An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Scerepham, Serpeham, Scropham, or as it is now called, Shropham, was a town of more than common note, when the hundreds were first appointed, as is evident from its giving name to the hundred; at present it is a common village, not so large by a great deal as many in this hundred are, though it consists of three ancient villages, the two last of which have been so far lost, that they are not so much as known by their original names of Breccles-Parva, and Broadcar, or Bradcar.
Breccles-Parva, or Little Breccles,
At the time of the Conquest, was a separate town, belonging to Roger Bigot, (fn. 1) having in it nine freemen under him, who held 110 acres of land; the manor was worth 10s. a year, and was then in Wayland hundred; but being given to the Earl of Arundel by the said Roger, with his daughter Maud, (fn. 2) he added it to his hundred of Shropham, which belonged to his castle of Bukenham, and afterwards infeoffed the Breccleses; who always held it of the Earl of Arundel, at a quarter of a fee, as of his hundred of Shropham. In Henry the Third's time, John de Breccles was lord; and in 1345, John de Breccles, his grandson, had it; in 1402, Benedict de Breccles held it, and soon after it belonged to William de Narburgh, whose daughter Ela had it, she first married Thomas Shouldham, and afterwards Henry Spilman, who died seized in 1494, and Thomas Spilman his son inherited, and his son John had it in 1563; in 1567, it belonged to Francis Woodhouse, Esq. who sold it to Thomas Shelton, Esq. at which time the manor was extinct, the whole being purchased in; it had then a fold-course and free fishery, and extended into Shropham, BrecclesMagna, and Hockham; it afterwards came to the Barkers, John Barker, Esq. the present owner, hath built a seat here, which is the only house in this place.
The church was a rectory, given by Roger Bigot, lord here, to the Priory of Thetford, when he founded it, and so it came wholly to that house, to which it was confirmed by Henry II.; (fn. 3) but it being a very small place, the monks agreed to take a pension of 8s. a year, from the rector of Shropham, in lieu of all the tithes. (fn. 4) It was annexed to Shropham, and the church was demolished before Edward the Third's time, and the parishioners had the parochial chapel of St. Andrew in Shropham, which till that time belonged to Bradcar, assigned them for their parish church, Bradcar being then entirely united to Shropham; and this continued single for some time, though not very long; for before 1332 the rectory and chapel (fn. 5) was annexed to St. Peter and Paul's church of Shropham, so that I meet with no institutions to either of them. At the first settling the vicarage, part of the land in Little Breccles, which belonged to Thompson college, was to pay all tithes to the college; but upon the last settlement in 1414, the vicar was to receive all the great and small tithes of Little Breccles, so that the vicar of Shropham is rector of Little Breccles at this time; and in 1514, upon the complaint of the parishioners of Little Breccles in the parish of Shropham, setting forth that since the settlement the vicar had neglected serving the chapel, contrary to the terms of the consolidation, which, notwithstanding the appropriation, was still an entire rectory to him, the Bishop swore Sir Robert Morley, at his institution in 1519, to perform service in it to the parishioners of Little Breccles, as you may see under his institution. This was demolished about Edward the Fourth's time.
Broadcar, or Bradcar,
Was included in Shropham at the Conquest, but was independent of it some time after, (fn. 6) and had the parochial chapel of St. Andrew for their church, (fn. 7) till it was resigned to the parishioners of Little Breccles, when this was united to Shropham; it belonged to Roger Bigot at the Conquest, (fn. 8) and to Andrew de Hengham in 1235; it was afterwards added to, and became a part of, Pakenham's manor, and was always held of the Earls of Arundell at half a fee, as of their hundred of Shropham, and is that part of Shropham which joins to the river by Sneterton.
The vicarage is valued in the King's Books at 8l. 13s. 9d. and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 30l. 2s. 6d. it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; it pays 2s. synodals, being endowed with the rectory-house and all the glebe land, except an acre and half, and all the great and small tithes of BrecclesParva, and all other tithes in Bradcar and Shropham, except the tithes of corn and grain, which belong to the impropriation. It is in Norfolk archdeaconry, and deanery of Rockland, and in 1603 had 120 communicants, and now  there are about 250 inhabitants. It paid 7l. 13s. 4d. to the tenths, and is now assessed at 610l. 5s. There were three gilds kept in the church of St. Peter and Paul at Shropham; (fn. 9) the first was the gild of St. Peter and Paul, the second of St. John Baptist, and the third of our Lady, and there was another gild in St. Andrew's church, held in honour of that Apostle. (fn. 10) (fn. 11)
The Abbot of Bury, at the Conquest, had a freeman, who held 30 acres of him; this was afterwards appropriated to the use of the infirmary of that monastery, and the keeper of the infirmary received the profits till the Dissolution, and was taxed at 5s. and so paid 6d. every tenth.
Rectors and Vicars.
1284, (fn. 12) Will. de Hengham, rector.
1332, 4 kal. July, Ralph de Coggeshale, clerk, was instituted to the rectory of the church of St. Peter at Shropham, with the chapel of St. Andrew lately annexed to the same, at the presentation of John, son of Sir John de Coggishalis, Knt.
1396, 6 Jan. Sir Thomas, son of Lawrence of Horstede, John Methelwold. This man was the last rector of this parish, for in 1398 the master and fellows of St. Martin's college at Thomeston (or Tomson) obtained a bull from Pope Boniface to appropriate the church of St. Peter at Shropham, together with the chapel of St. Andrew thereto annexed, to their college for ever, on condition there should be a vicarage ordained by the Bishop of Norwich, which should be settled by him and his successours, to their pleasure and liking, provided that the patronage of the vicarage should belong to the master and brethren of the said college, and accordingly in
1398, 6 July, Henry Stoket of Eston, priest, was instituted to the vicarage of the parish church of St. Peter at Shropham, with the chapel of St. Andrew annexed, at the presentation of the master and fellows of Thomeston college, who presented all the following vicars till their dissolution; and in
1410, Alexander Bishop of Norwich, by virtue of the power reserved in Pope Boniface the Ninth's bull, (fn. 13) and because Bishop Henry LeDispenser his predecessor, who consented to the appropriation, had appointed no further about the vicarage, but that it should be worth 20 marks a year, besides the vicars dwelling in the rectory-house, further declared and settled the vicarage in this manner, that the vicars should have the hall, its chambers, the kitchen, the bake-house, stable, and the chamber called the guest-chamber, a long house with a chamber over it, called the priest's chamber, with all the houses belonging thereto, and the garden of half an acre adjoining thereto, the whole being the rectory-house and its site together with 24 acres of arable land (part of the glebe) lying near the house, with the same liberty of faldage, as the rectors had before the appropriation, and all the alterage, oblations, mortuaries, and personal tithes, tithes of calves, chickens, lambs, pigs, foals, geese, ducks, pigeons, wool, milk, flax, hemp, cheese, apples, pears, curtilages, mills, turf, herbage, pasturage, wood, fish, fowl, wax-candles offered, and all other offerings to the altars, or images, in both church and chapel, ploughshote, trees growing on the glebe and churchyards, together with the churchyards, tithes of hay, conies, and all other tithes whatever, except the tithes of corn and grain, all which were to belong to the college; and it was then also settled, that the vicar should pay all the procurations due for the said church, and all other pensions due before the appropriation, viz. 7s. 7d. a year to the archdeacon, and 8s. a year pension to the Prior of Thetford; and that the vicar should have nothing from the college-land, called Breccles-Holm, and that the master should pay an annual rent of 20s. a year to the Bishop for the first fruits, which would cease upon the appropriation, and that he should be taxed at 10l. for the great tithes, and the vicar at 7 marks for his vicarage; and this being thus settled, the Bishop, in
1414, 8 Sept. to William Snell, priest, in exchange for Shipton Solars in Worcester diocese, to which Helgeye was instituted, at the presentation of John Solers, lord there, as Snell was to this vicarage, at the presentation of the master and fellows; he held it till May 5, 1422, and then resigned it; and at his resignation, with the consent of the bishop and the master, voided by deed, the former assignation of the vicarage; (fn. 14) and the same day after the avoidance, the bishop and master settled the vicarage for evermore to continue, as in the former assignation, except in this, that whereas the College paid 16 marks in money yearly to the vicar, besides the vicarage, out of the great tithes, the vicars for the future should have, and receive in kind, all the corn-tithes, and all other tithes whatsoever, arising and coming from Breccles-Parva, (fn. 15) together with all the glebe belonging to the rectory, (fn. 16) before the appropriation, except half an acre on the east side of the rectory-house, and one acre in Breccles Holm, and in every thing else the first assignation was to be valid to all intents and purposes, and soon after the master and fellows, viz.
1494, 25 Sept. Tho. Fairwell, on Bryon's resignation. Ambrose Ede, master of St. Martin's college at Thomeston. (fn. 17)
1519, 17 Febr. the Bishop presented Sir Robert Morley, by reason of the vacancy of the college, and swore him to perform service twice in a week, and upon the four principal offering-days in every year, in the chapel of St. Andrew, (of Breccles-Parva,) which was annexed to his church, the former vicars having neglected their duty, in serving the parish of Breccles-Parva since the consolidation, and the parishioners would suffer it no longer, as being contrary to the terms of the consolidation; and as their parish of Breccles-Parva, notwithstanding the appropriation was in effect, an entire rectory to the vicar.
This Church is a good building, having a square tower and five bells. (fn. 18) On a brass plate is this,
They seated the church at this time, and made the screens between the church and chancel, and those between the north isle and the chapel of St. Catherine, at the east end of it. In a north chancel window is, [T. B. Rectoris] For Thomas Berton, who was the last rector but one, in whose time the chancel was glazed.
Breton's or Pakenham's Manor,
Belonged at the Confessor's survey to Anaut, and to Earl Hugh at the Conqueror's, of whom Richard de Vernun then held it; it was worth 3l. in Anaut's time, and afterwards 4l.; (fn. 19) the whole of Shropham was then above two miles long and one broad, and paid 18d. geld; the superiour jurisdiction belonged then to the hundred, the lord of which hath the leet (fee 3s.) and it extended into Sneterton, as it now does. (fn. 20)
The first lord that I meet with, after the Conquest, was Richard de Kanky. In 1230, Ralf de Jernemuth conveyed it to Richard Le Presture. In 1308, John Le Veyle of Barningham, granted it to Peter Le Breton of Shropham; it extended then into Sneterton, Wileby, Harkham, Lerling, Bretenham, Illington, Rokeland, and StowBydon; afterwards, Stephen Bryttoun had it; after this it divided, and in 1345, Richard de Cauz held half a fee of it, of John Gernoun, and the same Richard, Richard Herberd, Walter Goodhale, Henry atte Green, and Robert of Bokenham, held the other half fee of Robert de Morley, and he of the King, which Peter of Shropham, Roger Cauz, and others, formerly held. In 1367, Henry de Breton was lord, who this year left it to his two sisters, his heiresses; Lettice and Agnes, whose son and heir, Henry de Pakenham, inherited her moiety; it was then held as parcel of Tateshall barony: Lettice married John Heryng of Thompson, whose son and heir, John Heryng, was lord of his part in 1393, and in 1394, Henry Heryng, clerk, brother and heir of John, held his part by the two hundredth part of Tateshall barony; Henry Pakenham, Esq. at his death, left his part to Henry, his son and heir, who lived at Shropham in his manor-house, called Pakenham Hall. About 1408, he became heir to Henry Hering of Thompson, clerk, and so the whole of this part was joined in him; the other parts of the half fee which was divided in 1345, were held in 1442, by the heirs of Henry Breton, Roger Caus, Richard Caus, and the heirs of Richard Herberd, Walter Goodale, Robert de Bokenham, and Henry atte Green.
Henry Pakenham died in 1445, and left Robert Pakenham of Shropham, Esq. his son and heir, 30 years old, who held it till 1463, (fn. 21) when he died, and was buried, according to his will, (fn. 22) in the chapel of St. Catherine at the east end of the north isle of St. Peter's church in Shropham; he gave his horse to the priest for his mortuary; to the high altar 3s. 4d.; to repair the church 6s. 8d.; and to repair St. Andrew's 3s. 4d.; the manor he bequeathed to Henry his son, and gave Garboldesham manor (see p. 257) to his wife for life, with all his manors in Staffordshire; and ordered 200 marks to be paid out of Pakenham manor, to his daughter Margery, and would have a trental (fn. 23) celebrated for his soul soon after his death; he desired Will. Warner, Esq. and John Lalle, rector of Rokeland All-Saints, his feoffees, to perform his will, Will. Berdewell, Esq. Robert Spelman, William Mounteny of Threxton, and Tho. Beny, senior, were executors; Hen. Pakenham died seized, in 1495, of this and Honyng manor, and of divers free tenements and lands in Honyng, Northwalsham, Worsted, Crostweyth, and Witton, called Drake's, Wales's, and Lombe's. He left two daughters his heiresses; Elizabeth married John Sturges, senior, and had the moiety of this manor in her right, and purchased the other moiety of Anne Dobbes, her sister, to whom she sold her moiety of Garboldesham; and in 1529, John Sturges senior, of Cranworth, and Elizabeth his wife, levied a fine of the manor of Pakenham's, otherwise Breton's, to Humphrey Wyngfield, in trust; and in 1533, Sturges had license to alien it to Nicholas Sywhat and his heirs. In 1558, Philip Appleyard and Mary his wife had it, and not long after it was united to Bradker, with which it still  continues.
Bradeker, or Bradcar,
Was a distinct manor, belonging to Aluric in the Confessor's, and to Gilbert the Archer in the Conqueror's time, (fn. 24) it being worth 30s. and afterwards 40; and the soke belonged to the hundred. In 1235, Andrew de Hingham held Bradekore at half a fee, as part of the fees of Roger Bigot, which he gave to the Earl of Arundell. In 1250, Henry de Hengham was lord, and obtained a charter of free warren in all his lands in Bradeker and Bathele; in 1284, William de Hengham, parson of Shropham, settled divers messuages and lands in Bradkyr and Shropham, on Roger Le-Veuze and Alice his wife; in 1285, Andrew de Hengham was summoned to shew cause why he did not pay the King 96 marks, which were behind, of a certain annual rent of two marks a year, due to the King out of certain tenements that the said Andrew held in Shropham. In 1286, Alexander de Hingham had view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, allowed him to this manor; in 1288, the heirs of Andrew held Bradeker, at half a fee of the Earl of Pembroke, and in 1295, Andrew de Hengham released to Ralph de Coggeshale the manor of Bradker, consisting of 2 messuages, 296 acres of land, 3 mills, 77s. 3d. rent in Bradker, Shropham, Snitterton, Wilby, and Hocham, together with the advowson of Shropham church. In 1319, Sir John de Coggeshale had it, who, in 1327, settled it in tail on himself and Margaret his wife, and their heirs; and in 1331, John, their son and heir, had it, who, in 1348, settled the whole except one acre and the advowson, on himself, Margaret his wife, and Thomas their son, in tail; in 1360, the same John had it, and Henry was his son and heir, 30 years old; and in 1372, the said Sir Henry de Coggeshale, Knt. Thomas his brother, and Joan, wife of the said Henry, daughter and heiress of William de Welle, sold the acre of land, and the advowsons of the church and chapel annexed, together with the manor of Bradker in Shropham, to Sir Thomas Shardelow, Knt. and his trustees, who sold him the manor of Newhall in Boreham, Springfield-Parva, Badew-Parva, Waltham, and Hatfield Peverell in Essex, by way of exchange, on condition that Sir Tho. Shardelow, Knt. and his trustees, pay an annuity of 8l. per annum to the said Sir Henry and Thomas his brother, during their lives. In 1391,
Richard Earl of Arundell and Surrey, chief lord of the fee of Bradeker manor, for 20l. granted license to John Methewold, John Coke, rector of West Toftes, Will. Coupere, clerk, and John Bulneys, rector of Longford, trustees and feoffees of Sir Tho. Shardelowe, Knt. to settle the manor of Bradekar Hall, with the advowsons and appurtenances, then held of him as of his manor of Hocham, upon Alexander, master of Thompson college, and the fellows there, and their successours, for ever; on condition, that during the life of Phillipa, the Earl's wife, the college should pay her 20s. at every vacancy, as a relief, in lieu of all services: this is dated at CastleAcre, in the Earl's castle there, the 10th day of June, in the year aforesaid; (fn. 25) and in 1394, the trustees settled them on the college, where they continued to its dissolution, and were granted in 1450 to Edmund Knevet, Knt. together with the whole revenues of the college; and in 1541 he had license to sell Bradcar and the rectory, and the advowson of the vicarage, to John Flowerdew and his heirs, who, in 1545, sold them to Edward Billingham, and he, in 1546, to Tho. Clere, and he, in 1547, to Sir Anthony Hevenyngham, who aliened them to Sir Ralph Sheltone and his heirs, in trust for Sir Anthony and his wife during their lives; she outlived him, and held it to 1572, and left Sir Arth. Heveningham, Knt. her son and heir, who sold it to the mayor and commonalty of the city of Norwich, who are now lords, impropriators, and patrons.
Mudigwell, or Mudingwell's Manor,
Was owned by Eudo the Sewer, of whom Rouland held it at the survey; (fn. 26) it had been worth 60s. but was fallen to 37; it was held of the hundred, and Lisius and Eudo both claimed against Rouland; in 1198, Julian and Emma, daughters of Richard [de Bradeker] sold it to Wimar, son of William [of Shropham]; in 1218, Emma and Belisant, daughters of Hervy de Schropham, added many lands to it, which they purchased of Thomas de Snetterton, and Maud his wife, and of Simon de Medelwolde, and Amy his wife. In 1279, Philip, son of Tho. de Mudigwell of Shropham, at the death of Thomas his father, renewed the rental, (fn. 27) and after this it was much divided; for in 1293, Roger; son of Adam of Shropham, purchased a part of Walter, son of Andrew De-la-Wade, and soon after we find in the Feodary, that Peter [de Mudigwell] of Shropham, Roger Le Cauz, Will. de Hocham, Rich. de Sueterton, and Peter Fitz-Osbert, held the whole at half a fee, of Will. Mareshall, and he of the King, notwithstanding which, the chief part continued to be a manor; and in 1341, Henry de Mudyngwell was lord; in 1385, Rob. de Ailesham and Alice his wife conveyed it to Sir Miles Stapleton, and Sir Roger de Boys, Knts. and their heirs; in 1506, John Dade of Witton in Norfolk died seized of Madingwell manor, in Shropham; in 1561, John Wade, Gent, sold Modyngwell manor in Shropham, to Sir Tho. Woodhouse, and Will. Woodhouse, Knts. since which time it hath been divided into so many parcels, that it is now extinguished.