Freebridge Hundred and Half: Babingley

Pages 347-352

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

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In Babinkelia, Peter de Valoins had a lordship, out of which Tort, a Saxon freeman, was ejected at the conquest; this Peter had also lordships in several other towns, conferred upon him; here was one carucate of land, with 4 villians, 15 borderers, 5 servi, and 16 acres of meadow, &c. there had been 2 carucates in demean, at the survey but one, also 3 carucates amongst the tenants, at the survey 2, the moiety of 2 mills, and 5 salt pits, &c. 7 socmen belonged to it, who held a carucuate and 6 acres, and of these Stigand (the Archbishop of Canterbury) had the soc. The whole was valued at 40s. per ann. and was 2 leucas long and one broad, and paid 2s. to a 20s. gelt, and William held it under Peter. (fn. 1)

Sir Henry Spelman observes, that the town is seated in an angle, or nook of land between two rivers, (called by him the Isis and the Cong) and the town seems to take its name from Bab, or Be, a fine winding river; (fn. 2) thus Bavenburc, now called Bawburgh, in Norfolk, Babworth in Nottinghamshire, Babington in Somersetshire, &c. and Ing and Ley, as lying on the meadows.

Butler's Manor, or West Hall.

Sir William de Rudham held it under Valoins, and when Peter de Valoins, in the reign of Henry I. founded the priory of Binham in Norfolk, that knight gave two parts of his tithe here to it, which his son and grandson confirmed; (fn. 3) his descendants, according to the custom of that age, took up the name of De Babingley: Jefferey de Babingley was witness to a deed of Roger de Valoins, grandson of Peter aforesaid. Amanivicus de Babingley was lord in the 9th of Richard I. and John de Babingle had a charter for freewarren in all his demesne lands here, in Wolfreton and Sandringham, in the 49th of Henry III.

After this it came to John le Boteler, by the marriage of Ida, one of the daughters and coheirs of John de Babingley, which John was son (as I take it) of Sir Ratph le Boteler, who held lands at Grimston, as appears from an ancient parchment roll. In the 26th of Edward I. Robert de Tateshale, John de Tateshale, and Katherine his wife, were summoned to answer John le Butler of Babingley, to permit him to present to that church belonging to his manor, (fn. 4) late John de Babingle's who left two daughters and coheirs, Catherine, and Ida; John le Butler having married Ida, Robert de Tateshale replies that Katherine, the eldest, had enfeoft him in her part, and he had enfeoft his son, and the said Katherine his wife in tail, and therefore it was their right to present first, and Ida to have the second turn, to which they agreed; by this it appears that the right of patronage belonged to this manor: after this the manor being divided between the Tateshale family and that of Butler, they presented for some time alternately.

In the 14th of Edward II. John, son of John de Breccles, conveyed by fine to John le Butler of Babingle, and Alice his wife, 11 messuages, 16 tofts, a mill, 214 acres of land, &c. here and in Sandringham, Wolferton, &c. settled on John and Alice in tail, being John le Butler's settlement on his marriage with Alice, daughter of John de Beccles.

In the 20th of Edward III. Robert Earl of Suffolk, John Boteler, and Robert Chappe, or Shappe, were found to hold one Knight's fee in Babingle, Wolferton, and Sandringham, of the heirs (as then said) of Robert de Tateshale, which John de Tateshale formerly held; and soon after in 1340, Robert Earl of Suffolk, and Robert Chappe presented to this church; Robert, the Earl, held in right of Margaret his wife, late widow of Sir Thomas de Cailey, which family, with those of Driby, and Orreby were heirs to the Tateshales, and from one of these Chappe might have a right or part; and in 1361, William Scot presented in right of his wife.

In 1369, Sir Adam de Clifton was lord, and presented as heir to Caily, and so to Tateshale; and in the 45th of King Edward III. Joan, late the widow of John Boteler, was found to hold the manor of Botelers in Babingley, of the manor of West-Hall in the said town, and that John was her son and heir, and of age, as appears from an inquisition taken at Babingley on Wednesday after the feast of St. Simon and Jude, and that she died on Thursday after the feast of St. Margaret, in the 43d of the aforesaid King.

This John Boteler, son of John Boteler and Joan his wife, was the last heir male of his family, and was afterwards a knight, and his daughter and heir, Margaret being married to Jeffrey Cobb of Sandringham, their estate here came into that family, wherein it continued till sold about 1686, to Sir Edward Atkins, who conveyed it soon after to James Host, Esq. and from the Hosts, to Henry Cornish Henley, Esq. as in Sandringham. The Tatishale part of this manor of Valoins, being in Sir Adam Clifton, continued in that family till the death of Sir John Clifton, and the whole right of patronage appears after the year 1369, to be in that family.

But in the 3d of Richard II. a fine was levied between John Hode of Flete, Sir William Hode, Knt. and Margaret, widow of Thomas Chappe, of Snetesham, querents, Jeffrey de Tolbot, and Sim. Barret, deforciants, of a manor here, and in Wolfreton, &c. settled on Margaret Chappe, for life, remainder to John Hode, Sir William and Margaret, and the heirs of John; after this I find nothing more of it, the whole being conveyed to Thomas Lord Scales, and Nucelle, as I shall show.

West-Hall, or Tatishale's Manor.

Another lordship in this town, held by Scula, a Saxon freeman, in King Edward's reign, was granted by the Conqueror to Eudo, son of Spiruwin: together with lordships in Hillington, Dersingham, and Massingham in this hundred of Frebridge; and in Docking, in the hundred of Docking, or Smethdon: in Denton, and Aldby, in Earsham hundred;—in Topcroft and Wotton in Lothingham (Clavering) hundred; and in Tibenham and Carlton in Depwade hundred.

Eudo, son of Spiruwin, came into England with the Conqueror, and merited so well from him that he conferred upon him the lordship of Tateshale in Linconlshire, and there having his chief seat or barony, he took up the name of Tateshale. Geffrey at the survey held it under Eudo, consisting of 2 carucates of land, held by four villains and 25 borderers, one servus and 16 acres of meadow, there were then 2 carucates in demean, afterwards but one; and one amongst the tenants, paunage for 60 swine, also 60 sheep; there were also belonging to it 62 acres of land, 2 of meadow, with one carucate, a mill, and 9 salt pits held of him by 7 freemen, valued at 60s. per ann. (fn. 5)

In the 33d of Henry III. the jury find (as appears from the eschaet rolls) that Robert de Tateshale died seized of it, and of the manors of Tibenham, Topcroft and Denton, and that Robert was his son and heir, age 26; and in the 50th of that King Martin de Southmere was impleaded by Robert de Tateshale, senior, for cutting down his woods in this town; (fn. 6) the jury find that Martin and William, son of Alan of Thornham, cut part of his wood, whilst he was in the prison of Simon de Montfort, (one of the chief leaders of the barons against the King, and Earl of Leicester, by which it appears that Tatishele, was on the King's side,) and sold it for 20s. but it being proved to be worth one mark more, and being sold when he was in prison, Martin was adjudged to satisfy him, and was taken into custody for the trespass.

This Robert had view of frank pledge, and assise of bread and beer, and was parcel of his barony of Tateshale.

In the 3d of Edward I. Robert de Tateshale was found to hold half a fee here, in Sandringham and Wolverton, and Robert de Tateshale dying a minor in 1305, his inheritance was divided between his 3 aunts; Emma, who married Sir Osbert de Caily; Joan, wife of Sir Robert de Driby; and Isabel, wife of Sir John de Orreby; and in 1315, Sir Thomas de Cayly and Margaret his wife had a charter of free warren in their lands here, Wolfreton, &c. having a third part; and Alice Dryby appears to have a third part of this manor in the 17th of King Edward II. being daughter and heir to Sir Robert aforesaid. This Alice married William Bernak; and in 1360, the King presented to this rectory as guardian to John, the heir of Bernak; but Bernak's and Orreby's parts soon after centered in the Cliftons, by the marriage of Margaret, sister and heir of Sir Thomas de Caily, with Sir Roger de Clifton; and Sir Adam de Clifton presented in 1369, and Constantine de Clifton as sole lord in 1400, and Sir John Clyfton in 1435, who by his will, dated August 16, in 1447, and proved September 8, in the said year, ordered this manor, with that of Wolfreton, to be sold: (fn. 7) and it was purchased most likely by Thomas Lord Scales and Nucells, who presented as lord to this church in 1459, and on the marriage of his daughter and heir, Elizabeth, to Anthony Woodvile Lord Scales, and Eail Rivers; he presented in 1467, and was beheaded and attainted in the reign of Richard III.

In 1493, the Lady Catherine Gray presented: how it came to her does not appear.

It is certain that soon after, in King Henry the Seventh's reign, it came to Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir John Howard, married to John Vere Earl of Oxford, and to Sir William Tyndal, as heirs to the late Lady Elizabeth Scales; (fn. 8) and in 1542, and 1554, Thomas Tindall presented as heir to Sir William; and on default of issue male in the Oxford family that part or moiety was divided between two of his sisters and coheirs, married to John Nevill Lord Latimer, and Sir Anthony Wingfield; Tyndal conveyed his moiety to Jeffrey Cobbe, Esq. and the Wingfields having Latimer's part conveyed to them, they conveyed the other moiety also with the advowson, to Jeffrey, reserving an annual payment out of it of 20 marks, which was paid for several years, and after bought in by the Cobbs; in which family it remained till sold in or about 1686, as observed above, in the manor of Butlers, and after passed as in Sandringham to the Hosts, and so to H. Cornish Henley, Esq. in right of his wife Susan, daughter and heiress of James Hoste, Esq.

The tenths of this town, with Sandringham and Wolfreton, were 14l. per ann. out of which was deducted 2l. on accouut of the lands of the religious, remain 12l.

The Church of Babingley is dedicated to St. Felix, the Apostle and Bishop of the East-Angles, whose seat was at Dunwish in Suffolk about the year 630, who is said to have converted this part of Norfolk to Christianity, and to have built a church here, the first in this neighbourhood; Sir Henry Spelman says that some adjoining hills bearing the name of Christian-hills; testify the same: (fn. 9) see in Flitcham.

It is a rectory, anciently valued at 6 marks and 10s. and paid Peterpence 8d.; the present valor is 4l. 14s. 4d. and is discharged of first fruits, &c.

The nave or body of the church, with the south isle, is covered with tiles, the chancel is dilapidated; at the west end of the nave stands a square tower.

In the church were these arms, sable, a cross ingrailed, or, Ufford Earl of Suffolk; sable, three standing cups, covered, argent, Boteler, or Butler; gules, a chevron, or, between three lions faces, argent, Kervil, or Carvill, impaling Boteler; Boteler impaling argent, a fess between three eaglets displayed sable, Elmham, or Elingham; and in this church was the guild of St. Felix.

The prior of Binham's temporalities here and in Wolfreton in 1428, were taxed at 4s. 4d.; prior of Westacre's in the said towns at 2s.; prior of Shouldham's in rent and salt at 7s. 7d. ob.

The spiritualities of Binham priory in this town and Wolfreton, at one mark.

Sir John Curson, by his will dated in 1471, gives for life to the Lady Joan his wife, the manors of Babingley wood and Ingaldesthorp for life.


Andrew occurs rector, the 2d of Henry III.

1333, Sim. de Rykinghale, by Alice Boteler of Babingley, hac vice.

1349, Richard de I'Grene, by Robert de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, and Thomas Chappe.

1353, Bartholomew Norman, by John Boteler.

1360, James de Horningtoft, by the King, as guardian to the heir of de Barnac.

1361, William Godrich, by William Scot, in right of his wife.

1361, Alan Wake, by the King, hac vice.

1366, Roger de Est Wykham, (an exchange for North Walsham vicarage,) by William Skoth, hac vice.

1369, John Comb, by the King, as guardian to the heir of Sir Adam de Clyfton.

Eudo de Anderby occurs rector 1378.

Mr. Eudo de Blade occurs in 1391.

1400, Adam Mynte, by Margaret, relict of Constantine de Clyfton.

1404, John Zutte. Ditto.

1406, Nicholas Hawys. Ditto.

1408, John Payn, by Margaret, &c.

1408, Nicholas Hawys. Ditto.

1424, John Copeland. Ditto.

1425, Thomas Shadere, (an exchange for Stetchworth, Cambridgehire.) Ditto.

1430, John Crowcher. Ditto.

1435, John Mathew, by Sir John Clyfton.

1459, John Randolf, by the Lord Scales and Nucelle.

1467, John Pyncote, by Anthony Wydevill Lord Scales.

1493, William Histwyde, by the Lady Catherine Gray.

1493, Thomas Whyte. Ditto.

1510, John Sporiour.

1514, John Smith, by the Bishop's vicar-general, a lapse.

1533, Richard Colson.

1542, William Walleys, by Thomas Tendale, Esq.

Humphrey Southworth.

1554. Richard Homesley, by Sir Thomas Tindall.

1557, Jeffrey Lawes, by Jeffrey Cobbes, Gent.

1566, Robert Radcliff. Ditto.

1569, Nathaniel Mason. Ditto.

1570, Alexander Monepenny. Ditto.

1581, Robert Bonynge, by the Queen.

1592, Stephen Clerk, by William Cobb of Sandringham, Esq.

1595, William Wiborow. Ditto.

1614, William Gurlyn, by Mary Cobb, widow.

Adam Webb occurs rector in 1650.

1660, Stephen Basset, by William Cobbe, Esq.

1664, Thomas Stringer. Ditto.

1697, John Lewis, by James Hoste, Esq.

1713, Robert Cremer. Ditto.

1717, Andrew Rogers died rector in 1731. Ditto.

1731, Francis Seward, by James Host, Esq.

1732, James Sharp. Ditto.


  • 1. Terre Petri Valoniensis—Babinkeleia, tenet Will. qu. ten. Tort lib. ho. T. R. E. p. man. i car. tre. iiii villi. et xv. bor. et v ser. et xvi ac. pti. silva. lx por. tnc. ii car. in dnio. p' et mo. i tc. iii. houm. p' et mo. ii et medietate' duor. molinor. et v sal. quando rec. i. r. tc. x an. mo. viii tc. xii por. mo. xiii. tc. clx ov. mo. clxxvii hic jacent vii soc. vi ac. ter. sep. ii. car. tam. ex his habuit Stigandus socam. totu. val. xl. sol. tot. hab. ii. leug. in long. et i leug. in lat. q' cq; ibi. teneat, et redd. ii sol. de xx. sol. de gelto.
  • 2. See in Appleton.
  • 3. Regist. Prior. de Binham, fol. 1, 2.
  • 4. Plita Term. Hillar. de Banco.
  • 5. Terre Eudonis filij Spiruwin— Babinghelea, ten. Gaufrid. quam tenuit Scula, lib. ho ii car. tre. sep. iiii villi. et xxv bor. et i ser. et xvi ac. pti. tc. ii car. in dnio. p' et mo. i sep. i car. hou. silva. lx por. et sep. i por. et lx ov. hic jacent Lxii ac. qd. ten. vii. lib. hoes. et ii ac. pti. sep. i car. et i mol. tc. ix sol. sep. val. lx. sol.
  • 6. Mich. 50 and 51 Hen. III. coram Rege, Rot. 19.
  • 7. Regist. Wylbey, Norw. fol. 103.
  • 8. See in Middleton.
  • 9. Icenia, p. 145.