This village stands at the south-east corner of the hundred: in the
time of the Conqueror, when Domesday Book was made, it was called
Crokestun, and was then in the King's hands, and kept for him by
William de Noiers; Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury was lord in
Edward the Confessor's time, when there were five carucates of land,
and three in demean, it was then valued at 10l. per annum, at the
survey at 40s. but paid 100s.; the whole was one leuca and a half in
length, and one in breadth, and paid 20d. towards the 20s. gelt of the
hundred. (fn. 1) (fn. 2)
Soon after this, the Conqueror gave the town to William the great
Earl Warren, his son-in-law, who at the Conquest had the greatest
part of the hundred given him.
Part of this town was held under the said Earl, by Thomas, and
Simon Sorrel, which Thomas, about the reign of Henry III. gave
lands here to the abbey of Sibeton in Suffolk, which were afterwards,
by deed without date, confirmed by Simon his brother; and from
hence this manor took its name; and amongst the inquisitions taken
in that King's reign, the Abbot of Sibeton was found to hold here the
20th part of a knight's fee: in the third of Edward I. the Abbot is
said to hold the moiety of this town of the Earl Warren, and the Earl
to hold it in capite. (fn. 3)
Besides the family of Sorrel, several other persons gave lands here
to the aforesaid abbey. In 5th of Richard II. John de Beche of Syvelsho in Bedfordshire granted to Robert Ashfield, Thomas de Wroxham,
parson of Alby, John de Norwich, &c. the rent of two marks per
annum, and five shillings, or a thousand herrings (on Ash-Wednesday)
to be paid by the Abbot of Sibeton, for lands held of him in Croxton;
and William, nephew of Guy de Tornello, rector of Fornset, gave
them lands here; and amongst the evidences of the Duke of Norfolk,
are several small deeds of land given to this abbey by several persons,
insomuch that the temporalities of that religious house, in this town,
were taxed in 1428 at 10l. 4s. 6d. per annum, and were afterwards
(at the Duke's request) assigned to the monks of Thetford, and at the
Dissolution of abbies were given by King Henry VIII to the Duke of
Norfolk; and in the ninth year of King James I. the Bailiff of Thomas
Earl of Arundell and Surrey accounted thus for the profits of this
manor; rent of assize and free tenants 16d. of customary tenants
35l. 7d. ob. and for land in the vicar's tenure 16d. This manor is
now  held by the Duke of Norfolk, and there was, a few years
past, a park well stocked with deer; the house, which stands in
it, was formerly known by the name of North-Wic, because it stands
on the north winding of the river, in respect to Thetford, and is now
called Croxton Park.
Another part of this town was held of the aforesaid Earl Warren,
by the ancient family of De Plaiz, and was given by Sir Hugh de
Plaiz, about the beginning of the reign of Henry III. to the priory of
Bromhill in Norfolk, on his founding that religious house; and from
the inquisitions taken in the said reign, the Prior of Bromhill appears
to hold this manor or moiety of the town, of the heirs of the Plaizes.
In the third of Henry IV. the Prior held it of Sir John Howard, (the
heiress of the De Plaiz being married into that family,) and he of the
Dutchy of Lancaster, then in the King's hands. (fn. 4)
In 1428, the Priory was taxed at 7l. 5s. 11d. for its temporalities
in this town, and at 22 marks for its spiritualities, the rectory being
appropriated to it.
This priory being suppressed before the general Dissolution, by a
bull of Pope Clement VII. in the 20th Henry VIII. the manor was
granted to Cardinal Wolsey, and on the Cardinal's fall, the King by
exchange gave it to Christ's College in Cambridge, June 2, in the 23d
year of his reign, (fn. 5) in which college it still remains.
Besides these manors, Walter Clere and Bertram Cryoll are found
to have held lands here in the reign of King Henry III. (fn. 6) and in 4th
Edward II. William Reymond of Thetford sold for 25 marks to
John de Acre and Isabell his wife, arable lands in this town, which
came afterwards to William Cat of Thetford, (fn. 7) who by deed dated on
Sunday before the Feast of St. Andrew, 13th of Henry IV. grants to
Roger Stoppusley, Edmund Blankpayn, &c. and their heirs, all his
arable lands here, late John de Acres, and all his other lands arable in
this town; and on July 3d, in 13th of the aforesaid King, license
was granted to Roger Stoppusley, to convey to the prior and monks
of Thetford 53 acres of land, with the appurtenances in Croxton and
Thetford, and also to Edmund Blankpayn, to convey 30 acres of
land lying in a field called Faucon Field, with the appurtenances in
this village; and in 1428, these religious were taxed for their temporalities in this town at 2l. 1s. 8d.
The hospital also of St. Mary Magdalen in Thetford had an interest in this town, a fine being levied in the 35th Henry III. (fn. 8) between
Stephen, custos of the said hospital, querent, Richard de Surrie and
Sara his wife, impedient, of one messuage, and 43 acres and an half
of land, with a fold course granted to the custos and his successours,
and there was a chapel or religious house said to belong to them,
called Domus Dei, near the church of Croxton, but I rather think it
belonged to Domus Dei at Thetford, and after to the canons.
On the dissolution of these houses, the lands aforementioned came
to Sir Richard Fulmerston, and were settled by him on feoffees, for
charitable uses, viz. the founding and endowing a school and hospital
at Thetford, and are accordingly applied at this day. (fn. 9)
The tenths of this town were 3l. 18s. 6d.
Croxton stands on the side of a hill, and there are some trees
growing on its summit, which are seen many miles in this open and
champain country, and are by way of distinction called Croxton HighTrees. In the fields of this town is a large mere, called Foul-Mere, (fn. 10)
consisting of many acres of water.
The Church is dedicated to All-Saints; it is built of flint stone
and boulder, and consists of a nave or body, to which is annexed a
south isle, with good roofs of oak, covered with lead, and is in length
about 38 feet, and in breadth, including the said isle, about 28 feet.
On the pavement of the nave lies a grave-stone, in memory of Thomas
Long, who died Aug. 26, A°. Dom. 1682. Another in memory of
Mary White, daughter of Thomas Wight, who died Dec. 7, 1705, aged
23 years. And one in memory of Gregory Faux, who died March 18,
A° Dom. 1697, aged 57. At the west end of the nave stands a very
large font, with a capacious bason, supported by five pilasters of
stone; the larger our fonts are, the greater is their antiquity, being
made thus on account of immersion, which was in practice in the
Saxon times, as is plain from the history of King Etheldred, II. son to
King Edgar, who in his holy tincture (like Constantine Copronymus)
defiled the font with natural excrements, and made Dunstan, the
canonized saint, and then Archbishop of Canterbury, to exclaim or
swear, Per Deum et Matrem ejus ignavus homo erit. William Wyrcester, in his Metra de Regibus Angliæ, has this distich on this
Sacra statim natus Etheldredus violavit,
Nam baptizatus, baptisterium violavit. (fn. 11)
And at this very day the fonts in country churches are generally
capacious enough to admit of immersion, if requested by the parent
of the child. A very worthy author treating on private baptism, (fn. 12)
observes, that water once blessed in so sacred a purpose, should neither
be put to common use, or thrown away irreverently into the kennel
or sink, and I wonder our church (as the said author proceeds) has
made no provision how the water used in the font at church should be
disposed of; in the Greek church, particular care is taken that it
never be thrown into the street like common water, but poured into
a hollow place under the altar, called [Oalassidoin] vel [Choneion], where it is
soaked into the earth, or finds a passage. The said reverend author, upon enquiry, will find that the fonts in most, if not in
all, our country churches, have an hole and stopple at the bottom,
as the holy-water pots also anciently had, which lets the water
out into a pipe or channel, reaching from the mouth of the hole
to the ground, where a cavity is made, on purpose to receive it,
that it may soak into the earth, as is above observed in the Greek
[Choneion], so that the practice of the ancients is a plain and a just example
for us to imitate.
At the east end of the south isle is an ascent, where, in time of
popery, there was an altar, as in most churches of that age.
At the west end of the nave stands a tower of flint, &c. the lower
part of it is round, and a Danish work, the upper part is now octangular, and has a cap or cover of wood; in this tower hang three bells,
one of them is dedicated to Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury,
and thus inscribed:
Williami: Ungot Tapelli: et Petri Ungot et Anabule
The nave is divided from the chancel by an old oaken screen, on
which is inscribed,
This chancel is in length about 24 feet, and in breadth about 15,
and is covered with thatch; there is an ascent of two steps to the
communion table, where, on the pavement, lie three marble gravestones, one in memory of Elizabeth Snelling, wife of George Snelling,
of Lee in Kent, Esq. and mother of Mary Snelling, who married
William Smith of Croxton, Gent. she died Sep. 26, 1678, aged 72.
Another thus inscribed: Jan. 12, 1691, Tho. Smyth, Gent. departed
this life, aged 45, he married Margaret, the eldest daughter of Will.
Cropley of Shilland, in Norfolk, Esq. who died about three years
before her husband, and were both survived by two children, William
and Elizabeth. The third is in memory of Will. Smyth, Gent. who
died Dec. 25, 1682, aged 47.
Against the north wall is a compartment of marble and stone, ornamented with a cherub gilt, and foliages, and on the summit a shield,
Fletcher, arg. a chevron between three mullets sab. impaling Wood,
per pale arg. and sab. a chevron between three martlets counterchanged, and on the body of it,
Here lyeth buried the Body of Thomas Fletcher, Esq;
One of the Readers of Lincolnnes Inne, who married Frances
The eldest Daughter of Robert Wood, Esq. late of Tharston,
And had Issue by her nyne Sonnes, William, Thomas,
Bartholomew, Robert, John, Charles, Thomas, Henery, and
Anthony, & seven Daughters, Anne, Elizabeth, Jane, Elizabeth, Frances, Dorothy, & Alice. He departed this
Life, the fourth of February, in the Year of our Lord
God 1656. Here lyeth also the Body of the
Said Frances Fletcher, who died 10th of May 1684.
In the east window is the shield of the Earl Warren.
1316, 12 Sept. Simon Peche. Joan, relict of Sir Giles Plaiz.
1337, 21 Nov. Roger Lugæardyne. Sir Gilbert Talbot, guardian
to Richard, son of Richard Playz.
1349, 16 July, Robert de Caldewell. Sir Richard Playz, Knt.
1349, 1 Feb. William de Lyvermere. The Prior and Convent of
1361, 16 Oct. Simon Goss. Ditto.
1377, 31 March, Thomas Gardiner. Ditto.
In 1401, this rectory was appropriated to the priory of Bromhill,
being the gift of Sir Richard de Playz, and a vicarage endowed, and
taxed at 7 marks, which was presented to by the priory.
Before the appropriation the rector had a house and 50 acres of
land, though now there is only half an acre of glebe, where the vicarage-house once stood. It paid 12d. Peter-pence, and 2s. synodals.
1403, 8 April, Peter Cok.
1414, 9 Feb. Walter Rothyng.
1433, 3 Sep. Philip Merton, canon regular of Bromhill, vicar,
buried in the chancel.
1453, 24 May, Robert Curteys, canon, on the death of Merton.
1462, 28 July, Osbert Bucton, canon, on the death of Curteys.
1484, 9 Sept. Mathew Knyveton. The Bishop of Norwich.
1489, 7 Oct. Thomas Bryan. The Bishop.
1493, 19 July, Jeffrey Tony, canon of Bromhill, Thomas Axh.,
Prior, &c. Tony's will is dated 21st Nov. 1535, and proved 10th
May, 1536, wherein he desires to be buried in the churchyard. He
was the last presented by the Prior.
1536, 21 July, William Wardeman, on the death of Tony, by
Christ-College, Cambridge, who are the present  patrons. (fn. 13)
1546, Edward Leys, A. M.
1554, 30 July, William Hytchen.
1548, 18 July, Edmund Deyer, on the death of Hytchen. He was
reinstated, being deposed by Queen Mary, probably as a married
priest. (fn. 14)
1558, 5 Jan. John Abadam. The Bishop, by lapse.
1597, 27 Jan. William Jenkinson, A. B. on the resignation of Slack.
1632, 15 March, William Jenkinson. A. M. on the resignation of
1675, 22 Oct. John Chinery, A. M.; he held it with Bretenham.
1711, 5 March, The Rev. Mr. James Halman, A. B. now 
vicar, on Chinery's death.
The vicarage is valued at 6l. 13s. 4d.; tenths 13s. 4d. and is discharged of both, being in clear value but 23l. per annum, and in 1603
had 70 communicants.