Mettingham or Metingaham
In the 5th of King Edward III., Roger Gavel held the lordship of this parish. He
was son of John Gavel, who lived at Yarmouth in the 10th of Edward L; son of
Jeffrey Gavel, of the said town, by Alice his wife, daughter of Richard Fastolf.
In the 17th of King Edward III., Sir John de Norwich had license to make a
Castle of his Manor House here, and another at Ling, in Norfolk; and in the 47th
of the same reign, Sir John de Norwich, the last of that house, conveyed to
certain trustees that lordship, with the manor of Howe, in Norfolk; to settle
them on his College of Mettingham; and in the 5th of King Richard II., they
became settled accordingly.
This Sir John de Norwich, Knt., was Vice-Admiral of England, son of Walter de
Norwich, and grandson to Sir John, the founder of Raveningham College, in
Norfolk. In 1382, his executors obtained the King's license to translate the
priests of that College to the Castle of Mettingham; and to endow them with the
said Castle, and with several manors in this county. This however, was .not
fully effected until 1393; being retarded through opposition from the Nuns of
This College had rents and revenues in about 25 parishes in this county, and
several in Norfolk: it was dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary; and consisted
of thirteen Chaplains, at the period of its foundation; and a Master, and eleven
Chaplains, in 1535. Here were also fourteen boys, who served God, and were
educated and supported in this College, at the annual charge of
£28. Its gross value, in "Valor
Ecclesiasticus," is; £238 3s. 10½d.
In 1541, Sir Anthony Denny and Sir Thomas Denny, obtained a grant of the same;
in which family it sometime continued, but was afterwards purchased by the
Buxtons. It has since 1661, been in the families of Bacon and Hunt; and it now
belongs to the Rev. James Cutting Safford, vicar of this parish.
In 1544, the roof of this College was carried to Great Yarmouth, and placed upon
the old Guild Hall there, at the expense of the townsmen. The walls of the
College are still standing within the old quadrangular Castle, and the ruins are
very extensive; several illustrations of them have been published.
College Arms: per pale, azure and gules, a lion rampant, argent.
Mettingham: or; a chevron, partee per pale, or and gules, couped; between
three mullets, sable.
John de Metingham, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the reign of King
Edward III. (a descendant of the Norwich family), was a native of this county,
and probably born in this parish; of whom Fuller observes, "it is reported, to
his eternal praise, that when the rest of the Judges (18 Edw. III.) were fined,
and ousted for corruption, this Metingham and Elias de Beckenham continued in
their places, whose innocence was of proof against all accusations; and as Caleb
and Joshua amongst the jury of false spies, so these two amongst the twelve
judges, retained their integrity."
In the 20th of the same reign, the King directed a writ to John de Metingham,
respecting limiting the number of Attorneys at Law. A translation of the same is
inserted in the above author, as follows:
"The lord the King hath enjoined John de Metingham and his-assistants, that
they, according to their discretion, provide and ordain a certain number out of
every county, of such persons which, according to their understanding, shall
appear unto them of the better sort, and most legal, and most willingly applying
themselves to the learning of the law, what may better avail for their court,
and the good of the people of the land, &c. And it seem likely to the King and
his Counsel, that seven score may suffice for that purpose. However, the
aforesaid Justices may add more if they see ought to he done, or else they may
lessen the number."
"Some conceive," continues our author, "this number of seven score confined only
to the Common Pleas, whereof Metingham was Chief Justice. But others behold it
as extended to the whole land, this Judge's known integrity being intrusted in
their choice and number; which number is since much increased, and no wonder,
our land being grown more populous, and the people in it more litigious. He died
anno Domini 1301."
In the time of King Henry VI., a branch of the Banyard family were seated in
this parish; and subsequently the ancestors of the present Sir Thomas Sherlock
CHARITIES. The town estate is situate in this parish, and Ship-meadow;
and comprises a cottage, blacksmith's shop, about 36 acres of land, and two
cattle gates on Stow Fen; and is under the management of feoffees, chosen at
meetings of the parishioners. The general purposes for which the estate appears
to have been held from ancient time, are for the benefit of the town or parish
of Mettingham, the payment of the public charges of the parishioners, and the
support of the poor. The rents, which amount together to
£80 a year, are applied in the reparation of
the church, and in defraying other public charges to which the parishioners are
liable; with a distribution of coals amongst poor people, to the amount of about
£10 per annum.
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page