Hundred of Grimeshou: Stanford

Pages 250-256

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.

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Takes takes its name from the stony ford over the river that runs through the town: at the survey, we find it in the hands of many of the Conqueror's followers, but the most considerable part was held by Roger, son of Renard, and was that part or lordship which Alstan, a Saxon, held, in the reign of the Confessor, and that was two carucates of land, 8 acres of meadow, one mill, and the moiety of another; the whole was valued at 60s. per annum. (fn. 1) In the same village also, Roger held two carucates, and 36 acres of land, and four of meadow, valued at 20s. per annum, which he claimed by the gift of the King; the whole was one league long, and half a league in breadth, and paid 15d. gelt. (fn. 2) when the hundred was taxed at 20s. And of these freemen, the King and the Earl of Norfolk had the soc.

Mortimer's Manor.

The lordship held by Roger came soon after into the hands of the Earl Warren, who had large possessions in this hundred, and was held of him by the ancient family of Mortimer of Atleburgh; Sir Robert de Mortimer was lord in the reign of Henry II. and in 1218, Sir William de Mortimer (fn. 3) held here and in Bukenham-Parva, half a knight's fee, of the Earl Warren, and the Earl of the King; his grandson, Sir William, had, 11th Edward I. the grant of a weekly market here on Tuesday, and a fair for three days, viz. on the eve, the day, and morrow of Whit-Sunday yearly. (fn. 4) John de Thorp seems to have held it 9th Edward II. under the Mortimers, (fn. 5) and was returned then as lord; and 20th Edward III. Sir Constantine de Mortimer was found to hold half a fee here of the Earl Warren, late held by John de Thorp.

On the division of the estate of the Mortimers, this township came to Cecily, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Mortimer, then the wife of Sir John Herling; (fn. 6) and on her decease, it descended to her son, Sir John Herling, who left one daughter and heir, Ann, the wife of Sir William Chamberlain, Knight of the Garter, who enjoyed it. This Anne had to her second husband Sir Robert Wingfield, Comptroller of the Household to Edward IV. who died seized of it in right of his wife. In this family it remained till Sir Anthony Wingfield, Knight of the Garter in Edward the Sixth's time, conveyed it to Nicholas Bacon, (fn. 7) Esq. (afterwards Lord Keeper) with other lands in West-Tofts, Bukenham-Parva, and Sturston. After this, it was enjoyed by Edw. Coke, Esq. who was lord here 40th Elizabeth, (fn. 8) and then by John Barker, Esq. of the Ipswich family, and thence it came to the Pentneys.

Pentney, Esq. being the present [1738] lord.

Langetot's Manor.

Besides this capital manor of the Mortimers, of the fee of Roger son of Renard, there was also another lordship belonging to the same fee, held of the Mortimers; for in Henry the Third's time, John Langetot was found to hold here, and in Bukenham-Parva, half a quarter of a fee of Sir Robert Mortimer, (fn. 9) and he of the Earl Warren; and 34th Edward I. Nicholas de Langetot, and Margery his wife, held the same. But 20th Edward III. Sir John de Hederset, Jeffry de Hall, and their tenants, held here, and in Bukenham-Parva, half a quarter of a fee of Sir Robert de Mortimer, and he of the Earl Warren. By the inquisitions taken in 3d Henry IV. Richard Gegge, Edmund Hall, and their tenants, were found to hold the same; and by Margaret, daughter and heir of Gegge, it came by marriage to John Austeyn, Esq. who conveyed it, 21st Edward IV. (fn. 10) to Sir Robert Wingfield, lord of the manor of Mortimers, with which it continues united at this time [1738.]

Mondford's Fee

Was the next considerable lordship in this town, and was at the survey enjoyed by Hugh de Montfort, and had one carucate of land in demean, and two acres of meadow, held by a freeman, valued at 20s. per annum, but the lord before Hugh had only his protection, and the King had the soc. (fn. 11)

Stanford's Manor.

This fee divided into two moieties, one of which was enjoyed by Nigell de Stanford, and William de Bukenham, in the reign of King Richard I.; and 52d Henry II. by Cecilia, daughter of Alexander de Stanford, in which year William Gernun released to her by fine 40 acres of land, 10d. rent, and the liberty of a fold-course on her lands here, and in Bodney. In 1300, Hubert Hacon was lord; and 9th and 17th Edward II. Margery, relict of Roger Cosyn of Elingham-Magna, held it of Thomas de Caily; (fn. 12) but 20th Edward III. Sir John de Hederset, Edm. Hall, &c. held it by half a quarter of a fee of Adam de Clifton, and he of Richard de Belhouse, and Richard of the King; and 3d Edward IV. Richard Gegge, and Edmund Hall, of BukenhamParva, held it of John Rands, alias Reymes, Lord of Bodney, and he of the King; and by the marriage of Margaret, daughter and heir of Gegge, it came to John Austeyn, Esq. who conveyed it to Sir Robert Wingfield, and from that family it came to Sir Nicholas Bacon, and so to Sir Edward Coke; and about the reign of King Charles I. was sold to Thomas Garard, Esq. and his descendant, Sir Nicholas Garard, Bart. of Langford, died seized of it in 1727, and it is now [1738] held by his widow.

Ufford's or Campsey Manor.

The other moiety of Monfort's fee was held in the beginning of the reign of Henry III. by Richard de Burfeld, by the 6th part of a fee, of the honour of Hagenet; (fn. 13) and after this by Elen le Ward, Alexander Gizon, Rich. Hemmisbye, &c. who held here, and in BukenhamParva, a quarter of a fee of Adam Cayly, and he of Thomas Bellhouse, and Thomas of the King. In 20th Edward III. Sir Edmund de Ufford, James de Whitwell, and Alex. Doleman, were found to hold half a quarter of a fee of Adam de Clifton, and Adam of Rich. de Belhouse; but 3d Henry IV. it was in the monastery of Campsey in Suffolk, given to that house, most likely, by Rob. de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, for the Prioress was then found to hold half a quarter of a fee in this town, late Rob. de Ufford's, and others, held of John Reymes, as of his manor of Bodney. On the dissolution of the priory of Campsey, it came to the Crown, and was given by King Henry VIII. together with the manor of Tottington, in the 31st year of his reign, on 9th Dec. to Sir Rob. Southwell; (fn. 14) and 16th May, 40th Elizabeth, was purchased by Sir Edw. Coke, of Sir Robert Southwell; and in the reign of King Charles I. was sold to Thomas Garard, Esq. and Sir Nicholas Garard, Bart. died seized of it in 1727, whose lady now [1738] enjoys it, it being joined to Stanford's manor, and so all Mondford's fee is reunited.

Roger Bigot had also at the survey 60 acres of land and two of meadow, held by a freeman in the time of the Confessor, and Stanard held it of Roger, and it was valued at 2s. 8d. per annum. (fn. 15)

This was afterwards held by Walter Gyzun, 11th Edward II. and 20th Edward III. by William, son of Stephen Gezun; and in 3d Henry IV. by William Gesun. After this I meet with no account of it, it being united to some of the other lordships.

William Bishop of Thetford had lands belonging to his fee, viz. 60 acres of land, and two of meadow, which a freeman held of him, valued at 6s. 6d. per annum. (fn. 16) This was land belonging to his lordship and town of Tofts, which extended into this place, of which we shall treat under Tofts.

Rainald, son of Ivo, had also at the survey 14 acres of land, which two freemen held in the Confessor, Wihenoc had them delivered to him, but Ralph now enjoys them; this was valued at 2s. 8d. per annum. (fn. 17) The lands which Ralph, son of Ivo, held, came afterwards to the Earls of Gloucester and Clare, and this part was annexed very early to some of the other lordships, no account of it being found on any records that I have met with.

The tenths of this town were 5l. 10s. 6d.

The leet is in the lord of the hundred.

The road from Bury and Thetford to Swaffham and Walsingham lies through this village: a modern author (fn. 18) asserts that travellers find here one good inn, but this may be found, by sad experience, to be a mistake.

The Church is dedicated to All-Saints, and is built of brick, &c.; it has been a regular and neat pile, consisting of a nave, north and south isles, and a chancel, but is now in a very sordid and ruinous condition, both church and chancel being for the most part unpaved, the timber of the roof greatly decayed, several good windows or lights worked up, and by no means kept as becomes a place dedicated to the service of God. (fn. 19)

The nave is in length about 34 feet, and in breadth, including both the isles, about 50, and is covered with lead, as both the isles formerly were, of which they were stripped some years past by the churchwardens, &c. and at present the south isle is covered with tile, and the north with reed. These isles seem to have been additions to the body of the church, erected by some pious persons, as chapels or chantries. (fn. 20) The chancel is in length about 30 feet, and in breadth about 20; both on the south and north side of it there have been chapels annexed, or other buildings, as appears from the ruinous heaps of stones which still remain.

At the west end of the nave stands a tower of flint, round as high as the roof of the nave, and from thence octangular, in which hang three bells, one of which is broke.

Here were anciently in this church, the arms of the Earls of Clare.

Beauchamp Earl of Warwick.

Mortimer of Atleburgh.

England, and of Fitz-John, who bore quaterly or and gul. a border vairy az. and arg. (fn. 21)


Henry III. Rob. de Grenewesvill. Robert de Mortimer.

Robert de Thorp occurs rector in the beginning of Edward I. (fn. 22)

14th Edw. I. Roger de Hales, rector; this year Sir William de Mortimer sued the Prior of Shouldham for the presentation of this church, and having recovered it, granted it to Benedict Prior, and the Convent of Shouldham; and on the 21st April, 1301, it was appropriated, and the endowment of a vicarage was left to the Bishop of Norwich, and his successour, to take place on the death of the present rector Hales. But before this it appears that the Prior and Convent of Castle-Acre had two parts of the tithes of the demeans of Sir Rob. de Mortimer, confirmed to them by Simon Bishop of Norwich, and we find in 1428, the Prior charged for them at 15s.


Were nominated by the Bishop of Norwich to the Prior of Shouldham, who presented them.

1301, 3 Octob. John de Reynham.

1342, William de Osberston.

John de Brockford.

1352, 22 June, William Kerr, on the death of Brockford.

1372, 20 April, Adam de Aldeby.

1401, 24 May, Godfrey de Ilsyngton.

1409, 20 May, John Ivynge, on the resignation of Ilsyngton.

1416, 1 July, Peter Feld, on the resignation of Ivynge; he had the church of Sapeston, and exchanged with Ivynge.

1418, 29 July, Henry Boold, on the resignation of Feld; he was vicar of Yakesle in Suffolk, and exchanged with Feld.

1419, 16 Jan. John Balls, on the resignation of Boold; he was vicar of Beding field in Suffolk, and exchanged with Boold John Boor. (fn. 23)

1446, 23 July, Rob. Lakyngheath, on the resignation of Boor. Rob. Gogeon.

1479, 21 Oct. John Parker, on the death of Gogeon.

1492, 4 May, John Baldewyn. Collated by the Bishop.

1497, 22 Nov. Jeffery Warner, on the resignation of Baldewyn.

1515, 8 Feb. William Lupton, on the resignation of Warner; the last presented by the Prior.

1563, 22 Sept. Rich. Wingfield, on the death of the last vicar. The Queen.

1587, 22 April, Roger Jeffrey, on the resignation of the last vicar. (fn. 24)

The Queen. In his reply to King James's queries in 1603, he observes that there were 76 communicants.

1628, 26 June, John Shelton, on the death of Jeffrey. The King, in the vacancy of the see of Ely.

1634, 2 June, William Grave, A. M. on the cession of the last vicar. Henry Hutchenson of London this turn by grant of the Bishop of Ely.

Thomas Lambert. Bishop of Ely.

1662, 17 Dec. William Mundford, A. M. on the death of Lambert. The Bishop of Ely.

1678, 9 May, William Constable, A. B. on the death of the last vicar. The King.

1690, 27 June, Thomas Roberts. The King, by lapse.

1702, 29 August, Samuel Rudland, on the cession of Roberts. The Bishop of Ely.

1718, 28 Octob. William Tanner, on the death of Rudland. The Bishop of Ely. He was vicar of Girston, and now rector of Reddenhall and Topcroft.

1723, 16 Nov. William Henman, A. M. on the resignation of Tanner. The King. He was rector of Cressingham-Magna.

1730, 16 March, The Rev. Mr. John Edgerly, A. B. collated by the Bishop of Norwich, by lapse, the Bishop of Ely is patron.

This vicarage is valued in the King's Books at 5l. 13s. 1d. ob. and is discharged, being returned of the clear yearly value of 18l. per annum.


  • 1. Terre Rogeri filij Renardi. Hund. de Grimeshou. (Domesd. fol. 281.) Stanforda, ten. Alstanus T. R. E. ii. car. terre semp. v. vill. et ii. bor. tunc v. serv. et post. mo. ii. viii. acr. prati, semp. in dnio. ii. car. tunc et post i. car. houm. m°. ii. bov. semp. i. mol. et dim. tunc et modo ii. run. tunc viii. an. modo xii. tunc viii. por. modo x. tunc ii. ov. modo iiii. vigint. tunc val. et modo lx. sol. In eadem villa sunt viii. lib. hoes. de ii. car. tre. et xxxvi. acr. et i. bor. et i. ser. iiii. acr. prati, tunc iiii. car. m°. ii. semp. val. xx.s. hoc reclamat de dono Regis, totum habet i. leug. in long. et dim. in lato, et red. de Gelto xv.d. de xx.s. et sup. hos Rex soc. et Comes hab.
  • 2. Danegelt was a tribute which the Danes imposed on the Saxons, or English, upon their frequent incursions, as the arbitrary terms of peace, and departure, and became a yearly tribute or pension, paid to them under King Etheldred; the Confessor is said to have remitted this tax, but it appears the Conqueror kept it up, and raised it as often as he thought proper; every town and hundred had its gelt or tax, and it was severely exacted and augmented by King William II. In the Confessor's time, it seems to be a tax of 12d. on every hide of land; Huntingdon computes it at 12s. on each hide, Brampton at 3d. on each bovate or oxgang, and every town was to bear a proportion according to the taxation laid on the hundred.
  • 3. Testa de Nevill, p. 311. See more of this family in Attleburgh.
  • 4. Cart. 11 Ed. 1. N. 28.
  • 5. Nom. Villar. Inquis. Ed. 3.
  • 6. Fin. div. Com. 3 H. 4. L. 1, N. 64.
  • 7. Ped. Fin. Term. Trin. 1 Ed. 6. N. 23.
  • 8. Hill. Term. 4 Eliz. N. 148. Coke was afterwards Lord Chief Justice.
  • 9. See in Bukenham-Parva.
  • 10. Fin. Norf. 21 Ed. 4. L. 2. N. 38.
  • 11. Terra Hug. de Monteforti. H. de Grimeshow. In Estanforda ten. i. lib. ho. i. car. terre semp. in dnio. i. car. et viii. vill. et i. bor. ii. acr. prati, semp. dim. car. hom. et val. xx.s. sed ipse red. xv. et super hunc non habuit antec. ejus nisi comend. tant. et Rex. socham. (Domesd. fol. 235.)
  • 12. Rot. de Eschaet. et Ward. Temp. Ric. 1. in Cur. Recept. Scij. Fin. 52 Hen. 3. L. 9. N. 67. Nom. Villar, Esch. 17 E. 2. 1. par.
  • 13. Testa de Nevil.
  • 14. Rot. 31 H. 8. par. 10.
  • 15. Terre Rogeri Bigoti. H. Grimeshou. (Domesd. fol. 127.) In Stanforda i. lib. ho. lx. acr. terre mo ten. Stanardus, tunc et post dim. car. et ii. acr. prati, et val. ii. sol. et viii.d.
  • 16. Terre Willi. Epi. Tetfordens. de Feudo ejusdem. H. de Grimeshou. (Domesd. fol. 155.) In Estanforda i. lib. ho. de lx. acr. tunc et post. i. car. mo. nichil, semp. i. vill. ii. acr, prati, semper val. vi.s. et viii.d. de hoc habuit antecessor ejus. Willi. commendat. tant. et Rex. socha. et Willi. Epis. tenet eum.
  • 17. Terre Rainaldi filij Ivonis. H. de Grimeshou. (fol. 223.) In Estanforda ten. ii. lib. hoes. xiiii. acr. terre et fuere. liberat. Wihenoc, mo ten. Radus. semper dim. car. et val. ii.s. et viii.d.
  • 18. Mag. Brit. Ant. et Nova in Norf. p. 350.
  • 19. John Skinner, by his will dated Aug. 3, 1473, desired to be buried in the churchyard of Stanford All-Saints; I give to the great light there 40d. and to the repair of the bells 20d. Regr. Paynot.
  • 20. Tho. Fekys of Sturston, in 1529, was buried in the church, and ordered a light to be found before our Blessed Lady, in our Lady's chapel in Stanford, which was the gift of Richard Fekys for ever. Regr. Palgrave, p. 54. At the east end of this isle lies an old marble grave-stone, probably for Richard Fekys; and against the wall is a place for holy water, and a pedestal for a statue, this being our Lady's chapel.
  • 21. MSS. J. Anstis, Armig. E. 26. fol. 10.
  • 22. Plita. de Jur. &c. apud Norw. in Oct. Sci. Hillar. Ao R. Edw. 1. 14 R. a. Plita. Coron. apud. Norw. 15 Ed. 1.
  • 23. At this time the monastery of Shouldham was taxed for their spiritualities at 13 marks, 4s. 5d.; the tenths were 17s. 9d. ob. and the vicar was taxed at 6 marks 8s. 11d. the tenths 8s. 10d. Margery Linford, by will in 1436, gives a legacy to the gild of St. John Baptist in this church. Regr. Multone, p. 44.
  • 24. On the dissolution of Shouldham monastery, the patronage of this vicarage, together with the appropriated rectory, came to the Crown, and there continued till Queen Elizabeth, in the fourth year of her reign, procured an Act of Parliament to empower her to grant and convey the impropriate tithes, offerings, glebe-land, &c. of rectories lodged in the Crown, to several episcopal sees, and for her to take into the right of the Crown, on the vacancy of any see, any part of the honours, castles, manors, lands, &c. of the said sees, as should amount to the yearly value of such rectories impropriate, to be settled on them for ever, by way of an exchange, like that of Glaucus and Diomedes. And thus this impropriate rectory, with many others, came to the see of Ely, many noble lordships being taken from that see by this plea, after the death of Dr. Cox, Bishop there in 1581. Yet the good Queen, says Dr. Kennet in the History of Impropriations, p. 156, did herein consult and advance the honour of her royal person and government by thinking the old lay-fees were better for the Crown, and the ecclesiastical revenues for the church; but how the Queen consulted this, will be difficult to determine, when even the aforesaid author acquaints us, that upon the third reading of the Bill in the House of Lords, all the spiritual lords then present, did expressly dissent from it. By this means (says the learned Ridley, in his View of the Civil Ecclesiastical Law, p. 305) the Bishops were brought into obloquy, as though they detained the due provision of the parochial church from it, and are set in a ready way to be overthrown, if every bird have his own feathers again.