Called anciently Rockland-Abbots, to distinguish it from Rockland in Shropham hundred, (fn. 1) from the Abbot of Langley having the
manor here, (fn. 2) which consisted of several parts: belonging to Alnoth,
Godric, Ulketel, Ulf, and Will. de Noers, at the Confessor's survey;
and the King, Roger Bigot, and William Bishop of Thetford, at the
Conqueror's. In 1235, Roger Picot held it; and in 1238, the Abbot
of Langley held it of Picot's fee, which extended into Surlingham,
Bramerton, &c. In 1249, Will. Sumersweyne and Eda his wife, gave
many lands to the abbey, which Simon, abbot there, added to this
manor; and Robert Bryan and Alexander his son gave part of a fee
here, and the lesser part of the advowson of St. Mary's, which they
had of the Bigots, to this house.
After this, there was a grange purchased by that house of Sir Ralf
In 1285, the Abbot was allowed to have a lete over all his tenants.
In 1401, he held it of Sir Thomas Mowbray, Knt. and in 1428, was
taxed for his temporals, at 5l. 14s. 6d. ob. q.
At the Dissolution it was granted by king Henry VIII. with Porland manor, to John Corbet, Esq. who in 1543, sold off the barley
rents in Rockland and Bramerton, (fn. 3) and the manors of Rockland and
Poringland, to Roger and John Gostlin, and their heirs, both the
manors having continued together as they now do, ever since, I shall
refer you to Porland, at p. 438, 44.
John Bedingfield of Beeston by Norwich, Esq. is the present
Belonged to Edwin and Haslec, one of the Confessor's thanes; (fn. 4) and at
the Conquest to Godric the sewer, and after to Thurston, whose son
Walter, in 1202, sold it to William de Badient, to be held at the 4th
part of a fee: in 1249, William Summersweyn and Eda his wife sold
it to Herbert de Helgeton or Hillington; and it seems Eda was heiress
to Badient, for she warranted it to Herbert and John de Helgeton.
In 1285, Sir Thomas de Helgeton had the lete or view of frankpledge
over all his tenants here: he joined it to Earlham's manor in Surlingham, (fn. 5) with which it now remains.
Great part of this town belonged to Roger Bigod's manor of Surlingham, (fn. 6) and was held of him by Aitard de Vaux, and hath passed
with the capital manor of Surlingham ever since, which see at p. 467.
Another part belonged then and now to Framlingham Picot. (fn. 7)
See p. 432.
Another to Bixley. See p. 448. (fn. 8)
In this churchyard there were two churches; the church of
St. Margaret is in ruins, and stands a few yards east of St. Mary's; it
never had a steeple, but consisted of a chancel and nave only, and was
much of the same bigness with St. Mary's; it was given early to the
nuns of St. Margaret of Bromehale in Berkskire, and the advowson
belonged to Little Breche manor, and was called Rockland Major;
it was appropriated to that house, and had a vicarage endowed, the
nomination of which belonged to the Bishop of Norwich, and the
presentation to Bromhale prioress; but afterwards, the whole was consolidated to Rockland Major, as in vol. iv. p. 534.
The church of St. Mary is now in use, a moiety of it, called the
pars major, or greater part, was always a rectory belonging to Roger
Bigod's part of the town, which belonged to Surlingham, and had
ten acres of glebe, for though he infeoffed Aitard de Vaux in the
manor, yet the advowson was excepted, and attended the manor of
Forncet, till it was lately sold by the Duke of Norfolk, along with the
rectory of St. Laurence at South Walsham, to Queen's college in
Cambridge, the master and fellows of which, are now patrons. Here
was a gild of St. John. In 1239, Ric. de Nugun, rector of the
greater part, purchased a messuage here, and settled it for a parsonage-house for ever, of Nic. de Surlingham, and Nicholas his son. (fn. 9)
The other moiety, called pars minor, or the lesser part, was given to
Langley abbey, by Robert Bryen, the patron, and confirmed by Alexander his son, and was soon after appropriated to that monastery, and
it was confirmed by the pope and diocesan, and for this, the abbot
paid 12s. 6d. spiritualities, and he paid 12d. synodals, and 20d. procurations, for his part; this was afterwards consolidated to the other
moiety, and in 1360, Sr. Walter de Manney, patron of the mediety of
Rockland St. Mary, and of the mediety of Holveston, got them consolidated by a perpetual union, as they now remain, by Tho. Percy
Bishop of Norwich, so that now it is an entire rectory, incapable of
augmentation, for it stands thus in the King's Books:
6l. 13s. 4d. Rockland rectoria. 13s. 4d. yearly tenths,
Norwich Domesday saith thus: Rockland Minor. The Earl-Marshal
is patron of one mediety, (pars major) the Abbot of Langley hath the
other (pars minor) appropriated. The rector hath a house and 8
acres of land untaxed, and paid 2s. synodals and 6s. procurations.
The Chorography of Norfolk saith, It hath a convenient mansionhouse, and necessary out-houses, with 40 acres of glebe, it pays no
first-fruits, synodals for Rockland Utraque 5s. for Holveston mediety,
9d. The Revision of the Archdeaconry of Norfolk made in 1630, saith,
that the synodals were 4s. 4d. the archdeacon's procurations, 13s. 4d.
including the 2s. 6d. procurations for Holveston mediety. The whole
town paid clear to each tenth, 3l. 10s. and the religious for their revenues 1l. 14s.
William Peper of Rockland gave to Simon, prior of Norwich, his
10 acres of salt marsh here, which shows that the tide came up hither
at that time, for which and his other revenues here, he was taxed at
21s. 4d. In 1435, the honour of Richmond extended hither, for
John Duke of Bedford died seized of the third part of a fee here, and
in Bawburgh, held by the Prior of Norwich, as belonging to the
manor of Swaffham, parcel of Richmond honour. The Prioress of
Carrow had temporals here taxed at 38s. 9d. ob.
The church is 13 paces long and 6 yards broad, the chancel is 7
yards long and 5 broad, the steeple is square, about 50 feet high, and
hath 3 bells, the nave is thatched, the chancel and south porch are
tiled. There are stones in the chancel for Rob. Cocke, jun. Gent.
1638. 22, and John his son, 1638. Roger Gidding, rector of Moulton
by Acle. 1737. Ao Æt. 32. John Smith, A. M. rector here, 1676. 59.
Edw. Grensmith, rector here, 1684. 32.
D. M. S. Henrici Mazey Cantabrigiensis Collegii Caio-Gonviliensis A. M. et quondamé Sociis, Scholæ Norvicensis Moderatoris, et
hujus Ecclesiæ Rectoris, qui Annos 36 plus minus natus. ob. Maij 17,
1677. Exuviis hic depositis.
On a brass plate in the nave,
Orate pro anima Margarete Sendell, cuius anime propicietur
The Sendels had an estate here owned by Robert Sendel in 1505.
1489, Alice Pares Wid. buried here. 1661. died Mr. Thomas Watts
Mr. Hugh Robinson, rector here and of Bramerton, returned answer, that there were seventy-two communicants here, in 1603.
Rectors of the major pars, or mediety of Rockland Minor.
1305, Rob. de Benacre, accolite. Rog. le Bigod Earl of Norf.
1308, Rob. de Wirlingham. Alice de Hanonia Countess of
Norfolk, in right of dower.
1326, Adam de Berham. Tho. Earl, of Norf.
Henry Albot, res.
1352, Roger Godewine, priest. Sir John de Segrave. He changed
with Albot, for the vicarage of the churches, of the Trinity and
St. Andrew's in Masham.
1376, Sir William Debbe, lapse, to this mediety and that of Holveston annexed.
1381, 10. Marc. Rob. Suthfield, priest. Margaret, MarshalCountess of Norfolk and Lady Segrave.
Vicars Of the minor pars
NOMINATED BY THE BISHOP, PRESENTED
BY THE ABBOTS OF LANGLEYE.
Adam de Bernham, res.
1326, Rob. de Wirlingham, priest, &c.
Rectors of Rockland Major, Minor, and Holveston mediety.
1603, Hugh Robinson.
1630, — Nichols, rector.
1661, Thomas Watts.
1676, John Smith.
1684, Edward Greensmith.
Benjamin Lyng, late rector here, and of Walsham St. Lawrence, the last presented by the Norfolk family, was succeeded by
The Rev. Mr. Crownfield, the present rector, who holds it united to
Walsham Saint Lawrence, being presented to both, by the Master and
Fellows of Queen's College in Cambridge, where he was then a fellow.