Holt hundred: Blakeney or Sniterley

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

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'Holt hundred: Blakeney or Sniterley', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808) pp. 361-365. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol9/pp361-365 [accessed 23 April 2024]

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Part of this town of Sniterly was a beruite to the King's manor of Holt; here was one carucate of land, 7 villains and one borderer, also one carucate among the freemen, and was valued with Holt. (fn. 1)

Snet or Snyte, is an obsolete name of many rivers or streams of water, from which several towns take their names: thus Snetterton in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, Sneton in Yorkshire, &c.

The family of De Vaux was soon after the conquest enfeoft of this as in Holt, from whom it came to the Lord Ross, and so to the Narfords, &c. as in Holt.

The principal lordship was held by Edric, a freeman of Harold, and granted by the Conqueror to William de Beaufoe Bishop of Thetford, to be held by him as a lay fee, in his own right, which Bishop gave it and many other lordships to his fee, and to be enjoyed by his successours.

At the survey, William de Noiers held it of the said prelate, as a lay fee; to it there belonged 2 carucates of land, 2 villains, 25 borderers, and one survus, 2 carucates in demean, and 2 carucates with 3 acres of meadow among the tenant, one mill and 24 socmen, with 24 acres and half a carucate; valued in King Edward's time, at 40s. at the survey at 4l. and a church endowed with 30 acres, valued at 16d. (fn. 2)

In the 12th of Henry II. Peter de Melton, called also Peter de Constable, was lord, and held three knights fees and an half in Norfolk, of the Bishop of Norwich; and on the death of Jeffrey de Constable, a descendant from the said Peter, it came to his three sisters and coheirs; Alice, who married Robert de Cockfeld;—Isabel, married to Adam de Cockfeld, and Edith, married to Sir Thomas de Estle, between whom it seems to have been divided, about the 18th of Henry III.

Cockfeld's Manor.

Sir John de Cockfeld, son of Robert and Alice, purchased his aunt Isabel's part, and was living in the 15th of Edward I. and claimed view of frankpledge, assise of bread and beer, &c. with two parts of the lete

In the 9th of Edward II. John, son of John de Cockfeld, conveyed by fine, to John Bacun, clerk, a mill, certain rents, with the advowson of the church of Sniterley, Cecilia, widow of John de Cockfeld being the living, and in the 11th of that King her dower, and all the interests of the Cockfelds herein, were soon after in the Bacons, and Sir John Bacon, presented to the church in 1340.

Sir Bartholomew Bacon, son and heir of Sir Robert, was, in the 15th of Richard II. found to die possessed of it; and Isabel, wife of Sir Oliver Calthorp, was found to be his sister and heir, as appears from the escheat rolls. The said Isabel gave it to her 2d son, Richard Calthorp, Esq. with the manor of Cockthorp. In this branch of the family it continued, till James Calthorp, Esq. son and heir of Christopher, sold it to Sir Henry Calthorp of Ampton, knight, in Suffolk, who died lord in 1637, and James was his son and heir.—See in Cockthorpe.

Astley's, alias Holywell Manor.

This manor took its name from Robert Holywell, 2d husband of Edith de Constable, (who married first Sir Thomas de Estele) who claimed the same liberties in the 15th of Edward I. as Cockfeld, and had the 3d part of the lete.

Holywell held it in right of his wife; afterwards it came to the Astleys, as her right heirs, who were lords also of Melton, in this hundred, where a particular account of them may be seen; and in the 3d of Edward III. Thomas de Estley and Sir Edmund Bacon held one fee in this town of the Lord Bardolf, who held of the Bishop of Norwich; it remained in the Astleys till Isaac Astley, Esq. by indenture dated January 3, in the 31st of Elizabeth, sold it to James Calthorpe, Esq. of Cockthorpe, who conveyed it to Sir Henry Calthorp, whose descendant, James Calthorp, Esq. was lord in 1698, and James Calthorp, Esq. in 1727.

Clare Manor.

Walter Giffard, who was Earl of Bucks, had also at the survey a lordship, which Toka held under King Harold, consisting then of 30 acres, and a carucate, &c. valued then at 5s. at the survey at 10s.; (fn. 3) this after came to the family of Clare, by the marriage of the heiress of Giffard.

Richard Earl of Clare was lord in the reign of Henry III. and Robert Fitz Simon held it of that honour, and William de Brun, or Brome, held here, in Cley, and Wiveton, two fees of the said honour, in the 8th of EdwardII.

Robert Beales possessed it in the reign of King Charles I. as in Cley.

Blakeney, or Sniterley, was one and the same town: Sniterley was undoubtedly the ancient name, and was so called in the 7th of Henry III. when that King granted a market here to Peter de Meauton; the first time that I meet with the name of Blakeney is in the reign of Edward III.

It was in ancient days a famous sea port, much frequented by the merchants of Germany.

In the 14th of Edward I. Henry Flyk, and Helebrand de Lubeck brought their action against Thomas Burgeys, &c. for seizing and taking by force a ship loaded with cloth and other merchandize, drove ashore at this port, and valued (as said) at 14000l.

King Edward II. in his 3d year, charged this town with one ship of war, to be sent to Dublyn, to transport the King's forces raised there, to Scotland, and in the following year, sent to this town, Yarmouth, Lynne, Burnham, and Holkham, to provide ships to be sent to Scotland.

In the 31st of Edward III. is a statute relating to the sale of fish here, there being a great fair held at Blakeney, on that account, to which persons came from all parts. In the 25th of Edward I. I find the convent of Carrow to lay in a stock of 186 fish, (cod and hug, as I take it,) and in the 9th of Richard II. when other mariners were impressed, for the King's service, the fishermen of Blakeney, Cloy, Cromer, and of the adjacent parts, were excepted.

In the 27th of Henry VI. William Conyngton, and Katharine his wife, conveyed by fine, to John Heydon, &c. a messuage, 70 acres of land, one ustrina, and one minera, which I interpet a melting-house, with a mine, or mineral, belonged to it in Snitterley, &c.

The tenths were 12l.—Deducted 5l.

The Church is very spacious, both in length and breadth, containing a nave, 2 isles, and a chancel, all built of stone, with a stately, large, and lofty four-square tower of stone, and is a famous sea-mark; the chancel roof is curiously vaulted with free-stone, and covered as the church, with lead; at the north-east corner of the chancel arises a lofty stone turret, wherein was formerly (as reported) a fire-beacon, or light-house: on the pavement a gravestone for,

Franc. Wace, rector, who died Nov. 6, 1721.

In the nave,

Orate p, a'i'ab; Richardi Brown, et Alicie uxor.

Orate p. a'i'ab; Will. Roted et Helene uxoris ej.

On another, I Syr John Smyth, was- - - - - - - - - -, As I am that shall you be, Pray for the sowle of me, Qui obt. x die Janu. Ao. Dni. M.cccc.lx.

At the east end of the nave, just as you enter the chancel, lies a large marble gravestone, and on a plate of brass;

Hic jacent corpora Joh. Calthorp, (fn. 4) Armig. uni. fundatorum fratrum convent. et Alicie uxor. ej. qui obt. xxii die Aug. Ao. D'ni. M. V. IIIo. quor. a'i'ab; p. pit. also the arms of Calthorp, impaling Astley.

In the north isle,

Hic conditur Matha, Joh. Springold, clerici, uxor, quœ ob. undecimo die Martis Ao. D'ni. 1722, œt. 35.

On the north buttress of the tower is this shield carved, - - - - - - three mitres, the lowest pierced with a crosier, probably for the arms of the see of Norwich; and on the south buttress, a cross, under that a dolphin embowed in a bordure of escallops.

The church is a rectory dedicated to St. Nicholas, and was formerly valued, with the chapel of Glanford annexed, at 50 marks, the Peter-pence 13d. ob. the present valor is 26l. 13s. 4d. and pays firstfruits and tenths: the priory of Castleacre had a portion in it valued at 4s. and that of Carbrook one.


Hamon Peche occurs rector in the 14th of Edward I.

1305, Gilbert de Wytham, instituted rector, presented by Sir John de Cockfeld.

1307, Walter Reginald. Ditto. Quære, if he was not after Archbishop of Canterbury.

Oliver, occurs rector in 1333.

1340, Henry Arnys, by Sir John Bacoun.

1349, Walter Moyner, by John Lord Bardolf, on the minority of Edmund, son and heir of John Bacoun.

136, Peter de Marlham, by Alexander de Buresyard, Robert Spencer, &c.

1375, John de Winterton, by the abbot and convent of Langley, a canon there.

Robert Tymworth, occurs rector.

1382, John Brydd. Ditto.

1387, Hugh de Bridham.

1388, Mr. William de Feriby.

1395, Henry Curson.

1398, John de Flake.

1399, Mr. Adam de Swaffham.

1411, Mr. John Bury.

1414, Mr. John Knyvington, alias Attehall.

1417, John Frank.

1435, Mr. Jeffrey Martin.

On the dissolution of Langley abbey, the advowson of this church seems to be granted to the Earl of Sussex. In Michaelmas, term, 6th of Edward VI. Henry Earl of Sussex, conveyed it by fine, to James Calthorp, Esq.

James Pointer occurs rector, about 1600.

In June 1621, Richard Loud, rector, compounded for first-fruits, as did

Ed. Day, in November 1641.

1722, Samuel Thornton, on Franc. Wace's death, by James Calthorp, Esq.

1724, Joseph Ward, by James Calthorp, Esq.

1727, Henry Calthorp. Ditto.

John Blakeney, citizen and fishmonger of London, gave by will in 1393, to 5 chaplains, to pray for him, 10 years in this church, and those of Cley, Wyveton, Sheryngham, and Brynyngham, to each chaplain 5l. per ann.

In this church were the gilds of St. Nicholas, St. Mary, and St. Thomas the martyr, and a manor is said to belong to the rectory.

Temporalities of Walsingham priory were 3s.—of Waburne 10s.

Here was a convent of white friars, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

In the 21st of Edward I. John Stormer, and Thomas Tholer, copyhold tenants of William de Roos, lord of the town, and Maud his wife, did fealty for lands and tenements, they held of him here, and in Cley; and after they gave part of these lands, 13 acres and ½ to God, and the Virgin Mary, that the Carmelite friars, by the King's license, and that of Sir William Roos, might inhabit therein for ever, and might build a chapel, and other necessary buildings thereon, the said friars being bound to pray for the good estate of the said Sir William Roos and his Lady Maud, on pain of excommunication, and to have and to hold that lord and lady, and their heirs, for their principal founders, who gave them 100 marks, to build their church and houses, and promise to build their hall, with a kitchen and chambers, proper and convenient for the reception of them and their heirs, with liberty for them at all times, of free entrance and exit whenever they shall think proper to come and stay there; the said Sir William and his heirs repairing the same, and was finished, Ao. 1321.

In the 9th of Edward II. they had a patent to purchase one acre of Nicholas le Bret, to enlarge their manse. Sir Robert de Ros, Sir Robert Bacon, and Sir John Bret were benefactors in the said reign, as was John Calthorp, Esq.

The patronage of it descended to the Earls of Rutland.

In 1518, there was the gild of St. Ann in this friary. (fn. 5)

The site of this house, with the East and West closes, Kyll close, Tanners acre, and Hollyn's close, the stallage, shops, cellars, fair, mercate and customs here, were granted February 6, in the 33d of Henry VIII. to Willsam Read, who in the said year had license to alien it to Richard Gresham, and Richard had license for the same, in the 36th of that King, to Peter Scottow; John, his son and heir, had livery of it in the 4th of Elizabeth. Cecilia Scottow aliened it to Thomas Barker, who held it about he 18th of Elizabeth.

After this, on September 1, in the 2d of King James, - - - - - - Oldman conveyed it to - - - - - Chadwick.


  • 1. Terra Regis.—i beruita in Esnuterle de i car. t're. sep. vii vill. et i bor sep. hou' i car.
  • 2. Terra Epi. Tedfordensis de feudo ejusd.—In Snuterlea ten. Edricus sub Rege E. lib. Heroldo ii car. t're. semp. ii villi. et xxv bord et i serv. sep. in. d'nio. ii. car. et hom. ii car. iii ac. p'ti. i molin. et iiii soc. de xxiiii ac. et dim. car. totu. val. T. R. E. xl sol. modo iiii lib. i ecclia. xxx ac. val. xvid.
  • 3. Terre Walt. Giffardi—In Esnuterlea. ten. Toka sub Heraldo xxx ac. tc. i car. mo. dim. tc. val. vs. mo. x sol.
  • 4. It is probable he was buried in the church of the Carmes, of this town, and removed here at the dissolution. See in Ockthorp.
  • 5. Reg. Gyllys, Norw. fol. 179.