The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1. Originally published by WS Crowell, Ipswich, 1846.
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In the fifty-third of Henry III. it was the lordship of Sir John de Askby or Ashby, who granted to Alice Bond common in her lands there, and Jeffery, his son, gave and granted certain lands to hold of himself and his heirs, with right of commonage in all his commons in Ashby. In the twentieth of Edward I. a difference arose between Jeffery, the son, and Sir John de Askby, and Robert, &c., about a fold-course erected in Ashby, without leave, and a concord was made that for half a mark Jeffery should grant to Robert, and his heirs, free-foldage in all his lands in Ashby.
Another indenture of concord is recorded in old deeds relating to the manor, between John de Askby, and William de Askby, for a release, &c., and a grant of common, and acquittance of incroachment, &c., in the common of Ashby. In the reign of Edward II., the manor of Ashby was held by the family of Inglose, of Loddon Inglose, in Norfolk; John de Inglose presenting to the church in 1312. He was succeeded by Sir Robert de Inglose, who, in the eighth of Edward III., granted one piece of land in Askby, with free-foldage, &c. This knight was probably the Robert Englisse or Inglosse mentioned by Weever as buried in Lowestoft church in 1365, though this date of his death must be inaccurate, as Joan, his widow, enjoyed his interests here in 1361. Henry Inglose, who next held Ashby, served in the wars of France; and in the third of Henry V., 1414, preferred a libel, in the court of the Earl Marshal of England, against Sir John Tiptoft, who had retained him with sixteen lances, and several archers, and refused to pay him. And so he, the said Henry, declared that he was ready, by the help of God and St. George, to prove against the said Sir John, body to body, as the law and custom of arms required in that behalf. In 1421, being then a knight, he was taken prisoner at the battle of Baugè le Vieil, where the Duke of Clarence was slain; and in the fifth of Henry VI., being proxy for Sir John Fastolf, was installed a Knight of the Garter for him. He bore for arms, barry of six, argent and azure; on a canton of the first, five billets saltire-wise, sable. Sir Henry married Ann, the daughter and heiress of Robert Gyney, of Haverland, in Norfolk, and, in her right, inherited that manor. By his will, dated June 20th, 1451, he devised his manors of Dilham, Loddon, &c., to Henry, his son and heir. (fn. 1) Robert Inglose, his second son, obtained the manor of Ashby, to the church of which he presented in 1458. He left a daughter Catharine, who married Richard Blundevile, or Blomevile, and who appear to have enjoyed the lordship of Ashby; for in the sixth of Henry VIII. there was a fine between Edward Jerningham, Esq., Thomas Wyndham, Knt., Thomas Brewys, Esq., and John Scott, complainants, and Ralph Blomvyle, and Constantia his wife, deforcients, of the manor of Ashby, with the appurtenances, and one messuage, 40 acres of land, 6 of meadow, 6 of pasture, 40 of briery, and 8 shillings rent in Ashby, and also the advowson of the church. Edward Jerningham, who purchased this manor, was succeeded by John Jerningham, who in the seventeenth of Queen Elizabeth's reign devised the fish-house in Ashby, and two ponds, lying on the east part of the house; and the whord, called the old whord, belonging to the manor of Ashby, and all those several waters lying in Ashby, and called Fritton Fen. In the nineteenth of the same reign, he demised to one Godfrey, all that his fowling, liberty and royalty of fowling upon the water of Ashby, and upon the common of the town of Ashby, rendering one hundred couple of teals, and two couple of mallards, yearly. In the following year he demised certain premises in Ashby, excepting hunting, hawking, fishing, fowling, and all other royalties. In the twenty-ninth of Elizabeth, John Wentworth, Gent., purchased the manors of Ashby, Corton, and Newton, with the appurtenances, and 4 messuages, 3 gardens, 50 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 40 of pasture, 10 of wood, 200 of furze and heath, 10 of marsh, 10 of alder, 40 shillings rent, and free-foldage in Ashby, Corton, Newton, Oulton, Lowestoft, and Hopton, and also the advowson of the church of Ashby. In 1619, John Wentworth died seized of this estate, and in 1664, Thomas Garneys, Esq., his grand-nephew, was lord. Sir Thomas Allin purchased it of him in 1672, from whose descendants it passed to the family of Anguish, and by inheritance to Lord Osborne, and from him, by sale, to Samuel Morton Peto, Esq., in 1844.
About the fifteenth of Charles I., a bill was filed in the Exchequer by William Heveningham, Esq., then lord of the two Half Hundreds of Mutford and Lothingland, and other manors, complainant, against Sir John Wentworth, Knt., and others, defendants. It appears from interrogatories administered to the witnesses, who were examined by the Commissioners on the part of the plaintiff, that it was alleged "that the commons and wastes of the towns and hamlets of Somerleyton, Ashby, Blundeston, Flixton, Corton, Newton, and Belton, were parcel of the Half Hundred of Lothingland, and that offences and wrongs on such commons and wastes had been always punished in the courts of the Half Hundred. That there had been always kept several courts and leets for the Half Hundred, except Lound, and that the suitors were charged to inquire and present all wrongs within the commons and wastes in the Half Hundred, as well those in Somerleyton, Ashby, Fritton, Corton, Belton, Blundeston, Flixton, and Newton, as in the other towns; and that suitors out of all those towns were sworn upon juries. That the complainant was seized of the Half Hundreds of Mutford and Lothingland, and the manors of Gorleston, Lowestoft, alias Leystoft, and manors and seignories of East Leet, West Leet, North Leet, and South Leet, in the Half Hundred of Lothingland, and the manor of Lound, in the said Half Hundred; and also the manor of Mutford in the Half Hundred of Mutford: that the lords thereof had the suits and services belonging to them of the other manors of Somerleyton, Ashby, Blundeston, Flixton, Corton, Newton, and Belton. That complainant was owner of all the wastes, commons and waste-grounds, waters, becks, and fishings within the wastes and commons in the Half Hundred, and had presentments for wrongful commonages, &c., on the wastes, &c., of Somerleyton, Ashby, Fritton, Corton, Belton, Blundeston, Flixton, and Newton, which were punished in the courts of the Half Hundred. That the complainant, and the former owners of the Half Hundred, except Lound, had been reputed owners of the soil of the commons, &c., and had waifs and estrays in the Half Hundred, as well as in Somerleyton, Ashby, Fritton, Corton, Belton, Blundeston, Flixton, and Newton, as the other towns, and had a right to have a warren upon the said wastes, and liberty of fowling, hawking, and hunting, &c. That some of the jurors mentioned in the court-rolls of the complainant's Half Hundreds and manors had been owners of such manors as the defendants then sued in Somerleyton, Ashby, Fritton, Corton, Belton, Blundeston, Flixton, and Newton, and were chief tenants of the courts of the Half Hundred. That Ashby Common had been lately enclosed by Sir John Wentworth, or his father: that it had been formerly common, and part of the waste of the Half Hundred. That the great water, called Ashby Water, was also common, belonging to the Half Hundred; and that the fish-house was built there by — Jerningham, whilst owner of the Half Hundred, &c. And that Sir John was tenant to the complainant, and held his manors, lands, and tenements in the Half Hundred, and in the towns of Somerleyton, Ashby, Flixton, Corton, Belton, Blundeston, and Newton, of the complainant. That there had been a trial at the assizes for the county of Suffolk, between Robert Jettor, Gent., and Sir John Wentworth, concerning the common pasture of Flixton, whereof Sir John claimed the soil, and that Jettor had attempted to prove that complainant's father, Sir John Heveningham, in right of his Half Hundred, was lord thereof."
Depositions of witnesses were taken at the Falcon at Beccles, 24th of March, fifteenth of Charles I., before Henry North, Richard Catelyn, and Thomas Brooks, Gents.; and at the King's Arms, in St. Olave's, 31st of August, sixteenth of Charles I., before Sir Philip Parker, Knt., Richard Catelyn, Esq., and Thomas Brooke, Gent.
On the part of the complainant, John Hagon deposed, that offences on the wastes and commons of Somerleyton, Ashby, Blundeston, Flixton, Corton, Newton, and Belton, in the Half Hundred of Lothingland, were punished at Gorleston court.
John Maplestone deposed, that the wastes of Somerleyton, Ashby, Blundeston, Flixton, Corton, and Belton, were parcel of the Half Hundred. That offences committed on the commons of Oulton, Blundeston, and Flixton, were presented in the courts of South Leet. And of North Leet, East Leet, and West Leet, for trespasses committed on the commons and wastes of Somerleyton, Ashby, Corton, Belton, and Leistoffe. That the four leets have been kept for the Half Hundred, except Lound, in Shrove week, and in the first week in Lent, yearly. That the Sheriff's term for the Half Hundred was held twice each year at Lowestoft. The court for the Half Hundred, once a year, called Chiefers Court; and one other yearly, called Court of Ancient Demesne, and that suitors from all the above towns attended and presented offences. That the Half Hundred, except Lound, was holden in fee-farm. That Sir John Wentworth, and the lords of the manor of Blundeston and Fritton, and the master and fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, owners of Hobland Hall and Caldcot Hall, in Bradwell and Fritton, and all other owners of manors in the Half Hundred, paid suit-fines to the complainant, but knows not if for the manor or lands. That presentments were made in South Leet and Sheriff's terms for the Half Hundred for wrongful fishings in the common water called Leistoffe Water. That complainant's bailiffs had taken up estrays which were seized at Leistoffe. Knew the common of Ashby, but not what quantity was enclosed by John Wentworth, Esq.: that the fish-house was then standing: that Sir John Wentworth was tenant to complainant; and witness, as chiefer, did collect of debt-rent for his manor of Lawney in Flixton; and that at a trial between R. Jettor, plaintiff, and Sir John Wentworth, and others, defendants, about common in Flixton, next Blundeston Water, plaintiff attempted to prove Sir John Heveningham was lord of the Half Hundred and soil: does not know how their question was determined, but that verdict was for R. Jettor.
Thomas Lambe deposed, that Ashby Common had been enclosed thirty-eight years then since, by John Wentworth, Esq., and before that had been used as a common, and reputed as such, and to belong to the Half Hundred, or some manor of the complainant. It is to be collected from the interrogatories administered to the witnesses who were examined by the commissioners, on the part of the defendants, that Sir John Wentworth contended that the soils and wastes of the towns and manors of Somerleyton, Heringfleet, Ashby, Blundeston, Flixton, Corton, Newton, Hopton, Gapton, Belton, Caldcot Hall, and Fritton, in the Half Hundred, belonged to the lords of the manors within those towns; and that the lords thereof had felled trees, and cut the sweepage on the commons. That the respective lords of the said manors had granted to the tenants, rights of commonage upon the wastes.
On the part of the defendants, Bartholomew Speer deposed, that John Wentworth, Esq., father of the defendant, about forty years before, being lord of the manor of Ashby, having purchased all the tenements in the said town, did enclose forty acres on Ashby warren, and ploughed, sowed, and reaped the same, and ever since quietly enjoyed. That Mr. Wentworth, Sir John Wentworth, and John Jerningham, Esq., the former lords of Ashby, fished and fowled in Ashby water.
Other witnesses deposed, that Sir John Wentworth had a warrener's lodge, a warren of conies, and a whord, or hold, for fish. That Sir John Wentworth was lord of the manors of Somerleyton, Flixton, Corton, and Newton, Gapton and Ashby, and of the soils and commons thereof: that offences committed thereon were presented and punished in the courts of such manors.
George Towne deposed, that forty years before, John Wentworth, Esq., lord of the manors of Somerleyton and Ashby, enclosed lands in Ashby, then used as a common, and that it had thence remained enclosed, and that the greatest part of the same had been twenty-four years then since, ploughed and sowed. That defendant always exercised the sole privilege of fishing and fowling on the water in Ashby, without interruption: that the waste had always been used as a warren, and that a warrener's lodge, and the whord, or hold for fish, and fish-house, belonged to defendant.
Edward Hacon deposed, that forty or fifty acres of the heath, called Ashby Common, were enclosed twenty years before by John Wentworth, Esq., the lord of Somerleyton and Ashby, he having purchased all the tenements in Ashby: that the same was ploughed and sown two or three years, but the fences were afterwards suffered to decay. That John Wentworth, Esq., Sir John Wentworth, and — Jerningham, Esq., of whom Mr. Wentworth purchased the estate, were always esteemed the owners of the warren, the waters, and the whord; and to have the right of fishing and fowling: that he never knew the complainant, or his predecessors, lords of the Half Hundred of Lothingland, and the four leets, or as lord of the manor of Lowestoft, Gorleston, and Lound, ever fished or fowled upon Ashby water.
In the old brief in this cause, on the part of the defendant, before extracted from, are contained references to the court-rolls of the manors of Somerleyton, Corton, Newton, Flixton, and Gapton, as far back as the time of Edward I., in which were presentments of offences committed on the commons of Somerleyton, Blundeston, Hopton, Corton, Newton, Brotherton, and Belton; and also references to sundry deeds and evidences, all tending to prove the right of Sir John Wentworth to the soil of the commons within his several manors, and to the warren of Ashby; his right of fishing and fowling; and to the water and whord.
The brief further states, that the place where the great water in Ashby now is, was anciently the lord's turbary, in which several of the tenants in Ashby had several turbary, and some common of turbary; and the lord of Ashby the greatest part of the turbary; and that by continually digging, there became great and deep pits, which in process of time were filled with water; and that those tenants who had turbary there before, continued to have piscary when it decayed into water: and so it was conveyed from tenant to tenant, till at length the lords of Ashby, whose estate Sir John Wentworth hath, purchased all the tenements of the manor into their own hands, and so Sir John is now owner of the water as parcel of the demesnes of the manor, and not as lord of the soil of the wastes: and the place where the warren is, was several barony of the tenants; and the soil, in like manner, was purchased in by the lords, as aforesaid; and so also the warren is in the several demesnes of the lord, and distinct from that which is, or ever was, common or waste in the town of Ashby. (fn. 2)
at Ashby, which is a rectory dedicated to St. Mary, exhibits greater marks of antiquity than of elegance. It comprises a nave and chancel, lighted chiefly by lancet windows, and a circular tower, surmounted by an octangular capping, which is two-thirds of the entire height of the steeple, and of very inferior antiquity. Bricks are profusely used in the masonry of this tower, and the facings of the narrow pointed loop-holes, which pierce its sides, are wrought entirely with this material. In the interior is a low, square, mutilated font of Norman character, apparently of Purbeck marble, sustained on a single shaft. The east window, of Edward the First's era, is blocked with masonry, and the entire fabric bears marks of apathy and neglect,—the consequence, possibly, of its small population, which, in 1841, numbered only 53 souls. Many very ancient grave-stones lie on the floor, some of which are decorated with crosses of various devices, raised, as usual, on three greses. The annexed wood-cut represents one of rather elegant pattern. The stone is somewhat more than six feet long, flat in the centre, and probably the workmanship of the twelfth century.
A piscina in the early English fashion occupies the usual position; and opposite, from the north wall, projects a shelf of stone, somewhat in the shape of a bracket, which must have formed the side table, or credence, of popish worship.
Monuments.—Sarah Sherwood, ye wife of John Sherwood, who lived together 36 years, 8 months, 2 weeks. She departed this life 19th May, 1730, between one and two of clock in ye morning, on ye 66 year of her age.