Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds: West-Barsham

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: West-Barsham', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807), pp. 42-47. British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds: West-Barsham", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807) 42-47. British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds: West-Barsham", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807). 42-47. British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

In this section


There are three towns of the name of Barsham, that is a ham by a bar, that is, on or by the hills. In Domesday book they are not distinguished by the appellation of East, West, and North, but included under the general name of Barsham. Hugo held then a manor of the Earl Warren; Toke, who was lord of it in the Confessor's time, being deprived of it. It then contained four carucates of land, ten villains, and twenty-six bordarers, with four servi, four carucates in demean, and five amongst the men, &c. three acres of meadow, 4 mills, &c. six socmen had half a carucate, and three bordarers, with two carucates, and a church endowed with 100 acres; this part was valued at 4l. at the survey 6l. and was half a leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid sixpence gelt. (fn. 1)

This I take to be West Barsham; Hugo, above-mentioned, held this with the lordship of Threxton, &c. of the Earl Warren; his sirname was de Waunci, and ancestor of that family: from this Hugh, who was lord at the survey, descended Sir Ralph de Wauci, lord; and father of Hugh de Wauci, who by deed, sans date, confirmed to the priory of Castleacre his land of West-Barsham, and all he had therein, with the church of that village, and all the appertenances in pure alms, as Osmod, his aunt (sister of his father Ralph) had granted to them. (fn. 2) This Osmod, or Esmond, married Philip de Vealtre, who had with her this in marriage, &c. and, on her death, she gave it to the aforesaid priory; but Hugh had entered on it, and now confirmed, or granted it for the soul of Ralph his father, and Osmod his aunt; the convent giving him five marks, and two marks to his wife, on quitting claim to all the cattle, which he took from the aforesaid land, valued at four marks, which Osmod, his aunt, had left them for her soul, &c. Witnesses, Hugh de Gurnasi, Roger de Stoteville, Ralph de Roseto, &c. Walter de Wauci confirmed to them the gifts of his father Hugh, and gave them four acres, with liberty of a fold course for nine score sheep; and that they might take of their men (in the town of West Barsham) customary aid, as they took of their other men, in other places; and, by another deed, confirmed to them the mill, called Bridge-mill, in the said town with the customs thereto belonging. William de Wauci, son and heir of Sir Hugh, lived in the reign of Henry III. and had Sir William de Wauci, who had assise; and Giles de Wauci granted to Sir William de Wauci, for life, his manor of West Barsham and Depeden, the remainder to William, son of Sir William, and his heirs, remainder to Walter, Edward, Thomas, Nicholas, Robert and Hugh, sons of Sir William, sans date. He bore gules, six dexter hands erect, argent.

In the 14th of Edward I. William de Waucy claimed a fair here, to be held yearly on the decollation of St. John Baptist (August 29) and in the 20th of Edward III. Sir William de Wauci held here one fee of the Earl Warren. Edmund de Wauci was lord in the 30th of the said King, and had the King's protection, being in his service in Gascoign in France, and died in the 46th of Edward III. leaving by Joan his wife, Edmund, his son and heir, aged 7 years; this Edmund died soon after, (as I take it) on whose death this lordship came to Edmund Gurney, by the marriage of Catherine daughter of Sir William, and sister and heir of Sir Edmund de Waucy.

In the 41st of Edward III. a fine was levied between Edmund Gurney, and Katherine his wife, querents, Thomas de Beeston, trustees, &c. deforcients of the moiety of the manor of West-Barsham, settled on Edmund and Katherine, in tail.

The will of this Edmund is dated at West-Barsham, on Thursday, the feast of the Ascension of our Lord in 1387. He bequeaths his body to be buried in the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in this town, and 8l. to be distributed to the poor here, on his burial day; (fn. 3) Katherine his wife to have all her dower, and all his utensils in his house, and her part of all his other goods; appoints Osbert de Mundeford, and Thomas Kempe, his executors. Witnesses, William de Mildenhal, vicar of West-Barsham, Nicholas de Barsham, &c.; and was proved in the same year. John de Gourney was his son and heir by Catherine, who, in the 3d of Henry IV. held one fee here of the Earl Warren. In the 6th and 7th of that King, he sued the dutchy of Lancaster for the common, called South Lings, to have free warren there, as his separate soil, and part of his lordship of this town, and that his father Edmund was possessed of it; this cause was put off by the King's letters, because this John was one of the knights of the shire, in the parliament held at Coventry, in the said sixth year, for the county of Norfolk; but in the seventh year it was adjudged against Gourney, the said common of South Lings being in the point of South Creke parish, and belonging to the dutchy of Lancaster; and John Gourney, Esq. was bound to the King in 500 marks, not to claim any right there hereafter, and not being within the lete of his manor of West-Barsham. He died in the 9th of Henry IV. seized of the manors of West and North Barsham, Harpley, Denver, Depeden, &c. He married Alice, widow of Richard Buvent, who survived him: Thomas Gourney was probably his son and heir. Thomas Gurnay, Esq. was a feoffee for the manor of Wolterton, in East-Barsham, in the 13th of Henry VI and was living in the 18th of that King. Thomas Gurnay, senior, Esq by his will, dated March 18th, in the 9th of Edward IV. appoints his body to be buried in the chancel of St. Laurence the Martyr, of Harple, if he dies there; (fn. 4) and if at Norwich, in the Friar-minors church to whom he gives 40s. to the Austin-friars, Friars-preachers, and Carmes there, 20s. each; to the manors of Walsingham 40s.; to the chapel of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin at Walsingham his gold ring, with a precious jewel set in it, called a turkeys; to Margaret his wife all his utensils, and then to William his son, after her death; appoints his wife, John Jerningham, and Edmund Bokenham, Esq. his executors; and John Heydon, supervisor; his sons, John and Edmund, to whom he confirms all grants made to them out of his manor of Depeden; to the prior of Walsingham 10l. towards a new work there, on condition they remember him and his wife in their beadroll, as brother and sister of that priory; all his manor, or tenement, called Swathyns, in Hardingham, which he bought of Catherine Sturmer, and all his tenements in Norwich to be sold to William his son for 80 marks. This house was in St. Gregory's parish at Norwich, and John Bernard, a minor of Norwich, was his confessor. This will was proved July 27, 1471. William Gurnay, Esq. was lord, and succeeded on his father's death. In the year 1455 he styled himself William Gurnay, Esq. senior; and in the 13th of Henry VII. William Gurnay, senior, Esq. &c. infeoft William Gurnay, junior, Esq. &c. of lands in Dunton. He married Ann, daughter of William Calthorpe, Esq. was a knight eschaetor for Norfolk, in the reign of Edward IV. He had also a son Walter, living in the 11th of Henry VII. to whom he then granted lands.

In the 14th of Henry VII. William Gournay, junior, and Thomas Sefoule, Esq. had a grant of the custody of the manors and lands of Roger Wood of East-Barsham, son and heir of John Wood, from John Earl of Oxford, to whom King Henry VII. had granted the custody of the person and lands of William Viscount Beaumont, by deed then dated.

Anthony Gournay, Esq. was lord in 1514; he married Margaret, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Lovell, cousin and coheir of Sir Thomas Lovell, privy counsellor to King Henry VII. and Henry VIII. and Knight of the Garter; and died January 4, 1555, leaving Henry, his grandson and heir, aged twenty-one years.

Frances Gournay, Esq. was son of Anthony; he died before his father, and by Helen, daughter of Robert Holdich, of Ranworth, Esq. left Henry Gurney, Esq. his son and heir, who was lord of this town in 1572, (held by one fee of the manor of Castleacre, (fn. 5) ) he married, and had Edmund Gurney, Esq. his son and heir, who (as by an inquisition taken at East-Dereham, October 13th in the 17th of Charles I.) died August 6th, in 1641, seized of this manor, and that of NorthBarsham, Lingham-Magna, &c. and left by Frances his wife, daughter of Richard Hovell, Esq. Henry, his son and heir, aged nine years, &c. (fn. 6) who sold this lordship to the family of Calthorpe, and Sir L'Estrange Calthorpe was lord in 1675; from them it came to Charles Morley, M. D. lord in 1720, and his son, Charles Morley, Esq. died in 176-.

This family of de Gourney was of great antiquity, and lords of Harpley. (fn. 7) Matthew de Gourney lived in the reign of Henry II. and married Rose, daughter and heir of Reginald de Burnham. William de Gourney was his son and heir, and had Sir John de Gourney, who was in arms against King Henry III.; and one of the same name was lord in the beginning, and 27th of Edward I. and John de Gourney was rector, patron, and lord also, of Harpley, in the 31st of the said King; and in the 9th of Edward II. settled on John de Gourney, his nephew (son of Catherine) and Jane his wife, the manor of Harpley, remainder to William and Edmund, brothers of John. This Edmund was, as I conceive, the said Edmund, who, by the marriage of Catherine, daughter of Sir William, and sister and heir of Sir Edmund de Waucy, brought (as I have above observed) this lordship of West-Barsham into the Gourney family.

The arms of Gourney were argent, a cross ingrailed gules, and impaled the arms of Waucy, gules, three dexter hands erect, argent; also Calthorp, Heydon, Lovell, Holdick, Blennerhasset, and Lewknor, —; also they impaled Jernegan, and sable, a chevron between three leopards heads, &c. probably Wentworth.

Wilkin's Manor.

Ralph, or Robert, son of Robert Wilkin, and his tenants, held in the reign of Henry III. one knight's fee of the Earl Warren, in this town.

In the 8th of Henry VI. Richard Selling, Esq. and Alice his wife, late widow of Sir John Wiltshire, conveyed to Peter Neylond, clerk, John Hamond, and Nicholas Hill, chaplains, this lordship, which Alice held for life.

Thomas Fermour possessed it, with messuages and lands in West and East Barsham, with the advowson of the church of this town, in the 12th of Elizabeth; and on the 16th of April, 1603, John Kemp of Antingham, St. Mary, in Norfolk, Esq. released to Thomas Fermor, Esq. and William Fermor, Esq. all his right in it; William Fermor, Esq. son of Thomas, was lord of it in 1627; and a pardon of alienation of it was granted, 17th November, 8th of King Charles I. to Henry Calthorp, Esq. and Valentine Pell, Esq. for taking it from William Fermor, by fine, levied in Hillary term, in the 3d of Charles I.

Sir L'Estrange Calthorp, Knt. and serjeant at law, was lord in 1675, son of Philip Calthorp, of Gressenhale, Esq. and Elizabeth his wife, who by Anne his wife, daughter of Arthur Turner, of Parndon Magna, in Essex, serjeant at law, had James Calthorp, Esq. drowned at sea, in 1691; and left by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of James Cooper, and sister of Sir William Cooper of London, Elizabeth, daughter and heir, married to Charles Morley, M. D. whose son, Charles Morley, Esq. is the present lord, who married —, daughter of Richard Dashwood, Esq. of Cockley Cley, and died s. p.

Castleacre Priory Manor.

The foundation of this was owing to Hugh de Waucy, and others of that family, who, as I have shown, were great benefactors to it. In the 14th of Edward I. William de Waucy impleaded the prior, on account of 20 marks due to him, on his confirming to the priory the advowson of this church, &c. when the prior was amerced.

These temporalities, in 1428, were valued at 9l. 19s.

Thomas Molling, prior, held his first court on Wednesday, the annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary, in the 11th of Henry VIII. and Thomas, the prior, conveyed it by fine to that King, with the advowson of the church, in his 29th year; the King, on the 22d of December, granted it to Thomas Duke of Norfolk.

Temporalities of Fakenham (or Hempdon,) priory were 13s. 4d.

The tenths were 5l. 14s.—Deduct 20s. Lete fee to the lord of the hundred 1s. 6d.

The Church is dedicated to —; the rectory was appropriated to Castleacre priory, valued at 26 marks, and a vicarage was settled, valued at 40s. the rectory had a manse, and one carucate of land; and the vicar a manse with 5 acres: Peter-pence 15d.

In the chancel, a grave-stone with a brass plate,

Caducum hoc œternat Marmor Edwardus Gourney, filius et heres Tho. Gourney Armig. et Marthœ filiœ Edvi. Lewkenor de Denham, in Com. Suff. Militis, obiit Aug. 1641.

On a black marble stone,

Here lyeth the body of Sr. L'Estrange Calthorp, Kt. serjeant at law to King Charles II. Departed this life April 5, 1678.


1220, William Newton, vicar, presented by the prior and convent of Castleacre.

1322, Robert Godwine. Ditto.

1328, Richard de Wodeford. Ditto. Stephen.

1353, Thomas Larke. Ditto.

1357, Richard Brekewastle. Ditto.

1358, William Farmer. Ditto.

1398, Bartholomew Fallyate. Ditto.

1416, Thomas Smith. Ditto.

1417, Richard Abraham, presented by the prior, &c.

Thomas Tyrington.

1428, Walter Eton. Ditto.

1462, William Ancroft, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1477, John Queyker, by the prior, &c.

1501, Mr. Thomas Kemp, in Decret. Bac. The Bishop, by lapse.

1527, Robert Nightyngale. Ditto,

1531, Simon Herd. Ditto.

1532, William Dawson. The King.

1555, Richard Gogney, by the Duke of Norfolk.

1583, Christopher Breese, by Thomas Fermer, Esq. of East-Barsham.

In 1603, Leonard Metcalf occurs vicar, and certified 420 communicants; patron then, Henry Gurney.

Mr. Rice died vicar in 1743, and was succeeded by Henry Roberts, by Charles Cooper Morley, Esq.

1756, Morgan Powell, ditto, on Roberts' death.

William de Mildenhale occurs vicar in 1387.

William Hernald, Ao. 1 Henry V.


  • 1. Tre. Willi. de Warrena. hundret. de Galhou.—Barseham-Hugo. tenuit Toka T. R. E. iiii. car. tre. semp. x. vill. et xxvi. bord. tc. iiii. serv. modo null. tc. iiii. car. in dominio et p. null. mo. ii. 1, poss. restaurari, tc. hom. v. car. et. p. null. mo. iii. et poss. restaurari. silva ad xx. porc. iii. ac. pti. iiii. molin. tc. nichil, modo ii. runc. modo iiii. an. et. xxx. porc. et cc. ov. et dim. et vi. soc. dim. car. tre. iii. bord. semp. ii. car. 1. ecclia de c. acr. tc. val. iiii. lib. modo vi. et ht. dim. lg. in longo et dim. in lato et redd. iii. d. de gelto.
  • 2. Regist Castleacr. fol. 37, 38, &c.
  • 3. Regist. Harsyke Norw. fol. 34.
  • 4. See in Harpley and Hardingham.
  • 5. Henry married Ellen, daughter of John Blennerhasset, Esq.
  • 6. This Henry is said to have married —, daughter of — Adams, a barrister at law, and to die without issue.
  • 7. See in Harpley. H.