Freebridge Hundred and Half: Geyton-Thorp

Pages 437-441

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

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Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk of that name, had 80 acres of land, which a freeman held in King Edward's reign, and Robert de Vaux held it under Roger; 6 villains, and as many borderers belonged to it, with a carucate and 3 acres of meadow in demean; and there was half a carucate among the tenants, and a freeman held formerly 20 acres, valued at 12d. at the survey. (fn. 1)

William de Hastings, son of Hugh, (son of Will. who assumed the name of Hastings, from the Port of Hastings, in Sussex, the lastage of which, with the port of Rye, the family farmed of the Crown,) had this lordship by the marriage of Margery, daughter of Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk, and was steward to King Henry II.; he had by the said Margery, William his son and heir, Sir Thomas de Hastings, a descendant from him, gave to the abbey of West-Derham, in Norfolk, a moiety of the advowson of this church, in 1227, which was appropriated to the said abbey.

Sir Nicholas de Hastyngs, in 1249, granted by fine, to Simon, prior of Pentney, a messuage, and 2 carucates of land in this town, and East Winch, to be held of his manor of Gissing, in Norfolk, by the service of one fee, and a pair of gilt spurs, or 7d. in money, payable at Easter. And in 1382, it appears that there was due to the lord of Gissing 100s. relief, on the resignation of the said priory, by Peter Byshop, for his manor here and in East-Winch.

It seems also that some part of this lorpship of Bigot and of Hastings, was held of the family of De Vaux; Sir John de Vaux being found to hold lands in capite here, on his death in the 16th of Edward I. which probably came after to that priory.

In the 20th of Edward III. the prior was found to hold one fee of Ralph de Hastings; and in 1428, the temporalities were valued at 3l. 19s. 9d. per ann.

At the Dissolution it was granted to Thomas Mildmay, Esq. February 26, ao. 4th Edward VI. and after came to Edward Barkham, Bart. and by the marriage of the heiress, to the Yallops.

Under the title of invasion, (by which we are to understand seizures on lands at the conquest, made by the arbitrary power of some Normans,) we find that Hermerus de Ferrariis had one carucate of land, out of which he had expelled Turchill, a freeman, to which there belonged 9 villains, and 8 borderers, with one carucate in demean, one among the tenants, 6 acres of meadow, and the fourth part of a fishery, valued at 20s. Stigand had the soc, and Turchill was only under his commendation or protection. The moiety of a church belonged to it, endowed with 30 acres, valued at 12s. (fn. 2)

Hermerus was ancestor of the Lords Bardolf, Barons of Wirmegey, in Norfolk; and in the reign of Henry III. Nicholas Norman was found to hold, here and in Grimston, the fourth part of a fee of William Lord Bardolf; after this, it was held of the said lords by the Thorps; and in the 16th of Edward II. Sir John de Thorp, and Alice his wife, conveyed it to the prior of Pentney, by fine, at York, by the name of Aileswisthorp (that is, Thorp by the water) manor, on the Octaves of St. Martin, before William de Bereford, John de Mutford, William de Herle, John de Stonere, and John de Wausser, the King's justices, with a messuage, 100 acres of land, 4 of pasture, in this town, Geyton, &c. and the advowson of the moiety of this church, the prior covenanting that the said John and Alice, should hold it of him for their lives, paying one rose yearly on the feast of St. John Baptist; after their decease to revert to the said prior and his successours, to be held of the capital lords of the fee, the Lord Bardolf, who confirmed the said grant.

In the 20th of Edward III. and in the 3d of Henry IV. the prior held it by half a fee of the Lords Bardolf; and in the 5th of Henry VI. of Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter, as capital lord.

On the dissolution of the priory, it was granted to Thomas Mildmay, Esq. and so came to the Barkhams, and by marriage to Spilman, as in Westacre.

In 1761, it was conveyed to Philip Case, Esq. of Lynn, by Edward Spilman, Esq.

Odo Bishop of Baieux in France, the Conqueror's half brother, had also a lordship in this town, of which 3 freemen were deprived, with 60 acres of land, held by one villain, and one borderer, and one carucate and an acre of meadow, valued at 6s. and 8d. (fn. 3)

One of these freemen was under the protection of the ancestor or predecessor of Roger Bigot, and the whole belonged to, and was part of, Nestesham or Snetesham. All Thorp was 8 furlongs long, and 4 broad, and paid 8d. to a 20s. gelt.

By the predecessor of Roger Bigot, we are to understand Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose great lordship of Snetesham, with many others belonging to him, being lay fees, were taken from him; and this, with Snetesham, &c. were given by the Conqueror, to his brother Odo. On his rebellion against King William II. (his nephew) and taking part with Robert, his nephew, Duke of Normandy, (the Conqueror's eldest son) he was deprived of it; and King Henry I. granted it (as it is said) to Robert, son of Ernisius.

Eudo, son of Ernisius, wa slord of it, but Robert his son rebelling against King John, he granted it to Jeffrey Fitz Piers Earl of Essex, on condition, that if Robert should submit to the King, then he would give Jeffrey some other lands, of like value, as appears by the patent, dated in the 18th of that King, and may be seen in Massingham Magna.

Afterwards it came to the Thorps, and from them, as I take it, to the prior of Pentney; so to Mildmay, Barkham, Spilman, and Case.

The tenths were 2l. 6s. 8d. deducted 6s. 8d.

The church of Geyton Thorp is dedicated to St. Mary, and is a single ancient pile, covered with lead, has a round tower at the west end, (with two bells,) and is covered with a cap.

In the chancel lies a gravestone with a brass plate,

Orate p. a'i'a. Johans. Gynne, quo'da' rectoris istius ecclie qui obt. xviii die mens. Maij Ao. Dni Millo. c.c.c.c. lxxxix cuj. &c.

On another, with the arms of Wall, argent, on a cross sable, five lioncels, rampant, or, impaling Barkham,

In spe beatæ resurrectionis, hic jacet Lucia relicta Francisci Wall, armigeri, filia Edvardi Barkham, de Tottenham High Cross, in comit. Middlesexiæ, militis, et baronetti, quæ obt. 30 die Junij, Ao. Dni. 1681. — Fiducia christianorum, resurrectie. mortuorum. Tertull.

Also on one,

Here lieth the body of Judith Swift, daughter of Dr. Beckham, who departed this life 1st of January, 1718, aged 42 years.

In charissimorum parentum memoriam Edvardus Beckham filius mærens, D. C.— H. S. E. Edw. Beckham, S. T. P. ecclesiarum de Gayton Thorp, et de South Pickenham, rector, qui obt. Apr. die 1°. ao. ætatis 76, Dni. m.d.ccxiv. Juxta positæ sunt exuviæ Janæ conjugis dicti Edwardi dilectissimæ, quæ obt. die post maritum quarto Ao. ætatis lix.

In the east window are the arms of Vaux, checque, or and gules.

Here were 2 medieties in this church, one given to West Derham abbey, in 1227, by Sir Thomas Hastings, and was appropriated to that abbey, valued at 6 marks per ann. the other moiety was not appropiated, but the presentation to it was granted to Pentney abbey, by Sir John de Thorp and Alice his wife, in the 16th of Eward II. valued also at 6 marks, and remains a rectory at this time; one of these medieties was called Philip's portion. Peter-pence 8d. This rectory or mediety is now valued at 6l.


1310, William King instituted rector presented by Sir John de Thorp, and Alice his wife.

1325, William de Ayshewellthorp, by the prior of Pentney.

1327, Robert de Goderston. Ditto.

1329, William Oky. Ditto.

1338, Martin de Sandringham. Ditto.

1345, Peter de Attlebrigge. Ditto.

1349, Nicholas Jerveys, by Sir John de Segrave Lord Fulkeston.

John Baron.

1397, Henry Crane, by the prior.

1400, Simon de Fincham. Ditto.

1405, Thomas de Wysebeche, canon of Pentney.Ditto.

1427, Richard Estbrek. Ditto.

1432, Greg. Hecham. Ditto.

1454, John Geyney. Ditto.

1489, Henry Tayler. Ditto.

Henry Herrison, rector.

1505, James Lilborne. Ditto.

1540, John Chandeler, by John Dethick, Gent. of the prior.

1553, James Fletcher, by John Mildmay, Esq.

1559, Reginald Fawcett, by ditto.

1570, William Dickens, by Sir Thomas Mildmay.

1599, Peter Smith, by John Gedney, hac vice.

1643, John Field, by Sir Edward Barkham, Bart.

1662, Edward Beckham, D. D. by ditto.

1714, Richard Courtman, by Samuel Tayler, Esq.

1722, Samuel Asplin, by John Holworthy, Esq.

1737, Richard Money, on Asplin's death, by Hugh Nash, Esq.

1755, George William Lemon, by Edward Spilman, Esq.

The abbot of West Derham's temporalities in this town were valued at 3s. in 1428, the prior of Pentney's at 3l. 19s. 3d.

The prior of Westacre's at 4l. 4s. 7d. this was for his lordship in Grimston, which extended into this.


  • 1. Terra Rogeri Bigoti.—In Torp, lxxx ac. tenuit lib. ho. T. R. E. mo. ide. R. sep. vi vill vi bord. iii ac. pti. i car. in dnio. dim. car. ho'um.—In ead. lib. ho. xx ac. val. xiid.
  • 2. Invasio Hermeri de Ferraijs- - -In Torp, i car. t're qd. tenuit T'chill. lib. ho sep. ix vill. viii bor. i car. in d'nio. i car. hom. vi ac. p'ti et iiiita pars pisc. val. xx sol. et in hoc. com'd tantu'. et Stigand. soca'. dim. Ecclia xxx ac. val. xii sol.
  • 3. Terr Epi. Baiocensis—In Torp ii libi. ho'es T. R. E. lx ac. t're. semp. i vill. et i bord. et i ac. p'ti. semp. i car. et val. vi sol. et viiid. un. ex h. ho'ib; fuit com'dat. tantu' antecessori Rog. Bigot hoc totu jacet in Nesteshame totu' Torp viii quar. in long. et iiii in lat. et reddit viiid. de xx sol. de gelto.