Lies east of Northwold, on the south side of the river Wissey, and
derives its name from the Saxon word (angulus) a turn, nook,
or corner, and pic, a bay, port, or landing-place; or from , and
the river Wissey, being wrote in Domesday, Cranewisse.
In the reign of Edward the Confessor, there were two lordships,
one was held by a freeman of Harold, (afterwards King,) who had
two carucates in demean, and 4 acres of meadow, &c. the right of
half a mill and half a fishery, and was valued at 60s. per annum. (fn. 1)
The other moiety or lordship was held by a freeman of St. Audrey,
who had two carucates in demean, 4 acres of meadow, &c. the right
of half a mill and half a fishery, and was valued at 60s. per annum. (fn. 2)
The whole contained seven furlongs in length, and four in breadth,
and paid 9d. 0b. gelt, when the hundred was assessed at 20s. It
belonged to the castle of Lewes. (fn. 3)
On the Conquest, these lordships were given to the Earl Warren by
the Conqueror, and so being united, became one manor.
In the reign of King Henry I. Peter de Cranwich was lord, and
held it of the Earl Warren; this Peter gave to the convent of CastleAcre, founded by the Earl Warren, part of a wood, 2s. per annum in
tithes, two solidates and a half of land, and a thousand eels, per
annum. (fn. 4)
Soon after this, the
Caillys or Cayleys were lords; John de Cally occurs lord in
the 4th of King John, (fn. 5) and his father (as appears from a trial then)
was lord before him. In the reign of Henry III. Adam de Cayly
held here one knight's fee of the Earl Warren; (fn. 6) and in the 12th of
that King, purchased of William de Butery 40s. rent issuing out of
a mill, lands, &c. here, for 16 marks of silver.
In 3d Edward I. Sir Osbert de Cayly was lord, and claimed the
assize of bread and beer here; (fn. 7) and in 9th Edward II. Tho. de Cailly
was lord: on the death of this Thomas, about 17th Edward II. the
lordship descended to Adam, son of Sir Roger de Clifton, by Margaret, sister and heir to Sir Thomas, then a minor; which Adam,
then a knight, was lord in 9th Edward III.; Sir Adam dying in 1367,
the manor descended to Sir John Clifton, son of Constantine, son of
Sir Adam, who was lord in 50th Edward III. and was summoned to
Parliament as a baron, from the aforesaid year to the 12th of
Richard II. and died at Rhodes on St. Laurence's day, in the said
year, (fn. 8) leaving Constantine, his son and heir, aged 16, who was also
summoned to Parliament in 1393 and 1394, on whose death it came to
his son, Sir John Clifton, who, by his will, dated 6th August, and proved
8th September, 1447, (fn. 9) desired to be buried in the priory of Wymondham, and gave this manor, with those of Hilburgh, and West-Bradenham, to remain in the hands of his executors, Joan his wife, John
Haydon, John Barrington, and Thomas Wete, for twelve years, then
to return to his right heirs; by Joan his wife, daughter of Sir Edmund
de Thorp, he had one daughter, Margaret, married to Sir Andrew
Ogard, Knt. who dying without issue before her father, the lordship
came to the Knevets; Elizabeth, sister of Sir John Clifton, being
married to Sir John Knevet, grandson to Sir John Knevet, Lord
Chancellor of England; and in 7th Henry VIII. Sir William Knevet
of Bukenham castle was found to die seized of it, being held of the
Earl of Arundel; (fn. 10) and in 28th Henry VIII. Sir Edm. Knevet sold the
manor and advowson, 4 messuages, 4 tofts, 500 acres of land, 30 of
meadow, 20 of pasture, 500 acres of furze and heath, 100 of moor or
fen, 100 of marsh, 3 of alders, and 7l. rent, and the right of faldage
here &c. to
John Boldero, and Stephen Heyward; and on an inquisition taken the 24th July, in 26th Elizabeth, (fn. 11) John Boldero, Gent.
was found to have died the 29th May last, seized of a moiety of the
manor, &c. and Edmund was his son and heir, aged 30 years, and
John Heyward was found, in the said year, to die seized of the other
moiety. The aforesaid Edmund was also found on the 3d August, in
the first King James I. to have died 24th Dec. 45th Elizabeth, seized
of a moiety, and John was his son, aged 21 years; soon after this,
John Boldero sold his part or moiety to
William Heyward, son of Stephen, who was lord of the whole
town, and patron in 1603; and in the reign of King Charles I. it
came again to the family of Knyvet, on the marriage of Emma,
daughter and heir of William Heyward, Gent. with — Knevet,
Esq. of Ashwellthorp; and in 1665, Sir John Knevet presented to
this rectory as lord and patron; and in 1720, Col. P. Knevet sold it
to Henry Partridge, Esq. of Bukenham-House, whose son, Henry
Partridge, Esq. is the present  lord.
The tenths of this town, were 2l. 10s. 8d.
The leet is in the lord of the hundred.
The Church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and is a rude old
single building of flint, boulder, &c. covered with tile, in length
about 35 feet, and 15 in breadth; to this nave is a chancel annexed,
about 30 feet long, and 15 broad, with an ascent of two steps to the
communion table, and is covered with thatch; here lie several
One is thus inscribed,
Here lyeth JANE the Daughter of THOMAS STEWARD,
of Barton-Mills Esq. and the Wife of WILLIAM HAYWARD,
buried the 23 of November 1633.
Here lyeth WILLIAM HEYWARD Gent. Patron of this
church, buried the 10 Day of Dec. 1630.
On a third, this only legible,
- - - - Vir Pius. - - - in memory (as it is said) of Mr. Doughty,
At the west end of the nave stands a narrow but lofty round tower
of flint, &c. embattled and coped with freestone, wherein hangs one
bell. This tower is of great and venerable antiquity, built (as I conceive) in the reign of the Danish kings, and probably by Harold
King of England, of whom a freeman, as I have observed, held a
moiety of this town in the time of the Confessor.
In this church were formerly the arms of Clifton painted in glass.
1310, 7 July, Thomas de Hulm had this church given him in
1317, 10 June, Walter Kyng. Sir William Bernak, and William, son of John Beney of Thetford, patrons hac vice.
1321, 24 Jan. John de Wasteney. Sir William de Wasteney,
and Joan his wife.
1349, 15 July, Robert Wygh. Sir Adam de Clifton.
1349, 28 Oct. William Hulle. Ditto.
William de Redingham. Ditto.
1350, 5 Sep. Robert Byshop, on Redingham's resignation, vicar
also of West-Bradenham. Ditto.
Robert Osborn occurs rector 41st Edward III. Ditto
- - - - - Smith.
1376, 22 Jan. Edmund Ive, on Smith's resignation. Richard
Holdich, John Reed, John Holkham, John Morley, and
Tho. de Fletcham. Ive was vicar of Chipenham in Cambridgeshire, and exchanged with Smith.
1386, 17 Sep. John Ansty, on Ive's resignation. Sir John Clifton.
Ansty was rector of Canfield-Parva, in Essex, and exchanged with
1388, 8 Jan. Jeffery Pegge. Elizabeth, relict of Sir John Clifton. (fn. 12)
1390, 30 Aug. John Boulder. Ditto.
1415, 14 Sep. Stephen Noble. John Drew, Thomas Brampton, Rich. Creyk, and Roger Rawlyns, patrons, by virtue of a
deed of feoffment from Constantine Clifton, deceased. Noble was
also rector of Northwold.
1417, 1 June, Walter Wasteney. John Drew, &c. By his will
proved the 5th May, 1434, (fn. 13) he requires to be buried in this church,
and leaves money to the gild of St. Mary.
1434, 29, Apr. William Stalworth. Sir John Clifton.
Richard Love occurs in 36th Henry VI.
1468, 27 Apr. Robert Aleyn, on Love's resignation. John Toppys
of Norwich, by the gift and grant of John Knevet, Esq. Aleyn in
his will, dated 22 Dec. 1493, (fn. 14) desires to be buried in this church, and
gives to St. Mary's gild a quarter of malt.
1493, 16 Jan. Thomas Cook, A. M. Richard Roos, Esq. and
Joan his wife. He was also rector of Hilburgh.
1533, 4 Dec. Henry Callibut, on Cook's death. Edmund Knevet,
Esq. buried in his own church, 15th April, 1560.
1560, 28 Nov. John Balkey. (fn. 15) Stephen Hayward and John
1564, 11 Apr. Edward Balkey, on John's resignation. Ditto.
1579, 13 Jan. Tho. Garthside. Ditto.
1583, 21 Jan. Robert Dey, on Garthside's resignation. John Boldero of Fornham St. Martin, Suffolk, and Margaret, relict of
Stephen Hayward, late of Bury St. Edmund. In his reply to King
James's queries, in 1603, he observes there were 65 communicants,
and that William Hayward of Bury was patron. He was buried here
13th Aug. 1620.
1620, Andrew Doughtie, A. M. on Dey's death; vicar also of Wilton; buried here 3d Jan. 1665.
1665, 24 Jan. Robert Gallard. Sir John Knevet. Buried here
15th Aug. 1667.
1667, 25 Nov. John Talbot, A. B. Ditto.
1689, 31 Jan. John Newson, on the death of the last rector. Ditto.
He was also vicar of Methwold, and was buried 18th Feb. 1712.
1713, 3 Aug. the Rev. Mr. John Ellis, A. M. who is rector also of
Ickburgh-cum-Langford. Edmund Wace, clerk.
This rectory is valued in the King's Books at 8l. 9s. 7d. and being in
clear value but 40l. per annum is discharged of tenths and first fruits.
This town gives name to the deanery of Cranwich, which takes in
all the churches within the hundreds of Grimesho and South-Greenhoe.
In ancient days, each deanery had its peculiar dean, of which it may
not be improper to make a few remarks in this place.
Are very ancient, and no precise time has been determined when the
office first began; it is probable it was in the Saxon time; and a
learned author (fn. 16) has observed, that these deans in the church, answered
the place of the [..] of the hundred, the head of the ten friborgs, or the tithing-man, and that in imitation of this secular method,
the spiritual governours, the bishops, divided each diocese into deaneries or tithings, each of which had in its district ten parishes, or
churches, and over every such district they appointed a dean, who
should in spiritual matters, as the [..] in civil, reconcile differences, receive complaints, and enquire into grievances, &c.: the
first mention of them is in the year 877, (fn. 17) and in one of the laws of
Edward the Confessor, (fn. 18) it was provided, that of the 8l. penalty for
breach of the King's peace, the King should have an 100s. the Earl
50s. and the Bishop's dean in whose deanery it was, the other 10s.
which, according to the opinion of Sir Henry Spelman, &c. is meant
of the rural deans. If these deans were over such a number of
churches in a city, they were called decani urbani, if in the country,
decani rurales; and as hundreds and tithings kept their name, when
they bare no longer a strict relation to the number of villages or
people, so likewise the rural deaneries continued, when they lost their
first allusion to 10 parishes or churches, and the district of them was
enlarged at the pleasure of the Bishop; though some deaneries do
still retain the primitive allotment of ten churches, especially in Wales,
where the most ancient usages continue.
These rural deans had their capitula or chapters, made up of the
instituted clergy, or their curates, as proxies for them, and the dean
was president, or prolocutor, (fn. 19) these were held at first every three
weeks, afterwards once a month, but their principal chapters were
assembled once a quarter; all rectors and vicars, or their capellans,
were bound to attend those chapters, and to bring information of all
irregularities committed in their respective parishes. The place of
holding these chapters was at first in any church within the deanery,
where the minister of the place was to entertain the dean, and his
immediate officers; but in a council at London, held by Bishop
Stratford, in 1342, it was ordained, that such chapters should not be
held in any obscure village, where it was difficult to get provision, but
in the larger and more eminent parishes, where the company could be
best accommodated, and all the officials and servants of the dean
were to have their charges defrayed by their master, without burthen
to the clergy. In these chapters the dean published the decrees of provincial and episcopal synods, all ecclesiastical laws and canons, and
enforced the execution of them; they had also the probate of wills,
&c. the cognizance of all matrimonial causes, matters of divorce,
and incontinency: thus we find that when King Henry II. was at
York, a burgess of Scarburgh complained to him of a rural dean that
had taken from him 12d. and enjoined his wife pennance as an adultress, without proof, contrary to the King's law. (fn. 20) They had also a
great share in the trials for the right of advowson; and their more
especial duty was to inspect and censure the manners of the clergy,
and to pronounce sentence of excommunication; they were also
commissioned to receive the taxes of the clergy, subsidies, first fruits,
tenths, &c.; and the general taxation of benefices in England, called
the Norwich Taxation, (made by Walter Suffeld Bishop of Norwich,
the Pope's deputy,) was taken in every deanery by the rural deans,
and two or three rectors or vicars, members of the chapter of that
deanery. That these branches of their office and jurisdiction were
of considerable profit, must be granted, else we shall be at a loss to
account for the exchanges that we frequently meet with between
rectors and dignitaries of the church, and these rural deans.
At the beginning they are said to be elected by the clergy of their
own district, and when confirmed by the Bishop, were not to be
ejected without the joint consent of their own presbyters; and in
latter times, they were temporary, and removed, as Dr. Kennet asserts, (fn. 21) by the Bishop's sole power; but it is plain from the institutions
of the deans of Cranwich here annexed, that they were collated by
the Bishop, and that it was no temporary office, or durante Episcopi
beneplacito, they being styled decani perpetui, and also from their
solemn resignations and exchanges for this office, for other preferments in the church.
Each rural dean had his seal belonging to his office; and we are
told that the seal of the Dean of Burchester in Oxfordshire was an
oblong oval, (as most religious seals were,) the impress, a pelican
standing on a pedestal, wounding her breast with her bill, and feeding
her young with her own blood; and I have now by me the probate of
the will of Thomas Westhowe of Boketon, at Downham in Norfolk,
dated 16th Dec. 1413, proved by Hugh Birdham Dean of Fincham,
to which is affixed an oblong seal of red wax, the impress a bird, probably a finch, on a tree, and a star in chief, and this legend, Sigillum
Decanatus de Fyncham,
expressing both his own, and his deanery's
name, in that device.
The rural deans were plain honest men, not much skilled in the
subtilties of the civil or canon law, but were not the less capable of
their office and jurisdiction, as depending on known customs, and the
rules of equity; but by degrees, when the method of ecclesiastical
justice was turned into arts and mysteries, then began the canonists to
pretend themselves the only fit ministers in all courts of Christianity,
and insinuated themselves into the favour and counsels of the Bishops,
and so obtained the new titles of archdeacons, officials, and chancellours, and then easily run down these deans. Thus, by the art and
interest of the canonists, &c. the jurisdiction of this office declined so
much, that little but the name and shadow of it was in being, even in
the age before the Reformation. It has been wished that our reformers would have restored this good and useful office to all its
ancient rights and laudable practices, and those great persons who
were commissioned to revive the ecclesiastical laws of this realm,
agreed in their good opinion of it, prescribed a proper method, but it
fell for want of confirmation by the legislative power; yet though it
was not formally ratified, all those parts of it have no less the force
of a law, (fn. 22) (viz. all such ecclesiastical canons, constitutions, &c.) as
are not repugnant to the laws, statutes, &c. of the realm, of which
inoffensive nature was this jurisdiction of rural deans. And in a provincial synod held at London, 3d Apr. 1571, it was ordained that the
archdeacon, when he had finished his visitation, should signify to the
Bishop what clergymen he found in every deanery, so well endowed
with learning and judgment as to be worthy to instruct the people in
sermons, and to rule and preside over others; out of these the Bishop
may choose such as he will have to be rural deans. The little remains of this dignity and jurisdiction depend now on the custom of
places, and the pleasure of diocesans; in some parts of this kingdom,
the rural deans have nothing left but the burthen of entertaining the
rectors and vicars of the deanery at a solemn feast.
Deans of Cranwich. (fn. 23)
1315, 27 Oct. Mr. Ralph de Belegrave, collated to this deanery by
the Bishop, with all its rights and privileges.
1321, 5 Nov. Mr. John de Walegrave, collated, &c.
1326, 1 May, Robert de Burneby, on the resignation of Walegrave.
1342, 27 Mar. John de Breydeston, &c. on the resignation of
1342, 20 Dec. Simon de Cley, changed with Breydeston, for Thorp
1345, 14 Oct. Laurence Manors.
1348, Stephen de Cressingham, clerk.
1349, Robert de Hardreshill.
1359, 18 Nov. Walter Lathom.
1386, 23 Dec. William Baas.
1388, 11 Apr. William de Feriby, &c. he was dean of Hecham and
exchanged with Baas.
1388, 19 Aug. Hugh de Bridham, he was rector of Snyterly, with
the chapel of Glanford, and exchanged with Feriby.
1391, 2 Oct. William Clerk.
1391, 5 Oct. Roger de Belton. He was dean of Brisley, and exchanged with Clerk.
1392, 29 Nov. John Attelbrigg.
1393, 9 Nov. John Boseworthe.
1421, 15 July, Simon Thurton.
1491, 10 June, Humphry Ballard, collated to this deanery and that
of Breccles, which was now consolidated to it.
1495, 11 Dec. Thomas Shrybbe.
1498, 10 Jan. Henry Goldwell. (fn. 24)
1509, 20 July, Thomas Vele, on the death of Goldwell; he was
rector of St. Michael-at-the-Pleas, in Norwich.
Totum habet vii. quar. in long. et iiii.
in lat. et redd. ix. den. et i. ob. de
Gelto, de xx.s. Hoc est de Castellat.