An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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The abbot and convent of St. Bennet of Holm, held this lordship in the days of the Confessor, and at the survey, with 2 carucates of land, 5 borderers, 2 carucates in demean, &c. and 2 bovates among the tenants, &c. 8 acres of meadow, one runcus, 4 cows &c. 150 sheep; and there were 4 socmen with 7 acres and half a carucate, valued at 30s. was 8 furlongs long, and 7 broad, and paid 11d. gelt. (fn. 1)
This lordship was given to the abbey of St. Bennet of Holm, by Wilfric, a Saxon, who was lord of it. (fn. 2)
In the 3d of Henry III. Henry, son of Turgis de Caldecote, granted by fine to the abbot, one carucate of land. The Caldecotes are said to hold it of the abbot: and in the 45th of that King, the abbot granted to Thomas de Walton and Margery his wife, daughter of Roger de Ormesby, for life, this lordship, one carucate of land in Ludham and Catfield, in exchange for other lands.
On the Dissolution, it was granted to Thomas Paston, who had license in the 25th of Henry VIII. to alien it to Thomas Godsalve, Esq. senior, of Norwich, who died seized of it, and John, was his heir, who being a knight in the first and 2d of Philip and Mary, conveyed it, November 24, to William Drake of Forncet, Gent. son of John Drake of Pulham.
This William married first, daughter —, of Bokenham, by whom he had a daughter, Maud, married to Richard Ferrar, of Norwich; by his 2d wife, Anne, daughter and heir of William Stoker of Forncet, he had a son, William, of Hardley, who married Margery, daughter of Henry Mansfield, Gent. and was father of William Drake, Esq. who by Margaret his wife, daughter of Thomas Read, of Beccles, Esq. had several daughters and coheirs.
William Playters, Esq. of Soterley in Suffolk, was lord of Hardley in right of his wife, Mary, daughter and coheir of William Drake, and is said to be his fourth wife, by whom he had Drake-William Playters, Esq. who took to wife, Catherine, daughter of Sir Lionel Talmash, of Helmingham in Suffolk, Bart. and was father of Talmach Playters, Esq. who sold this lordship to Sir Will. Cook, Bart. in 1697, by whom it was settled on Thornh. Gurdon, Esq. who married Elizabeth, 4th daughter and coheir of Sir William; and he conveyed it to Sir Lambert Blackwell, Bart. (fn. 3)
Before this, in 1330, Walter de Filby and Edmund, parson of Lounde, had license to settle on it, a messuage, 15 acres and an half of land, 2 of meadow, and 44 of tuncary in Norwich, this town, Sithing, &c. In 1381, tenements in this town, &c. were by license granted them.
On March 6, 1547, William Rugg Bishop of Norwich, (as diocesan and patron,) and Nicholas Shaxton, D.D. master and custos of this hospital, with the brethren, &c. surrendred it to the King, who gave it in the said year, to the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, &c. of Norwich, to be an hospital for the poor.
In 1728, Hardley rectory and vicarage, with all the houses, glebe, &c. were let to the curate or parish chaplain, for his life, at 10l. per ann. and 20 combs of barley per ann. to be delivered to the keeper of the hospital.
Langley abbey had lands here, in the 45th of Henry III. In the 6th of Edward II. John Langley aliened a messuage, 10 acres of lands 36 of marsh, and 25s. rent per ann. here and in Loddon, to this abbey.
Thomas Berney, Esq. had, on June 5, ao. 38 of Henry VIII. a grant from the Crown of 30 quarters of barley, which the tenant of the abbot paid per ann. who had a lordship valued at 6l. 11s. 1d. ob. in 1428.
Here lyeth buried the body of Drake William Playters, lord of this manor: he married Catherine, daughter of Sir Lionel Talmach, of Helmingham in Suffolk, baronet, by whom he had 4 sons, and 2 daughters, and died the 5th day of June, 1632.
Also these arms, quartered, six bendlets, wavy, argent, and azure, Playters; 2d, argent, a chevron, sable, between three mullets, gules, Dennis; 3d, vert, a lion rampant, argent, crowned, or, Bridgenorth; 4th, sable, a chevron, ermin, between three Catherine-wheels, argent, Aslack; 5th, argent, a chevron between three bears heads, couped, sable, Berry; 6th, sable, a fess, between two chevrons, or, Bainard; 7th, on a fess, two ducal coronets, 8th, azure, three cinquefoils, or, Bardolf; 9th, ermin, on a chief, gules, three lozenges, of the first, Charler; 10th, on a chevron, three escallops; 11th, argent, a wivern sejant, wings displayed, gules, Drake; 12th, gyrony of eight, or and azure, 2 martlets, in chief, and one in base, argent, Stoker; 13th, per pale, a chevron, between three cinquefoils counterchanged.
Robert Gillingham and his heirs, by deed, sans date, grant to Roger Bacun and his heirs, the patronage of this church, for 15 marks of silver, and the rent of 22d. per ann. to be received of Roger Binel and his heirs; witnesses, William de Warrenne, Ralph de Revecester, Walter de Creping, &c.
In the 8th of King John, a fine was levied on this account. Before this, Goceline de Lodnes, at the request of King Richard I. gives and grants by deed, to Master Roger de St. Edmund, and his heirs, the advowson, to hold it as freely, &c as his ancestors held it; witnesses, Hubert Bishop of Salisbury, Ralph de Glanvile, Henry de Hastings. Ralph Fitz-Jeffrey, Gilbert son of Wymar, William de Gretingham, Robert de Alneto.
Sir John de Lodne, by deed, sans date, gives to the hospital of St. Gyles, the master and brethren, all his right in the advowson: witnesses, William de Ages, Andrew Waceline, Robert de Hulm, William de Rokhoche, &c. and sealed with three cresses, formy.
Roger de Gillingham was rector, and presented by Robert de Gillingham, instituted by John of Oxford Bishop of Norwich. (fn. 4)
Robert occurs vicar, sans date; the rectory had a manse belonging to it, with a two carucates of land, and was valued at 16 marks; and the preceptory of the Knights Templars of Carbroke, had a portion of tithe valued at 4s.
In the church was St. Margaret's guild. Henry Bunn, by his will dated in 1501, orders a cross to be erected in the churchyard, ornamented with palm branches, on Palm Sunday, p. palmis in die ramis palmarum offerendis; in 1503, was a gift to the pinnacles of the steeple.