An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Lies west of Santon, in the south part of the hundred, where it is divided from Suffolk by the Little Ouse; part of it was given to the monastery of Ely, in the time of King Edgar, by Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 1) But at the the general Survey by the Conqueror, this part was then the lordship of William Earl Warren, and contained five carucates, which nine freemen held in the Confessor's time, (of the church of Ely,) two of which carucates, and the third part of the rest, Waseline and Osward held, the whole being valued at 50s. per annum. (fn. 2)
Another part belonged to the Conqueror's own manor of Methwold, then in the custody of William de Noiers, (fn. 3) which, in the Confessor's time, belonged to Stigand Archbishop of Conterbury, viz two carucates, &c. The whole is there said to be one league and half in breadth, and paid 14d. gelt, and is wrote Wetinge, that is, [..], a watery meadow, as lying in a bottom, and having a large tract of low ground adjoining to the Ouse, often surcharged with water.
Soon after the Survey, that part also which was held by the King came into the hands of the Earl Warren, and the whole town was held of those lords by the ancient and noble family of De-Plaiz, of which family was
In the beginning of the reign of Henry III. Hugh de Plaiz was lord; he married first Philippa, daughter and coheir of Richard de Monte-Fixo, (or Montfichet, a powerful baron, and afterwards Beatrix de Say, widow of Hugh de Nevill; and in the 24th year of the aforesaid King, there was an action of divorce depending between this Hugh and Beatrix, when the King ordered her 20l. per annum out of the lands of Hugh de Nevill in Sussex. (fn. 4) The said Hugh after this married a third wife, for in the 40th of the aforesaid King, Alice, widow of Sir Hugh de Plaiz, released her right she had in dower, in the third part of this manor, (fn. 5) and those of Feltwell, Tofts, Brisley, &c. in Norfolk, to
Rich. de Plaiz, son (as I take it) of Sir Hugh, by Philipps, his first wife, which Richard died in 53d Henry III. seized of this manor. (fn. 6)
In the third year of King Edward I. the heirs of Richard de Plaiz were found to hold this town of the Earl Warren, and the Earl in capite, and to have the assize of bread and beer in the same; and in his 15th year, (fn. 7)
Giles de Plaiz was under age, and the Queen's ward: (fn. 8) and being knighted, was in the 22d of the said King summoned as a baron to attend the King on the first of Sept. at Portsmouth, in order to sail into Gascoyne, to recover his inheritance; and the said Sir Gyles died in 31st Edward I.
Richard, son of Sir Giles, proved his age in the 10th Edward II. and had livery of his lands, and in the 1st of King Edward III. was found to hold two parts of this manor, the other part being in the Prior of Bromhill, with a fishery here. (fn. 9)
And in 25th of Edward III. Richard his son was lord; he gave to the abbey of St. Mary at Stratford, all his tenements in East and West-Ham, in Essex, (fn. 10) and died beyond sea, in the 34th of the said King, leaving Mary his widow, the daughter of Sir Walter de Norwich, and
John, his son, of the age of 18 years. In the 40th Edward III. the said John was a knight. In the 5th Richard II. he lent the King 20l. towards his wars, (fn. 11) and in the 9th of that King, attended John Duke of Lancaster in his expedition into Spain, and died in the 13th year of the same King. The said Sir John was the last heir male of this family, leaving only one daughter,
Margaret, married to Sir John Howard, ancestor to the Duke of Norfolk; his will is dated on Thursday before the Feast of St. John Baptist, 1385, at Ocle-Magna in Essex, and was proved on the 16th of July, 1389. (fn. 12) "He bequeaths his body to be buried in the priory of Bromhill, to which house he gives his whole suit of vestments, a cup and thurible of silver, two vials, an incense boat, and an osculatory of silver gilt; to the prior and convent of Walsingham, his red vestment, and x. marks of silver; to the prior and convent of Bromholm, his black vestment and x. marks of silver; to the abbess and convent of Marham, to the prioress and convent of Wykes, to the prioress and convent of Heningham, to the prioress and convent of Thetford, and to the prior and convent of Ingham, 25l. viz. to each house, 100s. sterling; to the repair of every church in his patronage, 40s.; to the church of St. Mary at Feltwell, that of Toftrys, Chelesworth, and Stanstead-Montfychet, 4l. viz. to each 20s. and to Sir William, parson of the church of Knapton, 20l. of silver; to Sir John Lincoln, clerk, Simon Barret, Sir John, vicar of Wyndesore, Sir William, parson of the church of St. Mary of Weting, Sir John Hoo, his chaplain, and John Saustin, 30l. of silver, viz. to each 100s.; to all the houses of Fryers Mendicants in the county of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire, to every house 5 marks; to Joan his wife all his wardrobe, and all his silver vessels, with all his other utensils and ornaments, belonging to his house, not before bequeathed, with all other his goods and chattells in his manors of Knapton, Toftrys, and Chelesworth; to Sir William Beauchamp, and Sir John Marmion, Knts. to each a silver cup with a cover, to be made new, weighing 10lb. in gross; to Sir Stephen Hales, John de Burgh, Richard de Sutton, Knts. and Edmund Gurnay, to each of them a new cup to be made of silver, with a cover, each of the weight of 10 marks in gross: to his son John Houward, (Howard) all his armour and furniture of war; to the prisons of Newgate and Ludgate in London, Norwich, Colchester, Hertford, and Cambridge, 6l. viz. 20s. to each, to be distributed among the prisoners there; and the residue of his goods and chattells (after his debts are paid and legacies are discharged,) to be applied as his executors shall see most expedient, for some priest to pray for his soul, the souls of his father and mother, and all the faithful deceased; and he makes Joan his wife, Sir John de Burgh, Sir Richard de Sutton Knts. Henry, parson of Foulmer, William, parson of the church of Knapton, John Hoo, his chaplain, John Wyghton, and Robert Hamund, is executors." (fn. 13) (fn. 14) (fn. 15)
Sir John Howard, by Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John de Plaiz, had a son, John Howard, Esq. who dying in 1410, left Elizabeth, his daughter and heir, married to John Vere Earl of Oxford, whose grandson, John Earl of Oxford, dying without issue, this manor fell to his three sisters and coheirs; Elizabeth, married to Sir Anthony Wingfield of Letheringham in Suffolk; Dorothy, to John Nevill Lord Latimer; and Ursula, to Sir Edward Knightley, which Ursula dying without issue, one part of the town was vested in the Lord Latimer, and the other in the Wingfields; (fn. 16) and in 1558,
Sir Robert Wingfield, son and heir of Sir Anthony, had livery of his moiety, (fn. 17) which was divided into many parcels by him and his heirs: about the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the Wingfields sold the remaining part of their moiety to
The Lords Latimer held not their moiety so long; in 1572, Thomas Dobbs, Gent. enjoyed it; soon after, it was conveyed to George Fowler, Esq. of Bromehill, who was lord 26th Elizabeth and died in 1613, (as appears from the Register,) lord and patron of both Wetings, and his grandson, George Fowler, conveyed the right of patronage of both the churches in this town to
The Master and Fellows of Caius college in Cambridge; and for certain considerations, tied this manor, with the annual payment of 100l. to the said college. After the Fowlers, it was held by the Tyrrells, and from them it passed to the Lord Allyngton.
Stood about a mile south-east of the town, in the parish of Weting, on the north side of, and very near to, the present farm-house called Bromhill-House, which arose out of the ruins of the said priory; where are many foundations of walls, &c. to be seen, as is the site of the conventual church, which was a long narrow building. Here several stone coffins have been dug up within a few years. As the laity was superstitiously fond of being buried (in that age) in conventual churches, so no doubt, many considerable persons were here interred, besides the Plaizes, the founders and patrons of it. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Thomas the Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, for canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, and founded (as I take it) by Sir Hugh de Plaiz, in or about the reign of King John, for in the 7th of King Henry III. a fair was granted to the Prior, &c. (fn. 18) to be held on the 7th of July, the translation day of Thomas Becket; and in the following year, the Prior is said to have a mercate here, of both which he was disseized by the Duke of Lancaster, who afterwards granted them to the Corporation of Thetford, (fn. 19) who now  are lords of the fair.
The common seal, as affixed to a deed, dated in the priory of Bromhill, on Thursday the Feast of the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr, in the year 1331, 5th Edward III. is now  in the hands of Mr. Thomas Martin of Palgrave, and is oblong, of green wax, representing (as it seems) the mitre of a bishop, over it a crescent, and under it a star.
At this time the convent (as it appears) had license from John Earl of Oxford, then patron, to proceed to an election, and Ramsay had a letter, from the Earl to the Bishop of Norwich, to admit him. In this Prior's time there seem to be but three canons in this house; for Philip Martyn, Vicar of Croxton, by his will dated 16th Nov. 1459, (fn. 20) leaves to the Prior 3s. 4d. and to the three canons of that house, viz. to each 20d.
William Barlow, alias Finch, occurs in 1525, and was the last Prior; he was first a canon regular of St. Osith in Essex, Prior of Tiptre and Lees in Essex, Haverford-West in Pembrokeshire, and of Bisham in Berkshire, rector of Cressingham-Magna in Norfolk, and afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph, St. David's, Bath and Wells, and Chichester.
The Founder endowed this house with a moiety of the manor of Weting, (fn. 21) and in the Sd Edward I. the Prior was returned as lord of the same, (fn. 22) and with the moiety of the town of Croxton; Sir Richard de Playz, in or about the year 1349, gave them the rectory of Croxton, which was appropriated in 1401.
In the 24th Henry III. a fine was levied between Geffrey Prior, petent, and Warine Fitz-Gerald, of a rent of mixtling and barley, which the Prior was used to have, of Henry, son of Gerald, father of Warine. (fn. 23)
In the 29th Henry III. Hugh, son of Hugh de Playz, gave them lands and liberties in Wetynge and Croxton, and 19th April, 1270, Richard de Longden gave 6 marks, and a fen at Eastmore in BartonBendish. Tho. de Ickworth, son of Sir Richard de Ickworth, gave, by deed sans date, to this priory, 21 acres of land in Ickworth, Suffolk, and it appears from a Register of Bury abbey, that the Prior held one messuage, 58 acres and an half of land there, 50 in pure alms, and 6 acres of the heirs of William de Neketon, at 6d. per annum, and two acres and an half of Ralph, son of Ralph, at 3d. per annum. In the reign of Edw. III. the Prior was taxed at 36s. 8d. for his lands here, and 6s. for lands at Wangford in Suffolk. (fn. 24)
14th Edward I. Cecilia, wife of John de Rungton-Holme gave them lands in Barton-Bendish. (fn. 25)
21st Edward I. John, son of Simon Fulcher, gave lands in Methwold, and in that year, John de Brampton, and Alice his wife, gave 60 acres of land in Methwold; and in 2d Edward II. they gave them more land in the said town.
45th Edward III. William Smith of Weting, and William Attemore, gave to the Prior one messuage, and 46 acres of land, two of meadow, and a fishery at Bernham, and lands, &c. in Threkeston, by the King's license. (fn. 26)
48th Edward III. the Prior had license to receive and hold in mortmain an annual rent of 20l. out of the manor of Weting, given them by Sir John de Plaiz; the said Knight also gave them the manor of East-Hall in Feltwell.
King Richard II. in the 9th year of his reign, gave them the church of Abingdon in Northamptonshire, and in the 15th year of that King, they had license to hold the aforesaid manor of Feltwell in mortmain. (fn. 27)
In 1428, this house was taxed for temporalities in BukenhamParva, at 6d. and the whole tax of their spiritualities and temporalities in the said year was 38l. 1s. 6d. tenths, 3l. 16s. 1d. ob. (fn. 28)
This priory fell before the general Dissolution, by a bull of Pope Clement VII. dated May 14, 1528, and on the 16th of Sept. following it was accordingly suppressed by Dr. Stevens, Dr. Lee, Master Tho. Cromwell and Mr. Tho. Rush, the King's Serjeant, (fn. 29) and John de Vert Earl of Oxford, then patron, released the said priory the same year to Cardinal Woolsey, to whom the King had granted it, on Dec. 30, with the manors of Bromhill, Croxton, Otringhith, Rungton-Holme, Eastmore, Methwold, East-Hall in Feltwell, a mill in Weting, and 20l. rent issuing out of the manor of Weting, the rectory and advowson of Croxton, together with all the messuages, lands and tenements belonging to the said priory, lying in Bromehill, Brandon, Croxton, Methwold, Rungton-Holme, Eastmore, Hockwold, Witton Lownham, Fordham, Bokenham, Tottington, Grimston, Waynsforth, Feltwell, Weting, Oteringhith, Moundford, Fouldon, Dudlington, Colveston, Barton-Bendish, and Rungton in Norfolk, and in Burnham by Thetford, Ickworth, and Mitdenhall in Suffolk. But soon after, on the Cardinal's præmunire, the said grant was re-assumed, and on his attainder, all the aforesaid premises were granted, Jan. 2d, 23d Henry VIII. to the Master and Fellows of Christ's college in Cambridge, by way of exchange for the manor of Royden in Essex and Hertfordshire. (fn. 30)
A modern author (fn. 31) calls this a monastery of Benedictines, and asserts that King Henry VIII. sold the site and lands to Sir Thomas Woodhouse of Waxham, but with what justice may be seen above; of a like mistake is the author of the Antiquitates Britannicæ guilty, (fn. 32) who observes, that the King suppressed this house on account of the crimes and demerits of the Prior and Canons, proved on them before the Bishops of Rochester, Salisbury, and Norwich, and declared them, in 1524, forfeited to the Exchequer, with all their revenues and farms, and that the Master and Fellows of St. John's college in Cambridge obtained of the King and the Pope the said priory and its revenne: and under the same charge lies Fuller, (fn. 33) in saying the exchange between the college and the King was in the reign of King Edward VI.
In the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. the Fowlers, who had a considerable estate in Weting, held this by lease from Christ's college, a family of good account, as will appear from the following pedigree.
Afterwards, this farm was held by the Pecks, Shadwells, and Tooks, and Tho. Shadwell, Esq. poet laureat, is said to be born here; it is at present  held by Gregory Coppinger, Gent. by lease of the aforesaid college.
This church stands at the north-east part of the town; it has a nave, and a north isle, covered with lead, and a chancel that is thatched, all built of flint stones, boulder, &c. At the west end of the nave stands an old wooden shod, or bellfry, in which hang four bells; the second is thus inscribed,
The nave is about 41 feet in length, and 33 in breadth, including the north isle; the roof of the nave is of oak, and the principals are supported by figures of religious persons, now sadly defaced. At the west end of the nave, on the pavement, are two bells, removed hither on the fall of the church of St. Mary of Weting.
The chancel is parted from the nave by a wooden screen; on the pannels have been the figures of saints, &c. painted: it is in length about 29 feet, and 17 in breadth. On the pavement at the west end lies a grave-stone with this inscription,
Here lyeth the Body of Francis Hobman, (fn. 36) Waiting for the promis'd Resurrection, He was Rector of both the Churches of Weting, He dy'd Anno Dni: 1669, aged 74.
Near the centre of the pavement lies a marble stone, with Wright's arms impaling arg. two pallets az. on each three flowers-de-lis of the first, on a chief of the second, a lion passant of the first, and thus inscribed,
Here lyeth the Body of Anna-Maria Wright, late Wife of Deputy John Wright of London Woolen-Draper, and Daughter of Nathaniel Smith of Barnwell, in the County of Northampton, Esq. who departed this life, the 19 of May 1714, in the sixty second Year of her Age. Here also lieth the Body of Mr. John Wright, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, who died the 14 of September 1728, aged 83 Years.
On the said pavement lies also, an old grave-stone, with a cross flory, in a circle on the summit of a staff, in memory, most likely, of some rector; and near the south wall, at the east end of the chancel, is another old grave-stone, with a cross pattee cut on the head of a staff, probaby in memory (it being the insignia) of a knight Templar.
Crosses were very anciently fixed or carved on monuments or gravestones; (fn. 37) amongst the laws of Keneth King of Scotland, who flourished about 840, we meet with this, "Esteem every sepulchre or gravestone sacred, and adorn it with the sign of the cross, which take care you do not so much as tread on," but the fathers, for that very reason, forbid it to be placed on any grave-stone.
In the middle window of the chancel, on the south side, is Howard's shield. Weaver tells us, (fn. 38) that in the south window of the church of Wetinge St. Mary was the portraiture of Sir John Howard, who married Margaret, the heir of Plaiz, in a supplicant posture, on his surtout the arms of Howard, by him also the said arms, and those of Plaiz. I am inclined to believe that the figure was in this window. There was also anciently in the east window of the chancel the shield of Howard. (fn. 39)
1333, 22 March, Thomas de Methelwold, he was LL D. in 1344, (fn. 40) collated to the archdeaconry of Sudbury, 8th Decem. 1349.
1435, 14 Jan. Will. Ostelyn, on the death of John Gibbs. Ditto. About this rector's time, in the year 1448, there was a gild in this church, called the gild of St. Mary. (fn. 41)
1458, 27 Oct. Jeffry Byshop, by his will, proved 20th Dec. 1463, desired to be buried in the choir of his own church. (fn. 42) Ditto.
John Holibread, S. T. P. alias John Stokes. He was installed prebendary of the fifth stall in the church of Norwich, and resigned in 1565. Magister Joh. Holibrede, Sacre Theol. Professor, presbyter, non conjugatus, doctus, non residet, non hospitalis, - - - prædicat, licentiatus, tria. (fn. 43)
1571, 27 June, Henry Leader, A. M. on the death of the last rector. Sir Robert Wingfield, Knt. Afterwards he occurs as instituted 6th Dec. in the said year, presented by John Nevill Lord Latimer, lord of the moiety of the manor.
1588, 28 Dec. Henry Bury, on the death of Leader. Thomas Wright, on the grant of a presentation from Sir Robert Wyngfield, Knt. and Anthony Wyngfield, Esq. to Henry Warner, Esq. Bury was vicar of Sporle and rector of Hale.
1600, 25 June, Anthony Rouse. Agnes Wright and Thomas Wright, by grant of the presentation from Sir Robert Wyngfield, Knt. &c. He was buried 13th June 1631. In his answer to King James's queries in 1603, he says there were 104 communicants here.
1637, 8 Nov. Francis Hobman, S.T.B. on the resignation of Adams. The master, fellows, &c. of Gonvile and Caius college in Cambridge. Probably the same person who was presented to Greenford-Parva, R. in Middlesex, in 1631. (fn. 44)
1683, 24 March, William Peters, A. M. on Wortley's resignation. Ditto. He was buried here 16 Sep. 1708, and left an estate at Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire, to Caius college, for exhibitions to poor scholars.
1709, 14 Apr. The Rev. Roger Hawys, A. M. (fn. 45) the present  rector, on the death of Peter's; he holds it united to St. Mary's. Ditto.
Weting St. Mary.
This church stood in the south part of the town, and is now in ruins, by the fall of the tower on it, about 40 years past; it was the neatest, the most regular, and modern church of the two, built of flint, chalk, &c. and consisted of a nave, about 35 feet in length, and (including the south isle,) about 31 in breadth, having on that side three neat arches, supported by pillars, formed of four pilasters united together. At the west end of the nave stood an handsome square tower of flint, with quoins, &c. of freestone, as appears from what is still remaining: the nave is divided from the chancel by a neat and lofty arch of stone work, still standing; the length of the chancel was about 33 feet, and the breadth about 18: the greatest part of the walls, both of the church and chancel is still standing, but the roof is totally decayed and gone. On the area of the chancel, now overgrown with nettles, &c. lies a marble grave-stone with these arms,
There were anciently in this church these arms: (fn. 46)
This church (or rather a portion of tithes in this parish) was given, as we read, (fn. 47) to the priory of Huntingdon in 1147, and 6s. per annum in Feltwell, by Hugh Plaiz, for that religious house was taxed for its portion in St. Mary Wetyng in 1428, at 8 marks, and the rector paid it to the said priory. (fn. 48) When Norwich Domesday Book was wrote, the Lady Alice de Plaiz was patroness of this church, and the rector had a house and 40 acres of land.
1571, 27 June, Henry Leader, A. M. on the death of the last rector; he had All-Saints. Sir Robert Wingfield. He was buried Dec. 1, 1588, in his own church; he occurs also instituted Dec. 5, 1571, on the presentation of John Dowby, Gent. on a grant for that turn from the Lord Latimer, lord of a moiety of the town.
1588, John Lambert, S. T. B. on the death of Leader. In 1603, in his answer to King James's queries, he says there were 82 communicants in this parish. He was after rector of Duxford St. John in Cambridgeshire.
1651, 17 Sept. Francis Hobman, S. T. B. The Master, Fellows, &c. of Gonvile and Caius college in Cambridge, who are the present patrons. It hath been ever since held by union with Weting AllSaints, for which see p. 169.
This church is valued in the King's Books at 8l. 1s. 8d.; first-fruits were 7l. 5s. 6d. and tenths 16s. 2d.; but by the last Act of Queen Anne it is discharged from these, being sworn at 45l. per annum clear value.
John Miller, by will dated on Sunday before the Feast of St. Michael, 1473, desires to be buried in the isle of St. Mary's church, gives to St. Mary's gyld xx.s. to St. Bapt. gyld vi.s. viii.d. for a new rood-loft 40s. &c. (fn. 49)
2 Aug. 1584, buried Brigid, wife of George Fowler of Bromehill, Esq. 25 Aug. 1585, James, son of George Fowler of Bromehill. 2 April, 1613, George Fowler, Esq. of Bromehill, lord and patron of both Weetings, aged 69. 25 May, 1614, John, son of Rowland and Ann Fowler of Bromehill, Gent. 29 Nov. 1619, Astley, son of Rowland and Ann Fowler, Esq. 5 June, 1627, Rowland, son of Rowland Fowler, Esq. of Bromehill. 24 Jan. 1629, Brian Fowler, Gent. 13 June, 1631, Anthony Rous, rector, born July 6, 1551. 21 Oct. 1637, Rowland Fowler, Esq. 21 Nov. 1650, Mrs. Ann Fowler. 23 Nov. 1669, Francis Hobman, rector. (fn. 50)
In a close adjoining to the east end of the churchyard of Weting All-Saints are to be seen great and venerable ruins of a large square castle, built of flint stone, &c. and has been moated round; at one corner is a rising hill, where probably stood the keep; this castle was the seat of the family of De-Plaiz.
About two miles eastward of the town, and in this parish, are those entrenchments or holes called Grime's-Graves, of which we have treated in the account of the hundred; and between the town and that place are several tumuli.
On the west side of the town, from the edge of the fen, arises a bank or ditch, which runs some miles, and parts Weting from Wilton and Feltwell, called the Foss; and in the fields of Weting, north of the town, is a green-way, called Walsingham-Way, used (as it is said) by pilgrims in their way to the Lady of Walsingham, a madona of such high repute, that the Galaxia, or Milky-Way, was called by people of those parts the Walsingham-Way, as pointing to that angle; here was formerly a stone cross, now broke into two pieces, commonly called, the Stump Crosses.