An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Now called Blow-Norton, corruptly for Norton Bel'eau, as it is anciently spelt, which signifies the north town upon the fair water, or river, on which it is situated, and by which it is divided, on its south part, from Suffolk. It had four distinct manors in the Conqueror's time.
The first of which belonged to William Earl Warren, (fn. 1) and was held by Fulcher under him, of his castle of Lewes, and laid in Kenninghall Soken, before the Earl had it. This was afterwards called Brome Hall manor, and was held of the Earl Warren's castle at Acre, by the service of the fourth part of a fee, which service descended with that castle and honour; it was after held of Tateshale barony.
The second was held as a distinct manor in the Confessor's days, and in the Conqueror's belonged to Alsius, who then added it to his manor of Lopham, (fn. 2) as a berewic; from him it became part of the estate of Roger Bygod, under whom, at the survey, Alured, an Englishman, held it. It was given very early by the Bygods to the Bromes, and so became part of Brome Hall manor, being always held of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk, by the service of a quarter of a fee.
The third part belonged to the Abbot of Bury, and was held by a socman, (fn. 3) of his in the Confessor's days, and by Joceline, (fn. 4) in the Conqueror's, the whole town being then a league long, and half a league broad, and paid 8d. 0b. 1q. Danegeld; there were then 5 acres of land belonging to the church; this was called Semere's manor, from the Seymors, or St. Maur's, lords thereof, and was held of the abbey by the service of a whole knight's fee.
The fourth part belonged to Ely abbey; (fn. 5) but I do not find who gave it, though imagine it was given with Garboldisham, to which it might then belong; it is plain it was seized as that was, and recovered from Roger Bigot in the Conqueror's days, after which the Abbot held it but a little while, for it came to the Earl Warren, whether by feoffment or purchase I cannot say; one of those Earls granted it to William de la Snore, to be held of the castle at Acre, by the service of a quarter of a fee; from which time I find nothing of it till 1288, and then William de Blow-Norton held it by that service. In 1345, Adam de Norton was lord; in 1401, John Armiger had it; in 1570, one Chittock had it; but it was soon after purchased and joined to Semere manor. It is now called Brent Hall, or Burnt Hall, because the mansion-house was burnt down; it still retains a place in the style of the court, which runs thus: Brome Hall and Semere's, with Brent Hall in Blow-Norton.
Brome Hall Manor
Was so called from the family of the Bromes, who had one part of it of the grant of the Bygots, in very early days, the other part coming to them from Roger de Somery, whose ancestors had it of the Earl Warren's gift. It seems that Roger, son of William de Brom, married Petronilla, (fn. 6) one of the heiresses of Roger de Somery; for in an inquisition taken in the time of Henry III. it is said, that he held it jointly with her, as part of the inheritance of Roger de Somery, of the Earl of Arundell; this was about 1280; in 1302, they settled the manor and advowson on themselves for life, then on William de Brom, their son and heir, remainder to Robert, their other son, Henry de Brom (brother to Roger) being trustee. In the next year Roger died, and left William, his son and heir, who died before his mother, so that Robert de Brom, his brother, at his mother Petronell's death, which was before 1443, inherited the whole, it being settled by her on him and Joan his wife, in tail, in the year 1336, by a fine then levied between them and Edmund Bacon, parson of Corton, in Suffolk, and Robert de Jernemuth, or Yarmouth; in an inquisition in 1345, it is said that he held both the parts of this manor, and paid a relief of x.s. to the Earl of Arundell, for the half part held of him, at a quarter of a fee, and x.s. to the Earl Warren, as a relief for the other half, that being held of him at a quarter of a fee. In 1363, he held it jointly with Roger Brom, his eldest son. In 1401, Robert Brome, Esq. son of the last Roger, had it, who died intestate in 1453, leaving Olive his widow, who administered, John Broome, Esq. his son, being very young; he afterwards was lord, and left it, at his death, to Henry Brome, his son and heir, who left it to James Brome, his son and heir, who died without issue about 1510, and it descended to his two sisters, viz. Mary Jermy, and Anne, first married to Rob. Stede, Esq. after to John Brampton, and then to Rob. Rookwood, Gent.; at her death the whole went to Thomas Brampton, her son and heir, who had purchased the other moiety in 1533, of Edward Jermy, son and heir of Mary Broome, by Jermy, her first husband, she and Ralph Shelton, Esq. son of Sir John Shelton, Knt. her second husband, joining, to make a complete title; and thus it was joined to
Semere Hall Manor,
Which was part of the revenues of Bury abbey, and belonged to Joceline, brother to Abbot Baldwin, who infeoffed him in it in the Conqueror's time; it after came to the Bygods, of whom it was held in the eleventh century, by the family sirnamed de Cadomo, or Caam; Rich. de Caam was lord and patron of St. Andrew's in 1280, and in 1285 Olive his widow, who held it in dower, remitted all her claim and right to Sir John de Dykele, Knt. who seems to be heir general to Rich. de Caam; and in the same year Sir John granted it to Ralf de Sancto Mauro, (fn. 7) or Seymore, and Alice his wife, and their heirs; and the said Olive, and William de Turri, her second husband, confirmed the grant, for which Ralf and Alice gave them an annuity of 7 marks, and a gown every year worth one mark, during the life of the said Olive; in 1311, Ralf being dead, Alice his widow settled the manor and advowson, after her own death, on Edmund, their son, and Joan his wife, who was lady in 1315; and in 1345, John de Seymor was lord, son, I suppose, of Edmund: he held it of John de Segrave, as of his manor of Forncet, he of the Abbot, and the Abbot of the King, at half a fee, and paid 20s. relief. In 1423, John de Seymor had it; in 1435, a fine was levied between Ralph Gunton, and Walter Walton of London, mason, and Joan his wife, by which it was settled on Ralph and his heirs; about 1510, it is said to be in the heirs of John Boteram, of whom, in all probability, it was purchased by Christopher Coote, Esq. (fn. 8) who had it settled on him and his trustees by fine, in 1521; he died Sept. 17, 1563, (fn. 9) seized of Seymor's manor here, Rich. Coote, his son and heir, being 34 years old, who had immediate livery; he was afterwards knighted, and lived to the age of 124 years; Sir Charles Coote, Knt. and Bart. who translated himself and family into Ireland, where he was Lieutenant in King Charles the First's time, and was killed in 1642, was the last of the family that had this manor, it being joined to Brome Hall manor by the Brampton's, who purchased it, and so had all the manors and the whole advowson; the pedigree of which family, as far as it concerns this town, here follows.
The Leet belongs to the hundred, the leet fee being 14d. The lord of the hundred is lord paramount, having weyf and strey, view of frankpledge and free-warren, assize of bread and beer, &c. for when the lords of the several manors were forced by quo warrantos to produce their charters, and plead what liberties had been immemorially used, the lords here did not claim any.
The Customs of the Manors are these: the fines are at the lord's will; the copyhold descends to the youngest son: it gives no dower; the tenants cannot fell timber, nor waste their copyholdhouses, without license. In Brome Hall manor every free tenant, upon purchase of any freehold, pays a year's freerent to the lord, as a customary relief.
I do not find the religious were much concerned here.
The monks of Thetford's portion (fn. 10) of tithes out of St. Andrew's was taxed at 10s.
The Prior of the canons of Thetford, in 1428, was taxed 12d. for his temporals here.
The Prior of Ixworth was taxed 2s. 6d. for his temporals here, and
The Prior of Bokenbam 14s. for his temporals in this town.
The church of St. Margaret.
1300, kal. May, Henry de Brom. Sir Roger de Brom, Knt.
1313, 12 kal. Oct. Nicholas de Blonorton, priest. Petronell, widow of Sir Roger de Brom, Knt. he resigned to John de Hykelynge, and he resigned in
1328, to Clement de Cnapetone, priest, who was instituted 8 kal. May. Ditto.
1343, 7 April, Galfr. de Dychyngham, priest. Robert de Brom. After his death it laid without any institution till 1394, when Robert de Brom, the patron, obtained a perpetual union of it to the church of St. Andrew, upon proving to the Bishop that the revenues were so small, that nobody would accept it; and it appearing that the church was much decayed, both in its roof and walls, and the parishioners very poor, and unable to repair it, and that St. Andrew's church, standing close by it, in the same churchyard, was big enough to hold all the parishioners of both, he licensed them to pull down St. Margaret's church, May 13, 1394, upon which it was levelled to the ground, in such a manner, that at this day there appear no remains of such a place. When Sir Roger de Brom was patron, Norwich Domesday saith, that it had a house and 10 acres of glebe, it then paid 12d. synodals, and 2s. 2d. procurations; from this time each manor had an alternate presentation to
St. Andrew's, in Blow-Norton,
Which before belonged solely to Semere manor, when Sir John Dykele was patron, the rector had 11 acres of glebe, but no house, and paid 12d. synodals, and 4s. procurations; The first rector I meet with is,
Edmund de Brundyssch, who resigned in
1329, 6 kal. May, and Peter, called, Le-Munk, priest, succeeded. Edmund de Sco. Mauro, or Seymor, Knt.
1331, 15 kal. Nov. John de Mellis de Brampton. Ditto.
1337, Edmund son of Edm. de Burnedyssch, sub-deacon.
1350, 12 April, Hen. Lewyn, priest. Will. de Midelton.
1355, 27 July, Rob. Agaz (or Agar) de Brisingham, priest. Ditto.
1358, 2 July, Rich. Munch, priest, changed with Agaz for Fersfield. Ditto.
1365, 8 Oct. Will. Bonyng, priest, changed with Munche, for Brundale. John Ermundgere de Stratford, (fn. 11) patron.
1368, 24 March, John de Binham, a shaveling. John de Pyssale, rector of Alderton, true patron; in 1385, when the union of the livings was first attempted, he obtained a grant of a messuage to enlarge his parsonage, of John de Pyssale, his patron, (who also seems lord of Semere,) and in 1384 it was confirmed him by the King's license.
1414, 25 Nov. Peter Ingland, priest, on Binham's death. Tho. Grym and Rich. Bolle, patrons of this turn, by virtue of a feoffment in a piece of land called Pottage Land in Blow-Norton, made by John Binham before his death.
1415, 9 Aug. John Moddyng, priest, at Ingland's death. Margaret, late wife of Rob. de Broome, Gentleman of the Bedchamber, patroness of this turn, in right of Brome Hall manor.
1430, 3 July, Sir Stephen Smith, priest. John Almot of Melles, and John Bertram, of Hepworth.
From the evidences and annals of Caius College in Cambridge I learn, that this Sir Stephen gave all his lands and tenements in Barningham, in Suffolk, for the maintenance of a fellow to be a priest, to perform divine offices for the dead, in that college, and to preach thrice every year at Barningham, viz. on St. Margaret's Day, in Advent, and in Lent, and in his sermons to make mention of him, his benefactor, and that he should be called Stephen Smith's priest; the lands given were then 4l. per annum, and in Dr. Caius's time 5l.; he is the fifth senior fellow on the foundation. The estate now consists of a convenient farm-house, and 70 acres of pasture, 24 acres 3 roods of arable, all well wooded, the money rent being 8l. 6s. 8d. the corn rent 2 quarters and a half of wheat, and 3 quarters and 3 bushels of malt .
1474, Smith resigned, and Rob. Woodward succeeded. James Blundell, and Olive his wife.
1487, 7 March, Ric. Davy, on Woodward's resignation. James Blondell of Mellys, Esq. and Olive his wife, who was widow of Rob. Broome, Esq.
1536, 6 Feb. Tho. Lyn, priest, on Davy's death. Ralph Shelburne, Esq. and Mary his wife, and Anne Bramptone, widow, for this turn.
1573, 28 March, Tho. Billingford, clerk. Tho. Bramptone, Esq.
1605, 24 Nov. Edw. Wright to Blonorton Utraque. Henry Bramptone, Gent.
1641, Rob. Ray, rector.
1660, Nathaniel Vincent, D.D. subscribed for Norton, but no institution registered.
1722, The Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Rye, on Vincent's death, who is the present  incumbent, and holds it united to Hepworth, being presented by Mr. R. Browne, patron.
This rectory is valued at 5l. 6s. 8d. and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 38l. 5s. is discharged of first fruits and tenths. There is a rectory-house, and 25 acres of glebe. Here was a Gild dedicated to St. Peter.
The Church is a mean fabrick, of one isle only, which is thatched, as is the chancel; the north porch is tiled, the tower is square, and hath in it three bells, on which are the following inscriptions:
1. Sancte Johannes, ora pro nobis.
2. Sanrta Caterina, ora pro nobis.
3. O Martir Barbara, pro me Deum erora.
There is no inscription in the nave, this being now lost:
Orate pro Anima Margarete Coote Generose que ob. ro die mens. Sept. Ao Dni. 1521.
At the entrance of the chancel lies a stone robbed of its brasses which had this, viz.
Of your Charitie pray for the Soules of Thomas Garneys Esqr. t Alice his wife, the which Thomas deresed the first Day of August in the Yeare of our Lord God 1544, on whose Soules Jesu have Merry.
Garneys with a mullet on the chevron, impaling a fess dancette between three crescents.
Another hath Stede impaling Brome. It is robbed of this inscription:
Of your Charitie pray for the Soul of John Stede Esqr. the which de reased the 20 Day of Dec. in the Year of our Lord God 1540, on whose Soul Jesu have Merry.
Another stone was laid over a priest, the cup and wafer, the emblems of the priesthood, still remaining.
On three brass plates upon a stone at the north-east corner of the chancel.
Brampton, quartering Brome, impaling Rookwood.
Here lieth intered Thomas Brampton Esquier who deceased the in Daye of Novemeber in the Yere of our God MCCCClrrvi. No brave attyer nor worldly Pompe, But Deathe in tyme will quelle, Yet Bramptones Soule by virtues Lorc, I hope in Heven dothe dwelle.
At the upper end of the chancel, on the south side, was a raised tomb, covered with a marble, under which Mr. Christopher Coote, who died in 1563, was interred; this is now taken down, and the stone laid on the pavement.
The house right over against the church is called the Place, which name it assumed when it was rebuilt by John Brampton, its old name being Brome Hall.
In the kitchen window (before it was repaired) I saw these arms:
William Calthorp married Cecily Brome, and was owner of an estate here, in 1536.
The arms of Stede were imperfect, and seemed to have been parted per pale; and there was an imperfect coat of Brampton.
In 1603, there were 110 communicants, and now  there are 32 houses, and 160 inhabitants. It paid 50s. to the old tenth, and now is assessed at 660l. to the land tax.
Here is about 1 rood of land, which lies at Furze Common, a house being lately pulled down there, and another rebuilt more convenient, for two dwellers, on the waste, which hath about a rood of land laid to it.
The Commons are, New Cross, which contains about 10 acres, Furze Common about 30 acres, South Fen about 30 acres; and there are about 80 acres of common car and fen, on all which they common solely.
Robert Browne, Gent. bears ar. on a bend sab. three eagles displayed or. Crest, on a torce ar. and sab. a goshawk rising or.