East Flegg hundred: Castor

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, 'East Flegg hundred: Castor', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) pp. 201-216. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp201-216 [accessed 20 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "East Flegg hundred: Castor", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) 201-216. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp201-216.

Blomefield, Francis. "East Flegg hundred: Castor", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810). 201-216. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp201-216.

In this section



Takes its name from some fort or castle that the Romans had here, where one part or mouth of the river Yar is said to have run into the German Ocean, though now stopped up by the sands. At the survey we learn that Godric was steward and took care of a lordship here for the Conqueror, which consisted of four carucates of land, of which 80 freemen were deprived, and also of 22 carucates; of all these, Ralph the Earl of Norfolk, made this lordship; there was at the survey one carucate in demean, and 2 acres of meadow, held by 21 tenants, the moiety of a mill, and 39 saltworks, 3 runci, 8 cows, 12 swine, and 360 sheep, valued formerly at 8l. &c. at the survey at 14l. and the abbot of St. Bennet had out of this lordship 6l. (fn. 1)

It was one leuca long, and 100 perches, one leuca broad, paid 44d. gelt, whoever were lords; and was granted by an exchange of lands in Cornwall, with all its customary dues, as Godric says.

This Ralph the Earl, abovementioned, is by many authors, and the Saxon Chronicle, said to have been born in Norfolk, and to be made Earl of that county by the Conqueror. But this seems a mistake; he was born in the province of Bretagne in France, and called by ancient French writers, (fn. 2) Ralph de Vacajet, lord of Guader and Montfort in Bretagne, and married Emma, daughter of William Filz-Osborn, Earl of Hereford, (the Conqueror's prime favourite.)

The Saxon Chronicle says this marriage was in the year 1070, at which time he was created by the King, Earl of Norfolk; and at the same time entered into a rebellion against the King, was forced to fly into Bretagne with his lady; some years after he undertook the crusade with Robert Duke of Normandy, and died there with Emma his wife; her obit was kept on February 10, in the abbey of Lyre in Normandy, founded by her father, to which she was a benefactress.

There appears to have been two Ralphs, Earls of Norfolk, one called in Domesday book, the Old Earl, (fn. 3) and expelled on the Conquest, and probably father of Ralph abovementioned.

Castor Bardolph's Manor.

How long this lordship continued in the Crown does not appear, but was granted by the Conqueror after this survey, or his son, King Henry I. to Hugh de Gornay, a noble lord of Normandy. Hugh de Gornay was witness to the Conqueror's foundation deed in 1089, of his great abbey of Caen in Normandy, and signed before Walter Giffard, afterwards Earl of Buckingham, (and one of the same name signed the confirmation deed of King Henry the First's priory of De Prato, (De Preè) in Normandy, founded by Maud his mother.

Le Counte Hugh de Gournay, and Hugh de Gornay, Sire le Bray, are on the list of those noblemen who attended the Conqueror in his expedition into England.—This family assumed their name from the town of Gornay in Normandy, where it seems they founded the abbey of St. Idevert, who had a portion of tithe in this town.

Hugh de Gurnay was living in the 19th of Henry II. and had a lordship; and in the 31st of that King, accounted for 100l. fine of his lands in Normandy, at the Exchequer there, and was to pay 100l. relief for his lands in England, which he promised. (fn. 4)

Hugh de Gournay was under age in the 3d of Henry III. and in the custody of William de Cantelupe, with his lands here, and had livery of his land here in the 6th of that King.

In 1219, the chapter of St. Idevert de Gornay let to Walter, dean of Flegg, two parts of the tithes of the demeans late Robert de Castre's, containing twelve score acres, also a messuage, with 80 acres. (fn. 5)

Hugh was lord in the 13th of that King, and granted lands in this town to Sir Roger Botetourt.

In the 22d of that reign, William de Cantelupe, junior, for 530 marks, had a grant of the custody of Julian, daughter and heir of Hugh de Gourney, and of her lands, and of her marriage, and also of the son of the said Hugh, if Maud his widow, then impregnate, should bear one.

But it appears that she was heiress, and married William Bardolf, son and heir of William Lord Bardolf, of Wirmegay in Norf. and in the 38th of that King was lord of Castre, in right of the said Julian, and had then a grant of free warren and assise.

In the 3d of Edward I. this William Lord Bardolf had the assise, and wreck at sea. At his death in 1289, he was found to hold this lordship in capite, as part of the barony of Gourney.

Julian his wife surviving, on whose death, in the 23d of the said King, Hugh was found to be her son and heir.

In this family this lordship continued, (as may be seen in Wrongey,) Tho. Lord Bardolf being attainted and executed for rebellion, in the 4th of Hen. IV. Sir Wm. Bardolf, his brother, inherited the estate, with Scroteby in Norf. Clopton in Suffolk, &c. but had not the barony of Wrongey. He died without issue in the 2d of Henry VI.

In the following year Richard Selling and Joan his wife, widow of Sir William, released this lordship, &c. for an annuity to the Ladies Anne Clifford, and Joan Phelip, daughters and heirs of the Lord Bardolf, who was attainted.

Anne was then the wife of Sir William Clifford, and after married Sir Reginald Cobham; Joan was the wife of Sir William Phelip, (son of Sir John Phelip of Donyngton in Suffolk) Knight of the Garter, treasurer of the household to King Henry V.

The above Sir William had the chief conduct and management of that King's melancholy funeral; he was also chamberlain to King Henry VI. who granted him the honour of Wrongey, and title of Lord Bardolf.

Ann, the other sister and coheir, dying s. p. this honour and title, with this lordship, came to John Lord Viscount Beaumont, by the marriage of Elizabeth his only daughter and heir.

William Lord Viscount Beaumont his son, succeeded, but being attainted as a rebel in the first of Edw. IV. the King granted it for life to Joan his wife, daughter of Humphrey Stafford, late Duke of Bucks, who presented to the church of Castre St. Edmund's, in 1463.

John Vere Earl of Oxford, as guardian to William Viscount Beaumont, in 1501, had a grant of the custody of the person, lands, manors, &c. of the said Viscount, during life, who died in 1501, and was buried in the church of Wivenho in Essex; and the said Earl married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Ric. Scroop.

On the death of this Lord Beaumont, s. p. it came to the Crown.

King Henry VIII. on July 14, in his 3d year, granted it to Alice Stanhope widow, late wife of Edward Stanhope, Gent. for life.

She probably married Sir Edmund Darrell, who presented in 1516, to the church of St. Edmund; and the Lady Alice his relict in 1532. The said King, for the sum of 207l. paid him by his faithful counsellor, Sir William Paston, and for the sum of 9l. 11s. 8d. paid into the hands of the treasurer of the court of augmentation, gives and grants on May 7, ao. 36, the manors, with all their rights, messuages, mills, cottages, lands, meadows, pastures, marshes, &c. court lete view of frank pledge, wards, escheats, heriots, fold courses, fisheries, of Castor St. Edmund and Trinity, Scoteby, Ormesby, Mautby, Filby, with the advowson of the church of St. Edmund, the rectory of Castre Trinity, and patronage of the vicarage, with the annual rent of 4s. per ann. issuing out of the said vicarage, belonging to the priory of Shouldham, paying 5d. per ann. for the annual rent.

St. Bennet's Abbey Manor.

This abbey had in the reign of King Edward, as we learn from Domesday Book, one carucate of land held by 4 borderers, one carucate in demean, half a one among the tenants, and 7 acres and a half of meadow, 6 saltworks, and 14 freemen who were under commendation of the abbot, held one carucate and a borderer; there were at that time also, 2 carucates of the tenants, valued at 20s. at the survey at 25s. and 14 freemen under the abbot's commendation, he deraigned of Godric. (fn. 6)

Grimholf, a Saxon, gave this lordship to the abbey soon after its foundation, by King Canute.

King Henry II. sent his precept to William Turbe Bishop of Norwich, (fn. 7) that he should permit William the abbot of St. Bennet, and Alexander his knight, (who held it under the abbot,) to have the advowson of the church of Castor, it being found by the inquisition of 12 men to belong to them.

After this a composition was made between the chapter of St. Idevert of Gourney in Normandy, and the dean of Flegg, (and probably rector of Castre) about certain tithes here, released by the said chapter.

This fee of the abbot's was divided after into several lordships, and held of the abbey.

Caster And Reedham Manors.

Alexander, above called the abbot's knight, was, as I take it, of the family of De Castre, and had the principal tenure under the abbot. This was about the year 1220, held by Sir Robert de Castre. In the 12th of Henry III. Matthew de Gunton, who married Isabel, daughter and heir of Sir Robert, was lord in her right, and for certain services, customs, lands, &c. granted to Thomas de Castre, and his heirs demanded, and paid to him 10l. per ann.

William, son of Matthew de Reedham, had in 1230, a messuage and 80 acres, held of the abbot by 50s. per ann.

In 1233, William de Reedham granted this, then called Reedham Hall, to Isabel and her heirs, to be held of him paying half a mark per ann. to him, and 50s. to the abbot; and she had wreck at sea here; Sir Robert her father was a benefactor to this abbey, and granted a messuage, with 80 acres, and the homage of Peter Fitz-Osbert.

Richer the abbot granted it to his niece, on her marriage, on condition that the lands found the convent 15 days provisions for their dinner.

In 1243, Matthew de Gunton and Isabel his wife, had a release for 20s. per ann. of their portion of tithes, (two parts of their demean lands) in Castre.

Robert de Castre had a grant of free warren in the 44th of Henry III. and in 1280, Robert de Castre, gave a messuage, and 30 acres of land to a chaplain, serving in his chapel, and two parts of the tithes of his demeans which were purchased of the abbey.

Sir William de Redham was fonnd to have a lordship held of the abbot, in the 3d of Edward I. and Oliver de Ingham to hold it of Bartholomew de Reedham in the 10th of Edward II. by the service of a barbed arrow, leaving it to John, his son and heir.

John de Castre was lord in the 7th of Richard II. and afterwards it came with Reedham Hall, to the Fastolfs.

Sir John Fastolf was lord of both in 1450, on whose death, John Paston, Esq. was lord; and Sir William Paston had livery of them in 1554, and so were united to the lordship of Castor Bardolf, abovementioned.

Vaux's and Bozoun's Manors.

There was an indenture, sans date, between William de Vaux, and Peter de Bozoun, about a free tenement and villains, which the Lady Maud de Bournaville, relict of Sir Robert de Castre, held in dower; witness Sir Oliver de Redham, Brian de Hickling, Laur. de Huntingfeld.

In the 21st of Edward I. Peter de Bozoun had a lordship: and in 1307, William Bozoun kept his first court.

In the 9th of Edward II. John de Vaux had a lordship; and in the 17th of that King, John de Catfield, clerk, and Alexander de Walcot, settled by fine on William de Vaux and Alice his wife, in tail, several messuages, a mill, 367 acres of land, &c. 7l. 2s 1d. ob. q. rent, 3 quarters of oats, 2 quarters of salt, half a pound of commin per ann. in this town, Burgh St. Mary, Rollesby, Clippesby, Repps, Bastwick, &c. and the moiety of the chapel of St. John of Castre.

This came after from Vaux to the Sparrowes, and William, son of John Sparwe, of Norwich, granted in the 37th of Edward III. to Hugh Fastolf, of Great Yarmouth, all his right in the manor of Vaux Hall, and advowson of the moiety of St. John's chapel.

But before this, in 1356, John, son of Alex. Fostolf, appears to have purchased it.

In the reign of King Henry V. Ric. Bozoun, Esq. was lord. From the Bozouns it came also to the Fastolfs, and was possessed by Sir John Fastolf in the reign of Henry VI.

And here it may be proper to give some account of this Sir John Fastolf, and the family of Fastolf was of great antiquity in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.

In the church of St. Margaret of Ipswich, about 200 years past, were to be seen the arms of Fastolf of Suffolk; quarterly, or and azure, on a bend, gules, three escallops argent, impaling Windham, Fastolf and argent, three chevronels, Watervile, quarterly.

In the church of Nacton, Fastolf and Windham, Fastolf, and gules, a chevron between ten cross crosslets, or, Kyme; also Fastolf and per pale, sable, and argent, a lion rampant counterchanged.

In other churches Fastolf, impaling Bedingfield and Tyrill. The Suffolk family also quartered gules, fretty or, Mandevile, sable, a cross flurt, or, Brakam, and argent, a bend between six cross crosslets sable, Tye.

The Norfolk family for distinction bore on their bend three crosslets or.

Of this family was Sir John Fastolf, knight, admitted a brother of St. Bennet's abbey, in 1304. Sir Thomas Fastolf, Knt. lord of Kim burghlys, whose daughter and heir married Sir John Woodhouse, lord in the reign of Henry IV. Agnes mother of Sir John Fastolf, and wife of Hugh Fastolf, Esq. who died about 1870; Margery, wife of Sir John Fastolf, daughter of John Holbrook, who died about 1387.

The first of the family I find to have had any interest in this town of Castre, was Thomas Fastolf, Esq. to whom Oliver de Ingham granted, in the 7th of Edward II. his right in the manor of Reedham in this town.

This seems to have been only in trust, as John Ingham, Esq. Oliver's son, inherited it; but in 1356, John, son of Alexander Fastolf, purchased the lordship of Vaux in this town; and William, son of John Sparwe of Norwich, granted or confirmed the same to Hugh Fastolf, Esq. in 1363, as is already above observed.

Of this family was John Fastolf, Esq. who married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Parke, Esq. relict of Sir Thomas Mortimer, son and heir of Sir Robert Mortimer of Attleburgh, who died before his father about the year 1386, leaving 3 daughters and coheirs.

This John was lord of Vaux and Reedham's, and Castor manors, held of the abbot of Holm; and was buried in the chapel of St. Nicholas, in the church of Yarmouth, where his obit or anniversary was yearly celebrated, leaving John his son and heir, the famous Sir John Fastolf.

Fuller in his Worthies says, In his minority he was a ward of the great John Duke of Bedford, 3d son of King Henry IV. regent of France in the reign of his nephew King Henry VI. he married Milicentia, 2d daughter and coheir of Robert Tibetot, (son of Sir John Tibetot, by Margaret his wife, daughter and coheir of Giles Lord Badelesmere in Wiltshire) widow of Sir Stephen Scroop, knight.

Richard Lord Scroop, soon after the death of Sir Robert Tibetot, obtained the wardship of Margaret, Milicentia, and Elizabeth, the 3 daughters and coheirs of the said Sir Robert, and married Roger Scroop, his eldest son, to Margaret, Stephen to Milicent, and Ric. to Elizabeth.

The espousals of Milicentia were made in Ireland, on the feast of St. Hilary, in the 10th year of King Henry IV. when John Fastolf, her husband, and Sir Gilbert Aumfrevil, Knt. were bound in a bond to Stephen Scroop, archdeacon of Richmond, and James d'Artois, a famous esquire, remarkable for chivalry, of 1000l. to pay to the said Milicentia yearly, during her life, at her chamber 100l. per ann. and it appears that she was living and received the same in the 24th of Henry VI. but died before her husband, without issue.

Sir John was bred from his youth to arms; and being a knight, attended King Henry VI. in his first expedition into France, in his 2d year; on the taking of Harfleur in Normandy, he was appointed by the king, lieutenant governor under Thomas duke of Exeter, the King's uncle.

After this, signalizing himself, he was made captain of Conde Norean and Alençon; governor of Melans; master of the household to John Duke of Bedford, (regent of France) deputy governor of Normandy, governor of Anjou and Main, sub-governor of the city of Manse, &c. created a knight banneret under his own banner at the battle of Vernoile in France, where Sir Ralph Bottiler, Lord Sudley, Sir William Oldhall, Sir Andrew Ogard, &c. were knighted, by the regent, and Knight of the Garter, in the 7th of Henry VI. and had the title of baron of Sinegingle in France.

Yet this remarkable great man, of eminent approved worth, honour and dignity, Shakespear brings on the stage as a buffoon, a mere Thraso, as a superannuated old man, at the time of King Henry the Fifth's accession to the crown, when he was not above 31 years of age.

He was born in the year 1380, and died November 6, in 1459, aged near 80 years; his will being dated November 3 in that year, and was buried in a chapel built by him of freestone, on the north side of the presbytery of the abbey church of St. Bennet at Holm, by his late wife.

By his will, he desires "his substance to be disposed of in the best manner, for the pleasure of God and his soul's health, &c. also for the relief, succour, and help of the souls that he was next obliged to prey and do prey for; for the souls of John Fastolf my father, Dame Mary, the daughter of Nicholas Park, Esq. my mother, and that the obit and anniversary for her be kept in the chantry of the chapel of the Holy Cross, in the church of Attleburgh, by Sir Thomas Mortimer, with placebo, dirge, and messe, by note, for the soul of the said Dame Mary and her ancestors; and that one of the monks or priests in the college by me ordained in the mansion of Castre, shall sing in perpetuity for her, her ancestors and good doers. I will that a marble stone of a convenient measure be laid over her in the chantry of Attleburgh aforesaid, with an image of laten (brass) according to her degree, with a scripture of the day and year of her obit, with 4 escotheons, 3 of her husband's, Mortimer, Fastolf, and Farewell, and the 4th of her ancestors arms."

By Sir Thomas Mortimer, son and heir of Sir Robert, who died before his father about the year 1378, she left 3 daughters and coheirs. By John Fastolf, Esq. her son Sir John; and Margaret a daughter, married to Sir—Braunch, Knt.

John Farewell, Esq. of Cowling in Suffolk, her third husband, died in 1401, and she in 1406.

His executors were Sir William Yelverton the judge, William Jenney, Esq. serjeant at law, John Paston, Esq. Thomas Howes, clerk, and William Worcester alias Botoner, who is said to have been his herald and chief steward, a diligent and curious antiquary; from whose MS. entitled Itinerarium in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, I have collected many particulars relating to his master. (fn. 8)

Amongst these executors there appears to have been disputes and differences much to the injury of Sir John's will, whose estate and fortune was immense; acquired from the great places that he enjoyed for many years; and especially from the surprising captures and plunders, he obtained in the wars of France.

As his fortunes were large, so was his charity and benefactions.

The chapel that he built of freestone in the abbey of St. Bennet, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was 22 feet long.

He built the south isle of the said abbey church, much decayed, anew from the ground, all of freestone, with a curious enarched vault of the same, 58 paces or steps (as Worcester says) long, and 11 broad, the length of its altar being 15 palms, and the breadth 5.

A short time before his death he founded a college of priests in his lordship or mansion house of Castor, wherein were 7 priests, and also an hospital therein for 7 poor men.

In the 6th year of Edward IV. from several receipts it appears that the priests had in money allowed besides their diet, &c. 40l. per ann. and the poor men 40s. per ann. each.

The sum of 20l. was given to build a new window in the abbey of Wendling.; to Bromholm priory 24l.; the abbey of Langley had 80l. lent to them. In 1442, Yelverton, his executor, is blamed for giving a receipt to Wainfleet Bishop of Winchester, for 442 marks of Sir John's money; the Bishop of Ely (Grey) had 140l; the Earl of Wiltshire. (Butler) had a legacy of 27l. and of two gallon pots, weighing twelve score of 13 ounces of silver; the Earl of Salisbury (Nevill) of 165l.

Twenty-three ounces of gold, and 3033 ounces of silver, were sold by his executors, who had large sums in their hands.

Thomas Howys, one of them, confessor to Sir John, a gray-friar rector of Castlecomb in Wiltshire, of Blofield and of Pulham in Norf. had about 4000 in his hands to lay out in repairs and ornaments of Churches and religious houses; and with part of this he repaired the church and chancel of Pulham St. Mary; and in a south window, set up the effigies of this knight in his coat and armour gilt, with his crest, a plume of feathers, argent, on a torse or wreath azure and or; with his arms quarterly or, and azure, on a bend, gules, three cross crosslets; impaling his lady's arms, argent, a saltire, ingrailed gules also the effigies of his lady kneeling; over her the said arms of St. George; also the arms of St. George.

Under these,

Orate p. a'i'ab; Johs. Fastolf Militis qui multa bona fecit in tempore vite, et Milecentie Uxoris ejus et Domini Thome Howes istius eccles. rectoris, et omnium Fidelium Defunctorum.

The seat or hall of Castor was a noble strong pile; Worcester says that the great hall was 59 feet in length, and 28 feet in breadth.

He had a city house at Norwich, in Pokethorp, opposite to St. Jame's church, called Fastolf's Place, where I saw a few years past in a room, used by a baker, for his office, several effigies, (in a bow window) of St. Margaret, St. John Baptist, and the Virgin Mary, St. Blase with a wool comb, and St. Catherine.

In a long north window many effigies of sacred and profane warriors, David, Sampson, Hercules, &c. also an engagement between two knights, which I take to have been that of Sir John with a French nobleman, whom he took prisoner in France, brought him to England, and kept him at Castor, till a very large sum was paid for his ransome.

A good part Of the Frenchman was then entire, had a noble presence, a prolix white beard; the effigies of Sir John much shattered, his upper part gone.

On February 10, in the 13th or Edw. IV. an indenture was made between Sir William Yelverton, William Jenney, serjeant at law, and William Worcester, executors of Sir John on one part, and Thomas Cager, and Robert Kyrton on the other, whereby the said Robert was appointed surveyor of the lands and tenements in Southwark, and other places in Surry, late Sir John's, to perform his last will; and also receiver of the rents; who was to have six marks per ann. and to be allowed besides all reasonable costs, that he shall do in the defence and keeping out John Paston, Esq. and of all others claiming by him.

Sir John Fastolf had by his will appointed this John Paston, Esq. eldest son and heir of Sir Will. Paston the judge, one of his executors; and had given to them all his manors, lands, &c. in trust, to found the college of the 7 priests, and 7 poor men in the manor house at Castre, &c.

"For the singular trust and love (says Sir John) that I have to my cousin John Paston before all others, being in every belief that he will execute this my last will."

But it appears that this John Paston, Esq. had entered on this manor of Castre, and was imprisoned in the Fleet of London, by Nevill Bishop of Exeter (on November 3, 1464.) then chancellor.

On his death, in 1466, he left it to his eldest son, Sir John Paston.

Soon after this, John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk laid pretences to it, and sent Sir John Heveningham, a cousin of Sir John Fastolf, to demand John Paston, Esq. governor of it, (being a castle well fortified (fn. 9) ) in the absence of his eldest brother Sir John Paston, to deliver it up to him; maintaining that the said Duke had purchased the said castle of William Yelverton, (that cursed Norfolk justice, as Worcester styles him) one of Sir John Fastolf's executors, when it was well known that Sir John had ordered it not to be sold, but to be a college for priests, and an hospital for poor men.

The said John Paston refusing to surrender it, the Duke came before it with 3000 armed men, and with guns, culverines, and other artillery, and laid siege to it immediately.

The names of the principal persons at this siege were

John Duke of Norfolk, Sir Humphrey Talbot, Sir William Calthorp, Sir John Heveningham, Sir Gilbert Debenham, Sir Thomas Wingfield, Sir William Brandon, Thomas and William Wingefeld, Esq.— Swansey, Esq. Hugh Auston, Esq. Sir John Waldgrave, William Debenham, junior, Esq. Robert Debenham, Esq.—son of Sir Laurence Rayneford, James Ratcliffe, Esq. Black John de Ratcliff; — son of — Stafford, Esq. Sir Philip Wentworth, Simon Fitz-Simon, of Essex, Esq. — Timperley, Esq. Richard Southwell, Esq. Gilbert Debenham, senior, Esq. — Brook, Esq. son of the Lord Cobham; — Bardwell of Herling, Esq. Herward, by Cromer, Esq. John Ratcliff of Attleburgh, Esq. — Lethum, Esq. — Plumestede; who, I presume, took it in about a fortnight's time.

The names of the defendants against the Duke were, John Paston, jun. Esq governor, in the absence of his brother Sir John; John Daubeney, Esq who was killed by a shell shot; Osbern Berney, Esq. Sander Cok, a valet; Osborn de Castre, a valet, &c. in the whole 28.

Worcester says that Anthony Lord Scales at another time took possession of it in the name of King Edward IV. under pretence that Paston was the King's villain, (though absolutely false) all which proved a great destruction to the goods, and effects in the same; but Sir John Paston, through the favour and protection of King Edward IV. had afterwards possession.

On July 6, 1460, the King granted him a warrant under his hand and privy seal, to take possession of all the lands and inheritance of his late father, or of Agnes his grandmother, or of Margaret his mother, or of William Paston, and Clement Paston his uncles; also the manor and place of Castor, or of any other estate which his father had, by way of gift, or purchase, of the late Sir John Fastolf, which lands had been seized by the King, on evil surmises made to him, against his deceased father, himself, and uncles, of all which they were sufficiently, openly, and worshipfully cleared before the King.

"So that all yee now being in the said manor, or place of Castor, or in any liflihode late the said John Paston's, Esq. by way of gift or purchase, of the late Sir John Fastolf, that was seised into our hands; avoid the possession of the same, and suffer our truly and well beloved knight, Sir John Paston, to enjoy the profits thereof, with all the goods and chattels there; and pay all the issues and profits thereof, as ye did unto his father, at any time in his life."

Another misfortune also happened to this seat or castle about the same time, owing to the negligence of a girl, who in making a bed, set fire to it by her candle, and did considerable damage.

And here I hope to be excused, if I observe, what a considerable number of worthy men, men of great renown, honour, and gallantry in this county of Norfolk signalized themselves in the wars of France, &c. in the three successive reigns of Henry IV. V. and VI.

In the Paston family it continued (as in Oxnead.)

William Crow, Esq. was lord in 1661. Roger Crow, Esq. in 1708. and 1724, from whom it came to his nephew John Bedingfeld, Esq. the present lord.

Horning Hall.

In the 6th of Henry IV. Edmund Redysham of Ubbeston in Suffolk, and Margaret his wife, conveyed by fine to John Clere, &c. 6 messuages, several parcels, of land, with a fold-course in this town, &c. and in 1438, the Lady Elizabeth Rothenhale, widow of Sir John Rothenhale, by her testament, dated October 16, 1438, to Robert Clere her son, all her utensils at Ormesby, &c. and to Edmund Clere, her son, all her utensils at Horning-hall, in Castre; and by her will dated the same day at Castre, requires her feoffees in the said manor; with those of Hunstede, Rothendale, and Claydon, by Ipswich in Suffolk, to grant them to Edmund her son, proved July 11, 1441.

Edmund Clere, Esq. was lord in 1457, and in the 34th of Henry VIII. Richard Newport and Margaret his wife granted the third part of Horning-hall in Castre, to Sir John Clere.

In the first of Edward VI. Sir William Paston was lord of it, and so it was united to the other lordships.

The tenths were 8l.—Deducted 1l.

Thomas Bransby, Esq. gave 10 acres of land in Hemesby, for the use of the poor.

Mrs. Cobb, &c. gave 55l. the interest to be laid out in coals for the poor.

The town was divided into 2 parishes, Castor Trinity, and Castor St. Edmund.

Castor Holy Trinity church was a rectory, anciently valued at 30 marks, and the abbot of St. Bennet had a portion of tithe valued at 20s. Peter-pence 2d.


In 1289, John occurs rector.

1293, William de Reygate, instituted.

1304, John de Fincham, presented by Sir Hugh Bardolf.

1318, Ymbert de Monte Martini, by Sir Thomas Bardolf.

1321, John de Blaxhale. Ditto.

1326, Nich. Boteman. Ditto.

1326, John de Cressingham. Ditto.

1338, John de Brincle occurs rector.

1348, William de Culchith, by Sir John Bardolf.

1349, Simon Norreys. Ditto.

1375, William Walcot, by the prior and convent of Schuldham.

1375, John Mayhew, D. buried in the chancel in 1390.

On the 8th of July 1387, Henry Bishop of Norwich appropriated this church to Shouldham priory, reserving to himself a pension of 23s. 4d. per ann. a vicarage to be assigned of 20 marks value, the nomination thereof to be in the Bishop, and the presentation in the priory, a pension of 3s. 4d. to the prior of Norwich, and another of 4s. per ann. to the archdeacon of Norwich.


In 1390, William Barton, vicar, nominated by the Bishop, presented by the prior, &c.

1396, Thomas Pickebene. Ditto.

1410, William Benne.

1410, John Smithe.

1437, Mr. John Semicroft, A.M.

1443, John Reeve.

1451, Robert Mersden.

1453, Robert Coteler.

1466, Mr. John Hornessey, alias Sybeton.

1473, William Uppegate.

1512, Richard Samson, by the Bishop's vicar general; quere if not after Bishop of Chichester, Litchfield and Coventry.

1528, William Heche, the Bishop collated, the person whom the Bishop nominated being refused to be presented by the prior.

1530, John Beeghe. Ditto.

1541, Richard Elsy, the Bishop nominated to the King.

1553, Richard Lache, by Sir William Paston. About 1554, Edmund Cosyn, S.T.B. was vicar, rector of Oxburgh, master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge, &c.

1560, Henry Beane, by William Paston, Esq. united to Castor St. Edmund.

1608, Ralph Same, by Sir William Paston; it was now consolidated to St. Edmund's church.

The present valor of this vicarage is 6l. 0s. 8d.

Here was the guild of the Holy Trinity, and that of our Lady, and the tabernacle of the Trinity, St. John's Altar, to which John Salmon gave 40s. also 4 marks to buy a table of alabaster for the altar, with St. Mary, St. John, the Evangelist, and St. John Baptist carved on it.

Thomas Manthorp of Castre Trinity in 1524, a benefactor to Trinity and Lady gilds; 6s. 8d. to the repair of the church, and 12d. to St. Margaret's chapel.

In the 56th of Edward III. Sir John Bardolf granted the advowson of this church to the prior of Shouldham for the better support of Margaret de Montfort, daughter of Thomas de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick; Catherine, daughter of Guy de Warwick, deceased; and his own sister, Elizabeth, nuns there.

On this appropriation, and a vicarage being settled, the nuns of Shouldham were taxed for the rectory, at 20 marks, and the vicar at 10 marks.

At the dissolution of Shouldham priory, the rectory of this church, and patronage of the vicarage, was granted by King Henry VIII. on May 7, in his 36th year, to Sir William Paston.

In the 12th of Henry III. Roger, prior of Hickling, granted to Isabel, wife of Matthew de Gunton, and their heirs, 20 acres of marsh, and Matthew grants to the prior in exchange 18s. rent in Rollesby.

The temporalities of St. Bennet's abbey in 1428, 70s. 10d.

The temporalities of Hickling priory in Castre Trinity, land and marsh 40s. 8d.

In 1370, William Rysing, pitanciary and monk of St. Bennet, received of the rector of Castor Trinity, 10s. per ann. pension.

In 1393, John Fastolf of Castre, son of Nicholas, buried in this church.

This church is decayed, and made use of as a barn.

Caster St. Edmund

Is a rectory, the old valor was 8 marks, Peter-pence 12d. the present valor is 4l.

The church has a nave, south isle and chancel covered with lead, and a square tower with 3 bells.


1303, Martin de Rye, presented by Sir Hugh Bardolf.

1312, Hugh de Drayton, by Lady Isabel, late wife of Sir Hugh.

1348, Walter Mayner, by Sir John Bardolf.

1349, William de Rokesden. Ditto.

1349, Roger Betts.

1361, John de Colley. Ditto.

1376, Richard de Killum, by Sir William Bardolf.

1379, Walter Merle. Ditto.

1396, John Pope, by Sir Thomas Bardolf.

1398, John Masham. Ditto.

1401, Richard Swayne, by Sir William Bardolf.

1427, John Sybeton, by Sir Richard Pozyngges, Knt. Sir William Babyngton, and feoffees.

1439, Simon Clerk, by Sir Reginald Cobham.

1447, John Shave, by John Viscount Beaumont, guardian of his son, William Lord Bardolf.

1459, Robert Croft, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1463, William Huick, by Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Joan, wife of William Beaumont, Lord Bardolf.

John Gryme, rector,

1501, John Wodehouse, by the Earl of Oxford, guardian to William Viscount Beaumont.

1516, George Naper, by Sir Edmund Darrell, Knt.

William Oldgrave rector.

1532, John Smith, by the Lady Alice, relict of Sir Edmund Darrell.

1540, John Horne. Ditto.

1560, Henry Beane, by William Paston, Esq.

1608, Ralph Same, A.M. by Sir William Paston; this year, September, the church of the Trinity in Castre was consolidated to this of St. Edmund.

1635, Robert Smith, by William Paston, Esq.

1637, John Claphamson, by the assigns of William Paston, Esq.

1667, Hamond Crow, by William Crow, Esq.

1667, John Gibson, by William Crow, and Thomas Bransby.

1708, Laur. Womack, by Roger Crow, Esq.

1724, Robert Clayton. Ditto.

John Bedingfeld, Esq lord and patron in 1740.

I find that Peter Amyes compounded June 25, 1601, for his firstfruits as rector of this church, presented by Roger Godsalve, Esq. and Henry Nerford, on June 28, 1637, and on November 11, 1639, George Lockwood.

In the chancel a grave-stone,

In memory of William Brereton, late of Caister St. Edmunds, Gent. who died Dec. 17, 1657, and Eliz. his wife; daughter of And. Clark, of Wroxham, Gent.


For Mary Crowe, widow of John Crowe, Gent. of Great Yarmouth, who died May 31, 1695, æt. 50.

Anna Charissima, conjux Joh. Claphamson hujus eccleste rectoris, obt. Oct. 21, 1649, ætat. 28.

Spe resurgendj hic jacent Tho. Bransby, Armiger, et Elizab. uxor. illa obt. 9 Apr. 1680, ille vero 24 Martij ætat. 56.

In - - - - - - - - -, cujus memoriam Rt. Bransby, Gen. frater amantissimus et nunc solus superstes, H.M.P.

Hic condita sunt Corpora Martha, et Joh. Gibson, Mariti ejus rectoris de Caister, illa obt. 12 Kal. Octob. 1707, ætat. 66, Hic. 5°. Id; Decemb, 1708, ætat. 70, and the arms, azure, three storks, argent impaling gyrony of eight, or and sable, on a chief of the 2d; three leopards faces of the first, Crow.

On the north side of the chancel a mural marble monument, with a bust, and these arms, gules, a chevron between three cocks, argent.

Gulielmus Crowe, Armiger hic requiescit, vir Genio et Ingenio rebus agendis pari, natus. In re lauta promus magis quam condus, munificus in egenos erogator, tam vivus quam moriens. Comis, affabilis, omnibus, ne inimicis quidem (siquos habuit) gravis; vitijs usq adeo non deditus, ut nescisse illa, non vitasse diceres, et pro consuetudine fuit illi felix indoles. Londini diu vixit et floruit, facultates amplas (favente Numine) conservavit, rerum satur, et natalis soli dulcedine illectus, rus secessit, ubi cum ineluctabilj morbo diu conflictatus, tandem succubuit, et occubuit, æquanimiter, fortiter pie, In ijsdem ædibus et vagijt et expiravit, sui desiderium relinquens Omnibus, qui illum penitus noverant, et exemplar imitandum. Natus est Ao. 1617, Obijt. 1668, ætat. suæ 51, cum trimestri, quod excurrit, spatio.

On another mural marble monument,

M. S. Johannis de Blennerhassettorum Stirpe inter Icenates ultimi. Rationi ortus plurimum spectabilis, villa licet in obscura generis splendor disparuit turbæ. Insignia a longis retro omnis custodita, atavos, proavos, majoresq monstrant Diæcesis familijs illustrissimis connubio fuisse junctos. laudj magis est quod moribus pollebat; suis facilis, urbanus omnibus, conjugis præsertim amantissimus. maxime, quod pietatem frequens coluit Anglicanam, et a parlibus abhorruit. abito lector et quoad potes, merere Characterem, obt. 11 Cal. Jun. A.D. 1704, ætat. 52; and these of Blennerhasset, gules, a chevron, ermin between three dolphins, embowed argent.

De Metton natus jacet hic Niger tumulatus, Presbiter elatus; sit ej deus et miseratus.

Laurence Womack, clerk, departed this life Dec. 30, 1724, aged 57 years and Womack, argent, a lion rampant, gules, impaling Gibson.

In the nave,

Here layeth Elizabeth late the wife of John Paston, on whose soule Jesu have mercy; the arms reaved.

Thomas Ely of Castre St. Edmund buried in this church porch, gave by will in 1514, 2 acres and 3 roods of land, to the finding of two lamps in the said church and chancel before St. Edmund.

In the church were the arms of Clere impaling Braunch, argent, a lion rampant, gules bruised, with a bendlet sable and Mauteby impaling Berney.

Here was a free chapel chantry, or college of Castre-hall dedicated to St. John Baptist, or the Evangelist, first founded by Sir Robert de Castre; and John Fastolf, Esq. father of Sir John Fastolf, removed the church which was on the bank, and almost devoured by the sea, to his own manor, called Castor Fastolf, valued.

Presentations to the Free Chapel, Chantry, or College of Castre-Hall.

In 1300, Adam de Fileby, Jeffrey de Carleton and Robert de Stanefeld, were instituted to this free chapel in the manor of Sir William de Vaus, on the presentation of Sir William de Vaus, and Peter de Bozoun.

In 1313, Nicholas Notteman, presented as above.

1323, Robert Byrchele to Sir John Vaus's chapel, by Sir John de Vaus; this turn was by agreement between him and Sir Peter de Bozoun.

1330, William de Auxilie, to the custody of the chapel in the late manor of Sir John de Vaus's, by Peter de Bozoun.

1333, Henry Brokhole, custos of the chapel in the manor of Sir Philip Lucyen, by Sir Philip.

1337, John Moyses, by John Bozoun.

1350, James Le Baynton, by William de Lee.

1450, Simon Norreys, by William Bozoun.

1377, William de Winston, by John Fastolf, senior.

1383, Thomas Heydon, by John son of Alexr. Fastolf.

In 1395, John Farewell, Esq. and the Lady Mary Mortimer of Attleburgh, his wife, were patrons.

1403, Robert Levesege, by Lady Mary Mortimer.

1404, John Lovenay. Ditto.

1444, Thomas Hosbys, collated by the Bishop, as a present from Sir John Fastolf.

1468, Mr. John Yotton, S.T.P. by the Bishop, a lapse.

1483, Mr. Robert Brampton, by John Paston, Esq.

The chapel was dissolved in the 2d year of King Edward VI. after the resignation of William Parker, the last master or custos, and granted to Sir William Paston.

It was well endowed, as will appear from the grant of it on January 14, in the 6th of King James I. to Thomas Corbet of Sprouston, Esq. and Robert Kemp of Antingham, Gent. in trust.

All that the late dissolved free chapel in Caster St. Trinity, with its appurtenances, and all tithes of corn, grain and hay, wool, &c. lamb, and all other tithes whatever, coming and arising from Sand-Marsh, and Kill-Marsh, and a close called Long-Lynes, and 120 acres of arable land in Caster, Ormesby, and Scroteby, some time belonging to the said free chapel; and also the annual pension of 4s. issuing out of the vicarage of Castre St. Trinity, and sometime belonging to Shouldham priory, &c.—to and for the uses following, viz.

To the poor of Castre, 40s. per ann. to be distributed by the minister and church wardens, for the time being equally, at Easter and Christmas 20s.; 8l. per ann. to the poor of Great Yarmouth, to be distributed by the bailiffs; the rest for ever to Ralph Same, clerk incumbent of Castre, and his successours for ever; on condition that he shall weekly there use the godly exercise of preaching, and expounding the holy word of God, for better teaching and instructing the people there.

This deed is inrolled in the chancery, Jan. 17, ao. 6 James I. and the estate is now vested in feoffees.

In this town was also the chapel of St. Margaret standing, in 1524; and in 1632, the lord of Castre is said to hold one acre, on which was St. Margaret's chapel.

In this chapel Sir John Fastolf designed to have erected a college for 7 monks, or secular priests, and 7 poor men; and to endow the same with 720 marks rent, out of his manor which he gave or sold to his cousin John Paston, Esq. who laboured to establish it till his death, ao. 6 of Edward IV. as did Sir John his son; but whether it was ever incorporated or fully settled, may be doubted.

That there were 6 priests and 6 poor men here, at the death of John Paston, Esq. will appear as follows from an old roll wrote at this time:

Paid to 6 priests, for the quarter ending at Christmas, the v yere of King Edw. 4.; 12l. 10s.; To them for their wages unto Estern 10l. 16s. 8d.; Paid to Mondaynet for 2 quarters unto Christmass the v yere of King Edw. 4. 13s. 4d.; To Suthold for 2 quarters 10s.; Item, to other 4 of the pore men there 40s.; Item to the priests in full payment unto Mighelmesse the 6 yere of King Edw. 4, 8l. 13s. 4d.; Item unto them in full payment unto Christemesse 9l. 13s. 4d.


  • 1. Terra Regis quam. Godricus servat, — Castre tenuere lxxx liberi ho'es. T.R.E. et mo. simil. iiii car. t're. tc. xxii car. et ex hoc. toto fecit R. Comes manuerum. mo. i car. in d'nio. et xxi ho'um. ii ac. p'ti sep. dim. mol. et xxxviiii sal. et iii run. et viii an. et xii pore, et ccclx ov. tc. val. viii lib. p. x et mo. xiiii et tam. h't. Abbas S'ci. Bened. ex hoc manerio vi libras. et ht. i leug. in long. et c. porc. et i leug. in lat. et vliiiid. de g. quic'q; ibi teneat. hoc. lib'atu' e. p. escangio de t'ra. de Cornualia cu' omni consuetudine ut Godric. dicit.
  • 2. Neustria Pia, p. 596, 627, 612.
  • 3. See in Acle, Walsham hundred, and in Fishley.
  • 4. Rot. Pip.
  • 5. Reg. Abb. de Holmo, fol. 40.
  • 6. T're. S'ci. Benedicti de Hulmo ad victu' Monachor.—In Castre. i car. t're. tenet S. B. sep. iiii bor. et i car. in d'nio. et dim. car. hom. vii ac. et dim. p'ti. vi sal. et xiiii libi. ho'es. sub. Abbe comdat. tantu'. i car. t're. et i bor. tc. ii car. hom. mo. iiii tc. val. xx sol. mo. xxv et xiiii libi. ho'es. sub. Abbe. comd. tant. q's Abbas derationavit sup. Godricu' val. xl sol.
  • 7. Reg. de Hulmo. fol. 4, 40, 60, 80.
  • 8. Itiner. seu Liber Memorab. in Coll. Corp. Xti. Cant. M. M. 101.
  • 9. King Henry V. gave license to build it as strong as himself should devise.