Ancient Tunstead

A Brief History of Tunstead & Sco-Ruston

Kindly provided by historian Peter Brice of Worstead

Medieval Portraits on Scroll

Tranchet Axe Head, probably Mesolithic and Neolithic Polished Axe Head, both found in Tunstead

In recent times some prehistoric artefacts have been found in Tunstead, such as a Mesolithic flaked axe and two blade like flakes. However there are not enough finds to suggest an early settlement, even though a Roman road passed close by through Sloley.

Tunstead probably became a settlement in Anglo Saxon times, albeit a rather scattered one in clearings in the then extensive woodland. Its name derives from the Old English tun (meaning enclosure, settlement or farm) and stede (meaning place).

The Little Domesday Book of 1086 names the lord of the manor in the time of Edward the Confessor as one Alfer, a thegn of the last Saxon King Harold, who died at the Battle of Hastings. The manor, valued at £10 in 1066, but at £11 in 1086, was given to the Norman lord, Roger of Poitou (Poitiers). It seems he lost most of his lands by supporting Robert of Normandy, William the Conqueror’ son. He recovered most of them, but perhaps not Tunstead, because by Henry ll’s reign (1154 – 1189) the manor belonged to the de Grelley family.

In 1260 Thomas de Grelley was granted a weekly market: it was no longer operating by the seventeenth century, but is commemorated by Market Street. There were other landowners in the parish, but the de Grelley manor had passed to Nicholas de Meldon by 1315. In 1327 it was sold to John Stretch, who conveyed it to the Duke of Lancaster in 1353 and when Duke Henry of Lancaster became the first Lancastrian king in 1399, the manor became part of the Duchy of Lancaster.


Tudor to Early Modern Times »»

Reviewed 27/1/17