Eynford Hundred: Geist

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, 'Eynford Hundred: Geist', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808) pp. 213-217. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol8/pp213-217 [accessed 23 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Eynford Hundred: Geist", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808) 213-217. British History Online, accessed May 23, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol8/pp213-217.

Blomefield, Francis. "Eynford Hundred: Geist", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808). 213-217. British History Online. Web. 23 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol8/pp213-217.

In this section


Walter Giffard Earl of Bucks, was the principal lord of this town, which was held by 5 freemen, who were deprived of it; there belonged to it, a carucate and a half of land, with 5 bordarers, and 4 carucates, and 6 acres of meadow, there was paunage for 8 swine, valued then at 20s. at the survey at 40s. per ann. the soc was in the king's manor of Folsham, now in Walter; it was half a leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 8½d. gelt, whoever possessed it. (fn. 1)

Sir Ralph de Geist was lord in the reign of King Henry II. and his son Eborard gave this lordship with the advowson of the church, to the abbey of Waltham: Eborard married Alianore, or Julian, daughter of Reginald de St. Martin, by whom he had Roger de Grist who confirmed the said grant, also a son Jeffrey, who gave lands in Norton, to the monastery of Bromholm, called also Jeffrey Turpin, de Geist. Pope Innocent confirmed to the canons of Waltham, their right in the churches of St Andrew of Geist, of All-Saints Geisthorp, and St. Peter's, of Geistweyt, given to them, by Eborard aforesaid, with the consent of Roger and Richard, &c. his sons, for the soul of King Henry II. Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, and John of Oxford Bishop of Norwich, granted them license to appropriate the same. (fn. 2)

King Henry III. in his 37th year, granted them free warren in all their lands in Norfolk, return of writs, view of frank pledge, to be free from the sheriffs turn, &c. (fn. 3)

At the Dissolution it came to the Crown, and was granted with the advowson of the vicarage, and appropriated rectory, to Robert Townsend, and Gyles Townsend, Esq. December 13, in the 36th of Henry VIII. younger sons of Sir Roger Townsend of Raynham in Norfolk, and in 1564, Thomas Townesend, Esq. presented to the vicarage, as did Roger Townsend, Gent. in 1577, and 1582.

Cayleys-Hall, or South Hall.

Symon de Hempstede, by deed sans date (but in the reign of Henry III.) granted to William de Cayley, son of William de Cayley of Hecham in Norfolk, and Cecil his wife, and their heirs, this messuage, called South-hall, in the town of Gilden-Geyst, with common of pasture, fishery, foldage, and the moiety of his homage and tenements in Geist, Stiberd, Norton, &c. with the wards and reliefs of his tenants to be held of him and his heirs, paying to the prior of Walsingham 35l. per ann. and 2s. to him, and doing suit to Folsham court.

In the 53d of Henry III. Hugh de Caly and Agnes his wife conveyed to Alan, prior of Walsingham, 2 acres and ½ of meadow, and Agnes, in the 14th of Edward I. was found to have view of frank pledge, assise of bread and beer, here and in Geystweyk.

John Sproo, son of Richard Sproo, was lord of South-Hall, in Gilden Geyst in the 13th of Richard II. and Nicholas Wychingham appears by his will in 1434, to die possessed of it, with a water mill.

John Banyard, Esq of Norwich, by his will dated in 1474, March 26, and proved June 7, gives his manor of South-hall, in Geyst, to Ann his wife for her life, after to be sold by her executors, and the money to be distributed to pious uses; after this, Roger Drury of Hawsted in Suffolk, and Ann his wife, had an interest herein.

In the 6th of Edward VI. by an inquisition taken May 31, Edward Briggs of Wood-Norton, Gent. was found to die seized of it on January 25, last past, and by Catherine his wife, daughter of Edward Cocket, Esq. left George, his son and heir, aged 21, and George was lord in the 41st of Elizabeth; from Briggs, it came to William Hunt, Esq. and Margaret his widow, daughter of George Briggs, who held it in the 20th of Charles I.

Thomas Hunt, Esq. her son and heir, was lord, who sold it to the Lady Astley, widow of Sir Isaac Astley, and she gave it to Mr. Castell, of Ormesby, who sold it to Mr. James Norris of Norwich.

Luton Fee, or Geist-Regis Manor.

Jeffrey de Save held in the beginning of the reign of King Henry III. 10l. rent of assise per ann. in Geyst, Geystweyt, Byntre, Folsham, Norton, &c. and in the 15th of Edward I. the jury find that John de Save, a Norman, held it, and that it escheated to the Crown, and King Henry granted it to Alice de Luton, nurse to his son, Prince Edward, in his 28th year, for her life, and that Thomas Gerberge then possessed it, but by what warrant they know not; and in the 1st of Edward III. John Gerbridge was found to hold half a fee here, &c. and Sir Thomas Gerberge, in the 13th of Henry IV.

On December 13, in the 36th of Henry VIII. Sir Robert Townsend had a grant of Luton fee manor, and on an inquisition taken at Norwich, April 26, in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, he was found to die February 8, last past, seized of it, held of the king in capite, by the 60th part of a fee, and of Swanton's manor in Folsham, held of that manor in soccage, with Foxley's manor in Twyford, held of the Lord Morley, and of the manor of Folsham, and left by Alice his wife, daughter of Robert Poppy, Esq. to Thomas, his son and heir, who in the 11th of Elizabeth, passed it to Rowland Heyward, &c. John Grime, Esq. held it in the 38th of Elizabeth, and John Grime, Gent. had license to alien it in the 7th of James I. to Thomas Oxborough.

Hagon, who was one of the Conqueror's reeves or bailiffs, who managed and took care of his land and lordships, had 100 acres of land in Geiste, with 2 villains and 5 borderers, and there were 2 carucates and 4 acres of meadow, &c. valued at 20s. among the tenants. (fn. 4)

This came soon after to Walter Giffard Earl of Bucks, and so was united to his fee or lordship, and so to the Earls of Clare.

William de Beaufoe Bishop of Thetford, had also a little tenure, 2 socmen with 2 acres; this belonged to his capital manor of Hilderston, which belonged also to the see when at Elmham; Hugo held this of the Bishop, with Norton, Geistweyt, &c. and was valued with Hilderston at the survey, at 13l. 8s. (fn. 5)

The Wiggets were for many years possessed of a considerable estate in this parish, and which remained in the family till 1763, when William Wiggett Bulwer of Heydon Esq. under an act of parliament, sold all his lands and messuages here.

In 1580, John Wygott, and Agnes his wife were seized of lands in Geist, was also Roger Wiggott in 1590, who was succeeded by Peter, his son and heir, who married Alice, youngest daughter of Simon Bulwere, of Wood-Dalling, by Joan daughter of Peter Alleyn. He was succeeded by Henry, and he by William, who married, the 20th of October 1616, Ann daughter of —Sherringham, by whom he had 7 sons; William, John, Thomas, James, Henry, Peter, and Robert.

John, the 2d son, was citizen and alderman of Norwich, and dying in 1692, was buried in Whitwell church, under a marble stone, with this inscription;


Johannis Wigget, Civis & Aldermanni Norwici (filii natu secundi Gulielmi Wigget de Geist, in agro Norfolciensi,) qui sine prole obiit tertio die Octobris An: Dom: 1692. Æt. suæ. 73

James, 4th son, was baptized at Geist the 30th of March, 1624.— By his 1st wife he had one son, John, who died in the 72d year of his age, unmarried.— By his 2d wife, daughter of — Brooke, he had one daughter, Mary, now living, and 2 sons;— William, the eldest, was chosen alderman of the city of Norwich, in 1733, sheriff in 1735, and mayor in 1742. (fn. 6) He died January 1, 1768, in the 74th year of his age, leaving Ann his sole daughter and heir, who married, Thomas Lobbe Chute of Pickenham, Esq. by whom she has several children.

James Wigget of Norwich, gentleman, the 2d son, now living married Frances, the youngest daughter of Charles Mackerell, Gent. by whom he has issue.

Peter, was alderman of Norwich, and sheriff in 1671. (fn. 7) He died July 22, 1677, and lies buried in St. Simon and Jude's church in Norwich, leaving a daughter, Susan, who married Thomas Ayde, of Horsted.

Robert Wiggett of Geist, Gent. the youngest and seventh son, born in 1632, married Dorothy, daughter of Rice Wicks, Gent. by whom the had one son, Rice, and a daughter, Frances, who died in the 19th year of her age, and lies buried by her father and mother in the chancel of the parish church of Geist, where a marble monument is erected to their memories, of which the copper plate hereto annexed is an exact representation.

Rice Wiggett, of Geistwick, Esq. only son and heir, served the office of high sheriff for the county of Norfolk, and dying September 1, 749, in the 62d year of his age, was interred near his father, at Geist; to whose memory a mural monument is erected on the south side of the chancel; which is represented in the other plate annexed.

He married Sarah, the eldest daughter of William Bulwer of WoodDalling, Esq. by Frances his wife, by whom he had 5 sons and 2 daughters, all which died young, except the present William Wiggett Bulwer, of Heydon, Esq. who took the name and arms of Bulwer agreeable to the will of his uncle, William Bulwer of Wood Dalling, Esq. (see in Wood-Dalling) and Dorothy. Frances, who married Lieutenant Edward Fuller.

The arms of Wigget, or, three mullets sable, pierced gules, upon a chief wavy, azure, a dove, argent, proper: crest, upon a wreath of the colours, a like dove, holding in the beak an olive branch, proper, fructed gold.

The tenths were 4l. 5s.—Deducted 1l. 9s. 2d. as paid by the religious for their part and lands.

The temporalities of Walsingham priory were 35s. per ann.; of Bromholm 14s.: of Mendham 8s. 1d. ob; of Thetford monks 3s.; of Carrow 12d.; of Fakenham-dam 6d.; the cellerer of Norwich 22d. and for free chapel land 4d.

We find the town to be called Geggeset, as set by the river or water and so corruptly Geist, and Gilden Geyst, that is Geist in a den or vale, by the Gill, (fn. 8) that is the river, and thus Gilden Morden in Cambridgeshire, and there is a town near Hirsfield in Germany of this name.

The Church of Geist is dedicated to St. Andrew, and there was a chapel belonging to it called Geysthorp chapel dedicated to All-Saints, a hamlet, as I take it, belonging to Geist; it was anciently a rectory, after that appropriated to the abbey of Waltham in Essex, and valued at 10 marks, and a vicarage being settled, that was valued at 20s. the Peter-pence was 10d. the present valor is 5l. 15s. 5d. and is discharged of first fruits and tenths.

James de Ferentino, dean of Holt deanery, and proctor of the archdeacon of Norwich, and the abbot and convent of Waltham, in the vacancy of the see of Norwich, came to this agreement, that the abbot and convent should yearly grant to the vicar of Geist and Geysthorp 2 marks, viz. one at Easter, and the other at St. Michael, and to have all the altarage of the said church and chapel, but was to bear and pay all ecclesiastical dues to the Bishop and archdeacon; and to keep a resident chaplain for the chapel of Geysthorp, dated on the 9th of the calends of November 1238; after this the tithes of the third part of the church of Norton, to the value of 5 marks per ann. were granted to this vicar, instead of the aforesaid 2 marks.

In the church a gravestone for,

Robert Wicks, Gent: who died, Aug. 31, 1569. and gave out of his lands here, to the repair of the church and the poor, 20s. per ann. for ever.

William Warner, buried here, 1529, and gives to the nether church in Geiste 13s. 4d. and to the over church in Geiste 10s.


In 1310, Roger Muriel instituted vicar, presented by the abbot and convent.

1312, Richard Heved

1313, John Boude.

1315, John Gew.

1317, John de Brunne.

1331, Roger de Fulsham.

1344, Richard Glos.

1349, John Hatfield.

1353, Giles Hervey.

1369, John de Heylesdon.

1370, William de Burgh.

1384, Robert de Geyton.

1385, Peter de Stoke Neylond.

1396, Nicholas de Milham.

1410, Peter Speller.

1427, William Atte Brigge.

1432, John Warde.

1433, John Gateley.

1446, John Hendris.

1456, Robert Howson.

William Scotte, vicar.

1467, William Eston.

1473, John Frende.

1501, Richard Ferier.

1539, John Basse, presented by John Mynn, assignee of the abbot, &c.

1557, Peter Langton, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1564, Lanc. Yelverton, by Thomas Townsend, Esq.

1577, Andr. Steinsby, by Roger Townsend, Gent.

1582, Henry Hilton. Ditto.

Anthony Galloway, vicar.

George Fatherstonehaugh, died vicar, 1721.

Richard White, vicar,

1755, John Knipes, by the King.


  • 1. Terre Walteri Giffardi—In Gegesete, v lib. hoes. i car. tre. et dim. et v bor. sep. iiii car. et vi ac. pti. silva viii por. tc. val. xx sol. m°. XL. et soca in Eolsha' regis, T. R. E. m°. ht. Walt. ht. dim. leug. in long. et in lat. et reddit. viiid. ob. de gelto. regis, qcq. ibi. teneat.
  • 2. Reg. Waltham, fol. 102.—Reg. Walsing. fol. 105.—Reg. Bromholm, fol. 70.
  • 3. Reg. Waltham, fol. 49, &c.
  • 4. Terra Hagonis.—In Geggesete, c. ac. tre. sep. ii vill. et v bor. sep. ii car. int. sc. hoes et iiii. ac. pti. silv. viii por. sep. val. xx sol.
  • 5. Terra Epi. Tedfordens. ad Episcopat. p'tinen. T. R. E. — In Geseta. ii soc. de ii ac qd. tenet Hugo tc. val. totu. x iib. m°. xiii lib. et viii. sol.
  • 6. Hist. Norf. vol. iii. p. 450.
  • 7. Hist. Norf. vol. iii. p. 420.
  • 8. Thus Gilden Mordon, in Cambridgeshire.— Gil is a river in a valley or den.