Loddon Hundred: Langley Town and Abbey

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.

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'Loddon Hundred: Langley Town and Abbey', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809) pp. 147-152. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol10/pp147-152 [accessed 24 April 2024]

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The capital lordship of this town was granted by the Conqueror to William Beaufoe, who was his chaplain, and chancellor, and was held by him as a lay fee, and his own inheritance, when Domesday book was made, being then Bishop of Thetford.

Anant, a freeman, held it under King Edward, and was deposed: it consisted then of 3 carucates of land, 2 villains, &c. 8 borderers, 2 carucates and a half in demean, one among the tenants, &c. 8 acres of meadow, one mill, 7 horses, four cows, &c. 95 sheep; and Anant had 25 socmen, with one carucate, and after 4 carucates. Three freemen under his protection had 40 acres, but the soc was in the King: and there was a carucate also and a half.

Here was one priest who in his own right, and 2 others who held by moieties, 100 acres of free land belonging to the church of St. Andrew; the whole was valued at 4l. and was one leuca long, and one broad; and paid 11d. gelt.

In King Edward's time Almar and his parceners held this land of Anant, and he died suddenly. (fn. 1)

The Lords Bardolf of Wirmegay, in Norfolk, were enfeoffed of the greatest part of this manor, and held it of the see of Norwich; and the family of De Cheyney and their descendants, held it of the Lords Bardolf, by the service of two knights fees.

Sir Robert Fitz Roger, Helke, or De Clavering, who was lord of Horsford, by the marriage of Margaret, daughter and coheir of William de Cheyney, relict of Sir Hugh de Cressi, was lord of this manor: on his founding a monastery for canons of the Premonstratensian order here, in 1198, gave the greatest part of this manor to it, to be held by one fee and three quarters, the other quarter of a fee being in his own family) also the advowson of the church, with the marsh of Raveness, &c. (fn. 2)

The founder was sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, in the 3d and 4th year of King Richard I. and in the said reign this abbey was founded; his descendants assumed the name of De Clavering, from their lordship of that name, in Essex, and had the patronage of this abbey, of whom see in Horsford.

The anniversary of the founder was kept on the 18th of the calends of May.

Here were an abbot and 15 canons, of the Premonstratensian order, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and valued, as Dugdale, at 104l. 16s. 5d. ob.; as Speed, at 128l. 19s. ob.

King John, in his first year, confirmed the grant of the founder, and granted the abbot a fair and a weekly mercate in the manor of Langley, with soc, sac, and many other liberties.

It appears from a rental that they had considerable possessions, the manors of Langley, Thurton, Burgh cum Apeton, Mundham, Raveningham, Iyseland, Asheby, Winston, Rockland, Poringland, Framlingham, Shotesham, Kirkeby, Trous, Bowthorp, Whetacre, Rushale, Heckingham cum Rochehage, and Hales.

Alan de Heckingham gave lands which he had of William Foliot, and William gave the homages of the heirs of Richard Thurgot in Heckingham, and Alice and Mabil, daughters of Richard Turget, grant the homages and services of John de Lodne.

William de Horseford and Margaret his wife, with the consent of Claricia de Burgo, gave lands in Bergh.

Robert de Colvile lands and a turbary in Lothwestoft.

William, son of Warin, and William, son of Ralph de Whetacre, lands and villains.

Reginald, son of Simon de Burgo, called also Simon de Raveningham, lands.

William de Cheyney gave them his tenants in Cove and Worlingham, in Suffolk.

Roger de Thaseburgh and Eva his wife, widow of — de Vernun, and Robert Vernun her son, gave lands.

Mr. Hugh de Stockton lands in Winston, and Geldington.

Ralph de Bukenham the services of Jeffrey de Lodnes, in Lodne, and Jeffrey de Stubbs lands there.

Sir Andrew de Hengham, Knt. confirmed to them all the lands given them by his father and ancestors, in Bergh and Thurton.

Petronilla, daughter of Sir John de Vaux, in her widowhood, for the souls of her father, and William de Nerford her husband, all the tenants in her fee, called Gris-fee, in Thurton, Askeby, Bergh Apeton, and Carleton, ao. 15th Edw. II.

Walter de Hemenhale, in the 41st of Henry III. granted to Simon, then abbot, a messuage, 2 carves of land, and 3 acres of wood.

Simon, the abbot, in 1267, at the request of Sir Jeffrey de Lodnes, remitted to Sir William de Wendling and his heirs, 3s. rent per ann. out of the houses which he bought of Henry de Worton, in Conesfordstreet, Norwich, by the edifice of Isaac the Jew. The seal of Simon is of green wax; on one side is the Virgin and the child Jesus, seated on a throne; on the other a King on his throne, probably the abbey seal. (fn. 3)

In the 4th of Edward II. they had a patent for lands in Buthorp, Norfolk, Thomas de Cockfield lands, on an exchange for lands in Erleham. In the 6th of that King, one to purchase a messuage, 10 acres of land, 38 of meadow, and 25s. rent in this town, Lodne, &c. of John de Langley. In the 9th to purchase land in Norwich, of John, Parson of Bodham, and for 2 messuages in Jernemuthe, of William Mawe, and in the 12th, one for 12 acres of land, 3 of meadow, 40 of marsh, and 40 of rush-ground in Langley, and Chetgrave, and for 100 acres of land in Whetacre, granted by Robert Baynard.

In 1332, a patent for tenements in Norwich and Sneterley, and to appropriate the church of Burgh, with that of Sneterley, the chapel of Glanford.

They had lands also in Aldeby, and Blofield, a rent out of lands of Barth White, Esq. in Stoke, with lands at New Sole in Kent, and Berningham in Suffolk, a messuage and 90 acres of land. Lands in Ersham. Their temporalities there valued at 46s. 3d. in 1428, their temporalities in this town were valued at 29l. 16s. 8d.

The rectories of Limpenham cum Southwood, Seething, or Scenges, Bodham, Loddon Holy Trinity, Rushale, Thurkelby, and Ranworth, in Norfolk, were appropriated to them; and the churches of Heckingham, Kirkby Bedon, Langley St. Michael, and Thurton in Norfolk, were wholly appropriated and served by curates; patrons also of Burgh St. Margaret, of Blakeney cum Glanford.

In the priory church were buried, Sir Robert Thurgelby, Sir Thomas Roscelyn, Sir Peter Roscelyn, Sir Hugh Gourney, Sir Jeffrey Say, Sir Henry Lymesey, Sir Fulk Kerdeston, Sir William Kerdeston, and Margaret his wife, who died in 1328, and was buried before the altar of the Holy Cross, by Thomas de Kerdeston, Archdeacon of Norwich, who died in 1226; and Sir Roger Kerdeston, buried in 1337, by his mother.

Sir John de Clavering, patron of the abbey, died in 1332, on the octaves of the Epiphany, and buried in the presbytery, on the north side.

Also Sir John Lodnes, Sir Peter Egfend, Sir John Dunham, Sir Charles Carleton, Sir Ely Norfolk, Sir Charles de Jernemutha, Sir Robert le Grys, Sir Philip Weston, Sir William Reedham, Sir Robert de Vaux, Sir Robert Helington, Sir Thomas de Ufford, Sir John, Sir Robert, Sir Edmund, and Sir Thomas de Ufford, Sir Simon le Grys, Sir William de la Pole, Sir James de Audley, and Thomas Audley, Esq. Sir John de Mutford, before the altar of the Holy Cross; —Sir Robert de Benhale, Sir William Bowet.

Nicholas Castell, Esq. by his will, dated June 10, 1490, buried by the tomb of Elizabeth his wife.

Here were also buried, Lady Joan de Burgh, died in 1332; Dame Mary le Zouch, mother of Sir Robert, son of Sir Roger; Dame Joan, wife of Sir Robert Benhale; Dame Agnes, wife of Sir Fulke — —; Dame Joan, wife of Sir John Dunham; Dame Agnes Clavering, Dame Margaret Benhale, Dame Eve Audley, Dame Agnes, wife of Sir Simon Grys, Dame Jane, wife of Sir William Bowet, daughter of Sir Robert Ufford, Dame Dionysia Inglos, wife of Sir Henry Inglose, Dame Alice, wife of Sir Thomas Charles.


Gilbert occurs abbot ao. 10 King John, 1209, and in 1202, probably the first abbot.

Hugh in 1233, and 1246.

Simon de Middleham, in 1254, and 1267.

Richer de Massingham, in 1269.

Thomas, about 1280.

Adam de Filby in 1290.

Jeffrey in 1324.

Robert in 1340.

In 1340, John de Strumpeshagh, was presented to this abbey, by John, the abbot of Alnwick; he is styled Pater Abbatis Eccl'ie de Langley; that is, Langley was a daughter of Alnwick, the first canons of this abbey coming from Alnwick priory in Northumberland, and he occurs in 1363.

1367, Geffrey, admitted abbot.

1375, Peter, and he occurs in 1382.

1392, John de Norwich.

1399, John Walsham, admitted.

1422, John Waterden.

Nicholas occurs in 1428, and in 1463.

Nicholas Wamerton, in 1467, 1474.

John, in 1482.

Walter Alpe, in 1488, and 1500.

1500, William Kirslow.

John, in 1513, then abbot, was collated by the Bishop of Norwich, to the rectory of Chatgrave in Norfolk.

Robert Walkington occurs in 1517, in which year Pope Leo, on the 6th of the calends of April, ao. pontif. 5, granted him, (then abbot) a bull to empower him to hold another abbey, and 2 ecclesiastical benefices, or 3 benefices, without the abbey's; in 1523, he was rector of Carlton, and in 1529, rector of Claxton.

The patronage of this abbey was in the lords of Horsford.

At the Dissolution, the abbot was found to pay every 7 weeks, 3s. 9d. ob. castle-guard to Norwich castle, being, held of that see, by the service of two fees.

Almost all the canons were desirous of being discharged and freed from their order, and on June 5, ao. 38 Henry VIII. John Berney, Esq. had a grant of the manor of Langley, late belonging to the abbey, with the site of the said abbey Langley Granges, with all the houses in Langley parish, belonging to the said monastery, messuages and lands, called Pedhams, and Stayner's, with lands in the tenure of the master and fellows of Dunnington college, and lands in Ashby, Claxton, Chetgrave, Hardley, Bergh-Apton, &c. with 30 quarters of barley, paid by tenants in Hardley, valued at 30s. per ann. also 30 quarters of barley paid by the tenants in Langley.

By an inquisition taken in the first year of Queen Elizabeth, John Berney, Esq. was found to die January 7, in the said year, possessed of the said manor, and site of the monastery, 10 messuages, 970 acres of land, and Richard was his son and heir, aged 17, by—, daughter and heir of Will. Floyd, Esq. by —, a daughter of Sir James Hobart, and John was 2d son of Ralph Berney, Esq. of Gunton, by Anne, daughter of Richard Southwell, Esq. of Woodrising in Norfolk, and sister of Sir Robert Southwell.

Richard Berney, Esq. son of John, married Elizabeth, daughter of James Hobart, Esq. of Hales-hall in Loddon: she died April 16, 1622, and he on June 27, 1615, and are buried in the church of St. Peter's Mountergate, in Norwich, where is an elegant monument erected to their memory, dying without issue, on whose death it came to Robert Berney, Esq. his nephew, probably.

In this family it remained, in 1742, Richard Berney, Esq. being then lord and patron.

The present lord of this town is Sir William Beauchamp Proctor, created baronet in 1744, Knight of the Bath, and knight of the shire of Middlesex, in parliament.

He bears for his arms, or, three nails, 2 and 1, sable, and married first, —, daughter of Christopher Towers, Esq. of Huntsmore in Bucks; his present lady is daughter of Peter Johnson, Esq. of Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire.

Sir Robert Fitz-Roger, the founder, reserved (as is abovementioned) one quarter of a fee of his lordship, in his own family, which was held of it by tenants, as a lay fee.

In the 20th of Edward III. William Vernun, Thomas de Bergh, &c. held it of Robert de Benhale, Knt. lord of Horsford, and Eve his wife, they of the Lord Bardolf, and that lord of the Bishop of Norwich, which Robert Vernun formerly held.

John de Langley aliened lands of this fee to the abbey, with other persons; so that the whole was in the abbot at the Dissolution.

The tenths were 5l. 10s. 2d. deducted 1l. 10s. 2d. the temporalities of the abbey of St. Bennet 49s. 4d.

The Church was a rectory, dedicated to St. Michael, valued at 20 marks; had a manse, with 30 acres of land, in the reign of Edward I. paid Peter-pence, 9d. carvage 18d. and was appropriated to the abbey by Roger de Skerwyng, Bishop of Norwich, about 1270.

The church is a single pile, covered with lead, and the chancel with tiles, and has a square tower with bells.

In the chancel are several gravestones; one,

In memory of Susanna Curson, daughter of Thomas Curson, Esq; who died December 17, 1625.

In memory of Ann Hobart, daughter of James Hobart of Holt in Norfolk, Esq; who died in 1633.

In memory of Mary Berney, late wife of Robert Berney gent. one of the daughters of James Hobart, of Hales-Hall, Esq; aged about 78, died July 6, 1652.

One with an effigies in brass, with the arms of Berney, for,

Robert Berney, Esq; aged 79, and died August 23, 1628.

On the wall, near the communion table, is a marble monument,

Memoriæ sacræ ornatissimi vereq; pij viri Edw. Hobart, Armigeri; Joh. Hobart nepos suus infinitis modis divinitissimus hœc grati animi indicia humillime dedicat. obt. 16 Maij, A. D. 1638, œtat. suœ 74: there are also several Latin verses, with the arms of Hobart.

In a glass window are two shields: in one a roe buck, and a buck supporting a crosier staff; in the other is a wall painted, and embattled, also a tun, being a rebus (as I take it) to set forth the benefactor of this window, &c.

Robert Walkington, abbot of Langley, and the said arms was in the abbot's parlour of Langley abbey.

In 1603, the curate returned 100 communicants.

On the Dissolution the appropriated rectory came to the Crown, and so remained till granted to the see of Ely, by Queen Elizabeth, and confirmed by act of parliament, and so remains at this time.

In the church were the lights of St. Mary, in St. Mary's chapel, of St. John Baptist, before whose altar the Lady Joan, wife of Sir Henry de Reveshale was buried, and that of all the martyrs, and of St. Nicholas, with the guilds of St. Michael and St. John Baptist.

Hermer, son of Richard, gives to God, and the church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich 20s. rent out of his mill in Pedeham, belonging to the manor of Langley, for the soul of Richard (prior of Norwich) his brother, and the souls of his father, &c. and of Richard de Wirmegay, his lord, to keep the anniversary of his brother Richard by name yearly, in the said church, and Richard de Wirmegaye confirmed it, the prior being his uncle; this was about 1150. (fn. 4)


  • 1. Terra Epi. Tedfordensis de feudo —North Langale ten. Anant lib. ho. sub. rege E. p. iii car. t're. tc. et p. ii vill. mo. i semp. viii bord. tc. ii car. et dim. mo. i car. in d'nio. sep. i car. hom. silva xx porc. et viii ac. p'ti. et i molin. tc. vii equi, mo. vi tc. iiii an. mo i xx porc. mo. xiiii mo. lx. xxxv ovs. et xxv soc. Anant de i car. t're. tc. et p. iiii car. mo. iii et iii libi. ho'es. ei'd. comd. xl ac. et soca Regis tc. i car. et dim. p. et mo. i. In eade' i p'br. integer et ii dim. tenet c acr. libe. terre et jacent in ecclia S'ci. Andree tc. et sep. val. iiii lib. ht. i leug. in longo et i in lato, et de gelto xid. In t'pe. r.e. habuit Almar. t'ra' isti. Anant et socij fuer'. et subita morte fuit mortuus.
  • 2. See Dugd. Mon. Ang. vol. ii. p. 659.
  • 3. Bp. Tanner's Notit. Monast. says the abbey's arms were a pastoral staff, with an hand issuing from each side of the shield, and holding a sword.
  • 4. Reg. Eccl. Norw. 4. fol. 57.