At the start of the twelfth century, we read of four manors in Salthouse and Kelling, (though it is sadly impossible to define their boundaries now):
1) The capital lordship of William de Scohies in Salthouse, was sold at some unknown date to Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham. By an heiress of that family it came to the ancestor of the Earls of Clare, who owned it up to about 1350.
2) The principal lordship of Kelling, which extended into Salthouse, was held after Ralph de Toesny by the family of de Kelling. As Ralph died in 1102 that is probably the year in which the family of de Kelling began its knightly occupation. They brought no noble name with them from Normandy, so it may be assumed that they ‘rose from the ranks’; it is also likely that they lived in Kelling and built that moated house near Kelling Hall whose slender ruins are still standing.
3) The lordship of the lands formerly held by King Harold’s twelve freemen, then by Ralph, was acquired by the family of Ilketeshale. The first of this name would seem to have been Sir Gilbert de Ilketeshale, who in the twelfth century was also lord of Hedenham in Norfolk and Ilketeshale in Suffolk, whence they took their name.
4) At the Conquest a portion of Salthouse and Kelling was owned by Wester, a freeman of Guert, who was a brother of King Harold. On Wester’s eviction it was given to a Norman named Roger, who held twelve other manors in Norfolk. Roger leased it to one Ralph, the son of Hagan, and the extent of the manor was 240 acres, six free peasants, and twenty tied peasants. It then came into the hands of the ancient family of Braunche of North Barsham
The de Kellings would seem to have early acquired the sub-lordship of Manor 1 from the Earl of Buckingham, and thus extended their control over most of Salthouse parish as well as that of Kelling; they became patrons of both village churches.
The first of the de Kellings seems to have been a Sir Hubert, and we know of his signature to a deed (unfortunately undated) of an agreement between himself and Sir Thomas de Weybourne, whereby Hubert’s men of Salthouse should work at the Weybourne mill and Sir Thomas’ men of Weybourne at the Salthouse mill, when either of them could not grind.
Side by side with this feudal lordship of Salthouse we must remember that the Church had its fingers in the ownership of land. We know that in 1240 Sir Peter Braunche, son of Richard Braunche of Gresham, conveyed all his estate in Kelling and Salthouse to the Prior of Binham for twenty-five marks (except a parcel of land which he gave to Salthouse Church). This grant was confirmed by Sir Nicholas Braunche in a deed of 1321, and the manor then became known as Binham Priory Manor, and was held by the Priory until John Heydon acquired it, either by purchase or exchange, in about 1470.
The family of Braunche of North Barsham drifted away to Somerset in 1314 leaving a junior branch in Norfolk, one of whom, Richard Braunche, was Mayor of Lynn in 1349 and has been immortalised by the ‘peacock brass’ in the church there. The name does not occur again in Salthouse, unless a manor called Brache’s (which bobs up in the late fifteenth century) perpetuates the name of him who gave a parcel of land to Salthouse church in 1240—which parcel is perhaps the very land on which the present church stands, since the date of the old tower’s construction is believed to coincide. On the other hand, the piece of land may have been the portion of glebe adjoining the north-east side of the churchyard where it seems almost certain the rectory used to stand.
Other small portions of Salthouse lands were added to this Manor 4 (Binham Priory Manor) to provide masses for the souls of the donors. During the reign of Henry III (1216-1272) one William, son of Sir Thomas de Weybourne, gave lands in Kelling and Salthouse, with Grenberew (Gramborough) Windmill, for the souls of Alice his wife and Aldreda his mother.
And in 1247 Robert, son of Sir Hubert de Kelling, gave to Binham Priory half a mark rent per annum out of Grenbergh (Gramborough) Mill, and sixteen acres of land in Kelling and Salthouse. Peter Stoun of Kelling and Salthouse also gave rent and lands, as did Roger de Langham.
In 1251 Thomas Weybourne, son of William mentioned above, conveyed by fine* to Richard, Prior of Binham, the fourth part of a fee* in Kelling and Salthouse, the Prior engaging to find Thomas for life several pittances of meat, drink, oats etc (a medieval form of life annuity).