Happing Hundred: Eccles

Pages 293-297

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 an hamlet to the great lordship of Hapsburgh, held by Edric the Dane, in the Confessor's time, and after by Ralph Earl of Norfolk, who, on his rebellion against the Conqueror, forfeited it. At the survey it was in the King's hands, and Godric took care of it as steward to the King; and it is accounted for in the book of Domesday in Hapesburgh.

The Conqueror, soon after the survey, gave it to Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk, in frank marriage with Ida de Tony; and the said Roger gave it on the marriage of Maud his daughter, to William de Albini, ancestor of the Earls of Arundel, &c. and the King's butler.

This lordship was held by the family of Le Parker, and by that of de Gener, in two moieties. In the 20th of Henry III. John le Parker had half a fee, of the honour of Rysing castle; in the 52d of that King, William de Parker of Brunstead had wreck at sea here; and in the 54th a fine was levied between him, and William de l'Gerner, by which it was agreed that the patronage of the church of Eccles should be alternate.

On Wednesday after the feast of St. Gregory, in the 33d of Edward I. by an inquisition taken at Eccles, before Robert Hereward, sheriff of Norfolk, it was found that William le Parker held this lordship of the inheritance of Nichola, formerly wife of John de Somery, as sister and coheir of the fourth part of the inheritance of Hugh, formerly Earl of Arundel, by half a fee; that there was a geld paid to the hundred of Happing, by the men of Eccles, and the tenants of the said William, besides 12d. which he paid for himself; and that the said William had these liberties belonging to his manor:

Cognisance of the pleas of his tenants and others, in his court here, to be held at his will;—also once a year, he had view of frank pledge, at one day's warning, as he pleases, from the feast of St. Martyn, in winter, till Easter, at which day he shall, for the certainty of the lete of his tenants, and residents within the lete, and the capital pledges and headboroughs at that day, pay a geld fee (sum not mentioned) to the bailiff of the hundred.

Also at that view the headboroughs shall answer the lord for all transgressions done in the said village, by any strangers in the whole year, or deliver to the lord the goods taken by distress of the delinquents.

Also the aforesaid William hath in the said village, wreck of sea, toll, lagan, and resting geld, customs and other profits upon the sea, and upon the land; to gather, and keep which, one bedel ought to be chose by all the headboroughs at the view.

Also the said William hath a custom, that of every crew of a ship, or boat, washing their nets in the said village, after Michaelmas to Martlemas, he shall have an hundred herrings.

Also he claims liberty of resting-geld, of the beasts of any strangers, resting one night on the common of the said village, in shack time, or in the time when the lands are enclosed of any tenant, for every fat beast an ob. as for horses, bullocks, oxen, steers, and cows, and for hogs not ringed, and for 3 hogs ringed, ob. and for 3 sheerlings, ob for 3 calves, ob. for four geese, ob. and for 4 pigs, ob. and so in any other time, as well as in shack-time, he shall have of resting-geld double.

And he hath also another custom of resting-geld, that of all goods, chattels, things, and merchandises, coming to land by sea, without the help of the said William or his servant, or resting upon the land one day and one night, the said William shall have of all things worth 20s. 14d. and the price of those ought to be set by 4 or 6 of the headboroughs of the view of frank-pledge; and if the said William or his men, &c. immediately after imminent danger or after shipwreck, shall do their endeavour to save such things, then the said William shall have a third part of all such things, or the value of them, unless of his good will he will omit something, but must not be asked.

And if the aforesaid goods, merchandises, and other such goods and chattels, have rested there above one night and one day, then he shall have of them according to his pleasure, and according to what the possessors of them can agree among themselves.

Also he hath free bull and boar, wherever they shall stray through the whole hundred of Happing, no where to be impounded.

Also weyf and stray, liberty of a gallows and tumbrel, stolen goods of felons, free warren, and whatever is found far in the sea, called jetsan, free fold, so that no man can have a fold, unless for a certain fine, paid to him; common pasture for all cattle, and free fishing in the marshes of Ingham, Hickling, Lesingham, Hempstede, Palling; Waxham, and Horsey, yet no one of the said villages has any right of common here, or any in the said village, except they hold their tenements of this manor, and unless they hire it yearly of the said William.

Also all the tenants of the said William shall be free from toll in all places in England, for all things to be sold.

He also hath other customs; heweshift, reveshift, hirdeshift, ingeld'felsne, and bedgild, well known among them.

Herdershift, whereby the whole homage ought every year to choose one shepherd, for whom they ought to answer for the keeping the sheep of the said William.

Heweshift, reveshift, and ingel, are tributes paid to the lord's tenants.

Felsne, is money paid by the tenants to the lord, and was 30s. per ann. for the common aid.

Bedgeld is at every wedding of the men and women of the homage, the lord was to have a certain bed, or the price, according to the degree of the person married, whether noble or ignoble.

All these liberties and customs were allowed to belong to the aforesaid William Parker, by the high sheriff and jury in the inquisition abovementioned.

Will. le Parker, Esq. was living, and lord in the 9th of Henry IV. and sealed with three bucks heads, caboshed, and seems to have left 2 daughters and coheirs, married to the d'Engains.

On February 20, in the 17th of Henry VI. Oliver Mendham, clerk, a trustee, granted to William d'Engain, and Margaret his wife, and the heirs of Margaret, a moiety of this manor and advowson, and in fault of Margaret's issue, remainder to Alice, wife of Peter d'Engain; and William Dengain, Esq. presented to this church in 1446, and 1466.

After this, it was in the Coots. Richard Coote of Blownorton, Esq. who married Margaret, daughter of — Calthorp, was lord in the reign of Henry VII. and left it to his son, Christopher, who sold it to Ann Stede, widow of John Stede, Esq. in the 30th of Henry VIII. January 13, and she gave it to her son, William Brampton, Esq. by her husband, John Brampton, Esq. William dying s. p. was succeeded herein, by his brother, Thomas Brampton, Esq. who by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of—Rookwood of Langham in Norfolk, left Henry his son and heir, who inherited it.

This Henry, and Catharine his wife, passed it by fine to Roger Drury, Gent. of Yarmouth, with 10 messuages, 5 cottages, 140 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 30 of pasture, 10 of wood, 200 of heath, and 20s. rent in this town, and Hapsburgh, and kept his first court in the 37th of Elizabeth. Roger was 2d son of William Drury, Esq. of Beshorp, and father of Sir Drue Drury of this town, and Rollesby, Knt. and Bart.

The family of De Gerner (as I have observed) held a moiety of this manor; and William de Gerner held it by half a fee in the 41st of Henry III. of the honour of Rysing castle.

William, son of William de Gerner, was lord in the 14th of Edw. I. and had free warren. William de Gerner and Lucia his wife, settled in trust on Alexander, son of Walter de Walcote, and Thomas his brother, 16 messuages, 120 acres of land, 12 of pasture, 31 of wood, and 40s. rent in this town, Hempsted, Palling, and Stalham, with the advowson of this church.

Alexander Gerner, and Drogo his son, were living in the 31st of Edward III. and Drogo gave lands in the 40th of that King, in Tunstede, to the vicar of that church, for life.

John de Beketon was lord in the 3d of Henry IV. and held it by half a fee of the castle of Rysing: and in the 8th of Henry V. Sir Ralph Cromwell held it in capite. After this, it seems to be in the Calthorps and Sir William Calthorp had an interest herein in the 22d of Edward IV.

Francis Calthorp, in the 19th of Henry VIII. let to farm, to Thomas Woodhouse, Esq. of Waxham, the site of the manor of Eccles for 99 years, which lease was assigned November 7, in the 31th of Elizabeth, to Roger Drury, Esq. lord of the other moiety, who conveyed his right therein to Thomas Corbet, Esq. of Sprouston, with his own lordship, in 1611.

Ann Corbet, widow of Thomas Corbet, mother of Miles Corbet, Esq. and Mary his wife, Ed. Corbet, clerk, and Maud his wife, in the 19th of King Charles I. sell it to Thomas Thorogood and Frances his wife, who let it for 43l. per ann.

This Thomas was rector of Cressingham Magna, and kept his first court here in 1645, January 15.

On May 20, 1668, Thomas Thorowgood sold it for 720l. to Edward Lamb, of Cawston; and Edward Lamb, Gent. was lord in the 9th of William III. and John Lamb. Gent. presented to the church as lord in 1738.

In 1605, the inhabitants of this village petitioned that their taxes might be moderated, setting forth that it had been a good town for fishermen, and that 80 or more householders had inhabited it, and 1300 acres of land belonged to it, but there were at that time but 14 householders, and not above 300 acres of land, the rest being all destroyed by the sea, together with the church; and in the 19th of King Charles I. at a sessions in January, at Norwich, they set forth that there had been 2000 acres, and 100 only were left, and they daily wasting.

In this village the abbey of St. Bennet had at the survey, a freeman, who held 15 acres, and paid all customary dues, valued at 15d. per ann. The King and the Earl had the soc. (fn. 1)

How this passed at the Dissolution does not appear.

The tenths were 3l. 12s. Deducted nothing.

The temporalities of the abbey of Beck in Normandy, with Okeburn priory, 4s. Of Bromholm priory, 2s. 8d.

The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and is a rectory; the old valor was 15 marks, and paid Peter-pence, 12d.

In the 4th of Henry III. a fine was levied between William de Estre, querent, and Alan de Eccles, deforcient, of customs and services claimed by William, out of 16 acres of land in Eccles, granted to Alan, to be held of William by one mark rent per ann. Alan releasing to William one acre of land at Thornholm, and his right in the advowson of the church, by fine.

In the reign of Edward I. the rector had 9 acres.


In the 9th of Edward II. Thomas occurs rector, probably Thomas Walcot.

1347, Thomas le Roper, presented by Alexander Gerner.

1349, Robert Helwys, by John Godwine, &c.

1349, John Hakun, by John, son of Sir William Parker of Brunsted, Knt.

1365, Thomas Gerner, by Alexander Gerner.

John de Catton occurs rector in 1384.

1391, Thomas More, by William Parker.

1421, Stephen Myngot, by John Kyghley, attorney of Sir Ralph Cromwell.

1423, John At-yates, by Oliver Mendham.

1446, William Pope, by William Dengain.

John Swillington, rector.

1466, Robert Howys, by William Dengain, Esq.

1484, Thomas Avour, by Gilbert Broom.

1505, John Underwode, Bishop of Calcedon, and rector of North Creke, by Mary Coote, widow.

1540, Christopher Grene, by William Lyster, assignee of Christopher Coote, Esq.

1551, John Collison, by Thomas Brampton, Esq.

1558, Henry Barker. Ditto.

1560, Thomas Rede. Ditto.

1582, John Skynner, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1611, Thomas Haslup, by Roger Drury, Esq.

Peter Cushion, rector.

1661, Christopher Spendlove, by Thomas Thorowgood, clerk.

1679, Peter Tubbing, by John Tubbing.

1738, Philip Smith, by John Lamb.

The present valor is 8l. and is discharged. In the church was the chantry of St. Catharine, and that of Jesus and St. Mary.

There was a family that took their name from this town, and had an interest herein. Agnes, late wife of Reginald de Eccles, by her testament, dated on Wednesday next before the feast of St. Andrew, 1381, gives her body to be buried in the church of St. Peter of Manscroft, by the body of Alexander her husband.

John de Eccles aliened to the prior of Hickling lands and tenements here, in the 3d of Richard II.


  • 1. Terra S'ci Benedicti de Hulm—In Heccles i. lib. ho. xv. ac. qd. ten. S'cs. B. c om'i consuetudine s. Rex, et Comes soca. et val. xvd.