Clackclose Hundred and Half: Shouldham

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, 'Clackclose Hundred and Half: Shouldham', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807), pp. 414-427. British History Online [accessed 22 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Clackclose Hundred and Half: Shouldham", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807) 414-427. British History Online, accessed June 22, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Clackclose Hundred and Half: Shouldham", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807). 414-427. British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,

In this section


So called from a shallow little stream of water, that runs through the town; thus Scole, Sculthorp, Scoulton in Norfolk.

Rainald, son of Ivo, had a grant of a lordship held by Turchill, in the reign of the Confessor, containing a carucate and 6 acres of land, 3 villains, 7 bordarers, 3 servi, 2 carucates in demean, half a carucate among the tenants, &c. 6 acres of meadow, &c. 4 cows, &c. 120 sheep, 3 skeps of bees, with the moiety of a fishery. Two socmen belonged to it with 10 acres, valued then at 60s. at the survey at 40s. and 6d. here were also, in the Confessor's time, 10 freemen with 30 acres, who were only under protection, and Rainald had them, with half a carucate and 2 acres of meadow, valued then at 6s. at the survey at 16. Wihenoe (a dependant of Rainald) had seized on them for his master, and Ralph held it under Rainhald. (fn. 1)

This lordship, with others, came (as I have observed) to the Earls of Clare and Gloucester.

Shouldham Priory Manor.

Geffrey Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex held it of the honour of Clare, in the the reign of King John, and on his founding a priory in this town, settled it on that house, and the prior was found in the reign of Henry III. to hold here and in Watlington one knight's fee, and the moiety of a fee of the Earl of Clare.

In the 3d of Edward I. it appears that the prior claimed many royal privileges, and in his 9th year a writ was directed to the barons of the Exchequer, reciting that the master and priors of the order of Sempringham (of which order this convent was) had many privileges granted to them, by the King's predecessors, and had been disturbed in using them, on this account the barons are ordered to have their charters read, and allowed in court.

On the dissolution of this priory, it came to King Henry VIII. anno 1539, and remained there some time; in the 34th of that King, the rent of assise of this manor was 10l. 10s. per ann.—Perquisites of court 2l. 1s. 3d.—Lands farmed let at 18l. 4s. 3d.—Foldcourse—10l. per ann.

King Edward VI. An. 7, May 6, granted it to Thomas Myldmay, Esq. of Moulsham in Essex, and Sir Thomas Myldmay, his son, sold it January 12, An. 30, Elizabeth, to Francis Gawdy, Esq. serjeant at law, &c. as in Wallington, and came by his grand-daughter to Robert Rich Earl of Warwick. In 1632, Sir Thomas Barrington, Bart. Sir William Marsham, and Sir Nathaniel Rich, trustees of the said Earl, conveyed it to Sir John Hare, Knight of Stow Bardolf, in which family it remains, Sir George Hare, Bart. being the present lord, in 1763.

Trussbut's and Colt's Manor.

Ralph Lord Bainard, at the survey, had a grant of a lordship, on the deprivation of Ailid, a free woman, who was also deprived of many other manors.—This consisted of 2 carucates in demean, and 2 among the tenants, 14 villains, 2 bordarers, 4 servi, 10 acres of meadow, 3 parts of a mill, and a fishery, &c. 6 cows, 60 sheep, &c. two churches endowed with 73 acres, valued at 6s. 1d. the whole valued at 7l.—In the other Shouldham, which shows that here was Shouldham Magna and Parva, Ailid had 2 carucates in demean, 8 villains, 7 bordarers, 4 servi, 10 acres of meadow and a salt pit; (fn. 2) one carucate among the tenants, &c. 60 sheep, then valued at 100s. at the survey at 8l. 15 socmen belonged to it with 24 acres, and half a carucate, valued above. All Shouldham is one leuca long, and half a one broad, and pays 12d. at a 20s. gelt. (fn. 3)

This was the largest, or the chief lordship of this town, and on the rebellion of William Lord Bainard against King Henry I. being forfeited, came after to the Earls of Clare, and was held of them by Jeffrey Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex, and so came to Shouldham priory.— Roger Trussbut had an interest in it in 1255.

By the inquisition taken in the reign of Henry III. Adam de Botefoy, John, son of Adam, Robert de Bokenham, &c. held lands by knight's service of the prior; after this John Trussbut had an interest, and gave the church of Shouldham All-Saints to the prior; and John, son of Adam de Fincham, and Thomas Rede, sell to Nicholas Trussbut of Shouldham, and Isabel his wife, lands and messuages; John Lok and John Rede, burgesses of Lynn, conveyed messuages to them with many lands, and 8s. rent. Thomas Trussbut, Esq. (fn. 4) dying in 1451, left it to his son William, who dying s. p. it came to Jane his niece, daughter and heir of John Trussbut, his elder brother, who married Thomas Colt, Esq. and George Colt, Esq. in the 29th of Elizabeth, sold it to Thomas Shouldham, Esq. who soon after conveyed it to Judge Gawdy, and so came to the Earl of Warwick, and to Sir John Hare, and was united to the priory manor.

Shouldham's Manor In Shouldham And In Marham.

About a mile south-east of the town of Shouldham, stands an antique hall of free-stone, the south part of it is in the parish of Shouldham, and the north part of it in Marham. This was the ancient seat of the old family of De Shouldham, lords of this manor; Sir William de Shouldham was lord in the 34th of Henry III. William de Sculdham gave by deed, sans date, with the consent of his son Richard, lands in Wigenhale to Bury abbey. (fn. 5) The abbey of Castleacre had 2 parts of the tithes of the demeans of Simon, son of Hugh, son of Roger, son of Jeffrey de Sculdham, confirmed to them by Simon Bishop of Norwich, about 1260. This Simon was a knight. Walter Bishop of Norwich, about 1250, gave license to him and his heirs to have a free chantry in his chapel, founded by consent of the prior and convent of Westacre, patrons of the vicarage, and rectors of Marham; by Claricia his wife, he was father of Hugh de Sculdham, lord in the reign of Edward I. From a curious roll in vellum, illuminated, and with the arms of Shouldham, azure, an eagle displayed, or, membered, &c. it appears that Matilda was then relict of this Hugh; (fn. 6) in 1301, she was buried in the church of Marham, and the prior of Shouldham received half a mark, (in right of his church of Shouldham All-Saints,) as a principal (or mortuary) for her.

In the reign of Edward II. An. 9, Reyner de Sculdham was lord. Alice his wife died 1336, when the prior received of Richard, son of Reyner, for Alice his mother, (buried at Marham,) an horse as a principal, she dying in the mansion house of Reyner, and in the limits or parish of the church of All-Saints, aforesaid, which limits (as is expressed) reach from a moiety of the said house, or messuage towards the south; and in the 29th of Edward III. the said Richard is called late lord of Shouldham, deceased, and left a son called Richard, son of Richard; Richard the father dying An. 18 Edward III.

In 1413, John Shouldham was lord, and performed homage to the prior, in the chapter-house of the priory, on Sunday, before the feast of St. Simon and Jude, in these words, "Her I become yoman from this tyme forth, and truth shall you bear, and never arme again you in land of peace, nor of werr, for lands and tenements which I cleyme to hold of you be knyhtes service, so help me God and holy Dom." This John was one of those gentlemen of ancient coatarmour, who were returned to serve King Henry V. in his wars, An. 7.

Thomas Shouldham, Esq. was his son and heir, (by Beatrix his wife,) he lived at Watlington, and was there buried: by his will, dated August 30, 1467, he gives this lordship to Margaret his wife for life, with the manors of Burnhame Depedale, and Watlington, and on her death to Hugh his son, the manor of Watlington. Margaret, his wife, and John Fincham executors. (fn. 7) Thomas Schuldham of Marham, Esq. his son and heir, married Ela, daughter and coheir of William Narburgh of Narburgh, Esq. who afterwards married Henry Spilman, Esq. and died lord: his will dated January 1471, proved in April 1472. Thomas his son, by Ela, married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Thurkington, Esq. of Huntingdonshire; by his will, made August 28, 1514, proved September 28 following, gives to his wife 10l. per ann. out of the manor of Narburgh for life, and the 3d part of his manor of Marham; appoints her. John Spilman his brother, and John Fincham executors, and Sir Philip Tilney, Knt. supervisor; (fn. 8) and was buried in the priory of Pentney.

John his son succeeded, who was found to die November 20, in the 1st and 2d of Philip and Mary, and was buried at Marham, leaving 3 sons, Humphrey, Edward and William; Humphrey, the eldest, aged 40. (fn. 9)

Humphrey married in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, Anne, daughter of William Yelverton, Esq. of Rougham, and dying in 1566, left Anne, his daughter and sole heir, who married John Steward, Esq. son of Simeon Steward of Laknigheath in Suffolk, which John died in the 2d of James I. on February 16, lord of this manor, and left issue, John, lord of Braughing in Hertfordshire, aged 22; Francis his son married Roberta, daughter and coheir of Richard Hoo of Scarning iu Norfolk, Esq. and was father of Hoo Steward, Esq. who conveyed this lordship, as I take, it to the Bedingfields.

The will of Humphrey aforesaid is dated March 20, 1560; proved March 23, 1566; mentions therein his brother Williams and uncle William Shouldham. (fn. 10)

Daniel Bedingfield, Esq. and Edmund Beding field, recorder of Lynn, were lords; Edmund dying, sans issue, gave it to his nephew, Christopher Bedingfield, Esq. of Wighton, who leaving 3 daughters and coheirs, conveyed it to Sir Thomas Hare, Baronet, of Stow.

In some old writings the town is called Market Shouldham, and there was a considerable grammar-school. In 1462, the Bishop granted to John Elvedon, L.L.B. the mastership of it. There are two fairs kept yearly for horses, cows, &c. on September 8, and Michaelmas day, old style.

The 10ths were 8l. 10s.—Deducted 2l. The lete was in the Hares of Stow, the fee 2s.

Shouldham Priory.

The priory of Shouldham was founded by Jeffrey Fitz-piers Earl of Essex, and dedicated to the Holy Cross and the Blessed Virgin, for a prior, canons, and nuns of the order of St. Gilbert of Sempringham, who endowed the said house with the manor of Shouldham and its members in Caneham, Wyrham, Wrotton, Boketon, Stokeferry, Carboysthorp, Foston, Stradeset, Totenhille, Watlyngton, Wallyngton, Bekeswell, Fordham, Welle, Wygenhale, Seche, Sadlebowe, Clenchwarton, Low, and Wrangle, excepting 120 acres of demean, arable lands, a capital messuage with gardens, a park, and pasture for 100 sheep, and 10 cows, the homage and service of his free tenants in Shouldham, which he kept in his own hands; and by the consent of John Bishop of Norwich, he also gave and appropriated to them the churches of AllSaints, and St. Margaret's in Shouldham, the churches of Carbysthorpe, Stokeferry and Wyrham, with their appertenances, which he held of Richard Earl of Clare. The original deed of gift being in Dugdale's Monasticon Anglican. I shall not here transcribe, but only observe that the witnesses to it were Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop of Norwich, Walter, abbot of Waltham, Roger Bigod, &c. (fn. 11) by which it appears that it was founded before the year 1201, in which year Walter the abbot died.

This Jeffrey married to his first wife Beatrix eldest daughter and coheir of William de Say, son and heir of William Say and Beatris his wife, daughter of William, and sister to Jeffrey Mandevile Earl of Essex, in whose right the said Jeffrey Fitz-piers (the family of Mandevile being extinct) was, on the coronation of King John, created Earl of Essex, and held many great lordships, Maud, the other sister (and coheir) of the said Beatrix, being married to William de Bocland. This Jeffrey was a person of great power and authority in that age, and chief justitiary of England, and dying on the second of October, 1212, was buried in this priory, where, on the foundation of it, he had removed the body of his wife Beatrix, who died in child-bed, and was buried at first in the priory of Chicksand in Bedfordshire.—His character in history is agreeable to his station; his death is said to be the general loss of the whole nation, being a firm pillar thereof, generous and skillful in the laws, and allied to all the great men of England, either in blood or friendship, so that King John feared him above all mortals, for it was he that held the reigns of governvent, and after his death, the realm was like a ship tost in a tempest without a pilot. Holingshed says that this epitaph was inscribed on his monument:

Hoc in sarcophago sepelitur Regis Imago, Qui moriens, multum sedavit in orbe tumultum. Et cui correcta dum vixit probra manebant, Hunc mala post mortem timor est ne fata sequantur Qui legis hœc m'tuens, dum cernis te moriturum Discito quid rerum pariat tibi meta dierum. (fn. 12)

The said Jeffrey Fitz-piers Earl of Essex gave to this priory in pure Alms, to find lights in the church of the priory, and wine to consecrate the body and blood of our Saviour, 12 shops with rooms over them, in the parish of St. Mary of Colechirch in London. (fn. 13) Jeffrey, son and heir, assumed the name of Mandevill, and was Earl of Essex, and died sans issue. William de Maundevill Earl of Essex, second son of the founder, confirmed the gift of his father, and gave to this house all the messuage and demean lands, homages and services of free tenants, which his father reserved and kept in his own hands, and was buried at Shouldham. (fn. 14)

Roger Earl of Clare confirmed the same as capital lord of the fee, saving to himself and his heirs, the service of one knight's fee and an half, and suit of court once a year at Clare, after the feast of St. Michael, by the prior or his attorney.—Witnesses, Ralph Bucell, Geffrey son of Laurence, Matthew le Butler, &c.

Christiana de Maundeville Countess of Essex, widow of William Earl of Essex, gave to this house by deed, sans date, a marsh at Wlferton, and 13 acres and one rood of land called Schepe land. (fn. 15)

Hermerus de Bekeswell, son of William de Bekeswell, by deed sans date, gave to this priory a tenement, which Walter, son of Jeffrey de Marham held of him in Schuldham. Witnesses, Hugh, dean of Fincham, Jeffrey Fitz-peter of Shouldham, Osbert de Stradeset, Walter de Wyrham, &c. The patronage of this priory continued in the eldest branch of the founder's family, till the death of William de Maundeville Earl of Essex, second son of the founder, by his first wife Beatrix, in the 23d of Henry III. who was buried (as his elder brother had been) in this priory; and then it descended to the second branch of the founder's family, by his second wife Aveline, and his great grandson (by the said Aveline) Richard Lord Fitz-John dying, sans issue, in France, in the 25th of Edward I. it came to William de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, who married Maud, eldest sister and coheir of the said Richard, as will appear more fully from the ensuing pedigree of the founder and his family.

In Wygenhale this house held 64 acres of pasture, which was given at the Dissolution, by King Edward VI. to Roger le Strange, and in Wygenhale, St. Peter's, they had a manor valued in 1428, at 10l. 5s. 1d. per ann. which in 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary was given to John Perrot, Knt.

In the 12th of Edward I. a fine was levied by which Richard de Brandon and Agnes his wife, gave to the prior of Schouldham, lands in South Lynn.

William Wygenhale aliened to the prior of Shouldham, 6 acres of land in Wygenhale, 20 in Stokeferry, one acre and 3 roods in Wyrham, one in Shouldham, and the rent of 6s. with the manors of Wigenhale, Stokeferry, Wretton, Wyrham, and Shouldham, also a messuage, and 30 acres in Wyrham, and a messuage and 34 acres in Shouldham, Anno. 6 Edward II.

This William Beauchamp (a) (fn. 16) Earl of Warwick, who married Maud, the eldest sister and coheir of Richard Lord Fitz-John, is said by Sir William Dugdale (fn. 17) to have two daughters, nuns, in this house, at his death: and the said author asserts that Guy, eldest son to Thomas Earl of Warwick, by his last will, dated 26 September, in the 33d of Edward III. gave the church of Necton in Norfolk, in his patronage, to be appropriated to the monastery of Shouldham, for the maintenance of Catharine and Elizabeth, nuns there, during their lives, and after their decease, the said house was obliged to find a priest to sing divine service, daily, for the souls of his father and mother, his own, his wife Philippa, daughter of Henry Lord Ferrers of Groby, and also for the souls of the said Catharine and Elizabeth; but this is a mistake. (fn. 18) Henry Duke of Warwick dying in 1446, and his daughter and heir Ann dying a minor, the patronage of this priory came to Richard Nevill, the great Earl of Warwick, by the marriage of Ann, sister and sole heir to the aforesaid Duke; and after the death of this Earl, Ann, his Countess, conveyed (as I take it) the patronage of this house, together with many lordships, to King Henry VII. in the 3d year of his reign, and it remained in the Crown at the Dissolution.

This priory being of the order of St. Gilbert, it may not be improper to give some passant account of the founder and order. This Gilbert was born at Sempringham in Lincolnshire, his father's name was Jocelinus, of Norman extraction, and having large possessions there, sent his son into France for the improvement of his learning; and on his return home was presented by his father to the churches of Sempringham in Lincolnshire, and Tirington in Norfolk. After this he was chaplain to Alexander Bishop of Lincoln, by whom he was ordained priest. About this time he became exemplary for his piety, despised all worldly honours, &c. and refused to be an archdeacon in the church of Lincoln. He flourished in the reign of King Henry I. and in that reign began his order in this manner: seven young virgins, moved by his devotion, voluntarily left the world, and confined themselves in a solitary habitation adjoining to the north wall of the church of Sempringham, submitted to his government, and direction. (fn. 19) Their apartment had but one door kept locked, their diet and relief they received in at a window; for the assistance of these, Gilbert appointed certain lay sisters, and for the outward service of the house, certain lay brothers; from this beginning, this order encreased to many monasteries: and Pope Eugenius appointed him the master or gover nour of the order. To assist him in the office of superinspection, he appointed clerks who were to take part of the care of the government of his nunneries, and this was the original of the canons of this order. These canons were to live in a separate habitation and never to have any access to that of the nuns, unless for the administration of some sacrament, and that before many witnesses; but the same church was to serve for both.

Yet had they two rules; the canons that of St. Augustine, the nuns that of St. Benedict. This Gilbert is celebrated by monkish historians for his great abstinence, sanctity, and other austerities of life, but yet he could not escape the censures and scandals of some of his own lay brethren, which indeed were unavoidable in such a mixed society and order; but his innocency and merit was certified by almost all the Bishops of England, and by King Henry II. himself. He lived above an hundred years, and died in 1189, and was buried at Sempringham in the presence of all the priors and prioresses of his order, several other abbots, and noble persons, &c. Many miracles are by the Romish votaries said to be wrought through his intercession: an enquiry into the truth of them was made at Sempringham in 1201, before certain commissioners appointed by Hubert Bishop of Canterbury, and after that by papal authority; the result of which was the canonization of Gilbert, and the inserting his name in the catalogue of the Romish saints in 1202.

This order maintained its credit for some time, but at length, these epicene or hermaphrodite monasteries, (as they have been called,) of men and women, so degenerated, that a poet says of them

Vix mulier quævis sterilis reperitur in illis, Donec eis ætas talia posse neget.

There's scarce a nun that's barren found, Till sixty years she's stood her ground.

The founder Gilbert being thus canonized, his order grew great, and swelled with singular privileges from temporal princes as well as the see of Rome. King John took all the houses of this order, their men, servants, &c. into his immediate protection, made them free from all toll, tribute, &c. as appears by a very particular charter. Pope Innocent, by his bull, privileged them that they should not be carried above two days journey from their own priory, by letters from the see of Rome, on any cause or account whatsoever, and Pope Lucius exempted them from the payment of tithe.

Johan. Dei gratia Rex Angl. &c. Sciatis nos &c. cepisse in nostram propriam manum custodiam et protectionem, &c. domum de Simplingeham et omnes dom. ejusd. ordinis, &c. et magistrum ordinis et omnes priores et canonicos et sanct. moniales et fratres illius ordinis et homines eorum et servientes, terras, &c. quare volumus ut omnia tenementa sua teneant bene et in pace, &c. et sint quieti tam ipsi quam homines eorum in civitate et burgo, &c. et in omn. locis per totam Angliam et Normaniam, &c. de thelonis, &c. vectigalibus et tributis et Xeniis et exercitu et equitatu, &c. et de omnibus geldis, &c. fengeldis, &c. et fotgeldis et penigeldis, &c. de chevagio, &c. et de averiis suis in namium capiendis, &c. Silvæ eorum ad p'dicta opera vel ulla alia nullo modo capiantur. Habeant quoq; prædicti canonici et monial, et fratres curiam suam et justitiam cum saka, &c. ordel et org; infra tempus et extra. &c. præterea concedimus, &c. ut cum magistri eorum obierint, &c. cura et custodia p'dicti ordinis tam domorum quam grangiarum atq; ecclesiar. &c. in custodia et regimine priorum sit quousq; summus prior illor. eligatur, &c. Prohibemus etiam ut nullus vir seu minister seu aliqua persona, &c. infra elemosynas suas hominem capere, verberare, ligare, interficere vel sanguinem fundere, seu rapinam aut aliquam molestiam facere audeat, neq; averia eor. de terr. elemosynœ suœ aliquis in namium capere p'sumat sup' foris facturam nostram. non nativos vel fugitivos suos vel catella eor. aliquis detineat, non homines venientes ad molendina sua impedial, sed sint quieti de omnibus consuet. &c. excepta sola justitia vitæ et membri, &c. neq; in placita ponentur nisi in prœsentia nostra vel hered. nostror.—Testib; Willo. Comite Pembroch. &c. Dat. per manu Hub. Cantuar. Archiep. Cancellar. nostri apud Rothomag. 7 die Sept. an. regni nostri primo. —In. Turre Lond. Antiq. Chart. fasiculo B. Charta 21.—Innocentius Ep. &c. dilectis filiisde Rievaltis etde Bellelandia abbat. Cisterc. ordo. Eboracens. dioceseos salut. &c. Gregorius p. p. predecessor noster et nos postmodum ad instar ipsius, magist. et fratribus ord. de Sempringham ne ultra duas pluresve dietas a domu sua per literas apostolicas trahi possint in causam duxerimus miserecorditèr indulgendum, nonnulli tamen ad principalem domum de Sempring. et magist. et fratres ejusd. tantum apostol. indulgent. p'dictam interpretantur, illam reliquis dom. et fratr. prœd. ord. non prodesse, &c. Nos quthoritate literar. nostrar. decernimus quod ead. indulgentia ad omnes domos priores et fratres ipsius ord. se extendit, &c. Quo circa discretioni vestrœ, &c. mandamus quatinus prœfatos magist. et priores et fratres non permittatis contra constitut. nost. sup. hiis ab aliquibus indebite molestari, molestatores, &c. per censuram ecclesiast. appellatione postposita compescendo, non obstante constitutione de duabis dietis edita in concilio generali. Dat. Lugdun. 8 Kal. Julii pontif. nostri sexto.—Inter Collection. Pet. Le Neve, Armig.

Lucius epis. servus, &c. Venerabil. fratribus Cantuariens. Archiepisco. et universis Episcopis per Angliam constitutis salut. &c. Significârunt nobis dilecti filii nostri canonici et moniales ord. de Sempringham quod cum eis sicut fratribus Cisterciens. ord. indultum sit de Clementia sedis apostol. ut de laboribus suis quos propriis manibus vel sumptibus excolunt nemini decimas solvere teneantur, quidem ecclesiastici viri capitulum pravâ et sinistra interpretatione pervertunt, &c. Et sic contra privilegium sedis apostol. p'dicti canonici et moniales decimar. exactione gravantur. Quia igitur horum interpretatio ab intellectu nostro et aliorum qui id sane intelligere volunt est penitus aliena, cum secundum capitulum illud a solutione decimar. tam de terris quas deduxerunt vel deducunt ad cultum, quam etiam de terris cultis quas ipsi propriis manibus vel sumptibus excolunt liberi sint et immunes fraternitati et discretioni vestrœ per apostol. scripta mandamus quatinus a prœdictis canon. et monial. qui in episcopal. vel parochiis vestris consistent de laboribus vel de terris suis quas propriis manibus vel sumptibus excolunt, nullatenus exigatis nec ab aliquibus exigi permittatis, &c. Si qui autem clerici vel laici contra privilegia sed. apostol. eos decimar. exactione gravaverint laicos excommunicationis sententiâ percellatis et clericos contradictione et appellatione cessante ob officio suspendatis, et tam excommun. quam suspensionis sententiam faciatis usq; ad dignam satisfactionem, inviolabiliter observari. —Dat. Velletr. 15 Kal. Julii, &c.

The prior had a charter for free warren, in the 33d of Henry III. in all his demean lands. The nuns of the church of St. Mary of Shouldham, had a confirmation of their privileges 38 Edward III.

14 Edward I. Walric Le Merchand of Thorp, and Alice his wife, gave by fine to Benedict the prior, lands in Shouldham, and Garboisthorp by fine.

Thomas, vicar of Fincham, aliened to the prior 28 acres of moor in Wolfreton, An. 15 Richard II. The nuns had temporalities in Norwich, and taxed 4d. ob. q. for tenths 1428.

Alice Brown, late wife of Richard Brown, merchant, of Norwich, left by will to the repair of the nuns church, and place at Shouldham, in 1464, 5 marks. Regist. Cobald Norw. fol. 68.

But these mighty privileges could not screen them from that general dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII. for on the 15th of October, 1539, Robert Swift the prior, with 9 canons and 7 nuns, surrendered this house into the King's hands, valued then at 171l. 6s. 8d. per ann. as Speed, and as Dugdale, 138l. 18s. 1d. (fn. 20)

On their dissolution John Holme, John More, and Richard Fuller, canons, confessed and were found to be incontinent. Joan Plumstead peperit ante introitum. Marg. Pemberton peperit ex presbytero. Compend. Comportor.

At which time the King was pleased to grant pensions to them for their annual subsistence, and in 1533, here remained in charge these, viz.

Laurence Russell, priest, dwelling in Great Bircham, Norfolk, a White-friar in Shouldham, unmarried, hath a pension of 4 marks paid him yearly, also 4l. per ann. for serving the cure of Bircham, besides his meat and drink. (fn. 21)

William Thorp, 2l. 13s. 4d. per ann.

Elizabeth Fincham, 5l. per ann.

Joan Plumstead, 2l. per ann. dwelling in the parish of St. Margaret in Norwich, lately supprioress of Shouldham, living continently; this pension is paid to her at two terms in the year by equal portions, and hath nothing besides the same pension to live upon, and is reputed and taken to be a good catholick woman.

Jane Dereham, 2l. per ann.

Margaret Pemberton, 2l. per ann.

Catharine Digby, 2l. per ann.

Margaret Skewer, 13s. 4d. per ann. dwelling in St. Peter's at Manscroft, in Norwich; one of the sisters of Shouldham.

Fayth Smith, dwelling in Fakenham, Norfolk, unmarried, lately a nun in Shouldham, hath 2l. per ann. paid her, and is a catholick woman.

This priory being thus surrendered into the King's hands, it remained in the Crown till King Edward VI. on the 6th of May in the 7th year of his reign, sold (as has been observed) the manor of this town, and the site of this dissolved priory, with all the messuages, granges, &c. belonging to it in Shouldham, for 1049l. 9s. 4½d. to Thomas Myldmay, Esq. and by Sir Thomas his son, it was sold in the 30th of Elizabeth, to Gawdy, and so descended to the Earl of Warwick, and came to Sir John Hare, as is already shown; Sir George Hare, Bart. being the late lord and owner.


William occurs prior in the 35th of Henry III. (fn. 22)

Richard, prior about the end of the said King's reign.

Benedict occurs prior in the 14th of Edward I. (fn. 23)

Robert de Syvington occurs prior July 10, 1387, when a deed was signed by him for a pension of 23s. 4d. to the Bishop of Norwich, on appropriating the church of Caster Trinity.

Nicholas Feriby occurs in 1413: (fn. 24) a cause then depending between this prior and the rector of Fincham St. Michael, about a pension of 40s. per ann. due to the priory.

Thomas occurs prior, 1439.

Hugh Hull occurs in 14 of Henry VI. as appears from a deed bearing date on Sunday before the feast of St. Simon and Jude, in that year. (fn. 25)

John occurs prior in the 14th and 34th of Henry VI. (fn. 25)

John Wenham in the 34th of Henry VI. (fn. 26)

John occurs prior (5 of Edward IV.) of St. Mary's of Shouldham.

Thomas Stanton, occurs in 1479; and in 1493, Thomas prior presented to the church of Fincham St. Michael. (fn. 27)

John Edmond, on the 18th of February, 1502, he being then prior, was instituted into the rectory of Fincham St. Michael, presented by the prior and convent of Castleacre, and died in 1504. (fn. 28)

John Bray occurs in the 9th of Henry VIII. as appears by a deed dated 10 of July in that year. (fn. 29)

Robert Swift occurs in the 34th of Henry VIII. and was the last prior; he surrendered it with 9 canons and 7 nuns, October 15, 1534. (fn. 29)

Anna, occurs prioress 1453.

The seal of this priory was oblong, of red wax, the impress was of the Blessed Virgin, (as I take it,) standing on the right side of the shield, and on the left an angel with his right wing elevated above his shoulder, and the left wing depressed, having a scroll before him, (probably the words of the salutation,) the legend, Sigillum prioris et conventus de Suldham.

Churches appropriated to this Priory.

Souldham All-Saints; out of this a pension of 13s 4d. per ann. was paid to the Bishop of Norwich, and John Trussbut conveyed by fine to Benedict the prior, An. 10 Edward I. his interest therein. All these churches were given to this priory by the founder, and appropriated to this house by the Bishop of Norwich.
Shouldham St. Margaret; the same pension paid here.
Wigenhale St. Peter's; a mediety and the same pension paid.
Stoke All-Saints; the same pension paid.
Wyrham; the same pension paid.
Carlton St. Peter's; a pension of 12s. per ann. paid by the Bishop.

Stanford; the rectory appropriated in 1301, the gift of William de Mortemer of Attleburgh, and a vicar, was then settled, (fn. 30) whom the prior and convent presented, and the Bishop of Norwich nominated.

Fincham St. Martin; the rectory appropriated to this house in 1350, and a vicar was settled, and a pension to be paid by the prior and convent of 26s. and 8d. per ann. to the Bishop, the vicar to be presented by the prior and convent; (fn. 31) this was, as I conceive, the gift of the Lord Bardolf.

Castor Holy Trinity, in Flegg, appropriated in 1387, on July 10, given by the Lord Bardolf, and a vicarage settled, to which the prior presented, and the Bishop nominated.

The temporalities of the prior and convent in Shouldham, were valued at 90l. 15s. 5d. ob. in the year 1428, and the spiritualities in Shouldham All-Saints, and St. Margaret, at sixteen marks and an half.

The sum of all their spiritualities and temporalities in the county of Norfolk, was valued in the said year at 181l. 1s. 6d. q.

The spiritualities of the abbot of Westminster, a portion of tithe here, in 1428, 1l. 10s.

Hugh, son of Roger de Suldham, by deed, sans date, gave to the prior and convent of Castleacre, an acre of meadow in Suldham, in a field called Midlehallmere, toward the west, near a field which was William Earl of Mandevile's. (fn. 32) Witnesses, Jeffrey, son of Peter de Suldham, Walter, son of Jeffrey de Marham. Simon Bishop of Norwich, 1165, confirmed to the priory of Castleacre, two parts of the tithes of the demean of Simon, son of Hugh, Roger, son of Jeffrey, Roger Trussbut, Thomas de Greville, William, son of Lambert, of the land of Theobald.

Nicholas, prior of Castleacre, and John, prior of Shouldham, agree on the 1st of November, in the 5th of Edward IV. that whereas formerly the house of Shouldham was wont to pay to that of Castleacre, the yearly rent of 4l. 13s. 4d. for certain tithes as well great as small, in Shouldham, Wyrham, Buketon, and Stanford, which they had of the said prior of Castleacre, from the time that no man remembers; by this agreement, the house of Shouldham was only to pay the yearly rent of 4l. and to be exempt from paying the remainder, 13s. and 4d.

Shouldham All-Saints. At this time there is but one church standing in Shouldham, at the east end of the town in the fields, which as I conceive, is the church of All-Saints. It consists of a nave, in length about 69 feet, and in breadth about 24, and on the south side of this nave is a small chapel, about 15 feet in length, and 10 in breadth, in a window there are some remains of this shield (Plate I. Fig. 18.) sable, a fess dauncette, between three mullets pierced, argent, Wesenham.—This chapel was probably dedicated to the Virgin Mary, for mention is made of that chapel in the church of All-Saints in Shuldham in 1504. (fn. 33) At the east end of this nave is the chancel, about 34 feet in length, and about 25 feet in breadth; the roof of this is of oak, as is that of the nave, which is boarded between the spars, and covered with reed. At the west end of the nave stands a four-square broad tower of rag stone, &c. with which the church is built, coped with quoins of free stone, and embattled with brick; in this tower hang four bells. On the top of the west wall of the churchyard, near the tower, lies several large grave stones, probably brought from the abbey, at, or since the Dissolution, and serving for coping stones to preserve the wall; on these are the insignia of a Knight Templar, the cross pattee on the head of a staff.

The church was appropriated, as has been observed, to the priory of Shouldham in the reign of King John; and in the beginning of King Edward I. reign, we find that the prior then held it and received all the tithes as well great as small from 60 houses belonging to it, the houses of Simon de Dulyngham and Stephen de Schuldham being excepted, out of whose demesnes the prior of Castleacre took two garbs, and the prior of Shouldham the 3d garb. Peter-pence, 8d.; it was then valued, together with the church of St. Margaret, and Castleacre portion, at 16 marks. In 1603, Richard Harison served the cure, when there were 192 communicants here, and in Garboisthorp, alias Shouldham Thorp.

St. Margaret's Shouldham. The site of this church is at present unknown; it is probable that it fell about the dissolution of the priory: that it was standing in 1519, appears from the will of John Ryches, who bequeaths his body to be buried in the church of St. Margaret at Shuldham, dated 1st March, in the said year. (fn. 34) This church was also appropriated to the priory and convent, who received all the tithes great and small. Both the churches were served by one of their canons, or some stipendiary priest, till the Dissolution, when they came to the Crown, and from King Edward VI. to Thomas Myldmay, after to Gawdy, Rich, and Hare; and Sir George Hare, as lord of Shouldham, &c. has both the impropriations, and finds a curate for the parish; it was valued with All-Saints. Peter-pence, 6d.

There were anciently in the church of Shouldham, (but which church is not mentioned,) these shields and arms: (fn. 35)

Scales;—Beauchamp, quartering Clare, Nevill, and Montague;— Monthermer with a label, azure; sable a chevron, argent, quartereth the Lord Spencer; azure, an eagle spread, or, beaked, and ped. gules; (fn. 36)argent, and gules, lozengie, Tudenham; argent, a lion rampant, sable, a mullet on his shoulder; (fn. 37) sable, a fess dancy, between three mullets, argent; (fn. 38)gyronne of eight pieces ermine and azure, Trusbut; quarterly azure and gules on a bend argent, three boars passant, sable, Gryse.


  • 1. Terra Rainaldi filii Ivonis—Sculdeham ten. Turchillus, T. R. E. i. car. tre. et vi ac. mo. ten. Ran. tc. iii. vill. mo. v. tc. vii. bor. mo. vii. semp. iii. s. tc. et p. ii. car. in d'mo. mo. i. dim. car. ho'um. silv. xx por. vi ac. p'ti. tc. i. r. tc. iiii an. mo. vi. tc. xvi por. mo. iii. tc. cxx. ovs. mo. cxxvi. et iii. vasa apu'. et dim. pisc. huic. man. jacent ii. Sochem. de x ac. tc. val. lx sol. mo. xl. 7s. vid. huic etiam jacent x libi. homines T. R. E. de xxx. ac. com'datione tantu' et tenet ide' sep. dim. car. et ii ac. pti. tc. val. vi sol. mo. xvi. hos invasit Wihenoc.
  • 2. This salt pit probably was at Lynn, where this lord had a salt pit.
  • 3. Tre. Rad Bainardi—Sculdeham ten. Ailid T. R. E sep. 11 car. in d'nio. tc. 11 car. houm mo. i. et dim. tc. xiiii. villi. mo. xv. ii. b. mo. xii. tc. iiii. s. sep. et x ac. p'ti. et ties part. mol. et 1 pisc. tc. ii. r. mo. 1 tc. vi. an. tc. xvi por. mo. viiii. tc. lx ovs. mo. l. 11 eccle. lxxiii ac. et vi sol. et 1d tc. val. vii lib. et mo.—In alio Sculdeham ten. Ailid 11 car. in d'nio tc. viii. vill. mo. vi. tc. vii bor. mo. vi. tc. iiii. s. x ac. p'ti. et i salina. sep. 1 car. houm. tc. 11 v. et xv por. et lx oves mo. mchil. tc. val. c. sol mo. viii lib. huic man. jacent xv sochem'. de xxiiii ac. sep dim. car. et sunt in sup'ior. censu. lotum Sculdeham ht 1 leug. in long. et dim. in lato, et reddit xiid. de xx sol. de gelto regis.
  • 4. Of the Trussbuts see in RungtonHolme.
  • 5. Reg. Sacrist de Bury, fol. 53.—Regist. Castleac.—Regist. Norw. 10. f. 93.
  • 6. Evident Dni. Hare.
  • 7. Regr. Betyns, Norw. f. 137—Regr. Jekkes.—f. 100.
  • 8. Regr. Spirling Norw. et. Regr. Brusyard fol. 328.
  • 9. Regr. Wilkins. f. 56.
  • 10. Regr. Byrcham. Norw.
  • 11. Dugd Mon. Angl. vol. i. p. 703 705.—Vol. ii. p. 820.
  • 12. Holings. p. 1071.
  • 13. Sciant p'sentes et futuri quod Ego Galfridus filius Petri Com. Excess. dedi Deo et eccles. Ste. Marie de Schuldham et canon. et monial. ibidem Deo servientibus pro salute animæ meæ et pro saluet anim. Regis Henrici et Regis Richardi et anim. patris et matris meæ, &c. in puram et p'petuam elemos ad luminaria invenienda in prædictâ eccles. et ad vinum inveniend. ad consecrationem Dom. corporis et sanguinis, duodecim soppas cum soliis quas habui in paroch. Ste. Marie de Colechyrch ex opposito soppar inter venellam jacentem inter easd. sopp. et prædict. eccles. de Colchyrch versus occident. et venellam jacentem inter illas sopp. et capellam beatæ Marie de Crinegehop versus orient. Hiis testibus. Galf. de Botelar, decano eccles. Sti. Martini Lond. Willo. de Boteler, Hen. de Say, Joh. de Chanz, Rado. Claondon, &c.—Inter Evident. Dni. Tho. Hare, Bti.
  • 14. Sciant Universi Christi fideles, &c. quod Ego Willi. de Maundevill Com. Excess dedi, &c. Deo et eccles beateMarie de Schuldeham, et s'cis monialibus et fratribus ear' clericis et laicis ibid. Deo servientibus, pro salute animæ meæ et Galfridi filii Petri patris mei et Beatricis de Say, matris meæ, et Galfridi de Maundeville fratris mei, necnon pro salute animæ meæ et Mariæ uxoris meæ totum manerium meum de Schuldeham, cum omnibus terris et tenementis homageis et servitiis liberor' hominum meorum et libertatibus sine aliquo retinemento quæ vel quas Galfridus, filius Petri Com. Excess. pater meus in manu sua retinuit, et cum omnibus membris ad ejusd. maner. pertinent. viz. Cavenham, Wyrham. Wrotton. Stokefery, Quittendon, Northwold, Boketon, Marham, Fincham, Stradesete, Thorp, Foston, Bekeswell, Walyngton, Watlyngton, Totenhall, Sechyth, Fordham, Wigenhall, Sadlebow, Clenchwarton, Seche, Welle, Walsyngham, London, Wrangle, et Lenn, &c. Hiis testibus Dno. Humfrido de Bohun, Com. Hertfordi, Galfrido de Lucy, Willo. de Bellocampo, Jaco. de Calee, Hug. de Pincerna, &c.—Evid. Dni. Tho. Hare Bti.
  • 15. Christiana de Maundevill Comitissa Excess. salutem.—Noveritis me in viduitate et pura potestate mea, &c. concessisse pro salute animæ meæ et animâ Will. de Maundeville quond.—Dni. et viri mei totum mariscum quod habui in —de Wlferton cum pastura ejusd. et tresdecim, et 1 rod. terr. arab. vocat. schepeland. Evid. &c.
  • 16. See the Pedigree, (a.)
  • 17. Dugd. Baron. V. i. p. 314. Dugd. Hist. Warwicks. p. 319.
  • 18. The rectory of Necton was appropriated to Westacre priory, and not Shouldham, and the account is faulty.— See Necton.
  • 19. Dugd. Mon. Ang. vol. ii. p. 669, &c.
  • 20. Burnet's History of the Reformation, vol. i. B. 3 p. 130. Steph. Addit. to Monast. Vol. i. p. 28.
  • 21. Certificat. de Pension. Mss. Miscell. in Regist. Princ. Norwic. p. 25. Willis, Hist. of Abbies. V. p. 131.
  • 22. Copy of Derh. Abb. Ledger Book, penes Magist. Tho. Martin de Pagrave, Suff.
  • 23. Lib. Instit. Norw.
  • 24. Lib. Instit. Norw. hoc an.
  • 25. Evident. Dni. Tho. Hare, Bti.
  • 26. Regist. Abbat. Rames. p. 124, penes Dom. Tho. Hare, Btu.
  • 27. Evident. Dni. Tho. Hare Bti.— Lib Instit. Norw. hoc anno.
  • 28. Lib. Instit. Norw.
  • 29. Evident. Dni. Tho. Hare, Bti.
  • 30. Lib. Instit. Norw.
  • 31. Lib. Instit. Norw. an. 1350.
  • 32. Regist. Castleacre, fol, 81. b. et fol. 138.
  • 33. Regist. Popye Norw. p. 533.
  • 34. Regist. Coppinger. p. 35.
  • 35. Mss. penes. Joh. Anstis. Garter Kg. at Arms, mark'd E.26. fol. 13. b.
  • 36. Arms of Shouldham.
  • 37. Arms of Walkfar.
  • 38. Wesenham.
  • 39. Or shoppar.