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Constable, was the great ancestor of this family, and was killed at the
battle of Evesham in the forty-ninth of Henry III.

Ralph de Beaufoe, at the time of the survey, 1086, granted the manor
of Shropham, in Norfolk, to Cauriucus, whose descendants assumed the
name of Hargham or Harpham. The family soon became very numerous,
for in the reign of Henry I. three several branches of it flourished in good
repute, but we can only notice the oldest. The head of the family was
William de Herkeham, and his descendant in 1249 was lord of the manor
and advowsons of Swanton and Hargham.

Ralph de Bellofago, or Beaufoe, was a near relation, if not son, of
William de Beaufoe, Bishop of Thetford, chaplain and chancellor to the
Conqueror, and held in 1086, at the survey, forty-one lordships in Nor-
folk. Ralph de Beaufoe left a daughter and heiress, Agnes, who was


married to Hubert de Ehye^ castellan of Norwich Castle^ wlio was son of
Hubert de Eliye, according to Dugdale, a trusty servant to William^
Duke of Normandy.

At the time of the grand survey in 1086 Beachamwellj in Clackclosej
now regarded as one town^ was two distinct and separate towns^ Beacham
and Wellj the latter being the most southern part.

Rainald^ son of Ivo^ had the grant of the lordship of Well^ on the
deprivation of Toli, a Saxon thane. Here was a fishery or fishpond. The
whole was valued at £6, but had paid £8. About seventeen freemen also
belonged to it with land, &c., valued at 13s. 4d., which Wihenoc had
invaded or seized on. Well was one leuca long and one broad, and paid
2s. to the King's gelt at 20s.

Eainald had also the lands of six freemen, valued at 2Cs. 8d., three of
these freemen were under the protection of Hennerus and Wihenoc had

In Beacham, Eainald had twenty-four acres of land, which a freeman
had been deprived of by the invasion of Wihenoc, and it paid 5s.

Eainald, son of Ivo, had also a lordship at Bexwell in Clackclose,
which passed soon after to the Earls of Clare, and was part of the manor
of Crimplesham, which also passed to the Earls of Clare.

In distributing the lands of the kingdom among his followers William I.
gave 629 manors in Suffolk, as follows : — To Hugh de Albrincis, Earl
of Chester, 32; Eobert, Earl of Morton and Cornwall, 10; Odo of
Champagne, Earl of Albemarle, 14 ; William Warren, Earl of Surrey,
18; Eudo de Ehye, steward of the household, 10; William Mallet, Lord
of Eye, 221; Eobert de Todeni, 4; Eobert de Stafford, 2 ; Alberie de
Vere, Earl of Oxford, 9 ; Jeffrey de Magnavil or Mandevill, 26 ; Eichard
de Tonebruge, or de Clare, 95; Eoger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, 117; Ealph
de Limesi, 11; Hugh de Grantmesnil, 1; Peter de Yaloines, 6; Eobert
Blund, 13 ; Ealph Baynard, 17 ; Swene de Essex, 9 ; Eoger de Aubervil,
1 4 ; Hugo de Montf ord, Ealph Baynard, Eobert Morton, Eobert de
Limesi, Hugh de Grantmesnil, Peter de Valoines, Eobert de Blund
a,nd others acquired largo estates.

Of those powerful chieftains who thus entered on possession of the
lands of the despised English, the history is very remarkable, and in
tracing* the fortunes of themselves and their descendants, if we even
question the immediate retributive justice of heaven, we must at least
acknowledge the emptiness of sublunary honour and the mutability of
earthly possessions. We may suppose a persecuted Saxon seer to have
predicted to those proud barons on the day of their triumph, their speedy
fall, and the annihilation of their race. He might have predicted that
the vengeance of heaven should soon sweep those tyrants from the earth.


He might have exulted in the prospect of the despised English flourishing
for ages in wealth and honour after the proud Norman lords were all

Eudo de Rhye died without a male heir and left only his name. The
sons of three barons were banished from the realm. The grandson of
Swene do Essex, standard bearer to Henry II. was deprived and diso-raced
for cowardice. The lines of three barons became extinct in the persons
of their sons. Three became extinct in the male hne in the third
generation and totally in the eighth ; two became extinct in the fourth,
one in the fifth, two in the sixth, and one in the ninth generation. The
line of Alberic de Vere after various forfeitures, misfortunes, and violent
deaths continued till the beginning of the eighteenth century, when it was
extinguished in the person of Aubrey de Yere, who died without male
issue in 1702. Robert de Stafford is represented through the female line
by a descendant of a more ancient Dane, Robert do Todeni merged
in female heirs in the seventh descent, and is represented, like the great
Earl de Warrenne, through female heirs by the house of Howard, but not
one of them has left his name among the noble and the gi'eat.

William T. granted six manors in Suffolk to Peter de Valeins, and his
descendants were early established at Dunwich. One of the family, Johan
de Valeins, was mayor there in 1216, which shows the probability of the
family having been residents in Dunwich long prior to that date. The
name occurs frequently in the annals of the town. Andreas was mayor in
1230, Roger in 1242, and Walter de Valeins in 1260. William, Earl of
Pembroke, was lord of a manor at Westleton, near Dunwich, called
Valeins, where stood a castle belonging to that family, demolished during
the wars of the barons.

According to an extract from the great survey of Edward the Con-
fessor, at some time betAveen 1041 and 1065, it appears that Ailmarin the
thane, held Framlingham, and he had extensive possessions in Suffolk
and Norfolk, and Edric of Laxfield, who held the fee farm of Dunwich,
had also a portion of land as a berwite within its limits. At the conquest
it appears that Hugh de Albrincis had the lands of Framlingham granted
to him by William I., who i-etained the castle for himself on account of
its strength. William II. also kept possession of the castle through liis
whole reign, but it was held by the Bigods in the following reigns.

Of the great proprietors who were established in Norfolk and Suffolk
by the Norman Conqueror, but few of their descendants held their estates
for any great length of time, and after the abolition of the feudal system
there was as great a diffusion of real property in the Eastern district as
in most other parts of the country. There are now in Suffolk 7000 free-
holders and more than 2000 copyholders. The principal baronial castles


erected in Suffolk by its early Norman lords were at Framlingham,
Bungay, Clare, Felixstow, Haugliley, Ipswich, Mettingham, Offton,
Ousden, Wingficld, Orford, and Burgli. Of tliese there are still interesting

William I. granted Bungay to Roger Bigod, with 11 G other manors,
and he is supposed to have built the castle there, which, from its com-
manding situation on a bold eminence overlooking the Waveney, and the
great strength of its fortifications was boasted of by Hugh, the next earl,
as being quite impregnable, but in 1 140 it was taken and stormed by
King Stephen, though the earl had said, "Were I in my Castle of
Bungay upon the waters of the Waveney, I would not set a button by the
King of Cockney .^^

If the reader, retracing in his own mind the facts before stated, would
form a just idea of East Anglia after the conquest, he must picture to
himself not a mere change of rulers, but a change of proprietors of the
soil, not the mere triumphs of a few warriors, but the intrusion of a foreign
people into the bosom of the nation, now quite broken up and reduced to
slavery. The farmers were driven out of house and home and made serfs.
We may imagine two nations, the Normans and the English, living on the
same land, speaking different languages, the Normans rich, the English
poor, dependent and oppressed with taxes, the Normans dwelling in vast
mansions with battlemented castles, at Norwich, Bungay, Framlingham,
Castleacre, Castle Rising ; the English lodging in thatched cottages and
ruined huts ; the Normans happy, idle nobles and knights ; the English
men of toil and sorrow, farm labourers, and mechanics. On the one side
luxuiy and insolence, on the other misery and despair.

On the accession of William Rufus to the crown in 1087, Roger Bigod,
who held the castle of Norwich, retained it, which, as it happened, was
unfortunate for the city, he being in the interest of Robert Curthose, Duke
of Normandy, elder brother to the King, whom he assisted to the utmost
of his power by garrisoning the castle, wasting the city and adjacent
country, and spoiling such as would not join with him. These troubles
were quieted or appeased by the King's promises to the English that he
would restore such laws as they desired ; but things were not settled till
1091, when the King made peace with his elder brother Robert.

William II. placed the government of Colchester under Eudo Dapifer,
the Norman noble who held large possessions there in the former reign,
and shared largely in the spoil of other parts of Essex. He was appointed
at the request of the inhabitants, who hoped, beneath the shelter of his
power, to escape the confiscation and outlawries by which many of them
had suffered under the Conqueror. Under his rule the people enjoyed
peace; the town was improved in its architecture, the castle was


strengthened^ and tlic walls were repaired. The noble Abbey of St. John
was erected with a splendour and liberality almost unknown in our day.

In 1087, a confederacy being formed against William Eufus by the
barons, the Castle of Norwich was seized for awhile by Roger Bigod, who
grievously ravaged the country round about. In 1136, Hugh Bigod did
the like upon a rumour of King Stephen's death; but upon the King
coming hither in person, the castle was surrendered to him. The King-
then gave this castle to his son William, Earl of Moreton, but ho was
dispossessed of it by King Henry II,, a.d. 1155, contrary to his

William II. granted the lordship of Stanhoe, forfeited by Odo, Bishop
of Bayeux, to William de Albiui, the louicerna regis, or King's butler,
and from him it descended to the Earl of Arundel and Sussex. AVilliam
II. also granted the lordship of Snettisham, then the largest in Norfolk,
to the same William de Albini. The manor had been forfeited by the
same Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who rebelled against the King.

In the reign of William Rufus, many Jews came from Normandy into
England, and settled in London, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmund's, Lynn,
and Norwich. Many of them were located in the new burgh of the city,
situated between the Market Place and Chapel Field. Their object seems
to have been to buy such goods of oppressed Englishmen as Christians
would not purchase, or to lend money at exorbitant interest. Hence we
may account for the hostility of the people to the Jews for many ages.


Eastern England is richer in Norman remains than any other part of
the country. These consist of castles, convents, abbeys, priories, and
churches. The castles appear to have been built about the same period,
as part of a general plan of defence. Four royal castles were built in
Essex at Colchester, Languard Fort, and Tilbury Fort, and eight others
belonging to Norman barons. Colchester Castle, perhaps the most perfect
of them all, is only an object of interest to the antiquary. The other
castles in Essex only excite wonder at the massiveness of their ruined
walls. It is diflEicult to trace the sites of the strongholds at Pleshy,
Campfield, and Ongar, the buildings having been razed to the ground.

The principal Norman castles in Suffolk were at Walton, Orford,
Framlingham, Haugliley, Bungay, and !Mettingliam. These castles were
all massive structures, built on a similar plan and intended to last for ages.
They \Vere demohshed long ago. Their founders are almost forgotten,
and have shared the same fate. The voice of merriment or of Availing has
ceased in the deserted courts, the weeds choke the entrances, and the
long grass waves over the hearth-stones.



A picturesque and venerable ruin^ stands about three miles to tlie west of
Eayleighj in tlie Hundred of RocM ord. The mouldering walls and broken
towers^ memorials of former ages, on the brow of a steep hill which rises
boldly from the water, impart a peculiar interest to the surrounding scene.
All historians agree that the castle was built in 1231 by Hubert de Burgh,
who had a grant of the honour of Rayleigh, and of Hadleigh as part of it,
from Henry III. After the fall of Hubert de Burgh, the government of
the castle was for a time in the De Tony family, from whom it passed
successively into many hands.


There is no record of the building of this castle, or any other preceding-
it here, so that any attempt to fix the date of its erection is unavailing ;
but there is evidence that a fortress stood here in the early ages of the
East Anghan kingdom, and that it was held by Uflfa and Redwald, and
subsequently by Edmund the Martyr. The present structure appears to
have iDcen built during the Norman period, when many castles were
erected by the Norman Kings, who held it for some time as a royal castle
during the reigns of William I. and William II., but their successors
granted it to the Bigods, Earls of Norfolk.

This pile of unknown antiquity is evidently a Norman structure, the
present appearance of which, with its embattled towers, its ivy-mantled
walls and venerable aspect excites the admiration of all classes of visitors ;
and now covers an area of 1a. 1e. Up. of land; but according to the old
MSS. it anciently covered a much larger space before the outer walls
inclosing the same were demolished. This shows that there was an outer
ballium inclosed with walls, which were no doubt built on the inner bank of
the outer ditch.

Camden furnishes a brief description, and says : " This is a very
beautiful castle, fortified with a rampire, a ditch, and a wall of great
thickness, with thirteen towers ; within it has very convenient lodgings."
Dr. Henry Sampson^s History contains a more minute description, written
in 1663, and he being a local historian, his account is the best, he having
been acquainted with the interior of the castle before it was demolished.
He says : " This castle was very faire and beautif uU, fortified with a double
ditch, high banks, and rampiers ; the walls, which are of great height and
thicknesse, are strengthened by thirteen towers square built, all* which
are yet to be scene, as are likewise the remains of twoe watchtowers or
barbicans on the west side. These barbicans are now corruptly called by
the common people, ' the Burganys/ This castle was inwardly furnished


witli biiildiug's very commodious and necessary, able to receive aud
entertain many. In the first court was a very deepc ^Yell of excellent
workmanship, compassed with carved pillars which supported a leaden
roofe, and though out of repair, was in being anno 1G51. In the same
court also was a neat chappell, now wholly demolished, anno 1657, and
transported into the highways."

"This castle had a drawe bridge and a portcullis over the gate, which
was the strongest tower, aud beyond the bridge, without was a half moon
of stone, about a man's height, standing anno 1657. There was on the
east side a posterne, with an iron gate, leading over a private bridge into
the park, wherein the castle standeth, which was not long since thick
beset with trees, as the stumps yet show."

"On the west side of this castle spreadeth a great lake, which is
reported to have been once navigable, and to have filled the double ditch
about the castle."

Another local historian, Zaccheus Leverland, who, between 1653 and
1673, was the first master of the Free School in Framlingham, adds some-
thing more to the account of his contemporary by entering more minutely
into details of the interior of the building. He states " that between the
hall and the chapel, fronting the great gate of the castle, was a large
chamber with several rooms and a cloister under it." And as to the
exterior he says, " That out of the castle were three passages, one a
postern with an iron gate, on the east side over a private bridge leading
into the park, where were arbours, pleasant walks, and trees planted for
profit and dehght. Another passage was on- the west side, leading to a
dungeon and forth on to the mere ; but the largest passage, and that the
most used, was that towards the town, there being formerly a portcullis
over that gate, which was made in one of the strongest towers, and a
drawbridge without, defended by a half-moon of stone, but long since
removed or gone to decay."

On the north side of the castle lies what was formerly the park, which
is three miles in circumference, containing 650 acres of land, long since
disparked and cultivated. Anciently it was enclosed with palings, and no
way or passage was allowed for carts, carriages, or horsemen, except for
the lords and their tenants. The lords also reserved a purlieu or breadth
of sixteen feet without the palings for themselves or theii* park-keepers
to walk or ride round, and claimed to have all trees growing within
that distance, though the soil was vested in the tenants. The paling
was kept up by such of the copyhold tenants as held their lands of
certain tenements called Crane's, Verdon's, and Hayward's who were
exempted from paying rent or performing other service to the lords for
the same.



Orford is a parish;, formerly a market town^ twenty miles (east by north)
from Ips"vvich. At the west-end of the town are the remains of an ancient
castle, supposed to have been built veiy soon after the Norman conquestv,
and evidently of Norman architecture. It may have been one of those
castles which the Conqueror built as part of a comprehensive plan of
defence for his newly-acquired dominions. Its Norman origin is evident
from its being coigned and in some places cased with Caen stone. As
Orford is not mentioned in Domesday book probably the castle had no
existence at the time of the conquest.

There were few castles in England before the time of the conquest,
but a large number were built in the times of William I. and his sons ;
and Orford being a convenient landing place from Flanders, was no doubt
selected as a suitable situation for a castle. Around it dependent
habitations soon began to cluster, and a chapel- of -ease to the church at
Sudbourne was built for the convenience of residents in this hamlet.
Grose said that Orford had a market as early as the reign of King Stephen,
and the right to hold markets was often conferred upon the owners or
wardens of castles.

According to Dugdale, the house of Valoius made Orford the capital
seat of their barony and a separate manor of Orford must then have come
into existence. In 1210, Hugh Bigod and John Fitz-Eobert were
appointed joint governors of this Orford Castle and Norwich Castle, and
on their removal in 1215 the command was given to Hubert de Burgh.
In 1261, the office of governor w^as conferred on PhilHp Marmion, son of
the elder Eobert Marmion, who, during the troubles in the reign of John,
attached himself to the side of Arthur and Constance, and had charge
of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, with the custody of the castles at
Norwich and Orford. In 1264, the barons then in arms against the King,
whom they had taken prisoner, entrusted Norwich Castle to Hugh Le
Despencer, who was also governor of other strongholds. After his death
this castle may have again come into the possession of De Valoins ; but
at any I'ate, in 1331, Robert de Ufford, who married Cecilia, daughter of
Cohen of Robert de Valoins, had a grant for life of the town and castle.
Possession of the castle has been traced from the De Uffords in the female
line to Lord Robert Willoughby de Eresby in 1-119, and it probably came
with the estate at Sudbourne to Sir Michael Stanhope, and thence to
Viscount Hereford, whose executors sold it in 1754 to the Earl of

The Normans introduced a new style of architectm-e, and built most
of the castles, monasteries, and many of the churches in East Anglia. In
Norwich, the castle, cathedral, and some of the. churches are Norman


structures built of fliut ; in Lynn several churches; in Yarmouth the fine
old parish church ; in Norfolk the castle at Rising, Bromholm Priory,
Binham Priory, Walsingham Priory ; in Suffolk the abbey at Bury, the
castle at Framlingham, and the castle at Bungay.


The early British warriors appear to have recognised the importance of
the position of Castleacre, and formed there massive earthworks, which
the Romans afterwards incorporated in their own more extensive entrench-
ments. The circular and horse-shoe works Avere perhaps constructed by
the Britons, and the Romans, finding the situation advantageous for a
summer camp, formed the remaining banks and ditches in such a way as
to include the existing ramparts without deviating much from their
established plan of castramentation.

After the departure of the Roman legionaries, the deserted fortress pro-
bably became alternately the property of the Saxons and Danes for several
centuries. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Castleacre belonged
to a wealthy Saxon thane named Toch or Tlioke, and formed part of his
fertile and richly-wooded estate of Acra, which comprised several neigh-
bouring parishes, including those of Southacre and AVestacre, both near
the river Nar, which was considerably broader during the Anglo-Saxon

William I. granted Castleacre, with other lordships in Norfolk, to Wil-
liam, Earl of Warrenne, and afterwards Earl of Surrey, who founded here
a great castle and a beautiful priory, the former of which was long the
baronial seat of his descendants, who received in it several royal visits.
On the death of John, the last Earl Warrenne, in 1347, this estate passed
into the hands of the female branch of the family, who had intermarried
with the Arundels, ancestors of the Dukes of Norfolk.

The earthworks, of which considerable portions still remain, cover an
area of about twenty acres, and consist of a circular hill, 150 feet in
diameter ; an outer ballium on the south side, shaped like a horse-shoe
and measuring 300 feet by 280 ; an irregular parallelogram to the west,
675 feet by 630, and a small earthwork at the north-east angle. These
earthworks are supposed to have been of British formation, but that is
mere conjecture.

William de Warrenne built a magnificent Norman castle, of which
considerable ruins still exist. The principal entrances to the castle were
from the north and south, and gave admittance to the bailiwick through
double gateways, flanked by circular turrets of solid flintwork, formerly
machicolated and provided with a portculhs. The northern gate still
remains, and is a poor rude specimen of eai-ly English work of later



date tiian the original castle. It stands at the top of Bailey Street^ the
chief street of the village, which crosses the middle of the Roman camp,
and was the place of residence of the numerous dependents^, traders, and
armourers, whose business was almost exclusively connected with the
castle. A similar double gateway, of which scarcely anything remains,
gave entrance to the outer ballium, or horse shoe work, in which the
habitable portions of the castle were situated, but only a few traces of
their existence can now be discerned, and the curtain wall which sur-
rounded and protected them is entirely gone.

From this enclosure, the inner ballium or circular work, which is more
elevated than the other, seems to have been gained by a stone stair, of
which some steps are still visible on the steep slope of the bank. Here
stood the keep or dungeon, a lofty and massive tower of oblong form, of
which only the foundations remain, though the ruins of the buttressed cur-
tain wall which encircled it are still extensive. The ditches were always
dry and had walls built across them in various places to prevent an enemy
from making the circuit of the defences in case of attack.


William I. gave Castle Rising and other property to his half-brother,
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and on his rebellion against William Rufus, that
King granted the same to William de Albini, irincerna whose son and

Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 55 of 70)