Hundred of South Erpingham: West Becham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.

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

'Hundred of South Erpingham: West Becham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London, 1807) pp. 471-472. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

WEST BECHAM, (fn. 1)

Stands in a nook of land surrounded on all parts, except the south, with the hundreds of Holt and North Erpingham, of which last it was formerly a part, and belonged to the see of Norwich in the Confessor's time; at the Conqueror's survey (fn. 2) we find that Walter Giffard had here 3 freemen who held 30 acres of land, that there was one carucate in demean and it was valued at 6s. then at 12s. Walter held it only during the life of William Beaufoe Bishop of Norwich, to whom the King had given it in fee, but at his death, he left it to the see, and Herbert the Bishop having founded the priory of Norwich, Eborard his successor, gave this manor and advowson to the convent. It remained thus till about 1248, when Simon the prior granted the manor and all his lands here (except the advowson of the church and the glebe land) to Walter de Malteby or Mawtby, lord of Malteby, and his heirs, and in 1284, Robert de Mawtby had view of frankpledge and assize of bread and beer; and before this, in Henry the Third's time, Walter de Mawthy was sued for imposing a new toll in Becham fair.

In 1299, Sir Robert de Malteby settled a moiety of the manor on Sibill, his daughter, till he had portioned her, and in 1316 John Fitz Simons and Sibill his wife released their right in it, to Sir John de Malteby their brother, who was then lord; it continued in this family till Margaret daughter and heir of John Mawtby, Esq. (fn. 3) brought it by marriage to John Paston, Esq. and was lately sold by the heirs of Paston Earl of Yarmouth, to the Lord Anson.

The town is in the dutchy of Lancaster's liberty, is laid at 280l. 10s. to the King's tax, and 5s. 10d. to every 300l. levy to the county rate.

In 1379, the prior of Beston by the Sea purchased land here of Nicholas Bonde, and in the same year Sir Roger de Beckham, Knt. was returned as one of the principal gentry of the country; he bore checquy or and sable, a fess ermine.

The Church was a rectory in the gift of the prior and convent of Norwich, and appropriated by John de Grey, Bishop, to the use of the almoner, he paying a pension of 3s. per annum to the celerer, and a vicarage was instituted, which was not taxed, so that it never came into the King's Books; the impropriate rectory taxed at 6 marks answering the whole. The convent had all the glebe, 14 acres, with the great tithes, paid all charges whatsoever, the vicar having only the small tithes.

1303, Henry de Fuldow, the 1st vicar, presented by the prior, &c.

1317, John de Trowse.

1349, Peter de Wadgate on Trowse's death.

1349, William Pacy.

1361, William Ayrith.

1372, Roger Holdigere.

William Rede succeeded, he was buried in the convent church of Waborne priory; in 1373, William Godfrey succeeded. Afterwards John Clerk and Robert Miller; but for some centuries past there have been no vicars instituted, the lords of the manor holding the impropriation by lease from the church of Norwich, receive the whole tithes, and pay a stipend to the serving curate. The church is in the peculiar jurisdiction of the dean and chapter of Norwich, and pays no procurations, and only 8d. synodals to the Bishop. It is dedicated to all the Saints, stands in a field, no house near to it. The chancel, which is repaired by the impropriator, is tiled, the nave leaded, the tower is round at the bottom, above octangular, and has one bell. In it is a gravestone in memory of Cooke Flower, Gent. (father of Mr. Cooke Flower, lord of Sheringham) who died November the 11th, 1742, aged 38, and in the churchyard is a stone, with an anchor on a shield, for James Crow, who died in 1747, aged 65.


  • 1. Becham or Beckham, so called from a little brook or rivulet here, which runs from hence to Cley.
  • 2. Terr. Walteri Giffardi.—In Becham iii. liberi homines xxx. acr. ter. semper i. car. tunc. valuit vi. s. modo xii.
  • 3. See in Oxnead.