Norwich, Robert (DNB00)

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NORWICH, ROBERT (d. 1535), judge, is said by Philipps (Grandeur of the Law, p. 55) to have belonged to the Norwiches of Brampton, Northamptonshire, but there is no authority for this statement (cf. Wotton, Baronetage, ii. 214; Baker and Brydges, Northamptonshire). In 1503 he was a member of Lincoln's Inn, where he was reader in 1518, duplex reader in 1521, and subsequently governor (Dugdale, Origines, p. 259). In February 1517 he was pardoned for being party to a conveyance without license, and in November 1518 was on a commission for sewers in Essex (Brewer, Letters and Papers, ii. ii. 2875). In February 1519 he was granted by Agnes Multon a share in the manor of Erlham, Norfolk, and in November 1520 was on a commission for gaol delivery at Colchester. Early in 1521 he was called to the degree of the coif, and in July was commissioned to inquire into concealed lands in Essex and Hertfordshire. Next year he was on the commission of peace for Devon, and in 1523 was made king's serjeant. From this time his name is of frequent occurrence in the year-books, and he was constantly employed on legal commissions (cf. Letters and Papers, passim). He also received numerous grants in reward for his services, chiefly in Essex and Hertfordshire, where he was in the habit of entertaining men of legal and other eminence. In 1529 Sir David Owen, natural son of Owen Tudor, bequeathed to him part of the manor of Wootton, Surrey. In July 1530 he was one of those commissioned to inquire into Wolsey's possessions, and, perhaps as a reward for zeal in this matter, he was on 22 Nov. raised to the bench as justice of common pleas, where he succeeded Sir Robert Brudenell as chief justice in the following January. He was not insensible to presents in his judicial capacity; for a correspondent of Lady Lisle, writing of a case which Norwich was about to try, declared, ‘If you send Lord Norwich a firkin of sturgeon, it will not be lost.’ He took part in the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and was denounced as ‘false Norwyge’ by a catholic partisan. He died early in 1535. His wife survived until 1556, when she died of a fever (Machyn, Diary; Strype, Eccl. Mem. iii. i. 498).

[Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer and Gairdner, 1509–35, passim; Dugdale's Origines, pp. 47, 251, 259, Chron. Ser. p. 81, &c.; Rymer's Fœdera, ed. 1745, VI. ii. 175; Foss's Lives of the Judges, v. 225–6; Manning and Bray's Hist. of Surrey, ii. 149.]

A. F. P.