Happing Hundred: Lesingham

Pages 328-329

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 the manor of William the Conqueror, and farmed, or managed by Godric his bailiff, or steward, at the survey; Godwin, a thane of Edward the Confessor, was lord of it. This Godwin was Earl of Kent, &c. and father of King Harold, and had 3 carucates, and 30 acres, held by 15 villains, and 16 borderers, with six servi, 2 carucates in demean, 3 among the tenants, and 12 acres of meadow, paunage for 10 swine, 2 runci, 3 cows, &c. and 20 sheep, eight freemen held 100 acres, with 2 carucates, and 2 acres of meadow, then valued at 60s. and what the freemen held at 10s. the whole after at 4l. and at the survey; and four freemen paid 6l. quitrent, and 20s. for an income in tale; it was one leuca and a half long, and the geld was 10d. ob. the King and the Earl had then the soc. (fn. 1)

Afterwards this lordship was granted from the Crown, and given by Gerard de Gurnay, lord of it, to the abbey of Benedictin monks, at Bec in Normandy, which abbey subjected to their cell at Okeborne, in Wiltshire, as appears from a charter of King Henry II. exemplified among the rolls of the Tower, though not mentioned in Neustria Pia. King Edward I. in his 14th year, claimed 2s. per ann. rent, due to the hundred of Happing, out of it, but the abbot of Bec pleaded an exemption by grants of that King's ancestors; and King Henry VI. in his 13th year, granted license to John Norman, son of Henry Norman, a villain of this manor, to be promoted to any ecclesiastical benefice, notwithstanding his villanage.

By a parliament in the 2d of Henry V. it was dissolved among other alien priories, and seized by the Crown, and so remained for some time. King Henry VI. in his 19th year, granted the custody of it to Edmund Clere, for 20 years, paying 16l. per ann. but was soon after reconveyed to the King, in order to settle it with many other on King's college, in Cambridge, and Eaton college, on his foundation of them, and confirmed to them by his charter in 1444, and confirmed again by King Edward IV. on February 22, in his first year, with many privileges, as enjoyed by the abbot of Bec, &c. and remains so at this time.

The tenths were 3l. 8s.—Deducted O.—The temporalities of the prior of Hykling here were 6s. 8d.

The Church is a rectory dedicated to All-Saints, and was in the patronage of the priory of Okeburn, as a cell to the abbey of Bec: in the reign of Edward I. the rector had a manse with 15 acres, valued at 10 marks. Peter-pence 3d. ob.


1317, William Ery, instituted, presented by the procurator-general of the abbey of Bec.

1331, Thomas le Bret. Ditto.

1333, Thomas de Eure.

1349, John Aylmer, by the prior of Okeborn's procurator-general.

1353, Ralph Burgeys.

1386, John Janne, by the King, the temporalities of the priory being in his hands.

1391, Henry Thirninge.

1394, John Smith.

1396, Thomas Mason.

1415, Thomas Letton, by Sir Thomas Erpingham, in right of Lesingham manor, which he farmed of John Duke of Bedford, son of King Henry IV.

1439, John Idewyn, by the King.

1480, Mr. Thomas Pety, A.M. by the provost, &c. of King's college Cambridge.

1514, Roland Geffrey.

1515, John Adderton.

1523, Peter Major.

1528, John Wade.

1554, Robert Webster.

1557, Thomas Fraunceys.

1559, Christopher Green.

1582, Robert Spooner: he certified in 1603, that there were 75 communicants.

1634, Nathaniel Vincent, S.T.B.

1662, Peter Cushing.

1672, William Willis.

1681, James Ferrer.

1710, Jonathan Challoner, by the provost, &c. of King's college, Cambridge.

1727, Benjamin Hunt. Ditto.

1739, Benjamin Shipman Ditto.

The present valor is 6l. and is discharged.

King's college has the patronage.

Here were the guilds of All-Saints, and St. Mary: the lights of St. Nicholas, All-Saints, St. Mary, and St. Blase, and in the church, gules, a cross flurt, argent, an annulet, in chief, sable, Rose.


  • 1. Terra Regis qua' Godric. servat— Lesingham tenuit Godwin' tegn. T. R. E. iii car. et xxx ac. semp. xv vill et xvi. bor. et vi ser. t'nc. ii car. in d'nio p' et mo. i semp. iii. car. hom. et xii ac. pti. silva x porc. ii r. et iii an. et vii por. et xx ov. et viii lib. ho'es c. ac. sep. ii car. et ii ac. pti. tnc. val. lx sol. et lib. ho's x sol. p' totu' iiii lib. ho'es mo. vi blancas et xx sol. de gersuma ad numeru'. et ht. i leu. et dim. in long. et xd. et obolu' de gelto. Rex et Comes soca'.