Freebridge Hundred: Custhorp

Pages 164-166

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.

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Was a village in the Saxon age, and at the survey called Culestorpa, and Sculatorpa, as seated on a shoal or shallow water; it stood on the south side of the river Nar, directly opposite to Westacre, but was in South Greenhow hundred; the Lord Tony being lord of it at the survey, and so being as a beruite to Westacre; I have here accounted for it: 3 socmen held one carucate, but the King had the soc and sac of them; and a borderer had a carucate. (fn. 1)

This was most likely given by the Lord Tony to his priory on the foundation of it, and at the dissolution was granted to the Duchess of Richmond, and so came to Edward Spilman, Esq. the late lord, and to Richard Hamond, Esq.

On this part the convent, as I take it, built a large chapel now in ruins called Becket's chapel, dedicated to that Archbishop, where, on July 7, was an annual fair; at the north-east point of this chapel was an house or cell, wherein a custos and a monk or two dwelt, and performed service; by this, not only pilgrims used to pass to the Lady of Walsingham, but many also came on purpose to pay their devotion here, where likely there might be some particular relict of that Archbishop.

In 1506, I find mention of a pilgrimage to St. Thomas of Westacre. (fn. 2) It was built chiefly of flint, was 60 feet long, and 30 broad, and was inclosed as a cemetery with a wall of flint.

John Spilman, Esq. in the 6th of Elizabeth, held closes called St. Thomas's, late Westacre priory's, in Narburgh.

In the 16th of Elizabeth, April 10, concealed rents and tithes at Thorp, in Westacre, were granted to Edward Dyer and H. Cressiner, in fee farm, belonging lately to Letheringham priory in Suffolk.— Wiken, and Stowborow, were, no doubt, places adjoining.

Alan Earl of Richmond's lordship of Narford extended herein, being 15 acres, and paid 20d. per ann. (fn. 3)

The vyew of the account of Richard Layton, Doctor of the Lawes, and Archdeacon of Buckingham, Robert Sowthwell, attorney for the augmentations of your grace's most noble crowne, and Sir Thomas le Straunge, knight commissioners by your higness assigned for the viewing, valewing and selling of all the jewelles, plate, belles, lead, goods, and chattels, apperteyning to the late monastery of Westacre, in the countie of Norfolk, made and declared to Sir Edward North, knight, chancellor of the court of Augmentations of the revenues of the kinge's crowne, and others the counsail of the sayd court, upon dyverse perticuler bookes thereof, to them shewed and delyvered the xiiiith day of November, in the xxxvith yere of the reigne of our soveraigne Lord King Henry the Eighth.

Juels and plate.— One lyttle crosse plated with sylver, two challesses one lyttle salt with the cover, parcell gilt, and xi sylver spoones, all valewed by indifferent persones, at vil. xvs. iiiid. and sold by the said commissioners, to Richard Sturges, for viiil. xvs.
Belles VI. Weying my. dccclb. 1 quarter, every hundreth valewed at xxis. amounten to the some of lxil. iiis. vid.
Lead in sowes, ccccxl.— Weying cxxxvi ffooders and a half, every ffooder valewed at iiiil. amouten to clxvil.
Ornaments of the church of the monastery. —Vieved and prysed by indifferent p'sones byn solde by the sayd commissioners, for xxxil. vid.
Goodes, cattalle and other moveables. —Vieved and prysed by indifferent p'sones at ccxll. xviis. iiid. and sold by the sayd commissioners nere for the same, and xxiil over in gayn, which in the hoole amounteth to the some of ccxxxiiil. xviis. 3d.
Iron, glasse, stone, and diverse old buildings. —Sold by the sayd commissioners to dyverse and sondrye p'sones, as by a perticular booke of the same, may appeare, for lxviil. 11s. vid.
Thomas Wingfeld, as by his reconings appereth clxviiil.
Debts owing to the sayde late monastery. —The same Thomas for xl shepe to him delivered by the late prior at xvid. the pece, liiis. iiiid.
William Alyson of Cambridge, goldsmith, for plate to him sold over and besides xvl. to him remitted by the late prior. xiiiil.
William Calybutte, for six ewers to him sold by the sayd late pryor, to be paid at Midsomer, next xl.
Redye Money receyved. —Of the aforesyd Thomas Wingffeld, as by his sayd reconing appereth clxl.
—Of Sir Thomas le Straunge, knight, as by his reconing appereth, viil. xvs. vid.
—Of dyverse tenants for the arreragies of their rents and fermes due at Mighelmas and Christmas last viiil. xvs.
Paid to Dyverse p'sones for sundrie somes of moneye to them due by the late prior, for wagies and debts, as by a book of the particulers of the same doth appere,—lvl. xixs. viid. ob.—Dyverse other persons for taking downe of the belles and wayeng of the same, plucking downe of the leade, melting and weying of the same, and defasyng, and pulling downe of the church dortre and other howses, as by the boke appereth,—xxiiil. xiiis.—The commissioners for their costes and expenses ryding from London to the sayd late monastery, and there being with dyverse with them for the suppressing, dissolving, and defasyng of the same by five weekes, and for their costes and expences in returning to London, agayn, xxviiil. xiiiis. viid.
And so remayneth in —Belles unsold remayning there in the hands of Richard Sturges, fermour to the King's majestie's use lxil. iiis. viid.
Lead unsold, likewyse remayning in the hands of the sayd Richard Sturges, to his higness use, dcxlvil.
—Ornaments of the church delivered by the sayd commissioners to the majest. owne hands, at Whitehall in London, amounting to the some of ixl.
Debt owing to the late monastery as afore appereth, xiiiil. xiiis. iiiid.
—Monye owing for part of the goodes, catalles, and other moveables solde as a specialtie with the sayd commyssioners remayning appereth cxxl.
—Redye monye in the handes of the said Rd. Layton, cclxxixl. xiiis. xid.

Master William de Westacre, chancellor to the Bishop of Norwich, gave by will, in 1418, to St. John's altar in this priory church, his missal, his best cup, and gilt osculatory, with a silver cruet, &c. for his chaplain to celebrate there for him; and to the high altar his two best silver dishes; and to the repair of St. Nicholas's chapel there, 20s. to the repair of St. Thomas a Becket's chapel in Westacre field, 20s.


  • 1. T'ra. Radulfi de Toenio—H. de Grenehou—In Culestorpa—iii soc de quib; tenebat rex socha' et sacha' et [...] bor.
  • 2. Regis. Rix. Norw. p. 373.
  • 3. Terra Alani Comitis—H. de Grenehou—In Sculatorpa xc. ac. et reddit xxd.