At the compiling of Domesday book, was in the King's hands,
Herold was lord of it in King Edward's reign, and also when he was
King of England; but being slain in the battle of Hastings, it came
to William the Conqueror. Two carucates of land belonged to it, 5
villains, and 20 bordarers, with 4 servi; there were 2 carucates in
demean, and 4 amongst the men, &c. 5 acres of meadow, 3 mills, the
moiety of a saltwork, &c. Several beruites belonged to it, or it extended into these following townships, &c. Alatorp, Torpaland, Stanhou, Stabyrda, Creik, Barsham, Snaring, Katestuna, and Norton, of
which we shall treat in their place. In King Edward's time it was
worth 8l. per ann. at the survey 43l. was 7 furlongs long, and 3 and a
half in breadth, and paid 12d. gelt. (fn. 1)
Probably the river on which this town stands, might, in the Saxon
age, be callen Fa; Ken always denotes a stream of water or river:
thus Kennet, Kenfard; and frequently occurs, as Ham does for a
dwelling. There are two towns in Suffolk called Fakenham.
Some ancient records say, that King William II. called Rufus, gave
this great lordship to Hugh Capel, to be held by two knights fees, and
that it descended to his son Hugh, and grandson Walter, and so to
his daughters: Others say, that his name was Hugh Symired, that he
was enfeoffed of it by King Henry I. and that on the death of Walter
Symered his son, it reverted or escheated to the Crown, and King
John granted it to William de Albiny Earl of Arundel, who was lord
about the 7th of that King.
In the 25th of Henry III. Hugh Earl of Arundel was summoned
to restore to the King this lordship, with that of Whaddon in Buckinghamshire, as escheats belonging to the Normans; on which the
Earl pleaded, that he held not Fakenham entire, but that Reginald de
St. Martin held one mill and 7 acres of marsh, and that he also paid
to the prior of Castleacre 4s. per ann.; he was ordered to give a second plea, when he pleaded that his father and brother were seized of
it, that the King gave him also livery of it; and he added, that when
Normandy was lost, the Earl his father, who was there with King
John, lost all his lands there; who being willing to recompense him
in part of his loss, gave him Fakenham and Whaddon, and received
his homage, promising, that as soon as he was possessed of Normandy, to restore his lands lost there, or give him as many lands there
to make up the value; and that he had letters of seisin of this manor,
and that of Whaddon. The chancery rolls being searched, it appeared, that in the 9th of King John, the sheriff of Norfolk had a command to deliver to William Earl of Arundel, the manor of Fakenham,
which Al. de Morvil, or Marhil had, and was committed to him to
keep till the King could restore to him his land in Normandy; and
in the same manner it was commanded the sheriff of Bucks; but it
appears, that in the said year Beatrix Countess of Provence in France
had a grant of it for life; and in the following year a grant of a fair
here. From the Countess it came to Alianore, Queen Consort to
King Henry III. It was found in the 3d of Edward I. that this village, before it came into the hands of the Countess, and Queen aforesaid, paid shire scot to Gallow hundred lete, and the bailiff of that
lete received 35d. of the inhabitants here, with the homage of Althorp,
Snoring Parva, &c. Alianore, the King's mother, held it at this time,
had the assise, and other liberties.
King Edward II. on the 11th of October, in his third year, gave it
to Gilbert Earl of Clare, who dying without issue in the 7th of the
said King, it was granted in the following year to David de Strabolgi
Earl of Athol, with the advowson, till the lands of the said Earl, in
Scotland, could be restored to him. (fn. 2)
On the 8th of February, in the 5th of Edward III. Robert de
Ufford Earl of Suffolk had a grant of it; but soon after, about the
6th of that King, Isabel Queen dowager; who died seized of it in his
In the 38th of this King, it was found on a pleading in Easter
term, that the inhabitants of this town were not obliged to repair the
causey, called Brig mill-dam, then broke down; and an assise was
brought in the 43d of Henry III. on account of the mill-pool's being
raised too high.
Sir Robert Knolles is said, with his lady Constantia, to have an interest herein, in the 45th of the said King, in which year the lady
But the King, in his 46th year June 25th, gave it to his son, John
of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, and on his death it came to his son
Henry IV. King of England, and Duke of Lancaster, and continued
in the Crown till granted about the reign of King Charles I. to the
Farmers of Barsham-East, or the Calthorps.
Sir Christopher Calthorp died seized of it, and by his heirs it came
to the L'Estranges, Sir Henry L'Estrange, Bart. being the late lord.
Sir Henry Spilman is surprised to find that a salina, or salt-pit,
should, in Domesday Book, be mentioned as a part of this lordship,
being six miles from the sea; but it is to be observed, that this salina
lay in some place on the sea belonging to Herold, and after to him,
when King; thus Necton, a town above 12 miles from the nearest
part of the sea, had a salina, which lay at Lyn; Herold was lord of
Necton, and had a fee in Lyn, which Ralph de Tony enjoyed at the
In the 37th of Henry VIII. lands here belonging to Hempton priory
were granted by the King, September 9th, to Sir William Fermor, and
the Lady Catherine his wife.
In the 7th of James I. May 30th, Fakenham mill, and a parcel of
land called Hallmore, and a warren there, &c. granted to Edmund
Ferrers and Francis Philips, paying 5l. 10s. per ann.
Tenths were 9l. 2s. 10d.—Deducted 22s.
The Church is a regular large pile, having a nave, a north and
south isle, covered with lead, and a chancel covered with tiles; at
the west a tower with 6 bells, and is dedicated to St. Peter; the ancient valor was 100 marks, and the present valor of this rectory is
35l. 6s. 8d. and pays first fruits and tenths.
Round the cover of the font is;
Orate pro aia. Ade Plowryte, et Alicie uxoris ejus, et omnium benefactor. suor. qui istud opus fieri fecerunt in honore Dei omnipotentis.
On the 8 sides of the stone bason or font are several religious emblems, viz. of an angel, ox, lion, and eagle, to represent the 4 Evangelists; also that of the Trinity, a cross, crown of thorns, the King's
arms; also on the pillar of it, the letter H, or L, in an old character,
and a crown over it, to represent it as being in the dutchy of Lancaster, or built in King Henry the VIth's reign.
In the middle isle lie several grave-stones disrobed of their brasses:
Margaret, wife of Isaac Payn, Gent. daughter of William Harridence, late of Fakenham, Gent. died November 10. 1699.
On the belfry, which was built and painted at the charge of one
Salman, are the arms of Gourney; also, or three escutcheons, azure,
each charged with a lion rampant, argent.
The east end of the south isle has been an old chapel; on the
pavement lies a black marble:
In memory of Rice Gwin, Esq. and Mary his wife, she died June 13,
1727, aged 66;—and this shield, gules, a chevron, between three lions
rampant, or; Gwin, impaling, as I take it, Hammond, on a chevron,
voided three doves.
And in the said isle, a gravestone:
In memory of James Smith, secretary to the Lord Townsend, who died
1713; with this shield;—a fess, wavy, between three lions gambs
erect, and erased.
At the east end of the north isle, being an ancient chapel dedicated
to St. Mary, (so called 1441,) lies a gray marble stone:
Orate p. aia. Ric. Betteson Capellani, qui obt. x. die mensis Febr.
Ao. Dom. m.cccc.xcv.
On a black marble gravestone, with the arms of Calthorp, in a
Catherine, 3d daughter of Sir Christopher Calthorpe of East-Barsham, Kt. of the Bath, and dame Dorothy died 19th of September,
1717, aged 47.
Near this a gravestone:
In memory of James Calthorpe, Esq; eldest son of Sir Christopher,
born June 9th, 1673, died June 24, 1696.
Also on a gravestone; quarterly, Calthorpe and Leukenor, argent,
three chevronels, azure, impaling Spring, argent, on a chevron, ingrailed between three mascles, gules, as many cinquefoils, or:
In memory of Sir Christopher Calthorpe, Kt. of the Bath, and the
last survivor of 68 knights, companions of that honorable order, eldest
son of James Calthorpe, and Katherine his wife, daghter of Sir Edward
Lukenor of Denham, in Suffolk, Kt. he died Febr. 7, 1717/8, aged 75 years.
In memory of dame Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Spring of
Pakenham in Suffolk, Bt. wife of Sir Christopher Calthorpe, from the
19th of September. 1664, to the 7th of February 1715; mother of 14
children, of which 6 daughters, and all the sons, deceased before her.
Against the north wall is a murual monument, with the arms of
Calthorpe. Opposite to this monument, on the south side of the isle:
Lyeth the body of Christopher Calthorpe, Esq. grandson of Sir
Christopher Calthorpe, Knt. of the Bath. The loss of a youth of such
promising parts and ingenuity, and the last heir male of this elder
branch of that antient family, can never be enough lamented: He died
of a violent fever at the school of St. Edmund's, Bury, the 6th day of
November, 1720, aged 13 years and one day.
In the middle of the chancel lies a large gray marble stone, whereon
has been the portraiture of a priest in brass, and a rim of brass round;
the upper part of the portraiture was lately remaining, with part of
the rim, and these words: sexti, qui obiit die Sabbati:—There have
also been 4 shields, one at each corner, of which the two lowest only
remain, viz. a pelican vulning himself, and two cross keys in saltire,
round which, Aperite mihi portas justitie. I take this to be in memory of Henry Keys, admitted rector of this church in 1405, rector
also of Massingham Magna, clerk of the King's Chancery, keeper of
the hanaper, archdeacon of Norfolk, who died in or about 1428.
On the south side of the chancel are 3 stalls, or arches of stone, for
the Bishop, archdeacon, and rector.
The church porch, by the date thereon, appears to be built in 1497.
In the churchyard, on the north side, near the burial place of the
Calthorpe family, is an altar tomb, inclosed with iron rails:
In spem beatœ resurrectionis, sub hoc marmore conduntur, reliquiœ
Christopheri Calthorpe, Armigeri, filii 4ti Christoph. Calthorpe de
East Basham, in comit. Norf. militis Balnei, qui post longam valetudinem minus firmam, desiderium amicis, et flebilis omnibus animam Deo
reddidit 7mo die Aug. Ao. Dom. 1713, anno œtat. 32. with the arms
of Calthorpe, impaling De Grey; azure, a fess, between three chevrons, or.
On an altar tomb in the churchyard, on the south side:
Hic jacet Johannes, quem propè dilecta sua Catherina Wortley, quos
amor et ecclesia conjunxit; separavit, et rerum, et hominum edax, tempus, et tumulus rapuit. Hanc anno Domini 1665, ætate integram.
Hunc anno Dni. 1695, senectute fractum vicit, facilis victoria. Veniet,
veniet tamen dies, quœ raptam dabit, quæ victum, invictum reddet. Vis
plura lector, scias honestis ortas parentibus, et quondam hujus loci, nunc
In this church were the lights of St. Peter in the upper cross, St.
Paul, the Trinity of the lower cross in the nave of the church, of the
Virgin in her chapel, St. John Baptist, St. James, St. Anne in the
south part of the church, St. Mary de la Pity, St. Peter on the pillar,
St. Osith, St. Christopher, St. Mary in the wall, the Trinity on the
pillar against our Lady in the wall; St. Andrew, St. Erasmus, St.
Catherine, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Margaret; and in 1492, here was
the light of good King Herry, which I take to be of Henry VI. esteemed a saint, &c. and burning by his image.
Also the guilds of St. Peter, of the Trinity, St. Mary, St. Anne, St.
Syths, St. James.
Also the chapels of St. Mary, St. Thomas the Martyr.
William Rawlyns bequeaths to the building, or work of the church,
in 1455, 20s. and to that of the tower 20s.
John Coole, by his will dated 1494, desires to be buried in the
chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, and gives his messuage in Fakenham
mercate, with the garden, &c. 60 acres of lands, and a cottage, called
Barbour's, to be sold with a close, called Fox-yerd, to find a priest in
St. Thomas's chapel for his soul, &c.
I find the church porch to be used as a magazine for the hundred of
Gallow in 1602; and on the 23d of June in that year, xxviilb. of powder, xxixlb. and xxiiiilb. to be lodged there, with quantities of
matches, pickaxes, axes, &c.
Walter Symered, by deed sans date, gave to the monks of Castleacre
his mill, called Brige-mill; and Odo, prior of Castleacre, granted it to
Reinald de St. Martin, and his heirs, to be held at the yearly rent