Freebridge Hundred and Half: Geyton

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, 'Freebridge Hundred and Half: Geyton', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808), pp. 429-437. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Freebridge Hundred and Half: Geyton", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808) 429-437. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Freebridge Hundred and Half: Geyton", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808). 429-437. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


William de Scohies beforementioned had a little lordship here at the survey, of one carucate of land, which Ulvock held of him; and Tohill possessed it in King Edward's reign; 7 borderers belonged to it, and 12 acres of meadow; there was one carucate in demean, half a carucate among the tenants, and was valued at 20s. per ann. (fn. 1)

The town takes its name from Guy, a British word, and occurs frequently for the name of rivers, or water.

It is probable, that soon after the survey, the said William granted it to the abbey of Stephen's abovementioned, with the church of Geyton, which was appropriated to the priory of Well, and the patronage of the vicarage was in the priory, as will appear.

William Earl Warren had a lordship, out of which 16 freemen had been ejected, who had 2 carucates of land, and 3 carucates held by eleven borderers, valued at 40s. and this he had by an exchange.

Ralph had under him one carucate of land, which Alveva, a freewoman, was possessed of in King Edward's time; 4 villains, 2 borderers, and one servus belonged to it; there was one carucate in demean, with 8 acres of meadow, one saltwork, and the moiety of another, and 3 freemen with the moiety of another, held under him, 60 acres and a carucate, with 3 acres of meadow, valued at 30s. which he held for a manor. (fn. 2)

Ralph was probably the ancestor of the family of De Geyton, lords of this fee. Reginald, son of Edmund de Geyton, was witness to a deed of a tenement in Ridon, granted by Robert, son of John de Byntre, to the monks of Castleacre, sans date, and held part of a fee in the 18th of Henry III. and John de Geyton held half a fee here of Sir Giles de Plays, and he of the Earl Warren, in the reign of Henry III.

In the 17th of Edward II. Richard le Plays and his tenants held 3 fees in Geyton, Wetyng, Feltwell, &c. of the Earl Warren, of his castle of Acre; and Gilbert de Say held 5 fees here and in Rudham, and Cokesford; and Rob. de Repps a quarter of a fee in this town, Congham, and Grimston. Also in the said year, Edmund de Geyton was found to die seized of the fourth part of a fee.

In the 10th of that King, William de Geyton, son and heir of Edmund, who was son of Stephen de Geyton, gave to the King 25s. relief for 40 acres of land, the moiety of a messuage in Geyton, said to be held of the see of Norwich, then void, and in the King's hands; and in his 35th year, Edmund died (as appears by the escheat rolls) possessed of half a fee, held of the Plays's; and in the 42d of the said King, John Lovedone, chaplain, granted to Hervy, son of Geffrey de Geyton, lands here, by deed, dated on Monday before the feast of St. Michael the archangel, to which John de Geyton, &c. was witness.

In the 4th of Henry IV. Henry Blomvile, William Walton, and their tenants, held the fourth part of a fee of the Bishop of Norwich, and the Bishop of the heirs of Sir John de Plaiz, of the dutchy of Lancaster; and at the same time, Henry de Geyton and his tenants, held lands of the Bishop of Norwich, and the Bishop of the honour of Dover, as the inquisitions set forth; and in the reign of Henry VI. Robert de Geyton held half a knight's fee here, the Earl of Oxford's honour or castle of Heveningham in Essex; and paid 3s. and 4d. per ann. for suit of court there, as parcel of Plaiz's fee; Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John de Plaiz, married Sir John Howard, by whom she had John Howard, Knt. who left a daughter and heir, Elizabeth, married to John Vere Earl of Oxford.

After this, John de Geyton and his tenants held lands, &c. of the dutchy of Lancaster, late the Earl Warren's fee; and in the 20th of Henry VII Edmund Geyton held the manor of East-Hall in this town, Bawsey, Ashwyken, &c. with 150 acres of arable pasture and wood, and 10 acres of meadow, with 43s. rent, (and Thomas was found to be his son and heir,) held of the aforesaid dutchy.

In the 33d of Henry VIII. the manor of Geyton, alias Egerton, Wykenhale, Brecham's and Person's, with lands in Geyton, Well, Glosthorp, South Wotton, and Gaywood, were by fine conveyed from Adam Foster, and Ann his wife, and Henry Castell, to Geffrey Cobb, and Mary his wife, daughter of Thomas Thoresby, Esq.; this Geffrey made his will in 1544, which was proved on December 17, in the said year, orders his body to be buried in the church of St. Nicholas of Geyton, next to his feder; (fn. 3) bequeaths to Mary his wife all his manors and lands, &c. in the towns and fields of Gayton, Alyswythorp, Eastwinch, Grimston, Wekyng, and Lesyate, during life, and after to Thomas his son and heir; gives legacies to his son William; and to his daughters Ann, and Dowsabell; 40l. each; calls Thomas Baker his brother-inlaw.

Thomas Cobb, son and heir of Jeffrey, had livery of the manor of Gayton, alias Egerton, with the appertenances, one messuage and a foldcourse, in Gaytonthorp, Grimston, and East-Winch, in the 6th of Queen Elizabeth, held of the said Queen, as of the castle of Dover; also the manors of Wykenhale, Brecham's, and Person's.

It appears by an inquisition taken 22d of April, in the first of Edward VI. at the castle of Norwich, that his father Geffrey died May 13, 1544, possessed of the same manors Gayton, and Egerton, held of Dover castle, paying 10s. rent per ann. Wykenhale, Brecham, and Person's manors, held of the manor of Grimston, paying 12s. per ann. and that Tho. his son and heir, was of the age of 5 years, by Margaret his wife, daughter of Tho. Thursby, Esq. and that Ralph Gayton was Jeffrey's great grandfather; this Thomas is said to die without issue; and William Cobb (his brother, as I take it,) had livery of the aforesaid manors, about the 22d of the said Queen.

Henry Beke, Gent. died August 21, 1638, seized of one messuage, 50 acres of land, and one of meadow, held in soccage of Geffrey Cobb's manor of Egerton, together with a mill; this part was held in 1730, by Mr. Raven, attorney, of Burnham in Norfolk, called West-Hall, and is in that family.

Of the Cobbs see in Sandringham.

Castleacre Priory Manor.

William, son of Roger, confirmed all the donations of his father, grandfather, and of Walter his uncle, to the monks of Acra; and himself gave to them eleven shillings and 4d. rent in land in Geyton: (fn. 4) witnesses, Ketell the priest, William de Kemestun, Lambert his brother, Richard de Brislai, Roger de Holm, Humphrey, de Dunham, Roger de Wesenham, &c. sans date.

Henry de Wicen, with the consent of Christian his wife, and Lesquin his mother, confirmed to them lands in Geyton-Norhill, with the boundaries between Well and Geyton, sans date.

Fulco de Suthacre, chaplain, gave to the said monks, the rent of half a pound of cumin per ann. to be received out of a tenement which Eustachius de Basingham held of him in Geyton; witnesses, Eudo de Arsic, then castellan of Acre, Adam de Wigenhale, &c. sans date.

Reginald de Geyton was witness to a deed of William de Stutevile, sans date, wherein he releases his right in lands in Wendlyng, and Hyngesham, to the said monks.

There was an agreement between the abbot and convent of St. Stephen of Caen, in Normandy, on one part, and the prior and convent of Castleacre, on the other, for all the tithes belonging to the fee of the Earl Warren, in the village of Geyton, which belonged to Castleacre priory; that the abbot of St. Stephen's, and his successours, should hold all the said tithes, paying 5 marks of good sterling per ann. and sealed with the seals of both convents; sans date.

Jordan, prior of Acre, remitted all claim and right for himself and convent, to the monks of Caen, in the manor called Wella, and in the church of Geyton, with the appertenances, for 10 marks given them for damages; sans date;—witnesses, Godwin, prior of Westacre, Herebert, prior of the manor, (that is of the manor or priory of Wells,) Ralph, the priest of Geyton, Edmund de Geyton, William, the priest of Nereford, John de Nerburg, &c.

In the 41st of Henry III. the prior of Castleacre sued the abbot of Caen for a messuage, 3 carucates of land, and 30 of wood, in Geyton, Well, Grimston, Wyken, Lesiat, and Holt; and in the 43d of that King, a fine was levied in the octaves of St. Hillar, whereby the advowson of the church of Geyton was granted by John, prior of Castleacre, to Adam, abbot of Caen, who was to pay for this to the prior, the rent of six marks per ann. and in default, the prior might distrain the goods and chattels of the abbot, in his manor of Wells, &c. (fn. 5)

And in the next year, a fine was levied between John, prior of Castleacre, and Nicholas abbot of Caen, of one messuage, 3 carucates of land, 30 acres of wood, (excepting 21 acres of land,) in Well, Geyton, Grimston, Wyken, Lesiate, Holt and Thorp, granted to the abbot and his church of Caen, saving to the prior of Castleacre his pension of 6 marks per ann. for Geyton advowson, and 5 marks pension, payable by the said abbot, to the prior, for certain tithes in Geyton, according to covenants between them.

In 1428, the temporalities of this priory, in Geyton, were valued at 4l. per ann. and their spiritualities, being a portion in the said church, at 40s.

The prior of Lewis had also at the same time, temporalities here of the fee of the Earl Warren, valued per ann at 44s. 4d.

Wendling Abbot's Manor.

The abbot of Wendling had a lordship. On the dissolution of the religious houses, it came to the Crown, and remained there some time; and was granted by Queen Elizabeth, on the 10th of August in her 13th year, to Thomas Jennyns and Edward Forth, Gent. by the name of Geyton manor, alias Geyton Abbots, with concealed lands belonging to it, in Tilney, Islington, Clenchwarton, Walpole and Emneth; and King James I. on January 9, in his 8th year, granted it for the sum of 26l. 17s. 3d. with all the wood and underwood, valued at 3l. 16s. 9d. late the possessions of Wendling abbey, to Sir Edmund Mundeford, and he, on the 20th of July, in the 16th year of the said King, conveyed it to Sampson Hopes, clerk.

Another lordship in this town was granted, on the conquest, to Hugh de Montfort, and Roger held a carucate of land under Hugh. In the reign of the Confessor, Bundo, a freeman, was lord of it; it consisted of one carucate in demean, and 7 acres of meadow, and 6 borderers, and there was half a carucate among the tenants the moiety of a mill, &c. valued at 45s. and was a beruite to Bilney. (fn. 6).

The Belets had soon after the Conquest, an interest in this town. Hervey Belet gave lands here, &c. to Coxford priory in the reign of King John.

Sir William Belet was lord in the 38th of King Henry III. when he had a grant of free-warren, of a fair, and a weekly mercate at Geyton. (fn. 7)

The Belets were a family of great honour and account in this county: Michael Belet was one of King Henry the Second's judges; Hervey Belet gave to the priory of Coxford; the manor of Rudham in Norfolk.

King John's patent to Michael Belet clears up the pedigree of this family, wherein he gives to Master Michael Beleth, son of Michael Beleth and his heirs, the office of being his butler or cupbearer, (officium de pinc' nora n'ra,) with all the rights belonging to it, to be held of the King and his heirs, freely, quietly, wholly, and honourably, as Michael, father of the aforesaid Master Michael, &c. held it; and that King further grants and confirms to the said Master Michael and his heirs, all the lands which his grandfather, Hervey Belet, held, to whatsover fee belonging; dated at Merleburg, the 28th of December, in the 7th year of his reign, under the hand of Hugh de Wells, archdeacon of Wells: witnesses, John Bishop of Norwich, H. Bishop of Salisbury, G. Fitz Piers Earl of Essex, William Mareschall Earl of Pembroke, Robert Turnham, William Briwer, Peter de Stoke, Geff. de Lucy.

King Henry the Second's patent to Michael Beleth, the father, for a fair at Rudham, was dated at this town of Geyton, (apud Gaytington,) to which Robert de Lucy, the chief justice of England, was witness. Hervey was also son of this Michael, and brother to Master Michael Belet, as appears from his grant and deed of the manor of Rudham, to the prior of Cokesford, for the health of his soul and that of the Lady Emma de Kaynete, his mother, (Cheyney,) and with the liberties, &c. which Michael Beleth, his brother, obtained from the illustrious King John; witnesses, John de Wrothested, William de Gymingham, Matthew de Grimston, Roger de Hales, &c. sans date, and William Geyton held, in the 12th of Henry III. the 4th part of a fee of the King, of the honour of Dover, and paid relief 25s.

Sir William Belet, alias Bigot, lord of this manor, was King Henry the Third's valet: he married Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Walter de Marham, lord of Marham, who brought him that manor, and this of Geyton.

Ermelina, daughter of Hugh de Montfort, a descendant from that Hugh, who was capital lord of this town, and of Marham at the survey, widow of Osbert the mareschal of Robert de Vere, senior, constable to King Henry II. (being married to Mark de Marham, ancestor of Sir Walter,) bringing it into that family.

Sir William Belet was not the son of Master Michael Belet, or of Hervey, but son of Ralph Belet, or Bigot. In the 3d of Edward I. the said Sir William was found to hold the manor of Alfreton-hall in Dunmow-Magna, Essex, of Ralph Bigot, his brother, son of Ralph, son of Bartholomew; to this Sir William, King Henry III. Ao. 38. granted a weekly mercate here, on Wednesday, and a fair for three days, on the vigil, day, and day after St. George.

Sir William Belet, in the 18th of Edward I. &c. sued William Rackhith and seven others, for breaking down his pillory in his manor of Geyton, where King Henry III. had granted him a weekly mercate on Wednesday, and a fair for three days in the year, &c.

His lady Margaret outlived him, and died in the 1st of Edward II. he bore argent, on a chief gules, two crescents or, as appears from an old roll that I have seen. On the death of the Lady Margaret, Sir Ralph Belet, alias Bigot, was found to be her son and heir, by Sir William, aged 50, and died in the 9th of the said King, and Walter Bygot was found to be his son and heir, aged 23.

Sir Ingelram de Belet had also an interest in lands, tenements, and a mercate in this town, as appears from the escheat rolls in the 6th of Edward II. when Robert was found to be his son and heir, who proved his age in the 12th of Edward II. and in the 16th of that King died. This Sir Ingelram was knighted by bathing together with Prince Edward, in the reign of King Edward I. and was son (as I take it) either of Hervey or Michael abovementioned, sons of Michael. His arms differed somewhat from Sir William Belet's abovementioned, as appears from an old roll (made in his life time) of the manor of Marham, being argent on a chief gules, two cinquefoils, or. —See in Marham.

John de Denham and Maud his wife sold it, Ao. 42 of Edward III. to Richer de Wichingham, son of Sir William Wychingham, the judge, with the mercate, &c.

The Belets appear to have held it of the honour of Hagenet or Haughley, and the Geytons to have held part of it of them.—See in Beacham Well.

In the 20th of Edward III. John de Geyton and others held lands formerly Hugh's, rector of the church of Bilney, by the 4th part of a fee, of the honour of Hagenet, and for which, the inquisition says Richard de Belhouse paid relief in the time of King Edward II. After this, in the 42d of the said King, a fine was levied between John de Denham, and Maud his wife, deforciants, Peter, parson of Honeweton, Richer, son of William de Wichingham, querents, of a messuage, 140 acres of land, 7 of meadow, and 8s. rent per ann. in Geyton, Grimeston and Marham, and the mercate of Geyton, with William Newman of Marham, their villain, and progeny, conveyed to Richer and his heirs; and Thomas Shouldham, Esq. by his deed dated on Thursday before the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, in the 33d of Henry VI. released all his right in this town, that of Congham and Grimston, which belonged formerly to Sir Richard Belhouse, Knt. to William Bozoun, Esq. and was part of the manor of West Bilney.

This seems to have been in the family of the Longs. Mr. Long of Bury, lord about 1700; after this Mr. Jacomb, where it now continues.

Hermerus de Ferrariis had seized on 60 acres of land in this town, out of which he had expelled a freeman, and Bordin held it at the survey, of Hermerus; 2 borderers belonged to it with 6 acres of meadow and half a carucate, valued at 3s. Stigand had the royalty or soc; and the protection only belonged to the freeman. (fn. 8)

This seems to have been joined by Hermerus to his manor in Grimston: see there.

Cokesford Priory.

In 1233, the prior was taxed for lands held here, on the marriage or King Henry the Third's sister to the Emperor of Germany; their temporalities in 1428, were valued at 40s. per ann. and was probably a benefaction of the family of the Belets.

Westacre-Priory Manor.

Ralph de Tony, lord of Westacre, had at the survey possessions here, 60 acres of land, 3 socmen, and one borderer, 3 acres of meadow, and one carucate of pasture, which was valued with his great lordship of Necton, and this town of Geyton, is there wrote and called in Domesday Book, Keton. (fn. 9)

The said Ralph probably gave it to this priory on his founding of it; in 1428, their temporalities were valued at 22s. 8d. ob. per ann.

The tenths of this town were 15l.—Deducted 2l. 13s. 4d. for the lands of the religious.

The Church of Geyton is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and was a rectory valued at 24 marks per ann. and paid Peter-pence 12d. being appropriated to the priory of Wells, a vicarage was founded, valued at 5 marks and an half, and the prior of Castleacre had a portion of tithe valued at 40s. per ann. William, the 2d Earl Warren and Surry, who lived in the reign of King Henry I. gave 2 parts of his tithe in this town for the health of his own soul and that of Isabel his wife; (fn. 10) the Earl Warren had also an interest in, if not a right of the advowson of this church.

In the 41st of Henry III. a fine was levied between John Fitz Bernard, and Adam, abbot of St. Stephen's of Caen, whereby the advowson of this church was granted to the abbot, and the Bernards held lands of the Earl Warren; and in the 43d of that King, John, the prior of Castleacre, conveyed by fine to the aforesaid abbot, the advowson, and the abbot granted to John, to pay him 6 marks of silver per ann. at Castleacre, with a clause of distress in the said abbot's manor of Paunfield in Essex; and that as often as the prior should send his esquire to make the distress at Paunfield, the abbot should find him, his horse, and his boy, and pay all charges and expences as long as they staid there about the distress, till they paid the esquire.

The church is a regular pile, has a nave, a north and south isle covered with lead, and a four-square tower with 3 bells; the chancel is covered with tiles.

On a gravestone in the nave,

Here lyeth William Tyler, of Geyton, Esq; who died the 13, of Sept. 1657, in the 53, year of his age.

Here lyeth the body of John Wood, Mr. of Arts, chaplain to the Right Honorable Henry, Earl of Dover, and a gospel-preacher, and Sarah his wife: he departed this life June, 23, 1617, of the age 67.

On the stone his arms, - - - - -, a bull passant.


Hugh occurs rector in the reign of Henry III. so that it seems not to be appropriated till about the end of that King's reign.—The present valor of the vicarage is 8l. 6s. 8d. and is discharged.

In 1318, John cum Barba (with the beard) was instituted vicar, presented by the prior of Welles.

1326, John Helewys, by the King, the temporalities of the abbey of Caen being in his hands.

1331, Walter de Halstede, by the prior of Welles.

1393, William Coke, by John Brandon, citizen of London.

1393, Robert Flode, by ditto.

1401, William Clark. Ditto.

1402, John Wythe. Ditto.

1410, William Lambe, by John Wodehouse, Esq.

1419, Richard Papy was instituted, on an exchange with William Hawconshaw, late vicar, for the church of Hardewyk, presented by John Wodehouse.

1424, Ralph Prytt. Ditto.

1436, Peter Knout, by John Sparham, perpetual chaplain of the charnell-house, of the Holy Trinity, and five wounds of Christ, founded by John Wodehouse, Esq. (in the inferior chapel of the charnel house of St. John the Evangelist, by the cathedral of Norwich) to which chaplain this rectory was appropriated and the patronage of the vicarage.

1476, Henry Chamber, by the dean and chapter of St. Stephen's, Westminster.

1486, John Coventre. Ditto.

1498, Thomas Stagge. Ditto.

1520, William Pigot. Ditto.

1524, John Rees. Ditto.

1528, Amb. Tesdale. Ditto.

1532, William Buswell. Ditto.

1546, William Cross. Ditto.

1561, Thomas Brook, by Osbert Mundeford, Esq.

John Hooks, vicar.

1573, John Longe. Ditto.

1584, Richard Percivall, by Fr. Mundeford of Feltwell Esq.

1589, John Long. Ditto.

1593, George Leland, by Edmund Mundeford, Esq.

1604, Ambrose Fiske. Ditto.

1614, John Williamson, by Sir Edmund Mundeford, Knt.

1628, John Wood, by Henry Beck of Castleacre, Gent.

John Brooksbank, occurs vicar in 1662, he was presented by Ann Beck, widow.

1694, Robert Cotton, by Roger West, Esq.

1699, John Fowle. Ditto.

1705, Charles Buck, by the Queen, a lapse.

1707, Charles Buck, by the Bishop of Norwich, the advowson of this vicarage being granted by the will of Sharrock, Esq. to the see of Norwich.

1721, George Hardy, by the Bishop of Norwich.

1740, James Heath. Ditto.


  • 1. Terr. Willi. de Scohies.—Gaituna tenet Uluoc. i car. t're. qd. ten. Tohill. T. R. E. tc. vii bor. mo. vi xii ac. p'ti. sep. i car. in d'nio. tnc. et p. dim. car. hom. mo. ii et val. xx sol.
  • 2. T're. Willi. de Warrenna—In Gaituna xvi lib. hom. ii car. t're. et xi bord. semp. iii car. et val. xl sol. hoc ht. p. escangio. In Gaituna ten Radulfus i car. terre qua' tenuit Alveva lib'a femina T.R.E. semp. iiii vill. et ii bord. et i serv. semp. i car in d'nio, et viii ac. p'ti. et i salina et dim. et iii libi. ho'es et dim. lx ac. et i car. et iii ac. p'ti. et val. xxx sol. istu p. manerio.
  • 3. Regist. Hill, Norw. fol. 48, 189.
  • 4. Regist Castleac.
  • 5. Regist. Castleac. fol. iii. 6.
  • 6. Terr. Hug. de Monteforti.—In Gaytuna, ten. Rogerus, i car. tre. qm. ten. Bundo, lib. ho. T. R. vi bor. et mo. iii bor. et i s. et vii ac. pti. sep. i car. in dnio et dim. car. hom. et dim. mol. tc. iii por. et mo. sep lx ov. et val. xlv. hoc est 8. beruuita in Bilenei.
  • 7. Rot. Vascon. 38 Hen. VIII. p. 2. n. 79.
  • 8. Invasio Hermeri de Ferrariis in Gaituna, lib. ho. lx ac. qd. tenet Bordin, ii bor. vi ac. pti. dim. car. val. iii sol. et in hoc n'. comd. Stigand. soca.
  • 9. Terr. Radulfi de Toenio.—In Ketuna, iii soc. lx ac. tre. et i bor. et iii ac. pti. i car. et e. in p'tio. de Nachetuna.
  • 10. Reg. Castleacre, fol. 4.