The Manuscripts of Rye and Hereford Corporations, Etc. Thirteenth Report, Appendix Part IV. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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REPORT ON MUNIMENTS IN THE POSSESSION OF EDMOND R. WODEHOUSE, ESQ., M.P.
This collection was originally, and is still for the most part, contained in a large chest, and numbers some thousands of books, rolls, deeds, and papers, chiefly relating to the families of Buttes, Bacon, and Wodehouse, and their estates in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Some of them refer to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, and there is a grant of arms to him in 1568; but none of his correspondence is preserved here. The agreement on the marriage of his son Nicholas with Anne Buttes, in 1561, deserves notice, not only as an early specimen of an elaborate marriage contract, prepared doubtless under the supervision of the Lord Keeper himself, but also as indicating the manner in which these estates passed from the family of Buttes to that of Bacon, though in reality the devolution was very complicated.
The period covered by these muniments extends from the reign of Henry III. to the beginning of the present century. They appear to be very valuable from a topographical as well as from a genealogical point of view. The amount of information they contain with regard to many families of Norfolk and Suffolk, and especially those families to which they more particularly relate, is considerable. Ample illustrations of local manners and customs, and of manorial rights and privileges, such as rights of common and fishery, may be gathered from the unusually extensive series of court rolls, bailiffs' accounts, and rentals, which commence as early as the first half of the fourteenth century. Attention may especially be drawn to two custumals of the manor of Ryburgh Magna.
Very little correspondence is comprised in this collection, but there are two letter-books containing copies of numerous letters between the King and the Privy Council and the Lord Lieutenant, Deputy Lieutenants, &c. of Suffolk, between 1608 and 1640, and between 1664 and 1676. They relate to matters of general historical interest as well as to local affairs. Some long letters from "J. Nixon" to Miss Bacon, giving an account of his travels in England and France in 1745–1750, are curious. A few more letters exist among the miscellaneous papers, but are of small importance.
Only a few manuscript volumes not connected with the families above named and their estates have been discovered. These are: (1) a copy of Higden's Polychronicon; (2) "The Statutes of the Garter"; (3) a Report relating to Daniel Archdeacon and Francis Mowbray, in the time of James I; (4) a Summary of Proceedings in Parliament, &c., 1625–8; (5) a poem entitled "The Calidonian Forest"; and (6) an heraldic MS.
These muniments were found in great confusion, without any kind of order or arrangement. In the year 1888, on the recommendation of the late Mr. Walford D. Selby, and as a preliminary step, the earlier deeds were selected from the other documents, and placed in envelopes, which were numbered and arranged in boxes in the manner now adopted at the Public Record Office. Of these deeds a catalogue was subsequently made.
After this was done, it was thought desirable that the remainder of the manuscripts should be put in order, and accordingly they have been arranged in the classes to which they respectively belong. The rolls and modern deeds and papers have been placed in thirty bundles, but some of the rolls of pedigrees are too unwieldy to be treated in that manner. A brief catalogue of the bundles as thus arranged has been made. The books have also been inspected, and ample notes taken from the more important of them.
The collection can therefore now be described more particularly, but before doing so it is needful to explain how by one marriage the Bacons acquired the possessions of three branches of the Buttes family, as well as of three coheiresses who married into that family, in order to make this collection intelligible. To do this we need go back only two generations in the Buttes pedigree preceding the lady with whom it ended.
William Buttes, or Butte, "doctor in medicinis," or "doctor artis medicæ," born about 1485, was the "dilectus serviens et medicus" of King Henry VIII., and an early member of the College of Physicians. The numerous notices of him which occur in the State Papers show that he was employed in affairs of State as well as in those connected with his profession, and that the part assigned to him by Shakespeare was not altogether an imaginary one. He was clearly in active sympathy with the King's new schemes of church reformation, though he is said to have given the King some advice with regard to the Princess Mary which was not agreeable. Sundry references to his recipes and fees are to be found in the recent edition of his contemporary Thomas Vicary's "Anatomie."
The earliest proof of the royal favour to him was shown in a grant dated 9th August 1529 of the wardship of the four daughters and coheiresses of Henry Bures, of Acton, Suff., Esquire, son and heir of Robert Bures, Esquire, Robert having deceased on 10th July 1524 and Henry on 6th July 1528, the latter being only 26 years of age. The Bures estates consisted of the manors of Acton, Reydon, and Whersted in Suffolk, and other lands in that county and in Essex. Twelve bonds, still extant, given by the Doctor to the Treasurer of the King's Chamber, show that this wardship was far from being a free gift. Soon after, on 10th November 1529, Dr. Buttes had a grant of an annuity of forty marks out of these estates during the wardship; and subsequently his three sons married three out of the four coheiresses.
In later years Dr. Buttes obtained still more substantial concessions from his royal patient, consisting of manors, lands, and advowsons in various counties, partly in reward of his faithful service in the King's "affairs," and partly in consideration of extremely large sums of money. Some of the grants were in fee; in others provision was made after his death for his younger sons. His evident intention was to found three independent families of his name in the county of Norfolk, but his expectations were doomed to disappointment. With the lands in question he of course acquired the more ancient of the rolls and deeds to be described hereafter; it will be well therefore to give some particulars of these grants.
- 1. On 2 Sept. 1532 the King granted to him and the heirs male of his body the manor of Panington with appurtenances in Whersted, Suff., which had belonged to Cardinal Wolsey, whose attainder is referred to at some length in the grant.
- 2. On 1 July 1536, for the sum of 900l., he had a grant in fee of the manor of Thornage, with the advowsons of the churches of Thornage and Brynton, Norf., formerly belonging to the See of Norwich.
- 3. On 30 March 1538 there was a grant to him and Margaret his wife of the manor of Thornham, Norf., formerly belonging to the See of Norwich; with remainders after their deaths to Edmund Butte, one of his younger sons, in tail male; then to Thomas Butte, another younger son, in tail male; then to the heirs male of the Doctor.
- 4. On 10 March 1539, for the sum of 1,000 marks, the King made a similar grant to Dr. Butte and Margaret (Bacon) his wife of the manors of Great Ryburgh and Woodhall in Little Ryburgh, which had belonged to the priory of Walsingham, and of a messuage and lands in Great Ryburgh, late of the priory of Hempton; with remainders to Thomas Butte, a younger son, in tail male; then to William Butte, the eldest son, in tail male; then to Edmund Butte, another younger son, in tail male; then to the right heirs of Dr. Butte.
- 5 & 6. On 24 July 1540, he had a grant of the mansions and buildings within the site of the White Friars, London; and on 24 Nov. 1541, he and Anthony Denny obtained the next presentation to a prebend in St. Stephen's, Westminster.
- 7. On 3 March 1545, for the sum of 767l. 12s. 6d., he obtained a final grant in fee of the manor of Edgefield, Norf., formerly belonging to Bynham Priory, and of other possessions in Norfolk and other counties, and in London; but soon afterwards he obtained licence to alienate some of these.
Besides the lands acquired by royal letters patent, the Doctor purchased others, such as the manor of Melton Constable, from private individuals. He also had "lands and tenements" in Fulham, but how he obtained these has not been ascertained.
Dr. Buttes made the house of the late Whitefriars his residence in London, and Thornage his principal seat in the country. He was knighted in 1545, but lived only a short while to enjoy the dignity, as he died on 22 November in the same year, according to his inquisitions, but on the 17th according to the inscription on his tomb in Fulham church, as usually quoted. In a letter of Paget's it is stated that the Doctor, "after a long and grievous sickness of a dooble febre quartane, is departed in an honest and godly sorte to God." Some account of him is given in Dr. Munk's Roll of Physicians, Wood's and Cooper's Athenæ, Faulkner's History of Fulham, in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 2 S. xiii. 152, and in the Dictionary of National Biology.
By two inquisitions Sir William was found to have possessed the manor of Panington, Suff., the manors of Thornage, Edgefield, and Melton Constable, and lands in Brynton, Briston, Birnyngham, and Borough, Norf., mostly held of the King by knight service and by various rents; but Melton Constable was "held of the barony which had lately belonged to the bishopric of Norwich." Nothing is said about the manors of Thornham and Great and Little Ryburgh, no doubt because Lady Margaret, who had a life interest in them, survived her husband and remained in possession, as appears by the probate of Sir William's will, at Somerset House; but there are deeds in this collection which show that Thomas Buttes was lord of the two latter manors as early as 1546.
Sir William Buttes left three sons: William, his son and heir, afterwards knighted, Thomas, and Edmund. These brothers had married three of their father's four wards, the coheiresses of Henry Bures above-mentioned; viz., William == Jane, eldest daughter; Thomas == Bridget, second daughter; Edmund == Anne, third daughter. The youngest of the four daughters, named Mary, born in Dec. 1519, became the wife of Thomas Barrowe, Esquire, and had five sons and four daughters, viz., Thomas, who died s. p., William, Henry, Edward, John, Anne, Bridget, Elizabeth, and Mary.
Edmund seems to have been the youngest of the three sons, though he died first of them all. He and his wife Anne obtained livery of her lands in or about February 1543, but portions of the Bures estates were then still held in dower by Anne (Waldegrave), widow of Henry Bures, and by Robert Buck and Joan (Higham) his wife. He died in 1549 or 1550, his will being proved in the latter year. Gage's History of Suffolk gives the inscription on the brass of an Edmund Buttes, who died 7 May 1542 (?), and was buried at Barrow, but the date is badly printed, and may be wrong. He probably succeeded his father in the manor of Thornham, but there is no inquisition after his death. As he left no son, it would go to his brother Thomas under the entail. This Edmund must not be confounded with another Edmund Buttes, nephew of Sir William, who is mentioned in both the wills above referred to.
Anne, wife of Edmund, was born 28 Oct. 1517, and survived him for sixty years, but did not marry again. She died at Redgrave, the seat of the Bacons, on 22 Dec. 1609, in her 93rd year, possessed of a moiety of the manors of Whersted, &c., William Barrowe, second son of Mary, having the other moiety.
Edmund and Anne had an only daughter, also named Anne, born about 1550, and married to Nicholas Bacon, son of the Lord Keeper, at Redgrave, on 2 May 1562. Even at that early date it was foreseen that she would become heiress of her two uncles and their wives, as well as of her mother, for they were all parties to her marriage settlements, and to the seven royal licences of alienation which were necessary to give them legal effect. At the time of her mother's death, in 1609, she is returned as then living at Culford, aged 59 years and more.
William Buttes, eldest son and heir of Sir William, was born in 1513, He and his wife Jane obtained livery of her inheritance on 9 Dec. 1538. He had livery of his father's lands on 7 Nov. 1546, and was knighted in 1547. He was commissioner for musters in Norfolk in 1569–1574. In 1571 he was one of the commissioners appointed to take an inventory of the attainted Duke of Norfolk's goods, and to establish a household for the Duke's children. The date of his death is variously stated as 20 Nov. 1580, and 3 Sept. 1583, the latter being the correct date according to "A Booke of Epitaphes" written in praise of his virtues both in the field and in counsel, and edited by Sir Robert Dallington. It contains verses by the editor and many other writers in Latin and English, including a few by Thomas Buttes. Sir William was buried at Thornage, a monument being erected to him in the church there. He is returned as owner of the manors of Thornage, Melton, Cockfield, Edgefield, Panington, &c. As he left no issue, his younger brother Thomas became his heir.
Lady Jane, wife of the second Sir William, was born on 12 April 1514, and died at Thornage on 25 Nov. 1593; her heirs-at-law being her sister Anne Buttes, widow of Edmund, and her nephew William Barrowe, son of Thomas and Mary; but according to the settlements of 1561, a moiety of Lady Jane's property passed to Sir Nicholas Bacon (the second) and Lady Anne his wife, to the exclusion the latter's mother, one of the heirs-at-law, who of course however continued in possession of her own fourth purparty.
Thus Thomas Buttes remained as the last male representative of Dr. Buttes. He was born in the year 1516. He had livery of his wife Bridget's property on 28 May 1541. On his mother's death, probably in 1546, he would succeed at once, without the usual livery, to the manors of Great Ryburgh and Woodhall, in accordance with the terms of the royal grant. Then, by the death of his brother Edmund, he became entitled to the manor of Thornham; and on the death of his eldest brother, Sir William, he succeeded to all the rest of the Buttes estates. He died without issue on 20 Jan. 1593, at Catton, Norf., being 77 years of age. Before his death he had conveyed the manors of Great Ryburgh and Woodhall, Thornham, and Pannington to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Lady Anne his wife in consideration of certain annuities payable at Redgrave. This partly accounts for there being no inquisition after his death, when, in default of issue, whatever possessions he retained would descend to his niece Anne, daughter of his brother Edmund, and wife of Sir Nicholas Bacon. An inquisition was however taken in respect of the lands of his wife Bridget, second daughter of Henry Bures, finding that she held a fourth part of the manors of Whersted, Reydon, Martyns, and Sulveyes, Suff., and of other manors in that county and in Essex. She was born 19 June 1516, and died at Ryburgh, 7 Feb. 1572; but her inquisition was not taken till 1594, after the death of Thomas. A moiety of her possessions likewise went to her niece Anne above mentioned, to the exclusion of the latter's mother.
In this tortuous manner all the Buttes estates, as well as two-thirds of the Bures estates, became vested in Sir Nicholas Bacon the younger and Anne his wife; excepting of course Pannington and Thornham, which would revert to the Crown under the limitations of the grants, though Sir Nicholas Bacon had purchased them from Thomas Buttes only the year previous, 1592.
Nicholas Bacon, son of the Lord Keeper, was born in 1548, and according to the dates given he was only fourteen and his wife only twelve years of age at their marriage in 1562. He was knighted in 1578, and was the first baronet created in 1611. Besides the succession of inheritances which accrued to him from his marriage, he enjoyed the large possessions left him by his father in 1579; but as very few of the earlier of these muniments relate to the lands acquired by the first Sir Nicholas, it would be out of place to describe the various means by which he obtained them. The Lord Keeper made his principal seat at Redgrave, Suffolk. There will be found sundry references to that manor, which was given by Henry VIII. to Nicholas Bacon, then solicitor of the Court of Augmentations, on 21 April 1545. The letters patent were enrolled twice, in pursuance of two warrants, an unusual occurrence, which is accounted for by the following memorandum: "The cause of the said two warrauntes was for that the King beinge sicke, the one of theym was offered to hym to be signed, and thother to the Commissioners that hadd authority to passe suche billes vnder the Kynges Stampe, and it happened so that at one tyme the Kynge signed thone, and the Commissioners signed thother with the saide Stampe." Mr. Solicitor Bacon was clearly as great a favourite of King Henry as was "Mr. Doctor Buttes," and no doubt their frequent meetings at Court originated a friendship between the two families, resulting in the marriage which proved so advantageous to the Bacon family.
The further particulars as to the doscent of the Bacon family are well known, but only a few of the above particulars as to the Buttes family are given by Blomefield in his History of Norfolk. For his accounts of many parishes in the county he had access to private collections, but as he did not make use of the present one, though he wrote his name on the manuscript containing the Statutes of the Garter, his description of Great and Little Ryburgh, and the other manors to which these documents relate, is comparatively meagre and unsatisfactory.
It must be mentioned, to explain the devolution of these muniments to their present possessor, that Sir Edmund Bacon of Garboldisham, sixth Baronet, left four daughters and coheiresses, of whom the eldest, Letitia, married Sir Armine Wodehouse, and the third daughter, Sarah, married Mr. Pryse Campbell, of Stackpole Court, Pembrokeshire. Part of the estates referred to in this report fell to the share of the second daughter, Mary, who died unmarried, and by her will they descended to her nephew Thomas Wodehouse (third and youngest son of Sir Armine), who had married her niece, Sarah Campbell, sister of the first Lord Cawdor. These muniments passed with the property bequeathed by Miss Mary Bacon to Thomas Wodehouse, who was the great-grandfather of their present owner.
- The early deeds.
- Court rolls, bailiffs' accounts, surveys, &c.
- Old and modern papers.
- Royal letters patent.
- Wills, plans, &c.
- Modern deeds.
- MS. books.
- Pedigrees, &c.
The early Deeds.
In the course of arranging the rolls, papers, and modern deeds, numerous early deeds were discovered, in addition to those which had been selected, and they have been added to the series. There are now twelve boxes full of such deeds, which are numbered from 1 to 700, and extend from the reign of Henry III. to the 17th century. When the catalogue was completed, the entries were sorted under the names of the places to which the deeds refer, and it was found that more than half of the deeds relate to the manor of Great Ryburgh and Woodhall manor in Little Ryburgh, with the advowsons of the churches there, and lands belonging to those manors in the vills of Great and Little Ryburgh, Gateley, Guist, and Testerton. The manor of Great Ryburgh belonged successively to the families of Monpinzun, Walkefare, and Felton, then to the Priory of Walsingham, then to the families above named. Besides the manorial evidences, there are still more numerous conveyances by freeholders of lands in the same townships, which are all in Norfolk.
Another large portion of the deeds refers to the manors and freeholds in Briningham, Hunworth, Melton-Constable, Stody, Harthill, Little Burgh, Briston, Brinton, Thornage, Holt, and the neighbourhood, also all in Norfolk.
Lists of the names of persons mentioned in connexion with all the above-named localities will be found in Appendix A. They will serve as a guide to the court rolls and surveys of the respective manors as well as to the deeds. Although the two groups of places are so close together, it will be seen that the lists differ greatly.
There are also sundry deeds relating to Egmere manor, tenements in North Elmham, and messuages belonging to the Mercers' Company in Thames Street, London; and a few relating to the following places: Tatterford, Little Narryngge, Walsingham, Hemelamstede, Pudding Norton,' Causton, Harpley, Burhalle, Risborough in Wighton, Kedington alias Ketton, Brunham, Hockwold, Thornham, King's Lynn, South Lynn, Bynham.
Most of the deeds are ordinary conveyances of land from party to party, though locally interesting because they so frequently mention field-names and landmarks, and describe boundaries: such as manors and their demesnes, churches and their glebe lands, churchyards, mills, rivers, commons, heaths, fields, furlongs, acres, closes, and the lands of ecclesiastical and lay owners. Some of the deeds are however remarkable in one way or another, and will be noticed in Appendix A.
To many of the deeds Seals of arms and other devices are attached, mostly in good condition, a few being the seals of religious houses. These are well worthy of the attention of the student of heraldry, and of persons interested in particular families.
- John Haliday, 1362.—No. 551.
- John Trendil, c. 1377?—No. 516.
- John Rust, 1392.—No. 510.
- Richard Harneyse, 1503.—No. 395.
- Margaret Hervy, 1508.—No. 308.
- Edmond Buttes of Barrow, Suffolk, Esq., 1550.—No. 366.
- William Startweight, 1559.—No. 502.
- Robert Harvye, 1566.—No. 451.
There are also a few royal letters patent of the reigns of Edward II., Henry VI., and Elizabeth (Nos. 228, 324, 424, 431, 627); some having portions of the Great Seal attached, and one being under the seal of the Court of Exchequer, specimens of which are uncommon.
Court Rolls, Bailiffs' Accounts, Surveys, &c.
There is a very large quantity—some hundreds—of Court Rolls, Bailiffs' Accounts, Estreat Rolls, Rentals, Surveys, Custumals, and miscellaneous rolls, which have been placed in bundles numbered from 1 to 12, the contents of which are as follows:—
Bundle 11 also contains a separate parcel of rentals, &c. of Thornegge and Chossells, Stody, Harthill in Hunworth, and Briningham, from Henry VI. to Charles II.; with a few of Little Walsingham, Brinton, Edgefield, &c.
Two Custumals of Great Ryburgh; c. 1300. They give the names of the tenants, the extent of their holdings, their rents in money and kind, their works in ploughing, mowing, hoeing, &c., and with horses and carts. The earlier of the two rolls begins thus: Custumarium de Ryburg' Magna.—Johannes Palmere et parcenarii sui tenent de Domino xii. acras terræ. Many other similar partnerships are mentioned. A few persons paid rents of capons for pasture in the common of Great Ryburgh.
A roll headed: "Cartæ et Fines Domini Roberti de Walkefare,—de Ryburgh, Ingolestorp' [Norf.], Balidon' [Essex], et Iselham [Cantebr']." This contains copies of a large number of deeds and a few royal charters relating to the above-named places, and to Skyrbeck [Lincoln], temp. Edw. II. and III. (Parchment, 14th cent.)
"Account of Henry Smyth, Receiver of the First Fruits of the Rev. Father in Christ Walter, Bishop of Norwich, in the Archdeaconry of Norwich and in Norfolk, from Benefices taxed therein, from . . . . 10 Edward IV. to the feast of All Saints next following," &c. This large roll really extends from about 30 Henry VI. to 11 Edward IV., as it gives the names of Rectors and Vicars instituted within that period, and charged with the payment of first fruits. The names number several hundreds. The title and first few lines are damaged, but have been repaired.
Account of Catherine Violett alias Wadson, relict and administratrix of John Wadson, of King's Lynn, merchant, 1579. This is a parchment roll of three membranes, with a portion of the seal of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
Old and Modern Papers
Papers chiefly relating to the families of Buttes, Bacon, and Wodehouse, and their estates in Norfolk and Suffolk, from the middle of the sixteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century. They consist of—
Numerous documents and memoranda by Thomas Buttes, Esquire, lord of Great Ryburgh manor, concerning his estates, in the reign of Elizabeth; written in a very neat hand, in which also many of the papers in this collection are endorsed. He was evidently an industrious and methodical man of business, with a turn for versifying.
Papers relating to the church, tithes, and glebe-lands of Great Ryburgh. Among these are—Depositions in a tithe suit in 1525; accounts between Thomas Buttes and successive parsons of Ryburgh; proceedings in a dispute between Mr. Buttes and the vicar there in the reign of Elizabeth, which ended in a suit in Chancery (Thomas Waterman v. Thomas Buttes); sundry accusations being made by Buttes against the vicar of neglecting the services, stirring up strife in the parish, &c.
The principal charges were the following: "There have been no catechising at G. Ryburgh for the space of theise iiij yeres last past and more, nor teaching the Articles of the Fayth, the Commaundementes, and the Lordes Prayer, as is prescribed in the Catechisme. No repayering the Chauncell, or personage, but letting to fearme his benefise there, and that vnto verie vnmeete persons. No hospytalitie kept, nor releeving the poore there by hym, but yerelie selling of dykerowes. No prayer for her Maiestie the xvij. daye of November last past, although the Inhabitauntes were redy at the Churche doores for that godly purpose: for he was then gadded to the spirituall Courte to followe his suyte ageinst Robert Harvy of G. Ryburgh for tythes oniustlie requyered. . . . . I [Thomas Buttes] have also glased at myne owne proper cost and chardge all the windowes in the Chauncell, which ar in nomber v, and those verie large & greate, which did cost mee with the scripture written within the said Chauncelles wales more then xx li."
Letter from Thomas Touneshend to Mr. Myngaye, "from my poore howse," 18 July 1554, touching the advowson of Great Ryburgh. Sir Henry Maner, priest, under some title derived from the late Prior of Walsingham, had given it to one Deneye, late parson of Lynge, "a very busy man, and too stout for a priest," but it was claimed by Mr. Buttes, the true patron.
Papers relating to the advowson of Little Ryburgh. John Heath was accused of obtaining it by simony (in 1562?). He was presented by Edward Fitzgarret, Esq., who had married the widow of Sir Thomas Paston. The right of presentation was claimed by Thomas Buttes, as also a yearly pension out of the vicarage.
"Articles and Agreements," . . . Sept. 3 Eliz., (1561,) between Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, and Thomas Buttes of Great Ryburgh, Norfolk, Esq., concerning the marriage of Nicholas Bacon, son and heir apparent of the said Sir Nicholas Bacon and Anne Buttes, niece and heir apparent of Thomas Buttes. Signed by the parties.
Articles of Agreement (undated) for the sale by Thomas Buttes, Esquire, to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Dame Anne his wife of the manors of Great Rieborough and Woodhall, and the manor of Thornham, in consideration of annuities of 149l. 6s. 4¼d. and 29l. 14s. 10d., payable at Redgrave. Not signed.
Draft letter from T. B. [Thomas Buttes] to Lord Cromwell at North Elmham, relative to a right of fishing claimed by the latter in waters belonging to the former, 1579; with another letter thereon from—.
Papers relating to the succession of Thomas Buttes to the estates of Sir William Buttes, as brother and heir, in 1584; the manner of taking the Inquisition and suing out the livery, payments to the Exchequer, &c.
A paper relating to "a right of Shackage" at Little Ryburgh, being an agreement between Roger Towneshend, Esquire, Lord of the Manor of Pauleys, and William Salman, tenant of the foldcourse there of the Prior of Walsingham, 22 Aug. 9 Hen. VIII. (1517.)
A document by Maurice Shelton, Esq., authorising Sir Edmond Bacon, Bart., and others to appoint an attorney to sue John Powell for 50l. 13s. 9d. for half a year's interest due on the joint stock of South Sea Annuities, standing in their names in the books of the South Sea Company. 1744.
Papers relating to the collection of the Taske (Tax) in Great Ryburgh, in 1564, 1568, 1571, 1576, 1581, &c. by Thomas Buttes, Esquire, high collector. The names of the persons assessed are given. Also, a Privy Seal, 31 October, 4 & 5 Philip and Mary, to Thomas Buttes, Esquire, asking for payment of 10l. "by way of loan;" with receipt at foot.
Letters from Sir Allen Broderick and other papers relating to "Mr. Stewart's marriage with Lucy Hatton." 1647, &c. These are in a large bundle of documents relating to the estates of Sir Thomas Wendy, the rectory of Haslingfield, a yearly payment of 30l. due to the poor of Haslingfield, &c. (In Bundle 16.)
Petition of maltsters, merchants, and other persons interested in the Malt trade in the borough of King's Lynn, to the House of Commons, against a Bill for an additional duty on malt. 31 signatures. (About 1800? On parchment.)
Three long letters from J. Nixon to Miss Bacon give minute accounts of his travels in England and France, being dated (1) Towcester, 14 Sept. 1745, (2) Towcester, 12 Nov. 1746, (3) Higham, 23 Nov. 1750. The first two, referring to England, have no address, but the third letter is addressed "To Miss Bacon, at Sir Edmund Bacon's Bart. at Garboldisham near Market Harling in Norfolk." The second and third letters however have no signatures, being incomplete. The last relates entirely to France; it bears a portion of a seal, and has this note on the back—"Coudn't you send me a frank?" (In bundle 15.) They are printed in Appendix E.
There is little internal evidence to show who the writer of these letters was, but what there is sufficiently identifies him with the Rev. John Nixon, M.A., rector of Cold Higham near Towcester. An ode, a sermon, and sundry essays of his are to be found in the British Museum Library, dated between 1728 and 1759; and in the Sloane MS. 4315 there are many letters from him to the Rev. Dr. Birch between 1740 and 1764, mostly very brief, on archæological matters, and showing that he was a Fellow of the Royal Society. In one of them he asks to be addressed at the school in Towcester. It is more difficult to identify the companion with whom he made these tours; but in 1755 he proposed making a tour in Italy in company with a Mr. Charlton, who may have been the person referred to in the letters. The lady addressed was doubtless Miss Mary Bacon, before mentioned.
Royal Letters Patent.
30 Hen. VIII., 10 March.—Grant to William Butte, Esquire, and Margaret his wife, for 1000 marks, of the Manor of Great Riburgh, a watermill called the South Mille, a pasture called Sennowe, and the advowson; also the Manor called Woodhall in Little Riburgh, and liberty of faldage within those manors, with appurtenances in various towns, lately belonging to the Priory of Walsingham; also a messuage and lands in Great Riburgh lately belonging to the Priory of Hempton. Remainder to Thomas Butte, son of the said William, in tail male, then to William and Edmund, other sons, &c. Seal gone. Portrait of the King in the initial letter.
7 Elizabeth, 22 June.—Inspeximus, at the request of Thomas Buttes, Esquire, of charters of early Kings to the church of Holy Trinity of Norwich and to Sir Robert de Walkefare (lord of Ryburgh), granting them numerous liberties.
16 Elizabeth, 8 May.—Inspeximus of Charter of 28 March, 4 Ric. II., inspecting Charter of 12 October, 51 Henry III., granting to Roger le Pouere free warren in Stodeye, Huneworth, &c., and confirming the same to Master Simon de Sudbury and others. Queen Elizabeth confirms to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Nicholas Bacon, Esquire, his son and heir apparent. Portrait of the Queen in the initial letter.
35 Elizabeth, 6 September.—Commission to Richard Pryce and others in the bankruptcy of Robert Gunnell of St. Ives, chapman, with [a copy of] the Bill filed in Chancery by his creditors, Thomas Sandell and Henry Violett of King's Lynn, merchants.
41 Elizabeth, 12 February.—Inspeximus of a Recovery by Sir John Heigham and Edward Bacon, Esquire, against Sir Nicholas Bacon and Anne his wife of the Manors of Woodhall, Ryborowe Magna and Parva, &c.
[Note.—A few other letters patent of the reigns of Edward II., Henry VI., and Elizabeth will be found among the early Deeds—Nos. 228, 324, 424, 431, 627. An Inspeximus of 29 George II., being too large to go with these bundles, has been placed at the end in a bundle by itself—No. 30.]
Wills, Plans, &c.
This bundle contains several modern wills of members of the Bacon and Wodehouse families, and others, which need not be specified here. A few earlier wills are to be found in the boxes of early deeds. An early seal of the Consistory Court of Norwich is loose in this bundle, and may belong to one of the early wills.
In the same bundle have been placed, for convenience, the two immense counterparts of the Indenture of 3 October, 3 Elizabeth, 1561, between Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, and Thomas Buttes, Esquire, and Brygitt his wife, one of the daughters and heirs of Henry Bures, Esquire; being a settlement on the marriage of Nicholas Bacon, Esquire, son and heir apparent of Sir Nicholas and Anne Buttes, the younger, niece and heir apparent of Thomas Buttes, viz., daughter and heir of Edmund Buttes, Esquire, brother of Thomas Buttes, and daughter and heir apparent of Anne Buttes, widow of Edmund Buttes. It deals with the estates of Thomas Buttes as well as with those of his wife. Each counterpart consists of two large skins of vellum, and they are signed and sealed by the parties. They are splendidly engrossed on red lines, after the fashion of letters patent of that period. Bonds of Sir Nicholas Bacon and Thomas Buttes in 2000 marks each are attached.
"The Description of the Town and Fields of Little Riburgh in the county of Norfolk. All those lands coloured with yellow were of the Rectory; the pricked lines signify the meeres, and the black lines ditches and enclosures; nat. for copyhold and lb. for free; h. for Hempton; f. St. Faith's; w. Woodhall; c. Creak; ca. Castleacre; and p. Pavelyes."
Besides these abbreviations there occur "Dns." and "R. B.," both written in red ink on many of the divisions, but not explained. The names of the tenants are also given. They were few in number, and most of them held both freeholds and copyholds, the latter being more numerous than the former. Their houses are shown all together near the centre of the map, at some little distance from the church. There were several highways through the fields. One of the acres was called Dovehouse acre.
This plan shows all the numerous divisions and sub-divisions of the "common fields" very minutely, with the extent of each separate parcel of land. It is clear that the greater part of the arable land was originally divided into strips of about an acre each, but that some of them had been consolidated. The south side of the fields, however, towards "the Heath," is divided into much larger sections than the north side; in fact there are few traces of the single-acre system in that portion, which comprised the site of the manor of Woodhall (belonging to Sir Edmond Bacon), the site of the Rectory, Pavelyes manor, and some of the demesnes. The inquiry at once suggests itself whether the lords of the respective manors had managed to obliterate the original landmarks, if there were such, by exchange and consolidation, or whether this portion consisted of lands "approved" from the waste subsequently to the construction of the common fields, either on the introduction of the manorial system, or under the Statute of Merton.
With regard to the northern or larger portion of the fields, an important feature of this plan is that it gives the names of the manors included in or extending into the township, and states to which of them each acre or larger parcel of land respectively belonged, and whether it was freehold or copyhold. From these particulars it is evident that the demesnes and tenements of the different manors were inextricably intermixed, so that there were no manorial boundaries; an interesting fact which is not illustrated by the maps published in Mr. Seebohm's "English Village Community."
On the back of this plan is a reference to "the Field Book." A book with this title, without covers, has been found, and placed with the plan, with which it may be instructively compared. It gives a description of thirty-one furlongs, and of the holdings in each, with numbers corresponding to those given in the map, but the names of the tenants are different, and it does not refer to the demesnes. Indeed it appears to be of somewhat earlier date than the map, though of the same century, and to have been copied from a still earlier terrier, as the "Prior of Binham" is spoken of as a tenant in several places.
Also, a plan of "Stibbard, Little Ryburgh, and Great Ryburgh, as allotted in 1810," with lands in adjoining parishes. This shows every parcel of land distinctly, its acreage, the nature of its tenure, and the name of its owner.
In these bundles are placed all the modern deeds, consisting of settlements, conveyances, leases, &c. from the 17th to the 19th century, and relating to the families of Bacon and Wodehouse, and their estates in the following places in Norfolk, Suffolk, and other counties:
Great Ryburgh (manor and church), Little Ryburgh, Ryburgh Paveless, Senhow, Testerton, Guist, North Elmham (Norf.), North Elmham Nowers, Stibbard, Stibbard Rectory, North Creake, Stody, Briningham, Hunworth, Harthill in Hunworth, Chosells, Brinton, Holt, Melton, Edgefield, Thornage, Sharington, Letheringsett, Bodham, Egmere (manor and church), Waterden, North Bassam, Wighton, Great and Little Walsingham, Horsham St. Faith's, Burnham Overy, Sudborne, Little Snoring (manor and church), Wesenham, Swanton Morley with Worthinge, Wyverston and Mettingham, Bungay, Ilketshall, South Elmham (Suffolk), Sheepmeadowe, Barsham, Beccles, Ellow, Westhorpe, Redgrave, Bodisdale, Gislingham, Burgate, Wortham, Mellis St. John's, Rushes and Mellis, Jennys, Walsham, Wattsfeild, Rickinghall alias Westhall, Rickinghall alias St. John's, Rickinghall alias Facon's Hall, Over Rickinghall, Nether Rickinghall, Hindercley, Wendy and Haslingfield (Cambridge), and lands in the counties of Montgomery, Cardigan, and Pembroke. Bundle 22 contains deeds relating to Egmere, and bundle 24 deeds relating to North Elmham and Swanton Morley.
Indenture of seven parts, 16 September 1752, between John Campbell the elder, of Stackpole Court in the county of Pembroke, Esquire, Sir Edmund Bacon, of Garboldisham, Norfolk, Bart., Armine Wodehouse, of Kimberley, Norfolk, Esquire, and others; being a settlement on the marriage of Pryse Campbell, eldest son and heir apparent of the said John Campbell, and Sarah Bacon, one of the daughters of Sir Edmund Bacon. 34 skins of parchment, rolled.
Letters Patent of 13 March 29 George II., being an Inspeximus of proceedings in Chancery in a suit by Mary Bacon, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Edmund Bacon, of Garboldisham, Bart., against Sir Armine Wodehouse, Bart., and Letitia his wife. Sir Edmund's Will is recited. Ten skins of vellum, rolled. Portrait of the King in the initial letter.
A manuscript entitled "Policronicon," in double columns, on paper, folio, about 290 pages; c. 1500. This is a complete copy of Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, and of the Continuation thereof, as printed in the "Chronicles and Memorials," where Mr. Churchill Babington makes some remarks (Introduction, p. xxi.) on the different readings of "the bombastic and not very intelligible prologue," which in this copy begins thus:—
"Cm. pm.—Post preclaros arcium scriptores quibus contra rerum noticiam at morun modestiam dulce q° aduiuerent insudar', illi merito velut vtile dulci commiscentes grandisonis sunt preconijs attollendi, qui magnifica priscorum gesta beneficio scriptur' posteris diriuarunt."
It gives a description of the world, histories of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, &c., and the history of England from the earliest times to the reign of Edward III. The last paragraph relates to Master John Wyclyf's teaching in the university of Oxford. The chronicle is followed by a list of the Popes, a pedigree showing the relationship of Jhesus, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Judas, &c., an alphabetical Index to the volume, and a pedigree of the Kings of France from St. Louis.
"Statutes of the Garter"; a manuscript of the 15th century so labelled, on vellum; small folio. It has a few illuminated initial letters, and the contents of the chapters are rubricated in the margin. Note at the top of the first page: "Extract, per Franc. Blomefield cleric, a° 1732." This volume contains transcripts of the foundation charter of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, 22 Edw. III.; the Papal bull of confirmation; the ordinances made by Edward III. for the rule of St. George's College, &c.; the injunctions of John, Archbishop of York, 1431; and other documents relating to the College, including two Charters touching the last of red herrings due from the town of Great Yarmouth to the warden and canons of the free chapel of St. George, Windsor; with the form of the oath of a Knight of the Garter.
"A true Report of sundry memorable accidents befalling Mr. Daniel Archdeacon before and after the combat appointed between him and Francis Mowbray," &c.; signed, A. D. G. (Small 4to, bound in vellum. No date; temp. James I. There is another copy of this MS. among the Domestic State Papers, James I., vol. 59, No. 51; which is assigned to the year 1610.)
Whilome devided from the mayne land stood
A Forrest in the circle of a flood.
"A Book of such things as have come to my hands concerning the business of the country." There is nothing to show who was the compiler of this volume, but he was probably one of the Bacon family. It is a letter-book of the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices of the Peace of the county of Suffolk, and contains copies of numerous letters and warrants from the King and the Privy Council, and from the successive Earls of Suffolk, Lords Lieutenant of the county, relative to public and local affairs from 1608 to 1640; with letters and orders from the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices to the chief constables of the several hundreds, accounts, memoranda, &c. Many of the Royal and Council letters are not to be found in the State Papers or in Rushworth's Historical Collections, and appear to have been unknown to the historians of the period. The replies of the Deputy Lieutenants to those letters are not, as a rule, contained in this volume, but some of them will be found among the State Papers. There are many blank leaves at the end of the volume, which would doubtless have been filled up if the then usual method of conducting public business had not been interrupted by the civil war. The Earls of Suffolk were also Lord Lieutenants of Dorset and Cambridge, so that many of the entries refer to those counties as well as to Suffolk. Earl Theophilus was moreover Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. It was thought desirable to make ample extracts from this correspondence, which will be found in Appendix B. (Folio, bound in vellum.)
Another similar but smaller letter-book of the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices of the Peace of the county of Suffolk, 1664–1676; Sir Edmund Bacon being one of the Deputy Lieutenants. Extracts from this volume will be found in Appendix C. (Folio, bound in vellum, but one cover wanting.)
Reports of proceedings in Parliament, with copies of a few royal letters &c., 1625–8. This MS. gives summaries of speeches by the King, the Lord Keeper, Dr. Turner, Mr. Pym, Mr. John Selden, Sir John Elliot, the Earl of Bristol, &c.; proceedings against the Duke of Buckingham &c. It seems to contain nothing but what may be found either in Rushworth's Collections, or in Additional MS. 22,474; but as this MS. occasionally differs from the other versions, a list of the pieces contained in it is given in Appendix D. (Small 4to, bound in vellum, 75 leaves.)
Numerous Rentals of the Manors of Ryburgh Magna and Woodehall in Parva Ryburgh; 16th century. One of them contains a note of all lands purchased by Thomas Buttes, with a few verses probably by him. The covers of these Rentals consist in most cases of vellum leaves from an ancient antiphonal.
"An Extract of all such Deeds, Evidences, Court Books, Court Rolls, Accounts of Bailiffs, and all other writings whatsoever, as Sir Edmond Bacon, of Redgrave, in the County of Suffolk, Baronet, has remaining in his Evidence-Chamber at Redgrave Hall," &c. 1657. It contains several thousands of entries. (Large folio, 47 pages; parchment.)
Pedigree of the Family of Bacon, beginning with William Bacon, temp. Edw. II., and ending with Edmond Bacon, son and heir of Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave Esq. and Anne his wife, daughter and heir of Edmond Buttes, &c.; with numerous coats of arms, in blazon. (A vellum roll.)
Pedigrees, with numerous coats of arms, in blazon: (1) beginning with Robert, Duke of Normandy, and tracing down through the Earls of Chester and Arundel, &c. to Sir Raufe Crumwell, Lord of Tattershall Castle; (2) beginning with William the Conqueror and ending with William Earl Warren; (3) the family of Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough, Lords of Emley, &c.; (4) the families of Sudeley, Butler, Belknopp, Cooke of Giddehalle in Essex, &c., ending with Anne (daughter of Cooke and Fitzwilliam), wife of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, but giving the names of Anthony and Francis as sons of Sir Nicholas. (A long narrow roll of vellum.)
A very large roll, headed: "Baconorum Parentalia: The Genealogicall Tract or Pedigree of the Auncient Illustrious Family and Syr-Name of Bacon, resident chiefly in the Counties of Norfolk and Suffolk," &c. It professes to be extracted from records, wills, monastic registers, deeds, monumental inscriptions, &c., and is dedicated to Sir Edmund Bacon, Bart., by John Whyting. The writer's name is noted thus: "Westminster, John Raymond scripsit, 1655." The pedigree begins with Grimbaldus, founder of the church of Letherinset in Norfolk, who "came in with the Conqueror." Sundry references to chronicles and records are given. There are nearly 200 coats of arms, in blazon. (Vellum, about 12 ft. by 4½ ft., on rollers.)
Grant of arms to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper 1569, tracing his descent from William Bacon, Esquire, who lived in the time of Edward II. This is on vellum, beautifully illuminated, lined with silk, and rolled. It bears the signatures and seals of three Kings of Arms—G. Dethick, Rob. Cooke, and William Flower.