An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 1. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Rokelunt, Rochelunt, or [roc-land], as it is now called, signifies the hilly land, which answers very well to the situation of these parishes, as well as the other Rockland in Hensted hundred, which is situate on the declivity of a hill, joining to a large marsh, through which the Waveny passes, in its course to Yarmouth. That this place was of special note in early times, is evident from its being the residence of the deans of so large a deanery as this, having no less than three parishes in its own bounds, besides thirty other rectors and vicars under its jurisdiction, it containing all the parishes in Giltcross and Shropham hundred; the parishes here are called St. Andrew's, AllSaints, and St. Peter's, the two first of which were lately consolidated, the church of St. Andrew falling into decay, and standing not above a furlong eastward from All-Saints, was suffered to dilapidate; the tower is square, and is still standing, its three bells being stolen out of it some years since, were never heard of. This town is called, to distinguish it from the other Rockland, Rockland-Tofts, and St. Andrew's parish, is often named in evidences, about Edward the Third's time, Toft, without any other addition. Here is a meeting of people on Midsummer Day, in a nature of a small country fair, which they call the Gild, the remains, without all doubt, of the gild of St. John Baptist, which was held in St. Peter's church before the Reformation. The parishes of All-Saints and St. Andrew's are assessed together at 518l. 15s. to the land tax, as in Shropham hundred, and the parish of St. Peter by itself at 230l. as in Wayland hundred, though I do not find it ever said to be in that hundred, till about 90 years since, at which time it was laid to Wayland, and the constables and surveyors are the same with Little Ellingham, their presentments running, EllinghamParva, cum Rockland-Tofts St. Peter. The whole was taxed together in Shropham hundred to the tenths, to which it paid 4l. 3s. 4d.; there are now about 300 inhabitants.
This and all the other deaneries were in the Bishop's collation, and had peculiar seals appropriated to them, several of which I have seen, but never met with that of this deanery; the deans here follow in their order.
Deans of Rockland.
Toft, or Rockland St. Andrew's rectory, was valued in the King's Books at 5l. 14s. 4d. (fn. 1) and is called Rockland Major in many evidences; it paid 2s. synodals, and 6s. 8d. procurations. The canons of Thetford had temporal rents here, taxed at 20s. ob. and the prior of Bukenham's temporals were taxed at 4s. 10.
1554, 8 May, Will. Wylde, priest, at Clegg's deprivation. (fn. 2) Robert Holdych, of Ranworth, Esq.
Rockland All-Saints rectory was valued in the King's Books at 5l. 6s. 8d. and sworn, together with St. Andrew's, of the clear yearly value of 44l. so that it is capable of augmentation; it paid 12d. synodals, and the Prior of Castle-Acre had a portion of tithes, which was taxed at x.s. and was given with their portion in Rockland St. Peter. This parish is sometimes called Rockland Minor, or, the Lesser Rockland, in opposition to St. Andrew's parish, which is called Rockland Major, or, the Greater Rockland.
This Church hath a square tower, and 3 bells; the nave, south porch, and chancel are thatched; there is no inscription in it, save one on a modern stone, for one Mr. Salter. In 1506, Robert Moriel of this town was buried here, who by will gave half an acre and half a rood, at Weston (Market) in Suffolk, to that church, on condition the rector paid 3s. 4d. to the rector of Hindercley, and 3s. 4d. to the rector of Counston, to pray for his soul, and four cows, the profits of which were to be expended in keeping his anniversary. (fn. 3)
Rockland St. Peter's rectory was valued at 4l. 16s. 5d. ob. in the King's Books, and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 29l. 18s. 8d. is capable of augmentation; it pays 12d. synodals. The Prior of Castle-Acre had a portion of tithes taxed at two marks, and other temporals, taxed at 20s. all which were given by John de Kitestune's or Caston's father, and confirmed by himself, namely, two tithe sheaves out of three, of all his demeans in Rockland, and the third tithe sheaf, of his demeans in Sipedam, or Shipdam, and above 14 acres of land in Rockland. (fn. 4)
Rectors And Vicars.
1349, 24 Nov. The church of St. Peter at Rokelund Toftes, belonging now to the Abbess of Marham, was appropriated to that house by the consent and approbation of the Pope and the Bishop, (fn. 5) on condition, that the Bishop or his successours, at the churches vacancy, should ordain a vicarage, for which the vicar should be taxed at 6 marks, the vicars being always to be nominated by the Bishop, to the Abbess, who was obliged to present them, and also to pay a pension of half a mark a year to the Bishop, in lieu of the portion of his first fruits, for the great tithes, which ceased upon the appropriation; the vicar was to have a house, and to be endowed to the value of 12 marks per annum, at least, and the Abbess was taxed at eight marks for the rectory.
1523, 20 May, Barbara, Abbess of St. Mary at Marham, granted the next turn of her rectory of St. Peter's church of Rokelond, to John Tendale, Esq.; and the 18 Aug. in the same year, Robert Coppul, rector of St. Peter's and All-Saints, was domestick chaplain to Henry Bishop of St. Asaph.
1556, 13 Febr. Will. Harrison. John Hare of London, (fn. 6) Gent. united to Stow-Bedon.
1581, 17 April. Leonard James, (fn. 7) on Harrison's death. Nich. Hare, Esq. united to Stow-Bedon.
Robert Pooley, (fn. 8)
The Church of St. Peter, which is the deanery church, hath nothing remarkable in it: the north porch was built about 1619, as a broken inscription informs us. The tower is octangular, and hath three bells in it; the chancel is ruinated, a small part of which was rebuilt by the late rector, to officiate in.
There is a pension of 2s. per annum paid by the rector of St. Peter's to the Duke of Norfolk, it being a perpetual composition for a measure of wheat, which Robert de Rokelund gave to the monks of Thetford out of his lands here. (Dug. Mon. Ang. tom. i. fol. 665.) There is also a pension of 4s. per annum paid to the Duke from the rectory of All-Saints, and another of 2s. from the rectory of St. Andrew, both being perpetual compositions for the Prior of CastleAcre's portions of tithes in those parishes. (See p. 475, 476.) There is also a rent of 15s. a year paid to the Duke, from the manor of Kirkehall.
With the advowson of St. Andrew's, belonged to Brode, in the Confessor's time, and to William Earl Warren in the Conqueror's, of whom Simon held it, the whole town being then above two miles long, and one broad, paid 11d. geld. (fn. 9) In 1194, Walkelin de Rosey gave 20s. to King Richard I. to have seizin of 12s. 7d. rent, of the service of Hervy Gorge, in such manner as Baldwin de Rosey had, when he began his journey to Jerusalem, where he died: this Baldwin was lord here, and cotemporary, if not brother, to Roger de Rossei, or de Rosseto, lord of Rose's manor in South-Creke In 1218, another Baldwin de Rosseto held it of the Earl Warren at one fee; in 1234, Robert Carbonel was lord; from about 1310 to about 1340 Henry Carbonel and Catherine his wife, had it, who held it after her husband's death to her own, which was before 1399, for then Maud, their daughter presented; it soon after divided, and one part, with the advowson, came to the Holdiches, who presented till 1571, and afterwards sold it to Sir Ralph Chaumberleyn, Knt. reserving two or three turns to the family; the other part went to William de Narburgh, whose daughter Ela married Tho. Shuldham, and had a son by him of his father's name, but he did not inherit, the manor being given by his mother to Henry Spelman, her second husband, and his heirs, and William Spelman, their son, inherited; in 1488, Henry Spelman died seized, and left it to Edmund Paston, Esq. to perform his will, at which time it was held of the Earl Warren, at the fourth part of a fee, in 1606, Francis Spelman, Esq. was lord of Carbonell's in Rockland, in which family it hath continued to this time, it being now owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Spelman of London. The leet (fee 3s. 4d.) belongs to the hundred; the fine is at the lord's will, and the eldest son is heir.
Kirkehall Moynes and Gurney's,
Were distinct manors at first, though they have been long united; the first was held by Eudo the Sewer, of whom Richard held it; (fn. 10) and the second by Ringull, at the Confessor's, and by Roger Fitz-Renard at the Conqueror's survey; (fn. 11) to Moynes manor the advowson of AllSaints was appendant, and belonged to John Le Moyne, who held it at three quarters of a fee of Will. Blaumister, and he of the Earl Warren in Henry the Third's time. In 1282, Sir John Le Moyne of Weston in Cambridgeshire had the manors of Weston by West Wratting, and this manor and advowson settled on him, by Tho. de Colvile, for life, remainder to Baldwin de Manerijs (or Manors) for life, remainder to John, son of Henry de Cokefield, remainder to the right heirs of Sir John Le Moyne, who, in 1285, had view of frankpledge, and assize of bread and ale allowed him here. In 1316, it was settled by another fine exactly according to the former in 1282, and in 1334, John Le Moine's heir had it; I suppose Sir John de Brokesbourne married her, for he presented then; after his death Sir John de Sutton of Wivenho, Knt. held it in right of Margaret his wife, and levied a fine of the manor and advowson in 1359, in order to settle them in trustees hands, to his own use, John de Caston having claimed a turn in the advowson, as belonging to his manor of Kirkehall, but was cast. In 1360, Andrew Mancer, parson of Little Shelley, granted to John Pach (or Peche) and other feoffees, the manor and advowson, and Moyne's manor in Weston Colvile, in Cambridgeshire. In 1377, Edmund, son of Sir Edmund de Brokesbourne, Knt. had it; and in 1401, Richard Chamberlain and John Sumpter held it of Tho. de Bardolph, and he of the Earl Warren. In 1415, John Fitz-Ralph, Esq. and Tho. Elyngham, settled it on William Raynforth and Eleanor his wife, for life; and before 1474, the manor called Moynes's, was united to Kirkehall, for then Sir Robert Chaumberleyn levied a fine of them and All-Saints advowson; and in 1546, John Barney settled his manor, called Barris, alias Gurneys, on Ralph Chaumberlain, Esq. who afterwards purchased one part of Carbonel's manor, and the advowson of St. Andrew's, and levied a fine of them all in 1567; and in 1589, John Welde of London was lord; in 1590, Humphry Welde, Gent. executor of the said John, kept his first court; and in 1601, John Weld of London, Esq. was lord and patron; in 1623, William Welde had them; in 1639, Sir Robert Berney, Bart. was owner, in whose family they continued till Richard Barney, Esq. (who died in 1695, at Redham) mortgaged them, and Mrs. Anne Martell, widow, presented under the mortgage; in 1709, they were ordered, by decree in chancery, to be sold to pay Mr. Barney's debts, and were sold accordingly to Colonel Windham of Earsham, and now they are owned by Joseph Windham-Ash, Esq. The leet belongs to the hundred, the fine is at the lord's will, and the eldest son is heir. As to Kirkehall before the union, that belonged to the family sirnamed de Castleton, Cakeston, or Caston, and was originally a part of the manor of Caston Hall that extended into this town, though it was taken as a separate manor very early, it being held by Robert de Cakeston, or Caston, as such, about King John's time; (fn. 12) John de Kitestun, or Caston, granted, and with his father's seal confirmed, to Castle-Acre priory, his own and father's gift, of two garbs of the tithes of their lands in Rockland St. Peter; in 1256, John de Caston was lord; and in 1296, Robert de Caston held it at a quarter of a fee, of William de Mortimer; in 1315, it belonged to Agnes de Caston, and in 1319, John de Caston had a charter for free-warren here and in Caston, Breydeston, and Burlingham. In 1373, Catherine, widow of Sir John de Caston, conveyed Kirkehall manor to Tho. Caus of Hocham, and his heirs, Henry de Pakenham of Shropham being his trustee; and in 1387, William, son of Hugh Fastolf, released all his right in the manor to Richard Caus, in whose family it continued, though sometimes in trustees hands, till it was united to Moines's.
Belonged to a family sirnamed de Rockland, and was split out of Moines's manor, for Maud de Rockland and her feoffees held it in Henry the Third's time, of John Le Moine, at a quarter of a fee; in Edward the First's time it divided, and Rich. Barry had one part, whose daughter Joan married to Sir Robert de Caston; and in 1288, Henry Berry and Christian his wife had it; after that it fell to John de Caston, whose daughters, Elizabeth married Robert Carbonel, and Alice, William Fastolf, in Edward the Third's time, when this part was joined to Carbonel's manor; the other part continued in the Rocklands, and in 1230, William de Rockland held it at half a fee; in 1234, Adam de Rockland was lord; and in 1336, John de Rokeland; in 1338, Will. de Redham and his feoffees had it, and it went with the Redhams estate to the Berneys, John de Berney being possessed, in 1355, of this and part of Kirkehall, In 1440, (fn. 13) John Berney of Redham, Esq. settled this manor by the name of Kirkehall only, on Phillip his son for life, remainder to Thomas his brother, and his heirs, instead of the manor of Castons in Shipdam; but yet the son recites in his will, dated 1441, that he had given it by deed to his brother John Berney for life, remainder to his own heirs; and not long after this, Kirkehall part was united to Kirkehall and Moines's, with which it continues, but Barry's continued in the Barneys; and in 1527, John Barney, Esq. died seized, after which, about 1546, it united to Kirkehall.
Was held by Constantine de Mortimer in Henry the Third's time, at one fee, of the Earl Warren, who held it of the King in capite; it continued in that family a long time, and passed as their manor of Attleburgh did; in 1337, Constantine de Mortimer, Esq. had a charter for free-warren in his lordship; it descended with Scoulton to Sir John Fitz-Ralf, Knt. who married Margery, grand-daughter and coheir of Sir Robert Mortimer, who had issue John Fitz-Rauf, Esq. whose son John married Alice Walesburgh, by whom he had Elizabeth, his coheiress, who enjoyed it in fee simple after her grandfather's death, with Elyngham, and Waldingfield in Suffolk, and Kingston in Cambridgeshire, they being settled by her grandfather on her, to perform his last will; and from this time it was joined to Kirkehall and Moine's.
At the survey, was held by Pain or Pagan, of Roger Bigot; (fn. 14) and in 1218, by Richard Fitz-Roger, at half a fee; in 1231, Richard LePrestre released to Ralph Gernun his right in that half fee, which William de Rokelund then held of him in exchange, for other estates in Essex. In 1345, John Le-Schephyrd, and Jeffery de Beneland held the half fee, formerly John Gurnun's, of the honour of Pembrook, which Robert de Bonelond and Isabel Cody lately held, they had it till 1401; it after belonged to Richard Hocham of Little Hocham, who sold it to Henry Pakenham of Shropham, Esq. and his trustees, who, in 1445, settled it absolutely on Elizabeth Bigot, his wife, and her heirs, William Warner and others being trustees. In 1463, Elizabeth Bigot, formerly wife of Sir Ralph Bigot, Knt. after that of Henry Pakenham, made her will, which was proved 18 Aug. in that year, (fn. 15) in which she desired to be buried in the Austin friars church at Norwich, and gave this manor, and all her manors and lands in Great Elingham, and Attleburgh, with the courts, reliefs, &c. to Tho. Manning, her husband, and his heirs. In 1472, Henry Bixle of Thetford kept his first court, after he had purchased it of Tho. Pekke of Rokelond, and John Salter. In 1479, Rob. Fulmerston of Stow, and Reginald Parys of Thetford, at the request of Bixley's executors, whose feoffees they were, conveyed it to Tho. Brian, clerk, Will. Cross, and Tho. Springold, who released it to Tho. Plummer of Swaffham, and Isabell, wife of Tho. Summersham of Thetford, senior, dier, Robert Wyneyve, Robert Newman, and Tho. Blake, in trust for Eleanor Muriel, who held her first court in 1486; in 1493, they conveyed it to Robert Muriel, Rich. Groom, Robert Fulmerston, John Walter, and John Mathew, who held their first court in 1494; and in 1498 they granted it to John Nele of Hocham, and Christopher Purdey of Bury, who sold it to Helen Muriel, Peter Webster, John Purdey, Ralph Nele, &c. in 1506; and in 1514, they conveyed it to Tho. Muriel and Henry Darby, who sold it to Will. Neele of ElinghamParva, who, in 1524, sold it to Robert Sibbs of Counston in Suffolk, William Cunge of Berningham, Robert Hawise of Weston, and John Muriel of Rockland, Sibb's feoffees, to whom they released in 1536, from which time the courts were held in his name, till his death in 1572, and then Robert Sibbs of Hawley in Suffolk, his son and heir, kept his first court, and in 1594, sold it to Edm. Sarjent of Coneweston, who, in 1598, sold it to William Musket of Hawley in Suffolk, Gent. who, in 1609, jointly with Robert his son, settled it on Anne Bedgewell, the intended wife of the said Robert, and they sold it to John Duffield and Barbara his wife; but in 1619, Simon Musket, Gent. and Anne his wife, recovered it by an action brought against John Duffield, senior, and John Duffield, junior, to them and their heirs, and at their death it fell to the share of Henry Blomefield of Fersfield, Gent. who married Anne Musket, their daughter and coheiress; he at his death left it to Henry Blomefield of Brisingham, Gent. his only son by his second wife, at whose death it went to Style Blomefield of Blonorton, Gent. his eldest son, who died single, and it descended to Mr. Henry Blomefield of Fersfield, his only brother, who is now lord. (fn. 16) The manor-house is dilapidated, its site is still called Ladie's, which name it assumed from the Lady Bigot, its former owner.