City of Norwich, chapter 42: Erlham, or Jerlham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 4, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part II. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.

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Francis Blomefield, 'City of Norwich, chapter 42: Erlham, or Jerlham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 4, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part II( London, 1806), British History Online [accessed 19 July 2024].

Francis Blomefield, 'City of Norwich, chapter 42: Erlham, or Jerlham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 4, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part II( London, 1806), British History Online, accessed July 19, 2024,

Francis Blomefield. "City of Norwich, chapter 42: Erlham, or Jerlham". An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 4, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part II. (London, 1806), , British History Online. Web. 19 July 2024.

In this section


Commonly called Arlham, was also formerly part of Humbleyard hundred, but is now in the county of Norwich, part of it being laid to West-Wimer-ward, and part to the ward of St. Peter in Mancroft.

At the time of the Conquest, and many ages after, there were two manors here, one held by Uluiet of the King, (fn. 1) as of his manor of Eaton, and the other of Alan E. of Richmond, as of his manor of Hetherset, besides three freemen that held 43 acres in this town, which belonged to Bowthorp manor. The capital manor, which then belonged to Uluiet, was, with the King's manor of Eaton, in the custody of Godric, and had belonged, as Eaton did, to Edric of Laxefeld, the ancestor of Rob. Malet, in the time of the Confessor; it had a carucate of land, and 16 acres of meadow in demean, and 10 freemen that held 80 acres; it was one mile and a furlong long, and a mile broad, and paid 8d. q. to the geld. There was a church which had 15 acres and an half of glebe, then worth 15d. per annum.

Ole the Thane held the other manor, as part of Hetherset, in the Confessor's days, and a freeman held it afterwards of Edric de Laxfeld, ancestor to Robert Malet, and Ribald held it of Alan Earl of Richmond, as of his manor of Hetherset, in the Conqueror's, when it was worth 12s.; it was afterwards held by the Bygods from the Conquest. In 1370, William Wyset, and other trustees, settled it on Catherine widow of Sir Will. de la Pole, sen. Knt. and Edmund her son; after which, it was divided into many parts, and is now united to

The Capital Manor,

Which belonged very early to the family sirnamed de Alta Villa, Hautvile, or Hauvile; for in 1196, Ralph de Havile came and fixed here, and took the sirname of De Erlham, and so became founder of that family; which continued lords and patrons many ages; in 1199, this Ralf being then a knight, purchased of Humfry his brother, all his inheritance in Erlham for 100s. paid to Humfry for his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and a settlement made on Miryld, daughter of Humfry, who escheated her lands by marrying Jurnet the Jew. In 1216, Ralf de Alta Villa or Hauvile, of Dunston, had custody of a part of this manor; and Roger de Erlham, had a 16th part of a fee here. In 1235, John son of Ralf de Erlham held this town by petit serjeanty, or the service of the cross-bow, to defend Norwich castle, and Ric. de Worsted, heir of Catherine de Worsted, had a part of the manor, held by the same service. In 1256, Hugh de Erlham held it, by finding a cross-bow and archer, in time of war, to guard Norwich castle, for 30 days, at his own cost. In 1272, this manor was divided into two, and Rob. de Worthstede was lord of one of them, and held it (per servitium arbalastariæ) with his estate in Swainsthorp; this Robert in 1275, sold all he had here, by divers parcels, viz. 50 acres to the Abbot of Langley; some to Ralph de Erlham, others to the Earl Marshal, &c. so that their two manors were increased, and his totaily lost, and small free-tenements with services and rents belonging to them, erected out of it. In 1286, Ralph de Erlham's manor was valued at 40l. and he paid a rent to the Exchequer yearly, of 40s. in lieu of his serjeanty; he died in 1295, and left Jeffery his son and heir; and another son named John. In 1313, Rob. de Erlham was lord; and in 1318, Jeffery de Erlham, and in 1345, the heir of Roger de Erlham had the 16th part of a fee, which Reginald de Erlham held before; this now was a small manor by itself. In 1369, John de Erlham, the capital lord, died, and left John his son, his heir; and held the manor by 3l. paid to Norwich castle, in lieu of his serjeanty, and five acres of land and 50s. rent, of the Earl of Suffolk, by 10s. and suit of court to Cossey twice a year; and in 1370, King Edward III. granted to this John, liberty of free-warren within his manor here. He sealed with a fess voided, in chief three mullets. 1401, Rob. Aleyn of Erleham, and Margery his wife, had this manor from John de Erleham, and settled it on William Blickling of Norwich, in trust; he died in 1436, and Robert his son succeeded, being then 40 years old; he paid 40s. per annum for Norwich-castle-guard, and died in 1465, and Robert Aleyn his cousin was his heir, and 20 years old. In 1479, John Alyn or Alleyne was lord, whose widow Joan had it, and died in 1483, and Thomas Allen, brother to John, had it; and in 1518, Agnes Multon settled it by fine on him; he died in 1544, and left Edmund his son and heir, who had license to alien it to Rob. Barney, who settled it on the said Edmund and Cecily, daughter of John Corbet, senior of Spixworth, his wife; in 1551, Edmund had license to alien it to John Allen, brother to Rob. Allen of Little Melton; and he and Dorothy his wife had it in 1567, and conveyed it in 1571, to Edward Downes and Eliz. his wife, at which time Andrew Thetford, Gent. had the small manor here; and in 1593, Downes sold it to Sir Charles Cornwaleis of Horsham St. Faith, Knt. who in 1608 sold it to Sir Henry Hobart, Knt. Attorney-general, Sir John Hobart of St. Mary Spittle in Middlesex, Knt. Edward Hobart of Hales-hall in Loddon, Gent. and Robert Hobart of Clifford's Inn in London, Gent. brothers of Sir John, and they had collateral security from Sir Charles, Edward Mapes, John Pain, and Thomas Herming, Esq. who all had some interest in it. In 1612, Tho. Plumstede, Gent. and John Gooch, surrendered all their right in the manor, to Thomas Holt and Jonas Pitts, Gents.; and in 1657, Robert Houghton of Erlham, Esq. died seized of them; Thomas Houghton sold them to Thomas Waller, Esq. serjeant at law, third son of Thomas Waller of Gregorys in Beconsfield in Bucks, Esq. (fn. 2) who died in 1682, (he had Thomas, a son, who died before him Ao. 1666,) and Eliz. his eldest daughter married. Francis Bacon, Esq. descended from Edward Bacon, Esq. son to Lord-Keeper Bacon; he died in 1679, and their son, Waller Bacon, Esq. (fn. 3) became sole lord and patron; he married Mary, daughter of Richard Porter of Framlingham in Suffolk, who died in 1701, and he in 1734, and left it to

Edward Bacon, Esq. the present [1745] lord and patron, who hath his seat here.

Erlham-bridge was built of stone in 1502, by the will of Tho. Bachcroft of Little Melton, who gave his estate to be sold for that purpose, and to make a stone cross by it, and put on it a scripture, desiring the passengers to pray for his soul, and the souls of Margaret his wife, his father's and mother's, and of Tho. Northwold and Margaret his wife. It was rebuilt in 1579, and now again in 1744.

In 1616, Lucy Suckling, daughter and coheir of Dr. Edmund Suckling, had liberty of free-fishery belonging to her messuage in Erleham, in the common river, from St. Laurence's Acre, to Hellesdenmills, and the manor hath the like right.

In 1428, the town was distinguished, as now, into Superiour or Upper, and Inferiour, Nether, or Lower Erleham; and this year, William Bishop of Lincoln, William Bishop of Sarum, and other feoffees, released 100 acres of land, &c. but no manor, to Sir John Fastolff of Caster by Yarmouth, Knt. who died seized of it in 1459. (fn. 4)

These religious houses had revenues here. The Prior of Norwich, whose 'temporals were valued at 16s. 3d. ob. St. Giles's hospital had a messuage and 100 acres of land, part of Gilbert de Erlham's serjeanty, given by John Cusyn of Norwich in 1318, for a chantry for him in the hospital. (fn. 5) In 1207, King John confirmed to the canons at Hickling, the land here, which Theobald de Valoynes their founder, gave them. (fn. 6) In Henry the Third's time, Will. le Goldsmith gave 51 acres of land, which he had of the Prior of Walsingham, who had it of Rob. de Worsted, to St. Bennet in the Holm. The Abbot of Langley's temporals here were valued at 46s. 3d. they were lands and rents given by Rob. Altus, or Le Haut, whose son Ralph de Alta Villa, or Hauvile, called also de Erlham, confirmed them; and his son William confirmed the gift of his grandfather, and Ivoria his grandmother, viz. a tenement and 48 acres; and he, as lord here, confirmed the gift of Odo de Wiclewood. Nicholas, son of Reginald Picot of Norwich, confirmed the land at Erlham Hae, which his father purchased of Rob. de Worsted lying by that land which Ralf de Erlham gave to Holm abbey. Reginald, son of Henry, son of John de Erlham, priest, confirmed the lands purchased of his father, and of Maud Diggard, his father's sister. In 1522, Rob. Abbot of Langley, and his convent, sold to Sir Will. Paston, Knt. all their possessions in Erlham, Bowthorp, Melton, and Heigham, and three acres by Norwich-gates; and Sir William sold them the next year to Leonard Spencer, and John Marsham, alderman; Sir William reserving Strodeholm Marsh in Westacre Burgh, Holm Marsh in Runhall, and Potter's and East Marsh in Redeham, which he purchased of the abbey, at 5s. reserved rent. The revenues of the abbey of Holm aforesaid fell to the bishoprick, and in 1627, Bishop Corbet leased to Augustine Holl, Esq. one messuage, and all the lands, fishings, &c. in Erlham and Cosseye, belonging to the see, for three lives, at 4l. yearly rent, and 6l. 13s. 4d. fine on every death or alienation, and doing suit once a year at the Bishop's court at Helsden.

The church was a rectory appendant to the manor, is dedicated to St. Mary, and was given by Ralf de Erlham to the nuns at Carrow; and in 1249, another Ralf confirmed it, and gave 26 acres of land also; and Bishop Blundeville appropriated it to the nuns in 1226. Norwich Domesday tells us, they had the parsonage-house and six acres of land, that their rectory was valued at eight marks, and the vicarage at four, which was endowed, but not taxed; it paid 6s. 8d. procurations to the Archdeacon of Norfolk, whose jurisdiction it is in; 20d. synodals, 10d. Peter-pence, and 3d. carvage, and the advowson of the vicarage, always attended the impropriation.

The vicarage stands in the King's Books at 5l. 7s. 8d. ob. (fn. 7) and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 22l. 13s. 8d. it is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation. The whole village paid 2l. 2s. to the tenths, and had a deduction of 13s 4d. on account of the revenues of the religious here, which were taxed by themselves.

John de Erlham, priest, rector.



1267, Alexander,

1311, Gerandine de Plumstede.

1318. John Levyng.

1329, Will. Hervy.

1349, Roger Wotton.

1349, Will. at church of Blickling.

1352, Benedict Brennewater of Estmore in Barton, on the resignation of Will. de Worthsted; he changed in 1355, for Thorp-Parva, (fn. 8) with Tho. Hannok, and he in 1359, for Ormesby, with John Gerard.

1365, John at Haghe.

1372, Will. Squyer, son of Walter Squyer of Fymmes.

1391, Will. de Fornham, junior.

1400, Will. Morley, who changed for Werelse chantry in Lincoln diocese, with Rob. Swafield in 1401.

1404, Walter Barker.

1423, John Skinkill, ob.

1437, Tho. Walcot, who changed for Langford in 1439, with Richard Skelton.

1440, John Toftes.

1447, John Attehoe, by lapse.

1454, John Peyntour, alias Derham,

1460, Rob. Thorndon.

1464, Will. Winchcomb, res.

1466, Rob. Samson, res.

1467, Philip Pack.

1470, Nic. Waterman, lapse.

1478, Brother John Clare, lapse; he is buried in St. John Baptist's chapel in this chancel.

1504, Tho. Haule, A. M. ob.

1526, March 27, Richard Wheatley, presented by the assignee of the Prioress. In 1529, the vicarage-house was in ruins. (fn. 9) 30 Henry VIII. the rectory and advowson of the vicarage was granted with Carrow to John Shelton

This vicar, with the consent of the Bishop, Dean and Chapter, and John Shelton, patron of the vicarage (in right of the dissolve house of Carrow) did lease out to John Corbet, Esq. one tenement and 53 acres of land meadow, and pasture, lying in divers pieces, as well within the fald course of John Alleyn, Gent. now in the occupation of John Corbet, as in divers other places in Erlham, the whole being parcel of the vicarage, which lease is dated April xi. 36, Henry VIII. and was to commence from the preceding Michaelmas, viz. 1544, and to continue for two hundred years from that time.

(See the lease in the Dean and Chapter's Leiger Book.)

1555, Christopher Joye, ob.

1567, Robert Smith, res. Miles Corbet, Esq.

1573, James Warcop. Ditto, united to Colney.

1592. Thomas Lewgar, res. Thomas Hemming.

1597, William Johnson, res. Ditto.

1598, James Branthwait, lapse; he returned 35 communicants, and Sir Charles Cornwaleis, Knt. to be patron.

1606, John Knowles. Thomas Hemmings, Gent.

1608, William Inman. Ditto. ob.

1624, Mat. Clare. Will. Hemmings, Gent. of Wesenham AllSaints.

John Weld, res. Ditto.

1632, Rich. Webster.

1633, the said William and Thomas Hemmings his son granted the next turn to Tho. Skinner, clerk.

Gabriel Wright, res.

1662, Robert Snelling. John King, patron.

Richard Webster, res.

1679, Stephen Poole, res. Tho. Waller, patron.

1683, Joseph Ellis. Eliz Waller, widow.

1712, Sam. Salter, A. M. on Ellis's death; united to St. Stephen. (fn. 10)
Waller Bacon.

1714, John Jefferies, on Salter's resignation, united to Draiton. Ditto.

1723, the Rev. Mr. Jonathan Thornton, the present vicar, was presented by Waller Bacon, Esq. on Jeffries's cession, and holds it united to the rectory of Morton.

The steeple is low and square, and hath two bells; the church is sixteen yards and half long, and seven broad; St. John Baptist's chapel is on the north side; the nave is leaded, and the chancel tiled. On four gravestones by the altar:
1. Sub hoc marmore juxta Parietem requiescunt Maria, Filia Richardi Porter de Framlingham in Agro Suffolciensi Arm. Uxor præcharissima Walleri Bacon, de hâc Villâ Armigeri, Filij et Hæredis Francisci, propè Sepulti, et hujusce Ecclesie Patroni indubitati, quæ nupta fuit IVo die Aprilis 1695, et obijt 29 (fn. 10) die Septeimbris Ao Æt. 29°. Domini 1701, et super illam Elizabetha, Nat. 27° die Febr. obijt 29° die Martij sequent. 1696, Richardus natus 13° Sept. 1697. obijt 16° die Julij 1699. Franciscus, natus xio die Sept. 98, obijt 27° die Febr. 99°.

2. Waller, sab. three walnut leaves (sometimes or, sometimes arg.) between two bendlets arg. quartering, az. a chevron or crossed lozengé gul. between three croslets moline arg. in the fess point, Hogan, on a coat of pretence, impaling Hogan, as at p. 195. Quartering, 1st, or, on a chief sab. three martlets of the field. 2d, arg. a chevron gul. between three eagles displayed az.

Sub hoc Lapide depositæ sunt exuviæ Thomæ Waller, Servientis ad Legem, qui obijt 13° Junij Ao Dni. 1632, æt. 72. Et Elizabethæ Uxoris ejus, Filiæ & Hæredis Greshami Hogan Armigeri, quæ obijt 27 Febr. A. D. 1698, æt. 83. In spem Felicis Resurrectionis.

3. Waller quartering the crosses moline.

Depositum Thomæ Waller, Filij et Hæredis Apparentis Thomæ Waller, Servientis ad Legem, qui obijt 30 Martij 1666, æt. 27.

4. Franciscus Bacon Armiger, ab Edwardo, (fn. 11) Filio Nicholai Bacon Militis, Magni Sigilli Angliæ Custodis, longâ Proavorum serie oriundus, duxit Uxorem, Elizabetham, Filiam natû maximam Thomæ Waller, Servientis ad Legem, et [Eliz.] Hæredis Greshami Hogan Arm. obijt. 3° dic Aug. 1679, et subtus conditur.

There are four achievements of arms in this altar.

1. Bacon, gul. on a chief arg. two mullets sab. Waller on a coat of pretence.

2. Bacon and his ten quarterings impaling Porter, sab. three bells arg. a chief erm.

Bacon's quarterings are, 1st, Quaplode. 2d, Little of Berkshire, per chevron A. S. in chief two de-lises, in base a castle tripple towered, all counterchanged. 3d, erm. on a chief indented az. three de-lises or. 4th, arg. three bear's heads erased and erected sab. langued gul. 5th, sab. on a fess between three acorns or, as many oaken leaves vert. 6th, erm. on a cross gul. five acorns or, 7th, gul. a saltier between four garbs or. 8th, barry of six arg. and sab. 9th, Waller. 10th, az. a chevron or, crossed lozengé gul. between three crosses moline arg.

Crest, a boar passant erm. Motto: Mediocria Firma.

3. Waller quarters the crosses moline. Crest, a tree with fruit, and a shield of arms hanging from it, viz. three de-lises. Motto: Hæ Fructus Virtutis.

4. Waller quartering as before, with a coat of pretence of Hogan, impaling Hogan, quartering as before.

At the lower end of the church, is a stone for Simon Rackham Yeoman 1698, 83. Barbara his wife, 1698, 55.


  • 1. Domesd. fo. 46. Terra Regis, quam Godricus servat. Humiliart H. Ettvna tenuit, &c. Et in Erlham i. liber homo, Uluiet nomine, i. car. terre et dim. semper i. vill. et iiii. bord. semper i. car. in dnio: et i. car. hom. xvi. acr. prati mo. i. vill. habet etiam idem Uluiet sub se x. liberos homines de lxxx. acr. terre semper ii. car. et Erlham habet i. leug. in longo et i. quar. et i. leug. in lato. et viiid. et i. ferding de Gelto. (this was valued with Eaton.) In Erlham iii. liberi homines. xlii. acr. semper i. bor. et i. car. et i. acr. prati, tunc valuit iiii. sol. m°. v. et jacet in Bowethorp. (This belonged to Bowthorp manor.) i. ecclesia xiv. acr. et i. acr. et dim. prati et val. xvd. Sub. tit. Terre Alani Comitis (Richmondiæ.) fo. 70. H. de Humiliart. Hederseeta tenuit Olfus Teinnus, T. R. E. modo tenet Ribaldus, &c. In Ierlham i. liber homo Edrici anteossoris R. Malet. de xxx. acr. et. v. bord. semper i. car. et iiii. soc. de xv. acr. terre semper dim. car. et i. mol. et viii acr. prati, tunc. valuit viii. sol. m° xii.
  • 2. See p. 195.
  • 3. He served in many parliaments for Norwich, was commissary of the stores of war and provisions, for his Majesty's forces in Minorca.
  • 4. Obijt præclarus vir Johes: Fastolff Miles, Dominus de Castre, in die Sancti Lconardi (Nov. 6.) Ao. 1459, et sepelitur in abbatiâ Sci. Benedicti de Hulmo. [Mss. Reynes, de Acle. M. M.]
  • 5. Pat. A. 12. E. 2. P. 1. M. 14.
  • 6. Cart. 5 Joh. M. 15, fo. 17.
  • 7. See Regr X. fo. 112. Depos. L. 326. Litigatio pro herbagio pasturæ in Nether Erlham et decimtrium pratorum in Over Erlham.
  • 8. Hist. Norf. vol. i. p. 137.
  • 9. Depos. M. 400.
  • 10. See p. 150, and Pt. I. p. 646.
  • 11. Edward Bacon of Shrubland-hall in Suff. Esq. married the daughter and heiress of Tho. Little of Bray, Esq. and was brother to Sir Nic. Bacon, the first Baronet of England, and third son to Sir Nic. Bacon, Lord Keeper.