Hertiage 35b Edmund White

No. 35b             Edmund White of Shotesham

A brass survives in St. Mary’s Church depicting Edmund White and his wife.  It is in excellent condition and relates to a former major landowner in the area – effectively the squire – who died in 1558.  His father was Bartholomew White who was responsible for the building of the Chancel and North Chapel at St. Mary’s Church in 1486.  Bartholomew died in 1495 and was buried in the Chapel.  Edmund White was a justice of the peace and a legal adviser to the Duke of Norfolk.  He held lands from both him and the Abbot of St. Benet’s. He was comfortably off, being assessed on £60 worth of goods in 1524 at a time when anyone worth £40 and above was expected to pay their contribution in advance.  While his wealth was comparable to that of many of his fellow gentry, it was decidedly below that of the wealthier Norwich Aldermen, the richest of whom, Robert Jannys, was assessed on £1,100 wealth, exceeding that of the entire town of Rochester in Kent.

White’s will (which survives in the Norfolk Record Office) is revealing both about his family connections and about the man himself.  Unsurprisingly, he leaves half his property, including lands, plate and jewels, to his wife, Elizabeth and the residue to his son Edward at the age of 20, his wife having control of the property till then, with the proviso that it should pass to his daughter Anne if his son failed to attain that age.  White’s wife appears to have been previously married to one William Tymperley Esq., for the will makes provision for everything to pass to her children by Tymperley if Edmund’s own children do not survive.  White clearly felt a strong bond with the Tymperleys, leaving both land and sums of money to various members of that family.

White made other bequests quite apart from those to his family and friends.  A token amount for tithes forgotten was almost standard but he also provided funds for the poor of Hensted Hundred and for those of Norwich for the space of twelve years as well as 20 shillings for each of the friaries in Norwich ‘if they do stande and not be past downe”  a clear reference to the ongoing dissolution of the monasteries and related bodies.  It seems, too, that his conscience was pricking him where his brother’s will was concerned.  He, like Edmund White, had made provision for the poor and the friaries in his will for a similar period with the responsibility for payment falling on Edmund.  Edmund appears to have been lax in this respect.  He now stipulated that these provisions should be executed acknowledging that “7 do owe among them xxxiiii li”  suggesting that nothing had been paid to either poor or friars for almost a decade and that the £34, as well as bequests due for a further three years, should now be met.  His wife was to have the manor of Shotesham and closes of Stoke and ‘Wetewood’ as well as the manor ‘inferme of the Abbie of Saynt Benettes’ until their son, Edward, attained the age of 21 years.  The will was proved at Norwich on 1st August 1538.   According to Blomefield, Edmund White survived until 1558 when the property passed into the hands of the D’Oyly family, Anne White having married Henry D’Oyly in the interim.  The D’Oylys remained as squires in Shotesham until they were superseded in their turn by the Fellowes family who remained pre-eminent in Shotesham until comparatively recently.