Holt hundred: Gunthorp

Pages 389-391

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

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The Conqueror had a lordship here consisting of half a carucate of land, held by Alvin, in King Edward's time, with 4 borderers, paunage for 4 swine, one acre of meadow, and one carucate and an half valued then at 20s. at the survey at 40s. and this was added to it, out of the land of Ailmar, Bishop of Elmham. It was one leuca long, and four furlongs broad, and paid 6d.½ gelt. (fn. 1)

Here was also another lordship belonging to the Conqueror, of one carucate of land belonging to the King's manor of Causton, (in South Erpingham, which King Harold held,) to which there belonged eleven borderers; there was one carucate in demean, and one among the tenants, &c. with 2 acres of meadow, and this manor was valued, &c. in Causton. (fn. 2)

The first lordship abovementioned was held at first of the King, by the ancient family of Avenel, and after of the honour of Clare, and the last mentioned lordship by the family of De Mey, &c. and each of them had a moiety in the advowson. I shall therefore treat of them jointly, and according to the series of time.

Ralph Avenel paid 10 marks to the King in the first of Henry II. to have soc and sac of his lordship; and in 1201, William, son of Robert le Mey, had 20s. lands, formerly the King's demean, granted by Henry I. and held (as I take it) with Causton, by grand serjeanty, the keeping a hound (brachettus) for the King.

In the 47th of Henry III. Richard de Clare Earl of Clare was the capital lord, and a suit was then commenced on his withdrawing the lete from the sheriff and the King.

In the 9th of Edward I. a fine was levied between Bartholomew le Mey of this town, Bartholomew de Bodham, and Ralph Avenel, by which it was agreed that Bartholomew Mey and his heirs should have the first presentation to this church; Ralph Avenel and his heirs, the 2d, Mey the 3d, Avenel the 4th, Bartholomew de Bodham the 5th, and Avenel the 6th; but after this, Ralph, son of Bartholomew de Mey, &c. conveyed their right to Ralph Avenel.

Alice, late wife of Ralph Avenel, sued, in the 28th of the said King, John, son of Ralph, for dower claiming a moiety of a messuage, 200 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 15 of wood, 30 acres of pasture, and 40s. rent in this town, Bathely, and Sharnton, with a moiety of the advowson of this church.

Ralph le Mey and John Avenel were lords in the 9th of Edward II. and held in this town and Batheley, one fee of the Earl of Gloucester.

In the following year, John son of Andrew Avenel, as a trustee, settled on John Avenel, and Joan his wife, in tail, 5 messuages, 100 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 40 of pasture, and 40s. rent in this town, and Sharnton, with the advowson of this church.

In the 20th of Edward III. Joan, relict of John Avenel, was patroness: she, with John le Mey and his parceners, were lords.

In the 22d of Richard II. John Avenel and Ralph le Mey held one fee of the Earl of March, and had the lete.

After this, Avenel's interest here came to the Welbys, by the marriage of Jane, daughter and heir of John Avenel, with William de Wilby, of an ancient family who had considerable lordships and estates in Lincolnshire, and the said Joan, relict of William de Wilbeygh, presented to this church in 1396.

In the 3d of Henry VI. I find the Meys to have an interest here, but after I meet with no mention of them, so that I conclude the whole was vested in the Welbys.

In the 18th of Henry VI. William Wilby was lord and patron; and on his death, in the said year, Thomas was found to be his son and heir, and died possessed of it, May 18, in the 5th of Henry VIII. William, his son and heir, being aged 19.

On the death of Thomas Wilby, of Hindringham, Esq. it came to Gregory Davy, Esq. by the marriage of Catharine, daughter of the said Thomas.

Gregory Davy, Esq. died lord in the last year of Philip and Mary, and was succeeded by his son, Richard, who was lord and patron, on whose death, in the 17th of Elizabeth, Christopher Davy was found to be his son and heir, by Ann his wife, daughter of William Cobb, Esq. of Sandringham; Christopher married Elizabeth, daughter of Clement Pagrave, of Norwood Barningham, by whom he had Gregory, his son and heir.

In the 20th of the said Queen it was purchased of the aforesaid Christopher, by Richard Godfrey, Esq. who was lord and patron; and —Godfrey, Esq. a master in Chancery, sold it to James le Heup, Esq.

In 1740, Isaac le Heup, Esq. was lord and patron.

He left 2 daughters and coheirs; Elizabeth married to—Lloyd, Esq. and— married to Sir Edward Williams, Bart. of Langoyn castle in Breconshire in Wales.

Binham Priory Manor.

Peter Lord Valoins had the grant of a lordship at the Conquest' which a freeman of King Harold possessed, of half a carucate of land 7 borderers and one servus, and 2 carucates, &c. one acre of meadow valued at 10s.; this he had livery of to make up his manor of Berney. (fn. 3)

Peter Lord Valoins, grandson of the aforesaid lord, gave to this priory all his lands in this town, and they were confirmed by Robert his brother, with the homages and a marsh.

William de St. Plouch released all the lands which he and his father William, held; and Roger, son of Richard de Gunethorp, gave lands, &c.

The prior had view of frank pledge, assise of bread and beer of his tenants, in the 14th of Edward I. and his temporalities in 1428 were valued at 3l. 2s. and 3d. per ann.

At the Dissolution it was granted by King Henry VIII. in his 33d year, to Thomas Paston, knight, or as some accounts say, Bishop Rugg exchanged it in the 34th of that King, with Dersingham impropriate rectory, &c. and gave to that knight the manor of Paston, &c.

The tenths were 2l. 10s. 0d. Deducted 6s. Temporalities of Walsingham priory, 3s. 4d.

The Church is a rectory, dedicated to St. Mary; the old valor was 21 marks, paid Peter-pence, 6d. ob. The present valor is 13l.


Osgotus de Gunthorp was rector in 1106.

1301, Ralph de Reydon instituted rector, presented by the King.

1302, William de Brusyerd, by Ralph le Mey.

1349, John de Bodham, by Joan, relict of John de Avenel.

1349, John de Baldeswell. Ditto.

1396, Nicholas Wylbeygh, by Joan, relict of William de Wilbeygh.

1420, Thomas Bryston, by William Wilebey.

Henry Nicholas occurs rector in 1605, and was succeeded by John Carter, who compounded for his first fruits in June, 1608.

In 1638, Robert Chapman compounded.

John White, rector.

1722, Thomas Simpson, by Richard Godfrey, Esq.

1750, Samuel Alston, by William Alston, clerk.

1758, Cuthbert Sewell, by Elizabeth Lloyd, widow.

James Boleyn of Gunthorp, buried in the church in 1492, and gave legacies for the keeping of his anniversary, &c.—Gregory Davy, Esq. buried in the church, September 16, 1558.


  • 1. Terra Regis—In Gunethorp, de car. tre qua' ten. Aluuin. T. R. E. iiii bor. silva ad iiii por. i ac. pti. sep. i car. et d. tnc. val. xx sol. mo. xl huic man, ad. dit' et hoc de t're Almeri Epi. et ht. i leug. in lon. et iiii quar. in lat. et vi et obolu' in gelt.
  • 2. In Gunethorp, i car. tre. p'tinet in Caustune, tc xi bor. mo. vi sep. i car. in d'nio sep i car. hou' silva iiii por. ii ac. pti. ii por. xxiiii ov. hoc totu' p'ti. net in Cautun.
  • 3. Terre Petri Valoniensis—In Gunatorp i lib. Heroldi de d. car. t're. semp. vi bor. et i ser. sep. ii car. silva ad iiii por. i ac. p'ti. at val. x sol. hec t'ra fuit sibi lib' ata ad p'ficiendu' s. maneriu' Berneia.