EAST, or GREAT WROTHAM,
Is so called because it lies most east of the three Wrothams, of all
which Herold was lord in King Edward's time, and Ralph de Tony in
the Conqueror's; (fn. 1) Wretham (or Wrotham Thorp) had then two carucates, Wertham, (or West Wrotham,) (fn. 2) had three, and Weretham (or
East Wrotham) (fn. 3) had four, and all of them were berewites to Neketun,
(or Necton,) and contained together four miles in length, and four
miles in breadth, and paid xxd. geld.
This manor was given to Bec abbey in Normandy, (fn. 4) by that Ralph
de Toni, who held it at the survey, from which time it enjoyed all the
privileges belonging to that monastery. In the register of the abbey
(fol. 58, b) the customs of the manor are entered, among which it
appears, that the tenants were to pay scot and lot, by way of aid to
the abbots, when they came into England, or to their proctors, if the
necessities of the abbey were very urgent; they could not sell a horsecolt, nor an ox of their own bringing up, without their lord's leave,
nor marry their daughters, nor go to live out of the manor, nor remove their chattels out of it, without license; they paid at every
death the best beast for a heriot, or 32d. instead of it, and if any one
died intestate, all their chattels were at the lord's disposition. When
the harvest work was finished by the tenants, they were to have half
an acre of barley, and a ram let loose in the midst of them; and if
they catched him, he was their own to make merry with, but if he
escaped from them, he was the lord's, which custom is still kept at
Eton college, there being a ram every year let loose among the scholars, on a certain day, to be run down by them, the original of which
might come from the custom of this manor; at this time William de
Hockam held 60 acres of land of the old feoffment, by 5s. per annum
rent, and also 16s. rent at Rokeland, and all that belonged to the
church of Bec, and was part of this manor, as you may see at Hocham-Parva. William Francolanus, or Frankleyn, held a carucate of
land at Serepham, or Shropham, and paid scot and lot, gifts and aids,
and did suit to this court, and Henry de Bradekere held a tenement
there by the same service. Emma de Kerbrook, or Carbrook, Adam
de Ockeham, or Hockham, Walter Bainard, and the heirs of William
Crongethorp, held a bruery, called Sandwadescot, by suit of court, and
the service of going to London, or elsewhere at their own charge, on
the lord's errand, and by doing the lord's and the town's service, in
attending the sheriff's turns, and hundred courts, to hear the King's
orders; and William de Wrotham then held 60 acres of land and a
messuage, which, in 1240, was given by Reginald, son of Eustace de
Wrotham, to Bec abbey. In 1285, the abbot held it in free alms, as
parcel of Tony's barony, and had view of frankpledge, assize of bread
and ale, a pillory, gallows, and weyf, and thus it continued in the
abbey, (unless when it was in the King's hands by reason of the French
wars,) till 1414, the second of King Henry V. when the Parliament
at Leicester dissolved the Prior's aliens, and then it continued in the
Crown till King Henry VI. settled it on his college of Eton, at the
foundation, and confirmed it by his charter in 1444; and in 1460 it
was reconfirmed by King Edward IV. it being parcel of the possessions of Okeburne priory, which was an alien depending on Bec
abbey; and at this time the provost, fellows, and scholars of Eton
are lords. The leet belongs to the manor, and liberty of keeping
petit-sessions along with it, by grant of Hugh Earl of Sussex, who released it to the church of Bec, on condition that they should treat his
bailiffs and suiters to the hundred court, every other year, in their
manor of East Wrotham; (fn. 5) and afterwards, in 1237, the said Hugh,
for 12 marks paid him by Brother William de Gynevill, their general
proctor in England, released to them the said treat, on condition they
paid to the bailiff of the hundred, yearly, 14d. every Michaelmas day,
and the ancient leet fee of 3s. so that the lord of the hundred, though
he is paramount here, yet hath no leet. (fn. 6) This manor hath liberty of
a coroner, whose jurisdiction extends over the Wrothams, by grant of
King Henry VI. when he founded his colleges of King's and Eton.
The rectory is valued at 11l. 12s. 3d. ob. in the King's Books, and
pays 1l. 3s. 2d. 3q. yearly tenths; it is in the archdeaconry of Norfolk,
and deanery of Rockland.
The Church is dedicated to St. Ethelbert, and the rector paid a
pension of 20s. (fn. 7) a year out of it to the Abbot of Bec, and 12d. for
synodals the Abbot of Counches's temporalites belonging to his manor
of West Wrotham, in this town, were taxed at 9l. In the year 1603,
there were 80 communicants, which number is much decreased; it
paid 2l. 15s. to the tenths, and is now  assessed at 340l. to the
land tax, there being, as I am informed, about 150 inhabitants.
1321, 7 id. July, William de Dorso usto, [or Burnt-Arse] accolite,
was presented by Brother William de Ponte, monk of the monastery of Bec-Herlewyne, who was general proctor for the Abbot of Bec
1321, prid. kal. Nov. Gilbert de Arundell, colet, (i. e. accolite.)
Ditto. In 1325, he was deacon, and had liceuse for non-residence
for two years.
1335, prid. kal. Sept. Master Will. de Braumford, priest, on Arundell's resignation. Rich. de Beausevall, proctor for the Abbot
1348, 30 May, Rob. de Ash. The Prior of Okebourne.
1349, 20 Febr. Will. de Pakynton, shaveling. The King.
1362, 30 March, Richard Mercer, priest. Peter de Falco, Prior
of Okeborne, proctor-general for the Abbot of Bec, in the diocese of
Roan in France.
1394, 27 Aug. Will. De-Lawe, priest. The King, as belonging
to the temporals of Okebourne priory, which are now in his hands.
1447, 19 Sept. Mr. John Smith, bachelor in the decrees, on Swanland's death.
1447, 17 Febr. John Gardiner, on Smith's resignation.
1453, 23 Jan. Will. Bettys, priest.
1465, Adam Welvys, priest, on Bettys's death.
1482, 30 Aug. Will. Pennyngton, on Dunham's death.
1494, Will. Horman, A. M. on Pennyngton's death.
1503, 13 March, John Smith, on Marten's death.
1517, 9 Dec. Tho. Payn, on Smith's death,
1550, 25 Oct. Peter Catton, priest, on Payn's death.
1556, 12 March, Stephen Hopkyns, on Catton's death, united to
1559, 21 Febr. William Edwards on Hopkyns's resignation.
1579, 7 Sept. Robert Conye, S.T. B. who had West Wrotham.
1613, 29 May, Robert Haldesworth, A.M.
1614, 16 Nov. Tho. Browne, A. M.
1640, 16 Jan. Richard Younge, A. M. on Browne's death.
Samuel Wooton, S.T.P.; he had West Wrotham.
1681, 25 April, John Powell, A. M. united to West Wrotham.
1711, 18 Oct. The Rev. Nathaniel Coddington, A. M. the present
 rector, who holds it united to West Wrotham.
All presented by the Provost of Eton college, who is now patron.
Upon the west end of the steeple was an old inscription, beginning,
[Orate pro &c.] but so battered, that it is illegible; a very large stone
coffin was ploughed up in a close in this town about 1715. There
are divers saints painted on the screens, as St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, &c. In 1615, John Dowffyld, Gent. gave 10l. by will to the
minister and church-wardens, to be employed for ever as town stock,
to set the poor on work.