Mitford Hundred and Half: Cranworth, and Swathing

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

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Francis Blomefield, 'Mitford Hundred and Half: Cranworth, and Swathing', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10( London, 1809), British History Online [accessed 22 July 2024].

Francis Blomefield, 'Mitford Hundred and Half: Cranworth, and Swathing', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10( London, 1809), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024,

Francis Blomefield. "Mitford Hundred and Half: Cranworth, and Swathing". An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. (London, 1809), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024.

In this section


This lordship was farmed, or taken care of for the King, at the survey, (who was then lord of it,) by Godric.

Ulf, who was lord of it in the time of Edward the Confessor, being deprived of it, who had 2 carucates of land, held by 13 villains, and 3 borderers, with 2 servi; there were also 2 carucates in demean, and 2 among the tenants, paunage for 200 swine, and 8 acres of meadow, a mill, 2 cows, 15 swine, 20 sheep, and 20 goats; 14 socmen held 40 acres, and 2 carucates of land, valued at 100s. in the time of the Confessor; but at the survey at 10l. per ann. and 10s. was paid for an income or fine. It was one leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 15d. gelt, and here and in Shipdam, one socman of Stow, had 30 acres: (fn. 1) see in Hardingham.

Ulf was the third son of King Harold.

At the time of the Conqueror's survey adjoining to Cranworth was a town called Swathing, a town many centuries past destroyed and depopulated; and the lands belonging to it now included in the townships of Craneworth, and Letton; that it was a considerable village appears from the following account of it in Domesday Book, when it belonged to the King, and was farmed of him, or taken care of by Godric.

Hacon a freeman being deprived of it, which Hacon was grandson of Earl Godwin, and son of Swain, brother to King Harold, who had 2 carucates of land held by 9 villains and 11 borderers, with 4 servi; there were 2 carucates in demean, and 2 of the tenants, &c. paunage for 60 swine, 5 acres of meadow, 2 mills, &c. 30 sheep, and 6 goats, and 13 socmen belonged to it; 5 of them were in the said village, in Thurston four and in Thurstanestuna four, who held one carucate, formerly 5, valued in Hacon's time at 100s. at the survey at 6l. 13s. 4d. and was 7 furlongs long, 6 broad, whoever was lord of it, and paid 12d. gelt. (fn. 2)

Swathing's and Botetourt's Manor.

The township or lands of Swathing being thus joined to that of Cranworth became two distinct manors, or two moieties of the township of Cranworth, and as such I shall here treat of them in order of time as I find them.

Swatning was so considerable a lordship, that Runhall, in the hundred of Fourhow, was a beruite to it, and valued with it, and also extended into Hardingham.

The ancient family of De Gourney were lords of this town, Craneworth, and Letton, and in the 11th of King John a fine was lesied between Mabel, widow of Lewis de Gourney, and Thomas, son of Lewis, of lands, a mill, and 5 marks rent in Cranworth and Letton, granted to Thomas, as part of her dower, and Roger de Swathing was witness to a deed in 1220.

In the 29th of Henry III. Symon de Crepping and Maud his wife, convey by fine to John de Gurney, the manor of Swagesthing's and John regranted it to Maud for life.

Edmund de Swathing, as lord, presented to the church of Craneworth in the reign of Edward I.

William de Walcote, and Alice his wife, conveyed by fine, in the 4th of Edward I. lands and a messuage here, to Catherine, widow of William de Swathing; and John de Gurney, in the 9th of Edward II. impleaded William de Swathing, for chasing his hares without his license, in his free warren at Swathing; William pleaded that Lewis de Gurney was lord, and held it at the conquest, with free warren, and enfeoffed Arnold de Swathing, his predecessor, of a moiety of the said manor, with freewarren, &c. and William de Gurney in the other moiety, of whom descended John, the complainant, and that by reason of the aforesaid moiety, he and his predecessors, time immemorial, used, in one moiety as well as the other, to chase the hares at their will and pleasure; and Edmund Swathing presented to the church in 1324, and 1334.

William, son of Roger de Swathing, and Martin, son of John, performed suit to the Bishop of Ely's hundred of Mitford, in 1277.

Edmund de Swathing, lord of this manor, married Agnes, one of the daughters and coheirs of Jeffrey de Fransham, lord of Fransham Magna, and had William his son and heir, father of Edmund, whose daughter and heir, Elizabeth, brought part of the manor of Fransham, and this manor of Swathing, to Henry Sharington, Esq.

In the 15th of Edward I. Guy de Botetourt claimed free warren in his demean lands here, of this lordship; that family had been enfeoffed by the Gurneys.

Richard de Kerebrook acknowledged, in a pleading in the 36th of this King, that 2 messuages, 92 acres of land, 22 of meadow, 31 of pasture, in Craneworth, Letton, Kerebrook, &c. were the right of William, son of Ralph de Saham, and his heirs, and that John le Botetour was brother of the said William, who had the judgment of the court to recover part of the said land.

In the 5th of Edward II. the manor of Craneworth was settled by fine, on Guy de Buteturt, and Ada his wife, for life; remainder to Ralph de Boteturte and his heirs.

John Boteturt and Maud his wife, sister and heir of Otto, daughter and heir of Beatrix de Bello Campo, formerly wife of William de Montchensy, of Edwardeston in Suffolk, and Robert Swinburn and Joan his wife, daughter and heir of John, son of John Botetourt, had an interest herein, in the 17th of Edward II. and Thomas de Swathing, lord in the 15th of Edw. III.

Bartholomew de Botetour possessed it after Ralph abovementioned, and his daughter and heir, Maud, brought it by marriage to Jeffrey de Swathing; and Jeffrey was lord of it in the 9th of Richard II. and Maud his wife, as appears by a fine then levied between them, and William de Swathing; Margaret, widow of this William, presented as lady of Swathing manor in 1399.

Maud, wife of Jeffrey Swathing, married to her 2d husband, Roger Edmonds, or Esmond, by whom she had a son, John, who had the lordship of Botetour in Kemberley: he was living at Cranworth in the 8th and 20th of Henry VI and had some interest in this lordship.

In a record of that time, Maud his grandmother, is called daughter and heir of Sir Baldwin Botetourt.

In the 13th of that King, Edmund de Swathing and his heirs, were found to have a right to feed their sheep in the pasture of Ulnhawe and Bergesmethe, without number, by the grant of John de Calveley, &c.

This Edmund, son of William de Swathing, left an only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, who brought it by marriage, to Henry Sharington, Esq.

John Edmonds, by his testament, dated at Westhorpe in Suffolk, November 12, 1563, orders his body to be buried in the church of St. Mary of Cranworth, (fn. 3) Margaret his wife, executrix; to whom he deviseth all his lands in this town and Freinge, &c. remainder to his right heirs; and was proved January 12 following; by an inquisition after his death, he was found to die possessed of the manor of Botetours, in Cranworth, held of the Lord Bardolf, of his manor of Cantele, and of the manor of Thompson.

It appears that this lordship of Botetours came to Richard Esmond, who, with Joan his wife, conveyed it, in the 13th of Henry VII. to John Sturges, Francis Southwell, &c.

Henry Sharington, Esq. who was steward to the Bishop of Ely, for his hundred of Mitford, was lord of Swathing's in the 12th of Henry VI. and presented to this church in 1435, and 1439; and Elizabeth his widow in 1452, and his son and heir Thomas in 1477, and 1487, who died about the 12th of Henry VII. and was succeeded by his son, Thomas Sharington, Esq. who presented in 1522.

In the first of Henry VIII. Hen. Thexton, clerk, articled with this Tho. to serve him in the office of a priest, and to pray for the souls of Thomas Sharington and Elizabeth his wife, Henry Sharington and Elizabeth his wife, from the 2d of October, for one whole year, and to have beside his table (that is board) 53s. and 4d.

This Thomas died about 1527; it appears that he had a son, William, who was a minor in the 17th of Henry VII. and at nurse, at 6d. per week, and living, and lord in the 22d of Henry VIII.

It is probable that he and his wife Ursula conveyed it to Sir Richard Southwell, who in the year 1546, presented to this church, as lord of Swathing's manor: and in the 31st of Henry VIII. Sir Christopher Jenney, judge of the King's Bench, and Sir John Jenney, Knt. conveyed to Sir Richard Southwell, by fine, the lordship of Botetours.

From the Southwells the lordship came to the Cranes, as in WoodRysing. William Crane, Esq. presented in 1647, and 1663.

In 1680, Brampton Gurdon, Esq. presented as lord, and his descendant, Thornhaugh Gurdon, Esq. in 1762.

Thomas Barrow, Esq. was living here in the 24th of Elizabeth, as was William Barrow, Esq. his son and heir, in the 31st of Elizabeth, and had lands here and at Westhorp in Suffolk, which seem to come to them from the Esmonds.

Sharington's Pedigree.

This William is said to have had a brother, Sir Henry Sharington, who by Ann, his wife, daughter and sole heir of Robert Paget, of London, alderman, left two daughters and coheirs; Oliva, married to John Talbot, Esq. a younger son of the house of Grafton; and Grace, to Sir Anthony Mildmay of Apthorp, in Northamptonshire.

Thomas Sharington, Esq. had a daughter, Cecilia, married to Robert Southwell, Esq. serjeant at law, buried both at Barham in Suffolk: he died in 1514, and Anne, a daughter, married to Edmund Playters, Esq. of Suffolk.

The tenths were 2l. 10s. Deducted 0. 0.

Swathing bore azure, a bend, argent; Sharington, checque, argent and azure, on a flaunch, gules, two crosses, patteè, or; — Esmond, ermin, a saltire engrailed, sable.

Of the church of Swathing, I find no memorial, being delapidated many centuries past; that of Cranworth was a rectory, valued at 10 marks, in the reign of Edward I.

Edmund de Swathyngs was patron, and the rector had a manse, and 15 acres of land, and paid Peter-pence, 12d.

The present valor is 5l. 18s. 6d.


In 1324, Reginald de Cranworth was instituted, presented by William de Swathing.

1334, John de Salle, by William, &c.

1359, Robert Osberne, by Agnes, relict of Edmund Swathyng.

1399, Edward de Swathyng, by Margaret, relict of William de Swathyng.

1400, John de Swathing, by Margaret, &c.

1422, William Thetford, by Sir Edmund Berry.

1429, Richard Rothe, by William Paston, judge of the King's Bench.

1430, Hugh Leverych. Ditto.

1435, Gregory Dalle, by Henry Sharington, Esq.

1439, Simon Sharyngton. Ditto.

1452, Mr. John Clerk, by Elizabeth Sharyngton.

1452, Thomas Lynford. Ditto.

1477, Richard Palgrave, by Thomas Sharington, Gent.

1487, William Browne. Ditto.

1522, Peter Dey, by Thomas Sharington, Esq.

1546, Robert Dobbs, by Sir Richard Southwell.

1553, Thomas Webbe. Ditto.

1559, Clement Dixon. Ditto.

1572, Thomas Bostock, by the Queen, and to that of Letton.

In the 38th of Henry VIII. June 26, this rectory and that of Letton, were consolidated. In 1580, William Atkinson, (fn. 4) presented to this church and that of Letton, by the Queen.

1612, Thomas Tunston, by the King, on the minority of Thomas Southwell.

1632, Christopher Sutton, (fn. 5) S.T.P. by Sir Thomas Southwell; he was prebend of Westminster.

Thomas Lock, rector.

1638, Richard Tedder.

1647, Thomas Thompson, by William Crane, Esq.

1663, Charles Neve. Ditto.

1680, Benjamin Resbury, by Brampton Gurdon, Gent.

1714, Nathaniel Salter, by Thomas Gurdon, Esq.

1753, Parker Gurdon, by Thornhaugh Gurdon, Esq.

1762, Robert Partrich. Ditto.

In the church, on a monument,

Cujus hæ sunt induviæ felicem resurrectionem præstolantes? Fuit olim Dominus Gulielm. Cooke de Broom-Hall, in argo Norfolciensi Baronettus, vir omnib; numeris absolutus, omni laude major, priscœ virtutis exemplar perillustre, legum et juris vindex acerrimus, reipublicœ literariœ decus et ornamentum. Qui nefarijs pontificiorum et schismaticorum dolis idsanientium æque infensus; monarchiam et hierarchiam turbidissimo rerum statu propalam ausus est tueri. Quid plura? vivus patriæ et ecclesiæ delitium, mortuus, utriusq; desiderium; senio et arthritide confectus obdormivit. Ao. Salut. 1708, æt. 78. Cujus juxta ad latus Jana uxor viro tanta non indigna e regia familia Stuartorum oriunda, sive animam sive corpus spectes præclaris dotibus instructissima, sive conjugem sive matrem pari pietatis affectu honoranda, obijt. Ao. Salut. 98, ætat. 63.

On a gravestone,

John Williams, gent. sometime servant to the Right High and Mighty Prince, John, Duke of Suffolk, which John Williams died July 2, 1501.

In the church of Cranworth, on the windows, were the arms of Sharington, Swathing, Lord Scales, Mortimer of Attleburgh, Lord Morley, Clifton, and Cailly.

Winbergh; quarterly or and azure, a bend over all gules, Blundevile; ermin, a saltire engrailed, gules, Bottetourt; Lord Bardolf; gules, a fess, argent, in chief three plates, Brampton; gules, a chevron, ermin, between three bucks heads caboshed, argent; Sharington, impaling ermin, on a chevron, azure, three leopards faces, or, Pirton of Essex.

In the first of Henry VIII. Thomas Sherington made a new window in the north isle at the east end, also a new porch.

On a stone, in the north isle, were the arms of Swathing, it being likely their burial place.

In this window was the picture of the Blessed Virgin.

Gurdon bears sable, three leopards, faces, passant, as many de-lis, or; and quarters Sexton, argent, three single eagles wings expanded, gules: Mounteney, azure, a bend between six martlets, or. Brampton, Clifton, Barton, argent, on a fess, gules, three annulets, or; Burgate, paly of six argent and azure, a fess, over all, gules and argent, three piles, wavy, gules, a bend over all, azure.

Here was the guild of St. John Baptist, and St. Mary; to her the church was dedicated.

The abbot of Wendling's temporalities were 22s. 1d. ob.

Thomas Sharington, Esq. of Cranworth, by his will dated October 15, 1519, and proved January 12, 1524, appears to have had by Catherine his wife, (then dead,) daughter of William Pyrton of Essex, Esq. 5 sons; first, William, 2d, Thomas, 3d, Henry, 4th, John, 5th, Anthony, and five daughters; first Elizabeth, 2d, Anne, 3d, Cæcilia, Ursula, and Olivia. Reg. Briggs, Norw. p. 35.

The town is seated where two streams or rivulets unite, as appears from the adjunct word, worth; cran or curne, signifies the turn of a river, and sometimes is the name of a river, as Cranborn in Dorsetshire, and Cranbrook in Essex.


  • 1. Terre Regis qua' Godric. servat. Cranaworda, tenuit Ulf, T. R. E. ii car. tre. sep. xiii vill et iii bor. t'nc. ii ser. mo. null. sep. in d'nio. ii car. et ho'um ii car. silv. ad cc por. viii ac. p'ti. sep. i mol. ii an. xv por. xx ov. et xx cap. et xiiii soc. de xl ac. tre. sep. ii car. t'nc. val. c sol. mo. x lib. et x sol. de gersum. et ht. in long. i leu. et dim. in lato et xvd. de gelt.
  • 2. In Suatinga ten. Hagan. lib. ho. t.r.e. ii car. tre. sep. ix vill. et xi bor. et iiii serv. t'nc. ii car. in d'n'o. p'mo. dim. et tote possent restaurari. tc. ii car. ho'um mo. i et al. posset restaurari. t'nc. silv. ad. lx por. mo. xl. v ac. p'ti. ii mol. tnc. et mo. xxx por. et xxx ov. et vi cap' huic man. jacent xiii soc. in eade' villa manent v in Thustuna iiii et in Turstanestuna iiii int. totu' ht. i car. tre. t'nc. v car. mo. iii t'nc. val. c sol. mo. vi lib. et xiii sol. et iiiid. et ht. vii. qr. in long. et vi in lat. quicunq; ibi tenent et xiid. de gelt.
  • 3. Reg. Betyns, Norw. fol. 3.
  • 4. In the church of Barham in, Suffolk, were the arms of Sharington, impaling, argent a fess indented, and in chief, three lozenges, gules; the arms, as I take it, of this Elizabeth, and in a window of Barham Hall, Sharington and Scroop, quarterly.
  • 5. In 1603, he returned the number of communicants here and in Letton, to be 120.
  • 6. Of this Sutton see Newcourt's Repert. vol. i. p. 927.