Hundred of Humble-Yard: Swerdeston

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Hundred of Humble-Yard: Swerdeston', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5, (London, 1806) pp. 49-54. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section


This village, at the time of the Conqueror's survey, was in many parts, being then six furlongs long and 5 broad, and paid 13d. geld. And Thorp, or Gowthorp, then belonged to it, and Mangreen also, as they do at this day; the two last, and one part of Swerdeston, belonged to Roger Bigot, (fn. 1) but the manor of Swerdeston, called afterwards.

Swerdeston, or Colby's Manor,

Which was the principal one, belonged to Ordinc, a Dane, one of the Confessor's thanes or noblemen, and was then worth 66s. and the church, which had 15 acres of glebe, was appendant to it. (fn. 2) It was given by the Conqueror to Ralf de Beaufoe, being then worth 106s. per annum. Richard held the whole of Ralf, when the Conqueror's survey was made; Pagan or Pain, the son of Richard, succeeded, and Ralf his son after him, who, by the name of Ralf Fitz-Pain, gave lands here to the monks of Norwich, for the almoner's use, (fn. 3) on condition they received himself, his father, and mother, and Soloman his uncle, into their bedroll, and celebrated for their souls, as for the brothers of their house. In 1247, William Fitz-Ralph, lord here, sold the advowson to the nuns at Carhoe; and the year following, Walter Bishop of Norwich appropriated the church to them, reserving a vicarage to be presented to by that convent; Bartholomew son of Will. who assumed the name of Swerdeston, was lord in 1256, and in 1315, it belonged to Tho. de St. Omer of Brundale, who died seized about 1364, leaving it to his two daughters and heiresses, Alice, after married to Sir William de Hoe, Knt. and Eliz. to Tho. Waryne. In 1392, it belonged to John de Coleby, (fn. 4) in which family it continued so long, that it still bears that name. In 1440, Tho. Wetherby, lord of Brundale, had an interest here. In 1510, Will. Jenney. Esq. held it, who died in 1512, and was buried at Intwood: and from that time it passed with that manor, and John Lord Hobart is now lord, and patron of the vicarage. (See p. 40, 41.) It was held of the King, as parcel of the dutchy of Lancaster.

Thorp, Gowthorp, or Galthorp-Hall Manor,

Belonged to Roger Bigot at the Conquest, and continued in that family some time; it came afterwards to the family sirnamed le Moigne, or Monk, and in 1286, William le Moigne lived here, and claimed view of frankpledge, assise of bread and ale, &c. of all his tenants here. It seems, the chapel of St. James, which belonged to this manor, was founded by some of this family, and endowed with the great tithes of the manor. It was consolidated to Intwood church in 1401, (see p. 42,) but was in use till about 1590; it is now totally demolished, but stood in the Brick-kiln Close south-east of the hall. This was always reckoned as a hamlet to Swerdeston, and is now included in the parish, though the lands belonging to it are often, on account of the consolidation, said to be in Galthorp in Intwood, in the parish of Swerdeston. In 1306, Peter son of Will. le Moigne, or Monk, was lord. In 1320, Will. son of John le Monk of Gowthorp, and Isabel his wife, sold it to Ric. Cole of Norwich, who released it again to Peter le Monk in 1343; and in 1351, John de Gowthorp seems to have had an interest in it; but in 1355, Nic. Blakeney and Emma his wife sold it to Bartholomew Appleyard, when it contained 11 messuages, 4l. quitrents, &c. and Will. de Blickling and Mariona his wife, released all their right in 1367. In 1405, Rob. Stalon of Norwich, and Margaret his wife, conveyed it to Ric. Purdamore of Norwich, and other trustees. In 1486, Margaret widow of William Skipwith of Norwich, Esq. gave this manor to William her son, with remainder to Edmund his brother, (fn. 5) and ordered John Ratcliffe Lord Fitz-Walter, and her other feoffees, to settle it accordingly, and in 1494, Will. Skipwith and his wife settled it on Ric. Haleys, John Jollys, Simon Damme, and Rob. Walsh, their trustees, with the advowson of Newton Flotman, and a fishery in the river of Hertford; (fn. 6) all which, in 1525, were conveyed by Sir Edward Boleyn, Knt. and Anne his wife, to Leonard Spencer and William Knightly. In 1560, it belonged to Will. Steward, or Styward, who settled in the manor-house called Golthorp-hall; his second wife was Grisseld, daughter of Thomas Eden of Sudbury, and his first was Eliz. daughter of Sir Chris. Jenney, Knt. of Great Cresingham; (fn. 7) and in 1608, he and Griseld his wife settled it after their deaths, on their son Thomas and Mary his wife, daughter of Henry Lord Grey of Groby, both which are buried in St. Stephen's church in Norwich, with many of their family. (fn. 8) By them this manor was sold to Thomas Berney, 3d son of Sir Thomas Berney of Park-hall in Redham, by Julian his wife, daughter to Sir Thomas Gawdy, who died in 1673, and is buried here, by Dorothy his wife, who was daughter and coheir of John Smith of Ameringhall; they left two daughters; Julian, married to Will. Branthwait of Hethill, Esq. and Frances, to Sir Edward Barkham of Westacre, Bart. and two sons; William, the youngest, married Bridget, daughter to the Lord Chief Justice Coke. John, the eldest son, settled here, and died in 1678, and by Eliz. his wife, daughter of Sir Arthur Onslow of West Clandon in Surrey, Bart. he had Elizabeth, buried here in 1678; Anne, married to John Suckling of Wotton, Esq. and Thomas Barney, Esq. his son and heir, who by Anne, youngest daughter of Rob. Suckling of Wotton in Norfolk, Esq. who are both buried here, had John Berney of Swerdeston, Esq. the present lord, who now dwells in Galthorp-hall, which stands about a quarter of a mile eastward of the church.

Manegrene Manor,

Was a hamlet to Swerdeston, and at the survey belonged to Roger Bigot, from whose ancestors it was conveyed to Osbert of Mannegrene and after that, Will. de Haverhill had it conveyed to Will. de Mannegrene, his kinsman. In 1315, Emma de la Penne and Peter Plumstede owned it, and it belonged about 1334, to John le Neve of Mannegrene, and in 1340, was settled on John his son, and Margaret his sister, who married Will. Dene; and in 1395, they released to John le Neve all their right; and from thence till 1559, I have met with no account of it, when Tho. Aldrich of Mangrene, Esq. (fn. 9) was buried by the font in Swerdeston church, and left Mangrene-hall manor to Cecily his wife; about 1570, it was owned by Thomas Aldrich, Gent. by whom the most part of the lands held of the manor (if not all) were purchased in, and with an heiress of that family, it went to the Davies; Mr. Henry Davy, married a daughter of Israel Long, Gent. whose daughter and heiress Anne, married to William Churchman, Esq. who now owns it, and dwells at Mangrene-hall, which is about half a mile north-east of

The church, which was originally dedicated to St. Andrew; and about 1400, rededicated to St. Mary the Virgin. It is a vicarage valued in the King's Books at 6l. but being sworn of the clear yearly value of 21l. 14s. and 4d. it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation. It was anciently valued at 10 marks, was appropriated to the nuns of Carhoe as aforesaid; there was no house, but the vicar had 24 acres of land; his vicarage was valued at 5 marks, but not taxed. It paid synodals 2s. 4d. procurations 6s. 8d. Peter-pence 14d. and carvage 3d. In the time of Henry VI. the whole impropriate rectory was let to the vicar at 3l. 10s. a year. The Prioress of Carhoe was taxed at 10 marks for it, and 11d. for her temporals, and the Prior of Alvesbourne had temporals here, taxed at 18d. the whole village was taxed at 3l. to every tenth, and paid 50s. clear, the rest being deducted on account of the revenues of the religious. In 1307, Lettice, wife of William Payn, settled 40 acres of land, and 5l. per annum rents here, on her chantry in St. Stephen's in Norwich. (fn. 10) (fn. 11)

Vicars of Swerdeston,

Presented by the Prioresses of Carrow.

1318, Nic. Jobbe.

1369, Will. Bayhouse.

1375, Simon Bond.

1376, Hamond Ayleward.

1380, Rodeland de Kerbrook.

1383, Will. Chapman, lapse.

1388, Will. Jurley.

1394, Ric. Osteler.

1398, Will. Lincock, resigned.

1405, Walkeline Percomb, who resigned to

John Witton in 1410, in exchange for Norton by Baldok, in the jurisdiction of St. Alban's, and in 1417, he exchanged this, for Thirne, with

John Greenhill.

1420, John Fox.

1422, John Deye, who exchanged for Wacton-Magna in 1429, with

John Long.

1437, Tho. Hacun.

1470, John Fyer, at whose death in

1479, John Rayner had it. At the Dissolution, the impropriate rectory and advowson of the vicarage, and an annual pension of 23s. 4d. paid to the impropriator, were granted with Carow, to Sir John Shelton, Knt. and were after sold by Sir Ralf Shelton, to Sir Humphry May, Knt. and in 1565, belonged to Anthony Style, Esq. who this year agreed with Robert Beverle, vicar here, that as he was also proprietary of Dunston, if he the said Robert, and his successours, served the curacy of Dunston, and paid all dues to the Bishop and Archdeacon, then he the said Anthony, for himself and heirs, settled all the great and small tithes whatever, and all dues belonging to the parish of Swerdeston, and in the bounds of the parish, on the vicar and his successours for ever, on condition he served both parishes, as appears in the 19th Institution Book, fo. 275; but on some consideration, when the two parishes were severed, this was dissolved, though in 1603, Brewster was returned both rector and vicar of Swerdeston, and curate of Dunston; that he had 82 communicants, and that Anthony son of Anthony Style, Esq. was proprietary and patron. In 1690, on the cession of Anthony Buxton, Daniel Scargyll was presented by Dudley Scargyll, Gent. and held it united to Mulbarton; and on the resignation of Samuel Ganning in

1726, the Rev. Mr. John Swift, the present vicar, who holds it united to the rectory of Swainsthorp, was presented by Sir John Hobart, Bart. and Knight of the Bath, (now Lord Hobart,) the present patron.

In 1474, John Gerard of Swerdeston was buried in the church, the nave of which is 52 feet long, and 17 broad, the chancel being 25 feet long and 15 broad; it hath no isles, the whole is leaded but the south porch, which is tiled; the tower is about 22 yards high, and hath five bells in it, on the biggest of which,
Petrus ad Eterna ducat nos Pascua bite.

In the altar rails, crest a plume of feathers, on a coronet, Berney impales Green.

Sacred to the Memory of Thomas Berney, late of this Parish Esq. who departed this Life Oct. 25, 1720, æt. 46, and Anne his Wife, who died Apr. 12, 1743, 63.

On a stone in the chancel. Berney, with a crescent, impales Smith, a bend erm. between 12 billets.

Here resteth the Body of the vertuous and charitable Dorothy the Wife of Thomas Berney Esq; one of the Daughters and Coheirs of John Smith of Ameringhale Esq; who departed this Life the 29th Day of Sept. A. D. 1672. Waiting for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

On the next stone are the same arms, but Berney's crest there, is a garb; and Smith's on a cap of maintenance doubled erm. two wings expanded, on each of which, are Smith's arms.

Depositum Viri honorabilis Thomæ Berney Armigeri, Filij tertij Thomæ Berney de Reedham Militis, qui secundo Die Mensis Aprilis, A. D. MDCLXXIII. Spiritum Deo redidit, et in Pace hic requiescit, Gloriosam Domini nostri Jesu Christi præstolans Epiphaniam.

On stones in the nave, crest, a plume of feathers, and Berney quartering Smith.

M. S. Depositum Johannis Berney Armigeri, Thomæ Berney Armigeri et Uxoris ejus Dorotheæ Filij, Qui Virtute, Probitate, Comitate benè notus, omnibus juxta ac Amicis charus, diuturniore vita nisi quod meliore dignus, naturæ cessit Oct. 19, A. D. 1678. Quadraginta et quatuor, haud multo minus, annos natus, proprior Jubilæo.

Perge Viator, et ut discas vivere, disce mori.

On the next stone the same arms in lozenge. Here lyeth interred the Body of Mrs. Eliz. Berney, the eldest Daughter of John Berney of Swerdeston in the County of Norfolk Esq; and of Eliz. his Wife, she died on the 14 of Nov. 1678.

On a brass plate is this,
Pere inthe John Boodwyn, on whose Saule jesu habe Mercy, the rrir Jugusti M.D.i.

In the windows there were the effigies of the 12 Apostles, some of which still remain; and there are two broken portraitures of benefactors on their knees, in a north window, and in a south window, vert a chevron between three rams passant arg. armed or. In another shield, the arms of Berney with a crescent.

In a lozenge. 1, Rich, gul. a chevron between three croslets botony or. 2, Felton, g. two lions passant erm. crowned or. 3, Aldrich.

Here resteth in Hopes of a happy Resurrection, the Remains of Eliz. Aldrich Widow, One of the Daughters of Sir Anthony Felton, late of Playford in the County of Suffolk, of the honourable Order of the Bath Knight deceased, she having been first the Wife of Rob. Rich of Mulbarton in the County of Norfolk Esq; and after his Decease, married to Thomas Aldrich of Swardeston in the same Countie Gent. and having attained to the Age of 80 Years, changed this Life for Immortality, upon the last Day of Sept. in the Year of our Lord MDCLXXVIII.


  • 1. Terra RogeriBigoti, H. de Humiliart. fo 136, 7, Domsday. In Suerdestuna i. liber homo viii. acr. in Suerdestuna habet vi. quar. in longo, et v. in lato, et xiii.d. de gelto. T. E. R. In Manegreena i. liber homo et dim. de hoc habuit antecessor Rogeri dimid. commend. et antecessor Godrici [dapiferi] similiter et hab. xxxiii. acr. In Suerdestuna viii. liberi, ex tribus et dimidio habet suus antecessor comd. tantum T. E R. et de quatuor antecessor Godrici similiter, et de dimidio antecessor R. Piperelli similiter, inter totum habent xlv. acr. et ii. bord. semper i. car. et dim. ii. acr. prati. In Torp i. liber homo comd. tantum xv. acr. et ii. liberi homines, de iiii. acr. prati, et dim. car. Terra Godrici Dapiferi. H. de Humiliart. Doms. fo. 169. In Suerdest. vii. xl. ii. acr. ii. lib. homines et dim. commend. tantum et i. bord. semp. i. acr. et i. acr. et val. vi. sol.
  • 2. Terra R. de Bellofago. H. de Humiliart. lb. fo. 218. Molkebertuna tenet Ricardus, quam tenuit Ordinc Tegnus T. R. E. &c. Etin Sucrdestuna tenet idem vii. (sc. liberi homines) inter totum lvi. acr. semper i. car. et dim. et ii. acr. prati tunc et post valuit lx. sol. mo c. et liberi homines valent vi. sol. i. ecclesia xv. (acr.) et val. ii. sol. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. H. de Humiliart. Ibid. fo. 303. In Suerdestuna dim. lib. homo de quo antecessor Godrici habuit commend. tantum. T. R. E. et idem Godricus erat inde saisitus quando Radulfus Comes foris fecit mo eum tenebat Rad. de Norun et hab. xv. acr. et dim. bor. et dim. car. et dim. acr. prati et reddebatGodrico x.sol. mo reddebat Rad. xii. sol. et hunc hominem detinuit adversus Godricum et alium dim. hominem similiter de v. acr. val. xiid.
  • 3. Regr. ii. Ecce. Norwic. fo. 43. The monks were always taxed at 5s. 2d. for these lands, called Pilate's-Hills.
  • 4. Sir John Colby of Swarston, and Rob. Colby's arms impaling Brewse, were formerly in the church windows here. 2 H. VIII. Swerdeston alias Colby's manor. tent. per Jenny de Thoma Bolleyne Mil. per fidel. et red. 6s. per ann. ut de manerio suo de Mulbarton.
  • 5. See vol. iv. p. 110.
  • 6. Fin. Mich. 10 H. 7, No. 23.
  • 7. See vol. ii. p. 454.
  • 8. See vol. iv. p. 162.
  • 9. See vol. iii. p. 227, 8. See Le Neve's Monumenta Anglicana, under the year 1662. Salmon's Hist. of Hertfordshire, p. 273.
  • 10. See vol. iv. p. 227.
  • 11. See vol. l. p. 411.