Clackclose Hundred and Half: Westbriggs

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: Westbriggs', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807), pp. 511-515. British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Clackclose Hundred and Half: Westbriggs", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807) 511-515. British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Clackclose Hundred and Half: Westbriggs", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807). 511-515. British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

In this section


This little, and now almost depopulated, village adjoins to Wirmegay; in the survey it was wrote Westbruge. Turchetill was lord in the Confessor's time, but the Conqueror gave it to Hermerus de Ferrers. Turchetill had two carucates of land; there were always 9 villains and 7 bordarers, and 4 servi, with 2 carucates in demesne, and half a carucate amongst the tenants, 6 acres of meadow, and half an acre of wood, with one mill, &c. In the Confessor's time, there were 2 beasts of burden, at the survey, one; then 10 cows, at the survey 13; always paunage for 6 hogs, one church with 5 acres of land, then 120 sheep, at the survey 60; it was always valued at 60s. This village is 5 furlongs long, and 3 broad, and pays 2d. to the gelt, when the hundred is assessed at 20s. (fn. 1) Under the invasions of Hermerus, we find that in Westbruge, he had seized on three freemen, who had half a carucate, valued at 5s. of these his predecessors had only the protection; and St. Benedict (of Ramsey) had the soc; also in the same village, on 8 freemen, who were under protection, the soc, and foldage of the lord, with 10 acres, valued at 9s. (fn. 2)

This town, after the said Hermerus, was held by William de Wirmegay, Reginald de Warren, and the Lords Bardolphs, of whom see in Wirmegay, of which barony it was a member. In the 38 of Henry III. William Lord Bardolph had a grant of free warren here, &c. and in Wormegay. On the attainder of Thomas Lord Bardolph, King Henry IV. in his 9th year, gave it, with the barony of Wirmegay to Thomas Beaufort, his brother; after the death of this Thomas (Duke of Exeter) it descended, as is related in Wirmegay; when on the death of William Viscount Beaumont, who died sans issue, and his lady, it came to the Crown, and King Edward VI. gave it in his first year to John Dudley Duke of Northumberland, who in the 6th year of the said King, had license to alienate it to Thomas Mildmay and to his heirs; his son Thomas was lord, 9 Elizabeth, and sold it ao. 23 of the said Queen, to Francis Gawdy, Esq. afterwards lord chief justice of the Common Pleas.

In the 16th of Elizabeth, concealed lands and tenements in the tenure of H. Patrick, W. Butts, I. Drake, and William Portler, in this town, Seche, Row, Totenhill, Foston, and Shouldham Thorp, were granted to Ed. Dyer, and H. Cressiner. (fn. 3)

The Church of Westbriggs is dedicated to St. Botulph; it is a small edifice, with a nave and chancel; the nave is covered with lead, the chancel with tile; at the west end of the nave is a little foursquare tower of rag-stone, &c. embattled with free-stone, a shaft covered with lead, but here is no bell; over the door, on the south side, as you enter the church, is a cross like that of a Knight Templar. In the chancel, on the pavement, within the communion rails, lies a marble grave-stone, with this shield; (Plate 1. Fig. 44.) ermine, on a chief, sable, a ducal coronet, or, between two escallops, argent, Taylor, impaling, or, a fess, cheque, azure and argent, Stewart, quartering, in the 2d quarter, vert, three boars heads couped, argent, Burley, in the 3d argent, a lion rampant, sable, on his shoulder a mullet, of the first, Walkfar; and in the 4th quarter, Stuart, as in the first; over all, in an escutcheon of pretence, argent, a lion rampant, gules, bruised with a staff regulé, or, Stuart.

In memory of Mary, wife of Samuel Taylor, Esq. of King's Lynn, the youngest daughter of Sir Robert and Dame Elizabeth Steward, mother of eleven children, four of them died before her, and are buried in St. Margaret's church, King's Lynn; Sarah, the youngest, living but 5 days was buried with her in this grave, she died 11 March, 1709, in the 40 year of her age.

Adjoining to this, lies another marble grave-stone, with the quartered coat of Steward, as before, in a lozenge, and

Elizabetha, viri ornatissimi Roberti Stuarti, equitis aurati, dotaria, et antiquissimâ et clarissimâ Stuartarum prosapia, stirpe verè regiâ, Insula Eliensi oriunda, obt. 19 Nov. An. Salut. 1692.

On the right side of this, another marble grave-stone with the quartered coat of Stuart in a lozenge,

In memory of Sarah, eldest daughter of Sir Robert, and Dame Elizabeth Steward, who died September 23, 1710, aged 58 years.

On the pavement of the chancel lies a stone

In memory of Richard, son of Samuel Tayler, Esq. of King's-Lynn, and Mary, his wife, who died 25 March, 1712, in the 12 year of his age.


In memory of Edward Miller, steward to the Lady Steward, 45 years, who died 12 November, 1715

On the pavement of the said chancel, lie also two marble gravestones; one thus inscribed:

Hic jacet Samuel Tayler armiger Simonis equitis aurati Filius, Ævi prioris exemplar, Per totum vitœ tenorem Emicuit, Primaria illa naturœ lex Universalis benevolentia, Mira erat in sermone Mira in ore ipso, vulluq; sua vitas splendidè munifica, Mensa sicut mens obvia, et semper patens. Religionis observantissimus, In parentes eximiè pius Amicitias coluit Summâ fide, pari constantiâ. Has viri verè magni dotes, Nec parcus invidiœ sermo, Nec propria modestia, Nec mortis umbrœ possint celare. Desideratissimus obt . . . . . sepult 10 . . . . Ao. œtat. 59, Dni 1727. —Andreas, primogenitus parenti.

On the other:
H. S. E. Simon Tayler generos. (Samuelis juxta depositi) Filius natu secundus; Qui ingenium eruditione excultum, Eximiâ quâdam simplicitate, Miro animi candore Honestavit. Cui Post regiones exteras aditus, Nec patria displicuit, nec fides. Studio in amicos perpetuò spectabilis Triste sui desiderium Omnibus quibuscunq; innotuerat, Reliquit. - - Illo vero longe tristissimum Qui Consuetudinis perjucundœ, Diuturnœ officiorum conjunctionis Memor, Fratri suo, usq; et usq; deflendo, Hoc Ingentis amoris monumentum exiguum Posuit. Obt. Jul. 12, ao. œtat. 38 Dom. 1735.

William de Wirmegay who lived in the reigns of King Stephen and Henry II. &c. gave, by deed sans date, to the monks of Castleacre the rent of 20s. for an anniversary, &c. 7s. 6d. of the tenure of William, son of Rein. de Sculdeham, and 7s. 6d. out of Hadduna mill, and 5s. out of Bausey mill, and being willing to do something more for the good of the soul of his father, mother, wife, &c. further gave to them the church of Westbrigge, with the liberties and appertenances; witnesses, Herem. son of Robert de Stradesete, Alan, the sewer, Walter de Capravill, Robert, his son, William Perchehart, Cop. de Fonte, John de Nereburn, &c. (fn. 4)

William de Warren, lord of Wirmegay, (son of Reginald de Warren,) who lived in the reigns of King Richard I. and King John, &c. by deed sans date, gave to the church of St. Botulph of Westbrigg, 3 acres and half a rood of land, in a field called Fordhille Wong, of that part which lies next the south, in exchange for 3 acres and half a rood, which did belong to the aforesaid church, lying in a field called Lange lond Wong; witnesses, Herlewine, son of William, Roger St. Dionnisio (Dennis) William Russell, Roger de Stradesett, Osbert, his son, Gilbert de Lirling, Ralph de Elingham, Alan Campion, &c.


Richer de Fulius, rector about 1190, presented by Hugh, prior of Castleacre. (fn. 5)

Sebastian de Florentino, (nephew Dni. Jacobi Romani Decan. de Hout.) about 1230, presented by the prior, &c.

Ao. 13th of Edward I. an exchange was made, on William Lord Bardolf's grant of the church of North Birlingham, St. Peter's, to the prior, and this advowson was given to that lord.

1300, William de Specteshale, presented by Hugh Lord Bardolph.

1313, Ponwardus de Mountmartin, presented by Alice de Hannonia Countess of Norfolk.

1314, Peter de Monte Martini, (Mountmartin,) by Thomas Lord Bardolph.

1316, John de Blakeshale, by ditto.

1321, Nicholas Cannard, by Thomas Lord Bardolph of Wirmegaye.

1323, Thomas de Cailly of Wroxham, by Thomas Lord Bardolph, to whom he was chaplain.

1327, Gilbert Quintin de Hethille, on the resignation of Cailly, by Thomas Lord Bardolph: of this Gilbert see in Totinghill; he died the 9th of Edward III.

William de Culchith.

1339, John de Westacre, on the resignation of Culchith, by the Lord John Bardolph.

1349, Simon Norreys, by John Lord Bardolph.

1349, Laurence Mareshall of Tirington, by John Lord Bardolph.

1367, Robert de Barrowe, by Queen Philippa, by grant from the King, as guardian to William, son and heir of John Lord Bardolph; taxed at 17 marks.

1368, Thomas Stoner, on the resignation of Barrowe, by Queen Philippa. &c.

1371, John de Weston, (he was rector of Geldeston, in Norfolk, on an exchange with Stoner, by the King, on account of the minority of William Lord Bardolf.

1397, John Walton, (he was rector of Blakenham, and exchanged with Weston,) by Sir Thomas Mortimer.

1403, Roger Baret, (he was vicar of Barton by Bury,) on an exchange with Walton, by the Lord Thomas Bardolph.

1411, William Alyngton, on the resignation of Baret, by Thomas Beaufort, Knt. admiral and chancellor of England; this Alyngton held the church of the Holy Trinity of Blatherwyk, in Lincolnshire diocese, and exchanged with Baret.

On the 18th of July 1416, this church was appropriated to the priory of the Holy Cross and St. Mary of Wirmegay, on the gift of Thomas Earl of Dorchester, on condition they supply the cure by one of their canons, or find a sufficient chaplain; and a yearly pension of 20d. was paid by the prior, &c. out of it, to the prior, &c. of Norwich. In 1468, when the priory of Wirmegay was united to the priory of Pentney, on account of the fires, inundations, wars, pestilences, poverty of the land, and repairs of the banks, this church, as part of the possessions of the priory of Wirmegay, came to that of Pentney, and a pension of 10s. per ann. was granted to the Bishop of Norwich. On the dissolution of Pentney, this rectory came to the Crown, and so continued till the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was granted to the Bishop of Ely and his successours, on an exchange of lands, &c. between that Queen and the see of Ely, of which see in Stanford, and is held of the said Bishop by leave; Andrew Taylor, Esq. of Beachamwell, being the late impropriator.

The temporalities of the prior of Wirmegay here, were valued at 19s. 2d. in 1428,—the spiritualities of the said prior at 17 marks.

1557, Robert Morley was collated by the Bishop of Norwich to the church of Westbrigg cum Totenhelle.

1639, Richard Urmeston was presented by the King, by lapse, to the church and rectory of Westbriggs cum Totenhill: how these presentations happened I cannot account for; at present it is, as observed, an impropriation, and served by a stipendiary curate. Robert Gayton, curate, returned 110 communicants in 1603.


  • 1. Terre. Hermeri de Ferrer. Westbruge ii. car. terre ten. ide' T'chetel, T. R. E. semp. ix vill. et vii. bord. et iiii serv. et ii. car. in dnio dim. car. hom. et vi acr. p'ti. et dim. ac. silve et i molin. tc. ii runc. mo. i. tc. x. an. mo. xiii. semp. vi. porc. i ecclia de v ac. tc. cxx. ov. mo. lx. semp. val. lx. sol. H. villa ht. in long. v qr. et in lat. iii. et reddit iid. de gelto de xx sol.
  • 2. Invas. Hermeri de Ferrer.—In Westbruge iii libi. ho'es. dim. car. et val. v sol. et de his hab. suus antecessor com'end. tant. et Sc'i. Pe'd. socam. In ead' viii lib. com'end. et soc. falde de x acr. val. ix. sol.
  • 3. 16 Elizab. Pt. 10. Test. 10 Apr.
  • 4. Regr. Castleacre, fol. 81. b.
  • 5. Reg. Castleac. fol. 18, 121.