Hundred of Earsham: Rushall

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 Earsham: Rushall', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5, (London, 1806) pp. 339-343. British History Online [accessed 22 April 2024]

In this section


Or Reeve's-hall, was in three parts; (fn. 1) the first (which belonged to Bishop Stigand) (fn. 2) was seized by the Conqueror, and was afterwards granted to the Bigods, and hath attended the manor and hundred of Earsham to this time: his Grace the Duke of Norfolk keeping lete here, is lord paramount in right of the hundred. In 1285, Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk had free-warren allowed him here. The second was

Rushall Manor,

Which before the Confessor's time belonged to Bury abbey, who infeoffed Henry in it; but at the Conquest it was given to Ralf Peverel, of whom Warincus held it, it being then of 3l. per annum value. The town was then half a mile long and five furlongs broad, and paid 8d. geld. (fn. 3) The third part belonged to Stigand, of whom Brictric a Dane held it: the Conqueror gave it to Robert Fitz-Corbun, of whom Gunfrid held it at the survey; (fn. 4) this was afterwards divided into many parts, and constituted the manors called Vauce's, Sturmer's, Branche's, St. Faith's, and Langley, or the Rectory manor.

Rushall-Hall, or the Capital Manor,

Was held of the honour of Peverel (fn. 5) at one fee, by Warincus, whose successour, Alan, assumed the name of Riveshale, or Rushale, from this his lordship; his son, Miles de Riveshale, lord here, gave in free alms to the monks at Norwich, (fn. 6) 10 acres of land, (fn. 7) and a ploughed field, which were appropriated to the office of sacrist in that church: he was succeeded by Sir Hen. de Riveshale, Knt. and he by a son of his own name, a knight also, who had two wives, the first was Helen, daughter and coheir of William son of Walter de Hepworth, with whom he had a part of Hepworth manor in Suffolk; and after her death, he married Amy, who in 1284 was his widow, and had her dower, viz. the third part of the manor. In 1263, he obtained a charter of free-warren for this manor, and that of Semere in Suffolk, of King Henry III. John de Riveshale, Knt. his son and heir, about 1285, married Winesia, daughter of Ralf son of William de Pevense, who was a widow, and lady here and at Hepworth. In 1290, their son and heir, John de Riveshale, was in custody of the Abbot of Bury, of whom this manor was said to be originally held, the Peverels holding it of the Abbot. He was lord here in 1315, and sealed with his arms on a shield, and his name round it, viz. a cross and label of five. (fn. 8) He left Winesia his daughter his sole heiress, who held it at one fee in 1345; and by her marriage with Sir Oliver Withe, carried it out of the Riveshall family, which continued here some time after this, for Riveshall, her uncle, in 1338, married Maud, daughter and heiress of Ric. Buishe, and left issue; and William de Riveshall, her other uncle, left issue also, Alice, a daughter and heiress, to whom Henry de Riveshall was guardian and heir.

Sir Oliver Withe being thus possessed of this, purchased the other manors of Vaucc's, Branche's, and Sturmyn's, (fn. 9) in this town and Pulham, and joined them to Rushall-hall; the demeans of them being excepted, having passed separate to this day: the demeans of Branche's in Rushall making one farm, and those in Pulham another; both which are now known by their ancient names.

From the Wythes they came to the Carbonels; Sir Robert Carbonel being the first lord of that family, whose son Sir John Carbonel, Knt. and Margery his wife, possessed them in 1421; and in 1425, Sir John Heveningham, senior, Knt. owned them, and settled them on Sir John Heveningham, Knt. his son and heir. It after passed through the Grooses, and Calthorps; and in 1565, Thomas Beaumond and Thomas Gooch, sold the manors of Rushall-hall, Vaunce's or Vauce's, Sturmyn's and Branche's, in Rusall, Pulham, Dickleburgh, Harleston, Redenhall, and Diss, to Thomas Crane and his heirs. In 1571, Anthony Tebold had it: it afterwards was purchased by the Pettus family, and hath continued in it some time, Sir Horace Pettus, Bart. of Rackhithe being the present owner, but holds no court, the whole being either purchased in, or manumised, and the demeans are about 50l. per annum.

The Priory

Is a farm-house, owned by the Ballards of Metingham; it is so called as belonging anciently to the priory of Bukenham, to which it was given by Richard son of Robert de Sengles, with his whole tenement in Rusall, and Lincroft a hamlet thereto; as may be seen in vol. i. p. 385, 9; Sir Henry de Riveshale and Sir John his son, Knts. being witnesses to the gift. In 1401, the Prior of Bukenham held it at the 4th part of a fee, of the heirs of Robert Fitz-Roger, and he of the King; and was taxed for his temporals at 3l. 2s. In 1402, he held it of the manor of Horsford, then belonging to Henry Lord Dacres; (fn. 10) at the Dissolution it went to the Crown, and was granted by Philip and Mary, to Thomas, son and heir of Thomas Gawdye, and was held by Anthony Gawdye and Anne his wife, who conveyed it to Sir Bassingbourn Gawdye, Knt.

The Rectory, or Langley Manor,

Consisted of two parts, the first was the manor originally belonging to the rectory, before its appropriation; the other was a manor owned by Wulnard Betekarl, and after by Warner, and then by Eustace de Ho, his heir, whose daughter Imbria, before 1195, was married to Baldwin de Bures, the then lord: this was after given to the Abbot of Langley, and joined to the impropriation; but now, the whole hath been long since manumised, and no court kept for these manors. The Abbot held it at half a fee of Robert Fitz-Roger, as of Horseford, and so of Eye honour, and was taxed for his temporals at 3l. 6s. This was given in divers parcels to this abbey. In 1202, Roesia, daughter of Reginald de Riveshale, gave to Gilbert Abbot of Langley, many lands and rents in this parish. In 1223, Agatha, widow of Miles de Riveshale, settled 40 acres and rents, on Hugh Abbot of Langley. In 1246, Stephen de Brokedish settled lands here, on Abbot Hugh; and in 1427, the Abbot of Langley was prosecuted for purchasing and holding 200 acres of land in Rushall of lay-fee; but upon proving that all his layfees here, were joined to his spiritual impropriate rectory, and taxed with it as spirituals, and that he was cessed for it with the clergy, he was acquitted.

The Prior of St. Faith at Horsham had a quarter of a fee of the founder's gift in this parish: in 1272, it was returned as held of that house by Robert Fitz-Roger, as of Eye honour; it was afterwards found to be held of the Lord Dacres, as of his manor of Horseford; was first taxed at 30s. after as spirituals at 40s. and so paid 4s. tenths; all the tithes belonging to it being paid to St. Faith's, and not to the rector or vicar. This house was taxed at 25s. 5d. for their temporals in Rushall; being vested in the Crown, King Henry VIII. in the 36th year of his reign, granted all the lands, rents, and possessions, belonging to the priory of Horsham, late in the tenure of Catherine Branche, to John Carryll and his heirs.

The rectory was given to the abbey of Langley in Norfolk, and was appropriated to that house; Will. the priest being the only rector of it that I have found mentioned. In the old taxation, the Abbot of Langley was taxed for his manor and lands at 6 marks; the rectory was valued at 15, and in the new valuation at 26 marks: there was a house, manor, and carucate of land before the impropriation; the vicarage endowed was valued at five marks, but was not taxed; it paid 2s. synodals, and 12d. Peter-pence, and the vill paid 40s. a year clear to each tenth. The vicarage is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; it stands thus in the King's Books,

4l. Rushall vicarage. - - - - 30l. clear yearly value.

In 1548, King Edw. VI. granted to John Pykarel and John Barnard, the tithes, glebes, &c. with the appurtenances of Rushall rectory, late parcel of Langley monastery, paying 20s. per annum to the vicar, and 7s. per annum for procurations to the Archdeacon of Norfolk: in Queen Elizabeth's time, a confirmation of it passed to the Cleres, and in 1603, Sir Edward presented to the vicarage, as an appurtenant to the rectory: it was afterwards conveyed to Tho. Sherwood, who in James the First's time sold about 70 acres with the parsonage-house, to one Ket, but excepted the tithes, &c. and fixed 6s. 8d. per annum to the vicar for his dividend of the 20s. a year; it belonged after that, to the Redes, and then to William Long, in right of his wife; and he sold it to the Bransbys, and being sold by Mr. James Bransby of Shotesham, to Immanuel college in Cambridge, they are now rented of that society at 85l. 10s. per annum. The small tithes belong to the vicar.


presented by the abbots of langley.

1316, Ric. de Brom.

1349, John Pecock, res.

1354, John atte Frithe of Gissing.

John Mason, who changed for Burnham-Westgate in 1397, with Ric. Wapound.

1398, Brother Will. de Hoo, a canon of Langley.

1402, Will. Tyffeyn.

1407, Tho. Davy, res.

1409, Andrew Gele.

1412, Adam Sharnburn.

1415, Ric. Joos,

1470, Brother John Myntelyng, S.T.D. a friar-preacher.

1482, Brother Thomas Tudenham.

1513, William Whyk, a canon of Langley, lapse

Vicars since the Dissolution.

1544, Will. Hudson.

1567, Brian Jackson.

1581, Jerom Emery.

1594, James Wilson; all presented by the Crown.

1603, Henry Aldred, presented by Sir Edward Clere, Knt. there being 92 communicants in the parish. In 1608, it was united to Thorp-Parva, during the incumbancy of

Hugh Hatton, (fn. 11) who had it by lapse to the Bishop.

1620, John Thirleby, presented by the Crown; he held it with Waybrede vicarage by union, and was the last vicar, it being served by sequestration till the year 1733, when

The Rev. Mr. John Tracey, B. A. the present vicar, was instituted, being presented in right of the Crown, by virtue of the lapse.

The advowson of the vicarage now belongs to Immanuel college, as appendant to the impropriate rectory.

The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, hath a steeple round at bottom and octangular at top, and only one bell, two being lately sold, with the lead that covered the church, towards repairing it; so that the nave, chancel, and south porch, are tiled. There was a small chapel on the north side of the nave, which is now demolished; in which there was an altar, image, and gild, held; all in the honour of the Holy Trinity; to sustain which, there was a close given at Bonwell-Croft. (fn. 12) Grimes Meadow was given in 1473, by John Braunch, to find a light always burning before the image of the Virgin in the chancel, where he is buried; his stone lies in the middle of it, but hath lost an effigies in armour standing on a lion, and four shields; Marion his wife, and Richard and John his sons, had good estates in the town.

There are no copyholds but such as are held of the manors that are in other places and extend hither, as Semere's in Mendham, Gunshaw's in Starston, Manclerk's in Dickleburgh, &c.

From the Register.

1561, Thomas son of Thomas and Margaret Blomefield, baptised. 1562, John their son. 1563, Kat. their daughter. 1564, Alice their daughter. 1565, Faith, daughter of Tho. and Agnes Blomefield. 1568, Rachel, daughter of Thomas and Margaret Blomefield. 1571, Charity, daughter of Tho. Blomefield, baptized. 1589, Tho. and Margaret Blomefield buried. 1584, Charles, son of Anne and Henry le Grice, baptized. John Sayer, Gent. and Eliz. Sayer, married, 1670.


  • 1. So called from the Prepositus or Reeve of the hundred, that anciently dwelt here.
  • 2. Terre Stigandi Episcopi quas custodit Will. de Noiers in manu Regis, Hersam dim. H. Doms. fo. 53. In Rivessalla x. lib. hom. Stigandi T.R.E. de xl. et iii. bord. semper iii. silva vi. porc. et ii. acr. prati. soca et saca in Hersam.
  • 3. Terre Rainulfi Peverelli. H. Hersam dim. Doms fo. 261. Rivessalla tenet Warincus quod tenuit Henricus a Sancto Edmundo omnino inter ecclesiam T.R.E. pro i. car. et dim. terre semper vii. vill. et iii. bord. semper ii. car. in dom. et i. car. hom. silva xl. porc. et v. acr. prati modo equus et iii. anim. tunc l. porc. modo xvii. tunc xix. oves, modo xviii. modo xii. capr. tunc iii. vasa apum modo i. tunc et post valuit xl. sol. modo lx. habet dim. leug. in longo, et v. (quar.) in lato, et de Gelto viii. d. sed plures ibi tenent. modo tenet hanc terram Ranulfus ad feudum Regis.
  • 4. Terre Roberti filij Corbutionis. H. dim. Hersam. Doms. fo. 268. In Rivessalla tenet Gunfridus quam tenuit Brictricus i. lib. hom. Stigandi commendat. sed nec dare nec vendere poterat terram suam sine licencia ejus i. car. et dim. terre tunc vi. villani post et modo iii. tunc i. car. et dim. modo dim. semp. dimid. car. hom. silva xl. porc. et vi. acr. prati. tunc et post valuit xx. sol. modo x.
  • 5. See p. 18.
  • 6. Register Sacrist. Norwic. fo. 59.
  • 7. This land, for a certain annual rent, was assigned to the Prior of Bukenham, and joined to the priory lands here.
  • 8. He bare his coat different from that of the rest of the family, which was Gul. three lozenges in chief arg.
  • 9. They took their several names from their owners. In 1272, Will. de Vaux held a quarter of a fee here, of Robert de Tateshale; this was Vauce's manor. In 1364, William Bernak had it. In 1398, Gilbert Talbot. In 1401, John Brusyerd. In 1470, John Branche was lord of Branche's manor, and that family continued long here, after they parted from the manor.
  • 10. E Feodario Honoris de Horseford, penes P. L. N. Norroy.
  • 11. See vol. i. p. 138.
  • 12. These lands contain six acres, lying in three pieces, and are in feoffees hands to repair the church with the profits. There is also a town-house for the poor. There are two pieces of land belonging to Nedham, that lie in this town.