GREAT OR OLD WALSINGHAM, AND LITTLE, OR NEW WALSINGHAM.
Bynham Priory Manor.
Peter de Valoins was lord of a part of the town of Walsingham
Magna, at the survey, by the gift of the Conqueror, of which Bund
(a thane of King Edward) was deprived, and Humphrey held it of
Peter, the capital lord.
It then consisted of a carucate and a half of land, 3 villains, 7 borderers, with 2 carucates, and 4 acres of meadow in demean, one
carucate and a half among the tenants, 3 servi, 5 cows, &c. 180
sheep, 9 skeps of bees, and one socman held 4 acres of land, valued at
40s. before this at 30s.
It was delivered, or granted to Peter, to make up, or complete one
of his lordships, but his men or tenants did not know what manor. (fn. 1)
The aforesaid Humphrey, whom I find to be styled one of this Lord
Peter's knights, gave, according to the practice of those times, 2
parts of the tithes of this lordship to the priory of Bynham, (fn. 2) founded
by his lord in the reign of Henry I. Roger Lord Valoins, his son, and
Robert, his grandson, confirmed it with the moiety of St. Peter's
church, the chantry that Robert Godchild held of the monks of St.
Albans: also 2 carucates here, containing 190 acres of land, with the
whole homage and demean of Humphrey, held of them, and the millmeadow. The prior aforesaid, in the 15th of Edward I. had the assise
of bread and beer, of his tenants: in 1428 their temporalities were
valued at 9l. 17s. 1d. and their spiritualities here, or portion of tithes,
On the general dissolution it was granted by the Crown, to Sir
Thomas Paston, November 18, Ao. 33 Henry VIII. paying 9s. 7d.
The King's Manor.
King William seized on this, which was one of King Herold's lordships, and a beruite belonging to the royal manor of Fakenham, containing 3 carucates of land, 13 villains, 7 borderers, with one carucate
in demean, 2 carucates among the tenants, paunage for 10 swine, and
acre and half of meadow, 2 mills, 2 horses, 5 cows, and 24 sheep;
and there were 8 socmen, with one carucate of land; 2 borderers also
belonged to it, half an acre of meadow, the moiety of a mill, and 3
carucates: all this was valued in Fakenham. (fn. 3)
How long it continued in the Crown does not appear; it seems in
the reign of King John to be forfeited by William de Brencourt, or
Favercourt, on his rebellion against that King, and was granted in
his 6th year (as an eschaet, and land of the Normans) to Richard
Earl of Clare, of whom and his family, see in the following lordship.
The Earl of Clares Lordships.
Rainald, son of Ivo, obtained two of the principal manors in these
towns, on the Conquest: one in Great Walsingham, of which Ketel
a freeman, was deprived, who had 19 borderers, with 3 carucates of
land, 2 servi, 2 acres of meadow, and 2 carucates in demean, &c. 24
soemen belonged to it, with 70 acres of land, the moiety of a mill
and 2 borderers, &c. valued at 6l. per ann.; it was half a leuca long
and the same in breadth, and paid 18d. gelt.
The same Rainald had also the grant of a lordship in Walsingham
Parva, on the deprivation of the aforesaid Ketel, containing 2 carucates of land, 4 villains, 21 borderers, 2 servi, 2 carucates in demean,
2 carucates among the tenants, &c. an acre of meadow, with a mill;
and half a carucate, with 14 acres of land, belonged to 5 socmen, &c.
valued in King Edward's reign at 4l. at the survey at 5l. it was one
leuca long, and one broad, and paid 24d. gelt. (fn. 4)
Rainald was a Norman nobleman, and attended Duke William on
his invasion; how long he possessed it does not appear; Walter
Giffard Earl of Bucks, or his son, seems to have been the next lord,
whose sister and coheir, Rohais, married Richard Fitz-Gilbert, alias
de Clare, ancestor of the Earls of Hertford and Clare; whose descenants, the Earls of Clare, inherited it.
Richard de Clare, Earl, in the 32d of Henry III. gave these lordships to his brother, William de Clare, who had a grant of free warren
in Walsingham Magna, and a weekly mercate on Friday, in the 35th
of that King; also of a weekly mercate in Walsingham Parva, on
Monday, and a fair, formerly granted to the prior of Walsingham, on
whose death it came to the aforesaid Earl, and was held in capite by
one fee and a half.
Gilbert de Clare Earl of Gloucester, was lord in the 14th of Edw I.
had the assise of bread and beer, a gallows, and other royal privileges, and they were valued at 30l. per ann. after his death it came to
Lionel Duke of Clarence, third son of King Edward III. by his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter and heir of William de Burgh Earl of
Ulster, in Ireland, son and heir of John de Burgh Earl of Ulster, by
the Lady Elizabeth his wife, third sister and coheir of Gilbert, Earl
of Clare, Gloucester, &c.
The said Lionel dying in the 42d of Edward III. left Philippa, his
only daughter and heir, and on her marriage with Edmund Mortimer
Earl of March, he became lord in her right. On the death of Edmund,
the last Earl of March, in the 3d of Henry VI. Anne, his sister and
heir, being wife of Richard de Coninsby Earl of Cambridge, Richard
their son, Duke of York, was lord, and his son King Edward IV. inherited it.
Elizabeth, Queen consort to King Henry VII. Anne, wife of Thomas
Howard Earl of Surry, and Catharine, wife of William Courtney Earl
of Devonshire, were daughters and coheirs of the said King. Anne
and Catharine conveyed their right to King Henry VIII. and King
Edward VI. in his 7th year, July 1, granted them to Thomas Gresham,
Esq. and Queen Mary confirmed it April 9, in her first year, with the
lordships of Collingham, Fennes, Marshes, Bottes, Hadshaw's Walsinghum Grange, and the demean lands in the tenure of Thomas Sydney,
&c. with a fold course, watermill, market and a fair on the nativity
of the Virgin Mary, and a close planted with saffron, for which the
town was famous at this time.
Sir Thomas Gresham, in the 16th of Elizabeth, granted to Edward
Flowerdew, Esq. in consideration of the faithful counsel given him,
an annuity out of it payable for life, and sealed it with his crest, a grashopper: on his death his lady possessed it, and it came to her son,
Sir William Read, lord in 16th of James I. and on his death, to his coheirs, George Lord Berkley, Sir William Withipole, the Earl and Countess of Desmond.
After this, in 1637, it was conveyed to Dr. John Warner Bishop of
Rochester, a prelate famous for his noble acts of charity, on whose
death it descended to his heir, John Lee Warner, D.D. archdeacon
and prebendary of Rochester, son of Thomas Lee, of London, Gent.
descended from the family of Lee of Lee-hall, in Shropshire, by Anne
his wife, sister of the Bishop, whose eldest son, Henry Lee Warner,
Esq. was lord in 1680, and his nephew, Henry Lee Warner, (son of
- - - - - - - - -Warner, Esq. of Kensington, by - - - - - - - - - -, sister of Sir
James How,) died lord on the 13th of December, 1760, and by - - - - -,
daughter of John Mills, Esq. of Nackington in Kent, left Henry Lee
Warner, Esq. the present lord.
Here were also in ancient days several little lordships held of the
Earls of Clare.
In the reign of Edward I. Adam, son of William de Romely, is mentioned: in the 20th of Edward III. Henry de Colingham held half a
The town gave name to the ancient family of De Walsingham. Sir
Richard de Walsingham lived in the reign of King Henry III. and was
father of Sir Richard, one of the justices of Trailbaston, in Suffolk
and Norfolk, with Sir John Le Briton, in the 33d of Edward I. father
by Christian his wife, of Thomas de Walsingham, who married Amy,
daughter and coheir of Sir Robert Stafford, of Egginton in Derbyshire; this Thomas (as I take it) had considerable lands, with a foldcourse, here, late Romely's, granted to his father, and was living in
the 13th of Edward II.; Thomas was father of Sir Richard, living in
the reign of Edward III. and by Margaret, daughter and coheir of
Adam Nortoft of Eggemere in Norfolk, had Richard, who married
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Dalingrey, and was father of Thomas Walsingham, Esq. who by Catharine his wife, sister of Sir William
Belhouse of Essex, left Thomas, his son and heir, who removed into
Kent, and died about 1456: this Thomas took to wife Margaret, daughter and heir of Adam Bam of Gillingham in Kent, from whom the
great Sir Francis Walsingham, secretary of state in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, is descended.
The tenths of Walsingham Magna were 8l.—Deducted 1l.—Walsingham Parva 6l. 14s.—Deducted 13s. 4d.
The temporalities of Stoke by Clare 20s.—Of Bury 10s.—In Walsingham Parva.
The priory of St. Faith's of Horsham had a portion of tithe, valued
at half a mark.
New Walsingham is a mercate town, and has two fairs in the year.
In the town of Old Walsingham, were two churches, All-Saints and
The Church of All-Saints was a rectory, valued at 15 marks,
Peter-pence 14d. ob. and was given, by deed sans date, to the church
of St. Mary of Walsingham, and the canons there, for his soul's health,
and those of his father, mother, &c. in pure alms, with the appertenances in ploughed lands, meadows, pastures, &c. by Philip de Terra
Vasta, (Travers,) the seal is oval, and is a knight in complete armour,
on horseback, in full career. The Register of Norwich says it was the
gift of Roelen de Terra Vasta, and was granted, saving the right of
Richard de Drayton, who held the church as rector, for life.
In the 52d of Henry III. Richard de Vilechen conveyed by fine a
moiety of the church of All-Saints, to Alan the prior of Walsingham,
and the lands which the prior held of the gift of Richard Ancestor,
who was probably Philip abovementioned; and Alan de Romely, son
of William, by deed sans date, released all his right in this church
given by his ancestor, P. de Terra Vasta, and gave an alder-ground
to the priory.
On the appropriation of it, a vicarage was settled, valued then at
John Archbishop of Canterbury granted license to appropriate it
Vicars of All-Saints.
In the 14th of Edward I. Philip de Clopton occurs vicar.
1305, John Badingham was instituted vicar, presented by the prior
1329, Ralph de Alethorp, presented by the prior and convent.
1330, Adam Alexander.
1338, John de Bromholm.
1342, Martin de Sandringham.
1355, Jeff. Derham.
1360, Roger de Wirtham,
About this time, the vicarage was also united to the appropriated
rectory, and became a curacy.
Thomas Sydney, Esq. of Walsingham Parva, had a grant of the rectories and churches of All-Saints, and St. Peter's, in Walsingham
Magna, and of St. Mary's, in Walsingham Parva, lately belonging to
the priory, by a patent, dated May 3, in the 7th year of King Edward
VI. and Henry Lee Warner, Esq. is impropriator, and nominates the
curates of the churches, as the Sydneys did.
The Church of St. Peter's, of Walsingham Magna, was a rectory
valued at 15 marks, paid Peter-pence 12d. and the prior of Bynham
had a portion herein, valued at 15s. per ann.
Rectors of St. Peter's.
In the 21st of Henry III. Thomas de Leche was instituted rector.
Bartholomew de Ferentino occurs rector in the 14th of Edward I.
Philip, in 1307.
Richard de Clare Earl of Hertford gave it to the priory, and it was
appropriated in the 8th year of Edward II. and so remains a curacy;
Henry Lee Warner, Esq. being the impropriator.
In this church were the gilds of St. Peter, and of the purification.
John Dyx, priest of Walsingham Magna, by will in 1524, gave
lands with a messuage and cottage in Walsingham Magna, to the repair of both these parish churches, and to the use of a gild-hall, for
the parishioners of both parishes, on condition that the church-wardens of them cause to be sung in each church, Placebo, and Dirige,
on Tuesday in Easter week.
The Church of St. Mary in Walsingham Parva, was a rectory
valued at 5l. and paid Peter-pence 14d. ob. it was granted, and appropriated to the priory about the year 1280, by Jeff. de Faverches,
and so is a donative, or curacy. A pension of 2s. per ann. belonging
to the see of Norwich, was released by Bishop Thirlby. The impropriation is in Henry Lee Warner, Esq.
A priest, called Jesus' priest, and the mass of Jesus, is mentioned in
1526. In the churchyard was the image of our Lady, in the wall.—
The image of St. Anne, in the chapel, in the church.—St. Catharine's
altar and gild, with that of the purification, annunciation, St. John
Baptist's, St. Michael's, St. Ann's, St. George's, and the Holy Trinity.
The church is a regular pile, with a nave, north and south isle, and
a chancel covered with lead, and has a square tower, with a spire,
and 5 bells.
In it hangs a brass branch for candles, the gift of John Portington,
Gent. in 1679: the font is of stone, with imagery work, and a wooden
cover carved on it, Ex dono Jane Dominœ Sidney, in piœ mentis
In the church are several gravestones with brass plates; those which
are most material I shall here mention:
Hic jacet Jacobus Gresham, cuj. a'i'a. p'ptr. Deus.
Orate p. a'i'a. D'ni Willi. Weston, capli cuj. a'i'e. &c.
Orate p. a'i'a. D'ni Jacobi Ive, capellani, qui obijt xviiio. die mensis
Junij Ao. D'ni. m.cccc.lxxxxiiiio.
Orate p. a'i'a. Christoferi Athowe, sen. qui obt. viii die mensis
Martij, Ao. D'ni. m.ccccc.xlii.
On the south side of the church, against the wall, is a remembrance
for one Robert Anguish, with an arrow or dart, and a snake twisted
round it; on one side of it is E. R. on the other, xxxii, and under it
1590, setting forth the year of his death, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
This emblem here is set to view,
For Robert Anguish' (fn. 5) sake,
Hast with wisdom must insew
A happy end to make.
In the chancel is a curious brass stand, supported by 4 lions.
On a neat mural monument,
Sepultus jacet Gulielmus Miles, medicinœ doctor, admodum peritus,
apprime doctus, ignotœ virtutis vir, at non ignotus virtuti, nam prospectatissima probitate, fidelitate singulari, clementia admirabili, justitia
et charitate prœstantissimâ memoratu dignus. Qui cum ad vicesimun
octavum œtatis attigisset, inevitabili fato, suam passus est ecclipsim, sive
biolychnij extinctionem; animamq; fide Christiana Deo Creatori exhalavit die duodecimo mensis Maij A.D. m.d.ccix. And this shield,
ermine, a ferdemolin sable, and a chief.
On an altar tomb.
Sileant Galeni (si qui sint superstites) nostrates posthac artem Ratcliffii despondeant, cohors erubescat medica, en arte lassus, en vita
functus simul, hic jacet noster Esculapius, Edmundus Mott, medicinœ
doctor, qui obt. 3 die Febr. A.D. 1699, œt. suœ 40.
And these arms, sable, a crescent, argent, Mott; impaling sable,
three bugle-horns, or, stringed azure, Thurston.
On another adjoining,
Edmund, the son of Dr. Edmund Mott, and of Mary his wife, was
baptized June 10, 1695, buried March 20, 1696.
On another altar tomb, with this shield, a fess between three mullets, pierced, - - - - - - - impaling - - - - - - - three chevronells.
His situs est Johs. Partingtonus pietate ac probitate Deo et homi
dibus gratus, amicitia et comitate omnibus bene notus, stirpe antiqua et
doctrinâ clarus, obiit quadraginta plus minus natus annos Mart. 9,
1677/8. In cujus memoriam charissima conjux Susanna Portingt. sine
sobole relicta, non sine solatio, hunc titulum in œternum amoris et gratitudinis monumentum posuit.
On the north side of the chancel wall, near the east end,
Dormitorim Edwardi De Fotherbye.
On a stately monument, with the effigies of 2 persons,
Here lyes in hope and expectation of the joyfull and desyred day of
resurrection, &c. Sir Henry Sidney, Kt. descended from the stemme of
Viscount Lisle, baron of Penhurst in Kent, lord chamberleyn to the
queen's majesty, and governor of Flushinge; his youth was seasoned
with the fear of God, duty towards his parents, and love to learning, his
following age yielded fruits of hospitality towards all men, of charity
towards the poor, of faitfulness towards his friends, and of peaceableness
towards his neighbours. He and his end was concluded with piety, with
patience, and with a comfortable farewell at the term of 59 years, the
2d of November, A.D. 1612. Here joyned as well in the same hope of
a joyfull resurrection, as in all piety and conjugall love to the said Sir
Henry Sidney, rests the body of Dame Jane his wife, daughter of
Frances Jermy of Brightwell in Suffolk, Esq. who after her peregrination of 73 years, injoying 28 thereof in the happy society of her said
husband, and continuing his name and memory for 28 more in a most
chast and retired widowhood, upon the 8 of August, 1638, departed this
life, no lady more christianly, nor dyed more happily;—"Many
daughters have done vertuously, but thou excellest them all." Prov.
Also the arms of Sidney, with his quarterings, viz. first, or, a phæon,
argent, Sidney; 2d, argent, two barrulets, and in chief three leopards
heads, sable; 3d, argent, three chevronels, gules, and a label of three
points, azure, Barrington; 4th, argent, on a bend, gules, three lozenges, of the first, Mercye; 5th, quarterly, or, and gules, an escarbuncle, sable, Maundevile; 6th, azure, a chevron between three mullets,
or, Chetwind; 7th, argent, three lions rampant, gules Belhouse; 8th,
barry of ten, argent and gules, a chevron over all, or, Stokes; impaling,
quarterly, argent, a lion rampant, guardant, gules, in the first and 4th,
Jermy, and gules, a bend between six martlets, or, in the 2d and 3d.
This Lady Jane gave a close of above 4 acres to the support of the
minister or curate of this church, for ever.
In this church were these arms, or, three chevronels, gules, the Earl
of Clare, and Gloucester, &c. impaling, or, a cross, gules, Burgh Earl
of Ulster; quarterly, barry of six, or and azure, an escotheon, argent,
on a chief of the first, a pale between two esquires, dexter and sinister
of the 2d, Mortimer Earl of March, &c.
After Sir Thomas Gresham's death the manors of Collingham, Fenn's,
&c. were sold to Thomas Sydney, Esq. and upon an inquisition post
mortem, 28th of Elizabeth, it was found he died seized of the abbey
of Walsingham, and the perpetual curacy of All-Saints, and St. Peters,
in Great Walsingham, and All-Saints in Little Walsingham, and divers lands and mills, late Sir Thomas Gresham's, in Great and Little
Walsingham, Houghton juxta Walsingham, Hinderingham, Wighton,
and Egmere, the rectory of Houghton, and disposal of the vicarage of
ditto; and that Henry Sydney (afterwards Sir Henry) is his son and
heir, aged 30 years. Thomas also left him the manor of Ross in
July 8, 1639, Robert Sydney Earl of Leicester, grants, on condition,
the manor of Ross and divers lands, to Sir Ed. Leech, Henry English,
and others; and, on July 20, 1650, in pursuance of a decree in Chancery, the said Earl sells the manor of Ross, the rectory and vicarage,
and lands in Houghton, the abbey of Walsingham, with the perpetual
curacies of the above three churches in Walsingham, with the rectorial
and vicarial tithes, with all the lands, late Thomas Sydney's, Esq. to
Henry Wynn, Edward English, and others. And on July 3, 1766,
there was a bargain and sale of the abbey, the manor of Ross, and all
the above lands and livings in Walsingham and Houghton, from Henry
Wynn, and others, to Dr. John Lee, archdeacon of Rochester, for the
use of Bishop Warner. The manors of Walsingham and Mills were
separated from the abbey, and remained so till 1756, when they were
purchased with divers lands, from Norbone Berkely, Lord Bottetourt,
by Henry Lee Warner, Esq. who also purchased diverse other lands
in Walsingham and Houghton, and the manors of Gaunts and Gurneys,
in Houghton; and died, as before mentioned, in 1760, aged 72, and
left the whole to his son, Henry Lee Warner, Esq. by will, who was
also heir at law, and has built here an agreeable seat, on the site of
The present Henry Lee Warner, Esq. intends to erect a monument
in Walsingham church to the memory of his father, who died as
abovementioned, and to his mother, who died in July, 1770, aged 73,
and was also buried in a vault in this church.
Mr. Warner's grandfather and grandmother, Lee, of Danejon near
Canterbury, were buried here. She was daughter of Sir George Howe
of Berwick St. Leonard's, in Wiltshire, and sister to Sir James Howe,
who devised his whole estate to Mr. Warner's father, by his will, and
who was also heir at law to him, in right of his mother, which estates
also Mr. Warner now enjoys.
Bishop Warner and the rest of the family were buried at Rochester,
where handsome monuments in that cathedral are erected to their
The widow lady of Ricoldie de Faverches, dwelling in Walsingham
Parva, founded there, in or about 1061, a chapel in honour of the
Virgin Mary, in all respects like to the Sancta Casa at Nazareth,
where the Virgin was saluted by the angel Gabriel on a vision of the
Virgin enjoining her thereto; (fn. 6) a pretence generally made use of in
like foundations. Sir Geffrey de Faveraches, her son, soon after the
conquest, endowed it, granting to Edwin, his clerk or chaplain, this
chapel of St. Mary, with the church of All-Saints in the said town,
with its appertenances in lands, tithes, rents, services, &c. which the
said Edwin possessed the day he went to Jerusalem; viz. 20s. per ann.
out of his demean, for two parts of the tithe of his land, the land at
Snaring, which Hawis gave to God, and the said chapel, 8 acres in the
field of the said town, with part of a meadow.
The said knight seems to be the first founder of the priory, built
the priory church, and gave the chapel of our Lady all the ground
within the site of the church, 8 acres of land, with 20s. rent per ann.
out of his manor, if the yearly value of the offerings of our Lady did
not exceed 5 marks.
This grant was confirmed by Robert de Brucourt, and Roger Earl
In the first of Henry II. William de Hocton (Houghton) answered
for 30l. for the lands, farm or manor of Wicton, (Wighton) belonging
to the King, and 10 marks to marry the widow of Jeffrey de Favercourt, (fn. 7)
(or Faveraches) with her lands, and to have the custody of her son
till he was a knight, and then to hold the lands of him; by which
it appears that this foundation and part of this town belonged to the
William le Ken gave in King John's time, a messuage and 30 acres
of land in Walsingham Magna and Wighton.
Damietta de Flitcham, and Emma de Beaufoe, gave lands in Flitcham, which was a cell belonging to this priory; William Earl Warren
Roger de Stradesete, and Nicholas his brother, with Symon, son of
Hugh de Shouldham, lands, marsh, ground, and liberty of digging
turfs in Marham.
In the 10th of Henry III. the prior had a grant of a mercate and a
fair; and on the marriage of that King's sister with the Emperor, the
prior paid 5 marks, and had a quietus; and in the 35th of that King,
he had the grant (or confirmation) of the manor of Walsingham Parva,
and a fair for 8 days,
Roger Earl of Clare confirmed the grant of All-Saints church, and
gave the mill, out of which Sir Geffrey de Faveraches was to pay 20s.
per ann. and Gilbert Earl of Clare gave 8 acres; &c. of land, and the
ground without the west gate of the yard, called the Common-place.
William de Valentia, brother to King Henry III. gave 40s. in
Walsingham, of the soc of Wiston, quit of all service and customs.
William de Longespee Earl of Salisbury gave lands. Roger, son of
Ralph de Salle, lands in Sall, Hubert de Brisworth the 3d part of
the advowson of St. Andrew's church in Burnham, and 25 acres of
land in demean, with meadow and pastures, also 12 acres which
Hervey Pike held of him, and several homages and rents. John
Marshall 60 acres in the wood of Folsham, and 2 marks rent, with
the church of Thymelthorp, and Richard de Burgh 12 acres in his
Assart of Folsham.
Reginald and Stephen de Wharfles (Quarles) lands there. Sir John
de Nerford, Richard, son of Gilbert de Wichingham, lands at Egmere.
—Godwin, son of Reynford de Holkham, lands and a foldcourse; and
Ralph, son of Robert Hacon of Holkham, lands there.
Sir Roger Colvile several homages in Wells. Bartholomew de Wicton a foldcourse there, with lands. Nicholas Peche the manor of
Swifford in Swanington. Walter de Grandcourt lands and common
of pasture for 15 sheep, 4 beasts, a horse, &c. in Fulmodeston. Adelina,
widow of Geffrey Baynard, lands and rents in Byntre. Hubert de
Burgh Earl of Kent, the church of St. Andrew of Bedingham, and
that of Oulton, with 40 nummatas terrœ. William le Veutre the
church of St. Clement's of Burnham. Olivia le Marshal, all her rents,
tenements, &c. that she purchased in Folsham and Byntre.
Randolf Earl of Chester, and Lincoln Hawis de Quincy, his sister,
and John de Somery, lands in Lincolnshire. Sir Ralph de Hemenhale
conveyed to them his manor in North Creke, with a moiety of the
advowson of the church. Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, gave
lands to enlarge their court. Richard Earl of Gloucester and Maud
his wife, lands also, as did Sir William de Clare, with liberty of common in both these towns; the prior granted to him all the stallage,
toll and custom of the fairs, on their lands without the west gate, the
prior having the 10th penny of the profits; also a grant of half the
profits of the common place where the market on Saturday and Sunday was kept, on which Sir William released to the prior view of frankpledge, assise of bread and beer of their men, and a lete. The fair
at this time began on the vigil of the nativity of the Virgin.
In the 21st of Edward I. the prior had temporalities and spiritualities
to the value of 157l. 13s. 8d. per ann. And on June 6, in the 28th of
that King, a grant of free warren in this town, Holkham, Burnham, &c.
A patent was granted to them in the 2d of Edward II. for acquiring lands and tenements to the value of 40l. per ann. and the said King,
at the instance of his Queen, Isabel, granted license of mortmain to
the value of 40 marks per ann and in part thereof, to appropriate
the church of St Peter's in Walsingham Magna, the patronage of
the priory being then and long before, in the Earls of Clare, &c.—
A license to purchase Bedingham manor, in Norfolk, ao. 13 Edward II.
In the 30th of Edward III. July 23, license was granted to the
prior of Anglesey in Cambridgeshire, to grant to this priory 3 messuages, 3 tofts, one mill, 57 acres of land, 3 of meadow, and 34s. rent in
Walsingham Magna and Parva; and in the said year the priory had
a patent to purchase tenements here; and in the 40th of that King,
one for tenements in Hoghton, Egmere, and North Creak.
Sir Stephen de Hales, &c. aliened in the 8th of Richard II. the
manors of Ryburgh Magna and Parva, the advowson of Ryburgh
Magna church, a messuage and 7 acres here, with the manor of Pensthorp, and lands and tenements in Warham, Snoring, West Barsham,
&c. to found a chantry for Sir Thomas de Felton, &c. Thomas his son,
and Joan, wife of Sir Thomas.
License was granted in the 7th of Henry IV. to John Gourney and
John Drew, parson of Harpley, to amortize 20 acres of land in Burnham, to celebrate the obit of Sir Edmund de Reynham and Christian
his wife; and in the said year to Sir Thomas Erpingham, &c. to sell
the manor of Swanton Nowers, held by Joan, late wife of Sir Stephen
Hales, with that of Branches in Wiveton, to this priory, to celebrate
their anniversaries; and about the said time the prior is said to hold
the 5th part of a fee of the Earl of March.
In the 3d of Henry VI. the prior had a patent for the lordship of
Egmere, and tenements in Walsingham, Wighion, Waterden, &c. and
in the 28th of that King their temporalities in Norfolk were taxed
at 78l. 18s. ob. q. and their spiritualities at 78l. 16s. 8d. ob. q.
Richard Duke of York, father of King Edward IV. and patron of
the priory, gave 6 acres and a rood of meadow, 26 acres of land,
liberty of a fold and messuages called the Lion, the Hoop, and the
Star, and land in Walsingham Parva.
It appears that the prior had a mortuary of every parishioner in
Walsingham, of the 2d best animal, and if there was but one, then of
that. And in the 19th of Edward IV. in consideration that Henry
Heydon, Esq. had granted to them his lands and fouldcourse in Walsingham Magna, and Hindringham, they granted to him their lands,
tenements, rents, &c. in Melton Magna, Thirsford, Barney, Wodeton,
and many other towns.
In the 30th of Henry III. a fine was levied between Thorald de
Briton of Wichingham, and Aveline his wife, and the prior of Walsingham, who had a grant of 24 acres of land, the services of several
tenants, and 3s. 8d. per ann.
Aveline seems to have been the relict of Robert Hacon. Ralph de
Vileston, gave it to his sister Aveline, in free marriage, with the consent of Maud his mother, with his homage in this town.
At the dissolution of religious houses, this fell with the rest in the
30th of Henry VIII. and was then valued, according to Dugdale, at
39l. 11s. 7d. ob. or as Speed, at 446l. 14s. 4d. per ann.
It was dedicated to the annunciation of the Virgin Mary; and the
prior and canons were regulars of the order of St. Augustin.
It is probable that Edwin, who was clerk or chaplain to Sir
Geffrey de Faveraches abovementioned, was the first prior.
Ralph,—Richard,—Alexander, were priors.
William, occurs prior in the first of Henry III.
Peter,—Alan, in 1253 and 1273.
William, in 1276.
John in 1290 and 1298.
1313, Walter de Wightone, admitted prior.
1335, Symon de Wyverton.
Simon Storm, or Ston; quere if not the same as occurs in
1349, Thomas de Clare, admitted prior:
1374, John de Naring.
1389, John de Hertford.
Hugh Well occurs prior, 1428.
Thomas Hunt, admitted, 1437.
1474, John Farewell.
William Lowth occurs prior 1489. In 1514, on a dispute
with his canons, he was then obliged to resign; and was succeeded
Richard Vowell, prior of Lees in Essex (fn. 8) in 1519, being then
prior of Walsingham, he was instituted October 4, rector of Egmere.
This Richard was the last prior, and surrendered it to the King:
he, with Edmund Warham, the subprior, William Rose, and 19 other
canons, subscribed to the King's supremacy, September 18, 1534; and
on August 4, in the 30th of Henry VIII. he by deed inrolled in
Chancery, surrendered this priory, with the cell of Flitcham, and all
It appears that Sir Richard Southwell was one of the chief visitors
at its dissolution, when John Lampley, William Mileham, Richard
Garret, Robert Sall, John Clenchwarton, and John Watthy, canons,
are said to have confessed themselves guilty of notorious incontinency,
and that great superstition and much forgery was found in their
feigned, pretended relicks and miracles. (fn. 9)
Vowell the prior, on the surrender, had a pension for life of 100l.
per ann. and all the canons that signed the surrender with him, had
certain pensions for life. In 1555, those who were then living, had
the following pensions: John Harlow and Richard Garret, each, 5l.
6s 8d. per ann.—William Read, 6l.—Simon Brond, 4l. 6s. 8d.—William
Watkyn, Humphrey Wilson, Thomas Paule, Martin Claxton, and John
Clerke, each, 4l. per ann.—Laurence Kidwell and Thomas Keyme,
each, 40s. per ann.
I have seen a written note that says, in 1536, "This yer was Ralf
Rogers and George Gysborrow, the subprior of Whalsyngham, with
others, to the number of 15, condemned of treson, whereof 5
The priory church was a grand edifice. The length of the nave
from the west door to the great tower, or belfry, in the church, was
70 paces; the breadth of the nave (excepting the two isles) was 16
paces; the great tower, or bell-tower, was a square of 16 paces; the
length of the choir was 50 paces, and the breadth 17; besides this;
there was a building, probably at the east end of the choir, of 16 yards
long and 10 broad.
But the greatest beauty and glory of this priory was the chapel (fn. 10) of
the blessed Virgin, which is said to have been about 8 yards long and
4 yards and 10 inches wide.
The remains of the building of the abbey, now standing, are a
large portal at the west entrance, very entire; the east window of the
chapel, a very fine and richly ornamented high arch, built in the reign
of Henry VII. the old one being pulled down; the refectory very
entire, 78 feet long, and 27 broad; the walls 26 feet and an half high,
the measures taken withinside. A good west window, and stone
pulpit in it; the whole building very entire, with an old very good
roof upon it. Buck in his plate of it (published in 1738, and dedicated to Henry Lee Warner, Esq.) has taken the roof off.
Twelve colums, with entire Gothick arches, part of the old cloisters
built long before the last chapel.
The old abbey wall, near a mile in circuit, very entire. A stone
bath, and two uncovered wells.
The length of the cloister (which was four square) was 54 paces.
The length of the chapter-house 20 paces, the breadth 10.
Erasmus acquaints us that the chapel was a separate building from
the priory church, and that it was not quite finished in his time: in
this unfinished building there is (says he) a small chapel, all of wood,
on each side of which is a little narrow door, where those were admitted
who came with their offerings and paid their devotions, and had no
light but from the wax candles, the odour of which was delightful,
and glittered with jewels, gold and silver, insomuch, that it seemed to
be the seat of the Gods." At the altar here was a canon resident,
who received and took care of the offerings.
Hugh Blyford, priest, was keeper of this chapel, and buried therein
in 1534. (fn. 11)
So great was the fame of this idol or image of the Lady of Walsingham, that foreigners of all nations came on a pilgrimage to her,
insomuch that the number of her devotees and worshippers seemed to
equal those of the Lady of Loretto in Italy, and the town of Walsingham Parva owed its chief support and maintenance thereto.
On March 24, in his 26th year, Henry III. appears to have paid his
devotion to her; his precept enjoining all who held lands in capite,
to meet him on the octaves of Easter, at Winchester, on an expedition
into Gascoign, being dated here as above.
King Edward I. was here on January 8, in his 9th year; (fn. 12) and
again in his 25th year, on the purification of the Virgin; and on
October 6, in his 9th year, King Edward II.
In the 35th of Edward II. John de Montfort Duke of Britain in
France came, and had the King's liberate to the treasurer and chamberlains of the Exchequer, to deliver 9l. for the expenses of his journey
here, and back to London; and in the said year the Duke of Anjou
had license to visit here, and the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury.
David Bruys King of Scotland, had, in the 38th of the said King,
a protection to come here, with 30 horse in his retinue; and his
Queen, Margaret, made a vow to visit also St. Thomas of Canterbury.
Isabel, Countess of Warwick, in 1439, bequeathed her tablet, with
the image of our Lady, to the church of Walsingham, which had a
glass over it; also to the Lady there, her gown of alyz cloth of gold,
with wide sleeves, and a tabernacle of silver like in the timbre, to that
of our Lady of Caversham.
King Henry VII. mentions in his will, that he had ordered an
image of silver, and gilt, to be made and offered up, and set before
the Lady of Walsingham; and orders a like image for St. Thomas of
King Henry VIII. in his second year, shortly after Christmas, between
Twelfth-day, and the Queen's churching, rode here: and in the said
year, May 14, as appears in a MS. of payments, by the keeper of the
privy seal, 6s. 8d. were then paid to Mr. Garney's for the King's offering
to her, and signed by the King's hand.
Queen Catharine his wife, during the King's absence in France, in
his 5th year, came and returned thanks to the Lady, for the great
victory over the Scots at Flodonfield.
Sir Henry Spelman says, that when he was a youth, it was commonly
reported that King Henry VIII. walked barefoot from the town of
Barsham, to the chapel of the Lady, and presented her with a necklace of very great value.
Queen Catharine, in her will, desires that 500 masses should be said
for her soul, and that a person should make a pilgrimage to our Lady
at Walsingham, and distribute 200 nobles in charity upon the road.
Smollet's Hist. vol. vi. p. 31.
So superstitious, so weak and credulous, were the commonalty,
that they believed (as they were then imposed upon and taught) the
Galaxias, or (what is called in the sky) Milky Way, was appointed
by Providence to point out the particular place and residence of the
Virgin, beyond all other places, and was, on that account, generally
in that age, called Walsingham-Way; and I have heard old people of
this country so to call and distinguish it some years past.
Among the many miracles, &c. that were ascribed to her, I cannot
pass by one; on the north side at which you enter the close of this
priory, was a very low and narrow wicket door, through which it was
difficult for any one to pass on foot, being, as an old MS. says, "Not
past an elne hye, and three quarters in bredth. And a certain Norfolk knight, Sir Raaf Boutetourt, armed cap a pee, and on horseback, being in days of old, 1314, persued by a cruel enemy, and in
the utmost danger of being taken, made full speed for this gate, and
invoking this Lady for his deliverance, he immediately found himself and his horse within the close and sanctuary of the priory, in
a safe asylum, and so fooled his enemy."
A memorial of this miracle was engraven on a plate of copper,
whereon was the effigies of the Knight, his horse, &c. and nailed on
the gate of the priory, and was seen by Erasmus, who also observes
that there was preserved one joint of a finger of St. Peter, as large as
that of the Colossus at Rhodes, &c.
But this so famous image of the Lady was, in the 30th of Henry
VIII. brought to Chelsea by London, and there publickly burnt.
The seal of the priory was on the one side, the effigies of the Virgin
seated, and the child Jesus in her arms; on the reverse the front or
west-end of the priory church.
The offerings to this Lady, one year, amounted to 260l. 12s. 4d.
The site of the priory was sold by King Henry VIII. for 90l. to
Thomas Sydney, Gent. of Walsingham Parva, and Agnes his wife;
the grant is dated November 7, ao. 31, with the churchyard, orchards,
gardens, &c. and he was found to die seized of it in 1544.
This Sydney, as Sir Henry Spelman relates, was governor of the
Spittle in this town, (as was reported,) and employed by the townsmen to buy the site of the priory for the use of the town, but obtained
and kept it to himself.
It appears by an inquisition, on his death, that he was styled
Gentleman, and was 2d son of William Sydney, Esq. by Thomasine
his wife, daughter and heir of John Barrington, Esq. widow of
William Lunsford of Battle in Sussex, and brother to Nicholas Sydney
ancestor to the Earls of Leicester.
Thomas Sidney, Esq. son and heir of Thomas aforesaid, possessed it
on his father's death, was customer of Lynn, and left by Barbara his
wife, sister of the great Sir Francis Walsingham, 2 sons; Thomas, the
eldest, married Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Southwell, and dying
without issue, Henry his brother succeeded, who was a knight, and
married Jane, daughter of Francis Jermy, Esq. of Brightwell in
Suffolk, and having no children, gave it to Robert Sidney Earl of
After this, it was held by Nicholas Rookwood, Gent.
In this town of Walsingham Parva was also an house or priory of
Grey Friars or Friars Minors, founded by the Lady Elizabeth de
Burgh Countess of Clare, who had a patent for it in the 21st of
The prior and convent of the canons here petitioned that lady
against this foundation as their patroness, and exhibited several
First, that the parish churches would lose so much tithe as would
be within the walls of the house that was to be built.
Secondly, the parishioners would neglect the parish churches, go to
their oratory, hear mass, and make their offerings, &c. there.
Thirdly, that the goods of the present priory and canons would not
keep them half a year, much less if any other order should come
into the town; and whereas this order proposes to give caution that
they will not prejudice the present priory, no caution can be taken,
for they are to have no lands, nor goods, by virtue of their rule, or
can or ought to procure any new habitation without the Pope's leave,
under pain of excommunication; and they have places enough already hereabouts, viz. at Burnham, 4 miles on one side, and at Sniterley on the other side, &c.
In the 8th of Richard II. they had a grant for turning the way
leading from North Barsham, and inclosing it, to enlarge their manse.
In the reign of Henry VI. Richard Duke of York, their patron,
aliened to them a messuage, 3 acres of land, a garden, 4 tenements, &c.
Robert Grey of Walsingham gave by will, in 1514, to the friars,
two pair of censors of silver, of 10 marks value each.
Robert Pigot, buried here 1491, gives 6s. 8d. for his burial, 6s. 8d.
to pray for his soul, and 6s. 8d. for a breakfast.
St. Anthony's altar here.
The site of this house was granted to John Eyer Esq. February 20,
in the 36th of Henry VIII. then in the tenure of Roger Townsend
and Thomas Sydney; valued at its dissolution at 3l. per ann. and in
or near to it was a lady anchoress in 1526, &c.
Nehemiah Bond was owner of it in 1648, and left it to John Bond
his son, and he held it in 1715.
The church of this friery is said to have been 54 paces long, and
32 broad, and the length and breadth of the great tower in the middle
of it, 10 paces.
Sir Henry Spelman says (fn. 13) that Mr. Jener was also possessed of it,
and left it to his eldest son, Thomas, who settled it on his daughter,
who married Bernard Utber, and was sold, as I take it, by Utber's
daughter to Bond.
The free-school here is said to be founded by one Bond, who settled 43l. per ann. on the master, &c. Robert Baxter at Aylesham,
by his will, dated April 2, 1572, seems to be a benefactor.
The bridewell was anciently a spittle-house: I find it mentioned in
1486; and in 1491, Robert Pigot, by his will dated September 13,
gives his messuages, called the Spittle-houses, with the lands, freemen,
and villains thereto belonging, in Walsingham and Houghton to
Robert Godfrey, alias Butcher, of Walsingham, and others, on condition that they settle them on John Ederich, a leprous of Norwich,
and Cecil his wife, for their lives, and after; their assigns to admit
thereto (for ever to remain) two leprous men, or one, of good families;
and when they died, two, or one other of the same sort.
Nicholas Well, citizen and mercer, covenanted with the Earl of
March, lord of the town, 16th Richard II. Jan. 17, the prior, John
and Thomas de Lexham, &c. of this town, to enclose an old way called
Oldmil's Sty, and to lay out another more convenient. He also built
a fountain of stone at Blethow.
In 1675, by an account then taken of those in this town, who were
above 16 years, the number is said to have been 503. It is a market
town, the market being on Friday, and has a fair on Whitsun-Monday.
It gives title to the Lady Melosina de Schulemburge, created by
King George I. Baroness of Alborough, Countess of Walsingham,
April 10, 1722, and Dutchess of Kendal.