The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1. Originally published by WS Crowell, Ipswich, 1846.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Villages, like kingdoms, have their periods of prosperity and decay; and this now obscure parish was of sufficient importance in Saxon days to give its name to the Hundred. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Gurth, the brother of Harold, was owner of Mutford, whose tenant, Ulf, held three carucates and a half of land for a manor. There were eighteen villeins, six bordars, and sixteen slaves on this lordship, but at the Norman Survey the latter were reduced to ten. Four ploughs were employed on the demesne lands by the Saxons, but the Normans had only three. The manor contained wood for sixty pigs, with six acres of meadow. The Saxon farmers had kept three draught horses, but the Normans possessed only two. At the Survey there were seven geese, thirty pigs, one hundred and sixty sheep, fifty goats, and two apiaries, always valued at sixty shillings. The village was two leucas in length, and nine furlongs in breadth, and paid four shillings land-tax. In the same parish twelve free-men held under Gurth, three carucates of land with two slaves and seven bordars. They had among them nine ploughs, which at the Survey were reduced to seven: there were eight acres of meadow, and wood for sixteen pigs. Two churches were then standing in the parish, endowed with forty-seven acres of glebe: twelve of these were in Mutford, two in Rushmere, two in Gisleham, three in Pakefield, two in Kirkley, and the other twenty-six in Mutford. William the Conqueror retained the manor as part of the royal demesnes, and appointed Roger Bigot his steward. (fn. 1) This estate, therefore, appears to have participated in the general depreciation of landed property consequent on the Norman invasion, which reduced the value of estates in England, at least one-third, on an average, throughout the kingdom. (fn. 2) The manor of Mutford remained in the Crown till the reign of Henry II., who granted it to Balderic de Bosco, or Bois, with a moiety of the Hundred, the patronage of the church, the Hundred-court, wreck of sea, view of frank-pledge, with the erection of gallows, and tumbrill,—feudal privileges of high importance. (fn. 3) The manor was held by the tenure of paying an annual rent of six marks and a half, under the name of "Alba firma," or white mail. (fn. 4)
Upon the death of Balderic de Bosco, his daughter Hildeburga inherited this manor, who left two daughters, her coheiresses, of whom, one married Stephen de Long Champ, and the other espoused Henry de Vere. Each of these knights held a moiety of the lordship in right of his wife. In the reign of King John, Stephen de Long Champ joined the party of the discontented Barons, and was slain at the battle of Bouvines, fought on the 27th of July, 1214. In the Claus Rolls is a "precipe" of John, dated at Melkesham, in Wiltshire, on the 22nd of September, 1204, directing the Sheriff of Suffolk to put this Stephen de Long Champ in possession of the estate at Mutford, late de Bosco's, except it should exceed in value £12, but reserving to himself the corn then growing on the said lands. (fn. 5) In consequence, however, of his having fallen in arms against his monarch, Long Champ's estates were forfeited, and on the 27th of January, 1221, were granted by Henry III. to one of his favourites. By a deed, dated at Westminster on that day, he commands the Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk to give seizen thereof to Walter de Ev'mue, to sustain him in the royal service, and during the King's pleasure. (fn. 6) Henry de Vere, who possessed the other moiety of this manor, left an only son, Henry de Vere, who died without issue, so that having no heirs, his share also fell to the Crown. The moieties of the manor being thus united were granted, as one lordship, in 1234, to Sir Thomas de Hemegrave, or Hengrave, who died in 1254, and was succeeded in his estates by Thomas, his grandson. He paid one hundred shillings as relief, for his grandfather's lands here. The following inquisition of the customs and descent of the manor and half Hundred of Mutford was taken in the reign of Edward I.
"Jurati dicunt quod in dimidio Hundredo de Mutford duo genera feodorum sunt: vid: unum de antiquo dominico domini regis, quod vocatur Mutford; alium feodum de feodo Cestrie. Item dicunt quod Dom: Henricus Rex, filius Imperatricis tenuit integrum manerium de Mutford, cum omnibus regiis libertatibus pertinen: manerio de Mutford: et dictus Henricus dedit tribus servientibus suis; videlicet quilibet ipsorum centum solidos annui redditus extra manerium de Mutford, et agnominabantur Luvel, Breton, et Francheville, et retinuit regias libertates; deinde Soka Luvel et Soka Breton sunt in Blithyng, et in Wayneford, et quidam pars de Soka Francheville est in dicto dimidio Hundredo de Mutford, et pars in Blything, et pars in Wayneford. Dom: Willielmus de Valance tenet Sokam Breton: Abbas de Sancto Edmundo tenet Sokam Luvel: Radulphus Muncy tenet Sokam Francheville, et totum residuum dicti manerij de Mutford predictus Henricus rex dedit Balderico de Bosco, cum advocationibus ecclesiarum cum Hundredo, wrecco maris, visu franci plegii, erectionem furcarum et tumbrellorum, et cum omnibus aliis libertatibus pertinentibus ad manerium de Mutford, salvis inde per annum domino Regi sex marcas et dimidiam, quod vocatur alba firma; et solvitur tam bene de tenementis feodi Cestrie quam de feodo de Mutford. Et post mortem dicti Balderici discendit dictum manerium de Mutford de herede in heredem usque ad duas filias et heredes, que diviserunt inter se dictum manerium; et quarum unam Stephanus de Longo Campo disponsavit; et Henricus de Ver disponsavit alteram.
"Item dicunt quod Stephanus de Longo Campo occisus fuit in prelio de Bonyns, contra Johannem regem Anglie, et eadem ratione forisfactus fuit tota purpartia uxoris, et seisata in manu domini Regis. Et Henricus Ver, filius Henrici Ver, senioris, qui exivit de altera filia, mortuus sine herede de se procurato, et eadem ratione dominus Henricus rex, pater domini Regis qui nunc est, seisivit dictum manerium de Mutford. Et post mortem Henrici de Ver, filii Henrici de Ver, senioris, dominus Thome de Hengrave, senior, perquisivit manerium de Mutford de domino Henrico rege, patre domini regis Edwardi qui nunc est, cum omnibus regiis libertatibus pertinentibus dicto manerio: post mortem dicti Thome de Hengrave, senioris, descendit dictum manerium Thome de Hengrave, ut nepoti suo et heredi. Post mortem dicti Thome descendit dictum manerium Edmundo de Hengrave, ut filio et heredi, qui nunc tenet de domino rege in capite manerium de Mutford, cum omnibus regiis libertatibus pertinentibus dicto manerio; centum quadraginta et tres acras terre arrabilis; quinquaginta quinq: acras bosci, duas acras prati, tres acras juncarie salvo herbagio communiariorum, qui nunc communiari debent, videlicet in marisco de Howbergh, et medietatem omnium transgressionum qui facti sunt in eodem marisco: unum molendinum ad ventum, liberam apperendam liberum taurum, et weyf de bestiis extrahuris cum dimidio Hundredo per totum dimidium Hundredum, wrecco maris, visu franci plegii, erectionem furcarum et tumbrellorum, warenam liberam infra boscum suum clausum in Mutforde, tolnetum de Heyes, salvo medietate Rogeri de Monte Alto de villa de Kessinglond, fagnadief, advocacionem ecclesie de Mutforde, ad quam ecclesiam pertinet viginti quatuor acre terre arrabilis cum uno messuagio de feodo de Mutford per feodum unius militis pro se et tenentibus suis subscripts, qui de eo tenent tenementa sua de supradicto feodo et tenentes sui ad hoc servicium ei nichel auxiliabant. Pertinentia sunt dicto manerio tria genera tenentium: vid: liberi tenentes gersumanni, et sokemanni, et omnes sunt in certo. Item pertinentia sunt ad dictum manerium sokemanni operantes in autumpno, et in aliis temporibus anni, quidem illorum arrabunt, si conjugaverint et arrura sua illa allocationibus in eorum operacione per unam septimanam; sin autem non arrabunt et cariabunt domini fenum, si conjugaverint carectam, sin autem non cariabunt, et primo die cariacionis manducabunt ad mensam domini semel in die, et dies illa non est allocanda, ceteri vero dies allocandi sunt in eorum operacione; vid: quibus dies pro una septimana. Et quidem illorum debent herciari bis per annum per duos dies post prandium per unum equum, si habeant equum, sin autem non habebunt, dabunt unam gallinam ad natale domini, quinque ova ad Pascham, si gallenas habeant; sin autem non, dabunt et quinque garbas ordei in augusto et unum vellus lane, si habeant quinque bidencium, vel si habeant centum bidentes; sin autem non, dabunt et unam garbam lini si habeant quinque garbas vel centum si habeant, sin autem non dabunt. Quidem illorum custodiant latrones, et ducunt apud Gippovicum, et illa custodia et ducia allocabantur in eorum operacione, et tam nox quam dies allocabatur: vid: nox et dies pro duabus diebus &c.
"Quidem illorem averabunt apud Gernemouth Donewicum et apud Beclis et allocacit in eorum operacione quando vero fecerint Avergium apud Donewicum vel apud Gernemouyt allocatio ei pro seipso et pro equo unum diem quando fecerint Averagium apud Beclys tunc allocatio tam pro se et equo unum diem (et si dominus pro eorum operacione argentum habere voluerit tune pro die in Augusto debit obolum) et pro die a festo Sancti Michaelis usque festum Sancti Petri ad vincula unum quadrantem tantum —Quidem illorum erint prepositi per turnum suum antiquum tenementum—et hoc facient dum sint prepositi, erunt in grangiis domini et videant ut blada domini intrentur debito modo et erunt ad triturationem bladi et ventilacionem et mensuracionem bladi, talliabunt contra servientem manerii, nullam vendicionem nec emptionem bladi facient. De carucis et curatis neque de aliis quibuslibet rebus se non intromittent. Et postquam blada domini in granario domini per custodem manerii vel per alium ad voluntatem domini custodientur et expendentur. Et sic de pisis fab et avenis quod postquam positi sint in granario prepositi de illis nichil se intromittent. Et dum sint prepositi quieti sint de omnimodis operacionibus, et quandiu dominus vel familia ibi per manducabunt ad mensam domini. Et prepositi eligentur per sokemannos circa festum Sancti Petri ad vincula per turnum at dictum est nullam aliam operacionem sic faciet et percipient alios facere. Quidem vero sokemannorum erunt venditores bosci de bosco per turnum et electionem dictorum sokemannorum, et dum sint venditores manducabunt ad mensam domini exceptis diebus quibus debent operari et omnes summoniti erunt ad eorum operacionem die precedenti et venient ad eorum operacionem in omni tempore anni ad solis ortum et redibunt ad solis occasum. Gersumam vero modo facient isti qui plenas terras tenent si filii eorum sint maritandi veniunt ad custodem manerii de Mutford vel ad alium in servitium domini ibidem inventum et licentiam petent. Et sine licentia dederit sine non maritabunt filias suas ubicunq: voluerint. Et si maritati sint ad homagium domini tune dabunt gersumam secundem quantitatem eorum tenementi. Ita tum quod si tenent plenum socagium dabunt duos solidos, qui plus tenet plus dabit, et qui minus, minus dabit, si vero maritati sint ad alios qui non sunt de homagio domini tunc dabit qui plenum socagium tenet decem solidos pro gersuma, qui dimidium socagium tenet quinque solidos qui plus tenet plus dabit, qui minus tenet minus sokemāni dabit secundem quantitatem." (fn. 7)
Sir Edmund de Hengrave, eldest son of Thomas de Hengrave, who died in 1264, inherited the manor of Mutford. In 1321, he was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, and Governor of Norwich Castle. He died in the eighth of Edward III., in his 80th year, seized of this lordship, (fn. 8) and Sir Thomas, his eldest son and heir, aged 40 at his father's decease, succeeded. By Isabella, his first wife, he had Sir Edmund de Hengrave, his heir, and Beatrix, who married Sir Robert de Thorpe of Ashwelthorpe, in Norfolk, whose descendants eventually became possessed of Mutford. Sir Thomas died in 1349, and was succeeded by Sir Edmund de Hengrave, who was one of the Knights returned to Parliament for Norfolk and Suffolk, in the forty-sixth of Edward III. He married, first, Joan, cousin and heiress of James de Cockfield, and, secondly, Alice, daughter of John de Insula, on whom he settled the manor of Mutford. In her will, dated in 1401, she calls herself "Dame de Mutford," and bequeaths 40 shillings to the high altar of the church there: 6s and 8d to the lights of Our Lady; and 40 shillings to the reparation of the belfry. Her husband's will is dated in 1379, in which he gives certain moveables and effects, then in his house at Mutford, to Alice, his wife, who seems to have resided there after his decease, till her second marriage with Sir Richard Wychingham, of Witchingham, in Norfolk. This Sir Richard held the manor of Mutford during the life of the said Alice, but the reversion of the same after her death being settled on the right heirs of Sir Edmund de Hengrave, Sir Thomas, his surviving son and heir, inherited it. By his marriage he had issue Edmund de Hengrave, on whom his father entailed this lordship and a moiety of the Hundred, in 1414; but this son dying shortly afterwards, without issue, Sir Thomas vested his estates in trust, for sale; the produce to be applied to charitable purposes. He died in 1419, and bequeathed for the reparation of the chancel of Mutford church one hundred shillings, and towards the repairs of the body of the church twenty shillings, and to the parson six shillings and eight pence, and to twenty-four of his poor tenants there forty shillings. These bequests he makes for the good of his soul; for the soul of Joan, his mother, who lay buried there, and for the souls of all the faithful departed.
His widow, Joanna, married, shortly after his death, Richard Vewetree, of Burnham Westgate, in Norfolk, and died in 1421. Before her decease she solemnly revoked her will, devising the manor of Mutford, &c., having executed it by constraint, and under the influence of her second husband. Upon the extinction of the family of Hengrave, in the person of Sir Thomas, their estates descended to the Thorpes of Ashwelthorpe, in Norfolk, in right of Beatrix de Hengrave, who married Sir Robert Thorpe, as before shown; but the manor of Mutford seems to have escheated to the Crown.
In the ninth of Richard II., Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, had a grant of various manors and estates in Suffolk; 25th January, nineteenth of Henry VII., Edmund de la Pole was attainted of treason, whereupon, amongst others, the manor of Mutford came to the hands of the Crown, and by grant of 15th June, first of Henry VIII., the said manor, with others, was granted to Edward Jernyngham, Esq., and Mary his wife, which grant they afterwards surrendered into Chancery, and thereupon, 28th January, second of Henry VIII., the same manors and estates were granted to the said Edward Jernyngham and wife, and the heirs of their bodies: these were afterwards sold by Henry Jernegan, and Henry Jernegan his son, to Thomas and Christopher Hirne, and by letters patent, 28th October, fifth of James I., the King, on the petition of the Earl of Montgomery, granted the reversion of the said manors, &c., to hold to Clement Hirne and his heirs by fealty only and an annual rent. A sale was afterwards made by Sir Thomas Hirne, Knt., to Sir John Heveningham, Knt., and Dame Bridget his wife; and this sale was confirmed by Act of Parliament, seventh of James I. William Heveningham, son of the said Sir John, being one of the judges of King Charles, committed high treason, and was attainted by Act of Parliament, whereby his manors, &c., became forfeited to the Crown, and by letters patent, 28th September, thirteenth of Charles II., the King granted the said manors, &c., to Bryan Viscount Cullen and others. These grantees were trustees for Lady Mary Heveningham; and in 1678, Sir Thomas Allin, Knt., purchased these estates, from whom they eventually came to the Anguishes, and passed to the present possessor, Samuel Morton Peto, Esq.
There appears to have been a family of some consideration in their day, which took their name from this village; for in 1329, Sir John de Mutford, one of the judges in the Common Pleas, in the reign of Edward II., of the knightly family of the Mutfords of Mutford, in Suffolk, was buried in the cathedral of Norwich. (fn. 9)
A winding stream of water, which rises in the parish of St. Laurence Ilketshall, enters this parish at a point called Ellough Bridge. It thence proceeds in a southeasterly direction, and falls into the ocean at Benacre sluice, forming the boundary line between the Hundreds of Mutford and Blything. It was probably a much more considerable stream in ancient days, as Holingshed notices it in his rivers of England. "Willingham water commeth by Hensted, Einsted, or Enistate, and falleth into the sea by south of Kesland." In the meadows around Mutford Hall, old trees are occasionally found in the soil, which rise, at uncertain intervals, to the surface; and which must have been deposited there by violent floods, centuries ago. These, by retarding the rapidity of succeeding inundations, have caused the stream to precipitate an earthy deposit, which by a sure but imperceptible action has raised the bed of the channel, and gradually covered it with a firm and fertile herbage.
Mutford Hall stands near the edge of the marshes on a rising ground, and is now converted into a farm-house. It seems to have been built late in Elizabeth's reign. Many of its old chimneys remain unaltered, but the front is completely modernized. It contains some good sized, but low apartments, and is now the property of Mr. Gilbert, of Thorpe, near Norwich, who bought it of the late Mr. Dowson, of Geldeston, in Norfolk.
There is also an ancient house in this parish, standing within a moated site, which now belongs to the Rev. Charles Clarke, of Hulver. It is as old as the hall, though it was never a house of equal pretensions, and appears to have formed only two sides of a quadrangle. It was bought by the father of the present possessor, of the daughters of Mr. Fox, of Worlingham, who held it in right of Elizabeth Smallpeece, his wife, whose family obtained it of George Watts, Gent., who was owner of it, and probably resided there in 1692. Mr. Watts bore for arms, erm. on a chief gules an annulet between two billets or. He married Elizabeth Lone, from whose family he seems to have obtained this estate, and died in 1710, aged 53 years, and lies buried in the chancel of Mutford church.
Robert Brewster, of Mutford, held lands in this parish and in Henstead, prior to the reign of Henry VI., which lands were afterwards in the possession of William Brewster, of Henstead, and Robert Brewster, of Rushmere. This was a branch of the very ancient family of the Brewsters of Wrentham, in Blything Hundred.
which is dedicated to St. Andrew, was a rectory till the middle of the fourteenth century, when the advowson was purchased of Sir Edmund de Hengrave by the society of Gonville Hall, now Caius College, in Cambridge. Its revenues were appropriated to that establishment, by the sanction of William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, on the 17th of June, 1354. The Hall, as patron, was bound to present two clerks to the Bishop, who was to choose one of them as Vicar. The vicarage was to be worth 10 marks per annum, and taxed at 5 marks. A pension of 20 shillings was reserved to the Bishop in lieu of first fruits. (fn. 10) The license for the appropriation is registered in the Patent Rolls. (fn. 11)
The first endowment of Gonville Hall was the three ecclesiastical benefices of Mutford, Wilton, and Fouldon; the patronage of which three churches, with their glebes, and the pensions, the Hall bought with their own money of Sir Edmund de Hengrave, Knt., and Hugh de Chintriaco, Prior of Lewes. (fn. 12) They were all three of the yearly value of £28. In 1393, Richard Powle, Vicar of Mutford, gave to Gonville Hall twelve acres of land, in Fouldon in Norfolk. (fn. 13) His name, however, does not occur in the list of institutions to the benefice. In 1540, Thomas Atkyns, Vicar of this parish, and Margery Hare, of the same town, gave £48 apiece to Gonville Hall, to purchase lands of the yearly value of £4. (fn. 14) Lands were accordingly bought in Coolinge, in this county, and Catlidge, in Cambridgeshire.
Mr. Atkyns' donation to the same establishment of lands in Worlingham has been mentioned at page 106. In the account of the yearly rents paid in money to the Master and Fellows of Caius College, is the following item. "The tythes of Mutford and Barnaby, in Suffolk, with the glebes. Money-rent £4. 11s. Cornrent, wheat, six quarters: malt, half a quarter, purchased by the college." (fn. 15)
The fabric of the church was originally raised in Norman times; very possibly by Balderic de Bosco, or Hildeburga, his daughter; and a very ancient circular arch in the north wall of the nave, the face of which is ornamented with a chevron moulding, points out the burial-place of the founder. In its present condition it comprises a nave, chancel, and south aisle. At the west end of the former stands a lofty circular tower, to which is attached a large penitential porch or galilee. This appendage, now a roofless ruin, seems to have been built somewhat later than the tower, as the masonry of their respective walls is not united. It is, I believe, the only example of such an erection in the county of Suffolk, although in early ages there was always a galilee attached to every church in which public penitents were stationed, and the bodies of the dead occasionally deposited before interment. At the cathedrals of Durham and Ely are splendid examples of the galilee. The name is supposed to have been appended to these extreme porches, because, as Galilee was the part of Palestine most remote from Jerusalem, so this portion of the building was most distant from the sanctuary.
The remains of strong foundation-walls would lead us to infer that the old Norman chancel extended further eastward than the present elegant erection, the beautiful window of which is in the style of Edward the First's reign. The peaked gable in which this is inserted still bears aloft a cross of stone, and beneath the window sill is an arcade of panelled flint-work. This facade may be ascribed to the family of Hengrave, whose donations to the repairs of Mutford church and chancel have been already noticed. The aisle once extended further eastward by a single arch, and appears to have been used as a private chapel. Before the Reformation, the church contained the gild of St. John Baptist, and the lights of St. Mary, and the Holy Trinity, so that one, or perhaps all, of these saints had altars here. In 1401, Dame de Mutford, widow of Sir Edmund de Hengrave, gave by will 6s. 8d. to the lights of Our Lady, in Mutford church; 40s. to the high altar, and the same sum to the repairing of the belfry. The architectural features of this church are very plain in the interior, though the chancel arch is good. The columns of the nave are octangular, and remarkably slender: they sustain four pointed arches. The octagonal font, which is now despoiled of its ancient sculptures, was the gift of Dame Elizabeth, the wife of Sir Thomas de Hengrave, who lived in the reign of Richard II. and his successor. In the tower are three bells.
There are the remains of a good screen, which was probably destroyed in the days of puritanic zeal, for the church of Mutford did not escape the visitation of Will. Dowsing.
"Mutford, April 8th. We brake down nine superstitious pictures, and gave order to take up nine superstitious inscriptions of Jesus; two crosses on the steeple, and the steps to be levelled."
Monuments.—The Norman arch in the wall of the nave, which, probably, covers the remains of the founder, has been already mentioned. There is also an ancient floor-stone in the chancel, once decorated with a cross flory and circumscription in brass, which have been forcibly removed. It doubtless contained one of the "nine superstitious inscriptions" so offensive to Dowsing. Mr. Charles Hacon, died Sept. 6, 1699, aged 28 years. Hacon bears sab. 2 barrulets vairy arg. and vert. in chief, a martlet between two plates. The family of Hacon is of very great antiquity, claiming a Danish origin, and their possessions in this part of Suffolk were considerable at the time of the Domesday Survey, wherein the name is of frequent occurrence.
Mary, first the wife of Robert Bell, and after the wife of Tolmache Castell, died 2 May, 1653.
On a small brass plate in the nave is this legend: Robert Langley, died 23 June, 1608.
Maria, wife of James Palmer, of Gt. Yarmouth, merchant, died 21 Jan., 1824, aged 48.
William Temple, D.D., Rector of Kirkley, and formerly Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, died 24 Jan., 1809, aged 74.
Dr. Temple resided at a good mansion in this village, called Northwood Place.
George Watts, Gent., died in 1710, aged 53 years.
Rectors of Mutford.
|Thomas de Suddon||1327||Sir Edmund de Hengrave.|
|Hen: fil: Edm: de Pakenham||1342||Sir Thomas de Hengrave.|
|John Herland, de Kimburle||1349||Sir Edmund de Hengrave.|
Vicars of Mutford.
Estimatio ejusdem xxij marc.
The population of Mutford amounted to 415 souls in 1841.