Tunstede Hundred: Bromholm

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, 'Tunstede Hundred: Bromholm', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) pp. 21-27. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp21-27 [accessed 20 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Tunstede Hundred: Bromholm", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) 21-27. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp21-27.

Blomefield, Francis. "Tunstede Hundred: Bromholm", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810). 21-27. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp21-27.

In this section

BROMHOLM, and the Priory

This was a beruite, or hamlet to the town and manor of Bacton, and not mentioned in the Book of Domesday, as it was included in the account of Bacton.

William de Glanvile, son of Ralph, or Robert, founded here a priory for Cluniac monks, (as a cell to Castleacre in Norfolk,) in the reign of King Henry I. Ao. 1113, dedicated to St. Andrew, and endowed it with lands here, in Bacton, Keswick, &c.

Bartholomew de Glanvile, his eldest son, by Beatrix, daughter of William de Sakevile, confirmed his father's grant, was sheriff of Norfolk, and Suffolk, in the 16th and 22d of Henry II. and grants by his deed sans date, to the monks of Acra, at Baketon, where his father lies buried, the land of Stanard the priest, and the church of Casewic, and the appertenances in Bromholm, the church of Ditham, with its appertenances; the whole tithe of his lordship of Baketon, and two parts of the tithe of Stainges, of Horham, and Alreton, of Langho, and Brug, belonging to his lordships: also of Sneseling, with all the tithe of his mills in Baketon, and Wilefort; two parts of the tithe of the mill of Honing, and one mill at Munisle in demean, with the land of Herfrid, the priest, and part of his wood, in the mill way to Takesgate; two parts of the tithe of the men, or tenants of Roger de Beketon, Geffrey, the priest of Honing, Walter Utlage, &c. all the tithe of Richard, son of Ketel, and the whole tithe of the paunage of Baketon, and Horham, and of the turbage (or turfs) of Swathefield two parts. And at his death bequeaths to this priory, Gristomb, and all that he possessed in the fields there, with his villains, to be free, and quit from all customs, except the King's Dane-geld. He also gave them the church of Paston, with its appertenances, with all his wood and land there, with his land at Guneho, and at Briges, at Aldehithe, and Lawceland, and of Editha de Briges, 30 acres by the sea, a meadow at Brereholm; the tithe of what was provided for his own house, a marsh, by Bromholm, &c. in honour of God, St. Mary, and St. Andrew the Apostle, for the health of his own soul, his father's, and all his friends living and dead;—witnesses, Richard, the priest, &c.

Ralph de Glanvile, brother to Bartholomew, was a younger son of William, the founder, and Lord Chief Justice of England, in the reign of King Henry II. and left by Berta his wife, daughter of Theobald de Valoines Lord Valoins, three daughters and coheirs, as mentioned in Bawsey, Freebridge hundred.

Bartholomew had two sons: William, who died s. p. in 1234, and Jeffrey who succeeded in the family estate; and in the 24th of Henry III. by the name of Jeffrey, son of Bartholomew de Glanvile, conveyed by fine, to Thomas, son of Richard de Baketon, free lands in Baketon.

On the death of Robert Lord Mallet, his son Robert being in rebellion against King Henry I. was deprived of all his possessions in England, and this manor, which he held in capite, was granted to Stephen Earl of Moreton and Bologne in France, (son of the Earl of Blois,) who by his præcipe to his justiciary of Suffolk and Norfolk, and all his faithful men, sans date, let them know that he granted to the monks of Acra, at Bacheton, and confirmed "whatever William de Glanvile their founder, had given, also all the land and men which he had at Gueneholm, with 16s. 1d. rent, and orders and commands, that they may enjoy peaceably in all his lordship, what they possess;"— witnesses, Robert, the sheriff, Robert de Sakevile, Roger de Hosa, William de Villers, &c. Stephen was after King of England, Earl of Morton, and not of Mortoil.

This præcipe, or mandate begins with S. as thus,

S. Comes de Mort. et de Bolonia, &c. Bishop Tanner calls him Earl of Mortoil, not knowing it was Stephen aforesaid.

After this it came as an eschaet to the Crown, and Richard Earl of Cornwall, son of King John, and brother to King Henry III. held it in capite, and was patron of the priory, as his son, Earl Edmund, was on whose death in the reign of Edward I. it came again to the Crown; Margaret, his widow, having some dower in the said capital lordship.

King Edward II. in his 6th year, in honour of God, and out of his special devotion for the holy cross of this priory, and for 100 marks paid to him, confirmed to the priory, the manor of Baketon, with wreck at sea, and all its privileges, on the payment of 20l. per ann. into the Exchequer, as a fee-farm rent for ever.

In the 20th of Edward III. Robert Ufford Earl of Suffolk was capital lord, and in the 15th year of Henry VI. William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk: in that year was an agreement between the said William, and Robert, then prior, that whereas the said prior and convent, held the 5th part of the manor of Buketon, called the King's part, paying yearly to the said Earl 20l. and his heirs male, and by virtue of that part had a certain, and view of frank pledge, belonging to it, valued at 34s. 4d. per ann. to the prior, &c. grants to the said Earl, the aforesaid lete, 34s. 4d. wreck at sea, &c. belonging to it, for his life, and the said Earl, covenants to pay the said sum of 34s. 4d. to the prior, out of 20l. annual fee-farm payable to him by the prior. This deed, or agreement was signed by the Earl and the prior, &c. on March 1, Ao. 14th of Henry VI.

The seal of the prior is round and large, about three inches diameter, of red wax, the impress being the west end of the priory church: under an arch, in the center, is the figure of St. Andrew, seated, a glory round his head, his right hand elevated, and holding a cross, probably like the famous one of this priory, as here represented and in an arch over this the bust of the Virgin, with the child Jesus in her arms.

The legend was, (but it is somewhat broken,)

Sigillum prioris et convent. Scj. Andree de Bromhold.

In the reign of Henry VII. it was possessed by the widow of John de la Pole Earl of Lincoln.

Benefactors to Bromholm St. Andrew's Priory.

King Henry I. gave the manor of Burgh to Vincent, the prior, which Ralph, son of Roger de Burgh (or Burgo) held of him in Burgh in Lothingland, by serjeanty, which serjeanty Ralph granted to Gilbert de Wesenham, and he afterwards regranted to the King, and the King confirmed the manor free to the convent, reserving the advowson to the Crown, and the dower of Alice, widow of Roger de Burgo for her life, and in consideration of this grant, the convent released to the King, a rent charge of 5 marks per ann. from the Exchequer, which the King had granted. (fn. 1)

In hunorem Sce CrucisAo. regni 29.—William, rector of the church of Burgh.

Of the gift of Sarah, late wife of Joceline de Burgo, 8s. 8d. rent in Gernemutha (Yarmouth.)

Of the gift of John de Annok, and Millisentia his wife, all the land, with the buildings in Yarmoutha, &c.

De dono Agnetis de Rollesby, 18s. 8d. rent there.

Elstan Kemp, gave 4d. rent in Lodowyestoft, or Lowistoft, (now Leystoft by Yarmouth,) and Walter de Blundeston gave Lambcote, and a marsh there.

Richard, son of Ralph de Paston, gave 12d. rent in Paston.

Gilbert, son of Nicholas de Repps, 12d. rent in Repps.

Confirmed by King Henry III. Ao. regni 18, February 16, he and his nobles being then at Bromholm, viz. Peter Bishop of Winchester, William Earl Warren, Roger le Bigod Earl of Norfolk, Phil. de Albini, Hugh de Spencer, Godfrey de Crawecumb, John Fitz Philip, Thomas de Hemegrave, Bartholomew Pecche, &c.

Dat. p. man. R. Cicestrens. Episc. et Cancellarij.

The said King, in his 13th year, granted them a fair on the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, and two days after, and a weekly mercate on Monday.

Brother William de Wytton, a monk of this house, was chosen prior, on the death of William de Tottington; the Bishop of Norwich certified, and the King confirmed him prior April 4, Ao. 6°. Edwardj Secundj.

Richard Earl of Cornwall, and Edmund Earl of Cornwall, were patrons of it, now the King was patron by inheritance.

Walter Thurston aliened messuages and lands in Bacton, &c. Ao. 34, of Edward I.

The said King Edward II. on April 16, in the said year, confirmed to this priory, the manor of Baketon, &c.

Sciatis nos ad honorem Dej et ob specialem devotionem quam habemus ad gloriosam crucem perquam altissimus, domum monachorum de Bromholm, prout sibi placuit, visitavit, necnon pro 100 marcis, &c. thus runs the preamble; then follows the gift of the manor of Baketon, Juxta Bromholm in comit. Norf. quod p. mortem Edmundi quondam comitis Cornubie ad manus celebris memorie dni Edw. genitoris nostri devenit, val. 12l. 9s. 7¼d. per ann. (then there is a reserve for the dower of Margaret, widow of the said Edmund) cum wrecco maris, and all privileges, paying 20l. per ann. to the Exchequer, in fee farm for ever, and an exception of the advowsons of the churches,

Teste, &c. Edm. de Malo Lacu Senescallo hospicij nostri, &c.

Edward III. in his 15th year granted license in mortmain for the priory to purchase the 5th part of the manor of Thomas Peche in Baketon, of Henry de Sidestrand, and Robert de Walesham, the manor being held of the King in capite, as of his honour of Eye.

Robert de Shelton, clerk, John de Hapisburgh, rector of Berdwell, conveyed another part, to found a chantry in their priory church, for a monk to pray for their souls.

Pope Celestine confirmed to this house the churches of Baketon Casewyk, Paston, Witton, and Dilham, anno pontif. 1, dat. Rom.

Pope Gregory, in his 13th year, 15 Cal. Oct. confirmed Hannings (fn. 2) church, appropriated to them, but a vicarage was reserved.

William, prior of Acre, and the convent, grant for ever to Bromholm, (fn. 3) the church of Witton, with the tithe of the manor land, paying xl - - - - - per ann. to Acre.—Manio, prior of Acre, and O. prior de Sancto Pancratio, confirmed it.

Sir John la Veile, or Velie, Knt. of Witton, and Lettice his wife, released all their right in the church of Hanninges for 20 marks, in the 1st of Edward III. and also in the church of Witton, and the mediety of Ridlington; the Veiles were lords of Witton.

Thomas de Walcote granted to Sir Roger Vetule (Veile) the mediety of Ridlington, and the advowson of Walcote.

John, prior of Bromholm, Ao. 11 Edward III.

William de Crostweyt, son of Godfrey de Skegeton, gave two parts of his tithe to this priory, sans date.

Gilbert, son of Thomas Knight de Ilketeshall, (fn. 4) gave them his tithes in Hedenham, 1252, and P. Abbat. Sancti Severi, confirmed it, viz. two garbs of the demeans of Gilbert, and also two garbs of the demeans of Roger de Mohaut in Cressingland, and of the demeans of Roger de Colville of Carlton.

Compositio int. priorum de Acra et prior. de Bromholm p. mandatum papæ Gregorij nonj p. electione prior. ap. Bromh. p. prior. et convent. de Castteacre, q. monaster. de Brom est specialis cella monasterio, Acrensi et immediate sibi subjecta, et antiquitus esse consuevit, viz. in priore et sub priore proficiendo et destituendo, monachos ponendo, recipiendo unum sive alium mutando, eand. domum visitando. Qd. prior de Castleacre infra mensem post obitum cujusq; prioris de Bromh. nominabit novum priorem, &c.

A controversy arising on account of the election of a prior here, it was determined at the order of Pope Gregory IX. by the prior of Osulveston in Leicestershire, and the dean of Rutland, that on the death of this prior, the prior of Castleacre should nominate 6 monks, 3 of Castleacre, and 3 of Bromholm, out of whom the convent of Bromholm should choose one for their prior; dated on Wednesday before Palm Sunday in 1229; but some years after Pope Celestin V. by a bull in his 4th year, granted this priory to be free from any subjection to that of Acra.

This convent held lands in fee farm of Castleacre priory, at the annual rents of 14 marks; but the greatest honour and wealth that this house acquired was owing to a remarkable occasion.

An English priest who officiated in the Emperor's chapel at Constantinople, having under his keeping a cross made of the wood of our Saviour's, on the death of the Emperor, brought it into England, and would not part with it to any monastery, unless they would take him and his two sons into it, as monks. This house complying, and setting up this cross in their chapel, there was so great a concourse of persons from all parts to reverence it, that the monastery became rich by the gifts of offerings made to it. Capgrave says that 39 were raised from the dead, and 19 blind persons restored to sight by it, and in 1223, I find pilgrimages made to the Holy Cross of Bromholm.

In the 15th of Edward I. the prior had the assise, view of frank pledge, a pillory, tumbrell, and wreck at sea, from Mokelhow, to the meer that divides the hundreds of Tunstede and Happing.

Edmund Earl of Cornwall died lord and patron of it in the 28th of Edward I.

In 1738, Samuel Buck dedicated to Miles Branthwayt, Esq. a neat print of the ruins of this priory.

Bishop Tanner (fn. 5) observes, that it is not clear whether William de Glanvil did not settle the Castleacre monks in Baketon town, and his son Bartholomew remove them to the extremity of the parish, or rather into the then neighbouring, and now united, parish of Keswick, to the place called Bromholm, where they continued till the Dissolution.

Speed and Weaver mention two monasteries at Bromholm, one of Cluniacs, dedicated to St. Sepulchre, the other of Benedictines, dedicated to St. Andrew, but seemingly, without good authority.

Besides the churches above mentioned, in the 30th of Edward III. license was granted to appropriate the church of Warham, in Norfolk, in the 8th of Richard II. to that of Bardwell in Suffolk.


Vincent, occurs prior in the reign of Henry I. probably the first.

Philip, about 1210.

Vincent, in the 21st of Henry III.

Clement, in the 42d of Henry III. as by a fine then levied between him, and William de St. Omer of 40s. in arrear, due to the prior.

John, Ao. 53, Henry III. and in the 1st Edward I.

William de Totington died prior Ao. 6, Edward I. and

William de Wytton, succeeded then.

William, occurs in 1317.

John, in the 11th of Edward III.

Robert, Ao. 14th of Henry VI.

John Tyteshale, in 1460.

John Macham.

John Bishop of Calcedon, in 1509: this was John Underwood, suffragan Bishop to the Bishop of Norwich, &c.

William Lakenham, occurs Ao. 22, of Henry VIII. and the last prior: 7 or 8 monks resided here, but it appears in 1466, that there were 10.

On its dissolution, King Henry VIII. in his 37th year, June 5, granted the site of this priory, with the manor, lands, appropriated rectory, and patronage of the vicarage to Sir Thomas Wodehouse of Waxham; the priory church was 100 paces (gressus) long, (fn. 6) and 25 broad; in it was the guild of the Holy Cross.

Bishop Rugg released to King Henry VIII. an annual pension of 4l. 10s. due to the see of Norwich out of lands belonging to this priory, which was valued as Dugdale at 100l. 5s. 3d. per ann. as Speed at 144l. 19s. 1d. ob.; the register belonging to it was in Bishop Moor's library, and is now in the library of the University of Cambridge.

In 1553, here remained payable in annuities 2l. 13s. 4d.

In 1597, Sir Henry Wodehouse was lord and patron, and presented to the vicarage.

John Smith, Esq. in 1614; in 1675, William Branthwait, Esq. and in 1746, Miles Branthwait, Esq. as lord and patron.


  • 1. Chartular. Bromh, fol. 2, 3, &c.
  • 2. Honing.
  • 3. Bromholm was a cell to Castle Acre, in Norfolk.—Castle Acre was a cell to Lewes, in Sussex, alias St. Pancrace.
  • 4. Filius Thome militis de Ilketeshall, fol. 34.
  • 5. Notit. Monast. p. 345.
  • 6. MSS. William Botener alias Worcestre, in college Corp. Xti. Cant.