Holt hundred: Burston, or Briston

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: Burston, or Briston', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808) pp. 374-377. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol9/pp374-377 [accessed 20 April 2024]

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Takes its name from the river Bure. The principal manor belonged to King Edward, as lord of Holt, on which it was a dependant, and the Conqueror held it as such at the survey, when 5 socmen, belonging to Holt manor, held a carucate and 20 acres of land, had paunage for 20 swine, and was valued at 12s, it was one leuca long, and half a leuca broad, and paid 13d. gelt, whoever possessed it. (fn. 1)

This, as I take it, was the lordship called Briston-Mauteby's.

Earl Warren's Manor.

The Earl Warren had also a lordship by grant of the Conqueror, out of which Toke, a Saxon thane, had been ejected, who had 14 socmen with half a carucale of land and 3 borderers, also 4 carucates, with paunage for 20 swine, valued at 16s. (fn. 2)

The ancient family of De Burston or Briston, were lords of it. In the 34th of Henry III. Roger de Leonibus, or Lions, impleaded Ralph de Birston for 2 parts of a fee in this town.

This Roger was son of Jeffrey de Lions, who married Matilda, daughter and coheir of William de Lions, who lived in the reign of Henry II. and left also 2 other daughters and coheirs, Hawise and Beatrice, and they dying s. p. he claimed it as heir.

William de Grantcourt, lord of Fulmodeston, proving that Jeffrey de Lions had levied a fine of the same to his ancestor, William de Grancourt, Briston held his possession.

In the 41st of the aforesaid King, Roger de Lenham gave lands in Burston and Thurning, to Roger de Briston, on his marriage with Amabilia; and Robert de Briston held half a fee of the Earl Warren, when the aid was granted to this king, on the marriage of his sister to the Emperor.

Thomas, son of John de Briston, in the 10th of Edward I. demanded against John de Cockfield, the advowson of this church of All-Saints of Briston, and sets forth his descent in this manner:

Robert de Briston had 2 sons, the eldest, Robert, died s.p. Roger his brother was his heir, and had issue, Robert, who died s.p. and John, who was father of Thomas, the present lord.

John de Cockfeld calls to warrant Robert de Cockfeld, who pleaded that he held it in parcenary with Edith, daughter of Peter le Constable, grandfather of Robert de Cockfeld, &c. and in the 14th of Edward I. he impleaded Peter de Letheringset and Agnes his wife, on account of waste, &c. in the lands, woods, houses, and gardens, held in dower by the said Agnes, in Birston, the inheritance of the said Thomas.

In the 9th of Edward II. John de Birston was lord, and in the 17th a fine was levied between John, and Joan his wife, querents, John le Poure, &c. deforcients, whereby lands here were settled on John de Birston, remainder to Peter and John his sons; and in the 6th of Edward III. this lordship was settled on the said John and Joan for life; remainder to John, Roger, Adam, Nicholas, &c. his sons, in tail. The arms of this family was quarterly, argent, and sable, a bend over all, or.

John de Birston in the 20th of that King, held half a fee of the Calthorps, (as was found) and they of the Earl Warren; and in the 34th, John de Birston and Maud his wife, were living, and had the manor of Wolterton in East Barsham.

In the 4th of Henry IV. John de Bryston held half a fee of the Earl of Arundel. John de Bryston was living in the 9th of that King, aged 40, and was born in this town, and had been abroad in the King's service, and his father, John Bryston, Esq. had been in many voyages and services, and the aforesaid John was living in the first year of King Henry VI.

In the 7th of Henry VI. John Ingram and Ela his wife, conveyed in trust to Benedict Turner, vicar of Birston, this manor, with lands, and 2s. 8d. per ann. held by Ela for life.

Ralph Briston, Esq. died lord in the 11th of Henry VII. and John Copping was found to be his heir; and in the next year John Windham purchased it of William Sutton and Joan his wife. Sir Thomas Windham died seized of it in 1522.

The Bishop of Norwich's manor of Melton extended into this town.

Tenths 5l. 14s. 4d. Deducted 1l. 6s. 8d.

Temporalities of Burton Lazars of Chosele, were 11s.;—of Walsingham 3s. 5d. ob.;—of Waburne 2s. 4d.

The Church of Burston is dedicated to All-Saints, was anciently a rectory, valued at 35 marks, and paid Peter-pence, 13d. ob. and the brethren of the Lazars of Chosele had a portion valued at 20s.


In 1256, Stephen de Ponte, who was canon of St. Peter's church at Rome, occurs rector, by the provision of the Pope, who granted him 40 marks per ann. out of one or more churches in England. (fn. 3)

1266, Edmund de Cokefeld occurs rector.

1305, Robert Bakun instituted, presented by Sir John de Cokefeld.

1311, Nicholas de Herdewyk, by Cecilia, relict of Sir John.

1330, Edmund de Cokefeld. Ditto.

1349, William de Morton, by Sir John de Cokefeld.

1349, William de Poringland, by Richard de Lyng.

On August 24, 1350, it was appropriated by the Bishop of Norwich to Trinity Hall in Cambridge. The Bishop's manor of Melton, held by the Cockfelds, seems to have extended here, and the Bishop, as capital lord, granted it; on this a vicarage was settled, who was to have a proper habitation with a pension of 10l. per ann. the patronage was to be in the said Hall, who were to present two, and the Bishop to choose one of them.


1354, John de Redesham, vicar, presented by the master of Trinity Hall.

1354, Robert Atte Bourse. The vicarage was taxed at 5 marks.

1360, John Smert.

1361, Richard Murre.

1376, John Dix.

1377, Thomas Atte Heythe.

1417, Robert Derham, LL.B.

1419, Alan Smith.

1420, John Canceller.

1422, Benedict Turnour.

1435, William Bettys.

1440, John Yarmouth.

1442, Thomas Andren.

1457, Robert Smith.

1461, William Stanton.

1481, John Barnabe.

1493, John Topclyff.

1505, William Alleyn.

1506, Robert Waller.

1535, Richard Brown.

1560, Roger Gavell.

1572, William Olyet, by John Smith, &c. inhabitants of Wiveton.

1605, Francis Catelyne, by Richard Bray of Wiveton.

1612, Thomas Crabtree, by the feoffees of Wiveton town.

1643, William Sowerbetts.

1662, Robert Garret.

1687, Charles Pinkney.

1696, Thomas Plomsted, by the feoffees, &c.

1748, John Buck, by the feoffees, &c.

1750, Isaac Horsley. Ditto.

In the church were the guilds of St. Mary, Holy Trinity, and St. John Baptist.

The present valor of the vicarage is 4l. 9s. 8d.

Mauteby's Manor.

Here was also another lordship in this town, held by the King at the survey, as part of his lordship of Holt; of this the ancient family of De Basingham were enfeoffed, from whom it came by marriage to the De Mautebys in the reign of King Edward I. and so to the Pastons, in the time of King Henry VI. and was sold by Sir William Paston, Bart. in the 18th of Charles I. to Erasmus Earl, Esq. and by the death of Erasmus Earl, Esq. came to his sister and heir,—, who married William Wigget Bulwer, Esq. lord in 1764.


  • 1. Terre Regis—In Burstuna v soc. p'tinent ad Holt de xx ac. t're. et i car. silva ad x por. et val. xii sol. et hab. i leng. in long. et dim. in lat. et xiiid. in gelt. quicu'q; ibi teneat.
  • 2. T're. Willi. de Warenna.—In Burstuna xiiii soc. quos Toka ten. T. R. E. d'. car. t're. et iii bord. semp. iiii car. silva ad xx porc. et val. xvi sol.
  • 3. Rymer's Fœd. vol. i. p. 642.