Eynford Hundred: Billingford

Pages 192-195

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

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Tord was lord before the conquest. A freeman, who held 3 carucates of land, 7 villains, 8 borderers, and 2 servi belonged to it, and 3 carucates in demean, 8 carucates among the tenants, &c. a mill, and 5 acres of meadow, and 6 socmen belonged to it with 48 acres, which Earl Ralph took away, but Alan Earl of Richmond had them at the survey, &c. there were 70 sheep, 10 cows, 4 skeps of bees, valued at 4l. per ann. it was one leuca long, and half a one broad, paid 8d. halfpenny gelt; the soc was in the King's manor of Folsham. (fn. 1) Ralph Peverell was lord at the survey, and Humfrey held it under him.

Ralph Peverell, lord at the survey, was a Norman, married the Conqueror's concubine, and had besides this lordship, those of Walsingham, Carlton, Melton, and Keteringham, in the hundred of Humbleyard, and that of Rueshale in the hundred of Earsham; by his wife, Maud, a Saxon, daughter of Ingelrick, founder of the college of St. Martin's le Grand in London, he had several children.

William de Fregos was lord, and by deed, sans date, gave to R. prior of Acre, the convent, with the consent of his son, to the honour of the Virgin Mary, the tithe of his mill of Belingford, of 10s. per ann. (fn. 2)

In the 3d of Henry III. Jeffrey Fregos held it of the honour of Peverell. In the 34th of that King, the jury find that Richard de Bec had no right to fish unless for eels, at the sluices of the 2 mills here; Geffrey was found, in the 40th of the said reign, to have held it in capite, by the fourth part of a fee, and Robert was his son and heir, aged 24, (Esch,) which Robert, in the 49th of that King, had a charter for free warren in his demesne lands.

Tho. Fregoz had also lands here, but King Henry III. on his taking part with the rebellious barons, gave them to Luke de Napier. (fn. 3)

On an inquisition taken in the 3d of Edward I. before William de Gyney, Richard de Bellhous, William de Merkeshale, the jury find that Geffrey Fregoz, when lord, gave to Peter de Mealings 60 acres of land; that Nicholas, son and heir of Geffrey, sold also to John de Pakenham, and Isabel his wife, five men cum totâ sequelâ, and a tenement of the yearly value of 45s. for the service of one pair of spurs, and that the said Nicholas Fregoz sold to the master of Bec hospital, 18 acres of land with a foldage for 300 sheep, and 7s. rent per ann. and the rest of the manor he conveyed to Robert Burnell, then lord of it, but they knew not by what service he held it. This Robert Burnell was a great purchaser, lord chancellor, and Bishop of Bath and Wells, who dying in the 21st of Edward I. Sir Philip Burnell was his nephew and heir; whose son Edward died possessed of it, in the 9th of Edward II. sans issue, and Maud his sister and heir, the wife of Sir John Handlo, possessed it; this John and Maud in the 14th of Edward III. settled this lordship, which Alice, widow of Edward Lord Burnell, held for life, with those of Bysingham in Gloucestershire, and Bydiford in Somersetshire, on Nicholas their son and heir, who presented to this church in 1379, by the name of Sir Nicholas Burnell, Lord de Holgot, and in 1386, and 1401, Sir Hugh Burnell.

In the 4th of Henry V. Edward Lord Burnell, was found to be son of Sir Hugh, and to have left by Jocosa his wife, 3 daughters and coheirs; Joyce, married to Thomas Erdington, Esq.; Catherine, aged nine; and Mary, 6 years, after married to — Hungerford.

On a division of the estate, this came to Catherine, who married Sir John Ratcliff, ancestor of the Earls of Sussex; and Thomas Earl of Sussex had livery of it in the 4th and 5th of Philip and Mary.

In the 8th of Elizabeth, William Curson, Esq. was lord and patron, and his son Thomas conveyed it to Sir Edward Coke, ancestor to the Earl of Leicester, the late lord, whose lady now enjoys it.

The family of Charles had an interest here, and presented to the church in 1308, and 1309.

In the 33d of Edward I. Joan Charles, widow of William Charles of Ketleburg in Suffolk, was found to die seized of one fee here, held in capite, and Edward was her son and heir; there was a capital messuage with lands, and 2 watermills valued at 11l. per ann. in the said year he had a grant of a fair and free warren, in this town, and a grant of a mercate, a fair, and free warren, at Milton in Northamptonshire; he paid 5l. relief for this manor, held of the honour of Hatfield Peverel in Essex. He was lord of this town and of Lisland in Norfolk, in the first year of Edward II. when Thomas de Swanton impleaded several of this lord's tenants, for breaking his fold in this town, and it was proved that according to the custom and practice of Norfolk, no person had a right to erect a fold in his own land, except the lord, unless for some particular, special reason or grant from him, where no fold had been used to be erected, and it being proved that the said John, and his ancestors, never had any fold, and that it was to the injury and prejudice of the lord, and contrary to the custom and practice of Norfolk, the said John was amerced for so doing.

Edward Charles, son and heir of Edward, was lord in the 37th of Edward III. Sir Robert Charles, son and heir of Sir Edward, was lord of this town and Ketleburgh, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas Charles, and Thomas his son was lord in the 6th of Edward IV. and was after united to the aforesaid lordship.

The Church is a rectory; the ancient valor was 13 marks, and paid Peter-pence 8½d. The present valor is 7l. 10s.

It consists of a nave and a north and south isle, covered with lead, and a chancel with tile, all much out of repair; at the west end is a square tower, on which is raised an octangular one, with 2 bells. In the chancel windows were the arms of Burnell, argent, a lion rampant, sable, crowned, or, in a bordure azure. In the north isle the remains of a large and handsome pew, belonging to Beck-Hall, of oak, with a cover. On the heads of the seats are many arms carved rudely; ermine, on a chief, gules, five lozenges, of the first, as born by Sir Edward Charles, in the reign of Edward I. ermine, a bend compony, argent and sable; Curson. A saltire ingrailed, probably Kerdeston; a goat salient, Berdwell; three crescents, Thorp; a chevron, between three eagles heads erased, &c. On an old pulpit cloth the arms of Rugg; gules, a chevron engrailed, between three mullets pierced, argent.

In the reign of Henry III. the patronage was in the family of Fregoz.


And Henry Fregoz occurs rector in the 34th of that King.

In 1308, Henry de Hales was admitted rector, presented by Sir Edward Charles.

1369, Mr. Hugh de Schales. Ditto.

1311, Remigius de Hedersete, by Sir Edward Burnel.

1313, Roger de Hedersete. Ditto.

1375, Hugh de Caus.

1379, Philip de la Lee, by Sir Nicholas Burnel Lord de Holgot.

1386, Roger Pickyn, by Sir Hugh Burnel Lord Holgot.

1389, John Broughton. Ditto.

1401, John Merse. Ditto.

1422, Ad. Osyn, by John Lord Talbot, and Wr. Hungerford.

1435, John Smith, by Peter Shelton, and Edward Hunte.

1451, William Waryn, by John Feryz and Catherine his wife, relict of Sir John Ratclyff.

1455, John Adam, by Edward Grey Lord Hastings.

1461, Mr. Robert Ippeswell, LL. B. Ditto.

1467, William Mustarder. Ditto.

1483, David Fulberston, by John Radclyff Lord Fitz-Walter of Attleburgh.

1493, Mr. John Wardall, S. T. B. by George Grey Earl of Kent.

William Armitage, rector, compounded for first fruits in April, 1596. Mr. William Rugg patron, in right of his wife Thomasine, widow of Thomas Curson, Esq.

Richard Cleburn, rector, compounded in January, 1642.

Mr. Ivory occurs rector in 1715.

John Francis occurs rector in 1727, died rector 1742; and Thomas Scot was presented by the Lord Lovell.

1763, Mr. Carrington.

The Earl of Leicester, late patron, now his lady.

Here were the gilds of St. Mary, and the Trinity; to one of these the church was probably dedicated.

Humpfrey, son of Albert, had also a lordship in this town, granted him by the Conqueror, on the expulsion of a free woman, one carucate of land, one villain and 7 borderers, belonged to it, with one carucate in demean, one among the tenants, 2 acres of meadow, and a mill; when he entered on it there was one runcus, always 5 cows, and 60 sheep, valued at 40s. The soc was in King Edward's time, in the King's manor of Folsham, but Humphrey had it at the survey. (fn. 4)

Humpfrey had also a lordship in Ridlesworth, by Thetford, but both of them soon after came to Ralph Peverell, and this was by that means joined to his abovementioned lordship in this town; there were also at the survey, 2 borderers belonging to Foxley manor, who lived here.


  • 1. Terre Rannulfi Peverell—Billingeforda ten. Tord. i lib. ho. T.R.E. iii car. t're. mo. tenet Humfrid. sep. vii villi. et viii bor. et ii ser. tc. iii car. in d'nio. p. et dim. mo. ii tc. et p. viii car. hou' mo. v. et iii car. possent fieri. silv. xii por. et i mol. et vi ac. p'ti. hic p'tinebant T. R. E. vi soc. xl. viii ac. et Rad. Comes abstulit, et mo. tenet Comes Alanus, sep. i. r. et x an. et xvi por. lxx ov. mo. iiii vasa apu' semp. val. iiii lib. et ht. i leug. in long. et dim. in lato. et reddit viiid. et obolum. q'cq. ibi teneat soca in Folsham Regis.
  • 2. Reg. Castleac. fol. 58. 6.
  • 3. Ragman's Reg. in the Exchequer.
  • 4. Terre Humfridi filij Alb.—In Billingeforda i car. t're. ten. i lib'a fem'a. p. man. T. R. E. sep. i vill. et vii bor. sep. i car. in d'nio. et i car. ho'um. et ii ac. p'ti. et i mol. qu'rec. i r. mo. null. sep. v. an. et lx ovs. sep. val. xx. sol. sora in Folsha'. regis T.R.E. mo. tenet Humfrid.