Tunstede Hundred: North Walsham

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: North Walsham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) pp. 73-79. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp73-79 [accessed 20 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Tunstede Hundred: North Walsham", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810) 73-79. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp73-79.

Blomefield, Francis. "Tunstede Hundred: North Walsham", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London, 1810). 73-79. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp73-79.

In this section


The principal lordship of this town was given by Streth, a Saxon, to the abbey of St Bennet's at Holm; (fn. 1) at the survey, the abbot had 3 carucates and a half of land, held by 12 villains, and 5 borderers, 2 carucates in demean, 2 and an half among the tenants, and 8 acres of meadow, &c. a mill, one runcus, one cow, 31 socmen had 3 carucates and 50 acres, with 2 villains, and a bordeter; and there were 15 carucates, and 4 acres of meadow, valued at 100s.; it was one leuca and an half long, and one leuca and 6 perches broad, paid 18d. gelt, and the church was endowed with 30 acres. (fn. 2)

The abbot had also 4 socmen with 57 acres, and a carucate and an acre of meadow, valued at 5s. 8d. of two of these William Malet had the protection only, and there were 10 borderers, with 7 acres, valued at 10s.

In the 19th of Henry III. William de Felmingham quitclaimed to Sampson, the abbot, (who held this lordship as part of his barony) all his right in the common of pasture here and in Swanton for 8 marks of silver, (fn. 3) about the year 1250, the rent of assise was 5l. 16s. 5d. q. and there were 120 acres of arable land rented at 40s.

About this time Robert the abbot granted to Sir Richard Butler a chapel in his messuage at Walsham, and Richard, who was son of Sir Nicholas Butler, released to him all his right of common in the woods of Walsham and Swanton, the abbot then inclosing those woods, and had releases from Sir Reginald le Gross, William de Whitewell, and Bartholomew de Felmingham.

William de St. Clere, who had a moiety of the inheritance of Sir Richard Butler in this county and town, conveyed it by fine in the 57th of the said King, to William, son of William de Heveningham, to be held of him and his heirs by the service of a sparrow-hawk.

This extended into Swafield, Worsted and Westwick: William, son of Reymer had then an interest therein, Beatrix his wife being the relict of Sir Nicholas Butler, she being in court and doing homage with the said William; which shows how strict the law of homage was at that time.

William, son of John le Butler, by deed, sans date, gave to the abbot all the services of Ralph de Reppes, Hugh de Coleby, and John, son of Hugh, and Margaret his wife, and of Ralph de Reppes and Hawis his wife, daughter and coheir of William Franks of Felmingham.

In the 14th of Edward I. the abbot claimed view of frank pledge, the assise, &c. and Robert de Aldeby aliened to him in the 8th of Edward II. five acres of turbary; in the 15th of that King, an action was brought against him for taking a horse, an amercement in the lete for one that brewed against the assise, who alleged that there were divers fees in the town, but the man being a resident on the abbot's land, the jury found the abbot ought to have it.

In the 3d of Henry IV. the prior of Norwich, Fakenham, Pentney, and Bromholm, the heirs of Philip de Worsted, John de Mauteby, held here, in Worsted, Dilham, &c. a knight's fee of the abbot of St. Bennet.

About the year 1418, Clement Paston, Esq. John Horningtoft of Paston, merchant, Laurence de Thorp, and John Parson of Edythorp, came to this town, and entered into the pasture, &c. of the abbot, belonging to his manor, with their cattle, fed and trod it down to the damage of 40s. fished his ponds, &c. took 200 roaches, 200 perch, and 300 eels, to the value of 100s. and carried them away.

In the abbey it remained, till on the exchange of lands in Henry the Eighth's reign it was granted to the see.

The rents of assise of the manor were 15l. 6s. ob. herbage 6s. 9d. farm of the site of the manor, 53s. 4d.

The great gate, malthouses and outhouses, were standing in the 26th of Henry VIII. and let to Richard Eldon, Gent and Eldon was obliged to malt as many combs of barley as the Bishop thought proper, and to return 25 combs of malt for 20 combs of barley.

The coney warren was let at 13s. 4d. Pyford's watermill at 73s. 4d. Everbupes watermill at 4l. 13s. 4d. to William Hogan, &c.—The stall in the market at 53l. 9d.—Houses under the toll-house 4s 4d.—The foldcourse 10s.—The wnins on the heath 20s.—Toll of a fair on the vigil of the Ascension 8s.—The toll of the Thursday mercate, rents called Lord's rents 25l. 16s.—For perquisites of court and lete, with 47l. 3s. 8d. for fines, included in the space of one year; and it still remains in the see.

Boyland's Manor.

In the 6th of Edward I. Richard de Boyland and Maud his wife, purchased of Adam de Brancaster, one of the heirs of Nicholas Butler, a messuage, and lands here, in Worstede, Westwick and Swafield, which Beatrix, widow of Nicholas, held for life; and in the 24th of that King, Richard de Boyland and Elena his wife, daughter of Philip de Colevil, held it, and John was their son and heir.

In the 20th of Edward III. Roger Jeney and Richard de Boyland, were found to hold half a fee of the honour of Eye, which John de Smalburgh formerly held. The prioress of Redeling feld in Suffolk, aliened it in the 8th of Richard II. to the prior of Hickling, and the prior held it in the 5th of Henry VIII.

On the Dissolution of that convent, it was granted to the see of Norwich, and in the 37th of Henry VIII. it was aliened or exchanged, by William Rugg Bishop of Norwich, with Thomas Woodhouse, but a rent of 3s. per ann. was paid out of it to the see in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary.

In the 20th of Elizabeth, license was granted to Henry Woodhouse, to alien it to Thomas Gryme, Gent.

Lingarth Hall, or Lyngate,

Was held by Robert Elmham of North Walsham, at his death in the 17th of Edward IV. of the abbot; and Margaret Willoughby dying seized of it in the 35th of Henry VIII. and Catherine Heydon was found to be her heir and cousin.

The Earl Warren had a lordship here of which 2 freemen were deprived; there belonged to it 105 acres, one villain, and 4 borderers, and 2 socmen, and there were 4 carucates and an half, and 3 acres and an half of meadow, paunage for 4 swine, and a mill, valued in King Edward's reign at 20s. at the survey at 40s. (fn. 4) The abbot of St. Bennet had the soc, and the commendation or protection of them before the Conquest.

By an inquisition taken in the 3d of Edward III. the jury find that the Earl had but one acre of demean land, but several free tenants, viz. the abbot of St Bennet, the lord of Eye in Suffolk, &c. and that they ought to appear at the coming of the justices, sheriffs, &c. by 4 men and the reve, and to answer for the 5th part of the town, that they ought to be toll free in the market here and town, that the Earl had all the amercements of his tenants of the barony and soke of Gymingham, amerced in the lete of the abbot of those who were residents on the Earl's fee; (fn. 5) that the market was used in a place called the Heath, of the issues whereof the Earl had one moiety, and the abbot the other; that the Earl's tenants were hindered of their common in Loust-Fen, Gerdesmeadow, and Hilmore, by ponds made therein by the abbot and Robert Byran.

But by another inquisition it was found that Gerdes-meadow was the separate soil of the abbot, and as to Loust-fen and Hilmore, they were moors particularly belonging to the abbot, who made ponds there, and like his separate fishery; that the Earl's tenants of North Walsham and Swafield, ought not to common there. As to the market on the heath, they say that there never was any market there; that the abbot always had his market where now it is; that all the men of Gymingham soc were to pay toll there, as the Earl's having the amercement of his tenants; they say that the abbot and his predecessors held this hundred of Tunsted, in fee farm of the King, and by virtue thereof held a lete in North Walsham, within the precincts whereof the Earl's tenants are, and that the Earl had the amercements of those of his tenants only, who broke the assise of bread and beer.

By another, in the 12th of Edward II. taken at Gymingham, the jury say that the tenants of the Earl, free and bond of the soke of Gymingham, except the tenants of the new land, paid toll of all their corn and barley, but never paid toll for their beasts sold, nor the tenants of the new land.

Bryan's and Walsham's Manor.

Of this see in Felmingham. Robert Bryan was lord in the 3d of Edward III. Sir Henry Inglos ordered it by his will in 1451 to be sold.

In the 37th of Henry VIII. the manor of Bryan's and Walsham's in this town, Felmingham, Antingham, &c. with 90 acres of land, 10 of meadow, 10 of alder, were settled by fine on Edward Brampton and Catherine his wife, daughter of Robert Berney, in tail, by Robert Brampton, and Joan his wife.

Bromholm manor in this town, settled on that priory by the founder, at the general Dissolution was granted June 5, in the 37th of Henry VIII. to Sir Thomas Woodhouse. Henry Woodhouse had livery of it about the 15th of Elizabeth.

The tenths were 15l. Deducted 4l.

Near this town Bishop Spencer, in 1382, routed certain rebels of this county, under the command of John Lyster, or John the Dyer.

In the year 1600, on June 25, a terrible fire broke out, which is said to have consumed in two or three hours time, 118 dwelling-houses, and above five times as many barns, stables, malthouses and warehouses, the loss being then valued at 20,000l.

The market cross was built by Bishop Thirlby, in the reign of Edward VI. and after repaired by Bishop Redman, in 1600, and the arms of the see and his impaled, are on it.

The Church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and was always in the patronage of St. Bennet's abbey of Holm. In the reign of Edward I. this rectory was valued at 62 marks. Peter-pence 18d. and the rector had a manse with 40 acres of land. The church is large, has a nave with 2 isles, and a chancel covered with lead; the tower is down; but there are three bells in the lower part of the church.

In the reign of Richard I. a fine was levied between Nicholas Butler and the abbot, when Nicholas granted his right to John the abbot, (Ao. 7) in this advowson; and in the 15th of King John, in the vacancy of an abbot, the King presented Bartholomew, archdeacon of Winchester, to this rectory.

In 1261 Raymond de Servietta subdeacon, chaplain, and nephew of the late Pope Alexander IV. was rector of this church, and of Tryng in Hertfordshire.—King Edward I. in his 12th year, granted license to the abbot to appropriate this church, but it was not performed till some years after.


In 1298, Henry Sampson occurs rector.

1299, Richard de Ormesby, instituted rector, presented by the abbot; in 1299, the sexton or sacrist of the abbey of St. Bennet, had a pension of 20s. out of it, and two sheafs of the tenths of the abbot's demean lands.

1324, Roger de Hales, rector.

On December 9, 1338, Anthony Bishop of Norwich appropriated it to the convent of Holm, and it was to take place on the death of Hales; on this a vicarage was settled, and to be in the patronage of the abbot.


Hales resigning in 1331, February - -, soon after in 1339, Robert Champlyon was instituted vicar, presented by the abbot.

1339, William Cooke. Ditto.

1349, Roger de East Wykenham, presented by the King, in the vacancy of an abbot.

This vicarage was valued at 15 marks, and the appropriated rectory at 47 marks.

1398, William Douay.

1423, Nicholas Gedding.

1433, Simon Deck.

1434, Robert Garstang.

1447, Robert Strook.

1454, Robert Watton.

Robert Courteney, vicar.

1458, John Stanton.

1473, Edmund Ward.

1519, Christopher Bland.

John Bland vicar.

1525, Richard Bale.

1529, Gregory Madys, by the assignees of the abbot.

1541, Richard Dalison, by Roger Fen of Norwich.

1554, Mr. Reginald Wotton, A.M. by the assignees of William, late Bishop of Norwich.

1561, John Watson, by the Bishop.

1568, John Watson.

1584, Roger Hinxe.

1590, John Maurice.

1592, John Mawrys.

In 1603, William Grene occurs vicar, and returned 520 communicants.

Thomas Jeffreys vicar in 1699.

1736, John Fowkes, on Jeffrey's death, collated by the Bishop.

The vicarage is now valued at 8l. in the patronage of the Bishop. Bishop Reynolds reserved 30l per ann. out of the impropriated rectory of this church to the vicar.

The church has two isles and a chancel, and is a large pile; it had a square tower and 6 bells, but the tower fell down May 16, 1724; the length of the church with the chancel is about 45 yards; the breadth of the church with both the isles 26 yards, the tower was large and curious, 49 yards in height.

On the north side of the chancel near the east end is a beautiful tomb, having the effigies of Sir William Paston, in full length in armour, with this epitaph, on a black marble in letters of gold:

Pietati et beneficentiæ sacrumObdormit hic in domino Gulielmus Paslonus eques auratus, antiquâ et nobili stirpe ortus. Cognatione, nobilissimis familiis, conjunctus. Hospitahtate per annos quinquaginta quinqe, ei post mortem viginti duraturâ, clarus. Ad reparandas cathedrales ecclesias Bathoniæ et Norvicj, collegiumq; Gonevilli et Caij munificus. Pauperibus Villæ Yarmuthiæ beneficus. Qui scholam in hoc loco ad informandam juventutem, concionesq; ad divinum verbum disseminandum, redditibus in perpetuum assignatis, pie instituit, et mortalitatis memor hoc monumentum certâ spe in Christo resurgendi sibi vivus posuit, Ao. Dni. 1608, ætatis suæ 80.

This worthy knight (of whom and his family see in Oxnead) in 1607, articted with John Key, a free mason of London, for 200l. to erect and set up this tomb of alabaster and marble with his effigies in armour, 5 feet and an half long, and it is ornamented with the arms of Paston and his quarterings. On the school here he settled 40l. per ann. and 10l. per ann. for a weekly lecturer.

Here are several gravestones,

In memory of Hen. Fuller of North Walsham, Gent. who died aged 84, 1704, and his arms, argent, three barulets, and a canton, gules.

Orate p. a'ia Robi. Wyllis, Capellani, &c. with a chalice, and the Hoste in brass.

Orate, &c. Edmi. Ward, quond. vicarij huj; ecclie, &c.—Orate, &c. Roberti Wythe capellani.—Orate, &c. Willi. Roys qui obt. I Kal. Martii 1404, &c.—And arms, sable, a chevron, between three roses, argent.

In memory of Mary, wife of John Beresford of Richmansworth in Hertfordshire, 1676.

In memory of Hen. Scarburgh, Gent. who died 1683.—Also of Hen. Scarburgh, Gent. who died 1617, aged 56, and his arms, argent, a chevron, between three castles, gules.

In the east window are the arms of the see of Norwich, impaling those of Bishop Freake.

In the church a gravestone,

In memory of Mary, wife of Edmund Themylthorp, Gent. died July 4, 1685;—and this shield, quarterly, sable, on a fess between three antelopes heads erased, or, as many crescents, gules, in the first quarter; in the 2d, a cinquefoil, and semy of cresslets; in the 3d, sable, a fess, wavy, between three wolves heads, erased or, Wolferton; and in the fourth, a chevron between three cinquefoils.

Orate p. &c. D'ne Margarete Hetersete, que obt. 21 Decemb. 1397.

In memory of John Withers, Gent. died August 29, 1712. Argent, a chevron, gules, between three crescents, sable, impaling ermine, on a chief, a billet between two annulets.

One for William Philips who died February 11, 1718, aged 50, thereon an eagle displayed, impaling a lion rampant, bruised with a bendlet raguly.

Robert Elmham, Esq. was buried in the chapel of St. Thomas in this church, in 1472. Margaret his wife deceased, is mentioned; Margaret his daughter, and Joan his present wife, whom he appoints with Robert Brampton, the elder son of Thomas Brampton of Horsham St. Faith's, and John Brampton, brother of the said Thomas, his executors. (fn. 6)

His sisters Wilton, Reymes, and Bertram, gives legacies to several guilds, and to the church wills a priest to pray for him, &c. and a cross to be made standing on the altar of Thomas the Martyr, before the priest, which I will shall sing in the said chapel 20 years: he was lord of Fenhall.

In the church was also the chapel of St. John, St. Margaret, St. John's guilds, and that of the Holy Ghost, and of Corpus Christi;— the light of the Choif Crucifix.

On the porch of the church were the arms of France, semi of de luces, and of England quarterly, also the arms of St. Bennet's abbey, —sable, crosier in pale, between two ducal coronets, or.


  • 1. Reg. Abb. de Holm, fol. 6.
  • 2. Terra Sci Benedict. de Holmo— Walsam tenet sep. S. B. iii car tre. et dim. sep xii vill. et v bor. ii car. in d'mo et ii car. et dim. hom. viii ac. p'ti. silv. c. por. i mol i runc i an vm porc. xxxi soc. iii car. tre. et l. ac. et i viil. et i bor. sep. xv car. silv. xvi por. iiii ac' p'ti. val c sol. ht. i leu. et dm. in long et i leu. in lat. et vi per. c. et xviii de g—I. In Ecc'lie xxx ac.
  • 3. Reg. Abbat. fol. 64, &c. and 76, 189, 158.
  • 4. T're. Willi. de Warrenna—In Walsam ii lib ho'es cv ac. sep. i vill. et iiii bor. et ii soc. sep. iiii car. et dim. et iii ac. et dim. p'ti. silv. iiii por. sep. i mol. tc. val. xxx sol. modo lx S'cs. Benedictus socam habuit et com'datione T. R. E.
  • 5. Reg. Abbat. Holm. fol. 161, 175.
  • 6. Reg. Paynot Norw. fol. 3.