Mettingham Castle

Mettingham Green


METTINGHAM, a pleasant village on the southern acclivity of the vale of the Waveney, 2 miles E. of Bungay, and 4 miles W. of Beccles, has in its parish 409 souls, and 1706A. 1A. 16R. of fertile land. About half a mile south of the church are the ruins of METTINGHAM CASTLE, which was of considerable extent and strength, and was built by John de Norwich, who, in the 17th of Edward III, obtained permission to convert his house here into a castle; in which he also founded a COLLEGE, to which he had the king's licence to translate the priests from his college at Raveningham. This college was dedicated to God and the Blessed Virgin, and consisted of a master and thirteen chaplains or fellows, who were endowed with the castle for their residence, and with the manors of Mettingham, Bungay-Soke, and several others in Suffolk and Norfolk. They educated and maintained a number of boys at the annual charge of £28. Richard Shelton, the master, and nine fellows, subscribed to the king's supremacy in 1535, but were allowed to remain till 1542, when their revenues were valued at £202. 7s. 5.5d, per annum, and their possessions were granted to Sir Anthony Denny. The founder died in 1363, and left his estates to his grandson, whose cousin, Catherine de Brews, afterwards inherited, but having assumed the veil, her estates devolved to the Ufford family. After the dissolution of the college, Mettingham was purchased by the Buxton family, who sold it about 1660 to the Bacons, of whom it was purchased by the Hunts. From the latter, it descended to the Saffords. In 1826, Samuel Safford, Esq., sold one moiety of his estates to Charles Day, Esq., of Ilketshall St. John. A great part of the parish of Mettingham belongs to various owners, and the remainder to the Rev. J. C. Safford, A.B., who is lord of the manor, impropriatar of the rectory, and patron and incumbent of the vicarage, and has a neat modern mansion within the area of the castle ruins, pleasantlyseated on a well wooded lawn. From the remains of its shattered walls, the castle appears to have been an extensive quadrangular structure, of which the gate-house is still tolerably entire. The Church (All Saints) is an ancient fabric with a round tower, and stands on a bold eminence overlooking the vale of the Waveney. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in K.B. at £6. 17s. 3.5d., and in 1835 at £140. The Town Estate is partly in Shipmeadow parish, and comprises a cottage, blacksmith’s shop, 36A. of land, and two cattle-gates in Stow Fen. It is under the management of feoffees chosen by the parishioners, and has been vested from an early period for the payment of public charges of the parish, and the support of the poor. It is let for about £80 a year, of which a large portion is applied in the service of the church, an about £10 is distributed in coals among poor families.

Cock Chas. shoemkr. & parish clerk
Dains Robert, wheelwright
Parrington Joseph, Esq.
Safford Rev Jas. Culling, A.B. Met
tingham Castle
Spalding Thomas, gentleman
Warren Sidney, blacksmith

(* are owners)

  • Baley Jeremiah
Bezant Esther
Bird John
Clutton Sarah
  • Culham Thomas
Dains Widow
  • Draper George
Durrant Samuel
Peck Charles, Castle Farm
Scarlet Francis
Strange George Minns
Sutton John
  • Tallent Ann J.
  • Tallent John Packard
  • Woods Mary


METTINGHAM is a parish and scattered village, on the south bank of the Waveney and the borders of Norfolk, about 1 mile south from Ellingham station, 2 miles east from Bungay station on the Waveney Valley section of the London and North Eastern railway and 4 west from Beccles, in the Lowestoft division of the county, Bungay petty sessional division, Wangford hundred and union, county court district of Beccles and Bungay, rural deanery of South Elmham, archdeaconry of Suffolk and diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The church of All Saints is an ancient building of stone in the Norman style, standing on an eminence, and consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle and south porch, with a round western embattled tower, containing 4 bells: the north doorway is a good specimen of Early English work, with very early dog-tooth moulding: there are 200 sittings, all free. The register dates from the year 1653. The living is a vicarage, with that of Ilketshall St. John annexed in 1927, joint net yearly value £400, in the gift of the Church Pastoral Aid Society and the Lord Chancellor alternately, and held since 1927 by the Rev. Theodore Brocklesby Davis B.A. of St. Catharine's College, Cambridge. Mrs. Katherine Eleanor Smith is owner of the impropriate tithes. The town estate, which consisted of a cottage, blacksmith's shop and 37A. 1R. 14P. of land in Mettingham and Shipmeadow, and two cattle-goings on Stow Fen, was sold and the money invested; there is also the interest on £100 Consols, the whole producing about £28 yearly, which is expended in coals and payments to the sick poor, the repairs of the church and expenses incidental to the service, and in educational prizes for poor children. In the reign of Edward I. Sir John de Norwich was lord of the manor, and obtained from that monarch in 1302, a grant of free warren in Mettingham, Shipmeadow and Redisham; in the 9th of Edward II. Walter de Norwich held it and in the reign of Edward III. it was the manor of Sir John de Norwich, who built the Castle; he died in 1361: the Gate house and the picturesque ivy-clad ruins show it to have been a place of considerable extent and strength; within the ruins, most pleasantly situated, is a mansion of red brick, erected in 1880, the property and residence of Col. Hastings Ross-Johnson. A college for a master and 13 chaplains or fellows was founded here by Sir John de Norwich and dedicated to God and the blessed Virgin; the college was endowed with the castle as a residence for the Society, together with the manors of Mettingham and others in Suffolk and Norfolk, and the fraternity here educated and maintained a number of boys: at the Dissolution their revenues were valued at £202 7s. 5.5d. yearly. The Hall, now a farm house, is an ancient building, supposed to date from the 13th century. The chief landowners are James Aaron Bezant esq. J.P. Col. H. Ross-Johnson, Lt.-Col. Thomas William Daniel D.S.O., M.C. and Gilbert Lewis West esq. The soil is loam; subsoil, clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley and beans. The area is 1,392 acres of land and inland water; the population in 1921 was 283.

Parish Clerk, John Reynolds.
Post Office. Letters through Bungay, which is the nearest M. 0. & T. office


Bezant Jas. Aaron J.P. Valley house
Brown Paym.-Commdr. L. S., R.N. Red house
Daniel Lt.-Col. Thomas William, D.S.O., M.C. Carlton house
Davis Rev. Theodore Brocklesby B.A.(vicar), The Vicarage
Ross-Johnson Col. Hastings, Mettingham castle
Smithem Charles James, The Pines
West Gilbert Lewis, White house

Marked thus * farm 150 acres or over

Barber Chester, blacksmith
Bidwell Phyllis Edna (Mrs) shopkeeper
Brinded John, Tally-Ho P.H.
Brundell Emma (Mrs), farmer, Benstead farm
Crickmore Eliza (Mrs). Farmer
  • Daniel Lt.-Col. Thomas Wm. D.S.O. M. C. & shire horse breeder, Mettingham
shire stud, Carlton house & Red barn, T N Bungay 50
Grimmer John Playford, farmer & landowner, The Hall
Hall Charles, farmer, Vicarage farm
Hall Edward, farmer, Lower farm
Hart Ruth Mary (Mrs) shopkeeper
Mobbs George Benj, Alder farm
Penn William Isaac, farmer & landowner, The Grove
Ralliston George, farm bailiff to Col. H. Ross-Johnson, Castle farm
Sutton Harry, farmer, Prospect farm


Mettingham Castle (2 m. E. of Bungay) was, according to Suckling, a fortified manor-house rather than a castle: it was built by Sir John de Norwich, one of Edward III.'s vice-admirals. Its ruins are rather extensive, but very fragmentary, the most interesting portion being the gateway, a massive square building with corner turrets. This gateway, which is in fair preservation and can be seen from the road, was guarded by a barbican, the walls of which in part
remain; while the remains of the outer walls of the castle run E. and W. of the gateway and originally had a square tower at each angle. Within the grounds of a modern house standing on the site of the castle there are some remains of a college founded by a member of the De Norwich family in the reign of Richard II. The church has a Norm. round tower and a good Norm. N.doorway. Note (1) a canopied monument in the aisle; (2) a good font; and (3) some remains of a carved screen and some stalls.