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THE LIBRARY 

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THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




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" Kixr. John's Ci;p " (temp. F-dwakd III.). 



HISTORY 

OF THE BOROUGH OF 

KING'S LYNN. 




VOLUME I. 



13 V 



HENRY J. HILLEN 



NOinMClI : 
I'uiNTKii r,Y THE East ov Englaxd Xkwspapur Co., Ltd., 

AND SOLI) AT 

Kinti's Lynn by Messrs. Matsei.l cV Takgktt, W. H. Smith S: Son, W. H. Tavi.ou. and 
Thkw & Son : at Norwich by Messrs. Jakroi.d & Sons, and A. H. Gonsi- : 

also by the Author. 



T5A 



TO the memory of the dead, 
who made OUR BOROUGH what 
it is— 

To those with whom we dwell, 
who strive to make it better than 
it is ; and finally — 

To those, who may succeed 
when we are gone, with earnest 
hopes, that their approving benison 
may rest upon the good intentions 
of the past. 



ENGLISH LOCAL 



*>9jS 



PREFACE. 



Several treatises, dealing with the social and constitutional history of 
the Borough of King's Lynn, have been written, lost, and forgotten ; 
two, however, survive because they were published — the one by 
Benjamin Mackerell in 1738, and the other by William Richards in 1812. 

The compiling of the third — an essay towards a more comprehensive, 
up-to-date account of this " ancient sea-port, borough, and market 
town," has yielded the writer pleasure ; and it is to be hoped that its 
publication, undertaken at the earnest request of many appreciative 
burgesses, may awaken interest in the minds of those living in the town 
and neighbourhood. 

The maker of books resembles an apothecary, as Robert Burton, the 
scholarly wit, assures us, who " compounds medicine by pouring out of 
old bottles into new ones." History, indeed, is not the product of an 
exuberant imagination, but a careful reiteration of events recorded by 
others. For obvious reasons, these pages are not overburdened with 
references, yet every statement is based upon some authority apparent 
or not, and hints are given to lead the inquirer towards the sources 
from whence information is derived. 

The writer — greatly beholden to Mr. George H. Anderson, the Borough 
Accountant, who supplied the photographs from which the illustrations 
are taken, and to Mr. George F. Pratt, who assisted in the compilation 
of the indexes — may well exclaim with Macrobius : Oinne meiim, nihil 
meiim — " this is all mine and yet none of it is mine." 

Although care has been given to insure accuracy, yet errors, especially 
when authorities disagree, are not impossible. May, however, the 
Readers' generous response — " To forgive divine," be reciprocal of the 
writer's humble apology — " To err is human." 

HENRY J. HILLEN. 

April, 1907, 

Friars' Rest, 
King's Lynn, 



CONTENTS. 



VOLUME I. 
Part I. — To the Accession of H.M. King Edward VII. 



Chapter 

I. The Lin in Prehistoric Times 

II. The Camp of Peace 

III. The Burg in the Lin ... 

IV. The Gleaming Dawn ... 

V. The Legend of St. Margaret 

VI. A Habitation with a Name ., 

VII. Our Great Charter 

VIII. The King's Taxes 

IX. The Red Register 

X. The Tolbooth ... 

XI. Isabel the Fair... 

XII. Naval and Military Annals . 

XIII."' The Peasants' Rising ... 

XIV. The First Lollard Martyr . 

XV. The Revolt of the Burgesses 

XVI. The Hansa 

XVII. The Bishop and the Sword .. 

XVIII. The Fugitive King 

XIX. Our Lady of the Mount 

XX. The Building of the Temple 

XXI. Church and State 

XXII. The Hand of the Spoiler 

XXIII. Her Ladyship " The Queen " 

XXIV. The Battle and the Breeze.. 
XXV. Our Heritage — The Sea 

XX\''I. Nkaring the Crossw.ays 

^XVII, For King or Country ? 



Page 

I 

9 
i6 
24 

30 
38 
47 
56 
69 

79 

92 

105 
121 
138 

153 
166 

178 

192 

206 

214 

234 

259 

277 
287 

314 
3^7 



CONTENTS. 



Chapter 

XXVIII. 
XXIX. 



XXXI. 

XXXII. 

XXXIII. 



Reaping the Whirlwind 
Welding the Broken Chain 
Unstable as Water 
Birth of Nonconformity 
The Receipt of Custom 
The Veering of the Wind 



Page 
362 

375 

393 
411 

427 
439 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

"King John's Cup" (temp. Edward III.) ... ... Frontispiece 

Crypt at the Foot of High Bridge, from an Etching by page 

Henry Baines 45 

View of the " Triple Arcade " from the North-West, 

Bank Lane (1907) 265 

The Corporate Seal, obverse and reverse ; the Seal of 

the Gild of St. George, and the Admiralty Seal 

(each exact size) 317 

"King John's Cup" — Enamelled Panels around the Bowl 365 
North Prospect of the Tuesday Market-place, "before 

THE REIGN OF JaMES IInD," FROM A LiTHOGRAPH 
PUBLISHED ABOUT 1827 43I 



ILLUSTRATIVE DIAGRAMS. 

The Arms of the Borough 

A Cross-Crosslet 

■*'The Tolbooth (King's Staith) 

*St. Margaret's Church 

'"••'Part of a Medieval House (Bank Lane) 

" Roughly sketched ground plans, 



Page 

30 

31 

81 

219 

267 



PART I. 

TO THE ACCESSION OF H.M. KING EDWARD VII. 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



CHAPTER I. 
The Lin in Prehistoric Times. 



At the head of the Wash, an important opening on the East Coast of 
England, lies the " Fenland," a vast plain, embracing portions of six 
different counties and covering an area of 1,300 square miles. 

The ancient inhabitants of this district unquestionably belonged 
to a sturdy and determined race. On the inland islands, which dotted 
the treacherous surface of a broad, dreary morass, they reared their 
frail mud-and-wattle huts. Having once gained a footing, no matter 
how fearfully insecure, they proceeded to cut a cunning maze of 
ditches, and to raise those wonderful " walls " or banks (the traces of 
which exist to-day) in order to keep out the intrusive waters of the 
ever-threatening sea beyond. 

In " the foggy fennes, with her unwholesome ayre and more un- 
wholesome soyle," to which Michael Drayton (1563-1631) thus refers 
in his Polyolhion — a geographical survey of England in verse, — 
terrible floods were at that remote period very usual occurrences. The 
ground, in many places much lower than the sea, was for the greater 
part of the year in a sodden state ; the atmosphere, moreover, was not 
only saturated with vapour, but it was also charged with noxious 
exhalations, arising from gigantic accumulations of putrefying animal 
and vegetable matter. The Fenland, though " a boggy syrtis, neither 
sea nor good dry land," was, notwithstanding, the home of the 
primitive fenmen. Braving, daring — defying the elements of nature, 
they hunted the badger and otter in the tangled overgrowth of the 
water-courses of that dark, unhealthy mere ; they snatched a scanty 
supply of burbot or mallard from "the waste enormous marsh;" 
they wrung from an unwilling soil a meagre and precarious crop, on 
which their lives and the lives of their children greatly depended; 
and they preserved untarnished the independence bequeathed them 
by a stern and savage ancestry. Though floods and inundations again 
and again devoured the fruit of their labour, yet were they undis- 
mayed, for sufiicient evidence remains to shew how courageously they 
cooperated in pitting their puny strength against superior — ay, almost 
omnipotent forces, until in the end they could exult, in that they were 
more than conquerors. 

Gradually and after centuries of unremitting toil a marvellous 
transformation was achieved ! The stagnant eas and sluggish lins, 
the wild intricate meres and many of those long, tortuous water-ways 
either partially or wholly disappeared ; the luxurious undergrowth in 
the heart of this fenny fastness, which rendered approach at one 

B 



2 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

time tediously slow, and at other times utterly impossible, succumbed 
by imperceptible degrees. Many of the saltwater fish entrapped so 
many years ago in the winding streams are slowly dying and will soon 
become extinct, whilst the wild birds which once bred in such immense 
quantities are yearly growing scarcer. The crane, the dotterel, and 
the bald buzzard or fen eagle, as it was once termed, are either quite 
unknown or extremely rare. Under sanitary conditions the virulent 
epidemics which devastated this malarious district are almost unknown. 
The " Great Dismal Swamp " upon our eastern seaboard no longer 
exists ; it has given place to a rich agricultural area which is poetically 
and yet justly styled the " Golden Plain of England." On either 
hand are waving corn-fields or verdant meadows, amid which the 
sheltered cot, the busy mill and many a " Sweet Auburn " nestles 
peacefully. 

FROM THE KNOWN TO THE UNKNOWN. 

Our island home at a remote period formed part of the mainland. 
A dense forest covered the surface of what we will term East Anglia, 
and, stretching athwart the North Sea, connected our country with the 
Continent. The remains of the " forest bed " are found along the 
coast of Norfolk and Suffolk beneath and skirting the present cliffs ; 
they reappear in Western Europe. The same forest covered the 
whole of Ireland and extended beyond, for at a depth of 600 feet, 
trunks of trees, etc., have been dredged from the Atlantic. The 
climate was then far other than it is now, because many tropical 
animals found a congenial habitat in this immense forest. In the 
Norwich Crag and the forest bed of the Norfolk foreshore, bones of 
the elephant, the woolly-haired rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the 
cave lion and the cave bear, the spotted and striped hyaena, the Irish 
elk, the bison, and of many living species, including the anthropoid 
ape and mafi, have been found. 

How long this period existed geologists are unable to conjecture ; 
it terminated, however, when the first of the glacial epochs set in. 
During the so-called Ice-Age, repeated alternations of heat and cold 
seem to have occurred, for in the Pleistocene strata there is a most 
perplexing association of tropical, temperate and arctic animals. The 
lion and the grizzly bear, the hyaena and the reindeer, the panther and 
the arctic fox, the glutton and the mammoth, etc., are found side by 
side. But what chiefly concerns us is the fact that man — 

PALiEOLITHIC MAN 

appears spread over most of the dry land, throughout the whole world. 
Vestiges of the caves in which he dwelt, and the workshops, or rather 
pits, in which he chipped the rudest of stone implements (for the use 
of metals was unknown to him in his primitive state), have been 
brought to light. 

Although Palaeolithic remains are rarely met with in West Nor- 
folk, yet the neighbourhood of Brandon, Mildenhall and Lakenheath 
is rich in specimens attributable to the " Old Stone Folk," who lived, 
as computed, some 600,000 or 700,000 years ago. At Thetford, too, 
on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk, excellent specimens have been 



THE LIN IN PREHISTORIC TIMES. 3 

found in the " river gravel." Few English examples can excel these 
implements for their marvellous delicacy of workmanship ; they have 
been widely distributed, specimens linding a place not only in the 
principal museums of this country, but in many of those on the Con- 
tinent. Similar remains were discovered at Shrub Hill, near Feltwell ; 
and a perfect PaliEolithic flint celt* was taken from the peat during 
the construction of the new railway bridge at Sutton Bridge (1895), 
at a spot which at some far distant period was perhaps the bed of the 
ancient river Nene. 

That few vestiges of prehistoric man have been discovered in the 
Lin, as part of the fenland was subsequently called, may be because 
a portion of this area was for inconceivable ages in a state of sub- 
mersion. The general subsidence of a greater part of Britain did 
not, however, greatly affect this district, because while Scotland and 
Lancashire were depressed more than 1,300 feet, our fenland sank only 
about twenty feet. 

At low water two beds of peat may be traced along the banks of 
the Great Ouse. The outcrop is distinctly marked near the Cut 
Bridge. These vegetable deposits are separated by a layer two or 
three feet in thickness, brought thither by the tides. Hence the fact 
is clearly established that there were two successive subsidences in 
what we term the Lin. The section of the strata passed through when 
Thomas Allen sunk a well opposite St. Nicholas' Chapel to obtain 
water for brewing purposes (1829), shews the widespread area of these 
peat-beds ; and it, moreover, proves the absurdity of boring for water 
in this district. The well is generally regarded as being of 
" fabulous depth " ; this, however, is not the case, as will be seen by 
the following sectional measurements of strata encountered in course 
of the boring : — 



Vegetable soil 


* . ■ 


7 feet 


Loam used for bricks 


^ , 


7 


Peat 


• •■ 


— 3 II 


Blue Clay ... 




8 ,. 


Peat, with alder and hazei. 


• • > 


3 


Blue clay with silt ... 


■ • ■ 


30 „ 


Kimmeridge clay 


... 


630 „ 


Total 


depth 


687! feet, 



It will be noticed that the intervening layer is thicker where the silting 
from the receding water has continued longest. 

Whilst dredging for oysters, two or three miles from the Bar Flat, 
some Lynn fishermen brought up a perforated stone hammer. This 
unique specimen, preserved in our Museum, powerfully suggests that 
the submerged forest was at one time inhabited by primeval man. 

When the glaciers finally disappeared there dawned what is 
designated the New Stone Age. That man had advanced in 
civilization is clearly established — he now reared domestic animals, 

' Celt, a rutting or cle.^ving iiuplcnieiit of stone — or of li uhzc if so stated. This term, at first vaguely 
applied because they were supposed to be of Celtic make is now being discarded, whilst arrow-head and 
»pear-heari, &r. are u?cd instead, 



4 HISTORY OF KING'S LVNN. 

cultivated the soil, and practised a few primitive arts such as spinning, 
weaving and the making of rude pottery. The stone implements 
used were more neatly wrought, and in some instances highly polished. 
At one part, at least, of the period he w^as acquainted with the use of 
copper, tin and gold. Remains of shell mounds, lake dwellings, 
barrows and sepulchral chambers have been found in many parts of 
the world. 

NEOLITHIC MAN 

probably lived, we are told, some 60,000 years ago. At the com- 
mencement of this era, and when man reappeared, glaciers might still 
have been lingering upon the highest of pur mountain ranges, but the 
end of the glacial epoch was inevitable. The intense cold slowly gave 
place to a mild and genial climate, and from that time to the present 
the genus homo has never been e.xtinct in Britain. The wonderful 
discoveries of Messrs. Prestwich, Evans, Wyatt and Lyell at Bidden- 
ham, in the bed of the Great Ouse, near Bedford, shew that " the 
fabricators of antique tools, and extinct mammalia coeval with them, 
were post-glacial, or in other words, posterior to the grand submer- 
gence of central England beneath the waters of the glacial sea." 
(Sir Charles Lyell.) 

But what manner of man was he? you naturally ask. For reply 
we append a description from the pen of Mr. W. G. Clarke : 

We can picture him thus : Seated at the foot of a huge pine tree on the 
verge of a broad expanse of water which filled out the ancient river-valley of the 
Little Ouse. Behind him are the forest depths with their mdefinable mystery — 
the haunt of many a wild beast. He feels none of the nervous apprehension 
which a highly-civilised man of the present day would experience, since such 
subtle development of the nervous system would at that date have been fatal to 
the future progress of the race. Standing up, his keen ear quick to detect the 
faintest sound, we can see that he is of medium height, with long and powerfully 
developed arms, broad-shouldered and hipped, but with thin flanks— a near 
approach to the tj-pical fen man. His dress is very simple, merely a few skins 
carelessly sewn together with sinews running through holes pierced with either his 
bone needle or his flint awl. Across his shoulder a bow, made of a short piece of 
ash and more sinews, is slung ; whilst half-adozen arrows rest in a bark quiver, 
fastened to his side with a leathern thong. The arrow shafts are made of wood, 
which has been sawn to the length, shaved to the thickness and planed to the 
roundness that was needful entirely with implements of flint, and are finished off 
witli barbed flint points, again bound on with the ever-useful sinew. With the 
fire obtained by striking a nodule of iron pyrites with a piece of flint, he is 
heating some "pot-boilers" or "cooking-stones " to a white heat, and presently 
his wife will carefully put them inside the coarse pot of sun-burnt clay, and thus 
heat the water it contains. At present she is busily engaged in scraping the fatty 
tissues from the skin of the wolf, which her lord has recently slain. Now with 
stealthy footstep, and eye and ear on the alert, he is off again in search of other 
game, and his wife is left alone. [Transactions of the Norfolk and Nonfich 
Naturalist Society, Vol. VI., p. 24.] 

When the Alexandra Dock was being excavated at Lynn, the 
bones of various extinct and other animals — those of the mammoth, 
the primeval ox (Bos fritnigeitius), the beaver, elk, wild boar, etc., 
besides three well-shaped arrow-heads, were brought to light. In the 
bed, moreover, above which these occurred, specimens of British and 
Roman pottery were discovered (i868). Fragments of pottery similar 



THE UN IN PREHISTORIC TIMES. 5 

in character were also found when the Eau Brink Cut Bridge was 
erected (1873). 

That prehistoric implements are not uncommon in the neigbour- 
hood of our borough is established by the following " finds " : — 

(i) Thetford and the district, including Santon Warren, Stone- 
heath, Thetford Abbey Heath, Thetford Warren — arrow and spear- 
heads, chisels and fabricators,* awls and borers, knives and saws, 
scrapers and smoothing stones, as well as flakes, axes and cores 
(Mr. W. G. Clarke.) 

(2) Riffley, South Wootton, Middleton, East Walton, Barton 
Bendish, Beechamwell, Shingham, Caldecott, Narborough, Westacre, 
Oxborough, Tottenhill, and the Nar Valley — celts more or less perfect. 

(3) Pentney and Roydon Fen — polished celts. 

(4) Massingham Heath — flakes, fabricators, rough-hewn 
hammers, mining tools (picks, hammer-picks, borers, diggers and hand 
choppers); also the antlers of deer. (Dr. C. B. Plowright.) 

(5) Hunstanton, by the shore — about fifty wave-worn imple- 
ments (Rev. R. C. Nightingale) ; Rising and Heacham inland — 
Neolithic scrapers, flakes, etc. (Mr. H. Lowerison) ; Holme Scarfe — 
a small bronze axe-head, sticking in the trunk of a tree (1829). This 
interesting relic, formerly in Samuel Woodward's collection, un- 
questionably belongs to the Forest Bed. It is now deposited in the 
Norwich Museum, and is described as " partly embedded in the 
trunk of a tree," although the authorities never possessed the wood 
from which it was taken. 

(6) Swaffham— stone and bronze celts, ancient pottery and 
several querns ; f Sporle — flint hammer-heads, partly bored on each 
side and bronze axe-heads ; also found at Riffley, Hillington, Cong- 
ham, Fordham, Oxborough and Boston. 

The following additional places where urns and implements have 
been found are marked on the map, attached to Mr. E. M. Beloe's 
article, entitled The P adders' Way and its Attendant Roads 
(1895) • — Snettisham, Castle Rising (bronze implements), Pens- 
thorpe, Lexham, Wereham, Merton, Weeting, Wretham, Ixworth and 
Lakenheath (stone and bronze implements). Unbaked food vessels 
are unearthed at Tottenhill. 

Other specimens, no less interesting, may no doubt be seen in 
many private cabinets. 

The geological importance of the following recent disrnveries in 
North-East Norfolk is sufficient apology for prolonging this section. 
These specimens, if their genuineness be established, will certainly 
constitute 

THE EARLIEST TRACES OF MAN 

in Western Europe. 

Mr. W. J. Lewis Abbott picked up worked flints in the Cromer 
forest-bed at Runton (1807). This circumstance is of vast conse- 
quence, because in this country the remains of man were never found 

• Fabricator, a narrow stone chisel or flaking tool, employed with a stone hammer to do the finer 
chipping. 

t Quern, a primitive stone haud-mill for grimlins com. 



6 /i/STORy OF KING'S LYNN. 

at so low a horizon before ; it thus places the advent of man in 
Western Europe at a much earlier date. The opinion had indeed 
been previously hazarded that if vestiges occurred at this horizon at 
all they would be exactly where Mr. Abbott has discovered them. 
The Forest-bed series (the top of the Pliocene, beneath the Glacial 
Beds) are below a valley gravel, which contains flint implements of 
well-known palaeolithic forms. He found them sticking in the iron- 
pan, portions of which were attached to them. Whilst some experts 
regard these interesting relics as the unqualified work of primeval 
man, Sir John Evans, with the caution for which he is distinguished, 
admits that they may probably be such. 

Prior to the above-related incident, Mr. Randall Johnson found 
two worked flints, about twenty miles east of Runton, on the Palling 
beach, which were similarly stained with the characteristic iron-pan 
of the Forest-bed. On the same coast, at Hemsby, some ten miles 
from Palling, Mr. Woolstan ploughed up the head of a stone axe 
(1897). This specimen Sir John Evans unhesitatingly pronounced to 
date from B.C. 1000. 

The greater part of the Fenland, as geologists assure us, is the 
outcome of 

A NATURAL PROCESS 

which they call " silting." Ever since the Post-Glacial epoch began, 
the tides have been ebbing and flowing with clock- like regularity ; 
they have daily and persistently, century after century, brought the 
waste produced by the wear and tear of erosion from the adjacent 
coasts of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, and have quietly dropped them 
into the Wash, — the jEstuarium Metaris, as Ptolemy calls it, which, 
of all the numerous /Estuaria, or bay-like openings around our coast, 
was then of the utmost importance. From time immemorial silting 
has been going on, and the process is unvaryingly the same. Sir 
William Dugdale (1605-1686) noticed it, and still, as we know, it is 
going on, and it will continue thus to do, until the Wash, which is 
already but partly covered with water, is permanently and completely 
silted up. Man may assist Nature, and by means of embankments 
facilitate these growing accretions, but he cannot prevent them. Here, 
then, is a vast triangular area, covering 600 square miles — nearly one- 
half of the entire Fenland — whose apex is at Littleport, and whose 
sides stretch away eastward toward the artificial banks which guard 
our shores. This tract of land was not formed, as is commonly the 
case, by materials borne down by the rivers on their way to the sea, 
but it is entirely the result of tremendous accumulations brought 
hither by the tides of past ages, the newest inland portion of which 
must have been deposited 7,000 years since. 

It is well known how Neolithic man constructed rude villages 
upon piles driven into the beds of certain lakes. The remains of 
these so-called " Lake-Dwellings," which were connected with the 
shore by gangways, fixed or removable, are well known in Ireland, as 
well as in different parts of Switzerland. That none have as yet 
been discovered in this part of the Fenland is an insufficient reason 



THE LIN IN PREHISTORIC TIMES. T 

to conclude that prehistoric man or his near descendants may not at 
some remote era or other have constructed similar places of abode in 
this neighbourhood, which was, after the glacial period, if not wholly 
covered with water, rarely better than a dangerous, impassable swamp. 
The " submarine forest " between Lincolnshire and Norfolk might 
at some era of the world's history have been the habitation of early, 
uncivilised man, although now covered by the sea. The draining of 
the West Mere in the parish of Wretham, a few miles from Thetford 
and twenty-four from Lynn, revealed " a lake-dwelling " (1851), 

At Weeting, between Thetford and Lynn, there may be seen what 
is described as " probably the finest remains of neolithic quarrying 
extant." As a step in a right direction, it may be well to give a 
passing reference to the so-called 

" grimes' graves " 

before directing attention to similar ancient vestiges nearer Lynn. 
The " graves," of which there are about one hundred, are circular in 
form, and are situated in a wild and desolate locality. They were 
carefully examined by the Rev. Canon Greenwell, of Durham, the 
experienced explorer of the tumuli of the Yorkshire Wolds (1870). 
The main objects of this arduous undertaking was to test the foregone 
conclusion of archaeologists ihat these earthworks were the remains of 
an ancient British village, the dwellings of which were partly sunk in 
the ground. During the process of excavation, which for some time 
was most disheartening, the teeth of various animals, including those 
of the dog, pig, goat and a small ox, as well as club-like instruments 
fashioned from the antlers of the deer, several flint hammers, a bone 
pin ingeniously sharpened, and a piece of chalk having a hole through 
it, bored from both sides, were found. 

At length, at a depth of 40 feet, he rame upon a tunnel in the chalk, which 
he followed up, and there a sight met his gaze that few men have been privileged 
to see ; for before him lay the workmen's tools just as they had been left after 
the day's labour — who shall say how many centuries ago ? Even the explorer at 
Pompeii and Herculaneum, as he disinters the relics of more than 1,800 years 
ago, is looking upon a modern production when compared with those found at 
Grimes' Graves. Here were the picks of deers' antlers, chalk lamp, and a few 
rough flint flakes and weapons laid down carelessly as the shades of evening fell, 
with the expectation of again being used en the subsequent day. Perhaps a 
neighbouring tribe made a raid that ni^ht, and the flint-workers were numbered 
with their forefathers ; or, as is more probable, a landslip took place, and the 
way to their tools was obstructed with tons of chalk. All the implements were 
covered with a limestone inaustation tliat told of the centuries they had lain 
hidden from the light of day. (Mr. W. G. Clarke.) 

Referring to two of the picks brought from the tunnel. Canon 
Greenwell says they had " upon them an incrustation of chalk, the 
surface of which bore the impression of the workmen's fingers, the 
print of the skin being most ap{)arent." After a patient and minute 
investigation, the reverend gentleman was perfectly convinced that 
these marvellous remains at Weeting were a series of neolithic flint 
quarries, worked by prehistoric man, unacquainted with the use of 
metals. 



8 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

From surface flints the rude implements of Palaeolithic man were 
almost exclusively made, but after many, many centuries newly- 
quarried flints were found to be far easier of manipulation. Hence 
in the later Stone Age surface flints were discarded and deep shafts 
were sunk. How inconceivably laborious was the making of these 
excavations, with no spade or picks, except the antlers of the deer or 
sharp-pointed stones bound with ligatures to rough hafts, something 
like the chisels and punches used by blacksmiths at the present time, 
which are held by twigs of twisted hazel or willow. In these holes, 
sometimes thirty or forty feet deep, were cut successive stages on the 
alternate sides, and up these awkward steps large blocks of stone were 
handed up to the surface. Here the flints were trimmed and worked 
into the nicely-balanced artistic weapons, which constituted the most 
useful belongings of our cave-dwelling ancestors. 

FLINT-KNAPPING AT BRANDON 

is the most ancient of surviving crafts. From the far remote 
Neolithic Ago. down to the present hour has the working of flints been 
carried on in this neighbourhood. It therefore constitutes the oldest 
native industry in Great Britain. True, arrow-heads are no longer in 
demand, but the industrious flint-knappers of Lingheath supply not 
only the " strike-a-lights " which many travellers prefer to matches, 
but immense quantities of gun-flints, which are mostly exported to 
Africa, where " Brown Bess "—the cumbersome, uncertain flint-lock 
musket, has been in evidence since the invention of the percussion 
cap induced our manufacturers to throw the out-of-date weapon upon 
the markets of the Dark Continent, 

When we remember that with the best of tools it takes the modern 
flint-knapper two or three years' continuous practice to acquire a 
moderate degree of success in his peculiar craft, we can the more 
thoroughly appreciate the wonderful skill and astonishing patience 
which enabled the forgotten inhabitants of East Anglia to produce 
by the mere striking of one stone against another such marvellous 
specimens of artistic beauty. If any of our readers are sceptical 
and reticent of praise, we ask them to try the experiment themselves, 
and that, too, under the best conditions. Let them produce a well- 
balanced arrow-head, and for this purpose we will leniently concede 
the use of any hammers they may choose. 

The discovery of artificially-chipped flints, in the road-metal 
spread upon some of the highways in this part of Norfolk, led to the 
exploring of the source of supply — " a gravel pit," on 

THE MASSINGHAM HEATH, 

by Messrs. C. B. Plowright, M.D., and H. C. Brown, Ph.D. 
The result of their labour was communicated to the Norfolk and Nor- 
wich Naturalist Society (1891). Upon this extensive heath some 
half-dozen interesting depressions were observed, which bore a strong 
resemblance to those already mentioned at Weeting. All were 
roughly circular, and in general appearance alike ; they varied in 
depth from eight to ten feet, and were from forty to ninety feet in 



THE CAMP OF PEACE. 9 

diameter, and in no case was there a cart-track leading thereto. Flint 
flakes, the refuse struck off in the making of rude digging and boring 
tools, were found in each. These hollow depressions were also re- 
garded as " shafts sunk by Neolithic man for the purpose of procuring 
flint for the fabrication of the various articles manufactured from 
it by him." 

Many years since the Rev. Christopher Grenside, then Rector of 
Great Massingham, contended that upon this heath were traces of "a 
British village." These Mr. Plowright and his companion tried in 
vain to discover. 

One afternoon, however (says Mr. Plowright in his report), we were led by a 
happy accident to the object of our search. It was during the winter after we had 
measured the above-described depressions, standing on tlae higher ground on the 
north side of the Grimston road, that we saw by the slanting rays of the setting 
sun a number of hollows on the south side of the road. The sun had sunk just 
low enough to cause the edge of each hollow to cast a shadow into the interior. 
Plainly displayed before us on the opposite hill were a number of round shadows, 
which marked the objects of our search. These consisted of a cluster of about a 
dozen small round depressions from 15 to 20 feet across, not more than a foot or 
two deep, occupying the summit of a small eminence within 100 yards of the 
main road from Grimston to Massingham ; this eminence is on the south side of 
the road, and is the first high ground approaching the road beyond Little 
Massingham Belt on the road from Lynn to Great Massingham. . . . It is 
quite possible that the inhabitants of this village were the same men who 
chipped the flints they had previously mined from the before-mentioned shafts. 
At present (1891) the traces of the village are plain enough ; but there may come 
a time when the plough of the agriculturist in one short day will obliterate this 
interesting relic of the past. [Transactions of Novfolk and Norwich Naturalist 
Society, Vol. V., p. 264.] 

Sincerely do we reiterate the writer's concluding words : " May 
this day be long distant !" 



CHAPTER 11. 

The Camp of Peace. 

On the eastern side of the Lin — " a flat malarious world of reed and 
rush " — were two promontories (Gaywood and Runcton), which 
jutted out into a marshy expanse, and which were at one time higher 
than they are at present. A deposit of silt gradually encroaching 
between these natural jetties would in time cover the peaty surface of 
the fenland so that the part most distant from the sea would cease to 
he flooded, unless perhaps when there chanced to be an exceptionally 
high tide. Hence nothing is more natural than to suppose the 
inhabitants reared from time to time a series of banks between these 
promontories in order to protect the land that the tidal deposits had 
formed. The survival of certain inland place-names proves that the 
position of the coast-line was once further west than is now the case. 
Holland, a part of Lincolnshire adjacent to our Marshland, refers to 
a low-lying country, if we may trust the Teutonic origin of the name ; 

C 



10 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Shrew's Ness Point appears several miles away from the waters of the 
Wash ; and ancient salt-pans, which were always near the sea-shore, 
have been found much further inland than Sailers' Lode. 

That this part of our island swarmed with inhabitants at a very remote 
period there can be but small doubt. The numerous tumuli or barrows still 
existing, or destroyed within memory — the sites of ancient dwellings incom- 
patible with aught but savage existence — of which Grimes' Graves near Weeting, 
the immense range of pits extending nearly five miles along the north-east coast 
of Weybourn, Beeston, Aylmerton and other places, and the hollows still to be 
found on Marsham Heath, are important examples. Numerous earthworks, too, 
of a boldness and extent to render them objects of admiration to this day, and 
of some of which the Roman did not disdain to avail himself and to incorporate 
with his own stupendous works, attest the power and resources of the tribes 
located in this district. [Norfolk Archceology .] 

EARLY INHABITANTS. 

Of the " Newer Stone Folk," the Iberians — Silurians, or 
Euskarians, as they are also called — inhabited this part of the globe. 
They were a non-Aryan race, short and thick in stature, with long 
skulls, dark hair, and swarthy complexions. That they greatly 
resembled the Basques there can be no doubt ; and the remark made by 
Caesar that Silures had their hair " coloured and curled like the old 
people of Spain " has led to the conclusion that they were of the self- 
same race. These aborigines were incapable of attaining any high 
intellectual development, nevertheless they were in a measure civilised. 
Their mode of life is unknown, but the long barrows found in various 
parts of the country are ascribed to them, and clearly establish the fact 
that their weapons were of stone, and that they were ignorant of 
metals. 

After an indefinite period the Iberians were invaded — perhaps re- 
peatedly invaded — by hordes of Aryans, whom we denominate Celts, 
but whom the Romans termed Cimmerii and Cimbri. The time of 
their coming is unascertainable, and hence beyond the very limited 
bounds of our historical knowledge. The Celtic settlers were the so- 
called " Advanced Stone Folk." Their skulls were round, and their 
hair fair ; they burned their dead, and over the rude urns in which they 
placed the ashes of their cremated friends they raised round barrows.* 
From an examination of many of these barrows, or tumuli, it has been 
found that the Celts used not only weapons in stone but others which 
were wrought in bronze. Neatly carved ornaments in amber, jet and 
fossil have also been discovered. Moreover, they employed a wheel 
in fashioning their earthen vessels ; they used gold in uniting their 
trinkets ; and scattered slag proves indisputably that they were con- 
versant with the art of smelting iron. 

The clever prehistoric colonisers, from whom the earlier dwellers 
in this country learnt so much, came apparently in separate relays, for 
there seems to have been no homogeneity amongst them. The three 
tribes which settled in the eastern part of the country are familiar to 

• Barrow (A.S. bcoj'g'— from beorgan, to protect or shelter, also to fortify) : An artificial mound of 
stones or earth piled up over the remains of the dead. Burials in barrows were practised as late as the 8th 
century. One of the finest barrows in the world is Silbury Hill, near Marlborough, Wiltshire. It is 170 
feet in perpendicular height, 316 feet along the slope, and it covers about five acres of ground. 



THE CAMP OF PEACE. 11 

us under their Latinised names : the Coritani, who occupied Lincoln- 
shire and the eastern midlands ; the Trinobantes, the district north of 
the Thames ; and the Iceni — those with whom we are most interested — 
were in possession of what was subsequently known as East Anglia, 
which included Norfolk, Suffolk, Huntingdonshire and Cambridge- 
shire. Of this territory Norfolk and Suffolk were fairly habitable, 
whilst the other portions of the district to a great extent were extremely 
marshy and malarious. As few Roman stations have been found in 
Suffolk, it is highly probable that the county of Norfolk was the centre 
of their prosperity and the arena where their power was displayed. 

A few miles from Lynn, in the Marshland division of the " Free- 
bridge Hundred," we meet with what is termed 

" THE ROMAN BANK." 

Eleven million tons of material, as is computed, were absorbed 
in the construction of this remarkable rampart. Its circuit, which 
originally measured 150 miles, embraced seven important townships, 
namely : Emneth, Walsoken, Walton, VValpole, Terrington, Tilney 
and Clenchwarton. As members of the colony, each town had a right 
to share in the luxuriant pasturage which abounded on the Smeeth,* 
to which " droves " from the different townships converged, and all 
in return were expected, or it may be by certain laws compelled, to co- 
operate in keeping the sea-wall, by which those " within the Marsh- 
land ring " were protected, in efficient repair. This was the ancient 
Freebridge, which appears in the Domesday Book as Frede bruge and 
Fredre burge, the derivation of which must now claim attention. 

(i) Bridge: — The Anglo-Saxon burJi, burg (a camp, a settlement 
a town and subsequently a borough), is derived from a base with the 
same gradation as burg-on, the past tense plural of beorg-an, to pro- 
tect ; burg lapses in the oblique cases into beorg, an earth-work. How 
reasonably then might (Free-) burg have been applied to a colony of 
settlers surrounded by the " Roman bank." 

Moreover, burh in the plural becomes by mutation byrig or byrigg, 
and the double g is written eg in Anglo-Saxon, gg (or gge) in middle 
English (iioo — 1500), and dge in modern English, in nearly all cases, 
the sound being changed from that of the " hard " ^ to that of ;. 
Hence, in tracing the word " bridge " to burli (a camp, or earth- 
work), we have the Anglo-Saxon brycg (byricg), the middle English 
briggc (byrigg), and the modern English bridge (byridge), 
the g being pronounced like a ;. " The breakdown of the g into the 
sound of ; is really due to the frequent use of the oblique cases of the 
substantives in which a final e followed the eg, as in the Anglo-Saxon 
brycg-e, the genitive, dative and accusative of brycg ; hence the middle 
English took the form of brigg-e instead of brigg or brig.'' It will 
be remembered that in the north of England brig is still used, and it 
contrasts strikingly with "the southern palatalised form bridge." 
[Skeat's Principles of English Etymology, 1887.] 

* Smecth ; Anglo-Saxon smccffc, plane, smooth. "Tylney Smeeth. So called of a smooth plaine or 
common thereunto adioyning some two miles in extensure." (Wecver's Antient Funerall Monuments, 1767.) 
Smithfield in London is a familiar example of this form of designation. Fridaybridge, Elm : frede bruge 
Freebridge; or jreJa byrigg (15th century), frede dug {hyrlgp)"\.ht day of peace" ;hence a memorial earthwork 



12 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

(2) Free : — This syllable is derived from the Anglo-Saxon 
adjective freo, frio; Gothic frei-s (stem fri-ja), which originally meant 
" at liberty," " acting at pleasure," " free," " peaceful " ; and it is 
allied to the Sanskrit fn-ya, beloved, agreeable, from Aryan fri, to 
love. Frede, the genitive case of freo, means " of peace."* (Skeat 
and Taylor.) 

(3) Freebridge therefore signifies a settlement protected by an 
earth-work — a camp of peace ; and the lands not subject to the juris- 
diction of a lord claiming sac or soc were termed *' free." West 
Briggs, a depopulated village contiguous with the parishes of Totten- 
hill and Wormegay, was entered in the Conqueror's survey as Wes- 
bruge. Carefully notice the derivation of the syllable -bridge (Free- 
bridge), as reference must be made to the root {beorg) in another place. 

Now the all-wise Odin, we are told, enacted a law that the bodies 
of the dead should be burned, with whatever goods they possessed ; 
he moreover ordained that over the ashes, heaps of earth should be 
raised for an everlasting memorial, and that high staves inscribed with 
Runic characters should mark the graves of such as had during their 
lives performed exceptional deeds of valour. The staves, it is true, 
have disappeared, but the mounds of earth heaped up so many cen- 
turies ago remain. Many mounds are still to be seen in the " Free- 
bridge," and what strikes the observer as somewhat strange is the fact 
that by far the greater number are near the " Roman Bank." They 
actually follow its winding course. Without being too venturesome, 
we think it might be safely affirmed that a people who were capable 
of constructing a system of roads, who threw up fortifications Caesar 
was constrained to admire, who raised high mounds over the funereal 
piles of their heroes, would, being prompted by the first law of nature, 
strive to protect themselves against the depredations of an insidious 
enemy like the sea. Some writers contend that the so-called 
" Ancient Briton " acquired his knowledge of embanking from the 
Belgic Gauls, who in turn derived this necessary art from the Greeks 
who visited the west of Europe. Be this as it may, the British Celts 
were unquestionably a mixed race long before the Roman invasion, 
" There cannot be the least doubt that an active communication was 
maintained throughout the Celtic nation on different sides of the 
channel." — [Kemble's Saxons in England, 1876.] 

For three reasons the bank encircling the " Camp of Peace " may 
be regarded as of pre-Roman origin : — First, because our early pro- 
genitors were skilled in the construction of earth-works; secondly, 
because in some places older embankments intersect what are un- 
doubtedly Roman ; and thirdly, because the Celtic Britons undoubtedly 
raised mounds to mark where the ashes of their dead were deposited. 
Besides, these mounds abound in Marshland, and they are, with one 
solitary exception, at no great distance from the " Bank." The 
remains of enormous earthworks, not only in West Norfolk, but in 
various parts of the kingdom, seem to point to the existence of a great 
r.ational system of embankment at one time or other. 

^' A special seat near the altar for those claiming sanctuary was called the /reed-stool or " seat of 
peace." 



THE CAMP OF PEACE. 13 

Whether the Romans landed on the shores of Norfolk, or on the 
south-east coast of England, must be left for future consideration, but 
" the fame of the Latin arms seems early to have penetrated into the 
land of the Iceni, whose chieftain allied himself with the new comers." 
(Mason.) Let us for a while accept the theory that Caesar and his 
legions landed on the coast of Kent. Once having gained a footing 
in Britain, the invaders would turn their attention almost at once to 
the Freebridge part of the great Fenland, because, as an ancient 
stronghold or camp of refuge, it would be conspicuous in offering 
resistance to their advance, and besides, from an early date this district 
was renowned for its amazing fertility. 

In all likelihood the conquerors either improved or finished the 
" walls " or sea-banks already in existence, so that any land occasion- 
ally subject to inundation might be adequately protected. That 
they pursued this course is evident, because Tacitus, the celebrated 
Roman historian (a.d. 60-120), informs us in his Vita Agricolce — the 
life of his father-in-law Agricola, that the Romans employed the sub- 
jugated Britons '^in sylvis paludibus emuniendis,'' that is, in clearing 
the woods and draining the marshes. 

THE SUBJUGATION OF THE ICENI, 

the tribe at this period inhabiting the Lin and other parts of Norfolk, 
was brought about in the reign of the Emperor Claudius by his 
general Aulus Plautius (a.d. 43) ; hence the Fenland was one of the 
first acquisitions in Britain gained by the Roman invaders. The 
friendship, however, between the Romans and the Icenian inhabitants 
was unfortunately of short duration. This was owing not so much 
to changes in the policy pursued by the new comers, as to the over- 
bearing insolence and unwarranted exactions of those deputed to carry 
it out. Such cruel oppression, which was peculiarly unjust and wholly 
unpardonable, at last goaded the tribe into open rebellion. This 
outburst of indignation was the prelude of a general rising, which for 
a time seriously endangered the Roman supremacy. Catus Decianus, 
the brutal persecutor of Boadicea, " the British warrior queen," and 
her heroic daughters, had been appointed procurator over the province 
peopled by our courageous forbears. He is regarded as the first pro- 
curator, and his rule embraced Norfolk, Suffolk, the greater part of 
Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and perhaps extended into 
Lincolnshire. 

Under the supervision of Catus Decianus the embanking of the 
Fenland marshes was more thoroughly accomplished. To facilitate 
the accomplishment of this tremendous undertaking, he introduced a 
colony of Belgae, a people singularly fitted, from practical knowledge 
of the nature of their own country, for such work. The improvements 
thus begun are supposed to have been finished by Severus, one hundred 
and fifty years afterwards. 

Of the origin and early history of the 

SETTLEMENT IN THE LIN 

to the east of the " Camp of Peace " (Freebridge) very little is known. 
Tradition is silent, and the pages of history are obscured by the 



U HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

shadow of barely-mentioned centuries. In this respect the old burg 
upon the Lin, insignificant though it might be, stands by no means 
alone. Cities of incomparable importance, such as Paris, Rome and 
our own stupendous metropolis, have submitted to a like fate. 
Referring to London, the late Sir Walter Besant observes : — 

When a little later we are able to read contemporary history, we find not a 
single custom or law due to the survival of British customs. We iind the courses 
of the old streets entirely changed, the very memory of the old streets swept 
away, not a single site left of any ancient building. Everything is clean gone ; 
not a voice, not a legend, not a story, not a superstition remains of that stately 
Augusta. It is entirely vanished, leaving nothing behind but — a wall ! You 
may see (he goes on) at the Gild Hall nearly everything that remains of Roman 
London. But there is absolutely nothing to illustrate Saxon Augusta. The 
city, which grew up over deserted Augusta and flourished for four hundred years, 
has entirely disappeared. Nothing is left of it at all ! 

And what in sooth remains of old, historic Lynn — of British, 
Roman, Saxon, Danish Lynn ? The spade of the unthinking agricul- 
turist has levelled its earth-works, and the impartial hands of remorse- 
less Time have crushed its strong-built walls and scattered the frag- 
ments to the winds. Long centuries of its history are unrecorded, and 
its origin is preserved in a name, over whose derivation philologists 
disagree. 

Tradition would have us believe that Rising was a place of 
supreme importance before Lynn sprang into existence. According 
to the old doggerel — 

Rising was a sea-port town, 

When Lynn was but a marsh ; 
Now Lynn it is a sea-port town 
And Rising fares the worse. 

This statement merits as much credence as the rhyme relating to 
Downham — 

Rising was, Lynn is, and Downham shall be 
The greatest sea-port of the three. 

For our " ancient borough " we claim no great antiquity. Not- 
withstanding, a Roman station was probably reared here (as at Rising, 
Oxborough, Wisbech, etc.), either near or upon the site of a British 
settlement. In the time of Ptolemy, some forty years after Agricola's 
conquest, there were as many as fifty-six cities which could scarcely 
be looked upon as wholly Roman in their construction; and Caesar 
states that there were numerous buildings in Britain not unlike those 
in Gaul. 

LYNN — A PLACE-NAME. 

In ancient documents the student meets with Lenn and Lenne ; 
in the deeds of the priory at Lewes, in Sussex, founded by William de 
Warren, the spelling is Lunea; whilst in the Domesday Survey {1080-6) 
the word appears as Lena and Lun. When history is silent, it may be 
advantageous to glean information even from a name. At the outset, 
however, let it be clearly understood that this word, in its varying 
guises, always refers to a distinct part of the Fenland ; that our town 
does not figure in the Domesday book ; and, finally, that North, West, 
and South Lenne are not mentioned until centuries afterwards. 



THE CAMP OF PEACE. 15 

(i) Camden suggests that Lenne is derived from the British 
noun Lhyn, a word denoting a pool, or " waters broad-spreading." 
He points out that the river Nar, which flows close to our town, was 
at one time called the " Linn river," and he suggests that the Romans, 
who, perhaps, settled along its banks, might (from some resemblance, 
though not now apparent), have named it after a stream in Italy, men- 
tioned by Virgil in his Atneid (vii. 517) — Sulfur ea Nar, albus 
aqua. As the adjacent town was called " Linn," it is right to 
inquire whether the town was named from the river, or the river from 
the town. The Nar, however, is not a canal, but a natural water- 
course ; hence the probability is in favour of the settlement deriving 
its name from the stream which flowed into a marshy liti. " The 
Anglo-Saxons," writes Mr. Henry Bradley, M.A., sometime President 
of the Philological Society, " carefully preserved the ancient British 
names of rivers and streams. In this respect their practice agreed 
with that of the Romans, and they still further resembled them in the 
frequent habit of calling inhabited places from the rivers on which 
they stood." 

(2) Spelman contends that Lcn (Lenne) is not a corruption of 
Lyn (Lhyn), but that it is the Anglo-Saxon word for " farm." 

Subsequent writers, whose views we purpose giving, have con- 
tented themselves with adopting one or other of these theories. 

Leland in his Itinerary, Seldon in his notes on Drayton's 
Polyolhion, and Dr. Isaac Taylor in Names and Places, adhere to the 
etymology proposed by Camden. So also does Mr. John J. Coulton, 
who looks upon Lyn as another form of Len, and who, in support 
thereof, says " Z<?;z-wade in Norfolk is the water-wade or ford, 
equivalent to Z^-w-ford in Norfolk and VJ ater-iox^ in Ireland. 
Z^^z-dale in Yorkshire," he adds, "is a low-lying street next the 
Ouse ; Len-ion (Notts.) and Zm-ham (Kent) are water-town and water- 
home ; and Len-nox in Scotland is a double water name — len and ox, 
usk or ouse." 

In Hereward the Wake, Charles Kingsley speaks of " the nixies 
in the dark linns'' of the English Fenland ; and the late William 
Taylor reminds his readers that deep pools or linns have given names 
not merely to King's Lyiin, but also to Lin-coXn, Tinh-lin. Glas-Zm, Lin- 
lithgow, Lin-ton, Kil-Zm and Ros-Zm. There is besides in Scotland 
Loch Linnhe, and in Wales Lhyn Gavathan, which means, according 
to Giraldus Cambrensis, the great lake. In Switzerland may be 
found a Lyn, in Sweden a Lina river and Lund a town, and in Den- 
mark Lufzden, etc. 

The Rev. George Munford, who wrote an able book on Local 
Names in Norfolk (1870), believed Spelman to be right; he contends 
that Lenne Episcopi, as the town was termed long after the compilation 
of the Survey, meant the Bishop's Farm or Fee, but upon the ex- 
change between Henry VIII. and Nykke, Bishop of Norwich, it came 
to be called King's Lynn, or Farm, and so it continues. In Anglo- 
Saxon l(zn, len, he pointed out, was a lease ; hence /ff;/-land means 
leasehold land, implying probably that some portion, if not the whole, 
of our borough was once held on lease from the king or the lord of the 



16 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

hundred. In the Anglo-Saxon liJi-an, to lend, the -n is a suffix and 
the // is dropped; li-n, pronounced " leen." [Skeat.] 

Mr. Walter Rye was at one time in favour of Sir Henry 
Spelman's derivation; he now, however, considers " Lynn" to be a 
transplanted rather than an aboriginal place-name, because in old 
documents it was generally spelt Lin, and he finds places in Denmark 
with the same name. In his " History of Norfolk " (1893) there 
occurs the following passage : — 

The people of whose existence we have the first tangible and undoubted 
proof in our country are to my mind the Danes, whose first, and I think, 
hitherto unsuspected invasion, I hope to shew was before that of the Romans, 
and not after those of the Romans and Saxons. 

In demonstrating this proposition, he points out how six of the 
hundreds in this county are identical in name with Danish villages, that 
five more are obviously Danish, and that of 256 places principally in 
the north-east of Norfolk, seventy-eight are wholly, and fifty-three 
in part, identical with places now in Denmark, and 125 are by their 
prefixes or affixes Danish. Narborough is represented by Knarreborg, 
Marshland by Marslund, Castle Rising and Wood Rising by Risinge, 
and Lynn by Luen (a farm). 



CHAPTER III. 

The B«fgf in the Lin. 

At a comparatively recent date the land upon which our town stands 
was covered with water, and the sea surged up the depression between 
the higher grounds at Gaywood and Runcton. As the new accumula- 
tions of silt peeped from beneath the surface of the water, our indus- 
trious predecessors raised long embankments from one headland to the 
other — every succeeding earth-work being near the ever-retreating 
seaboard. 

The dwellers within " the Marshland ring." a few miles west of 
the growing elevation in the Lin, enjoyed the privilege of grazing their 
herds on an extensive piece of land set aside for that purpose ; for this 
mutual concession all were expected to assist the commonweal by help- 
ing to keep the encircling bank in repair, so that not only they them- 
selves, but their neighbours in the adjacent places, and the wealth of 
the community as a whole, might be protected against the overpowering 
inroads of the sea. The importance of this bank, or " wall," as 
these earth ramparts were generally called, may be better estimated 
when it is pointed out how the syllable enters into the composition of 
three at least of the names applied to the seven townships, namely, 
Wal-soken, Wal-ton, and W«^pole. This Avord appears in the old 
Mercian dialect (A. Sax. zveall), and is merely the Latin uall-um, a 
rampart, borrowed at an early period when the Latin u was still w. 
" It must be remembered," writes Professor Skeat, " that many Latin 
words were already familiar to most of the Teutonic tribes soon after 



THE BURG IN THE LIN. 17 

the Christian era; so that the English invaders not only learnt some 
Latin words from the Britons, but had brought others with them. 
Such words also clearly belong to the Latin of the First Period, but 
it is not easy to say precisely what they were." This remark applies 
to two other words — street and fort, to which future reference must 
be made. 

The prevailing principle in the Fenland " Camp of Peace," 
against whose encircling " wall " the threatening waters beat in vain, 
was unquestionably, " Each for all, and all for each." The pros- 
perity of the colony was due to the cooperative energy of every 
inhabitant. The settlement in the Lin, though a much smaller one, 
was, we are inclined to think, maintained by the exercise of the same 
principle. Winding its way through the broad alluvial delta there 
was a tempting stream of fresh water, which could perhaps be 
diverted in order to form a moat or defence on more sides than one. 
Two nearly parallel banks were probably raised, about 300 yards 
apart; the southern along the right bank of the Mill river, and the 
northern along the left bank of the Purfleet. Although these streams 
have both disappeared, yet their names happily survive. Each ran 
in a seaward direction, and helped to enclose wliat may be likened 
to a somewhat irregular parallelogram — the four sides of which may 
be briefly considered. In this speculation we must be guided by the 
general contour of the district, and the meaning of the ancient place- 
names. 

The east, and possibly the oldest bank, — 

(l) THE GANNOCK 

can easily be traced along " the Walks " and past the Red Mount ; it 
stretches between what we term the Mill fleet, and a point up to which 
the Purfleet flowed until recently. The Gannock — a name by which 
it was designated many centuries ago, is perpetuated in our present 
Guanock terrace, which is a strangely unaccountable disguise. Before 
proceeding further it is imperative that attention be directed to this 
old name. The process may be tedious and perplexing, but this is 
the only course to pursue when documentary evidence fails. 

In the early part of the fourteenth century, Peter Langtoft, an 
Austin friar, composed in French verse a chronicle of the Danish 
invasion. A translation was published by Thomas Hearne, an 
eminent antiquary (1725). When describing the war in the time of 
King Stephen, the author in Hearne's Robert of Brunne, otherwise 
Langtoft's Chronicle, says : — 

Stephen stoutly deals in slides and kennes, 

That agayne him hold kastells, over them ruthely reigns, 

In Hertford full stoutly his gannock hath up set 

"With Robert Fitz Henry, Stephen so with him met. 

Commenting on this passage, the late Mr. Henry Harrod, F.S.A., 
in his Report on the Deeds and Records of King's Lynn, observes : — 
" Here gannock is evidently the king's standard, and it may be that 
the ' Gannock Hill ' (at Lynn) was the chief point of the early town 
defences, where the standard was up set." 

D 



18 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Mr. Henry Bradley, M.A., of philological renown, shews in the 
Modern Language Quarterly (July, 1898) that gamiock is a remark- 
able error for Talbot, a man's name. He first points out that the 
Latin original reads thus : — 

Quidam namque proditorum, nomine 
Talbot tenuit contra regem castellum 
Herefordise in Wales. 

in other words — " For a certain man of the traitors, Talbot by name, 
held the castle of Hereford in Wales against the King. " Mistaking 
the meaning, Langtoft gives this absurd rendering : — 

" a Hertford in Wales le galbot est assis," 

that is : "At Hertford in Wales ( ?) the galbot is placed ;" and Robert 
of Brunne, further mistaking lb for zv — an excusable error it must be 
admitted — wrote gaituot, that is, uu for " double u " w ; which in 
being subsequently transcribed appeared as gannoc. Every change 
in this transformation, it will be seen, was easy from the likeness of 
the letters. The process, however, changed Talbot the traitor into an 
impossible gannoc, and led Mr. Harrod to fix the position of the 
standard upon our Gamiock Hill. 

A subsequent writer, however, clinches the matter with these 
words : — " The derivation of Guanock is now settled, Gua is of the 
same origin as war, and knock is the British for hill." It may not- 
withstanding be pointed out that the word with which we are concerned 
is Gannock or Ganock, and not its fanciful modern representative 
" Guanock " — a word which retains the old pronunciation, gua, as in 
" guard," rather than gua in " guano." How and by whom was this 
peculiar derivation settled? Knock is by no means British. There 
is indeed an Irish and Gaelic cnoc, a knoll or hill, but that is not 
"British"; and the Irish and Gaels, we are told, never inhabited 
East Anglia, any more than the Chinese or the Maoris. Mr. James 
H. Murray, LL.D., D.C.L., the editor of the Oxford Dictionary, con- 
siders " Gannock " to be " like a thousand other names, an ultimate 
fact, beyond which for want of evidence we cannot go " ; and the late 
Canon Taylor, the erudite author of Words and Places, etc., ventures 
reluctantly to give a guess, acknowledging that it may " probably be 
valueless." The last syllable he admits might be another form of the 
Celtic cnoc or knwc. which seems, like dun and combe, to have become 
an English loan-word, as is indicated by Knock\\o\'i in Kent. " The 
first syllable," he continues, " might be from gan (Anglo-Saxon gang- 
an) to go — often used of Rogation Days; the whole meaning Pilgrim- 
age Hill or Perambulation Mound." 

This seems more reasonable than the war-hill theory. Spelman, 
tracing this custom to ancient times, considers it to be an imitation of 
the feast called Terminalia, which the Romans dedicated to the god 
Terminus. The custom was annually observed in February, when the 
peasants crowned the Termini or landmarks w^ith garlands, offered 
libations of milk and wine, and sacrificed young lambs and pigs. The 
perambulation of the line marking the boundary of the liberties of the 
settlement in the Lin was in after years along the Gannock bank, past 



THE BURG IN THE LIN. 19 

the Gannock hill (Red Mount),* and on towards the Purfleet. The 
bridge which spanned the ancient mill leat was perhaps the first 
erected near the burg or burh. In later times disputes between the 
bishop and the town-folk respecting its repair were common 
occurrences. " As it was in the course of the Perambulation way, by 
which the bounds were yearly walked on Ascension Day, the Lord of 
the Town was considered to be the person to repair it." (Harrod.) 

(2) THE BRIGGATE. 

Nearer the sea, and at the same time almost parallel with the 
Gannock, was the byrig or earth-work, which formed the second side 
or western boundary of the parallelogram. With the growth of the 
town this earth-work no doubt gradually disappeared, but the old name 
was retained on maps as late as the i8th century. Brigg, as 
has already been explained, is derived from the same root as Free- 
bridge, and is very closely related to the Celtic synonym briga. 
Byrig- gate became Brig- gate, which means the road along me rampart 
or earth-work — as will be obvious after reading the following para- 
graph. The position of this embankment, skirting the foreshore, cor- 
responded with our High street, a name in itself somewhat suggestive. 

(3) THE STONEGATE. 

To prevent occasional inundations from the two tidal streams form- 
ing the northern and southern sides of the parallelogram, high banks 
were absolutely necessary. It was no unusual practice to make paths 
of wood, sand and gravel, along the banks of rivers, and, though rude 
in construction, they constituted capital means of communication, 
especially during the wet winter months. These, in turn, the Romans 
would pave, converting the uneven roads on the upraised banks beside 
the streams into strata — Virgil's viarum strata or causeways. Our 
word street (Mercian dialect stret), is an English form of the Latin 
strata uia (u = w, wia), a paved way ; strata being the feminine of the 
present participle of the Latin verb sternere, to spread, to lay down, 
or to pave a road. (Skeat.) 

Along the right bank of the mill leat was the high earth-work or 
dyke first perhaps termed the Mill-byrig, next the Stone-byrig (or 
" Stone-brigg," as in the Chamberlains' accounts, 137 1), and then 
the Stone-street. In place-names the syllable stone is said to be an 
infallible sign of Roman occupancy. We have, however, at the pre- 
sent neither Mill-byrig nor Stone-street, but we are familiar with the 
word " Stone-gate," — the name of one of our ancient borough 
wards. Now the Danes and Scandinavians, who in later times sought 
an abiding-place in this neighbourhood, would naturally call the old 
river roadway Stont-gate rather than S)tont- street, because gate in 
their own language meant a road or way (Danish gaia; Anglo-Saxon 
geat). This remark applies to ^x\g-gate, Dam-gate, and possibly to 
Trligh-gaie. 

• In a grant from Archbishop Eadsi to St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury f 1044-6), five acres of land 
are said to be " butan rcada gatan," that is, " outside the Red Gate or Road- way." May not our Red Mount be 
a variant of Road Mount — our Lady's Mount beside the Walsingham Way ? (See Catalogue of the Stowe 
MSS., King's Library, British Museum, 1883.) 



20 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



are 



The left banks of the Mill fleet and " the Walks rivulet 
noticeably lower than the opposite banks. 

During the recent excavations in connection with our sewerage 
works, a cobble-paved track was found (1900-1). It was traced from 
the corner of Union Street, along All Saints Street to the west, and 
then in a northerly direction through Bridge Street and Church Street, 
as far as the corner of Priory Lane. Small cobbles of the " petrified 
kidney " sort had been used in All Saints Street, whilst much larger 
ones were employed in Bridge Street and Church Street. The 
annexed table will serve the purpose of a diagram : — 



Course of the old track. 


Surface above Sea-level. 




Present streets. 


Old track. 


All Saints street, 






Union street corner 


18 feet. 


12 feet. 


Bridge street corner 


18 „ 


9 .. 


Bridge street, 






Crooked lane corner 


2ii „ 


I2i „ 


Boal street 


172 .. 


7f ., 


Near Lady bridge 


18 „ 


7 .. 



The ancient track was met at a deeper and deeper level as the Mill Fleet 
was approached, until it was lost altogether on the south side at a depth of 13I 
feet. It was, however, found again on the other side : — 



Church street 

Nelson street corner 
Priory lane corner 




8 feet. 
15^ -. 



The depth of the old track beneath the present streets may be found by 
subtracting the figures in the second column from those in the first. For example, 
the old track is 3 feet below the surface at the corner of Priory lane, and 1 1 feet 
near the Lady Bridge. 

This ancient road was at one period the south entrance to the 
town ; crossing the low-lying ground in South Lynn, it led to the ford 
at the Mill leat, and from thence to the old earth-work, thrown up 
along the inner bank of the stream, forming another side of the paral- 
lelogram. Where the tide was strong and the traffic great, larger 
stones were wisely selected by these long- forgotten paviors. It may 
be urged that, the crest of the earth-work being at the corner of Priory 
Lane, the embankment could hardly be said to follow the course of the 
stream. But where were its confines so many years ago? It was 
evidently much broader, for the soil thrown out in Nelson Street de- 
noted an estuary. Arms of trees cut in lengths were found driven into 
the ground ; quantities of small unbroken oyster-shell were also em- 
bedded in the earth. There can, however, be no doubt about the old 
Stonegate following the course of the stream, which possibly turned 
a little to the north, that is, in a line with Church Street (which was 
once very properly termed the Stonegate), before it finally emptied 
its waters. 

The stone track, along the right bank of the Mill leat, might be 
expected to converge into the cobbled path at no great distance from 
the crest of the earth-work; if so, the excavators must come across 



THE BURG IN THE LIN. 21 

vestiges of the Stonegate in Tower place; and this they did, about 
forty paces from the point where a wooden and afterwards an " iron 
bridge " once spanned the Mill fleet. By referring to a survey of the 
borough, an imaginary line joining these points will run in a straight 
line with " the Walks." 

(4) THE PURFLEET 

had also an inner bank which was higher than the normal level. A 
culvert now conveys the water of the Purfleet branch of the Gaywood 
river beneath St. John's Churchyard. Although the bank has been 
cut away and the earth spread upon the adjacent field, sufficient has 
been left to establish our contention. To preserve five trees the earth 
enclosing their roots has been left, and if the bank be examined it will 
be seen to be about the same height as the Gannock, which joins it at 
the north-eastern angle. 

After selecting purfresiura from Ducange and diligently com- 
paring it with Purfleet, Mr. Beloe was inclined, when writing in 1883, 
to regard " Purfleet " as meaning in an etymological sense " the 
boundary fleet " ; subsequently he writes : " We have a distinct name 
in Purfleet. It is the porta -fieta. Thus Purfleet being the port -fleet 
is clearly settled. There is on the north bank of the Thames in Essex 
a Purfleet, and the charters of the middle ages call it porta fleta." At 
a still later period portce fleta, " the fleet of the port " (which may, 
notwithstanding, mean the fleet of the gate, mouth, or entrance), and 
finally " in Latin portus fleta, the fleet of the port." 

Great diversity of opinion exists relative to the adoption of the 
Latin port (which may be either port-us, a haven or harbour, or port-a, 
a gate or market), as an English word, in port, port-reeve, port-moot, 
etc. Skeat includes port with words belonging to the Latin of the 
First Period, and derives it from port-us, a harbour. Avoiding this 
debatable subject we must content ourselves by stating that whenever 
a market was held in one of the old burgs the burg itself was spoken 
of as a port; hence this syllable, when forming a part of an inland 
place-name, refers not to a port in its modern signification, but to an 
ancient market. (Stockport, Langport, Newport, Littleport, etc.)* 

Granted that the Purfleet was our principal stream ; but how does 
that settle the derivation? By what means does port become pur? 

The corruption of language (Mr. Henry Bradley affirms), which seems so 
lawless and arbitrary, is really regulated by very definite though complicated 
laws, and no phonetic change must ever be assumed which is not in accordance 
with strict rule and precedent. . . Etymological conjecture based only on the 
modern form of names is a mere waste of ingenuity. Such guesses will hardly 
prove correct in one instance out of four, even when they are attempted by 
thoroughly qualified scholars. 

The last sylable, fleet, which Forby includes in his Vocabulary of 
East Anglia (1830), means a shallow tidal channel, and pur, according 
to Canon Taylor, refers to gulls or sea-birds, and the whole word, as 
he with commendable hesitancy suggests, may mean " the tern fleet — 
the habitat of aquatic birds." The old spelling " Puflflet " {circa 



*» Compare Maitland's Domesday Book and. Beyond (1897), pp. 195-6, with Stubbs' Constitutional History 
of England (1887), Vol. I, p. 439. 



22 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

i35<^) he considers a corruption of the original " Purfleet," pointing 
out tlie fact that r might change into f, but that f could never change 
into r. Be it, however, remembered that the speculation of a learned 
authority does not by any means " settle " the point at issue. 
In an interesting article, entitled 

" MOATED MOUNDS," 

which appeared in The Builder (March 13, 1875), the remains of the 
earth-works at Cambridge, Towcester, Tempsford, Toternhoe and 
Caerleon are minutely described. A careful perusal will reveal 
certain points of resemblance : — 

(i) They are situated at no great distance from a fresh-water 
river j an artificial loop of the main stream being used as a mill leat; 

(2) They are near one of the ancient tracks or roadways ; and 

(3) Each of them possesses a circular mound. 

Making special reference to Tempsford and Toternhoe, the writer 
observes : " Among the earth-works in the valley of the Ouse within 
the three adjacent counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and 
Huntingdonshire, are two, which, though in many respects different, 
have one peculiarity in common — the combination of the circular 
mound with a rectangular enceinte." 

The burg on the foreshore of the Lin was near a fresh-water 
stream, w^hich was diverted to form not only a moat on the east and 
north, but, moreover, a mill leat on the south, which drove the Town 
Mill until a recent date. The '' Water Mill " appears on Rastrick's 
plan (1725), and was in a line with St. James' Workhouse. Parts 
of the oak frame (22 in. by 20 in. by 9 ft. and 16 in. by 16 in. by 
5 ft.), in which the overshot wheel worked, were discovered 
during the sewerage undertaking (1901). A track or beaten 
path ran no doubt from Wisbech, along the edge of the 
Lin, and on to the other camp at Rising, passing en 
route an ancient fortress — a circular mound of earth. There 
are, moreover, one or two other particulars in which the camp 
in the Lin resembled that at Tempsford. The earth- works were both 
rectangular, and although the burg at Tempsford was at one period 
certainly occupied by the Danes, the writer maintains the work was of 
an earlier date, because the Danish earth-works were never rectangular. 
Tempsford is situated about 400 yards from Tempsford mill, upon the 
right bank of the Ivel. The Lin parallelogram is not protected by a 
mound in the middle, but by one on the outer side of the eastern bank, 
which was called the " Gannock. " Within the north-east angle of 
the Tempsford encampment there is also a raised mound or earth- 
w^ork, which, strange to say, is known as " Cannock's Castle." There 
are no signs whatever of masonry, but the word " castle " was very 
commonly applied to spots where no such buildings ever stood, as, for 
example, the " Castle hills " at Northallerton. Doubtless the Romans 
constructed a castellu?n exploratorium, or watch-tower, at each of these 
places, from whence they might look out and observe the approach of 
any hostile tribe.* 

'■" In Norwich the Gannock Close is on the opposite side of the river to the Watergate of the Cathedral 
Close. 



THE BURG IN THE LIN. 23 

OLD LIN AND NEW LIN. 

There is reason, then, for believing that the early settlement in 
the dreary Lin, traces of which still survive, was, like the Freebridge 
" Camp of Peace," of pre-Roman origin. The Celts were fond of 
choosing long, sloping declivities, inaccessible by foot at high water, 
on which to raise their habitations. Lincoln, a Roman colonia, was 
established upon such a site, — a piece of land jutting into the Swans' 
Lin, a marshy expanse with many islets. Not far otf another coloma 
was (it may be supposed) founded in a similar Un, of which King's 
Lynn is the present representative. As a rule the Romans completed 
or improved what was already begun; they reared their colonice and 
mttnicipce near or upon the then existing ofpida of the conquered 
Britons rather than upon distinctly fresh sites. The Romans were 
guided in the construction of their camps, first by the existing earth- 
works, if there were any, and secondly, by the natural contour of the 
ground. Their camps were square, triangular, or round, but the most 
approved was the oblong camp, with its length at least one-third 
greater than its breadth. The parallelogram already described would 
fulfil these conditions — the computed measurements being 680 by 
300 yards. Lin may, as Camden asserts, have arisen out of the ruins 
of a far earlier settlement, — perchance, for aught that is known to the 
contrary, that of " Old " Lin on the other side of the haven. Prior 
to the Saxon Heptarchy no mention is made of Lin, yet the village 
of West Lynn " across the water " has borne the cognomen of Old 
Lynn, ever since its perhaps more modern rival — Neiu Lynn, as it was 
once styled, sprung into existence. If there ever were two distinct 
settlements they were at one period certainly not far apart. A few 
lines from Ben Adam's poem (fifteenth century), as given in the Nor- 
folk Tour (1829), may in a measure strengthen what must appear 
somewhat traditional : — 

That auntient place 
Old Lyn now called, 'twas populous, but now 
Only few houses, what it was once to show. 
This was the towne called Lyn, long time before 
This corporate towne was built, or name it bore. 

As invaders the Romans were unwelcome, notwithstanding they 
brought with them the blessings of civilization. To all intents and 
purposes they were 

FRIENDS IN DISGUISE, 

for the triumph of the arts they introduced quite eclipsed the conquest 
brought about by force of arms. An ample atonement crowned the 
sacrifice the Britons made. Throughout the length and breadth of 
our land are scattered astonishing relics of their marvellous genius. 
The Romans were indeed a wonderful people, and their advent in 
Britain quite changed the aspect of the whole country. The rude 
mud cabins of the almost wild aborigines gave place to pretentious and 
comfortable dwellings of brick or stone; and well-built towns rose 
here and there, as if created by some occult power. 

Terrible trouble at home, alas, compelled the Romans to turn 
their backs on Britain, and thus were the helpless natives forced to 



24 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

ask assistance of the Saxons, — a lawless, piratical Germanic race, to 
drive back the intrusive Picts and Scots. This was the commence- 
ment of a lengthy reign of terror and anarchy. Cities and towns 
vanished as quickly as they had appeared ; whilst murder and rapine 
rode roughshod through the kingdom. 

That the burg in the Lin in its Romanized state was included in 
this general devastation seems highly probable, although history is 
silent respecting it. A resuscitation of the old town on the eastern 
side of the narrow haven might have occurred when the Saxon dynasty 
ended. 



CHAPTER IV. 
The Gleaminer Dawn. 



*s> 



There is evidence, abundant and conclusive, that in the early part of 
the Christian era the Church of Christ was planted in Britain. With- 
out reiterating the convincing arguments adduced bv Bishops Stilling- 
fleet and Burgess, and other learned authorities, the above statement 
shall be accepted, and we will at once proceed to shew how probable 
it is that Norfolk was the scene of the introduction of Christianity 
into this country. 

First, let us consider our local traditions. 

Among the rural inhabitants of West Norfolk, traditions based 
upon Druidism, Roman mythology, and the Christian religion are 
current. It is remarkable, for instance, that at Shingham, a 
sequestered village some fifteen miles from Lynn, there are planta- 
tions haunted by Bel's dogs. Now the word Shingham means, as 
etymologists assure us, the bright or shining dwelling, and strange 
indeed is it, that tradition asserts there was, in the adjacent village 
of Beechamwell St. Mary, a temple of the sun, and, moreover, that 
Shingham and the adjoining village of Caldecott contained, at some 
remote period, temples dedicated respectively to Venus and Diana — 
Roman goddesses ! Is it not curious that this cluster of villages near 
Swaffham should, moreover, be haunted by a pack of spectral hounds, 
which the present inhabitants call Bel's dogs? As "no one can 
imagine or reason why the traditions should have been invented among 
a population not addicted to mythology " — and Mr. Andrew Lang's 
observation on this subject is quoted — we are constrained to admit 
that it is very curious. That the Romans built such temples in Britain 
is beyond dispute. A temple dedicated to the goddess of the chase 
is supposed to have occupied the same natural elevation now crowned 
by St. Paul's Cathedral. As with Caldecott, so with London, the 
tradition alone sun-ives. An altar dedicated to Trivia, that is, Diana 
of the Cross-ways, formerly stood where the Roman roads, the Ick- 
nield Street and the Ermine Street crossed, not very far from Royston. 
Here a festival was held soon after each vernal equinox, when the 
Romans made sacred cakes and offered them to their goddess. The 
eating of crossed buns is chiefly observed in this district — Cambridge, 



THE GLEAMING DAWN. 25 

Hertford, Norfolk, etc., whereas in other parts the custom is quite 
unknown, as for example at Bath, where instead of a temple to Diana 
there was one dedicated to Minerva. Fragments of tiiis ancient temple 
have been found, sufficient to enable Smirke to design a restored 
portico. To a Pagan rather than a Christian rite may we derive the 
origin of our " hot cross bun." 

Traces, too, of Druidism have been detected in many Norfolk 
place-names, and in certain customs with which the general reader is 
far more familiar ; but in the tradition relating to the spectral hounds, 
the survival attaches itself not so much to the place, as to the circum- 
stances associated with the place. It constitutes a neat blending of the 
ancient polytheism of the Druids and the newly-introduced mythology 
of the Romans. The Druids were wont to worship the rising sun (that 
is, Bel) from the hill-tops; from this custom the castle-mound at Nor- 
wich was anciently known as Belinus. A common expression in 
Leicestershire — " he leaps like a hel giant," that is, as the rising sun 
from the sea — is associated with the sun-wojship of our Druidic fore- 
fathers. The pale, glinting light, flickering among the masses of 
waving foliage in the Shingham woods, unquestionably gave rise to 
the phantom sun-dogs — and dogs, be it remembered, were sacred to 
Diana, the goddess of hunting. 

Another East Anglian tradition assures us St. Paul preached the 
Gospel at Babingley, near Lynn. That the great Apostle of the 
Gentiles really visited this country is more than probable. Mr. 
Soames, indeed, says " he may fairly be considered the founder of 
our national Church." Gildas, the most ancient of the British his- 
torians, states that as early as the reign of the Emperor Nero a 
Christian Church was existent in Britain (a.d. 6o or 6i), about the 
time when the Icenian (|)ueen Boadicea was vanquished ; and Clemens 
Romanus, a fellow-worker with St. Paul, declares in his Epistle to 
the Corinthians that St. Paul " taught the whole world righteousness, 
and for that end went to the utm<ist l:)ounds of the west." From the 
testimony of Eusebius we learn that " some of the apostles passed 
over the ocean to the British Isles "; Theodoret affirms that St. Paul 
brought salvation to the islands lying in the ocean ; whilst St. Chrysos- 
tom remarks : " The British Islands, which lie beyond the sea, and 
are in the very midst of the ocean, have felt the influence of the word. " 

Speed maintains that under the auspices of the family of Carac- 
tacus, St. Paul propagated the Gospel in this country ; and Bishop 
Burgess, so deservedly distinguished for his proficiency in ecclesias- 
tical antiquities, when commenting upon the imi)risonment of the 
British chief and his adherents in Rome, observes : — 

It is a remarkable and interesting fact that the detention of the British 
hostages should have been coincident with St. Paul's residence there as a 
prisoner ; and it was not a less favourable coincidence that they sliould be 
released from confinement in the same year in which St. Paul was set at liberty. 
Nothing could be more convenient for St. Paul's mission to the (lentiles than the 
opportunity which their return must have ofTered him of introducing the Gospel 
into Britain ; and nothing more probable than that he should readily embrace 
such opportunity. 

E 



26 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

At the chancel end of the 13th century church at Babingley, 
about four miles from Lynn, are the ivy-clad ruins of an earlier edifice, 
which is clearly of Norman origin. These crumbling walls are 
believed to occupy the site of a rude 7th century building, popu- 
larly accredited the Jirst Christian Church in East Anglia. The 
church itself (at present disused because of a scattered population) 
is dedicated to the memory of Felix of Burgundy, who came over in 
response to an invitation from Sigebert, the king of this part of the 
Heptarchy, and who landed, according to tradition, upon the shore 
at Babingley. As Bishop of the East Angles, St. Felix is said to 
have " converted many to Christianity in the neighbourhood of Bab- 
ingley about the year a.d. 630." (Munford.) Nothing, however, 
remains to indicate an ancient foundation, but the name by which this 
hamlet is known unquestionably represents the Babinkelia of the old 
chronicles, the Bahinghelea and Bahinkeleia of the Domesday Book, 
and the Bahiirghley of Bacon's Liher Vitce. 

Sir Henry Spelman (1562 — 1641), in his Icenia, says : " Several 
hills called Christian Hills in the vicinity seem to support this 
opinion," — that St. Paul laboured as a missionary on the bounds of 
the Lin. It must be admitted that the Christian hills cannot now be 
identified ; but the late William Taylor contends that prior to the 
throwing up of the earth-work round the Norman castle at Rising the 
ground in the immediate vicinity was considerably above the common 
level of the surrounding district. 

If we are justified in accepting the tradition relating to the Shing- 
ham sun-dogs as based upon the truth, we can hardly in fairness reject 
the tradition that St. Paul preached the Gospel in East Anglia. 

Secondly, the consideration that the Romans under Julius Caesar 
landed on the coast of Norfolk. 

In 1866 the Rev. Scott F. Surtees, Rector of Banham, published 
a small but significant pamphlet, entitled: Julius Casar : shaving 
beyond reasonable doubt that he never crossed the Channel, but sailed 
from Zeelattd and landed in Norfolk (reissued 1868). with the avowed 
object of disproving the commonly accepted theory that the subjugators 
of the " Ancient Britons " landed near Deal, on the shores of Kent. 
This he does by proving from the etymology of the name of the place 
from whence the Roman general sailed, and by critically examining the 
hour of sailing, that the distance could not possibly have been covered 
in the time. He shews how the alleged landing-place and the adjacent 
coast do not correspond with the description given by Caesar himself. 
It is freely acknowledged that Caesar landed twice in Britain, but 
where, and at what precise spot? Mr. Surtees answers: "Caesar 
landed in Norfolk." At Brancaster, Wells, Weybourn. Sheringham, 
and Cromer is the steep coast line to which reference is made in the 
Commentaries. The time occupied in crossing from Gaul, he argues, 
could only apply to landing at one of these places ; the shingly beach 
at Weybourn exactly corresponds with the one mentioned, and the level 
ground along the cliffs at Sheringham would permit the natives to 
follow the route of the invading fleet either in chariots or on foot. 
Corn, moreover, was growing abundantly in the neighbourhood, but 



THE GLEAMING DAWN. 27 

Deal neither is nor was noted for its cereal productions. Amber is 
often picked up along the Norfolk coast, and this is mentioned by 
Caesar as a distinctive mark. Finally, the entire district teems with 
relics of Roman invasion ; earth-works, thrown up as a temporary and 
not a permanent defence, abound, and coins, pottery, and other me- 
mentoes have from time to time been brought to light. 

Taking these and other circumstances into consideration, the 
learned author comes to the conclusion, that notwithstanding the wear- 
ing away of the coast-line which has been going on for nineteen cen- 
turies, both the visits paid by the Romans were in Norfolk, at Wey- 
bourn and Sheringham. 

We are fully aware that Mr. Walter Rye refers disparagingly to 
" the perverse ingenuity " of this " wildly ingenious antiquary," and 
that the Rev. Francis T. Vine published a counterblast, entitled : 
Caesar in Kent: an account of his landing and Ins battles with tht 
Ancient Britons (1887). 

The Fenland, as already stated, was the first, or at least one of 
the first, Roman acquisitions in Britain ; and Catus Decianus, who was 
appointed to govern this district, is regarded as the first procurator. 
If, then, the Roman invaders effected a landing on the Norfolk fore- 
shore in the neighbourhood of the Lin, it would be reasonable to infer 
that the early pioneers of the Gospel would try to cross the almost 
trackless waters by taking the same course, and that in taking the same 
course they would land as near the same spot as possible. Mackerell 
says it is recorded that Felix, to whom reference has already been 
made, landed at Lynn, — " as Sir Henry Spelman saith, and was their 
first Bishop and Apostle. He converted the people of the town and 
built the church at Babingley, which is near this place towards the sea, 
and was the first Christian Church in these parts." 

Thirdly, the ancient roads, which led inland, diverged from a 
point on the coast of Norfolk. 

In an almost unbroken straight line, the ancient trackway now 
known as the Peddars' Way has been traced by Mr. E. M. Beloe from 
Holme, near Hunstanton, through Norfolk and Suffolk, almost up to 
Bury St. Edmunds. It passes through Sedgeford. Anmer. Castleacre, 
and Pickenham, and runs on to Wretham, where one branch ends at 
Bardwell, and the other at Ixworth (Icknield way). 

Starting from the self -same point the Great Fen road takes a 
somewhat divergent course. It runs through Flitcham, Gavton, Ox- 
borough, and from thence to Ickburgh. A branch joins Gayton with 
Lynn, whilst another connects Bawsey, Wormegay, Stradsett, Denver, 
Eldernell, and perhaps Peterborough (Ermine Street). 

As these important trackways took a more or less south-easterly 
course, and no doubt formed junctions with the great national thorough- 
fares, — the Ermine Street and the Icknield way — it would be impera- 
tively necessary for those who wished to penetrate the couijtry to land 
as near as possible to the point where the roads converged. That this 
was customary is apparent from the story of the landing of King 
Edmund. 

After the East Anglians had defeated King Offa's three would- 



28 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

be successors, for whom they evinced no predilection, they offered the 
crown to Edmund, who was then a sojourner in Germany. Whereupon 
the King-elect hastily embarked for Britain, but was shipwrecked in 
trying to effect a landing not far from Gore Point, where the great 
roads met. From a local tradition we learn that the mouldering walls 
near the Hunstanton light-house are those of the Capdla Sancti 
Kdmundi super le Clyffe, — the chapel Edmund built to the honour of 
God in commemoration of his miraculous escape. It is said that he 
shut himself up within its precincts, in fulfilment of a vow, and that he 
did not emerge therefrom until he had committed to memory the entire 
Psalter. Having accomplished this remarkable mental feat, he 
accepted the crown at the hands of the East Anglians (a.d. 870.)* 

Fourthly, the surprising absence of cromlechs (used as altars), 
stone circles and other megalithic remains in this county. 

The early Christian missionaries, in order to render the transition 
from the worship of Odin to that of Christ easy, agreeable and attrac- 
tive, usually changed the temples dedicated to idolatrous purposes into 
Christian churches. By this perhaps unwarranted compromise were 
the outraged feelings of the natives soothed. " For if these temples," 
writes Pope Gregory, " are well built, it is requisite that they be con- 
verted from the worship of devils to the sacrifice of the true God ; that 
the nation, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may remove 
error from their hearts, and knowing and adoring the true God, may 
the more familiarly resort to the places to which they have been accus- 
tomed." (a.d. 601.) Bede, indeed, refers to a temple in East Anglia 
containing an altar whereon sacrifices were offered to the Christ, and a 
smaller one whereon victims were slain to propitiate demons. 

It is not unlikely that in many places the old Druidic temple was 
succeeded by a series of churches, built, of course, at different periods, 
— a church erected by the Norman settlers being reared on the site of 
a rude Saxon building, which had replaced a ruder and more primitive 
temple, wherein heathen rites were faithfully observed. Hallowed 
associations prompted the susceptible builders of bygone ages to cling 
to the same consecrated spot, beloved by their departed kinsfolk, and 
there rather than elsewhere would they reverently construct a new and 
superior fabric. The detection of no fragments of moulded or rough- 
hewn stone, the remains of previous structures, does not in the least 
establish the fact that an earlier church, or pagan temple, did not 
exist prior to the erection of the present structure. In some instances 
traces have undoubtedly been unearthed, and whilst every material 
vestige of Druidism has disappeared, as in our own county, where 
Christianity was presumably iirst introduced, in other parts of the king- 
dom rude stone temples still abound. When the fascination of those 
huge structures, where the stubborn influence of Odinism was felt the 
longest, could no longer impede the onward course of the new doctrine, 
they were not destroyed, but, though deserted, were permitted to 

'•" At an early period there was a rliapel dedicated to St. Edmund in Lynn where three dead men were, 
as we are told, raised to life, and several blind and dumb people as well as cripples were cured. [See 
5f. Edmund, by Rev. J. B. Mackinlay, p. 291.] 



THE GlEAMlNG DAWM. 29 

remain. Roughly, the number of Druidical remains throughout the 
country appears to be in inverse ratio to the number of the churches. 

On the cliff at Gorleston, " overlooking the east," there once stood 
some large stones, resembling an ancient cromlech, which (if tradition 
be credited) were used in Druidical worship. This, however, if 
reliable, must be regarded as a solitary instance. Of the Britons and 
their traces here (in Norfolk) we really know little and find less. Surely 
this peculiar characteristic of the county helps to prove that the 
pioneers of th» Christian religion gained at least an early, if not a first, 
footing here. 

And lastly, the exceptional number of churches in Norfolk seems 
to indicate that the spread of the Gospel radiated from this part of 
the kingdom. 

Because of the ruins of so many splendid priories, Dr. Jessopp 
termed the district about Gayton " the Holy Land of Norfolk " ; and 
with equal propriety might Norfolk itself be called " the Holy Land 
of Britain." The county covers 2,024 square miles, and contains 
more than 730 churches, that is, 117 more than Yorkshire (a county 
three times its size), and more than any other county in the " Three 
Kingdoms." How can this be accounted for except by the theory 
propounded, namely, that the Gospel was first preached here, and that 
it gradually spread to the remoter and more inaccessible districts? 

The average area of a parish in England is shewn by calculation 
to be about 5. i square miles ; in Westmoreland, which is sparsely popu- 
lated, it is as high as 23.4 square miles. Norfolk may boast as shew- 
ing the lowest average. Here for every 2.7 square miles there is a 
parish church, whilst in Kent the average parish-area is 42.2 square 
miles. As no part of England was so much exposed as Norfolk to the 
inroads of the heathen Danes, this fact becomes even more remark- 
able. An objection may be urged that many of our 730 churches are 
modern, and are not built on the site of heathen temples ; the same 
remark may be applied with equal force to any of the other counties. 
Moreover, in the Aliddle Ages the religious supremacy of Norfolk was 
generally acknowledged.* With less than one-twentieth the area of 
England, it then possessed one-sixteenth of the whole monastic revenue, 
and one-eighth of the entire religious foundations of the nation. 

"This county," exclaims Thomas Fuller (1608-61), "hath the 
most churches of any in England — 660, and though the poorest livings, 
yet by some occult quality of their good husbandry and God's blessing 
thereon, the richest clergymen. I wish," he quaintly observes, " the 
inhabitants may make good use of their so many churches and cross 
that pestilent proverb, ' the nigher to the church, the farther from God,' 
substituting another (which will be a happy change) in the room there- 
of, namely, ' the more the churches, the more sincere the devotion.' " 
Whether Fuller's wish is realised we leave others to decide. 

In conclusion, it must be frankly admitted that every point ad- 
vanced is vague and nothing in itself, and even if taken collectively 

• The Oomesciay iioofe accounts for J.y rliurches in Norfolk. 



30 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

they are by no means conclusive; yet we venture to think, notwith- 
standing all which might be said to the contrary, they tend in a measure 
to substantiate the proposition under consideration, that the scene of 
the introduction of Christianity into this country was in Norfolk, and 
probably at no great distance from the Lin. 



CHAPTER V. 
The Legend of St. Margatet. 

It was the custom long before our brave sailors and soldiers were 
arrayed in uniforms of blue and red (or khaki) for combatants to bear 
some conspicuous figure or device upon their shields or helmets, so that 
they might, when enveloped from head to foot in armour, be easily 
distinguished at the tournament or on the field of battle. These sym- 
bols, which at the first were used arbitrarily, were in many instances 
retained as hereditary marks of distinction. Subsequent to the reduc- 
tion of heraldry to a science, which began in the reign of Henry IIL, 
every town of any pretension took unto itself a coat-of-arms. With 
that of our own borough, every inhabitant who troubles to read the 
official announcements issued by the Town Clerk must be in a measure 
familiar. If, when perusing the " notices " affixed to the Hall door, 
he saw a placard headed with a pictorial representation of three lions 
neatly cut in halves and cleverly engrafted to three herrings, similarly 
bisected, so that each lion had the hind-quarter and tail of a herring, 
and each herring the fore-quarter and head of a lion, he would at once 
be conscious, without any knowledge of heraldry, and without being 
told the arms of Great Yarmouth had been substituted for that of 
King's Lynn, that "some-one had blundered." 

THE ARMS OF OUR BOROUGH 

are thus technically described : — Azure, three dragons heads erased 
and erect, the jaws of eacli pierced with a cross-crosslet fitche, or. As 
this is probably unintelligible to those who have not yet been initiated 
into the mysteries of heraldry, an attempt to convey the meaning in 
other words may perhaps be acceptable. 




To the local draughtsman in search of a model, we say : — Go to 
the nearest marsh and catch three dragons, as near the same weight as 
possible ; tear— by no means cut — the heads from their bodies ; press 



THE LEGEND OF ST. /MARGARET. 31 

their jaws laterally, and with a spear, the peculiar construction of which 
must hereinafter be described, transfix each gaping head ; arrange as in 
the above illustration, and, disregarding the natural colour, depict 
with bold outline and cross hatching in black, upon the best English 
gilt, so that the design in gold appears upon a blue background. If 
any difficulty be experienced (for dragons are said to be somewhat 
scarce in this neighbourhood), a resourceful artist might manage with 
one. 

The head of the spear in question is a " cross-crosslet," or a 
crossed cross ; three of its arms are crossed, and the fourth, described 
as " fitche," is elongated and pointed. These crosses, which served 
as emblems, were carried by the early Christians in their pilgrimages, 



-f 



and could easily be stuck into the ground whenever the bearers wished 
to perform their wayside devotions, or make any sort of demonstration. 
To account for the meaning of the curious symbol upon the 
borough shield, it will be necessary to recall the story of 

THE MARTYR OF ANTIOCH. 

Theodosius, the aged patriarch of Antioch, toward the end of the 
third century of our era, was blessed with a daughter named Margaret, 
a virgin renowned, not merely for her exceptional beauty, but for lead- 
ing a singularly holy life. She was as fair as the daisy from which 
.she derived her name, and far more lovable besides, she was as pious 
as she was lovely, which is more than can be said of some of Eve's 
fair daughters. But the maiden, though richly endowed by nature, 
and though belonging to an affluent family, was nevertheless beset with 
many troubles. The " fatal gift of beauty " gained her an impor- 
tunate lover — a very acceptable actjuisition, some may say ; and the 
saintly chastity of her life, a subtle tempter in the semblance of 
n dragon. In the huge, unwieldy monster, Margaret detected the 
Evil One, who, cleverly '' got up " as a serpent, had caused 
unutterable mischief in Eden, many centuries before. Firmly 
and persistently the brave maiden rejected all his allurements, 
and in the end triumphantiv cut short his insinuating entreaties 
by pinning his squirming body to the ground with the point 
of her cross. Having thus secured her soul from the clutches 
of the Devil, it is a pity she did not adopt the same method 
to preserve her body ; but then, you see. the other antagonist 
was a Roman general — the great Olybius ; besides, the love of the 



32 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

maiden warped her judgment and blinded her eyes so that she failed 
to see aright. 

Now, Olybius, the heathen, was in haste to marry the Christian 
maiden, though he cordially abhorred the fanatic followers (as he 
deemed them) of the reviled Galilean. There was, however, no reason 
why he should not frustrate the spell those artful proselytes had cun- 
ningly thrown around his lady-love. He therefore diligently set about 
persuading Margaret to renounce the new religion ; but his arguments 
were as futile as his entreaties. Thus, failing to effect his purpose, 
in a fit of desperation he ordered her to be tortured. Exasperated 
beyond measure because these gentle measures were inoperative, he 
threatened as a last resource to take her life, if she did not comply with 
his wishes. Love had developed into hatred, and changed the lover 
into a merciless tyrant. In the words of Henry Hart Milman, the 
poet, Olybius exclaims : — 

Maiden, upraise thy voice ; 
Olybius' throne or a blasphemer's fate is thine. 
Make thou thy choice. 

— Disdaining the fleeting pleasures of royalty, Margaret courageously 
accepted the dreadful alternative ; she was therefore beheaded, in the 
year of our Lord 278, and was afterwards canonized, as she well de- 
served to be. Her holy day was formerly celebrated on the 20th of 
July, by the reading of an appropriate legend in the church dedicated 
to her honour, and the holding of a feast or fair in the churchyard, to 
which the ancient " mercate of St. Margaret " and our modern 
" Saturday market " owe their origin. 

There is no need to trouble ourselves except with one part of this 
romantic episode, and that is the maiden's victory over the dragon. 
The legend itself is purely an adaptation of 

AN OLD ARYAN MYTH, 

a battle between a hero — in this case a heroine — and a monster, which 
is extant in almost every nation. The Hindu legend gives Indra as the 
hero and Vritna as the monster; the Roman, Hercules and the triple- 
headed Cacus ; the Greek, Apollo and the terrible serpent Python ; 
the Norse, Sigurd and Faf nir — a coiled dragon ; the Persians, the 
Jews, and the Christians, too, have each a version of their own. The 
Ugunda of the Mexicans, the sea-snake of the Scandinavians, and the 
awe-inspiring reptile depicted on Chinese banners, are all varieties of 
the same mythical dragon, whose destruction seems to have been the 
common object of mankind, more especially during the earlier ages of 
the Christian Church. The marvellous exploits of St. Michael, St. 
Silvester, St. Martha, St. Margaret, and St. George (who was the 
patron saint of this country as early as the Saxon period), do not by 
any means impoverish the catalogue. Ecclesiastical history abounds 
with exemplary saints who waged war with the Evil One in the guise 
of a dragon, a snake, a serpent, or an amphibious monster of some kind 
or other. 

Upon the obverse side of the corporate seal of the borough, our 
Mayor's seal of office, the seal of the Carmelites' convent, the Austin 



THE LEGEND OF ST. 3IARGARET. 33 

priory (circa 1387), the seals attached to the probate of wills {circa 
1303), and the conventual seals of the neighbouring priories of West- 
acre, Thetford, Hilburgh, and Norwich, St. Margaret is represented as 
triumphantly trampling upon the distorted body of the dragon, whilst 
piercing his upturned head with her cross. She is depicted in the 
same attitude upon the rood-screens in Filby and other Norfolk 
churches. Beneath a beautiful floreated initial, on letters patent 
addressed to the Mayor and burgesses of Lenne, the engrosser has 
drawn an angel bearing a shield with the arms of the town (1315). 

DRAGON V. CONGER. 

The arms of the Benedictine priory at Lenne, founded so many 
years ago by Herbert de Lozinga, were with one trifling exception the 
same as those borne by the town at the present time. The three heads 
pierced were not those of the con\entional dragon, but those of the 
conger eel. 

Was not the dragon originally a conger eel, perhaps slightly modi- 
fied ? Naturalists give instances of these eels being ten feet long and 
eighteen inches in circumference, and weighing as much as 130 pounds. 
(The flesh, it may be mentioned in passing, though rather coarse, is 
much esteemed in the Channel Isles. There is a way of cooking it to 
suit the palate, and it makes excellent soup. The devil surely did not 
send all the cooks, because those who succeed in producing pleasant 
and wholesome food from such raw material must verily have had quite 
another origin.) The voracity of the conger eel is such that it will 
devour its own species, and its strength is so great that it can crush 
lobsters. As the Fenland abounded with eels, the conger no doubt 
proved a formidable antagonist to the superstitious fishermen of early 
times. 

These characteristics support the assumption that the conger eel was the 
prototype not only of the sea-dragon of English heraldry, but of the poetical 
dragon — the dragon of the monkish legends — the representative of evil and the 

serpent of romance The simple explanation lies in considering the 

various victories represented to have been gained over dragons as so many 
conquests obtained by virtue over vice. Some of these miracles have another 
signification, and are supposed to be intended to typify the confining of rivers 
within their proper channels, or limiting the incursions of the sea. [Moule's 
Heraldry of Fish.] 

This explanation seems to be specially applicable to our low-lying 
district with its long protecting embankments.* 

OUR CREST. 

Soon after the Norman Conquest, seals became instruments of the 
greatest imjjortance. When few practised, and nobles scorned, the art 
of writing, the attaching of one's seal was absolutely necessary to give 
validity to any kind of legal document. In many instances the pic- 
torial devices upon coats-of-arms have been traced to similar, and in 
some cases identical, devices ui)on seals, adopted by the same families 
long before the dawn of the heraldic era ; and it is quite possible that 
the crest above the shield upon which are emblazoned our town's arms, 



" Three congers heads erect" (I'l'silulioii: 1363). 



34 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

may owe its origin to the old ecclesiastical seal of the borough. Crests 
were worn by knights upon their helmets as distinctive marks ; and they 
were especially needful when the combatants were not carrying their 
shields. As a community we have, correctly speaking, no right to a 
crest, but as it now seems to be an inseparable adjunct to our azure 
shield, it must not be wholly disregarded. 

Our crest, be it observed, is the natural representation of a conven- 
tional pelican in the act of " vulning," or wounding herself, for by 
lacerating her own breast " the pelican in her piety," as is fabulously 
asserted, nourishes her young. Hence we read in Wither's 
Emblems : 

Looke heere and marke (her sickly birds to feed) 
How freely this kind pelican doth bleed. 
See how (when other salves could not be found) 
To cure their sorrowes, she herself doth wound ; 
And when this holy emblem thou shaft see, 
Lift up thy soule to Him who dy'd for thee. 

The pelican, as is generally known, is an accomplished fisher, 
scooping up its prey into the big pouch beneath its lower jaw. Its 
nest, which is made of grasses, is placed on the ground, usually on 
a sea island or on the border of some lake or river. When the eggs 
are hatched, the parents turn the fish out of their pouches into the 
mouths of the young. To do this they press the bill against the 
breast, so that its scarlet tip looks like a blood spot against the white 
feathers, and this has perhaps given rise to the fable that the pelican 
feeds her young with her blood. The eider duck, it is true, plucks 
down from her breast and places it over its eggs during incubation, 
the drake supplying down when the "gentle breast" of his spouse 
becomes exhausted ; and this habit has been perchance erroneously 
attributed to the pelican. 

The knight's helmet was formerly encircled with a coronet or 
wreath composed of two strands of twisted silk. On the conventional 
representation of this device, which is common in modern heraldry, 
our pelican is comfortably perched. The " tinctures " of the rigid 
support are taken from the shield and its charges : the strands are 
therefore blue and gold alternately — the metal (gold) always being on 
the dexter side, that is, to the left of the spectator. In heraldry the 
" dexter " and " sinister " sides are so called from the right or left 
of the wearer of the shield, arms, or crest ; hence the apparent 
contrary from the spectator's point of view. 

PELICAN V. EAGLE. 

Upon the reverse side of the common corporate seal, already 
mentioned, there is a well-executed eagle, standing on a label, whereon 
appear the first words of St. John's Gospel : In ■princifio erat verbum 
— " in the beginning was the word." This sentence of his, inscribed 
in an open book, is often used as a representation or symbol of " the 
Gospel " generally. The same design as that upon our corporate 
seal is found upon the seal of the Gild of St. George (Lenne), and 
the earliest record to which it is attached belongs to the year 1300. 



THE LEGEND OF ST. MARGARET. 35 

Degenerate forms must sometimes be encountered even in 
heraldry. For example, an inoffensive lion harmlessly walking and 
apparently looking at nothing in particular was believed by the early 
heralds to be enacting the part of a leopard. Their so-called 
" leopards " were really lions — spotless and without any leopardesque 
distinctions. Hence until the beginning of the 15th century the lions 
in the Royal Shield of England were absurdly styled leopards. 

What's in a name? That which tve call a lion 
By any other name would serve as well. 

In like manner, from the eagle, a well-known emblem of St. 
John, a degenerate pelican has perhaps been evolved. Before the 
Reformation, eagle and pelican lecterns were both common ; in Dur- 
ham cathedral there are specimens of each variety ; and Mr. Britton, 
in his History of Norwich Cathedral, mentions an eagle lectern, 
which, we are told, is in reality a pelican. Over the splendid fonts 
at North Walsham and Watlington, and on the modern font covers 
at St. Margaret's, Lynn, there are well-carved pelicans. There were 
at one time, at least two pre-Reformation eagle lecterns of brass in 
S. Margaret's church ; (Mackerell says there were three, and 
that one was melted down to aid in recasting the peal of bells), and 
frequent were the payments made for their " scouring." In 1635 
twenty shillings were expended for this purpose. One of these 
beautiful lecterns remains, but bereft of its talons. This is a rather 
frequent mutilation, and is popularly accounted for by their having 
been of silver, and, therefore, " stolen by Oliver Cromwell " — an 
obvious absurdity, as the Protector, if he had meddled with these 
objects at all, would have " collared the lot " brass being so very 
handy a material for cannon or cannon-balls. It is far more likely 
that the " reaving " was done by other hands — those even of the 
official guardians of the Church, in the really " dark ages," not so 
very distant, when the goods, furniture, funds, and constructive 
materials of churches were the common prey of whomsoever took a 
fancy to appropriate or destroy them. 

Before the wonderful legend of St. Margaret fades from our 
minds, it might be expedient to say a few words about the former 
inhabitants of King's Lynn, because at one time it is said to have 
been renowned as 

THE DWELLING-PLACE OF VIRGINS. 

vSir Henry Spelman, perhaps following Galfridus de Fontibus 
(i)elieved to have been a monk of Thetford), in his De Infancia Set 
EadiHUiidi {circa 1140-1160). contends that " the little, fair promon- 
tory," at Maydcnhurc, was Hunstanton; but Camden contends that 
Lynn had a stronger claim, and that during the Saxon period it was 
known as Ulavdciihurg. iSLackerell, influenced, as he says, " by the 
concurrent testimony of several ancient historians," concludes its 
name was Mayden-hoiver — the retiring place for virgins. To support 
these suggestions the following facts are advanced : hrst, our prin- 
cipal church was dedicated to the memory of St. Margaret the Virgin, 
the patroness of the town and the accredited protectress of defenceless 



3G HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

spinsters; and secondly, that upon the early seal of the borough 
there is the figure of our tutelary saint, as already described. It is 
also asserted that our brave East Anglian forefathers, having van- 
quished Uffa's three stalwart successors, offered the crown to Edmund, 
who was then a sojourner in Germany (a.d. 870). The King-elect 
embarked forthwith for Britain, and after encountering incalculable 
dangers, he landed, as is stated, .at Mayden-burg. Moreover, to 
strengthen the likelihood of the existence of Mayden-hurg or Mayden- 
boiuer, INIackerell points out how prevalent is St. Edmund's name 
in this district. There is St. Edmund's Ness, the chapel of St. 
Edmund upon the cliffs at Hunstanton, where the pious king built 
a royal town ( ?), the parish of North Lynn St. Edmund, and the 
chapel of St. Edmund once connected with that of St. Nicholas at 
Lynn. 

The ingenious speculations of these authors, if swallowed, ought 
assuredly to be taken cum grano salis, for they do not cite any docu- 
ment or other authority in which such a place as Maydenburg or May- 
denbower is mentioned ; and by what philological hocus-focus is it 
possible to derive burg from bower? The thing appears to be a pure 
invention, swallowed by the credulous, and merely " conveyed " with- 
out acknowledgment by jNIackerell and Parkin. On the other hand, 
we are inclined to regard Maydenburg or Magde-burg in Germany, 
Maiden-head in Berkshire, and the traditional INIaydenburg (if there 
ever was such a place) in East Anglia, as owing their names to the 
following interestingly erratic legend : — 

Once upon a time (to be as vague as the exigencies of the circum- 
stances require), a British princess named Ursula, who was born, by- 
the-bye, at Baoza, in Spain, embarked for Brittany. She was accom- 
panied with 11,000 noble and 60,000 plebeian British virgins. Love 
is well known to be no respecter of persons, and whether of high or 
low degree, every one of the fair emigrants was more or less affected 
with that dreadful malady so aptly described by Pliny as vehoneniia 
cordis. But the cause of the unpleasant epidemic hath yet to be told. 
A corresponding number of young and eligible young men had 
already quitted their parental homes in Britain, and were restlessly 
wandering up and down the Gallic shores, and constantly glaring at 
the white cliffs which skirted the opposite coast. 

What a pathetic exodus for a sparsely populated country 
to contemplate, — the wholesale embarkation of one hundred 
and forty-two thousand and two candidates for matrimony ! 
Through some inexplicable cause or other, the vessels with 
their precious freights were wrecked in the Rhine. A 
storm perchance had risen, the reckoning might have been 
lost, or the captains, in too attentively inspecting their respective 
cargoes, might have neglected to navigate their craft aright. _ It was 
supremely unpleasant for these lovelorn damsels, but it might cer- 
tainly have been a trifle worse. No lives were lost, and after a series 
of exhausting vicissitudes Ursula and all the other maidens safely 
entered Cologne. Another version assures the reader it happened 
when they were returning from Rome, but as this and other trivial 



THE LEGEND OF ST. MARGARET. 37 

circumstances do not interfere with the approaching climax, the 
discrepancies shall remain unreconciled. 

Now it came to pass that the city at this time was held by hordes 
of fierce Huns, who were speechless with surprise when they beheld 
the Ursuline invaders. Pause, oh reader, and let thine imagination 
pourtray the scene. What a unique procession — seventy-one thousand 
and one maidens, shipwrecked, friendless, and, though ruthlessly 
bedraggled, yet radiantly attractive ! How sincerely those stern war- 
riors pitied the angelic creatures in their calamity, and how despera- 
tely enamoured grew they of their beauty ; for pity and love, be it 
remembered, are near akin. But the virtuous virgins, remembering 
the youths in Gaul, sternly repulsed these bold, aggressive fellows, 
and, preferring to follow the example of Lucretia, they one and all 
sacrificed their lives to preserve their honour. ... In after 
years the good citizens of Cologne built a magnificent church, and 
dedicated it to St. Ursula and her heroic comrades. Inside, around 
the walls thereof, are many glass cases still containing their osseous 
remains. 

This congruous, though perhaps romantic, story, is said to owe 
its birth to the unearthing of a stone whereon was the Latin 
inscription : 



URSULA ET UNDECIMILLA VIRGINES 



— that is, " The (two) virgins Ursula and Undecimilla." A careless 
scribe, not for a moment thinking what trouble his remissness might 
cause unborn generations, stupidly changed the precious words into 
Ursula ct Uudecim inilUa Virgincs, which being interpreted, reads, 
" Ursula and eleven thousand virgins," whereas there were only two. 
The vast collection of bones still exhibited to more or less credulous 
tourists in the church of St. Ursula were taken from an old Roman 
cemetery, over which the walls of Cologne were erected ; the human 
remains having first been exposed soon after the siege in the year 
1106. 

Hence two virgins lost their lives prematurely and both were 
canonized as saints. Their names are perhaps synonymous, but it 
would be too risky an adventure to substitute St. Margaret for St. 
Ursula, because the process might detract from the convincing veracity 
of our narrative. There is, notwithstanding, a faint colouring of 
truth in this absurd monkish concoction. The good folk of Maiden- 
head, in Berkshire, laid claim to one of the martyrs' heads, whilst 
the other ghastly relic was eagerly appropriated and sincerely revered 
by the superstitious inhabitants of King's Lynn (Maydcnbiirg), as the 
head of their patroness ! Is there not convincing evidence in the 
following remarkable entry, which appears upon the pages of our 
Hall Book, just before the dawning of the Reformation? 

St. Margaret's Head. — Fully agreed that St. Margaret's skull be had in 
honour in tlie Trinity chapel of St. Margaret ; a fourth of the oblation to be 
given to the Trinity Guild, a half to the prior and curate of Lenne, and the rest 
to the churchwardens of St. Margaret for reparation of the said church (152^). 



38 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Six-and-thirty years later the trend of public opinion had veered 
round to the opposite quarter. A big fire was kindled on the Tues- 
day market-place; objectionable mass-books and sacred relics were 
scrupulously brought together, and were then and there publicly 
consigned to the flames. 



CHAPTER VJ. 
A Habitation with a Name. 

In the third decade of the 7th century, Felix, a Burgundian mis- 
sionary, was chosen first bishop of the East Angles by Sigebert their 
king, and he was duly consecrated by Archbishop Honorius. In all 
likelihood Felix obtained the spiritual possession not of the settlement 
at the burg on the Lin alone, but of all the settlements upon the fore- 
shore of the entire district. The diocese was a large one, embracing 
as it did the north and the south folk (Norfolk and Suffolk), and the 
exceptional duties thereto pertaining must have severely taxed the 
bishop's strength. Felix died in a.d. 647, but the work was 
vigorously pushed forward by his resolute successors. Many cen- 
turies, however, were to elapse before the worship of Odin was to be 
superseded by that of Christ. The reason is not far to seek : there 
was already a strong infusion of the Danish element in the northern 
part of East Anglia, and a series of incursions gave rise to repeated 
revivals of declining Odinism. Not until the nth century did 
the East Anglian Danes nominally accept Christianity. 

CHRONICLES " ABSTRACT AND BRIEF," 

may be wxll applied to the few references to the settlement on the 
shores of the receding Lin. This is clearly apparent from a perusal 
of the following list of places in the neighbourhood mentioned by our 
early historians. 

GiLDAS (a.d. 511-570). Dc Catamite, Excidio et Conqiiestu Britannice : — Thames, 
St. Albans {Veyulam). [Boadicea, "the deceitful lioness," queen of the 
Iceni, is also mentioned.] 

Bede (a.d. 637-735). Historia Ecclesiastica : — Dunwich (Dommoc), Burghcastle in 
Lincolnshire {Cnohhevcshnrg). 

NiNNius (9th Century). Eiilogiuin Britannice : — Norwich (Caer gain ivuis), 
probably the Roman station of Garionenum is referred to as Gurnion Castle, 
Lincoln {Cair loit coit), Cambridge {Cair grant). These are British place- 
names. 

AssER (9th Century). Annales Ret'um Gestatum ^Elfycdi Magni : — Cambridge 

(Grantabridge), Thetford. 
Fabius Ethelwerd fioth Century). Chvonidc: — Dereham (Deorhamme), Bury 

St. Edmund (Beodoricsworthe), Thorney, Cambridge (G mntabridge), Thetford, 

Bedford. 

Various Writers included in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which covers the period 
from the Creation to a.d. 1154 : — Wisbech, Boston (Jcanhoe), the river Nene, 
Crowland, Thorney, Ramsey, St. Neots, Spalding, Stamford, Ely, " Wittlesey- 
mere," Peterborough {Medeshamstede), Norwich, Dereham (DeoWzaw), Thetford. 



A HABITATION WITH A NAME. 39 

In'GULPH (1030-1109). Historia Monasterii Croylandensis (Peter of Blois, &c., 
wrote the " continuations ") : —Wisbech, Whaplode, Walsingham, Norwich, 
Holbeach, Elmham, Boston {St. Botolph's Town), &c., and Lynn {Lenne and 
Lenne Episcopi). 

William of Malmesbury (1095 or 6-1 143). De Gestis Regum : — Ely, Norwich, 
Thetford, Lincoln, Dunwich, Elmham (Helmham), &c. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th Century). Historia Britonum : — Lincoln (Linda- 
colinum), Caistor {Thong Castle, 23 miles from Lincoln), Colchester {Kaer 
colvin). 

Saga of Magnus, King Hacon's son (13th Century). Lynn {Linn). 

Thomas of Walsingham (1272-1381). Historia Anglicana: — Lynn (Lcjine). 

Richard of Cirencester (died 1402). Historia ah Hengisto ad Ann. 134S, 
Britonum Anglorum et Saxonum Historia: — Caistor near Norwich {Venta), 
Caistor near Chesterton {Durnomagns), Cambridge {Cnmboricum), the river 
Yare (Gario7i), the river Nene {Aufona), the Boston Deeps {Metaris). 

The chronicles and annals relating to this part of the Heptarchy 
are, it must be admitted, singularly scarce as well as provokingly 
barren. We have, indeed, to depend upon the slight incidental in- 
formation preserved by other provinces for the names and dates of 
the East Anglian kings. 

SAXON AND DANE. 

At the time when Ethelbert was king, a Danish hero, Ragnar 
Lodbrog, who was unfortunately driven ashore on the Norfolk coast 
in the vicinity of Reedham, was slain by the huntsman of Eadmund, 
the lord of the East Angles. Ingwar and Hubba, hearing of their 
father's death, came over (a.d. 866) ; they sailed up the Yare, and 
landed a great army not far from Norwich. Northumberland and 
Lincolnshire were pitilessly harried, whilst in East Anglia they cap- 
tured Thetford after a stubborn fight ; the King was taken and cruelly 
put to death (a.d. 870), but his name was sincerelv revered, and his 
memory is still preserved in " Bury St. Edmund." So disheartened 
were the East Anglians by this untoward event, that they at once sub- 
mitted to the Danes, who adopted the country as their home and inter- 
married with the daughters of the conquered Saxons. The amity and 
confidence between the two tribes must have reached a climax (a.d. 
899), when " the Danes committed their wives and their ships and 
their wealth to the East Angles, and went at one stretch, day and 
night, until they arrived at Chester. And they took the cattle and 
slew the men and burned all the corn of the surrounding neighbour- 
hood." [Anglo-Saxojt Chronicle.] 

Time has considerately spared us, in certain existing customs, 
not only the manners of the Romans and the superstitions of the 
Saxons but " faithful remembrancers " of those strange Norse 
legends recounted to our forefathers so many centuries ago by the 
credulous retainers of the Danish vikings. Paganism is peculiarly 
tenacious of life. The hanging-up of the mistletoe at Christmas, 
the bringing in of the Yule log, the kindling of fires on St. John's 
Eve, the bearing of garlands on May-day, etc., are, if not positive 
survivals of heathen rites, at least the lingering result of a compromise 
between darkness and light. 



40 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

A multitude of the place-names in Norfolk clearly establish the 
fact that the heathen Danes left traces behind them. Reference is 
elsewhere made to the ominous appellation which clings to the 
Miller's Entry — it is still " Nick the Devil's Lane"; and 

THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE EVIL ONE 

may possibly be discerned in the word Lake, with which the bur- 
gesses of the present generation are acquainted. The fine earth- 
works, to the north of the town, which are gradually being obliterated 
by the industrious allotment holders, are traditionally of ancient 
origin. These embankments (not the piece of water) were collectively 
termed " the Loke." In the Scandinavian mythology, Loke or Loki 
was the author of every calamity ; he was indeed the supreme Evil 
One ; and his daughter Hela presided over the infernal region. Now 
f/ie foe — the cause of much suffering in those days — was the sea, 
which constantly threatened the low settlement on the border of the 
Lin ; hence our superstitious ancestors naturally regarded the 
" mysterious beyond " as the dwelling-place of their inveterate enemy 
— Loke. 

As late as 1738, and it might be later, Pilot Street was known 
as Deucehill (or Dowshill), and the Deucehill bridge crossed the old 
Fisher fleet not far from the military " block-house " on the outskirt 
of the town. In 1403 John Groute was appointed keeper of the 
gates of the " Douz hill yard " ; this must not be confounded with 
Doucehill^flz'^, which means the way (Danish gaia) by the Deuce's 
hill. This dreary, unfrequented spot — " the sands of Lenn at Duse 
hill," at it appears in the Coroners' Roll (1305)— was no doubt, in 
the minds of the simple folk living hard by, the abode of hobgoblins, 
sprites, and other indescribable monsters. St. Guthlac was beset 
with hordes of demons, who vainly tried to drive him from his retreat 
at Crowland, and the neighbourhood of Cromer is still infested with 
a demon-dog called " Old Shuck." Nickars and wood-devils, plenti- 
ful enough at one time, were the dtius of the northern nations of 
Europe (compare the Latin deus) ; and to the dusiens^ who amused 
themselves by perching upon the chests of unconscious sleepers, were 
attributed the unpleasant effects of nightmare and indigestion. The 
" Deuce " and " Old Scratch " were names applied to the Devil. 
According to Dr. Whitaker, the deuce was a mythological person, the 
goddess of the Brigantes, a tribe inhabiting Yorkshire and 
Lancashire; whilst Sharon Turner asserts that the deuce was a male 
demon, that appeared to men in the semblance of a lovely female, but 
to women as a man. Even St. Austin mentions these weird creatures 
in his De Civitate Dei : — 

Ouosdam dcemones quos dusios 
Gain nuncipant, 

— that is, " which same demons, those of Gaul, termed duse." Hence 
our " demonhill " was the resort of fiends or deuces. 

ALL HONOURABLE MEN. 

During the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) the Lin 



A HABIT AT ION WITH A NAME. 41 

was held in succession by three of the most influential men of that 
period : — 

(i) Stigand, the Bishop of Elmham, by virtue of his ecclesias- 
tical office, claimed the manor of Gaywood, and, moreover, as lord of 
that manor, he undoubtedly exercised paramount authority over the 
adjoining settlement in the Lin, which was, of course, regarded as 
his lay fee. He was, besides, lord of Rising, of the hundred of the 
Freebridge — the ancient " Camp of Peace," — of Smithdon (North- 
West Norfolk), and also of several other extensive districts. Trouble, 
nevertheless, awaited him on the accession of the King. The Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle explains the circumstance thus : — 

And Stigand the priest was blessed Bishop of East Anglia. And soon after 
the King caused all the lands which his mother possessed to be seized into his 
hands, and took from her all that she possessed in gold and silver and in things 
unspeakable, because she had before held it too closely with him. And soon 
after Stigand was deposed from his bishopric, and all that he possessed was 
seized into the King's hands, because he was nearest to his mother's counsel and 
she went just as he advised her, as people thought (1043). 

Stigand, notwithstanding this, reobtained his see at Elmham, 
and, on the death of Alwyn, he succeeded him as Bishop of Win- 
chester (1047-8), and was, moreover, created Archbishop of Canter- 
bury in 1052. 

(2) Ailmar, or Aiglemar, followed as Bishop of the East Angles, 
on his brother Stigand's promotion to the bishopric of Winchester 
(1047). 

(3) Harold, who subsequently ascended the throne, was at this 
time Duke of the East Angles and of the West Saxons; he was also 
Earl of Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Essex and Norfolk. Further, he was 
lord of Great Massingham, Westacre, and what was afterwards 
termed South Lin. 

Adversity was in store for each of these great men : Harold died 
on the battle-field whilst fighting for his crown at Hastings ; Stigand, 
the proud Archbishop of Canterbury, was deprived of every 
spirituality and temporality by the Pope's legates ; and Ailmar is sup- 
posed to have expired in a dungeon. After the Conquest, the lordship 
of the Lin passed into other hands. 

THE FEUDAL SYSTEM 

was certainly practised by the Saxons, though to no great extent. 
Its development was due to William the Conqueror, who parcelled 
out the newly-acquired territory among his own subservient vassals. 
By granting feuds or feoffs he insured not only their future fealty, 
but the services of a definite number of armed men, whom they in 
return were bound to provide. The number of soldiers furnished by 
each knight was clearly and minutely set forth in every enfeoffment. 
As the immediate tenants of the Crown, the knights held their lands, 
which were retained in a few cases by the direct payment of money, 
whilst in others homage, fealty, and service were deemed sufficient. 
There were tenures, too, which were purely nominal ; the regular pay- 
ment of a grain of cummin or a red rose was enough ; others were, 

G 



42 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

however, a few degrees more valuable, and for them a pair of white 
gloves, a gold spur, a silver salver or a tun of wine was demanded. 
Slight services, almost nominal in some instances, such as the holding 
of the lord's stirrups, the keeping of a pack of hounds, etc., secured 
other tenures. Of those tenants in capite who held feoffs in the Lin, 
mention may be made of : — 

(i) Ralf Bainard, lord of Castle Bainard in London, who held 
fifty-two lordships in Norfolk, which were valued in Edward the 
Conqueror's reign at ;^i20 5s. pd., and in William's Survey at 
;£i']2 i6s. id. — figures, it must be borne in mind, representing a very 
considerable amount. One of these lordships was in the vicinity of 
the Lin. 

(2) Ralf de Tony, or Tcdeni, was rewarded with twenty lord- 
ships in Norfolk, which were valued at £,60 is. The one to which 
he succeeded in the Lin (South Lin afterwards) had been previously 
held by Harold before he ascended the throne. 

(3) Hermer de Ferrariis, ancestor of the early lords of 
Wormegay, was perhaps the largest appropriator of lands in the 
district. This tyrant, not being satisfied with the two-and-twenty 
manors in Norfolk (valued at ;^6o os. 8d.) from which the Saxon 
Turchetil had been unjustly ejected, laid claim to others valued at 
;,^2o 19s. pd. He also possessed a township in the Lin, which 
included the present parish of West Lynn. 

(4) Another lordship in the Lin was held by Rainald, the son 
of Ivo. Discontented with fifty-eight lordships valued at ;^ii9 
15s. id., he covetously seized eleven other pieces of land belonging 
to the conquered people, 

(5) Whilst the good abbot of St. Edmundsbury, though pos- 
sessing some fifty-three manors, valued at ;^94 iis. id., was equally 
as avaricious as the other worldings. A part of the Lin, correspond- 
ing with our present North Lynn, was part of his earthly domain. 

The land or " fee " allotted to each knight and constituting the 
barony of a crown vassal was supposed to be sufficient to maintain 
him according to his rank, and to enable him to present himself and 
his retainers suitably equipped and ready to fight in any emergency. 

Of the five Parliamentary boroughs in Norfolk, only two are 
mentioned as burgs in 

THE DOMESDAY SURVEY, 

whilst " Castle " Rising, Thetford, and King's Lynn are unnoticed. 
This, however, in no way proves they were nonexistent. London, 
indeed, is wholly omitted, yet there is indisputable evidence to shew 
it existed long before the compilation of the Conqueror's survey. 
About the year a.d. 275, Tacitus speaks of what the Saxons termed 
London-byrig or London-borough, as Londinium ; and Bede, writing 
in A.D. 604, says it was " the emporium of many people coming by 
sea and land; whilst in the Judicia Civitatis Lundonia (a.d. 924) the 
metropolis is classed as a byrig, burg, or town. Notwithstanding the 
fact that Lin is mentioned only as a district, it does not preclude 
the existence of Lin as a town. The record in question was nothing 



A HABITATION WITH A NAME. 43 

more nor less than a general register compiled expressly to settle, in 
case of dispute, the tenure of estates, etc. It was not an official 
enumeration of the inhabitants of the kingdom, neither was it a 
parochial survey. But, following the example of Alfred the Great 
and Edward the Confessor, the Norman Conqueror had a national 
geld or rent-roil drawn up of the particular lands which owed rent, 
suit, or service to the Crown. 

MATTERS ECCLESIASTICAL. 

Through severe affliction the venerable Bisi or Bisus, the fourth 
of the Saxon bishops, was greatly hindered in the discharge of his 
episcopal functions. The duties would indeed have tried the strength 
of a far younger man ; hence he conceived the idea of dividmg the 
large East Anglian diocese into two parts. This was effected during 
his life (a.d. 637). A suffragan, Bishop Baldwin, was elected for 
North Elmham, where the first cathedral church — a wooden structure 
— was erected; whilst the superior. Bishop Ecci, continued at Dun- 
wich. However, the two sees were reunited by Herfast, the twenty- 
second bishop, who was moreover the Conqueror's chancellor (1070). 
He was, of course, a Norman, and, like other Norman ecclesiastics, he 
heartily despised the old Saxon capital, so dear to his predecessors. 
Therefore, he removed the see to Thetford (1075), where it remained 
until Bishop Lozinga transferred it to Norwich (1094). 

What a zealous, enthusiastic prelate was Herbert de Lozinga ! 
He made up his mind to erect not only a cathedral in the middle of 
the diocese, but smaller churches at each extremity ; he was indeed an 
enterprising builder. St. Nicholas' at Great Yarmouth and St. Mar- 
garet's at King's Lynn appear to have been both begun about the year 

IIOI. 

The old burg was now fast merging into a place of importance, 
and the church, afterwards dedicated to the memory of St. Margaret, 
was erected almost at the water's edge, for the benefit of those living 
upon the foreshore of the fast disappearing Lin. With so many 
buildings in progress, the bishop's purse, as might be expected, waxed 
lighter and lighter, but his ardour did in no wise abate. He boldly 
appealed to the inhabitants of Norfolk and Suffolk for money to 
enable him to carry on the commendable design upon which he had 
set his heart. How was it that during Herbert de Lozinga 's term of 
office a second appeal for further funds was necessary? Were our 
forefathers remiss in contributing towards this most worthy object? 
By no means, and for these reasons : — rThe population of the town 
kept on steadily increasing, so much so that before the close of the 
12th century it was found imperative to extend the boundary by 
enclosing a part of the " new land," formed by the silting process 
already explained. Not only was the church of St. Margaret com- 
pleted, but a chapel of ease was deemed necessary. When St. 
James' chapel was built we cannot say, but it was in existence some 
thirty years after the prelate's death. And the money derived from 
the second call was rather to erect a seco7id building than to complete 
the first. 



U HiSTOkY OF KING'S lYNN. 

Herbert was followed by Bishop Eborard, who did not interest 
himself with this neighbourhood ; but his successor, William Turbus, 
of Turbe, proceeded to enclose a part of the sandy marsh to the north 
of the town. This important work, enclosing what was styled the 
New Londe, must have been undertaken between 1146 and 11 74, that 
is, between the year when William Turbus was promoted to the see 
of Norwich and the time of his death ; and the reclaiming of this 
tract, over which the spring-tides perhaps ebbed and flowed, was prob- 
ably finished before the town received its first charter. 

There is a parchment roll in our borough muniment room which 
throws a little light upon the subject. Although the style of writing 
is peculiar to the period when Henry V. lived, yet it is, we are told, 
an unquestionably faithful copy of a survey of the town during the 
later half of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. The 
original terrier was evidently compiled for the purpose of recording 
the amount of ground-rent due to the bishop for each tenement. 
From it we learn that the town was designated Lenne Efiscopi, that is 

bishop's lenne 

and that the recently-enclosed area was — the Newland. Now, 
although the Purfleet ran between the old burg and the newer and 
more modern settlement, it was easy to get from one to the other when 
the tide was low, by means of the ford or wading-path, where thought- 
ful hands had placed stepping-stones among the reeds and sedges. 
After a while, and when the necessity for passing from one settlement 
to the other became more urgent, the ancient embankment was prob- 
ably cut away and the fosse at the Sedge-Ford was spanned by a 
primitive foot-bridge, towards the support of which the busy inhabit- 
ants were well pleased to pay a small tax or byrig-boot. A rough- 
hewn, clumsy piece of joinery it must have been ; yet was it very use- 
ful, and utility covers a multitude of sins. The connection between 
bridge and byrig, an earth-work, needs no further explanation. 
Thomas de Sedgeford, who was mayor in 1306 and again in 1308, 
was named, as was usual in the early days of surnames, from the 
sedge or seche ford (Anglo-Saxon secg), the locality in which he lived, 
and in this case it might possibly be at the west end of Sedgeford 
Lane. 

The maintenance of bridges and roads was once regarded as a 
work extremely meritorious and pleasing in the sight of God. Those 
who were compelled to travel from one part of the kingdom to another 
were considered objects worthy of charity. Not only, therefore, did 
pious Christians leave money to place bridges across the treacherous 
fords, where the stepping-stones were often swept by torrents after 
heavy rains, but to erect wayside chapels.* A religious order, the 
Pontife Brothers (Latin fons a bridge) was founded in the 12th 
century, whose sole object was the collecting of funds for the making 

** Adam de Geyton bequeathed los. to repair the bridge over the Nar, in South Lenne, and 20s. to the 
"causey" (causeway) between Roudcshill (''Spread Eagle Estate") and Gaywood, &c. (1272). Thomas 
Thoresby, of Leime, willed that the bridge of Stock Ferry be finished up, at his cost, in coping and other 
necessary thiugs for the salvation of the same (15 10). 



A /JAB/TAT/ON WITH A NAME. 45 

of bridges. As a rule these sacred edifices were erected beside the 
bridges, so that with no unnecessary inconvenience the wayfarers 
might enter and thank God for His preserving mercy. it was 
customary for them to leave a small contribution, if tolls were not 
demanded, for the repair of the bridge over which they had just 
passed. 

All the bridges leading to the older part of the town apparently 
had their chapels. Not far from the Gannock bridge was the oratory 
now called the Red Mount, which might have succeeded an earlier 
building nearer the mill leat ; at the north-east corner of what is still 
termed Lady bridge, and near the mouth of the Mill fleet, was a 
chapel dedicated to Our Lady, which was taken down to widen 
the street (1806); and the bridge connecting the old and new towns 
was provided with a chapel, which was at the north-west angle, where 
the Coffee Tavern now stands. An etching of the crypt or bassa 
ecclesia, discovered when the Purfieet was filled up, was executed by 
the late Henry Baines (1865-6). Our Stone bridge or High bridge 
had only one arch, but, like the celebrated London bridge, finished in 
1209, it was furnished on both sides with houses. When the tenants 
of these houses (which were standing until recently) needed water, 
they let their buckets down by means of ropes from the windows or 
overhanging balconies at the rear, and hauled up a fresh supply from 
the Purfieet. Under this bridge, barges, heavily laden with mer- 
chandise, passed to supply those dwelling on both sides of the 
" common way." 

After Bishop Turbus had raised a substantial embankment and 
laid out the enclosed land for building purposes, he erected a chapel 
of ease, and dedicated it to the memory of St. Nicholas. This he 
granted to the monks of Norwich, even as Herbert, his predecessor, 
had the church of St. Margaret. The sacred edifice was "in his 
own liberty," and although the church in the " Newland " was vir- 
tually a chapel of ease to the parent church, yet it was entirely dis- 
tinct, because it was without the soke of the monks, standing upon 
land reclaimed from the sea — in fundo nostra de Lenna in novo terra 
nostra quam de novo ■providimiis liabitandam — '' upon our ground at 
Lenne, in our new land, where we from the beginning have provided 
a habitation."'^" 

In 1204, John de Grey, who was then bishop of the diocese, 
expressed the great desire he felt for possessing certain lands and 
privileges which Bishop Herbert de Lozinga had made over to the 
priory at Norwich. To effect his purpose. John de Grey proposed 
to exchange his manors at Sechford and Great Cressingham in Nor- 
folk, together with the lands, etc., belonging thereto, reserving only to 
himself and his sucessors the advowson of the church at Great 
Cressingham, with the knight's fees and services accruing to the said 
manor. The priory, accepting the offer, resigned to the bishop and 
his successors the whole of the rights and profits arising from the 

* Micliael of Lyii, secretary to Edward III., and Archdeacon of Suffolk (1348), was sumamed Newburgh, 
.\t a later period Northburg was also applied to the uew settleraeut. 



46 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

fairs held at Bishop's Lenne and Gaywood, the market of St. Mar- 
garet, and their right in all rents (with one exception) and tolls in the 
burg. 

To secure even greater ascendancy, the bishop promised to remit 
to the priory at Norwich " all spiritualities, tithes, oblations and 
obventions," belonging not alone to the church of St. Margaret, but 
also those derivable from the chapels of St. Nicholas and St. James, 
besides those of the church at Mintlyn. He surrendered with ques- 
tionable disinterestedness the tithes received from his demesne lands 
at Gaywood as well, upon an easy condition — that the priory was to 
supply the necessary chaplains, subject, however, to his approval and 
dismissal. He, moreover, reserved to himself the power to erect other 
churches in their parishes if he thought fit, but any prospective profits 
arising therefrom he notwithstanding relinquished and conceded to the 
priory. 

Such strangely advantageous terms were eagerly accepted, and 
thus the domination of the town drifted once more into ecclesiastical 
hands. It cannot be a surprise that henceforth the name it bore 
was more than ever applicable,— a name retained until the borough 
was alienated to the Crown, some three hundred years afterwards. 

EXCHANGE, NO ROBBERY. 

During a short but eventful career John de Grey had played 
various parts before donning the bishop's mitre ; he travelled the 
country as a justice, and had quietly ingratiated himself into royal 
favour whilst discharging his duties as the king's secretary. He 
became immensely rich and oppressively arrogant. But the worst 
was yet to come, for our impecunious monarch so far humiliated him- 
self as to solicit assistance from his own servant. The regalia of 
England, the king's gilt sword, sur-coat, tunic and numerous articles 
of costly apparel, besides the sumptuous coronation robes of Edward 
the Confessor, and other priceless relics, were surrendered as pledges 
to the usurious prelate for money advanced. Having thus far 
achieved his secret purpose, he determined to exercise what power 
he possessed in influencing the king on behalf of the town which by 
his exceptional astuteness and diplomacy he had secured to himself. 
He had already — before negotiating the exchanges with the Norwich 
Priory — built for himself a stately palace at Gaywood, which is said 
to have stood on the site occupied by the present " Hall." Consoling 
himself that one good turn deserves another, he approached the king, 
who in abject submission granted his request. 

To these circumstances we are indebted for our -first charter, 
which King John granted, his motives being primarily to gratify the 
wishes of an invaluable favourite rather than to benefit " the good 
folks of Lenne," as his subjects in this town were flatteringly styled. 
From thence Lenne Episcopi became what was termed a free 
borough, " which at that time," write Merewether and Stephens, 
"was a distinguishing mark of no slight importance." 



OUR GREAT CHARTER. 47 

CHAPTER VII. 

Out Great Chatter* 

In early times royal charters were executed for the purpose of grant- 
ing special privileges, exemptions, honours, pardons, rewards and 
other benefits the Crown might have to bestow. Thus the term 
became restricted to such instruments as conferred some definite right 
or franchise. Royal charters and letters patent did not differ much 
in form ; they were usually addressed by the king to his subjects, and 
were exhibited in some public place, with the great pendent seal at 
the bottom. The power of the Crown in granting charters was at 
first exercised chiefly in conferring immunities on burghs or boroughs 
and municipal bodies ; and the most important was considered to be 
the privilege of sending representatives to Parliament. This our 
town has done since the reign of Edward III. 

We possess an almost unbroken series of charters from the 
beginning of the 13th century to the present time. 

C. I. THE MAGNA CHARTA* 

of our municipal liberty is carefully protected in the new strong-room 
adjoining the Town Hall. A portion of the broad wax seal, 
attached to the parchment with a silken cord, remains. The deed, 
which is in a good state of preservation, was granted by King John 
at Lutgershall, in Wiltshire, on the 14th of September in the 6th year 
of his reign (1205). 

By this charter Bishop's Lenne became what is termed a free 
burgh, and its inhabitants thenceforth enjoyed certain advantageous 
concessions. Our first charter may be regarded as the basis upon 
which all subsequent liberties rested. As a lordship or seigniory, 
the burgesses had from that time forward the power of holding plea 
of trespass, etc., and also the privilege of fining offenders. They 
could themselves try any person accused of theft in the burgh ; 
besides, if any burgess were arrested for felony elsewhere, they could 
summon him to appear in Bishop's Lenne to stand his trial in the 
town to which he belonged. They were free " from all suit of county 
court or hundred court for tenures within the burgh of Lenne ; and 
that none of them should be impleaded out of the burgh in any plea 
but those of foreign tenures, and that all trials of murder should be 
in the said burgh, and the burgesses freed from all trial by combat 
or duel, and if impleaded in any except a foreign one, they might 
traverse the same according to the law and custom of Oxford." 
(Parkin.) 

The different payments due to the bishop as lord of the burgh 
were to be exacted from all strangers visiting Lenne ; from these 
levies the burgesses were, of course, exempt, whether they remained 
in the town or not. Strangers were subject to passage, a payment for 
the use of the roads leading to, through and from the burgh ; paage, 

* As reference will be made to our various charters, it is thought advisable thai they should be 
designated thus: C. i, C. 2, etc. 



48 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

a tax upon all merchandise brought hither by water ; pontage, for 
keeping the various bridges in repair ; stallage or ftckage, for break- 
ing the ground for the erection of stalls or booths in fairs and 
markets ; and sundry tolls for permission to buy or sell. If, however, 
a burgess hailing from Bishop's Lenne were compelled to pay for the 
enjoyment of similar privileges elsewhere (except in London), the 
chief officer, provost or mayor of Lenne could immediately distrain 
upon the goods of the offending exacter for the whole amount. To 
prevent breaches of the king's peace the community could inflict a 
fine of ;^io upon any stranger injuring a stranger whilst a sojourner 
in their midst. 

The highly favoured inhabitants of this burgh were no longer 
liable for the payment, either here or elsewhere, of the obnoxious 
Danegelt — a tax of two shillings upon every hide (60 to 100 acres) 
of land released by King Stephen. Permission was granted for the 
establishing of a self-governing gild of merchants, on the same lines 
as the one already existing at Oxford, and for the holding of a 
weekly hustings court. Moreover, in future no burgess was forced 
to maintain anybody ; he might with impunity disregard an order to 
that effect even if it were issued by the Earl-Marshal. Miskenning, 
or the fraudulent summoning of a seller to court, under the pretence 
that the goods offered for sale were claimed by another, was punish- 
able as a crime. A terrified salesman would often part with accom- 
modation money rather than appear in court to prove his possession 
was legal and thus " justify a sale." 

ITS CONFIRMATION — 

Now after the king had granted the charter conferring " free- 
dom " upon the burgh of the Bishop's Lenne, and received (as is said) 
three beautiful palfreys as a slight token of grateful appreciation, it 
became necessary for the bishop as lord of the burgh to formally 
reiterate the king's words, and thus to definitely acknowledge that 
the same met with his concurrence. John de Grey therefore certi- 
fied : " That he had granted to his village of Lenne, namely, to the 
parish of St. Margaret in the same village, and all men dwelling 
therein, all and every the same liberties which the burgesses of Oxford 
enjoy ; the king having granted to him " (the bishop) " the power of 
choosing any burgh in England, and that his village of Lenne should 
enjoy the same liberties that any burgh enjoyed, which he should 
make choice of, and that he made choice of the burgh of Oxford." 
(Parkin.) 

The bishop's choice was a wise one. Oxford was highly 
favoured among burghs, and of this the Bishop was cognizant. Its 
charter had been granted by Henry IL, not only in recognition of the 
city's fidelity to himself when fighting against Stephen, but because 
of its friendship to his mother. 

Mackerell speaks of having seen this episcopal charter. It was 
about 6 by 5 inches, having at that time the seal attached, though 
somewhat broken. The historian gives a description thereof. On 
one side there was the representation of the Bishop in his episcopal 



OUR GREAT CHARTER. 49 

attire, mitre on head, and crozier in hand, with the legend : 
Johannes Dei Gratia Episcop. Norwicens. On the reverse, a 
lamb with a cross, and for legend : Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollit 

PECCATA MUNDI. 

Mr. E. M. Beloe, who has given considerable attention to this 
subject, refers to a series of charters by means of which " the divided 
jurisdiction of the monks in the old town and the bishop in the New- 
land was obliterated, and the town became one, and under one 
authority." The series mentioned may be arranged thus: — 

(a) 27th January 1203, King John granted a preliminary charter to the town ; 

(h) 24th March 1203, the Bishop gave a confirmatory charter ; 

(c) 14th September 1204, the King granted the " Great Cliarter " ; 

{d) 17th May 1205, a charter of exchange executed between the Bishop and 
the Monastery of Norwich ; 

(e) 17th May 1205, the Bishop granted considerable endowments to the 
Monastery, including the three churches in Lenne, with Gaywood and Mintlyn; and 

{/) loth June 1205, a royal charter confirming d and e. 

Of these important documents b " was till lately in our muni- 
ment room " j it was, however, overlooked by Mr. John C. Jeaffreson, 
when investigating for the Historical Manuscripts Commission 
(1887). The " two beautiful originals " also in the possession of 
our Corporation and marked c above, are duly mentioned in his pub- 
lished " Report " (pp. 185-6). In the duplicate the names of the 
witnesses are differently arranged, and " Alan Basset " appears in 
one, but not in the testamentary clause of the other. The last of the 
series, /, is in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich.* 

AND ADAPTATION. 

Owing to the vagueness of the phraseology employed in the docu- 
ment termed the " Great Charter " many disputes and much con- 
fusion arose. The burgesses disagreed with the methods adopted at 
the municipal elections ; this difficulty was, however, easily overcome 
by following the usage at Oxford; nevertheless " quarrels were con- 
tinually occurring with the bishop," as Harrod asserts, " either about 
his tolls, about his title to interfere in their elections, or about the 
neglect of his duties in repairing wharves and staithes." 

The fleecing of strangers was not by any means the introduction 
of a new commercial method, but the survival of a very old one, as 
is apparent from the following quotations from Adam Smith's Wealth 
of Nations : — 

In all the different countries of Europe then, in the same manner as in 
several of the Tartar governments of Asia at present, taxes used to be levied 
upon the persons and goods of travellers, when they passed through certain 
manors, when they went over certain bridges, when they carried about their 
goods from place to place in a fair, when they erected in it a booth or stall to 
sell them in. These different taxes were kno\\Ti in England by the names of 
passage, pontage, lastage and stallage. Sometimes the king, sometimes a great 
lord, would grant to particular traders, to such as lived in their own demesnes, a 

' Vide Our Borough: Ouf Churches; by Edward M. Beloe (1899) ; and Parkin's History of Norfolk 
(Blomefield). vol. viii., pp. 483-6 (1808). 

The Charter in Latin — Mackerell's Hist. Lynn, C1738), pp. a42-4 ; in English — Blomefield's Hist. Norf. 
vol. VIlI., pp. 485-6, or Aikin's Report of the Municipal Corporations (1834), pp. 74-5. 

H 



50 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

general exemption from such taxes. Such traders, though in other respects of 
servile condition, were upon this account called free-traders. They in return 
usually paid to their protector a sort of annual poll-tax. In those days protection 
was seldom granted without a valuable consideration, and this tax might 
perhaps be considered as compensation for what their patrons might lose from 
other taxes. 

There can be no doubt but that the inhabitants of Lenne paid 
pretty heavily for what were, after all, only nominal privileges. The 
poll-taxes were in some places let in farm during a term of years, for 
a stipulated sum, to the sheriff of the county or some other person 
with adequate means. The king received the revenue without the 
trouble of appointing collectors, and the speculating sheriff seldom 
struck a bad bargain. At other times, however, the burgesses them- 
selves became jointly and severally responsible for the whole amount. 

At first the farm of the town was let to the burghers, in the same manner as 
it had been to other farmers, for a term of years only. In process of time, 
however, it seems to have become the general practice to grant it to them in fee. 
that is, for ever, reserving a rent certain, never afterwards to be augmented. Tl e 
payment having become perpetual, the exemptions in return for which it was 
made became perpetual too. Those exemptions therefore ceased to be personal, 
and could not afterwards be considered as belonging to individuals as individuals, 
but as burgesses of a particular burgh, which on this account was called a jree- 
burgh, for the same reason that they had been called free-burghers or free-traders. 

The frequent litigations in which our Corporation were involved, 
have, it must be thankfully admitted, contributed to the preservation 
of this ancient relic, recording the first enfranchisement of our burgh. 
In 1339 a payment of three shillings and four pence was made for 
a " hanaper " in which to place " the great charter." A hanaper — 
a word recognisable in its modern guise as hamper — was a small 
wicker basket in which legal documents were formerly kept. Writs 
in the Court of Chancery were kept in such a basket — z« hanaperio, 
and the office was until recently called the Hanaper office. The 
charter was produced in evidence before the King's Court as late as 
the 7th year of Henry IV. (or V.), to establish the fact that no bur- 
gess belonging to the free-burgh of Lenne could be legally impleaded 
in any place other than the town to which he belonged. Prior to this 
it was produced and allowed in the Court of King's Bench in the 
case of Margaret the widow of Robert de Wenton and the Mayor of 
Lenne (1220). 

EARLY DEVELOPMENT. 

At the beginning of the nth century, Lenne was a place of some 
importance, and owing to its advantageous position, being on a narrow 
arm of the sea, it grew in course of time into an opulent mercantile 
settlement. As early as the Norman invasion, the inhabitants en- 
joyed exceptional pecuniary privileges — duties and customs payable 
on the arrival of merchandise, a moiety of which they handed over 
to the bishop of the diocese, who was lord of the burgh. Tradesmen 
in large towns had their patrons as early as the reign of Edward the 
Confessor, under whose protection they traded, and for which they 
willingly paid an acknowledgment. If there were no patron, they 
found themselves in a most servile condition, as being under the 



OUR GREAT CHARTER. 51 

power of the king or other influential persons, who could extort money 
from them. It was therefore an advantage to the burgesses of Lenne 
to have a powerful patron — the bishop of the diocese. William of 
Newburg (1136-1198?) a friar belonging to the Augustinian priory 
at Newburg, near Coxwell, in Yorkshire, and the author of the 
Historia Rerum Anglicarum (the finest historical work by an English- 
man during the 12th century), regarded our town as of great import- 
ance; he speaks of it as Urbs commeatu et commerciis, that is, "a 
noble city, or a city noted for its trade." The origin of " the great 
river " in the 13th century, by establishing communication with the 
midlands, greatly facilitated the growth of our trade. " Of all the 
navigable rivers in England," writes Col. John Armstrong in his 
Navigation of the Port of King's Lynn (1756), " the river of the 
great Ouse is one of the chief, which for usefulness of it an ancient 
author (Spelman) says, via lactea est; qua merces 6^ alia vitce 
necessaria cofiose inferunt &" defermit : ejiisque in osiio, instar 
clavis, Lenna sedet. In other words, our river was termed " the 
milky way, which copiously brings in and carries out the riches and 
other necessaries of life, the key of whose worth (that is, the mer- 
chants), settled in course of time with (their) vessels at Lenne." 

(l) ITS EXTENT. 

Towards the close of the 13th century buildings had spread 
northward in the Newland, beyond the chapel of St. Nicholas; the 
Damgate, corresponding with part of ilie present Norfolk Street, was 
populated, and a row of small tenements stretched from the Bishop's 
\Iill fleet (Littleport Street) quite up to the drawbridge at the East 
or St. Catherine's gate. The whole of the north side of this portion 
of the thoroughfare belonged to the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence, 
and paid of course a ground-rent to the Bishop. And what is perhaps 
still more surprising — there were beyond the East Gates, outside the 
boundary of the Newland, two-and-twenty other messuages, twelve 
on the north and the rest on the south of the highway leading towards 
Gaywood. For the safety of the burgh these messuages, miserable 
thatched hovels at the best, were burnt " in the time of war " by 
order of King Henry III, 

The causeways or dams approaching the early settlement in the 
Lin were vastly improved. There were two. The one on the north, 
leading from Thorpe, crossed the marshes at Gaywood and passed 
by the point where Hob in the Well now stands. " The course of 
the road into the older settlement of Lyn between the Purfleet and 
the Millfleet is well marked. It entered by the East Gate," Mr. 
E. M. Beloe continues, " always the more important one, through 
Littleport, then turning to the left southward it ran on a high em- 
bankment, lowered in my time for the station and St. John's church, 
into Lynn over the Purfleet, there called the Clough Fleet." This 
causeway was the High-gate or High-way — a cognomen perhaps also 
applied to the Dam-gate or raised way across the marsh which led 
to the ferry in the haven. High is derived directly from the Anglo- 
Saxon adjectiye hiah, and indirectly from the verb heaf-an, to heave 



52 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

up, to raise, or to elevate. How appropriate is this name to the road 
running along the raised earth-work. The old embankment has dis- 
appeared, it is true, but there is in the neighbourhood a district still 
termed " Highgate." 

Professor Skeat traces the derivation of high thus : Anglo-Saxon 
/leak, Mercian heh, gives the Middle English hey or heh, also hy^ or 
hygh, hence hig/i, whilst hey is represented by hey-day, that is, " high 
day." The final h in Anglo-Saxon had the sound of the German 
ch. This sound was always written gh in Middle English, and still 
remains in writing, though always either mute or sounded as /. The 
gh is sounded as / in laugh, but is silent in high. 

The late Mr. J. D. Thew regarded the " High Hills," as this 
embankment near the station was called, as "an old disused dust- 
heap," and Burnet piles ridicule upon the term, because the " hill.s " 
are not higher, quite forgetting its etymological significance — the 
raised or heaved-up " hills." 

As late as the i8th century Norfolk Street retained its old name; 
it was the Dam-gate. The dams or approaches to the burgh were, 
as might be anticipated, originally banks to obstruct the flow of the 
incoming waters (Anglo-Saxon demn-an, to obstruct, to restrain, or to 
stop by means of a heap of earth). 

On the south of the settlement was the Hardwyke Dam, another 
important causeway, leading from the hamlet of Hardwick — a name 
which signifies, according to Blomefield, " a turn at the point of hard 
land." Crossing the ford at the spot where the South Gate was 
subsequently erected, it swerved towards the west, and then, after 
one or two bends along what was afterwards Coldhirn Street (Friars 
Street), the cobble-paved track was struck, which led to the second 
ford, spanned ultimately by " Our Lady's bridge," and on to the 
old earth-work called the Stone-gate. 

(2) THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A MINT. 

Another sign of early importance was the fact that Lenne owned 
a mint and struck coins. During the Saxon period this coveted 
privilege was often relegated to the Church. Mints were, however, 
sometimes granted to municipal communities by royal licence, and 
thus constituted one of the early characteristics of a burgh. In a 
list of the " towns of mintage " for the period corresponding with 
the reign of Edgar (a.d. 959-975) Mr. Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A., 
includes Lenne ; there is, notwithstanding, no positive proof (although 
it seems highly probable) that our town possessed a mint at that early 
date. King yEthelstan enacted a law to the effect that " no one is 
to coin money outside a port " (that is, a burg owning a market) 
" and there is to be a moneyer in every burg " (a.d. 924-941). May 
we not infer from the equivalence of the terms that Lenne as an 
ancient burg possessed its own mint ? 

In 1863 a workman dug up about 500 Saxon pennies at the 
corner of the old Butter Market and the White Hart lane in Ipswich. 
Though all belonged to the same reign, ^thelred II. (loth century), 
yet they were struck at several different places ; London appears as 



OVR GREAT CHARTER. 53 

LuNDONi or LuNDO, and Lenne is said to be represented by Lvn, 
and perhaps Lima, for in the Domesday Book Lvn and Lena are 
given. Neither does Ly upon a Saxon nor Lyndr upon a Norman 
coin help in this inquiry. Some writers contend that the Stephen- 
penny with Stiefne upon the obverse and HwN on Risinge upon the 
reverse was struck at Lenne ; but if Rising were a burg it had its own 
moneyer in the time of ^thelstan, and, moreover, if the burg was a 
fort or market, the greater the reason it should possess a moneyer. 

There is indisputable evidence that a mint was established in 
Lenne in the time of King John, because a mandate was issued to all 
the " moneyers " in the kingdom summoning them within fifteen days 
to Westminster, to bring for inspection all their own dies, but not 
those of the King (1208). Therein Norfolk, Norwich, Thetford and 
Lenne are mentioned. A century later a writ was issued, addressed 
to the wardens of the mint at Lenne, directing them under a recent 
ordinance — le statut de la jnonoie — not only to seize all prohibited 
money, but the chattels of the offending coiners, which were to be 
sent immediately to His Majesty's exchequer. No matter how high 
the social position of the delinquents, none were to be spared. Out 
of courtesy, six silver pennies were handed to the King's messenger 
who brought the writ to Lenne (1307). 

How long our burgh continued to work its own mint may be 
conjectured. Edward III. wisely reduced the various local coinages 
to one standard — that of the Tower of London. There was no pro- 
hibition ; every mint could withdraw its coining tools from the Tower 
after they had been scrupulously adjusted ; but as a profit of only 5s. 
was to be allowed for striking coins to the amount of ;^ioo in future, 
it is reasonable to suppose that, with other towns, Lenne grew dis- 
satisfied, and discontinued the unremunerative business of money- 
making (1344)- 

(3) THE advent of THE JEWS. 

In 1020 Canute issued an order of banishment against the Jews, 
who apparently returned to this country soon after the Norman Con- 
quest, and many had taken up their abode in this town as early as 
the 12th century. Inasmuch as they carried on trade with most parts 
of Europe, it may be rightly inferred that Lenne was not wholly un- 
known on the Continent. William of Newburg has left on record 
a tragic incident which happened here (January, 1190). One of the 
resident Jews, who professed to be a Christian, suddenly found him- 
self in great danger ; and to save his life he took sanctuary in one 
of the churches. Whereupon his enraged brethren broke open the 
door, and would have slain him, had not several foreigners rushed 
to his rescue. The townsfolk, it seems, were afraid to interfere, 
because at this time the King had temporarily taken the despised 
race under his protection. This sad adventure quickly developed 
into a deplorable riot, which was attributed not to the jealous bur- 
gesses, but to the foreign traders who happened to be in the town. 
The houses in the Jewry, or Jewish quarter, were plundered and 
burnt to the ground, and a general massacre of the Jews ensued, the 



54 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

last being a Jewish physician. A monkish writer declares " that 
bold and greedy men carried out the work of their own cupidity with 
savage joy." To escape the King's displeasure, the strangers 
secured their booty and forthwith sailed away. 

At this time (William of Newburg continues) there is a street called from 
them the Jews' street, where they lived together. They had great mdulgence 
which they paid the government for, bought houses and lands which rendered 
them hated by the Christians. In many ancient deeds may be seen a form of 
warranty against selling land, &c., to th«m, namely, et cuicque dare yendere, ct 
assignare value nt prceterquam domij religiosce et Judaismo vel Judxis which 
means that lands, &c., may be freely given, sold or assigned to whomsoever a person 
wishes, except to a religious house for Jewish purposes or to the Jews themselves. 
In the time of Richard I. the persecution of the Jews was 
general throughout the kingdom, and our town was implicated in this 
early Socialistic movement. Envy and dissatisfaction prompted to 
deeds of robbery and murder those who ought to have set an example 
worthy of imitation. The Jews were immensely rich ; therefore were 
they plundered and their wealth stolen, and where resistance was 
offered they lost their lives. The royalists robbed and murdered them 
because, as was contended, they assisted the barons ; and the baronial 
party followed suit, alleging as a pretext that the Jews were secretly 
allied with the King against them, and that they possessed hidden 
stores of Greek fire, with which to destroy the champions of liberty. 
Norfolk perhaps exceeded every other part of England for the viru- 
lence of this fanatical persecution. The brutal work started in Lon- 
don, extended to Lenne and other places, and at last reached York, 
where a most revolting massacre was perpetrated. 

Although our "great charter" held out inducements for 
strangers to settle in Lenne, the Jews, it seems, were soon driven 
away. Gewys' Lane was a local street-name in the 13th century, 
and the lane retained that name until about 40 years ago, when it was 
dubbed "Surrey Street." There is still a "Jews Lane Ward," 
although the Jews no longer inhabit the locality. As thrifty, in- 
dustrious people, they amassed riches, and were in consequence re- 
viled and persecuted by their envious, improvident neighbours. Not- 
withstanding this unfortunate, though common occurrence, wherever 
a Jewry existed prosperity invariably smiled. 

(4) ROYAL FAVOUR. 

King John visited Norfolk several times, and is believed to have 
been exceedingly well disposed to the inhabitants of this burgh, who 
were, it is said, unfeignedly grateful for their charter of freedom. 
Although no facts are given in support of this assertion, the burgesses 
of Lenne were unquestionably sincere in their loyalty, or John in his 
extremity would not have trusted himself in their midst. 

On two occasions the disaffected barons assembled at the magni- 
ficent church at Bury (St. Edmund) to devise measures conducive to 
their own protecdon, and likely at the same time to secure greater 
liberty to the down-trodden peasantry of England. The first meet- 
ing was convened in May 1205 ; the King spent three days in Bury, 
but nothing of a satisfactory nature was the outcome. Later in the 



OUR GREAT CHARTER. 8B 

same year he was in Norfolk ; on the 8th and 9th of October he was 
in Lenne, or rather Gaywood, for he apparently stayed with his 
favourite, Bishop de Grey, at his newly-erected palace. The next 
conference was held the 20th of November 12 14, when Stephen 
Langton submitted a series of proposals to the enraged barons for 
their consideration. 

Another sign of the importance of the burgh at this period was 
the amount contributed in Imperial Taxes. This interesting subject 
must, however, be considered in a future section. 

THE TREND OF EVENTS. 

The student of English history will find no difficuFty in tracing 
the course of events ; he will remember the reluctant signing of our 
national Magna Charta, as based on Langton's suggestions at Runny- 
mead ; the King's subsequent outburst of anger, and his ineffectual 
attempt to annul what he had already done ; his crafty intrigue with 
the pope,, who, although he had previously favoured the barons in 
their commendable struggle, now veered round and promptly excom- 
municated those opposed to the King ; the introduction of foreign 
troops to coerce the people, who demanded greater freedom ; the King 
at the head of a mercenary army laying waste the provinces ; the 
baronial party imploring Prince Louis, the son of Philip of France, 
to come to their assistance; the landing of the young Prince and his 
followers ; the capture of the castle at Norwich, the ruthless plunder 
of the city, and the exaction of large ransoms from Yarmouth, Dun- 
wich and Ipswich. These familiar events need no lengthy 
description. 

When hard pressed and fleeing before the enemy, John remembered 
his friends in Bishop's Lenne, and sent a message imploring the 
authorities to receive and shelter all who might present themselves 
with recommendations from Fulk d'Oiry and three other royal ad- 
herents. Moreover, His Majesty graciously appointed Saveric de 
Malione (otherwise Mauleon) to the captaincy of the burgh. At 
length King John sought refuge here himself, bringing with him the 
vast treasures he was lay force of untoward events compelled to carry 
with him wherever he went. The burghers gave the King a hearty 
welcome, feasted him sumptuously during his stay, and presented 
him, when he departed, with a large sum of money. Saveric, whom 
he sent back to Crowland to capture certain men-at-arms reported to 
be in hiding there, though failing to find those whom he sought, yet 
brought considerable spoils to Lenne — flocks of sheep, herds of cattle 
and a few wretched prisoners, driven from sanctuary within the pre- 
cincts of the Abbey. Parkin states that John was in Lenne on the 8th, 
9th and loth of October 1216; that he, however, remained here 
another day is conclusive, because of the following passage in the 
Patent Rolls : — " At Lenn. Know, that we received in our chamber 
at Lenn, on Tuesday next, after the feast of Saint Dionysius (Oct. 
nth), the eighteenth year of our reign, 100 marks. ""^ Possibly the 

'^ Mr. Rider Haggard in his preface to Tht King's Homeland (1904), in following Mason (Hist. Norf., 
p. 53), was led astray in concluding that in the Pbtent Roll our borough was styled — King's Lynn ! 



56 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

King received on this occasion the ransom Agatha de Trusbutt paid 
for the liberation of her husband William d'Albini, Earl of Arundel 
and Lord of Rising, who, belonging to the baronial army, was im- 
prisoned as a traitor. The amount paid in this instance was loo 
silver marks. The day before John granted to Margery (or Mar- 
garet) the wife of Walter de Lacey, a slice of the royal forest at 
Aconbury (Herefordshire), whereon to build a religious house. She 
therefore founded a nunnery of the order of St. Augustine for the 
repose of the souls of her father, mother and brother — William de 
Braose, junior. 

The struggle between the King and his people was exceedingly 
severe, but fortunately of brief duration. Referring to this disastrous 
campaign. Speed tells us that — 

King John setting forth from Lin,* where for their faithful services he 
bestowed large franchises and his own sword (?) and a gilt belt for typification of 
his affection, with a full resolution to addresse his mighty army, to give Lewis 
battle, as he was passing the Wash with his army and rich carriages towards 
Lincolne Shire in those lands by reason of ye often changeable Channell ever 
dangerous, all his carriages treasures and provision (himselfeandhis army hardly 
escaping) were irrecoverably lost. 

Matthew Paris describes the disaster as taking place at the 
Cross Keys, where the King's waggons, baggage and valuables, in 
the words of Shakespeare — 

Were in the washes all unwarily, 

Devoured by the unexpected flood. 

On the left side of the road leading to Long Sutton there was 
until recently a dark, stagnant pool of water, known as " King John's 
Hole," where the King's treasures were supposed to have been en- 
gulfed. Rumour assures us that many articles belonging to the un- 
fortunate monarch were dug up, when the land in the vicinity of the 
pool was drained. 

Notwithstanding this crushing event, John bravely pushed for- 
ward, determined to encounter the French army in Lincolnshire ; he 
reached Wisbech on the 12th, Sleaford on the 15th and Newark on 
the i8th, where his earthly career was brought suddenly to an end. 
His death was caused not by poison, as some believe, but by a violent 
attack of dysentery, the result of his gluttonous excesses whilst at 
Lenne, aggravated perhaps by incessant anxiety. In compliance 
with his wish, his body was conveyed to Winchester, and interred 
within the precincts of the cathedral (12 16). 



CHAPTER VIIL 
The King^s Taxes* 

After the mysterious death of Prince Arthur, King John was cited 
to answer a charge of murdering his nephew, who was a homager of 
the crown of France. Contemptuously ignoring the summons, he 



•' Tradition points to the Mitre (now the Empress) Inn, Queen Street, as the house at which King John 
stayed 



THE KING'S TAXES. 57 

was, by the decision of the French peers, deprived of all the posses- 
sions he then held as vassal of France. Without delay, Philip, the 
French king, invaded Normandy ; and in the course of the year 
(1204-5) that duchy, as well as Anjou, Maine, Touraine and Poitou, 
repudiated their allegiance to the English king. John unhesitatingly 
boasted that he would recover all he had lost in one day. To do this 
an expedition against France was imperatively necessary, but at this 
most critical juncture the foolish monarch was ill-supported. Yar- 
mouth and Lenne were among the principal places that came for- 
ward to help to provide a fleet. Zealous gratitude seemed to have 
biassed the judgment of the burgesses of Lenne ; they were truly more 
loyal than discreet in the homage and assistance they rendered this 
foolish, licentious monarch. 

* -x- * * * 

John was succeeded by Henry, his eldest son, a youth about 10 
years of age. The Earl of Pembroke was appointed guardian of the 
King, — an office which also included the onerous functions apper- 
taining to the Regent of the realm. He succeeded in winning over 
several leaders in the baronial army ; indeed, it was his wisdom and 
courage which prevented England at this alarming crisis from 
becoming a tributary province to France. 

WAR IN THE ISLE OF ELY. 

The fickle-minded inhabitants of Lenne (with whom every loyal 
burgess must feel disgusted) suddenly swerved round, and, forgetful 
alike of the friendship and the favours of their lately deceased King, 
and, moreover, of the allegiance due to their youthful sovereign, they 
joined hands with those wicked barons who were still brandishing 
their arms. A battle was fought near Littleport, in which the barons 
and their allies from Bishop's Lenne were severely handled. The 
burning of twenty-two tenements beyond the East Gates, which 
followed, happened " in the time of war " ; and though we are told 
that the destruction of houses outside the boundary was for the safety 
of the burgh, there is no reason why the circumstance may not be re- 
garded as a mild sort of retribution carried out under the King's 
instruction. Be this as it may, one fact remains indisputable : by 
the strange and unaccountable behaviour of these burgesses the 
chartered rights of Lenne were forfeited. 

The defection was happily of a temporary character. The per- 
verse and discontented minority were speedily absorbed by a stanch 
and loyal majority. The destruction of a few old houses was nothing 
when compared with the rights and privileges so wantonly sacrificed 
through such an exhibition of wayward disloyalty. Picture the dis- 
may in the faces of the wiser, and perhaps older, burgesses, as they 
wended their way to the meeting convened by the Mayor, to consider 
the gravity of the situation in which the community suddenly found 
itself ; and imagine the impassioned and convincing arguments 
addressed to the disloyal town-folk ! Before the congregation dis- 
persed, Richard de Oxwikes was unanimously deputed to solicit an 

I 



58 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

audience of the King, to tender penitential apologies, and to pray 
that Bishop's Lenne might once again be enrolled with the rest of 
the free burghs, and that those advantageous terms enumerated in the 
burgh's "Great Charter" might no longer be withheld (1216-7). 
Though this course of action was humiliating, it was prudent, and, 
by-the-bye, very economical, for the out-of-pocket expenses of the 
deputation amounted only to seven shillings and eightpence. 

Camden says :— " They (the burgesses) recovered their lost 
liberties with some bloodshed from Henry III., when /;/ his cause . 
they lost a battle against the proscribed barons, in the Isle of Ely, 
as the Book of Ely (Liber Elieiisis), and Matthew Paris (Chronica 
Majora) testify." 

In both engagements the detachment from Lenne suffered 
severely. By their atonement they acknowledged the injustice of 
visiting the sins of a father upon an innocent child. 

REEVE, PROVOST OR MAYOR. 

The youthful sovereign generously forga\e the burgesses their 
ill-advised transgression, and, mindful of the friendship that had for 
so many years existed between them and his father, he granted the 
burgh three charters during his reign. They were all more or less 
of a confirmatory nature ; his primary object being to reaffirm and 
reinforce what his father had already conceded. 

C. 2. Dated at Westminster 6th Feb. ; 7th year of his reign (1223). 

C. 3. „ ,, Windsor 14th April ; 39th „ „ „ (1255). 

C. 4. „ „ Westminster 26th March ; 52nd „ „ (1268). 

The first was a charter {insfeximiis) of revision and confirma- 
tion ; not only were the privileges defined by the Great Charter (C.i.) 
granted 28 years before (1205), acknowledged, but the grant was pro- 
longed indefinitely. By the second, entitled Ne quis fro alios 
distringator, the King freely granted the self-same immunities, but 
he cautiously pointed out that they were in no wise binding upon his 
successors. The third formally confirmed the two previous ones 
(C.3. and C.2.) and gave the inhabitants permission to elect a mayor 
in accordance with the terms of an ecclesiastical charter granted by 
the Bishop of Norwich and his Chapter " in former times." 

Now the bishop had no power of himself to grant the burgh a 
mayor; he might notwithstanding have issued an ecclesiastica^l charter 
ratifying, or rather stating his acquiescence in. what the King had 
done. Sir Henry Spelman repudiates the generally-accepted sug- 
gestion that King John actually granted our burgh its -first mayor, 
which he maintains was obtained through Henry III. (C. 4.). There 
is indeed no mention of a mayor in our " Great Charter." It is 
written in Latin, quoted by Mackerell and Parkin, and, according to 
the translation, in A Refort of the pocecdings of His Majesty's 
Commissioners inquiring into the state of the Municipal Corpora- 
tions, as republished by the late J. W. Aikin (1834), it was 
addressed : "To all Archbishops, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, 
Chief Officers, Ministers, and to all their Bailiffs and faithful 
people." The word rendered "chief ofifirers " is in the original 



THE KING'S TAXES. 59 

the dative plural of the noun prapo situs; further on in the document 
propositus de Lenna is encountered, and this also is translated as 
the " chief ofificer of Lynn." After the sheriffs — the shire-reeves, it 
would be reasonable to anticipate the port-reeves; however, instead of 
the Saxon word its Latin equivalent, prcepositi, appears. 

The remarks by Messrs. Merewether and Stephens in reference 
to London demand quoting, because of their peculiar applicability 
to our burgh : — 

As we have charters [granted to Loudon] in the reign of William II., 
Henry I., Henry II., Richard I., and three preceding charters by King John (two 
in one day) in none of which the mayor is mentioned, it is not assuming too 
much to say that there was no charter authorising the change of the name from 
reeve to mayov: — and notwithstanding the great importance which has been 
attributed to the latter term by authors— lawyers — and even the courts of law — 
and Parliament, there seems to have been no necessity for a charter to change 
the name, for the office continued the same; and it is obvious that the alteration 
of the term could make no essential difference. For, as we have before observed, 
the name varied only according to the diflerent language from which it was 
borrowed : — veeve being the Saxon term— bailiff the French — prcepositiis the 
Latin, afterwards translated into provost — and maire the Norman appellation, 
probably borrowed from the Latin term major, not altogether without analogy 
to the Saxon term for another office, the elder or ealdorman — the modern 
alderman ; but to suppose that any real distinction was intended by the use of 
these different terms, or that there was such magic in the appellation of mayor as 
to import a Corporation or any connection with it, seems too childish to require 
refutation, or even to justify further comment.— [T/ze History of the Bovoughs and 
Municipal Covporations, 1835, vol. I., p. 384.] 

THE IMPERIAL REVENUE. 

On the accession of King John (1199) a duty termed quinzieme 
was exacted. The land in this instance was not taxed, but all 
movable goods — household furniture, wearing apparel, etc., were 
assessed at one-fifteenth of their estimated value. The money was 
carefully collected and paid to the King. As Lenne contributed as 
much as 13.14 per cent, of the whole amount, the relative position 
held by our burgh at this period may be better understood. Boston 
paid 15.75, London 16.86 and Newcastle 3.19 per cent, respectively. 
Again, in 12 15, when the port of London contributed £,?>Z^ 12s. 2d. 
towards the revenue of the nation, Boston paid ^780 15s. 3d., 
Southampton ^712 3s. 7d., and Lenne ;^6oo lis. iid. Our town 
ranked then as the fourth port in the kingdom ; its fifteenth {qiiinta- 
decima or quinzieme, for both Latin and French ordinals were used), 
amounted to two-thirds of what was raised by London alone; and 
this commercial prosperity arose mainly through an influx of enter- 
prising foreigners, many of whom were Jews. Lenne was eclipsed 
by three other ports only ! 

An unsystematic and somewhat arbitrary levying of these taxes, 
or tallages, as they were afterwards called (a word borrowed from 
our French neighbours, the import of which must claim attention 
presently) caused much uneasiness in Lenne during the early part of 
the reign of Henry IIL Without consulting the patient burgesses, 
the bishop of the diocese inflicted these burdens whenever he thought 



(50 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

it expedient. This was a high-handed proceeding, to which the bur- 
gesses submitted unwillingly. 

A distinct separation from the jurisdiction of the sheriff of the 
county (shire-reeve) was the real basis of the rights of a burgh or 
borough. The preliminary measures in the assessing and collecting 
of tallages rested with the sheriff and the bailiffs of a hundred ; but 
in a free burgh the provost (or mayor) took the place of the sheriff, 
and was assisted in his deliberations, not by bailiffs, but by certain 
" lawful men " {le gales homines), who to qualify themselves for such 
an important position were duly " sworn to the law " in the court leet. 
Henceforth were they regarded as " law-worthy " men — the 
accredited burgesses of the burgh. As this custom was established 
as early as the reign of Richard I., the bishop of the diocese was 
unquestionably encroaching upon the rights of the community. 

THE MAYOR versilS THE BISHOP. 

Like sensible men, the burgesses decided to fix their own assess- 
ment and to tax themselves, without consulting an interfering bishop. 
The pecuniary burden was perhaps no lighter, and the privations in- 
curred by the payment thereof were not likely to be any the less, but, 
acting independently and voluntarily, they did not feel it quite so 
much. They had, besides, the temerity to create a mayor without 
gaining in the mean time the Bishop's gracious assent. The head 
and front of their offending had this extent, no more. 

His Lordship, the arrogant Thomas Blundeville, looked upon 
such a bold usurpation of power not merely as an illegal precedent, 
but as an absolute crime ; and fearing, besides, that such irregular 
proceedings tended to weaken the feudal hold he had upon his vas- 
sals, he reluctantly entered an action against the officious bur- 
gesses in the ecclesiastical court, and then, with even greater reluct- 
ance, mercilessly excommunicated one and all of the imprudent 
offenders (1224). 

To be mulcted in heavy damages would be bad, but to have one's 
part taken out of the book of life would, especially in a superstitious 
age, be inconceivably dreadful. In this awful dilemma our dis- 
tracted forefathers appealed to the King's justices, before whom a 
legal investigation was instituted at Westminster. The representa- 
tives of the Mayor and Burgesses of Bishop's Lenne, as well as those 
of Thomas Blundeville, the incensed Bishop of Norwich, were cited 
to appear before these justices, who were of course versed in eccle- 
siastical law : Robert Lexington, William de York, Ralph de Nor- 
wich, William de Lisle, Adam Fitz-William and Ralph de Rokele. 
The King, as was then the custom, probably sat at the head of the 
justices in the court of the King's Bench. The Mayor complained 
that he and his associates were impleaded by his lordship in the 
ecclesiastical court ; and, moreover, that they had been most cruelly 
and unjustly excommunicated, because, in the first instance, they had 
chosen a mayor among themselves, and secondly, because as burgesses 
of a free burgh they had ventured to tax or tallage themselves. Sub- 
ject to statutory law, the burgesses were striving after self-govern- 



THE KING'S TAXES. 61 

ment, and the duty the justices were called upon to discharge was 
to decide whether their charters were sufficient for these things or not. 
To be taxed at the caprice of an autocrat, whether layman or 
cleric, was in all conscience a bitter pill for the self-assertive inde- 
pendent folk of Lenne to swallow, notwithstanding the declaration to 
which they each subscribed undoubtedly invested the bishop with this 
extraordinary power. " You shall faithfully pay your tallage," 
commences the form by which they were sworn, " made by the lord 
(bishop) at Ids ivill, of all your chattels of your property whatever 
they are, and of the chattels of your wife, and all that is your due 
to pay." How did they interpret the damning phrase? Like 
Wordsworth's river, the bishop moved "at his own sweet will." 
Possibly, too, his Lordship was within his rights in summarily excom- 
municating the wayward burghers, for Messrs. Merewether and 
Stephens write thus : — 

Excommunication was threatened to all who in prejudice to ecclesiastical 
liberty presumed to burden religious men, clerks, beneficed clergy or their men 
living on ecclesiastical ground, with tallages, taxes, murage, tributes, expense- of 
fortifications, or of carriage, or other undue and unaccustomed exactions. And 
that this threat might operate strongly on all people, notice was directed to be 
given by the priests in all churches at Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and Saints' 
days, in the vulgar tongue. — \Hh\:QYy of Boroughs, 1843, vol I., p 426.] 

— There is no evidence, but it is probable, that the burgesses fixed 
a tallage U})on some of the clergy then resident in the burgh ; if so, 
excommunication was the natural sequence. 

In the decision awarded by the court, no reference is made to 
the method of assessing the tallage; it might therefore be presumed 
that the obnoxious system was not amended. Definite instructions, 
however, were given as to the selection of a mayor for the burgh of 
Lenne. In future, the burgesses were to nominate " whomsoever 
they pleased of their own body," subject only to one easy condition 
— that the mayor-elect should be immediately presented to the bishop 
or his successors, and that the bishop, on his part, should duly 
acknowledge the chosen representative of the people in his official 
capacity " without any contradiction." Prior to the formal pre- 
sentation the mayor-elect was compelled to pledge himself '^ to pre- 
serve as much as in his power [lay] the liberties of the Church of 
Norwich." 

MEDIAEVAL ASSESSMENTS. 

In 1227, Herbert d'Alengon. as sherifl" of Norfolk ;uid Suffolk, 
was employed to fix an assessment for the county; again in 1230 
another w:is determined by Godfrey de Craucumbe and William de 
Haverhill, ft cannot be ascertained whether the mayor or the hisJiop 
assessed our town on these occasions. When the King's sister, the 
Princess Isabella, was married, our county, with others, was called 
upon to provide '' an aid " (1235). The King stipulated the form 
this benevolence was to take : the Sheriff of Norfolk, Thomas 
d'Emmenegrave and the bailiffs of the various hundreds were com- 
manded to furnish ten ships, equipped with well-armed sailors, to 
" take his beloved sister across the sea." The inhabitants of Lenne 



62 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

unquestionably assisted in providing funds for the matrimonial 
expedition. 

In our municipal strong-room fragments of two old tallage rolls 
are carefully preserved. They constitute the earliest receipts for 
money paid. The first contains particulars of the different sums 
gathered in one of the constabularies into which the burgh was then 
divided. The assessment was unusually heavy, and was fixed at one- 
tenth of the estimated value of the goods possessed. It refers to " the 
ward of Henry Borehorn," but unfortunately bears no date. The 
second, a parchment 15 feet long and 7 inches wide, gives an interest- 
ing account of what was collected in the constabulary or wardship of 
Henry de Gernemutha towards the payment of a tallage of one- 
fifteenth granted by the Parliament to Edward I. 

A WOODEN ARRANGEMENT. 

Before examining the more important of these documents, an 
obsolete way of keeping accounts must be briefly explained. Four- 
sided wooden rods or tallies were used. The word tallage is the 
English adaptation of the French word tailler, meaning " to cut away 
a part out of the whole." On one side of the wooden ledger, notches 
were cut, corresponding with the sum for which it w^as a tangible 
acknowledgment. The other sides contained in writing, the date of 
the transaction, the name of the payer, and other particulars of the 
debt contracted. When everything was in readiness, the rod was split 
in such a manner that each half contained one written side and the 
half of every notch. Whilst one part was put into circulation, the 
other was safely deposited in the Exchequer. When a settlement of 
the account was desired, the two parts of the rod were placed 
together ; if they tallied, or made a perfect tally, all was right ; if not, 
there was convicting evidence of fraud, and payment was promptly 
refused. In 1298 Reginald de Taverner was indebted to the 
community ^15, that is, for three different tallages, but he explained 
how he had advanced ;^i5 8s. as a loan for municipal purposes ; he 
moreover produced his tally; the counterparts were examined, the 
notches were found to correspond, and the payment was thereupon 
remitted. Tallies were not finally abolished in the Exchequer till 
1834. 

Poor men and women, the value of whose movable goods did not 
exceed forty pence, were excused, but all in better circumstances were 
bound to contribute according to the amount fixed by the public 
assessor. This imperial exaction, designed expressly to replenish a 
depleted exchequer, was collected just after the ingathering of the 
harvest, so that, with the burgesses' cattle, agricultural implements, 
and articles for culinary and domestic purposes, there might also be 
included the corn crop of the current year. The work of fixing a 
value upon the goods and chattels of the tax-payer was deputed to 
one person, who was no doubt responsible for the collecting of the 
same. It may safely be assumed that Henry de Gernemuth in this 
particular ward was far other than a welcome visitor, especially when 



THE KING'S TAXES. 63 

he called in his official capacity to overhaul the half-secreted belong- 
ings of our industrious ancestors. Was there then no impartial assess- 
ment committee to which the aggrieved and dissatisfied burgher might 
appeal? He might come before the Mayor and on oath declare* that 
his pans and platters, bed and bedding, cloak and doublet — that the 
marketable value of everything he possessed was below the assessor's 
estimate, but seldom or ever was there any alteration made in the 
assessor's figures. Exemption and abatement, as we may see, were, 
however, by no means exceptional. 

THE TALLAGE ROLL (1292)! 

to which reference has been made, gives the name of the assessor, a 
list of the burgesses assessed, with their respective payments, arranged 
in wards, and the name of the ward-constable. This valuable docu- 
ment, written in the contracted Latin of the Middle Ages, was trans- 
lated by the late Rev. G. H. Dashwood, F.S.A., of Stow Bardolph. 
An endorsement gives the total amount as ;^i,5oo 2s. ^^\d. ; this is 
believed to be the tallage for one of the burgh wards. In 1290, 
London paid ;^2,86o 13s. 8d. 

Before an inhabitant could participate in the benefits conferred 
by the charters of the town, he must become a full-fledged burgess. 
The qualifications for this civic estate were : a continuous residence 
of one year and one day in the town ; the possession of a father who 
was himself an indisputable burgess ; the faithful service (generally 
extending over seven years) as an apprentice ; and the fact that the 
applicant was " a good man," or had done something for the weal 
of his fellows, which deserved public recognition. When he came 
before the solemn conclave, over which the Mayor presided, he was 
sworn not only to keep the secrets of the town inviolably, but he 
pledged himself as far as his means permitted to secure the Mayor 
and the community against loss, injury, damage, or penalty. He 
then paid a fee or fine, which was determined according to his circum- 
stances. The usual payment, half a mark, that is, 6s. 8d., was 
accepted in lieu of the annual tallage for that year. In 1292 Robert 
de Lisgate paid 5s. ; in 1297 Robert de Lodesham, a wealthy gold- 
smith, paid 26s. 8d., or two marks; and in 1299 Master John 
(Johannes Godynge), " the founder of the bells," paid 6s. 8d. for 
enrolment on the burgess list. 

EXEMPTIONS. 

Petev Pauntenayc, having on his oath solemnly declared his inability to pay, 
because he did not possess twenty shillings worth of goods in the world, was 
allowed his burgess privileges on the payment of sixpence (1292). 

John, son of Aitewater, urged as plea tliat he was the son of his father, who was a 
burgess. His claim was allowed. In grateful recognition, John advanced 
4od. for the use of the burgh, wisely stipulating that the said amount was to 
be fully deducted from his first tallage (1298). 

" The "corporal oath," administerefl in these cases, was most sacred. The person was required to 
place his hand either upon the elements of the holy eucharist or on the fine linen cloth (or corporal) whereon 
the supposed body of Christ was placed in the sacrament. 

t The Rev. G. M. Dashwood, F.S.A., believed it refers either to the 3rd or the 20th year of Edward I. 
See " Remarks on a Subsidy Roll in the possession of the Corporation of Lynn Regis." [Norfolk 
Archasohgy : 1847, vol. 1., pp.'334-3.i4-l 



64 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



Robert de Swaffkam, a mercer, was accepted as a burgess, because, as his some- 
time master Ralph Sanby attested, he had faithfully carried out the terms of 
his apprenticeship (1299). 

Master Andrew Cokiis was enrolled without paying any fee, because he was vir 
60HUS, that is " a good man " (1292J. This case is exceptional; the good 
men generally paid. 

ABATEMENTS 

or reductions were made in the case of burgesses who had assisted 
with money or kind, either the community or their Sovereign, for 
example : — 

(i). The Mayor and Burgesses of Bishop's Lenne. 



Burgess. 



John de Reymer 
Geoffrey Trubbot 



Roger ; sometime 
with \V. de Laken- 
ham 

John Wysdam 



Nicholas de Marslial 
Richard le Tav^erner 
Thomas de Wainflet 

John Gigge 
Jordan le Verrer 



Thomas de Burgh 
and Nicholas 



Asst. 


Rdn. 


6/8 


6/8 


£^ 


£4/14 


10/ 


6/ 


20/ 


10/ 


4/ 


4/ 


2/ 


2/ 


13/4 


10/ 


30/ 


3/4 


5/ 


2/6 


44/ 


18/7 



Reason for an Abatement. 



Wine supplied during the mayoralty of 

Hugh de Massingham (1292). 
Sturgeon given to Sir W. de Carleton and 

Lord P. de Willoughby, Sic. ; also meat to 

the King (1297). 
For the value of 2 boards taken by the 

community (1298). 

For the house in which the plasterer dwells 

for the (query, repairing of the) " Wall " 

(1299). 
For keeping the East Gate of the town 

(1299). 
For wine supplied to the King's butler by 

the community (1299). 
For money advanced to a monk of Durham, 

who lent it to Godfrey le Faunceys for the 

use of the community at Newcastle-on- 

Tyne (1300). 
For canvas provided for the (town) barge 

(1300). 
For making a glass window in the south 

front of the (town) hall (1300). 
For money advanced for repairing the 

tov\Ti's walls or earth- works (1297). 



(2). King Edward I., towards the war in Scotland. 



John de Berney 

Simon de Lincoln 
John de Welle 



12/ 


10/ 


26/8 


10/ 


15/ 


15/ 



For supplies ; also for money lent to pay 
the wages of the members in Parliament 
(1292). 

To furnish ships for an expedition to Scot- 
land (1300). 

The town owed him £^ for the expenses of 
his ship " Nicholas " in the King's service. 
John, however, owed the community the 
present and. two previous tallages. The 
tally-cutter presented him with a new 
tally, shewing that according to the 
contra -account the town was still indebted 
to him 55/ (1302). 



THE KING'S TAXES. 65 

(3). King Edward I., towards the war in France. 

Ralph Sandy 40/ 13/4 For ships ready for service at Ipswich (1297). 

Richard deToftest 30/5 9/6 For a supply of sacks and hair. [Father and 
Eustace de Toftes) son, or brothers, in partnership.] (1297.) 

Adam de Babingley 5/ 5/ For herring commandeered from his boat 

by the French sailors ; valued at 10/ ; the 
community, therefore, owed him 5/ (1297). 

Among the inhabitants who contributed to the imperial tax, some 
came up smiling with the marks in their hands; others, perhaps in 
better circumstances, paid, it is true, but they looked other than 
pleasant during the transaction ; and there was a third section, com- 
prising many shuffling defaulters. 

PAYMENT ENFORCED. 

When a burgess refused to contribute towards the King's tallage, 
and neglected to claim an abatement, the Mayor levied a distraint 
upon his goods and chattels ; and the chamberlains at once seized 
some of the offender's wearing apparel. In 1298 Hamo de Matlaske, 
who was perhaps annoyed at the assessors' valuation, paid 5s. instead 
of I2S., the full amount. As remonstrances were thrown away upon 
this stubborn individual, his super-tunic, a fashionable kind of over- 
coat, was seized ; when, however, he came before the Mayor to pay 
what was owing, and to redeem his garment, the chamberlains were 
constrained to admit that it had been stolen whilst in their custody. 
Hamo's arrears were thereupon cancelled. Goodmen William de Est 
Winch and Roger Den, who appear as partners, were charged 30s., 
and being refractory, four pair of hosen, worth 2s. 8d. each pair, had 
been seized. They produced a tally shewing that to indemnify the 
community they had freely advanced money during the first year of 
the mayoralty of Hugh de Massingham. Their hosen were returned, 
and the tally destroyed (1297). 

Two mazer bowls, a silver wine-cup and a vessel to contain holy 
water, were taken from Ralph de Fuldone for his arrears (1306 to 
131 2). Henry de Holt and Thomas de Bauseye came forward and 
paid 40s., as vadia or bail, and thus obtained possession of the dis- 
trained goods. Richard de Docking was assessed at ^^ ; he paid 
20s. under protest, and then claimed the sum of ^13 os. 6d. as an 
abatement, — that is, los. for excess of payment the previous year, and 
the rest as money the community owed him. This was no doubt a 
correct statement, for the chamberlains were ordered to pay " his 
expenses to Rome " on a pilgrimage as a set-off (r299). 

Apropos of this old subsidy roll is a paragraph illustrating — 

The Value of Goods. 

Among the various articles mentioned, we find the following, which it is 
curious to compare with the prices of such things in the present day. To begin 
with, what appears a staple commodity, as it occurs under almost every name— - 
a last of herring was estimated at ;f 3 ; a cow we find valued at 5/, 6/ and 6/4, 
and one " hackeney " as low as 3/4 ; a hog worth 1/6 ; a sheep 1/ ; pewter vessels 
valued by weight at iH. per lb. ; brass at 2d. per lb. Nearly all those whose 
names occur on the roll appear to have possessed one or more mazer bowls 

K 



66 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

or (wooden) cups, varying much in value, from i/6 to as high as 14/1 each, and 
several of the more wealthy at the same time possessed silvrr cups. Beer is rated 
at 2/6 per barrel, wine at 40/ a cask ; candles at i|d. per lb. ; malt at from 3/6 to 
5/ per quarter ; barley at 3/6 per quarter ; wheat at 5/6 and 6/ per quarter ; flour 
at 6/ per quarter ; wool at from £^ to £b per sack. Silver spoons are frequently 
mentioned at the rate of 1/ each. We also find that articles of dress were taken 
into valuation ; thus two man's robes and one woman's valued at £^2/3/4 ; one 
man's robe and one tabard (a kind of smock frock) 35/. — (Rev. G. H. Dashwood.) 

To meet the heavy expenses incurred by the wars in the reign of 
Henry III., frequent appfications for tallages and subsidies were 
made. In 1267 every lay person, man or woman, of 14 years old 
or upwards, was expected to pay 4d. In Norfolk 88,797 l^Y persons 
contributed ;^i,479 19s., Norwich £,6$ 17s. 4d. (3,952), Lynn jQ$2 
2s. 4d. (3,127), and Yarmouth ^30 13s. 8d. (1,941 lay persons). 

NATIONAL AND MUNICIPAL REFORM. 

An important law called the Statute de Talligio de Concedendo 
received the royal assent (1306). It was a concession made in order 
to subdue the discontent, which had arisen among the commons, in con- 
sequence of the King having taken a tallage of all cities, boroughs 
and towns without the assent of the Parliament. He was deeply em- 
broiled also with the nobles and land-owners for having attempted, 
unsuccessfully however, to compel all freeholders above the value of 
;j{^2o to contribute either men or money towards his wars in Flanders. 
In a measure this statute tended to curtail the arbitrary power of the 
sovereign, because Edward I. agreed that in future no tallage or aid 
should be levied by him or his heirs without the good-will and assent 
of the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, burgesses " and 
other freemen of the land." Thus were the representative freeholders 
or knights of the shire united with the representative citizens or bur- 
gesses in one assembly. This, the embodiment of a truly democratic 
principle, was not a dead letter, because the voice of the people, no 
longer to be stifled, would be ever and anon reechoed by their repre- 
sentatives in Parliament. 

The whole municipal machinery was terribly out of gear; it 
needed to be crucially examined and carefully readjusted. To pacify 
the burgesses of Lenne, Edward issued letters patent of pardon and 
release in respect to trespasses said to have been done by those in 
authority (1295). 

In assessing divers tallages on the community without the unanimous assent of 
the same community and other great sums of money under cover of certain 
common fines, heretofore made by them for divers causes, beyond the sums to 
which the same fines extended themselves, and in converting to their own use, 
and not to the advantage of the said community nor to the reparation of the 
same town — [What a happy state of affairs !]• — a great part of the same tallages 
and other different sums of money, as well by occasion of the aforesaid as bv 
occasion of murage — [a tax for making or strengthening the earthworks of the 
burgh] — granted unto them by us, and also in committing divers forestalla de 
prisas of merchantable things coming into the same town of their owti peculiar 
authority, against the law of our own kingdom, and in establishing and using in 
the same town certain corruptions, contrary as well to common law as to law 
merchant. — (7 April, 23rd Edw. I.; Letters Patent, dated at Westminster.) 



THE KING'S TAXES. 67 

The forestalling of goods, that is, the selling them at less than 
local prices, was regarded as criminal. John de Walsingham accepted 
a bribe from the citizens of Norwich and other strangers forestalling 
leather and skins, to the great danger of his neighbours being tanners, 
and the whole community. John cunningly acknowledged his tres- 
pass and compounded with his accusers by pledging five tuns of wine 
and his corporal oath not to offend on these lines any more. For the 
trespass he was fined 15s., and was given clearly to understand that 
on the next occasion he would have to pay 20s. Four respectable 
townsmen came forward and accepted the responsibility of his future 
behaviour. The scribe is particular in stating how four tuns were 
returned to the offender, but the final destination of the remaining 
tun is left for an imaginative, unsympathetic generation to decide. 
Thus was justice satisfied, and " all went merry as a marriage bell." 
(1299.) 

It would be interesting to hear what Messrs. John de Thurendine, 
Thomas de Waynflete, Geoffrey Drew and Thomas Secheford (1303-6) 
and other influential magnates who occupied the mayoral chair might 
have to say, touching those grave accusations in the King's letters 
patent. Notwithstanding the legitimacy of our desires, they can 
never, we fear, be gratified. 

Before setting out upon a hazardous expedition into Gascony 
(1230), to recover the lost provinces in France, Henry III. devoutly 
bowed his head before the famous shrine of 

OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM. 

There is no evidence that Henry passed through Lenne on this 
occasion, although it is likely that he did. As our town derived 
several royal guests through this preeminent attraction, it might be 
wise to make a slight digression in order to spare future trouble. 

Not only was this magnificent shrine, with its sacred relics, 
deservedly popular in our own country, but it gained quite a contin- 
ental reputation. Pilgrims of every description, from every grade of 
society, flocked yearly to the " Holy Land of Walsingham." Kings, 
queens, nobles, warriors, philosophers, divines — some from the remote 
highlands of Scotland, and others from the remoter and more inac- 
cessible parts of Europe — all, in fact, whose circumstances would 
warrant the undertaking of a tedious and expensive journey, were 
sure to be among the prostrate devotees. 

The learned Erasmus (1467-1536), who twice visited Walsing- 
ham, humorously recounts in his Peregrinatio religionis ergo what he 
witnessed ; he tells us, in describing the Virgo Paratlialassia, that the 
rich offerings in silver and gold and precious stones shewn him were 
incredible, there being scarce a person of any note in Europe but what, 
at some time or other, had paid or sent a person to the shrine. He sums 
up with these words : " If you look in you will say it is a seat for 
gods, so bright and shining is it all over with jewels, gold and silver." 
Indeed, the treasures there accumulated were so enormous that Roger 
Ascham, the tutor to Lady Jane Grey, remarks in 15 10, that : " The 
three kings be not so rich I believe as was the Lady of Walsingham." 



G8 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Although Wells, being seven miles off, was the nearest port, yet 
pilgrims from abroad generally landed at Lenne, which is seven-and- 
twenty miles from Walsingham. Vessels belonging to our burgh are 
frequently mentioned in the pilgrims' passports. Those, too, from 
the northern counties either set sail at Boston or Long Sutton, and 
crossing the intervening part of the Wash, landed at Lenne. From 
thence they probably wended their way past the priories of Flitcham, 
Rudham {i.e., Rood-ham), and Cokesford, where food and rest could 
be obtained. A road from the south led through Newmarket, Bran- 
don and Fakenham, whilst that from the east passed through Nor- 
wich and Attlebridge. The ruins of wayside chapels, built for the 
accommodation of the pilgrims, are seen in many parts of the county, 
as are also the shafts of roadside crosses, which mark the spots where 
the devotees used to assemble in large numbers. Company was 
desirable, when the " green lanes " were in places hardly distinguish- 
able. The old ballad gives an idea of the difficulty of travelling in 
those times : — 

Gentle heaidsman tell to me 

Of curtesy I thee pray, 
Unto the towne of Walsingham 

Which is right and ready way? 

Unto the towne of Walsingham 

The way is hard for to be gon, 
And very crooked are those pathes 

For you to find out all alone. 

The chapel at Walsingham is said to have been a facsimile of the 
holy house at Loretto, which was the Sancta Casa, — the house at 
Nazareth in which the Virgin Mary lived, and which was transported 
thence by angels.* 

MATTERS MERCANTILE. 

Immediately following Henry's first charter a royal licence was 
issued, permitting foreign merchants to visit the fair of Lenne, and 
as a special inducement their safety was guaranteed (1224-5); this 
was merely reaffirming or republishing what had already transpired. 
The following clause in the Great Charter (C.i.) is tantamount to 
Henry's licence : — 

Furthermore, for the imbettering of the aforesaid borough of Lenne, we have 
granted that what merchants soever shall arri\e at the borough of Lenne with 
their merchandise, of whatever place they shall be, whether strangers or others, 
which shall be of our peace, as coming into our land without our licence, may 
come, stay and return in our safe peace, yielding the right customs of that 
borough. 

Whether the inhabitants of Lenne cherished unpleasant recollec- 
tions of the unfortunate position in which they placed themselves, 
when they were mercilessly mauled by the barons at Littleport, is not 
improbable. They seem to have boycotted certain traders belonging 
to Ely, and to have refused them the privileges to which they were 

'■■ The "Lady chapel" adjoining the prespnt Roman Catholic ehurch in Lynn is a replica of the 
chapel at W.ilsingham. 



TRE RED REGISTER. 69 

entitled. Hence the King commanded the mayor and burgesses to 
permit the men of Ely to sell their beer, and, moreover, to trade in 
the town (1257). 

The wine trade for which Lenne was subsequently noted had 
already commenced. The sheriff of Norwich was ordered to convey 
50 tuns of imported wine, purchased by his Majesty's purveyor, to 
Kenilworth Castle, where, it will be remembered, the King was 
besieged by the insurgents (1266). 

The King directed that the injuries done to certain Norwegian 
merchants by William de Len and Johannes de Bolton should be 
made good (1269). 

It was during this reign that the river Ouse — " the great river at 
Lenne," — assumed its present course; but " that's another story," as 
Rudyard Kipling would say, the telling of which demands a 
supplementary chapter. 

* -X- -X- * * 

" After a nominal reign of fifty-six years, — a memorable period, 
which owes no part of its interest to the monarch from whose sway it 
derives its name," Henry III. died at Westminster the i6th 
November 1272. 



CHAPTER IX. 
The Red Register. 

Edward I., the eldest son of Henry III., was proclaimed King 
the 20th of November 1272. 

* * -X- * * 

As early as the Saxon era, there seems to have been a desire on the 
part of the various groups of settlers throughout the kingdom to secure 
the goodwill of some influential person living in the neighbourhood, 
who would not only protect their homes and belongings against the 
hand of the spoiler, but exercise a salutary authority in checking those 
who by unjust extortions would ruin their trade and industry. For 
this patronage or protection, which was an inestimable advantage, the 
defenceless burghers were willing to pay liberally. The development 
of the feudal system under the Conqueror's regime greatly increased 
the number and importance of these local patrons, so that at the end 
of the 1 2th century every inhabited nucleus with any pretensions to 
wealth was under the direct influence of a powerful noble — the lord 
of the manor, who owned the soil, and who in a patriarchal capacity 
exercised feudal rights over his vassals or tenants. 

Towns, such as Canterbury, York or Yarmouth (1) on the royal 
demesne were regarded as national property, and were of course pre- 
sided over by the King ; others, such as Morpeth, Berkeley and 
Leicester (2) included in a feudal estate, either belonged to a lay 
noble, or, when not forming part of his private possession, were often 
held by virtue of a special grant from the sovereign ; and lastly those 



70 HISTORY OF J^/IVG'S LYNN. 

(3) situated on an ecclesiastical or church estate, were the property of 
the bishopric, as for example, Wells, which was under the Bishop of 
Wells ; Romney and Hythe, under the Archbishop of Canterbury ; or 
Lenne, subsequently Bishop's Lenne, under (as the name suggests) the 
Bishop of the diocese — the Bishop of Norwich. As an adjunct, how- 
ever, to the manor of Gaywood, Lenne was held by the Saxon prelates 
of the see, who were therefore in succession lords of the burgh, long 
before it received this appellation. 

Before proceeding further let us indulge in a brief recapitulation. 

Bishop Lozinga, whom Dr. Jessopp distinguishes as '' the 
Founder of Norwich," established not only the great Benedictine 
Monastery in the cathedral city, but an offshoot or cell at Lenne. 
From the foundation charter of Norwich cathedral we learn how the 
bishop during his life surrendered nil he possessed to God, making at 
the same time especial provision for the future maintenance of the 
brotherhood of monks. To them he surrendered the church of St. 
Margaret at Lenne, as well as the whole of the little burgh. After 
enumerating many valuable donations, he goes on : — 

The church of Lynnie [which included the soke or liberty of the burgh 
of Lenne] and all my saltworks at Geywode (Gaywood), excepting those which 
belonged to the farm on the same manor, I grant, as unmolested and as exempt 
from all custom of the aforesaid manor, as they were ever held by myself, or 
Arfastus, or Willelmus, as part of our domain. I ha\e ceded to them (the 
monks) also my mill which I ordered to be built in Geywode marshes and the 
church of Elmhani with all its appurtenances. . . . All the possessions 
aforesaid I have given to God and the Church for the food and clothing of my 
monks and for the supply of other necessaries to them, so absolutely that none of 
my successors shall have the power of changing or diminishing them, but that 
they shall be kept for ever for the use of the monks. [Registrum Primum.] 

— Then, lest those following in his footsteps should be aggrieved at 
this great diminution in the revenue arising from the episcopal 
domain, he proceeds to make adequate compensation. 

Thus were the manorial rights pertaining to our town transferred 
from the Bishop of the see to the Prior of the Benedictine Convent of 
the Holy Trinity at Norwich, and to him as future lord of the burgh 
had the inhabitants to look for protection. But the land beyond the 
boundaries of the old burgh (the Mill-fleet on the south, and the Pur- 
fleet on the north) was still retained by the Bishop as constituting a 
part of his see. ^^^ dualistic burgh. 

In process of time the good Bishop, whom men so cruelly vilified, 
"finished the life he had so nobly led,"* and was buried before the 
high altar in the midst of his own magnificent cathedral (11 19); and 
the monks, too, after whose welfare he had ever been solicitous, passed 
away one by one, and were interred in the cloisters at Norwich and 
Lenne. Then came there other monks, and other bishops too, but none 
could be compared with their revered founder. Eborard had indeed 
presented a few small gifts to the convent, the monks were constrained 
to admit, yet never could they forget the large and profitable arch- 
deaneries conferred upon his own impecunious, undeserving relatives ; 



* Prebendary Frideaux's epitaph (1682), which may still be seen on the floor of the presbytery. 



THE RED REGISTER. 71 

anil when at length he abdicated the see, they rejoiced with exceeding 
great joy, but their hearts swelled with envious anger when they heard 
how tenaciously he clung to the mitral loaves and fishes. Then came 
" brother William," or perhaps it behoved them to say " Bishop Tur- 
bus," who once belonged to their number, and from whom they fool- 
ishly thought themselves entitled to expect great things. Had he not 
enclosed a vast tract of land, bordering upon their own soke or juris- 
diction, and in effect created a new burgh? Why should he ignore 
their right to the foreshore, and pocket all the ground rent? Would 
the venerable father in God, the holy Lozinga, have been so unjust 
and greedy? Ah, no; but never, never would there be another 
Lozinga. 

At the close of the 12th century our town was made up of two 
clearly defined though contiguous parts. There was the old, perhaps 
the original settlement, between streams of fresh water, and the newer 
or more modern settlement by the shore, on land reclaimed from the 
sea. Each was distinct, as belonging to different owners. The 
" Newland " formed part of the bishop's personal estate, and the 
Oldland, if such a term be coined, belonged to the monks of Norwich, 
who were represented locally by the monks of Lenne. Between the 
bishop and the prior there sprung a feeling of rivalry and estrange- 
ment, for, as owners, each endeavoured to reap the greatest pecuniary 
advantage from his possession. The prosperity of the town was, 
moreover, threatened, because it was like a house divided against itself. 
As a twofold settlement it boasted of as many points of resemblance 
as a pair of gloves ; there were two churches, staiths, mills, markets 
and fairs : one of each two being in the soke of the monks to the south, 
and the other being in the bishop's manor to the north. With the 
two churches (now in the same parish) all are more or less familiar ; 
and, although only one of the once-important fairs survives, we retain 
two markets, which are held near the sacred buildings with which they 
were at one time closely allied. In the older portion of the town there 
is still the King's Staith ; and the Bishop's Staith, which extended 
northward from Dr. Stephen Allen's house, opposite St. Nicholas' 
chapel, disappeared during the 19th century. The gild of merchants 
owned a staith at the mouth of the Purfleet ; also the ''Common 
Staith." The water-mill in the " Oldland " was driven by Sunolf's 
Fleet, subsequently termed the Mayor's Mill Fleet, to distinguish it 
from the Bishop's Mill Fleet, where, in the vicinity of Littleport 
Street, one stood the bishop's mill. 

To the owners, the monks on the one hand and the bishop on the 
other, these were valuable " paying concerns." Targe sums of 
money, such as legacies, donations, oblations of various kinds, and 
payments for the reciting of masses for the souls of the departed, were 
derived from the churches, whilst the dues levied upon those visiting 
the fairs and markets, as, for instance, passage, faage, pontage, 
pickagc, etc., were even more considerable. Imposts, too, were fixed 
upon all goods landed at their respective staiths or stages beside the 
haven, as anchorage, tronage, love cop or In f cop, measurage, etc. Mills 
were, of course, necessary adjuncts to manorial residences ; hence they 



72 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

were, as a rule, erected by the lord of the manor for his own use and 
for those living on his estate. To compensate him for his outlay the 
tenants were bound to bring their corn to his mill to be ground. They 
did not, however, pay in cash for the grinding, but were under an 
obligation, termed mill service (secta debita molendini) ; in other 
words, they were compelled to leave a portion of their meal with the 
bailiff or miller to recoup their patron for services rendered. Before 
the enclosing of the " Newland," Herbert Lozinga, you may 
remember, ordered a mill to be erected in the Gaywood marshes. All 
the profits from these sources belonged to the bishop in the northern 
or newer part of the burgh ; and the profits from similar sources in 
the southern or old settlement, though collected by the monks of Lenne, 
belonged really to the priory of the Holy Trinity at Norwich. 

In the second half of the 12th century Bishop's Lenne rose on the newly-won 
land along the river bank [query, the sea-bank near the haven] with its great 
market-place, its Jewry, its merchant houses, and soon in tlie thick and busiest 
quarter by the wharves appeared the " stone house " of the bishop himself, look- 
ing closely out on the " strangers* ships " that made their way along the Ouse 
laden with provisions and merchandise. Lenne was now in a fair way to 
become the Liverpool of mediaeval times. Under King John its prudent bishop 
obtained for the town charters granting it all the liberties and privileges of 
a free borough, saving the rights of its lords [the Prior of the Benedictine 
Monastery at Norwich with the branch of Lenne, and the Lord of Rising], and 
then at once proceeded by a bargain with the convent at Norwich [Bishop John 
de Grey in 1204] to win back for the see the whole of the lay property in the 
old burgh, leaving to the monks only the church and spiritual rights. Once 
more sole master of the town, his supremacy was only troubled by the lords of 
Rising, who, by virtue of a grant from William Rufus, claimed one-half the 
profits of the Tolbooth [query, Blomefield says " one-fourth part "] and duties of 
the port, while the bishop had the other half. In 1240, however, an exact agree- 
ment was drawn up between the prelate and baron as to their respective rights, 
and the bailiff of both powers maintained a somewhat boisterous jurisdiction 
over the waters of Lenne, collected their share of the dues paid by the town 
traders on cargoes of herring or on wood, skins and wine they imported from 
foreign ports, and in their own way made distresses for customs, plaints and so 
forth. — [Mrs. A. S. Green's Totvn Life in the Fifteenth Century, 1894, Vol. I., 
p. 283-4.] 

THE FAIR AT NORWICH. 

During the last year in the reign of Henry III. a serious riot 
broke out between the citizens and monks of Norwich. Wherever the 
monks were interested in the profits derived from marts and markets, 
unpleasantness was likely to arise. Now at this time William de 
Burnham, a haughty, overbearing man, was prior of the Benedictine 
Monastery. He was usually chin-deep in the hottest of hot water, 
because he always endeavoured to increase the monastic domain, re- 
gardless of the rights of others, and because, moreover, he tacitly 
encouraged his servants to ride roughshod over the patient burgesses. 
At the annual fair (1272) some of the merchant hucksters were slow 
in removing their booths. Their visit had involved them in a danger- 
ous and expensive journey, and during their stay never a day passed 
but they were called upon to contribute to the city's revenue- — so much 
for the maintenance of the bridges, for the mending of the roads, for 
breaking a few holes into the sacred ground, and other extortions ; and 



TWE RED REGISTER. 73 

now, just when they were signs of the " roaring trade " they had so 
ardently anticipated, were they ordered off with pack and package. 
Of course they lingered, even as salesmen do to-day. It was surely 
excusable ; but the upstart servitors of the prior would brook no in- 
solence from runagate strangers. As night follows the day, so did 
blows their peremptory commands, only more quickly. The disgusted 
townsmen took sides with the unfortunate traders, and William de 
Burnham, fearing the worst, sent forthwith to Yarmouth in order to 
secure the services of a band of ruffian loafers, who, on their arrival, 
converted the bell tower of the monastery into a fortress. 

The men of Norwich now considered that they were justified in maintaining 
the King's peace by violence ; and forgetting, as a chronicle puts it, that it 
is wrong to burn Christians in a consecrated place, they set fire to the tower, and 
the whole [query ?] of the monastery and cathedral church, with their relics and 
books, were consumed. Nothing could be more calculated to rouse Henry to 
indignation. He went down in person to Norwich (loth September) put the 
bishop of the diocese on the commission for trying the offenders, and had a jury 
of forty-eight knights empanelled from the country round, lest the townsmen 
should be too merciful. In this way more than thirty offenders, chiefly young 
men, but with one woman in their number, were convicted, and dragged at 
horses' tails through the streets to be hanged or burned. But the progress of the 
inquiry shewed that the prior and his monks had been at least equally guiltA% 
and had set the town on fire in three places. Homicide, robbery and other 
crimes were also proved against the prior to such an extent that the I^ing gave 
orders to take him into custody. To the scandal of all right-minded men, the 
criminal was allowed to escape with a mere ecclesiastical purgation. [Pearson's 
History of the Middle Ages, 1861, Vol. II., p. 281.] 

This was the King's last journey. After remaining in Norwich 
a fortnight he visited, although far from well, the shrine of Our Lady 
at Walsingham the 26th of September, and died at Westminster (loth 
of November 1272), "after a nominal reign of fifty-six years — a 
memorable period, which owes no part of its interest to the monarch 
from whose sway it derives its name." Henry III. was succeeded 
by his son Edward, the greatest of all the Plantagenets, who was 
" one of the best legislators and greatest politicians that ever filled 
the throne of England." 

* -X- ->«■ * * 

After Edward's coronation (1274) he repeatedly visited East 
Anglia, the county of Norfolk absorbing much of his attention. The 
priories at Walsingham, Castleacre, Cokesford, and other religious 
houses, seem to have been attractions he could not well resist. He set 
out ostensibly to visit the various shrines for which this part of the 
kingdom was famous. Edward was in this county in 1277, 1278, 
1280-1, 1284 (Blomefield, but query?), 1285, 1289, 1291, 1292, 1294, 
1296, 1298, 1299, 1300, 1302 and 1305, certainly no less than 14 times. 
That he sometimes stayed at Lenne is highly probable. For instance, 
leaving Ely, the King arrived at Dereham on the 17th of March, 
1277; on the i8th and 19th he was at Gaywood, the guest of the 
bishop, Roger de Skerning, at the episcopal palace. On this occasion 
the King was accompanied by his army, which was most likely billeted 
in the adjacent town. The royal retinue reached Cokesford on the 

L 



74 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

2oth, Walsingham on the 21st, Thornage on the 23rd, Gimingham on 
the 24th, Broomholme on the 25th, Horningham on the 26th and Nor- 
wich on the 28th, where Easter was spent. For this expedition 
another reason is assigned, namely, anxiety to see that his forts and 
castles were well provisioned, and their garrisons thoroughly equipped 
and efficient. 

FRESH WOODS AND PASTURES NEW. 

Again, when Edward visited Norfolk in 1 280-1, he was in an 
apparently happy-go-lucky humour. His Majesty tacked hither and 
thither like a ship at the mercy of the winds, but whether these erratic 
movements were the result of method or madness none but a mediaeval 
psychologist would ever venture upon deciding. During this section 
of his East Anglian gadabout, which lasted six weeks, he boxed the 
compass, halted at half-a-dozen places, and covered about seventy 
miles as a sensible crow would fly. He appeared at Burgh, a few 
miles from Holt, on Christmas eve ; from thence, after a sojourn of 
twelve days, he started on a north-westerly course, and having gone 
seven miles, he found himself at Walsingham the 6th of January, 
1 28 1. He visited Binham (3 or 4 miles to the north-east) on the 9th ; 
from the 14th to the i8th he stayed at Shouldham (27 miles to the 
south-west), and at Westacre the 21st and 22nd (8 miles to the north- 
east). On the 25th the King was at Docking (some 14 miles due 
north), where he continued until the end of the month ; and finally, 
on the ist and 2nd of February he was a guest at Rising castle. The 
roads were unquestionably bad, and taverns and hostelries few and far 
apart, yet were priories and castles plentiful enough. Was, then. His 
Majesty, like the modern borid fide traveller, premeditating refresh- 
ment every step of the way ? What excuse is there for all this puerile 
dodging about? Edward, with all the apparatus of law transported 
with him wherever he went, was perhaps dispensing justice ; and 
although the king's seneschal or steward was the great justiciar, yet 
the chancellor and his clerks who made out the writs and a cart-load 
of rolls drawn by a strong horse from the nearest monastery generally 
followed in the wake of the royal retinue. 

Now John of Oxford, as bishop of the diocese, in taking thought 
for the morrow, provided for himself and his successors a terrestrial 
mansion — a substantial, pleasantly situated town residence, " on the 
sea-bank by St. Nicholas chapel in Lenne, to the west." Soon, how- 
ever, the bishop discovered this white elephantine dwelling to be of 
little service to him, because the steward, representing him in the burgh 
and to whom the bailiffs were responsible, was an astute business man. 
who, whether at the staith or the tolbooth, had always his master's 
interest at heart. This part of the episcopal estate was therefore 
leased to '' Peter the son of Gaufride, the son of Durand of Oxeneford 
and his heirs." (Ah, the circumlocution for want of a surname!) 
Out of the rent the bishop considerately settled upon the monks a 
yearly charge of three silver marks (1187). To be minutely exact — 
" the stone house " was indeed let, but the owner prudently reserved 
to himself and his successors " one of the cellars that is in the front 



THE RED REGISTER. 75 

of the house to put wine in," and peradventure to take wine there- 
from. Oh "John Norwich," what were thy motives? Were thy 
'' intents wicked or charitable." An thou didst this to increase the 
importation of 

Spanish white and Gascon, 

Rose colour, white, claret and rampion, 

Tyre, Capric and ISIalvoisin, 

Greek, ipocras and new-made clary.® 

— To encourage the trade of Lenne, thy unseemly conduct is perhaps 
excusable; if, on the other hand, thou didst it " for thy stomach's 
sake and thine oft infirmities " thy conduct is in sooth commendable. 
Be it that the " stone house " was tenanted by the said Peter's 
heirs, was there not a comfortable guest-chamber at the Benedictine 
Priory, and had not the brethren access to the bishop's cellar through 
the courtesy of the seneschal ? To say that these inducements were 
ineffectual might be to say too much. On this occasion we believe 
His Majesty called at Lenne before setting out for Bury St. Edmund. 

THE MARRIAGE OF PRINCESS ISABELLA, 

the King's daughter, to the Count of Holland, was celebrated with 
great eclat at Ipswich (i8th of January 1297). The Duchess 
Margaret, who had espoused the Duke of Brabant, was present at her 
sister's marriage, and for this purpose several vessels from Lenne and 
Yarmouth had been engaged in conveying the Duchess and her suite 
to England. Margaret stayed awhile, and accompanied her royal 
parents on one of the almost annual excursions into Norfolk. Ulti- 
mately she set sail from Yarmouth for Flanders. A galley, provided 
by the generous inhabitants of Lenne, accompanied the Swan of Yar- 
mouth — the vessel in which the Duchess had embarked. On board 
the galley were eighty-seven competent Lenne seamen and two con- 
stables, who were in charge of the crew. 

From the itinerary of this remarkable progress in East Anglia, 
the subjoined particulars are of local interest : — King Edward was at 
Thetford on the 22nd January 1296, at Castleacre the 25th, at Wals- 
ingham the 28th and 29th, at Shouldham the ist of February, and at 
Stow Bardolph the 2nd and 3rd. The Court arrived at Ipswich on 
the 23rd of December, 1295; the solemnisation of the marriage and 
post-nuptial festivities were celebrated the 18th of January 1296, and 
following days. Resuming his tour, the King was a guest at Castle- 
acre priory from the 28th of January until the ist of February ; he 
remained at Walsingham from the 2nd to the 7th, and while there tie 
received two iron-bound box bedsteads of leather, which were brought 
from Lenne by Henry de Monte, to whom His Majesty gave half-a- 
crown. As sleeping accommodation was scarce, and as an influx of 
aristocratic guests would sorely tax even the ingenuity of resourceful 
monks and friars, two portable bedsteads were welcome acquisitions. 



* The Four Elements, a miracle play. An idea of the potency of these wines may be gained from the 
tavemer's confession ; — 

" For if ye drink a draught or two 
They will mak you, ere ye thence go, 
By (Jupiter) stark mad." 



16 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

From Walsingham the Court returned to Castleacre on the 8th, and 
on the 1 2th the city of Ely was entered. 

The King and his lords journeyed on horseback for the most part, but they 
had also carriages. Nothing gives a better idea of the encumbering, awkward 
luxury which formed the splendour of civil life during this century, than the 
structure of these heavy machines. The best had four wheels ; three or four 
horses drew them, harnessed in a row, the postillion being mounted upon one, 
armed with a short-handled whip of many thongs ; solid beams rested on the 
axles, and above this framework rose an archway rounded like a turmel ; as a 
whole, ungraceful enough. But the details were extremely elegant ; the wheels 
were carved, and their spokes expanded near the hoop into ribs forming pointed 
arches ; the beams were painted and gilt ; the inside was hung with those 
dazzling tapestries, the glory of the age ; the seats were furnished with 
embroidered cushions ; a lady might stretch out there, half-sitting, half-lying ; 
pillows were disposed in the corners as if to invite sleep ; square windows pierced 
the sides, and were hung with silk curtains. Thus travelled the noble lady, slim 
in form, tigtitly clad in a dress which outlined every curve in the body, her long 
slender hands caressing the favourite dog or bird. The Knight, equally tightened 
in his cote-hardie, regarded her with a complacent eye, and, if he knew good 
manners, opened his heart to his dreamy companion in long phrases like those in 
the romances. The broad foreliead of the lady, who has perhaps coquettishly 
plucked off her eyebrows and stray hairs (a process about which satirists were 
indignant), brightens up at moments, and her smile is like a ray of sunshine. 
Meanwhile the axles groan, the horse-shoes crunch the ground, the machine 
advances by fits and starts, descends into the hollows, bounds altogether at the 
ditches, and falls violently back with a dull noise. The Ivnight must speak 
pretty loud to make his dainty discourse, maybe inspired by the recollections of 
the Round Table, heard by his companion. So trivial a necessity has always 
sufficed to break the charm of the most delicate thought ; too many shocks 
agitate the flower, and when the Knight presents it, it has already lost its 
perfumed pollen. — [Jusserand's English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, 1897, 
p. 96-9.] 

During the sojourn at Walsingham the following offerings were 
made by the royal devotees : On the first day, seven shillings during 
the Sacrament of the Blessed Mary at the high altar in the 
priory chapel, and seven shillings each for the King's son Edward 
and for his fair daughters, the Duchess of Brabant and the Countess 
of Holland ; the next day similar amounts were offered at the images 
of the Blessed Virgin and the Blessed Gabriel. Besides, the sum of 
ten shillings was placed upon the altar containing the mysteriously 
efficacious reliques for which Walsingham was universally renowned, 
the most significant being a sample of the Virgin's milk, and a joint 
of St. Peter's finger, said to be as large as that of the colossus at 
Rhodes. 

How interminable the task of counting a large offertory consisting 
of nothing but small pennies ! And was there no gold? Assuredly; 
in the outspread heaps of silver pennies several bright specks were 
visible — specimens were they of the new gold coins first struck by an 
English monarch (Henry III.), but, alas ! they increased the difficulty, 
because each weighed only five-and-forty grains, and after ail repre- 
sented merely one penny. It did not, however, matter, for, having 
secured their own souls' salvation, it was not incumbent upon the 
monks to worry their brains about the eternal destinies of others. 
Might they not, therefore, as well spend their days in counting small 
coins as in doing nothing ? 



TTIU REV REGISTER. 11 

A RARE MANUSCRIPT. 

The so-called " Red Register of Lynn " was apparently com- 
menced during this period.* This most important record is made up 
of three parts — a register of local wills, a book of remembrances from 
1307 to 1379, and an assembly or congregation book, containing the 
minutes of the governing body from 1346 to 1396. It consists of 196 
numbered pages, and is remarkable as being one of the oldest paper 
books to be found in our nation's muniment rooms. As the first in- 
stance of the manufacture of paper in this country occurs at Stevenage, 
in Hertfordshire, by John Tate (1490), the paper of the Red Register 
is believed to have been imported from the Continent. Thick and 
coarse in texture, and without water-marks, the paper resembles that 
in a book belonging to the Custom House at Bordeaux (1302). Har- 
rod therefore suggests that the paper in question was brought from 
Bordeaux — a port with which an extensive trade in wine was then 
carried on. 

This massive folio was skilfully, though inappropriately, bound 
in Russia leather by the binder of the British Museum (1861), at a cost 
of ;^i3. For some inexplicable reason it was recommended by the 
educationists in the Town Council, that the old case in which this relic 
had been kept, and which was thoughtfully provided by the late 
Daniel Gurney, should be placed in the local museum. What inestim- 
able advantages the present generation must derive from a deliberate 
contemplation of so wonderful an object ! 

The back of the present cover is lettered — The Red Register of 
Lynn: Temp. Ed. II., Ed. III., and Ric. II. These words, how- 
ever, misrepresent the antiquity of the manuscript. Mr. J. C. 
Jeaffreson points out that there are palpable indications " that 
numerous leaves had perished before the register was committed to a 
skilful restorer," and this, too, is borne out by the first fragmentary 
record. From the entry, which is in Latin, we learn how Reginald le 
Saus, in consideration of a sum of money received, conveyed a mes- 
suage in the " Brigge gate " to Richard de Warwyk and his wife 
Johanna. In conformity with the custom prevailing, the parties to 
this contract met the l\layor, several of the leading burgesses, and 
those of the community who chose to be present ; the deed of convey- 
ance was publicly read and exhibited; after which the vendor affixed 
his seal thereto in the presence of many witnesses, the names of twelve 
of whom (including Thomas de Sechford and John the clerk) are 
faithfully enrolled. The memorandum ends with these words : 
Datum Hemic die Merciirii proxima post fcstum Piiriflcacionis Marie 
virginis anno regni Regis Edwardi filii Regis Henrici iricesimo-q^uinto. 
This therefore happened in the 35th year of Edward I. 

Our earliest parchment records include the Assize-of-Bread Rolls 
for three years (1295-8), the Coroners' Rolls (1302-5), and the Gaol 
Delivery Rolls (1454-5). Referring to the two latter, Harrod says 

" So termed from tlic colour of their bindinj;, e.g., ]\cd Book of Colcliester (1310), hlack Books of 
Swailhani, Lincoln, ami Soutliampton, also tlic llViiJc Book of the City of Londou. Our present parliament* 
wy reports in 6/uc wrappers are Blue Books. 



78 HISTOkY OF KING'S LVNN. 

they are the only ancient documents of the class preserved in our 
archives. 

SIGNS OF THE TIME. 

Three charters were granted by Edward I. during a reign of 35 

years : — 

C. 5. Dated at Westminster, 29tli November, in the 9th year of his reign, 
confirming C. i and C. 4 (1280). 

C. 6. Dated at Caldstrem, 20th of July, in the 29th year of his reign, reiterating, 
as applicable to this burgh, the confirmation of two charters previously 
granted by his father to our prototype, the city of Oxford ; they had both 
been signed at Westminster and were respectively executed in the 13th 
(February 16th) and 41st (March 26th) years of the reign of Henry III. (1301). 

C. 7. Dated at Westminster, 5th of April, in the 33rd year of the reign, granting 
the burgesses of Lenne permission to found a merchants' gild, similar to the 
one already established at Oxford, and reminding them " that they shall not 
be impleaded out of the burgh " (to which they belonged) " by foreigners in 
respect_ to contracts, demands and other matters done within the burgh " of 
Bishop's Lenne. It also confirmed the mayor's right to make reasonable 
distresses for the non-payment of tallages and other aids, which might be 
levied upon the inhabitants for the benefit of the community as a whole (1305). 

The first in this series of Edwardian charters, which was purely 
confirmatory and contained nothing original, was granted a year prior 
to the King's excursion into Norfolk in 1281 ; the second (1301) was 
not only subsequent to his daughter's marriage in East Anglia, and 
this expedition into Gascony for the recovery of Guienne, to which 
Lenne contributed two ships, the Rose and the Mariole (1297), but also 
to two visits during the previous year. From the 12th to the 19th 
of March 1300 had been spent at Thetford, Walsingham, Lenne and 
Wisbech; and the interval between the 12th and the 28th of May at 
Hilborough, Rougham, Gaywood, Tilney, Wisbech, Stow Bardolph 
and Kirkstead. Edward I. was in Lenne the i6th of March, and at 
Gaywood the i6th of May 1300, during the mayoralty of John de 
Merlowe. Unfortunately, however, for the would-be historian, our 
local scribes did not feel it a duty incumbent upon them to spend their 
savings in purchasing sheep-skins (the supply of w-hich was beginning 
to fall short), on which to engross the doings of royalty for the satis- 
faction of inquisitive generations, yet unborn. The King's quixotic 
adventure afforded them a day's gossip, it is true; let the future pro- 
vide for itself — siffficit did sua vexatio — were remarks their in- 
difference prompted. The second charter, in itself nothing, was 
nevertheless a visible sign of good will and friendly conciliation. The 
third and last was issued at Westminster the 5'th of April 1305, 
following Edward's visit to Wisbech, Hillington, Walsingham, 
Thetford, and probably Lenne (January and February). 

MARITIME AFFAIRS. 

The King's attention was specially directed to Scotland when 
Alexander IIL died suddenly (1286), leaving as his heir a little girl 
about three years old. Margaret was the issue of a marriage between 
Alexander's daughter Margaret and Eric the king of Norway. 
Regents were appointed to govern the country, and it was decided that 
a marital alliance should be formed between the youthful princess and 
Edward's eldest son. "The Maid of Norway," however, unex- 
pectedly expired (September 1290), leaving a vacant throne and a 



THE TOLBOOTH. 79 

disputed succession. At this crisis claimants were plentiful ; thirteen 
at once stepped into the arena, and began brandishing their convincing 
pretensions. The nmost popular were, as the student will remember, 
John Baliol, Robert Bruce and John Hastings. In this dilemma the 
bishop of St. Andrew's solicited the interference of the English king, 
and secretly pledged himself to recognise Edward's right of 
superiority. 

At this juncture " the mayor, bailiff and good people of Lenne " 
received a communication to which the privy seal was attached. This 
important document was in reality a royal command issued by the 
King's admiral; it enjoined them to adequately equip the ships of the 
port, so that they might be ready for emergencies in the north. There 
was certainly no time to spare, as it was dated the 17th of February, 
and the ships were due at Portsmouth not later than mid-Lent. What 
excitement this must have caused in the busy streets of Lenne, and 
what a dreadful commotion as well as in our snug little haven ! In 
return for valuable privileges, the Cinque Ports were expected to pro- 
vide 52 ships, each carrying 24 men, which, in the case of a foreign 
war, were supposed to be ready and at the disposal of the Crown. 
There was no navy other than this, but it was a recognised custom at 
any critical moment for rich towns and wealthy land-owners to increase 
the efficiency of the force by furnishing ships at their own cost, man- 
ning them, victualling them, and maintaining their effective condition 
whilst at sea. Hence, when matters of urgency arose, it was not at 
all an uncommon procedure to despatch writs reminding them of the 
obligations due to their King and country. 

Whether the burgh of Lenne had been remiss in responding to 
the order, or whether the Admiral in command was dissatisfied with 
the ships sent to swell the proposed expedition, there is no evidence; 
but about seven months after the receipt of the first writ, our mayor, 
Hugh de Massingham, was handed a more peremptory order, dis- 
tinctly pointing out that the only way to avoid heavy loss, and the 
indignation of their sovereign, was for the inhabitants of Lenne to 
follow implicity the directions issued by the King's Admiral and John 
de Harsick, and to do exactly what they were advised in respect to the 
war in the north (September 1291). 

* * * * -K- 

Edward I. again set out for Scotland, fully determined to wreak 
his vengeance on that defenceless but rebellious nation (1307). He 
advanced as far as Burgh-on-the-Sands, near Carlisle, where he 
expired in sight of the country he had doomed to destruction. 



CHAPTER X. 

The Tolbooth* 

Edward I. was succeeded by his fourth son, the first Prince of Wales, 
who was born at Caernarvon Castle (1284). On coming to the throne 
(T307) the youthful sovereign Edward II. was immensely popular, 



80 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

but owing to the evil influence exercised by the favourites with whom 
he foolishly associated, he speedily sacrificed the respect of the 
nation. Moreover, he unfortunately married " one of the greatest 
beauties in the world " (Froissart), Isabel, the daughter of Philippe le 
Bel, King of France (25th of January 1308), of whom it is said that 
" since the days of the fair and false Elfrida of Saxon celebrity, no 
queen has left so dark a stain on the annals of female royalty." As 
if in expiation of a sinful career, she spent many years in retirement at 
her castle at Rising — to this and her connection with the burgh of 
Bishop's Lenne reference will be made in due course. 

* * * -jf * 

THE BARONY OF RISING 

fell to the lot of Odo, bishop of Bayeux, the Conqueror's half-brother 
(1066), but through ill-advisedly entering into a conspiracy against 
William Rufus, Odo forfeited all his vast estates in England (1088), 
Rising, with other important manors, was then handed over to William 
d'Albini, the royal butler {pincerna regis), in whose family it remained 
for many years. Now William d'Albini, the first Earl of Sussex (a 
son of the William d'Albini who married Adelicia the dowager Queen 
of Henry I.), built for himself a castle, the imposing ruins of which 
are yet standing. Included in the possessions granted him by the 
King were t.he Hundred of Smithdon (Norfolk) and " the Tolbooth 
and Mysteries of Lenne,"* for " all ports and quays under the feudal 
system belonged to the " King." (Beloe.) He died in 1176. As 
Hugh d'Albini, a scion of the same aristocratic family, unfortunately 
died childless, the estates were divided among his four sisters (1243). 
Rising was then apportioned to Cecily, who marrier Roger de Montalt, 
lord of Montalt or Monhaut. In course of time the barony with its 
castle passed to Robert Montalt, steward of Chester, who married 
Emma de Stradsett, the widow of a Norfolk gentleman named Fitz- 
John. There being no children, the estate was sold to Isabella the 
relict of Edward II., in consideration of an annual payment of ;^400 
during Emma Montalt's life. The solemn assurance made by Byron, 
that " annuitants live for ever," shows how utterly ignorant the poet 
was of English history. Robert Montalt's widow did not long enjoy 
her annuity. 

To the lordship of Rising there accrued certain important privi- 
leges, for example, free warren, assize of bread and beer, the profitable 
fannage of an extensive chase, and " one-fourth of the Tolbooth," or, 
in other words, a quarter of the income arising from the port dues 
collected at Bishop's Lenne. The ancient Tolbooth or toll-house, 
where traders made their payments, stood, as might be surmised, near 
a staith or landing-stage by the water's edge in the old part of the 
town. Here cargoes of merchandise were put ashore, and the various 
goods were either measured, weighed or counted, and the dues received 
by the accredited bailiff, before they were permitted to Be borne up 
the haven in boats or carried to the neighbouring villages in wagons. 

* Mystery is a corruption of the Middle English mistere, a trade or craft. 



THE TOLBOOTH. 



81 



Before 1205 the profits were divided (perhaps equally) between the 
prior of Norwich and the lord of Rising, but after the bargain effected 
by Bishop Grey, between the lord of Rising and himself, the bishop 
of the diocese probably received three-fourths of the revenue. 



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The sit« of the Tolbooth, indicated by heavy lines (let in 1832 to Messrs. 
Gumeys at £'2/2/6 a year), was sold by our Corporation in 1876 for £125. It now 
comprises a garden and the offices of Messrs. Garland and Flexman and Messrs. 
Fvson and Son. 



After the barony reverted into royal hands in the reign of Edward 
III., and the King's bailiff was stationed " at the receipt of custom," 
the place was appropriately called " the King's Staith." It was, 
however, in no wise connected with " the Bishop's Staith " in the 
Newland, where all the dues were collected by the bishop's bailiff, 
who paid them periodically to the bishop's High Steward (capitalis 
senescallus episcopi), who checked accounts and presided at the 
various courts. 

THE COURT AT THE BRIDGE 

In 1 3 10 Robert Montalt — with a few of whose antecedents the 
reader is already familiar — presumptuously established a court by the 

M 



82 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN, 

bridge spanning the new-formed river at " St. Germain in Wygen- 
hale. ' The position was well chosen, it commanded the road as well 
as the river, and here the Lord of Rising arrogated to himself the right 
to extort heavy fines from the traders crossing the bridge with their 
bales of goods, and from the merchants " rowing and flowing," with 
their freights in the Lenne waters. Through Walter Payne, his head 
bailiff, they were " summoned in inquests, distrained, attached, op- 
pressed and harassed " whenever they came that way. So intolerable 
was this persecution, that many " being broken down and greatly im- 
poverished," wisely sold their boats and sought congenial employment 
elsewhere. Others notwithstanding persevered in their business, 
fondly pinning their faith to the anticipated "good time" which 
cruelly receded as the years rolled by. 

But the baron's despotic usurpation of the prerogatives of the 
King's Court indirectly affected a few influential persons,— the Abbot 
of Crowland for instance, who, although he failed to receive his cus- 
tomary supply of stores from Lenne, was yet expected to provide the 
King with victuals and other commodities. How could the merchants 
possibly complete their contracts when hindered by the exacting 
bailifi's, who either hurled stones at them or slyly dropped great lumps 
of earth upon their heads as they glided beneath the bridge ? How 
were they to keep faith with their customers " in the county of Lin- 
coln and other counties of the kingdom," when they were persistently 
being thwarted and hindered and defrauded by Montalt's unscrupulous 
partisans ? 

Were the merchants evading the payment of these ever-increasing 
dues, or were his bailiffs bribed into neglecting their duties? The 
trade of the port, as may be learned from John de St. Omer {circa 
13 1 2), was more than ever prosperous, and yet there was an alarming 
falling-off in the year's receipts. Suddenly Sir Robert Montalt 
quitted his baronial residence in the beautiful chase to sojourn for a 
while in the insalubrious burgh of Lenne. During his stay in the 
town he came in contact with John de Bromholm {circa 1309), the prior 
of the monastery near St. Margaret's church. Now Brother John was 
disgusted at his lordship's bearing, and, casting aside his usual sedate- 
ness, he pounced upon the great lord of Rising and publicly assaulted 
him ; and the populace, encouraged by the heroic though unwise be- 
haviour of so important a dignitary of the Church, rose against the 
intruder who year after year had been deliberately ruining the trade 
of their port. They hounded him hither and thither, wounded his 
attendants, wrecked the house in which he abided, secured their enemy 
and bore him off to prison in triumph. 

In that Robert Montalt possessed a conscience, he was certainly 
a conscientious man, and for no other earthly reason. His conscience, 
it must be admitted, was not of the modern, narrow, strait-laced kind 
which coerces its owner into doing the very thing he abhors when com- 
promised by a stupid, slippery tongue. His was a good, stout, service- 
able conscience of mediaeval construction. Always on the alert, it 
prompted him, whenever he was in a dilemma, to say one thing when 



TRE TOLBOOTH. 83 

he meant another. Thus was Robert, Lord of Rising, securely pro- 
tected against the mean advantages people ever take with easy, pliant 
natures. 

To free himself from the tightening grasp of the infuriated mob, 
the victim politely acquiesced in all they said, and agreeably granted 
every demand. Traders were never satisfied, and if his bailiffs were 
driving the merchants to the other staith, it was bad policy for John 
de St. Omer to admit as much to his brother Lambert, who was mayor 
of the burgh. But now that his lordship understood their position he 
had not the slightest objection to the burgesses appointing a trusty 
bailiff who should gather in the dues and share them among the re- 
spective owners. Surely their reverend father in God, his dear friend 
the bishop, John Salmon of Ely, would raise no objection. It was 
unfortunate that they had been misguided by one who ought to have 
known better. The prior, supplanted by the bishop, had lost his share 
in the Tolbooth ; it was annoying, but as it happened a hundred years 
ago it was no use blaming him. Well, well, under the circumstances 
he would overlook the strange treatment he had received, and forego 
the action with which in his anger he had unwittingly threatened his 
dear friends and neighbours, the mayor, Lambert de St. Omer, and 
the burgesses of Lenne. 

AND A COURT ELSEWHERE. 

Sir Robert was immediately set free, but, being as crafty as he 
was conscientious, he soon afterwards brought the matter before the 
Court of King's Bench (Easter 1314), and the judges decided that 
the imprudent burghers must pay the Lord of Rising, whom they had 
so grossly offended, an indemnity of ;^^4,ooo, " which was practically 
equal to the confiscation of the whole municipal expenditure for about 
30 years." (Mrs. A. S. Green.) The verdict greatly exasperated the 
inhabitants, so that the mayor, John de Thornech (or Thornhegge) was 
constrained to send a humble apology to Robert Montalt, explaining 
that owing to trouble and disturbances in the town it had been im- 
possible for him to levy the money. Now the first payment fell due 
on All Saints' day, the ist of November; only four days elapsed ere 
the mayor received a courteous letter from this conscientious Shylock 
demanding prompt payment : — 

. . . . Sachtez q' coment q la pease soit faites par entve eux, le despit fait a 
mm nest pas redress, par quei vous pri chers Seignoiirs q' dentre vous voillez ordiner 
q' les ainendcs me soient faites del despit avaundit. A die chers amis q' vous doint 
bone vie c longe. Escrit ait Shouldh' le v jour de Novemhre. 

Or, in less perplexing words : — 

. . . . Know you that though peace be made between them [his bailiffs 
and the folk of Lenne], the contempt done to me is not redressed, wherefore 
I pray you dear Sirs that you will take order amongst yourselves, that amends 
may be made to me for the aforesaid contempt. Adieu, dear friends ! May He 

five you happy and long life. Written at Shouldham the 5th day of November 

Although this heavy penalty involved our forefathers in terrible 
pecuniary difficulties, yet tliey bravely did their best to pay the fine. 
as is evident from many acknowledgments and acquittances still 



84 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

extant.* In reviewing eighteen (1317 to 1323), it may be observed 
that the number of yearly instalments (one to eight) and the amounts 
{;£2 IDS. 4d. to ;^i73 6s. 8d.) varied greatly. The receipts v*rere 
made at seven places — Chastel de Rysinges (8), Lenne (4), Snetesham 
(2), Kenynghale (i), Quornden (i), London (i), and Euerwyk, that is 
I3erwick (i). 

Mr. E. M. Beloe gives the following translation of one of the 
receipts written and sealed at Rising : — 

To all those who this letter shall see or hear — Robert de Monhaut, seneschal 
of Chester, health in the Lord. Know you that I have received of the Mayor and 
Commonalty of the town of Lynn, by the hand of Peter de Elmham [Mayor in 
13 19], fourteen pounds thirteen shillings and four pence of money for wine 
purchased, in part of a sum of fifty pounds, the which the aforesaid Mayor and 
Commonalty are bound to pay me at the feast of All Saints next following the 
making of that writing, of a debt of four thousand pounds, the which I the said 
Robert and Emma my consort recovered against the aforesaid Mayor and 
Commonalty m the Court of our lord the King, before his justices in Banc at 
Westmmster, at the quinzaine of Easter in the seventh year of the reign of King 
Edwaud, son of King Edward, of which fourteen pounds thirteen shillings and 
four pence I acknowledge fully to be paid, and the said Mayor and Commonalty 
acquit for all time. In testimony whereof to this letter of acquittance I have put 
my seal. Given at the Castle of Rising, the Vigil of St. Margaret, the year of the 
reign of the said King Edward sixteenth [igth July 1322]. \Caitle Rising, 
Norfolk; the Barony, the Borough and the Franchise, 1894, p. 15. J 

This sum appears to be the result of a municipal trading trans- 
action, similar to those in which many towns were engaged. Loans 
were obtained ; a common barge was built, and, after being properly 
rigged, it was publicly launched, and despatched to fish for herring 
or to bring home a cargo of salt or wine, which was sold for the benefit 
of the community. Among our disbursements in 1374-5 are payments 
" for the privilege of maintaining as before the compotus of sweet 
wine." 

Worn out with persecuting the Lenne traders, Robert Montalt 
passed into his long rest, and was interred in the church of Saints 
Peter and Paul at Watlington (1329); but, alas ! although the weary 
might be at rest, the wicked ceased not from troubling, because his 
widow " Dame Emma" immediately appointed Thomas Wolsy and 
John Philip to act as bailiffs on her behalf, for she seemed determined 
to maintain the court with the concomitant fleecing business so ably 
conducted by her late lamented husband. The much-desired respite 
was, however, at hand. The estate at Rising was sold ; Queen Isa- 
bella entered into possession on the 29th of November 1330; Emma 
de Montalt shortly afterwards died, and was buried in the church of 
St. Mary at Stradsett, probably beside her first husband, Fitz-John 
de Stradsett. 

This subject presents to notice another phase. Not only were 
the unfortunate burgesses compelled to pay the lord of Rising 
;^4,ooo, but they were bound in certain other amercements " by the 
summons of the exchequer of the lord of the King " to John Salmon, 



* Copies of nineteen " acknowledgments and acquittances," &c., are given in the Report Hist. MSS. 
Com. (1887), xi., pp. 240-244. See also Beloe's Casiie i?)s»n^ (1894), pp. 14-17, and Taylor's ^titiV;. CoiUe 
iitsirtg (1844}. pp. 33-34. 



THE TOLBOOTH. 85 

the bishop. This subsidiary case was tried before Ralf de Monte 
Hermeri and his legal associates in the Court of Oyer and Terminer 
in the county of Norfolk, for trespass done to Robert Montalt. The 
fine inflicted was comparatively small, namely ;£i40. In January 
the Mayor, Lambert de St. Omer, interviewed my lord the Bishop at 
his palace at Gaywood, and tendered him ;^32 iis. as the first instal- 
ment. Through the persuasive intercession of the Mayor, and the 
influence it may be of his brother John, who was the Bishop's head 
steward, the rest of the penalty, ^[,12-] 9s., was cancelled. The 
Bishop's acquittance in Latin is dated, " afud Geywode vtij Idus 
Januarii " (13 14). 

Difficulties with the merchants and the bailiffs at the Tolbooth 
were by no means at an end. In the next reign 

A DAY OF LOVE 

was instituted, so that the men of Lenne might meet the men of Lin- 
colnshire, and that by means of a little social intercourse a few com- 
mercial rough edges might be smoothed down. The mediaeval " love 
days," to which Chaucer and Shakespeare refer, were indeed the sur- 
vival of a custom introduced by the Romans. Their solemn feast 
termed " Charistia " {caritas, love), celebrated every year on a day 
corresponding with our 19th of February, was inaugurated for the 
friendly settlement of disputes and quarrels, from whatsoever cause 
arising, by means of arbitration.* For many years ill-feeling had 
been engendered between the traders at Lenne and Lincoln through 
the local bailiffs. In 1334-5 it was necessary not only to station a 
custodian near the Tolbooth, but to recoup the bailiff for extra trouble. 
In the Chamberlains' accounts are these items : — 

rod pro cust' lane apud Le Tolbothe that is tenpence for the custodian of 

the lane near the Tolbooth), and 
iijs. iiijd. was given for the expenses of the bailiff of the Tolbooth. 

Anticipating an amicable settlement of various mercantile dis- 
putes, and desiring to be on a more friendly footing with their cus- 
tomers, the assembly voted the sum of £,i\ 2s. 4d. to defray the cost 
of their delegates' journey to St. Botham, ^6 15s. 9d. for the ex- 
penses incurred by William de Brinton (mayor in 1340), and Thomas 
the clerk of the burgh, who were present at the Parliament at York 
" to assert the liberties of Lenne," and jQ^ 6s. 8d. which was spent 
in purchasing a barrel of sturgeon, forwarded as a token of friend- 
ship to the Bishop of Norwich. 

SOCIAL DISTINCTIONS. 

At the commencement of the 14th century a system of oligarchy 
and plutocracy prevailed, especially in the sea-port towns throughout 

• Friar Daw Topias answers Jacke Upland thus : 

" And your tPching in an hour 
wil brckc no love-doits 
than \ p mowe brynge togiderp 
vij ycre after." Poem (1401). 

This civic function was fcstablishrd in 1588, perhaps in memory of "the Feast of Rrroncitiation," 
35th Jan., 1555. (See Burnet's Hisl. 0/ i/ic liejormalion : 1850, vol. i., p. 507.) At the end of the i8th 
century the "Feasts of Reconciliiition" were almost forgotten. In London, however, the Weavers' 
Company still pay ten shillings a year to the Churchwardens of St. Clement, Eastcheap, to provide two 
turkeys to be eaten by the parishioners at the annual " Reconciliation," formerly held on Maundy Thursday 



86 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

the kingdom, in that the local government was conducted by a few 
of the inhabitants, who invariably belonged to the wealthy section of 
the community. The laity, the ordinary ignorant inhabitants of 
Lenne, other than the professional clerics, of whom there was no 
dearth, were divided into three totally distinct, yet mutually 
antagonistic, classes, to which certain specific names, which we ask 
the reader to remember, were applied : — the Potetitiores, the rich mer- 
cantile section of the community; the Mediocres, the tradesmen, 
artisans and shopkeepers, who made up the middle class; and the 
Inferiores, the poor labouring folk, who constituted the largest and 
the lowest class. Caste was far more rampant in our borough than 
it is in India at the present time. The classification was perfect, in 
that everybody knew not only to which class he belonged, but also 
the respective classes to which his fellow townsmen belonged. The 
social status of each man being thus clearly determined, he might 
enjoy the privileges pertaining to his own order (if, indeed, there were 
any), but on no account would he be permitted to usurp or infringe the 
privileges belonging to a higher order. Hence, whilst fondly nursing 
their grievances, supposed or otherwise, the individual members of 
these different sections grew irritable and envious. Thus were mutual 
misgivings and petty animosities tenderly nurtured. In the market, 
and even in the trade gild, men felt justified in striving their utmost 
to outwit and annoy each other ; and as, perforce, they unintention- 
ally jostled one against the other in the narrow lanes and ill-paved 
bye-ways, the hatred visible in their faces spoke daggers, though their 
hands generally refrained from using them.* 

^ These deplorable grades clearly illustrate the survival of an 
ancient administration. With the Saxons there were three orders — 
the wealthy nobles (ei/ielings), the subordinate freemen, and the abject 
servile drudges, who could rise to be freed men, and who then were 
totally distinct from the freemen or mediocres of a later date. 
" Nobles only married nobles, and the severest penalties prohibited 
the intrusion of one rank into the other." (Sharon Turner.) The 
inferiores (for every man was appraised, docketed and placed in one 
of the civic pigeon-holes), were treated in municipal matters as if they 
were entirely non-existent. If a man was anxious to alter his posi- 
tion, he must get his foot on the first rung of the social ladder by 
becoming a recognised burgess, and to do this he must have the free- 
dom of the burgh conferred upon him. 

Now, if blue blood were required, the mediaeval anatomist must 
not probe for it in the arteries of the lower classes. Verily every 
drop was in the bodies of the patrician potentiores, who, notwithstand- 
ing, were nothing more than wealthy tradesmen — superior mediocres, 
whom society had judiciously promoted into ^-higher caste. The 

• (i). The Potentiores (derii-ed from the Latin adjective potentialis, powerful, iofluential because 

v^ealthy) ; the aristocracy of the towa consisting oijiuncely raerchants belonging to tlie Merchants' Gild of 
the Holy Trinity. — w^- 

'2). The Mediocres (Latin noun mediocritas, the mean between the two extremes) the democratic 
section — plebeians who had risen to be small shopkeepers, petty traders or skilled craftsmen, aud who were 
in circumstances more or less easy. 

(3). The Inferiores (Latin adjective inferior, lower or inferior, in fact humillimus), the poor 
labouring class, who were despised by their wealthy neighbours. 



TRE TOLBOOTH. 87 

development of cerulean corpuscles was no doubt painfully slow ; the 
indispensable physiological process, perhaps involving many genera- 
tions, was entirely the outcome of environment. These rare speci- 
mens of the genus homo were at lirst humble chapmen or pedlars, then 
small shopkeepers, diminutive traders, petty ship-owners, traders on 
a larger scale, and in the end merchant princes — the purse-proud mem- 
bers of the opulent, omnipotent confraternity known as the Gild of 
the Holy Trinity. Arrived at this stage, they transacted their busi- 
ness with great decorum, sedulously and severely holding themselves 
aloof from the lower grade from whom they or their grandparents 
invariably sprang. Conservative to the core, they took particular 
care that their accumulated capital should not be lightly squandered ; 
hence, intermarrying with potentiores only, they formed profitable 
family compacts and alliances, and never permitted domestic relations 
to interfere so as to weaken their social standing. In consulting their 
own interest, they, of course, generously played into each other's 
hands, with a tacit understanding that one good turn always deserved 
another. Each advantageous site along the foreshore was coolly 
appropriated by them ; every stranger and all who were not of their 
own clique they deliberately pushed aside, and thus they established 
for themselves a huge monopoly ; as adepts in the art of " cornering " 
they waylaid goods coming to the market, and these they either ex- 
ported or held back until they could dispose of them at an enormous 
profit; they piously admitted " the earth was the Lord's and the ful- 
ness thereof," but they as tenaciously maintained that the fleets and the 
staiths and the water-ways had He given to the children of the 
potentiores. 

In return for these small mercies they graciously took into their 
aristocratic hands the manipulating of the borough's revenue, the 
management of the town's vast estate, and the government of the 
plebeian part of the population. Their programme, as may be seen, 
was a disgraceful exhibition of unflinching selfishness. Legislation 
in their case was quite superfluous, for were not they — the immaculate 
potentiores, a law unto themselves? The Corporation — if the term 
be yet admissible — was controlled by them. The Mayor, too, was 
always chosen from among the jurats or councillors, who were bound 
to be members of the dominant fraternity ; if he died, the alderman 
of the gild immediately took his place. Masters of the situation, 
they " ruled without restraint, and with a high hand assessed taxes, 
diverted money from the common treasury, profited by illegal trading 
and customs, contrary to common as well as to merchant law, and 
bought the King's forgiveness if any complaint were made of their 
crimes. . Against their despotism there was no protection for the 
burgesses of humbler station." (Mrs. A. S. Green.) 

A remarkable instance occurred in 1305, when the deeds of those 
in authority became too flagrant and oppressive to be borne. Then, 
as there were signs that the down-trodden populace would stand little 
more of it, the alarmed delinquents extricated themselves from the 
dilemma by adroitly bargaining with the King. They secured letters 
patent of pardon and release " in respect to all trespasses, etc., said to 



88 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

have been done by them in assessing divers tallages on the community 
without the unanimous consent of the same community, and in levying 
the same tallages from the poor and but moderately endowed . . . 
and other great sums of money under colour of certain fines . . . 
for divers causes, and in converting to their own use and not to the 
advantage of the said community ... a great part of the same," 
etc. It exonerated them, moreover, from the crime of forestalling 
goods and other illegal corruptions (April 7th). 

These tempting applications, because of their frequency, became 
at length regarded as the lawful perquisites of the Sovereign. How 
could a good-natured, obliging monarch be expected to turn deaf ears 
to the earnest solicitations of his loyal and devout subjects? The 
terms accepted, the threatening storm was temporarily dispersed, and 
the culprits, no longer in fear of the punishment they richly merited, 
were able to start afresh and pursue the self-same tactics. 

Only a few years elapsed ere the inhabitants of our burgh found 
themselves in a like predicament. Once more were they suffering 
acutely from the unjust oppression of the dominating class. In their 
distress, and when almost driven into rebellion, they wisely turned to 
the lord of the manor — the reverend Father in God, John Salmon, the 
late prior of Ely,— and through his powerful interference an agree- 
ment was signed between him, on behalf of the mediocres and in- 
feriores — the common people, and the mayor, Richard Hopman, who 
represented the ruling potentiores. This deed, termed Comfositio 
Lenne, or 

THE COMPOSITION OF LENNE, 

was embodied in subsequent charters, and thus became, in a measure, 
an important item in the liberties of our burgh. It consisted mainly 
of two clauses, which related to the levying of tallages and the en- 
forcing of the franchise upon townsmen (October, 1309).* 

By the charter granted by Edward I. in 1305, the Mayor was 
given power to distrain for the recovery of tallages and other reason- 
able aids levied for the use of the community (C. 7). The terms of 
this charter were, however, utterly ignored ; the tallages inflicted upon 
the people being described as "unreasonable grievous." Hence a 
needful restraint was placed upon the Mayor and his brethren. 
Tallages in strict conformity with statutory law might henceforth 
be levied when absolutely necessary. No person could be excused — 
every man must pay ; but his contribution was not to be oppressive, 
for the assessment was to be governed by his circumstances and social 
position. The cruel way in which " the great men of the town " (the 
potentiores) treated " the mean people and the poor " (the mediocres 
and inferiores) was to be altered forthwith, so that the " grievous dis- 
tressing so violently of them " was to cease. 

There was, however (writes Mrs. A. S. Green), a disturbing element in the 
history of the Lynn corporation which was absent in Southampton, Nottingham 
and Norwich. The lord of the manor was close at hand, and the governing 
class had to reckon with his claims and expect his interference. Local disputes 
magnified his power. Thrown together as natural allies against the potentiores, 

• Th«re was a previous so-called "composition" in 1243. 



TRE TOIBOOTH. 89 

the mediocres and inferiores were forced to rely mainly on the protection of the 
Bishop. He, on his part, whether for the sake of increasing the population 
dependent on himself rather than on his rival power the Mayor, capitulated — 
and this at the very moment when Norwich was compelling all its traders and 
artisans to buy its freedom — that the Mayor should not have power to force the 
franchise on any settlers, old or new, who might take up house in the town 
while preferring to remain free of the charges of citizenship. He won from the 
Mayor, moreover, in 1309, a Composition for the protection of both mediocres and 
mferiores, which not only became the charter of all their future liberties, but 
was also the fullest recognition of his authority. From this time, in spite of 
efforts on the part of the municipality to evade the Composition, the mean people, 
confident of their legal position and assured of the support of a powerful patron, 
formed a society differently compacted from that which we find in other 
boroughs, and played a part in the politics of Lynn which was, perhaps, unique 
in town history. The " community " of Lynn differed from the " community " 
of other boroughs in being made up, as is formally stated in 141 2, not only of 
burgesses, both potentiores and mediocres, but also of inferiores or non-burgesses, 
(Vol. II., p. 408-9.)- 

The town possesses an " illustrated copy " of this Composition. 

" THE CHASE." 

During a reign of 20 years, Edward 11. visited Norfolk several 
times, but his presence did not materially affect our town. On the 
9th of May, 13 1 2, he was at Wormegay, and on the 9th of July the 
next year he appears to have been at the same place ; from thence, on 
both occasions, he repaired to Thetf ord, possibly making a slight detour 
to call at Lenne. In May, 1313, perhaps before setting out on his 
journey, he graciously granted our burgh a charter, which bore, it is 
true, no marks of conspicuous originality, but was, notwithstanding, 
an indisputable token of royal remembrance. Two years later Edward 
was in Lenne on the 2nd of October, at Walsingham on the 5th, Harp- 
ley the 7th, and again in Lenne the 8th (1315). Ten years later he 
and his court were at Walsingham from the ist to the 7th of February. 
The following day he entered Lenne once more. 

Our chase and the plantations in the surrounding district were 
perhaps indirectly affected by the King's charter. 

C. 8. Dated at Westminster, 16th of May, 6th year of his reign. It formally 
confirmed C. 5 and C. 7, and granted freedom thoughout all the kingdom to 
the burgesses of Bishop's Lenne, including the right to feed swine in woods 
and on common lands without the payment of the usual tax called pannage, 
except when called upon by the bishop of the diocese (13 13). 

East Anglia was at one period like a primeval forest, covered 
with trees and undergrowth, which sheltered innumerable deer and 
other animals. From a presentment of Edward L we learn that a 
portion at least of " the Great Level " constituted a part of " the 
King's forest " (1306). In a legal sense, the word foresta signifies 
" without." Accordingly a forest was a liberty outside the jurisdic- 
tion of the ordinary law, and subject only to special regulations de- 
vised by William I. There was hardly a county in England without 
its forest, in fact entire counties were formerly under the cruel forest 
laws. Chases, too, were numerous. From letters patent directed to 

• Read Mii. A. S. Green's Totun /-i/e i« iht Fifteenth Century (1884) and Mr. E. M. Beloe's Our 
Borough (1871), 

N 



90 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Roger Townshend, knight, and others, we learn that in 1543 the chase 
at Rising " extendeth from Bawsey Brigge to Gaywoode Brigge, from 
Gaywoode Brigge to the See, from thence to Babingley Brigge, from 
thence to Hilhngton Brigge, from thence to Brudgate lane,* from 
thence to Bonys Brigge, from thence to the saide Bawsey Brigge. 
Alsoe we saye that the master of the Game or Ranger have yearely 
many yeares used to make a bothe (booth) of the armes and boughes 
of oakes atte feaste of Penticost (Whitsuntide), by estimac'on to the 
number of Ix loades of woode, to his or their uses." Instructions 
were given " that my lords game may be bette' kepte and cherished, 
for the kepares suffre ev'y man to hunte there that will yeve (give) 
them XX d. or xl d., and so hathe be (been) slayn ther this yer xx dere 
and at this tyme y'r w's (there was) not passed iiij xx (four score) 
dere of all man ' (manner of) sorts (1293)." To the south-east of our 
town is still what is termed the chase, and it is indeed likely that the 
one at Lenne and the other at Rising once formed part of the 
King's forest in this part of the country. The constable of Rising 
was present at the perambulation of the boundaries of the burgh 
(1410). There is, however, a difference between a forest and a chase. 

A forest was the personal and pecuUar privilege of the King, to whom 
alone pertained the right of appointing a justice seat or a Chief Justice, the 
existence of which was the insignia of a royal domain. Being his in such ample 
possession, he could grant to any person the whole or any portion of this forest, 
either absolutely or with such restrictions and limitations as he might think fit. 
A forest, however, in the hands of a subject, became a chase, which, except by 
special order of the King, was subject to the jurisdiction of the Common Law 
and its judges, and was not under the Forest Laws. It had no court of its own, 
and the matters affecting the chase were disposed of in the Court of the Hundred 
or the County, and not by the judges of the forest. No-one was therefore the 
owner of a forest but the King, who provided for its administration, and 
appointed its officers. [Inderwick's The King's Peace, p. 141.] 

The King possibly granted a part of his forest — " the chase at 
Lenne "—to one of his favourite knights, who by special permission 
frobablv retained the ancient gallows or gibbet right, with the in- 
herent pleasure of hanging any thieves taken therein. The Hospital 
field, at no great distance from the Chase, was " the Gallows pasture," 
where criminals were despatched at late as 1587, and clauses were 
inserted in leases of the land reserving this exhilarating privilege. 
(1680). 

When England was in an imperfect state of cultivation, timber 
was, comparatively speaking, worthless. The value of wooded dis- 
tricts was estimated neither by the area covered nor by the number 
of trees therein contained, but by the means afforded for feeding 
swine. The pig was then the most important of our domestic 
animals ; hence the absolute necessity for plenty of forest products 
such as nuts, acorns, mast, etc. Thorpe wood, near Norwich, main- 
tained a herd of 1,200 swine. 

An officer, the hogman or hogwarden of the burgh, was chosen 
every year to look after the swine reared in the common woods and 
pastures ; he was paid by the community, who taxed themselves 

* Broodgatf v/:%y is iu the manor of Westhall (Gayton): Cutting's Gleanings about Gayten (1889), p. ig 



THE TOLBOOTH. 91 

according to the size of their herds to raise the amount. It was his 
duty to prevent the swine straying too far, and not merely to see that 
they sought their respective " dens " at night, but to provide them 
when necessary with warm rugs. The granting of free pannage 
to the inhabitants of Lenne when the town was surrounded by dense 
woods was indeed a valuable concession. 

Let us, however, hasten to confess that the foregoing is purely 
speculative, and is based on the assumption that our Chase retains its 
ancient place-name. The captious reader may have, like Dr. 
Jessopp, " a deep distrust for historians, who for every pair of facts 
construct a trinity of theories." Publicans, poets and historians, 
nevertheless, possess licences, and all our " facts " are stated with 
scrupulous regard for the three P's, so useful in cases of historical 
emergency — possibility, probability and perhaps-ibiliiy ! Let future 
theorists amuse themselves by shewing the utter absurdity of these 
suggestions, and they will assuredly deserve to be read once, if not 
oftener, 

Austin Street, '' the way to the Ert's bridge " (1294), was once 
known as Hogman's lane and Hopman's way. In the time of Edward 
II. mention is made of Hopeman's gate — a variant perhaps of Hop- 
man's way; besides as recently as 1725 Hopman's bridge, a succes- 
sor, it may be, to Ert's bridge of the 13th century, is shewn on Ras- 
trick's plan of Lynn. And here we face another dilemma, which we 
generously leave to the astute consideration of future historians. Is 
this interesting place-name derived from hogman, the ancient swine- 
herd, or is it a modification of a personal name (Richard Hopman 
being mayor in 13x0), or has it any connection with houghinan, the 
hangman? Sir Walter Scott writes : " And as many were gibbeted at 
Houghmajt's Stares, which has still the name for the hangman work 
done there."* 

SHIPS — MEN — AND MONEY TOO. 

During this unsatisfactory reign there was a continuation of the 
struggle in Scotland. To transport the Earl of Ulster and his forces 
to that country, every port in the kingdom was called upon to provide 
ships of war suitably equipped. The relative importance of Norfolk 
as a maritime county is apparent when we remember that 11 vessels, 
out of an entire muster of 43, were from our county alone. Yarmouth 
was assessed for six, Lenne for four, and Burnham with Holkham 
for one (June i6th. 13 10). 

Whilst the King was disputing with his barons, Bruce, by taking 
advantage, gained ground rapidly, so that in 1313 Stirling was the 
only fortress in Scotland garrisoned by English soldiers. The next 
year Stirling capitulated, and all Scotland was practically lost. In 
13 1 7 Berwick, the important border fortress, also fell into his hands. 
At this crisis the custody of our town and its defence against the 
attacks of foreigners and the King's enemies generally were placed 
(during royal pleasure) in the hands of the Mayor and burgesses. 
(Letters patent dated at Walton the loth of July 1318.) Edward 

• Houghmanitaycs : See note in the Fair Maid of Perth. 



92 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

moreover, sent a writ " to the Bailiffs and Good People of Lenne." 
A courteous preamble indeed, but, as usual, a sign of the thorough 
squeezing which was to follow ! However — " Hats off gentleman, 
if you please!" — the King shall speak for himself: — 

For that news has come to us that our enemies of Scotland have laid siege 
to our town of Berewick-on-Twede with a great number of people, wherefore 
we have need to send thither men and ships for the rescue of our said town and 
the safety of our people who are there, we pray and charge you as especially as 
we are able that you will aid us sufliciently and with good will and your navy 
well equipped with men and victuals in aid, for the rescue of our aforesaid town. 
Promise being given of reasonable repayment of the costs to which the bailiffs 
and good people shall put themselves in the matter ; order being given for their 
ships and men to be at Scardeburgh (Scarborough) on the 12th of next October, 
to proceed thence in the company of Simon de Drilby, who has been appointed 
cheveteyn de la navie about to be sent for the rescue of the aforesaid town. 
(Dated at Eu'Wykes, 28th September 1317.) 

Three other privy-seal writs were received by our Mayor during 

this eventful period : — 

(a). 13 19 (March 28th) from Euer Wyk (Berwick) urging that the request of 
John Salmon, Bishop of Norwich, M. Aymer de Valence, the Earl of 
Pembroke, and M. Walter, of Norwich, for ships and men, be at once com- 
plied with " for the despatch of the war." It is also hinted that for a time 
the ships were to be mamtained by the burgh. 

(b). 1322 (August ist) from Noef Chastel sur Tyne (Newcastle). Information 
had been received that vessels were discharging their freights at Lenne. 
This was strictly forbidden, and the owners were commanded to proceed 
with their cargoes of victuals " to the north parts for the sustenance of the 
king and his host." 

(c). 1322 (August 5th) from Goseford. Having heard that vessels laden with 
wheat, rye, &c., had entered our haven, the king's commands were reinforced. 
Under pain of forfeiture and his further displeasure no vessels were to be 
allowed to discharge their freights; they were to proceed promptly north- 
ward. Reference was made, moreover, to previous letters, and astonishment 
expressed that no replies thereto had been received. 
•X- * * * * 

A host of unscrupulous partisans, encouraged by a faithless 
Queen, led to Edward's overthrow. When the Parliament met at 
Westminster (1327), it was thronged with enemies. Alarmed at 
appearances, and conscious of his own incompetency, the King, under 
pressure from the Queen and her paramour Roger Mortimer, signed 
a declaration which was in itself tantamount to a deposition. Eight 
months afterwards Edward II. was brutally murdered in Berkeley 
Castle, by his keepers — two knights named Gournay and Maltravers. 
(September 1327.) 

CHAPTER XI. 
Isabel the Fair. 

Edward III., the eldest son of Edward II. and Isabella of France, 
was born at Windsor, 13th November 1312. In 1325 he joined his 
mother in France; returned to England with her in September 1326; 
was declared guardian or regent of the kingdom about a month 
afterwards, and was proclaimed King on the deposition of his father, 



ISABEL THE FAIR. 93 

January 25th, 1327. When 15 years of age he married Philippa of 
Hainault (1328). -ir * -x- -x- * 

The Scots, seeking to gain an acknowledgment of their indepen- 
dence, boldly invaded the northern counties, and the war that ensued 
greatly resembled that in the Transvaal. The English force was well 
equipped, and far superior numerically, but whilst they required many 
things for their sustenance, the homely Scot was perfectly contented 
with a bag of oatmeal slung on the back of his hardy pony. Although 
Edward was nominally king, the government was really in the hands 
of his mother, " Isabel the Fair," as she was called, and her favourite 
Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. In 1328 they committed a folly 
which contributed not a little to their speedy downfall. An 
ignominious peace, recognizing the complete independence of 
Scotland, was concluded. 

Taking advice from his nobles, the King, who was treated as a 
child, and as strictly guarded as a prisoner, determined upon shaking 
off the yoke. After capturing the obnoxious Mortimer at Nottingham 
he assumed the lead. Mortimer was taken to London, and hanged at 
Tyburn, 29th of November 1330, and the next year Isabella began 

"^^ LIFE OF RETIREMENT 

at the castle at Rising. 

Sir John Froissart, whose Chronicles cover 73 years (1326-1399), 
and who was secretary to Queen Philippa from 136 1 to 1366, asserts 
that— 

The King, soon after (the death of Mortimer), by the advice of his council 
ordered his mother to be confined in a goodly castle, and gave her plenty of 
ladies to wait and attend on her, as well as knights and esquires of honour. He 
made her a handsome allowance to keep and maintain the state she had been 
used to : but forbid that she should ever go or shew herself abroad, except at 
certain times when any shows were e.\hibited in the court of the castle. The 
Queen thus passed her time there meekly ; and the King, her son, visited her 
twice or thrice a year. [Johnes' translation ; 1805, Vol. I., p. 84.] 

With an ample yearly income of ^"3,000, which absorbed two- 
thirds of her son's revenue, Isabella lived quietly at " the goodly 
castle " at Rising, built a century and a half before by William 
d'Albini, the first Earl of Arundel. By no means a prisoner, she 
seems to have enjoyed her life — as well she might^in this 
picturesque part of Norfolk. During the first few years of her son's 
government the dowager-queen submitted to a mild surveillance, which 
w\is perhaps subsequently relaxed. Evidence indeed shows she was 
at Berkhampstead and Windsor (1330), Walsingham (1331-2), 
Pontefract (1338), Langley and Norwich (1344), Hertford (1345), 
and in our own burgh undoubtedly many times. Throughout a 
residence of seven-and-twenty years, the burgesses never ceased 
demonstrating in a tangible way their sincere sympathy with Isabella 
in her adversity. From the 5th to the 32nd year of her son's reign 
the pages of the Hall Book bristle with entries of money expended 
for valuable presents sent for her gracious acceptance — payments for 
wine, wax. bread, lampreys, sturgeon, sheep, etc., and disbursements 
for the carriage of goods, and acknowledgments to her steward, cooks 
and other servants. 



94 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

ROYAL VISITS. 

1328. August, Symon de Mepham, the newly appointed Archbishop 
of Canterbury, did fealty to the King at Lenne [Chronicles of the 
ReigJis of Edw. I. and II., vol. I., p. 342.] 

^i?>^-2- June 4th, the King was at Thetford ; 5th Buckenham ; 

26th Walsingham ; 27th Cokeford ; 28th Gaywood, from 

whence he departed on the 30th to Wisbech (j\I). Isabella was with 

Edward at Walsingham — " 20 shillings were paid for bread sent 

to Isabell, the old (^ueen, when she came from Walsingham " (J). 

I333-4- August 19th, at iMelton ; 20th Rising (query); 21st 
Fakenham; 22nd Wymondham ; and 24th Yarmouth (M). 
December 14th, at Newmarket; 15th Swaffham; i6th Westacre; 
17th Mildenhall (M). 

i334"5- ^^^y 7th, at Scottow; 9th Gaythorpe (? Gayton Thorpe); 
loth Thornham (M). 

1335-6- The King, Queen, etc., at Lenne (J). 

1340-1. February 14th, the King, Queen, Isabella, etc., at Norwich; 
grand spectacular tournament, which continued until after Easter 
(M). The King visited Langley and came also to Lenne — *' los. 
2d. spent for wine to sergeants-at-arms in the time the King passed 
through Lenne " (H). Richards and Miss Strickland state that 
the King was at Rising — query? 

1342. The King and Queen are said to have been at Norwich 
(Blomefield). 

1344-5. November 13th, the King, Queen, Isabella, etc., at 
Norwich; celebration of Edward's birthday; 15th Langley; from 
whence letters patent were dated ; Isabella was there with her son 
(M. and H.). December 17th the King was at Bury St. Edmund; 
i8th Thetford; 20th Attleborough ; 21st Norwich, where Christmas 
was spent. Edward also went to Thorndenes (Suffolk), the seat of 
the Earl of Suffolk (Thorndens). "12 pence were given to the 
Earl of Suffolk's minstrels." who, it seems, accompanied His 
Majesty to Lenne (J). The King, moreover, visited Rising (J. and 
H). 

1344-5. January ist at Wymondham; 19111 to 25th at North 
Elmham ; . . . February loth Wymondham (M). 

1347-8. Lenne and Rising visited; presents given to the King and 
Queen, also to the members of the royal household when they lodged 
at the Friars (J). 

1349-50. Rising again visited; 9s. 6d. paid to the messengers " at 
the time the King was at Rising " (H). Lenne was probably 
visited. 

1352-3. Rising apparently visited; " 40 pence given to the porter 
of Rising and his companions coming " — to Lenne unquestionably 
— " for horses for the King's use " (H). 
Authorities: M = Mason; J = Jeaffreson ; H = Harrod, who quotes 

the late Mr. Alan H. Swatman. 

Commenting upon Froissart's interesting Chronicles, Lord Hailes 

observes, that therein " dates and facts are strangely misplaced and 

confounded, as the manner is in colloquial history." Subsequent 



ISABEL THE FAIR. 95 

writers have, notwithstanding, incautiously followed the lead suggested 

by Froissart, and have endeavoured to shew how Edward frequently 
visited his mother during her residence at Rising. That she met him 
at Walsingham, Langley and Norwich there can be no doubt, as she 
in all probability did at Lenne, but she had been at Rising about 14 
years before Edward put in an appearance. In our chamberlains' 
records we find many presents were sent to the King, but surely it is 
unfair to assume they were sent to the King at Rising. In 1344-5 
the King visited Lenne and Rising, when payments were made to the 
royal messengers and runners, also for the keeping of the King's 
palfreys. Richards states that the Court was at Lenne for some 
time, " as appears from certain letters which he (the King) sent from 
hence to the Bishop of Norwich, then at Avignon, to be there delivered 
by him to the Pope." The sum of jQt^ i6s. id. was moreover 
forwarded to the King's servants at Thorndenes " at the first coming 
of the Lord King at Rysing." This is Jeaffreson's version; Harrod, 
quoting Swatman, gives a very similar rendering of the passage; 
unfortunately, however, the word first is omitted. 

In the above epitome, it will be noted how three writers assert 
that Edward was at Rising prior to 1344-5. Let us now decide 
whether we shall accept this, or adhere to the statement of our 
chamberlains Goodmen Philip Wych, John de Couteshal, Thomas de 
Fransham and William de Swanton, who certainly did not wait 500 
years before making up their year's account, but who did it whilst 
memory held her seat. 

According to Mason the King was at Rising in 1333-4; there is 
unfortunately no reference to substantiate this assertion, though 
authorities are given to support what he writes respecting the visit in 
1344-5. Richards assures us that the King was here in 1340, " as 
appears by the account rolls of Adam de Reffham and John de New- 
land, of Lynn, who sent his Majesty a present of wine." But the 
chamberlains for that year were Messrs. John Richwys, Thomas 
Belleyetere, William de Sanfone and Henry de Guntone (1339-40); 
and Messrs. Thomas de Swerdeston, William de Utterynge, William 
de Snorynge and William Erl (1340-1). Adam de Reffham was 
indeed a burgh chamberlain, but that was in the year 1347-8, when 
many presents were bestowed by the Corporation, — the total disburse- 
ments for the year amounting to yC528 i8s. 4^d. The information 
on this subject given bv Miss Agnes Strickland in her Lives of the 
Queens of England (1844) has been proved in Harrod's Deeds and 
Records of Lynn (1874). p. 66. to be untrustworthy. Wherefore, 
guod erat demonstrandum— until some unkind busybody disproves 
Mr. J. C. Jeaffreson's quotation from the Hall Book. 

When Edward and Queen Philippa were in Lenne in 1335-6 we 
find among the items under " Expense Navium " the following : — 

xxvj s. vj d. f/['i/6/6) priven for the expenses of the Kinp and Oueen when 
they crossed over the water, by the hands of Laurence de Fordham and Reginald 
de Sisterne. 

iiij li X s. (£"4/10) given to Geoffrey Wreke for the freight of a ship called 
The Cateyine, 



96 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

xxjv li. vj s (£2^16) given to Roger Fanchild and Roger Catour for the 
wages of mariners in Lord King's service. 

V s. (5/) given for oars to the said ship. 

xj li. (£11) given to Roger Fayrchild (? Fanchild) for his costs on either 
passage. 

xxiij s. j d ({ifili) given to Henry Bataylle for ale and other expenses in 
the sliip of Roger de Buttele. 

Ivij s. i£2[iy) for xij quarters of wheat for the expenses of mariners in two 
ships of the King's use. 

After Edward's return from the Continent (1340-1) he visited 
Lenne on his way to Norwich, whither he was bound, so that he might 
be present at a grand tournament, designed expressly for his gratifica- 
tion. These rough sports had been strictly prohibited a few years 
before, being rightly regarded as the source of treasonable agitations. 
The enterprise in which the citizens of Norwich were embarked was 
unquestionably illegal, but, being expert logicians, they subdued their 
misgivings with the flattering unction that, as the King couM do no 
wrong, they were justified in breaking the law to assist him in doing 
what was rig/it. This grand spectacular display began in February 
and lasted until Easter, and many were the bones delightfully splin- 
tered, but crestfallen combatants did not mind these trifles, because 
their pain was neutralized by the exquisite pleasure derived from 
suffering in the presence of royalty. Queen Philippa joined the King 
to witness the pageants ; Her Majesty was present on St. Valentine's 
day. 

That Edward came to our burgh there can be no doubt, because 
los. 2d. was spent for wine in treating the sergeants-at-arms and 
others " in the time when the King passed through Lenne " (i 340-1) ; 
but where was Her Majesty the Queen, and why did she shun the 
loyal burgesses, who were patiently waiting with uncovered heads to 
receive her? Subsequent events may throw light upon the subject; 
the student is not, however, to be left in utter darkness, for he reads 
that sixty shillings were given to a mediator, one Geoffrey de 
Bouresyard, " for his assistance in reforming the peace between the 
Lady the Queen and the community of the town." 

Miss Strickland suggests that on this occasion Edward visited 
his mother at Rising, whilst the Queen remained at Norwich until 
Easter. It seems far more likely that the Dowager came to meet her 
son at Lenne, and that the entries " 13s. 4d. for wine sent to the 
Queen," and " 2s. paid for beer for the men of the Queen at the 
Friars' Minors," refer to her, and not to the King's wife Philippa. 

When the three years' truce with France was concluded, Edward 
passed through Lenne. Valuable presents were made to the royal 
usher, the keeper of the King's palfreys, the servants in charge of the 
carriages, the sergeants-at-arms, the King's runners or footrnen, and 
messengers. £,S was expended on two falcons, 3s. was paid for a 
glove, and is. was given William de Lakenham for carrying the birds 
to the King, who found capital sport it may be at Rising (1344-5). 

In 1347-8 Edward, accompanied, perhaps, by his mother, seems 
to have spent Lent in our midst. A payment of " 7s. 2d. for wines 
and spices to the household of our Lady the Queen at the Friars where 



ISABEL THE FAIR. 97 

they were lodged," and another, "22s. 6d. entertainment of the 
household of the King in Quintagesima," appear. Separate "house- 
holds " are mentioned, and as Isabella was connected with the 
Franciscans it might be inferred that the entertainment was at the 
monastery of the Grey Friars. 

Edward visited "the royal prisoner" at Rising in 1349-50 and 
in 1352-3. On the first occasion wheat and eels amounting to ;£() 
3s. 2d. were sent to Queen Isabella, and 9s. 6d. was paid to certain 
messengers " at the time the king was at Rising." Among the pay- 
ments at the second event we may mention : jQ<) 12s. gd. " paid for 
a pipe of wine and a barrel of sturgeon sent to Lady Isabell, queen 
of England " [what an empty title!], " and for money given to John 
le Butelier and for the carriage of the same offering to Rysingge "; 
i2s. was also " given to John de Wyndesoner and other men of the 
King's servants when he was at Rysynnge," etc. 

LAST SCENE OF ALL. 

The dowager queen of England died at Hertford castle, 22nd 
of August, 1358, in the 63rd year of her age, and was buried near 
Queen Margaret, the second wife of Edward I., in the church of the 
Grey Friars, London, towards the erection of which she had ably 
contributed. A few years since the Household Book of her castle at 
Hertford was found, and it is now preserved in the Cottonian Library, 
British Museum. The entries extend from October, 1357, to the time 
of her death. From it we learn that among the Queen's guests at 
this period were the daughter and grandson of the infamous Mortimer ; 
and that frequent payments were made to couriers who travelled to 
and from the French court, which prompts to the belief that Isabella's 
interference with State affairs was not even then at an end. 

An excellent diagnosis of the character of this very beautiful 
woman, the " She-wolf of France," is given by Mr. E. M. Beloe, in 
his Castle Rising: the Barony, the Borough and the Franchise (1894). 
He writes : — 

The career of Isabella, the heroine of Rising, is not that of a saint ; it is 
that of a woman whose ambition, whose cruelty, whose immorality and hard- 
ness of character is perhaps unsurpassed in history. Whether the bad qualities 
she possessed were entirely owing to her own fault it is not for us to judge. 
. . . She was married very early in life to her weak and unfortunate 
husband, Edward II. She came to us a bride so beautiful that she was called 
Isabella the Fair. Her father was handsome, for he was designated Philip le 
Bel, and her husband was as remarkable as both of them for his comeliness 
and gentleness. This woman, so young and beautiful, and yet so bad, was of 
high ability, and possessed great qualities. During her career as queen, which 
lasted 20 years, in its early portions she certainly distinguished herself by great 
power of government and by energy in administration. She arranged treaties, 
and in her fall, when she lost every moral quality, and became a fierce, cruel, relent- 
less, heartless woman, she never ceased to be a queen. She was the daughter of a 
king, and in all her associations she never demeaned herself to any of low 
position ; her companions throughout, and those with whom she acted in 
business, were all the highest barons in the hind. One of her last arts before her 
fall was her retirement to France witii Mortimer, but I need net refer to a 
connexion which is historic. It is only after being exiled from that country that 
she came to England with an armed force and landed on Harwich beach, and 
compelled her unlucky husband to surrender the kingdom to his and her son. 

O 



98 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

She gave the keeping of the King afterwards to the Earl of Lancaster, her 
relative, aid only when the kindness of the earl to his unfortunate prisoner 
became apparent, did this wife and the mother of his child take the care of her 
husband the King from him, and put it into the hands of two who would do 
her will, and who took him to Berkeley, almost certainly by her directions, and 
murdered him. This is he heroine of the Castle ! She was now let loose, and 
every-one fell at her will. The good Earl of Lancaster, the old Earl of Coventry, 
relatives of herself and her husband, were executed. . . . We all know that 
she ruled the kingdom in the name of her son (but in reality by the direction of 
Mortimer) until the fourth year of his reign. . . . 

THE " BLACK PRINCE." 

After purchasing the castle and appurtenances at Rising, 
Isabella, the Queen-Dowager, became entitled to the usual profits 
arising from the Lenne Tolbooth. At her decease (1358) they were 
enjoyed by her grandson Edward, Prince of Wales. Early inured 
to warfare, the hero of Cregy spent most of h's time in tented camps, 
and very little at his com ortable home. The Prince owned the castle 
at Rising only eighteen years, for where he gained his honours he 
lost his health ; he returned victorious, it is true, but with a broken 
constitution ; he died at the early age of forty-six, and was buried at 
Canterbury (1376). 

During the absence of the Black Prince, when the castle was 
most likely in the charge of a constable, unpleasantness arose, and 
our burgh became involved in considerable expense in trying to dis- 
prove certain grave accusations maliciously made against the com- 
munity. Twice during the year 1373-4, the mayor, John de Cokes- 
ford, and twelve of the most influential burgesses, with their servants, 
were sent to London in order to treat with their princely neighbour 
and the Council. The dispute, which related to the payment of dues 
derivable from the Tolbooth, led to protracted interviews, which 
absorbed much time.* The first visit necessitated a sojourn of seven, 
and the second of three weeks. The deputation was, it seems, at last 
satisfied with a compromise, though the burgesses could hardly be 
expected to applaud their diplomacy, because considerable drafts upon 
the civic coffer were immediately made, as, for example, ;^i33 6s. 6d. 
a gift to the Lord Prince; ;^4 13s. 4d. for a pipe of red wine given 
to Lord William de Swyneflete for aid rendered the community during 
the negotiations which resulted in a "treaty," the nature of which 
is not recorded. The same year there were " drinkings " of wine by 
the Bishop's steward and Edmund Gurney, who acted as legal adviser 

* Two examples of Les Custums de la Talboth de Lenn (1243) must suffice ; — 
Wynys 

Of a tonne wyn yt is clepyd tressel ... ... viij d. 

Of a tonne wyn yt is clepyd Dubler ... ... iiij d. 

Of ev'y tonne wyn cardon ... ... ... iiij d. 

And if it be w'out ye tonne for ev'ry mt ... ... ob. 

Of di mt ... ... ... ... ... j qa. 

Beneth rizt Bot ... ... ... ... nt. 

WOLLE SkYNNYS 

Of c v.'oUe skynnys ... ... ... ... vj d. 

Of ci c (50) ... ... ... ... ... iij d. 

Of XX sxynnys ... ... ... ... ... j d. 

Of X skynnys ... ... ... ... ... ob. 

Of V skynnys ... ... ... ... ... j qa. 

Beneyeriztnot ... ... ... ... nt. 

— [Norfolk Antiquarian Miscellany (1883), vol. II.] 



ISABEL THE FAIR. 99 

to the town. The charges of the deputation amounted to ;^i5 
14s. 8d. ; the expenses of Adam Clerk, who rode to Norwich and 
Hoxne with the mayor's letter asking Lord William de Swyneflete to 
defend the burgesses, came to 4s. 8d. ; moreover, 6s. 8d. was given to 
a clerk named Baron and his associates (clerks of the Council of the 
Prince) for their advice and trouble in writing about the ^^fine for the 
Tolbooth." 

In the accounts for the years 1374 and 1376 are these items : — 
/'14/15/3 received for the share of the prince for the Tolbooth, as well on 

the screen as for tyonage, lovecop and measurage for the time of this 

account. * 
^8/6/8 paid the prince for rent of the same (1374-5). 
^11/13/4 to the prince for his part of the Tolbooth rent to Easter, and 
^13/6/8 to Michaelmas (1376-7). 

After the duties were collected by the bailiffs, they were at stated 
periods taken to the Hall and placed upon the "screen" (Latin, 
scrinium, a chest or casket), th;it is, upon the top of the iron-bound 
treasury box, the keys of which were held by the town's chamberlains, 
who were responsible for its safety. May we not infer that besides 
receiving one-fourth of the profits, valued at ^90 a year. Prince 
Edward also received an annual rent of ;^25 for the premises? 

At the death of the " Black Prince " the castle and manor passed 
to his son Richard, a lad eleven years of age, who was crowned king 
of England (1377). During the second year of his reign negotiations 
for the exchange of the lordship of Rising for the castle of Brest, in 
Brittany, were brought about by John de Montford, surnamed the 
Valiant, and his wife Joan. Preparatory to acceding to this request 

• Tronage was the duty paid when wool was brought to the tron or weighing-beam. The Tron-gate 
(way) in Glasgow and the Tron church in Edinburgh were named from their proximity to the public steel- 
yards. Tronage was afterwards applied to the duty upon al! weighable goods. The Chamberlains of 
London received a writ from Edward I. to make a iron for the weighing of wool " in our town of Len" 
(rSth April, 1298). The machine, after being examined and proved at the Gildhall, was sent to the 
Exchequer, where it was tested and stamped with the city mark. Then it was delivered "to the men of 
Lenne." 

Measurnge was likewise paid when certain goods were measured. 

Lovecop (otherwise lovecop, lojcop and lujcop) is supposed to be a tax on corn — the right of taking from 
every certain quantity (say bushels) a scoop of corn, payable to some superior. \Trans. Phil.Soc. (1855): 33.] 
In the Times (of May 27th, 1857, p. 11), there is a report of a case touching the right of H.R.H. the Prince 
of Wales, as tjuke of Cornwall, to lojcop, i.e., to one moiety of the charges on exported grain, seeds and 
com levied at a certain town upon the coast. (Notes and Queries, 1857, 2nd S., iv. 27.) It is defined in the 
Eng. Dialec. Diet, as "an ancient right existmg at Lynn Regis." [querj', "existing"?] Mr. Henry 
Bradley, M. A., one of the able editors of the Neiv English Dictionary on Hislotical Principles {igo2), thus 
discusses the derivation of this " puzzling " word : " The Dutch lijjkonp, the Old Danish and Old Swedish 
litlicilp, and the German leitkauf, all mean what in some parts of England is called a ' lucky-penny,' i.e., a 
sum which it is customar>' for the seller to give back out of the purchase-money. The general notion is 
that the seller treats the buyer to a drmk in celebration of the conclution of the bargain. The Scandinavian 
and German forms as tliey stand may very well mean ' purchase of drink' ; there is an old Teutonic word 
Ii(/i, meaning ' strong drink,' which becomes iei( in German. The Dutch word, which on the face of it 
would seem to bear the unlikely meaning ' purchase of one's life or body' must be a corruption ; there are 
other instances in which the original th in a word borrowed early from some other Teutonic dialect has 
become / in Dutch. Further, we have in English dialect (Kent) a very similar word, with a curious variety 
of forms, meaning ' an auction sale.' The forms are /ie/fo«/>, /ift)ecAe/>e, litcop, and, in a book dated 1681, 
lylhcoup. Here again we have a curious alternation between / and th ; and the difference in meaning from 
Continental words is strange. ... I think love:op must be as.sociated with this group of words to this 
extent, that the ending is probably equivalent to ' purchase.' The East .\nglian dialect so swarms with 
Scandinavian words that the presumplion is that this term is of Scandinavian origin. Now in Old Norse 
lofkaup, though the compound does not to my kiiowletlge actually occur, would mean ' purchase of leave or 
licence'." This suggestion, however, is offered for what it may be worth. Subsequently lovecop was used 
synonymously with lastage, and denoted the payment of one jienny per quarter on corn or grain exported by 
any merch;int strangers not being freemen of the burgh (circa Edward VI.). The lastage upon all grain 
shipped at the present time is one penny per quarter, one half of which is paid to the Duchy of Cornwall. 

Damptol. tliat is. Dam Toll, was paid for the maintenance of the roads upon dams or banks {Inq. Post. 
Mort., vol. II. p. 50a : bth Edw. III,). 



100 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Richard directed that a minute valuation should be made. The 
proposed exchange was ratified the same year, but Montford retained 
his East Anglian possession only about twelve years, because, growing 
disaffected towards the Crown, he revolted, and thus forfeited his 
estates in England ; whereupon the barony of Rising, with the castle 
and all thereto belonging, reverted to the Crown (1391). 

Although the exchange occurred in 1379, it appears to have been 
suggested during the lifetime of the " Black Prince," because the 
Duke of Brittany, John de Montford, was in Lenne prior to the 
disagreement with the burgesses. The chamberlains then paid 7s. 8d. 
for eight gallons of red and white wine which John and his suite 
consumed, 3s. 4d. for ferrying his horses over " the great river," and 
20 pence for something or other when the duke landed at West Lenne. 
The point, however, upon which attention must be focussed is this, — 
that the large solatium voted to our neighbour at Rising was, as is 
expressly stated, " for having his lordship in the same (place) again." 
Does not this imply that an alteration was anticipated? 

QUEEN PHILIPPA. 

Between our townsfolk and the Queen there did not exist the 
reciprocal cordiality we should have expected, and were desirous of 
finding. The cause, however, will shortly appear. 

Whenever the King set out on a " progress ' ' through the country, 
he was followed by a decrepit army of borrowed carts. Under 
stress of circumstances, the official purveyors had power to commandeer 
vehicles within a radius of ten leagues ; travellers, indeed, were often 
stopped in the midst of a journey and put to exasperating 
inconvenience. Forced loans were, it is true, illegal ; hence the 
purveyors were emphatic in promising payment, — " ten pence a day 
for a cart with two horses, and fourteen pence for a cart with three 
horses," according to the terms of the statute in that case made and 
provided, but when the day of reckoning came the purveyors were 
generally in a pitiable state of absent-mindedness. Their requisitions 
included hay, straw, wine, provisions, and in fact everything the royal 
retinue needed. Now the country swarmed with caterers, the majority 
of whom were other than associated with the King's suite. The 
business was a lucrative one ; there was everything to gain and nothing 
to lose. These subpurveyors, who were degrees removed from the 
official purveyors, commandeered what commodities they thought fit, 
purchasing them at alarming prices, and selling them to superior 
purveyors, but never paying for them. The King, though cognizant, 
was quite helpless, because the government was defective and its 
measures were farcical. Trade and tricks go together, but surely the 
high-water mark of trickery is reached when the goods, which cost 
nothing, are sold, the money pocketed, and a fresh supply obtained 
without the outlay of a penny. These greedy caterers were not yet 
satisfied; they "bought," or far oftener stole, corn, which was 
measured to them by " the heaped bushel," and sold it "by the 
strike." In disposing of their hay, wine, etc., other sharp practices 



ISABEL THE FAIR. 101 

were common; so that on all transactions they secured a profit of 25 
per cent. more. Many a time have our forefathers been thrown into 
fearful perspirations at the approach of the royal cortege; the poorer 
classes — the mediocres and the inferiores were, however, the real 
sufferers, because they did not possess the wherewithal to bribe the 
purveyors, as was the well-known custom with their neighbours the 
potentiores. 

The sudden appearance of the bailiffs of the Sheriff of Norfolk 
in 1355 took the inhabitants somewhat aback. These worthy 
gentlemen, having formally presented their credentials, were of course 
hospitably entertained by the mayor, William de Bittering, at the 
town's charge. They were not exactly " on pleasure bent," yet they 
condescended to sample ten shillings worth of imported wine, which, 
no doubt, yielded them immense satisfaction. The object of their 
unlooked-for advent may be summed up in a few words,— they were 
commissioned to obtain and bear with them on their return " the 
Queen's gold." "Ah!" think you, "Her Majesty prudently left 
some of her superfluous treasures in the custody of the community 
when she last passed through the burgh." Alack-a-day ! an extract 
originally penned by one of its burgh-treasurers dispels the fond 
illusion. 

£■4/13/4 paid to Edward de Cretin^je, Sheriff of Norfolk, for the Queen Philippa's 
gold, pertaining to her for lines of the men of Lenn, made before 
William de SharushuUe and his associates, justices of the King's Bench 
at Norwich, for certain excesses, extortions and transgressions (1355-6). 

And had the purveyors of Lenne forgotten how Goodman Kent 
committed a trespass against the Mayor and community by selling his 
wine at eightpence a gallon, when other taverners were charging but 
sixpence, and how he escaped punishment by being bound to forfeit 
a tun of wine to the community, if ever he did the like again (1336)? 
The burgesses, for whose good behaviour the community was 
answerable, had actually been summoned before the justices of the 
King's Bench and severely fined for their dishonesty, and the Queen, 
a thorough business woman, was determined upon having her rights. 
Although the community lavished gifts upon the members of the Royal 
Family, our caterers could find no excuse for charging extravagantly 
for what the Queen wanted. Were there not ordinances (assizes they 
were called), regulating the price of bread, ale, fuel and the common 
necessaries of life, and why should not la reine d'' affaires seek redress 
and protection? Though the fine? was paid with apparent reluctance, 
yet voluntary atonement was made the next year. 

/"ao sent to Philippa.Ouenn of England. 

£\o sent to her son. *" 

£5/6 paid for a piece of wax sent to the said Queen ; i\A paid for the carriage 

of same. 
40/ given to the Queen's steward, and 3/4 to the said Queen's messenger. 
2/ given for a sword, bought and given to a certain minstrel of the same Queen, 

viz., to a herald. ~ 

Prompted by a heart exuberant with gratitude, our mayor, 
William de Swanton (may his name be cherished for ever !) presented 



102 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

his horse to the Queen. This, if so he listed, he had a perfect right 
to do, but it was hardly honest of him to slyly accept 52s. 4d. from 
the exchequer of the burgh to cover his benevolence. Not only was 
his claim untenable, but the price was excessive. 

In 1362 an Act was passed insisting upon purveyors paying ready 
money " at the price current of the market," etc. They were, moreover, 
no longer to be known by " the heinous name of purveyors " (that is, 
providers), but henceforth were they to be termed achatours or buyers. 
Honest men, as will be seen, were not then made by Acts of 
Parliament. The same year. Queen Philippa, one of her sons and a 
large concourse of followers were at Snettisham. Let us not trouble 
ourselves with " the why and wherefore," but be content with 
examining the still further propitiatory expenses defrayed by the 
town. After liberally tipping Her Majesty's treasurer to the tune of 
26s. 8d., her avenor, who had charge of the horses' provender, 6s. 8d., 
the avenor 's servant 3s. 4d., her sub-avenor 6s. 8d. and the sub- 
avenor's boy 6d, and further treating them to twenty pennyworth of 
wine, the loyal and subservient burgesses humbly approached the 
Queen with the following appetising offering, — three carcasses of beef 
48s., six ditto veal iis. 6d., ditto ditto of mutton 14s. 6d., a tun of 
wine ;£^8 13s. 4d., and a quantity of oats amounting in value to 
53s. 4d. Moreover, the canvas in which the meat was wrapped cost 
2s. 3d., and the carriage 3s. lod. The freight of the oats was is. 4d., 
of which the carter received is. For carrying corn the usual price was 
about a penny a mile per ton. To " make assurance double sure " 
our treasurers credited the town with 5s., which they handed to the 
Queen, because of " defective measure." The invoices were no doubt 
carefully checked, and irregularities reported, but whether the Queen 
looked the gift-horse in the mouth we cannot ascertain. If she were 
dissatisfied, it is a question whether she could sue for damages, because 
horses were not included in the assisa: venalium as a common necessary 
of life. 

To complete their purgation Her Majesty's son must not be 
forgotten, hence the community forwarded him two tuns of wine, jQi'j 
6s. 8d. ; twenty quarters of oats (correct measure), for which honest 
Richard de Houton was paid 60s. ; and, knowing how servants esteem 
some slight token of appreciative recognition, they sent them a small 
sum — nominally 20s., but which, according to the purchasing-power 
at this period, was not less than jQ2o ! 

ON HIGHEST WING. 

The most ancient of sports, almost indigenous to this country, was 
by no means ignored by our mediaeval ancestors. Hawking was in 
early times practised by the British islanders, and perhaps by a few 
Oriental tribes ; the Romans, indeed, were indebted to the conquered 
Britons for their knowledge of this fascinating diversion. Edward 
III. was passionately fond of the sport, and under his patronage it 
became highly popular, so much so that a person of rank was seldom 
seen abroad without a hawk or falcon upon his hand. The stealing 



ISABEL THE FAIR. 103 

of a hawk was indeed felony. Culled from the town's disbursements 
are a few of the payments representing presents of birds, etc. : — 

;^4/2/6 paid to Geoffrey de Ketelston for falcons sent to the King (1279). 

£slo/o for two falcons sent to the King ; 3/ given for a glove with the falcon, 

and 1/ paid to Wm. de Lakenham for carrying a falcon to liising (1289). 
£9/6/8 given for two gerfalks (ger- falcons) bought for the use of the L-ord King ; 

7/6 for jesses, caparisons and turres (straps, trappings. &c.) to the same 

(1336)- 

For attending to the King's birds, Andrew de Byri, whose name 
deserves mention in these chronicles for another reason, received 
13s. 4d. this year, besides subsequent payments. This person, 
otherwise known as Benedict de Byri, was " a happy man " — though 
married, if we credit his sobriquet ! 

In the Reliques of Ancient Poetry are these convincing lines : — 

In summer-time, when leaves grow greene, 

And blossoms bedeck the tree, 
King Edward would a huntyng ryde, 

Some pastime for to see. 
With hawks ?nd hounde he made him bowne, 

With home and eke with bowe 
To Drayton- Basset he tooke his waye, 

With all his lordes arowe. 

To substitute "Castle Rising" for Drayton-Basset would 
certainly not endanger the poet's veracity, although it might upset the 
melodious canter of his lines. 

To Sir Walter de Cheshunte, the royal steward at Rising, a 
falcon, costing ^2, was presented (1339); and a second bird the next 
year, the cost of which, ^t^ iis., was likewise defrayed by the town. 
Herons, too, were highly prized ; and they were set free for the hawks 
to pursue and pounce upon. To ensure success, the trainers were in 
the habit of offering wax models of refractory birds upon the shrines 
in our churches. The Duke of Lancaster accepted herons to the value 
of ^2 in 1366, as also did Admiral Lord Nevill in 1372. 

The burgh-bailiffs received a writ bearing the privy seal, which 
was dated July 2nd 1360, at Smerdon. This enchanting enigma is 
thus worded : — 

Si marcham on autres gentz viegnent a la dite ville par nier, ou par terre, od 
nuls ostours qui soient a vendre, et vous puissez trover nul de eux qi soit plus graunt 
de corps qe autres ne soient communalment, qe ceii facez prerdre a nre oeps, ia soit ce 
qil sit les pennes brisces.® 

Here is a solution, in the crabbed phraseology of the period : — 

If merchants or other people come to the said town by sea or land, with any 
hawkes to sell and (if) you can find any of them which is larger than they 
commorly are — (then) that you cause this to be taken for Our (that is, the 
King's) use, even if it happen that its feathers are broken. 

Choice falcons, bred in Norway or in Livonia, a Russian province 
on the shores of the Baltic, were often brought over and sold to the 

• For the difference between "use" from the Latin usiis, and "use" from the Latin opus, see Profe<iSor 
W. W. Skeat's Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (1S82). TIip hitter is often spelt " oeps" in 
.\nf!,\o-'Frenci\, as cynk cents quarttrs de furment et trois centz bacouiis <i I'oeps le toi (4 Edward IH., 1331, 
Rolls of Parliament, vol. ii., p. 40). 



104 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

nobles at high prices. The King was not to be eclipsed by his 
subjects ; he would resort to a brusque and effective exercise of the 
"divine right" inherent in monarchs. The thieving bailiffs, acting 
for a person who could do no wrong, were, of course, morally 
irresponsible. 

FIRE. FLOOD AND FEVER. 

(i) There were two conflagrations in Lenne during this reign. 
The first is described as " the great fire." That the ravages were 
widespread seems likely enough, when houses were largely constructed 
of wood and generally covered with thatch. For carrying water the 
chamberlains paid 2S., and a like amount for watching a boat in the 
haven. In what a helpless condition the town must have been, when 
the fire-hooks used in pulling down buildings, etc., had to be made 
whilst the fire was raging ! The construction of these instruments 
cost fourpence (1277-8). At the next outbreak the alarming state of 
unpreparedness was perhaps three-and-thirty times as great, if the 
sum charged " for making and carrying fire-hooks and ladders " to 
the fire is any criterion (1282-3). 

(2) In 1301-2 " a great flood " inundated the town, and caused 
great damage to the buildings, especially those near the shore. There 
was spent in repairs ;^i25 i8s. 8id. ; and the next year heavy 
additional expenses were incurred for anchors, windlasses, spars, 
ropes, pulleys, timber, etc., besides jQt^ i6s. id. to John Schilling for 
restoring his quay, which was washed away, ^'j 13s. and ^4 is. 5d. 
for repairing the South Gates and the " Dokke " (possibly a dry 
dock similar to the old one in the Friars fleet) respectively. 

(3) Moreover, a terrible plague visited Europe in 1348, the 
effects of which were felt in Lenne the next year. This disease seems 
to have originated either in China or India. No plague was ever so 
destructive; in Venice 100,000 died, in Florence 60,000, and in Sienna 
70,000. The fatality was so great that one-half or one-third of the 
human race is said to have perished. This may be an exaggeration. 
Nevertheless its ravages quite bewildered and appalled the writers of 
the period. Its appearance in England can be precisely fixed. 
Parliament was prorogued on the ist of January, 1349, because of 
'•' the sudden visitation of deadly pestilence," as the King expresses 
himself in his letter to the Bishop of Winchester. The " black 
death," as it was called, was particularly virulent in Norfolk. In a 
single year upwards of eight hundred parishes lost their parsons, 
'■' eighty-three of them twice, and ten of them three times in a few 
months, which represents only a portion of the mortality among the 
clergy and religious orders." (Dr. A. Jessopp.) The unprecedented 
number of vacancies were perforce supplied by inexperienced youths, 
who had only devoted themselves for clerks. These novices, " all 
shaven and shorn " forthwith became rectors of parishes. " William 
Bateman, bishop of Norwich, dispensed with sixty shavelings to hold 
rectories and other livings, that divine ser\'ice might not cease in the 
parishes over which they were appointed." (Blomefield.) Though 
no particulars are at hand respecting the mortality of our town, there 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 105 

can be no doubt but that Lenne suffered with the rest of the district. 
The population of Norfolk was at this period 150,000, of which 
number one-half at least died. In Norwich, 57,304 died, " besides 
religious and beggars"; and the desolation in Yarmouth was 
subsequently described in a petition to Henry VII. in these words: 
" In the 31st year of the said King Edward III. by the great 
visitation of Almighty God, there was so great a death of people within 
the same town that there was buried in the parish church and church- 
yard in one year 7,052 men; by reason whereof the most of the 
dwelling places and inhabitations stood desolate, and fell into utter 
ruin and decay, which, at this day (1502), are gardens and void 
grounds as it evidently apeareth : where through the said benefice is at 
this day (worth) to the curate scarcely ;£^o a year." 

I see no other conclusion to arrive at but one (writes Dr. A. Jessopp), 
namely, that during the year ending March 1350 more than half the population 
of East Anglia were swept away by the Black Death. If anyone should 
suggest that many move than half had died, I should not be disposed to quarrel 
with him. . . . The Bishop of Chester looks with grave distrust upon any 
theory which ascribes to the Great Plague as a cause "nearly all the social 
changes which took place in England down to the Reformation ; the depopulation 
of towns, the relaxation of the bonds of moral and social law, the solution of 
the continuity of national development caused by a sort of disintegration in 
society generally." And yet [the recluse of Scarning continues] this appalling 
visitation must have constituted a very important factor in the working out of 
those social and political problems with which the life of every great nation is 
concerned. 

Ten years later (1360) Lenne was in such a dreadful insanitary 
state that the Mayor, aldermen and constables were commanded to 
inspect the ditches encompassing the town " by reason of its situation 
upon an arm of the sea," which were " through the ebbing and flowing 
of the tides, filled up with mud and other filth, to the great damage 
of the town." (Dugdale). A crusade of sanitary inspectors, headed 
by the Mayor, soon vanquished the myriads of microbes which then 
infested the town ! 



CHAPTER XII. 

Naval and Militai-y Annals. 

As Charles V. of France died without leaving male issue (1328), and 
as, according to the Salic law, females were excluded from the throne 
of that country, Philip of Valois was chosen King. From this moment 
Edward III. cherished hopes of obtaining the crown in right of his 
mother, who, it will be remembered, was the daughter of Philip the 
Fair, asserting that, although the law of France forbade the rule of 
females, it did not apply to their male heirs. And Edward slyly 
" winked the other eye," for he knew his claim was as transparent as 
"egregious moonshine"; but as circumstances prevented him from 
immediately pressing his demand by force of arms, and as Scotland, 
moreover, required attention, he was constrained to arrange his 

p 



106 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



countenance in order to render liege homage to Philip for the duchy 
of Guienne. 

WAR WITH SCOTLAND. 

On coming to the throne Edward sent a writ to John Perbroun, 
the admiral of what was termed " the north fleet," commanding him 
to select 40 vessels to be employed against the Scots ; for not until the 
beginning of the i6th century did our nation possess a royal navy. 
Prior to this her fleet consisted of a miscellaneous aggregation of ships 
provided by the chief ports, supplemented by help from private 
merchants, and small fleets hired of the Genoese, the Venetians or the 
Hanse Towns for a specified period. Admiral Perbroun, it seems, 
visited Lenne, and selected the Katherine, a ship owned by Richard 
de Fakenham and Geoffrey Drew. For the use of the same the 
community agreed to pay one mark (13s. 4d.), whilst the King paid 
the wages of the crew — thirty men at 3 pence and the master and 
constable at 6 pence each per day. The armour, a despicable 
assortment of worn-out " odds and ends," was furnished by the 
townsmen and paid for out of the common fund. 

As early as 1181 every adult freeman was compelled by virtue of 
the Assize of Arms to provide himself with weapons according to the 
extent of his property; this was reinforced in 1252, and again in 1285 
by the Statute of Wine lie ster, which commanded " every man to have 
in his house harness for to keep the peace according to the ancient 
assize." Sometimes the proffered articles were not accepted, as, for 
instance, when John Sefouls produced a pair of iron plates, valued at 
18 pence, and Adam de Trunch a pair of iron gauntlets, a harqueton, 
a bassinet with ventail and a pair of plates with visor, for which rusty 
heirlooms he was willing to take 20 shillings. In both cases they 
were " received back " (1328). 

Another writ gave rise to a repetition of the performance (1334). 
The equipment of a ship for Scotland was placed in the hands of 
William Jay, William de Hoo, John de Wesenham, Alan Spirling, 
John de Somersham and John de Cavendish. Among the offers 
received, the following constitute a fair sample : — 



Thomas de Fransham 
William de Blakene 
Robert de Chapel 
Adam de Walsoken 

Humfrey de Wiken 



One pair of plates of horn 

A harqueton 

A harqueton 

One pair of plates 

A harqueton 

A bassinet with ventrail 



8/ 


Paid. 


4/ 


Accepted. 


3/4 




10/ 
5/ 
6/ 




4/ 
0/8 





A haubergion 

A pair of gauntlets 

A bassinet with ventrail Rejected. 

A harqueton 

In those days the warrior wore a close-fitting leathern jacket ; it was called 
a doublet, because the material of which it was made was double, a puvpoint 
because it was often quilted or stitched, and an aketon, harketon or (as in the 
Lenne manuscript) a harqueton. Over this jerkin a pair of plates were strapped, 
the breast-plate in front, and the back-plate haubargeon or haubergion behind. 
The head was encased in a bascinet or bassinet, a light helmet with a ventail 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 107 

(erroneously spelt ventrail,) or movable front, through which the wearer breathed. 
Small plates, either of iron or horn, were secondary defences, used as protection 
for the joints and the weaker parts of the mail suit. The development of these 
detachable pieces at this period resulted in a complete panoply of plate armour, 
which ousted the chain or ringed armour called " mail," from the French word 
maille, the mesh of a net. 

The town provided the Maivdelyn with a springald, which the 
owner, Thomas de Melcheburn, was to restore when the vessel came 
back, or pay the community thirty shillings. 

In 1337 the Sheriff of Norfolk was ordered to supply Sir Walter 
Manny, the admiral of the fleet north of the Thames, with provisions 
for three weeks. As, however, sufficient ships were not collected for 
the King's passage, the Admiral was severely reprimanded and strictly 
enjoined to concentrate all the ships capable of crossing the sea at 
Yarmouth not a month later than Easter. Even from the scanty 
information derived from our Hall Books it is clear the burgesses were 
cognizant of the King's order, because 9s. was spent in lampreys and 
sturgeon " for the use of the Sheriff of Norfolk " ; also bread (5s.), 
a pipe of Rhine wine {^^ los.), two barrels of sturgeon (^7 6s. 8d.), 
and other commodities were forwarded to Edward. Upon the Lenne 
fleet (which ultimately joined the others at the mouth of the Orwell), 
^36 5s. was expended, and a further sum of ;^35 4s. was sent by the 
hands of Walter de Ixworth to defray the victualling of the same. 

Presently the keepers of the municipal house were set a-trembling 
by a surprise visit from the King's larderer. Roger Daketon was the 
unwelcome bearer of a writ to which was attached the portentous privy 
seal. On the mayor and bailiffs was thrust the responsibility of 
instantly providing Edward with a ship capable of conveying 5,000 
fish to Euerwyk (Berwick), because the sustentation of the royal 
household was in jeopardy. To clear away obstacles, " reasonable 
payment " was promised for the use of the commandeered vessel ; but 
what about the multitude of fishes? The protestations of the King's 
purveyors were generally regarded with mute suspicion (August 8th, 
J 337)- Before, however, the civic doves had smoothed their ruffled 
plumage and adjusted their innocent heads for the purpose of devising 
'' ways and means " which might lead them out of the difficulty, they 
were destined to receive another shocking writ, dated the following 
day (August 9th) at Euerwyk. The burgesses were now politely 
commanded to provide hospitality for Walter de Cotillor and Dame 

Isabel de Cotillor (his wife) and their household, consisting of 

as many as they might choose to bring with them, who had apparently 
travelled from Scotland. The next year " a privy seal mandate " 
from Westminster asked for the payment of fifty marks to the bearer, 
Roger de Accon, another royal larderer, due for fish consumed by the 
royal household (November 5th 1338). 

WAR WITH FRANCE. 

For several years enormous sums, though represented by what 
might be regarded as modest figures, were wrung from the community 
and spent in providing ships and men for Edward's expeditions. The 



108 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



effect of this continuous drain upon the limited resources of the towns- 
folk must have been severely felt. In the account rendered by Simon 
de Veteringe, John de Wesenham, Robert Robat and Simon de 
Snoringge, the municipal treasurers, are startling items marginally 
denominated " Expense Navium." We learn how our burgh paid the 
wages of the men on board three ships furnished by the town, namely, 
the Cog Johan* the Seinte-itiaricog (St. Mary Cog)t and the Kaierine, 
which amounted to ^15 i6s. id. ; also by a second instalment the 
wages of men on board seven ships " in the Lord the king's service," 
to wit, the three already mentioned, plus the Rose, the Margarite, the 
Welifar' (the Fare or Go-well) and another Katerine,X which came 
either to ;i^66 13s. (Harrod) or ;^66 iis. (Jeaffreson), Moreover, 
money spent in the purchase of arms " for France " absorbed jQ^6 
more of the burgesses' earnings, besides 35s. spent in the reparation 
of old armour, and the buying of other weapons of defence from Paul 
Underclif, for which the chamberlains were credited 33s. (1337-8.) 
In 1338-9 four fresh chamberlains were chosen — Robert de 
Wuttone, Simon de Roughtone, William de Swantone and Stephen de 
Kentes. Among their disbursements stands ;£io paid to Thomas 
Melchebume for the purchase of a ship called the Magdalene ; besides 

£53/^ (query £s5lS) the expenses pertaining to ten ships — the Seintc Mavicog, the 
Katevine Major, the Rose, the Margareic, the Welifar', the Katevine Minor 
(for all of which payments had previously been made), the Trinites, the 
Gracedu, the Blithe, and the newly-acquired vessel the Magdalene ; and 

£gli6 (query i^g/iS) a fortnight's wages for " three ships found by the community 
. . . going towards Guernemuth (Yarmouth) at the feast of St. Mark 
the Evangelist." The money, apportioned as under, was paid to the 
constable of each vessel : — 



Andrew Kynd 


Welifar 


16 men 


63s 


John de Reppe 


Katevine Ma joy 


20 „ 


77s 


Wm. de Secheford 


„ Minor 


14 » 


56s 



The King's fleet set sail from the Orwell for Antwerp in July, 1338, 
and the most remarkable entries in the Hall Books during the ensuing 
year relate to expenses incurred by the ships and the admirals of the 
fleet, Thomas de Drayton and Robert de Morle (or Morley). Appended 
is a list of wages for three months : — 
Thomas Robyn 



Robert Free 
Walter Brekheved 



Cog Johan 
Alargai'et 
Katevine Majoy 
„ Minov 
Gvacedu 
Goodyear 



36 


men 


30 




60 




3b 




36 




30 





,07 








14 


18 


4* 


60 


2 


9 


16 


10 


10 


15 


19 


I 


13 


18 


6 



£^2,^ 9 H 



*■ Cog was thfi name applied to a siiiall vessel (Danish and iJutcli Kvg), from whicli is derived 
Cuck-hoaX (Kog-hoa.i). 

" The Kogges of Ingland was brought out of bandes 
And also Christofer that in the streme stands." 

Laurence Miuot (circa 135:;). 
The painting of tutelar saints on the prow of vessels was the survival of a Roman Custom. (Aubrev.) 
t William Haunsard, the ex-sherilT of London, provided a ship which was also called La Suinle Marie 
Cogge. His vessel, and not the one belonging to Lenne, did signal service at Sluys. — [London and the 
Kingdom (1894), vol. L, p. 182.] 

f Subsequently distinguished a^ the Kulerinc major and ihe Katerlnt minor. 



NAVAL AND MlLiTARY ANNALS. 109 

HANDS IDLE AND MISCHIEVOUS. 

Whilst cruising about and awaiting the admiral's final orders, 
five of the Lenne vessels found themselves, through no fault of their 
own, of course, in serious difficulties. They were manned by bra.ve, 
impetuous fellows, who, for amusement rather than necessity, 
instinctively boarded certain Dutch vessels with which they 
accidentally came in contact, and innocently abstracted therefrom 
" divers things." Their recklessness was reported, and the Mayor, 
advised by his brethren, addressed a letter to the masters of the Lenne 
ships then lying off Hunstanton, summoning them to appear before 
the community and the men of Zeeland to account for their piratical 
performances. The letter was entrusted to Walter Kellock and 
William Baunne, who carried it to Hunstanton and delivered it to 
the proper person. For their services they received four shillings. 
As dangerous complications set in, Messrs. Henry de Gunton and 
Robert Robat were despatched post-haste to the mouth of the Orwell 
to have a conciliatory interview with the admiral " in furthering the 
business of the community." This journey is revealed through sundry 
disbursements, including 20s. id. the travelling expenses of our astute 
delegates (1339-40). 

During the year Admiral Robert de Morle visited Lenne, on which 
auspicious occasion the community was constrained to beg his 
acceptance of ;^io. Costly presents were pressed into the reluctant 
hands of his son, his knights, his esquires, his clerks, his butlers, his 
pantlers (in charge of the bread stores), his chamberlains, his archers, 
his coachmen, his palfreymen, and to every person directly or remotely 
associated with him. Even Sir Edmund de Gunvile, who was 
casually " with the admiral at his coming," must perforce receive a 
falcon, which cost 36s. 8d., as a souvenir from the delighted 
burgesses. Thus were the offences of our too patriotic sailors 
condoned and the favour of the incensed admiral recovered. At the 
great naval victory at Sluys, Admiral Morle commanded the northern 
fleet, comprising vessels from Lenne and Yarmouth (24th June, 1340). 
In 1342, Hugh de Betele, the mayor, received certain credentials 
instructing him to place implicit trust in the bearer, John Lambert — a 
man remarkable for his probity, who was sent from Westminster to 
render minute information concerning the King's most urgent needs. 
Edward had just embarked in what is often termed the " Hundred 
Years' War," and from time to time, perhaps far oftener than our 
limited information goes, was he compelled to ask for assistance. 
Prior to the defence of the Duchy of Gascony, he summoned a naval 
parliament or a council of shipping. From Norfolk great things were 
expected, because it was the richest county in the kingdom, and 
because, moreover, the wages paid there were higher than those else- 
where. Yarmouth sent four representatives, the greatest number from 
any place in the kingdom; Lenne two, whilst many other ports were 
allowed but one. A royal commission ordered the immediate seizure 
of all vessels in the Thames, for the King's use, whilst our town was 
instructed to provide 100 of its most vigorous and soldierlike men 



no HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

(December 1345). The writ contained minute specifications as to the 
shape and make of their armour. Now it had been enacted that except 
under great urgency no-one should be compelled to serve out of his own 
county (1272). Later, however, Edward was constrained to issue a 
" Commission of Array, ' ' authorising the " pressing ' ' of men into the 
service of the nation (1297). In the above instance the men with their 
accoutrements were transported to Portsmouth by mid-Lent, from 
whence they sailed under the King's command. 

The celebrated victory won at Cregy was probably due to the 
" vigorous men " of Lenne, led on, it may be, by our brave neighbour 
the Lord Rising (26th August 1346). Our town contributed besides 
to the success achieved at La Hogue in Normandy (July 1346). The 
following items relate to this memorable event :— " For the 
conveyance of men-at-arms to Sandwich ;£2i i8s," also various 
expenses paid to the masters of the ships at " le Hogges," that is. La 
Hogue (Froissart), and later ^10 given to John Howard, knight, 
because " twenty men-at-arms at Lenne came not into the King's 
service." At the siege of Calais (1347) the total assessment for the 
whole kingdom was 14,956 men (748 vessels), and of these Norfolk 
contributed 2,470 men (61 vessels), Yarmouth 1,950 men (43 vessels), 
and Lenne 482 men (16 vessels). There were, however, 47 ports 
which sent less than 100 men each; of these Biakeney provided 38 
men (2 vessels). The supremacy of Norfolk needs no demonstration. 
Fuller's remark : " No county doth carry a top and gallant more high 
in maritime performances than Norfolk," was as applicable in 1347 as 
when subsequently written. 

Again in 1350 the King's clerk, one Peter de Donewyz, came with 
a writ commanding "the bailiffs and community" to draw together 
their ships, galleys and all other vessels of their port and coast, and 
to promptly put them upon the sea, in order that they might follow 
the King's fleet (August 5th). At this juncture Philip VL died a 
hostage in England. He was succeeded by his son John. The truce 
was notwithstanding prolonged, and not until 1355 was the war 
renewed. 

A MEDI.'EVAL MAN-OF-WAR. 

To increase the strength and augment the efficiency of the fleet, 
Edward commanded every port in the kingdom to supply what was 
termed " a barge," but what was in reality a war-ship. Our 
expenditure in 1373-4 de preparatuunius navis supra mare ex mandato 
Regis amounted to over ^250. Mr. Harrod transcribes the following 
curious items : — 

for 200 ells of canvas brought in London for sails. 
,, 264 ells of canvas bought in Lenne for sails. 
„ 6 ells of white linen cloth for streamers and fane. 
,, painting fane and streamers. 

„ 50 oars bought of John Couper, of Puffleet, and i5 short oars at 
8d each. 
4 7 to Thomas de Moordon and Thomas atte Green, expenses of riding 
along the sea-coast to Biakeney for carpenters for the said barge. 

„ John de Combes and six other carpenters working four days in the 

charnel upon the building of the " caban," 



;f6 


10 





£S 


4 


03 




3 


9 




5 





£^ 


16 


8 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. Ill 

;f I 4 o to 13 bows and 12 garbs of arrows, with a box and lock to same. 
13 o „ 39 tables of " popular," bought of John Wyth, to make 39 shields. 
32,, for leather for binding the same shields. 
£168 „ Thomas Payntour for painting barge and shields In their proper 

colours, 
/"i 12 6 for 15 yards of white and red cloth for hoods for 60 mariners of same 
barge. 
2 o given by order of the mayor for drink to the said mariners when they 

worked on their hoods in the Gild Hall. 
34,, them to drink when the barge first went through the port of 
Lenne. 

The next year (1374-5) there is a further charge of ^46 15s. 3d. 
(or 4), of which " 6s. 8d. was paid to Thomas Drewe junior, and two 
others for going by the sea coast to arrest mariners for the barge, 
together with the charges of three horses, and 2d. paid for a boat in 
the port to divers ships for arresting mariners for the barge." Why 
was this press-gang organised? Were the painted shields and red 
riding-hoods not sufficiently attractive? Possibly there had been 
a wholesale desertion. The reluctant services of the " impressed " 
were, however, not long required, because the expensive craft was soon 
dismantled, and, after a minute inventory of the fittings had been 
drawn up, all were carefully packed away in one of the gloomy vaults 
beneath the Gild Hall (1376-7). 

PAY, PAY PAY. 

The Parliament of 1377 granted the king a capitation tax of 
fourpence for every lay person of either sex in the kingdom above 14 
years of age. The returns are instructive, as shewing the relative 
importance of the towns in Norfolk at this period. Notorious beggars 
and the brethren belonging to the four mendicant orders were excused, 
but all unpromoted ecclesiastical persons were compelled to pay, and 
those who enjoyed the sweets of promotion were charged three times 
as much as their less fortunate brethren. 



Towns. 


Amount. 


Paid by 


Estimated 
population. 


Norwich 


£65 17 5 
^^52 2 4 
£30 13 8 


3.952 
3.127 
1,941 

23,314 


5,928 


Lenne 

Yarmouth 

London 


4,691 
2,911 

34-971 



The port of London made liberal grants of two-tenths and two-fifteenths, 
besides advancing ^'5,000 upon the security of the customs and certain plate and 
jewels. 

If these sums were collected fairly and according to the population, 
Lenne would then have been nearly as large as Norwich, and almost 
twice as large as Yarmouth ; but 30 years before Yarmouth supplied 
1,950 men (43 vessels), whereas Lenne only contributed 482 men (16 
vessels). The diminution may be accounted for by supposing that the 
Black Death was more virulent in Yarmouth than in Lenne. 

Faithful promises of speedy repayment were held out like 
tempting baits to induce the Assembly to raise loans and to levy 
tallages, In the "good time coming," when the King's ships came 



112 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

home, were the impoverished householders to be recouped for all these 
loyal sacrifices so bravely endured. Continually, however, were their 
hopes deferred, until at length their patience was quite exhausted, and 
the struggling community grew sick at heart. Was not the trade of 
the port ruined because their ships were taken to serve the King? 
Had not their sons been seized in the mill and workshop ? How could 
those who were left raise more money to carry on a cruel war? Even 
the great gild, a brotherhood of rich merchants from whom the town 
had repeatedly borrowed sums of money, now refused any further 
advances. . . . After waiting twelve weary years the Congregation 
through their bailiffs humbly reminded the King of his indebtedness 
to the burgh, and the misery of the depleted community. They prayed 
for the repayment of jQsS'^ 4S-> ^^^ expenses to which they were put 
when providing ships for His Majesty and others " to parts beyond 
the sea." 

Edward's heart was touched, but having no money wherewith to 
meet his numerous obligations, he did what was best under the 
circumstances by addressing polite letters to the bailiffs "and good 
people of Lenne," frankly acknowledging their manifestations of 
affectionate concern for his (the writer's) honour and profit, and also 
for the honour and advantage of all his people, and also for the good 
despatch de n're guerre Descoce — of our war in Scotland. Direct 
reference is, moreover, made to the jQt,2) 12s. o|d. expended the 
previous year for armour, bows, arrows, cloth for his archers and men- 
at-arms " to and at Berwick " (20th July 1357). At a later date 
similar compliments were heaped upon the burgesses for zealously 
complying with the King's requirements when waited upon by John 
de Swanlonde and William Getour, his majesty's clerk and mariner. 
This letter was sent from Windsor Park the 20th of November 1365. 

Had the good folk of Lenne grown dilatory and remiss in 
supplying the King's insatiable wants ? Were they faint and weary 
in well-doing? Or, had those wicked potentiores been once more 
** cornering " the markets? It would be unwise to say, but the fact 
remains that the Mayor received letters patent despatched from 
Westminster granting special pardon to the community (loth 
November 1361). Ten years later the over-due and long-expected 
season dawned ; the King repaid the burgh chamberlains two hundred 
marks (22nd June 137 1). Many other like payments, including the 
wages of our impressed seamen, were received at the hands of Hugh 
de Fastolf. 

OUR FORTIFICATIONS. 

Throughout the course of this long and eventful reign, and more 
particularly during the war with France and Scotland, the insecurity 
of our town was a subject which often occupied a prominent position 
on le tapis civique. It would, however, be injudicious to pad this 
section, regardless of proportion, with details covering half a century. 
Again and again were the ditches scoured or recast, the surrounding 
wall and earthwork repaired and the gates strengthened to assist in 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 113 

repelling an assault. The old stock of battered armour was 
refurbished, and a supply of more modern weapons obtained ; new 
and powerful engines of warfare were also constructed ; guards were 
moreover stationed at critical times in front of the Gild Hall, which 
was indeed the armoury, and at the head of the dark, tortuous lanes 
leading to our waterway. A few short quotations will amply 
illustrate an anxious, busy and expensive period. 

In 1337-8 no less than ;£^i 4s. 7d. was spent in clay, gravel, 
spades and ditchers' wages for the defence of the burgh; in 1339-40 
the amending of the embankment connected with the sluice of the 
North Close occupied fifteen weeks. The next year these items 
appear : — 

£17 15 10^ for making fourteen springals. 
£10 14 3 1 for quarrels for them. 

£6 12 4J for timber for the North Tower (near Kettle Mills), 

£8 5 8^ for timber for the East Gates, and 
£43 5 4 for making and mending the clay walls. 

Springals (espringalles, espringolds or springolds) were engines 
of warfare, which, by means of a po^^'erful spring, were capable of 
hurling missiles at the enemy. Stones were first used, but in this 
instance massive blunt-headed arrows or " quarrels " were employed. 
Three years prior to this, the town possessed only one of these important 
defensive weapons, which was fixed at the East Gates, the principal 
entrance, but now fourteen were added to the meagre stock (i 340-1).* 

Owing to the alarming state of poverty so prevalent in the town, 
the Corporation, feeling they could tax the inhabitants no more, resorted 
to an unusual method. There were then some eight and thirty gilds in 
Lenne, and to continue the fortifications (the work upon which was 
probably at a standstill for want of money), the Assembly decided 
to levy a tax upon a moiety of their chattels (1372-3). From this 
source ;£i6'j 5s. was drawn. The highest contribution, ;£2'j, was 
paid by the Gild of the Ascension, whereas the wealthy Gild of the 
Holy Trinity paid but 50s., a sum totally incommensurate with their 
worldly possessions. Let it, however, be borne in mind that the 
merchant brethren had already given a donation of ;£5 towards the 
repairing of the church of St. Margaret ; and who will say there was 
not a staggering contra account? For it was no phenomenal 
occurrence for the burgh to borrow largely of this opulent fraternity. 
The community's indebtedness amounted to ;^i6o in 1377-8, and to 
over ;^5oo in 1409-10, 

• Tlie gates or entrances to towns were protected by wooden towers or bretaches raised upon moulds. 
The risin;; ground beyond tlie Soutli Gates, towards the east, whereon one of these temporary defences stood, 
may be clearly traced. It was called "the bellasis at Rmtd's Hill" (circa 1173). Bloniefiehl points out that 
at the entrance of .Aiidry causeway, in the Isle of Ely, there was a strong tower called a heliosis, erected to 
defend the passage across the fens (vol. viii., p. 4')i). Probably there was a similar construction beside the 
" dam " or causey " beyond our Kast Gates. Uoudeshill (8tli Henry VIII.), now known as the "S|)read 
Eagle estate," marks the forgotten site (Harrod, p. 36). Query : May not Hand's Hill be a name common 
to both sites ? It is by no means unusual to mistake an h for a u — Roudes hill, Roud's hill, Rond's Hill. 

Bretach, bretask, &c., from the Old French bretech, bretesqiie, &c., Latin, bretechia, a battlement or 
rampart. 

" .^tte laste hu sende 
Al the brutaske withoute." 

— Robert of Gloucester, 



114 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



5 13 


10 


9 


5 


14 II 


I 


7 5 


8 


9 14 


5 


16 14 


2 


14 15 


I 


42 II 


2 


9 


8 


16 


10 


4 13 


5 


19 10 


10 



The contribution from the gilds was spent in this manner : 

Timber and board 

Cement, plaster of paris, sand, &c. 

Stone and tile 

Iron and smith's work 

Lead, resin, oil, "powder," 120 lb. at 4d the lb. 

A springal making 

Carpenters and sawyers ... 

Masons and tilers ... 

Ditchers 

Porterage 

Gifts to officers 
Cost of conduit 
Balance spent the next year (1373-4) 

£167 5 o 
Not only was there a transition in the construction of armour, to 
which allusion has already been made, but the character of warfare 
was beginning to change. Our forefathers in Lenne were early 
acquainted with the use of Greek fire (le feu greqnois), 
an inflammable mixture, composed of sulphur, naphtha, pitch, 
gum, and bitumen, which could only be extinguished by 
the application of raw hides or sand saturated with vinegar, 
and now this up-to-date burgh purchased 40 shillings' 
worth of "powder."* The first account of the composition of this 
explosive is given by Roger Bacon in 12 16 (the Chinese are said to have 
been familiar with it in a.d. 85, yet cannon were not introduced into 
western Europe before the beginning of the 14th century. Edward 
certainly made a detour from the beaten track when he employed five 
field-pieces against the French at Cregy (1346). The transitional 
stage is apparent in the Roman de la Rose, for Chaucer, who lived at 
this period, says : — 

And eke (also) within the castil were 
Springoldis, gonnes, bowes and archers. 

By virtue of letters patent dated Westminster, 4th May, 1377-8, 
the custody of the town was handed over to the local authorities. The 
burgh was to be thoroughly fortified against attacks of the King's 
enemies, whether foreign or otherwise. This onerous grant, 
reaffirming and enforcing powers given about 60 years before, was to 
continue during the King's pleasure, and no longer. A large sum, 
_;^ii3 OS. i^d., was accordingly spent in purchasing " a certain 
enclosure for the defence of the town," but as the boldest of our 
speculative writers have not attempted to locate this " enclosure," we 
pause before expressing an opinion — that it was somewhere in the 
Newland. 

THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, 

which lasted for more than 200 years, began in this reign. There 
were, it is true, many minor differences between the townfolk and the 

* Used in bombards or " crak>'s of war," which were formed of bars of iron, bound togetlier with hoops, 
their mouths being larger than the chambers. They were similar to tlie embryo cannon preserved in the 
castle at Rising. 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 115 

bishop, and squabbles over certain port dues were not uncommon 
incidents, but the great principle for which they contended was the 
power to administer justice in the burgh, and the right, moreover, to 
share in the responsibility of that administration themselves. Striving, 
even as were other towns, for self-government and social independence, 
the community was ever in a state of dissatisfaction and unrest. 
Always on the alert to defend their " liberties," our forefathers 
plunged into many a hard struggle with their manorial lord, who, 
setting aside their charters and rudely ignoring their mayor, often 
infringed upon the statutory rights of the subject. Why, they asked 
themselves, should an ecclesiastical officer preside over their courts 
rather than their own mayor? Was it reasonable that their revenue 
— their profits and fines and forfeitures — should be pocketed and 
carried away by the bishop's steward, instead of being used for the 
common weal ? Were all their lucrative privileges and civic 
monopolies to be unjustly filched from them? Such were the main 
questions at issue. But how could a wretched community contend 
with a wealthy prelate? The necessity for financial support, when 
the long-threatened climax came, was patent to all. There was 
nothing save the principal gild upon which the community could rely ; 
therefore, to strengthen their hands, the gild of the Holy Trinity was 
thoroughly reorganised, and by means of a special charter, all lands, 
tenements and other possessions belonging to the gild in the burgh were 
permanently secured to the brotherhood (1305). 

Now the next steps were unquestionably hostile, and by no means 
likely to please the lord of the seigniory. The mayor sought power 
to distrain for sums levied by the burgesses, and the Assembly 
presumptucmsly decided that 26 of their number might choose a 
committee comprising 12 of "the more sufficient of the town" to 
devise a scheme whereby the burgh might be adequately represented 
in the King's Parliament and elsewhere (1314). This palpable 
aggression terribly upset the episcopal equilibrium. Alarmed at the 
approaching outburst, the town sought legal advice from Adam de 
Fincham; Thomas, the clerk, was despatched to Norwich to interview 
William Ayermin, the incensed bishop ; Robert de Oxwike prudently 
enrolled the town's charter in the presence of the King; and John de 
Swerdeston, Thomas de Melchburne, Thomas the clerk and others, 
appeared before the parliament at York in order " to further the 
bishop's business" (1327-8); for the contentions had now absorbed 
several years. Much opposition was displayed by London, Lincoln, 
York and possibly Lenne, at a proposal to remove the staple of wool 
to the Continent. Edward deliberately abolished the staple altogether, 
reestablished free trade, and thus subdued the opposition (August 
1328). 

There was a temporary lull in the seething of the coming storm, 
but the brewing was not materially affected; with slight interruptions 
the process of social fermentation went on steadily. At this juncture 
it was remembered that the " great charter " (C. i.) expressly 
stipulated that the privileges conferred upon the community at Lenne 



116 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

were to be regulated by the law and customs of Oxford. Who knew 
for certain the methods adopted by that far-away city? Would it 
not be wise to send some of their number to make direct inquiry at 
Oxford, so that these ruinous contentions might be settled once and 
for all ? It would be an expensive undertaking in sooth, notwith- 
standing it was the best policy to pursue. Whereupon Roger de 
Bristole and Thomas the aforesaid — an important acquisition, were 
selected for the mission. 

The deputation from Bishop's Lenne was graciously received, and 
a meeting of the citizens of Oxford forthwith convened, whereat the 
visitors asked for advice and instruction upon certain perplexing 
matters. The mayor, Richard de Gary, and other influential 
burgesses, answered the various interrogations. [Attendant expenses 
33s. 6d., which was probably laid out in wine.] During the inquiry 
the Statutes of Oxford were diligently consulted [cost 40s.], and being 
counselled by the Mayor, the clerk of the city made a copy of the 
said statutes for the use of the deputation. After a prolonged 
absence, Roger de Bristole and his learned companion returned safely 
to Lenne [43s.]. To clench the advantages gained by the outlay, the 
liberties of the burgh were formally asserted before the Parliament 
held the next year at York, by William de Brinton and Thomas the 
burgh-clerk {jQ6 15s. pd.]. 

The culmination of the present disputes was the purchase of a 
brand-new charter from the King, for which, with a duplicate 
prepared by Geoffrey de Mumbi and Thomas the indispensable, the 
Gorporation paid ;£55, besides a fee of ^20 to His Majesty the King, 
costly offerings to Lord de Ufford, which amounted to ;^5, and several 
no less valuable presents to the irreconcilable bishop (1335). 

C. g. Dated at Nottingham ; ist of April ; gth year of Edward's reign (1335). 
It confirmed C, 8, and provided that the wills of the burgesses bequeathing 
tenements within the town should be publicly proved and enrolled before 
the Mayor and townfolk in the Gild Hall. Further, it provided against 
the seizing or detaining of ships and merchandise unless the principal debtor 
were a manucaptor or surety. 

To prevent encroachments, and to know exactly those affected by 
the charter, it was thought advisable to " beat the bounds " — fro 
fuhatione I'lhertatis vj pence (1336-7). Legal assistance was again 
needed ; hence the next year Sir Edmund de Lenn was engaged to 
meet the Assembly in court [13s. 4d.]. Another deputation, the out- 
come no doubt of his advice, consisting of burgesses Roger de Buttele, 
Geoffrey Drew and the town clerk, appeared before the King's 
council in London [;^8 3s. pd.]. The success of this expedition to 
the metropolis seems evident, because the self-same year Thomas 
Wulsi, on behalf of the town, went boldly to the hall of the bishop's 
steward, and then and there openly asserted the " liberties " of 
Bishop's Lenne [1337-8]. 

And now were the burgesses stricter than ever in being well 
represented in Parliament wherever it might assemble, whether in 
London, or York, or Nottingham. The Mayor, moreover, persisted in 
holding a court twice a week in the Gild Hall, where (without consulting 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 117 

" my lord the Bishop ") he dealt with debts and transgressions not 
only within the bounds of the town, but those also arising on the water 
between St. Edmund's Ness (Hunstanton) and Staple Weere ; besides 
he seems to have laid claim to the view of frankpledge and the 
criminal jurisdiction of the Leet Court. 

For every municipal aggression, there followed a manorial 
retaliation, until 

A DOUBTFUL COMPROMISE 

was at last brought about during the episcopate of Antony Bek. At 
the bishop's deliberate instigation, letters patent were issued by 
brother William de Ciaxton, the prior of the convent of the Holy 
Trinity at Norwich, which proved to be a reiteration of "' the perpetual 
confirmation " of the liberties granted one hundred and forty years 
before by bishop John de Grey. This disappointing example of 
mediaeval advertising, bearing the authoritative seal of the Chapter, 
was unquestionalily exhibited in some conspicuous place, and afforded 
the aspiring inhabitants a slight degree of satisfaction (27th April 

1343)- 

A royal mandate, addressed to '' the mayor and honest men of 
Lenne," quickly followed, which was for the purpose of insuring a 
stricter observance of the Statute of Warranty. It was intended to 
assist those, impleaded respecting lands in the city of London, who 
should call a foreigner for warranty. It also enforced the observance 
of the provision that, when a plea should have been moved in London 
by brief respecting any tenant in the same city, it should not be lawful 
for the tenant to make waste the house of the petitioner pending 
sentence (1344). 

The bishop's successor, William Bateman, was far from pleased 
with the arrangement made by his predecessor ; the doings, moreover, 
of Adam de Walsoken and John de Massingham, mayors of the town, 
caused him additional anxiety. At last the circumstances were placed 
before the King, with the result that a writ bearing the privy seal was 
issued. In the preamble it stated that certain persons were causing 
fear and trouble in Lenne, not to the King's injury alone, but to the 
prejudice and damage of "our most dear and well-beloved William, 
bishop of Norwich, and seigneur of the town"; and further it 
entreated the Mayor and community, under pain of forfeiting the 
rights they enjoyed, to alter their demeanour so that they might escape 
His Majesty's most grievous anger. 

Taking advantage, Bishop Bateman assumed the view of frank- 
pledge of the men of Lenne and the tenements formerly held by the 
Corporation; his justification being that he was strictly following the 
precedent set by his predecessor John Salmon (bishop 1299- 1325), and 
more or less perpetuated by his successors. The view of frankpledge 
of the men of Lenne and the tenants of the burgh was, he contended, 
his prescriptive right, as was also the hustings, with the examination 
of covenants, conventions and transgressions, pertaining to the same 
place. And, as if this usurpation were not enough to tax endurance, 



118 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

he either wholly withheld or threatened to withhold the right of the 
burgesses to elect a mayor (1346). 

In this dilemma, the Assembly appealed to the King for 
protection, and he appointed a Royal Commission to investigate the 
grievances between the bishop and the burgesses. The commissioners 
— Robert de Thorp, William de Notton and Roger Petygard, were met 
by William Bassett, William de Thorp and the burgh clerk, Edmund 
de Grymesby, who stepped upon the scene, when the faithful Thomas 
sanded his last parchment and made his final exit. After considerable 
deliberation, and with the advice and full concurrence of his council, 
Edward adroitly shuffled out of the difficulty ; he coolly cut the 
Gordian knot by first appropriating the privileges to himself, and then 
as was quite within his province, handing the view of frankpledge, 
the hustings, liberties, lands and tenenments, to William de Middleton, 
the sheriff and escheator of Norfolk. 

This alteration was duly ratified by three documents : — 

Letters patent, dated at Porchester, 24th June 1346. 
A brief, „ Windsor, 6th July ,, 

A brief, „ Westminster, 20th August ,, 

For six years the partially disfranchised burgesses submitted to 
Edward's unjust verdict. An earnest appeal was then made to the 
King's Bench, but the subservient judges decided against the town on 
every count, including the right of the burgesses to elect their mayor. 
To this, however, the inhabitants stubbornly refused to yield, for they 
immediately chose among themselves William de Bittering to act in 
that capacity. 

At length, worn out, it may be, with these obstinate bickerings. 
Bishop Bateman prepared 

AN INDENTURE OF AGREEMENT, 

" For the determination of all disputes and contentions between him 
on the one part and the burgesses and community on the other part 
respecting the election of a mayor." He was prepared to concede to 
them the power to elect a mayor annually — a power, by-the-bye, they 
already possessed — on condition " that every mayor so elected and 
sworn ... be presented within i/iree days at Geywoode," either 
to the bishop, or in his absence to the bishop's steward, " and that the 
mayor at the presentation should solemnly promise to discharge his 
official duties faithfully, and also to preserve from injury the rights and 
liberties of the Church of Norwich " (1352). 

This gracious extension of the time-limit seems to have had a 
pleasing effect, if such entries as these have any weight : — " Paid for 
wine when the mayor and honest men of Lenne went to Geywod to 
present the mayor to the bishop, 1 2 pence ; paid pro vno doleo vim 
(for one tun of sweet wine) sent to the Lord Bishop, ^5 13s. 4d. j 
paid pro laumpers (for lampreys), ^^3 3s. 4d. ; and for canevaces 
( ? reed-baskets) in which they were carried, 6 pence. " Besides, to 
render their homage indisputable they humbly presented his lordship 
with the inevitable lump of wax, which cost ^4 i8s. 3d. (1354-5). 



NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 119 

Bishop Bateman was succeeded by Thomas Percy in 1356, whose 
steward was Robert Urri. For causes unrecorded a marble cross 
[los.] was bought and erected on the Mawdclyn causeway, possibly 
not far from the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen or Mawdelyn. It 
was indeed a wayside cross, where pilgrims on the road to Walsingham 
might perform their devotions, but it was moreover a boundary mark 
placed there to shew the point of division between the liberties of 
Lenne and Gaywood (1362). Bishop Percy died in 1369, and was 
succeeded by Henry le Spencer or Despencer, who was, as may be 
seen, by no means willing to forfeit any of his rights as suzerain of 
the town. 

When application was made for 

THE PROBATE OF A WILL, 

the common sergeant of the town went round and made a public 
announcement that the testament of burgess So-and-so would be placed 
before the Mayor and community in the Gild Hall at a certain hour, 
and that if any one wished to contradict the will of the aforesaid 
testator, so that the property bequeathed might not be enjoyed by the 
legatees, they had better be present to state their objections. If the 
public challenge brought forward no dissentients, the mayor, as the 
mouthpiece of the community, pronounced the deed valid ; if. on the 
contrary, there were objectors, those concerned in making the will were 
examined upon oath, after which the decision rested with the mayor 
and his brethren. In either case the gist of the will was carefully 
entered in the Red Register. For example the testament of Margaret 
Frenhge appears among those enrolled. It was executed " on the 
eleventh of the kalends of May in the year of the Lord 1352," and 
was subsequently " proved " before the Mayor. The following 
paragraphs were then appended : — 

This will was proved before us the OfTicials of the I.iberty of the town of 
Bishop's Lenn, on the second day of the month of October in the year of our Lord 
one thousand three hundred and eifjhty-four. And administration of all goods 
touching the said will was given to the executor named in the said will, sworn 
in lawful form. In testimony of which we have put to these presents the seal of 
our office. . . . And we, Thomas de Coutessale, mayor of the town of Lenn, 
on 22nd January 1387, A.D., proclamation having been made and this will 
proved according to the law and custom of the town of Lenn aforesaid, in the 
ways and manners agreed upon, no-one in this matter opposing, we ratify and 
approve the present testament, signed with the pendent seal which we use in 
the office of the mayoralty, and enrolled in the Rolls of the Testaments at Lenn, 
as aforesaid. 

The charter merely ratified a custom long in vogue, but it was 
necessary inasmuch as it did away with episco{)al probate ; and to this 
the lord of the manor, as bishop of the see, most strongly objected.* 

• Prior to this the Earls of the Counties had cognizance of the probate of wills, which was a custom 
derived from the Romans. \Reliquce SpeUntmniana : 1698, p. 129.] 

The /as( jc'i';; was distinct from thp (fs/diiidif. As a rule, the ffs(am<Hf, which gave instruction as to 
the disposal of poods and chaUels, was first drawn up ; this was followed by the /iis( will, which related 
exclusively to tlic settli-miMit of lands, messuages, he. For instance, Thomas Thoresby executed his 
testament and his last will the 2nd of June, i jio. the executors and witnesses being the same in each case. 

A lozenge-shaped seal, with the figure of St. Margaret and the dragon between the letters R and .\, 
was attached to the episcopal probate of local wills (1303). It was circumscribed thus : — 

COMISSAR : CVI : NORWIC : IX ; LliN -.—the Commissioner of the City of Norwich in Lennt. 
See engraving in Taylor's Antiq. of Lynn, p. 149. 



120 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

WILLIAM BYWESTHALFTHEWATER. 

The will of this worthy gentleman was read publicly in 1308, 
nineteen years before Edward III. came to the throne; hence (as 
already hinted) the charter in question only placed upon a legal basis 
a practice already existent in our burgh. The disposal of neighbour 
Bywesthalfthewater's property is not so interesting as his peculiar 
surname. Harrod contends that the fortunate individual derived this 
pretty geographical appellation from the name of a house. Mr. J. 
C. Jeaffreson politely disputes the suggestion, but unfeelingly flirts 
off with a more bewitching subject, cruelly leaving Harrod or his 
readers in the vortex of mental bewilderment. 

In cases of intestacy, and when land could be had " for an old 
song," it was the practice for the eldest son to claim the western side 
or " above the bank" or stream, and the youngest son the eastern 
side or " below the bank." In Roman times the western side of the 
mark (or bank) was the upper, and the eastern and southern side the 
lower half. This custom, which prevailed in Mercia during the Saxon 
era, is akin to Gavelkind and Borough English, or is rather a blending 
of the two customs. Under the first, the lands were divided and the 
sons inherited equally ; under the second, the youngest son inherited, 
to the exclusion of all others, unless the father willed or sold his estate. 
The reason why the youngest should inherit under the Mercian 
customary law — just primcc noctis — must be attributed to ancient serf- 
dom. This peculiar custom is said to prevail to-day in Haddon and 
Cheshunt, which are centres of copyhold tenure. 

" Now midway between Rising and Eynn is a green having an old 
bank crossing it to mark the limit of the Chase of Rising." This 
" green," Harrod goes on to assure us, is still known as Witton Green. 
When Henry VII. visited I>enne (1500) he was met by the 
mayor, etc.. "at the Green Athishalf Witton Gapp " (Hall Book, 
vol. III., p. 17). The Gap was an opening cut through the old chase 
boundary. The same writer construes Athishalf into At-this-half, 
which ought, we think, to be At-his-half, because it is quite possible 
that some owner left his two sons lands which were afterwards known 
as His West- or East-Half. 

Similarly, if an estate were traversed by a stream or narrow 
haven, the eldest son (the father dying intestate) would take his half 
to the rvest of the water, and the other his half to the east of the zvater, 
on the opposite bank, and they and their descendants would very likely 
be distinguished by the compound surnames : By-west-half-the-water 
and By-east-half-the-water. 

Such compound names were common in the Middle Ages 
especially ; for instance, in connection with Lenne, Geoffrey atte (at 
the) Tolbooth (1357). Robert atte Lathe (1375), Christopher 
Bro(a)dbank (1501), Stephen Tumblebye (1576), William Makepeace 
(1634), Robert Gotobed (1634), Wilifred Turnepenny (1653). 

THE TRADE OF THE PORT. 

The Custom Rolls from the 25th of February to the 29th 
September, 1302-3 (seven months) shew the total value of the exports 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 121 

and imports to be ;£2,257 14s. iid., and j[,2,o']g 19s. 6d. respectively, 
whilst the duties paid thereon amounted to ^103 15s. g\d. From 
these and similar figures it has been estimated that Lenne was then 
doing about ^20,000 worth of trade a year. A skilled carpenter or 
mason would earn is. 6d. per week (1350), a sum apparently 
insignificant, yet quite suflficient in those days to maintain himself, his 
wife and family very comfortably. Three centuries later (1580) when 
the custom dues of the whole kingdom were farmed at only ;,(^ 14,000 
a year, Lenne contributed as much as ;!{^240 to the King's revenue. 

Instead of ordering a new assessment, Edward III. appointed 
commissioners to treat with the various towns and districts (1334). 
They were asked to name a sum upon which a permanent assessment 
might be calculated. This met with general approbation ; if, however, 
a burgh refused to suggest a reasonable amount, a sworn assessor was 
sent to help them over the diflficulty. Villages are said to have paid 
only one-fifteenth, whilst towns represented in Parliament paid as 
much as one-tenth. For instance : — Norwich paid ;C9'\ 12s. od., 
Yarmouth ^100, Lenne £$0, and Thetford ^16. The following 
townships were assessed at ;z^io and upwards : South Lenne (^18), 
Babingley, Flitcham, Grimston, Gayton, Castleacre, North Runcton, 
Wiggenhall, Tilney, Terrington, Walpole, Walton, Walsoken and 
Emneth (1432). A dispute about a piece of common land was the 
cause of a riot in Lenne (1348-9). 

4f * * * * 

Edward III. died at Shene (Richmond) the 21st of June, 1377, 
in the 65th year of his age and the 51st of his reign. He was interred 
at Westminster. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Peasants' Rising-. 

The accession of Richard II., the only son of Edward the Black 
Prince, was welcomed by the fervid acclamations of the multitude, and 
his coronation was conducted with unusual splendour (i6th July, 

1377)- 

* * * -x- * 

The French, taking advantage of the King's youth, at once 
renewed the war ; hence the levying of subsidies to carry on hostilities 
was imperatively necessary. As, however, the sums raised were 
insufficient to ccpe with the pressing exigencies in France as well as 
Scotland, a tax of " three groats per head on every male and female 
of fifteen years of age, except beggars," was sanctioned by Parliament, 
with this elastic proviso, — " that the suflficient people in every town 
were to contribute to the assistance of the less able, so as none should 
pay above sixty groats for himself and wife." This heavy impost, 
which fell oppressively upon the poor, was farmed out to collectors 
in each county (1380). 

R 



122 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

DISQUIETUDE IN ARCADY. 

For centuries the condition of the lowest stratum of people 
throughout the kingdom had been one of villenage, — a social condition 
greatly resembling that prevailing in Russia at the present time; but 
now a spirit of democratic liberty was secretly germinating in the 
breasts of the humbler classes of the community. To sever the cords 
which bound them as serfs to their masters, to be free rather than 
bondmen, was the motive which governed their actions. 

Already do we find that in self-defence the working classes had begun to 
form confederate clubs, the prototypes of our modern trades unions, whose object 
was to resist with a strong hand the claims for customary labour due from the 
holders of servile lands, which it appears the landlords, owing to the scarcity of 
labour (caused by the Black Death), were now trying to enforce to the utmost. 
In the struggle that eventually ensued, we do not find that the working classes 
were left to fight alone, for Walsingham's description of the insurgents as 
discaligati ribaldi (shoeless mob), though doubtless true to a large extent is far 
from being exhaustive. . . We must admit that the popular party had 
obtained the active support and sympathy of a considerable proportion of the 
country gentry. (Edgar Powell.) 

The infliction of a poll-tax, which was an untimely aggravation 
of their sufferings, goaded them into open rebellion. The discontent, 
so long smouldering, burst into flame at last. With the rising in Kent 
the general reader is conversant. He will call to mind the impulsive 
conduct of Wat the Tiler, the march of 100,000 excited peasants to 
London, their encampment on Blackheath, and the socialistic sermon 
based upon the highly popular distich : 

When Adam dalf (dug) and Eve span. 
Who was then the gentleman ? 

— He will remember how John Ball,* whom they released from 
Maidstone gaol, dwelt in his discourse upon the natural equality of 
man, declaring men might be equally free and noble, if only the arch- 
bishop, the earls, the barons, the judges and the lawyers were 
destroyed, and all ranks and grades in society at once abolished. 
Memory will conjure up the demolition of the palace of the Savoy ; 
the interview with the King at Mile End ; the immediate granting of 
the peasants' demands, which, remembering the tuition they had 
received, were reasonable ; the preposterous insolence of Wat the Tiler ; 
his instant despatch; the heroism of the young King; the dispersion 
of the turbulent crowd ; the public proclamation revoking all the 
charters Richard had granted, and the wholesale execution of fifteen 
hundred delinquents. What an intensely interesting series of 
pictures from real life the student may enjoy with the aid of that 
miraculous cinematographic mechanism which Hamlet styles " the 
mind's eye. "t 

'- Simon de Walsingham, prior of Lenne in 1331, was known as Simon Ball, that is. Simon tlie 
Labourer, from the Latin Boi/nis, Bq/h/hs, a labourer or porter — Bnjulinorum appellaiione veniunt Priores 
(Du Cange). May not "John Ball," the name assumed by the excommunicated priest, lje similarly 
rendered? 

t Compare Thomas Walsingham's Hhtorta Anglicana (1864, Edited by Thomas Ridley, M.A.) Vol. II., 
pp. 1-4, or, " A tianslation of Thomas Walsingham's Account of Littcster's Rebellion," by Rev. R. Hart, 
Norfolk Ai-chceology (1859), Vol. V., pp. 348-352, with John Capgrave's Liber de Illustribus Henrkis (1858, 
translated by F. C. Hingeston), part II., cap. 9. 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 



123 



The risings in the disaffected counties may with advantage be 
tabulated : — 



County. 


Leader. 


Outbreak in 1381. 


Kent 

Essex 


Wat the Tiler, of Dartmouth. 
Jack Straw, " a riotous priest." 


"I June loth, great encamp- 
> ment on Blackheath ; 
) John Ball's harangue. 


Suffolk 


John Wraw, of Sudbury, "••■ a 
chaplain. 


June 14th, at Lavenham. 


Cambridgeshire 


George Thomas Wrov, of 
Wood-Ditton. 


June 15th, general 
throughout the county. 


Norfolk 


Geoffrey Lister, a dyer of 
Felmingham ; " Jack Lister." 


June 17th, Mousehold 
Heath, Norwich. 



The outbreak in Norfolk was later than in Suffolk, but it spread 
with the same rapidity. The principal leaders were Sir Roger Bacon, 
knight, Thomas, the son of Thomas de Gyssing, knight, John 
Chacchevach (hunt the cow), who preferred to be called John de 
Montenay of Bokenham, and the renowned plebeian Geoffrey Lister, 
described as a lister or dyer, who resided at Felmingham, not far from 
North Walsham. 

An isolated attack, it is true, was made on the i6th of June upon 
the manor-house of the Duke of Lancaster at Methwold, where the 
rioters deliberately burnt the court rolls, but the opening of the 
Norfolk campaign really began the next day, when immense crowds 
from Lenne, Thetford and Yarmouth flocked towards Norwich, and 
"as they came, caused every man to rise with them." Froissart 
states that 40,000 malcontents met on Mousehold heath. Access 
once obtained, the city was soon a prey to their unbridled violence. 
Dreadful scenes of rapine and bloodshed were witnessed in other parts 
of the county, as, for example, at Rougham, Wighton near Wells, 
Langford and Southery. At Yarmouth the gaol was broken open, 
and three miserable prisoners, whose only offence was that they were 
Flemings, were summarily beheaded. During the ensuing week 
unmitigated cruelty and senseless plunder reigned from one side of 
the county to the other. 

THE CORDWAINER OF THE GRASSMARKET. f 

Several highly-respectable and intelligent tradesmen of Bishop's 
Lenne threw in their lot with a small section of disaffected burgesses. 
Well may you ask their motives. Even Roger Paxman, the mayor, 
who had known many of them all their lives, was never more taken 
aback. There were Henry Cornish and Walter Prat, expert glovers; 
Thomas Colyn and — Pinchebek, tailors, the " cut and style " of whose 
doublets was the talk of the community ; and Thomas Paynot, the 

• "Johnny Raw," the nnmr applird to a simiilcton — .1 "Jack Upland" or a "Verdant Grrcn," — is 
derived from the Essex agitator John Wraiu. 

t Cordwainers were slioomakrrs, wlio worked up tanned goat-skins or Cordovan (first brought from 
Cot-i/otxi in Spain, wliere it was made by the Mo(irs). The name as it appears in the indictment was no 
doubt intended for Jolm Spayne, or John of Spain, a cnrdonn'ier, cordvtmnnier or cordwainer of that country, 
who worked cordovan. At the time wlien sum.ames were in process of being " invented " we note in our 
ist of mayors John de Yspania (1280 and 1282), also John Hispania (1289 and 1292). 



124 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

well-to-do weaver, who did not care — no, not the snap of the finger — 
for his rivals the Flemish websters, just established in the burgh. 
There Avas John Coventry, too, the maker of bows, and John Bokeler- 
player, the sturdy armourer, and a burgher named Sadlere, whom you 
could always find stitching away in the little saddler's shop up 
Cokrowe, near Bokenham's place. All were active partisans, but their 
enthusiasm was, as we may see, totally eclipsed by the daring energy 
of their leader, John Spanye, the shoemaker of the Grassmarket.* 

Now it came to pass that John the Bowyer, who was never remiss 
in picking a quarrel, was not on the best of terms with the local 
collector of the poll-tax. Indeed, on the i6th of June, if the secret be 
now revealed, he sent an ungracious message to Nicholas de 
Massingham, who was not merely a collector of the king's taxes under 
the second commission, but a justice of the king's peace, and a fortiori 
an aristocrat of alarming pretensions. John Coventry curtly informed 
the great Sir Nicholas that, to avoid the unpleasantness of an uncere- 
monious visit from him and his friends, he had better, as their needs 
were pressing, forward ;^io to them at once. It is, notwithstanding, 
doubtful whether they received it, because John Spanye and his men- 
at-arms left Lenne the next morning by the East Gates. 

The " Antient Indictments" (No. 128, Norfolk, Smeth), 
preserved in the Record Office, throw light upon this subject. 

£t quod Johannes Spanye de Lenn Episcopi cordeivaner die lune proxima post 
octnvam sancte Trinitatis ultimam pveteritam [17th June 1381] tempore hujus riimoris 
principalis diictor et manutentor malefactovuin surgentium in paivia venit usque 
Snetesham vi et avmis cum XXX. hoininibus ignoiis et incitavit homines dicte ville ad 
surgendum contra paccm doniini Regis ad quevendum homines patrie Je Flaundrcs ad 
cos orcidendos et decapitandos et minavit Radulfum Panton ad eiim occidendum per 
quod idem Radulfus desperans de vita et membris siiis invenit plegium ad solvenduin 
cuidam servienti dicti Johannis X. s. contra leges et pacem domini Regis, &c. 

With a threefold purpose the three hundred insurgents posted 
from village to village : first, they incited those with whom they came 
in contact to rise against the peace and join their ranks ; secondly, by 
threats of personal violence they extorted large sums from the wealthy ; 
and, lastly, they eagerly ferreted out settlers from Flanders, whom, 
when found, they killed. Their antipathy to these inoffensive 
foreigners deserves notice. The Flemings, who were craftsmen 
notoriously skilful in the mystery of wool-weaving, were encouraged 
(and some of them invited, as in the case of John Kempe, " the 
patriarch of the Norwich woollen manufacture "), during the late 
reign, to settle in this country. Queen Philippa of Hainault was 
naturally well disposed to her own countrymen, and the King did not 

*■ At the western end of Norfolk street was the old ^rass (or fodder) market, which was a most 
mportant institution, when only respectable witches ventured tn risk their lives bestriding resilient broom- 
stalks, and lon<jere Roger Bacon's prophecy, that carriages would roll along at unimagined speed with no 
cattle to drag them, was literally fulfilled. 

Grass-morket (Middle English gi'as, gres : Anglo-Saxon gcers, grces — grass, corn, or vegetables). In 
1272 the syllable appears Gree- (? gres), in 1365 Grcss-, in 1352 Cyes-, and in 1473 as Ci-ess-market. 
There seems to have been a Io,-al tendency to exchange g and c. for Gannock becomes Cannock ; this, how- 
ever, was not confined to Norfolk, because the English word grate comes from the Latin crater. 

Ever since 1477 a market has been held in Edinburgh at a spot called the Grassmorkei. adjacent to 
which were the King's Stables and the Cmti-gnte (way). Tliere was a Cowgate in connection with our 
grassmarket ; its continuation leading to the Ferry, being in West Lenne, opposite the Public Baths. 



TRE PEASANTS' RISING. 125 

resist the benign influence she exerted on their behalf, especially when 
he found he could replete an exhausted exchequer with heavy loans 
from the wealthy immigrants. Our nation is indeed enormously 
indebted for the unrivalled perfection of its textile industries to these 
" men of Flanders," who were at first regarded as interloping 
strangers, whose only mission on earth was a needless perversion of 
"the good old ways." 

Arrived at Snettisham, John Spayne and his men sought diligently 
for the obnoxious strangers, who with their new-fangled ideas were 
ruining every webster not merely in the burgh of Lenne but the city 
of Norwich too. The open-mouthed villagers were either unwilling 
or afraid to offer assistance, because the Flemings found in Snettisham 
were either struck down or beheaded. There was, however, one person 
far more courageous than the rest ; verily was he dcsperans de vita ei 
membris, — " reckless of life and limbs." He came to the conspirators 
with ten shillings in his hand, which he satirically offered the cord- 
wainer of Lenne, as an inducement to liberate his own servants. Can 
you not hear the impudent fellow? "You come to us. Master 
Cordwainer, urging that we should free our servants ; look you, here 
are ten shillings if so being that you will promise to liberate your otvn 
servants." Swords were instantly drawn, but whether Paynot, the 
infuriated webster, or the ever-ready Bokelerplayer despatched this 
victim we cannot say; certain nevertheless is it that Radulfus Panton 
lost ten shillings and his head through a mistaken exhibition of 
Flemish temerity. 

The following incident, preserved in the same indictment, shews 
how success attended the efforts of the Lenne agitator; the wavering 
were convinced by his oratory, the stubborn were coerced by the rough 
usage of his men, and the Flemish weavers, some of whom scarcely 
understood our language, were brushed from his path by the flash of a 
sword. Having scattered the seeds of discord broadcast, they rode 
off to do likewise in other places, expecting to reap a speedy harvest. 
In this they were not to be disappointed, because a contingent at 
Snettisham was immediately formed. The next day Roger Loksmyth 
])aid Simon Wylymot a visit; true, they were neighbours, but 
Loksmyth called not necessarily as a friend, but as the chosen leader 
of John Spanye's converts. Who knows but (hat Loksmyth owed 
the other a personal grudge? He requested, with ample apologies, 
a supply of corn for his men's horses. Goodman Wylymot 
remonstrated, hesitating to comply with the unlawful demand. To 
stimulate his movements, the Locksmith drew a dagger and began 
probing him in the ribs in a somewhat unsurgeonlike manner, at the 
same time threatening to bring the whole detachment for the purpose 
of destroying his goods and chattels. Fearing his end was inevitable, 
and listening perhaj^s to the piteous entreaties of his wife and 
children, Master Wylymot reluctantly parted with 15 (quarters 2 
bushels of the barley he could ill afford. 

Disaffection was, however, rampant in the neighbourhood of 
Swaffham prior to this. On the 15th the rebels issued a proclamation 



126 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

offering a reward of 20s. for the heads of John Holkham and Edmund 
Gurney of West Lexham, who were, as Justices of the Peace, a terror 
to evil-doers. Thomas Kenman and others tracked them hither and 
thither with the tenacious obstinacy of sleuth-hounds. Reaching the 
coast, the fugitives boldly put out to sea in an open boat, but were 
pursued as far as the port of Burnham. Both escaped the fury of the 
mob, but Gurney's house was completely sacked on the 20th. Simon 
de Snyterton paid a considerable amount as blackmail in order to save 
his life, the day before, at Barwick, not far from Docking; they, 
moreover, forcibly ejected Nicholas Mawpas from his free tenement, 
and installed Coventry, the valiant bowyer, in his stead. Besides, 
in their wanderings, they espied a traveller in a wood near Rising ; 
as he bore neither spade nor distaff, they concluded that they had 
caught a " gentleman " in whom was there no work, and their delight 
knew no bounds when they perceived it was none other than Sir 
Edmund Reynham, a controller of the poll tax. As the most vehemerit 
expostulations were unheeded the controller innocently produced his 
pen and ink-horn, and lastly his book of accounts, to prove he was 
indeed a hard-working member of society. Strange though it may 
seem, these simple articles were looked upon as convincing evidences 
of guilt; and the fact that "he could read and write and cast 
accounts " was regarded as a qualification for his immediate 
extermination. They were just about to hang him, even as Jack Cade 
hung the clerk, "with his pen and inkhorn about his neck,"* when 
one of the party remembered their horses needed baiting. A 
compromise was thereupon suggested, and Sir Edmund of Reynham, 
to secure his freedom, was constrained to forfeit 14 quarters of oats. 

Nor was the insignificant proletariat at Hunstanton without a 
saviour and champion, who would reorganise society, who would lead 
on his shrinking comrades to affluence or — death ! Many, mostly 
fools, of course, said it was a forlorn hope, and shook their heads 
despondingly, remembering as they did the crushing defeat of the 
main body three weeks before. Not a whit daunted, Robert Fletcher 
and a few brave fellows forthwith armed themselves as best they 
could with bows and arrows and other weapons of a convincing 
nature, and set out to turn the stupid folk of Heacham from the error 
of their ways. The leader of the Hunstanton detachment was so eager 
for the fray, that he so far forgot himself as to curse the reverend 
father in God, my lord the bishop, for riding through the country to 
chastise the enemies of the King. As there are no indictments against 
the Heachamites, Robert Fletcher's efforts were probably ^abortive. 

THE CHURCH MILITANT. 

An inquisition was held the 15th of July 1381, when the 
following twelve witnesses were examined (per sacramentum) upon 
their oaths, namely, Simon Roberdeson, Thomas Burgeys, Henry 
Baylye of Brancaster, John de Walpole, Robert Rust of Shernbourne, 

» See Shakespeare's Wcnry ihc Sixth, part II., Act IV., Sc. 2. 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 127 

Richard Aleynesson, John Smyth of Holme, Henry Smyth of Bretten- 
ham (near Thetford), Nicholas de Chosele, Ralph Reyner, John de 
Stone and William de Docking. Three ancient indictments relate to 
Norfolk, namely, the Hundreds of West Flegg, Mitford, including 
V/llata de Estderham and the Smeeth, from the last of which the 
above facts have been drawn. 

The outbreaks occurred almost simultaneously in Norfolk, 
Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, and it is remarkable that when the storm 
burst the energies of the law were completely paralysed. No local 
force could anywhere be found which might be brought forward to stay 
the furious fanaticism of the mob. The indictments give indeed no 
information concerning the final collapse of the movement ; yet graphic 
accounts are found in the chronicles of Thomas of Walsingham (1272- 
1381), the scriptorariiis, or historiographer royal, at St. Alban's Abbey, 
and John Capgrave (1393-1464), Provincial of the Friars Hermits 
in England and prior of the Austin Monastery at Lenne. Both were 
Norfolk men, and ought certainly to have been familiar with local 
events. The first lived at the time of the peasants' rising, and the 
other was born in Lenne some 12 years afterwards. Both attribute 
the dispersion of the rebels to Henry de Spencer, the militant Bishop 
of Norwich, but in other respects their narratives differ. Thomas of 
Walsingham speaks of a fierce engagement at Walsham. Finding 
the insurgents in an entrenched position, the warlike bishop, 
encouraging his followers by a marvellous display of bravery, 
succeeded, after a great slaughter, in capturing the ringleader, " the 
king of the commons." 

The Bishop therefore took with him the said John (that is Geoffrey Lister), 
the idol of Norfolk, that he might be drawn and hung and beheaded ; and, 
having received his confession, and granted him absolution according to his 
office, he himself accompanied liim to his execution, thus shewing to his 
vanquished foe the greatest humanity and kindness, for he even supported his 
head as he was dragged to the gibbet. Nor did the Bishop pause till he had 
detected and brought to justice malefactors throughout the whole county ; and 
thus did the laudable probity and admirable courage of this warlike pontiff not 
only reestablish peace throughout the district, but proved eminently beneficial to 
the whole kingdom. 

Thus wrote Brother Thomas, of Walsingham ; now let us consider 
a corresponding passage from the pen of Brother John of Lenne, in 
whom Mr. Edgar Powell, in his Rising in East Anglia (1896), 
expresses the greater confidence : — 

And thus hastening to Walsham he (the bishop) found the opening of the 
roads blocked with timbers and towers of other impediments. But by good 
management of the bishop and of other men, who had assembled there, the 
whole people surrendered, rejoicing that they might withdraw in peace. " Jekke 
Litster " (Geoffrey Lister) himself, leaping over a wall, hid himself in a corn- 
field. And one of the people perceiving this, announced it to the bishop. The 
traitor was sought and found ; he was captured and beheaded ; and, divided into 
four parts, he was sent through the country to Norwich, Yarmouth, Lynn, and to 
his (the bishop's) mansion, that rebels and insurgents against the peace might 
learn by what end they will finish their career. 

Sir Roger Bacon was made a prisoner, though where and when 
it would be impossible to say; he was tried, found guilty, and 



128 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

imprisoned in the Tower, but was pardoned through the fervid inter- 
cession of Anne of Bohemia, the future queen. Thomas de Gyssing 
was also hberated from the Tower (November 20th 1831). "No clue 
is given us as to the fate of John de Montenay ; while the ominous 
word decollatus (beheaded), which appears on the indictment of 
several of the lesser leaders would seem to show that, at least in the 
opinion of the judges of assize, considerable severity was deemed 
necessary to firmly reestablish the reign of law. ... It does 
not appear, however, that the king cherished any deep gratitude to 
his martial prelate (Henry Spencer) for the important services he 
rendered to the State, for on his return from an unsuccessful expedi- 
tion to Flanders in the autumn of 1383, he was impeached in 
Parliament by the King's direction and his temporalities seized for 
the payment of a fine." (E. Powell.) 

Bishop Spencer's victory is said to have been commemorated by 
the erection of the stone cross standing on what used to be the heath, 
adjoining the Norwich road leading to North Walsham. Norris 
mentions that he was told the marks of the camp were to be seen 
in his time. Dawson Turner, who was at school in North Walsham 
(1790), when writing in 1842, without corroborating this statement, 
contents himself with saying the heath had then given place to corn- 
fields. 

THE BISHOP AND THE TIPSTAFF. 

In 1376 Bishop Spencer, whilst staying at his episcopal manor of 
Gaywood, engaged in a serious controversy with the authorities at 
Lenne, which Foxe minutely describes : — 

The Bishop of Norwich, a little after Easter, coming to the town of Len 
belonging to his Lordship, being not contented with the old accustomed honour 
due to liim, and used of his predecessors before, in the same town, required with 
a new and unused kind of magnificence to be exalted, insomuch that when he 
saw the chief magistrate or mayor (Richard Houton) of that town to go in the 
streets, with his officer before him, holding a certain wand in his hand tipped at 
both ends with black horn, as the manner was, he, reputing himself to be the 
lord of the town (as he was), and thinking to be higher than the highest, 
commanded the honour of that staff due to the mayor to be yielded and borne 
before his lordly personage ; the mayor, with the other townsmen, courteously 
answered that they were right willing and contented with all their hearts 
to exhibit that reverence unto him, and would do so if he, first of the council, 
could obtain the custom, and if the same might be endured after any peaceable 
way, with the good wills of the commons and body of the town, or else they 
said, as the matter was dangerous, they durst not take in hand any such new- 
alterations of ancient customs and liberties, least the populace (always inclinable 
to evil) should fall upon them with stones and drive them out of the town ; 
wherefore on their knees they besought him, that he would require no such 
thing of them, and that he would save his own honour and their lives, which 
otherwise would be in great danger. But the Bishop, youthful and haughty, 
taking occasion by their humbleness to swell the more, answered that he would 
not be taught by them, though all the commons, whom he called ribalds, said 
nay. And also rebuked the mayor and his brethren, for mecokes* and dastards, 
for so much fearing the vulgar sort of people. 

'* Mecoke or Mc<icuik, a spiritless, effeminate fellow. Hence in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wildgoose 
Chase. Act \'., scene i . .. i,„^,, ^ ^^^ n,eacocks. 

To endure wliat yuu tliiuk lit to put upon them." 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 129 

The burgesses, perceiving the wilful stoutness of the Bishop, meekly 
answered they would not resist him, but he might do as he thought good, and 
only desired him to give them leave to depart, and excuse their waiting upon 
him and conducting him out of the town with that reverence he required, for if 
they should be seen in his company the suspicion would be upon them, and so 
they should all be in danger of their lives. The Bishop upon this, not regarding 
their advice, commanded one of his men to take the rod borne before the mayor 
and carry the same before him ; which the commons perceivmg, he went not far 
in that manner, for the populace runned first to shut the gates, and some-one 
coming out with clubbs, bows and staves, others with stones, they let drive 
at the Bishop and his men as fast as they could, in such sort, that both the 
Bishop and his horse under him, with most part of his men, were hurt and 
wounded, "and thus the glorious pride of this jolly prelate, ruffling m his new 
scepter, was receaved and welcomed there, that is, was so pelted with battes and 
stones, so wounded with arrows and other instruments ht for so great a skirmishe, 
that the most part of his men, with his mace-bearer and all, running away from 
him ; the pore wounded Bishop was there left alone, not able to keep his power, 
which went about to usurp a new power more than to him belonged ; thus, as it 
is commonly true in all, so is it well exemplified here, that pride will have a fall 
and power usurped will never stand." [^Actes and Monuments 1562, Vol. II,, p. 807. 

This amusing, though exaggerated, episode gave rise to two or 
three local incidents meriting attention. 

(l) A BREACH OF THE PEACE. 

The mob is dispersed ; the fervour of the agitation is gently 
simmering, but the unguarded indiscretion, which culminated in an 
unpardonable insult to the Bishop, is clearly not forgotten. A 
stranger landing at the King's Staith will scarcely realise that the 
sullen apathy of the townfolk is a thin veneer concealing what may 
at any moment develop into reckless rioting. A storm is at hand, 
notwithstanding the pronounced calm. The social wire-pullers are 
at work, adjusting the limp, lifeless marionettes, which may when 
least expected spring into activity. Groups of craftsmen are 
loitering in the streets, and the tongues of the gossips are in motion, as 
if propelled by internal machines ; 

they shake their heads, 
And whisper one another in the ear ; 
And he that speaks doth grip the hearer's wrist, 
Wliilst he that hears makes fearful action, 
With wrinkled brows, with nods and rolling eyes. 

Clem the Furbisher, with polishing-brush in hand, is holding soft 
converse with Hal the Fletcher, who unconsciously is whittling an 
arrow into a skewer; Jekke the Chapman, with merry twinkle in his 
eyes, unmindful of his unguarded pack, is listening to Ralf the 
Bowyer. who now and again brandishes a rough bowstaff, as he 
explains how thoroughly he belaboured " his reverence " ; there is the 
barber-surgeon with his lance, and the cordwainer with his awl, con- 
versing with the listerer, whose bare arms, just taken from the dye-vat, 
are reeking as with blood. The ring of the bhulesmith's hammer is 
silent, the fulling mills beside the rippling Purfleet are motionless, 
whilst webs of half -scoured cloth are lazily floating down Colville 
fleet, 

s 



130 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

This is the prelude of a municipal tempest. A series of secret 
meetings follow, and many burgesses pledge their honour to avenge 
the insult offered the Mayor and commons of this free burgh. Is 
there not a large stone house with well-stocked cellars in the Newland, 
hard by St. Nicholas? And another episcopal mansion at Gaywood, 
barely a stone's-throw from Lenne? Could they not find the bishop's 
overbearing seneschal at the Steward's Hall yonder, at the corner 
of the Jews' Lane,* and waylay the bishop's grasping bailiff on the 
King's Staith when he leaves the Tolbooth? And were there not 
other insolent retainers of his lordship in their midst? Was it right 
that they — the honest burgesses of Lenne, and theirs, and future 
generations (always uppermost in the reformer's mind) should submit 
to such indignities? The sword of the Lord would be turned against 
them, and when wielded by a bishop it would be indeed a destructive 
weapon. As punishment would sooner or later overtake them, might 
it not be well to remember the difference between the egg and the 
falcon ? 

Accordingly, as " the most honourable and venerable " the Mayor 
of the burgh was meditating in the Tenture Pasture, near the ancient 
dovecote, a little bird began slyly whispering in his ear, and the way 
in which that bird articulated our difficult language was remarkable. 
From information thus mysteriously imparted, Richard Houton, fear- 
ful of consequences, drew unto himself a band of men, stalwart, and 
loyal withal, and secretly entering a certain house one night, sur- 
prised a company " banded against the peace." Overawed by the 
commanding presence of the Mayor, and influenced by the respect they 
bore him, the conspirators surrendered and were led away to the prison, 
there to await an impartial hearing. 

The trial of these over-zealous townsmen was conducted in the 
monastery of the Whitefriars. Now it was unquestionably the 
Mayor's duty as chief magistrate to preserve the King's peace at any 
cost, but it was indeed hard to proceed against respectable people, 
who, whether strictly right or wrong, were acting in defence of his 
honour and also for the preservation of their own privileges. In this 
dilemma he sent for Edmund Gurney to hold a session for the delivery 
of the prisoners. He, who put out to sea to escape the fury of the 
peasantry, was an eminent lawyer, one of the standing council, and 
recorder as it were for the City of Norwich, and also for the burgh of 
Lenne, his retaining fee for our town being 40/- per annum. The 
nave of the church of the Carmes was set apart for the trial, and John 
Olkam was engaged as counsellor for the town. The assembly was a 
grand one — John de Brunham, the mayor, Roger Paxman, of Lath 
Street, John Waryn, of the Saturday Market Place, Walter Dunton, 
of the Grass Market, John Colkirke, William Berhard, the " Lord 
Prince's steward," John Sewale, the clerk to the justices, the aldermen, 

^ A messuage at the corner of Jews' Lane (Surrey StreetK where the Capital and Counties Bank stands, 
belonged at one time to Robert Chinnery, and once formed a part of the Steward's Hall. The premises 
were in the use of John King, a baker, and alterwards of Thomas Smith {1750). Mary Hill subsequently 
purchased the property from Thomas Allen and Robert Buttel, the assignees of Robert Chinnery. 



TRE PEASANTS' RISING. 131 

common council and the burgh treasurers, besides many other 
influential persons were present. 

And now, at a most interesting point, the act-drop descends upon 
the scene, and the wondering spectator is permitted to fill in the 
hiatus as best he can. Whether the prisoners were acquitted or 
condemned, and whether the punishment fitted the crime, can only be 
conjectured. A few facts, however, in the shape of items of dis- 
bursement form a meagre corollary to the narrative. First, the wine 
account; for few civic functions were then performed without the aid 
of stimulants. A consultation with the recorder, refreshers during 
the trial and revivers for the bishop's steward absorbed iis. 2d. Then 
for services rendered : 6s. 8d. to the town's counsellor, 3s. 4d. to the 
justices' clerk, is. for the delivery of a letter, and 40s. for the 
maintenance, it may be, of the prisoners (1376-7). 

(2) HENRY DE SPENCER VCTSUS THE COMMUNITY. 

The next year the town was put to an enormous expense in 
defending an action before the King's Council, brought against the 
Mayor and Burgesses, for the assault committed upon the person of 
the Bishop and his retainers, when, as Lord of the burgh, he insisted 
upon having the mayor's emblem of office carried before him. The 
King so far interested himself in the matter as to write to William 
Rees, the Sheriff of Norfolk, asking him to do his best to appease the 
quarrel. From the first the gentry of the diocese, and subsequently 
the Council also, inclined to the bishop rather than to the people of 
Lenne. 

The two persons who were seriously injured in the melee received 
substantial recognition at the hands of the community, as is evident 
from the "memorandum" extracted from the Hall Book: — ■ 

In the time of Jolin Brunham, mayor (1377), that the mayor and community 
of the town of I.enne have with one consent granted to William Holnicston and 
Thomas Sparham, burgesses, in compensation for certain grave damage to their 
bodies by certain of the servants of the Lord Henry Spencer, the bishop of 
Norwidi, during a certain controversy between the said bishop and the aforesaid 
community, a hundred pounds of good and lawful money, between them to be 
equally divided, to be paid to them or their attorneys at Lenne by the Mayor 
and Community, or by whomsoever else may be elected in their place in liv-e 
years next following, beginning with this first year, and if it should happen that 
cither or both of them die, the residue to their representatives. 

To conciliate the bishop and to assuage any remaining vindictive- 
ness, 13s. 5d. was paid for a huge wax candle, weighing 21 pounds, 
which was humbly offered in the church of the Holy Trinity, Norwich. 
Thus ended, for a while at least, the cjuarrel between the bishop and 
the community, who, for their presiimition in touching "this model 
of a Christian prelate," as Dean N.^!^ sarcastically dubs him, had 
to pay in costs (including the pejt'fc "sffering in wax) ^515 5s. 5.Jd 
(1379)- 

(3) ANOTHER BREACH OF THE PEACE 

happened in 1384-5, under the leadership of Philip Wyth. " Who 
this Philip Wyth was does not appear, but it is likely he was an agent, 



132 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

perhaps a bailiff, of the Bishop of Norwich, at that time superior lord 
of the burgh, and between whom and the communitas or Corporation 
a continued contest of rights was carried on." (The late Daniel 
Gurney, Esq.) Thomas Morton was sent to West Barsham to consult 
with Edmund Gurney, who subsequently came to Lenne to pronounce 
sentence of punishment upon the misguided rioters. The recorder 
was assisted in his deliberations by Richard de Walton, Nicholas 
Massingham, other justices, and also by Andrew Cavendish, the Sheriff 
of the county. The result of the trial is not given, but a list of 
incidental expenses is transcribed in the Record of the House of 
Gonrnay, 1848, part III., p. 705. 

PETITION OF THE TRADERS. 

By reason of the unfair exactions of the bailiffs who collected 
the port dues at the Tolbooth, great dissatisfaction was evinced. So 
great indeed was the bitterness, that a petition was addressed to the 
Lord Chancellor, Thomas de Arundel, the Bishop of Ely, praying for 
relief from these excessive and extortionate demands. 

It begins : Pese a mon Seignor le Chanceller en salvacion de driot heritage de sa 
Eglice Dely ct meyntcnance de dvoiture considcveer southescripis a part en ant z a Ics 
custutiies de la Tolboth de Lenn levees par Ics Bailiffs extoi'seouscment et saunz 
garrant en deshevison des tennantz mon dite Seigner et de touts le comon poeple 
illonque repairant. 

[Peace to my Lord the Chancellor in safety and just inheritance of his 
church at Ely, and in the maintenance of right ; consider the underwritten 
relating to the customs of the Tolbooth at Lenne, levied by the bailiffs extor- 
tionately and without warrant, in derision of the tenants, my said Lord, and of 
all the common people and those who go thither.] 

And ends : Mon tvesrevevent Sr, cest' presentement Jul fait al bannk le Roi a la 
darrein session en Norjf', affyn qent due correccion diit avoir este faire par le Justic' 
sulom driot ct reson mes driot reson et loy sont mys a derev par nn Supersedeas qevient 
a le dit Justic sur ce en prejudice de Roi et de vous et de plosours altres Seignors et de 
vos tenauntz et de toiite comon poeple. 

[My very reverend Lord, this presentment was made at the King's Bench, at 
the last session in Norfolk, in order that some alteration should be made by the 
Justice, according to "right and reason." My just cause and precept are placed 
aside because of a Supersedeas [a writ to stay proceedings] that came to the said 
justice after this petition, which is in prejudice to the I'iing and you, and to 
many other gentlemen, and to your tenants and to all the common people.] 

And it moreover sets forth the recent presentments of the bailiffs 
by divers of the hundreds of Norfolk, ending at Easter the same year 
in the presence of the King at Norwich. There is no date to what 
is only a copy, but the King and Queen were at Norwich and Thetford 
in 1383. Harrod, moreover, preserves an extract from a year's 
accounts, now lost. It was copied by an antiquary of the 17th 
century. From this we learn that the King, and seemingly the 
Queen too, Avere in Lenne the same year, when the community 
presented him with 100 marks in pure gold, and ^£2^ 6s. 8d., in all 
^90. besides six falcons, and the Queen with two gilded cups 
(undoubtedly silver gilt), which cost ^71 i8s. 5|d. 

During the mayoralty of Simon de Gunton (1360) the dues of the 
Tolbooth were divided (in what proportion is not stated) among " the 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 



US 



Queen (query Philippa), the [Black] Prince, the Earl of Suffolk and 
the heirs of Oiby." Later, other persons participated in the profits. 





Receiver. 


For Whom. 


Marks. 


1397- 


April 15 : John Merston, on behalf of 
Richard Fitz-Nichol (receiver-general). 


John Duke of 
Brittany. 


20 


J) 


July I : John Merston. 


») )> 


20 


1399- 


Sept. 20 : Robert, rector of Marlyngford 
(near Norwich), receiver in Norfolk. 


Edmund Duke 
of York. 


10 


)) 


Deer. 20 : Edmund Aleshalle, receiver- 
general in Norfolk. 


Henry Duke of 
Lancaster. 


8i 



BURGESSES IN PARLIAMENT. 

In 1293 writs were issued summoning two knights from each 
shire and two burgesses from nineteen of the principal towns in the 
kingdom to a parliament in Shrewsbury. The upper house, indeed, 
met at Shrewsbury, but the other section, representing the democracy 
of the nation, at Acton Burnell, a village about seven miles distant. 
" Though very imperfect," writes Hallam, " this was a regular and 
unequivocal representation of the Commons in Parliament." The 
so-called " Statute of Acton Burnell," to assist merchants in the 
recovery of their debts, was passed. 

Three Norfolk towns were represented in this assembly : Norwich, 
Yarmouth and Lenne. The earliest members, or " burgesses in 
Parliament," on record for our burgh are Johannes de Dokkyng and 
Recardus de Merlawe, related probably to Johannes de Merlawe, who 
was mayor in 1295. They were elected yearly by a committee com- 
posed of tweh-e lit and proper persons, but how and by whom the 
committee was appointed is uncertain.* ' 

A PUBLIC BENEFACTOR. 

John de Brunham, a wealthy potcniior, cut a significant figure in 
our municipal programme at this period. In 1356-7 he acted in the 
capacity of chamberlain; in 1379, and again in 1382, he represented 
the burgh in Parliament; in 1409 his name appears among those who 
were bound to the Gild of the Holy Trinity for the repayment of a 
loan of ^"20, used for the repairing of St. Margaret's Church; and 
in 141 3 he with eighty others entered into bonds of ;^5o each to secure 
peace to the town. He occupied the mayoral chair for the fifth and 
last time in 139 1-2. As a slight appreciation of the good feeling 
evinced on his behalf, he decided upon doing something to benefit the 
town upon his retirement into private life. In conjunction with a 
"comburgess," named Richard Dun, of St. James' End, he applied 
for letters patent of licence permitting him to give and assign a certain 
messuage and a yearly rent of £t, 15s. 7^d., also another rent of 12 
pence, and the profits accruing to the passage of a boat out of the port 

• For the members, recorders, &c., of Lynn, see the Sv>iM Vffuial Lists (itigoj, hy H. Le Strange. 



iU 



HISTORV OF KING'S LYNN. 



of the burgh, with the appurtenances thereto belonging, to the 
community. Licence was, moreover, granted to the Mayor and his 
successors to hold the same, " together with other things mentioned 
in the grant," strictly for religious purposes. This course was 
absolutely necessary; and the licence, overruling the Statute of 
Mortmain (1225) was undoubtedly a special favour granted by the 
King through the payment of a heavy amount, as was the case in 
another of John de Brunham's benefactions, relating to the Gild of 
the Holy Trinity, of which more may be said elsewhere. Robert, a 
son perhaps of John de Brunham, was a merchant living in Fuller Row 
or Clough Lane (1417). 

LOCAL FINANCES. 

In considering the disjointed array of figures before us, it must 
stubbornly be remembered that, although there is a tendency to 
consider the prices of commodities ridiculously low, sales were 
astonishingly infrequent, which was owing to a painful scarcity of 
money. A labourer earning a halfpenny a day would have to work 
the same number of days before he could purchase a goose marked 
at " twopence " as would a labourer earning half-a-crown a day when 
the price of the same article is ten shillings. The purchasing power, 
apparently so different, is really after all about the same. The Irish- 
man reluctantly quits " a land flowing with milk and honey," not 
because salmon may be bought at twopence per pound and chickens 
sixpence apiece, but because of the great difliculty he experiences in 
securing the twopence and the sixpence. Let us disregard one side 
of the equation (the price of commodities) and try to be contented 
if we understand the other side aright. To do this, every item must 
be multiplied by twenty, or, in other w'ords, every shilling represents 
one pound in modern coin. For instance, the revenue for 1377-8 
amounted to ^11,000, whilst the expenses may be put down at 



Year. 


Income. 


Expenditure. 


1339-40 

1347-S 

1354-5 
1355-6 
1356-7 
1357-8 
1366-7 

1371-3 

1374-5 
1375-6 
1377-8 

1378-9 

1379-80 

1380-1 

1383-4 
1387-8 
I 399- 1400 


A12 3 2| 




/■512 18 41 

£176 15 I 

-^94 15 7 
/266 II li 

;^92 1 7' 
£^^5 18 5i 
/163 II 2 












£^io 5 It 
i^233 7 si 
£550 6 2 


/874 15 9i 
/772 15 7i 
£351 14 10 
i:203 15 9| 

£304 16 9 
/394 18 5l 








A61 13 6| 



9 


9 








o 


5k- 


-61.5 


.5 


5k 






43 


o 


»i 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 135 



THE BOROUGH BALANCE-SHEET 

for the year 1377-8 is particularly interesting. 

Moneys Received £55° 6 2} 

Moneys Spent — 

(i). For a barge and boat 103 9 6^ 

(2). For an enclosure for the defence of the burgh 113 o i| 

(3). For Transgression done to the Bishop : 

" Paid as well to the Lord King matvi sue as 
to divers other persons labouring for the com- 
munity in respect to the Bishop's said cause " ... £2,^^ 15 3 

Expenses of Mayor, aldermen and other honest 
burgesses going to London on account of a 
certain suggestion touching them and very many 
of the community laid before the King's Council 
by the Bishop of Norwich for transgressions done 
to him in the town... ... ... ... ... £iib 

Other items connected with this case ... ... £1^0 

(4). Various minor expenses ... 

;f874i5_9£ 

There is a balance of ;^324 9s. 7jd., therefore, on '* the wrong 
side," besides an additional sum of ^^17 for extra "labour," made 
up of these items: ^10 to Richard Houton, the mayor; j^2 to 
Thomas Morton, clerk for counsel ; ^^i to the borough sergeant, Roger 
Bailly, for counsel ; and ^£4, that is ^i each, to the chamberlains, 
Thomas Curson, John Penteney, William Erl and John Brandon. 
The town then owed the " Confraternity of the Great Gild of the 
Holy Trinity of Lenne " ;^i6o. 

The entry respecting money paid to the King's mother, mairi sue, 
refers to Joan of Kent, the mother of King Richard II. 

THE POLL TAX 

was fixed at the rate of three groats per head (poll) upon every lay 
person ; beggars and those under fifteen years of age were alone 
excused. In other words, every township had to contribute as many 
shillings as there were residents above the prescribed age. Collectors, 
armed with power granted by letters patent dated December 7th 
1380, were appointed. The whole county of Norfolk, excepiis civiiaie 
Norwici et villa dc Lctine, to quote the rompotus, was worked by 
eight collectors. Important {)laces like Norwich and Lenne appointed 
their own collectors. The two-thirds of the subsidy paid into the 
Treasury in June 1380, represented an amount quite inadequate to 
cope with the nation's expenditure. Negligence and favouritism on 
the part of the official collectors gave rise to a second commission. 
The remainder of the subsidy wns paid in June the following year. 
The collectors (seven for Norfolk) were in this instance to furnish 
statistics relating to population, arrears, etc. A staff of inspectors 
was, moreover, appointed to check irreguhirities. Norfolk. Suffolk 
and Cambridge formed one district. William Wenlok, clerk, was 
inspector for our county. 



136 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



From the returns thus provided, the tremendous decrease in the 
population of the country may more readily be understood. At the 
time of the visitation (1349) the population of Norfolk is given as 
150,000; according to the Lay-Tax Rolls of Richard II., twenty-six 
years later, it was 88,797. 



Places. 


Lay-tax rolls 
1377- 


First returns 
1381. 


Lay-tax rolls 
1381. 


Norfolk 

Norwich 

Lenne 

Yarmouth 


88,797 
3.925 
3.137 
1,941 


58,714 66,719 

3.368 3.833 

1.757 1.834 
No separate returns. 


England 






1 896,451 


I.355.20I 





A special tax was laid upon the clergy ; those belonging to the 
higher grade were charged twenty groats, whilst the inferior clergy 
over 16 years of age paid only three groats (1381). The returns 
yield no particulars about Lenne. In the archdeaneries of Norfolk 
and Norwich there were 1,745 regular and secular clergy, besides 168 
deacons, acolytes and inferior clerics over the age of 16 years. The 
clerical population of England and Wales in 1377 is given as 30,350. 
The second of the returns in 1381 gives a remarkable increase in the 
lay population, of 8,005, or nearly 12 per cent., whilst the 
discrepancy for Lenne under different collectors is only 67, not quite 4 
per cent. The imposing of this tax upon the people certainly 
encouraged roving habits, because, as no-one could be charged except 
at the place where he dwelt, migration to evade the payment of the 
tax became general. Hence the great decrease between 1377 and 
1381 must be set down principally to that cause. 

CHARTER, COMMISSION. ETC. 

C. ID. Westminster; 9th February, ist year of his reign (1377). Another 
instance of inspeximus, which merely conhrmed C. 9. 

Letters patent of inspeximus, Beverley, 3rd September, i6th year of his reign 
(1392J granted concessions to the Gild of the Holy Trinity. 

The war with France dragged on. Henry de Spencer undertook 
to lead an expedition to assist the burghers of Ghent against their 
count and his coadjutor the King of France. Temporary success 
crowned the prelate's efforts at first, but the campaign terminated 
abruptly without yielding any advantage. The bishop was severely 
censured by Parliament on his return (as has previously been hinted), 
because his fidelity was suspected (1383). Two years later the Scots 
ravaged the north of England, being materially assisted by the 
French. Richard boldly advanced against them, at the head of 
80,000 men. Frightened out of their wits, the enemy precipitately 
retired, leaving the southern part of their country to his mercv. 
Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Perth and Dundee were burnt to the 
ground. 



THE PEASANTS' RISING. 137 

At this crisis, John Brunham, the mayor, received a royal 
mandate, addressed not to himself alone, but to the following 
influential burgesses : John Waryn, Richard Houton, Roger Paxman, 
Henry de Botele and Thomas Curson. It was indeed a commission 
under letters patent, dated Westminster the 17th May 1386. Upon 
them devolved the carrying out of the following somewhat onerous 
injunctions : — (i) The burgh of Lenne, including South Lenne, was 
to be put into an efficient state of defence " against the King's 
enemies of France and their adherents and all his other enemies." 
(2) A local corps was to be formed, into which all the able-bodied men 
of Lenne and South Lenne, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, 
were to be " impressed." Power was moreover deputed to fhe above- 
named commissioners to levy money upon the inhabitants of Bishop's 
Lenne and South Lenne towards the carrying out of the royal com- 
mand ; and also to severely punish all persons evading or resisting 
their orders. 

Besides these serious municipal expenses, loans on two occasions 
at least were raised to assist the King. A comparison of the sums in 
the last column will help to gauge the relative importance of the 
principal towns in Norfolk at this period. 



Loans from 


1385-6 


1397-8 


Norwich 

Lenne 

Yarmouth 


;rioo 
^100 


/■336 6 8 

/266 13 4 

/66 13 4 



Presuming the basis of assessment to be the same, Lenne was four 
times as large as Yarmouth, and more than two-thirds the size of 
Norwich. 

The latter loan was foolishly expended on an expedition to avenge 
the death of Roger, Earl of March, the King's cousin, and heir 
presumptive to the throne, who had been slain by a party of Irish. 
Owing to this imprudent enterprise the country was left comparatively 
defenceless. The Duke of Hereford, whom the king had banished 
the year before, landed at Ravenspur, ostensibly to recover possession 
of his parental estates, because, owing to the death of his father, he 
became the Duke of Lancashire. His amazing popularity soon gained 
him 60,000 adherents. Unfortunately a fortnight elapsed before 
Richard heard of his cousin's invasion ; he hastened back, but was 
quite deserted, and his capture was merely a matter of time. 



" The parliament, which, it is not unreasonable to assert, was 
entirely devoted to the Lancastrian interest, having received thirty- 
three articles of impeachment against Richard, in which his tyranny 
and misgovernment were detailed, voted his deposition; the throne 
being thus declared vacant, Henry (the Duke of Lancaster) was 
recognised as king, 3olh September 1399." (Curtis.) 

T 



138 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The First Lollard Martyr. 

Henry IV., Duke of Lancaster, cousin of Richard II., became King 
30th September 1399. From the first he determined to be a worthy 
exponent of the martial virtues for which his family had been renowned 
until the days of his degenerate predecessor. With the nobility he was 
far from popular, but with the people he was a great favourite. 

* * -je- * * 
To enforce homage from King Robert III. and his barons, Henry 
promptly invaded Scotland. Edinburgh fell into his hands, but the 
canny Scots would neither fight nor swear fealty, and as his meagre 
stock of provisions became "fine by degrees and beautifully less," he 
hastily retired southward across the border (1400). At this juncture 
our mayor, John de Wentworth, was the recipient of a royal mandate, 
couched in the terms of letters patent, insisting upon the speedy 
preparation and complete equipment of a barge to serve as a vessel 
of war against the King's enemies. The order was issued at West- 
minster the nth January, and as the vessel was to be seaworthy and 
ready before "the quindene " — the 15th of Easter following, there 
was certainly not a day to be wasted. 

FOREWARNED — FOREARMED. 

About this time, Lord Henry Percy, Lord de la Ware, and a large 
retinue were disporting themselves at Norwich. They were, in fact, 
borrowing money for the King and making arrangements for the 
defence of the city against theScots and the French, who were 
supposed to be hovering somewhere in the North Sea, ready at any 
moment to pounce upon our shores. Lenne was, of course, in 
jeopardy; and its safety absorbed Lord Percy's profound attention. 
He came, he saw, and he — was sumptuously entertained at the town's 
expense. Among the numerous items in the Chamberlains' ledger 
are payments for capons, bustards and herons (4s. 8d.); for pike, 
mullet and other fish (7s.); to William Erl for 20 gallons of wine 
(13s. 4d.), and to Henry Deye for 40 gallons of "ditto " (26s. 8d.). 
Also, as befitting the occasion, to the minstrels who discoursed most 
eloquent music (is.). Before taking bis departure the noble Lord 
and his attendants not only enjoyed a cruise in the haven, perhaps to 
inspect the ships of the port (5s.), but they actually ventured beyond 
" the great river." Moreover, the ferrying of their 107 horses to and 
from the little township on the opposite side cost four shillings and 
sixpence. 

Some of the ships of Lenne, when fishing off the coast of Scotland, 
near Aberdeen, sighted part of the Scotch fleet (1402-3). The 
fishermen boldly attacked the enemy, and succeeded in capturing 
certain vessels, which they brought, with their admiral. Sir Robert 
Logon, knight, and the crew to Lenne. Later four of our vessels on 
a voyage to Bordeaux were unfortunately swallowed by a whirlpool ; 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. 139 

with this, however, the avenging Scots had nothing whatever to do 

(1407)- 

Shortly after his accession, and during the mayoralty of Henry 

Belleyeter, Henry visited Lenne, when the burgh was " so hard hit ' ' 

that a loan was obtained from the Trinity Gild with which to provide 

a royal welcome. The debt, ^58 15s. lod., was standing against 

the town in 141 7 -8, that is, after the King's decease. 

THE bishop's STAITH. 

Owing to the deplorable state into which the sea-wall or staith in 
the Newland had been allowed to get, the burgh authorities were at 
last compelled to bring an action against Henry de Spencer, the 
defiant bishop of the diocese. The dilapidated structure was so 
undermined and broken by the tides, that at length it gave way and 
fell into the haven, so that instead of there being twenty-eight feet 
of water, there was barely six feet (1401). To "make assurance 
double sure " they petitioned the King and his Council, praying that 
this serious obstruction might be at once removed, and the navigation 
of the port restored. 

The King issued a summons, dated Westminster the ist of June, 
1401, earnestly praying that, without delay or difficulty whatever, 
the bishop would attend the Council at Westminster the day after 
St. John the Baptist's day next coming, that is, the 25th of June, 
without default, to treat with the Council on "very important matters 
touching the welfare of ourselves and you and the common profit of 
our realm." 

On the 2 ist Henry de Spencer wrote from North Elmham excus- 
ing himself for being unable to attend. The bishop is "dead and 
gone," and can tell no tales, but the letter which survives is 
unequivocally interesting : — 

I pray you to take excuse of my nonarrival in my own person [he writes, 
addressing the King], for I am now engaged in my Visitation in the county of 
Norfolk, which only occurs every seven years ; and hearing these unpleasant news 
from Wales, I shall be at my manor of Northelmham, and will send two of my 
clergy to continue the rest of the visitation, which must be performed until the 
Monday next after the Feast of St. John. Whence August is so near that I 
cannot continue beyond without loss of said visitation for this time and great 
hindrance and damage to my jurisdiction. Wherefore I send to you my dear and 
well-beloved in whom I confide greatly in their loyalty, namely : Master Will. 
Sanday, Sir Robert Fowlmer, Master Henry Welles, Master James Cole, or three 
or two of them, to receive and hear the honourable will of our very trusty Lord 
the King, who shall by you shew them in lieu of me to make relation to me as 
to those and all other commandments and pleasure of our Lord the King. I and 
all the said persons shall be ready to obey them and perform them to my entire 
ability, saving the honour of God and the estate of Holy Church and mine — ." 

In the course of a letter written the 24th of August 1401, the 
King in Council addressed the Bishop, the " reverend Father in God 
and our very dear cousin," saying: — 

We think, indeed, that those you (being on your visitation) have sent to attend 
our said Council at the said occasion have reported to you the matter touched by 
them on our behalf by said Council in right of the repair and amendment of one of 
our staithes [see Rol. Pari., Vol. I^^, p. 509 a., &c.], in our city of Lenne, which staith 
by reason of great inundations and ravages of the sea is very ruinous, and truly 



UO HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

if by you (to whom the repair of the said staith belongs,) or by ourselves by fair 
treaty (and accord) on the one part and the other, the said staith shall not be the 
more speedily repaired and amended, the said our city and our lieges dwellings 
therein shall be destroyed and annihilated for ever. 

And we, desiring the safety of our said city and of our said lieges, pray you, 
counselling that the said our staith you shall repair and amend. 

If this be done between the present time and the fortnight of St. Hilary 
[frorn the nth to the 31st of January] next ensuing or thereabouts, with all 
possible haste, to the full construction of our said staith, to the saving of our 
staith and our city, and the conservation and indemnity of our lieges of said 
city, that you will certify to our Council in short time what may be your intention 
in this matter, and your will, and what you think to do. And we pray you 
moreover very earnestly, charging that, all excuses laid aside, you will be present 
in your own person with our Council at Westminster on the said quinzain 
[fortnight?] of St. Hilary, and without any failure, for certain very important 
matters which shall then be shewn to you and declared on our behalf by our said 
Council at your coming ; and that you will by no means fail, for love of us, and 
as we trust in you. Given ... by the Council of which were Messieurs the 
Chancellor, the Bishops of Durham, Hereford and Bangor ; Earls of Northum- 
berland and Westmoreland, Lord de Berkeley, &c.* 

Ignoring the King's urgent appeal, and being crassly indifferent to 
the danger to which the lives and property of the people of Lenne 
were daily exposed, the haughty bishop apparently determined to 
"take his own time." Why, therefore, oh, agreeable reader, 
shouldst thou scamper at break-neck pace through this important 
epoch? Festina lente. Bishop de Spencer died in 1408, and the 
final settlement of the dispute devolved upon his successor some 
twenty years hence. Why, moreover, shouldst thou not seek mental 

relief in a brief literary digression ? " It is very rarely that any 

laborious study of the smaller area of a country parish can repay the 
long microscopic research which it involves. . . We have no 
history in the sense of having any sequence of events worth recording. 
If we try to construct chronicles, we have often to pass on by great 
strides from one stepping-stone to another standing out above the 
surface of the stream of time that goes babbling through, our tiny 
grains of sand get carried down into the great sea of oblivion — there 
they sink, if they do not perish. It is otherwise with the towns:' 
(Dr. A. Jessopp.) The philosophy of the Arcadian recluse may 
indeed hold good where the would-be chronicler is blessed with 
exceptional perseverance, ample leisure, and with what is of the 
greatest importance — an inexhaustible purse; otherwise immense 
boulders of difficulties will be encountered, enough in themselves to 
dishearten the most daring and paralyse the power of the most expert 
literary enthusiast. 

A MATRIMONIAL AGENT. 

Now let us return to our subject, with grateful hearts, rejoicing that 
we face a narrow, stride- able hiatus. In 1403 Richard Young, 
Bishop of Bangor, also one of the King's council, was entrusted with 
an extremely delicate mission, the execution of which brought him 



''These Norman-French letters are given in Sir Harris Nicolas's Proceedings and Acts of the Privy 
Council, Vol. I., pp. i6j-8. An English translationmay be seen in Uasoa's History of Norfolk (1884), pp. 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. 141 

to Bishop's Lenne. His lordsliip was sent beyond the sea, to nego- 
tiate, if it were possible, a marriage between Henry the Prince of 
Wales, a lad just 15 years of age (subsequently Henry V.), and the 
daughter of the Queen of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The 
acme of economy, as far as time, trouble and ammunition are 
concerned, is well expressed by the threadbare phrase — " Killing 
two (or more, for economy is illimitable) birds with one stone." Now 
it was necessary for the Bishop of Bangor to come to Lenne in order 
that he might secure a berth on board one of our Danish-bound 
vessels ; why then should he not be commissioned to examine and 
report upon the condition of a brother-bishop's staith } Who, indeed, 
would exercise greater impartiality or carry out the inspection more 
carefully? The Lenne folk were, notwithstanding, stupidly 
suspicious. They were by no means predisposed towards bishops. 
They were not unmindful of Thomas Blundeville, who 
imposed crushing tallages upon their forefathers; nor could they 
forget Henry de Spencer, a disagreeable lordling who upset their 
tipstaff and involved the burgh in much needless expense. Well, 
well; perhaps under the circumstances to which they were bound to 
submit, it would be prudent for them to get "the right side" of his 
lordship. When, therefore, he cruised about the haven to inspect 
the ruined staith and to gauge the depth of the water, the community 
thoughtfully placed in the barge a gallon of the choicest red wine; 
and besides, when he finally sailed, they provided sufficient money to 
pay the wages of the sailors for the outward as well as the homeward 
passage. 

The matrimonial negotiations were alas ! abortive, because Henry 
subsequently married Catherine, the daughter of Charles VI. of 
France; but in 1404-5 ambassadors from the Danish court arrived in 
England with the object of arranging a marriage between Princess 
Philippa, the daughter of Henry IV., and the King of Denmark. 
" The King broute her to Lenne, for to take schip there. And in 
that towne he laye nyne daies, the two Qwenes, thre sones of the 
Kyng, Herri, Thomas and Umfrey; and many other Lordes and 
Ladies." (Capgrave's Chronicles of Kngland. This incident is 
also narrated in the Chronica Monasterii S. Albani, 1866, p. 420.) 

Henry IV. and Joanna the Queen, his second wife; and Philippa 
the prospective Queen of Denmark, the daughter of his first wife, 
Mary Bohun; also the King's sons — Henry, the Prince of Wales, 
Thomas, the Duke of Clarence, afterwards killed at Beauge in Anjou 
(142 1), and Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester, were all at Lenne 
on this memorable occasion. Garrulous Capgrave naively asserts : — 

I saw the only daughter of the most excellent King (Henry IV.) in the town 
of Lenne, where she went on board the ship in which she left England and went 
to be married to the King of Norway. [Eric IX. of Denmark and XIII. of 
Norway.] Those who knew her say that she so increased in wisdom that during 
the continual infirmities which oppressed the King her husband, all the causes of 
the Kingdom were laid before her, and that by her prudent counsel she brought 
everj'thing to a prosperous issue. She indeed is the offspring of this King, and I 
saw her witli mine own eyes. [T/ic llliisirious Henries.] 



142 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Thomas of Walsingham refers to this incident, and mentions 
that there were also present at the embarkation, the Bishop of Bath 
(Henry Bowet) and Vominus Ricardus, frater Ducis Eboraci, that is, 
Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, who was beheaded (1415)- 
They accompanied the princess, and returned well pleased with the 
result of their mission. Through the friendly relation thus brought 
about our merchants obtained a warrant sanctioning the appointment 
of an alderman (or consul) for Denmark (141 7). 

SIR WILLIAM SAWTRE.* 

During the latter part of the Plantagenet period, the renowned 
John Wycliff (1324-1384) flourished. He greatly distinguished him- 
self through his controversies with the most scholarly of the 
mendicant friars, as well as by a powerful attack against the extravagant 
authority claimed by the Pope. The views he disseminated were 
similar to those propounded by the reformers of the i6th century. 
The Lollardst (as those who bravely embraced his tenets were called), 
were severely persecuted for many years ; nevertheless they succeeded 
in laying the foundation upon which the Reformation, like a vast 
superstructure, was afterwards reared. 

Even before Wycliff, the first sparks of religious enthusiasm, 
which culminated in the general enlightenment of Europe, were 
kindled in East Anglia. The celebrated Robert Grosseteste (1175- 
1253), to whom the reader must be introduced, was indeed a grand 
reformer, although his writings are now overlooked. His pen was 
ever busy denouncing the prevailing superstitions and corruptions 
of the Roman Church. Roger Bacon (1214-1292), a contemporary, 
declares he was the only living man who possessed all the 
sciences, and in whom the very spirit of action was united to love 
of learning. Robert Grosseteste, so preeminent for his scholarship, 
was born at Stradbrook in Suffolk ; at the time of his death he was 
Bishop of Lincoln. No wonder the eastern counties were among the 
first to accept the new doctrine. J 

At the close of the 14th century William Sawtre, or Chataris, as 
he was as often called, exercised his vocation as priest in the church of 
St. Margaret at Bishop's Lenne. Of the parentage and early life of 
the renowned " proto-martyr of Wycliffism " (Dean Milman) nothing 
definite is known. Whether he was a descendant of the famous 
Thomas de Longueville, "the Red Rover" — a Charieris, whom 
Wallace conquered, or a plebeian sowtre, whose father stitched 
leathern nether garments ; whether he belonged to Chatteris in Cam- 
bridgeshire, or Sawtree in Huntingdonshire, none can decide. In 



* The title "Sir" was formerly bestowed upon clergymen. The Welsh parson in The Merry Wives of 
Windsor is Sir (not " the Reverend") Hugh Evans. 

t Lollards (from the Low German lollen, to sing slowly), wpre so called because of their practice of 
sinein" dirges at funerals. Akin are our words (o /«// and /ii/;«hy, associated with the Swedish lulla,\.o 
sin" to sleep. Bailey, however, propounds a more fanciful though less reliable derivative— the Latin 
subltantive lolium, the darnel, because these primitive Reformers were deemed " tares in God's wheat-field." 

± He appointed his friend Roger de Wesenham (Weasenham) dean of Lincoln, in the place of William 
de Tournay. The remarkable career of Roger de Wesenham may be set forth thus: — Prebendary of 
Elstow, Lincolnshire, 1323, Rector of Walgrave 1234, Prebendary of St. Paul's, Archdeacon of Oxford 1236, 
Dean of Linco!n,Bishop o! Coventry and Liclifield 1245. He resigned in 1256. \Roberti Grosseteste EpistolcB, 
1861, edited by Luard.J 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. 143 

1437, and possibly years before, there was a slight link connecting 
Lenne with one of these places. Our Prior remitted, as rent to the 
Abbot of Sawtree, the yearly payment of one shilling. Though 
unquestionably an obscure priest, William Sawtre was destined to be 
immortalised as " the true and faithful martyr of Christ, the first of 
all them in Wycliff's time." (Foxe.) 

In trying to establish a sequence in the incidents associated with 
this deplorable event, it seems more than probable that at the onset 
William Sawtre, "being inflamed with zeal of the true religion," and 
greatly perplexed concerning certain theological dogmas, and, more- 
over, conscientiously wishing to do what was right, boldly took the 
initiative, and " required that he might be heard for the commodity of 
the whole realm before Parliament." (Foxe.) The request made 
to Thomas Arundel, alias Fitz-Alan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
was, it appears, forwarded to Bishop Henry de Spencer, who, being 
bitterly opposed to the Lollards, and "divining the cause," arranged 
for Sawtre to be heard before a convocation on the eve of the feast 
of Saints Philip and James, at the episcopal manor house at South 
Elmham (30th of April 1400). The poor priest, obeying the 
citation, repaired to the embattled mansion, which, standing upon the 
crown of an artificial mound on the summit of a hill, overlooked a 
well-wooded area. Among those present there was Lord Henry de 
Spencer, a follower of the "Prince of Peace," strangelv famous for 
his military exploits ; and the bold Northumbrian John of Derlyngton, 
who by reason of his manifold scholastic attainments had risen to be 
Archdeacon of Norwich ; and John de Kinkinsale, professor of 
divinity — an envied pluralist, priest of Fressingfield, near Harleston, 
nnd master of Gonville Hall. Cambridge ; besides, being one of the 
delegates deputed to attend the Council at Constance, he subse- 
quently attained the Bishopric of Chichester. In the learned 
assembly were also John Diffe, a friar, of whose piety nothing is 
recorded, but who was greatly esteemed because of his superior know- 
ledge in ecclesiastical affairs; and Walter Carlton, the celebrated 
specialist, a "doctor of both laws," the secular as well as the 
ecclesiastical ; William Friseby, Hugh Bridham and many other 
notaries well versed in legal intricacies. 

What arguments were advanced we cannot say, but after a two- 
days examination William Sawtre was induced to recant, and was 
forthwith ordered to make public renunciations of his erroneous teach- 
ing in the churches at Lenne, Tilney, and wherever the bishop might 
suggest. 

(l) HIS RECANTATION. 

The first public renunciation was made on the 25th of May, in the 
grave-yard adjoining the chapel of St. James, where the Primitive 
Methodist chape-l and the County Court now stand. Here, in the 
presence of the bishop, the clergy and the inhabitants of the town, 
William Sawtre declared in English that he had been misguided when 
he drew up the scroll presented to Archbishop Arundel. The next 
day a more impressive ceremony was enacted in the church of the 



144 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

hospital of St. John the Baptist in the Damgate (Norfolk Street),* 
On this occasion the bishop, John de Kinkingale, William Carlton 
and Thomas Bolton, the officer of the Liberties of Lenne, were 
present, as were also the elite of the burgh, including (it may be) 
Edmund Belleyettere, the mayor, John de Wentworth, Thomas atte 
Brygg and Thomas Fawkes, the town chamberlains, as well as 
Thomas Ploket and Thomas Trussebut, the treasurers of the Gild 
of Corpus Christi, &c. Here Sawtre solemnly pledged himself " on 
oath upon the Holy Evangelists " that in future he would not propa- 
gate any so-called heresies without a special licence from the bishop. 
In rendering loyal obedience to his intolerant ecclesiastical masters 
Sawtre unquestionably strove to stifle his conscience, but, as will be 
presently seen, his efforts in this direction were unavaihng and futile. 
On the 2oth of September the sheriffs of Norfolk and Suffolk 
were commanded by the King to issue a proclamation strictly forbid- 
ding the promulgation of opinions contrary to holy doctrine and 
derogatory to the friars. The next year Sawtre removed to London, 
where the people were strongly inclined towards the new religion, and 
where a more liberal consideration of his faith might reasonably have 
been anticipated. He was attached, as chaplain rather than rector, 
to a church dedicated to the memory of St. Osyth, a Saxon queen 
(the mother of Uffa, the East Anglian,) who was cruelly put to death 
by the marauding Danes. Her name survives in Size (or St. Osyth's) 
lane, but the church of St. Osyth was rededicated to St. Benet 
Sherehog — Benedict Skin-the-pig ; you may see the little old church- 
yard still (1893), black and grimy, surrounded on all sides by tall 
houses. (Sir Walter Besant.) It was situated in Wood Street, a 
narrow yet important thoroughfare leading from Cheape Market, now 
known as Cheapside, to the gate in the wall (London wall) which then 
formed the northern defence of the city. 

Even in the metropolis the current of religion in the life of this 
faithful minister of the Gospel was destined to run other than 
smoothly. Although he probably tried to modify the expression of 
the convictions which had caused so much trouble in the past, yet 
his attempts proved useless. The views he held were regarded as 
erroneous, and styled heretical, because they were opposed to those 
advanced by the leading scholars of the day. Unfortunately, 
moreover, they coincided with the tenets promulgated by Wycliff. 
The priest's simple life of self-denial no doubt annoyed the easy- 
going clerics, who thought far more of their own personal indulgence 
than of the destitution and misery of those among whom they were 
supposed to labour. He denounced the bad lives the majority of 
the clergy were living, and publicly declared the tithes ought not to 
be paid to profligate priests. Like Chaucer's poor parson, his object 
seems to have been 

To draw folks to heaven by fairnesse, 

By good ensample was his business, 



'- Mr. E. M. Beloe regards the "Blue Liou inn," viilgo" the Hanging Chains," as now occupying 
the site of Hospital of St. John the Baptist. 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. 145 

yet were there busy-bodies on the alert to mar the work he was 
doing, and to controvert the doctrines he taught. Rumour 
declared he was indirectly implicated in the rising of Thomas 
PloUand the Earl of Kent, and John the Earl of Huntingdon, the 
maternal brothers of the deposed King, wlio, dissatisfied with the 
changes in the government, had entered into a conspiracy to seize 
the King at Windsor and liberate the imprisoned Richard. Through 
the treachery of Edmund Plantagenet, the Earl of Rutland, the 
plot was discovered, and the "little game " soon played out (January 
1401). The report respecting Sawtre was ill-founded; it seems far 
more likely the news of his recent recantation at Lenne, reaching the 
ear of the archbishop, was the cause of the troubles which soon 
ensued. 

The next month Sawtre was summoned before Robert de Bray- 
brooke, the Bishop of London, in order that he might be persuaded 
to renounce the errors into which an unguarded tongue had once more 
betrayed him. As, however, he saw nothing to abjure, he was next 
cited to attend the Convocation of the province of Canterbury in St. 
Paul's Cathedral, where, before Archbishop Arundel, he was put 
upon his trial as before a court of justice. The Convocation was 
adjourned until the next Saturday, when the following definite charges 
of false doctrine were preferred against him: — 

1. That the sacred cross on which Christ suffered is not a fit 
object of worship. 

2. That it is more reasonable to worship a temporal prince 
than the aforesaid sacred cross. 

3. That it is unlawful to worship angels, even more so, than 
the worship of truly good men. 

4. That going on pilgrimage is unnecessary and useless; that 
vows to do so are not binding, and moreover, that the money thus 
expended had far better be bestowed in alms upon the poor. 

5. That priests are bound to preach the word of God rather 
than to say their matins or to observe the canonical hours. And 

6. That after the Sacramental words are pronounced, the 
bread remaineth the same as before, and that it ceaseth not to be 
bread, having in the meantime undergone no transubstantiation. 

Sawtre desired to have a copy of the indictment, so that he 
might deliberately reply thereto. On the i8th he appeared once 
more before the Convocation, when he presented to the Archbishop 
and council the subjoined explicit statement of his religious views, 
which Robert Hall, Chancellor to the Bishop of Norwich, then read 
publicly : — 

I William Sawtre, priest unworthy, say and aunswere that I will not nor 
intend not to worship the crosse whereon Christ was crucified, but onely Christ 
that suffered vpon the crosse ; so vnderstanding me that I will not worship the 
materiall crosse, for the grosse corporall matter, yet notwithstanding I will 
worship the same as a signe, taken and memoriall of the passion of Christ 
adorationc vicavia. And that I will rather worship a temporall Kyng, then the 
aforesayd wooden crosse, as the materiall substaunce of the same. And that I 
will rather worship the bodycs of Saintes then the very crosse of Christ whereon 
he houg ; with this addition, that if the vcrysame Crosse were afore me, as 

V 



146 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

touching the materiall substaunce. And also that I will rather worship a man 
truely confessed and penitent then the Crosse on which Christ hong, as touching 
the materiall substance. 

And that also I am bound and will rather worship him whom I know to be 
predestinate truely confessed and contrite then an angell of God : for that the one 
is a man of the same nature with tlie humanitieof Christ, and so is not a blessed 
aungell. Notwithstanding i will worship both of them according as the will of 
God is 1 should. 

Also, that if any man hath made a vow to visite the shrines of the Apostle 
Peter and Paule, or to goe on Pilgrimage to S. Thomas tombe or anye whither 
els to obtayne any temporall benehte or commodilie ; he is not bound simply to 
keepe his vowe vpon the necessitye of saiuation. But that he may geue (give) 
the expences of his vowe in ahnes amongst the poore by the prudent counsayle 
of his superiour as 1 suppose. 

And also 1 say, that euery deacon and priest is more bound to preach the 
word of God then to say ciuiouicall houres according to the primitiue order of 
the church. 

Also touching the interrogation of the sacrament of the aulter : I say that 
after the pronouncing of the sacramentall wordes of the body of Christ, there 
ceaseth to be \ ery bread simply, but remaineth bread, holy true, and the bread of 
life ; ynd (andj 1 beleuve the sayd sacrament to be the very body of Christ after 
the pronouncing of the sacramentall wordes. [Foxe's Actes and Monuments of the 
Church : 1563, 3rd edition.] 

On every clause of the indictment Sawtre firmly maintained his 
opinion, quoting freely from St. John, St. Paul, and St. Augustine; 
as to his conduct during the trial, there is nothing on record save the 
testimony of his prejudiced enemies, who described it as derisive, 
fanatical, and vacillating. Archbishop Arundel tried his utmost to 
convince him that he was wrong in his views respecting the Eucharist, 
and the next day spent three hours expatiating upon the same theme, 
but to no purpose. He then suggested that Sawtre should submit 
to the decision of the Church. Sawtre refused, except with the 
proviso: "Where such decision be not contrary to the Divine will." 
On the 23rd, documents purporting to be his previous adjuration were 
produced, and, according to the official account, Sawtre was con- 
strained to admit them as evidence. An adverse sentence was the 
foregone conclusion, the pronouncing of which was deferred until 
the 26th. Sir William Sawtre, of Bishop's Lenne, was then con- 
demned as a relapsed heretic; before, however, he could be handed 
over to the secular power, it was necessary for him to be properly 
"degraded," so that instead of being a priest "in the Pope's 
kingdom " and amenable to ecclesiastical law, he might be none other 
than an ordinary layman "without the pale." The ecclesiastical 
courts had no power whatever to burn, but they could condemn men 
as heretics, and thus leave them to their fate. 

(2) HIS DEGRADATION 

was publicly carried out in St. Paul's Cathedral, before Thomas 
Arundel, the Archbishop, who presided, and six Bishops, who, 
arrayed in their episcopal robes, acted as assistants, namely: Robert 
de Braybrooke (London), Henry Beaufort (Lincoln), John Trevenant 
(Hereford), Edmund Stafford (Exeter), Guy de Mona (St. David's), 
and WiUiam de Bottlesham (Rochester), When all was in readiness, 
the following terrible ordeal, which must have fearfully harrowed the 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. 147 

mental agony of this brave, outspoken man, was minutely carried 
out. 

First, he was taken into the sacristy or vestry, where he was 
completely attired in the robes and furniture of the priest's holy 
office. Then he was led into the church, where a large congregation 
had already assembled. Sawtre was placed, of course, in a 
conspicuous position, and there before them all was gradually denuded 
of the various emblems of his pastoral authority. The sacred chalice 
and paten were rudely taken from him, so that he could no more 
celebrate the sacrament of our Lord's supper; whereupon he was 
stripped of his scarlet robe or chasuble, as being unworthy of this 
priestly honour. They mockingly handed him a Latin copy of the 
Holy Scriptures, merely to snatch it away, in order to shew he was 
no longer authorised to read therefrom. They, moreover, removed 
his stole, a narrow band of embroidery, which, as a deacon, he wore 
over the left shoulder. His girdle was next loosened, and the maniple, 
a napkin used bv those officiating, was taken away. He was also 
asked to doff his albe, a white linen gown, which he wore by virtue of 
his office as a subdeacon. 

The ecclesiastical triumph was, however, incomplete ! A candle- 
stick holding a taper was placed in one hand and a small pitcher in 
the other, but he was instantly requested to give them up, because 
of his unworthiness to act even in the inferior capacity of an acolyte. 
I^ikewise, he relinquished not only the book of conjurations, because 
he was considered unfit to carry out the duties of an exorcist, or holy- 
water clerk; but also the book of divine lections or church legends, 
because henceforth he ceased to be a reader. The surrender of a 
sexton's gown and the church-dnor kev signified that he had in future 
no right to act even as a humble sexton. And, finally, as a climax 
to this theatrical display, the priest's cap was removed, his tonsure or 
hair-lock was clipped off, and upon his head was placed the cap of 
the common hangman. 

Sawtre 's appeal to the King and Parliament did not avail ; he 
was delivered as a layman to the secular arm, and the selfsame day 
the king's writ was signed at Westminster. 

(3) AND MARTYRDOM. 

" Thus William Sawtre, the servant of Christ, being utterly thrust 
out of the Pope's kingdom, and metamorphosed from a clerk to a 
secular layman, was committed (as ye have heard) unto the secular 
power, which so done, the Bishops yet not herewith content cease not 
to call upon the King to cause him to be brought forth to speedy 
execution." (Foxe.) In compliance with this request, King Henry, 
" a compound of ambition, cruelty and hypocrisy " (Burnet), made out 
a decree against Sawtre, which concludes thus: — "We command you 
as straitly as ye may or can, firmly enjoining you that you do cause 
the said William Sawtre, being in your custody, in some public or 
open place within the liberties of your city aforesaid (the cause afore- 
said being published unto the people), to be put into the fire, and 
there in the same fire really to be burned, to the great horror of his 



148 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

offence, and the manifest example of other Christians. Fail not 
in the execution hereof, upon the peril that will fall thereupon. Teste 
rege, apiid Westmonast. 26 Febriiar. an. [secundo] regni sui." 

On the evening of the same day, the 26th of February 1401, 
Sawtre was led to the Smithfield, a broad meadow beyond the 
boundary of the city, whither the inhabitants were wont to repair to 
practise with their bows and arrows at the public butts. Here the 
valiant though indiscreet Wat the Tiler, the leader of the down- 
trodden peasantry, was summarily dispatched by Sir William 
Walworth, the I-ord Mayor of the City ; and here, too, Thomas Badly 
and many more suffered for conscience' sake. At a secluded spot 
William Sawtre was chained to a stake, which stood not far from 
the present gate leading to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and here he 
was burned in the sight of many people. 

Sawtre is usually spoken of as the first victim of the statute de hcerelico 
combnrendo. But it is remarkable that the writ for his execution appears on the 
Rolls of Parliament before the Act itself. This order may be merely a 
matter of arrangement, but it is observable that if the Act had been 
already passed the writ would have been issued as a matter of course 
to the sheriff, and would never have appeared on the Rolls at all. It 
appears probable, therefore, that Sawtre suffered under a special Act proposed 
perhaps by the clerical party in order to ascertain the feeling of Parliament as 
to the larger measure that followed. (Dr. W. W. Shirley.) 

Commenting upon the legality of Sawtre 's martyrdom. Justice 
Stephens observes: — 

The clergy proceeded to a measure which can probably not be paralleled in 
the history of England. They forged an Act of Parliament, which appears in 
the statute-book as 2 Rd. II. c. 5 (1379). Though published as an Act of 
Parliament, this measure was not entitled to the name, for as Coke says (13 
Coke's Rep. pp. 56-58) it was never assented to by the Commons. . . . The pre- 
tended statute gave no other power than that of arrest and imprisonment by the 
sheriffs on the order of the bishop, and this proves that before that time no such 
power existed. [History of Criminal Law, 1883.] 

THE CHAPEL OF ST. NICHOLAS. 

An important movement of an ecclesiastical nature was brought 
about during the episcopate of Henry de Spencer. At the suggestion 
of certain dissatisfied burgesses in the Newland, a local chaplain — 
Sir John Peye — forwarded a petition to the Pope, praying that the 
privileges for the administration of the sacraments of baptism, 
matrimony and purification might be conferred upon the chapel of 
St. Nicholas. The complete severance of this chapel-of-ease from 
the parent church, and the establishment of a distinct parish, seemed 
to be the object at which the discontented parishioners aimed. Pope 
Urban VI. granted the application, providing the alteration was not 
inimical to the mother church. Great discord ensued, which at 
length induced the Assembly to issue a letter patent, bearing the 
common seal, and a letter close, sealed with the Mayor's seal, to Sir 
Adam de Eston. 

The letter patent, addressed to the faithful people of Lenne, and 
subsequently forwarded to the Court of Rome, after reciting the 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. U9 

Bull* received from His Holiness, announced that the Bull in 
question had been publicly read by John Lombe, master of arts and 
licenciate of civil law, who was " the organ ' ' or representative of 
Ralph de Martham, prior of the Church of St. Margaret, in the 
presence of John de Brunham, mayor, Thomas de Botekesham, 
alderman, John de Elmyngton, public notary, and others. It set 
forth, moreover, how the precious document had been carefully 
returned to Sir John Peye, who formally acknowledged in their 
presence that it had not been altered or " injured " in any wise (28th 
February 1378). Throughout these transactions the greatest pre- 
caution was taken to shew that the Bull had not been tampered with. 

The letter close was forwarded to Sir Adam de Eston, a very 
influential person then residing in Rome. The "Norwich Cardinal," 
as he was styled, belonged to the Benedictine monastery of that city. 
He was implored to do his utmost in restoring peace among the 
contending burgesses. 

To express clearly the state of public opinion in Lenne, three 
separate lists were enclosed with the communication. The first 
contained the names of 79 burgesses who were present in the Gild 
Hall on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, and who consented to 
the sealing of the letter patent directed to the Court of Rome for 
resisting the privileges of baptism, etc., conceded to the chapel of 
St. Nicholas. The second contained the names of 81 burgesses, 
who declared that the Bull had been publicly read in the church of 
St. Margaret, and that it had been safely delivered to Sir John Peye, 
in the same church, " entire and uninjured, and not in any way 
violated or corrupted." And the third contained the 77 names of 
those who agreed to the sealing of the letter close, and who stated 
therein that the privileges conceded to the petitioners would be 
prejudicial to the church of St. Margaret, and that they therefore 
renounced the privileges. The mayor, "John de Brunham," appears 
in each list. 

A second application was made in the reign of Henry VI. It 
was addressed this time to the prior of Norwich (Robert Brunham?), 
and was couched in the following words : — 

Fuhvurshipful and reverent Fader in God ; We your gostly [spiritual] 
children the Maior, aldermen, burgeyses and all the Comons of Lynne humbly 
recomaund us to your good fadirhod. Brsechyng that it like to your benigne 
grace be the avys [advice] of the richt, discret and religious personys your wurthi 
birthern of ye covent of Norwiche at ye reverence of God in encresynge of his 
lovyng and devocioun of ye pepil, and for ye gret quiete and ese of your 
parisshens of ye same toun to graunte yat ye sacrament of Bapteme and ye 
sacirimentall of Purificacioun maybe ministrid to your parisshens aforesaid in 
your Chapel 1 of Seynt Nicolis in ye said toun, ye richt of your minister ye 
Cathedral! cluirche of Norwiche, and of Saynt Margarete ye parissh churche of 
Lynne in all yinges [things] alwey, &c. . . whiche goode and holy vew shal 

• The capsule of the seal was first callpd the bulla, a word afterwards applied to the document itself. 

"A Pope's Bull and a Pope's Rricf differ very much ; as with us^the Great Seal and the Privy Seal. 
The Bull being the highest authority the Pope can give, the Brief is of less. The Bull has a leaden seal 
upon silk hanging upon the instrument ; the Brief has siit annulo piscatoris [the Fisherman's Seal] upon the 
side."— Selden's Table Talk (1716), p. 88. 

Fur further i)articulars of the lesser signet, used in documents of minor importance, see W. Jones's 
Finger-Ring Lore (1898), pp. 198-9. 



150 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

cause you gret merite for ye . . . yat we trist to God shal growe yerof 
[thereof]. In Witness herof' to yis present lettir patent We have do sett our 
comone seel. Yeven in our Gilde Halle ye xiiij day of January in ye x yeer of 
ye reigne of King Henry ye Sext. (1432.) 

The chapel of St. Nicholas was notwithstanding denied a font 
until 1627, when Bishop Harsnet consecrated the one now in use. 
In the inventory of church goods (1628-9) is the entry: " Itm. a little 
8 square table to sett the Cover of the ffunt uppon." 

THE ANNALS OF THE POOR. 

Throughout this reign, our town was in a most unsettled and 
distracted state. Years of undeserved oppression at last goaded the 
people into reckless rebellion. So furious was the onslaught of the 
masses against the classes, that the mayor was fain to acknowledge 
his inability to cope with the awful emergency — to check the out- 
spoken demands of the long-suffering democracy, who were conscious 
that numerically and in strength they could easily crush the dominating 
few. Why, they asked themselves, should they submit like belaboured 
hounds to such unbearable tyranny? Why starve their children to 
swell unjust exactions ? 

Unable, perhaps, to obtain assistance from Bishop Spencer, the 
mayor was constrained to appeal directly to the King ; but John 
Wentworth's entreaty yielded no assistance to him and his brethren 
in this dilemma. He therefore addressed himself to the I-Cing a 
second time, piteously complaining of certain " outrageous persons 
who committed the most horrible crimes and (who) proceeded in the 
most riotous manner against their opponents," [the inoffensive 
potentiores] " with the intent to spoil and rob them of their goods, 
(to) burn their houses and (to) slay and dismember them" (nth 
October 1403). 

Though there are deplorable breaks in the narrative of these 
events, the strife between the opposing factions was still vigorously 
carried on. Nine years later, Thomas Arundel. Archbishop of 
Canterbury and Lord Chancellor, espoused the cause of the down- 
trodden burgesses; he sent " a memorandum " to the King, minutely 
shewing how the weak were contending against the strong, and how 
might was prevailing over right. His timely interference induced 
Henry IV. to issue letters patent, dated Westminster, the 25th 
November 141 2. Four months afterwards the King died. 

TRAITORS AT HOME. 

Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, utterly disgusted at 
the K^ing's behaviour after the Scots were defeated and the Earl of 
Douglas captured at Homildon Hill, near Wooler, by his own son, 
Hotspur (14th September 1402), conspired with Glendower. 
Associated with him also were Richard Scroop, Archbishop of 
York, Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal, and Thomas Lord Bardolf. 
A sanguinary battle fought near Shrewsbury ended in the defeat of 
the insurgents and the death of the valiant Hotspur (21st July 1403). 

A fresh conspiracy, despite this crushing blow, was inaugurated 
by Northumberland and his friends (1405), their motive being to 



THE FIRST LOLLARD MARTYR. 151 

place Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, upon the throne. By the 

astute diplomacy of Ralph Nevill, this second attempt was frustrated. 
The Archbishop and the Earl Marshal were taken and beheaded at 
York, whereas the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Bardolf con- 
trived to escape into Scotland. 

The third and last attempt to subvert the government occurred 
when Northumberland's forces encountered a small body of troops 
under Sir Thomas Rokeby (otherwise Rockley), the sheriff of York- 
shire, on Bramham Moor, near Tadcaster, with disastrous results 
(14th February 1408). The Earl was slain, and his "head was 
streight waies cut off, put on a stake and carried openly through the 
city of London and set on the bridge." (Dugdale.) Lord Bardolf, 
though severely wounded, was captured alive ; he died, however, soon 
afterwards, and was there and then politely quartered, according to 
the etiquette and formalities which statutory law provided for the 
speedy extinction of traitors and the immediate benefit of the nation. 
Samples of his anatomy were sent to London, York, Shrewsbury and 
Lenne, his head being specially reserved for the city of Lincoln. 
These ghastly " remembrancers ' ' were exhibited publicly upon the 
town gates, to deter any visiting these places, as well as the inhabitants 
themselves, from following the example set by the misguided 
miscreant. It seems highly probable that the enticing proclamation 
of the leaders of these rebellions, that " whoso would have libertie 
should take up their armour and followe them," resounded through 
our streets, and that the insurgent forces were recruited with 
volunteers from Lenne. Through the earnest entreaty of Avicia, the 
widow, Bardolf "s mangled remains were shortly afterwards removed 
and decently buried. 

The loyal Llarcourt announces the defeat of the rebels in a 
burst of exultation: — 

From enemies heaven keep your Majesty 

And wlicn they stand against you may they fall 

As those that 1 am come to tell you of 

The Earl Northumberland and the Lord Bardolf 

With a great power of English and of Scots 

Are by the Sheriff of Yorkshire overthrown. 

(Shakespeare's Henry I V., part II., act IV., sc. 4.) 

CONCESSIONS. 

Just a few days prior to his death the callous bishop so far 
relented as to grant the mayor, Robert de Brunham, " a composition," 
which was almost a facsimile of the episcopal and mayoral arrange- 
ment of 1309. It was designed ostensibly to bring about an amicable 
settlement of those torturing contentions for which the burgh was 
becoming notorious, and was supposed to be mutually advantageous. 
What, however, the crafty bishop proposed to give was in inverse 
ratio to what he expected to receive (jith August J406). 

To the King rather than the bishop the town was indebted. 
Henry IV. granted the burgesses 

Letters patent, dated at Westminster, 4th October, in the 8th year of his reign 
(140b), giving licence to certain persons to establish another gild in connection 



m mSTORY OT KING'S LYNN. 

with St. Margaret's church. (Harrod's statement that the Foundation 
Charter of the Gild of St. George the Martyr was granted in the reign of 
Henry VI. is a mistake.) And a charter 
C. II, dated at Westminster, 6th March, in the nth year of his reign (1432). It 
was a deed of inspeximus and confirmation, formally renewing and 
reaffirming C. 10, which was granted by his predecessor Richard II. in 1410. 

A MUNICIPAL LOAN. 

Anticipating trouble, Henry IV., it may be remembered, 
ordered our Corporation to provide a barge or vessel of 
war. It was well he did so, because he had soon to 
face not only an insurrection, but an incursion of the 
Scots. At this juncture, when his resources were severely 
taxed, the King borrowed from the community at Lenne ;£333/^/^> 
for the loan of which he offered certain tallies as security, which 
were delivered at the Receipt of the Exchequer. In the town's 
behalf Roger Galyon and Thomas Grey paid the money out of the 
customs ot the port, of which they were the collectors, receiving, 
of course, a tally from the town (140 1). 

The King died in 1413, having appointed Thomas Langley, 
Bishop of Durham and Lord Chancellor, Sir John Pelham, knight, 
and John Leventhorpe, esquire, executors of his will. Twenty-four 
years passed, but the outstanding loan was unpaid. Hence on the 
25th of June 1425 the Assembly seriously considered the advisability 
of applying for repayment. The services of our members in Parlia- 
ment were enlisted. Thomas Burgh and John Copnote therefore 
suggested that the Corporation should furnish them with a deed of 
attorney, empowering them to act as the legal representatives of the 
town in this matter; they also asked for a letter, which might be 
forwarded to the Bishop of Durham, presumably the acting executor, 
asking that the outstanding loan might be met. The letter drawn 
up, according to an enclosed draft, read thus: — 

Know all men by these presents, That we John Parmonter, Mayor of Lenn, 
in the county of Norfolk, and the whole community of the same town, have 
attorned and put in our place our beloved John Copnote, our true attorney, to 
ask for and receive, in our name and for us, of the Venerable Father in Christ 
Thomas Bishop of Durham, Sir John Pelham, knt, and John Leventhorp, esq., 
the e.xecuters named in the testament of Lord Henry late King of England, after 
the conquest the fourth, [that is, " King Henry the Fourth in his 4th year," 
according to the minute in the Hall Book] three hundred and thirty and three 
pounds six shillings and eightpence owed to us by the aforesaid late King for 
money lent by us for the said King's use, as appears more clearly by a certain 
tally delivered to us and levied at the Receipt of the Exchequer on Roger 
Galeon and Thomas Grey, then collectors of customs and subsidies in the 
aforesaid port of Lenn, on the ninth day of December in the 4th year of the 
said late King, &c. Dated at Lenn in our Gild Hall on the 25th June 3 Henry 
VI. (1425). 

Whether the proverbial "butter" was ever skilfully extracted 
from the dog's mouth it would be risky to state; the son, however, 
could not be expected to pay his father's debts, because, as will be 
seen anon, he was himself at this time involved in even greater 
pecuniary difficulties. 



THE REVOLT Ot^ TME BVRGESSES. 153 



BOROUGH ACCOUNTS. 

An important change appears in the arrangement of the finances 
of the town. Accounts are now rendered by the mayor as well as 
the collector of taxes. Prior to 1402-3, the chamberlains or borough 
treasurers drew up their accounts conjointly ; now a separate account 
is given by each of the four chamberlains. 

A PRIEST OF ST. PANCRAS 

named Arreck, who must have been an enthusiastic antiquary, spent 
eighteen years in searching for the Life of St. ICatherine. His work 
in Greece was a failure, but when in Cyprus he unearthed a very 
old manuscript written {circa a.d. 490-7), by Athanasius, Bishop 
of Alexandria, who was the pious spinster's tutor. Though 
hidden a century, it was in excellent preservation, hence Arreck was 
enabled to compile therefrom the saint's history in Latin. Capgrave 
wrote a metrical version of the life of the holy maiden, who was 
put to death by means of a wheel, like that of a chaff-cutter ; and 
from this work we learn that Arreck died at Lenne when Capgrave 
was a regular here. 

***** 

Henry IV. was seized with a fit while at his devotions in St. 
Edmund's chapel at Westminster, and died a few days after (March 
20th, 1413). He was interred at Canterbury. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The Revolt of the Bwf§:esses. 

Henry of Monmouth, the eldest son of the late King, was crowned 
as Henry V. the 9th of April 1413. 

***** 

The social serenity of our burgh was greatly disturbed at the 
commencement of the 15th century by the antagonistic influence of 
two wealthy families, headed respectively by John Wentworth and 
Bartholomew Petipas. These rivals for municipal honours were the 
cause of "divers dissensions and discords." As powerful potentiores, 
each had subservient yet faithful adherents. Thus were there two 
factions, to one of which every inhabitant at least tacitly belonged. 
Need it be stated that between the Wentworths and Petipases no 
love was wasted ? What one clique suggested the other as vigorously 
opposed, for no earthly reason save that it originated in the wrong 
quarter. In comparing the careers of these great magnates, it will 
be seen that as one luminary paled or sunk below the municipal 

w 



iS4 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



horizon, the other burst into civic existence, and, notwithstanding 
adverse influences, glowed with brighter and brighter effulgence. 



John Wentworth. 



1 39 1 Member for Lenne 

1400 Mayor of „ 

1401 " " " 
1405 



Bartholomew Petipas. 



141 2 Mayor of Lenne 

1413 

1426 Member for „ 



The case of Lynn [writes Mrs. A. S. Green] is of singular interest. Nowhere 
else in England was there a corporation more wealthy, or more formidable from 
its compact organization and great authority. On the other hand, nowhere else, 
perhaps, was there a community of " mean people," burgesses and nonburgesses, 
so prosperous, active and united ; sustained as they were in every emergency by 
the eifective protection of their lord the Bishop, who, in his jealousy of the 
governing class, was forced to become the ally of the subject people, and to 
make their cause his own. Under these circumstances the conflict between the 
commons and the plutocrats who ruled over them had some original character- 
istics, and the problem of the Church and State emerges in a new and subtle 
form.* 

For at least thirty years, from 1404 to i434j local affairs were 
irremediably upset by the aggressive plutocrats and their turbulent 
partisans. The climax was almost reached when Roger Galyon, the 
nominee of the Petipas party, was for the second time chosen mayor. 
To achieve this distinction, Galyon threw in his lot with the people — 
the embryo democracy just struggling into being. In tracing the 
course of events which led up to a revolt against the squirearchy of 
Lenne, we will consider — 

(l) THE ELECTION OF A MAYOR. 

After public notice had been given by the sergeant-at-mace, a 
meeting was held in the Gild Hal! on the 29th August — the Feast 
of the Decollation (or beheading) of St. John— a month before the 
expiration of the mayoralty (1411)- The mayor for the ensumg year, 
commencing of course on the 29th of September, was chosen by a 
committee of twelve. The president or " alderman " of the local 
Gild of the Holy Trinity, by a kind of prescriptive right, always 
named the first four of the elective committee. They were invariably, 
need it be said, of his own social kindred — potentiores to the back- 
bone. The four aristocratic electors followed suit by taking unto 
themselves four others, and the eight then chose the remaining four. 
If, however, through any unavoidable cause the alderman were absent, 
the jurats,! or members of the council, took his place, and, officiating 
in his stead, named the first quartette. 

Now when the time drew near and it was necessary to select 
some one to take Roger Galyon's place, the burgesses found them- 
selves in a unique predicament. The alderman was absent; this 
was annoying, but it had assuredly happened before, and in this 
there was consolation; when, however, the names of the "jurats" 
were called, there was no reply. How the burgesses stared at each 



® Read Town Life in the Fifteenth Century, by Mrs. A. S. Green (1894), '^ol- U-. PP- 409-426. 

t Jurats- not jurors; simply burgesses who had been sworn. L&tm, jurat, he swears or lakes an oath. 



THE REVOLT OF THE BURGESSES. 155 

other in blank dismay! But Roger Galyon was equal to the emer- 
gency. Disregarding this palpable insult, he quietly asked the 
assembly whether it was their will to proceed with the election. 
Their answer being an affirmative, he next desired iJiose who were 
present to name the first part of the committee. This was readily 
done, and the other eight members were selected according to the 
usual custom. The committee thus constituted retired, and after 
a while announced that they had chosen Roger Galyon for the second 
time to act as mayor of the burgh of Bishop's Lenne (141 1). 

An inspection of the Hall Book wherein these minutes are 
recorded reveals two or three remarkable features. For the first 
time a complete Hst of those who were present is entered. Of the 
one hundred and forty-eight some were non-burgesses, who had not 
yet taken up their "freedom," and for the first time in the annals 
of this burgh non-burgesses were permitted a voice in municipal 
matters. It was in sooth "a still small voice " crying in the wilder- 
ness of democracy. They could only vote for four — and there their 
voice apparently ceased; but step by step the influence of the people's 
nominees was felt until it culminated in the choice of their major. 

The four-and-twenty councillors were, of course, disgusted with 
this lowering of the social standard, and indignant with the high- 
handed policy of Roger Galyon; they lodged an appeal with the 
privy council, and before long the Mayor received an order to 
produce the charters of the burgh in court for the determination of 
the dispute and to justify the course taken. 

There was great commotion in the municipal dove-cote, and 
whisperings of the wrangling spread from the precincts of the Gild 
Hall to the market of St. Margaret, where idle gossips found unspeak- 
able pleasure in outpouring an exaggerated account of the childish 
doings of the venerable fathers. Oh shameful sight, for civic birds 
m their snug little nests to "fall out and chide and fight! " Yet 
were those potent, grave and reverend signiors no whit worse than 
Dryden's " unfeathered two-legged things," which centuries afterwards 
succeeded them. 

On Monday the next after the Feast of St. Faith the Virgin 
Martvr (6th October), a common court was nominated and elected 
in accordance with the precept of the Mayor and the assent of the 
Congregation (141 1). 

(2) A MOMENTOUS JOURNEY. 

The deputation chosen to attend the Court at Westminster 
consisted of Bartholomew Petipas, John Bilneye, William Baret, 
William Hallyate, John Tilneye junior, James Nichassone, William 
Palmer and the town chamberlains — John Bucworth and William 
Walden, each of whom, if so he listed, might be attended by a 
servant. There were besides John Meryell and Thomas Middleton, 
with one servant between them, and moreover, William Cook and 
John Denver, who, without the aid of any domestic acquisition, 
managed somehow or other "to do for themselves." If the social 



156 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



status of these representatives be gauged by the servants who accom- 
panied them, it will be consistent to assume that the deputation was 
made up of members belonging to the three different castes. 

Having prudently executed their last wills and testaments, and 
wisely provided themselves with reliable weapons of defence, and 
devoutly commended the souls and bodies of those they loved 
to the safe-keeping of God and the community respectively, these 
two-and-twenty liege burghers mounted their steeds and trotted boldly 
to the ford at the Mill Fleet, past Allhallows church and the monastery 
of the Whitefriars, over the intervening meadows and on to the 
South Gates, where, after receiving a fervid benediction from the 
populace thereabout assembled, a start was made upon what was 
indeed a perilous venture. They had not gone far before they were 
overtaken by William Walden's servant, but, " the more, the merrier," 
especially when number constitutes safety. 

Their itinerary was precisely the same as the one adopted by 
the stage coaches of old, before the more recent route through Ely 
and Cambridge came into vogue. 





Bishop's Lenne. 


Miles. 




s. d. 


Wednesdaj 


Brandon Ferry 
Newmarket 


24 
I7i 


dined 

stayed the night 


7 3 
II 9i 


to 


Badburgham (Babrahani) 

Barkway 

Ware 


12 
Ik 

9i 
iH 


breakfasted 

dined 

stayed the night 


4 4 

7 2 

10 61 




Waltham (Cross) 
London (St. Paul's) 


" baited " 


3 
6 2 



The deputation arrived in London about noon on Friday, and 
remained there nine days. On starting they took with them j£^4 
6s. 8d., which was thus made up : ;^30 13s. 4d. from the town stock, 
including a donation from Bartholomew Petipas " on the part of 
eighteen persons on the Mayor's side," and ^3 12s. iid. from John 
Maseye, one of the town-treasurers. A satisfactory account of the 
manner in which the money was expended is given in the Hall 
Book : — 



Food, &c. 

The Saturday next ensuing 

Wine for our men and for those of the learned in the law of our 
counsel ... ... ... ... ... ... ..• 

Cooked food ; Sunday next following 

For little cups, hens (poulets), sauces, candles, water, pepper, 

saffron and powdered ginger, the same day 
For bread, cooked food, oysters and cheese (Saturday following) 
For bread, beer and firewood ; 32 men for 9 days , .., 



£ s. d. 

5 10 

3 2 

7 5 



8 
6 

13 



III 



THE REVOLT OF THE BURGESSES. 157 



8 

I '* 

8 5i 

I I 

5 

3 " 
7 4 

1 o 

4 8 

2 4 

2 I 

6 8 

o 4 

3 4 
o 7 



Food, &c., continued. £ 

For 13 men for food on Sunday » 4 

„ „ supper and wine on Sunday 

For ground pepper, saffron and powdered ginger 

For breakfast with our counsel ; bread, wine and cooked food 

For two cheeses and wheat (or white bread) for oysters ... 
Travelling, &c. 

For the keeping of 22 horses 9 days, and beds and candles 

For the keeping of i horse 17 days at Ware 

For crossing Brandon Ferry 

In going by water to Westminster, two days 

Boat hire to Westminster and food (Monday) ... _ ... 

Boat hire to Westminster and Lambeth hythe and wine... 

Boat hire to Westminster and sweet wine 

To John Denver for riding to London 

Other Items. 

For a chest in which to keep the evidences 

For writing copies of the different evidences 

Charity to poor men by the way 

Many legal men were retained on behalf of the mayor and 
burgesses of Lenne. The list includes: — 

Sergts. ( Richard Norton ] Who subsequently rose to be chief justices 
at \ John Burton \ of the King's Bench. 

Law ( William Skrene j 
William Lodyngton (afterwards sergeant-at-law and justice of the King's Bench. 
William Cheyne (afterwards chief justice of pleas). 

John Babyngton (afterwards Attorney-general and chief justice of the Exchequer). 
John Franke (afterwards Master of the Rolls and Chancellor-Keeper of tlie Great 

Seal). 
William Gascoigne, junior (probably the son of Sir William Gascoigne, chief 
justice of the King's Bench). 

John Conyngeston, I Martin 1 Robert Paston, 1 John Alderford, 

Averay de Manston, I William Champeneys, I Ralph Walsham, 1 and others, 

John Crosse, of Lenne, instructed the counsel, who were paid 
as follows : — The three sergeants-at-law received 20s. each, nine 
13s. 4d. each, and the rest 6s. 8d. each. The total amount expended 
in lawyers' fees alone absorbed ;^35 12s. 5d., that is, ^i 6s. 2d. 
more than the sum with which the deputation started. Gifts and 
other payments were, moreover, made to these assiduous gentlemen. 
As for instance : — 

;^i o o To Richard Norton, sergeant-at-law. 

6 8 To Richard, Secretary of the Lord Chancellor. 

2 o o To the Clerk of the Rolls in Parliament. 
150 For sealing the Exemplification. 

3 13 4 For writing „ „ and for record of same. 

14 2\ To William Hallyate, one of the deputation, " a counsel learned in 
the law, and retained by the Assembly" (Mason), and his servant, 
for riding from London to Norwich, from thence to Lenne, and 
again to I.ondon. 
6 8 For sweet wine for our counsel, and common wine. 

(3) THE DECISION OF THE COURT. 

After careful consideration it was decided that the Mayor and 
his plutocratic brethren, as well as the mediocres and inferiories, 
some of whom were well-to-do citizens, should submit to the arbitra- 
tion of 18 inhabitants of the town. Twelve " com-burgesses " were 



158 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

to represent the recognised grades of society ; there were to be 
four potentiores, four mediocres and four inferiores or freemen of the 
burgh. The remaining six, also inferiores, were nonburgesses, and, 
what is more surprising, they were to be "strangers," representing an 
important class who had not enrolled themselves as citizens or freemen. 
To make this arrangement effective, and for " the faithful fulfilment of 
the decrees and ordinances of the said eighteen persons," the court 
insisted that 172 of the inhabitants, whose names are recorded, 
should be bound to forfeit large sums of money in case of their non- 
compliance (15 December 141 1). 
06 Burgesses : 

22 potentiores ii'ioo o o each 

84 mediocres and inferiores or "freemen" ... ... £50 o o „ 

66 NoN-BuRGESSES: 

Ordinary inferiores, or "strangers" ... ... ... £^ 11 2 „ 

The " writing of submission " was, indeed, a conciliatory scheme, 
because all grades, from the highest to the lowest, were included, and 
we are inclined to the belief that each was proportionately represented 
too. 

The signing and witnessing of the obligatory ordinances and 
decrees of the majority was carried out the 20th of May, and received 
the assent of the mayor and community the same day, whilst the 
obligatory bonds were executed by the various individuals concerned 
on 1 6th, 1 8th and 21st of July. When all was in order, the common 
seal of the town was affixed to each. (15th of December 141 1.) 
The burgesses and nonburgesses having thus agreed to submit to the 
verdict of the committee, however adverse it might be to their private 
opinion, nothing remained but for the committee to carefully 
consider the subject in abeyance. Large committees are generally 
believed to be unworkable, and thus it proved in this instance; the 
members were "hindered in coming together and unable to do so." 
It was thereupon resolved, with the assent of the mayor and the 
whole community, that the award of the greater part, consisting of at 
least fen persons, should be equally valid and binding as though the 
whole number had been present (8th April 141 2). An agreement 
having been executed to this effect, the committee met, and shortly 
afterwards presented their verdict. From their report, we learn how 
the mayors were in the habit of expending money extavagantly during 
their term of office, expecting to recoup themselves sooner or later 
from the burgh exchequer. 

(4) THE arbitrators' AWARD 

is said to have been determined by the narrow majority of one; in 
the case of eighteen — an even number, two seems more reasonable. 

(a) The following claims for money alleged to have been spent 
for the benefit of the community were declared to be unjust, and 
were therefore disallowed : — • 



I 


Executors of the late Robert Botekesham 


Mayor in 1395 


£^9 


2 


4* 


2 


Thomas Watirden 


,- 1397 


70 


15 


ID 


3 


John Belleytere (? Edmund) 


„ 1399 


3b 


18 


8 


4 


John Wentworth 


„ 1400 


80 


10 





5 


Thomas Bridge 


„ 1402 


122 


I 


5 



THE REVOLT OF THE BURGESSES. IS^ 

{b) They, however, granted a quit-claim to John Brunham, 
Edmund Bellevettere, Thomas Watirden and to the executors of Robert 
Botekesham and to John Wentworth of the party of the potentiores 
and formerly mayors in respect to a certain sum of ^457 19s- 7^-, 
which sum, in addition to very many others, was spent against the late 
Bishop Spencer, the aforesaid John Brunham, Edmund Belleyettere, 
Thomas Watirden, Robert Botekesham and John Wentworth, whilom 
mayors of the town, from the ist to the 13th year of Henry IV., 
"disbursed without the consent of the aforesaid community, unjustly 
and inordinately, to the serious prejudice and extreme depoverishment 
of the said community." 

(c) It was decided that in future the mayor was to receive a 
fixed fee of ;,^io for service rendered to the commonalty during his 
year of office "in accordance with ancient custom," and, moreover, 
any further sum the community, " namely, the potentiores, mediocres 
and inferiores (being) nonburgesses," might put aside according to 
his merits or demerits. The reward for good conduct might not, 
however, exceed ;£io. 

{d) The mayor was to be personally i-esponsible to the 
community for all arrears which ought to have been received for the 
benefit of the community during his mayoralty. He was invested 
with power to chose a committee of nine persons who were to have 
authority to deal with the rents accruing to the community. The 
committee in question was intended to be also representative, in that 
it was to consist of three potentiores, three mediocres and three non- 
burgesses (inferiores). 

{e) Further, it was "decreed" that the inferiores not being 
burgesses who hitherto had been unjustly deprived of their rights 
were in future to enjoy the privileges granted to them by virtue of 
the composition made between the Bishop of Norwich and the 
community of Lenne. It is not, however, clear whether allusion 
is here made to the composition of Bishop Salmon (1310), or to 
that of Bishop Spencer (1406). The subjoined passage is from the 
earlier document: — 

The Mcyr also and comonalte befor seid have graunted that all taskes and 
tallyages unleeful (unlawful) and unresonable grevous which that by the grete 
men of the towne aforesaid upon the mene peple and the povere (French pauvre, 
poor) to their oppression and hyndryng, ofte tyme they have be (been) putte 
upon, and by grevous distressyng so vyolently of hem (them) take with owte 
cause and depauperacion gretly of the towne fro(m) hens forward it shall 
no more be do(ne), but whan prohte or node aske it resonably and mesurably it 
should be do(ne), and hove (have) suche contribuciouns redyly after the faculte 
myght and power of every man with owte any excepcioun of any persone. 

Thomas Fitz-Alan, or Arudel, the Archbishop of Canterbury 
and Lord Chancellor, made a decree for the confirmation of the 
ordinance (17th of November 141 2), and letters patent embodying 
the burgesses' decision were issued on the 25th of the same month, 
but inasmuch as Henry IV. died the March following, his successor 
issued letters patent of exemplification to the same effect, dated the 
10th of April 1413. 



160 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Throughout these struggles the strong desire on the part of the 
democracy to be heard in municipal government is prominent. 
Long enough had they been ignored by the wealthier classes, and 
treated merely as providentially provided tax-payers, but now, with 
Roger Galyon as their leader, they at last obtained recognition, for 
those who were not burgesses in the sense of having their freedom 
were in future to share in the management of the burgh in which 
they lived. A marginal note in the Hall Book says: "Galyon, at 
his own charge, bravely defended himself and ruled like a mayor 
indeed." The great interest and appreciation of the people in these 
matters is conclusive, because when the mayor was next elected no 
less than four hundred were present in the Gild Hall. Roger Galyon 
courageously continued the innovation of the previous year. The 
fiTst four burgesses were chosen by the mayor and community, and 
not as formerly by the alderman of the Merchants' Gild. It was a 
day of indescribable excitement, because the baneful influence of the 
squirearchy was by no means eliminated from the elective body. For 
twelve weary hours were the members of the committee impaled in 
the council chamber, whilst the crowd, surging around the chequered 
gable of the Trinity Hall, grew more and more anxious to glean 
tidings of the fierce struggle in their behalf. But when the shades 
of evening absorbed the flecks of rosy light upon St. Margaret's 
hallowed fane, many " of litde faith ' ' turned despairing faces towards 
the broad Gothic window, and with heavy hearts sought their discon- 
solate homes, assured the brave champions of liberty were 
overpowered and that Might was once more triumphant. . . As 
the clock in the belfry struck ten, the great doors unexpectedly 
sprung open and the jaded combatants appeared; and then — the 
madding voices of those who had patiently watched and waited rent 
the air, for with them indeed was the victor>\ Their hero — 
Bartholomew Pedpas — was mayor! How they feted the dear old 
man and his friend brave Roger Galyon. Again and again they 
revived their resounding cries, and shouted, as only those who had 
suffered could shout, until their jubilant rejoicings were heard from 
the Deucehill to the bellasis at the South Gate, and from the 
Gannock to Lenne St. Peter beyond the haven. 

(5) THE LORD chancellor's INTERVENTION. 

But the letters patent of Henry V.— patent in that they were 
open to the perusal of all, in contradistinction with closed or private 
letters — did not pacify the people as was expected, because we find 
Bartholomew Petipas writing piteous letters to some of his friends 
and complaining bitterly of John Wentworth and " his adherents and 
assentaunts " for perversely opposing him in the discharge of his 
mayoral duties. He besought his friends to acquaint the Bishop 
with the deplorable state of affairs in Lenne, either verbally or by 
letter, and he earnestly implored them to solicit his influence in 
suppressing what would sooner or later result in a serious breach of 
the peace (1413). Receiving no redress, the writer repeated his 
complaint next year. 



THE REVOLT OF THE BURGESSES. 161 

In 1415-6 John Wakering, the Bishop of Norwich, was the 
recipient of a remarkable communication from " his own humblest 
tenants and devout bedesmen the Mayor and good men of his town 
of Lenne Bishopp: " — 

We (are) wryten to yow in our symple man'r, preying yow yt (that) Barth. 
Petipas, Will. Hallyate, Thomas Middleton taylor, Thomas Harrington gold- 
smyth, Thomas Monethe, Thomas Beckham, John Balders, Thomas Littleport, 
Thomas Hardell, John Blome, Rich. Baxter, Andrew Fourbe abide out of yo'r 
(your) towne of lenne unto the tyme of yo'r (in) stalling at Norwich, the whiche 
schalle not be longe be the grace' of God, — atte which tyme we schalle mete with 
yow & fulliche (fully) declare to yow all man'r of hevynesse ye which yay han 
(they have) wrought to us and yt to yo'r worschipfuU person disclose and 
fulliche in hye& in lowe, put it in gov'nance of yow and of yo'r counsayll and for 
truly sire sithen (since) ye tyme yat they wenten out of ye towne of Lenne, of 
which ye shun (shall) sone be lord of, be ye grace of God stode never in beter 
reste and pees than it hath done sithen that tyme and yet dothe atte this day, & 
be yo'r good governance, these persons above wretyn sett an syde, we tryste in 
God to have reste and pees for ever more in yo'r towne and in our persons 
ye shal fynd us as lowly tenants as any that (be)long to yow within yo'r 
lordshippes & wt (with) our bodyes and our goodes, be as lowly to yow 
worschipful and rev'rend fader in God, we preye ye holy trinite, keep yow body 
and soule and fullfiU your desires as ye can yo'r self devise. 

This interesting demonstration of servility was penned the 9th 
of March, just prior to the installing of Richard Courtenay's 
successor, which happened on the 31st of the same month. Some 
of the most aggressive burgesses had, it seems, been driven from the 
town. The social upheaval in the mean time quite precluded the 
possibility of electing a mayor in the usual way. Hence in this 
dilemma, the Lord Chancellor temporarily settled the matter by 
appointing Thomas Hunt to act in that capacity. The quarrelsome 
burgesses had sacrificed, for the time being, their right to elect a 
mayor. This, however, was exceptional, and is the only instance in 
the history of our burgh. 

The new bishop was not apparently disposed to interfere in the 
dispute, or, if he did, his action was useless ; hence Thomas Hunt 
wrote to John .Spencer, "the Viscount de Norfolk," the sheriff of 
the county, piteously describing "a rysing and a ryot" in the 
town. From his letter it appears that Thomas Felwell, a goldsmith, 
was the instigator of the disturbance, and that he was abetted by 
Thomas Hardell (of whom complaint had already been made in the 
letter to the bishop), and Thomas Enemethe. The writer refers 
moreover " to very many of the misdoers resorten and drawen again 
in counsailles to Bartholomew Petipas in sustenance of his partie." 
Possibly to induce the Sheriff to espouse the cause of the almost 
effete potentiores, he offered him a young he-bear as a present. It 
may therefore be premised that John Spencer was a sportsman, and 
not averse to the baiting of animals. 

PLEDGING "a SACRRD HONOUR." 

Henry V. resembled his father in that he ivas often in want of 
money. Before embarking 30,000 men to besiege Hnrfleur he did 
not hesitate to pawn the Crown jewels, for he was thfu in pecuniary 
Straits (1415)- Among other things he pledged a great garnished 

X 



162 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

circlet of gold — uniim magnum circulum garnisatum — for i,ooo 
marks; it weighed four pounds, was estimated to be worth ;£,8oo, 
and was richly inlaid (says Mason, quoting the Fcedera), with 56 
balas, rubies of a peach colour (Harrod 54 carbuncles), 40 sapphires, 
8 diamonds, and 7 great pearls (Harrod gives 47 — a slight difference). 
To the amount, which was wholly raised in Norfolk, our town 
contributed four-tenths. It has been stated that the King wore 
this coronet at the famous battle of Agincourt; which, however, 
must be wrong, because it was surrendered on the 14th of July, 
and the battle was not fought until the 26th of October. 



Mayor, Sheriff and community of Norwich 


500 marks 


/'333 


6 


8 


Mayor and community of Lenne 


400 „ 


£2b^ 


n 


4 


Master Nicholas Somerset* 


10 „ 


f,^ 


n 


4 


Master William Westacre of Lenne 


¥^£ 


£a° 








Master William Walton of Lenne 


io£ 


£20 










1,000 marks 


£bbb 


13 


4 



Neither of the Corporations was anxious to advance money on 
the security offered. The Mayor of Norwich interviewed Bishop 
Wakering, Sir John Erpingham, and John Wodehouse, the King's 
esquire in the city, but his efforts were ineffectual. On the 3rd 
March, St. Wynwald's Day, it was mentioned at the Congregation at 
Lenne, that one of their number, Thomas Brygge, was not yet 
returned from London, where he had, it seems, been sent to make 
inquiries about the "jewel." He arrived, however, the next 
Wednesday. A meeting was called, and after hearing his report, 
three of the jurats were chosen to visit the bishop and John 
Wodehouse, in order to explain that, by reason of their poverty, 
they were totally unable to raise the amount required. 

On Monday after Palm Sunday, 9th Henry V. (query 3rd 
Henry V.), the deputation reported that they went to the bishop, 
at his manor of Thorpe, next Norwich ; and, to be brief, no grace 
or help was to be got from him. He only said that " he wished 
them joy of such sufficient security for money," and they were 
silent; but John Wodehouse very honestly and wisely reasoned with 
the said reverend father, and declared the poverty of the town, 
but did not prevail ; and he pointed out that the money might be 
raised by chevancy,t to be made by the bishop's authority. This 
the bishop at once refused. And it was clear, that as to this circlet 
pledged to Norwich and Lenne, he would not interpose one way or 
another. Whereupon Thomas Brygge reported to the Hall that the 
circlet was safe locked up in Norwich; one key being at Lenne. 
(Harrod.) 

An indenture was therefore properly executed between Henry 
Chicheley, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and John Wakering, the 

* This surname i^ transcribed in various ways : Jeaffreson v/rites Somevat, Harrod ScoHSit, and Mason 
quoting Rymer, Scounjet. 

t Chevisimce, an asroeiripnt to borrow money ; Chrtnsauncev, a usurer, oftpo a great extortioner, 
Chaucer, in describing the merchant, says : — 

" With his bargeines and his citevisance, 
Fotsothe he was a worthy man withalle." 

Canterbury Tales, 



THE REVOLT OF THE BURGESSES. 163 

Keeper uf the King's Privy Seal, of the one part, and the several 
parties abo\e named ot the other part. Now in case the circlet were 
not redeemed by the King, his heirs, or his assigns, " within one 
year, half a year and a month from the day it was received in pawn," 
the creditors were empowered to sell the article, and thus recoup 
themselves, but the surplus, if indeed there were any, was to be 
refunded to the King or his representatives. 

After a lapse of twelve years the circlet was still held by the 

Corporation of Norwich on behalf of themselves and the other 

mortgagees, when the Lenne Congregation was called upon to consider 

a communication from their burgesses in Parliament. Regret was 

first expressed because the Friars Preachers had cunningly 

" contrived a certain malicious bill complaining to the King about 

the community in respect to divers transgressions"; the writers 

next asked whether on behalf of the town they might take ;£ioo 

for the money the town advanced in 141 5. What a stroke of bad 

business, to be fined as it were ;!^i66 13s. 4d. for impoverishing 

themselves to do their King a kindness ! As our members explained 

how impossible it was to get more, the Assembly felt at last 

constrained to accept the offer (17th November 1427). After a 

while John Wodehouse delivered into the Treasury the circlet 

pledged so many years since by Henry Chicheley, the Archbishop 

of Canterbury, and John Wakering. The money wa.s accordingly 

paid into the hands of John Wood (sic), whereupon Philip Frank, 

who must have been a frivolous member of that profound Assembly, 

stood up and sarcastically inquired whether the money should be 

received for the use of the community (i6th April 1428). 

Further, about this time a warrant was given to William 
Alnewick (who followed Bishop Wakering in 1426), the Keeper 
of the Jewels, to deliver the jewels to the lords, knights and others 
in the King's expedition, which opened with the siege of Orleans, 
" in pledge for the payment of a second quarter's wages." (Rymer.) 

Now the dates given in regard to this event are superlatively 
irritating. Compare the statements of three otherwise reliable 
writers a^ to when the loan was granted : 

1887. Mr. Jeaffreson (p. 159) gives 3rd Henry VI. (1425). 

1866. „ Harrod (pp. 105, 107) „ H-gth „ V. (1420-2I 
1884. „ Mason (p. 91) „ 3rd „ V, (1415). 

The late Mr. R. H. Mason, who worked independently of the 
transcripts made by Messrs. Jeaffreson and Harrod, appears to be 
correct, because the circlet was actually redeemed after fourteen 
years. These discrepancies are, notwithstanding, meritorious rather 
than unpardonable, because Mr. Jeaffreson himself sagaciously 
pointed out how erroneously our Assembly Book No. i is lettered 
at the back, and how it is but a collection of more or less imperfect 
year-books stitched together with insufficient care. (See nth Report 
Hist. MSS. Commission, part iii., pp. 158-9.) 

In this, as in sundry other matters, we are cruelly left to grope 
a way through the dark, guided at times by the tiniest ray of light. 
Those lazy brickmakcrs in Egypt complained liecause they could 



164 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

not make bricks without straw. What a lame excuse, when the 
acme in the plastic art is reached by the workman who produces 
his tale of bricks without clay! Surely this is on a par with 
moulding history without facts. What an alarming tendency there 
generally is for History to degenerate into Romance immediately 
the supply of facts decreases. To interpret correctly, and to read 
between the lines, especially when they are not only defective in 
themselves, but in some cases decades apart, would circumvent the 
ingenuity of the most accomplished historiographical clairvoyant. 
However, in all hazardous interpolations, our clues, microscopic 
though they be, shall be faithfully recorded, so that in after years, 
if any enthusiast would presumptuously sweep away our deliberate 
conclusions (remembering of course how we have carefully dis- 
criminated between fact and fiction), we shall not demur so long 
as the truth prevails. 

THE GAYWOOD OAK, 

At the installation of John Wakering, who succeeded Bishop 
Couftenay (1415-6), the chamberlains were instructed to send "the 
reverend father in God " four tuns of wine. This, ordered of 
William de Hereford, was forthwith despatched. Money was scarce 
in Lenne ; the inhabitants indeed were in no humour for parting 
with what they could so ill afford. How many applications the 
merchant made for payment is not apparent, but three years passed 
and the indebtedness remained. Then the clerk received an urgent 
request for the money — " lest the matter should reach the ear of 
the bishop." This the reader may paraphrase: "I have waited 
patiently long enough ; behold the last appeal I shall make ; if 
therefore you fail to pay me the money, I will let the bishop know 
the wine he received came from burgess Hereford and not from the 
community." To preserve the honour of the burgh, the merchant 
was undoubtedly paid (1419-20). 

Bishop Wakering was a remarkable man, not undeserving the 
homage of the town over which he presided ; he was a Master in 
Chancery, Master of the Rolls, and for eight days the Keeper of 
the Great Seal. He was, moreover, one of the English delegates 
at the Council of Constance, when " Europe saw for the first time 
three pontiffs contending for the chair of St. Peter." (Lingard.) 

In 1420 John Spicer was chosen mayor. The Saturday 
following the election the so-called "Bishop's man" was solemnly 
presented by William Paston, steward of the liberties of Lenne, to 
the bishop's deputy or steward at Gaywood.* According to custom, 
sacred promises of fealty to the bishop and the bishop's church 
were made under the oak, otherwise known as " the Oak of 
Gaywood." This venerable tree was used as a rendezvous for the 
Court of the Hundred of Freebridge in 156 1. It has disappeared, 
but as late as 1755 a gigantic oak was standing "at the entrance 
through the rampart on the north side of this (Gaywood) hall." 
(Norfolk Tour; 1795, p. 275.) Inside, for it was hollow, was a 

• The same year the Council received an Award from Bishop Wakering, which formally gave effect to 
his decision respecting the method of electing a Mayor (1420). 



THE REVOLT OF THE BURGESSES. 165 

table, around which eight or ten people might conveniently seat 
themselves. ^'^ 

AUGUST VISITORS. 

On the Monday before the nativity of the Blessed Virgin, 141 3, 
John Botiller waited upon the mayor, Bartholomew Petipas, and 
informed him that his master, Thomas Duke of Clarence, the 
King's brother, and the Duchess Margaret, the daughter of Thomas 
Holland, the Earl of Kent, with 300 horse, would arrive in time 
for supper, and that the distinguished visitors proposed taking up 
their residence at the monastery of the Augustine Friars. The 
Assembly, hastily summoned, promptly decided upon presenting the 
Duke with jQ^o, and his amiable wife with 20 marks, as a small 
token of the town's esteem. Possibly the duke and his suite were 
ferried across the river, because the community flocked on Tuesday 
morning to the Common Staith, where it was agreed that the 
members of the Corporation, attired in their red official gowns, 
should reassemble at 3 o'clock in the chapel of St. Nicholas, 
there and then to make their presentation. Despite the usual 
amount of vociferous contention among the members of the 
Congregation, the clerk felt constrained to add a rider to his entry, 
— that " every-one, after this, proceeded to his home in the patience 
of Christ." 

The duke was unfortunately slain at Beauge, in Anjou, whilst 
fighting against the troops of the Dauphin (22nd March 142 1). The 
King therefore thought it expedient to hasten into France; on his 
way Henry V. entered Lenne, and was also a guest at the Augustine 
Friary. Now, although the burgesses were smarting under the 
remembrance of how they had been forced into advancing money 
upon the King's golden trinket, they met their sovereign with a beatific 
smile. Their welcome was expressed in exaggerated phrases, and, as 
if this were not convincing, they implored his acceptance of over ^150, 
(for which read ^3,000,) as a slight mark of undying loyalty (9th April 
1421). 

LETTERS PATENT. 

1413, April loth. Exemplification of Letters patent, dated at Westminster 25th 

November 14 12 (Henry IV.). 

1414, May 20th, at Leicester. Inspeximus and confirmation of Letters patent, 

dated at Westminster i6th March 1410 (Henry IV.). 
1416, June 2nd, at Westminster. Exenipliiication of a certain instrument for 
the revocation of divers nev\' ordinances and the reestablishment of the 
ancient constitutions and customs for the election of oflicers, &c, 
(A governing charter.) 

* * « » * 

Henry V. married Catherine, the daughter of Charles VI. of 
France, but in the summer following her coronation he died in France 
during the war against the Dauphin (31st August 1422). His embalmed 
body, after feeing conveyed with much pomp to Paris and Rouen, was 
interred in Westminster Abbey, near the shrine of Edward the 
Confessor. 



• Hundred Courts were also held »t Flitcliam Burg (a tumulus) and at Fitton Oak, Wiggerdiall St. 
Germaus. 



166 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

CHAPTER XVI. 
The Hansa. 

The son of Henry V., an infant barely nine months old, was 
immediately proclaimed king (ist September 1422), whilst the 
government was vested in his uncles; Humphrey Plantagenet, the 
Duke of Gloucester, being appointed regent in England, and John 
Plantagenet, the Duke of Bedford, on the refusal of the Duke of 
Burgundy, regent in France. The demented monarch of that country 
only survived his son-in-law a few weeks, and on his death (21st 
October) Henry VI. was also proclaimed King of France. 

* -x- ■«■ -X- * 

During the Saxon dynasty, every able-bodied member of the 
community was expected to assist willingly in protecting property and 
preserving life; and this system continued, with slight modifications, 
until the establishment of a paid constabulary. Even now a peaceful 
citizen may be suddenly impressed to aid a policeman in the discharge 
of his duties. To maintain 

THE king's peace 

in the town wherein they dwelt, our forefathers assisted personally, 
and by paying subsidies they indirectly contributed to insure the 
King's supremacy, not only upon the high seas, but throughout the 
whole realm. In mediaeval times, if you — presuming, of course, that 
you are reasonably advanced in years — were waylaid by one or other 
of the bands of sturdy beggars who roamed about the country, or were 
violently assaulted when on your way to the gild, the market, or the 
church, by some sneaking cutpurse, there were then, you will remember, 
no civilian soldiers in blue uniform standing at the street corners to 
whom you could appeal for timely help. Nevertheless by means of 
a well -understood system peace generally prevailed, because by virtue 
of this mutual arrangement every able-bodied man in the burgh or 
hundred became for the nonce a member of a kind of reserve police 
force. Irrespective of social position, every man was bound to 
provide himself with arms according to his circumstances. No one 
with impunity might evade the law — neither the substantial freeholder 
nor the meanest son of the soil ; none were exempt save those under 
fifteen or above sixty years of age. Officers were instructed to call 
periodically upon every householder, when all weapons — the rude iron- 
clad stake of the tiller, the rough bill of the thatcher, as well as the 
sword and spear and richly-plated coat-of-mail of the wealthy 
merchant, were carefully inspected. 

Constables, too, were chosen in every town ; their duty being 
primarily to keep an accurate list of the various members of this 
important reserve force, and not to hale suspected persons to prison. 
Every man was bound to obey the constable when summoned to active 
service, or incur severe penalties. In case of a flagrant breach of the 
peace, the whole force would be put in motion; the " hue and cry " 
would be raised, and the criminal chased from place to place with a 



THE HANSA. 167 

dogged earnestness proportionate to the enormity of his offence. 
There was, then, as must be admitted, a simple yet effective 
organisation available for the preservation of peace. 

The nation at large was in a state of great unrest during the " Wars 
of the Roses," and our town, although it luckily escaped the ravages 
of battle, was in this respect no exception. Besides manifold 
anxieties of a domestic nature arising from the unrelenting contention 
for supremacy between the mayor and the bishop, and the poignant 
differences between the burgesses relating to the ascendancy in local 
government, there was the hourly dread that the burgh might have to 
participate in the war which was raging at no great distance. Surely 
these were causes sufficient to upset the serene gravity of any 
terrestrial city, however imi)erturbable it might usually be ! .As far 
greater precaution was thought necessary, the burgh was divided into 
nine wards or constabularies,* each being under the supervision of a 
captain or constable, — words then indeed synonymous, the captain of 
a vessel often being styled " the constable of the ship." 

(l) WATCH AND WARD. 

The respective constables were chosen by twelve, or in some cases 
by eight, comburgesses, and not by the whole Assembly ; the mayor, if 
needful, giving the casting vote. Before entering upon his onerous 
duties, the constable-elect was solemnly sworn " to maintain and sus- 
tain the king's peace." He pledged himself to see that the janitors 
faithfully secured the town gates at the right hour, and that the night- 
watch was regularly on parade as directed by the Statute of 
Winchester (1285). Any stranger demanding admission during the 
night was to be placed under arrest until the morning ; if the imprudent 
miscreant attempted to flee, the watchmen were instantly to levy " hue 
and cry," so that the fugutive might be taken and delivered to the 
shire- reeve. 

Nine so-called aldermen were also selected from the councillors, 
one of whom was to preside over each constabulary. They were 
empowered by the Assembly to decide controversies and disagreements 
of every kind, and by their own persuasive eloquence to induce the 
lamb to live with the wolf and cajole the kid and leopard into enjoying 
the same diet. Admitting the possibility, the Assembly notwith- 
standing acknowledged the thankless difficulty of the task, because it 
was slyly hinted that any person objecting to this coercive treatment 
would not be permitted to carry his grievance to either a spiritual or a 
temporal court without having first obtained a special licence from 
the mayor. If threatened by any serious insubordination, the alder- 
men might restore tranquillity by pointing to the campanile or bell- 
tower, built with the money freely given by their fathers (1432), from 
which an arousing alarm might at any moment be sounded, t 

* Thp niiiP »/d wards correspond with the nine constabularies. Although the "South Lenne ward" was 
subsrniiently added, Simon Baxter iuid others were chosen captain and constables of the Soktn. that is, of 
South Leniir, to defend the township from the South (iates to tlie Hundred House. (Henry VI.) 

An alderman presides over each of tlie three modern wards. 

t In an engraving, T/ic Weal Vva-ipcct nj Kini;'s I.ynii (lyv). "Sold by Howies iS: Son, Hlack-HnrsP in 
Comhil," two " towers" and a " turret " are represented south and one " tower" north of the Purflee t : they 
are denrjted by the letters I.M.Oaud P.and being other than ecclesiastical structures, they might have bcea 
tiected as bell towers. 



168 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Owing to inexcusable neglect, the Council determined to tine every 
captain the sum of 40s. whose ward was not in a state of thorough 
efficiency within seven days ; and every person who exhibited the 
slightest reluctance in obeying his captain was to pay 3s. 46. for each 
offence (1442). 

Battles between the Yorkist and Lancastrinn factions were fought 
at Barnard's heath, St. Albans {1455), Blore heath (1459), 
Northampton (1460), Wakefield (1460), and finally at St. Albans 
again (17th February 1461), where Queen Margaret defeated the 
Yorkists under Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick. She rescued 
her husband, it is true, but her success was the harbinger of his down- 
fall. Just five days prior to this the military organisation of our 
town was perfected. The Assembly appointed iwo captains to watch 
in every ward " for a certain time " (12th February 1461). 

(2) THE TWO BURGH CORONERS 

played a subsidiary, though no less important, part in sustaining the 
King's peace. Their election to office was similar to that of the 
constables, but it was needful for them to be formally certified by the 
King's bailiff, " or other honest men of the country." Having 
received a report that some one was unfortunately wounded or slain, 
the coroner must go at once to the place, and summon four, five or six 
persons from the same, or, if necessary, adjacent town-ships, to appear 
before him as witnesses. Then, after the jury had solemnly sworn 
to record a true verdict, he must inquire whether they knew where the 
person Avas killed, and whether it happened in a house or field, etc. 
If the person were merely wounded, the witnesses were detained until 
it was clearly established whether the injury was mortal or otherwise. 
" And if he die the defendant shall be kept. And if he recover 
health, they shall be attached by four, or five, or six pledges or sureties 
after, as the wound is great or small. If it be for a main, he shall 
find no less than four pledges ; if it be a small wound two pledges 
shall suffice. Also, all wounds ought to be viewed, the length, breadth 
and deepness, and with what weapons and in what part of the body 
the wound or hurt is, and how many wounds there be and who gave 
the wounds, all which things must be enrolled in the Placita CoToncs 
or the Rolls of the Coroner." (Statute, 4th Edward I.) 

It was, moreover, the Coroner's duty to make inquiries respecting 
treasure trove.* Concealment of treasure trove was a misdemeanour 
at common law, and it is still incumbent upon any one finding treasure 
to make it known to the Coroner at once. 

The only ancient documents of this class the town possesses are 
the Coroners' Rolls 30th to 33rd years of Edward I., and the Gaol 
Delivery Roll of the 33rd of Henry VI. 

OUR BYE-LAWS IN I424-5. 

A thin vellum quarto of 67 folios, in the keeping of the 
Corporation, contains much valuable information. It is made up of 

• "Treasure trove is where any gold or silver in coin, plate or bullion is found concealed in a house or 
in the earth or other private place, the owner tliereof being unknown, in which case the treasure belongs to 
the King or his grantee having the frEinchise of treasure trove." ChiW)' on the Prerogative (1820). This is 
substantially Coke's definition. 



THE HANS A. 169 

a calendar, various short extracts from the four Gospels, the oaths 
administered to the different members and olTicers of the burgh, a bst 
of the ordinances or bye-hiws, the lines or penaUies enforced for non- 
compliance with the same, and complete lists of the freemen of the 
town under each mayoralty from 1440 to 1662. On the fly-leaf is 
written : — 

Mem. This book, evidently the property of the Corporation of Lynn, 
having, by some unknown means, got into the hands of Mr. Thomas Martin (an 
antiquary of Norfolk and Suffolk) in or before the year 1748 ; and afterwards 
through other private hands into a London bookseller's catalogue (in which it 
was published for sale in the year 1820), was bought from that catalogue for £4, 
and restored to the Corporation records in my possession as Town Clerk. 

Rt. Whincop, Town Clerk. 
20th October 1820. 

The thirteen bye-laws are thus described : — " Ancient laws 
renewed and other new laws (made) by the Council of the town of 
Lenne in the time of John Parmonter, INIayor in the 2nd and 3rd years 
of the reign of Henry VI." (1424-5.) A free translation of the 
Latin headings may be acceptable, 

1. Mandate concerning the gift of holy bread (panis benedicii). 

2. Punishment of those who as prisoners are brought to the hall. 

3. Punishment for those who are sureties (mamicapiorcs) of 
those breaking the liberties of the town. 

4. Punishment of butchers selling meat other than in the 
market on the Sabbath. 

5. Punishment of the chamberlains or treasurers who absent 
themselves from the hall. 

6. Mandate to the judges concerning the registration of the fines 
paid by those taking oaths. 

7. Punishment for butchers slaughtering animals in the King's 
highway {via\ rcgia). 

8. Punishment of irreconcilable burgesses, not having the 
mayor's licence. 

9. Mandate respecting the enrolling and admission of appren- 
tices (to the freedom of the town). 

10. Punishment for not being present at John Burghard's obit, 
and the order in which the twenty-four jurats are to sit, during the 
principal (feast) days, in the chancel of St. Margaret's church. 

11. Punishment for those who are ordered to behave themselves 
in the hall, but who disobey. 

12. Penalty for favouring a person contrary to the liberties of 
the subject. 

13. Punishment of the chamberlains who refuse to carry out 
the mayor's t)rders. 

It is surprising that these bye-laws contain no regulations 
respecting the sanitary condition of the town, the paving and lighting 
of its streets, the maintenance of the jwor, nor the repair of the 
l)ridges, staiths and public buildings. Commerce is wholly unnoticed, 
and the crafts and mysteries, with one solitary exception, are severely 

Y 



170 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

ignored. Butchers, it will be observed, were not allowed to slaughter 
animals from Easter to Michaelmas, in the principal thoroughfare or 
the King's highway ; neither were they to sell their meat on Sundays, 
except in the market, under pain of forfeiting their freedom. 
Punishment was to be meted out to those burgesses who refused to 
submit to the ward-aldermen and failed to obtain the mayor's per- 
mission to bring their grievance before a higher tribunal. The first 
and tenth of these bye-laws, however, deserve more than a passing 
reference. 

(l) HOLY BREAD. 

Our Corporation at this period were responsible, not only for the 
salaries of the clergy, but also for the efficient celebration of divine 
service ; hence there is provision for the equitable assessment of every 
householder for providing a weekly supply of holy bread, which was 
given away to the congregations at the Lenne churches. Referring 
to the Holy Loaf (pafiis hcnedictiis), Dr. Daniel Rock writes : — 

As soon as mass had been ended, a loaf of bread was blessed, and then, 
with a knife very likely set apart for the purpose, distributed among the people 
who went up and received it from the priest, whose hand they kissed. This 
holy loaf or eulogia was meant to be an emblem of brotherly love and union 
which ought always to bind Christians together, and its use lasted in England 
up to the woeful change of religion, and still continues to be kept up in France 
as well as the Greek church. The wafer was wholly different from the eulogia. 
[The Church of our Fathers, Vol. 1., p. 135.] 

An entry on one of the misplaced leaves of the Assembly-book, 
No. I, confirms what appears in the vellum manuscript. From a 
memorandum headed Forma Donacionis Panis Benedicti, a mandate 
concerning the gift of holy bread, we learn that at a Congregation held 
the 6th of October 1428, it was decided that all tenements which were 
leased to farm for 20s. or more a year, and were inhabited, should 
give penam hcnedictum ctnn candela cerea, " holy bread and wax 
candles," even though the tenement in question were intersected by the 
King's highway.* But if the chief tenement consisted of several 
distinct tenements under one roof, then the principal should make 
the necessary contribution ; otherwise the tenements annexed to the 
value of 20s. amongst themselves, so that each of them, if of the 
yearly rental of 6s. 8d., should give holy bread amongst themselves 
according to the rate of their farm. And if there were three tenements 
lying together, the occupiers should give pa?iem henedicUim in propor- 
tion to their rent. But if any refuse to contribute as directed by the 
bye-law, the common sergeant-at-mace or other officer, at the mandate 
of the mayor or his lieutenant for the time being, shall enter the tene- 
ment and levy distress upon all the goods and chattels, and shall bring 
the things so taken in distress to the Gild Hall, there to remain until 
the person or persons who refuse to give bread shall make satisfaction 
or pay 20s. sterling to the use of the community for the offence 
committed. These fines were to be strictly reserved for the purchase 
of holy bread. 

• Compare Norfolk A nhceology (1864), Vol. VI., p. 231, with 11 th Report, Hist. MSS. Com. (1887), par 
iii., p. i6i. 



THE HAIVSA. 171 

The following minute appears 120 years afterwards in the 
Assembly-book, No. 5 : — 

Friday, in the Vigil of Saints Peter and Paul, 3rd Edward VI. This day 
it is agreed and establyshed by Mr. Mayor, aldermen and cotnen counsaill that 
Mr. Mayor on Sundaie ncxtcomyng shall in recompens of the wyne and brcade 
for the communyon and for the offering, offer and give unto the curat of the 
church of St. Margaret viij d. for all iij churches, and that every inhabitaunt of 
this town oon (one) after an othr every Sondaye shall doo likewise as the turn 
shall come about in manner and forme as heretofore the Holy Breade Loffe hath 
ben yeven, provided allway that yf the hows (house) wherein such inhabitaunt 
dolh inhabit and dwell be not of the value of xx s, yerely or so leaten that then 
ij or iij of the next shalbe joyned unto hym and to paie porcion lyke towardes 
the charges of the communyon and offering aforesaid (1550). 

The sacramental bread, possibly marked as our Good Friday 
kot cross(ed) buns,* and the wine were at one time provided in a 
similar way. 

(2) burghard's obit. 

The tenth ordinance directs the townsfolk to accompany the 
Mayor and Corporation to the church of St. Margaret upon the Feast 
of the Assumption of the Virgin, 15th of August, in order to pray for 
the repose of the souls of John Burghard, of Alice his wife, and of 
Margaret his daughter. 

Burghard was a successful merchant, who amassed considerable 
property in Lenne ; besides filling many minor offices, he was mayor 
in 1326 and again in 1331. jNIargaret inherited the estate at her 
father's decease (1379); she, however, granted it to the town 
conditionally, and appointed her husband, Thomas de Kenynghale, 
and three influential neighbours, namely, Thomas Drew (mayor in 
1362 and 1368), Geoffrey Tolbooth and Walter de Walsoken, as her 
executors. They at once entered into a covenant with Thomas 
Bolekesham (chamberlain in 1345-5) and fifteen other trustworthy 
persons, who represented the community, concerning John Burghard's 
estate, which is described in one document as consisting of " fourteen 
and a half messuages." In this indenture it is, however, thus set 
forth : — 

A messuage and four shops in Stonga1e,one opposite St. Margaret's Church 
next Folkard's, three on the west side of Briggate (High Street), five in Mor 
Lane, one tenement in Grass Market, one in Damgate (Norfolk Street) at corner 
of Pakker's Lane, twenty shops in Pakker's Lane, two messuages in Webster Row 
(Broad Street), two next Purfleet and one in Burghard's Lane.f 

There was besides an annual income of 53s. 4d. arising from the 
rents of tenements in Stonegate, Skinners' Row (St. James Street), 

• Our "Hot cross buns" were at first made of the dough kneaded for the host, and were marked 
aiTordinj^ly. Good Friday buns are said to keep for 12 nionths witliout turnin;^ mouldy, and some persons 
btill hang up a bun in their houses as a charm against evil. lu the Roman belief the host is supposed to be 
divine, and therefore imperishable. 

The cross, however, is not exclusivciv a Christian symbol, nor did it originate at the crucifixion of 
Christ. Two crossed buns were found at tlerculancuni, similarly marked cakes appear in Grecian sculp- 
tures, and the same sacred device was employed by the ancient Egyiitians. 

t Burghard's Lane, otherwise I'iiicham Street, was in the New Conduit ward, and corresponded with 
the present New Conduit Street (i,s8q). On the north side there was the " mansionhousr " (sut)sec|uently a 
house belonging to the late Mr. William Seppings) of Jeffrey liurgliard or Hurchard. who married .Mice the 
daughter of Matthew nerlew\n, to whom aii rued the miumr of I'iiuhnm'i in West Winch; hence Kincham 
Street. 

New Comiuit was an appellation which referred to the conduit carried over the Stone bridge in High 
Street to the east side of St. Margaret's Church (i j8i). 



172 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Briggate (north part of High Street), Purfleet, Mercers' Row (south 
part of High Street), Rotten Row, and Damgate. 

In the reign of Richard II., the Corporation agreed to the pro- 
posed terms ; they accepted the property for the community, and 
entered into a covenant to pay John Burghard's son-in-law ^13 
6s. 8d. as an annuity, besides ^10, the yearly stipend of two charnel 
priests, who were to olificiate in the chancel of St. Margaret at 
Burghard's obit or " anniversary day " of his death (1379)- 

To shew their appreciation, the inhabitants were expected to l)e 
present at the service. Associated with this bye-law is a strangely 
digressive clause which insists upon the attendance of the whole 
Corporation at church on feast days generally. Special permission 
was accorded the Mayor and Jurats — twenty-four only — to sit in the 
chancel (1424-5). 

STRANGERS AND SOJOURNERS. 

Several attempts from time to time were made to induce the 
foreigners living in Lenne, by becoming citizens, to pay their propor- 
tion of what was really a " borough rate." On the ist of April 1430, 
eight persons appeared before the Assembly, seven of whom were 
forced to contribute towards the town's expenditure; the eighth, being 
leprous, was given a fortnight in which to quit the burgh, under a 
severe penalty of forty shillings. The defaulters, respectable trades- 
men, included a beer-brewer, a hardwareman, a cloth-scourer, and 
two cordwainers, one of whom paid a fine of los., whilst the other, 
luckily " having a wife of great stature," escaped with paying one- 
sixth. Every alien householder in 1439 was called upon to pay 16 
pence, and every alien who was not a householder 6 pence. This was 
a national tax, and the money thus raised was spent in carrying on the 
war in France. 

From the decrease in the number of those fined, it is clear that the 
alien population were beginning to throw in their lot with their 
neighbours the burgesses. When the list of strangers was compiled 
for the county during the 15th century, the following are given as 
dwelling in Lenne : — Reginaldus Kascolm, Nicholas Symondson, 
Simon Johnson, Henricus Godfrey, A. Roberdson, Thomas Herrison, 
VVillielmus van Flotelyn ; and in South Lenne, Henricus van Stater. 
In 155 1, nineteen strangers appear on the Burgess Roll, 13 of whom 
were Dutch, 3 P'rench, i Flemish, and 2 Scotch. 

MERCANTILE COOPERATION. 

The Hansa, or Hanseatic League, a celebrated trade alliance, 
derives its name from the old German word /lanse, which signifies an 
association for mutual support. Hamburg, Liibeck and Bremen were, 
in the Middle Ages, vast depositories for the manufactures of Germany 
and Italy, from whence the northern countries of Europe drew 
supplies in exchange for their own raw products. The enormous 
wealth amassed in course of time by this cooperative confederacy 
excited the envy and rapacity of kings and princes and nobles, who 
tried to ruin their trade by augmenting the tolls, and devising other 
unnecessary exactions. Besides pecuniary obstacles, the merchants 



THE HANSk. 173 

were beset by scores of cut-throat adventurers who continually roamed 
the seas ; hence they wisely determined to maintain ships and soldiers 
expressly to protect themselves in carrying out tlie commercial enter- 
prises in which they were engaged (1241). A century later as many 
as eighty-five European towns were enrolled as members of the 
association, which became so powerful an organisation that their 
armament defeated the kings of Norway and Denmark (1348); it 
deposed Magnus, king of Sweden, whose crown was handed to a 
promising nephew; it equipped 40 ships and 12,000 troops, exclusive 
of seamen, during the war against Eric IX. of Denmark; and before 
the close of the same century it compelled our own sovereign, Edward 
IV., to restore all the property he had injudiciously attempted to with- 
hold from them. 

Nowhere was the Hanseatic power so great as in England. Of none of its 
connections do we possess more ample records. . . England was one of the 
first depots of " the common German merchants" long before these combined 
under the generic name of Hanseatic. Erom early days the EngHsh Kings fiad 
protected these rich foreigners, who helped them out of many a pecuniary 
difficulty. Indeed they accorded them such privileges and monopolies as could 
not fail to rouse the jealousy of their own people. . . . Edward I. and his 
followers extended these prerogatives, for the Plantagenets fc>und the Hanseatic 
Rothschilds even more useful in aiding their war schemes than the skilful 
alchymists whom they had summoned to their court, and who knew how to 
shape the rose noble (the money of the period), out of artificial gold. Then, 
too, the Hanseatics were considerable creditors, who did not press undul\', and 
even overlooked a debt if some favour were extended in default of payment. 
yihe Haiisa Towns, by Helen Zimmern, 1891, pp. 179, 181.] 

As a mercantile centre the importance of Bishop's Lenne was 
early appreciated by observant merchants, for a considerable trade 
was established between Lenne and certain ports in Norway at a 
remote period. Rightly has our own town been styled 

(l) THE KEY OF NORFOLK, 

because the county could only be entered on the west by the road 
leading through Lenne, which was unquestionably the outlet for the 
produce of the surrounding district, comprising seven counties. 
Here was held the largest cattle fair in the kingdom, yet this luxuriant 
grazing area could not produce sufficient sheep ; hence they were driven 
hither from the moors of Yorkshire, the highlands of Scotland, and 
the verdant slopes of the Pennine and Cheviot ranges. Enormous 
quantities of wool, fells, hides, etc., were sent from Lenne every year, 
and many other remunerative enterprises were conducted with Gascony 
(south-west France), the Rhine provinces, Zeeland (Holland), Ger- 
many, North Berne (Bergen in Norway), Prussia, Dacia (Denmark), 
and the various Hanse ports. 

As early as 127 1 the German merchants had some sort of a local 
organisation here, under their Alderman Symon, a citizen of Lenne, 
of whom we are told that he gave a pledge to the amount of ;^2oo on 
behalf of some Liibeck merchants (Cunningham). A Latin letter 
written by Bartholomew, the Norwegian chnnrellor, and addressed to 
our mayor, respecting Tlunklll and other traders, proves that at Bergen 
an immigrant colony of Lenne merchants had already settled. In 



174 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

1284 the King of Norway applied to Edward I. for a renewal of the 
alliance between the merchants of the two nations ; he nevertheless 
bemoaned the injuries and losses sustained by his traders through the 
bailiffs of certain English ports, especially from those of Lenne. 
(Rymer.) 

Our merchants were apparently great in their own estimation, 
and wherever they went unpleasantness was sure to accompany them. 
In 1389 there were immense differences between the English and the 
Prussian traders. To appease these growing contentions a commercial 
embassy, headed by the Lord of Prucia (Prussia), visited Lenne. Now 
it was arranged that the lord and his suite should be graciously enter- 
tained. Sweet are the uses of diplomacy ; to soothe the ruffled 
feelings of the foreigners what could be better than for them to dine 
with the holy father in God, brave bishop Spencer, to sit cheek-by- 
jowl with our most honourable mayor, Roger Paxman, of Lathe 
Street, and to have an agreeable tcte-a-Ute with the magnates of so 
royal a burgh. What could better tend to ameliorate any vindictive 
feeling his lordship might cherish against our thoughtless, seafaring 
townsmen ! Elaborate preparations were therefore begun ; an 
ecclesiastical cook and other of the bishop's servants came from 
Norwich to superintend the repast ; but alas ! as gods deign not to 
feast with mortals, even so my lord of Prussia turned his back disdain- 
fully upon the sumptuous tables steaming in the Gild Hall, and 
hastily set out for London just as the town orchestra, augmented by 
professional musicians from distant places, began to outpour a most 
symphonious overture. What marvellous instrumentation ! The 
plaintive murmur of the melodious vielle, the moaning drone of the 
guttural bagpipe, the shrill phrasing of the talkative clarion, and the 
throbbing cadence of the emphatic guitar, besides harp, and sackbut, 
and psaltery, and all other kinds of music, each contributed to 
enhance the volume of that sensuous, seducing prelude ; but the voice 
of the charmers, though charming never before so harmoniously, 
could not induce his lordship to prolong his stay. How terrible the 
disappointment ! But the bishop and the mayor exchanged signi- 
ficant glances; the sympathising guests who were present vigorously 
attacked the tempting viands, and the feast was consummated, Avith- 
out perambulating the highways and hedges. Truly was it a season 
of exceptional jollification after all, for 40s. is charged for a pipe of 
Gascon wine, iis. 8d. for a series of mysterious culinary operations, 
and 1 8s. 4d. for ten quarters of oats — not for the guests, but for his 
lordship's hungry horses. 

(2) HOME-RULE ABROAD. 

The English merchants staying in parts of Norway, Sweden, 
Dacia and the Hanse towns were advised by letters patent of the 6th 
of June 1404 to meet together at some convenient place in order to 
select governors and to concoct ordinances for their self-government 
in mercantile affairs, and for the better execution of their important 
projects the governors were invested with power to punish any E:nglish 
seamen disobeying the merchants' laws. The document, which is 



THE HANSA. 175 

among those relating to our burgh, was probably addressed to the 
mayor. Henry V., moreover, granted a warrant for the election of 
an alderman or consul for Denmark and Norway (141 7), because 
Iceland as well as Norway became subject to Denmark (1380). 
Mackerell gives a copy of the King's warrant, addressed to the Lenne 
traders. There is evidence that it is not original, but the confirmation 
of an earlier one. 

Ye have an ancient custom [it reads] to have an alderman cliosen by 
election among you to be the ruler or governor of your company in the said 
countries and to see good rules and order kept among you there, which we woll 
(will) be content to help and see to be hnlden for the increasing and augmenta- 
tion of the commonweal and prosperity of you and all other of our true subjects. 

These measures, though well devised, did not allay the friction 
between the Lenne traders and their rivals of the Hanse. Hence 
Henry VI. addressed himself tO' the pro-consuls, consuls, judges, 
etc., of Eric XIII. the King of Norway, Sweden and Dacia (Eric 
IX. of Denmark), respecting the sad disagreements between the 
traders "who were using mercatorially the parts of North Berne" 
(13th December 1424). Four years later he confirmed the letters 
patent issued by his father, but his action was ineffectual (20th June 
1428. Negotiations to pacify the contentious merchants were again 
set on foot, when the Assembly selected John Salus to accompany 
the King's ambassador and John Muriell, who were to interview the 
King of Scandinavia (1431). An embassy was afterwards 
desi)atched to Bruges (Flanders) to remonstrate because of the 
grievances, damages and other harms the men of Lenne had suffered 
at the hands of the Dutch Hanse. On this occasion the mayor, 
Thomas Burgh, was unanimously chosen to represent the town ; he 
was to be accompanied by " two proctours " — Walter Curson, clerk 
to the mayoralty, and John Bampton, clerk of the commonalty, who 
respectively guarded the interests of the potentiores and inferiores. 
The expenses of the delegates, who were to demand restitution and 
reformation of " Master Pruce " (query — the Lord of Prussia), were 
to be levied upon the Lenne merchants (1435). 

(3) THE STEELYARD AT LENNE. 

In 1469 the English quarrelled with the German traders in 
London, summoned them before the courts, and imposed a fine of 
^13,520, while members of the steelyard were thrown into prison 
and the Corporation was nearly broken up. The answer of Bremen, 
Hamburg and Danzig, was given in a fleet which gathered against 
England undt>r the leadership of Charles the Bold. But just at this 
moment came the English revolution by which Edward IV. was 
driven out of the country, and all the great trading bodies, the 
Hanseatic League and the Flemish and Dutch Corporations, seeing 
the danger which threatened their commerce from the new political 
situation, cast aside all minor quarrels and united to set Edward 
again on the throne. Such a service demanded a great reward, and 
in 1474 a treaty was signed at Utrecht by which the Hanse was given 
back all its earlier privileges, and secured in possession of its Gild 



176 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Hall and steel) anJ in London and its houses in Boston and Letine. 
(Mrs. A. S. Green.) 

There was, in this solemn treaty, one condition which affected 
our port. It was agreed that the steelyard in London, to its utmost 
extent, should be confirmed to the German merchants, and not only 
the one at London, but that at Boston also ; and moreover, it was 
decided that a similar house should be provided near the water-side 
for their accommodation at Lenne (1474). Harrod says the letters 
patent of 1428 permitted the erection of a warehouse or steelyard at 
Lenne; It seems therefore that their house and yard were merely 
restored in 1474. 

A steelyard was not necessarily a balance with a steel arm, but a 
weighing machine, so-called from the one previously used in the 
factory or si/ll-y ard in London; hence the expression " the merchants 
of the Hanse or still-yards " (State Papers). The premises 
belonging to these foreign traders in Lenne may be found by dividing 
the square plot between College Lane and St. INLargaret's Lane into 
two almost equal parts by an imaginary line running east and west : 
Thomas Thoresby's two houses with their staiths, etc., occupied the 
northern half, whilst the Steelyard — a quadrangle with warehouses 
and staith facing the river, embraced the other half. Probably the 
two premises were separated by a narrow thoroughfare called Leaden- 
hall, which extended between the church and the foreshore. From 
the churchwardens' accounts we learn that 60 yards of " the street 
of the church sid (side) agaynst the stylyerd " were mended at a cost 
of three-halfpence a yard (1591). 

There were at this time similar factories at London, York, Hull, 
Bristol, Ipswich, Norwich, Yarmouth and Boston. 

(4) A LIST OF IMPORTS 

may be culled from a 14th century poem, The Libel of English 

Policie (1346). 

Prussia (Prucia or Spruce), " High Duchman and Estcrlings " — beer, bacon, 

osmonde (refuse from Swedish pig-iron), copper, bow-staves, steel, wax, 

pewter ware, greys (grys, badger skins), pitch, tar, boards, flex, Coleyne 

threde, fustian, canvas, carde (the head of the teazel, used in carding), boke- 

ram, silver plate, wedges of silver, metal, &c. 
Spain. — Figs, raisins, wine (" bastard"), licorice, Seville oil, grain, white Castelle 

soap, wax, iron, wadmall (coarse cloth), goat and kid fells, siffron and quick 

silver. 
Portugal. — Wine, oil, osey (vin d' ^ assay, a sweet French winej, wax, grain, figs, 

raisins, honey, cordewain (Cordovan, i.e., goat-skin leather), dates, salt and 

fish. 
Genoa, the ''Januays" or Genoese. — Cloth of gold, silk, black pepprr, wood 

("grete plente "), wool, oil, wood ashes, coton,* roche alum, gold of 

Jene, &c. 
Venice, Venetians and Florentines.— Sweet wines, spicery, grocery ware, drugs, as 

scammony, spurge (" euforbe "), rhubarb, senna and correctives, monkeys 

and nicknacks. 



* Professor Rogers, in his Hislory of AgrictiUure and Prices, mentions the sale of three-quarters 
of a pound of cotton, then worth i/ per lb., as early as 1303. The same year a merchant, Nicholas 
de Dees, brought to Lenne 4 bales of cotton, i bale of cotton-thread, 2 bales of sugar in bags, 2 bales 
of verdigris, i bale of Talingfer cinnamon and other spices, i bag of tartar (?), 12 lb. of silk and 5 
barrels of vinegar. The value of the cargo was estimated at £1000. The cotton thread (fD/nM)i fihic) 
was used for candle-wicks. 



THE HANS A. 177 

Flanders. — Fine cloth of Ipre, " that named is better than oure is," cloth of 

Cur try ke of all colours (made of English and Spanish wool), ffustayne and 

linen cloth. 
Brabant, Zeeland and Hainault. — Dyes, as madder and woad,* garlicks, onions 

and salt- fish. 
Ireland (Irelonde). — Irish woollen, linen cloth, fish, as salmon, hake and herring, 

skins and hides, as those of the hart, otter, squirrell, hare, sheep, fox, kid 

and rabbit. 
Iceland (Yselonde). — Stock fish. 
Brittany, or Little Britain.— Wme, salt, canvas and creste cloth (fine linen). 

Referring to the traders of Brittany, the anonymous poet above 
referred to exclaims : — 

They are the grettest rovers and the grettest thevys, 
That have bene in the see many oone yere . . . 
In Northfolke coostcs and othere places aboutte 
And robbed and brente and slayne by many a routte. 

THE IMPERIAL REVENUE. 

The old assessment, fixed as far back as 1334, continued in force, 
but it became intolerably burdensome owing to the deplorable state 
into which the country had drifted (1449). The parliament, however, 
did not institute a reassessment, but, fully aware of the general de- 
pression, allowed certain deductions to be made upon the old list. 
The revenue amounted to rather more than ;^38,ooo, and upon this 
a proportionate deduction of ^6,000 was permitted. Norfolk ranked 
in wealth as the second county in the kingdom in 1341, and as third 
in 1435. It contributed in 1449 ^3,486 14s. 6d., or about one- 
eleventh of of the entire amount, hence the county was entitled to an 
abatement of one-eleventh of the ;^6.ooo, or say about ;^545- The 
sum — ;!^543 I2S. 4fd., actually granted, was split up, and deductions 
according to the prosperity of the burghs or townships were allowed. 
Yarmouth was permitted to go scot free, whilst abatements of ten- 
seventieths and seven-seventieths were granted respectively to Nor- 
wich and Lenne. Hence, whilst Lenne was increasing in wealth and 
prosperity, Yarmouth, " an impoverished town," was degenerating 
at a rapid rate. No further alteration of the tax was made ; it was 
finally discontinued in 1623. 

ROYAL VISITS. 

Henry VI. was no personal stranger. He was in Lenne the 
second week in Lent, 1434, when special preparations Avere made for 
his entertiiinment. The mayor's motion on this occasion, " that an 
order should be taken for ^100. and that those who had been chosen 
to assess ^30 should assess ^100. the ^30 being omitted," was 
adopted. Again, " this devout King, in the course of the solemn 
pilgrimage he made to the most holy places, received into his favour 



• Woad or wad, used in dyeing, has been superseded by indigo. Fourpencc was charged upon 
every ton, and "frayel" (frail, a rush basket; O. Krendi jra'wl^ of wad imported, two pence upon 
half a "travel" and thus in proportion, l.ts cit^lunn de la Talbotli de Lenne (i:!34). 

The Trinitv Gild moreover charged a toll called "key-age'' (quay-age) "for every pipe of wad 
lying there (upon the quav) beyond a dav, one penny and do more for a week" (1343). 

Read the following articles bv Mr. Charles U. Plowright, M.D. :— "On the Arclixology of Woad ; 
"On Woail as a Prehistoric Pigment." Journal oj Royal Hort. Society, Vol. XXVI., parts i and 2, 
pp. 33-40: and "Woad as a Blue Dye, with an Accouut of its Bibliography" O'lans. Norfolk and 
Norwich Naluraliats Hociely. Vol. \'1I., jip- 138-146). 

z 



178 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

the place of the Hermit Friars of St. Augustine in the town of 
Lenne." (Capgrave.) It was on this visit that he directed the issue 
of a grant to the prioress and nuns of Crabhouse, near Wiggenhall 
St. Mary Magdalen, and directed that the mayor's sword should be 
borne before him (ist August 1446). The next year he was at 
Norwich on the 29th of August. In 1449 Henry was entertained by 
Bishop Lyhert at the episcopal palace in Norwich, when he perhaps 
came to Lynn. The Queen, Margaret of Anjou, was at Norwich 
(1453), and in North Walsham (1455). 

LETTERS PATENT, 
(a). Tu the Community : — 
1423, July 3rd, at Westminster, " by consent of Parliament." Inspeximiis and 
confirmation of letters patent dated at Leicester 20th May 1414 
(Henry V.). 
1427-8, Let ers patent granting the town a Steel-yard. 

1441, December ist, at Westminster. Inspeximus and confirmation of letters 
patent dated at Leicester 20th May 1414 (Henry V.). It cost 8 marks, 
two shillings and fourpence. 
(b). To the Gild of the Holy Trinity : — 

1423, July i2th, at Westminster. Pardon and release to the alderman (William 

Trewe), the brethren and tlieir predecessors. 

1441, February 14th, at Westminster. Inspeximus and confirmation of letters 
patent dated at Beverley 3rd September 1392 (Richard II.). 

1448, February ist, at Westminster. Licence granted to Marmaduke Lumley, 
Bishop of Carlisle, Sir Thomas Scales (knight) and Imaine his wife, to 
empower William Goderede to give and assign " Scales' mylle," — also 
to Master Adam Gerard (clerk) and Henry Wryght (chaplain) to give 
and assign two messuages and six acres of land in South Lenne to the 
Gild. 

1456, January 29lh, at Westminster. Pardon and release again granted to the 
aldirman and brethren. 
(c). To the Hanse Merchants : — 

1424, December 13th, at Westminster. Exemplification of certain Privy Seal 

le;ters addressed to all the Proconsuls, &c., of Eric Xlll., "King of 
D >cia, Norwegia and Swecia," for the settlement of all discord. 
1428, June 20th, at Westminster. Inspeximus and confirmation of letters patent 
the 6th June 1404 (Henry IV.), endowing the English merchants staying 
in Prussia, Norway, &c., with self-government. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

The Bishop and the Sword. 

Perplexing difficulties generally beset those lords and bishops who 
as feudal patrons were responsible for the king's peace within the 
burghs in their respective manors. As time advanced, the inhabitants 
of important towns like Lenne openly expressed their willingness to 
accept these cares by taking the reins of municipal government into 
their own hands. In many cases they were anxious even to pay for 
what they once begged and paid their superiors to befriend them in 
taking. The Bishop of Norwich, as lord of a large ecclesiastical 
manor, was, though weary and ill at ease, in no wise desirous of being 
relieved of his worldly burden. His stubborn conduct- was peculiarly 
annoying, because long ere the struggle for democratic government 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 179 

began, every town with any pretensions to greatness on the royal 
demesne had been freely granted the self-same privileges the lord 
of the manor persisted in withholding from the burgesses of one of 
the most prosperous towns in the kingdom. 

ANTAGONISTIC INFLUENCES. 

If the respective powers of the mayor and the bishop be 
examined, it becomes indisputably patent that the mayor of the 
bishop's town was an automatic foufcc, whose movements were skil- 
fully manipulated by his reverence behind the scene. The mayor was 
therefore irresponsible, you suggest. By no means ; his duties might 
be nominal, but his responsibility to a higher power was terribly real, 
because he was supposed to administer statutory law impartially. 
Moreover, on the one side there was a powerful baron, the lord of 
Rising ; on the other, a no less powerful prelate, the bishop of the 
diocese — who, like rival tradesmen, were both selfishly interested in 
the commercial prosperity of the town. Besides, there was another 
social factor, an ever restless democracy, the avowed enemies of the 
" upper classes." 

If not the actual nominee of the bishop, our mayor was unques- 
tionably in what would now be regarded as a servile condition, in that 
he was' compelled to obtain an episcopal ratification before entering 
upon his lease of office, which might be terminated at any moment 
should he fail to render respectful homage to the lord of the manor. 
The mayor was almost a nonentity — a figure-head and nothing more ! 
The bishop presided not only at the Hall Court, but also 
at the Court Leet ; he usurped also the view of frankpledge, 
that is, the right to scrutinize the feudal pledges tendered by the 
inhabitants of the town, by which they became answerable for the 
good conduct of others. The custody of the burgh was another 
ecclesiastical, or more correctly, manorial adjunct ; hence the mayor 
had nothing whatever to do with the town defences, except on rare 
occasions and by special mandate from the king ; neither had he 
power even to close the town gates without permission from the 
bishop. 

To lighten the burden of tallages, the mayor tried to compel the 
strangers in Lenne to take up the franchise, as was the custom in other 
places, because, sharing in the advantages derived from living in a 
free burgh, they ought, as he reasoned, to contribute towards the 
municipal expenditure. The bishop, however, insisted upon the 
withdrawal of the mayoral decree ; hence those refusing to accept the 
claims and duties inseparable from true citizenship — an absolute 
condition of settletncnt in Noncich—co\x\d shirk these responsibilities 
by coming to Lenne. Having a lucrative interest in the Tolbooth, 
the bishop was supremely anxious to increase the trade of the port, 
and to do this he encouraged the immigration of wealthy strangers 
by providing a town where they would be excused paying a " borough 
rate." 

There were sundry other piercing quills in the mayor's " downy 
bed of ease," to which we must briefly refer. The baron of Rising, 



180 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

defying alike the lord of the manor and the mayor of the town, estab- 
lished a court of his own, and dispensed justice, the quantity of which 
greatly exceeded the quality. Then, too, the people, oppressed 
beyond endurance, by the governing body, were so short-sighted as 
to seek protection f/om the prelate. At the time of the peasants' 
insunection the lower secular clergy unwisely joined the movement, 
and went about the country declaiming against the tyranny of 
artificial distinctions and the aggrandisement of the rich. Without in 
the least intending, the followers of Wycliffe, by their revolt against 
authority, encouraged the general spirit of lawlessness ; the successive 
steps of which may be traced in the struggle by which our borough, 
AS others were doing, fought its way to self-government and indepen- 
dence. ' ' The question which lay behind all minor struggles was that 
of the administration of justice in the town, — the question whether 
it was the mayor or an ecclesiastical officer who should preside in the 
courts, and whether their profits, fines and forfeitures should go to 
enrich the treasury of the bishop or of the municipality." (Mrs. 
A. S. Green.) 

' MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. 

History, like a skilled teacher, owns to the excusable knack of 
slyly repeating itself. To this infirmity of old age there ought to be 
no objection, because, on the authority of Francis Bacon, histories 
make men wise. Now it will be easily remembered how strongly 
Bishop Spencer objected to a simple wand being carried before the 
mayor (1376). Then the town paid heavily for an exhibition of dis- 
respectful temerity, yet were our forefathers stubborn in adhering to 
what they considered right ; instead, therefore, of foregoing so repre- 
hensible a practice, they clung to it with redoubled tenacity. More- 
over, about the year 1388 they provided themselves with a highly- 
polished sword and a scabbard of crimson silk, as a more suitable 
symbol of mayoral authority. This insigne of office was the source 
of constant expense, for, whether in active service or not, it required 
furbishing, which cost 2S. every time. John Algar, the bearer, 
received five marks a year as salary. Then, too, there were pay- 
ments extraordinary for providing new " scales," for worsted and 
silk and velvet used in re-covering the sheath. During the mavoraltv 
of John Couteshall, one of the chamberlains, William Erl by name, 
was entrusted with the silver zone of the mayor's sword and a silver 
mace, which were to be re-made, and the next year 2s. 5d. was paid 
" for a scabbard to the sword of the mayor with goldsmith's work 
to the same " (1388). 

What a painful eyesore was the smart, glittering object to the 
haughty, pride-inflated bishop ! Yet he could scarcely complain, 
because the awe-inspiring bauble was always borne with religious 
solemnity before him whenever he was in Lenne, and invariably 
behind his vassal the mayor. 

When the King visited Lenne in 1446, Thomas Salisbury 
ventured to explain to His Majesty the degradation to which the 
mayors of this loyal burgh were forced to submit, in that the insigne 
of office was always borne behind them, contrary, of course, to the 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 181 

custom in London, Oxford, and all other good towns in the kingdom. 
He entreated Henry to permit his successors to have the sword carried 
before them, because the burgesses at large, who were as leal as any 
in the country, sincerely felt the slight thereby put upon them. 
Touched with the earnestness of the appeal, the King, " from his 
great zeal, love and goodness, and out of his special favour," then 
and there granted the mayor's request. He forthwith commanded 
the sword to be carried before the mayor in future, puncto erecto (with 
the point upwards), and further warned the swordbearer " to have 
his hat upon his head," — not that he was ever likely to place it upon 
any other member of his body, but to shew how unworthy he was to 
uncover in the immediate presence of so august a personage. To 
prevent misgivings, Henry gave the mayor a letter duly setting forth 
his behest, on parchment, sealed with his private signet, to deliver to 
Adam Molins, the Bishop of Chichester, the Keeper of the Privy Seal, 
or his accredited deputy. 

On the 5th of August, the exultant Assembly publicly announce 
the sword will in future be carried as directed by the King. Just 
four days pass, when their order is strangely repeated {9th August). 
Was not this owing to the bishop's intervention? Again — it may be 
after further opposition in the same quarter — a Congregation is con- 
vened in the afternoon of the 28th of September. Ah ! it is the last 
day of the burgh -year, hence the hall of the Gild of Corpus Christi 
is requisitioned for the special meeting, because the town clerk is no 
doubt busilv engaged in the Trinity Hall, administering the customary 
oaths to the mayor-elect, the new chamberlains and the other officers 
of the Corporation, whose duties begin on the morrow. At this 
meeting the previous minutes are confirmed, and then the councillors, 
turning deaf ears to the bishop's threats, recklessly plunge into greater 
difficulties. It is agreed to pay the sword-bearer once more a reason- 
able stipend, and to confer upon him the freedom of the town without 
exacting the usual fine. To-morrow the most noble and venerable 
Thomas Salisbury will vacate the mayoral chair, when the sword and 
the bearer must play a conspicuous part. Let the appointed officer, 
therefore, hurry off to the Gild Hall, for there is no time to waste, so 
that he may comply with certain formalities and subscribe to the 
necessary oath. 

Persecution succeeded the pageants of the mayor's day. The 
bishop, though refraining from storming the town with his men-at- 
arms, was highly incensed ; so that when the Congregation met, there 
was apparently one item only to engross their consideration, — it was 
the old threadbare discussion about the method in which the mayor's 
sword should be carried (4th November). To convince his lordship 
that the town was in the right, it was thought expedient for the ex- 
mayor and one of the chamberlains to go to London in order to have 
the privy seal attached to the King's letter. 

There was silence deep as death, 
And the boldest held his breath, 
For 

a fortnight. Then the sword-bearer and John Pygott, the new 



182 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

mayor, strutted boldly up and down the streets of Lenne, past the 
Steward's Hall and the White Stone House ! Dark clouds, however, 
were gathering in the east, and the silence was ominously oppressive. 
At length the crashing fury of the storm was heard, and the attractive 
W'eapon was prudently concealed. . . . On the 20th of November 
the councillors were suddenly summoned to the Gild Hall. What ! 
Upon the Sabbath? So vitally important were the issues that our 
pious forefathers thought themselves justified even in desecrating a 
holy day. 

It was in the end decided that the new mayor, Henry Thoresby, 
William Hardy, William Wareles and others should immediately set 
out for London to meet the Bishop — of London ? Ah, no ; William 
Lyhart, the lord of Bishop's Lenne, the cause of all their trouble, 
because he professed to rule not only as feudal lord of the soil, but 
as guardian of the patrimony of St. Peter, " holding property in 
trust for a great spiritual corporation, and exercising an authority 
maintained by formidable sanctions." They soon discovered how 
easy it was to attain the get-at-able or right side of a king rather 
than that of a bishop ; and when, as was often the case, the secular 
and spiritual interests clashed, the people had a rough time in their 
struggle between the upper millstone of the Church and the nether 
millstone of the Court. 

The second deputation returned visibly crestfallen. Hence on 
Monday the 5th of December, the Council, despite the bitterness of 
their rebellious feelings, were forced to submit to the inevitable. The 
minute recites how Thomas Salisbury, at his own instance, desire or 
request, obtained the consent of Henry VL for the bearing of the 
sword as in other places, how a letter with the King's signet was 
safely delivered to the Bishop of Chichester, and how at the instiga- 
tion of William Lyhart the King annulled what he had already done. 
It was indeed a terrible blow to the town, but after the clerk had read 
the following document, bearing His Majesty's privy seal, there were 
none who dared to gainsay its meaning : — 

By the Kyng. Trusty and welbeloved, We be enfourmed by the Worshipyfull 
Fadir in god the bisshop of Norwich, Lord of the burgh and towne of Lenne, 
that undre colour of youre suete late made unto us at our beyng there, to have a 
sword and a mace to be boren byfore the Meire of the said burgh for ye time 
being, Ye the Meyre of the said borough have a swerd and a mace boren before 
you, otherewise than was done byfore oure beyng theyre, notwithstandyng ye 
have no lettres patentes of our graunt so for to do the which is ayenst the fourme 
of oure lawe, and prejudicial to the said Worshipful Fadre in God, and to the 
Chirche of Norwich as [we] be enfourmed, And who be it that we were wele 
enclyned to your desire in this behalf, yit it was not, nother is not, oure entent, 
to prejudice any partie, and namely the Chirche for by oure oth made at oure 
coronacioun We be bounde to supporte and maynteyn the Chirche and the ryght 
thereof, And therefore We wol and charge you Meire straitely that all 
execusacions left ye ceese from hens forwarde to have any swerde or mace to be 
bore before you, otherwyse than was used before oure beyng there. And We 
charge you straitely the Commoinalte of ye said borough that ye suffre not the 
Meire that now is, and that for the time shalbe, to have any swerd or mace to be 
boren before him in the said borough otherwise than was used also before our 
last being there. Yeven under oure Privie Seal at Westminster the viij. of 
November [1446]. 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 183 

Wherefore was the sword carried behind the mayor ; but three 
years afterwards the Mayor of Lenne was permitted to bear the sword 
before the King. 

Because of the alarming scarcity of silver coins, the people of 
England petitioned the King to permit none, save his own officers, to 
carry silver maces either in cities or boroughs (1344). Hence wooden 
staves tipped with silver or copper became fashionable in civic circles. 
This order was reinforced ten years later with the assent of Parlia- 
ment ; then were maces of brass, iron, or tin adopted, and in some 
instances rods of wood tipped with latten, an alloy much like brass.* 
The mayor's wand was a rod tipped with buck-horn (1376), and the 
bailiff's mace, probably of wood, was repaired and gilded, at a cost 
of two shillings (1373-4). 

At a later period our town was the happy possessor of another 
sword, — one probably " made in Germany," a seal of office, and two 
large silver maces, and two smaller ones. Of the so-called " King 
John's sword," which is borne before our chief magistrate at the 
present time, nothing further need here be said. 

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT. 

The constant bickerings among the people of Lenne induced the 
Assembly to concede certain points, hoping thereby to pacify the most 
progressive members of a primitive democracy. They were quite 
willing for the election of the officers of the Corporation to be regulated 
by the usages in London. The experiment w-as hardly fried when 
" grievous discords, strifes, controversies, riots, dissensions and 
(juarrels .... sprung up and increased amongst the comburgesses 
and others .... by reason of certain new ordinances and constitu- 
tions concerning and about the election of the mayor and the rest of 
the jurats, officers and ministers (servants) of the aforesaid town." 
The document from whence this quotation is taken minutely describes 
not only the new method which seemed impracticable, but also the old 
method with which we are now somewhat familiar. It would be 
redundant therefore to expatiate upon "the ancient custom," but 
there is one point in this descriptive recital which is apparently neiv: 
the alderman of the Gild of the Trinity nominated the first four of 
the elective committee, but he was supposed to choose " four more 
worthy and sufficient of the burgesses ?iot being of iJie state and degree 
of the aforesaid jurats.^' If this be a true exposition of " the ancient 
custom," it must have been most wantonly disobeyed for many years. 

The committee of twelve, having selected a mayor from the four- 
and-twenty jurats, then chose four chamberlains or treasurers, the 
common clerk, the sergeant-at-mace, the constables, the coroners, the 
janitors, the bellman and the waits or members of the town band, who 
skilfully extracted soul-animating strains from clumsily-shaped 
instruments. 

*" Robert Smith who lived in tlie Daingate, made certain latten gonnes (gims) for the town, which were 
valued at j8,6 (1452-3). These formiJable weapons, juouii ted on wooden stocks or tillers, occasionally 
vomited stones or j^elleis of lead. 



184 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

And what part did the ordinary people play in these elections? 
True, they were summoned to attend, as if their presence was indis- 
pensable, but they were mere spectators — supernumeraries who formed 
a picturesque background for the actors posing in front. Instead of 
sweltering in the crowded room, these " mute inglorious Miltons " had 
far better have enjoyed their leisure sauntering through the Tenture 
Pasture, basking upon the sunny Sands of Lenne, breathing the pure 
air beside the tidal Haven, or counting the Prior's birds as they 
popped in and out the Dovecote near St. James' Chapel. 

When the old method, as amended in Roger Galyon's time, was 
in vogue, angry disputes arose between the mayor and his friends and 
certain aspiring burgesses who impudently asserted that they ought 
to be elected jurats of the burgh. Surely these ignorant plebeians 
were as devoid of modesty as of manners. This, at least, was the 
honest opinion of the aristocratic section of the community. Through 
some indiscoverable medium the lamentable grievances reached the 
ear of the King, who sagely hinted that the burgesses could better 
settle these " ancient discords not cordially put to rest " themselves, 
without any outside interference. Whereupon the Assembly, with 
"unanimous consent and mere free and unforced free will," decided 
upon adopting the ways pursued by the enlightened citizens of 
London. 

(l) A NEW METHOD. 

The election of the mayor and other officers of the Corporation 
was to be yearly, at which time all the inhabitants were to have free 
access to the Gild Hall, but nobody, under pain of imprisonment, was 
allowed to take part in the proceedings unless he were a burgess or 
an official servant of the town. The meeting should then and there 
nominate two jurats or councillors from the present four-and-twenty, 
or from those who had already risen to the rank of jurats, — not, of 
course, having been discharged from office through dishonesty or any 
other disgraceful cause. It was important to remember that those 
selected should be personally adapted for carrying out the duties of 
the mayoralty, and that they should belong to " the more discreet, 
more sufficient and more useful of the community." 

At this juncture the services of a person termed the frelocidor 
were indispensable. He was chosen by a majority of the burgesses 
on St. Bartholomew's day, the 24th of August. All burgesses, except 
jurats, were eligible for this office. The newly-elected prelocutor 
must be present at the mayoral election, and though chosen possibly 
by the inferiores, he acted on behalf of the potentiores, carefully 
scrutinizing the action of the common clerk, and, moreover, watching 
everything which happened. 

When all is in order, the clerk gauges the feeling of the meeting 
by asking whom of the two already nominated they prefer for their 
next mayor. Having in the mean time been " firmly sworn," the 
clerk and the prelocutor listen patiently to the various suggestions 
advanced ; then, after a while they go round asking every man, begin- 
ning with the mayor and his coadjutors first, for whom he is disposed 
to vote. The answers are written down by the clerk " severally and 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 185 

secretly " in the presence of the vigilant prelocutor. If the two 
candidates gain an equal number of votes, the difficulty is solved by 
counting the mayor's vote as two instead of one. 

In the case of the four chamberlains, the mayor and the jurats, 
or the greater part of them, select two burgesses (other than jurats), 
whilst the other two (other than jurats) are chosen by the burgesses 
themselves. If during the year a chamberlain die or be removed, 
a successor is at once chosen by the burgesses — two being named and 
the vote recorded " without fraud," as already described, by the 
common clerk in the presence of the prelocutor. 

If a vacancy arise among the jurats, the burgesses name two 
likely persons other than jurats, who must, of course, be " more 
discreet, faithful and more sufficient, to take the state and degree of 
jurats to God's praise and the town's advantage and honour." After 
the votes are carefully taken the result is handed to the remaining 
twenty -three jurats for their approval ! Regardless of the ability 
and popularity of the candidate, they, and they alone, finally decide 
whether he shall be raised to their own degree and status. If the 
jurat-elect be considered socially below the proper standard, he is 
promptly discarded, and the meeting is asked to nominate two more, 
who must be not merely competent, but, like the others, freemen of 
the burgh, owning property in the town the rent of which must amount 
^^ £5 '^ year. A retail victualler would be ineligible, because in 
fixing the assize or price of wine, etc., he might be influenced by 
{jrivate motives. If elected, he must promise to relinquish his busi- 
ness or be " omitted " by the elective jurats. This is no plutocratic 
caprice, but is clearly set forth in the letters patent, and in this Henry 
VI. follows an earlv custom, embodied in an Act of Edward II. In 
1388-9 the city gilds objected to vintners and fishmongers taking part 
in the government of London, on the grounds that, l)eing common 
victuallers, they were precluded by an ordinance passed in 1378. If, 
however, a duly elected or accepted burgess wished to be excused from 
serving, a meeting would be called and the reason assigned 
deliberately considered : if deemed plausible, he would be discharged ; 
if otherwise, he would probably be fined ;^io, as was the case with 
Alderman William Pilton (1455). 

Respecting the offices of common clerk, sergeant-at-mace, 
janitors (at the Kast, the South and the St. Anne's Gate), the bellman 
and the waits, there was to be an annual nomination by the mayor and 
jurats immediately after the choosing of the four chamberlains. The 
forms of oath prescribed for the prelocutor and the town clerk, etc., 
are given, and the document also sets forth that if either of these 
servants be proved unfaithful and be duly convicted of infidelity to 
his oath, he is to forfeit his office as well as the franchise of the town, 
both of which were never to be regained. 

(2) ABANDONED FOR " ANCIENT CUSTOMS." 

The new method soon ])roved objectionable to the inhabitants; 
it might suit the citizens of London, but it was obnoxious to the bur- 
gesses of Lenne. " Observing how immense charges, losses and in- 
tolerable damage have arisen through the administration of these 

2A 



186 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

ordinances, and fearing lest tliey (should) redound to the final 
destruction and depauperisation, but also the desolation and probable 
overthrowing of all that town " — the townsfolk addressed a petition 
to the King praying that the order respecting the adoption of the new- 
fangled customs might be rescinded, so that they might reestablish the 
old methods of the burgh, which, though imperfect in themselves, 
were far superior to those of the metropolis. 

Henry V. issued letters patent complying with the request, but 
" with no intention that by colour of the premises there should be in 
any respect any derogation from the right of the cathedral church of 
the Holy Trinity of Norwich, or the Venerable Father and Bishop 
[John Wakering] of the same place, who was Lord of the town of 
Lenne. " 

C 12. Dated at Westminster 2nd June, 4th year of the reign of Henry V. (1416). 
Termed, as already stated, "letters patents of exemplilication of the tenor of 
a certain instrument for the revocation of divers new ordinances and consti- 
tutions, and for the reestablishment of the ancient customs at the election of 
othcers for the town of Bishop's Lenne." It is to all intents and purposes a 
governing charter. 

Was not this a melancholy example of " putting the clock 
back "? Their great desire at this crisis was not primarily to share 
in local government, but " to rest happily under the sweetness of 
peace." For many years, however, their social condition was 
destined to be otherwise. The London programme was a sad experi- 
ment, and now their rest was broken and the sweetness of their day- 
dreams soured even by ancient customs. Five troublous years rolled 
slowly by,, and the democracy of the burgh were still strangers to the 
social sweetness so relished in bygone times. At a time when they 
were again at their wits' end, Bishop Wakering came forward with an 
opportune proposal, " for the determination and perfect settlement 
of differences long existing among his sons in Christ and tenants of 
his town of Lenne." 

(3) AN INDENTURE OF AGREEMENT. 

To facilitate a better administration of the law, the town had 
already been divided into nine "constabularies." The astute 
bishop, who was cognisant of the trend events were taking in other 
places, suggested that each of the constabularies should choose three 
burgesses every year (peaceful, law-abiding, competent men must they 
be, having a tenure in the burgh, but not necessarily in any particular 
constabulary), who should constitute a committee for the management 
of the finances of the town. In these property-owning burgesses, 
elected by the people themselves, should be vested power to fix all 
taxes and tallages (tenths or fifteenths), also all allowances, whether 
presents of wine to the bishop or of falcons to the baron ; to repair 
the property belonging to the community, including walls and 
bridges ; to recast the ditches, fleets and watercourses ; and generally 
to decide on all payments. But if in any constabulary there were 
found a deplorable dearth of discreet and peaceful burgesses, then 
might the depleted constituency select three from a prolific 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 187 

constabulary where they abounded. Moreover, if any of " the 
twenty-seven " proved " less than duly sufficient, discreet and peace- 
ful," the majority of the twenty-four jurats, plus the twenty-seven of 
lower degree, might paralyse the constabulary whose judgment had 
been so defective by asking them to amend their choice. 

Thus, whilst the upper house, consisting of the twenty-four 
jurats, or aldermen as they may henceforth be called, represented the 
well-fed, contented section of the community, the members of the 
Congregation from the various constabularies, or the twenty-seven, 
constituted a lower house, who represented the hungry, grumbling 
democracy. More than ever was the House divided against itself; 
nevertheless. Bishop Wakering's commendable proposal when 
tormulated as an indenture of agreement was gladly accepted." 

Devised and established in the interest of municipal peace though they were, 
the new ordinances and constitutions made matters so much worse, and especially 
so by rendering quarrels fiercer and spites more rancorous, that in the opinion of 
the townspeople, or at least in the judgment of the prevailing party of the 
borough, it was needful to abolish them utterly, in order to recover the town 
from evils that threatened it with quick destruction. A few years later a better 
remedy for the insolence of jurats and the passionate discontent of the poorer 
burgesses and other inferior inhabitants of the town was devised by the Bishop 
of Norwich, when he established the annually-elected common council of " the 
twenty-seven " in order that, in respect to taxes for the sovereign and tallages for 
local charges and necessities, the populace of the nine constabularies should not 
be left completely at the mercy of the jurats, who were invariably drawn from 
the overbearing potentiores. If they were not wholly wanting in the virtues, it 
is manifest from earlier records of the community that the potentiores were not 
wholly exempt from the failings of a dominant class. (John C. Jeaffreson.) 

The specific duties relegated to the two sections of the Assembly 
may be gathered from 

(4) THE SACRAMENT OR OATH, 

to which each assented before taking a seat in the administrative 
chamber. 

The four-and-twenty jurats (aldermen) pledged themselves — 

To be ready and obedient to the mayor when they are reasonably and 
honestly warned by the sergeant or called by the mayor for the needs of the 
town ; to well and truly advise the mayor and council ; to help well and truly, 
and to make a true assize (or assessment) touching the freehold (property) within 
this burgh, and truly deem (or judge) between the king and between party and 
party, when lawfully clepid (or called) thereto, and duly warned by the common 
sergeant ; and honestly deal with their fellows in right treating [kindly read 
" treatment,"] judging and verdict yielding. 

The seven-and-twenty common councilmen, or councillors, the 
direct representatives of the people, sincerely promised with their 

" Duplicates were written upon the same skin, and were afterwards severed in a wavy, zigzag or serrate 
manner, so that tlicy necessarily fitted together. Keplicates were done in the same v. ay, for although old 
documents were verbose, yet was the writing squeezed info small compass, so that there could be no 
didiculty in writing several on one skin. 

The deeds with eil|_;es so cut were called indenlurcf, and the verb "to indent" soon came to imply the 
making of a deed or compact. Latin in into, and rfriis, a tooth. The omission to indent a deed was 
formerly deemed suflicieut to invalidate it. But a stop was put to this by a judu'C of uncommon common 
sense, who, when this objection was taken to a deed produced iu court, remedied the defect himself by 
cuttiug a notch or two in the parchment with a penknife. 



188 niSTOUY OF KING'S LYNN. 

hand — not their lips, mark you, — upon " the book," to come to the 
Gild Hall whenever duly warned, and — 

To true counsel give for this town, and for needs that touch this town ; to 
see all taxes, tallages, iifteenths and loans collected ; to superintend all repara- 
tions — amending of houses, walls (sea-banks), bridges, fleets and ditches in 
respect to expenses, and to yield a true account after making allowance for 
charges and discharges, as often as it is necessary. 

(5) THE ELECTION OF MEMBERS. 

In some towns, whose municipal mechanism was of the simplest 
order, the selection of members to serve in Parliament was 
apparently transacted by the leet court or leet jury. In others the 
process was complex. Many years elapsed ere the deserving commons 
at Lenne were allowed to interfere when the election of " burgesses 
in Parliament " was on the municipal agenda. These annual 
episodes gave a dash of variety and excitement to the grand yet 
wearying epic of their civil existence; but although the exercise of the 
local franchise was purely a matter of local arrangement, and rested 
with those in authority, the masses were then rigorously excluded, 
and thus indeed it remained " until the cognisance of elections was 
claimed and recognised a's a right and duty of the House of 
Commons." (Stubbs.) 

The 7nodus oferayidi in Lenne was indeed complex. The mayor, 
who could always boast of a long potentioric pedigree, named four 
jurats of potentioric descent, who in turn also chose jour jurats, 
collateral branches of the same opulent family, who likewise coopted 
four more. The elective committee consisting of these twelve 
potentiores ultimately decided who were to represent the enlightened 
burgesses of the ancient and loyal burgh of Bishop's Lenne in the 
King's Parliament. 

On the 17th of June 1432-3, the Mayor, as usual, named the first 
quartette, but in this instance he took two from among the jurats, 
henceforth alderjnen, and two from the twenty-seven or common 
councillors. Then the four, a half-and-half mixture, chose four, who 
also chose four, who collectively elected John Watirden and Thomas 
Spencer. As far as the method went, it was satisfactory. However, 
when Richard Frank and Walter Curson won their seats, the mayor 
wantonly ignored the people's representatives from the constabularies 
(loth of January 1442). Let us imagine rather than describe the 
angry altercation which ensued ; for the people, in a measure conscious 
of their power, w-ere not disposed to be snuffed out of existence. In 
the end the whole Congregation, including of course the aldermanic 
brotherhood, were apparently constrained to agree to two resolutions : 
— their members were to receive 2s. each per day, but " no more in 
any manner" whilst attending to their Parliamentary duties; and 
it was unanimously agreed " that the mayor for the time being, at the 
pleasure of his will, shall name for the election of burgesses of Parlia- 
ment any four persons it shall please him to name, that is to say, tivo 
aldermen and two of the common council, being present at the con- 
gregations whenever burgesses of this kind shall in future be elected 
for Parliament." 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 189 

This seems to have been faithfully observed, because on the 31st 
of March 1453, the mayor, who named the twelve electors, took them 
from the twenty-four and the twenty-seven; and again on the 31st of 
July 1455 the elective committee consisted wholly of aldermen and 
the members of the common council. 

CALL TO ARMS. 

When the French were about to attack Calais, Henry sent letters 
to Bristol, Newcastle, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, Fowey and 
Letine, asking the inhabitants to supply shipping — 

— To occupy the sea in suche wise as we shall mowe have the rule and gouern- 
aunce thereof, and withstande the malicious purpose of al oure adversaries and 
enemyes, to the plesire of God, and to the worshipe and welfare of us and of this 
oure lande (28th March 1452). 

Before bringing this section of the history of Bishop's Lenne 
to a close, it behoves the conscientious chronicler to give a few notes 
in reference to the 

SPORTS AND AMUSEMENTS 

of our forefathers. In reviewing the past, it must be frankly 
admitted that, although there was plenty of trouble, when 
floods and fires were the rule rather than the exception, when towns 
and villages were often decimated with the plague, when wars were 
frequent and food was extremely scarce, and when oppression was 
the order of the day, our country was truthfully termed " Merry 
England." Each season ushered in a variety of pastimes, which 
added brightness to the otherwise dull and monotonous lives of the 
town labourers as well as the villnge peasantry. Christmas festivi- 
ties. May-day revels, the pageants of the oft-recurring saints' days, 
the mystery plays of the craft-gilds, all tended to lighten the burden 
of daily toil and to render their lives pleasurable. 

(i) The game of Ball, either bandy-ball or cnmp-ball,* the 
earlier form of football, was played beyond the Deucehill Gate, upon 
the " sands of Lenne," the foreshore of the New land. On one 
occasion a dispute arose between the players, and John Godesbirth 
drew his dagger and fatally wounded Adam the son of Richard Oter 
of Wells (1305). The culprit fled to the chapel of St. Nicholas for 
sanctuary, but after nine days, and without formally abjuring the 
realm, he escaped. Peter the son of Alan of Geywode, however, saw 
him, and immediately " raised the hue and cry." The murderer 
was, of course, captured, but as pledges were forthcoming for his 
future behaviour, he was permitted to go about his business. The 



* Camp-bail, that is field-ball, is derived from the Latin word campus, an open space, a plain or a field 
This game was RPnerally plaxrd (111 llie Siibhath, in fioltls adjoining the parish rhurch, the kick-off being 
administered by the priest from the church-yard. 

These campin({ matches were fouijht witli fjreat violence, which quite eclipsed our modern " Rugby," 
and often resulted in wounds, broken limbs, and death. 

"To this dav wr hear of camp close and campittf; close at Klsing, Hevingham, Maltishall and Kressing- 
ficld: of eiimpiii'g lieUl at .\shfiehl Magna; of camping ground at Denver; of camping land sometimes 
londe] at Swalfham, Oarboldisham.Wliissonsett and Xeedham Market, and of camping meadows at Harleston 
and other places."— Charles Mackic's Early Football in Norfolk (1893). 



1§0 BlSTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

game was probably played, too, in the fields near the Haven, for the 
Boal was at one time known as Le Balle (1455-6).* 

(2.) There is sufficient evidence to show that Tennis, the 
fashionable French game, not its feeble namesake " lawn tennis," was 
sometimes played in our burgh, for a fine of threepence was inflicted 
on " Bryncklowys, a tenyse pleyer " {circa Henry IV.). 

(3.) The Baiting of Bulls, Bears and Apes was not neglected. 
In a " composition " executed at Eccles, between Bishop Ralegh and 
Hugh d'Albini, Earl of Arundel (1243), a tax of forty pence was 
stipulated to be paid at the Tolbooth upon every bear bought and led 
out of the franchise, but an ape was admitted free of toll. The 
Mayor of Lenne, you may remember, offered the Sheriff of Norfolk a 
present, which, when licked into shape, turned out to be a young he- 
bear (1416). Bruin was sent to London, his fare, 5s. iid., being 
defrayed by the town. A " ber man " — one William Gun, is 
incidentally mentioned (1315). 

(4.) The Joust or Just was practised here, and possibly the 
Tournament too, although prohibited by the Pope in 1228. The 
joust differed from the tournament, because in the latter lances were 
used, and only two knights could fight at once. Sir Hugh de 
Hastings came to Lenne to arrange for a display of local prowess at 
the "justes," and was entertained at a tavern with three shillings' 
worth of wine (1362). The chamberlains provided " the chief men 
of the justes " with wine, which cost the enormous sum of ^^8 los. 
Marvel not, therefore, because our champions went forth like giants 
newly refreshed. 

(5.) Archery, a favourite pastime with the populace, was greatly 
encouraged by the government. Edward III. issued a mandate, 
" that every one strong in body at leisure on holidays should use in 
their recreations bows and arrows, and learn and exercise the art of 
shooting, forsaking such vain plays as throwing stones, hand-ball, 
foot-ball, bandy-ball or cock-fighting, which have no profit in them 
at all." It is positively indisputable that the three greatest battles 
in this epoch — Cregy (1346), Poitiers (1356) and Agincourt (1415) — 
were gained through the undaunted courage of our yeomen and the 
marvellous skill with w"hich they used their bows and arrows. 

Another serious dispute, between the aristocratic and plebeian 
sections of the inhabitants of Lenne, occurred respecting a narrow 
strip of land between the town wall (East Gates to the Purfleet) and 
the fresh-water rivulet branching from the Gaywood river. Here 
butts had been set up for the practice of archery, but the public were 
excluded from the enclosure. What a terrific outburst of indignation 
there was ! Why should a select few use the butts, whilst ordinary 
townsmen were prohibited? What were the people's representatives 
doing to sit placidly in the Gild Hall whilst their rights were filched 

Bole (1465-7), Bouif-mills (1614), but more recently termed the World's End — a common name for an 
oiit-of-the-wav public house, the door of which was often protected with a spiked hatch to ward off the 
constables. The sign generally depicted a man and woman walking leiburely together. Beneath was the 
affectionate distich : — 

"I'll go with my friend 
To the World's End," 



THE BISHOP AND THE SWORD. 191 

from them in so audacious a manner? They would talk to the seven- 
and-twenty — and talk to them they did most emphatically, but alas ! 
to no purpose. There was William Fletcher, an expert arrow-maker, 
and Henry Mason the tailor, and John the osteller, and John Curlew, 
and Robert Barbour, and his brother William — but they could hardly 
pin their faith to him, for he was known to be as plastic as potter's 
clay. There were at least five brave burgesses who were prepared at 
any risk to fight the people's battle, to test the legality of the case, 
and settle the question once and for all. Not a whit undaunted, they 
clambered over the railings, and a rare day's sport they had at the 
sacred butts. How splendid the flight of Jakke Curlew's arrows, and 
the Barber's also; but none could approach the skill of the Fletcher, 
who might, if so he listed, put them each up to a wrinkle or two. 

For this flagrant offence Fletcher and his companions were appre- 
hended, and, like good citizens, they quietly submitted. Henry 
Thoresby, the mayor, as the mouthpiece of the incensed Congregation, 
preached an impressive homily upon the enormity of their offence, and 
wound up by fervidly exhorting them not to transgress any more. 
They listened attentively and retired politely, but ere long they were 
again enjoying themselves in this potentioric paradise. 

When brought before the tribunal a second time for trespass, the 
Fletcher and his comrades boldly advanced their right to the use of 
the butts whenever they thought fit, and the Mayor, not knowing what 
to say, adjourned the trial, promising an answer after the next meeting 
of the Assembly. In the mean time there was what is described as " a 
great commotion." The municipal parliament, as previously stated, 
consisted of two antagonistic parts. As contending sections, each 
privately retired to discuss the subject, and this from distinct stand- 
points. The potentiores decided that the commonalty might have 
the use of the butts till Michaelmas for the payment of four shillings ; 
the elected representatives of the plebeian inhabitants were of opinion 
that the people were entitled to the privilege free, providing no 
damage was done to the adjacent ditch, upon which the town was 
dependent for its supply of fresh water. A remarkable compromise 
was at last effected ; the community were to have easement of the 
butts until Michaelmas, the proposed payment being carefully 
abstracted from the town's store, and formally entered as reni by the 
chamberlain (1426-7). This is serious, though funny; wherefore, 
appreciative reader, it would be iniquitous to laugh. 

During the next reign (Edward IV.) all towns were ordered to 
set up public butts for the use of the people, and every man, no 
matter how elevated his social position, was commanded to have a 
buw his own height always ready for use; he was, moreover, to train 
his children in the art. Under a penalty of one halfpenny (a power- 
ful consideration in those days) everybody was compelled to shoot 
" up ond down " at (he butts, not only on Sundays, but feast-days as 
well. 

(6.) Angling. — Our earliest treatise upon this taking subject 
was written by a woman. Dame Juliana Berners,* in the Book of St. 

* Prioress of Sopwell Nunnery, St. .'Mban's, the ruins of which are still extant. 



192 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Albans, which was printed by Wynkyn de VVorde (1496). Prior to 
this our local records yield an instance of a lady fishing — for fish ! 
Lady Margaret de Beaufort, the daughter of Sir Thomas Nevill, of 
Hornby (Lancashire), and the wife of Thomas Beaufort, the Lord 
Chancellor, was known to be a thirsty subject, as most anglers are. 
When, therefore, her ladyship was fishing at Bawsey pond, the 
sympathising chamberlains thoughtfully provided nine pints of red 
wine for her delectation, and like quantities when she was on her way 
to Wormegay, at Hardwick and Blackburgh hill. Moreover, when 
she visited Lenne to witness the miracle play, this bibulous nereid, un- 
conscious of the tantalising tortures of "the black list," consumed 
(surely not without some slight assistance) four-and-twenty pints 

(1409-10). 

# * * * * 

The " Wars of the Roses," which lasted 30 years, began in this 
reign ; the cause in a measure being the startling incapacity of the 
King to govern the nation. The Plantagenets, who strove for the 
supremacy of the world, were soon almost forgotten ; their glorious 
crown, besmirched with blood, was bandied hither and thither by the 
Yorkists and Lancastrians, whose respective emblems were a white and 
a red rose.* 

Queen Margaret won the second battle at Barnard's Heath, near 
St. Albans (17th February 1461), and rescued her husband, but 
Edward, Earl of March, the heir of Richard, Duke of York, easily 
entered the capital. He laid claim to the crown, alleging among 
other things that Henry was altogether unfit for performing the duties 
appertaining to the sovereignty of England. The Parliament 
admitted his pretensions, proscribed Henry VL and his family, and 
proclaimed Edward King (4th of March 1461). 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

The Fugitive Kingf. 

When Edward IV. assumed the title of King, his tenure of office was 
very uncertain, for considerable forces in favour of the Lancastrian 
branch of his family were still in the field, eager to dispute his right 
to the throne. It was therefore absolutely incumbent upon him, if he 
wished to retain his position, to unsheath the sword (1461). Fully 
realising this, he unhesitatingly engaged in active warfare. The 
country suffered severely whilst passing through this sanguinary 
ordeal, in which 12 princes, 200 nobles and 100,000 yeomen and 
commoners perished. " All we can distinguish with certainty through 



'■■ " In the year of our redemption 1399, the ist of January, Kin? Richard the Second, in this county, 
near to the town of Harwood, ye river Ouze suddenly stayed her course and divided itself, so that for the 
space of 3 miles the wonted channell thereof laye dry, to the great ama/.ement of the beholders, and ever 
since observed as a prodigious token of foreshowing of that great and lamentable division in the kingdom 
betwixt the families of York and Lancaster which the next year followed and continued the time of 90 
whole years (?) together with bloodshed and loss."— A/a/) 0/ Bedfordshire (i5io). 



THE FUGITIVE KING. 193 

the deep cloud which covers this period is a scene of horror and blood- 
shed, savage manners, arbitrary execution, and treacherous dishonour- 
able conduct in both parties," (Hume.) 

***** 

Fortunately, however, the civil war did not penetrate into the east 
of England; yet the inhabitants of Norfolk, in common with other 
favoured districts, were by no means unmindful of what was going 
on. There was 

GREAT UNREST 

in Lenne, though the townsfolk felt the effect in a less degree, but 
being bitterly antagonistic to the Lancastrians, they were quite willing, 
should a chance arise, to throw in their lot with the opposing faction. 
The compilers of local records were reticent, because it was un- 
questionably diplomatic in those days of strife and carnage for 
towns to be keenly secretive respecting their political predilections. 
That the burgesses of Lenne were on the side of the Yorkists will be 
clear after a while. 

A letter, without either date, name or address, written by one of 
John Paston's sons soon after the accession, gives a vivid picture of 
what was going on in our immediate neighbourhood. The writer 

says : — 

And also there is, at the castle of Rising and in other two places, made 
great gathering of people and hiring of harness, and it is well understood they 
be not to the King ward but rather to the contrary, and for to rob. 

A HAZARDOUS " PROGRESS." 

On the 19th of June 1469, Edward IV. was at Norwich, and, 
riding from thence through Hellesdon, he arrived at Walsingham on 
the 2ist. Hearing the King purposed coming to Lenne, great pre- 
parations were hurriedly made to accommodate him and his suite. 
Entering the burgh on the 26th, he was politely entertained by Walter 
Coney, the mayor. Whether the Queen accompanied him is uncer- 
tain ; she was, however, in Norwich later in the summer. 

Ingulph describes Edward's subsequent journey to Crowland 
Abbey in these words : — 

Having by way of pilgrimage visited Edmund the Martyr (that is. Bury 
St. Edmund,) the King hastened lo the city of Norwich. After this he passed 
through Walsingham to Lenne, and thence through the town of Wisbech to 
Dovesdale ; whence he rode, attended by two hundred horsemen upon our 
embankment, and the barriers having been opened and all obstacles removed, at 
last arrived at Croyland. 

Edward IV. was in Norwich in 1474, and in Walsingham in 
1482 (September), where he was joined by Lord Howard. On both 
occasions he visited many places in the county, and possibly came 
to Lenne. But the most important of the royal visits to our town 
happened in 1470 ; it was due to unpardonable offences given to 
Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, subsequently known as the 
" Kingmaker." On the ist of May, Edward married the young and 
beautiful widow of Sir John Grey, better known by her maiden name, 
Elizabeth Woodville. This marriage incensed the nobility, especially 
the Earl of Warwick, who had been sent to negotiate a match between 

2 B 

1 



194 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

the King and Bona of Savoy, the sister-in-law of Louis XI. It was 
an unpleasant surprise ; but the Earl was still more offended when he 
learnt that the young King had secretly brought about a marriage 
treaty between his sister Margaret (whom Warwick had destined for 
one of the French princes), and the Duke of Burgundy. Annoyed 
because the King had married one so beneath him in dignity, dis- 
gusted with the inordinate favours heaped upon the Queen's relations, 
and smarting at the thought of having been thus wantonly befooled, 
Warwick entered into an alliance with Margaret of Anjou, the wife 
of Henry VI. He sullenly accompanied George Duke of Clarence, 
who had married his eldest daughter, Isabel Neville, to the court of 
Louis XL, where he was graciously received, and an accommodation 
was effected by that wily potentate between these hitherto mortal 
enemies. By this convention, known as the Treaty of Amboise, it 
was stipulated that Anne Neville, Warwick's second daughter, should 
marry Edward, the son of Henry VI., that they should unite their 
forces to reinstate the deposed King, and that in failure of male issue 
by the prince, the crown should descend to the Duke of Clarence. 

At the time when Edward was putting down a revolt in the north, 
raised by Lord Fitz-Hugh (Warwick's brother-in-law), the earl and 
the duke landed without opposition at Dartmouth. The popularity of 
Warwick was so great that in a few days a prodigious army flocked 
to his banner. Henry was proclaimed King, and walked from the 
Tower to St. Paul's with the crown upon his head. Warwick pro- 
ceeded without delay to Doncaster, where the royal forces were 
assembled, and Edward, fearing their fidelity, thought it wise to 
retreat. 

Gloucester : Brother, the time and case requireth haste. 

King Edtvard : But whither shall we then ? 

Lord Hastings : To Lynn, my lord. 

(Shakespeare.) 

Remembering his friends at Lenne, he determined, in this critical 
emergency, to test their loyalty. It is affirmed by certain writers 
that Edward, emulating the example set by his predecessor King John, 
approached Lenne by crossing the Wash, and good-naturedly per- 
mitted the in-coming tide to walk off not only with his baggage, but 
his money too. Worn threadbare by long service, this locally 
seductive tradition may be dismissed for what it is worth. 

(l) THE king's escape 

is thus given in the Chronicles of Croyland: — 

All the English in the neighbourhood [of Dartmouth] felt compassion, as 
always is the case, for the exiles, who had just returned, and, not so much 
joining them as waiting upon them to shew them every attention, increased their 
force to such a number that the troops of King Edward, for which he was 
waiting at Doncaster, withdrew from a contest so doubtful in its results. There 
was then living in the neighbourhood, at his own mansion at Pomfret, John 
Neville, brother to the Earl of Warwick, who at this time had the title of 
Marquis of Montague. Although he had sworn fealty to King Edward still on 
hearing of the arrival of his brother, he had recourse to treachery, and entered 
into a conspiracy the object of which was to seize the King's person by means of 
a large body of men, which by virtue of the royal proclamation he had levied. 



THE FUGITIVE KING. 195 

As soon as this reached the King's ears by the secret agency of a spy, he found 
himself compelled to consult his own safety and that of his followers by a 
precipitate flight to the port of Bishop's Lenne in Norfolk. Here finding some 
ships, he caused himself and his followers, nearly two thousand in number, to be 
conveyed across the sea to Holland, a territory of the Duke of Burgund. — 
(Ingulph). 

About lo o'clock on Sunday evening the 30th of September, the 
startled janitor at the South Gates lowered his draw-bridge and raised 
the heavy portcullis {port Colyse) to admit " Lord Edward the 
Fourth, the late King of England," who was accompanied by the 
second Earl Rivers (Sir Anthony Woodville, the Queen's brother), 
Lord Hastings the King's chamberlain, William the second Lord 
Saye,* Lord Cromwell (Humphrey Bourchier) and many other 
knights, esquires and valets, with about three thousand men. This 
statement from the Hall Book (No. IL, folio 284) completely nullifies 
what Hume, who follows Comines, the French courtier, affirms in 
saying that Edward was attended by a small retinue. 

It would be interesting to learn how the authorities coped with 
such an unexpected influx of visitors at so untimely an hour. This, 
however, is impossible, because the compilers of our records wisely 
refrained from saying more than was strictly needful. As zealous 
adherents of the Yorkists, they did all they could to further Edward's 
interests, but at the same time they discreetly kept their own counsel, 
for well enough they knew how their loyalty to one rival made them 
traitors to the other. 

Fully realising the superiority of the forces pitted against him, 
and the futility of his present prospects, the King stayed in Lenne 
the next day ; and, as no mention respecting the embarkation of his 
troops is made in the minutes of the Assembly, we are inclined to 
believe — not without tendering polite apologies to the shade of Father 
Ingulphus — that Edward temporarily disbanded his followers. 
During his stay, he judicially interviewed a small coterie who sided 
with his opponents, and graciously pardoned his old friend Walter 
Coney, the ex-mayor, Robert Gregory and several others. 

In the morning, the Council assembled in the Gild Hall to devise 
measures for the safety of the town. Only one item of what 
happened at that momentous gathering is recorded. A special watch, 
composed of the most vigilant and accredited burgesses, was selected. 
This the Mayor and his colleagues were justified in doing, because 
the defences of the burgh had previously been relegated to them. 

What an anxious time it was to the inhabitants of Lenne, 
anticipating, as they must have done, the hourly approach of the 
renowned Warwick ; but no thought had they of abandoning their 
royal guest and his trusty followers in such a grave dilemma. Would 
that long, dreary October day never come to an end ? The suspense 
grew almost unendurable. The welcome sound of the curfew was 
heard at last ; lights were never more willingly extinguished, and the 
overwrought burghers retired to sleep, fitfully dreaming perchance of 

• Lord Saye became vice-admiral to the Earl of Warwick ; he was slain at Bamet, i+th April 1471. 



196 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

enemies scaling the walls and exultantly parading the streets, dragging 
men and women, aye, and children, indiscriminately to prison, to be 
hung, drawn and quartered in the near future, as traitors to their 
liege sovereign. And what about the watchmen, in whose hands 
rested the destiny of a King and the safety of the burgh? How 
noiselessly they glided up and down the haven in their clumsy barges, 
afraid lest the plashing of their oars might contribute to the catas- 
trophe they dreaded. With what patient, noiseless steps they paced 
the rampart and peered with straining eyes through the loop-holes in 
the gates and battlements. 

Verily weeping may endure for a night, but of a surety joy 
Cometh with the morning. The shivering sentinels descend from 
breezy pinnacle and church tower, exulting in the grand assurance 
that the Lord of Hosts was indeed on their side, for had He not 
answered their prayers and sent them a night of " gross darkness," 
so Egyptian in density as to be in sooth a hundred and forty-four 
times darker than ordinary, every-day darkness. 

The long protracted vigil was over ; the sun shone brightly, and 
at an early hour the streets and water-ways by which the little burgh 
was intersected were thronged by anxious town folk, all eager to 
expedite the departure of their hard-pressed monarch. All was in 
readiness by 8 o'clock, when the tide served. Then the fugitive 
King, with his stanch companions (Lord Cromwell alone excepted), 
after sincerely thanking the inhabitants for their kindness, and taking 
the mayor, Edmund VVesthorpe, and the burgh officials affectionately 
by the hand, stepped on board the vessel and set sail for Flanders, 
whilst the cheering breezes whispered: "God speed, God speed," 
and the people of Lenne murmured with tears in their eyes : " Fare- 
well, farewell King Edward, until we meet again (2nd October 
1470).* 

When well out at sea the Lenne vessel was chased by a small 
fleet belonging to the Hansa, which was then at war with France and 
England. The King and his friends, however, luckily escaped, and 
arrived safely in Holland. The statement that Edward fled with 
such precipitation that he had nothing with him to bestow upon the 
captain save a sable-lined robe which he could ill afi'ord (Hume), 
ought to be well shaken before mentally taken. 

(2) TRANSPLANTING THE WHITE ROSE. 

After an absence of nine months, Edward returned witTi a small 
body of troops provided by the Duke of Burgundy. Where the 
descent upon the coast of England was actually made is a matter of 
conjecture. Ravenspur in Yorkshire, as well as Lenne and Cromer 
in Norfolk, have entered the competition, the result of which the 
reader must decide for himself. Historians generally regard Raven- 
spur in the Holderness with favour. There seems, however, to be a con- 
fusion of events. Edward IV . is said to have effected a landing there 

• Neither do facts warrant Ihe assertion that Edward " luckily found some ships ready, on board of 
which he instantly embarked." (Hume's Hisioiy oj England, i8ij, Vol. III., p. ;4i.) 



THE FUGITIVE King. 19? 

(14th of March 147 1), but the Duke of Hereford, afterwards Henry 
IV ., under similar circumstances landed his forces at the same place 
(4th of July 1399). Richards contends that the King landed at 
Lenne on the 9th March, but Harrod points out, the incident is not 
even mentioned in the town records. Finally, a writer in the Norfolk 
Archeology states, the King arrived off Cromer on the 12th, and sent 
Sir Robert Chamberlain (a Norfolk man), Sir Gilbert Debenham (a 
Suffolk man), and divers others, to ascertain whether the people in 
those parts were well affected towards him. As the convoy is said 
to have steered for Hull, it may be presumed the fickle-minded people 
of Norfolk had cast aside the white rose and were now foolishly 
toying with the red. 

On this point Hume writes as follows : — 

Edward, impatient to take revenge on his enemies and to recover his lost 
authority, made an attempt to land with his forces, which exceeded not 2,000 
men, on the coast of Norfolk, but being there repulsed, he sailed northward, and 
disembarked at Ravenspur in Yorkshire. 

To this shall be appended a further extract from the same 
authority : — 

There is no part of English history since the Conquest, so obscure, so 
uncertain, so little authentic or consistent, as that of the war between the two 
Roses. 

At the onset Edward met with little success, but his army 
gradually swelled during the march ; he encountered the Lancastrian 
forces at Barnet, where a most obstinate and bloody battle ensued, 
and the Earl of Warwick was slain, with ten thousand of his brave 
followers (14th April). The Yorkists were once more victorious. 
Edward overtook the heroic Margaret and her French auxiliaries at 
Tewkesbury (4th of May) ; and here the Lancastrians were 
ignominiously defeated. The day following the conqueror's 
triumphal return to his capital, the corpse of Henry VL was publicly 
exhibited at St. Paul's. It was strenuously reported that the deposed 
monarch died of grief, but sagacious writers who flourished under the 
next dynasty assert that he was murdered, and several of them attri- 
bute the deed to Edward's brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester 
(1471). No further attempts were made to unseat the Yorkist King, 
and his position was rendered more secure by the birth of a son (after- 
wards Edward V.). in the Sanctuary at Westminster, whither his wife 
had fled for refuge. 

THE REPAYMENT OF A LOAN. 

The new governing body sprung at once into popularity, because 
it was more tnily representative. It consisted of twice as many mem- 
bers, and embraced two distinct classes, whereas one only was repre- 
sented before. In no stinted measure were the demands for which 
the inhabitants fought at last granted, including greater freedom of 
trade, a more equitable adjustment of tallages, and seats in the council 
chamber for those elected by the constabularies. 

A further instance of the recognition the humblest were receiving 
occurred at the repayment of a loan. When money was needed, it 



1^8 HlSTOkY OF itlNG'S LYNN. 

was borrowed either from the Gild of the Holy Trinity or from 
private indi,/iduals, without any formal application to a Local Govern- 
Board. In 1363 our town was indebted to divers burgesses the sum 
of ;£38 14s. 4d., which had been borrowed in the name of the com- 
munity, and was no doubt expended in strengthening and increasing 
the town defences. To John Martyn and his associates a further sum 
of ;£6 was owing for money spent in defraying the wages of 
" subordinate persons " or workmen. As there was £^ in the 
scrinium or town money-box, it was thought advisable to tax the 
inhabitants to raise the necessary ;Q2i^. For this purpose an im- 
partial assessment committee was chosen, but the manner of its 
operation is omitted. Nevertheless, a complete list of those who 
served is given. Of the eighteen burgesses, six belonged to the 
"number of the twenty-four" (potentiores), an equal number were 
from the common council (mediocres), and the remaining six were de 
communitate, that is "of the community." Here we find the lowest 
and least influential class taking a share in assessing a tax for the 
repayment of a loan (nth February 1463). 

A VAGUE TRANSACTION. 

In 1461-2 John Burbage handed to the chamberlains certain 
deeds and a book (a valuable asset belonging to the late John Asse- 
burne), to be by them deposited in the town coffer, but whether as 
security for the repayment of money or merely for safe custody is not 
apparent. The " charters," as they were called, related to tenements 
belonging to the following deceased burgesses : John Curson, of 
Baxter Rowe (Tower Street) ; John Flete, of Brigge Gate (High 
Street); and John Massingham, the brewer, of Damgate (Norfolk 
Street). 

John Burbage was well versed in law ; he was recorder in 1476, 
and probably much earlier. After the receipt of these documents, he 
was sent to consult with John Fyncham " on divers matters " in which 
the community was interested. As eightpence only was charged for 
the hire of two horses, his destination could be at no great distance. 

Prior to this we find the burgh indebted to the Gild of the Holy 
Trinity the sum of ;^8, for money advanced by William 
Waterden and John Curson (1409). Of John Curson little 
can be gleaned ; he seemed to belong to a wealthy family ; 
beyond this we cannot go. William Waterden, as a 
mediocre, was bound in a sum of ;^5o when the townsmen 
revolted (1413); he served on the committee appointed to elect the 
burgesses in Parliament (1426 and 1433); he acted as scabin or 
treasurer (1423), was entrusted with a silver-gilt cup and cover 
weighing 36^ ounces, belonging to the Merchants' Gild (1430), and he 
rose to be an alderman (1433). 

Later Burbage was sent to London by the Assembly (1474), 
during the Hilary term (expenses 39s. 2d.), and again the next year, 
when he was accompanied by William Nicholasson (part payment 
40s.). 



THE FUGITIVE KING. 19^ 

Despite the failure of 1482, another equally unsuccessful attempt 
was made during this reign to do away with the bishop's exclusive 
right to preside over 

THE LEET AND HUSTINGS COURTS.* 

Leei is really a contraction for " the Court Leet and View of 
Frank-pledge " ; it is also applied to the district subject to the juris- 
diction of this particular Court. Under the system introduced or 
perfected by King Alfred, all free male residents above 12 years of 
age were enrolled and divided into decennaries, made up of ten men, 
who were jointly responsible for the good conduct of each other. The 
one chosen as president or superintendent of each batch was known 
as the chief-pledge, the frank-pledge, or the headborough. The 
different decennaries were bound to assemble at stated times to con- 
sider the adequacy of their military defences, to repress offences 
against the King's peace, to enforce the removal of public nuisances, 
to inflict punishments according to law, and to exercise the functions 
of the police with regard to criminal delinquents. When summoned, 
every one was compelled to appear before the chief-pledge either 
personally or by proxy. The chief was accompanied by four good 
and lawful men, or affeerors, whose duty was to determine what fines 
were to be inflicted. 

The form of oath administered to the chief-pledge at Lenne runs 
thus : — " Sir, ye shall truly and duly inquire of all manner of articles 
that belong to the leet, and not spare for love nor hate, but truly 
present, after ye have truly inquired ; so help you God at the holy 
doom." To the affeerors (Anglo-Norman affeurer, to tax or assess), 
the four who attended with each chief-pledge, the following sacrament 
or oath was administered : — " Sirs, ye shall duly lay this leet that 
the headboroughs have presented and truly upon your discretions 
' officially fix the fine ' {affeeren) after their presentment, not sparing 
for love nor for hate; so help ye God at the holy doom." 

The words leet and lath are derivatives from the Anglo-Saxon 
lathian or gelathia-n, to assemble, and are both used to denote places 
where the freemen gathered together to transact business at the Court 
Leet. There are at the present time five laths or divisions, similar to 
hundreds (originally ten decennaries), in Kent.f 

At the Hustings Court (Scandinavian hus, a house, and thing, 
an assembly), deeds were enrolled, outlawries sued out, and replevins 
and writs of error determined. This court, which dates at least from 
the beginning of the nth century, had exclusive functions for the 
recovery of land. 

For a list of the town's Leet Rolls, Headboroughs' Books and Husting Court Rolls, see nth Report 
Hist. MSS. Com. (1887), pp. 210-211. 

Until the middle of the iqth centun,', Nelson Street was Lath or Lathe Street, a name often spelt 
according to the caprice of the writer; for example, Lathe (1535), Liith (1645), Lay (1809), and Ley (1845), 
all variants of the original Lath. Robert the Mayor (1375) was distinfjuished from other mayoral Roberts 
of whom there was no dearth, by being surnamed Atte Lath (at the Lath or Leet). Doubtless he dwelt 
where the folk-mote or leet assembled. Thomas Lathe, buried in Stradsett Church (1418), was a great 
favourite of Henry IV., who bestowed upon him forfeited lands and houses in South Lenae. 



200 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

The result of this movement was the issue of letters patent, dated 
at Westminster 6th of December, 13th year of this reign (1473), 
granting exemplification and inspeximus of — 

(aV Letters patent, Porchester, 24 June, 1346. \ 

(b). A brief patent, Windsor, 6 July, 1346. l Edw. III. 

(c). A brief patent, Westminster, 20 August, 1346. ) 
A charter was obtained the next year. 

C. 13 ; dated at Westminster, i6th July, 14th year of his reign (1474) confirming — 
(a). Charter (C. 10), Westminster, gth February, 1377. (Richard II.) 
m). Letters patent, 14th May, 1377-8. (Edw. III.) 
(c). „ „ Walton, loth July, 13 18. (Edw. II.) 

— and granting to the mayor and burgesses the custody of the town 
against hostile attacks by aliens, etc., the power to assess subsidies for 
the defence of the burgh and to distrain for the payment of the same ; 
reservation being made of all rights pertaining to the Bishop of 
Norwich and his successors. 

Other letters patent, dated at Westminster i6th December, ist 
year of this reign (1461), were issued, confirming letters patent of 
Henry IV. (1406), and granting licence to certain persons to establish 
the Gild of St. George in connection with the church of St. Margaret. 

BURGESSES IN PARLIAMENT. 

At the election in 1467, the elective committee consisted of six 
potentiores and an equal number of the secondary classes. The 
mayor, Ralph Geyton, chose 

four viz., two aldermen \ v, v, 

two common-council men ) "^^'^^ ^^°^® 
four viz., two aldermen 



two common-council men \ "*^^° ^^^^^ 
four viz., two aldermen 

two common-council men 

Hence, through the ward or constabulary members, the people 
had now an indirect interest in parliamentary elections. 

The members having discharged their parliamentary duties, met 
the burgesses in the Gild Hall, " declared the acts of Parliament," 
namely, " certain acts in writing and certain by word of mouth," and 
received their pay. 

During the first year of this reign, the borough was favoured 
with the presence of several distinguished guests, all " graced with 
polished manners and fine sense," which considerably swelled the 
chamberlains' disbursements. Prominently appear the names of 

LORD AND LADY DE SCALES. 

As early as the 12th century Middleton became the principal 
seat of this illustrious family, through the marriage of Roger de 
Scales (a descendant of Harlewin de Scalariis, Lord of Waddon, in 
Cambridgeshire) with Muriel, the daughter and coheiress of Jeffrey 
de Lisewis. Here the family settled, and, owning much property in 
the vicinity, wielded almost limitless power. Upon the site of the 
Castle, which for many years was the chief seat of the Scales, " the 
Towers " were subsequently built. 



THE FUGITIVE KING. 201 

Be it remarked inter alia, that Robert, the eldest son of Robert 
the 6th Lord Scales, succeeded his father as the 7th Lord de Scales 
(1402), and dying without issue (1418), the estates reverted to his 
brother Thomas, who also resided in Norfolk.* He was one whose 
factious disputes occasioned a visit from the Duke of Norfolk (1452). 
He died in 1 460-1. His son Thomas is believed to have died a 
minor; his daughter Elizabeth was, however, twice married: first to 
Henry Bourchier, the second son of Henry, Earl of Essex; and 
secondly to the Queen's brother Anthony Woodville, who was the 9th 
Lord Scales by virtue of his wife. In 1469 he became Lord Rivers. 

Grossly impolitic it would have been for any town to have 
slighted such important neighbours ; hence as soon as Lord Anthony 
entered into the possession of the estate at " Middelton," the Assembly 
voted Lady Elizabeth a congratulatory present, which cost siimma 
totalis seven shillings, including as it did six flagons of red and sweet 
wine (1461-2). Later in the year, Lord Scales visited Lenne for the 
first time, and was soon drinking wine in the house of Arnulph 
Tixonye, an hostelry to which the mayor and his friends resorted. 
Mindful of her ladyship, the Assembly sent two flagons and one 
bottle of red and two flagons of sweet wine to the Whitefriars' 
monastery, where she was staying. 

After a while Lord Scales left the town and "rode to the King " 
(1461-2). It seems indeed probable that the King was in Lenne this 
year, and tRnt, attended by a princely retinue, he witnessed the annual 
spectacular miracle play performed at the Feast of Corpus Christi. 
Seldom did our old nobility travel unattended by their minstrels ; and 
payments we find were made to the King^s jninstrels, as well as to 
those of Humphrey Bourchier the Lord de Cromwell, Richard Neville 
the Earl of Warwick, Sir John Howard the Duke of Norfolk, Lord 
Scales and other illustrious persons. Rewards, too, were given to a 
sergeant-at-arms, the bearer of a message from the King, and to 
another of His Majesty's servants, who brought a letter to the mayor, 
asking him to provide a supply of wheat. Wine was purchased to 
allay the thirst of William Fitz-Alan, the Lord Arundel ; Sir William 
Langostrother, the master of Carbrooke in Norfolk, and one of the 
famous Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, besides the 
" dearest dear " wife of John Twier, who was a great favourite. 
The mayor and the sword were actually trotted out on this auspicious 
occasion, and the preparatory cleaning — of the sword, not the mayor — 
cost four pence, whilst eighty pence was spent in covering the scabbard 
thereof with " cremesyne velvett." 

The Duke of Norfolk and Lord Scales were not whollv bent on 
pleasure, if reliance be placed on the Paston Letters. " Sir John 



• Carvings of the arms of Robert de Scales, (gules, six escallop shells, argent) and those of Robert 
Ufford, the Earl of Suffolk fsable, cross engrailed, or) whose daughter Catherine married Robert de Scales, 
may be seen in the chancel of St. Margaret's rhunh. Though public benefactors, the "good" they did, in 
many instances, is " interrred with their bones." 

The scallop, a frequent bearingon escutcheons, intimates that the bearer or his ancestors had undertaken 
some long sea voyage or been a crusader. 

2 C 



202 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Howard is come home," says the writer (he had been engaged in the 
war in Brittany, 1462), " and it is said that the Lord Scales and he 
have a commission to inquire why they of this county came not 
hastilier up after they were sent for." Were there any delinquents 
in Lenne? For the honour of the burgh, we trow not. 

OUR VICTUALLERS. 

Monasteries as places of accommodation and entertainment were 
only accessible to the very rich and the very poor. The first were 
tolerated, because as " paying guests," they augmented the friars' 
income by gifts and endowments. The squalid wayside taverns were 
too utterly wretched as abodes for persons of respectability and high 
social standing, hence the absolute necessity of not closing the 
monastic doors against them. The poor gained entrance through 
Christian charity alone, for the cheapest hostelries were far too 
expensive for their flaccid purses. Besides, inns were then by no 
means common, and knights were often constrained to sleep in barns 
and outhouses with their horses. They — the houses — not the knights 
— were known by their long projecting poles, at the end of which 
was a tuft of small branches. Believing in the proverb that " Good 
wine needs no bush," the English discontinued a practice that is still 
in vogue in Belgian villages. An idea of the exorbitant charges to 
which travellers submitted may be formed by carefully re-reading the 
expenses of the deputation to London (141 1). 

Besides the few decent and necessary hostelries to which we 
might have invited the less fastidious of our weary readers, there 
were, we blush to own, several taverns most infamously famous. The 
flagrant reputation of those frequenting these houses caused 
the Congregation much uneasiness. The rank Augean stables wanted 
a thorough cleansing, and Messrs. Caus and Company were not the 
men to shirk the Herculean task. Not only did they pass resolutions 
which were unusually drastic, but they instructed the common ser- 
geant to make public proclamation for the enlightenment of the be- 
nighted dwellers in this wicked town, so that the taverner, who never 
heard the curfew and whose doors stood open at " unsealable " hours, 
and the habitual tippler, whose maudlin songs disturbed the slumber 
of more respectable burgesses, might have no excuse, if so be they were 
detected. 

Be it therefore known to all and sundry, that the will and 
intention of the Congregation is to clear the town of drunken prowlers 
and common tapsters, to wit " misgoverned women." Henceforth 
a master employing such an one is liable to a fine of forty shillings 
for every offence, as is also the landlord who harbours such a tenant 
after friendly admonition from the mayor. Moreover, to stop pro- 
fane trading, the Congregation ordains that during harvest and in 
cases of unquestionable need the wine taverners may sell meat and 
victuals upon the Sabbath ; but if the butcher, the baker or the candle- 
stick-maker venture to supply even strangers whose credentials are un- 
impeachable, they shall each and all be fined eighty pence (30th 
October 1465). 



THE FUGITIVE KING. 203 

During this period the names of two or three inns are 
mentioned : — 

(i) The Bull, in the Chequer ward, occupied the site of what 
has within a few years past been rechristened the Earl of Beaconsfield 
tavern, High Street. It bore a bull as a sign, and was assessed at 
;^io in 1752. Here Lord Thomas de Scales stayed when he 
examined Master William Leech, otherwise known as ^^ le pelour,^' or 
robber (1457-8), as also did John de la Pole the Duke of Suffolk 

(1474-5)- 

In the Household and Privy Purse Accounts of the Le Stranges 

of Hunstanton two entries relate to this hostelry : — " Itm p'd to my 

host of the Bull at Lyn by the hands of the forsayd Robt. for a cagg 

of els, vs.... the xvij daye of Februarye for xxvj dosen candle, 

xxxijs. vj d. (1533-4)-" 

(2) The Bell was in the Kettlewell ward. The sergeant-at- 
arms was entertained here when he was the bearer of a writ ; a charge 
of 4s. 7d. for " horsemeat " was entailed (1446-7). John Cooper 
was " the innkeeper " in 1599, and Edward Kynton supplied 
" muskedyne " for the communion in 1639. The house was assessed 
at jQ2 13s. 4d. in 1752. The old sign of the Bell remained in 
Norfolk Street not many years since. 

(3) The Swan may be located in the Grassmarket, where an 
assault was committed, as given in the Gaol Delivery Rolls (1454-4). 

MUNICIPAL WINE-BIBBING. 

At times our records resemble a vintner's account more than 
anything else, yet many of the entries are justifiable. The expendi- 
ture was an investment, which was supposed to yield in some shape 
or other a good return. Not only was wine given to John de la Pole, 
the Duke of Suffolk, but to Sir Robert VVyngefeld the mayor pre- 
sented uno vase vini del Ricne (1473-4). Surely no burgess would be 
so captiously inclined as to object to a friend (who, by-the-bye, was 
the Controller of the Royal Household and a Knight of the Shire 
for the county of Norfolk), imbibing " a deep, deep draught of good 
Rhine wine," even though it cost the community thirty shillings, five 
of which was paid for the carriage to " Harley," or East Harling. 
Sir Robert VVyngefeld, or Wingfield (our forefathers and foremothers 
never displayed greater ingenuity than when spelling surnames), 
married the widowed daughter of Sir Robert Harling, and now pro- 
posed spending a while with his newly-adopted father-in-law. That 
magnificent specimen of mediaeval art, the east window in the parish 
church at East Harling, perpetuates the lineaments of Sir Robert, 
who died — and we cannot disown it — after drinking the alcoholic 
beverage sent by the well-disposed, though short-sighted folk of Lenne 
(1480). 

Other instances of wine-bibbing occurred when William Caus, the 
mayor-elect, presented himself at Gaywood before accepting the cus- 
tody of the town (1464);* when, as a duly installed Mayor, he, with 



* In 1688-9 the chapel-reeves of St. Nicholas paid " to Grace Smyth 3/ for two quarts of Clarrett at 
Gaywood Cort." Was not this " a custom more honour'd in the breach than the obser\'ance " ? 



204 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

his brethren, went about " to see the tenements of the community," 
in order to abate nuisances and check encroachments ; when Lord 
Cromwell passed through the burgh (1461-2); and when on the 13th 
day of December the Feast of the Virgin St. Lucy was celebrated, 
possibly by a miracle-play, at Middleton (1465). 

This deservedly celebrated maiden, the patron saint of 
Syracuse, was sore distressed because of a nobleman who was enrap- 
tured, if not mesmerised, by the amazing brilliancy of her eyes. 
Without hesitation Lucy tore them from their sockets and gave them 
to him, saying : " Now let me live to God." Sequel — heaven restored 
her eyesight ; the rejected lover thrust a sword through her neck 
because she lacked faith in Christ, and the virgin died. Lucy is 
represented in mediaeval paintings as waving a palm-branch and 
bearing a platter on which are two infatuating eyes. Other accounts 
attribute her martyrdom to the effects of red-hot pincers (a.d. 305). 

ALDERMANCY. 

Each of the nine unequal areas into which the town was divided 
for the advantages of local government was under the control of a 
superior officer, who was known as the captain or constable ; he was 
responsible for the maintenance of peace in his own district. At this 
time many of the townsfolk were dissatisfied and rebellious. To help 
these worthy officials, who were almost driven to desperation, the Con- 
gregation decided to appoint coadjutants from the influential " four- 
and-twenty " of the upper house. Nine jurats were chosen; some 
perhaps of whom were infants in the discriminating eye of the law, 
yet were they all to be henceforth dubbed Aldermen (eldermen). 
Every 

(l) WARD ALDERMAN 

was to work in conjunction with his own captain, their sole object 
being to quell disturbances and to pacify the riotous. They were — 
and in this they ought to be sincerely pitied — to listen patiently to 
all controversies and debates, and to speak a word in due season ; 
moreover, the effect of this magical word must " reduce " the raging 
disputants " to peace," rather than pieces as some deserved. 
Realising, perhaps, the truth subsequently expressed by Butler — 

He tliat complies against his will 
Is of his own opinion still, 

the Congregation earnestly besought the unruly to submit to the judg- 
ment of the aldermen and constables, but. anticipating difficulties, 
and, like the war-horse, " scenting the battle from afar off, the thunder 
of the captains and the shouting," they determined to debar the 
recalcitrant from taking their grievances to any court. To the 
spiritual as well as the temporal court their pleas should be inad- 
missible unless the applicant were armed with a special licence from 
the Mayor (12th March 1479). Ten years prior to this, when a 
constable was wanted to fill the place of John Blanche, an elective 
committee of eight was thought sufficient. The first four were chosen 
by the Mayor, and the complement by those first selected. Two, 



THE FUGITIVE KING. 205 

however, in each quartette, be it noted, belonged to the Upper and 
two to the Lower sections of the Assembly (13th December 1369). 

(2) GILD ALDERMAN. 

Just a month before the curtain was once again rung down on 
another of the many acts in the historical drama the varying scenes 
of which were laid in Lenne and the neighbourhood, it was necessary 
to elect another mayor (29th August 1476). William Nicholasson, 
whose year of office had nearly expired, stepped modestly upon the 
dais to nominate the first four of the elective committee. In so doing, 
he was merely following Roger Galyon's example, and complying 
with a custom established five-and-sixty years before. But he was 
quietly relegated to the obscure background, whilst the president of 
the Gild of the Holy Trinity stood prominently forward in a halo 
of municipal lime-light, asserting his right to do what the worthy 
mayor essayed to do. Surely this could not be legitimate business, 
yet we are told it was " in accordance with the form of an agreement 
in that respect made and exemplified under the king's great seal." 
Now Walter Coney was a favourite with the people, and deservedly 
so, for he added the beautiful Trinity chapel to St. Margaret's 
church, and had just commenced at his own cost the erection of the 
cross-aisle. With good grace William Nicholasson gave place to the 
benevolent veteran, but the burgesses were fearful lest their right 
should be infringed by the election of four potentiores. 

Walter Coney nominated four, who nominated four, and conjointly 
the eight nominated the remaining four. By careful comparison the 
status of six out of the twelve members can be determined. Four 
belonged to the common council, one was an alderman, and one is 
described as "of the community." Though Walter Coney did what 
the mayor had usually done, he certainly conformed with the usages 
of the time, because two at least (John Trunch and William Rawlyn) 
of the four he named were unquestionably of the twenty-seven who 
represented the constabularies. Of the other two — John Ernesby and 
Edmund Bawsey, the waterman — nothing definite shall be said, but 
as their names occur neither in the mayoral list nor with the potentiores, 
the chances are in favour of their being either outside burgesses or 
members of the common council. 

So far, well and good ; the anxiety of the populace is assuaged, 
for the retrogressive movement, to which they deferentially 
submitted, has resulted in no curtailment of their rights. 
Mutual gratulations, from rich and poor, are heard. Every- 
body is delighted ; the haughty merchant grasps the humble artisan 
by the hand, because, though moving in different social planes, they 
have one common object at heart — the moral and commercial prosperity 
of the town in which they dwell. As the excited burghers burst from 
the narrow confines of the Trinity hall, they are surrounded by inquisi- 
tive crowds, who, hearing how the merchant alderman had supported 
the democracy, raise a prolonged cheer. And now may the curtain 
slowly unwind, whilst the throbbing bells outpour a sonorous yet 
emphatic benediction. Inarticulate hubbub, say you ? By no means, 



206 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

my friend. To those of the folk of Lenne who listen aright, the 
message of St. Margaret's bells, so fraught with meaning, is well 
expressed by the words from the lips of a modern singer : — 

Ring out false pride in place and blood, 
And civic slander and the spite, 
Ring in the love of truth and right, 

Ring in the common love of good. 

# * * * * 

Edward IV. visited Walsingham in the middle of September 
1482, and made a progress through some parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, 
Unfortunately attacked by a slight ailment, which was disregarded, 
but which developed into a serious disorder, he died on the 9th of 
April 1483, and was buried at Windsor. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Ooi" Lady of the Mount. 

Edward V. had scarcely attained his kingly inheritance, when, by 
the cruel machinations of his "dear uncle " Richard, Duke of 
Gloucester, Protector of the kingdom, he was deposed, dethroned, 
and with his brother Richard, the Duke of York, murdered in the 
Tower. He reigned but a few months, being only thirteen years of 
age when he came to the throne (9th April 1483). The two brothers 
are believed to have been put to death in August, by Forest and 
Deighton, the subordinates of Sir James Tyrrel. 

***** 

Edward V., who was probably at Ludlow, did not hear of his 
father's death until the 14th. On the i6th he addressed a letter to 
the Mayor and his brethren at Lenne, which was read at the Con- 
gregation held on the 24th. 

THE king's letter. 

, . . Trusti and welbelovyd We grete you well, and where as it hath 
pleased [God] to take out of this transitory lyf the most victorious Christen 
Prince of famous memory King Edward the iiijth our kynd loving lord, and 
fader, whos soule God of his infinite mercye pardon, The lamentable and most 
sorowfuUe tydinges therof was shewed unto us the xiiij daye of this present 
moneth, which stered us to alle sorowe and pensyfnes (pensiveness), yit remem- 
bryng that we be alle mortal 1 and nedely must obey goddes ordenaunce and take 
it therfor as we shalle doo al thynges obeisantly after his will, And where (as) it 
hath pleased hym to ordeigne and provide us to succede and enherite my seid 
lord and fader in the preemynence and dignite Royalle of the Crowne of 
Englond and Fraunche, We entend by hym that sendeth alle power with the 
feithful assistence of you and other our true and lovyng subgettes so to governe, 
rule and protecte this our Realmo of Englonde as shalbe to his pleasyr oure 
honor and the wele (weal) and suerte of all oure subgettes in the same and to be 
att oure Cite of London in all convenient haste by goddes grace to be crowned 
at Westminstre, Willyng and charging you to se that our peax (peace) be surely 



OUR LADY OF THE MOUNT. 207 

kepte and good governaunce had within the tovvn of Lynne, Not fayling to 
excute our commandement and your auctorite in that behalfe favour or dewte 
of eny persons what estate or degre he be offe as ye entende our singler pleasure 
and your trewe acquittal therin ye shal deserve of us speciall thankes, Yeven 
undre our signet at our Castell of Ludlowe the xvj day of April [1483]. 

* * * # * 

On the 26th of June 1483 Edward V. was deposed; the next 
day the arch-hypocrite Gloucester hastened to Westminster, and, 
seating himself upon the throne, coolly declared himself King by 
inheritance and election. He and his wife, the widow of Prince 
Edward (killed after the battle of Tewkesbury), were crowned on the 
6th of the next month. 

During this short but eventful reign nothing of importance 
transpired in Lenne. It seems uncertain whether Richard III. 
visited our burgh at all ; he was at Rising, however, on one occasion, 
for a letter he then addressed to a friend is extant. Therein he 
confesses : " I am not so wel purveide of money as it behoves me to 
be, and therfor [I] pray you, as my specyal trust is in you, to lend 
me a hundreth pound " (until the following Easter). 

CHARTER. 

The usurper's policy was a conciliatory one; his earliest acts 
were to bestow rewards on those who had assisted him in securing 
the crown, and in several instances he shewed himself superior to 
petty feelings of revenge. Neither was he remiss in bestowing 
charters. As a rule, the benefits conferred were as nothing when 
compared with the effusions of kindness and friendship therein 
expressed. Our town was one of the grateful recipients. 

C. 14. Dated at Westminster, 21st February, the first year of his reign (1484). 

It merely reiterated and confirmed that of Edward IV. (C. 13 ; 1474). 
Letters patent dated 21st February, 1484. 

" THE RED MOUNT, ' ' 

or the Chapel of St. Mary on the Hill (the Gannock), now claims 
attention.* " If other buildings attract notice by their magnitude, 
this deserves it from its peculiar smallness. It is so well proportioned, 
yet so extremely diminutive, that it seems like a beautiful model for 
a much larger edifice, or it may not improperly be denominated 
a cathedral for Lilliputians." (Rev. E. Edwards.) Dedicated 
to "Our Lady the Virgin Mary," this wayside oratory, built in the 
fashion of a cross, is enclosed in an octagonal shell of red brick. 
Between is a double staircase, which afforded easy ingress and 
egress to the throngs of worshippers, who entered by one door 
and departed by the other. The building, buttressed at each 
angle, is made up of three storeys. In the upper, is the beautiful 
cruciform chapel (18 feet by 14J feet, and 13 feet in height), 
which is a unique specimen of the later Perpendicular style, the 

• The church of St. Mary Magdalen, at Woolwich, is near " Our Lady Hill." The original building is 
believed to have been dedicated to " Our Blessed Lady the Virgin " ; but the second to St. Mary Magdalen 
by which name it was known as for back as 1455. 



208 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

ornaments and panelling being of the most florid character. " The 
fan tracery is on the same principle as that of King's College, 
the works of which were then going on; and it may be that masons 
from Cambridge were the carvers, though that building does not 
shew such refinement in the mouldings and carved wood as this." 
(Mr. E. M. Beloe.)* The walls are pierced with square openings 
filled with elaborate tracery ; thus, when there was not room in the 
chapel, those crowded in the adjacent passage could witness the 
elevation of the host. The floor of the lower chapel (bassa ecclesia), 
which is now bereft of plaster and pavement, is on a level with the 
Gannock. Between these chapels are two rooms, vaulted in brick 
and communicating with each other, which were used by the 
officiating priests. 

(l) ITS ERECTION. 

Short, yet interesting, is the story of the rearing of this 
sacred edifice. With commendable motives, William Spynk, the 
prior of Lenne, determined upon building a small oratory for the 
accommodation of the multitude of pilgrims who wended their way 
through Lenne to the miraculous shrine at Walsingham. The site 
chosen was an ancient embankment, beyond the eastern boundary 
of the burgh. Without further ado, the prior commenced the 
projected building, but the Corporation, disputing his right, ordered 
William Yates, one of the chamberlains, to warn Robert Curraunce 
(a name spent in many ways) that he was wrong in appropriating 
the land without having first obtained the consent of the Mayor 
and Commons (24th April 1483). Thus was the work abruptly 
brought to a standstill. The Congregation, however, approving the 
the prior's laudable intention, appointed a small committee, consisting 
of the mayor, Thomas Thoresby, the church-reeves, William 
Nicholasson and William Burbage, to interview and " commune 
with the prior for the ground of the hill called [prospectively and 
for the first time] the Lady of the Mount, for the weal of the 
Commons " (June i6th). The work was, notwithstanding, suspended, 
and the enterprise remained in abeyance until the 25th of January 
1485, when the Congregation unanimously agreed to grant Robert 
Curraunce licence to build the proposed chapel on " Ladye Hylle," — 
on the ground belonging to the community, providing he found 
sureties satisfactory to Henry Spylman and M. Fyncham, and that 
he moveover pledged himself not to deprive the people of their 
common grazing ground. At the best this was a vague agreement. 
However, during the mayoralty of Thomas Wright, the following 
resolution was passed : — 

Agreed that the prior shall have al the grounde that the Lady of the mount 
stonde upon with the Grasing round the barr from the gannoke on to the clowe 
[sluice at the Purfleet] as long as it pleaseth the Meyer and the Comons, for the 
whyche Lese [lease] the Prior of Norwiche and the saide Prior shall give to the 

* The late Rev. R. Hart was inclined to treat this as the only specimen in the county {Antiq. Norf., 
1844, p. 30], there are, however, vestiges of fan tracery in the arch (south side) at the South Gates. May 
not these fragments be some of the discarded materials from St. Mary's Chapel in the Chapel of St. 
Nicholas (1413), which were used, more than once, when rebuilding the " Gates " ? 



OVR LADY OF THE MOUNT. 209 

said Meyer and Comons a medow plotte lying at the Mille called the Mille 
Medow as the ferme rent thereoffe'(6th May 1485). 

There was a further stipulation, that the prior should find 
four tapers for the two great candlesticks at the high altar. 

Harrod says Robert Curraunce began the building, which was 
completed by the prior. We are, however, inclined to agree 
with Mr. Beloe, that Robert Curraunce was a local builder engaged 
in carrying out the prior's design. 

To the popularity of the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham we 
are indebted for this remarkable edifice. By far the greater number 
of the devotees passed through Lenne on their way thither. Those 
from abroad cast anchor in our haven; those from the northern 
counties took ship at Long Sutton and crossed the Wash to Lenne ; 
and those from the west came by the only road by which the 
county could be traversed and that led through our burgh. It 
seems likely there was a modest chapel on this site before tTie 
erection of the "Red Mount," because William March gave 6/8 to 
the fabric of St. Mary the Virgin upon the Gannock Hill, and his 
will was proved the same year (1480) in the Prerogative Court, that 
is, three years before Robert Curraunce started building. 
Subsequently, in a survey of the town, we meet with Mount House, 
"a cundytt of recept," that is, a receptacle for the storage of 
water (1577)- 

Vulgar minds suggest there was profit to the prior, for the people made 
great offerings to this altar. But was that to his profit ? The prior was the 
promoter of the work and the receiver of the offerings. By the rules of his order 
there could be no children of his to whom he could leave his substance ; he 
accounted for every farthing to his superior at Norwich ; he at least was 
unselfish. He, by his work, expressed and led the religious feeling of the time, 
and it is impossible to judge the ideas of the 15th century by Ihose of the 
19th. (Mr. E. M. Beloe.) * 

(2) A PROTOTYPE IN FRANCE. 

The Red Mount at Lynn is — " so far as we know, unique in this 
country," writes the late Mr. G. Webster in Hunstanton and its 
Neighbour Jiood, " but at Amboise, in the south of P'rance, the 
travelk-r may see one of similar construction, dedicated to St. Hubert. 
It is somewhat larger, and even more beautiful, and we are ashamed 
to add, that it is far better cared for than our elegant relic." 
Messrs. Feasey and Curties refer to the same structure in Our Lady 
of Walsingham (1901), p. 18. 

At first sight it appears remarkable that our Red Mount 
should be the replica of an oratory in the south of France. How 
conies it that two buildings practically alike are situated in different 
countries and so far apart? What constituted the bond of affinity 
between the people of Amboise and those of Lenne? It must, 
we think, be primarily attributed to the widespreading propaganda of 
the order of St. Benedict. For five or six centuries the growth 

* For an excellent dctailpd ficcouiit of this extraordinary buildinj;; read Our Lady's Hill and the Chaptl 
Ihei-eon (1884), by Mr. E. M. Beloe ; also see Harrod's Deeds and Records vf Lynn, pp. 49- jj, and an account 
by the l^ev. li. Edwards in Brilton's Archiltctural Antiquitiei (1807). 

2 D 



210 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

and development of this brotherhood was most rapid. St. Augustine, 
whom Pope Gregory sent hither, was prior of the Benedictine 
monastery of St. Andrew at Rome, and was accompanied by several 
Benedictine monks (a.d. 596). In course of time, as the 
outcome of this important movement, many monasteries were founded 
in this country, and all our cathedral priories, with one solitary 
exception, belonged to this order. 

Amboise, a small manufacturing town of about 5,000 
inhabitants, is situated upon the left bank of the Loire, some 
12 miles east of Tours. To the west of Amboise, however, is a far 
more important place, namely Angers. As our gleanings anent 
Amboise are lamentably scarce, let us consider a few facts, which 
go to prove that Angers was well known in this part of England, 
and then, by a sort of narrowing process, try to shew the connection, 
if any really existed, between our town and Amboise. 

(i) In 1075 Ivo Taillebois derived great satisfaction from 
cruelly persecuting the inoffensive people of Crowland, and 
particularly the monks belonging to the abbey. Connected with 
this brotherhood was a cell at Spalding with a wooden chapel 
dedicated to St. Mary, which was at length abandoned because of 
the intolerable tyranny of this powerful Norman. Taking even 
greater advantage, Ivo wrote to Natalis, the lord abbot of 
St. Nicholas at Angers, entreating him to send brethren to take 
possession of the deserted place, promising to build and richly 
endow a convenient cell for the accommodation of a prior and 
five monks. " Accordingly the monks of Angers came and took 
possession of our cell," writes Ingulph, "and thus before our very 
eyes do foreigners devour our lands." Sixteen years later the abbot 
of Crowland appealed to the king respecting the ownership of the 
marsh of Crowland. Richard decided in favour of the abbot (iiqi), 
but Jocelyn, abbot of Angers, appealed during the next reign, when 
the scales were turned and the previous decision reversed, " to the 
no small detriment of the church of Crowland " (1206), 

(2) For seven years (11 77-1 184) Henry II. held his court 
at Angers, when he built the magnificent Hospital, which forms 
an important link between the architecture of England and France. 
From the north flocked the nobles of Normandy, and from the 
south the prelates of Guienne, to the King's court, where they 
met multitudes of august visitors from England. There was, 
moreover, at this time an alarming famine in Anjou, and our 
King generously undertook to feed the starving people of that 
province for six months. No wonder the French and English were 
then friendly. 

(3) Allen de Zouche founded a cell to the monastery of 
SS. Sergius and Baccus (Angers) at Swavesey, ten miles from 
Cambridge (circa 1075). There was a Benedictine nunnery, too, at 
Denny, near Waterbeach, in the same neighbourhood, to which 
belonged the presentation of the vicarage of Godeston (Gooderston 
in Norfolk). 



OUR LADY OF THE MOUNT. 211 

(4) William Anger (or Aunger), the vicar of Godeston, 
exchanged livings with Henry de Basser (or Basset), the vicar of 
All Saints, South Lenne (1352). Anger was his paternal name, 
the family no doubt belonging originally to France, but he was 
oftener called William of Swavesey, "from the place of his birth." 
(Blomefield.) 

(5) John Norris, vicar of All Saints, South Lenne, bequeathed 
13s. 4d. to Dame Alice Spicer, " nunne of Denny," to pray for his 
soul, and i6s, 8d. to the nuns generally; also to the nuns of 
Blakeburgh (near Middleton) 6s. 8d. for the same purpose (7th March 

1503)- 

(6) Anger (or in modern spelling Ainger) as a surname is 
common; for example, 1298, Anger de Lenne; 1271, Anger de 
Rysing; 1573, Edward Aimger (smith); 1685, John Aunger (baker); 
and John Ainger of Friars Street, who faithfully served his Queen 
and country during the Russian war (1855). 

From the foregoing scraps of inform.ation it may be seen 
how closely Crowland, Spalding, Swavesey, Denny (Waterbeach), 
and indirectly perhaps Gooderston were connected with the 
Benedictine brotherhood at Angers, just in the same way as was 
the priory at Castleacre affiliated with the convent at Caen in 
Normandy. We learn besides how the vicar of All Saints' church, 
whose family no doubt migrated from Angers, was born at Swavesey, 
and how the nuns of Denny presented the youthful scholar — their 
"William of Swavesey" with the living of Gooderston, near 
Swaffham, and how he ultimately settled in Lenn. It seems feasible 
that the monks at our priory might have been introduced to the 
monks of Angers or Amboise through William Angers, the vicar 
of South Lenne. 

What is still more convincing is the existence of a deed executed 
in 1390 and now in possession of our Corporation. By this 
remarkable instrument the abbot of the monastery of SS. Sergius 
and Baccus at Angers appointed John Tournedon prior of the 
cell at the priory at Swavesey in Cambridgeshire, which was an 
offshoot of the French monastery. The new prior belonged to an 
influential Lenne family ; for Peter de Thurendine (or Tourenden) 
wa.s mayor in 1288 and again in 1309. John de Thurendine was 
mayor in 1303, and moreover a certain John de Thoryndeyn witnessed 
a deed in 13 16. 

Enough has been said, without referring to the already- 
mentioned convention known as the Treaty of Amboise, which was 
ratified by the Lancastrian parliament (1470)? to shew that the 
beautiful oratories at Bishop's Lenne and Amboise owe their origin 
to the friendly intimacy between the English in this part of the 
kingdom and the French living in Angers and the surrounding 
district. 

(3) THE fiddler's FATAL VENTURE, 

Opinion is somewhat divided about the existence of a 
mysterious subterranean passage leading to the castle at Rising (!) 



212 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

It is said that an adventurous bacchanalian fiddler once determined 
to explore the gloomy passage: — 

A bottle of grog 

He took, and his dog, 
And fiddled right merrily ; 

And a lantern, light, 

With a cord tied tight 
Around his waist, had he. * 

• — On entering the vault he struck up a lively tune, and those 
assembled to see the wager fairly won were positive they heard 
the fiddle distinctly enough to trace his underground course for a 
mile at least. Then, as they affirmed, the melody suddenly ceased. 
How patiently they waited for the return of the intrepid 
explorer ! but from that day to this the heroic Curtius never emerged. 
The rescue party, who courageously attempted to follow, were, alas ! 
compelled to retrace their steps, or they, because of the overpowering 
effect of the foul air, must assuredly have succumbed to a like fate. 
Strange, however, to relate, the intelligent dog found his way back, 
seemingly none the worse. 

We are reminded of the celebrated Dog's Grotto, not far from 
Naples. Here carbonic acid gas (carbon dioxide) is freely discharged, 
and being heavier than common air, a dense stratum settles upon 
the floor of the cavern. A person tall enough to breathe the 
air above may enter with impunity, whereas a dog is instantly 
affected. Asphyxia, however, quickly passes off if the dog be 
exposed to a cuirent of pure air. In the story just related, things 
are crassly reversed; there is, indeed, no accounting for the 
startling instances of topsy-turveydom encountered in the misty 
realm of romance. Similar underground passages are said to extend 
between the Gild Hall and the old Carmelite monastery near 
Blakeney church, and between Binham and Walsingham, where a 
bank called "the Fiddler's Hill" commemorates a like remarkable 
event. The climax — the eternal disappearance of the too 
venturesome musician — is the same as in the Lynn tradition. t The 
veracity of the incident in the second example is, however, proof 
against the assaults of those who would expunge from our memories 
the valiant deeds of bygone generations, because "Jimmy Griggs" 
and his canine friend "Trap" were characters well known to the 
great-grandfathers of many of the unimpeachable inhabitants of 
Binham. 

Granted (protests the reader) that the narrative of the Lynn 
fiddler is far-fetched — fetched, it may be, all the way from Blakeney, 
but surely you will not presume to demolish the facts that Queen 
Isabella traversed the damp, gloomy passage (only four and a-half 
miles long!) when she came up to worship at the Red Mount, 
and that Edwnrd IV., when put to flight by the Earl of Warwick, 
was constrained to "put up for the night "in this wayside chapel. 



* A ballad by Charles Utting, entitleU " The Fiddler among the Imps " (1885), treats this local tradition 
poetically. 



See 



J An underground passage at Bury St. Edmunds was similarly entered bv a too presumptuous fiddler. 
Gillingwater's Hist. Account of Si. Edmund's, Bury (1804), p. 93. 



OVR LADY OF THE MOUNT. 213 

By no means. We leave the iconoclastic process to other hands, 
merely adding that when the Queen came, she undoubtedly preferred 
the " low road " to the high road, but her visits must necessarily 
have been rarer than angels' footsteps, because she died 146 years 
before the building was erected ; and that the King visited Lenne 
fifteen years prior to the laying of the foundation stone. 

Recent excavations indisputably prove that the awful passage 
of our schoolboy days, the entrance of which is now bricked up, 
only led to a door on the west, through which the pilgrims were 
admitted to the lower chapel. This portal, once flanked with low 
walls, is beneath the embankment.* 

THE ICELAND FISHERY. 

When the nation at large was in a great measure dependent 
upon a supply of stock-fish, the fishery off the coast of Iceland was 
of incalculable importance. P'rom time to time quarrels arose 
between the Icelanders and the fishermen of Lenne, who in their 
tiny open boats fearlessly sailed into latitudes which would now 
appal the most plucky Northender. 

To avoid national complications, our Assembly decided, it would 
be wise to restrain these aggressive fellows from pursuing their calling 
in such dangerous parts. Whereupon the Assembly ordered them 
to desist, under pain of forfeiting their liberty as well as their 
goods. To strengthen their hands, the community sent a petition 
to the King's council, praying that, before anything more serious 
happened, " the navigation to Iceland '^ might be entirely prohibited 
(13th February 1426). Their suit was successful. A letter from 
Thomas Beaufort, the Duke of Exeter, was placed before the 
Corporation, authorising them to restrain any ships likely to sail 
(15th April 1426). 

After a lapse of nearly sixty years, however, the animosity 
had not subsided; hence Richard issued a proclamation that none 
were to venture into troubled waters without a royal licence. 
Having obtained their permits, the fishermen of Norfolk and Suffolk, 
" wele harnyssed and appareled for suretie," were to meet in the 
Humber, and proceed from thence under the protection of the 
King's ships. Thus the fishermen of Lenne set sail, and we trust 
the King's command was not forgotten : — 

Remember that ye dessever not, without tempest of weder compelle you, 
but that ye keep you togeder, aswele going into the said parties as in your 
retourne unto this our realme, without any wilfull breche to the contrarie, upon 
payn of forfaiture of your shippes and goodes (1484). 

* * * * * 

Henry, Earl of Richmond, a lineal descendant of John of Gaunt, 
put out from Harfleur with forty ships, intending to dispute 

• Prior to 1862 the west window of the upper chapel contained portions of stained glass, upon one of 
which was depicted in bold outlines a female head with a radiating nimbus (yellow and white); also, in 
one section of the quatretoil was the merchant or trade mark of William de Bitterini;, mayor in 1352 and 
1353- -^ similar design was in a window in the south aisle of St. Nicholas' chapel near his grave (Cooper 
MS.). During the middle ages, glass windows, constructed in wooden frames, were carried with the family 
when travellmg as movable furniture. [Hallam's Middle Ages, 1853, Vol. III., p. 353.] The stained glass 
was probably brought from liittering's House in Hopman's Way (Austin Street) and placed in the Red 
Mount after his decease. 



2U HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Richard's right to the throne; he landed at Milford Haven, but the 
King, not knowing where his enemy might disembark, repaired to 
Nottingham because of its central position. The rival armies met 
at Bosworth, in Leicestershire (27th of August 1485). Richard III., 
in the midst of the fight, rushed forward to slay his antagonist, but he 
was himself overpowered and despatched. His remains were interred 
in the Grey Friars' monastery at Leicester. 



CHAPTER XX. 

The Building of the Temple. 

The accession of the Earl of Richmond to the throne, as Henry VIL, 

brought to an end the long and sanguinary contest between the Houses 

of York and Lancaster (22nd August 1485). The following year the 

King wisely married the Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward 

IV. and Elizabeth Woodville, thus founding a dynasty which for 

more than a hundred years guided the destinies of England with ability 

and success. 

* * -x- * * 

At the outbreak of the insurrection in 1487, when a youth named 
Lambert Simnel was induced to personate the Earl of Warwick, the 
son of the Duke of Clarence, then a prisoner in the Tower, Henry 
undertook a solemn pilgrimage into Norfolk, in order to implore the 
assistance and protection of " the Lady of Walsingham." The 
King's progress through East Anglia may be clearly traced by the 
writs issued during his journey. Accordingly, he is found at East 
Harling the 9th February, . . . Bury St. Edmunds the 4th, 5th, 
and 8th of April, Walsingham the i8th, Thetford the 19th, and at 
Cambridge on the 20th. 

The next month Simnel was crowned at Dublin as Edward VI. ; 
shortly afterwards he landed at Furness, upon the coast of Lancashire, 
the 4th of June, and on the i6th his rebel army was completely over- 
thrown at Stoke in Nottinghamshire. Henry, attributing his success 
to the divine interposition of the Blessed Virgin, sent the royal banner 
as a votive offering to her shrine at Walsingham. 

SANCTA CASA, WALSINGHAM. 

A second impostor caused much trouble for five years. This was 
Perkin Warbeck, the son of respectable parents living in Tournay. 
With consummate effrontery he declared himself to be none other than 
Richard, Duke of York, whom most persons believed to have been 
murdered in the Tower. A glance at the history of our nation reveals 
a career of unbounded impudence : — Warbeck's unexpected landing 
at Cork, and his hasty retirement to France, where he met with 
encouraging assurances from ISLargaret, the dowager duchess of 
Burgundy, who insisted that he was indisputably the " White Rose 
of England " (1492); the summary execution of Lord Fitz-Walter, Sir 
Simon Mountford and other zealous adherents ; the disastrous descent 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 215 

upon the Kentish coast, coupled with the despatch of one hundred 
and sixty-nine rebels (1495); the indiscreet protection accorded by 
James IV. of Scotland (1497); the Pretender's visit to Ireland, and 
the siege of Exeter, so quickly terminating in a search for sanctuary 
in the New Forest ; and — the final scene in the historic intermezzo — 
Perkin Warbeck's surrender, confession and the mock triumph which 
awaited him in London. 

As the crisis slowly drew near, Henry became more and more 
mindful of how, endowed as it were with superhuman strength, he 
had vanquished Simnel. He therefore determined to revisit Walsing- 
ham. Let us patiently retrace his footsteps. This " progress " is 
of great importance because the royal itinerary included the burgh of 
Bishop's Lenne. 

Henry instructed Richard Fox, the Bishop of Durham, to treat 
wath the Scots for the surrender of Warbeck (5th July 1497); and 
a month later, when the impostor landed in Ireland, he addressed a 
letter to the mayor of the city of VVaterford, commending the burgesses 
for their former loyalty in informing him when Simnel landed at 
Cork. The next day Henry and his suite arrived at Thetford, from 
whence they at once proceeded to Norwich and Walsingham. On the 
nth the King entered Lenne, where he seemed to have stayed two 
nights. Besides 3s. 4d. given at the altar of " Our Lady of the 
Mount," other gifts amounting to 13s. 4d. were moreover bestowed. A 
letter dated the 12th, and most likely written in Lenne, was sent to Sir 
Gilbert Talbot, ordering him to repair at once to Woodstock " with 
six score tall men on horseback," as Perkin had landed in Cornwall. 
On the 14th the King was at Bury St. Edmunds, the i8th at Thetford, 
and the night of the 20th was spent with Edmund Knyvett (whose 
son Thomas was knighted in 15 10), at the castle of Old Buckenham, 
from whence the King must have written the letter to Oliver King, 
the Bishop of Bath and Wells, respecting the siege of Exeter. A 
halt was made at Norwich on the 21st, and the next day the King 
was entertained at Blickling by Sir William Boleyn and his son 
(or son-in-law) Thomas, who had recently been fighting against the 
Cornish rebels. Thomas Thoresby (the second son of Thomas 
Thoresby, of Lenne, of whose good deeds notice must ere long be 
taken), who married Anne the doughty knight's fair daughter. The 
next day found his Majesty a humble suppliant before the transcen- 
dent shrine at Walsingham. 

In the annals of Lenne, Saturday the 25th of August 1498, was 
destined to be evermore distinguished as 

A RED-LETTER DAY. 

The clatter of hurrying footsteps and the mumbling of suppressed 
voices roused many a drowsy sleeper, and those who could not appease 
their inquisitiveness sprang from their beds, threw open the casements, 
and Brabantio-like ilemanded : "What's the matter there?" The 
answer, curtly given, did not, however, allay the confusion. The 
news spread from street to street with the velocity of wildfire, and 
before the trailing curtains of the night were well tucked back, the 



216 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

sergeant might have been seen fitfully rushing hither and thither 
summoning the somnolent members of the Assembly to an extra- 
ordinary meeting. His Majesty the King, on the way from VValsing- 
ham to Ely, graciously deigned breaking his journey at Bishop's 
Lenne ; the Mayor therefore called his brethren in council together at 
an unusual hour to consider how they could most fittingly entertain 
the royal guest and his attendants. 

The most cordial unanimity prevailed ; hence, at noon, as pre- 
arranged, the civic fathers, accompanied by the more influential of the 
burgesses, set out from the Mercate of St. Margaret, just opposite the 
palatial residence of the late Walter Coney, to meet their lord and 
sovereign — by the grace of God and his own perseverance — the seventh 
Henry, " King of England, and of France, and Lord of Ireland." 
Through the Mercers' Row, over the Purfleet, along the Briggate, and 
then turning sharply to the right, a crowd of loyal burghers wended 
their way across the Grassmarket, and following the course of the 
Damgate, emerged from beneath the dilapidated arch at the East 
Gate into the sparsely peopled district beyond the walls of the town. 
Along the Mawdelyn Causeway the eager procession pursued its 
course, passing the bretask at Roude's Hill, the Hermitage of St. 
Katherine and the Bordin Bridge* which, spanning the Gaywood 
rivulet, led to Goldsmith's garden and the salince or salt-pans (Salters' 
Road), on the left ; and the Marble Cross (a landmark between the 
burgh and the township of Gaywood), prostrate before which was a 
group of Walsingham pilgrims, and the Hospital of St. Mary 
Magdalen, from the lattices of which the brethren and sisters stared 
with surprise, on the right. After awhile, the road bearing abruptly 
towards the north and leading to the Chase at Rising, was taken. 

The richly apparelled cavalcade halted at Witton Gap, where the 
bridle paths diverged, and then Thomas Trewe, the mayor, arranged 
his company, adhering strictly to the unwritten rules of precedence. 
First, that is, next to himself, came Thomas Thoresby, deputy-mayor 
by virtue of being alderman of the Gild of the Holy Trinity, then 
the members of the august Congregation — the four-and-twenty alder- 
men, and the seven-and-twenty councillors — next followed the four 
chamberlains, the burgh clerk John Tygo, and the other minor officers, 
with a score or more artisans and tradesmen, more or less disguised in 
robes of State, representing the various gilds. 

It was a sombre autumnal day, yet the grey vista of trees, into 
which the crowd continued to peer, seemed sprinkled with gleams of 
scattered sunshine. It was, however, only a beautiful freak of the 
season — tiny patches of new and brighter foliage, which had burst 
forth since midsummer, and which still retained the brilliancy of 
spring, though embedded in yellow, withered leaves. 

After a while the gorgeous pageant appeared, heralded by a 
blast of trumpets which startled the expectant throng. Slowly and 

5= Bordin Brigge (1629), boarding brigs (1631) and board bridge (1641) appear in the churchwardens 
books. Possibly this word comes from board, board-en ; similarly wood, wood-en ; there was, however, a 
Saxon Freeman named Bordin, from whom Hcrmerus de Ferraiis grabbed 60 acres of laud in Gayton. 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 217 

with courtly grace the King saluted the Mayor and those who were 
with him. On one side was his mother, Margaret, Countess of Derby ; 
on the other the queen, the beauteous Ehzabeth of York. In the 
royal suite were John de Vere the Earl of Oxenford, Edmund de la 
Pole the Earl of Suffolk (beheaded alas! in 15 13), Henry Bouchier 
the Earl of Essex, Edward Courtenay the Earl of Devonshire, Henry 
Algernon Percy the Earl of Northumberland, Oliver King, formerly 
of Exeter, but now Bishop of Bath and Wells, Thomas Savage, the 
Bishop of London, lately translated from Rochester, Lord Daubeney, 
who succeeded the unfortunate Sir William Stanley as Chamberlain 
of England, Lord John St. John of Basing, Lord Zouche (whose 
forfeited honours had been but recently restored), and many other 
gallant knights, who not only swelled the number but added to the 
prestige of the royal escort. 

After mutual congratulations the journey was resumed, but 
although the distance was short, progress was tediously slow, because 
the track through the undergrowth was almost lost in places. At 
length the joyous company entered the town by the East Gate. Can 
you not hear the voice of Thomas Trewe, proud man that he was, 
describing the points of interest as they passed along ? ..." To 
the right, your majesty, is the Hospital of St. Lawrence, and some 
of the brethren, you may observe, are visiting the lepers on the Lazar 
Hill ; and here is the Mill Fleet which drives my lord the Bishop's 
mill, for we are in the Newland ; and to the left, your majesty, is the 
Chapel of St. John the Baptist ; and now we cross the bridge and turn 
from the Damgate into Hopman's Way. . . . Ah, here we are, 
your majesty, at last — the Convent of St. Augustine, and yonder 
stands the prior with the deacons, and the brethren, and the acolytes, 
their faces all aglow with welcome." 

What a grand reception awaited the royal guests. For the 
Assembly determined with one voice to eclipse the generosity of their 
predecessors, if, indeed, it were possible. The bill of fare was 
varied and abundant, and included the following significant items : — 
" Ten great ])ikes, ten tenches, three couple of breams, twelve swans, 
two oxen, twenty sheep and thirty dozen bread," for the adequate 
cooking of which " two loads of wood " were provided. Moreover, 
" a tun of wine, two tuns of ale and two tuns of beer " were 
already broached. For the Mayor's friends a pipe of wine was 
specially voted by the Congregation. 

How the King and Queen and courtiers spent the Sabbath we are 
left to surmise ; perhaps they attended St. INLargaret's church and 
were delighted with the service conducted by prior William Berdeney. 
On the Monday, his Majesty, accompanied by the Mayor and elite of 
Lenne, went hunting in the fields at Middleton and East Winch. No 
further time, however, could be given to pleasure, for Henry was well 
aware how Simnel and his adherents were diligently devising mis- 
chief. The royal guests, with their cortege, therefore departed the 
next day, Tuesday, the 28th, by the South Gate, en route for Ely and 
Cambridge, accompanied by the Mayor and throngs of loyal burgesses 
as far as Hardwick church, where, " with great laud and thanks of 

2 E 



218 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

the King and his astutes " the companies separated. Passing through 
Oxborough, the King arrived at Brandon Ferry on the 29th . . . and 
Exeter the i6th of October. 

The King and Prince Henry visited Walsingham in 1505. 

THE HOUSE OF GOD. 

It is highly probable that the church built by Bishop Lozinga, 
and dedicated to St. Margaret, etc., occupied the site of one smaller 
in size, and of a much earlier date. From the Domesday Survey we 
learn that in the Hundred of Freebridge, which now comprises 36 
parishes, there were only 8 churches, namely, Acre (Castleacre), 
Aplettina (Appleton), Congeham (Congham), Pentelei (Pentney), 
Phlicham (Flitcham), Rynghetona (North Runcton), Waltuna (East 
Walton) and TJwrp (Gayton Thorpe) ; whilst in the Freebridge Half- 
hundred, an area embracing 17 parishes, there was one solitary church 
at Isingetnna (Islington). No mention is made of any church in the 
Lin. It must not, however, be rashly concluded that it contained no 
place for religious worship, because it is now generally admitted that 
the number given in the Domesday record is far less than the number 
then actually existing. At the death of Edward the Confessor 
(1066) as much as one-third of the whole kingdom was devoted to 
religious purposes, yet only a few more than 1,700 churches are given 
in the Conqueror's survey. In the 13th century Sprott boldly main- 
tained there were 45,011 parish churches when that survey was taken; 
and Higden, in his Polyclironicon, a century later, estimated the 
number to be 45,002. 

" The silence of the Domesday Book is not absolute proof of 
the nonexistence of a church " (Sir Henry Ellis), because William's 
sole object was to secure an accurate list of all the taxable property 
in his newly-acquired kingdom ; hence churches to which no glebe 
lands were attached were, as a rule, ignored as being irrelevant. Some 
are indeed mentioned, but this seems to have been quite optional. In 
Norfolk, seven churches are casually referred to as sine terra — with- 
out land^ — whilst several are known to have existed, of which no notice 
whatever is taken, although the priests are incidentally mentioned. 

The proof is overwhelmingly conclusive where a succession of 
churches has been found at the same place. For instance, under the 
central tower of the Cluniac Priory at Much Wenlock (Shropshire), 
the circular apse, with the square eastern wall on the east side (a 
unique feature of Saxon workmanship), was discovered. Further 
towards the east, the eastern wall of a Norman church was unearthed 
(1900). 

The priory at Lenne and the adjacent church, of which few 
traces remain, were built about iioi. The two western towers are 
supposed to have been added between 1146 and 11 74. In 1429 parts 
of the church were in bad repair, and ^25 was urgently needed for 
its restoration. Instead of levying the customary rate, the inhabitants 
voluntarily subscribed more than was necessary. It was, however, 
during the 15th century that important structural alterations were 
effected through the generosity of four townsmen. 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 



219 



EAST. 



O 



H 

CO 

O 

H 



c 




B 

( 


D D 


G 


E E 

E E 


F 


H 













CO 

H 

CO 

O 
O 

o 

X 
H 



WEST. 



Chancel :- 
A South Aisle 
B 

C North 

D Transept : — 

Nave : — 

North and South 
Clearstories 
F South Aisle 
G North 

H Proposed pinnacle 
or steeple 



St. Stephen's chapel 
"South isle" 

Trinity Chapel 

" Cross isle" 



" Pepyr's side " 



For the " Clocher 
Slepill," or bell 
tower 



? Henry Thoresby 
Thomas Thoresby 
[Richard Scowle, 1494] 
Walter Coney 



[Thomas Thoresby] 

Edmund Prpyr 
Thomas Thoresby 
Walter Coney 



Circa 
1472 

1472-6 
1476 

1480- I 

1483 
1502-10 

1485 t 

1494) 



220 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Before introducing our readers to these local "worthies," a con- 
sideration of the accompanying plan and table may assist in a due 
appreciation of their noble work. 

(l) WALTER CONEY, 

the descendant of an ancient family seated at Walpolq and Westacre, 
was a wealthy merchant; he was mayor four times, in 1453, 1460, 
1469 and 1470, and as alderman of the Gild of the Holy Trinity (an 
office he held for 40 years) he acted as mayor on the death of Thomas 
Leighton (1476). With his friend Henry Thoresby he represented 
Bishop's Lenne in Parliament in 1455 and again in 1461. His resi- 
dence was a timber-framed house of the period ; it stood, facing east 
and west, at the corner of High Street, on the site now occupied by 
the publishing offices of the Lynn Advertiser. The house, which pre- 
sented no regularity or uniformity of design, was taken down (1816); 
if still standing it would have compared favourably with the " Ancient 
House " at Ipswich and the Shodfriars' Hall at Boston. It was 
built about the middle of the 15th century.* 

The gable-ends and windows were of different sizes, and did not range 
precisely over each other, or with the arches and brackets below. The joists and 
beams were of unequal bulk, and placed as chanced to be most convenient in the 
construction of the floors. In short, utility was the main object ; a solid, useful 
structure the result proposed — not the fulfilment of a contract, not the imitation 
of an earlier style, not the masquerade of an external fagade either superior to 
or unaccordant with the construction of which it formed part. The house itself 
was framed upon principles of utility and durability, and the portions admitting 
of ornament were at the same time adorned with no sparing hand ; but no parts 
were incongruously clapt on or in pretended ornament where they did not 
actually and appropriately belong to its construction, How different is this 
system to that of the a?ra of false pediments and mock gables, empty niches and 
blank shields. [Gentleman s Magazine, March 1843, p. 268.] 

About 1472 Walter Coney, as was then the custom with rich 
people, built for himself a tomb chapel on the north side of the 
chancel. The beautiful structure, which faced the house in which 
he dwelt, was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, though afterwards 
termed " Coney's chapel." This venerable burgess, who died the 
29th of September 1479, and was interred according to his request 
before the altar in his own chapel, erected the cross-aisle or transept 
with a high roof {circa 1476). At the time of his decease the 
clearstories on both sides of the nave Avere being added at his cost. 
This important work, which included the glazing of the new windows, 
was successfully carried out by his executors, — Thomas Thoresby, the 
son of his old friend, generously supplying the necessary lead for the 
completion of the design (1481). The sum of ;j^2o was, moreover, 
left to assist the parishioners in finishing the bell-tower. 

The rebuilding of the towers connected with St. Margaret's church 
is a subject which encourages a diversity of opinions, but rather than 

* Engravings of the house and the carved comer post now in Runcton Hall may be found in the 
Gentleman's Magazine (1843), Vol. xix., p. 267; also tlie house, with various details, iuTaylor's Antiq. uf 
Lynn, pp. 150-1. 

On the right-hand spandrel of the carved entrance to Hampton Court (Nelson Street) is a merchant's 
mark, greatly resembling that of Walter Coney. 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 2^1 

mislead we frankly admit that what we advance might well be re- 
garded as sincere speculation rather than indisputable fact. The 
towers erected during the 12th century are spoken of as " great " 
and " little," and as each contained bells they were both termed 
" belfries." This may help in interpreting the following extracts 
from the Corporation records : — 

1419. " The little belfry is very weak, and its fall was to be feared." (E. M. B.) 
1432. February : It was decided either that the little belfry should be 

strengthened with " two arch buttants," or that a new bell-tower should 

be built. (F. L., H. and E. M. B.) 
1444. Feb. 14th: "Ordered yt ye neiv clock shall be made to strike against the 

great bell in the belfry of St. Margaret ; " and the same year, Nov. 13th, 

" Ordered yt ye clock shall be removed from ye new belfry to the lantern 

where it was formerly placed." (F. L.) 
1485. George (or John) Burton, on behalf of Coney's executors, is willing to pay 

£20 " for a pinnacle to the great steeple," that is, " the Clocher Stepill or 

Bell Tower." (E. M. B.) 
1496. A silver gilt cross weighing 178 ounces and a banner were accepted in lieu 

of the;f20 promised for the erection of the pinnacle. (F. L. and E. M. B.) 
1550. " The live little bells in the little steeple to be sold to buy ordnance and 

artillery for ye defence of ye town." (F. L.) 

[References : F. L., the late Frederick Lane, town clerk, quoted by Taylor ; 
H., the late Henry Harrod ; and E. M. B., Mr. E. M. Beloe.] 

It seems likely enough that, although " the little belfry " — the 
south-west tower — was in a ruinous state, yet the north-west tower was 
the first to be rebuilt. This happened certainly before 1444, and 
probably in 1432. At that period it was so far finished as to contain 
bells larger perhaps than those in the other tower, but it was 
apparently not in accordance with the original design ; hence Walter 
Coney, to encourage the parishioners to complete the work, gave his 
executors power to pay ;z£,2o from the proceeds of his estate, as soon 
as the work was " onward " or progressing (1485). But the pro- 
posed pinnacle or spire was never erected ; hence, after waiting about 
ten years, the executors offered in lieu of the ;^20 a beautiful silver- 
gilt cross and banner, weighing 178 ounces (Lane). This, worth 
;^24, was accepted (1495-6). The little bells in the smaller steeple, 
which were probably not used, were subsequently sold (1550). 

A spire on the south-tower is, however, shewn on a map of Lenne, 
the date of which Harrod fixes as 1589; it is, moreover, mentioned 
by the churchwardens in 1592: — " Ite(m) p'd ffor nayls for the 
west dore 2d. & an yron pynn ffor ye trenetye [bell] 2d. & apayer of 
gymers [hinges] for the mayor's stat(e) dore 6d. And a key for the 
sfiar steplc dore 4d. & for 2 newe loks and keys & stapls for the clock 
dore and the lantorne dore i8d." 

Walter Coney's tomb-stone, of Purbeck marble, was beautifully 
inlaid, with a canopied figure and various chaste ornamental devices. 
It was removed from the chapel he had built to make room for the 
interment of George Hogge (1701), and was afterwards i)ut down in 
the south aisle of the chancel, under the superintendence of Dr. 
Charles Bagge (vicar 1755-1777)- At the restoration of the little 
that was left of the Trinity chapel, the stone, now unfortunately 
shorn of its elaborate brasses, was placed in the most suitable of all 



222 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

positions — before the altar in the chapel made by the man whose 
memory it was intended to perpetuate. 

(2) EDMUND PEPYR. 

Before the Reformation, and when fasts were rigidly observed 
not only in England but throughout Europe, fish constituted a most 
important article of diet. Being ignorant of refrigerators and of the 
method of preserving with ice, our forefathers kept the Hsh intended 
for their present use alive in artificial ponds or " stews," which were 
neatly paved and divided into compartments. References to them 
may be found in the diaries of Samuel Pepys. John Evelyn, etc. 
Fish ponds are shewn on Bell's Ground Plat of King's Lyn (? 1561) 
and on Rastrick's Plan of our borough (1725). According to scale 
they are about 154 yards long and 22 yards broad, and are divided 
into 10 equal compartments. Situated near the haven to the north 
of Fisher fleet, they were perhaps provided with a supply of running 
water, as was often the case. 

Edmund Pepyr was the piscenarius, or the keeper of the local 
" stews "; dying in 1483, he was buried, as were his wives, in the 
nave of this church, which was partly built with ;^8o specially left 
by him for the purpose. As late as 1608 the south aisle was known 
as " Pepyr's side." Mackerell gives the inscription upon a brass 
plate attached to the wall ; this, however, would hardly be the " monu- 
ment " mentioned by the churchwardens : — " It(em) : p'd him (the 
painter) for now [or new] wrightinge Edmund pepper his moneument 
in the church, 00 : 13 : 04. It(em) : spent in Ryding to norwich to 
go to Cort about Edmund pepper's moneument, 00 : 06 : 00 (1608)." 

(3) THE THORESBY FAMILY 

is supposed to have taken its name from Thoresby in Lincolnshire. 
The father, the son and the grandson claim notice, not because they 
were successful merchants, but because they were great benefactors 
to the town. 

(a) JoJm TJioresby, connected with Lenne, was one of the 
committee of eighteen to whom the turbulent townsfolk were bound 
(1413) ; he was one of the scabins of the Trinity Gild (1406), and was 
chosen mayor (1425), and acted as deputy-mayor during the absence 
of Thomas Burgh, who went to Flanders as the King's Ambassador 
to rectify the grievances between our traders and the aggressive 
merchants of the Hanse (1436). 

(b) Henry Thoresby (probably the son of a). His place of 
business was apparently in the Damgate. He was mayor four times, 
in 1439, 1442, 1443 and 1453; with Thomas Burgh he was member 
for Lenne (1444-5 ^"^1 1450), also with Walter Coney (1455); he was, 
moreover, alderman of the Trinity Gild (1443 and 1448). About 
the year 1457 he (rather than his son) erected a magnificent tomb 
chapel. This, though afterwards known as Thoresby 's chapel, was 
dedicated to St. Stephen. 

(c) Thomas Tlioresby (son of b), owned land in West Lynn, 
Fincham, Dersingham, Gay ton Thorpe, Congham, Roydon, Mintling, 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 223 

etc. ; also in Northamptonshire. He lived in a house next that of his 
father, opposite the west entrance of St. Margaret's Church, " betwixt 
the common (way) of the north and the Stillyard on the south " ; he 
also owned a mansion called Harlewyns, with 40 acres of pasture in 
South Lenne, West Winch and Hardwick. This building belonged 
to Matthew Herlewyn in the time cf Edward III., but was then 
known as " The Hall Place," a name subsequently given to one of the 
manors of West Winch. Thomas Thoresby — a star of the first magni- 
tude in the firmament of philanthropy — was mayor in 1477, 1482 and 
1502. His testament and will, from which valuable information 
may be gleaned, were drawn up on the 3rd of May, sealed the 2nd of 
June, and duly proved on the 23rd of October 15 10. 

(d) Thomas Thoresby (son of c) lived at Haveless Hall, 
Mintlyn, inheriting a fair slice of the surrounding district. As a 
country gentleman, he did not trouble himself with municipal affairs ; 
his attention seems to have been exclusively centred upon his own 
estate. He differed greatly from his father, yet it would be unfair 
to summarise his character by means of a few recorded facts. Many 
a praiseworthy action finds no place in the historic page, whilst deeds 
of evil are so tenacious of life th;it they survive the erring author. 
Thomas Thoresby 's conduct respecting the free school founded 
by his father will be reviewed in another place. Here we 
must content ourselves with the brief mention of two incidents in his 
life. According to the annual accounts or compotus of our prior, 
Edmund Norwich, this wealthy landowner detained a payment of 
30s., " the rent of Mintlyn," due to the church, although the poverty 
of the Lenne cell was almost proverbial. Through his inexcusable 
parsimony neither our prior nor his superior at Norwich received one 
penny of their yearly stipend (1535). The same year Adam Foster 
and others were constrained to forward t bill of complaint to the King 
because of his overbearing conduct. The said Thomas " came with 
about twenty armed men in a rintous manner and cut down forty- 
three loads of wood " on land belonging to Geoffrey Cobb {Proceed- 
ings of the Star Chamber, xv., pp. 197-205).* . . . And now, 
neighbour Thoresby, farewell ! Notwithstanding the wayward 
peculiarities of thy disposition, let us not upraid thee, but, when 
next we wend our way through Mintlyn's sylvan retreat, pause awhile 
before the ruins of St. Michael's sacred fane and murmur, ere we 
tread over thy forgotten grave : " Sit tihi terra levis " (May the earth 
lie lightly on thy head). 

(4) RICHARD SCOWLE. 

Our knowledge of this benevolent burgess is saved from the im- 
penetrable oblivion into which the memory of so many of our fore- 
fathers has drifted by a bequest of ^^40 towards the adding of a 



• The estate was in the possession of the same family in 1634, for the OBicers of the Navy, anxious to 
repair certain decayed ships at I'ortsmouth, iiifornipd the Lords of the Admiralty that there was to be a 
great sale of timber at Mr. Thursby's, within four miles of Lynn, the next year. -Cii/^Niior o/ State 
(Domestic) Papers, 1634-5 I'P- 231 and 242. 

1639-40. " Itm p'd Mr. Thursby, Lord of the Mannor of Gaywood, for quitt rents of Gaywood Lands 
00: 0203.' C.W.A., St. N. [Church Wardens' Accounts ; St. Nicholas.] 



224 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

south aisle to the chancel of the parish church. After his death, 
which happened in 1494, his executor, John Taillur, promptly came 
forward with the money demised. It was left for a specific purpose, 
for which, however, it could never be used. Hence the money was 
given to Thomas Thoresby, who had already carried out the pro- 
posed alteration. 

ST. Stephen's chapel. 

In the chancel of most churches were three altars, against the 
eastern wall — the High Altar in the middle, and altars dedicated to 
St, Mary and Jesus, one on each side. Emulating the example set 
by Walter Coney, who constructed the north aisle, Thomas Thoresby 
senior added one on the opposite side of the chancel, which was 
"over the I.H.S. altar" (Lane). Perhaps the altar to Jesus 
was moved a few feet southward into the new aisle. This was 
Thomas Thoresby 's great work, and here he " caused an altar to 
be made " to our Lady, at the north end of which he wished to be 
buried, " adjoining to the place," he says, " where my father lies 
buried in the church of St. Margaret."* Now the place wherein 
Henry Thoresby was buried was most likely the chapel he probably 
erected, which was dedicated to St. Stephen. We use the word 
" probably," having no direct evidence as to who actually was the 
builder of this interesting side-chapel. In Thomas Thoresby's will, 
although reference is incidentally made to what he did, there is no 
mention of the building of this chapel. f It is described by subse- 
quent churchwardens as the " Round Chapel," although exteriorly, 
at least, it must have been hexagonal, and was seemingly erected on 
the site of the old Chapter House. With a beautifully arched ceiling 
and room above, it must have been a magnificent structure. This 
wealthy burgess, moreover, left an endowment for the maintenance of 
two secular priests, who were " to sing and do service divine 
perpetually and daily . . . within the church of St. Margaret at 
an altar there edified " {built by the testator) " in worship of our 
Lady," for his soul, and for the souls of his wife, children and 
friends. 

But the sacred edifice was by no means finished, hence Thomas 
Thoresby instructed his executors to spend ;!{^6o in purchasing a 
pardon from Rome, .so that those who attended the church upon 
certain feasts might share in a general remission of sins. What a 
grand inducement to sinful man ! Yet those who put in an appear- 
ance must be " confessed and contrite," and they must " do their 
charity towards the church works and chancel works " (15 10). Half 

* The will of Thomas Thoresby. preserved in the Registry of the Prerogative Court, Canterbury, is 
given in Eller's Memorials of West ]Vinch (i86j), pp. 133-140. Thomas (the son of Henry) Thoresby 
married Elizabeth. Their rliiklren, as mentioned therein, were Thomas, Elizabeth, Elyn, Beatrice, and 
Margaret who married John Grindell and had a son named John. This upsets the pedigree in Blomefield's 
Hist, of Norfolk (1868), Vol. VIII., p. 421. 

John de Thouresby received a present from the town in 1347-8. Robert Thoresby, perhaps brother to 
the testator, was member for Lynn in 1462-3, 1482-3 and 1487 ; he with a John Thorisby signed a deed of 
feoffment concerning 56 acres of land in Fincham (1489). See Engmvings jrom Aucient Seals . . . in 
Muniment Room at Stowe Bardolph by (1847 and 1862) Sir Thomas Hare. 

t A patent to found a chantry was granted in 1408, and Parkin seems to think it was built by one of 
the Thoresbys, 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 225 

the money thus collected was to be handed to the " curate " for the 
reparation of the chancel, and the other half to the churchwardens 
towards the reparation of the church, that is the nave. The old 
division is strictly observed, the chancel being under the direct juris- 
diction of the prior, whilst the nave is vested in the people. George 
Hyngham, the last of the priors, and one of the witnesses to the will 
from which these quotations are taken, is termed the curate. From 
1472 each prior is described in the Rolls not as the prior, or de 
■prioratu, but as custos celli Lemic, that is, the " curate," keeper or 
guardian of the cell at Lenne. 

Thomas Thoresby seemed to have been apprehensive that his 
end was approaching, because a few months before his death he 
arranged minutely for the consummation of the praiseworthy schemes 
which were then being carried out. His testament and will reveal 
the incompletion of two grand designs, for which ample provision is 
made. First, we learn that a new aisle upon the north side of the 
nave was being built at the testator's expense. " I will," he says, 
*' that the battlements .... be finished up at my cost, according 
to my covenants with the workmen of the same." Secondly, he was 
building a home for the accommodation of the thirteen priests in 
whose hands the spiritual welfare of the community rests. " I will," 
he goes on, " that the college that I have began be finished up of my 
goods and chattels to the sum of 500 marks .... or more.'" 



3> 



" THE COLLEGE OF LENNE, 

though dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was subsequently known as 
Thoresby's College (Queen Street), 'it was built upon land which 
belonged to the Gild of Jesus, his executors being instructed to pur- 
chase land which might bring in 40s. a year " to recompense the 
fraternity," and thus effect an equitable exchange. But why did 
Thoresby select the site? Because of its central position? Cer- 
tainly, but there was a more important motive. He owned the 
tenement opposite, adjoining the Trinity Hall to the west. This 
tenement he bequeathed to the master of the college to make " a garden 
place thereof." The house referred to was perhaps never wholly 
demolished, because the remains of an old building 66 feet long and 
24 feet wide were at the beginning of the 19th century converted into 
the Tailors' Anns, a public house near the brewery established by 
the late Mr. John H. Knights. Hence the founder not only provided 
for the completion of the college, but he left them a garden in which 
to grow vegetables, besides ten acres of well-wooded land at East 
Winch from whence they might obtain an ample supply of fuel. He. 
moreover, directed that certain other lands should be bought, bearing 
a nett income of 40s. a year, so that the master's stipend might be 
increased; and to his " gostfather " (priest) Peter Drayton he 
bequeathed ;£20 to assist him in taking degrees in divinity. 

Priests, friars and anchorites are all remembered. New vest- 
ments are to be provided for the clergy in the neighbourhood ; the 
bridge at Stoke Ferry is to be repaired; the church of St. Mary at 

2 F 



226 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Feltwell is to have a rood-loft, and the religious houses at Black- 
borough, Marham and Crabhouse are to participate in his bounty. 
Friends, relatives, servants, shepherds are carefully enumerated, and 
every poor man, woman or child in the town is to receive something 
at the hands of his executors. 

The educational endowments of Thomas Thoresby may be better 
considered in another place, but a few bequests are too interesting to 
be omitted : — 

lOo marks to the commons (community) towards the maintenance of the town 
and for a perpetual remembrance. 
4 „ to each of the four orders of friars for the repair of their churches, 
loo shillings to the church works at St. Margaret's, 
4° .. >> ,, St. James', and 

£40 for a suit of white vestments with copes for the church of St. Margaret. 

THE CHARNEL HOUSE, 

a beautiful specimen of 14th century work, once stood at the north- 
west angle of St. Margaret's church, its site being now partly occupied 
by the Shambles. An engraving of the so-called " Charnel and 
Chapel of St. John," taken from a memory-sketch by the Rev. E. 
Edwards, is given in Taylor's Antiquities of Lynn. 

(l) TO WHOM DEDICATED. 

Writing in 1738, Mackerell observes : " There are three chapels 
of note in this (St. Margaret's) church, ... the first is on the north 
side of the quire (chancel), dedicated to the Holy Trinity ; the second 
on the south side of the same, dedicated to St. John ; the third known 
only at present by the name of Thoresby's chapel, but to what saint, 
martyr or confessor dedicated I know not as yet." Later on, in 
speaking of the " very handsome fabric," the Charnel, he says : " I 
am apt to believe (it) was a chapel, and probably the very same St. 
John's chapel mentioned in the story of Sir William Sautre." 
Referring to the Charnel Hall (?) Blomefield (1808) cautiously 
reiterates Mackerell's suggestion : " Quere, if not St. John's chapel? 
probably that mentioned in Sir William Sautre, the priest's case," 
and Richards (1812) enumerates these chapels thus: — "One dedi- 
cated to the Trinity, one to St. John, and one, if we are not mistaken, 
to St. Stephen, only one or two of which remain. That of the 
Trinity was taken down in the progress of our Paving-Act improve- 
ments." How pleasantly vague! Either one or two was taken 
down, wherefore either two or one remains. What need is there for 
all this irritating speculation, when Foxe (1562) distinctly states that 
Sawtre's recantation was in " the church of the Hospital of St. 
John;" not, mark you, in the church or chapel of the Charnel of St. 
John. A legacy, too, is left to St. John's Hospital by Adam de 
Geyton (1276), and another to the Hospice of St. John by Margaret 
Frenghe (1352). 

There are no means of determining, as far as our investigation 
goes, to whom the Charnel was dedicated, because it is invariably the 
Charnel or the Charnel houst. 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 227 

On Saturday 14th February 1325, the brethren of the Trinity 
Gild ordained that their scabins or treasurers should pay the sum of 
^4 to the custodians of the Charncl for the fabric of the same ; and 
when the Gild Hall was burnt down (23rd January 1420-r) the 
Assembly met in the Charncl the next day. The same year the 
Trinity chapel underwent a series of repairs, and there is this entry, 
to which attention will be directed after a while — " Item, 2s. (paid) 
for making a gutter at the College." As Thoresby's College was 
built circa 1510, Harrod, as a thoughtful student, asks where tliis 
pre-Refermation college could be. 

Turning to the churchwardens' books, we find: — " Itm, to Robt. 
Hartt for makeing a dore into a little house vnder the schoole house 
to laye Lime and sand in to the vse of the Church, and for makeing 
a paire of gates, sette in the west wall in the churchyard, vj s. vij d. 
(1622). Itm paid for building the wall in the Schole Lane vnto 
Allexander Becroft, Ivj s. v. d. (1632-3)." 

Richards speaks of a writing school being established in the 
chamber over the butchers' shambles (1629); it is, however, doubtful 
whether the lower part of the old building was used for that pur- 
pose. The old meat market was held on a strip of land skirting what 
was the King's Way, north of the church and adjacent to the grave- 
yard, from which it was separated by a wall. This piece of land, 
68 feet by 9 feet, opposite the entrance to High Street, belonged to 
Sir Thomas Beaupre, of Outwell. In 1365 it changed hands and 
was conveyed successively to Richard Rede senior, to Robert Light- 
wise, and lastly to the Corporation. It now forms part of our 
Saturday market. The bye-laws prohibited the slaughter of 
animals in the highway beside the market during the summer months 

(1424-5)- 

(2) CHARNEL PRIESTS. 

Though in close proximity to the church, the Charnel must be 
regarded as extra-parochial ; the advowson rested not in the hands 
of the bishop or even the prior of Norwich, but with the Corporation 
of Lynn. Hence the priests were appointed by " the Mayor and 
Burgesses." The names of the following charnel-priests are 
preserved : — 

1530 Thomas Person 



1 5 10 Robert Burgh (?) 

151 1 Thomas Rix 

I J13 Thomas Pokering 



1534 William I.eyton 
1339 Richard Hall 



1479 John Wells 
1484 Thomas Gray, D.T). 
1494 John Whiting, M.A. 
1509 Thomas Cirant 

Apparently there were two priests in 1379. (John Burghard's bequest.) 

The income attached to this chantry was derived from lands and 
tenements left by pious townsmen as a kind of quid pro quo for 
propitiatory prayers and masses for the health of their souls. The 
yearly salary of the officiating priest in 1479 and 1530 is given as 
^8 4s., and it probaljly remained the same during the whole inter- 
vening period. The duties were clearly set forth when Thomas Gray 
took office (1484); he was to make special intercession for certain 
persons whose names are given, and, moreover, to say prayers, perform 
requiems and masses, and to provide torches and wax candles for the 



228 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

altar. The functions were greatly altered, as will be seen in 1510, 
and again when, to the inexpressible disgust of the monks, a friar 
named Thomas Person was made charnel priest (1530); he was, 
indeed, licensed to preach sixteen sermons during the year. 

Coming now to the Inquisition of 156 1, disappointment must be 
expressed at the strange report the commissioners presented. What 
little they knew is obscured by what " they knew not." It contains 
a remarkable paucity of information. There was a Charnel house, in 
fact, a school house, " but to what use it was founded they knew 
not;" it once possessed a bell, but the year in which the bell was 
abstracted from the turret "they knew not;" it was endowed with 
certain lands and tenements in King's Lynn, which were valued at 
;;{^io per annum, but the names of the various tenants, of course, 
" they knew not." They mention, moreover, Thomas Thursbye, 

Walter Coney and Locke, whom they designate the founders. 

Walter Coney died, as we know, in 1479; John Lokk (or Locke) was 
a burgh chamberlain in 1385-6 — William Lok, a descendant of his, 
being member in 1407. The first of these merchants augmented 
the priest's stipend by a will proved in 1510. The building 
could not be " Thoresby's chapel," as some writers contend, 
because, when Thomas Gray was chosen Charnel priest, 
there is no mention of Thomas Thoresby in the rhinutes 
of the Congregation, although Walter Coney, John Lok and 
his wife Margaret are specified as particular subjects for prayers and 
masses. Besides various sums to the four churches, Margaret Lok 
left ;^5 to the Charnel (4th January 1408).* 

(3) COMMISSION OF INQUIRY. 

At the beginning of the i6th century a commission was 
appointed to investigate the state of the possessions and to obtain 
information respecting the ornaments pertaining to this chantry. Sir 
Thomas Grant, the priest, produced a balance-sheet, covering three 
years (probably the terms of his office), and shewing the income and 
what had been expended upon the building (1509). The commis- 
sioners were ai:)parently satisfied, but there were others who regarded 
his account suspiciously, and in that they were justified, as must be 
soon seen. The next year Thomas Thoresby executed the will already 
mentioned, in which was embodied a special bequest to the Charnel 
house. " Special " because the testator assumes that Thomas Grant 
is leaving, and " special," too, because he nominates Sir Robert 
Burgh as a successor. Thomas Thoresby died the same year, but 
whether the Corporation, considering his generosity, agreed to appoint 
Robert Burgh, cannot be determined. Perhaps, having too many 
ecclesiastical irons in the fire, the nominee of the testator declined the 
appointment. This is suggested by the fact that when Thomas Rix 
accei)ted the cfiice, it was distinctly stipulated that he was to receive 
no other oifice (151 1). Not yet, however, must Thomas Grant be 
dismissed from our minds, because some time after his departure it 



* Cecilia, daughter of John Maggersson of Lenne, conreyed to Margery the widow ©f Joha Lok and 
William her son, an acre of land in bhouldham (1398). See Seals at Stow Bardolph. 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 229 

was discovered he had removed a box from the Charnel containing 
important documents relating to the " livelihood " or endowment of 
the place. His conduct was most reprehensible, and prompts the un- 
charitable suggestion that they were abstracted to prevent defalca- 
tions being ascertained in the return made in 1509. These important 
" evidences " were afterwards " redeemed " from him by a Mr. 
White (i2th July 1513). 

{4) A FOURTEENTH CENTURY " COLLEGE." 

The chapel or chantry, otherwise the Charnel, no matter to 
whom dedicated, was a construction in two storeys — a style generally 
affected in episcopal residences (as St. John's chapel, or the " Gram- 
mar school " near Norwich Cathedral and the chapel at Lambeth, 
where (he lower floor is a crypt), or royal residences (as Saint 
Stephen's at Westminster and the Sainte Chapelle in Paris). To 
France, indeed, must we look for choice examples; as, for instance, 
the present archiepiscopal chapels at Laon and Rheims. 

In our own almost forgotten Charnel there were, perhaps, 
originally two chapels — the upper and the lower,- — the second being 
subsequently changed into an ossuary, a consecrated vault, wherein 
were reverently deposited the bones disturbed in digging new graves. 
The chapel of St. Peter, associated with the old manor house at 
Auckland, bears a striking likeness to the Charnel at Lenne. It 
contained two chapels, the high and the lower, also termed the college 
(middle of 15th century), a place where people assembled to read 
together. At the Reformation the "college " bells at Auckland were 
sold, — " and in the lower part of the same Colledge, where Divine 
service had been duly celebrated, he (Bishop Pilkington) made a 
bowling alley." The word Charnel was applied to the building at 
Lenne as early as 1479, '^ "o*^ earlier, whilst the gutter of the college 
was repaired in 1420; hence, we may infer that service was conducted 
in the upper room rather than the lower. Our Mayor, too, sold the 
bell between the years 1547 and 1561. 

(5) THE FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. 

As early as the year 994, instructing the young was regarded as 
the special duty of the priesthood. " Mass priests," says the canon, 
" ought always to have a school of learners in their houses, and if 
any good man will commit his little ones to them to be taught, they 
ought gladly to accept them, and to teach them at free cost. Ve 
should consider that it is written — ' they that arc learned shall shine 
as the brightness of heaven, and they who persuade and instruct men 
to right as the stars for ever and ever ' ; yet they ought not to demand 
anything of their relations for their learning, but what they of their 
own accord are willing to give." 

The free education of the young had been seriously neglected in 
Lenne, henrc Thomas Thoresby founded one of the many Grammar 
schools which sprung up during the period. This " noble impulse of 
Christian charity," Dr. Samuel Knight regards as "one of the provi- 
dential ways and means for bringing about the English Reformation." 



230 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

" Within 30 years before it (the Reformation) there were," he declares 
in his Life of Colet, " more Grammar schools erected and endowed 
than had been in 300 years preceding ; and after the Reformation was 
established, the piety and charity of Protestants ran so fast in this 
channel that in the next age there wanted rather a regulation of 
Grammar schools than an increase of them." 

The clause in Thoresby's will relating to the Free Grammar 
school reads thus: — • 

Item, — I will that when Sir Thomas Grante, now being charnel-priest in 
Lenne, do leave the same service, and Sir Robert Burgh, priest, come into the 
same service and the same Sir Robert do teach and learn six children freely at 
grammar [that is, Latin] and song, sufficiently to maintain the choir in St. 
Margaret's church in Lenne in divine service, then 1 will immediately that the 
same Robert Burgh shall enter into the said service that my lands [four pastures] 
lying in Gaywode besides Goldsmith's Garden, late Wynter's, which I bought of 
the executors of one Ade, shall remain in the Feoffees' hands to the use of the 
said Robert and his successors after that, being priests of the said charnel, upon 
condition that he or they that after that shall be chosen into the said service be 
an honest and learned priest in grammar and song sufficiently to maintain the 
said service in the said church as aforesaid and so to endure for ever. And for 
default of any of the said priests made in teaching of the said six children freely 
[that is gratuitously] as above written, contrary to this my last will, then I will 
that my right heir or heirs at the time being shall enter into the said lands 
to have them and to their heirs, this gift notwithstanding. 

We learn, moreover, that the charnel priest, assisted by two 
secular priests (the anchorites of the Whitefriars' monastery and All 
Saints' church, for whom suitable quarters were to be reserved in 
the new college) were "to do service divine perpetually and daily," 
after the testator's decease, and those whom the charnel priest taught 
were to pray at his tomb and sing " for ever more as long as the 
world shall continue," and the gratuitous teaching of the young was 
also "to endure for ever." How little did this good man imagine 
what was to happen in the near future 1 

An attempt was certainly made to carry out the intention of the 
will, because the Corporation chose William Leyton as charnel priest, 
who was to hold office " from our Lady day next coming during his 
life natural, except causes reasonable, and he (was) to perform f-he 
testament of old Mr. Thoresby, and maintain a grammar school, 
and further, to keep his houses and tenements in sufficient reparation 
in all things so near as he could (can), according as it has been 
used " (1534). Again, Thomas Person was appointed at a salary of 
^8 4s. a year. He was licensed to preach four times every quarter, 
and was to teach six children gratuitously. 

But the conditions being broken, the son and heir, Thomas 
Thoresby, of Haveless Hall, Mintlyn, seized the four pieces of 
pasture in Gay wood (1543). However, on the ist of October an 
indenture was drawn up between the mayor and burgesses and the 
said Thomas Thoresby, whereby he covenanted to surrender the 
endowment upon the fulfilment of the provisions of his 
father's will. The Corporation on their part agreed to 
appoint a master of the Charnel, a priest of or above 
the degree of Master of Arts, and one, moreover, born 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 231 

within the county of Norfolk or Suffolk, " who should instruct six 
poor children in grammar and song without any reward ; which 
children should daily on their knees before the (testator's) tomb pray 
for the souls of the donor and other persons, and repeat certain 
Psalms." 

Changes of a drastic nature were to follow. The time-honoured 
practice of praying for the dead was denounced in terms positive and 
unmistakable, and lands set aside by pious persons for such " super- 
stitious uses " became thenceforth vested in the Crown. The build- 
ing was, notwithstanding, used as a school-house until taken down 
(1779). For keeping the place in repair, the Corporation reserved 
the right of sending four children to be instructed in what Sir 
William Curtis termed the " three R's." The shambles were built 
on the site (1793), and the school continued to be held in the upper 
room until 1843, when the present Grammar School was erected. 

REFERENCE TO SIDE CHAPELS. 

If not otherwise stated, the following notes are from the church- 
wardens' books. 

(i) The Trinity Chapel, that is, Coney's Chapel, erected 1472-6. 

1603 p'd to Thomas Reade, carpenter, with the xxxs. before charged for Timber 

& workmanshipp done about Trenitie Chappell, v li. 
1608 (paid) for mending the Chappell called Connye's Chappell 01 : 15 : 06. 
162 1 Itm (paid) to Edmond Eaton for work done about the Archt seeling in both 

cbappells [the Trinity and St. Stephen's] lij s. vjd, 
1673 The church books to be kept in a chest in a chappell called Conies Chapel. 

There was, however, a "Trinity Chapel," which was repaired 
and refurnished (1439-40). It belonged unquestionably to the 
Trinity Gild (Harrod's Deeds and Records, pp. 30-31). 

(2) St. Stephen's, that is Thoresby's Chapel, sometimes 
denominated the " South chapel." 

1592 Ite(m) p'd ffor a lok & akeye and gymers (hinges) ffor a dore in the stayers 
by saint Stevens chapell, i6d. 

1593 Ite(m) p'd to wyllm pylock for haynynge (raising) of the tfloore of the southe 
chappell & pavynge of it again, and p'd to robert kelke for glasinge 
as appeare by his byll, 42s. 9d. 

1608 Ite(m) p'd Tho : Reade the Carpcnder for 6 daies work about the Rownd 

chapell [margin : — " or St. Stepen's chapel "] 00 : eg : 00. Repairing roofe of 

ronnde chappell called Steven s, 03 : 15 : 00. 
1660 Paid to Buship for making clean Thnrsbies chappell, 00 : 01 :oo. 

Memorandum that in the year 1632 there was Two Drains made in the 
Church for avoyding of the water that did annoy itt. The one beginneth in tlie 
Midle Ally, Close to the stolls (stools) in the north syde thereof, leading to the 
west dore & be vnder the Alley in the Church yard and thorowgh Leaden Hall 
I.ane into the Havon. 

The other beginneth att the Sawth Chapell att the East end of the Church 
and Commeth vnder the South Alley, Close by the wall to the Sowth dore and 
from thence to the west dore unto the Draine aboue mentioned. 

(3) St. /ohfi's — Generally located at the east end of the south 
chancel aisle, probably termed the " south-east chapel." 

1592 Ite(m) p'd ffor ... a lok for Saint John's chappell, 2S. 6d. 
1590 [Mention is made of the "south-east chapel."] 

1608 Itm, p'd to Ro : Kelke for ix foote glasse in ye little Chappell (?) ye 
27 June, 2s. 3d. 



232 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

(4) St. Leonard's — An inventory of the furniture belonging to 
the altar in this chapel is given in Taylor's Atiiiquities of Lynn, p. 
120. The date is supposed to be between 1538 and 1550. 

(5) St. Peter's — See Harrod (pp. 30-1) for a list of goods pur- 
chased for this chapel, including 9 pence for rushes to strew upon the 
floor and 7s. for garlands used at the Feast of the Trinity (1389). 

(6) St. Michael's — Bartholomew de Belvaco (or Beauvais), a 
distinguished foreign merchant, who held the chief manor in West 
Winch, demised to his wife Richeman his donation or presentation to 
this chapel. He died in 1256 (Lane). His son James, left under 
the guardianship of his uncle Stephen Beauvais, was mayor in 1271 
(Eller and Harrod). 

(7) Davy's Chapel — Supposed to have been over the north porch, 
which, before the alteration, jutted into the market-place. 

The Davy family was connected with Lynn. In 1608 Williim 
Davy, gentleman, was acting as attorney to the Corporation ; he 
received his freedom on the understanding that he collected all post 
fines which might be escheated. James Davy, too, of Lynn, who as 
the assignee of Robert Gawsell, presented James Davy, A.M.; with 
the living at Watlington (1670). 

1608 It(em) p'd them for whiting davies chappell 00 ; 17 :j[oo. 

1617 Work done over Mr. (William) Leeds his studdye. (" North porch " in the 

margin.) 
1632 The porch on the north (is) fitting to be a Library loft (for) ye p'ish : 

og : 14 : 08. 
1648 Inquiry to be made for diners (divers) bookes missing and lost out of the 

Library over the Church porch. 

At this period the Corporation catered for the religious needs of 
the borough, appointing the churchwardens, paying the ministers and 
keeping the churches in a state of repair. The prior's disused 
"Chapel on the Mount" they converted into a study for Thomas 
Howes, the curate or vicar (1586), but during the ministry of William 
Leedes a room over the north porch of St. Margaret's church was set 
apart for .this purpose (1617). The Red Mount chapel was after- 
wards used as a powder magazine (1638) and styled the " Mount 
Fortress " (1643), and the study in the church became a parochial 
library (1632). notabilia. 

i486. — John Getyus appointed bailiff of Risyng with the part 
of the Tolbooth belonging to the Crown (4th February). 

i486. — A letter from the King commanded the mayor to institute 
search for " vacabowndes and valiant beggers." Thomas Wodhous 
made comptroller of the great and little customs and of the subsidy 
of wool, leather and woolfels; also of the subsidy of tonnage and 
poundage with the custody of the cocket — the official document 
wherein goods were entered (22nd October). 

1487. — Letters patent of inspeximus, dated loth May 1487 at 
Westminster were received, confirming letters patent of Richard IL 
(21st February 1484). 

1488. — Letters patent of pardon and release were granted to the 
alderman, scabins (wardens) and brethren of the Gild of the Holy 



THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE. 233 

Trinity (dated at Westminster, 6th August). Another sign indicative 
of the injustice exercised by the rich against the poor ! 

1493. — There is said to have been " a great fray " between the 
townsfolk and the under-sheriff acting for John Wyngfeld, the high- 
sheriff of the county. 

1495. — Randulphus Thorsby appointed searcher for the port of 
Lenne. 

1496. — The King's letter (23rd March), addressed to the 
" maistre," was laid before the Assembly. It related to the Diet 
about to be held at Antwerp, between the Easterlings, the Stedn and 
Henry's ambassadors. A second letter to the mayor and brethren 
was also considered ; its object was to establish a bond of amity and 
peace between certain aggrieved merchants. The Assembly unani- 
mously decided that the proposed bond should be sealed with the 
common seal publicly at a stated hour in St. Margaret's church. The 
bond was to be engrossed in John Assheburn's book, which had been 
deposited in the town-box {screnium) for safety, thirty-five years 
before.* William Off' was deputed to convey the original deed to 
London. 

1496. — Alderman John Gryndall and William Horwode (late 
members of the parliament summoned the 14th October 1495) 
attended at the Gild Hall and explained the new Acts placed upon 
the statute book. John Gryndall " read them openly afore all the 
congregation " (8th January). 

1 501. — The town wall was thoroughly repaired. 

1504. — There was a parliamentary by-election, as the late 
elected burgess, Thomas Guybon, refused to serve. A committee of 
twelve therefore chose William Trewe and William Grebye (5th 
January). 

1506. — Service was suspended in the nave of St. Margaret's 
church and christenings were therefore performed in the " Charnel 
house," because the parishioners ignored certain episcopal orders. 
Bishop Nix is invariably described not merely as an ordinary bad 
man, but as "a very vicious man." A victim of his displeasure, one 
John Curatte, who expected every day to be publicly cursed, declared 
that he was " a devilish man." Possibly George Hyngham, the prior 
of Lenne, was justified in the course he pursued. 

Henry VII died of consumption in his palace at Shene, near 
Richmond, in his fifty-second year (21st April 1509). He was 
interred in the magnificent chapel at Westminster, intended as the 
resting-place for the remains of his uncle Henry VI. This noble 
monument of the architectural genius of the period, diverted from 
its original purpose, became his own chantry and tomb. In his will 
signed a fortnight before his death, Henry refers to "an ymage of 
silver," which he had " caused to bee made to be off'red and sette 
before Our Lady at Walsingham. " 

• WiUiam Asshebume was town-clerk (1419-25). 

2 G 



234 HISTORY OR KING'S LYNN. 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Church and State. 

Henry VIII., the second son of Henry VII., ascended the throne on 
the 22nd of April 1509. " At his accession to the Crown he was in 
the prime of youth and manly beauty. Had he lived in a more 
poetic age and died before his divorce, he might, without any great 
stretch of the imagination, have stood for the hero of an epic poem. 
He possessed just those qualities which Englishmen admire in their 
rulers at all times — a fund of good temper, occasionally broken by 
sudden bursts of anger, vast muscular strength and unflinching 
courage. In stature he towered above all his contemporaries." 

(Brewer.) 

* * * * * 

The memory of the gorgeous pageants witnessed at that grand 
spectacular display, deservedly termed " The Field of Cloth of 
Gold," failed to extinguish the jealousy existing between the Kings 
of France and Spain (1520). Open hostilities broke out between 
them, and after an unsuccessful attempt at mediation Henry espoused 
the cause of his nephew, Charles I., and declared war against the 
French King, Francis I. Subsidies, loans and benevolences were 
now in frequent demand. A survey of the whole kingdom for a 
systematic extortion of money was ordered, and it was proposed to 
assess the movable goods and rents of the laity to one-tenth and those 
of the clergy to one-fourth of their value, as a voluntary aid or bene- 
volence. To lull the storm of opposition, the project was, however, 
abandoned, — to be succeeded by persuasive influence and milder 
measures. 

To the loan of 1522 Bishop Nix contributed ;£i,ooo, the Prior 
of Norwich ^500, and the Prior of Walsingham ^336 6s. 8d. The 
subsidy granted in 1523 was for four years, and the mayor, Thomas 
Miller, William Conysby, Thomas Gybbon, John Grindell and 
Richard Bewshere were selected to collect the money in Lenne. In 
1524 Norfolk raised ^11,579, of which ;£S'T3S (including ^i.ooo 
from " My Lady of Norfolk " and ^500 from the bishop) was the 
loan of the spirituality. 

RAISING AN ASSESSMENT. 

In the mean time " the King's commissioners " received 
instruction to fortify the town, in order to resist the landing of a 
hostile foe, should such an attempt be made. The payments due to 
the burgesses who sat in Parliament being in arrear, an assessment 
was fixed to cover the deficiency. Before, however, the first instal- 
ment had been collected, the Congregation determined upon the issue 
of fresh demand notes, " so that every man that was (as)sessed by 
the first bylles at ij d. shall paye nowe at this second gatheryng of 
every of them iiij d." In other words, the rate of assessment was 
doubled. Further, all those inadvertently omitted and the new 
settlers whose names were not yet enrolled were entreated to bear a 
part of the burden, according to reason and good conscience. The 



CHURCH AND STATE. 235 

crisis was urgent, because the money had to be forthcoming within 
eight days. Lucky, in sooth, was it, that the new gate, defending 
the road from London, the southern entrance to the burgh, was com- 
pleted and provided with drawbridge and portcullis (1520), but much 
still remained to be done. The town must be made thoroughly 
" fensaybyll (defensible) with gunstones, gunpowder, bulwarks and 
other artillery." Everything was undertaken '' in all haste." The 
services, too, of trustworthy John Alaltby and his long-winded horse 
were secured. Ever on the alert, he was to scour the neighbourhood 
to glean intelligence, or spread an alarm at a moment's notice. Upon 
" the post " depended the safety of the town, therefore should this 
responsible officer be well remunerated ; for the maintenance of the 
steed the Congregation voted eighteen pence per week, and for the 
rider one shilling per day — when on active service ! (5th November 
1523). The East Gate, defending the Walsingham or Norwich 
entrance, was subsequently repaired, and the King's arms appropri- 
ately placed above the arch, so that all might perceive they were 
about to enter a royal burgh (1541). 

EPISCOPAL PERQUISITES. 

Henry graciously issued letters patent of a private character to 
Richard Nix, the Bishop of Norwich (dated Westminster, the 24th 
of November 15 12, and preserved in our muniment room), 
acknowledging the examination and confirmation of a long and tedious 
series of episcopal charters and letters patent previously granted to 
the various bishops of the diocese. From the last to the first they 
run together like threaded beads, so that their recital soon becomes 
monotonous and uninteresting. Skipping many links in this chain 
of augmented privileges, we may determine its course by noting three 
points. The culmination, the letters patent dated Westminster the 
9th of May 1488, confirms the letters patent of Edward TV., dated 
Westminster the 8th of December i46i> which confirms, — which 
confirms — (ad uauseam), and which finally confirms the charter 
granted by William IL to Herbert de Lozinga and the monks of 
Norwich. 

What a magical effect there is in well-sustained circumlocution ! 
How forcefully it reminds one of the subtle association of ideas so 
aptly illustrated in that sublime jingle — " The House that Jack 
built," which we reverently refrain from quoting, but which is indeed 
a variant of the parable of the past and future preserved in the Jew ish 
ceremony of the Passover — 

Then came the Holy One ; blessed be He ! 

Who killed the Angel of Death— 

That killed the butcher, 

That slew the ox, 

That drank the water, 

That quenched the fire, 

That burned the staff, 

Thtit beat the dog, 

That bit the cat, 

That ate the kid, 

That my father bought 

For two pieces of money. 



236 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

The present letters patent (15 12), stripped of wearying verbiage 
and superabundant iteration, amounted merely to this : What your 
predecessors have enjoyed in the past you shall assuredly enjoy now 
and hereafter. An impressive illustration of " much ado about 
nothing !" 

Once more, however, the King found it necessary to issue letters 
patent setting forth in unmistakable terms the ancient tolls and cus- 
toms of the port which pertained to my lord the bishop. The end 
of the tether was, however, nearly reached, because these lucrative 
privileges were soon destined to fall into the municipal coffer. 

OIL UPON TROUBLED WATER. 

A dispute of a serious nature was fermenting between the prior 
of Christ Church (as the Cathedral, although dedicated under the 
avowe of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, was often called), and 
the Corporation of Norwich. To appease this unseemly contention 
Cardinal Wolsey visited the city (15 17); as, however, the friction 
continued, he returned in order to administer potent and effective 
measures (1520). On this memorable occasion he came to Lenne, 
where he remained two nights. 

" The Reverend Father in God, Thomas Lord Cardinal, Legate 
a Latere, Archbishop of York, Primate and Chancellor of England," 
attended by Nicholas West the Bishop of Ely, a bishop'from Ireland 
and many well-equipped knights and esquires, was met just beyond 
the Gaywood bridge by the mayor, Robert Gerves, the Corporation 
and the minstrels of Lenne on Monday the 20th of August 1520. 
The princely retinue was entertained at Hulyn's Place,* the bur- 
gesses providing a tempting and substantial bill of fare, which 
absorbed ;^2 2 os. 6d. It comprised 20 dozen of bread, 6 soys of 
ale, 15 barrels of beer, i tun 12 gallons of wine, 2 oxen, 20 sheep, 2 
cygnets, 12 capons, 3 botores (bustards), 3 shovellers (ducks), 13 
plovers, 8 pike, 3 tench, etc. 

Well pleased with the reception, the Cardinal and his suite 
departed " with gret laud and thanks " by the road to London, the 
mayor and many of the inhabitants joining the company as far as 
the church at Hardwick (22nd August 1520).! In after years the 
haughty prelate did not forget the kindness received on this occasion, 
because through his diplomacy a permanent reconciliation was effected 
between an aggressive bishop and an obstinate burgh. Through him 
the old feud was successfully healed, and the town rather than their 
episcopal lord, as wnll be seen, reaped the advantage. 

The effete subject relating to the proper carrying of the Sword 
was again brought forward when Thomas Miller was chosen mayor 
for the first time (1520). In him Bishop Nix discovered a firm and 
intrepid opponent. Influenced by their mayor's advice, the Corpora- 
tion launched a suit at law to establish the legality of mayoral pre- 
cedence, and apparently gained their cause. As expressive of their 

* Place is often used as an abode or residence, asBolcenham's Place (1381) and Mr. Coe's place (i 527-8). May 
not Hiilyn be a variant of Harlewyn ? Thomas Thoresby mentions in his will " ray place at Harlewyns " ( 15 10). 

t This church is supposed to have stood near the " Hardwick farm ; " many pieces of worked building 
stone, some probably of the Decorated period, may be seen in the garden. 



CHURCH AND STATE. 23T 

gratitude, the community elected their champion to the mayoral chair 
six tirnes — in 1520, 1521, 1522, 1523, 1529 and 1546 — four times, 
you will observe, in succession. 

Notwithstanding all the burgesses had done and suffered to 
maintain their rights, the bishop was not disposed to submit, but 
opposed them inch by inch. The manner in which he retaliated is not 
explained. It was the old see-saw game — bishop up, mayor down, 
and vice versa — of which, reader, thou art almost as weary as were 
thy forefathers. With the commendable object of healing the rankling 
grievances and stopping this puerile " tit-ma-torter," Cardinal Wolsey 
concocted an Indenture of Agreement, the give-and-take nature of 
which must be explained. 

It proposed that the bishop on the one hand should relinquish to 
the burgh the yearly Court Leet, with all the perquisites thereto 
belonging, and the right to hold the Steward's Hall Court as well as 
the Tolbooth; besides " such fairs and markets, waifs and strays as 
the bishop had or ought to have in the burgh and also his liberty and 
franchise of return of all the King's writs." Whilst the town, the 
other party to the agreement, should pay a yearly rent of one hundred 
and four shillings to the bishop and accept the terms on lease for thirty 
}ears. 

Through the persuasive mediation of the Cardinal this compromise 
was ratified (20th of November 1527). For nine years, the adjustment 
proved satisfactory. Friction ceased ; everything worked smoothly 
and, but for the interference of " the sceptred sway," Wolsey 's scheme 
might have continued in operation to this day. 

THE RECONSTITUTION. 

Henry was not slow in recognising that the old social system was 
being completely revolutionised by the new democracy. The leaven 
of equality was slowly permeating the whole community, and the hard 
and fast lines prescribed by intolerable class distinctions were being 
gradually obliterated. Hence, instead of tinkering with a series of 
almost useless charters and letters patent, he determined upon a course 
of action which differed from that adopted by his predecessors. His 
charter embodied the entire reconstitution of the burgh. The dark 
days of confirmation and inspeximus and patching were happily at an 
end, and the bright, dawning rays of hope, contentment and social 
equality were playing fitfully along the threshold of the future. To 
this, by far the most important of our so-called " governing 
charters," attention must now be directed. Avoiding the wearisome, 
yet necessary, tautology which abounds throughout this document, we 
purpose placing before our readers a few condensed notes, rather than 
a series of long and perplexing extracts. 
C. 15. Dated at Westminster the 27th June, in the i6th year of his reign 

(1524)- 

Under the scheme of reconstitution, Thomas Miller was appointed 
the first mayor, and he was to continue in office for one year. The 
election of succeeding mayors was vested in the Common Council. 
Every year at the Feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist (30th 



23§ tilSTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

xVugust), the common councilmen were to select an alderman (who had 
not filled the mayoral chair for five years), from the body of the twelve 
then existing aldermen to be mayor from the Feast of St. Michael 
(29th of September) until the Michaelmas next following. 

The first batch of aldermen was also settled by the charter ; each, 
if he behaved with decorum and ran not into debt, was to retain 
his elevated position for life. The component parts in the creme 
de la creme of Lenne society were: 

John Grindell, Richard Brice, 

John Burd, Cristofer Brodbank, 

Richard Bewshere, John Water, 

Robert Amfles, Edward Newton, 

Thomas Leighton, Richard Pepper, 

William Castell, Robert Parmonter. 

At the death or the removal from office of any alderman the 
common councilmen elected another burgess to fill the vacancy, and, 
what is more, to fill it for life, provided he were not in the mean 
time morally " dead in trespasses and sins." Power was given Thomas 
Miller and his aldermanic coadjutors (or their successors) to meet 
at the Gild Hall, whensoever and as often as they pleased, to choose 
eighteen burgesses of the burgh to form a common council. These, 
members of a lower house, were also chosen for life, yet might be 
removed at the discretion of the Mayor and aldermen. In case of 
a removal, avoidable and otherwise, the Mayor and aldermen elected 
a burgess to fill the vacancy. Provision was also made for the election 
and "swearing in" of the recorder, the town clerk, the nine 
constables, the two coroners, the four sergeants-at-mace, the clerk 
of the market, and officers for the conservation of the sea and river 
from St. Edmunds Ness to Staple Weere. The Mayor was graciously 
permitted to have a sheathed sword borne before him whenever he 
took his walks abroad. Never, however, was the awful symbol of 
distinction to be carried beyond the boundaries of the town. The 
choice of the sword-bearing functionary rested with the Mayor and 
aldermen. 

All the liberties within the burgh were for the exclusive enjoyment 
of the accredited burgesses. The right of "making burgesses" 
belonged to the Mayor, aldermen and common councilmen, and every 
man foreign to or outside the pale of freedom was strictly prohibited 
from buying or selling " in gross " to any like stranger, except during 
fair-time, under pain of forfeiture to the King of the goods thus 
bought or sold. Full power was accorded the Mayor, aldermen and 
common councilmen to devise and levy taxes upon the inhabitants for 
the defence of the town against enemies, the protection of property 
against floods and inundations, and for any other necessary purposes ; 
and to punish at their discretion every person resisting the collection 
of such needful money. No taxes, however, "to the prejudice or 
charge or in derogation of the Bishop of Norwich or his successors," 
were ever to be laid. Exemption from service was granted to every 
member of the "body corporate," so that none against their wills 
might be put upon assizes, juries, attaints, recognizances or inquisi- 
tions outside the confines of the town; neither could any-one be 



CHURCH AND STATE. 239 

made to serve as sheriff, justice, coroner, escheator, assessor, crier, 
surveyor, constable, bailiff, comptroller, collector of tenths or fif- 
teenths or other subsidies, or indeed any taxes. 

Largely emancipated from episcopal thraldom the importance of 
Lenne as a borough was at last recognised as in similar towns. New 
duties and greater power were vested in the Corporation. Its mayor 
held office for one year, and his successor was determined by a majority 
of the aldermen, who constituted at this juncture an elective com- 
mittee. The aldermen and common councilmen were nominally 
appointed for life, but the power of displacing was reciprocal, because 
possessed by each. A majority of aldermen could expel a councillor 
and fill the vacancy as easily as a majority of councilmen could 
supplant an obnoxious alderman with a more agreeable or useful 
burgess. Even then, as now, effective pretexts were easily engendered 
by biassed minds, and the supply generally exceeded the demand. 
Another point deserves emphasis. The new Corporation was endowed 
with certain admiralty powers to which special attention will be 
devoted at a later period. They were constituted surveyors of the 
water and inspectors of the fishermen from Staple Weere (a sewer 
about 8 miles above the town) to St. Edmunds Ness (Hunstanton). 

(l) AN UNPROFITABLE SERVANT. 

This was only the beginning; the complete reconstitution of the 
burgh was yet to follow, and we find it embodied in a second charter 
granted some 13 years after the first (C. 15). For many valuable 
privileges therein contained our town is indebted to Henry VOL 
Indebted? — but scarcely so, because, as must be patent further on, 
it was, forsooth, the ratification of what had been brought about 
primarily for his own personal aggrandisement rather than anything 
devised expressly for the benefit or enfranchisement of the people of 
Bishop's Lenne. 

Before examining the sequel to the charter of 1524, it may be 
profitable to inquire into the causes which prompted the King to so 
remarkable an exhibition of royal liberality. Notorious among our 
bishops was Richard Nix, or Nykke, who was consecrated to that 
office the i8th of April 1501. His overbearing arrogance and priestly 
despotism caused him to be cordially disliked, yet when blind and 
decrepit he grasped the crozier more firmly than ever, and never 
ceased lo crush those who inadvertently incurred his displeasure. The 
last act in the life-drama of this hateful prelate was connected with 
Thetford. The authorities there made a presentment upon oath that, 
according to the ancient liberties of that burgh, none of the burgesses 
ought to be cited to appear either at Norwich or any other spiritual 
consistory other than the one under the jurisdiction of the Dean of 
Thetford. The Bishop was indignant; he instantly summoned Richard 
Cockerell, the mayor of Thetford, and other townsmen, to appear at 
his court at Norwich, and threatened them under pain of excommuni- 
cation to immediately cancel their insulting presentment. But the 
brave Thetfordians were not to be coerced into obedience like affrighted 
children. A prosecution in the King's Bench was the result, and the 



240 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

haughty prelate was declared in the end to have incurred the penalties 
of prcemunire. His estates were seized, and he was imprisoned. 
Owing to the painful infirmities of old age he was mercifully liberated 
some time afterwards upon paying a fine of 10,000 marks, which is 
said to have been spent in adorning the King's College, Cambridge, 
with new windows. It seems, moreover, feasible that Bishop Nix 
was constrained to acquiesce in the appointment of suffragans, in 
order that he might be pardoned and spared the indignity of appearing 
before a Parliamentary tribunal, because he certainly nominated four, 
from whom the King selected two, namely, John Salisbury, the prior 
of Horsham St. Faiths, near Norwich, and Thomas Manning, the prior 
of Butley, who were created suffragan bishops of Thetford and 
Ipswich. The release of Bishop Nix was brought about by a private 
Act of Parliament (25th Henry VIII.). 

During the incarceration of the Bishop the King took into his own 
hands the management of the see, which he retained until the appoint- 
ment of a successor. In 1535-6 the Parliament sanctioned a measure 
to place the bishopric upon a new foundation. It set forth " that his 
Majesty minding to advance to the same see one such person, who, both 
for his knowledge of Scripture and honest conversation in history, shall 
by setting forth of the true, plain and sincere doctrine of Christ, and 
good examples of life concordant to the same, much edify his loving 
subjects of the diocese." Now the King had in mind the existence of 
William Rugg (or Repps), the humble and subservient Abbot of St. 
Benet-at-Holme. He was a fellow of Gonville Hall, and whilst at 
Cambridge had played a prominent part in persuading the University 
to pronounce in favour of the divorce between Henry and Queen 
Catherine. Hence the grateful King, " having plain and perfect 
knowledge and experience of William, now Abbot of Bene^ " (to quote 
the Act) was anxious to bestow upon so deserving a cleric the dignity 
of a bishopric (1536). Tempted by the glittering bait, William Rugg 
clutched at the episcopal dignity, ere long, however, to discover " empty 
praise " rather than " solid pudding," for the cruel Act insisted that 
the King and his successors should have the Lordships and Manors of 
Lenne, Gay wood, Thornham, Langham, Thornage, North Elmham, 
Bristow, Beetley, Hevingham, Marsham, Thorpe, Blofield, Beighton, 
RoUesby and Eccles, in Norfolk ; and the manors of Hoxne, South 
Elmham, Becton, Batesford and Wyke, in Suffolk; and the manors 
of Terling and Lyghes, in Essex — which belonged to the bishopric. 
Besides which his Majesty was to enjoy — 

All those Meases, Landes, Tenements, Rentes, Rev'cions, Meadowes, 
Leasues, Pastures, Woodes, Waters, Com'ons, Fysshings, Poolys, Lib'ties, 
Francheses, Wayffus, Strayes, Viewe of Frank plages, Courtes p'fights (profits) of 
Courtes Haryetts, Relets, Eschets, Patronages, Advowsons of Churches, 
Chapelles, Chaunt'es, Hospitalles, Knyghtes' Fees, and singular other temporall 
possessions and hereditaments with their appurtenaunces in Lynne Epi., 
Gaywood and [as aforesaid] which belonge or in any wyse apperteyne to the 
said bisshoprick. 

The greedy sovereign found no difficulty whatever in assimilating 
these things, for, like the Moor's revenge, his avaricious extravagance 
" had stomach for them all." But what was the newly-installed 



CHURCH AND STATE. 241 

bishop to have? For the proper maintenance and sustentation of the 
episcopal " dignity " there was allotted to Bishop Rugg the Palace at 
Norwich, the Benedictine Monastery of St. Benet-at-Holme, about 
nine miles from the city (valued at ^677 los. 8|d.), of which he and 
his successors were to retain the Abbacy, and the Priory of the Austin 
Canons at Hickling (valued at ;^ioo i8s. 7fd.), with all the lands 
thereto belonging, at a yearly rent of ;^33 6s. 8d. ; besides the patron- 
age of four Archdeaconries, with all presentations to benefices, and 
after the death of the then occupant, the house reserved to the Arch- 
deacon of Westminster in Canon Row, Westminster. 

The necessary Act was passed (4th of February), and William 
Rugg was consecrated Bishop of Norwich and Abbot of St. Benet- 
at-Holme (nth of June 1536). "From him that hath not shall be 
taken away even that which he hath." Bishop Rugg was, in sooth, 
an unprofitable servant. " By his improvident leases he had so 
reduced its available revenue that it was insufficient to maintain the 
episcopal office with that state which his predecessors had maintained, 
and his attempt involved him in debt and difficulties, and consequent 
unpopularity, to such an extent that he had to make a second bargain 
with the King, upon the remonstrance of the county, which resulted 
in his resignation on a pension of ;£200 a year " (Mason).* 

The ecclesiastical yoke under which the burgesses had groaned 
so many years was cast aside, and having deposed the episcopal patron 
Henry took the patronage into his own hands. Henceforth, indeed, 
was Lenne — The Royal Borough. 

(2) THE DOWNFALL OF THE SUZERAIN. 

Mindful of his own, Henry pressed upon the Corporation the 
rights and privileges he filched from the bishop ; these, embodied in 
letters patent, may be regarded either as supplementary to, or a second 
edition of, the charter of 1524. 
^. 16. Dated at Westminster the 7th of July in the 29th year of his reign 

(1537)- 

The preamble briefly recites and confirms (a) Ihe letters patent 
of Henry's first charter, and (b) the Act of Parliament vesting the 
temporalities of the Bishop of Norwich in the Crown. " And 
whereas afterwards by a certain Statute, late in our Parliament in 
London, holden on the ist day of November in the 21st year of our 
reign (1529), and from thence adjourned to Westminster and there 
holden, and from that time continued by prorogations until the 4th day 
of February in the 27th year of our reign " (1536). 

Forthwith the charter ordained : 

(i) That the town be no longer called Bishop's Lenne {Lenne 
Episcopi), but King's Lenne {Lenne Regis). 

(2) That two courts be held every week in the Gild Hall, pre- 
sided over by the Mayor and Recorder or their deputies, for hearing 

" As Bishop of Nonvich and Abbot of St. Benet-at-Holme (for the abbacy is still annexed to 
the bishopric) the prelacy is exceptional, in that the bishop has a dowb/e c/aim to a seat in the House of 
Lords. Twenty-six abbots and two priors were thus honoured. (Coke.) 

2 H 



242 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

and determining pleas and plaints " in as ample manner and form as 
the same late bishop in his courts of the same town." They were 
invested with power to adjudicate upon " all manner of Pleas, or 
Plaints of fresh force, and other Plaints, as well real as personal and 
mixed, without our (the King's) writ, as well for Messuages, Lands 
and Tenements, being within the same burgh, as of and for sums of 
Debts, for what person soever to what soever sum or sums they do 
extend ; and also of all Trespasses, Ditenues, Accounts, Covenants, 
Contracts, Causes and Demands whatsoever . . . according to 
tlie Law and Custom of our Realm of England." 

(3) That the Tolbooth Court be held by the same or either of 
them or their deputies within the burgh or the limits of St. Edmunds 
Ness and Staple Weere for hearing and determining plaints and pleas 
done and debts arising by water. " And we have granted to the 
Mayor and Burgesses ... all and singular Issues, Profits, Fines, 
Amercements, Customs, Tolls, Tronage, Warfage, Groundage, Stall- 
age, Piccage, Anchorage, Tonnage, Poundage and Lastage (Lovecop) 
and other Emoluments whatsoever arising, due, or forfeited, or to be 
forfeited by reason of the aforesaid Court and the Bailiwick of the 
waters within the limits aforesaid." Power was also given for 
appointing one or two persons to act as bailiffs, 

(4) That a Court Leet be held yearly within the burgh for view 
of frankpledge, with power to amend the assize of bread, beer and 
other victuals exposed for sale, and to punish offenders. The profits 
arising from this Court were to belong to the mayor and burgesses, as, 
for example, fines, pains, redemptions, forfeitures, amercements and 
other perquisites. Also " waifs and strays " — the goods and chattels 
of felons, " felons de se," fugitives, outlaws, and those convicted, 
attainted and condemned. 

(5) That the Justices of the Peace consist of the mayor, the 
recorder and those of the aldermen who have served in the office of 
mayor, thus excluding county justices from interference within the 
burgh, and prohibiting the Sheriff of Norfolk or his officers from 
executing writs in Lenne. 

(6) That two six-days' fairs, or marts, be held yearly ; the first to 
begin on the day after the Feast of the Assumption (x5th August), 
and the second on the day after the Purification of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary (2nd February). 

(7) That two weekly markets be held on Tuesday and Saturday 
" in the place there accustomed, with stalls and shops there for the 
same fairs and markets framed and built (unless the fairs or marts 
aforesaid be to the damage of the neighbouring markets and neigh- 
bouring fairs), with all Tolls, Profits, Emoluments whatever due and 
arising " from them. 

(8) That a Court of Pie Powdre be held in the time of the fairs 
and markets so that rogues and vagabonds from other places might be 
summarily punished.* 

• Pedlars and hawkers were once called " dusty feet," or pied poudreux, the French terra for vagabonds, 
from whence this useful but now obsolete court received its quaint appellation. In Bunyan's Pilgrim's 
Pngress (1678), Christian and Faithful were summarily dealt with by a court of Pie Petudre. 



CHURCH AND STATE. 243 

(9) That the town may have a prison or gaol for the special 
accommodation of '' all and singular Felons or Thieves, or other Male- 
factors whatsoever," and have cognisance of all pleas in the courts 
of common plea and exchequer upon paying into the Exchequer 20 
marks (^13 6s. 8d.) yearly. 

(10) " And further of our more abundant grace," the document 
ends, " we have granted to the aforesaid Mayor and Burgesses that 
these our present letters, when and as tliey be sealed under the great 
seal, be delivered to the said Mayor and Burgesses or to their certain 
Attorney, without fine or fee, great or small, in the Hamper (hanaper) 
of our Chancery or elsewhere to our use for the same paying or doing." 

It is to be regretted that Henry's reconstituting charters contain 
no provisions for the regulation of the Parliamentary elections. The 
old " committee . of twelve" chose Thomas Guybon and Francis 
Mondeford when two members wished to retire — William Gerves 
because of " extreme perell of sykenes," and Thomas Wyth through 
service of James Stanley, the Bishop of Ely (7th January 15 10). 
The election, too, of 15 12 was conducted on the same lines, when 
Francis Mondeford and Thomas Wyth (being free from ecclesiastical 
service and having already accepted the mayoralty) were chosen (28th 
January). 

An alteration in the mode of procedure is recorded in 1523, when 
the election did not depend on the votes of twelve persons. The 
minutes of the 31st of March begin with a list of those present. Out 
of a possible 52 — " the twenty-four " (aldermen) and " the twenty- 
seven " (common councillors) — only 31 (including the mayor) put in an 
appearance. As, however, the mayor, Thomas Miller, and his 
colleague, Robert Bewshere, were nominees, the voting strength was 
reduced to 29. Who the other candidates were we are not told. The 
result of the election was disappointing. 

Majority one: (15 4- 14) = 29, the total number of votes. As 
the election was ultimately determined by the votes of 22 persons, 
whose names are carefully recorded, we suggest that a dispute arose 
l)ecause of the narrowness of the majority and that in this dilemma 
others were induced to attend in order to record their votes. The 
second trial yielded this result : 

Majority eight: (22 -f- 14) = 36, total number of votes. The 
second list of the twenty-two for Messrs. Miller and Bewshere contains 
the fifteen who voted in the first instance and seven not included in the 
minority. 

Here, then, a committee of 12 is superseded by 36 voters, who 
to a man belong to either the twenty-four or the twenty-seven, and we 
feel justified in concluding that the election was entirely in the hands 
of the Town Council. In the protracted struggle for municipal 
emancipation, the democracy was slowly, yet inevitably, gaining 
ground. 

THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES. 

The monastic orders, and especially the mendicant fraternities, 
which almost to this period had been regarded as centres of virtue and 



244 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

learning, began to exhibit unmistakable signs of declension. This 
social deterioration was owing to the pitiable calamities through which 
the kingdom had passed, the gradual relaxation of their rules and an 
ever-increasing dearth of eminent men. The depleted ranks were 
indeed filled, but filled, unfortunately, by a promiscuous multitude of 
young men who had no sympathy with the ascetic strictness of former 
days. This was deplorable, but besides there was the struggle waged 
between the regulars and the seculars.* As holders of extensive pro- 
perties in trust for the poor, the friars had in many instances become 
the makers of the towns in which their orders were located ; they not 
only reclaimed waste lands, but unconsciously created and maintained 
a monopoly of the trade upon which the prosperity of the whole com- 
munity depended. Whether the friars or secular clergy should be 
preeminent was now the crucial question. After many futile attempts 
had been made to solve this important problem, bluff King Hal stepped 
forward and did it effectually by sweeping away the lesser and then 
the greater monasteries. To the utilitarian the cure was as bad as the 
disease — the operation was a perfect success, but the patient died ! 
The land was filled with beggars, and for the Domus Dei was substi- 
tuted something akin to the Union Workhouse. There followed, too, 
that infinite loss to learning and literature which attended the whole- 
sale destruction of those rare tomes and rarer manuscripts, so tenderly 
treasured in the monastic libraries. 

Bale, writing in 1549, observes : — 

A number of persons, who bought the monasteries, reserved of the libraries 
books thereof, some to serve their jakes, some to scour their candlesticks and 
some to rub their boots ; some they sent over-sea to the bookbinders, not in small 
numbers, but at times whole ships full. Even the universities of the realm were 
not all clear of the detestable fact. I know a merchant man who bought the 
contents of two noble libraries for forty shillings a-piece. The stuff thereof he 
hath occupied instead of grey paper by the space of more than these ten years, 
and yet hath store enough for as many years to come. Our posterity may well 
curse this wicked fall of our age, this unreasonable spoil of England's most noble 
antiquities. 

The King, before resorting to extreme measures, appealed to his 
council. Some honestly acknowledged that monasteries were scarcely 
other than receptacles for lazy, worthless persons ; they advocated 
measures likely to bring about a thorough reformation in the manage- 
ment and organisation of religious houses ; whilst others, admitting 
that the monks and friars enjoyed one-fourth of the revenue of the 
kingdom, suggested a great reduction in their number, so that there 
might not be more than two or three establishments in every county. 
Secretary Cromwell was in favour of universal suppression. After a 
lengthy consultation, commissioners were appointed to visit all the 
religious houses. The result of an unfavourable report was a measure 
entitled, " An Acte whereby Relygious Houses of Monkes, Chanons 
and Nonnes whiche may dyspend Manors, Landes, Tenements and 

A Regular (Latin regularis, from regiila a rule) was a member of a monastic order or a congregation ; 
a Secular (Latin secularit, from seculum a generation, the world) was not bound by monastic vows or rulet. 
The first, isolated from the world, was living in religion ; the second was— of the world, worldly. 



CHURCH AND STATE. 



245 



Heredytaments below the cleare yearly value of ij c li. (^200) are 
given to the Kynges Highnes his heires and successours for ever." 
[27 Henry VIII.] 

By this Act all monasteries with incomes below ;^20o per annum 
were suppressed, and their revenues, with their goods and chattels, 
including, of course, the valuable plate so many possessed, were granted 
to the King (1536). As many as 376 suffered confiscation at " one fell 
swoop," whilst a "conscientious " sovereign became the recipient of 
a lump sum estimated at ;^ioo,ooo and a yearly income of ;^32,ooo. 
Hodgson, however, believes " the King and the cardinal (Wolsey) went 
snacks and divided the money betwixt themselves, the cardinal having 
first deducted his expenses." At the dissolution of the lesser monas- 
teries ten thousand homeiess friars were turned adrift. (Holinshed.) 
The greater monasteries were dissolved in 1539, when their vast 
revenues fell into the King's hands. 

Norfolk was particularly rich in religious houses ; at the time of 
the dissolution there were 256 monastic institutions — nearly one-eighth 
of the entire number in England and Wales. Covering an area equal 
to about one-twentieth of England and Wales, the diocese of Norwich 
contained one-sixteenth of the whole, or one-eightieth more than it 
ought proportionately to have done. Of the 79 houses seized in 
Norfolk, the following 10 were in Lenne : — 

Benedictine Priory Priory of de Sacco 

Priory of Blackfriars College of Secular Canons 

„ Greyfriars St. John Baptist's Hospital 

„ Whitefriars St. Mary Magdalen's Hospital (Gaywood) 

,, Austinfriars Lazar House in Cowgate. 

South Lenne (Setchy Parva), Hospital and chapel. 

West „ Leper House. 

Hardwick, Hospital. 

Gaywood, ,, {Valov Ecclesiastictis.) 

The accompanying table shews at a glance when the surrender of 
each house was effected, the value of their emoluments, the number of 
brethren (including the respective priors), and into what hands the 
building in the first instance passed : — 



Institution. 


When. 


Value. 


Brethren 


To Whom. 


Benedictine Priory 


1539 
ID. Oct. 




10 


(iranted to the Dean & 
Chapter of Norwich. 


Priory of Greyfriars 


—' !-• c; " 


Purchased 

afterward by : — 

Corporation 


Priory of Whitefriars 


30. Sept. 


35/8 


II 




»» 


Priory of Blackfriars ... 


)i 


18/I2 


13 


T3 C 3 
2 (L> CO 


Private persons 


Priory of Austin Friars * 


»5 


24/6 


5 


-^ C i- 


>> 



Ninety years prior to this, there were connected with this monastery 30 priests besides :6 subordinate 



officers. 



246 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

The presentation of the Priors of Lenne was in the hands of the 
Prior of the Benedictine Convent, Norwich, and the last of the order 
ceased when William Castleton was made the first Dean of Norwich 
(2nd May 1538). As the Priory at Lenne had been granted to him 
and his successors, the presentation connected with the Perpetual 
Curacy of " St. Margaret with the Chapels of St. Nicholas and St. 
James " has always continued in the hands of the Dean and Chapter 
of Norwich, notwithstanding that the Corporation subsequently pur- 
chased the impropriation and thus acquired the parochial revenues. 
The " curate " (vicar) was entitled to receive for his services the sur- 
plice fees for christenings, marriages and burials, and a few insigni- 
ficant perquisites as herbage and dole-fish, etc. The " lecturers," or 
preachers, were, until the passing of the Municipal Corporation Act 
in 1835, chosen and appointed by the Corporation ; they received ^100 
a year from the town treasury, and were permitted to hold other 
livings. 

Attention will elsewhere be given to the Priory and the Four 
Great Orders of Friars in Lenne, hence a few words concerning the 
other houses which succumbed may not here be out of place. 

(i) T/ie Priory de Sacco (Sackfriars), whose patron was St. 
Anthony. To this stern brotherhood other terms were applied, as 
Friars de Pcenitentia (Friars of Repentance or Penance), Friars of 
the Penance of Jesus Christ (or of God), and because their dress was 
formless like a bag of coarse sackcloth, they were also called the Fraties 
de Sacco, or Friars of the Sack. They first appeared in London, and 
at one time had nine houses. Their spread is indicated by the estab- 
lishment of various offshoots — London (1257), Cambridge and Nor- 
wich (1258), Oxford (1262), Newcastle (before 1272), Leicester (1284), 
Lincoln and York (query date). 

The houses in England were affected by an Act passed by the 
Council at Lyons which suppressed all except the greater orders (1274). 
Some of the buildings and sites were either granted to other religious 
houses, as at Norwich and York, or passed into private hands. The 
prior at Lenne at this juncture was Roger de Flegg, — an important 
person in that he was also Vicar-general of the whole order of Sack 
Friars in England. 

The position of this priory has been determined. It was the 12th 
tenement north of St. Nicholas' chapel on the east side of the way, and 
it bore the following inscription : — " The brethren of the Sack hold 
an area in which their church and habitation are constructed, of the 

gift of Lord John de Vaux, R de Westacre, and Richard, son of 

Adam de Wigenhale, and the heirs of Alexander Fitz- Parson acquitted 
them of their rent to the Bishop " (Survey, Edw. I.). 

(2) The College of Secular Canons was Thoresby's gift to the 
town. It was quadrangular in shape, with the principal entrance in 
Queen Street. The beautifully-carved door (15 10) and quaint dormer 
windows are objects of interest. The first originally bore the legend — 
Orate fro anima Magistri Thome Thoresby fundatoris hujus loci, that 



CHURCH AND STATE. 247 

is, " Pray for the soul of Master Thomas Thoresby, the founder of this 
place." The inexcusable fanaticism of the times prompted some 
enthusiastic iconoclast to mutilate the inscription by nearly cutting 
away the first three words.* This building came into the possession 
of the Corporation, who sold it to a person named Houghton ; this was 
prior to 1561, when the Commissioners reported that to what use it was 
established they "knew not." " Thoresby 's College" was subse- 
quently converted into " a brew-house." Part of the building is now 
occupied by Mr. J. Oliver as a private dwelling, and the rest is utilised 
as a young ladies' seminary, conducted by Mrs. and Miss M. Powley 
(1906). 

(3) The Hospital of St. John the Baptist has already been men- 
tioned in connection with the recantation of Sir W. Sawtre (1399). It 
is supposed to have stood on the site of the present " Blue Lion " — 
formerly the Hanging Chains — Inn. As described in the 13th cen- 
tury, it consisted of a church, a hospital, a hall, chambers, a court, 
and various houses with their appurtenances, and was the gift of 
Richard de Brecham to the master and brethren — and we will presume 
to add sisters, who are subsequently mentioned. A ground rent of 
5s. a year was charged bv the bishop. 

In 1234 the prior strenuously objected to the celebration of mass 
in their church. t Margaret Frenghe bequeathed xij pence to the 
poor people of the Hospice of " St. John of Lenn " (1352). Robert 
Newman was presented to the rectory at Bawsey, which was thus 
united to the mastership of this hospital, by William Stratwhayt 
(1532). At the surrender in 1536, the Hospital of St. John the 
Baptist was valued at jQi 6s. iid. 

(4) The Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen. — As early as 1141 a 
priory dedicated to the above saint existed at Gay wood. This, how- 
ever, gave place to a more pretentious building, erected by Petrus 
Capellanus (1174). The new edifice was designed to accommodate 
the presiding prior or chaplain and twelve brethren and sisters — three 
of whom were to be leprous. Interesting particulars about " the 
'spital on the causey" may be gathered from other writers. J 

The founder, without doubt, was a very rich and influential per- 
son. He was known as Peter Capellanus, or Peter the Chaplain, but 
whether he was actually a chaplain or the son of a chaplain (surname) 
it is impossible to say. Notwithstanding the adage, multi clerici sunt 
laid, or as Fuller renders it, " many clerks by name are no clerks by 
profession," it may be safely assumed that Peter was intensely 
interested in the religious discipline of the little community, even if 
the duties of the chaplaincy were relegated to another. Conscious, 

• Possibly William Dowsing, or some iconoclastic agent of the Earl of Manchester, was guilty of 
this and other needless desecrations. 

"Lowestoft. In the same year (1644), alsoon the 12th of June, there came one Jessop, with a commission 
from the Earl of Manchester to take away from all gravestones (and) all (brass) inscriptions on which he 
found Orate pro anima—n wretched commissioner not able to read or find out that which his commission 
enjoyned him to remove" (Cole's MSS.). 

t See Beloe's Our Churches (iSgg), pp. 74-5. 

X Sec Mackerell's Wist. Lynn, pp. 194 and 244-9 ; Richards' Mht. Lynn, Vol. I., pp. 530-552 
Blomefield's (Parkin) Hist. Norfolk, Vol. VUl., i>. 146; Report (11 th) Hht. MSS. Com., part 3, pp. 235-8 
and Aikiu's Charities of Lynn (1843), p. 8. 



248 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

perhaps, that his end was approaching, he may have hurried on the 
work to its completion, because he died on St. Paul's day (25th of 
January), the same year that the episcopal acknowledgment was 
executed (1174). 

The foundation deed of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen was 
granted by Bishop Turbus. It bore, of course, the new seal of the 
fraternity, but because this seal was not well known, the seal of the 
dean of Lenne was also affixed thereto.* 

From this document we learn how the hospital was granted cum 
ecclesia et sepultura, that is, "with the church and burial ground." 
Near the building was the grave-yard, where tjie inmates were interred, 
not in wooden cases — a comparatively modern device — but wrapped 
merely in their winding sheets. Coffins were then exclusively 
reserved to the rich. Solid blocks of stone, often brought from places 
many miles distant, were hollowed out to receive the body — a small 
circular cavity being cut at the broad end for the head. In the 
bottom were generally one or two holes to drain off the moisture. 
These coffins, never deep in the ground, were often so near the surface 
that the stone lids were visible. They belong to the nth and 12th 
centuries, but very few are found earlier than the 12th century. 

For four centuries this beneficent institution flourished, and even 
after the statute passed expressly for the suppression of hospitals, 
colleges, chantries, etc., the fraternity at Gay wood was not dispersed 
neither were its lands seized, though nominally belonging to the Crown. 
At the present time its possessions are vested in the Charity 
Commissioners. 

While excavating for the foundation of the new (King Edward 
VII.) Grammar School, generously presented to our borough by 
W. J. Lancaster, Esq., several skeletons were unearthed, awaiting, 
with their feet towards the east, the " Dayspring " and the 
"Resurrection." The workmen came upon a stone coffin about 
3 feet beneath the surface, 30 feet from the road and 30 feet 
from the wall of the present alms-houses. Cut out of a solid 
block, it measured 6\ feet in length, the breadth at the head being 2 
feet and the foot 18 inches; it was, moreover, 14 inches high and 12 
inches in depth. The cavity for the head was elliptical, 15 inches by 
10 inches (i8th January 1904). The stone greatly resembles " Clips- 
ham," and was perhaps brought by water from the Clipsham quarries, 
about 10 miles from Oakham, in Rutlandshire, through Market 
Deeping, Crowland and Spalding, and on to the mouth of the Wel- 
land, at Fossdyke Wash, from whence it was shipped to Lynn. 
Mackerell mentions three similar stone coffins in connection with St. 
Margaret's church. 

After remaining in the ground seven hundred and thirty years 
(as we believe) the stone is very friable. The stone lid had given 
way, and the osseous remains of others buried above had fallen in. 
With the skeleton of a tall person, about six feet in height, was 
another skull and many bones. 

* Thf dean assisted the piioi, as the archdeacon assisted the bishop. 



CHURCH AND STATE. 249 

Describing the coffins washed away by the sea from the church- 
yard at West Lynn the author of Lennoe Rediviva {circa Edward IV.) 
observes : — 

Such coffins as this age affords none such, 

But com'on were for conquerors in every church, 

They made out of freestone, engraved as decpe 

As to containe the body, and it to keepe. 

A hollow place for tli' head cut in a round. 

Narrow for necke, broader for shoulders round, 

In one word they are shaped to the full 

Proportion of a body with its skull. (Ben Adam.) 

In conclusion, we accentuate certain points : — 

(i) The coffin belongs to the 12th century, rather than the nth ; 
it contains the remains of a wealthy, rather than a poor person, who 
was in some way connected witli this ancient hospital, or the interment 
would have been elsewhere. 

(2) Peter Capellanus was unquestionably wealthy ; he founded 
the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, died during the 12th century 
(1174), and would be buried, according to the custom of the period, 
either in the chapel or graveyard belonging to this beneficent 
foundation. 

Thus far we go, but no farther ; yet, if thou, courageous reader, 
wilt venture to assert that the stone coffin, deposited in our museum, 
contains the crumbling remains of good Peter Chaplain, we will con- 
tentedly refrain from uttering any protest. 

(5) The Cowgate Lazar House. — The dreadful scourge of 
leprosy, now happily almost unknown in this country, is said to have 
been introduced by the Crusaders on their return from the Holy Land. 
Those afflicted with this and similar loathsome cutaneous diseases were 
isolated from their fellows and compelled to dwell in lazar houses (so- 
called from Lazarus, the beggar mentioned by St. Luke, who being 
" full of sores " was probably a leper), which were built and supported 
by the benevolent. The unfortunate inmates were not permitted to 
go abroad without ringing a bell to announce their approach or shaking 
the lid of their wooden clap-dish to shew it was empty. Generally, 
however, an accredited joregoer, whose duty it was to beg for the sup- 
port of these incurable outcasts, was appointed at each house. 

It was customary in Lenne to report to the council those who were 
susjiected of being thus afflicted, so that their infirmity might be con- 
firmed or denied by " discreet |iersons, having knowledge in this 
respect." For exami)le, John Selander, T. Taylnur and Edmund 
Mundy having been duly " nominated," were cited to appear before 
the mayor and his brethren (17th of March 1429), to be minutely 
examined in their presence. The judges, however, were uncertain 
about John Selander, because the next year, when the council met to 
levy fines or contributions upon the aliens who had not yet accepted 
the burden of citizenship, the Dutchman's name appears upon the 
list. From John Selander, however, nothing was demanded, but now 
being unquestionably leprous, he was ordered to quit the borough 
within a fortnight under the heavy penalty of forty shillings (ist 
April 1430). 

2 I 



250 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Margaret Frenghe bequeathed twelve pence to the lepers of the 
Cowgate, and a like amount to those of Herdwyk or Hardwick 
(1352); John de Grantham, of Lenne, left " 3s. 4d. to each of the 
seven leper houses about Lenne" (1384); and Stephen Guybon, of 
North Lenne, demised twelve pence ' ' to every leper house about 
Lenne," namely, Cowgate, Herdwyk, Seche Hithe, Mawdelyn, West 
Lenne and Gaywood (1434)- Hence there were seven infectious 
hospitals in 1384, but fifty years later there were but six. 

It will be noted that these retreats were some distance from the 
town. The one at Hardwick is supposed to have stood on the south 
side of the road, at the foot of and just beyond the " Hardwick 
bridge." It was burnt down in 1477, when Edmund Bedingfeld, the 
lord of the manor of Hall Place or Seche Parva, a hamlet of South 
Lenne. granted the site of the Hospital of St. Lawrence, as it was 
called, to John Norris. the vicar of All Saints' church. There was 
a corresponding settlement of the brotherhood of St. Lawrence in the 
Newland, their house being affiliated with the monastery of St. 
Lazarus of Jerusalem, at Burton Lazars (Leicestershire). This 
hospital was in the Damgate. nearly opposite the chapel of the 
Hospital of St. John the Baptist. The brethren owned a row of 
messuages extending from the Bishop's Mill Fleet to the Drawbridge 
(East Gates). The site of the Kettle Mills Water-works, know'n in 
the 13th century as " Lazar Hill," belonged to this fraternity. 

Of the leper house in West Lenne, and the leper hospital in South 
Lenne, nothing is known. 

ANCHORITES AND HERMITS. 

An ancJiorile was a being who lived a solitary life, secluded from 
the world, and who practised the severest austerities, never leaving his 
cell, and depending for his living upon the thoughtful benevolence of 
others ; whereas a hermit, though more or less a recluse, was permitted 
to wander at large. Cells or destincc were provided for these pious 
persons in monasteries, churches, churchyards, over church porches or 
town gates, and in lonely and almost inaccessible places. Many bur- 
gesses of Lenne left money for the support of these religious devotees. 

Anchorites are mentioned in connection with South Lenne (1367), 
All Saints' church (1385 and 1510), Whitefriars' monastery ("John 
with the Broken Back" in 1367 and William Clays in 1510); there 
were " recluses " of All Saints' (1276 and 1408); Lady Alice Belle, 
a member of the Gild of SS. Fabian and Sebastian, may also be 
included. To the " anchorite recluse " of All Saints', Margaret the 
widow of John Lok left twenty shillings (1408). 

Hermits, too, were plentiful. Dwelling in or near the church 
of St. Margaret were John (1406) and Thomas (1428) ; the chapel of 
St. Nicholas, John (1367 and 1428); the South Gate, Thomas (1386), 
all of whom were accordingly surnamed "Hermit"; and Anne 
Whyote, of the East Gate (1385). 

In 1349 the town, through the medium of the mayor, John de 
Couteshale, presented a petition to William Bateman, the Bishop of 
Norwich, begging that John Puttock might be accepted as a hermit. 



CHURCH AND STATE. 251 

He lived at that time in a cave on the western side of the haven at 
a desolate spot particularly dangerous to our early mariners, and here 
at his own cost the good man erected a " remarkable cross," no feet 
in height. This land-mark, subsequently known as the Lenne Crutch 
or Cross (a name retained in the 17th century), was of great service to 
our sailors. John Puttock seems to have been a wealthy man, because 
he proposed building himself " a proper mansion," and looked upon 
the cave as a temporary dwelling. Here, then, he desired to spend 
the remnant of his days in the service of God and for the good of his 
fellows. Hence the townsfolk to further his commendable conduct 
applied to the Bishop for permission and licence. 

The Hermitage of St. Catherine was beyond the East Gates on 
the north side of the common way against Roude's Hill {Spread Eagle 
Estate). The abuttals are mentioned in a deed, 8th of Henry VIII. 
(Harrod p. ^t^). The building apparently belonged to the Corpora- 
tion in 1 5 14, when Sir William Knight, a priest, presented " to the 
commons " a pair of double gilt silver chalices which were to be used 
in the Hermitage. The subjoined quotation from the chapelwardens' 
cash book helps to decide the position of this forgotten building: — 
" It'm : for somuch rec'd viij small Shrub trees growing on the dike 
sides upon an Acre of Grownd in Gaywood [a i)art of St. Nicholas' 
Chapel Estate] next the hermitage called St. Katherins jQi iis. 
(1616)." In other words — eight shrubs growing upon the Chapel 
Estate were sold for ^£1 iis. 

St. Catherine's Chapel, defaced before 1560, we are inclined to 
regard as none other than St. Katherine's Hermitage, because John 
Consolif desired " there to live a solitary life upon the alms of the 
good people." Bishop Spencer wrote to Roger Paxman, the mayor 
and burgesses, on his behalf, asking that for the love they bore him, — 
which was truly a negative quantity — they would surrender their part 
in the house to accommodate dear brother Consolif, who was none 
other than his brother's worn-out servant (1382). 

llie Greenland Fishery, a public house in Bridge Street, is said 
to have been built on the site of a nunnery, but the nuns of Lenne (if 
there ever were any) were removed to Thetford in 1 176 (W. P. Burnet). 
Gasquet says the Benedictine nuns were removed to Thetford from 
Lynge, about 7 miles from East Dereham {English M&nastic Life: 
1904, p. 288). The present building is of the timber-frame order, the 
spaces being fdled with herring-bone brick work. It is reputed to 
have been the residence of a merchant named Atkins. John Atkins 
was mayor in 1607 and 1615, and William Atkins in i6iq. The date 
1605 is visible on the north gable, and 1674 was at one time to be seen 
upon a corbel on the south. Some rude mural paintings, encrusted 
with whitewash, were discovered in an upper room (1834) ; they repre- 
sented Faith, Hope and Charity, and the ])aral)le of Dives and 
Lazarus. The following poetic inscriptions were deciphered : — 

Thou in thy life thy pleasure had, but Lazarus he felt pain, 
Now therefore ho comforted is, with heavenly food above. 

Which when he bogjpcd but rrumbs of thee, did'st him disdain, 
Wherefore thou now tormented art, and from thence cannot move. 



252 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Alas ! how short the pleasure is, and vaine 

Woe and alas ! that such delights which haste 
Should men repaye with everlasting paine 

In chaines restrained from out the blissful place. 

On the east wall were these lines : — 
As nothing is so absolutely blest 

But chance may crosse and make it seeming ill ; 
So nothing can a man so much molest 

But God can change and— (seeming good) — He will. 

And over the window, Psahn xvi. 2 :— 

Thou wilt shew me the path of life ; in thy presence is fullness of joy ; at 
thy right hand there are pleasures for ever more. 

NO ADMITTANCE. 

There was a fresh outbreak in 1516 of the " sweating sickness," 
which had never really quitted the country. It became so prevalent 
at last that it was almost disregarded, except when its virulence 
decimated huge areas. About this period the scourge \yas severely 
felt in London and other of the larger centres of population, and the 
civic authorities, alarmed at the mortality around them, tried their 
utmost to mitigate the evil. Among other measures, they inaugurated 
the wholesale expulsion of beggars and vagabonds. Driven beyond 
the boundary of the city, they might go where they chose, but were 
not permitted to return; hence they sought an abiding place in the 
smaller burghs, which were soon completely overrun with unwelcome 
refugees, who were by no means averse to living upon the industry of 
others. The influx here was so alarming that the Assembly were 
constrained to examine the roll of burgesses, and, in their wisdom, it 
was decided that all the unemployed and questionable inhabitants of 
Lenne were to present themselves for hire every morning at the usual 
time of going to work, at the corner of Chequer Street (now King 
Street), either near the King's or the Common Staith, where labourers 
were usually in demand. Here these unfortunate loafers were to 
remain one hour, if the piteous cry " We've got no work to do " were 
not in the m.ean time silenced, or be punished as hypocritical vagabonds 
who preferred idleness to industry (1520). 

The closing of the monastery doors, a scheme devised by Wolsey, 
greatly aggravated the mischief, not only here, but elsewhere. Hordes 
of infuriated beggars, turned adrift from these temporary shelters, 
tramped from one part of the kingdom to another, committing crimes 
of every description. To guard against a further ingress from 
neighbo;uring places the town gates were closed punctually every 
evening at six o'clock, and thus they remained until six the next 
morning. The keys of the locked-up burgh were delivered to the 
mayor, whilst a strong corps of armed men guarded every entrance. 
The peace, within the municipal pale, was secured by means of a 
night watch, consisting of the ward constables and twenty stalwart 
men. who were under the command of one of the aldermen. Their 
duty it was to parade the streets and to lock up after ten o'clock every 
disreputable person they met. To assist the guardians of the peace 
in these nocturnal expeditions every householder, having received 
notice from the bellman, was bound to suspend a light in front of his 
dwelling, or forfeit fourpence whenever he neglected to do so (1536). 



CHVRCti AND STATE. 



26a 



An abortive attempt was made to revive the suppressed orders at 
Walsingham. The inhabitants, influenced by homeless friars, con- 
sidered that the dissolution of their priory, with the cessation of pil- 
grimages to the Virgin, would in a great measure ruin the town. A 
tumultous mob therefore assembled to oppose the King's officers ; their 
dispersion, however, was inevitable. Fifteen are said to have been 
condemned for high treason, of whom five were executed. William 
Gisborough, a friar, of Lenne, and his father, who belonged to 
Walsingham, were hanged in the Lenne, as was also a Carmelite friar 
named Peacock (ist June 1537). 

There can be little doubt that the people suffered greatly, for 
some few years at least, after the suppression. In four statutes 
passed between 1535 and 1544 there appears a list of decayed towns; 
Lenne, Yarmouth and Ipswich are conspicuous in that of 1541, but 
as at that period there was scarcely a prosperous town in the King- 
dom, it would be unfair to attribute the alteration to one source. 
Besides, a local Act was passed in 1535 for the rebuilding of houses in 
Lenne (26th Henry VIII., c. 9), and similar Acts affected Norwich 
and other towns, for " there hath been in times past many beautiful 
houses which are now falling into ruin." 

For the brutal and shameful methods emplo} ed to sweep away the religious 
houses — much that they stood for and all that they were — it is impossible to offer 
any excuse. But it is not a little noticeable that, in much less than a century 
after all were gone, they were hardly missed ; very few men, wise or simple, 
seriously regretted their suppression, and very much fewer wished them back 
(Dr. A. Jessopp). 

THE CLERGY SUSTENTATION FUND. 

The following interesting items occur in the accounts rendered 
by John Ffornesete (1438) and George Hvngham (1509), priors of 

Lenne, to John Hewrynglonde and R Latton, the respective 

priors of Norwich : — 





lal tithes for the whole burgh 


I34« 


1509 


Persot 


£bo 12 


3 


;C2i 


8 





Offerings : — 












(I). 


On feast days for requiems, churchings, wed-" 
dings and holy bread : 

1438 \ 1509 
















£68 


'2 


£i2, 









1 r 


9 




St. Margaret s ... 44 24 10 














St. Nicholas' ... ... 10 10 8 640 














St. James' 13 9 6 2 6 9_ 












(2). 


hi the boxes before tlic images of the saints in all] 
the churches and chapels the account for 1509 ■ 
includes tliat of St. Mary on the (I.ady) Bridge.. 














£?> -- 





£0 


6 


8 














(3)- 


For annual masses, including the stipend of the). 
Trinity Gild * 


r^' 7 


I 


£-- 








(4)- 


For mortuaries 


5 


2 


£0 


18 





(.5). 


At the cross in the church-yard of St. Margaret. 




-- 


£3 









4 


(6). 


At the chapel of Our Lady at the Mount 


! - 


- 


£16 


10 







\£u^ 6 


8 


£n 


3 


9 



^64 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

A positive statement as to the fixing of the amount of personal 
tithes and feast-day offerings, in contradistinction to the voluntary 
payments, cannot be given ; yet it seems likely that the plan adopted 
in London was widespread and was probaliiy in vogue here. From 
" time out of mind," according to the curates' book of articles, the 
occupiers of houses in the metropolis were assessed upon their rents. 
Each householder was bound to contribute one farthing upon every ten 
shillings (and in like proportion) upon every saint's day. Now, as 
there were exactly one hundred days in the year set apart for the col- 
lecting of this parochial house-tax, it will be patent to the observing 
arithmetician that the rate amounted to 4s. 2d. in the pound upon 
the gross rental. Inasmuch as this form of payment was felt to be 
inconvenient, the parishioners and the curates, or " vicars " as we 
should say, entered into a mutual arrangement whereby the rate was 
fixed at IS. 2d. upon every noble or 6s. 8d. paid as rent, that is, 3s. 6d. 
in the pound, thus constituting, as it did, an abatement of 8 pence in 
the pound. This, howex'er, was regarded as a " dowry " or gift to 
the parish church, hence the curates demanded according to law, that 
all merchants, artificers and as many well-to-do burgesses as possible, 
sh(juld also pay personal tithes upon their "lucre and encrece " or 
yearly income, as every " well conscyoned " burgess had been in the 
habit of doing in times past. 

But in 1528 the Court of Aldermen decided that the assessment 
based upon the noble should give place tf) the older form — that based 
upon the half sovereign as set forth in the Bull of Pope Nicholas. 
Instead, however, of calculating upon one hundred saints' days, the 
householder might in future ignore eighteen saints altogether and pay 
upon eighty-two. This works out at 3s. 5d. in the pound gross rental, 
and shews a decrease of one penny per pound. Six years afterwards 
the King's Council insisted that every occupier should pay " without 
grudge or murmur" at the rate of 2s. gd. in the pound, and. more- 
over, that every man's wife, servant, child and apprentice, receiving 
the Holy Sacrament, should contribute two pence on each occasion 
(1534)- 

An examination of the above statistics shews how the prosperity 
of Lenne was waning; and that commercially the town was starting 
upon the down grade. Not more than a century was to elapse ere it 
was to be deliberately styled a " decayed burgh." 

In seventy years (between 1438 and 1509) the personal tithes, or 
" income tax," and the annual payments for masses, had both de- 
creased to one-third, the "inhabited house-duty" to one-half, whilst 
the contributions voluntarily slipped into the boxes had dwindled 
down to one-ninth. Only one item shews an increase, and it amounts 
only to I2S. lod. There is, however, a slight redeeming feature in 
what in all conscience is depressing enough — the offertories at the 
Chapel on the Mount and the churchyard cross; the first was built 
in 1485 and the second, no doubt, between the years under discussion. 
Omitting these sources of income, the total for 1438, ^138 6s. 8d., 
is represented in 1509 by ^57 13s. 5d., or by less than one-half. If 
a comparison be made between the payments of the householders, say, 



CHURCH AND STATE. 255 

at 4S. 2d. in the pound (gross rental), the aggregate rent-rolls stand 
roughly at ^326 and ^158 respectively ! 

THE DEEP SEA FISHEKY 

in which several Lenne vessels were engaged, was still the cause of 
vexatious trouble. In 1507 Tycho Vincent interviewed Henry VII. 
at Abingdon, touching certain depredations attributed to the English. 
The result of this conference was faithfully reported to James IV. of 
Scotland. Coming to 1522-6, the residents along the coast of Norfolk 
and Suffolk were in a state of nervous apprehension lest the Scotch 
and French marauders should enter their creeks and havens and 
decamp with their vessels. ]^\ery man from the age of 16 to 60 was 
expected to hold himself in readiness either to repel an attack or to 
prepare inflammable beacons, so that distant places might at any 
moment read disaster in the face of fhe sky. The fishermen of Nor- 
folk and Suffolk offered to equip a ship of war for their own protection 
if the King would assist them in the emergency, for it was widely 
rumoured that the Scots intended intercepting the Iceland fleet on its 
return. Hence. Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, following 
a precedent to which we have before adverted, placed the ships from 
the North Sea at their disposal. 

The mercantile importance of Lenne at this j)eriod may be judged 
from the subjoined returns : — 

152S. Iceland, North Sea. Scotland, 

Ships. Crares. Crares, 

Yarmouth ... ... ... 30 ... 20 ... 8 

Cley, Blakeney and Cromer ... 30 ... 10 ... 3 

l.enne ... ... ... ... lo ... 4 ... 6 

Wells ^^ ... 6 ... — ... — 

The "sluggish crare," to which Shakespeare also refers {Cymbeline, Act IV., 
scene 2), was a slow unwieldy trading vessel. 

SO NEAR, AND YET SO FAR. 

The King's precipitate marriage with Anne Boleyn, a fascinating 
Norfolk beauty (25th January 1533). might be considered of local 
interest. As doubts are entertained about Blickling being the queen's 
birthi)lace, and as she seldom favoured her Norfolk relatives with her 
presence, the romantic life and tragic death of Henry's second wife 
would find a far more fitting place in the general history of the nation. 

Although Henry was at first a smcere patron of " Our Lady of 
Walsingham," yet he never, as far as is ascertainable, visited Lenne 
en route. He contributed liberally towards the support of the shrine, 
paying in 1509, and for several years, ^^5 every six months for the 
wages of a priest " to sing before Our Lady." besides 46s. 8d., a half- 
yearly donation for the " King's candles" burnt at the altar. In 
151 1, if we credit the story given by Sir Henry Spelman,* the King 

* Sir Henry Spelman, of Congliam, (156.^ ?— 1641) purchased the leases of the abbeys of niackboroiigh 
and VVorinefray in 1594. riirouj;h this trnnsartion he became involved in proceedings in the Court of 
Chancery, wliich lasted many years. Tnpleasant recollections of this trouble prompted him to copipile liis 
IlisLiry and lute 0/ SatrUfge. m which he declares himself to have been "a |»reat loser and uot beholden to 
fortune, yet happy in this, that he is out of the briars, and especially that he hereby discerned the 
infelicity of meddling with consecrated places." 



256 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

walked with bare feet from Barsham, a distance of two miles (as was 
the custom of pilgrims, who removed their footgear at a wayside 
" shoe house "), prostrated himself at the shrine, and left a rich 
offering, including a necklace of " balas rubies " (19th January). On 
his visit to return thanks for the birth of an heir, the exultant father 
gave, in two instalments, ;/^43 us. 4d. towards the glazing of the 
chapel, and ^i 13s. 4d. as an offering (1537). A few years later 
(4th of August 1538) he " disestablished and disendowed " the 
monastery, appropriated to himself all its movable treasures, gave or 
sold to his courtiers the extensive estates and revenues, and caused 
the famous image of Our Lady of VValsingham to be burnt at Chelsea 
barracks. 

(Jueen Catherine was at Walsingham in 15 12. There is, more- 
over, a letter in the Record Office, by Charles Brandon, the Duke of 
Suffolk, to Cardinal Wolsey. It is dated at Rising, March 17th 
151 7. The writer says he met the Queen (Catherine), his mistress, on 
Friday last (13th) at Pykenham Wade (near Swaffham), and con- 
ducted her to Walsingham. He was accompanied by his wife, Mary, 
the sister of the King (the dowager-queen of France), who also met 
the royal pilgrim and bade her good cheer. Mary died at the manor 
house of Westhorpe, and was buried in the church of St. Mary, Bury 
St. Edmunds. In 1731 her body "wrapped in lead" and bearing 
the inscription, '' Mary (^ueen of France, 1533," was discovered. 
(Gillingwater.) 

BURGH ANNUITANTS. 

Following the King's example, municipal bodies laid hands upon 
everything which they deemed sui)erfluous. We have two gentle 
reminders in the annual issue of the borough accounts of what was 
done more than 250 years ago, in llie shape of two small annuities. 

Imbued with sacred devotion, the Corporation made an order that 
the greater portion of the plate belonging to the chapel of St. Nicholas 
should be sold, and the money arising therefrom u.sed to the general 
advancement of the commonweal of the town. The sih'er, sold at 
about 3s. 3^d., an ounce, realised ^73 (2nd September 1543). A 
good excuse was found the next year for the appropriation of all the 
unnecessary plate belonging to the chapel of St. James. The town 
had recently suffered considerable damage through " the raging of the 
sea," hence the plate was sacrificed in order to repair the broken sea- 
walls (17th December 1544). The Corporation, who honestlv thought 
this within their province, although the charter merely gave them per- 
mission to tax the inhabitants for that purpose, pledged themselves 
to pay ^i 6s. 8d. in each case as an annuity. The money is still 
p)aid ; the amount to St. Nicholas being subsequently increased to ^£2, 
whilst the sum due to St. James' chapel is now paid to the church- 
wardens of St. Margaret's church. In their accounts we read: — 
" The mayor & burgesses paye twooe several! Anewities, the one of 
fowertie shyllyngs ayere for Saint Margret's church [on behalf of St. 
Nicholas' chapel] And ye other xxvj s. \iiij d. for the late church 
of St. James & now payd to the church of saint margrets (1592)." 



CHURCH AND STATE. 267 

KISSING THE BOOK. 

Though blissfully ignorant of the pernicious effects caused by 
too familiar an acquaintance with microbes, our forbears preferred 
when taking an oath to place their right hands upon the sacred 
writings. An innovation, however, happened about this period, as is 
evident from the erratic conduct of Thomas Palmer. Whether he, 
as a scrupulously veracious man, had conscientious objections to oath- 
taking in anywise, who can say? When, however, he was requested 
to make the usual declaration as a member of the Common Council, 
he obstinately refused, observing " he had as lyff be drawn abought 
the towne with horses in a cart as to blowe on a book here " (28th 
January it^io). 

•' J ^ y FRAUDULENT TRADESMEN. 

It was necessary during this reign to enforce certain ordinances 
or assizes, regulating the price and quality of various articles publicly 
offered for sale within the burgh.* This was merely the survival of 
an old custom, which originated in the reign of John. Bread, beer, 
wine, cloth, etc., were at times subject to assize. The quality of the 
bread, for instance, w'as supposed to be stated ; if then an inferior 
article were substituted the seller was liable. Among the delinquents 
were those selling sine signo, that is " unmarked " bread, and others 
whose bread " weighed less than assize." Bakers were prohibited at 
this time from exposing manchets for sale; they might, indeed, make 
them, but they were only to be made to order (1546).! 

RAISE OR RAZE. 

In 1534 many edifices, particularly those near the haven, were in 
a ruinous state, and no protection against " the fludde and rage of the 
see." Hence the mayor and commonalty appealed to the King, 
asking that the owners of those buildings " a longe tyme in greate 
decaye and desolacion " should be compelled to amend the same. 
Parliament (]uickly responded to the prayer of Henry's " obedyent 
subjects." The negligent owners were allowed a year in which either 
to repair these " dyvers and many messuages and tenymentes of olde 
tyme buylded," or to enclose the ground " wythe walles of morter 
and stone." In default " the Chief Tordes " might re-enter on the 
fee and do the work. After the lapse of a year, if nothing were done, 
the Corporation might undertake the same ; they were, however, 
granted two years' grace. If both failed to comply with the Art (26th 
Henry VIII., c. 9), the first owner, subject to no forfeiture, might 
inherit his own again. Thus was " ruyne and desolacion " checked. 

THE TUG OF WAR. 

In 1542 Henry issued a manifesto insisting upon his " true right 
and title " to the sovereignty of Scotland, when Thomas Waters, of 



" " May 26th 1646. Levied more vpon the said Richard Paule, alehouse-kcepcr, for breaking the 
assize of beere for six qiiarts, six pounds (£ii), ronvicted by oathes of Jno. Gibson woollcomber, 06 : oo : oo. 
And vpon Katlierin, the wife of the sd Rich, paule, for swearing ten oathes, 00: 10:00." C.W A.St.M. 

t Manchet, prob.ibly from the French vtanagtr to eat, was a small loaf of fine bread. 

"Of bread made of wheat we have sundrie sorts dailie brought to the table thereof the first and most 
excellent is the mainchet, which we commonlie call white bread." Holinshed's Description of England. 
U., c. 6 (died about 1580). 

2 K 



258 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Lynn, was commissioned to supply the garrisons in the north with 
I. GOO quarters of wheat and 4,000 quarters of malt (29th January), 
and, besides, to victual the two ships of war furnished by the borough, 
and to pay the captains, soldiers and mariners their wages from time 
to time (4th March). During the war which ensued, William Overend 
captured eight vessels, supposed to belong to the enemy. The Privy 
Council instructed Robert Soome, the mayor, Mr. Derham and Mr. 
Beningfilde to investigate the circumstances (7th June 1545)- Another 
prize was taken by the ships of Lynn, but the mayor, Edward Baker, 
Thomas Waters, John Beningfilde and Mr. Kenete, upon application 
from Peter Meyres, were ordered to release the same (21st July 1545)- 
William Overend, who was more zealous than discreet, captured a 
vessel belonging to Stralsund, which he alleged " contained Scots and 
the goods of Scots, the King's enemies." The Privy Council, after 
receiving a letter from Christian IIL the King of Denmark, decided 
that Overend should pay ^20 and the incidental costs (26th October 
1545). The goods of Frauncis Clays, of Bruges, and Nicholas Berte, 
of Antwerp, were spoiled upon the high sea by William Robyns, of 
Lynn. The mayor, Jeffrey Stele, was ordered to forward a surety for 
the pirate (nth April 1546). 

Charles of Spain and the King of England formed an alliance 
against France. Henry crossed the Channel with thirty thousand 
men (July 1544), captured several frontier towns and invested 
Boulogne. Shortly afterwards liberty was accorded to our customers 
to provide grain for Boulogne, whilst, at the same time, Sir Roger 
Townshend and Sir William Paston were to inquire into the deceit 
practised by the Lynn maltsters (i8th September 1545). 

OLLA PODRIDA. 

1510. A law-suit between the Corporation of Bishop's Lenne and Cam- 
bridge respecting the tolls at Stirbitch (Stourbridge) Fair. 

1523-4. An Act passed concerning the worsted weavers of Lynn and 
Yarmouth. 

1535-6. An Act passed concerning the insurances of all the Temporalities 
belonging to the Bishopric of Norwich unto the King and his heirs. 

154O. The mart was not permitted because the town was greatly affected 
with "hot burning agues and fluxes" ; three years later the " sweating sickness " 
was raging in London. 

1 540- 1. An Act passed for reedifying decayed houses in sundry towns. 
Lynn was included in the list. 

1540-1. Bishop Rugg was chargeable with the collection of the King's 
tenths (32nd Henry VIII., c. 47). 

1542. The weavers of Lynn and other places were restricted to buy 
worsted yarn at Norwich (33rd Henry VIII., c. 16). 

1547. The town clerk, the sword-bearer and the four sergeants-at-mace 
were arrayed in fashionable liveries, as were also the waits or town musicians 
and the borough porters, the cloth costing 5/ and 4/4 per yard respectively. 

-X- * * * * 

During the latter days of his life Henry VIIL required to be 
moved from chamber to chamber by mechanical means; this kingly 
Falstaff succumbed to disease and obesity (28th of January 1547), 
"at hys most pryncely howse at Westminster, comenly called Yoike 



IKE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 259 

place or VVhytehall," the palace Cardinal Wolsey built for himself, 
and which Henry coolly appropriated. He was interred at Windsor, 
the rites of sepulture being in strict accordance with the practice of 
the Roman Catholic Church. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The Hand of the Spoilei*, 

Henry VIII. was succeeded by his only son, Edward, a fragile 
yet phenomenally precocious lad of nine years (28th January 1547)- 
During Edward the Sixth's nonage a Council of Regency, " a gang 
of greedy and shameless self-seekers," superintended the administra- 
tion of Government affecting both Church and State. 

* ■«■ w w -X- 

"To him that hath shall be given," said the King, and gifts 
amazing in value were accordingly bestowed. The recipients, indeed, 
had "more abundantly"; at the same time, however, there were 
those who already having less had less "more abundantly," which 
was, it will be admitted, superfluous. This flagrant tendency to 
augment the wealth of the land-owners at the expense of the rest of 
the community caused great dissatisfaction, because whilst the rich 
grew richer the poor waxed poorer. How changed, alas, the times 1 
The monasteries — sold ; the monks and friars, those lenient and indul- 
gent landlords — outcast wanderers; and not only the monastic lands, 
but the valuable common rights pertaining to hundreds of manors 
were filched from the struggling populace. Farms grew larger by the 
absorption of the adjacent holdings, from which many an unlucky 
tenant had been summarily ejected. The system of encroachment 
or enclosure was highly repugnant to the masses, who held, as they 
thought, an inalienable right to free pasturage over the vast stretches 
of waste land which then abounded, and which for generations had 
been enjoyed by their forefathers. To the unskilled labourer the 
prospect was incredibly alarming, because the area of arable land, 
now so largely converted into pasturage, had enorriiously decreased. 
The amount of necessary employment diminished also, and fierce 
competition changed a bad condition into one a hundred times worse, 
so that those who worked at all were glad to accept the barest 
remuneration ; yet, whilst wages dwindled towards invisibility, rents 
swelled apace. 

INSURRECTION AGAINST THE GENTRY. 

The spirit of democratic freedom engendered in the breasts of 
the East Anglian peasantry in 1381 was other than lifeless; true, 
it was quiescent, dormant, unseen and its existence unsuspected, but 
there it abided nevertheless, and, like a smouldering fire, was ready 



260 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

at any favourable moment to burst once more into flame. Those 
immediately associated in the ensuing revolt, which was purely social 
and not religious in its nature, were earnest, hard-working men, 
goaded to desperation through dear provisions, slackness ot work 
and insufficient wages. In an ever-increasing destitution, they failed 
to see any prospect of making the proverbially refractory " ends 
meet. To preserve their own lives and the lives of their children, 
they were spending far more than they earned and the day of 
reckoning must come sooner or later. 

(l) THE CAMP ON MOUSEHOLD. 

On the 2oth of June 1549, serious riots occurred at Attleborough, 
Eccles, Hethersett and other places in Norfolk. Two brothers 
essayed to lead the disaffected people of Wymondham. Robert and 
William Kett were respectable, well-to-do burgesses — the one a 
tanner and the other a butcher. Those who sought "redress by 
constitutional agitation ' ' were neither " infamous rebels ' ' nor " cursed 
caitiffs," as some writers would induce us to believe. Despite this, 
it must be admitted that the ranks of the honest, down-trodden poor 
were fringed with "a rabblement of rude rascals" — the loafing, 
unsolicited promoters of every social movement, who, then even as 
now, had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Throngs of lawless 
and defiant yokels tramped to Norwich, which became the centre of 
commotion, committing terrible depredations on their way. The 
newly-erected fences surrounding "enclosures" were thrown down; 
flocks of sheep and herds of cattle were coolly requisitioned; and, 
converting the Earl of Surrey's mansion, on the site of St. Leonard's 
Priory, into a prison, they confined therein many of "the gentlemen " 
with whom they came in contact. As every village through which 
the procession passed contributed a quota of recruits, it is quite 
possible that the encampment, on the heath overlooking the city, 
numbered twenty thousand. 

The discontented, the desolate and oppressed, those for whom no man had 
caved, had now their camp ; and hearing this, great numbers from Norfolk, 
Suffolk and other parts joined them daily ; blazing beacons and pealing bells 
spread the tidings that the men of Norfolk had raised a standard round which 
ail might gather, and far and wide was the rumour sent, and thronging 
multitudes came pouring in from quiet villages and market towns, — the peaceful 
abodes of humble rustics and simple-minded farmers, hitherto content tvith 
complaining, and now roused to action, as the distant beacon sent the glare 
across the landscape, or the village bells, hitherto associated only with days 
of holy rest and happy times forgotten now in the wild storm of social excite- 
ment in which they were living, summoned them away to join the bold spirits on 
Mousehold Heath. (F. W. Russell.)* 

The innocent, unlettered plebeians placed implicit faith in the 
power of numbers and what to them was the irrefragable justice of 
their cause ; never for a moment suspecting, when starting upon this 
mad enterprise, that indisputable Rig/ii could be of no avail, except 
supported by invincible Might. 

" Read /fcti's i?c6cn!o» hi Norfolk,by Rev. F.W. Russell (1859), also Mason's Hist. Norfolk (1884), 
pp. 132-140. 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 261 

(2) ENCAMPMENTS NEAR LYNN. 

Besides the great camp at Norwich, there was a minor one at 
Rising Chase; to this rendezvous flocked many from Lynn and the 
neighbouring villages. The insurgents were here stimulated into 
action by four aggrieved tenants of the lord of the manor of Burnham. 
Plans were devised to surprise and capture King's Lynn, but their 
march was intercepted, and the safety of the borough secured through 
the wisdom and tact of the governor, Sir William Willoughby — the first 
Lord Willoughby of Parham. By the prompt and spirited exertion of 
the county gentry, " the rebels ' ' at Rising were dispersed ; they, 
however, reassembled at Watton and employed their leisure in block- 
ing the passage of the river at Thetford and Brandon Ferry. After 
loitering in this neighbourhood about a fortnight, they received orders 
to join the main body at Mousehold. 

Thomas Fermer, or East Barsham, was slain, and Geoffrey 
Comber, John Water, Robert Palmer and Walter Buckham, the 
ringleaders, were in the mean time captured by our governor and 
lodged in the Lynn gaol, where they remained for 15 months. At 
the trial, they were charged with unlawfully having in their possession 
swords, clubs, arquebuses, arrows, coats of mail and other weapons, 
and with supporting the King's enemies by force of arms. 

After the breaking up of the camp at Rising, Lord Willoughby, 
at the head of 1,100 men from Lincolnshire, 400 from Lynn, Marsh- 
land and Cambridgeshire, and 120 light horse, marched to 
Walsingham, in order to join John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the 
Lord Lieutenant of the county (19th September 1549). 

There was a camp, too, at Ryston, near Downham. About 300 
yards from the "Hall " stands "Rett's Oak " (1904), where Coniers, 
the rector of the church of St. Martin-at-Palace, Norwich, and the 
chaplain of the insurgents, read prayers and preached. Here an 
improvised court sat to administer justice and regulate disorders. 
That some of the intractable were hanged upon a convenient 
''Reformation Oak" seems likely, if reliance be placed on the 
rhyme : — 

Surely the tree that nine men did twist on 
Must be the old oak now at Ryston. 

(3) THE BATTLE OF DUSSIN DALE. 

In the mean time deputies or "governors," as they were 
absurdly styled, arrived at Mousehold from at least twenty out of 
the three-and-thirty hundreds, where a hastily organised court dis- 
pensed corrective doses of everyday justice beneath an umbrageous 
canopy formed by the outspread arms of "the Oak of Reformation." 
William Heydon and Thomas Jacker represented the peasantry of 
Fieebridge. 

The list of grievances formulated by Kett and his adherents 
assumed the guise of a petition to the King. Tt rnnsisted of twenty- 
nine distinct clauses, and was signed by Robert Kett, the leader 
of the alienated democracy, Thomas Cod, the mayor of Norwich, 
and Thomas Aldryche, an alderman of the city. The document, 



262 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

which is far too long for insertion in these pages, is preserved in 
the British Museum. The manner in which historians have ignored 
what every fair-minded person must admit were reasonable demands, 
is as reprehensible as inexcusable. 

Edward, in a conciliatory humour, pledged his word to bring 
about a reduction in rents, the cessation of plurality in benefices and 
farms, and the extinction of landowners who, as farmers and clothiers, 
were other than landowners pure and simple. As the people were 
mistrustful and obstinate, the Privy Council despatched a herald to 
proclaim his Majesty's gracious forgiveness to " all that wolde 
humbly submit themselves and depart every man to his howse to 
enjoy the benefit thereof"; the offer was, however, scornfully dis- 
regarded. In this dilemma the Council instructed William Parr, 
Marquis of Northampton (brother of the sixth wife of Henry VIII.), 
to collect an army as best he could to suppress the widespread out- 
break. Accompanied by Lord John Sheffield, Sir Richard Southwell, 
Sir Thomas Gates, Sir Thomas Fasten and Sir Henry Bedingfeld, 
he led the men of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, 
Northamptonshire and the loyalists of Norfolk against the peasantry 
(loth August). The King's troops investing the city were hard 
pressed during the night. Inspired by desperation, the " Norfolk 
Furies " refused to yield even when severely wounded, "but half 
dead, drowned in their own bloud," according to a contemporary 
writer, " even to the last gasp furiously withstood our men ' ' [the 
royal army], " when they could scarce hold their weapons. Yea, 
many also strooken thorow the brests with swords and the synews of 
their legs cut asunder yet creeping on their knees were mooved with 
such furie as they wounded our souldiers lying amongst the slaine 
almost without life." Remembering the unjust and iniquitous 
abridgment of their rights, the suffering cottars retaliated with 
frenzied impetuosity. Denying the imputation of being "rebels," 
and bravely maintaining that, as loyal subjects, they were fighting 
in the King's cause as well as their own, the despised, poverty- 
stricken peasants of Norfolk were indeed faithful unto death. 

After this reverse, in which Lord John Sheffield was slain, John 
Dudley, the Earl of Warwick, was summoned from an expedition 
into the North ; he arrived at Intwood Hall with an army of eight 
thousand men, largely composed of Swiss mercenaries (23rd August). 
Four days later the royal army gained a decisive victory in Dussin 
Dale. The insurgents were foolishly induced to vacate a strong 
position on Household, through a superstitious belief in what was 
regarded as an old prophecy — 

The country gnoffes, Hob, Dick and Hick, 
With clubbes and clouted shoon, 
Shall fill the vale of Dussin's Dale 
With slaughtered bodies soon. 

Possibly they were, as some writers contend, misdirected to 
what they supposed to be Dussin's Dale or Ossian's Vale. No such 
places, however, are marked on the large plan of Mousehold dated 
1586, which is preserved in the Record Office. Now, had the 



TRE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 263 

impressible peasants been studiously cautious, they would have dis- 
covered in the same metrical concoction other lines which might 
reasonably have been interpreted as favourable encouragement — 

The heedless men within the dale, 

Shall there be slain, both great and small ! 

The effect of Warwick's cleverly directed assault was as 
unexpected as disastrous. Three thousand five hundred were slain, 
for the soldiers, imbued with the revengeful spirit of their commander, 
felt their mission was not merely to subdue, but to exterminate. 
Though Kett escaped, considering their cause to be hopeless, a few 
continued fighting most desperately. Sheltered by carts and wagons, 
they stood doggedly to their guns, determined to sacrifice their lives 
at the utmost cost ; but when Warwick came to them in person and 
promised to spare all who survived, they reluctantly yielded, crying, 
" God save king Edward " (27th August 1549). Robert Kett was 
taken the next day at SAvanington, ten miles north-west of Norwich, 
and sent to London, from whence, after an imprisonment of about 
three months, he was brought to Norwich and hanged at the Castle 
(29th November). His brother William was also hanged, and his 
body afterwards suspended on one of the pinnacles of Wymondham 
church. 

Thus the revolt terminated, yet, notwithstanding W\irwick's fair 
promises, three hundred are said to have been executed (5th 
September). In April 1555 the body of Robert Kett fell from the 
iron frame-work in which it was publicly exposed. As this circum- 
stance gave rise to other prophetic rumours, the ghastly relic was 
ordered " to be hanged up again, if it was not wasted," whilst the 
authors of the inciting tales were to be forthwith imprisoned. 

(4) THE king's journal, 

— a manuscript in the Cottonian collection, British Museum, furnishes 
this account : — 

The people suddenly gathered together in Norfolk, and increased to a great 
number, against whom the lord marquess of Northampton was sent with the 
number of one thousand and sixty horsemen, who, winning the town of Norwich, 
kept it one day and one night ; and the next day in tlie morning, with the loss 
of one hundred men, departed out of the town, among whom the lord Sheffield 
was slain. There were taken divers gentlemen and serving men to the number 
of thirty ; with which victory the rebels were very glad ; but afterwards hearing 
that the earl of Warwick came against them, they began to stay upon a strong 
plot of ground upon a hill near to the town of Norwich, having the town 
confederates with tliem. The Earl of Warwick came with the number of six 
thousand foot and fifteen hundred horsemen, and entered into the town of 
Norwich ; which having won it, was so weak that he could scarcely defend it ; 
and oftentimes the rebels came into the streets, killing divers of his men, and 
were repulsed again ; yea, and the townsmen were given to mischief themselves ; 
so, having endured their assaults three days and stopped their victuals, the 
rebels were constrained for lack of meat to remove, whom tlie earl of Warwick 
followed with one thousand Almains [German hireling^;] and his horsemen, 
leaving the English footmen in the town, and overcame them in plain battel 
killing two thousand of them and taking Ket their captain, who in January (?) 
following was hanged at Norwich, and his head hanged out ; Ket's brother was 
taken also and punished alike. 



264 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

(5) A DOUGHTY NEIGHBOUR. 

Although the county gentry were loyal in doing their utmost to 
quell this extensive rising, yet Sir Nicholas Le Strange, 
of Hunstanton, who had also a residence in Lynn, was 
suspected of secretly encouraging the insurgents. He vehemently 
denied the aspersion, yet he undoubtedly sent " ordenaunce '' 
to Norwich, though for what purpose may not be clear, 
besides several of his retainers were recognised at Norwich 
after the final suppression. In his Household Accounts we read : — 
"Ite(m): p"d the same day [15th July] to Mr. Powte that brought 
to Dounam campe . . . iiij d." Something was sent to the " rebels " 
at Ryston, but what the writer carefully omits. Desirous of securing 
the friendship of the King's attorney, Sir Nicholas addresses a letter 
to " Master Cycell " — Sir William Cecil — in which he says: — 

Butt as I gather theye seeke to make me the begynnare of the Commocions 
in Norff, whyche as you know was begonne before my comyng owght of Hamshyre 
in two severall placys [Norwich and Rising] and yf I had benne a manne 
meanyng the commocj^on I neyther nedyd to have putt my selffe into a cocke 
boot to have passyd the sea into Lyncolnshyre nor yett to have cravyd the lord 
Wyllowbye nor the subtyll gloryous Husseye to make their repayre unto Lynne 
for the defence bothe of the town and allso of the jentylemen, whyche takyng the 
town for reskewe [sought protection in the town] were dryven owght ageyne and 
from thense as you know I came to London sekyng meanyes at the councells 
handes to quyett the rebells of whome I recevyd letters to declar unto theme, 
whyche once declaryd they therwith nott beyng contentyd to dessevare them 
selevys I came my way to Lynne and waytyd upon my lord Wyllowbye ther with 
fiftye menne, untyll the end atte Norwyche and for the manner of my servyce I 
wyll reffer ytt to the judgement of all menne that were there . . . Thys 
cravyng your erneste frendshype att thys my neede whereof my poor Ancestors 
for thys thre hundryd yeres hath nott towchyd with eny suche charge but the 
heppe of papystys [heap of papists] were lefte behynd att Lynne to kepe the 
towne who never cowld fynd eyther leyser [leisure] or tyme to mquyre of eny of 
their own faccyon [faction] nor yett of eny of eyther the cheff constables or under 
constables whereof some never seassed untyll the laste daye. Wrytten in parte 
at Lynne this xvth of September, a° 1549. 

Yours who cravythe your friendship, 

Nycholas Lestraunge. 

WHOLESALE SPOLIATION. 

The degeneracy of the monastic system, so painfully apparent to 
an ordinary 15th century observer, was generally acknowledged. 
It was quite effete and as unnecessary as a prodigious parasite, which 
absorbed the life of the tree upon which it clung, but yielded no fruit 
in return. Not to the honour and glory of God, but to appease his 
own insatiable extravagance, did Henry sweep away the monasteries. 
Shortly before his death, a Bill was placed before the Commons for 
a like dissolution of — 

(l) THE GILDS OR CHARITABLE CORPORATIONS, 

the chantries, or side chapels, endowed by pious individuals, the 
hospitals or homes for the aged and infirm and the colleges, — those 
small fraternities of clergy, who were bound to conduct religious wor- 
ship in extra-parochial churches, and in many cases, moreover, to 
instruct the children of the poor. By the reenactment of this 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 265 

deplorable measure (November 1547), which a dutiful, though ill- 
advised, youth carried into effect, these inestimably useful institutions 
were doomed, and their vast possessions (for in such towns as Nor- 
wich, Yarmouth and Lynn they represented not only social influence 
but enormous wealth) were to be given to the King. 

The burgesses, through their members, Thomas Gawdy, esquire, 
and William Overend, merchant, violently opposed this measure, as 
did also the representatives of Coventry. " None were stiffer," 
affirms the minute of the Privy Council, " nor more busily went about 
to impugne the said article than the Burgeois of Lynne . . . alleging 
that the Gild lands, belonging to the said town, were given for so good 
a purpose (that is to say for the maintenance and keeping-up of the 
pier and sea-banks there, which, being untended to, would be the loss 
of a great deal of low country adjoining), as it were (a) great pity 
the same should be alienated from them as long as they employed it 
to so necessary a use." 

At a meeting of the Privy Council at Westminster on Sunday the 
6th May 1548 it was resolved that certain of the King's Councillors 
belonging to the Lower Houses should persuade the burgesses of 
Lynn to " desist from further speaking or labouring against the said 
article, upon promise to them that, if they meddled no further against 
it, his Majesty, once having the gild-able lands granted upon him by 
the Act, as it was penned unto him, should make them over a new 
grant of the lands pertaining then unto their gild-able lands, etc., to 
be used to them as afore." Having submitted to this compromise, 
the mayor, William Overend, and the burgesses besought Edward 
Seymour, the Lord Protector, that the promise might be performed. 

It v^^as therefore ordeined that letteres patentes shuld be made in due form 
under the Kinges Majestes(ireat Scale of England whereby the landes perteyning 
to the Guvld of Lynne also grauntcd unto that towne for ever to be used 
to siche like purpose and intent as afore tymes by force of their grauntes they 
were limited to do accordingly. (Minute of the Privy Council.) 

Perhaps wishing to conciliate the good folk of Lynn who clung so 
tenaciously to their gilds, and dreading, for aught we know to the 
contrary, a fresh outburst of popular indignation when the statute 
should be put into force, Edward had already tried to soothe them 
into mild submission by ostentatiously acknowledging the reconstitu- 
tion of the borough as brought about by his father twenty-three years 
before. Letters patent to this effect were formally issued at West- 
minster (6th of December 1547). Six months did not elapse before 
the lands, tenements, rents and chattels of the two important gilds 
were partially restored. The Trinity Gild was a most opulent 
fraternity, whose resources for centuries had been at the service of 
the Assembly; it supported 13 chaplains, assisted in every public 
enterprise ; and many a time had granted enormous loans when the 
burgh was unexpectedly confronted with otherwise insurmountable 
difficulties. It seems reasonable to suppose that the possessions care- 
fully enumerated and granted in fee-farm to the town by letters patent, 
dated at Westminster the 21st of ^Lay 1548, constituted an insigni- 
ficant part only of its real estate. The King's promise, " as was 

2 L 



266 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

easily foreseen, was very ill-performed ; many of these revenues were 
seized under the plea of them being free chapels or chantry endow- 
ments." [Taylor's Index Monasiicus.~\ 
The grants were — 

(a) Holy Trinity — lands, tenements, etc., — chattels (including 
a stock of mill-stones) valued at ;£^o. 

(b) St. George the Martyr — lands, the yearly rent of which was 
estimated at ^13 i6s. ; chattels valued at ;!^3o.* 

(2) THE COMMON STAITH. 

By virtue of the charter of the izist of May 1548, the Corpora- 
tion acquired possession of the lands and tenements belonging to the 
Trinity Gild, including the Common Staith and the various buildings 
adjoining, to wit, " seven houses called warehouses with six chambers 
over them on the north side of the port called the Common Staith, and 
nine houses called warehouses with chambers over them on the south 
side of the Common Staith." 

The nine houses on the south of the lane, south of " Gurney's 
Bank," would unquestionably contain the interesting fragment of 
14th century flint work which is still preserved (1906). This rubble 
wall, 63 feet 8 inches long and 12^ feet high, faced with worked black 
flints, runs fnmi east to west ; the western end terminating with stone 
quoins. It evidently extended farther in the direction of the market- 
place, because the original string-course is continued along the front 
of the modern brick buildings subsequently added thereto. 

In the flint wall are three Gothic doorways — 5 feet, 5 feet and 
5 feet 10 inches wide, and each 8 feet 10 inches high. At the finished 
western end is a perfect Gothic arch and traces of the moulding of 
another; they are side by side, each being 5 feet 4 inches in width. 
Possibly there were two corresponding doors at the eastern end. 
Between these groups of doorways are two openings (10 J feet and 7 
feet wide), which were cut through the flint wall at a much later 
period. Each has red brick dressings. There are, besides, two 
square windcnvs with mullions at the western end. Towards the east 
is a modern door leading to a bonding vault, once in the occupation of 
Messrs. Nelson and Coller, and the ofiice of the late INIr. I. O. 
Smetham. 

It has been erroneously hinted that these ruins were part of the 
Lazar House in the Cowgate, an important thoroughfare, which led 
in a straight line from the forgotten fodder or grass-market (Norfolk 
Street) to the old ferry at the Common Staith, but after mature con- 
sideration we must regard this precious relic of a fast- vanishing past 
as the back exterior of a substantial private dwelling. 

The three arched doorways, side by side, constitute in themselves 
a remarkable criterion, styled by Professor Willis " the triple arcade." 
Purely domestic and in no wise ecclesiastical, it denotes the normal 
arrangement of a mediaeval manor house, and was reproduced in most 
of the older colleges in Cambridge.! 

* For a complete list of lands and tenements granted to the town, see Blomefield's (Parkin) Hist. 
Norfolk, Vol. VIII., pp. 5o5-jio, or Richards' Hist. Lynn, Vol. I., pp. 467-472. 

I See Historical Essays by Dr. J. B. Liglitfoot (1896), pp. 201-2, 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 



267 



Examine the accompanying roughly sketched ground plan. 
Descending the steps which led from the long dining-hall (upon a 
higher level), we pass along the passage and through the middle of the 







WEST. 












S 


^^^** 


Di 
D 






STORE 


— 








ROOM. 








W 


BUTTERY 






en 


1 ^ 

; X 

Id ^ 
i z 

5 




— . 


D 

D3 
D 








< 

1-4 


CELLAR 

OR 




PQ 


o 




PANTRY. 








O 












STORE 












ROOM. 




D 

D2 






s 1 






] 


EAST. 









D = Door ; S -— Stairs. 

j-j M Stairs up to the minslrcls' gallery, 

D 3 Passage to the dining liall. 

The remains now standing arc in heavy lines (1904). The l^itchcn or out- 
houses, to the right, are not shewn. 



three doors, and on, if so disposed, to the kitchen or out-houses beyond. 
Of the other members of " the triple arcade," one door leads to the 
buttery and the other to the cellar or pantry. 



268 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Allowing for the usual, though inexplicable, expansion and con- 
traction to which walls are subject, we conclude that the three 
arched doors were in the middle of a wall originally about ii8 feet in 
length. This is borne out, not only by the ancient string-course 
already mentioned, but by measurements from the middle of the cen- 
tral door, namely, 59 feet on one side and 6o| feet on the other, the 
last reaching, as does the string-course, to a line of demarcation 
between two existing buildings. In reconstructing the original block, 
we venture to suggest 118 feet as the length of the dwelling, whilst the 
breadth might be about 45 feet, for from the plan and elevation of the 
buildings on the western side of the market-place in 1626, the build- 
ings at this corner had then that frontage. It has, however, since then 
contracted to 35 feet, hence the Cowgate (Ferry Street) was further 
south, and more in the straight line leading from the Grassmarket to 
the ferry. There was, besides, to the south and in front of the flint- 
built dwelling, the usual quadrangle or court, with buildings on each 
side. The soler, the room where the host and hostess slept, or in 
larger mansions the minstrels' gallery, extended over the cellar, 
buttery, etc., and overlooking the spacious dining hall, was approached 
by stairs at either end at the back of the house. 

A new warehouse was built in the Common Staith yard to the 
southivard in 1582 (Mackerell); it was then possibly that the old flint- 
faced building was converted into the present warehouse. At the 
beginning of the 19th century the building was rented by the Corpora- 
tion, as a wool warehouse to John Catlin, the uncle of the late Daniel 
Catlin Burlingham. At the back, in Ferry Street, was the house in 
which the eccentric historian of the Fens, William Hall, alias 
"Antiquarian Hall, Will-Will-be-so, and Low-Fen Bill" (1748- 
1815?) conducted his business. 

It would be impossible to identify this building. In the north of 
the town was Boyland Hall, the baronial residence of Sir Richard de 
Boyland, a famous itinerant judge, who flourished about 1173. There 
was, moreover, a tenement called " Bunchesham," in the Cowgate, 
which belonged originally to Thomas de Acre, who, with his wife 
Muriel, founded a chantry at West Lenne. As he left the patronage in 
the hands of the parishioners, the priest Sir Adam Outlawe bequeathed 
it to "the bell town," of that place (1501). Besides, he demised to 
the parish clerk of Lenne three acres of land, minus the agrarian 
cow, "so that he do ring in pele on the vigil " of Sir Adam's year 
day. Outlawry was prevalent and outlaws plentiful, if surnames be 
trustworthy tokens. Possibly the priest was a descendant of Thomas 
Outlawe (the son of an outlaiv) who purchased the right of a little ferry 
boat for 13s. 4d. from the Gild of Corpus Christi (1399). No one 
would doubt the respectability of the priest, nor ought they that of 
John Outlawe, the son of Richard Outlawe, upon whom was conferred 
the freedom of our burgh (1456). 

These buildings belonged respectively to the 12th and 15th 
centuries. 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 269 

(3) THE CHURCH GOODS. 

Our parish churches, now to so great an extent convenient places 
for congregational worship, were at one period the religious treasury 
of the people, the aggregate value of the furniture alone being almost 
incalculable. Glass resplendent in colour, depicting the legends of 
the saints or the triumphant death of the martyrs, filled the Gothic 
windows ; choice canvases, or beautiful tapestry, representing scenes 
in the lives of the apostles and evangelists, covered the grey walls ; 
delicately carved sculptures, pourtraying the Blessed Mary with the 
infant Christ, or our Saviour upon the cross, found suitable abiding- 
places in the various niches ; whilst altars laden with artistic ornaments 
in gold and silver and precious stones reflected the dazzling splendour 
of the western sun. Alas, the glories of our churches were soon to 
pass away ; the gilds and chantries were already gone, and the privi- 
leges the parliament conferred upon a spendthrift father were handed 
to an inexperienced child, who, too easily influenced, quickly exercised 
the right of ecclesiastical desecration. 

After appointing commissioners in 1552, the King declares 
that— 

Whereas We have at sondry tymes heretofore by our speciall Commyssion 
and otherwyse commaunded that ther shuld be takyn and be made a just veu, 
survey and inventory of all manner (of) goodes, plate, juells, vestyments, bells, 
and other ornaments within every paryshe belongyng or in any wyse apperteyn- 
yng to any Churche, Chapell, Brothered (Brotherhood), Gylde, or Fraternyty 
within this our Realme of Englond, and uppon the same Inventory, so taken, 
had, or made, our commaundement was and hathe ben that ail the same goodes, 
plate, juells, vestments, bells and other ornaments shuld be safely kept and 
appoynted to the charge of such persons as shuld kepe the same safely and be 
ready to aunswere to the same at all times, accordyng to our Commysyons and 
sundry Commaundements. 

The commissioners for Norfolk were Henry Ratcliffe the Earl of 
Sussex, Lord Robert Dudley, Sir William Fermour, Sir John Robsart, 
Sir Christfjpher Heydon, Osbert INlountford, Robetr Barney and 
John Calybotte. 

In the third commission the King proceeded to extremities. The 
new commissioners were enjoined to take possession of all the articles, 
before directed only to be kept in safe custody. 

The ready money, plate and jewels are to be given to the Master of the 
King's Jewel-house, with the reservation of two chalices for the service of the 
Holy Communion in every cathedral or collegiate church or great parish, and of 
a single one in every small church. Of the linen, a sufficiency is to be left for 
the " honest and comly furnyture of coveryngs for the communyon-table and 
surplesses for the mynysters ; " the rest is directed to be distributed among the 
poor " in suche order and sort as may be most to Code's glory and our honor." 
The copes, vestments, altar-cloths and other ornaments whatsoever, are to be 
sold to the use of the King, excepting only such articles as the Commissioners 
maj' appoint to be left or distributed to the poor ; and the same course is to be 
followed with all " parcells or peces of metall, save the great bells and the saunse 
bell," which are to remain till the royal pleasure shall be farther made known 
respecting them. (Dawson Turner.) 

The Commissioners who visited I.enne, as will be seen, carried 
out their instructions minutely. Without wishing to aggravate the 
reader's forbearance, we venture to give an exact typographic 



270 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

representation of the " return " of the goods pertaining to the church 
of St. Margaret (a) : — 

Lenne Reg. ) This inventory indented made the 17th day of September 
Saynt Margavetf s\- in the vjth yeare of King Edward the Sext witnessed that 

l^'isshe ) ther remayneth in the custodye of John Stokes, dark, parson 

there, and Tho : Bowsey, Robert Palmer, John Hall and Will'm Judy the 
following churche goodes of the said parissche : — 

First, ij chales wyth ij patents of syluer, all gilt weyng 
XXXV. ouncs di [denti that is a half] at iiij s. iiij d. ye 
ounce: Sum'a ... ... ... vij xj viij 

It'm, ij coopes of tyssue, colo'red red, p"ce [price] iij li. 
vj s. viij d. [£"3/6/8] & a vestim't of red tyssue wt' ij tunycles 
iij li. vj s. viij d. : Sum'a vj xiij iiij 

It'm, a vestim't of silke, wt' oke leves, decon and 
subdecon to ye same ... ... ... ... ... ... — x — 

It'm, a vestim't of blak vellett embrothered wt' flowers, 
decon and subdecon to ye same. ... ... ... ... ... — xl — 

It'm, a vestim't of whyte damaskc, wt' one decon to ye 
same ... ... ... ... ... ••• -.- ••• — x — 

It'm, iij old vestim'ts of whyte and blak btistyan wyth 
an old vestim't of grene ... ... ... ... ... ... — x — 

It'm, an old vestim't of clothe of sylu' [silver], deacon 
and subdecon to the same ... ... ... ... ... — 

It'm, a vestim't of purple silke with decon and subdecon — 

It'm, vj other vestim'ts — 

It'm, an old vestim't of blak vellett, wt' decon and 
subdecon embrothered with gold floweus ... ... ... — 

It'm, ij coopes of blue damaske 

It'm, iiij coopes of whyte damaske ... ... ... — 

It'm, ij coopes of red sylke embrothered wyth girdells of 
gold — 

It'm, j cope of red sylke wt' camells — 

It'm, ij coopes of red sylke embrothered wyth swannes 
of gold — 

It'm, ij coopes of red sylke wyth spotts of vellett ... — 

It'm, j coope of blue vellett embrothered wt' steers ... — 

It'm, j coope of grene silke embrothered wyth whyte birds 

It'm, j coope of red damaske ... ... ... ... — 

It'm, a vestim't & ij decons of red silke embrothered wt' 
girdells and birds of gold ... — xxx — 

It'm, a crosse clothe of (red) silke embrothered with 
th'ymage of Mary Magdalen ... ... ... — iij iiij 

It'm, fyve steple bells weyng (by estimac'on) iiij xx x C 
[that is 90 cwts.], whereof the first x C ye ijde xiiij C, ye iijde 
xviij C, ye iiijth xxij C and the vth xxviij C at xv the 
hundred [weight] : Sum'a [query : 90 cwts] Ixvij x — 

It'm v clapps to the same bells, weyng by estimac"on 
C C weyght (2 cwts.), price — xv -- 

Wherof assigned to be occupied and vsed in th' administrac'on of Divine 
suyce (service) ther, the sayd ij chales and bells of x C and xviij C. 

In wytness therof the sayd Commiss'on's and others the sayd psons have to 
thes psents alternately the daye and yeare aboue wreten. 

Thomas Bossey P me Joh'em Stokys. 

John Hall 

P me Will'm Judye. 

Of tho valuation, which amounted to £92/3/4, £28/10 (?) was allowed. 

Before proceeding further it will be advantageous to divest these 
interesting manuscripts of their antique attire, in order to present them 
in a more appreciable, though, it may be, less imposing costume. 



VJ 


VIIJ 


vj 


viij 


llj 


iiij 


X 


— 


xiij 


iiij 


XX 


— 


xl 


— 


XV 


— 


xiij 


iiij 


xiij 


iiij 


vj 


viij 


vj 


viij 


X 


— 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 271 

(b) The Inventory of the goods belonging to the Chapel of St. 
Nicholas, taken on the 6th of September 1552, was signed by the 
following Commissioners : — John Dynpdayall, John Lovell, Thomas 
Taylor and Robart Bewchard and by four parishioners, namely, John 
Dynsdale, Thomas Daye, Robert Vessye and John Bovell, two of 
whom were perhaps chapel-reeves. Therein were faithfully 
enumerated, in a style similar to that with which the reader ought to 
be acquainted, these articles : — 

2 Silver gilt Chalices with their patens, used in celebrating the Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper ; weighing 24J ozs. (double gilt) at 4/4 per ounce, and 
10 ozs. (" p'cell gilt ") at 3/4 per ounce. 

29 Copes, semicircular cloaks worn over surplices and used for processions, 
festivals, &c. ; they were of divers colours, for example "purple velvet with 
bells," " black silk velvet " also the same with " white swans." 

5 Vestments, tlie eucharistic robes of the sub-deacons ; one was embroidered with 
red and green flowers. 

10 Tunicles — a kind of narrow scarf worn on the left arm, over the alb or surplice, 
and hanging down about 18 inches ; described as of black satin, blue and 
white damask, changeable (or shot) silk embroidered with swans. 

2 Altar-cloths, one of l^audekin — a fabric of silk and gold thread, — and the other 
of white damask. 

1 Altar-cross (antepeiidium) of "red and blue satin cloth." 

2 Curtains — hangings of tapestry or other rich material, behind the altar, or 

depending from the canopy, here described as being of red sarcenet (the 

finest silk, first woven bv the Saracens). 
2 Bells, namely the steeple bell, 16 cwts. at 15/ per cwt., and the sance or sacring 

bell valued at 2/.* 
I Bell-clapper, 40 ft at id. per lb. 

1 Lectern of latten for the Gospel, il cwt. at 2d. per 1T>. 

The whole were valued at ^49 13s. lod. The two chalices and 
the bell weighing 16 cwts (query, valued at ;£^g 2s. rod.) for the 
administration of Divine service, were not taken away. 

(c) The Inventory relating to St. ] antes'' Chapel was compiled 
on the 6th of September 1552. The signatories w'ere Thos. Waters, 
mayor, John Stokes (clerk) " parson," John Hyll, churchwarden and 
John Kynge ; another parishioner Xpofer Creche was also present but 
did not sign the document, 

2 Chalices with patens, (" p'cell gilt ") ; 24 ozs. and 2i| ozs. at 3/8 per oz. 

15 Copes of blue velvet, white damask, white damask embroidered with gold, 
blue silk embroidered with shells, silk with white and blue worsted, 
coloured changeable silk' and dorneck. 

14 Vestments of red baudekin, red and blue velvet, diaper silk, red silk, blue 
silk with shells, " braunched " silk, black, red and white damask, " douned " 
fustian, fustian in napes, red satin and blue linen cloth wrought with silk. 

20 Tunicles of bluo velvet, red also blue silk with shells, white damask, red 
baudekin and "douned " (? with down) fustian. 

I Altar-cross of satin embroidered with gold. 

I Bell ; 20 cwts. at 15/ per cwt. 
Miscellaneous latten articles — A Stoup for Holy Water,t two cross staves, 
perhaps, for the precentors, two thuribles or censers, two large and two 
small candlesticks, weighing in all 125 lb. appraised at 2d. per ft. 

" The little bell, rung to give notice that the "Host" was approarhin<j. was called the Sanctus bell 
from the words ".'^nMc/iis, sniirdis, sniirdis, Pomiuus Deus Sabaolh," pronounced by the priest. Sacring comes 
from the French sncrer. Old English sacre to consecrate 

The ringing of this bell during Divine service, except before the sermon, was prohibited by the Injunctions 
of 1547. 

The use of the stoup was optional and lawful, though no longer compulsorj', by the Proclamation of 
the i6tli of February 1547. It was abolished in 1549, 



272 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

The total value amounted to £^g is. 8d., of which the bell and 
the two chalices, representing £,2^ 15s. 2d. (?), were allowed. 

(d) Lastly, the " Church of All Scynts, Sought Lynne " (1552). 
The Commissioners were Wm. Fermor, John Robsart and Chr. Hey- 
don, all full-fledged knights, besides Osbert Mondeford, Robert 
Barney and John Calybut, who were humble esquires. The parish 
was represented by the churchwardens — John Knap and Thomas 
Spryngale, also by John Clark, Henry (?) Baker and Herry 
Blesbye (?). 

2 Chalices with one paten, silver gilt, weighing 15I ozs. at 4/4 per oz. 

I Pyx, a box-shaped vessel for holding the altar bread ; silver gilt, weighing 

82 ozs. at 4/4 per oz. 
8 Cope's of white damask, red, crimson, tawny and blue velvet, and silk with 

gold heads (beads). 
5 Vestments of red, crimson and tawny velvet. 

3 Tunicles of white damask and red velvet. 

3 Altar-cloths. 
I Carpet. 

5 Bells, in the steeple the " great " bell, 36 cwts., the third, 10 cwts., the second, 
8 cwts., and the " lyttel " bell, 6 cwts. The sance bell weighed ]. cwt. 

4 Bell-clappers — 208 lbs. 

4 Candlesticks — 2 pair "great " and "lyttel" of latten, weighing i\ cwts. 

From the valuation, amounting to ^^53 6s. 8d., the sum of jQ6 
was returned as " Church Stock." To this parish there were assigned 
the chalices with the paten, one little bell — [query : W'hich?] — and one 
clapper; also the aforesaid altar-cloths, the carpet and actually the 
two towels omitted in the inventory. What unexampled generosity ! 
But in this instance, the wardens were compelled to account for the 
money in their custody, hence this remarkable memorandum : — • 

Church Stock 

£1 ) remaining in the ( John (?) Baker. 

/5 i" hands of ( Henry Bleashery (?) 

The document ends thus: — 

In witness whereof the said Commissioners and others the said persons 
alternately have put their hands the date and year above written. 

P Joh. Gierke (S. Lynne) 
P me Henr. Baker, Kt. 

The appropriation of the church plate by the municipal authori- 
ties was thorough (1543-4). As being absolutely necessary only two 
chalices and patens were left. The only piece of plate discovered by 
tTie commissioners was the pyx in All Saints church. It was of silver 
gilt; weighed 8| ounces, and was scheduled at £1 i6s. lod. 

SHARP PR.\CTICE. 

A remarkable incident happened one year and eight months after 
Edward's accession. The King's officers demanded the sum of £ig 
13s. from the mayor and burgesses. The members of the Congrega- 
tion, naturally struck with consternation, promptly inquired " why " 
and " wherefore." The claim, it appeared, consisted of two distinct 
items, both of which were fee-farm rents, for the two years ending 
Michaelmas 1548. The first, £,12, 6s. 8d. was for tronage, measurage 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 273 

and "lowcope" (otherwise lovecop or lastage) arising from the tolls 
of the port of Lynn. The second item in the amount was £^6 6s. 4d., 
an acknowledgment rent for the right of farming the waters of 
Wiggenhall. These ancient privileges connected with the Tolbooth 
went with the Barony of Rising. 

The town wisely refused to respond to so unjust an exaction. 
Hence, on the 8th of Dcrcniber the mayor, John Marcanter, "sup- 
ported " by a few valiant champions of the liberties of our burgh, 
appeared at the Court of Augmentation and Revenue to defend the 
position taken. Standing as they did in the august presence of 
William St. John, the Lord Chancellor and General Surveyor, how 
could they refrain from exchanging significant glances, being, as they 
were, confident in the grand coup dc grace, which, despite all that 
might be said, must assuredly disarm the proud dignitaries before 
them. At length the time comes, and after a few introductory 
formalities the Mayor of Lynn nervously indicates, in brief, jerky 
sentences, the line of defence. Can you not see Robert Houghton, 
the town clerk, like a well-seasoned limb of the law, slowly raising the 
lid of the hanaper beside him, and from a bundle of documents 
selecting what was wanted? How methodically he runs his eyes 
over the parchment, and with imperturbable grace does he hand the 
charter to the excited Mayor, placing a finger upon a certain 

pertinent clause A moment later the clerk of the 

court is pouring forth a droning recitative : — " And we have 
granted, and by these presents do grant, for us and for our heirs, 
to the aforesaid Mayor and burgesses and their successors " — John 
Marcanter and the other members of the deputation bow politely — 
" all and singular issues, profits, fines, amercements, customs, tolls, 
tronage, wharfage, groundage, stallage, pickage, anchorage, tonnage, 
poundage and lastage, and other emoluments whatsoever arising, due 
or forfeited, or to be forfeited by reason of the aforesaid Court of 
Tolbooth, and — the Bailiwick of Waters within the bounds and limits 
aforesaid." . . "And you are quoting?" interrogates the presi- 
dent. . . "The letters patent, 7th July, 29th year Henry the 
Eighth of famous memory, late King of England, my Lord." . 
" Permit me." . . The Lord Chancellor scans the priceless docu- 
ment with trained eyes. A benign smile acknowledges his defeat, 
and, finally, he orders the arrears standing against the burgh of King's 
Lynn in the Court Book to be forthwith cancelled (September 1548). 

The first of the letters patent (1524) of Henry VIIL was con- 
firmed the 6th of December 1547, and the above incident led to the 
inrollment, if not the confirmation, of the second letters patent (1537) 
for the charter in question is endorsed thus : — " Inrolled in the Office 
of Thomas Mildemay, Auditor for the Fee Farms within written 
among the Inrollments of the same office of the Second year of King 
Edward the Sixth." To this charter (C. t6) is attached a paper 
signed Thomas Mild(e)may, which contains the gist of the previous 
paragraphs, besides a memorandum which deserves quoting : — 

It appears by a Bill exhibited by the Mayor and burgesses of I.ynn {tncerti 
tempovis), but at a considerable distance of time against Webb and Forster in the 

2 M 



274 



HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



Court of Exchequer for not paying the custom of one penny per quarter upon 
corn exported by unfree men, that the mayor and burgesses alleged to the said 
court that for all the time whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary the 
tenants and proprietors of the Port of King's Lynn, among other tolls and 
customs for and towards the sustenance and repairing the said port have had 
and received, and of ancient right ought to have, take and receive a certain toll, 
duty or payment called by the name of Lovecope, alias Lastage, that is to say, of 
every quarter of corn and grain exported out of the said port by any merchant 
stranger not being freeman of the said borough, in any ship or vessel by water, 
the sum of one penny as to the said port of ancient right appertaining and 
belonging. 

This circumstance conduced to the reinrollment of the second 
charter of Henry VIII., because upon it is the endorsement : — 

Inrolled in the office of Thomas Mildemay, Auditors for the Fee Farms 
within written, among the Inrollments of the same office of the second year of 
King Edward the Sixth [1547-8J. 

ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS. 

The early subsidy rolls often yield very valuable information. 
The following particulars are culled from the Return of a Fourth 
Payment of a Subsidy in 155 1. It contains a list of the 79 burgesses 
who contributed, with their assessments, the payment being one- 
twentieth of the amount, or at the rate of one shilling in the pound. 
The assessments range from ;^8o to ;!^2o. 
Examples : — 

XX 

Thomas Wayters (Waters) maiore iiij li. 

Thoma : Guybon, armig : (? excused) ... — 

Wm. Lovering, m'rc'r ... Ixxvj li. 

Vincent Johnson, Ducheman ... ... ij li. 

QUALITY AND QUANTITY. 

2 Brewers 



iiij li. — 

iij li. XV j s. 
— ij s. 



I 


Mayor 


I 
6 


Esquire 
Merchants 


22 


Mercers 


3 
I 

2 


Drapers 

Fishmonger 

Bakers 


6 


Gentlemen 


2 


Yeomen 


I 
I 


Innkeeper 
Shoemaker 


I 


Butcher 



2 


Mariners 


I 


Roper 


I 


Currier 


I 


Farmer 


5 


Widows 


13 


Dutchmen 


3 


Frenchmen 


I 


Fleming 


2 


Scots 



T Undescribed 

Mr. Thomas Waters and Sir Richard Corbett were elected 
burgesses in Parliament (20th January 1553). 

LICENSED MENDICANTS. 

To counteract the inconveniences caused by a wandering 
mendicancy, numerous statutes were devised between the years 1349 
and 1547. The laws of Henry VIII. were particularly severe. If 
an able-bodied man, one neither aged nor infirm, were caught soliciting 
alms, he was vigorously whipped at the cart's tail ; if caught a second 



THE HAND OF THE SPOILER. 275 

time, his ear was unmercifully slit or bored with a hot iron ; if this 
failed to produce the desired effect, he suffered death as a felon, unless 
peradventure some sympathetic person, having ^lo in goods and 40s. 
in land, or some kind-hearted householder, approved by the justices, 
would take the incorrigible loafer into his service and enter into an 
agreement to forfeit ^10 if he went astray during the probationary 
period. Notwithstanding the harshness of these laws, vagrancy 
appears to have greatly increased, hence the statutes remained un- 
repealed. In Elizabeth's reign they formally received the sanction of 
the two legislative Houses, the members expressing their conviction 
that it was far better for a man not to live at all, than to live the life 
of a wandering loafer. 

The closing of the monastery doors was a severe blow to the 
indigent, many of whom were respectable burgesses, who, through un- 
fortunate circumstances, were compelled to beg rather than starve. 
The Assembly at Lynn were sorely perplexed when the knowledge of 
the appalling destitution in their midst suddenly dawned upon them. 
They were armed with a rough-and-ready method for exterminating, 
if necessary, the prowling idlers, but how were they to succour the in- 
firm and aged poor? The cure of this social plague spot was a 
problem demanding the closest attention ; it taxed their superior in- 
genuity. But why not do as did the civic authorities in London when 
the epidemic was raging fearfully some 40 years since? Did they 
not, with due regard to " the first law of nature," first rid themselves 
of alien beggars and vagabonds, and then, having but their own poor 
to consider, did they not distribute hundreds of " beedes " (Anglo- 
Saxon bead, a prayer) or little plaques of tin stamped with the city 
arms, for the poor to wear upon their shoulders? Armed with similar 
credentials, why should not the poor of Lynn wander from door to 
door in order to solicit assistance? Happy thought! Forthwith the 
Assembly unanimously agreed that leaden badges should be struck 
bearing the letters E and R (Edvardus Rex), separated by a full-blown 
Tudor rose. These licences were distributed by the Mayor and the 
alderman and constables of the respective wards, to the blind and 
impotent townsfolk who were unable to labour for their living, so 
that, as bedesmen, they might solicit alms in the ward to which they 
each belonged.* To preserve their heads, let the loafers henceforth 
take care of their ears ! 

CHARTERS. 

C. 17. Dated at Westminster, 6th December, the ist year of his reign (1^47). 
In the form of letters patent of inspeximus confirming C. 15, letters patent 
of the 27th June 1524 (Henry VIII.) for reconstituting the borough. 

C. 18. Dated at Wanstead, 21st May, the 2nd year of the reign (1548). Letters 
patent of a grant in fee farm to the Mayor and Burgesses of the lands and 
tenements belonging to the Gild of the Holy Trinity and St. (George the 
Martyr, also the goods and chattels of those gilds for the maintenance 
of bridges and the general benefit of the borough. 

•"Till tlif breakinj; out of the civill warrcs Tom o' Bpdiains did travel 1 about llip rounlrry. They 
liad broil (loorr distraitcil mPii tlial had biru jnilt ii\to liedlani, whrre rrrovrrlng to "iiiiiie soberncsse thrv 
were licentiated to goe abeRginj; cf they had on tlieir left arm an aniiilla of tiiin, printed in some workes 
about four inelies long : they could not gett it olT . . . Since tlie warres I do not remember to have 
SMn anyone of them." — hiemajnes of Ijentilsme, 



276 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Letters patent 1552, granting the Corporation leave to invest £100 a year in 
purchasing land and tenements. The income therefrom was to be spent in 
protecting the town against the inroads of the sea. 

A local Act regulating the making of hats, dornecks and coverlets 
in Norwich and Norfolk (5th and 6th Edward VI., c. 24) affected the 
inhabitants of Lynn (1552-3). 

ACTS OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL. 

Thomas Waters was summoned before the Privy Council to 
answer Osbert Mountford's letter, complaining that contrary to orders 
he had sent grain from the port (5th March 1550). 

The mayor, Thomas Waters, received a letter authorising him to 
commit Joan Smith to ward (23rd March 1552). 

William Overend was summoned before the Privy Council (25th 
March 1552). 

Henry Kirby (Kyrbie) was ordered either " to fall to some 
honest composition " with the agent of Christian III., the King of 
Denmark, or else appear before the Court of Admiralty to answer 
according to law such things as were laid to his charge by the agent 
(14th May 1552). 

Sir Thomas Wodehouse of Kimberley, the High Sheriff of 
Norfolk, was instructed to cause a writ to be served upon 
Saundenon, of Lynne, at the suit of Andrew Anoryetin, a Frenchman, 
to whom AudrcsoH (query, Saitnderson) owed money (23rd May 1553). 

These persons were appointed Commissioners of Lieutenancy for 
the county : — Henry Ratcliffe, Earl of Sussex, Lord Robert Dudley, 
Sir William Fermour and Sir John Robsart (24th March 1553). 

INSTRUCTIONS TO THE OFFICERS OF CUSTOMS. 

(i) To prevent : 

The sending of cloth away from the port, until notified of the 
King's pleasure, and to say how many " clothes " were shipped since 
the last July (nth October 1552). 

(2) To permit : 

The men of Harwich to have 180 quarters of malt for the use of 
their town and those ships about to join the expedition to Ireland (26th 
February 1550). Ralph Downes, the mayor, also received 
instructions. 

The merchants of the staple to transport 200 qrs. of wheat to 
Calais, the officers taking bond and surety of them not to carry any 
more, nor to land their cargo at any other place (loth December 1551). 

Mr. Phillips, of the Privy Chamber, to carry away 10 fodders of 
lead, after paying the usual duty (25th January 1552). 

The transportation of victuals from Lynn and Burnham to Calais 
(24th April 1552). 

Acelyne to carry from the port 40 fodders of lead (2nd December 
1552). 

(3) To pay : 

Thomas Graver for malt delivered at Berwick, £()0 (20th June 
1550), Thomas Waters for providing grain for Lynn ;^5oo (4th June 



HER lADysniP " THE QUEEI^." 277 

1551), and Richard Duke, the Master of the Marie Jermyn, £6 
4s. 4d. for service rendered at Holy Island (5th June 155 1). 

* * * -x- * 

Edward VI. succumbed to pulmonary disease at Greenwich the 
6th of July 1553, and was buried at Westminster. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 
Her Ladyship '*The Queen/* 

Mary, the eldest daughter of Henry VIII., by his first wife Catherine 
of Arragon, succeeded her brother Edward VI. on the 6th of July 
1553. She espoused Philip, the eldest son of her cousin Charles V., 
who became King Philip II. of Spain at the abdication of his father 
in 1556. From the date of their marriage, the 25th of July 1554? 
they reigned as King and Queen of England. 

***** 

By the will of Henry VIII., which was sanctioned by Parlia- 
ment, Mary was excluded from the succession. This induced John 
Dudley, the Earl of Warwick, recently created Duke of Northumber- 
land, to persuade King Edward that it was his duty to insure the 
progress of the true faith by making a new settlement of the crown; 
not that Northumberland cared aught about religion, but he was 
convinced that if Mary ascended the throne, his authority would be 
abruptly terminated, if in the mean time he did not lose his head upon 
the scattold. Northumberland's conspiracy. . 

Arguing that if Mary were set aside her sister Elizabeth could not 
justly inherit the kingdom, because she had already been stigmatised 
as illegitimate, he naively suggested how the young King ought to 
ignore his bigoted sister, and how he would be justified in giving the 
crown to the heirs of Henry's youngest sister, Mary Duchess of 
Suffolk, a family strongly averse to Catholicism. In compliance with 
Northumberland's wishes, Edward resolved to name her grand- 
daughter the Lady Jane Grey, as heir to the throne. The judges, 
however, refused to draw up letters patent embodying the King's 
request, because by thus invalidating an Act of Parliament they 
rendered themselves liable to the penalty of treason ; but Chief Justice 
Montague, intimidated by a threatening baron and influenced by an 
importunate Sovereign who faithfully promised to obtain a 
parliamentary ratification of the proposed scheme, at length consented. 
Whereupon 15 lords of the council, 9 judges and other civil officers 
pledged themselves in writing " to observe every article contained in 
his Majesty's own device respecting the succession." In May, 
Northumberland brought about the marriage of his fourth son, Lord 
Guildford Dudley, with Lady Jane Grey; the King's will was signed 
the 2 1 St June, about a fortnight before his death, 6th July 1553. 

Northumberland endeavoured to withhold the news of the King's 
death from the nation until he should succeed in getting the Princess 



2?8 H/STORy Of KING'S tVNN. 

Mary into his power ; but she, having been privately apprised of the 
event, for which she was not wholly unprepared, hastened with her 
faithful retainers into Norfolk. From Cambridge she hurried to 
Sawston, where for one night she accepted the hospitality of Mr. 
Huddlestone, but she had barely set out the next morning ere an 
infuriated mob set fire to his mansion ; from Sawston she rushed to 
Bury St. Edmunds, where she partook of a hasty meal, attributing her 
unceremonious departure to a sudden outbreak of plague, for tidings 
of Edward's death had not yet reached the eastern counties; and then 
from Bury to Kenninghall, near Eccles, which she entered on Sunday 
night the 9th of July. 

The disconsolate Princess was, however, no stranger in this part 
of Norfolk, because on the attainder of Thomas Howard, Duke of 
Norfolk (1546) her father had given her the manor of Kenninghall ;* 
here, too, expecting every day to be her last, Mary had slowly recovered 
from a painful illness (1549). By hiding she thought to gain time 
and thus afford her friends an opportunity to assemble; and if the 
worst came, could she not easily escape by sea from Yarmouth? 
Immediately on her arrival, Mary addressed a letter to the Privy 
Council, asserting her right and title to the throne, and calling upon 
them as liege subjects to proclaim her Queen of England. The 
Council, notwithstanding, forwarded a reply denying her right, which 
was signed by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas 
Goodrich, Bishop of Ely, then Lord Chancellor, Henry Grey, Duke 
of Suffolk, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and seventeen 
other influential persons. 

As Kenninghall Palace was quite unprotected, Mary, accepting 
the advice of Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Sir John Shelton and Sir Henry 
Jerningham, removed to Framlingham Castle, a moated fortress 
nineteen miles north-east of Ipswich. Hearing that Northumberland 
had despatched six vessels to intercept her escape into France, Sir 
Henry Jerningham proceeded to Yarmouth to rally friends. His 
mission was crowned with success, for he prevailed upon the captains 
and the mariners to join his cause. The Roynl Standard was hoisted 
upon the ramparts of the stronghold at Framlingham, where a force 
of 30,000 volunteers, who refused to take payment for their services, 
soon gathered, under the auspices of Lord Thomas Howard, grandson 
of the Duke of Norfolk, Sir William Drury, Sir Thomas Cornwallis 
and Sir John Tyrrel. 

(l) THE PROCLAMATION AT LYNN. 

A well-known person in Norfolk was Lord Robert Dudley, the 
fifth son of the Duke of Northumberland. Having married a Norfolk 
lady. Amy the daughter of Sir John Robsart of Syderstone (1550), he 
became joint steward of the manor of Rising (1551), joint commissioner 
of lieutenancy (1552), and lastly knight of the shire, that is, member 
for the county (1552-3). On the death of the King, Lord Robert 
used his influence in aiding his father and brothers in their attempt 
to place his sister-in-law upon the throne. 

'■ Kenninghall, seven miles north-east of Diss, is supposed to have been the seat of the heroic 
Boailirea and the East Anglian Kings. Aarient mounds are believed to mark the site of the royal castle. 



HER LADYSHIP " THE QUEEN.'' 27$ 

Lord Robert, whose head quarters were at Wisbech, rode over to 
Lynn on Tuesday the nth of July, and tried to win over George 
Reveley (otherwise Rewley), the mayor, but seemed to have failed, 
because at night he went back to Wisbech ; returning the next day, he 
expressed a desire to lodge in the borough, but the townsfolk were not 
disposed to afford him shelter. Before, however, he set out once more 
for Wisbech, he met Thomas Karrylls, who had been sent into Marsh- 
land to purchase grain and provision for Mary's forces. The pur- 
veyor wrote from Wiggenhall St. Mary to his father-in-law, Sir Henry 
Bedingfeld, at Oxborough, deploring that " there never was less store 
in Marshland," and stating, moreover, how Lord Robert had promised 
him he would be in Kenninghall by Thursday night " to do his duty," 
in other words, to render homage to the Princess by taking the oath of 
allegiance, acknowledging her his sovereign. The writer, nevertheless, 
placed little faith in these assurances, because he knew how Lord 
Robert was secretly inquiring about the strength of the town watches, 
and whether the drawbridges were raised during the night. The 
purveyor hinted that under excuse of visiting the castle at Rising, of 
which Lord Robert was constable, he might soon be in Lynn again. 

At the same time Mary was trying to secure the allegiance of the 
people of Norwich. On the nth she sent asking the mayor and 
Corporation to proclaim her queen ; this they refrained from doing, 
because they were not yet convinced of Edward's death. However, 
the next day they not only complied with her request, but sent men 
and weapons to assist her. Hence to Norwich belongs the honour of 
firs/ proclaiming Mary Queen of England (July 12th). 

How often Lord Robert found it necessary to visit Lynn is not 
clear, but, from the indictment which ultimately crowned his ill-judged 
efforts, we learn that on Tuesday tlie i8th he took forcible possession 
of the town in the manner of war, that he audaciously proclaimed 
Lady Jane Grey Queen of England, * and endeavoured to persuade the 
mayor and other of Mary's liege subjects to transfer their allegiance 
and join the Duke of Northumberland and the conspirators. The 
Privy Council were, however, fully cognisant of what was likelv to 
happen in Lynn, On the i6th they sent a warning to Sir William 
Drury, and four days later a post was hurriedly despatched to inform 
the burgesses how Mary was yesterday proclaimed (lueen in London, 
and to rec^uire them to apprehend Lord Robert at once and to lie in 
wait for the Duke of Northumberland, who would certainly flee to 
Lynn as soon as he heard the news (2otIi July). 

Tn the mean time Lady Jnne Grey, an intelligent girl of sixteen 
summers, prevailed uj)on by the entreaties of her ambitious relatives, 
reluctantly agreed to assume the perilous role, atlhough she had no great 
desire to supersede those whom she believed to have precedence of 
herself. Conducted from Richmond to London, she was on the loth 
proclaimed Queen. Orders were immediately issued to the lords 
lieutenants, despatches were sent to foreign countries, and a proclama- 
tion announcing the accession was publicly exhibited, each bearing the 
signature — ^' Jane, the Queen." So obnoxious, however, was 

^ At Berwick a similar public proclamatioo was made 



280 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Northumberland to the people, that even Protestants stubbornly 
refused to encourage any-one introduced through his instrumentality. 
Signs of undisguised coldness were everywhere to be seen, and the 
would-be queen passed through the city amidst a dead silence. 

Aware of the danger of the approaching crisis, Northumberland 
led what troops he could muster against the princess, but so unpopular 
was he, rather than his protegee, that the soldiers under his 
command actually shouted " Long live (^ueen Mary." Learning how 
the princess Avas in turn proclaimed in London (19th July), he decided 
to make a virtue of necessity by causing her to be proclaimed in Cam- 
bridge, where he then happened to be quartered. Simulating 
enthusiastic devotion, he loyally threw up his cap, but his duplicity 
was beyond di.sguise, and orders were accordingly given for his 
apprehension. 

A despatch had already been sent to the inhabitants of Lynn, 
detailing the turn of affairs and commanding them to aid in suppressing 
the rebellion. The following batch of conspirators was accordingly 
arrested : — Lord John Russell, Anthony Brown, of Essex, John Lucas, 
John Cocke. Nicholas Gyrlyngton, Chrystopher Holforth, Denys 
Thymelhye, Thomas Spenser, John Crygtoste. Edmunde Gore, Davye 
Apeel, Richard Hoorde, Richard Fynne, Renarde de Labor, Robert 
Walpole, Roger Broome, Edward Pegge, Edmunde Nell, John Graye, 
a groom of the stables, Tyrrey Walpole (son of Edward Walpole, of 
Houghton), and William and George Wodhouse (39th July). Edward 
^L^nners. Earl of Rutland, was in the cust<idy of Sir Henry Beding- 
feld, whilst Clement and John, the sons of Sir William Paston, were 
ordered to " depart to their father's howse and there to remayne " 
during the (Queen's pleasure. The Rev. Richard Gatefield, the rector 
of West Lynn, was, moreover, lodged in gaol, the bill of his accusation 
being delivered to Anthony Gybbon, of Hanelose, * who was to give 
evidence against him (3xst July). 

The prisoners were not all secured at the same time, because on 
the 25th our Mayor was urged to bring up " the reste of the 
prysoners remaynyng ther apprehended," including Thomas Waters 
and William Overend, two townsmen. At the same time Osbert 
Mountford received instructions concerning his stay in Lynn and the 
promotion of better order in the borough. 

The seeds of discord sown by Lord Robert were apparently 
taking root, for George Beaupre, of Outwell, was constrained as a 
loyal gentleman to indite a letter, dated the ist of August and 
addressed to " my singular good lords the Earl of Sussex, the Earl of 
Bath and the Lords of the (lueen's Highnesses most hon'ble Privy 
Council." wherein he informed them of his having heard of a pro- 
jected disturbance in which 5,000 persons intended to encamp at 
" Gylney Smithe," near Wisbech, and how they meant to " take all 
gentlemen into their rule and custody until redress were had of their 
wrongs done at the Queen's Majestys hands." This movement was 
occasioned through the issue of an order from the council, instructing 

* Hanelose, Hagnelose, Haclose, was subsequently known as Haveless (Mintlyn). 



HER LADYSHIP ''THE queen:' 281 

Thomas Karrylls, Edmund Beaupre and John Dethicke to take 
possession of the castle at Wisbech in the name of the Queen. As 
nothing further is heard of the conspiracy, we may assume that it 
collapsed prematurely. 

(2) A ROYAL COMMISSION AT NORWICH. 

was appointed to inquire into the doings of the conspirators in Norfolk 
(January 1554). It comprised the following local magnates : — 
Richard Southwell, Christopher Heydon and Edmund Wyndham 
(knights) ; Thomas Gawdy, serjeant-at-law ; and four justices of Oyer 
and Terminer, namely, Robert Holdich, Henry Hubberde, Osbert 
Mountford and Nicholas Rookwood. At a meeting in the Shire Hall, 
Norwich, on the 9th of January, an indictment was found against John 
Dudley Duke of Northumberland, his sons — John and Robert Dudley, 
William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, Sir John Gate, Sir Thomas 
Palmer and Sir Andrew Dudley. 

Mary entered London triumphantly and was cordially greeted by 
her half-sister Elizabeth, who prudently made common cause with her. 
The old Duke of Norfolk was at once released from his long imprison- 
ment, whilst the Queen graciously restored to him his forfeited 
possessions, including the manor of Kenninghall. He was, moreover, 
chosen to preside at the coming trial, even " as his father forty years 
before sat in judgment on the Duke of Northumberland's father " 
(Mason). It was arranged that the charge preferred against the con- 
spirators by the justices of Norfolk should be tried by a court at the 
Gildhall, London (19th January). The prisoners were arraigned and 
convicted of high treason. Northumberland pleaded piteously that 
his life might be spared, but the craven, who remorsely sacrificed so 
many lives in suppressing the peasants' rising, was, nevertheless, 
beheaded on Tower Hill, and with him suffered Sir John Gates and Sir 
Thomas Palmer (22nd August). Lord Robert Dudley was pardoned 
and released after six months' imprisonment (i8th October); created 
Earl of Leicester (1563), he played a conspicuous part during the next 
reign, being held in the highest estimation by Queen Elizabeth. He 
died in 1588.* 

Lady Jane Grey, her husband Lord Guildford Dudley, and two 
of his brothers, Ambrose and Henry, besides the aged Thomas 
Cranmer, were examined on a charge of high treason in the Gildhall 
(19th November). Each of the accused pleaded guilty with the 
exception of the Archbishop, who afterwards withdrew his plea of 
" not guilty." Upon all was passed sentence of death. The 
execution was, however, delayed owing to rebellions in various parts 
of the kingdom, the object being to place ^Lary's half-sister, the 
Princess Elizabeth, upon the throne. Their failure sealed the fate 
of those in jeopardy. Lady Jane Grey, the " sometime unfortunate 
Queen of England " (Strype) was beheaded within the Tower whilst 
her husband suffered outside on Tower Hill. Her father, too, the 

• The Countess of Leicester, nee Amy Robsart (1530-1560), died under suspicious circumstances at 
Cuninor Place, near Oxford, and was interred with stately funeral rites in a vault below the chancel of the 
church of St. Mary the Virgin. Upon the story of Amy Robsart, of Syderstone, Sir Walter Scott based 
Ijis ooyel AVjii/jcoifA (j8ji), 

2 N 



282 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Duke of Suffolk, was also beheaded. The last to suffer was Sir 
Thomas VVyatt, who faced the block on Tower Hill (nth April). For 
some time Elizabeth was suspected of complicity in Wyatt's plot. She 
was imprisoned (i8th March) and entrusted to the custody of our 
neighbour Sir Henry Bedingfeld, then governor of the Tower, " who 
ranks among gaolers who have derived a lasting infamy from the fame 
of their prisoners." Foxe, effervescing with religious prejudice, has 
much to say about the unnecessary harshness of his treatment, and 
Burnet fiercely denounces him as " the chief instrument of her 
sufferings." It is difficult to accept these statements, because when at 
the first court Sir Henry came to pay his devoirs, the Queen pleasantly 
observed : '"' Whenever I have a prisoner who requires to be safely and 
strictly kept I shall send him to you." Moreover, in the " Royal 
Progress," a visit to her " Jayler " at Oxborough figures in the 
itinerary. There was evidently nothing which evoked resentment. 
Commenting on this subject, Mr. E. M, Beloe pertinently remarks : — 
" It is difficult to believe as an historical fact that Sir Henry Beding- 
feld, a man of sufficient strength of character to retain his old religion, 
a Norfolk gentleman of somewhat inore than middle age, should be 
unkind to the young Royal Lady given to his charge, and who must 
ultimately in the course of nature be his Queen " {Oxhojough (1890}, 
P- 17)- / \ 

(3) A PAIR OF EARS. 

Indirectly associated with Lynn and the neighbourhood is an 
insignificant incident which occurred in London when Lady Jane Grey 
was proclaimed. 

Gilbert Potter, a pot-boy employed at an hostelry in Ludgate 
bearing the fascinating though morbid sign of St. John's Head, 
ventured to express an opinion that of the two candidates for the 
English crown, Mary had by far the better title. His master, Ninian 
Sanders, an earnest supporter of " her ladyship " Jane Grey, hearing 
this, publicly denounced the lad. Brought before the Compter for this 
outspoken delinquency, the boy was nailed through his ears to the 
pillory at Cheapside. After awhile he was set free, but the price of 
his liberation was the loss of both ears. The Queen, hearing of this 
exhibition of fearless loyalty, made a grant awarding Potter several 
messuages, etc., in South Lynn, which he was to hold by knight's 
service, as a recompense. The property in question once belonged to 
Blackburgh Priory, and was afterwards in the tenure of Thomas 
Winter (30th May 1554). Potter obtained a licence and alienated the 
messuages, land, etc., to George and Thomas Eden, and George Eden 
followed suit by alienating them (with 22 acres of land called Colton 
Dale in Wiggenhall. also once belonging to the aforesaid priory and 
late in the tenure of John Reynham and Gilbert Potter) to John Knapp, 
of South Lynn (1554-5), who conveyed them to Hugh Pratt and 
Edmund Houghton (1586-7). 

During the evening of Potter's arrest his master was drowned 
whilst passing in a boat beneath London Bridge. The untimely fate 
of Sanders was regarded as an instructive demonstration of 
Providential retribution. 



HER LADysniP " THE QUEEN." 283 

IN THY NAME. 

During this reign the Roman Catholic religion was reestablished. 
The rood-lofts were replaced ; the broken images of the saints were 
mended and painted ; superb tabernacles were reared, and new censers 
purchased. This invohed many towns in great monetary difficulties. 
On the 8th of April 1558 our chamberlains paid " Thomas 
Clabourne's wife for the Rowde of [rood wif/i] Mary and John for 
St. Margaret's 42 shillings;" they also "paid to the churchwardens 
for the behoof thereof ^3 15s." 

Later in the year the town became the resort of one Huntingdon, 
who vehemently protested against the revival of the old religion. 
Licence to preach had been obtained for him and Dr. King, of Nor- 
wich, through the influence of Mary Fitz-Roy, the Duchess of Rich- 
mond, who petitioned Sir Thomas Smith, the Secretary of State, on 
their behalf (4th May 1547). Having received information that 
Huntingdon had composed " a rayling ryme " against Dr. John 
Stokes, the priest at St. Margaret's, the Privy Council ordered Sir 
Christopher Heydon and Sir William Fermour to apprehend " the 
seditious preacher," who was believed to be lurking somewhere between 
Lynn and Walsingham. 

MERCHANT AND MARTYR. 

The Marian persecution commenced in 1554, and continued with 
slight interruptions to the end of the reign. The Queen " grieved 
over the separation from Rome as a sin burdening her own conscience, 
and she believed with all her heart that the one path to happiness, 
temporal and eternal, for herself and for her realm, was to root out 
heresy in the only way in which it seemed possible, by rooting out 
heretics " (Gardiner). As many as 277 are said to have perished at 
the stake during this short reign. Because of the bitter feeling enter- 
tained by John Hopton, Bishop of Norwich (who was chaplain to Mary 
during her illness at Kenninghall), against the reformers, the number 
of victims in this diocese was proportionately large. " Of all the un- 
human wretches," exclaims Bishop Burnet, referring to the Bishop and 
his Chancellor, Michael Dunning, " not one could be compared for 
cruelty to these two tyrants. Other tyrants would be content with 
imprisonment and death, but these were infamous for new invented 
tortures." 

One of the burgesses of Lynn suffered for conscience' sake ; he 
was a merchant named Simon Miller, who was perhaps a son of 
Thomas Miller, mayor in the reign of Henry VIIL (1524). Foxe 
describes him as " a goodly and zealous man in the knowledge of the 
Lord and his truth." With the express intention, it would appear, of 
protesting against the enforced religion, Miller travelled from Lynn 
to Norwich, and whilst the congregation was leaving one of the city 
churches, he l)f)ldly {)rotested against their " popish service," and 
asked where /le could go to receive communion. The multitude were 
greatly surprised at his effrontery, and one more evil-dispnsed than the 
rest answered that "if he would needs go to a communion he would 
biing him thither where he should speed of his purpose." Miller was 



284 ni STORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

soon afterwards arrested and brought before Chancellor Dunning, who 
detained him in custody. When under examination a piece of paper 
was seen obtruding above his shoe ; this proved to be a confession of 
faith, which he had placed there for safety. The paper was 
abstracted, the confession read, and in reply to their question. Miller 
stated firmly his willingness to abide by the same. He was therefore 
" committed " to the care of a keeper named Felow, and was kept a 
prisoner in the Bishop's house. 

Whether through the clemency of the Bishop or the kindness of 
the keeper is not stated, but Miller was permitted to come back to 
Lynn. However, after the merchant had " set all things in order," 
he returned to Norwich and honourably surrendered himself to his 
keeper, and as nothing could change his convictions or prevent his out- 
spoken honesty, " the Bishop and his Chancellor " condemned and 
committed him to the fire about the 13th day of July 1557. 

With the Lynn merchant was burnt a pewterer's wife, Elizabeth 
Cooper, of the parish of St. Andrew, Norwich. When the flames 
began to scorch, she shrank, crying " Hah !" whereupon her comrade 
stretched out his hand behind him as far as he could, beseeching her 
to be strong and of good cheer, " For, good sister," said he, " we shall 
have a joyful and sweet supper." Miller's exhortation seems to have 
imbued her with fortitude, because, in the words of Foxe, " she stood 
as quiet as one most glad to finish that good work which before most 
happily she had begun. So in fine she ended her life with her 
companion joyfully, committing her soul into the hands of Almighty 
God."- 

THE PIRATES OF KING's LYNN. 

In his capacity as governor of the borough, Osbert Mountford 
applied for ;£400 for supplying the county with grain, and requested 
that Johnes (or Johns), a mariner, should be examined by the Privy 
Council (7th August 1553). The governor was asked to attend the 
court, and to bring with him evidence in writing, or witnesses, if 
necessary, to bear out the charges against the person named (23rd). 
Twelve sailors were chosen, namely, John Millet, John Harryson, 
William Mackinson, Richard Cowper, William Fenne, Edmond 
Church, Robert Harrison, John Morys, William Danyell, Richard 
Carre, Thomas Reade and George Lee, but they were dismissed by 
" My Lords," who forwarded a letter asking the governor to receive 
them home again. 

Owing to repeated complaints respecting certain unlawful 
proceedings upon the high seas, of which the above instance seems to 
have been one, the mayor was warned, and at the same time requested 
to " stay Woodman, who robbeth the Frenchmen and other of the 
Queen's enemies " {13th March 1554). A year later the Assembly 
received specific instructions on this subject from the Court of 
Admiralty (25th March 1555). 

Thomas Waters was summoned before the Privy Council the loth 
of October 1554; the next year he was again summoned, and with 

» See Acts and Monuments (1839), by John Foxe, Vol. VllL, pp. bjybf;. 



HEit LADY SHIP " THE QUEEN.'' 285 

him William Overend, to whom letters of appearance had already been 
sent. Both, respectable merchants and ship-owners, were ordered to 
present themselves without delay (loth June 1555). In 1542 and 
1545, Overend has fleeced the King's enemies, and although in the 
present instance the specific charges are omitted, " piracy " may be 
suggested and accepted in each case. 

The Court of Admiralty investigated a charge against Thomas 
Jones, of Lynne, who had " spoyled at sea " a foreigner — Peter 
Dumoshell. Judgment was given for part of the goods seized. 
Weary with the law's delay, Peter besought Mr. Coke, the learned 
exponent of the " science of hocus-pocus," to proceed to a final 
judgment (21st March 1555). Robert Palmer, the mayor, was there- 
fore summoned (6th July) to appear within 14 days to account for the 
discharge of Tom Jones's piratical cargo. The mayor arrived on the 
i8th, and in justification presented a letter dated 2nd May 1554, and 
addressed to the Mayor and Aldermen of Lynne by Sir Richard South- 
well, authorising them to permit the delivery of the goods, which were 
of a perishable nature, previously, however, accepting bonds from 
Jones. On the 2nd of August the case was again before the Privy 
Council, the Lord Chancellor on this occasion presiding. 

May not /ohnes, Johns and Thomas Jones, each being " of 
Lynne," represent one person? 

INCORPORATION OF SOUTH LYNN. 

Prior to 1546 South Lynn was a separate parish or hamlet, subject 
to the jurisdiction of the sheriff of the county ; it was then, according 
to Richards, incorporated by means of a special licence from Henry 
VI n. There is, however, no reference to this in the charters granted 
by Philip and Mary, nor in the record as quoted by the church- 
wardens, which reads thus : — 

"They (the king and queen) did by their letters pattents Grant and 
Annex the parish and hamblett of South Lynn to the Burrough of 
King's Lynn, and that the Inhabitants there should perticipate of the 
priviledges of the Inhabitants of King's Lynn, and have the like 
Liberties that the other Burgesses have, and for this annexion the 
Mayor and burgesses pav vearly to the Crowne a ffee-ffarme Rent of 
Tenn shillings" (C.W'.A., St. M.). 

CHARTERS OR LETTERS PATENT. 

C. 19. Dated at Westminster the 27th February in the ist and 2nd years of their 
reign (1555). Letters patent, granting during pleasure the annexation of 
the parish of South Lynn to the borough. 

C. 20. Dated at Westminster the nth August in the 4th and 5th years of their 
reign (1557). Letters patent (after reciting C. 19, and declaring it null and 
void) granting to the Mayor and Burgesses the parish of South Lynn, in 
fee-farm at a yearly rent of ten shillings, and further granting the manor 
of King's Lynn and the quit 'rents in the borough, then, by virtue of an 
arrangement made between Richard Nix, the Bishop of Norwich, and 
Henry VIII. (statute, 4th February 1536), being in the hands of Philip and 
Mary, to hold the same as pertaining to the manor of East Greenwich of 
the said King and Queen, and of their heirs and successors, at the yearly 
rent of £"13/13/6. 



286 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Letters patent, dated at Richmond the nth August, in the 4th and 5th years of 

their reign (1557). Contirming : — 
(i). Letters patent, 6th December 1547 (C. 17, of Edward VI.), of inspeximus 

and confirmation of — 
(2). Letters patent, 7th July 1537 (C. 16, of Henry VIII.), reaffirming the 

reconstitution of the borough. 

The boundaries of the enlarged borough were to extend to the 
utmost part of South Lynn, as far south as the Pulver 
Drain. A separate Leet Court was to be held by the 
mayor and burgesses in South Lynn as in King's Lynn, 
the sheriff having no right to interfere. Musters might be 
raised when necessary, and offenders punished exactly as in the 
other part of the town. " For the better maintenance and defence 
of the borough against the flowing of the sea," the Corporation was 
already permitted to purchase land and tenements to the value of, but 
not exceeding, "^'100 by the year" (letters patent, 1552), The 
great necessity for a provision of this kind is enforced by the fact that 
the plate belonging to St. James' chapel was sold and the money 
applied towards the repairing of the wall of the town against the rage 
of the sea (1543), and also by a clause in the charter of 1557, wherein 
mention is made of a very useful stone wall, 340 feet in length and 
9 feet in breadth at Its foundation, which had been seriously neglected 
since the Bishop was deprived of his temporalities. Attention is drawn 
to this subject because the sea " doth spread abroad and pour in his 
waves within the said wall," and because the town was threatened with 
"a most lamentable depopulation." The authorities are therefore 
urged not only to mend this important sea-wall, but to keep it in future 
in a state of repair. 

THE GUINEA TRADE. 

The Privy Council requested the Assembly to warn the merchants 
of Lynn "to forbear to traffic with the Myne {sic) of Gynney or 
Bynney," which was under the jurisdiction of John IIL, "the King 
of Portuigale," or Portugal (29th July 1556). 

THE PLAGUE 

made its appearance in 1556. and during " this most dangerous time of 
sickness " none but those holding licences from the mayor were per- 
mitted to sell fish, and three local brewers were fined because they left 
off brewing so that the King and Queen's subjects lacked a beverage 
which was regarded as medicinally necessary. The highest point in 
the death-rate came in 1558, when great numbers succumbed. The 
mayor and four aldermen died during the year ; another account says 
they were successive mayors, which is hardly correct. There were 
three mayors in 1557-8, two of whom died — Henry Bleisby in 
January, and William Overend in May; Thomas Waters, however, 
survived. 

THE NORTH SEA FLEET. 

At the suggestion of the King. England joined the Spaniards in 
hostilities, against the French (7th June 1557). The following towns 
were ordered to furnish thirteen ships to serve in the North Sea under 
Sir John Clere :— Yarmouth, Hull and Newcastle, two each; Lynne, 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 287 

Boston, Ipswich, Alborough, Loiwestoft, one each ; and Blakeney and 
Cley, and Southwold and Dunwich, one each between them (T3th 
July 1557). At the battle of St. Ouentin the best blood of France 
flowed like water (loth August), but the part taken by our nation in a 
struggle, in which it was not politically concerned, was signally 
punished by the surrender of Calais (7th January 1558). 

* -X- -X- -Jf * 

After being in the hands of the English for over 200 years, the 
loss of Calais greatly troubled Mary. Disappointed both in her 
public and domestic life, and afflicted with dropsy, the sad and lonely 
(^ueen passed away (17th November 1558), " wondering why all she 
had done on God's behalf had been followed by failure on every side — 
the desertion of her husband and the hatred of her subjects." 
(Gardiner.) 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

The Battle and the Breeze. 

On the death of Mary, her sister Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII. 

and Anne Boleyn, ascended the throne. The succession was 

undisputed, and Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster the 15th 

January 1559. 

* -X- -x- * * 

In every country there is, unfortunately, a constantly recurring 
fraction of the population which the prosperity of a nation does not 
visibly affect. As true as when first written is the assurance: "The 
poor shall never cease out of the land." Lynn, changed though it be 
beyond recognition, has still an undesirable substratum of townfolk 
even as it had in the Reformation days ; it has, besides, a heavy poor- 
rate, of which it was then profoundly ignorant." At the numerous 



religious houses 



THE SUBMERGED TENTH 



sought hospitality, and when they — the- religious houses be it under- 
stood — were swept away, the deserving and undeserving, the unable 
as well as the able, received succour and assistance from the Church. 
Laws, disgraceful because of their injustice and inhumanity, were 
passed, but no amount of sweeping would rid the country of the social 
sediment. " The poor shall never cease out of the land." 

Once upon a time every parish possessed a "church house" 
wherein the secular business of the district was transacted ; it was 
provided with ovens for baking, tubs for brewing, spits for roasting, 
and furnished with a supply of platters, crocks and other articles of 

*• There was, however, a tax for the support of the poor about the time of Richard II. " John de 
Spalding bequeathed £4 to the community of Lcnn to abridge the tax of the poor of Lenn." {History of 
Soroughs and Mwikipal Corporations, by Messrs. Mevewethcr and Stephens, Vol. II., p. 7fio.] 



288 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

a culinary description. As one or other of the festive seasons 
approached, gifts in kind from benevolent parishioners came 
mysteriously pouring in — a baron of beef, a bag of malt, a gammon of 
bacon, a peck of flour, a dozen eggs, and other welcome comestibles. 
Then the wives of the wealthier members of the community cooked 
the food and the churchwardens brewed the ale, and when at last the 
anticipated day of rejoicing arrived there was a good, substantial meal 
provided for all who chose to come, and those who did not join in the 
festivity were fined for their non-attendance. When the feast was 
over, the young, whose faces were beaming with excitement, amused 
themselves with dancing, bowling, racing in sacks, grinning through 
horse-collars, or shooting at the butts, whilst the dear old folk, who 
were too stiff or serious for such puerile diversions, would 

Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail, 
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale. 

There were Church Ales, Clerks' Ales, Whitsun Ales, Hocking 
Ales and other harmless festivals, named from the enlivening beverages 
thereat largely consumed. An arbour of boughs was erected in the 
churchyard, where a group of bewitching maidens, each the pink of 
perfection, collected money, which was scrupulously set apart for the 
maintenance of the poor and afflicted. Moreover, in every church, 
and in many a hostelry too, was a " poor man's box," into which 
donations could be secretly slipped. 

It is to be regretted that the earliest of our church records starts 
just after these sylvan scenes had been prohibited, because, having 
degenerated in character, they were thought unworthy of the 
countenance of the Church. 

Connected with the chapel of St. Nicholas were three houses 
which in 1618 and for many years afterwards were tenanted " rent 
free." They were occupied by the sexton (east side of Pilot Street), 
the clerk (west side of Chapel Street), and the lecturer (corner of Wool- 
pack Street and Chapel Street). The sexton's house, behind the 
chapel, stood next to what is now the Grampus public house. On the 
south side of the passage separating the present tenements are traces 
of early work. After passing the timber-framing of a more recent 
dwelling, the explorer will find a bricked-up Gothic doorway (42 by 
76 inches), a stone niche (22 by 36 inches), and the stone-work of 
a mullioned window (46 by 68 inches). This house is given in 
William Newham's survey (1834), as that of the chapel sexton, 
W'hich was, according to the report of the Charity Commissioners, 
let to Thomas Stacey, milkman, for £6 a year (8th January 1876). 
May not these remains be those of the ancient "church house"? 

At the closing of the monasteries an Act was placed upon the 
Statute Book for the gathering and distribution of money to the poor 
(1536). Henceforth all " good Christian people" were expected to 
give A their substance ever>' Sunday and Saints' day. The church- 
wardens not only went round every Sunday during the Communion 
service collecting alms for the poor, but were supposed to keep the able- 
bodied at "constant work." If any penurious parishioner refused 



TRE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 289 

to give voluntarily, he was first gently admonished by the parson or his 
colleague; if this failed to loosen his purse-strings, the bishop sent for 
him ;ind earnestly exhorted him, perhaps under threats of future pain, 
to perform his duty towards " those who were left to such relief as 
the humanity of their neighbours would afford them." Any parish 
neglecting to enforce the Act might be fined twenty shillings a month. 
The voluntary system was not, however, very effectual. I'o overcome 
the difficulty in Lynn, a tax of fourpence per chaldron was levied 
upon all coal brought into port by strangers (1545). This source of 
income, supplemented by gifts from the charitable, proved inadequate ; 
hence, as alrealy mentioned, the Council provided the poor with a 
distinctive mark or licence to solicit alms. 

Aft sr intermediate legislative experiments, the principle of 
compulsory taxation was introduced by Elizabeth (1563), and was 
brought into full operation a few years afterwards (1572). It formed 
the basis of the subsequent statute which, though modified, has been 
in operation from the date of its enactment in 160 1 to the present day. 
After reading what Richard Hakluyt wrote in 1584, the urgent 
necessity of such a measure must be admitted : 

Yea, there be many thousandes of idle persons within the realme having no 
way to be set at worke, whereby afl the prisons of the lande are daily pestered 
and stuffed full of them, where either they pitifully pyne away or els at length 
are miserably hanged, even xxj at a clappe out of some one jayle. 

Under the new Act, justices were to assess all dwellings, and the 
churchwardens and overseers were to provide work, build poor-houses 
and apprentice the children of paupers. In the parish of St. 
Margaret, the parish clerk, Edward Davis, collected what was levied 
in " the booke of Sessament " (1602). The total amounted to £^x 
i6s. 4d. Shortly afterwards the town was assessed in two parts 
(1606) : " Item, payde to Robet. Parker for wrightinge the order about 
the Sesmentt betweyne St. Nicho. parishe and St. Margreett, iij s. 
iijd." [C.W.A., St.M.'].'' 

ST. JAMES' WORKHOUSE. 

The Dean and Chapter of Norwich surrendered possession of the 
church of St. James to the Corporation in 1566. Eor several years 
nothing is heard of the neglected edifice, which subsequently figured 
conspicuously in the annals of our poor. A notice in the Hall Book, 
October 1580, refers to the establishment of a workhouse. It was 
thought that many could earn an honest livelihood by making baize, 
and it was admitted that St. James' church might be turned to good 
account. Hence a committee was appointed to make any required 
alterations, the Council generously voting ;£6oo to defray the cost 
(2nd December). The next year was spent in making preparations 
for the introduction of the new industry. 

Through some cause or other, the manufacture of baize, though 
then successfully carried on in Norwich, came to an untimely end at 

• " The Church-rate was determined by the churchwardens and the major part of the parishioners." 
"The Poor-rate was made by the rhurcliwnrdcns .ind the overseers without the assistance of any other 
purishiouers ; they taxed themselves and the other parishioners." {fitrrkh on Parish Rates, Vol. IV., p. 7. 

2 O 



290 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Lynn, for in 1586 the able-bodied poor \Yere employed at the work- 
house dressing hemp and twisting tows for the fishermen. Even 
this occupation was doomed to failure. At this crisis John Lonyson, 
a goldsmith, of London,'* by a deed of feoffment dated the 9th of 
October 1584, gave ^200 in trust to the Mayor and burgesses, so that 
lands and tenements might be purchased, and the rents and profits 
therefrom arising could be bestowed upon the poor " in the New 
Hospital in Lynn, called the New House for the poor." The money 
was spent in buying of Charles Cornwallis and George Nicholls: — 
" Seventy-six acres of land, meadow or marsh, more or less, in South 
Lynn, West Lynn and South Clenchwarton, or some of them, namely, 
in breadth between the marsh of the said Mayor and burgesses (of 
Lynn) on the east, a marsh called Baly Marsh in part and the great 
river called Lynn Haven in part on the west, and abutting upon a 
marsh called Scalishowe (Scale's How) Marsh towards the north, and 
upon the marsh of the said Mayor and burgesses towards the south." 

In 1729 the rents amounted to ^88 (Richards), but about seventy 
years afterwards, by some mysterious upheaval, these 76 acres slipped 
completely from the face of the earth ! The more bewildering is this 
when the inquirer seeks in vain for record of earthquake, volcanic 
eruption, or phenomenal subsidence in the neighbourhood. In an 
abstract of our charities placed before the Royal Commissioners in 
1833, the whole 76 acres were " supposed to have been lost." What 
a lusus natura:! 

John Titley also benevolently subscribed ;£ioo "to set the poor 
to work " (1591). 

A FRIEND AT COURT. 

A month after Elizabeth's accession, the Council met to consider 
a remaikable request from Thomas Howard, the fourth Duke of 
Norfolk, who was a kinsman of the Queen and the greatest and 
wealthiest of English peers. He coolly asked permission to select 
somebody to represent the ancient and loyal borough of King's Lynn — 
and, entre nous, himself — in Elizabeth's first Parliament. Stifling 
their surprise as best they could, the Council, after a while, meekly 
consented (27th December 1558). Thomas Hogan and Alderman 
Thomas Waters were accordingly " returned " in January, the first 
being the ducal and the second the municipal nominee. 

The Queen's peace was seriously threatened the next year through 
a series of quarrels between the fishermen of Lynn and those of 
Wolferton, who raided a mussel scalp which was supposed to be an 
inalienable adjunct of the borough. To maintain their supremacy 
over the "muskell scalpe," the members of the Corporation decided 
upon accompanying the fishermen. Messrs. Ralph Downes, Robert 
Mowthe, Robert Ger\es and Bunting were at first selected, but everv 
alderman and every councilman was either to go in person or provide 
a substitute, the Council having in the mean time agreed that whosoever 



Wilham Lonyson, a burgess of Lynn, purchased his freedom for £^ in 1538 ; he was a goldsmith 
and, perhaps, the father of John Lonyson, of London. This surname was spelled curiously. In the S.James' 
Hospital Booke (16S2) we find Lonistoiie, Louiiiston, Lonorston, &c. 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. ^.3 

entered into any bond for the peaceful settlement of the disputes by 
arbitration should be freely indemnified by the town (19th February 
1559)- ^ut " seeing fair play " was no easy task, because the 
Wolfertonians, having once tasted the forbidden fruit, were not to be 
restrained from gathering those popular bivalves. Hence the 
Assembly launched a series of actions against the daring mussel- 
poachers, and, moreover, deputed Messrs. Bunting and Gerves to call 
upon to the Duke of Norfolk " to entreat his Grace's favour in the 
town's suit concerning the mussel scalp." Realising how one " good 
turn " must upset the social equation, they sought another to restore 
the equilibrium. The Duke probably exerted himself to help the town 
in the piscatorial dilemma in which they were involved. On the 12th 
of May, Robert Ger\'es applied to the Council for the payment of a 
few preliminary items, amounting to jQ"] 15s. 6d., including incidental 
expenses of the deputation when in London and legal fees arising from 
the suits at law against the fishermen of Wolferton. 

In the beginning of July, the Council, anxious to secure witnesses 
to substantiate their case, asked John Reeve to " commune " with the 
inhabitants of Marshland and other places, whilst Robert Gerves was, 
with like intention, exploiting North and South Wootton. If reliance 
be placed on some of the depositions, the light-fingered Wolfertonians 
must have indulged in nefarious " dydling," because the scalp in 
question was a mile-and-a-half from the shore, and could only be 
approached at full sea by boat, and a laden " crayer," drawing 7 feet 
of water, mjght sail over the alluring bed. 

The friendly relation between the borough and the Duke was 
brief, but it existed to the end. His lordship owned a mansion in 
Norwich, where he generally resided. This magnificent quadrangular 
edifice, purchased by his ancestors in the reign of Henry VIII., stood 
near the Blackfriars' bridge, on a site now covered with modern 
buildings. Possibly the Duke was desirous of altering or enlarging 
his pahice, and for this purpose stone was necessary ; hence, with the 
consent of the Corporation, he quarried and removed 20 loads of 
freestone from the disused chapel of St. James (1568). Whether this 
supposition fits the context or not is immaterial ; the Duke lost his 
head, as we shall see, speculating upon other designs (1572), leaving 
his eldest son Henry to rebuild the ancestral mansion upon more 
elaborate lines (1602). 

It was an age of shameless desecration; the profane spoiler 
clutched the most precious ecclesiastical treasures, and, as a rule, 
greedily turned them into money. Even the prior's little oratory on 
"the Mount" was pillaged; six loads of thack tiles,* being carried 
from thence to the Common Staith, where they were doubtless sold ; 
three loads of spars were also removed and laid in the store-house 
(1570-1). Women were employed two years later in carrying bricks 

» '[hack or thatch tile (Old FriPsic, dekka, to tliatrh) in contradistinc-tion to wall-lile or flat brick. The 
Anglo-Saxons styled brick-work tigel gewenrc (tile work), and the Normans, like the Romans built with 
wall-tile. In the statute of lidwaril IV. mention is made of picintilc, otherwise thaklile, roftile or crestile, 
coriievtile and gtilleriile, which were all used in roofing houses (i\y/). 



292 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

from Our Lady's chapel to the Gannock bridge, which perhaps needed 
repairing. 

In 1562 the Assembly elected Sir Robert Bell, the recorder of 
the town, for one member, and modestly stipulated that the other should 
be a burgess. To place this on record was an unnecessary exhibition 
of puerile duplicity (14th December). The meeting was adjourned in 
order to learn whom the Duke's nominee might be. On the 29th our 
obligingly subservient Council elected Richard Le Strange, who was 
made a freeman the same year. 

The services of a High Steward were subsequently deemed 
necessar>'; the Council therefore ordered John Pell, one of the 
members, and Thomas Waters, to wait upon Sir Robert Bell_ in 
London, in order to obtain his advice. If he concurred, the appoint- 
ment either of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, or of William Cecil, 
Lord Burleigh, was left in his hands. Though a High Steward was 
first mentioned in the Charter of the 17th year of Charles IL, Robert 
Dudley was appointed the i8th of June 1572. As " Lord High 
Steward," he was the town's representative in the House of Lords; 
he was not supposed to interfere with the business of the Corpora- 
tion, being merely the customary channel for the delivery of their 
communications. 

There is evidence, too, of an alteration in electoral tactics in 
1572, when the Council chose both members themselves, "according 
to the tenor of the statutes in that case made and provided " (i6th 
March). Once more was the Recorder reelected, the other member 
being an alderman and resident burgess named John Kynne. To 
account for this change, a retrogressive step must be taken. In 
October 1569, Thomas Howard was committed to the Tower, 
because of his implication in an intrigue to marry Mary, Queen of 
Scotland. During his imprisonment, which lasted nearly twelve 
months, the Earls of Westmoreland (Charles Neville) and Noxthumber. 
land (Thomas Percy) took up arms, avowedly to reestablish the 
religion of their ancestors, but really to place Mary upon the English 
throne. At the approach of Thomas Ratcliffe, Earl of Sussex, they 
disbanded their troops and fled from Bramham Moor in Yorkshire 
(November 1569). Westmoreland escaped to the Netherlands, but 
Northumberland was taken and executed (August 1572). In the 
mean time, the Duke of Norfolk, who was regarded as an accomplice, 
was again arrested (7th September 157 1). A charge of treason was 
preferred against him ; he was tried and convicted by a jury of 
twenty-five peers, and after the death-warrant had been thrice 
countermanded by the Queen, he was beheaded (2nd June 1572). 

"the invincible armada." 

It was preeminently important to keep a jealous eye upon the 
coast defences whenever the country was threatened with inivasion by 
a hostile nation. Comparisons are indeed odious, notwithstanding 
they are at times instructive; and the maritime and commercial status 
of Lynn cannot be better gauged than by comparing it with other 
places in Norfolk. The examination of an abstract from a schedule 



rnn battle and the breeze. 



293 



of the survey made in the ports and havens in Norfolk, with returns 
of shipping, mariners, &c., in 1565, will undoubtedly be profitable: 



Ports, Havens, Creeks, 
and Landing Places. 


House 
holders. 


Ships for 
Iceland. 


Crares & Ships 
of Burden. 


Mariners. 

150 
6 


Fishermen. 


Yarmouth 
Winterton 




553 
24 


7 


104 


250 

8 


Hemsby 
Waxham 




27 
II 


— 


2 


4 


4 
9 


Palling 
Eccles ... 


• . 


29 
10 


— 


I 
I 


2 


3 
3 


Hasboro' 




30 


— 


n 






Bromholme 




46 


— 


I 


— 


12 


Mundeskv 




16 


— 


3 


— 


19 


Cromer 




117 


— 




-- 


48 


Sheringham 
Waborne 




136 
35 


— 





— 


69 
14 


Salthouse 




58 


— 





• — 


21 


Cley ... 

Wyveton 
Blakeney 
Wells ... 




100 
80 
80 
90 


9 

I 

4 

7 


14 

5 
8 

7 


35 
30 


^5 
53 

18 
60 


Burnham 




59 




1 


7 


5 


Hitcham 




76 


— . 


I 


3 


n 


Snettisham 




79 


— 


— 




— 


Dersingham 




75 


— 


I 


3 


2 


Lynn Regis 




542 


5 


12 


yo 


30 


Total ... 


^.273 


i?> 


164 


333 


655 



Apprehensive lest the Spaniards might carry out their threat of 
invading the country, a more minute examination of the coast was 
undertaken (1568). The commissioners divided the Norfolk coast 
into parts, and appointed competent persons to draw up reports 
thereon. The deputy commissioners for the Lynn section, which 
stretched as far as Dersingham, were Robert Hulyard, Robert 
Houghton, John Barker and William Fenn. 

To Thomas Colshill, surveyor to the port of London, we are 
indebted for a return of the merchant ships of Engkind (1572). The 
total number of vessels in the sixteen principal ports was 1,383. Lynn 
possessed 60 merchant ships, whilst London had 162, Ipswich 179, 
and Yarmouth 193, the largest number of any port. 



Lynn Vessels. 



ICO tons 
80 „ 
60 „ 

50 M 



ships 



30 tons = 

25 M 

20 „ = 

16 „ 

10 „ == 



10 ships 



/ 

5 
2 



It York, 



40 .. = 14 n 10 " = 5 

In 1602 the merchant adventurers had connections 
Hull, Newcastle, Lynn, Norwich, Ipswich, Exeter, Southampton, and 
all other ports and towns trading beyond the seas, by virtue of their 
corporations. 



294 mSTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Again in 1577 the coast was the subject of inspection. From 
a general survey of the landing-places in England and Wales we learn 
there were in all 489 (or 504 as given in another official record), 
including i in the Isle of Ely, 12 in Norfolk, 29 in Suffolk, and 
134 in Essex. Ten years later, Norfolk, a maritime county offering 
what were regarded as exceptional facilities to the enemy, was even 
more cautiously and minutely surveyed. Stimulated by advice from 
the most skilful pilots and sailors of Lynn and Snettisham, the deputy 
lieutenants of the county, Sir Edward Clere and Sir William Heydon, 
paid a visit to Lynn, having received orders to reorganise our local 
musters or forces, and to observe the greatest caution in the selection 
of captains. 

After minutely surveying the coast, a report was forwarded to 
Henry Carey (Lord Hunsdon) the Lord Lieutenant. It was 
suggested that the haven of Lynn should be protected by the erection 
of a fort near the Crutch or Crotche, a serviceable channel about 
a mile from the town, and that a strong bulwark should be constructed 
extending to Weybourn Hoop, Mandeley (Mundesley), Bromwell, and 
Winterton. Great attention was deemed necessary at Yarmouth 
and Lowestoft, and they recommended the preparing of beacons to 
spread alarm in case of danger, and insisted that application should 
be made to the pri'vy council for the supply of twenty pieces of ordnance 
(20th October 1587). 

Exactly when the drain upon the resources of the county was 
enormous, Lynn and Yarmouth were asked to provide vessels of war 
for the Queen's service. The Mayor and Corporation forwarded the 
following reply, in which the patriotism of our forefathers is brought 
into high relief when contrasted with the stingy meanness of the 
inhabitants of Wells and Blakeney : — 

Right Honorable, after we the Mayor, Aldermen and company of the 
Burrough of Kyng's Lynne hadd receyved your Honorable L'res (letters) w'ch 
were directed to this Towne of Kyng's Lenne and the Towne of Blakeney, con- 
cernyngc the furnyshyng of twoo Shippes of warr, either of them of the burthen 
of LX. tonnes att the least, and one Pynish [pinnace] fitt for that service we 
hadd conference with some of the chefest of the saide Towne of Blakeney, and 
with some of the Townes of Claye and Wyveton w'ch be members of the same 
Towne of Blakeney, and we fj'nde that they are \nwillynge to be att any 
chardge neare the furnyshyng of a Shipp. We sent also to the Towne of Wells 
w'ch is a member of our porte, a Towne ver)' well furnyshed with shippynge 
w'thin w'ch there be many Ritch men inhabitynge, butt they have denyed 
altogether to contrybute to our chardge, and we made diligent enquiry yf any of 
our porte hadd sent forth any Shippe of warr or taken any goods by way of 
reprisall, but we cannot fynde that there is any such. And we rec yo'r H's saide 
L'res [receiv^ed your Honour's said letters] the vij th of this moneth before w'ch 
tyme there were gone out from hence for Iselond [Iceland] sixe of the best Shippes 
of o'r Towne and dyvers others into Holland and other plac's, so that we were 
left destitute of all Shippes fitt for that service except one called the Mayefloiver 
of Lynne beynge of the Burthen of One hundred and ffyftye Tonnes of w'ch we 
have made choyse, and we entend God so p'mittinge to furnysh the saide Shippe 
and Pynish w'th 100 men and all other things fitt and necessary for her Ma'ties 
warres. Howe be itt, the trueth is, that our Towne is very vnable to beare the 
chardge thereof without assistance. Wherefore, we humble crave yo'r H's L'res 
to be directed to the Townes of Claye, Wyveton, Blakeney, Wells and other the 
Coast Townes towards Lynne, and to the Dealers w'th Corne, Merchundizes and 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 295 

Maryne causes in the Townes neare adiacent, comaundynge them to ioyne herein 
in the chardge w'th vs, and we shall accordynge to our bounden Dueties pray to 
god for yo'r H's preservacion. Kyngs Lynne this 12 of Aprill, 1588. 
Yo'r H's in all humblenes 

Thomas Sandyll, Maior Thomas Sverend 

Robart Hullys Richard Clark 

Thomas Boston. 

Alex. Musgrave, Capt. of the May Flower to have £100 from the loth 
April to the ist July 1588. [A pencil note]. 

Five vessels from Lynn are said to have formed a part of Drake's 
squadron, tiieir names being tlie Antelope, tlie Clayborne, the 
William, the Mary, and the James ; this, however, is not confirmed 
by Foljambe's manuscript. The Mayf.ower, 150 tons burden, with 
a crew of 70 men, is mentioned in his " Book of Musters 1588," as 
one of the coasters ser^'ing under Lord Henry Seymour; he inchides 
ukewise the Revenge of Lynn, 60 tons, with 30 men, and the 
Jacob of Lenne, 90 tons, with 30 men, among the Lord Admiral's 
coasters. Two Antelopes are given; the one of 400 tons, with 160 
men, however, belonged to the Queen, and the other of 120 tons, 
with 60 men, was supplied by the city of London. 

That Foljambe's list is defective seems feasible, because a little 
incident, preserved in the State Papers, yields the name of another 
of our vessels. Robert Huylor, acting as deputy mayor, con- 
siderately placed before the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, and 
the Lord Admiral, the case of a deserving though unlucky seaman^ 
John Atkins. He was captain of the Ereegifi of Lynn, when that 
vessel served against the Spaniards, but was too ill to follow his 
vocation ; moreover, his old master Nicholas Sabb was dead, and the 
Freegift had been unfortunately wrecked within twelve miles of our 
haven (1598). 

Another vessel probably belonging to Lynn is mentioned in our 
"List of Freemen." The entry reads: — "John Waynforth marin 
^20 released 10 1. & to discharge ye Towne of the other 10 1. due 
for service as master's mate & man in late ship o' War called the 
Expedition, &c." The applicant was charged ;!^2o, but whether 
he paid ^to or nothing must be left an open question. Note, the 
Expedition is termed the " late ship o' War " (1597). 

At the time of the Spanish Annada, England had only 14,000 
sailors; her ships were small, and there were only four merchant 
vessels in the kingdom which exceeded 400 tons. Our Royal Navy 
numbered twenty-eight. 

In a general combat off Gravelines the English scored a great 
victory, humiliating the much-vaunted prowess of the Spaniards, who 
came to chastise presumptuous England, to dethrone Elizabeth, and 
to restore a wandering nation to the fold of Rome (29th July). The 
Duke of Medina Sidonia, realising how desperate was his condition, 
attempted to return by sailing round Scotland and Ireland. He was 
pursued by Lord Howard as far as Flamborough, when a storm, 
stranding the greater part of his vessels upon the shores of Norway, 
Scotland, and Ireland, completed his discomfiture. Philip received 
the news of the disaster with the composure of a stoic, obser\'ing 



296 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

that he sent his armament to fight the English, not the tempests of 
heaven ! EUzabeth, too, regarded the storm as a timely inter- 
position of Providence; she struck a commemorative medal with the 
legend, " Tu Deus magniis et magna facts Tii solus Deus." 

Because of threats from Spain, our nation was for many years 
in a state of apprehensive suspense. On the 7th of August 1599 
the following letter was despatched by the PriVy Council to Thomas 
Baker, the mayor of L) nn : 

You are not ignorant of the daily advertisements that are brought hither 
of the great preparations the King of Spain doth make by sea not only of ships 
of war, but of a good number of galleys, to invade some parts of this realm ; 
and therefore you can consider how behoolful and necessary it is to have certain 
intelligence of their approach in the Narrow Seas, and what course they do hold. 
For which purpose we do in Her Majesty's name, will and command you forth- 
with to set some two or three nimble vessels unto the seas out of that [the Lynn] 
harbour that may go and ply up and down between the coast of France and 
ours, to learn what they may discover of the coming of the said Heet, and use all 
diligence to advertise the same unto you that we may by post receive from time 
to time such news as you shall understand from them. Herein requiring you to 
take present order, we bid, &c. 

Postscript. — We think it meet that you should keep these pinnaces and 
vessels at sea, as you are directed for the space of 6 weeks — [Foljambe MSS.J. 

So alarming was the crisis that similar letters were sent to Perin 
[Penryn, Scotland], Plymouth, Portsmouth, Dartmouth, and 
Southampton. 

AQUATIC AND PISCATORIAL REGULATIONS. 

The Corporation were not likely to overlook any of the valuable 
concessions conferred by the charter of Henry VIII. (1524). Not 
only were they then made surveyors of the haven and adjacent waters, 
but accredited inspectors of the local fisheries, to whom the fishermen 
were responsible. What they tilnidly ventured to do was now an 
acknowledged right rather than an uncertain privilege. Conscious 
of how their jurisdiction extended beyond the boundary of the town, 
they began to hanker after Admiralty powers. This is indicated in 
a series of bye-laws drawn up in Elizabeth's reign, concerning " the 
keeping and preserving of the haven of Lynn and the fish thereof." 
Having adopted these bye-laws, the council selected six persons, 
possibly members of the Assembly, to supervise the working of the 
scheme. A summary of a few of the more salient of the fifty-one 
orders may prove helpful.* 

First : To prevent the main stream from being polluted. No 
obstructions to navigation were permitted, such as weirs, dams, 
stakes, etc. ; and nets fastened to posts were not to remain ; no 
rubbish might be thrown into the water, and the piles driven to 
preserve the banks were not to be remoived, nor was gravel or sand 
at the water's edge tOi be taken away. Six persons, living near the 
main stream, were appointed to watch and report any infringement 
of the orders of the Council. 

Second: A series of regulations to be observed by the Lynn 
fishermen. 

* See Mackerell's History of Lynn (173S), pp. 257-270. 



TRE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 297 

(a) Relating to orderly behaviour when fishing; for example — 
" It is ordained that every Man that goeth to the Sea that shall first 
come to an Anchor shall hang his great Anchor without Fraud and 
Guile and his Boat that cometh next to him to go up with the 
Drag each of them both together, and four must go up with the 
Drag if there be so many, under the forfeiture of is." The general 
fine was 3s. 4d. ; the highest, however, being 8s. 

(b) For the preservation of spawn and the fry of fish. No brood 
was to be destroyed; no salmon or trout were to be taken out of 
season ; the kind of nets and the sizes of the meshes were specified. 
The length, too, of fish to be retained was given, — pike or pickerel 
not less than 10 inches, salmon 16 inches, trout 8 inches, and barbel 
12 inches. No truncks or nets might hang across the haven. As 
there was great danger of the oyster scalp in the haven being ruined 
through "the greedy desire" of certain persons "seeking present 
gain," it was decided that nobody should use scrapes, rakes, or 
drags armed with iron. Fine 3s. 4d. 

(c) To retain a sufficient supply of fresh fish for the town 
market. All the fish caught were to be brought home to the Douce 
(Fisher) fleet. None might be sold to strangers to be carried away 
without the permission of the four overseers (fishermen), who first 
assigned what was necessary for home consumption. Fines 3s. 4d. 
to 6s. 8d. The Mayor appointed these overseers, who were to act as 
inspectors of the fishery. They were, moreover, to make diligent 
search and inquiry about wrecks. Goods cast into the sea to lighten 
a vessel, which remained under water {jetsam), those which floated 
after the ship had sunk {flotsam), and goods fastened to a buoy and 
sunk in the sea to be found again {ligan). Derelict comprised 
flotsam, jetsam and ligan cast by the sea upon land. Notice in every 
case was to be given to the court, in default the payment of 3s. 4d. 
as fine. 

Third: Directions for conducting the Court and the payment of 
three officers. Processes under the Mayor's seal were directed to the 
water-bailiff for summoning a jury of sixteen — merchants, sailors, 
mariners, fishermen, and others trading upon the river, each one to 
be an inhabitant of Lynn. If any refused to serve they were to be 
fined, the Mayor fixing the amount. The decision of the jury was 
final, and those refusing to pay were to be committed to prison. 

(a) The Steward of the Court received, over and above his 
ordinary stipend, one- sixth part of the fines derived from offenders, 
and one-sixth part of the value of the wrecked goods found ; also 
six pence for each process against an offender and six pence for every 
case dismissed. 

(b) The Water-bailiff was paid six pence out of every penalty 
amounting to 3s. 4d. (or more), but if under, only two pence, and at 
the same rate (say three-twentieths) from the value of all wreckage. 
For the arrest of a person, also for taking bond, he was paid four 
pence, and two pence upon dismission. 

(c) The Common Crier of the Court received three pence out of 
every fine and two pence from every offender dismissed. 

Z P 



298 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS. 

The wretched, insanitary state of the town was the cause 
of many deplorable "visitations," as they were absurdly termed, 
and there is ample jusification in concluding that Lynn was rarely, 
if ever, wholly exempt from diseases of a virulent and contagious 
nature. Except, how^ever, when the death-rate was alarmingly 
high, no notice was apparently taken. Beyond the bare fact that 
the plague was prevalent in 1547, we can go no further. A nomadic 
population contributed largely to the spread of epidemic diseases, 
and our annual fairs were productive of much mischief. Hence in 
1584, recognising that more were dying than usual, the authorities 
decided upon moving the February fair from the afflicted Damgate 
to the Tuesday market-place, where it has continued to be held 
ever since. Moreover, to check the danger, ^^ i8s. was spent in 
setting up four large booths near the Town Wall for the relief and 
isolation of those afflicted. On the 24th of May, the Council 
ordained that all " dogges and yappes " and " cattes " should be at 
once destroyed, to prevent the spread of the infection. Persons 
were chosen to enforce the decree, where affectionately -obstinate 
burgesses objected to sacrifice their canine and feline pets. Those 
possessing "dogs of account," who promised faithfully to prevent 
them from leaving their own premises, were excused, as were 
strangers ignorant of the new bye-law. In this our Council were 
following a wise precaution taken in London, where all dogs other 
than hounds, spaniels and mastiffs specially kept to guard houses, 
were either removed or killed. 

For three years, from 1569 to 1599, the plague decimated the 
population of Lynn. Parkin states, 200 were buried in St. James' 
grave-yard in the year 1591, which must be an error for 1597. In 
our parish registers are curious entries about this "visitation." Every 
wedding, christening, and burial had to be correctly written in a book 
by the minister, under pain of 3s. 4d. for every time an omission 
occurred. The parishioners were enjoined to provide "one sure 
coffer wuth two locks and keys, whereof one (was) to remain with the 
parson, vicar or curate, and the other with the churchwardens " 
(1547). In this coffer the register was to be safely kept. 

A fair and accurate copy was sent every year to the Bishop; 
for writing this copy the churchwardens of St. Margaret's paid 6d. 
the year prior to the visitation, but in 1598 the entries covered 
" fyveskore and seventene leavs," for which the copyist was paid 
thirty shillings. In St. Margaret's register we read: "About this 
tyme the plague Avas knowen amongst vs in this towne " (Feb. 1597). 
There is a similar note in that of St. Nicholas : — " here begins the 
Lord's uisitation August 26: 1597 and lasted till the month of May 
1598." During this period, the sick were sent to St. James' chapel, 
or the "new house," as it was termed after the structural 
alterations. 

Ite(m) p'd for a new beare to Cary Uie infected pepole that dyed and payntinge 
of it black, 6s. 2d. 



TTiE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 



299 



Ite' p'd ffor the old Chest that caryed the sik enfected before, to edward davys 

who bought it, 2s. 2d. 
Ite' p'd to mr Johnson for buryenge 3 pore peple i2d. and fur perfume to thonias 

stanclyfe, 5d. [C.W.A., St. M.] 

As those dying of the infection are not specified, the annexed 
table shews the total number of deaths during three years : — 



From the C.W.A. 


1596-7- 


1597-8. 


1598-9. 


St. M. St. N. 


St. M. 


St. N. 


St. iM. 


St. N. 


January 

February 

March 

April 

May 

June 

July 

August 

September 

October 

November 

December 


5 
9 

2 

9 

9 

7 

5 

8 

10 

7 
13 
12 


4 
5 

I 

9 
5 
5 
5 
5 
3 
10 

I 
4 


8 
12 

47 

81 

51 
18 

7 

32 

2y 

S 

5 

I 


4 

4 
12 

I 

5 

5 

6 

8 

18 

19 

17 

16 


4 
8 

3 

7 
7 
7 

2 

3 
10 

8 

4 

8 


26 
18 

63 

27 

u 

4 
I 

6 

8 
7 

7 


Total 


96 


57 


299 


"5 


71 


180 






From the Survey of the Ports and Harbours of Norfolk (1565) 
we learn there were 542 householders at that time in Lynn. 
Assuming that an average of five persons lived in each house, the 
population would be represented by 2,710, say 2,700. With this 
datum, the death-rate would work out thus: — 

1596-7= 56.6 per thousand. 
1597-8=153.3 „ 
1598-9= 92.2 „ 

HAIRBREADTH ESCAPES. 

No mention is made by our historians of the great earthquake 
en the evening of Easter Wednesday, April 6th 1580, although it 
was said to have been felt throughout the kingdom. The great 
clock at Westminster struck at the shock, and the bells of the 
various metropolitan churches began jangling. The alarmed 
audiences rushed from the theatres, etc. To assuage the terror 
manifested in every part of the kingdom, the Queen issued a special 
form of prayer to be used by all householders, with their whole 
families, every evening before retiring to rest. Earthquakes were, 
however, noticeable at I-ynn in 1574-5, and again in 1602. The 
town with parts of Marshland was "drowned" in 1564 and again 
in 1669-70. The inundations caused considerable loss; on the 
second occasion not ten roods of the bank stretching from Lynn to 
the bridge at Magdalen were left. From 2Tst to 24th of September 
1594, the town was swe])t by a most violent storm. 

The storm of 1571 is thus described by a contemporary writer: — 

This year (1571) the fifth of October chanced a terrible tempest of wind 
and rayne, both by sea and lande. In the county of Norfolk the sea brake in 



^00 MlSTOky OF klNG^S LtNN. 

between Wisbiche and Walsoekene and at the Cross Keyes drowning eight 
towns and Jarman's at Stowe brigge. At the Cross Keyes Inne the walls of the 
houses were broken down. In the bishopricke of Ely — Wisbiche, Guyhorne, 
Parson Drove and Hobshouse, being an almshouse, were overflowen. In 
Wisbiche was a garden, a tennis play and a bowling alley walled about with 
bricke (which was worth 20 li. by yeare to the owner) was quite destroyed by 
the water. [Holinshed's Chronicles : 1577.] 

The harbour was seriously damaged in 1586, when the Queen 
benevolently contributed towards the repairs. 

IN DUE SEASON. 

Concerning the election of a Mayor, the following curious 
communication from the Privy Council was addressed to " the Mayor 
(Christopher Graunt) and his brethren": — 

Some, to whom the election apperteyned, had not so good consideracion as 
they shold have had ; but without regarding their Lordships advice [they had] 
made choice of one that had lately been noted before them in the Sterre (Star) 
Chamber, for some undutifull misdemeanours within that towne much to their 
sclaunder ; and yet, for that by their second election their Lordships find that 
error acknowledged and a better choise of one more meter for her majesties 
service and the quiett governement of the towne, their Lordships were contented 
to allowe of their doinges and to beare with the former falte of those persons to 
whom the election apperteined requireng them to indevour themselfes to remove 
all dishonest factions and to attend to the quiet governement of the towne 
(5th September 1576). 

The "better choice" refers to the recent election of Gregory 
Baker on the 29th of August, who was to succeed Christopher Graunt 
on the 29th of the next month. 

THE STRIFE OF TONGUES. 

The greatest excitement prevailed during the term of William 
Killingtree's mayoralty (1581), which was brought about by the 
factious behaviour of John Pell, an ex-mayor and a former justice 
of the peace, and his son, Jeffrey Pell, aided and abetted by Robert 
Hullyard (or Hullyer), also an ex-mayor, and others, who diligently 
circulated scandalous libels and rhymes, incriminating not only the 
mayor and aldermen of the borough, but two worthy ministers — 
William Leedes, vicar of St. Margaret's, and William Sanderson, 
vicar of Terrington St. John's, who, having the year before received 
from the Queen a licence of non-residency from his vicarage, was 
probably an assistant, or, as we should now say, "a curate," in 
Lynn.* The nature of the charges against the characters of these 
men may be ascertained from documents preserved in the Public 
. Record Office, but being, it is feared, like Gratiano's reasons — two 
giains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff — we, with apologies 
for inadvertent levity, decline the search, especially remembering 
that the libel against the mayor is said to have been based upon 
certain letters said to have been found by an attentive servant 
named Parker. 

In December, William Killingtree, on behalf of himself and 
the other aggrieved members of the community, was constrained to 

*> Buried in St. Margaret's graveyard :— William Sanderson, October 3rd 1598 : William Leedes 
November 3rd 1628 [P.R. (Parhh Register) St. M.]. 



fllE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 30l 

place the particulars of the case before the Privy Council, for the 
town was in such an uproar that they went about in fear of bodily 
harm. John Pell and his associates were summoned before the 
council; they, however, behaved with such "great boldness" after 
their return that the Mayor petitioned the council that they might 
be "called to account'' (March 5th 1582). The same day the 
libelling offenders addressed a petition to Sir Francis Walsingham, 
the most influential of the Queen's counsellors, desiring that if the 
complaints preferred against them were heard (decided) by the 
council, they might be discharged of the impending suit in the 
Star Chamber. 

THE QUEEN IN NORFOLK. 

The Queen made several provincial tours. She visited Suffolk 
(July 1561) and Norfolk (August 1578), when her "progresses" were 
unusually extended. At the end of July 1578 she stayed at Long 
Melford and Hawsted; on the 7th of August her Majesty entered 
Bury St. Edmunds, and Euston on the 10th. Great preparatioiiis 
were made at Norwich for her reception, and workmen were brought 
from Lynn and Yarmouth to assist. Thomas Churchyard, in the 
service of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was for three weeks busily 
engaged arranging the m.asques, ceremonies, and festivities. He 
says: — 

The Norffolke Gentlemen hearing how dutifullle their neighbours had 
receyved the Princess prepared in lyke sort to shewe themselves dutifull, and so 
in most gallantest manner assembled and set forward with five and twenty 
hundred horsemen whereof, as some affirme were sixe hundredth Gentlemen, so 
bravely attired and mounted, as indeede worthy the noting, which goodly 
company wayted on their Sherille a long season ; but in good sooth (as I have 
heard credibly spoken) the bankets and feastes began heere afresh, and all kinds 
of triumphes that might be devised were put into practice and proofe. The 
Earle of Surrey [the famous poet] did shewe most sumptuous cheere in whose 
Parke were speeches well sette out and a speciall device much commended ; and 
the rest as a number of gentlemen, whose names I have not, were no whit 
behinde to the uttermost of their abilities in all that might be done and devised. 

The Queen arrived on the i6th and remained with the citizens 
six days. The Corporation presented her with a silver-gilt cup, con- 
taining ;^ioo, and other loyal townships sent similar costly offerings. 

Subject to the approval of the Earl of Leicester, the steward 
of the borough, the Council at Lynn determined to shew their dutiful 
obedience and good will by asking her to graciously accept a finely- 
wrought purse, adorned with pearls and gold, containing one hundred 
old angels,* towards which ;^45 los. was taken from the common 
treasury and handed to John Ditchfield, the mayor. The nomi'nal 
value of the town's offering was ;^5o. Of its intrinsic worth we 
refrain from speculating, and rest contented that according to the 
calculations of others its worth was somewhere between ;£2oo and 

• .-liigcN, lialf-angcis (arifjlcts) and qiiartcr-ai!j;cls were first struck in Eii;,'IaiHl by Ilfiiry \'I. (14JJ- 
1461) and were thus called because on the obverse side there was a winged aud nimbed figure of the 
.•Vrcliangel Michael, wounding a dragon a la St. Margaret. 



302 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

After Elizabeth's departure, a serious outbreak of plague 
occurred, which raged for two years, and is said to have been caused 
by her Majesty's infected train of attendants. 

" OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ." 

By the second charter of Henry VIII. two marts or fairs were 
granted to the borough (1537), providing they were not inimical to 
the interests of any existing fairs in the neighbourhood. Each was 
to last six days, and they were to begin respectively on the day 
following the Purification (February 2nd) and the Assumption 
(August 15th) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Fairs were then conducted on hard and fast lines, and any 
infringement of restrictions resolved itself into fines, confiscation, 
and perhaps imprisonment. All shops were closed under pain of 
forfeiture of the goods exposed for sale, and if the local tradesmen 
were not contented to be idle they must carry their wares to the 
mart. Thus a large attendance was insured, and the lord of the 
manor, or in this instance the town itself, secured considerable profit 
after paying for the erection of "stalls or shops." To these centres 
people came from distant parts of England, and from the Continent 
as well. Harrison places the "Lin Mart" among the fairs which 
were not inferior to the greatest marts in Europe (Description of 
England, 15T]). The greater part of England depended upon 
Stirbich for a supply of hops, which came from Kent. 
Huge pockets of hops were carried from " the fair field ' ' to the Cam 
and conveyed in barges to Ely, and from thence to the port of 
Lynn, where they were shipped to Hull, Newcastle, and Scotland. 
Rivalry between fairs was general, and disputes respecting the pay- 
ment of tolls, customs, etc., were common occurrences. These 
differences were, as a rule, settled by arbitration; there was, how- 
ever a suit at law between Lynn and Cambridge (1510). 

(i) Stirbich Fair, that is, Stourbridge, near Cambridge. — Serious 
contentions were in 1547 settled by arbitration, and the indenture 
of agreement was signed by William Coke, sexgeant-at-lavv, the 
recorder of Cambridge, and two aldermen, namely, John Fanne and 
John Ruste of the one part, and Thomas Gawdy, recorder of Lynn, 
and two aldermen — Thomas Waters and Raffe Downes, of the other 
part. A similar procedure was necessary in 1552. 

(3) Boston Fair. — Articles of agreement were signed by the 
representative recorders, Stephen Thumblebye, of Boston, and Robert 
Bell, of Lynn (20th May 1576). 

(3) Newcastle-upon-Tyne. — The arbitrators on this occasion were 
Sir Henry Hobart, the attorney-general, and Sir John Jacksonne, the 
recorder for Newcastle. The dispute was between the mayor (John 
Bassett) and the burgesses of Lynn of the one part, and the 
Mayor and burgesses of Newcastle, plus the governor, stewards and 
brethren of the Fraternity of Hoastmen, of the other part. The 
special function pertaining to the merchant gild of Newcastle was the 
receiving of &ixzr\gex?,—hoasts , or oasts, as they were then styled. 
The hoastmen transacted business for strangers, and for their trouble 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 303 

levied a certain duty. The Corporation of Hoastmen is at the present 
time the premier incorporated company in Newcastle, and election to 
membership is a coveted honour. The seal upon the Lynn document, 
dated the 15th of November 1609, shews a member of the fraternitv 
in his official robes receiving a stranger. " Welcome my oste ' ' serves 
as legend. Some writers contend that the traders were compelled to 
board and lodge with the hoastmen, who took the meanest advantage 
of their "paying guests," and, moreover, that the civic authorities 
shared the spoil. 

By Statute and Charter the Lynn Mart was put upon a firm basis. 

LEGISLATION. 

(l) LOCAL ACTS. 

1559 (ist year of the reign). For holding a mart or fair once a year in the 

borough. 
1558-9 (ist year). For regulating the price of corn exported from Norfolk and 

Suffolk (c. 77, s. 77). 
1 57 1 -2 (13th year). Concerning the forfeiture of vessels anchored upon the coast 

of Norfolk and Suffolk (c. 7 7, s. -7). 
1585-6 (27th year). ! or repairing the sea-walls or banks of Norfolk (c. 24). 

(2) CHARTER. 

C. 21, Dated at Westminster the 6th of July in the ist year of her reign (1559). 
Exemplification of a statute called the Mart Act (" begun the 23rd of 
January 1559 ") respecting the renewal of a fair to be held yearly, " on the 
next day after the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin " (February 2nd) 
and to continue for six days. 

(3) LETTERS PATENT. 

1576 (19th year). Dated at Westminster the ist of December. Exemplification 
and confirmation of : — 

(a) Letters patent (C. 20) of August nth 1557 (Philip and Mary), 

(b) Letters patent (C. 17) of December 6th 1547 (Edward VL), 

(c) Letters patent (C. 16) of July 7th 1537 (Henry VIII.), 
reaffirming the reconstitution of the borough. 

THE nation's food SUPPLY. 

Owing to a succession of unfavourable seasons, corn was at one 
time alarmingly scarce, and famine threatened the country; the 
difficulty was enhanced because speculating merchants bought largely, 
intending, of course, to sell when the price had risen abnormally 
high. The hardship was felt acutely in 1565, when Elizabeth wrote 
a letter to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, complaining how 
certain merchants, strangers and others, depleted the markets for 
private gain ; she, moreover, instructed him to inform them that they 
should answer presently for their selfishness according to law. Com- 
missions were appointed to check the excessive exportation of 
corn ; they were^ to meet monthly and send in certificates or returns. 
These precautionary measures did not prevent large quantities being 
smuggled through the port of Lynn, The University at Cambridge 
experienced a taste of inconvenience when their supplies ran short; 
hence Dr, Robert Beaumont approached the Privy Council, com- 
plaining about the exportation from Lynn, and requesting authority 
to commandeer all corn within five miles of Cambridge (June i8th). 
Thomas Wakefield, of Chesterton, also pointed out how the produce 



304 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

of the district was conveyed by water to Lynn (August 7th). Edward 
Scambler, the Bishop of Peterborough, too, was on the alert; 
writing to the Privy Council, he wished to know how much grain had 
been conveyed from Northamptonshire to Lynn via Peterborough, 
and whether any had gone "beyond the sea " (22nd June 1565). We 
next find Osbert Mountford with a body of honest and faithful 
followers at " Germanes Bridge," preventing the shipping of corn 
brought from Cambridge and other places. Assisted by the Justices 
of Peace, he was to guard the exportation of corn from Lynn, and 
to report the quantity stored in the town granaries, and to say how 
much had been shipped, with or without licence, other than to 
Berwick (20th September 1565). Checked at St. Germans, corn 
smugglers were soon thriving apace in the Isle of Ely. The Bishop 
of the diocese (Richard Cox) and the justices were therefore requested 
to form a committee to examine the havens and creeks in the district. 
The cargo provided by Sir Valentine Browne at Lynn, ostensibly for 
the garrison, was seized; after a while he was, however, allowed to 
leave the port, but the Bishop was strictly enjoined to ascertain that 
the corn was delivered at Berwick. The committee were, moreover, 
to draw up monthly returns of the total amount exported from Lynn 
to Berwick (25th November 1565). 

These restrictions greatly impoverished the inhabitants of Lynn, 
whose livelihood depended largely upon a carrying trade. They 
therefore petitioned the Privy Council in 1570, pointing out how 
heavily they had been taxed in maintaining the banks or sea-walls, 
which protected their haven. The Lords of the Council, in reply, 
did " very well like and allowe of their [the burgesses'] forwardnes 
in performinge those necessary reparacions, for which respect the 
said lycense was graunted." They accordingly instructed the officers 
of custom to permit, in future, the transportation of the proper 
proportion of grain from Lynn, namely, 7,000 quarters of barley and 
malt and 600 quarters of wheat (29th May). 

Owing to this relaxation famine threatened the city of London, 
and Lynn was particularly mentioned in the clamorous complaint of 
the citizens. As will be anticipated, Elizabeth immediately issued 
a proclamation entirely prohibiting the transportation of corn (17th 
September 1572). This, however, did not prevent the crafty traders 
from smuggling. Hacker, a fishmonger, detected the vessel of 
Shipton, of Lynn, at Sluys, with a cargo of 200 quarters of wheat; 
and Foxe, the servant of Alderman Bonde, reported another vessel 
from Ljnn or Yarmouth at Ostend with 400 quarters. Inquiries 
were at once instituted at the two English ports (25th November 
1573), and returns demanded of the quantities of grain stored in 
their warehouses (6th December). Three months later the Commis- 
sioners allowed Sir Valentine Browne to carry 1,000 quarters of 
wheat, 1,000 quarters of rye, and 500 quarters of malt to the 
garrison at Berwick (2nd March 1574). 

Again was the exportation of grain most strictly interdicted in 
1586. Towards the end of the year, the mayor, Robert Gerves, 
reported that notwitlistanding the prohibition issued in June, the 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 



305 



prices were alarmingly increased through " the great engrossing, not 
only of stangers, but of our own countrymen " (7th December). 
Warrants were granted permitting the exporting of certain specified 
quantities, but thev were at any moment liable to temporary suspen- 
sion. In 1586 two hundred quarters of wheat, and in 1588 four 
hundred quarters, were shipped per warrant to the Low Countries, 
the place of discharge being Elbing in Prussia. Archibald Douglas 
applied to the Lord Treasurer for a licence to permit a Scotsman, 
who had delivered a ship-load of herring at Lynn, to carry back 
barley, peas or beans (6th March 1588). 

The accompanying table shews a three-months supply, from 
Michaelmas to Christmas 1596, for London: — 



Places. 


Wheat Ors. 


Oats Ors. 


Malt Ors. 


Milton 


996 


— 


67 


Faversham 


1,061 


.56 


Son 


Sandwich 


350 




4.130 


Maldon 


90 


770 




Rochester 


ID 


40 


— 


Yarmouth 


3 




470 


Lynn 


42 


440 


530 


Colchester 


15 


20 




Dover .. 




— 


36a 


Sliorcham 


— 


— 


100 


Ipswich 


7 


— 


80 


Blakeney 


20 


60 


180 


Total ... 


2,594 


1,326 


6,818 



During the time London, however, sent 1,210 qrs. of rye to other ports. 

In reply to Lord Burleigh's inquin', John Owen the collector, 
Robert Ashwell the comptroller, and John Richardson the deputy 
surveyor of customs at Lynn, stated that only one licence for the 
transportation of beer, cloth and grain remained unexpired (6th April 
1597). It belonged to Boston, but they could not certify how much 
remained unexpended, as the factor of that port, William Gamocke, 
had passed all kinds of grain except wheat when it was at a low 
rate in accordance with the statute price. The licence was with the 
Mayor of Boston, who would cause a certificate to be made of what 
had been passed, and also of what remained unspent. " You require 
payment of all sums due to her Majesty last Michaelmas," the 
report goes on, " but I have no money in hand due to her Majesty 
having paid it every half-year according to your orders. What 
customs remain due since last Michaelmas 1 will discharge 
next term.'' At the same time the custom officers at 
Boston received orders to forbear further output, although 
the ports held an unexpired warrant or licence for 40,000 
quarters of all sorts of grain (wheat excepted), which was granted in 
1578 for twenty years. Much of the aimual output remained 
unshipped, but nothing defmite could be stated, becau.se a great 
portion of it was assigned to Lynn and other places, only 5,000 

2 Q 



306 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

quarters being reserved for Boston, and of this not 800 quarters had 
been " vented " since July 1549. The interest on the remnant was in 
the hands of Anthony Doughtie, custom officer, by assignment from 
the mayor and burgesses, but it was unknown in whom the interest of 
the rest was vested. 

Later in the reign, Humphrey Guybon, of Thursford, the High 
Sheriff of Norfolk, wrote to Lord Burleigh explaining how the daily 
excess of the carriage of corn to ports and other places, under pretence 
of being provision for gentlemen's families in different parts of the 
kingdom, had so increased that he feared there would not be enough 
to satisfy the wants of their own country. The prices, such as were 
never known before, were still rising — wheat 53s. 4d., meslynne 
{melsm, a mixture of different sorts of grain) 48s., rye 46s., barley 
42s., peas and beans 32s., and oats 24s. per quarter. He pointed 
out how averse the common people were to the continual drain upon 
their food supply, and mentioned that in three different places in 
Norfolk the inhabitants were on the verge of rebellion, for instance, 
at Hatcham (Heacham) where twenty-four rioters had boarded and 
forcibly unloaded a vessel bound for Gainsborough. He moreover 
asked for instruction concerning the ringleaders, whom he held in 
custody (30th April 1597)- 

With his letter the Sheriff enclosed a communication received 
from John Curtis, of Magdalynn (Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen), 
who was cognisant of a proposed rising in Marshland. On the 23rd 
of April, Thomas Welles told Curtis, the poor had risen in the west 
country, and would be with them in ALarshland in a fortnight, and 
that four or five persons from St. Germans would come to him and 
would go to a justice of the peace and ask for cheap corn, and 
failing to get it at a reasonable price, " they would arise, would knock 
down the best first, and that they only waited for a drum," a noisy 
though perhaps inciting acquisition. 

THE WIDE, WIDE SEA. 

Complaints of piracy became so frequent that special articles 
were at length devised for repressing delinquencies along the Norfolk 
coast. The following " sea-ports — Lynne, Snettesham, Burneham, 
Welles, Walsingham, Blackney, Sherinham, Cromer, Hasboroughe, 
Wynterton and Yarmowthe," were placed under the control of four 
commissioners, namely. Sir Edward Warner, Sir Christopher 
Heydon, Osbert Mountford and William Paston (8th November 

1565). 

A few years later, an exchange of piratical civilities between the 
Scotch and East Anglian traders grew quite indispensable. The 
seamen of Lynn politely pillaged the Scots, who promptly retaliated ; 
then, boith complaining, sought redress, our townsmen from Mr. 
Ranulph, one of the four ambassadors and special correspondents in 
Scotland, and the other sufferers from Sir Francis Walsingham, the 
English Secretary of State. Robert Scott's vessel was boarded 
between Lynn and Leith (January 1581), as were also those of the 
n'erchants of Edinburgh, near Lynn (27th June 1585). Jeffrey 
Pell, George Farely and Robert Ashfield, of Lynn, lost their ship 



THE BATTLE AND THE BkEEZE. 307 

and cargo, tor which they thought that James VI. the King of Scot- 
land ought to recompense them (May 1586). 

Our Mayor, Christopher Graunt, received instructions from the 
Privy Council respecting goods taken at sea by Englishmen serving 
fc reign princes. He was also informed how Messrs. Vigxier and 
Tiratt, the owners of the Botiaveniure, of Marseilles, had sold some 
Frenchmen as slaves to the Turks (24th December 1575). The 
Warder of the Fleet was ordered to take John Pell, of Lynn, into 
his custody, whom he was to detain until further directions were 
given (27th May 1576). A bark laden with oranges and lemons, 
believed to have been captured off Dartmouth by Sir Humphrey Gil- 
bert, was bound for Lynn. The Privy Council requested William 
Heydon, the Vice-Admiral of Norfolk, to detain the mariners in case 
they reached Lynn, but to permit the owner, Gonzago de la Villa, 
to depart with his vessel (1579). 

WISBECH CASTLE. 

The " Virgin Queen ' ' grew quite as intolerant in the matter of 
religion as her sister Mar}\ At first those who clung to the ritual 
of the Romish Church were permitted to obey the dictates of their 
consciences provided they worshipped privately in their own houses, 
but after the rising in the north, and a series of "Popish plots," the 
law was stringently enforced. An Act, too, was passed, distinctly 
prohibiting the solemnisation of rites pertaining to the Church of 
Rome. Forfeiture was meted as punishment for a first offence, a 
year's imprisonment for the second, and imprisonment for life for the 
third. All, moreover, who failed to subscribe to the Act of 
Supremacy were as "recusants" guilty of high treason. In 1577 
the bishops were asked to furnish returns of all recusants in their 
respective dioceses. Among the forty-nine "worth notice" included 
in Bishop Freake's list, are some with whom we have already become 
acquainted, as for example, Sir Henry Bedingfield and his wife, of 
Oxborough, and Francis Bastard, of West Winch, who was made a 
freeman (1565). William Gibbon, of Lynn, whose lands were valued 
at JQ260, is classed with those " partly of papist and partly of the 
peevish preciser sort." 

To reconcile any person to the Romish Church was declared 
treasonable, and those lukewarm Christians who absented themselves 
from the parish church (unless they heard the English service in 
their own homes) were liable to be fined ;£2o per month. The next 
year many "passive resisters," blessed with intractable consciences, 
found themselves participating in what Burke would term " royal 
servitude and durance vile." 

By order of the Privy Council, a number of seminary priests — 
refugees from Douay, with certain English recusants, were imprisoned 
in the Bishop of Ely's castle at Wisbech (1580), which for centuries 
had been used as a common gaol.* The cleverest controversialist 



• Richard Lambert of Lenne, brought an action af^ainst William le Bolfwere, a merchant and 
oth<>rs, forronspirin-^ to imprison him unlawfully. Hr had brrn attaclird by the Slieriff of Cambriiliieshire 
and " thrown in the dppth of the gaol of Wysbech among thievp<;, where by toails and other venomous 
vermin he was so inhumanly gnawn tliat his life was despaired of." 



308 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

of the period, Dr. William Fulke, was sent thither to argue with 
the prisoners and to convince them, if possible, of the error of their 
ways. Carleton, the governor of the castle, incidentally describes 
the great Protestant champion as " a man of holie life, learned and 
able to give accompt of his doctrine stronglye." Despite the 
spiritual exertion of this zealous divine, " the twenty papists in a 
cage" remained obdurate. "The disputacon," continues Carleton, 
" held by the space of two houres, the Lord be thanked [was] to the 
great profitt of us and such as stood by, thougli to them a 
hardeninge." A full account of the theological discussion in Wis- 
bech castle, entitled Conferentia cum pontiflciis in castro Wisbicensi, 
4/// Oct. 1580, as well as an English version, was published (1581). 

A charge of two shillings was made by the wardens of St. 
Margaret's church " for sending a certyfficate to my L(crd) Bishopp 
(William Redman) to certyffy concerning recusants" (1598); but at 
the end of Elizabeth's reign, although there were 800 communicants, 
no-one expressed scruples about accepting the sacrament. 

In 163 1 the Corporation voted Hester Ogden, a married 
daughter of the late Dr. W. Fulke, who resided in Lynn, the sum 
of ^5, towards "the new reprinting of her father's books" (i6th 
December). He was deservedly popular as a scholar, and " his 
voluminous writings are monuments of that industry and love of study 
which alone prevented his advancement in the Church." 

THE people's prayer. 

The borough members, John Pell and Thomas Grave, were 
requested to solicit the Queen's consent for making cloth in, and 
exporting the same from Lynn (2nd May 1572). In June they w'ere 
urged to persevere in their suit, and to apply to her Majesty's 
Council for " liberty of cloth and corn according to the bill exhibited 
by (Robert Dudley) the Lord of Leicester," High Steward of Lynn 
(1572-1588). To defray the expenses of these important negotiations 
the Corporation voted ;^ioo. 

The Flemings and Walloons living in Norwich sought permission 
to move to Lynn in order to join in the new industry, but they were 
informed through Sir Christopher Heydon and Sir William Buttes 
that the Queen would in nowise permit any of them to dwell in Lynn; 
if, however, ihey conformed themselves to order, her Majesty would 
be pleased to suffer them to abide in Norwich, if not, they might 
obtain passports and quit the realm (8th November 1574). Thetford 
l)etitioned tor the introduction of a staple trade in order to induce 
people to settle in the town (1580). 

Moreover, it was agreed that John Pell and Edward Flovverdew, 
the recorder, should humbly make suit to the (^ueen for the advow- 
sons of the parsonage of King's Lynn and the vicarage of Allhallows 
in South Lynn (27th February 1575). 

So great was the necessity for money, that the collectors of 
tenths and fifteenths were unreasonably pressed, not in Lynn alone, 
but in other towns. Here the Mayor was ordered " to bind them in 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 309 

good bandes (bonds), in treble the sommes to make payment of all 
that is by them due to the exchequer within 15 days " (ist December 
1558). 

GOOD RHINE WINE. 

As the Queen had Uttle money to lavish upon her favourites, 
she was in the habit of rewarding them with grants of monopoly ; in 
other words, the exclusive privilege of selling certain articles. They 
were thus able to ask and also to secure a higher price than they 
could have obtained in an open market, because they were not 
amenable to competition. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552? — i6i8), 
a poor gentleman adventurer, who rose to be one of the most wealthy 
of Elizabeth's proud courtiers, was at one time the recipient of 
bounties and favours to an extent which caused much envy and 
scandal. Among other patents and monopolies he was granted that 
of wine licences, which brought him in from ;!^8oo to ^^2,000 a year 
(May 1583). With his suite he visited Lynn in 1587 "upon the 
Queen's affairs," and granted Thomasine, the wife of Christopher 
Puckering, a Lynn merchant, and Elizabeth her daughter, a licence 
to keep a tavern and sell wine— " Renysshe Wyn " (2Tst September 
^592). 

According to long-standing custom our mariners were permitted 
to land a certain quantity of wine for themselves without paying 
import duty. This was prohibited in 1582-3; hence they 
petitioned the Lord Treasurer to continue the ancient custom of 
"portage wine." 

LE BEAU MONDE. 

As a visible sign, distinctive of the high rank held by the 
governing body, the Council decided that the mayor and recorder 
should array themselves in scarlet whenever they presided at the 
.sessions ; and to magnify the importance of the otitices to /which their 
husbands had attained, the wives of our haughty aldermen were to 
bedeck themselves in gowns of scarlet, and, moreover, the wife of 
the mayor and the wives of all ex-mayors were to don French hoods. 
This costume was specially designed for Sundays, and every-one 
negecting the behest of the Council paid a fine of forty shillings. 
Common councillors and their wives were, of course, too insignificant 
for the services of the local costumier (1580). 

A similar order, that all the aldermen's wives should wear velvet 
hats, was in force at ^'armouth. It was revoked in 1632. This 
was applying an " Ordinance for the Regulation of Gentlewomen's 
Head-dress," passed about the middle of Elizabeth's reign. The 
head-gear of the women required as much attention three centuries 
ago as at the present time. After being curled or frizzled or crisped, 
the hair, arranged in wreaths or borders, was spread out from ear 
to ear, and underpropped with forks or wires to prevent its falling. 
The whole, after being plentifully beset with wreaths of gold or 
silver, rings, pieces of glass and other trinkets, was finally surmounted 
by a French hood, a hat or cap of velvet. None, however, save 



310 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNV. 

"gentlewomen born, without arms," might legally attempt to place 
an ermine or lattice bonnet upon their towzled heads.* 

MEN OF RENOWN. 

In Lestrange's list of the members for Lynn in this reign may 
be detected some who were born great, some who achieved greatness, 
and some upon whom greatness was unceremoniously thrust. Several 
did not belong to Lynn ; hence were their bonds of attachment of the 
weakest description. According to the statues of Henry IV. and V., 
the knights or members of shires, and those who elected them, must 
both reside within the prescribed county. The boroughs were sub- 
ject to the same rule; their members, and those by whom they 
were elected, were com -burgesses or co-citizens. " It was after the 
rise of political jealousies of the Tudor Times that strangers began 
to covet and canvass for the borough membership " (Stubbs). 
Not being burgesses, they were of course ineligible. To evade the 
Act of 14x3, and to obviate the difficulty, they were created bur- 
gesses; in other words, the Corporation embraced them, as it were 
with outstretched arms, and exclaiming, "Free — gratis," conferred 
upon them the freedom of the burgh. Sir John Peyton, of Dodding- 
ton, in the Isle of Ely (1579), and others w^ere adopted in this way. 

Richard Clarck (1535-1602), for thirty years searcher and col- 
lector for this port, was mayor in 1583 and member from the 9th 
of November 1584 to the 29th of January 1593. Conceiving that 
the health of the town depended primarily upon the purity of its 
water-supply, he had the Gay wood river recast from the Kettle 
Mills to "the furthermost bridge" at his own expense; he paid, 
too, for the renewing of St. Margarets conduit, to w^hich 580 feet 
of new pipes were added. He erected state seats in St. Margaret's 
church for the mayor, aldermen and common councilmen, and pro- 
vided, besides, a new scabbard of crimson velvet richly decorated 
with the Queen's arms, the arms of the borough, and other silver- 
gilt trappings. His son, Matthew Clarck, M.A. (1564-1623), was 
mayor in 1605 and 1613, and member from the 6th of March 1614 
to 22nd January 1623. A painted monument with ten kneeling 
figures in St. Nicholas' chapel records their death and that of other 
members of this benevolent family. 

Sir Robert Bell was recorder (8th December 1561 to 22nd 
January 1574) and member for Lynn from 14th of December 1562 till 
his decease; he was succeeded by John Peyton (6th November 1577). 
He was chosen speaker (1572), knighted and appointed Lord Chief 
Baron of the Exchequer (1575). His third wife, whom he married 
in 1559, was Dorothy, the youngest daughter of Edmund Beaupre, 
of Outwell. Whilst at Oxford Assizes, at the trial of Rowland Jenks 
for uttering scandalous words against the Queen, he was, with 

* Lattice, letlice or letuse fitalian latizzo) a kind of grey fur resembling ermine, was one of the articles 
upon which duty was paid at the Tolbooth, in 1243 : — 

"Of ev'y tvmb, leluse ... iiij d. 

Of di. ty'mb. (half) i] d. 

Of j qiiart'r j d; 

Benethe : for ev'y skyn ob. (id)," 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 311 

others, suddenly seized with a malady arising from the stench of 
the prisoners. It is remarkable that one of the judges of the Exche- 
quer, Baron Flowerdew, of Stanfield Hall, and member for Rising, 
met his death through a similar cause (1586). Chief Baron Bell — 
"a sage and grave man and famous for his knowledge in law" 
(Camden), died at Leominster (25th July 1577). 

Sir Robert Mansell (1573-1656), knight and vice-admiral of 
Norfolk, was related to I-ord Howard of Effingham. He was 
appointed commander of an expedition against the Algcrine pirates 
(1620), and represented the following constituencies: Lynn (9th 
October i6or to 6th March 1604), Carmarthen (1604), Carmarthen- 
shire (1614), Glamorganshire (1623-5 ^^^ 1627-8), and Lostwithiel 
(1626). 

PAROCHIALIA : 

ST. Margaret's church. 

The first entry in the earliest of our churchwardens' books 
relates to property in the town belonging to the church rather than 
to the parish of St. Margaret. The manuscript, made up of a 
series of cahiers, covers about eighty years (1592-1672). To the 
following extracts are appended a few explanatory notes. 

Annuities belonging to St. Margaret's church in the year of our Lord God 
1592, to be gathered by the churchwardens : — 

(1) R (received for) the tenements and pasture called paradise in webster- 
rowe (Broad Street) in the ocupation of george gybson, pays by yere (£4) iiij li. 

A few small annual quit rents were paid by the Corporation 
to Robert Fincham, the lord of the manor of West Winch, per- 
taining to certain lands which previouslv belonged to the Gild of the 
Holy Trinity (1557)- Prior to 1562 these emoluments were con- 
veyed to Francis Bastard, a Lynn merchant, who purchased his 
freedom in 1565. He resided at Islington (Tilney-cum-Islington), 
where his ancesters once farmed the Countess of Richmond's manor 
of Newhall, which at one period was in the possession of the Prior 
of Westacre. To the Bastard family belonged the Hospital of St. 
John in the Damgate. 

Upon the church estate in Broad Street, subsequently contain- 
ing a dove-house, an annual payment of 2s. was due to the lord of 
the manor of Newhall*. "Ite(m): p'd to ffrances bastard ffor 
the rent of paradise dewe to the manor of newe hall in heslyngton 
ye my'hellmas last past 1593. .. 00:2 :oo." [CPT^.^.] 

The Corporation attempted to treat with Henry Bastard and 
his wife Elizabeth ( ? Mary) for the purchase of these rents, but did 
not succeed (34th September 1600). The payment on the Paradise 
estate was discontinued in 1795. 

Formerly the vicar lived in a "parsonage house," in Broad 
Street, which was built, perhaps on the church estate; whether, 
however, it belonged to the Corporation or the Dean and Chapter of 

" Fir<!t called "Broad street" in 1629. " Itni rec. Robt. Syms for an Orchard in Broad street called 
little Paradise . . . j:x:o" (£1/10). " Broad street " is crossed, and above is written in a different 
band " Webster rowe " ('C.tr..4., S(. ^l,). Subsequent entries give " Broad Street," 



312 HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

Norwich was the subject of inquiry. Dr. Prideaux decided it had 
never been in the possession of the Dean and Chapter (29th August 
1705). 

(2) R the tenements in baxtcrrowe & ffuller rowe (South Clough lane 
granted in feo farm to Thomas myller and nowe in the hands of John Palemer 
of Germands wygnall pays bye yere (25/-) ... ... ... ... ... xxv s. 

In other entries a garden is mentioned, and one of the 
tenements is denominated "the brewhouse." Part of this property 
--2 1 Tower Street and the opposite corner of South Clough Lane — 
was rebuilt in 1839. 

(3) R the Tenement late in the ocupation of wydowe bryggs between 
the myll & John Wrench house And nowe in the ocupation of John Fearnie the 
myller pays by yere (26/8) xxvj s. viij d. 

This was adjacent to the Town Corn Mill, which stood near the 
entrance of the Walks, and was driven by the waters of the " Mill " 

fleet. 

(4) R the lytell pytlle or close in Saint James End granted to ffarme to 
m. Hulyor & nowe in the ocupation of John Spense pays by yere (6/8) vj s. viij d. 

Wholly omitted in the Church Terrier. 

(5) R the two tenements And allytell gardin the end of Skynners Rowe 
(St. James' street) late in the ocupation of mr. Iverye & nowe in the ocupation 
of peter Smythe, dark ; pays by yere (6/8) vj s. viij d. 

The position of these tenements is discussed elsewhere. 

(6) R the mayor & burgesses paye twooe severall Anewities, the one of 
fowertie shyllyngs ayere for saint Margrets churche And ye other xxvjs. viijd. for 
the late church of saint James & now payd to the church of saint margrets 
(^3/6/8) ._ iij li. vj s. viij d. 

To the whole some of the rents and aneueties belonginge ) , , 

toyechurchyerely i:io/ii/8 ^ x n. xj s. viij d. 

In 1632 the Corporation began paying the rents accruing from 
(0 ^6, not £^, (5) and (6).* 

SNIPPETS FROM STATE PAPERS. 

1563. — Visitation of Norfolk made and taken by William 
Hervey, Clarencieux King of Arms. 

1565. — Three livings were vacant in Lynn, the cause being 
attributed to general poverty. 



® Compare with the Terrier, .A.ugust 31st 1896. 

1. For a piece of land in Paradise Ward, King's Lynn, called Paradise, now forming part of the Cattle 
market, in the occupation of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of King's Lvnn payable by them 
(yearly) £b. 

2. For a tenement in South Clough Lane, late of William Gushing, now of Thomas Taylor, 3/6 : for 
several tenements in South Clough Lane, now forming part of Daniel Nutliall's estate, 18/ (and) for a 
tenement in South Clough Lane, late Hubbard's afterwards of Jonathan Munton and now of his 
widow, 3/6. [In all J 5/.] 

3. For a piece of land abutting upon each side of the London Road in King's Lynn, intermixed with 
Land of Sir William Hovell Browne Ffolkes, Baronet, whereof William ."Vyre's Executors are Lessees, 6/8 
[not 26/8]. 

4. [Omitted.] ^ , . , 

5. For two pieces of land at the south-east [? north-west] corner of Tower Lane, late Codlin Lane 
payable by the Mayor, .Mderinen and Burgesses,. 6/S. 

6. An annuity granted to St. Margaret's paid by the said Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses £2, and an 
annuity formerly to St. James's paid by the said Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses £1/6/8. [In all £"3/6/8.] 

[7. By virtue of Francis Kennett's Will, dated 14th February 1584.] 

For a tenement near Littleport Bridge, late Woodbine's now Archer CoUisoD, 5/- 



THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE. 313 

1 57 1. — At the request of the Privy Council a list of all strangers 
or foreign residents was drawn up (May 20th). 

1573. — A Certificate of Musters for the town and liberties of 
Lynn was forwarded to the Privy Council (September 3rd). 

1575.— The officers of the port of Lynn supplied Lord Burleigh 
with information respecting the quantities of butter, malt and other 
provisions shipped for Ireland by Henry Underwood, deputy to 
Henry Sekeford (October 20th). The Irish were at this time oppos- 
ing the English Government. 

1584. — Overtures were made by the customers (collectors) of 
the ports, for the farming of the customs of Yarmouth, Boston and 
Lynn (February 2). 

1584. — A ship belonging to Francis Shaxton, a Lynn merchant, 
was wrecked at Havodporth, Glamorganshire. Henry Herbert, Earl 
of Pembroke, restored most of the goods saved from the wreck, 
but Sir Edward Mansell retained part, until a suit pending between 
him and the Earl should be settled. The Privy Council ordered 
the goods to be sequestered until the determination of the suit. 

1584.— Christopher Kervyle petitioned the Privy Council to 
direct Sir John Haydon, Mr. Nicholas Bacon, Richard Clarck, the 
mayor of Lynn, and others to procure certain evidences, leases and 
other documents wrongfully detained by John Baxter, William Parke 
and John Prentis. 

1589. — Robert Cooke, Clarencieux King of Arms, visited 
Norfolk. 

1595. — The town petitioned to be allowed to muster its own men 
according to their charter (October i6th). A person (unnamed) 
was sent to interview Lord Burleigh to urge the suit. Complaints 
made to Lord Burleigh because of the ingrossing of barley 
(October 25th). 

1598. — Charges were preferred against certain patentees who 
engrossed the sale of white salt and beggar the country (June loth). 

1599. — Cornelius Lambred, a merchant of Calais, was captured 
with his vessel, the Golden Dragon, by three Dunkirk men-of-war 
near the Lynn Deeps. 

1600. — Lynn claimed exemption from musters. 

1601. — Jeffrey Peel, merchant and owner of the Valentine and 
the John of Lynn, arrived at Plymouth (August 7th), and reported 
preparations of war. The Lynn vessel was ten days coming from 
Rochelle. Sir John Gilbert forwarded the intelligence to Sar William 
Cecil. 

1602. — The masters and owners of ships petitioned the Queen, 
pointing out that they paid is. per chaldron for wharfage upon coals, 
whereas the Newcastle traders at Lynn and Boston paid nothing, 
and praying that a like contribution be levied upon them at New- 
castle. 

* * * * * 

Elizabeth died at Richmond early in the morning of the 24th 
of March 1603, to the sincere regret of the nation at large, and was 
buried in Henry VII.'s Chapel at Westminster, 

2 R 



3U HISTORY OF KING'S LYNN. 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Out Herhagfe — The Sea. 

Elizabeth's death was the prelude to a new era. The Tudor 

dynasty ended ; the succession passed to the Stuarts. James VI. 

of Scotland became James I. of England, France and Ireland (24th 
March 1603). He was son of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, by 

her murdered husband, Lord Darnley, being lineally and lawfully 
descended from Margaret, daughter of Henry VH, 

***** 

An ethical writer of repute coolly maintains a king to be " a 
mortal god on earth." If, instead of "rushing jnto print," the 
philosophic Francis Bacon had patiently waited until after the 
accession of James, say ten years, he might have concocted a more 
reasonable and convincing definition. The .sycophants by whom that 
specimen of kingly humanity was surrounded, though consummate 
adepts in the art of flatter}-, were yet satisfied with styling their 
stolid, besotted master "the British Solomon." 

OUR LIBERTIES MENACED. 

Of his wisdom, two samples shall be submitted. In the 
proclamation summoning his first Parliament, James told the 
electors what sort of men they were to chose, and he threatened 
corporations, failing to comply with his wishes, with the deprivation 
of their liberties and privileges. This was not the course an ordinary 
wise man would have taken, but the speech of this " God upon 
earth," when Parliament assembled (19th March 1603), was more 
like a wearying Presbyterian harangue than anything else: — 

What God hath conioyned then (he exclaims) let no man separate. I am 
the Husband and all the whole Isle is my lawfuU wife ; I am the Head, and it is 
my Body ; I am the Shepherd, and it is my Flocke. I hope, therefore, no man 
will be so vnreasonable as to thinke that I that am a Christian king vnder the 
Gospel should be a Polygamist and husband of two wiues, that being the Head 
should haue a diuided and monstrous Body, or that being the Shepheard to so 
faire a Flocke (whose fold hath no wall to hedge it in but the foure Seas) should 
haue my Flocke parted in two. But I am assured that no honest Subject of 
whatsoeuer degree within my whole dominions is no lesse glad of this ioyfull vnion 
than I am. [The Workes of the Most High and Mighty Prince lames: 1616, 
pp. 418-9.] 

Was not the Duke of Sully far nearer the mark when he 
described this egotistic and pedantic monarch as the most learn id 
fool in Christendom! 

As the liberties and privileges of our borough were increased 
rather than curtailed, we may well assume that our representatives 
were men "after his own heart," in a Parliamentary, if not a 
Scriptural, sense. 

James was frequently in Norfolk, but it is doubtful if he ever 
visited Lynn. He wrote glibly upon the duties of a king in his 
Basiliccn Doron, but be was not one who wore a crown everv day. 



OUR HERITAGE— THE SEA. 315 

Unluckily for the people of Thetford, James found good sport in 
the neighbourhood, and, eagerly dismissing the affairs of State, he 
there cultivated a life of pleasure — hunting, hawking and drinking to 
his heart's content. 

"three men in a boat." 

The Lord High Treasurer, Robert Cecil, was the recipient of 
an important communication, dated the 12th June 161 1, from 
Berwick. The writer, Sir William Bowyer, having heard of the 
escape of Lady Arabella Stuart, prudently caused John Bright, the 
master of the Thomas of Lynn, then lying at Berwick, to be closely 
questioned. 

John Bright, who was probably a Lynn man, told a highly 
interesting story.* He said that, whilst at anchor in the Lee road- 
stead off Blacicwall, in the Thames, on Monday evening, the 4th 
of June, two boats approached ; one containing two women, and 
the other three men, one of whom it may now be confessed was Lady 
Arabella in disguise. They immediately hailed him and asked 
whither he was bound. He replied: "For Berwick"; whereupon 
he was offered any amount of money if he would serve them. John 
Bright, however, bravely withstood the temptation, saying he w^as 
bound to his merchant and could not break his word. They then 
a-sked if there were not a French vessel near, but he answered he 
did not know; there might be, if so it was about a mile and a half 
up the river. After a while he saw them all aboard a vessel. These 
adventurers he described, admitting that one of the women he took 
to be Moll Cutpurse, and naturally thought that, having committed 
another of the crimes for which she was notorious, she was anxious 
to escape detection. 

King James and Lady Arabella Stuart were cousins; the first 
was descended from Margaret, the elder daughter of Henry VH., and 
the second from Mary Tudor, the younger daughter of the same 
Sovereign. As the daughter of the Earl of Lennox, the youngest 
brother of Lord Darnley, Arabella stood in the line of succession. 
It will be remembered how she was arrested in consequence of a 
rumour that a marriage was arranged between her and William 
Seymour, the grandson of Catherine Grey, the heiress of the Suffolk 
line; how James, disbelieving the report which associated her with 
the plot in which Cobham and Raleigh were implicated, treated her 
with marked favour; how she privately married William Seymour, 
and how the secret slyly leaked out, as those kind of secrets 
mostly do. 

On the 9th of July 1610 she was entrusted to the fatherly 
surveillance of Sir Thomas Parry, whose house was in Lambeth, 
whilst her young husband remained in the Tower. Subsequently she 
was given into the charge of William James, the Bishop of Durham 
(nth March 161 1), but her health gave way, and, though unfit for 

• Elizabeth Cooper, in her l.ijc and Letters nf Arabella Stuart (i86rO. quoliiiK thp State Papers, gives 
" John Briggs" (Vol. II., p. 175) ; but the Calendar of State Papers (Domestic 1611-8) has " John Bright " 
(p. 4.'). 



316 



m STORY OF KING'S LYNN. 



such a journey, she was at length actually moved as far as Barnet, 
from whence her escape was made. The intelligence derived from 
John Bright did not aid in her capture, because she was taken in 
mid-channel long before that good seaman arrived in Berwick. Her 
husband succeeded in landing at Ostend, but "the fair Arabella" 
was confined in the Tower until her death (25th September 161 5). 

THE PREVAILING OF THE WATERS. 

Lynn, as well as the Marshland villages, suffered considerably 
from occasional floods and inundations. There was " a mighty tide " 
which swept away a part of Catt's bank. Clenchwarton with the 
immediate neighbourhood was submerged (1st April 1607). After 
the waters abated a survey was made, and the inhabitants of Lynn 
were accused of being negligent in maintaining certain sea-walls. 
There was, however, a far more dreadful inundation on the ist 
of November 16x3, brought about by a violent north-east wind 
meeting a heavy sprang tide. The King's Commissioners conducted 
an inquiry at Lynn (7th of December). Terrington suffered severely; 
among the losses were — 1,876 sheep, valued at ^58; 120 beasts, 
;^322; 480 acres of corn, ;^72o; corn in barns, ^^700; grass in 
fields, jQso; 13 houses completely ruined, together with 1,042 greatly 
injured, ^j,ooo; besides bedding and household stuff valued at 

Dugdale, in his History of Imbanking and Drayning of divers 
Fenncs and Marshes (1662), says: — 

In this distress the people of the town (Terrington) fled to the Church for 
refuge ; some to Haystacks, some to baulks in the Houses till they were neer 
famished ; poor women leaving their children swimming in their beds till good 
people adventuring their lives went up to the breast in the waters to fetch them 
out at the windows, whereof Mr. Browne the Minister did fetch divers to Church 
upon his back : And had it not pleased God to move the hearts of the Mayor and 
Aldermen of Iving's Lynne with compassion, who sent Beer and Victual thither 
by Boat, many had perished ; which Boats came the direct way over the soyl 
from Lenne to Terington. 

Here is an abstract of the losses in general as they were 
presented by the jurors of the several hundreds at the Session of 
Sewers, gth December: — 

" The Marshland Rixg " 



Within. 




£ 


Without, 


£ 


Terrington 


* • • 


10,416 


Gay wood 


... 205 


Walpole 




3,000 


South Wootton 


••• ^^z 


West Walton 


• * • 


850 


North Wootton 


... 810