- 15 Sep 1618 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Kimberley Hall and estates in surrounding parishes have been in the hands of the Wodehouse family since at least the early fifteenth century. In 1873 the estate of the Earl of Kimberley in Norfolk was 10,800 acres, making him one of the greatest landowners in the county.
The family have played an important role in local and national affairs. Members include:
John Wodehouse, esquire of the body to Henry V 1413-1422, Chamberlain of the Exchequer 1415.
Edward Wodehouse, knighted at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.
Thomas Wodehouse, created a Knight of the Bath at the marriage of Prince Arthur in 1501.
Roger Wodehouse, knighted by Edward VI in 1548.
Thomas Wodehouse, MP, knighted at the Battle of Musselburgh in 1547.
Roger Wodehouse, MP, knighted in 1578.
Philip Wodehouse (d 1623), MP, first Baronet.
Thomas Wodehouse (d 1658), MP for Thetford 1640-1653, High Sheriff of Norfolk 1624.
Philip Wodehouse (1608-1681), MP for Norfolk 1654-1658 and for Thetford in the Restoration Parliament.
John Wodehouse (1669-1754), MP for Norfolk and Recorder of Thetford.
Armine Wodehouse (1714-1777), MP for Norfolk 1737-1768, Colonel of East Norfolk Militia. Sir Armine Wodehouse was the fifth Baronet.
John Wodehouse (1741-1834), Recorder of Falmouth, MP for Norfolk 1784-1797, elevated to the peerage as the first Baron Wodehouse in 1797.
John Wodehouse (1771-1846), second Baron, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.
John Wodehouse (1826-1902), Envoy Extraordinary at St Petersburg 1856-1858, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1864-1866, served in Gladstone's ministries as Secretary of State for India, the Colonies and Foreign Affairs. Succeeded his grandfather as third Baron Wodehouse in 1846 and raised to the Earldom of Kimberley in 1866.
John, second Earl of Kimberley (1848-1932).
John, third Earl of Kimberley (1883-1941).
John, fourth Earl of Kimberley (b 1924).
Name of creator
Formerly known as St Giles' Hospital, the Great Hospital in Norwich is still a functioning charitable, residential institution and its archives extend from the thirteenth century to the twentieth century. Prior to the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, the Mayor and Corporation acted as trustees for a large number of City charities. The most ancient was the Great Hospital (founded by Walter Suffield, Bishop of Norwich, in 1249), whose records are the largest and most complete of any of the City charities.
While most English hospitals were dissolved at the Reformation in the sixteenth century, the Great Hospital was one of very few which survived. On Henry VIII's death in 1547, it was surrendered to the new Protestant monarch, Edward VI. The Norwich city fathers, however, were sufficiently astute to recognize the important rôle which the Hospital might play in caring for the city's poor (who then posed a serious social problem). Edward VI succumbed to local pressure and returned the ownership of the Hospital and its possessions, land and property to the corporation, which then used it to prioritise and channel charitable work in the community. Thus, through its acquisition by the corporation, the Hospital continued to function and its records became part of the city archives.
By the terms of Edward VI's charter by letters patent in 1547, forty poor people were to be accommodated in the Hospital (then called 'God's House'), looked after by the keeper of the House and a team of four matrons or women keepers, but by the end of the century, the number had risen to 54. In 1633, owing to increased revenues, the numbers of inhabitants had increased to 86 though there were still only four women keepers. Seven years later, there were 95 inhabitants, looked after by five matrons. Of these inhabitants, the original 40 provided for by charter had been augmented by two paid for by legacies in Francis Rugg's will, two more by the will of Alderman Henry Fawcett and the remainder allowed by the mayor and aldermen because of the increase in revenues. Presumably finances were tight when in 1647, numbers were down to 71 and the team of matrons only four women, but by the early Commonwealth period, there were again 95 poor and five matrons. By 1685, a hundred poor folk were accommodated in the Hospital.
The Charity Commissioners finished their enquiry into the Norwich charities in 1833 and a copy of their printed report is to be found at N/TC 63/2. By a Chancery Order dated 18 March 1837, twenty-six Charity Trustees were appointed, with responsibility to manage the charities formerly in trust with the Corporation. The charities were divided into two lists: the Church List Charities (including the Great Hospital, the Free Grammar School, Archbishop Parker's Scholarships, the Preachers' Fund and various other smaller charities) and the General List Charities (including Doughty's Hospital, the Boys' Hospital, the Girls' Hospital, the Barnham Broom Estate and many other smaller charities).
A considerable number of charity records (many of them pre-1835) were deposited in the Record Office many years after the publication of Hudson and Tingey's Revised Catalogue of the Records of the City of Norwich in 1898. They interrelate with the records in the NCR collection and are listed at N/CCH and N/MC.
The medieval records of the Great Hospital were inscribed in the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in May 2011. The UK Memory of the World Register (established in 2010) helps to raise awareness of some of the UK’s exceptional, but lesser-known documentary riches by awarding them globally-recognised Memory of the World status.