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Heringfleet Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Herlyngflete or Herlingaflet

In the reign of King Henry III., or perhaps earlier, Roger Fitz Osbert founded a Priory in this parish, near the ancient ferry across the river Waveney, and the present bridge of St. Olave. It was of the clerical order of St. Augustine (or Black Canons), and dedicated to the honor of the Virgin Mary, and St. Olave, the King and Martyr.

The founder of this Priory endowed it with 40 acres of land, and tythes, in Tibenham; and bequeathed his body to be buried in the conventual church. Peter, his son, gave the advowson of Witling-ham, and was also buried in the priory church, in 1275; as was Beatrix his wife, in 1278.

The Prior and Convent of St. Olave's, were rectors of Hales, in Norfolk, and had the tithes of 235 acres of land in that parish, belonging to Langley Abbey, in exchange for the same quantity of land in Loddon and Heckingham, belonging to St. Olaves. The church of Hales was granted, in the 4th of King Edw. L, by Ralph de Chedgrave, and Emma his wife, to William., Prior here.

In the 20th of the same reign, an agreement was made between Stephen de Astley, and Benedict, Prior here; when he remitted to the said Prior, the third part of eight marks, annual rent in East Tudenham, and Tudenham Faldgate, for the souls of his ancestors.

Oshert, son of Hervi de Dagworth, gave the manor of Dagworth, in Tihenham, to this Monastery; and the Prior paid 7s. Id. tax for it, in 1428. In 1392, King Richard II., licensed Roger Rogers to grant 50 acres of land in the same parish, to this Convent; and in the 16th of that reign, Sir George Felbrigg made a grant to this Priory.

To this Monastery were appropriated the churches of Herringfleet, and a portion of the rectory and the advowson of Burgh, in this county; with other possessions in Cringleford, Raveningham, Thorp, Thurverton, Haddescoe, and Maltby, in Norfolk.

The Fitz Osberts, and after them the Jernegans, were the principal benefactors; the latter became owners of St. Olave and Somerleyton, as early as the year 1230, by the marriage of Sir Walter Jernegan with Isabel, heiress of Sir Peter Fitz Osbert, of Somerleyton; and from that year, Somerleyton was the capital seat of the Jernegans. John Jernegan, Esq., of that parish, and Agnes his wife, were buried in St. Mary's chapel, in this Priory, about the year 1470.

John Reppys, of this parish, who deceased in 1473, desired to be buried in the chancel of Herringfleet St. Margaret. He gave two acres of land to the said church; to John, his son, 20 marks; and 20 to his sons Nicholas, William, and Thomas: Alice his wife, to have her third part of the manors of Thorp-Market, and South Repps, in Norfolk, for life; remainder to Henry, his son, in tail.

The number of Canons placed here by the founder is not known; but it appears that at the dissolution, it contained a Prior, and six or seven religious persons. The valuations in Tax Eccles., 1291: Norfolk, in 13 parishes, 2 19s. lid.; Suffolk, in 14 parishes, 12 4s. 7d. The clear value, in Valor Ecclesiasticus, in 1534, is 49 11s. 7d. It was granted, in 1546, to Henry Jernegan, Esq.; and Frances his wife, for the consideration of 92 8s. 6d. The ruins of the Priory were chiefly removed in 1784, and except a low arched vault (or crypt), little of this ancient building remains.

Near these ruins, is a bridge over the Waveney, of the original of which an historical description, extracted from a M.S. drawn up about the year 1706, by the late Bishop Tanner, author of that celebrated work the "Notitia Monastica," is given, in the "Gentleman's Magazine" for 1811, part ii., p. 213, and is highly curious. Mr. Druery has also inserted the same in his "Historical and Topographical notices of Great Yarmouth," &c.; a work to which we beg to acknowledge ourselves much beholden in this portion of our undertaking.

The lordship of this parish was anciently in the Fitz Osberts; from whom it passed to the Jernegans, and so continued until the 2nd of King James I., when Henry Jerningham, Esq., sold the same. Subsequently it became the estate of the Taverners, then of Sir Edmund Bacon, of Gillingham, Bart., and others of that family; and about the middle of the last century, it passed to Hill Mussenden, Esq., who deceased in 1772, and devised this estate to his eldest brother, Carteret, who had taken the name of Leathes.

John Leathes, Esq., his son, succeeded; who deceased in 1787: his widow possessed it, and re-married to Anthony Merry, Esq.; at her decease it came to John Francis Leathes, Esq., High Sheriff for this county, in 1827; who is the present proprietor. The estate annexed to this lordship, comprises nearly the entire parish of Herringfleet.

The Manor House, half castellated in its appearance, stands near the church, and was formerly surrounded by a moat, part of which still remains. Blocker Hall, in this parish, is a curious old mansion; deserving notice as conveying a specimen of the domestic architecture, in Queen Elizabeth's time.

ARMS. Leathes: azure; on a bend, between three fleurs-de-lis, or, three mullets pierced, gules. Crest: a demi griffin, rampant; with wings displayed, sable. Fitz Osbert: gules; three bars gemell, or; a canton, argent. Taverner: argent; a bend fusillee, sable.

CHARITIES. An allotment of 6A. 35p. was set out, on an inclosure, for providing fuel for the poor, which lets at 13 15s. a year; and the rent is laid out in coals, which are given to the poor, at Christmas. The late Mrs. Elizabeth Merry bequeathed a 20 a year, to be applied to educate poor children in this parish: and to provide for this annuity, a sufficient sum of money was laid out in the purchase of stock in the public funds; which annuity is applied for the free education of twelve poor children of this parish.

County of Suffolk

Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page

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