Taverham Hundred: Horsham St. Faith's, Priory of Benedictine Monks

Pages 439-441

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

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Priory of Benedictine Monks,

Was dedicated to St. Faith, the virgin and martyr, and founded by Robert de Cadomo, (or Caen,) son of Walter de Cadomo, lord of Horsford, and Sibilla his wife, daughter and heiress of Ralph de Cheyney in 1105; on this occasion, (as historians relate,) returning through France, from Rome, where they had been in pilgrimage, were set upon by robbers, and imprisoned, till by their prayers to God, and St. Faith, the virgin, they were miraculously delivered.

After which they visited the shrine of St. Faith at the abbey of Conches in France, and being there kindly entertained, they vowed on their return into England, to give their manors of Horsford, and Horsham, to build a monastery here, in honour of God, and St. Faith, which they accordingly performed, placing herein two monks, of the abbey of Conches, to which abbey they gave this house as a cell, in the reign of Henry I. and Herbert, being then Bishop of Norwich.

The foundation deed was as follows,

"In nomine D'nj nostri Jesu Christi, Amen. Notum volumus fieri omnibus fidelibus Christi tam presentibus, quam futuris, quod Ego Robertus Walterj filius, et uxor mea nomine Sibilla edificavimus ecclesiam de Horsham, in propria terrâ, et in honore Dej et Sce Fidis, virginis et martiris remedis et salvatione animarum nostrarum et filiorum nostrorum, et omnium fidelium viventium sive defunctorumq; concedimus, eandem ecclesiam Deo et monachis de Conches in ecclesiâ Sce' Fidis, virginis, et martiris et huic a nobis, edificate ecclesie concedimus ecclesiam de Horsford, ecclesiam de Reydone, ecclesiam de Mor'. ad faciendum anniversarium Sibille uxoris mee, Decimam Abreton, et de Wibetone, et de Wilmordeston, et de Helmingham, et de Flemworth et de Wodetone, et de Semere, et de Bikebrome, et de Resham, et de Forle, et de Weling, et de Stanton, et de Sarlingham, et de Stokes, et de Hertham, et de Hou, et de unoquoq; manerio, unam acram terre ad congruendam Decimam, et concedo de omnibus procurationibus meis, quas fecero in Anglia semper decimas, huic ecclesie. Sciatis insuper quod ego predicta Sibilla concessi terram meam de Radham quam pater meus dedit in liberum maritagium. Sciatis insuper quod ego Robertus Walterj, filius, Sibillâ uxore meâ, Rogero et ceteris filiis meis volentibus, et in hoc bono operantibus predictam ecclesiam de Horsham et supra dicta omnia Deo et beate Fidei de Conches et monachis ejus concessimus et dedimus, ut a Deo, ipsa beatâ virgine intercedente, parent; nost. et nobis, detur venia; et illa que pro misit fidelibus suis, que nec oculus vidit, nec auris audivit, assequamus gaudia. Hec carta facta fuit permissione et affirmatione D'nj Anglorum Henricj Regis, et ordinatione et consensu Herberti, episcopi, si quis autem generis vel successionis mee, vel aliquis alius huic donationj voluerit obesse, noverit se Deo et sanctis suis et Anglorum regi contrarium, nec Christianum sed antechristum esse."

In 1163, the foundation was confirmed by Pope Alexander III.

John, son of Robert, gave by deed sans date 60 acres of land in Horsford, and Horsham, to the said priory, and confirmed the grant of his father and mother.

William, son of Robert, confirmed all the donations of the churches, and the tithes of his father Robert, son of Walter, and Sibilla his mother, in the time of Eugenius, the Pope, and King Stephen.

Stephen de Cressy, son of Roger de Cressy, confirmed the grants of his ancestors, and gave them his wood, called Suthwood, in Horsham, and pasture for their cattle in his park at Horsford.

Robert, son of Roger, lord of Warkworth, and Horsford, confirmed also the same, by deed dated at Horsford, on the vigil of St. Andrew the Apostle, 1279; witnesses, Sir John de Vaux, Sir Hamon Hauteyn, Sir William de St. Omer, &c.

William, son of Ralph de Hauvile, granted by fine in the 12th of Henry III. to Eustachius, the prior, the mill of Doketon.

In the 14th of Richard II. the priory was discharged of its subjection to the abbey of Conches, and was an English priory, and indigena.

The abbot of Sybton, paid a pension of — per ann. to this priory in 1426.


Saverinus, occurs prior about 1130. (fn. 1)

Bernard, occurs in 1163, and Deodate, in 1210.

Eustachius in 1227.

Beringarius, in 1246, &c.

Reymund, in 1281, and 1293.

1313, Hugh Targe, presented by the abbot of Conchis.

1338, Pontius de Severa. Ditto.

1349, Hugh de Pardinos, a monk of Conchis, presented by Sir Robert de Benhale.

Berard Sental, prior.

1356, Berengar Nathas, by the abbot, &c. of Conchis.

1380, Thomas de Bertelet, elected prior by the monks of Horsham St. Faith's.

1401, Jeff. Langele, by the Bishop of Norwich, a lapse.

In 1452, and 1462, Nicholas, occurs prior.

Ralph Norwich, in 1463.

John Risley, occurs in 1469, and 1492.

Lancelot Wharton, occurs in 1532.

John Salisbury succeeded, who with John Attimere, and five other monks resigned this priory to the King, and subscribed to his supremacy August 17, 1534; in 1553, here remained in charge 4l. in fees, and 2l. 13s. 4d. in an annuity: Salisbury was afterwards dean of Norwich, and suffragan Bishop of Thetford, and bishop of Man, in 1570.

It was valued at 162l. 16s. 11d. as Dugdale, and at 193l. 2s. 3½d. as Speed.

The seal of this priory in 1326, was oblong, of green wax with the image of St. Faith, seated under an arch and crowned; near to the head of the image, a dove, and under the image, the prior on his knees.

The site of this priory with the lordship, lands, appropriated rectory, and the rectory and advowson of Horsford, were granted about the 36th of Henry VIII. to Sir Richard Southwell of Wood-Rising in Norfolk, and Edward Elrington.

Richard Southwell, Esq. held it in 1588, who sold it to Sir Henry Hobart, the judge, and his son Sir John inherited it.

After this in 1707, Sir Ralph Hare, Bart. possessed it in right of Susan his wife, coheiress of Walter Narborn, Esq. and presented to Horsham vicarage, and in 1734, Elizabeth, lady Hereford; after this Narborn Berkley, Esq.

In this priory were the guilds of the Holy Rood, and of St. John Baptist.

Hugh de Cressi, lord, had a fair, a market, and a prison here, in the 41st of Henry III. which fair probably came after to the prior, who in the 14th of Edward I. claimed one, by a grant of King Henry I. and at this time, here is a considerable fair kept several days; beginning on St. Faith's day, October 6, where drovers out of Scotland, and the north of England, bring cattle, and for cheese, butter, &c.

Sir Henry Inglose wills in 1451, to be buried in the presbytery, by Ann his wife.

In 1528, Thomas Felmingham, Gent. of Hobbeys, wills to be buried in the priory church before the rood, where Jesus mass is kept every Friday.

In the 14th of Henry III. they had a grant for 2 parts of the advowson of Tybenham church, in the 31st of Henry III. for the advowson of Runham, and in the 34th for that of Haveringland. (fn. 2)

Several learned Carmelite friars were born here: (fn. 3) John de Sancta Fide, who died 1359. William de Sancta Fide, 1372. Robert de Sancta Fide, 1386. Benedict de Sancta Fide, 1410, and Peter 1452.

In this town was also an hospital belonging to the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and granted by them to this priory, as appears from the bull of Pope Alexander in 1163.


  • 1. Reg. i Ecc. Cath. Norw. fol. 24.
  • 2. The founder gave them the patronage of St. Margaret's Moses church in London.
  • 3. Bale de Sriptor. Britan. 136, 156, 441, 478, 593.