Hundred of Earsham: Starston

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: Starston', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5, (London, 1806) pp. 344-351. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section


Or Steres-town, was anciently in many parts; the head manor belonged to Bury abbey, (fn. 1) and was infeoffed by Baldwyne, abbot there, (fn. 2) in Roger Bigot; who obtained of the King, a freeman and his services here, which belonged to St. Audry's monastery at Ely; (fn. 3) and another part which was Stigand's, he had, as belonging to his manor of Earsham: all which he left to his successours, and they continued in his family, till one of them granted off 2 fees, which made 2 manors, to be held of the manor of Forncet, and reserved the superiour jurisdiction, lete, and advowson, with liberty of warren, &c. to his heirs; all which have passed, and now continue (except the advowson) with the manor and hundred of Earsham, in the Duke of Norfolk, lord thereof; the chief part of the town being free suitors to the hundred-court at Harleston. (fn. 4) The town at the Conqueror's survey was a mile and five furlongs long, and five furlongs broad, and paid 13d. geld.

Starston-Hall Manor,

Being granted from the Bigods to be held of Forncet at one fee, was owned by Bartholomew Evereus, or Devereux, lord also of Hardwick; (fn. 5) and after by Roger Devereux, and in 1308, by Ralf Devereux and Dionise his wife; and was soon after sold to James Herwardstoke, and Jeffery de Waterbeche, son of Sir Jeffery de Stoke, Knt. in 1332, released it to Sir John de Herwardestok, rector of Pulham, who in 1341 confirmed it to John de Herwardestoke, his brother, citizen of London, who sealed with gul. an eagle displayed or, on his shield, and his name round it; he sold it to Robert de Bumpstede, citizen of Norwich, and Robert and Thomas his sons; and they to William and Roger Pycot, Stephen Horn, vicar of Ilketshall St. Andrew, and Richard Dautris, feoffees to Roger Pycot, whose son, Sir Burth. Pycot, Knt. was lord in 1373; in 1387, Richard Picot sold it to Ric. le Haukere and John Caryolf of Redenhall, who reconveyed it, in 1395, to the said Ric. Picot of Starston, John Caltoft, and Robert Rous of Dynington, his feoffees; and in 1406, it was vested in Sir Rob. Berney, Knt. and others, conditionally, that if Anne wife of Richard Picot should claim any dower out of Blickling manor, that then the feoffees should enter upon this. In 1411, this Richard was returned lord, and in 1428, Thomas Picot, Esq. who in 1432, is said to hold Bovile's fee; he left the manor at his death, vested in trustees for the use of his daughters and heiresses, after the death of Alice his wife, daughter of Sir John Tirrel, Knt. and widow of William Skrene; and in 1460, Robert Baynard of Specteshall, Esq. and Tho. Crofts of West-Hall, Esq. by direction of the will of Thomas Pycot of Starston, Esq. at the request of Katerine daughter of Thomas Pykot, confirmed to Hugh Austyn of Framlingham Castle, Gent. and to the said Catherine his wife, Starston, alias Pykot's manor, to hold to their heirs, with remainder to Anne sister of Catherine aforesaid; and the same year, Hamon le Strange, Esquire of the King's household, released to Hugh and Catherine, all his right in it: Kat. Austyn died before 1500, for then her executor released the manor to Robert Bernard, Esq. and Anne his wife, her sister; and in 1515, Christopher Calthorp, Esq. held his first court in right of Eleanor his wife, one of the daughters and heiresses of Rob. Baynard and Anne Bigot his wife: their son, James Calthorp of Cockthorp, in Norfolk, succeeded, and was lord in 1560; in 1570, Christopher, his son and heir, was dead, and it was held in jointure by Jane daughter of Roger Rookwood, Esq. of Fishley in Norfolk, his relict, then remarried to Sir Jerome Bowes of London, Knt. who in 1581, for 60l. per annum during his wife's life, released all right to Sir James Calthorp of Cockthorp in Norfolk, Knt. who was lord in 1610, and was succeeded by Christopher Calthorp, Esq. his son and heir; it was then the chief manor in the town, and had a convenient house belonging to it; it afterwards belonged to the Wiltons of Wilby in Norfolk, was mortgaged to John Strange of Red-Lion Square, and is now owned by Mr. Mills of London.

Bresingham's Manor

Takes its name from its ancient lords; Walter de Bresingham was lord about 1235; (fn. 6) after him, William his son; in 1362, Richard de Bresingham; and it continued in the family till 1462, when John Bresingham, Esq. died, and was buried in Brockdish church, and left the manor to Elizabeth daughter of William Grice of Brockdish, his wife, and her heirs; and it continued in the Grices till they sold it to the Pycots, or Pygots; and in 1578, William Pyeot was lord, who sold it to Bratholomew Cotton, Esq. son and heir of Rog. Cotton by Audry, daughter and heiress of John Cotton, second brother to Sir Rob. Cotton of Lanwade in Cambridgeshire, Knt. In his time it was returned to have a house, demeans, and royalties, but no copyhold tenants nor court baron, the whole being manumised; and the freeholders belonging to it, paid about 19s. per annum freerents. He lies buried under a sumptuous monument on the north side of the chancel; his effigies, with a ruff about his neck, is kneeling at a desk; his crest, on a torce A. S. a griffin's head erased arg. Motto, Mors Quies, Vita Labor. 12 coats marshalled, with a crescent gul. in the fess point for difference.

1, Cotton, S. a chevron between three griffins heads erased arg. 2, Ar. a fess invecked gul. in chief a rose of the second. 3, Erm. on a chief sab. two mullets or. 4, Erm. on a bend sab. three eagles heads erased arg. 5 as 1. 6 as 2. 7 as 3. 8, Gul. a chevron between three drops or. 9, Arg. three birds heads gul. in a bordure ingrailed sab. 10, Sab. a cinquefoil in an orle of martlets arg. 11, Vert, three eagles displayed or, a canton erm. 12, Erm. on a bend gul. three eagles displayed or.

Hic in Christo obdormit Bartholomeus Cotton Armiger, Filius et Hæres Rogeri Cotton ex antiquâ Familiâ Cottonorum de Lanwade in Comitatuù Cantabrigiæ, per Etheldredam Fliam et Hæredem Johannis Cotton Fratris secundi Roberti Cotton de Lanwade Militis, Qui veræ Religionis verus Cultor, Benificus egenis, et omnibus charus, munere Eirenarchæ complures annos, et Clerici Brevium atque Processûum in Camerâ Stellatâ xxxiiii Annos, cum summâ Integritates Laude perfunctus; tres duxit Uxores, Ceciliam Borrough, Virginem et Hæredem, Aliciam Gascoigne, et Annam Sterlinge Viduas, Animam Deo pie et placide reddidit, die Lunæ viz. xxi Junij Ao Salutis MDCXIII. Ætatis suæ LXXVIo.

Patri Optimo Thomas Filius et Hæres, in Officio Successor, observantiæ ergo posuit.

Thomas Calthorp Gent. his son and heir, married Eleanor, daughter of James Calthorp, whose son, Bartholomew Cotton of this town, married Jane daughter of Ric. Luckin of Diveshal in Essex, and had Luckin Cotton, Gent. who by Anne his wife, (fn. 7) he left issue; he is buried here with this,

In Memory of Luckin Cotton Gent. interred Jan. the 17, 1654. He left 2 Sons, Luckin and Bartholomew; and 2 Daughters, Lydia and Mary; (fn. 8) Bartholomew and Luckin died synce, and were buried by their Father; Bartholomew Apr. 14, and Luckin Oct. 3, 1655.

Cotton with a crescent, impales az. on a fess or, three lions faces gul.

Crest, on a torce or, and sab. a gray-hound arg. collared or.

On an altar tomb with Cotton's arms,

Here lie the Bodies together of John-Luckin Cotton, Gent. who (being about 25 Years of Age) was interred Jan. 17, 1654, and of his 2 Infants Sons, Luckin and Bartholomew, who (like un-timely Fruit) fell all at a Blast, and in the space of ten Monthes, withered away in the Immaturity of their Years; Bartholomew (being about a Year old) was buried Apr. 13, 1655; and Luckin the eldest (not being 3 Years old) periodized the Males of his Family here by his deplored Death, and was buried Oct. 3, 1655.

Our happiest Dayes do passe From us poor mortall Men; First and before the rest!


In 1689, Robert King of Great Thurlow in Suffolk, in right of his wife, Eliz. daughter of Thomas Steward of Barton-Mills in Suffolk, and relict of Sir Robert Kemp of Finchingfield in Essex, was lord here, and lived in 1705; his son Thomas, about 1698, was killed by Sir Sewster Peyton, Bart. but by a daughter of Cordel, and sister and heir of Sir John, left one son; she died his widow in 1706.

Starston-Place is now owned by Waldegrave Pelham, Esq. and is a good house near the church.

Beckhall Manor

Is so called from the site of it, (long since demolished,) being near the bek or rivulet that runs through this village. It was very anciently in William de Bovile's hands, who held it at one fee of Forncet manor. In 1296, William de Ingham had it; in 1306, Eliz. de Ingham; in 1309, John de Ingham died lord, and Oliver de Ingham, his son, succeeded; in 1330, being then a knight, he settled it on John de Ingham, his son, and Katherine his wife, and their heirs, reserving five marks per annum for life; in 1342, Sir Oliver was returned lord, and in 1358, Isabel de Ingham was lady; and it passed with Ingham in Norfolk to the Stapletons, and was settled by Sir Miles Stapleton, Knt. and Dame Joan his wife, on John his son, and Isolda his wife, and their heirs; in 1418, Sir Miles Stapleton, Knt. was lord, and Sir Brian his son and heir was 40 years old; he died seized in 1438, leaving it to Sir Miles his son and heir, then 30 years old; in 1441, he settled it on Catherine his wife, and died seized in 1465, and it continued in the family till 1501, when Dame Elizabeth Fortescue, daughter and heiress of Sir Miles Stapleton, first the wife of Sir Will. Calthorp, and after of Sir John Fortescue, Lord Chief Justice, and lastly of Sir Edward Howard, (while Fortescue's widow,) settled it on the heirs of her body, and so it came to the Calthorps, and afterwards to the Gawdies, and was joined by the Cottons to Bresingham's manor.

Bouton's, or Bolton's Manor,

Passed in a great measure like the manor of the same name in Hardwick, which see at p. 220. In 1285, William le Claver and Katherine (fn. 9) his wife had it; in 1318, William his son and heir, whose daughter and heiress, Maud, married to Walter de Burwood, whose widow she was in 1362. It was sold by Will. Gresham, Esq. to Peter Gleane of Norwich, at which time it had no house, but several copyhold tenants belonging to it.

Gunshaw's Manor in Starston, Nedham, &c.

Was anciently held by William de Arches of John de Mendham, at half a fee; it formerly belonged to the Heylocks, and was purchased of the Wisemans about Charles the First's time, by one Mr. Stiles of Codenham, whose wife married a second husband, and held it for life.

It hath a farm-house and about 50l. per annum besides the royalty and many copyhold tenants. It is now owned by Mr. Nun of Southwold in Suffolk.

The several manors of Seymer's and Huntingfield's in Mendham, Gunshaw's and Burt's in Nedham, Pulham, &c. and Payone's in Denton, extend hither.

The church is dedicated to St. Margaret; the rector hath a good house and about 43 acres of glebe; there are no customs, all tithes being due in their proper kind. It is undischarged of tenths and first-fruits, and stands thus in the King's Books,

15l. Sterston rectory. 1l. 10s. yearls tenths.

In the old Valor it was valued at 30 marks, and paid 2s. synodals, 7s. 7d. 0b. Archdeacon's procurations, 14d. 0b. Peter-pence, and the town paid clear to every tenth 3l. 15s. The monks of Thetford had lands here, and the tithes arising from them, were anciently valued at 20s. but was afterwards compounded for perpetually at 6s. per annum, and in 1612, was paid by the rector to the lord of Aslacton manor, in right of Thetford priory; at the same time also, the rector paid a pension of 3s. 4d. to Mendham priory, as a perpetual composition for the tithes of that part of their manor of Hunting field's, which extended hither; for which lands, that house was taxed at 24s. 2d. ob. The Prior of Norwich had temporals in the parish taxed at 5s. 10d. and the Prioress of Carrow at 14d.


1306, Robert de Beverley. Sir Roger le Bigot Earl-Marshal and Norfolk. He exchanged for Hadstock in London diocese in 1319, with

John Pikard of Herwardestok. Tho. Brotherton Earl Norfolk.

1348, John Woodward.

1361, Will. Danyel. Sir Walter de Manny, by Nic. de Horton. rector of Lopham, his attorney general, he being out of England.

1372, Tho. de Trowel. Margaret, Marshal, Lady Manny. In 1379, he changed for Boyton in Salisbury diocese, with

John Haselore, who was succeeded in

1383, by Tho. Alborn, who changed for Boreham in London diocese in 1386, with

John Gelle, and he for Castor by Norwich in 1393, with

John Lefe, and all of them were presented by the said Margaret

1408, Will. Newton. Elizabeth Dutchess of Norfolk. He was succeeded by Will. Baker, who exchanged for Southrey in 1420, with

Alex. Colloo, who had it of the gift of Sir Gerard Usflete, Knt. and Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk, his wife. He died rector the next year, and was interred in the churchyard.

1421, John Wele. Ditto. He resigned in 1437, and John Duke of Norfolk gave it to

John Swan, who was buried in the chancel in 1478, being succeeded by

Peter Wodecock. Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk. In

1515, Nic. Carr had it by lapse, and at his death in 1531, the Duke gave it to

Nic. Cotney, at whose death in

1558, Will. Clark had it, and resigned the same year to

Tho. Palmer, who died in 1576, and Will. Dix and Will. Cantrell, feoffees to the Norfolk family, presented

George Grame, who resigned in

1586, to Peter Raye. The Queen. In

1603, Peter Rix, then rector, returned 120 communicants in the parish. In 1629, Will. le Neve, patron of the turn, presented

Will. Bennet, who died in 1638, and was succeeded by Richard Anguish, who was one of the sequestered clergy, (Walker, fo. 184, part ii,) and was of the family of Anguish of Melton, (p. 17, 18, 21,) where his children were baptized. Thomas Earl of Arundel.

1669, Ric. Lewthwaite. Henry Lord Howard.

1672, Will. Wyatt, A. M. Richard Richmund, this turn. He is buried in the churchyard on the south side, with this on a head stone:

Gulielmus Wiat A M. Rector hujus Ecclesie ob. 29 Sept, 1699.

Henry Duke of Norfolk in 1699, presented

Tho. Arrowsmith, who lies buried in the chancel at the southeast corner, for whom there is a neat monument with the crest and arms of Arrowsmith, impaling Smith of Cratfield.

Crest, an arm erect sab. holding a wreath vert.

Arrowsmith, erm. on a chevron between three arrows sab. five pheons O.

Smith, barry wavy of eight A. and az. on a chief G. three barnacles O.

Underneath lieth the body of Thomas Arrowsmith M. A. rector of this parish and Aldburgh 30 Years; he was the eldest son of the Rev. Mr. Arrowsmith vicar of North Weald Essex, and Grandson of the eminent Dr. Arrowsmith some time master of Trinity college in Cambridge. He was a truly zealous and conscientious Son of the Church of England, whose Discipline he strictly observed, and whose Rights he was always ready to defend; He was a generous Benefactor to his Relations, an hospitable Neighbour, and a never failing friend to the poor: He married the Daughter of John Smith of Cratfield, Esq; and Relict of Anthony Freestone late of Mendham Gent to whom he was a kind and indulgent Husband 25 Years, he died March 28, 1729, aged 55.

His mournful Widow, in Testimony of her inviolable Affection to him, has caused this Monument to be sacred to his Memory.

1725, 15 Aug. Philip Williams, S. T. B. fellow, and some time president of St. John's college in Cambridge. Rowland Hill, Bart. by purchase from the Duke of Norfolk, he being obliged to present a fellow St. John's college in Cambridge. He is now D. D. and held it some time with Barrow in Suffolk, and at his resignation in

1746, The Rev. Mr. George Davies, late fellow of St. John's college, had it, and is the present rector. Ditto.

The tower is square and hath five bells; on the 5th,
Per Thome Meritis, mereamur Gaudia Luics.

The nave is leaded, and the south porch and chancel are tiled.

On a brass by the church door.

William Bugott Gentleman, died Nov. 1580.

Blessed is he, that dieth in the Lord.

Bacon, arg. on a fess ingrailed between three escutcheons gul. as many mullets or, impaling Bedingfield.

Philip the Son of Francis Bacon Esq; and Dorothy his wife, died un-weaned at Nurse, Nov. 1657.

Death is the Sentence of the Lord over all Flesh.

1740, Thomas Aldous a Poor Man buried, aged 106 Years.

Twenty shillings a year is paid to the use of the poor, out of the estate of John Smith, late of Harleston, butcher, after owned by Francis Botterit of St. James's Suffolk.

There is a town-house for four families, and some inconsiderable quantity of town-land.


  • 1. Terra Abbatis de Sancto Eadmundo. Fo. 180. Doms. Hersam dim. H. Sterestunam tenet Rogerus Bigot de Abbate quod tenuit Brictflet, libera femina Sancti Edmundi commend. pro ii. car. terre, tunc iii. villani modo ii. semper iii. serv. tunc ii. car. in dominio modo null. vi. acr. prati tunc et post xl. sol. modo xx. habet i. leug. et v. quar. in longo, et v. quar. in lato, et xiii. d. de Gelto. quicunque ibi teneat. In Sterestuna i. liber homo Sci. Edmundi commend. sed soca Stigandi in Hersam v. acr. terre val. x.d. hoc est in dominio.
  • 2. Willelmus siquidem Rex Anglorum, qui Angliam manu adquisivit bellicâ, licenciam dedit et facultatem Baldewyno Abbati Sancti Eadmundi, ut quocunque modo posset, terras ecclesie sue adijceret, vel pecunia eas a vicinis suis, redimendo, vel dono ipsorum proprio, et spontaneâ voluntate eorum adquirendo; unde factum est, ut plures liberos homines, quos sokemannos vocamus, et eorum homagia adquireret, et eorum adquisitione nionasterium suum locupletaret.
  • 3. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. Doms. fo. 133. Hund. dim. Hersam. In Sterestuna tenuit i. liber homo Sancte Aldrede T. R. E. et Stigandi erat soca et saca in Hersam: sed nec dare nec vendere poterat terram suam sine licencia Sancte Aldrede et Stigandi, dim. car. terre modo tenet Godvinus et sub eo iii. bord. semper i. car. in dominio et viii. liberi homines sub eo de xx. acr. semper iii. car. semper val. x. sol. modo R. Bigot revocat ad feuduin liberorum suorum ex dono Regis. Sed hundred. testatur quod quando Ricardus Punnant erat prepositus in Hersam, pertinebat in Hersam, sed ille qui modo tenet tunc subprepositus Ricardi in Ersam, abstulit, et teste hundredo, et dedit censumin Ersam xx. sol. et vi. d. unoquoque anno de hac terra nominatim, et de alia, sed hoc anno nichil reddidit, et Will. de Noicrs habuit hucusque censum.
  • 4. Terre Stigandi Episcopi, quas custodit Will. de Noiers, in manu Regis. Doms. fo. 52. Hersam dim Hund. In Sterestuna xv. soc. Stigandi pertinentes ad Ersam cum soca tenent lxxx. acr. prati. et vi. bord. semper viii. car. inter omnes. In eadem xv. socm. de quibus Scs. Edmundus T. R. E. habuit commendat. sed terra eorum omnino erat in ecclesia sed soca et saca in Hersam, et R. Bigot ideo addidit, quando tenuit manerium Hersam tempore Stigandi, inter omnes lx. acr. terre et i. acr. prati. semper iii. car.
  • 5. Payone's manor in Denton, Anne had for her part, this and Saies in Stratton, Catherine had, see p. 199.
  • 6. For this family see vol. i. p. 57.
  • 7. She is interred in the altar under a black marble with the arms of Cotton with a crescent, impaling on a fess three lions faces. Anne, late wife of Luckyn Cotton, Esq. died Aug. 8, 1658.
  • 8. One of these coheiresses, married to John Herne of Ameringhall, but left no issue; and the other to Thomas Steward.
  • 9. See p. 259.