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
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. 7¾d.
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.
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page