An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Hocham, [hoc-ham], or, the town in the dirt, as the name signifies, was a rectory appendant to the manor till the year 1227, and then Warene de Monte Caniso, or Montchensy, released the advowson to Richard Prior of the monks at Thetford, to which house it was soon after appropriated, and a vicarage instituted, to which the priors presented till the Dissolution.
1527, 18 Nov. Brother John Ixworth, Prior of the monks at Thetford, was instituted into the vicarage at his own and his convent's presentation, according to the Pope's dispensation, granted to the priors of the said monastery; at the death of William Wellys, the prior paid 53s. 4d. for first fruits, to the Bishop, at his institution.
1529, 16 Febr. Robert Hyde was instituted on the prior's resignation, who reserved a pension of 4 marks per annum, for life, before he presented Hyde to the vicarage, who was the last presented by that house.
1636, French resigned, and John Underwood, A.M. was instituted at the presentation of Bacq. Bacon, Esq. and held it united to Study, with a certificate that it was not above 20 miles distant, and this is one of the first unions that I have met with, that had any certificate of distance, the Bishops of Norwich having always had power of uniting any two benefices, so that both were within their own diocese.
The impropriation and advowson of the vicarage, at the Dissolution, went with the abbey of Thetford, and all its revenues, to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, who sold it to the Coppingers, and they, about 1600, to the Jermyns, and so it was joined to the manor.
Henricus Bacon Armiger, Bacquevilli Bacon Ar. (Dni. Nicholai Bacon de Redgrave, Militis & Baronetti Filij Natu Tertij) Filius Natu Tertius, Bacquevilli Bacon Ar. Frater et Hæres, obijt 13° die Martij Ano Salutis 1647.
Depositum Mariæ Filiæ Bacquevilli Bacon Ar. Natu maximæ, Henrici Bacon Ar. Sororis & Cohæredis, Uxoris Roberti Baldock Ar: Dote, Fide, Forma, Moribus, Castitate, Pietate, Desideratissimæ, ex hac Vita migravit 11° die Augusti An° Salutis 1662.
Here lyeth the body of Robert Kedington of Great Hockham, in the County of Norff. Esq; who took to Wife Philipa, the second Daughter of Bacquevill Bacon, Esq; Sister and Coheir of Henry Bacon, Esq; he departed this Life the 28 Day of March Anno Dni: 1667.
Sir Robert Baldock, one of the Judges of the Common Pleas during the reign of King James II. was buried here; he died Oct. 4, 1691, and had two wives, the first of which was Mary, sister and coheir of Henry Bacon, and daughter of Bacqueville Bacon of Hocham, Esq.
In 1532, Robert Poley of Hocham, was buried in the church, as I find by his will, in which is this clause: "Item I wyll that my tenement sumtyme called Jankyns lately John Taylour, alias Nebys, now Robert Poley's, shall fynde and kepe a light before our Lady of Petye, wyth five prekett candells of waxe, to burn in the church of Hocham in tyme of divyne service in the said church, for ever." (fn. 1)
Was always one manor, which belonged to Edric in the Confessor's days, and to Roger Bigot at the survey, when it was worth 4l. and was three miles long and one broad, and paid 15d. geld; (fn. 2) it then extended into Wayland hundred, and a freeman that held 8 acres of land in that hundred, (fn. 3) but the superiour lordship of it belonged to Bukenham castle as the rest of the town did, the leet belonging to the hundred of Shropham, to which the town always paid a common fine or leet fee of 7s. a year, till the hundred was mortgaged and after sold to the Kedingtons, (fn. 4) and then the leet and leet fee, with all the liberties belonging to the leet and the whole liberties which belonged to the hundred were joined to the manor, before they sold the hundred, and excepted upon the sale of it, so that the lord of the hundred hath no paramountship in this town. From the Bigots it went to the Albanys, who infeoffed the Montchensies; and in 1235, Warine de Munchensy held it at one fee, of Bukenham castle, it being one of the fees formerly Earl Bygot's. King Henry III. granted Dionise Montchensy a charter for a fair, and market, to be kept here every Friday; (fn. 5) and in 1285, she had liberty of free-warren in all her demeans here; but all the superiour jurisdictions were at the same time allowed to Robert de Tateshale, lord of Bukenham castle, as superiour lord of the leet, namely, view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, and a pillory, as well for his own tenants as others. And in this year it was presented by the jury, sworn before the justices itinerant at Norwich, that an unknown man was taken at Hocham, in the manor of Dionise de Montchensy of Hocham, with a line of 13d. value, and was carried into the open court there, and without any one's prosecuting him, was taken and hanged; upon which the sheriff was ordered to summon the said Dionise, and the suiters of her court there, to give an account of it. At her death it went to the Earl of Pembrook, and so descended to the Hastyngs Earls of Pembrook; (as you may see under Winfurthing, p. 186;) and in 1487, John de Hastyngs Earl of Pembrook settled it on Anne his wife, daughter of Margaret, daughter and heir of Thomas de Brotherton Earl of Norfolk. In 1391, Reginald Grey, Knt. was lord; in the year 1400, Philippa, widow of John de Hastyngs, the last Earl of Pembrook of that name, was dead, and held it to her death, in dower of the Lord Mowbray, as of his manor of Forncet, by the service of 9d. per annum castle-guard, and it was found, that Sir Edward Hastyngs, (of Elsyng,) Knt. was her husband's next heir, but for all that it descended to the Greys of Ruthyn, heirs general of the family; and this year Sir Reginald de Grey of Ruthyn, Knt. settled it on feoffees, but in 1401, he had released it, for then William Beauchamp had it; and in 1435, Joan, widow of William Beauchamp of Bergavenny, died seized of it, as parcel of the inheritance of the Hastyngses Earls of Pembrook; and it descended to Elizabeth, wife of Edward Nevil Lord Abergavenny, daughter and heir of Richard Beauchamp Earl of Worcester, son and heir of William and this Joan in 1475; Edward Nevil, younger son of George Nevile Lord Bergavenny, was possessed of the manor, by virtue of his father's will in 1491; and in 1535, Sir George Nevile, Knt. and Sir Edward Nevile, Knt. settled it on William Drury; in 1539, John Heydon, Knt. and Catherine his wife, and Chris. Heydon, Knt. sold it to Sir Thomas Jermyn, Knt.; in 1576, Sir Ambrose Jermyn of Rushbrook was seized, and Sir Robert Jermyn, his son, had it in 1599, and then levied a fine to William Killegrew, Esq. Will. Jermyn, Esq. and others. About 1600, Bacquevile (fn. 6) Bacon of Hockham, third son of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave, Bart. by Anne, daughter and heir of Edmund Butts, was lord, and at his death left it to Bacquevile Bacon, his eldest son, who died a minor in 1641, aged 17 years, and Henry his brother inherited, being then 15 years old. He died the 13th of March, 1641, and was buried here leaving his three sisters his coheiresses; Mary, the eldest, married Judge Baldock; Philipa, the second, married Robert Kedington, who lived and died here; Anne, the third, married Nicholas Rookwood of Euston, Esq. and sold their third part to Robert Kedington, who afterwards purchased Baldock's part, and so became sole lord, and at his death left it to Philipa his wife, who kept her first court Oct. 15, 1667; and at her death, Henry Kedington of Hockham, Esq. became lord, and kept his first court 9 Oct. 1685; (fn. 7) and in 1702, Philip Ryley, Esq. serjeant at arms to the lord treasurer, surveyor of the Queen's woods and forests on the south side of Trent, and one of the commissioners of the excise, who was afterwards knighted, purchased the manor, impropriation, and advowson, of Henry Kedington, Gent. and built a neat brick house here, which is now  the seat of Philip Reginald Ryley, Esq. his grandson and heir.
The lord hath the goods of felons de se, within the manor. (Court Roll 11 H. 7.) No tenant can waste his copyhold; women are dowable for a moiety of the copyhold, of which their husbands are seized, during the coverture.
No tenants of the lord's, inhabiting in Great Hocham, ought to be cited to the consistory or spiritual courts, because it is against the custom of that village or town, and to the prejudice of the lord, as appears by the prior of the monks at Thetford, A° 1 H. 4.
Hocham Meare, alias Cranberry Fen, is a separate water of the lords of this manor; (Rolls 7. 10 H. 7. 13. 22 H. 8. 16 Eliz.) it contains fourteen score acres, and is in circuit 708 perches, every perch containing 18 feet, and the lord hath a fish-house there.
The tenants give for a fine for their copyhold lands and tenements; upon every alienation, whether by death or surrender, according to the ancient custom of this manor, 12d. out of every mark of the value and price of their lands and tenements by them taken up, and such fine is called mark shilling.
The lands descend to the eldest son, and the manor extends into Breccles, Illington, Tottington, and Thomson. (fn. 8)