Hundred of Humble-Yard: Wreningham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.

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'Hundred of Humble-Yard: Wreningham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5, (London, 1806) pp. 114-122. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


As it is now, contains three whole parishes, and three manors, all joined in one, viz. Great Wreningham, or All Saints, Little Wreningham, or St. Mary, and Nelonde.

Little Wreningham.

As it was afterwards called, lies in Domesday Book by the name of Wasincham and Walsincham, and was formerly in two parts; Ketel the Dane had the biggest part in the Confessor's time; (fn. 1) and at the Conqueror's survey, Warine held it of Ralf Peverell, and the church had 60 acres of glebe; and Roger Bigod's manor had six freemen who held 130 acres. (fn. 2) Both these united early in the Bigods, who infeoffed the whole in the Thorps of Ashwellthorp, with which it hath passed to this day, and therefore I shall refer you to my account of the manor of Ashwellthorp.

The church was dedicated to St. Mary, and in Norwich Domesday, Sir Robert de Thorp, son of Sir John, was the patron; it then belonged to the rectory of Ashwell-Thorp, and the rector had no house in this town, but one at Thorp only; but it having all the signs and properties of a mother church, it was separated from Thorp, and became a parochial chapel, and independent rectory, valued at 20 shillings, and paid 12d. procurations, 8d. synodals, 7d. Peter-pence, and 2d. ob. carvage.

Rectors of Wreningham Parva.

1312, Nicholas de Shropham. Sir John de Thorp, Knt. and Lady Alice his wife.

1334, Alexander atte Mere of Little-Massingham chaplain. Beatrix, relict of Sir Robert de Thorp, Knt. and John his son and heir.

1349, Henry Fithell of Schotesham. Sir Roger Straunge, Knt.

1477, Tho. Trych. Robert de Thirning, rector of Combes, Thomas de Bumpstede, citizen of Norwich, and Adam de Redgrave, rector of Bathele or Bale.

1402, Richard de Flory of Islington. Sir Thomas Erpingham, Knt. &c.

1406, 7 April, it was perpetually united to the church of St. Peter at Nelonde, and

Nic. atte Wode, priest, was instituted to the parish church of St. Peter at Nelonde, with the chapel of St. Mary of Wrenningham-Parva, annexed, at the presentation of Sir Thomas Erpingham, Knt. Will. Rees, Esq. John and Walter Daniel, citizens of Norwich, and John Aslack of Crostweyt, trustees to the Thorp family. And not long after, the chapel becoming ruinous, was pulled down.


Called Newland, Nayland, and Nailyng, and in Domesday Eiland, or the land at the eye or island. Roger Bigod was lord of it at the Conquest, (fn. 3) Earl Eustace had another part of it, (fn. 4) and Earl Hugh a third, as a berewic to his manor of Fundenhall. (fn. 5) They all united in the Bygods, who infeoffed the Britons, and John le Briton infeoffed the manor and advowson in John son of Henry de Thorp, who recovered the advowson against John le Briton, on an action brought in 1256; and from that time to this, it passed with the Ashwellthorp estate, and is now a member of Great Wreningham manor, to which town this village was annexed in 1414.

Rectors of Nelonde St. Peter.

1285, William de Witton.

1317, John de Hakeford. Sir John de Thorp, Knt. and Lady Alice his wife.

1322, John Fish of Therston. Ditto.

1325, Will. de Hakeford. Lady Alice, relict of Sir John.

1328, Robert, son of Sir John de Thorp, Knt. patron.

1330, John Perys of Faringby, on Hakeford's resignation. Sir John de Clavering, Knt. this turn. He changed for Westhall in 1347, with

Robert Martin of Erpingham. Sir Roger le Straunge, Knt.

1349, Henry Fithel of Schotesham, united to Wreningham St. Mary. Ditto.

1358, William son of Andrew de Stivekele Magna. Sir Edmund de Thorp, Knt.

1378, John son of Robert Clerk of Holm. Robert de Thirning, rector of Combes, &c. trustees.

1391, Thomas Saunfyth. Sir Edmund de Thorp, Knt.

1399, Rob. Brown of Forncet. Ditto.

1402, Richard Flory of Ilsington, united to Wreningham-Parva. Ditto.

1406, 7 April, Nic. Attewode of Sislond, to this and WreninghamParva, now perpetually united.

1411, Rob. Edwards of Redenhall. Edmund Thorp.

1414, the perpetual united rectory of Nelonde and Wreningham-Parva, was annexed and perpetually united to the perpetual united rectory of the medieties of Great Wreningham, and so continue as one consolidated rectory at this time.

When Norwich Domesday was made, Sir Robert son of Sir John de Thorp, was patron; the rector had a house and 19 acres of glebe, it was first valued at 4, after at 5 marks, but was not taxed; it paid 4s. procurations, 2s. synodals, 12d. Peter-pence, and 2d. carvage Belhouse-hall stood in this parish, and there were 74 acres and an half of land in demean adjoining to it; two parts of the tithes of which, belonged to Eye priory, for which that house was taxed at 10s. The temporals of the Prior of St. Faith were taxed at 2s. 1d. The church was demolished at the Reformation; it lies between Wreningham and Ashwellthorp, and is called the Old Churchyard.

Reginald son of Hugh de Nelonde, and in 1259, Bartholomew son of Will. de Nelonde, had a free-tenement here, with divers services and rents belonging to it; but it long since was purchased by the Thorps, and added to Belhouse manor.

In 1283, it was found that the lete of Nelonde belonged to the Prior of Windham and Robert de Tateshale; (fn. 6) and in 1284, upon a suit commenced about it, the Prior proved that it belonged to his monastery, of the gift of William le Buteler, in the time of King Henry I. and that that King confirmed it to his monastery, with the assise of bread and ale, &c. of all their tenants here, and in Brakene.


Had two manors in it, which included that, and the greatest part of Nelonde; the manors of Nerford's and Belhouse-hall; the site of the former was in Nelonde parish, where the ancient family of Belhouse resided, and the site of the latter was in this parish.

The Manor of Belhouse-Hall

Belonged to Levolt, a thane of the Confessor's (fn. 7) and at the Conquest was given to Hermer, of whom Vagan held it; it had a church and 10 acres of glebe; the lete or superiour jurisdiction belonged to the King and the Earl of Norfolk; it was worth at the first survey 60s. and at the last 80s. per annum. Great Wreningham (including Nelonde) was one league long, and half a league broad, and paid 10d. to the geld or tax. And Little Wreningham was six furlongs long, and five broad, and paid 6d. ob. q. to the geld. (fn. 8) This manor was in the Norfolk family, and was by one of them, given to the Creykes, and Sir Jeffery de Creyke gave it with the moiety of the advowson, to Sir Tho. de Belhouse, Knt. (fn. 9) who came and settled in the manor-house of his own building, and was succeeded by Sir Richard his son and heir, who was lord in 1280, and held it at half a fee of the heirs of Creke, who held it of the Earl-Marshall. This Sir Richard sold the mediety of the advowson, to Robert son of Sir John de Thorp, who gave it to Carrow abbey. In 1383, Sir Robert, son of John de Tharp, by the name of Sir Robert Fitz-John of Ashwellthorp, obtained a charter of freewarren, in all his lands here. In 1384, the manor was infeoffed in Peter de Brompton or Brampton, and by him in Robert de Salleford, who released it to Sir Robert aforesaid, in trust for Sir Richard de Belhus, who died in 1300, and Sarah his wife had it for life; and Thomas his son and heir had the manors of West Bilney, Bodney, Tuddenham, Faldegate, &c. Sir Richard de Belhus, his son, was lord after him, but dying without issue male, the manor came to the share of John Bosun or Bozun of Wissingsete in Norfolk, Esq. whose father William, married Maud second daughter and coheir of this Sir Richard Belhuse, Knt. and in 1415, Edmund Oldhall and John Drew, parson of Harpley, feoffees of Bozun, conveyed this manor to Sir Edmund de Thorp, Knt. and his heirs, and so it became part of the estate of that family, and hath continued with it ever since. The fines are arbitrable, and the manor hath free-warren by the charter of Edward I.

Nerford's Manor

Belonged to the Bigots, (fn. 10) and was by them infeoffed with the moiety of the advowson in the Crekes, who separated the manor into two parts, that which the mediety attended, was held at half a fee of the Earl Warren, by Sir Richard de Nerford, who sealed with three fusils in fess erm. (fn. 11) he left it to Christian his widow, and she to Sir Robert de Nerford their son, and Alice his wife, founders of the religious house called St. Mary de Prè or de Pratis, (fn. 12) from its situation in the meadows between Burnham-Thorp, and North-Creyk, to which house they gave the mediety of the advowson; and the Bishop appropriated it without any vicarage reserved; so that during the appropriation, the rector of the other mediety served it as their chaplain; this was about 1206. She was succeeded by her son William, who sealed with a lion rampant er. and Alice his wife, daughter of John le Moigne, or Moneye, with a de-lis or, and they sold it to Sir John de Thorp, with their part of

The Manor of Moigne's, or Money's,

In this town, which was conveyed by Sir Jeffry de Creyke, and confirmed by Sir Robert de Creke, to Sir Alexander (fn. 13) son of Sir Peter le Moigne, who held it at half a fee of the honour of Wormegey, or Wrongeye; the Lady Ela, widow of Sir Peter, and mother of Sir Alexander, had her dower in it; in 1261, Richard le Moigne, and after that William, son of Sir Alexander, owned it; this William had three daughters and heiresses by Alice his wife, who after remarried to Sir Robert le Forester, who held her dower here in 1284. Emma married to Gregory de Oldhagh. Sarah to Alexander de Lenn, sometimes called Alexander Lambert of Lynn; and Alice to William de Nerford of Wreningham; who all joined and conveyed it to Sir John de Thorp of Ashwellthorp, Knt. and his heirs; and ever since it hath passed as the Ashwellthorp estate did. It paid to the honour of Wormgeye 10s. 10d. per annum for waytefee, castleward, and respite of suit of courts, held for the honour.

The church is dedicated to all the Saints; the Abbot of Creyk had one mediety appropriated to his house, to which belonged a house and 16 acres of glebe, and a small manor; (fn. 14) it had no vicarage endowed, the rector serving the whole cure, had a pension of 40s. per annum out of it, which was not taxed; the Prioress of Carrow was patroness of the other mediety, (fn. 15) and that rector had a house and 16 acres. The whole rectory was valued together at six marks, paid 18d. synodals, 6s. 8d. procurations, 10d. Peter-pence, and 2d. carvage. The portion of the Abbot of St. John at Colchester, was 20s. the portion of Carrow prioress 10s. and the portion of the Abbot of Creke, two marks and an half; and in 1612, a pension of 11s. 8d. was paid to the dissolved abbey of Creke, and a pension of 5s. to Carrow abbey; and the Prior of Wimondham had a messuage and 10 acres of land. (fn. 16) This parish paid 3l. 10s. to every tenth. It stands by the name of Wreningham rectory in the King's Books, is valued at 10l. and pays first fruits, and 1l. yearly tenths; and being undischarged, it is not capable of augmention.

Rectors of Carrow (fn. 17) Mediety,

Presented by the prioresses of Carrow.

1306, Robert de Cokethorp.

1330, Richard Sekkesteyn of Herdwyk.

1331, Richard de Quytewash.

1335, Robert King of Cnapeton, who in 1340, changed for Paston vicarage with Sir Clement, son of Sir Robert le Clerk of Cnapeton, or Cnapton; and in 1347, he exchanged for East Walton with Peter de Horsted.

1349, John Akewra, who changed for Framlingham-Pigot in 1382, with

John de Stevenache, who resigned in

1359, to John Baxter of West Lexham.

1371, Thomas Cowles.

1385, John Bale, lapse. He resigned in

1385, to William Giffard.

1393, Walter Aldous of Wingfield, res.

1401, Nic. Walter.

1402, Thomas Catesby.

1405, John Felys; he was the last presented by the Prioress.

Rectors of the consolidated rectory

Of the medieties of Wreningham All-Saints, Little Wreningham St. Mary, and of Nelonde St. Peter.

In 1414, the mediety given by Sir Robert de Nerford to the Abbot of the monastery or regular church of St. Mary de Pratis or de Prè, sometimes called the Hospital of St. Mary of Lyngescroft, in the meadows between Burnham-Thorp and Creke, was this year, sold by Robert, abbot of that house, (fn. 18) to Sir Edmund Thorp, Knt. and his heirs, and disappropriated, who at the same time bought the advowson of Carrow mediety, of that house; and then he got them joined to Wreningham-Parva and Nelonde, which were of his own patronage, and so they became one rectory, as they now remain.

1418, Thomas Arteys of Refham, priest. Will. Westacre Archdeacon of Norwich, Sir Edmund Barry, Knt. John Lancaster, Esq. John Drewe, parson of Harpley, James Walsingham, and Charles Alleyn, trustees to Sir Edmund de Thorp, Knt. He resigned in 1429, and Sir John Clifton, Knt. presented

Thomas Truyt, who was succeeded by

John Wardy, at whose death in 1504, Thomas Earl of Surrey, guardian to the heir of Berners, gave it to

Richard Catton, who resigned in favour of

Richard Gibson, who voided it in 1524, and John Bourchier, Knt. Lord Berners, gave it to

James at Calvarde, or Calver, who in 1584, joined with Jane Knevet, widow, his patroness, who was daughter and coheir of John Bourchier, Knt. Lord Berners, and with the Bishop's consent as ordinary, leased to John Stayner of Ashwellthorp for 99 years, at the rent of 6s. 8d. a year, 26 acres and three roods, parcel of Wreningham glebes, lying in 20 several pieces in Wreningham and Ashwellthorp. In 1594, Sir Thomas Knevet, Knt. presented

Mr. John Harrison, who was chaplain to the Earl of Northumberland; in 1603, he returned that there were 88 communicants, and that he held it united to Ashwellthorp, as did

Roger Gallard, who succeeded in 1627. In

1672, Richard Jacquis, A. M. held it with Ashwellthorp, of the gift of Sir John Knevet, Knt. at whose cession in 1676, Sir Thomas Knevet, Knt. gave them both to

William Bedingfield, A.M. at whose death in 1693, Thomas Glemham, Esq. Kat. Harris (afterwards Lady Berners) Mary and Jenny Knevet, who held the advowson in fee simple, presented

William Green, at whose cession in 1695, they gave it to

John Eachard; and at his death in

1735, Dec. 6, John Goddard, clerk, A. B. the present rector, was instituted on the presentation of the honourable Katherine Lady Berners, patroness in fee simple.

The church is 24 yards long, and six broad, is leaded, and hath no isles; the steeple is square and hath four bells, the chancel is tiled. In the windows are the arms of Appleyard, Thorp impaling Clifion, and arg. four bendlets gul. Clere, and arg. a chevron between three horse barnacles sab. Gul. fretty arg. on a chief of the 2d, three roses of the 1st, barbed and seeded proper. Arg. a plain cross gul. Thorp impaling erm. a cross ingrailed gul.

By the altar is a gravestone with Buxton's arms, for Rich. Buxton, who died 20 Feb. 1684. And another with this,

Rogerus Gallard A.M. hujus Ecclesiæ Pastor fidelis Corpus humile hic deposuit, ad similitudinem Gloriosi Corporis Christi die novissimo transformandum et obijt octavo die Mensis Augusti A. D. 1672. Æt. suæ 74.

Oportet operari donec Dies est, venit Nox quando nemo potest operari.

* The hundred of Humbleyard pays annually to the land tax, at 4s. in the pound, as follows, viz.

l. s. d.
Braconash 119 8 0
Carleton-East 97 4 8
Cringleford 52 11 4
Colney 64 11 4
Dunston 51 8 0
Flordon 57 4 8
Hetherset 225 18 0
Hethill 93 4 8
Intwood 22 5 4
Keswick 51 4 8
Keteringham 108 4 8
Markeshall or Mattishal 32 1 4
Melton Magna 155 10 0
Melton Parva 48 1 4
Mulbarton 116 4 8
Newton Floteman 121 8 8
Swainsthorp 77 18 0
Swerdeston 69 8 8
Wreningham 140 11 4
Total of the yearly payment 1704 9 4

* The hundred of Humbleyard pays to the general rate for the county of Norfolk, (fn. 19) for quarterage, bridge-money, vagrant-money, &c. as follows:

To the 600l. levy.

l. s. d.
0 19 9
0 16 8
0 8 8
0 10 8
0 7 8
0 9 4
1 17 4
0 15 4
0 3 4
0 8 0
0 18 0
0 4 0
1 7 0
0 8 0
0 19 0
1 0 0
0 12 8
0 11 4
1 3 4
13 19 0

The soil of the northern part of this hundred, is light and sandy, that of the southern more rich and heavy, the whole is enclosed, though the southern part hath more wood than the other, but there is no great quantity in any part of it.

N. B. The county raises yearly, either a 300l. quarterly levy, which is 1200l. each year; or a 450l. quarterly levy, which is 1800l. a year; or a 600l. quarterly levy, which raises 2400l. a year. All which is in the disposition of the justices of the peace, to be employed as the act directs. I have inserted only the 600l. quarterly levy on each parish, because the 300l. levy is always half as much, and the 450l. levy is three quarters of the 600l. levy.


  • 1. Terre Ranulfi Peverelli, fo. 268, H. Humiliart. Walsincham tenet Garinus qo tenuit Ketel. Teinus Stigandi T. R. E. pro i. car. terre, et dim. semper ii. villani et iii serv. et ii. car. in dominio, et dim. car. hom. iv. acr. prati, silva xii. porc. tunc iii. runcin. tunc iv. an. tunc xxxv. porc. modo xx. tunc xxv. oves, mo lx. ii. vasa apum et xiii. liberi hom. soca falde et commend. tantum T. R. E. xxx. acr. tunc i. car. post modo dim. ii. acr. prati i. ecclesia, lx. acr. in pretio manerij. Et Walsincham habet vi. quar. in longo, et v. in lato, et vi.d. et iii. ferding. de Gelto.
  • 2. Terra Rogeri Bigoti Domsd. fo. 135. H. de Humiliart. In Wasincham vi. liberi homines, sub antecess. Rogeri, soca falde ct commendatione tantum inter totum habent cxxx. acr. semper iii. car. et i. mol. et i. bor.
  • 3. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. H. de Humiliart, fo. 136, 7. In Neilanda et in Urnincham ix. liberi homines, ex horum viii. et dim. &c. (See in Wreningham-Magna.) In Eilanda iv. liberi homines, i. car. terre et iv. bord. semper ii. car. et iv. acr. prati de duobus liberis et dim. habuit antecess. Rogeri commend. T. R. E. et Stigandus de uno, et antecess. Hermeri de dimidio.
  • 4. Terre Comitis Eustachij, Domsd. fo. 73. Humiliart H. In Neilanda ix. liberi hom. Stigandi l. acr. semper i. car. et dim. et v. acr. prati et val. x. sol.
  • 5. Terre Hugonis Comitis, fo. 75. Depwade H. Fundenhala, &c. et hic pertinet una berewita Eilanda xxx. acr. tunc i. vill. semper iv. bord. et i. car. in dom. et dim. car. hom. et i. acr. prati silva xii. porc.
  • 6. Wymondham Dne. Regine ex parte Nelonde. Leta 10 Oct. 1638. The heyward for the part aforesaid, doth not gather any rents, but in the town of Wreningham cum Nelonde. The commons in the said towns are the upper and lower Greens, and certain spots lying at the ends of their lands called Spongfield and Lodgefield, in all about 150 acres, on which the tenants in Wreningham and Nelonde only, have the commonage or feeding the cattle, with the privilege of digging clay and gravel, and cutting furze, at all times, for their necessary uses. And it was found, that Sir Thomas Richardson, then Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and lord of Stanfield in Windham, had an enclosure made upon the west end of Wreningham Green, which was presently laid open by the lord of Wreningham cum Nelonde, and so remains; and it was found, that the inhabitants of Windham and Ashwellthorp, who had been oftentimes wrongful commoners or overchargers, were punished from time to time, in the Lord's court of Wreningham, for such offences committed. Ex Autog. Indorsed, "the Verdict of the Tenants of Wreningham cum Nelonde, upon Sir Tho. Hatton's Inquisition of our commons."
  • 7. Terre Hermeri. Doms. fo. 175. H. Humiliart. Vrnincham tenet Vaganus iii. car. terre et xii. acr. quas tenuit Leuolt Teinus T. R. E. iii. car. terre et xii. acr. tunc iv. villani post. ii. modo nullus. semper xiv. bord. tunc iii. serv. modo i. semper iii. car. in dom. tunc. i. car. et dim. hom. modo i. semper iii. car. in dom. tunc. i. car. et dim. hom. modo i. xvi. acr. prati, silva vi. porc. semper ii. runc. tunc. ii. anim. modo ix. tunc ii. porc. modo xiii. tunc lx. oves modo l. i. ecclesia de x. acr. tunc et post. val. lx. sol. modo lxxx. et habet i. leug. in longo, et dim. in lato, et xd. de gelto. Et huic (idem ten.) terre jacent viii. liberi homines soca falde et commendatione tantum xxviii. acr semper i. car. et valet et iv. sol. Rex et Comes de hoc et de manerio socam.
  • 8. See p. 115.
  • 9. I find Sir Theobald de Belhouse, Knt. mentioned in several deeds sans date, and in 1260.
  • 10. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. Domesday, fo. 136. H. de Humiliart. In Neilanda et in Vrnincham ix. liberi homines, ex horum viii. et dim. habuit antecessor Rogeri commendationem tantum et socam falde, et antecessor Hermeri de uno medietatem, soca falde et commend. tantum.
  • 11. I fint two coats born by this name, viz. gul. a fess arg. and gul. a lion rampant erm.
  • 12. Mon. Ang. Vol. II. fo. 327.
  • 13. He was a benefactor to Magdalen hospital; see vol. iv. p. 441.
  • 14. The spirituals of the Abbot of Creyke were valued at eight marks, his temporals at 7d.
  • 15. The temporals of Carrow prioress valued at 6d.
  • 16. The temporals of Windham prior here and in Neionde, were valued at 3l. 3s. 4d. q.
  • 17. See vol. iv. p. 524, 7.
  • 18. And confirmed by Alice his widow, daughter to John Pounchard.
  • 19. Norfolk, A general rate made and assessed by the justices of the peace for the said county, (in pursuance of an act made 12 George II. intituled An act for the more easy assessing, collecting and levying county rates) at the general quarter sessions held Jan. 11. 16 Geo. II. to answer the ends and purposes of the several acts recited in the act above-mentioned, instead and in lieu of the several separate and distinct rates, directed by those several recited acts, to be made, levied, and collected, in every town, parish, and place, within the county.