Launditch Hundred: Kempston

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

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'Launditch Hundred: Kempston', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808) pp. 523-525. British History Online [accessed 16 April 2024]

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Four socmen held in King Edward's reign, under Archbishop Stigand, a carucate of land, but at the survey William Earl Warren was lord: there were also 4 villains, one servus, and an acre of meadow, in Sligand's time, 3 carucates, afterwards 2 and an half, paunage for 10 swine, and valued at 20s. per ann. (fn. 1)

This lordship was given soon after the survey to the priory of Castleacre, (fn. 2) by Wimer, dapifer, or steward to the Earl Warren, and lord of Gressenhale, and confirmed by his sons, Roger and William, who was also dapiferi to the said Earls Warren.

In the 34th of Henry II. by a fine levied at Teford, (Thetford) on Monday next after the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Maud wife of Ubbe, conveyed to the prior of Acre, 60 acres of land in this town, before, John Bishop of Norwich, Gilbert Bishop of Rochester, Mr. Osbert de Cam, the King's justices.

The prior was found to hold this manor about the 20th of Henry III. of the lord of Gressenhale, by the fourth part of a fee in pure alms; and that king, in his 40th year, granted to the prior and convent, free warren in his demeans in Kempston, and Herinshagh, on the forfeiture of 10l. for any one to pursue the game therein: witnesses, Walter Bishop of Norwich, Guy de Lezinian, the King's brother, William de Grey, Ralph de Bagpuz, Peter Everard, Bartholomew le Bigot, William de St. Ermin, William Gernun, Philip de Bukeland, &c. dated at Walsingham, March 15.

In the said reign, John, capellan, de Kempeston, quitclaimed to the aforesaid priory, four acres in Tivedwode, and the tithe of 2 acres of Foxmere, by deed sans date.

The prior, in the 18th of Edward I. impleaded John de Arsycke, lord of Dunham Magna, for taking 16 score of sheep on Dunham moor, where the prior had right of common, as belonging to his tenement in that town; the jury find that the prior and his predecessors had right of common there, and because 80 of the aforesaid sheep had passed the bounds where they ought to feed, therefore John had impounded; all the judgment of the court was that John should have return of the 80 sheep, which had done damage, until satisfaction, and the prior to have the rest delivered.

Both the prior and John were in the mercy of the court, and the prior recovered damage for the 12 score sheep.

The temporalities of the priory in 1428, were valued at 8l. 9s.

At the Dissolution, Thomas, prior of Castleacre, granted this lordship, with those of Heringsawe and Dykewood, by fine, to King Henry VIII. in his 29th year, together with the rectory appropriated to his priory; and on December 22, in the said year, the King conveyed them both to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, with the advowson of the vicarage; and in the 35th of that King, the Duke had license to grant them to Roger Townsend, and Thomas Townsend had license to alien them to Osbert Mundeford in the 5th of Edward VI.

It was in the Townsend family in the 4th of Elizabeth: and in or about the 15th of that Queen, Thomas Townsend had livery of this manor, with that of Testerton, and the advowsons.

In the 38th of the said reign, Thomas Townsend, Gent. aliened it to Edward Coke, Esq. then attorney-general, after a knight and a judge, and his immediate heir and descendant, the Right Honourable the Earl of Leicester, in 1759, died lord and patron.

The tenths of this village were 52s. Deducted 16s. 8d.

The temporalities of Wendling abbey were 2s. 5d. ob.

The Church is a rectory, valued at 6 marks, and together with the vicarage paid Peter-pence, 2d. ob.

William Earl Warren the third confirmed this grant of the church of Chemeston, with the appertenances, which Wimer Dapifer had formerly given to the priory of Castleacre, and Roger Buzun quitclaimed to the advowson.

Eborard Bishop of Norwich confirmed the appropriation of it to the priory, after the death of John the rector, in the time of Henry I.

King John, by his charter, and Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury are also said to have confirmed it; but it appears from the register of Castleacre, that William de Alezon was presented as rector, by the prior, in 1226.

The first vicar that I have met with was Walter de Castleacre, presented by the prior, and admitted by Walter de Suffield Bishop of Norwich, which was on the 11th of the calends of March, in his 2d year, 1246; at which time the endowment of the vicarage was settled, which was to consist in all the altarage, a manse, in all the free land of the said church, in a tenement which Sewell and Agnes held of the said land, in tithes of peas and beans, saving to the prior the residue of the great tithes, the vicar to be charged to all the dues of the Bishop and archdeadon; dated at Elmham as above: witnesses, Mr. William de Suffield, Mr Adam de Bromholm, &c. (fn. 3)

In 1604, Sir Edward Coke had a grant of this rectory impropriate.

The present valor of the vicarage is 4l. 18s. 4d. and is discharged of first fruits, &c.


1302, Roger de Newton, vicar, presented by the prior of Castleacre.

1303, Thomas Thori. Ditto.

1315, Robert Unwyne. Ditto.

1349, Thomas Cloo. Ditto.

1350, William de Hoggesthorp. Ditto.

1352, William de Kempston. Ditto.

Nicholas Bryselee. Ditto.

1374, William Gladehere. Ditto.

1388, John Messager. Ditto.

1390, Robert Motte. Ditto.

1391, Richard, Gotte. Ditto.

1396, John Greylok. Ditto.

1411, Ad. Noche. Ditto.

1426, Clement Well. Ditto.

Geffrey Lacy occurs vicar, 14th Edward IV.

1721, William Neal, by Thomas Coke, Esq.

1741, Thomas George, on Neal's death, by the Lord Lovell.


  • 1. T're. Willi. de Warenna— In Kemestuna iiii soc. i. car. t're. sub Stigando semp. iiii vill. et i serv. et i ac. p'ti. tc iii. p. et mo. ii et dim. silva x porc. semp. val. xx. sol.
  • 2. Reg. Castleac.
  • 3. Regist. Castleac.