Blackborough
Community ID
 
1017
 
Alternate Names
 
Blackburgh, Blakebergh, Blakberwe in 1428
 
Town
 
Norwich
 
Diocese
 
Norwich
 
Region
 
Norfolk
 
Medieval Location
 
West of Norwich at Blackborough in the parish of Middleton, near Lynn.
 
Modern Location
 
Blackborough
 
Corporate Status
 
Priory
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary and S. Catherine
 
Date Founded
 
1150 (circa)
 
Date Terminated
 
1537
 
Religious Order
 
Benedictine
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

Blackborough was founded as a male monastery around 1150 by Roger de Scales and his wife, Muriel. By 1170 there were nuns as well, and by 1200 the community was all females.

 
Notable Heads
 

NULL, dates unknown but probably early thirteenth century
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Dunton
Bersingham
Fyncham
Dawney
(NB : Marg Holme not last Prioresss as in Dugdale)

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

Margaret de Bristede, 1352 : record of indulgence [?] to choose confessor & record of plenary indulgence at Dissolution[?]. Margery Paston & Richard Calle lived at Blackborough after their elopement in the second half of the 14th century.

 
Population Counts
 

More than 13 - 44 with servants in 1291; 9 in 1381; 6 in 1514; 11 in 1532. At a fifth count of the members, there were more than 9, and if sevants were counted, there were 19. In 1537 there were 11 men, 9 women and 1 priest.

 
Visitations
 

A visitation in 1514 found the community good but decaying. Other visitations took place in 1520 and 1532.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Roger de Scales and Robert de Scales, sons of the original founders; Robert de Saint, great grandson of the founders, and King Henry III. Others were Lord Bardolf, William Fitz Geoffrey of Bycham Parva, King Edward III and William di ??? / Emma de Bellofago, Beaulieu. The community received land in mortmain from Edmund Keroyle in 1350-4.

 
Assets/Property
 

The commuity had rural land holdings, three chapter houses in 1291 and 3 and a half in 1316. In 1291 the community had 44 pounds a year. In 1347 they were in poverty and paying no taxes to Edward III. By 1535 they were taking in more than 42 pounds per year. In 1537 it was valued at 123 pounds and had 79 pounds of debt.

 
Income
 

Income was derived from rents, church tithes, and a yearly fair. Expenses in 1291 included about 5 pounds for habits and 25 shillings for church fabric. In 1535 the net income was valued at over 42 pounds. A man named Le Sayre gave the nuns rent in East Wynch to fund a candle in the nuns' chapel of S. Catherine in front of the picture of S. John the Evangelist, for his soul and the souls of his heirs (Gilchrist/Oliva, 61).

 
Charitable/Work
 

Blackborough was known for hospitality and took in guests. It also served as a legal sanctuary for accused wrongdoers (Gilchrist/Oliva, 27). The priory spent at least seven percent of their income annually for alms (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 64).

 
Other Economic Activities
 

Blackborough also had a fair.

 
Early Documents
 

[1] Foundation document, copy. Further research is necessary. (1200)
[2] Confirmation of the foundation by the sons of founders [?] (1200)

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

A church in ruins from 1532. On the site of the priory there is a section of the wall surviving. At the base of an eastern wall are two, two-centered brick arches, presumably for a drain. The building thus may have functioned as a kitchen or latrine. Nineteenth-century finds were reported, which included a number of stone coffins and two wooden coffins, one from a vault; corbels; and a number of small metal artefacts. In the 1960s a tiled floor was uncovered of alternating black and yellow tiles, in addition to decorated tiles. The archaeologists also uncovered pottery from the twelfth century and later, medieval glass and lead, and loose masonry, including pillar bases and capitals (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 83).

 
Manuscript Sources
 

British Library Egerton MS 3137, fos. 30-1.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

The community was founded on low ground near the River Nar, with reclamation to marshland. A sketch attached to the fifteenth-century cartulary gives a diagrammatic representation of lands acquired by the priory in the fourteenth century (see primary documents). The drawing depicts parcels of land owned by individuals who were named in relation to a rectory identified as North Clenchwarton (Religious Women in Medieval East Anglia: History and Archaeology c. 1100-1540., 83).

 
Admin. Notes
 

?25 sul ?shilling
residents/guests--rec indult to choose confessor & rec plenary indulgence at DD / / record of indulgence to choose confessor and record of plenary indulgence at dissolution????
[V0085]

 
Contributors
 
Marilyn Oliva; Mary McLaughlin
 
Contributors Notes
 

Margery Paston & Richard Calle lived at Blackborough after their elopement in the second half of the 14th century.

 
Date Started
 
1150
 
Date Finished
 
1537
 
Length
 
3552