Hundred of Depwade: Hemenhale

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 Depwade: Hemenhale', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5, (London, 1806) pp. 181-187. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

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The rectory here, was given by Walter Fitz-Robert, patron of Dunmowe priory in Essex, to that house, to which it was impropriated and a vicarage endowed, which was presented to, by the priors there, till the Dissolution, and then King Henry VIII. granted the impropriation and advowson of the vicarage, to Robert Earl of Sussex, and his heirs, to be held of him in capite, by knight's service; and ever since they have attended the manor here, with which they now remain.

Before the appropriation, the rectory had a house and 20 acres of glebe; it was taxed at 26 marks, and consequently the prior paid 34s. 8d. to each tenth. The vicarage was taxed at 10 marks, or 6l. 13s. 4d. as it now stands in the King's Books, and being not discharged, it pays 13s. 4d. yearly tenths, and is not capable of augmentation. It paid 4s. synodals, 3s. Peter-pence, and 8d. carvage.


Presented by the priors of dunmowe.

1303, Robert de Nuttele.

1328, Thomas Seward of Melford.

1331, Thomas de Saxham.

1342, Thomas at Thorne of Couling. He was succeeded by John, who in 1350, resigned to Edmund Cristmesse.

1360, William de Hethil.

1368, Robert Larke.

1397, John Spencer of Bury, who in 1402, resigned in exchange for Moring-thorp, with

Richard Parlben.

1408, Will. Malet, resigned, and in

1444, Jeffry Fuller had it, being presented by John, prior of Dunmowe; at his death in

1440, Nic. Denton had it; he died in 1503, and

John Sage, succeeded, who was the last presented by the convent.

1560, John Collison, united to Fritton, lapse. On his resignation in 1564, Tho. Fitz-Walter Earl of Sussex gave it to Thomas Fairman, deacon, (fn. 1) at whose death in 1591, Henry Earl of Sussex, presented Richard Cox, A. M.: he died in 1605, and Robert Earl of Sussex gave it to

George Skinner, who returned answer, that he had 400 communicants in the parish.

1605, Thomas Porter. Ditto. He died in 1636, and the aforesaid Earl presented

Will. Barwick, A. M. who was sequestered, April 28, 1644, by the Earl of Manchester, for observing the orders of the church, declaring against the parliament and rebellion, opposing the lectures of godly ministers in the town, and swearing by his faith and troth. (fn. 2) And from this time several of the intruders kept possession till 1649, and then

John Potter had it, who was buried here Aug. 4, 1692, and

John Smith was presented by Sir Capel Luckyn; he held it united to Freton, and died in 1697, and

Will. Aggas was instituted. Ditto; at whose death in

1723, the Rev. Mr. John Parsons, A.M. the present vicar, was presented by Lady Mary Luckyn, widow, the present patroness, and holds it united to the rectory of Bedingham.

The church is 20 yards long, the breadth of the nave and two isles is 12 yards, being all covered with lead; it hath a square tower about 16 yards high, and only one bell and a clock; part of the chancel is ruinated, and the remaining part is tiled; I find no inscription, save one, on a stone in the north isle, which lies over Robert French Gent. Aug. 31, 1711, Æt. 57.

The town lands were given by Mr. Sewell, and are now let at 22l. 10s. a year.

This town paid 6l. 10s. clear to every tenth.

In 1615, 13 Oct. Eliz. Gray, aged above 100 years, was buried here; she was a descendent from Robert son and heir of John Grey, Esq. lord of the manor of Little-hall in Topcroft, in 1408, which manor extended into Hemenhal, Wooton, and Bedingham.

The prior of Dunmowe had anciently divers lands here, but in 1234, Thomas, prior there, sold four acres to Roger son of Will. de Hemenhale, and in 1204, Ralf, prior there, had sold others to Hugh son of Odo, and 20 acres in 1208, to Roger son of Henry, so that the Prior was taxed 6d. only for his temporals, and the Prioress of Bungey at 12d. for hers. The Abbot of Bury had a watermill and divers suits and rents belonging to it here, for which he was taxed at 34s. 4d.; it was named Twa-grind, and was confirmed to that monastery by Walter Fitz-Robert, being situate on Long Bridge, and anciently was called Piper-mill on Rucham river in Hemenhale, and was given by Roger de Bukenham, and Will. de Rucham confirmed it. (fn. 3)

The Manor of Hemenhale

Belonged to Torn, a Dane at the Confessor's survey, had then three freemen, 41 bordars, (or copyholders,) and 54 villeins; it had one priest (or rector) and two churches, endowed with a carucate of land, and four villeins and four bordars that held two carucates more of them, valued at 15s.; there was a wood called Schieteshagh, which maintained 200 swine, and the Abbot of St. Bennet at Holm claimed part of it; the manor was then worth 15l. (fn. 4)

At the Conqueror's survey it belonged wholly with its soc, sac, and jurisdiction, to Ralf Bainard, when it had four carucates of land in demean, 58 bordars, 34 villeins, two mills, five working-horses 100 swine, and 186 sheep, it being worth 24l. 5s. a year, besides six cows, 20 swine, and two rams; it was four miles long and three broad, and paid 18d. to the geld or tax. It had 10 acres held by a freeman, which laid in Freton and Hardwick, and Forncet manor extended hither. (fn. 5) A freeman of Alwius, or Alwine, of Thetford, had 30 acres, &c. worth ten shillings at the first survey, all which was held by Turold at the last.

This Ralph Lord Bainard was a powerful baron, one of those that came in with the Conqueror, Lord of Castle-Bainard in London, and of the barony of that castle; all which William Bainard, his descendant, (fn. 6) forfeited by his rebellion to Henry I.; and he gave the whole to Robert Fitz-Richard-Fitz-Gilbert, the first Earl of Clare, and his heirs; and he gave it to Robert de Tonebridge, his 5th son, and he to Sir Walter Fitz-Robert, his son, who was to hold it of the barony of Bainard's castle; this Robert was lord of the manor of Diss, with which this passed to the Fitz-Walters and Ratcliffs Earls of Sussex, as may be seen in volume i. from p. 5 to p. 11, being always held of the Fitz-Walter's barony.

In 1545, Henry Earl of Sussex, on his son's match with Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, settled it on them and their heirs, and it remained in the family till Robert Ratcliffe sold it to Sir William Luckyn, alias Capel, son of William Luckyn by Margaret daughter of Thomas Jenney of Bury; (fn. 7) he was the first baronet of the family, so created 13 Car. I. and married Mildred 3d daughter of Sir Gamaliel Capell of Rookwood-hall in Essex, Knt. by whom he had Sir Capell Luckyn, Bart, who married Mary, eldest daughter of Sir Harbottle Grimston of Bridfield in Essex, Bart. Master of the Rolls; she died March 1718, aged 86.

Sir William Luckyn of Messinghall, alias Bainard's castle, in Essex, Bart. second, but eldest surviving son, succeeded; and Lady Mary Luckyn, his widow, daughter of William Sherington, alderman of London, is now lady and patroness; this manor having been usually the jointure of the ladies of all its owners.

Sir Harbottle Luckyn, the eldest son, is dead, and the title absorbed in William Luckyn, the second son, who being adopted heir to Sir Samuel Grimston, Bart. changed his name to Grimston, and was created Viscount Grimston of the kingdom of Ireland, May 4, 1719.

Luckyn, sab. a fess dancetté between two leopards faces or. Crest, on a wreath, out of a castle triple-towered, port displayed or, garnished sab. a demi-griffin seiant of the 2d, langued and armed gul.

This manor had liberty of free-warren, view of lete and frankpledge in the presence of the bailiff of the King's hundred of Depwade: a weekly market on Monday, granted by Henry III. in 1225, (fn. 8) and a fair on the vigil, day, and morrow, of St. Margaret, (fn. 9) granted by King Edw. I. a pillory, ducking-stool, gallows, and assize of bread and ale, allowed in 1286. In 1327, the manor-house had a park of 260 acres, and 579 acres in demean, 96 acres of underwood, and 10l. 2s. 3d. q. rents of assize, here and in Pulham, Hardwick, and Shelton; and there was 6l. 19s. paid yearly to the manor for castle-ward, from Whetacre, Chatgrave, Langley, Hales, Kirkby, Brom, Boketon, or Bowton, Berton, Stradset, Titleshall, Haleholm, and Wiclewood; viz. for every fee, every 24 weeks 3s. 4d. the whole value of the manor being estimated at 48l. per annum. In 1315, the Lord Fitz-Walter was returned entire lord of the town. In 1379, John Fitz-Walter procured a charter of King Richard III. to hold their market every Friday, and so the Monday market was laid aside; and now the Friday market is disused; and to hold another fair on St. Andrew's day, which is sill annually kept on that day; and the ancient chapel of St. Andrew, which at the Conquest was parochial though dependent on the mother-church, is now used (as I am informed) for a repository for the stalls.

Sir Ralf's, or Curple's Manor in Hemenhale,

Took its name from Roger Curpeil, (fn. 10) who had one fee in Hemenliale of the gift of Walter Fitz-Robert, and it was always held of the FitzWalters barony of Bainard's castle, as of their manor of Hemenhale; this Roger Curpeil or Capell (as he is also called) divided the fee, one 4th part of it he kept himself, another 4th he gave to Robert Curpeil his son, and Maud his wife; another to Richard his son, and the other to Walter de Valoines, which descended to his heirs; and Robert de Capell aforesaid had the 20th part (fn. 11) of a fee of the gift of the said Walter Fitz-Robert; and in 1235, Robert and Richard Capell or Curpeil, were lords of their parts. In 1256, Alice Curpeil, Katerine, Agnes, and Isabel her sisters, granted their 4th part, viz one messuage, five acres of land and 16s. rent in Hemenhale and Tascburgh, to William de Bumpstede. In 1305, another part was settled by John de Brisingham and Joan his wife, on Roger de Wingfield, this contained two messuages, 100 acres of land, three of meadow, five of pasture, and 8s. 2d. quitrents, here and in Flixton. The part in the Valoines family came to the family sirnamed De Hemenhale, and

Sir Ralf de Hemenhale, who was knighted by King Edw. I. (probably son of David de Hemenhale, and brother to Hervy de Hemenhale, clerk) was the first lord of that family, from whom it was styled Sir Ralf's manor; he was succeeded by

Ralf his son, who was lord of this part in 1227, and added to it, by purchasing many lands of Roger, son of William de Hemenhale in 1234; (fn. 12) he had Walter and Ralf.

Walter was lord in 1256, and was succeeded by his brother

Ralf; in 1307, Ralf de London and Margaret his wife settled a 4th part, which belonged to them, on Sir Ralf de Hemenhale and Alice his wife, who had now the whole, except one 4th part. In 1308, at an inquisition, John de Hemenhale was found to be son and heir of Ralf, and in 1327, this Sir Ralf de Hemenhale (fn. 13) held a messuage, 30 acres of land, and 30s quitrents in Pulham, Hardwick, Starston, and Redenhale, of the Bishop of Ely at 6d. per annum. (fn. 14)

In 1331, John de Hemenhale (fn. 15) purchased many lands, tenements, &c. of Ralf de Burtoft and Margaret his wife, here, and in Freton, Shelton, Long - Stratton, Waketon, Moringthorp, and Hardwick. He bare, as the Hemenhales always did, the very arms of Fitz-Walter, their chief lord, viz. or, a fess between two chevrons gul. with the addition of three escalops arg. upon the fess.

In 1365, Sir Ralf de Hemenhale was lord; (fn. 16) and this year Will. Phelip and Catherine his wife, John Loveyn and Ellen his wife, settled (in case they had no issue) the manors of Radwinter and Roughe in Essex, Codrede in Hertfordshire, Wilburgham-Parva, and the advowson, and Wachedon in Cambridgeshire, on Sir Ralf and his heirs; all which his son inherited; Sir Ralf died about 1366, (fn. 17) leaving.

Robert his son, then three years old; in 1388, (fn. 18) this Robert inherited Wilburgham, and the rest of the entailed manors. In 1389, Sir Robert Hemenhale, Knt. of Hemenhale, (where this family always resided,) released to Sir George Felbrigge, Knt. and other trustees, his manors in Hemenhale and Pulham in Norfolk, Cotton and WickhamSkeyth, Boleshall and Yaxley in Suffolk, and all the possessions of his father Sir Ralf; he was first husband to Joan, daughter and heiress of John de la Pole, Knt. son of Sir William de la Pole, Knt. and Joan his wife, by whom he had only one son,

William; it appears that Sir Robert died before 1406, for in that, year, William being a natural, this manor and 40s. rents in Freton, Moringthorp and Long-Stratton, were committed to the custody of John Beaver; but this William was dead some time before 1419, for in that year, his father's arms were fixed up in the window of the Austin-friars church at Norwich, among the rest of the knights that had no surviving issue, (fn. 19) and (fn. 20)

John son of Robert de Hemenhale, his uncle, inherited, and died without issue.

In 1407, David Hemenhale, Esq. lived here, and had so done for 25 years past, being then 45 years of age; he was a witness in the cause between Sir Reginald Grey and Sir Edward Hastings of Elsing, for their arms, in which he deposed, that Walter Ubbeston of Ubbeston, in Suffolk was his father-in-law, and tutor to the Earl-Marshal, who died at Venice: it seems he had no issue, for the manor went to

Sir Thomas Brooke of Somersetshire, in right of Joan his wife, daughter and heiress of John de la Pole, by Reginald Braybrook son of Sir Gerard, her second husband, according to a settlement made on her and her heirs, by Sir Robert de Hemenhale, her first husband, (fn. 21) in case of failure of the issue of his own family; and in 1468,

Sir Edw. Brooke of Cobham, son of Sir Thomas, died seized.

In 1490, Richard Blomvyle, or Blundevile, Esq. (fn. 22) had his manor and Heverlond, and died seized of them in 1603, and it continued in that family, as in Newton, at p. 64, till after 1580, and then it was sold by

Thomas Blundevyle, Esq. and in

1612, Sir William Bowyer, Knt. and Thomas Awdeley, Esq. conveyed it to Thomas Richardson and George Alyngton, Esqrs. and their heirs: and since it is manumised and divided, so that I do not find it subsisting as a manor at present.


  • 1. Buried here Jan. 1, 1590. His curate was Robert Nowell, for the register in this year says, that one of that name, who was minister of God's word, was buried June 5.
  • 2. Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, Part II. fo. 204.
  • 3. Regr. Alb. Mon. de Bury, fo. 26, b. the rent of it was settled on the celerer and sacrist of Bury, and the rent of a windmill here.
  • 4. Terre Radulfi Bainardi Depwade H. fo. 251. Hamehala tenuit Torn T. R. E. pro manerio viii. car. terre et xvi. acr. tunc liii. vill. modo xxxiii. tunc xli. bord. mo. lviii. et presbiter due ecclesie i. car. terre et iiii. vill. et iiii. bord. et ii. car. et valent xv. sol. tunc et post viii. mo. mullus. tunc et post iii. car. in dom. modo iiii. tunc et post xxxv. car. hom. mo. xxiii. xii. acr. prati silv. cc. porci. partem istius silve calumpniatur Sanctus Benedictus quam tenuit T.R.E. et vocatur Schieteshaga. tunc i. mol. modo ii. semper v. runc. tunc ix. anim. modo xii. tunc c. porci modo. lx. tunc v. oves, modo clxxxvi. tunc post et valuit xv. lib. modo xxiv. lib. et v. sol. et iii. lib. hom. et quarta pars unius liii. acr. et ii. acr. prati et viii. bord. tunc i. car et dim. mo. i. et val. xv. sol. preter hoc totum reddit hoc manerium vi. vaccas et xx. porc. et xx. arietes et habet ii. leug. in longo et i. leug. et dim. in lato, et xviii.d. de gelto. Bainard. Socam et sacam. In Frietuna et in Herduic x. acr. tenuit liber homo T. R. E. et valuit xx.d. hoc est additum huic manerio. hoc est in Hamehala. (fo. 252.)
  • 5. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. Depwade Hund. Doms. fo. 251. Fornesseta, &c et in Hemenhala i. lib. homo Aluus (sc. de Tedfort) com. tantum xxx. acr. et i. car. et i. acr. prati. silva viii. porci et valuit x. sol. et tenet Turoldus.
  • 6. Dug. Mon. Ang. Vol. II. fo. 75.
  • 7. Baronetage Lond. 1727, Vol. I. p. 346.
  • 8. Rot. Claus. 10 H. III. Mem. 19.
  • 9. The church is dedicated to St. Margaret the Virgin, whose day was kept on July 20, but this fair is kept now on Whitsun monday, &c.
  • 10. Testa de Nevil.
  • 11. This 20th part went single a long time; in 1327, Will. Bainard held it of Robert Fitz-Walter, and in 1349, Edm. Hegge of Hemenhale owned it, but in 1401, it was joined again to the capital manor.
  • 12. In 1288, Ralf de Hemenhale, brother of Roger, was parson of the 4th part of Dicleburgh. (Vol. i. p. 192, 3, 127, 9,) and in 1291, resigned it to his brother John, who resigned also, but took it again in 1322.
  • 13. Thomas de Hemenhale elected Bishop of Norwich, and consecrated Bishop of Worcester, was younger brother to this Ralf; an account of him may be seen in vol. iii. p. 504.
  • 14. In 1335, Robert, brother of Sir Ralf de Hemenhale, and Agnes his wife, had Threxton. (vol. ii. p. 365.) In 1312, John Butts of Norwich settled many lands here and in Topcroft and Freton, on this Robert and Margaret his wife.
  • 15. William de Hemenhale Dean of Norwich city, (vol. iv. p. 64,) in 1331, was brother to this John; he exchanged for the deanery of the college in the Fields in Norwich. (See vol. iv. p. 170.)
  • 16. Edmund de Hemenhale, citizen and mercer of London, was sheriff of London in 1345; he founded a chantry in the church of St. Martin le Grand. Stow, p. 551. Edit. 633.
  • 17. In 1379, died Sir Will. de Hemenhale, Knt. at Gislingham in Suffolk, and left Ralf de Hemenhale his nephew 20l.
  • 18. 1375, Thomas son of Sir Tho. de Hemenhale, Knt. buried in the Austin-friars in Norwich, to which house this family were great benefactors. I take it, he was eldest brother to Sir Will. Hemenhale of Gislingham, Knt. and died before his father Sir Thomas, who was buried by him in 1378. (Vol. iv. p. 88.)
  • 19. See vol. iv. p. 87.
  • 20. Richard de Hemenhale died seized of Polsted-hall and Belagh manors in Suffolk in Richard the Second's time, and William his son and heir came of age in 1403.
  • 21. She had four husbands, her third was Sir Nic. Hawbeck, Knt. and her fourth Sir John Oldcastle, Knt. Lord Cobham.
  • 22. Sir Ralf's manor in Hemenhale was held 2d H. 8, by Richard Blomevyle, of John Lord Fitz-Walter, as of his manor of Hemenhale, by the rent of 1d. a year. (Lib. Ward.)