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 2½
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.
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page