OBHAM, or as it was formerly written Cobholm 1 , now
comprising an area of about twenty-seven, acres, was
formed by an accumulation of mud and silt washed down
by the river, which gradually consolidated until it became
dry land. It was formerly an island (and is still so called), having been
separated from Southtown by a channel called Lady's Haven, which ran
from Breydon to the river, as shewn in the Elizabethan plan so often
referred to, at which period there was no building upon it. Cobham
ceased to be an island about the year 1780, when the water passage at
the Breydon end having silted up the river wall was carried across it and
the channel became a ditch, receiving however some of the drainage
from the adjoining marshes. Cob signifies a water fowl, locally a
seagull;* and holme "a low land near a river;" and where joined to
another word it usually signifies "a place surrounded by water." f In
early times this place was the favorite resort of water fowl, which in vast
numbers frequented Breydon; t than which no place could be more
suitable to their habits, as every ebbing tide left extensive borders of
mud or "flats" exposing abundance of the small Crustacea and other
food congenial to the duck tribe; and the water was rarely so entirely
frozen as not to furnish a profusion of small fish, crabs, and insects.
* Cob in Celtic also means a month, a harbour, an entrance.
f Professor Leo in his Treatise on the Nomenclature of the Anglo Saxons, defines the
word ham to mean anything that obstructs or so obstructed,—hems in or is hemmed in,—
whether a meadow, a swamp, a bank, or isolated land won from a river. Thus we have in
this neighbourhood Reed-ham, Lud-ham, Surling-ham, and many others. The late Rev.
Edward Gillett, Vicar of Runham (an eminent linguist), thought that many places now
spelt "ham" were corrupted from "holme;" and quoted Martham and Runham, originally
Martholm and Runholm.
t From the Anglo-Saxon Braeden, Bradan or Breaden to Broaden, meaning a sheet
of water formed by the expansion of a river over a flat country.
1 And is now again so called (2008).
Yarmouth, is the "Sea Gate" of East Anglia, and offers the first
resting place for birds crossing the North Sea or German Ocean. Here
they strike the land and stay for some time; and hence this part of the
Norfolk coast has always been famous for affording rare specimens of
birds of a migratory nature. Their number and variety have gradually
decreased as drainage has advanced. No ornithological event, says
Stevenson, appears to have excited greater interest than the irruption of
that Tartar species of grouse, Pallas's sand-grouse (Syrrhaptes
paradoxus), in 1863. Nine of these birds were observed together on the
North Beach, and several were shot there and on Breydon wall.* Birds
of passage making for the land during the night, frequently year by
year, strike the several floating and land lights, and are found dead in
the morning. Some birds are also killed by striking against telegraph
wires. Boating and shooting on Breydon have for centuries afforded
amusement to the inhabitants of Yarmouth. f
Until the 15th century Cobham Island was continually overflowed
and of no value; but the corporation appear at an early period to have
taken possession of it as appertinent to the borough, although divided
from it by the river Yare. In 1481 they let the lands to Robert Ashton at
4 s. a year. In 1578 the corporation appointed a committee to inspect
Cobham Island, and report whether it should be maintained by fencing it
against the inroads of the waters, or whether it should be left to chance.
They probably recommended the former, as in the nest century Cobham
Island greatly increased in value. In 1656, the town being in great
distress for want of money to expend upon the haven, it was determined
by the corporation to sell the island, with the houses and salt-pans §
thereupon it, in the occupation of Matthew Goodwin.
* Eighteen were shot at Horsey by Mr. Robert Rising and his son, Captain Rising,
R.N. See ante-p, 73.
f Sylas Neville, writing in 1769, says, "After dinner hired Samuel Smith and a boat
to go a shooting in the marshes up Breydon. We had very good sport, killing many
reeves, redshanks, and green plovers."
t In 1489 Robert Ashton was bailiff with Robert Crowmer. When Manship
completed his Repertory in 1612, there was among the records a "Lease from the Towns
to Augustyne Parker of Cobholme."
§ In 1635, when, the crown endeavoured to obtain a revenue independent of
Parliament by the grant of monopolies and other similar expedients Sir Henry
This intention being made public, Major Burton offered £555 for the
property; but, instead of a gale, the corporation borrowed £250 upon
security of it. In the following year, however, the corporation sold
Cobham Island to Mr. Alexander Bence for £530 ; he having previously
Dibb, Knt, and Bart., Sir William Lampton, Sir William Belasis. Sir Richard Brooke, Sir
Nicholas Tempest, and others, formed an association for the purpose of constituting
themselves the sole makers of salt from Berwick to Southampton. For this monopoly they
obtained a patent from Charles I.; and the price of salt as a natural consequence greatly
increased. The late Mr. John Bruce (see vol. ii., p. 421), in his preface to the Calendar of
State Papers, gives the following example of the arbitrary way in which these monopolies
were granted. Two speculators, Nicholas Murford and Christopher Hanworth, who had
obtained the working of the salt works, looked with longing eyes upon the broad expanse
of the adjoining marshes, and alleging that the whole had been originally won from the sea,
contended that the king had a legal right over the same; and counsel having complacently
advised in favor of the claim, letters in the king's name were sent to Sir John Wentworth of
Somerleyton, Sir William Paston, and other owners, informing them of his majesty's
intention to settle those lands for the manufacture of salt "against all such as pretended
themselves to be owners," but finding Murford and Hanworth willing to yield some
satisfaction, the king recommended the landowners to treat 1 with the salt makers, "lest
otherwise he should use the power of his right." Startled by a claim so audacious, and
supported in a manner so peremptory, the two knights addressed the king by petition,
affirming that the marshes in question were their "proper inheritance " and had never been
overflowen by the sea, and that the proposed application of their marshes, by causing a
want of pasture for horses and cattle, would be prejudicial to Yarmouth, and they prayed
that the business might be referred to some persons of quality in the neighbourhood to
examine into the commodity coveted by the salt makers, the unfitness of the place, and the
prejudice that would ensue to the town, the lands, and the inhabitants. The king appears to
have treated the matter as a squabble between private parties; but his council probably saw
the gross injustice of the whole proceeding, for nothing more came of it. The salt
monopoly however still continued and excited much discontent in Yarmouth; and the
corporation protested loudly, but could obtain no redress. Their remonstrances never
ceased; and they employed Mr. Horth to represent their case to the Privy Council. In 1638,
to their surprise, they found that this agent had obtained leave to import 300 weys of
foreign salt, which he had turned to his own personal profit. A long controversy ensued,
which ended in Horth proposing that the corporation should join him in procuring a "New
Patent for Salt" to extend from Berwick to Weymouth, paying his majesty £9,000 a year
for the same; but the corporation wisely declined, and joined Southampton, Weymouth,
and other ports, in petitioning for a free trade in salt, both foreign and native, but without
success. Horth then obtained this monopoly for himself, but enjoyed it only two years; for
one of the first things done by the Long Parliament was to declare the grant, of these
monopolies illegal.
1 To make a treaty, bargain or agreement.
been the tenant. Bence sold the property to Mr. Thomas Bendish, who,
as we have already seen, resided at Southtown. He worked the salt-
pans ; and Dean Davies, in his diary so often quoted in this work, says,
under date 8th July, 1689, "I walked with Dr. Hutson to Mr, Bendish's
house, and saw all his contrivances to make salt." After his death the
business of salt making was continued by his widow, the celebrated
Bridget Bendish, who appears to have conducted it with considerable
ability and success.
The Island of Cobholme, with the salt works, houses, summer
house, cinder ovens, brick kiln, mills, reservoirs, pans, and cisterns,
came into the possession of Robinson Farrow, who in 1771 was
declared bankrupt, and the whole were sold by public auction. f
In the latter part of the last century the salt-pans became the
property of Mr. Jonathan Symonds, who died in 1803, aged 65, leaving
a daughter, Phillis, married to Edmund Preston, Esq. (See vol. i., p.
221.) Mr. Preston worked the salt-pans for many years; but ultimately
the increased facilities of obtaining salt direct from the mines in
Cheshire, and the abolition of the duty, rendered them unprofitable, and
the manufacture was discontinued.
Recently many houses and other buildings have been erected on
Cobham Island, which pay rates to Great Yarmouth; for although
locally in the hundred of Mutford and Lothingland, in the County of
Suffolk, Cobham is found to be within the Parish of Great Yarmouth.
The population is now about 800.
* Corbridge's Map shows the position of the seven salt pans, with a house, probably
the residence of the manager, having an enclosed garden. This was probably the house
visited by Dean Davies 1 .
f "Being near the Anqel Inn," says Sylas Neville, writing in 1771, "at the time
Cobholm Island was to be sold there by auction, stepped in and saw it sold for near
£1,000 less than it sold for two years ago."
1 It also shows a building which may be incorporated within the old fish houses at 131
Mill Road Cobholm. See RRH.
Gorleston was Gorleston, ere Yarmouth begun
and will be Gorleston when Yarmouth is gone.
Gorleston, great will one day be;
Yarmouth buried in the sea. 1
HE island formed by the Waveney which, after meeting
the Yare at Breydon, flowed with one united stream into
the sea at Yarmouth, and which in its winding course
through Oulton Broad and Lake Lothingland another
outlet at Lowestoft,* was called Lothingland; and at its
northeast corner was Gar-les-ton, the little town on the
Gar or Yare, now called Gorleston in Suffolk, f
* Many parishes in Norfolk and Suffolk were named by the Danes from places in
Denmark, as in modern times emigrants are fond of naming their new settlements from
places they had left in the old world. It was therefore been suggested that Lowestoft way
have been so called from Loyetoft in the Isle of Laaland.
f Above is an engraving of the "Hundred Seal," now in the possession of R. Fitch,
Esq., of Norwich. In 1763 Lothingland was incorporated with Mutford. Gorleston
(Gorlestuna) was formerly written Garleston and the name is still vulgarly so pronounced.
1 If the parallel groynes erected along the beach at Gorleston had not ben thus placed, and
proved exceedingly effective (erected in 1977), then Gorleston would have been eroded
away quite naturally by the sea, and already have disappeared; yet Great Yarmouth has
need no such protection.
Gorleston was inhabited by the Britons when the sand upon which
Yarmouth is built was still submerged 1 . There is a tradition that the
Druids had a temple at Gorleston, some remains of which existed down
to a comparatively recent period. It is supposed to have stood on a field
next the road to Lowestoft, upon what is called Great Stone Close; and it
has been asserted that some huge stones remained standing until 1768,
when they were destroyed by digging round their base and dragging
them down by ropes. There are also two fields called Further Stone Close
sail. Middle Stone Close 2 , so that it is possible the Druidical circle, if it
ever existed, may have had a wide extent.*
The R OMANS took possession of Gorleston, and it is said with great
probability, formed a fortified camp on the high ground overlooking the
entrance of the Ostium Garienis. There is nothing now to mark the site;
but as it was probably on the brow of the cliff, it may have been washed
away by the inroads of the sea. Evidences of a Roman occupation have
been discovered from time to time in various parts of Gorleston, but none
unfortunately have been preserved. f
On the evacuation of this part of the country by the Romans, the
S AXONS took and maintained possession of Gorleston. It was under their
rule that Christianity was introduced, but little progress was made until
Sigebert, King of East Anglia, brought over a Burgundian priest named
Felix, who was made a bishop in 636, and fixed his seat or see
* The late Mr. W. E. Randall of Gorleston, who died in 1855, left numerous papers
relating to and drawings of antiquities, which he asserted had existed in Gorleston; and if
they could he relied on they would be highly interesting; but as many of his statements are
certainly imaginary, so much doubt has been thrown upon his collections, as to make it
prudent not to use or quote from them unless supported by corroborative evidence. His
papers are now in the British Museum, and are well calculated to mislead those
unacquainted with the circumstances. In 1831 Mr. Randall edited the Gorleston and South
town Magazine, which however was short lived.
f In 1770 a small Roman vase was found in Sir John Castleton’s garden, six inches
in height, and formed of fine clay of a brown colour, highly ornamented with fruit and
flowers. On one side of the mouth was the head and bust of a female beautifully executed;
on the opposite side there had been a similar ornament, but it was unfortunately broken.
On the manor farm in 1817 several Roman urns containing calcined bones were, it is said,
dug up; and at another time and place some Roman weapons, probably javelin heads,
were discovered, which the common people called "Roman bayonets," and used for
1 The sea was so much further out in Roman times that neither Gorleston nor
Yarmouth were anywhere near it. See RRH.
2 Thought to be the site of the water works at Middleton Road.
at Dunwich, a place on the Suffolk coast now completely submerged. It
is probable that a small wooden church was about this time erected at
Gorleston, and very likely on the site of the present church.
It ia unnecessary here to insert the well-known story of L OTHBROC ,
the Dane who, escaping from, his own country, entered the mouth of the
Yare at Gorleston, and drifting up the river to Reedham, met with his
death at the Anglo-Saxon court.* Suffice it to say that the countrymen
of the murdered Dane speedily revenged his death, for, appearing on the
coast in great numbers, they landed at Gorleston, which they sacked and
burnt 1 , and proceeding up the river extended their ravages to Norwich,
and eventually endeavoured to subjugate the entire country. Their
oppressions at length caused the natives to rise in 1002, when a general,
massacre took place, which was followed by a terrible revenge ; for in
the following year S WEYN landed with an overwhelming force at
Gorleston, which was again burnt and the inhabitants butchered. The
D ANES held Gorleston, keeping a garrison there under Thirketel, until
1021, when that general was displaced by C ANUTE who, it is believed,
had a residence there. Eventually becoming amalgamated with the
people and embracing Christianity, the Danes assisted the Anglo-
Saxons in re-building their churches with flint and stone. That Gorleston
and its immediate neighbourhood had been the scenes from time to time
of great conflicts, may be inferred from the number of human bones and
broken weapons which have been discovered, especially at a place
called Lillypit or Limbpit on the east side of the road leading from
Gorleston to Bradwell. f
In the time of King Harold, Gorleston was held by Earl G UERT , f sixth son
of Earl Godwin, brother of Edith, the Queen of Edward the
* See Notes to Manship, pp. 214, 322. Spelman's Icenia.
f This place was long considered by the vulgar to be haunted by evil spirits, which
were sometimes seen flitting about in dark nights, These were probably "Will of the
Wisps" or "Jack o' Lanterns;" appearances which can now be accounted for by natural
causes. This place was also celebrated for its profusion of wild violets.
t Freeman in his Norman Conquest, vol. iii., p. 276, a work of wonderful research,
spells the name Gyrth; but in some of his quotations it is Guert, and it is also spelt Guerth
and Gurth.
1 Yarmouth was certainly burned to the ground also. See RRH.
Confessor; and we find by the survey made in the reign, of the latter
that he had in Gorleston five slaves and twenty villiens. There were
then but 10 acres of meadow (the present marshes being overflowed)
and three salines or salt pans used for extracting salt from sea water.
The comparative importance of Gorleston may be inferred from the fact
that in the time of the Saxons the now flourishing town of Lowestoft
was a Ceruite attached to the great manor of Gorleston. Earl Guert was
slain at the battle of Hastings fighting for his brother, King Harold;*
and his large possessions in Norfolk and Suffolk were seized by the
Conqueror, and for the most part bestowed upon his followers—De
Warren, Earl of Surrey, De Gournay, and Fitz Osbert. The Manor of
Gorleston remained in the hands of the King until Henry III. granted it
to W ARREN DE M OUNTCHENSEY , by the service of one knight's
* See Blomefield's Norfolk, vol. ii., p. 196 ; find vol. vi., p. 231. Guerth, Earl of
Suffolk, was, says Falgrave in his Normandy (vol. hi., p. 308), " praised for his singular
merit and virtue." His death, is thus described by Freeman in his Norman Conquest, vol.
iii., p. 488. "Duke William spurred on right in the teeth of the " English king. Before he
could come to handstrokes with Harold, a spear hurled " by the hand of Gyrth, checked
his progress. The weapon so far missed aim that "the duke himself was unhurt, but his
noble Spanish horse, the first of three that fell under him that day, came to the ground.
Duke William could fight on foot as well as on horseback. He rose to his feet, and pressed
straight to seek the man who had so nearly slain him. Duke and earl met face to face; and
the Englishman " fell crushed beneath the stroke of the Norman." Palgrave thus describes
the same event. "Garth was at the foot of Harold's standard—without hope, but without
fear. He fell by the falchion of William,—the English banner was cast down—and the
gonfalon, planted in its place, announced that William of Normandy was "the conqueror"
(vol. iii., p. 318).
f Roger Bigot was the king’s steward over the whole lordship; and upon the
rebellion of Ralph de Guador was appointed in 1077 Earl of Norfolk and Constable of
Norwich Castle; a fortress which had been erected by King William on the site of an
ancient stronghold of the Britons and Saxons. Guader (see vol. i., p. 13) was, according to
Sir Francis Palgrave in his Normandy, p. 400, a Breton who had rendered good service to
William and had been amply rewarded; but incurred his displeasure by having become
betrothed to Fitz Osbert's daughter (p. 508). On the other hand the Saxon Chronicle states
that he was born in Norfolk; and Freeman in his Norman Conquest, vol. iii. p. 751, asserts
with confidence, and apparently of a good authority, that Guador was of English birth by a
Breton mother. Having gone into rebellion he was attacked and routed near Cambridge,
but escaped to Norwich, and by sea from Yarmouth to the continent.
fee; on whose death in 1255 it reverted to the crown, and was granted
by the same king to J OHN DE B ALIOL ,* who in right of his wife was then
in possession of the half hundred of Lothingland and the fee-farm of
Yarmouth. f
J OHN - DE B ALIOL , King of Scots, son of Devorgilia, inherited the
Lordship of Gorleston and the fee-farm of Yarmouth, but having
renounced his homage to Edward I. these estates were forfeited to the
crown in 1296; and in 1316 Edward II. bestowed the Manor of
Gorleston upon J OHN DE D REUX ,§ his cousin, who was son of John, Duke
* In Swindon, p. 71, there is a slight pedigree of Baliol, which is corroborated in
Vincent's Collections in the College of Arms (No.52).
f John le Scot, Earl of Chester (son of David, Earl of Huntingdon, by Maud his wife,
sister and co-heir of Ranulph, 7th Earl of Chester), dying without issue in 1244, his lands
were inherited by hig three sisters; but the King in the exercise of his royal prerogative,
fearing so fair a dominion should be divided among women, took possession, and instead
thereof gave other estates of equal or greater value. To Devorgilia, daughter and co-heir
of Alan de Galloway by Margaret, eldest sister of the above earl, who had married John
De Baliol, he gave the half hundred of Lothingland and the fee-farm of Yarmouth, then
vested in the crown. The above Earl of Chester bore or. , three piles meeting in base gu,
Devorgilia de Baliol exhibits on her seal a shield with only two piles. In Domesday Book
Lothingland (Ludingaland), is returned as the King's estate.
t John de Baliol is believed to have been buried in Newby Abbey, founded by
Devorgilia, near Dumfries. His widow caused his body to be embalmed, and his heart to
be placed in a case of ivory bound with silver near the high altar, on which account this
abbey was called " Sweetheart." Ingram's Memorials of Oxford. Baliol was one of the
twelve competitors for the crown of Scotland in 1290, on the death of Alexander III.
Edward I became the arbitrator, and offered the crown to Robert Bruce, upon whose
refusal it was conferred upon Baliol, who afterwards leagued with France to the prejudice
of England, whereupon Edward I. declared war against Scotland. Baliol was sent a
prisoner to England, and was subsequently permitted to live privately in France.
Sandford's Genealogical History.
§ The arms of John de Dreux, Earl of Brittany, were—
cheques or. and a bordure gu,, over all a canton erm. The old Earls
of Richmond bore gu,, abend erm. ; but Alice their heir having
conveyed the earldom to her husband, Peter de Dreux, who had
livery of all the lands of the Manor of Richmond in 1219, the
subsequent earls bore the Dreux arms— chequy or. , and az. , with
the ermine in a canton, and after the alliance with the Royal Family
of England, the bordure was charged with eight lions pass, guard,
Brittany and Earl of Richmond, by Beatrice his wife, daughter of Henry
III. He sat in Parliament as John de Brittany, Earl of Richmond; and
died circa 1334, s.p., and was buried in the Church of the Grey Friars in
Newgate Market. He was succeeded in his title and estate by his
nephew, J OHN D E D REUX , called Earl of Montford, who was the son and
heir of Arthur, Bute of Brittany. He died s.p. in 1341, leaving J OHN DE
M ONTFORD , his half brother, who became Duke of Brittany, but the
Earldom of Richmond and the Manor of Gorleston reverted to the
crown. In 1386 Richard II gave the latter to M ICHAEL DE L A P OLE ,
whom in the previous year he had created Earl of Suffolk. De la Pole
had acquired large estates in Suffolk by his marriage with Catherine,
daughter and heir of Sir John Wingfield, Knt.* He was outlawed in
1388, and died at Paris. The next possessor of the manor was J OHN
H OLLAND , Earl of Huntingdon, who was nearly allied to the royal
family, being a son of Thomas, Earl of Kent, by Joan, daughter and heir
of Edmund, Earl of Kent, younger son of Edward I., but falling into
disgrace was beheaded, and all his honors and estates were forfeited. In
1397 the manor was given to M ICHAEL DE LE P OLE , son and heir of the
former lord, and he in the same year was restored to the Earldom of
Suffolk. He married Katharine, daughter of Hugh, Earl of Stafford, and
died of the flux at Harfleur in 1415. He was succeeded by his son and
heir, M ICHAEL DE LA P OLE , third Earl of Suffolk, who married
Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and was
slain at the battle of Agincourt. Leaving no issue male he was succeeded
by his uncle, W ILLIAM DE LA P OLE , who was created Marquis of Suffolk
in 1444 and Duke of Suffolk in 1448. He married Alice, daughter of Sir
Thomas Chaucer, Knt. son of Geoffrey Chaucer the poet. Accused of
intriguing with Queen Margaret, he was attainted and banished to
France in 1450, but met his death before reaching that country, f J OHN
DE LA P OLE , his son and heir, was
* Pedigrees of Wingfield will be found in Blore's History and Antiquities of Rutland
and in Croke's Family Sistory. See Hollingshead, p. 450.
f On the iij day of May," says an old chronicler, "he took shippe at Ipswich" and
sailed forth into the high sea, where another shippe, called the Nicholas of the Tower, lay
in waits for him and took him. And they that were wythynne graunted him space of a day
and a nygthe to shryve him and make him redy to God. And
restored to the family honors in 1453. He married Elizabeth, daughter
of Richard Plantagenet, Date of York, and sister of Edward IV. He held
the Manor of Gorleston until his death in 1491, and was buried in
Wingfield Church. He was succeeded by his son and
heir, E DMUND DE LA P OLE , Duke of Suffolk, who was
attainted and beheaded on Tower Hill in 1513, when
all his estates were forfeited to the crown. The De la
Poles bore az., a fesse betw. three leopards' heads
cabosed or. In 1510 Henry VIII. granted the Manor
of Gorleston to E DWARD J ERNEGAN , Esq.* (or
" then a knave or Yoland smote of his hed upon the side of the boot, notwithstanding his
saafe conduct, and the body and the hed were east to the land at Dover," and were huried
in Wingfield Church,
* This family, which at one time possessed nearly the whole of Lothingland with
other large estates in Suffolk, trace their descent to a period anterior to the Conquest.
Their earliest seat was at Horham in the hundred of Hoxne, where Hubert Jernegan died in
1239, leaving a son. Sir Hugh Jornegan, who removed to Stonham in the same county,
which became the principal seat of the family until they settled at Somerleyton, of which
estate they had become possessed by the marriage of Sir Walts Jernegan with Isabella,
daughter of Sir Peter Fitz Osbert, and heir to her brother, Sir Roger Fitz Osbert, who was
summoned to Parliament in 1294, and died s.p. The Jernegans remained at Somerleyton
until the death of John Jernegan, and with him the elder branch of this family became
extinct in the male line. Frances, one of his daughters and co-heirs, married, her cousin,
Henry Jemingham of Costessy, the son of Sir Henry Jerningham, who was the direct
ancestor of the present Lord Stafford, and by him the Somerleyton estate was sold to Sir
John Wentworth. In the chancel of Somerleyton Church there is a tomb with this
inscription :—
Jesus Christ—Both God and man—
Save thy servant, — Jernegan
What goodness veiled in frail mortality ;
A godly mind, a goodly shape in youth,
A bounteous hand, wise heart, unspotted truth
These jewels ceas'd to the highest use by death,
So here laid up, the owner, Elisabeth.
A very full account of the Jerningham family will be found in Druery's Historical and
Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth, p. 165 ; and there is a very complete
What worth in woman, or a wife could b
Another epitaph claims attention on account of its singularity. It is in Dickleburgh
Church, to the memory of Elizabeth, daughter of John Jernegan, "of Belton in Somerlee,"
Esq., Sonne unto Sir John Jernegan, Knt., and wife of Thomas Whippe, who died in 1617,
aged 65.
ham as the name was afterwards spelt), Lord of the Manor of Somerleyton, who
died in 1515,* leaving it; to Mary, his widow (by his second marriage), a
daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard Scrope of Bolton. She afterwards
became the wife of Sir William Kingston, K.G. On her death in 1547 S IR
H ENRY J ERNEGAN , her son and heir, succeeded. He was a great supporter of
Queen Mary on the demise of Edward VI. in 1553, and proclaimed her at
Norwich. He died in 1572, aged 63.
W ILLIAM T RIPP and R OBERT D AWE obtained a grant of the Manor of
Gorleston from the crown in 1589. f. J OHN A RUNDEL and C HARLES
pedigree in Suckling's Suffolk, vol. ii., p. 46. Sir Walter Scott having in Feveril of the
Peak bestowed the name of Jernegan upon a menial of the Duke of Buckingham, the late
Dowager Lady Bedingfeld addressed an indignant remonstrance to the great novelist, in
which she tells him that "as adherents to King Harry's eldest" daughter, as true subjects to
her successors, as laithful followers of the unfortunate "Charles and his posterity, and as
loyal and attached servants of the present royal stock, the name of Jemingham has ever
remained unsullied in honor, and uncontaminated by aught unfitting its knightly origin."
Fitz Osbert bore gu., three bore
gemelle or., and a canton arg. Jernegan
arg., three arming buckles gu. These
coats in stained glass appear in a window
at Somerleyton Hall. The above-named
Edward Jernegan by his marriage with
his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir
Edmund Bedingfeld, Knt., had a eon,
Sir John Jernegan, who inherited the
Somerleyton Manor
and estate, the Manor of Gorleston going, as we have seen, to his half-brother. By an
inquisition taken on the death of Sir John Jernegan, it was found that he held lands of the
Manor of Gorleston called Reppes, a messuage called Grevys, another called Page's, and
another called Cales. For the descent of the Manor of Gorleston the Jerningham family,
see the Suffolk Collections in the College of Arms.
* By the Inquis.p. mort, it appears he died seized of the East, West, North, and South
Leets in Gorleston. There were formerly a set of stewards for these leets, elected from
among the chief tenants of the manor, called cheevers, whose duty it was to collect the
rents, but the custom has long fallen into disuse.
t How this grant came to be made does not appear, but in 1584 a private enquiry was
instituted by the crown as to the " cheafe possessyonors " in Lothingland, and as to their
religious and political opinions. By the return which is preserved among the Domestic
State Papers, it is stated that Edward Jernegan, Esq., was Lord of Lothinglaod, and had a
great howse these and divers manors, namely Lowestoft and others. John Jernegan of
Somerleyton had been indicted for the then late
W ALDEGRAVE * were lords in 1592, and T HEOPHILUS A DAMS and
T HOMAS B UTLER f had a grant of the reversion. From them it passed to
H ENRY J ERNINGHAM , Esq., whose son and heir S IR H ENRY J ERNINGHAM
sold it to T HOMAS , H ERNE and C HRISTOPHER H IRNE ; Clement Hirne
obtaining a grant of the reversion. In 1609 S IR J OHN H EVENINGHAM and
Bridget his wife became possessed of this manor by purchase of the
Hirnes, and were succeeded by their son and heir, W ILLIAM
treason in Norfolk, and pardoned for it, and was " well housed." John Hubberd was a
confederate, and had been condemned for misprison of treason. Robert Letter was an
obstinate recreant. George Harvey, late steward to the Lord Morley, had fled out of the
realm, and was "very evil accounted of concerning religion." Robert Baspole was of
popish behaviour, and had been charged for "hearing of masse." John Hoo, John
Wentworth, Mr. Bote ("a notorious evyll man"). Mr. Malyme, John Bilker, Mr. Drurie,
Mr.Rookwood, Mr. Waters, and Anthony Mighells, were men "suspected of religion" and
"without regard of glorie to God, honor to her majesty, or happiness to the people;" and
one of them was accused of striking a constable upon the face, and with taking the
examination of Bolto, a seminary priest, and not certifying the same. A family named Hoo
were seated at Hoo Hall in Suffolk, which passed to the Wingfields and Nauntons. Hoo
bore az., a chev. betw. three, escallops arg. The Rokewodes or Rookwoods were an old
family at Stanningfield in Suffolk, who bore arg., six chess-rooks sa. Ambrose Rookwood
was implicated in the gunpowder plot, and executed at Tyburn in 1605.
* This family had large possessions in Suffolk, and bore per pale arg. and gu.
f A road leading from High Street to the river was called Butler's Lane.
t Heveninghiim, a parish in Suffolk, gave its name to this once powerful family (see
vol. i., p. 317; and Notes to Manship, pp. 206 and 294). The above-named William
Heveningham was the son of Sir Arthur Heveningham, who was the grandson of Sir
Anthony Heveningham by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir John Shelton of Shelton (see
vol. i., p. 316). His mother was Bridget, daughter of Christopher Paston, son of Sir
William Paston. William Heveningham was one of the nineteen regicides who
surrendered at the restoration. His wife was daughter and heir of John, Lord Dover. She
died in 1606 at her house in Jermyn Street, London where, says Le Neve in his private
diary, "I saw her lay in state." He records that her body was afterwards carried in
procession through the city, "with penons, escocheons, and banner rolls; although," adds
the dismayed herald, "her husband had been attainted as one of the regicides and never
restored." She was buried at Ketteringham in the same vault with her husband; the estate
of Ketteringham (now the property of Sir Francis G. M. Boileau, Bart.) as well as that of
Heveningham having been vested in her by the grant of Charles II. Her son, Sir William
Heveningham, was knighted by that monarch. He married Barbara, daughter of Lord
Grandison, in Ireland, and left Abigail, Ida only child, who married Henry Heron, Esq.
whom it was forfeited for high, treason. The crown however made a
grant of this manor to Viscount Cullen, Richard Paget, Esq., and
William Eyton, Esq., as trustees for Lady Heveningham, and by them in
1664 this manor was conveyed to S IR R OBERT P ASTON , who in 1679
sold it to Admiral S IR T HOMAS A LLIN , Knt., and Bart.* He died in
1686, and was succeeded by his son and heir. S IR T HOMAS A LLIN , Bart.,
who died in 1689 s.p., when the baronetcy became extinct. Alice, his
daughter and sole heir, married Edmund Anguish, Esq., of Moulton. f
R ICHARD A NGUISH , their son, assumed the name of Allin, and was
created a baronet in 1699. He married Frances, only daughter of Sir
Henry Ashhurst, Bart., of Waterstock in Oxfordshire, and died in 1726.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, S IR T HOMAS A LLIN , who filled the
office of High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1730, and died in 1764 unmarried.
S IR A SHHURST A LLIN , Rector of Blundeston cum Flixton, his next
brother and heir, succeeded, and died in 1770, leaving a son, S IR
* This distinguished naval commander was bom in 1613. He was captain of one of the
ships in the service of the commonwealth, which went over to the Prince of Wales. In
1663 he was constituted commander-in-chief in the Downs, and the next year in the
Mediterranean; and afterwards achieved a victory over the Dutch fleet, for whioh he
received the honor of knighthood; and in 1666 he commanded in a decisive action with
the French and Dutch allied fleets, for which he was created a baronet in 1673. He retired
to repose on his laurels at Somerleyton Hall, and dying in 1685, aged 72, was buried in
the Parish Church, where his marble bust may still be seen, with a Latin inscription to his
memory. He married (first) Alice, daughter of Capt. Whiting, R.N., of Lowestoft; and
(secondly) Elizabeth Anguish. There is a
portrait of him by Kneller, which has been
engraved. In Lowestoft Church there is a
monument of alabaster, with a very
remarkable inscription to the memory of
Anne, the youngest daughter of the admiral,
who died in 1604, in her seventeenth year;
and on her tomb are the arms of Allin— gu.,
three swords barwise arg. points to the
sinister side, hilts and pomels or. betw. four mullets of the third; and for a crest, a sword
in pale, point upwards. See Papworth, p. 1110.
f Anguish bore gu., a cinquefoil pierced or.; and for a crest, a snake coiled, encircled
with grass, with the motto— Anquis latel in Herbâ. The family of Anguish was of
considerable antiquity, Edward Anguish having held the Manor of Moulton in 1609 of
the Earl of Northampton.
T HOMAS A LLIN , upon whose decease, unmarried, in 1794, the second
baronetcy became extinct, but the family estates with the Manor of
Gorleston passed to his kinsman, T HOMAS A NGUISH , Esq., Accountant-
General of the Court of Chancery, who was the great-grandson of
Edmund Anguish and Alice his wife already mentioned. He died
unmarried in 1810, and was succeeded by bis brother and heir, the R EV .
G EORGE A NGUISH , a Prebendary of Norwich Cathedral, who died in
1843, also unmarried, in his 80th year, having devised the Somerleyton
estate and his Lordship of Gorleston to his nephew, L ORD S YDNEY
G ODOLPHIN O SBORNE , only son of Francis Godolphin, 5th Duke of
Leeds, by his second wife, Catherine, the prebendary's sister.* In 1844
Lord S. G. Osborne sold the Estate with the Manor of Gorleston to S IR
S AMUEL M ORTON P ETO , Bart., some time M.P. for
Norwich, who bears per pale indented or. and gu.,
barry of six, two annulets in fesse, all counterchanged;
and for a crest, on a rock ppr . a sinister wing or.,
thereon three annulets gu.; and from him the
Somerleyton estate passed by sale to the late S IR
F RANCIS C ROSSLEY , Bart., M.P., f but the Manor of
Gorleston was then severed, and is now vested to R ICHARD H ENRY
R EEVE , Esq., of Lowestoffe. (See vol. i. p. 270.)
There is another manor in Gorleston called B ACONS , because it
was for centuries held by the illustrious Suffolk family of that name. It
* Known before her husband's succession to the dukedom, as Marchioness of
Carmarthen. " I went last evening," says Sir Gilbert Elliott, first Earl of Minto, writing in
1788, "to Lord North’s, and found my old friend Lady Carmarthen there, who really is a
most pleasing woman, and is most certainly a far-prettier marchioness than she was a
girl." Life and Letters, vol. i. p, 235.
t His principal residence was at Belle Vue, Halifax, where he died in 1872, aged 54,
having by his will devised the Somerleyton estate to his only child, now Sir Savile
Brinton Crossley, second baronet, who bears gu., a chevron indented erm. betw. two cross
crosslets in. chief and a saltire couped in base or.; and for a crest, a demi-hind erased
ppr., charged with two bars or., and holding between the feet a cross crosslets , with the
motto— Omne bonum ab alto. For a memoir see the British Workman, 1st May, 1869.
Somerleyton Hall, a fine old mansion built by the last Sir John Jernegan, temp. Queen
Elizabeth, was entirely remodelled and greatly enlarged by Sir Morton Peto, who added a
winter garden. There is an excellent view of the house by Dolman in Palmer's Notes to
Manship's History, p. 388.
appears to have been subservient to the paramount Manor of Gorleston,
In 1292 S IR J OHN B ACON was lord; as was Sir Henry Bacon in 1335.
J OHN S PRING , Esq.,* was lord temp. Henry VIII.; and in 1547 R ICHARD
G UNVILE f was lord, and with his descendants, the manor continued until
the reign of Queen Elizabeth; when Henry Gunvile dying s.p. it passed
to his sister, Anne, who married
R ICHARD W ARD , Esq. t In the reign of Charles I., W ILLIAM V ESEY
was lord, Richard Vesey in 1681, and William Tesey in I693.  § J AMES
A RTIS , Esq., died seized in 1724 (see vol. i., p. 312),
leaving this manor to Mary his daughter, widow of
the Rev. John Prattant, and after her death to Mary her
daughter, the wife of Francis Larwood, Esq., who in
1749 devised it to C HRISTOPHER R OUTH of Norwich in
fee. The latter died in 1783, and the Manor of Bacons
was then sold to R OBERT H ARVEY , Esq., "Citizen and
Alderman of Norwich." He married Judith, sister of the Rev. Charles
Onley already mentioned (vol. i., p. 327), and by his will made in 1810
devised it to
* He was of a Suffolk family who trace their descent from Thomas Spring who was
settled at Lavenham early in the fifteenth century, and from whom the Springs of
Pakenham descended. Sir William Spring was created a baronet by Charles I. in 1641,
which title became extinct in 1709 on the death of Sir William Spring, s.p. They bore
arg., on a chev. betw. three mascles gu., as many cinquefoils or.
f The Gunviles or Gonviles were an ancient family both in Norfolk and Suffolk. Sir
Edmund Gonvile was the founder of Rushworth College in Norfolk, and of Gonvile Hall
in Cambridge, and, as it is believed, of the Friars Preachers at Thetford, and of St. John's
Hospital at Lynn, They bore arg., on a chev., betw. two couple closes, outwardly
engrailed, three escallops or. Richard Gunvyle, by his will made in 1552, devised, besides
the Manor of Bacons, divers lands and tenements in Gorleston, Bradwell, Southtown,
Hopton, Corton, Belton, Burgh, Herringfleet and Lound. See Add. M.S. 19098, p. 400.
This name was probably corrupted to Gunnell, A Yarmouth merchant, John Gunnell, gave
by will in 1699 to his son, "my medall of gold of about five pounds value."
J For an account of his family see vol, i., p. 257. In 1595 Richard "Ward was "
chiever," and " did paie the whole rent without eny helpers, because he could not fynd
eny from lands out of his owne possession."
§ They were of a family of considerable standing in the vicinity, who bore erm., on a
cross sa., five martlets or. They had an estate at Bradwell, and in the church there is a
curious monument to the memory of Wm. Vesey, who died in 1644, aged 63.
his three sons, Robert, John, and Charles,* as tenants in common; and
by them in 1813 this manor was conveyed to Thomas Read and Robert
Read of Frettenham in Norfolk, who in 1821 sold it to J AMES B ARBER ,
Esq. The latter died in 1842, aged 70, and by his will directed the
Manor of Bacons to be sold; and it was afterwards purchased by the
trustees of the late S AMUEL P ALMER , Esq., and by them it is still held.
* The first, who filled the office of Mayor of Norwich, married Anne, daughter of
Jeremiah Ives, Esq., of Norwich, and died s.p. The second was well known as Colonel
Harvey of Thorpe. He was a haven commissioner for many years, and died in 1842, aged
87. He married Frances, daughter of Sir Roger Kerrison, by whom he had issue the late
General Sir Robert John Harvey, K.C.B., who died in 1860, aged 75, leaving a son, Robert
John Harvey Harvey, who was created a baronet in 1868, and died in 1870; and another
son, Edward Kerrison Harvey, Esq., now Mayor of Norwich; and the third was Recorder
of Norwich and twice M.P. for that city. On succeeding to the Stated estate of his maternal
uncle, the Rev. Charles Onley, he took the name of Savile-Onley. See vol. i, p. 327; and
vol. ii., p. 27.
t He was buried at Hopton, as was his wife who died four months subsequently. This
family of B ARBER has already been mentioned, vol. ii., p. 268. James Barber was the
eldest son of Robert Barber of Kessingland, and elder brother of Mr. William Barber of
Yarmouth. He was called Dr. Barber by the country people, because he held the great
tithes of Hopton, there being a lingering belief that a lay rector must be a learned man. He
was buried within the altar rails of Hopton Church. His daughter, Judith, married her
second cousin, Thomas Barber (son of Thomas Barber by Elizabeth Quinton his wife).
The latter purchased Hobland Hall, where he resided until his death in 1868, aged 70. The
ancestors of the above-named James Barber held lands at Kessingland, Pakefield, and
Kirtley, as well as at Worlingham, and, according to Edmonston,
the Barbers of Suffolk bore or., two chevrons betw. three fleur-de-
lis gu.; and or a crest, out of a ducal coronet gu., a bull's head ppr.
At the last Visitation for Suffolk in 1664, one of the family
renounced arms; but in such Visitation a pedigree of Barber and the
above arms are recorded. James Barber, a farmer at Browston, died
in 1819, aged 101, and was buried at Belton. This surname appeal's
upon the close and issue rolls early in the thirteenth century. A
singular circumstance in the history of the name is this. It was
assumed by Sir William Weston (Grand Master of the Order of St.
John of Jerusalem at its suppression) on his going to Rome with a
great retinue in 1524. He was entrusted by Henry VIII. with large
treasures to further the king's political views abroad. With state
secrecy the English ministers were directed to address him as
Christopher Barber. See State Correspondence published by the Master of the Rolls.
T He disputes between Gorleston and Yarmouth, which occupied the
attention of the Law Courts for very many years, and "which were not
unattended by bloodshed when the parties attempted to settle their
differences by their own hands, culminated on the bestowal of the
Lordship of Gorleston on the Earl of Richmond. They had originated at
a very early period. The men of Yarmouth having obtained a charter
from King John conferring upon them the privilege of self government,
speedily possessed themselves of the haven; and having with great
labour and perseverance turned the waters by a direct channel into the
sea, instead of allowing them to meander under the cliffs of Gotieston,
conceived themselves entitled to their reward in securing the trade
which such improved entrance brought to the river.* Roger Fitz Osbert,
"warden of the king's Manor of Lothingland," as he is described in the
proceedings, when traversing the indictment by the men of Yarmouth in
1227, denied having attracted any ships there or taken undue customs or
otherwise than had been taken in the times of Henry I., when Earl
Warren f had the land of Lothingland to farm for the king; and
contended that dues might be levied on all vessels if a serjeant or
officer could from the shore reach the ship with a rod of a reasonable
length, that is of an ell and a half." This custom was admitted by an
inquisition taken upon the oaths of twenty-two knights of Norfolk and
twenty-six knights of Suffolk, who found that the "whole haven
belonged to Yarmouth, and that all merchandize,
* When the river ran out under the cliffs at Gorleston, the Lord of the Manor of
Newton, which adjoined Corton 1 , but is now swallowed up by the sea, claimed a tallage
upon all herrings brought in; and this tax Sir John de Herlyng endeavoured to enforce in
1345. He was of an ancient family holding estates in Norfolk and Suffolk. Sir Robert
Herling married the heiress general of the Gonvile family, and had property in Blundeston
and Corton Anne, his daughter and sole heir, married, for her second husband, Sir Robert
Wingfield, Knt., and in 1474 made a settlement of those estates. She was the foundress of
the Scrope Fellowship at Caius College, Cambridge; in honor of her third husband, Lord
f William de Warren, created Earl of Surrey by William Rufus, is considered to have
been Earl Warren in Normandy, and although his deacondants styled themselves "Earls
Warren," it does not appear to have been deemed a regular earldom in this country until
1451, when John Mowbray, son and heir apparent of the Duke of Norfolk, was created
Earl Warren and Surrey.
1 It appears that Long Lane, Corton, which now leads directly to Corton, in medieval
times extended another mile or so, directly to the village of Newton, where there was said
to be a stone circle, erected by the Druids. See RRH.
''except lesser wares," ought to be landed at that place, this exemption
leading to abuses, a new charter was obtained which decided that "all
goods" should be unladen at Yarmouth, and pay duties there.* The
inhabitants of Gorleston however, in defiance of the king's
proclamation and all other means used to restrain them, proceeded to
the most daring acts; insulting the Burgesses of Yarmouth and
plundering their goods, which led to many fatal riots and tumults, and
proceedings in the civil and criminal courts, which were prosecuted
until a final settlement was made of the suit between the town and the
Earl of Richmond.
The case between the town and the earl was this:—The King had
anciently the Port of Yarmouth at which he received his customs. He
granted the town and the port to the burgesses of Yarmouth for a fee-
farm rent. The King was also seized of certain domains in Lothingland,
of which the Manor of Gorleston, comprising the Town of Gorleston
and the Town of little Yarmouth were parcel. At this manor there had
ever been a small port at Gorleston for the reception of ships as well of
foreigners and of tenants. King Edward I. permitted the earl to hold this
manor and port of him at will; and whilst he so possessed them, the
King granted a charter to the burgesses of Yarmouth conferring on them
exclusive privileges. This was done without any antecedent writ of ad
quod, damnum, as was usual in cases of such extraordinary grants.
Shortly afterwards the king granted the Manor and Port of Gorleston to
the earl and the heirs of his body, together with all fairs, markets, and
franchises. t Upon this state of things
* Henry III., when at Norwich in 1256, granted a confirmatory charter in favor of
Yarmouth (printed by Swinden, p. 72). One of the witnesses was Simon de Wanton of
Great Yarmouth, who bore arg., a chev. chequy az. and erm., betw. three griffins' heads
erased gu., membered of the second. Papworth's Ordinary, p.448 .
f Manship, the elder, speaks of the "greate Broyles and Sturres and many dissentions
which existed in 1308, between the men of Gorleston and the People of this Towne of
Yermouthe." In 1331 whilst the bailiffs were endeavouring to serve a writ at Gorleston,
one of their attendants was killed, "for whose death very many men of Gorleston and
Little Yarmouth were judged." In the same year Henry Randolph impleaded forty
Gorleston men for taking from him £30 in cash, and beating, wounding, imprisoning, and
cruelly misusing John Whynhowe his servant; and John Elys of Yarmouth impleaded
eleven Gorleston men for a similar offence.
t Roger Fitz Osbert in his defence denied having erected a market near the haven's
mouth, where wares and merchandize landed from ships were stored and sold
there arose a controversy as to the rights of the respective ports. On the
part of Yarmouth it was contended that the whole port belonged to
Yarmouth, and that Gorleston was not a port, but rather an usurpation
and forestall upon the Port of Yarmouth. That if otherwise, at the time
of the granting of the charter which directed that all merchandize should
be unladen at Yarmouth and not elsewhere, the Manor and Port of
Gorleston were in the king's hands, the earl being only his servant, and
therefore the king could derogate from his own interest, and the interest
of the earl being subsequent to the charter, would be bound by such
derogation. Suits were commenced against Gorleston for ''forestalling
the Port of Yarmouth'', but they were stayed because the earl was not
made a party, and because the king's interest in reversion was
concerned, touching which cross petitions were preferred in Parliament
and inquisitions were directed to be taken ; and it seems that the charter
of Yarmouth was affirmed by the king in council. The earl being
dissatisfied again petitioned Parliament, and such petition was sent to
the King's Bench, where, after a declaration drawn up for the earl,
Yarmouth pleaded—
1. That by their charter, ships should be discharged ibis et non alibi.
2. That the earl at the date of such charter was but a tenant at
the will of the crown.
3. That all ports, fairs, and markets are vested in the king, who
can grant them to whom he please. Upon this there was a
demurrer, and the case being one of "weight
to the detriment of Yarmouth, but says that Lord Surrey, while the Manor of Lothingland
was in his hands, because the place where the market had previously been kept was often
times overflowen by the sea, had removed the market to a more convenient place; and in
answer to the accusation that he had landed hogsheads of wine free of duty, explained that
there was an exchange of wine for herrings, and that wine had been taken to the value of
the customs. The inquisition found that before the Earl of Surrey's time there had always
been a market at Gorleston every week on the Lord's day, but that the earl had changed it
to Thursday, at which corn, malt, flesh, and victuals, nets and cordage, and other minute
goods were sold, and during the free fair the market was augmented by horses, cows,
oxen, bulls, sheep, "and other greater goods." The custom of holding markets on Sundays
was prohibited by the 13th of Edward I., c. 6, and was effectually suppressed by the 27
Henry VI, c 5
and difficulty" was referred back to Parliament. It remained undecided
until the 23rd June, 1332, when the Lord Chancellor,* assisted by two
of the judges and divers of the Privy Council, gave a decision which
was confirmed by the king under the great seal, and was not only an
arbitrary determination, but in the nature of a judgment upon the merits,
and was enforced by a concurrent order of the king in council. The
result was this—
1. The king's right to his customs was preserved; Yarmouth
being the port where they had alwaya been received.
2. The earl's tenants, in regard to their own shipping, not to be
charged with the port duties belonging to Yarmouth; and for goods "not
customable" not to be enforced to unlade them at Yarmouth. But in
reference to the ships of strangers the inhibition to stand against them,
because the king had the Port of Gorleston when he granted the charter
to Yarmouth, and he might derogate from his own interest. This was in
substance a decision in favor of Yarmouth, and upon it the subsequent
prosperity of that town entirely depended; for if the earl had succeeded
in establishing his right to the "Franchise of the Port" of Gorleston, the
whole of the trade of Yarmouth would have been forestalled.
Sir Matthew Hale, in remarking upon this case, says "The liberties
* John de Stratford, Bishop of Winchester, and afterwards Archbishop of
Canterbury, was then Lord Chancellor and Lord Treasurer, the justices were John
Stoneherd and John do Cambridge, and the Privy Councillors were Robert de Ufford,
Oliver de Ingham, with Ralp Nevil, steward of the king's household, who came to
Yarmouth and viewed the locus in quo (see vol. i, p. 69). In theory, the king was supposed
to preside in his courts of law and justice; and in furtherance of this notion, the Lord
Chancellor and the justices followed the king wherever he wont to the great delay and
vexation of the suitors; for our ancient kings were constantly migrating from one part of
the kingdom to another. In the present instance the burgesses of Yarmouth had to appear
with their charters and evidences not only at Westminster, but also at Northampton,
Leicester, Salisbury, Winchester, and York; in fact, wherever the kings - happened to be. It
was the above-named chancellor who first obtained permission to make his court
stationary. In considering this case it must not be forgotten that the burgesses were
contending with a very powerful noble, closely allied to and in great favor with the
of the Port of Yarmouth stand upon the foot of a confirmation by Act of
Parliament; whereby many of those liberties which were not by law
grantable by the bare strength of a patent or charter, yet having the strength
and confirmation of Parliament, stand good and effectual.* Up to the time of
this decision Gorleston had maintained a certain amount of importance. In
1329 she had sent representatives to the council convened by Edward III.;
and in 1334 she had joined,with Yarmouth in furnishing ships and men for
the king's service in the Scottish wars; but she had now to yield to her
powerful rival; and as a port, to sink into insignificance. Another subject of
dispute between the two places was the passage of the river. When Yarmouth
was an island the inhabitants of the main land passed over to it, and the Lord
of Gorleston having provided a boat for that purpose obtained the sole right
of ferriage, which was for some centuries enjoyed by successive Lords of the
Manor of Gorleston. The same lords claimed all waste lands in the parish.
After the men of Yarmouth had cut their haven across the Denes nearer the
town than it had previously been, there was necessarily some of the "Denes"
left beyond it. When Sir Henry Jemegan succeeded to the manor in 1572 he
"claymed the waste grounde lyenge southe of the haven, and brought a greate
sute for thes matters in the Courts of Starre Chamber, where beinge hearde
and examined they were referred to be ordered by Sir Christopher Heydon t
and Sir William Buttes,§ knts., who
* Hargrave's Tracts, p. 67; and see documents printed by Swinden, pp. 241,
250, 289; and Notes to Manship, p. 332.
f Willis I, p. 33; Rott. 25, 7 Ed. III
J The Heydons were an old Norfolk family seated first at Heydon and afterwards at
Baconsthorpe 1 . Sir Christopher was High Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1556 and 1569, and
died in 1577. He was also a commissioner for settling the dispute between the burgesses of
Yarmouth and the owners of the lands on the banks of the several rivers as to the right of fishing
in the same; as to which question, see M., p. 113. Heyden bore quarterly arg. and gu., a cross
engrailed counterchanged.
William Heydon, second son of Sir John Heydon of Baconsthorpe, the last heir male
of this ancient family, died in 1689, and was buried at Eye in Suffolk. His sister,
Mirabella, married Laurence Lomax, Esq., and died in 1702. See P. C, p. 326.
§ He was the eldest son of Sir William Butts, physician to Henry XIII, who. bestowed upon him
several manors in Norfolk. He bore az., on a, chev. betw. Three etoiles or., as many lozenges gu.
Ann, his niece, ultimate heiress of the family.
1 Baconsthorpe Castle, at the small village of that name, near Holt, remains with its perimeter
walls and gate house largely intact, is very picturesque, and well worth a visit.(2008)
Sir Christopher Heydon was one of the judges in the disputes of the Pastons over ownership of
Caister Castle.
"with the said Sir Henrye Jernegan came to Yerrnouthe, vewenge the
places and seeinge the townes anciente recordes, which the said Sir
Henrye alledged he never knewe of." And so the said knights made "a
finall ende" of all the said controversies, and certified the same into the
said Courts of Starre Chamber, by whose authoritye the same was
"ratified under the greate Seal of England." F., p. 35.
We have seen, how the right of ferriage originated. Before
Yarmouth bridge was erected where a foot ferry previously existed, the
"horse ferry" was where the lower ferry now is, and there "the king's
highway" stopped, on the Gorleston side. In 1509 the ferryman at
Gorleston paid a rent of 8s. 4d. to the lord. This right remained with the
successive Lords of Gorleston until sold by Lord Sydney Godolphin
Osborne, as already mentioned,"*
Laud ye the monks !
" For they were the friends of the poor and meek ;
" The proudest man would their footstool seek ;
" And many an acre, broad and good,
" Twas the forfeit, paid for his curbless mood:
" The penance hard, and the priestly ban,
" Would make him think of his fellow men,
" The mass and dirge for his passing soul,
" Would wring for the needy a welcome dole;
" The cowl bow'd not to the noble's crest,
"But kings would yield to a monk's behest," —J ONES .
T the southern extremity of the hamlet and extending into
Gorleston, stood the P RIORY of the A USTIN F RIARS or
Friars Eremites, which occupied a portion of land
extending from the high road on the east, to Fen Street
towards the west, and was bounded by a narrow road known as Burnt
Lane towards the south; the latter being so called, it is believed,
married Sir Nicholas Bacon, "who was created a baronet by James I. (See
Notes to Manship, p. 327.)
* In 1834 a memorial was presented to the Rev. George Anguish, as Lord of the
Manor, asking for an additional ferry in the vicinity of the Southtown Armoury, and
a ferry boat was accordingly placed there without much anticipation of profit on the
part of the proprietor. The want of it is sufficiently testified by the revenue, which
it now brings.
The Augustine p r i o r y
in memory of a destructive fire which broke out in the Priory kitchen,
and destroyed some of the adjacent buildings. According to Weever this
Priory was founded in the reign of Edward I. by William Woderove and
Margaret his wife; but it is probable that a commencement had been
made in the preceding reign, for this Order had been introduced into
Suffolk about the year 1248 by Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester,
when an establishment was founded at Clare on the borders of that
county. They settled at Norwich in 1290. We find by the Inquis. ad
quod dam. (4th Edward II.) that Roger de Woderove had leave to
enlarge this Gorleston house in 1310; and in the following reign another
augmentation was permitted.
The Conventual Church was erected at some distance south of the
Priory on ground adjoining and to the west of the high road through
Gorleston, within which parish it wholly stood. It was dedicated to Saint
Nicholas, the favorite patron of mariner's, who they believed was
always ready to assist them "when they on him did cry." This church is
supposed to have occupied the site of a Roman temple, some remains of
which were long preserved by the friars, if we may believe John de
Boston, a monk of Bury St. Edmund's, who avers that he saw them
when he visited Gorleston in 1400. Be this as it may, certain it is that a
magnificent church was erected, which, according to William of
Worcester, an eye witness in 1459, was one hundred feet in length and
twenty-four feet in breadth, having a square-embattled tower one
hundred feet high, which, says Camden, was "in good stead of a sea
mark." This church and the adjacent ground became a favorite place of
sepulchre for many generations, as we shall presently see. As to the
Priory, it attained to such importance and celebrity that the town itself
came to be called Gorlestuna Augustinensium. The lay members were
numerous and wealthy; the rich burgesses of Yarmouth made frequent
bequests to it,* and every householder in Gorleston and South-
* Simon Smith of Weston by will in 1504 gave 20 S . to the Austin Friars "to pray,"
says he, "for my fader and my moder a solemn dirge-with a mass; every fryer there being
a presto to have iiijd., and every one being no preste ijd." The families of de Stalham and
de Drayton were also benefactors; and in 1365 William Oxney gave 10s. and Simon atte
Gappe.20s. A list of benefactions will be found in Add. M.S.S. 19098, p. 113, in the
British Museum,
town was expected to contribute one penny per quarter towards its
support. A considerable revenue was derived from the "franchise of
sepulchre." (see vol. i., p. 229.) Fortunately for the Gorleston Priory,
Richard, Earl of Gloucester, the great supporter of the Order, who died
in 1261, selected it as his last resting place; and his example was
followed by the Fastolfes, the Fitz Osberts, the Mortimers, the Bacons,
the Hemegraves, and other Suffolk families who desired to be buried
within the precincts of the Church of the Augustines at Gorleston.
Weever enumerates among others the names of the following persons
who had been registered as buried there. William de Ufford, Earl of
Suffolk f in 1382; two of the De la Poles, Earls of Suffolk; Sir Thomas
de Hemegrave, Knt., 1349; J Sir Robert
* His son, Gilbert de Clare, married Joan, second daughter of Edward I. and Queen
Eleanor. She was called Joan of Acre because she was born at Ptolomais in the Holy
Land. She was also called Joan of Acris, where her mother resided while the king was
engaged fighting the Saracens. In order to obtain the hand of this princess for his son, the
earl resigned all his estates to the king, who on the consummation of the marriage restored
them, subject to an entail. There was but one child ofthis union, Gilbert de Clare, who was
slain at the battle of Bannockburn. Joan married, secondly, Ralph Mortimer, who was
created Earl of Gloucester; that title having become extinct by the deaths of her husband
and son. This princess was a great benefactress to religious houses. She is registered as
having been interred in the Conventual Church at Gorleston, but it may be inferred from a
curious dialogue in Latin and English verse between a friar and a secular priest, copied
from an ancient parchment roll, formerly in the possession of Augustus Vincent, Esq.,
Windsor Herald, that she was buried at Clare, where she died in 1305. Druery, p. 135.
t Robert de Ufford, created Earl of Suffolk in 1337, died in 1369, and was succeeded
by his son., William de Ufford, admiral of the king's fleet, who died in 1382, a.p., when
this earldom became extinct. They held large possessions in the County of Suffolk, Their
armorial bearings— sa., a cross engrailed or. , remained in stained glass in one of the
windows of the Conventual Church until after the dissolution, as did those of de Warren
(cheguy or. and az.) De La Pole, Montacute (erm., three fusils in fess gu.) and
Mortimer—or., semee-de-lis, sa. The name of Ufford is derived from, a parish in Suffolk
ao called, where they held lands from the time of the conquest. Robert de Ufford, Earl of
Suffolk, served under the Black Prince at the battle of Poitiers, where he and the Earl of
Salisbury held commands, and, says Dugdale, "was seldom out of some eminent action."
He married Margaret, daughter of William de Norwich. Their son, William de Ufford,
Earl of Suffolk, died suddenly whilst ascending the steps to the House of Lords.
J Hemegrave bore arg., a chief indented gu. Sir Thomas de Hemegrave had a grant
from Henry III. of the Manor of Mutford in Suffolk in 1234. He died in
Bacon;* Richard, Earl of Clar e ; f Roger Fitz Osbert J and Lady Katherine his
wife; Sir Henry Bacon and Robert Bacon, Knt.; Lady Sabina Bacon, with
John Bacon her son, and nine other children. Sir Henry Bacon of
Grorleston, ob. 1335; Dame Alice Lunston, ob.1341; Eleanor, wife of Sir
William Gerbrigge§ of Wickhampton, Dame Eleanor Claxton; Dame Joan
Claxon,. ob. 1364; Dame Sibill Morton. Dame Sybill Mortimer, ob.1385;
Sir John Laune of Flixtonforth and Mary his wife; John Haukin, Esq., ob.
1385; John Belhowse, Esq., ob. 1399; Alexander Fastolf; William March,
Esq., ob. 1412; John Pulham, gent., ob 1481. The encaustic tiles, which
paved the floof were full of armorial bearings. It is said that in 1860 three
cart loads of these
1254, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas Hemegrave, but the family became extinct on
the death of Sir Thomas de Hemegrave in 1414, and the estates devolved on the Thorpes of
Ashwelthorpe in Norfolk, in right of Beatrix De Hemegrave, who married Sir Thomas Thorpe.
Papworth, p. 554.
* The origin of the family of Bacon, once so numerous and powerful
at Gorleson, is lost in the haze of antiquity, but few houses in
England have produced more illustrious men. They held large
possessions in Norfolk and Suffolk at an early period, and have for
their arms- gu. , on a chief, arg ., two mullets, sa ., and for a crest, a
boar passant erm . The Baronetcy of Redgrave, created in 1611, and
that of Mildenhall, in 1627, are both centred in the present Sir Henry
Hickman Bacon, who is Premier Baronet of England; but he no
longer has any residence in the twin counties. Adam Bacon, clerk,
John Kybel of Gorleston, and John de Belton of Southtown, were deputed to appear for
Gorleston and Southtown before the Barons of the Exchequer in 1306, and remonstrate
against the claims of Great Yarmouth. The Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Lord Chancellor
Hamilton, and Roger De Brabain, a justice of the Common Pleas, heard the case. Henry Rose
and William Fastolfe appeared for Great Yarmouth.
f Richard de Clare bore or., three chev., gu.
J He was the last heir male of his family, as has already been stated. In 1294 he received a
summons to attend, the king wherever affairs of the realm; but there is considerable doubt
whether this constituted him a baron, and he is not noticed in Dugdale's Baronage. He had
large estates in Lowestoft, Uggeshall, and other places in Suffolk, besides Somerleyton.
§ Eleanor, widow of Ralf Gerbrigge, by her will of 1385, desired to be buried in sepultura
of the Friars Eremites of St. Augustine, and bequeathed to the convent £3 6s. 8d. He
(Ralph?) presented to the Rectory of Wickhampton, 1385. See vol. ii., p. 89.
tiles were removed from the ruins and employed in mending the roads.
Occasionally an encaustic tile is dredged from the bottom of the river.
The great boast of these Austin Friars at Gorleston was their library of
“most rare and precious works," says Lambard, "gathered together by
the industry of John Brome, a monk of the house, who who died in the
reign of King Henry VI." He was at that time prior; and so great was his
industry that he put an index to almost every book in his possession.
The library had been commenced at an earlier date, for we find that in
1320, Henry de Stanton* gave a sum of money and new books to it. A
new library was erected in 1429 at the expense of a lay brother. It was
100 feet long and 30 feet wide, wainscotted throughout, and furnished
with desks and settees of the same material. During the next succeeding
three years it received a large accession of books. Richard Holmes, who
was Canon of York and Master of one of the Colleges at Cambridge in
1422, "gave many books to be deposited in ye old library at Gorleston,"
and Friar John Mason compiled a chronicle from which William of
Worcester gave some extracts. This library excited the admiration of
Leland, who was acquainted with all the best in England. Amongst
other "precious works " was a missal, beautifully written on vellum, by
one John Cole, a brother of the Hospital of St. Bartholomew in
Smithfield. There was also an inventory of "plate, jewels, relicts, books,
M.S.S., antiquities, &c, belonging to the Convent of St. Austin in
Gorleston," beginning thus : —
"This Booke made ye 4th day of August, in the 1st yeare of ye Reigne
of Kyng Harry ye viii., by me, Maister Roger Tompson of ye Convent
of St. Austin, makeyth mention of all such Jewelles and relicts, and
antique thingss, which have been received by bequests into and
belongeth unto ye saide House of ye said Friars. It commences with "a
great crucifix of silver gilt, enamelled with the figures of the Blessed
Virgin and St. John." f
*He was a native of Gorleston, and founded. St.Michael’s College, Cambridge, now
forming part of Trinity College. He bore vairy, arg and sa.
f In 1855 a brass enamel crucifix was brought up from the bottom of the river. Among
the ruins under the south wall of the church an ancient cross of liquim viyae was found,
which had probably been laid over the coffin of some religious person belonging to the
convent, buried there. Druery, p. 134.
Great contentions arose between the Prior and Convent of the
Augustines at Gorleston and the Prior and Convent of St Bartholomew
at Smithfield, who were in possession of the Parish Church and Rectory.
These differences were ultimately settled by the arbitration of the
Chancellor of the University of Oxford, the Bishop of that Diocese, and
others. An impression of the seal of the Augustine Priory at Gorleston
was formerly preserved in the Chapter House at Westminster, among
the deeds of the Court of Wards and Liveries. At the dissolution this
Priory was, according to Weaver, granted in 1544 to John Eyer, " a great
dealer in that kind of houses," and the property was afterwards divided
and sold.*
A writer, soon after the reformation, says " The fine old church here
is now shut up and devoted to destruction! Public services have been
long stopped, and all the stalls and furniture taken out. We may now
weep like the Jews of old when they recollected the glory of their
former Temple. Never shall we see another sacred fane erected here
equal to this venerable and beautiful temple of antiquity. Its fate is
deeply lamented—it is barren of its antique furniture and ornaments,
the sacred building is gutted, and the labourers are now sacrilegiously
pulling up the pavement;—a most sad spectacle to see skulls, legs, arms,
and other bones of the dead lie about as though it were a bone house or
a dog kennel."
Hook thus describes the total destruction, which fell upon
conventual buildings. ''As the inmates went out by one door, those
employed to dismantle the house, either for the king, and for those to
whom the property had been already sold, entered by another. They
* John Eyer, or as the name is more usually called Eyre, was Receiver-General
to Queen Elizabeth, for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, and Huntingdon, and one of the
Masters in Chancery. He married Margaret, one of the daughters of Sir Thomaa
Blenerhasset and widow of John Spelman, son and heir apparent of Sir John
Spelman, Knt. He was, says Sir Henry Spelman in his History of Sacriledge, p. 247,
a great purchaser of religions houses dissolved by Henry VIII., obtaining among
others the Grey Friars, the Carmelites, the Friars Preachers or Black Friars, and the
Augustine Friars at Lynn, and also the famous Abbey of Bury St. Edmnnd's. He
died in 1661, s.p., so his gains availed him nothing. Over his tomb in Narborough
Church is his figure, engraved in brass, kneeling, with a label inscribed— With the Lord,
there is Mercy . He bore arg., on a chev. engrailed sa., three quatrefoils arg.
to take pleasure in the work of demolition. The boards were plucked up,
the spars were pulled down. The lead was torn from the roofs and fell
through the fretted ceilings. The stalls where the monks had prayed were
rudely torn down; the painted windows were demolished. "The shrines
were rifled; the tombs thrown open. From the stones the brasses were
rent; from the skeletons, gold and jewels were torn. The rudeness of an
hour annihilated the pious labour of ages; barbarism triumphed over
superstition. The abbot's house, the dormitories, the cloisters, the
libraries, were pillaged. The vessels of silver and gold were seized in the
king's name; the pewter and all else that was valuable were conveyed to
the dwellings of the neighbouring yeomen and gentry. An astonished
multitude found the doors demolished, or the locks and staples
destroyed; they were invited or permitted to rush in and lay their hands
upon whatever the royal plunderer or the noble robbers had left. Too
often the splendid service books, unappreciated by their ignorant
superiors in the art of robbing, when the jewels and the gold had been
roughly torn from the boards, were seized for the sake of the vellum,
and carried home to the house-wife. The leaves were employed in
scouring jacks, "cleaning candlesticks, or rubbing shoes." "What is most
to be "deplored," says Hook., "is the demolition of some of the noblest
libraries that the country possessed; the miserable martyrdom, as Fuller
styles it, of innocent books. Works of great value were sold, "for next to
nothing, to grocers and soapsellers. Whole ship loads were transported
to the continent, to become the possession of wiser foreigners. Bale
knew of two noble libraries, the contents of which were sold for the
paltry sum of forty shillings to a merchant who used them as waste
paper; and who in ten years had only consumed half." The walls of this
unroofed Conventual Church remained standing until 1760, when they
were pulled down; and in digging round the ruins several stone coffins
were discovered, of very superior workmanship, the lids highly
decorated. In one of them, besides the bones and the teeth, which
indicated a man not above five-and-thirty years of age, was found a
cockle shell (in token of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land), but no
indications of his rank. In demolishing the wall of the south
aisle three noble windows, which up to that time had been bricked up,
were uncovered, as also three niches divided by elegant early English
columns. Also a piscina and aumbry; and further west was a crocketed
canopy over a tomb, upon the mouldings of which purple, crimson, and
green colours could be traced; all tending to prove the richly-decorated
character of the architecture. In 1786 a further demolition took place,
when more stone coffins were discovered in what had been the site of
the cloisters, where persons of the most consideration were interred, the
general burial ground being to the north west of the church, where
plentiful remains of the dead have from time to time been found. In
1805 a stone was discovered having a rose and crown carved upon it,
beneath which, were the arms of de Warren. A stoup was some time
ago drawn from the bed of the river, and within the last few years a
coffin lid, finely sculptured, might be seen inverted, and used as a
standing place at a neighbouring pump.
The curious seal, of which an engraving is here
given, was found by Mr. J. H. Druery in what was the
burial ground of the convent. The inscription
commences with. Timere deum et omnibus Sanctis
egris. Between the attire is introduced a lion's face,
beneath which is a stag's head, with a star on the
dexter and a crescent on the sinister side. These symbols are not
unfrequent on seals of the 13th and 14th centuries.* jettons or abbey
money have been frequently found. f
In 1783 some remains of the conventual buildings were converted
into a farm house called New Hall, some of the windows of which long
retained their original appearance, but in 1796 they were entirely
demolished. In 1794 the east gate was removed, and a few years later
some of the walls and portions of the convent, then ruinous, were
pulled down and the materials used for various purposes. The
f They were used in keeping accounts, and were made in large quantities at
Nuremberg; hence the distich—
Nuremburg’s hand
Goes through the land.
* The above seal is in the possession of Robert Fitch, Esq., of Norwich, to whom the
autho is indebted for the engraving.
great west gate, fronting Fen Street, stood near where the sign post of
the Wheelwright’s Arms is now placed. A considerable portion
remained standing until early in the present century (meo periculo).
There was a stone bench under an arch fronting the road, upon which
those who in former times had been accustomed to seek alms at the
Priory gate, probably rested. Behind where this gateway stood, there are
a number of small dwellings, some of which surround what is still
called the Priory Yard. Facing Burnt Lane some cottages are built
against a fragment of the old wall, and at the back of a modern erection,
sometime used as a place of meeting by the Primitive Methodists, is an
ancient stone doorway, with a pointed arch and a deep splay. These are
now the only visible remains of this once extensive Priory; and squalor
and wretchedness brood over the site.
In an old cottage on the south side of Burnt Lane there is in an
interior wall in which is a small arched recess, precisely like a stoop or
piscina, and in the chamber above is a similar insertion.
At some distance south of the site of the conventual buildings are
some very old cottages, having a west gable to Church, Lane, which
still bear the name of the "Barn Yard," and are conjectured to have
belonged to the Priory.
As to the Conventual Church three sides of its lofty square tower
fell away, leaving one side only standing entire and without support
down to the present century. On the 16th of February, 1813, during a
violent gale of wind from the east, it fell to the ground, and remained a
heap of ruins for many years. All has disappeared, and there is not now
a stone to mark the site of this church.
A House of Lepers was standing in Gorleston in 1372, but the site
is unknown. In 1379 Simon atte Gappe of Yarmouth bequeathed 6s. 8d.
to it. It was probably the building known as St. James' Hospital, which
held lands by the singular tenure of an annual payment of a pair of
gloves, which continued to be made so late as the middle of the 17th
century.* Some of the lands belonging to this hospital passed into the
possession of Magdalen College, Oxford.
* The delivery of a glove was a mode of investiture. The Lord of the Manor of
Worksop in Nottinghamshire presents an embroidered glove to the king at his
Other religious houses derived "rents" from possessions in
Gorleston, such as Leiston Abbey, Bulky Priory, St. Olave's Priory, and
the Priory at Campsey Ash, all in Suffolk, and Boxley Abbey in Kent.
According to the Taxatio Ecclesiastica of Pope Nicholas IV. in 1291, the
Cistercian Abbey of Bello Loco or Beaulieu in Hampshire derived an
annual rent of £ 6. 18s. 4d. from Gorleston.
IN 1584 Robert Jermyn, Thomas Poley, Robert Ashfield, and Robert
Wrote, made a report to Government, which is preserved among the
Domestic State Papers of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, in which they say
:—"This Island of Lothingland is so to helpe Yarmouth being a "friend,
or to hurts her being an enemy, so that Yearaouth seamen" to be of
small accounte without it; for in our judgment (and some experience
ther was in the Norff. rebellyon in Edward the sixte, his " v eigne, that
might justifie our opinion,) if the enemy should possesse "this island,
Yearmuth coulde not hold out one daye."
The names of two roads leading from Gorleston, anciently called
Stangate and Holgate, confirm the belief that Gorleston was a town of
some importance at an early period.
In the middle ages there was a manufactory of linen at Gorleston,
which gradually declined until it totally ceased; and there was also a
ropery. A lane is called Roper's Lane.
In 1460 Sir John Fastolfe held lands at Gorleston, called Spitlings;
which were afterwards possessed by Magdalen College, Oxford. f Sir
John Paston, in 1466, held an estate in Gorleston, called Dengaynes ; J
and about the same time Edward Wydewell§ held 200 acres of land in
coronation, which his majesty puts on his right hand immediately before he receives the
sceptre. The glove delivered by way of investiture came to signify the steward's fee or
perquisite, and hence the term "glove money " often found in old records.
* John Spitlyng was bailiff in 1407, and Henry Spitlyng in 1415,
f This college also held estates at Fritton, Hobland, and Bradwell.
t Thomas Dengayne was bailiff in 1418 and 1424.
§ John Widwell of Wydewell, for the name is spelt indifferently, was Bailiff of
Yarmouth in 1435; Edmund Wydewell filled the same office in 1451 and several
subsequent years, and was also Alderman of the Guild of St. Mary de la Pere.
Gorleston and Bradwell. Sir Thomas Playters* had also lands in the
former parish.
In a very old chart, upon which is engraved "A prospect of the
Town, of Gorleston," Taverner's house and Tittlemetamer’s houses are
mentioned as conspicuous objects.
Names of Saxon and Danish origin were common in Gorleston—
as Kettle, derived from the Anglo-Saxon Ketel. Leggott, Bonney, and
Halfnight, are common names. In 1637 Nicholas Bowlar of Gorleston,
Innholder, had license "to passe into Holland to receive a debt of his
onchell whoe dwelleth there, and to return in three months;" and in
1639 Christopher Foster of Gorleston had a similar license to see his
friends." (Exchequer Records.)
The family of G IBBONS held property in Gorleston. J
* This knightly family were seated at Sotterley in Suffolk at an early period, and
bore—bendy wavy of six: arg. and az. Thomas Playters, son of the first and father of the
fourth baronet, married Mary, daughter of Sir Augustine Palgrave, Knt., of Norwood
Berningham, already mentioned. The title became extinct on the death of Sir William
John Playters, 10th baronet, in 1832, s.p.
f The ancient family of T AVERNER held the Lordship of Herringfleet. They bore
arg., a bend lozengy sa.; in the sinister chief point, a bezant. John le Taverner and
William le Taverner of Gorleston wore among the principal persons concerned in the
dispute with Yarmouth, temp. Edward III. The Church of Walpole in Suffolk, which had
been impropriated to the Nunnery of Redingfield, was, at the dissolution of that house,
granted to Robert and Richard Tavemer. A pedigree of Taverner will be found in
Chauney's Hertfordshire, p. 518. In 1674 Elizabeth Awdrey, one of the three sisters and
co-heiress of Thomas Bedell, conveyed an estate at Herringfleet to Edward Taverner of
the County of Hereford, and Francis Taverner, his son, sold the same to Sir Edmund
Bacon of Gillingham, Bart., who in 1733 conveyed it to Hill Umpendon, Esq.
t Alice, daughter of Thomas Gibbons, married in 1745 Meadows Frost, Esq.. The
coat of arms recently granted to this family of Frost (see vol. ii.., pp. 196 and 425) is—
erm ., three pelicans vulning cheveronwise betw. two cheveronells gu., the whole betw.
three trefoils az. ; and for a crest, on a wreath of the colours betw. two wings erm., each
charged with a trefoil az., a mount vert., thereon a trefoil also az., with the motto— E
terra germano ad coelum expando. The three pelicans vulning are to mark the descent
from the family of Meadows (see vol. ii., p. 288), The Gybons of Suffolk bore arg., a lion
pass, sa., over all two tilting-spears in saltire gu., headed of the second. Papworth, p.
1094. Meadows Amola Frost, eldest son of Meadows Frost, Esq., of St. John's House,
Chester, and Meadows Lea, Flintshire, married in 1874 Rosalie Croshaw Elizabeth, eldest
daughter of the Rev. John Fuller Russell, B.C.L., Rector of Greenwich, Kent.
It is asserted that Dr. John Wilkins, who in 1656 married Robina,
sister of the Lord Protector and widow of Dr. French, Canon of Christ
Church, resided occasionally at Gorleston.*
The ancient family of B EDINGFIELD , already frequently mentioned in
this work, held extensive possessions in Gorleston in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, including the advowson of the Parish Church,
the impropriate tithes, the church farm, and other
property, f By the marriage of Sir Jacob Astley, Bart.,
in 1744 with Sarah, daughter and sole heiress of
Christopher Bedingfeld, Esq., of Wighton in Norfolk,
these possessions were brought into settlement, the
trustees being Armine Wodehouse, Esq., of
Kimberley, and Henry Lee Warner, Esq., of
Walsingham, and so passed to the A STLEYS of Melton Constable. J The
above-named Christopher Bedingfeld was fourth in descent from
Edmund Bedingfeld, (who died in 1565), fifth son of Sir Henry
Bedingfeld of Oxburgh, by
* He was grandchild, maternally of Dr. John Dod, the celebrated decalogist, who,
according to Fuller, was "by nature, a witty: by industry, a learned; and by grace, a godly
divine." Dr. Wilkins, being Warden of Wadham, obtained from the protector a
dispensation to marry. After the restoration he acquired the confidence of the king's
government, and was made successively Dean, of Ripon and Bishop of Chester. He
endeavoured to construct an universal language, and so to nullify the curse of Babel, but
died without accomplishing his object in 1672. He bore arg., on a bend engrailed betw.
two plain cottises., three martlets or.
f Bedingfeld bore erm., an eagle displayed gu., beaked and peded or. The
Bedingfolds of Oxburgh trace their descent from Peter le Grandison, in the Pays de Vaux
(1261), by Agnes his wife, daughter of Ulrick IV., Count of Neufchatel whose son, Sir
William Grandison, was summoned to Parliament from 27 Edward I. to 19 Edward II.,
and he thus became a peer of the realm. The late Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Bart., of Oxburgh,
claimed and proved his title to this barony, but did not assume the title.
t The family of de Estele or Astele held possessions in
Warwickshire in the reign of Henry I. A branch of this family came
into Norfolk in the time of Henry III., and acquired lands at Melton
Constable, where the family have ever since been seated, and ia
now represented by Lord Hastings. See vol. ii., p. 96. They bore
az ., a cinquefoil pierced erm. within a bordure eng. or., and
quartered Constable, L'Estrange, and Hastings; and for a crest, out
of a ducal coronet a plume of five feathers arg.
Grace his wife, daughter of Lord Marney, which title became extinct in
1524. This Edmund married Grace, daughter and sole heiress of John
Russell of Wighton in Norfolk. She married, secondly, James Taverner
of North Elmham. Christopher Bedingfeld married Sarah, daughter of
Arthur King of Tilney in Norfolk, and by her had an only child, who
married as before stated Sir Jacob Astley, Bart., whose father, Sir Philip
Astley, had in the preceding century acquired considerable possessions
in Great Yarmouth and elsewhere by his marriage with an heiress of the
Bransbys.* By an old map of' Sir Jacob Astley's lands in Gorleston it
appears that next the south boundary of the parish (which was marked
by "dole stones") there was a "common heath," and further west was
"Par heath." Next the west boundary was a wood and also "King's
heath," and beyond the boundary was "Bradwell field," into which
parish Sir Jacob's possessions extended. Open land in the centre of the
parish was called "Buxton's field."
The main street, called High Street, commences at the boundary of
the Hamlet of Southtown, and is continued south to its termination at a
junction with the Lowestoft Road, at which point it widens so as to form
a triangular plain, where the ancient market was held, and where what
remains of its annual fair still takes place. f Here was an ancient cross, as
was usual in all Market Places, the stone steps of which remained down
to the present century, but are now removed; and a modern pump marks
the site. An ancient Inn, on the east side, called for centuries the
Feathers, has been recently refronted. To the right a road, called Church
Lane, leads to the Parish Church; and to the left an old and narrow
street, called Baker’s Street, leads towards the river.
f Sylas Neville says, in 1770, "was persuaded to go to Gorleston Fair, much
frequented by low people, particularly the most profligate."
t In making a gulley in 1872 a few yards east of this pump, the workmen came to a
skeleton lying within a few feet of the surface with the face downwards, and having one
arm extended over the head. It appeared to be that of a young person, and to have been in
the earth above fifty years. How it came by such a strange burial place cannot be
* See vol. i, p. 361. The Lordship of Wighton was purchased by Humphrey
Bedingfeld, Esq., whose grandson, the above-named Christopher Bedingfeld, counsellor-
at-law, died seized thereof in 1750, and it was conveyed by Lady Astley (and her two
sister who died young and unmarried) to the then Earl of Leicester.
High Street is the oldest part of Gorleston; but every house has been
rebuilt during the last or present century. The Knights Templars had a
preceptory or commandery in High Street, near where the George and
Dragon public house now stands.*
* See vol. i., p. 176.
" On many a sign his form is seen,
" With sword and shield and helmet sheen;
Ye now him by his steed of pride,
"And by the dragon at his side;"
but sometimes the saintly knight is dismounted as in the above engraving, copied from a
drawing in the possession of the late Mr. Randall, representing, as he asserts, a carving in oak
taken from the door of an old house in High Street
Near the Conventual Church of St. Nicholas stood a cross, enriched
in an elaborate manner. When digging for the foundations of the
opposite house in 1874, Mr. Cockerell discovered a very perfect Saxon
urn. Vaults and stone pavements have been frequently discovered in
rebuilding, proving the original houses to have been of very ancient
date. Tesselated pavements have also, it is said, been found here; and
masonry of so solid a character as to obtain for it the term of "old
Roman work." Weapons, urns, coins, and other relics have also been
found in various parts of Gorleston.
An hospital is said to have been endowed here by Eleanor, Queen
of Edward I., for a master, four brethren, chaplains, three sisters, twelve
poor women, and six poor clerks or scholars; and it is asserted that there
were some small remains of the chapel standing in 1702. The Princess
Joan, already mentioned, also founded what was called the College
Chapel and Hospital for poor brethren and sisters, and endowed it with
£10 a year. There was also, it is believed, another similar institution
called St. James' Hospital.
Horsett Lane leads from the High Street to the river. On a house on
the east side of High Street, now the Earl Grey, are the letters W K M with
the date 1716, at which it was probably erected by William Killett. On
the same side is the west gable of a red-brick house, with the letters E B
and the date 1720 in iron figures. On a house adjoining School Lane
appear the letters I D S with the date 1730.
In 1737 the churchwardens and overseers purchased of Samuel
Killett some premises on the west side of High Street, within the
bounds of Southtown, for the purpose of erecting a workhouse.*
The National School on the west aide of High Street was erected in
1840. It stands upon what was previously a small open green. Near
where the school stands was the Town Cage or Lock-up. On the east
side of High Street is a small red-brick house, inhabited during the
* There is now no workhouse, the parish being included in the Hundred of Mutford
and Lothingland.
t The Rev. Thomas Tanqueray, who resided in an old house on the opposite side of
the sheet (now pulled down), used to feed his pony on this green. He died in
1841, aged 77; and Elizabeth his widow in 1843, aged 73, s.p.
latter years of his life by Mr. William Gross, who died here in 1828,
aged 94. Anne, his second wife, died in 1831, aged 79.* William, his
only son (by his first marriage), died at the house nearly opposite now
occupied by Capt. Dods in 1822, aged 65, s.p.m. At a house on the east,
side High Street died in 1860 Capt. Henry George Massie, R.N., aged 84.
One of the principal houses in the High Street, standing on the west side
near the south end and receding a little from the road, was for many
years the property and residence of John Barker Bell, Esq., who died
here in 1841, aged 83. f He was the son of John Bell of Great Yarmouth,
merchant, and married Anne, daughter of Christopher Sayers of Great
Yarmouth and sister of James Sayers (see vol. ii., p. 86). She died in
1828, aged 63. They had three children. (I) John Sayers Bell, of whom
presently; (2) Christopher Bell, who died an admiral and a C.B., t and (3)
Sarah, who married Capt. Annesley. R.N.
* Anne, their eldest daughter, married Mr. Thomas Salmon, and had an only child,
the Rev. Thomas William Salmon, Perpetual Curate of Hopton, Suffolk, in 1841. Maria,
another daughter (who died in 1826, aged 40), married G. D. Palmer, Esq. (see vol. ii., p.
389). A third daughter married Henry Sallows Davey surgeon, Beccles; and their only
aon, H. W. B. Davey, died at "Worthing in 1870, aged 72. He had a considerahle
collection of autographs. Jane, the youngest daughter, died unmarried in 1868, aged 72. In
Bradwell Churchyard is a slab to the memory of a family named Cross, bearing for their
arms a lion ramp.; and for a crest, a lion's head erased, with the motto— Foy pour devoir.
The name originally was atte Cross—that is a person, living at or near a cross. Simon atte
Cross, a burgess of Yarmouth, by his will made in 1349 devised the messuage, which he
had purchased of Thomas Bateman, to Agnes his wife for life, and after her decease he
directed the same to be sold and the proceeds expended in celebrating masses and other
pious uses.
t During the last war with France, when this country was armed to resist any attempt
at invasion, Mr. Bell raised a company of volunteers which he commanded; the other
officers being: Lieutenants—T. Salmon, G. D. Palmer, and Jehoshaphat Beart; Surgeon—
Ed, Baxter; Sergeant-Major— Charles Taylor; Sergeants—Gasper Matthew and Jas.
Kettle; Corporal—C. Taylor, junr.; with eighty privates. The uniform was red with yellow
facings. In 1798 a company of Sea Fensibles was raised, numbering 120 men.
J He entered the royal navy when only nine years of age, as was then customary, and
served in the Clyde, 38, attached to the North-Sea Fleet. Subsequently he was employed
principally in the West Indies and on the coasts of South America until made a post-
captain. Having attained the rank of rear-admiral he retired from active service, and died
at Aigburth Ash near Liverpool in 1854, aged 70. By his wife, whose maiden name was
Kerr, he left two sons.
In the latter part of the 17th century there resided in Gorleston a
family named Mounsieur; and in 1708 John Mounsier purchased of
John Titsell the house then standing on the above-mentioned site, with a
bleaching ground at the back and an orchard adjoining; and also of
Robert Prest, who had married Helen, only daughter and heir of William
Killett, a garden to the north and west thereof. John Mounsier died in
1715, aged 73, and left a son and heir who went to reside at Hedenham,
Norfolk, and who in 1742 sold this property to Richard Killett, previous
to which it had been in the occupation of Sir John Castleton, Bart.
Killett died in 1761; and subsequently it passed through several hands
(having been occupied early in the present century by Captain,
afterwards Admiral Sir George Parker), until in 1808 it was purchased
by the above-named J. B. Bell, Esq.* This property has recently been
sold to Mr. G. C. Kew, who has erected a brewery upon the premises.
On the other side of the street near the Feathers there was formerly
a Bowling Green and also a Pound. The latter was removed to the cross
roads south of the church, where it now stands.
At the south side of the Feathers Plain, where a blacksmith's shop
formerly stood, a handsome Terminal Station has been erected by Mr.
Linton Priddle for the Tramway from Yarmouth to Gorleston 1 .
The Parish Church.
hE Parish Church, dedicated to St. Andrew, stands at some
distance west of High Street at its extreme south end. Henry
II. granted the rectory with the great tithes to the Prior and
Convent of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, who obtained an
impropriation and endowed a vicarage, retaining the right of
presentation to the same. f At the reformation all the possessions of
* Carsey Bell, long known for the vehemence of his politics, died in 1850, aged 83.
He was the son of John Bell, who died in 1806, aged 80, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter
of John Carsey. She died in 1778, aged 41.
f The Priory of St. Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield was one of the earliest
houses in England of Austin Canons or Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine.
1 Now the site of the Gorleston Public Library.
the Priory of St. Bartholomew were seized into the king's hands ; and in
1553 Edward VI granted "the Rectory and Parish Church of Gorleston "
with all its rights and privileges to Thomas Cecil and John Bell, both of
London, "an as ample a manner to all intents and purposes as the same
had been enjoyed by did then lately dissolved Priory of St.Bartholomew in
Smithfield.''* The right of presentation to the vicarage and the impropriate
tithes have over since remained in private hands.
G ORLESTON C HURCH comprises a nave with two aisles, divided by
octangular pillars sustaining pointed arches. The south, aisle is of the
same width as the nave, and the north aisle is three feet wider, and both
are probably enlargements of those originally attached to the nave.
There are no transepts, and the aisles are continued the whole length of
the church; the chancel being undistinguishable externally by any break
in the walls or roof, and the west gables are all on a line. Like most
Parish Churches it has evidently been altered and enlarged from time to
time. Probably the western part of the nave is the most ancient portion
now remaining of this church. By removing the south wall and
who were commonly called Black Canons, because they wore "a long black cassock"
with a white rocket over it, and over that a black cloak and hood." They were great
builders, and played an important past in the history of architecture in England, especially
in the 12th century. Tanner enumerates 175 houses of this Order in England, many of
which had Parish churches attached to them; and it is reasonable to believe that the church
at Gorleston was rebuilt by them as we now see it. These canons wore not of necessity
priests, nor wore they monks; but they were obliged to live according to the rules of the
Order. Their Wildings were much the same as a monnstery, and their duty was to chant
the service four times a day for half-an-hour at a time. They studied and practised
medicine, and the Priory at Smithfield was both an hospital and infirmary. The remains of
the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield are highly interesting, and have
lately been rescued from the obscurity in which for centuries they had remained. The
Priory included among its large possessions tha Rectory of Lowestoft, and it is probable
that by them the beautiful Parish Church there was erected. The great tithes of Lowestoft,
after the dissolution, remained in lay hands until 1764, when they were purchased by the
Rev. John Tanner, then vicar, who restored them to the church—an example worthy of
being followed elsewhere.
* This grant convey a to the same persons a number of other Rectories and Parish
Churches, with a large amount of ecclesiastical property in different parts of England. It
was probably in allusion to the name of the last-mentioned grantee that the saying arose
"there was one bell in Gorleston wanted banging"
erecting the five western arches of the south arcade the south aisle was
formed, the nave was extended, and a new chancel added; next the Bacon
Chapel was erected, and the church, made uniform by adding the north
aisle and the north chancel chapel. The extreme length is 124 feet, and
the breadth 66 feet. Tho capital from which the north arch of the chancel
proper springs is well cut in oak leaves and acorns, being the only one
of its kind, in this church. A lofty square-embattled tower, ninety feet in
height, stands at the west end of the church. It is strongly buttressed at
the angles, and is ascended by a projecting spiral staircase containing
127 stone steps to the roof; at the external corners of which are evidences
of there having been at one time pinnacles or terminal figures.*
Internally a very fine and bold arch leads from the nave to the tower;
and within the tower is a well-proportioned window with an ample
splay. A magnificent screen of open woodwork stretched across the
church dividing the nave and aisles from the chancel and side chapels ;
and under the chancel arch was the usual rood loft, the aperture or
doorway leading to which may still be traced. f
This church suffered much from the wholesale spoliations of William
Dowsing, the Parliamentary visitor appointed, for demolishing
superstitious pictures and ornaments of churches within the County of
Suffolk in the years 1643 and 1644. This ignorant fanatic, who greatly
exceeded his instructions, kept a diary recording his sad doings, which
are painful not to the antiquary alone but to all who hold the House of
Prayer in reverence. He says "In the chancel, as it is called, we
* This tower has always been and still is most useful as a sea-mark, In. the latter part
of the last or beginning of the present century a telegraph was erected on it, with a
cottage, in the churchyard at the foot of the tower for the residence of the man in charge.
Iven, sen., in his diary, says (19th March, 1735) "My father, and I, and my brother James
went in our chaise to Gorleston to see a man fly off the steeple. He went up again, and
then a boy in a wheel-barrow, and at last a live ass." The art of flying has not yet been
discovered. It can only be proved by a man raising himself from the ground by means of
wings, instead of descending from a height, as all pretended discoverers have hitherto
t How a rood loft was adorned may be gathered from one of the questions put by
Cardinal Pole to the clergy after the re-establishment of the authority of the Pope on the
accession of Queen Mary. "Whether there be a rood in your church of a decent stature,
with Mary and John, and an image of the patron of the same church?"
"took up twenty superstitions inscriptions, Ora pro nobis, &c.; and
broke in pieces the rails, and broke down twenty-two popish pictures of
angels and saints. We did deface the font and a cross on the font; and we
took up a brass inscription with cujus anima, &c, and " Pray for ye soul,
&c." We took up thirteen superstitious brasses; and "ordered Moses with
his rod and Aaron with his mitre to be taken down.* We ordered
eighteen angels off the roof, and cherubims to be taken down, and
nineteen pictures on the windows. The organ broke; and we brake seven
popish pictures in the chancel window," —one of Christ, another of St.
Andrew, another of St. James, &c. "We ordered the steps to be levelled
by the parson; and brake the popish inscription My fish is meat indeed, and
my blood is drink indeed. I gave orders to break in pieces the carved
work, whioh I have seen done. There were six superstitious pictures, one
crucifix, and the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus in her arms, and
Christ lying in a manger, and the three kings coming to Christ with
presents, and three bishops with their mitres and crosier staffs, and
eighteen Jesuses written in capital letters which we gave orders to do
out." f These devastations were not aided by the inhabitants, for
Dowsing complains that there was "a picture of St. George," and many
others in the windows which he could not reach, neither would they help
us to raise ladders; so we left a warrant with the constable to do it within
fourteen days. Whatever were near at hand he did not spare. We brake
down St. Andrew with his cross, and St. Catherine with her wheel; we
took down the cover of the font, and the four evangelists, and a triangle
for the trinity, a superstitious picture of St. Peter and his keys, an eagle
and a lion with wings." Evidently this man was ignorant of the emblems
of the evangelists.
On each side of the chancel was a private chapel, formed by
extending the aisles the whole length of the chancel. That to the south
has a
* Full-length paintings of Moses and Aaron on panel were used as an altar-piece for
many years subsequent to the reformation. They were removed, some years ago, but are
still preserved in the church.
f These were probably upon the screen already mentioned; the south portion of
which, divided into eight arched compartments curiously ornamented with fleurs-de-lis
and roses, was not finally removed until 1847.
piscina within, an arched recess in the south wall, with a sedilia of three
steps. This was the B APTIST chapel and the burial place of that ancient
family.* It was thus dispelled, says Dowsing. "In Bacon's isle ( sic). "
was a friar with a shaven crown, praying to God in these words,—
Misere mei Deus, &c, which we brake down; also twelve superstitious
pictures of angels and crosses, a holy-water font, and brasses with
superstitious inscriptions." He part of the church escaped, for, says he,
in the cross alley we took up brazen figures and inscriptions, and "we
brake down a cross on the steeple, three stone crosses in the chancel,
and a stone cross in the porch." So late as 1828 four large slabs of
Probeck were remaining in the Bacon chapel, which had formerly been
incised with effigies in brass. One is referred to in Harvey's Collection
of Funereal Monuments on which he says were the arms of Bacon— gu.,
a bend lozengy sa., on a chief arg., two etoiles of the second. The
effigy of a cross-legged knight, bearing the same armorial cognizance,
occupied the matrix of one of these slabs. The figure had been torn
from the stone, and for years bad been considered as destroyed, until it
was discovered in Mr. Craven Ord's collection, which was sold in 1880.
Mr. John Gage Rokewode was the purchaser, and he, with great
propriety, restored it to Gorleston Church, where, at the expense and by
the care of Mr. Dawson Turner, it was again attached to its stone, which
was then placed vertically against the wall of the north chapel to
preserve it from further injury and where it now remains! The Bacon
* The following quaint epitaph is taken from a gravestone in the Church of
Ashrnanhan, attached to the Abbey of St. Bennet at Holm:—
"In memory of Honor Bacon, wife of Edmund Bacon, gent., who lived
virtuously, and died godly, beloved and much lamented, a maiden of eighteen
years, on St Nicholas Day, 1591."
f The lower extremities are broken off, which is much to ho regretted as there only
remain in this kingdom five specimens of cross-legged effigies in brass; As an example
of early art it yields in interest to none, though not so rich in detail as that of Sir Roger de
Trumpeton at Trumpeton in Cambridgeshire, or the Bures brass at Acton in Suffolk, The
feet of the knight evidently rested upon a boar, the well-known crest of the Bacons. When
entire the figure measured 5 feet 6 inches in height, and was placed raider a canopy
supported by buttresses, all of the fashion of the reign of Edward I. It no doubt represents
Sir John Bacon mentioned in the Inquisition Rolls of 1292. At the shoulders appear
gonfannons—little wings of
having been, appropriated as a burial place by Dr. Browne.* In the
north chancel chapel a piscina within an arched recess still remains on
the south side; and within the thickness of the north wall there is a large
recess surmounted by an arch enriched with crockets and elaborately-
carved finials, used in former times as an Easter sepulchre. The
mouldings of this arch are extremely delicate, and yet very telling. On
the wall beneath the canopy a rich painting was discovered a few years
ago, by the removal of thick coatings of whitewash. Unfortunately in
this process considerable portions of the subject became defaced. The
painting, which was rich in colour and illuminated with gold, represented
the Holy Trinity. Upon a diapered ground, God the Father was
represented seated in glory, supporting; by his extended arms a Latin
cross, upon which hangs Jesus Christ, the Son; and the Holy Ghost
descends in the form of a dove. On each side was an angel incensing.
Below were figures on a larger scale, but the subject was too much
injured to be
leather attached to the armour—charged with a cross of St. George; which appendages,
introduced in the above reign, continued in fashion for half a century. The vanbraoes and
gousettes of plate, intermixed with the chain armour, show the gradual progress of the
former, which finally enveloped the person, leaving the latter as an inner defence or shirt
of mail only. There is an etching of this curious brass by Cotman in 1814. In Oulton
Church, Suffolk, is a brass (circa 1310) of large dimensions and of peculiar interest from
its being the earliest known brass of an ecclesiastic. It is in memory of a member of the
Bacon family.
* When the former graves were disturbed for that purpose, a perfect skeleton was
found wrapped in lead, but upon being exposed, the venerable white hair instantly fell
from the skull. The first intruder was Catharine Astley, Mrs. Browne's sister, who died
unmarried in 1828. Suckling's Suffolk i., p. 374.
traced. On the surface of the wall below the string course, and on each
side of the canopied arch was painted a shield, one bearing the well-
known trinity banner (as in Yarmouth Church), the other the emblems
of the passion.* The splay of the adjoining window to the east was
painted with figures of angels. On the south-west side of a pillar
supporting the chancel arch are traces of fresco painting. The upper-
most figures appeal to be St. Anne and the Virgin; the lower one, St.
Catherine or St. Etheldreda.
When a modern gallery which stood at the west end of the church
was taken down in 1872, some remains of painting were observed on
the north wall between the north door and the next window towards the
east. On removing the whitewash with which it had been thickly coated,
a gigantic figure of St. Christopher was discovered. He is represented,
as usual, crossing a stream. On his right shoulder he bears the infant
Saviour, clad in a rich tunicle, with his head surrounded by a nimbus,
and holding an orb with cross fleury and a streamer above the head of
the saint. f With his right hand St. Christopher raises his ample robe
above the water, while by his left he grasps a ponderous staff like the
trunk of a young tree blossoming at the top. t On one side is seen a castle
with the figures of a king and queen seated in an upper chamber, and by
the side and at the end of a long table are two figures standing. On the
other side of the stream in the foreground is a building probably
intended for a hermitage. The benevolent face of the saint is extremely
well executed. Behind him may be seen a pelican wading in the water
and in the act of swallowing fish. On the bank of the stream in the
foreground is a rabbit peeping from its burrow. A great deal of the lower
part of this interesting painting is lost.§ Above
* Nothing of course remains on the north wall as the same had to be entirely
removed, but the original Canopied recess has been rebuilt in situ.
f Sometimes the Saviour is seated on the left shoulder of St. Christopher, as at
Witton Church, near North Walsham.
t This is in accordance with the legend which relates that the Holy Infant
directed St Christopher to fix his staff on the river bank, promising that it should by
the next day grow into a tree and produce leaves.
§ The legend is that St. Christopher, a man of unusual stature, who enjoined as
a work of christian charity, to assist travellers in passing over a river. One day a
the painting was an inscription which, could not be deciphered, but which
probably was the first line of the hymn to St. Christopher. About the
centre of the north wall another painting was discovered, representing
three figures, life size, confronted by three skeletons. Of the former two
are bearded men, who appear struct with astonishment at the sight.
Behind them is the figure of a comely youth, with yellow flowing hair,
surmounted by a crown. The bodice and skirt of his dress are red. Over
his shoulders falls a richly-embroidered yellow cloak. His tight-fitting
leggings are flesh coloured, and he wears gauntlet gloves. The men have
short black beards, and wear flowing red cloaks, with red stockings,
netted socks, and gauntlet gloves. The legend is this. Three noblemen
inordinately attached to the pleasures of this life and deaf to all
expostulations, suddenly encountered in a forest three skeletons, who
told them that when in the flesh they had themselves revelled in the
plenitude of earthly enjoyments, and the skeletons then and there read
the noblemen snob an awful lesson on mortality that the latter forsook
the world and passed the rest of their lives in penitence and prayer; the
picture being intended to teach that in the midst of life we are in death,
and the vanity of earthly pleasures. The subject is not uncommon, and is
known as the " trois vifs et trois morts" A splendid specimen was
discovered on the north wall of Belton Church, in which the "living" are
represented on horseback richly caparisoned. As the north wall of
Gorleston Church had to be taken down and rebuilt, these
child presented himself and asked to he carried across. At first his weight corresponded
with his appearance, but it soon increased so much that St. Christopher nearly sank under
the burthen. "Marvel not," said the child, for I am Christ, the Saviour, and you bear on
your shoulder the sins of the whole world. This subject was an emblem of baptism, which
brings salvation and safety to infants as the saint did to all he carried over the water. We
are informed by Erasmus of a prevailing superstition that whoever fixed his eyes devoutly
on the figure of St. Christopher would be safe from death on that day. It was a popular
subject in our village churches, and was always placed on the north wall as at Gorleston.
One was found at Fritton and another at Burgh Castle in Suffolk; and there were examples
at St. Giles' Norwich, Drayton, "Wimbotsham, and Stow Bardolf, in Norfolk. By being
placed on the north wall, nearly opposite the south or principal door of the church, it was
the first object to meet the eye on entering the sacred edifice, and it was also near the font.
One reason for the popularity of this saint in medieval times was the supposition that he
was the helper of those that labour.
paintings were of necessity destroyed, which is much to be regretted for
these and similar wall paintings in our churches served to illustrate the
manners and costumes of our forefathers.* They were adopted at a time
when despairing of bringing home even the most striking gospel truths
subjectively to the minds of worshippers, it was endeavoured to
represent them objectively by the way of pictures.
The font, a very ancient and curious one, is formed out of an
octagonal block of stone, having seven of its sides charged with
sculptures of the sacraments, while the eighth compartment represents
the day of judgment, of which Suckling gives a coloured engraving. The
Judge of all mankind is seated on a rainbow, and holds in each hand a
scroll with a latin inscription calling on the dead to arise; and on the
lower part of the panel figures are seen emerging from water or hiding
beside hills—fulfilling the sublime declaration that at the last day "the
sea shall give up her dead, and the wicked shall call on the mountains
and rocks to cover them." The subjects were all sculptured in high
relief, and the way in which Dowsing "did deface the font" was by
chiselling the protruding figures down to an even surface, and then
covering the whole with a coat of lime, which remained until a few
years ago when, by the exertions of Mr. Penrice Bell, it was removed,
and he then made very accurate drawings of the sculptures as they now
appear; on some of which remains of the original painting and gilding
can still be traced.
Of communion plate there is a silver-gilt chalice, bearing the date
1567; and also a plate and flagon, both the gift of James Dawney, f late
Church warden of Gorleston, Suffolk, who lies buried in the nave.
Within the church was a chapel for the guild of Andrew, t and
images of St. Christopher and St. John.
Belonging to the church, and still preserved in it is a very ancient
oak chest, banded with iron, and secured by three locks.
* Accurate drawings of those two wall paintings, made on the spot by Winter soon
after discovery, are here reproduced.
f A Norwich, family of this name bore arg., on a chev. sa. , three annulets of
the field.
t Roger Broke was Alderman of this Guild in 1528, Add. M.S., 19098, p. 399.
Of the four old bells in the steeple of Gorleaton Church, one bore
the inscription x S ANTE : N YCHOL Æ : ORA : PRO : N OBIS , in the usual
place on the shoulder, above which is this inscription, in letters about
five-eighths of an inch deep, of the same style but less ornate— x. I AM :
MAD : IN : YE : WARCHEPE : OF : YE : CROS . Two of the old bells were cast in
1619, that date appearing upon them; the largest had the names of John
Belton, Christopher Page, and David Chamberlin. The smaller bell bore
three shields, the first with a monogram A W B second bearing the figures
of three bells, two add one with a crown in the midst; and the last, four
castles, with a lion couchant in base. Another bell was cast in 1763 by
Lister and Pack of London, and was suspended when Anthony Taylor
and William Cross were churchwardens. All these bells were removed
in 1872, when a new peal of six bells, cast by Mears and Stainbank, was
presented by Miss Miriam Chevalier Roberts, daughter of the late
Henry Roberts, Esq., of the Limes, Weybridge, who died in 1874. See
vol. i., p. 174.
This church was suffered to fall into a most disgraceful state; the
impropriators doing nothing towards the maintenance of the chancel, and
the parishioners contributing, for the repairs of the church, the lowest
possible rate which in 1863 was refused altogether. Some years ago Mr.
E. W. Bell undertook at his own expense to restore and reglaze the three
east windows; but nothing further was done until 1872, when, mainly
through the exertions of Mr. E. P. Youell, who had become a resident in
the parish, a complete restoration was commenced, and has to a great
extent been accomplished.* The thatch on the roofs
*The sum already expended exceeds £3,000. The architect employed was Mr. Bottle.
The choir stalls of richly-carved oak are the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Roberts and of
their son, Mr. Chevalier Roberts. The altar rail is the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Youell; the
cushions were worked by Mrs. and Miss Arnott. The standard gaseliers were presented by
Mr. J. P. Bauntgartner and Mr. G. B. Palmer. The altar chairs were the gift of Miss Youell
and Miss Emily Youell; the oak foot-stool of Miss Mann; the altar cover was presented by
Mr. W. P. P. Matthews and Mr. H. Wilson; the oak alms box by Mr. Fen of Wolsey
Grange; and the lectern by the Architect and Mr. Hubbard, the contractor. The church was
reopened on the 12th of June, 1873, the Bishop of Norwich preaching the sermon; and the
mayor attending with his insignia of office. An oak reredos, extending across the east end
of the chancel and surmounted by a cornice forming a continuous canopy, designed by
has been removed and replaced by tiles. The north wall of the north
aisle, which was in a dilapidated state, in spite of huge and ugly brick
buttresses uselessly erected against it, has been entirely rebuilt; as also
the south porch; and the roofs of the nave, aisles, and chancel are all
new. The western portion of the church had been walled off, and a large
and ugly vestry erected in which parish meetings (frequently of a most
unseemly character) were held. These rnonstrocities, together with the
organ gallery, have been entirely removed, restoring the church to its
original dimensions and again bringing into view the noble tower arch.
The high-backed enclosed pews have been replaced by open benches
and chairs.
Notwithstanding the devastations already mentioned, some stained
glass remained in the windows until 1807; and a few fragments might
be seen in the tracery of the windows in the north aisle until a later
period.* Since the restoration two memorial windows of stained glass
have been inserted in the south aisle by the families of Bell and Whaites.
The floor of the church contained numerous sepulchral slabs, many
having floriated crosses upon them. The annexed plate faithfully
represents four of the stone coffin lids still remaining, and now placed
outside the church.
The monuments and gravestones, both within and without the
church, afford evidence of the salubrity of Gorleston, and of the remark-
able longevity of its inhabitants. The dry soil, the purity of the water,
the sea breeze fresh from the German Ocean, the flux and reflux of the
tidal waters with the absence of mud or anything tending to produce
malaria, contribute to this result, f In 1851 all funereal inscriptions
John Cory of Carlisle, and executed by Mr. Moody of Durham, was: "For the adornment
of God's house, and in memory of Charles Cory, presented by his widow and adopted
children;" and a pulpit has been presented by Mr. Edward W. Bell.
* The arms in the windows of Govleston Church and a figure and inscription on
stone were privately engraved by Ives for his intended History of Lothingland, but what
became of the plates and of these collections is not known.
f Gorleston was not however free from the plague, for we find by the Domestic State
Papers that in 1604 it was brought there from Edinburgh by a Scotch vessel; and in 1667
Richard Bower, the government agent, reported to Secretary Williamson that the plague
had broken out at Gorleston, and that three had died of it.
were copied, and it was found that of those then, recorded there were
328 who had died between the ages of 80 and 100; whilst eight persons
are reported to have attained or exceeded the latter age, namely, Mary
Alexander, 100; Susan Cheston, 106; Andry Hazall, 100; J. Neslen, 100;
Mary Sexton, 107; Joan West, 101; Sarah Waller, 102; and Susan
Haltaway, 104.* These are of modern date; hut we find that in 1631
John Bonney died, aged 104; and in 1575 Thomas Sadler at the great
age of 115. There was also a tombstone in the churchyard with this
inscription,—" Pray for the sowle of Elizabeth Sadler, who dyed ye xx
daye of Septem. 1592, being of the age of one hundred yeares." f All
sepulchral slabs prior to the seventeenth century have been removed, the
oldest inscription remaining being that to the memory of John Hicks, who
died in 1662. Some few have armorial bearings carved upon them. One
in memory of a member of the Worthington family bears the crest of a
castle. Another has the crest of a tiger statant. There are inscriptions to
the memory of the following persons, viz.:—1664, Robert London, aged
25; 1667, Mary, widow of Thomas Dans, merchant of London; 1669,
Joseph-Balls; 1679, Capt. Francis Saunders, R.N.,
aged 50, with his shield of arms—party per chev. arg.
and sa., three elephants' heads erased,
counterchanged. In 1688, William Mantel, aged 66;
1693, Nicholas Bell; 1696, Ambrose Crowch, M.D.;
and in 1711 Elizabeth his widow, aged 70; their
sepulchral slab bears barry of six, over all an eagle
displayed. In 1703 died William Nichols, Lieutenant
of Marines in Colonel Sanderson's regiment belonging to H.M.S.
Panther, the Hon. Peregrine Bertie, commander. t In 1721, George
Bennett, surgeon, only son of the Rev. George Bennett; 1722, William
Maltward, aged 69; 1743, John Fuller, Esq., from Great Yarmouth, with
his shield of
* In 1874 died Philip Benns, previously of Blocher Hall, aged 92.
f An inscription on & tombstone which Exhorts prayers for the dead is not (as some
people imagine) contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England (see Cripps, p. 432),
and such inscriptions are to be found subsequent to the reformation. The Minister of a
Parish has a general supervision over all sepulchral inscriptions, subject to the control of
the Ecclesiastical Courts.
t So says the Parish Register (kept in an iron chest in the church), commencing in
1676. Baptisms, marriages, and burials in the same book.
arms (see vol. ii., p. 150); 1753, Mary Master, " greatly lamented by the
honest poor whom she daily relieved with the utmost cheerfulness,"
aged 93. In the nave is a slab to the memory of Henry Martin,* bearing
a shield of arms—on a bend cottised three cinquefoils; and for a crest,
out of a ducal coronet an eagle's head. He died in 1775, and there are
inscriptions to several of his family. In 1784, Capt. Francis Richards,
R.N., who died at Yarmouth, aged 65; also Esther, wife of Anthony
Taylor, Esq., aged 59. The slab over this grave bears the arms of Taylor
(see vol. ii., p. 80), impaling arg., three bendlets gu., on a canton az., a
spur or. In 1792, Lieut. Daniel Disney, aged 63; 1794, Priscilla
Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. William Lacon, aged 23; 1803,
Nathaniel Barth, aged 65; 1808, the Rev. Robert Barnes, Vicar of
Gorleston, aged 52; he was also Vicar of Stanford in Norfolk. In 1809
Capt. Thomas Marshell, R.N., previously of Morpeth, aged 72. In 1813,
Frances, daughter of Thomas Adkin of Great Yarmouth, and wife of
David Jones, ordnance storekeeper, aged 68. In 1816, Capt. Michael
Chitty, of the East Kent Militia, aged 47. f In 1818, Robert Bately, aged
60. In 1825, aged 44, Richard Priestley, son of the Rev. Thomas
Priestley, Vicar of Snettisham and Heacham in Norfolk from 1770 to
1812. In 1826, Jane, relict of Samuel Jefferies, Esq., of Windsor Forest,
Jamaica, and Pixton House, East Grinstead, aged 60; and in 1828, Mary
Corneby, wife of Capt. James Jefferies, aged 40. In 1828, Lieut. Richard
Coggan, R.N., aged 72; 1836, Daniel Morrison, Esq., R.N., aged 64. t In
a vault in the south aisle lies buried John Danby Palmer, Esq., of Great
Yarmouth, Mayor of that Borough in 1822 and 1833, who died 5th of
August, 1841, aged 72; as also Anne his wife, daughter of Mr. Charles
Beart of Gorleston, who died 11th of January, 1819, aged 46. (See vol.
ii., p. 72.)
* Son of William Martin and Ann his wife, daughter of Samuel Killett. She died in
1794, aged 81.
f His coat of arms is sculptured on his sepulchral slab— or., a chev. erm., in chief
erm. three talbots’ heads, with a talbot'a head for a crest. Elizabeth his widow, who died
at Great Marlow Bucks, in 1836, aged 65, is buried beside him.
t He married Mary Lane, only child of William Tyler. The latter, who lived in the
old house in Southtown opposite the Gas-works, died in 1818, aged 71; and Mary his
widow in 1824, aged 68
Gorleston Churchyard contains no monuments of antiquity, all of a date
anterior to the eighteenth century having been carefully removed. Roger
de Yelverton by his will made in 1399 desired to be buried here, but
there is no memorial of him. One of the oldest of the existing
tombstones is in memory of Charles Cory and Elizabeth his wife, who
died in 1727. The next is to Thomas Johnson, who was "lost on
Yarmouth bar" in 1767, aged 62. In 1795 was buried here Christean,
daughter of Sir William. Gordon, Bart., aged 22.*
We shall now notice a few memorials remaining in Gorleston
Churchyard to persons whose names have not been otherwise
mentioned in this work. In 1804, Lieut. John Willis, R.N., aged 35;
1808, Capt. Nicholas Petersen Joost of Flensburgen, Holstein, aged 66 ;
1811, "M. H. A., a stranger;" what mystery is attached to this brief
record? In 1810, aged 29, John Rounding, a merchant of Hull, "who
while engaged in the prosecution of commercial pursuits in which his
knowledge and abilities were conspicuous, was in the prime of life
suddenly "summoned to his last and most important account," In 1811,
aged 44, Richard Rodwell, "lost on board the St. George." In 1812,
James Leggett, aged 21, "lost in attempting to save the crew of the
Sarah." In 1818, Allison Davie, aged 53, "for twenty-eight years Master
of Hasborough Moating-light;" and Nathaniel West, aged 82, to whom
there is a highly-laudatory inscription. In 1819, Nicholas Woolverton,
who died at St. Domingo, aged 21; 1823, William Woolverton, "lost at
sea," aged 20; and 1842, John Woolverton, aged 34, "lost off the coast
of Spain." In 1821, John Gardiner, aged 29.
" Within the liquid bosom of the Yare, "
"Midnight beheld the close of all his care;"
when protecting a friend from danger. In 1822, Crawford Duncan, aged
65, "a commander in the naval service of the King of Portugal." In
1830, Peter Miller, "lost at sea;" and Capt. Joshua Johnson, R.N., who
died in this year, aged 67, "he served his country faithfully for "many
years, and honorably distinguished himself at the battle of Copenhagen
in 1801, where he lost his left arm whilst bravely
* Sir William Gordon was a Captain in the 19th Regiment of the Line. He married
Sarah, only daughter of Crosby Westfield, Esq., R.N., and died in 1804, aged 68.
fighting under the heroic Nelson. He left behind him the character of a
most intrepid officer." In 1831, John Latter, who was drowned in the
Humber, aged 48. In 1832, Capt. Henry Warrington, who died "while
on a visit to Capt, Gedge, R.N." In 1887, Samuel Ling, aged 31, who
was ''drowned at Hamburgh." In 1839, William Howard Lowne, aged
26, who was "drowned on his passage to Scotland;" and Capt. Joseph
Chappell Woolnough, R.N., aged 51. In 1843, Richard Larmitte, aged
92. In 1845, aged 70, Henry Coote, "for upwards of thirty years a
resident m the Island of Jamaica," In 1847, John Libbis, aged 92. In
1853, John Manclarke Gillings, aged 94. In 1855, Edward Lee,
"drowned near the harbour," aged 17. In 1864, Capt. Berry Haines,
R.N., aged 68.* In 1866, William Manthorpe, "drowned with eleven
others by the upsetting of the lifeboat Rescuer going over Yarmouth
bar," aged 22; also Robert Spilling, one of the same crew. In 1862, John
Spilling, "a bold and skilful seaman,'' aged37. In 1866, Mary Anne
Elizabeth Spalding, widow of Daniel Spalding, f and sister of Capt. Sir
Edward Astley, R.N., aged 80; she died at Cranbrook in Kent. In 1874,
Major Hill, already mentioned ante. p. 18, who was buried in Gorleston
Churchyard with full military honors. J In 1875, died at Gorleston, Mr.
R. Palmer, in his 92nd year, having been for many years letter carrier
between Great Yarmouth and Southtown; and Philip Newson, of the
Anchor of Hope public house, aged 82, who,
*He was of Bildeston in Suffolk. Helena Ann his widow, who was one of the two
daughters of Benjamin English of Southtown (the other being the wife of Mr. John Beart),
was killed on the railway at Elvedon on the 17th of October, 1872, aged 69, and was
buried at Gorleston.
f The name is derived from Spalding in Lincolnshire, where Samuel Spalding, who
died in 1664, aged 74, was town clerk. The latter had a young daughter who went into an
unused garret in a remote part of the house, and the door shutting upon her she was
starved to death. Spalding of Norfolk bore per fess az. and or., a pale counter-changed,
and three square buckles of the second.
t He died at his residence in Southtown, 14th December, 1874, aged 51. He entered
the Royal Artillery in 1841, served in the Kaffer war in 1845, and received a medal. At
the commencement of the war with Russia in 1854 he went out as Deputy-Assistant
Commissary in the Field Train Department, and subsequently served in the artillery of the
Turkish contingent with the rank of major, and afterwards joined the Military Train. He
received the Crimean war medal and also the Order of Medjedie,
when on his first voyage in 1800, was captured by the French and
detained a prisoner for fourteen years; and Sergeant-Major Meek, aged
83, a "Waterloo" man.
Of those who died at Gorleston, but were not buried there, may be
mentioned the Rev. Thomas Henry Say, only son of the Rev. Henry Say
of Swaffham (Reotor of North Pickerham in 1794), and nephew of Col.
Say of Downham Market. He was of Oaius College, Cambridge, and
died in 1831, aged 29. Also Rhoda, relict of the Rev, R. F. Howman of
Beccles, Rector of Shipmeadow in 1839, aged 74.*
The churchyard contains nearly three acres, and at the west end the
sexton frequently finds what appear to have been the foundations of
houses which may in former times have stood there. On the opposite
side of the road, where it makes a curve, there is what is imagined to
have been the base of St. Bennet's Cross.
No Vicarage house was attached to the living at Gtorleston, and
there was no glebe. We have seen that Sir John Castleton resided for
some time in a house in High Street, and he is believed to have lived
subsequently in Church Lane. He was inducted in 1722, and died in
1777, in his 80th year, having held this preferment for the long period
of fifty-five years. f It is said that he made a large collection of
antiquities found at Gorleston; but what became of them after his death
is not known, J
f In 1732 Sir John Castleton purchased some houses in Yarmouth of Susanna Darby,
who was the only child and heir of Daniel Darby and Anne his wife, which Anne was one
of the two daughters and eventually sole heir of John Ellis, son of Robert Ellis the elder.
J The immediate ancestor of Sir John Castleton was created a
baronet by Charles I. His father, Sir Charles Castleton, Rector of
Gillingham (son and heir of Wm. Castleton, Esq., by Sarah his wife,
daughter and co-heir of Wm. Sidnor, Esq., of Blundeston),
succeeded to the title on the death of his cousin, Sir John Castleton,
Bart., in 1705. According to Le Neve 1 , the last-mentioned baronet
dissipated his estate chiefly in horse-keeping and drinking," and
dying childless left nothing to his heir. There is a good pedigree of
Castleton continued down.
1 Peter Le Neve did not publish any work; his collections and
writings are in the British Library, so where did C.J.P. get this
quote (unreferenced).
* Howman bore gu., a rose arg., and a chief erm., a pegasus sa. for a crest, and the
motto— Labile quod opportunum. The late Rev. E. Howman was Rector of Bexwell,
Norf .
There is in Suckling's History of Suffolk (vol. i, p. 377) a list of the
Vicars of Gorleston, commencing with Galfridus de Bondon, presented
in 1335 by the Prior and Convent of St. Bartholomew at Smithfield;
which house continued to nominate the vicars until the reformation,
when the advowson was seized by the crown. In 1545 the king
presented Richard Burgh, at whose death the Bishop of the Diocese, by
reason of lapse, presented the Rev. Thomas Hodgeson; and in 1563 the
advowson having been acquired "for a certain sum of money" by
William Roberts, Esq., of Beccles, he, on the nomination of the bishop,
presented the Rev. Peter Dyer. Roberts continued to present until the
close of the sixteenth century, and the advowson of Gorleston having on
his death become vested in his sister's son, Sir Owen Smith, the latter in
1624 presented the Rev. William Bolt. From Sir Owen Smith the
advowson passed to Humphrey Bedingfeld, Esq., of Wighton, the
grandfather of Christopher Bedingfeld, already mentioned. In 1665
Humphrey Bedingfeld presented the Rev. James Catton; and in 1673 the
Rev. John Burrell,* who married Judith, daughter of Capt. Francis
Saunders, R.N. She died in 1699, aged 43. In 1703 Daniel Bedingfeld,
Recorder of Lynn, younger brother of Humphrey Bedingfeld, presented
the Rev. Nathaniel Boothouse. Daniel Bedingfeld died s.p., and in 1704
Christopher Bedingfeld presented the Rev. James Purnell, on whose
death in 1722 he presented Sir John Castleton, already mentioned. Sir
Jacob Astley, upon whom we have seen the Bedingfield
to Sir Edward Castleton, a breeches maker at Lynn, who never assumed the title, and died
unmarried in 1810, aged 58. See Burke's Visscitudes of families, p. 197. The arms of this
family were az., on a bend or., three adders nowed vert. Crest, a dragon's head, between
two dragons' wings expanded gu. Lady Castleton died in 1737, aged 44, and her epitaph
in Gorleston Church quaintly records that she laboured severely more than five years—
with the gout!" Ann Castleton, the vicar's sister, died in 1780, aged 72. The name still
lingers in Suffolk. Martha, widow of Thomas Castleton, died, at Somerleyton in 1846,
aged 98.
* Dean Davies, writing in 1689, says (July 5th) "I walked with Mr. Gilbert to
Gorleston, and made a visit to Mr. Burrell, the minister thereof, where I met Mr. Smyth,
the Minister of Lound." The Rev. John Smyth was presented to the Rectory of Lound in
1681 by Sir Thomas Allin of Somerleyton. The Dean on the 5 th of January, 1690,
preached at Gorleston, and on the 8th again visited Mr Burrell and dined with Sir Thomas
Allin. "After dinner," says the Dean, " I walked into his gardens (at Somerleyton) and saw
three fine models of ships."
possessions in Gorleston devolved, died in 1760, and devised the
advowson of Gorleston to his second son (by his first marriage in 1721
with Lucy, youngest daughter of Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, Bart., of
Hunstanton), the Rev. John Astley, Rector of Thornage in Norfolk, who
in 1762 married Catherine, daughter of Philip Bell, Esq., of Wellington
Hall, Norfolk. On the death of Sir John Castleton in 1777, the Rev. John
Astley presented the Rev. Joshua Smith, and dying in 1803 devised the
advowson of Charleston, with all the Astley property there, to his two
daughters and co-heirs, namely, Catherine, who died in 1828,
unmarried, and Lucy, who married the Rev. Thomas Browne,. D.D.,
sometime Master of Christ's College, Cambridge, and Vice-Chancellor
of that University. In 1805 the right of nomination was allowed to lapse
to the bishop, who presented the Rev. Robert Barnes, but in 1808
Catherine, the widow of the Rev. John Astley (in whom the patronage
had been vested for life), presented her son-in-law, Dr. Browne, who
however was non-resident until 1813, when being invited to resign the
Mastership of Christ's College, he retired to the Vicarage of Gorleston,
and continued to reside in that parish until his death in 1832, aged 67. In
1825 Dr. Browne, as Rector of Southtown and Vicar of Gorleston, took
legal proceedings against Woollsey and others to compel payment of
tithes on their mills. The defendants contended that they were
merchants purchasing corn, grinding it, and selling the flour, and not
grinding other people's grain for profit, as was generally the case with
ancient mills, which it was admitted were titheable. When the cause
came before the Barons of the Exchequer, they, by a majority,
dismissed the Bill, but without costs. Dr. Browne then applied to the
clergy in general for funds to carry the cause to the House of Lords, but
receiving no response the matter dropped.
The vicar claimed the right to all gravestones more than thirty-five
years old, whether obliterated or not; and exercised it to the great
annoyance of some of his parishioners.* One Sunday (in 1832), being
* It is said that one of these stones were sold to a baker, who put it into his oven without
obliterating the inscription, and a loaf of bread came out marked "aged 75 years." See The
Autobiography of Henry Gunning, Esq., for many years Esquire Bedel of the University of
Cambridge. There is no such right. The property in tombstones remains with the legal
representatives of the deceased, and they cannot
about to preach in the Parish Church, he gave out the text, "Take heed
to yourselves" (Acts v. 35); but had scarcely uttered the words before an
excited parishioner started up and exclaimed in a loud voice, " Do you
take heed, and bring back my mother's gravestone !"
On the death of Dr. Browne, his widow presented the Rev. William
Gunn to the vicarage, he being then upwards of 80 years of age. He
died in 1841, aged 91,* and was buried in the Parish church of Sloley,
where there is a monument to his memory raised by his son, sometime
Rector of Irstead.
Subject to the incumbency of Mr. Gunn, the advowson was sold to
the Rev. Francis Upjohn, M.A., of Queen's College, Cambridge, who
before taking Holy Orders had been a captain in a dragoon regiment,
and who presented himself. The advowson, subject to the incumbency
be removed except with the concurrence of the churchwardens, "whose duty it is to
protect the integrity of the churchyard. (Cripps, p. 440.)
He was of Caius College, Cambridge, and in 1784 was presented to the Rectory of
Sloley by the Earl of Oxford, which he held for fifty-seven years; and to the consolidated
livings of Barton and Irstead in 1786 by Dr. Bagot, Bishop of Norwich. He possessed
great classical knowledge and a polished taste in the fine arts. In 1819 he published An
Inquiry into the Origin and Influences of Gothic Architecture, and to him we are indebted
for the term "Romanesque." He also published an historical and critical account of the
Tapestries in the Vatican; and the Historia Brittonum, from a M.S. discovered in the
library there. He also published an Historical and Critical Account of the Cartoons of
Raphael, which appeared under the title of Cartonensia. When at Rome he celebrated the
marriage between Prince Augustus Frederick, afterwards Duke of Sussex, and the Lady
Augusta Murray, daughter of the Earl of Dunmore, which was afterwards set aside as
being contrary to the provisions of the Royal Marriages Act. (See Annual Register, vol.
86, p. 242.) This Act, which prohibited the marriage of any prince till he was twenty-five
years of age, gave rise to the following epigram :—
" Says Dick to Tom, this act appears
" Absurd, as I'm alive;
" To take the crown at eighteen years,
" The wife at twcnty-five.
" Quoth Tom to Dick, thou art a fool,
" And little knowest life;
" Alas ! 'tis easier far to rule,
" A kingdom than a wife !"
In the Parish Church of St. Lawrence next Ramsgate, there is a plain mural tablet to the
memory of Lady Augusta Murray, who died at the latter place in 1830. There is an
engraved portrait of Mr. Gunn by Mrs. Dawson Turner (private plate). He bore gu. , three
lions ramp. ppr. (Papworth, p. 167.)
of Mr. Upjohn, subsequently passed through several hands until it was
purchased by the Rev. Thomas Allnutt (see vol. ii., p. 295), who held
the curacy until Mr, Upjohn's death, which took place in London in
1874, when he was in his 94th year.* The Rev. Gerard William
Tomkins, Rector of Lavendon, Buckinghamshire, was then instituted to
the Vicarage of Gorleston with Southtown and West Town annexed, on
the presentation of Augusta Mary Tomkins of Bath, widow of the Rev.
W. Tomkins, Rector of St. Saviour's, Bath, in whom the advowson was
then vested.
The impropriate tithes, which had been held by the Priory of Saint
Bartholomew at Smithfield, passed after the dissolution of monasteries
into private hands, and were in the seventeenth century in the
possession of the Bedingfeld family. They were settled on the marriage
of Sir Jacob Astley with Miss Bedingfeld in the same manner as the
advowson, and they likewise passed to the Rev. John Astley, and from
him to his daughters aud co-heirs, one of whom, as we have seen, died
unmarried, and the other became the wife of the Rev. Dr. Browne. After
the death of the latter the impropriate tithes were sold by public auction,
in lots, and were purchased principally by the owners of the lands upon
which the same were charged; by which means such tithes were
extinguished so far as by law they could be, but the purchasers
collectively still represent the lay rector, and upon them devolve his
duties, f Mrs, Browne, the doctor's widow, died in 1843, aged 76, and
was buried in the Bacon Chapel in Gorleston Church.
* He married (first) Catherine Mary, only daughter of the Rev. Clement Tookie,
Vicar of Chippenham, in Cambridgeshire. She died in 1840, aged 85. He married
secondly a sister of the Rev. G. C. Goreham, Vicar of Bramford Speke, Devon, so well
known by the "Case" which goes by his name.
f Impropriators took the property of the church cum onere. They are therefore liable
to perform, all those duties to which the ownership had been liable; and it never was
contemplated that these duties could be diluted or extinguished by subdivision. At the
beginning of the reformation, says Leslie, when the laity were first put in possession of
these lands and tithes, they understood it to be so; and made a show of performing these
duties better than the clergy had done, "but when the fish was caught they soon laid aside
the net." The rent-charge in lieu of tithes for Gorleston was fixed at £458. 12s., of which
£214. 18s. goes to the vicar, and £243. 17s. to the lay impropriators. Previous to the
passing of the Commutation Act, the vicar
M ETHODISM was introduced into Gorleston in 1791, when,
according to Watmough, that town was "as dark a place as any under
heaven," being inhabited "chiefly by sailors and such as were in
different ways connected with a seafaring life.'' It was occasionally
visited by itinerant preachers from Yarmouth, but with indifferent
success, until a pilot named Thomas Dawson was brought to
"amendment of life and manners," and at his own expense a building in
Duke's Head Lane was fitted up as a chapel, in which Wesley himself is
said to have preached.* At first the Methodists found no favor with the
godless rabble of the town, and Dawson himself was accustomed to
stand at the door while service was going on inside to keep order
without. Sometimes stones and brickbats were hurled at him by the
mob, and on one occasion a youth, more audacious than the rest, tried to
intimidate Dawson by pointing a pistol at him. Methodism however
took root in Gorleston, although occasionally "the lamp was near going
out." In 1801, when the Cambridgeshire Militia were quartered at
Yarmouth, sixty soldiers embraced Methodism. Among them was a
sergeant named Barwell, who became a local preacher and afterwards
resided at Gorleston. Dissentions however arose among the Wesleyans,
and the Gorleston meeting house, not being vested in trustees, was sold
and converted into cottages. The followers of Alexander Kilham (from
him called Kilhamits) then erected a chapel at Gorleston. When Mr.
Slater was appointed Wesley as preacher at Yarmouth, he collected the
"two or three straggling sheep" at Gorleston and re-established a society
there. This was in 1813, from which time Methodism has gradually
had tithe wood and tithe of marsh hay, hardland hay, and clover, of which last, the
first and second crop, were by usnage tithed by the vicar. He had all tithes both
great and small in Southtown, and wag entitled by custom to mortuaries and tithes
of fish taken out of the sea. Two marsh farms at Runham in Norfolk paid a yearly
rent of two shillings in the pound to the vicar.
* One of Dawson's principal employers was Mr. Miller, a shipowner at Yarmouth,
who threatened to dismiss him if Dawson continued in his "scandalous way," and
actually carried his threat into execution; as did also another employer who " was
highly offended on the same account." Dawson was "sorely troubled," hnt was
greatly encouraged to persevere by a dream in which he believed that when walking
at Spurrell's hill he met with some disembodied spirits, especially that of his father,
which told him with "mild solemnity" to "stand fast to the end."
increased in Gorleston, and substantial chapels have been erected by the
numerous sects into which Methodism has become divided. Other non-
conformist bodies have also gathered congregations and built chapels in
T HE Town House, Guild Hall, or Court House, is said to have stood
in Baker Street. A court called "The Chiefers' Court" was held yearly.
Also the Leet Court, which comprised the towns and parishes of
Lowestoft, Gorton, Gunton, Hopton, and Gorleston. These courts were
kept at Shrovetide and in the first week of Lent. Gorleston never had a
Municipal Corporation.
No apprentices to freemen of Yarmouth residing at Gorleston
became free of the borough by reason of such service; as would have
been the case had their masters resided in South town.
On the south side of Baker Street was an old tavern called the
White Horse, and the adjoining yard is still called White Horse Yard,
A curious-timbered house stood, at the south-east corner of Baker
Street, which was taken down in 1710. It was a spacious building of the
time of Henry VIII. The entrance from the street was by a low archway.
A portion of the great chamber remained to the last, nearly in its
original state, having a large chimney piece adorned with carvings, a
variety of devices, and armorial bearings, as stated by Randall.
At the north-east corner of Baiter Street, was a house in which re-
sided (as it is said) Dr. John Pell, an able mathematician employed by
Oliver Cromwell as Envoy to the Swiss Cantons. He died in London in
1685. Pell is a name which has been of long continuance in Gorleston.
At the south-east corner of Baker Street, a road turning to the south
skirts the high land, having to the left the marshes which lie between it
and the river. A little to the right, standing away from the road, is a red-
brick house built in 1722, as appears by the date on the gable, long
known as the Globe Tavern, but originally the residence of
* In 1858 the Rev. Joseph Pike, Congregationalist Minister, died when in his pulpit,
aged 48, much respected.