Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Weybridge

Pages 406-407

A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk, founded a small house for Austin Canons, dedicated to the honour of St. Mary, at Weybridge, in the parish of Acle, towards the close of the reign of Henry III. Robert was the first warden or keeper of this humble foundation, and, by an undated deed, the earl granted to Robert and his brethren of the church of St. Mary all his marsh in Acle, with all appurtenances, in free alms.

Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk, son of Hugh, the patron and founder, granted to Robert the chaplain, the first warden of the house and the brethren of the same, power to elect, after the death of the said warden, one of the brethren in his place, provided that two or three be nominated by them from themselves, or from elsewhere if sufficient be not there found, to be presented to the earl and his heirs, by whom the one that should seem most fitting should be presented to the bishop. He further granted that, if the means of the house should so increase that the secular habit and life there is converted into the religious, and an order of religious there established with a prior or abbot, that then the religious of the house may elect from themselves or elsewhere their superior to be presented to the earl or his heirs and by him to the bishop; provided that no warden, prior, or abbot shall be ordained except upon presentation by the earl or his heirs. (fn. 2) Small parcels of land in various parts of the county were bestowed on the priory soon after its foundation. At the taxation of 1291, Weybridge Priory had lands in fifteen Norfolk parishes, which were estimated at the annual value of £8 7s. 1¾d.

In 1318 the priory had patents for 3 acres of land in Felthorpe and the advowson of that church, and for 12 acres in Clippesby, Oby and Burgh. (fn. 3) In 1320 the king sanctioned the alienation to the priory of a moiety of the church of Fishley and half an acre of land. (fn. 4) The priory paid the king £10 in 1385 for licence to hold, by the gift of Margaret Mareschall, countess of Norfolk, and others, a messuage, 92 acres of land and 3s. rent in South Burlingham, Lingwood, and other townships, together with the advowson of Lingwood church, to pray for the soul of Anne, late countess of Pembroke and others. (fn. 5)

A commission was appointed in 1279 touching an appeal of robbery which Roger Grubbe brought before the king against the prior of Weybridge and eleven others. (fn. 6)

When the house was first vacant, early in 1308, John de Kayly, rector of Rollesby, was given the temporary custody, and removable at the bishop's will, (fn. 7) but on 10 November, 1308, the king notified to the bishop the presentation of Matthew de Horseye, a brother of the house of St. Mary, Weybridge, upon the death of Humphrey to be keeper or prior of that house. The house was at that time in the king's custody by reason of the lands of Roger Bigod, late earl of Norfolk, being in his hands. (fn. 8)

John Barnham, by his will of 1465, was buried in the priory church of Weybridge; he appointed his wife Katharine and Prior Robert Norwich as his executors.

The Valor of 1535 returned the clear annual value at the small sum of £7 13s. 4d.

After its suppression the site of the priory and all its possessions in Weybridge, Upton, South Burlingham, Billockby, Clippesby, Oby, Ashby, Burgh St. Margaret's, Acle, Harleston, and Redenhall, were granted in March, 1539, to Richard Fulmerston, of Thetford, the recipient of much monastic property. (fn. 9)

'The site of it,' says Blomefield, 'was by Acle-Dam, near the bridge as you go to Yarmouth.' Taylor, in 1821, wrote: 'On or near the site of this priory stands a public-house, which is still called the 'Hermitage,' (fn. 10)

Priors of Weybridge

Robert, (fn. 11) c. 1272

Hugh, (fn. 12) occurs 1286

Humphrey, (fn. 13) died 1308

Matthew de Horsey, (fn. 14) appointed 1308

Nicholas, (fn. 15) occurs 1321

Matthew de Horseye, (fn. 16) collated 1323

Lawrence de Billockby, (fn. 17) elected 1328

Adam de Hykelyng, (fn. 18) 13 —

Robert de Martham, (fn. 19) elected 1333

William de Acle, (fn. 20) elected 1340

John de Bayton, (fn. 21) occurs 1379

Robert de Reppes, (fn. 22) elected 1396

John Norwich (alias Boket), (fn. 23) elected 1428

Robert Norwich, (fn. 24) elected 1452

William Parker, (fn. 25) occurs 1476

Peter Clark, (fn. 26) occurs 1486

William Basset, (fn. 27) 1492

Robert Chambers, (fn. 28) 1508

John Bokenham, (fn. 29) 1509

John Caune, (fn. 30) resigned 1520

Edmund Larke, (fn. 31) elected 1520

Andrew Waleys, (fn. 32) 1530

Anthony Derby, (fn. 33) alias Bludde, 1532


  • 1. See Blomefield Hist. of Norf. xi, 92-4; the statements in this sketch—which are without other reference—are derived from this source.
  • 2. Close, 2 Edw. II, m. 18a.
  • 3. Pat. 11 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 15, 14.
  • 4. Ibid. 14 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 10.
  • 5. Cal. of Pat. 8 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 25.
  • 6. Pat. 7 Edw. I, m. 11d.
  • 7. Norw. Epis. Reg. i, 20.
  • 8. Pat. 2 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 20.
  • 9. Ibid. 30 Hen. VIII, pt. viii, m. 27.
  • 10. R. Taylor, Index Monasticus, 27.
  • 11. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. xi, 92.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Pat. 2 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 20.
  • 14. Norw. Epis. Reg. i, 29.
  • 15. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. xi, 93.
  • 16. Norw. Epis. Reg. i, 101.
  • 17. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. xi, 93.
  • 18. Ibid.
  • 19. Norw. Epis. Reg. ii, 64.
  • 20. Ibid. iii, 41.
  • 21. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. xi, 93.
  • 22. Norw. Epis. Reg. vi, 227.
  • 23. Ibid. ix, 30.
  • 24. Ibid. xi, 66.
  • 25. Blomefield, Hist. of Norf. xi, 93.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Ibid.
  • 30. Ibid.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Ibid.