Freebridge Hundred: South Wotton

Pages 196-201

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


At the time of the survey, it appears that this town, and that of North Wooton was but one lordship and one town, called Wdetuna. In the time of King Edward, Godwin, (fn. 1) a freeman, was lord; at the survey the King, and Godric took care of it for him. In Godwin's time there were 2 carucates in demean, afterwards one, then 24 villains, afterwards 15, who held half a carucate, and 2 socmen, with 25 acres of meadow, then 20 saltpits, afterwards 14; 22 socmen also belonged to it, who held 12 acres of land and half a carucate; when he entered on it; there was one runcus, or a beast of burden, one cow, 10 swine, and 120 sheep, the same continued; it was then valued at 4l. per ann. at the survey at 9l. and paid 20s. fine or income: the whole was half a leuca long and broad, whoever may possess it, and pays 12d. gelt. (fn. 2)

From the Crown it came into the family of De Albaney, or Albini, Earls of Sussex, &c. (fn. 3) given by King William II. to William de Albini, the King's butler, &c. for his good services; and on the division of the estate of that family, on the death of the last Earl, Hugh, in the 27th of Henry III. became vested in Roger Lord de Monte-Alto, or Montalt, by his marriage with Cecily, fourth sister and coheir to that Earl, as may be seen in Rysing.

Under the Lords Montalt, it was held by the family of Bulmer. John de Bulmer was found to hold it by the service of two knights fees and an half in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. (fn. 4)

It appears by a pleading that John de Gourney, who was against King Henry III. in the barons wars, and in the battles of Lewes and Evesham, had the manor of South Wooton, which he demised for 12 years to Steph. de Balesham, and that John de Bulmer, of—, seized it into the King's hands; on this the court of the King's Bench command the sheriff to summon a jury in his court, to enquire into the truth of the matter, and to return the inquisition into the King's Bench, Roger de Bulmer being bail for John; but it appears to have continued in the same family, Richard de Bulmer, son of Sir John, being lord, and giving land here to John de Warren, by deed sans date, sealed with a bull passant: there was also a family of this name in Yorkshire, who were parliamentary barons, and bore gules, billette, a lion rampant, or.

John de Bulmer, grandfather of Richard, had a grant of free warren in his manor of Bulmer and Welburn, in Yorkshire, April 12, in the 35th of Henry III. and was lord of Wherlton, or Wilton, in Cleveland, in Yorkshire. In the 21st of that King, a fine was sued between him and Richard de Percy, of a moiety of that manor, conveyed then to him; and Sir John, father of Richard, was also lord of Lasingby and West Cotham, in the said county.

This John gave, for his own soul, and that of Theophania his wife, (fn. 5) for that of John, his father, (fn. 6) and Alice, (fn. 7) his mother, 2 combs of salt out of his new salt works here, to the priory of Walsingham: also to Richard his eldest son, and Clementia his wife, daughter of Sir Gervase de Clifton, the manor of South Wotton in tail;—witnesses, Robert de Tateshale, William Bardolf, William Rusteyn, Ralph Byroun, Ralph Filz William, Marmaduc de Tweng, William de Roseles, and Robert Guer, knights, sans date. Theophania styles herself, late wife of John de Bulmer, in the 21st of Edward I. (fn. 8) when she released to John de Warren, of South Wotton, and Robert his son, all her dower there, dated at York; witnessess, Sir William—, Sir Henry Fitzhugh, Thomas le Latimer, Roger de Bulmer, John Howard, Edmund de Gayton, &c. Clementia, wife to Richard, survived him, and by her deed in the 25th of Edward I. gives to Thomas, of South Wotton, and Emma his wife, and Richard, their son, lands here, and in North Wotton.

In the 30th of Edward I. there was a contest between her, then the wife of Hugh de Massingham, and the Lord Robert Montalt, of whom this lordship was held; and she gave 15l. relief, due on the death of her husband, Richard de Bulmer; witness, Sir Robert de Bilney, Knt.

Thomas, son of Richard, of South Wotton, and Emma his wife, gave to Richard their son, 100s. rent of the tenants, formerly of Richard de Bulmer, in South and North Wotton;—witnesses, Sir John de Gylham, Sir James de Belvaco, Knt. John le Botiler, Henry de Wyken, Ralph de Hawyrdyn, and John de Congham, sans date.

In the 31st of Edward I. Robert Lord Montalt sold to John de Warren of this town, the custody, or guardianship of Alice, daughter and heiress of Richard de Bulmere, and Clementia his wife, for 60l. Montalt sealed with two seals hanging from a tree, in two escotheons, the first (as it is said) charged with an orle, the 2d with a lion rampant, the arms of Montalt, who bore azure, a lion rampant, argent.

This Alice, heiress of Bulmer, was afterwards married to Geffrey de Warren, son of John de Warren.

In the 28th of Edward I. Hugh de Massingham and Clementia his wife brought their action against Ralph de Bulmer, son of John, and brother of Richard, for her thirds in the manors of Wherlton, in Cleveland, Thornton, by Rustbergh, Lasingby, East and West Cotham, Bulmer and Welbington, in which she had her dower, by the will and assent of John aforesaid, father of Richard. (fn. 9)

This family of Bulmer was decended from Bertram de Bulmer, who, with the assent of Aschetil his son, gave to the monks of Riveaux, in Yorkshire, a carucate of land in Welleburn, in that county, in pure alms, which Aschetil, son of Gospatric, held of him;— witnesses, William de Staingrist, Drogo de Harun, Robert de Sproxton, Peter de Welmund, &c.

The pedigree, in some measure, after this, appears from a pleading at York assizes in the 21st of Edward I. before Hugh de Cressingham, &c. (fn. 10) (fn. 11)

Bulmer's Pedigree.

In the 9th of Edward II. Geffrey de Warren was lord, and Sir John Howard also of this town, of which Sir John I shall presently treat: and the said Geffery occurs lord in the 16th of Edward III. and Emme de Warren held 3 fees here, &c. Ao. 2d of Richard II.

But in the third year of Henry IV. the heirs of Geffrey and their tenants, were found to hold a knight's fee here, of the Duke of York, of his castle of Rysing; and in the 16th of Henry VI. Thomas Phelip, and Elizabeth his wife, conveyed by fine to Thomas Staunton, a moiety of this manor, from the heirs of Elizabeth, that is what land, &c. was in this town, and from this it seems to be divided; see North Wotton.

In the 7th year of Henry VIII. Sir William Capel, Knt. lord mayor of London in 1503, died seized of this lordship, held of the castle of Rysing; and by his last will and testament, gives this and all other his manors in Norfolk, for life, to Margaret his wife, remainder to his son and heir, Sir Gyles, &c.

In the 44th of Queen Elizabeth, it was held by Thomas Wynde, Gent of Arthur Capel, Esq. this Thomas had considerable possessions here in his own right; 109 acres held in fee, or capite; certain lands, called the abbot of Windham's: divers lands late Salter's called Kingston's; certain closes, a tenement and lands, called Guybon's, all in this town; the lordship of Geywoode, late Boson's, &c. and in the 39th of Elizabeth had a grant of the hundred, &c. of Frebridge; he had a daughter Margaret, married to Henry Cromwell, Esq. of Upwood, in Huntingdonshire, second son of Sir Henry Cromwell, brother to Sir Oliver Cromwell, of Hinchingbrook; his son, Sir Robert Wynde, married Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Jermyn, fifth son of Sir Ambrose Jermyn of Rushbroke in Suffolk, was heir to his father's lands, and had also lands in Ashill, and South Pickenham, in Norfolk, late Thomas Bradbury's, Gent. Alpes Course in Swaffham Market, &c. and Henry was his son and heir; but Sir Robert sold his lands to the Earl of Northampton in 3d of Charles I.

The last of this family was the late William Winde, Esq. who for many years attended on the Princess Sophia, mother to King George I. and on her death, came into England, and was a commissioner of the salt duties.

About the year 1700, it was possessed by Mr. Harriot, goldsmith, in Fleet-street, London, and afterwards by his son, Dr. Harriot, L.L D. and in 1762, the widow Heriot possessed it.

Howard's Manor.

Richard de Bulmer and Clementia his wife enfeoft Sir John Howard and the lady Joan his wife in certain rents here, and in the 9th of Edward II. Sir John was found, and Geffrey de Warren, to be lords of this town; and in the 15th of Edward III. Sir John, on his death, was found to hold of Geffrey aforesaid, by the seryice of 36s. and 9d. per ann. a messuage and one carucate of land.

In the 15th of Edward III. (fn. 12) Geff. de Warren and Alice his wife, sued Lady Joan, late wife of Sir John Howard, &c. for 18 acres of land and an half, and the rent of 8 quarters of salt and an half here; and in the following year the said lady and her son John complained that they were disseised by the aforesaid Geff. &c. of a manor which Richard de Bulmer gave to her, &c. with the rent of 4l. per ann. issuing out of certain lands and free tenants here.

Sir Robert Howard and Margaret his wife settled this manor, with that of Wigenhale, &c. in the 3d of Richard II. for certain uses; (fn. 13) and in the 20th of the said King, Sir John Howard confirmed it to Margaret, late wife of Sir Robert to Sir Simon Felbrigg, Robert de Felbrigg, Simon Barret, Michael de Beverley, clerk, and Robert Aylward; witnesses, Laurence Trussbut, Thomas Kervyle, Thomas Howard, &c. dated at East Winch on the Nativity of the blessed Virgin.

In the 34th of Henry VIII. William Overend and Catherine his wife, conveyed to Humphry Jurdon 4 messuages, with land and liberty of a fold in this town and Gaywode, by fine, and the said Humphry and Alice his wife in the following year passed it to John Waller.

The tenths of the town were 3l. 13s.—Deducted 10s.

The prior of Windham was taxed for his temporalities at 24s. 11d. the prior of Pentney for his, in rent and salt, at 6s. 8d.

The Church is dedicated to St. Mary; the ancient valor was 8 marks and an half, Peter-pence 7d.—The present valor is 8l. 6s. 8d. and is a rectory, in the presentation of the lord of Rysing, chief lord of the town.


1349, William Mundele, instituted, presented by Isabel Queen of England.

1349, Thomas Rouse. Ditto.

1354, John de Ferrers. Ditto.

1358, Thomas de Toucestre. Ditto.

1360, Thomas de Walrond, by Edward Prince of Wales.

1361, John de Hundeswell.

John Symonds, rector.

1375, William Patryk. Ditto.

1375, Roger Clerk. Ditto.

1379, William de Brokhampton, by John Duke of Britain.

1389, Thomas Walrond, by the attorney-general of John, &c.

1404, John Buxton, by Henry Prince of Wales.

Henry Kydson, occurs rector in 1581.

Richard Gedding compounded for first fruits in 1613.

John Prior compounded in 1621.

John Thome occurs rector 1707, died in 1725.

1725, John Green, rector, by the King.

1743, John Dowsing. Ditto.

The rector here has the probate of wills, as in Rysing.

In this church was the chapel of St. Ann, and that of St. Mary, in the south part of the church.

The Earl of Suffolk is the present patron.


  • 1. This was Godwin the great Earl of Kent, in King Edward's reign, father King Harold, who with Gert his brother, &c. are in Domesday Book called freemen.
  • 2. Terr. Regis qua' Godricus servat. H. et Dim. de Frederbruge. Wdetuna ten. Godwin. lib. ho. T.R.E. tc. ii car. in dnio, p' et mo. i tnc. xxiiii vill. p. et mo. xv semp. dim. car. et ii soc. xxv ac. pti. tnc. xx sal. p' et mo. xiiii hic jacent xxii soc. ac. xii tre. dim. car. qu. recep. i r. et un. vac. et x porc. et cxx ov. mo. simil tnc. val. iiii lib. p' et mo. ix lib. et xx sol. de gersuma. Tota ht. dim. leug. in long. et in lat. quicu'q; ibi teneat, et reddit xii sol. de gelto.
  • 3. See in Rising.
  • 4. Plita cor. Reg. Term. Michael. Ao. 49 Hen. III. Rot. 13.
  • 5. Theophania was one of the heiresses of Hugo de Morewyk.—Esch. 27 Ed. I.
  • 6. Regist. Walsing. fol. 120.
  • 7. Alice was daughter of William FitzRalph, and had with her 19 bovates, and one carucate of land in Yorkshire.
  • 8. Ex chartis huius manerij.
  • 9. Term. Trin. Rot. 24.
  • 10. Plita Die Sancte Trinitat. Ao. 21 Ed. I.
  • 11. This Ralph had issue male, and the family ended in Sir Richard Bulmer, Knt. who dyed the 9th of October, in the 5th and 6th of Philip and Mary.
  • 12. Plita Term. Mich.
  • 13. Fin. Div. Com. L. 1. N. 22.