An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Lurling, Lirling, and now Lerling, or Lerlingford, is so called from its low situation on the river, upon the ford or biggest passage that any where crosses it; it hath a well-known inn standing by it; and the great post road from London to Norwich passing here, occasions this village to be more known by travellers than such places usually are. At the time of the Confessor's survey, there were two manors; the least was then held by a freeman, and at the Conqueror's time was given to William Earl Warren, who infeoffed Hugh in it, it being then of 30s. value: (fn. 1) the capital manor, both at the Confessor's and Conqueror's survey, belonged to Ulketell, (fn. 2) and the soke (or leet and superiour jurisdiction) belonged at that time to Bukenham castle, to which this hundred was then appendant; it was always of 40s. value; the town was then a mile long, and a mile broad, and the whole of every one's tenure paid 8d. ob. geld; this was afterwards called
Lerling, or Gonvile's Manor,
And went exactly as the capital manor of Rushworth, (which you may see at p. 284,) from the time of Ulketell, till 1470, and then it was settled on Rushworth college, (as you may see at p. 287,) and from that time it continued in the college to its dissolution, and was after granted, as that was, to the Earl of Surrey, in 1541, and alienated in 1542, by the King's license, together with the advowson, to John Allington of Westley in Cambridgeshire, Esq. second son of Sir Giles Alyngton of Horseth in Cambridgeshire, Knt. by Mary, daughter and heiress of Richard Gardiner, Lord Mayor of London, who settled it on his wife Margaret, and their heirs. In 1563, Robert Allington, his son and heir, was in possession, who, in 1570, sold it to Tho. Lovell, Gent. (fn. 3) and his heirs, at which time it extended into Rowdham, Shropham, and Illington, and was held of the Crown by knight's service, and formerly of the Lord Bardolph; he was succeeded by Sir Francis Lovell, Knt. who conveyed it to John Langworth and others, and they, to Robert Houghton of Shelton, Esq. who left it mortgaged to William Wherewood, Esq. who presented, with the consent of Robert Houghton of Randworth, Esq. his son and heir, who was left a minor. In 1682, Charles Houghton, Esq. was lord and patron, who mortgaged it to Sir Edward Hungerford, and after to Paul Jodrell; and, about 1723, it was conveyed to Richard Sturgeon, Esq. and since that to Sir Edmund Bucon of Garboldesham, Bart. who is the present  lord and patron. The leet belongs to the hundred, to which this manor paid 2s. quitrent, and the town 2s. leet fee, per annum. The ancient site, or manor-house, stood in a close by the church, the mote that surrounded it being still to be seen.
The Manor Of Welholme's,
Or Easthall, as it is sometimes called, was split out of Gonvile's manor about the beginning of Henry the Third's time, in the 20th year of whose reign, Adam de Methelond held it of William Wauncy, who held it of the Bardolphs, and they of the Earl Warren, as of his castle at Acre, by the fourth part of a fee, it being part of those eight fees that William de Wauncy and his tenants held of the said castle; in 1315, Robert de Welholme was lord; in 1345, Lucia de Welholm had it; in 1401, John Brusiyerd was lord; and in 1439, Oliver Groos of Sloley, Esq. was possessed of two parts of it, which he gave to John Groos of Irsted, his youngest son, who gave it his wife Margaret for life, and to the issue of her body, with remainder to Sir Henry Heydon, Knt. In 1453, Oliver Groose, Esq. gave a part to Cecily his daughter; in 1491, Robert Grosse held the moiety of it, and John was his son and heir. In 1532, Anthony Gurnay, Esq. settled the manor on John Tirrell, Esq. and others, and the same year John Heydon, Knt. and Catherine his wife, and Christopher Heydon, Knt. settled it on Sir Tho. Jermyn, Knt. and soon after it extinguished, the whole being manumised, and the demeans divided into many parcels, most of which still pay their proportions to the lord of the hundred, for the suit fines which were due from this manor to the hundred. (fn. 4)
Denevere, or Chalkhill Manor,
Was given by the Conqueror to the Earl Warren, who infeoffed Hugh in it, whose descendants, the Bardolphs, held it at the third part of a fee; they granted it to the Deneveres, to be held of them; Osbert de Denevere is the first lord that I meet with of that name, whose grandson Osbert had it, and after him, Richard owned it in 1218, who sold the moiety of the advowson, which till then belonged to this manor, to Sir Richard de Lerling; (see p. 285;) Walter de Denevere was the last of this family I find lord here; from them it came to the Bukenhams, William de Bukenham of Keteringham was lord in 1304; (fn. 5) and in 1313, John de Bukenham, parson of Illington, settled it on Ralph de Bukenham and Elizabeth his wife, it being then held by Tho. Spriggy of Munesle, in right of Julian his wife, widow of Hugh de Bukenham, who joined and conveyed it to Ralph; and in 1315, Ralph de Bukenham was sole lord, and then it extended into Rowdham, Illington, &c.; and from this time it passed in the Bukenhams, (fn. 6) who sold off the demeans into divers hands, (fn. 7) leaving the manor in their heiress, who carried it to the Carrills, who sold it to the Hollands; and in 1598, John Holland of Wortwell, Esq. (fn. 8) was seized of it, for in that year he brought an action against Tho. Lovell, Esq. and other defendants, (fn. 9) in which he declared, that he was seized of Calkhill manor in Lerling, by virtue of which, he prescribed to have common for 400 sheep, in a place called the Plains of Larling ford, and that they with their sheep did eat the grass there growing, so that he could not enjoy his common in as ample a manner as before, upon which he recovered; and from this time the manor continued in the Hollands, till Sir William Holland sold it to Sir Edmund Bacon of Garboldesham, Bart. the present  lord.
1280, Will. de Lerling, rector, and lord of Lerling and Elveden, (or Elden (fn. 10) in Suffolk,) had liberty of free-warren in his manors of Lirling, Fouldon, Pagrave, and Rusheworth, in 1252, and in Newton in Cambridgeshire, which was confirmed to William de Gonvile in 1286.
1414, 5 Febr. Alexander Thelyk, priest, who was master of Rushworth, and obtained license that they might appropriate one rectory, with cure of souls, to their college, with design to have this appropriated, it being of their own patronage; but upon the Bishop's not approving of it, it could not be done; however, he so far consented, that the master might hold a cure with his mastership, upon which he was instituted at the presentation of the fellows, as you may see more at large, p. 288, 289.
1524, 10 Sept. William Heye, on Purpet's resignation, who had a pension of 4l. per annum during life, settled upon him out of the rectory, by the consent of Heye, who was then instituted, and the Bishop. He was the last presented by the college.
1673, 13 Sept. Tho. Morley, A.M. on Thompson's death. Will. Wherewood, Esq. on account of a mortgage made by Robert Houghton of Shelton, Esq. deceased, and by the consent of the guardians of Rob. Houghton of Randworth, his son and heir; united to Rockland All-Saints.
The Church is dedicated to St. Ethelbert, and is a rectory valued at 10l. 2d. ob. in the King's Books, and pays 1l. 1q. yearly tenths, and 12d. synodals; it hath a rectory-house and glebe belonging to it. The Prior of Castle-Acre had two third garbs of the tithe corn of the demean lands of Denevere manor in this town, which were given to that priory by Osbert de Denevere, lord thereof, who afterwards gave them the land called Osbern's Hagh, in Sipedeham (or Shipdam) in exchange for the said tithes, and Osbert de Denevere, his grandson, confirmed it, Jeffery, the Dean of Fincham, William Talebot, the Dean's brother, Ralph, the chaplain of Acre, Gilbert de Denevere, Eustace, the butler at Acre, and others, being witnesses. (fn. 11) The Prior of the Canons at Thetford had lands in this parish, which, in 1428, were taxed at 10s. but of whose gift I do not find. In 1603, there were 92 communicants, and now there are about 22 dwelling-houses, and 150 inhabitants. [1787.] It paid 58s. 4d. to the tenths, and is now assessed at 280l. 10s. to the land-tax.