Lords of the Manor of Mulbarton
Manors were originally granted by the Crown and let out to tenants, the Lord of the Manor having the right to hold a manorial court. They could then be inherited and acquired through marriage to an heiress; awarded or confiscated by the Crown; given (for instance to endow a charity); bought and sold to consolidate lands, pay debts and in some cases maintain a lifestyle suitable for being at Court; or it might remain with one family for centuries....
According to Francis Blomefield's 'History of Norfolk', (Vol. 5, 1802 pp.74-83) 'MOLKE-, MYKIL-, or MUCHE-BARTON was owned by:
Ordinc, a thane of Edward the Confessor (c.1004 - 1066), then awarded to
Roger Bigot and Ralf de Beaufoe in the Conqueror's time (after 1066) and
Hubert de Rhye... at the latter end of the Conqueror's time (William died in 1087) c.1184 (a misprint for 1084?) he gave it (bequeathed it?) to the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury.
Henry de Rhye in King Stephen's time (1135 - 54)
'accordingly it was held of the baronry of Rhye, as of the manor of Hingham'
'Around this time, Sir Bartholomew de St. Omer had lands here but was not Lord', so he may have been a tenant, but then Mulbarton did pass to the St Omer family though we do not know how....
William de Sancto Audomaro, Omero - or St. Omer - in the time of Henry III (1216 - 72)
'The king granted him entitlement to a 'free-warren' and fair here and at 'Brundale' [Brundall] in 1253'.
The manor then passed to his son. Thomas de St. Omer.
Thomas de St. Omer [1318 - 1365], married Petronella Melmains
'She was daughter and co-heir of Thomas Malmains [= left-handed!] and widow of Ralf de Tony, and thus acquired land in Grimshow and Saham.'
Thomas married twice and had a daughter by each wife. These two half-sisters, Elizabeth and Alice, were his heiresses. At his death, Thomas left money for the 'pittancer' of Norwich Cathedral 'to keep his anniversary for ever and to treat the convent on that day'. It was Thomas de St Omer who is credited with (re)building the church as a penance, as told on the Church & Chapel page.
Alice, daughter of Thomas, bought full control of 'the manors of Mulbarton, Keteringham and Brundale'. She was the second wife Sir William de Hoo, Knight [1342 - 1410], who became Lord of the Manor from their marriage in 1367. Sir William was born in Litcham, Norfolk, son of Thomas Hoo [c.1315 - 1380) of Luton Hoo and Isabel St Leger. William's first wife was Eleanor Wingfield. He was a well-known warrior in his day: he fought against the French, was captain of the castle of Oye in 1386, during which time he probably visited the Holy Land. He was probably one of the few Lords of the Manor to actually live in Mulbarton, where he may have built (or restored) a moated manor house and also built (or restored) the present church and tower. According to Francis Blomefield, he and his wife, Alice, were buried in the chancel. Sir William died in 1410, aged 76; Alice died in 1456.
Blomefield's volume (dated 1802) also claims that their portraits were in a stained glass window in the north wall of the church up to c.1800, along with pictures of Sir Thomas de St. Omer and his wife, and the coat of arms of both families. Did this disappear when the church was 'repaired and beautified in 1815'?
Thomas Hoo Esq. (son of Sir William and Alice, c.1363 - 1420)
Thomas was born and died in Luton. He had three wives, though different sources give different names. They were probably (1) Elizabeth Felton, who bore him a son, Thomas, who died before his father; (2) Elizabeth Wichingham who bore him a daughter, Anne; and in 1394/5 he married (3) Eleanor Wells who bore him three daughters and a son, again named Thomas, who was his heir.