Tasburghs of Bodney

My article ‘The Tasburghs of Bodney: Catholicism and Politics in South Norfolk’ has been published in volume 46 of Norfolk Archaeology (pp. 190-198). It is one of a pair of articles on the Tasburgh family; the other one, on the Flixton branch of the Tasburghs, is due to be published this year in Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History.

The Tasburghs were an ancient Norfolk family and were probably descended from the Doomsday landlords of the village of Tasburgh from whom they took their name. They later moved to South Elmham St. Peter where they lived at St. Peter’s Hall, one of the few remaining mediaeval manor houses in Suffolk (which now houses the headquarters of an excellent brewery). At the time of the Dissolution of the smaller priories, the Tasburghs acquired ownership of nearby Flixton Priory, a house of Augustinian nuns. The Tasburghs were not unusual among families that would later be recusants in benefitting from the Dissolution (the Kytsons of Hengrave are another example), but the Tasburghs were unusual in that they did not become recusants until the late 1620s under the influence of Lettice Cressy, the wife of Sir John Tasburgh (d. 1629). The majority of East Anglian recusant families either clung onto the faith from the Marian period (Sulyard, Bedingfield, Drury, Rookwood and Jerningham for instance) or moved from elsewhere in the country (Gage). There were families with both Protestant and Catholic branches but the Tasburghs are the only example I have encountered of an East Anglian family that converted back to Catholicism (I do not count the Jermyns since isolated members of the family converted to Catholicism rather than all of them together).

The Bodney Tasburghs were a late development, the descendents of one of the sons of Sir John Tasburghs, but their importance lies in the fact that they outlasted the senior branch at Flixton and remained active in local politics beyond the period when most Catholic families had given up such ambitions. If you want to know more I would encourage you to read my article…