Tunstede Hundred: Hofton

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: Hofton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) pp. 39-42. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp39-42 [accessed 21 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Tunstede Hundred: Hofton", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) 39-42. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp39-42.

Blomefield, Francis. "Tunstede Hundred: Hofton", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810). 39-42. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp39-42.

In this section


Or Hoveton, as it is wrote in the survey, takes its name from its site, from Ho, or Hou, a hill by the water. It was then a lordship belonging to St. Bennet's abbey of Holm, and was possessed by Ralph Stalra, in the Confessor's time, when there were 6 carucates of land, 4 villains, 6 borderers, and 2 carucates in demean, with 3 among the tenants, paunage for 16 swine, and 10 acres of meadow, and 4 socmen, a carucate and half, and 30 acres, 5 villains, 11 borderers had 5 carucates and a half, and one socman had 28 acres, and 7 socmen 110 acres, and 5 carucates and an half, valued then at 7l. at the survey at 100s. was one leuca and 2 furlongs long, and half a leuca broad, paid 18d. gelt, and there were 2 churches endowed with 16 acres. (fn. 1)

Several tenures, or manors arose from this, held of the abbot.

In the reign of Henry III. the rent of assise of the abbot's manor was 4l. 2s. 4d. arable land, 64s. meadow, 2s. 6d.

In the 9th of Edward II. all these persons were returned to have an interest herein.

The abbot of Holm, Jeff. Wyche, the lady Cockfield, John de Lenn, Ralph de Bagethorpe, Ralph de Grelley, William Flegg, William Claver, John Greengate, &c. and in Ashmanhagh.

In 1428, the temporalities of the abbot in Hoveton St. John, were valued at 12l. 7s. 8d. and Hoveton St. Peter's, at 112s. 9d. this last being the cellarer's lordship.

In the 24th of Henry VIII. William Rugg, abbot of St. Bennet's, conveyed the manor of Greengate to Robert Rugg, his brother, alderman of Norwich, which the said Robert held in 1558, with that of Spicer's, alias Berds, in Hoveton St. John, and St. Peter, Tunsted, Below, and Ashmanagh, the last sold to him also by the late abbot, his brother.

In the 26th of Henry VIII. Robert Kebyll and Agnes his wife, and Thomas Kebyll, convey to Sir John Heydon, the manor of Morehouse, or Morehall, in Hoveton St. John's 10 messuages, land, and 40s. rent, and in the 5th of Edward VI. William Russell passed it to Henry Palmer, and Mr. Warner bought it of Palmer in 1571.

In the compotus of John Waldegrave, chief steward of the Bishop of Norwich, in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, the rents of assise were 14l. 17s. 5d. the herbage farm, 101s. 1d. ob. the site of the manor of the late abbot, and of the demean lands 8l. the lands are specified in the account leased to Robert Pannell of Belaugh, Gent. and his assignees, by William Rugg Bishop of Norwich, and William Castleton, the dean and chapter, April 10, in the 30th of Henry VIII. and Hoveton's Lathes-manor, for 24s. 4d. for 30 years, 22s. for the fishery by Wroxham bridge, the moiety of Lathes manor was then in the Bishop's own hands.

William Rugg, son of Robert, was lord of Greengates, Spicers, or Berds, and Thomas his son held it in the 15th of James I.

The manor of Lathes is the Bishop's, and held by — Negus, Esq.

Another lordship in this town was after the rebellion of Ralph Guader Earl of Norfolk, added to the manor of Tunstede, by R. the crossbow man, by the command (as he says) of Godric, but Godric denies it, and Tunsted manor, at that time was held by Roger of Poictiers; (fn. 2) this contained a carucate of land and lay in Hoveton, which Robert, the Earl, gave with his wife to St. Bennet; to this there belonged 7 villains, valued at 10s. and there was a carucate and an half, when Robert gave it, and at the survey a carucate and 4 acres of meadow, valued then at 100s. when Robert, the cross-bow man, held it of Godric, who took care of it for the Conqueror; it was worth 10l. per ann. and now at the survey, together with Tunstede, at 11l.

Who this Robert, the Earl was, who in the Register of Holm, (fn. 3) (fn. 4) is said to have given this lordship, and in Domesday Book also, is called Robert the Earl, does not appear, the Register says he was there buried.

In the 10th of Edward I. the jury, on the death of Robert de Grelley, lord of Tunsted, present that John, son of Henry de Hoveton, held that manor, the fourth part of a fee, and in the preceeding year, Hervey, son of Peter de Hoveton, granted to his son John, a lordship here by fine, Ralph de Grelley and Margaret his wife, were querents; Ralph de Bagethorp, and Isabel his wife, deforciants, of the sixth part of the manor of Hoveton St. Peter's.

William le Claver and Catherine his wife, convey the sixth part to William de Crostweyt, and Margaret his wife, in the 5th of Edward III. and in the same year, he purchased the 3d part, with messuages and lands in this town, Belawe, Ashmanhagh, &c. of Hervey, son of Ralph de Grelley, and in the 20th of the said King, John Streth held one fee here, in Tunstede, &c. of John Bardolf, and William de Crostweyt, the tenth part of a fee here of Bardolf, and he of the Earl of Lancaster, which Thomas de Greylly formerly held.

Roger Boys, and John Whytewell held here the 10th part of a fee of the heirs of the Duke of Lancaster, in the 3d of Henry IV. sometime John de Hovetons, of which John de Whytewell had the sixth part, and William Boys of Hoveton, Gent. was found to die October 1, 1572, seised of the manors of Hoveton St. Peter's, and St. John's, held of the Bishop of Norwich, and William his son and heir, by Alice his wife.

This was afterwards sold to the Bendishes, and to the Blofields.

Thomas Blofield, Esq. of Hoveton St. John was living in 1763, and a justice of the peace.

The tenths were 2l. 10s. 5d.—Deducted 1l. of St. Peter's; and of St. John's 3l. 6s. 8d.—Deducted 1l. 6s. 8d.

In this town were two parishes, and two churches, one dedicated to St. Peter, which was a rectory, valued at 9 marks, and appropriated to the abbey of St. Bennet; Albert de Grelley, by deed sans date, gave and released all his right in this advowson to the abbey.—Peterpence 8d.


I find no institutions, being served by a stipendiary curate, till in the year 1625, Robert Booth, A. M. was instituted vicar, collated by the Bishop.

1633, Edmund Wythe. Ditto.

1666, Richard Alexander. Ditto.

1687, Matthias Earbary. Ditto.

1731, John Hunt, collated by the Bishop.

1733, William Hunt, by the King, the see void.

The church had been in ruins, and was rebuilt with brick in 1624; it is a small pile, without a chancel.

The Bishop of Norwich is impropriator and patron of the vicarage, and has the manor of Lathes in this town and parish.

In the church was the image of St. Mary, and the guild of St. Peter.

Henry Negus, Esq. had a faculty to build a vault on the north side of the church, for a burying-place.

Bishop Reynolds, on renewing the lease of this impropriation, reserved the sum of 26l. 13s. 4d. to be paid to the vicar.

The prioress of Redelingfield aliened to the prior of Hicklyng, lands here in the 8th of Richard II.

Besides the manor abovementioned, the Bishop has a manor called Axham's in this town, valued at 12l. 10s. per ann.

Hoveton St. John's was a rectory valued at 10 marks, and appropriated to the same abbey: Peter-pence 10d.

I find no institution till 1561, when Leonard Howlet was instituted rector, collated by the Bishop, on a lapse; after this it was served by a curate, and Mr. Peirse, curate in 1603, returned 58 communicants.

In the church were St. John and Trinity guilds; the lights of the crucifix, St. John Baptist, St. Mary, St. Christopher, St. Erasmus, St. Catherine, and the Trinity.

Near the communion table a grave-stone,

In memory of Thomas Blofield, Esq. many years justice of the peace, and deputy lieutenant; once mayor, and six times a representative in parliament for the city of Norwich, in all which stations he signalized himself for his eminent zeal and steadiness to the established church, his loyal affection to his sovereign and the English monarchy, and an unwearied diligence in promoting the interest, trade, and welfare of his country, his knowledge in which was equalled by few, his integrity exceeded by none; he died October 17, 1708, of his age 74.

In an upper south window of the church were the arms of St. Bennet's abbey, and those of Bishop Rugg, and in the lowest south window, azure, two bars wavy, ermine.

In this parish, in a wood, called Little Wood, one Margaret was killed in 1170; she was buried in St. Bennet's abbey, and esteemed a saint: See in Holm abbey.

The Bishop of Norwich has this lordship, and is impropriator.

John Butler in 1496, gave an acre and half of free land, &c. to the repair of the church.


  • 1. Terra Scj Benedictj de Holmo ad victu' monachor.—Hovetuna' ten. Rad. Stalra T.R.E. vi car. tre. sep. iiii vill. vi bor. et ii car. in d'nio et iii car. hom. silv. xvi por. x ac. p'ti et iiii soc. i car. tre. 7d. et xxx ac. sep. v vill. xi bor. v car. et dim. x ac. p'ti. et i soc. xxviii ac. et vii soc. cx ac. sep. v car. 7d. tc. val. vii lib. mo. c sol. ht. i leu. et ii qr. in longo. et i leu. in lat. et xviiid de g. ii eccles. xvi ac.
  • 2. Terre que fuer. Rog. Pictaviensis —Huic manerio (viz. Tunstede) addidit R. Arbal. p'. Rad. Comes foris fecit, ut dicit jussu Godrici sce. ipse negat. i car. tre. que jacebat in Hovetuna T.R.E. qua' Rob. Comes dedit Sco Benedicto cum uxore sua tc. vii vill et q'do Rob. tulit vii mo. vi et val x sol. tc. i car. et dim. et q'do Rob. tulit simil. mo. i car. et iiii ac. p'ti. tc. val. c sol. et q'do. Rot. Arbal. eam. ten. in manu Regis de Godrico x lib. &c.
  • 3. Reg. Holm. fol. 6.
  • 4. Reg. Holm. fol. 33.