Launditch Hundred: Bittering

Pages 458-460

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 a beruite, or little lordship belonging to Archbishop Stigand's great manor, or honour of Mileham, and valued with it; here were 7 acres of wood, an acre of land and 4 borderers, which Godric claimed, as belonging to the fee of Ralph Earl of the East-Angles, or of Norfolk, (as forfeited on his rebellion against the Conqueror) this was held by a certain woman in King Edward's time, who was ready to put it on trial, or prove that the money it was mortgaged for was paid, though Siward held it still in mortgage; (fn. 1) but William de Noiers held it at the survey, with the manor of Mileham, of the King.

Here was also another lordship which Godric farmed of the King, with one in Mileham, where see an account of it; and these two fees made the townships of Bittering Magna and Parva.

Both these fees or tenures abovementioned came into the family of the Earls of Arundel with Mileham, of the grant of the Conqueror, to Alan, son of Flaald, as may be there seen.

William, son of Alan, granted to Durandus, son of Ralph, son of Siward, this lordship, with one in Wellingham, and Sutton; this Siward was ancestor of a family of Le Strange, as may be seen in Launditch hundred.

Jeffrey de Bittering was lord in the 3d and 15th of Edward I. had the assise, view of frank pledge, weif, and stray in his manor of Bittering Parva.

In the 30th of that King there was an exchange made between Richard Page of Bucklow in Suffolk, and Henry, son of Hamon of Bittering, whereby Page grants to Henry all his tenement, with the rents, wards, reliefs, eschaets, &c. in Bucklow aforesaid, with the advowson of that church, and in Sternefield, in Suffolk, Henry, &c. granting to Page all his tenement in Bittering, with the appertenances, and 10 marks in his pocket, by deed dated at Bucklow, on the feast of Pentecost: but the manor appears to be still in the Bittering family, for in the 9th of Edward II. the Earl of Arundel, and John de Bittering of Bittering Parva, were returned to be lords; by which it appears that there were two lordships, Bittering Parva, and Bittering Magna, and in the said year, Richard Foliot was found, as lord of Gressenhale, to have a fee in the town of Bittering: so that I am inclined to think that Bittering Magna and Parva were both held of the Earl of Arundel, yet two distinct lordships, the first in the family of L'Estrange, and the other in that of De Bittering, as appears from Henry de Bitering's claim against Ralph L'Estrange, of the advowson of the church of Bittering Parva, held under the Earl of Arundel; and it further appears that the tenths of the Bitterings were joined to those of Gressenhale, and valued together at 6l. out of which 1l. was deducted, and sometimes with Beeston, at 9l. &c.

John de Bittering, son of John de Bittering, sen. conveyed lands by fine to Robert de Bittering and Joane his wife: in 1338, John de Byteryng presented to the church as lord, but in 1349, Sir Robert de Causton presented, and in the 33d of Edward III. John de Berford and Saiera his wife granted by fine to Sir Ralph de Poley, and Sir William de Rushbrock, Knts. this manor and advowson, with a dove-house, &c. and Sir Robert Knolles, Knt. settled the lordship of Bittering Parva, with the advowson, by fine levied in the 6th of Richard II. on his trustees, in order to the founding of Pomfret college in Yorkshire.

After this Bartholomew Pygot and Rose his wife settled it by fine in the 8th of Henry V. on Leonard Pigot and Margaret his wife in tail, remainder to Bartholomew and Rose, and the heirs of Rose; but in the 11th of Henry VI. Thomas Pygot, Esq. conveyed it by fine to Thomas Shouldham, Esq. with the advowson, which Symon Dycon and Margaret his wife held for the life of Margaret; and in the said year Simon Dycon and Margaret his wife passed it by fine to Sir John Clifton, Sir Robert Clifton, &c. with liberty of a foldcourse in Mileham; but in the said year it is also said that Rose, wife of Bartholomew Pygot of Stradsete, died seized of the manor of Bitering and the advowson, leaving Thomas Pygot, her son and heir 26 years old. Rose was the daughter of Sir Ralph Poley, by Alice his wife.

In the 33d of Henry VI. Sir And. Ogard, Knt. died seized of it: he married the daughter and heir of Sir John Clifton, but Robert Oker and Barbara his wife passed it by fine in the 17th of Edward IV. to Sir Robert Wingfield, who died seized of it, held of the manor of Mileham in the 21st of Edward IV.

Christopher Crow, the elder, by deed dated April 26, in the 37th of Elizabeth, in consideration of 200l. portion paid to Roger Bozoun, father of Elizabeth, and of an intended marriage between his son Christopher and the said Elizabeth, enfeoffs William Rugge of Bylaughe in Norfolk, Esq. &c. in all his manor of Bittering Parva, except 36 acres and an half of pasture in Mileham, parcel thereof.

In 1665, Henry Crowe presented to the church as lord, and in 1709, Robert Seaman, Gent. and again in 1711.

In 1730, Thomas Crow, Esq. M.D. was lord and patron: see in East Bilney.

The Church of Bittering Magna has been many years dilapidated, but the place where it stood is called the churchyard. It is now an hamlet annexed to Gressenhale.

Temporalities of Fakenham-dam in 1428, valued at 10d. per ann.

The church of Bittering Parva is a rectory, anciently valued at 40s. and paid Peter-pence 2d. the present valor is 2l. 13s. 5d. ob. and is discharged of tenths and first fruits.


1311, John de Bytering, rector, presented by Robert de Bytering.

1318, John Helewys, by John, son of Geff. de Bytering Parva.

1326, John de Stoke, by John de Byteryng.

1333, William Edmund, by John de Byteryng.

1338, Thomas Caran. Ditto.

1349, Robert de Croft, by Sir Robert de Causton, Knt.

Henry de London occurs rector in the 44th of Edward III.

1376, Nicholas Porter, by Sir Ralph de Poley.

1380, William Attehaw, by Alan Hunt, burgess of Lenne, and Henry de London.

1391, William Smith, by Sir Robert Knolles, Knt.

1417, John Hoo, by Bartholomew Pygot, Esq.

1420, William Jacob. Ditto.

1433, John Ryntour, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1436, Sim Codlyng, by Nicholas Bokkyng.

1461, Robert Bixlee, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1495, Geff. Lawyn. Ditto.

Robert Broughton, alias Clerkson, rector.

1529, Nicholas Marshul, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1554, Richard Stapleton. Ditto.

1568, Richard Normingtone, by Robert Wing feld, Esq.

1594, Nicholas Bune, by Christopher Crow.

1624, Robert Skinner. Ditto.

1665, John Vincent, by Henry Crow, Gent.

1709, Robert Stone, by Robert Seaman, Gent.

1711, Charles Tyllot. Ditto.

1730, Christopher Sealby, by Thomas Crow, M.D.

This church is still standing, but much decayed, and has service in it only once a month; it is covered with thatch, has no steeple, or bell, and no pulpit, but a desk: in the chancel, which is also thatched, lie one or two grave-stones, with ancient crosses carved on them, for some of the rectors.


  • 1. Tre Stigandi Ep. quas custodit W. de Noiers—In Britringa vii ac silve, et i ac. tre in qua sunt iii hord. hoc revocat Godric ad feudu' Radulfi Comitis, et quedam femina que hoc tenuit, T.R.E. Uult ferre judiciu' qd. dissolutu' et a vadimonio. hoc tenetSiuuard. in uadimonio.