Smethdon Hundred: Ringsted Magna

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: Ringsted Magna', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10( London, 1809), British History Online [accessed 21 July 2024].

Francis Blomefield, 'Smethdon Hundred: Ringsted Magna', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10( London, 1809), British History Online, accessed July 21, 2024,

Francis Blomefield. "Smethdon Hundred: Ringsted Magna". An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. (London, 1809), , British History Online. Web. 21 July 2024.

In this section


Contains two parishes, St. Peter's, and St. Andrew, and seems to take its name from Ring, the name of a river in many counties: thus Ringleton in Kent, Ringston in Lincolnshire, &c. Ringshall in Suffolk, and Ringsted a town in Denmark, of great antiquity.

The principal lordship belonged to the abbey of Ramsey, in the time of King Edward, and at the survey St. Bennet, (that is the abbey) of Ramsey enjoyed it, when there were two carucates in demean, 21 villains, 5 borderers and three servi, who had 3 carucates and 5 acres of meadow, &c. and 22 socmen had one carucate of land, and 3 carucates; 2 also might be recovered in this manor. It was valued in the Confessor's time at 6l. at the survey at 5l. 10s. per ann. and was one leuca and an half long, one broad, and paid 42d. gelt. St. Bennet had the soc.

Thirty-one socmen were taken from it, who belonged to it in King Edward's time; Rafrid had 9 of them, and now keeps them; William de Schoies, and William de Warren, have 7, and 3 in the King's manor of Fliceswell, William de Noiers 4, Roger Bigot 5, and in the King's manor of Hunstanton was one with two acres. (fn. 1)

In the south part of the parish of East Wretham in Norfolk, is a large pit called Ringmere Pit, about 6 or 7 acres; here Swain King of Denmark fought a great battle against Ulfketel Earl of the EastAngles, in 1009. (fn. 2)

This town, with that of Brancaster, was given by the abbey of Ramsey, (as may be seen in Brancaster) in the reign of King Edgar, and in the 35th of Henry III. the abbot had a charter of free warren here.

In 1428, the temporalities of the said abbot were 15l. 11s. 9d. per ann. and at the dissolution of religious houses, King Henry VIII. in his 32d year, December 4, granted this lordship to Sir Thomas L'Estrange, and Sir Henry L'Estrange, Bart. died lord in 1760, and on a division of his estate, came to his sister and coheir, Airmine, married to Nicholas Stileman, Esq. of Snetesham; Nicholas, their son and heir, is the present lord and patron of Snetesham.

Another lordship in this town was given at the conquest to Roger Bigot, ancestor of the Earls of Norfolk, which Tove, a freeman, possessed in the days of the Confessor, consisting of one carucate in demean, 2 servi, and 5 villains, with half a carucate of the men, 2 acres of meadow, and the 8th part of a mill, &c. four socmen had 10 acres, and one socman of St. Bennet of Ramsey, 2 acres, who was added to it, in the time of the Conqueror; the whole then valued at 10s. at the survey at 20s. per ann. St. Bennet had the soc; and this was held of Bigot, by Ralph son of Herluine.

In the said town, Alstan held in the time of the Confessor, under Archbishop Stigand, one carucate of land, which at the survey was possessed by Ralph de Turuavill, when there was one carucate of meadow valued at 5s. one socman also held here 6 acres, valued at 6d. of Ralph, also two socmen of St. Bennet, had 16 acres, and there was one carucate valued at 4s. and one freeman who held under Ralph 24 acres of land, with a carucate, &c. valued at 2s. This he had livery of to complete his manor, and Ralph has it.

Of this Ralph, son of Herluine, who held this under Roger Bigot, I refer the reader to Bigot's fee in Hunstanton.

John Lord Strange was heir to the said Ralph, and as such inherited it, from whom it descended to his posterity, Sir Henry L'Estrange being the late lord of it.

That part which Alstan held under Stigand, and Ralph de Turuavill, at the survey, of Bigot, came also to the Stranges.

Sir Ralph L'Estrange was lord of it in the reign of Henry II. whose two daughters and coheirs had each a right herein, Maud being married to Fulco, or (as some have it) Jeffrey de Urri, or D'Oyry, and Emma, to Philip de Burnham; part of it came to Cecilia, an heiress of the Burnham family, who brought it by marriage to Sir William Calthorp.

Humphrey de Wyveleshoe, and Maud his wife, appear to have an interest herein, and in the 25th of Henry III. released to Geffrey de Mey, all their right in the advowson of the church of Ringsted St. Andrew, to the full age of Cecilia, daughter and heir of Philip de Burnham.

In the 41st of that King, William de Calthorp and Cecilia his wife, Michael, son of Humphrey Wyveleshoe, were impleaded by the guardian of the lands, and heir of William de Tilney, that he might present a proper and sufficient parson to the aforesaid church of St. Andrew.

In the 34th of the said King, William, son of Richard de Tilney, was in a pleading found to have then a right in the advowson of the said church; and Alice, late wife of Walter Fenne, sued William de Lindesley for a moiety of this church about the 13th of Edward I.

In the 14th of Edward I. W. Batail and Isabel his wife, conveyed by a fine to Philip de Fenne, the 3d part of the advowson of St. Andrew's church in Ringsted Magna, and several messuages, lands, and a mill in Ringsted, Tilney, and Wygenhale; and in the 9th of Edward II. Richard Battaille, parson of the church of Great Ringsted, settled by fine on William Battail of Ringsted Magna, and Isabel his wife, 31 messuages, 310 acres of land, 33s. rent, and the moiety of a mill in this town, and Holm by the Sea, in tail.

Nicholas Batayl of Ringsted Magna, by his will, in 1473, desires to be buried in the church of St. Andrew, appoints a priest to celebrate therein, for 20 years, for his own soul; (fn. 3) gives 10 marks to the building of the new tower, and 10 marks to buy a new missale for the said church; names Henry Straunge, Esq. to be supervisor of it; to Christian his wife, for life, 30 acres of land in Ringsted aforesaid, and after her decease, William his son and heir, by her, to have it with the appertenances for ever, on condition that the said Christian keep an anniversary for him and his father, William Batayl, and Margaret his mother, William Banyard and Cecilia his wife, on Wednesday in Easter week, and exequies the day before; the rector of that church to have 4d. the clerk of the parish 2d. the ringers of the bells 6d. and they who attend the exequies there, to have bread and cheese, with beer sufficient, and every householder in the said village, a pennyworth of bread.

And he wills that the anniversary of Richard Batayl, his grandfather, and Avelina his wife, Nicholas Batayl and Margery his wife, be kept on Monday, in Rogation week, in this manner, the rector for saying exequies, &c. to have 4d. the clerk 2d. every householder one pennyworth of bread.

And after the decease of Christian his wife, he wills his son William and his heirs, to keep the said anniversaries yearly, for ever, in the form aforesaid; the rector of the church, and nine trusty men of the said parish to be feoffees of the aforesaid 30 acres, and if his wife, son, or his heirs, refuse to keep the said anniversaries, then he wills that the feoffees have the said 30 acres, &c. appoints Christian his wife, and William his son, executors.

The manors also of Holkham's and Berry's (of which see at large in Holm) made part of this town, and are possessed of Mr. Case, attorney, of Mildenhale in Suffolk.

Ralph de Beaufoe had a small fee or tenure in Ringsted, which a freeman possessed in King Edward's reign, containing half a carucate of land, and held under Ralph by Ricard; there were 2 villains who had half a carucate, valued at 3s. and the abbot of Ramsey owned the soc. (fn. 4)

Of Ralph de Beaufoe and his descendants see in Swanton Morley, and in Bircham Newton.

How long it continued in this family does not appear, but was added to the lordship of the Stranges, and so remains at this time.

Bardolf's Manor.

In the 3d of Edward III. Roger Carpet held one fee in Ringsted, of the Lord Bardolph; and in the 20th of that King, William de Sedgeford held in Ringsted Magna, of the honour of Wirmegey, a manor by one fee of the aforesaid lord, which he purchased of John de L'isle, the elder, and formerly belonged to the ancestors of Robert Curpel, of Fincham, which the Lord Bardolf held of the Bishop of Norwich, probably of his manor of Thornham, which extended into this town; and Sir John Bardolf of Maple-Durham, and Margaret his wife, conveyed it by fine in the 31st of the said reign, to Thomas Chappe of Wolferton, and Margaret his wife.

Thomas Seckford held it in the 5th of Henry VI. of Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter.

Walter Aslake, by his will, dated at Creke, February 1, 1503, gives to Thomas Aslake, his nephew, Bardolf's manor in Ringsted.

After this it came to the L'Estrange's, and Sir Thomas L'Estrange, died seized of in the 36th of Henry VIII. by the payment of 22d. every 30 weeks to the castle of Norwich.

Theodore Host, Esq. of Ingaldesthorp, is lord of this manor, 1765.

The prior of Lewes had also possessions in this town; Henry Batayl, William Beck, &c. conveyed to John, prior of that house, a toft, 20 acres of land, the moiety of a mill, in Ringsted Magna, and it being found on an inquisition, that the prior was in possession of the premises long before the statute of mortmain was published, the justices permitted a fine to be levied in the 14th of Edward I. and in 1428 the temporalities of that priory were valued at 58s. 1d. per ann.

The tenths were 10l. out of which 1l. 10s. was deducted, being paid by the religious for their lands.

The Church of Ringsted St. Peter was in the patronage of the abbey of Ramsey; the ancient valor of it (being a rectory) was 22 marks: the sacrist of Ramsey had a portion of one mark per ann. out of it, confirmed by John of Oxford Bishop of Norwich.

The present valor is 11s. 6s. 8d. and Sir Henry Le Strange was patron.

On a gravestone in the chancel,

Hic situs est. Tho. Loades fil. Philippi, eccles. S'cs. Petri de Ringstead quondam rectoris. obt. 1663.

The rector in Edward the First's time, had a manse, with 100 acres of land.


John de Stow occurs rector in the reign of Edward I.

1334, Robert Walclyn, by the abbot, &c. of Ramsey.

1339, John de Keten. Ditto.

1344, John de Poley. Ditto.

1349, Richard Alwoke, by the King, in the vacancy of the abbey.

1353, William Pek, by the abbot, &c.

1355, Richard Purdam. Ditto.

1370, Thomas Draycote. Ditto.

1373, Richard de Denham. Ditto.

1395, Thomas Waresle. Ditto.

1395, Roger Stayard. Ditto.

1398, John Mayster. Ditto.

1399, John Staleham. Ditto.

Stephen Gamyn.

1408, Richard Brydbrook. Ditto.

1416, John Persbrigg. Ditto.

1430, John Person.

1433, John Strott. Ditto.

1437, John Dabulon. Ditto.

Robert Wylby, LL. Licent.

1464, John Palm r.

1473, Edmund Andrews, by the abbot, &c.

William Conyngton

1501, Edmund Kemp, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1515, Ralph Langley, by the abbot, &c.

1546, Edmund Wolstenholme, by Thomas Miller of Lenne.

1559, Philip Adamson, by Sir Nicholas Lestrange.

1573, Arthur Witche by the assigns of Nicholas Lestrange, Esq.

Arthur Weeck.

1626, Daniel Green, by Sir Hamon Lestrange.

1636, Philip Loades. Ditto.

1663, Thomas Loades, by Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Baronet.

1674, Timothy Swift. Ditto.

Edmund Wilson, by Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, Bart.

1754, Ayrmine Styleman, by Sir Henry Lestrange.

Here was St. Peter's and the Holy Trinity guilds.

Ringstead St. Andrew.

The rector had a manse, with 30 acres of land, in the time of King Edward I. and was valued at 13 marks. Peter-pence, 7d. ob. The present valor is 10l. and is discharged.

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

Hic jacet Ricardus Regill, A.M. Doctor Jurisperit. quondam rector istius eccles. qui tectum istius cancelli totaliter fieri fecit, obt. 1482.

On a black marble gravestone,

Tho. Fish, A.M. Com. Ebor. ortus eccles. Anglic. presbyter, et D. Margaretœ Lenn Regis 21 ann. curatus, et olim hujus parochiœ rector, concionator valde admirabilis, ob morum probitatem et ingenij acumen Christianœ fidei ornamentum et exemplar, animam cœlo reddidit, quicquid autem claudi potuit sub hoc marmore condend. reliquit, 1701.


1349, James de Suthcreyk instituted, presented by Sir William Calthorp; it came from the Burnhams to him.

After this, the presentation was given to Creke abbey, and so to Christ college.

1408, Walter Batteley, or Battaile, by the abbot and convent of Creke.

1426, William Godfrey. Ditto.

1430, Robert Felbrigge. Ditto.

1465, Richard Kegill. Ditto.

1483, Thomas Downyng. Ditto.

1506, Robert Ames, by Henry Hornby, assignee of the abbey, &c.

1509, Richard Pollard, by the master and scholars of Christ college, Cambridge.

1552, Henry Bovell. Ditto.

1554, Thomas Merfeld, by the master and scholars of Christ college, Cambridge.

1570, Robert Wydowsonne. Ditto.

1586, Alexander Spenser. Ditto.

1587, Laurence Hocknell. (fn. 5) Ditto.

1626, Christopher Lawpage. Ditto.

1639, Thomas Hodson. Ditto.

1661, Edw. Foster. Ditto.

1673, Thomas Fish. Ditto.

1687, John Wilson. Ditto.

1719, John Bains, on Wilson's death. Ditto.

1735, Thomas Haworth. Ditto.

Here was the guild of St. John Baptist.


  • 1. H. de Smetheduna.—Terra S'ci. Benedicti de Rameseio.— Rincteda tenet sep. S.B. ii car. in d'nio. xxi villi. v bor. iii ser. h'ntes iii car. v. ac. p'ti. i runc. xxiiii porc. c ovs. et xxii soc. i car. t're. et iii car. et in hoc manerio posse't restaurari i car. tc. val. vi lib. mo. v et x sol. ht. i leu et dim. in long. et i leu. in lat. et xliid. de g. S'cs. B. soca' de hoc manerio ablatis't. xxxi soc. qi. ibi jacebant T.R.E. de his habuit Rafrid ix et mo. tenet eos W. de de Scohies et W. de UUar' vii et in Flicesuuella man. reg. iii et W. de Noiers iiii. Rog. Bigot v. In Hunustantana Regis i de ii ac.
  • 2. Stow's Annals, p. 3.
  • 3. Regist. Paynot Norw.
  • 4. Terra. R. de Bellofago. H. de Smetheduna, Rincteda ten. i lib. ho. T. R. E. dim. car. t're. mo. ten. Ricard. sep. ii vill. et dim. car. et val. iiii sol. S'cs. Benedictus soca.
  • 5. In 1603, he certified 72 communicants to be here.