In the time of Edward the Confessor a manor was held here by Ralph the Staller, consisting of 4 carucates of land. This at the time of the Survey was held by Earl Alan in demesne. There were also 10 villeins and 10 bordars, 2 ploughteams in demesne and 5 belonging to the tenants, wood sufficient for the support of 300 hogs, 4 acres of meadow, 4 rouncies, 20 beasts, 60 hogs, 63 sheep, and 51 goats, and in Saxon times 2 serfs. The value in the Confessor's time was £8, later 15s., at the time of the Survey 20s.

There were also 14 freemen under commendation, holding 4 carucates of land, 15 bordars, 8 ploughteams, 2 acres of meadow, and wood which in the Confessor's time had been sufficient to support 300 hogs, but which at the time of the Survey was sufficient for the support of 60 only. Earl Alan was the Domesday tenant in chief. Amongst the invasions upon the King we find an entry that to Earl Alan's manor here belonged a freeman with 4 acres, which were attached to Northales, valued at 8d. This Robert de Curwun invaded, and this freeman Earl Ralph held when he made forfeiture, and of this he gave security. Also that there was another freeman valued at 16d. over whom the predecessor of William de Varennes had commendation in the Confessor's time. And that he had it as part of his land by reason of the exchange. These, too, Robert invaded with the above-mentioned 4 acres.

Under the lands held by Earl Alan here, mention is also made of a church with 2 carucates of free land. It is stated that there were always 12 villeins, 16 bordars, and 6 ploughteams, wood for 130 hogs, and 3 acres of meadow, and that adjacent to this church were 5 villeins with 52 acres, 4 ploughteams and a half, and an acre of meadow. Also that in this church were 12 monks, and under it a chapel, the whole being included in the above valuation of the Wissett holding of Earl Alan of £20.

In 1325 we find the manor in the inquisition p.m. of Cecilia de Ufford, widow of Sir Robert de Ufford, Knt., and one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert de Valoines, Knt., Lord of Walsham, being held by the service of 56s. and castleguard of Richmond. Davy says the manor was the lordship of Walter de Norwich, who died in 1328, when it vested in his son and heir, Sir John de Norwich, who died in 1364. It is quite true the manor is mentioned in the inquisition of Walter de Norwich, but it is possible this was the manor of Blenche's in Wissett. Sir Walter de Norwich did not however die in 1328, but in 1326, neither did Sir John de Norwich die in 1364, but in 1362. The manor does not, however, seem to have gone to the grandson of John de Norwich, who became the 2nd Baron and died in 1374 without issue, and to whose estate William de Ufford, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, son and heir of Robert de Ufford, 1st Earl of Suffolk, and Margaret his wife, daughter of Sir John Norwich, ultimately succeeded, for the manor will be found specified and an extent given in the inquisition p.m. of Robert de Ufford, 1st Earl of Suffolk, who died in 1369.

In 1382 we meet with two fines levied of " Wissett Manor," but it does not seem clear of which of the three manors of Wissett. Page apparently claims one of these fines for the Manor of Wisset le Roos, for he says that manor passed after 1375 to John, son of Peter de Brews, Knt., and Margery, his wife, who was a Nerford. One of the fines referred to is levied by Sir John de Cobeham, of Coulyng, Sir Robert de Swylyngton, John Haylesden, of London, Ralph de Forthyngton, clerk, and Robert Grethede, clerk, plt., against John, son of Sir Peter Brewes and Margaret his wife, deforciants. The second fine was levied the same year by Henry Burne and Thomas Wryght, of Ilketshall, plt., against Nicholas Hunte, of London, jun., and Agnes his wife.

Sir Robert de Swillington held the lordship, and died in 1391, when it passed to his son and heir Sir Roger de Swillington. At that time the manor seems to have been held of the Castle of Eye. On Sir Roger Swillington's death, a third of the manor passed to his widow Joan in dower, and on her death in 1428 the whole manor passed to their only daughter, Margaret, wife of Sir John Gra, who died without issue in 1430. 'Thomas Hopton, natural son of Sir Robert Swillington, sen., had issue John, and he in 1420, by virtue of an entail made on Thomas and his heirs obtained considerable property, the inheritance of the house of Swillington, in the county of Suffolk and elsewhere. In 1440 Sir John Gra, of South Ingleby, in Lincolnshire, released to him certain property he held in right of Margaret his wife, heiress of the Swillingtons, and John Hopton died seised of this manor in I479,'when it passed to his widow Thomasia, who died in I499, when it went to her great-grandson, Sir Arthur Hopton, who died in 1555, when the manor vested in his son and heir. The subsequent descent of the manor is identical with the Manor of Wisset le Roos.

The manor was included with the Manor of Wisset le Roos in the will of John Hopton, for the pardon found on the Patent Rolls 18 Edw. IV., for having acquired from John Hopton that manor, as mentioned later in the account thereof, relates also to this manor.


This was the manor held by Ralph the Staller in the Confessor's time, and by the Earl of Brittany and Richmond under William the Conqueror. On the Earl's death in 1089 the manor passed in the same course of descent as the Manor of Nettlestead in Bosmere and Claydon Hundred, to the time of Margaret, Countess of Brittany, widow of Conan le Petit, 5th Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany. In 1205 the manor is said to have been exchanged for Reddeshall with Roger Bigot, 2nd Earl of Norfolk. There is an entry on the Close Rolls'in I215 of an order to give seisin to Walter le Neve of land in Wissett, which the King gave to Roger le Bigot, and which was in the King's hands with the Honor of Bretagne. Roger Bigot apparently died seised of this manor in 1220, and was succeeded by his son and heir Hugh Bigot, 3rd Earl of Norfolk, who died in 1225. How the manor became vested in the Crown is not clear, but in 1227 we find on the Close Rolls an order to give to Hugh de Vivon seisin of the manor formerly held by Peter, Earl of Bretagne.

This was merely however as steward for the King, as we learn from an entry on the Close Rolls in the following year, where there is the recital of King John having granted the manor to Roger le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, and an order for full seisin to be given to Roger, son and heir of Hugh le Bigod, son and heir of the said Earl Roger, coupled with a further order to Hugo de Vivon, -in whose hands the same was as bailiff of the King." The manor however was included in the grant made in 1241 to Peter de Savoy, uncle of Queen Eleanor, with the Honor of Richmond, under the title of " the Manor and Soke of Wischete, in Suffolk," to hold of the Crown by knight's service. Peter de Savoy, however, wisely fearing that his power and influence in this country might be displeasing to the English, the following year resigned his possessions and left the country, when Hen. III. granted this manor to his son, afterwards Edw. I., who gave it in 1267 to Sir John de Vallibus or Vaux, to whom a grant was also made of a market and fair here the same year. He claimed view of frankpledge and assize of bread and beer in the time of Edw. I.

It appears from a petition of John de Dreux, Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany, to Parliament in 1292, that in 1267 the Manor of Wissett was still vested in that family, for on the grant to John de Vallibus the King granted to the then Earl Peter a recompense.' It is not easy to see how this could have been the case, as Peter de Dreux died about I250, and in 1267 John, his son, was Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany.

A Chartulary of the estates of this John de Vallibus, and of his daughter Petronilla and her husband William de Nerford, from the time of Hen. III. to Edw. II., will be found amongst the Stowe MSS. in the Brit. Mus. And a grant by Matilda, wife of Nicholas de Breton, to "Sir John son of Oliver de Vaux " of sixpence of annual rent in Wissett c. I270-80, amongst the Bodleian Suffolk Charters.'

Sir John de Vallibus died in I288, when the manor passed to his daughter and coheir Petronilla, married 1st to a Holbroke and 2ndly to William de Nerford.

This William de Nerford was probably the son of Robert de Nerford and Alice his wife, daughter of John Pouchard, which Robert was Governor of Dover Castle in the first year of Hen. III. under Hubert de Burgh. William took part with the rebellious Barons against King John, and had his lands seized, but they were subsequently restored. Having married Petronilla without licence, he had to pay a fine of £230 for the offence to the Crown. In 1294 he received command with others to attend the King upon the great affairs of the nation, and was summoned to Parliament as a Baron in the 22nd and 23rd years of Edw. I. but never afterwards.

Petronilla obtained thie manor charged with £14 rent per annum on the partition in 1298 of the large possessions of her father. This £14 a year had to be paid to Sir William le Roos, who had married her sister Maud, the other coheir of John de Vallibus.

Sir William de Nerford held the manor of the King in capite as of the Honor of Richmond by the service of one knight's fee.

Amongst the Suffolk Charters in the Bodleian, 1274, we meet with a quit claim of John Redhed, of Wissett, to this William de Nerford and Petronilla his wife of all right and claim in 4 acres of land in Wissett,' and a grant in 1310 by Robert Dilhegg, of Wissett, to the Lady Petronilla de Nerford and her heirs of a capital messuage in Wissett, with arable lands, &c.

After the death of William de Nerford, who died in 1301 and Petronilla, who died in 1326, the manor passed to their son, John de Nerford, who does not appear to have been summoned to Parliament. He and Agnes his wife in 1328 settled the manor on themselves and their heirs male in tail, This Agnes was a daughter of William de Bereford, sister and heir of Edmund de Bereford, widow of Sir John Argentein, and after Nerford's decease remarried Sir John Mautravers. Subject to Agnes the widow's life interest, the manor on the death of John de Nerford in 1329, without issue, vested in Thomas de Nerford, his brother. Neither he (who died in 1344) nor his son, Sir John de Nerford, Knt., who was slain in the wars in France in 1364, leaving an only daughter and heir Margery de Nerford, ever enjoyed possession of the manor, for Agnes Mautravers retained it under the above-mentioned settlement until her death in 1375.

In 1329 there is an order to the Escheater on the Close Rolls not to interfere further with and to restore the issue of the manor to this Agnes, as she and her husband John de Nerford were jointly enfeoffed by fine.

The manor at that time is stated to have been held of the King as of the Honor of Richmond by the service of one knight's fee. This order was evidently made on the death of John de Nerford. Two years later there is an order on the Patent Rolls which shows that Agnes the widow had then remarried John Mautravers the younger. It purports to be a grant of the manor to Agnes, wife of John Mautravers the younger, a" rebel," extended as of the value of £22. 16s. 2d. On the Originalia Rolls is a sale by the King of all the corn in the manor to the said Agnes.

It is quite true that the manor is mentioned in the inquisition p. m. of John de Nerford, son of Thomas, in 1364, but all he was seised of was the reversion.

On the death of Agnes in 1375, the manor passed to Margery, the only child of Sir John de Nerford, and on the Rolls of Parliament in 1378 will be found a petition by her mother Alice, widow of Sir John de Nerford, who had married Sir John Nevill, of Essex, respecting the forcible seizure of this Margery, her daughter, from the house of her grandmother Alice, i.e., mother of Sir John de Nerford, father of the said Margery.

Against this Margery a fine was levied in 1388, said to be of "Wissett Manor," in which Sir John de Cobeham, of Coulyng, Sir Robert de Swyllington, John Hailesdon, of London, Ralph de Forthyngton, clerk, and Robert Grethed, clerk, were plt., and the said Margery de Nerford was deforc. Margery died unmarried in 1417. Page, copying from the Davy MSS., says that on the death of Alice Mautravers, the manor passed to John, son of Peter de Brews, Knt., and Margery his wife, who was a Nerford, and that in 1383 Sir John settled it on trustees, and the following year Sir Thomas Roos, of Hamlake, Knt., and Beatrice his wife, descended from Maud, the other daughter and coheir of Vaux, had it.

As early as 1363 we meet with an order on the Originalia Rolls for the acceptance of security from Thomas de Roos, of Hamelake, late brother of William, son of William de Roos and Margery his wife, for a reasonable relief for 5 messuages, 100 acres, and 100s. rent in Wissett.

No doubt Thomas de Roos acquired ultimately the whole manor, and died seised of it in 1383 or 4, when it passed to his widow Beatrice for life, and then to their son John, Lord Roos, of Hamlake. On the Patent Rolls in 1390 we find a pardon to John de Notyngham for acquiring for life from Beatrice, Lady de Roos, without licence, the manor by the description of " all the lands, tenements, rents, and services with appurtenances which the said Beatrice held in Wycet, Speksall, co. Suffolk. In 1394 Margery de Nerford released and conveyed all her right to William de Roos and his heirs.

In 1401 we meet with a fine levied of the manor in which the said John de Notyngham, Robert de Caverham, William Gerneys, John de Chestan, Rich. Drewe, Robert de Knayton, clerk, and Roger Cawod, clerk, were plt., and the said Beatrice, Lady Roos, was deforciant. Four years later we meet with a release amongst the ancient deeds in the Exchequer and Treasury of the receipt in the Public Record Office by John de Chestan to William Gerveys and Richard Drewe (no doubt trustees) of all his right in the manor. A little later Sir Roger Swillington held, and from him a third passed in dower to his wife Joan, and subject thereto vested in his daughter, married to Sir John Gra.

The manor was in the time of Hen. VI. vested in John Hopton, son and heir of Thomas Hopton, and we meet with a fine levied of this manor in 1440, in which he is plaintiff and Bartholomew Whitefeld and Elizabeth his wife were deforciants. And on the Patent Rolls in 1478 we find a pardon to William Calthorp, Sir Thomas Brews, William Pykenham, clerk, Roger Tounesend, John Fulyard, William Gurney, John Jermyn the younger, Esq., William Yarmouth, and Thomas Grygges, for having acquired the manor from John Hopton, deceased, and having at his request demised it to him and Thomasia his wife, and said William Pykenham, Roger, John, and John having released their estate in the manor to the said William and Thomas ; and there is on the same Rolls a licence to grant to Sir Thomas Mountgomery and others to fulfil the will of John Hopton.

Thomasia the widow seems to have held the manor until her death in 1499, when it passed to Sir Arthur Hopton, Knt., who died 15th Aug. 1555, when it devolved on his son and heir, Sir Owen Hopton. He, with his son Arthur, sold the manor in 1588 to William Roberts, town clerk of Yarmouth, an attorney at Beccles, who held his first court for the manor this same year. Amongst the Chancery Proceedings in the time of Queen Elizabeth, will be found a suit between William Roberts to protect his title to the manor, which sets forth his purchase from Sir Owen Hopton and Arthur his son.

On his death, the manor passed to his sister and heir, who married Simon Smith, a descendant of Sir Thurston Smith, of Cratfield, Knt., in which family it continued until the decease of Thomas, son and heir of Sir Owen Smith, Knt., in 1639, whose daughter and sole heir, Frances, married Charles, son of Major-General Charles Fleetwood, the Cromwellian soldier.

Amongst the State Papers in 1655 is a petition of Charles Fleetwood, then Lord Deputy of Ireland, to the Protector, to be released from the purchase of the manor, he having the reversion by entail and Act of Parliament, and having contracted for the purchase of Sir Ralph Hopton's life interest, who was then 60 years of age, and having died at the time the second half of the purchase money was to be paid.

Page says that in 1648 Simon Smith, of Winston, in Norfolk, settled the entire estate of the Smiths on them (that is, the Fleetwoods and their heirs). From the Major-General the manor passed to his son and heir, Smith Fleetwood, whose will is dated 1697. Smith, the 2nd son of Smith Fleetwood, resided at Wood Dalling, in Norfolk, where he died, and was buried in 1726. Elizabeth his only child married, Fountain Elwin, of Thurning, in Norfolk. On her death in 1732 the manor devolved on her three aunts, daughters of the said Smith Fleetwood-Frances, Caroline and Jane. In 1761 Jane, the youngest daughter, still a spinster, was lady of the manor. On the death of Jane Fleetwood, the manor passed by devise to her kinswoman, Anne, only daughter of Joseph Henlock, by Anne his wife, daughter and sole heir of Sir John Hartopp.

She married Edmund Bunney, who assumed the surnames of Cradock and Hartopp, and on her death the manor passed to her son, Sir Edmund Cradock-Hartopp, Bart., of Freathby, in the county of Leicester, created a Baronet 12th May, 1796. Sir Edmund died 10th June, 1833, and his eldest son, George Harry William, M.P. for Dundalk, having died unmarried in his father's lifetime in 1824, the manor passed to his 2nd son, Sir Edmund Hartopp, 2nd Bart., who married the Hon. Mary Jane Eden, daughter of Morton, 1st Lord Henley, by whom he had no issue, and dying 3rd April, 1849, the lordship passed to his brother, Sir William Edmund, 3rd Bart., who married Jane Mary, eldest daughter of Henry Bloomfield Keane, and had with other issue a son John William. Sir William Hartopp died 16th Oct. 1864, and the manor passed to his eldest son, Sir John William Cradock Hartopp, of Freathby, co. Leicester, 4th Bart., who married Charlotte Frances, eldest daughter of Edward Gyles Howard, nephew of Bernard Edward, 12th Duke of Norfolk. Sir John seems to have sold the manor, for in 1875 it was vested in F. Charsley, and in 1896 in Henry Calthorp Holloway Calthorp, of Stanhope Hall, King's Lynn, co. Norfolk, son of Lieutenant-Col. James Holloway, D.L., and J.P. for Norfolk, and Mary Esther his wife, daughter of John Calthorp, of Stantive Hall, J. P., and D.L. Mr. Holloway assumed the name of Calthorp on succeeding to his maternal grandfather in 1877 and in 1879 married Wilhelmina, youngest daughter of David Rabston, of Bothwell, N.B.


This is stated to have been the lordship of Henry Blench in 1275. In 1574 it was held by Edward Wilkinson, from whom it passed that year to Francis Windam. rIt then passed to the Norton family, and Robert Norton, of Halesworth, is said to have died seised, and in 1561 we meet with a fine levied of the manor in 1584 by Henry Norton against Robert Hurth and others. But it is stated that on the death of Robert Norton the manor passed to his son and heir Walter Norton, of Chediston, at whose death in 1609 it went to his son and heir, Henry Norton, on whose death in 1638 it vested in his son and heir Walter Norton.

From Copinger's Manors of Suffolk