East Carleton village sign was unveiled on 21st June 2003 and this is the story that led to it's design.

Back in the 11th century East Carleton had two manors - the Manor of Carleton Curson and the Manor of Carleton Peverel - and the Grand Serjeanty. The King had added land to the Manor of Carleton Peverel, in perpetuity, under curious conditions. These conditions were that the Lord of the Manor should each year carry to the Kings House, wherever the King maybe in England, 24 herring pies and place them on his Majesty’s table, for which serjeanty or service, the person delivering the pies shall always receive 6 white loaves, 6 dishes of meat out of the kings kitchen, one flagon of wine, one flagon of beer, one truss of hay, one bushel of oats, one pricket of wax and six tallow candles.

About 1424 the Manor of Carleton Peverel came to the Great Hospital in Norwich. At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1547, the Great Hospital with all its endowments, i.e. manors, estates etc. were given to the mayor, sheriffs, citizens and commonalty of the city of Norwich. The corporation of Norwich became trustees of this valuable charity. This meant that they were Lord of the Manor of Carleton and the Grand Serjeanty and each year, under the terms of their tenure, had to see that 24 herring pies were delivered to the King.

In October 1629 the mayor and sheriffs received a letter from Hampton Court complaining that they had not sent the pies according to their tenure - they must be of the first new herrings, also the paste was not strong enough to endure the carriage, there were too few herrings in the pies and fewer pies than before.

The mayor and sheriffs promised more caution in the future; that they would be the first new herrings, that there would be 24 pies and they would be well seasoned with the following spices: half a pound of ginger, half a pound of pepper, a quarter pound of cinnamon, one ounce of cloves, an ounce of long pepper, half an ounce of grains of paradise and half an ounce of galangals.

The last time herring pies were presented to the King is unknown, but this serjeanty, or service, as rent for the land appeared to have continued for at least 60 years.

Information from Blomefield’s History of Norfolk and Norfolk Records Office.

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