Freebridge Hundred and Half: West Lynn

Pages 533-537

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

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Hermerus de Ferrarriis's manor of Tilney and Islington, extended into this hamlet, as I find it sometimes called; and by the survey we find, he had invaded or seized on the property of two freemen, who held in King Edward's time, 25 acres of land and a saltwork, valued at 4s. 6d. per ann. of which his predecessors had only the soc. (fn. 1)

Soon after this, it came to the family of Bardolphs, Barons of Wirmegay, and was part of that barony.

In the 3d of Edward III. Philip de Virley was found to hold here in Euston, East Herling, Field-Dalling, &c. 2 fees of the Lord Bardolf; this came afterwards to the Rookwodes, and John Rokwode held it of Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter, lord of the said honour in the 5th of Henry VI.

The Earl Warren's manor of Kenwich in Tilney, extended here. Hameline Plantagenet Earl Warren and Surry, as lord, was patron of the rectory, in the reign of Henry II. and gave it to the priory of Lewes in Sussex; the priory of Castleacre had also considerable lands by the gift of the said Earls; and their temporalities were taxed in 1428, at 2l. 9s.

William, son of Godfrey de Tilney, &c. gave to the monks of Castleacre, the homage of Robert, son of Richard de Snetesham, with all his tenement, which he held of them in the parish of St Peter's of Lenn, with all his service: witnesses, Alexander de Ingaldesthorp, William de Dunham, Walter de Sculham, &c. sans date. (fn. 2)

It has been an idle tradition, that this was, in ancient days, the grand port or chief town; and on that account is frequently called Old Lynn. I have observed that in the Book of Domesday, Lena was the name of what is now called the Burgh of Lynn of South Lenn, and of West and North Lenn; and that the chief port was then at the Burgh, is certain, from the customs and lastage of that port which then belonged to the Bishop of Ely, and the lord of Rising, and which continued so for may centuries, and still belong to the said Burgh; this place was only an hamlet belonging to the said burgh; the first mention that I find of it by the name of Lyn St. Peter's, is in the deed sans date, abovementioned,

In a pleading, ao. 41 of Henry III. it occurs by the name of West Lenne, and in the year 1300, Alan de Lindesey, burgess of Lenn, gave by deed, to William de Gousele, farrier of Lenn, the liberty of a passage or ferry-boat, over the water of Lenn, which he had bought of Alan, son of John Codling of West Lenn, to the said William and his heirs, &c. paying to the capital lord of the liberty, the service of right due and customary, for which the said William gave to him a certain sum of silver in hand, paid; witnesses John de Merlace, then mayor, Peter de Thundreyn, John de St. Omer, &c. burgesses, dated at Lenn, ao. 1300.

The case is the same with Lynn in this respect, as it was with Wigenhale, under which name the four townships of Wigenhale St. Mary Magdalen, St. Mary's, St. German's, and St. Peter's were all included, and the first mention that I find of them, thus distinguished, was (as I have there observed) in or about 1130.

In the first of Henry IV. Robert Digges, rector of Clenchwarton, &c. confirmed to John Outlaw, senior, of West Lenne, Edmund Baleset, burgess of Lenne, a messuage and lands here; dated at West Lenn, on the feast of St. Peter in Cathedra; witnesses, Richard de Bellons, Richard de Well, &c. and in the 14th of Henry VI. a fine was levied of messuages and lands, conveyed by Robert Popynge and his wife, to Sir Ralph Cromwell.

In the 14th of Edward IV. the family of Broughton had a considerable interest in this town, when I find it called Old Lenn, and the burgh called New Lenn, (but through ignorance) when the abbot of Bury's lordship of Islington extended into this town, as may be there seen; and Catharine Broughton, one of the sisters and coheirs of John Broughton, had livery of it on July 7, ao. 21 of Henry VIII.

Richard Nicholl, in the 14 of Elizabeth, had a prœcipe to deliver to George Nicholl, the manor of Broughton, alias Stonham's, with messuages and lands here, and in Clenchwarton, with a ferry boat; and in the 27th of that Queen, George Nichols had a prœcipe to deliver it to John Nicholls, and likewise to Thomas Nightingale, Gent.

The Church is dedicated to St. Peter, and was formerly valued at 12 marks, Peter-pence, 1d. The present valor is 9l. and is a rectory.

It is covered with lead, the chancel with reed, and has a square tower with three bells.

There are gravestones,

In memory of Robert Henson, rector, who died in 1663.

Richard Tayler, rector, who died in May, 1695.

Anne, wife of Seth Hawley clerk, 1686.

Alice, wife of Richard Tayler, rector, April 23, 1681.

Mrs. Jane Hainsworth, daughter of Luke Skippon, late rector of Wissingset in Norfolk, who died September 17, 1688.

Jane Whall, Feb. 13, 1700.

In the church were these arms: Bendy of six,—and argent, a bendlet over all, gules, two cross keys, or; St. Peter's arms. Gules, two swords in saltire; St. Paul's arms. Ermin, on a chief, sable; three crosses pattee; Wichingham.


Humphrey de Suthacre, rector, sans date.

William de Pakenham occurs rector in 1270. He was presented by the prior, &c. of Lewes: there was a vicarage about that time also, but it was then consolidated in 1252, by reason of the meanness of the rectory.

In the time of this rector, about the 55th of Henry III. it appears by a deed of his, wherein he calls himself rector of the church of St. Peter's, of Lenne, that the church was destroyed by an inundation from the sea, together with the churchyard, and that he had procured a certain piece of ground, wherein to erect and build a new church, and therein to avoid all disputes grants to the priory the soil or ground and allows their right of patronage: (fn. 3) this was in 1271, and Sir William de Terrington was a witness to it; and Alan, son of Robert de Creik, of Clenchwarton, who sold the land, with Robert de Scales, who was lord of the fee, in right of his manor in Islington that extended here, released their right to the prior, in the presence of Sir William de Terington.

In 1294, Richard de Keston, occurs rector.

1314, John Bakewell instituted rector, presented by the prior, &c. of Lewes.

1314, Richard le Grey.

1329, Walter de Elyngham, by Peter the prior, &c.

In 1323, John Wase settled a house, with the King's license for a parsonage-house; and Thomas de Acres and Muriel his wife, founded a chantry here, and John Palmer, &c. feoffees, obtained license to settle a messuage, 57 acres of land, 106 of marsh, then valued at 10l. per ann. here and in Clenchwarton, &c. to found a chantry in the church.

Some say license for it was not obtained till the 16th of Richard II.

1349, Fulco de Flete, rector, instituted.

1352, Thomas Clement.

1353, John Sherre, on an exchange for the free chapel of St. James de Melton, in Frampton, Lincoln diocese.

1376, William, son of Peter Albald.

1395, John Maymond, alias Walton.

1399, John Atte Stretesend.

1403, George Bolour, on an exchange for Whelnetham Magna, in Suffolk.

1418, John Hinstock.
John Kacche, rector.

1451, Peter Frost.

1454, Mr. John Wylton, L.L.B.

1462, Ralph Full-of-Love.

1465, William Conyngston.

1472, John Cannock, on an exchange for Walpole vicarage.

1489, Robert Bronde.

Sir Adam Outlawe of West Lenn, St. Peter's, priest, by his will, dated 1501, bequeath's "to Mr. Thomas Tyard, after my decease, my chantrey, with all my lands, and tenements thereto belonging, if he pleases to have it, and if not, I bequeath to him a tenement and 2 ferry-rights, one at Cowgate, the other at Purflete, during life, and after his decease to remain to the chantry of our Lady, in the church of St. Peter; the priest of it to pray for the good state of the aldermen, brethren, and sistern, lyvying, and for the souls of the same, viz, Thomas of Acre, and Muriel his wife, for the benefactors of the same, viz. Robert Malle, and Agnes his wyfe, and of my soul, my fader, &c. the second Sunday of Lent."—He also bequeaths to the parish clerk for the time being, 3 acres of land in North Lenn, and a tenement, so that he do ring in pele, on the vigil of the aforesaid yereday. (fn. 4)

The chantry was dedicated to St. Mary, St. Peter and St. Paul, and he was here buried in the church, before the image of our Lady, in her chapel; the tenement he also gave to the Bell town of this town, for the time being, called Bunchesham, at Cowgate, and an acre of land called Vestyll's acre, that he, on the vigil of his yere day, pray for the souls of Thomas of Acre, and Muriel, his wife, his soul, and the souls of his benefactors, with his bell going about the town, the evidences to remain in a black chest in the church, with 3 locks.

Thomas of Acre and Muriel his wife, were the founders of this chantry, and he died, as it seems, patron of it, and left the patronage in the gift of the parishioners; the rector or curate not to be feoffees of it, and was himself chantry priest of it.

Sir Will. Hodge of West Lenn, chantry priest of this chantry, by his will, in 1510, was buried at the east end of our Lady's chapel, in this church, and gives to Agnes Hode his sister, all the houses which he bought of Robert Outlaw, with the garden, for her life; and after her decease, gives them to this chantry, on this condition, that they shall set him in the book with their benefactors, if the King's laws will suffer it, else to be sold by his or their executors. (fn. 5)

1510, John Burdalle instituted rector.

1530, Christopher Brandon, the last that was presented by the prior. In the 29th of Henry VIII. Robert, prior, and the convent, granted the patronage to that King, and in the said year, or 31, the King granted it, December 22d, to Thomas Duke of Norfolk.

On July 23, ao. 3d of Edward VI. this chantry of our Lady, &c. abovementioned, surrendered to that King, with all its lands, tene ments, &c. and granted then to Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, knight, of Hunstanton. Richard Ladstock was the last incumbent of it, and had a pension paid him of 6l. per ann. on its dissolution, which he enjoyed in 1553, and in 1554, was instituted rector of this church, on the presentation of Thomas Duke of Norfolk.

1558, Henry Symonds, presented by the Duke. Richard Gatefeld, rector.

1593, Alexander Roberts, S.T.B. by William Dix, the Duke's assignee.

1620, Robert Henson, by Sir Henry Montague, Knt. and the Lady Margaret his wife.

1663, Henry Colman, by Hugh Lord Colrain.

1664, Richard Tayler, by Hugh Lord Colrayn.

1695, Henry Whall, by Charles Turner, Esq. Thomas Whall, &c.

1762,—Smith, by the lord chancellor, on the death of Thomas Colburn.

The temporalities of Shouldham priory in a saltwork, &c. were 17s.6d.

Those of Westacre priory, 5s.—Of West Derham abbey, 18s. 11d. ob.

—Of Pentney priory, 3s.—Of Castleacre, 49s.


  • 1. Invasio Hermeri de Ferraijs—In Lena ten. Hermerus lib. ho's quos ht. suus antec. com'doe tantu' de xxv acr. et i salin.
  • 2. Reg. Castleac. fol. 14.
  • 3. Ledger Book of Lewes Priory.
  • 4. Reg. Popy, Norw.
  • 5. Reg. Spyltimer Norw. fol. 338.