to him again, upon her coming to the Crown, and he came and died here in 1547, leaving Thomas, his grandchild, his heir, who resided here with Margaret, daughter of Thomas Audeley Baron Audeley, his second wife, in 1560; he was beheaded in 1572, (fn. 28) from which time it passed as Fersfield manor, the Duke of Norfolk being now lord.

In 1610, (fn. 29) the quitrents were 47l. 7s. 6d. the farm of the hundred 6l. 13s. 4d. the profits of the fair 5l. the keeper of the palace's wages per annum 3l. 10d. the park-keeper's wages 3l. 0s. 10d. the gardener 4l. per annum, the whole park within the pale contained 700 acres. There was a rent paid out of the New Park, which was due to the late priory of Thetford, with which it came to the Duke, and then ceased. In this year the townsmen purchased the sheeps-walk of the lord, and so made their lands whole-year lands: at this time also the inhabitants paid a small sum to the lord, as an acknowledgment, or freerent, for their new entrenched grounds, they having by consent enclosed their common, called the Park Common, and appropriated the several parts to divers uses; but this remained but a small time, for the commoners disagreeing among themselves, they were all laid common as at first, though the banks and trenches are still visible [1736.]

The Customs of this Manor and the Rectory Manor are the same, viz. the copyhold descends to the youngest son; the fine is certain, at 6d. an acre; they give dower, and the tenants can waste their copyhold-houses, fell timber, plant, and cut down wood and timber on the waste against their own lands, without license.

The Rectory Manor

Went with the rectory till its appropriation, and then became part of the possessions of Bokenham priory, till its dissolution, and was then granted, with the impropriation, to the Norfolk family, forfeited at the Duke's attainder in Queen Elizabeth's time to the Crown, and by her, with the impropriation, given to the Bishoprick of Ely, from which it was seized in the Rebellion, and the manor only, in 1554, sold by Sir John Woolaston, and others, trustees for sale of bishops' lands, according to an ordinance of Parliament, to Robert Benson, and his heirs, it extending then into Quidenham and Herling, the church and churchyard being excepted out of the conveyance, as also all lands and tithes, except a messuage or tenement with the curtilages thereto belonging, called the Granary, (fn. 30) which belonged to the said rectory. In 1657, it was again sold by Robert Benson, Gent. for 149l. to Thomas Kendall of Thetford, and Thomas West, from whom it was seized by the Bishop of Ely, at the Restoration, and by him leased out; (the advowson of the vicarage being excepted;) and having passed through many hands, is at this time in Mr. Phillips Gretton, clerk, who is now, by virtue of the Bishop's lease, both lord and impropriator [1736.]

This manor, when the rectory was appropriated, had a leet, and the amerciaments of all its own tenants, with the assize of bread and ale, and corrections of weights and measures, and also common of pasture on a common called Suchach, or (Southagh, now Southwell,) in the said town, this common being appropriated to it. It was taxed in 1428, with the other spirituals of that priory in this town, at xvi. marks.

This Vicarage

Is in Rockland deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry, valued at 5l. 7s. 1d. and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 40l. is discharged from first fruits and tenths, though it still answers 2s. for synodals, and 7s. 7d. 0b. for procurations, there being a mean vicarage-house joining to the east end of the churchyard, and 5 acres and a half of glebe.

It was originally a rectory, in the gift of the lord of the manor, to which belonged a manor, and a good quantity of demean lands, and such it continued, till William de Albany, the second Earl of Arundell of that name, gave it to the priory of St. James at Old Bokenham, which his father had founded. This William died the 4th of the ides of October, 1176, from which time the Prior presented to this rectory, till about 1223, and then, at the petition of Walter the then prior, and the convent there, Pandulff Bishop of Norwich appropriated it to that convent, reserving power to ordain a vicarage worth 8 marks a year, to be settled upon the vicar, which was accordingly done, and was to consist, according to the endowment, (the original of which, Mr. Le Neve says, is in the hands of the Dean of Norwich) in all the alterage, and all other small tithes whatsoever, together with the small tithes of the Earl's House, and all the hay, and great and small tithes of 140 acres of free land, which belonged to the rectory, before the appropriation, and in other things particularly mentioned in the endowment. By this means the convent got into their hands all the tithe corn, and the rectory manor with all it rents and profits, with most of the glebe. The rents of assize were 3l. 7s. a year, as I learn from the accompt book of that priory, fo. 2; (fn. 31) but for this they were obliged to give the nomination of the vicars for ever to the See of Norwich, the Bishops of which ever after nominated to the Prior such persons as they pleased, and if they did not immediately present the person nominated, the Bishop collated him according to the agreement; and least there should be any future claim from the lords of the manor of Kenninghall, to which the advowson formerly belonged, the Prior and Convent got Roger de Montealt, (fn. 32) then lord, to confirm to them the advowson, manor, and appropriation. I do not meet with any of the rectors names, but the


here follow in their order.

1304, 8 Dec. William of Iselham, collated by the Bishop, at his own nomination, the Prior refusing to present him.

1313, 8 kal. June, Walter, son of Robert Cook of Ely, resigned, and in

1337, 29 Octob. Reginald de Wrthstede, priest, succeeded.

1357, 9 June, Galfrid or Jeffry Man of Talyngton, priest.

1361, 14 Octob. John de Bolton, super Birne, priest, of York diocese.

1366, 26 Jan. He changed with Peter Stiward of Great Cressingham, priest, for Ovington rectory; he resigned in

1386, 20 June, to Walter de Brunham, priest, who was buried in the chancel in 1416.

1416, 7 July, John Aleyn, priest.

1485, 13 March, William Lynaker, priest.

1505, 29 Nov. Will. Clark, on Lynaker's death.

1506, 3 Dec. Will. Bartram, on Clark's death.

The above ten were nominated by the Bishops of Norwich, and presented by the Priors of Old Bokenham.

1540, 25 Febr. William Andrew, chaplain to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, his patron.

1549, 2 April, Master Thomas Briggs, D.D. Mary, sister to King Edward VI.

1557, 13 Jan. Robert Nuham. Thomas Duke of Norfolk.

1571, 5 May, John Richardson, clerk, on Nukam's resignation. Thomas Duke of Norfolk.

1603, John Wilde.

1634, 8 June, Tho. Davye, A. M. buried here July 12, 1684, aged 83.

1684, 4 July, Tho. Davye, his son, buried here Aug. 26, 1691.

1691, 8 Octob. Alex. Malcolm, A. M. he resigned, and was succeeded in

1692, 20 Dec. By William Raite, A. M. who was buried Apr. 24, 1712.

1712, 17 May, Tho. Ibbot; he resigned, and in

1717, 29 Aug. the Rev. Mr. Humphry Clayton, the present [1736] vicar was instituted, who holds it united to Brisingham.

The last seven were presented by the Bishop of Ely, who is now patron.

The Church is situate on a hill, having a large square tower at its west end, which was designed to be carried to a greater height, but was never finished, its head being shortened by the misfortunes of its founder, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, whose crest remains on the buttresses at this time [1736.] Here are five very large tuneable bells; on the three biggest are these inscriptions:

On the third, Dona repende pia. Rogo Magdalena Maria.

On the fourth, Hac non bade bia, nisi dicas Abe Maria Sit semper sine Ue, qui Michi dicat Abe.

On the fifth, Tripler Persona, Trinitas, nunc gaudia dona, Dui Regnas trinus Personis, et Deus unus.

The nave is 40 yards long and 7 broad, having a porch joined to its south side, and an isle to its north, all which are covered with lead, and seem to be much older than the tower; the chancel is also leaded, and was built by John Millgate, the last Prior of Bokenham, whose monument remains in the south wall, though it is robbed of its arms and inscription, which remained in Mr. Weaver's time, for he tells us, fo. 859, that it appeared by his tomb that he built the chancel, though there are two grand mistakes in his relation of it, for he is called there Shildgate, instead of Milgate, and said to be Prior of Windham, instead of Bokenham. He bare for arms three escalops, which are to be seen on a brick in the chancel wall, two lions being the supporters, as also upon a wall of a house at Thompson, in which Roger Colman, clerk, lately dwelt, with this under them:

Perpetuis Annis, Milgate Memento Johannis.

And this motto:


By which it should seem as if this house also was built by him. Whether these were his paternal arms or no, I cannot say, but rather think they were not; the escalops might be assumed (for want of arms) as the badge of St. James, to whom his priory was dedicated, and the rampant lions might be placed significantly enough as supporters, that house being founded by William de Albany Earl of Arundell, whose arms were, gul. a lion rampant or. In digging a grave for one Mr. Watts, near this tomb, they happened on a vault close to the wall, in which this prior's bones till that time laid undisturbed. To the north side of the chancel joins a chapel or chantry, now converted into a school-house, and vestry; it hath [W.B.] cut in stone over the north door; and in a window is a broken effigies kneeling, and this,


The step up to the altar still remains, and the altar stone is taken down, and laid level with the pavement, north and south, exactly as it stood, before which lies a large stone which hath been taken up, and hath this lately cut on it:

Here lyeth the Body of Habbak Layman, Surgeon, who departed this life the 5th Day of April, Ano Dom. 1699. Ætatis suæ 51.

This stone is robbed of a large brass effigies and four shields, by which I learn, that it is the grave-stone of George Hasset, (or Bleverhasset,) Esq. who first married the daughter of Jarnegan, and after the daughter of L'Estrange; for I find in a MSS. of Mr. Anstis's, marked E. 26, fol. 29, that he is here buried under a fair grave-stone, with his arms quartered, and there is no stone here that ever had any arms, but this only, and the [W.B.] cut in stone over the door of this chantry might signifie William Bleverhasset, by whom it is very likely it might be founded.

The screens between the church and chancel, and the cover of the font, which is neatly carved, are old, and seem to be put up at the expense of one Oakelye, for in the arch there is carved on a stone, an acorn on an oaken branch, and [leye] under it, as a rebus or device for that name.

On an old seat in the nave are two images, much defaced, under which with difficulty this may be read,

Orate pro Animabus Roberti Whattys, et Elizabete uroris eius.

Some of the Wattses are still living here.

On another old seat, which seems to have been part of the screens of the chantry, at the east end of the north isle, is this,

Orate pro anima Johannis Lynn

In the nave are several stones pillaged of their brasses; but on a very large one before the desk, the portraitures of a woman and five boys and five girls are still left, the inscription and man's effigies being lost; under this stone, it is probable, Roger Dennis is interred, for whom, in Mr. Weaver's time, (fn. 33) this was remaining,

Orate pro anima Rogery Dennys, Seneschalli Castal

In the chancel is a small altar tomb against the north wall, having had an effigies, inscription, circumscription, and four shields, which are all gone; Weaver says it was erected for George Lord Audeley, and his wife, the daughter of the Earl of Bath; and indeed the arms on the south side of it, which are painted, and now whited over, did intimate, that it was erected for some of that family, the first being

Audeley, gul. a fret or, quartering Touchett, erm. a chevron gul.

Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and Margaret Audeley, his second wife, resided here in 1560, about which time he adorned the windows of the church (fn. 34) with the following arms, some of which are now lost:

Audeley quartering Touchet, in a garter.

Audely impaling Bourchier, ar. a cross ingrailed gul. between four water-boudgets sab.

Lovaine, gul. a fess between six billets or. Quartered with Audely.

Fitz-Warren, quarterly gul. and ar. per fess indented.

Audely impales gul. three bows ar.

Audely impales Badelesmere, ar. a fess between two bars gemels gul.

Ar. two bars wavy gul. Duke of Buckingham and Mowbray's arms.

Howard impales az. six lions rampant ar.

Howard quarters az. on a bend sab. three annulets of the first.

In a garter with a ducal coronet, four coats quartered, 1st.— 2d. Howard with the augmentation, 3d. Earl Warren. 4th. Mowbray. And this inscription,

ME: ------- hys Mede, --- All helpys of this Dede.

This Duke's effigies, in his coat armour, having his hatchment in the garter, was three times in one window, but all are now gone. In the east chancel window is a large white rose, the badge of the house of York. And,

England with a label of three points ar. impaling

Lord Talbot, gul. a lion rampant in a bordure ingrailed or, quartering,

Ar. two lions passant gul.

Mowbray single, and Brotherton and Mowbray.

There are two marbles in the isle for John Bringloe, who died March the 18th, 1706, aged 58 years; and Hannah his wife, who died the 15th of Jan. Ao dom. 1682.

Another stone at the west end, for Mary, daughter of Mr. James Watson, surgeon, and Sarah his wife, who died June 29, 1723, aged 4 years.

On an altar tomb on the north side of this stone,

Here resteth the Body of JOHN KETT, late of Diss, Gentleman, who died Oct. the 1st 1728, aged 76 Years: Also the Body of MARY his Wife, who died Augt. the 21st 1729. To whose Memory their Kinsman Mr. JAMES WATSON of this Parish, Surgeon, erected this Tomb.

Though we did live so many Years, Prepare O Youth for Death; For if he should at Noon appear, You must give up your Breath.

On an altar tomb in the nave under the gallery,

Here resteth in Hopes of a joyfull Resurrection the Body of Elizabeth the Wife of JOHN BURRISH of Banham, who departed this Life the 25th of June 1728, in the 62d. Year of her age, And also Eliz. Robt. and Ann Foster her Grand-childeren, Eliz. died Jan. 26 1724. Robt. died June 19th 1728, Ann died Apr. 21, 1732, all in their infancy.

As in a Moment we are gone, And as our Time do's fly, Let us always prepared be For blest Eternity.

There is a stone in the chancel for Andrew Burlingham who died May the 24th, 1735, aged 55 years.

All you that stop to read my Stone, Consider how soon I was gone, Death sometimes doth no Warning give, Therefore be carefull how you live.

There are four old stones in the nave, in shape of coffins, but no inscriptions. And on a stone in the wall of the porch is a horse carved.

Though there are no memorials of any kind remaining over the places of their sepulture, yet I find that on the 30th day of June Ao 1593, (fn. 35) here was buried Jane Countess of Westmoreland, wife to Charles Lord Nevile of Westmoreland, lord of Raby, Standrop, Branspeth, Warkworth, Sheryhuton, and Midelham, daughter of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey, and sister of Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk.

Here lieth also, Elizabeth Dutchess of Norfolk, who was buried the 18th of Sept. 1567, she was 3d wife to Thomas Howard 4th Duke of Norfolk, daughter of Sir Francis Leibourne, Knt. and widow of Thomas Lord D'Aere of Gillesland and Greystock. (fn. 36)

Thomas Duke of Norfolk, who died at his palace here in 1554, is not buried here, (as by some asserted,) but at Framlingham in Suffolk.

On an altar tomb in the churchyard, by the south side of the nave,

Here lyeth the Body of FRANCIS GROOME, who departed this Life, May the 5th 1711, Aged 83 Years. And also FRANCES his Wife who died Sept. 3, 1712, Aged 92 Years. Also the Body of Nicholas Groome, Son of FRANCIS GROOME, and FRANCES his Wife, who departed this Life Octob. the 3d 1728, in the 67th Year of his Age.

On a coffin stone against the chancel, though at some distance,

Here lyeth the Body of Robart Button, who died June the 29th betwixt 6 & 7 a Clock at Night, aged 74 Yeares. (fn. 37)

Though they were so punctual for the hour, they forgot to insert the year of his death, which was in 1711.

Another altar tomb not far from the porch hath this,

In hopes of a joyful resurrection, lyeth the Body of SUSAN, the Wife of WILLIAM SARE, who died Decr. the 9th 1727, aged 67 Years. Also WILLIAM SARE, her Husband, died Jan. the 15 1727, Aged 74 Years.

This church is dedicated to St. Mary, as appears from the will of Jaffry Elingham, who gave 5 marks towards building the bell sollar. (fn. 38)

(fn. 39) The most eminent person that this town hath produced among our authors, was Brother John of Kennynghale, (fn. 40) who became a Carmelite, or white friar, in the convent at Norwich, and afterward (fn. 41) was provincial prior of the whole order throughout all England; he died April 28, 1451, and was buried in that monastery. He wrote divers treatises on several pieces of Aristotle, and twelve sermons upon Christ's death and resurrection, with other works that are now lost. Bale, (fn. 42) from Leland, gives us an account of another, who from his name seems to have belonged to this town, and that was Peter Keningall, a Carmelite friar and noted preacher, of a good family, born indeed in France, but of English parents; he studied at Oxford for several years, and died there anno 1494, and was buried in his convent. He wrote certain Sermons, or Discourses to the People, and some disputations.

The Commons belonging to this town are very large, containing more than all the enclosed lands, and are thus called: the Park Common, because it joined to the park, Southache, or Southagh, now Southwell Common, the Heath, which is appropriated for sheep, (as the others are for great beasts,) besides other small greens which are common, though of no great extent.

The Town Lands are: three pieces in Quidenham Fields, let to the farmer at Quidenham for 10s. per annum; one acre in Gobbit's Close, let to the vicar (the rest of that close being glebe) for 6s. per annum; Barly-Clove's hempland, lying against the park common, let at 7s. 6d. per annum; one acre in Mill Close, let at 6s. per annum; one acre in Camping Close, let at 6s. per annum; five roods in Upper Furlong, and one acre in Pollswill Furlong, let at 10s. per annum; Hilbridge Close about 2 acres, lying by Harling Field, let at 10s. per annum. Mrs. Dorothy Gawdie gave 20s. a year, to be paid out of lands in Garboldisham, to the poor of Kenninghall.

In 1603 there were 370 communicants, and now [1736] there are about 114 houses, 132 families, and 700 inhabitants. It paid to the tenths 3l. 10s. and is now valued to the King's tax at 1059l. 15s. It is a neat compact village, standing round the market-place, which must be a very convenient one, when the market was kept there.

I am lately informed [1736] that there is exactly eleven acres and one rood of glebe, that there is a cup which weighs 6 ounces, and a cover of the same weight; that the 1st bell weighs 700 lbs. the 2d 1000, the 3d 1200, the 4th 1400, and the 5th 2500.


  • 1. Placita coram Rege 21 H. 3, rot. 4, in dorso, et 17° in dorso.
  • 2. Withernam is a writ to impower a sheriff to take any goods that are destrained and carried out of his county, and restore them to the owner, he being not able to do it by a replevin. Terms of the Law, p. 270.
  • 3. Placita Corone, 34, H. 3.
  • 4. Because all these privileges belonged to the King's liberty, which was after granted to the Duke of Norfolk.
  • 5. Many urns have been found in this town, near the Candle-Yards, which shews as if the Romans had been here.
  • 6. Baker's Chronicle, p. 314; Stow's Chron. 610, 40.
  • 7. Fol. 58.
  • 8. Terre Regis quam Godricus servat. Gillecross Hund. (fo. 33.) Cheninkehala tenuir Rex Edwardus v. carucat. terre semper xxiiii. villan. et xxiiii. bordar. et xii. acr. prati et i. molendin. silva ccc. porc. tunc. i. car. in dnio. post et modo i. Tunc i. car. in dnio. post et modo ii. Tunc xii. car. homin. post et modo xi. et i. posset restaurari, semper i. runcin. et xii. socman. c. acr. terre et xviii. acr. prati, et ii. mol. semper iii. car. et i. liber homo i. car. terre et ii. villan. et iii. bord. Silva xxiiii. porc. semper i. car. et dim. car. homin. Et Herlinga i. Lerewita semper jacet huic manerio. i, car. terre et iii. villan. et iiii. bordarij et v. acr. prati. Tunc i. car. in dnio. et posset restaurari. Totum valebat T. R. E. x. libr. et v. sextarios mellis, post xxvi. libr. modo xxiiii. libr. blancas, et vi. libr. ad numerum et gersumam. Totum Chenikehala habet i. leug. et dimid. in longo, et dimid. in lato, et xxv.d. de Gelto. (Fol. 21.) Sub. tit. predict. Gildecros Hund. In Gnateshala i. liber homo de xxx. acr. terre, et jacet in Keninchala, et ii. villan. et i. acr. prati semper dim. mol. et dim. car. et xxiiii. acr. terre. Totum est in pretio de Cheninchala. So that Knateshale then extended over the county river, and the part on Norfolk side belonged to Kenninghall. (Fo. 206.) Terra Willi. de Schoies. In Cheiunchala (sc. terr.) de vi forisfacturis.
  • 9. The sextary was a Roman measure containing something more than our pint.
  • 10. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. fo. 118. Vincent, fo. 19.
  • 11. Esc. 3 E. 1.
  • 12. This was the name of the old house, before the Duke built the palace, and was so called because it stood east of the town.
  • 13. Placita Corone, 15 E. 1.
  • 14. The fair is still kept on that day, viz. July the 7th.
  • 15. The market hath been disused about 90 years.
  • 16. Lib. MSS. No 1931, in Bib. Pepysiana Coll. Magd. Cant. fo, 43. De Serjantijs in Anglia.
  • 17. Fin. divers com. E. 3. Lig. 1. No 4.
  • 18. Dug. Bar. vol. i. 646.
  • 19. Ibid. fo. 648.
  • 20. Vincent, 449.
  • 21. Court Rolls, 6 R. II.
  • 22. Fin. divers com. E. 3. Lig. 1. No 4.
  • 23. Dug. Bar. vol. i. 646.
  • 24. Ibid. fo. 648.
  • 25. Vincent, 449.
  • 26. Court Rolls, 6 R. II.
  • 27. Carta inter Evid. Ducis Norf. Ao 1709.
  • 28. Fin. Norf. 12 R. 2. L. 2. No 2.
  • 29. Dug. Bar. vol. i. p. 650.
  • 30. Ibid. 302.
  • 31. Dug. Bar. vol. i. p. 130. This is a mistake of Mr. Dugdale, for it appears she was after married to Robert Gowshall, and did not die in 1424.
  • 32. Vincent, p. 32.
  • 33. At his trial (the heads of which may be seen in Baker's Chron. fol. 499.) he was proceeded against by the name of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, late of Keningale, in the county of Norfolk. See Fersfield, p. 87.
  • 34. Compot. Ministror. Tho. Com. Arundell inter Evidenc. Henr. Ducis Norf. Ao 1699.
  • 35. This was the old Gild-hall, that belonged to the parish before the Dissolution.
  • 36. MSS. penes Mieux Rant de Bokenham, Armig.
  • 37. Mon. Ang. vol. ii. p. 274.
  • 38. Page 839.
  • 39. Vincent, 557. MSS. Anstis E. 26, fol. 29.
  • 40. The Parish Regr. Mills, p. 987.
  • 41. Vincent, 592.
  • 42. Le Neve's Monuments, vol. ii. p. 243.
  • 43. Register Gelour in the year 1478. Int. Archiv. Epi. Norwic. See Fersfield, p. 96.
  • 44. The Parish Regr. Mills, 527.
  • 45. Weaver, 807; Bale de Script. part i. fol. 592.
  • 46. Possevin. Apparat. Sacr. 904.
  • 47. Bale de Script. Brit. part ii. Num. 31.