An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Rudham, Rudeham, Roodham, or Rowdham, takes its name from a remarkable rose or cross that stood in it, upon the great road leading from Thetford to Norwich; (fn. 1) the remaining stones of it were carried thence to Herling, about five or six years agone, by Mr. Wright, who was then lord here. In the Confessor's survey it was heid by a freeman of Herold, at one carucate, but at the Conquest it was divided into three parts; besides 30 acres that belonged to the manor of Bridgham; the three first was in the Conqueror's hands, (fn. 2) he second belonged to William Earl Warren, (fn. 3) and these two consti tuted the capital manor, called Rowdham Westaker's. The third was held by Ralph, of Eudo the Sewer, (fn. 4) and the whole soke or superiour jurisdiction belonged to Buckenham castle, as part of the hundred, Lisius, the old owner, (as I take him to be,) continuing his claim at this time against Eudo, who had got it from him by force, or by the Conqueror's gift. This was afterwards called Trusbutt's or Newhall manor.
Rowdham Westaker Manor
Was all in the Earl Warren, the King having given him his part, but was divided again; and that part which was the King's was held of the Earl, by a family sirnamed from the town, till William, son of Simon de Rowdham, gave it to the Priory of West-Acre; (fn. 5) the other part, with the advowson, came from the Earl Warren to the Bardolphs, and then to the Roseis or Rosets, (fn. 6) and Lambert of Rosei gave his whole land at Rodeham, which William his priest held of him there, with the consent of Walcheline, his son, and of William Earl Warren and Surrey, the chief lord of the fee, of whom it was held by the service of one knight's fee, to the priory of West-Acre; and the Earl released to that house the service of that fee; and in 1345, the prior had a quarter of a fee in Roudham, which formerly belonged to the Munchensies after to Robert de Lyle, and was held of the King, as Duke of Lancaster; and from this time the manor, impropriate rectory, and the advowson of the vicarage belonged to the priory till its dissolution, and fell to the Crown; and in 1546 the King granted it to Tho. Woodhouse, (fn. 7) who the same year sold it to Francis Lovell, and his heirs; and from that time it hath passed with East-Herling, (see p. 323,) with which it was sold to the Wrights, Mr. John Wright, son of Thomas Wright, Esq. being now  lord, impropriator, and patron.
Trusbutt's, or Newhall Manor,
Was in the family of the Crungethorps, Cringlethorps, (or Crownthorps,) in the time of King Henry III. when William de Crungethorp, held it of Robert de Caston, of whose family it was purchased, and Robert held it of Hugh Bardolph, of whose family the Castons had it; and Hugh held it at the third part of a fee of the Earl Warren, by whom the Bardolphs were infeoffed. This William divided it, and William de Wirlingworth, and John de Rowdham had one half, which went to the Trusbutts, but was afterwards rejoined to Newhall. In Edward the Third's time, William, son of Sir William de Crungethorp, Knt. and Katherine his wife, daughter of Sir Edmund de Soterle, Knt. had Newhall manor setted on them, Edmund, parson of Soterle, and Richard de Bernham being deforceants in the fine. This William was lord in 1315; in 1417, Joan, late wife of John Essex, had a third part in dower, it belonging at that time to Richard Essex; in 1439, William Halys and Margery his wife conveyed Newhall and Trusbutt's manors to John Windham, Esq; in 1539, John Heydon, Knt. and Catherine his wife, and Christopher Heydon, Knt. conveyed it to Tho. Jermyn, Knt.; it after belonged to the Earl of Surrey, who sold it to the Pains, whose daughter married Brian Holland, (fn. 8) and carried these manors to him; and upon his attainder, the manor was seized; but it appearing to be settled on John Holland, son of Brian, and heir of Catherine, he enjoyed it, and was lord in 1572, and so continued to 1583, and then sold it to Thomas Lovell and his heirs, who joined it to the other manor, with which it now remains; and that the title might be complete John Cotton, Esq. and Philip Awdeley, Gent. the heirs of John Paine, Gent. brother of the said Catherine, joined in the recovery.
In 1413, the master and brethren of Rushworth college granted to John, prior of the monks of the Holy Virgin at Thetford, a yearly rent of 6d. paid from the lands and tenements called Rothyng's in Bretenham, and Brydgham's in Rowdham. (fn. 9)
The Church here consisted of one isle only, and a chancel, both which were thatched, having a square tower standing on the south side, which served both as a steeple and porch; it had two bells in it till 1714, and then there was a faculty passed to sell one of them. About two or three years since, as the workmen were repairing the lead on the top of the tower, one of them blew the ashes carelessly out of his pipe, which fell on the thatch, and not being seen in time, burned the church and chancel, so that the walls only are standing, in a ruinous condition, at this time.
I find in the registers at Norwich, that in 1460, Will. Payn of Rowdham, Gentylman, was buried in the chancel; Hen. Spelman, Gent. Christiana his wife, and Will. his son were executors. In 1468, Elizabeth, widow of Tho. Halle of Rowdham, was buried in the nave, she gave her manor in South Lenn to John Shouldham, Esq. and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of the said Elizabeth. In 1515, Will. Rammesbury of Rowdham, Esq. was buried in the church, and gave to Elizabeth his wife the wardship of John Pain her son, and Catherine Payne her daughter, which he lately bought of Thomas Clerk, Prior of West-Acre, of whom Newhall and Trusbutt's manor was then held, Edmund Rookwood, Esq. of Euston was executor.
This parish, in 1603, had 86 communicants, but the greatest part of it being purchased in, it is much wasted since that time, though there are now  about 120 inhabitants. It paid 2l. 14s. to the tenths, and is valued at 280l. 10s. to the land tax.
The rectory of the parish church of St. Andrew in Rowdham was appropriated to the priory at West-Acre, and the priors of that monastery were patrons of the vicarage to the Dissolution. It was valued at 4l. 16s. 5d. ob. in the King's Books; but being sworn of the clear yearly value of 23l. 2s. 0b. it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, but still pays 2s. synodals, besides the archdeacon's procurations. The Prior of West-Acre was taxed at 10 marks, for the impropriate rectory, and the portion belonging to the Abbot of Bury, which was appropriated to the hospital of our Blessed Saviour there, was taxed at 20s. Here was a gild dedicated to St. Andrew.
1732, The Rev. Mr. John Verdon, the present vicar on Birch's death, who holds it united to Hockham, and was presented by Tho. Wright, Esq. who is since dead, and Mr. John Wright, his eldest son, is now patron.