The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1. Originally published by WS Crowell, Ipswich, 1846.
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Flixton, like the village of the same name in the Hundred of Wangford, is said to have received its appellation from Felix, the first Christian bishop of East Anglia; and its church, according to Tanner, was once considered as the mother church of that district. Domesday Book, however, is silent on this point, and neither records a church as then existing here, nor mentions any ecclesiastical endowment: a fact which rather militates against such an assumption, though possibly it may be no positive proof. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Flixton was divided into four manors, held by Hacun, Ædric, Turgar, and Siric. But these, having formed part of the estates of Gurth, who fell at the battle of Hastings, were seized by the Conqueror, and retained as his demesnes.
There was not, I think, a division of the lordship subsequently to this period, though from the title of the manor, which is sometimes styled the manor of Flixton, and at other times the manor of Lawney, considerable confusion arises. Surely the unity of the lordship is proved by the fact, that in the reign of Elizabeth, and afterwards, the advowson of the church was conveyed with the manor of Flixton, though it had been possessed by the Lawneys, and passed to the family of Hobart, their successors in the manor of Lawney, from which it does not appear to have been ever alienated.
In the reign of Henry III., Galfridus, fil. Osberti, had free-warren in Flixton, (fn. 1) but whether he enjoyed the manor is uncertain. In the following reign, Flixton was held by the family of Lawney, who presented to the church, uninterruptedly, till the beginning of the fifteenth century. In 1492, the patronage and manor were with the Hobarts, and in 1551 it was entered on the court-rolls, that "Walterus Hobart, armig: ten: man: de Lawney in Flixton, et redd: inde p: an: 20s. 4d." (fn. 2) On the 20th of November, forty-fourth of Elizabeth (1602), is an indenture of feoffment from Robert Migghells, of Chelmondiston, Gent., and Johanna his wife, to John Wentworth, Esq., of Somerleyton, and William Southwell, of the same place, Gent., and the heirs of John Wentworth, of sundry estates in Flixton, Oulton, and Blundeston, and also of the manor of Flixton aforesaid, with the appurtenances, and the advowson of the parish church of Flixton aforesaid; and all rents, court-leets, view of frank-pledge, free-warren, &c. In the same year a fine was levied, between the above parties, of the manor of Flixton, with the appurtenances, 3 messuages, 3 gardens, 100 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, 100 acres of pasture, 10 acres of wood, 100 acres of heath and briery, 40 acres of marsh, 60 of alder, and 20 shillings rent in Flixton, Oulton, Blundeston, and Belton, and the advowson of the church of Flixton. (fn. 3) At an inquisitio post mortem, held in the seventeenth of James I. (1618), on the death of John Wentworth, Esq., it was found that "the manor of Flixton, and the advowson of the church aforesaid, were holden of Sir John Heveningham's manor of East Leet, in free and common soccage." On the 3rd of October, eighth of Charles I., Robert Jettor, of Flixton, Gent., conveyed to John Wentworth, of Somerleyton, Knt., a messuage called Flixton Park, with the land and appurtenances which were late of Robert Jettor, his father. (fn. 4) From the Wentworths the manor and advowson of Flixton descended to the Garneys, and from that family to the Allins. In 1676, a bill in Exchequer was brought against Sir Thomas Allin, &c., by Lady Mary Heveningham's trustees, for discovering the several parts of the estate, late of Sir John Wentworth, which had been conveyed to the different assignees of Sir John's heir, Mr. Garneys. It is stated, inter alia, that Sir John Wentworth died seized of the manor of Lawney, in Flixton, held of the manor of East Leet, by the rent of £1. 0s. 4d. (fn. 5) This estate subsequently passed to the Anguishes, and descended to Lord Sydney Osborne, who sold it to Samuel Morton Peto, Esq., in 1844.
at Flixton, dedicated to St. Andrew, and frequently called the chapel, is now a ruin, open to the elements, and overgrown with ivy. It appears to have been a very small edifice, though well-proportioned, and possibly not inelegantly finished. The walls, as usual in the smaller Suffolk churches, are composed of flint-stones, held together by mortar of a very tenacious quality, and here, occasionally intermixed with courses of thin bricks or tiles, laid in the fashion called herring-b⊙ne masonry. It fell into a state of decay about two centuries ago, when it was restored by Sir John Wentworth, in the year 1630. Upon its re-consecration, a sermon was preached by the Rev. Thomas Brinsley, entitled 'The Glory of the Latter Temple greater than the Former,' and published at London in 1631, in quarto, as 'A Sermon preached at the Consecration or Restitution of the Church of Felixton, in Lovingland, Suffolk, being sometimes the Mother Church of the East Angles.' The fabric, however, in spite of this restoration, became irretrievably ruinated in the beginning of the following century, when the roof was blown off in the memorable storm of the 27th of November, 1703; and in the following year, George Burrows, chapel-warden, delivered to his successor, Henry Green, the following things belonging to this chapel: viz., two books, a surplice, a cup, a cloth, a cushion, and an anchor, and two pieces of iron belonging to the chancel window. (fn. 6) Gillingwater says that in his time the building was made use of for the vile purpose of a farmer's out-house; the walls demolished for the reparation of stables, and the font split asunder to support the two ends of a hog's trough, to the great offence of common decency. (fn. 7) It is with pleasure we record that these desecrations have now ceased, and that the cemetery surrounding the ruins is decently fenced and kept. The ancient font has been recovered by Charles Steward, Esq., of Blundeston, and placed in a part of his pleasure-grounds, situated in the parish of Flixton. It is much to be regretted that the following legend, commemorative of its history, from the classical pen of the Rev. James Ford, of Navestock, has not yet been inscribed upon it.
The parish register, said to have been lately in existence, and in the possession of Mr. William Neslin, has shared the fate of the famed Alexandrian Library, and fed the flames of copper-holes and ovens. Among the chapel-warden's disbursements in the year 1700, were the following:
|"Ditching the chapel yard||3s.||6d.|
|Glazing the chapel||6d." (fn. 8)|
Mr. Gillingwater has preserved a few entries in the now destroyed register book, and which, as the record itself has perished, are here perpetuated: "Richard Newman was buried Jan. 14th, 1682. Elizabeth Bugg, buried May 23rd, 1683. William, son of William Fisk, husbandman, and Mary his wife, was baptized Nov. 12th, 1702. John Wallis, of Great Yarmouth, single man, and Mary Hollis, of Gorleston, single woman, were married Dec. 21st, 1697. John Davey, of Raydon, single man, and Elizabeth Shinglers, of South Town, single woman, were married July 4th, 1699. William Dawson, of Cromer, in the county of Norfolk, single man, and Ann Richardson, single woman, were married Feb. 4th, 1695."