North Erpingham Hundred: Gresham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.

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Francis Blomefield, 'North Erpingham Hundred: Gresham', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808), pp. 126-129. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "North Erpingham Hundred: Gresham", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808) 126-129. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "North Erpingham Hundred: Gresham", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808). 126-129. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

In this section


William Earl Warren was lord at the survey, Ulston, who held it in King Edward's reign, being deprived; there belonged to it then 2 carucates of land, 4 villains, and 6 borderers with one servus, 2 carucates in demean, and 4 among the tenants; eleven socmen had 35 acres, a carucate and 2 acres of meadow, and a mill; it extended into Sallows and Alburgh, (see there,) and was valued at 4l. per ann. contained 9 furlongs in length, and 6 in breadth, paid 7d. gelt. and belonged to Frederic's fee, before the Earl had the grant. (fn. 1)

The ancient family of Branche were possessed of this lordship, in the reign of Henry II. Richard, son of William Branche, by deed, sans date, granted to the priory of Castleacre, the administration and disposal of the tithes which they held (by the gift of his ancestors, (fn. 2) ) of the demeans of this lordship, after the decease of Simon, his son, rector of this church, to whom Robert, the prior, and the convent, had let them to farm for life.

In the 18th of Henry III. Peter Branche held it, with the manor of Aylmerton, by 2 fees, of the Earl Warren, with the advowson of those churches, and in the 27th of that King, had a charter for a mercate, fair, and free warren, in this town.

The jury, in the 3d of Edward I. present, that Robert de Stuteville had, as lord, the assise of bread and beer, &c. and Nicholas Braunche impleaded Robert for a messuage, 2 carucates of land, &c. in this town and Aylmerton; in the 14th of that King, in a Quo Warranto, brought in the said year against Robert, for his claim of the assise, view of frank pledge, &c. he called on John Earl Warren and Surry to warrant it, and the said Earl showed, that his ancestors, and they who held under him, had time immemorial enjoyed the said liberties in this town, as a member of Castleacre: this Robert died, as appears from the escheat rolls, about the 34th of Edward I.

In the first year of Edward II. Edmund Bacon had a grant from the King, of this lordship, and all the lands here, late Robert de Stutevile's, escheated to his father, and in the 12th of that King, had a patent to embattle this manor-house; John de Catfield, clerk, &c. in the said year, his trustee, settled it by fine, on his wife Margery; and Thomas de Antingham, with Catherine his wife, conveyed, in the said year, lands to him in Gresham, and to his heirs. This Edmund was a knight, son of Sir Adam Bacon of Oldton; he married first, Joan, and to his 2d wife, Margery, by whom he had 2 daughters and coheirs; Maud, married to John de Berghurst; and Margery to Sir William de Molins, who had each a moiety of this manor, on a division of it about the 35th of Edward III. and in the 49th of that King, John de Carlton, trustee, settled it on Sir William Molyns, and Margery his wife; in the 10th of Richard II. the said Margery, then a widow, possessed it; and in the said year settled it by fine, after her decease, on Thomas de la Lynde and his heirs, Sir William Molyns her son, resigning all his right therein, and Sir John de la Vache held it in the 3d of Henry IV.

Sir John Burghersh was lord of the other moiety, in right of his wife Maud, and dying in the 19th of Richard II. his daughter and coheir, Maud, brought it by marriage to Thomas Chaucer, Esq. son of the famous poet, Sir Geffrey, who in the 7th of Henry VI. granted it by fine, to William Paston, Esq. of Paston, afterwards Sir William the judge, into which family the other moiety also came; and in the year 1740, William Paston Earl of Yarmouth was lord.

About 1608, Sir William Paston's manor here was valued at 120l. 2s. one pound of pepper, and 12 comb of oats per ann. and was sold with the Pastons estate to Lord Anson.

Sir Edmund Bacon bore azure, three boars passant, or,—Berghershe, gules, a lion rampant with a forked tail, or.—Molins, sable, on a chief, or, three lozenges, gules.—Chaucer, per pale, argent and gules, a bend counterchanged.

The town seems to take its name from some rivulet or stream here, anciently known by the name of Ger, or Gar; thus, Garford in Bucks; Garston and Garret in Lancashire; Garboldisham, Gerveston, and Gernemutha in Norfolk.

Roger Bigot, ancestor of the Earls of Norfolk, had also a lordship here, which Alward possessed in King Edward the First's reign, consisting of 4 socmen, who held 13 acres of land, and half a carucate with an acre of meadow, and were valued together in the 4l. abovementioned; of the other manor, and in the said town, a freeman had 30 acres of land, and one borderer, with half a carucate. (fn. 3)

In the 3d of Edward I. Roger Bigot held it in capite, and had view of frank pledge, assise, &c.; but in the 14th of the said King, declined his claim, and it seems to have been held after by the lords of the other manors.

The tenths were 2l. The temporalities of Walsingham priory, 12d. Of Waborne, 11d. Of Beeston, 9s.

The Church is a rectory dedicated to All-Saints. The old valor was 7 marks, and the present is 6l. 18s. 8d. and is discharged.

Walter Bishop of Norwich, with the consent of Peter Branch, the patron, confirmed an agreement between the prior and convent of Castleacre, and the rector, whereby it was agreed that the rector and his successours should hold to farm two parts of the tithes of the demeans, late Sir Roger Branche's, son of William, at the yearly rent of 18s. per ann. (fn. 4) This was about 1250.


In 1305, Mr. Walter de Islep instituted rector, presented by the King, as guardian of the lands of John, late Earl of Surry.

1312, John de Clovyll, by John Earl Warren.

1324, John de Wycheford, by John Earl Warren and Surry. The presentation to this church was granted to the prior and convent of the canons of the Holy Sepulchre in Thetford, by John Earl Warren, in 1281; and in 1339, John Dodd was presented by the prior and canons.

1349, John Lovell. Ditto.

1383, John Chapman. Ditto.

1388, John Susan. Ditto.

1390, John Gungate. Ditto.

1394, John Brown. Ditto.

In 1331, they had the King's license to appropriate it, but they could not obtain the consent of the Bishop of Norwich.

In 1339, they had the bull of Pope Boniface, to appropriate and take possession of it on the first vacancy, and retain all the profits of it, on condition they served it by one of their own canons, or any secular curate, removeable at pleasure, and their paying all episcopal dues whatever, but the Bishop would not agree to this, but obliged them to endow a vicarage.

1503, John Pulter was instituted to this vicarage, newly appointed by the prior and convent, presented by the prior, and in the said year was succeeded by John Hauker.

1504, Richard Moris, by the prior, &c.

Alexander Bishop of Norwich assigned to the vicar a manse, all the altarage, tithe of hemp, wool, hay, reed and fisheries, with a certain tithe called portes; the altarage valued at 5 marks; 18 acres of land valued at 6s. per ann. and an annual pension of 7 marks to be paid by the prior and convent. How long it continued a vicarage does not appear; before the reign of Henry VIII. it seems to have returned to its old state, and was a rectory in the patronage of the Pastons, lords of the manor.

In 1603, Henry Beane was rector, and returned 70 communicants. Robert Smith, died rector in 1658. Martin Thomson, rector, and in

1678, James Catt.

John Croshold, on his death, 1732.

Francis Copeman, hac vice, by John Jermy, Esq. &c.

In the chancel on a black marble in the wall,

S. Robti. Smyth, ecclesiæ rector, honorab. Pastonorum familiæ a sacris, cui natus per Eliz. Cuddon, arm. Suff. Willielmus, S.T.P. preb. Norw. qui hoc posuit. Obiit. 9. Nov. 1658, ætat. 74.—Orate p. a'i'a Jacobi Catt generosi.

In a north window were the arms of Paston, and Fastolf, Paston and Berry, Paston and Mautby; also of the Lord Matrevers and Daubeny, with his crest, a plume of feathers; here was also the gild of AllSaints.


  • 1. T're Willi. de Warrenna — In Gersam ten. Willm. ii car. t're. quas tenuit Ulstanus i lib. ho. semp. ii car villi, et vi bord. et i serv. semp. ii car. in d'nio. et iiii car. hom. xi soc. xxxv ac. et i car. ii ac. p'ti. i mol. — semp. val. iiii lib. et ht. viii qr. in longo, et vi in lato, et de gelto viid. et de feudo Frederici.
  • 2. Reg. Castleac. fol. 53.
  • 3. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. — In Gresham ten. Alward. iiii soc. de xiii ac. t're. semp. dim. car. i ac. p'ti. app'tiati s't cum iiii lib. — In cade' villa i lib. ho. de xxx ac. t're. semp. i bor. et dim. car.
  • 4. Reg. Castleac. fol. 128.