West Flegg hundred: Martham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1810.

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Francis Blomefield, 'West Flegg hundred: Martham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) pp. 168-173. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp168-173 [accessed 20 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "West Flegg hundred: Martham", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) 168-173. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp168-173.

Blomefield, Francis. "West Flegg hundred: Martham", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810). 168-173. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp168-173.

In this section


One part of this town, was a beruite to Algar Earl of Mercia's manor of Hemes, which Alwi, and Stigand, the Archbishop took from him, and gave it to his brother Almar Bishop of Elmham, (as may be there seen) who held it in King Edward's time, and was deprived of it at the Conquest; consisting of 2 carucates of land, 8 villains, 3 borderers, and one servus, 2 carucates in demean, one among the tenants, and 50 acres of meadow; at the Conquest it was granted to William Beaufoe, Bishop of Thetford, with Hemesby, as a lay fee; and with Hemesby, was one leuca and a half broad, and one wide, and paid 30d. gelt, valued at 26l. but at the survey at 29l.

In Martham 36 freemen, who were only under the protection of Almarus, Bishop of Elmham, had 5 carucates of land, and 10 acres, with 50 acres of meadow; and there were 16 carucates, then valued at 6l. but at the survey, at 8l. 10s. and there was a church endowed with 50 acres, valued at 50d. (fn. 1) Bishop Beaufoe held this also as a lay fee, by a grant of the Conqueror; and on his death, gave both to his see and successors, but Bishop Herbert, on his founding the priory of Norwich, settled it on that convent, by deed in September 1101.

Several families had an interest in these fees.

In the first of King John, there was a pleading between Walter de Basingham and the prior of Norwich, about lands here and in Hemesby, and the family of De Gunton, had a considerable interest.

Matthew de Gunton, granted by fine in the 8th of Henry III. to William, prior of Norwich, the advowson of the church of Martham; who received Matthew, and all his men, or tenants to be partioners in all the prayers of their convent; and in the following year, he also gave 9 acres of land here to master Adam de Wausingham, and his successors, in the church of St. Mary, of Martham, Adam paying to him 40s.

Roger de Gunton, probably son of Matthew, gave by deed sans date, (fn. 2) to God and the church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich, a messuage here, and 12 acres of arable land adjoining, late Mr. Adam de Wausingham's, free from all services, for the life of Isabell de Castre his mother-in-law, and after her decease, to the priory, paying to him and his successors 2s. per ann.—witnesses, Reyner de Burgo, William de Stalham, Knts. Robert de Mauteby, &c.

Walter de Malteby conveyed by fine in the 33d of Henry III. to Simon, prior of Norwich, a messuage, with 3 carucates of land in this town, and Hemesby; who gave to Walter 200 marks of silver; and all the land in Becham, which the convent held there, except the advowson of the church.

About the end of the reign of Henry III. in the time of William de Kyrkeby, prior, a survey was made of the prior's manor; and it appears that there was 217 acres, in the prior's hands, and several benefactions were granted.

Robert, son of John, son of — le Seneschal of Hemesby, gave lands to William the prior, paying 10s. per ann.—witnesses, Sir William de Redham, Sir William de Fleg, &c.

Robert, son of Elinode de Rollesby, confirmed the exchange of lands of his fee in Martham, made between Robert, son of Warine de Martham, and William de Kirkeby, the prior;—witnesses, Robert de Castre, William de Redham, Hervey de Vaux, Knts. Richer de Martham, &c.

Simon Poche and Julian his wife, were benefactors.

In the 15th of Edward I. the prior claimed wreck at sea, assise, free-warren, pillory, tumbrel, with the lete here and in Hemesby; and in the said year Roger de Bavent and Elizabeth his wife, claimed view of frank pledge in the manor here, with John de Methwold and Margaret his wife; Symon de Lynch, or Lincoln, and Catherine his wife; John de Crostweyt and Sibill (fn. 3) his wife, held as parceners; their wives were daughters and coheirs, with Julian, (wife of Simon Peche,) to John de Gunton, who died about the 5th of Edward I.

About the 24th of Edward I. when Henry de Lakenham was prior, certain customs, &c. relating to the priory were as follows.

The manor was valued at 9l. 16s. 7d. ob. per ann.—the aid paid was 74s. 7d. ob.—averages of the villains and tenants in soccage 20s. ob. q. that is for carriages of corn;—a mett of corn is mentioned, said to contain 4 summa's of barley, a summa, or seam being 8 bushels;— an ereing of land, that containing 2 acres;—the days works in autumn, were 356;—reaping days 241;—in My Days work, 20 days, binding days 222; — paid for ditching 22d. ob. — carriage of dong 22s. 3d.—making of barley 38s ob.—rent hens 103;—harrowing days from the soccage tenants 26;—rents from the turbarys in South-Fen, and butting on Marham Lyng, 4s. ob.

The temporalities of the prior in 1428, were valued at 21l. 18s. 11d. ob.

In the 20th of Edward IV. the prior had a patent for a fair here, on the 5th of August.

On the Dissolution of the priory, it came to the Crown, and so remained in the first of King Edward VI. when on November 9, the impropriated rectory, with the patronage of the vicarage, was granted to the dean and chapter of Norwich, and was confirmed by parliament, but this lordship was taken from the church and not granted to the dean and chapter.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth it was in the Crown, valued at 48l. 16s. 8d. per ann.

Hugh Ellis had a lease of it, and afterwards the Cleres, and Sir Edward Clere held it in —.

The rent of assise of the prior's manors here, in the 14th of Henry VIII. was 36l. 11s. 10d. - - perquisites of court 9l. 2s. 8d.

Laurence de Huntingfeld had a lordship in the 24th of Henry III. held of the see of Norwich, by half a fee; and paid an aid on the marriage of Isabel the King's sister, to the Emperor of Germany; and in the 46th of that King, a fine was levied between Robert, son of Warine de Martham, querent, and Amabilia de Martham impedient, of lands.

In the 9th of Edward II. John, son of William de Crostweyt, and Sibill his wife, convey lands to Robert, son of Warine de Martham.

In 1322, there were certain disputes between the prior and Laurence de Huntingfeld, who claimed from the tenants of the prior certain services, (fn. 4) but were compromised, on the prior's resigning all his right to the services of Laurence's tenants to him; as he did to those of the prior; and in the said year Bartholomew, son of Laurence de Hunting feld, and heir of Juliana, daughter of Ralph de Bavent, Knt. his mother, late wife of Laurence, quitclaimed to the prior, and confirmed the aforesaid agreement.

Robert de Martham, about the 13th of Edward III. granted to the abbess of the nuns of St. Clare, without Aldgate, 20 marks per ann. out of his lands and tenements here, in Horsey, Repps, and Bastwick, during the life of Catherine, late wife of John de Ingham deceased, son of Sir Oliver de Ingham, she being then a nun there.

Thomas de Hunting feld held half a fee in the 20th of Edward III. late Laurence de Hunting felds.

Cobham College Manor.

In the 24th of Henry III. Bartholomew de Burlee, or Brevyle held half a fee of the see of Norwich; and paid an aid on the marriage of his sister to the Emperor.

In the 5th of Edward II. Isabel, late wife of Bartholomew de Burlee, quitclaimed all right to the services of the prior's villains as held by her ancestors;—witnesses, Alexander de Clavering, Bartholomew de Somerton, Knts. and in the 35th of Edward III. Ralph, son of Sir Edward Gerberge, released to Sir Laurence Burlee or Brevyle, and his heirs, all his right in the moieties of the manors of Martham and Gillingham, with lands in Hemesby, Ormesby, &c.

Sir Laurence de Burley gave it soon after to the college at Cobham, in Kent, founded by John de Cobham Lord Cobham, by the license of King Edward III. Ao. 36, Novr. 18, for 5 priests, in the church of Cobham.

In the 39th of that King, Henry de Apuldrefeld, senior, William de Apuldrefeld, Henry de Apuldrefeld, junior, and John King, chaplains, grant to Reginald de Cobham, clerk, John Adeleigh, junior, John Tasborow, clerk, the manor of Martham in Norfolk, with all the lands they lately had of the gift of Sir Laurence de Burley of Kent, by deed, dated at Canterbury on Thursday after the feast of St. Lucy the Virgin.

In the 40th of the said King, Henry Bishop of Norwich gave license to Reginald de Cobham clerk, to give this lordship immediately, held of him, to the master and priests of that college; dated at Norwich, on the feast of St. Andrew.

In the said year, the master and fellows demise to John Lord Cobham, this manor for life on December 10.

In the 4th of Richard II. license was granted to the master, &c. of this college, to amortise it to the priory of Norwich for 16l. rent per ann. with lands, &c. in East Chalk in Kent.

Here it remained till the Dissolution, when it came to the Crown; and Queen Elizabeth, in her 28th year, November 23, demised to George Brook, Gent. the site of this manor, with all the demean lands for 21 years, at 4l. 16s. 4d. per ann. and on October 17, in the first of King James 1. a grant of the same, (paying the same fee farm rent,) was made to Sir George Hume.

The said fee farm rent at the request of Sir Christopher Hatton, was given in the 6th of that King to Sir William Hobart.

In the 14th of Henry VIII. I find Cobham Were's fishery let with Randol's flete at 26s. 8d.

Here the Conqueror held 10 acres of a freeman of Earl Guert, and Almarus had the care of him in the time of the Confessor. This freeman ploughed with two oxen, and the land was valued at 8d. and being under no particular fee or lordship, he was with some other freemen and their possessions, added to the lordship of Causton, a manor of the Conqueror's (fn. 5)

This made (as I take it) part of the manor of Meys in Causton, which was part of the King's manor in that town, and granted off by King Henry I. to the family of De Mey, (fn. 6) lord of it many years.

William Knightley of Norwich, Gent. as appears by his will, dated October 12, 1547, died lord of this manor of Meys here and in Causton, and left it to Agnes his wife, who was a sister of Sir Nicholas Hare, and George Knightley, Esq. his son and heir, was lord of it with the appurtenances in Hemesby, Clipesby, &c. in the 10th of Elizabeth.

The Conqueror had ejected 2 freemen out of their possessions here, one of Guert and one of King Harold's, who held under their com mendation 60 acres of meadow, and a carucate, &c. valued at 4s. but at the survey at 6s 8d. and belonged to the manor of Ormesby. (fn. 7)

Godric also in Martham had the care of 30 acres of land, and of 3 socmen who had 15 acres of land and 3 of meadow, and this was a beruite to the Conqueror's manor of Castre. (fn. 8)

The abbot of St. Bennet had at the survey 2 socmen who had 10 acres of land, valued at 12d. and besides this a freeman of that abbey who had 6 acres; and there were 3 acres and a half of meadow held by a blind man, valued at 12d. (fn. 9)

This on the dissolution of that abbey, was granted by King Henry VIII. to the see of Norwich, on the exchange of lands.

The tenths were 9l. 14s. Deducted 9l.

The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and was a rectory, valued at 37 marks, and given by Roger de Gunton with all its appurtenances, with the consent of Nicholas his son and heir, in the presence of William Bishop of Norwich for the redemption of his soul, to the prior and convent of Norwich. (fn. 10) Witnesses, Abbat Danyel (of Holm) William and Roger archdeacons, William de Hasting, Alan de Bellofago, &c. and this was about the year 1160, and was confirmed by the aforesaid Bishop.

John de Grey Bishop of Norwich, appropriated it to the use of the cellarer, with liberty to be served by stipendiary chaplains.

Afterwards, by consent of the prior and monks, a vicarage was endowed, by Walter Bishop of Norwich in 1246.


Thurbert was rector when Roger de Gunton granted it; on whose death, John de Grey Bishop of Norwich, collated Jeffrey, dean of Norwich to it; but after much suit between the Bishop and prior, before the Archbishop of Canterbury, the dean renounced his right on the Bishop's collation, and was instituted at the presentation of the prior and convent; and after this institution, with the consent of the prior and convent, he presented Master Adam de Wausingham his vicar; reserving to himself as rector, 12 marks per ann. out of the benefice, and settled 5 marks per ann. on the prior and convent.

On Jeffrey's death, the said Adam possessed the whole church peaceably, paying the five marks per ann. to the convent; and on Adam's death, Bishop Blumvile granted the whole church to the use of the monks.

In the 8th of Henry III. Matthew de Gunton, a descendant of Roger abovementioned, confirmed his grant of the church to the prior, &c. but Walter Bishop of Norwich, in 1246, settled a vicarage, with a manse, oblations, small tithes, with a moiety of the hay. (fn. 11)


In 1311, Thomas de Langhale instituted vicar, presented by the prior and convent.

1311, John de Eccles.

1321, William de Wicclewood

1342, Thomas de Halvergete.

1349, John Spyre.

William Wardeboys vicar.

1378, Andrew Read.

1389, William Northales.

1392, Robert Tynmouth.

1405, John Lanham, alias Salteby.

1449, William Bishop, succeeded Ed. Berry.

Robert Allen died vicar 1487.

On the dissolution of the priory, the patronage of the church came to the Crown, with the appropriated rectory, and were granted to the dean and chapter of Norwich, on Nov. 9, in the first of Edward VI. and so remains.

Ralph Ovington was vicar about 1600, and succeeded by Robert Lynsey.

1728, Js. Savage, by the dean, &c. of Norwich.

1758, Thomas Bowman. Ditto.

The vicarage is valued at 6l. 13s. 4d. and is discharged.

In the chancel a gravestone for Ed. Freeman Gent. who died July 12, 1649, aged 44.

One for the Revd. Mr. Thomas Dockwra, curate of this parish, who died in 1719.

One for the Revd. Mr. Richard Marris, who died 1728, aged 74.

Hic jacet Mr. Robt. Alen quondâ Vicari. huj. Ecclie, qui obt. 3 die mensis Martij AD. m.cccclxxxvii.

The church has a nave, a north and south isle, and a chancel.

The chapel of St. Mary in this church mentioned in 1506

On a window in the north isle,

Orate p. a'iab; Rogeri Clark et - - - - - - qui istâ fenestram fecerunt fieri honore beate Marie.

In 1479, the chapel of St. Blide of Martham, Richard Fullere of Norwich, tanner, in 1522, gives to the repair of the church of Martham, (fn. 12) where St. Blithe lyeth 10s. Here was the guild of St. John Baptist.

Roger de K. parish chaplain of Martham, in 1323, had license from the prior and convent, to teach grammar to 20 boys.

Alan Earl of Richmond had here, the land that two freemen were deprived of, containing 6 acres, and there were 20 in demean, and half a carucate. (fn. 13) This belonged to the lordship of West Somerton.


  • 1. Terra Will. Epi. Tedfordensis de Feudo—Martham, i berewita p. tinet. isti. manerio, ii car. tre. sep. viii vill. et iii bord. et i serv. sep. ii car. in d'nio. et i car. hom. et lac. p'ti. &c. t'c. val xxvi lib. mo. xxix lib. et Martham lit. i leug. et dim. et in lato. i leug. et de gelto. xxxd. In Martham xxxvi lib. ho'es Almari, com'dation'. tantu'. v car. terre et x ac. mo. ten. W. Ep. et l ac. p'ti. sep. xvi car. tc. val. vi lib. mo. viii lib. et x sol. i ecclia L ac. et val. Ld.
  • 2. Reg. i Ec. Cath. Norw. fol. 95, 105, 215.
  • 3. Sibilll is said to have married also John de Gymingham.
  • 4. Reg. 1. Cath. Norw. fol. 170.
  • 5. In Martha Rex. tenet i libu' ho'em. d' x ac. t're. sep. ar. cu' duob; bovib; et sep. val. viiid. et hoc. totu e. in firma sup' dicta.
  • 6. Reg. Wymer Norw. p. 57.
  • 7. Terre Regis—In Martham ii lib. ho'es, i Gert alter Heroldi com'dat. de lx ac. t're. et vi ac. p'ti. tc. i car. p et mo dim. to'et p. et iiii sol. mo. vi sol. et viiid. et et in censu Ormesbei.
  • 8. Terre Regis qua' Godric servat— In Martham Beruita xxx ac. t're. et p'tinet in Castre, et iii soc. de xv ac. t're. et iii ac. p'ti.
  • 9. T're. S'ci. Benedicti de Hulmo. —In Martham ii soc. x ac. val xiid. In Martha' lib. ho. S. B. vi ac. et iii ac. quas ten cœc; et dim ac. p'ti. val. xiid.
  • 10. Reg. Eccles. Cath. Norw. fol. 41. —Reg. 1. fol. 31.
  • 11. Reg. 1. Ec. Cath. Norw. fol. 42.
  • 12. Reg. Alablaster Norw. fol. 163.
  • 13. Terre Alani Comitis—In Martham ii libi. ho'es et dim. de vi ac. t're. et xx ac. in d'nio. semp. dim. car.