From The Manors of Suffolk

The main manor was held by Edward the Confessor with 5 carucates and z j acres. There were 8 villeins, 39 bordars, and 1 serf, and one ploughteam was employed on the demesne land, but there was land enough to employ 5 ploughteams. Roger Bigot later took over the manor (from the King, at which time and at the time of the Survey there were 3 oxen. The men always had 21 ploughteams. There was wood sufficient to maintain 40 hogs, and 6 acres were meadow. Seven socmen subject to all customs held 3 carucates and 84 acres with 16 bordars and 9 ploughteams. There was also a market, and wood sufficient for 30 hogs, and 2 acres of meadow. The great Survey states that every fourth penny of the tax levied upon the park of Rumburgh (Riseburc) belonged to the Manor of Blythburgh, and was shared by the King and Earl Bigot.

The whole manor rendered in King Edward's time by tale and one day's provision of honey with all customary dues. "The valuation when Roger Bigot took it over was weight, but by 1087 this had come down to

The church of Blythburgh possessed 2 carucates of land with 9 villeins and 4 bordars. In Saxon times there was one ploughteam in demesne, but it had become reduced by Norman days to half a team, like as the ploughteams belonging to the men had diminished from 4 to 1.

There was wood sufficient to support 20 hogs and also half an acre of meadow. The manor formerly rendered 10,000 herrings, but this contribution seems to have been commuted for in part, as by the time of the Survey the render was 50s. and 3,000 herrings. This Osbern Masculus held as an eleemosynary gift of the King's, and to the church belonged two other subordinate and without land. At the time of the Domesday Record the whole of Blythburgh was entered as land of the King in the region of which Roger Bigot had the keeping.

Roger Bigot in his own right held a manor here consisting of 1 carucate and a half of land, which had in King Edward's time been held by Wolsey. It is entered in the Survey under the head " Bringas." In Saxon times there were two villeins, 4 ploughteams in demesne1 acres of meadow, 2 mills, 1 salt pan, 11 hogs, and 20 goats, valued at 30s. At the time of the Survey the value was 40s., the bordars had increased to 10, while the serfs had come down to one, the ploughteams in demesne were but 2 though a third could be made up, and they had but one ploughteam and a half. There were three acres in Dunwich belonging to this manor, and the soc was in Robert Malet, the value being 22d. Three freemen with 6o acres had been added to the manor, and they formerly had 2 ploughteams, but at the time of the Survey one only, the value being 8s. This manor was held by Robert de Curcun of Roger Bigot; it was 9 quarantenes long and 7 broad, rendered 1.75d. in a king's gelt, and the soc belonged to the King and the Earl. Roger Bigot also had another manor in Hintor., a hamlet of Blythburgh, which Robert of Blythburgh held of him. It consisted of 50 acres, and had in the Confessor's time belonged to Hegelwald, a freeman. There were 2 bordars, 1 ploughteam in demesne, and 1 rouncy, 4 beasts, 4 hogs, and 50 sheep, valued at 8s. Of this land Robert of Blythburgh held 12 acres by way of alms from the King, to wit of the church of Blythburgh, which fact the Hundred testified. To this manor had been added 6 freemen (over whom Roger's predecessor had commendation) with 50 acres of land, 1 ploughteam, and 1 acre of meadow valued at 4s.

There are three entries under Hopton, " Opituna," or " Hoppetuna," in the Domesday Survey which probably relate to Westwood Lodge in Blythburgh. The first, amongst the possessions of the freemen under Roger Bigot, consisted of 60 acres formerly held by Bond, a freeman, as a manor, over whom Toll had commendation. In Saxon times there were 3 bordars, 1 ploughteam in demesne and half a team belonging to the men, 2 acres of meadow, wood sufficient for the support of 2 hogs, valued at 16s. By the time of the Survey there were no bordars and 1 ploughteam belonging to the men, but the ploughteam in demesne appears to have gone. The King and the Earl had the soc. In this holding was half a church with 4 acres and a half of meadow valued at 3d. The second is amongst the possessions of Robert Malet held of him by Gilbert, and consisted of 42 acres, 2 bordars, 1 ploughteam, and 2 acres of meadow, valued at 10s., held as a manor in the time of the Confessor by Alnoth, a freeman under commendation. Malet also had here 18 acres held by 2 freemen under commendation and valued at 3s., the King and the Earl having the soc.


This manor extended into Huntingfield and Cratfield, in each of which villages it claimed 40 acres of land and other possessions. As Suckling observes, it is evident from this account that Blythburgh was a village of considerable wealth and importance. Even in the most " high and palmy state " of Dunwich, if a thief were taken in that city, though his trial were conducted there his punishment was inflicted at Blythburgh, where before the Conquest the only " cambitar " or money changer resided.

Blythburgh Manor was granted by Henry I. to the Bp. of Norwich, who exchanged it for Thorpe with William de Cheney. King Stephen by charter granted it to John Fitz Robert, and a copy of the charter is given by Suckling in his History of Suffolk.

Hen.II., however, probably resumed his predecessor's grant, for the Empress Maud was given the revenues for her life. On her death the King gave it to William de Norwich, or de Cheney as he was usually called, to hold by the service of a knight's fee. A copy of the grant is given by Suckling.'

William de Norwich also had a licence for a weekly market at Blythburgh to be kept on Thursdays and for three annual fairs. He died seised of the manor, and it passed to his only child Margaret or Margery de Cheney.

Margaret married 1st Hugh de Cressi and 2ndly Robert Fitz Roger, who each successively took the lordship in her right during their lives. Margaret had by her 1st husband a son Roger who had two sons, Hugh and Stephen de Cressi. She had a grant of free warren and wreck of the sea from " Eycliffe juxta Southwolde " to the port of Dunwich, and a ferry-boat there, with privilege to exact a halfpenny for every man and horse passing over the same. She had likewise customary travers for passage through Blythburgh and Walberswick, viz.: for each loaden carriage shod with iron, one penny, and without, a halfpenny.

The tenants of the said Margaret were enjoined to keep Walberswick Bridge-which has long been demolished-in good repair; as well as the common highway for foot and horse in Blythburgh. By covenant with this lady, Dunwich gave licence to the towns of Blythburgh and Walberswick to occupy any number of merchant ships or fishing-boats they thought fit, paying certain customs thereon. Her second husband received an increase on these tolls, that is, for every wheeled carriage shod with iron, and loaded with corn or fish, passing through Blythburgh or Walberswick, twopence, and for every horse carrying the same a halfpenny, and the like sum for every carriage with wheels not shod with iron. This Robert Fitz-Roger had £xiij rent in Blythburgh in the year 1201.

Roger de Cressi, Margaret's son, in 1199 married Isabel, youngest daughter and coheir of Hubert de Rye, and joining in the Baron's wars against King John had his estates in Suffolk seized and granted to Robert de Ferrariis. They were, however, restored by Hen. III.

Roger's two sons, Hugh and Stephen de Cressi, were successively lords of Blythburgh. Hugh died in 1263 and Stephen married Ermetrude, who remarried Roger de Colville or Corbry

Suckling informs us that Robert Fitz Roger de Corbur, the 2nd husband of Margaret de Cheney, a man who was Sheriff of the County in the 3rd and 4th year of Richard I. (1192) had a grant of the manor from the Crown with all its ancient privileges.

His only authority cited is the Hundred Rolls, which state that the manor was held by Robert Fitz Roger. It seems pretty clear that Suckling's statement is rather dubious. The 2nd husband of Margaret de Cheney would no doubt have been entitled to hold the manor as tenant by the curtesy during his life, and Suckling makes him hold as late as the time of Edw.I., and yet he says that Margaret de Cheney's two grandsons by her 1st husband were successively lords of the manor, and that Hugh de Cressi, one of such grandsons, did not die till 1263, when the manor reverted to the King, who granted to Ermetrude the widow of Hugh's brother Stephen an annuity of per annum out of the manor.

Margaret de Cheney must have had a fine old gentleman for her 2nd husband, according to the Suffolk historian, for we are gravely informed that he, Robert Fitz Roger, who was Sheriff of the County in 1192, was holding this manor in the time of the Hundred Rolls returns, which, assuming that he was not more than 20 when he held the important office of High Sheriff would make Suckling's Robert Fitz Roger well over 100 years of age. The probability is that the Robert Fitz Roger referred to in the Hundred Rolls was the grandson of the 2nd husband of Margaret de Cheney.

The last Robert Fitz Roger's son John Fitz Robert assumed the name of De Clavering, and married in 1278 Hawise, daughter of Robert de Tibetot, by whom he had an only daughter Eve. Sir John de Clavering having no male issue settled the manor on King Edward II. King Edward III. in the 2nd year of his reign, the manor having then reverted to the Crown, settled it upon Edmund de Clavering, brother of Sir John, for life with remainder to Ralph de Nevil who had married Eve, the only daughter and heir of Sir John de Clavering. John died in 1332, and
Ralph the son of Ralph de Nevil and Eve his wife died in 1367, being succeeded by Sir John de Nevil, who sold the manor for 40 marks to Sir Robert de Swillington in 1372.

Sir Robert de Swillington died in 1391 and was succeeded by his son Sir Roger, who in the Exchequer Rolls is stated to have held the manor in chief of the King for two knights' fees. He died in 1418 leaving a son John, who died this or the following year, and according to Suckling, two daughters Margaret and Anne. The former daughter married Sir John Gra of Ingoldsby in Lincolnshire, and the latter (who ultimately was sole heir of Sir Roger Swillington) Sir John Hopton.

Suckling gives no authority for his statement that Sir Roger Swillington left besides a daughter Margaret a daughter Anne married to John Hopton, except an unconvincing entry in Hervey's Visitation of 1561, and as will be seen in the account of the descent of the Alanor of Brent Fen in Middleton in this Hundred, the title of John Hopton is derived in a different mode.

Sir John Hopton was succeeded in 1480 by his son Sir John Hopton, who married 1st a daughter of Sir John Heveningham, and 2ndly Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John Savell, and died in 1489, when the manor passed to his son and heir Sir William Hopton, Custos of Dunwich. He was a great courtier, treasurer of the house and of the Privy Council to Edw. IV., and Sheriff of Norf. and Suff. in the time of Rich. III.

Sir William resided at Westwode, and married Margaret, daughter of Sir Roger Wentworth, of Nettlestead, Knt., and on his death the manor passed to his son and heir Sir George Hopton. Sir George was created a Knight Banneret at the Battle of Stoke by Hen. VII. He married Thomasine, daughter of - Snowhill or Southill of Yorkshire, and dying 6th July, 1490, the manor passed to his widow Thomasine for life, and on her death in 1499 to their son Sir Arthur Hopton, M.P. for Dunwich and Housekeeper of Henham Hall for Hen. VIII., Sir George's eldest son John aged only 2 having died in the lifetime of his father. Sir Arthur Hopton married 1st Maude, daughter of Sir Edward Dymocke, and 2ndly Anne, daughter of Sir Davy Oven, of Cowdrye, co. Sussex, Knt., natural son of Owen Tudor (the husband of Catherine, Queen Dowager of Hen. V.), and (lying 15th Aug. 1555 the manor passed to Sir Owen Hopton, Lieut. of the Tower of London, who married Anne, daughter and coheir of Sir Edward Ecklingham.

Sir Owen Hopton is said to have sold the manor to Sir Robert Broke, alderman of London. We meet with a fine of the manor levied in 1585 by Edmund Hall and others against Sir Owen Hopton and others, but the manor does not seem to have passed to Sir Robert Broke until 1592 or 1597, for in the first of these years there is a fine levied by the said Robert Broke against Arthur Hopton, son and heir of Sir Owen Hopton and others, and in the second of these years a fine levied between the same parties.

Sir Robert Broke died in 1600, and was succeeded by his son Sir Robert Broke, who died in 1646.

Suckling states that the manor did not pass from the Hoptons till the time of Charles I., but this does not seem to be the case. The 2nd Sir Robert Broke was succeeded by his son and heir John Broke, who married Jane, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston, on whom the manor was settled in jointure.

John Broke died without issue in 1652, and his widow remarried William Blois, afterwards Sir William Blois who in right of his wife held his first Court in 1660.

Sir William Blois's 1st wife had been Martha, daughter of Sir Robert Brooke, of Cockfield Hall in Yoxford. Sir William Blois's son Charles Blois succeeded to the lordship in 1675 on the death of his father, and was created a Baronet 15th April, 1686. He served in Parliament for Ipswich in 1690 and for Dunwich in 1701. He married 1st Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Kemp, 2nd Bart., of Gissing co. Norfolk, Bart., and 2ndly Anne, daughter of Ralph Hawtrey, of Riselip co. Middlesex, and died 9th April, 1738, aged 80, when he was succeeded by his grandson Sir Charles Blois, son of William Blois by Jane,3rd daughter of Sir Robert Kemp,of Ubbeston, 3rd Bart., who had died in 1734 in his father's lifetime. Sir Charles Blois, 2nd Bart., died unmarried 26th Feb.,176o, when the manor passed to his uncle Sir Charles, who died without issue in 1761, and was succeeded by his half-brother the Rev. Sir Ralph Blois, 4th Bart.

He married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Reginald Rabett, of Bramfield, and died 8th May, 1762, when the manor passed under his will, dated 17th Dec.1761, to his son and heir Sir John Blois, 5th Bart. He married 1st Sarah, youngest daughter of George Thornhill, of Diddingston co. Huntingdon, and 2ndly Lucretia dau. and heir of Thomas Otley, of the Island of St. Kitt's in the West Indies, and dying 17th Jan. 1810, the manor passed to his son and heir Sir Charles Blois, 6th Bart., who married 19th Jan. 1789, Clara, daughter and coheir of Jocelyn Price, of Camblesforth Hall, co. York, and died 20th Aug.1850, when he was succeeded by his son and heir Sir Charles Blois, 7th Bart., on whose death unmarried 12th June 1855 the manor vested in his nephew and heir Sir John Ralph Blois, 8th Bart.

He married 25th Jan. 1865, Eliza Ellen, youngest daughter of Captain Alfred Chapman, R.N., of Eaton Place, and on his death 31st Dec. 1888 the manor passed to, and is now vested in, his son and heir Sir Ralph Barrett Macnaghten Blois, 9th Bart., of Grundisburgh Hall and Cockfield Hall, Yoxford.

Suckling gives in full the confirmation of the grant of the manor by Philip and Mary to Owen Hopton.

Amongst the Additional Charters in the Brit. Mus. is a Mandamus dated at Westminster 3oth Jan.1 Hen. VII., declaring the tenants of the Manor of
" Blideburc " to continue free from " Thelonium " (toll) and contribution to the expenses of Knights in Parliament.

Arms of HOPTON : Ermine two bars, three Mullets Or. Of Blois : Gules a Bend vaire, between two fleur-de-lis, Argent.


This manor in the time of Hen. I. belonged to the Abbot of St. Osyth, Essex, who founded Blythburgh Priory a small house of Augustines or Black Canons. It was not exactly a cell of St. Osyth, for the revenues were valued separately, and the prior and convent presented to their own livings and generally seemed a distinct body, subject to the Abbot of St. Osyth in the nomination of its Head only.

The Churches of Blythburgh, Bramfield, Wenhaston, Walberswick, Thorington and Blythford with the Chapel of Mells were appropriated to this house.

Suckling gives a charter of Rich.I. disclosing the possessions of the Priory and recording the names of its benefactors in 1199.

In 1528 Cardinal Wolsey obtained a Bull from the Pope for the suppression of the Priory with the object of annexing its revenues to his college at Ipswich, but on his disgrace the King seized the Priory and its revenues, and in 1538 granted the site, manor and possessions to Sir Arthur Hopton of Westwood Lodge by Letters Patent dated 12th Nov.1538. The grant includes the site and manor of the Priory, Hinton Hall and the lands called Bullock's Broome close, Mill-hill close, Arnold's close, Appleton mead, with the watermill and other tenements in Blythburgh, all the tithes of Blythburgh, Walberswick and Blythford, the impropriations of Wenhaston and Bramfield and the advowson of Thorington as parcel of the possessions of this house.

The Priory Manor-which from having fallen into the hands of Sir Arthur Hopton who was lord of the main manor in the parish was incorporated with it - extended into the parishes of Thorington, Bramfield, Westhall, Halesworth, Chedeston, Bulchamp, Blythford, Wenhaston, Hinton, Walberswick, Linstead, Sotherton, Holton, and Mells in Wenhaston. In 1552 Letters Patent were passed dated 14th June, 7 Edw. VI., confirming the grant of Hen. VIII. and settling the priory and estates on the said Sir Arthur Hopton and his heirs for ever.

Robert and Ralph Upton (? Hopton) had licence to alien in 1622 to Sir Robert Brooke to whom a conveyance was made accordingly, and on his death the manor passed to his son and heir John Brooke, who died without issue in 1657, and was succeeded by his brother Robert Brooke. The manor subsequently devolved in the same mode as the main manor.


This manor was also given by the Abbot of St. Osyth to the Priory of Blythburgh, and went to the Crown on the dissolution of the religious houses. It was included in the grant of 1538 of Blythburgh Priory to Sir Arthur Hopton, and passed on his death to his son and heir Sir Owen Hopton, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London. The manor in 1597 was vested in Henry Gawdy and Henry Warner who held their first Court this year. Their holding was probably as trustees, for in 1652 we find Thomas Bacon and Robert Brewster mentioned as trustees of Sir Robert Brooke during the minority of Robert his son, also holding a first Court. The manor subsequently devolved in a like course with the main manor.

There seems to be some doubt as to whether this was ever held as a separate manor, but apparently Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, died seised of it in 1415, when it passed to his son and heir Michael de la Pole, who a few months later was slain at the Battle of Agincourt, and was succeeded by his brother William de la Pole.

The manor seems to have been vested in the Sir John Hopton who founded a chantry at Blythburgh and died in 1489. Davy makes the next lord Arthur Hopton,who he states was the son and heir of John Hopton.

He probably, however, means Sir William Hopton who was Custos of Dunwich and married Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Roger Wentworth, of Nettlestead.

He was probably succeeded by his son Sir George Hopton, who died apparently the following year, a fact which seems to be supported by the pedigree of the Hoptons given by Suckling in his History of Suffolk. It is not clear how this manor passed amongst the Hoptons, but it certainly did become vested in Sir Owen Hopton, the son of Sir Arthur, and passed to the Brookes and ultimately to the Blois family as did the main manor and in a like course of descent.