Taverham Hundred: Rackheath Magna

Pages 446-451

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

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There were formerly two distinct towns, one called Great Rackheath, the other Little Rackheath, and each village had its church.

The principal lordship was in the King at the survey, and Godric was steward of it and took care of it for him; 3 freemen were deprived of it, who held 3 carucates of land, with 3 villains, 12 borderers, and 4 servi; and there were 5 carucates and 7 acres of meadow, valued then at 20s, but at the survey at 60s. it was one leuca long, and 8 furlongs broad, paid 15d. gelt, and 9 freemen in Beeston had 40 acres, and a carucate in the said value, belonging to this lordship, of which the King and the Earl had the soc. (fn. 1)

A family who took their name from the town seem to have had the chief part of the abovementioned fee in the 8th year of King Richard I. when Peter, son of Geffrey was lord.

Eudo de Racheia, Geffrey, and Simon his brothers, then conveyed to Peter, and his heirs, the advowson of the church of Racheia by fine; and in the fourth of King John, a fine was levied of lands here between Geff. son of Alice, petent, and William de Rakeia, tenant.

After this William de Rackheath and Ellen his wife had settled on them, by their trustees, 18 messuages, 186 acres of land, 2 of meadow, 4 of pasture, 2 of turbary, 20 of heath, and 6s. 7d. ob. rent in this town, Wroxham, Plumstead, and Thorp.

In the 37th of Henry III. Robert de Bruys had a charter for freewarren here and in Runham.

In the year 1300, Simon Est, presented to the church of All-Saints in Rackheath Magna, who, as I take it, was lord, and held it of the honour of Clare, being granted to the Giffards, Earls of Bucks, soon after the survey; one of the same name held of Adam de Lyons, a lordship in Helmingham, of the said honour.

In 1315, Andrew de Yelverton was lord, and in the 4th of Henry IV. Thomas But, citizen of Norwich, and Joan his wife, conveyed the manor of Blakenham-hall in this town, with 7s. rent, &c. by fine to John Yelverton, Esq. who presented to the church of All-Saints, in Rackheath in 1396.

His son, Robert Yelverton, Esq. lord of Rackheath, by his will in 1420, gives to Margery his wife, all the necessary utensils of his houses, beds, nappery, jewels, &c. all his lands, tenements, rents and services, late his father John's in Rackheath Magna and Parva, Yelverton and Saxthorp, with the advowson of All-Saints church in Rackheath Magna for life, for her support and her children, and after her decease to Thomas her son, under age, and appoints her executor.

Margery, his widow, seems to have remarried William Clopton: in 1422, the said William and Margery presented to the church of AllSaints, as Thomas her son did in 1435.

This Thomas probably died s. p. and William Yelverton, Esq. presented in 1488, who seems to be the grandson of Sir William Yelverton the judge: See at large in Rougham in Launditch Hundred.

After this James Helme, Esq. was lord, about 1520, and presented to All-Saints church in 1532 in right of his wife Anne, which Anne (or Amy) by her will proved May 22, 1551, widow of James Helme, appoints her body to be buried in the chancel of Rackheath church by her husband, mentions William her son and heir deceased, and his son William, her son Nicholas who had the manor of Yelverton, and Ann his wife; her daughter - - - - - - -, married to John Kemp, and appoints her sons Lancelot and Robert executors; she was sister and heir of William Yelverton, Esq. who died lord of this town in 1518.

William Helme, Esq. sold it about 1590, to Thomas Pettus, Esq. alderman and mayor of Norwich in that year, son of John Pettus, by Cecilia his wife, which John was son of Thomas Pettus, Gent.

In this family it remains, Sir Horace Pettus, Bart. being the present lord and patron; the arms of this family, gules, a fess between three annulets, or.

Pettus's Pedigree.

In the 6th of King John, Walter de Evermue, and his parceners, held lands to the value of 16l. here, &c. by serjeanty, and the payment of 2 measures of red wine, and 200 pearmains yearly into the exchequer, on the feast of St. Michael, and in the 53d of Henry III. Rohesia de Blukenham granted by fine to Robert de Marthum a windmill in Rackheath Magna, with the whole suit of all her men, paying one mark per ann for ever, Robert agreeing that she and her heirs, and the whole family living in her court, and belonging to her, or her heirs, should have the first grinding thereat and toll free, as often as they sent any of their family to the mill, and if denied, they might distreyn Robert on his land in Rackheath Magna, and Martham.

In the 4th of Edward I. Benedict de Blakenham of Blakenham in Suffolk, purchased by fine of Jeff. Fitz Peter and Joan his wife, 2 messuages and 40 acres of land, &c. with 20s. rent in Rackheath Magna and Parva.

John de St. Philibert, in the 10th of Edward II. was found to have a lordship here, and in the following year had a charter for free-warren here, in Eton, Hanney, Soleham, Hide, and Kerswell, in Berkshire;—Thomson, and Suthorp in Gloucestershire;—Westwell, and Adwell in Oxfordshire;—Leghes Parva in Essex;—Lackford, Cheleswort, and Flemton in Suffolk.

He was son of Hugh de St. Philibert, lord of Bray in Berkshire, and of Beacham-Well in Norfolk, brother, as I take it, of Roger de St. Philibert, whose daughter and heir Beatrix married Stephen de Scalarijs, or de Scales, between whom and Hugh a fine was levied of the moiety of Beacham-Well manor, in the 13th of Henry III.

The said Roger and Hugh seem to be sons of Hugh de St. Philibert who was living in the 3d of King John, and Albreda his widow had her-thirds assigned her in the 3d of Henry III.

Some make John de St. Philibert to be son of Hugh de Philibert, lord of Bray in the 3d of Edward I. son of Roger, who was living in the 47th of Henry III. and Roger to be son of Hugh, living in the 10th of the said King, and Hugh to be son of Nicholas, living in the 15th of King John.

About these times Pain de St. Philibert was also living, who with Ysolda his wife, granted to William de Pakeham, a messuage and tenement in the village of Thorp, with all the demean lands, advowson, homages, &c. of the freemen, and villains, to be held by them, by one pair of gloves of the value of 1d.—witnesses, Robert de Wyke, Adam de Gatesthorp, Thomas de Pakeham, Robert de Naketon, John de Weyland, Thomas, his brother, Richard de Boyland, &c. sans date.

John de St. Philibert abovementioned, lord of this town, held in the 16th of Edward II. the lands that were late Benedict de Blakenham's, and Joan his wife, daughter and heir of William de Hasting; and in the said year paid relief 100s. for the manor of Thormeton and its members in Gloucestershire: he married Ada, by whom he had Thomas.

In the 3d of Edward III. Henry Parson of Soleham in Berkshire, as a trustee, settled on John and Ada, and Thomas their son, the said manor, with that of Le Hyde.

On the death of this John, in the 7th of Edward III. John was found to be his son and heir aged 6 years, and had livery of his inheritance in the 21st of that King; he married Margaret, daughter and coheir of Edmund de St. John, son of Hugh de St. John, lord of Basing, and being a knight, was summoned to parliament in the following year, as lord of Basing, and was major of Bourdeaux in France, and a partition was then made of the inheritance of the lord of St. John, between Sir John, who married Margaret the eldest sister, and Luke de Poynings, who married Isabel a younger sister of Edmund de St. John aforesaid, and Amicia, another sister.

Edmund dying seized of Basing, Shernborn, Chanyton, and Warneford in Hampshire.

Sir John, in the 23d of the said King, conveyed by fine to John de Foxley, Richard de Bittering, and John de Askham, the lordship of Rackheath, with the services of divers persons, said to be held in soccage of Runham manor; about the same time he also conveyed to the King, his lordships of Bray and Kerswell, and the King in his 26th year, granted them to the college of Windsor.

In the 25th of that reign, Sir John sold to William de Edyngdon Bishop of Winchester, the manors of Westwell in Oxfordshire, with that of Thurmarton, and its advowson in Gloucestershire, for 200 marks, and his lordship of Chelesworth in Suffolk, to Sir Roger de Plays, and sealed with bendy of six, argent and sable: he died in the 33d of Edward III. without issue.

Sir Henry Inglos, by his will, dated the 29th of Henry VI. and proved July 4, 1451, (fn. 2) orders his manor in Rackheath to be sold, for the good of his soul.

After this it came to the family of Helmes, &c. William Helme was lord in the year 1570, and in the 18th of Elizabeth, in consideration of the council of his lawyer, (Edward Flowerdew, Esq.) granted him an annuity of 40s. per ann. out of his manors and lands in Sallows, Rackheath, Roxham, and Sprouston for life; this William sold it with the manor before mentioned, about 1590, to Thomas Pettus, Esq. who in the said year is said to be lord of Blakenham, and Burwood manors in Rackheath, Sprouston, Wroxham, &c. whose descendant, Sir Horace Pettus, Bart is the present lord.

Ralph de Beaufoe had the grant of a small fee held by 3 freemen in the Confessor's time, when there belonged to it 20 acres, and 3 borderers, with a carucate. (fn. 3)

Ralph de Beaufoe had a daughter and heiress Agnes, who brought it to Hubert de Rie, castellan of Norwich castle; whose descendant, Hubert de Rie, baron of Rie, dying in the 18th of Henry II. left two daughters and coheirs, Oliva married to John Marshal, nephew to the Earl of Pembroke, and Isabel, the wife of Roger de Cressi, as may be seen at large in Swanton Morley.

This Roger was son of Hugh de Cressi, by Margaret his wife, daughter and coheiress of William de Cheyney; Margaret had an interest here as appears from her grant of lands here, and in Wroxham, to the prioress of Carhow, by Norwich, in the reign of Henry II. which descended to her from her father, who was lord of Wroxham, which manor extended into this town.

William de Cheney is said to have a grant of this town from King Stephen, with the town of Hingham: Madox Formul. 154.

In the 3d of Henry III. a fine was levied at Ivelchester, (before Joceline Bishop of Bath, and Glastonbury, - - - - - - -, Robert de Cardiman, John de Brius, Osbert Fitz Walter, and John de Bajocis, justices itinerant) between Walter de Cadomo and Mary his wife, petents, and Robert de Norfolk, her son, tenent, of one hide of land in Rechiche, wherein Robert acknowledges the said land to be the right of Mary, and the said Walter and Mary, grant it to Robert and his heirs, to be held of them, and the payment of one mark, viz. half a mark at St. Michaelmas and half at Easter, by the 20th part of a fee, and the said Robert and his heirs were to pay the same to Agatha, late wife of Gilbert de Norfolk for her life, and the said Robert quit claimed for himself and heirs, to Walter and Mary, all his right in the land of Kirkeby in Norfolk, which was his mother Mary's, daughter of Alexander Fitz Tebauld.

In the 18th of Edward I. John de Hecham had the King's license to give to the said priory, lands and tenements in this town, Bastwick, Crostweyt, &c. valued at 5 marks per ann. and held of the prioress by 18s. rent per ann.

The temporalities of this priory in this town were valued in 1428, at 41s. 3d.

The abbot of St. Bennet of Holm, had also an interest here, 30 acres and a carucate, of which a freeman was deprived at the Conquest, with 2 acres of meadow, which and was purchased by a certain monk, for half a mark of gold, of Alwi de Colechester, (who had the care of it,) so that he held it without the King's license, it was valued at 16d. per ann. (fn. 4)

The monk here mentioned, was a monk of St. Bennet, and it continued in that abbey.

Lands and pastures in the tenure of William Helmes, late belonging to Carhow, granted to Sir Miles Corbet, July 13, Ao. 3 of King James I.


  • 1. Tra' Regis quam Godric' servat— In Racheisham iii lib. ho's iii car. tre et iii vill. et xii bor. t'nc. iiii serv. t'nc. v car. p'. et mo iiii et vii ac. p'ti. t'nc. val. xx sol. mo. lx ht. i leug. in long. et viii quar. in lat. et xvd. de gelto. hic jacent ix lib. ho'es in Besetuna de xl ac. sep. i car. et st. in code p'tio. Rex et Comes socam.
  • 2. In her will, dated 1542, she names John Capon her brother, appoints John, her husband, executor, proved in June following—Reg. Cooke, Norw. p. 45.
  • 3. He married Mary, sister of Sir Geff. Burwell, of Rougham.
  • 4. Reg. Beling. f. 62.
  • 5. Terra R. de Bellofago—In Racheia iii lib. ho's xx ac. et iii bor. t'nc. i car. p'. et mo.dim.
  • 6. Terra S'ci Benedicti de Hulmo— In Racheia lib. ho'. xxx ac. T.R.E. t'c. i car. mo d. ii ac. pti. val. xvid. hec t'ra forisfacta e. t. r. Willi. s. q' da'. monach. dedit dim. marca'. auri p. forisfactura p' positis. scil. Aluuj de Cole chestra et sic habuit terra' absq; licentia. regis.