This village is called by various names in old evidence, as Sterstuna, or Steres-Town, (fn. 1) Therstun, Testun, (fn. 2) Thurston, and Tharston; and
was in divers parts at the Conquest, several of them belonging to the
manor of Forncet, (fn. 3) of which the capital manor was always held at one
fee. Uluric held it of Bishop Stigand at the Confessor's survey, and
Robert de Vallibus, Vals, or Vauz, of Roger Bigot at the Conqueror's. (fn. 4) The church had 40 acres of glebe valued at 3s per annum,
the manor was worth 5l. 6s, and the town was a league and a half
long, and half a league broad, and paid 15d. ob. to the geld. This
was after called Nerford's or Tharston-Hall manor.
Another part belonged to Robert Fitz Corbun, (fn. 5) which was
worth 10s. per annum in rents at the first, and 20s. at the last survey;
this constituted the
Manor of Tharston's, or St. Omer's,
Taking both its names from the lords of it; in 1236, Richard de Tharston was lord, and held it at a quarter of a fee of Robert de Shelton, of
whom he purchased it; and Shelton held it of Robert de Tateshale,
lord of Bukenham-Castle, from which it had been formerly sold by
In 1317, Richard de Therston and Cecily his wife, settled it on themselves for life, and then on Ralf de St. Omer; and it soon after divided into two parts, for in 1329, Richard and Cecily held one part of
Bukenham-Castle at a quarter of a fee, and William Jermy and Ellen
his wife, held the other of the said castle, at the other quarter of a fee; (fn. 6)
but before 1401, St. Omer's part was joined in Will. Rees, Esq. who
was lord of this, and
Nerford's, Loveney's, or Tharston-Hall Manor,
As it is now called, which continued in the Vauxes a long time; (fn. 7) in
1275, John de Vaux had a charter for free-warren here, and in 1285,
he had a lete held once a year, but the King's bailiff of the hundred
was to be present, or the lord could not hold it, unless he agreed with
him yearly; which was afterwards done constantly, till it was bought
in perpetuity; and then the lord had view of frankpledge, assise of
bread and ale, and weyf. (fn. 8)
In 1288, upon the partition made between the two daughters and
coheirs of John de Vaux, Maud married to William de Roos, and
Petronel to Will. de Nerford, who had this manor, and that
of Shotesham in Norfolk, Wisete in Suffolk, and the moieties of Holl and
Cley; the whole advowson of Holt, with divers knights fees in Thorp,
Winch, Bichamwell, Thurneton, Moringthorp, &c. and it continued in
the Nerfords; for after the death of William and Petronel, John de
Nerford and Agnes his wife, in 1328, settled this, Shotesham Nerford's,
the advowson of Pentney priory, the church of Holt, &c. in Norfolk,
the advowson of Rumburgh priory, Wisete manor, &c. in Suffolk, on
themselves and their heirs, in tail. This Agnes was daughter of
William de Bereford, sister and heir of Edm. de Bereford, widow to
John Argenteyn, and married after Nerford's death, to John Mautravers, senior; she died seized in 1375, of this and Shotisham, (fn. 9) and they
went to John de Brewse son of Peter de Brewse, Knt. and Margery his
wife, who was a Nerford; and Kat. de Brewse, his sister, a nun at
Dertford, released her right in it. In 1383, Sir John settled it on
William de Cobham and William de Bergh, his trustees.
Sir Thomas Roos of Hamlake, Knt. and Beatrix his wife, who descended from Maud, the other daughter and coheir of Vaux, had it;
and in 1394, Margery de Nerford released and conveyed all right in
William Roos or Rees, Esq. and his heirs, who held it in 1403,
of Thomas Mowbray's manor of Forncet, at one fee. In 1410, this
William Rees, Esq. by will gave his two manors in Therston, the one
called Nerford's, and the other St. Omer's, to be sold by his executors,
with his manors of Caxton and Wrotyng in Cambridgeshire, to found
a chantry in the college of St. Mary in the Fields in Norwich, and
to pay Sir Thomas the anchorite near that college, (fn. 10) 2s. a week for life; (fn. 11)
and soon after it was sold to William Loveney, and after purchased by
Sir Robert Clere, Knt. who held it in 1432, and it passed in that
family as Keswick, at p. 44. In 1549, Sir John Clere was lord, and
the manors were valued at 30l. but he manumised much, and died
Aug. 21, 1557, leaving Sir Edward his son and heir, then 25 years
old, who was to permit Sir Richard Fulmerstone, and his other executors, to take the profits for 5 years, to pay a legacy to Walter Haddon
his son. He made a long lease of the demeans, to John Woolmer, (fn. 12)
and settled the manor as at p. 166. He left it to Sir Edward Clere of
Ormesby his son and heir, who sold it to John Smith, Esq. (fn. 13) of Ameringhall, and he in 1617, to Sir Thomas Knyvet of Ashwelthorp, Knt.
when there were 319 acres 3 roods and an half of copy-hold, which
paid 10l. 2s. 3d. quitrents, besides 6 capons, 2 hens, 3 geese, 10 eggs,
2 bushels of oats, 7 days work and an half in harvest, 7 days work in
winter, half a day's work in hay-seele, and half a day's work in weeding; which were even now paid in kind. The freehold rents of
ancient tenure, were 6l. 2s. 4d. per annum, 12 capons, 5 hens, 1 comb
of wheat, half a pound of pepper, and one July-flower. The freehold
rents of the new purchases or manumissions, were 2l. 7s. 5d. one capon
and one red rose. The rents of 159 acres of demeans granted off
free, 6l. 17s. ob. and one capon. The profits of the court one year
with another, 8l. 10s. The lord hath had a warren of coneys at Holmehill, and hath letten Holme chapel to farm. It then paid 3d. per
annum to Forncet, and 1s. to Stratton manors. In 1626, Thomas
Knevet of Ashwellthorp, Esq. sold it to
Robert Wood of Bracon-Ash, Esq. and it hath passed ever since,
as at p. 84, and Thomas Wood, Esq. of Bracon-Ash, is now lord.
Welholme's or Welham's Manor
Laid in Stratton St. Michael, and this town, for which see p. 202.
Before the Welholmes removed to their new made manor-house at
Stratton, they dwelt in the old site of their manor by Holm-hill in this
parish, to which belonged an ancient free-chapel dedicated to St.
Giles, called Holme or Welholme's chapel; the site of which now belongs to the manor of Tharston: and on account of this it is, that we
often meet with the churches of Tharston mentioned, but the manor
united to Stratton-Hall.
The advowson of the rectory of the church of St. Mary the Virgin
at Tharston was given in King Stephen's time, to the priory of Pentney in Norfolk, by Rob. de Vaux, founder of that house, to which it
was appropriated before 1273; (fn. 14) it was first valued at 15, after at 18
marks, and had a house and 40 acres of glebe. The vicarage is valued
in the King's Books, by the name of Thurston, at 5l. 1s. 8d. and
being sworn of the clear yearly value of 45l. it is discharged of firstfruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation. It paid 7s. 8d.
procurations, 16d. synodals, 16d. Peter-pence, and 7d. carvage; and in
1571, the Queen's receiver general paid to the vicar out of the impropriate tithes, a yearly pension of 3l. 6s. 8d. There was a gild held in
honour of the Blessed Virgin, and the following religious persons had
temporalities valued as follow; the Prior of Thetford monks at 2s.; the
Abbot of Creke 6d.; the Prior of Bukenham 2s.; the Prior of Norwich
4s. 6d.; and it paid clear to every tenth 4l. 12s.
The church hath a square steeple and four bells, the nave is leaded,
the chancel and north porch are tiled. (fn. 15)
There are two monuments of black marble thus inscribed,
Here resteth the Body of Robert Wood Esq; Sonn and
Heire to Sir Robert Wood of Aylesham in the County of Norfolk
Knt. who departed this Life in this Parish the 23 Day of May
1623. Here also resteth the Body of Anne Wood, (fn. 16) Wife to
the said Robert, Daughter and one of the Co-heirs of Robert
Woolmer Esq; sometimes Clark of the Assizes for this Circuit;
the said Anne departed this Life at her House at Brakene-Ash in
this County, the 7th Day of Jan. 1646. The said Robert and
Anne had Issue 3 Sons and 2 Daughters, Sir Robert their eldest
Son, married Elizabeth the 3d Daughter of Sir Thomas Richardson Knt. late Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Edmond their
2d Son, married the Daughter of William Adams of Patterchurch
in the County of Pembrookeshire Esq; Phillip 3d Sonn un-married. Frances their eldest Daughter married Thomas Fletcher of
St. Edmonds-Bury in the County of Suffolk Esq; Alice the youngest Daughter married Anthony Penning of Little-Baddo in the
County of Essex Esq.
Here lieth the Body of John Woolmer Esq; sometimes
Clark of the Assizes for this Circuit; a Man of excellent Learning, ingenuous Conversation, and of singular Piety and Integrity
of Life; and the Body of Alice his Wife, a modest, discreet,
industrious and religious Gentlewoman, both which have left
behind them a perpetual good Name, answerable to such everliving Vertues. The said John Woolmer died in this Towne, the
2 Dec. 1598, and Alice his Wife died at Croxton in this County (fn. 17)
the 9th of Dec. 1610, after they had enjoyed each other the space
of 32 Years; they left Issue 3 Daughters, Anne the eldest, married to Robert Wood of this Town Esq; who had Issue 3 Sonns,
Robert, Edmund, and Phillip; and two Daughters, Frances and
Alice; Alice the 2d Daughter married to Henry Bastard of
Great-Dunham in this County Gent. who had Issue 6 Sonns,
Richard, Henry, Robert, Thomas, Leonard, and John; and 5
Daughters, Elizabeth, Anne, Margaret, Alice, and Frances; Frances the youngest, married to Mathew Goad of Croxton aforesaid
Gent. and had Issue 4 Sonns, Woolmer, Mathew, Thomas, and
Francis; and one Daughter Catherine.
Hoc pietatis Monumentum posuit.
Matheus Goad, 28 Junij 1617.
Vicars presented by the priors of Pentneye.
1306, Stephen de Shotesham.
1319, Roger de Beccles.
1349, Stephen de Bowthorp.
1412, John Redgrave, resigned.
1414, Tho. Edwards, resigned.
1416, John Marye, resigned.
1420, Edm. Ovisson, or Quysson, resigned.
1427, Simon Towe, resigned.
1436, Tho. Umfrey, ob.
1439, Rob. Caley.
1455, Henry Stevenson.
1461, Robert Waltham, resigned.
1475, John Glovere, who was succeeded by
John Borell, at whose death in
1496, John Skaw had it.
1500, Thomas Dawson, ob. He was the last presented by the Prior,
who granted the next turn to Thomas Codde, alderman of Norwich, by
virtue of which in 1540, he presented
Sir Walter Dowe, chaplain.
The impropriate rectory and advowson of the vicarage, vested in the
Crown at the Dissolution, and the King let the impropriation to farm,
at 6l. 6s. 8d. reserved rent, and presented to the vicarage one
Robert Ringer, who in 1554, was deprived by Queen Mary,
for not complying with the Romish religion, which she endeavoured to
establish, and she gave it to
Robert Vassour; and in 1557, he being outed,
Thomas Underwood alias Babington, took it by lapse, who was
George Heynsworth, who resigned.
In 1565, Will. Burton had it of the gift of Robert Gosnold and
Anne his wife, by grant from the Crown, and in 1585, the Queen
gave it to
Rob. Robinson; and in 1589, when he resigned,
Leonard Greaves had it by gift of John Bacon, by grant of
the turn from the Crown. In 1591, the Queen presented
Henry Goodram, and in
1595, James Wadesworth, and after this,
The impropriation and advowson of the vicarage was settled by the
Crown, on the Bishoprick of Ely, the Bishops of which see have all
along, and now do, enjoy them.
Vicars, presented by the bishops of Ely.
1601, Ric. Muckleston, A. B. he returned 136 communicants in this
parish in 1603.
1609, Thomas Cross.
1613, Miles Willan, A. M.
1641, Tho. Trunch intruded into the rectory and vicarage, and held
the whole till the Restoration; and in 1661, at Willan's death,
Abel Hodges, A. M. had it, and held it united to Tibenham
1678, Abel Hodges, A. M. had it at his father's death, and at his
1720, Abel Hodges his son, had it, and held it first united to Wacton-Parva, and after to Brockdish; at whose death,
The Rev. Mr. Thurlow, the present vicar, succeeded.