Lothingland on the Internet

History of Herringfleet and St. Olave's
part 6: 15th and 16th centuries


On the Dissolution of the Priory, Henry Jernegan of Somerleyton, the first lay lord of the manor, erected his Tudor Mansion on the site, linking the old Kitchen Court of the Priory on the West with the south gable end of the barn on the East. It was three storeys high and had a large Banquetting Hall and armoury. The extent of the Priory site conveyed is described in the Grant of 28th. January 1547 in a mixture of rather indifferent Latin and English, as if a third class lawyer's clerk was trying to

translate an original Latin document into English, but relapsed into Latin when he couldn't translate!. The Document describes the grant of Jernegan of "omnia (sic) domos, edificam, domum et scitam et manoriam, orrea, stabula, columbar, aquas, stagna vivaria, ortos, pomia, gardina - infra que extra situm (sic) septum ambitum Circuitum et precinctum", and all the rights in Raveningham and Tybenham, the rectory (sic) of Herringfleet, and church, the advowson 'et donacoem, libram, annualem pencoem sivi annuitatem 26s 8d, the same applying to Burgh Castle, rectory 26s 8d and the rectory of Hales, Hales Wood, Agys Wood, and Brndish Wood, 'messuagia granga molendina, prata pasc', trees, 'aquas, piscarias, piscacoes bruer, moras, mariscos turbarias, cursus faldages ovium, bosces, porcoes decimas', free warrens, 'catella* felonum et fugitivorum' and all other rights, liberties, 'proficus commoditates' emoluments, hereditaments, of the Priory lying in Herringfleet, 'rectoriam, messuagia', to have, use, hold, and enjoy with 'exitus et redditus' (right of exit and entry) - and annual charges on John Jeyney for his manor of Luddeham and Tytsale of 18s, on John Sprynge for his manor called Bacons in Gorleston 4d - for his manor called Scottes 4d, on Henry Cockes,

for his manor called Douce 6d, on Boyton's Manor 6d. An annual charge of 6d 1 obel on Cockes Manor etc. Also charges on Wheatacre Manor in the holding of Lady Mary Willoughby, and other manors, at Buckenham Castle, Bunwell, Tybenham, Hadshawe (sic), Heckyngham (Thomas Godsalve). For this there shall be provided one chaplain to celebrate the divine mysteries in the parish church of Herringfleet, 12s annually to the Dean of Norwich , 7s 9d annually to the archdeacon of Suffolk for synodals, 30s to Nicholls Hare, Seneschal in chief of the manor of Herringfleet'.

*If "catella" is not a copyist's error for "castella", then we find Jernegan receiving a bitch belonging to the thieves and fugitives. If it is an error for "castella" then it is interesting that the Priory held a refuge (or prison) for thieves and fugitives.


There were troubled times to come with strong support given to Mary Queen of Scots by the Suffolk people of the Isle of Lothingland. We hear from the "Platt of Lothingland" 1584 that "Henry Jerningham, Lord of the Half-Hundred, has one great house that was an abbey and diverse manors. All the recusants of the Island are within his distress - very evil deeds were accomplished concerning religion". In other words the Priory site and new Tudor Mansion of Henry Jerningham became a 'nest of papists' - a dangerous thing, since this point controlled the only crossing into Norfolk from Suffolk on the River Waveney in these parts, and could be a strategic point should the Spanish invasion materialise. The map of 1588 echoes the same part in the Norfolk Rebellion, Edmund Bedingfeld of a well known recusant family of Norfolk (with its important seat at Oxburgh), John Wentworth, John Jernegan of Belton and James Hubbard of Flixton, both cited for their part in the Rebellion, Robert Jetler, George Harvey of

Flixton who had been steward to Lord Morley but had fled the realm, and Robert Baspole of Lound who was of "popish behaviour (sic)". All these, we are told in 'Memorials of old Suffolk' were fierce adherents to the old faith. The only loyalist landowner in the district appears to have been a man called Ruthall - a revealing name. Though the map of 1584 was the result of a quick scouting party coming into the area to glean information about possible sites of defence against hostile forces (the Armada was only 4 years away) moving into Norfolk over the (new) St. Olaves Bridge, they must have been singularly alert to pick up gossip about papist recusants.


1546 Henry Jernegan and Frances his wife - Jernegan the Elder of Costessey, Norfolk

1598 Henry Jernegan - younger son and heir of the above

1610 Matthew Bedell - citizen of London, Merchant Taylor.

In 1605 Henry Jernegan was in debt - a Bill was before the Lords for the sale of the manor to meet these debts, perhaps incurred as a result of fines for recusancy. But his marriage to Eleanor Throckmorton saved the day as her father came to the rescue, settled Henry's debt and the manor was re-settled on Henry and Eleanor. It was a temporary reprieve because in November 1610 the manor was sold to Matthew Bedell and on the 1st. September 1611AD licence of alienation under the Great Seal was granted Henry Jernegan and Eleanor his wife (n?e Throckmorton of Coughton, Warwickshire) for conveyance of the manor to Matthew Bedell.

1639 Thomas Bedell, heir and son of the above. A Matthew Bedell, (Beadle) appears in the

Merchant Taylors' Presentation Book under 17th. January 1624 - possibly a younger son

of the 1610 Matthew Bedell.

1674 Edward Taverner of Hexton in Herefordshire - he had married Anne sister to Elizabeth

Awbrey, who was sister and co-heir of the Matthew Bedell who died in 1673. This would

suggest that thought Thomas had inherited in 1639, he died, leaving inheritance to Matthew

who died in 1673, and thereafter to his sister Elizabeth Awbrey.

1697 Francis Taverner - son of the above and nephew of Thomas Bedell. Francis went to

live at Bradwell and sold the manor to

1726 Sir Edmund Bacon of Gillingham, Norfolk, who sold the manor to

1733 Hill Mussenden Leathes of Quidenham, Norfolk.

Thereafter the Priory manor descends in the same line as the Manor of Loudham and Titshall i.e. almost the entire estate of Herringfleet, 1282 acres. HERRINGFLEET WILLS

The Norwich and Ipswich Consistory Courts are rather rich in Wills for Herringfleet - among them:-

1397 Thomas Atte Fen, capelle apud Herringfleet St. Olaves

1432 John Dought of Herringfleet

1457 Henry Grup of St. Olaves

1468 Helen Cokyr bequeathed 2 bushells of malt to the work of the new tabernacle at St.

Margaret's Church

1473 Richard Coke of Herringfleet

1473 Robert Bryge bequeathed 6s 8d to the fabric of the tabernacle of 'lez pety' at Herringfleet

(St. Margaret's) on condition that the parishioners there buy the tabernacle and if not,

the 6s 8d to be put to pious uses for my soul.

1473 John Reppys, Arminger, bequeathed 1 comb of wheat and 2 combs of malt, to the

tabernacle of St. Mary (i.e. in the chapel in the Priory).

John Reppys whose will was dated 23rd. Sept. 1473 and proved 7th. Dec. 1473 left his body

to be buried in the Chancel of Herringfleet St. Margaret and he bequeathed 2 acres of

arable land on condition that the parishioners held his year's mind for ever. Exactly a

century before, in 1373, Sir John an ancestor had been buried in Norwich and left 26s 8d to

the alter at St. Olaves.

1481 Thomas Calbras of St. Olaves bequeathed 6s 8d to the painting of an image of St. Mary

in the chapel at St. Olaves, and 6s 8d to the repair of the tower of Somerleyton.

1483 Alice Briggs

1487 William Church of the Priory, directed that his body is to be buried in the 'churchyard

of St. Olaves against the chapel' and for this he bequeathed 3s 4d to the High Altar of

the said Priory. He also directed that the causeway be repaired with posts (sculpio)

and planks.

1490 Robert Casteyn of Herringfleet - his Will directed that he was to be buried in the Priory

Church before the altar of St. Peter

1503 Boyton

1506 Nicholas Jenny of Herringfleet - requests that his body be buried in Herringfleet Church

before St. Margaret (presumably a statue) at the entrance of the Chancel. The light before

the statue of St. Margaret, maintained by the guild of that saint, was called 'le torchlygt'

- sepulchre lights are also mentioned.

1511 Cecilie Smith of Fretton (sic) bequeathed a comb of wheat to the chapel of St. Olave

and 20s to the Priory.

1514 Edward Jernegan

1518 Robert Purveys of Herringfleet bequeathed 3s 4d (probably for repairs to the fabric of

the church of St. Margaret Herringfleet).

1526 Richard Purvie of St. Olaves

1560 Robert Jenney of Heringfleet

1565 Thomas Jerningham of Herringfleet

1566 William Marche of Herringfleet

1566 Robert Scottow of Herringfleet

1566 Edward Spere of Herringfleet

1566 Richard Lynne of Herringfleet

1572 John Hurst, clerk, of Herringfleet.

1591 John Drake of Herringfleet and Great Yarmouth

1661 Sir Butts Bacon of Herringfleet

1705 Elizabeth Underwood of Herringfleet, widow

1706 Charles Rous, inn-holder of Herringfleet. (detailed inventory)

1767 John Pope of Herringfleet, yeoman

1790 Susan Gray of Herringfleet, Spinster.

To these may be added pro beneficio ecclesiae the Rigby Trust, the Leathes Trust and;-

1971 Mr. G.H. Wyllys bequeathed ?100 for repair of fabric and maintenance of services.

1971 Mrs. M.J. Wyllys bequeathed ?100 to Herringfleet Church Funds

1980 Mr. Harvey Wyllys bequeathed ?500 to Herringfleet Church for the maintenance of the fabric and services

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This page first posted on 20 April 1999