Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.

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Francis Blomefield, 'Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807), pp. 1-2. British History Online [accessed 22 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807) 1-2. British History Online, accessed June 22, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807). 1-2. British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,


These two hundreds were (as I take it) possessed by the Crown, till King Henry I. gave them to William Earl Warren and Surrey, to be held of the castle of Norwich, paying 2 marks per annum.

It appears by the book of Domesday, that the towns of these hundreds are now strangely intermixed; many that were then in Brothercross hundred, are now in Gallow, viz. Rainham, the most southern town, at this time in Gallow, was then in Brothercross hundred; and Burnham Thorp, with both the Crekes, which are at this time in Brothercross, were in Gallow hundred.

In the 35th of Henry III. the King directed his writ to the sheriff of this county, reciting, that whereas by inquisition it was found that the land of John Earl Warren, et nova terra, (by which I understand lands granted, or purchased since the time of the Conqueror,) were always free in the time of William Earl Warren, his father, and his ancestors, of the common amerciaments of the county; and of murder, when it happened out of any of those lands which were his; (fn. 1) but that the iters of the justices, the King hath amerciaments of all pleas there moved of all the Earl's lands, as well new, as all other his lands, or demesnes; and if any murder happen on any of those lands, then they were not quit thereof, &c.—Therefore the King ordered that the Earl should have all the liberties and quittances, which his father had enjoyed. Dated July 22d.

It appears that the Earl Warren paid 2 marks per annum to the King for them in his 52d year, and that they were worth 20l. per ann.

John Earl Warren, in the 4th of Edward II. claimed a right to all whales cast on the shores here; and in the 12th of that King, conveyed by fine to Thomas Earl of Lancaster the said hundreds; and Henry Duke of Lancaster died possessed of them in the 35th of Edward III.; but John Earl Warren held them at his death in the 21st of Edward III. (fn. 2)

Henry Duke of Lancaster, by Isabel his wife, daughter of Henry Lord Beaumont, left two daughters and coheirs; Maud, the eldest, married, first, Ralph son of Ralph Lord Stafford, and afterwards William Duke of Zeland, &c. styled also Earl of Leicester, and died without issue; Blaunch, the youngest, married John of Gaunt Earl of Richmond, and after, Duke of Lancaster, 4th son to King Edward III. who inherited them in right of his wife; to whom the King granted many royal privileges herein, and they descended to his son, Henry Duke of Lancaster, (as part of the dutchy of Lancaster,) who became King of England, by the name of Henry IV. and in the 5th year of his reign (as Duke of Lancaster and lord of these hundreds,) had a sheriff's turn, held by the high steward of his dutchy of Lancaster, at Fakenham-Dam. It remained thus in the possession of King Henry V. and VI. as Dukes of Lancaster, till King Edward IV. in his first year, by act of parliament on the attainder of King Henry VI. incorporated the aforesaid dutchy with the Crown, November 4th, and after settled them on Elizabeth his Queen for life; who, in the 7th, year of the said King, November 24, demised to John Wode, Esq. these hundreds, with that of North Grenhow, for three years, with all the courts lete, hundred courts, sheriff's aid, wrecks, weifs, strays, &c.; licenses of concord, royal liberties, free customs, writs, felons goods, deodands, &c. King Henry VII. separated again these hundreds from the Crown, and they are now parts of the dutchy of Lancaster, and belonging to the Crown.

In 1623, these hundreds were let by the Earl of Arundel for 14l. per annum, as appears from the receipt of Mr. Jeremiah Alexander, receiver of the rents to the said Earl.

The hundred court for Gallow hundred might be anciently held at a place that gave name to it: I find Philip, son of Richard de Doketon, to grant, by deed sans, date, to Richard de Dunton three pieces of laud, in the fields of Dunton, at Galehow; and in the 6th of Edward II. Hugh de Dunton had lands at Galehoges, in Dunton field.

In the 5th of Henry IV. it was held, as I have observed, at Fakenham-Dam, which place might probably have been called Galestow; that is, a hill at the water: in the 3d and 10th of Elizabeth, the hundred court was held at Longfield Stone, but in what town is not mentioned.

Brothercross seems to take its name from a cross placed at the ford or pass over the river at Burnham; which river, in the Saxon age, might be called the Brother, as Brotherton, a town in Yorkshire; and thus Broughton, a town on a brook.


  • 1. Claus. 35 Hen. 3. m. 8.
  • 2. Baronage, v. p. 82.