Launditch Hundred: Beeston

Pages 463-465

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

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Earl Warren's Fee.

In the 22d of Edward I. Robert de Vere Earl of Oxford is said have the manor of Beeston in frank marriage, with Joane his daughter, to William, son of John Earl Warren and Surry; (fn. 1) but how it came to belong to the Earl of Oxford does not appear: probably this was a part of the manor of Sporle, which at the survey was in the King's hands, and farmed of him by Godric, and so this part is included therein, not being mentioned in Domesday: of this see in Dunham Parva.

In the Warren family it after plainly appears to be, and continued so, till on the death of John Earl Warren, in 1347, when it descended to the Fitz Alans Earls of Arundel, together with Castleacre, as his heirs, and so was united to the manor that they held in this town.

Beeston Manor, (Arundel fee,)

Was a part of Mileham great lordship, and is included under the account of that town, and granted together with it, by the Conqueror, to Alan, son of Flaald, ancestor to the Earls of Arundel.

In the 30th of Edward I. Richard Earl of Arundel was found to hold this town, and that of Mileham, by one knight's fee, and were valued at 57l. 5s. 9d. per ann.; what has been said of Mileham need not be here repeated, but I refer the reader to the history of that town.

From the Fitz Alans Earls of Arundel it was conveyed to Sir Thomas Gresham, and by his executors to the Barnwells, the Rev. Mr. Charles Barnwell of Mileham being lord of this town.

Cankewell's Manor

Takes its name from the Cankewells, lords of Castleacre Newton; Baldwin de Cankewell was valet to John de Burgh, son and heir of Hubert Earl of Kent, who gave him the manor of Newton; the said Baldwin held this in the time of Henry III. and Michael, his son, in the 15th of Edward I. as a part of Mileham manor, under the Earls of Arundel.

In the 14th of Edward II. John, son of William de Beston, conveyed it by fine to John de Leche and Alice his wife, daughter of the aforesaid Michael, and Hamo, son of John, son of John de Leche of Newton, held it, and was found to die seized of 3 messuages, 66 acres of land in Beeston, and Mileham, by the service of the 40th part of an ob of gold, (that is the 40 part of 3 carrats of gold, and was then held of him by a family called De Beeston,) in the 9th of Edward III. and Philip Hakeman of Tilney and Joan his wife, conveyed by fine, in the 30th of Edward I. one messuage, and 70 acres of land in this town, Mileham, Kempton, &c. to Edmund, son of Ralph le Leche of Beeston, and Margaret his wife.

The temporalities of the priory of Castleacre were valued in 1428, at 7s. 6d.; of Westacre priory at 4s. 6d.; of Wendling abbey at 10s.

The tenths of this town with those of Bittering were 9l. Deducted 1l. 10s.

The Church is a rectory, dedicated to St. Mary, anciently valued at 33 marks, and paid Peter-pence 2d. ob. the present valor is 12l. 19s. 10d.


William de Paston was presented to it, in the minority of William de Warren.

1318, Mr. Maur. Adestoke, by John de Warren Earl of Surry.

1366, John de Lodelow, by Richard Earl of Arundel and Surry.

1367, Robert Cole. Ditto.

1377, Roger Routon. Ditto.

1399, Thomas Aston, by Thomas, Earl of Arundel, &c.

1417, Thomas Crundale, by John Lord Arundel, and Matravers.

1426, Mr. William Aylesham, by the King, the manor of Mileham, on account of the minority of John, son and heir of Sir John de Arundel, Knt. cousin and heir of John Earl of Arundel.

1433, George Walter, by John Earl of Arundel.

1467, John Norys, by William Earl of Arundel.

1504, Robert Barton, by the executors of Henry Lord de Grey, hac vice.

1507, Thomas Butler, by Thomas Earl of Surry.

1523, William Rolle. Ditto.

1527, Edmund Denney.

1557, Hugh Evans, by Ann, Lady Matravers.

1563, John Thirkeld, by Sir Thomas Gresham.

1595, John Forbye, by Steph. Barnwell, Gent.

Franc. Merlin, occurs rector in 1618.

1623, Edward Ling. Ditto.

1659, Robert Cooper, by Edward Barnwell, Esq.

1670, Richard Ward, by William Brown, and Charles Barnwell.

1694, John Ward, by Charles Barnwell.

1709, Edward Hoogan, by Thomas Hoogan, Esq.

1734, Charles Barnwell, by Charles Barnwell, Gent.

I find John Barne, rector about 1554, and John Thompson, in 1556.

John Clement, priest, gave to John Skinner, Maggot's close in Beeston, to him and his heirs, by will dated November 2, 1504, (fn. 2) paying yearly to the church reeves of Beeston, to the helping of the common charges of the said town, 2s. and to discharge the same against the lord and the king.

William Hook of Beeston gave by will 2 acres of land at the end of the green, abutting west on Bronger's Green, to keep his anniversary yearly, 1506. (fn. 3)

Robert Kett, alias Knight, gave certain houses to the poor of this town in 1601, 20l. to the repair of the pinnacle and of the steeple, and 40s. wherewith the high window above the rood loft was glazed.

Here were the guilds of St. Mary, St. John Baptist, and of the Trinity, also the lights of St. Mary, the Holy Cross, and that of the Sepulchre.

The church was founded in memory of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, and on the 8th of September a feast used to be kept by the inhabitants, and on a window was,

Orate specialiter p salubri statu fratrum et soror. gilde gloriose Virginis Marie, cujus honori hœc dedicatur eccl'ia, et omnium viventium benefactor. eorund et p. a' ab; omnium fratrum et soror. defunctor. ejusd. gilde, ac etiam p a' iab; defunctor. benefactor. eorund. qui proprijs expensis et pecunijs eidem gilde habende largilis, has octo fenestras vitro fieri devote curaverunt Ao 1410.

The church is a regular pile, with a nave and two isles, covered with lead, (the chancel tiled,) with a tower, and thereon a shaft, or spire, and 4 bells.

There are two chapels, one on the north side called our Ladie's, and one on the south called St. John's.

On a grave-stone with a brass plate, in the chancel,

Johannes Forbye, artium magister, atq; hujus ecclesiœ rector, hasce tabulas, hœc sacraria atq; subsellia refecit, et sacris posuit, non prophanis aut secularibus usibus. Mors mihi vita.

Over the door in the north isle are these old rhimes, in old letters:
Over the door in the north isle are these old rhimes, in old letters: This Share doth shew this manor fine, A Share it is, not money, mine. This many hundred years, you understand, A Share to be a fine, for taking up of land..

Under this is the figure of a plough-share, and the words about it,

Beeston FineLord BarnwellSee thou keep it.

The custom of the manor is for all copyholders to pay on every death, or alienation, a plough-share, or 2s.

On the screen also is a B. a ploughshare, and a ton, an old rebus for Beeston.

Every Christmas day 20s. is distributed to the poor in bread, as in Mileham, and by the same donor, also 20s for a sermon on Good Friday.


  • 1. Dugd. Baron. vol. viii. p. 80.
  • 2. Reg. Rix, Norw. p. 73.
  • 3. Reg. Rix. 421.