Name: Thomas Rant
MEM: Thorpe Market church, Norfolk: wall monument with lengthy inscription
Change Date: 23 JAN 2006
Sir Thos. Rant was of Surrey House, Norwich, was knighted on the Restoration, and M.P. for Norwich in 1660; died 1671.
Sir Thomas Rant is primarily remembered in Thorpe Market as founder of the Almshouses and builder of a rather fabled manor house, which is long since demolished, but was by all accounts a very impressive pile.
There is a good wall monument to him in Thorpe Market church, with a long description of his life and times. He came to Norfolk during the Civil War to escape London. He was a lawyer in the City, but may have had Norfolk connections, as there is a branch of the Rant Family listed in Norfolk Families by Walter Rye, going back to the fifteenth century (that name has several spellings, including Randes, a family which had held land in Thorpe Market before, but may have no connection to Thomas). He probably purchased the manor from his predecessor, whose name if I remember was Thomas Richardson. [Presumably the 1st Baron Cramond, 1627-74]
I think one can deduce he was a Royalist, since immediately at the restoration he returned to London to collect a Knighthood. According to his monument he went back to practising law in London, and then retired a second time to Thorpe Market, where he finished his days in charity with his neighbours (well....it would say that).
I don't think he had any children, so the manor passed to his brother William.
Geoffrey Rea Hunter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sir Thomas Rant (1606-1671) built four almshouses for poor widows on the village green at Thorpe Market, Norfolk. Now converted into two, they are still run as a charitable trust.
He was probably also responsible for the large building known as Rant's or Thorpe Hall, which formerly stood near the church, and was demolished around 1780. This was his manor house. Very little is known of it except that it was probably built of red brick. Its walled garden survives behind the church, also largely of brick, and has features, such a polygonal corner turrets, which suggest that the house would probably have been more renaissance in appearance (such as Blickling Hall) than classical (like Hanworth Hall). In 1664 "Dame" Rant paid twenty shillings tax for twenty working hearths, whilst Gunton paid eleven, Hanworth paid ten and Felbrigg paid fifteen. It was a very substantial building, possibly similar in overall size and style to the hall at Barningham Winter.
Thorpe Hall's final occupant was Harbord Morden Harbord, later Lord Suffield, who was Sir Thomas's great-great-grandson. [Would seem to be wrong] He inherited the estate at Gunton from his uncle, Sir William Morden Harbord, in 1770. Shortly afterwards he moved to Gunton and demolished Rant's Hall. Thorpe Market then effectively became part of Gunton Estate, much of it remaining in the ownership of the Harbord/Suffield family until the 1980s.
Only LDS entry that could possibly fit is a Thomas Rant Christened 13 JUL 1606 Saint Stephen, Norwich, Norfolk, son of William Rant.
Father: William Rant b: 1564 in Norwich, Norfolk
Mother: Mary Ward
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