An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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This rectory is (fn. 1) valued as follows:
|Pension.||Norwich and Lincoln Taxation.|
|0||3||4||14 marks, besides the pension.|
In 1603 there were 124 communicants, and now  there are 60 families, and 240 souls. It is now  assessed to the King's tax at 630l. 10s.; when the taxes were raised by tenths this paid 2l. 10s. and to the monthly levies during the association, sometimes at the rate of 752l. and sometimes 780l.
In 1198, Richard, the parson of Roydon, granted seven acres of land to Roger his son. (fn. 2)
1704, 4 June, the Rev. Mr. Rookwood Serant, the present  rector, at John Dawney's death; Robert Burroughs of Diss, Gent. (fn. 3)
The enclosure that joins to the south part of the churchyard is called Chapel Close, in the midst of which formerly stood a chapel dedicated to the honour of the Blessed Virgin, in which was a chantry of three or four priests, daily singing for the soul of Sir Robert, son of Sir Matthew de Morley, their founder: the foundation deed was produced in the cause between John Lord Lovell, and Thomas Lord Morley, about the arms of a lion rampant, which being on this seal, proved that the Lord Morley's ancestors had anciently used those arms. This chapel was well endowed; many free lands in Roydon were held by paying an annual rent to it; it was dissolved in 1547, and soon after pulled down, and the site conveyed by the Crown to lay hands. It is now  owned by the Rev. Mr. John Dawney. It was founded about 1282; but being a free chapel without institution, it is never mentioned in those registers.
The Prior of Eye, in Suffolk, had the tithes of about 100 acres of land here, given to that monastery by Odo de Charune, who gave two parts of the tithes of his land in Roydon, in the Conqueror's time, and by Richard Hoveel of Reindun, who gave all the tithes of his lands here; and in the charter of King Stephen, granted to that house in 1137, they were confirmed to the monks among their other revenues: (fn. 4) and in the register called Danoun, which formerly belonged to this priory, and is now  in the hands of Mr. Martin of Palgrave, I find that the portion of tithes belonging to the monks of St. Peter at Eye, lying in Roydon, were let to the rector at two marks a year, and so continued for some time; until afterwards a perpetual composition was made for the rectors to pay 3s. 4d. per annum. Thus it continued until the Dissolution, and then the pension went, with the priory, to the Crown, from whence it was granted off, and hath since passed through many hands: it some time was payable to Catharine, wife of King Charles II. but belongs now  to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Pyle of Lynn Regis.
In 1355, (fn. 5) Sir Robert de Morley, Knt. confirmed to King Edward III. the advowson of this church, with the chapels annexed, under divers limitations. His seal was a lion rampant, in a shield, circumscribed Sigillum Roberti de Morley Militis, notwithstanding which it hath all along passed with the manor.
The Abbot of Sibton, (fn. 6) in Suffolk, had temporals here taxed at 3s. being part of their manor called Friers, in Shelfhanger, which extended hither.
The present building is very ancient, having its nave only standing (the south isle having been a long time in ruins.) It is covered with lead, though the chancel and south porch are tiled; the steeple (which is in a very ruinous condition) is round at bottom, and octangular at top; it had formerly four bells, but being unable to bear them, the parishioners obtained a faculty in 1680, and sold three of them: on that which is left I read this,
The chancel seems to have been built by one of the Fitz-Walters, about Henry the First's time, but which of them it was I cannot learn, though he was buried here, under an arch in the north wall, out of which the stone coffin now standing in the churchyard was taken some years ago, and the pavement, some of which still remains, was adorned with the arms of the Fitz-Walters, sometimes in a shield, sometimes in a lozenge, and several others with initial letters of saints names, the letters being all crowned.
In this church was a gild in honour of St. Peter, to which Mary Payn gave a legacy in 1488, as others did about that time, (fn. 7) among which, one gave a light to set before the tabernacle of the Blessed Virgin.
Hoc Scammum factum fuit per Ricardum Waynforth cum suâ propriâ Pecuniâ, decimo Die Junij, Anno Domini 1643, atque locatum in Loco ubi Parentes ejus antiquitum sederunt, Ætatis dicti Ricardi quinto decimo Martij ult. præterit. 61.
This is on a freestone by the altar, and is in Le Neve. (fn. 8)
Adjoining, on a black marble, Here lyeth buried the Body of Robert Horner, Rector of this Parish, who died July 7th Ao Dni. 1675, Ætatis 75. (fn. 9)
A black marble in the midst of the Chancel has this, Robertus Horner de Bresingham, Generosus, Filius Reverendi Roberti Horner, Nuper hujus Ecclesiæ Rectoris, Hic Animæ suæ Exuvias reposuit; Vir Literarum Ornamentis decoratus, Pietate, Probitate, et summa Charitate, Eximie præditus Obijt 4to Die Decembris, Ao. Dni. 1708. Ætatis 62. (fn. 10)
Simul et Elizabethæ Redrich, prædicti Henrici Socrus, et Relicta Henrici Redrich, M. D. quæ obijt 8vo. Maij Ao Dni. 1688 Ætatis 68. Flens posuit Conjux et Filia. (fn. 11)
Deynes, impaling three cocks. Here lyeth the Body of Hannah, the beloved wife of Tho. Deyns, Gent. and one of the Daughters of Clement Rolf, Gent. deceased, who was here Buried the 15th Day of October, 1663.
This village joins to Diss on the east, to Brisingham west, Shelfhanger north, and the county river south; it hath now  two manors only, though formerly it had three, all which were in one in the Conqueror's time, and was then two miles and an half long, and two miles broad, and paid 9d. Danegeld. It was held by Lefriz, son of Bose, a thane, (fn. 12) or guard of the Confessor's, and was afterward given by the Conqueror to Ralph de Bello-fago, or Beaufo, of whom it was held by Hugh at the time of the survey. (fn. 13)
Hubert de Rie, who had it in 1146, and died in 1171, without male issue, leaving his barony of Rhie divisible between his daughters Isabella and Aliva, the first of which was married to Geffrey de Chester; and at his death, to Roger, son of Hugh de Cressi, who paid a fine of twenty marks and twelve palfreys to King John, for marrying her without license, upon which the King revoked the seizure that he had made of all his lands in Norfolk, and elsewhere; it appears that he had for his part seventeen knights fees and an half, though the other part of the barony seems to have been the head, several of these fees being held of it.
In the first of King John, Robert Fitz-Roger, a great baron in Northumberland, gave 300 marks for Aliva, the younger daughter of Hubert de Rhie, to marry to his nephew; and in the thirteenth of the same King, John Marshal, the nephew, answered for seventeen fees and an half of that barony; in the ninth of King John he had obtained a grant in fee of the office of Marshal of Ireland, and had livery of it in the seventeenth of that King. He died in 1234, (fn. 14) Aliva his wife surviving him, who, by the death of Isabell de Cressi, her sister, was heiress to the whole barony of Rhie; and agreeable to this, in the record called Testa de Nevil, it is found that
Matthew de Morley held another fee, which was formerly Robert de Morley's, of Aliva Le-Marshal, as of her barony of Rhie, of which it was ever after held. It was this Robert that, in 1253, had a grant of free-warren to this manor, which was allowed in Eire, in 1285. At the death of Matthew aforesaid it descended to
Robert, son of Sir William de Morley, Knt.; this Robert afterwards married Hawise, sister and heiress of John, son of the said William Marshal, whereby the barony of Rhie, the marshalship of Ireland, and all the inheritance of the Marshals, came into the Morley family. William Marshal, the father, died about 1313, and John, his son, in 1316, Ela, wife of the said William, then surviving. Upon this match it was that the arms of arg. a lion rampant sab. double quevee, came to be quartered, and often born, by the Morleys, it being the arms of Roger de Cressi, whose inheritance went to the Morleys, as is before observed. This Robert, in 1326, settled the manor on
William de Morley, his son, for life, and Cecily, daughter of Thomas Bardolf, his son's wife, and their heirs, as part of the jointure of the said Cecily, with remainder, for want of such heirs, to Robert de Morle, his son, and his heirs male. Cecily outlived her husband, and enjoyed it; but for want of heirs, it descended to the aforesaid
Robert de Morley, Knt. Marshal of Ireland, who, in 1361, settled it (with his wife Cecily's consent) on Sir Thomas Felton, Knt. for life; but he lived not long; for in 1386 the said Cecily was lady; and in 1387
In 1546, (fn. 15) Thomas Sherman of Yaxley, Gent. purchased one third part of John Sturgeons; and in 1553, another of James Pergetor; and the same year
William Kettleburgh, Gent. purchased the other part of Edmund Dethick, and Elizabeth his wife, so that Sherman had two thirds, and Kettleburgh one; and thus it continued till 1586, at which time the courts then kept had two homages, one for this manor of Roydon Hall, and the other for Tuft's manor, which was joined to it; they extended into Roydon, Diss, Brisingham, and Shelfhanger. It went in these families till about 1600, and then the whole was purchased by
The Custom of this Manor is, to the eldest son it gives dower, and the fine is at the lord's will. The site of the manor of Roydon Hall, and the demeans adjoining, are freehold, and were sold off about 200 years since, being now  the estate of Mr. John Dawney, clerk.
Which was so called from a family of that name, the ancient lords thereof, and was originally in two parts, one of which belonged to the honour of Eye and the other to the abbey of Bury; that belonging to Eye, (fn. 16) was held by Edric, the ancestor of Robert Malet, lord of that honour in King Edward's days, and by one Walter in the Conqueror's time; the other was given to Bury abbey in 962, by Thurketel the Dane. (fn. 17)
After it came to the abbey, they held it till the Conqueror, and then it was held of them by Fulcher, (fn. 18) being of the yearly value of 20s.
In 1579, (fn. 19) Arthur Heveningham of Heveningham, Knt. was lord; in
The Custom of this Manor is Borough English, (fn. 20) that is, the copyhold falls by descent to the youngest son; the fine is arbitrary; but in all things else the tenants do as they please.
Samson, son of Roger, who was son of Reginald, son of Jeffery of Reidun, who lived in the time of Henry II.; this family bare for their arms, chequy arg. and gules, a cross, and sometimes a bend az. sometimes ermine. (fn. 21) It came about Henry the Third's time to
Extends into this town, and hath so done ever since the Conquest; for we read that there were then four socmen that had five acres of ground valued in that parish. (fn. 22)
About 1609, William Kettleburgh, Gent. gave 20s. per annum to the poor, to be divided by the church-wardens, where most need shall be; and there is a small house, now  the sign of the hart, with a garden thereto adjoining, tied for the payment of it, the overplus of which is the estate of Mr. John Dawney aforesaid.
Mr. Robert Horner, who died in 1708, gave the freehold close called Fuller's, joining to the east side of the rectory garden, for ever to the rector, on condition that he preaches an annual sermon on Good Friday, and distributes 40s. per annum to clothe four poor widows of Roydon.
The commons are very small, being called the Dort, Waynforth's Green, the Parsonage Green, and the Little Green; in all which they common alone, and intercommon on Roydon Green, which joins to Brisingham pound.