North Erpingham Hundred: Sheringham

Pages 161-164

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

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Seiar Bar was lord of this village at the conquest, who being deprived, it was granted by King William I. to William de Scohies, or Escois, a Norman lord, who held it at the survey with 3 carucates of land, 10 villains, 12 borderers, 6 servi, 3 carucates in demean, and 4 amongst the tenants, paunage for 160 swine, and 4 acres of meadow, one runcus, 2 cows, 60 goats; and one socman had 12 acres of land, always valued at 4l. per ann. with a church endowed with 15 acres valued at 3s. It was one leuca or league long, and one broad, and paid eleven-pence ½. gelt. (fn. 1)

William de Scohies conveyed it to Walter Giffard Earl of Bucks, who on his founding the abbey of Notley, in that county, gave the church here to it, on the death of his son, Earl Walter the second, who died sans issue; King Henry II. granted this town in his 2d year, as an escheat, to Richard de Humet, or Humee, with the lordship of Stamford in Lincolnshire. Richard was that King's constable of Normandy, cofounder of Aulnay abbey there; in 9th of that King, one of the pledges in a 100 marks, on a league between the King and Theodorick Earl of Flanders. In 1164, he entered into Bretagne in France, took several places, and is called by Lobineaux in his History, Earl of Humiers (fn. 2) By Agnes his wife, daughter and heir of Jordan de Say, he left William his son and heir, and in 1181, died a monk of Aulnay.

The said King by patent, sans date, granted to William his son, the aforesaid constableship, with that of Stamford, those of Keton, and Dudington in Northamptonshire; Wadon, Wichendon, and Risingburgh in Bucks; witnesses, R. Bishop of Winchester, H. Bishop of Baieux, Nichol the chaplain, Walter Fitz-Robert, Ralph de Glanvil, Hugh de Cressi, &c. dated at Caen in Normandy.

King Richard I. confirmed it to him by patent, dated June 21, in his first year;—witnesses, Godfrey Bishop of Winchester, Hugh Bishop of Chester, William Fitz-Ralph, seneschall of Normandy, Pagan de Rochester, seneschall of Anjou, &c. dated at Tours, under the hand of John de Alencon, archdeacon of Lysieaux, the King's vice chamberlain.

In the 7th of King John, this lordship descended to John de Humet, who then gave the King 100l. and a palfrey, to have seizin of his lands in England, which the King had taken into his hands, by reason of the war in Normandy.

In the 7th year of King Henry III. a writ was sent by the King to the sheriff of Norfolk, to give possession to Richard de Grey of Codnor in Derbyshire, and Lucia his wife, of all the lands which John de Humet her father (whose heir she was) held in capite; and that if he had seized any land after the death of John, he would restore it; and likewise to enquire diligently by lawful men of the county, what land the said John held in capite, in his bailywick, &c. and to return the inquisition to Hubert de Burgo, chief justice of England, under his own seal, and the seals of the jurors; witness, the King, at Woodstock, March 18. This seems, as if at this time there was no officer, as feodary or escheator in any county; but that the King's chief justice had the jurisdiction over the King's wards, perhaps with the barons of the Exchequer, and the sheriff of the county, who acted in this affair, and had the custody of the lands. This Richard had a charter for free warren, of a weekly mercate on Thursday, and of a fair for 2 days on the eve and the feast of the Ascension; also at Thurrock in Essex, and Elesford in Kent, in the 23d of Henry III. (fn. 3) The jury, in the 56 of that King, find John de Grey to die possessed of it, being part of the barony of Gifford, and held of the King's manor of Aylesham, by the payment of 12d. per ann. on the gule (1st) of August, and that Henry was his son and heir, who in the 18th of Edward I. recovered damages (and the King his forfeitures) against William de Waborne, for taking 3 hares in his lordship of Sheringham; he was found to die lord in the 2d of Edward II. and by his will, made in the foregoing year, was buried in the Carmelite Friars church of Elesham in Kent: he ordered his horse to go before his herse; (fn. 4) gives to those friars 40l. his cross to Richard, and his diamond to Nicholas, his sons; legacies to the cathedrals of Lincoln and Litchfield, and to several convents; this manor then valued at 26l. per ann. and the lord claimed wreck at sea, a gallows, &c.

Richard de Grey was lord in the 4th of Edward III. and had a charter for a fair on the eve and the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, and a mercate on Thursday; and in the 13th of that King, Sir John de Grey, son of Richard, conveyed it to Sir Richard Willoughby, of Wollaton in Nottinghamshire, who married Joan, his sister; and Sir Richard died seized of it in the 36th of the said reign.

How this after passed I have not found; probably it came to the family of Basset, who had anciently an interest in the town; Philip Basset had a charter of free warren in the 37th of Henry III. and in the 44th of that King it was found that he and Richard de Grey, had several liberties in Sheringham. In the Bassets it continued till issue male failing in Ralph Lord Basset of Drayton; in the reign of Richard II. it came to the Staffords Earls of Stafford, in right of Margaret, daughter of Ralph Lord Basset, who married Edmund de Stafford, in the reign of Edward I.

Edmund Earl of Stafford, who was slain at the battle of Shrewsbury, in the 4th Henry IV. possessed it, and in this family this lordship continued till by the attainder of Edward Stafford Duke of Bucks, it escheated to King Henry VIII. and was granted by him to Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk. In the 14th of that King it was valued at 32l. 4s. 9d. per ann. and there was a custom that the lord was to have the best turbut that was taken out of every fishing boat here, and every stranger's boat that came to Sheringham hithe, paid 4d.

On the attainder of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, in 1572, it came again to the Crown, and was regranted to the said family by King James I. and Henry Duke of Norfolk is said to have conveyed it in 1694 to — Seaman of Norwich. Mr. Flower of Sheringham is the present lord.

Here were 3 lordships in this town; that of Sheringham, the principal one, has the lete, and is possessed by Mr. Cook Flower. NutleyHall belongs to Mr. Thomas Windham of Cromer, and Beeston priory manor to the Windhams of Felbrigg. See in Beeston priory.

The town is divided into Upper Sheringham and Lower Sheringham, alias Sheringham-Hithe, as lying by the sea shore.

The tenths were 3l. 14s. 0d.

The Church was a rectory dedicated to All-Saints; it had a manse and 16 acres of land valued at 27 marks, and was appropriated to the abbey of Nutley, in Buckinghamshire, by Walter Giffard Earl of Bucks, lord of the town, and founder of that abbey, and paid Peterpence, 12d. it was served by a canon of Nutley or some stipendiary curate, and so continues to be a curacy at this time. The church is a regular pile, having a nave, 2 isles, and a chancel covered with lead.

On a gravestone in the chancel,

Hic includit corpus D'ni. Walteri Marlow cononici de Nottley, quonda' rectoris de Sheringham, m. cccc. lvii.

In the nave,

Here lyeth Thomas Heath, son of Mr. William Heath of Norwich, wool-chapman, who was robbed, and murdered the 4th day of Febr. 1635.

A gravestone,

For Elizabeth, wife of John Fenn, who died April 15, 1741, aged 48; with the arms of Fenn; argent, on a fess azure, three escallops of the first, in a bordure ingrailed of the second.

In the church were the arms of Stafford, impaling Thomas of Woodstock Duke of Gloucester, and those of Reymes; also Rookwood, argent, six chessrooks sable.

On the dissolution of Nutley abbey, the appropriated rectory was granted in the 34th of Henry VIII. to the dean and chapter of Christ college, Oxford, but was revoked, and again in the Crown; Francis Guybon, junior, Gent. Alice Stubs, daughter of Richard Stubs, and Henry Yelverton, son of William Yelverton, Esq. had a lease of it from Queen Elizabeth, in her 39th year; and before this, in the 14th of that Queen, John Mershe and Franc. Greneham: in 1603, there were 220 communicants in the parish.

Here were guilds of St. John Baptist, St. Nicholas, and All-Saints; in the lower town or hithe was a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, part of it is still standing.

Thomas Thompson, bailiff of Great Yarmouth, gave 20s. per ann. for 2 sermons to be preached here; and John Cook, fish-monger of London, was a benefactor to the poor.

The rectory is now in the see of Ely, (the Bishop has the nomination of the curate,) and is held by Mr. Windham of Cromer, of the Bishop.

The prior of Wayborn had a lordship here in 1428, then valued at 2l. 6s. 1d. per ann. which at the Dissolution was granted to John Heydon, Esq. &c, as in Beeston.

Here was a cell for some time of Black canons, belonging to Nutley abbey; mentioned is made of them in 1256.


  • 1. Terra Willi de Scohies—Silingeham ten. Seiardus Bar T. R. E. iii car. t're sep. x villi. et xii bor. tc. vi. ser. p. et mo. v. tc. iii car. in d'nio. p. et mo. ii. tc. iiii car. ho'um. p. et mo. ii. tc. silv. ad clx por. mo. ad c. iiii ac. p'ti. sep. i. r. et ii an. tc v por. mo. xv. tc. lx cap. mo. l. et i soc. de xii ac. tre. semp. val. iiii lib. i eccla. xv ac. et val. iiii sol. et ht. i leug. in long. et i in lato, et de gelto xid. et obolu'.
  • 2. Neustria Pia, 758.—Lobineau, vol. i. p. 154.
  • 3. In the 14th of Henry III. he was pardoned by the King 13 marks, due for the lands, late John de Humet's; 66 marks due as heir to his father, Henry de Grey; also 17l. 10s. arrears, due for the castle of Dunster, and the King's forest of Chipenham, late in his keeping.
  • 4. This horse was for a mortuary.