History of Norfolk/Volume 1/Diss

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Hundred of Diss

This hundred hath its name from the capital town, which is so called from the mere situate on its south side; dice in the Saxon language signifying a standing water, lake, or ditch. It is bounded on the south by the river Waveny, which now divides Norfolk and Suffolk, on the west by the hundred of Giltcross, on the north by Depwade, and on the east by the half hundred of Earsham, which joined with the half hundred of Diss, makes up a whole hundred, or, according to the old division, two whole hundreds, and completes the deanery of Redenhall, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk, and diocese of Norwich; the fee of it wholly belonged to Edward the Confessor, as demean of the Crown, till he granted to Ulfiet and Stigand the soc of their own lands,[1] and to the Abbot of St. Edmund's Bury[2] the half part of the soc and sac of his lands, and of all his freemen.

But by the way, it will be necessary to observe, that what we now call Diss Hundred, in the Confessor's time was a hundred and half; the hundred was called Wineferthinc Hundred which Earl Ralph held, upon whose forfeiture it came to the Crown, and was added to the King's half hundred of Dice, and continued ever after as part of it, and this is the reason that the title in Domesday is, the hundred and half hundred of Dice; the fee of which, with all the jurisdiction thereof (except what belonged to the Abbot, to Ulfiet, and Stigand) came into the Conqueror's hands, and the soc and sac of all his freemen in the hundred, that held less than thirty acres, belonged to his manor of Fersfield, but of those that held thirty acres or more, the soc and sac belonged to the hundred of Wineferthinc, which Earl Ralph forfeited.

But as it hath always attended the capital manor of the town, and now remains with it, I have no occasion to discourse of it singly any further.

Dice, now Diss[edit]

In the time of the Confessor, extended into Suffolk, nay the town itself, was then in that county, in Hertesmere hundred, as we learn from Domesday, where we find that it was in King Edward's possession as demean of the Crown, there being at that time a church and twenty-four acres of glebe; that the whole was worth 15l. per annum, which at the Conqueror's time was doubled, it being then estimated at 30l. with the soc of the whole hundred and half, belonging to it, it was then found to be a league long, and half a league broad, and paid 4d. Danegeld, by which it appears that it was not so large in its bounds, as it now is, which is easily accounted for, from the same record: for Watlingsete manor, as it is there called, which was as large as Diss, and seemingly fuller of inhabitants, as we may judge by the geld or tax that it paid, was soon after quite lost in Diss, to which it was appendant at that time. This was afterwards called Walcote, and includes part of Heywode, as appears from its joining to Burston, into which town this manor extended.

The manor thus joined, with the advowson and hundred, continued in the Crown till King Henry I. granted them to

Sir Richard de Lucy, a Norman knight, a man of great renown in those days; the record called Testa de Nevil says, that it was not known whether it was rendered unto him as his inheritance, or for his service; but without doubt it was for the latter, it having been always demean of the Crown. This Richard was governor of Falais in Normandy, the third year of King Stephen, which he manfully defended against Jeffery Earl of Anjou, who had besieged it; he was a great instrument towards the agreement between that King and Henry II. and had the Tower of London, and Castle of Winchester put into his hands, by the advice of the whole clergy, upon his swearing to deliver them up at Stephen's death to King Henry, all which he faithfully accomplished, which so far advanced him in that King's favour, that he made him Chief Justice of England, and in his absence he was appointed governour of the realm, during which time, he took prisoner, in a pitched battle near Fornham in Suffolk, Robert Earl of Leicester, together with his Amazonian proud Countess, Petronell or Parnell, and withal put to the sword above 10,000 Flemings, which the said Robert had levied and sent forth to the depopulation of his country; all or the most part of which were buried in and about Fornham, anno 1178; their sepulchres are now to be seen near a place called Rymer House, on the right hand of the road leading from Thetford to Bury, and are now called the Seven Hills, though there are many more; but seven of them being much larger than the rest, are particularly taken notice of by those that pass this way, under which most probable the commanders were buried: this memorable battle was fought in this field. But to our purpose: it appears he had two sons, Jeffery or Godfrey, afterwards Bishop of Winchester, which, Dugdale says, died before his father; but that is an errour, for Godwin tells us (p. 273) that he lived till 1204; however, certain it is, he died without issue, as also did Herbert de Lucy, the second son, so that the inheritance came to his daughters. Maud, the eldest, married to Walter Fitz-Robert, the progenitor of the Fitz-Walters, to whom he gave two parts of the hundred, manor, and market, of Diss with her in marriage. Aveline, he second, married Richard de Ripariis (or Rivers) of Stanford Rivers. Rose or Rohais, the third, to Richard de Warren, natural son of King John. Dionisia, a fourth daughter, not mentioned by either of the afore-cited authors, married Arnold de Mounteny, Knt. who had with her the other third part of the manor, hundred, and market; so that, from that time, there were two manors, by the division of this third part, which was Walcote and part of Hewode. In 1179, as Stow in his Annals tells us, Richard de Lucy, Chief Justice of England, deceased, and was buried in the quire of the abbey church at Lesnes in Kent, which he had founded, and where he had taken upon him the habit of a canon regular the year before. From this Richard the manor came to

Sir Walter Fitz-Robert, son of Robert de Tonnebrigge, the fifth son of Richard Fitz-Gilbert, sirnamed de Tonebrigge, the first Earl of Clare, who came in with the Conqueror, of whose gift he had the castle and town of Clare in Suffolk, with Tunbridge in Kent, and divers other great lordships in England. This Earl was son of Gilbert, sirnamed Crispin, Earl of Brion in Normandy, and son of Jeffery, natural son to Richard I. of that name, Duke of Normandy: he bare, as the Fitz-Walters ever after did, the Earl of Clare's shield varied, which is or, three chevrons gul. The Fitz-Walters being or, a fess between two chevrons gul. He had two wives, Maud de Bocham, (as Mr. Weaver,) or rather Margaret de Bohun, (as Mr. Dugdale,) and Maud, daughter of Sir Richard de Lucy, as aforesaid, in whose right he had this manor, to which he first obtained a charter for a fair, on the eve, day, and morrow after the feast of St. Simon and Jude, and three days following. He was Justice itinerant in Norfolk and Suffolk, and died in 1198, being buried in the midst of the quire of the priory church of Little Dunmow in Essex, of which Robert de Tonebrigge, his father, was first founder; he was sometimes called Walter of Clare, sometimes Robert Fitz-Walter, but mostly Walter Fitz-Robert; he left Robert the Valiant his heir.

Sir Robert Fitz-Walter, Knt. son of Sir Walter Fitz-Robert, commonly called Robert the Valiant, had two wives, Gunnora, daughter and heiress of Philip de Valoines, and Rohesia or Rose, who survived him, and had the manor of Diss, Hemenhale, (which always went with Diss,) Theye, and Diss hundred in dower. He it was that first divided this manor, by giving a moiety of the two parts which he possessed to Sir Gilbert Pecche, Knt. with his daughter Alice (some say sister) in free marriage, with the third part of the hundred and market, and so there branched a third manor, which was called Pecche's Fee. This Robert was leader of those barons that rose against King John, the beginning of which was on this occasion, as the book of Dunmow informs us.

"About the year 1213, there arose a great discord between King John and his Barons, because of Matilda, sirnamed the Fair, daughter of Robert Fitz-Walter, whom the King unlawfully loved, but could not obtain her nor her father's consent thereunto; Whereupon (and for divers other like causes) ensued war throughout the whole realm; the King banished the said Fitz-Walter, among others, and caused his castle called Baynard, and other his houses, to be spoiled, which being done, he sent a messenger unto Matilda the Fair, about his old suit in love, and because she would not agree to his wicked motion, the messenger poisoned a boiled or potched egg, against she was hungry, and gave it unto her, whereof she died in 1213." Her tomb was standing between two pillars in the priory church of Little Dunmow, when Mr. Weaver published his book.

In the year following her banished father was restored to the King's favour upon this occasion. "King John being then in France with a great army, it happened that a truce was taken between the two Kings of England and France, for the term of five years; and a river or arm of the sea being betwixt either host, there was a knight in the English host that cried to them of the other side, willing some one of their knights to come and just a course or two with him; whereupon, without stay, Robert Fitz-Walter, being on the French part, made himself ready, ferried over, and got on horseback, and shewed himself ready to the face of his challenger, whom, at the first course, he stroke so hard with his great spear, that horse and man fell to the ground, and when his spear was broken, he went back again to the King of France, which King John seeing, By God's tooth, quoth he, (for such was his usual oath,) he were a King indeed that had such a knight. The friends of Robert hearing these words, kneeled down and said, O King, he is your knight, it is Robert Fitz-Walter; whereupon the next day he was sent for, and restored to the King's favour, by which means peace was concluded, and he received his livings, and had licence to repair his castle of Baynard, and all his other castles." Notwithstanding this, he afterwards joined the Barons that stood against the same King for their liberties, during his whole reign; and, at the King's death, by his advice there was an agreement made between them and the succeeding King, from which time he was always in great favour, both in court and country. Holinshed, that faithful historian, gives him this character, that he was "both excellent in counsel, and valiant in war." He went with Ralph Earl of Chester's army, to aid the Christians against the Infidels, who had besieged the city of Damieta in Egypt, where he performed noble achievements: "After which, this strenuous knight, this Mars of men, this marshal of God's army and holy church, (for so he was stiled by the common multitude,) lived in all affluence of riches and honour, till 1234, when he died, and was buried by his daughter in the said church. Holinshed says, anno 1235, in Advent, died the noble Baron the Lord Fitz-Walter."

Robert Fitz-Walter, his son, often called Walter FitzRobert, succeeded; he was a man of renown in those days, and in great favour with his prince; he inherited the lands of his father, except this manor and those of Hemenhale and Theye, which were held in dower by Rose his stepmother, who possessed them to 1256, from which time he held them, and dying seized in 1258, was buried in the conventual church of Dunmow, leaving

Robert, his son and heir, then ten years old, who was knighted in 1274, and had a great part of his possessions in his own hands before that time, though this manor, with Hemenhale and Theye, was in the hands of Stephen Fitz-Walter, his uncle, (as I take him to be,) as guardian and trustee to the said Robert. This Stephen in 1286 claimed a market every Wednesday and Friday, with all rights belonging to a market, and it was allowed in Eire. It seems that King Henry I. established this market, for he granted it to Sir Richard de Lucy, along with the manor; at this time the jury also find, that the said Stephen held a third part of the hundred, which was worth five marks yearly; that Ernald de Montiniaco (Arnold Mounteny) held of him another third part, which was worth 60s. per annum, and that Richard de Boyland held of the said Stephen another part, which was worth 28s. per annum; and that this Stephen, as capital lord of the whole, paid into the Exchequer a rent of 40d. a year, being entitled, in his part, to view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, infangenthef, weyf, and all other liberties which belonged to a hundred, all which soon after came to Robert Fitz-Walter aforesaid, for I find him in possession in his own name. In 1293, he was summoned to attend King Edward I. into Gascoign, in order to recover his inheritance from the French King, to which place he went, in the retinue of Edmund Earl of Lancaster. In 1296, he was in the Welsh expedition, and in 1299, in the Scotch wars. It was this man that aliened Baynard castle in London, and Montfitchet Tower, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, reserving his Barony that belonged to it, to himself and his heirs: he was the first of this family that styled himself Lord of Wodeham in Essex, where he had a seat and a fine park. He had two wives, Devorgil, daughter and coheir of John de Burgh, son of Hubert de Burgh, late Earl of Kent, and Chief Justice of England, and Eleanor daughter of Earl Ferrers, by whom he had Robert his son, who succeeded him. In this year he obtained a charter of confirmation for a fair every year at his manor of Diss, upon the eve, day, and morrow after the feast of St. Simon and Jude, and three days following. He was one of those parliamentary Barons that sealed the letter to the Pope anno 1301, denying that the kingdom of Scotland was his fee, or that he had any jurisdiction in temporal affairs. He sealed with his paternal coat, supported by two harpies, which seal of his I have seen affixed to several deeds, and in particular to a grant made in 1298, to William Partekyn of Prilleston, (now Billingford,) dier, by which he granted, for his homage and service, and half a mark of silver in hand paid, two messuages in Diss, with liberty of washing his wool and cloths in Diss Meer, whenever he would, with this reserve, that the gross die should be first washed off, and that he should not suffer the drain of his dying office to run into the Meer. The Escheat Rolls of the 19th of Edward II. say, that he held Diss at three knights fees, and Hemenhale by barony. Dugdale and others imagine that he died this year, because we find that from the 28th of January the escheator accounted for the profits of his estates till the 12th of February following, when he delivered seizin to Robert Fitz-Walter, son of the said Robert, who was of full age; but this is an errour, for at that time we find that he renounced all the temporal goods of this life, and, as Mr. Weaver tells us rightly, then entered himself a friar minor in the friery at Colchester, which he himself, in 1309, had founded, and there took upon him the habit of a religious votary, where he spent the rest of his days.

In the catalogue of emperors, kings, princes, and other potent persons, that have entered into this religious order, this Robert was one. It seems as if the church of Diss was built by this man, his arms cut in stone still remaining several times on the south porch.

Robert Fitz-Walter, Lord of Wodeham, his son, married in his father's lifetime, first to Joan daughter of John de Botelort in 1304, by whom he had no issue; and after to Joan, one of the daughters and coheirs of John de Moulton of Egremond, who survived him, and had for her dowry an assignation of the manors of Henham in Essex, Diss, and Hemenhale in Norfolk, &c. In 1361, this Joan purchased by fine of Nicolas de Walcote and Joan his wife, one messuage 80 acres of land, 60 acres of meadow, 6 acres of pasture, 4 acres of wood, and 14s. per annum quit-rent in Diss, Frenze, and Burston, which was added to the capital manor, and was part of Walcote manor that was granted by one of the Mounteney's, to William de Walcote, the father or grandfather of this Nicolas. She it was also that brought the Castle of Egremond in Cumberland, and a third part of that manor, and many others, to this family. This Robert was in the expedition made into Scotland in 1326, and died the year following, leaving

John, his son, then 13 years old, possessed of two parts of his estate, the third being held by the said Joan in dower; he was a ward of Henry de Percy's; but in the ninth of Edward III. by the King's special favour, his homage was accepted, and livery made to him; Diss manor then was valued at 31l. Hemenhale at 48l. Fincham at 6l. 13s. 4d. He was in the French wars in 1359, being one of those appointed to accompany Sir Walter Manny in that skirmish at the barriers of Paris, the Duke of Normandy then lying in that city, and was then knighted. He married Eleanor daughter of Henry Lord Percy, his guardian, was summoned to parliament from the 15th to the 34th of Edward III. exclusive, and died upon Monday the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, anno 1360, leaving Walter, his son and heir, 16 years of age, Joan his mother surviving him; she died in 1362, whereupon Walter her grandson was found to be next heir, and 19 years of age, this manor being then held at three fees as of the Barony of Baynard Castle.

Walter Lord Fitz-Walter, making proof of his age in 1362, and doing his homage, had livery of all his lands. In the 44th of Edward III. he was in that expedition made into Gascoign, and there reputed one of the most expert soldiers in the whole realm; but being taken prisoner in those wars, was forced to mortgage his castle and lordship of Egremond for 1000l. towards raising his fine for his redemption. In 1372, an invasion being feared from the French, having raised what power he could for defence of Essex, he was commanded to repair into Norfolk for the safeguard of those parts. In 1379, he procured the King's charter for a weekly market every Friday, at his lordship of Hemenhale in Norfolk, and a fair yearly on the eve, day, and morrow after the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. Soon after, in 1381, he did great service in Essex against the rebels under Jack Straw, by suppressing those that endeavoured to make head there. Many other great and noble exploits of this man may be seen in the first volume of Dug. Baron. fol. 222, and in the second volume of Holinshed's Chronicle, fol. 405, 419. He was Lieutenant to Thomas Duke of Gloucester, Constable of England, in the great cause between the Lords Lovell and Morley, for the arms of Burnel, in the Court of Chivalry, anno 1384, and 1386, in which year he died in Spain, on Wednesday before St. Michael, being one of those that accompanied John Duke of Lancaster, King of Castile and Leon, in his expedition thither, where the English, not able to bear the heat of the country, died in great numbers. "Among others there died before the breaking up of the camp, one of the greatest Barons of all the company, the Lord Fitz-Walter." I have seen an ancient deed of this Walter, in French, by which, as Lord of Diss, he granted a messuage and 8 acres of land to one William Moundry; it was dated at Henham 40 E. III. to which his seal was fastened, being his paternal coat, and an estoil between two plumes for his crest. (circumscribed, Sigillum Walteri Filtj-Walteri.) His first wife was Eleanor, by whom he had no issue; his second, as Mr. Dugdale tells us, was Philippa, daughter and coheir to John de Mohun Lord of Dunster, and widow of Edward Duke of York; she survived him. But Le Neve, in his Collections, differs in this point; for, as he justly observes, this Philippa, widow of that Edward Duke of York who was killed in the battle of Agincourt, in the third year of Henry V. could never be the wife of this Sir Walter Fitz-Walter, who died the tenth of Richard II. before that battle was fought: to reconcile this we must observe, that Robert Fitz-Walter, the eldest son of this Walter, lived to be of age, though he died before his father, without issue; and he it was that married Philippa aforesaid, who, after his death, married again to Edward Plantagenet Duke of York, and Earl of Rutland, who held Diss manor, hundred, and market, together with Hemenhale, till he was killed as aforesaid, and from his death she held them till 1431, in which year it appears, by the inquisition then taken, that she died seized, and that

Sir Walter Fitz-Walter, second son, and now heir, of Walter Lord Fitz-Walter, brother and heir of Sir Robert Fitz-Walter, first husband of the said Philippa, had livery of the manors of Diss and Hemenhale, with their appurtenances, all which (except the advowsons) were held in dower by the said Philippa; but they went with the rest of the estate of the said Robert, and had been in possession of the said Walter ever since 1389, when he had livery to them, as heir to Walter his father, and Robert his elder brother; and accordingly I find, he presented to Diss, in 1390 and in 1399; Philippa aforesaid levied a fine, to Alexander Walden, Sir Richard Bouchier, Knight, and others, settling these manors on herself for life, after to the said Walter and his heirs, as his inheritance. This Walter married Joan daughter of Sir John Devereux, Knight; he died in 1408, and ordered his body to be buried in Henham church, leaving Joan his wife, who soon after married to Hugh Burnel, and two sons, Humphry and Walter, and one daughter named Eleanor.

Humphry Lord Fitz-Walter, his eldest son, was under age at his father's death, and was a ward of King Henry the Fifth's, who granted the custody of him to John de Beauford Earl of Somerset; the earl dying soon after, left him to his executor, Henry Beauford Bishop of Winchester, but dying before he came of age, he never was in possession of his inheritance, but it went to his brother,

Walter Fitz-Walter, who was under age, and had not possession of his estate till 1428, at which time he had livery thereof, but not of Diss and Hemenhale till 1431, when Philippa died, who had held them all this time in dower. In this year he settled them in trust on his feoffees, Richard Baniard, and Simon Cistern, rector of Berningham, who presented here jointly with him; and immediately after that settlement I find a pardon passed the great seal, for the alienation of his manors of Hemenhale, Diss, and Diss half hundred, without the King's license. This Walter was one of the most active men in the French wars, in the time of that victorious prince Henry V. who in the eighth year of his reign, for the great services that he had done him, gave to him and his heirs male all the lands and lordships which Sir John Cheney, Knt. deceased, held in the dutchy of Normandy, which reverted to the crown, for default of heirs male of the said John, and were of the value of 5000 scutes. He was then a very young man, not being of full age till 1422, though in 1421 he was taken prisoner by the French, but soon got released; he died about 1432, (in which year the probate of his will bears date,) and desired to be buried in Dunmow priory, ordering his executors to make an arch in the wall, near his mother's grave, allowing 40 marks to defray the expense, and requested that his own, and his wife and children's bodies should be there deposited. Elizabeth his wife survived him, who held in dower Hemenhale and Diss manors, with the hundred of Diss in Norfolk, the manors of Shimpling and Thorne in Suffolk, of Wodeham-Walter, Henham, Leiden, Vitring, Dunmow-parva, Burnham, Winbush, and Shering in Essex; she after married to William Massey, and lived to June 14, 1463, at which time she died, leaving Anne, wife of Thomas Ratcliff, Esq. and Elizabeth, (then single,) her daughters and heiresses; Anne had no issue, but Elizabeth afterwards married to

John Ratcliff, Knt. brother of the said Thomas, who was soon after summoned to parliament as Lord Fitz-Walter, and in right of his wife enjoyed all the honours and possessions of this noble family; and though we have different accounts of this matter, the escheat roll confirms it to me that this Elizabeth was the wife of John, and not of Thomas Ratcliff, as is said by some.

This family, as Mr. Le Neve thinks, came first into this county in 1411, when John Ratcliff, Esq. father of this Sir John Ratcliff, married Cecily, the widow of Sir John de Herling, by which he much advanced his family. This Sir John, after he was Lord Fitz-Walter, sided with Edward IV. against King Henry VI. and being by him appointed to keep the passage at Ferrybridge, which the Lord Clifford resolved to gain by surprise, was there slain, on Saturday before Palm Sunday, 1460, as he rose from his bed unarmed, with a poll ax only in his hand, in order to appease the fray, as he thought, among his own men, leaving his estate in possession of Elizabeth his wife, and John Ratcliff, afterwards Lord Fitz-Walter, his son, all which the said

John enjoyed till 1493, when he was attainted of treason, and being apprehended, was brought into England with several other knights, among which was Sir Robert Ratcliff, who was beheaded, but the Lord Fitz-Walter was pardoned; after that he went to Calais, and being there laid in hold, was beheaded, because he would have corrupted the keepers, with many promises, to have escaped out of the same, intending, as was thought, to have gone to Perkyn, at that time a pretender to the crown against Henry VII. who, at the time of his attainder, seized upon all his revenues, and among them, on this manor, hundred, and advowson, together with the manor of Watton's, or Cock-street, and Walcote in Diss, both which were become members of the great manor; and in 1498, the King presented here, by reason of the forfeiture and attainder of John late Lord Fitz-Walter. They remained in the Crown till Henry VIII. restored them to

Robert Ratcliff, son of the said John, who was in so great favour with that king, that he not only restored him in blood and estate, but made him knight of the garter, Lord Fitz-Walter, Egremond, and Burnel, and afterwards, on the 16th of June, 1523, created him Viscount Fitz-Walter, and on the 8th of December, 1529, Earl of Sussex: he had three wives; by Elizabeth daughter of Henry Stafford Duke of Buckingham, he had Henry Lord Fitz-Walter, who succeeded him; he died at Chelsey the 28th of November, 1542, and is buried in the church of Boreham, in London diocese, with two other earls, his son and grandson, under a sumptuous monument, as appears by their inscriptions in Mr. Weaver's Funeral Monuments, fol. 635.

Henry Ratcliff Earl of Sussex, Viscount Fitz-Walter, Lord Egremond and Burnel, held his first court in 1342; he was in great favour with Queen Mary, and of her privy council; and by her grant, dated November 2, in the first year of her reign, had "liberty licens and pardon to were his cappe, coyf or night cappe or twoo of them at his pleasor as well in our presens as in the presens of any other person or persons within this our relme or any other place of our dominion during his life." He died at Westminster, 17 Feb. 1556, leaving issue by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk, Thomas the third earl of Sussex, and Henry the fourth earl.

Thomas the third earl, in 1557, was seized of Diss, Attleburgh, and Hemenhale, Dockyng, Southmere, Warners, Billingford, Rushton. Skerning, Shedestrond, and Sturston, in Norfolk; he had two wives, Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, by whom he had Henry and Robert, who both died young, and Frances daughter of Sir William Sidney, by whom he had no issue, who died June 9, 1583, leaving

Frances his widow this manor, and great part of the estate, for life; and at her death, to Robert Lord Fitz-Walter, his son, who died before her, so that it came to

Henry Ratcliff, his brother, who died seized the 14th of Dec. 1593, when it descended to

Robert Ratcliff, his son, who in 1621 sold it to

Frances Shute, widow, and her heirs, who held a court in 1622; in 1635 it was in

John Duke, Esq. of Worlingham, in Suffolk, who about 1649 left it to

Parnell and Anne Duke, his daughters, who kept their first court in 1656: this John sold the advowson from the manor.

Parnell married

Roger Pepys of Impington, Esq. who afterwards had Anne's part also, and at his death left it to

Talbot Pepys, his son, who married Hannah daughter of John Man, alderman of Norwich; she outlived him, and held the manor and hundred till 1694, when she died, and left it to

Roger Pepys, her son and heir, who is lately [1736] dead; and Mrs. Anne Pepys, his widow, is present [1736] lady thereof.

Pecche's Manor, now called Heywood Hall[edit]

Had its rise out of the capital manor; Sir Robert Fitz-Walter, who held two thirds of the hundred and town of Diss, granted one third thereof with his daughter (some say sister) Alice, in marriage, to

Sir Gilbert Pecche, Knt. lord of Brunne, in Cambridgeshire, upon whose death it descended to

Sir Hammond Pecche, Knt. his son, who died in 1240, leaving, by Eva his wife, several children; Gilbert was his eldest son and heir, but this was given to

Robert Pecche, his fourth son, who held it in 1286, in which year he claimed view of frankpledge, and assize of bread and ale of all his tenants. It was this Gilbert, and Agnes his wife, that in 1292 conveyed two third parts of this manor to Sir Robert Fitz-Walter, so that it was again joined to the great manor, all but one third part, which they in 1285 had conveyed by fine to

Sir Richard de Boyland, and Maud his wife, together with a third part of the demeans, and 28s. per annum quitrent; and this part constituted that manor here, which is now called


Of which I find a fine levied in 1289, by Sir Richard de Boyland, and Maud his wife, to Stephen Fitz-Walter, lord (in trust) of the great manor, who designed to join this, as his predecessor had done the other parts to that manor, in order to make it more complete, but it proved of no force, for in 1314

Richard, son of Richard de Boyland, sued Robert Fitz-Walter for it, and recovered it, it having been settled on his mother before the fine was sued, to which he was not a party; and soon after he settled it upon John de Mortimer, in trust for himself and his heirs, which John is said to hold it in 1327. At Sir Richard's death it came to

Sir John de Boyland, of Boyland Hall, in Brisingham; (in which place more will be added of that ancient family;) he left only one daughter, married to

John Lancaster, of Brisingham, Esq. senior, who left it to Ellen his wife, for life; then to

John Lancaster, junior, of Brisingham, Esq.; he, by will proved 28th July, 1470, left it to

Elizabeth his wife, for life, and after her decease to

William Lancaster, Esq. (her son) of Catywade and Brisingham, who married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of William Notbeam, by whom he had

Benedicta, his sole heiress, who married to Edward Bolton, about the year 1505; and by will dated 15th July, 1528, bequeathed it to

Thomas Bolton, of Saham Tony, his second son, who died seized in 1544; it was sold to

Thomas Jermyn, Knt. and William Curson, clerk, his trustee; but it continued very little while in this family, for in 1616

William Mason, Esq. and John Beseley, Gent. sold it to

William Webb, and Charles Wiseman, Gents. from whom it came to the Fishers.

Richard Fisher, Gent. being seized in 1636;

Edward Fisher, Gent. in 1662; and in 1667, I find it in

John Buxton, Gent. till 1684; and after in

Robert Buxton, Esq. of St. Margaret's, in South Elmham, who was lord in 1715; at his death it was held by

Elizabeth his widow, now [1736] dead; and

Elizabeth Buxton, a minor, their sole daughter and heiress, is the present [1736] owner.

I must observe, that in a court roll of this manor, among Mr. Le Neve's papers, in 1423, when Elen, widow of John Lancaster senior, held her first court, there were two distinct juries, one for the part of the manor in Diss, and the other for that part in Burston; it was always held of the great manor of Diss, by fealty, and 5s. per annum rent, in full for all suit and service, being estimated at 8l. per annum.

Hewode, or Heywode Manor[edit]

Was always part of Winfarthing manor, till it was separated by Henry I. who gave it to

Sir Richard de Lucy, and so joined it to Diss; he gave a third part of the hundred, manor, and market, in frank marriage with Dionisia his daughter, to

Sir Robert de Muntenei, or Mounteney; and accordingly we find, in the Black Book of the Exchequer, that in the year 1161 the said Robert held of the said Richard three knights fees, sc. in Newton, a member of Stow (market in Suffolk) one fee, and in Walcote, a member of Diss, one fee, and in Sprecton (now Sprouston, in Norfolk) one fee, and in Tacolveston two fees; and in the same town, Hugh, son of Hamel, held one fee; (this afterwards was Uvedale's manor there;) of all which knights the ancestors of Richard de Luci performed ward to Dover Castle; and among Richard de Luci's knights of the old feoffment, Robert de Muntenei is said to hold five fees, of which Walcote, a member of Diss, is one.

Sir Arnold de Munteney, his son, succeeded him; and in 1230 it was found that he held it of Sir Robert Fitz-Walter at one fee, as of his barony; in 1239 a fine was levied between himself and Hamon Chevere, by which he settled it on himself and his heirs. He sealed with a bend between six martlets, circumscribed Sigillum Arnulphi de Muntenie; in 1277 he settled this and Sprowston manors on

Robert his son, who, in 1286, had view of frankpledge, and died seized of this manor, with a third part of the hundred and market, leaving it to

Arnold his son and heir, who claimed liberty of free warren in all his demeans, and had it allowed. In 1293 he was summoned to attend King Edward I. into Gascoign, for the recovery thereof. This Arnold granted part of this manor, viz. 17 messuages, 150 acres of land, 40 acres and an half of meadow, 3s. 4d. 1q. rent, and the rent of 14 hens, and 30 eggs, to

William, his second son, and his heirs, which at William's death were, anno 1313, by fine settled on

Katharine, his widow, then married to Gilbert Baliol, for life, remainder to

Dionisia, afterwards wife of Hugh de Vere, daughter of the said William, by which Dionisia it reverted to Winfarthing manor again; and being joined in the said Hugh, it hath gone with it ever since, for which reason I shall say nothing further here, but refer to Winfarthing, with which it hath so long passed.

The customs of the manor of Diss[edit]

confirmed by the Lord and Tenants, at a General Court of Survey, there held the 13th of September, 1636, are as follow, as appear by the original, now [1736] in the Churchwardens hands.

The fines are arbitrable upon every alienation and descent; and on every death the lands descend to the eldest son, or next allied, according to the course of the common law, and are subject to such forfeitures as the common law doth direct.

The copyhold tenants may fell timber without forfeiture on the copyhold lands.

The lord's bailiff can take but one penny for each beast's poundage. The tenants can dig gravel, sand, turf, &c. on the waste, and make hemp pits on Diss Moor, and Cock-street Green.

The tenants can plant upon the wastes against their own lands and houses, by the name of an outrun.

They can also stub furze and bushes on all the wastes.

The lord hath all the strays; he hath no warren, but liberty of hawking, hunting, and fishing, in the manor; and the lords formerly have granted liberty of fishing to divers tenants; and it is returned that John Turner, Samuel Folser, Thomas Shreve, Reginald Shuckforth, and Henry Turner, have and maintain certain pits in their yards and grounds, with inlets from them to the Great Mere, as by custom they can justify.

The tenants can make steps out of their doors into the street, and stairs out of their cellars, and also they can set up booyes, or props, at their windows, and seats at their doors, according to custom.

The lord hath a market every Friday, a fair on St. Simon and St. Jude, when his bailiff takes 2d. for every tilted stall, and 1d. for every one untilted, and no more; and for the market stalls he takes either a weekly or yearly rent; but all that stand under any houses, penthouses, &c. pays the bailiff, 4d. per annum by 1d. every quarter, and no more; but all they that sell any manner of victuals pay nothing, stand where they will, and all corn, corn carts, &c. pay nothing.

As to the extent of the manor, they say that it extends from the river dividing Norfolk and Suffolk on the south, in and through a great part of the town of Diss, and into Raydon, Burston, Frenze, Shelfhanger, and Winfarthing; and that Thomas Earl of Arundell and Surrey, Earl-Marshal of England, hath a manor here called Heywood; also John Havers, Gent. a manor that extends into this town, called Raydon Hall cum Tufts; Richard Fisher, Gent. hath a manor called Heywood Hall; and Richard Nixon. Gent. Frenze manor, which extends into this town; the manor of Diss rectory, and the manors of Brockdish Hall, and Milden Hall, in Burston, extend hither. The lord of this manor hath a mansion house, in which Samuel Pethaugh now [1736] dwells, and 35l. per annum and a part of the toll-house now [1736] in decay for want of tiling, and a piece of land called Hingelswode, and a piece of marsh in Brisingham.

The advowson belongs to the lord, whose officers are a steward, a bailiff, and a heyward.

N. B. The manors in Diss give a moiety dower.

The capital manor-house, called Diss Hall, is situated at Heywode Green, which with sixteen acres three roods of land, is held by copy of court roll of this manor.

Watton's Manor, now called Cock-street[edit]

Was very small, being held by a freeman, of William Malet, lord of the honour of Eye, in Suffolk, though it did not belong to his fee, till

Walter de Cadomo (Caam or Caux) dis-seized him; this was after called Watton's from one of its lords; it continued some time in Walter's family, and was afterwards held of the capital manor.

In 1235, Ralph de Cunges, or Canz, (a descendant from the said Waiter,) was lord; he held it by the fourth part of a fee: from him it came to

Richard de Cunges, who enlarged it, by purchasing more lands and rents to it of the Fitz-Walters.

In 1322, Reginald le Man, of Diss, was lord, who in 1337, left it to Alice his wife, from which family it came to the Waltons.

About 1420 John Watton was lord, who, before 1431, had conveyed it to

Henry Sircok, for then he occurs lord; it was soon after purchased by the

Fitz-Walters, and added to Diss manor, with which, in 1493, upon the Lord Fitz-Walter's attainder, it was seized by the King, as a member of that manor, and was then called Watton's, or Cockstreet in Disce; from which time it hath been always included in the manor of Diss. The site or manor-house abuts on Cock-street Green west, and was granted, in 1494, by King Henry VII. to be held by copy of court roll, paying 4s. 6d. per annum quitrent.

Diss Rectory Manor[edit]

Hath all along gone, and now is in the rector of the parish: the custom of which is, that all lands and tenements descend to the eldest son, and the tenant cannot waste his copyhold houses without license. The fines are at the lord's will, but in all things else the tenants may do as they please.


The first that I find possessed, before there was any institution, was

Wulketel the priest, who left it to

William his son, as his lawful heir.

Bale, in his Actions of English Votaries, (fol. 98. b.) says that Pope Alexander wrote to John of Oxford, then Bishop of Norwich, that William the now parson of Diss, for claiming the parsonage of Diss by inheritance, after the death of his father parson Wulketel, which begat him in his priesthood, should be dispossessed, and no appellation admitted. From his time to 1299, when the institution books begin, I find no more rectors; nor then, till

  • 1304, 7 kal. Dec. when Adam de Waudringfield, (or Waldingfield,) priest, was instituted, being presented by Sir Robert FitzWalter, Knt.
  • 1316, 2 non. Nov. Thomas de Couling, priest. Walter FitzWalter, Knt. Lord of Wodeham.

King Edward III. by letters patent, dated the 2d of July, presented Martin de Ixning, one of his chaplains, to this church; he had several ecclesiastical preferments given him, both before and after, as the deanery of Bocking in Essex, the custody or mastership of Maidstone college in Kent, and of Dorchester hospital in Salisbury diocese, and a canonry of St. Stephen at Westminster. I take i, that it was a presentation only, for the turn when void, if he lived so long, and was obtained by the King from the Fitz-Walter family. However certain I am, that he never possessed this living, for Thomas de Couling did not resign it till

  • 1350, in which year, sc. the ides of February, William Baltrippe, priest, was instituted, John Fitz-Walter, Knt. Lord of Wodeham, being patron.
  • 1361, 2 July, John de Berking, priest; ditto.
  • 1496, 30 Aug. Hubert Tailour de Thorley, priest. Walter FitzWalter, Knt. he is often in evidences called Hubert de Thorley.
  • 1424, ult. Feb. He resigned to Richard Drurywal, Walter FitzWalter, and Wodeham, Richard Bainard, and Simon Cistern, rector of Berningham, his feoffees.
  • Edward Atherton, priest, who was clerk of the closet to King Henry VI. and by him, December 26, in the seventh year of his reign, presented to this rectory; he was succeeded in 1457, in which year he died, by
  • Richard Donyngton, priest, instituted 16th November. King Henry VI. as guardian to the Lord Fitz-Walter's heirs, being patron.
  • 1452, 7 Oct. Richard Tateshale, A. M. priest, by Donyngton's death. John Ratcliff, Esq.
  • 1465, 11 Feb. Tho. Motyng, (or Multing,) at Tateshale's death. Eliz. Fitz-Walter. This Motyng was either master or fellow of Metyngham college, where he resided much, as I find in the accounts of the said college, (MSS. T. M.)
  • 1490, 16 April, John Wimbuche, (or Wimburle,) S. T. D. on Moutyng's death. John Lord Fitz-Walter.
  • 1598, 16 Aug. Peter Greves, priest, presented by King Henry VII. by reason of the forfeiture and attainder of John Lord Fitz-Walter: he was succeeded by
  • John Skelton, the King's orator and poet-laureat, whose institution occurs not, but I find him rector in 1504, for in
  • 1529, 17 July, Thomas Clerk was instituted, on the death of the said John, at the presentation of Robert Lord Fitz-Walter, &c. Clerk died in
  • 1545, And William Browne succeeded, being presented by Thomas Browne, Gent. who had this turn by grant from Henry Earl of Sussex. This Browne was deprived for being married, both of this and Stonham Jarnegan, and in
  • 1554, 6 May, the Right Rev. John Salisbury, Bishop of Thetford, suffragan to the Bishop of Norwich, was presented by Henry Earl of Sussex, to this rectory, which was void by the deprivation of the last incumbent; he was Bishop of the Isle of Man, and held in commendam the deanery of Norwich, the archdeaconry of Anglesey, the church of Thorp on the Hill, in Lincoln diocese, and the rectory of Diss, by license from Archbishop Parker, dated anno 1570; he was rector for some time of Lopham, and several other parishes in this county: he died at Norwich, and is buried in the middle of St. Andrew's church there, being succeeded by
  • John Hilton, who was instituted March 24, 1572, Thomas Earl of Sussex being patron; he died in 1587, and on October 23, in that year,
  • John Reeve, A. M. was instituted, at the presentation of Frances, then widow of the said Thomas; but he had no peaceable possession: for Henry Earl of Sussex, brother to Thomas, who was husband of the said Frances, brought this action against both patroness and incumbent, and ejected him in 1589; and on May 17, in that year,
  • Richard Cox, A. M. was instituted, as on the death of John Hilton, the last legal incumbent, at the said earl' s presentation, in which he is styled Earl of Sussex, Viscount Fitz-Walter, Lord Egremond and Burnell, and captain or governor of the isle and town of Portsmouth. The dispute seems to have been this, that though the said Frances held the manor for life in jointure, yet the advowson, as the earl would have it, was not in the settlement. But it ended not here; Frances continuing her claim, Cox was ejected, and Reeve declared incumbent, but he remained so but little time, for Nov. 17, 1591, Cox was re-instituted, and very soon after ejected again, and no incumbent declared, nor none presented, so long, that it had laid from the latter end of 1591, to Dec. 1593, when one Wm. Goddard, A. M. was presented, but denied institution; whereupon
  • Cox, to make himself sure, and end all disputes, took the broad seal, it being lapsed to the Crown, and obtained Queen Elizabeth's letters patent to void all other presentations, on which he was instituted Dec. 2, 1593, and held it to 1596, when he died; and on Nov. 12, in that year,
  • John Taverner, preacher of God's word, was instituted, at the presentation of Robert Earl of Sussex, in full right; all other claimants whatever being now dead, he continued rector to
  • 1613, in which year, Dec. 23, Wm. Withers, A. M. was instituted; he died in 1647, when
  • Edward Palgrave, B. D. succeeded, the patron being Richard Prettyman of Griston, Gent. It was not long before he was ejected by the unjust proceeding of those rebellious times, and his living given to one
  • Richard Moore, A. M. who signed the attestation of the ministers of this county in 1648, as Calamy informs us in his Addenda, Vol. 1. p. 481; but he was soon displaced, and it was taken by one
  • John Hobart, who held it by usurpation some time, but was after thrown out by Mr. Moore, who held it to
  • 1662, when he was ejected, and Edward Bernard, clerk, instituted upon his deprivation, at the presentation of John Hobart, Esq.; he held it to 1678, and then died, being succeeded by
  • John Burlington, A. M. at whose death, in 1695,
  • June 1, Edward Bosworth, A. M. was instituted at the presentation of William Bosworth, clerk, patron for this turn. in
  • 1713, John Briars, A. M. was presented by William Burlington, of Diss, Gent. the present [1736] patron; upon the death of Mr. Briars, the said William, in
  • 1729, presented the Rev. Mr. Edward Bosworth, who is now [1736] rector.

Diss Rectory[edit]

Is in the deanery of Redenhall, archdeaconry of Norfolk, and diocese of Norwich, being still charged with first fruits, and the following annual sums, for synodals and procurations; it hath a good rectoryhouse, and convenient out-houses, with 12 acres of glebe adjoining to it, all which abut south on Diss Moor.

In the dean and chapter's book called Norwich Domesday it is said, that the rector then had a mansion-house much in decay, with another house which was formerly the vicar's. It may seem odd that here was ever a vicar, but we are to remember, that often in those times vicars signified no more than curates, and were removeable at the rector's pleasure; indeed, when churches were appropriated to monasteries, and the religious were forced to set out a portion of the glebe and tithes for the maintenance of a vicar, such a one is called a perpetual vicar, made presentative and institutive; but there are no footsteps of any institution to the vicarage of Diss; not but that the rector might, with the consent of the bishop and patron, have at any time created a vicarage, and made his own share a sinecure, as was done at East Dearham, Terrington, &c. and this, since the Council of Lateran; nay, in the diocese of St. Asaph there are such separations of tithes made, and vicarages erected, as low as King Henry the Eighth's time.

Customs of the Rectory[edit]

In the time of King James I. there was a long suit about the customs of this rectory, and at length it was ended, and an exemplification under seal passed Nov. 21, 1610, in which it was thus acknowledged on all sides:

That the rector is to receive in kind the tenth sheaf of all corn bound up:

And of all corn not bound up, the tenth heap, ready heaped.

Of pease, he is to take the tenth stetch.

For the fall of every calf, lamb, or pig, under seven, he is to receive one halfpenny; but if there be seven, he is to take the seventh, and to pay to the owner three halfpence, because there lacks three of ten; if there be eight, one penny; if nine, one halfpenny; if ten, nothing.

For the fall of every foal, the rector to receive one penny.

Every seventh goslin, allowing one farthing for each goslin wanting of ten, and taking one farthing for each goslin under seven.

The tithe eggs are due in kind.

Tithe wool, every tenth pound.

Every tenth bate or sheaf of hemp in kind.

In lieu of tithe wood, the rector is paid one penny every Sunday, house after house throughout the town; for when holy bread was used, three pennyworth of bread was brought to the parson every Sunday, of which he distributed to the poor two pennyworth, and the third penny he had to his own use, by the name of harthage; and at the time of taking away holy bread, the inhabitants paid as above for wood and harthage.

In lieu of tithe hay, the rector receives two-pence per acre for all mowing ground, by the name of fenage.

For every milch-cow, he receives one penny per annum by the name of lactage.

For every orchard and garden plot, he receives one penny per annum in lieu of its tithe.

For every hive of bees, one penny per annum, except it be the first year they swarm, and then nothing.

For every gast heifer, steer, or colt, feeding from one year old to three, one penny.

The tithe calves are to be paid at seven weeks old, and not before; pigs at five weeks old; chickens at a month old; lambs and goslins at Lammas; eggs are due at Easter; herbages, lactages, and fenages, to be paid between Lammas and Christmas.

By the church-wardens' book it appears, that upon every burial in the church they receive 6s. 8d. for breach of the pavement. In 1571, Richard Fowlser paid it for his wife's burial, and Nicholas Estowe did the same.

The church here is dedicated to the honour of the Virgin Mary, and is a regular building, having a square tower joined to its west end, with six bells, a clock, and chimes; the nave, the two isles, and two porches, are leaded; the chancel is tiled; between which and the nave hangs a saint's bell, on which is this inscription,

Sancte Gabriel ora pro nobis.

The vestry, which was on the north side of the chancel, is down; at the end of the north isle is a chapel, formerly belonging to Corpus Christi Gild; opposite is another, belonging to the brothers of St. Nicholas's Gild; but upon their incorporation, about Henry the Sixth's time, when they built St. Nicholas's chapel, they were forsaken by them, and left to the soul priests of the parish, who sang in them until the reformation: the organs used to stand between the first of these chapels and the chancel. The roofs of the nave, chancel, and two chapels, are stained with red and white. This building, now standing [1736], was without doubt built by the Fitz-Walters, whose arms are often cut on the south porch, in stone, and were formerly in many of the windows, (see p. 7,) as were the arms of Wingfield, and De-la-pole: in other windows Fitz-Walter impales Ufford; in another were the arms of England and France quartered, and St. George; as also Bury Abbey arms; and in another shield the East Angles, all which are now lost, except Fitz-Walters.

In an upper north window of the nave is a man in a blue robe, with a red mantle, kneeling on a cushion, bidding his beads, and saying,

Jesu Christe Dei miserere mei.

Opposite, (in the same window,) a woman in the same posture, saying,

Mater Sancta Dei ora pro

There being no arms nor inscription, we know not who they were designed for.

In the south isle is an old inarched monument, with a coffinstone lying by it; but there are no arms nor inscription. In the north chapel was such another stone, which being taken up to make a vault for Mr. William Burton, they found an entire skeleton; by its head was a silver chalice: this in all probability was some priest; it was buried again in the coffin. By this stone stands a fine altar tomb of black marble and Portland stone, on which is this inscription in gilt letters:

Underneath this stone lieth interred the body of Mr. William Burton, late of Cock-street within this parish of Diss, who was a person of known probity, justice, integrity, and charity, and very much valued for his true and hearty friendship to his neighbours; he departed this life the 14th of February, anno Dom. 1705, in the 59th year of his age; and by his last will and testament, bearing date the 26th day of December, 1705, which was proved in the Bishop's court in Norwich (amongst other charities), did devise, that his executrix should purchase lands to the value of one hundred pounds, and that the same should be settled upon two trustees, to the intent that this tombstone, and the vault, should by the churchwardens of Diss be constantly kept clean, and in good repair; and what remains of the yearly profit of the estate, when purchased, or of the interest money, till the purchase be made, should upon Christmas day, yearly, for ever, be disposed of by the churchwardens and overseers of the poor for the time being, to such of the poor housekeepers within this parish, as they, or the major part, shall think fit; with a condition or proviso in the same will, that if this stone, or the vault underneath it, should be broke open, other than for the interment of Mary his wife; or if the churchwardens neglected to keep the same clean, and in good repair; or to keep an account in their books how, and to whom, the money shall be yearly disposed of, then the payment of the charity to Diss is from thenceforth to cease, and to be paid to Roydon, for the like uses, and under the like conditions; and if Roydon make default, then in like manner to Brissingham.

Against one of the north pillars in the middle isle is fixed a neat small monument, on the top of which, in a shield,

Deynes impales sab. three boars heads coupee or; and this inscription:

Lector, Recede paulo Hæc dum tu vides, Conculcas Cineres venerandos, Sub pedibus jacet corpus humile Animâ humiliori prius hinc ascensâ, Martha Henrici Deynes, Gen. Uxor, Stirpis, Sexûs, Pietatis, Ornamentum, Quæ dum vivens, modestè silere solita, Jam mortua adhuc loquitur, Obijt Maij 30 Anno Ætatis 23° Dni. 1661.

On the same pillar another small monument is fastened, on which, Juxta hoc monumentum Jacet Corpus Rici. Deynes, Fil. Henrici et Marthœ, Gen. Qui obijt 25 die Julij Anno Dom. 1712. Etat. sue 56.

All the stones are robbed of their brasses; on one of which in the chancel is the impression of the chalice and wafer, under which is a priest buried.

Two black marbles in the chancel have the following inscriptions: the arms are, a lion rampant impaling a cross floree between four trefoils; crest, a plume of feathers.

Here lieth the Body of Edward Bosworth, late Rector of Thelveton, who departed this life the 14th of June 1714, aged 40 years. And also Deborah his wife, who was one of the daughters of Samuel Manning, Gent. deceased, who died the 13th of September, 1708, aged 28 years.

On the second, Bosworth's arms and crest as before.

Here lyeth the Body of Edward Bosworth, late Rector of this parish, who departed this life the 18th Day of January, 1713, aged 65 years.

In the churchyard, a large black marble lies flat on the ground, on the south side, by the chancel door. A chevron ermine, between three eagles with double heads, displayed.

To the pious memory of Murgaret Daughter of Mr. Thomas Howching Rector de Palgrave virtuous wife of Mr. Henry Shuckforte, indulgent mother of Thomas Margaret Henry Samuel and Sarah their Children she departed this life the 13th day of October 1692 aged 70 Yeares.

Also to the pious memory of Thomas their Eldest sone who departed this life the 2d Day of March 1603, aged 20 Yeares.

On an altar tomb much decayed.

Thomæ Baylie Generosi—tatem Probitatem Charitatem conjugalem et parentalem Affectum vere spectabilis, Qui cum Prudentia, Fortitudine, Dexteritate, et indefessa in Rebus Opera feliciter gestis, Deo Patriæque diu inservisset, de hac Villa optime mæruisset, Et ad Invidiam usque claruisset, Annorum jam satur bonorum cum Luctu obijt, Jul. 18. Anno 1640 Ætatis suæ 76.

Observantiæ Et Amoris ergo posuerunt Executores, C. R. P. M.

Here lyeth interred Anne Baylie Wife of Thomas Baylie Who after shee—him 52 Yeares departed—Anno 1638.

Near this Place—Bodies of Thomas Baylie, the Younger and Martha Baylie his daughter dep. 1619. 1620.

On another altar tomb. Crest, a garb. Arms, on a cheif an eagle displayed:

Here under lyeth the Body of John Harrison, Gent. who departed this Life the 18 Day of May Anno 1665, and Mary his Wife who departed this Life the 1 Day of April An. Dom. 1673.

On an altar tomb by the south isle, Sheriff's arms, viz. az. on a fess ingrailed between three griffins heads erased or, a de-lis between two roses gul.

Thomas Sheriffe Gen. et Artium Magister, Sub Tumulo a Laboribus Hic repositus quiescit.

decessit April 13, Anno Ætatis 61. Dom. 1669.

Here also lyeth the body of Charles Kett, Gent. who departed this Life the first Day of June 1696. And Charles Kett his Son who died in the same Month being about two Yeares of Age.

On another altar tomb, Sheriff's arms as before.

Conditur hic Johannes Sheriffe Charissimus Apollinis Filius Vir vere probus, et civilis Officij non ignarus, omnibus benevolus ob Peritiam in Re medicâ non vulgarem Ditioribus acceptus, ob promptum Animum tenuibus opitulandi Quot Diebus quæsitus, defunctus utrisque ploratos, obijt Prid. Id. Jul. Anno Dom. 1698.

Ætatis suæ 56.

On another altar monument:

Coggeshall, arg. a cross, between four escallops sab Crest, a back couchant sab. attired or.

Here resteth in hopes of a joyful Resurrection, the Body of William Coggeshall, Gent. Late of Diss, born at Stretford In Suffolk, who departed this Life August the 9th, 1714, aged 48 Years.

And under the North Side of this Stone, lieth John, Son of William Coggeshall, Gent. And Elizabeth his Wife, who departed this Life April the 13th, 1706, Aged 6 Years.

On another altar tomb. Here lieth the Body of Elizabeth Burroughs, Relict of John Burroughs, Gent.

And Daughter of Mr. Samuel Cann, late of this Parish, who departed this life, Dec. the 2d, 1711, in the 59th Year of her Age.

Here also lyeth the body of Hugh Cann, Who departed this life The xxii. of Febr. 1688, Ætatis suæ xxviij.

Here are three coffin stones; the first for, William, Son of Robert Camell, and Elizabeth his Wife, born at Diss the 11th of April, 1634, obijt 29, Jan. 1702. Margaret Wife of Robert Camell, Gent. died 24 Dec. 1685.

Mary 2d Wife of Robert Camell, Gent. died 22 May, 1705.

Robert Camell Gent. obijt xvi°. Die Novem. Anno Dom.


The steeple hath a passage through its arches, which serves for a west porch; on a small marble fixed in the wall is this, Near this Place lyeth the Body of Thomas Shreeve, Who departed this Life The 11th Day of February, in the Year Of our Lord 1721, Aged 34 Years.

Sheriff, impaling a chevron between three roundels. On an altar tomb, M.S. Elizabethæ Johannis Sheriffe, hujus Oppidi dudum Incolæ, necnon Medici inclyti, Viduæ pientissimæ Quorum, Sobolis Pietas, Parentum Moribus imbutæ, hoc Monumentum, poni voluit, Illa autem, pacificâ spe Beatæ Resurrectionis, ad Vitam sempiternam, Naturæ Debitum solvit.

Anno Ætatis 46 Nov. v. 1702.

In the south porch is a marble, thus inscribed:

Here lieth the Body of John Petit, who died the 21st of September, Anno Dom. 1727, aged 71 Years. Also near this Place lieth the Body of Abigail his first Wife, who died the 17th of March, Anno Dom. 1708, aged 56 Years:

See here our Bodies are laid in Grave, Christ Jesus died our Souls to save, We commit both Soul and Body to his Protection, In hopes of a joyful Resurrection.

Burials Taken From The Register[edit]

  • 1558, 10 Feb. Sir Thomas Johnson, priest. (He was the last soul priest here.)
  • 1579, 30 June, Thomas, the son of parson Crabb, of the plague. (The plague was here this year, 56 persons died of it.)
  • 1613, 22 Dec. John Travenour, clerk, buried.
  • 1626, Sussex, son of William Leak, Esq. 15th Sept.
  • 1475, John Hungir, chaplain, buried in the church; he was a benefactor to Corpus Christi Gild, and to St. Peter's Gild at Palgrave. (R. Gelour.)
  • 1414, 28 Sept. Stephen Cowper was buried at Diss, and gave his tenement called Cheppys, in Diss, to Thomas his son, on condition that he and his heirs for ever should, out of the said tenement, keep a lamp burning in this church, in time of service, on all holidays, before the crucifix, and also his anniversary every year.
  • 1494, Ric. Edon de Diss, buried there: I will that the (town) village of Diss have my house and land in Sturston, (except my pasture at Overgate-went, and half an acre and a rood at Weteland-went,) and also my meadow in Skole, and half an acre at Sondewey there, and one acre and a half in Broome, for ever, on condition that the annual profits thereof be applied to pay the common fine (i. e. the lete fee) of the town of Diss for ever, and that they annually keep my obit for ever, for the souls of me and Agnes my wife, of Henry Edon and Margaret his wife, of Robert Avelyn and Emma his wife, and of Henry Clerk, and of all benefactors, 4d. to ryng; 3s. 4d. (pro certitudine) for a certyn.
  • 1497, Sir John Dowe, buried in our Lady's church here, gave x. marks for a silver bason; to Sir John Peny, Sir John Colop, Sir John Pepys, and Sir William Thonder, to each 6s. 8d. to bear him to church and pray for his soul; and to the parish priest the same; and a legacy to the tabernacle of St. Nicholas in the church.
  • 1504, John Herold, parson of Sterston, gave two bushels of wheat and two bushels of malt to Corpus Christi Gild, and the same to St. Nicholas's Gild, and to the priest's service in the same town, 6s. 8d. (This was to the priest that daily said Jesus mass, in one of the chapels in this church.)
  • 1504, Margery Cowper, buried in the church before the rode awter by her husbonde, to the high altar 6s. 8d.; to Corpus Christi Gild, 20d.; to St. Nicholas's Gild, 2s.; to the Gild of St. Nicolas my gretest cadern (caldron) and an ale tubbe. "I will myne executors pay the money I promysyd to the purchase of the church [this was towards Framlingham lands.] Item, to Thomas myne son, Mil Close to ringe the yereday for me and myne husband, so long as it shall please the said Thomas; but never the lesse, I constrayne him not to do it, but at his awn voluntary will be it done."

Witnessed by master John Skelton, laureat, parson of Disse, and Sir John Clarke, sowle priest of the same town; proved 6th Mar. 1504.

  • 1505, John Prikke, of Disse, sener, buried in the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Diss: he gave towards the purchase of lands in Framlingham, 20s. per annum until the purchase is completed; to the Gild of St. Nicolas the bishop 6s. 8d.; to the Gild of Corpus Christi, 5s. He founded an obit for two years in the church, and gave 16 marks to the priest for it; to repair le fowle slothe [foul slough] between the pightell of Thomas Shreeve and Margery Cooper, towards Reydon, 6d.; to repair St. Spinus in Disse church, a silver spoon. Witness John Collop, chaplain; proved 25th Maij, 1506.
  • 1506, 2 Feb. proved 14th Ap. 1507. John Clarke; he ordered his executors to pay to the purchase of Framlingham, quarterly, to each of the two Gilds, 8d. He left money "to a pylgrym, a priest, to be in prayer and pilgrimage at Rome the whole Lent, there to pray and syng for me and myn children, my fader and moder, Robert and Cate, John Kew and Maut, Steven Brightled, and John Payne, the which I am in dett to."
  • 1512, Thomas Cowper, buried in Disse church. "Item, I wyll that my closen called Chepys, and the Mylleclose, shall find the lamp with, for the rood, and the certen, and the yerday, for the soulys of Stephyn Cowper, and Margery his wife, Thomas Cowper, and Agnes his wife, and all our children, for whom a priest shall be found to sing, lx. yers of my londs in Harleston."
  • 1514, Thomas Purchase, alias Spicer, of Diase, buried in the church there, gives Margaret his wife, for life, and after to Thomas his son, a medow in Diss, called Mekill Close, with a house on it, on condition to keep his anniversary yerely for evermore in the church, that is with 11s. 4d. to be given to three honest priests, and in other deeds of charitie and ryngyng, to pray for my soul, and the souls of friends and benefactours.
  • 1563, John Rivet of Diss, 25th Sept. buried in the steeple porch; he gave a surplice: to repair the Market-street pavement, 20s.

Some of the lands that were settled on the soul priests, and to maintain the lamps, &c. were seized by Edward VI. in 1547, and were granted with divers others to Roger Townsend, Knt. and some to others.

Soul Priests Of Diss[edit]

  • 1487, Sir John Dobbys, Sir William Alred, and Sir John Collop.
  • 1490, William Bokynham; 1504, Sir John Clerk.
  • 1536, Sir Reginald Wotton, and Sir Roger Birde.
  • 1546, Sir John Collet, and Sir Dobbes; their stipends were 5l. 6s. 8d. per annum each.

At the Reformation, the church plate was sold to Henry Earl of Sussex, August 15th, 1546, at which time he gave the inhabitants a bond for 20 marks for it; and after this I find a letter from the same earl, dated at his manor of Attleburgh, July 25th, 1587, directed to the chief inhabitants, signed by him, Your lovyng and assured good Lorde, (as he calls himself,) desiring them, that as he had already received part of their town plate, that he may have the nay (as we call it) of such portion more, as shall be sold, at a reasonable price, which shall be paid them, by warrants directed to his bailiff, out of his manor of Diss; at the same time intimating, that as they do by him in this affair, they may expect he should do to them and theirs. I never could meet with an account of the plate, but do not doubt but that it was fine and valuable, else so great a man as the earl would never have thought it worth his while to trouble himself about it. I find that they sold all so far, that in 1572 they had only one cup of 23 oz. wt. There is now [1736] belonging to this church, a chalice, a cup, two silver dishes, a small plate, a spoon, and a silver-hafted knife and fork.

This place is said to have produced the following writers and remarkable men:

Ralph de Diceto[edit]

Dean of St. Paul's and a great benefactor thereto, was a very learned man, and a great author; some of his works are printed: he lived in the time of King Henry II. of whom more may be seen in Newcourt's Repertorium, and in Sir William Dugdale's History of St. Paul's, 2d ed. p. 10, where by mistake (as Le Neve says) it is called Disca, in Suffolk; though in page 501 it is called Disce.

William of Disse,[edit]

Was sacrist of St. Edmund's Monastery at Bury, duly elected; but he continued so but four days, having so great fear upon him that he should not discharge his office well, that all that time he could take no rest, and therefore petitioned Abbot Samson that he might resign, who consenting thereto, Robert de Gravely was chosen in his place.

Walter of Disse,[edit]

Born here, was a Carmelite friar at Norwich, one of the most ignorant of all that convent in his youth; at length he turned the reverse, continually applying himself to gain knowledge and learning, in which he so much profited, that he took his doctor's degree in Cambridge, with the utmost honour. He was afterwards confessor to John Duke of Lancaster and Acquitain, King of Leon and Castile, and also to Constance his queen; and a great stickler for Pope Urban, and the other popes, that were by him and his faction named the Anti-papes, of whom he obtained, through the duke's favour, certain faculties, to be distributed to such as would pray, and pay for them, of which one was, to make all those, whom he thought good, the pope's chaplains, according to form of law, and the custom used in the court of Rome; and because such as obtained this favour enjoyed great liberties, (viz. to hold as many ecclesiastical preferments as they could get, &c.) many were glad to give largely to be so preferred. Another bull gave him power to create fifty doctors, and as many prothonotaries; to reconsecrate such things or places as had been profaned; to legitimate bastards, and such like. In 1587 he was made the pope's legate a latere, to preach up the crusade against the anti-pape's faction, granting indulgences to all those that helped or went to those wars, in as ample a manner as if they went against the common enemies of religion, the Turks: this he did in Urban's and Pope Bonniface the Ninth's time, with success, and that not in England only, but in Castile, Portugal, Acquitain, Leon, Navarre, Gascoign, and several foreign parts; at last he returned to his monastery, in which he died, and was buried August 14th, 1404, near the high altar of their church.

William of Diss,[edit]

A friar preacher, was confessor to King Henry V. with whom he went to Caen in Normandy, in the sixth year of his reign, where the King hearing of the holy life and frequent miracles of one Vincent of Arragon, a friar preacher, he sent this William to him, who brought him to the King, of whom he was honourably received, anno 1417.

John Skelton, Rector of Diss[edit]

Was a pleasant merry poet, so much esteemed for his oratory, as well as poetry, that he was made poet laureat and King's orator. He flourished in the times of King Henry VII. and VIII. was rector, and lived here in 1504 and 1511, as I find by his being witness to several wills in this year. I take it that Skelton was not only rector, but a native of this place, being son of William Shelton, and Margaret his wife, whose will was proved at Norwich, Nov. 7th, 1512, [Regr. Johnson.] That his name was Shelton or Skelton, appears from his successour's institution, viz. "1529, 17 July, Thomas Clerk, instituted on the death of John Shelton, last rector. And indeed, though the late Bishop of St. Asaph, in his notes to me upon this Hundred, observes, that Bale, Wood, &c. make him to have been born in Cumberland; and though one of both his names was admitted to the reading of the decretals, and seems to have been beneficed in Somersetshire, yet he much doubts whether it was the same with our poet, though he was an Oxonian, laureated in that university, ordained deacon April 14th, 1498, and priest the 8th of June following, by Thomas Savage, Bishop of London, "[Johannes Skelton, poeta laureatus, London dioc. ad titulum Monasterij de Gracijs juxta Turrim London, ordinatur Diac. per Thom. London, Ep. 14 April, 1498, Presbit. 8 Jun. sequen. [Regr. Savage Ep. Lond.]" Will Caxton, in his preface to his translation of Virgil's Æneids, printed in 1490, hath this; "I pray mayster John Skelton, late created poete laureat in the Universite of Oxforde, to over see and correct this sayd Boke."

Mr. Le Neve says, that his institution does not appear in the books; which is true, for often those that were collated by the pope had no institution from the bishop, many instances of which in those books occur; but it is certain, from abundance of records and evidences that I have seen, that he was rector several years. Erasmus himself gives him this character in his letter to King Henry VIII. that he was the light and honour of the British learning. He was scholar enough, and no bad poet, unless for himself; for being addicted too much to satire, he created three such enemies as ruined him, both in reputation, liberty, and estate; William Lilly, the Dominican friars, and Cardinal Wolsey; the first of these was that great schoolmaster, the author of our Latin Grammar, upon him he reflected as a bad verse maker, to which Lilly replied,

Skeltone, dum tibi parare famam, Et doctus fieri, studes poeta, Doctrinam nec kabes, nec es poeta.

Whilst, Skelton, thou to get esteem, A learned poet fain would seem; Skelton thou art, let all men know it, Neither learned, nor a poet.

The Dominicans were very obnoxious to his satirical pen, for their vices, and he could not forbear exercising his wit upon them; but they, who would bear no serious reproofs, would much less endure his poetical scoffs; whereupon they stirred up Richard Nix, then Bishop of Norwich, to call him to an account for keeping a concubine, (though we ought to observe with Bale, that she was his wife.) for which the bishop suspended him from his benefice. But these were not his worst enemies, for the cardinal it was that completed his misfortunes. Our poet having inveighed against some of that great prelate's actions, and charged him with too much truth, he prosecuted him so hard for it, that he was forced to take sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, where Abbot Islip treated him with much respect in his confinement, in which he died, June 21st, 1529, and was buried in the chancel of St. Margaret's church, Westminster, under a stone, with this epitaph;

Johanes Skeltonus, Vates Pierius, hic situs est.

He foretold Cardinal Wolsey's downfall; and being charged with keeping a concubine, and having several children by her, he said, in his conscience he ever esteemed her for his wife, though he did not declare it, because fornication in the clergy was thought a little sin, and marriage a great one.

Mr. Wood, in his Athenœ Oxonienses, tells us, that "the generality saw that his witty discourses were biting, his laughter opprobrious and scornful, and his jokes commonly sharp and reflecting." His character may be seen at large in Bale and Pitts, where there is also an account of some of his works, most of which were published this year. [1736.] He wrote also a poem in English, called the Ymage of Ypocresy, being a bitter invective against the monks and friars, and some of the great men of that age: Mr. Le Neve says that the manuscript was in his own hands, and that he had it out of the Ashwell-Thorp library, and that it was allowed to be Skelton's own handwriting; it now [1736] belongs to Mr. West, who purchased it at Mr. Le Neve's auction.

JOHN BRIARS, A. M. Rector of DISS,

Was chaplain to Charles Bishop of Norwich; he published

A Sermon preached at Palgrave in Suffolk, at the first meeting of the gentlemen and clergy, for encouraging the charity school lately set up there, on Phil. iv.; 17 edit. Lond. 1711.

And also a pamphlet, entitled, the present Behaviour of Mankind inconsistent with the true Spirit of Charity, which alone can prove available to put an end to our unhappy Divisions: being a discourse on the 13th chapter I Cor.

And several poems without his name, inserted in divers miscellanies. He was also rector of Billingford by Diss, where he was buried, Jan. 1st, 1728.

St. Nicholas's Chapel[edit]

Besides the parish church, there was a free chapel dedicated to the honour of St. Nicholas the bishop, which was built about the time of Henry V. by the brethren and sisters of St. Nicholas and of Corpus Christi Gilds, which then were consolidated. It seems, by the evidences and wills that I have seen, as if these two gilds were ancient, mention being frequently made of them in the time of Richard II.; upon their joining together, it shews as if they were rich at that time, for they soon built this chapel, and began a fund to purchase land sufficient to endow it; but though they joined their common stock, yet each, to their dissolution, had a priest that separately belonged to each of them; and all gifts were given as to separate gilds; and the brethren and sisters of each were severally admitted and enrolled. The gildhall was common to them both, being the same that is now standing at the south-east corner of the churchyard, which was granted to the inhabitants, and is now used for the charity-school house. It was at that time well furnished for the merry meetings of the brethren and sisters of those gilds, for I find that, in 1575, here were kept the standard scales and weights for the market; that there then was left to the use of the town, in this house, by which we may conjecture what jolly doings there had been formerly. Their chapel stood in St. Nicholas's-street, exactly where the house now [1736] stands, between the street that leads down to the steeple, and that goes on the right hand to the market-place, the chapel yard extending cast to the blacksmith's traverse, and no further. This, in the second year of Edward the Sixth, suffered the fate of all other free chapels, being then dissolved; from that time it stood in a decaying condition, and was in the Crown, by virtue of the act, until June 18th, 1584, at which time the Queen granted "All that chapel with the appurtenances in Diss, in the county of Norfolk, now in decay, commonly called St. Nicholas's chapel, which was formerly used for the celebrating masses, and other superstitious uses," to William Croft, and John Hallyet, by her letters patent dated at Westminster, the day and year aforesaid, all which they were to hold to them and their heirs, of the Queen and her successors, as of her manor of East Greenwich in Kent, by fealty only, in free soccage, and not in capite, or by knight's service, paying 3d. into the Exchequer; they held it until 1595, and then sold it to Henry Cullyder, butcher, of Diss, and Robert Haull, of Palgrave, notary publick, and they, the year after, sold it to William Chambers, of Diss, blacksmith; now [1736] it is in the possession of Jonathan Walpole.

The Town Lands[edit]

This town hath an estate at Framlingham, in Suffolk, which (as I am informed) is now [1736] let at 56l. per annum. It was purchased of William Knights of Great Glemham, and Robert Aldred of Brusyerd, anno 1500, by the fund that the brethren of St. Nicholas and Corpus Christi Gilds had made; which was, that every brother and sister should pay a certain sum every quarter into the gild chest, to be kept until it should amount to a sum sufficient to purchase lands to endow their stipendiary priest. This was so generally approved of, that few died here without leaving, some more, some less, towards this purchase; and the chief inhabitants subscribed to it, though they were not brethren; nay, several left money to be annually paid by their executors to it for years after their deaths. This by degrees raised enough to buy more than they at first intended; but yet they laid out more than at that time they had, for they bought no less than eighty acres of freehold ground, called Coldhaugh, alias Cowle-hall, in Framlingham; and Thomas Cowper, of Diss, rafman, Edward Cooper, John Lowdale, and Thomas Folser, of the same, were infeoffed therein: they in 1508 infeoffed Thomas Shardelowe and fourteen more and by an English schedule annexed, declared the uses of the feoffment, viz. "that a bailly or officer, by them or the moste part in nombre of them appointed, shall take and perceyve the yerly profites of the seide londes and tenements, and other the premises comprised within the said deed, therwith an honest and govenable seculer preest, by the moste parte of the cofeoffers to be named, hired and waged competently, yerly to synge or seye masses and other devygne service, for the sowles of the brethern and sistern of the gildes and fraternities, of Corporis Christi and St. Nicholas the bishop, in the parish churche of Disse, within the counte of Norff. by the space and terme of lxxxxix. yeres next ensewing the date of the seide present dede, and at the end of the seid lxxxxix. yeres the seid feofees their heirs and assignes, and all maner of persons that then shall be lawfully seased, or infeoffed in the premises or ony of them, at and for suche price as they or the most part of them in nombre, canne agree, shall selle alle and every of the premises with the appurtenaunces, and with or for the mony thereof or therefor comyng or growying, shall fynde annuelly, an honest govenabill seculer preest, to synge for the sowlys aforeseid, or ellis with the seid mony or londs or tenementes, and other the premises, shall make further provision for a competent levying for an honest preest for the tyme being, if it then may be, by an amortisement, or otherwise as they shall seeme best, for the most sewer and longer continuance of the fynding of the seid honest preest, to contynewe for ever, if it so may be contynued, by the ordour of the lawe, the same preest for the tyme being, to do the devygne servyce, and synge for the sowles in manner and forme abovesaid." When all the feoffees are dead but five, then they to renew again, and those five to name twelve more at least, all which are to be brothers of one of the said gilds, and none of them heirs of the former feoffees. The stipend allowed to each of these priests was, at the Dissolution, 5l. 6s. 8d. though at first it was but four marks each; or if they kept one priest only for both gilds, then he was to have eight marks per annum, and the overplus was laid out in repairing the steeple, church, and streets, every year. Thus it continued until the second year of Edward VI. when it was seized by the statute for dissolution of the gilds, chapels, and chantries; but the townsmen of Diss objected against it, and stood an action with that King; but it appearing that the term of the feoffment was not expired, they could do no good in the affair, and it continued in the Crown until the forty-third of Elizabeth, in which year the Queen granted them to Thomas Mildmay, for divers years yet unexpired, at the yearly reserved rent of 4l. and Thomas, son of the said Thomas Mildmay, of Framlingham, Gent. succeeded his father under that grant, not thinking that the townsmen knew when this term expired; but he was much mistaken in that matter; for the original feoffment and writings (out of which I collected this account) were carefully kept and preserved; and in 1608, when the ninety-nine years of the feoffment were expired, John Shreeve and the rest of the townsmen entered upon the premises, ejecting the said Thomas Mildmay, and John Wood, his tenant, pleading that these lands were settled only for ninety-nine years to superstitious uses, and that during that time the priest had but eight marks, and when there were two, they had but twenty marks yearly, and that these stipends could be no longer than the settlement, which being now out, they entered upon these premises, as the purchase of their forefathers, the then townsmen, and would employ them (as lawfully they could do) to the same uses of repairing their church and their streets, as they always did. This they proved by an inquisition, taken at Hoxue, in the very year that Edward VI. seized it; they proved that it was purchased by the contribution of the townsmen, by the book in which all the contributors names were entered; and in order to prove John Shreeve's entry good, they produced feoffments, shewing that the feoffees, in the first feoffment above specified, did infeoff Thomas Shardelowe, and others, who in 1534 infeoffed Reginald Wotton and Roger Bird, priests, and others, and they conveyed it to Thomas Shardelowe, John Baron, and others, with one Robert Fuller, alias Garblesham, who was the last surviving feoffee, and died seized thereof, and Edward Fuller, his great-grandson and right lineal heir, entered into part of the lands in the name of the rest, and then by deed in 1589 infeoffed Matthew Wilbye and Thomas Shreeve, which Thomas died seized, and John Shreeve, his son, entered into the lands as his right, and brought the ejectment. All this being plainly proved, the lands were given by verdict to the town, and in the ninth Jac. I. the King, and the said Thomas Mildmay and John Wood, renounced all right, title, claim, or demand, in the said lands, or in the 4l. per annum stipend mentioned to go and be paid out thereof. This cost the parish so much, that in 1613 they sold to George Spaldyng part of this land, called Hellbrookfield, in Framlingham, containing ten acres, for 150l. with which they paid the charges, and then settled the rest by feoffment to the uses aforesaid, and then made a lease thereof to one Edward Wickham.

But though they had such success with this affair, they met with the contrary in relation to the other lands that were under the same limitation in the same feoffment, viz. a close called Chawmpenyes, in Diss and Frenze, and three pieces of land in Disse, at 18d. rent in Disse, Frenze, and Skole; the first piece laid in Diss, in Frenze-field, and contained three acres; the second piece one acre; the third piece two acres; for it appeared by feoffments, prior to this, that these lands were given without limitation, to find lamps, anniversaries, &c. for ever in Disse churche; whereupon Chawmpeneys meadow, which at that time was in the hands of the lord of the manor of Frenze, under the King's grant, was by arbitration confirmed to him and his heirs; and the other three pieces, which were then in the hands of Mr. James Blomefield, by the same arbitration was confirmed to him and his heirs, upon his paying 10l. to the church-wardens of Diss. Richard Gwine and Nicholas Hcarne, Esqrs. were arbitrators, their arbitration bearing date Jan. 9, 1610.

The lands that were given by Richard Edon, in 1494, to pay the leet fee, or common fine of Diss for ever, and to keep his obit, &c. were seized by Edward VI. and by him granted in 1549 to Sir Ralph Sadleyr, Knt. and Laurence Wennyngton, Gent. to be held of his manor of East Greenwich, by fealty only; they gave them to Thomas Cook of Norwich, Gent. and William Nectun of the same, who sold them to Thomas Aldred, of Diss, and others.

  • 1595. Mr. Thomas Fulcher gave 24l. with which the townsmen purchased three roods of copyhold land on the rectory manor, called Bell Acre, in Diss, which they took up this year, and settled the profits to be employed to the relief of the poor of honest conversation in the said town.
  • 1601. Dec. 25, Richard Fisher of Diss, by his will obliged Edward his son to purchase half an acre freehold in Diss, within two years after his decease, and thereupon at his cost and charge to build a house sufficient for the dwelling of two poor people, and afterwards to infeoff the church-wardens and chief inhabitants therein, who shall have power to place what poor people they please in those dwellings. In 1610 he bought a piece of land in Dirt-street, built a house thereon, and made a feoffment according to the will. This house is now [1736] down, and the land is called the Townyard.
  • 1605. John Ketleborough of Florden, in Norfolk, Gent. granted to John Okes of Wymondham, saddler, a pightle of two acres in Roydon, called the Gravel-pits, reserving a free rent of 6d. per annum to his manor of Roydon Hall. This pightle in 1672 was purchased by the town of Diss, and is now [1736] their gravel-pits.
  • 1618. Ralph Chapman of Burston, granted to James Blomefield, senior, Gent. and James his son, and other feoffees, an annuity of 20s. issuing out of his meadow in Burston called Shimpling Close, abutting upon the highway leading from Burston to Shimpling north, and upon the procession-way dividing Burston and Shimpling east, which meadow he purchased of John Shardelowe, Gent. the money to be distributed by the chief part of the feoffees every Christmas-day, for the relief and comfort of sixty of the poorest householders, most comfortless and distressed poor people of Diss, viz. 4d. to each, as of the alms gift and donation of the said Ralph.
  • 1620. Mr. Sherman gave 45l. to purchase a close of William Yewles, called Yewles's pightle, which by measure contains four acres and six perches, two acres of which are free, and pay 4d. per annum; the other two acres are copyhold on the capital manor, and pay 1s. 4d. quitrent. In 1635 James Blomefield, Gent. senior, and James his son, and others, were infeoffed to the following use, that its rent should annually be laid out to pay the common fine or leet fee of Walcote hamlet in Diss.
  • 1636. The townsmen purchased of Thomas Deynes of Carletonrode, a parcel of ground in Cock-street, with a house thereon, being twenty-seven feet broad at the south end, and thirty-three feet at the north end; this is now [1736] the stall-house on Cock-street Green.
  • 1658. October 15, Richmond Girling of Old Bokenham, Gent. by will proved in the Prerogative Court, gave to the poor of Diss 11s. per annum for ever, the sexton to have 1s. a year for mending the grave of his late wife; for which payment he tied his houses and lands in Stradbrook, which he gave to Ralph King, his brother.
  • 1715. Robert Buxton of St. Margaret's, South Elmham, Esq. lord of the manor of Heywood Hall, gave to his parish a small house, called the Hopper-house, lying at the east end of Diss Moor, which he also manumised, it being copyhold before it came into his hands. This is now [1736] used as a pest-house.
  • John Petit of Diss, and Mr. William Burton, both which were benefactors, are before spoken of.

Mr. Robert Burroughs built an alms-house of brick, on the east side of the churchyard, for four poor widows.

Here is a good regulated work-house, which was lately [1736] built by the inhabitants for an alms-house, standing on the Moor.

The commons are many, but not large; they are called by the names of Heywode Green, Westbrook Green, Walcote Green, Cock-street Green, the Moor, (on which the custom is never to put on any sheep, as appears by the town books,) and Penning's Green, part of which, time out of mind, (as the Church-wardens' Book informs me,) hath been always inclosed at May-day, and so kept until Lammas, on which day there is yearly paid to the church-wardens, 1l. 6s. 8d. rent, by those that mow it, viz. the tenement Baxter's, that stands by it, hath always one half of the crop, and pays half the rent, the other half goes by turns to every tenement on the Green, viz. Mr. Cason's, Mr. Pettoe's, Mr. Jubb's twice, because this is two farms laid into one.

The charity school was erected first at Palgrave, in Suffolk, in 1711, and two years after removed hither. Mr. Briars, rector of Diss, preached a sermon, which was published at the first meeting of the gentlemen and clergy for encouraging this school, which he dedicated to Charles Bishop of Norwich, (whose chaplain he was,) in which it appears that the rector of Palgrave began it, at whose request that parish set apart a large room belonging to the town for that purpose, and subscribed with him 10l. per annum for its maintenance, the neighbouring gentlemen and clergy had then subscribed between 20 and 30l. besides casual gifts, which then came to about 12l. The school was opened the January before. Ten boys of that parish were taught and clothed, six more taught but not clothed. This school is now [1736] kept at Diss, where the master hath his dwelling in part of the late Gild-hall, and keeps his school in another part: there are now [1736] ten boys clothed and taught.

The grammar school is kept above, in the same house, where the master hath lodgings, and 10l. per annum; but this is at the voluntary contribution of the parish.

This is a neat compact village, situated on a rising hill, having a large bason of water of about twelve acres on its south part, which they call the Mere; (hence the Diss farthings have a shield wavy for their device); it is compassed about half round with houses and gardens, which look very pleasantly from the water; but it being almost a standing lake, having only a small run or two into it, and one only out, and all the filth of the town centering here, besides the many conveniences that are placed over it, make the water very bad, and altogether useless; and so foul, that when it purges itself, which it does once a year, it stinks exceedingly, and sometimes the fish rise in great numbers, so thick that they are easily taken: they are chiefly roach and eels. It is very deep: being plumbed, it was found eight yards in the deepest place, which is by the common stathe: the liberty hereof belongs to the lord of the manor of Diss, and without his leave no man can keep a boat, or fish, except at his own stathe, where every one can lay in bow-nets, leaps, eel-poles, or any other engines, to catch what fish they can there, without the lord's license. If the passage out of this Mere be stopped up, it is of great damage, by overflowing the yards that lie round it; wherefore it is viewed at the leet, and if it be not clear, the tanner, to whom it always belongs to keep it so, is amerced, as is the township if they do not keep up the rails at its mouth, for want of which in 1639, a man, as he watered his horses, was drowned, and the town was fined. It is of great use in case of a fire, as was experienced in 1640, when the great fire happened in that street; all the wells and pumps being dry, the town was saved by this water.

The chief streets are Smith-street, or Mound-street, so called from the mound or hill that rises the whole length of it; Tem-street, or Mere-street, which lies along the Mere's side; Dirt-street, properly enough so called; Market-street, and St. Nicholas's-street.

The hamlets are Cock-street, where the fair is kept on St. Simon and St. Jude, Walcote, Wolsey, Heywood, and Westbrook.

The market is kept weekly on Friday, the chief of which consists in the linen-cloth manufacture, for which this market is famous, great quantities of it being sold here; the streets being newly paved is a great ornament, as well as service to the town.

In 1602 there were 400 communicants, and at this time [1736] it contains near 240 families, and near 2000 souls.

It is now [1736] assessed to the King's tax at 2300l. In the civil wars, during the association, when the publick charges were levied by the month, there were two valuations made of this town, one at 2616l. per annum, the other at 2700l. per annum, which far exceeds the present real value. It paid 7l. for every tenth, when the taxes were assessed that way.

The leet fees for Diss and its hamlets now [1736] paid to the capital lord, is 1l. 13s. 4d. per annum.

The following arms have been born by the predecessors of, and are now [1736] born by,

The Rev. Mr. Edward Bosworth (see p. 22.)

Mr. Thomas Coggeshall (see p. 24.)

Mr. Thomass Sheriffe (see p. 25.)

Mr. John Goodwin, or, three pallets sab. on a chief gul. three martlets of the field.

Mr. William Camell, gironne of eight or and sab. a crescent. arg.

Mr. John Burroughs, az. a chevron between three horseshoes arg.

There is lately [1736] put up a mural monument in the midst of the north isle; on which is this inscription:

Near this place lyeth the Body of JOHN KETT, Gent.

Who departed this life 12 July 1692, Aged 74 Years.

Also PHILIPPIA his wife, Who departed this life 17 Jan. 1734, In the 84 Year of her Age.

Kett's arms are or, on a fess between three leopards heads erased az. a lion passant guardant arg; crest, a leopard's head erased az.

And thus much of Diss; from whence I shall proceed to


This church is dedicated to the honour of St. Remigius, who flourished about the fifth century; the dedication day was kept on the first of October, being the day of his translation.

This rectory is valued as follows:

But though the glebe lies in the terrier as aforesaid, yet the real measure, including the site of the rectory-house, does not much exceed forty acres.

In 1603 there were 124 communicants, and now [1736] there are 60 families, and 240 souls. It is now [1736] assessed to the King's tax at 630l. 10s.; when the taxes were raised by tenths this paid 2l. 10s. and to the monthly levies during the association, sometimes at the rate of 752l. and sometimes 780l.


The rectors that I have met with are as follow:

In 1198, Richard, the parson of Roydon, granted seven acres of land to Roger his son.

  • 1304, 2 cal. March, Nicholas de Fyleby, priest; instituted at the presentation of William, Marshal of Ireland, Knt. guardian to Robert, son and heir of Sir William de Morle, Knt. deceased.
  • 1321, 6 ides December, Robert de Fyleby, deacon. Robert de Morle, Knt. patron.
  • 1328, 12 cal. August, Walter Claver, priest; Sir Robert de Morley, Knt. Marshal of Ireland.
  • 1329, 2 cal. August, he resigned, and Robert de Morley, priest, succeeded. Ditto.
  • 1345, 28 September, Robert de Ouneby, priest. Ditto.
  • 1349, 2 July, William Gray, of Strapton, priest. Ditto.
  • 1376, 21 November, Henry Smith of Diss, priest. Ditto.
  • 1387, 18 February, John De Birlingham, priest; Thomas de Morley, Marshal of Ireland.
  • 1412, 26 April, John Hoppe of Bathele, priest; Robert de Morley, Knt. This rector was buried in the church.
  • 1420, 12 June, Edmund Ingland, priest; Elizabeth, widow of Thomas de Morley, son of Robert de Morley, Marshal of Ireland.
  • 1462, ult. December, Edmund Ingland, being very old, resigned to John Newton, who was obliged to pay him a pension of five marks a year, during life; Margaret Ratcliffe patroness.
  • 1498, 18 February, John Wymbyssch, (or Wimbuche,) S. T. D. by lapse. He was rector of Diss.
  • 1498, 27 September, John Coppin, priest; Sir Edmund Arundell, Knt. and Johanna his wife.
  • 1509, 31 May, Thomas Quarles, chaplain, at Coppin's death; William Rammesbury, Esq. in right of Anne his wife.
  • 1510, 26 May, Benitius Everton, priest, at Quarles's death. Ditto.
  • 1514, 30 March, John Coke, on Everton's death, by lapse.
  • 1533, 8 May, Coke resigned to Henry Sturges, reserving a pension for life of 4l. a year. The King, as guardian to Elizabeth Lovell Lady Morley.
  • John Tuddenham succeeded Sturges, at whose death, 1560, 8 July, Robert Fordham, priest, was instituted. Thomas Sherman, Gent. of Yaxley.
  • 1572, 26 February, John Cullyner, clerk, at Fordham's death. Ditto.
  • 1591, 15 John Horner, A.B. on Cullyner's death: William Kettleburgh, patron.
  • 1625, 18 December, Robert Horner, A.M. on John Horner's death; Mary, widow and relict of John Horner, clerk, by grant from Edward Havers and Laurence Lomax, Gents.
  • 1675, 1 December, John Dawney, clerk, A.M. on Robert Horner's death; Robert Burton of Cley-juxta-mare, Gent. for this turn only.
  • 1704, 4 June, the Rev. Mr. Rookwood Serant, the present [1736] rector, at John Dawney's death; Robert Burroughs of Diss, Gent.

The enclosure that joins to the south part of the churchyard is called Chapel Close, in the midst of which formerly stood a chapel dedicated to the honour of the Blessed Virgin, in which was a chantry of three or four priests, daily singing for the soul of Sir Robert, son of Sir Matthew de Morley, their founder: the foundation deed was produced in the cause between John Lord Lovell, and Thomas Lord Morley, about the arms of a lion rampant, which being on this seal, proved that the Lord Morley's ancestors had anciently used those arms. This chapel was well endowed; many free lands in Roydon were held by paying an annual rent to it; it was dissolved in 1547, and soon after pulled down, and the site conveyed by the Crown to lay hands. It is now [1736] owned by the Rev. Mr. John Dawney. It was founded about 1282; but being a free chapel without institution, it is never mentioned in those registers.

The Prior of Eye, in Suffolk, had the tithes of about 100 acres of land here, given to that monastery by Odo de Charune, who gave two parts of the tithes of his land in Roydon, in the Conqueror's time, and by Richard Hoveel of Reindun, who gave all the tithes of his lands here; and in the charter of King Stephen, granted to that house in 1137, they were confirmed to the monks among their other revenues: and in the register called Danoun, which formerly belonged to this priory, and is now [1736] in the hands of Mr. Martin of Palgrave, I find that the portion of tithes belonging to the monks of St. Peter at Eye, lying in Roydon, were let to the rector at two marks a year, and so continued for some time; until afterwards a perpetual composition was made for the rectors to pay 3s. 4d. per annum. Thus it continued until the Dissolution, and then the pension went, with the priory, to the Crown, from whence it was granted off, and hath since passed through many hands: it some time was payable to Catharine, wife of King Charles II. but belongs now [1736] to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Pyle of Lynn Regis.

Here were several freeholds held of the honour of Eye.

In 1355, Sir Robert de Morley, Knt. confirmed to King Edward III. the advowson of this church, with the chapels annexed, under divers limitations. His seal was a lion rampant, in a shield, circumscribed Sigillum Roberti de Morley Militis, notwithstanding which it hath all along passed with the manor.

The Abbot of Sibton, in Suffolk, had temporals here taxed at 3s. being part of their manor called Friers, in Shelfhanger, which extended hither.

The present building is very ancient, having its nave only standing (the south isle having been a long time in ruins.) It is covered with lead, though the chancel and south porch are tiled; the steeple (which is in a very ruinous condition) is round at bottom, and octangular at top; it had formerly four bells, but being unable to bear them, the parishioners obtained a faculty in 1680, and sold three of them: on that which is left I read this,

Petrus ad Æterna ducat nos Pascua Vite.

The chancel seems to have been built by one of the Fitz-Walters, about Henry the First's time, but which of them it was I cannot learn, though he was buried here, under an arch in the north wall, out of which the stone coffin now standing in the churchyard was taken some years ago, and the pavement, some of which still remains, was adorned with the arms of the Fitz-Walters, sometimes in a shield, sometimes in a lozenge, and several others with initial letters of saints names, the letters being all crowned.

In this church was a gild in honour of St. Peter, to which Mary Payn gave a legacy in 1488, as others did about that time, among which, one gave a light to set before the tabernacle of the Blessed Virgin.

In a north window are the arms of

Ratcliff Earl of Sussex, arg. a bend ingrailed sab.

Morley and Knivet. In another north window is a broken inscription, which desires the reader to pray for the soul of one Charnbye.

The following inscription is cut on a seat:

Hoc Scammum factum fuit per Ricardum Waynforth cum suâ propriâ Pecuniâ, decimo Die Junij, Anno Domini 1643, atque locatum in Loco ubi Parentes ejus antiquitum sederunt, Ætatis dicti Ricardi quinto decimo Martij ult. præterit. 61.

In the chancel are several stones with inscriptions, some of which are printed in Le Neve's Monuments, and some are not; however I shall give you transcripts of them all.

Here lyeth the Body of John Horner, Preacher of God's Word in this Parish, which was buried the 30th Day of July, Anno Dom. 1625. How long Lord?

This is on a freestone by the altar, and is in Le Neve.

Adjoining, on a black marble, Here lyeth buried the Body of Robert Horner, Rector of this Parish, who died July 7th Ao Dni. 1675, Ætatis 75.

A black marble in the midst of the Chancel has this, Robertus Horner de Bresingham, Generosus, Filius Reverendi Roberti Horner, Nuper hujus Ecclesiæ Rectoris, Hic Animæ suæ Exuvias reposuit; Vir Literarum Ornamentis decoratus, Pietate, Probitate, et summa Charitate, Eximie præditus Obijt 4to Die Decembris, Ao. Dni. 1708. Ætatis 62.

Another black marble: Subter hoc Marmore jacent Corpora, Henrici Deyns Generosi, qui Obijt tertio die Aprilis, Ao Dni. 1691. Ætatis 61.

Simul et Elizabethæ Redrich, prædicti Henrici Socrus, et Relicta Henrici Redrich, M. D. quæ obijt 8vo. Maij Ao Dni. 1688 Ætatis 68. Flens posuit Conjux et Filia.

On a small monument over the altar, Ad Pedem hujus Monumenti sepulta jacet Martha Horner Uxor Roberti Horner.

And on a stone on the ground, under it, is this inscription, Here lyeth the Body of Martha, the Wife of Robart Horner, Clerk, who died October the 26th, Anno Dni. 1662. Ætat.—

Here lyeth Margaret the Wife of John Dawney, Clerk, Who died the 3d of Sept. 1691, aged 61.

Deynes, impaling three cocks. Here lyeth the Body of Hannah, the beloved wife of Tho. Deyns, Gent. and one of the Daughters of Clement Rolf, Gent. deceased, who was here Buried the 15th Day of October, 1663.

To mourn for her 'twer Sin, Rejoyce yee rather, For she hath gain'd an Everlastinge Father.

Here alsoe resteth the Body of the aforesaid Thomas Deyns, who dyed the 27th Day of November, Anno Dom. 1675.

On the south side of the chancel, in the churchyard, is an altar tomb, covered with a black marble, having the arms of

Burrough, (see p. 38,) with a label of three, impaling,

Camell (see p. 38,) with his crest, viz. a boar's head coupee. The inscription (composed by Dr. Camell) is as follows:

Lector, Juxta hunc Tumulum Exuvias invenies, ROBERTI BURROUGH, ROBERTI et MARIÆ BURROUGH, de Diss in Com.

Norf. Gent. Filij Natu maximi, Parentum Spem, Amicorum Desiderium, Præclusit Mors heu! nimis immatura, Obijt Collegio SStæ. Trinitatis apud Cantab.

14° die Decemb. Anno Domini Ætat. 1723. 19.

Filio dilectissimo placide obdormiunt PARENTES AMBO, Charissimæ Conjugis Conjux Ille amantissimus, Unionem conjunctissimam Mors ipsa vix, Et ne vix quidem separabat, Præivit enim Ille 28° die Jan.

Anno Dni. Ætat. 1727. 52. 46.

Consequitur Illa, 6° die Mar.

Monumentum hoc Sepulchrale Pietatis Et gratitudinis Ergo GULIELMUS, Filius eorum Natu minimus Mœrens posuit.

This village joins to Diss on the east, to Brisingham west, Shelfhanger north, and the county river south; it hath now [1736] two manors only, though formerly it had three, all which were in one in the Conqueror's time, and was then two miles and an half long, and two miles broad, and paid 9d. Danegeld. It was held by Lefriz, son of Bose, a thane, or guard of the Confessor's, and was afterward given by the Conqueror to Ralph de Bello-fago, or Beaufo, of whom it was held by Hugh at the time of the survey.

It after came to

Hubert de Rie, who had it in 1146, and died in 1171, without male issue, leaving his barony of Rhie divisible between his daughters Isabella and Aliva, the first of which was married to Geffrey de Chester; and at his death, to Roger, son of Hugh de Cressi, who paid a fine of twenty marks and twelve palfreys to King John, for marrying her without license, upon which the King revoked the seizure that he had made of all his lands in Norfolk, and elsewhere; it appears that he had for his part seventeen knights fees and an half, though the other part of the barony seems to have been the head, several of these fees being held of it.

In the first of King John, Robert Fitz-Roger, a great baron in Northumberland, gave 300 marks for Aliva, the younger daughter of Hubert de Rhie, to marry to his nephew; and in the thirteenth of the same King, John Marshal, the nephew, answered for seventeen fees and an half of that barony; in the ninth of King John he had obtained a grant in fee of the office of Marshal of Ireland, and had livery of it in the seventeenth of that King. He died in 1234, Aliva his wife surviving him, who, by the death of Isabell de Cressi, her sister, was heiress to the whole barony of Rhie; and agreeable to this, in the record called Testa de Nevil, it is found that

Roger de Cressi held one fee in this town, of Walter FitzRobert, and that

Matthew de Morley held another fee, which was formerly Robert de Morley's, of Aliva Le-Marshal, as of her barony of Rhie, of which it was ever after held. It was this Robert that, in 1253, had a grant of free-warren to this manor, which was allowed in Eire, in 1285. At the death of Matthew aforesaid it descended to

Sir William de Morle, Knt. who died before 1304, for in that year William Marshal, of Ireland, presented as guardian to

Robert, son of Sir William de Morley, Knt.; this Robert afterwards married Hawise, sister and heiress of John, son of the said William Marshal, whereby the barony of Rhie, the marshalship of Ireland, and all the inheritance of the Marshals, came into the Morley family. William Marshal, the father, died about 1313, and John, his son, in 1316, Ela, wife of the said William, then surviving. Upon this match it was that the arms of arg. a lion rampant sab. double quevee, came to be quartered, and often born, by the Morleys, it being the arms of Roger de Cressi, whose inheritance went to the Morleys, as is before observed. This Robert, in 1326, settled the manor on

William de Morley, his son, for life, and Cecily, daughter of Thomas Bardolf, his son's wife, and their heirs, as part of the jointure of the said Cecily, with remainder, for want of such heirs, to Robert de Morle, his son, and his heirs male. Cecily outlived her husband, and enjoyed it; but for want of heirs, it descended to the aforesaid

Robert de Morley, Knt. Marshal of Ireland, who, in 1361, settled it (with his wife Cecily's consent) on Sir Thomas Felton, Knt. for life; but he lived not long; for in 1386 the said Cecily was lady; and in 1387

Thomas de Morley, son of Robert de Morley, Marshal of Ireland, was in possession, who, in 1416, died seized, and left it to

Elizabeth, his widow, for life; after to

Margaret, his daughter and heir, then one year old; she afterwards married

Thomas Ratclyff, who, in 1487, died seized, leaving it to

Jeffrey Ratclyff of Framesden, in Suffolk, Esq. his son, who was then nine years old; and dying in 1504, without heirs male, the manor came to his three daughters coheiresses:

Elizabeth, then aged fifteen years, who was married to Christopher Spilman.

Eleanor, the second, then thirteen years old, married to Thomas Lovell, junior, of Enfield.

Joan, the third, then nine years old, afterwards married to John Sturgeons of Cranwich.

Elizabeth died the 10th of December, 1518, leaving Elizabeth, her daughter, then thirteen years old, who afterwards married Edmund Dethick of Bichamwell.

Eleanor died a widow, in 1518, leaving Elizabeth, her daughter, who held her third part in 1521; in 1533, she was married to James Pergetor.

In 1546, Thomas Sherman of Yaxley, Gent. purchased one third part of John Sturgeons; and in 1553, another of James Pergetor; and the same year

William Kettleburgh, Gent. purchased the other part of Edmund Dethick, and Elizabeth his wife, so that Sherman had two thirds, and Kettleburgh one; and thus it continued till 1586, at which time the courts then kept had two homages, one for this manor of Roydon Hall, and the other for Tuft's manor, which was joined to it; they extended into Roydon, Diss, Brisingham, and Shelfhanger. It went in these families till about 1600, and then the whole was purchased by

Edward Havers, who was succeeded by

John Havers, Gent. of Shelfhanger, who left it to

Thomas Havers of Thelvelon, his son, from him it came to

William Havers, Esq. then to

Thomas Havers, who died in 1697, and it descended to

William Havers, Esq. his son; who sold it to

Mr. Robert Burrough of Diss, at whose death it came to

Mary Burrough, his wife, who gave it to

William, her youngest son, who, in 1733, sold it to

Mr. Philip Dykes of London, the present lord. [1736]

The leet belongs to the hundred, the leet fee being about 2s. 5d.

The Advowson was always appendant to the manor, till Mr. William Burrough of Diss severed it, by selling it to

Mr. Edward Chafpelow of Diss, clerk, who is the present patron. [1736.]

The Custom of this Manor is, to the eldest son it gives dower, and the fine is at the lord's will. The site of the manor of Roydon Hall, and the demeans adjoining, are freehold, and were sold off about 200 years since, being now [1736] the estate of Mr. John Dawney, clerk.

Gissinghall Manor[edit]

Which was so called from a family of that name, the ancient lords thereof, and was originally in two parts, one of which belonged to the honour of Eye and the other to the abbey of Bury; that belonging to Eye, was held by Edric, the ancestor of Robert Malet, lord of that honour in King Edward's days, and by one Walter in the Conqueror's time; the other was given to Bury abbey in 962, by Thurketel the Dane.

After it came to the abbey, they held it till the Conqueror, and then it was held of them by Fulcher, being of the yearly value of 20s.

It was soon after joined to the other part, but was always held of the abbey, as that was of the honour, and

William de Gissing, in 1174, owned them both; from which time to 1579 it passed with the manor of Gissinghall in Gissing, to which place I refer you.

In 1579, Arthur Heveningham of Heveningham, Knt. was lord; in

  • 1590, Antony Reve had it, who this year sold it to

William Kettleburgh, Gent; in

  • 1600, John Kemp of Flordon kept his first court; in
  • 1602, Robert Kemp, Gent. his son, kept his first court; and in
  • 1612, John Kettleburgh, Gent. held his first court; he sold it to

John Pykarell, Gent. in 1618; he left it in 1649 to

John Pykarell, Gent. his son; in

  • 1707, John Pykarell of Cringleford, Gent. was lord, who left it to his son,

John Pykarell, Gent the present lord. [1736.]

The site of this manor, also with the demeans, are freehold, and were sold from the manor about 150 years since, and is now [1736] in the possession of Mr. Richard Waynforth.

The Custom of this Manor is Borough English, that is, the copyhold falls by descent to the youngest son; the fine is arbitrary; but in all things else the tenants do as they please.

Tuft's Manor[edit]

Was erected after the Conqueror's time, it being then, as it is now, [1736] included in the manor of Roydon Hall; in 1272 it belonged to

Samson, son of Roger, who was son of Reginald, son of Jeffery of Reidun, who lived in the time of Henry II.; this family bare for their arms, chequy arg. and gules, a cross, and sometimes a bend az. sometimes ermine. It came about Henry the Third's time to

Wydo de Verdun, lord of Brisingham; in this family it continued some time. It was owned by

William Roos towards the latter end of the 13th century, and soon after it fell into the great manor again.

It was held of the barony of Rhie, which shews that it was a part of the great manor at first granted to some younger branch of the Morley family.

The site was granted from the manor along with Roydon Hall, and is now quite destroyed; the old moats still go by the name of Tuft's Hall Yards.

Brisingham Manor[edit]

Extends into this town, and hath so done ever since the Conquest; for we read that there were then four socmen that had five acres of ground valued in that parish.

Filby's Manor[edit]

In Brisingham and Roydon, was joined to Boyland manor in Brisingham, for which reason I shall treat of it in Brisingham.

The Gifts to this parish are small, viz.

Two acres of copyhold land, held of Gissinghall, given long before 1577, as appears from the court books.

About 1609, William Kettleburgh, Gent. gave 20s. per annum to the poor, to be divided by the church-wardens, where most need shall be; and there is a small house, now [1736] the sign of the hart, with a garden thereto adjoining, tied for the payment of it, the overplus of which is the estate of Mr. John Dawney aforesaid.

Mr. Robert Horner, who died in 1708, gave the freehold close called Fuller's, joining to the east side of the rectory garden, for ever to the rector, on condition that he preaches an annual sermon on Good Friday, and distributes 40s. per annum to clothe four poor widows of Roydon.

The commons are very small, being called the Dort, Waynforth's Green, the Parsonage Green, and the Little Green; in all which they common alone, and intercommon on Roydon Green, which joins to Brisingham pound.

These Arms are born by

Mr. John Pickarell, lord of Gissinghall, in Roydon, sab. a swan proper, a chief erm.

Mr. Robert Blake, sab. on a chevron gul. between three garbs or, a de-lis of the field.

Mr. Charles Deyns, or, two bars in a bordure sab.

Mr. Richard Waynforth, or, a lion rampant az. between three hurts. Crest, a lion rampant guardant or, a hurt in his paws.

The next village on the river joining west to Roydon, is,


This town, about 963, was given by Osulph le Sire, and the lady Laverine, or Leofrine, his wife, to the abbey of St. Edmund's Bury, to which it belonged in the Confessor's time, except that part which Almar then held of that house, which was almost half the town. This part was a manor also, and held in the Conqueror's time by Roger Bygod Earl of Norfolk, who was afterwards infeoffed in the other part, by Abbot Baldwin, as Joceline's Chronicle, in the Cotton Library, informs us, to hold it of the abbey, at one fee, and to pay nothing to the ward of Norwich castle, because the abbot paid 7s. every twenty weeks for the whole town. The capital manor, at the survey, was in the abbot, who had then two carucates of land in demean, and twelve socmen who held sixty acres of land, but could not sell or give it any one without license. In the Confessor's survey, the manor was of 40s. value, but in the Conqueror's was risen to 60s. The town was then two miles long, and a mile and a half broad, and paid 12d. Danegeld; it extended at that time into Shimpling, Fersfield, Shelfhanger, and Roydon.

In William Rufus's time, the earl had the whole town, all which he infeoffed in

William de Verdun; and it appears from the Black Book of the Exchequer, that Roger Bygod, father of Hugh Bygod, had infeoffed this William in six knights fees of his old feoffment, among which, this old town was reckoned at two; and this is the reason that it was all along held of the Norfolk family, as capital lords, by the Verdons, and all other owners. This feoffment was made about 1100, or before, for in 1107 this Earl Roger died. The next that I meet with was another

William de Verdun, who lived in 1207, and was succeeded by

Bertram de Verdun, lord here, and of Moulton, in 1212. His son,

Wydo, who is sometimes called Hugo de Verdune, in 1211, gave King John 100l. that he might, with his approbation, marry Petromilla, widow of Henry de Mara, and have her land. He was lord in 1226, for then the tenants brought a writ against him for surcharging the common pasture. He left it to

Sir John de Verdune, Knt. and Wigona, or Dionisia de Verdon, (for so I find her called in one feodary,) and her partners; Sir John held one fee, and she another, here and in Hapeton, about 1264: in 1276, Sir John settled this manor on himself for life, remainder to Thomas, his son, and Thomasine, his wife; and for want of heirs it was to go to John, his other son, who in 1280 inherited on this settlement, and was a ward of the Earl-Marshal's. In 1285 he claimed view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, infangthef, gallows, and free-warren in all his lands and manors in Norfolk, viz. Brisingham, Multon Magna, Saxlyngham, and Reydon; all which privileges were granted to his father by King Henry III. as the charter then produced evidently proved. How long he lived I cannot say, but

John was his son and heir, who, in 1300, held this manor of the Earl of Norfolk, at one fee; for which he paid no castle-guard, but was forced to do his homage to John Abbot of Bury, at his manor-house of Redgrave, and pay his relief and scutage, as his predecessors had always done; he died soon after, for in 1302, and in 1306,

Thomas de Verdon held, in Brisingham, Moulton, Saxlingham, Astacton, Tibenham, Hapeton, Shadnefield, and Forncet, eight fees of the Earl-Marshal. He died in 1315, and left them to

Sir John de Verdon, his son, who in 1328, jointly with Maud his wife, levied a fine, to settle Moulton and other manors on themselves, for life, and John, their son, and his heirs. I have several ancient accounts of this manor in his time, in which it appears, that the Prior of Blitheburgh had 12d. a year paid him out of it, and that it paid 4d. per annum to the hundred of Diss, for the leet fee, the lord of the hundred having granted this manor liberty of a leet for that payment, and for suit of the hundred court; which being troublesome, the lord paid 3s. per annum in lieu thereof. The manor-house stood near Brisingham wood, in the hall grounds; the swan-hill, and the large moat still [1736] remaining, plainly shew the site of it. In this seat the Verdons had lived many ages, but now Sir John removed hence to Mardesham in Suffolk. I have seen an inventory of the goods left in the house here, dated 1328, among which, several things for the use of the chapel are named, and a poor's box standing at the great hall-door; the custom of that time being, to put in what every one pleased, instead of giving servants, as is usual now.

He seems to have been a man of great hospitality, for he left eighty dishes, seventy-five plates, forty saucers, and twelve cups, to treat his tenants at his coming over. In 1329 he settled Briclesworth in Northamptonshire on himself, for life, remainder to his son Thomas, and his heirs, remainder to John, his second son, and his heirs; and the year following he settled Brisingham in the same manner. But in 1344 this fine was revoked, and the manor settled again by him, and Maud his wife, on Thomas, his grandson, son of Thomas, his eldest son, and Margaret his wife, remainder to John, the second son; he died in 1346, as the Escheat Rolls say, and then, according to the settlement, it came to

Thomas de Verdon, his grandson, who died a few months after him, upon which, according to the entail,

Sir John de Verdune, Knt. uncle to the said Thomas, and second son to the last John, became lord; he held Brisingham, with the advowson, of the Earl-Marshal, at two fees, the fee that went off with Wigona or Dionisia de Verdon being joined again in his time (except those parts of it which were conveyed by her husband and self before his death, viz. the fourth part of a fee to John de Lynne, and a fourth part to Walter of Brisingham, both which were to be held of the capital manor.) It seems (though I am not certain) as if this lady after married Sir Richard Le Brewse, Knt. for he was lord here in 1315, and in 1326 the Account Rolls of the manor say, that Sir John Verdon was at 47s. 4d. expense for cloth, against the burial of the Lady Brewse. In 1335, Sir Richard Le Brewse had the moiety of swans going in Brisingham fens, and had two carried to him at Fornham. He was alive in 1354; at his death it returned to Sir John, who had the extent of the manor renewed, from which it appears, that he was capital lord of the whole town, and patron of the church, all which he held of the Earl-Marshal at two fees; the earl held it of the Abbot of St. Edmund, and the abbot of the King; the said John had view of frankpledge, and all other liberties before specified. The manor-house, and three hundred acres of ploughed land in demean, being then valued at 7l. 10s. which is 6d. an acre; thirty acres of wood, valued at 7s. 6d. per annum; forty acres of mowing meadow, worth 3l. 6s. 8d. that is, 10d. an acre; nineteen acres one rood of pasture ground, valued at 6s. 5d. a year; and two windmills at 20s. per annum, besides the commons lying round the whole town, which, in eggs, hens, and days works, paid to the lord by the commoners, were worth 10s. per annum; and the lord had twenty acres of fen to dig turf in, worth 5s. a year; he had also liberty of free-warren by the King's charter, and a free fishery with all manner of boats and nets, throughout all his manor of Brisingham, and through all Roydon, as far as Diss. To the said manor belonged ninety-four copyholders, who held among them seventy-four messuages, and five hundred and eighty-eight acres two roods of land in villeinage; there were six cottagers in villeinage, and the lord pays yearly 3s. in full satisfaction of all suit to the hundred court of Diss, and the same extent saith, that Filby's manor, and Boyland manor, &c. were held of him; (but of them in their proper places.)

This John always sealed with the arms of his family.

He stood to the customs and agreements which his father had made, at his going away to Martlesham, all which appear from the roll made in his father's life time, in 1340, which begins thus:

"The Profits, Customs, Services, and Tenures of the Manor of Brisingham, made on Wednesday before the Feast of St. Dunstan, in the 15th Year of King Edward III. Anno 1341.

"Memorandum, That all the commoners upon the commons of this town, both freeholders and copyholders, pay hens, eggs, and days works with their plough, to the lord, except those that have liberty of faldage, and that all copyholders are obliged to have their sheep in the lord's fold, from Pentecost to St. Martin." The quitrents (in money) and freerents were 4l. 2s. 2d. 1q. and 3 roots of ginger, of 1d. value; 95 hens justly valued at 7s. 2d.; 17 capons valued at 1d. ob. each: 5 ducks valued at 10d.; 539 eggs and more, valued at 3d. a hundred; 212 days works in autumn, the workmen to be maintained by the lord, valued at 1d. a day; 174 afternoon works in autumn, 1d. each, the workmen having no victuals; 25 days work with their carts and horses, and no victuals allowed them, valued at 2d. each day; 120 alebeves, or as many as will come; 183 journeys at plough, without victuals, if all come in to do their work; and if they do not, they must work half a day for every day of ploughing, the whole valued at 7s. 3d. ob.; 170 days work and a half in sharing; 174 days work in mowing, every 4 days valued at 1d. 15 haymakers to make it, as the mowers cut it, they being obliged to make and mow 59 acres 1 rood; the whole of cutting and getting up is valued at 4d. an acre; 54 days to cut and make the lord's wood, and to finish it before Christmas; 20 days to pull the lord's hemp; 120 days work of a man and horse, every day valued at 1d.; 33 days work of a man, each worth 1d. besides days made uncertain, because when they do not plough or cart, they are to do other work as the lord pleases; but there are 220 works more, of half a day each, value certain; 12 chickens one halfpenny each; 41 carriages to carry corn, worth 20d. ob.; 160 days work in carting out the muck; 41 days to carry the hay, value 20d. ob.; 3 days to cart the timber; 14 loads of hay to be thrashed, valued 2d. a load; 14 loads of corn to be thrashed, value 2d. each load; 28 days to make hurdles for the fold; 18 to clean and repair the cow bings; and 10 to repair the horses' stalls, all which services were valued at 5l. 11s. 9d. 1q.

By this account we may see the difference of the value of things then and now [1736] in what a servile condition the copyholders were, and how grand the lords must be, who had all works done without any expense.

This being as perfect an account as I ever saw of any manor, I could not omit inserting it, and do not doubt its being acceptable to some, though I must own, to others it may seem useless; however, certain it is, that the quitrents of the manor have remained to this day according to this composition.

In 1349, Sir John, and Maud his wife, settled it on Adam de Buketon, parson of Yardele Hastyng, and Ralph de Crophull, parson of Harpol, their trustees, to the use of themselves for life, and then of Edmund their son, and Jane his wife, and their heirs, upon which settlement they inherited; for afterwards this Sir John Verdon, their father, married a second wife, viz. Isabell, one of the daughters and heiresses of Sir Thomas Vise de Lon of Shelf hanger, Knt. on which Isabell, in 1365, he settled Martlesham, Stansted, Swiftling and Newbourne, Saxlingham and Multon manors, and Shelfhanger and Waketon advowsons, all which he entailed on themselves and their heirs, remainder to Symon Symeon in fee, for divers uses; but by this settlement they descended to

Isabell, their only daughter, married to Sir Imbert Noon of Shelfhanger, in whose possession they were in 1391.

As to Brisingham, that reverted, for want of heirs, from Edmund de Verdon, and Jane his wife, to Sir John Verdon, their father, who died about 1392, leaving

Margaret, his only daughter by his first wife, his sole heiress, who was lady here in 1396, and lived with her mother-in-law at Shelfhanger, at whose death, according to the uses in the settlement, the manor of Stansted, the manor and advowson of Chetbury, Stagenhoe manor in Hertfordshire, Verdon's manor in Clipston, this manor, and others, came to

Sir John Pilkington, in right of Margaret his wife, who was widow of Sir Hugh Bradshaw, and daughter and heiress of Sir John Verdon; but Moulton, Shelfhanger, &c. went to the Noons. In 1399 they settled this manor on themselves and the heirs male of the said Margaret, remainder to Elizabeth, daughter of the said Margaret, by Sir Hugh Bradshaw, her first husband.

This family took its sirname from a town which they were lords of in Lancashire, where they were possessed of a great estate, as is proved by the Escheat Rolls in the Tower, and in particular by a grant of free-warren to this very Sir John Pilkington, in all his manors in that shire, in which twenty at least are named; and there it is said, that this Sir John was grandson and heir to Roger de Pilkyngton, to whom that liberty was first granted in 1290, as being son of Roger, the son of that Roger to whom the grant was made. They always bore these arms.

In 1401, Sir John, in an inquisition then taken, is said to hold Brisingham manor of Thomas Mowbray Earl-Marshal, (who is now under age,) at two fees and a half quarter, one fee and half quarter of which formerly was Richard de Brewse's, of which John Lancaster now holds a fourth part, which formerly was John de Boylond's, though its relief was charged at half a fee; it was then held of Forncet manor, and the lord paid to Sir John Howard, for his part of the fishery by the Fen Common, 3s. 4d. a year. In 1405, the manor was let for seven years, at 24l. per annum; the fishery in Reydon for 30s. and that in Brisingham for 30s. more. This Sir John died about 1406, leaving

Margaret, his widow, in possession, who this year settled it on Edmundand Robert Pilkyngton, Esqrs. in trust that she should enjoy it during her life, and at her death it should go to Sir John Pilkington, Knt. her eldest son, their brother, and to his heirs; and for want of such, to the said Edmund and Robert in tail, remainder to Elizabeth, daughter of William Bradshaw, Knt. This Margaret lived to a great age, and died in 1436, leaving the manor, according to the fine, to

Sir John Pylkington, Knt. her eldest son, who had it till 1447, and then dying without issue, it went to

Edmund, his next brother, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Boothe, Knt. at whose death

Sir Thomas, his eldest son, inherited; he married Margaret, daughter of Richard Harrington, and in 1459 he and Margaret his wife, William Harrington, Knt. and Elizabeth his wife, and Arthur Pilkyngton, levied a fine of the manor and advowson, 20 messuages, 600 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, 50 of wood, and 6l. rent, by which, quit of the heirs of Elizabeth, it was settled on Sir Thomas, remainder to Roger Pilkington, his brother, remainder to Arthur Pilkington, then to William Harrington, then to John, son of Robert Pilkington, Esq. This Sir Thomas, in 1450, was admitted one of the Chamberlains of the Exchequer; he was very stedfast to the Yorkists, and all along in those civil wars took part with Edward IV. and suffered much for it. After the death of that King, and of Edward V. and Richard III. he was one of those who joined with the Earl of Lincoln, Earl of Kildare, Lord Lovell, Sir Thomas Broughton, and other Lancashire gentlemen, on the behalf of Lambert Simnell, the counterfeit Plantagenct, and fighting on his side at the battle of Stoke, near Newark, in 1487, was there slain; whereupon all his lands were forfeited to the Crown, and the year following were granted to George Lord Strange, son of Thomas Stanley Earl of Derby, and to his heirs male; Stagenhoe in Hertfordshire, the seat of the Pilkingtons, and this manor, being among them. But notwithstanding this, in 1493 inquisitions were awarded into Norfolk and Suffolk, as at the death of Sir Thomas aforesaid, in which it was found that

Sir Roger Pilkington, Knt. was his son and heir, who in the mean time had got his father's attainder, and the grant made to the Lord Strange reversed, and now he inherited his paternal estate; he married Alice, daughter of Sir John Savage, Knt. He it was that began to rebuild Brisingham church and tower, though he lived not to see them finished. At his death, his estate was divided among his six daughters, viz.

Margaret, married to Thomas Pudsey.

Catherine, to John Allow, or Atthow.

Alice, to Edmund Saltmarch.

Elizabeth, to William Huntley.

Margery, to Henry Pudsey.

Joan, to John Daniel of Daresbury, in Cheshire; each of which had a sixth part of the manor and advowson, in right of their wives; but for want of accounts of the separate descents of the daughters, I cannot exactly trace every part; but thus much I find in the ancient court-copies, and other evidences, that

In 1546, John Futter of Stanton, in Suffolk, was lord of two parts, who, in 1550, purchased another part of

Sir Richard Southwell, Knt. who had it of

Thomas, son of William Huntley, Gent. by which he became lord of a moiety; he bought one of his first parts of

Henry Chitting, and Bridget his wife, daughter and heiress to one of Pilkington's daughters.

In 1543, Thomas Wiat, Esq. son and heir of Thomas Wiat, Knt. had a part.

John Futter left his three parts, or moiety, to

Robert, his son, who made several settlements of it in 1561, to divers uses, on

Francis Boldero and Edmund Wiseman, who conveyed it to

Thomas Andrews and William Phellips, who settled it on

Bartholomew Kemp. But notwithstanding all this, when the title came to be inspected, in order for sale, some flaw or other was found, so that Wiseman and Boldero, who purchased it of Robert, were forced to have a new recovery, Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord-Keeper, being sole feoffee, in whom the title was entirely vested. As to the other parts,

Thomas, son of John Daniel, sold his to

Christopher Coe, Gent. in 1528; in 1535,

John Atlow sold his to

William Skimsber; and in Sir Peter Leicester's Description of Cheshire, it is said that

Sir Ralph Leicester of Toft, in 1561, sold a part to

Francis Baldero and Edmund Wiseman, which was settled on

Sir Nicholas Bacon, in order for sale, as all the parts were. How Coe's and Skimsber's passed I cannot tell; but upon recoveries suffered, they were also vested in

Sir Nicholas, and by him sold, with the advowson, to

Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and his feoffees, sc. Sir Nicholas Le Strange, and Sir Richard Fulmerston, Knts. and John Bleverhasset, Esq. who kept their first court here, the 10th of Feb. 1564; the style of which ran thus:

"The first general court-baron and lete, of the noble Prince Thomas Duke of Norfolk, Earl-Marshal of England, Nicholas Le Strange, Richard Fulmerston, Knts. and John Bleverhasset, Esq. trustees to the use of the said Duke, by virtue of a feoffment made by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Knt. Lord-Keeper of the Great Seal of England, Thomas Andrews, Francis Baldero, and Edmund Wiseman, Esqrs. after their purchases of the several parts of this manor and advowson, of Robert Throgmerton, William Norreys, Ralph Leycestre, Knts. Thomas Tressham, Henry Lumleys, Esqrs. and Robert Futter, Gent."

In 1570, the Duke leased it to Thomas Kitson, Esq. who kept court in his own name, by virtue of his lease.

  • 1574, William Dixe, Esq. and Thomas Canterell, Gent. assigns of Thomas late Duke of Norfolk for ten years to come, kept their first court here, in the style of which it appears, that the manor was entailed as follows:

On Phillip Howard, Esq. eldest son of the said Duke, otherwise called Phillip Earl of Surrey, and his heirs male, remainder to his brother, Thomas Howard, Esq. and his heirs male, remainder to William Howard, Esq. another brother, and his heirs male, remainder to Henry Howard, Esq. another brother, and his heirs male, remainder to the right heirs of Earl Phillip; and for want of such, to Margaret Howard, his sister, and her heirs.

In 1578, Thomas Duke of Norfolk kept his first court, upon whose attainder it was forfeited to the Crown, and

The Queen kept court here; she granted it to

William Cecil, Knight of the Garter, and others; whether to the use of the Howard family, or no, I cannot say; however, certain it is, that it was in

Phillip Earl of Arundell and Surrey; and, upon his attainder in 1589, was seized again by the Queen;

From which time it remained in the Crown till the first of James I. when

Thomas, son of the said Earl, was restored to his honour and estate; and in that year, the King, by letters patent dated June 17, restored the manor and advowson to

Thomas Lord Howard, and Henry Howard, to each a moiety.

In 1625, Robert Causfield of London, Esq. trustee to Henry Earl of Arundell, mortgaged this manor and advowson, and the tenements Irland and Roses, to Sir Thomas Penruddock of Hale, in Southamptonshire, Knt. and Sir Henry Bedingfield of Oxburgh, in Norfolk, Knt. with divers other large estates, which were afterwards sold; but those being insufficient to pay the debts, it was afterwards infeoffed in

John Dixe, alias Ramseye, of Wickmere, in Norfolk, and other trustees, in order to pay the rest, which John left his brother's son, John, his heir, who, in 1660, at the request of Henry Howard, second son to Henry late Earl of Arundell, absolutely granted and released to

Sir William Platers of Soterlee, in Suffolk, Knt. and Bart. and Sir Richard Onslow of West Clandon, in Surrey, Knt. and their heirs for ever, (among others,) this manor and advowson, to the intent that they should take the debt absolutely on themselves, with the title; and soon after, the debt being paid, it was conveyed to

The Duke of Norfolk, in which family it hath ever since continued; Charles Howard Duke of Norfolk, Earl-Marshal of England, being lord and patron at this time. [1736.]

Boyland Manor[edit]

Belonged to Alsius in the Confessor's time, and was in the Conqueror's hands at the survey, being by him committed to Godric's custody, and was then very small.

It was after in the Earl of Norfolk, and by him united to the great manor, and so continued till the first Sir Johu de Verdon, about 1240, conveyed it to Walter of Brisingham, to be held, by him and his heirs, of the manor of Brisingham; this Walter left it to William of Brisingham, his son, and he to Walter of Brisingham, his son, who, with Margery his wife, sold it, in 1268, to Sir Richard de Boyland, Knt. from whom the manor took its name. The Brisingham family were of good account, and had large possessions here and in other places, as I find by several evidences. William, son of Walter of Brisingham, lived in 1259; Richard, son of Rose of Brisingham, in 1332; John, son of Robert of Brisingham, and Joan his wife, in 1349; all considerable owners in these parts.

In 1268, Walter of Brisingham sold to Richard de Boylond, one messuage and a carucate of land, in demesne, in Brisingham, Roydon, and Shelfhanger, with all their homages, services of freemen, and villeins, reliefs, &c. (for money,) and 80 acres of land, that the said Richard granted to the said Walter and Margery, in Pulham, being all the land he had there. These arms were always born by the Brisingham family, though there were two younger branches that bore different coats, viz.

Sab. two wings conjoined and elevated arg.

Arg. three mullets sab. between two bendlets engrailed gul.

And according to this conveyance, I read in Curtey's Register, fol. 52, that

Richard de Boylond, Knt. held a messuage, 60 acres of land, 5 acres of wood, 1 of marsh, &c. of William, son of Walter of Brisingham, and the said Walter holds them of John de Verdon, by the service of a third part of a fee, and one arrow, per annum, and the said John holds it of the earl, the earl of the Abbot of Bury, and he of the King.

This Sir Richard was a very great man in Edward the First's time, being justice-itinerant in this county, and owner of many great lordships and estates, but how acquired we may easily judge, for Mr. Weaver informs us from Stow, and other historians, that he being one of the commissioners for the government of the kingdom in the absence of Edward I. was, at the King's return, found guilty of manifest corruption in the administration of justice, and fined 4000 marks for his intolerable extortions. After this he retired hither, where he built a noble seat, surrounded with a large moat, which he continued round the orchards, park, and all his lands, the remains of which may be seen at this day; [1736;] but his greatest work was that subterraneous vault, or arch, now remaining, commonly called the Conduit, which was made with a double design, both for bathing and for a continual supply of water to these moats. It is situate about half a furlong SW. from the house, and is very remarkable, being arched over very strong, ceiled very smooth, and paved at the bottom; the mouth of it is about three feet wide, but when you enter beyond the rubbish which is thrown in, a man may fairly walk upright; it goes in a straight line about 30 or 40 rods in length, and near the further end is a large well, exceeding deep, beyond which there is a wall, and there the straight line of the vault ends. This well continually overflows, so that the water runs about a foot deep the whole length of the vault, occasioned by its outlet being almost stopped up with rubbish, or else it would not run above two or three inches in depth. When you have entered this vault about four rods, there are two mouths of other arches, one on the right hand and another on the left, from which the water continually flows into the great arch, so that the three currents have one discharge only; what is in these two I know not, for though the mouths seem large, the arches are not big enough for one to enter. Right over the well, in the close, is a hill, raised (as I take it) to determine the place where the well is; when the water runs out, it comes directly into a square bath, over which there was lately a bathing-house of brick, with a summer-house joined to it, the ruins of which still [1736] remain. Out of this the water runs into such another square bath, which was designed as a common one, it being never covered; from this is a small conveyance, which seems to have been arched over formerly, that leads directly into the moat that surrounds the orchard. Whether this water was heretofore remarkable for any medicinal virtue I know not, but if not, am apt to think that this overflowing spring induced him to settle here, a spring of any kind being very rare in this part, there being little water for use, but what comes from ponds and moats, which might be the reason he bestowed such a cost on it. The water is very cold, and in the extremity of frost never freezes, though the motion is but little. The people that come to see this place have pulled down most of the ruins, to throw into the vault to hear the sound, which is very great, and continues long. The meadow is called the Conduit Meadow, and is part of the estate of the Duke of Norfolk. [1736.]

In 1285, he had a charter for free warren in all his demeans here, and in Wilby in Norfolk, and Chedeston in Suffolk; about this time he added to the manor divers lands and tenements in this town, which he purchased of Robert, son of Roger Le Bretun, and had them settled on himself, and Maud his wife, and their heirs, all which are specified in the deed enrolled in the King'sBench. I am apt to think that Sir Richard was son of Roger de Boyland, and Alice his wife, which Roger was dead before 1256, for then Alice was his widow; she lived some years after, being buried in the church of the Carmelite friars at Norwich, which was not founded till 1268. In 1295, Sir Richard, jointly with his second wife Elen, daughter of Philip de Colvile, had this manor, with others in Northwalsham, Tivetshall, Wilby and Ringstead, and lands in Osmondeston, Hemenhale, Tasburgh, Wackton, and Gissing; and John was his son and heir, twenty-four years old, who soon after succeeded; and, in 1314, settled it on himself and Emme his wife, and their heirs, with the lands that belonged to it in Roydon, Shelfhanger, and Winfarthing. He had a brother named Richard, who, in 1307, was lord of Shotisham: in 1321 he sealed with a knight on horseback, holding a shield with his arms thereon; he left it to

Sir Richard de Boyland, who, in 1340, held it at a third part of a fee, jointly with Maud de Boyland, his mother-in-law. I have a deed in 1350, to which he is a witness: at his death it came to

Sir John Boyland, of Boyland Hall in Brisingham, his son and heir, who died without issue male, leaving only one daughter, Maud, married to

John Lancaster, senior, Esq. of Brisingham, who was of a good family in this country; William Lancaster, Esq. was a tenant of this manor in 1378. This John was seized of it in 1401, holding it at the fourth part of a fee, but was charged at half a fee for his relief; he added to it by purchasing Filby's manor, and uniting it to this, as he did the tenement Irland's and all the services thereto belonging, which was of his own inheritance, all which, at his death, he left to

John Lancaster, Esq. of Brisingham, who married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Sir John Braham of Braham Hall in Catiwade, in Suffolk, Knt. He by his last will, dated the 20th of Nov. 1469, willed to be buried in St. John's church, in Brisingham, leaving the manor to

Elizabeth, his wife, for life, with the manor of Heywood Hall in Diss, and all the lands thereto belonging in Reydon. Shelfhanger, Fersfield, and Burston, all which John Lancaster, senior, his father, had settled on Sir Simon Felbrigge, Knt. Gibert Debenham, and other trustees, to the use of his will; and at the death of Elizabeth, the aforesaid premises were to descend to William, his eldest son, except Filby's tenement in Brisingham, and Roydon. John and Henry, his sons, were to have all his share in Boyton Hall manor, in Capel in Suffolk, with lands there, and several towns thereabouts; and after the death of Elizabeth his wife, and William his son, they were to have Filby's tenement, and his part of the manor of Braham Hall in Catiwade, to them and their heirs. Elizabeth lived till 1478, and then died seized of this, and of a tenement, and 14 acres held of Fersfield manor, called Rose's, and of the tenement Irland's in Fersfield and Brisingham, with all its services; and William Lancaster of Boyland Hall in Brisingham, was her son and heir. It seems she married one Cator for her second husband, for by that name she is found to die seized.

This William first married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of William Notbeam of Suffolk, Esq. and after her death, to Eleanor, widow of Henry Noon of Shelfhanger, Esq. daughter of Derby of Cheshire, who survived him, and after married to Robert Wyngfield, Esq. whom she survived; and dying in 1500, was buried by Henry Noon, her first husband, in Shelf hanger chancel. By her he had no issue; by his first wife he had one daughter, named Benedicta, who married

Edward Bolton, Esq. who had two sons,

William Bolton of Boyland Hall, to whom he gave this manor, with Irland's and Rose's tenements, and all their rents and services in Fersfield, Brisingham, Raydon, and Shelf hanger, by will dated 15th July, 1528. To Thomas, his other son, he gave Heywood Hall manor in Diss, and Winfarthing, which went off with him, as in that manor at large. This William married Elizabeth, sister and heiress to William Curson of Carleton in Norfolk, clerk, by whom he had

Francis Bolton of Burston, Gent. who was lord here in 1571. He married Anne, daughter and heiress of John Pykarell of London, and Anne his wife, daughter of John Fyfield of Essex, by whom he had

Edward Bolton, who dying without issue, the manor and tenements aforesaid descended to his four sisters, Ruth, Elizabeth, Susan, and Judith.

Judith married Edward Rochester of Thetford, Gent. whose son Richard joined with Eustace Tirrel, Gent. who married another, and the other sisters and their husbands, and sold it to

Phillip Earl of Arundell, who was possessed hereof in 1583, together with Rose's and Irland's. At this time the site of this manor, with the demeans, whereof part was in the park of Kenninghall, was let to the keeper of the old park, for his dwelling, and so had been ever since 1571, before which time it was hired by the Norfolk family, if not mortgaged to them by William Bolton, and Elizabeth his wife, though there was no title completed till now; from this time it continued in the Norfolk family, the present duke being now lord. [1736.]

Middleton's Manor in Brisingham[edit]

Had its beginning in 1276, when Wigona de Verdon and her partners held it, together with lands in Hapeton, at one fee; this soon returned to the capital manor, except those parts which her partners held, of which

John de Lynn had a fourth part of a fee, and

John de Boyland had another fourth part, which was forced to pay a relief, as half a fee, it being charged with the relief of that part which was John de Lynn's, whose part came from him to a branch of the

Brisingham family, but not that which had the part afterwards Boyland's, for it remained in that family till it went to three heiresses, married to

Henry Baille, Peter de Mayners, and David Cumyn, as an inquisition of all the knights fees in Norfolk and Suffolk informs me: I take them to have been the heiresses of

Thomas de Brisingham, to whom King Edward I. for his great services, gave divers lands in Normandy. In Edward the Second's time,

Hugh du Pool of Brisingham seems to have had it; and in 1321,

Thomas du Pool, his son, who left it to

Henry de la Pool, his son, who, in 1331, levied a fine of this manor, which at that time consisted of 9 messuages, 218 acres of land, and other great parcels in Brisingham, Lopham, Fersfield, Shelfhanger, and Roydon, together with the advowson of Shelfhanger, by which it was settled on Henry and Margaret, and their heirs, in tail. In 1338 they had aliened it to

William de Middleton of Brisingham, and Isabel his wife, and John Howard and others; and it seems as if this Isabel was their daughter and coheiress, and had this part settled on her, as the other part of their estate seems to be on her sister, that married Bosville. However, by an inquisition, 20th Edward III. it is plain that

William de Middleton held it for life, by the fourth part of a fee, and that he was to pay no relief, because it was charged on Boyland's part, which was to pay 45s. for both, as half a fee; thus it continued to 1359, and then the said William and Isabel, and all other parties concerned, joined in a fine, and conveyed it absolutely to

Mary de Brewse Countess of Norfolk, and her heirs, at which time the extent of it was 118 acres of land, 4 of meadow, 24 of wood, 20 of pasture, and 60s. rent, lying in Bresingham, Shelfhanger, Disse, Winfarthing, Burston, Roydon, and Carleton by Bokenham. This Mary was widow of William de Breose, or Brewse, lord of Brembre in Sussex, second wife to Thomas de Brotherton Earl of Norfolk; she afterward married Sir Ralph Cobham, Knt. was daughter of William lord Roos, and died in 1361; but how this manor went till 1392, I cannot say; but in that year

Ralph or Robert de Champayne, and Beatrix his wife, sold it to

Sir Robert Barney, Knt. and others, and his heirs. In 1401

Sir John Howard, Knt. had it, as appears by his letting the fishery belonging to it, lying by the Fen Common, to Sir John Pilkington, Knt. then lord of the capital manor. In 1425

Sir John Carbonell, by his will, proved March 30, gave every one of his executors 10 marks, to be received out of the profits of the two parts of his manors of Bresingham, &c. after which I find nothing of it more, so that it shews as if it was purchased by Pilkington of these executors; but the certainty of it I dare not avouch, though well know that some way or other it was now united to the capital manor.

Filbie's Manor[edit]

Had its site in this parish, though half of its lands and rents were in Roydon; it was part of the great manor till the first Sir John Verdon gave it to his

Chaplain, who left it to his son

Bruco; soon after it was in the

Morleys, lords of Roydon, who held it of Sir John Verdon, lord of Brisingham, by the annual payment of 2s. and 20s. scutage; and in them it continued till

Sir Robert de Morley gave it to

Thomas, son of Matthew de Morley, who was of a younger branch of this family; Thomas and his heirs were to hold it of Sir Robert and his heirs, by the service of 5d. a year, to be paid over and above the old services, and 6d a year for ever to the church of Roydon, to find a candle burning there; and the said Robert held it of Brisingham manor, by the services aforesaid: at this time the demeans were 30 acres, and there were several copyholders and cottagers belonging to it. From this family it went to the Filbies.

John de Filbie was lord in 1335, and paid 3 roots of ginger, or 1d. per annum. to the capital lord of Brisingham, in lieu of all services. In 1460

John Lancaster, who was lord of Boyland manor, had purchased all that part of this manor that laid in Brisingham, and joined it to his manor of Boyland; but the part that laid in Roydon in 1480

Richard Sellers held of the manor of Gissinghall, by the service of 4s. 6d. per annum, which was soon after purchased by Lancaster, and joined to Boyland, with which it continued, till

John Lancaster, junior, of Brisingham, Esq. gave it by will to

John Lancaster, Gent. his younger son, who, in 1521, sold t to

William Bolton, Gent. and so it was joined again to Boyland manor, with which it continues at this day, though the demeans are sold from it. [1736.]

The Priory Manor[edit]

Was taken out of the great manor in the beginning of Edward the Second's reign, when

Sir John de Verdon granted to the Prior of St. James the Apostle, of Old Bokenham, and the convent there, divers lands, tenements, rents, and services, of the fee of the said John, in the town of Brisingham, all which the King licensed, the prior, convent, and canons there, to purchase of him, after which he confirmed them to that house, together with an acre of turf-land in the Fen, which Richard, son of Robert de Scenges, gave them.

The value of this manor in 1479 was 31s. 5d. ob. in quitrents, besides the demeans; the whole temporalities of the prior here was taxed at 26s. as appears by a taxation of the revenues of the religious in 1425.

It continued in this house till its dissolution;

From which time it remained in the Crown till 1557, when

Phillip and Mary, by their letters patent, granted it to

Thomas Guybon of Lynn Regis, Esq. and William Mynne of London, Gent. to be held by fealty only in free soccage, as of the manor of East Greenwich in Kent. In a few years time they sold it to

Robert and Francis Buxton of Tybbenham, in Norfolk; and they, in 1560, to

Edmund Hoare of Palgrave, in Suffolk; he, in 1561, to

Thomas Howard of Burston, who, in 1604, left it to

Robert Howard of Burston, his son, who, with his feoffee, Thomas Harvey of London, Gent. conveyed it to

Robert Howard of Tybbenham, his son and heir; this Robert, August 24, 1613, sold it to

Thomas Howard of Burston, his brother, whose daughter and heiress married Mr. Dowe; she in her widowhood passed it to the Bringloes,

Mr. John Bringloe being the last male of that family that enjoyed it, whose daughter married

Mr. Robert Onge of Kenninghall, the present lord, who now [1736] hath the whole manor, and part of the demeans: the other part, called Prior's Lands, lying at Crosgate in Fersfield, and Brisingham, were sold from the manor by the Buxtons, and are now divided into parcels, some being held by Mr. John Edwards of Winfarthing, and others, by divers persons. [1736.]

For the series of the priors who were lords, see under Bokenham Priory.

The Customs Of These Manors[edit]

are as follow, viz.

The fines are at the lord's will, and the copyhold descends to the eldest son: the tenants have liberty to pull down and waste their copyhold houses, to fell and cut down wood and timber on the copyhold, without license, and to plant and cut down all manner of wood and timber, on all the commons and wastes against their own lands, by the name of a freebord or outrun, and to dig clay and turf, and cut furze and bushes, on all the commons. The Church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and had 15 acres of land belonging to it at the Conquest; it is a rectory, to which belongs a manor called

The Rectory Manor[edit]

The customs of which are the same as the other manors, except this, that the tenants cannot waste or pull down their copyhold houses without license. The glebe or demeans, in Edward the Third's time, were 40 acres; and in 1354, 51 acres and a half, but much being granted to be held by copy of court-roll, they are now reduced to about 20 acres. The patronage always hath, and now continues with the capital manor.

Norw. and Lin. Taxa.

24 marks.

  • 1301, 2 cal. Febr. Thomas Hickelyng was presented.
  • 1302, 2 cal. Nov. Bogo de Cnovile, alias Cucuville, accolite; Thomas de Verdon, patron.
  • 1316, 4 non. Febr. Thomas of Oxford, priest; Alice de Hanonia Countess of Norfolk, for this turn, as guardian to Sir John Verdon.
  • 1330, 7 cal. Apr. Thomas de la Pole, clerk; Sir John Verdon, Knt.
  • 1330, cal. Dec. John de Clipstone. Ditto.
  • 1331, cal. Aug. Robert de Clipstone, priest, at the resignation of John de Clipstone. Ditto.
  • 1339, 4 Febr. Ralph, son of Sir Ralph de Crophill, Knt.; Sir John le Verdoun, lord of Bricklesworth.
  • 1341, 29 May, He resigned in favour of John de Crophill, clerk. Ditto.
  • 1341, 4 Aug. this John resigned, and the aforesaid Ralph de Crophill, accolite, succeeded him. Ditto.
  • 1342, 21 June, Ralph changed with John Twentimark, for Warsop in Yorkshire. Ditto.
  • 1361, 31 July, John de Rouceby, priest; Sir John Verdon, Knt.
  • 1368, 17 Aug. Robert de Rokyngham, accolite. Ditto.
  • 1408, 17 Nov. Richard Farthingho, priest; Sir John Pylkington, Knt.
  • 1422, Richard Waldegrave.
  • 1457, 12 May, John Hatton; Thomas Pylkington (Scutifer.)
  • 1457, 17 Octob. John Topclyff, canon (I suppose of Old Bokenham;) John Paston, Esq.
  • 1461, 19 March, Nicholas Nabbe, chaplain. John Paston, Esq.
  • 1477, 4 May, John Nabbe, accolite on the death of Nicholas; Thomas Pylkington.
  • 1482, Thomas Bulcoke, on Nabbe's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1493, 18 Sept. Thomas Smethurst, priest, on Bulcoke's death; Roger Pylkington, Esq.
  • 1506, 20 Apr. Henry Tayleour, on Smethurst's death; Sir Richard Ashton, Knt.
  • 1539, 23 Nov. Thomas Bleverhasset, A. M. Margaret Puddessy, widow, the eldest of the daughters and heiresses of Roger Pylkington, Esq. deceased, true patroness of this turn.

. Thomas Briggs, clerk, on whose deprivation in

  • 1554, 28 July, William Storme, priest, was instituted; Robert Futter, Gent.
  • 1557, Octob. 27, Storme resigned, and Thomas Goodwyn, LL. B. succeeded. Ditto.
  • 1564, 24 May, Sir John Bardolph, clerk; Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord-Keeper.
  • 1569, 3 Dec. William Houlden, M. A. Bishop, by lapse.
  • 1570, 22 Jan. William Pecket, clerk, on Houlden's resignation; Thomas Duke of Norfolk.
  • 1579, 3 Feb. William Pecket; Phillip Earl of Surrey.
  • 1618, 1 May, Edmund Baker, A. M. on Pecket's death; Edmund Gooden, by grant of the turn, from Anne Countess of Arundell, and Thomas Earl of Arundell. He died in
  • 1667, and the 17th Febr. Francis Tilney, A. M. was presented by William Camell of Diss in Norfolk, by grant of this turn.
  • 1715, 23 Sept. The Rev. Humphry Clayton, A. B. the present [1736] incumbent, was presented, on Francis Tilney's death, by William Clayton and Thomas Dwyer, clerk, patrons for this turn.

The following religious persons had temporalities here, which were thus taxed in 1428.

The Prior of Kersey's at 12d.

The Abbot of Sibton's (being part of Frier's manor in Shelf hanger, that extended hither) at 6s. 8d.

The Prior of Bokenham's at 26s.

Beside these, the Prior of St. John Baptist's Commandry of the Hospitalers of St John of Jerusalem at Kerbrook had an annual payment of 1d. out of 7 acres of land lying in Thweyt hamlet in Fersfield and Brisingham, which was held free of that house by the said payment, 3 acres lying in Longland in Fersfield, and 4 acres in Oldfield and elsewhere in Brisingham and Fersfield. This land is now [1736,] owned by Francis Blomefield, clerk.

The Church here was much decayed, as should seem by the rebuilding the present fabrick, which was begun by Sir Roger Pilkington, Knt. lord of the manor, whose arms are cut in stone over the west door of the tower, quartering the arms of Verdon, on the other side of which is a single coat of some benefactor to the building, which was also in the church windows, though now lost, and is, arg. a chevron gul. between three eagles legs erased sab.

But though it was begun by him, he lived not to see it finished, for it was not perfected till 1527, as the date on the north side of the nave (still remaining) discovers to us. Among Mr. Le Neve's papers I find, that against the north wall of this chancel, at the upper end thereof, was a fair raised monument, once adorned with two fair portraitures, and escutcheons of brass, but now all reaved, with the epitaphs; he observed that the inhabitants told him, it was a knight of the family of the Pilkingtons. And in Mr. Anstis's book it is said, that there is a fair monument, having its brasses taken away, erected for a Pilkington. Now I take it, that this Sir Roger Pilkington and his wife were buried under it, the tradition still remaining that it was the tomb of the builder of the church; it is now [1736] taken down, and the top stone laid level with the floor, that it might not hinder the uniformity of the altar rails, the steps of which half cover the stone.

The building is very neat and uniform, having a nave, two isles, and south porch, all covered with lead; a fine lofty square tower, with a tunable ring of five bells; the chancel is tiled, which was not rebuilt with the church, it being much more ancient. Here are but few stones, and those that had brass are all disrobed. In the windows the following coats still remain, viz. In the south isle, the arms of Bury abbey, and arg. three pallets gul. on a bend sab. three estoils or. In the north windows of the nave are Verdon's arms; and in a north-isle window, Cressi, or Morley. Those that follow are now lost, Scales and Howard, Brotherton, Ufford and Beck, Vesey, Segrave, the East Angles, and St. George's. In the chancel are the following inscriptions:

On a black marble; the arms and crest of

Tilney, arg. a chevron between three griffins heads erased gul. Crest, a griffin's head.

Sub hoc Marmore, Humatur Corpus, Viri Venerabilis, Francisci Tilney, A. M. hujus Ecclesiæ, Septem plus et Quadranginta Annis, Pastoris indefessi, Objit, 13 Septembris, Anno Salutis 1715, Ætatis 81.

On a freestone.

Francis Tilney, son of Francis Tilney, Cler. and Elizabeth his Wife, buried June the 10 Anno Dni. 1682.

Adjoining, Here lyeth the Body of Elizabeth, the wife of Francis Tilney, Clerk, Daughter of Thomas Read of North Cove, Esq. who died Apr. the 23. 1691.

John Lancaster, junior, Esq. was buried here, with several of that family, whose memorials are all lost.

  • 1569, Henry Symonds, buried in the church, gave 20s. to the poor, and died possessed of a good estate here; he had purchased the site only, and two closes, of Philby's tenement or manor, from Boyland manor.
  • 1623, William Houching paid the usual fee of 6s. 8d. to the church-wardens, for burying his father in the church.
  • 1626, John Blomefield paid for his father's being buried in the church, and a grave-stone laid, 12s. to the church-wardens; the stone is now gone. [1736.]

Two Gilds[edit]

Were kept in this church, the one dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the other to St. Peter; a fair book of their accompts and lands is still in the church chest, out of which I learned the following particulars: that in 1531, St. John's Gild had a stock of 30 cow beasts belonging to them, which they let out at 1s. a year each; that the town-house, standing on the north side of the churchyard, was their Gild-hall, one room of which they reserved to hold their gild in, and the other they let; that there were above 20 bretheren and sistern on their bead roll, their hall, when the gild was dissolved in 1547, it was vested in feoffees for the use of the poor; they had a chaplain retained, to pray for them and for all their bretheren and sistern, living and dead, for which they paid him a salary of 30s. a quarter. In 1518, Sir Wylyam was their chaplain, who was continued to this time. In 1527, Thomas Clerke of Wisbech left them a legacy of 10s. and this year Sir Henry Tayleor, rector of Brisingham, was admitted a brother; they annually chose two Gild-holders, who were to receive all the money at the church-ales, the plough-lode, and the gilds, at some of which they received between 3 and 4l. besides the legacies that were left them. In 1541 they bought a pair of chalices: every year a great many brothers and sisters were added to them, and it is plain they were not a poor society; for, before 1517, they had purchased divers grants from the following societies, that all the bretheren and sistern of this gild should be partakers of the following pardons, which was the reason of the great increase of this above the other gilds, viz.

"The pardoun of the beyds, pardonond by the Priour of the Chartur-house of Mount-grace, for every of our Ladies-sawter said ower 26000 years of pardon.

"The pardun of the beads at the Chartur-house of Schene, for saying our Ladies-sawter is for every word in the Pater-noster, Ave Maria, and Crede, 24 daies of pardon, as often as the aforesaid Sawter is said, and is 10000 years of pardon.

"The pardon of the beads at Sion, saying our Ladies-sawter, every Pater and Crede 500 days of pardon.

"The pardon of the Cross Fryerys besyde London Tower, 500 days of pardon."

St. Peter's Gild[edit]

Was a less society, and having no hall, it was kept at the Gildholders' houses; they had two pieces of land, each containining one rood, the first of which lies in St. Peter's Grove, and was given, about 1463, by John Goche, a brother of the gild, who also gave the other piece which lies on the west side of Garbroad; both these at the Dissolution, were vested in feoffees for the use of the poor, and are freehold. They had a chaplain also, the same, I suppose, that St. John's Gild had, for I find one only named at once, viz. 1326, Robert Agar, chaplain; 1396, Robert Wade; 1401, John Copping; 1441, Stephen Hubbard.

  • 1407, Henry Goman, chaplain, by will gave an antiphonal of 5 marks to the church.
  • 1417, Robert Wode, chaplain, was buried in the churchyard; he gave vj.s. viij.d. to the high altar, and xx.d. to the poor.
  • 1506, 2 Apr. Thomas Smetherste, rector here, made his will, which is a very remarkable one, as not having one superstitious bequest in it; the substance of which is; that what God gave him he bequeathed as follows: "I commend those things which are Cœsar's to Cœsar, the earth to the earth, and those things which are God's to God; that is my soul to Christ. And I will, that all the poor that come to my burial have as much money, distributed among them as my circumstances will allow, at the discretion of my executors; and if I have defrauded any one, so that he can in conscience say, I ought to recompence, I will that recompence be made him. I give to Sir Richard Beeston, parish priest of Roydon, for his constant and true friendship 6s. 8d. and one of my gowns; and I make Sir James Smetherste, my brother, executor,"

In 1478, John Catour was buried in the church,

Benefactors to the building of the church, besides the principal ones, were,

St. John's Gild, which gave 25s. for free-stone.

Richard Medildiche of this town, who, in 1505, gave by will to St. John's Gild, 3s. to St. Peter's, 20d. and 6 marks to buy lead, and lay it in the churchyard for the use of the church.

In 1517 there was a gathering in all the neighbouring towns, for to finish the roof.

====Town Land And Gifts. ====

The town-house formerly belonging to St. John's Gild, standing over against the north west end of the churchyard, is copyhold on the rectory manor, pays 4d. quitrent, and is used for the dwelling of two poor families. [1736.]

One rood of land in Peter's Grove, and another rood in Garbroad, lying on the west side thereof, are freehold; and in 1600 were dooled out, and let at 7s. per annum to Mr. Futter: the row next South or Church-field, stands on the rood in Garbroad; these are in the estate late Mr. Salter's, now Mr. Robert Martin's of Thetford, and are settled on the poor. [1736.]

  • 1632, Henry Russels gave 10l. to the benefit of the poor.

Mr. Tirrel gave 10l. and the parish had 6l. 13s. 4d. out at use, of divers gifts; the town gave 4l. out of their stock, and sold a piece of town land which laid in Baldryes, with another piece in Winosalls, for 20l. to Mrs. Frere; these two pieces were freehold of Gissinghall manor, held at 9d. per annum, and were given in Edward the Fourth's time, by Robert Kyrkebi, and John Gooch. This they expended about paving, seating, and adorning the roof of the church, and carving the stools, what remained being kept for town stock.

A new pulpit and desk were made, and the altar railed in.

In 1638, the inhabitants petitioned the Bishop, that, Whereas the village of Brisingham grew very populous, and the parish church was large and neat on the outside, but much unbeautified within, the pavement and seats being decayed, and others wanting addition, the parishioners sitting in no order, the font standing in an obscure place behind one of the pillars, &c. that they might have license to do all things convenient, for the beauty of the church, and decent placing the inhabitants therein; upon which there was a commission to four neighbouring clergymen, who viewed it, and certified, that at the east end of the south isle, there was a sort of chapel parted from the church, in which the family from Boyland Hall used to sit, which they thought ought to be removed, and another place assigned to that family, which was done accordingly. After this, it was certified that Edmund Salter, A.M. had been a great instrument towards this work, and had laid out above 40l. in building the 14 upper pews of wainscot, for which they allotted the highest seat in the church, on the north side, to be annexed to his house for ever, which was confirmed by the Bishop's Faculty; in which seat this is cut on the wainscot: Quatuordecem hœ supremœ Sedes, extructœ fuerunt impensis Edmundi Salter Clerici, Anno Domini, 1674.

In 1644, Apr. 7, Capt. Gilley was paid 6s. by the town for viewing the church, to abolish superstitious pictures, and immediately after, John Nun was paid for two days work for taking down glass and pictures about the church, and filing the letters off the bells; and it is plain that here were many effigies and arms, for the glasing of the windows after this reformation came to 2 l. 6s. But though several of them were lost, some were preserved, and put up in the Hall windows, as the emblem of the Trinity, St. John the Evangelist, St. Catharine, the Holy Virgin, and St. Margaret, together with the arms of Verdon, and Pilkington, and Bohun Earl of Northampton, viz. az. on a bend arg. three mullets sab. between two cotises, and six lions rampant, or; all which (except the last coat) are now put up in the east chancel window, at the expense of the present rector. [1736.] This church suffered much in these times, for in 1664, 54l. 11s. 8d. was raised by rate to put it in order, and to buy it ornaments, of all which it was spoiled.

About 1668 the town purchased, of the widow Lanham, certain lands called Le Holmes, with the stock that remained of Baldrio's land which was sold, and 10l. of the town money; 3 roods of it (in two pieces) lie upon Fersfield manor, and pays 6d. lord's rent, and 1 acre on Brisingham, which pays 1s per annum. It is now let at 39s. per annum. [1736.]

The town close lying against Brisingham great common, heretofore called Chedbury Close, is freehold, and is let at 2l. 10s. per annum; this hath belonged to the church many ages even before 1400.

The town-house, in which two poor families dwell, [1736,] standing on the east side of the great common, was erected about 1630, by the inhabitants, upon a piece of their common.

Matthew Walter of Bliford gave 20s. per annum to the poor. (See his Will, under Fersfield.)

Mr. John Welham, late an inhabitant here, obtained leave of the inhabitants, to enclose a cartway that led into the grounds at the east end of his orchard, and to make it a footway only; in consideration of which, he settled 40s. a year; 3s. 4d. of which to be distributed the first Sunday in every calendar month, in bread to the poor, and tied his estate in Brisingham for the payment thereof; it is now owned by Mr. John Prentice of Botisdale, and is called Welhams. [1736.]

Elizabeth, widow of Mr. John Barker, rector of Fersfield, by will dated June 18, 1728, gave to the rector of the parish of Brisingham, and the church-wardens there, who should happen to be so, at the time of her decease, 2 acres of land called Round Meadow, and one tenement, and 2 acres and 20 feet of land, and half an acre of marsh, copyhold on Brisingham manor, lying in the said town, all which they are to hold to them, and the longest liver of them: and when all three are dead, the next rector and church-wardens to be admitted, to the use and trust following: that after the deduction of charges, the profits shall be by them applied, in the teaching of as many poor children (whose parents are settled inhabitants of Brisingham) above eight and under ten years old, in reading, writing, spiri ning, and other work, and learning the Church Catechism, as the produce will pay for, the said rector and church-wardens being tied to keep plain fair-written accompts, in a bound book, which shall be produced to the minister, church-wardens, and overseers of the poor of the parish of Fersfield, or to any one of them, within one week after notice given, which notice must be on a Sabbath day, immediately after divine service, and sermon is ended; and if the accompts be not produced in the time, the whole is forfeited, and vested in the minister, church-wardens, and overseers of Fersfield, to the same uses; and further, the rector, church-wardens, and their successors, are tied to agree with all that shall hereafter occupy the premises, that they shall have no manner of commonage on the great common of Brisingham, but that the right of commonage which belongs to this tenement shall be laid to the new built house and lands called Ten Acres, for ever, especially on that part of the common which comes down to the same lands; and the said tenement, as an acknowledgment that it hath no right, shall pay 1d. yearly, if demanded; and for want of such bargain, the lands are forfeited to Fersfield rectory and church-wardens, and if they fail performing it, then to be forfeited to the heir at law for ever. And in another clause concerning the Ten Acres, is this: "Item, I give unto my kinsman, Francis Tilney of Stradbrook, in the county of Suffolk, barber, all my lands, tenements, houses, and outhouses in Brisingham and Fersfield, with all and every their appurtenances, now in the occupation of John Fisher only, upon condition that the said Francis Tilney, and all other owners of the said premises, shall keep up the altar tomb, now erected over my dear deceased husband, on failure of which, my will is, that the church-wardens of Fersfield, shall seize upon the same, and pay themselves, what moneys they shall be out of in repairing and beautifying the same, together, with all their charges."

The town also receives 2s. a year from the blacksmith's shop at the Cross-ways.

The vestry on the north side of the chancel was demolished in 1658.

The bell that hung between the church and chancel, in 1618, was run into the fourth bell.

In 1549, the cross was pulled down, and the materials sold, as was all the church plate, (except enough to make a new cup,) with a vestment, rochet, cross-cloth, and altar-cloth, but in Queen Mary's time, they bought a new rochet, and procession book in English.

About this time the Buts were made, and the town ordered to find a foot arms.

This town, as appears from ancient evidences, notwithstanding the common received opinion to the contrary, was most field unenclosed; for at all times, great number of licenses were granted the tenants to enclose their lands, and vast numbers of them in Henry the Seventh's time, when it seems they completed the whole, and this is the reason that all the highways and lanes in this and the neighbouring parishes are measured into the lands that lie against them.

The manors that extended into this town, besides what lie therein, are Fersfield, Roydon Hall, Gissinghall in Roydon, and Frier's Manor, in Shelfhanger, and the rector of Shelfhanger hath a small parcel of glebe here.

The Commons[edit]

Are very large, and so they were always, for in an Extent in Sir John Verdon's time, it is said, that the town is surrounded with common, the names of which, at this time, [1736,] are Boyland Green, Whitehouse Green, Piddock's Green, the Great Common, with Aldwood Green, and Jay's Green now joined thereto, Roydon Green, the Fen Commons, Derby's Green, Winley Green, and Thwayt Green.

Boyland Green is so called from Boyland Hall, which stands on the west side of it, and anciently was appropriated to be fed by the tenants of that manor only, and is now [1736] fed by the towns of Brisingham and Shelfhanger, who are intercommoners here; between these towns there was a long contest, Shelfhanger claiming common of vicinage on this green, Whitehouse Green, Piddock's Green, and the Great Green or common; which contention lasted several years, till at length, upon Brisingham's proving their driving the commons solely, and always making the Shelfhanger people pay as trespassers thereon, they were adjudged to Brisingham only, except this Boyland Green, on which they were to be intercommoners, having proved, that they had about 6 acres of land in their parish, at the north end thereof, divided by a run of water; but the drift of this green also was given to Brisingham only: all the Evidences of it are in the hands of the town, with many more ancient ones, that would have set forth their sole right in a more clear manner than any they produced; and in particular the ancient Extents of this manor prove, that these commons were fed by the tenants of Brisingham only, in right as well of their freehold, as copyhold messuages, lands, and tenements, with all manner of cattle, at all times of the year, exclusive of all the tenants of Roydon and Shelfhanger, and all others, except the Abbot of Sibton, who by grant of Sir John Verdon, then lord, and his tenants, enjoyed common of pasture for 200 sheep, on the Great Green of Brisingham, paying annually 12d. to the lord of the manor, and his annual alms to the poor of the parish; this right is now [1736] enjoyed by the Duke of Norfolk, as belonging to Frier's manor in Shelfhanger, which he had with the abbey of Sibton, at the Dissolution, and the tenant that now occupies it with Shelfhanger Hall, to which it is now [1736] joined, pays bread annually on St. Thomas's day to the poor here, in lieu of the abbot's alms. The lord granted several of the tenants liberty of faldage hereon, and to drive the common sheep into their grounds to improve them, Boyland Green contains about 35 acres, Whitehouse Green about 20 acres, Piddock's Green somewhat more; the Great Green or Common, contains about 500 acres, Aldwode Green is that part of the Great Green that extends from the Round Pightle to the road that enters Piddock's-lane and contained about 20 acres, and is now [1736] laid to the Great Green, as is Jay's Green, which is that part lying from the Round Pightle to Fersfield way, on which the tenants of Fersfield have an absolute right of intercommonage; but it being with this limitation, that their cattle must have a follower, it is disused, as not being worth the while. On the Fen Commons there are no intercommoners, nor on Derby's Green, which is a small place, of not above 2 acres, and had its name from John de Derby, whose house stood against it in 1379. The Fen Commons are large, one was called Walstrete Common, and the other the Freth; Roydon Green is a small one, and is so called, because Roydon intercommons there, as Fersfield does on Winley Green and Thweyt Green, on both which each parish hath drift.

In this parish lived one Mr. Harrison, who was a curious collector of Roman coins, of gold, silver, and copper, from Pompey the Great to Honorius and Arcadius; his collection was sold by his son, to Sir Symond D'Ewes of Stow Langetot, in Suffolk, Knt. He was a very curious person, and lived in the house in which Robert Kent, senior, now dwells, [1736,] which was adorned in a very odd manner. In the parlour stood the effigies of a man which had a speaking trumpet (put through the wall into the yard) fixed to his mouth, so that upon one's entering the room it used to bid him welcome, by a servant's speaking into the trumpet in the yard: on the parlour door you may read the following distich, in brass capitals, inlaid in the wood:

Recta, patens, felix, iesus, via, janua, vita, Alpha, Docet, Verbum, Ducit, Omega, Beat.

And on the staircase door is a brass plate, with a circle engraved thereon, equally divided by the twenty-four letters, and this distich, in capitals of lead, inlaid in the wood:

Difficilis, cels----sera, porta, olympi, Fit, facilis, fidel, cardine, clave, manu.

In 1364, John Spilwan held lands here, which family always sealed with a cross flore in a shield, circumscribed Sigillum Johannis Spilwan de Brisingham; they were a family of good account in this country, though I do not find them owners of any manors.

The Boyland family always bore these arms.

Mr. William Piddock of Brisingham bears chequy or and az. on a pale sab. a woman's breast distilling drops of milk proper.

In 1603, it was returned that there were 160 communicants in this parish, which hath now [1736] near 70 dwelling-houses, and about 400 inhabitants. It used to pay 3l. 14s. for every tenth.

Parliament valuations under the associations were 1150l. and 1104l. the present [1736] valuation being 1093l. 10s.

The Leet Fee paid to the lord, was 20s. but the leet being dropt, there is no fee paid.

Having no more to say of this place, I shall procceed to Fersfield. ===FERSFIELD===

Is bounded on the east and south by Brisingham, on the west by Lopham, on the north by Kenninghall; the hundred of Diss extending to the utmost limits of this parish, and no further.

I find the name of it very differently written, as Fersevella, Fervessella, Ferefeud, Fairfeud, Fairvill, and Fersfell, all which seem to signify, a Fair Fee, or Village.

One part of it was very early in the Abbot of St. Edmund's Bury, being given about 963, along with Brisingham, by Osulph Le Sire, and the Lady Laverine, his wife, and was valued with that manor in the Confessor's and Conqueror's surveys; this fee being not mentioned in Doomesday, under Fersfield, it is evident it must be included in that manor, with which it was infeoffed by Abbot Baldwin, soon after the Conquest, in

Roger le Bigot Earl of Norfolk, and that it was so appears from an ancient manuscript of that abbey, now in Lord Carnwaleis's hands, in which it is said, that Earl Roger held three fees of that abbey, one in Norton, one in Brisingham, and one in Fersfield, for which he paid nothing to the guard of Norwich castle, the abbot being answerable for 7s. every 20 weeks. And in the same book it is found, that the fee in Brisingham was held of the Earl by John de Verdon, that in Fersfield by Sir Robert de Bosco, (or Bois,) and that in Nortone by Richard de Cham; the fee in Fersfield, at the death of Earl Roger, who died in 1107, went to William, his son and heir, and from him to

Hugh Bygod, his brother and heir, who infeoffed

Sir William de Bosco in it in the time of Henry II. whose heir,

Sir Robert de Bosco, held it in 1165; it was near one half of the town, and was ever after held of the Earls of Norfolk, who held it of the Abbot of St. Edmund's Bury.

The other part belonged to Alsius, a Thane (or nobleman) of Edward the Confessor's; the demeans being valued at two carucates; it was then an extensive manor, part of Burston, Bressingham, and Shimpling, belonging to it. The manor with the Berewic, and that part in Burston that belonged to it, was then valued at 60s. but by the Conquest was risen to 7l. 6s. 8d. and all that belonged to it was then valued at 12l. 6s. 8d. of which the freemen paid 106s. 8d. It was at the survey two miles long, and one broad, and paid to the Danegeld 7d. being at that time in the King's hands, under the management of Earl Godric, and the soc and sac of all the freemen in the hundred, that held less than 30 acres, belonged to it.

Thus it passed with the Crown some time, but was after given to the Bygods, then Earls of Norfolk, to be held at one fee; and

Roger Bygod infeoffed

Sir William de Bosco in it, as Hugh his son afterwards did in the other fee, so that he had the whole town, except a wood, and 19s. 4d. rent belonging thereto, which had been held a long time by the Earl of Arundell; but the jury knew not how, or of whom, this part that Earl had from the Crown, before the Bygods had the town; this also afterward came by purchase to the Boises; William du Boys aforesaid, at his death, left the whole town, manor, and advowson to

Sir Robert de Bosco of Feyrfeud, Knt. his eldest son and heir, who in 1165, held it of the Earl-Marshal at two fees; his wife's name was Isolda, who brought him a manor, held at one fee in Denton. This Sir Robert at his death left

Gilbert de Boys, Knt. his eldest son and heir, who married, and had an only daughter, called Joan; he died in 1249, at which time it appears that she was married to William de Bovile, who inherited, in his wife's right, all the lands and tenements of the said Gilbert, except the manors of Fersfield, Garbaudesham, &c. which descended by entail to

Sir Robert de Bosco of Fersfeud, Knt. second son of William, and next brother to Gilbert, as heir male of the family, all which lands and tenements the said William and Joan held till 1256, and then Sir Robert purchased part of them; and in 1285, he purchased all the remainder of the estate belonging to the Bois family, being two carucates of land in Fersfield, Brisingham, Lopham, and Kenynghale, for 300 marks; and for the payment thereof he mortgaged all the manors, lands, &c. that descended to him, with those that he had purchased of them in Fersfeud, Garbaudisham, Denton, Newton, Bakenton, Brokys, &c. with whom John Le Bretun, and Godfrid de Beaumond were bound, and tied all their lands in England for payment thereof; so that by this purchase all the estate of Gilbert, his eldest brother, was vested in him. He was a man that purchased much, for besides this, he bought the manor of Burston, in this hundred, and several other lands in divers adjacent towns. In 1285, he had the following privileges allowed in Eire at Norwich, to his manor of Fersfield, viz. a pillory, assize of bread and beer, view of frankpledge, wef and stray. He married Amy, (Amicia,) widow of Thomas Hastyng of Gissing, and suing for her dower, recovered, and had the manor of Gissing settled on her for life. Sir Robert died in 1298, seized of Fersfield, then valued at 10l. 13s. 6d. per annum, of which there is a fine extent in the Escheat Roll, in which the Great Wood, or Home Wood, from which the family first took their name, is mentioned; he is found also to be seized of a manor in Denton, another in Burston, and of Garboldisham, &c. and

Robert, his son and heir, was then thirty years old, to whom he left all his manors, &c. except an eighth part of Fersfield, or a quarter of that fee, which was held of Bury abbey, which he gave to

John de Bois, his second son: this John built a new hall upon it, married a wife named Katerine, and settled in it, calling his part

The Manor Of New Hall[edit]

Which name he himself is called by in several Evidences, and in particular, in the Nomina Villarum of the ninth of Edward II. in which John de Nova Aula, or New Hall, is said to hold a manor here. He lived to 1335, and dying without issue, his manor reverted to the great manor again.

The Advowson Of Fersfield[edit]

And 40 acres of land there, was given to William de Bois, clerk, third son of the said Robert; he was first rector of Fersfield, afterwards of Garboldisham All-Saints, and after that, vicar of Conerthe-Magna in Suffolk. In 1305, he granted the land and advowson to

Sir Robert, his eldest brother, and by fine settled it on him and Christian his wife, and their heirs, with a remainder to William Carbonel, if they had no issue. He lived till after 1351, for in that year, by his deed he released to Dame Alice Howard all his claim in the manor and advowson, with a remainder to Robert her son, by Sir John Howard, Knt. and his heirs, and if he hath none, then to remain to the right heirs of Sir John for ever.

There were two other brothers, viz. Nicholas, who lived in 1299, whose son, (as I take him to be,) William de Bosco, and Christian his wife, lived at Cretyng St. Mary in 1310, and Richard, a fifth son, whose son, Thomas de Bosco, in 1330 was presented by Sir Robert de Bosco, his cousin; to Garboldisham. But to return to

Sir Robert de Bosco, who succeeded in 1298, being then 30 years old, at which time he had two fees, which formerly were the Bygods, one of which was in Smalburgh, and the other here, and another in Fersfield, held of the Abbot of St. Edmund. He married Christian Le Latimer, daughter of Sir William Latimer, and widow of Sir John Carbonel of Waldingfield, in Suffolk, who was her first husband, by whom she had William Carbonel, her son and heir to his father. Upon Sir Robert's marriage, he settled this manor upon her for life, which she held some time after his death, for it appears by the Institution Books, that she presented in 1316; and the year after Sir Robert's death, which was in 1311, she married a third time, to Sir Thomas Mose, Knt. by whom she had a daughter, Mariot, married to Sir William Botevile, or Bovile, Knt. Some pedigrees that I have seen make this Thomas (or Robert Moose, Knt. as he is called in some deeds) her first husband, but I am certain he was her last, for in 1312, the very year that she married Sir Thomas, she presented here by the name of Christian de Mose, late wife of Sir Robert de Bosco, Knt. He, in 1308, held the third part of the manor of Carbonels, in Waldingfield-Magna, in Suffolk, with the advowsons of that church, and Chiston, in dower, in right of the said Christian, of the inheritance of William Carbonel, on which William the manor of Fersfield was settled in tail, if they had no issue, as was the manor of Walton, and the advowsons. In 1308, they conveyed the manor of Burston to this William and his heirs. Sir Robert, at his death in 1311, was seized of Fersfield, Denton, Garboldisham, &c. leaving

Robert du Boys, Knt. his only son and heir, then very young, and one daughter, Alice. Christian his mother was his guardian to her death, and then he became a ward of Thomas, Earl-Marshal, Earl of Norfolk, who presented here in 1326, the said Robert being not then of age: he died a bachelor in 1333, leaving his whole estate to

Alice, his only sister and heiress, then married to

Sir John Howard, junior, Knt. who was, upon Sir Robert's death, possessed of Fersfield and Garboldesham manors and advowsons, with Denton, &c. She lived to 1371, and at her death left issue by the said John, to which the whole inheritance of the Boises descended.

This family, I am apt to think, was at first a branch of the Bygods, their arms varying only in field and colour.

They sirnamed themselves De Bosco, or Bois, from the great wood which joined to their mansion-house, and was not cleared till Queen Elizabeth's time; Boscus in Latin, or Bois in French, signifying a wood. The crest of this family was a buck couchant, ermine. The whole generation continually resided here, from William, who was first infeoffed in it, to Alice, who was the last of that line. They were always a separate family from the De Boscos of Lincolnshire, or those of Ingham in Norfolk, which family bears a different coat from this; and because I have no where met with any pedigree of them, I have given you one collected from the Evidences before quoted, and other ancient deeds in my own custody.

In 1333, Sir John Howard, junior, Knt. was seized of the manors and advowsons of Fersfield, Garboldisham, Brokehall, &c. in right of his wife. This Sir John was grandson to William Howard of Wiggenhall in Norfolk, a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas, in Edward the First's time, and son of John Howard, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to that King. In the tenth of Edward III. he was constituted Admiral of the King's whole fleet, from the mouth of the Thames northward, being then in great esteem at court, as may be collected from the many favours he obtained: he was with that King at the siege of Calais, being then Admiral, and had in pay with him 1 banneret, 6 knights, 36 men of arms, and 35 archers on foot. In 1310, he had the King's letters of protection at his going into Scotland with the Earl of Cornwal, the King being then at York. In 1317, he was Sheriff of Norfolk, and upon his second going into Scotland, by the King's order, he made G. de Ely his attorney, to account in the Exchequer for his office. In 1339, he received 20 marks by action, against Sir John Segrave and his servants, for cutting down trees, and carrying away the soil of Fersfield manor, under pretence of cleaning the great ditch round his park, (now [1736] called Lopham Park.) In 1347, he settled Fersfield on himself and wife for life, remainder to Robert, their son and heir, and Margaret his wife, for their lives, and their heirs;

Sir John Ufford being sole trustee, and as such was lord and patron.

Robert, the son, was of age in 1371, when his mother died, being then married to Margaret, daughter, and at length one of the heirs, to Robert Lord Scales, Knt. Lord Nucels; he died before his father, anno 1388, the 3d of July, so that he was never possessed of the estate, leaving

Sir John Howard, Knt. his son and heir, then turned 23 years old, on whom, in 1386, he had settled the reversion of Fersfield, Garboldisham, Uphall, and Bokenham's, after his own death, and that of Margaret his wife, Sir John Lovel, Sir John Tuddenham, Knts. William Ufford Earl of Suffolk, John Holkham, John Marlere, rector of Ilsyngton, and Richard de Walton, being trustees; according to this settlement, at the death of Sir John Howard the father, they descended to

Margaret his widow; and at her death they went to

Sir John Howard, Knt, her son, who was retained upon his knighthood, to serve the King for his life, the 10th of March, twelfth Richard II.; he married first, Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir John Plais of Weetyng, being then above 23 years old, and had a son named John, then turned 6 years old, who was heir, after her decease, to his grandfather, viz. to Wetyng, Oclee-Magna, Benefield, and Stanstead manors and advowsons, with several fees, lands, and a park, in Alchesley in Essex; the manor and advowson of Foulmere in Cambridgeshire, and other lands and revenues, all which were held by the third part of the barony of Montfitchet. She died in 1391, after which Sir John married again to Alice, daughter and heiress of Sir William Tendring, Knt. and Catherine Clopton his wife, upon which marriage he settled this manor and advowson, with Brokes in Suffolk, &c. on their trustees, Sir Simon de Felbrigge, John de Rochford, Michael Beverleye, dean of Middelham college, &c. to the use of himself and Alice his second wife, for life, and his heirs; and if he had none, to the use of the trustees' heirs. This deed is dated at Fersfield 1398: she died in 1426, and was buried in the south part of Stoke-Neyland church, under the same stone with Sir John her husband, and by her father, Sir William Tendring, leaving to Sir John Howard her husband, if alive, the manor of Stoke-Neyland, with Bacon' s manor there, for his life. Robert Howard, Knt. their eldest son, married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, whose son John was the first Duke of this family; Sir John did not die in 1400, as Mr. Weaver hath it, (fol. 772,) for the Escheat Roll in 1432 tells us, that Sir John Howard, Knt. then held Fersfield of John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, of his manor of Forncet, at two fees and an half; and in 1435, he made his will, in which he gave Fersfield, Garboldisham, &c. to his grandaughter Elizabeth, then Countess of Oxford, and her issue, remainder to Robert, his son, by his second wife, and his heirs; and for want of such, remainder to Henry, his second son, and his heirs; this was dated Apr. 1: he died in 1437, in which year his will was proved, (this is confirmed by the Escheat Roll 16 H. 6. No 56.) In 1416 he had levied a fine of this town and Brokes, to Sir Walter Clopton, and William Clopton, Esq. in order to settle them upon himself, and Alice his second wife; and to make it effectual, John Howard, Esq. his son and heir by his first wife, in 1408 released to Sir John his father, and Alice, his second wife, and their heirs, all their right in them, they being formerly settled on Robert Scales, and other trustees, in tail, for his use after his father's death; so that by this release, the fee was wholly in his father, who did not settle it as was designed, and therefore he was impowered to give it by will, as he did, to his grandaughter. All the pedigrees, that I have seen, say he died in 1400, grounding their errour on the aforecited place of Mr. Weaver; but if we consult that author, page 773, where there is a draught of the monument of this Sir John, and Alice his second wife, we shall find that the mistake was not in the author, for there the inscription is exhibited with an imperfect date, viz.

"Orate pro animabus Johannis Howard Militis, qui objit, Anno 14--Et Allicie uxoris ejus que objit in festo Sancti Luce Evangeliste, 1426. Quorum animabus propicietur Deus."

So that in page 772, where he is said to die in 1400, is an errour of the press only, which all having followed in the pedigrees, without any further examination of their author, is the cause that we meet with so many mistakes in relation to this Sir John Howard, that we now treat of, and John Howard, Esq. his son and heir, by his first wife, who, according to the pedigrees, married Joan, daughter and heiress of Richard Walton, Knt. (though in a fine levied anno 11 Henry IV. she is said to be his sister and heiress,) he died in 1410, before his father, as his will, proved October 26, in that year, evidently shews, in which his father and the Countess of Hertford were executors. His wife Joan, after his death, married Sir Thomas Erpyngham, Knt. with whom she lived till 1424, and then left Elizabeth, her only child, 14 years old, her sole heiress.

This Elizabeth married John Vere Earl of Oxford, and carried the manors of Fersfield, Garboldisham, Brokehall, and Foulmere in Cambridgeshire, with their advowsons, into that family, (together with the inheritance of the Plaises and Waltons,) all which, by the will of Sir John Howard, her grandfather, were entailed on Sir Robert Howard, his eldest son by his second wife, if the said Elizabeth had no heirs.

But because the branches of this honourable family are very numerous, I shall here shew that branch only through which this manor passed, reserving the complete pedigree for another place.

This John was the twelfth Earl of Oxford of the Vere family, being nine years old at his father's death, which was in 1415; he was knighted by the King at Leicester, on Whitsunday, the fourth of Henry VI. the King himself having received that honour at the hands of his uncle, the Duke of Bedford. In 1428, being then a ward, he married Elizabeth aforesaid, without license; but for 2000l. paid into the Exchequer, he was pardoned that transgression, and before the end of the year, making proof of his age, had livery of his lands. In 1434, he was licensed to travel to the Holy Land, with twelve persons in his company; the year after he went into Picardy, for the relief of Calais, and doing his homage, had livery of all those lands which, by the death of Sir John Howard, Knt. in 1437, came to Elizabeth his wife. In 1438, he was joined with John Duke of Norfolk, to treat for a perpetual peace between France and England: in 1453, he was one of those great men that undertook to keep the seas for three years next following, being allowed the subsidies of tunnage and poundage, then granted for that service; but when Edward IV. gained the crown, the Lancastrian party (of which this Earl was one) soon fell; for that King, in the first year of his reign, called a parliament, wherein Henry VI. and all his lineage, were disinherited, and this Earl, and Aubrey, his eldest son, attainted and beheaded, on the 26th of February, 1461, and were buried in the Austin Friars, London. His estates were all seized, except those which were of the proper inheritance of his widow, all which she retained, and among them these manors and advowsons, which she held in her own right, and name also, till 1472, at which time John, her son, (who after was Earl of Oxford,) kept St. Michael's Mount in Cornwal against the King, which made her fear ill measures might be taken against her; and therefore, to secure her estate, and prepare against the worst, she and her feoffees, William Grey Bishop of Ely, Sir Thomas Montgomery, Gilbert de Benham, Roger Townshend, and others, infeoffed Richard Duke of Gloucester (who was fourth son of Richard Duke of York, brother to the King) in the manors and advowsons of Garboldisham Howards, Fersfield, Weetyng, Toftrees, Knapton, Eastwinch, Wiggenhall, and Titleshale, in Norfolk, and Chelesworth, Eastbergholt, and Brookhad in Suffolk; Fulbourne, or Foulmere, and Haukeston, in Cambridgeshire, and several others in other counties, by two deeds, one dated the 9th of Jan. 12th Edward IV. the other the 9th of Febr. 13th Edward IV. and by this means she enjoyed them to her death, and left them to

John de Vere her son, who after became the 13th Earl of Oxford, Lord Bulbec, Samford, and Scales, Great Chamberlain, and Admiral of England, who, after his father's death, adhered to King Henry VI. in order to his restoration; and after the loss of the battle at Barnet, he entered St. Michael's Mount in Cornwal, and kept it some time against the King; but being at last taken, he and the Lord Beaumont were sent to safe custody in the castle of Hamms in Picardy, and in the next parliament was attainted, with George his brother. But in the second of Richard III. being still prisoner in that castle, and observing what hopes of aid Henry Earl of Richmond had from the French and others, in order to gain the crown; he and Sir James Blount, the Governor of the castle, and Sir John Fortescue, Porter of the gates of Calais, got thence, and came to Montarges, to the Earl of Richmond, who received him with much joy, being a person of great nobility and integrity, and very expert in military affairs; when King Richard heard that this castle had declared for the Earl of Richmond through the contrivance of this Earl, he ordered out part of the garrison of Calais to regain the castle, upon which, those within it sent a messenger to the Earl of Richmond for more aid, who sent this Earl with a number of expert soldiers, who, by his skilful conduct, drew off those in the castle without any loss; after which he went to the Earl at Paris, with whom he came into England, and marched to Bosworth, where King Richard encountered them; and by the prudent conduct of this Earl, the battle in a great measure was gained, and the Earl of Richmond crowned by the name of King Henry VII. who immediately restored him to his honour and estate. This Earl presented here in 1505. He had two wives; Margaret, daughter of Richard Nevile Earl of Salisbury, and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Scroop, Knt. and widow of William Lord Beaumont; she enjoyed this manor after his death, and presented here in 1527. Upon his dying without issue in 1512, his estate and honour went to

John Vere, the fourteenth Earl of Oxford, only son of Sir George Vere, Knt. brother of the last Earl, by Margery, daughter and heiress of William Stafford of Frome in Dorsetshire, Esq. the said George dying before his brother. This John married Anne, daughter to the Duke of Norfolk, and died in 1526, without issue, leaving all his estate to his three sisters, his coheiresses, of which

Elizabeth, the eldest, was married to Sir Anthony Wyngfield of Letheringham, in Suffolk, Knt.

Dorothy, the second, to John Nevile Lord Latimer, between which two the inheritance was divided; for

Ursula, the third, married Sir Edward Knightley; but having no issue, in 1599, when she died, her part came to the heirs of Sir Anthony Wingfield, and the Lord Latimer, as the inquisitions at her death testify.

Hitherto the manor and advowson went together, but in 1533 they were divided; for Sir Anthony Wyngfield aforesaid, and John Nevile Lord Latimer, coheirs of John Earl of Oxford, exchanged the manors of Fersfield and Garboldisham, with Thomas Duke of Norfolk, for the manor of Dalby-Chacomb in Northamptonshire, and settled them on the Duke and his heirs, reserving both the advowsons to them and their heirs; all which was confirmed by parliament, in the 25th and 26th years of King Henry VIII. so that now the advowsons of Fersfield and Garboldisham were one moiety in the Wyngfields, and the other in the Lord Latimer.

The moiety that belonged to the Wyngfields went from Sir Anthony aforesaid, to

Sir Robert, his eldest son, who, in 1558, had livery of a moiety of Weetyng manor, &c. and in 1595, died seized of a moiety of the advowsons, of Fersfield and Garboldisham, which advowsons he held jointly with Caterine Countess Dowager of Henry Earl of Northumberland. Sir Thomas Cecil, and Dorothy his wife, Sir John Danvers, and Elizabeth his wife, William Cornwaleis, Esq. and Lucy his wife, daughters and coheiresses of John Nevile Lord Latimer. Sir Robert dying without issue,

Sir Anthony Wingfield of Goodin's, in Hoe, in Suffolk, inherited; he died Dec. 29, 1605, without issue, and was buried at Letheringham, leaving

Sir Thomas Wyngfield of Letheringham, his brother, his heir; who, as the Escheat Roll says, was then 50 years old; he died Jan. 22, 1609, and was buried at Letheringham, leaving

Sir Anthony Wingfield, Bart. of Godwins in Hoe parish, his heir, who died July 30, 1638, seized of the moieties of the advowsons of Garboldisham and Fersfield; but of whom they were held the jury knew not.

Sir Robert, his son, succeeded, and was a minor in 1642, and dying soon after,

Sir Anthony, his brother, followed him, who left it to

Sir Henry, his son, and he to his son,

Sir Henry Wyngfield of Easton, who sold his estate in 1706 to

Mrs. Anne Wroth, in trust, for William Henry Earl of Rochford, who left it to

William, his son, who deceasing without issue, the Right Honourable

Frederick Earl of Rochford, the present [1736] patron, inherited.

The other moiety went to John Nevile, Knt. Lord Latimer, who, upon the death of Richard Nevile Lord Latimer, his father, in 1580, had livery of his inheritance; and upon that insurrection in Yorkshire, called the Pilgrimage of Grace, he, with the Lords Scroop, Lumley, and Darcy, was made choice of by the rebels, to treat with the Duke of Norfolk, General of the King's forces, then advancing against them. He died in 1542, as appears from the probate of his will, leaving issue, by Dorothy his first wife,

John Lord Latimer, though Mr. Dugdale makes him the son of Catharine, the second wife: but Mr. Le Neve, in this Pedigree, says, that it cannot be so, for then the daughters of the last John could not have inherited the lands of Vere, which came by Howard, as Wiggenhall, Midleton, East-Winch, and other great possessions in Norfolk, of which Thomas Earl of Exon was lord, by Dorothy his wife: he died in 1577, leaving

Percy, Cecil, Cornwaleis, and Danvers, his heirs, in right of his four daughters, whom they had married, who, at his death, were found to be heirs to all the manors, advowsons, &c. that he died seized of, among which the moiety of this advowson, and that of Garboldisham, with the manors and advowsons of Weeting, Midleton, Scales-hoe, Titleshall, in Norfolk, as heirs of the said John, one of the coheirs of Vere Earl of Oxford; and so it was held jointly by them till 1595, as the Escheat Roll of the 28th of Elizabeth informs us, with this difference only, that the Earl of Northumberland being dead, Catharine Countess Dowager, his wife, held her third part for life.

The manor being conveyed, in 1533, to the most noble Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and his heirs, he peaceably enjoyed it till the 38th of King Henry VIII. In which year, after many signal services both to his King and country, he was suddenly committed to the Tower, through sinister suggestions to the King, and was attainted in parliament the 20th of January, with his eldest son, Henry Earl of Surrey, but eight days before that King's death, and then it was seized by the Crown.

By his will, proved in 1554, in which year he died at Kenninghale in Norfolk, he bequeathed his body to be buried where his executors thought fit, leaving his estate much impaired, without any fault of his own, having suffered so much by the various ebbs and flows of fortune that he had gone through. After his death,

Thomas Howard, his grandson, son of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey, who was beheaded January 19, 1547, in his father's life time, was fully restored in blood and estate, in the first of Queen Mary, anno 1553, at which time this manor, among other possessions, was redelivered to him, it having been settled, during its being in the Crown, on the Lady Mary, (now Queen,) towards the maintenance of her household, it lying very convenient for Kenninghall palace, at which she generally resided after it was settled on her. This Thomas in the second of that Queen was made Commander against the Kentishmen then in arms; in the first of Elizabeth was installed Knight of the Garter, and in the third of that Queen, made Lieutenant General of the northern parts; and six years after, honoured by the French King with the Knighthood of the order of St. Michael; but on a suspicion that he designed to marry the Queen of Scots, he was beheaded on Tower Hill, upon the 2d of June, between seven and eight of the clock in the morning, anno 14th of Elizabeth, 1572, being much lamented by all men, for he was a man good to all, remarkable for his hospitality, even in those times, when it abounded every where.

The names of the Peers that passed sentence upon him may be seen in Sir Richard Baker's Chronicle, and his dying words, as I find them in Mr. Hare's Collections, in Caius College Library, may not impertinently be inserted here, as they give light to some things that I have met with, which, in all appearance, were wrongfully charged upon this Duke.

The Words pronounced by the said Duke, at his Death on Tower Hill, the 2d of June, 1572.

"It is no rare thing, good people, to see a man come hither to die, albeit since this Queen's most blessed reigne, I am the first, I pray God I may be the last; it is a hard matter for a man of my calling to use long speech in such audience, either for that audacitie serves me not, or for that coming to such end as I do, fear of death troubleth me, and therefore I beseech you all heartily to bear with me; I will not be long, I will make a short speech, and divide my talk into three parts; and First, concerning my offence towards my Prince, wherein something I have to confess against my self, and in something to clear my self; I am not to complain against my Peers, I do acquit them; I have deserved to die. It is not unknown that I have dealt with the Queen of Scots, in very great and high matters, without making my Prince privy thereunto, otherwise than I ought to have done; there is one thing which grieveth greatly my conscience, that is, when I was first delivered out of this place, I made my submission, and promised the Queen, never to deal further in the matter, and yet contrary to my promise, I meant and did otherwise, I am sorry for it. It was reported I made a vow, and took a solemn oath, and received the Communion upon it, but that is not true, the other was too much. It was reported also, that I went about to destroy the city of London, I take God to witness, I never meant to hurt it, I have dealt with suspected persons, and such as have shewed themselves enemies to this state, specially one whom I will name, to witt, Rodolphi, whom I never talked to but once, and then I liked not his dealings: he shewed me two letters, which he said came from the Pope."

Then said Mr. Branch, the Sheriff, "Good my Lord, be short."

He said, " I will be short, I have not much to say; good Gentlemen bear witness, I come not to clear my self: I saw two letters, the one cyphered, and the other de-cyphered, I was charged to confeder with the rebels, I take God to witness, I never did so."

Then the Secondary interrupted him and said, " I pray you, my Lord, go not about clearing yourself, you have been tried as honourably as any nobleman hath ever been in this land, I pray you make haste, the hour is past, it is upon peril of their lives." (meaning the Sheriffs )

"O I pray you" (quoth the Duke) " give me leave a little while.

"I confess my fault; this is my confession. Touching my religion it hath been reported, I have been a Papist, a confederer with Papists, a friend to them, and a maintainer of them and their religion; I take God to witness I am none, nor never was a Papist, since I knew what religion meant; I have had friends, yea and familiar friends, and peradventure servants, that have been Papists, with whom I have borne, but I call God to witness I am none, I utterly defie the Pope and all his religion, and I hope to be saved only by my faith in Jesus Christ; and I utterly abhor all men's traditions, and if at anytime I did give countenance to any Papist, whereby any good man was offended, or the church, I ask them mercy, there is no man doth allow better of this religion than I do."

Then he was again desired to be short.

"Now" (quoth the Duke) "touching the goodness of the Queen's Majesty, I am much bound to her Grace, I do thank her humbly, for that she hath forgiven me all my offences, and hath prolonged my life so long, you see how good she hath been to me, I have been looked for here long e'er this time; God send her long over you to reigne: she hath promised to be gracious to my poor orphan children, God grant that my death may end all troubles, and if any one of you have any one faction, or two, or three, or more, let him give over and forsake it; many wish and desire divers things, but they know not what they wish, they seek their own destructions: if every man should have his wish, God knoweth how many would repent it, whatsoever they are, the Queen hath promised in my death to forgive all, and I pray God she may live many yeares. I remember well the words of that good father, and holy martyr, Latymer; he told the people that for their wickedness God would take away his blessing from them, I pray God the contrary, that your good life may be such, that God may turn away those plagues that he hath threatned. He spake it in an honourable place, in the pulpit, before King Edward; yet let not this place discredit my words. I pray God preserve the Queen's Majesty, and that she may live and reign over you many years, even to the world's end, which I believe some alive shall see."

Then he kneeled down, and prayed, and Mr. Nowell, Dean of St. Paul's, kneeled by him, and wept, with many others; his prayer was to God for continuance of his Truth, and of his Ghospell, and prayed also most instantly for the Queen's most prosperous reigne, and kneeling upon his knees, said two psalms, viz. Miserere, and Domine ne in furore, and in the first psalm, he prayed to build the walls of Jerusalem according to the Psalmes. Quoth Mr. Nowell, "That is meant of Christ's church:"—"I know that well," quoth the Duke, "I mean not the church of Rome, nor the walls of Rome, I abhor it; but I mean the church of England, and of all the world wheresoever it be: I have forgotten one thing, I thank thee, O God, that thou hast put me in mind of it, I forgive all the world, and ask forgiveness of all the world, and I protest before God, if I knew any particular man whom I had offended, I would namely ask him forgiveness."

Then he read the other psalm, wherein adultery is mentioned; and when he came to that point, he said, "I would I were as clear in every thing as that, save in thought, and that is yll." Then he said a Collect, and in the end he said, In Manus tuas Domine, in Latin and English, and then desired the people to pray for him while he yet lived, "For," quoth he, "I look not to have any excuse after my death;" then he embraced Sir Henry Lee, and after a few secret words between them, the Duke said to him, "As true a subject as any she hath." Then Mr. Nowell, stood up and said to the people; "He desireth you all with one voice to say, Lord have mercy upon him! and after that to say no more words, nor to make any shout or skreeking, for troubling him in last visitation."

Then the Duke kneeled down, and Mr. Dean bowed himself toward him, with many embracings, and took leave of each other.

Then the executioner kneeling down desired him to forgive him, and then he requested sight of the axe, Mr. Nowell said, "The sight thereof will trouble you;" but he answered, "No, let me see it," but he saw it not, and then he laid his head upon the block, and the executioner said, "My Lord, your head lieth not well."—"O, I will make it lie well," quoth he, and thereto lifting up his body, laid his neck again upon the block, which done, his head was stricken clean off at one blow.

At his attainder the Queen seized on this manor, and kept it some time, and then restored it to

Phillip Earl of Arundell, eldest son of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, by his first wife Mary, daughter and one of the heirs to Henry Fitz-Alan Earl of Arundell, the said Phillip being then restored in blood; but soon after, several things being laid to his charge he was sentenced to death.

At his attainder the manor was again seized, and by letters patent dated 17th April, 1582, the manor-house, lands, and demeans, all which were formerly reserved to the use of the household of the Duke of Norfolk, were let to William Dixe, and William Cantrell, the manor being in the Queen, in whose name the courts were held, as the Rolls shew us; and thus it continued to 1595, when Phillip Earl of Arundell died in the Tower, leaving

Thomas Howard, his only son and heir, who inherited the manor; for in 1599, 13th of May, he conveyed it to his trustees:

Edward Carrel of Herting, in Sussex, Knt. (whose daughter Mary was married to Sir Phillip Howard, son and heir of William Lord Howard, son to Thomas fourth Duke of Norfolk, by his second wife, which Lord was uncle, by the father's side, to this Earl,) John Holland, John Cornwaleis, and Robert Causfield, Gent. to divers uses. In 1602, the first of King James, he was restored to all the estate and honour that his father enjoyed, by which he became Earl of Arundell and Surrey. In 1611, he was made Knight of the Garter, in 1620, Earl-Marshal of England for life, with 2000l. per annum pension, and Chief-Justice of all the forests on the north side of Trent; and the 16th Charles I. 1640, General of the Army raised against the Scots; and in respect of his lineal descent from Thomas Brotherton Earl of Norfolk, (a younger son to King Edward I.) was by letters patent bearing date at Oxford 6th June, 20th Charles I. advanced to the title of Earl of Norfolk; shortly after which, the wars breaking out, and he grown ancient and unfit for military service, he obtained leave of the King to travel; whereupon going to Padua in Italy, he died there, October 4th, 1646, and was buried at Arundel in Sussex. He sold a great part of the estate in this county, and leased out other parts, for a long time. In 1604, his trustees aforesaid, with

Sir William Howard of Axminster, in Devonshire, mortgaged this manor, with others, for 1800l. to

William Harvey of the Savoy, James Guiccardin of Folshunt in Essex, and Thomas Ayloffe of Lincoln's-Inn, Esq. In 1608, John Holland of Kenninghall, Esq. John Cornwaleis of Earlsoham, in Suffolk, Esq. and Robert Causfield of St. Clement's Danes, London, granted to Joan Woodward of that parish, an annuity of 44l. per anunm out of this manor, for 450l. paid by her. In 1610, John Davis, Bailiff of the Earl's manor here, accounted for 9l. per annum quitrent, 5l. for the site of the manor and demeans, Thomas Brewster being farmer of the Lodge.

In 1619, July 13, Robert Causfield of London, and the Earl of Arundell, leased to Heneage Finch of the Inner Temple, Esq. and Philip Bell of London, Gent. the manors of Fersfield, Boylands in Brisingham, and Westwich in Thetford, the site of the priory of the Canons there, and all other lands and tenements of the said Robert Causfield, which the said Robert purchased of Sir Edward Clere of Bokenham-ferry, for ten years, at 600l. per annum, which lease was turned over to

John Dix of Wickmere in Norfolk, Esq. and was to continue for 11 years 11 months.

In 1625, 12th July, Robert Causfield conveyed this manor and Boyland's, to

Sir Thomas Penruddock of Hale, in Southampton, Knt. and Sir Henry Bedingfield of Oxboro, Knt. and their heirs, in trust; and, in 1629,

The Earl, jointly with the Lady Alathea, his wife, levied a fine and suffered a recovery of several manors, lands, &c. and in particular of Fersfield Lodge, and 223 acres of land in Fersfield, after which, he vested them, the manor, &c. in

John Dixe, alias Ramseye, of Wickmere in Norfolk, Esq. in trust, to pay all his just debts; and in 1637,

John Dixe, brother's son, and heir to the aforesaid John Dixe, at the request of

Henry, son of Henry late Earl of Arundel, released it to

Sir William Plaiters of Soterley, Knt, and Sir Richard Onslow of West Clandon in Surrey, Knt. and their heirs for ever, in trust for

Henry Earl of Arundel, Lord Mowbray and Maltravers, son and heir of Thomas late Earl of Arundel aforesaid, and his heirs. This Henry died at Arundel in Sussex, leaving his estate to

Thomas Howard, his eldest son, who, in 1660, the 13th Charles II. was restored, by Act of Parliament, to the title of Duke of Norfolk, which he enjoyed during his life, and then, upon his dying without issue, it descended to

Henry Lord Howard, of Castle Rising, Earl of Norwich, his next brother, who in 1671 had the Marshalship of England limited to the heirs male of his body, at whose death,

Henry Earl of Arundel, his eldest son, succeeded, and was made Governor of Windsor castle, upon the death of Prince Rupert, installed Knight of the Garter in the first of James II. In 1688, upon the landing of the Prince of Orange, this Duke being then in Norfolk, he immediately declared for him, and brought over that and some neighbouring counties to his interest, for which, soon after his Royal Higness had accepted the crown of these realms, he was sworn of his privy-council, and so continued to the time of his death, anno 1701. He left no issue, upon which his honour and estate went to his brother's son,

Thomas Duke of Norfolk, whose father, Thomas Lord Howard, upon King James's withdrawing, went with him into France and Ireland, from which last place as he returned to Brest, he was cast away in 1689, leaving five sons and one daughter, of which this Thomas, his eldest son, at his uncle's death became Duke; Henry Howard, the second son, left no issue,

Edward Howard, the third son, upon the death of Henry, his eldest brother, is now [1736] Duke of Norfolk, and is lord of this manor; Richard, the fourth son, is dead, and Philip, the fifth, is now [1736] living, and hath issue.

The lord of this manor hath court-leet as well as court-baron, which was always kept annually, till 1719, at which time Mr. Bath, then Steward to his Grace, gave notice that he would keep leet no longer, because there was no leet fee, from which time there hath been no leet kept here.

The Customs of This Manor[edit]

are as follow:

The fines are at the lord's will, and the copyhold descends to the eldest son; it gives no dower; the tenants have liberty either to erect or pull down houses on the copyhold, at their own pleasure, and to cut down timber on the copyhold, without license, as also to plant and cut down all manner of wood and timber, on all the commons and wastes against their own lands, by the name of an outrun or freebord, and to dig marle or clay, and cut furze and bushes on the commons and waste.

There were two other small manors, or tenements, in Thweyth or Whait, a hamlet to Fersfield and Brisingham; the one was called


To which belonged 14 acres, adjoining to the tenement, with other small rents. This was some time copyhold of the manor of Fersfield, and by the lord thereof was granted to one Thomas Rose, who was owner of it in 1443, and soon after sold it, with all its rents, services, and appurtenances, to John Lancaster, junior, Esq. lord of Boyland, who united it to that manor.

The other was called


Being originally a part of Fersfield manor, which, in Edward the Second's time, was granted by the lord, to one Jaffery of Pesenhale, from whom it was first called Presenhale's, and from him it went to John of Ireland, from whom it had its present name. This John it was that sold several parcels of land, to be held free of his capital tenement, and others by other services, and so erected a small manor, or free tenement, as they called it; many of these tenements we meet with in several places, it not being allowed to call these Manors, that were thus erected, though they were such in reality; but wherever we meet with them, they all had their original thus. This also was purchased by the aforesaid John Lancaster, and united to the same manor: upon the purchase, it appeared that there was a capital tenement, with 20 acres in demean lying by it, with other lands and woods, lying in Fersfield in Tweyth, and divers other lands, rents, and services in Fersfield and Brisingham, all which paid a free rent of 6s. 8d. per annum to the manor of Fersfield, of which it was held by homage and fealty, and one suit of court.

From this time they both constantly attended the manor of Boyland, and with it were sold to the Norfolk family, in which they continued, till March the 12th, 1651, when

Henry Earl of Arundell, and his trustees, among other large estates, conveyed to Anne Henshaw, widow, and Thomas Henshaw, Esq. and their heirs, for ever, all the demeans of the capital manor of Brisingham, now called the Hall Farm, and Hall Grounds, and also all that tenement called Rose's, with 16 acres of land thereto belonging, lying in Brisingham and Fersfield, together with all that tenement called Ireland's, lying in Fersfield aforesaid, with a certain wood lying there, called Winley Wood, and two other enclosures called Marketfield, with all other the royalties, privileges, and appurtenances thereunto belonging, all which were to be held free, without any reserved rent whatsoever. The said Thomas and Anne, Febr. 3d, 1656, sold all the estates to

James Perrot of Ammersham, in Bucks, Esq. and his heirs, and levied a fine of the whole.

May 13, 1724, James Perrot of Northleigh, in Oxfordshire, Esq. and Henry Perrot, Esq. his eldest son, and their trustees, conveyed these two tenements, Winley Wood and Marketfield, with all their rights and appurtenances, to

Henry Blomefield of Fersfield, Gent. and his heirs; the said Henry, by deed dated the 19th of March, 1731, conveyed Winley Wood and Marketfield to

Francis Blomefield, clerk, the present owner; [1736;] and at his death, bequeathed the two tenements, with all their rights and appurtenances, to

Peter Blomefield, his second son, who enjoys them at this day [1736.]

The Commons[edit]

In King Henry the Seventh's time, were very different from what they are now; for all the Southfield was then Common, which contained 110 acres by measure, all which was enclosed by the lord, with the tenants' consent, being divided into 8 enclosures, which are now called, Morecraft, Horseclose, Claxtonsclose, the Great Ground, or Southfield, Upper and Lower Marketfield, all now [1736] in the lord's hands, and the two other Marketfields, which were sold off by a former lord: in lieu of which, an equal quantity of that which is now called the Great Common was laid out, by which means the two greens, called Fersfield Green and Old Green, were joined together, and laid into one common, that part which is now forty acres, being part of Fersfield Green, and the part from the Town Meadow to Dow's Close, being Old Green; and thus they continued till Thomas Duke of Norfolk, in the time of King Henry VIII. desiring to make his great park at Kenninghall, in which his palace stood, every way complete, enclosed 44 acres of Fersfield Green into the said park, because it extended like a harp, as it is said in the Evidences, into it, and very near to his palace: upon this the inhabitants petitioned his Grace for relief, who ordered his bailiff thereupon to assign them other lands, to the full value and quantity of their land enclosed; but it seems this was neglected to be done; for soon after they brought an action, and seized upon their ancient common, which had been thus enclosed upon which the Duke ordered certain demean lands of his manor of Fersfield, and others of his manor of Lopham, which joined to the said common, to be laid out to the inhabitants of Fersfield, in recompense for the 44 acres enclosed, which lands were called as follow, viz. Newehall Close, or Dow's Close, containing 20 acres, abutting on Dog-Pond, west, lying in Fersfield, and also another close joining to the former, called the Coppice Close, lying in Lopham, both of them lying between Lopham Park, south, and Fersfield Common, north, and abutting east on Fersfield Common, and west on Dog-Pond; the other is called Rushie Pightle, lying in Fersfield, on the other side of the common, on which it abuts north and west, and on the town land of Fersfield, south; all which was begun to be laid out accordingly. But it happened at this very time, that the Duke was attainted, and the manor seized into the King's hands, upon which the workmen were stopped levelling the banks; upon this the inhabitants laid the case before the Commissioners for the survey of the manor when it was seized, as appears upon the survey, who took the lands that were to be laid out, to the King's use, together with the enclosed 44 acres, and permitted the inhabitants to enjoy their ancient 110 acres of common, which had been enclosed, and which they had seized again, in lieu thereof, with which all parties were satisfied; and thus it continued till James I. when Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey, desirous to perfect the park, and to make the demeans of his manor of Fersfield as complete as they were before this common was seized by the inhabitants, came to agreement with them in the following manner: That he and his successors should for ever enjoy the 44 acres of land enclosed into his park of Kenninghall, for which he should pay all manner of dues, whatsoever, to the parish of Fersfield, and should have the same freebord, for the use and increase of his game, upon the common of Fersfield, without the pales of the said land newly enclosed, as he had upon the commons round his park, and in that part, before it was enclosed, in lieu of which, the said Earl agrees, that the inhabitants shall have, to them and their heirs for ever, all the closes afore-mentioned, called Rushie Pightle, Coppice Close, and Dow's Close, as common for ever; and that the inhabitants shall not pay or be molested in any thing, for that part in Lopham, but that the lord of the manor of Lopham, for ever, shall answer all things relating thereto, as the lord of the manor of Fersfield shall do, for that part in Fersfield And whereas the inhabitants held a piece of ground containing 6 acres, called Monford's Close, which was formerly enclosed into Kenninghall park, with another small piece of one rood, held of Brisingham manor by the rent of 2d. a year, the lord confirms the change that had been made, by assigning other lands in lieu thereof, called the Bottoms, to the said inhabitants, together with all, and all manner of benefits, privileges, customs, constitutions, and by-laws whatsoever, to the said tenants and inhabitants, or any of their lands, tenements, and hereditaments in Fersfield aforesaid, in any wise appertaining or belonging; upon which, the said tenants and inhabitants yielded up to the said Earl, all their right in the said common, which they had seized, for themselves and their heirs for ever, on condition that the said Earl should tie that part of the Southfield called the Great Ground, lying on the south side of the church of Fersfield aforesaid, to be always unploughed, and to be seized and entered upon, at any time by the said inhabitants, for want of performance of any thing in the indentures contained, "that they may remaine, contynue, and be for ever hereafter, perpetuall, stable, and firme to posterity, for ever to endure."

These Indentures bare date the 20th of Nov. the 8th of James I. 1610, and were made between the Right Noble and Honourable Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Thomas Earl of Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain of his Highness's household, and one of his Majesty's most Hon. Privy-Council; Lord William Howard, youngest son to Thomas late Duke of Norfolk; John Cornwaleys of Earlsoham, in Suffolk, Esq.; Sir John Hobart of St. Mary Spittle, Knt.; John Holland of Kenninghall in Norfolk, Esq.; Robert Causfield of London, Esq.; Edward Hobart, and Robert Hobart, Gent. brothers of the said Sir John Hobart, on the one part: John Blomefield, Agnes Blomefield, Samuel Blomefield, Roger Seaman, and others, the townsmen and inhabitants of Fersfield, for themselves, and the residue of the said inhabitants, on the other part. To this Indenture hang the following seals; Arundel, a lion rampant, quartering Multravers, a frette, in the garter. Suffolke, in the garter. Howard, Brotherton, Warren, and Mowbray quartered. Robert Causfield, frette. William Howard, a lion rampant. Robert Hobart, the arms of Hobart. The other seals have no arms.

Twayt or Whait Green[edit]

Also belongs to this parish and Brisingham, where they are intercommoners, each having a drift; it was appropriated to Tweyth or Tweyt, a hamlet which belonged to both these towns, and was so called from Hervey de Tweyt, who lived in 1340, and had a good estate here, as had his son William de Tweyt, and Robert his grandson. It now contains between 20 and 30 acres, though it was much larger formerly; for a contention arising between the lord of these towns, and the tenants, concerning the customs of the manors, it was jointly agreed between them, that, upon confirmation of their old customs, and the addition of this new one, viz. to waste their copyhold-houses without license, (which, before that time, they could not do,) they should yield up 50 acres of this common, to the lord's sole use, which was done accordingly, and the lord enjoys it at this day, [1736,] it being let with Boyland Hall Farm, and is now called the Cow-pastures. This was about 1571, soon after the Duke had purchased Brisingham. By this addition, the old park of Kenninghale, and that late Sir John Boyland's, were joined together: and it appears by a lease made some years after, that they reserved a way from Wait Green to Boyland Green (which joined before this was enclosed.) At this time also it was, that the way which laid in a direct line to New Bokenham, from the end of the Green (which is now the further end of the Cow-pasture) was altered, and the entrance made at the Great Park gate off Fersfield Common, and so cross the Park, into the old way by the Grove.

There is no other common but

Winley Green[edit]

To which Lopham park joins, and had its freebord on this common; all the parks hereabouts had that privilege, which was to plant whatever bushes and trees they would against the parks, which the inhabitants could not cut, (as they do and always have done, all other trees, bushes, &c. on the commons in these manors,) but were to belong to the lord for the game-keepers to kill their game from, and for to hinder escapes from the park. Brisingham are intercommoners here, and each town hath a drift, though formerly, it appears, from the Rolls, that each parish had their parts separate, and the ditches are plainly seen to this day. [1736.] The well, or pool, on this common, which divides the bounds, in evidence is called Rose's Well, and now Roe's Well.

All the evidences concerning these affairs are in my own and the inhabitants of Fersfield's hands, with many others in the Chest, from which we learn, that all the trees on the commons that are out of the freebords of the lord, or the outruns of the tenants, were always taken down and stowed by the church-wardens, for the use of the poor; and that the ponds on all the commons that are out of the freebords and outruns, are to be kept clean by the inhabitants; that the town found a foot arms; and that the manors of Kenninghall, Shelfhanger, Brisingham and Boyland's extended hither, and this manor extended into Brisingham, Roydon, Burston, Kenninghall, Shimpling, and Wortham, a great part of which belonged to the Boises, and so was granted to be held of this manor, some by bond, and others by free tenures, many of which still remain. [1736.]

The Benefactors were[edit]

Jaffry Ellingham of Fersfield, who, by will dated Apr. 18, 1493, commended his soul to God, the Blessed Virgin, and all the Saints, and his body to be buried in the church of Fersfield, aforesaid, to which he gave a wax candle of a pound weight, to be placed before the image of the Virgin Mary there, to be lighted and burnt the whole time of divine service, as long as it will last. He gave also, in honour of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, a cross of copper gilt, of 40s. price, and a good carpet to lie before the high altar. He also gave 4 marks to build a south porch, and ordered his executors to make a new bell sollar in the church, like that at East Herling, that the procession might go under it while the bells ring. He gave also 5 marks towards building the new bell sollar at Kenninghall, and 20d. towards a new bell at Rushworth, and 4d. apiece to the brothers of the college there, to say Mass for his soul. He gave also his messuage and tenement in which he lived, lying in Fersfield aforesaid, with all his lands enclosed, and the privileges thereto belonging, together with one pightle enclosed, and half an acre of meadow lying in the common meadow of Fersfield aforesaid, to Margaret his wife, for life, and at her decease, to the use of the inhabitants of the said town for ever; all which were to be vested in feoffees for divers uses, with condition, that if those uses should fail, (as it hath happened since,) then the clear profits arising from the said premises should be laid out in repairing and beautifying the parish church for ever; and all the rest of his lands he ordered his executors to sell, with these restrictions, that the purchaser should not be a gentleman, nor have any other lands or tenements in the world, and that he or they should live in the houses, and occupy the lands themselves, to the advantage of the parish. John Caundiche, clerk, rector, was his supervisor. It was proved the same year, on the 20th of June, at Bokenham St. Matin's (or New Bokenham,) before Bartholomew Northern, bachelor of laws, commissary to James Bishop of Norwich, who was then on his visitation at Bokenham aforesaid. The probate is now in the Church Chest at Fersfield, and is entered in the register called Awbrye, in the 3d part, fol. 141. in the Bishop's Office.

The farm is now in feoffees hands, to the use of the church, about which the profits are expended, either in repairing, beautifying, or purchasing proper ornaments to it. It is now [1736] let at 18l. per annum, and pays a yearly quitrent to the manor of Fersfield of 10s. 9d. a year. The messuage, with 3 acres of land adjoining, 3 acres and an half enclosed, lying in the further close next the common, a pightle called Hoppin's of an acre and half, and half an acre in Billing's meadow, is copyhold on the said manor, 4 acres called Penscroft, and all other the lands thereto belonging, are freehold without any reserved rent; some of the lands have been changed with the Duke of Norfolk, an account of which you have with the commons of this town.

In the name of GOD Amen, 2 July 1589. I Matthewe Walter of Bliford in Suffolk, do make this my last will, &c. my body to be buried in the church yard of Bliford aforesaid.

Item. "I geve and bequeathe unto Margaret my wief, all my tenement, landes, meadowes, feedings, and pastures, with the appurtenances, scituate, lying and being in Blyford aforesay'd, which I lately purchased of Thomas Back, to hold to her, and her assignes, during the tearme of her naturall lief; and after her decease, I will that the sayd tenement, together with all and singuler the aboveresited premises, with the appurtenaunces, and one close lying in Holton, conteyninge eightene acres, which I latelie purchased of W. Bonnett, and also one meadowe with the appurtenaunces, lyeing in Bulchim, in the say'd countie of Suffolk, shall ymediately after the decease of the say'd Margaret, my wief, remayne unto John Parker my cosyn, and his heires and assignes for ever, upon this condition, that is to saye, that the say'd John Parker, his heyres or assignes, or anie one of them, shall yearlye and every yeare for ever, after the decease of the say'd Margaret my wief, paie or cause to be paied unto the pore people of the townes, parishes, or hamletts, hereafter-mentioned, the somme of ten powndes of lawfull monie of Ingland, in the manner ensuing; that is to saye, to the pore people of Farsfield in the countie of Norfolk 20s. to the pore people of Bresingham in the same countie 20s. to the pore people of Holton in the countie of Suffolk 10s. to the pore people of Bliford aforesay'd 20s. to the pore people of Hallisworth 20s. to the pore people of Blitheburgh 20s. to the pore people of Bulchim 10s. to the pore people of Suthwold 20s. to the pore people of Reydon by Suthwold, in the countie of Suff. 10s. to the pore people of Wang ford 20s. to the pore people of Henham 10s. to the pore people of Uggeshall 10s. to the pore people of Stoven 10. Otherwise if the say'd John Parker shall make default of payment, of the say'd yearlie payment of ten powndes, in manner and form aforesayd, then I will, and my full mynd is, that all the premises shall go to Basingbourne Parker, brother of the sayd John, and if he makes default, then to Mr. Francis Braye, son of Mr. Saynt John Braye, under the same limitations." He gives the profits of his lands in Attleboroughe and Holton, and the lands called the Oke, ( except the annuity that he gave his wife out of them,) to his executors for ten years, to perform his will, and then to be sold "to the best price, and the monie thereof cominge, to be equallie divided, the one half to and amongest my pore kindred, and the other in deeds of charitie, by the discretion of my executors. Item, I give and bequeath unto Thomas Morse, the son of Anthonie, and to his heirs, all that my meadowe or fen with all and singular its appurtenaunces in Uggishall, to have and to hold to him, his heirs and assignes for ever, upon condition, that he, his heirs, or assignes do yearly and every year for ever, after my decease, paie or cause to be paied to the pore people of Uggishall the somme of 10s." And for default thereof it is given to Henry Crowfoot the younger, and his heirs for ever, under the same limitations; Nicholas and John Walter, his brothers, executors; Thomas Morse of Uggishall, supervisor. Witnesses, Wm. Baker, John Neale, Wm. Skott, Wm. Peters. It was proved at Blitheburgh, before Mr. Bartho. Stiles, clerk, surrogate to Mr. John Maplizden, Archdeacon of Suffolk, the 4th of November, 1589.

Margaret, relict of the testator, was buried at Bliford, the 22d June, 1611, as appears by the parish register.

This legacy is yearly paid to the rector and church-wardens, and is distributed among the poor at their discretion. In 1687, the estate belonged to Robert Brodwell of Westhall in Suffolk, and now [1736] to Mr. William Crowefoot of Beccles, who pays the money, without any deduction for taxes, these lands being exempted on account of the charity.

In 1595, John Dalton surrendered half a rood of land in Billing's Meadow, to the use of the inhabitants of Fersfield for ever. This was sold by general consent, in the year 1600, and was the very piece that Billing's Gate stood on, over which, the road into the meadow (which was then Lammas or half-year ground) passed, by which purchase the whole meadow (except the half acre of town land, which Elingham gave) was got into one person's hands, who afterward, by consent of all the commoners, upon paying a sum of money to the town's use, enclosed it; from which time it ceased to be opened at Lammas, though the meadow on the other side of the lane, at the west end of it, in which there are several owners, still [1736] continues Lammas, at which time it becomes common, and so continues till the 8th of March.

There is also half an acre of land, called the Town Patch, which is freehold, let at 10s. 6d. per annum, now vested in feoffees, to the use of the church; but by whom it was given I do not find. There is another small piece of ground, which was taken off the common, to build a town-house upon, and another small piece, called Beck's Yard, on which a town-house formerly stood.

Fersfield Rectory[edit]

Is in the archdeaconry of Norfolk, and deanery of Redenhall; being under the value of 10 marks, it pays no first fruits, though it does yearly tenths, it being undischarged. It hath a rectory-house, and 51 acres of glebe, all in the rector's possession at this time, and all tithes are due in their proper kind. [1736.] It paid 12d. Peterpence, and was taxed at 8 marks in the Old Valor. In the Answers of the Parsons, anno 1603, Henry Womack, A.M. rector, returned his answer, viz. that there were 75 communicants in the parish; that he was doubly benificed, holding this, with the vicarage of Great Ellingham, in Rockland deanery; that Sir Thomas Cornwaleys and Anthony Wyngfield were patrons by courses.

The Prior of the priory of the monks of St. Mary at Thetford (now called the Abbey) had two tithe sheaves out of every three, of all the wheat growing on certain lands in this parish, which portion of tithes was given them by William de Bosco, or Bois, in the 11th century, soon after their foundation, and was confirmed, among other donations, by William Bygod, the principal lord of the fee, of whom it was held by the Boises; it is called two measures in that deed, but in the Leiger Book of this house, two garbs, or sheaves. This was afterwards, with other revenues, confirmed to them by King Henry II. when he was at Thetford, in these words, Ecclesia de Tirevilla, for Firevilla, or Fersfield; the rector afterwards came to a perpetual composition with the Prior for this portion of tithes, for which he and his successours were to pay for ever, an annual pension of 6s. 8d. which is now [1736] paid to his Grace the Duke of Norfolk, to whose predecessors the said priory, with all that belonged to it, was given at its dissolution: and this was the only religious house that was ever concerned in this parish, except the priory of St. James at Old Bokenham, the prior of which held lands here, that were purchased of Sir John Verdon, along with the Priory Manor of Brisingham; all which passed, as that did; and therefore I need only refer you thither. (See p. 62.)

Sir Robert de Bosco or Bois, Knt. with the consent of William du Bois, Knt. his son, and William du Bois then rector of Fersfield, gave to the Cluniac monks of St. Mary at Thetford, two parts of the tithes of all his demeans in Fersfield, which he held in his own hands, namely of all fruit, pease, and beans; the witnesses were, Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk, Rob. de Burnevil, and others.


Wm. de Bosco, or Bois, patron and rector.

  • 1312, kal. March, Wm. Yngreth, de Debenham, priest. Christian de Mose, formerly wife of Sir Robert de Bosco, Knt.
  • 1313, 9 kal. Apr. Wm. de Carlisle, accolite. Ditto.
  • 1316, 4 kal. Oct. Thomas de Merchstone, accolite. Ditto.
  • 1327, 7 ides Apr. Rafe de Blakesdone, priest. Thomas, EarlMarshal, Earl of Norfolk, son to the King, guardian to Robert de Bosco, Knt. deceased; the manor of Fersfield being held of the Earl, who, at the death of Christian, seized him as his ward.
  • 1326, 18 kal. Febr. Nicholas de Aschfield, priest, at the resignation of Blakesdone. Ditto.
  • Nicholas Ulton, rector; he resigned, and in
  • 1344, 22 Decem. Andrew Gylour de Wymboteshum, priest, succeeded. John Howard, Knt.
  • 1352, 25 October, Richard Munch, priest, at Gylour's resignation, who changed with him for the vicarage of St. Mary Magdalen of Wygenhale. Sir John Ufford, Knt.
  • 1358, 4 July, Robert Agaz, (or Agar,) priest, at Munch's resignation, who changed for Blownorton St. Andrew. Sir John de Ufford, Knt.
  • 1381, 15 June, John Grym, priest, William de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, Sir John Lovell, Sir John Tuddenham, Knts. John Holkham, John Marlere, rector of Islyngton, and Richard de Walton, true patrons, by virtue of a feoffment in trust, made to them by Sir Robert Howard, Knt.
  • 1391, 17 Apr. John Gate of Preston, priest, at Grym's resignation, who changed this for Garboldisham. Margaret, relict of Sir Robert Howard, Knt.
  • 1405, 12 May, Sir Thomas Kynge of Brethenham, priest. Sir John Howard, Knt.
  • 1406, 6 Apr. John Yutte (Gutte or Gate) of Garboldisham, priest Ditto.
  • 1411, 15 Febr. Sir Thomas Gowthfield of Ixworth, priest. Ditto. He was instituted to the parish church of Fersfield, with the chapel of St. Anne thereto annexed.
  • 1424, 7 Novem. John Bettys, priest. Ditto.
  • 1477, Richard Bulle, or Boole, priest. Ditto.
  • 1493, John Caundiche, rector.
  • Richard Bulle died rector, having taken it again after his resignation.
  • 1503, 28 Aug. Henry Gayton, rector. John de Vere Earl of Oxford.
  • 1527, 17 Jan. Thomas Westley, A.M. on Gayton's death. Elizabeth Countess of Oxford.

  • 1532, 2 Jan. Sir William Cotney, chaplain, on Westley's resignation. Elizabeth Countess of Oxford.
  • 1559, 13 Febr. Sir Richard Flynt, priest, on Cotney's death. Rob. Wyngfilde, Knt.
  • 1579, 29 Apr. John Dalton, clerk, on Flynt's death. Hugh Mulley, yeoman.
  • 1579, 30 Dec. William Pecket, on Flynt's death. Robert Wyngfilde, Knt.
  • 1595, 19 Aug. Henry Womack, clerk, at Pecket's resignation. John Cornwaleis, Esq.
  • 1609, 2 Dec. Lawrence Womack, S.

T. B. by resignation? Lapse.

  • 1642, 21 July, Arthur Womack, A.M. on Lawrence's death. The King, as guardian to Robert Wyngfield.
  • 1685, 3 August, John Barker on Arthur's death. Thomas Barker, Gent.
  • 1729, 13 Sept. Francis Blomefield, clerk, the present [1736] rector, was instituted on the death of John Barker, at the presentation of Henry Blomefield, Gent. patron of this turn. The Church is dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, whose effigies was painted on the wall over the north door, though now whited over. Who was the first founder of a church here I know not; but the present nave, in all probability, was built by Sir Robert, son of Sir Robert de Bosco, Knt. about the latter end of the 12th century, whose third son, William de Bosco, priest, built the chancel, and reserved an arch in the north wall for his own burial, his father, Sir Robert, being buried (as I take it) close by him. After this, about 1308, Sir Robert de Bosco, eldest son of the last mentioned Sir Robert, began to build an additionary south isle, with a chapel at its east end, in which he reserved an arch under the south window for his own grave; but dying in 1311, the work stood some time unfinished, his son Sir Robert being a minor, who lived so little time after he came of age, that he also died, in 1333, before it was perfected, Alice, his sister and heiress, being then married to Sir John Howard, junior, Knt. who finished the work, and adorned the sepulchre of the said Sir Robert, his father-in-law, and the windows of the isle, with the arms of his own and wife's family; and indeed I am apt to think that they both were buried in the chapel (which was dedicated to St. Aune) at the east end of this isle, for I do not meet with the place of their burial in any author; and by all that I can collect from evidences, they lived and died here. He it was also that built the steeple, as the arms carved in stone plainly prove; the first is a plain cross, being the arms of Bygod, from whom the Boises had the town; the second is Bois's arms single, between which is his own coat, impaling that of his wife, viz. Howard and Bois. The south porch and belfry were built in 1494, with money given by Jeffery Ellingham of Fersfield, for that use, as may be seen in his will (p. 96.)

It is a small building, but in good repair, the nave, chancel, and south porch being tiled, and the south isle leaded; the steeple is square, and hath but two bells, though it had three till the second was split by a tempest about 80 years since, together with the steeple, which is now [1736] supported by iron cramps. Part of its metal was sold in 1708, towards repairing the church, which was then new paved, together with the chancel, at the charge of Mr. John Barker, then rector, and Elizabeth his wife, by whom the chancel was new roofed at that time; she gave also a new set of clothes for the desk and pulpit, of purple velvet, with a neat purple cloth carpet, wrought with gold, and a cushion for the pulpit, of the same, with cushions to lay round the altar rails, and a large cedar chest to lay them in, on the lid of which are the arms of Tilney impaling Read, being the arms of Fraucis Tilney, rector of Brisingham, her father, and his wife, daughter of Thomas Read, Esq. her mother, under which is written,

Hâc, Lector, Cedri Clausâ conduntur in arcâ, Vestimenta quidem Consecrata Deo.

At the step of the altar lie two black marbles, thus inscribed,

Felgate, az. two fesses arg. between six mullets or, 3, 2, 1. Crest, a griffin seiant gul. its wings elevated or, its body pierced through with a broken spear:

Here Lyeth Interred The Body Of Phillipa Felgate The Wife Of Mr. William Felgate of London Skinner Who Departed This Life The 18th of January 1645.

Etate sue 62.

Frere, gul. two leopards faces in pale, between as many flaunches or. Crest, an antilope's head erased arg. out of a coronet G.

Here Lyeth Interred The Body Of Anne Frere Wife Of Mr. Thomas Frere Citezen & Skinner Of London Who Departed This Life The 25 Of January: 1643 Aged: 29 Years.

On a small black marble in the altar rails,

Here Lies Buried Henry Blomefield Gent. Who Died Nov: the 3D 1670.

Ann His First Wife Lies At His Right Hand And Diana His Second At His Left.

On the back side of the screens is this,

The Father The Word and The Holy Ghost, And these Three, Are one. 1. John 5. 7. Three in One. Luke 3. 21. 22. One in Three. Gen. 1.2. Io: 1, 3. Is Unity, in Trinity. Iohn; 15. 26.

Under an arch in the north wall, about two or three feet from the east end, lies an effigies of a priest in his habit, carved in stone, having had four priests kneeling in their surplices by him, two on each side. This lying level with the floor, had contracted moisture, and began to decay very much; and therefore, in order to hinder its decaying further, I caused it to be taken out of its place, and the whiting, with which it had been washed over, to be scraped off cautiously; upon which, I discovered the colours with which it was first adorned, and found that the large stone on which he lies was green, representing the earth; his head lies on a pillow, and that on a cushion, both which were red, the cushion being flowered with silver, and the pillow with gold; his feet lie on a buck couchant ermine, which is the crest of the Boises; his gown was black, his cassock red, gilt all over, in imitation of embroidery, and powdered all over with ermine; round his waste is a girdle, which was green, buckled with a black buckle upon his breast; from the neck to the girdle was the complete arms of the Boises, which may still be seen in two of the chancel windows; the circumscription was in French, the letters being only painted on the stone which he lies on, and is all lost but these words, ----: KI: -------:AVERA:----. However, we are not at a loss to know who he was, for from the arms and crest it is plain he was a Bois, from the habit, that he was a priest, and from the arch that he lies in, (which must have been made when the chancel was built, as any one upon sight of it must own,) that he was builder of the chancel; so that it can be nobody but William du Bois, priest, rector here, who, when he built the chancel, reserved this place for his own interment. He afterwards resigned this rectory, and was instituted to Garboldisham All-Saints, which he resigned some years after, for the vicarage of Great Conerth in Suffolk, of which place he died vicar, about 1352, At the removal of the effigies I found it was joined in the midst, and hollow, being full of burnt coals, which were put there to suck up the moisture, and keep the stone dry, that its colours might not be injured. I had it raised above a foot high from the ground, and painted in its original colours, causing this inscription to be put on a plate, and fixed to the wall:

"William du Bois, Priest, Founder of this Chancel, Patron and Rector of this Church, and of Garboldisham All-Saints, Vicar of Great Conerth in Suffolk third Son of Sir Robert du Bois, Knt. and Brother to that Sir Robert, who lies buried in the South Isle; He died about 1352."

Upon the ground, close to the arch, lies a large raised coffin-stone, with a cross on three grieces, the monument, perhaps, of his father; both which are here presented to your view.

There are two stones in the chancel disrobed of their inscriptions, but never had any arms or effigies.

On the south side of St. Anne's chapel, in the south isle, under the window, in an arch in the wall, lies an effigies of a knight, armed capà-pié, cut out of one piece of oak, which being in a dirty condition, I had it taken out and washed very clean, and upon removing it, found it hollowed and filled as the former, with burnt coals: the plank on which it lies was painted green, with flowers, grass, and leaves: the effigies is exact six feet, and proportionable in all parts; a sword hangs on

a belt by his side. Under the head was a board, having on it, when I first took it up, the arms of Bois and Latimer very perfect, and in Latimer's coat was a label of three, arg. which very plainly proves who he was that was buried here. The colours of the arms scaled off in two or three days, after they were exposed to the air, for which reason I had them painted on the pillow under his head. His helmet and gauntlets were powdered with ermine, and every other folding of his military cassock, which hangs down lower than his armour, was the same, it being the field of his own coat; the other foldings were gul. the field of his wife's; his feet rest on a buck couchant arg. spotted with ermine, being his crest. His armour was mail, gilt all over with gold, and on his breast-plate was his perfect coat, erm. a cross sab. His head lies on a pillow painted with red, and flowered with silver, and that lies on a cushion painted as of green velvet, flowered with gold, with which his spurs are covered; several embellishments were gilded on a cement, and let into the wood in several places, on his belt, sword, and spurs, and on the edge of the plank that he lies on, and then covered with glass, but most were defaced: those that remained were, a man's head cooped at the neck, with leaves in his mouth, a spread eagle, a dog meeting a hare, a dog fighting a lion, a bull tossing a dog, and a lion couchant, with an eagle standing on him, picking out his eyes; all which seem to intimate, that the deceased delighted chiefly in war, and rural exercises; but on a very large one that came off the edge at his feet, was a representation of a building with arches, under which were two hands joined, holding up a book, to signify (as I take it) his founding this isle. The inscription was on the edge. After removing the seats that stood before it, I caused it to be painted in the same colours, as near as could be, and added this inscription:

"Sir Robert du Bois, Knt. Son of Sir Robert, and Grandson of Sir Robert du Bois, Knt. Founder of this Isle, Lord of this Manor, and Patron of this Church, died in 1311, aged 43 Years. He marry'd Christian, Daughter of Sir Wm. Latimer, Widow of Sir John Carbonel, of Waldingfield in Suffolk, by whom he had Sir Robert his only Son, who died unmarried in 1333, and Alice an only Daughter, who married Sir John, son of Sir John Howard, Knt. and carried the whole Estate of the Bois's to that Noble Family."

The windows of the isle, and in particular the east window of the chapel, were formerly beautifully adorned with paintings on glass, of the Twelve Apostles, the Blessed Virgin, and St. Anne her mother, to whom the clapel was dedicated. She had a famous image standing in it, and a large gild kept to her honour, to which most that died, in this and the adjacent towns, generally gave something, and often left money to find wax candle, and lights, continually burning before it. From this place processions were usually made to a well or spring about 60 yards from the north gate of the churchyard, at the foot of the hill, which is still called Tann's Well, being a corruption for St. Anne's Well. There was a separate chaplain that served here from its foundation, to 1411, and then it was united to the parish church, the rector being obliged to find a chaplain, which from this time was removeable at his pleasure: I meet with but few of their names. In 1477, Sir William Manuel served here, and at his going off, Sir Reginald Cooper succeeded. The windows were glazed by Sir John Howard, Knt. whose effigies remained in the east window when Mr. Weaver published his book; (see fol. 851;) and it is very plain from the arms about it, (which were preserved in the pedigree of the Howards,) that it was that Sir John who married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Plais.

The first coat being Howard impaling Cornwall; arg. a lion rampant gul. in a bordure ingrailed sab. bezanté; the arms of his great grandfather and grandmother.

The second is Bois and Latimer; his grandmother being a Bois, and her mother a Latimer.

The third is Howard quartered with Plais, being his own and wife's coat.

The fourth is Clifton impaling Howard; the coat of Margaret Howard, his only daughter by Plais, who was then married to Sir Constantine Clifton, Knt.

And as a further memorial of him, we find that every window is still [1736] filled with the following letters; the first is a J and an H joined, with Howard's arms in it, for John Howard. The second an M with six escalops in it, to signify Margaret Scales, his mother.

In the windows are the following arms, all which now [1736] remain, except the two last, which are gone, as also the arms of Ufford and Beck quartered; Howard impaling Spencer; Howard impaling Plais; Clifton impaling Howard; Morley, Courtney with a label az. impaling Scales; Shardelowe, ermine a cross gul. impaling Scales; and there still remain these impaled coats, Ufford and Scales, Howard and Scales, Bois and Latimer, though they are somewhat broken. The lion rampant is collared az.

In the nave, at the entrance of the chancel, lies a black marble thus inscribed:

To the Memory of Mr. WILLIAM FLOWERDEW of Fersfield, who died February the 12th 1731.

In the 43d Year of his Age, And of Lawrence & Catherine, Two of his Children, who died In their Infancy.

This Stone is placed by Martha Flowerdew his Widow, In Testimony of her Love and Affection.

On another stone in shape of a coffin:

John Father of Jeffry Ellingham, Died Ao 1478.

He willed to be buried here, and gave 6 marks to repair the church; to the altar 3s. 4d.; to St. Anne, mother of the mother of God, 2s.; to keep up the common torches of the town, 12d.; to the friars preachers at Thetford, x.s.

Before the pulpit lies a large stone, having had a plate of brass on it formerly, which being lost, the townsmen had the following inscription cut upon the stone:

JEFFRY ELLINGHAM, of Fersfield, died Ao 1493, Who by will, dated the 18th Day of April in the same year, gave 4 Marks to build the South Porch, And his tenement and all the lands thereto belonging, lying in Fersfield, to divers Uses expressed in his will, with this clause, That if such uses should fail, (as it hath since happen'd) then the clear Yearly Profitts of the same are to be laid out in repairing, beautifying, and adorning this Parish Church for ever.

Another black marble is thus inscribed:

Here Lie Buried In This Grave John Blomefield, Gent.

Sometime Of Corpus Christi Coll: In Camer:

Afterwards An Inhabitant Of This Place, Where He Lived A Very Charitable, Humble, Peaceable, Devout, Good Son Of The Church, And Died Decembr. The 22d, 1700. Aged 55 Years.

And Also Elizabeth His Wife, With Henry And Anne, Two of Their Children.

All these following inscriptions on stones, between the north and south door; the three first in the nave, and the three last in the south isle:

Alice, Daughter Of Henry Blomefield, Gent. & Alice His Wife, Died Nov. 23, 1712.

Here Lieth The Boddy Of Mr. John Blomefield, The Son Of Mr. John Blomefield, Eliz. His Wife, Who Deceased Satarday June I, 1695.

Blomefield's arms and crest.

Repositæ sunt sub hoc Lapide in spe beatæ Resurrectionis, Reliquiæ Elizabethæ filiæ natu maximæ, Johannis Blomefield, hujus Paroch: de Fersfield Genr: et Eliz: ux: ejus (ambo juxta hunc locum

Sepulti, una cum Johanne filio natu maximo) primo nuptiæ, Roberto Shales de Oxboro Genr: Secundo Johanni George de Thetford Armig:

Tertio Antonio Neech, Rect: de Snutterton in Com: Norff: Pietatis, Charitatis, Virtutisq; Dotibus eximie præditæ, Febri extinctæ, Fato hen!

Nimium immaturo raptæ. Facilis Victoria; Vis plura Lector? Scias Natam esse xixo Jul: Ano mdclxxivo. mortuam xvio. Jul: A.D. mdccxxiii.o

Omnes eodem cogimur.

Qui legis hæc, rebus nimium ne crede caducis, Sola manet Virtus, cætera Funus habet, Inclita sincero retinebat pectore Virtus, Mens proba, Cor purum, Vita pudica fuit. Posuit Hen: Blomefield, Frater Mœstissimus.

Mrs. Elizabeth Batch, Widow Died Decr. The 2d. 1729, Aged 81 Years.

Alice wife of Henry Blomefield, Gent. Died 17 March. 1729 Aged 52 Years.

Henry Blomefield Gent. died June the 1st 1732, Aged 52 Years.

Against the south wall, to which the grave of the said Henry joins, is a mural monument of white marble, having the crest, arms, and quarterings of Blomefield, viz.

Blomefield, sab. on a chevron or, three broom branches vert, budded gul.; on a canton of the second, a spear sab. embrued, broken in the truncheon.

Crest, a demi-tiger az. the mane and tail arg. holding in his paws a sword proper, broken in the blade. Motto—pro aris et focis.

Jolly, arg. on a pile in point vert, three sinister hands of the field.

Musket, arg. two bars between six leopards heads gul. 3, 2, 1.

Peak, vert, on a chevron between three lions heads erased or, three croslets az.

Batch, arg on a bend gul. three bucks heads caboshed or.

Persons buried in the Church without any Memorials remaining over them, are:

Sir Robert du Bois, Knt. the last of that family.

  • 1477, John Breese of this town; he gave the tenement Crows, and 6 acres 3 roods of land in Fersfield, to John Boole, then rector, to sell it, and dispose of the money in masses, and other charity, for the good of his soul.
  • 1579, Richard Flint, rector, buried 29 Apr.
  • 1603, Febr. 18, John Blomefield, buried in the church.
  • 1624, 10 March, Agnes Blomefield of Fersfield, widow, buried by the aforesaid John her husband.
  • 1645, 4 March, Henry Blomefield, Gent.
  • 1652, 20 Jan. Thomas Freere, Gent.
  • 1687, 19 Jan. Mary, wife of John Barker, rector.
  • 1687, Mr. John Arnold.

At the end of the beams of the roof of the south isle are two coats, now painted in false colours, but should be Cornwal and Ufford.

In the west end of the isle is a small but exceeding strong vestry, it having been the repository for the relicks, plate, evidences, and ornaments of the church, at which no one could heretofore come, without passing eleven locks; a plain demonstration that there hath been plate of good value, though now [1736] there is only one cup left.

On an altar monument by the south chancel wall in the churchyard:

Here lieth the Body of Mr.

John Barker, who was Curate Here from July the 7th 1681 untill Augt. the 2d 1685, from that Time Rector, until March the 13th 1728–9, then deceased, A good Christian, and one of the best of Husbands; Aged 72 Years.

Mrs. ELIZABETH BARKER, Widow. died Oct. the 2d, 1731.

Who by Will settled a Tenement & Lands, lying in Brisingham, upon the Rector & Church-wardens, and their Successors. The clear Profitts of which, are to be applied, in teaching as many poor Children of that parish above 8, and under 10 Years old, to read, write, spin, and learn the Church Catechism, as the Profitts will pay for; She also tied her House and Land, called ten Acres, to keep up this tomb, on failure of which, the Church-wardens of Fersfield are impowered to seize on the same, and repay themselves what Monies they shall be out of, in Repairing and Beautifying it, together with their Charges.

There are several head-stones for the Howchins, who had a good estate in the parish; the family extinguished in Mr. Robert Howchin, who died Apr. 10, 1717.

In the time of the rebellion, this church was purged of superstition, (as they called it,) by the rebels, who defaced the carvings on the heads of the seats, with their swords, and hacked the effigies, of the Boises; what few brasses there were, were all reaved, and several arms broken out of the windows, and the altar rails pulled down: the Evidences, the King's arms, &c. were taken away before by Mr. Piddock the church-warden, who justly returned them at the Restoration.

In 1658, Henry Clark of Diss, George Francis, and Robert Skurle of Fersfield, informed against Arthur Womack, rector of Fersfield, Mr. John Piddock, and Mr. Robert Howchin, of the same, charging them with endeavouring to prepare, at their cost, a horse and man for the King of Scots, (as King Charles was then commonly called,) and with harbouring malignants in all their houses; and the said Arthur was particularly charged with speaking these words:

"Here is a health unto his Majesty, Pray God confound his foes, And the devil take all Round Heads, For we are none of those!"

And also that he abused the government thus:

"Hey-ho! for a two-penny halter, When you are hang'd you shall have good quarter, Oh! 'twould be a brave sight, to see All the Round Heads hang on a tree. Oh! yee rogues! ye must all come to it."

And further, that he offered to raise 500l. for the King of Scots, and often drinks the King's health, and prosperity to the Royal Family.

There was a copy of verses also laid to Mr. Piddock's charge, which were not among the other papers, though the following lines are there, and were made by some Royalist, in praise of them:

"Hail, loyal poet, thy inspired breast Doth keep the rhyme, though thou forget'st the rest, Good small drink verses truly, and no doubt, They'd better been, but that the strong was out; The zeal I like, thou poet may'st commence, For though there's want of feet, there's none of sense, The things he writes are true, the verses false, The author's loyal, that's enough applause."

Upon these informations they were carried before Thomas Sheriffe of Diss, Esq. then justice of peace, who committed them to Ipswich gaol, where they continued some time; but by the assistance of the said Mr. Sheriffe, who by private letters informed them of all that was intended against them, they were all discharged, after they had gotten certificates, according to his advice, of their good behaviours, from the towns of Diss and Fersfield; upon which he had orders to examine the witnesses apart, and then they confessed, that they had maliciously informed against them, and forsworn themselves, in hopes of getting advantage by so doing; all which confessions they signed before witnesses; and thus, after much trouble and expense, they were at last freed.

This Arthur was ordained by Samuel Bishop of Norwich, 21st Sept. 1628, instituted 1642, and subscribed 15th Aug. 1662.

This town contains about 40 families, and 200 inhabitants; it paid 1l. 14s. when the taxes were raised by tenths, and was valued at 750l. to the association rates, and now to the King's tax, at 557l. [1736.]

In the time of King Edward III. the great plague reached even this obscure village; for in the court rolls a year or two after, the deaths of many of the tenants are presented; and it is said, that they died in the great pestilence. At this time the parish was almost all wood, there being no less than four large woods, besides several groves, among which, Home Wood, or Great Wood, is first named, and said to contain above 400 acres, Winley Wood, Wilcox and Riche's Woods, being of no small extent, all which are now cleared.


This village hath gone by these following names, Scelvangra, Schelfangyll, Shelfangles, Shelfhangre, and now Shelfhanger, the signification of which I cannot the least guess at.

The Church stands against the road leading from Diss to Winfarthing, and hath a square tower and four bells; the nave is thatched, the chancel and north porch are tiled. It is dedicated to all the Saints, as was the gild that belonged to it.

It is a rectory, and had anciently two rectors, each having institution to a mediety; the patronage of one belonging to Bosvile's, afterwards called Hoe's, manor, and the other to Visedelieu's.


Hoe's, or Bosevile's Mediety.

  • 1272. Eudo, parson of Shelfhangre, in the time of John de Ho, Lord.
  • 1285. Peter de Ho, rector.
  • 1347, 2 December, Thomas, atte churche of Thelvetham, priest. Rob. de Bosvill, patron.
  • 1362, 2 March, John Basset, priest. Adam Bosvile, patron.
  • Visedelieu's Mediety.
  • Henry, rector of Shelfhanger.
  • 1313, 3 non. Nov. John atte Shelfhanger church, accolite; Thomas de Verdoun, lord of Briclisworth, Knt.
  • 1340, 8 June, Thomas de Walpole, clerk. Ditto.
  • 1347, 25 December, Bogo de Knovill. Ditto.
  • 1348, 25 Novem. Simon de Cranesle, accolite. Ditto.
  • 1349, 30 October, John de Beck de Banham; Sim. Warde, Ralph Crophull, Thomas Halcote, and William Witlesham, trustees to Sir John Verdon and Isabell his wife.
  • 1362, 30 January. Nicholas Dene, priest. Ditto.
  • 1368, 2 October, Hugh Greene, priest, on Dene's resignation. J. Verdoun, patron.
  • 1375. 11 July, Gilbert Colman of Thuryton, priest, on Greene's resignation. Sir John Verdoun, Knt.
  • 1375, 21 March, Sir John de Verdoun, Knt. and Adam Bosvile, the present patrons, considering the small revenues of each mediety, consolidated them for ever, at the death of Gilbert Colman, in John Basset, then rector of Bosvile's mediety; the presentation henceforward to be alternate.
  • 1410, 22 Febr. Richard Andyeness, priest. Sir Edmund Noon, Knt.
  • 1423, 25 March, John Motewyn of Bury St. Edmund's, priest. Thomas Torrel, Esq.
  • 1430, 30 May, William Ty, priest, on Motewyn's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1458, 3 Septem. Thomas Levereche. Henry Noon, Esq.
  • 1458, 28 Octob. William Rede, on Levereche's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1511, 2 March, John Elmham. Ditto.
  • 1529, 28 May, Anthony Warner, chaplain, at Elmham's death. Ditto.
  • 1554, 14 July, John Harrison, at Warner's death. Thomas Duke of Norfolk.
  • 1576, 7 Decem. John Baron, on Harrison's death. William Dixe, William Canterell, &c. trustees for the Duke of Norfolk.
  • 1579, 2 March, Thomas Davies. Phillip Earl of Arundell.
  • 1580, 4 Febr. William Skarlet. The Bishop by lapse.
  • 1594, 16 May, Edward Cotton, clerk. Earl of Suffolk.
  • 1627, William Bagley. Thomas Earl of Arundell.
  • 1662, Richard Crosdale, rector.
  • 1674, 12 January, Thomas Barry, A. M. on Crosdale's death. Henry Earl of Norwich, Earl-Marshal, &c.
  • 1687, 18 January, Obadiah Browne, A. M. on Barry's death. Richard Richmond, apothecary, London.
  • 1689, 16 May, The Rev. Mr. Joseph Henchman, A. M. the present rector, [1736,] on Browne's resignation. Richard Marriot, Gent. and John Coggs, goldsmith, by grant from the Duke of Norfolk.

On the font I saw the arms of Bosville, (a I suppose,) carved in stone, with A on one side, and B on the other, being the initial letters of the name of Adam Bosville, who was patron in 1362, about which time this might be set up; and in a south chancel window I find the same arms quartered by Noon, viz.

Arg. A fess gul. between six de-lises sab.

And in the same window it quarters arg. two chevrons az. the whole in a bordure gul. and over them this broken inscription:

Orate pro bono - - - - fil. dni. Henr. Noon, Uxor. sue qui - - - - bresbiter fieri.

In another south window this, - - - - on a bend az. six de-lises or.

Before the altar rails lie three large stones, robbed of their arms and inscriptions; under the first lies Henry, son of Sir Henry Noon, who died in 1487; under the next lies Eleanor his wife.

The arms of Vicedelieu were on a stone in the chancel, but are now gone, as is this coat, viz. gul. three chess-rooks ermine.

Under a small freestone is buried Robert, son of Robert Casbourn of Isleham in Cambridgeshire, Esq. and Abigail his wife, who died March 27, 1722, aged five years.

Here is a town-house for two dwellers, a freehold close of 3 acres, let at about 50s. a year, half the profits of which are given to the poor, and the other half to be applied to what uses the church-wardens please. The rector hath also a close of 3 acres, given to find bell-ropes, called Bell-rope Close.

In 1738, Mrs. Sarah Frankland gave 100l. with which there was freehold land purchased in the parish, the rent of which is to find 2s. worth of bread to be distributed to the poor every Sunday, by the rector and church-wardens.

The Commons are inconsiderable, except their intercommonage with Brisingham on Boyland Green; (see p. 72;) and a large tract of meadows which are common from Lammas to March, and are called the Lammas Meadows.

This parish is in the archdeaconry of Norfolk, and deanery of Redenhall. In 1603, it had 142 communicants, hath now near 40 dwellinghouses, and contains about 200 inhabitants. It paid to the old tenth 27s. was taxed to the association rates at 980l. and now at 763l. 10s. [1736.]

Here was a chapel dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, but when or by whom founded I cannot certainly learn; but most probable, by some of the Veres, lords of Winfarthing: it stood on the great road leading from Shelfhanger to Winfarthing, and by its not being mentioned in the Institution Books, appears to have been a free chapel; it was standing in 1518, for then Matthew Halyett of Winfarthing gave a bell to the chapel of St. Andrew in Shelfhanger. It was supported by lands given by the founder, all which at the Dissolution came to the Crown, and so remained till the 12th of Elizabeth, and then she gave them to Nicholas Mynne, Esq. and John Hall, Gent. and their heirs; and in 1587, they were held by the Cleres, of the manor of East Greenwich, by fealty only. They are said to lie in Deep-Meadow, and in other places in Shelf hanger and Winfarthing.

The Prior of Eye had a portion of tithes given them by Hugh de Aviliers, out of his demean lands here, which were confirmed to the rector by that house, for a pension of 5s. 9d. a year, which, at the Dissolution, went to the Crown, and was granted for 21 years, by Queen Elizabeth, to George Petre. The register of this priory, called Danoun, which now [1736] belongs to Mr. Thomas Martin of Palgrave, tells us the lands' names from which this portion issued, viz. Whytlown's, Bullokk's Close, Breche-Lond, and Chappell-Lond, of which the prior to have two tithe sheaves, and the rector one.

The monks of Thetford had also a portion of tithes here, viz. two garbs out of three of all the demean lands of Winfarthing tenement, being 50 acres, which they granted to the rector for 18d. a year pension.

The inhabitants of North Lopham hold a messuage, called Elwines, and 13 acres of land, and one acre in South Meadow, and other lands, formerly demeans of Shelfhanger, Visedelieu manor; all which, in 1412, were manumised by Edmund Noon, Knt. lord of that manor, and granted to Richard Bosse, and his heirs, to be held by the rent of a red rose yearly. This Richard infeoffed William Ty, parson of Shelf hanger, and others, to hold it for ever to the use of the parish of North Lopham, to repair their parish church. And in 1454 the said William Ty infeoffed Henry Noon, Edmund Bokenham, Esqrs. John Halle, parson of Garboldisham, and others to the same uses. This land is still enjoyed by that parish. [1736.]

The town was in divers parts at the survey; Colo, a freeman of Nasgre Stalre, in King Edward's time, had one manor, which, in the Conqueror's time, Hervicus or Hervy held, and Modephefe, a freewoman of Algar's, had another, both being held of Alan Earl of Richmond. The town was a league long, and half a league broad, and paid 9d. to the Geld or tax.

And from this time they continued separate, till they united in the Norfolk family; the one was afterwards called Hoe's, and the other Vicedelieu's, to each of which a moiety of the advowson was appendant.

Hoe's Manor[edit]

Was held all along of Richmond honour, and soon after the Conquest, belonged to

Hueline de Hugethale, (or Uggeshale,) so called from the place of his habitation, whose son

Roger was sirnamed de Hoe, for the same reason, and

Peter, son of the said Roger, was called Peter de Shelfangell, and sometimes de Ho. Roger de Ho gave lands here to Sibton abbey, and added to the manor by purchasing of Robert de Morley, and Roger de Gissing, Knts. lords of Reydon, much land in that town, which occasioned this manor to extend thither. He lived about 1196, and

Sir Gilbert de Ho, alias de Schelfangels, was his son and heir.

John de Ho, son of Sir Gilbert, augmented it more, having divers lands granted him by Alexander Abbot of Sibton; after him

Henry de Ho occurs in a deed without date, and Osbert de Ho, alias Shelfangls.

In 1218, Guido or Eudo de Ho, alias de Shelfangre, was lord, who the same year had a grant of free-warren to his manor; he is sometimes in evidences called Eudo Fitz-Osbert, from his father; he granted his moiety of the advowson, in 1227, to

Ralf, son of Reginald, and his heirs, who left it to his son William, whose son John, in 1256, sold it to

John del Ho; and then it was joined again.

In 1275 he was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, and paid the third penny of the county to the Earl of Norfolk. He held much land here of Bury abbey, and many rents and services, to the value of 112 acres. To this Sir John succeeded

Eudo in 1276, in whose time it was first called Hoe's manor; he claimed streys and had it allowed in 1220. Walter de Shelfangre, one of this family, was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, and was fined for extortion; but whether he was ever lord or no I cannot say.

In 1280, Roger de Ho had it, who left it the same year to

John de Ho; he granted a messuage, lands, and commonage in Shelfhanger, to Walter of Shelfhanger, uncle to John de Shotbroke, who became Walter's heir in 1286, in which year this John de Ho is said to hold it of the honour of Richmond, and had strey allowed him. In 1302 it belonged to another

Roger de Ho, who in 1307, upon marrying Agnes, (sirnamed Norwich probably, for William de Norwico, clerk, was deforciant in the fine,) settled it on them and their heirs. How it continued till 1345 I know not certainly, though it seems to be in a family sirnamed

De la Pole of Brisingham; for in 1331, this advowson was settled by Henry de la Pole of Brisingham, and Margaret his wife, on themselves and their heirs, which Margaret might be heiress to Roger and Agnes de Ho; and it is probable that De la Pole's daughter might marry Boseville: however, thus far I am certain, that in this year

Robert de Bosewill, or Bosville, had the manor which was lately Roger de Hoe's. In 1362,

Adam Boseville was lord, and so to 1375; in 1423,

Thomas Torrell, Esq. had it, from whom it went, in 1455, to

Henry Noon, from which time it hath passed, joined with Vice de Lieu's manor, as it is at this day. [1736.]

The Manor of Vice de Lou[edit]

Which was the part held by Modephefe, had its name from the lords thereof; Humfridus Vise de Lou, or Wolf's Face, (for such is the signification of the name,) lived in the time of the Conqueror, and held lands in Berkshire, as Domesday informs us, whose descendant,

William, was lord here in 1170. In this family it continued many ages. In 1300,

William de Vise de Lou married Rose, sister and heir of Elizabeth de Shotisbroke. He it was that procured a grant of free-warren to this manor, which he settled, with the moiety of the advowson, which had always gone with it, on

Sir Thomas Vise de Lou, Knt. his son, which Sir Thomas left two daughters coheiresses, between whom it was divisible:

Isabell, married to Sir John Verdon, Knt. and Margaret to Thomas Mossells, Esq. This ancient family was some time seated at Shotley, in Samford hundred in Suffolk, and continued above seven descents, possessed of a large revenue in Shotley, Snape, &c. They bare arg. three wolves heads erased gul. from which bearing they might have their name.

The moiety of the advowson went with Verdon's part, (for John de Verdon, Knt. lord of Briclesworth, presented here often,) and descended with the manor to

Sir Imbert Noon of Shelfhanger, who married Isabell, the daughter and heiress of Sir John Verdon, by Isabell, his second wife, about 1408, who presented in 1410. In 1412,

Sir Henry Noon, Knt. succeeded, who this year had a grant of free-warren, and liberty to enclose 310 acres for a park; but he died before he had completed his design, leaving

Henry Noon, Esq. his son and heir, who, in 1417, renewed the grant for his free-warren and park. This Henry much increased his estate, by his valiant exploits, being a brave soldier, and an experienced officer: he constantly attended Henry V. in the French wars, where he behaved so gallantly, that the King gave him the castle, lands, and lordship of Tonde in Normandy, which was late the Earl of Mortaigne's, being 2000 scutes a year. He died in 1465, leaving this manor to

Elizabeth his wife, till Henry his son came of age, and then to him and his heirs; which

Henry enjoyed it till his death in 1487, as appears by the probate of his will, who, according to his desire, was buried under a large grave-stone in this chancel, the inscription of which is now torn off, but his arms, impaling a chevron in a bordure between three eagles legs erased, lately remained. His wife Eleanor, after his decease, married to William Lancaster of Brisingham, Esq. and after that to Robert Wyngfield, with whose consent she made her will, dated the 4th of November, 1500, in which she ordered to be buried in this chancel by her first husband, and to have on her stone the arms of Wyngfield siding Lancaster.

Henry Noon, son and heir, succeeded; who, upon marriage in 1510, settled the manor on Antony Wyngfield, Robert Kemp, Esq. and Robert Bonde, clerk, in trust, to his use and his heirs, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Wingfield of Letheringham in Suffolk; in 1519, the said Henry, and Robert Holdich, who was lord of the other moiety, manumised a great part of the manor, among which, to Robert, son of Matthew Hallyat of Winfarthing, three enclosures, Brendaleswong, containing 60 acres, Bullock's Close 20 acres, and Brech Close 10 acres, at 19s. 10d. freerent. Whether it was this Henry, or his son Francis, that sold the manor, I cannot say, but it was purchased by the Duke of Norfolk, who kept court here in 1532.

The other moiety went with Margaret, the other daughter, to

Thomas Mosells, Esq. her husband, who having no issue male, it came to their daughters,

Margaret and Joan, so that this moiety was divided again.

Margaret married Edmund Stratton, Esq. and was his widow in 1479; and left it to her daughter, who married Richard Yaxley, senior, and by him had two sons, Thomas Yaxley, clerk, the eldest, who sold it to Richard Yaxley, his brother, and his heirs. This Richard, in 1526, purchased the other moiety of this moiety, of

Thomas Felton, Esq. which Thomas was son of Robert Felton, Esq. had Margery his wife, sister and heiress to Sir Thomas Sampson of Playford in Suffolk, Knt. which Robert was son of John Chapman, alias Felton, by Joan, the other daughter of Thomas Mossell, Esq. This Richard Yaxley had it settled on himself and Richard Holdich, his trustee, in 1527, and so held it to 1532, when he and Anne his wife sold it to

Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and his heirs, who having purchased the other moiety of the Noons, as also Hoe's manor, became now sole lord and patron; and it hath been ever since, and now remains in that honourable family. The present Duke being now lord and patron. [1736.]

Here was another manor, called


Which belonged to the abbey of Sibton in Suffolk; this was formerly the possession of Edric, Falconer to the Confessor, and had only 15 acres demeans at that time.

This Edric was ancestor to Robert Mallet, lord of Eye honour, who in the Conqueror's days, or soon after, infeoffed

Walter de Cadomo (Caam, or Caus) in the barony of Horsford, to be held of his honour, with which this passed.

Robert, son of Walter, succeeded in William Rufus's reign, who left

John, his son, sirnamed Vicecomes (or Sheriff, because he had that office.) He was Baron of Horsford; he vowed to build an abbey of monks in his own land, but dying soon after, left

William, his brother, his heir, whom he commanded to perform his vow. This William was called afterwards de Cayneto, de Chethney, or Cheyney; who, according to his promise, founded the abbey of Sibton in Suffolk, in his own land, in the year 1149, endowing it with many revenues, and among them with this manor, which was then very small, but was soon after augmented by divers gifts given to that house, among which, Ralph, son of Nicholas Loverd of Shelfhanger, gave them, Robert, son of Bartholomew de Dunwich, with his service; William, son of Godfrey of Westhaie, gave them 3s. rent in Reydon, of the fee of Gilbert Fitz-Ralph, for the souls of his father and mother, and Mary his wife, of whose patrimony it was; John de Verdon, lord of Brisingham, gave them the going or commonage of pasture for 200 sheep on Brisingham Great Green, and many others gave other lands, all which are particularly described in a chartulary of the priory of Cluniack monks at Thetford, fol. 23, which book is now among Mr. Le Neve's Collections. In 1361, it was let to Bosevill, at 40s. per annum. In 1336, the abbot new-built Frier's Hall, at the expense of 50l.; the demeans were then 50 acres In 1403, John Abbot of Sibton, and the Convent, leased out their whole possessions here to John Lancaster, Esq. for seven years, at 3l. 1s. per annum, the demeans being excepted; it now extended into Shelfhanger, Reydon, Brisingham, and Diss in Norfolk, and Thrandeston and Yaxley in Suffolk. About 1530, Henry Noon farmed it with one acre marsh in Brisingham, and the commonage of 200 sheep there; and so it continued till the 28th Henry VIII. in which year the abbot and monks, foreseeing what was coming upon them, bargained with Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and resigned their house to him and his heirs, with all that belonged thereto, the Duke having procured leave of the King that he might receive it, and hold it to him and his heirs for ever, which was confirmed by Act of Parliament, anno 31st Henry VIII. and then it was joined to the other manors, with which it now continues. [1736.] The resignation of this abbey may be seen in Dugdale's Monast. vol. iii. fol. 33, and was signed by Wm. Flatbury, abbot, Robert Bungay, prior, John Facon, sub-prior, Tho. Hadley, celerer, Wm. Dunwich, Robert Dunwich, and Peter Elmham, monks. The commonage of the 200 sheep was laid to Vise de Lieu's, or Shelfhanger Hall, as it is now called, and Frier's Hall was soon after demolished; it stood just by the gate going from Brisingham common to Shelfhanger Hall.

Shelfhanger Manor, alias D'Aveler's[edit]

Was originally the demeans of the Confessor, afterwards given (either by him or some other) to St. Edmund's abbey at Bury, of which it was held in the Conqueror's time.

The first parcel constituted the manor called D'AVELER'S.

The second was in the abbey till the Dissolution, with other lands that were afterwards given. The third was joined to Brisingham manor, and always attended it, so that I have no occasion to speak any more of the two last in this place.

As to the first, it was very early granted from the abbey in two parts, one of which was in

Ralph de Burgo, the other in

William le Loverd, or Lord, whose son John sold half of it to Bartholomew, son of Robert de Anwelhyers, the successour of Ralph de Burgo, so that he had two parts out of three; this part was held of the said William, by the service of a pair of gloves yearly: but I must observe, that Alequis de Scirewood, or Sherewood, had the Burghs part, in which family it continued two or three generations, and then came to Robert, father of Bartholomew aforesaid.

In 1190, Hugh da Vilere was lord, and after him

Bartholomew, his son, who, about 1227, left it to his son

Richard, who was in the custody of Cassandra, his mother, by grant of Hugh de Burgh, Justiciary (Chief Justice,) with whom she compounded for 20s. The possessions of this Richard, which laid here, and in Brome and Everwarton, (now Arwarton,) in Suffolk, were then worth 40l. per annum, and were all held by serjeantry, viz. by the service of conducting the foot soldiers of the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, for 40 days, at the King's summons, from St. Edmund's Ditch (now called Devil's Ditch on Newmarket Heath) to the King's army in Wales, for which he was to have 4d. of each, for conduct money, and the rest of their maintenance was to be at the King's cost, and by this tenure it always passed. The Abbot at first was to do this service, till he granted this part chargeable with it.

In 1253, Richard D'Avilers, and Beatrix his wife, had it; and in 1269,

Bartholomew D'Avilers inherited, who died in 1274, leaving it to

John his son, who died in anno 1318. This John sold all to

Walter de Shelfhanger and John de Sotesbrook, or Stokesbrook, who afterwards became one of the heirs of the said Walter; and, in 1286, took possession by the King's license, and had free-warren allowed him in all his lands. This manor had a house and park, 80 acres of arable land, one acre and a half of meadow, a mill, and 10s. rent. That in Brome had a messuage, 60 acres of land, 4 of meadow, and 4 of pasture, &c.; all which were to be held of the said John D'Avelers. This John married Isabel Ufford, who was endowed in Arwarton manor, by whom he left

Bartholomew, his son, who became lord of all these manors; by which it seems, that the grant of this and Brome was only for life. He married Joan, relict of John, son of William de Caldecote, and died 18th April, 1330, leaving her a widow, and four daughters, his coheirs; Isabel, married to Sir Robert Bacon, Knt. had Everwarton; Cicely, to Brian de Hykeling, and had Brome; Margaret and Joan, one of which (I have some reason to think) married to Richard Daniel, who had Shelfhanger: the whole came afterwards to Isabel Bacon, (probably for want of issue of the other sisters,) who afterwards married to Sir Oliver Calthorp, and carried the three manors into that family. The D'Aviliers arms were, arg. three inescutcheons gul. and are now quartered by Bacon and Calthorp, by the name of D'Ylers. It was after divided into many parts, by which the manor was all lost, except some trifling rents, which were in the Duke of Norfolk in 1536; it was then called Sherwood's in Shelfhanger. It remains now [1736] with the other manors.

The other part, which was


Made a free tenement, called by the owner's name, to which many services belonged, and daily increased, as the owners of the tenement sold off their lands, all which they made payable to the celerer of the abbey, to discharge the capital tenement of the rent and service due from it to the abbey; and when enough was sold to answer that purpose, it became a freehold only, and as such has passed ever since; this was finished in 1266, by John le Loverd, when the lands of the abbey were extended, and all their revenues settled on the sacrist and celerer, who let them to Guy of Shelfhanger, who was to answer all rents and services for them. The lords of Hoe's manor usually farmed them and received the rents. The Black Register tells us, that Hammond Peccutum (or Pecche) confirmed to Abbot Anselm all that land, and 2s. rent, which his grandmother Jenetta, and his mother Esyly, had given to that convent; all which, in 1281, were valued to answer 20s. per annum clear.

These came to Henry VIII. who gave some of them to divers persons, and others were granted to Norton, &c. by Queen Elizabeth, to be held free of the manor of East Greenwich in Kent.

Here was another free tenement, called

Winfarthing tenement[edit]

From its situation on the great road near that place; it laid in Shelfhanger, and anciently belonged to the Berdewells, being held of their manor of Gatesthorp, by the annual rent of a pound of pepper; half of it, in 1280, was owned by Walter de Winfarthing, and in 1298, by Robert, his son and heir, who paid half a pound of pepper for himself and all his tenants, which were about thirty in number; some of them were obliged to double service for their lands, viz. to pay one rent to the lord of the tenement, and another to the chief lord of the fee, and all together were to pay 2s. 3d. and the fourth part of a farthing, to the King's scutage, whenever it happened, the whole contained in demeans 50 acres, the tithes of which were divisible, one tithe sheaf to Shelfhanger rector, and two to the monks of Thetford. The other half was held by John le Lord, and his tenants, by the same services; the manor of Gatesthorp (or Gasthorp in Norfolk) had this rent always paid to it, and is said to extend into Winfarthing. In 1392, the whole pepper rent was laid upon one acre, in one piece, and was then received; I am apt to think, this was that part of Winfarthing manor that reached into Shelfhanger, and that it was granted by the lords of Winfarthing to the lord of Gasthorp; for Domesday informs us, that Winfarthing reached hither.

And this is the whole I know of these manors, all which in 1532 were in Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and being then joined, have continued together, without any other distinction, as they do at this day, [1736,] the style of the court running thus, Shelfhanger, Visedelieu, Hoe's, and Frier's.

The Customs are these: the eldest son inherits; they can fell timber, pull down, build up, plant, and cut down on the copyhold, and waste, without license; but the fines are at the lord's will.

The Leet belongs not to the manor, but hath passed with Diss hundred, the lord of which keeps it at this time, and hath 2s. for leet fee. [1736.]

The Rev. Mr. Joseph Henchman, rector, bears or, a chevron between three bugle horns, stringed, sab. on a chief gul. three lions rampant or.

Mr. William Elliot, senior, gul. on a bend ingrailed or, a battoon of the field.


The Church and Gild here were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; it was a rectory appropriated by John of Oxford, Bishop of Norwich, to Butley priory, who were patrons, it being given them by King Henry I at their founder's request, before he gave the manor to the Fitz-Walters. In 1293, their temporals were taxed at 26s 6d. and their spirituals at 17l. 6s. 8d. The impropriation was confirmed by the archbishop, and the vicar had a pension of 26s. 8d. payable by the prior, out of the great tithes, all which were afterwards disappropriated, by the prior and convent's resigning up the church and tithes, and presenting a rector. In 1510, upon Drayles's institution, a pension of 40s. per annum was reserved to the prior out of the rectory. The lands that belonged to the priory were granted by Queen Elizabeth to different persons, some to Edward Dyer, Hugh Cressiner, and others.

Rectors and Vicars[edit]

Wybart, rector: sans date.

  • 1299, 2 kal. Mar. The rectory was void, and a sequestration granted to Adam de Cokefield, who was presented to it, with this clause, that the bishop might recall it when he pleased.
  • 1304, 5 ides June, Richard de Schadenfield, priest, was instituted to the vicarage, with certain portions newly assigned by the Bishop, at the presentation of the Prior of Butley, who presented the following vicars:
  • 1314, 11 kal. July, Alan de Bedyngtone, priest.
  • 1325, 15 kal. July, Robert, called Baldewyne, priest. He resigned in
  • 1331, id. Dec. and Richard de Botone, priest, succeeded.
  • 1349, 2 July, Walter Stannard de Diss, priest.
  • 1349, 28 July, John Mortimer, priest.
  • 1351, 14 Octob. Robert Mast of West Lexham, priest.
  • 1401, 22 Jan. John Cok, priest.
  • 1408, 9 Septem. Richard Bailly, priest.
  • 1424, 26 June, William Balle, priest.
  • 1432, 2 Dec. William Smythe, by lapse; and the year following the 16th of April, the prior resigned the impropriation; and in
  • 1433, 18 Apr. Robert Syre, priest, was instituted to the rectory, saving to William Smyth his right as vicar; Syre held the rectory single to 1436, and then resigned, and the prior presented Smyth to the rectory, from which time it hath continued a rectory to this day. The prior presented the following rectors:
  • Richard Goneld, who resigned in
  • 1453, 20 Dec. and Adam Bulman succeeded.
  • 1457, 24 Mar. John Bukke, chaplain.
  • 1466, 1 May, William Keene, at Bukk's death.
  • John Drayles succeeded, on whose death, in
  • 1510, 31 Aug. Walter Terald, or Tirrell, was instituted; on his death, in
  • 1546, 20 Aug. Ralph Pyllyng, chaplain, was presented by Thomas Mildmay, Esq. one of the King's Auditors, who had this turn from Nicholas Arrowsmith, Esq. who had it by grant from the prior, before the house was dissolved.
  • 1550, 24 May, John Deane, or Deen, priest, presented by King Edward VI. from which time the following rectors have been presented by the Crown, in which the patronage now remains.
  • 1564, 27 May, John Hilton, priest.
  • 1589, 21 May, Henry Wiseman; he died, and
  • 1626, 12 March, Hugh More, A. M. was instituted, being ordained priest this year, Jan. 12, by Theophilus Bishop of Llandaff; he subscribed Aug. 16, 1662, having held it the whole time of the rebellion.
  • 1674, 9 May, John Rand, A. B.
  • 1706, 9 May, the Rev. Mr. Joseph Henchman, the present [1736] rector, at Mr. Rand's death.

The Church is small, and is leaded; the south porch and chancel are tiled; the steeple is round at bottom, and octangular at top, having five bells, on one of which is this:

Quœsumus, Andrea, Famulorum suscipe vota.

Here are no memorials, save a black marble in the church, for "Francis Alpe, Gent, who died July the 15th, 1670, aged 86 years."

And in the yard, at the east end of the chancel, a grave-post much decayed, for

"Hugh Moore, late Rector;" by which it appears that he was a Scotchman, though it is now almost illegible.

In 1475, Reginald Smethe, chaplain, was buried in this church, and gave 40s. to peynte a candle beme therein.

Burston at first was in three parts, though the whole was held of Robert Mallet, lord of the honour of Eye, successour of Edric, under whom Aculf, a freeman, had one part in the Confessor's time, which in the Conqueror's was held by Walter, who now had another part, which Moithar held in King Edward's days. The third part was Leofric of Torendun's, which the Conqueror gave to his Queen, she to Robert Mallet, and he to his mother, who now had it: the whole town then was two miles long, and one mile broad, and paid 12d. to the Geld.

These parcels soon after became two manors, one called Brockdish Hall, from a family of that name; the other Meauling's Hall, from Peter de Meauling, or Melding, lord thereof, and now by corruption Milding Hall, both being always held of Eye honour.

The manor of Brockdish Hall[edit]

Was given by King Henry I. to the Fitz-Walters, from whom it went very early to

Geffry de Brokedish, from him to his son

William, who left it to

Thomas, his son; and he to

Reginald; and he to his son,

Sir Stephen de Brokedysh, whose heir enjoyed it in 1327. This Stephen purchased lands to this manor, of Ernold de Monteney, and had view of frankpledge allowed him in 1286, and assize of bread and beer.

Stephen, son and heir of Sir Stephen, purchased divers lands and tenements, to be held at 10s. per annum rent, lying in Burston, Thelveton, and Brisingham, to be held of Hugh de Vere, and Dionise his wife; Gilbert Prior of Butley gave him 3 acres of land for life, parcel of that land which Alfwet Cnot, and William, son of Edmer, gave to that convent, viz. the whole tenement that Wybart, the parson of Burston, held of them and their ancestors anno 1307; he left

Reginald his son and heir. In 1380, William Ufford Earl of Suffolk, as lord of Eye honour, claimed the fines and amerciaments of his tenants in Burston and elsewhere, in the half hundred of Diss, where Walter le Fitz-Wauter of Wodeham was lord, as being the capital lord of whom this manor was held. I cannot find how it went from the Brockdish family; but it was in the

Boylands, from whom it passed by Maud, the heiress of that family, to

John Lancaster of Brisingham, and went as Boyland Hall, till about 1500, when it was aliened to

Sir John Sharpe, Knt. who, in 1514, obtained license to alien it to

Will. Tyler, or Tylot, and his heirs, to be held as formerly, by the service of a red rose yearly, payable to the Duke of Suffolk, to his honour of Eye. In 1518, this Sir John Sharpe, Kt. and Wm. Tyler, Knt. &c. lords of Brockdish Hall, and John Millegate, Prior of the priory of the holy Virgin, and St. James the Apostle of Old Bokenham, and the convent there, lords of the manor of Meldynghall, agreed to divide the two manors, which having for a long time been farmed together, were now so intermixed, that they knew not their separate rights; wherefore they got two books in indented bindings, the one having the convent seal affixed thereto, and the other the seals of the two knights, &c. in these the division was entered, and the one was delivered to the prior, and the other to Sir John Sharpe, &c. which is now among the evidences of the manor, from which I collected, that Meldyng Hall abuts on Knot's Lane north; the demeans were about 137 acres, copyhold held of it 439 acres, the quitrents about 18l. per annum. Brokedysh Hall abuts upon Northgate Green north, and was then, with 13 acres adjoining, copyhold; this manor was about half the value of Meldyng Hall, John Mellegate, prior, Tho. Beverly, sub-prior, and Tho. Browne, sacrist, signed it. Brockdish Hall paid then 10s. per annum freerent to Winfarthing: it appears that

Robert Browne was cousin and heir to Sir John Sharpe, from whom it came to the

Pettuses, and from them to Bolton, and from Bolton to

Thomas Proctor, senior, clerk, whose kinswoman and heiress married to

John Buxton of St. Margaret's, who finding no license for the alienation from Bolton to Proctor, was forced to get a royal pardon, from which time both these manors have been in that family, Elizabeth Buxton, a minor, being now lady [1736.]

Melding Hall manor[edit]

Was purchased by Sir Peter de Meauling, or Melding, of King Henry I. to be held by this serjeantry of service, that the owner of it should always sell the beasts taken in Norfolk or Suffolk for the King's debts; it was then valued at 8l. per annum.

William, his son, had it next; and after him

Peter, his son, who owned it in 1226; and in 1249 sold it to

Sir Robert du Bois of Fersfield, reserving a rent of 4l. and the service of a quarter of knight's fee, the whole of which he gave with his sister in marriage to Reginald de Nuttun; for which alienation the King seized the serjeantry, which was taken off this manor when it was sold, and laid on Meling manor in Suffolk, according to a feoffment made by this Peter de Meling to Laurence de Meling; but he gave them the value in exchange. Sir Robert du Bois, senior, left it to

Sir Robert his son, who gave it to

John de Bosco, his brother, who, in 1286 had weif here; but before 1308 it was again in Sir Robert de Bois and Christian his wife, who afterwards settled it on

Sir William Carbonel, Knt. her son, (this Christian being widow of Sir John Carbonel, Knt. when Sir Robert married her,) who was lord in 1315; and in 1397,

Robert Carbonel, Knt. and Margery his wife, had it, and John was his son and heir, 14 years old; Robert died seized this year, on the 24th of Sept. to which Mr. Le Neve's Collections agree, though he says it had been out of the Carbonel family in that time, and was the inheritance of

Sir Robert de Caston, and descended to Margery, wife of Sir Robert Carbonel, and Mary, wife of Sir William Fastolf; however it was,

John Carbonel, son of Sir Robert, inherited, who gave it to

Sir Roger Swillington of Ditchingham, and Joan his wife; he died seized of this and Old Hall manor, in Swillington in Yorkshire, and soon after his wife died also, upon which, the King received the homage of

Robert de Swillington, brother and special heir of John, according to the form of the gift made to Roger. Some time after it came to

Sir John Swillington, Knt. at whose death it was divided; and in 1424,

Sir John Graa, Knt. had two parts of the manor, in right of Margaret his wife, sister of Sir John Swillington; all which was mortgaged to Thomas Murstede, Esq. for 200 marks. From this time to 1454 I know nothing of it; but in that year

Sir Andrew Ogard, Knt. died without issue, seized of this manor of Melding Hall; and it looks as if he gave it to

Bokenham Priory; for it appears from the Book of Accompts of that house, that this manor belonged to it, and in 1479 was let at 15l. 10s. at which time the prior hired the other manor, at 5l. 10s. per annum, and let them together; and from this time it continued in the convent till its dissolution, and then went to the

Crown, and being afterwards granted off, it belonged in 1570, to

Francis Boulton; and in 1573 it came by exchange to

Thomas and Michael Heneage; and after that, having passed through divers families, though but with small continuance in any of them, it came to the

Buxtons, and was then joined to the other manor.

Mr. Le Neve says, there was a manor here, (which was this, as I take it,) that all along attended the fate of the Albanies of Bokenham castle, from whom it came to the Orrebys; John of that sirname had it in 1315; from thence to the Cailys, and so to the Cliftons,

and was settled by Sir John Clifton, Knt. in 1447, by his will, on Joan his wife, and her heirs, whose daughter Margaret married Sir Andrew Ogard, Knt. of the Rye in Hertfordshire, who died seized as aforesaid.

This might be held of them as capital lords, under Eye honour, till the whole fee came to Sir Andrew, about 1450, whether by marriage, purchase, or descent, I cannot learn. The ancient family of Burston of Burston, bears,

Here is 10s. a year given to the poor, payable out of Mr. Alpe Ward's farm, and was given by one of the Alpes, and also two townhouses.

In 1603, here were 80 communicants, and now [1736] there are 48 dwelling-houses, and about 250 inhabitants.

The old tenth was 2l. 12s. The valuation at the association, was 780l. and that to the King's tax is 528l. per annum.

The Commons are Pound Green, Church Green, and Burston or Northgate Green, where they common solely.

The Custom of the Manor is to the eldest son, and the fine at the lord's will.

The Leet belongs to the hundred, to which it pays 2s. leet fee.


Joins to the east part of Diss, and is bounded by the Waveny on the south: I cannot find who this Osmund was, that gave name to the town, but imagine him to be a Saxon, and owner of it. Scoles was a hamlet to Osmundeston, in the time of Edward III. and gave name to a numerous family, one of which was rector of Frenze in 1397; the ancient Institution Books have no such name, though it now stands in the last Valor. by the name of Osmondston, alias Schole, which last name prevailed about the time of King Henry VIII. when this hamlet was increased, so as to become the chief part of the town, and might first receive its name from the sholes or shallows of the river on which it is situated.

Here are two very good inns for the entertainment of travellers; the White Hart is much noted in these parts, being called, by way of distinction, Scole Inn; the house is a large brick building, adorned with imagery and carved work in several places, as big as the life. It was built in 1655, by John Peck, Esq. whose arms, impaling his wife's, are over the porch door. The sign is very large, beautified all over with a great number of images of large stature carved in wood, and was the work of one Fairchild; the arms about it are those of the chief towns and gentlemen in the county, viz. Norwich, Yarmouth, Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Yarmouth, Bacon of Garboldisham, Hobart, Cornwaleis impaling Bukton, Teye, Thurston, Castleton, and many others. Peck's arms are arg. on a chevron ingrailed gul. three croslets pattee of the field; his wife's are arg. a fess between two crescents in chief, a lion rampant in base gul. which coat I think is born by the name of Jetheston. Here was lately a very large round bed, big enough to hold fifteen or twenty couple, in imitation (I suppose) of the remarkable great bed at Ware. The house was in all things accommodated, at first, for large business; but the road not supporting it, it is in much decay at present, though there is a good bowling-green and a pretty large garden, with land sufficient for passengers horses. The business of these two inns is much supported by the annual cock-matches that are here fought.

Concerning the capital manor, I find that Ralph de Felgeres had it a long time, and at his death left it to his posterity; for in 1206,

Richard de Fengeres had it, from whom it came to

Sir Aymer de Berrill, of whom it was held anno 1270, by

Henry de Scelton, by the rent of 2s. 2d. per annum; this was a separate manor then, and the demeans 15 acres.

There was also another part in Osmundeston, which this Henry de Shelton united this year to the manor aforesaid, which part was held by Hugh de Corbun, of Roger Bigot; and afterwards by this Henry in 1270, when the Escheat tells us, that he held here, of the Earl of Arundell's fee, 100 acres of land, and 6 acres and an half of wood, a mill, and several rents of assize, by the service of half a knight's fee; at his death

Robert de Shelton, his son, inherited, who held this manor, with those of Shelton, and Bedingham, in 1286, when he had liberty of free-warren in all his manors allowed in Eire.

Robert de Tateshale held in capite 3 fees in Shelton, Bedingham, and Osmundeston, all which were held of him by this Robert de Shelton, and Isabel his wife, who in 1305 settled the advowson and manor on themselves for life, and their sons, Thomas and Henry, remainder to the right heirs of Robert, which Robert died seized, and then held this manor by the fourth part of a fee of Robert de Tatteshalle; from which time I find the following persons of this name to be lords and patrons:

  • 1313, Thomas and Henry de Scheltone, brothers and sons of Robert.
  • 1361, Ralph de Schelton, Knt.
  • 1371, Ralph de Schelton, jun. Knt.
  • 1420, William Shelton, Esq.
  • 1483, Ralph Shelton, Esq.
  • 1488, 21 Dec. John Shelton, Knt. died seized, leaving his manors of Scoles, Snoryng-Magna, &c. to

John Shelton, his son.

From this family it came to the Aldhams, in the year 1553,

John Aldham of Shimpling was lord and patron, who left it to

William Aldham; who in 1561 levied a fine, and conveyed it to

Sir Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt. in whose time the style of the court ran thus: Osmundeston, nuper Aldham's quondam Shelton's. In this noble family the manor hath ever since continued, the present Lord Cornwaleis being now [1736] both lord and patron.

Bezile's, or Boyland's Manor[edit]

Was that part of Osmundeston that was in the Crown in King John's time, and was then worth 8l. 13s. 4d. per annum, it being an escheat of the Normans lands. This King gave it to

Ralph Earl of Chester, for life, at whose death it came to

King Henry III. who granted it to

Ingerard de Tane, for life; who dying soon after, the same King gave it to

Sir William de Syvag (or Sinagon) for life, and at his death to

Almaric de Berriles (or Beziles) and his heirs, in 1272, to be held of him by knight's service, in capite; the manor then was thus valued, viz. the rent of assize of the freeholders at 6l. 12s. 7d. per annum, and of the copyholders in soccage, 32s. 6d. 1q. In 1206, 8th of King John, Adam de Stawell herd it of that King, who had it in an escheat, it being held of Richard de Fengercs, lord of the capital manor.

Sir Aymer (or Ailmaric) died in 1279, and the escheator seized on his lands for want of an heir; he was born beyond sea, as the jury affirmed, who mention Emma his wife, and Peter de Berrils, his grandson, to be living, but where, they knew not. It appears at this time, that one third of it laid in Stirston in Suffolk, and near one third in Frenze, and the rest here. The King after the seizure did not hold it long; for, in 1284, Edward I. granted in fee to

Sir Richard de Boyland, and his heirs, all that Sir Aylmer de Berrill held of him here, and in Sturston, at half a knight's fee, from whom it took the name of Boyland's fee. He, jointly with Elen his wife, daughter of Phillip de Colvile, held this manor and one in Brisingham, one in North Walsham, and lands in Titshall, Wilby, and Ringsted, in the year 1295, when John was their son and heir, and 24 years old. This Richard was a great lawyer, and one of the justices of the King's-Bench, he left it to

Sir John Boyland his son, from whom (but whether by purchase or not, I cannot tell) it came to

John de Lowdham, who, in 1345, paid x.s. for his relief, for the manor late Sir John Boyland's called Boyland fee, from which time it continually went as Frenze manor, till John Lowdham sold one moiety of it to

John Wodehouse, the other moiety went with his daughter to the

Bleverhassets; and in 1561, John Bleverhasset granted it to

Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt. whose heirs purchased the other half, after many conveyances of it from Wodehouse to Gryme, and from Gryme to Rant and others; and in this family it hath continued ever since, it being now [1736] annexed to the capital manor.

The Church is dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, having a square tower, and but one bell, though not long since there were five. The church, chancel, and south isle are leaded, the south porch is tiled.

On a black marble lying in the chancel:

Fremoult. A chevron between three ferdumolins Bedingfield. Erm. an eagle displayed gul. impaled.

Hic jacet Elizabetha Joelis Fremoult, Generosi Uxor dilectissima, Edmundi Bedingfield, de Halesworth, Ar.

Filia natù maxima: Verum Pietatis, et Patientiæ, Exemplar.

Dum Illa in Cælis Gaudet, Amici omnes et Familiares, Imprimis vero Maritus et Filius Charissimi, Nec non Pauperes et Egeni, In Terris Lugent.

Obijt Quarto Julij, Anno Dni. MDCCXX. Ætat. LIII.

There is a stone by the pulpit, for "Anne Wife of George Sedny, who died May 24 1696."

In a south isle window were these arms, and Ufford's with a bend arg. all which are now lost except Lowdham.

This rectory is in the deanery of Redenhall, archdeaconry of Norfolk, and diocese of Norwich; valued in the King's Books at 9l. but is now discharged, being sworn of the clear yearly value of 46l. so that it is capable of augmentation, and is freed from first fruits, and tenths.


  • 1297. John de Petrestre, rector.
  • 1313, id. March, Alan de Hallegate, priest. Thomas and Henry de Sheltone.
  • 1314, 10 kal. Nov. Ralph de Sheltone, priest. Ditto.
  • 1343, 18 Decem. Sir Henry de Shelton, priest. Thomas de Shelton.
  • 1349, 14 May, Richard atte Lane of Walton, priest. Ditto.
  • 1352, 7 Jan. Robert Flemmyng, priest, on the resignation of Richard de Walton. Ditto.
  • 1354, 21 June, John de Tyryngtone, priest, on the resignation of Richard Fleming. Ditto.
  • 1361, 6 Jan. John Harcourt de Brentillegh, priest. Ralph de Sheltone, Knt.
  • 1371, 31 March, Andrew de Colneye, priest, on the resignation of John Harcourt. Ralph de Shelton, junior, Knt.
  • 1407, 3 Jan. Sir— Clerk of Castleacre, priest. Ditto.
  • 1416, 5 Decem. Robert Tulbey, on Richard Wilchin's resignation, who changed with him for Brome. William Shelton, Esq.
  • 1420, 14 February, Robert Smith of Palgrave, priest. Ditto.
  • 1442, 26 Jan. Henry Russell, priest, on the resignation of Robert Smith. Alice Aldirford, widow.
  • 1483, 30 Sept. Henry Russell; he had Thorp-Parva. Ralph Shelton, Esq.
  • 1520, 18 Sept. Richard Prior. John Shelton, Knt.
  • 1550, 19 June, Thomas Marbury. Ditto.
  • 1553, 6 Nov. William Whyck, on the resignation of Thomas Marbury. John Aldham, Gent. of Shimpling.
  • 1556, 8 Jan. Nic. Awdeley, priest, at Whyck's death. Ditto.
  • 1558, 13 Oct. Nicol. Calver, on Awdeley's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1560, 4 April, Richard Johnsone, priest, on the resignation of Calver. Ditto.
  • 1568, 1 Febr. John Trapett, on Johnsone's death. Henry Aldham, Gent.
  • 1597, 26 May, John Smith at Trapett's death. Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt. in full right. He was patron in 1510.
  • 1598, 4 Nov. John Smith, on his own resignation, united to Frense. William Cornwaleis, Knt.
  • 1617, 6 Dec. Thomas Hall, A. M. Nathaniel Bacon, Esq. and Jane Cornwaleis, patrons.
  • 1642, John Welles, A.M. Jane Bacon of Culford.
  • 1677, 16 Oct. Luke Milbourne, A.M. Car. Lord Cornwaleis.
  • 1702, 19 Dec. The Rev. Mr. Abraham Cooper, A.M. the present [1736] rector, at Milbourne's resignation. Robert Britiff, Esq. pro hac vice.

In 1603, here were 81 communicants, and now [1736] there are about 40 dwelling-houses, and 230 inhabitants. It paid 1l. 17s. tenths, and was allowed 7s. deductions out of it; it was rated in the parliament association at 500l. and now to the King's tax at 435l.

Here is an annual fair kept on the Tuesday after Easter day.


Is a small village on the east part of Scole, having only four houses in it; the name of Dorp in Saxon signifies a manor-house, and this is called in ancient evidences, Thorp Mannewen, probably from Ralph de Manerijs, (or Manors,) lord thereof, and Little Thorp, or Parva Thorp, to distinguish it from Thorp-Abbots, which lies near it. It paid to the tenths 1l. 4s. out of which 4s. was deducted; the parliament valuation was 148l. and the present valuation is 120l.

It is a rectory, but a sinecure; the church, which is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, being quite demolished, the ruins of the steeple, which was round, appear in this manner:

A is the west part. B the south.

In 1683, in the manuscript called, the Answers of the Parsons, it is thus entered, "Robert Dale, farmor of this benefice saith, that there are about five communicants, that it is a rectory presentative, valued in the King's Books at 4l. that Edward Doyly, Esq. is patron of it, (as it is said,) who receiveth the tithes, and so hath done of a long time, that the parishioners hear divine service at Billingford." It is in Redenhall deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry, and being sworn not to exceed the clear yearly value of 30l. per annum, is capable of augmentation, and neither pays first fruits nor tenths; the advowson now is, and always was, appendant to the manor.

In 1469, William White, Esq. of this parsh, who was lord and patron, ordered his body to be buried in the chancel of the church of the Blessed Virgin, at Thorp-Parva, so that the church was in use at that time, and I believe, long since.


  • 1300, id. April, Robert de Beccles, chaplain. Daniel de Beccles.
  • 1310, 15 cal. Oct. Simon de Ruburgh, priest to the church of Thorp-Parva Mannewen. Lucy, late wife of Daniel de Beccles.
  • 1326, id. Aug. Thomas de Shotisham, accolite. John de Neketon.
  • 1335, 3 id. Aug. Thomas de Shotisham, priest. Katerine, widow of the said John.
  • 1338, 10 April, William de Tounberningham, accolite; on Shotesham's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1339, 13 Oct. Rad. de Neketon, accolite. Ditto.
  • 1340, 18 Jan. Robert de Caldewell, priest; on Neketon's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1344, 27 March, Thomas Forrester, priest; on Caldewell's resignation. Caterine de Neketon.
  • 1349, 25 July, Conrandus de Metleye, priest. Edmund de Neketon.
  • 1352, 6 Aug. Thomas Hannock, priest; on Metleye's death. Ditto.
  • 1355, 11 Dec. Benedict Brennewater, priest; on Hannock's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1371, 15 Jan. Thomas Palmer, priest; at the resignation of John Freshwater, whose institution occurs not. Ditto.
  • 1380, 17 April, John Norman, priest. Roger de Wulferton, Thomas rector of Titeshale, and Richard Dautrys.
  • 1390, 8 March, John Benselyn of Hapton, priest. William Braytoft of Thorp-Parva, and Isabel his wife.
  • 1420, 22 Nov. Robert Cordebeef, priest. John Swan, Esq. for this turn.
  • 1459, 31 May, William Sad. The Bishop, by lapse.
  • 1478, 5 Aug. Andrew Awbyn. Lapse.
  • 1482, 22 Febr. Henry Russell held it united to Scole. Richard White, Gent.
  • 1492, 17 March, John West, at the death of Nicholas Cane. Henry Wyott, Esq.
  • 1506, 7 May, Sir Henry Penning, who had his first fruits remitted by the Bishop, out of respect and love to Henry Wyott, his patron.
  • 1510, 28 Jan. Robert Bachinden a monk; on Penning's death. Henry Wiatt, Knt.
  • 1516, - - - - - -
  • 1540, 1 May, Nicholas Temperley, scholar. Margaret White, widow.
  • 1602, 2 Nov. John Bond, A.B. King James, by lapse.
  • 1605, 9 Nov. John Bound (or Bond) aforesaid resigned; but he recalled it and was reinstated.
  • 1627, Mr. John Burges, rector.
  • 1632, Hugh Hatton. Edward Doyly, Esq.
  • 1637, Edward Hudson, A.M. The King by Lapse.
  • 1665, 30 Nov. Robert Bland, A.M. The King by lapse.
  • 1700, 26 Febr. John Fielder, A.B. Thomas Robinson, Gent.

He was succeeded by John Burgate, after whose death,

  • 1724, 18 Jan. The Rev. Mr. Thomas Buxton, A. M. was instituted, who held it united to Shimpling. John Holt, Esq.
  • 1738, 13 Nov. Samuel Birch, A. B. instituted on Buxton's death. Rowland Holt, Esq. united to Billingford.
  • 1739, 23 May, died Samuel Birch, rector, and this rectory was consolidated to Billingford.

This town belonged to Edric, who held it of Edric, the ancestor of Robert Malet, lord of the honour of Eye, of whom it was held by Hubert in the Conqueror's time, when the manor extended (as it now [1736] does) into Thelton; the whole being valued at x. s. in the Confessor's, and 20s. per annum in the Conqueror's time; the soke belonged then to the King, to whom it paid 3d. Geld, being a mile long, and three quarters of a mile broad.

It afterwards came to the Muntchensies, who held it of the honour of Eye, which was held of the King in capite. In 1206,

William de Weston was owner of it, and this year released it to

Alan Pictaviensis; (afterwards called Alan de Goldyngham;) and in 1256,

Daniel de Beccles held it of the said Alan, by the service of one knight's fee; he of William de Montecaniso, (or Montchensy,) he of the Earl of Cornwall, as of Eye honour, and he of the King. This Daniel left it to

Lucy, his wife, daughter of Ralph de Manerijs, (or Manors,) who was lord here in trust, during his life; and then Lucy aforesaid kept the courts in her own name. In 1299, she had the leet, and assize of bread and beer. In 1308, she settled it by fine on herself for life, and after on

John de Neketon, who owned it in 1315, and, in 1324, settled it on himself and

Katherine, his wife, in tail, who was lady in 1345, and paid 40s. for her relief; at her death it went to

Edmund de Neketon, who, in 1377, settled it, with the advowson, by fine, on Roger Wolferston, Thomas rector of Titshall, and Richard Dautrys, in trust; he was succeeded by

Isabell, late wife of John de Necton, son of the said Edmund, about 1401; she afterwards married William Braytoft of ThorpParva, after whose decease it came to the Whites; for in 1469,

William White of Thorp-Parva, Esq. by will dated March 30, gave the manor and advowson to Mary his wife, to maintain his children, till Richard, his third son, should be 22 years old, and then he was to have it in tail, remainder to Robert, his second son, then to John his fourth son, and then to Bartholomew, his eldest son, remainder to his daughters equally;

According to which, Richard, the third son, succeeded, and held it till 1492, 8th Henry VII.; but being then attainted of high treason, his estates were seized by the King, who granted them to Henry Wiot, and his heirs male; but the attainder being taken off, it reverted to the family; for John, the fourth son, who was doctor of divinity, instituted to Filby rectory in 1505, which he resigned in 1512, inherited on the entail, and in 1515 settled the whole on Henry Wyatt, John Cutte, Richard Chamely, Knts. Richard and John Wiat, clerks, William Sparke, and William Damport, and their heirs, in trust, but to what uses does not appear. However, notwithstanding this, he is found to have died seized, leaving

Edmund, his son, (as I suppose,) his heir, who died in 1551, and left

Anne, his sister, his heir, who was then the wife of Henry Doyly of Shottesham, who held it of the King as of his honour of Eye. In 1572, this

Henry was lord, who in 1584 levied a fine of it to Thomas Townsend, Esq. and others, in trust. In 1596, it was held by Doylie, and and in 1632,

Henry Doyly was lord and patron. In 1715,

Thomas Robinson, Gent. was lord and patron, and sometime after, it was purchased by John Sayer of Eye, Esq. who sold it to

John Holt, Esq. at whose death it descended to

Rowland Holt of Redgrave, Esq. who is now [ 1736] lord and patron.

The leet belongs to the manor, so that the lord of the hundred hath no jurisdiction in this town.


Was always one manor, which in King Edward's time was held by Edric, of Edric, for one carucate; and in the Conqueror's time by Hubert, of Robert Malet, lord of Eye; it was then worth 15s. per annum, being five furlongs long, and four broad, and paid 3d. Danegeld.

It was always held of Eye honour at one quarter of a knight's fee, and paid x.s. relief. I do not meet with any lords' names before 1280, when John de Ludham was lord and patron, whose family took their sirname from a village so called in Suffolk, in Wilford hundred, which they held many ages. In 1297, it was settled on

William de Ludham, and Alice his wife, and John their son, and his heirs. In 1329,

Joan, wife of Sir John Ludham, and John Lowdham, Knt. son of Thomas, was 21 years old, and held this manor; and in 1336, purchased several large parcels of land of Ralph de Shimpling, and Katerine his wife, being the first of this family that had Boyland's manor; both which, together with this advowson, in 1343, they settled by fine on themselves, and the heirs of John; Edmund de Ufford le Frere, and Peter de Teye, being feoffees. In 1351,

Sir John, son and heir of Sir John de Lowdham, and Joan his wife, held this and Boyland manor in Osmundeston, Frenze and Stirston; he died in 1355, and Joan his wife had it to her death in 1371, and held it of Edmund, son of Sir Thomas de Ufford, lord of Eye.

John, son of Thomas de Lowdham, Knt. inherited, and died in 1373; and

Sir Thomas de Lowdham, Knt. brother and heir of John, son of Thomas, son of John, and Joan his wife, held it, jointly with Maud his wife; he died in 1385, and

Sir Robert Corbet, senior, Knt. held it, as guardian to John Lowdham, who dying, left it to his wife;

And in 1401, the lady which was the wife of Sir Robert Corbet, senior, Knt. held Boyland's in dower, and Sir Robert Corbet, junior, her son, held Frenze, during the minority of John Lowdham, son of Thomas de Lowdham and Maud his wife, who, when his father died, was but seven years old. This John died 28th April, 1428; Alice his wife surviving him: he left only one daughter,

Joan, then 14 years old, married to Thomas Hevenyngham, Esq. and after that to Ralph Blaverhasset, Esq. both which she outlived, not dying till June 20, 1501, being 97 years of age: she was seized of Boyland's, the other moiety of which was granted by John Lowdham to John Woodhouse.

John Blaverhasset was her son and heir, being 77 years old at his mother's death. This is a very ancient family, taking their name from Bleverseta, or Bleverhayset, in Cumberland, where the eldest branch continued a long time. In 1382, Alan Bleverhasset was mayor of the city of Carlisle, as was John, in 1430. In 1412, Ralph Bleverhayset was parliament-man for that city, and so was Thomas, in 1584. In 1510, this John died, in the 87th year of his age, seized of Frenze, and a moiety of Boyland's; he had two wives; Jane daughter of Thomas Heigham of Heigham Green in Suffolk, Esq. by whom he had SirThomas, his son and heir, now 49 years of age; and Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Tindall of Hockwold in Norfolk, Knt. He came from South-hill in Bedfordshire, to Frenze, which estate he gave to John, his son by his second wife, who dying without issue, it was divided among his four sisters,Margaret, married to Robert Warner of Besthorp, after to William Drury of the same; Jane, to Sir Phillip Calthorp; Anne, to Sir Henry Grey of Wrest in Bedfordshire, Knt.; Ellen to Miles Hobert of Plumstede in Norfolk, Esq. second son of Sir James Hobart, Knt.

Sir Thomas died seized of Frenze and Boyland's, June 27, 1531, leaving

George, his eldest son by his first wife, his heir: he died in 1543, and by his will gave Frenze to Margaret his wife for life, and Boyland's moiety to Mary, his daughter and heiress, then married to Thomas Culpepper, Esq. she being to have Frenze also at Margaret's death. This Mary, by fine, settled Frenze on

Francis Bacon, Esq. her second husband, and Edmund his son, for their lives, both which had it, Edmund Bacon of Harleston being seized of it in 1572: after whose death it reverted to

John Bleverhasset, who had enjoyed Boyland's ever since the death of the said Mary. This John was brother to George, her father: he sold the moiety of Boyland's to Sir Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt. and his heirs, but Frenze continued in this family; for in 1587,

George Bleverhasset held it; and in 1595,

Samuel Bleverhasset. How or when it went from this family I do not find; but in 1666, 24th Nov.

Richard Nixon, Esq. died seized, and.

Richard was his son and heir, whose son, Diamond Nixon, sold it to

Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. whose son, Sir Robert, is now lord and patron. [1730.]

The Church is a small building, of equal height, covered with tile; and having no steeple, the bell hangs on the outside of the roof, at the west end: there is no partition between the church and chancel, but there is a beam fixed across the east chancel window, on which the rood was conveniently placed. The church is about 24 yards long, and 7 yards wide; the south porch is tiled. It is dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, as appears from the will of Ralph Bleverhasset, who desired to be buried in the chancel of St. Andrew at Frenze. The meanness of the fabrick hath preserved the inscriptions from being reaved, for it looks like a barn, at a distance. In the chancel, according to his will, is buried Ralph Bleverhasset, Esq. whose effigies, standing upon a lion, still remains on a stone, and this inscription:

Hic iacct venerabilis Uir Radulphus Bleverhansett Armiger qui obiit riiio die Mensis Novembris Ao dni. Mo CCCC lrrbo. cuisu Anime propicietur Deus Amen.

There are four shields still remaining.

1. Bleverhasset with an annulet quartering Orton;

2. Ditto impaling Lowdham;

3. As the second;

4. Lowdham single.

The inscription for his wife is now lost, but was, as we learn from Mr. Anstis's MSS. (marked G. 6, fol. 39.) as follows:

Here lyeth Mrs. Joane Bleverhasset, the Wife of Ralph Bleverhasset, Esq. the Daughter and Heir of John Lowdham, who died the 20th Dan of June 1501.

The same MSS. hath the following inscription, now gone:

"Here lyeth the venerable Gentleman John Blaverhasset, Esq; who died the 27th of March, in the Year of our Lord, 1514."

On a stone by the south door is the effigies of a woman bidding her beads, with three shields under the inscription.

1. Hasset with an annulet, quartering Lowdham;

2. Ditto impaling Tindall, quartering Fecklin;

3. Tindall quartering Orton and Scales.

Pran for the Soule of Jane Bleverhayssett, Wedow, late Wyf onto John Blaverhayssett, Esquier, Whiche Jane departed oute of this present Lyf, the bi Day of October, the Yere of our Lord God, M y rri on whose Soule Jhu have merry, Amen.

On a stone at the east end,

Here lyeth Sir Thomas Bleuerhayssette, Knyght, which decessyd the ryii Dan of June, the Yere of our Lorde M yo rrri. and rrriii Yere of the Reigne of our Sobe raygne Lord Kyng Henry the viiith, whois Soule God Pardon.

At each corner is a coat:

1. Hasset with an annulet, quartering Orton, impaling Lowdham and Keldon, quartered.

2. Hasset and Lowdham quartered, impaling Heigham, his first wife.

3. Hasset, Lowdon, Orton, and Keldon, quartered, impaling Braham, with a crescent.

4. Hasset, and the three quartered as in the last, impaling two lions passant.

His effigies still remains, in complete armour, having a surcoat of his arms, viz. Bleverhasset with the annulet, (which this branch always bare for difference,) with his quarterings, Lowdham, Orton, and Kelvedon; (or Keldon;) under his head lies his crest, viz. a fox passant.

On a marble three yards long, and a yard and half wide, is this on a brass plate:

Here lyeth Dame Margaret Bleverhayset, Wedowe. late Wyf to Syr Thomas Bleverhayset off Frens, Knyght, Domghter to John Braham of Metheryngset, Esquyer, who had Yssue by the said Sur Thomas, two Sonnes, Thomas a Pryst, and John Bleverhayset of Bargham, by Beclys in Suff, and fyve Dowghters, that ys Elizabeth Fyrst married to Lyonell Lowth, after to Francis Clopton, Agnes married to Syr Antony Rows, Knyght, Anne married fyrst to George Duke, after to Peter Rede, Margaret fyrst married to John Gosnold, after to Antony Myngfyld, who dyed the rriii of Julye in the Yere of our Lorde, 1561.

The first coat is lost, but was Braham impaling Reydon.

2. Hasset, Lowdham, Keldon, Orton, Skelton, and Hasset, impaling Braham; the third is lost.

Adjoining is another stone, having had two coats, which are reaved, as is the effigies of the man; that of the woman remains; her head lies on a pillow, and her beads hang before her; the two remaining shields have these arms:

1. Duke quartering Banyard, with the difference of two annulets interlaced on the fess.

Park and Ilketshall impaling Hasset, quartering Lowdham, Keldon, Orton, and Skelton.

2. Hasset, and his quarterings, as before.

Mr. Le Neve says, that the two coats lost were,

1. Duke and his quarterings, as before.

2. Duke, &c. impaling Jenney, quartering Buckle and Leiston. Buckle, or, a chevron between three buckles.

Heare uner lieth George Duke, Esquyre. who marryed Anne, the Dowghter of Syr Thomas Bleverhaysset, Knyght, the whiche George died the rrbi day of July, in the Yere of our Lorde God, a. M. CCCCC. li. whos Sowle God Pardon, Amen.

Another stone hath its inscription torn off, and one shield; the other is

Cornwaleis impaling Froxmere.

The next hath a man in armour, his sword hanging before him on a belt, his hands erected.

Hasset quarters Lowdham and Orton; Orton or Lowthe impales Heigham.

Hic iacet venerabilis bir Johannis Bleber hayset, Armiger, qui viresimo viiio die Mens: Novemb: Ao Dni. Mo bo r. cuius anime propicietur Deus.

On another stone: crest, a fox sedant on a wreath, under it, in a lozenge:

1. Hasset, Lowdham, Orton, Keldon, Skelton, Duke, frette - - - Lowthe.

2. Culpepper quartering - - - - a chevron between eleven martlets, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, impaling Hasset, and quarterings as before.

3. Bacon impaling Hasset and quarterings.

4. Hasset and quarterings.

5. Duke, with an annulet, quartering three pelicans vulning themselves, and - - - frette - - -

6. Orton.

Mariæ filiæ et hæredi unicæ Georgij Bleverhasset, Militis inaurati Enuptæ primo Thomæ Culpeper, Armigero, qui hic, postea Francisco Bacon, Armigero, Qui Petistiræ in Comitat: Suff. tumulatur, sine prole, Defuncte vii Septembr. 1587, Ætatis suæ, 70. Viduæ, Piæ, Castæ, Hospitali, Benignæ! Joannes Cornwaleis, et Joannes Bleverhasset, Memoriæ et amoris ergo posuerunt.

On a brass fixed to the north chancel wall:

Here under lyethe Thomazin Platers, Daughter of George Duke, Esquyer, and Wife to William Platers, Sonne t Heier of Thomas Platers of Soterley, Esquier, whiche Thomazin dyed the 23d day of December, in the second Yere of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lady Quene Elizabethe, Ao 1560.

Platers, arg. three bends wavy az.

Platers impaling Duke and his quarterings.

More towards the east, on the said wall, remains the impression of a brass effigies, and inscription now lost, but in a MSS. (marked E. 26, fol. 23.) in Mr. Anstis's hands we have the following account:

Platers's arms and Duke's:

Orate pro animabus Willi Platers et Thomazin uroris suæ filiæ Duke

As also of this, now lost:

Orate pro Domina Johanna Braham, vidua ur: Johns: Braham de Lowdham, Armigeri.

Braham impales Duke.

On a stone having the effigies of a woman in her winding sheet, bidding her beads:

Hic iaret tumulata domina Johanna Braham, vidua ar Deo dirata olim uror Johannis Braham Armigeri que obiit rbiiio die Nobembris Ao Dni. Millimo CCCCC rir. cuius anime propicietur Deus, Amen.

Braham single, and again impaling Reydon. Reydon single.

On a brass plated stone near the north door, a man in his winding sheet, and this:

Pray for the Sowle of your Charite, Of Thomas Hobson to the Trynyte.

On three flat marbles:

Nixon, on a chief, an axe impaling three roundels.

Here lieth the Body of Richard the Son of Richard Nixon, Esq; and Susan his Wife, who departed this Life the 28th Day of August, 1678.

In the 22d Year of his Age.

Nixon, impaling a chevron between three lions rampant:

Reliquiæ Richardi Nixon, Armig: Qui obijt 24° Novemb: Ano Dom. 1666, Ætatis suæ 77.

Per fess embattled three pheons impaling Nixon:

Here lyeth the Body of William Cooper, Gent. who died the 30th Day of March, 1693, Aged 54 Years.

In a north window was a man bearing Ufford's arms, and by him stood pictured a lady in the arms of Shelton, covered with a mantle of Lowdham.

In the next window, or, a fess gul. Hasset, Scales; many funeral escutcheons for Hasset; one for Catherine, wife to Thomas Froxmere, Gent.

In the windows, Hasset and Lowdham quartered. Lowdham,— Ufford,—Dalimer, arg. three inescutcheons gul.; Shelton, Mortimer of Wigmore, Ufford with a label, again with a de-lis, again with a batoon gobonne arg. and gul.; again with an annulet arg.

In the west window Lowdham.

Lowdham impales Bacon, gul. on a chief arg. two mullets of the field, pierced sab.

Or, a fess gul. impales Scales.

Lowdham impales az. on a chief gul. three leopards faces or.

Mascule or and sab.

Most of these arms still remain in the windows.

I find among the evidences of Brightlead's tenement in Scole, that Thomas Ropkyn was buried here, with this inscription, now lost:

Pray for the Sowle of Thomas Ropkyn.

I have now by me three brass shields, which I am apt to think were stolen from this church some time agone; the arms being

Shelton impaling a cross ingrailed erm.

Shelton impaling a fess between fifteen billets, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Paston impaling Shelton.

At Mrs. Hill's at Castor, near Yarmouth, I saw an ancient canvass surrounding two rooms, painted with the matches of the Bleverhassets; (John Bleverhasset, who married Mrs. Hill's sister, and died in 1704, was the last of this branch;) their names are under each coat; but with hanging against moist walls, several are worn out: those that are perfect I have added here, though they are so displaced, that the time of the matches cannot be determined by their succession.

Bleverhasset, gul. a chevron. erm. between three dolphins embowed arg.

Crest on a wreath, arg. and gul. a fox seiant, gul.

Impaled with all the following coats:

Frogmorton, gul. on a chevron, or, three bars sab.

Braham, as in p. 134.

Tindall, arg. a fess indented in chief three crescents gul.

Eyre, arg. on a fess, - - - three trefoils or.

Pickerell, as in p. 48.

Clopton, sab. a bend arg. cotized, indented or.

Lowthe, sab. a lion rampant or, armed gul.

Cressi, arg. three beacons sab.

Culpepper, arg. a bend ingrailed gul.

Covert, gul. a fess between three lions heads or.

Baynaugh, gul. a chevron between three bulls faces or.

Brampton, gul. a saltire between four croslets fitchee arg.

Meawes, pally of six, or and arg. on a chief gul. three croslets formy of the first.

Lowdham, as in p. 134.

Kelvedon, (or Keldon,) gul. a pall reversed erm.

Orton, arg. a lion rampant guardant vert, crowned or.

Skelton, az. on a fess between three de-lises, or, a crescent sab.

Cornwaleis, Hare, Heydon, Wyngfield, Reape, Kempe, Gosnold, Spilman, Colby, Alcock, Rowse, Drury, Hubbard, Heigham, Warner, quartering Whetnall, Calthorp, Lovell and Ruthyn.


  • 1294, John de Petestre, rector.
  • 1325, prid. non. Jan John de Novadomo (Newhouse) de Snapes; presented by Cecily, widow of Sir Robert de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, and lord of Eye, Robert de Shelton, and William Tastard, guardians of John de Lowdham.
  • 1349, 21 Sept. Walter Manneysyn (after wrote in Deeds Malvesyn.) Sir John Lowdham, Knt.
  • 1381, 7 May, William Payok, priest. Thomas de Lowdham, Knt.
  • 1382, 6 June, John Baxter, priest. Ditto.
  • 1393, 4 June, Peter Rous, priest. Sir Robert Corbett, senior, guardian to John de Lowdham.
  • 1394, 20 May, Henry Brakkele, priest, Sir Robert Corbett, senior, guardian to John de Lowdham.
  • 1397, 6 Decem. Sir John de Scoles, priest. Ditto.
  • 1401, ult. Jan. Michael Crowe of Kenninghall, priest. Ditto.
  • 1404, 4 Oct. Sir Tho. Warner of Leyham, priest. Gilbert de Debenham, for this turn.
  • 1408, 8 Nov. Robert Pope of Frandeston, priest. John Lowdham of Burgate.
  • 1416, 18 Oct. Tho. Bukke of Melles, priest. John Lowdham of Ipswich, patron, by right of inheritance in a lineal descent.
  • 1416, 20 Jan. John Greeve. Ditto.
  • 1417, 22 Oct. Roger de Knyveton, priest. John Hevenyngham, senior, Knt. Will. Shelton, Esq. Will. Lord, clerk, and John Intewode, for this turn.
  • 1419, 22 Dec. John Rawe, priest, on Knyveton's resignation. John Lowdham.
  • 1423, 31 May, Simon Warner, priest. John Lowdham, Esq. son and heir of Thomas Lowdham, Knt.
  • 1428, 10 April, John Bubwith, priest, on Warner's resignation. John Hagh, Esq.
  • 1479, 18 July, Henry - - - - - - -
  • 1484, 22 Sept. Robert Stukely, collated by the Bishop. I meet with no more institutions till
  • 1597, 21 April, Edmund Stanhaw. The Crown (as guardian to Bleverhasset.)
  • 1598, 20 Oct. John Smith, A. M. on Stanhaw's resignation. Samuel Bleverhasset, Esq. united to Scole.
  • 1603, John Smith, rector, of whom the Answers of the Parsons inform us, that he was a preacher allowed by the late Lord Bishop of Norwich, but no graduate.
  • 1618, 21 April, Tho. Hall, A. M. united to Scole. Samuel Blaverhasset of Lowdham, Esq.
  • 1642, 10 Sept. John Gibbs, A. M. on Hall's death. Richard Nixon, Gent.
  • 1651, 18 Febr. Toby Dobbin. Ditto.
  • 1673, 22 Sept. Tho. Wales, A. B. on Dobbin's death. John Fincham of Outwell, in the Isle of Ely, Esq.; he had Thelton.
  • 1702, 7 Oct. Tho. Palgrave, on Wales's death. Diamond Nixon, Esq.
  • 1725, 24 Aug. Will. Baker, on Palgrave's death. Robert Kemp, Bart. united to Wacton-Parva.
  • 1734, the Rev. Mr. John James, the present [1736] rector, on Baker's resignation. Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. patron.
  • Lincoln Taxa.

6 marks.

This rectory is in Redenhall deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry; and being sworn of the value of 30 l. per annum only, is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; here is a rectory-house, and about 3 or 4 acres of glebe. It is a small village, having only 6 houses, and about 60 inhabitants. [1736.] In Norwich Domesday it is said, that the rector then had a house and 20 acres land, not taxed. The old tenth was 1l. 5s. the association valuation, 204l. per annum, and the present valuation is 149l.

The Custom of the Manor is to the eldest son, and the fine is at the lord's will; the leet belongs to the hundred, the leet-fee being 5d. per annum.


Thelveton, or, as in the Conqueror's time, Telvetun, had two manors, besides a part that belonged to the honour of Eye.

The manor that belonged to Ely was granted from that church, among others, to Henry de Rhia, who, in the Black Book of the Exchequer, is returned to hold three knights fees of the church of Ely, and was afterwards, by the Marshals, who succeeded in that honour, given to the Scaleses, who, in 1282, held both the manors; for in the inquisition then taken at the death of John le Marschall, Jaffery de Scalarijs (Scalers or Scales) is presented to hold the manor of Thelveton at one fee, together with the other manor there, of the Bishop of Ely's fee, by one fee more, which manor also belonged to the tenure of the said John le Marschall, as belonging to his barony of Rhye, both which the said Jaffery died seized of the year following, as held of Aliva le Marschall, as of her manor of Hockering, Thomas son of Jaffery de Scalarijs, junior, his grandson, being his heir, who had livery hereof this year, together with Whaddon manor in Cambridgeshire.

This Thomas was born at Bologne, when the Queen, mother to the King, was there, in time of war, as the record shews us. He had free-warren in these manors allowed him in Eyre, the first of which was in this family soon after the Conquest. Hardevinus de Scalers, the first of note of the family, was one of the valiant Normans that assisted the Conqueror in his great expedition, who gave him many manors, and made him a baron by tenure. The advowson of the rectory was given to the convent of St. Mary Overy in Southwark, very early, by some one of this family; all the rectors, that are to be met with in the Institution Books, being presented by the priors there, till the Dissolution, and from that time by the Crown, where the patronage now remains. The priors had a portion of 5s. paid out of the rectory, which was taxed at 6d. In 1304,

Thomas de Scalarijs held it of William le Marschall, and had the King's license to alien 40s. per annum rent out of it. In 1342,

Thomas, his son, succeeded to Waddon and Thelton, which he held of Sir Robert de Morley at one fee, and he of the Bishop of Ely, and he of the King.

John, son of Thomas, and grandson of this Thomas, was heir. He married Amy, one of the daughters of Sir John de Whelnetham Magna, Knt. which John left three daughters, Margery, married to John de Sutton of Wivenho, Knt. and Mary to Michael de Bures, between which three his inheritance, sc. the manor and advowson of Great Welnetham, and the manor of Alpheton, &c. was divided in 1371. In 1387,

John de Chalers, lord here, had Thomas a son, then aged 13, whose son

John held it in 1401, of Robert de Morley, he of the See of Ely, and that of the King, being then the King's ward, in custody of John de Hevenyngham, Knt. which Sir John held a quarter of a fee of Julian, sister of John de Thelveton, as of the manor of Thelveton, and was a part of it, which was held of the Abbot of St. Edmund, and laid in Gissing, and was alienated by Thomas de Scalarijs as above, to one of the family sirnamed de Thelveton. This John de Scalers (or Scales) died in 1466, leaving Thelton, and Whaddon to

Maud his wife, who died in 1470, and left three daughters coheiresses; Alice, married to John Moore; Anne, to John Harcourt; and Margaret, unmarried; but to which this was alloted I find not, neither can I tell who owned it till 1538, 10th March, and then it belonged to

Beatrix Harman, sole daughter and heiress to Henry Moine, Esq. who was lord of Thelveton, by whom it was settled on John Watts, clerk, to the use of the said Beatrix; and this year the said John Watts infeoffed Beatrix in it for her life, remainder to George Bougham, Esq. next kinsman and heir to the said Beatrix, and immediately after she released her estate for life to the said George and his heirs; this George the same year settled it on

William Rogers, and Catherine his wife, and their heirs; in 1540 George Bougham, William Rogers, and Catherine his wife, infeoffed it in Thomas Codde, and William Loues, (or Love,) and their heirs; and in the same year George Bougham released to all those feoffees, all his right in it; and then Love and Codde infeoffed Wil liam Rogers and Catherine his wife in it, to hold to them and their heirs: Catherine surviving her husband in 1554, 24th April, sold the manor to

John Stubbe, Gent. who gave it to Elizabeth his wife, for life, and then to John Stubbe his eldest son, who gave it to Anne his wife, to be sold, of whom

Thomas Havers of Winfarthing, Gent. in 1592, purchased it, and died 1605, and left it to Elizabeth his wife, for life, then to his eldest son, from which time it hath passed in a lineal descent in this family.

The Haverses had their rise under the Norfolk family, which they have served for many generations; John Havers was Gentleman of the Horse to John Duke of Norfolk, and attended him in the battle at Bosworth Field, where that duke was slain; John Havers of Winfarthing, in Norfolk, was Steward to the family, as was Thomas Havers, his son, who purchased the manor, and built the present mansion-house, which is a good brick building and very uniform; John, his second son, was Bailiff to the Earl of Arundell in 1610; Edward, his third son, was Steward of his courts; and Thomas, his fourth son, was farmer of the parks; William Havers continued the same office at his father's death, and Thomas Havers, the present lord, [1736,] now hath it.

Their arms are of ancient date, but were confirmed with the addition of a crest, by Robert Cooke, Clarencieux, in these words:

"Goulde, on a fess sables, three chess rooks of the field.

"Crest, on a wreath gold and sables, a griffin seiant erm. with a crown for a collar, chained and mantled gul. doubled arg."

As appears from the said confirmation, under seal of the office, now remaining in the family.

The Customs of the Manor are these: the copyhold descends to the youngest son; the fine is at the lord's will; the tenants cannot waste their copyhold-houses, nor fell timber without license; it gives no dower.

This rectory is in the archdeaconry of Norfolk, and deanery of Redenhall; and being discharged of first fruits and tenths, is capable of augmentation. It hath a rectory-house, which, with 3 acres of land belonging to it, was given to the church in 1375, when the rector obtained a license in mortmain, to confirm it.

At the time of the Lincoln taxation, the rector had 22 acres of glebe, the rectory was valued at 17 marks, besides the Prior of Southwark's portion of v.s. out of it, and paid xiiij.d. Peter-pence, and in the Norwich taxation, the portions of the canons of Southwark were taxed at vij. marks.

The Church is a small building, consisting of a nave, chancel, and south porch, all tiled, and a square steeple, and two bells only, one being formerly sold to repair the church, which is dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, as appears from the will of John Peron of this town, who, in 1466, ordered to be buried in St. Andrew's churchyard here, and gave 6s. to mend the steeple, and 12d. to the high altar.

On the font are four shields; on the first, the emblem of the trinity; on the second, three cups, on each a wafer, as an emblem of the sacrament; on the third, a plain cross; on the fourth, a cross floree, the arms (I suppose) of the donor.

On two flat stones by the altar, the first hath Havers's arms:

Hic jacet Corpus THOMÆ HAVERS, qui obijt Febr. 1mo A° Dom. 1697. Ætat. suæ 66. Requiescat in Pace.

Here lyeth Anne eldest Dawghter of Thomas Bramton of Norton Esq; first married to Edward Kene & had Issue, Edward, Henry, Roger, Edmund, Bridget, after with Thomas Nash & had Issue Anne, dyed the 16 of December 1625.

On a small mural monument on the south side of the chancel:

Here lyeth the Body of Mary Englefyld, Wife to Thomas Havers, Esq; obijt 21 Octob. Anno Dom. 1682, Requiescat in Pace, Elizabeth Englefyld her Sister, dedit.


  • 1308, 6 non. Marc. Will. de Langeford, accolite. Prior of Overy.
  • 1311, kal. May, Francis de Causton, accolite. Ditto.
  • 1322, 8 id. July, Roger de Soterle, priest. Ditto.
  • 1327, 12 kal. Apr. John, son of Walter Jowet of Wynneferthyng. Ditto.
  • 1332, non. kal. Rich. de Ely, priest, on Jowet's resignation, Ditto.
  • 1351, 20 March, John, son of Tho. Durand, priest, on Ely's resignation. Prior of Overy.
  • 1409, 4 July, Walter Arnald of Palegrave, priest, on Durand's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1425, 28 March, John Halston of Salisbury diocese, priest. Ditto.
  • 1442, 6 December, Tho. Drawesword, priest; by lapse. Ditto.
  • 1466, John Hauteyn, at Drawesword's death. Ditto.
  • 1483, 13 October, John Penman, (or Parman,) priest; collated by the Bishop, because the person presented by the Prior was found unfit to be admitted to it.
  • 1528, John Watts, on Penman's death. Prior of Overy.
  • 1583, 11 Novem. Daniel Bowen (or Bowles.) The Crown.
  • 1591, 2 April, Roger Bugge, alias Brigge. Ditto.
  • 1612, William Bagley, A. B. Ditto.
  • 1631, Edward Cartwright, A. M. united to Billingford. Ditto.
  • 1679, 5 March, Tho. Wales, A. B. on Cartwright's death, united to Frenze. Ditto.
  • 1702, 21 Sept. Henry Swetnam, on Wales's death. Ditto.
  • 1711, 18 Oct. Edward Bosworth, on Swetnam's cession. Ditto.
  • John Randall, the father. Ditto.
  • 1728, John Randall, the son. Ditto.
  • 1729, the Rev. Mr. Thomas Turner, A. M. the present rector. [1736.]

This village in the Conqueror's time was two miles long, and one mile broad, and paid vii.d. Danegeld; in 1603 there were 74 communicants; now there are 20 houses, and about 100 inhabitants. [1736.] It paid to the tenths 2l. was valued at the association tax, at 612l. the present valuation being 475l.

The Leet belongs to the hundred, the leet fee being 1s.

The Commons are, Atte Green, which joins to Diccleburg, and contains about 15 acres; Hill Green, about 80 acres; Bottom Common, about 10 acres; West Common, about 50 acres; and Little Green; and they intercommon on Scole Green.


Is bounded on the east by Dickleburgh, on the west by Burston, on the south by Thelton, and on the north by Gissing. It is a rectory appendant to the manor, and being discharged of first fruits and tenths, is capable of augmentation. The rectory hath a house and 16 acres of glebe: Norwich Domesday says, that Richard de Boyland was then patron, that the rector had a house and xv. acres of land; that the procurations were then vi.s. viii.d. and the synodals xxii.d.

The following persons appear to have been


  • 1305, 6 kal. Dec. Robert de Boswyle, accolite, William de Schympling.
  • 1328, 7 kal. Mar. Will. de Schymplyng, accolite. Roger, son of Will. de Shympling.
  • 1338, 12 July, John de Cherchegate, priest to St. George's church at Shympling. Ditto.
  • 1349, Robert Sampson, priest. Emma, late wife of Roger de Schymplyng.
  • 1361, 13 Sept. Ric. de Halle, priest. Ditto.
  • 1362, 21 Sept. Peter Scott. Ditto.
  • 1386, 19 April, Tho. de Welles. Thomas de Glemesford.
  • 1393, 28 March, Welles changed this with John Mulle for Mildeston rectory, in Sarum diocese. Roger de Ellingham and Joan Hardegrey.
  • 1396, 29 March, Mulle exchanged with Will. Stone for Ludenham in Kent. Ditto.
  • 1401, 29 Aug. John Drury, priest, who resigned Watton vicarage in exchange for this. Roger de Elyngham.
  • 1408, 7 Aug. John Cok of Illington, priest.
  • 1421, 8 Octob. Reginald Pepper of Berton Bendysch, priest, on the resignation of Cok. Ditto.
  • 1421, 6 March, Tho. Young, on Pepper's resignation. William, son of Roger de Elyngham of Elyngham, near Bungey.
  • 1422, 22 March, Rich. Senyngwell, on Young's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1430, 20 Sept. Walter Skyde of Disse. Lapse.
  • 1432, 23 Octob. Thomas Wright. Lapse.
  • 1434, 14 Dec. John Grygby. William Elyngham of Elyngham by Bungey.
  • 1437, 12 Octob. Richard de Schymplyng, on Grygby's resignation. William Elyngham of Elyngham by Bungey.
  • 1449, 31 Jan. Robert Caade, resigned to John Beest, in exchange for Winterburn Basset rectory, in Wiltshire. Ditto.
  • 1451, 21 April, Thomas Messinger, on Beest's death. Ditto.
  • 1504, John Odiham.
  • 1507, 4 Aug. James Galle. Lapse.
  • 1525, 19 Octob. Thomas Warde. Thomas Shardelowe, Esq.
  • 1536, 26 March, John Lanman, on Ward's death. John Aldham, lord of the moiety of Elyngham's manor here, by turns.
  • 1563, 26 June, Thomas Oxford, alias Farmor, A. M. Stephen Shardelowe, Gent.
  • 1572, 24 Nov. William Luffkyn, on Oxford's resignation. Stephen Shardelowe, and John Aldham, patrons.
  • 1609, 1 Aug. Nicholas Colte. John Sherdelowe.
  • 1642, Jeremiah Gowen. Adrian Mott of Braintree, and Margaret Carter of Stratford in Essex.
  • 1649, Thomas Cole, clerk, A. M. John and James Mott, Gent.
  • 1684, 9 Dec. John Rand. John Buxton, Esq. united to Burston.
  • 1706, 1 Jan. John Calver, on Rand's death. Robert Buxton, Esq. united to Gissing.
  • 1729, The Rev. Mr. Thomas Buxton, the present rector, [1736,] united to Thorp-Parva.

The Church hath a steeple, round at bottom, and octangular at top, and four small bells; it is leaded, though the chancel is thatched, and the north porch tiled. It is dedicated to St. George, whose effigies, with his shield, viz. arg. a plain cross gul. is to be seen in a south window of the chancel, and seems to be as old as the building, which in all appearance was in the beginning of the thirteenth century, (though the steeple is much older,) for then William de Shimplyng was lord and patron, whose arms still remain under this effigies, viz. arg. a chief gul. a fess between six de-lises sab.

Here was a Gild in honour of the same saint, and a Chapel dedicated to St. Mary, which stood in Shimpling Hithe, of which there are no remains. This had some endowment, for Girrard the Prior, and his Chapter at Norwich, with the Bishop's consent, granted to Richard the chaplain of Shimpling, 7 roods of meadow in Roreker in Shimpling, &c. in perpetual alms, paying yearly 5d. at the high altar in the cathedral, to which John Pierson of Gissing, and others, were witnesses, so that this must be before 1201, for in that year Gerrard the Prior died; this was down before the general dissolution, for I meet with no grant of it at that time.

St. George and the dragon, and the arms of Shimpling, are carved on the font; the chancel is covered with large grave-stones, all disrobed of their brasses; several of them were laid over the rectors, as appear from the chalice and wafer upon them, that being the symbol of a priest; the rest that had arms, I take to be laid over the Shimplings and the Shardelows. The arms of

Shardelow are, arg. a chevron gul. between three croslets fitchee, az. Crest, a plume of feathers arg.

On a small stone towards the west end of the church:

Richard Lesingham, ob. 5° die. Octob. Anno Dni. 1705, Ætatis suæ - - - -

Here let him rest, Memory stile him dear, 'Till our Redeemer Shall in the clouds appear.

On a marble near the pulpit: arms of

Potter, sab. a fess between three mullets arg. Crest, an elephant's head erased arg. gutte de sang.

Here in expectation of a joyful resurrection, resteth the body of Cicill Potter, Gent. who dyed Jan. the 29th, 1693, aged 70 years.

In a window:

Gloria in Errelsis Deo.

Here are twelve penny loaves given to as many poor people, by the rector and church-wardens, on the first Sunday in every month, there being land tied for it.

In the Confessor's time Torbert held this manor of Stigand, it being then worth 20s. of whom the part in Gissing was also held by another freeman, and was then of 5s. value, but was risen to ten in the Conqueror's time, though Shimpling continued at the same value. This, as one manor, was given by the Conqueror to Roger Bygod, who gave it to Robert de Vais, (de Vallibus, or Vaus,) it being then a mile and a quarter long, and a mile broad. The whole paid 5d. Geld. There was then a church and 10 acres glebe, valued at 12d. and several other manors extended hither, of which I shall afterwards treat in their proper places. The Vaises held it of Bygod's successors, till 1237, in which year Oliver de Vallibus granted it to Richard de Rupella, (afterwards called Rokele,) settling it on him and his heirs by fine, to be held of him by knight's service; he died in 1287, at which time he held it of John de Vallibus. This Richard granted it to be held of him and his heirs by Richard de Boyland, in trust for Ralph Carbonell, who held it of Maud, wife of William de Roos, who was daughter and coheir of John de Vaux. This Ralph conveyed it to

Roger de Schymplyng, to be held by knight's service of Richard Rokeles's heirs; and in 1280, the said Roger was lord, the manor being settled upon him, and Emma his wife, in tail; after their deaths it came to William de Schympling, their son, who held it of Richard Rokell at half a fee, he of the Earl-Marshal, and he of the King in capite. This William married Margaret de Tacolveston, on whom the manor was settled for life in 1303, it being then held of William de Roos and Maud his wife, and Petronell de Vaux, her sister. This William purchased a great part of the town of divers persons. He had a son named Roger, who presented in 1328, and held it till about 1345, when he was dead, and Emma his wife had it, at whose death it fell divisible between their three daughters:

Isabel, married to John Kirtling, to whom this manor was allotted;

Joan, who had Moring-Thorp manor, and

Katerine, married to William de Ellyngham, who had Dalling manor in Flordon. Isabell had issue, Roger and Emma, who left none, so that this manor and advowson descended to Roger, son of William de Elyngham and Katerine his wife, daughter of Roger de Schymplyng, which said Roger de Elyngham held it in 1401, by half a fee, of John Copledick, Knt. who held it of the Lady Roos, she of Thomas Mowbray, and he in capite of the King. How it went from the Elynghams I do not know, but imagine it must be by female heiresses; for in 1521, Humphry Wyngfield had a moiety of it, and John Aldham had another part; he died in 1558, and was buried in this chancel, leaving his part to John his son, who held it jointly with Bonaventure Shardelowe, in 1571; Mr. Aldham had a fourth part of the manor, and a third turn, and Mr. Shardelow three parts and two turns. The patronage and manor was in Mr. John Motte, who was buried October 7, 1640, and John Motte, and his brother James, presented in 1649. It looks as if the Mottes had Aldham's part, and after purchased Shardelow's of Mr. John Shardelowe, who held it till 1611, together with Dalling manor in Florden, which was held of Shimpling manor. He conveyed it to Edmund Skipwith, Esq. and Antony Barry, Gent. and they to Thomas Wales, and John Basely, Gent. who conveyed it to the Motts, from whom, I am apt to think, it came to the Proctors, for John Buxton of St. Margaret's in South Elmham had it, in right of his wife, who was kinswoman and heiress of Mr. Proctor, rector of Gissing; after this it came to Robert Buxton, Esq. who died and left it to Elizabeth his wife, who is since dead, and Elizabeth Buxton, their only daughter, a minor, is now [1736] lady and patroness.

The Leet belongs to the manor, and the fine is at the lord's will.

As to the other parts of this village, they being parts of the manors of Titshall, Fersfield, and Brisingham, it is sufficient to observe, that they went with those manors, except that part held by Fulco, of which the register called Pinchbek, fo. 182, says that Fulco or Fulcher held of the Abbot in Simplingaham and Gissing, 70 acres, and 4 borderers, being infeoffed by Abbot Baldwin in the time of the Conqueror; this, about Edward the First's time, was in Sir John Shardelowe, a judge in that King's reign, in whose family it continued till 1630, when it was sold to Mr. Mott. The seat of the Shardelows is now called the Place, and is the estate of the Duke of Grafton; and (as I am informed) formerly belonged to Isaac Pennington, alderman of London, one of those rebels that sat as judges at the King's trial, for which villainy he was knighted. He lived to the Restoration, when, according to his deserts, his estates were seized as forfeited to King Charles II. who gave this to the Duke of Grafton; upon the forfeiture, the copyhold on the different manors were also seized, which is the reason that the quitrents to Gissing, Titshall, &c. are so large, they being made so when the Lords regranted them.

I have seen an ancient deed made by John Camerarius, or Chambers, of Shimpling, to Richard de Kentwell, clerk, and Alice his wife, and their heirs, of 3 acres of land in this town, witnessed by Sir Gerard de Wachesam, Knt. and others, which is remarkable, for its never having any seal, and its being dated at Shimpling in the churchyard, on Sunday next before Pentecost, anno 1294. This shews us that seals (as Lambard justly observes ) were not in common use at this time; and, therefore, to make a conveyance the most solemn and publick that could be, the deed was read to the parish, after service, in the churchyard, that all might know it, and be witnesses, if occasion required. The Saxons used no seals, only signed the mark of a cross to their instruments, to which the scribe affixed their names, by which they had a double meaning; first, to denote their being Christians, and then, as such, to confirm it by the symbol of their faith. The first sealed charter we meet with is that of Edward the Confessor to Westminster abbey, which use he brought with him from Normandy, where he was brought up; and for that reason it was approved of by the Norman Conqueror; though sealing grew into common use by degrees, the King at first only using it, then some of the nobility, after that the nobles in general, who engraved on their seals their own effigies covered with their coat armour; after this, the gentlemen followed, and used the arms of their family for difference sake. But about the time of Edward III. seals became of general use, and they that had no coat armour, sealed with their own device, as flowers, birds, beasts, or whatever they chiefly delighted in, as a dog, a hare, &c.; and nothing was more common than an invention or rebus for their names, as a swan and a tun for Swanton, a hare for Hare, &c.; and because very few of the commonality could write, (all learning at that time being among the religious only,) the person's name was usually circumscribed on his seal, so that at once they set both their name and seal, which was so sacred a thing in those days, that one man never used another's seal, without its being particularly taken notice of in the instrument sealed, and for this reason, every one carried their seal about them, either on their rings, or on a roundel fastened sometimes to their purse, sometimes to their girdle; nay, oftentimes where a man's seal was not much known, he procured some one in publick office to affix theirs, for the greater confirmation: thus Hugh de Schalers, (or Scales,) a younger son of the Lord Scales's family, parson of Harlton in Cambridgeshire, upon his agreeing to pay the Prior of Bernewell 30s. for the two third parts of the tithe corn due to the said Prior out of several lands in his parish, because his seal was known to few, he procured the archdeacon's official to put his seal of office, for more ample confirmation: and when this was not done, nothing was more common than for a publick notary to affix his mark, which being registered at their admission into their office, was of as publick a nature as any seal could be, and of as great sanction to any instrument, those officers being always sworn to the true execution of their office, and to affix no other mark, than that they had registered, to any instrument; so their testimony could be as well known by their mark, as by their name; for which reason they were called Publick Notaries, Nota in Latin signifying a mark, and Publick because their mark was publickly registered, and their office was to be publick to all that had any occasion for them to strengthen their evidence. There are few of these officers among us now, and such as we have, have so far varied from the original of their name, that they use no mark at all, only add N. P. for Notary Publick, at the end of their names. Thus also the use of seals is now laid aside, I mean the true use of them, as the distinguishing mark of one family from another, and of one branch from another; and was it enjomed by publick authority, that every one in office should, upon his admission, choose and appropriate to himself a particular seal, and register a copy of it publickly, and should never use any other but that alone, under a severe penalty, I am apt to think, in a short time we should see the good effects of it; for a great number of those vagabonds that infest our country under pretence of certificates signed by proper magistrates, (whose hands are oftener counterfeit than real,) would be detected; for though it is easy for an ill-designing person to forge a handwriting, it is directly the contrary as to a seal; and though it is in the power of all to know the magistrates names, it is but very few of such sort of people that could know their seals; so that it would in a great measure (if not altogether) put a stop to that vile practice; and it would be easy for every magistrate to know the seals of all others, if they were entered properly, engraved, and published: and it might be of service, if all the office seals in England (or in those foreign parts that any way concern the realm) were engraved and published, for then it would be in every one's power to know whether the seals of office affixed to all passes, &c. were genuine or no; for it is well known that numbers travel this nation, under pretence of passes from our consuls and agents abroad, and sometimes even deceive careful magistrates with the pretended hands and seals of such, it being sometimes impossible for them to know the truth, which by this means would evidently appear. And thus much, and a great deal more, may be said to encourage the true and original use of that wise Conqueror's practice, who can scarce be said to put any thing into use but what he found was of advantage to his government.

This rectory is in Norfolk archdeaconry, and Redenhall deanery: it had 69 communicants in 1603, and hath now [1736] 23 houses, and about 130 inhabitants. The town is valued at 300l. per annum. Here are 3 acres of town land, one piece is a small pightle abutting on the land of Robert Leman, Esq. another piece is called Susan's pightle, lying in Gissing, and was given by a woman of this name, to repair the church porch, (as I am informed,) the other piece lies in Diss Heywode, and pays an annual rent of 5s.

The Commons are Kett's Fen, which contains about 4 acres; Pound Green, 1 acre; Hall Green, 4 acres; the Bottom, 6 acres; and the Lower Green, 6 acres.


The Church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, and in 1209 was a rectory, a moiety of its patronage being then settled on Butley priory, by John, son of Geffery; about 1217, Thomas de Hastyngs, with the consent and joint act of John Bishop of Norwich, granted to the monastery of St. Mary at Butley, in Suffolk, the perpetual advowson of the other part, and Roger de Skerning not only confirmed it, but agreed to appropriate the whole to that house; and in 1271, the 56th of Henry III. endowed the vicarge with all the offerings, the tithes of the mills, a vicarage-house and meadow, and an acre of land adjoining, and twenty acres more of the church's free land, and all other small tithes, except hay, which, with all the corn tithes, and the rest of the glebe, together with the rectory manor, and all its appurtenances, were to belong to the prior, who was always to present to the vicarage.


William of South Elmham, the first vicar, was succeeded in

  • 1307, prid. kal. Sept. by Will. Ingereth, of Debenham, priest, who resigned it for Fersfield.
  • 1313, 15 kal. July, Thomas of Palgrave, priest.
  • 1317, 3 kal. Sept. Henry of Melles, priest.
  • 1328, 12 kal. May, William of Pakenham, priest.
  • 1344, 26 October, Walter le Palmer of Ipswich, priest.
  • 1349, 23 Sept. Robert-dil Moor of Eye, priest.
  • 1383, 7 October, John Ive of Pulham, priest; Robert atte Moor resigned.
  • 1392, 25 August, Roger Wright, by change with John Ive for Little Henneye, in London diocese, which John was also rector of Shellow Bowells.
  • 1397, 2 March, Walter of West-Walton, priest.
  • 1401, 6 June, Sir Robert Felys, priest, on Walter's resignation.
  • 1405, 16 Dec. John Carman of Yakesle, priest.
  • 1419, 24 Dec. Robert Therne, priest, on Carman's resignation.
  • 1429, 6 March, Robert Smythe, priest, on Therne's resignation.
  • 1432, 7 October, Robert Balle. Bishop by lapse.
  • 1449, 2 Sept. Sir Thomas Blankpayn.
  • 1451, 7 March, Thomas Goldynton, an Augustine canon of Butley, on Blankpayn's resignation.
  • Robert Aleyn, priest.
  • 1468, 6 Febr. Robert Bate, on Aleyn's resignation.
  • 1483, 1 July, Thomas Welbourne, on Bate's resignation.
  • 1484, 4 Nov. John Winter, alias Capell, priest, canon of Butley.
  • 1500, John Aumbler succeeded, on Winter's resignation.

All the above were presented by the Prior of Butley.

  • 1534, 16 Nov. Peter Mannyng, priest, on Aumbler's death.
  • 1549, 7 Aug. Michael Dunning, LL. B. Richard Denney, of Bawdeseye, patron of this vicarage, for this turn only, by grant from Thomas, late prior of the dissolved house of Butley, the grant being made before its dissolution.
  • 1554, Gregory (or Geo.) Grange, on Dunning's resignation.
  • 1561, 26 Dec. John Hiltone, priest. The Queen patroness. He had Burston.
  • 1578, 15 Octob. Thomas Proctor, A. M. Robert Kemp, Esq.
  • 1579, 23 May, John Savell, A. B. The Queen.
  • 1579, 5 Sept. Thomas Proctor, A. M. The Queen; she ejected him, and presented Savell, in order to recover her patronage, which being done, she presented him again.
  • 1613, 27 March, Robert Proctor, A. M. The King; he subscribed the articles at the Restoration, Aug. 18, 1662, being ordained deacon by the Bishop of Ely, Sept. 25, 1608, and was made a licensed preacher on the day of his institution; he died in 1668.
  • 1668, 24 Dec. John Gibbs, A. M. presented by King Charles II.; he continued rector till 1690, being then ejected as a nonjuror; he was an odd but harmless man, both in life and conversation; after his ejection he dwelt in the north porch chamber, and laid on the stairs that led up to the rood loft, between the church and chancel, having a window at his head, so that he could lie in his narrow couch and see the altar. He lived to be very old, and at his death was buried at Frenze.
  • 1690, 28 June, Thomas Jeffery. Robert Kemp, Bart. united to Flordon.
  • 1694, 24 April, John Calver, on Jeffery's death. Ditto; united to Skimpling.
  • 1730, the Rev. Mr. Thomas Kemp, A. M. presented by his father, Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. who died Dec. 1734, leaving this patronage and manors to Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. his eldest son, who is now [1736] lord and patron.

The impropriation, according to Butley Register, was confirmed by several Archbishops of Canterbury, and was taxed at 16l. 13s. 4d. and paid 33s. 4d. tenths. It appears also by the said register, that Sir John Aumbler, as rector of Gissing, acknowledged a pension of 26s. 8d. to be yearly due to the Prior of Butley, out of the rectory, which was now in effect disappropriated, and united to the vicarage, all but the manor, the impropriate glebe, and its tithes, which remained in the prior, and fell to the Crown at the Dissolution, in which they continued till Queen Elizabeth by letters patent, dated the 16th day of April, 1563, granted to Edw. Dyer, and Henry Cressinor, in fee-farm, the rents, lands, tenements, woods, and portion of tithes, in Gissing, lately belonging to Butley priory, at the yearly fee-farm rent of 4l. 0s. 1d. ob. to be held in soccage; and this Edward, the 17th of Feb. 1574, sold them by deed enrolled in chancery, to Robert Kemp, Esq.; and this year, the Queen, by other letters patents dated Dec. 22, granted to Anthony Kinwellmarsh and his heirs, the rectory, or advowson of the rectory, &c. who the 9th of Feb. in the same year, sold it by deed enrolled in chancery, to Robert Kemp, Esq.; but notwithstanding this, the Queen recovered her presentation to the church, because, though the rectory was united, yet it had been all along presented to by the name of a vicarage, and so could not be included in the grant of the rectory: and from this time it remained in the Crown, till King Charles II. gave it to the Kempes, who united the tithes of the impropriate glebe, and so made it a complete rectory, and as such it hath been presented to ever since.

In 1569, the Priory Close in Gissing and Burston, containing 30 acres, and other lands of the value of 20l. per annum were granted to Nic. Yetesworth and Barth. Brokesby.

In 1364, John, son and heir of William de Calthorp, held a messuage and lands in this town, by petit serjeantry, viz. by the payment of a well-feathered arrow of 1d. value, every year, to the King, by the hands of the sheriff.

It is called in the King's Books, Gwising alias Gisling, and is thus valued, viz.

Here was a chantry in honour of all the Saints, in a chapel of that dedication in the churchyard, founded by Sir Nicholas Hastyng, Knt. and confirmed by William Bishop of Norwich, about 1280; for in that year the said Sir Nicholas, and Sir Adam de Gissing, Knt. endowed it with a messuage, and divers lands, which were sometime Robert of Gissing's, father of Sir Adam, and were copyhold of Sir Nicholas's manor, all which were manumised by the said Nicholas; it was for one priest only, who was bound daily to sing for their souls, and those of their ancestors: it is now quite gone, and we know not in which part of the churchyard it stood.

In 1544, it appears that the township held of Gissing cum Dagworth manor a tenement called Buckenham's, which abuts on the way leading from the church to Tibenham Long Rowe east; and of Gissing Kemps cum Dalling's manor, another tenement called Owles's, and one acre of land lying between the lord's meadow north, and the common way west: and also one piece called the MeadowPightle, which abuts on the drag-way north. This tenement and acre pay a rent of 6d. and the pightle a rent of 7d. a year. They had also a freehold cottage and garden, at Well Green; and the leet fee was then two shillings and four-pence.

In 1548, Sir Anthony Hevenyngham, Knt. lord of Gissing cum Dagworth, settled three acres of land upon the church-wardens, towards the maintenance of the poor, and ordered that Bartholomew Kempe and his heirs should pay 3s. a year to the same use, out of his estate.

In 1537, John Tiler gave 20s. to the church; mayster Barthyllmew Kempe, hathe in his hands to the use of the chirche lij.s. Daniel Broome hath to the use of the crosse, 35s. 8d.

  • 1550, John Taylor gave 26s. 8d. to repair the cawnsey.
  • 1598, Joan Freeman gave 13s. 4d. to the church.
  • 1621, Mr. Tho. Prockter, clerke, late of Gissinge, deceased, gave 40s. for town stock, to be put out by the church-wardens, to two poor men, resident in the said town, they to have the benefit for one year, lying in good security, and then the next year, to two others, &c.

Here is a very good parsonage-house, with a barn and stable, built all of brick, by Mr. Calver, late rector, (in whose time the old parsonage was burnt,) with a garden, orchard, and other conveniencies, and 49 acres of glebe.

The Church hath a low small round steeple joined to its west end, but yet it contains five bells; on the first and second is this,

god bless the church and confound her foes. Run'd out of one, by Mr. John Gibbes, Rector.

This on the third bell:

defunctos ploro, pestem fugo, festa decoro.

The nave is leaded, the chancel is tiled, and hath a chapel joined to each side of it, both which are leaded; that on the south side hath no memorials in it, the vault for the family of the Kempes being under it. That on the north was the ancient burial-place of the lords of the manor, and is full of monuments and grave-stones. There is only a cup belonging to the altar, on the cover of which our Saviour's head is poorly engraved, and this, Gysseing Ao 1567.

There is nothing in the nave, but this inscription on a free-stone:

Here lyeth the Body of Richard the Sonne of William Girling, late of St. Andrews in the seven parishes in Suffolke, he was born in December 1633, and died in April 1667, in the Service of Mrs. Mary Sone Widdow, Mother-in-Law to Sr. Robert Kemp Bart. He was exemplary good in his Life and Death.

In the chancel there are no memorials of any kind. In the north chapel, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, there are several gravestones which have lost their brasses, but the arms were as follow, as Mr. Anstis's MSS. (marked E. fol. 29,) hath them:

Kemp and Curson, for Robert Kemp, who married a Curson.

Kemp and Duke, for John Kemp and Alice his wife, daughter of Duke.

Kemp and Alleyn, for Barth. Kemp and Anne his wife, daughter of Alleyn.

Kemp and Cockerham, which still remains.

Kemp and Smythwine, these arms and inscription still remain, viz.

Here lyeth buried Robert Kemp, Esquier, who Marry'd Elizabeth, the daughter of John Smythwine, Esquier, and had Issue too Sonnes, and three Daughters; he dyed the xxviith of April, in the Yeare of our Lord, 1596, Ætatis suæ LXXX.

Kemp and Le-Grey, his second wife, in colours, on a stone in the wall, with this: spero lucem.

Kemp quarters Buttreyleyn, and impales four coats quartered,

Le-Grey with an annulet.


Connard, ar. a fess between two chevrons az.

Berry, per pale az and gul. a cross floree between four trefoils or.

On another stone in the wall, Kemp quarters Butteveyleyn impaling chequy or and az. a fess in a bordure gul.

On a black marble,

Here lyeth the Body of Jane Kemp, wife of William Kemp of Antingham, second son of Sir Robert Kemp of Gissing, Bart. she died April 11th 1705, and in the 19th year of her age.

On a mural monument of white marble against the north wall, having Kemp's arms and crest, sc. on a wreath or and gul. a pelican vulning herself, proper, and differs from Kemp's crest on the next monument, which is a hawk standing on a garb, or.


Was born at WALSYNGHAM-ABBEY, upon the 2d of FEBR.

  • 1627, and died the 26th of September, 1710, In the 83d Year of his Age.

His first Lady was MARY the Daughter of THOMAS KERRIDGE, by SUSAN his wife, she Was born in LONDON, in Febr. 1631, they were married July 15th 1650, and she died in June, 1655.

They had a Son & 2 Daughters born & Christen'd, which died young.

The second Lady of the said Sir ROBERT KEMP, Was MARY, the Daughter of JOHN SONE Of Ubbestone, in the County of Suff. Gent. by MARY, the Daughter of WILLIAM DADE, Of the said County, Esq.r. She was born April The 6th, 1637; they were married Novr. the 20th, 1657. She died July the 29th 1705, at UBBESTON, By whom they had 3 Sons and 2 Daughters.

Both these Ladies were very Prudent, and Pious, few exceeded the former, and scarce any the latter.

On another mural monument on the same side, Kemp's crest, arms, and quarterings. 1. Kemp; 2. sab. a lion rampant, arg.; 3. barry of six, az. and sab. on a canton gul. a saltire or; 4. Hastyngs; 5. Dove, az. a chevron between three doves ar.; 6. Butteveleyn; 7. az. three roses or; 8. sab. two chevrons arg.

Kemp impaling, on a bend sab. three roses or. The same quartered with gutte de sang.

ROBERT KEMP, late of Gissing, Esquire, the only Sonne and Child of Richard Kemp of Gissing, Esquier, and Alice Cockerham, (Daughter of Philip Cockkerham of Hampsted, in the Countie of Middlesex, Esquire, sometimes Officer to K. Edw. VI. & Q. Mary, in theire Custom-house at London) married Dorothy Herris, sole Daughter of Arthur Herris of Crixeth, in the County of Essex, Esquire, by whom he had viij Sonnes & iij Daughters whereof vij Sonnes and ij daughters do yet survive theire Father, who being xlvij Yeares, ould, peaceably departed this transitory Life, in the Faith of Christ, October xxiij. MDCXII. having then bene happily wedded unto hir xvij Yeares, to whose never dying Memorie, his beloved wife erected this Monument at hir owne chardges, April xxiiij M.DC.XIIIJ.

Painted in the glass of the east window:

Kemp and Buteveleyn quartered, impaling Hastings.

Ditto impaling Clifford. Ditto impaling Gray. Ditto impaling Lomnor of Mannyngton.

Sab. a lion rampant arg. painted on the wall.

There are five coffins in the vault, one is Sir Robert Kemp's, who died Dec. 1734, and his three wives, and a child by the first wife. Hatchments for them, viz. Kemp impales King of Thurlow, vert, a chief and a griffin or.

Kemp impales sab. a lion rampant ar.

Kemp impales Blackwell, pally of six ar. and az. on a chief gul. a lion passant or.

Here were several manors, free tenements, and other small lordships, of which I shall give the best account that I can, though I must own that in some of the small manors the fees and tenures are so intricate, that there may be some mistakes.

The capital manor, afterwards called

Hasting's Manor[edit]

at the survey was included and valued as a Berewick to Titshall, with which it was given to the Abbot of Bury, who was lord at the Conquest, and immediately after, the abbot assigned it for life to Fulcher, at whose death, Abbot Baldwin infeoffed one Ricuard in it, together with the head stewardship of that abbey in fee. From him it came to Raph de Flamavile of Aston, Flamavile in Leicestershire, who was steward in fee of Bury abbey in the time of Henry I. and from him to Robert his son, who died without issue, leaving Erneburg, daughter of Hugh Flamavile, his niece, his heir. She married Hugh de Hastyngs, son of William de Hastyngs, Steward to King Henry I. with whom this manor, and the stewardship of Bury, with Aston, Flamavile manor in Leicestershire, and all Robert Flamavile's estate, came to this family, which was sirnamed from the port of Hastyng, the lastage of which, with that of Rhye, they for a long time farmed of the Crown. This Hugh left William his son and heir, who was Steward to Henry II. as well as to the abbey; he obtained a grant of confirmation of that King, of all the lands which William de Hastyngs his grandfather, and Hugh his father had enjoyed. He married Margery, daughter of Roger Bygod Earl of Norfolk, by whom he had William, his son and heir, who paid 100 marks for his relief. In 1194, sixth Richard I. he left Henry, his eldest son, his heir, though it seems he had several sons, and among others John, to whom this manor was assigned, and John assigned it to Thomas de Hastyngs, who was in all likelihood another brother. This Thomas had assize of bread and ale, free-warren, liberty of enclosing, and liberty of faldage, throughout the town, as well in other folks lands as his own, which, upon a Quo Warranto in 1227, were allowed him, upon pleading that William de Hastyng, his ancestor, was seized of this manor, with those of Tibbenham, and others, of the fee of St. Edmund, in the time of Henry II. and that he then peaceably enjoyed all these liberties, which were confirmed to him by the charter of King Richard I. in the seventh year of his reign, Ao 1195, after whose death they were peaceably enjoyed to this time. This Thomas left it to Hugh de Hastyngs, who got a confirmation of it from Henry, son of John de Hastyngs. This Hugh married the daughter of Alan de Alvestan, by whom he had Thomas, who inherited; he married Amicia, who survived him, and Nicholas de Hastyngs, Knt. who was their son and heir, had this manor, which, in 1246, he assigned to Amicia his mother, as part of her dower, she being then married to Sir Robert de Bosco of Fersfield, Knt. In 1269, he renewed his charter of free-warren; he married Emelina, daughter of Walter Heron, by whom he had six sons, Hugh, Henry, Edmund, Nicholas, Richard, and William; he died in 1285, leaving Gissing to Emeline his wife, for life, as her dower. It was this Nicholas that in 1249 granted by fine to the Prior of Penteney, a messuage and two carves of land in Gayton-Thorp, and East-winch, to be for ever held of his manor of Gissing by one knight's fee and a pair of gilt spurs, or 7d. a year at Easter. This was afterwards confirmed by Hugh de Hastyngs, his son; and in 1382, there were 100s. due for a relief for the fee, to the lord of this manor, by reason of the resignation of Peter Byshop, late Prior of Penteney, for the manors of Gayton-Thorp, and East-winch. He sealed with a maunch, and a label of three for difference.

Hugh de Hastyngs, eldest son of the said Nicholas, succeeded; he married a wife named Beatrice, and died before 1301, when she impleaded Emeline, her mother-in-law, for the third part of this manor, as her dower, to which it was answered, that Hugh her husband, after his father's death, assigned this manor to his mother for her dower, upon which Emeline was dismissed. In 1299,

Nicholas, son and heir of Hugh, came to it; he released to Nicholas his uncle, and his heirs, all his right and claim to those lands in Gissing, which Nicholas de Hastyngs his grandfather gave to William his son, and in case that Nicholas his uncle should die without issue, he granted that Richard de Hastyngs, and the heirs of his body, should enjoy them, with a remainder to his own right heirs. This Nicholas, in 1276, being then a knight, was retained by Ralph Lord Greystoke, (according to the custom of those times,) by covenants dated at Hilderskelf in Yorkshire, to serve him both in peace and war, for the term of their lives; viz. in time of war, with two yeomen well mounted and arrayed, and in time of peace, with two yeomen and four grooms; in consideration of which, he was to be furnished with all accoutrements for his own body, as also with one saddle, according to the dignity of a knight; and in case he should lose any great horse in the war, he was to have recompense according to the estimation of two men. Furthermore, wherever the Lord Greystoke resided, so that it was in Yorkshire, he should repair to him upon notice, having allowance for his reasonable service in war and peace. On account of this retainder, Sir Nicholas had the manor of Thorp-Basset, in Yorkshire, from this Lord, paying a fee-farm rent of 8l. a year. I could not omit taking notice of this, to shew the custom of that age, abundance of the knights then being retained in the same manner. This Sir Nicholas left two sons, Ralf and William, between whom this manor was divided, one part being henceforward called Gissing only, and the other Hastyngs in Gissing.

William, the youngest, had GISSING assigned to him, which he left to his son (as I take it) Phillip de Hastyngs, whose daughter Isabell, in 1324, married Alan Kemp of Weston, in Suffolk, Esq. to whose son John the said Phillip granted the manor called Gissing, and to his heirs for ever, from which time it hath continued in that family.

Sir Ralph, the eldest, had HASTINGS'S manor in Gissing; and in 1328, he renewed his charter of free-warren for it, after the division; he married Margaret, only daughter of Sir William de Herle, of Kirby in Leicestershire, who after became sole heir to Sir Robert de Herle her brother, in 1336. He was Governour of York castle, and Sheriff of that county, and lived in great honour till 1345, in which year being in the second battalion of that Northern army raised by the invasion of David de Bruce King of Scotland, upon St. Luke's day he was mortally wounded, of which he died in a few days, and was buried, according to his will, in the abbey of Sulby, of which he was patron. This engagement was called the battle of Nevil-Cross near Durham, in which the King of Scots, and most of the nobility of that kingdom, were taken prisoners, and their army routed; and it appears by Sir Ralph's will, that he had taken one of those nobles, for in it he disposed of that prisoner, whom he took in war, unto his nephew, Edmund Hastyngs of Rouseby, and to John de Kirby, to be shared between them; leaving Margaret his wife alive, and

Ralphe, his son and heir, who was a knight in 1349, and retained by indenture John Kirby of Wiggenthorp in Yorkshire, a gentleman of an ancient family, to serve him for term of life, and not to be displaced without good cause, whereof Sir Brian Stapleton, Knt. and others were to be judges. The said Ralphe was himself retained by Henry Duke of Lancaster, to serve him both in war and peace, for 40 marks per annum, out of his manor of Pickering in Yorkshire; and upon the death of that Duke, he had a confirmation thereof from John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III. Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Richmond, and High Steward of England, who had married one of the daughters and heirs of that Duke. The rest of this great man, and of his predecessors and successours, may be seen in Mr. Dugdale's Baronage, from the 579th page of the first volume, to the 589th page of that book, from whence I have extracted great part of this account.

In the year 1353, Sir Ralph sold the manor of Hastyngs in Gissing to Thomas Gardiner of Chedeston, and John Pickering, and John Allerston, his trustees, which Thomas held it to 1369, and then levied a fine to John Harcourt, and other trustees, by which this manor of Hastyngs, with Dawling's manor in this town, were settled on

Thomas Gardiner of Gissing, his son and heir; this Thomas had two wives, Cecily and Elizabeth; by the former he had a daughter, named Joan, who inherited Dawling's manor, and dying without issue in 1400, she left it to Sir Robert Buttevelyn of Flordon, Knt. who was lord of Hastyngs manor, by his marrying Katerine, daughter of the said Thomas Gardiner, by his second wife, and half sister to this Joan, so that now both these manors were vested in the said

Sir Robert Buttevelyn, who was descended from an ancient family of that name in Northamptonshire, of which William Boutevelyn, before the 12th century, founded Pipewell abbey: he bare as this family ever did, ar. three crescents gul.

He left Robert his son his heir, who left another Robert, his heir, whose inheritance came to William his son, and then to Robert, son of William, which Robert was killed in Scotland, with the Earl of Gloucester, June 24, 1314, leaving a son, whose heir was this Sir Robert of whom we now speak, whose son, Sir Robert Buteveleyn, junior, in 1401, is said to hold the manor of the Lord Grey of Ruthyn, at half a fee, which was heretofore Nicholas de Hastyng's, and another part of it, of the abbey of Bury, at a quarter of a fee; and another part of it of Shimpling manor; and in 1403, he settled his manors called Hastynges, and Dallings, upon Sir Simon Felbrigge, Knt. Sir Robert Buttevelyn, senior, his father, Richard de Cotesbrook, parson of Cotesbrook, John Reynes, John Clere, Esqrs., and Henry Lomnour, junior, and others, and their heirs in trust, for the wife of Sir Robert Butteveyleyn, junior, for her life and the heirs of their bodies. Upon the death of this Sir Robert the Abbot of Bury seized his ward, by reason of the chief part of the manor which was held of him by knight's service; but this settlement being produced, he was forced to release his seizure, and at her death,

William Buttevelyn, her son and heir, inherited the manors of Florendon, Hastynges, and Dawlings; he died without issue about 1465, leaving these and Cotesbrook manor in Northamptonshire, and Fenwick and Thorndich in Bedfordshire, to his sisters, Elizabeth and Julian; Elizabeth married Edmund Chaterton, and left one daughter only, named Elizabeth, who married Thomas Herteshorne, alias Hartstrong, of Gissing, Esq.; Julian married Robert Duke of Brampton in Suffolk, Esq.; and left only one daughter, named Alice, who married John Kemp of Weston, Esq.; between which John, and Thomas Herteshorn aforesaid, the estate came divisible, and by agreement they divided it; Thomas had Cotesbrook, Fenwick, and Thorndich, and John had Flordon manor and advowson, and Hastyng's and Dalling's manor in Gissing, so that now he was lord of three of the manors in this town.

The Customs of this Manor extracted from the Extent Roll in 1327, Ao 2 Edward III.) which was a renewal of the old Roll made in the 5th of Edward II. in Sir Nicholas Hastyng's time, (1311,) were as follow:

A villein cannot divide his tenements, but all shall remain to the eldest issue; and if such issue withdraws out of the homage, he forfeits his tenements.

A prepositor and messor to be yearly chosen out of the tenants; the messor to have the custody of the fields, meadows, and woods; he shall sow all the lord's seed, and give an account of all trespasses to the lord, and shall keep a man all seed-time, to fright the vermin: the messor shall come to the lord's diet (or maintenance) the first day of harvest, and shall be maintained all harvest time: he is to collect the lord's rents, and profits of court, and to warn the labourers and all others to their duty; and is to be paid his wages by the tenements that are eligible into that office.

The bondmen to fine for their marriage at the lord's will.

The tenement of every copyholder, at each death is heriotable, by the best beast; and if they have no beast, they shall give 5s.

The heir of the tenant shall take his inheritance by fine, at the will of the lord.

And shall give for leyerwite 2s. 8d.

All bond tenants also shall make redemption of their blood, and shall not put themselves under the protection of any other lord.

Every heir (according to the custom) is of full age at 14 years.

The jury also present, that the whole manor is held of the heirs of the lord Thomas de Hastyngs, viz. of the lord Laurence de Hastyngs, as of the fee of the Abbot of St. Edmund's, by the service of one knight's fee, and no more.

And that one fee in East-Winch and Gayton-Thorp, were lately given by the ancestors of the aforesaid lord Thomas, in pure alms to the priory of Penteney, to be held of the manor of Gissing, and the said lord Thomas gave the said manor of Gissing, with the appurtenances, and the tenants in Middleton near Lynn, and in East-Winch, and in Geyton-Thorp, to Sir Nicolas, his younger son, who was then a knight, and to his heirs; and this before the 34th of Henry III. all which he was to hold of the said Thomas, and his eldest son, and their heirs, for ever, by the service of one knight's fee; and that the said Nicholas, his heirs and assigns, should pay for the aforesaid Thomas de Hastyngs, and his heirs, to the Abbot of St. Edmund, every 20 weeks, 2s. 4d. for the castle-ward of St. Edmund, to Norwich castle, for these manors, for ever to continue. And they say, that in this manor there are certain tenements held of the heirs of Montchensie, as of the Outsoken of Winfarthing, viz. 30 acres of land, and 3 acres of wood, of which the heirs of Stephen de Brokedish held of the lord of this manor 24 acres.

The lord hath belonging to this manor liberty of faldage and closure through the whole town of Gissing, as well in other men's lands as in his own.

And also free-warren in his own lands,

And the correction of the assize of bread and ale of all his tenants; all which were allowed the said Sir Thomas de Hastyngs in an Eyre at Norwich, before Hugh Abbot of Bury, and his fellow justices, in the 12th of Henry III. which liberties the lord hath, and now doth peaceably enjoy.

In the rolls of the 39th of Edward III. the jury present, that William Goodwin, a villein by blood, (of the lord,) was a rebel, and ungrateful towards his lord, for which his tenement and all his goods in the lordship were seized: his offence was, that he falsely and maliciously said, that the lord received and maintained a thief, and knowingly kept four stolen sheep in his fold, by which the lord was damaged 30l.

In the 22d and 23d of Edward III. it appears, that all the tenements are heriotable, and 31 tenants paid their heriots this year.

Robert Roos (testator cervisiœ, or ale-connor,) was amerced for not doing his office.

Alice Le-Ward paid the lord 1s. for license to marry.

Another paid 20s. that she might live out of the lordship, and marry whoever she would.

In the 42d Edward III. a tenant forfeited all his copyhold, only because he claimed to hold it freely.

The widow of the copyholder, during the nonage of the heir, is his guardian by custom.

16th Edward IV. the manner of the lord's taking stray is thus set forth: a horse came within the jurisdiction of the manor, and was seized as a stray, and proclaimed according to custom, and nobody challenging him in a year and a day, he was appraised in open court, and sold.

I could not forbear observing these customs, because they shew us the former slavish condition of the villeins and copyholders.

Gissinghall Manor in Gissing[edit]

Was held by Alstan, a freeman under Edric (the ancestor of Robert Malet, lord of Eye) in the Confessor's days, and by William, (sirnamed De Gissing,) of the said Robert, in the Conqueror's time, as of the honour of Eye, and soon after the Conquest, the manor of Gissinghall in Roydon was joined, and constantly attended this manor till 1579.

The other parcels also were afterwards added to this manor, and that is the reason that it was partly held of Eye honour, and partly of the Abbot of Bury; for in Henry the Third's time it was thus distinguished:

Gissing. Pro parte Honoris Eye. Pro parte Abbatis Sci. Edmundi.

In 1179, William de Gissing held it; he left it to Bartholomew de Gissing, his eldest son, who, in 1189, sold his inheritance to Walter de Gissing, his brother; for in the Pipe Rolls of the 34th Henry II. and the 1st of Richard I. it is found, that Walter de Gissinges paid King Henry II. one mark, that it might be recorded in the great roll, that Bartholomew, his elder brother, and heir to his father, released his inheritance to him in the King's Court. This shews the regard which those times had for the Rolls of the Pipe, there being many instances in those Rolls of such entries, a collection of which hath been made, and several of them printed, by Mr. Maddox, in his History of the Exchequer. This Walter left it to

Roger, his son, in 1198, at whose death it descended to

Sir Robert de Gissing, Knt. his son, who settled Roydon on his wife Joan; by deed dated 1287, he confirmed to Thomas de Hastyngs, and his heirs, for his homage and service, and two besants fine, all the tenement which the ancestors of Thomas held of his ancestors in this town. In 1286, he settled this manor on

Sir Adam de Gissing, his son, who the year after joined in a deed with his father, to settle Roydon on Joan, his mother, for life; in 1299 he had assize of bread and ale of all his tenants in this town. Agnes his wife seems to be the daughter of Matthew of Thelvetham, of which Matthew she is said to hold her tenement here, at a quarter of a fee, on whom it was settled for her use. In 1315, Gissing and Roydon manors were conveyed by Nicholas de Stradsete, and other trustees, to

Sir Robert, son of Sir Adam of Gissing, who at his death left them to

Joan his widow, who kept court here in her own name, the two manors being settled on them and their heirs in tail. In 1322,

Sir Thomas, son of Sir Robert and Joan his wife, owned them; in 1355, he had great possessions in Cambridgeshire, being patron of Kingeston, &c. He was in the army with Edward the Black Prince in Acquitain, during which time Thomas Mintinore of Foxton in Cambridgeshire carried away his wife, for which, at his return, he recovered 500l. damages. He attended the King into Gascoign; he had two wives, Agnes, who, jointly with him, conveyed the manor of Stanford to Sir Constantine de Mortimer, Knt.; and Joan, who survived him. He died in 1382, and was (according to his will) buried in the collegiate church of the Blessed Virgin in the Fields, at Norwich, (now called Chapel Field.) In 1381, he granted divers lands in Gissing by deed, to Thomas Gardiner, and Thomas his son. His wife lived to 1388, when she died, ordering in her will that she should be buried in the same church, near the tomb of her husband Thomas. They left only one daughter, their heiress, viz. Joan, who kept her first court in 1382, on her father's death. This ancient family bare for their arms, arg. on a bend az. three eagles displayed or, membered and armed gul.

This Joan married Sir John Heveynyngham, senior, Knt. who gave Gissing and Roydon to his sons, Philip and Thomas, for life only, remainder to his eldest son John and his heirs, but whether he possessed it or not I cannot say; but

Sir John Heveynyngham, Knt. grandson of the first John, had Gissinghall in Gissing, which was formerly Agnes de Gissing's, being partly held at a quarter of a fee of Julian, sister of John de Thelvetham, and she of the Abbot of Bury, and he of the King, together with another manor here, called Dagworth's, which he purchased, it being held at half a fee of the Lord Grey of Ruthyn, as of Winfarthing Hall manor, which half fee Sir John Dagworth formerly held. This John left them to John Heveningham, Banneret, his son, from whom it went to Thomas, his eldest son, and from him to his son John, who left it to Antony Heveningham, Knt.-his son and heir, who had two wives, Katherine, daughter of Calthorp; and Mary, daughter of John Shelton. He held his first court in 1538: by the first, he left only one son, Henry, married first to Anne, daughter of Sir Edmund Wyndham, Knt.; secondly to Anne, daughter of Eden of Sudbury; but leaving no issue, the manor of Gissing cum Dagworth, and the manor of Gissinghall in Roydon, which was held of the Queen as of Eye honour, at a quarter of a fee, descended divisible between his three sisters;

Mary, then married to John Smyth,

Anne, to Edward Everard, and Jane, unmarried, who seems to have after married to Edward Suliard, who bought in all the parts, and then sold them to

Sir Arthur Hevenyngham of Heveningham, Knt. who was the male heir of that family, being the eldest son of Sir Antony Heveningham, Knt. by his second wife. He kept his first court in 1579, and soon after manumised the manor in Gissing, by selling every tenant their own part, so that the united manors of Gissinghall and Dagworth's were lost, all but the royalties and fair, which the said Arthur sold to Richard Kemp of Westbrook in Suffolk; but the manor of Gissinghall in Roydon still continued in him, though he manumised a great part of that also.

Dagworth Manor[edit]

Was, in the Confessor's time, part of Earl Algar's manor of Winfarthing, under whose sole protection the freemen then were; but upon the Earl's forfeiture, it fell to the Conqueror, with Winfarthing, with which it was committed to Godric's custody, and remained in the Crown till King Henry II. in 1189, gave it to William de Munchensi, Knt. in which family it remained with Winfarthing, and went as that did, till Hugh de Vere granted it to

Sir John de Dagworth, who was lord in 1315. Thomas, his son, succeeded him; and Sir Nicholas, his son, followed; all these were great men and famous warriors in their days, but designing to speak of them in Blickling, where they were lords, and where the said Sir Nicholas is buried, I shall refer you thither, and shall only add, that Eleanor, widow of Nicholas, in the same year that he died, viz. 1401, conveyed it to

Sir John Hevenyngham, Knt. who held it of Winfarthing Hall manor, by the service of a quarter of a fee; from which time it always passed with the manor of Gissinghall in Gissing, till 1570, when Henry, son of Antony Heveningham, died seized, and

Anne, his wife, daughter of Sir Edward Wyndham, enjoyed it for life, as part of her settlement; at her death it reverted again to the Hevenynghams, of whom

Sir Edward Sulyard purchased it with Gissinghall in Gissing, and Gissinghall in Roydon: he sold it to

Sir Arthur Hevenyngham, Knt. who, after he had manumised great part of it, sold it with the manor of Gissinghall in Gissing, to

Richard Kemp of Westbrook, in Suffolk, and so, in 1595, it united to his other manors in this town.

Dallings's, alias Dawling Manor[edit]

Stephen Fitz-Walter, one of the lords of Diss hundred, infeoffed Walter Le-Bretone in the service of several villeins of blood, belonging to Gissing, with a messuage, and the homage and service of William Taylor, and other free tenants, to hold them of him and his successours, lords of the hundred, at the rent of 6d. a year, payable at Whilsontide and St. Andrew's, and 2d. yearly at the shrine of St. Edmund the King and Martyr at Bury. This Walter married Alberia, daughter of Sir Thomas, and sister of Sir Hugh Hastyng, by whom he had Guido, or Guy, his son, who granted four of his villeins, which Sir Thomas Hastyng had granted with his mother, from his manor of Gissing, to Sir Hugh Hastyng, Knt. son of Sir Thomas. In this family it continued till Henry Le-Bretun of Stanton-Wyvil in Leicestershire, sold to

Master Richard de Boyland, clerk, and his heirs, the inheritance in this manor, which Aveline and Amy his aunts lately held; and towards the latter end of Henry III. the inquisitions say, that Matild of Boyland had it. In 1283,

John, son of Sir Richard of Boyland, after the death of Matild or Maud his mother, sold it to

Simon de Dalling, and Isabell his wife. This Simon purchased of Robert Le-Bretun of Stanton-Wyvil, and Helen his wife, an annuity of 10l. rent, which he was to receive out of this manor, by the grant of his uncle, Robert Le-Bretun; and soon after, he purchased all his right in the manor; and to augment it, bought all the lands that John, son of Sir Richard de Boyland, had here: and to complete the title, they had a release from Isabell, widow of Robert Le-Breton. Simon and Isabell left issue,

John de Dalling, or Wode-Dalling, who in 1335, settled it on Maud his wife; they left issue, a daughter, who seems to have married William of Shimpling, who left a daughter by her, Joan, married to one Hervey; for in the inquisition taken at Will. de Shimpling's death, Joan Hervye is said to hold the sixth part of a fee of Will. Shimpling, which was formerly Matild of Boyland's. It looks as if she had no heirs, for

Roger of Shimpling died seized, leaving three daughters, of which

Katerine, married to Wm. Elingham, had this manor; they left Roger their son and heir, from whose descendants (if not from him) it came to

Thomas Gardiner, who joined it to this manor of Hastyngs, with which it went joined to the

Kemps; and thus having joined all these manors in that family, I shall now speak of their rise and descent, observing that this manor always continued in the eldest branch, except when it was held in jointure.

The name Kemp is derived from the Saxon word to kemp or combat, which in Norfolk is retained to this day, a foot-ball match being called camping or kemping; and thus in Saxon a kempen signifies a combatant, a champion, or man of arms. This family hath been of long continuance in this county; Galfrid Kemp lived at Norwich in 1272, Robert Kemp in 1306, and soon after, or about that time, lived,

Norman Kemp, whose son Roger, left Ralph, who married a daughter of De-la-Hant's.

William Kemp, their son, married a daughter of one Barnstaple, or Bainspath, whose son,

Alan Kemp of Weston in Suffolk, Esq. married Isabel, daughter to Sir Philip Hastyngs, and had issue John and Alexander, to which

John, Sir Philip Hastyngs, his grandfather, in 1324, gave the manor of Gissing; this John married Alice, daughter to Robert Duke of Brampton in Suffolk, coheir to Julian Buteveyleyn, and had for his share of her inheritance, the manors of Hastyngs and Dallings in Gissing, and left issue Robert, Ralph, John, Alice, and Anne. He is sometimes called in evidences John de Flordon, Esq.

Robert, the eldest, married Mary, daughter of Bartholomew White of Shottisham, Esq. He had another wife named Agnes, and a third, (as some pedigrees,) viz. Katerine, daughter of Roger Haukere of Redenhall; but left issue by Mary only, viz.

Jaffrey Kemp of Weston, Esq. who married the daughter of Sherrington of Cranworth, Esq. and left issue,

Robert Kemp of Gissing, Esq. who married Margaret, daughter of William Curson of Sturston in Suffolk, and by her had issue, Robert; and Edmund, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Style of London; John; and William, who was rector of Sturston; Ralph; and Cecily, who married John Melton of Sturston aforesaid; and Alice, a nun at Barking.

Robert Kemp of Gissing, Esq the eldest son, had two wives: Elizabeth, daughter to John Appleyard of Braken-Ash, Esq. by whom he had three daughters; Mary, married to Thomas Jernegan of Cove; Elizabeth, who was Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Catherine in 1523, and died unmarried; and Anne, married to Richard Bacon of Harleston, in Norfolk. His second wife was Anne, daughter to John Clifford of Holm-hale, Esq. and by her he had issue, Bartholomew, and Margaret, married to Robert Bleverhasset of Princethorp, in Warwickshire; Lewis, who had a remainder in tail in these manors; and Florence, married to Richard Woodhall of Fraunston, in Suffolk.

Bartholomew, the eldest, kept his first court in 1527, and married Anne, daughter to John Alleyn of Bury St. Edmund's, Esq. and Constance his wife, daughter and heiress of William Gedding, by whom he had issue, Robert, Bartholomew, who married Barbara Sharp of Cambridgeshire, Anthony, Edward, who married Mary, daughter to Edmund De-Grey of Merton in Norfolk, Esq. John, died unmarried, William, Francis, and Elizabeth, married to Lionel Throkemorton of Flixton. This Bartholomew died in 1554, and was, according to his will, buried in St. Mary's chapel, on the north side of Gissing chancel, by his wife. Their stones are disrobed of their brasses.

Robert Kemp, Esq. succeeded, who had two wives; Elizabeth, daughter to Edmund Smithwine (or Swiftling) of Buckinghamshire, by whom he had Richard, and John, first married to Anne, daughter of C. Cuddon of Weston in Suffolk. Secondly, to Anne, daughter to - - - - -Calthorp of Antingham in Norfolk, Margaret, married to Thomas Rouse of Cranford in Suffolk, and Anne, to Anthony Drury of Besthorp in Norfolk; his second wife was Elizabeth, daughter to Thomas De-Grey of Merton in Norfolk, Esq. by whom he had three sons and one daughter; Thomas, married to Anne, one of the heiresses of John Moore; Robert, married one of the heiresses of William Stanton, Esq.; William, married Thomazine, daughter of William Waldegrave, Esq.; Elizabeth, married John, son and heir to Robert Buxton, Esq. This Robert died seized of all the manors in this town in 1594, Elizabeth his wife surviving, who was jointured in Flordon manor.

Richard Kemp, his eldest son and heir, married Alice, daughter of John (or Phillip) Cockerham of Hamstead in Middlesex, Esq. being 55 years old at his father's death, before which time he had settled his reversion in the manors of Flordon, Gissing, Dalling's, Buteveyleyn's, and Dagworth, (which he had purchased,) together with Gissing Fair, on his wife. He was a barrister at law, and left

Robert Kemp, Gent. his son and heir, who settled Flordon, Gissing, and Dalling's on his wife Dorothy, daughter of Arthur Harris of Wodeham Mortimer, in Essex; and by an inquisition it appears, that he held Hastyng's, alias Buteveyleyn's, alias Kemp's manor, of the King, as of his manor of St. Edmund's Bury by half a fee; Dagworth manor of Edmund Bokenham, Esq. as of his manor of Thelvetham; Dawling of John Shardelowe, Gent. as of his manor of Shimpling-Ellingham's, at the eighth part of a fee; Flordon manor and advowson of Henry Earl of Northampton, as of Forncet manor, at one fee; and Burnett's of William Grey, Knt. as of Hadestun or Bunwell manor. He left two daughters, Dorothy and Elizabeth, and one son,

Sir Robert Kemp of Gissing, Knt. and Bart. created March 4, 1642; he married Jane, daughter of Sir Matthew Browne of Surrey, Knt. and left Robert, Thomas, Matthew, then married, Richard, and Jane, married to Thomas Waldegrave of Smallbridge, Esq.

Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. had two wives; Mary, daughter of John Kerridge of Shelley Hall in Suffolk, Esq. by whom he had four children, but all died in their minority; his second wife was Mary, daughter and sole heiress to John Soame of Ubbeston in Suffolk, Gent. by whom he had issue, Robert, John, who died young, William, who had Antingham in Norfolk given him by will, Mary, married to Sir Charles Blois of Cockfield in Suffolk, Bart. and Jane, married to John Dade, M. D. of Tannigton in Suffolk.

Sir Robert Kemp of Ubbeston, in Suffolk, Bart. eldest son of the aforesaid Sir Robert, had four wives; first, Letitia, daughter to Robert King of Great-Thurlow, Esq. by Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Steward of Barton-Mills, Esq. widow to Sir Robert Kemp of Finchingfield in Essex, Knt. by whom he had one daughter only that survived, viz. Mary, married to Sir Edmund Bacon of Garboldisham in Norfolk, Bart; his second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of John Brand of Edwardeston in Suffolk, by whom he had Sir Robert, the present Baronet, [1736,] John, a merchant, Isaac, a barrister at law, Thomas, now rector of Gissing and Flordon, and Benjamin of Caius College in Cambridge, Elizabeth, unmarried, and Jane, relict of William Blois, Esq. son of Sir Charles Blois, Bart. besides Edward, Letitia, and Anne, who died young. His third wife was Martha, daughter of William Blackwell of Mortlock in Surrey, by whom he had William, sometime of Pembroke Hall, in Cambridge, and Martha, a daughter unmarried, besides a former daughter named Martha, that died an infant. His fourth wife was Amy, daughter of Richard Phillips of Edwardeston in Suffolk, widow of John Burrough of Ipswich, Esq. who is now [1736] living; by her he had no issue.

Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. of Ubbeston in Suffolk is now [1736] lord and patron of Gissing, Flordon, and Frenze in Norfolk, and Ubbeston in Suffolk.

I meet with two great men of this name, John Kemp, born at Wye in Kent, LL. D. of Merton College in Oxford, Archdeacon of Durham, Dean of the Arches, first Bishop of Rochester, then of Chichester, then of London, Archbishop of York, and afterwards of Canterbury, Cardinal of St. Balbine, afterwards of St. Rufine, which was signified by this verse:

Bis Primas, Ter Prases, et Bis Cardine functus.

He died a very old man in 1453 (as Mr. Weaver, fol. 229, where is much more to be seen of him, as also in Newcourt's Repertorium, vol. i. p. 22, and in Godwin, p. 248.) The other was Thomas Kemp, his nephew, who was consecrated Bishop of London in 1449, by his uncle the Archbishop, of whom you may read in Weaver, fol. 361, and in Newcourt, vol. i. fol. 23, and in Godwin De Præs &c. 183; but whether they were any way related to this family I cannot say.

The Hall[edit]

was an ancient building, being the seat of the Hastyngses, after of the Kemps, till Sir Robert, (father of the present Sir Robert,) upon his removal to Ubbeston, pulled it down. The windows were adorned with the following coats:

Kemp quartered with Butteveyleyn, or Buttvelyn, impaled with

Loveday, per pale ar. and sab. an eagle displayed with two heads, counter-changed, gorged with a ducal coronet, and armed or.

Kemp and Buttvelyn quartered, impaling Bleverhasset.

The same impaling Jarnegan, ar. three mascle buckles gul.

The same impaling Throkmorton, quartering Baniard of Speckshall, sab. on a fess between two chevrons or, as many annulets united of the field.

Gul. a lion rampant ar. within a garter, a marquis's coronet.

In the parlour windows:

Kemp impaling Hastyngs. Kemp impales the following coats, viz.

Buttevelyn. Duke az. a chevron between three martlets ar.

Gurlen, erm. a bend counter-compony, ar. and sab.

Appleyard of Braken-Ash, az. a chevron between three owls ar.

St. Leger, az. fretté ar. a chief or.


Alleyn, parted per bend sinister dancetté ar. and sab. six martlets counter-changed.

Cockerham, ar. on a bend sab. three leopards faces or.

Herris, or, on a bend az. three cinquefoils pierced, of the field.

De-Grey of Merton quartered with Bainard.

Smithin or Smythwyne, sab. three chevrons ar. two mullets in chief and one in base or.

Kemp and Buttvelyn quartered, impaling

White of Shottisham, gul. in a bordure ingrailed, a chevron between three boars heads couped ar.

In a MSS. of Mr. Anstis's (E. 26, fol. 29) these arms are said to be in Gissing Hall, at that time the seat of Richard Kemp, Esq.; when the chapel was new glazed; in the chamber by the hall door were the arms of Gissing, Felton, and Framingham, and the pictures of two labourers thrashing wheat-sheaves, or garbs, in allusion to Kemp's arms, and this coat, viz. Kemp quartering

Duke, and on an escutcheon of pretence Hastyng's arms.

Kemp's crest is a pelican lighting upon a garb or.

In 1603, here were 150 communicants, and now there are 51 houses, and about 300 inhabitants; it hath a fair yearly on St. James's Day, which in 1378, was granted to Thomas de Gissing, Knt. together with a weekly market at Gissing; but that is now disused. It paid to the old tenth 3l. 10s. but 1l. being deducted, it was reduced to 2l. 8s The parliament valuation was 1252l. and the present valuation is 761l. [1736.]

The Lete belongs to the hundred, and the present leet fee is 2s.


This rectory is capable of augmentation, being sworn of the clear yearly value of 45l. The monks of Thetford had a portion of tithes here, formerly valued at 20s. It is in Redenhall deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry.

The Church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, in honour of whose assumption there was a gild founded in it, and another to St. John Baptist, to both which, in 1548, Nath. Hallyet was a benefactor, who at the same time founded a light of wax before the image of our Lady of Peace yearly, to the value of 2s. for which he tied a close called, Cockkys Close, for ever: he was buried in this church, which was confirmed by Henry II. to the monks of Butley in Suffolk, to whom it was soon after appropriated by John of Oxford, Bishop of Norwich, which was confirmed by John De Grey and Tho. de Blundevile, his successours; a pension of 26s. 8d. payable quarterly, being reserved out of the great tithes to the vicar; all which was several times confirmed by the Archbishops of Canterbury; and so it continued till 1424, and then Reginald De-Gray Lord Hastyngs, &c. recovered the advowson from them, and presented a rector; from which time it hath continued a rectory. It seems they could produce no grant from the King for the advowson, nor no confirmation from the Pope of the appropriation. Here is a small rectoryhouse, barn, stable, back-house, and 24 acres glebe, and a piece without contents.

Vicars and Rectors[edit]

  • 1326, prid. kal. July, John de le Nelde, de Schympling, priest, at the resignation of Thomas, the last vicar, presented by the Prior of Butley, as were all the following vicars.
  • 1337, 18 kal. June, Barth. de Banham, priest, on Nelde's resignation.
  • 1338, 29 May, John de Beck, of Banham, priest. Matthew, Prior of Butley.
  • 1354, 4 Nov. Will. Stannard of Diss, priest.
  • 1366, 10 June, Will. de Wodethorp, priest.
  • 1378, 28 April, Tho. Karman of Gissing, priest. William, Prior of Butley. He died in 1416, and is buried here.
  • 1416, 24 Nov. John Bele of Stanton, priest; he was the last vicar, for in
  • 1424, 8 Oct. Augustine Luce, priest, was instituted rector of the parish church of Winfarthing, at the presentation of Reginald de Grey Lord Hastyngs, Weysford, and Ruthyn, who by action at law had recovered the presentation against the Prior of Butley, by proving that it of right belonged to his lordship of Winfarthing.
  • 1423, 10 Dec. Will. Chircheman, priest, on Luce's resignation. Reginald de Grey.
  • 1427, 12 Feb. Will. Baldirton, alias Man, priest. Ditto.
  • 1436, 18 Octob. Robert Cleye, priest, on Man's resignation. Reginald de Grey, &c. in right of his lordship of Winfarthing, which came to him by hereditary descent; before this institution, the prior and convent of Butley were particularly called upon to justify their right (if they thought they had any) in this rectory.
  • 1446, 13 Aug. Sir Ralphe Veske, priest. Edmund Grey, Knt. Lord Hastyng, &c.
  • 1446, 24 Aug. John Tuttebury, on Veske's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1446, 3 March, John Shawe, on Tuttebury's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1447, April, John Witton. Ditto.
  • 1456, 6 July, Will. Spencer, at Witton's deprivation. Ditto.
  • 1469, 24 Octob. John Cokefield, doctor of the decrees, on Spencer's resignation. Edmund Gray Earl of Kent.
  • 1477, 28 April, Will. Banke, a licentiate in the decrees, on Cokefield's death. Ditto.
  • 1488, 24 April, Robert Jacson, on Banke's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1518, 5 Febr. Robert Laurence, on Jacson's death. The Earl of Surrey.
  • 1523, 28 March, Tho. Seaman, LL. B. on Laurence's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1535, 26 Aug. Sir Richard Flynte, chaplain to Charles Duke of Suffolk, was by that Duke presented to the church of St. Mary of Winfarthing, which he held with Blakenham in Suffolk.
  • 1576, 24 May, Stephen Strete, A.B. Queen Elizabeth.
  • 1594, 31 Aug. John Christian. The Queen.
  • 1603, Will. Mobbes, rector.
  • 1610, 20 Sept. Sam. Garey, LL. B. He bare gul. two bars ar. on each a mascle of the first; on a canton or, a leopard's face az. Crest, a buffler's head quarterly, gul. and sab. charged with four mascles. He was presented by John Holland, Esq. trustee to the Howard family. He was prebendary of Norwich, and author of many sermons and other divinity tracts, some printed, some MSS.
  • 1621, Daniel Reve of Banham, rector, died in 1628.
  • 1628, 6 Aug. John Jewell, A.M. Thomas Earl of Arundel.
  • 1637, 8 June, He resigned, and the bishop gave notice to the patron, and soon after Cooper Reynolds was instituted, who died rector; and in
  • 1641, Jan. 15, Philip Flight, A.M. succeeded. Lionell Earl of Middlesex, Henry Lord Mowbray, Henry Lord Pierpoint, and Edward Lord Newbury.
  • 1643, 1 Febr. Sam. Gardiner, A.M. on Flight's death. Lionell, &c.
  • John Coppin succeeded. He died Nov. 23, 1711.
  • 1711, March20, the Rev. Mr. John Phillips, the present [1736] rector. Robert Marsham, Bart.

The tower is square, having a peal of five bells in it; the nave south isle, and north porch are leaded, the chancel thatched.

On two brass plates in the nave:

Hic iacet Matheus Hallyet qui mortem obiitdie Maii, A. D. 1586, anno etatis sur, 54.

post tenebras spero lucem.

Herelyeth buryed the body of Thomas Hallyat, gent. of the age of 48 yeares, who deceased the 18th day of July, A. D. 1612, being the second son of Rob. Hallyat. gent. who also lyeth buried in this church.

Post mortem vitam eternam.

Many of this family (who were considerable owners) are buried in this church, several of their stones being robbed of their brasses.

About 1600, the following arms were in the windows, all which are now defaced, except these, viz.

Valence Earl of Pembroke, barry of ten pieces ar. and az. an orle of martlets gul.

Montchensie, or, three inescutcheons vair.

Bohun, az a bend between two cotizes, and six lions rampant or.

Ar. a bend raguled sab. Ar three roses gul. - - two bendlets or.

Hetherset, az. a leopard saliant or.

On the wall over the communion table were the arms of Norwich bishoprick impaling Bishop Reynold's arms, with this date, 1676; but they are now whited over.

In the south isle there is a black marble for Elizabeth Belville, alias Michell, who died April 5, 1683, aged 43.

Modesty, sobriety, and grace, Was the orniment, of her race.

Here was a clock formerly, which now stands disused in the south aisle; and in a chapel at the upper end thereof was placed a famous sword, called the Good Sword of Winfarthing, of which Becon, in his Reliques of Rome, (printed in 1563,) fo. 91, gives us the following account.

In Winfarthing, a littel billage in Norfolke, there was a rerteyne Swerd, called the Good Swerd of Winfarthyng, this Swerd was counted so prerious a relique, and of so great birtue, that there was a solemne pilgrimage used unto it, with large giftes and offringes, with bow makings, crouchinges, t kissinges: This Swerd was bisited far and near, for many t sundry purposes, but specialy for thinges that were lost, and for horses that were eyther stolen or else rune astray, it helpid also unto the shortning of a married mans life, if that the wyfe which was weary of her husband, would set a randle before that Swerd ebery Sunday for the space of a whole yeare, no Sunbay er cepted, for then all was bain, whatsoeber mas done before.

I have many times beard (says that author) when I was a rhild, of diberse ancient men and wemen, that this Swerd was the Swerd of a rertayne thief, which took sanctuary in that church pard, and after wards through the negligence of the watchmen escaped, and left his swerd behind him, which being found, and laid up in a rertaine old chest, was afterward through the suttilty of the parson and the clerk of the same parish, made a precious Relique, full of bertue, able to do much, but specially to enrich the bor, and make fat the parson's pouch.

Algar, a freeman of Herald's held all Wineferthinc as one manor in the Confessor's time, when it contained 6 carucates of land, two in demean, and four among the tenants: at the survey it was in the Conqueror's own hands, and then extended into Burston, Shimpling, Titshall, and Shelfhanger; it was valued in the first survey at 40s. and by the Conqueror at 8l. 3s. 4d. with the freemen; he committed it to Godric's care, who answered 7l. and no more. It was two miles long, and one mile broad, and paid 9d. geld.

This town is privileged as ancient demean, the tenants being excused from serving as jurors at the sessions or assizes, or any where else out of the manor, and from toll in markets and fairs, upon renewing their writ every King's reign, and having it annually allowed by the sheriff of the county.

It remained in the Crown till King Henry II. gave it to Sir William de Monte-caniso, (or Munchensie,) Knt. who gave a 100 marks to have seizin of this manor in 1189. He was grandson to Hubert Munchensy, who lived in the Conqueror's time, and son of Warine de Munchensy, and Agnes, daughter of Pain FitzJohn, his wife, and brother to Ralph, who died without issue, and left Sir Warine, his cousin, his heir, he married Joan, second daughter to William Marshal Earl of Pembrook, and in 1222, had scutage of all his tenants that held by military service in Norfolk, Suffolk, &c.; and in 1241, he was at that famous battle of Xantoine, against the French; in which, by his valiant deportment, he won great renown. In the 34th of Henry III. the King ratified to him all the liberties belonging to the lands of Ralph de Montchensy, his uncle, whose heir he was, all which were first granted by King Henry II.; among which, the tenants here were excused from the sheriff's turn, and from toll, and from serving upon any juries out of their manor, and he had assize of bread, ale, and wine with courtleet allowed him, and this further privilege, that the King's bailiffs should not enter his bailiwick of Winfarthing to take any distress, but the bailiff of that bailiwick should do it. He died in 1255, being then reputed one of the most noble, prudent, and wealthy men of all the realm, his inventory amounting to 4000 marks, a prodigious sum for that time. He left

William, his son, his heir, who had a park well stocked with deer in this parish. In 1259, in the 46th of Henry III. he was one of the discontented barons then at difference with the King, upon which account he received notice, that in case he did not personally repair to the court, to sign the agreement, (as divers of them did,) he might send his seal, for the better confirmation thereof; and in the 48th of the same King, having been one of the chief commanders on the part of the rebellious Barons in that fatal battle of Lewes, where the King was made their prisoner, the next year, when they sum moned a parliament in the King's name, he was one of the chief of those Barons that then sat therein; but not long after this, being taken at Kenilworth, in that notable surprise made by the forces of Prince Edward, a little before the battle of Evesham, his lands were seized, and given to William de Valence, half brother to the King, and Earl of Pembrook, who had married his sister Joan; whereupon Dionisia, his mother, who was daughter and heir of Nicholas de Anesty, undertook to bring him, before the feast of St. Hillary, in the 51st year of that King, to stand to the judgment of the King's Court, in pursuance of the decree called Dictum de Kenilworth; but being not able to perform it within that time, by reason of his sickness, she promised to bring him upon that very day, when he had such fair respect shewn him for his sister's sake, that William de Valence, her husband, freely restored him his lands again; after which, in 1277, he had a full pardon for his rebellion, and all the liberties granted by King Henry II. to his ancestors, confirmed at large, with this additional one, that he might keep dogs to hunt the hare, fox, and wild cat in his forests. In 1289, he went with the Earl of Cornwall (then governour of the realm in the King's absence) into Wales against Res Ap Griffith, at that time in the castle of Drosselau; (who had made great depredations in those parts;) and as he, with divers others, endeavoured to demolish that castle, by undermining it, he was with them overwhelmed and killed with the fall thereof; at whose death, Dionisia, his mother, had custody of his daughter and heiress, named also

Dionisia; and immediately after Hugh de Vere, a younger son to Robert Earl of Oxford, who was then the King's servant, obtained license, and married her in 1296; and in consideration of his great services in the French wars, had livery of her inheritance; Dionisia, her grandmother, being then living, who being a devout woman, founded Waterbeche nunnery in Cambridgeshire, in 1293; she died in 1303, and her lands descended to

Hugh de Vere, who had no issue by his wife Dionisia, so that her inheritance reverted to William de Valence, who had married Joan, sister to the last William de Munchensi, who, after the death of the said Hugh, had view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, and a tumbrel, or cucking-stool, allowed to this manor. And thus much of the ancient family of the Munchensis.

William de Valence Earl of Pembrook died seized, in right of Joan his wife, aunt to the last Dionisia, and sister to William de Munchensi, leaving

Audomar, or Aymer, de Valence Earl of Pembrook, his heir; who, in 1321, held it by one fee of the barony of Munchensi, and the manor or tenement called Hey-wood, of Robert Fitz-Walter, by the fourth part of a fee. He died in 1323, leaving no male issue, so that his sisters inherited, and this manor was allotted to

Isabell, who married John Hastings Lord Abergavenny, by whom he had

John de Hastyngs, who succeeded him, and Elizabeth, a daughter, married to Roger Lord Grey of Ruthin; John was succeeded by his son,

Laurence, who was five years old at his father's death, and by the King's license was in the custody of Julian his mother, who within a year after her first husband's death, married to Thomas le Blount, after whose death she married a third time to William de Clinton Earl of Huntingdon; this Earl, in 1351, is said to hold the manors of Winfarthing and Heywood, as guardian to the said Laurence, who, as soon as he came of age, was declared Earl of Pembrook, and the year following, being the 14th of Edward III. he attended the King in that great adventure against the French at sea, where he worthily shared in the glory of that victory obtained against them near Sluys in Flanders: but this was not the only brave action of this Earl, for he behaved himself valiantly all his life, as we find in Dugdale's Baronage, (p. 576,) where his brave achievements, and those of his family, are amply treated of. He died in 1347, leaving

John Hastyngs Earl of Pembrook, his son and heir, who married Anne, daughter of Sir Walter Manney, Knt. Being very active in the French wars, in 1371, he was made Lieutenant of Acquitain, at the special request of the inhabitants of that province, and was then about 25 years old; but unlucky it was for him that he had that honour, for upon his coming to the port of Rochell, which was then beleaguered by the French, no sooner was he got into the haven, but the Spanish fleet fell upon him, before he could put his men in order to fight, so that he was taken prisoner, his ships burnt, and all the English killed or taken, with no less than 20,000 marks, sent over by the King to maintain the war. After he had undergone four years imprisonment, with most inhumane usage, for a sum of money he was to have been enlarged, upon which he came to Paris, where falling sick, he hasted to Calais, but died on his journey, April 16, 1374, seized of these manors, which, among others, were assigned to

Anne, his widow, for her dower: she died in 1383, John de Hastyngs, their son, being then about eleven years old. This John, at the coronation of Richard II. (being then not five years old,) claimed to carry the great golden spurs, and shewing sufficient evidence of his right to do that service, Edmund Earl of March (whose daughter Phillipa he married) was allowed to perform it for him, by reason of his minority. He had no issue; for in the 13th Richard II. being then but seventeen years old, the King keeping his Christmass at Woodstock, and holding a tournament there, this young earl ventured to tilt with Sir John St. John, by an unlucky slip of whose lance he was run into the bottom of his belly, upon which his bowels burst out, and he soon died, to the great grief of many, being a person of so noble a disposition, that for bounty, manhood, and courtesy, he exceeded all of his age, and most of his degree. His untimely death was, at that time, thought a judgment upon his family, in regard that Aymer de Valence Earl of Pembrook, his ancestor, was one of those that passed sentence of death upon Thomas Earl of Lancaster at Pontfract; for it was observed, that after that judgment so given, none of the succeeding Earls of Pembrook ever saw his father. At his death,

Reginald Lord Grey of Ruthyn was by some inquisitions found to be his cousin, and heir of the whole blood, as descended lineally from Elizabeth, sister to John de Hastyngs, father of John, grandfather of this Earl; and by other inquisitions, Hugh de Hastyngs, son of Hugh, son of Hugh, son of the same John de Hastyngs, by Isabell, the daughter of Hugh Le Dispencer, his second wife, was found his heir male, but of the half blood, for which reason he did not inherit, though there was a great struggle for it, as there was for the arms of the Hastyngses, between Edward Hastyngs, great grandfather to this Hugh, and Reginald Lord Grey of Ruthyn; it lasted little less than twenty years, in the Court, before the Constable and Marshal of England; and in the end, the said Edward, though he was heir male, was not only condemned in 970l. 17s. 10d. costs, (Grey swearing that he had spent 1000 marks more,) but he was imprisoned sixteen years for disobeying that sentence, which was reputed a very hard and unjust one, and so Hastyngs thought it, for with extreme anguish of mind he died, leaving God's curse, and his own, upon his descendants, if they did not attempt the vindication of their right.

But to return; Roger Lord Grey of Ruthyn, by the said Elizabeth Hastyngs, had Reginald Lord Grey, whose son

Reginald inherited; and from an extent of this manor it appears, that here was then a hall, or manor-house, with a park well stocked with deer, all which were nothing worth above their outgoings, and repairs; and another enclosure, called a park, fenced in with pales, containing above 80 acres of arable land, worth 2d. each acre; that there were 8 acres meadow, worth 8d. each acre; that the quitrents were 10l. besides 600 days works in winter, worth a halfpenny each day; and 300 days works in autumn, worth 1d. each day, together with a wood called Hulver Wood, the underwood of which was worth 12d. a year; there was also a chase upon Winfarthing Common and Banham Green, worth 6d. a year, a windmill worth 2s. a year; the suits and perquisites of the courts worth 3s. 4d. a year clear. But though the Lord Grey inherited the rest of the Earl of Pembrook's estate, this and Heywood manors were in dower, and held by Phillipa, widow of the last earl, till 1400, in which year she died, having enjoyed it, notwithstanding Edward Hastyng's claim. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir William de Roos, by whom he had John, who married Constance, daughter of John Holland Duke of Exon, and relict of Thomas Mowbray Earl-Marshal; he died before his father, leaving two sons, Edmund and Thomas, at his grandfather's death, which was in 1440,

Edmund became heir to his honour and estate; he married Catharine, daughter to Henry Peircy Earl of Northumberland, and in the 5th of Edward IV. was created Earl of Kent; at his death in 1488, he left these manors in dower to Catharine, his widow, who died about 1399: and then they went to

George Earl of Kent, their son, who by suffering a recovery, settled it on King Henry VII. for payment of a great debt, with a remainder to himself and his heirs. After this, it was settled on Catherine, his second wife, who enjoyed it for her life; and then it went to

Richard Grey Earl of Kent, who died in 1523, having greatly wasted his estate. This and Heywood was part of the jointure of Elizabeth his wife; but in 1505, with her and her trustees consent, he sold them to

Robert Le'Strange, and his heirs, and a fine was levied accordingly, viz. of 2800 acres of land, 30l. rent in Winfarthing, Diss, Shelfhanger, Titshall, and Bokenham castle; and thus it passed from that family; this Robert Le'Strange dying seized, and left it to

John Le'Strange, his executor, to sell, of whom it was purchased by

Thomas Duke of Norfolk, from which time it went with that family, till Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surry sold this and Heywood, about 1643, to

Sir John Marsham of Cuckstone in Kent, Bart. who died seized in 1692, leaving it to his son,

Sir John Marsham, Bart. who died under age, and unmarried, in 1694, so that it came to

Sir Robert Marsham, Bart. in 1697; he was one of the six clerks in Chancery, and uncle to Sir John; he was succeeded by

Sir Robert Marsham, his son, who, by letters patent, was created Baron of Romney in Kent, and, in 1720, obtained an Act of Parliament to sell this estate, and to settle another in Kent already purchased, to the same uses; upon which it was vested in

Sir Thomas Daeth, Bart. and Edmund Probyn, serjeant at law, who, in 1724, conveyed it to

Humphry South of London, merchant, to the use of Mrs. Elizabeth Gray of London, (only child of John Gray, late of the island of Barbadoes, Esq.) who, by virtue of that purchase, is now [1736] patroness and lady of both Winfarthing and Heywood, which is called Winfarthing Outsoken manor.

In Queen Elizabeth's time there was a great suit for these manors, between the Earl of Surrey, who recovered, and the Earl of Kent, at which time Heywood manor was 26l. and Winfarthing 14l. per annum.

The leet belonged to the court-baron, and the courts of the insoken and outsoken of this manor extended into Brisingham, Kenninghall, &c.

Here were two parks, viz. the old and new park, and the rector had the herbage of both, for the composition of which 29s. 4d. was paid him; the rent of Hulver Wood was 6d. To this manor belongs Banham Heath, a great part of which lies in Diss hundred, which is divided by the Mere called the Hundred Mere, which divides the hundreds of Diss, Shropham, and Giltcross; and the drift of it, as far as that Mere belongs to Winfarthing, and is in the bounds of that parish; and according to ancient custom, the tenants of Winfarthing always drive their part the last day of April, and impound all weyfs and strays, in a ground called the Hall-Yards, in Winfarthing great park, in which the manor-house did heretofore stand. In 1604, this park was full of deer, and Sir Bassingbourn Gawdy of West Herling, Knt. had every year a fee doe and buck, and liberty of hunting them in that park, which was then my Lord of Arundell's.

This parish hath lands belonging to it, now [1736] let at 16l. per annum, of the gift of divers persons, out of which 2l. 11s. (called Lowndes' and Alden's gifts) is annually at Easter to be divided among such poor as are not collectioners, by the rector and churchwardens; the rest was given to repair the church. They have also three town-houses, one hath an acre of land adjoining to it, and another was the old Gildhall, the lands of which gild, were seized by the Crown, and were given by Queen Elizabeth, in the 27th year of her reign, to the Hallyats.

In 1600, there were 189 communicants, and now there are 50 dwelling-houses, and about 260 inhabitants. It paid 1l. 16s. to the tenths, was valued at 1236l. to the parliament valuation, and now at 934l. to the land tax. [1736.]

The Customs of the Manor are these: the eldest son is heir; the fine is at the lord's will; it gives no dower; the tenants build up, pull down, plant on the waste, and fell timber, without license.

The leet belongs to the hundred.

The Customs of the Rectory were first exemplified A° 45 Eliz. and after that A° 8 James I. 7 June, and are these:

They pay 1d. a year for each cow, in lieu of lactage.

For every calf under seven, 1 ob. the seventh being due in kind to the rector, he allowing 1 ob. for each calf above seven, and under ten.

Instead of tithe hay, or herbage, the parishioners pay 2d. an acre to the rector, except all tithe hay growing on the common meadows, which is due in kind.

They pay for every foal 1d. a year, till it comes to work.

And for every heifer 1d. a year, till it is milked, or otherwise converted.

Every inhabitant on All-Saint's Day pays 1 ob. in lieu of all tithe for fruit, and all fuel spent in the town.

Tithe pease are due every tenth stetch, as soon as they are cut by the owner; all corn, and other small and great tithes whatsoever, are due in their proper kind, the small tithes on Lammas Day, the rest as they are separated.


Is a large parish, containing the whole town of Semere, which, at the Conquest, was as large as Dickleburgh itself, to which it is now a hamlet. This town was anciently divided into four parts or portions, each of which had a rector of its own, and served in their turns in Dickleburgh church. The first portion was called sometimes Fouldon, sometimes the Portion in the Marsh, (it being the lowest part of the town,) sometimes the Portion of Henry, who was rector in 1256, but most commonly, the Portion of Richard, who was rector of it when the Lincoln taxation was made, it being then valued at x. marks; out of this portion the Abbot of Bury had an annual pension of xv.s. The second was called, the Portion in the Fields (it being the upper part of the town,) sometimes the Portion of Henry, and sometimes Culphoe's Portion, John de Culphoe being rector at the Lincoln taxation, and John of St. Edmund's Bury, at the Norwich taxation, when it was valued at c.s. and paid a pension to the Abbot of St. Edmund of ix.s. yearly. The third portion belonged to that part of the town which is now called Langmere, and is still a hamlet belonging to it, all which lies in the hundred of Earsham, and hath a separate leet, which now belongs to Dickleburgh Hall manor, and its jurisdiction extends to all that part of the town which lies in Earsham hundred. The leet and royalties of the other part in Diss hundred belonging at this time to the lord of the hundred, but there are no leet fees due to either of them; this was in the Conquest included in Semere, of which it was near the half, and was given to Butley priory, after the decease or cession of Ranulf the chaplain, who had been presented thereto by William de Aubervil, and Maud his wife, which Maud was daughter to Ranulf de Glanvil, and belonged to the land that the said Ranulf held of Thomas Noell; at the Norwich taxation it was valued at x. marks, and in the Lincoln at xiii. marks; it was appropriated to that convent about 1180, by John of Oxford, Bishop of Norwich, without any vicar to be endowed, they being obliged to find a stipendiary chaplain only, who was to administer the sacrament, and perform all duties to the parishioners of that portion only; this was confirmed by several Archbishops of Canterbury, and by Thomas de Grey, and Thomas de Blundevile, or Blomevile, Bishops of Norwich; and thus it continued till 1454, when it was disappropriated by consent of all parties, and consolidated to the other Portions, the Abbot of Bury giving the prior security that the future rectors should ever pay to that priory, a yearly pension of 3s. 4d. a year, clear of all service due from the said portion. The prior also had lands in this part of the town, given by Ranulf de Glanvil, which were taxed at 1d. 0b. The fourth Portion was called Semere, and contained the other half of Semere, that lay in Diss hundred, and was sometimes called Matthew's Portion, from Matthew, who was rector of it at the Norwich taxation, when it was taxed at vj. marks; it was after named Alexander's Portion, but most commonly John's Portion, from John de Hemenhale, who was rector of it at the Lincoln taxation, in which it is valued at 6 marks and an half; this portion was of the smallest value, because it was chargeable with a pension, (valued in the Norwich taxation at 8s. and in the Lincoln at 10s.) payable every year, to the Prior of St. Faith's at Horsham; concerning this pension, I find in a register formerly belonging to Bury abbey, a grant made by Reymund, Prior of St. Faith's, to Sir Ralph Hemenhale, parson of the fourth part of Dickleburgh, and his successours for ever, of two parts of the tithes of the demeans formerly of Sir William de Cheyney, of the fee of his barony of Horsford in this town, by the authority and consent of Ralf de Walpole Bishop of Norwich, and his chapter, for the annual payment of 10s. sterling, which tithes were given by the said William to that monastery; all which demeans, with their several quantities, names, and tenants, are recited therein. The deed was sealed by the Bishop, the Abbot, the Prior of St. Faith's, the Rector, and the Prior of Norwich; and for this pension the Prior was to allow and pay 12d. tenths. The two Portions called Fouldon and Semere were consolidated in 1429, and in 1449, they were consolidated to the Portion in the Fields; and in 1454, the appropriation of Langmere Portion being resigned, it became one rectory, chargeable with the annual pensions of 3s. 4d. to the Prior of Butley, 10s. to the Prior of St. Faith's, and 24s. 1d. 0b. to the Abbot of Bury, and hath so continued ever since.

This advowson, with the manor now called The Rectory Manor, was procured by Syward, a monk of Bury, at which time it belonged to the manor of Titshall, and with that was given to this monastery, there being at that time only one chaplain or parish priest; but before the Conquest, the Abbot had given the manor to the church, and infeoffed it in two priests, who held it at the survey; these, with the parochial priest, made three portions, all which were in the presenta tion of the Abbot of Bury till the Dissolution, each rector having a house, with a carucate of land, a third part of the manor, (which they divided,) and the tithes of their separate portions; at the Dissolution, the advowson went to the Crown, and was granted, in 1536, to Thomas and James Bacon, Esq. and the heirs of Thomas; in 1547, they aliened it to Nicholas Bacon, Esq. and his heirs; and he, in 1550, to Thomas Godsalve and his heirs, who, in 1557, sold it to William Mingay, and he soon after to Stephen Lacy, Gent. and he to John Whitman, who, in 1567, aliened it to Charles Le-Grice, Esq. and his heirs, who kept it but a little while; for in 1570, it belonged to John and Thomas Whipple, and John Whipple of Pulham-Market, in which family it continued some time; for in 1603, William and Thomas Whipple were patrons, who left it to their daughters; the one married to Robert Boiens, the other to George Gawdie, both which held it in their wives' right in 1632, from whom it came (I suppose by sale) to Thomas Buxton, who at his death left it to Thomas, his son, and he dying without issue, left it to his wife, and her heirs; and soon after it belonged to one Congham of Wells, of whom George Chamberlain, D. D. Fellow of Trinity-College in Cambridge, purchased it, and presented his nephew Samuel Needham to it, after whose death he gave it to the Senior Fellow of Trinity-College for ever.

The rector hath a good house and 80 acres of land adjoining to it, together with the Rectory Manor, the Custom of which is, that the copyhold descends to the youngest son, and the fine is at the lord's will. It is in the deanery of Redenhall, and archdeaconry of Norfolk, and liberty of his Grace the Duke of Norfolk, and is thus valued, the pensions being bought off:


The First Portion, called Fouldon, or the Portion in the Marsh.

  • 1256, Henry was rector.
  • Richard.
  • 1291, John de Melford, priest.
  • 1334, Robert de Penteny, accolite.
  • 1376, 21 March, John de Watton, priest.
  • 1410, 28 Sept. Robert Serjeaunt, priest.
  • 1411, 27 October, John Tybbynham, priest, in whose time Semere Portion was consolidated to this, viz. Octob. 25, 1429.
  • 1446, 17 Sept. John Brigge, chaplain, on Tybbynham's resignation, at whose death, in 1454, they were consolidated to the Portion in the Field, and John Bulman had possession of them Dec. 13, 1454.
  • The Second Portion, or the Portion in the Fields. Roger the parson.
  • 1231, Henry Freeman, rector.
  • 1276, John of St. Edmund's Bury, rector.
  • 1291, John de Culpho, rector.
  • 1316, 13 kal. Oct. John de Culpho, sub-deacon.
  • 1329, 7 id. Octob. Andrew de Bynham, priest.
  • 1329, 6 id. March, Robt. de Norton, priest, on Bynham's reignation.
  • 1349, 30 October, Robert de Fouldon.
  • Godfrey de Snetisham.
  • 1391, Will. Cornewaille, priest, on Snetisham's resignation.
  • 1392, Richard Marwyk, on Cornewaille's resignation.
  • 1393, Thomas Elyott, on Marwyk's resignation.
  • 1394, Richard Aylweyn, on Elyott's resignation.
  • 1402, 25 October, William Bardoclyff, on Alyweyn's resignation, John Osberne.
  • 1417, 27 Jan. Tho. Wode, a shaveling.
  • John Knowlls, on whose resignation
  • John Bulman succeeded, in 1449.
  • The Fourth Portion, or the Portion of Semere.
  • 1231, Matthew of Cambridge, rector to 1256.
  • 1256, Jan. 18, Master Rustand, sub-deacon, chaplain to the Pope, presented by the King, during the vacancy of the abbey.
  • Alexander the priest.
  • 1266, Ivo the priest.
  • William de Lopham.
  • 1288, Ralph de Hemenhale, on Lopham's death.
  • 1291, John de Hemenhale.
  • 1302, 10 kal. Apr. Robert de Gravenny, or Craneby, priest.
  • 1322, 5 id. July, John de Hemenhale, priest.
  • 1349, 4 Nov. William de Melford.
  • 1357, Henry, son of John de Lydgate, priest, on Melford's resignation.
  • 1360, 22 Decem. Peter de Hoo, on Lydgate's resignation.
  • 1360, 6 March, Thomas Osberne, priest, on Hoo's resignation.
  • 1361, 17 Nov. John de Edlington, accolite.
  • 1365, 27 April, Gilbert de Wortham, on Edlington's resignation.
  • 1399, Richard Fysch, priest.
  • 1400, 8 Octob. Thomas Page, priest.
  • 1402, 5 August, Simon Smith, on Page's resignation.
  • 1402, 9 August, Thomas Faldyngworth, on Smith's resignation.
  • Thomas Wylomond, at whose resignation in
  • 1417, 3 Sept. Thomas Kynthorp was instituted.
  • 1421, Thomas Savage, priest.
  • William Brixey, on Savage's resignation. He died 1429, and in that year
  • October 5, it was consolidated to Fouldon, or the Portion in the Marsh.
  • 1449, John Bulman was instituted to the Portion in the Fields, on the resignation of Thomas Wode; and in 1454, 13 Dec. the consolidated portions of Fouldon and Semere were consolidated to this, and possession given to John Bulman aforesaid, who held the whole benefice till 1497, and then resigned it; upon which, in
  • 1497, 6 June, John Alleyn, A. M. was instituted to Dekylburg, with all the portions annexed.
  • 1531, 24 Dec. Rich. Eden, doctor of the decrees. The King, by grant from the Abbot.
  • 1551, 4 Aug. Tho. Cardon, A. M. on Eden's death. Tho. Godsalve of Norwich, Esq.
  • 1554, 23 Dec. William Stockwith, priest. Ditto.
  • 1557, 30 October, Richard Lusser, A. M. on Stockwith's resignation.
  • 1558, 2 Sept. James Green. William Mingaye, Alderman of Norwich.
  • 1561, Tho. Roberts, A. M. on Green's resignation. Lapse.
  • 1576, 28 June, Robert Sayer, D. D. on Robert's death. Henry and Tho. Whipple of Dickleburgh, Gent.
  • 1622, Christopher Barnard, dispossessed by the Earl of Manchester in 1643.
  • 1643, Elias Crabtree had it, at the dispossession of Mr. Barnard; he signed the attestation of the ministers of this county, Ao 1648.
  • 1662, Mr. Barnard was restored, and the 22d Sept. in this year, he subscribed the Articles, being at that time master of arts.
  • 1680, 11 October, John Richar, A. M. on Barnard's death. John Richar, and Nich. his son, for this turn.
  • 1684, 19 April, Samuel Needham, on Richar's death. George Chamberlain, S. T. P. Fellow of Trinity-College in Cambridge, perpetual patron.

He was succeeded by John Whitfield, D. D. of Trinity-College, Cambridge.

The Rev. John Baker, D.D. the present [1736] rector, succeeded at the death of Dr. Whitfield. Trinity-College, Cambridge, patrons.

In 1643, Christopher Bernard, "was dispossessed by the Earl of Manchester, who tendered him the covenant, and offered him to keep his place if he would take it, both which he generously refused, and by necessary consequence brought on himself the common calamities and fate which then attended loyalty and fidelity to his Majesty, for his house was plundered and rifled of a great deal of plate, linen, and other goods; he was also seized and dragged away towards Norwich castle, but by his excellent life and doctrine, he had so much recommended himself to his parishioners, that they thought a greater judgment could not befall them, than to loose him, and so by consent they followed the party that had him in custody, and rescued him: they also gave this further testimony of their affection towards him, that when the villains had designed to plunder his house a second time, unknown to him, they voluntarily went, and by force secured the remainder of his goods in their own houses, and even the very women and children assisted in this perilous undertaking, to the manifest hazard of their safety, perhaps of their lives, if it had been discovered. He had at the time of his sufferings, a wife, and at least nine young children, which helped to compleat his misery, and sufficiently aggravated the barbarities which were exercised upon him; 'tis remarkable he had always a firm perswasion of his Majesty's Restauration, which he afterwards lived to see, and was himself one of the first ministers restored in this county, after which he enjoy'd his rectory 20 years, and having been admitted about the year 1620, and not dying 'till 1680, (in the 84th year of his age) he must in all have been rector of it near 60 years."

Thus far Mr. Walker, in which account there are some small errours, all which may be corrected by this inscription on his stone in the chancel, viz.

D. S.

Christopherus Barnard Filius secundus Roberti Barnard de Langham, juxta Wells in Comitatu Norf: Gen: hujus Ecclesiæ per quinquaginta, Et octo annos Rector, et Alicia uxor ejus, Henrici Congham de Wells, Gen: et Annæ uxoris, filia primogenita, ex Quâ decem suscepit Liberos, Filios silicet, quatuor, Henricum, Edwardum, Robertum, et Christophorum, Filiasq; Sex, Sc. Ceciliam, Annam, Mariam, Aliciam, Brigettam, Et Sarah, E quibus altera Obijt xxio Die Mensis Octobris Ao Dom: MDCLX. Ætat: Suæ LXII. alter quinto die Mensis Octob: Ao Dom: MDCLXXX. Ætat. Suæ LXXXIII. contumulantur Heic, in quorum Memoriam, Alicia Filia Humphredi Rant, Gen: uxor, hoc Marmor L. M. P. P. Isti sunt Liberi Edwardi Bernard, Rectoris de Dyss, Anna, sepulta 11 Febr. 1662. Edwardus sepult. 16 Sept. 1665. Sarah sepult. 16 Jan. 1668. Dorothea sepulta. 16 May 1670. Quorum Exuviæ ad Caput hujus Marmoris Sunt Depositæ.

The Church is a regular building, having its nave, two isles, with a chapel at the east end of each of them; the chancel, vestry, and south porch all covered with lead, a square tower and five bells at its west end, on the second, third, and fourth bells are these verses:

2. Sonitus Egidii acccndit ad Culmina Celi.

3. Dulcis Sisto melis, Campana vocor Michaclis.

4. Sum Rosa pulsata mundi, Maria vocata.

It is dedicated to the honour of all the Saints, and had a gild held in the south isle chapel, which acknowledged St. Peter and Paul for their patrons. The guildhall now stands on the west side of the churchyard, and is used as a town-house.

The following arms were in this chancel as Mr. Anstis's MSS. tell us:

Bishop Lyhart, ar. a bull passant in a bordure sab. bezanté.

England with a label of five az.

Wakering, ar. three falcons leures sab.

And in the upper windows of the church there still remain the cross-swords and cross-keys, the emblem of St. Peter and Paul, the patrons of the gild, the emblems of the Trinity and of the Sacrament; the instruments of the Passion; the arms of Bury abbey; of the EastAngles; and of St. George, and also an imperfect coat of three escalops, the arms of the bishoprick. Erm. a fess lozenge gul. Gul. a fess ar. Az. a cross floree between five martlets or.

Round the step of the font is this:

Grate pro anima Roberti Buring, et pro animabus quibus tenetur, qui istum

Fontem in Honore Dei fecit.

On a stone in the middle alley near the pulpit, Jarnegan's arms, with a crescent for difference. Crest, from a coronet a demi-eagle displayed.

Here resteth in the Lord Mrs. Elizabeth Whipple, Wife unto Thomas Whipple, Gent: and Daughter of Mr. John Jarnegan of Belton in Somerlee, Esq; Sonne unto Sir John Jarnegan, Kt. which said Eliz: departed this life the 4th Day of Sept: 1617. Aged 65.

What worth in Woman, or a Wife could be, What Goodness vailed in fraile Mortalitie, A godly Mind, a goodly shape in Youth, A bounteous Hand, wise Heart, unspotted truth. These Jewells ceased to'th High King's Use, by Death, Lo heere laid up, their Owner, Elsabeth. Veni citô Jesu.

On a stone in the chancel:

Dorothea Mason, Relicta Thomæ Mason, Vicarij de AshlyMagna, in agro Leicestriæ, Obijt Maij 7mo. 1690.

Anne the wife of William Owls, minister of Billingford, daughter of Thomas Sayer, was buried here in 1620, as appears by a circumscription on a stone in the altar rails.

On a black marble in the chancel:

H. S. E. Maria, Johannis Whitfield, S. T. P. hujus Ecclesiæ Rectoris Uxor, Filia Gulielmi Palgrave nuper de Pulham, Gen: Quæ dum in Connubio vitam ageret, per Quadrennium cum dimidio, Conjugis optimæ et amantissimæ Vices præstitit, Pietate in suos, Benignitate in propinquos, amabilem sine obtrectandi Usu, præbere se voluit, et quidem Egenis sublevandis Operam dare, ei maximam erat in delicijs, occubuit Fato, Christi Meritis fidens, Julij 21mo. die, Anno MDCCXXX. Ætatis suæ tricesimo tertio, Hunc Lapidem Conjugij eorum memor, Maritus posuit Mærens, Ipse etiam, apud Wem in Agro Salop: Natus, Coll: S.S. Trin: Cant: aliquando Socius, vir, bonis Literis, Eloquio, & Humanitate, si quis alius, insignis, sub eadem hoc Lapide requiescit, 16 Octob: 1731, Ætat: 50.

Arms are, a bend between two cottises ingrailed, impaling a lion rampant.

On the north side of the chancel is a noble mural monument, of various sorts of marble, with a lady holding a book, and under her the following inscription:

Here under lyeth buried, the Body of Dame Frances Platers, the daughter and heir of Charles Le Grys, of Billingford in Norff. Esq; she marryed Sir William Playters of Satterley in Suff. Knt. & Bart. sometimes one of the deputie Lieuetenants, and Vice Admir: of the said County, and Justice of the Peace & Coram, and Coll. of a Regiment of Foot, 'till turn'd out of all, by the then Rebellious Parliament, and in fine out of that Hous of Parliament, whereof he had the Misfortune to be a Member. She had Issue by him only Tho: who married with Rebecka, the Daughter and Co-heir of Tho: Chapman, of Woormly in the County of Hartford, Esq; which said Sir Tho: was a great Traveller, before and after Marriage, his Ladie sometimes beyond the Seas with him, a learned Scholler, an exact Linguist, expert in all Arts and Knowledge, of rare Temper and Courage, and of great Esteem in most Courts in Christendom, High Sheriff for the Countie of Suff: by Commission from his Majestie of Blessed Memorie, Ao 1646, 'till forced by that fatal Parliament, to flee to the King at Oxford, where by Commission from his Majestie, he raised a Regiment of Hors, wherewith he performed remarkable Service, 'till his Majesties Forces were totally ruin'd, and then he departed the Kingdome, arriving in Cicilia, where by Commission from that Viceroy, he had Command of a Squadron of Six Shipps, against all Enemies to the Crown of Spain, which being prepared, he put to Sea, and performed many gallant Services, much to the Honour of the Spanish Flagg. In July 1651, he put into the Port of Messina with a very rich Prize, and posted to the Court at Palermo, where he met with an Honble Reception, for the several good Services he had performed, but at 4 Days End, he there fell ill of a violent Fever, whereof within 8 Dayes he died, aged about 35 Years, and by the Princes Ordir, had an honourable Intermt. & much lamented there, but much greater cause at Home, leaving no Issue, but a sorrowful Widw & sad Childless Parents; the said Dame Frances dyed at Billingford-Hall the 9th of Sept. 1659, from whence by her own desire she was brought, and interred in this Parish, to which she often manifested a Charitable Affection.

On the top are the arms of Platers, bendy wavy of six, ar. and az. impaling

Le-Grice, quarterly az. and gul. on a bend ar. three boars sab.

Plater's crest, on a wreath ar. and az. a lion rampant ar. crowned or.

Le-Grice's crest, on a wreath ar. and gul. a boar sab. armed or.

Platers with Ulster arms, and his quarterings, viz. 1. Ar. a chevron sab. between three estoils gul. 2. Vert, a lion rampant ar. 3. Sab. a chevron erm. between three Catherine-wheels ar. 4. Ar. a chevron between three nags' heads cooped sab. bridled or. 5. Sab. a fess between two chevrons or. 6. Ar. on a fess az. two crowns or. 7. Az. three cinquefoils or. 8. Erm. on a chief gul. three lozenges or. 9. Ar. on a chief gul. three de-lises or.

Le-Grice and his quarterings, viz. 1. Gul. three crescents or, a fess ar. 2. Sab. on a chevron ar. three holly leaves vert. 3. Barry of ten ar. and az. on a canton gul. a lion passant or. 4. Ar. on a chevron ingrailed sab. three mullets of the field. 5. Quarterly, or. and az. 6. Az. a fess indented between three martlets or. 7. Sab. a chevron between three cinquefoils or. 8. Er. a cross chequy or and gul. 9. Sab. two lions passant guardant ar. 10. Ar. two chevrons gul. 11. Az. a fess between two chevrons ar. 12. Vert, three round buckles or. 13. Or, a raven ascending proper. 14. Ar. a cross ingrailed sab. 15. Barry of ten gul. and az.

On the east side of this monument is an ancient painting on the wall, half of which hath been lately renewed, viz. Christ bearing his cross; the other part that is still obscure, I take to be Christ rising from his sepulchre.

The plate belonging to the altar is very fine; the flaggon holds about two quarts, on which is this:

A Gift to the Church of Dickleburgh, Ao 1715.

The cup is a very good one, and was purchased by the parish in Queen Elizabeth's time, together with a neat small salver for its cover; on it is this,


There is also a good salver, on which, Tho. Buxton, Gent. et Eliz: uxor, de Dickleburgh, Norf: 1697.

An offering plate of silver, on which,

Ex Dono Aliciæ Rant.

Here is a grave-stone which was laid over Robert Frense, in the Middle Alley, though the brass is now gone.

The Town Lands And Gifts[edit]

Are, a messuage called Clerks, and a close adjoining, lying in ThorpAbbots, abutting on the highway south, and the common called Thorp Green, and a close called Langlond, north, and abuts west on Thorp Green, and also one acre in Thorp, the west head abuts on Thorp glebe; and also a piece of meadow in Thorp, together with 14 acres in Titshall, all being freehold; the Thorp lands were given by John Billorne, chaplain, anno 1483, and the Titshall lands by William Hyll of Dickleburg, anno 1484, and were all settled by deed of feoffment, dated Febr. 10, 1500, to the use of all the inhabitants of the town and parish of Dickleburg, as well those that inhabit in the greater part of it, which is in the hundred of Dysse, as those that inhabit in the hamlets of Langmere and Lincroft, which lie in the hundred of Hersham, towards the payment of the tallages and fifteenths of our Sovereign Lord the King, on this condition, that the sixth part of the profits shall go towards discharging the hamlets aforesaid. This land now belongs to the parish.

They have also a pightle of one acre, called Dove-house Pightle, and a close of two acres, called the Town Close, both which belonged to the gild, and were purchased by the parish with the guildhall.

There is a gift also of 20s. a year, called Chapman's Dole, paid out of lands in Burston, which was given by Ralph Chapman, anno 1618.

The Earl's, or Dickleburgh Hall Manor[edit]

Was the most considerable in this town, (except that which was granted by the Abbot to the rectory,) though its beginning was very small, as we learn from Domesday; but soon after the Conquest it was enlarged, by the Abbot's infeoffing the Earl of Norfolk, in this part, and all those lands, services, &c. which belonged to the Abbot's capital manor, and were not granted with the rectory manor; and in this family it continued, till the death of Roger Bygod, the last Earl of that line, who held it jointly with Alice his wife in the year 1306, at which time it contained 180 acres of land in demean, 7 of meadow, 7 of pasture, 40 acres wood, 2 windmills, &c. and was held of Robert Fitz-Walter, lord of Diss hundred, at 2s. per annum rent, paid to his hundred of Diss, to which the leet of this part always did, and now [1736] doth belong. This Roger died in the 35th of Edward I. without issue, upon which it came to the Crown, and was granted anno 6th Edward II. to Thomas de Brotherton, EarlMarshal, with the barony of the Bygods; in 1315, the CountessMarshal had it. In 1351, John Lord Segrave of Fulkestone in Kent had it, in right of Margaret his wife, daughter of Thomas de Brotherton. In 1360, Edward Mountague, (or de Monte Acuto,) and Alice his wife, one of the daughters and heirs of Thomas de Brotherton, held one moiety as part of the barony of that Earl, and Joan their daughter, then wife of William Ufford, was their heir. In 1371, Walter Manney, Knt. held the other moiety in right of Margaret his wife, late wife of John Lord Segrave, and one of the heiresses of Thomas de Brotherton. In 1331, William de Ufford Earl of Suffolk died seized of one part: and in 1399, Thomas de Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, who had been banished for speaking disgracefully of King Richard II. died in banishment at Venice, of the plague, in his return from Jerusalem, seized of this among other manors in 1406, and it was after held by Elizabeth his widow, who after married to Sir Gerard de Usflete, and died July 8, in the 3d year of King Henry VI. leaving it to John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, who, in 1432, held it as of Forncet manor; and in this family it continued till the male issue failed, and then it descended to the Howard family, and continued in it till seized by Queen Elizabeth in 1572, upon the Duke of Norfolk's attainder; notwithstanding which, in 1576, Nov. 17, William Dyx of Wickmere, Esq.; and William Canterell of Norwich, (Gent. as trustees to the Norfolk family) let to Thomas Whipple of Dickleburgh, Gent. the liberty of fishing and fowling in Semere Moor, and the Damm's Dyche in Dickleburgh, that is, as much as to that manor belonged, for 21 years, at 3s. 4d. a year. In 1602, Thomas Lord Howard and Henry Howard held it; in 1604, John Holland and Thomas Holland kept their first court, as trustees to that family, and some time after sold it, with their consents, and by their order, In 1641, John Tindall, Gent. was lord; and in 1649, Aslake Laurence, Esq. kept court here. In 1654, John Tindall kept his first court, after it was conveyed to him by Aslake Lawrence. In 1656, Mary Tindall, widow, kept her first court; and in 1657, Robert Congham, clerk, had his first court; in 1658, he leased it to Thomas Buxton, Gent. and Anne Congham; in 1665, Anne Congham, widow, was lady of it; in 1667, Thomas Buxton, and Robert Howard, Gent. kept court; and in 1669, John Noblet, clerk, was lord. In 1672, Anne Noblet, widow; in 1678, Thomas Buxton, Esq.; in 1681, Thomas Buxton, Gent. held his first court; in 1698, Elizabeth Buxton, widow; in 1700, John Michael, clerk, in right of his wife; in 1716, Elizabeth Michael, widow, who during her widowhood granted it to Samuel Nedham, clerk, rector of Dickleburgh, and his heirs, after her decease; who at his death gave it to Lydia Nedham, his wife, who kept court in 1724, and she, jointly with Mr. William Nedham, late rector of Moulton-Magna, her eldest son, sold it, in the year 1733, to

His Excellency Horatio Walpole, Esq. who is the present lord. [1736.]

The Customs of this Manor are these: The eldest son is heir; the fine is at the lord's will; it gives a third dower; the tenants cannot waste their copyhold-houses, nor fell timber upon the copyhold, or waste, without license.

There were formerly three other manors, all which belonged to Semere, and are now fallen into Dickleburgh Hall manor, of which I meet with the following accounts.

The chief of Semere was, at the Conquest, in the Abbot of Bury, who held it as a manor, worth at that time 40s. it being a mile and quarter long, and as much broad, and paid 6d. geld.

This was soon after the Conquest divided into three parts, the first of which belonged to the Glanvills, and was given by Ranulph de Glanvill, with Maud his daughter, to William de Aubervil, who married her, and was one part of that land which belonged to Thomas Noell, of whom it was then held; it was after changed with Cecily Carbonel, for other lands which she had in Wauteshall. In 1249, Ralph Carbonel was lord of it, and had the assize of bread and beer of all his tenants, as the inquisition at that time shews us. From him it went to Hugh de Semere, who held it of the Abbot; and in the latter end of Henry the Third's reign, John de Somery held in Semere the fourth part of a fee: it continued in his family till 1401, and then was aliened by John de Somery, to John de Boune, and not long after seems to be joined to the Earl's manor.

The second part of Semere was, in the Conqueror's time, held by Walter, under Robert Malet, lord of Eye, to which honour it was appendant for some time; and about the year 1200, Sir William Cheyny had it, as part of his barony of Horsford, from which time I meet with no accounts of it till 1370, when it belonged to Robert Bacon, who was outlawed for felony; he is said to hold it of Edmund Ufford le Cousyn, by knight's service, as of his barony of Horsford. It then contained two messuages, 120 acres of land, &c. and Joan was wife of the said Robert, who, in 1391, sued the King for it as her right, at her husband's death, in 1414; she had license granted her by the Bishop of Norwich, to have mass said to her in any decent place. These licenses were then usually granted to aged people that could not come to church, or to people of distinction that lived at a distance, in which case the priest always had a consecrated portable altar to officiate at. In 1455, Richard Bacon had it; in 1538, John Shelton and Anne his wife conveyed it by fine to Henry Whipple, in whom it was joined to the Earl's manor.

Mantelake's, or Manclerk's Manor[edit]

Was the third manor in Semere, and had its name from some of its former lords, though I meet with none of them of that name. In 1191, a fine was levied of it, Alan and William Walter (two brothers) being petents, and Roger de Dicclesburc tenant, whereby they released it to Roger and his sons, Ivo, Thomas, and John; this Robert enlarged it by purchasing many lands of Robert de Cokefield and Postalina, his wife, in Titshall, Dicclesburc, and Riveshall, in 1267. I know nothing more of it till the 15th century, and then Thomas Abbes held it of the Duke of Norfolk, as of his manor of Forncet. In 1514, Ric. Spooner held it of the King, by the service of 12s. per annum, and it was then valued at 10 marks. In 1544, Thomas, son and heir of John Cornwaleis, Knt. died seized. In 1556, Thomas Gawdye had it, and Thomas, his son the year following, who seem to be trustees only; for in 1598, Thomas Spooner, Gent. sold it to William Holmes and Thomas Edwards, and then it extended into Sethyng, Mundham, and Loddon; and in 1683, there were divers lands in Sethyng held of this manor, and soon after it was lost in the Earl's manor, to which it had some time been joined.

Diccles-Burc, or Burgh, may take its name from some remarkable Saxon that settled here, and raised a fortification, of some sort or other, to defend himself and his adherents against the insults of the Danes, for [Burg] originally signifies a fortified place, or a place of defence, and is pronounced differently in divers parts; in the south parts, bury, in others burgh and brough, and often berry and barrow. The reason we meet with so many places thus called, in all parts, may be this, because the Saxons were obliged to get together in bodies under their leaders, and to fortify themselves in the best manner they could, against the continual incursions of the Danes, and therefore in those times, wherever the head fortification of every district was, (if I may be allowed to call it by that name,) there they assembled in great numbers, and fixed their habitations, as well to guard their persons and goods, as their dead bodies, from the insults of these pagans, and in honour of their first leaders, that raised these fortifications, they generally called them after their names; thus Attleburgh, Dickleburgh, &c. seem to have had their names, though in some cases the name of burgh only continues, without the personal addition, but in such I believe often the name of its founder may be omitted long since its foundation; Burgh in Lothingland is an instance of this kind, it being anciently called Cnober's-Burgh, from Cnoberus; and thus it is very plain, that all places that retain this name have without doubt been places of more than common note in early ages, and the great number of them that still retain this name made me enlarge thus much upon it, that it may suffice for them all.

In 1603, here were 224 communicants, and now there are about 80 houses, and 400 inhabitants. It paid 3l. 16s. tenths; the parliament valuation was 1032l. and the present one is, for Langmere part, 335l. and for Dickleburgh part, 668l. [1736.]

In 1428, the Abbot of Bury was taxed at 31s. 2d. ob. for his temporals in this town, it being part of the land belonging to his manor of Titshall, that extended hither, together with a tenement given to the abbey in 1120 by Thomas Noell; the customs and services remitted by the Abbot to Henry Freeman and Mathew de Cambridge are said to be these, viz. that the tenants of the rector's manor were before obliged to do suit of court every fifteen days, at Titteshale court, and to pay aid and tallage whenever it was laid on the town of Tifteshale, and to carry part of the Abbot's wine and bord from Norwich, or Yarmouth, to Palgrave Bridge, and to hedge and ditch round Tifteshale Stack-yards and to plow one day and reap another, the Abbot finding them diet. In 1274, the rectors had assize of bread and beer of all their tenants allowed them upon a Quo Warranto.

Humphry Rant, Esq. of Dickleburgh beareth, erm. on a fess sab. three lions rampant or. Crest, out of a coronet ar. a lion seiant or. Granted by Cook, Clarencieux, anno 1574.

The Commons are Semere Green, which contains about 60 acres; on this Pulham-Market intercommons as far as Pulham Bridge; Dickleburgh Moor contains about 80 acres, and Pound or High Green about 50 acres, on both which Dickleburgh commons solely. And whereas it is said in Norwich Domesday, that all this town is the King's, (tota villa est Regalis,) when the Crown was never concerned in the manors, it will be proper to observe, that it is meant of the jurisdiction and special privileges which the Crown had in this and many other towns, all which were granted by Edward IV. to John Duke of Norfolk, and is now in the present Duke, whose liberty extends all over this town, as before observed, and will be treated of at large under Lopham.


Is variously written in different ages, first, Totessala, or Tiveteshall, after Tifteshale, now Titshall; these churches and manor were begged of his parents by Syward, a monk of Bury, whom Leofstan the abbot had made dean, who at his request gave it to that monastery. And by an inquisition taken in 1274, it appears that he was son of Osulph (Le-Sire) and Leverun his wife, who held it of the Crown in capite, by the annual rent of 20s. which the Abbot paid quarterly at Norwich castle, by the name of waytefee, and held it as part of his barony, having court-leet assize of bread and ale, and liberty of free-warren; the whole was allotted by the Convent to the Abbot's own use, who was taxed for his temporalities here, at 30l. 12s. 4d. and paid yearly 5s. 10d. to the lord of the hundred, to excuse him and his tenants from all suit to his hundred court. In the Confessor's time there were two churches, with 40 acres land, and the manor extended into Gissing and Shimpling, and was then valued at 7l. and in the Conqueror's time at 9l. 15s. it being then a league and 4 furlongs long, and half a league broad, and paid 17d. Geld; and from this time it continued in the Abbots, till the dissolution of their monastery, when it was seized by the Crown, and was granted by King Henry VIII. in the year 1542, to

John Cornwaleys, and the heirs of his body, who for his singular courage and conduct, under Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, at the taking of Marlaix in Britany, had the honour of knighthood then conferred on him; and soon after his return from those wars, was made Steward of the Household to Prince Edward. He died seized in 1549, at Asherugge, (or Ashridge,) in Buckinghamshire, and is buried under a noble monument in Berkhamsted church in that county, leaving it to

Sir Thomas Cornwaleys, Knt. his son and heir, who had then livery of it, he being Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in the last year of Edward the Sixth's reign, raised great forces against the opposers of Queen Mary's title, for which services he was first sworn one of the privy-council, then made Treasurer of Calais, and after Comptroller of her Household. At his death in 1604, it went to

Sir William Cornwaleys, Knt. of Brome in Suffolk, who died seized Nov. 13, 1610, leaving it to

Frederick Cornwaleys his son and heir, who was created baronet by King Charles I. by letters patent, dated May 4, 1627, and having served that prince both in court and camp with great fidelity, for which he suffered in those unhappy times, both imprisonment, exile, and the loss of his estate; in testimony of which, to reward his great merits and accomplishments," he was by King Charles II. in 1661, made a baron of the realm, by the title of Lord Cornwallis, Baron of Eye in Suffolk, with remainder to the heirs male of his body. At his death it went to

Charles Lord Cornwaleis his son and heir, who is buried at Culford in Suffolk; he left it to

Charles Lord Cornwaleis, his son and heir, who was one of the Lords of the Admiralty in the reign of King William III. and Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Suffolk; he left it to

Charles Lord Cornwaleis, his son and heir, at whose death it descended to the present [1736]

Charles Lord Cornwaleis, his son and heir, who sold it to

His Excellency Horatio Walpole, Esq. who is now lord and patron.

Another part of this town belonged to Winfarthing manor, for which see Winfarthing.

Another part belonged to the Abbot of Ely's manor of Pulham.

Another to William Bishop of Thetford, which was of his own inheritance, and not in right of his bishoprick, of whom it was held at the Conquest by Reinald de Perapund, and was of 20s. value, it was after held by the Le Neves, from whom it was called Neve's Tenement: Robert Neve, one of the owners, ordered to be buried in St. Margaret's churchyard; he left it to John Neve his son, in which family it continued till the 16th century.

For another part of this manor that extended into Gissing, see p. 168, note 9.

Besides these, there were several tenements, or manors, as they are often called, all which had their originals by the Abbots feoffments, and are now included in the great manor.

In 1307, William Bateman, Bailiff of Norwich, a man famous in his time, from whom sprung William Bateman Bishop of Norwich, purchased a free tenement here.

It appears in the register called Pinchebek, fol. 195, that Walter, the son of Norman the Dean of Norwich, held a free tenement, with 60 acres of land, and divers rents and services of the Abbot's grant; he was succeeded by Thomas his son: it belonged afterwards to Thomas de Pakenham, then to John de Ho, who infeoffed Sir Richard de Boyland in it, who jointly with Elen his wife held it in 1294.

Uphall Manor[edit]

The manor called Uphall, had its first rise in the time of Samson Abbot of Bury, who first infeoffed Thomas, son of John of Tifteshall, in it; and soon after it came to Adam of Tifteshall, Kat from him to John his son; and in 1266, William of Uphall of Tifteshall was lord. In 1285, it was in Thomas, son of John of Tifteshall of Uphall, who left it, about 1290, to Robert of Uphall, his son; he quite left off the sirname of Tifteshall: in 1292, he gave it to Isabel de Bokland, of Hergham, by the name of Uphall Manor, and in that year the said Robert and Isabel, jointly with Maud, widow of Robert, son of Thomas of Uphall, daughter of Isabel de Bokland, released all their right to Sir John Thorp, and William their son, in this manor. In 1294, Robert, son of Sir John de Ayshewellethorp, and Maud his wife, granted to Robert Carleford of Shotesham, this manor, in exchange for the said Robert's manor of Nelonde; and afterwards the said Robert de Carleford released this manor again to Sir Robert de Thorp aforesaid, and Maud his wife. In 1304, it was settled on John de Thorp, and Alice his wife; he died in 1323, and then held it of the Abbot at 5s. per annum, it being then valued at 3l. 5s. 8d. It seems to continue in this family till it was sold to Sir Edward Jenney's father, for so the said Edward declares in his will, in 1522, when he gave it to his brother, and the next heir male; from the Jenneys it came to the Crown, and was granted in the 24th Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk, who afterwards conveyed it to Edward White of Totsall, to be held of the manor of Forncet, by knight's service; his son, George White, sold it to John Cornwaleys, Esq.; and so it fell into the great manor; it extended at that time into Dickleburgh, Shimpling, Moulton, Pulham, Gissing, and Watton.

Several lands settled for obits, and other superstitious uses, were seized in 1547, and were granted to Thomas Wodehouse, Gent. and his heirs, to be held in soccage of the King's manor of Broke.

The Customs of the Manor are these; the fine is at the lord's will; the copyhold descends to the eldest son: they cannot waste their copyhold-houses, nor fell timber without license.

In 1266, there was an extent made of this manor, at which time the copyholders of Titshall and Shimpling, if the lord was at Bury, were obliged to carry two parts of the Abbot's provision, and the men of Dickleburgh and Semere, the other third part; the lord had then a large park, and a sneid or sneth fenced round, which was repaired by the tenants yearly; William de Uphall held this manor by the payment of 4s. 2d. per annum, and 8d. a year to the Abbot, to be free from suit of the hundred court, for which freedom the Abbot paid 5s. a year for the whole town. Galfry de Bosco and his partners, and Walter Fitz-Roger and the homages of John Fitz-Jeffery, and of John of Uphall, and of Hubert de Schimpling, and the homages of the Abbot in Schimpling, and Ivo the chaplain and his homagers, and the homage of master Anseline, and Hubert de Shimpling and his parceners, (all which held free tenements or small manors under the Abbot,) were to do suit to the Abbot's court, and to plough and cart, with all the cattle they had, for the lord, and were to pay a third part of the Abbot's general aid for Titshall and Shimpling, and to find a third part of the lord's wine, and carry it to Palgrave bridge; and to fence in the park, sneid, and stack-yards, and repair them yearly. These free tenements being first granted by the Abbots, to be held of their chief manor upon these conditions.

Here are two Churches, about a mile distant from each other; the mother church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, the other is a parochial chapel, whose patroness is St. Margaret, both of ancient foundation, even before the Conqueror. It was always a single institution, appendant to the manor, as it still remains, though the parishes are separate, and hath now, and ever had distinct officers.

Lincoln Taxa.

36 marks.


  • 1301, non. May, Andrew of Nortwall, rector, was collated to a prebendary in the college of St. Mary in the Fields in Norwich, by the Bishop; at his death, in
  • 1307, 2 non. May, Sir Tho. de Butteturte, sub-deacon, one of an ancient and good family in this county, was instituted, but upon his institution was obliged to swear to William de Knapeton, then Archdeacon of Norwich, that whereas he was then a pluralist, and held Eustone and Trostone livings in this diocese, both of which had care of souls, that he would immediately resign one, unless he obtained a dispensation from the Pope, as soon as he quietly received the profits of Titshall.
  • Richard de Dunmowe resigned this for Palgrave in Suffolk; and in 1357, 3 May, Tho. de Calkhyl, priest, succeeded, who resigned Palgrave.
  • 1367, 7 June, Calkhyl changed with Tho. de Blofield, priest, for Mulkberton, of which William de Hoo, Knt. was patron.
  • 1394, Mr. William Rolf, a shaveling.
  • 1398, 17 Dec. He changed with John Alleyn, for Frekenham.
  • 1400, 14 April, Will. Heyward, priest, on Alleyn's resignation.
  • 1410, 27 Jan. John Lolleworth, priest, on Heyward's resignation.
  • 1416, 27 Dec. Thomas Lank, priest.
  • 1418, 19 Nov. Nicholas Derman, bachelor in the decrees.
  • 1424, 24 Dec. Robert Clermont of Carleton Rode, priest.
  • 1431, 5 Nov. Walter Martyn; he changed Intwood for this, with Robert Clements.
  • 1434, 20 August, John Heyghundern, on Clements's resignation.
  • 1455, 17 October, Richard Tateshale, A.M. at John Heyghunder's deprivation.
  • 1460, ult. April, John Fletcher, on Tateshale's resignation.
  • 1487, 30 June, John Hughson, on Fletcher's resignation. He died in 1490.
  • 1490, Tho. Asty.
  • 1533, 11 August, Robert Bosall, on Asty's death; he was the last rector presented by the Abbot.
  • 1546, 27 Oct. Elias Lache, on Bosall's resignation. John Cornwaleis, Esq.
  • 1578, 16 June, John Crane, S.T.B. Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt.
  • 1578, Tho. Crane, A. B. on John Crane's resignation. Ditto.
  • 1596, 16 April, Michael Denbigh, A. M. Ditto.
  • 1600, Paul Chapman, who in 1603, answered, that he was a bachelor in divinity, and held these two churches, being one benefice, with the benefice of Heigham by Norwich; he was instituted June 15, on Denbigh's death; presented by Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt.
  • 1631, 21 April Jeremiah Burrowes, clerk, A. M. on Chapman's death. Jane Lady Bacon of Brome in Suffolk, widow, late wife, of Nat. Bacon, Knt. of the Bath, before that, of William Cornwaleis, Knt.; he was deprived, and in
  • 1638, John Boys, clerk, was instituted.
  • 1661, George Kent, at the death of John Boys. Harbottle Grimstone, Bart. Charles Cornwaleis, Knight of the Bath, and Edmund Harvey, Esq.
  • 1668, John Jermy, A. M. on Kent's death. Charles Lord Cornwaleis, Baron of Eye.
  • 1672, 10 January, Christopher Burrell, A. M. on Jermy's resignation. Ditto. He died in 1701, and is buried in St. Margaret's chancel.
  • 1701, March 2, Charles Gibbs, A. M. the present [1736] rector. Charles Lord Cornwaleis.

St. Mary's is the mother church, over which the Bishop and Archdeacon's visitatorial power extends, to whom it pays 1s. synodals, and 7s. 7d. ob. procurations; it is an old building having its nave, chancel, and south porch thatched; a square tower, and five bells; on the biggest is this:

Petrus ad Eterne, durat nos Pasrua Uite.

The following arms were formerly in the windows of the church, steeple, and chancel, but are all lost, except these first three, viz.

Boutetourt, erm. a saltire ingrailed gul. Fitz-Otes, bendy of six, or and az. a canton er.

Or, a saltire ingrailed sab. England, St. Edward the Confessor, the East-Angles, St. Edmund, Boyland, Kerdeston, Ufford single, and with all the following differences, viz. a label; a de-lis; a baton az.; a baton erm.; a baton chequy az. and gul.; an annulet, Lowdham, Norwich. Gul. a chevron between three estoils sab.; or and sab. mascule surtout, Lowdham with a label gul. impaling az. on a chief gul. three leopards or, and again siding gul. on a chief or, two annulets sab. Bacon. or a fess gul. impaling Scales. On the Roodloft, an escutcheon of the Lady Jarnegan; viz. 1. Jarnegan; 2. Ingaldesthorp; 3. Fitzosbert; 4. Mortimer, or semi-de-lises sab.; 5. ar. on a chevron sab. three escalops erm.; 6. Pierpoint.; 7. or, a saltire ingrailed in a bordure sab.

On a grave-stone were Aylmer's arms, viz. ar. on a cross ingrailed sab. five bezants between four magpies proper; it lies in the chancel, but the effigies, arms, and inscription are gone.

Here are two black marbles, one hath an escutcheon of a griffin and a crescent, for John Boys, rector, who died Dec. 30, 1661; the other is for Hellen his wife, who died September 1, 1661.

In the churchyard, on the south side, is an altar-tomb, covered with a black marble, for Mary wife of Robert Kettle, daughter and heiress of Mr. William Fuller of Brisingham, who had four children, Henry, Mary, John, and Grace, all buried by her, obijt Feb. 27, 1728, aged 63.

The parochial chapel of St. Margaret acknowledges no visitatorial power but that of the Bishop only, for it pays the archdeacon no procurations; but as much again as the mother church does to the Bishop for synodals.

The nave and south porch are leaded, the chancel thatched; the tower is square, and hath five bells in it, on one of which is this,


On the screens are Aylmer's arms in proper colours. In the chancel, under an arch in the north wall, is an old freestone altar monument, with a cross formy on it, but no inscription to discover who he was, though without doubt it was for some religious person that founded the chancel. On a brass,

Hic jacet Brigitta nuper uxor Antonij Barry, Generosi que obijt 4th Die Maij Ao 1635, Ætat. 21.

Here are three black marbles, the first for Christopher Burrell, late rector, who died Jan. 6, 1701. The second for Charles, son of the Rev. Mr. Charles Gibbs, rector, and Elizabeth his wife, who died much lamented April 22, 1721, aged 16 years:

Quem Dij amant, Adolescens moritur.

The third for Mrs. Margaret Stannard, relict of Mr. John Stannard, late of this parish first married to Thomas Halls, Gent. whose character as a wife, mother, mistress, and friend, needs no encomium, she died Sept. 1, 1735, in the 75th year of her age.

The Customs of this Rectory are these; they pay 6d. for every calf under seven, and 1d. 0b. for every cow instead of tithe milk; and 1d. every house for harth-silver, for all wood burnt in the town, all wood sold out of the town pays tithe according to its value, and all other tithes belonging to this rectory are paid in their proper kinds.

The parish of Titshall St. Mary hath a small cottage situate near the church, a piece of land containing half an acre, which abuts on Mill Green north, south, and east, and on Henry Goodwin's lands west; a small piece called Sent's Yards, about one rood, rented at 6s. per annum, 10l. in money, the interest of which is given to the poor yearly upon Easter Monday, and the poor receive yearly 10s. from the church-wardens of St. Margaret's.

The parish of St. Margaret in Titshall hath 6 acres of land lying in Moulton, part is copyhold, and part free, which is rented at 3l. 10s. a year, and was given by Jeffery Neeve; it abuts on Moulton Common on the west, and Mr. Fulcher's on the south, and on the way leading to Moulton High Green on the east; the rent is received by the church-wardens; 16s. 8d. is paid every Easter to the poor of St. Margaret's, and 10s. to the poor of St. Mary's as aforesaid; the rest is given towards repairing the church.

The Commons are Titshall Green, Bateman's Green, Mill Green, Pound Green, and Beck Green, all of them containing about 100 acres.

In 1603, there were 93 communicants in St. Mary's parish, and 108 in St. Margaret's; there are now [1736] about 35 dwellinghouses in St. Mary's, and 150 inhabitants, and 40 in St. Margaret's and 180 inhabitants; they were valued at 3l. together to the tenths, and 1394l. to the parliament valuation; but now they are assessed single to the land tax, viz. St. Mary's at—l. and St. Margaret's at 544l.

The whole Hundred is enclosed, and abounds much with wood; it being reckoned as part of the woodland half of Norfolk. The roads are very bad in winter, especially this part by Gissing and Titshall. The lands in general are moist, occasioned by their being flat, and having a blue clay within a foot or two of the earth's surface, through which the water cannot pierce, it containing 20 or 30 feet in depth in many places. The soil is in general rich, and about one half of the land is used for the plough, the other for the dairy, and grazing; it produces much wheat, turnips, clover, and all other grain in abundance, except buck or brank, and cole-seed, of which there is but little sown.

  1. Registrum Album, olim pertin. Mon. Sancti Edmundi, fol. 34. a This Register is now in the possession of Sir Edmund Bacon of Garboldesham, Bart. to whom I acknowledge myself much obliged, for the use of this, and several other valuable manuscripts.
  2. Norfolc Rex hundret dim Hund, de Dice. (Domsd. fol. 10.) Tota soca et saca instius dun. hund. preter terram Sancti Edmundi (was the King's) ed de illa sanctus dim. et Rex aliam medietatem, preter terrum Ulhet et preter terram Stigandi, et de omnibus alus, soc tuit in hund. T.R.E. (ie. tempore regis Edwards.)