Castle-Rising (St. Lawrence)

CASTLE-RISING (St. Lawrence), a parish, and formerly a borough and market-town, in the union and hundred of Freebridge-Lynn, W. division of Norfolk, 4 miles (N. E.) from Lynn, and 102 (N. by E.) from London; containing 358 inhabitants. Prior to the year 1176, a castle was built by William D'Albini, the first earl of Sussex, on a hill to the south of the town, and, according to the author of the Munimenta Antiqua, on the site of one of King Alfred's great castles, of which some arches, included within the subsequent buildings, are supposed to be remains. In this castle, Isabel of France, queen of Edward II., after the death of Mortimer, was detained in confinement, from the year 1330, until her decease, in 1358. It passed from the family of Albini to the barons of Montalt, the last of whom died without issue, when his widow surrendered the lordship for £400 per annum, to Queen Isabella, at that time regent, who was visited here, in 1340, by her son, Edward III., and his queen. Edward III., on the death of his mother, settled Castle-Rising on his son Edward; it afterwards passed to the Howards, dukes of Norfolk, and subsequently to the Berkshire branch, who, in 1745, succeeded to the title of Earl of Suffolk. The principal remains are the shell of the keep, a square tower, the walls of which are three yards in thickness, with some ornamented doorways and windows in the Norman style of architecture, though greatly dilapidated; the site of the great hall, and some vestiges of the state apartments, may also be traced: the chief entrance is over a ruined bridge of one circular arch, defended by a tower gateway.

This was once a considerable sea-port, inferior in this county only to Lynn and Yarmouth; but the harbour becoming choked up with sand, its trade declined, and from the consequent decrease of its population, the market, which was held twice a week, has been discontinued for many years. The vicinity was formerly subject to inundations of the sea, to prevent which an embankment has been constructed. The government was originally vested in a mayor, twelve aldermen, and an indefinite number of burgesses, aided by a recorder, high steward, &c.; but the corporation has gradually fallen into decay. Of the rank which the place held as an ancient borough, it still retains a memorial, in the precedence given to the name of the mayor in the commission of the peace for the county. The elective franchise was conferred in the last year of the reign of Philip and Mary, from which time the borough returned two members to parliament till disfranchised by the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45: the right of election was vested in the free burgesses, the number of whom had been reduced to two or three; and the mayor was returning officer. The parish is situated on the road from Lynn to Wells, and comprises 2096a. 2r. 21p., of which 1008 acres are arable, 865 meadow and pasture, and 223 woodland; the soil is of a sandy and clayey nature. A trout stream runs through the parish, called the Rising river.

The living is a discharged rectory, with that of Roydon consolidated, valued in the king's books at £8, and in the gift of the family of Howard. The tithes have been commuted for £320, and the glebe comprises 23 acres, with a glebe-house. The church is an ancient structure, with a tower rising from between the nave and chancel; it exhibits fine specimens of the Norman style, and has an east window in the decorated English style: the entrance is enriched with varied mouldings, and on each side of the large window above it are series of intersecting arches; the font is very ancient, and highly ornamented. Near the church is an hospital, containing thirteen apartments, a large hall, and a chapel, built in 1613, by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, who endowed it with a rent-charge of £100 for twelve aged women and a governess. To the west of the castle is a square mount, one acre in extent, and to the east of it a circular mount surrounded by a ditch; the former is by some supposed to have been a Roman camp, though others think both were thrown up by the people of Lynn, when they besieged the castle, and compelled the Earl of Arundel to relinquish his claim to one-third of the customs of their port. There are some chalybeate springs in the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.