This town was, at the survey, one entire lordship, possessed by
William de Beaufoe Bishop of Thetford, in his own right, as a lay
fee. Almar Bishop of Elmham (Archbishop Stigand's brother) was
lord in King Edward's reign, and part of the Conqueror's, till deprived in 1070. He is said to have been a married priest, and to
have held it in right of his wife, being her portion. On this depriva
tion, it was granted to Beaufoe, and consisted of two carucates of
land, nine villains, two servi, two carucates in demean, and half a
carucate of the tenants, &c. four acres of meadow, &c. In King Edward's time there belonged to this manor 43 socmen, (who could not
sell or grant their lands,) with three carucates of land, and four acres
of meadow, and ten carucates, &c. William de Noiers, Rainald
Baldwin, and Helias, held five socmen under Beaufoe; and, besides
these, the Bishop, in the Confessor's time, had the forfeiture of six,
but the hundred had not seen the writ, the seal, or grant of the King.
It was valued then, in the whole, at 7l. at the survey at 8l. was one
leuca long, and three furlongs, and in breadth one leuca and one
furlong; paid gelt 30d. Almar had this manor with his wife, before
he was a bishop, and held it afterward whilst he was a bishop.
William Beaufoe, Bishop, is the present lord. (fn. 1)
On the death of this Bishop, it came to the episcopal see by his donation, and was esteemed the head of the barony of the see of Norwich, and held in capite of the Bishop by the ancient family of De
Cateston, or Caston. Sir Robert de Caston appears to have held it in
the time of Bishop Ralph, about the year 1236, and claimed, in the
Bishop's right, to fish, to cut reed in any part of the town, and fen
lying against Whitton, and sealed with the Holy Lamb.
Walter de Suffield, Bishop, had a charter of free warren, in the
35th of Henry III. and in the 49th, William de Newton complained
against several particular persons, and against the townships of Blofield, Hasingham, &c. for being assaulted and beat there; and the
townships were bailed, and obliged to appear at the King's Bench; (fn. 2) I
mention this as a quere,—whether such a complaint would be good at
In the 15th of Edward I. the Bishop claimed free warren in his demean lands, frank pledge, assise of bread, &c. weyf, &c. In the see
it remained till the exchange of lands made between King Henry
VIII. in his 27th year, and Bishop Rugg, by act of parliament, February 4, and then was vested in the Crown; and the said King, on
June 20, in his 32d year, granted it to Sir Thomas Paston, in consideration of other lands, together with the patronage of the church.
The manor had court baron, and lete, which, with the patronage
of the church, and the Bishop's palace here, were all conveyed; the
demean lands contained 280 acres, besides as much land as was let
for 20 marks per ann. Rent of assise, and quitrents, were 20l. per ann.
In this family it continued many years, Edward Paston, Esq. being
ord and patron in 1640.
In Domesday Book the town is wrote Blafelda, from its site near a
river, and gives name to the hundred: thus we find Blakeney in
Norfolk, Blakenham and Blaxhall in Suffolk, Blakesley in Northamptonshire, Blakenham in Cheshire, and Blaby in Leicestershire; all thus
seated by some considerable water; also Blore in Staffordshire, and
Blonorton in Norfolk.
The tenths were 5l. 3s.—Deducted 13s. 4d.—Temporalities of Carhow-priory 4s. 5d.—This lordship was esteemed to be the head of the
barony of his see of Norwich, consisting of five knights fees.
The Church is a rectory dedicated to St. Andrew: ancient valor
48 marks; Peter-pence 4s. carvage 4d. The prior of Norwich had a
portion of tithe, valued at 10s. granted by Bishop John de Grey, and
confirmed by Bishop Blomvile; the church was not visited by the
archdeacon, being in the Bishop's manor:—the present valor is 23l.
6s. 8d. and pays tenths, &c.
John Terri occurs rector about 1235.
In 1303, Mr. William de Foddringey instituted.
1303, Alan de Ely, collated by the Bishop.
1308, Robert de Fuldone. Ditto.
1327, Mr. Gilbert de Yarwell. Ditto.
In 1349, February 6, William Bateman Bishop of Norwich reserved
the profits of this rectory, by papal authority, to the use of his table,
for life, but applied them to the building of Trinity-hall in Cambridge.
Soon after, April 22, he collated
Robert de Stratton, L. L. B.
1352, Roger de Holm. Ditto.
1369, William de Beverley. Ditto. (fn. 3)
1391, Mr. William de Feriley. Ditto.
1399, Robert Foulmere. Ditto.
1401, William Carleton, L. L. D. Ditto.
William Sponne occurs rector 1419, archdeacon of Norfolk.
William Bernham, Decret. Bacc. occurs rector 1420, and the
1454, Robert Appubby, Decret. Dr. occurs rector.
1455, John Pelot. Decret. Dr.
Thomas Howes about 1460.
1471, William de Pykenham, L. L. D. and the Bishop's vicar-general.
Thomas Warren, rector in 1493.
Thomas Brook, B. D. rector in 1561.
George Gardiner, D. D. rector about 1580, dean of Norwich, &c.
Thomas Bostock, - - - -.
Edmund Suckling occurs rector 1609, afterwards dean of
1634, Ambrose Congham,
Alexander Shipdam occurs rector 1647.
Charles Reve died rector in 1727.
1727, James Dover, by Samuel Colby.
1735, Phil. Candler, by Isaac Park, weaver. Caius college, Cambridge, the present patrons.
Here were the guilds of Holy Trinity, St. Mary, and St. John
Baptist, to which Peter — gave a rood and a half of land in
In 1349, the Bishop collated to the mastership of the grammar
school in this town William Bunting.
Was taxed at 13s. 4d.—In 1256, Robert — occurs dean; it paid
synodals to the archdeacon of Norwich, at St. Michael, 25s. and the
same at Easter:—Peter-pence, 25d. Carvage to the high altar of the
cathedral church of Norwich, in Whitsunday week, with solemn procession, 5s.; to the sacrist for copes 4d.; to the clerks of the church
for ringing 4d. It seems by this that it was part of the dean's offices
to collect these dues from each church in his deanery.
In 1306, Mr. Thomas de Byteryng, collated dean by the Bishop.
1307, Adam de Tyringham. 1308, Thomas de Foxton. 1319, Henry
de Thornton. Henry de Washbrook, dean. 1326, John de Parys.
1342, Ralph Ive. 1347, Stephen Nally.