The inheritance consisted of the lands of the Bigod earldom of Norfolk in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, [Although the Bigods were usually known as earls of Norfolk, their earldom was the old earldom of East Anglia, including Suffolk. After the demise of the Bigods, Thomas of Brotherton was created earl of Norfolk only and an earldom of Suffolk was created in 1337.] to which had been added in 1246 a fifth of the Marshal inheritance of the earls of Pembroke. The Marshal lands included manors in Berkshire (Hampstead Marshall), Essex (Great Chesterford), Hertfordshire (Weston) and Sussex (Bosham and associated manors), the lordship of Chepstow in South Wales, and the lordship of Carlow in Ireland, and the Bigods, as representatives of the senior Marshal coheir, also held the office of marshal of England, from which the later title of Earl Marshal derived. Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk (d. 1306), came to an agreement with Edward I in 1302 by which he granted to the king the reversion of all his lands and titles in return for which the king granted to him additional lands worth £1,000 a year for the rest of his life. By this act Roger disinherited his younger brother John, who was a clerk, and a cousin John, who would presumably have inherited on the death of the clerk John.
The Bigod lands and title were immediately earmarked for Thomas of Brotherton, a younger son of Edward I born in 1300. In 1310 Thomas's father granted to him the lands and in 1312 the title as well, but Thomas died in 1338 leaving only two daughters as his heirs, his son Edward having died without issue shortly before. The estate was then divided between his widow Mary (d. 1362), Edward's widow Beatrice (d. 1383), and the two daughters. [Edward had died and Beatrice was married to Thomas de Breouse by Sept. 1337: GEC ix. 599.] The younger, Alice, married Edward Montague (d. 1361) and had a son and four daughters of whom only two daughters survived their father: Maud entered Barking Abbey and Joan married William de Ufford, who succeeded his father as earl of Suffolk in 1369. Joan and all four of her sons died without surviving issue in 1375, and on William's death in 1382 her portion of the Brotherton inheritance passed to her aunt, Thomas of Brotherton's elder daughter Margaret. [Cf. above, p. 674. BCM/D Administrative history.]
Margaret was married first to John Lord Segrave, who as a minor had been in the wardship of Brotherton from 1325 until 1336. By Segrave she had a son, who predeceased him without issue, and a daughter who was married to John Lord Mowbray (d. 1368). After Segrave's death in 1353 she married again, to Walter Lord Mauny, by whom she had another son who also predeceased his father, without issue, and a daughter who was married to John Hastings, earl of Pembroke (d. 1375). On Mauny's death in 1372, therefore, Margaret had two surviving daughters who were both to produce sons, and a niece, Joan Ufford, with four sons. It seemed as though the Brotherton inheritance was doomed to division and extinction but, after the death of the last of the Uffords in 1382, Margaret was in possession of the entire inheritance and seven years later her grandson John de Hastings, aged only 18, was fatally wounded in a jousting accident. That left only her remaining grandson, Thomas Mowbray, created duke of Norfolk in 1397, as her heir. The whole inheritance, after Margaret's death in March 1399, Thomas's death (as an exile) in Sept. 1399 and his elder son's execution in 1405, eventually devolved upon Thomas's younger son John on his coming of age in 1413.
In the division of the Mowbray lands in 1483 Howard received most of the Bigod lands, appropriate to his new title of duke of Norfolk, so few charters concerning that inheritance remain in the castle. Berkeley received Kennett and Kentford (Cambs. and Suff.), the three Essex manors, the Sussex lands and half of Carlow. Some of the Suffolk and Norfolk lands are mentioned in the agreed jointure for the duchess Elizabeth in 1476. Additional information about the inheritance is derived from inquisitions post mortem of 1270 and 1306 (the last two Bigod earls), 1353 (John Lord Segrave), 1361 (Edward Montague), 1362 (Countess Mary) and 1399 (Margaret Marshal). [CIPM i, no. 744; iv, no. 434; x, no. 116; xi, nos. 140, 397; xviii, nos. 235-260.]