An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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SHIPDAM and THORP.
In the book of Domesday we find no account of Shipdam being a lordship, or possessed by the church of Ely, but that Thorp, a town of considerable value at that time, though now (as I take it) included in Shipdam, was one of the lordships of that monastery, in the Saxon age, given to it, with that of East Derham, by Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester, in the reign of King Edgar, and extended into Shipdam.
King Edward the Confessor, in his charter of confirmation of the lordships, &c. belonging to the abbey of Ely, mentions this town of Thorp; and when Leoffin, the 5th abbot, assigned certain towns and lordships in the time of King Canute, for the annual support of it, Derham (East) and Thorp are named together, and were to find provisions for 2 weeks.
At the survey, St. Atheldreda, that is the church of Ely, had 3 carucates of land, with 10 villains, 20 borderers, and 4 servi, and one carucate then in demean, &c. 7 carucates and a half among the tenants, paunage for 800 swine, &c. 8 acres of meadow, a mill, 2 runci, 11 cows, &c. 97 sheep, and 38 goats, 12 socmen had 40 acres, and 5 carucates and 12 acres of meadow, &c. then valued at 60s. at the survey the whole was valued at 11l. was one leuca long and one broad, paid 15d. gelt.
In Thorp, Thurston, and Sachesham in this hundred, 5 socmen of St. Atheldreda had 50 acres, and a carucate valued at 8s. (fn. 1)
On he foundation of the see of Ely, this lordship was assigned to the Bishop, and made part of his barony; and in the 29th of Henry III. the Bishop had a mercate and fair granted to him. (fn. 2)
In 1277, it was found that he enjoyed the privileges as mentioned in East-Derham; Alexander Atte Rode, Robert Atte Buk, and their parceners, Roger Verley, Symon Prudham, and their parceners, the homage of — de Frevile, and that of —de Cateston, did suit to his hundred court, for tenements and lands here: he was patron of the church of Shipdam.
The demean lands were 236 acres of land, and a half, by the less hundred, the perch being at 16 feet and an half, and to be ploughed by 2 ploughs of four oxen, and 2 scots each, with 2 horses for harrow; every acre valued at 12d. per acre, per ann. the commons of Westmore, Lyngmore, Northwode, Wykesmethe, are bounded and they who intercommon are mentioned.
Old Park, called Little-Haw, and the New Park, West Haw, the woods of Suthaw, Karshaw, Blakmere-Haw, contained 70 acres, in which the towns of Letton and Reymerston had liberty of common for their beasts, with the Bishop's, horn under horn, but the Bishop alone had power to dig, as lord of the soil.
Soon after this, it came to the Crown, and was granted by act of parliament, in the first year of Queen Elizabeth, and confirmed most probably, by the chapter 19, in the acts, of the said year, which was before the deprivation of Bishop Thurleby.
No printed author (that I have seen) mentions this: and on August 9, in her 3d year, Sir William Wodehouse, Knt. of Hickling, in Norfolk, and the Lady Elizabeth his wife, had a grant of this manor, (late the Bishop of Ely,) with the park, and the advowson of the church, paying a fee farm rent of 21l. 6s. 5d. per ann. with a close, called the Lord's Close; and on May 9, ao. 26, Sir Thomas Wodehouse, had a new grant of it, with the deer in the park, all the woods and underwoods, and about 1585, conveyed it to Sir Thomas Gawdy of Claxton, a judge of the Common Pleas, who died seized of it, November 1, in the 30th year of that reign, leaving Henry his son and heir, aged 16.
Robert Gawdy his son, passed it to William Castleton, Esq. created a Bart. on August 9, 1641, and Sir John his son, presented in 1673; and Edmund Castleton sold it to Charles Lord Viscount Townsend, about 1704, and in that family it continues.
William Earl Warren had a considerable lordship in Shipdam, of which eleven freemen were deprived on the conquest, containing one carucate, held by 3 borderers, with 10 acres of meadow, &c. also 5 carucates, &c. then valued at 30s. at the survey at 40s. and the moiety of a church endowed with 8 acres: it was one leuca long and 5 furlongs broad, and paid 15d. gelt.
And under the title of invasions, we find that his men, (those who held lands under him,) had invaded or seized on 44 acres, in Shipdam, which Brodo and Alwin held under King Edward, and half a carucate held by a borderer, &c. with 4 acres of meadow, valued at 8s. and 1d. ob.
William de Catestune (or Caston) and Ela his wife, possessed it in 1200; Sir John de Caston settled it about 1292, on William his son; and in the 5th of Edward III. Sir John de Caston and Catherine his wife, granted it for their lives, to Symon de Hedersete, and Thomas his son.
After this, by Elizabeth, a daughter and coheir of Sir John Caston, it came to Sir Robert Carbonel, son of Sir William Carbonel, of Bodingham in Suffolk; Thomas his son, was lord in 1402: and Sir John died lord, as appears by his will, in 1425, leaving Thomas his son, a minor, who dying in his minority, it descended to the Berneys.
Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Caston, married Will. de Reedham, of Reedham in Norfolk, and Margaret, daughter and heir of this William, having married Thomas Berney, Esq. 2d son of John Berney, Esq. of Wichingham, was lord of Reedham, &c. in her right, in the reign 'of Richard II.
John Berney, Esq. son and heir of Thomas aforesaid, died lord of this manor in 1400, as appears by his will, proved September 5, and thereby gives it to his 2d son, Philip, with the manor of Caston, who dying s.p. in 1453, bequeathed them to his younger brother, John, but soon after they came to the family of the Reedhams.
By an inquisition, taken November 7, in the 20th of Henry VIII. John Berney, Esq. was found to die seized of it October 27, ao. 19th of that King, held (as was found) of the manor of Saham, in Norfolk, by fealty, and 3s. rent per ann. and John was his son and heir, aged 18.
Thomas de Snetterton had an interest here; and in the 7th of Edward II. conveyed a messuage, 190 acres of land, with rents and services, to Symon Brake, of Brandeston, and Catherine his wife, as did John de Mershe, of South Wootton, senior, and Margaret his wife, lands, in the 8th of Edward III. to Ralph de Shipdam.
William Atte Rode of Shipdam, held in the 3d of Edward III. the 4th part of a fee in this town, Letton, and Yaxham, &c. of the honour of Wirmegay. Robert Attehow possessed it in the 20th of that King; and in the said feign, John de Thetford, &c. held lands called RodeFee, with a wind-mill, rents and services, of the Lord Bardolf; and Robert Reed possessed it in the 3d of Henry IV.
A mercate weekly on Thursday, and a fair for 3 days on St. Peter and St. Paul's day, was granted in the 29th of Henry III. to Hugh de Northwold Bishop of Ely, who built a great hall in his palace here.
In 1639, on an inquisition for charitable uses, it was found that the moiety of a manor called Bennet's, with messuages, lands, &c. on the south-west part of the church, belonged to the township, worth 18l. per ann. and that out of it, bread and wine had been found for the communion, and the church repaired.
The town seems to take its name from some stream, &c. of water called Scip, or Shep. In Kent we find a lathe or hundred, and an island, called Shepey; thus Shepeshead in Leicestershire, Shipley in Derbyshire, &c.
The Church is dedicated to All-Saints, and was in the patronage of the Bishop of Ely. It appears that the rector, in the reign of Edward I. had a manse, with 60 acres of glebe, and that there had been formerly a vicar belonging to it, but at that time there was only a rector; the valor was 40 marks; Peter-pence 2s. 10d. The monks of Castleacre had a portion of tithe valued at 5s. per ann. given them by John de Kateston, viz. two parts of the tithes of his lordship in this town, and Rockland, which Simon Bishop of Norwich confirmed to them in 1265.
Mr. Tho. Alcock, was rector, brother to Dr. Alcock Bishop of Ely, master of Jesus College in Cambridge, archdeacon of Ely, and chancellor to that Bishop: he resigned this rectory in 1516, (as some say,) but rather a relation or nephew to Bishop Alcock, and not brother, &c.; he died in 1523, and was here buried.
The church is a good pile, with a very broad nave and chancel, and a north isle that runs the whole length of the nave and chancel, all covered with lead; at the west end of the nave is a strong four square tower, embattled, with 5 bells, a dial, and clock.
In the chancel lie several gravestones for the Bullocks: on them this shield, gules, a chevron, between three bulls heads, caboshed, attired, or, Bullock, impaling, on a bend, between two lions rampant, three roundels, Fluellin,
In memory of Mary, wife of Thomas Bullock, gent. eldest daughter of William Fluellin, Esq; alderman of London, who died October 29, 1683, and left one daughter, Diana, and 3 sons, Thomas, William, and Robert, now living, who enjoying a plentiful estate, by the death of Sir Thomas Colby, of Kensington, baronet, son of Elizabeth, 2d daughter of Alderman Fluellin, have placed this inscription in gratitude to God and her memory, May 12, 1730.
Probably this was the chapel in the north isle, in which there were in the east window, formerly these arms; Or, a maunch, gules, the Lord Tony, impaled with argent, on a fess gules, three bezants, between three torteaux; gules, a lion rampant, in a bordure, argent, Grey Bishop of Ely; quarterly, gules, and ermine, in the first and 4th, a goat's head, erased, argent, attired, or; Morton Bishop of Ely; argent three choughs proper.
Here was also the tabernacle of St. Michael, the guilds of the Holy Ghost, St. John Baptist, St. Thomas, St. Andrew, Assumption of St. Mary, All-Saints, and St. Etheldreda; the lights of St. James, St. Nicholas, St. John Baptist, St. Thomas, &c.
In 1487, John Alcock Bishop of Ely granted 40 days indulgence to all who would contribute to the repair of the chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury, situate in a certain hermitage, within this parish, and of the ways that lay about it.
I find a certain common pasture called Westmore, belonging to the lordship of Shipdam, beginning at the church of Shipdam, and leading and continuing to the meres or bounds between the liberties of St. Etheldreda, (that is the see of Ely,) and the hundred of Wayland, which belonged to the heirs of Ralph Thony; and this I suppose was the common.
John de Kateston, by deed, confirmed to the monks of Castleacre, the grant of his father, the 3d parts of the tithes of his demeans here. (fn. 3)
William de Warren, son of Reginald, gave them a mark rent per ann. out of a tenement which John de Kateston, held of him in Sepedeham, for an anniversary for Reginald his father, and Alice his mother, and after his decease for himself; witnesses, Reginald de St. Martin, Robert de Capravill, Osbert de Stradesete, Richard Curpeil, &c.
Osbert de Denever confirmed to the said monks, 2 garbs of his demeans in Lipling, which his grandfather gave them, also the land called Osbeneshach, in Sipedeham, which his grandfather gave in exchange for the said tithes; witnesses, Geffrey, dean of Fincham, William Talebot, his brother, &c.