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Blundeston Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk


The lordship of this parish, as well as the advowson, were, at a early period, vested in the family of Blundeston; they afterwards became the property of the Pastons, who, in 1679, were created Earls of Yarmouth. From them they passed to the Sydnors. William Sydnor, Esq., who married Bridget, one of the daughters of John Jernegan, Esq., of Belton, died seized of them, in 1613, and bequeathed them to his eldest son and heir, Henry Sydnor, Esq.; whose son William possessed them, at his decease, in 1632. Of his descendants they were purchased by the Aliens, of Somerleyton; in whom they still remain.

There was formerly another manor in this parish, called Gonvile's, which belonged to the Gonviles, of Rushworth, in Norfolk; and which passed to Sir Robert Herling, Knt., of East Herling, in the same county, who married the heiress general of the Gonvile family, and Anne his daughter and sole heiress, inherited the same; who, in 1474, with Sir Robert Wingfield, Knt., her 2nd husband, settled the same, with divers other property in Norfolk and Suffolk, on themselves and their trustees. The Hall and a large portion of land, were once the property of the Lusons, of Great Yarmouth.

The Bacons possessed considerable property here. In 1627, Sir Butts Bacon, Bart., the 7th son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, of Redgrave, Bart., was living here, in a house on the site of which stands the present Blundeston Villa. He deceased in 1661; and his relict, who was the daughter of Sir Henry Warner, of Mildenhall, Knt., and the widow of Robert Jermyn, of Rushbrooke, Esq., deceased in 1679: they were both interred in this parish church. This gentleman was created a Baronet in 1627, and was the direct ancestor of the present Sir Edmund Bacon, of Raveningham, Bart.

In 1703, the property of the Bacons was sold to Sir Richard Allen, of Somerleyton; who was created a Baronet in 1699. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Thomas Allen; who was She-riff of the county in 1730, and appointed Serjeant at Arms to the Treasury in 1733. He died unmarried, in 1764, and was succeeded by his brother, the Rev. Ashurst Allen, rector of Blundeston cum Flixton; who died in 1770, and left this property to his only daughter, Frances; on whose decease it passed to Nicholas Henry Bacon, Esq., the second son of Sir Edmund Bacon, the 10th Baronet, of Raveningham, in Norfolk. This gentleman rebuilt a part of the mansion, expended a very considerable sum in enlarging the grounds, and, by his extensive and judicious planting, added greatly to its native beauty.

In 1831, he disposed of the whole to the present possessor, Charles Steward, Esq.,1 a distinguished Officer in the Hon. East India Company's Naval Service; who married his first cousin, Harriet, the only daughter, by his first wife, of Ambrose Harbord Steward, of Stoke Park, near Ipswich, Esq.; by whom he has an only son, Charles John.

The mansion has been at different times called Sydnors,2 Blundeston Villa, and Blundeston House: it is a plain, but handsome building, situated amid grounds, groves, and scenery of great beauty. During the lifetime of Mrs. F. Allen, this delightful spot was the residence of that accomplished scholar, the late Rev. Norton Nicholls, LL.B.; a gentleman not more distinguished for his talents and virtues, than from his being the intimate friend of the poet Gray, who was Ms frequent visitor here. Mr. Matthias has appended to his "Observations on the Character and Writings of Gray," an interesting "Memoir" of this gentleman, in which he describes this spot as "one of the most finished scenes of sylvan delight, which this island can offer to our view."3 J Mr. Nicholls was rector of Bradwell and Lound, in this hundred, to which he was presented in 1767. He deceased on the 22nd November, 1809.

At the end of the beautiful lake that ornaments this estate, are two objects which are become highly interesting, from their being the favorite haunts of Gray, during his occasional visits here, viz.: a summer house, named "Gray's Seat," and a venerable pollard, called "Gray's Oak." On a part of the grounds, situate in the parish of Flixton, Mr. Steward has placed the ancient Font, which formerly belonged to the dilapidated church of that village, which he was so fortunate as to discover in an adjoining farm yard; and which Gillingwater, in his "Historical Account of Lowestoft," describes as "split asunder to support the two ends of a hog's trough, to the great offence of common decency." On it has been inscribed the following legend:


In 1799, Mr. Nicholls entertained here the gallant Admiral Lord Duncan, on his landing at Yarmouth, after the memorable engagement off Camperdown; when the trees on an island, at the extremity of the lake, were decorated with variegated lamps, and a brilliant display of fireworks took place.

The Eight Hon. Lord Boston has some property here, in right of his wife, Rachael Ives Drake.

ARMS. Blundeston: per pale, ermine and sable; a chevron, counterchanged. Paston: or; six fleurs-de-lis, azure; a chief, indented, of the field. Sydnors: argent; a fess, nebulee, azure, between three crescents, jessant fleurs-de-lis, sable. Gonvile: argent; on a chevron between two couple closes, outwardly engrailed, three escallops, or. Steward: or; a fess chequy, argent and azure; on an inescutcheon of the second, a lion rampant, gules, oppressed with a bend ragulee, or.

CHARITIES. The town estate comprises three small cottages, with an allotment of 20 perches; a piece of land, called the town pightle, containing about l acres; an allotment on Plough Common, of 2A. 1R. 22p., and a piece of ground, of about an acre, used as a stack yard. The rents, amounting together to 19 a year, are carried by the overseers of the poor to their general account. A house, small bam, and hemp-lands, containing 1A. 32P., are let at 8 a year. These premises are understood to have been devised by one Anthony Bays, to the inhabitants of this parish, for the use of the poor; but the date, or particular terms of the will, cannot be ascertained, and the rent has been of late applied as part of the poor rate. An allotment of marsh land, containing 10A. 2R. 34p., and an allotment of 15A. 2R. 38p. on How Heath, were awarded, on an inclosure, for the use of poor persons residing in this parish. These produce together a rent of 60 a year, which is expended in the purchase of coals, that are distributed to the poor. The yearly sum of 10s., given by the will of Elizabeth, the wife of William Ayton, is paid to poor widows, as a rent charge on a piece of land called Dale Pightle. The Rev. Gregory Clarke, in 1726, devised a house, and about 1A. 2R. of land, in trust, to apply the rents and profits towards the payment of a schoolmaster, or schoolmistress, for teaching so many of the poor children of the parish to read, write, and cast accounts, as the trustees from time to time shall appoint. The school property now consists of a school-house and schoolroom, with a small garden, and a piece of land containing 2A. 2R. 9p.; and twelve poor children are generally taught by appointment of the trustees.

1. Mr. Steward has been, for some time past, actively engaged on a "History of the Hundred of Lothingland;" which, we trust, will shortly be given to the public in 2 vols. 4to., with numerous and highly interesting illustrations of the scenery, antiquities, churches, &c. &c. His collections for this purpose, enriched with numerous drawings, are well deserving the inspection of the Topographical Antiquary; as is Mrs. Steward's Ornithological Collection, which comprises every known specimen of land and water fowl, which haunt and frequent this part of the island.

2. A view of "Sydnor's," from a drawing by Mrs. Charles Steward, was given in "Pawsey's Lady's Repository," for 1838.

3. Sec "Suffolk Garland," p. 192.

County of Suffolk

Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page

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