Commonly called Coulshill, and in Domsday Coketeshall
and Cokereshall, (fn. 1) no doubt from some Saxon owner, Stigand the
Archbishop had it, and occupied it by 16 socmen, and after granted it
to Turold; and at the Conqueror's survey, the ancestor of the Earl
Warren had it of that Prince's gift, all but Ralf Stalra's part,
which contained 110 acres of land, which he gave with the burial of
his wife, to the Abbot of St. Bennet at Holm, (fn. 2) who joined it to his
adjacent manor of Hautbois, with which it always passed. Colteshall had then a church and 10 acres of glebe, and was above a mile
long and half a mile broad, and paid 12d. geld or tax towards every
20s. raised in the hundred.
Roger of Poictou, third son of Roger de Montgomery Earl of
Arundel, &c. held 4 socmen and 30 acres here, formerly Bishop
Stigand's, which he joined to his manor in Fretenham. (fn. 3)
Ralf de Camois died seized of this manor in 1218, William de
Hakeford, and Walter de Rochford, held three parts of a fee
here, and paid aid accordingly to the Earl Warren, and now the
manor entered in the Hackfords, and passed with West-Herling from
them to the Seckfords, as you may see at p. 301, vol. i.
But the Lete and superiour jurisdictions of all kinds always belonged to the Crown, and accordingly King Henry III. as superiour lord of the whole town, and of all the tenants of Sir William
de Hackford there; by letters patent dated at Woodstock, June,
13, 1231, granted to all men, women, boys, and girls, born or to be
born in his village of Couteshall, that they should be free from al
Villenage of body and blood, they and their families, in all parts of
England, and that they should not be forced to serve any offices for
any one, unless they liked it, and that all frays or trangression of bloodshed, bargains, and all quarrels and suits, concerning the town of
Colteshall, should be determined twice every year, before the
King's officers at the Letes there, and the natives of Colteshall;
shall be free from Toll, by water and by land in all fairs and markets
throughout England, and from all stallage, poundage, and picage,
being the King's tenants, and as such, they were to pay to him and
his successours 20s. to the Aid, to make his eldest son, Knt. when
ever it happened, so that the King's officers demanded it in the village, and if not there demanded, it was not to be paid; and they were
in like manner to pay 20s. for scutage, as often as it was raised on the
new acquired royal demeans, of which this town was part, and that
they were to pay six shillings every Michaelmass, for the Fee of those
demeans; but as the patent is very remarkable, I have added it for
your view. (fn. 4) The Atlas, page 271, says, Cowshill, a village on
the banks of the Bure, to which Henry III. granted this privilege
among others, that a servant that remained here a year should go
out Free; of which there is not a word of truth, for servants are not
mentioned in the Charter, which was confirmed by King Henry
IV. in the ninth year of his reign, with this clause added, that if there
were any privileges in their former charter, that neither they nor their
ancestors had made use of, yet they and their successours might at any
time use them, without any molestation from any of the King's justices, sheriffs, bailiffs, or other officers whatever; this is dated at
Westminster, 21 December, 1407, and King Henry the Sixth,
with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal in his
1st paliament held at Westminster, in the 3d year of his reign, by
letters patent, dated October 5, confirmed the said Charters, and
afterwards, conveyed all his rights in this town (fn. 5) to his college (called
King's College in Cambridge), to which this village now belongs.
This manumission or charter of freedom to the natives of this
village was a very great favour and privilege in those days; there
were few then born freemen, half of most villages were either customary
tenants, and so bound to perform all their customary services to their
lords, or else Villains, I may say in plain English slaves, to their
several lords, who had so absolute a power, that they could grant them,
their wives and children born, or ever hereafter to be born of them,
together with all their household goods, cattle and chattels whatever,
to whomever they pleased; and indeed nothing is more common in
antiquity, than to meet with grants of this nature from one lord to
another, or to whomever he would; nay so absolute was the lord's
jurisdiction over them, that they could not live out of the precincts of
the manor without their lord's leave, nor marry their children to
another lord's tenant, without their own lord's license; but in all ages
men were naturally desirous of liberty, for these villains continually
endeavoured to procure their freedom, either by pleasing their lord so
much as to obtain a manumission, or by getting some friend or relation to purchase it for them; now this grant at once manumised all
the natives of Colteshall and all their posterity, male and female,
and that in so ample a manner, that contrary to other freemen (who
were obliged to do suit at court and serve the offices of the manor, as
collectorships, reeveships, &c.) they were not to be put into any office
without their own consent, and though they removed into any other
lord's fee or manor, yet they and their posterity should remain free.
Now because I have mentioned these manumissions, and shewn their
extent, it may not be amiss to subjoin an example or two of such
assertions, many people being ignorant in what state their forefathers
lived, and so are not capable of sufficiently valuing the freedom which
we now enjoy. (fn. 6)
In the time of Edward I. lived Sir Giles de Wachesham, Knt. lord of
a manor in Wortham in Suffolk, he died in 1278, so that this deed
though ti hath no date, must be before that time; this Giles granted to
William de Hereford, rector of the mediety of the church of Wortham,
Richard son of Hervy Ingald, with all his family, and all his chattels
for two marks, and the said William, who had purchased him, made
him and all his descendents free, on condition that he and his successours for ever, should pay a penny a year to the church of St.
Mary at Wortham, upon the day of the Nativity of the Virgin
Mary, at the high altar, to find a light at that altar, and to the said
William and his successours 3 roots or races of ginger every Michaelmas
day. (fn. 7)
The manor continued in the Hackfords and Seckfords, and in
1401 was found to be in the Dutchy of Lancaster, and the
advowson was sold to the master and brethren of St. Giles hospital
in Norwich, about 1450, and the manor and advowson was afterwards sold to trustees for the use of King's college in Cambridge; but
by reason of the prior conveyance of the advowson, that college,
though they tried for it, could not for a long time recover it, but did
afterwards gain it, and have presented to it ever since, the college
being now sole lords and patrons.
There was a Church here, long before the Conquest, but the
present building, after it was finished, was dedicated to St. John the
Baptist, on the day of the Conversion of St. Paul, by William de
Middleton Bishop of Norwich, in the year 1284; the tower is square,
and hath six bells in it, the nave and chancel are thatched, the north
porch and south isle leaded, and the porch tiled; on a monument
against the north wall,
M. S. Quod fuit Mortale, juxta situm est, Gulielmi Perkins Generosi, quem (laetus refero) erga Deum immortalem
Pietas, erga Conjugem inviolata Fides, erga Liberos amor perspectissimus, post Funera felicem reddidere: Qui Calculi
Doloribus, diu multumque tortus, in Spem futuræ et beatæ Vitæ
Mortalitatem exuit, 4to Febr' Anno Salutis 1711, Ætatis 63.
Hoc pietatis Testimonium poni curavit Gulielmus Perkins,
S. T. P. Filius natû maximus, Collegij Divi Johannis Evangelistæ
in Academiâ Cantabrigiœ Socius.
On brasses in the nave,
Orate pro anima roberti Postyl. (fn. 8)
Hir iacet alica Pope, (fn. 9) cufus anime propicietur Deus.
Pray for the Sowle of William Brasey.
Orate pro anima Roberti Breyge, cuius anime propitietur Deus
William Varden, ob. 22 April 1724. Æt. 24.
Orate pro anima Roberti Horne, cuius anime propicietur Deus
Richard Lubbock, of this Parish Merchant, March 17, 1686.
Barbara his wife December 19, 1727. Robert Lubbock their
eldest son late of Norwich Merchant, May 30, 1729. Æt. 56.
Pake, an eagle displayed between three lozenges.
Elizabetha Filia Samuelis Pake, M. D. (de Buriâ Sancti
Edmundi in Comitatû Suffolciœ et Elizabethæ uxoris) obijt die
undecimo Aprilis A. D. MDCCXXII Æt. XIVo.
Plumstede's arms and crest, an eagle's head erased on a
Owen Plumsted, Gent. June 11, 1704. Martha his wife March
In the middle of the altar, Henry Palmer, Gent. for whom a
monument against the north chancel wall hath this inscription,
Hic juxta positæ sunt exuviæ, Henrici Palmer Generosi,
cujus Pietatem, Vitæque Integritatem, maximâ Laude et Imitatione dignissimas, ut hoc marmor Posteris testaretur, ex animo
optat Georgius Warren, Nepos et Hæres, qui quidem Henricus postquam Legem edidicisset, eamque summo Honore et
probitate per Annos LV. peritissime exercuisset tandem animam
Deo placidè reddidit, Aug. 24, Ano Æt. 82. Salutis 1714,
On another monument against the north chancel wall,
Near to this Place in hopes of a joyful and blessed Eternity,
lieth the Body of Mr. John Chapman late of this Parish Merchant, who by his last Will and Testament, gave and bequeathed
to the Benefit of this Parish for ever, the yearly Sum of Ten
Pounds, to be paid out of certain Lands lying in the said Parish, (fn. 10)
and in Great-Hautbois in the County of Norfolk, to a Schoolmaster, to be approved of by the Chancellor of the Diocess of
Norwich, and the Minister of Colteshall for the Time being, to the
Intent that ten poor Lads of the same Parish, may be taught
freely Reading English, Writing and Arithmetick: (fn. 11) He also gave
in his Will Twenty Pounds, to be distributed among such poor
people as followed him to his Grave: He was desirous to have
Founded in his Life Time a School in this Parish, for the free
Education of poor Children; and it is very probable he would
have effected it, and thereby been a living Example of Charity
to others, if it had not pleased God to take him out of this transitory Life, after a short Indispostion of Body in the 57th Year
of his Age, and in the Year of our Lord 1719.
Blessed is he that considereth the Poor. Psalm XLI. I.
There were formerly in the windows here, the arms of St. George,
Seckford, Felbrigge, Clere and le Gros, Warren, Clare,
and France and England. The steeple is 67 feet high, the nave is
50 feet long and 31 broad, the isle is of the same length with the nave
and 9 feet broad, the chancel is 30 feet long and 20 broad.
It stands thus in the King's books;
7l. 2s. 6d. Colesale alias Colteshall rectory 14s. 3d. yearly
tenths. And being undischarged it is incapable of augmentation, being
said in the last Valor to be 200l. per. annum.
At the Confessor's survey there were 10 acres of glebe; and in
1231 the rector had a license in mortmain to receive an acre of pasture,
and half an acre of marsh; (fn. 12) and about 1270 Roger then rector, gave
a house and 3 roods of land here, which in 1285 Sir Ralf de Hakeford,
then rector, recovered against John de Summerton, chaplain, who sued
for it, and had it settled on his church for ever.
The Rectory was anciently valued at ten marks; it pays 21d. qr.
visitatorial procurations, and 16d. synodals to the Bishop, and 5s. procurations to the archdeacon; the whole village paid 8d. Peter-pence,
and 2l. 17s clear to every tenth, besides the lands of the religious here,
for which the abbot of Holm was taxed for his mill and lands at 50s.
the abbot of Caen in Normandy, for his fishery and revenues here,
25s. 10d., (fn. 13) and the prioress of Carrow had Churches tenement here,
and 20 acres of land given by Robert Everard, chaplain, to that
abbey in 1449.
It is valued at 473l. 10s. to the land-tax, and pays 10s. to every
300l. levy of the County rate. There was a gild of St. John the
Baptist held anciently on Midsummer-day.
1289, Ralf de Hakeford.
1300, Ralf de Hakeford. Sir William de Hakeford.
1304, William Goscelyn. Ditto.
1305, Master Ralf de Hakeford again. Ditto.
1325, Robert Rouland. Sir John Foliot, Knt. in right of his
1347, Edmund de Easton. John de Sekeford.
1374, Sir William Elmham, Knt. was lord and patron.
1406, John Brydecock. Sir Simon Felbrigge, Knt. Oliver
Groose, Esq. John Felbrigge, clerk, John Yelverton, Tho.
Owdolf, and Robert Gostlin, chaplains, patrons of this turn
only. In 1420 Bridecock exchanged this, for Redenhall vicarage with
Master John de Aylesham. Thomas Duke of Exeter, Earl of
Dorset and Harcourt, Admiral of England and Ireland. In 1425,
Augustine Stratton and Margaret his wife, widow of Sir George
Seckford, Knt. settled the manor and advowson on Sir Simon Felbrigge,
Knt. and other trustees, to the use of George Seckford, Esq. In 1426
Aylesham exchanged for Beeston by Mileham rectory with
Thomas Crundale. George Seckford Esq. He resigned in
1440, to Simon Belton. Ditto. who resigned in
1452, to Thomas Hancock. George Seckford, Esq. in full right.
1458, Nicholas Harryngton, the last presented by Seckford, who
sold the advowson to
John Selot, master of St. Giles's hospital in Norwich, (fn. 14) and he
was presented rector here by the Brethren of the hospital in 1465, and
Pope Paul the second, by bull dated at St. Mark's at Rome,
February 23, 1465, annexed it for ever to the Mastership of the
hospital, and appointed that if any master resigned that office, this
rectory of course should be void. In 1479 the hospital presented their
John Smith, L.L. D. at whose death in
1489, Master Oliver Dynham, A. M. had it, and the Provost and
scholars of the college of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas in
Cambridge (now called King's college) presented
Robert Ellesmere, A. M. the manor now being purchased by
the college with the advowson: but on a Jus Patronatus tried April 9,
1490, it was found to be annexed to the mastership, and severed
from the manor.
1495, Thomas Schenkwyn.
1497, Nicholas Goldwell.
1498, Robert Honywood, L.L. D. fellow of All-Souls in Oxford,
dean of the Chapel in the Fields in Norwich, master of Bek hospital,
1499, John Julles.
1513, William Sooper, A. M.
1519, John Hekker, who was the last presented by the hospital; he
resigned it in 1522, and from that time the College hath presented
here, having recovered it by the King's writ on a trial against the
hospital. (fn. 15)
1522, John Cock, A. M. united to Horstede in 1554, at his death in
1556, Guthlac Cordal had it, and on his resignation in
1564, Nicholas Aylonde, had it united to Horstede in 1571, who
died in 1607, and in
1608, Richard Sutton, S. T. B. held it united to Horstede, on whose
1619, Henry Howgrave, S. T. B. succeeded and died in 1645
possessed of this and Horsted, and was succeeded in
1646, by George Goade, A. M. and he in a very little while by
Thomas Jenner, who in 1657 was complained of to the
sessions in order to dispossess him, and being unable to make head
against their proceedings, in 1658, he resigned to the college, and
they gave this and Horstede to
Grindal Sheaf, S. T. P. canon of Windsor, (who published
Vindiciœ Senectutis, or a Plea of Old Age, London 1639, octavo,)
and fellow of King's college in Cambridge, of whose numerous preferments and wealth you may see in Wood's Fasti, &c. vol. i. fo. 798;
he resigned the livings in 1661, and
Daniel Warren, A. M. had them, at whose death in
1700, Mr. John Layton succeeded, and died August 16, 1728, and
Doctor Gilbert Burroughs, fellow of King's, had them, at
The Rev. Mr. Robert Parr, late fellow of King's, the present
rector, succeeded, and now holds them.