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Homersfield Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Homersfield or St. Mary, South Elmham, Or Elmeham

In 1175, John de Oxford, a great favorite with King Henry II., and one of his Chaplains, was consecrated Bishop of Norwich; sometimes called John the 1st., being the first Bishop in this diocese of that name. He confirmed by deed, 6 acres of land in this parish, to Robert de Sandcroft, ancestor to the late Archbishop of that name; which Robert Husebond, the Bishop's man, or tenant, gave him: and 3 J acres, which Gervase, son of Robert Husebond, sold to the said Robert de Sandcroft, for 4s.; and released and abjured the same, in the Bishop's own chamber, at Homersfield:1 to be held by the rent of 1 6d. a year, to the Bishop's manor of the said parish, and 5d. to every aid (or tax) laid on that town.

In the 2nd of King Henry III., a market and a fair were granted here, to Pandulf Masca, Bishop of Norwich; an Italian, by birth. The Benedictine nuns of Bungay, held the manor of Lymborne, in Homersfield; which, at the dissolution of that house, was granted to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, and subsequently to John and Thos. Wright; but was restored to the Norfolk family, with their other possessions, by Queen Mary. It came to Sir Bassingbourne Gawdy from the Berdewells, through his wife, Anne Wootton, the heiress of that family. He was succeeded by Bassingbourne Gawdy, Esq., his son. At present but little is known of this manor. There are certain freehold lands, called "Limber Lands," and "Limber Mill," in this parish; which were purchased, with the Downs farm, by Alexander Adair, Esq., of Flixton Hall.

Witlingham cum Walkeline's manor, after passing a long time with that of Rokele's, in Trowse, became joined to a manor in Kirby Bedon, and after, to Wadker's, in Windham; when the style thereof was Witlingham (alias Wicklingham), Wadker's in Windham, and Kirby Bedon, where the court was held; being in the same lord, and held as one court.

This manor extended into Homersfield; and was held by the Hares, who were seated here in the time of King Henry VII., and claim to be a scion of the house of Harecourt (or Harcourt), in Lorrain, who were Counts of Normandy. Hugh Hare, of this parish, was succeeded by Nicholas, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas de Watlingham, Knt. His descendant, Nicholas Hare, Esq., of this parish, was father of John, and Thomas Hare, LL.D., Chancellor of Norwich, and rector of Massingham Magna, in Norfolk, in 1506.

John Hare, Esq., married Elizabeth, daughter of ______ Fortescue, Esq., and had issue two sons, namely: Sir Nicholas, who was twice chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, in the reign of Henry VIII., and was Master of Requests, and Chief Justice of Chester. He was sworn of the Privy Council, Master of the Rolls, and afterwards Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, in the reign of Queen Mary. Sir Nicholas was of Bruisyard, in this county; and married Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Bassingborne, Knt.: his sons deceased without issue, and the issue of his brother John, who resided at Stow Bardolph, in Norfolk, inherited. Sir Nicholas and John Hare, Esq., were both born in this parish.

Walter de Suffield (alias Calthorpe), Bishop of Norwich, gave the third part of the tithe of his demesne in this parish, to the Norman's Spital (or St. Paul's Hospital), in Norwich.

Robert Downes, A.M., rector of this parish, and Stanstead St. James, in this county, was installed fourth Prebend of the Cathedral Church of Norwich, February 8, 1576.

ARMS. Hare: gules; two bars and a chief, indented, or.

CHARITIES. At a court held the 5th December, 1781, Alexander Adair, Esq., and others, were admitted tenants, in trust, for this parish, to 2 acres of copyhold land, of South Elmham manor, called "Sumbells," or "Westbroke," in St. Cross; in order that the trusts of the will of Sir Nicholas Hare might be performed according to the intent thereof. The land is let at 2 10s. a year; which is distributed among widows, and other poor persons, at Christmas, in conformity with ancient usage.

1. The Bishop's manor of South Elmham, is sometime! called the manor of Homersfield; of which the above is an instance.

County of Suffolk

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

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