Smethdon Hundred: Hunstanton Lordship

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Francis Blomefield, 'Smethdon Hundred: Hunstanton Lordship', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10( London, 1809), British History Online [accessed 13 July 2024].

Francis Blomefield, 'Smethdon Hundred: Hunstanton Lordship', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10( London, 1809), British History Online, accessed July 13, 2024,

Francis Blomefield. "Smethdon Hundred: Hunstanton Lordship". An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. (London, 1809), , British History Online. Web. 13 July 2024.

In this section


Stands at the north east point of Norfolk, where it is washed by the great German ocean, and is remarkable for its lofty cliff, about 100 feet high, against which the raging sea comes with such force and fury, that it is supposed to have gained by length of time, a considerable tract of land, about 2 miles; the strata of this cliff, thus placed at this point, are worthy of observation; under the surface of the earth or mould, which is about 2 or 3 feet deep, lies a strong white chalk, then a red hard clunch stone, below that a stone of a yellow colour, and the lowest stratum is an exceeding durable, and hard rock stone of an iron colour, yet it is said that sometimes, in great storms, &c. the sea surmounts all.

Here, on certain great refluxes of the sea, called a dead neep, about the end of September, the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages can walk or ride, about 2 miles, to a place called the OisterSea, where they take in their season, great quantities of oisters, some lobsters, &c. and indeed the shore abounds at all times with great variety of curious fish. (fn. 1)

This point bears the name of St. Edmund, who, as our historians relate, landed hereabouts, when he came from Germany to be crowned king of the East-Angles, bequeathed to him by King Offa.

Edmund is also said to have built a royal tower here, to have resided here near a year, to get the whole book of Psalms by heart in the Saxon language, and from hence arose the first foundation of this village.

This formal history favours much of the cloister; it is scarce possible to believe that Edmund (if he landed here) would be so weak as to make a settlement in this place, and reside here, before he had taken possession of the crown that he came to obtain.

This must be granted to be an unpardonable neglect, and not to be acted by any prince on such a call, especially when it is well known that in that age the aspiring Kings of Mercia, or of the English Saxons, would gladly have laid hold of such an advantage, to seize on his kingdom, not to mention the cruel ravages and incursions made at that time in these parts, &c. by the savage Danes.

Old authors derive the name of the town from Honey, as betokening sweetness and great might: the ancients were bad etymologists, and some of the moderns (it is to be feared) do not excel them.

It is probable that it takes its name from a little rivulet that arises in Hunstanton park, and running thence to the hall, makes its way to the sea: thus we meet with Hunworth in Norfolk, and Hunwick in the county of Durham, &c. which terms Worth and Wick, assuredly betoken a site on rivers called Hun; also Hundon and Hunston in Suffolk.

The capital manor was in the King, when the grand survey was made, and William de Noiers had the care of it for the King.

Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was lord in King Edward's reign, and held it as his own lay or temporal fee, when it contained two carucates, but when William de Noiers received it, there was but one and an half, 16 villains, 4 borderers, 3 servi, and 8 acres of meadow; there were 2 carucates amongst the men or tenants, a mill, the moiety of a fishery, &c. and 4 socmen held 60 acres, valued at 70s. but at the survey at 110s. per ann.

In King Edward's time a free woman had 30 acres, which Ralph Waher Earl of Norfolk, held three years before (and at the time) he forfeited his lands, by his rebellion; afterwards Robert Blund and Godric, farmed it at 30s. with other land, but Siward joined it again to this lordship, and Godric does not account for it; also three socmen of St. Bennet's, with 4 acres, were added to it, by William de Noiers.

The whole was one leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 6d. to a 20s. gelt, whoever may hold it.

Soon after the survey, King William I. granted to Alan, son of Flaald, the town and castle of Oswaldestre in Shropshire, &c. which belonged to Meridith ap Blethyn, the Britain, and had also a grant of the manor of Mileham, in Norfolk, &c. for his and his father's ser vices in that King's expedition into England, and was ancestor of the noble family of Fitz-Alans Earls of Arundel.

Guy L'Estrange, or Extraneus, a principal officer under the aforesaid Alan, had a grant from him of the lordship of Knokin in Shropshire; and from this Guy descended the ancient family of the L'Estranges, Lords and Barons of Knocking, the Barons of Blackmere, and the L'Estranges of Hunstanton.

Dugdale in his Baronage, seems to make this Guy to be younger son of the Duke of Britain in France, and as he mentions not this Duke's name, nor his attachment to the Earls of Britain, who were also Earls of Richmond, at this time, and adds, as it is most likely, I shall endeavour to clear up this point, and relate many occurrences in the treating of this family, that I have found from authentic records, most of which have not (as I believe) as yet been published.

Guy, the first, the founder of the family of the L'Estranges, had 3 sons, Guy, Hamon, and John.

Guy, the eldest, was sheriff of Shropshire, in the 2d of Henry II. and in the 19th of that King, answered for 9l. 3s. 2d. for the old farm of the honour of William, son of Alan; and in the following year set a tax on the King's demeans.

This Guy left a son and heir, Ralph, who (as Dugdale says) died s. p. but it appears from a pleading, ao. 9th of Richard 1. that he left 2 daughters and coheirs; Maud, who married Fulco de Oiri, lord of Gedney, in Lincolnshire; and Emma to Philip de Burnham of Norfolk.

So that we must return to Hamon, 2d son of Guy the first, who dying s. p. John his brother was left sole heir of the family.

Dugdale places the death of this John in the 3d of Henry III. but this mistake will appear from the following grant; "John Cognomento Le Strange, by his deed, sans date, grants for the souls of Henry the younger, and Alianore the queen, and of William Earl of Arundel, his lord, and Queen Adelizia his wife &c. to the monks of Binham, all the fee that Ralph de Hunestanton had in Edgefield, and his son, Symon, after him, and after Reginald le Brun," to whom (as he expreses it in his deed) he succeeded, as right heir; witnesses, Ralph le Strange, William de Hunestanton, &c.

This was about the year 1173, (fn. 2) and the rebellion of Henry the younger, eldest son of King Henry II. who had been crowned King by his father, and so distinguished as the young King; and it proves that this John L'Estrange was in the rebellion against the old King, as was his wife, Queen Alianore, William Earl of Arundel, (whom he styles his lord, holding lands of him,) and this Earl's wife, Queen Adelizia, who was late wife of King Henry I.

John L'Estrange, the 2d son of John, was called in the 6th of Richard I. nephew of Reginald, whose sister his father married.

In the said year Simon de Perepoint, attorney of this John, demanded of Ralph de Plaiz, the manor of Bernham in Suffolk, by Thetford, as heir to Reginald de Brun his uncle, which Hugh de Plaiz gave with Helewisia his daughter, to Ralph, son of Herluine; and Reginald le Brun gave it in King Henry the Second's time, to the monks of Thetford.

Soon after this, Martin, the prior of Thetford, released a carucate of land at Bernham in Suffolk to John L'Strange, on John's giving him 20s. per ann, rent in Totington.

This record is remarkable for the entry of the agreement between the parties, on the back of the roll.

At this time he is called John Le Strange of Hunstanton, when there was an agreement between him and Robert Mortimer, concerning certain fees in this town, Totington, Ringstead, &c.

From this it appears that he was lord of Hunstanton in Richard the First's time.

In an old roll of the arms of those who served under Richard I. at the siege of Acon, in the Holy Land, John Le Strange is said to bear argent two lions passant, gules.

In the 9th of Henry III. he had a patent for a weekly mercate here on Friday, (fn. 3) and was father of John Lord Strange, who in the 16th of Henry III. was in the French wars, and died in the 53d of that King.

In a MS. entitled the Armory of Nobility, gathered and collated by Robert Cooke, Clarencieux, King of Arms, and after corrected and amended by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, this John is said to be created Lord Knocking in the reign of King John, and to bear these arms, gules, two lions passant, argent.

This John Le Strange, who married Amicia, was the 3d Lord Strange of Knockyn, and father of John Lord Strange, (fn. 4) the 4th of that name, and of Hamon, Roger, and Robert.

Hamon was a person of great dignity and eminency in the 41st of Henry III. and in the 49th of that King, many houses in London were granted to this Hamon and other illustrious (illustribus, as the grant expresses it) persons, of some who were then attainted; in 1272 he gave to his brother, Robert, the manor of Wrockwarden in Shropshire, to be held by one chaplet of flowers, as appears by his deed, dated at Acton, April 12, Sir John Lovel, Sir Brian de St. Peter, Sir Robert de Standel, Sir John de Blound, Sir Hugh de Herford, &c. witnesses, the seal being two lions passant, and seemingly guardant.

He was a strict adherent to the King, and performed many good services for him against Simon Montfort Earl of Leicester; and in the 2d of Edward I. (before he went into the Holy Land) granted other manors to his brother Robert.

Roger, the other brother, was steward of King Edward the First's household ao. 8, and justiciary of that King's forests, ao. 4.

This John Lord Strange, the 4th of that name, and eldest brother of Hamon, succeeded his father as lord of this manor, &c.

In the 54th of Henry III. the sheriff of Norfolk gave an account of 7l. 2s. 4d. of the issues of it, before he delivered it to him: he married Lucy, daughter of Robert Tregos. (fn. 5)

This lord died in 1275; it was then found that William de Blomvill, sub-escheator, had seized it into the King's hands, and that he held one manor in Hunstanton, on one side of the water, of the heirs of Arundel's manor of Mileham, by one knight's fee, to which there belonged 300 acres of land, a mill, &c. and a manor on the other side of the water, of the Earls of Arundel, by the service of 5 fees, and that John was his son and heir, aged 22.

This John Lord Strange, the fifth of that name, married. Joan, one of the daughters and coheirs of Roger Somery, Lord Dudley, by Nichola his wife, sister and coheir of Hugh Earl of Arundel, by whom a considerable estate was brought into this family, in this county, &c. with the manor of Milton, in Cambridgeshire. This lord, and Joan his wife, were living in 1280.

John Lord Strange, the 6th of that name, married Maud, daughter and coheir of Roger D'Eivill.

To this John Lord Knokyn, and Maud his wife, Edmund Fitz-Alan Earl of Arundel, granted in 1306, the manor of Trafford, in Cheshire, for life; and the manor of Walton D'Eiville in Warwickshire was part of the inheritance that came by her.

This John had summons to attend the King into Gascoigne, in the 22d of Edward I. and died in the 3d of Edward II. Maud was found to be heir of Eubulo de Montibus, of Ketton, in Rutlandshire, 14th Edward II.

He left by Maud his wife, John his son and heir, who died soon after his father, in the 4th year of Edward II.; he was aged 27 at his father's death, married to Isolda, but whose daughter she was does not appear; her arms, as in a seal impaled by this Lord John was a lion rampant.

He had 2 brothers, Eubolo and Hamon; Eubolo was Knight of the Bath, and marrying Alice, daughter and heir of Henry Lacy Earl of Lincoln, (relict of Thomas, Duke of Lancaster) is sometimes called Earl of Lincoln, in right of his lady, and dying without issue, in the 9th of Edward III. Roger Lord Strange, son of his elder brother, John Lord Strange, was his heir.

Sir Hamon, the youngest brother, was enfeoffed of this manor by his elder brother, John Lord Strange, on Saturday before the feast of the Blessed Virgin, in the 3d of Edward II. as appears from the original grant or deed.

This Sir Hamon Le Strange married Margaret daughter of Sir Ralph Vernon of Motran in Cheshire, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir Brian de St. Peter, and heitess of Richard Vernun, descended from the Lords Vernon, of Shipbrook, in Cheshire. Isolda gave to Margaret, widow of this Sir Hamon, the custody of his son and heir Hamon.

He is said to die in the 10th of Edward II. and bore gules, two lions passant, argent, bruised, with a bendlet for difference, and from him the present family are immediately descended, and as his heirs lords of Hunstanton.

Hamon L'Estrange, Esq. his son, married Catherine, daughter and heiress of the Lord Can ois: he died in the reign of Richard II. and was buried in the church of Hunstanton.

Sir John L'Estrange was son and heir of Hamon, and married Alianore, daughter and coheir of Sir Richard Walkfare; in the 8th of Richard I. He and Alianore conveyed lands by fine, to Joane, widow of Sir Thomas Felton, his wife's sister, and in the following year had letters of protection from the King, (fn. 6) and accompanied John Duke of Lancaster into Spain, which Duke being lord of Smethdon hundred, granted to him (for his services) that his tenants here should be exempt from serving on juries in his courts.

He and Alianore purchased lands in Stanhow and Docking, by fine, in the 8th of Henry IV. she was daughter of Sir Richard Walkfare, by —, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Morieux, of Suffolk, (who was made constable of the Tower of London, for life, by parliament, in the 5th of Richard II.) she survived her husband, and died in the 18th of Henry V.

Sir John was escheator for the duchy of Lancaster, in the 6th and 7th of Henry IV. also chief hostiarus of the King's palace; and in the 10th of Henry IV. sealed with 2 lions and a bendlet over all.

John Lestrange, Esq. son of Sir John, married Alice, daughter and heir of Nicholas Beman, by Maud his wife, daughter and heir of John Pike, and Eleanore his wife, daughter and heir of Sir William de Rushbrook, of Suffolk, by Joan his wife, daughter of Walter Wells, Esq. lord of Raine Parva in Essex, by Isabel his wife, sister of Edmund de Kemseck, lord of Samford, and of Felstead in Essex, which Walter died in the 19th of Edward II. and was descended of the noble family of the Lord Wells in Lincolnshire.

Sir William de Rushbrook was living in the 36th of Edward III. This Alice outliving her husband, (fn. 7) John L'Estrange, Esq. and her son, Roger, died seised of Raine Parva, ao. 11th of Edward IV. (fn. 8)

She married to her 2d husband, John Twyer, Esq. of Suffolk. John Lestrange, her first husband's will was proved in November, 1436; she married William Skrene, (as some say,) lord of Finbergh, &c. in Suffolk, to her 3d husband.

Roger L'Estrange, Esq. was son of John, by Alice Bemant aforesaid: he married Jane, called in some writings, Jane Bebe, but whose daughter she was, does not appear; by her he had two sons, John and Henry, as appears from the inscription on the tomb of Sir Roger L'Estrange in this church.

This Roger is omitted in many pedigrees, and in the Baronettage, but by an inquisition taken in 1436, John L'Estrange, Esq. was found to die seized of the manor of Thorp Morieux, the manors of Brookhall, and Maydenhall, in Felsham, Suffolk, &c. and Roger was his son and heir by Alice his wife, aged 24.

John L'Estrange, Esq. the eldest son of Roger, succeeded in the inheritance, and in the 5th of Edward IV. by the name of John L'Estrange, of the city of Norwich, Esq. grandson and heir of John L'Estrange, Esq. late of Hunstanton, and Alice his wife, daughter of Nicholas Bemant, late of Pakenham in Suffolk, and of Maud his wife, sister of Nicholas Pike deceased, (s.p.) late of Colchester in Essex, released all his right to Sir John Howard, John Clopton, &c. in the manor of Shelleigh in Suffolk: he died s. p. 1476, and married two wives, Elizabeth, daughter of — — who survived him, and Joan daughter of — —, and he was buried in St. Mary's Chapel-field college, at Norwich; and Elizabeth to have an annuity of 10 marks out of his manors of Aslacton, Wacton, and Hedenham, (fn. 9) and if Thomas Duke, his first wife's son, would settle it, those manors then to him, &c. and to the college 20 marks.

Henry Le Strange, Esq. was found heir to his brother, John, in 1476, then aged 30. His will is dated in 1483, wherein he desires to be buried in the chancel of this church, by the north wall, appoints Catharine his wife, and Roger Drury, of Haustead, Esq. in Suffolk, her father, executors, &c. and died seized of manors in Hunstanton, Holm, Ringsted, Hitcham, Sedgford, &c. Norfolk; and of Pakenham, and Stow Langtoft in Suffolk, &c. appoints masses to be said for the souls of Sir Hugh, and Sir Thomas de Morieux, knights.

It appears that he was also lord of Anmere-Hall, (fn. 10) and Castell-hall, Massingham Parva, and Congham, of Thorpe Morieux, Broke Hall, Maydenhall, Gorges, Hastings, and Verdon's.

Catherine his widow, remarried Sir Robert Ratcliff of Attleburgh, and dying in 1496, was here buried.

Henry Lestrange, Esq. left by his lady, Catherine, 3 heirs, Roger, Robert and John, who married Margaret, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Thomas Le Strange of Walton Deivile in Warwickshire, and lord of Massingham Parva. In the 11th of Edward IV. Henry, by the death of Alice his grandmother, (whose heir he was,) inherited the manor of Raines Parva, in Essex.

Sir Roger Le Strange, the eldest son, was esquire of the body to King Henry VII. and sheriff of Norfolk in the 2d of that King.

He built the gatehouse of Hunstanton hall, as appears from his arms, and those of his lady Amy, thereon, who was daughter of Sir Henry Heydon, of Baconsthorp, by whom he had a son and heir, John, who dying under age, Robert L'Estrange his brother, was his heir, as was found on an inquisition post mortem, in the 21st of Henry VII. 1506, and Anne his lady died in 1510.

Robert L'Estrange, Esq. married Anne, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas L'Estrange, of Walton D'Eivile in Warwickshire, by whom he had Sir Thomas his son, and died in 1511.

Sir Thomas L'Estrange had settled on him by the executors of his uncle, Sir Roger, in performance of his last will, the manors of Thorp Morieux, and Felsham, and his heirs; he died January 16, in the 36th of Henry VIII. leaving Nicholas his son and heir, aged 30, by Anne his wife, daughter of Nicholas Lord Vaux, and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Henry, Lord Fitz-Hugh: he was high of Norfolk in the 24th of Henry VIII. and left several sons and daughters.

Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, his son, had livery of this manor, Ringsted Magna and Parva, Mustrolls, Bernards, Caley's in Hitcham, Frynge, Godwich, Thorp, Felsham, &c.

In the 36th of Henry VIII. he was knighted in Ireland, sheriff of Norfolk, 1547, and knight of the shire in the first of Edward VI. and married first, Elen, daughter of Sir John Fitz-Williams, of Milton in Northamptonshire; his 2d wife was Catherine, (fn. 11) daughter of Sir John Hide of Albury in Wiltshire, by whom he had no issue; he died 19th February, in the 22d of Elizabeth, and was buried (as is said) at Sedgeford, leaving Hamon, his eldest son and heir.

Robert, his 2d son, of Lynn, who married Joan, daughter and coheir of Christopher Athow of Brisley, and John L'Estrange, lord of Sedgeford. Catherine, his 2d wife, died at Hunstanton, in 1589: she was widow of — Minns.

Sir Nicholas was chamberlain to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and had in 1567, a grant of the site of the manor of Geywode in Norfolk, for 21 years.

Hamon, his son and heir, married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Sir Hugh Hastings, of Elsing in Norfolk, and had issue, Thomas, Nicholas, and Roger, who for his eminent services, performed to Maximilian II. Emperor of Germany, and the House of Austria, had a patent from the said Emperor, dated at Vienna, October 12, 1565, for an annual pension of 300 crowns, and was recommended by the said Emperor, to Queen Elizabeth, wherein he is called,

Rogerum Strangium virum genere et nobilitate clarum quem vehementer amamus, charumq; habemus.

This Hamon L'Estrange, Esq. died soon after his father, October 7, in the 22d of Elizabeth, and Thomas, his eldest son, did not survive him long, dying in the 18th year of his age, February 1, in the 23d of Elizabeth, without any issue, by Grisil his wife, daughter of William Yelverton, Esq. of Rougham.

Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, 2d son of Hamon, was heir to his father, and married first, Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Bell, of Outwell, lord chief baron of the Exchequer, and his 2d wife was Anne, daughter of Sir William Paston, by whom he had no issue: she was widow of Sir George Chaworth, of Nottinghamshire, and married a 3rd husband, Sir Anthony Cope.

He was knighted in Ireland in 1586, and died at Wyveton in Nottinghamshire, and supposed to be buried there in 1592.

Sir Hamon L'Estrange was heir to his father, Sir Nicholas, by Mary his wife; he espoused Alice, 2d daughter and coheir of Richard Stubbs, Esq. of Sedgford, by whom he had 3 sons, who survived him; Nicholas, Hamon, and Sir Roger L'Estrange, famous for his voluminous writings.

Sir Hamon died in 1654, and his lady Alice in 1656: he was high sheriff of Norfolk, 1609.

Nicholas, the eldest son, was created a baronet, June 1, 1629, and by Anne his wife, daughter of Sir Edward Lewknor of Denham in Suffolk, left Sir Nicholas his son and heir, dying in 1656, and his lady in 1663: he left bearing the bendlet in his arms,

Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, baronet, son of Sir Nicholas, married 2 wives, Mary, daughter of John Coke, Esq. of Holkham, and Elizabeth daughter of Sir Justinian Isham, baroret, by whom he had issue, a son, and 2 daughters, and by Mary, Nicholas his son and heir.

Sir Nicholas died in 1669.—Coke's arms were per pale, azure and gules, 3 eaglets counterchanged; Isham's, gules, a fess, wavy, and 3 piles in chief, argent.

Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, baronet, son and heir of Sir Nicholas, and Mary his wife, married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Woodhouse, of Kimberley, by whom he had Hamon, who died unmarried, on his travels into Italy, &c. Sir Thomas his successor, and Henry; also 2 daughters, Airmine, married to Nicholas Stileman, Esq. of Snetesham, and Lucy, to Sir Jacob Astley, baronet, of Melton Constable in Norfolk.

Sir Nicholas died in 1725, and his lady in April, 1727.

Sir Thomas L'Estrange, baronet, son of Sir Nicholas, succeeded him in his estate and honor, and espoused Anne, daughter, and afterwards coheir of Sir Christopher Calthorp, of East Barsham in Norfolk, Knight of the Bath, and having no issue, Sir Henry L'Estrange, baronet, his brother, was his heir in 175-, and married Mary, daughter of the Honourable Roger North, Esq. of Rougham, in Norfolk, the last worthy lord of this manor; and bears gules, two lioncels, passant, argent, and the arms of Ulster, as a baronet; crest, a lion passant, guardant, motto, Mihi parta tueri. North, azure, lion passant, or, between three lis, argent: he died s. p, September 9, 1760, and was the last heir male of this ancient family.

From what has been abovementioned of this family, it evidently appears to be of great antiquity, and to have been possessed of this lordship from the beginning of the reign of Henry I. (if not before) about 600 years, and that Guy, the founder or it in England, was not a son of the Duke of Britain in France, but came into England, with Alan, son of Flaald, ancestor of the Earls of Arundel at the conquest.

All the lordships and fees that they anciently held both in this county and that of Shropshire, (where they had very great and valuable possessions) being held of the said Alan and his descendants.

If this family had been so nearly, or any way related to the dukes, or earls of Britain, what might they not have enjoyed, and been enfeoffed of by Alan Rufus, or Fergeant, Earl of Britain in France?

Alan married a daughter of the Conqueror, was made Earl of Richmond, in England, on the conquest, and rewarded with 436 lordships, 81 of which (as Dugdale says) were in Norfolk, whereas, in none of these (as far as I have seen) had the Stranges any interest. Another prevailing reason or proof is from the arms of this family.

It is very well known, that in ancient days, it was a common practice for those who were enfeoffed of any lordship, to take up the chief bearings of their capital lords, only changing or varying the colours, or position of their bearings, and as Earl of Arundel bore gules, a lion rampant, or, so the L'Estranges assumed the lion; whereas the Dukes of Britain bore a field ermine.

It is most probable, that Guy L'Estrange aforesaid, and so called in the time of the Conqueror, brought that name with him from France, and did not assume it as being a stranger, but took it (as most of the Norman chiefs and leaders did) from some town or lordship that they held in France.

Charles Marquis De Chateauneuf, 2d brother of Henry Duke de la Ferte, &c. peer and marshal of France, married Mary de Hantefort, daughter and heir of Claude de Hautefort, Viscount de la Strange, and had issue, Henry Marquis de Chateauneuf, and Viscount Lestrange. William Le Strange was archbishop of Roan in Normandy, legale of Pope Clement VI. and died 1388.

The family is highly ancient in France, originally of the province of Limosin, where is the castle of Le Strange, in a parish of the same name, and very lately, if not at this time, there were two branches of it, one in the county of Vivanois, in the province of Languedoc, and the other in the county of La March, who were allied to most of the houses of France; and here in England there were the Lords Le Strange, Barons of Knockyn, the Lords Le Strange of Bluckmere, also the Lords of Ellesmere and of Corsham.

The Lord Le Strange of Knockyn, in the reign of King John, bore gules, two lions passant, argent; and Le Strange, Lord of Blackmere, argent, two lions passant, gules; so this family bore the lions as the Lord Knockyn.

John Le Strange, lord of this town, and Ralph Le Strange, were living about the year 1173, as I have shewn.

Bigot's Fee.

Roger Bigot had also at the survey, a very considerable lordship, which Ralph, son of Herluin, held under him, and which belonged to a freeman, in the reign of King Edward. Two carucates then there were in demean, 12 villains, 6 borderers, 3 servi, 6 carucates of the tenants, and 5 acres, then one mill, &c. and a fishery, one horse, one cow, paunage for 40 swine, &c. 80 sheep, &c. five skeps of bees, and 2 socmen belonged to it, with 10 acres, valued at 3l. but at the survey at 4l. per ann.

In the same town, Torn, a freeman, held in King Edward's time, one carucate in demean, with 3 villains, 4 borderers, 3 servi, and 2 acres and a half of meadow, half a carucate of the tenants, a fishery, and one cow, &c. and 3 socmen 5 acres of land, valued at 20s. per ann. The whole was one leuca long, and one broad, and paid 16d. to a 20s. gelt.

Four freemen also, in King Edward's time, had 65 acres. Ralph, son of Herluine, held this also, under Bigot.

At the survey there was a carucate, and 2 oxgangs, then valued at 16s. at the survey at 4s. (fn. 12)

All this, thus enjoyed by Roger Bigot at the survey, ancestor of the Bigots, Earls of Norfolk, was confirmed or granted to John Lord Strange, by Hugh Bigot Earl of Norfolk, in the reign of Henry II. (who was capital lord) and it appears that the Lord Strange was heir to Herluin, and Ralph his son, whose son, Reginald, sirnamed Le Brun, was uncle to John Le Strange, son of John Le Strange, nephew and heir of the said Reginald.

In 1195, there was a fine levied between Robert Mortimer and John Le Strange, of 5 knights fees in Hunstanton, Ringstead, Snetterton, and Tottington, all which Robert acknowledged to belong to John and his heirs, who gave Robert in return, certain lands at Totington.

However, it is certain, that the Albinys, Earls of Arundel and Sussex, had a considerable, if not the greatest interest herein, Roger Bigot enfeoffing William de Pincerna, the King's butler, founder of the Arundel family, (on his marriage with Maud his daughter) in 10 knights fees, in this county, and Snetterton was a part of the same.

In the 3d of Edward I. John Le Strange was found to hold in this town, Ringstead, Holm, Snetterton, &c. 5 fees of the castle of Rysing, which right he had, as appears by this, from the marriage of Joan, one of the daughters and coheirs of Roger Somery Lord Dudley, and Nichola his wife, one of the sisters and coheirs of Hugh Earl of Arundel, into this family.

In the 3d of Henry IV. John Le Strange held 2 fees here, of the castle of Rysing. The Le Stranges who held this, performed duty for it, called castle guard, at Rising castle, (where was a tower that was called Stranges, or Hunstanton tower) and of which Nicholas Le Strange died seized in the 22d of Elizabeth, and the family is at this time lord of this.

There were also other tenures depending on this fee of Bigot.

Mustrell's Manor.

In the 30th of Henry III. Sir Roger de Mustrell was living; in the 37th of that King, Robert le Marshall was found guilty of breaking the pound of Robert de Musteroyl in this town; and in the 52d of that King, Richard de Boyland had a power, by fine, then levied, to distrain for rent due to the prioress of Carhow, by leave from Hamon Mounstrcll, in this manor; and Adam de Mustrell gave to his son Hamon, lands here, in the 7th of Edward I.

Thomas de Aldingshelde, and Beatrix his wife, conveyed to Simon, son of Robert Fransham, of Hitcham, the manor of Mustrell's Hall, in the 26th of Edward III. and in the 3d of Richard II. John Chambers, or Atte-Chamber, son and heir of Beatrix Lovell, released to Simon, son of Robert Fransham, all his right in Mustrell's Hall, in Hunstanton.

Sir Robert Knolls, in the 6th of Henry IV. had an interest herein; but in the 11th of Henry VI. Sir Philip Redford, and Alianore his wife, conved it with lands in Hitcham, &c. valued at 28l. per ann. to Henry Nottingham, of Holm. Robert Timperley and Joane his wife, in the 10th of Edward IV. passed it to Henry Smith and James Hobart, with a fold course in this town.

After this, it came to the L'Estranges, and Thomas L'Estrange died seized of it in the 36th of Henry VIII. held of the Earl of Arundel, by the fourth part of a fee, as did Sir Nicholas in the 22d of Elizabeth.

In the same family it still continues, united with the other manors.

In some accounts that I have seen, this manor of Mustrell's, is said to belong to the Earls of Clare, of whom they certainly held lands in this town, but on account of the aforesaid inquisitions, I have here placed it.

John, nephew of Waleran, held a lordship here, which the same freeman, (viz. Bou, as in Ringsted) held in the Confessor's time, when there were 2 carucates of land, 5 borderers, 3 servi, and 2 acres of meadow, of the men, one cow, &c. and a socman had 5 acres, valued at 20s. at the survey at 40s. per ann. and a church without any glebe. (fn. 13)

All Ringsted, under which this is charged, is one leuca long, and half a leuca broad, and pays 8d. to a 20s. gelt.

Clare-Fee, or Lovell's Manor.

How long it continued in Waleran's hands, does not appear; it probably came soon after to the Giffards Earls of Buckingham, and by a daughter and heiress of that family, by marriage, into the family of the Clares, about the end of Henry II's reign. (fn. 14)

John Lovell was lord of it in the 21st of Edward I. and in the 5th of Edward II. John Lovell of Titchmersh, settled by fine this manor, with one in Walpole, on William Lovell and his heirs.

William Lovell, in the 20th of Edward III. held 2 parts of a fee of the Lady Elizabeth de Burgh, and was found to have free warren; and in the 22d of Richard II. William Lovell had one fee here, in Walpole and Walton, of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, of the honour of Clare.

About this time, Thomas de Aldingshelds and Beatrix his wife, also appear to have had an interest herein, which they conveyed to Simon, son of Robert de Fransham.

William Lovell held one fee here, &c. in the 3d of Henry VI. and in the 11th of that king, Sir Philip Redford and Alianore his wife, had an interest in it, which, with 50 acres of land in this town and Hecham, they granted to Henry Nottingham of Holm, &c.

After this, Robert Fitz-Simon held it; and in the 10th of Edward IV. Robert Timperley and Joan his wife, daughter and heir of Robert FitzSymon, possessed it.

After this, it came into the family of Le Strange, and so continues united to the other lordships.

Alfric, Bishop of Elmham, in King Canute's time, had lands here, as appears from his will, which land, at Hunstanestune, by EstenBroke, he gives to St. Edmund,—that is to Bury abbey; (fn. 15) these words by Eastern Brooke, bespeak the site of the land, which no doubt, was near to the rivulet, (which, as I have observed,) gave name to the town, and by which Hunstanton-Hall is seated.

The tenths were 8l. 12s. Deducted 1l. 12s. being paid by the religious for their lands.

There was an ancient family of the name of De Hunstanton. In the 4th of King John, as appears by a fine, that Ralph Hunstanton bought of Ralph Le Strange, 40 acres of land here; and Roger de Hunstanton was living in the reign of King Henry II. and had exported corn without license, as was not lawful to be done then, and was fined on that account.

Elfride de Hunston was one of the jury for this hundred in the 3d of Edward I.

Hunstanton Hall, the ancient seat of the family of Le Strange, was built at several times, and consists chiefly of an oblong square; before the front runs a pretty stream or rivulet, (which I have before mentioned) walled on each side, to preserve it clean and regular, serving not only as an ornament, but as a moat or guard to the house: over this is a bridge, leading to the gate-house, which, with the wings and buildings on each side, were erected by Sir Roger Le Strange, in the reign of Henry VII. as may be seen by his arms, carved on the stone work, on one side of the great arch, and by that of his lady, a Heydon;

Quarterly, argent and gules, a cross ingrailed, counterchanged on the other.

In the windows of the hall were, in the painted glass, many arms of the families into which the Le Stranges married; and in the great dining room which is above stairs, on the summit of the wainscot, are painted in their proper colours, the following shields of their matches:

Le Strange impaling Vernon, or, on a fess, azure, three garbs, (or wheat-sheafs) of the first; also impaling Camois, argent, on a chief, gules, three pleats; impaling Walkfare, argent, a lion rampant, sable, on his shoulder, a mullet, or, with Morieux, gules, on a bend, argent, nine billets, sable; impaling Beman or Beaumont, or, a cinquefoil pierced, gules, with Pike, argent, three piles, wavy, gules; and Rushbrook, sable, a fess between three roses, or; also Lestrange impaling Drury, argent, on a chief, vert, a tau between two mullets, or; impaling Le Strange, of Warwickshire, gules, two lions passant, guardant, or, crowned or; impaling Vaux, checque, argent and gules, on a chevron, azure, three cinquefoils. or; impaling Fitz-Williams, lozengy, argent and gules; and Hide, azure, between three lozenges, or; impaling Hastings, or, a maunch, gules; impaling Yelverton, argent, three lions rampant, and a chief, gules; impaling. Bell, sable, a fess, ermine, between three bells, argent; impaling Stubbs, sable, on a bend, between three phæons, as many round buckles of the first; impaling Lewknor, argent, three chevronels, azure.

By the sea side on the cliff, stands some remains of the old chapel of St. Edmund, built chiefly of the chalk-stone out of the cliff; it had one window, on the north side to the sea, with a north door, and a door on the south side, with 3 windows, and one at the east end: it is now all open, great part of the walls, which were about five feet thick, being dilapidated, and seems to have been built about the reign of Edward I.

Near to this old chapel stands a light-house for ships.

The temporalities of Norwich priory were in 1428, 4s.

The Church was a rectory, valued at 27 marks, and granted by John Lord Strange, in the reign of Henry III. to the abbey of Haughmond, in Shropshire, founded by William Fitz-Alan, which Alan, father of this William, gave this lordship to Guy le Stranges. (fn. 16)

It was frequently a practice (as may be observed in all history) in ancient days, for lords of manors, out of gratitude and respect, to grant the right and patronage of their churches to the abbies or priories that were founded by their capital lords, by whom they were enfeoffed of the said manor.

On this it was appropriated to the aforesaid abbey, and a vicarage was settled, to which the abbot presented, and the Bishop of Norwich nominated; valued at 10 marks. Peter-pence 5d. ob.

It is said to have been appropriated to provide flesh and fish for the convent.

Sporle priory alien had a portion of 30s. per ann. out of this church, granted in the reign of Henry VI. to Joan, queen dowager of England.

The spiritualities of West Derham abbey, with Winwaloy priory, were 13s. 4d. The present valor of the vicarage is 12l.

The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a large regular building, with a north and south isle, and nave, and a chancel, all covered with lead, and at the west end of the north isle, is a strong foursquare tower, with one bell.

In the centre of the chancel stands a most noble and beautiful altar monument of marble, curiously ornamented with brass, and the portraiture of a knight in complete armour, having on his surtout the arms of L'Estrange, quartering Vernon, Camois, Walkfare, Morieux, Pike, Rushbrook, &c. with his crest on his helmet, a lion passant, guardant; over his head have been 2 brass shields, with the arms of L'Estrange, impaling Heydon, one of which still remains, and two at his feet, now one remaining, quarterly L'Estrange and Morieux, also one on each side of him, now reaved.

On each side of this, is a rim or fillet of brass, setting forth the pedigree of the family, with their portraiture and arms, since their settlement here, some of which are now reaved.

On the right side Sir Hamon L'Estrange, impaling Vernan: Hamon L'Estrange, Esq. and Camois; Sir John L'Estrange, and Walkfare and Morieux; John L'Estrange, Esq. and Bemond, Pike and Rushbrook. On the left side Roger L'Estrange, Esq. and Bebe, John L'Estrange, Esq and de Park; Henry L'Estrange, Esq. and Drury; and Sir Roger L'Estrange and Heydon.

On the foot of the monument,

Remembrer a moy,—remembyr L'Estrange.

On a fillet of brass round the edge of the stone,

Orate pro a'i'a. - - - - -.

Orate p. a'i'a. p. nominali Rogeri Le Strange, militis p. corpore illustrissimi nup. regis Anglie Hen. VII. ac filii et hered. Henrici L'estrange, armigi. fratris et heredis Joh's. L'estrange, filii et heredis Rogerii L'estrange, filii et heredis tam Johs. L'estrange qua' Alicie Bemant consanguinee et heredis Johs. Pyke et Johs. Ruschebroke, et dictus Johs. L'estrange, fuit filius et hæres tam Johs. L'estrange, militis, qua' Elianoro filie et heredis tam Rici. Walkfare, militis, qua' consanguinee et heredis. Tho. Moreaux, militis et dictus Johs. Lestrange, Miles, fuit filius et heres Hamonis Lestrange, armigi et Katerine filie D'm. Johs. Camois, et dictus Hamo Lestrange fuit filius et heres Hamonis Lestrange, militis, et Margarete Vernon de Mottron, consan guinee et heredis magistri Rici. Vernon, et dictus Hamo Lestrange, miles, fuit frater Johs. Lestrange, D'ni. de Knocken et Mohun.—Qui quidem Rogerus Lestrange, miles, obt. 27 die Octob. Ao. Dni. 1506, et nup. regis dicti 21, cuj; a' ie et a' i' ab; antecessor. benefactor. suor. nec non a' i' e. Johs. Lestrange de Massingham Pa. armigi. fratris et executoris precitati Rogi. Lestrange, militis, Deus p' pitietur. Amen.

On the pavement lie several gravestones of marble, in memory of this family here buried, and others.

Here lies the body of Elizabeth Calthorp, daughter of Sir Cristopher Calthorp, Kt. of the Bath, of East Barsham in Norfolk, the eldest of 14 children, 9 daughters and 5 sons, by his Lady Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Spring, baronet, of Pakenham in Suffolk, born Feb. 27, 1666, died Feb. 20, 1745; with the arms of Calthorp.

In memory of Dame Anne Lestrange. wife of Sir Thomas Lestrange, baronet, daughter of Sir Christopher Calthorp, born August 8, 1685, died Febr. 4, 1742; with the arms of Lestrange and Calthorp, in an escutcheon of pretence.


Theophila Legard, wife of Charles Legard, Esq. bencher of Grey's Inn, who died Oct. 23, 1661.

Alicia uxor Ham. Le Strange mil. obt. Nov. 28, 1656, aged 71; with the arms of Le Strange and Stubbs.

On a marble gravestone,

Hamo Extraneus, miles, obt. 31 Maij, 1654, œtat. suœ 71.

In terris peregrinus eram, nunc incola cœli. In Heaven at home, o blessed change! Who while I was on earth, was Strange.

Charles Lestrange, 7th son of Sir Nicholas Lestrange, and Dame Anne, born Apr. 3, 1647, died August 25, 1698.

Dame Mary Lestrange, wife of Sir Nicholas Lestrange, baronet, died Decr. 10, aged 32.—Lestrange impaling Coke.

Within the rails of the altar, gravestones of marble, for Sir Nicholas Lestrange, Bt. eldest son of Sir Hamon Lestrange, Kt. died July 24, 1655, aged 52; with the arms of Lewknor impaled.

Dame Anne Lestrange, wife of Sir Nicholas Lestrange, Bt. daughter of Sir Edwd. Lewknor, died July 15, 1663, aged 51; with the same arms.

Sir Nicholas Lestrange, Bt. 2d son of Sir Nicholas Lestrange, Bt. died Decr. 13, 1669, ætat. 37; Lestrange impaling Cook and Isham.

Against the north wall an altar monument under a lofty arch of stone work, curved, and thereon the letters H. and K. in many places;

Orate p. a'i'ab; Henricus Lestrange armigeri et Katerini uxoris ejus p. benefactorib; suor. et p. fidelib; defunctis, qui quidem Henricus obt. vicessimo quinto die mensis Novem. Ao. Dni. 1485, quor. a'i'ab; p'pitietur, Deus, &c.

At the 4 corners of the slab of marble, Lestrange quartering Walkfare and Morieux, impaling Drury.

On the south side of this chancel,—Sir Robert Ratcliff, Knight, who married Katherine, relict of the aforesaid Henry Lestrange, by his last will, dated on the vigil of St. Catherine the Virgin, 1496, bequeaths his body to be buried, and his tomb to be made of free-stone, with a marble on the top thereof, with the image of his person, and his two wives, and proved May 19, 1498, but here are no remains of it, if it was ever built. (fn. 17)

Here also was buried by her husband, Amy Lestrange, widow of Sir Roger Lestrange, daughter of Sir Henry Heydon, according to her will, proved Janury 15, 1510. (fn. 18)

At the east end of the nave by the pulpit,

Orate p. a'i'ab; Hamonis Le Straunge et Katerine uxoris.

This is in memory of Hamon Le Strange, and Catherine Camois.

In the nave,

Henricus Day, clericus, filius 7 timus Tho. Daye de Scoulton, armig. et Barbaræ uxoris ejus, qui p. annos 29, eximia pietate et assiduâ curâ vicarij officium hujus ecclesiæ præstitit, obt. 21 die Julij, ao. ætat. suæ 54, Ao. Dni. 1703. Arms, on a chief indented, two mullets.

In the church, at the north-east corner of the chancel, is a tumulus.


1306, Simon de Wyckford instituted vicar, nominated by the Bishop of Norwich, and presented by the abbot and convent of Haghemon.

1308, Gilbert Walsam. Ditto.

1325, William Lasset. Ditto.

1349, Robert de Hunstanton. Ditto.

1361, Richard Norton. Ditto.

1372, Thomas de Shirburn. Ditto.

1374, Jeffrey Navern. Ditto.

1412, Thomas Wodeward. Ditto.

1436, William Trunch. Ditto.

1460, William Dykkys. Ditto.

Richard Cooper.

1502, Hugh Kestyrn. Ditto.

1507, Richard Taylor.

1527, William Phelipson.

1550, John Legge, by the King.

1554, Robert Wilkenson, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1555, George Blunt, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1581, Christopher Crotch, by the Queen. In 1603, he certified there were 60 communicants.

1615, Robert Burward, by the Bishop of Ely.

1631, William Harris, by the King, in the vacancy of the see of Ely.

1662, John Gibson, by the Bishop of Ely.

Tim. Swift.

1674, Henry Day. Ditto.

1703, John Wilson. Ditto.

1719, Edmund Wilson. Ditto.

1754, Rash Bird. Ditto.

In this church were the guilds of St. Mary, St. Nicholas, St. Catherine, St. Edmund, the King, and St. John Baptist.


  • 1. See Stow's Annals, p. 76.
  • 2. This John L'Strange was found to hold a knight's fee in Norfolk, of William Fitz-Alan, in the reign of Henry II. Hearn's Lib. Niger. p. 142.
  • 3. Claus. Rot. 9 Hen. III.
  • 4. Dugdale makes this John to be 2d John Lord Strange; but I think him mistaken; the first John was living, and possessed a fee here about 1164; the confusion arises from so many of the same name.
  • 5. Rot Pip.
  • 6. Reymer's Fœd. v. 7. p. 501.
  • 7. In the 37th of Henry VI. this Alice died seized of the manor of Finburgh, and Cantlow's in Finburgh, in Suffolk, and John Skrene was her heir. Escheat, &c.
  • 8. Regist. Surflete Norw. p. 20.
  • 9. Blomfield's Hist. of Norw. vol. iv. p. 169, also his estates in St. Edmund the King, St. Paul, and St. Peter's of Hangate, in Norwich.
  • 10. Regist. Gelour.
  • 11. She appears to be his wife in the first of Edward VI.
  • 12. H. Smetheduna. Terra Rogeri Bigoti—Hunestatuna tenet Rad. fil. Herluini ii car. in d'nio. qd. ten. i lib. ho. T.R.E. tnc. et p. xii vill. mo. vi semp. vi bor. tnc. et p. iii ser. mo. ii tnc. et p. vi car. ho'um et v ac. mo. v et dim. tnc. i mol. mo. ii et i pisc. sep. i r. tnc. i an. silva xl porc. tnc. xvi por. mo. li hic lxxx ov. mo. lv. vasa apu. hic jacent ii soc. x ac. ide' tnc. et p. val. iii lib. mo. iiii.— In cade' tenuit Torn. lib. ho. T.R.E. i car. in d'nio. tnc. iii vill. mo. ii tnc. iiii bord. mo. v tnc. et p iii s. et ii et dim. p'ti. semp. dim. car. ho'um i pisc. tnc. i vac. tnc. xxx ov. et iii soc. v ac. t're. sep. val. xx sol. totu' ht. i leug. in long. et i leu. in lato et reddit xvid. dc xx sol. de gelto. In Hunestuna iiii libi. ho'es. T.R.E. lxv ac. qu's tenet Radulfus fi. h. tc. i car. mo. ii bov. tc. val. xvi sol. mo. iiii.
  • 13. Terre Johis nepotis W. H. de Smethetuna.—Hunestanestuna tenuit Johannes, idem T. R. E. tc. ii car. p. i mo. ii sep. iiii tc. et p. v bor. mo. vii tc. et p. iii ser. mo. iiii et ii ac. p'ti. sep. ho'um. tc. i vac. mo. viii an. mo. xl por. tc. i ov. mo. xl et iii vasa apu'. et i soc. v ac. tc. et p. val xx sol. mo. xl i eccla sine t'ra. Tota Rincsteda ht. i leug. in long. et dim. in lat. et redd. de xx sol.
  • 14. See in Walpole.
  • 15. Regist. Pincebeck, fol. 322.
  • 16. This is a further proof that this family came into England with Alan, son of Flaald, &c.
  • 17. Regist. Horne in Cur. Prerog. Cant. Lond. fol. 23.
  • 18. Regr. Johnson Norw. fol. 5.