Besthorpe Howes family roots

Besthorpe is the ancestral home of the Howes family. The line can be traced to this village/parish south west of Norwich, potentially as far back as the 15th century.

See Bottling it in Besthorpe for more about the area (including census descriptions 1841-71 and map extracts) and the family connection.

Historic documents

“Besthorpe Terrier”, Bishops Visitation 1729

The Besthorpe parish register from 1729 has as its first couple of pages ‘A copy of the Besthorpe Terrier exhibited at the Bishops Visitation 14th day of June 1729’. See the Cutlock & Co transcription (pdf, 434KB).

This document must be listing and describing the glebe lands, as mentioned in the 1854 directory below. Land names mentioned include Kennell’s Wood, Woodfield, New Close, Cock Close, Barn Close, Cales Close, Thaynes Close, Peaks-herne (?) Close, Scooty Land, Brickfield also known as Clamp Close. The register’s margins are used to total up the area owned, coming to 31 acres.

Visitation record extract

Land owners (and/or tenants) mentioned include: Charles Shaw (many times!), Andrew Wade, John Knight, Roger Cooper, Frances (Francis?) Thurling, John Howse ‘Gent’, John Cooper, Edward Osborne, Henry Curtis, Daniel Shearing, Joseph Hardingham.

Surely ‘John Howse Gent’ will be the person of that name identified elsewhere as John Howes of Morningthorpe, high sheriff of Norfolk in 1718.

Norfolk 1854 Whites Directory

BESTHORPE, 1 mile E. of Attleborough, is a parish with 134 scattered houses, 614 souls, and 2,132 acres of land, chiefly the property of the Earl of Winterton, the lord of the manor, impropriator of the rectorial tithes, and patron of the vicarage, valued in the King’s book at £5 6s. 10½d., and now enjoyed by the Hon. and Rev. A. A. Turnour, who has 28½ acres of glebe. The tithes are commuted for £255 to the vicar, and a like sum to the impropriator. The Church, a cruciform edifice, dedicated to All Saints, with a lofty tower and five bells, contains a beautiful marble monument to Sir C. Drury, Knt. The vicarage house is a neat modern erection, occupied by the curate, the Rev. E. W. Dowell, B.A. The Fuel Allotment 15a. 1r. 23p., is let for £17 6s. The Church Land, 4a. 3r. 16p., is let for £10 10s. DIRECTORY — Rev. Edwd. Wm. Dowell, B.A., curate, Vicarage; Jas Larkman, vict. Square and Compass, and blksmth; Robert Jas. Lovett and David Palmer, corn millers; Jas. Bayes, Louisa Jenny, and Edwd. Smith shopkeepers; Frances Wigget, blksmth; Jas. Doubleday, and David Palmer, beerhouses; W. Vinee, shoemkr; and Philip Alpe, Chs. Ayton, Thos Barker, Jas. Clarke, Jno. Cooke, Robt. Cowles, Mary Johnson, Edwd. Limmer (Hall), Geo. Minns, Burrell Page, Wm. Palmer, sen., Wm. Richd. Palmer, Reuben Reeve, Jonth. Turner, Jacob Vince, Jno. Warren, Michl. Warren, Wm. White, and Dnl. Wright, farmers.

The 1845 Whites directory entry has been transcribed on GenUKI. It includes: “The ancient Hall, now a farm-house, was a seat of the Drury family”. There are 35 acres of glebe, and in the list of farmers “Howes A., Exors. of”. 536 inhabitants.

Also see

1880s 25 inch OS map on National Library of Scotland website.

Old maps and local statistical data on Vision of Britain. An 1870s gazetteer gives a population of 554.

Norfolk Heritage Explorer parish summary.

Norfolk Mills website’s page looking at Besthorpe Tower Mill.

Besthorpe (All Saints) church website.

Wikipedia page for the village.

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