An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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William Earl Warren held in Ruhham and Fransham Magna a very considerable lordship which Toke, a Saxon thane or freeman, possessed in King Edward's reign, an account of it may be seen, and of its extent, value, &c. at that time, under the history of Fransham Magna.
This was soon after held of the Earl Warrens, by several persons, and divided into small fees or lordships. Hugh de Fochigetune, or Folkinton, gave by deed, sans date, to the monks of Castleacre, two parts of the tithe of his demean in Rucham in all things, viz. in corn (garbis,) lambs, wool, hemp, and in whatsoever tithe is due, for the soul of his brother Robert de Fochigtune, and the souls of his father and mother in pure alms, witnesses, Gilbert de Baillol, Ralph, son of the castillan of Arundel, Geff. Fitz Giles, Alexander de Rucham, &c (fn. 1)
Juliana, daughter of William, son of Richard de Wirmele, patroness of the church of St. Mary de Rucham, with the assent of William, her son and heir, confirmed to the monks a moiety of all the tithe of her demean lands, as well ploughed as hereafter to be ploughed, and of her small tithe belonging to her patroness in pure alms, sans date.
William, son of Walter Harawein, by his deed sans date, confirmed the ancient church of St. Mary de Rucham, which was built on his fee, with an half acre of land, on the west side of it, for the soul of his lord, William de Warren, and his own soul, to the priory of Westacre; this William is sometimes called William de Rucham.
Sir Richard Butler of Rucham, Knt. as lord, confirmed the grant of Vincent, son of Alvered, of lands to the said monks, by deed sans date; and a descendant of this William le Botiler of Rugham was found in the 52d of Henry II. to hold a knight's fee, to be of age, and not a knight, which proves that all who held a fee, were obliged when of age, to take upon them that degree. Besides these it appears that the family of Rugham was very soon after the conquest enfeoft in part of this village: Alexander, son of William de Rugham, paid 40s. in the 27th of Henry II. to bring his plea in the King's court, against the Earl of Arundel, and Robert de Mortimer. (fn. 2)
Richard, son of Thomas de Rugham, demanded in the 7th of Edward I. of Aungier de Rugham, messuages and lands, with a mill in this town and Wesenham, of which Aungier had unjustly disseized Richard, as heir to his grandfather; the jury on a pleading in the 16th of the said King, find that the lands here were not partable, on an action brought by Giles, son of Beatrix de Rugham, against his sister, Ralph de Dalling, and Isabell his wife, William Burell and Alice his wife; and in the said year, Isolda, daughter of Thomas de Rugham had by fine a messuage and lands conveyed to her from William, Burell.
In the 14th of the said King, Richard, son of Thomas de Rugham, impleaded John, son of William de Rugham, for lands, and the moiety of a messuage; and Richard, son of Thomas de Rugham, settled by fine on Thomas his son, lands in the 19th of the said King; and in the 11th of Edward II. Richard, son of John de Rougham, conveyed by fine lands to Richard Fitz-John of Massingham; and in the 9th of that reign, Alice de Rougham was returned to be lady of a manor, mother, most likely, of Richard aforesaid, who dying without issue male, Alice his daughter or sister was married to John Read.
In the 46th of Edward III. a fine was levied between him and Alice his wife, querents, Henry Grace of Narburgh, and Catherine his wife, deforciants of 6s. 8d. rent, with 18 capons here, conveyed to John and Alice, from Henry and Catherine, and the heirs of Catherine, probably sister of Alice.
John Read, by Alice de Rugham, had a son Richard, who married Margaret, sister and heir of Richard Hooker, whose daughter and heir, Elizab. brought this manor of Rougham, to John Yelverton, Esq. a family of great antiquity in the county of Norfolk, taking their name from the town of Yelverton, in the hundred of Henstede, where they had possessions soon after the conquest.
John de Yelverton lived in the 9th of Edward I. 1282: (fn. 3) his son and heir, Thomas, and Maud his wife, had lands in Yelverton aforesaid, and Alpington, in 1316, and William de Yelverton and Mabel his wife purchased lands there of Richard de la Rokeley in 1308.
Andrew was son and heir of Thomas aforesaid, Lord of Rackheath in 1315, by Maud his wife, and by - - - - -, daughter of Bozun of Wissenet, had Robert de Yelverton of Rackheith in Norfolk, who lived in the reign of Edward III. and was witness to a deed of lands in Sprouston and Beeston in 1359, by Cecilia his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Bardolf, had John Yelverton, Esq. who with Margaret his wife had lands in Saxthorp, Toft-Hall manor in Shotesham, the manor of Rackey in the 15th of Richard II. and in the reign of Henry IV. by Margaret his first wife, he had Robert Yelverton, Esq. of Rackheythe. Robert, by his will dated August 4, 1420, and proved February 8, following, bequeaths his body to be buried in the cathedral church of Norwich by his father's tomb; to the church of the Holy Trinity of Rackey, (fn. 4) and that of All-Saints he gives legacies; to Margery his wife, all his goods, lands, tenements, in Rackey Magna and Parva, Yelverton, and Saxthorp, with the advowson of the church of All-Saints aforesaid, which were his father's, for her life; remainder to Thomas his son, and if he died without issue (as it seems he did) to be sold.
This John Yelverton aforesaid married to his second wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Richard, son of Sir John Read of Rougham and Beccles, who resided here, and had by the said Elizabeth Sir William Yelverton, judge of the King's Bench in 1444, and, before this, under steward of the dutchy of Lancaster in Norfolk, justice of the peace and goal delivery in the Bishop of Ely's liberty of Mitford hundred, and Knight of the Bath in 1460: by Jane his first wife, daughter of Sir Oliver le Grosse, was father of John Yelverton, Esq. of the body to King Edward IV. who married Margery, daughter and heir of William Morley, Esq. who were both living in the 36th year of Henry VI.; (fn. 5) he died July 9, 1481, and left William Yelverton their son, married to Anne, daughter of John Paston, Esq. of Paston in Norfolk, by whom he had William Yelverton, who died s. p. and Amy, married to John or James Elmes, Esq.
The eldest branch being thus extinct, we return to his offspring by his second wife Ela or Agnes, daughter of Sir Thomas Brewes of Topcroft in Norfolk, by whom the judge had several sons, 1st William, 2d, John, 3d Thomas, 4th Nicholas, 5th Edward, 6th Adam, and a daughter Anne married to Adam Cam of Wesenham, in Norfolk.
William, the eldest son, married, (as the History of the Peerage relates,) a daughter of Sir James Hewet, lord mayor of London, but it does not appear that there was any one of that name lord mayor of London.
This William Yelverton, Esq. was living, and Catherine his wife, in 1459, and in the 13th of Edward IV. as appears from a fine, and from the writings of this family it seems to me, and from his grave-stone in the church, (fn. 6) that he married Catherine, daughter of Henry Spilman, Esq. of Stow Beccles in Norfolk, by whom he had a son William, (fn. 7) who by Margaret his wife, daughter of - - - - - Germond or Gomond of London, had also a nother William Yelverton, Esq. (fn. 8) who took to wife, 1st Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Fermour of East Barsham in Norfolk; and secondly, Jane, daughter of Sir Edward Cocket of Ampton in Norfolk; by his first lady he had 3 sons, Henry, the first, William, the second, who was a knight and lived in Ireland; and Christopher, the third son, who was a knight and lord chief justice of the King's Bench in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and from whom descend the Yelvertons, Lord Grey of Ruthyn, and Earl of Sussex.
Henry Yelverton, Esq. of Rougham, the eldest son, married Bridget, daughter of Sir William Drury of Hawstead in Suffolk, and was father of William Yelverton, Esq. of Rougham, created baronet May 31, 1620; by Dionysia his wife, daughter and coheir of Richard Stubbs, Esq. of Sedgeford in Norfolk; he had Sir William Yelverton, Bart. his son and heir, and Sir Henry Yelverton, Knt. who married Alice, daughter and heir to Dr. William Barlow Bishop of Lincoln, and died without issue.
Sir William, by Ursula his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Richardson lord chief justice of the King's Bench, left a son and heir, Sir William Yelverton, Bart. and 2 daughters, Elizabeth and Ursula, and died in 1648, July 19: his lady Ursula survived him, dying in 1657, March 20, and also her only son and heir, Sir William Yelverton, Bart. who died without issue November 15, 1649, so that by his death this family and honour was extinct.
Ursula, his youngest sister and coheir, married - - - - - Shipdam, clerk, and Elizabeth married Thomas Peyton, Esq. 4th son of Sir Edward Peyton of Isleham in Cambridgeshire, and was father of, first, William Peyton, Esq. of Dublin in Ireland, who died about 1686, and left by Frances his wife, daughter of Sir Herbert Lunsford, Knt. a daughter Elizabeth, who died young; 2d, Robert Peyton, living in Virginia in 1692; 3d, Charles Peyton, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William Bladwell, Esq. of Swanington in Norfolk, and there buried; 4th, Yelverton Peyton of Rougham, Esq. who married Hannah, daughter of Sir John Roberts, also a daughter Anne, married to Thomas Woods of Braconash in Norfolk, Esq.
The Roughams' estate being possessed by Thomas Peyton aforesaid, he mortgaged, and afterwards sold it, to Sir John Bladwell, brother of William Bladwell aforesaid; this Sir John living in one part of the hall and Thomas Peyton in the other, a friendship was contracted between them, and Sir John at his death gave this manor, &c. to Yelverton Peyton, fourth son of Thomas aforesaid, who sold it to the Honourable Roger North, Esq. (sixth son of Dudley Lord North) in 1690, who made great improvements in the hall, and in the lands, by planting, inclosing, &c. By - - - - - - his wife, daughter of Sir - - - - - - Gayer of Stoke Pogeys in Bucks, he had Rog. North, Esq. whose son, Fountaine North, Esq. is the present lord.
Green's Hall, alias Fincham's.
Juliana, daughter of William, son of Richard de Wirmele, (as I have above observed,) held a part of the Earl Warren's fee, and was patroness of the church; this part descended to the Botilers abovementioned of Rugham, and it appears that there had been a controversy between the prior and convent of Castleacre, and that of Westacre, rectors of this parish (as they are styled, by which it seems that there were two moieties in this church) concerning the tithes of all the demeans which formerly belonged to Sir Richard de Boteler, appertaining to Castleacre, which tithes the said prior, &c. agreed and granted in 1301, on the feast of St. Faith, to the prior of Westacre for ever, who covenanted to pay 30s. per ann. for the same to the convent of Castleacre. (fn. 9)
In the 3d and 9th of Edward II. this was possessed by Richard Atte Green, who had the assise of bread and beer, and other royalties; and in the 20th of Edward III. John Atte Greene, John le Donne, and their parceners, were found to hold one fee in this town, and Fransham, of the heirs of John de Gatesend, and he of the Earl Warren, which William le Boteler formerly held.
This came afterwards to the Finchams. William Fincham of Rougham, by his will dated August 7, 1461, bequeaths his body to be buried in the church of Rougham, by Margaret his late wife, and gives to Marianne his wife all his utensils; (fn. 10) to Edward his son 200 sheep: to his sons, John Fincham, clerk, and Thomas, the residue of all his goods, appoints his wife and son John executors, with his sons Edmund and Thomas.
Edmund Fincham, his son, desires by his will, bearing date August 12, 1471, to be buried in the south porch of this church, that William, and Robert his sons after the death of Margaret his wife, have his messuage, called Barker's, in Wesenham, and died lord of Grenes-Hall, as then called. (fn. 11)
The Yelvertons seems to be the next lords of it. William Yelverton, Esq. was possessed of it, and his son Henry, in the 32d of Elizabeth: in this family it remained, and being united to the manor of Rougham abovementioned, passed with that as is there observed.
In the 3d of Edward III. William de Brisingham, and Clement de Cressingham, were found to hold lordships here under the Earl Warren, and to have assise of bread and beer and other royalties of their tenants; and in the 14th of that King, Alice, widow of Clement, son of Laurence de Cressingham Magna, impleaded John de Cressingham, son of Laurence, for her dower, her third part in 7 messuages, 64 acres of land, 9 of heath, 10s. ob. rent, and a windmill in this town.
Fulke de Brisingham, and John de Cressingham, were returned as lords in the 9th of Edward II. and the said John, with Amicia his wife, settled by fine in the 15th of the said reign, on David Donne of Snetesham, John, son of Alice Mecke of Bircham Tofts, this lordship, and on the heirs of John, remainder to Geffrey son of Alice, in tail to Richard, son of Alice, after the heirs of David; and in the first year of Henry IV. Ralph Bedingham, and Edward Hunt, chaplain, were found to hold one Knight's fee with their parceners in this town and Fransham of the heirs of John Cudsden, and he of the Earl of Warren's fee, now of the dutchy of Lancaster.
Godric farmed or kept a lordship in this town belonging to the Conqueror, Alwin, a freeman, had a carucate and an half in King Edward's time, with 7 villains, and after 3, always valued at 3s. then 3 carucates in demean, at the survey none, but four might be restored, then one carucate amongst the men, afterwards none, but it might be restored, &c. 14 socmen belonged to it with a carucate and half of land, and 2 villains, with 4 borderers, then 2 carucates and a half, afterwards 2, and the half might be restored.
After that, Ralph (viz. Waiher Earl Warren) had it, and on his forfeiture Godric then held it, when it was valued at 60s. per ann. was 7 furlongs long and 6 broad, and paid 20d. gelt. (fn. 12)
This lordship which was held by Stigand the Archbishop, with that of Mileham, in the Confessor's time, was granted soon after this account of it in the survey, with that of Mileham, to Alan, son of Flaald, by William the Conqueror, (fn. 12) from whom descended the noble family of the Fitz Alans Earls of Arundel, of whom see in Mileham; and in the 3d of Edward I. it was found to be in the said family, lords also of Mileham, who had the assise of bread and beer, and other royalties in this town: in the 14th of Richard II. John de Cressingham was found to hold lands of the Earl of Arundel, and in the 13th of Henry VI. the Earl of Arundel held it of the King in capite: this came into the Yelverton family, and was conveyed with the manor of Rougham.
Hermerus de Ferrarijs had a small lordship, as we find in Domesday Book, possessed by Fulbert, to which there belonged a carucate then, but at the survey only half a carucate, but the other half might be recovered, valued at 10s. per ann. the soc was in Muleham (Mileham,) and belonged then to the King; (fn. 13) Fulbert was lord in his own right, in King Edward's time, (fn. 14) and now held it under Hermerus, who was ancestor of the lords Bardolf of Wirmegay, of whom see there.
Sir Pain de Tiptoft, Knt. was of lord it, and enfeoft John, son of John de Drayton, therein, and one of the same name held it in or about Edward the Third's time, by the tenth part of a fee, of the Lord Bardolf.
By the inquisitions taken at Walsingham before Edmund Oldhall, in the first year of Henry IV. John Yelverton and Ralph Bedingham were found to be seized of the third part of a fee, held then as it is said, of the manor of Horesford; this also was united, and passed as before; and at the said time the heirs of Jeffrey Brusyerd held the 4th part of a fee of the Lord Bardolf.
Alan Earl of Richmond had a manor in Mileham, which extended into this town, and in the 3d of Henry IV. Ralph de Bedingham and John Yelverton held it by the third part of a fee, which was held in the 8th of Edward I. (fn. 15) with other lands in Mileham Lyng, &c. by one fee and an half, and by a quarter of a fee, paying 25s. per ann. to the ward of Richmond castle: of this see before in Godric's manor.
William, son of Walter de Rucham, granted to Castleacre priory half an acre in Sterille. William, son of Yruei de Rucham half an acre at Grenegate. William de Curcun, son of Ralph de Curcun, confirmed to that house, a tenement which Walter son Yruei gave to Roger Dussing when he espoused Leveva, daughter of William Yruei, and 4 acres which Roger, son of Thorald held. (fn. 16)
William, son and heir of Alexander de Rucham, by the advice of his mother Ismana, and Richard his brother, gave lands: witness Reiner de Dunton, then steward to the Earl Warren, Mr. Ralph de Harpele, Mr. Edmund de Massingham, Philip de Burnham, &c. with many others were benefactors, by their deeds sans date; all which coming to the Crown on the dissolution of that priory, it seems to be granted to Robert Hogan, who held lands here in capite of King Henry VIII. in his 35th year, by the 20th part of a fee, Thomas, prior of Castleacre, granted by fine to that King in his 29th year.
The Church was dedicated to St. Mary, and being a rectory appropriated to the priory of Westacre, a vicarage was settled valued at 11 marks, the rectory at 30 marks, the vicarage was in the presentation of the said convent, and paid Peter-pence 20d.
Simon de Wanton Bishop of Norwich confirmed in 1265, to the prior of Castleacre two parts of the tithes of the demean formerly of Hugh de Folkinton, and a moiety of all the tithes of the demeans formerly of Julian, daughter of William Fitz Richard de Wyrmell, at that time the demean of William Boteler and his men.
Henry, prior of Westacre, had confirmed to him the appropriation of this church first appropriated by Ralph Walpole Bishop of Norwich, in Edward the First's time, confirmed also by his immediate sucessour, John Slamon: (fn. 17) the bull of Pope Nicholas is cited, wherein it is set forth that the monastery of Westacre had been lately burnt down, and therefore the Bishop gave license in 1303, and a composition was then made, that the vicar should have all the mortuaries, 4 quarters of corn, 2 of wheat and 2 of barley, the herbage of the churchyard, and the chapel annexed.
In the 2d of Elizabeth the impropriate rectory, which on the dissolution of Westacre priory came to the Crown, was granted July 8, to Richard Nichols; the present valor of the vicarage is 28s. 5d. and the patronage is in the Crown, and pays no first-fruits or tenths.
On a gravestone at the east end of the chancel, the effigies of a man between his two wives; under his first wife, on his right hand, the portraitures of 10 children in brass, and under the other 6 children; the plate whereon was the epitaph is torn off, but by the arms it appears to be—In memory of William Yelverton, Esq; and his two wives, Anne, daughter of Farmer, and Jane, daughter of Cocket, over him, on a plate, the arms of Yelverton, argent, three lioncels, rampant, and a chief gules; over his first wife Fermour, argent, on a saltier, azure, between four lions heads erased gules, a martlet between four bezants or, on a chief of the 2d an ancher between two pallets of the 4th; and over his 2d wife per bend, argent, and sable, three lis in bend counterchanged, Cocket, quartering in the 2d place, sable, a griffin segreant in an orle of martlets, argent, Fragmere; in the 3d argent, fess between six oaken leaves, Fitz Langley; in the 4th fess between three talbots passant, in the 5th, argent, on a bend, between two lions rampant, sable, a cockatrice, or wivern, of the first, Ruding; 6th as the first.
Here lies interred Sir John Bladwell, the eldest son of William Bladwell of Swanington, Esq; of that antient family; he was a loyal subject, a faithful friend a good neighbour, truly just, and wisely charitable, he loved the church and her well composed liturgy, and was a constant receiver of holy communion; he endowed the vicarage of this town with a good house and some land adjoyning to it: he left this world the 14th of October, in the year of his age 64, and of our Lord 1680.
Christe precor vere mi Willelmi misereri, Mater Alma Dej Rogo Yelverton misereri, Consortisq sue Yelverton (fn. 18) olim Katerine, Armigeriq Edwardi quondam pro Corpore Quarti Obt. 9 die Julij, Ao. a nativitate Christi 1481, Jesu mercy, lady help.
In the east window is the figure of a crucifix with the Virgin and
St. John the Evangelist, and beneath it a woman on her knees,
Pries pur L'ame - - - - - - - - -; there are small shields on the side of it—sable, or, and a chief gules - - -, and - - - - - a tower with escallops.
On the desk, a chevron between three chessrooks, - - - - - - -, three cinquefoils, probably Lord Bardolf, Yelverton's arms, and Brews; argent, a lion rampant, crowned and crucily of cross croslets, or, impaling, a lion rampant and semy of cinquefoils.
It appears that there was formerly a north isle to the church, and on the south side of the church there is a library built up by the late Mr. North, and furnished with books by his own and other benefactions.
Rough or Row gives names to several towns, to this and one in Suffolk, &c. and to an hamlet called Rougholm or Rowholm in Gressenhall, to Rowhampton in Surrey, to Roughton or Rowston in Lincolnshire, &c.