An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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THE HUNDRED OF SHROPHAM.
This hundred is bounded on the east by Depwade and Diss; on the north by Wayland and Forehoe; on the west by Grymshoe; and on the south by Giltcross, from which it is parted by the rivulet that runs from Quidenham Meer into the Little Ouse at Thetford, by the Atlas called Thet, without any reason, for I do not find it so named in any evidences whatever. This is a large hundred, (or half hundred, as it is sometimes called,) the fee of which, from the Confessor's time to the latter end of King Henry VI. (fn. 1) constantly attended the Castle manor of Bokenham, (fn. 2) being sometimes whole, and sometimes divided, as that was, but then it was wholly in William De-la-pole Marquis and Earl of Suffolk, who levied a fine of it between himself and his trustees. It was in John De-la-pole Earl of Lincoln, who died in 1487; after in Edmund De-la-pole Earl of Suffolk, who was beheaded for treason in 1513, and so it became forfeited to the Crown; immediately after, it was granted to Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, and his heirs, who, about 1545, exchanged it for other lands with the Crown, in which it continued some time. In 1573, the Queen let it to Edw. Fludd, Gent, for 21 years, at 10l. a year, who surrendered his letters patent to be cancelled in 1584, and the Queen, for 15l. fine, let it to Tho. Lovell, Gent, for 21 years. In 1622, it was granted by letters patent to Sir George Marshall, Knt. Robert Causfield, Esq. and their heirs, in fee, to be held by the fee-farm rent of 10l. a year, in 1628, Mr. Robert Tichbourne and Mr. Andrew Palmer held it in trust, with others, for Robert Hethe, serjeant at law, who, jointly with his trustees, in 1634, sold it to Rob. Wilton, Esq. and his heirs, (fn. 3) in whose family it continued till Nicholas Wilton of Wilby, Esq. sold it to Henry Kedington, Esq. of Hockham, who sold it to Ralph Hare of Harpham, Esq. and Hugh, son of Tho. Hare, Esq. of Hargham, (fn. 4) the heir of that family, is now  lord, who holds it by the aforesaid yearly fee-farm rent. The ancient rent that it paid before the forfeiture was only half a mark. The leets of the whole hundred belong to it with all superiour liberties, except those of Eccles, HockhamMagna, and Old-Bokenham. All the towns are in Rockland deanery, (which is made up of this and Giltcross hundred,) except Thetford, which, though it be in this hundred, I look upon as single, it being a deanery of itself belonging to the archdeaconry of Norwich, as this doth to the archdeaconry of Norfolk.
Wilby Hall manor,
Belonged to Fader in the Confessor's time, and to William de Schoies, or Escois, (sc. the Scot, or Will. of Scotland, as he is sometimes called,) in the Conqueror's; it had a church then, and 10 acres of glebe, the whole town being a mile long, and as much broad, and paid 15d. out of every 20s. taxed upon the hundred. (fn. 5) The advowson belonged to this manor, and in the reign of William Rufus, William de Escois, or Scoies, by the name of William de Hestois, (fn. 6) gave the advowson of Wilby, along with that of Banham, and a carucate of land there, together with two parts of the tithes of his demeans in both places, to the abbey of St. Mary at York. (fn. 7) In 1226, Stephen de Ebroic was lord; he is sometimes called Ebrois, D' Ebrois, Deveres, and D'Evereux, and this year he had grant for a market and fair in Banham; he was succeeded by
Will D'Everes was lord. He, and Maud his mother, sold it to Sir Richard de Boylund, and Maud his wife, in 1278, who had a charter of free-warren for all his lands here and in Brisingham. (fn. 8) This William D'Everes pretended a right to the moiety of the advowson, against Simon then Abbot of York, but was cast in the suit, and forced to release all his pretensions. In 1295, Richard de Boyland and Ellen his wife had it, and John their son and heir was 24 years old, who, in 1314, settled it on himself and Emme his wife, and their heirs; but notwithstanding this, in 1315 Richard his brother was lord here, who, in 1321, settled it on himself and Alice his wife, John Le-Claver and Adam Le-Long being his trustees. In 1345, Sir John Boyland, Knt. of Boyland Hall in Brisingham, held it at three quarters of a fee, half of John Waleys, the other half of John Berdewell, who held it of the heirs of Hugh de Bokenham, they of the Earl of Arundell, and he of the King, all which Maud de Boyland aforesaid lately held, and paid 30s. relief. This part seems to be the freeman and his services, which was Roger Bygod's at the Conquest, afterwards the Earl of Arundell's, then Hugh Bokenham's, lord of West-Herling, (fn. 9) after that the Berdewells, by whom it was sold to the Boylands.
In 1363, Sir Tho. de Felton, Knt. had it settled on him, by Sir Will. Ingaldesthorp, Knt. and Eleanor his wife, it being conveyed to him during the life of Eleanor; great part of this manor was sold by Sir John de Boyland, for it had now only two messuages, 108 acres of land, 6 of meadow, and 16s. rent. In 1372, Sir Tho. Felton, Knight of the Garter, was lord, by whom it was settled, as Riburgh was, of which he was lord. (fn. 10)
In 1380, Sir Tho. de Felton, Knt. and Joan his wife, held it; Mary, his eldest daughter, was then married to Sir Edmund Hengrave, Knt. and Sibilla de Morlai was his second daughter. (fn. 11) 1386, Nicholas Coterell, chaplain, released all his right in it to Joan, widow of Sir Tho. de Felton, who, in 1388, settled it on herself for life, after on Robert Bishop of London, and other trustees.
In 1414, John, son of Sir John Curson, Knt. released all his right in the manor, late the Lady Felton's, to John Clifton, Tho. Lopham, and other feoffees, together with Ingaldesthorp, Belagh, and Dersingham manors in Norfolk, and Barrow in Suffolk.
In 1470, Sir John Curson of Beckhalle in Belagh, Knt. gave this manor to Thomas, his son and heir, reserving several annuities; (fn. 12) he was lord of Ingaldesthorp, &c. and died this year. In 1511, it appears by the will of Thomas Curson, Esq. son and heir of Sir John, that he gave Wilby and Darsingham manors to John his son, it being then held of the Earl of Arundell, as of Castle-Acre manor. In 1546, John Curson, Esq. died seized, and William was his son and heir, who had now livery of this, Ingaldesthorp, Darsingham, Byntre, Beckhall in Belagh, Harple, and many other manors.
In 1565, William Curson, Esq. and Thomasine his wife, sold the manor to Sir Tho. Lovell, Knt. and his heirs. (fn. 13)
Edward Hobart of Langley, Esq. in trust: it had then a foldcourse, but no rents. In 1631, Edward Hobart sold to Charles Lovell of Hockering, Esq. and Edward Barkely of the same, Gent. the manors of Wilby, which late belonged to Sir Tho. Lovell, Knt. deceased, father of the said Charles, Sir Francis Lovell, Knt. deceased, and William Lovell, Esq. brothers of the said Charles, and Peter Pretiman, Gent. they being conveyed to the said Edward, to the use of Sir Thomas and the rest.
Which was owned by Ailid (fn. 14) in the Confessor's time, and by Ralf Bainard in the Conqueror's, under whom it was held by Solidarius, and had a carucate of land in demean, which shews that it was an exact half of the town, the other manor being of the same extent and value. (fn. 15) In 1104, Juga Bainard (his widow I suppose) had it; and in 1106, Jeffry Bainard, her son and heir, who was a great benefactor to St. Mary's abbey at York; he was succeeded by Will. Bainard, who taking part with Elias Earl of Main, Phillip de Braose, William Malet, and other conspirators, against King Henry I. lost his barony, the chief seat of which was called Bainard's castle, situate below St. Paul's, near the Thames: upon this forfeiture it was given by the King to Robert, a younger son to Richard Fitz-Gilbert, progenitor to the ancient Earls of Clare, as this Robert was to the noble family of the Fitz-Walters, (fn. 16) of whom it was always held of Bainard castle at half a fee; Falk Baynard held it of Robert Fitz-Walter; and in 1228, Robert de Cokefield held it of Walter Fitz-Robert, as did Richard de Cokefeud, his son, whose son and heir, John, was a minor in the wardship of Simon de Kokefeud in 1249. About 1272,
Robert de Beckhall first had that half fee, which was formerly Robert Cockfield's, and another quarter of a fee joined to it, held of the Lady Maud de Boyland, from whose manor he had purchased it, In 1315, he held the half fee of Fulk Bainard, he of Robert FitzWalter, and he of the King; and in 1386, it was held of Walter FitzWalter, Knt. and Phillipa his wife, as of their manor of Hemenhale.
In 1409, Nov. 4, Sir Richard Carbonell, Knt. by will, ordered his manors of Wilby, Stodhagh, Witton, and Penesthorp, to be sold to pay his debts; in 1459, Alice. widow of Sir Andrew Ogard, Knt. of Bokenham castle, after of Sir Hugh Cokesey, Knt. died seized of a part of it, which always went with that castle, till Sir Edmund Knevet sold it.
In 1564, Tho. Green of Wilby, Gent. son of John Green, died; he married Cecilia, daughter of Tho. Guybon of Lyn, and Rose his wife, leaving his manor of Beckhall, in Wilby, Hargham, Eccles, Banham, Bokenham, Crostwick, and Ruston, to Francis, his son and heir, then three years old; it then contained 12 messuages, 220 acres of land, 220 acres of pasture, 4s. 8d. rent, &c. all which were held of Christopher Heydon, Knt. in right of Temperance, his wife, relict of Tho. Greye, as of his manor of Bainard's Hall in Bunwell; he died seized also of Hargham, &c.
In 1571, Mathew Bacon, Gent. was lord, in right of Cecily his wife, relict of Tho. Green, as guardian to Francis Green, her son, who died without issue in 1580, leaving it divisible among his five sisters.
John Wilton of Topcroft, Gent. purchased the advowson, and joined it to the manor; he left one daughter, Cecily, married to Sir John Brewse of Wenham in Suffolk, and Richard Wilton of Topcroft, Gent. his son and heir, who married Anne, daughter of Robert Buxton of Channons in Tibenham, Esq.; he conveyed Beckhall to Robert his son, reserving an annuity of 50l. a year to be paid in his house at Tunnegate Green in Topcroft, where he had a good estate: he died in 1637: Robert Wilton of Wilby, Esq. his son and heir, was born in 1599; he purchased Wilby Hall manor, and the hundred of Shropham, and by so doing, joined the leet to the manor, (fn. 17) and made the estate complete: he had three wives; by Hannah, daughter of John Jay, Gent. he had only one daughter, Hannah, who married to Robert Buxton, Esq. Aug. 24, 1654, by whom he had Robert Buxton, born April 9,1659, and Elizabeth, born Dec. 16, 1661; by Susanna, his second wife, youngest daughter of Sir Anthony Drury of Besthorp, he had issue; and by Bridget, daughter of Sir John Mead, of Lofts in Essex, he had two daughters, and one son only, viz. Nicholas Wilton of Wilby, Esq. who married a Clinch; he sold the manors, hundred, and advowson, to Ralf Hare of Hargham, Esq. whose descendant, Hugh Hare, now  a minor, son of Thomas Hare of Hargham, Esq. deceased, is lord and patron. (fn. 18)
The advowson of the rectory, after the Dissolution, came to the Crown; and, in 1558, was held by Edward Lord North, and John Williams, and their heirs, in free soccage by fealty only, as of East Greenwich manor in Kent, and went afterwards as the institutions shew you, till it was sold to John Wilton.
In 1504, William Hammond, senior, of Wilby, infeoffed a close called Nells in Wilby, in Robert Walden, rector there, Will. Mounteney, Gent. and others, to the use of the repairs of the church for ever; he had it of John Mounteney of Wilby, chaplain, and Robert Hamond, deceased; it abuts west on the street, and was given in 1480, by John Nell of Wilby. (fn. 19)
The manor of Old Bokenham extended hither; in 1366, Hugh Bernak had a messuage, and 39 acres of land, &c. and 20s. rent in New Bokenham, Wilby, Attleburgh, and Elingham, held by the twentieth part of a fee, which at his death was to revert to Alice Bernak, and John, son of Will. Bernak.
Eccles manor extended hither, for in King Henry the Eighth's time, Robert Wyngfield held half a fee here of that King, and paid 18d. to the wardship of Norwich castle, it being part of the Bishop's manor of Eccles, which was part of his barony before the exchange.
This rectory is valued thus in the
and being sworn of the value of 48l. 14s. 2d. it is discharged both of first fruits and tenths. It hath a good rectory-house, and several acres of glebe; it is in Rockland deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. (fn. 20)
|King's Books.||Synodals.||Norw. Taxat.|
|7||4||9 ob.||0||1||0||10 marks;|
William D'Eschoies, (or Le-Scot,) gave this and Banham advowsons, and a part of the tithes of his demeans, to St. Mary's abbey near the walls at York, which was confirmed by Everard Bishop of Norwich, and Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury; (fn. 21) part of this portion of tithes, with that at Banham, (fn. 22) was settled by the abbey on their cell at Rumburgh in Suffolk, and in 1528, was granted with it to Cardinal Wolsey, towards building his colleges in Ipswich and Oxford, by patent dated Dec. 30, 20th Henry VIII.
1530, 11 June, Miles Spencer, doctor of laws, on Walden's death. Wil. Cleydon, doctor of laws, by grant from the Abbot. He was after archdeacon of Sudbury, rector of Heveningham and Redenhall in Norfolk, vicar of Soham in Cambridgeshire, dean of ChappelField college, principal official, and vicar-general. (fn. 23)
1532, 21 March, Sir John Milgate; the Abbot. He was the last prior of Bokenham. (fn. 24)
1720, 26 Oct. Nicholas Neech, on Last's death. Anne Hare, widow; he held it with Shropham, and resigned it for Snitterton, and The Rev. Mr. John Hare, LL.B. the present  rector succeeded; who was presented by Thomas Hare of Hargham, Esq. his eldest brother.
Here lyeth the Body of that faithful Patriot, and true Lover of his Country, Rob. Wilton of Wylby, in the County of Norff. Esquire, Son of Richard Wilton of Topcroft in the same County, Gent. by Anne the Daughter of Robert Buxton of Tybenham, Esq; his first Wife was Hannah, Daughter of Robert Jay, Gent. by whom he had Issue Hannah, living at the time of his Death: His second Wife was Susan, one of the Daughters of Sir Anthony Drury of Besthorp, Knt. by whom he had 3 daughters, Bridgett, Ann, Elizabeth, living at the time of his death: His last Wife was Bridgett, one of the Daughters of Sir John Mead, Knt. of Lofts in the County of Essex, by whom he left 2 Daughters, Joanna and Dorothy, and only one so much beloved son Nicholas, he exchanged this Mortal, for an immortal Life, the 19 of Nov. 1657, in the 58 Yeare of his Age.
Wilton's arms with three escutcheons joined to it, viz. Jay,gul. on a bend ingrailed sab. three cinquefoils arg. a crescent or for difference. Drury. Meade, sab. a chevron or, between three pelicans az. vulning themselves proper, a crescent.
S. M. Dominæ Brigitæ, Roberti Wilton, Armigeri, conjugis suavissimæ, Johannis Mede, Equitis aurati Filiæ quicquid uspiam Amoris, Sanctimoniæ, Prudentiæ, Veritatis, Honoris, repertum erat, in Terris experta, neque beata satis, adhue inde cœlitum in album adscribi voluit, 15 Cal. Apr. An° Dni. 1652, Ætatis suæ 32o.
Bell impaling Knevett, which was put up for Muriell, widow of Sir Robert Bell of Beaupre-Hall in Norff: Knt. Daughter of Sir Tho. Knyvet the Elder, of Ashwell-Thorp in Norff: Knt. who (they say) was buried here.
Here lyeth the Body of Elizabeth Peirson, the second wife of Tho. Peirson of Middleton, in the County of Norfolk, Esq; She dyed at this Place the 87th of Oct. 1727. The Few Years She lived in Norfolk, She gained a great Esteem by her good Nature, and Humanity to all People, an Account of her Family, which was very Honourable, as she was descended, from several Bishops, as well as other Clergy of uneommon Credit, is to be seen in the Church of Midleton.
D. N. Susannæ Roberti Wilton, Armigeri, Conjugis secundæ, Anthonij Drury Equitis aurati Filiæ, Tranquilli Cineres, cujus Pars purior, Turbine fatigata terrestri, ad Cœli Quietem advolavit, Calendis Augusti, A° Dni. 1643. Ætat. suæ 34.