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 capital manor of this town belonged to Stigand the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his own right, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, but on his being deposed, by William the Conqueror, it came into his hands, and William de Noiers held it, or farmed it of that King at the survey.
It was a very considerable lordship, and esteemed as an honour, containing in Stigand's time, 10 carucates of land, 20 villains, and 44 borderers, 6 servi, and 10 acres of meadow, 2 carucates in demean, and another might be recovered, 24 carucates amongst the tenants, paunage for 1000 swine, one mill, and a salt work; and 3 socmen held a carucate, &c. with 12 villains, 10 borderers, and 4 acres of meadow, one carucate in demean, and 4 amongst the tenants, &c. and 4 socmen held 30 acres with one borderer; a carucate and 4 acres of meadow, a socman, and 1 carucate of land, and one socman, 8 acres, in the whole, and 10 borderers and 5 acres of pasture. Also 2 carucates in demean, 2 amongst the tenants, &c. 7 socmen with 40 acres of land, one borderer, and 4 acres of meadow; 2 carucates in demean, one runcus, or beast of burden, 13 cows, &c. 30 sheep, and 50 goats, &c. valued in the whole with its beruite, &c. at 30l. in King Edward's time, and at 60l. quitrent at the survey; it was 3 leucas long, and one broad, whoever holds it to farm. (fn. 1)
This William de Noiers was a great favourite of the Conqueror's: he took care of or farmed under him also the following lordships in this county, Hunston in Smethden hundred;—Methwold in Grimshoe hundred; with Croxton, Feltwell, Weting; Licham, Dunham, Bittering, and Kertling in Launditch hundred; Windham in Fourhow hundred; Thorp in Blofeld hundred; Somerton in West Flegg; Ameringhale in Heinsted hundred; Ersham, Denton, Aldby, Redenhale, Sterston, Rushale, Broadish, in Earsham hundred; Ditchingham, Mundham, Siling, in Lothing hundred; Horsted, Staninghale, Sprouston, Catton, in Taverham hundred; Lakenham in Humbleyard hundred; Colneston in Deepwade hundred; Toft, Hadesco, Stouton, and Ravingham in Clavering hundred.
At the survey we see that King William was lord of this manor, but soon after Alan, son of Flaald, obtained it by the gift of William the Conqueror, also the castle of Oswaldstrey in Shropshire, with the territory adjoining, which belonged to Meredith ap Blethyn, a Welshman or Briton, and marrying the daughter and heir of Warine, sheriff of that county, had, in her right, the barony of the said Warine. (fn. 2)
This Alan gave to the monks of Castleacre lands, and the orchard, (frutestam) which they enclosed at Kempston, and 20 acres at Sporle in Norfolk, which Turchillus Rufus held, and 3s. rent out of his mill at Newton.
Simon de Norfolk confirmed this gift of Alan, son of Flaald, and Avelina his mother, which Wymark held, and all the rest of his ancestors, of which they were seized the day that Alan purchased the honour of Mileham, also the mill at Newton, out of which the monks received 10s.
William Filz-Alan was his son and heir, and married Isabel, daughter and heir of Helias de Say, niece to Robert Earl of Gloucester, lady of Clun in Shropshire, in whose right he became Baron of Clun, by whom he had William his son and successour, who, in the 12th of Henry II. certified his Knights fees to be in number 35 and an half, 19 de veteri feoffamento, and 16 and an half de novo, and died about the 19th of that King, leaving William Fitz-Alan his son and heir, who died about the 16th of King John.
This John Fitz Alan, lord of Clun, married to his first wife, Isabel, sister and coheir to Hugh, and second daughter and coheir of William de Albiny, Earls of Arundel, by whom he had John, his son and heir, and died in the 24th of Henry III. 1240.
On a partition of the lands of Hugh Earl of Arundel, in the 28th of Henry III. this John Fitz-Alan had the castle of Arundel in Sussex assigned unto him, and it appears that he had; in the 34th of that King, a park in his manor of Mileham. In the 49th of the said King he had an order from the King, then in custody of Simon de Montfort, to send to him his son and heir, to deliver up his castle of Arundel into Simon's custody, to secure the peace of the Kingdom, and died in the 52d of that King, leaving issue by Maud his wife, daughter of R. de Verdun, John, his son and heir, according to Dugdale.
It appears that in the 51st of the said King, the sheriff accounted for 101s. and 6d. rent of assise, of this manor, &c. late John FitzAlan's, from Saturday, the feast of All-Saints, in the 51st of Henry III to the 6th of December, when he delivered it to Maud his widow.
This John left Richard Fitz-Alan his son and heir, by his wife Isabel de Mortimer; and this manor was found to be ancient demean, held by one knight's fee, the custody of it being granted to John L'Estrange, by the King, during the nonage of Richard the heir.
About this time, 76 fees are accounted to belong to the honour of Arundel, in this county. (fn. 3)
This Richard appears to be the first of the Fitz-Alans who bore the title of Earl of Arundel, as lord of that castle, without any formal creation or other investiture, and as lord of this town, had, in the 3d of Edward I. assise of bread and beer, a gallows, and other royal privileges; being a minor, the King, in his 5th year, (as his guardian,) recovered the presentation of the church of Wroxhale against Richard de Amoundevill and Maud his wife, late widow of John Fitz-Alan, and grandmother of Richard.
In the 15th of this King, it was found that the lord of the manor had view of frank pledge, the assise, a tumbrel, gallows, pillory, toll and them; and in the said year had orders to provide 600 able footmen, well armed, for the Welsh expedition, against Rice ap Meredith, then in rebellion; (fn. 4) and that he should, with the other baron-marchers, be resident on their lands, with men ready armed; and in the 23d of this King, to be at Plymouth on the feast of All-Saints, to attend Edmund the King's brother into Gascoygn, the King sending there Walter de Bellocampo, steward of his house, and his beloved clerk, Philip de Everdon, to appraise their horses, to pay them their wages, and to perform other things, in order to their passage. (fn. 5)
This Richard was the seventh Earl who signed the letter to the Pope, in the 29th of this King, denying that the Kingdom of Scotland was his fee, or that he had any thing to do in temporal matters; dated February 12, 1301, and died seized of this manor and that of Beeston, in the 20th of Edward I. held in capite by one knight's fee, valued at 57l. 5s. 9d. per ann. and Edmund was his son and heir, by Alizon, daughter of the Marquis of Saluce in Italy.
His son, Edmund Earl of Arundel, was a great favourite of King Edward II, and being taken at Bristol, on Queen Isabel's arrival into England, with an armed power, was there beheaded before the gates of the castle, in sight of the King, in October, on St. Denys's day, 1326, leaving by Alice his wife, sister and heir of John Earl Warren and Surry, Richard, his son and heir.
It is said in the grant to be in the occupation of Gilbert de Glencarn for life, but Richard, son of Edward, being restored in Parliament in the 4th of Edward III. had livery of this manor, &c. and in the 19th of that King, married Elianore, daughter of Henry Plantaginet Earl of Lancaster, widow of John Lord Beaumont. The will of this Earl is dated at Arundel castle, December 5, 1375, and died January 24 following.
By an original inventory of his goods, still remaining amongst the evidences of the Duke of Norfolk, it appears that he had in money, in gold, and silver, 44981 marks, and with that and what he had in other places, the whole sum amounted to 108367 marks, 13s. 3d. ob. a most surprising sum in that age, and the more so if we consider that a mark then was of the intrinsick triple value of the money now current; a pound weight of silver then was but of the value of 20s. whereas now a pound weight makes 3l. of our money, and if we consider also how much provision, &c. a mark would then buy, beyond what it does at present.
Richard, his son and heir, Earl of Arundel and Surry, in the 6th of Richard II. reciting in a deed that the priory of Arundel formerly belonged to the abbey of L'Essay, or Lees, in Normandy, and that the King had 20 marks per ann. payable out of it, which, by the King's license, was converted into a college with chaplains, &c. he grants to the King the manor of Sevenhampton in Somersetshire, in exchange for the advowson of this college.
Arundel bore gules, a lion rampant, or; and Warren checque or, and azure; and in the 13th of that King he subscribed the letter to Pope Boniface, complaining of the great mischiefs to the kingdom by papal provisions to benefices, and other papal grievances; (fn. 6) but this Earl, by the iniquity of those times, was beheaded in Cheapside, London, 1393, the King himself being a spectator, and Thomas Mowbray, Earl-Marshal, and Earl of Nottingham, (who married his daughter,) being his executioner, and binding up his eyes, leaving Thomas his son and heir by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of William de Bohun Earl of Northampton.
On his attainder, this manor seems to have been granted to Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, the King's uncle, and after to Edm. de Langley Duke of York, (the King's uncle,) with the hundreds of Launditch and South Greenhoe, and the manor of Beeston.
These were part of the possessions of Thomas Duke of Gloucester, attainted, as appears by the grant dated August 8, in the 22d of the said King; but in the following year, on the accession of King Henry IV. to the Crown, Thomas, son and heir of Richard Fitz-Alan, the late Earl, was restored in blood, and to all his lands and honours by parliament.
In the 3d of that King, Sir John Harsick was found to hold in Mileham and Dunham, half a fee of this Earl, who bore quarterly, Fitz-Alan or Arundel, and the Earl Warren; crest an eagle's head couped, issuing out of a ducal coronet, between two wings erect, and married Beatrix, a natural daughter of the King of Portugal, but died without issue, October 18, 1415.
John his son and heir was Earl of Arundel, and died in France on the 12th of May, in the 13th of Henry VI. being wounded by a culverine shot, and had by Maud his wife, daughter of Robert Lovell, a son of Humphrey, who dying in his minority, William Fitz-Alan, his uncle, succeeded him, inherited the earldom and estate of the family: he died in the 3d year of Henry VII. and Thomas was his son and heir, by Joan his wife, daughter of Richard Nevill Earl of Salisbury.
The seal is of red wax, with the arms of Fitz-Alan as before, and Matravers, (sable, fretty, or,) quarterly; the dexter supporter is an horse, the sinister a lion, gorged with a ducal coronet; the counter seal is small, a lion holding a great branch.
This William Earl of Arundel, lord of this town and Beeston, married Anne, daughter of Henry Earl of Northumberland; he died January 23d, in the 35th of Henry VIII. and was succeeded by his son and heir, Henry, constable of England, at the coronation of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
By Catharine, daughter of Thomas Grey Marquis of Dorset, his first wife, he had Henry his son, who married Anne, daughter and heir of Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield in Essex, and dying at Brussels without issue, 1556, in his father's lifetime, (who died February 25, in the 22d of Elizabeth,) but many years before his death this Henry the father, Earl of Arundel, conveyed this lordship with that of Beeston, to Thomam Gresham of London, and had license for so doing in the first year of Queen Elizabeth.
Sir Thomas was lord in the 12th of Elizabeth, and after the death of Sir Thomas Gresham it was sold by his executors to Stephen Barnwell, Gent. or rather to Henry Bastard, Gent. who sold it to the said Stephen.
This Stephen descended from Thomas Barnwell of Offaly, in Ireland, and by Blanch his wife daughter of Novegent of Dublin, Morry, Gerrard and Thomas, who was of Lincoln's-Inn, Baron of the Exchequer, and married Alice, daughter of Dyvelin, master of the rolls, and father of Thomas, Richard, and Robert, who lived in Northamptonshire at Lenton, and had a son and heir, Simon Barnwell, of Cransley, in the said county.
His son and heir, Thomas Barnwell of Cransley, married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cradocke of Dyngley, in the said county, by whom he had Edward, who by Anne his wife daughter of John Spencer of Bedfordshire, Gent. had Stephen Barnwell.
This Stephen purchased this lordship, and settled here, and by Mary his wife, daughter of Nicholas Cotton of Catworth Parva in Huntingdonshire, or rather daughter of Nicholas Calton of Dulwich in Surry.
He left Edward Barnewell, Esq. of Mileham, who married May 6, 1618, at Elsing church in Norfolk, Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Playters of Soterley in Suffolk, Bart. and was father of Charles Barnwell, who, by — his wife, daughter and heir of — Sydner, had his son and heir, Charles, who married Mary, daughter of — Higham, of Barrow in Suffolk, whose son Edward was lord in 1660.
Here was also a little lordship in this town and Bittering, belonging to Alwin, a freeman, in King Edward's time, and after by a certain widow under Godric, who farmed it of the King: Alwin had a carucate of land and 12 acres of meadow; formerly two carucates belonged to it, but now none; one socman held 24 acres of land; in King Edward's time there was half a carucate, and 3 socmen held then 15 acres with half a carucate, in the whole valued at 20s. at the survey of no value, and Godric then accounted for it.
Also here was another little lordship held by Alan Earl of Richmond, at the survey, and in Stanfield, which the son of Almar held of Alan, and which two socmen under Stigand possessed in King Edward's reign, consisting of half a carucate of land and 6 acres: three borderers had two acres of meadow, and two carucates, paunage for 20 swine, valued at 10s. per ann.
In the 20th of Edward III. Richard de Burwood, who gave name to it, held half a fee, late Giles de Hulmo's, and paying 10s. rent to the honour of Richmond. (fn. 7)
In the 14th of Hen. VI. John Duke of Bedford died seized of one fee in this town and Swaffham, held by Sir Roger Shotesbrook, as parcel of the aforesaid honour; and John St. John and Joan his wife granted by fine the manor of Burghwood, with 3 messuages, 840 acres of land, and 40s. rent in this town, Beeston and Titeshale, to Sir William Capel, Knt. in the 4th of Henry VIII.
George Townsend and Alice his wife conveyed it, in the first of Philip and Mary, to Robert Coke; and his son, Sir Edward Coke, was lord, in which family it continued: Thomas Earl of Leicester dying possessed of in 1759.
King Henry VIII. in his 35th year, granted to Richard Andrews 39 acres of land, called the prior's lands, lying in the fields of Mileham, to be held in capite. In the 2d of Elizabeth, Thomas Crow held it, and Richard his son had license in the 4th of that Queen, to alienate it to Christopher Crow, and the said Christopher held it 22d James I.
This town is famous for the birth of Sir Edward Coke, lord chief justice of England, the most learned and greatest lawyer of England, whose birth prognosticated something wonderful: (fn. 8) his mother, sitting by the fireside, was so suddenly and quickly delivered of him, that she had not time to be removed to a bed that was near, as Sir Edward informed Sir Henry Spelman.
Argent, on a chevron ingrailed, gules, between three tigers heads erased, sable, dented argent, and langued of the second, collared or; crest, on a wreath, argent and sable, a turkey-cock, proper, mantled gules, buttoned and tasseled, or.
But it appears that Sir Ed. Coke bore very different arms, as may be seen over the gate of the old house, viz. per pale, azure and gules, three eagles displayed, argent; impaling quarterly, in the first and fourth ermin, in the 2d and 3d paly of six, or and gules, in a bordure, azure, Knightley.
And in the said town was formerly a strong castle, the site of which is now part of the demeans of the manor of Mileham; it stood by the road side (on the left hand beyond the church) as above; being of an oval form, containing about 12 or 13 acres, surrounded by 2 deep ditches, or trenches; in that part to the south was the keep with another ditch, where are ruins of walls that crossed the ditch, and the north part was the barbican; the outward ditch and inclosure seems to have gone cross the high road, and to have enclosed the house and ground wherein Sir Edward Coke was born, as on each side of it, and behind it, may be observed; the entrance into it seems to have been on the west side.
In memory of Mr. Fermor Pepys, sometime of this parish, of a worthy descent, most happy nature, choicest education, a tried faith to God, a persecuted church, a banished prince, and his old friend; he was born and lived a gentleman, baptized and lived a christian, died a believer, and lives a saint, obt: Septr. 22, 1660. œtat. 79.
Anna, Caroli Ward, hujus ecclesiœ retoris, uxor charissima, necnon Johan: Smith in agro Suff, generosi filia, obt. A. D. 1721, œtat. 53. — Pia, pudica, prudens, et morum suavitate vere laudabilis, charitatem, benevolentiam, eximiaq; in ecclesiam Anglicanam studia, seris nepotibus recommendabit, - - - - Villa de Laxfield, ad religionem, bonos mores promovendos ampla et insignis donatio. Vale lector & imitare.
In the east window of the chancel, quarterly, Arundel and Matrevers, impaling Bryan; or, three piles in point, azure, in first and 4th quarter: and Buers; ermin, on a chief indented, sable, two lions rampant, in the 2d and 3d quarter; and in the south window, the effigies of the Virgin, teaching the child Jesus to read; also of a man and woman on their knees; over their heads, Peddar, before them two horses travelling, with packs on their backs, and under them, Thomas Broun.
H. S. E. Carolus Ward, quadraginta annos hujus ecclesiæ rector. In Deum pius, Jesu. Christi devotus servus, populi pastor fidus, ecclesiœ et monarchiœ Anglicanœ amator verus, consanguineis et amicis charus, in omnes benevolus, hospitalitatis cultor; egenis prœcipue largus, dum vixit; nec minus mortuus: testator centum librarum clericorum viduis, ducentarum huic parochiœ in perpetuum eleemosyna. Bene natus, vivens, moriens. Ex hac vitâ in meliorem, virtutis prœmium, migravit Aug. 6, 1744. œtat, 82.
In memory of John L'Strange, Esq; 3d son of Sir Nicholas Lestrange, Bt. and Ann, the daughter of Sir Edward Lewnor, Kt. who died July 5, 1722, aged 86. Also of William Lestrange, gent. 4th brother of the said John, who died October 8, 1711, aged 73. And also of Edward Lestrange, gent. 5th brother, who died September 24, 1715, aged 75. And of Nicholas, son of the said Edward; all interred in this church.
In the churchyard is raised on stone, a curious lofty pillar, for a cross, very antique, but the upper part of it is now broken off; and by it, on the north side, a freestone altar tomb, with a cross carved thereon, finely flowered and ornamented, probably in memory of some priest.
Mr. Glover founded a school here depositing, money in the hands of Sir Edward Coke, for the same, who bought a piece of copyhold land, and a house which had but one single room, valued at 5s. per ann. and Mr. Ward, the late rector, has built another room to it, for the master to dwell in.
"Ye shall also pray and beseech for the soul of Sir Walter Barnard, priest, the which purchased the freedom and customs of the town, gave and get much good to the town, wherefore God yeild it to him at his most need, and send him part of all his good prayers."
In this town are great remains (as appears from the ditches, entrenchments, &c.) of a curious and noble castle, built, as I take it, by Alan, son of Flaald, to whom the Conqueror gave this great manor, honour and barony, who was ancestor of the Fitz-Alans Earls of Arundel, &c. and bore barry eight or and gules.