Copyright
A. D Bayne.

Royal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 54 of 70)
Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 54 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Bishop Wulfstan, still faithful to the King, directed troops upon various
points of the east bank of the river. Eghelwig, the courtier abbot,
induced the population of Gloucester to rise against the conspirators. The
people accordingly assembled under the banner of Count Gualtier de



THE ANGLO-NORMAN PERIOD. 465

Lacj ngain.st Roger de Hereford and liis Wel.slinieiij whose cause did not
.seem to them identical with the national cause. They adopted the side
which appeared to involve the least danger, and served King William,
whom they hated more than death.

At the same time, the army of the Earl of Norfolk, encamped near
Cambridge, was attacked by Eudes, Bishop of Bayeaux, Geoffrey, Bishop
of Contances, and Earl William de Warrenue, with superior forces. After
an obstinate battle, the Norman and Saxon conspirators were completely
defeated, and it is related that the concpierors cut off the right foot of
every prisoner, of whatever rank or station. Raulf de Gael escaped, and
after hastened to shut himself up in his citadel of Norwich, whence he soon
lied to Brittany, leaving his castle in charge of his bride and his vassals.

We may easily imagine the horrors of the siege when the King's forces
closely surrounded the old castle walls and lived at free quarters in the
city. The fortress was then defended by double entrenchments, the outer
one extending eastward from the Hill, towards the river which was then a
much broader stream. The brave countess held the castle for three
months, and only capitulated under pressure of famine. She and her
men-at-arms were allowed to depart on condition of their quitting England
within forty days.

While the friends of Baulf de Gael were thus defeated and dispersed
in the east, those of Roger de Hereford were conquered in the west, and
their chief made prisoner. When the King returned to London, he
presided over the great council of barons to try the conspirators. Raulf
de Gael absent and contumacious was deprived of all his estates, Roger
de Hereford appeared and was condemned to lose his lands and to pass
his life in a fortress. In the depths of his prison his proud spirit made
him brave with insults the King whom he had not been able to dethrone.
The Saxons and the Welsh who were taken prisoners with arms in their
hands on the banks of the Severn, had their eyes put out and their limbs
mutilated, or were hung upon gibbets by order of the Norman earls,
prelates, barons, and knights, assembled at the court of the King. The
royal vengeance extended to all who had attended the Avedding feast in
Norwich, and nearly all came to an untimely end.

The citizens were very unfortunate in this siege. Having, under the
command of the newly-married countess, resisted the King's troops, the
royal vengeance fell upon them in the shape of multiplied vexations,
which forced many of them to flee to Beccles and Halesworth in Suffolk.
They were pursued to those places by Roger Bigod, Richard de St. Clair,
and William Noyers, and their persons were seized and reduced to serfdom.
The city was greatly damaged in every way by the conspiracy. A\Qien
these events had terminated scarcely 560 burgesses remained in Norwich.

G



466 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

It is curious to read in the valuation of land that was taken soon after
the siege, how many houses are recorded as " void," both in the burgh or
that part of the city under the jurisdiction of the King and earl, as well
in other portions subject to other lords, for it would seem that there were
three landlords of the soil on which the old city stood ; the King or Earl
of the Castle, the Bishop and the Harold family, relatives of him who
fell at Hastings. At that time clusters of huts stood round the base of the
Hill, and constituted the feudal town; its inhabitants, consisting of
burgesses or freemen, and villains of which there were two classes, the
peasants annexed to the manor or land, and a lower rank described in
English law as villains-iu-gross, in plain terms, absolute slaves, transfer-
able by deed from one owner to another, whose lives, save for the
amelioration of individual indulgences, were in a contmual helpless state of
toil, degradation, and suffering. Such was the abject condition of most
of the inhabitants of Norfolk and Suffolk in the olden times.

THE NORMANS IN EAST ANGLIA.

After the battle of Hastings in 1066, the Conqueror granted the
following lordships and manors in Norfolk to his Norman barons. To
Hugh de Albrincis, his sister's son, by Richard, surnamed Gtiz, he
gave the earldom of Chester, to hold by the sword and with it twelve
manors in Norfolk.

To Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, in Normandy, by the mother's side, his
brother whom he made a count palatine and allowed him power over all
the earls of England and other great men, and to adminster them as
j asticiarias Anglke and more particularly made him Earl of Kent, besides
other large possessions he enfeoffeed him with twenty-two manors in
Norfolk.

To Alan Rufus or Fergaunt, son of Eudo, Earl of Bretaigue, Avhom ho
made Earl of Richmond, in Yorkshire, he gave eighty- one manors in
Norfolk as the reward of his valour.

To Walter Giffard, son of Osboru de Bolbec and Avelin his wife, sister
of Gunnora the Conqueror's grandmother, whom he made Earl of Bucks,
twenty-eight manors in Norfolk.

To Ralph Waher or Guader, so called from his castle of Guader in
France, whom he constituted Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk, he gave nine
manors :'n Norfolk.

To William, Eai-l Warren in Normandy, nephew to the Countess
Gunnora,, before mentioned, whom he made Earl of Surrey and Arundel,
he gave 139 lordships in Norfolk.

To Eudo de Rhye, fourth son of Hubert de Rhyle, who for his fidelity
to him, he made his deputy in Normandy, and whose elder son, Hubert,



TUE ANGLO-NORMAN TERIOU. 467

lie made Governor of the Castle of Norwich, ho gave nine manors in
Norfolk.

To William de Albini, puicciuia suii of Roger de Albini, whom he made
his butler, he gave four manors in Norfolk, the possessions of one Edwin a
Dane, besides the lands which he had in the county with Maud, the
daughter of Roger Bigod, his wife, which were ten knights' fees. He held
his manor of Buckenham by the service of being butler to the Kings of
England at their coronation.

To Humphry de Boliun, or With the Beard, whom he made Earl of
Hereford, being a kinsman of the King, and attending him in his expedition
hither, he gave one lordship in Norfolk.

To Ralph de Limese one manor ; to Peter de Valoines twenty lordships,
and to Ralph de Tony, son of Roger de Tony, standard bearer of
Normandy, nineteen lordships in Norfolk, for his eminent services.

William I. gave the lordship of Brooke, in the Hundred of Loddou, to
the Abbey of Bury St. Edmund, when he first supplicated that saint's
favour and protection, faUing prostrate before him, and placing a small
knife, wrapped up, on the altar, in the presence of many of the chief
nobility.

William 1. as before stated, conferred the earldom of Norfolk, on one
Waher or Guader, probably a native of Bretaigne. He conspired against
his benefactor, and when some of the conspirators repented and disclosed
the design, he persisted in it and raised forces which were defeated and
himself obliged to flee to Denmark. There he persuaded the King's son
to come over with a fleet ; but finding William prepared for them they
landed in Flanders. He afterwards took on him the cross, and died in
Jerusalem in the crusade, under Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy.
He left two sons and one daughter, but his estates in this country were
forfeited.

The title of Earl of Norfolk was next in the great family of Bigod or
By god. The name comes from the German By and Gott, or the English
By God ! The first of this family that settled in England was Roger, who
held several lordships in Norfolk at the survey and revolted against
William Rufus, on behalf of his brother Robert, but adhered faithfully to
Henry I. He founded Thetford Abbey, where he was buried in 1107.
He was succeeded by his son William Bigod, appointed steward of the
household to that King, and shipwrecked with the royal children in their
passage to Normandy. His brother, Hugh Bigod, succeeded in his office,
whom King Stephen for his services in advancing him to the crown of
England, had before created Earl of the East Angles. He was afterwards
advanced to the dignity and title of Earl of Norfolk by Henry II.,
A.D. 1166.



468 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

Roger Bigodj before mentioned, came over with the Conqueror from
Normandy, and had the capital manor and lordship of Forncett, with all
its royalties, &c., granted to him for his eminent services at the battle of
Hastings. That lordship has ever since passed with the Earls and Dukes
of Norfolk, and it is situated in the Hundred of Depwade in Noifolk.

We shall now proceed to give a more detailed account of the grants to
Norman warriors in Norfolk and Suffolk. The rust of time has invaded
all accounts in writing of this period. The whole is clouded in obscurity,
and prcves the uncertainty of all pedigrees and possessions in years before
the coc quest, and previous to the general surv^ey from which Domesday
Book was coinpiled. That is the chief authority in all our inquiries of this
nature, and fortunately it has been well preserved. Without it, all we
can say is tliat one historian is more lucky in his guess than another, or
more plausible in his reasoning. Fuller, in his " Worthies " states that
Edwm the Dane, Lo:?d of Sherbourne, traversed the title of the Earl
Warrei. to tliis lordship, and being a Norfolk man durst go to law with the
King and qi.estion the vahiity of his grants. Fuller does great honour
on this account to the gentlemen of Norfolk, in supposing that only a
native oi that county dare to contest with a King ; however, the King
made pretty free with ohe c junty in 'lis divisions to his Norman favourites.

To be^;in with the lordship of Siierbourne thus disputed. According
to historans, Tho'^e vras Lord of ^Sheibourne when Felix, the Bishop of
the East Angles, came iniio West Ncrfolk, about 640, to convert the
people 30 Christianity, end he built a church at that place. The heiress
of this Thoie married Ingulfe, whose descendants enjoyed it till the time
of Canute, ^ith wI:om came Edwin "he Dane into England. King Canute
grantee Shorbonrne and ^aiettisham to this Edwin the Dane on his mar-
riage \^ ith i, desccsndant of the family of Thoke, or rather of Ingulfe.
William I. .liad given the lands to Earl Warren, but on the appeal of
Edwin ordered them to be restored to him. After this. Sir Balph de
Ibremijs, a Norman, imprisoned Edwin, who applying to Albini for rehef,
he sent for a daughter of his own out of Normandy and married her to
the son of Edwin, which put an end to all the claims of Edwin, who by
this match became satisfied, and retiring, died soon after in peace and
quiet.*

After the conquest, Alan, Earl of Richmond, surnamed Rufus from his
red hair, had grants of no less than 166 lordships in Yorkshire, sixty -three
in Cambridgeshire, eight in Essex, 101 in Lincolnshire, and eighty-one in
Norfolk, of all which the manor of Cossey or Costessey was the largest in
Norfolk, as appears from Domesday Book, folios 62 and 63. This Alan
was the son of Eudo, Earl of Bretaigne in France, and coming over the
* ]MyS. of the family of the Shambourns.



THE ANGLO-NORMAN PERIOD. 469

seas with William, Duke of Normandy, into England, he commanded the
rear of liis army in the memorable battle of Hastings, where he behaved
so bravely that he was immediately advanced to the earldom of Kichmond,
displacing Edwin, Earl of ]\Iercia.

The Norman Earl of Richmond built a strong castlcj at his capital man-
sion of Gilling, in Yorkshire, and named it Richmouut, for tho better
safeguard of himself and tenants against the dispossessed natives, whom
he treated with humanity. He restored the great Abbey of St. Mary, at
York, but did nothing that we read of in Norfolk. He married Constance,
a daughter of the Conqueror, and dying without issue, he Avas biried in
the Abbey of St. Edmund's Bury, at the south door, before the altar of
St. Nicholas. His brother Alan Niger, or Alaii the Black, succeeded him,
and died also without issue, and w;is buried at Bury St. Edmrnd's.

William I. granted to one of liis Norman wa.-riors, William, >^arl of
Warrenne and afterwards Earl of Sui'rey, 14G lordships in Norfolk and
Suffolk. As may be supposed he exercised gr(?at "oower in both counties
and he became a very formidable nobleman. H3 bult a great castle at
Castleacre in West Norfolk, and it was long the baronial sett of his
descendants. He also built a beautifu" priory at CaE;tlercre and extensive
ruins yet remain. On the death of John the last Eiarl Warrennc} n 1347
the estate passed into the hands of the female branch of the family
who intermarried with the Arundels, the aiicestors of tho Dukes of
Norfolk.

William I. granted the town of Kenninghall in Norfolk to Wil'iam de
Albini or Albany and his heirs, together with the lordship of Bokenham,
to be held by the service of being chief butler to the Kings of England
on the days of their coronation, upon which account he was calbc after-
wards pincerna regis. This manor always went with Boke:iham or
Buckenham till the division of the Albany's estate, between the four
sisters and co-heirs of Hugh de Albini, who died without issue leaving
this manor in dower to his wife Isabel, who, in 1243 had it assigned to
her by the King's license. The aforesaid William de Albini founded
Wymondham Abbey, where he was buried before the high altar by Maud
his wife, daughter of Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk, with whom he had
ten knights' fees in Norfolk, the gift of Earl Roger. He was tho son of
Roger de Albini by Amy de Mowbray his wife, and brother to that famous
Niger de Albini whose descendants assumed the name of Mowbray from
that of his mother.

William de Albini before-mentioned had a grant of the fee of Old
Buckenham, and he was succeeded by his son William with the strong
hand, so called from his having killed a lion by thrusting his arm down
its throat, according to the legends of chivalry.



470 HISTORY 01!' EASTERN ENGLAND.

Rainald was a Norman baron wlio attended William I. in his invasion
of England, and on the conquest was rewarded for liis services with nine
lordships in the Hundred of Clackclose, three in Freebridge Hundred,
one in Grimshoe, four in South Greenhoe, three in Wayland, one in
Launditch, one in Mitford, one in Gallow, one in Brothercross, one in
Holtj three in North Greenhoe, one in Loddon, four in Eynsford, one in
Taverham, five in South Erpingham, one in Tunstead Hundred, all in
Norfolk.

William I. made one of his warriors, William Gifford, Earl of Bucking-
ham, and rewarded him for his services at the conquest, with the follow-
ing lordships in Norfolk : — In the Hundred of Eynesford with Bintry,
Guestwick, Norton, Dalling, Swannington, Helmingham, and Ringland ;
in Taverham Hundred with Attlebridge and Eelthorpe ; in South Erping-
ham with Stratton, Guincham, Reppetuna, Ermingland ; in South Greehoe
with Fuldon ; in Grimshoe with Linford and Ickburgh ; in Holt Hundred
with Letheringsett, Bayfield, Glanford, Snitherby, Bodham, and Han-
worth ; in North Greenhoe with Warham; in North Erpingham with
Barningham ; in Henstead with Shottesham, Saxlingham, and Stoke.
He had also grants of three lordships in Suffolk, nine in Bedfordshire,
forty-eight in Buckinghamshire, three in Oxfordshire, five in Cambridge-
shire, one in Huntingdonshire, one in Somersetshire, one in Wiltshire,
and two in Berkshire. At the time of the survey he was sent with
Kemigius, Bishop of Lincolnshire, and some others to make that
survey.

By Agnes his wife, daughter of Gerard Elutell, sister to William,
Bishop of Eureux, in Normandy, he had Walter his son. When he (the
father) died, on July 15th, 1102, in England, his body was carried into
France, and buried at the Abbey Church of Longueville in Normandy,
which he had founded in the chapel of the cloister. Walter, his son and
heir. Earl of Bucks, in the twelfth year of Henry II., on an aid for marriage
of that King's daughter, certified that he held ninety-four and a-half
knights' fees, de vcferi fcoffumento, and one and a-half de novo. In the
time of Richard I., Richard de Clere, Earl of Hertford, descended from
Rohais, sister of this Sir Walter, was lord. Rohais was wife of Richard
FitzGilbert, ancestor of the Earls of Clere.

William de Scohies, or Escois, received a large share of the Conqueror's
favours in Norfolk, lordships in Islington, Clenchwarton, Middleton,
Runcton, Gayton, and Massingham in Freebridge Hundred ; Bircham in
Docking Hundred and Ringstead in Smithdon Hundred ; Banham,
Kenninghall, and Harling in Guiltcross Hundred; Letton in Mitford
Hundred ; Creake in Brothercross Hundred ; Sherringham, Barningham,
Repps, Beeston Regis, and Runton in North Erpingham Hundred ;



THE ANGLO-NORMAN PERIOD. 471

Salthouse in Holt Hundred ; Limpenhoe, Burlingliam, Plumstead, and
Soutliwood in Bloiield Hundred ; Winterton and Asliby in West Flegg,
Witcliingliam and Weston in Eynsf ord Hundred ; Attlebridge in Taver-
liam Hundred; Corpusty in South Erpingliam, Paston in Tunstead,
Stokesby in East Flegg, Cobiey in Humbleyard, Tasburgh in Depwade,
and Thirton in Clavering Hundred; Bircham Magna in Smithdon
Hundred. He sold the lordship of Bircham Magna, with many others, in
the reign o£ Henry I., to Walter Gififard, Earl of Buckingham, who was
succeeded by a son of his own name, and he, dying without issue, his
great inheritance was divided amongst his sisters and co-heirs.

William I. granted many lordships in Norfolk to Godric, his steward,
and he held the following at the survey in 1086 : — In South Greenhoe
Hundred, Gooderstone, Oxburgh, and Southacre ; in Forehoe Hundred,
Wramplingham and Tokethorpe ; in Walsham Hundred, Walsham and
Opeton ; in Henstead Hundred, Stoke, Poringland, Framlingham,
Ulverstone, Holveston, Rockland, Bramerton, South Burlingham, Kirby,
and Appleton ; in Loddon Hundred, Hellington, Ashby, Claxton, Norton,
Carleton, Weasingford, Sisland, and Alemunton ; in Bynsford Hundred,
Sparham and Bintry ; in Taverham Hundred, Beeston ; in Humbleyard
Hundred, Melton Magna and Parva, Hethersett, Colney, Dunston,
Swardeston, Flordon, Swainsthorpe, Keswick, and Kenningham; in
Clavering Hundred, Heckingham, Hales, Southwood.

Jervis, Earl of Harcourt in France, who came into England with the
Conqueror, was the ancestor of the Hare family in Clackclose, Norfolk.
Sir John Hare, son of the earl, married Ann, daughter of Eustace Crew,
baron of the Monte Alto. They had lands at Stow Bardolph, in Clackclose,
and their descendants inherited those lands to the end of the eighteenth
century. Some members of the family were highly distinguished. Sir
Nicholas Hare was twice chosen Speaker of the House of Commons in the
reign of Henry VIII., Master of the Rolls, and Chief Justice of Chester.

WiUiam, Lord Baynard, had from the Conqueror grants of many
lordships in Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk, including eleven manors in the
Hundred of Clackclose, in Norfolk. The principal manors were at Barton
Bendish, Bixwell, Fincham, West Dereham, Merton, &c. This Lord
Baynard, by Juga, his wife, had Jeffrey, his son and heir, who lived in
1106, succeeded by William Baynard, who taking part with Elias, Earl of
Mayne, in France, against Henry I., lost his barony of Bayuard's Castle
in London, wliich was given by the King to Robert, a younger son
of Richard FitzGilbert, ancestor of the Earls of Clare.

William I. granted the manors of Bexwell, in the Hundred of Clack-
close, and Merton, in Wayland Hundred, to Ralph Baynard, one of his
principal Norman warriors, who came over with him to England. The



472 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

descendants of this Ealpli Baynard continued to hold lands at Merton till
Isabel, an heiress of a younger branch of the family, carried the lands to
Sir Thomas de Grey, her husband, before 1306. There were many
younger branches of this Baynard family, that had good estates in other
parts of Norfolk, till a late period, but we need not mention them here.

Alan Ruf us, the son of Flaad, and Guy L'Estrange, one of his officers,
came over with the Conqueror into England. Alan married a daughter of
the Conqueror, was made Earl of Richmond after the conqiiest, and was
rewarded Avith 436 lordships, eighty-one of which were in Norfolk. Alan
was the ancestor of the Fitz Alans, Earls of Arundel.

William I. gave the Hundred of Launditch, in Norfolk, to Alan, the
son of Flaad, 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 Greenhoe, and confirmed (as some records say) by William
FitzAlan to Durand, grandson of Siward, on his paying £6 per annum
rent for the two Hundreds, and 8s. per annum for lands in Wellingham,
Sutton, and Bittering.

Alan, son of Flaad, had also with this (by grant of William I.)
the great lordship of Mileham, of which Stigand, Archbishop of
Canterbury, was lord before the conquest. William FitzAlan was his
son and heir, and married Isabel, daughter and heiress of Helias de Say.

William I., soon after the survey in 1086, granted to Alan, son of Flaad,
the town and castle of Oswaldestre, in Shropshire, which belonged to
Meredith ap Blethyn, a Briton, and had also a grant of the manor of
Mileham in Norfolk, for his father's services in that King's expedition
into England, and was ancestor of the noble family of Fitz Alans, Earls
of Arundel. Guy L'Bstrange, an officer under this Alan, had a grant
from him of the lordship of Knockyn, in Shropshire, and from this Guy
descended the ancient family of the L'Estranges, lords and barons of
Knockyn, the barons of Blackmere, and the L'Estranges of Hunstanton,
in Norfolk. The first account of this family is by Sir William Dugdale,
in his " Baronage of England."

Hermerus de Ferrars was a Norman nobleman who came over with the
Conqueror, and who for his services was well rewarded with twenty-five
lordships in Norfolk ; but not content with these lands, he invaded and
seized on other lands without any authority from the King. He seized on
the lands of thirty-two freemen in West Dereham. He had sixteen manors
in Clackclose, ten in Freebridge, one in Shropham, three in Launditch,
eleven in Mitford, and one in Humbleyard, including what he seized on
without any authority from the King.

William I. granted the manor of Wormegay, in Clackclose, to Hermerus
de Ferrars, on the deprivation of Turchetel, a Saxon thane, who held



THE ANGLO-NOEMAN TERIOD. 473

many lordships in the Hundred and county. According to the Norman
custom, the descendants of Hermcrus took the name of de Wormegay,
from "Wormegay, which was the chief manor of a barony.

William I. granted the manor of Sedgeford or Setesford to William de
Beaufoe his chancellor, who was lord of it and Bishop of Norwich when
Domesday Book was compiled ; and it was held by him as a lay fee and
his proper inheritance. Earl Gyrthe or Gurth, one of King Harold's
brothers, had the manor before the conquest, but he was killed at the
battle of Hastings, which was so fatal to many of the Anglo-Saxon
thanes of Norfolk and Suffolk.

William I. granted to Godwin Halden the hamlet of Nettington,
afterwards Gnatyngdon in Smithdon ; also the manor of Hellesdon, near
Norwich ; also the manor of Oxnead in South Erpingham, Norfolk.
Godwin Halden was a Dane, and how he came to be in such favour with
the Conqueror is not known, but that King did not dispossess all those
who did not oppose him.

Melton Constable was granted by William I. to William de Beaufoe,
Bishop of Thetford ; Roger de Lyons held it of the bishop, with Anschetel,
the provost ; from this Anschetel descended the family of De Meultou,
according to the Norman custom asfuiming that name from their lordship,
and sometimes wrote their names De Constable, from the office and place
they held under the Bishops of Norwich. At Melton Constable are the
manors of Astleys and Cockfields ; of the former. Sir Thomas Estelle,
Lord of Estelle, had a third part of the town and of the inheritance of
JefFery de Burn well, by the marriage of Edith, his third sister and co-heir,
descended from Phillip de Estelle, Lord of Astley, in the twelfth Henry II.
(which gave name to the family), and other lordships in Wanvick,
of which his granddaughter had been enfeoffed in the reign of Henry I.
Thomas, Lord Astley, who married the sister and co-heiress of Sir Eobert



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 54 of 70)