Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds: Houghton

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.

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'Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds: Houghton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807) pp. 105-112. British History Online [accessed 18 April 2024]

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So called from its situation, which signifies high town, was a beruite to the Earl Warren's manor of Rudham, and held of him by Simon, consisting of a carucate of land, held by 13 socmen, with all their customary dues; one carucate in demean, and one amongst the men, and 25 socmen in Rudham belonged to this lordship, with one carucate of land and an half, &c.; and in Houtone, one socman had 30 acres; there were under them 3 villains, and 3 bordarers, with one carucate, and a church, but not endowed. (fn. 1) This part was held by Ralph—, ancestor of the family of De Caineto, or Cheyney, lord of Rudham. From the Cheyneys, it came by marriage to the Belets, and seems to be held under them first by the De Haveltons or Houghtons, and after by the Walpoles.

This ancient family of Walpole take their name from the town of Walpole in Mershland, in Norfolk, where they were enfeoffed of lands belonging to the see of Ely. Joceline de Walpole was living at Wal pole in the reign of Richard I. and in the 1st of King John held the sixth part of a fee in Wisbeach, with half a knight's fee in Walpole, Walton, and Hakebeach, with an 100 acres of marsh land in Wisbeach (paying 10s. rent per annum) of the Bishop of Ely, and 6s. 2d. rent in salt; and Adam de Walpole paid the same rent in salt for lands, &c. Ralph, son of Joceline, and Roger his brother, held a virgate and an half in Walpole, paying 5s. 4d. and 26 combs of salt rent per ann. to the Bishop; and Adam de Walpole held half a virgate in Walpole, paying 12s.

Reginaldus de Walpole, who lived in the reign of Henry I. seems to be lineal ancestor of the present family, father of Richard de Walpole, who married Emma, daughter of Walter de Havelton, or Houton, son of William de Havelton, (who was lord of this town,) where this family of Walpole resided after this marriage; and Henry de Houton had an interest here about the end of Henry the Third's reign, and held one fee.

From Reginaldus descended Sir John de Walpole, Knt. who in the 14th of Henry III. on the King's sailing into Brittany, had letters of protection, being in the family or retinue of that King, was, by Isabel his wife, father of Sir Henry de Walpole, Knt. who held lands in Houghton, by the service of a quarter of a fee, of the Lord Bardolf, and that Lord of the Earl Warren, and other lands by the service of one fee (as said) of Blaminster fee. About the 50th of Henry III. he was a justice of gaol delivery, and sold lands by deed, sans date, to John de Spalding, (burgess of Lenn,) in Tyrington, and sealed, as by his deed appears, with a fess, between two chevrons; the arms of the present Earl of Orford:—the witnesses were Sir William de Tyrington, and Sir John de Wygenhale, &c. He married Isabel, daughter of Sir Peter Fitz Osbert of Somerley town, sister and heir to Sir Roger Fitz Osbert, and was living in the 14th of Edward I. when a fine was levied between him and Asceline, daughter of Hugh Lound, or Lovard of Houghton, by Rudham: (fn. 2) and about the said time lived Ralph Walpole Bishop of Ely, who also bore the said arms.

In the 34th of Edward I. Isabella de Walpole was found to be one of the cousins and heirs of Roger Fitz-Peter Fitz-Osbert, and John son of Alice Negoun, was the other; she was afterwards (as it seems) the wife of Sir Walter Jernegan. Sir Henry de Walpole was his son: to him and Alice his wife, Mr. Robert de Saham, and others, trustees, granted two parts of this lordship, with lands in Walpole and Walton, and all the lands purchased by Sir Henry his father, of Asceline aforesaid, with the third part of this manor in reversion, which Isabel Jernegan, formerly the wife of Sir Henry his father, held in dower:—Witnesses, Sir Geff. de Colvile, Sir Walter de Calthorp, Sir Thomas de Snitterton, and Sir John de Fretton, Knts. dated November 30th, 4° Edward II. Sir Henry died about the 9th of Edward III. and Henry was his son and heir.

In the 11th of Edward III. William le Gross, parson of the church of Bentley Parva in Essex, as a trustee, settled this manor on Henry de Walpole, and Joan his wife, who was (as I take it) daughter of Sir Oliver le Gross of Crostwick, or Sir John.

In the 7th of Richard II. Henry de Walpole, and Edmund his son were witnessess to a deed, and Henry was found to be cousin and heir of Sir John le Gross, Knt. and as such released all his right in his manors; and in the 3d of Henry IV. Henry, son of Sir Henry de Walpole, held one fee of the dutchy of Lancaster, and one quarter of a fee of the Lord Bardolf. In 1407, Ao. 9, Henry IV. he was living, and styled Henry de Walpole, senior, Esq. and died about the 20th of Henry VI.

In the 10th of Henry VI. Henry de Walpole, his son, and Margaret his wife, were possessed of 10 marks rent issuing out of the manor of Hales-hall in Lodne; she was daughter of Sir John Harsike, Knt, of Southacre, and by the name of Henry Walpole, Esq. of Houghton, made his will on the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross in 1442; "Gives to Catherine his daughter 40l. towards her marriage, and the said sum to Alice his daughter, out of the profits of the manor of Houghton; to Martin his son, under age, 4 marks per ann. for life, and to have all the lands which Catherine his father's sister had of the gift of his father Henry, deceased. Appoints Henry his son, Edmund Percy, William Marchale, Esqrs. his executors, to hold the manor of Houghton, to perform his will, and after the performance of it, to Henry his son in tail-male, remainder to John his son; to Henry his son, his manor in Walpole, with the appertenances, and to John his son the manor of Istede in Suffolk." (fn. 3) He had three other sons, William Martin, and Thomas, and was buried according to his will in the church of St. Martin, of Houghtou, by his wife; and his will was proved June 27, 1442. Henry, his eldest son, in the 34th of Henry VI. settled his manor of Walpole on trustees. He married, as I take it, an Etchingham, who bore, azure, fretty, argent; which arms, impaled by Walpole, were painted on the screens of this church, next to those of Walpole and Harsike. It is probable that he died without issue, his brother or son, John de Walpole, Esq. granting, in the 21st of Edward IV. to William his brother, the manor of Istede in Weybrede, Suffolk; and in the 9th of Henry VII. an inquisition was awarded into this county, and that of Suffolk, on the death of John Walpole, Esq. who was found to have died seized of this manor, held of the manor of Wirmegey by knight's service; and Thomas was his son and heir, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Robert Shawe, Esq. of Derby.

Thomas Walpole, Gent. son and heir of John Walpole, Esq. late of Houghton, deceased, gives, in the 12th of Henry VII. to Thomas Allen of Walpole, a messuage with 15 acres of land, also 7 acres, and a salt-work, with all the grain belonging lately to his father, John Walpole, Esq. lying between the land of the chantry of St. Mary, which his father had of the gift of John Walpole, late of London, son of Martin Walpole, late of Walpole, and the land of Robert Brandon, late of Newton, Esq. Thomas Hunston, Gent. and Philip Sutton. Esq. He married Joan, daughter of William Cobb of Sandringham, Esq. by whom he had John, his eldest son, who died before him without issue; Edward, and Henry.

By the name of Thomas Walpole of Lynne Bishop, Esq. he made his will, May 24, 1512, wherein he gives, "to his son Henry all his purchased lands (his manor of Howeton to remain 10 years in his feoffees hands, to perform his will) and his manor of Weybrede, 5 years after the decease of his wife; his executors to receive the profits of his lands, tenements, &c. in Walpole, 4 years and an half, for the making of his tumbe, and for making the north ylde of the parish church of Howeton, and that done, the said lands, tenements, &c. in Walpole, to be delivered to the brodirhode of the Holy Trinity in Lynne-Bishop, to the intent that the alderman and skyvens of the said gylde shall find and pay yerly 8 marks to the wages of an abil prest to synge mess perpetually for his soul, and the sowl of Jone his wyfe, in the chapel of our Lady, in the chapel of St. Nicholas in Lynne. And more, I will that the said preste shall be at commons and lodging in the college of the Holy Trinity so that he be ordered by the statutes of the place, and to have 6s. 8d. of the said college yerly; and if the said alderman and skyvens, or successours, refuse to perform the same, &c. I will the said lands, &c. to be sold by my executor Jeff. Cobbe my brother-in-law, and my son Henry Walpole." (fn. 4) This was proved April 7, 1513. He was found to die January 24, following, Edward his son being then aged 30.

Edward Walpole, Esq. his eldest son, married Lucy, daughter of Sir Terry Robsert, sister of Sir John Robsert of Sedestrand, and heir to Amy, first wife to Sir Robert Dudley, the great Earl of Leicester in Queen Elizabeth's time, daughter and heir of Sir John Robsart; of whom see in Sedestern.

Edward was buried January 1, 1558, and Lucy, February 1, 1559, at Houghton.

John Walpole, son and heir of Edward and Lucy, married Catherine, daughter and heir of William Calybut of Coxford, Gent. and was buried in Houghton church, March 29, 1588, and Catherine September 25, 1612, and left Edward Walpole, Esq. his son and heir, who was attainted for treasonable practices at Rome, and died abroad without issue, being, as some say, a Romish priest. Calybut Walpole, Esq. was his twin-brother and heir, who, by Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Edmund Bacon of Hesset in Suffolk, Esq. had several children.

To this Calybut, John Walpole, Esq. his father, by his will, dated, February 28th, in the 30th of Elizabeth, gives the manor of Sedesterne, with that of Bircham Newton, after the decease of the Right Honourable Robert Earl of Leicester, with his foldcourse and lands, which he had of Roger Townsend, Esq. in Bircham Magna, and all the sheep going on the same; Catherine his wife to have all his lands in Walpole and Walton, to her and her heirs, towards the preferment of his daughter's marriage, and to hold the manor of Houghton for life. (fn. 5) Edward, his eldest son and heir, (as above,) was indicted in the King's Bench for supposed treason, (in the 30th of Elizabeth, March 10,) done at Rome; and on May 26, 39th of Elizabeth, again indicted. After this, on August 3, in the said year, the Queen granted to — Hussey and — Goodman, the forfeited lands of Edward, and they grant them, September 27th following, to Calybut his brother.

Robert Walpole, Esq. son and heir of Calybut, married Susan, daughter of Sir Edward Barkham of Southacre, Knt. and died in 1663, and Susan in 1622, and buried at Houghton.

Sir Edward Walpole, Knight of the Bath, succeeded him as son and heir; and, by Susan his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Robert Crane, Bart. of Chilton in Suffolk, left at his death, in 1667, Robert Walpole, Esq. his son and heir; who took to wife Mary, only daughter and heir of Sir Jeffrey Burwell, Knt. of Rougham in Suffolk, by whom he had Robert Walpole, Esq. (fn. 6) his 3d son, and heir to his father, the greatest statesmen of the age, prime minister to King George I. and King George II. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Knight of the Bath, first commissioner of the Treasury, and created Earl and Viscount of Orford, February 8th, 1742.

In the year 1722, he began the foundation of a most noble hall, or palace, of free stone, which he finished and furnished in a most elegant taste, and sumptuous manner; the foundation stone was thus inscribed:

Fundamen ut essem domûs in agro natali extruendæ, Robertus Ille Walpole, quem nulla nesciet posteritas, die 24. mensis Maii, A. D. 1722, faxit Deus, ut postquam maturus ævi Dominus diu lætatus fuerit absoluta, incolumem tueantur incolumes ad summum omnium diem, et nati natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis.

By his lady Catherine, daughter of John Shorter, Esq. of Bybrook in Kent, (son and heir of Sir John Shorter, Knt. Lord Mayor of London) who died in August 1737, and was buried at Houghton, he had Robert, his son and heir, created Lord Walpole of Walpole, in 1723, and was Knight of the Bath 1725, and Earl of Orford on his father's death, who married Margaret, daughter, and heir of Samuel Rolle, Esq. of Heanton in Devonshire, by whom he had Robert, the present Earl, one of the lords of the King's bed-chamber, lord lieutenant of the county of Norfolk.

The arms of this Earl is, Or, on a fess, between two chevrons sable, three cross crosslets of the first;—the crest, on a wreath, the bust of a man side-faced, couped proper, with a long cap, gules, on it a Catherine-wheel, or; which was the crest of the Robsarts:—supporters, an antelope, and a buck argent, attired, proper, gorged, with collars checquer, or and azure, each with a chain fixed to it, and hoofs, or.

It is to be observed, that this account of the family is taken chiefly from ancient records, and for a larger account, Mr. Collins, on the Peerage, may be consulted.

The tenths, 6l.—Deducted 10s.—Lete fee to the lord of the hundred was 2s.

The Church of Houghton is a regular pile, having a nave, a north and south isle covered with lead, and a chancel with tile, with a steeple; dedicated to St. Martin, and was appropriated to the priory of Coxford, who had a manse and 30 acres, valued at 15 marks, the vicarage, at 5 marksPeter-pence 16d.

At the west end of the nave is a monument, raised about a foot from the pavement, in form of a coffin; on the lid or cover, which is an entire piece of gray marble, is carved a curious antique figure of a prior, or abbot, in his robes, his hands spread on his breast, above them a cross, his head shaven, a dæmon couchant at his feet. It appears to have been made in the reign of Edward I. in memory of a prior of Coxford, from whence, as tradition reports, it was brought here, after its dissolution.

Near to this, on a marble gravestone, with a plate of brass,

Orate p. aia.----Pyckard de Howeton, qui obt. xvii. Die Januar. Ao. Dni.

On the pannels of the screen, between the nave and chancel, are the arms of Walpole, impaling Harsike;—or, on a fess, between two che vronells, three cross crosslets sable, Walpole; and, or, a chief indented sable, Harsike: also Walpole impaling, azure, fretty argent, Echingham.

At the east end of the south isle lie several marble gravestones; viz. Walpole, in a lozenge, and,

M. S.—Catherina, filia natu maxima præhonorabilis Roberti Walpole et Dominæ Cather. uxoris, nata 30, Maii 1703, denata 11, Oct. 1722. —Edwardus Walpole Armiger, filius natu maximus Roberti et Mariæ, sepultus est, 3°. Febr. 1697 Ætat. 22°. with the arms of Walpole.

Mary Turner born April 28th 1693, buried January 21, 1694; and Mary Turner born July 19, 1696; both daughters of Sir Charles Turner Knt. and Mary his wife.

Hic jacet Robertus Walpole Armig; juxta Susannam uxorem, filiam Edv. Barkham de Southacre in com. Norf. Militis, quæ obt. Ao. Dni. 1622; natus fuit 23 Sept. Ao, Dni. 1593, denatus fuit festo Sancti Philippi et Jacobi A.D. 1663, with the arms of Walpole, impaling argent three pallets gules, and a chevron over all, or, Barkham.

In the chancel lie several marble gravestones:

Maria uxor Robti. Walpole Armiger; quam filiam habuit unicam Galfridus Burwell, Miles, de Rougham, in agro Suffolc. Annos nata ad octo et quinquaginta mortem, obt. 14 Martii 1711. With the arms of Walpole, and in an escotheon of prentence;—or, a chevron ermin, between three burdock leaves proper, Burwell.—Robertus Walpole Armig; filius natu maximus. Edw. militis Balnei et Susannœ, hic sepultus est decimo octavo die Nov. Ao. Dni. 1700, Ætat. suæ Quinquagesimo. Ex decem quos genuit filiis, superfuerunt Robertus, Horatio, Galfridus; ex filiabus septem, Maria, Dorothea et Susanna.—With the arms of Walpole and Burwell.

H. I. Horatio Walpole Armig; filius natu minor Edv. Walpole, Balnei militis, qui obt. Quinquagenarius, 17 Oct. A. D. 1717, with Walpole impaling, quarterly, ermine and azure, a cross or, Osborn

Hic situs est Edv. Walpole, Balnei Miles, Robi. Walpole, armig. filius, qui Susannam, Robti. Crane, Baronetti de Chilton, in agro Suff. filiam connubio sibi junxit, major quadraginta quinq. annos, 18 die Martii, 1667, morte piâ illustravit.

Cætera si quæras narrabit fama superstes.

Walpole, and in an escotheon of pretence,—argent, a fess between three cross croslets fitchée, gules, Crane.

Domina Susanna a latere Edv. Walpole, Balnei Militis, hic conditur, quœ, obt. 7, Julii Ao. Dom. 1667, Ætat. 35.

The church was a rectory, the ancient valor 15 marks. In the 3d of Edward I. the jury find that Harvey Belet (of whom see in Rudham) gave it to Coxford priory; Hervey lived in the reign of King John, and gave them also lands, or a manor here, which belonged to that of Rudham; and in 1428, the prior was taxed for his temporalities in rent, land, and a mill, at 65s. 3d.

The rectory was appropriated to the aforesaid priory, with 30 acres, and a vicarage was settled, the present valor of which is 5l.

The priory of Castleacre had a portion of tithe, valued at 36s per annum, and an agreement was made between the prior and convent of Castleacre, and that of Coxford, whereby the prior of Castleacre let to farm, to the prior of Coxford, two parts of the tithes of the demeans of Baldwin de Rosey, and William de Kailli, here, at the aforesaid rent; (fn. 7) William Rufus of Northampton, quitclaimed to the monks of Castleacre all his tenement, which he held of them, late John de Cailli's, which he held of them, on their paying him 18 marks:— witness, Herebert, prior of St. Edmund.

In 1612, the pension of 36s. was paid to the Earl of Northampton.

William, the third Earl Warren and Surry, before the year 1146, confirmed to the monks of Castleacre, the tithe of Wachelin de Rosei, granted by him; and Baldwin de Rosei confirmed the grant of his ancestors, by an agreement made before Walter Bishop of Norwich; Adam, the prior, and the convent, let for ever, to the prior and convent of Cokesford, two parts of the tithes of the demeans, of Baldwin de Rosey, of Hugh, son of Richard, and William de Kaylly, in this village, for 36s. per annum, who all appear by this to have had estates in the same. John, the first Bishop of Norwich, confirmed the grant of Rosey.


1311, Ralph de Faldone instituted vicar, presented by the prior and convent of Coxford, and nominated by the Bishop of Norwich.

1311, Henry de Swafham. Ditto.

1345, Stephen Attewood. Ditto.

1355, Richard Smith. Ditto.

1361, Thomas Lyvet. Ditto.

1397, John Cok, by the prior and convent.

1422, Hugh Wynhous, by the Bishop and convent.

1462, Richard Reymer, by the Bishop, a lapse.

Robert Bradfield.

1483, Richard Randolf, by the prior, &c.

1502, John Wilkinson, by the Bishop and convent.

1511, John Smith.

1517, John Mathew, prior of Cokesford, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1522, John Heyde, by the prior and convent.

1554, William Lyon, by Thomas Duke of Norfolk.

John Head.

1565, Edmund Denny. Ditto.

1568, Richard Brasell. Ditto.

1578, Nicholas Baldwyn, by William Dix, and William Cantrell, Esq.

1581, Vincent Man. Ditto.

1714, Robert Betts, on the cession of Thomas Carter, by Robert Walpole, Esq.

1723 Francis Clerk, by the King.

1724, George Jacomb, by Robert Walpole, Esq.

1731, Thomas Deresley by Sir Robert Walpole.


  • 1. Huic maner. (viz. Rudeham) ptin. et alia beruita Houtuna, Simon tenet de i. car. tre. semp. xiii. soc. cu. oi. consuetud. semp. in dnio. et hom. i. car. tne. iiii. porc. tc. lx. oves. mo. xl. et. xxv. soc. in Rudeham jacent huic man. de i. car. et dim. et semp. intr. eos iiii. car. et in Houtuna i. de xxx. ac. et subipsis iii. vill. et iii. bord. semp. i car. i. ecclia. sine tra. Radulfus ten.
  • 2. Nicholas Spigurnel, sheriff of Norfolk, accounted for 20s. received of Henry de Walpole for being a knight.—Rot. Hundr. de Brother-cross, Ao. 3. Edv. I. —In Cur. Recept. Sccii. Westmon.
  • 3. Reg. Doke. Norw. fol. 187.
  • 4. Regist, Johnson. Norw. p. 240.
  • 5. Reg. Homes, fol. 206.
  • 6. Member of parliament for CastleRysing, and deputy-lieutenant of Norfolk.
  • 7. Reg. Castleac. fol. 127, and p. 36.