A history of Halesworth, Suffolk, UK, through the ages.


Volume 3


Halesworth Chantry

Before the Reformation and the dissolution of both the Religious Houses and Chantries, there was a Chantry of St Anne in the Halesworth Church, which was probably served by a priest who lived in the Chantry House, (later known as Chauntry House) in the Churchyard, and handy for him to quickly reach the Chantry altar to say mass.

To support the priest's living costs, there would be rents from lands which had been bequeathed over the years for this purpose. Among the possessions of Robert Norton was the tenancy of the Chauntry House in Halesworth, formerly of Pigotte's Chantry. There is a reference by Alan Jobson in his 'North East Suffolk' (1950) to Gothic House and Dairy Farm 'The old Porch House on the south side of the Church was the home of the Bedingfield Family from 1580 to 1720 and next door is the old Chantry Farm, with a magnificent tithe barn tucked away at the rear'.

Tradition may have bestowed this title on the farm, but it is not impossible that it was once part of the lands which were associated with the Chantry, and that the Norton Family, not knowing if the Catholic Succession would be renewed, had hung on to the property hoping that in time the Chantry could once more be refurbished.

By 1582 WaIter Norton had sold the house in Halesworth and was living at Chediston Hall, and in 1586 had purchased lands in Winthorpe and in Sibsey in Lincolnshire which had belonged to Thomas Caundish. It seems most likely that this was the famous Thomas Cavandish who was born at Trimley St Martin, near Ipswich. He was a notable navigator and circumnavigator of the globe, and he probably sold the lands to WaIter Norton to pay towards his voyage of 1586 when he sailed with three ships to the Pacific. There he burned three Spanish towns and 13 ships and returned to England with rich booty and to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1588.


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