File NCR 24c/10/5 - The Lathes in Norwich, serjeant's and bailiff's accounts

Identity area

Reference code

NCR 24c/10/5


The Lathes in Norwich, serjeant's and bailiff's accounts


  • Sep 1426-Sep 1460 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 parchment roll and 1 rolled paper

Context area

Name of creator

(c 1249-)

Administrative history

Established in c 1249 by the then Bishop of Norwich, Walter Suffield and originally known as the Hospital of the Blessed Mary and St Giles, and afterwards, simply as St Giles's Hospital, Norwich, in the parish of St Helen in Holmstrete, now Bishopgate in Norwich.
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.

Name of creator

(fl 1428-1429)

Biographical history

Ploughman and carter of the Lathes Estate in Norwich for St Giles' Hospital. The Lathes Estate, in and around St Augustine's parish, Norwich. Managed the Lathes estate for the Hospital and was employed to cart produce and materials to the Hospital from the Lathes and from their other estates in east Norfolk. Produced accounts and a journal of his carting activities, surviving partly in English.

Name of creator

(fl 1417)

Biographical history

John Dernell, 'bigator' or carter of 'Le Lathes' Estate in and around the parish of St Augustine's, Norwich. Produced journal accounts, partly in English of his carting and other activities.

Name of creator

(fl 1425-? 1458)

Biographical history

A brother priest at St Giles' Hospital, Holme Street, Norwich in the early 15th century. A clerk in holy orders, he served the hospital in a variety of offices, from being bailiff and surveyor to several of the hospital's country estate in the mid 1420s onwards, the hospital steward in the late 1420s, collector of its Norwich revenues in c 1430, and as its general receiver in the mid 1430s. Possibly the same Geoffrey Halle, rector of Ashby St Mary, administration of whose goods was granted in 1458 (NCC Will register, Brosyard 7).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Michaelmas 5-39 Henry VI. Contains several (some incomplete) accounts for officials variously called, serjeants or servants at the plough and carts there (Thomas Boteler, Thomas Gogill (both 1426-7), John Boys (1428-9) and John Pascall (1429-30)), or just ploughman and carter (John Pascall (again, 1430-1), John Moys (1431-33) and John Wode (1433-4)). Until 1434, these were combined with the accounts of another official, Robert Hogges, thresher in 1426-7, bailiff in 1429-30 and thresher again from 1430-34. Thereafter, fellows of the Hospital, acting as bailiff, accounted for this estate. From 1434-7, the accountant was Ralph, chaplain of the Hospital and from 1437-1460, probably the same, Ralph Somerby, clerk and fellow or brother of the Hospital acted as bailiff. The accountants for 1426-7 also included Geoffrey Halle, clerk and surveyor/receiver of the Hospital's monies.
Initially, the accounts included grange revenue and livestock accounts on their dorse sides, but these cease when the Hospital brethren directly accounted for the estate.
The roll also includes a stray account for 14-15 Henry VI [1435-6] for the Hardley Rectory manor.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Formerly under reference NCR Case 24e/5/5. John Dernell, carter's account and 'journal' entries on annexed papers, 1417 were previously filed with this roll but are now held and listed separately under the reference, NCR 24e/5/2.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Rotten parchment-use only under supervision.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Roll of 32 rotulets and 1 paper, previously filed with a parchment tag at their heads, but now all loose. Several rotulets are water-damaged and contain areas of rotten parchment near the foot of each, and some of these are missing their feet altogether. The current ends of these rotulets appear to have been 'tidyed up' with any sections of rotten parchment cut away. The incomplete paper roll of two surviving sheets is also water-damaged and is holed and has sections of frail paper.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

See NCR Case 24e/5/6 for both paper and parchment fragments (particularly, the feet) of four of the first five accounts in this roll.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)



Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 02/08/2016 by Drott. Modified 12/12/2018 by Drott.


Accession area