This village is now in the liberty of the Duke of Norfolk, who is
lord of it, as a member to his manor of Framlingham Earl; and it
hath passed with that from early times. In 1285, Rog. le Bigot Earl
of Norfolk, claimed to his manor of Biskele, a member of Framlingham Parva, view of frankpledge, assise of bread and ale of all his own
tenants in Biskele, and it was allowed him in eire: the advowson always attended the manor, which wholly at first belonged to Roger
Bigot, who granted off divers parts to be held of his barony. Bishop
Stigand owned it in the Confessor's time, and gave it to his freeman
named Genret, who held it under him; (fn. 1) Ralf Fitz-Walter had it;
it was then worth 20, and was after raised to 50s., the village was half
mile long and 4 furlongs broad, and paid 10d. ob. gelt. It had a
church and 24 acres of glebe, valued at 2s. a year. Ulketel the Dane
had then another part, (fn. 2) and Anslec a freeman another; (fn. 3) all which,
after a long contest in the hundred court with Godric the sewer,
Roger Bigot recovered, and had his manor completed by divers parts,
in Surlingham, Rokelund, and Bramerton, being added to it.
The first part that he granted off, was to Saier or Saer de Biskele and Ada his wife, who survived him, and William de Biskele
inherited, who was dead before 1233, for then Hugeline his widow,
released all her right to the Prioress of Carrow, which house held it
to the Dissolution; and now it belongs to Carrow abbey manor, and
was always held of Forncet manor at half a fee; the Prioress being
taxed for it at 52s. and 8d. temporal rents here; but in 1609, Charles
Cornwaleis, Knt. in right of the wife of Sir Ralf Shelton, Knt. son
and heir of Sir John Shelton, Knt, owners of Carrow, sold part of
them to Ric. Osborn, Gent. The Prioress had a fald-course here.
Another part was granted by Bigot, the founder, to Langley abbey,
who gave it at the foundation to that house, which was always taxed
at 10s. for their lands here; and after the Dissolution it came to the
wards. (fn. 4) It was held at a quarter of a fee of the Earl-Marshal, as of
In 1268, another part belonged to Tho. Rock, de Rupibus, or Rokele,
and in 1286, Hen. de la Rokele, conveyed to Ric. de la Rokele,
his manor in Trous, Biskele, &c. of which under Rokele's manor
In 1303, Sir John de Biskele had a manor or free tenement, which
in 1396, John, son of Adam de Norwico or Norwich, held it at half a
fee of Rog. Bigod Earl of Norfolk; and in 1309, he levied a fine and
settled it on himself for life, remainder to Nicholas his son; it then
contained a messuage, 106 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, and
40s. rent, in Biskele, Kirby, &c. In 1427. John de Norwich had it,
and gave it to the master of Metingham college, who held it in 1432,
and after the dissolution of that college, it came to the Wards. (fn. 5)
The manor of Surlingham extends hither; and over all the tenants,
except those of the Earl; the King hath the lete, as belonging to
his hundred of Henstede, and the Prior of Norwich had commonage
on the heath or common pasture between Bixley and Framlingham. (fn. 6)
5l. Bixley rectory, 45l. sworn clear yearly value.
Now consolidated to Framlingham-Earl.
So that it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of
In Norwich Domesday, the rector is said to have an acre of land,
but no house; it was first valued at 9, and after at 16 marks; it pays
3s. synodals, 7s. 7d. ob. procurations, 18d. Peter pence, and 3d. carvage; and the vill paid 32s. 2d. to each tenth. The Prior of St.
Faith was taxed at 4s. for his temporals, and the chamberer of St.
Edmund's Bury for his at 11s.
1303, Roger de Bykerwyke.
1304, John de Brigham. Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk and
1316, Ric. de Lumbaudeshay. Thomas de Brotherton, the
King's son, Earl of Norfolk, &c.
1318, Will. de Overton. Ditto.
1349, John de Hardleston. Mary Countess of Norfolk and Marshal, who soon after gave it to
Gilbert Arches, who was succeeded by
1361, John de Thornham. Lady Mary de Brewse Countess of
Norfolk and Marshal.
John de Frenge, changed in
1367, with John de Esterford, for Brockdish. Sir Walter
Manny. 1419, Tho. Benny, John Lancastre, &c. attorneys
general of John Earl-Marshal, who gave it to
John Sampson in 1421, at Benny's death. In 1426, John
Duke of Norfolk presented
Will. Wyverton; and in
1467, Tho. Mastyr had it. In 1482, the Bishop by lapse collated.
Rob. Murcoth. In 1415, Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk gave
Henry Bele. In
1490, John Custance had it by lapse, and resigned it in
1497, to John Dalle. In
1513, Robert Hubbard was rector, and after him
George Troghley, at whose death in 1528, Thomas Duke of
Rouland Johnson, and in
1540, John Allen; whose successour
Ralf Hayton, died in 1570, and was succeeded by
Will. Bainbrigge, and he by
Henry Lynney, at whose death in
1601, John Holden had it of John Holland, feoffee of Thomas
Duke of Norfolk.
1610, Nic. Ruste was rector, and in
1630, Rob. Cowel. (fn. 7)
Giles Wilcox, rector.
1690, The Duke of Norfolk gave it to Will. Dilke. And at the
death of David Fleming, who held it with Framlingham-Earl,
The Rev. Mr. Henry Goodall, the present rector, succeeded,
and holds it consolidated to Framlingham-Earl, (which see at p.
434.) (fn. 8)
The church here is an antique small building, of one isle only,
which, with the chancel, is 18 yards long and 5 broad; and is tiled,
as is the south porch, and tower, which is low and square, and hath
in it two small bells; on the biggest is,
Sancte Johannes Baptiste ora pro nobis.
It is dedicated to St. Wandragesilius the Abbot, to whose image
pilgrimages were made in those days: (fn. 9) the present fabrick was built
by William de Dunwich, who was one of the bailiffs of Norwich in
1272, for on a stone at the south-east corner of the chancel, are these
In the nave,
E. T. ob. 28 Nov. 1718. æt. 85. G. T. ob. 7 May, 1721,
On an old brass at the altar step,
Hic iacet Stephanus Mathu qui obiit rbii rvii die Julii A. D. M.
cccc. lriiio, anime propicietur Deus Amen.
Bixley-Hall, the seat of the family of the Wards, is a well
built handsome house, erected by the late Sir Edw. Ward, Bart.
grandfather of Sir Randall Ward, Bart. the present owner: it is situate near the high road from Norwich to Bungeye, and fronts three
ways; looking north towards Norwich, west against the road, and
south through divers enclosures, towards the east part of Porland
Heath. The Baronetage, vol. iii. p. 195, mentions
A Ward, married to Margaret Mortimer, (fn. 10) as father and
John Ward, who by the marriage of the daughter and heiress of
John, (fn. 11) son and heir of (fn. 12) Thomas (fn. 13) de Bosco or Bois, (fn. 15) of Kirbybedon, became lord of that manor in 1363, and was succeeded by
John Ward, Gent. his son and heir, who married Katherine
daughter of Will. Appleyard, (fn. 14) lord of Bracon-Ash and Dunston; (fn. 15) ; his
will was proved Oct. 27, 1445, (fn. 16) by which he ordered his body to be
buried in the church of St. Mary at Kirby; and it appears that he
was lord of the manors of Wodehouse, Bedons, alias Seams; and
patron of two parts of the advowson of Kirby St. Andrew; having
estates in Bixley, Surlingham, Bramerton, Rocklands, Framlingham,
Trowse, and Witlingham; leaving
Robert Ward, Gent. his eldest son and heir, (fn. 17) who married Alice
Kemp of Gissing, (fn. 18) by whom he left
Robert Ward, Esq. who married the daughter of John Coppledeck, Esq. (fn. 19) and had
Robert Ward of Kirby, Esq. who by a daughter of Sir Giles
Capel (fn. 20) of London, Knt. (ancestor of the Earl of Essex) had
Henry Ward of Postwick or Posswick, Esq. (fn. 21) who in 1553, was
one of the representatives in the parliament held at Oxford, for the
city of Norwich; (fn. 22) in 1562, he died seized of Kirbybedon manors,
&c. of the manor and advowson of Postwick, of Plumstede-Magna
manor, and other estates in many of the adjacent towns; of the
manor, rectory, site of the monastery, &c. of Flitcham; and of the
rectory of Barkway in Hertfordshire: he married Margaret, daughter
of William Ugges of Pokethorp by Norwich, by whom he had several
children, the eldest was
Edward Ward, Esq. of Postwick, who was the first of the family
that settled at Bixley, and built the old hall there; in 1565, he was
lord of Kirby-Bedon, and held it of John Leigh, as of his manor of
Surlingham; by his will, he devised the manor of Barkway rectory,
to his son Edward, with remainder to Joseph Ward, a younger son,
brother to the said Edward; and soon after his decease, the two
brothers joined, and sold it to Dame Susan Saltonstall; (fn. 23) he married
Anne, daughter of John Havers of Winfarthing, Gent. (fn. 24) by whom he
had 12 children; and dying in 1563, lies buried under an altar tomb
in Bixley chancel, at the north-east part of it, with the crest and arms
of Ward, impaling
Havers. The effigies of himself and wife with a faldstool between
them, in a praying posture, with nine sons behind him, and three
daughters behind her, still remain, and this inscription,
In fatall Tombe a Squire here lyes. inshrynde by Deathe,
One Edwarde Warde. who lefte of twelve, ten Children deare,
wyth Anne his lovinge Wife, on Maye Day past his Breathe,
And Soule to God by Christe, though senceless Corpes lye heare,
Obiit 1583, ætatis suæ 41.
Of all his numerous issue
William Warde, the sixth son, was the most remarkable; who
being put apprentice, became a wealthy goldsmith in London, and
jeweller to Henriette-Marie, King Charles the First's Queen, and was
knighted by that King: the great fortunes which this gentleman
raised, was owing to a lucky accident, soon after his setting out in
trade, which I find thus related: Mr. Ward standing by his shop door
in Lombard-street, a man in a sailor's habit passed by, whom he
asked the usual question, whether he wanted any thing in his way?
whose answer was, He could not tell! till he knew whether he had occasion for something he had to dispose of, which he would show him,
if he pleased to go into the back shop; where Mr. Ward was surprised with a great number of rough diamonds, poured out of a bag
upon the compter by the sailor, who at the same time asked him, if
he had occasion for, or would buy any such things? and if so, what
he would give for them? Mr. Ward answered he had, and would buy,
if they could agree; which was soon done, so much to Mr. Ward's
liking, that he invited the sailor, and all the ship's crew, to supper at
a neighbouring tavern; where he treated them so generously, that
the sailor whispered to him at parting, that he had such another
parcel for him in the morning, if he pleased to buy; which Mr. Ward
gladly accepted of, and bought them, gave the like treat, and parted
merrily with mutual joy; the sailor for his ready cash, and the jeweller for the great advantage that he saw in his purchase. He soon
fell to work upon the stones, which fully answered his expectation,
and so much added to his fortunes, that he soon raised his reputation,
and became one of the most eminent bankers in London. It after
chanced, that Edward Lord Dudley having much impaired his fortune by irregular living, was advised by his friends, to apply to Mr.
Ward, as an honest and substantial banker, for 20,000l. who told his
Lordship at once, that the money was ready, upon producing satisfactory security; which his Lordship soon did; upon which, Mr. Ward
told his Lordship, he thought he might be supplied better and more
honourably, than by borrowing: and being asked, how? Mr. Ward said,
he had an only son, and his lordship a grandaughter (named Frances)
the only issue of his son and heir, Sir Ferdinando, deceased; and if they
might be married together he would supply more than the present want:
my Lord listened to it, the match was soon concluded, and so the two
familes and estates became united. When Sutton Lord Dudley
died, the married couple were not equal in honour; she, Lady Baroness Dudley, (the honour descending to females, on failure of
heirs male,) her husband, only Mr. Humble Ward; but he, meriting
much for seasonable supplies brought to his Majesty, was in consideration thereof, first knighted at Oxford in 1643; (fn. 25) and shortly after,
advanced to the dignity of a Baron, by the title of Lord Ward, of
Birmingham in Warwickshire, (fn. 26) from whom the present John Lord
Ward is descended.
But to return to the eldest branch of the family.
Thomas, eldest son of the said Thomas and Anne, settled at Bixley,
and married Eleanor; (fn. 27) daughter of Thomas Godsalve of BukenhamFerry, Esq. by whom he had
Thomas, who married Anne, daughter of William Peart of Essex,
Esq. (fn. 28) and died in 1632, seized of the manor and advowson of Postwick,
the manor of Great Plumstede, &c. leaving
Edward Ward of Bixley, Esq. his son and heir; who was knighted
by Oliver Lord Protector, Nov. 2, 1657; he having been high sheriff
of Norfolk in the preceading year, was continued in that office this
year also: his first wife was a Catlyne, (fn. 29) by whom he had no issue;
but he had several children by his second wife, (fn. 30) Eliz. daughter and
sole heir of John Harbourne of Mundham, Esq. (fn. 31) grandaughter of
William Harbourne of Mundham, Esq. who was sent ambassadour by
Queen Elizabeth, to the Grand Segnior, as appears by her Majesty's
letters patent dated Nov. 29, 1582. In the year 1660, 12 Car. II. Sir
Edward was created a Baronet; which patent, it is said, was procured by Lord Ward, that the eldest branch of his family might not
want a title of genuine honour. He died about 1664, seized of Postwick manor and advowson, lands and estates in Bixley, Framlinghams,
Kirby, Trouse, Amringhall, Poringland, &c. held in soccage of the
Duke of Norfolk, which he left to
Sir Edw. Ward, Bart. his eldest son, who died about 1684, and
married Jane, (fn. 32) daughter of William Rant, M. D. of Thorpmarket and
London; she died in 1671, leaving many children, the eldest of which
Sir Thomas Ward, Bart. who died single in 1692, leaving his
estate to his brother,
Sir Edward Ward, Bart. who married Barbara, daughter and
coheiress of Leonard Gooch of Earsham in Norfolk, Esq. who is now
living, and had issue,
Sir Edward Ward, Bart. who married Susan, (fn. 33) daughter and sole
heiress of Mr. William Randall of Yarmouth, (fn. 34) merchant; she is still
living, but Sir Edward died in March 1736, and was buried at Bixley;
they had issue three sons, and two daughters, of which Thomas and
Eliz. died young, Susan is now (1748) living and single, and
Sir Edward Ward, Bart. succeeded his father in the honour and
estate; he was fellow commoner of Caius college in Cambridge, and
dying single in 1742, was interred in the chancel; for whom there is
a neat mural monument over the south door, with the arms of Ward,
and this inscription,
Ostendunt Terris hunc tantum Fata.
Sacred to the Memory of Sir EDWARD WARD of Bixley,
Bart. (Son of Sir Edward and Dame Susan his Wife) who at an
Age exposed to Temptation, and prone to Vice, in Spight of the
Contagion of Corrupt Examples, blush'd at every Vice, and practis'd every Vertue: Every humane and generous Principle, was
implanted in his Soul by Nature, improved by Education, matured by practice; a large and diffusive Benevolence distinguished
him to the World; to his Friends, Faith and Constancy inviolable, to his Relations, the purest Affection; and to his Mother,
Piety and Tenderness beyond Example: At the University of
Cambridge for the space of three Years, he pursued his Studies,
with Diligence and Success, and being ready to enter into the
publick and busy Scene of Life, fully prepared to satisfy the
Expectation of his Country, the Hopes of his Friends, and the
fond Wishes of a Parent, a malignant Fever put an end to his
Life, in the 21st Year of his Age.
He died Apr. 7th, 1742.
Sir Randall Ward of Bixley, brother to Sir Edward, is the present Baronet.
The arms of Ward are, chequy or and az. a bend erm. Motto,
Crest, on a torce or and az. an outlandish deer trippant proper,
collared and chained reflecting over the back or; which arms and
crest were confirmed by Sir Gilbert Dethick, 22 Nov. 1575.
Some of the family have since used an antelope for their crest; and
others, on a cap of maintenance, an eagle displayed or; but without
any reason for so doing.
There are several achievements of the family in the chancel; one
hath the motto, and crest of an antelop e.
Warde, quartering 9 coats; 1, Mortimer. 2 Appleyard. 3,
Kemp. 4, Coppledick. 5, Capel. 6, Hawes. 7, Godsalve. 8,
Pert. 9, Harbourn of Mundham. All these impaled with Harbourn.
That for the last Sir Edward, hath for a crest, on a cap of maintenance gul. turned up erm. an eagle displayed or.
Another hath Ward quartering Harbourn, and a coat of pretence
Another hath the crest of an eagle, Ward single, and a coat of
pretence of Randal
Another hath Ward with the Ulster arms, quartering arg. a chevron
gul. between three trees vert, impaling Harbourne of Mundham, and
a coat of pretence of Harbourn.