Smethdon Hundred: Southmere and Docking

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: Southmere and Docking', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809) pp. 362-370. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Smethdon Hundred: Southmere and Docking", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809) 362-370. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Smethdon Hundred: Southmere and Docking", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (London, 1809). 362-370. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section


I shall treat of these two towns together, as they are now united, and as their manors or lordships extended into each. Southmere was a considerable town in King Edward's reign, and at the survey, though now all included in Docking: it lies north-west, about two miles from Docking, where now is a large farm and house, called by corruption, Summer-Field House.

Herold held it in the Confessor's time, and when he was King of England, and on his death, the Conqueror seized it, and was lord of it at the survey.

In Harold's time there were three carucates in demean, 21 villains, 2 borderers, and 6 servi, with one carucate amongst the men or tenants, &c. 31 freemen belonged to it, with a carucate and 16 acres, and 15 socmen, each holding 60 acres, making 8 carucates, and one carucate and a half might be recovered; also one socman with 14 acres, and another with 60 acres, formerly a carucate.

Titchwell and Berwick, were beruites to it, and with them, were valued in the whole, in Harold's time, at 7l. but at the survey at 30l.

Roger Bigot seems to hold it then, at the King's pleasure; Brum his steward, took away from it four socmen with 4 acres, which Roger held, and another with 60 acres, half a carucate formerly. (fn. 1)


William Luvel, son of Goel de Yberi, was the first lord that I meet with about 1100, from whom descended William Luvel, brother of Walter de Yberi, who in the 3d of Richard I. gave 110 marks fine to have seizen of it; (fn. 2) probably as heir to his brother, who was descended from that William who first assumed the surname of Lovell, being son of Asceline Goell, (son to Robert, lord of Iberi in Normandy) and Isabel his wife, natural daughter of William de Britolio, (brother to Roger de Britolio Earl of Hereford, and to this William who lived in the reign of Henry I. or his father Goell, was this lordship granted, (as I conceive,) by the said King Henry.

William Luvell paid in the 12th of King John, 20s. scutage for one knight's fee here, and one of the same name held it in the 12th of Henry II.

John Lovell was lord in the 8th of Henry III. when his lands were seized, for not attending that King, in his expedition against the Welch as were William Talbot's, and William Talmarshe's in Suffolk; and in the 18th of that King, is entered in the close rolls his writ to have tallage of his tenants, the King having talliated his demeans.

It appears about this time to be the custom of this manor, that when the King tallaged his tenants in soccage, he had a like power, and that if a daughter or sister, of one who held in soccage, married out of the soc, 10s. was to be paid to the lord; and if within the soc, 2s.

On a pleading, if John Luvel, the lord, had disseized John de Dockynge of his free tenements, the said John pleads that his lordship was ancient demean of the King, and that no writ could be granted, unless first a writ of right.

In the 35th of the aforesaid King, John Lord Lovel had a grant of free warren, a weekly mercate and fair, at Docking, into which town this lordship extended.

On the death of John Lord Lovel, in the 4th of Edward II. he was found to leave by Joan, his 2d wife, daughter of Robert Lord Ross of Hamlake, John his son and heir; and by Isabel, his first wife, sister and heir of William de Bois, an only daughter, Maud, then the wife of William la Zouche; and that there was here a capital messuage 600 acres of land, 240 acres of heath, rent of assize, &c. at 22l. 11s. 4d. per ann.

There was also at Docking a capital messuage, called Sandislond, 300 acres of land, rent of assize, &c. valued at 10l. 1s. 6d. per ann.

The said John held, together with Isabell his wife, of the feoffment of his father, to him, &c. 400 acres, a windmill, a weekly mercate on Thursday, in Dochinge, by the 8th part of a fee, and he also held in Doching, 100 acres, of Nicholas de Camera, by the 8th part of a fee.

After this, the aforesaid lordship became divided, and was held by John Lord Lovell, son of the aforesaid John by Joan his wife, and by Maud his daughter, by Isabel his first wife, married to William Zouche, lord of Haringworth.

Lovell's Manor, or Southmere.

John Lord Lovel of Tichmarshe died seized of it in the 8th of Edward II. and left by Maud his wife, (daughter and heir of Sir Philip Barnel) Joan his daughter and heir, which Joan, as far as I can find, either died young, or had no interest herein.

John Lord Lovell died seized of it in the 21st of Edward III. Whose son this John was, Dugdale does not mention, but breaks off in the pedigree somewhat incoherently. I have seen a certain writing wherein he is said to be the son of Thomas Lovel, (a younger branch of this family,) by Maud his wife, and that this John left by Isabel his wife, a son and heir, John, aged 6 years, who died under age in the 35th of the said King, leaving John, his brother and heir, who had livery of his lands in 1363; he married Maud, daughter of Robert de Holand, son of Sir Robert de Holand, and died lord of this manor, in the 9th of Henry IV. and John Lovel was his son and heir, who by Alianore his wife, daughter of the Lord Zouch, and St. Maur, left Ao. 4, of Henry V. William, his son and heir.

This William Lord Lovel, (fn. 3) Burnel, and Holand, in the 8th year of Henry V. December 8, conveyed to Sir John Rateliff and Catherine his wife, this manor of Lovels in Southmere and Docking, which Catherine was the eldest daughter and co-heir of Sir Edward Burnel, Knt. son of Sir Hugh Burnel, son of Nicholas Burnel, son of Sir John Handle, alias Burnel, second husband to Maud, sister and heir to Sir Philip Burnel, who first married John Lord Lovel. And in the 1st of Edward IV. John Ratcliff, Esq. son and heir of Sir John, was found to die seised, by an inquisition taken at Pykenham Wade, before Richard Croppel, escheator.

In this family it continued till Robert Ratcliff Earl of Sussex sold it in 1597, to John Hare, Esq. son of John Hare, citizen and mercer of London, whose son, Hugh Hare, was created Lord Colrain in Ireland, August 3, 1625.

Hugh Hare, Esq. second son of Hugh Lord Colrain, had the grant of it from his father. He married Catherine, daughter of John Holt, Esq. of Salisbury in Wiltshire, by whom he had issue three sons and one daughter, viz. Henry, many years collector of the customs in the port of Lynn: he died October 24, 1733. —2d John, a captain in the royal navy, who died in the service of his country.—3d Lucy, married to Major-general Henry Holt; she died in the year 1723.—4th Hugh Charles, rector of Southmere and Gressenhall; he married Mrs. Winifred Brady.

Upon the death of the honourable and reverend Hugh Charles Hare, January 28, 1743, the estate and manor abovementioned, devolved to his only surviving child and heiress Catherine, who was married August 28, 1740, to Henry Holt Henley, Esq. of Leigh, representative in parliament for Lyme Regis, in Dorsetshire: he died May 8, 1748.

Mrs. Henley found the lands here ill cultivated, destitute of wood, and spring water, and proverbially called Dry Docking.

By her constantly residing in, and by a benevolent and sensible attention to the various interests and wants of the place, both have been consulted and provided for.

In different parts of her estate above 140 acres have by her been planted with various kinds of wood: and four wells sunk between 180 and 190 feet deep; exclusive of one in the centre of the town, for the common use of the inhabitants; who are daily reaping the advantages, and enjoying the fruits of the well-directed beneficence of a lady, whose name will be ever dear, and whose memory will always be respected in the place; she is happy in seeing (and may she long survive to see) it flourish in plenty and prosperity.

Docking, or Zouch's Manor.

William Zouch, Lord Haringworth, gave name to this lordship, of which he was possessed in right of Maud his wife, daughter and heir to John Lord Lovel, by Isabel his first wife, and dying in the 26th year of King Edward III. William la Zouche, his grandson, was his heir, son of Ivo, or Eudo, by Joan his wife, daughter of William Inge, (which Ivo died before his father) and had livery the next year of this and all his inheritance: this William left at his death, on St. George's day, in the 5th of Richard II. by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of William Lord Ross of Hamlake, William his son and heir, who on his death in the 13th of the said King, was succeeded by his son and heir, William, by Elizabeth his wife, who survived him, and died in the 9th of Henry IV.

This last William, lord Zouch, had livery of his lands in the 20th of Richard II. and married Alice, daughter and heir of Richard de St. Maur, Knt. and died seised of this manor November 3, in the 3d of Henry V. and William la Zouch, his son and heir, was aged 13 years; he left on his death in the 8th of Edward IV. John, his son, who succeeded him; this John Lord Zouche was son, as I take it, of William Lord Zouche, by Catherine his wife, daughter of Sir William Plomstead, and was after re-married to Sir Gilbert de Debenham, and died in October, Ao. 10th of Edward IV. William Lord Zouch, his father, was son of William Lord Zouche, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of the Lord St. John, she re-married John Lord Scroop, and died Ao. 7th of Edward IV. so that Dugdale has omitted one descent, or else William Lord Zouch must have married two wives, Alice, daughter, &c. of Richard de St. Maur, and Elizabeth, a second wife, daughter of St. John.

John Lord Zouch aforesaid, married Joan, one of the 4 sisters and heirs to Sir John Dynham, Knt. Lord Dynham, but taking part with Richard the 3d, and engaging on his side at Bosworth-field, was attainted November 7, in the 1st of Henry VII. and restored by parliament October 14, in the 11th year of the said king, and dying June 23, Ao. 18th of Henry VIII. John, his son, was his heir, aged 46; but it is more probable that he died according to the inquisition, January 30, Ao. 17, his son John, by the lady Joan, having then livery of his lands; it appears that by his will, he bequeathed his body to be buried in a chantry (then lately founded by him) in the priory of Staverdale in Somersetshire, (fn. 4) Sir John Fitz-James, Knt. lord chief baron of the Exchequer, and Sir John Zouch, his son, being executors, and was proved March 20, 1525.

John Lord Zouch, his son, conveyed it by fine, with 40 messuages and lands in divers adjoining towns, to Sir Thomas L'Estrange and the lady Anne his wife, in Michaelmas term, Ao. 21, of Henry VIII. his son Sir Nicholas was lord in the 37th of that King, and in the said family it was about 1600.

Richard Hovell, Esq. was lord in the reign of King James I. and Sir William Hovell kept his first court in 1661, and by the marriage of Dorothy, his second daughter and coheir, it came to Martin Folkes, Esq. of Grey's Inn, whose son Martin Folks, Esq. president of the Royal Society dying seized of it in 175-, it descended to William Folks, Esq. his brother, the present lord, as may be seen at large in Hillington.

Besides the lordships abovementioned in Southmere and Docking, a freeman held in Docking a carucate of land under Archbishop Stigand, which with three borderers was granted by the Conqueror, to his brother Odo Bishop of Baieux, (fn. 5) and he being attainted by King William II. was given by that King, to William de Albinj, his butler, ancestor to the Earls of Arundel, and was valued under Snetesham.

Also Eudo, son of Spiruwin, had a lordship which Rinold held under him, and Aluric under Stigand in the Confessor's time; to which there belonged one carucate in demean, 5 villains and 5 borderers, 2 servi, one carucate amongst the men, &c. and one carucate might be restored, valued at 20s.; the whole was one leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 5s. and 2d. ob. gelt, whoever possessed it. (fn. 6)

Both these lordships in the reign of Henry III. centered in the family of de Tateshale, Hugh Earl of Arundel and Sussex dying without issue, Mabel, his eldest sister, and coheir, brought to Robert Lord Tateshale, by marriage, late Stigand's or Odo's manor.

Eudo, who was lord of the other, was founder, or ancestor of the Tateshale family, and had a son Hugh, father of Robert de Tateshale, who lived in 1139, (fn. 7) and held this lordship; his son Philip was father of Robert Lord Tateshale, whose son Robert de Tateshale, lord of this manor, by the marriage of Mabel aforesaid, (heiress of the other) enjoyed them both, and united them.

The family of the Lovels held also a considerable part of this town under the Lords de Albinj Earls of Arundel, together with their manor of Southmere, which extended into Docking, as has been observed; and in the reign of Henry III. John Lovell and Martin de Suthmere held the 5th part of a fee of Robert Lord Tateshale, as did John de Lovell, and Robert de Docking two parts of a fee.

In the 20th of Edward III. John de Titchwell held the 4th part of a fee here and in Snetesham, of the heirs of the Tateshales, and at the same time Ralph de Hinton and Beatrix his wife held two parts of a fee by the same tenure, and in the 3d of Henry IV. John, son of Sir Constantine Clifton, &c. as heir to the Tateshales, was the capital lord.

In the 37th of Henry VIII. Sir Nicholas L'Estrange held of the King this lordship, (as I take it) part of the barony of Tateshale.

Docking tenths were 13l.—Deduct 1l. and Southmere tenths 6l.— Deduct 40s.

In Southmere was a manor called Warner's.

Anthony Gamage had in the 4th of Elizabeth license to convey it to Robert Futter; and the Earl of Sussex, in the 39th of that Queen, to grant it to John Hare, Esq.

The Church of Docking is dedicated to St. Mary; covered with lead, and a chancel tiled.

At the west end is a large square tower with one bell.

At the bottom, or west end of the nave, on a grave-stone,

Orate p. aia'b; Willi. Stowe et Agnetis uxor. ejus.

In the chancel on a marble grave-stone,

Carolus Hare, armiger, filius quarto genitus Hugonis Baronis de Colerain, sub spe beatæ resurrectionis, cælebs vixit et mortuus est, sepult. Maij 18, 1685.

On three marble stones adjoining are the following inscriptions;

The honourable Henry Hare, Esq; Oct. 24, 1733, aged 62.

The honourable and reverend Hugh Charles Hare, Jan. 28, 1743, aged 68.

Winifred, the faithful wife and widow of the honourable and reverend Hugh Charles Hare, Aug. 14, 1761, aged 82.

The plate for the communion service, viz. one large flagon, one covered cup, and a plate to receive the alms of the communicants, were presented to the church by this family. And complete and handsome furniture for the pulpit, desk, and communion table, by Mrs. Winifred Hare.

On the buttresses of the north side, - - - - - - -, a fess between three roses, - - - - - - - - - -, a cross, - - - - - - - - - -, and a cross ingrailed.

It was anciently a rectory valued at 46 marks, and appropriated to the priory of Ibrey in France, given by Goel de Ibreyo, as is said, and in the 28th of Edward I. John Lord Lovell quitclaimed to that abbot and his successours all his right in the advowsons of this church, with those of Southmere and Titchwell.

The vicarage, as appears from Norwich Domesday Book, in the reign of Edward I. was endowed with 50 acres, and had a manse, valued at 15 marks, Peter-pence 2s. 8d.; temporalities of Norwich priory 6s. 8d.; of Creke abbey 2s. 6d. ob.; present valor of the vicarage 13l. 6s. 8d.

Here was a cell belonging to the abbey or priory of Ibrey in France, and was dissolved in the parliament held at Leicester in the 2d of Henry V. (when all the alien priories in England were suppressed, and then given to the Crown) and was granted by him to his motherin-law Joan Queen Dowager of England, who died seized of it in the 15th of Henry VI. and in the 19th of the said King, was given to his college of Eaton, with the rectory and all its appertenances as is above-mentioned.

At this time it is in the college of Eton, who present (as rectors) the vicar, on the Bishop of Norwich's nomination. King Edward IV. in his first year, confirmed the grant of it to Eton college.


1305, Mr. Andrew de Ely, collated to the vicarage by the Bishop, a lapse.

1315, Walter de Secheford, collated by the Bishop, the abbot and convent of Ibrey refusing to present (as was used) on the Bishop's nomination.

1349, Robert de Hilderston, on the Bishop's nomination, and the King's presentation, the temporalities of the abbey of Ibrey being in his hands. (fn. 8)

1380, Roger Panton. Ditto.

1393, John Austyn. Ditto.

1393, Nic. Aubal. Ditto.

1399, Walter Wardeboys. Ditto.

1401, William Bridde. Ditto.

1412, Mr. William Thorndon. Ditto.

1412, Robert Baly. Ditto.

1413, Richard Reynere, by the King.

1452, William Skypwith, on the Bishop's nomination, and presentation of the provost, and college of Eton.

1455, John Smart.

1460, John Bayly. Ditto.

1465, William Wra. Ditto.

1477, William Snath, A. M. Ditto.

1501, Nicholas Chore. Ditto.

1506, John Naper. Ditto.

1510, William Alyn.

1545, John Gamon.

Mr. Richard Barkwaye, alias Ganon, S. T. P.

1554, John Acres. Ditto.

1581, John Ledall, presented by Eton college.

1612, Ignatius Holderness, on the Bishop's nomination, and college presentation.

1644, Edmund Godwyn. Ditto.

1662, Thomas Windet. Ditto.

John Borrett.

1686, John Cooper. Ditto.

1699, William Gough. Ditto.

1708, Hugh Charles Hare. Ditto.

1711, Charles Trimnell, by the provost, &c. of Eton college.

1714, John Magill. Ditto.

1750, William Smith. Ditto.

1766, Humphrey Christian, A. M.

Here were St. Mary and St. John Baptist's gilds.

In 1603, here were 243 communicants, as then returned to the King, &c.

William Docking, rector of Cockley Cley, wills in 1415, to be buried before the altar of St. John Baptist, on the south side of the church, and gives 20l. to the glazing of a window thereby, and to the building of the tower.

Richard Thorp. by his will. gives to the Homestede and inhabitants of Docking half his seven roods of free land, lying at the High Mere, and 9 elms to the building of a mill, to be set up upon the said land. (fn. 9)

I find also a legacy to the reparation of the organs in 1561.

Robert de Wennesval gave his tithes here to the priory of Castleacre, (fn. 10) to which William Earl Warren, his lord, and his nobles were witnesses

William, the second Earl Warren, confirmed to that priory 2 parts of the tithe of Ralph de Baliol, in Docking, and 2 parts of the tithe of Jeffrey de Quilverd in Docking.

The church of Southmere was dedicated to All-Saints; the rector had a manse with half an acre of land, and was valued at 10 marks.

The abbot of Ibrey was patron, and had a portion of tithe valued at 5 marks.—Peter-pence 9d.


1313, Clement de Pecham, presented by the proctor of the abbot and convent of Ibrey.

1314, John de Wylton. Ditto.

1330, William de Gilden Morden. Ditto.

1349, Thomas Dounham, by the King, the temporalities of that abbey being in him.

William de Kynardeby admitted rector, about 1356, on the King's presentation.

Jeffrey Navarre.

1374, Thomas Ferrour, by the abbot. Ditto.

1378, John de Laxton. Ditto.

1385, John Maddy. Ditto.

1396, William Farefeld. Ditto.

1398, John Smith. Ditto.

1410, Thomas Roger. Ditto.

1414, Thomas Dallyng. Ditto.

1424, William Lea. Ditto.

1465, William Pikenham, LLD. collated by the Bishop, a lapse.

1473, William Kemp, by the provost, &c. of Eton.

Humfrey Derecom.

1502, John Heyden. Ditto.

1546, Oliver Stoning, S.T.B. Ditto.

1554, William Dobson, ditto; at this time it is said there were no churchwardens or inhabitants.

1561, William Atkinson. Ditto.

1582, Baldw. Collyns. Ditto.

1616, Thomas Allen. Ditto.

1636, Thomas Wever. Ditto.

1703, Abr. Wilkins, by the Queen, a lapse.

1704, Charles Trimnell, S.T.P. ditto, afterwards Bishop of Norwich.

1707, Robert Cannon, S.T.P. ditto, afterwards dean of Lincoln.

1722, Hugh Hare, on Cannon's death. Ditto.

1744, Thomas Deresley. Ditto.

The church was standing in 1378; in Queen Elizabeth's time it was in ruins.


  • 1. H. de Dochinge. Terra Regis — —Suthmere tenuit Herold. tem. Reg. E. tnc. iii car. in d'nio. p. et mo. ii tnc. xxi vill. p. et mo. xix semp. ii bor. et vi ser et i car. hom. sep. iii r. et i an et iii por. et lxxxvii ov. hic jacent xxxi soc. xvi ac. i car. et xv soc. un'quisq; lx ac. viii car. et i car. et dim. posset restaurari, et i soc. xiiii ac. et i soc. lx ac. tc. i car. — Hoc totu' val. tc. vii lib. p. xx mo. xxx et iiii soc. iiii ac. t're t. r. e. qd. p. qua' rex venit et p'q; Rog. hoc man. recep. Brum p'posit. R. Bigot tulit de manerio hoc, et mo. tenet Rog. et i soc. lx ac. dim. car.
  • 2. Rot. Pip.
  • 3. See Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 557.
  • 4. This William Lord Lovel bore quarterly—in the 1st and 4th barry, nebuly of six, or, and gules, Lovell, in the 2d and 3d azure, a lion rampant, guardant, and semy of lys, argent—Holand; and in an escotcheon of pretence, quarterly in the 1st and 4th azure a fess indented between 10 billets, or, Deincourt; — in 2d and 3d barry of six, or and vert, a bend over all, gules, Poinings.— Crest, a dog passant.—Hence the sarcastick verses, The Rat, the Cat, and Lovel the Dog, Ruled all England under the Hog.
  • 5. Regist. Perche in Cur. Prerog. Cant.
  • 6. H. de Dochinge Terre epi. Baiocensis—Dochinge i car. tre. ten. lib. ho'. sub. Stigando, semp. dim. car. iii bor. hoc est in p'tio de Snetesh.
  • 7. H. de Dochinge, Terre Eudonis filij Spiruwinj. Dochinge ten. idem qd. tenuit Aluric' T. R. E. sub. Stigando sep.i car. in d'nio et v vill. et v bor. tc. ii s. tc' i car. hou'. mo. i car. et dim. sep. i r. et i vac. et xvii por. lxxx ov. et i car. posset restaurari, et val. xx sol. tota ht. i leug. in long. et dim. in lat. et reddit v sol. et iid. et i obol. de gelto q'cq. ibi teneat.
  • 8. See in Babingley.
  • 9. William de Kynardeby admitted rector about 1356, on the king's presentation.
  • 10. Reg. Rix p. 54.
  • 11. Reg. Castleac. fol. 50, 86.