Launditch Hundred

Pages 456-457

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

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Takes its name from a Long Ditoh (fn. 1) with a bank that divides (as it is said) the two parishes of Longham, and Beeston, and runs north and south; where at the crossing of it by the Norwich road, the hundred court was anciently kept; and was given by the Conqueror to Alan son of Flaald, ancestor to the barons of Clun in Shropshire, (and Earls of Arundel after,) and granted by the said Alan to Siward, with the hundred of South Greenhow, and (as some records say) confirmed by William (Fitz Alan,) son of Alan, to Durand, son of Ralph, son of Seward, on his paying 6l. per ann. rent for the two hundreds, and 8s. per ann. for lands in Wellingham, Sutton, and Bittering.

Alan, son of Flaald, had also with this (by grant of the Conqueror) the great lordship of Mileham, of which Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury was lord before the Conquest, and probably of this hundred also.

Robert de Ver, constable to King Henry II. and A. his wife, daughter of Hugh de Montfort, had some interest in lands near to this ditch, and granted to the monks of Castleacre the wood, grove, and land of Laundic, viz. the third part of the grove, of which William (de Pellita Villa) Pelleville, and Richard de Francaville, were parceners, and which William de Francavill confirmed to them.

In the 3d of Henry III. the King directed his writ to the sheriff of Norfolk, to deliver this hundred to Mary, widow of William FitzAlan, belonging to Mileham manor, which was her dower, and in the 6th of that king, it is said to be worth 6 marks per ann.

John Fitz Alan, Baron of Clun, held this hundred, with that of South Greenhow, in fee farm, paying 18s. 6d. per ann. and John le Strange was found to hold them of him at 6l. per ann. and with the said 18s. in the 34th of the said King.

This John le Strange was son of Ralph le Strange, by Agnes his wife, and Ralph was son of Durand abovementioned, by his wife Prudentia.

By an inquisition taken in the 3d of Edward I. it was found, before the justices itinerant, Sir Robert de Hulmo, Sir R. de Caston, and Sir R. de Saham, that the stewards of the honour of Richmond had newly erected a sheriff's turn, and held two turns in this hundred of the tenants of that honour; after King Henry III. gave it to Peter de Savoy.

King Edward I. in his 14th year, sued the lord of this hundred, Richard Fitz Alan, then Earl of Arundel, as his right, and pleaded that Richard King of England (whose kinsman he was) held peaceably the same; but in the following year the jury for the hundred present, that John le Strange held it with that of South Greenhow, paying yearly to the aforesaid Earl 6l. per ann. and to the King a fee farm rent of 48s.; and in the 33d of the said King, the jury present that John le Strange of Letcham, and Clementia his wife, held the same jointly till the 21st of May last past, when John died; this John was son of Sir John le Strange, by Isabella his wife, and he the son of Ralph le Strange.

In the 4th year of Edward II. Ralph, son of John le Strange of Lutcham conveyed by fine to John Fitz Gilbert, this hundred and that of South Greenhoe; this Ralph was brother and heir to John le Strange, eldest son of John le Strange, and Clementia; and in the 4th of Edward III. Robart Banard died seized of this hundred.

In the 21st of Richard II. on the attainder of Richard Earl of Arundel, these two hundreds abovementioned were granted by that King to his uncle, John Duke of Lancaster, and in the following year to Edmund Duke of York, on August 8.

After this I find them possessed by Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard, and sister and coheir of Thomas, Earls of Arundel; and in the 1st of Edward IV. John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk died seized of the same, as one of the heirs of the Fitz Alans.

On the death of this Duke, and his daughter and heir Anne, they came, as I take it, to the Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk, as their heirs, Sir Robert Howard having married Margaret, daughter and coheir of Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, and Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk had livery of this hundred in the 1st and 2d of Philip and Mary; and in Queen Elizabeth's reign, on the attainder of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, the Queen granted it Ao 23, to William Dyx of Wickmere in Norfolk, Esq. for a certain term of years, then valued at 46l. per ann. and King James, in his first year, June 17, gave it to Thomas Lord Howard Earl of Surry, grandson to Thomas, late Duke of Norfolk, and Henry Howard, alter Earl of Northampton.

It after came to the Barnwells of Mileham, and the Rev. Mr. Charles Barnwell of Mileham is the present lord.

The tenths of this hundred amounted to 118l. 8s. 9d.—Deduct for lands belonging to abbies and other religious houses 13l. 16s. 4d. and paid by them.


  • 1. This ditch, from which this hundred is said to take its name, (I have heard say,) begins at or near Wendling Carr, in which the Gressenhale river rises, and runs directly towards the low common, on which the river Nar takes its rise near Mileham: if the fact be true, it may afford matter of curious inquiry, particularly when that ditch was made, and for what purpose. Wendling Carr, and Mileham common were both in very early ages probably covered with water, as well as the low grounds adjoining to the two rivulets that rise respectively from them. Such we know from what we see at this day is usually the state of countries little cultivated, and if it was so here, and the remains of the ditch exists in the direction I am told it does, it was probably made to defend the country to the north and north-east of the Nar, and Wensum, of which last the Gressenhale brook is a branch.