Freebridge Hundred: Middleton

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.


Francis Blomefield, 'Freebridge Hundred: Middleton', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808), pp. 20-34. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Freebridge Hundred: Middleton", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808) 20-34. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Freebridge Hundred: Middleton", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808). 20-34. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section


So called, as lying on a hill, surrounded with low grounds, marshes' and water, Mid-Le-Ton. Hugh de Montfort obtained it at the conquest, and Aeled held it of him, Bundo, a Saxon Thane, being deprived of it, who had 2 carucates of land, 12 villains, 17 borderers, 4 servi, &c. with 32 acres of meadow, and 2 carucates in demean; there were also 3 carucates among the tenants, a mill, a fishery, and 10 salt-works, then valued in all at 100s. at the survey at 6l. per ann. and 2 socmen belonged to it who had 84 acres, and a carucate, who held under him, valued at 5s. and they could sell their land. (fn. 1)


In the reign of Henry II. Roger de Scales was lord of this manor, descended from Hardewin or Harlewin de Scalariis, lord of Waddon in Cambridgeshire, at the conquest: this Roger and Muriel his wife, founded the nunnery of Blackburgh, and she seems to have brought this lordship with many others, held of Hugh de Montfort, into this family, being (as I conceive) a daughter and coheir of Jeffrey de Lisewis, as her sister and coheir, Maud, did to the Ingaldesthorps, as may be seen at large in Reynham, Robert de Scales, his son, gave to the abbey of Bury, in Suffolk, by fine levied in the 9th of Richard I. the advowson of the church of Wetherden in that county; of this family was William de Scales, impleaded by Fulco Baynard for the wardship of the son and heir of Roger de Kerdeston.

Roger de Scales, son and heir of Robert, gave 59l. for scutage in the 13th of King John, and in the 3d of Henry III. a fine was levied between Maud, wife of William de Beauchamp, late wife of Roger de Scales, and Robert, son of the said Roger, of the 3d part of 2 carucates of land in this town, 40s. rent in Wirdlington, with 2 marks rent in Wetherden, in Suffolk, claimed as dower; this Robert married Margery, 3d daughter and coheir of Fulk de Beaufoe, lord of Hockwold, and in the 19th of that King, was found to hold half a fee in this town, of the honour of Hagenet, or Haughley in Suffolk, and was summoned to parliament by the title of Lord Scales.

Robert, his son and heir, paid 21l. 5s. relief for the lands that he held in capite, in 34th of the said King, and died about the 51st of Henry III. in which year Sir William de Clifford, eschaetor on this side of Trent, accounted for 31l. 8s. 4d. issues of the lands of Robert de Scales in this town and Reynham in Norfolk, and Wridlington in Suffolk, for the use of John de Britannia; and in the next year Robert, son of Robert de Scales, by Alice his wife, was found to be the King's ward, and held lands valued at 60l. per arm. the lady Alice, his mother, was daughter of Sir Ralph de Rochester, lord of Newcels in Berkway, Hertfordshire, sister and heir to Sir William and Sir Peter de Rochester: in the aforesaid year the said lady impleaded John de Caston, the Earl of Gloucester's bailiff, for robbing her at Newcels, she living there in the King's peace, and taking neither side (that is in the barons' war with the King) nor did she ever oppose the Earl of Gloucester, or his friends.

On Sunday after the feast of the Invention of the Holy cross, in the 54th of said reign, an agreement was made between the lady Alice, widow of Robert de Scales, and Roger, son of Robert de Scales, whereby she grants to Roger, the lordship of Newcels, to be held of Robert, son of Robert de Scales, and his heirs, paying yearly to her for life 10l. witnesses, Sir James de Audeley, — de Monteforti, Ralph Fitz Ralph de Wyrham, Kts. Robert Burnel de Middelton, &c.; this Roger was a younger son of Alice, and brother of Robert; she was a considerable heiress, and brought into this family, the manor of Newcells, and one at Reevehale (Rivinghale) in Essex.

She was living in the 3d of Edward I. and recovered damage, for her swans being taken out of her lordships of Hockwold and Wilton; in which year her eldest son, Robert, was found to have held one knight's fee in this town, and died about this time. This Robert seems to have married Clementia; and about the 4th of the said King, I find Sir Robert de Vaux to have married Clementia, relict of Robert de Scales, whose marriage belonged to the King.

Robert de Scales, son of Robert, probably by Clementia, in the 9th of Edward I. sold to the prior of Norwich, a messuage and 140 acres of land in Gateley, Norfolk; and in the following year was summoned, with other barons, to attend him in an expedition into Wales; in his 17th year he recovered with Isabel his wife, from Bichard de Weyland of Framesden in Suffolk, and Joan his wife, lands in this town, Westwinch, Hardwick, South and West Lenne, with the homages and services of divers persons.

Isabel, his wife, was daughter of Sir — Burnell, Knt. and niece of Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, lord chancellor and treasurer of England, who in the 20th of Edward I. by his deed dated March 2, reciting that, whereas Rob. de Eschalers owed him 26l. for the goods, &c. he sold him on the manor of Newcells at the time he delivered seisin of the said manor, to Robert, the Bishop hereby releases to him the aforesaid sum, and to the lady Isabel his wife.

In the 22d of that King he had summons to be at Portsmouth, on September 1st to attend the King into Gascoign; and in the 25th of that King it appears that he held 10 knights fees, viz. two and an half in Berkway and Newcells in Hertfordshire, half a fee in Laufare in Essex, half a fee in Eneswell in Suffolk, one fee and an half in Rewenhale in Essex, three fees and an half in Middleton, Islington, How, and Rainham in Norfolk, and one in Wetherden in Suffolk, held in capite, and half a fee in Haselingfeld in Cambridgeshire.

In the following year he was summoned to be at Carlisle with horse and arms, in an expedition into Scotland; and in the 29th of that King, he subscribed, with other nobles, the letter to Pope Boniface, to assure him that the Kingdom of Scotland was not of his fee, and that he had no jurisdiction in temporal affairs over either England or Scotland.

In the 33d of Edward I. it appears by the escheat rolls that he died seized of this lordship, held by one fee and an half, and paying 45s, to the castle guard of Dover, and that there was belonging to it a capital messuage with a water mill, a windmill, 209 acres of land, 69 of meadow, 10 of pasture, 5 of wood, one of turbary, and 4l. per ann. rent.

His lady Isabel was a great benefactress to the priory of Blackburgh, where she was buried, and gave a silver chesible, with several vestments for the priests, with her arms thereon, and ornaments, &c. to lay over her sepulchre on the day of her anniversary.

I am sensible that this account of the family differs much from that of Sir William Dugdale in his Baronage, but as it is collected from ancient evidences mostly, I am persuaded it may be acceptable.

Robert Lord Scales, son of Robert and Isabel his wife, was in the 34th of Edward I. created Knight of the Bath, with Prince Edward, and in the 1st of Edward II. summoned to attend his coronation, to be solemnized after the feast of St. Valentine, by writ dated at Dover, January 8. The Lady Isabel his mother, in the 9th of that King, settled on her son Robert and Egelina his wife, on their marriage, the manors of Scales-How, and Islington; she was daughter of Sir Hugh Courtney, and sister of Hugh Courtney Earl of Devonshire. This Lord Robert died in the 18th of Edward II. leaving a son Robert; and on July 2, in the said year, Egelina his mother, paying 200 marks, had a grant of the custody of him, being then a minor; Isabel his grandmother was living at that time, and held part of the lordship of Haselingfeld in Cambridgeshire, in jointure.

In the 7th of Edward III. he had livery of his lands, and in the 9th of that King, William de Lilleford, rector of Revenhale in Essex, delivered seisin to him and Catherine his wife, daughter of Robert, sister and coheir of William de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, by deed dated on the feast of St. John Port Latin; he had the King's writ in his 16th year to provide 10 men at arms and 10 archers, to be sent into Britany for the honour of his King and Country; and if he would go himself with them, the King would be mightily pleased; and in the 31st of the said King he was summoned to come immediately at the siege of Calais, not staying for the embarkment of his horses, with all the power he could raise, the King fearing that the French King would come with all his power to raise the siege.

In the 30th of that reign he had letters of protection, being to accompany the Prince of Wales into Gascoign, and gave to the priory of Blackburgh, the church of Islington: on Monday before the assumption of our Lady, in the 43d of Edward III. he died, leaving Roger his son and heir aged 22; who in the 4th of Richard II. was seized by the Norfolk rebels, and in his 8th year was summoned, June 13, to meet the King at Newcastle on Tyne, with his whole service of horse and arms, as by allegiance bound, to attend him into Scotland; and in the ensuing year was with John Duke of Lancaster, in the Spanish expedition, and styled himself lord of Newcells.

His will is dated at Hykeling in Norfolk, March 6, 1385, and he bequeaths his body to be buried in the priory of Blackburgh, and died on Christmas-day, in the 10th of Richard II. and was found to hold this manor of the honour of Hagenet, leaving Robert his son and heir, aged 14, by Joan his wife, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Norwood. of Norwood in Kent, and of Norwood Bermingham in Norfolk, who after married Sir Edmund Thorp, of Ashwell-Thorp, in Norfolk, and dying in 1415, was buried there. She gave her manors of Stonhall, Aspal, in Suffolk, which came by her mother Catherine, daughter and coheir of Sir John de Aspal, and the manor of Witlesford, in Cambridgeshire, to her son Robert Lord Scales, remainder to the Lady Catherine Savage, her daughter, wife of Sir Arnold Savage, of Kent, and died his widow, s. p. in the 16th of Henry VI. remainder to her daughters, Joan and Isabel, by Sir Edmund; the said Lady Joan had also the lordship of Cowling in right of her mother Catherine.

This Robert Lord Scales, was one of the lords in parliament, who in the first year of Henry IV. voted for the safe custody of the late Richard II. and took to wife, Joan, daughter of William, and sister of Thomas Lord Bardolph; his 2d wife was Elizabeth, - - - - - - - - - who survived him, and remarried to Sir Henry de Percy, of Athol, Knt.; his will bears date May 12, Ao. 2 of Henry IV. and dying on the eve of the conception of our Lady, was proved the 31st of October following in the 4th of that King. (fn. 2) He appointed Elizabeth, his wife, executrix, bequeaths his body to be buried in the priory of Blackburgh, to the prioress 13s. 4d. and to every nun therein 6s. 8d.

Robert, his son and heir, was aged 6 years at his death, some say by the Lady Joan, and some by Elizabeth: Ralph Earl of Westmoreland had the wardship of him; he died unmarried on July 1, in the 7th of Henry V. I take this to be that Lord Scales who is said by Holingshed, &c. to be killed with the Lord Darcy, and Sir Edmund de Thorp, at the siege of Lover's castle in Normandy, on the march of King Henry V. from Caen towards the city of Roan.

Thomas Lord Scales was aged 21, on the death of his brother Robert; and on the 1st of May, in the 9th of Henry V. was retained by indenture to serve that King in the wars of France, and to be at Dover on the 23d of that month, with 20 men at arms, 60 archers on horseback, to be paid a quarter's wages down, and after from month to month in English gold, or money currant in France, by the treasurer of war there; to have all prisoners, except kings, princes, kings' sons, and especially Charles, called Dauphin of Vienne, and other great captains of royal blood and chieftains and lieutenants under him, the said Charles; and except all those who had a hand in the murder of the Duke of Burgoyn.

In these wars he behaved gallantly, and was seneschall of Normandy, as appears from his seal in the 20th of Henry VI. with six escallops; his crest a plume of Ostrich's feathers, issuing out of a ducal coronet, circumscribed, S. Thomœ Dnj. Scalis et de Neucellis senescallj Normaniœ; without any supporters.

In the 3d of Henry VI. being then in France with the Duke of Bedford, the regent, he was elected Knight of the Garter at St. George's feast at Windsor. About 4 years after he was taken prisoner in France, and redeemed; he married Emme, daughter of Sir Simon Whalesburgh, probably of Whalesburgh in Cornwall, and in the 30th of the aforesaid King, with his wife, settled the manor of Wytlesford in Cambridgeshire, on Robert and Hugh Tilney, and their heirs male, and was in high favour with King Henry VI. and his Queen. On the arrival of the Earls of March, Warwick, and Salisbury, from Calais, and their entry into London on July 2, in the 38th of the said King, he took possession of, and secured the Tower of London, with other lords, for the King; but after the battle of Northampton, on the 9th of that month, wherein the King was taken, many in the Tower surrendering themselves, this lord endeavouring to make his escape, entered a wherry or boat, late in the evening, with 3 others, and rowing towards Westminster, (fn. 3) to take sanctuary, was descried by a woman, and the wherrymen falling upon him, killed him, and cast him on land, (as Stowe says (fn. 4) ) besides St. Mary Overies.

Hall relates that on King Henry's entering into London after the aforesaid battle, with the Earl of March, &c. on July 16, the Tower of London was delivered to the said Earl by composition, but the Lord Scales suspecting the sequel of the delivery, entered a wherry, privily intending to have fled to the Queen, but was espied by diverse watermen belonging to the Earl of Warwick, who waited for his forthcoming on the Thams, suddenly taken, and shortly slain with many darts and daggers, and his body left all blody and naked at the gate of the Clynke, which after was buried in the church adjoining, (that is, as I take it, in St. Mary Overey's) in Surry: he is said to have had a son, Thomas, who died before him, so that he left a daughter and sole heir, Elizabeth, then married, as is said, to Sir Henry Bourchier, Knt. 2d son of Henry Bouchier Earl of Essex, aged 24.

I have seen some writings that say he was killed on July the 24th in the evening, being the vigil of St. James.

He left a son, Thomas Lord Scales, who died, as I take it, a minor, as appears from the will of Anthony Earl Rivers, who married his sister and heir.

On the 27th of May, in the 2d of King Edward IV. I find the said Elizabeth, to be the wife of Anthony Wodevile, son and heir of Richard Wodevile Earl Rivers, lord treasurer to that King, and father of Elizabeth his Queen; and in February following was summoned to parliament by the title of Lord Scales.

In the said year, he and Elizabeth his wife conveyed by fine to Simon Baxter, &c. in trust, this manor, that of Scales How, of Barton Bendish, Reynham, Hillington, Wilton, Walton, Islington, Hickling, &c. with the advowsons of Hillington, Islyngton, and Rydon, in Norfolk,; Rewenhale, and Shaldeford manors in Essex; Wyrlington and Aspale in Suffolk, with Newsels and Berkwey manors in Hertfordshire, all which were of her inheritance; and it appears that the said Anthony, then a knight, with his wife Elizabeth, presented to the church of Rewenhale aforesaid.

John Wodde, S. T. B. in 1461, who was instituted August 9, in the 5th of the said King, we find to be a Knight of the Garter; and in his 6th year, he encountered with great honour and gallantry, both on horseback and on foot, the Bastard of Burgoyne, (as may be seen in our historians (fn. 5) ) in West Smithfield, London.

In the 13th of the said King, the Lady Elizabeth, his wife, died without issue: September 2, in his 15th year, he styled himself Earl Rivers, Lord of Scales and Neucels, and sealed with a large broad seal, with 6 coats, quarterly; first, argent, a fess canton, gules, Wodevile; 2d, gules, six escallops, argent, Lord Scales; 3d, a lion rampant, - - -, (fn. 6) 4th, a sun in its glory; quere, if not Saint Clere? 5th is obscure, and seems to be per pale, indented; 6th, vairy, - - - - -, with an escutcheon of pretence, a griffin, segreant, probably in allusion to the family of De Ripariis, or Rivers, Earl of Devonshire; the crest an old man with a prolix beard, in his right hand a broad sword, held over his shoulder, with an open-sleeve gown, tasselled; supporters, a triton, half man in armour, and half fish, holding a broad sword erect, and a wolf gorged and chained, the helmet on his crest, as a baron; on the left side his name, signed by him as here, Rivieres.

His 2d wife was Mary, sole daughter and heir of Sir Henry FitzLewes of Thorndon in Essex, whom he survived, and was to have married a third, Margaret, sister to James III. King of Scotland.

In the 22d of Edward IV. John Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Edward Wodevile his brother, were sent ambassadours to Scotland to concluded it, but it was broke off by that King's death, on April 9, 1483, he being seized and arrested by the Duke of Gloucester at Northampton, about the end of the said month, coming to London with the young King Edward V. of whom he had the governance, and forthwith committed to the castle of Sheriff-Hutton, in Yorkshire, where he made his last will, on June 23d following, the day before the cruel murder of the young King and his brother, in the Tower of London, as Dugdale relates, which was to this purpose, as follows;

"I, Anthony Wodevile, in the castle of Sheriff Hutton, bequeath all my lands that were my father's, to my brother Sir Edward Wodevile, and his heirs male, my heart to be buried (if I die south of Trent) before our lady of Pewe, beside St. Stephen's college at Westminster, also the lands that were my first wife's the Lady Scales, and Thomas Lord Scales's, her brother, to my brother Sir Edward, and his heirs male; but he to whom it should come, before he took possession thereof, to deduct 500 marks to be imployed for the souls of the said lady and her brother, and the souls of all the Scales's blood, &c. and to find a priest for one year to pray for them, his own soul, and all Christian souls, at our lady of Pewe; and another priest to sing at the chapel of the Rodes, in Greenwich, for his own soul, and all christian souls." (fn. 7)

He wills the manor of Tirington hall, in this town, the hundred of Frebridge, the manor of Wolverton and advowson, in Norfolk, with the manor of Rokeys in Berkey, in Hertfordshire, to be sold, to make an hospital at Rochester, for 13 poor folk.

Directs his apparel for his body to be sold, with his horse-harness, &c. and with the money thereof, shirts and smocks to be bought for poor folks.

Appoints the Lady Willoughby, late wife of Sir Jervace Clifton, William Tunstall, Robert Poynts, Richard Hawte, William Catesby, Andrew Dimock, overseers of his will; but it does not appear that it was proved.

Soon after the date of this will, he was carried to Pomfret castle in Yorkshire, and was there brought on a scaffold by Sir Richard Ratcliff, (one of the Duke of Gloucester's chief confidents,) and not suffered to speak any thing in vindication of himself, Sir Richard telling the people he was a traitor.

I find this Sir Edward his brother, in his last will, dated February 20, 1490, and proved March 23d in the said year, to style himself Earl Rivers, and gives his body to be buried in the abbey of St. James at Northampton.

He left no children by his 2 wives, but by a beloved mistress, called Gwentlian, only daughter of Sir William Stradling, 3d son of Sir William Stradling of Glamorganshire, in Wales, and Isabel, his wife, he had a daughter Margaret, who married Sir Robert Poynts, of ActonIron in Gloucestershire.

Hall says he was beheaded at Pomfret, with the Lord Richard Grey, (the Queen's son, by her first husband,) Sir Thomas Vaughan, and Sir Richard Haute, (the same day the Lord Hastings was beheaded in the Tower) and their bodies were buried naked in the monastery there.

Dugdale says, that in the 2d of Richard III. John Duke of Norfolk had a grant of this lordship, and soon after (on the death of Richard) was forfeited, (fn. 8) this grant was dated February 1, ao. 2 Richard III.

On the accession of King Henry VII. Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir John Howard, wife of John de Vere Earl of Oxford, was found one of the heirs of Elizabeth, late Lady Scales, abovementioned, as great grand-daughter of Margaret Scales, daughter of Robert Lord Scales, wife of Sir Robert Howard, and sister of Roger Lord Scales. The other heir was Sir William Tyndal, knighted on the creation of Arthur Prince of Wales, descended from Elizabeth Scales, sister of the aforesaid Margaret, which Elizabeth married Sir Roger Felbrigg, and had Sir Simon Felbrigg, whose daughter and heir, Alana, married Sir William Tyndal, grandfather to Sir William abovementioned.

On a division of the Scales's estate, this township was assigned to the family of the Earls of Oxford; and John de Vere Earl of Oxford, son of the abovementioned Elizabeth, was lord of this manor, and dying without issue, it descended to his nephew, John de Vere Earl of Oxford, son of his brother, Sir George de Vere; and on the death of the said John, his estate was divided amongst his three sisters and coheirs.

Dorothy, who married John Nevill Lord Latimer, and Elizabeth, who married Sir Anthony Wingfeld of Letheringham in Suffolk, Knt. of the Garter, vice-chamberlain, &c. to King Henry VIII. had each a moiety of this lordship.

John Lord Latimer, son of John Lord Latimer, by Dorothy, had livery of his part or moiety, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth, who dying in 1577, his estate was divided amongst his 4 daughters and coheirs; and his right in this town came to Sir Thomas Cecil, afterwards Earl of Exeter, by the marriage of Dorothy, one of the said 4 daughters and coheirs, who purchased also the Wingfeld part or moiety, and sold the whole to Sir Thomas Holland, by a license for so doing, (it being held in capite,) on January 1, 19 James I.

In 1635, Sir John Heveningham is said to be lord.

In 1649, Sir William Paston, Bart. was lord, and paid castleward to Dover castle, for the manor of Middleton.

Richard Berney, Esq. died lord in 1699, and this manor was ordered by a decree in Chancery, to be sold (1709) to pay his debts, being mortgaged by him to Mrs. Martell.

Isaac le Heup, Esq. was lord, and on his death it came to his two daughters and coheirs, by his wife,—, daughter and coheir of Peter Lombard, Esq. Queen Ann's tailor.

Mary, one of them, married Sir Edward Williams, Bart. of Wales; the other, Elizabeth, to Lloyd, Esq. of Epping in Essex.

Sir Edward was lord of this manor in her right, and sold it to ViceAdmiral Savage Mostyn, Esq. and dying in 1757, left it to Sir Roger Mostyn, Bart. his nephew, who now enjoys it.

At the survey, Alan Earl of Richmond had a lordship, which Ralph the Earl of Norfolk had, and Ribald possessed it under Alan: it consisted of two carucates of land, 3 villains, one acre of meadow, and 3 borderers, with 2 carucates, 18 acres of meadow, and a fishery valued at 20s. (fn. 9)

In the reign of Henry III. John de Longeville and his tenants, held here and in Hardwick, half a fee of the honour of Richmond; and in the 8th of Edward I. Hugh Verly died seized of land held of the said honour.

In the 30th of the said King, a fine was levied between John de Longvile and Margaret his wife, querents, and Nicholas de Wortley, deforcients, of this fee, and of the manor of Overton Longvile, in Huntingdonshire, the moiety of the manor of Coln in Bedfordshire, &c. granted to John, probably on his marriage settlement: but in the 20th of Edward III. Margery de Saltmarch held this half fee; and in the 35th of Henry VI. George Lord Latimer held it of Edmund Earl of Richmond, which is the last account I find of it.

Bury-Abbey Manor.

This abbot had also a small lordship. Richard held at the survey, of the abbot, a carucate which the abbey was possessed of in the Confessor's time, to which there belonged 3 villains, 2 borderers, and one servus, a carucate in demean, 20 acres of meadow, 2 salt-pits, &c. and a socman with 5 acres, valued at 20s. (fn. 10)

It appears that John de Hastings held lands here in Edward the First's time, belonging to the manor of Gissing, in Norfolk, for which he paid castle-guard to Bury abbey. (fn. 11)

In an extent of the lands of the said manor, made in the 2d of Edward III. John Wood of Middleton was found to hold these lands, by the service of half a fee, of the said manor, and 23d. per ann. castleguard; and in the evidences of Sir Rob. Kemp, of the manor of Gissing, by an indenture, dated in the 2d of Richard II. between Thomas Gardiner of Gissing, and John de Middleton, it appears that John bought these lands of John, son of William At the Wood, of Middleton, to be held of Gissing manor, by the 3d part of a fee, and 23d. ob. rent: and John Middleton held it in the 19th of the said King. In the 18th of Edward II. the heir of Hugh de Hastings, held of John de Hastings Lord Abergavenny, the same lands; and in the 23d of Edward III. Roger le Strange held the 3d part of the manor and advowson of Middleton, with the reversion of 2 parts, after the death of Maud, widow of Roger his father; and before this, in the 20th of the said King, John Attewood was found to hold the 3d part of a fee here, of Ralph de Hastings, of the fee of St. Edmund, which John, son of Walter Attewalter, formerly held.

In the 40th of the said King, there was a precept to distrain Robert, vicar of the church of Midleton, for his homage for a tenement, and land purchased of the manor of Woodhouse in Midleton; and in the 15th of Richard II. Sir John le Strange, son of Roger, and Alice his wife, were found to hold the manor and advowson by knight's service.

Castle-Hall Manor.

Besides the manors abovementioned, William de Scohies had two lordships here, bestowed on him by the Conqueror; one of which was held as a manor by Turchill, in the Confessor's time, consisting of 2 carucates of land, with 4 villains, 6 borderers, and 4 servi, 30 acres of meadow, 2 carucates in demean, one amongst the tenants in the Confessor's time, afterwards half a one, a mill, a fishery, 8 salt-pits, valued at 5l. before the conquest, but after at 7l. per ann. (fn. 12)

Walter Giffard Earl of Bucks appears to be lord of a part of this town soon after the Conquest, and gave the tithes of 2 parts of his demeans, to the priory of Norwich, and Notley abbey, which was confirmed by William Turbus Bishop of Norwich, and came to the family of the Earls of Clare, (as it is said,) by his daughter and heir.

It is certain it came to the Earls of Clare, and continued not long with Scohies, and constitute the manor called Castlehall, in Midleton, which was held of the said Earls.

Thomas de Wramplingham was found, together with Maud de Rokeland, and Henry Carbonel, to hold here and in Rungton, &c. one fee of the Earl of Gloucester and Clare, in the reign of Henry III. and Thomas de Warblington held the same.

In the 9th of Edward II. John Warblington, son of Thomas Warblington, and Margaret his wife, died seized of Castle-Hall, and Thomas was his son and heir. Oliver de Boun and Margaret his wife, John de Briston, &c. held this fee in the 20th of Edward III.

After this it was in the family of Scales, and Roger Lord Scales died seized of it in the 10th of Richard II.

Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, let to Laurence Trussebut, Esq. William Lampet and John Ilketsale, the manors of Scales Hall, and Castle Hall, the manors of Reynham, Scales How, Islington, a water-mill called Erles mill, by Lynn, the 3d part of the manor of Haslynfeld, with all the appertenances late Joan, Lady Scales's, then in the hands of the said Ralph, on account of the minority of Robert, son of Rob. Lord Scales, from the time of the death of the said Joan, till Rob. son of Rob. came of age, paying yearly to the said Earl, in the church of St. Paul's, London, the sum of 100l. per ann. on the feasts of Easter, St. John Baptist, St. Michael, and the nativity of our Lord, by deed, dated May 10, in the 3d year of Henry V.

The other lordship of Scohies, consisted of 6 freemen, who held one carucate of land, valued at 24s. 8d. Stigand the Archbishop of Canterbury had the soc of two of these, and it was delivered to Rafrid for one carucate of land. (fn. 13)

It is probably this also was included and joined to the other lordship, and so both made up the lordship of Castle Hall.


When an aid was granted on the marriage of King Henry the Third's sister to the Emperor, 1233. Thomas, son of Godard, held the 3d part of a fee in Middleton, of the Lord Bardolf's manor of North Rungton, (as I take it,) extending into this town, and in the 38th of that King, William Lord Bardolf had a charter for free-warren here, &c. in the reign of Edward III. Sir John Howard was found to have the reversion of this manor, late William Tirrington's, held in soccage of the honour of Wrongey.

In the 14th of Henry IV. John Prentice was found to die seized of part of it; after this it was possessed by William Godered, Esq. made serjeant at law in 1425, one of the judges of the King's Bench in 1434, (from whom descended Guibon Goddard, Esq. serjeant at law in 1669, a worthy antiquary,) and this judge, a little before his death, sold this manor to Thomas Lord Scales, and so was united to Middleton-hall.

Catherine, his widow, by her will, proved August 8, 1464, (fn. 14) bequeaths her body to be buried in the south isle of the church of Midyltone, gives legacies to Thomas Shuldham, her brother, and his wife Margaret, and to John Shuldham and Isabel his wife, to Thomas Shuldham, junior, 5l. to Hugh Shuldham 20l. and to Edward Shuldham, 13l. 16s. 8d. to Thomas, son of Thomas Fincham, 20s. mentions her three husbands, viz. William Bawde, Ralph Medylton, and William Goodered; this Catherine was a daughter of - - - - - - - Shouldham of Marham, in Norfolk, where are to be seen her arms, that of Baud, &c. in the church.

William de Albiney Earl of Sussex had also half a fee in this town, and enfeoffed in the reign of Henry II. Hoel de Middleton therein, this afterwards came to the Scales's, and Robert de Scales and his tenants were found to hold it of Robert Lord Montalt, of his castle of Rising, in the time of Henry III. and of Edward I. with his wife Isabel, of the feofment of Richard Weyland and Joan his wife, by the fourth part of a fee. (fn. 15)

John de Somery, who married a sister and coheir of the last Earl of Arundel, gave this lordship to John L'Estrange and Alianore his wife, daughter of John Lord Somery, and it was in the family of L'Estrange in the reign of Edward II. and III.

In this town the Lords Scales had their seat, part of which is still remaining, the gate-house, or tower. It seems to have been the entrance into a court, or quadrangle, which was moated in; this tower is built of brick, about 18 yards in height, and with turrets, &c. about 17 yards long, and 9 in breadth; over the arch is the shield of Scales, and was probably built by Thomas Lord Scales, in the reign of Henry VI. and the inside of it is much decayed; the area, or court within, is about 84 paces long, and 46 broad.

In this town is also an high mount, grown over with bushes, which seems to have been some place of strength and moment in ancient days.

The tenths of this town were 7l. and deducted 2l. 10s.

The Church of Middleton is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is a regular pile, consisting of a nave, a north and south isle, with a chancel; the nave, north and south isles are covered with lead, and the chancel with reed, and has a square tower with one bell.

In the windows of the north isle these arms are on painted glass,— gules, six escallops, argent, Lord Scales;—quarterly, gules and or, in the 1st quarter a mullet, argent, Vere Earl of Oxford; and bendy of six pieces, argent and gules, a bordure sable, bezanty, or; argent, three bendlets gules, &c. Bodringham, as I take it.

In a window here was,—Orate p. aiab; === Blome et Emme uxor. ej. et benefactor. suor. vivor. et mortuor.

In the south isle windows, gules, three chevronels, argent,—Baud of Essex, one of the husbands of Catherine Goderede above mentioned, to be buried in this isle.—azure, three mascles, argent, - - - - - - impaling azure, an eagle displayed, or, beaked and membered, gules, Shouldham, and azure, three cinquefoils, argent, Fitton, impaling Shouldham.

On the pavement at the east end of this isle lies a marble gravestone, with the arms of Pierson, p. fess embattled, gules and azure, three suns, 2 and 1, or, (In memory of Tho. Pierson, Esq; &c. who died 17--,) impaling a chevron, ermin, between three cinquefoils, or roses.

Within the rails of the communion table, on the pavement, lies a marble gravestone,

In memory of Robert Barker, M. D. who died April 3, 1717, aged 53, with this shield, barry of eight, or and sable, over all a bend, gules; adjoining one,

In memory of Thomas Barker of Wickham Market, in Suffolk, Gent. who died May 19, 1703, aged 36.

A gravestone,

In memory of James Everard, A. M. vicar of this parish, who died May 29, 1722, aged 50.

The great east window of the chancel is ornamented with escallops: Weaver has the portraiture of Sir Robert Howard, who married Mar garet, daughter of Lord Scales, in a window of this church, but now demolished; probably the builder of this church was a Lord Scales.

In this church was the guild of St. Thomas.

The church was a rectory valued at 8 marks, but appropriated to the priory of Blackburg, by John of Oxford Bishop of Norwich, in the reign of King Richard I. on the calends of May, 1191, and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The vicarage was valued then at 4 marks.—Peter-pence 12d. the prior of Norwich had a pension valued at 20d. per ann. and the abbot of Nutley one, valued at two marks and an half per ann. these two portions consisted of 2 parts of the tithes of the demeans of Walter Giffard Earl of Bucks, granted by him, and confirmed by William Bishop of Norwich. Regist. 4 Eccles. Cath. Norwic. fol. 50.


Simon occurs vicar, Ao. 52 of Henry III.

1312, Rowland de Rysing, presented by the convent of Blackburgh.

1339, John Lesse. Ditto.

1361, Robert Benet.

1406, John Phelip.

1417, John Copeman.
William Ibbe.

1442, John Smith.

1449, William Andrew.

1450, John Kyllom.
John Randolf.

1459, John Wellys, LL.B.

1470, Robert Robardson.
John Smith.

1481, William Feltham.
Robert Bennet occurs in 1490.
Sim. Cook.
Thomas Sillet.
Robert Key occurs in 1609.

1610, Michael Calvert, by the King.
William Husecroft in 1610, presented by the King; he gave a silver gilt flagon in 1635.

1657, Abraham Whelock, died vicar.
Samuel Foster on Whelock's death.
James Everard.

1672, Henry Fish, on Everard's death, by John Horn, clerk.

1737, Cuthbert Sewell, by Isaac Leheup, Esq.

1758, John Dowsing, by Mrs. Elizabeth Lloyd.

The present valor of the vicarage is 7l. 6s. 8d. and is discharged of tenths, &c.

On the dissolution of Blackburgh priory, the appropriated rectory, with the patronage of the vicarage, came to the Crown, and were granted July 28, in the 9th of James I. to Franc. Morris, and Franc. Phelps, and conveyed by them on December 18, following, to Sir Henry Spelman; who, on his founding a Saxon lecture in Cambridge, conferred that office on Mr. Abraham Whelock, a person well skilled in that tongue, and for endowment settled on him and his successours, a sufficient yearly stipend, with presentation to the benefice of this church of Middleton.

On the death of Whelock in 1657, the disposal of the lecture fell to Roger Spelman, Esq. son of Sir John, son of the founder, who designed to bestow it on Mr. Samuel Foster, a learned and worthy divine, but Archbishop Usher recommended Mr. Somner, to the patron, desiring that he would confer on him the pecuniary stipend, to enable him to prosecute a Saxon Dictionary, which would more improve that tongue, than a bare academick lecture. The patron complying with this advice, presented Somner to the annual salary of that lecture. But Somner, out of tenderness, would not accept it, without the free consent of Mr. Foster, who complied, and being content with this vicarage, left the annual salary to Somner.

Elizabeth Willton gave 40s. towards a silver gilt cup to the church. —Mary Griston 10s. towards a cover.—A silver plate given by Dr. Robert Barker in 1704, and a silver gilt one by him in 1717.

Blackburgh Priory.

Sir Roger de Scales and Muriel his wife, who lived in the time of King Stephen, and Henry II. were the founders of it, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Catherine, in a low, fenny ground, called Shiplade, or Blackburgh. Religious of both sexes lived here, under the government of Hayms Wauter and Maud his mother, but Robert, son of Roger de Scales aforesaid, before the year 1200, settled it on nuns of the order of St. Bennet.

The founder endowed it with a marsh, arable lands, and a heath 80 perches broad and long from the bounds of Wirmegay to the plough land of Middleton, 20 acres in Blackburgh, and the plough land of Helegh, 11 perches breadth in the wood, 28 acres lying east of Helegh, and 13 west of Helegh, and foldsocken in all the fields of Middleton; the homage of Ednoth, wife, and children, and Sandyaknoll, 4 acres and ½ of meadow in Haleth, and the land which belonged to him in Sengeberge and Heleth, next Lizecroft, one acre, 2 acres of meadow in Clanell, 12d. yearly rent of his brother William, all that belonged to him in Lodstoches and Lansey, 7 perches broad in the whole length, 12d. per ann. rent of his own gift, out of the mill of Wirdlington, and the church of Islington; witnesses, Sir John Bardolf, lord of Wrungey, Sir John Tilney, Sir William de Dunton, Sir Robert de Causton, William Durant, &c.

Sir Robert de Scales gave the church Rainham St. Martin, appropriated to it by Walter Bishop of Norwich, in 1257.

William, son of Geffrey, of Bycham Parva, and Richard his brother, and Martin, son of Roger, of the said town, and William his brother, gave to this priory the advowson of the church of Bycham Parva, with the appertenances:—witnesses, Mr. Robert de Bilney, official of Norwich, Sir Ralph de Gatley, Sir Eudo Arsick, Sir Frare de Caprevill, Sir William Lovell of Barton, Thomas de Gately, Sir Geffrey de Brisley, Adam, parson of Gatley, Richard St. Germain.

Emma de Bellofago, or Beaufoe, gave 400 eels yearly out of her fishery at Wilton, for the soul of Isabella Freville, and her own soul, at the beginning of Lent, 9 sticks in the pool called Lodwere, and 7 sticks in her part of Anwere: this Emma was one of the daughters and coheirs of Fulk de Beanfoe, lord of Wilton in King John's time; Margery, her sister, was married to Robert de Scales.

The prioress was found to hold lands in Watlington, Foston, Seche, Hardwick and Wallington, of the Lord Bardolf, in the 3d of Edward III

Robert de Scales gave a rent in Middleton to find a light before the altar of St. Mary Magdalen in the priory church.

- - - - - - Le Syre granted a rent in East Winch, to find a lamp. burning in the church of St. Catherine of Blackburgh, before the image of St. John the Evangelist; here was also the altar of St. John Baptist. Robert Lord Scales, gave the church of Islington, appropriated about the 20th of Edward III.

King Henry III. in his 28th year, granted a fair to be held here on the vigil, day, and day after the feast of St. Catherine. I find it held November 24, in the 4th year of King Edward IV. and in the reign of Queen Mary, when the profits were valued at 20d.


Avelina, sans date.

Margaret occurs prioress in the 6th and 12th of Henry III as appears by a fine then levied.

Catherine de Scales occurs in 1238.

Mary de London occurs in 1259, and 1265.

April 27, 1304, Ida de Middleton, admitted prioress.

July 24, 1310, Catherine de Fitton.

Lettice occurs prioress in 1332.

November 17, 1342, Winnesia de Boyton, on the death of Lettice.

September 10, 1349, Isabella de Stanton.

April 20, 1352, Isabella de Hynton.

October 17, 1384, Matilda de Dunton, on Hinton's resignation.

October 21, 1389, Mary de Dersingham, on Dunton's resignation; she occurs in 1410.

Elizabeth Beaupre occurs in 1428.

September 1, 1434, Alice Erle.

April 17, 1480, Margery Gaiton.

Matilda de Lupe, occurs in 1482.

Margery Fincham occurs in 1517.

Elizabeth Dawney occurs in 1532, and on its dissolution, when it was valued according to Dugdale, at 42l. 6s. 7d. ob. according to Speed at 76l. 3s. 9d. ob,

Here were a prioress and 10 nuns.

On the 19th of June, in the 4th of Edward VI. the site of this dissolved priory, the manor of Blackburgh, and the fair were granted by the King to Thomas Thirlby Bishop of Norwich, and his successours, on the payment of 1l. 3s. 9d. per ann. into the court of augmentation, and is now held by lease of the see of Norwich. It appears from an audit-roll of Dr. John Hopton, Bishop in the 3d and 4th of Queen Mary, that the rent of the free tenants amounted to 24s. and 2d. per ann. the customary tenants 2s. 2d. ob. and the profits of the fair 20d.

In Sir Henry Spilman's History of Sacrilege, an account may be seen of many troubles attending the possessors of it; the said gentleman had the ledger book of this priory; and concealed lands in Middleton. Sechy, West Winch, &c. belonging to it, were granted November 28, in the 19th of Elizabeth, to Edmund Grimston, &c. There is nothing now remaining, except a part of it turned into a dove-house.

Bishop Schambler let it to Queen Elizabeth in 1588, at 11l. 17s. 3d. per ann. for 80 years.

The temporalities of Carhow priory here, in 1428, were 6d. spiritualities of Butley priory, 2 marks and a half.


  • 1. Terr. Hugh. de Monteforti— Mideltuna ten. Aeled qua ten. Bundo. T. R. E. ii car. tre. sep. xii villi et xvii bor. silv. iiii por. tc. iiiis. mo. i et xxxii ac. pti. tc. ii car. in dnio. mo. i sep. iii car. hou. et i mol. et i pisc tc. x sal. mo. viii tc. iii an. mo. v mo. i r. tc. x por. mo. vi tc. xl. ov. mo. xxxv tc. val. c sol. mo. vi lib. hic jacent ii sochem quos ten. ide. homo. Lxxxiiij ac. tc. i car. mo. dim. et val. v sol. et pot. vende. tra. sua.
  • 2. Reg. March, in Cur. prerog. Cantuar.
  • 3. Fuller's Worthies, fol. 340.
  • 4. Stow's Annals, and Hall's Chron'
  • 5. Hall, fol. 177.
  • 6. Quere, if not Felbrigg?
  • 7. Reg. Mills in Cur. Prerog. fol. & 44.
  • 8. By this grant he had 15 lordships, late the Scales's.
  • 9. Terr. Alani Comitis.—In Midletuna tenet Ribald. ii car. t're. tenuit Radulf. semp. iii vill. et i pr. ac. et iii bord. semp. ii car. et xviii ac. p'ti. tnc. i pisc. et val. xx sol.
  • 10. Terra Abbatis de Sco. Eadmundo —In Middeltuna tenet Ricuard. de Abbe i car. t're qua'. tenuit S.E.T.R.E. iii vill. et ii bor. i ser. i car. in d'nio xx ac. p'ti. ii sal. iii vac. xxiiii ov. iiii porc. i soc. de v ac. val. xx sol.
  • 11. Reg. Pinchbeck, Abb. Bur.
  • 12. Terr. Willi. de Scohies— Mideltuna tenuit Turchill. p. man. et p. ii car. t're mo. W. in d'nio. sep. iiii vill. et vi bor. et iiii ser. xxx ac. p'ti. ii car. in d'nio. tc. i car. hom. mo. dim. i mol. i pisc. viii sal. sep. i runc. tc. ii vac. tc. xvi por. mo. x tc. lxxx ov. mo. lxx tc. val. sol. mo. vii lib.
  • 13. Terr. Willi. de Scohies—In Mideltuna tenet W. in d. vi. lib. hoes de i car. tre. sep. i car. silv. c porc. val. xxiiii. sol. et viiid. de ii h. habuit Stigand. socam. et fuit lib'ata Rafrido p. car. tre.
  • 14. Reg. Brosyard, Norw. fol. 328.
  • 15. Lib. Rub. Sccij.