An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
This town lies north of Hockwold and Wilton, and was given by Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester, in the reign of King Edgar, to the monastery of Ely; (fn. 1) in Domesday it is wrote Fatwella, and Feltwella, and may derive its name from [feot] and wella, that is, a pure water, or spring, or rather from the Saxon word [fleot], which signifies an estuary, canal, or bay, all which agree well with the site of this village, on the side of those great waters which came up to it, before the draining of the fens.
In the time of Leofwine, fifth Abbot of Ely, (fn. 2) when the tenures and services of several townships belonging to that monastery were fixed, this was obliged to furnish the abbey with provisions for two weeks in every year; the Abbot had 45 socmen, who, as often as he commanded, were obliged to plough his land, to weed, cut, and bind his corn, and carry it to the barn, and bring provisions to the monastery; and as often as the Abbot wanted their horses, to send them to him; and whenever they forfeited, the Abbot had the forfeitures; but on the Conquest, the Earl Warren encroached on many of these privileges, and deprived the monastery of a considerable part of the town.
What the church of Ely held at the general survey is thus accounted for: four carucates in demean, 30 acres of meadow, &c; the village is said to be one league and half in length, and one in breadth, and paid 30d. ob. gelt, and was valued at 12l. per annum. (fn. 3)
Bishop of Ely's Manor.
This part was held by all the succeeding Abbots, till the reign of King Henry I. at which time the monastery of Ely being turned into a bishop's see; this manor, with many others, was vested in the Bishop, and accordingly in 35th Henry III. the Bishop of Ely had a charter for free-warren in all his lands here, and was found to hold the manor of the King in capite. (fn. 4)
In 1277, 6th Edw. I. there was an extent of this manor, in which it is said, upon the oaths of Nicholas Townshead, (ad capud ville,) Nicholas Ingelond, &c. tenants then upon the jury, that the Bishop (Hugh de Balsham) had a gallows, pillory, view of frankpledge, connusance of bushels, &c. and liberty to hold all pleas which the sheriff might, with writ or without. (fn. 5) The demeans are thus distinguished: in Suthfeld 40 acres and an half, in Portegatefeld 121 acres, in Estfeld 140 acres, in Mikeleberedfeld 217 acres, in Loverkehilfeld 173 acres and an half, the whole being to be ploughed with three ploughs; to every plough there was three stone-horses and two oxen, and two horses to harrow the land. In Hickegate, &c. 60 acres of mowing meadows, in the several pastures in Hickegate 40 acres, capable of mowing, in Frithelmes 30 acres. Item, there belongs to the same manor a certain common pasture, which begins at Lingberewong, and so on by Ellengate, to the bounds between Feltwell and Methwold, in length one league and more, and in breadth a good furlong, where the villages of Methwold, Wilton, and Hockwold have a right to common, and the other lords of this town, as the bishop and the lords of this town have a right to common in the common pastures of Methwold, Hockwold, and Wilton, horn, underhorn; (fn. 6) but no one ought or can dig, cut heath, &c. but the Bishop, and his tenants only. There was a marsh called Suthfen, common to all the lords, &c. in the town of Feltwell, for feeding, digging, &c. but the towns of Wilton and Hockwold could only intercommon within certain bounds, horn, underhorn. There was also another marsh belonging to this manor, called Northfen, in which the whole town might feed, dig, &c.; but the town of Methwold could only feed, unless between Slevesholm and Totesholm; though the jurors say, that the bailiffs of John Earl Warren, and the Countess his mother, hindered them from digging between Redlake and Wysenhe, for seven years last past. The free fishery of the Bishop, called Baldebeck, is bounded, which John Colston of Brandon then held, for 40s. per annum, at the lord's will; as is the fishery of Bruneslode, which Jeff. le Paumer, and Richard, son of Hamon, then held, at 8l. per annum, also that of Feltwell-Fen, which Rich. de Coldham and Richard Grut farmed, at 22l. per annum. There was also a watermill belonging to this lordship, called Brigge-Meln, which the whole village farmed at 32s. per annum, and a windmill. The stock was 20 cows and a free bull, 60 hogs and a free boar, 1000 sheep, besides those of the customary tenants, &c. which ought to be in the lord's fold; and the Bishop had all weifs found on his fee, or in the highways within the town. Humphry, son of Walter, and his parceners, held 360 acres free, the rest of the freeholders and copyholders, &c. with their rents, services, &c. are particularly specified. The tenants paid tallage, childwite, and a fine on the marriage of their sons and daughters, and could not sell an horse-foal, or an ox, of their own breed, without the lord's license, and the lord had the best beast for an heriot, and if there was no beast, then 32d. was paid in lieu of it, and the heir paid relief. The quitrents were 23s. 5d. per annum, 46 hens, and 9 capons, 210 eggs; and the whole sum of the days works 4348, by the small hundred, and every man's day's work, out of harvest, is valued at an halfpenny, and in harvest at a penny.
In 34th Henry VI. in an account of the lands of Will. Grey Bishop of Ely, this manor was valued at 36l. 3s. 3d. per annum, (fn. 7) but in the reign of King Philip and Queen Mary, the yearly revenue was but 29l. 10s. 9d. ob. Thus it continued in the see of Ely, till by an Act of Parliament in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, it was settled, by way of exchange, on the Crown, and was held by lease at the yearly rent of 30l. 1s. till the 7th James I. who on the 29th Nov. in the said year, granted to Robert Wace, Esq. this manor, with the appurtenances, and all perquisites of court thereunto belonging, since which time it has passed through several hands, and was possessed by Charles Wren, son of Mathew Bishop of Ely, whose daughter and heiress brought it to
South Hall Manor.
At the general survey, we find that the Earl Warren had a manor in this town, which Alveva, a Saxon lady, held in the Confessor's time, of St. Adeldred's monastery of Ely, viz. two carucates in de. mean, and three held by 40 socmen, valued at 70s. per annum, and Simon held one carucate, valued at 20s. per annum, there was a church belonging to it, which Godric claimed as belonging to the fee of Ralph. (fn. 8)
The Kokefelds were very early infeoffed in this lordship, by the Earl Warren, for in the 5th of King John, the Bishop of Ely and Adam de Kokefeld, owed to that King two palfreys, to have a mercate here, on such a day in the week which should not be to the prejudice of the neighbouring markets; (fn. 9) this, as I take it, was held in the reign of Henry III. by Laurence de Hamelden, and Joan his wife, of the family of the Cokefelds. In 3d of Edward I. Adam de Cokefeld was found to hold the fourth part of this town of the Earl Warren, who had a gallows, assize of bread and beer, &c. (fn. 10) And in the 15th of the said King, the jury say, that Robert de Cokefeld, son of Adam, claimed to hold a market here, once a week, on Monday, and a fair yearly on the vigil, the day of, and the day after, the Feast of St. Nicholas.
This Robert died 25th Edward I. seized of this manor, without issue, and Joan his sister was found his heir; this Joan was probably the wife of William de Bello Campo, or Beauchamp, who, in 7th of King Edward II. gave half a mark for license to agree with William de Wengrave, for the manors of Feltwell, with Multon, and Waldingfield in Suffolk, all held by Robert de Cokefeld; (fn. 11) and accordingly, in the same year, a fine was levied of this manor, and they were all settled on William Beauchamp, and Joan his wife, and the heirs of William, on the body of Joan, remainder to the right heirs of Joan.
In 25th Edward III. this manor, and that of Multon in Suffolk, &c. were settled by Sir John de Chyvereston, on himself for life, (fn. 12) remainder to Hugh de Chyvereston, and his heirs, being held by Sir William Beauchamp for life, of the castle of Acre, by one Knight's fee; the aforesaid Hugh was second son of Sir John, and marrying Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Roger de Rouhaut, assumed that sirname. After this, we find it in the hands of Elizabeth Lutterell, (fn. 13) who had a grant of free-warren here, and in Moulton, &c. about 47th Edward III. this Elizabeth was the relict of Sir Andrew Lutterell, and daughter of Hugh Courtney Earl of Devonshire, and of Margaret his wife, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun Earl of Hereford; she purchased this manor of Sir John de Chevereston, and in 6th Henry VI. Sir Hugh Lutterell died seized of the manor of Southall in Feltwell, and of Dunstar-Castle in Somersetshire, Moulton, Waldingfield, &c. in Suffolk, and John was found his son and heir, and Katherine, his wife was relict of Sir John Stretch. (fn. 14)
After this it came into the family of the Woodhouses, and was in that family in the 6th year of Queen Elizabeth, and continued so till about the year 1730, when it was sold to Mr. Brewster of Brandon in Suffolk.
Out of that part of the town which the Earl Warren held, besides the manor of South Hall, several other little lordships had their rise, amongst these was the lordship of Dunton, so called from a family of that name; Hugh, son of Alan of Dunton, purchased lands here of John Godging, and Sarah his wife, in 52d Henry III. and 11th Edward I. other lands of Hugh son of Martin Clive of Methwold, and Alice his wife; and in the 12th of that King, a fine was levied between the aforesaid Hugh, Ralph de Dunton, and Joan his wife, of lands and messuages here. (fn. 15) In 18th Edward III. Sir William de Doniton was lord. (fn. 16) After this it came to the Mundefords, and in 22d Richard II. a fine was levied between John de Mundeford of North Elmham, Eliza de Mundeford, John Brandon, &c. querents, and John Alyen and Agnes his wife, defendants, of the fourth part of the manor; (fn. 17) about the 20th of Queen Flizabeth, Francis Mundeford had livery of this manor, and those of Wendling-Abbots, and Spinvills in this town; (fn. 18) and on the 17th Dec. 1600, Edm. Mundeford, Esq. covenants with Sir Thomas Knevet to levy a fine of the aforesaid manors, 6 messuages, 633 acres of land, 100 of meadow, 180 of pasture, 200 of furze and heath, 100s. rent, and the liberty of 3 folds, with the appurtenances, here and in Hockwold, &c. in order for a jointure, which was afterwards levied. And on the death of Sir Edm. Mundeford, son of the aforesaid Edmund, in 1643, this and the aforesaid manors of WendlyngAbbots and Spinvills, came to Simon Smith of Winston in Norfolk, Gent. who married Elizabeth, sister, by the whole blood, to the said Sir Edmund, who died sans issue; from Smith it came to the Fleetwoods, and was possessed by Smith Fleetwood, Esq. son of Charles Fleetwood, Esq. and Frances, his wife, probably the daughter of Simon Smith, which Smith Fleetwood was baptized at Feltwell on the 29th of July, 1647, (fn. 19) and by Mary, daughter of Sir John Hartop, Bart. had Smith Fleetwood, Esq. his eldest son, and Charles Fleetwood, and by one of them it was sold to Robert Jacomb, Esq.
So called from a family of that name, was part of the Earl Warren's fee; William de Spyneville held half a fee of that Earl, when an aid was granted to King Henry III. on the marriage of his sister to the Emperor. (fn. 20) Afterwards it came to the Mundefords about the end of Edward III. and passed as has been observed in the manor of Dunton.
Was also part of the Earl Warren's fee, and held by Baldwin de Maners, in the reign of King Henry III.; after this it came to the abbey of Wendling in Norfolk, and by the inquisitions made in 90th Edward III. it appears that the Abbot of Wendling, the Lord William de la Zouche, and John de Tydd, held half a fee here of the Earl Warren, late Baldwin de Manners's. In this abbey it continued till the Dissolution, when it came to the Mundefords, and has passed as has been observed in the manor of Dunton.
East Hall, alias Bromhill Manor,
Was also a little lordship belonging to the Earl Warren's fee, and held of that Earl soon after the Conquest, by the ancient family of De Plays of Weeting, by the service of half a knight's fee; and Alice de Plays, widow of Sir Hugh de Plays, released in 40th Henry III. (fn. 21) the right that she had in the third part of this manor, to Richard de Plays, in 18 Edward II. (fn. 22) we find that there then belonged to this manor, 8 messuages, 300 acres of land, 8 acres of meadow, 60s. rent, with a fishery in Feltwell water, held of the castle of Acre. In 6th Richard II. Sir John Plays made several deeds of feoffment of this manor, to William Beauchamp, &c. in order to settle it on the priory of Bromhill; and in 25th of that King, there was license of mortmain granted. (fn. 23) In that house it remained till the Dissolution, and was then given by King Henry VIII. to Cardinal Woolsey, and on his attainder reverting to the Crown, it was granted to Christ's college in Cambridge, by way of exchange, (fn. 24) and in that college it still continues, and is leased out by the society.
Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, who was lord of Methwold, at the Conquest had 60 acres of land belonging to that manor, which extended into this town; (fn. 25) this, after the Conquest, was seized by the King, and at the survey was kept for him by Will. de Noiers, but soon after, the Conqueror gave it to the Earl Warren, and so it became part of his fee.
So called from a family of that name, was also a part of the Earl Warren's fee, being held, 20th Edward III. by John de Tydd, and soon after it came to the Mundefords, and passed as has been already observed in the manor of Dunton.
Besides the manors above-mentioned, Fotheringhay college in Northamptonshire had considerable lands here, part of which King Edward VI. by letters patents dated 8th June, in his seventh year, (fn. 26) granted license to Sir Richard Lee to alienate a moiety of Redmore, being a moiety of 164 acres lying in Feltwell, Helgay, and Southrey, in Norfolk, and Lakenheath in Suffolk, with the rights of fishery in those towns, and the moiety of all that lode called Barlode, and the moiety of 25 acres of marsh called Norlands, to Nich. Bacon, Esq.; and in 38th of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Robert Wingfield died seized of this moiety.
The other part was also held by Sir Richard Lee, and conveyed by him, in the first of Queen Mary (fn. 27) to Sir Ambrose Jermyn of Rushbrook in Suffolk; and on 1st Dec. 25th Elizabeth, Sir Robert Jermyn had license to alienate it to Henry Warner, Esq.; and on an inquisition taken 16th Oct. 21st Charles I. Henry Warner, Esq. was found to die possessed (as it is said) of the manor of Redmore, the whole, as I take it, being then in him, and Henry was his son and heir, aged 8 years.
The monks also of Castle-Acre had lands in this village: In 1265, Simon Bishop of Norwich confirmed to Castle-Acre priory, two parts of the tithes of the demeans of Will. de Spyncile. Adam de Cochefeld, by deed without date, about the reign of Henry III. gave to the Prior, &c. of Castle-Acre, for the health of his own soul, and that of Lucy his wife, and Aveline his mother, one toft in Feltwell, and all the land of Habbe, and a meadow thereto belonging, and also 23 acres of land of his demean. Witnesses, Rand. Marascall, Haymo Clerk of Feldewelde, &c. (fn. 28) And Alice de Kokefeld, for the health of her soul, that of the Earl Warren, and of her lord, Adam de Kokefeld, William de Crichetot, her brother, and Alan, her son, gave to the Prior, &c. of Castle-Acre, the yearly rent of 7s. out of lands which Roger, son of Aluric, held, together with the said Roger, and this with the consent of Adam her son, whom she appoints her heir, to inherit the said village after her death. Witnesses, Will. Fitz-Gilbert, Will. FitzPhilip, Ralph de Acra, Roger de Monte-Canisio, &c.
In 7th Richard I. (fn. 29) a fine was levied between Adam, son of Archard, and the monks of Acre, of 40 acres of land, conveyed to them; and this Priory was taxed in 1428, for their temporalities here, at 29s. 8d.
St. Nicholas's Church
Against the end of the nave is a little tower, round at bottom, and octangular at top, in which hang five small bells. This church was repaired, and in a good measure re-edified, in 1494: on 6th May in that year, an indulgence was granted for that purpose, (fn. 30) which, with the bells in the tower, was lately destroyed by a sudden fire.
Mr. Richard de Lynde occurs rector about 1290. (fn. 31) 1298, Bartholomew de Flixton, rector.
1561, John Crane, S.T.B. (fn. 32)
1585, 15 Apr. Thomas Thorne, on Heithe's resignation. The Queen. In his answer to King James's queries, he observes, that there were in 1603, 114 communicants in this parish. He was rector of Hemingston, and Cleydon in Suffolk.
Richard Davenport. He was ejected before 1650, by the Long Parliament, but lived to be restored. (fn. 33)
St. Mary's Church
Is a regular pile of flint, boulder, &c. consisting of a nave, a north and south isle, with a chancel covered with lead; the roof of the nave is of oak, on the principals of it are the effigies of several religious; the roof is supported by pillars formed of four pilasters of stone joined together, making ten handsome arches, five on each side, with as many windows over them. At the west end of the nave stands a large and lofty square tower of freestone, embattled with four pinnacles: under the battlements are the arms of
On the pavement, as you ascend the nave, lies a marble grave-stone,
and on it a brass plate, thus inscribed,
Orate pra Animabus Osberti Mundeford filii Ade Mundeford et Elisabeth Consortis sue, qui qudem Osbertus obut prima Die Menis Januarn Ano Dm. M. cccclrric.
At the end of this isle, on the right hand, against the chancel wall, is a little marble compartment, with the effigies of a man in armour, and on the summit, quarterly Mundeford, and gul. a cross ingrailed or, and this epitaph.
Near this is the stone stair-case that leads to the old rood-loft, and
on the cross pavement lies an old gray marble stone, with the portraiture of a woman in brass, bidding her beads, and on a plate this,
Orate pro Anima Margarete Mundeford, quondam Eonsortis Francisci Mundeford, Armig: que obiit rrbio die Mensis Maii Ao Dni: Mcccccrr. Cuins Anime propitietur Dens Amen.
At the end of the said nave, on the left hand, against the chancel wall, is a neat marble compartment, ornamented with three small arches, and in them the effigies of Osbert Mundeford, Esq. in armour, his helmet before him, and his two wives, all on their knees. On the summit, quarterly Mundeford, and gul. a cross ingrailed or, and this motto, soyes loyal et foyal.
Hic jacet OSBERTUS MOUNDEFORD Armiger, qui primô duxit Margaretam, filiam Johannis, Filij et Hæredis Domini Rogeri Townesende Militis, postea Brigettam unam filiarum Domini Johan: Spilman de Narburgh Militis, et ex primâ Uxore Exitum habuit unicam filiam, ex secunda, filios novem, et filias quinque, Qui Osbertus obijt 28° die Mensis Julij An° Dni: 1580, Ætat: suæ 73.
On the pavement of the chancel lies a black marble stone, in memory of JOHN WACE, Gent. who died 3 Feb. 1672, with this shield, barry of six, arg. and gul. Near this lies another, in memory of CATHERINE WACE, who died 17 April 1679. There is an ascent of three steps to the communion-table, and against the south wall, three curious stone arches and seats, for the bishop, priest, and deacon, and at the head of them an arch for the holy water; and in the north wall is a cupboard, once a repository for relicks.
When the Earl Warren, at the Conquest, took possession of that lordship which Alveva held, the patronage of this church, which Godric laid claim to, came to him, and was given by him to the abbey of Lewes in Sussex; and we find from Norwich Domesday-Book, that in the reign of King Edward I. it was in the patronage of that abbey, that the rector had a house and 40 acres of land.
1338, 7 Feb. Robert de Stanhowe. John Earl Warren, the patronage of all the benefices belonging to the abbey of Lewes, being granted to him by the King, who on account of his wars with France seized the priory aliens (of which this was one) into his own hands.
30th and 46th Edward III. Thomas de Lexham. (fn. 34)
1417, 4 March, Thomas Alkok. Ditto. By his will, proved 3d Oct. 1438, (fn. 35) he desires to be buried in the chancel, and a stone laid over him.
1430, 4 Jan. Mr. John Crowcher, S. T. B. Dean of Chichester, on Alkok's death. Ditto. The feast of the dedication of this church, which was used to be kept annually on 14th April, was enjoined by the Bishop of Norwich 24th Sept. 1433, to be kept for the future annually on 24th Sept. (fn. 36)
1543, 30 Oct. John Holland, on the death of the last rector, chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 37)
1599, 8 Nov. Tho. Randal. In 1603, it was certified to the King, on his queries, that this church was served by a curate, Ambrose Fisk, the benefice heretofore presentative, was long since leased by the incumbent, Lord Bishop and Patron, and is so holden and served by the said curate, and that there were 120 communicants in this parish. (fn. 38)
This rectory is valued in the King's books at 14l. 17s. 3d. ob.; tenths 1l. 9s. 8d. 3q. There is a pension paid yearly by the rector, of 5l. 10s. to the Duke of Norfolk, of which 5l. per annum was paid as a pension to the Prior of Lewes, for his portion of tithes here, and was so charged in 1428, the other pension of 10s. was paid to the Prior of Castle-Acre, for his portion, both which, on the Dissolution, were given to the Duke of Norfolk.
Sir Edmund Mundeford gave and settled by deed of feoffment, 10th Sept. 1642, on Sir Thomas Woodhouse, Bart. Sir Ralph Hare, Bart. Sir Robert de Grey, Knt. Philip Meadhouse, Esq. William Heveningham, Esq. Framlingham Gawdy, Esq. Thomas Derham, Esq. Arthur Heveningham, William Gawdy, George Fowler, Gent. William Smith, of Hockwold, clerk, and William Peck, of Bromhill, Gent. and their heirs and assigns, two several parts of marsh or fenground in Feltwell; in the South-Fen, one containing 600 acres, called Ten-Feet-Ground, and the other containeth 240 acres, called the Wannage; on this trust and confidence, that from, and after his decease, when the said two several parts of marsh or fen-ground shall be by means of draining, &c. made worth the sum of threescore pounds per annum, then 20l. of the yearly issues and profits thereof shall be disposed yearly, in buying of frize or some other clothing to be distributed unto, and amongst the poorer sort of people inhabiting in Feltwell, which have heretofore been born, or shall be born in Feltwell; and the residue of the yearly profits, viz. 40l. shall be disposed yearly for and towards the maintenance of a free school in the said town, for the teaching of the children of the inhabitants in grammar, and other learning freely. And if the said lands should become worth more than 60l. per annum, the surplusage shall be retained and kept by the feoffees, till the same shall amount to so much as the said feoffees or their successours may purchase therewith some convenient ground in Feltwell, with a convenient house thereupon, or else to build one for an alms-house, for the placing and dwelling of poor aged and impotent people therein, inhabiting in Feltwell aforesaid, and then the surplusage above 60l. per annum shall be yearly bestowed amongst the poor people of the said alms-house.
Elizabeth Morewode, relict of John Morewode, and sister of Francis Mundeford, was buried here in 1542, in the chapel of St. Cateryn; she enjoins her executors to provide a stock of neat cattle, that there may be a yearly obit kept for her. (fn. 39)
26 April, 1650, Lady Abigal Mundeford. (fn. 40) 1728, Robert Simpson rector.
The registers in churches were first appointed to be kept in 1538, just upon the dissolution of monasteries, and since that time, have proved some of our best helps towards the preserving of history; their use (as a learned Bishop (fn. 41) observes) might be of a further extent, if care was taken to register the most remarkable occurrences relating to the publick concerns of the several parishes, such as recoveries of benefactions, properties in seats or isles, rights of advowson, &c. But it will be our everlasting reproach, if (instead of thus improving the good designs of our ancestors, for the continuance of their names and memories) we omit even that part of our duty which is now enjoined by an ecclesiastical as well as civil authority, and record matters in church books, after such a manner as will only serve to render them monuments of our negligence; for since inquisitions post mortem are now taken away by the statute of 12th Car. II. the entries in these books are now become the chief evidences to prove pedigrees and descents, on which titles to estates do often depend; therefore it behoves all rectors, vicars, &c. to be careful in this case, and not to commit such books into the hands much more to the trust and keeping of illiterate persons on any account whatever.