Hundred of Earsham: Aldeburgh

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

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Francis Blomefield, 'Hundred of Earsham: Aldeburgh', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5( London, 1806), British History Online [accessed 22 July 2024].

Francis Blomefield, 'Hundred of Earsham: Aldeburgh', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5( London, 1806), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024,

Francis Blomefield. "Hundred of Earsham: Aldeburgh". An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. (London, 1806), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024.

In this section


Commonly called Arborough; (fn. 1) its name signifies the old burgh, it is often written in evidences Akenberwe, or the Burgh of Oaks.

There are three manors; the superiour manor and jurisdiction, with the lete and advowson, belonged to Bishop Stigand, after to Ralf Earl of Norfolk, who forfeited it by his rebellion to the Conqueror, and he assigned it to the care of Will. de Noiers. The town was then a mile long, and five furlongs broad, and paid 10d. to the geld. (fn. 2) It was after granted to the Bigods Earls of Norfolk, with Earsham, and hath passed always with it to this day; his Grace the Duke of Norfolk being now lord.

In 1285, Roger Bigod claimed free-warren here, and a prison for his tenants.

The second is

Holebrook, or Alburgh-Hall,

Which was in two parts; Alfric held one as a berewic to Tibenham, in the Confessor's time; and Morvan after him; (fn. 3) and a freeman of St. Audry of Ely held the other, which Herfrind had afterwards, and his successour Eudo son of Spirwin had the whole of the Conqueror's gift. (fn. 4) It came afterwards to Nicholas de Lenham, who occurs lord in 1256, and in 1274, was purchased of John Dagworth and others, by John de Holebrook, who added lands to it by purchase from William de Alburgh and Alice his wife. In 1342, John de St. Maur, or Seymor, (lord of Semere's manor, which extended also into this town,) son and heir of Edmund St. Maur and Joan his wife, was lord; and in 1350, William son of Sir John Seymour, Knt. son of Sir Ralf Seymour, Knt. conveyed it to Sir John Wingfield, Knt. Eleanor his wife, and Thomas brother of Sir John; and soon after, they all joined and sold it to Gilbert de Debenham, Esq. and Mary his wife, who was in possession in 1360, when it was worth 10 marks a year, and was held of Earsham hundred. It continued in the Debenhams a long time, though in 1456, Hamond le Strange and Alice his wife had an interest in it. In 1480, Gilbert Debenham, Esq. died seized, who by Margaret, daughter of Sir Edward Hastyngs of Gressenhall, Knt. left Sir Gilbert Debenham his son and heir, of full age. Mr. Rice, in his Survey, says, that the manor-house or hall was then down, that it belonged to the heirs general of the Brewses, two ladies; one married to Sir Edward Thimblethorp, Knt. The demeans and quitrents were 30l. per annum, the fines were at will, and there were about 20 tenants.

The third is the rectory manor, which hath about 40s. per annum, rents, and the copyholds are at the will of the lord.

There was also a small part belonging to the honour of Richmond, (fn. 5) but that belonged to Redenhall manor.

The church is dedicated to all the Saints, was first valued at 12 marks, and after that, at 17, and paid 9d. Peter-pence. The rector had a house and 40 acres of land, when Norwich Domesday was made, now reduced (by the rectors granting them to be held as copyhold of their rectory manor) to about 8 acres. The town paid 5l. clear to each tenth. It pays first-fruits and tenths, and is not capable of augmentation, standing thus in the King's Books,

12l. Albergh rectory. 1l. 4s. yearly tenths.

The Abbot of Langley's temporals in this town were taxed at 6a. The Prior of Mendham's at 5s. 1d. ob. The Prior of Weybrige's at 2s. 5d. So that the religious were little concerned here.


1303, John de Honyng. Sir Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk.

1307, Rob. de Whetelay. The King.

1308, Jeffry de Castre. Alice de Hanonia, Countess, Marshal, and Norfolk.

1313, John de Framlingham. Ditto.

The three following were presented by Thomas de Brotherton Earl of Norfolk, the King's son.

1318, Will. de Bath.

1321, Tho. de Weyland.

1328, John de Reding.

And the three following by Sir John Segrave, Knt.

1345, Hugh de Elnstow.

1349, Adam de Newton, and Hugh Cane.

1371, Tho. Fox. Sir Walter de Manny Lord Manny. He resigned in 1376, to

Will. West, who was presented by Margaret, Mareschal and Countess of Norfolk. In 1378, he exchanged for Swalclywe in Canterbury diocese, with

Rob. Falbek, who in 1387 changed for Berking All-Saints in London diocese, with

John Hydeky, who in 1400, changed with

John Bluntsham for Suaburn. Thomas Mowbray, son and heir of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, by the King, his guardian.

1407, John Yarmouth. Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk. He was succeeded by

Will. Preston, who resigned in 1416, and

Sir Robert Payn had it of Gerard Usflete, husband to Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk.

1424, Jeffry Barger. Elizabeth Dutchess of Norfolk. He exchanged for Rawrchith in London diocese in

1428, with John Dalle, who was presented by John Duke of Norfolk, as were the two following, viz.

Ric. Thompson in 1450, who resigned in

1464, to Henry Baldreston. In 1491, Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk gave it to

Robert Ardern, and at his death in

1502, to Will. Pinchbek, who held it united to Earsham, but dying in 1504, she gave it to

Will. Taylor, and after him to

Robert Bredlaugh, who died rector. In 1517, the Duke gave it to

Sir Nic. Hanson, his chaplain, (fn. 6) and in 1540, at his death, to James Halman, whose successour, Ric. Whetley, was deprived by Queen Mary, among others of the clergy, whose sole offence in those days, was matrimony. In 1554, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, presented

Rob. Thirkettle, and at his death in

1569, Robert Archer. In

1572, John More had it by lapse, who returned 156 communicants in his parish. In 1611, the assignee of the Earl of Northampton, gave it to

Ric. More, who held it united to Redenhall. 1629, Mat. Good, Esq. gave it to

Steph. Hurry, A. M. who was sequestered in 1644, (see Walker.) In 1662, Sir Will. Platers, Bart. in right of the Norfolk fam y, gave it to

George Fenn, at whose death in

1679, James Heylock had it, of the gift of John and Anne Heylock; he was succeeded the next year by

Giles Wilcox, A. M. who was presented by Henry Duke of Norfolk. He resigned in 1682, and Fr. Effingham, Paul Ricaut, and Cuthbert Brown, gave it to

Will. Wyat, A. M. at whose death

Thomas Arrowsmith had it in 1699, of the gift of Henry Duke of Norfolk. He held it united to Starston, till his death in

1729, when the Rev. Mr. Fairfax Stilling fleet, A. M. late fellow of St. John's college in Cambridge, the present rector, was presented by Sir Rowland Hill of Hawkston in Shropshire, Bart. it being one of the livings purchased of the Duke of Norfolk; to which the family must always present a fellow of St. John's college, Cambridge.

Synodals 2s: procurations to the archdeacon 7s. 7d. ob.

The tower is square, had originally three, but now there are six bells; on two of which,
Hac in Cenclave Gabriel nunc pange suave. Dona repende pia rogo Magdalena Maria.

The chancel is thatched, the church and south porch leaded; the north vestry is down.

On marbles in the chancel.

Thomas Green Generosus de Pulham Sta. Mariâ cœlebs, mortuus est quarto die Mart: Anno Xti. Mdccvi. Æt. lxix.

Crest, a buck's head erased on a torce, and Green's arms with a crescent for difference, as in vol i. p. 411.

Mr. Ric. Cooper, June 16, 1669, 86. Anne his Wife 26 Oct. 1669, 65.

Over the north door remains a painting of St. Christopher, as usual very large; and there was an image of our Lady in the chancel; a chapel dedicated to St. Laurence in the church, and an image of St. Catherine, by which the Wrights (a very ancient family in this parish) are interred, and were benefactors towards building the porch in 1463.

On a grave post south side of the churchyard,

Hic jacent reliquie Roberti Bayes Clerici qui obijt 8, et sepultus fuit undecimo Die Dec. Ao Dni. 1702, Æt. suæ 78.

Mortalis Placidâ jam pars requiescit in Urna, Sed petijt superas altera leta Domos, Vita Gravis nulli, mors flenda suis, sibi Fœlix, Sic vixisse placet, sic cecidisse juvat, Mens Equa, antiqui Mortis, fachisque senectus Solis displicuit, queis placuisse Pudor.

Depositum Sam. Bayes Art. Magistri, quem summa in Rebus Sacris et Humanis eruditio, pietas, et suavissimi mores insignem reddiderunt ob. 24 Aug. Ao æt. 29. Dni: nostri 1689.

Memoria Justorum in Benedictionibus.

- - - - A. M. - - - - Jones, æt. 61. - - - An. Dom. 1689, - - - Memoria Justorum in Benedictionibus.

Scandens alma novæ Fælix Consortia vitæ, Civibus Angelicis junctus in arce Poli, Vive Deo! tibi mors requies, tibi Vita, labori, Vive Deo ! mors est vivere, Vita Mori.

An altar tomb at the west end of the steeple for Robert Jay, Gent. Jan. 12, 1723, 84, and 2 of his Wives and 14 Children.

A grave post for John Hambling, 29 Mar. 1712. 63.

Friend! I am gone, and you must follow Perhaps, to Day. perhaps, to Morrow, Your Time is short, improve it well, Prepare for Heaven, and think on Hell.

Here is an estate belonging to the Boys-Hospital in Norwich, (see vol. iv. p. 412.)

There are four town-houses, two commons, containing about 100 acres, on which, Wortwell and Alburgh intercommon.

There is also an estate of 57l. per annum given by Richard Wright of this parish, appropriated to the church and poor, by a decree in chancery made Ao 14 Jac. I.

The description of the penance of Thomas Pye, and John Mendham, in 1428, may be read in Master Fox's Acts and Monuments, at fo. 663.


  • 1. Mr. Fuller, among other county proverbs hath this, (such as it is) Denton in the Dale, and Arborough in the Dirt, And if you go to Homersfield, your purse will get the squirt. Homersfield lies in Suffolk, just by, and is a small village abounding with alehouses.
  • 2. Terre Stigandi Episcopi quas custodit Will. de Noiers, in manu Regis. Doms. fo. 53. Hersam dim. Hund. Hersam tenuit Stigandus, &c. In Aldeberga xv. liberi homines, de tredecim, habebat anteces. Eudonis filij Spiruwic commend. de ii. Sanctus Edmundus, inter omnes lxxx. acr. terre et iiii. acr. prati semper inter omnes v. car. et habet i. leug. in longo, et v. quar. in lato, et de Gelto xd. Sed plures ibi tenent. (Most of the town are free suitor's to Harlestone hundred-court, to which this is now joined.)
  • 3. Terre Eudonis filij Spiruwin. Hersam dim. H. Doms. fo. 246. In Aldeberga tenet Morvan quod tenuit Alfric T. R. E. i. bervitam in Tybenham pertinentem de i. car. terre tunc dim. car. mo, nichil appretiata est
  • 4. In eadem tenuit idem i. liber homo Sce. Aldrede commend. qui nec dare nec vendere poterat terram extra ecclesiam. Hfrfrindus habuit ex liberatione ad perficienda maneria sua, modo tenet Eudo successor ejus, habet dim. car. terre semper i. bord. et i. serv. semper dim. car. et ii. acr. prati semper valuit x. sol.
  • 5. Terre Alani Comitis. Dim. II. de Hersam. Doms. fo. 69. In Aldeberga xii. acr. terre et dim. acr. prati et pertinet in Romborc.
  • 6. 1519, Mar. 1. He had secretly resigned it for some time to the Bishop of London, which resignation the Bishop voided this day, and he held it notwithstanding, to his death.