An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1810.
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The abbot of St. Bennet's manors of Honing, and Netesherd, seem to extend at the survey into this town; he had the patronage of the church; Maud, wife of Robert Seleni, held lands here of the abbot, which paid 30s. rent per ann. and with lands in Berton, (Turf) made the fifth part of a fee, as appears from their Register. (fn. 1)
At the Dissolution it does not appear to be conveyed, as far as I find to the see of Norwich, though the right of patronage came undoubtely on that exchange to the Bishop of Norwich, who is patron of the rectory at this time.
Another lordship was also in this town, in the reign of the Confessor, in the said abbey, which was granted to it by King Canute on his foundation thereof, as an appendix to Honing, and contained 2 carucates of land held by 4 villains, and 5 borderers; and there was one carucate in demean, and one among the tenants, with 2 acres of meadow, valued at 20s. at the Conquest it was granted to Alan Earl of Richmond, who was lord of it at the survey. (fn. 2)
In 1299, Nicholas, abbot of St. Bennet, granted license to Sir Reginald le Gross and Margery his wife to have a free chantry in their oratory of their manor of Irsted, by reason of the distance from the parish church, with a salvo for the rights of the said church; this family of Le Gross seem to have held it of the honour of Richmond, belonging to the Earls of Richmond; and in the 9th of Edward II. the abbot, Reginald le Gross, and Jeffrey Wythe were returned to have lordships here. Oliver le Groos and Alianore his wife held it in the 20th of that King, Oliver Groos, Esq. by his will in 1439, gives to John his son his manor of Irsted, (fn. 3) called Netherhall, late Merkes, and proved in 1453.
John Groos, Esq. made his will at Irstead, March 1, 1487, and bequeathed his body to be buried in the church of St. Laurence in Norwich, in the south ele, wills a priest to pray for him, his wief, fader, and mader, and his fader Sir John Heveningham and Elizabeth his wief, whose daughter Margaret he married, and gives to her, his manors, &c. in Irsted called Overhall, and Netherhall, Yemes in Westwick, Erpinham, and Gayngs; also those of Illyngton, Squenyngton, and Thurning, &c. for her lief, and after her decease, and the issue of his body; remainder to Sir Henry Heydon, on certain conditions, a quere may be made if this was not rather in Worstede, see there.
In the 32d of Henry VIII. Sir Richard Southwell, Knt. and Thomasine his wife conveyed by fine to Anthony Gourney, Esq. the manor of Irstede with lands in Barton, Netesherd, Samlburgh, &c. and the said Anthony died lord on January 4, in the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, whose son Francis dying before him, left a son Henry, by his wife Helen, daughter of Robert Holditch of Ranworth, who was heir to his grandfather, aged 7 years, which Henry is said to hold his manor of the Bishop of Norwich.
The Church is dedicated to St. Michael, and is a rectory, valued at 12 marks; in the reign of Edward I. when the rector had a manse, and 7 acres of land, the abbot of Holme was patron, and had a portion of tithe, valued at one mark, and Peter-pence 8d.
The abbot erected a wooden bar in the water between this town and Tunsted, whereby the passage of boats, &c. was stopped, and the sheriff had orders to remove it, in the 18th of Edward I. at the abbot's costs; that the boats, &c. might pass under the bridge of Warthford.
William de Redham, rector of this church, impleaded the abbot of Holm, (fn. 4) for the tithe of the lands of Sir Stephen de Redham, brother of William, and it was adjudged to the abbot, by the abbot of Colchester, delegated by the Bishop on this account.