Culverstetuna, Culvertestuna, Culvercestuna, Kynardiston, Kilverdeston, and now Kilverstone is a small village
adjoining to Thetford, now wholly owned by Thomas Wright, Esq. the
present lord, to whom I acknowledge myself much obliged for the
following account of it, which I extracted from the evidences he was
pleased to lend me for that purpose. At this time there are no tenants
belonging to the manors, the whole being purchased in.
Monk's Hall Manor
Was held in the Confessor's time, by a freeman, under Stigand, and
contained a carucate and half in demean; it had a mill, free fishery,
&c. The whole being of 40s. value. The town was then two leagues
long and two broad, and paid 7d. Danegeld. (fn. 1) It belonged to the
Conqueror afterwards, and continued in the Crown till King Henry I.
gave it to
William de Albany, who married Maud, daughter of Roger
Bygot, who, upon her account, gave this manor to
The Prior of the monks of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Thetford,
which house was of Roger's own foundation; and accordingly I find
it returned to the Exchequer, in Edward the First's time, that the
Prior of Thetford holds a carucate of land in Kilverstone, of the alms
of the Earl of Arundel, as of his barony of Bukenham. The monks
had divers lands here, of other people's gift; in Henry the Second's
time, Eustace the priest held land of them as a tenant, which the
King confirmed among other things to the priory: and thus it continued till the Dissolution, and then was given, with the monastery,
to Thomas Duke of Norfolk and his heirs. In 1568, Thomas Duke of
Norfolk settled on Sir Thomas Cornwaleis, Knt. Sir Nicholas L'Strange,
Knt. Chamberlain of the Duke's Household, Thomas Tymperley, Esq.
Comptroller of the Household, William Barker and Robert Hickford,
Secretaries to the said Duke, and Edward Peacock, Clerk Comptroller
of the Household, the manor of Kenninghall and hundred of Giltcross, the manors of Lopham, Winfarthing, and Heywood, the site of the
dissolved monastery of Thetford and all its appurtenances, the manors
of Halwick, Norwick, Bryes, or Brayes, Santon, Lynford, Croxton,
Munk's Hall in Kilverston, Rothenhall in Bretenham, and Westwick,
with the appurtenances in Norfolk and Suffolk, to the use of him the
said Duke for life, remainder to Philip Earl of Surrey, son and heir
of the said Duke, begotten of the body of the Lady Mary late Dutchess
of Norfolk, one of the daughters and heirs of the Right Honourable
Henry Earl of Arundell, for life, remainder to the Lord Thomas
Howard, and the Lord Will. Howard, younger sons of the said Duke,
begotten of the body of the Lady Margaret late Dutchess of Norfolk,
sole daughter and heir of the Right Honourable Thomas Awdeley,
Knt. late Lord Awdeley of Walden, deceased, for their lives, to the
intent that the feoffees shall appoint proper persons of the Duke's
choosing, who shall pay the debts of the said Duke, with the profits
of all the premises, which they are to receive, during the lives aforesaid, till they are all contented and paid, and then the premises to
return to such persons as shall be then living, and entitled to them
by the intail, with remainder to the right heirs of the said Duke; and
soon after the feoffees, jointly with the Duke, by deed confirmed,
John Bleverhasset, William Dix, William Canterell, and Laurence
Bannister, his trusty and well-beloved servants, and the survivor or
survivors of them, to take and receive the profits and pay the debts
and legacies of the said Duke, and fulfil his will. The Duke was
beheaded in the 14th of Queen Elizabeth; and in the 26th year of her
reign, the Earl of Surrey, Lord Thomas, Lord William Howard, the
feoffees and trustees, all joined, and sold it to
Thomas Lovell of East-Herling, together with Rothenhall in
Bretenham, who, in 1585, sold it to
Sir Charles Cornwaleis, and Dame Anne, his wife, and their
heirs, who, in 1587, sold it to
Thomas Wright, Gent. of Weeting, and his heirs.
In the year 1285, the Customs allowed to the manor belonging to
the Prior of Thetford in Kilverstone were these, sac, soc, toll, them,
infangenethef, view of frankpledge, and assize of bread and ale; and,
till lately, the leet belonging to it used to be kept. There is a foldcourse for 400 ewes, and 100 for the shepherd, and 250, which formerly belonged to the church, before the Prior of Butley aliened it;
it was fine certain, viz. double the quitrent at every tenant's entry.
The eldest son is heir, and they could not waste their copyhold. The
lord of the hundred hath the superiour leet, which is held at the stone
cross every Wednesday after Michaelmas day, to which all the residents do suit and service, and pay their leet-fee of 10d. yearly; and
to it belong all weyfs, strays, felons goods, forfeitures, &c. There
were above 200 acres of common and heath, on which the inhabitants
commoned, but now every thing belongs to the lord. The Master
of Magdelen hospital in Thetford held above 26 acres near their
house, which laid in the bounds of this town, and the canons of
Thetford had lands here; it used to pay 5s. 8d. per annum pro fine et
In the Confessor's days, belonged to Edric, and at the Conquest to
Robert Malet, lord of the honour of Eye, and contained 2 carucates
of land, a free fishery, a mill, &c. but one part of it was then held of
the said Robert by Walter de Cadomo, (fn. 2) and continued divided till they
united in the Prior. The first part went to Ralf de Querceto, Caineto,
or Cheney, who came in with the Conqueror; he gave it with Sibil, his
daughter, in marriage, to Robert Fitz-Walter, founder of St. Faith's
at Horsham, to which monastery they gave two parts of the tithes of
their lands in this town, which were afterwards conveyed to Cokesford
priory after they had the manor; they were succeeded by William
de Cheney, their son, who left three daughters, two died without issue,
but Margaret married Hugh de Crescy, a Norman, and left Roger his
son and heir, who married Isabell de Rye, all whose sons died issueless, and the inheritance came to Robert Fitz-Roger, who married
Margaret, relict of Hugh de Crescy, and held this manor at a quarter
of a fee, and granted it for life to Vitalis Engayne, Jordan de Sankevile, and Clemence his wife, who, in 1217, released their right to
Margery de Caiseneto, or Cressy, and her heirs; and she, with the said
Vitalis, settled them on Coxford priory in the same year, the Prior of
which house was always returned to hold them of the manor of Horsford, and further of the manor of Hockering. The other part or
moiety was always held of the honour of Eye, at a quarter of a fee;
it belonged to the same Robert Fitz-Walter, after that to Guy de Ferrarijs, or Ferrers, who infeoffed the Brooms; and in 1249, Roger de
Broom settled it on John Prior of Coxford, and his successours, for
ever; and in 1302, William, son of Roger de Broom, for 200 marks
of silver, confirmed to the Prior and Canons of Coxford, his whole
manor in Kilverstone, with the mill, freefold, &c. to be held in free
alms of him and his heirs by 10s. a year rent, and the service of a
quarter of a knight's fee; and afterwards Robert de Broom, son of the
said William, released the rent, all knight's service and homage whatever, paying to Thetford priory 10s. a year out of the mill, according
to the gift of William de Broom, his father; in 1293, the Prior of
Cokesford granted a rent of 12d. a year to the Prior of Thetford, for
leave to dig flag on Snareshill side, to mend his mill bank at Kilverstone.
And in 1428, the Prior was taxed at 11l. 11s. 11d. for his temporalities
here. In 1230, there was a dispute between Richard Prior of Thetford, and William Prior of Cokesford, concerning their separate fisheries belonging to their manors here; "Concerning the use and propriety of all the fishing lying between the territory of Snareshill,
and the territory of Kilverstone, the Prior of Thetford claiming the
whole of the water or river from his mill called Melford Mill, to
the extent of his town of Snareshill," viz. the whole of Snareshill
side, as belonging to his free fishery there, and this side, as belonging
to his manor here; but the Prior of Coxford having a free fishery to
his manor here, claimed an equal share on this side; and it being
proved to be so, the Prior of Coxford let his right for ever, to the
Prior of Thetford, for 8s. a year. But the Prior of Coxford reserved
to himself his swan mark, belonging to his manor, throughout the
whole river, with liberty to gather reed and grass at all times in the
said river, with the consent of Richard Bishop of Norwich. John
Mathewe Prior of the monastery of our Blessed Lady in Coxford, and
the convent there, by indenture inrolled in Chancery, dated the last
day of Apr. 1528, sold their manor of Coxford in Kilverstone to Thomas
Duke of Norfolk, and his heirs, for 400 marks, which the said Duke
paid to King Henry VIII. in full of a debt due from the Prior to the
King, the Prior being collector of the King's subsidy in the archdeaconry of Norwich, and not having repaid the money he had collected;
and in 1529, Thomas Prior of Coxford, successour to the said John,
settled it by fine on the said Duke, Sir Roger Townsend, Knt. and
other feoffees, and immediately after sold it to Sir John Cornwaleis,
who leased it to William Prior of the monastery of our Blessed Lady
at Thetford, for 99 years, at the yearly rent of a red rose, which monastery being dissolved, it came to the King's hands, who granted the
monastery and all that belonged to it to Thomas Duke of Norfolk,
after whose attainder it came to the King again, and continued in the
Crown till King Edward VI. sold the lease to Sir John Cornwaleis;
in the fourth year of his reign, Sir John dies, and it descended to Sir
Thomas Cornwaleis, his son and heir, who settled it on feoffees, with
power of revocation, to the use of himself for life, and then to William,
his eldest son, and Lucy his wife, and the longest liver of them, with
remainder to divers uses; but after this, in 1576, he settled it on
Charles his son, and Anne his wife, and their heirs male, having revoked the former settlement; and in 1587, Sir Thomas the father, his
two sons, and their two wives, sold it to
Thomas Wright of Weeting, Gent. and his heirs.
There is a separate right of fishing belonging to this manor, with
liberty to hunt, hawk, fish and fowl, in the town and manors of Kilverstone, notwithstanding the superiour liberty of the hundred.
The fines were 2s. an acre, and the eldest son was heir.
The site contained 6 acres, and joined to the river south, and TunneyLane west, which leads down from the street, by the west end of the
church, to the river. The two fold-courses belonging to this manor
carried 600 ewes and 400 hog-sheep, besides the shepherd's 200: there
is also a swan mark now belonging to it.
The advowson was given by Margaret de Caineto, (Cheyney, or
Cressy,) daughter and heiress of William de Caineto, together with a
fold-course and free common of pasture, in the said town for the
sheep, in free alms to the Prior of Butly in Suffolk, who appropriated
it to his house, and got it confirmed by John of Oxford Bishop of
Norwich, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, reserving a vicarage to
be presented to by the Prior, with a pension of 26s. 8d. payable out of
the great tithes, together with the rectory-house and an acre of land
adjoining to it. And thus the great tithes, the sheeps' walk, and 24
acres glebe, came to the priory; and after this the Prior, desirous to
get the whole into his own hands, came to a perpetual composition
with the Prior of Cokesford, for the moiety of the tithes of his manor,
one moiety of which belonged to Coxford Prior, and the other to
Butley, and also for the 10s. a year, which the Prior of Coxford paid
to the Prior of Thetford, from his watermill in Kilverstone; and in
1428, the Prior of Butley was taxed for his whole spirituals here, 8
marks; and thus it remained till 1497, and then William Disse, vicar
here, had an augmentation to his vicarage; but upon complaint that
it was not yet endowed according to the statute, it was disappropriated in his successour's time, and so became an absolute rectory
again, as it was before its appropriation, and hath remained such ever
since; in 1554, William Fisher, then rector, pulled down and destroyed
the rectory-house, the site of which joined to the west side of the
churchyard, and from that time there hath been no parsonagehouse; there are about 24 acres glebe, but the sheep-walk of 250
sheep which belonged to the rectory, was granted off during the impropriation, for an annual pension of 26s. 8d. a year.
The rectory is in Norfolk archdeaconry and Rockland deanery, was
valued in the King's Books at 7l. 14s. 9d. 0b. and being sworn of the
clear yearly value of 33l. 7s. 8d. it is discharged of first fruits and
tenths, though it pays 12d. synodals, besides the archdeacon's procurations; in 1603, here were 60 communicants, and now  there
are 8 houses, and about 50 inhabitants; it paid 43s. 4d. to the tenths,
and is now assessed at 202l. to the land tax. The Prior of Butley,
in 1383, purchased of Thomas de Pakenham, chaplain, Adam de
Foxhale of Thefford, chaplain, and John Barbour of the same, a
messuage in Kilverstone, held of himself as of his church of Kilverstone, at 6d. a year, by virtue of a license in mortmain granted by King
Edward III. to that monastery; and it seems the Prior assigned this
house and half an acre of land to the town; it is the old house now
 standing in decay over against the church.
John Howse gave an acre and half in two pieces to the inhabitants.
John Kideman gave 5 roods in two pieces.
In 1524, "James Baldewyn of Kilverstone (buried in the chancel)
gave to the Black Friars of Thetford iii.s. iiii.d. Also I give and
bequethe to the said church halowynge of Kylverstone, as much of
my goods as the church halowyng wyll drawe with the three bells
in the stepul. Item, I give ten pounds to be disposed by the discretion of my executors in the said church, as I may have a dirige
and messe perpetually, if it may be performed." (fn. 3)
Rectors And Vicars.
Eustace, rector, in Henry the Second's time.
1316, 4 non. Marc. Thomas, son of Peter de Stantone, priest, vicar.
William Prior of Buttle.
1317, 4 kal. Dec. Edmund de Debenham, deacon.
1357, 18 June, John de Acre de Thefford, priest.
1359, 3 April, John de Wetyng, priest.
1359, 29 July, John de Acre, priest, by changing with Wetyng, who
took Fineberg vicarage.
1361, 23 Sept. Richard Masoun of Drenkeston, priest.
1378, 3 Decem. William Wylde, junior, of Mildenhale, priest.
1420, 29 Jan. William Caunceler, priest.
1432, 10 April, Richard Wyston, priest. The vicarage was taxed
at 8 marks.
1436, 12 Oct. William Brigham, priest, at Wyston's resignation,
united to Carleton-Rode till 1442, and then Brigham resigned it.
1464, 27 July, John Ingman, at Brigham's death.
1468, 20 March, Thomas Bryan.
1497, William Disse, vicar. In his time there was a composition
made, with the consent of Sir Robert Beckles, Prior of Butley, his
patron, and of the Prior of Coxford, concerning the tithes of the
gardens and orchards in the town, all which were allotted to increase
the stipend of the vicar.
1506, 17 March, John Browne. In his time it was disappropriated,
and so became a rectory again.
1507, 12 Oct. John Goddard, chaplain.
1542, 20 Sept. William Fisher, chaplain. Alice Cotton, widow,
for this turn, which was granted her by Thomas Manning, Suffragan
Bishop of Ipswich, and the convent of Butley, of which he was prior.
1559, 20 July, John Abadam, priest, The Queen.
1587, 31 March, John Poynton, or Poynter. The Queen. Buried
here 18th June, 1641.
1641, Arthur Needham, he was ejected for his loyalty, in 1556,
and one John Flanner, subscribes as rector; but Needham was restored
in 1660, and died rector, and was buried here Aug. 12, 1661.
1661, 30 Oct. John Burrell, priest, on Needham's death. The
1692, 10 Sep. The Rev. Mr. Thomas Loane, the present 
rector, holds it united to Bretenham. The King.
The Church hath a low round tower and three bells; the nave
and north porch are tiled, the chancel thatched, and north isle leaded;
the following inscriptions are on marbles in the chancel:
Requiescunt Sub hoc
Marmore Reliquiæ ThomÆ
Wright Armigeri, qui plenior
Virtutum quam Dierum
Mundum vidit et reliquit,
12m° Aprilis 1667.
Thomas Wright Jun. 10 Annos natus, obijt Septimo Die Junij 1674.
Senilis Infans et Puelle. Cato.
Here lyeth the Body of Katherine Daughter of Charles Wright
Esq; Here also lyeth the Body of Frances Daughter of Charles
Wright Esq; both by Anne his Wife, the Eldest Daughter of
George Vilett of Pinkny in the County of Norfolk Esq; Katherine
departed this Life June the 8 Aged 3 Years 8 Months, Frances
departed this Life December the 7 aged 6 months, Anno Dom:
On a grave-stone,
Here lieth interred Charles Wright Esq; a Man remarkable for
many excellent Qualities a most affet. Husband, an indulgt.
Parent, a sincere Friend, his Charity was unconfined, his Liberality was universale, his Afflictions were great, his Patience
greater, he was a conscientious Observer of all religious Duties,
& remarkable zealous for the Honour of God, & Religion, he
departed this Life in the true Faith and Fear of God, in the 64
Year of his Age, on the 14th. Day of Nov. A.D. 1729.
Here lyeth the Body Of Katherine Cropley, youngest Daughter of Sir Charles Harbord Knt. Surveyor to King Charles the
first, & second Reliquid of Tho. Wright Esq. late Wife of
William Cropley Gent. one of the Best of Women, Wifes, &
Mothers, dyed July the 6 1684. aged 40 Yeares 11 Months.
Here lyeth interr'd Anne the Eldest Daug. of George Vilett of
Pinckney in the County of Norff. Esq. who was married to
Charles Wright of Kilverstone in the said County Esq; the
Twenty ninth Day of May Anno Dom: 1691. Which Happy
Pair, were so equally Blest in each other, that their Sublime and
shining Pattern, of true and undissembled Affection, is scarcely
to be paralell'd, but never out-done. She had by her beloved
Husband, four Sons, and eight Daughters, and then departed
this Life, the Twenty ninth Day of September, and was buried
the first of October, Anno Domini: 1709, aged 41 Years.
A Mother who with every Grace was Blest,
With all the Ornaments of Vertue Drest,
With whatso'ere Religion recommends,
The best of Wifes, of Mothers, and of Friends,
And tho' by Death, her Body's turn'd to Dust,
'Tis fitt we still Commemorate the just.
'Twas here, she did adore the highest Lord,
Who to her Soul great Comfort did afford,
'Twas here she did with great Joy and Content,
Receive Gods Holy Word and Sacrament,
Since then she loved, this Sacred Place so well,
'Tis very meet, that here her Name should Dwell.
On a grave-stone in the church,
Here lyeth buried the Body of Mary Pearson, Wid. Relict of
the Rev. Will. Pearson LL. D. late Chancellour of the Diocess
of York, whose undissembl'd Goodness made her whilst living
beloved, when dead, lamented by all that knew her. She died
Apr. 9th. 1736. Æt. 72.
By the bounds of this parish, is Ringmere Pit, which I find Mr.
Salmon, in his Roman Stations in Britain, (pag. 9,) takes notice of in
"On the side of this way from Hockham, in East-Wrettam parish,
is a remarkable cavity called Ringmere Pit, it is in form of an
amphitheatre, to the bigness of six or seven acres, with an uniform
descent on every side to the arena. So exact is its figure, even yet,
one cannot help believing it was contrived for show. There was
not in the latter end of October, a drop of water in it, which the
wet summer must have filled, if it ever had been a pond. More of
this kind, I have heard of hereabouts but not seen."
I must own, a stranger, who saw it in 1724, or 1725, (as I suppose
he did,) when it was entirely dry, might have been of the same opinion
with him. But there is nothing uncommon to those that have been
acquainted with it; it is a large cavity indeed, generally full of water,
and the ground being a sand, the water occasioned that uniform descent; it is supplied with land springs from the adjacent hills, which
in the extreme dry year ceased running, and so the water shrank into
the sand; it is a very old mere or large water, as the Saxon name
which it still bears tells us, Ring-mere being no more than, the
round mere or water. I have angled fine perch out of it when I was
a schoolboy at Thetford; and am apt to think there are good fish in
it now, it being stored, as I am informed, since it was last dry. But
this pit is not to compare with that, which lies nearer Croxton; and
though it is three times as big, was then also dry; this is called
Foulmere Pit; the greater part of its fishery belongs to the estate in
Croxton, settled on the school and hospital of Thetford, as I am informed, and that of Ringmere, to the lord of East-Wrotham; there are
other large pits on these heaths, (though not so big as either of the
former,) that have water in them in winter, but being mostly dried up
in summer time, they look very regular to the beholder's eye.