Smethdon Hundred: Frenge

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, 'Smethdon Hundred: Frenge', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809), pp. 302-307. British History Online [accessed 18 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Smethdon Hundred: Frenge", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809) 302-307. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Smethdon Hundred: Frenge", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809). 302-307. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024,

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This little village is situated in a great valley between two considerable hills, and a rivulet running through it; the name of it is truly antique, and as it was called by the ancient Britons, Frau or Fran, signifying in that language a stream, and gey, water; and Frau is a river in Wales.

Norwich Priory Manor.

In 1085, it is named amongst those lordships which the Conqueror granted in fee to William Beaufoe, then Bishop of Thetford, and was a beruite to his great manor of Sedgford, which he held also in fee, in his own right; one carucate in demean, 7 villains, and 2 socmen with one carucate and an half belonged to it, and Bishop Agelmar made a beruite (that is a separate little lordship from Sedgeford) out of the tenure of one of these socmen. (fn. 1)

By this it appears that both Sedgford and Frenge belonged to this see in Agelmar's time, who succeeded his brother Stigand, in the see of Elmham, and being obnoxious to the Conqueror, on that account was deprived of it, in 1070; and on his deprivation, not only Sedgford and Frenge, but other lordships were alienated, seized, and retained from the see, and these being granted to Bishop Beaufoe, he, on his death in 1091, gave them again to that see.

Herbert, who succeeded Beaufoe, removed the see to Norwich, and on his foundation of the priory there in 1001, settled the lordship of Frenge on the monks towards their maintenance, with one carucate of land, which he had granted to Odo, as freely as he held it himself. The preamble to the grant runs thus, "What, says the prophet, shall I give to the Lord for all the goods, he has bestowed on me? &c." and is sealed with the sign of the cross. (fn. 2)

Eborard Bishop of Norwich, and William (Turb) prior, and the convent, granted by deed, sans date, (about 1140) to Henry their man in fee, their land at Frainges, with all the services and customs, to hold it quietly, freely and peaceably, by way of inheritance, without any claim or injury; (fn. 3) witnesses, Roger the priest, Albert the deacon, and the whole soche of Secheford.

Richard, the prior, and convent, by deed, sans date, (about 1150) grant to Henry de Frenges, (the aforesaid Henry, as I take it) for his services their lands here, to be held in fee, paying 100s. per ann.— witnesses all the soche of Secheford.

On the Dissolution of the priory, and surrender of it to King Henry VIII. in 1538, by William Castleton the prior, that King on May 2, in the said year, founded it for a dean, 6 prebendaries and minor canons, &c.

This manor was settled with the appropriated rectory, on that body, and so remains at this time.

Frenge Manor,

Another lordship, and the principal one, was at the survey possessed by Eustachius, or Eustace Earl of Bologne in France, and placed under the hundred of Docking, though the former manor was placed under Smethden hundred; this belonged to Orgar, a freeman, in King Edward's reign: it consisted of one carucate of land, and one in demean, 3 carucates amongst the tenants or men, 4 villains, 6 borderers, &c. valued before the survey at 40s. then at 60s. per ann. A freeman also had in the Confessor's time, a carucate and an half of land, &c. 7 borderers and one socman, with 30 acres, valued at 20s. and another with 15 acres.

The whole was half a leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 27d. to a 20s. gelt. (fn. 4)

The family of De Burun were early enfeoffed of this manor. Godfrey de Burun gave by deed, sans date to the monks of Castleacre, 30 acres of land in this town, held of him by Gundred de Frenge, for his own soul and that of William his father, and Hugh his brother. (fn. 5)

Ralph Byrum and Catherine his wife, purchased lands here of Richard de la More, in the 14th of Edward I. and in the 23d of that King, this lordship was settled by fine, on Ralph de Byrum (his son) and Roesia his wife, on the death of Ralph and Catherine.

In the 9th of Edward II. John de Whitsonde was found to be lord; and in the 12th of that King, the said John and Roesia his wife, were found to have held it; the said John being that year executed for felony, of which he was found guilty at the assise held at Bishop'sLynne.

After this it was held by Sir Robert de Illey and Catherine his wife, in the 43d of Edward III. when Thomas Frere of Lynne, and Richard de Holme, chaplains, had it conveyed to them in trust, with a messuage, 104 acres of land, 6s. rent, and a foldcourse.

Sibilla was their daughter and heir, who brought it by marriage to Sir Roger Boys, knight, of Honing; and in the 6th of Henry VI. September 11, sold it (being then a widow) to John Esmond, Esq. and Margaret his wife; of whom see in Cranworth.

In the 20th of Henry VIII. Thomas Lestrange, Esq. was lord, and held 300 acres of land, 12 of meadow, 30 of pasture, 4 of wood, 100 of furze and heath, 4l. per ann. rent, with 6 messuages; and in the 36th of that King died seized of it, being then a knight.

Sir Hamon Lestrange sold it in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to John Richers, Gent.

Hackford And Uphall Manors.

The Earl Warren had also a freeman, who held 20 acres of land, valued at 16d. per ann. his predecessor had only the protection of him, but Stigand had the soc. (fn. 6) This lordship is placed in Docking hundred; but besides this, his lordships of Snetesham and Ingaldesthorp, extending into this town, made it a considerable tenure.

In the reign of Henry III. John de Thorp and Alice his wife, held here and in Snetesham, the 3d part of a fee of the Earl Warren, and Thomas de Ingaldesthorp the fourth part of a fee, in the said towns; and Hawise and Elizabeth, the daughters and coheirs of John de Mileham, the 4th part of a fee in Frenge, Docking and Anmere, of the said Earl.

After this, the family of de Hackford, who bore checque, or and vert, in allusion to the Earl Warren's arms, were lords; and on the death of Sir William de Hackford and Margaret his wife, it came to his 2 daughters and coheirs; Joan, the wife of Sir John de Seckford, who bore ermin on a fess, gules, three escallops, or; and to Elizabeth, the wife of Henry de Elmham, who bore a fess, between three eaglets displayed.

In the 6th of Edward III. John de Seckford and Joane, passed by fine to Henry Elmham, and Elizabeth his wife, the moiety of Hackford Hall manor, with the moiety of 3 messuages, 137 acres of land, 3 of meadow, 2 of pasture, &c. which Margaret, widow of Sir William de Hackford, held for life; so that the whole descended to Henry de Elmham.

Sir William Elmham his son was lord in the 49th of the aforesaid King, and died seized of it in the 4th of Henry IV. as appears by his will, then dated, April 2.

In the 20th of Edward III. Beatrix de Inglethorp held the 4th part of a fee here and in Snetesham.

John de Titchwell, and the heirs of John de Mileham, held the 3d part of a fee of the Earl Warren, late John de Thorp's; and in the 3d of Henry IV. William Olney, &c. held the 3d part of a fee, late John de Thorp's.

These probaby made the manor in this town called Uphall.

Sir John de Ingaldesthorp died seised of these manors, and gave by his last will, proved in 1419, a legacy to this church.

This Sir John was one of the executors to Sir William de Elmham; and Sir Edmund de Ingaldesthorp died lord of Hackford-Hall, and Uphall, in 1456.

Soon after this, Sir John Colvile, and Anne his wife, warranted the same to Thomas Granger, vicar of Ware, (to whom they were conveyed by fine,) against Edmund, abbot of Westminster.

Sir John Say died possessed of them in the 18th of Edward IV. In the reign of Richard III. Sir William Say and Elizabeth his wife, conveyed them by fine to Henry L'Estrange, Esq &c. of Hunstanton.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Hamon Lestrange sold them to John Richers, Gent. of Dersingham.

Edmund Richers of Frenge, son (as I take it) of John, had from Camden, Clarencieux, in 1613, a grant of these arms; or, on two bars, gules, as many flower-de-lis, or; and crest, on a wreath, or and gules, a de-lis, per pale, ermine and gules, and was so born by Thomas Richers, Esq. of Ashden in Essex, receiver general for Cambridge in 1710, as descended from the said Edmund.

But all the interest which the family had here was sold in 1654, by John Richers, Esq. to Robert Villiers, Lord Viscount Purbeck, and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir John Danvers.

After this, it came to the Delavals; and John Delaval had a grant of a fair here evey year, on the 10th of May, in the 35th of King Charles II.

Mr. Framingham of Lynn, a baker, afterwards a merchant, purchased it of the Delavals, whose daughter and heir, Joan, brought it by marriage, to Peter Seaman, a brewer in Norwich, and a knight in the time of Queen Anne, and then to Captain Goodwyn of Lynn, by the marriage of one of his daughters, sister and coheir to her brother; and dying s. p. left it to her two nieces, daughters of Sir Henry Nelthorp, Bart. but the right was in Mr. Goodwyn, the captain's brother, and now lord.

I find the hundred-court kept here in the 36th of Henry VIII.

The tenths were 7l. Deducted 1l. 6s. 6d.

The temporalities of Norwich priory were 20s. per ann.

David, son of Roger de Frenge, resigned to the prior and convent all the land that he held of them in this town, for one mark, sans date; witnesses, Richard de Refham, seneschal to the Earl Warren, Hervey de Stanhow, Will. de Burun, John Say, &c.

The prior of Coxford had lands here.

In the 4th of Henry III. John le Sire conveyed by fine to Hubert, then prior, certain lands, before Jeffrey Fitz-Piers, Symon de Pateshull, Godfrey de Lisle, John de Gestling, and Walter de Creping, justices; and in 1428, their temporalities were 3l. 11s. 6d.

Temporalities of Castleacre, 23s. ob.

The Church is dedicated to All-Saints, and was a rectory, valued at 20 marks. By a deed, sans date, a composition was made between the prior of Wymondham, (who held the rectory appropriated of Snetesham) and the rector of this town, about the foldcourses of Sir Thomas Inglethorp, that as long as the sheep continued in this parish, the rector should have the tithes, and as long as in Snetesham, the prior.

In the time of Edward I. the rector had a manse, and 40 acres of glebe, and Ralph Byrom was lord and patron. Peter-pence 12d.

It was appropriated by Bishop Bateman to the priory of Norwich, on May 13, 1352, on the condition that the profits should be applied to find the monks shoes, and to pay 4s. per ann. to each monk, on St. Thomas's day, and All-Saints, and to erect a chantry at the high altar, in the choir, for a monk to sing daily, for his welfare while alive, and when dead, for his own soul, his father's, mother's, friends and benefactors souls, and each monk to take the service by weekly course, and receive at the week's end 2s.

No vicarage was apppointed, but the church was to be served by a stipendiary curate, paid by the convent, and at present paid by the dean and chapter, who hold the impropriation.

In 1428, the spiritualities of the priory of Norwich, were valued at 20 marks.

The church stands on a rising hill, a little westward of the town, and is a single pile, covered with tile, and the chancel with lead, with a small tower of flint stones, &c. at the west end of the body, with one bell.

On a gravestone in the chancel, with a brass plate,

Orate p. a'i'a. Ric. Crispe, qui obt. 26 Apr. 1517.

On the screen, the arms of Norwich priory, or deanery, and of L'Estrange.

In the nave, gravestones for

Franc Cremer, who died August 23, 1741, and Susan his wife;

And for

Robert Cremer, who died 1734.

Another for
William Mantell of this parish, gent. and Catherine his wife, daughter of Ralph Hartstrong of Twiford in Norfolk, Gent. who died January 9, 1687; and these arms, argent, a cross ingrailed, between four Cornish choughs, sable, impaling per chevron, ingrailed, or and sable, in chief three pellets, in base, an hart passant, of the first; Mantel and Hartstrong.

Henry, son of Jeffrey de Frenge, was here buried in 1370.

In 1603, there were 186 communicants in this parish.


I find these ancient rectors.

Mr. Roger Snetesham.

John Biroun, rector; and in 1322, John Alunday was instituted, presented by John de Whitsande and Rose his wife.

1349, Richard de Colney, by William de Colney.

John Richers of Dersingham, married—, daughter of Godrick, and was father of John Richers of Frenge, Gent. who by Margery, daughter of Thomas Segar, had Edmund Richers, and by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Francis Bexwell, Esq. of Bexwell, left John his son and heir, who by Susanna, daughter of Sir John Peyton of Donington in the isle of Ely, was father of John Richers of Norwich, haberdasher, his father having sold this manor.

Robert Viscount Purbeck, was son of John, Viscount Purbeck, (brother to George Duke of Bucks,) by Frances, daughter of Sir Edward Coke, the judge: this Robert married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Danvers, and died in 1657, and Robert his son, married Mary, daughter of Ulick Burgh, Earl of St. Alban's, relict of the Lord Muskerry, son of the Earl of Clenricard, in Ireland, and their son, Robert, sold it.


  • 1. Terra Willi. Epi. Tedfordensis de feudo—Smeteduna hund.—Huic man. (viz. Setesforda) jacet i beruita que vocatur Fienga, sep. i car. in dominio, et vii vill. et ii soc. ten. i car. et dim. et de uno soc. fecit beruita Agelmar Ep.
  • 2. Int. Archiv. Decan. et Capit. Norvic.
  • 3. Regist. I. Eccles. Cath. Norvic. p. 224. and p. 12.
  • 4. Terre Comitis Eustachij—H. de Dochinga.—Frenge i car. t're. ten. Orgar. lib. ho. T.R.E. et i car. in d'nio. semp. iii car. ho'um. et iiii vill. et vi bord. i ac. p'ti. mo. xvi porc. tnc. c ov. mo. cvi tnc. et p. val. xl sol. mo. lx. et i lib. ho. i car. et dim. t're. T.R. E. tnc. i car. et dim. p. et mo. i car. et vii bord. et i sec. xxx ac. et val. xx sol. et i socm. xv ac. totu' ht. dim. leug. in long. et dim. in lat. quic'q; ibi teneat, et reddit xxviid. de xx sol. de gelto.
  • 5. Regist. Castleac. p. 50.
  • 6. Terre Willi. de Warrenna—H. de Dochinge.—In Frainghes i lib. ho. xx ac. terre et val. xvid. de hoc habuit suus antec. comd. tant. Stigandus soca.