An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Adjoins to Methwold, and lies on the south side of the river Wissey; it is called Wold from its situation in an open champaign country, and North, in respect of Methwold and Hockwold. It was given by Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester, in the reign of King Edgar, to the monastery of Ely, being royal demeans; (fn. 1) and that prelate is said to have given to the King Hertinge in exchange; it was at that time estimated at 12 hides. At the general survey, we find that the powerful Earl Warren had deprived the monastery of part of this town, and that there were then two lordships here, one belonging to the church of Ely, another to the Earl Warren.
Bishop of Ely's Manor.
That lordship which St. Adeldrede (that is the church of Ely, so called from St. Audrey, the foundress) held at the time of the survey, is thus accounted for, 6 carucates of land, 16 acres of meadow, valued in the Confessor's time at 8l. then at 9l.; the town was one leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 30d. ob. gelt. (fn. 2) In the time of Leoffwine the fifth Abbot of Ely, when the tenures and services belonging to the monastery were settled, this was injoined to furnish the house with provisions for two weeks in every year. (fn. 3) This part, or manor, was held by the Abbots and Convent of Ely, till the reign of King Henry I. when the church being changed into a bishop's see, it was settled on the Bishop, and accordingly in the 24th of Henry III. Hugh Bishop of Ely was lord, when a fine (fn. 4) was levied between him and Robert de Insula, of two carucates of land here, released to the Bishop and his successours, with all his rights in all lands, fees, and services belonging to the Bishop's demeans here, and in the isle of Ely, for which the Bishop gave to Robert 400 marks. In 3d Edward I. the Bishop was found to hold this lordship, being a moiety of the town, in capite, as parcel of his barony; (fn. 5) and in the seventh year of the said King, there was an extent of it, (fn. 6) when the jurors say that the Bishop had liberty of holding all pleas which the sheriff might, with writ or without, a gallows, tumbrel, view of frankpledge, assize of bushels, flaggons, and other measures, and the advowson of the church; but the Prior of Castle-Acre had two parts of the tithes of the Earl Warren's fee, called New-Land, which Sir Thomas de Pavely and Roger de Wylsham, and their parceners, held in demean.
The manor lands were, 488 acres of arable, by the great hundred, and the perch of 16 feet, at 4d. per acre; the meadow 20 acres, at 6d. per acre, but if any field lay fallow, then the feed of it was common. The heath called Scorteling was common to all the manors of the town, for feeding only, the marsh called South-Fen consisted of 1000 acres, in which the whole soke of the town might feed, dig, &c. but the soke of Methwold could only feed there, as this township did in the common of Methwold, with their beasts, horn, underhorn. The jury find William Earl Warren to have appropriated 40 acres of this South-Fen, called Thornham, by his power, and Walter de Bedingham, a freeman of this town, had brought a writ of novell dissezin against the Earl, before Sir Gilbert de Segrave, &c. at Cambridge, but the judgment on this verdict was not yet given, being respited by a day of love with the assent of the judges, at the instance of the Earl. There was another marsh, called North-Fen, wherein the whole town might dig, feed, common, &c. and a common pasture between the town and Cranwise, in which the township might feed only. The several fisheries of Edred's were held by Sir Osbert de Helgey; Yxeheth and Ruwere, by John de la How; Fulheth-Mere, Beche, Littlewere, Hithwere, and Tappys, wherein none but the Bishop was to fish. The stock was 15 cows, and a free bull; 20 hogs, and a free boar; 500 sheep, by the great hundred, besides those of the customary tenants, which were to be in the lord's fold. Henry, son of William de Insula, held 140 acres, paying only 10s. per annum, and had a fold; John de la How held 140 acres at the same rent, and had a fold; the rest of the freeholders and copyholders, with their rents, services, &c. are particularly specified, and are, for the most part, the same with those mentioned in the Bishop's manor of Feltwell.
In an account of Edm. Pierpoint, Receiver General of the revenues
of the see of Ely, about the reign of Queen Mary, the reserved rent of
this manor amounted to 22l. 10s. 11d. ob.; it continued in the see till
Queen Elizabeth, in the beginning of her reign, had it settled by Act
of Parliament on the Crown, by way of exchange; (fn. 7) and it was held
of the Crown by the payment of 22l. per annum, since which time it
has gone through several hands, viz. Pierce, Croft, &c. and was sold
by Sir Philip Skippon, and Ann his wife, Sir Robert Hatton, and
Cecily his wife, to Thomas Holder, Esq. in 35th Charles II. who, by
Bridget, daughter of Richard Graves of Mickleton in Gloucestershire,
Esq. bencher and reader of Lincoln's-Inn, had one daughter and heir,
Elizabeth, married to Henry Partridge, Esq. late of BukeuhamHouse, lord of this manor, whose son,
Henry Partridge, Esq. by his second wife, daughter of Mr. Wright of London, is the present lord.
The above-mentioned fee-farm rent of 22l. per annum out of this manor, payable to the Crown, was granted to Sir John Mordaunt, and on his foundation of his hospital on Blackheath, he settled it on that house.
At the general survey, we find the Earl Warren possessed of a manor or moiety of this town, which, in the Confessor's time, was held by the church of Ely, and is thus accounted for, five carucates of land, held by 34 socmen of St. Adelrede, in the reign of King Edward, then valued at 60s. now at 5l. per annum. (fn. 8)
This part the aforesaid Earl bestowed on his dependants, to be held of him by knight's service, amongst which was the family of De Pavili, or Pavilleys, who were ancient lords of this manor; and in the reign of King Henry I. Ralph de Pavili gave the tithes of all his land in this town to the abbey of Castle-Acre, founded by the Earl Warren. (fn. 9) In the first year of King John, Ralph de Beauchamp had a grant of the custody of the heir of Reginald de Pavely, with all the land be held in fee, the day he began his journey to Jerusalem, in which journey he died; and on the 19th of July, in 27th Henry III. the King granted to Roger de Pavilly the land which Reginald his brother held in this town, and the sheriff had orders to deliver it; and in the 34th of the said King, the aforesaid Roger had a grant of the lands of Thomas de Pavilly, his brother, in this town, valued at x.l. per annum. (fn. 10)
After this, in the 3d Edward I. Roger Dakeney, or De-Akeney, was found to hold a fourth part of this town of the Earl Warren, being infeoffed (as it is said by that Earl) some time before the inquisition then taken; (fn. 11) from this Roger Dakeney the manor assumed its name, and was, as I have observed, the same part and lordship that was held before by the Pavillys; and on 1st Edward II. a fine was levied between Robert de Akeney, and Agnes his wife, of 37 messuages, 546 acres of land, and 40s. rent in this town, granted to Thomas, &c. for their lives, (fn. 12) who occurs lord in the 9th year of the said King; this was (as I take it) that Sir Thomas Dakeney who served King Edward I. in his wars against the Scots, and is on the roll among other Norfolk knights, that lived in that King's reign, and bore arg. a cross between four lioncels gul. which arms are still to be seen in one of the chancel windows of Northwold church. In the 19th of the said King, a fine was levied between John de Hotham Bishop of Ely, and Roger, son of Robert Dakeney, (fn. 13) of this manor, 21 messuages, &c. and 4l. rent, which Agnes, widow of Thomas Dakeney, held for life, conveyed to the Bishop for 200 marks, who gave it to the Prior and Convent of Ely, and by them it was exchanged with Thomas de Chepham, for the manor of Overhall and Neitherhall at Littlebury in Essex; but in the 14th of King Edward III. Rich. de Walpole and Martin de Mendham, chaplains, held it by half a knight's fee of Sir John de Norwich, as belonging to the manor of Sculthorp in Norfolk; (fn. 14) and by deed dated at Sculthorp, on Monday next after the feast of St. Hillary, in the said year, they granted to Sir John and his heirs the yearly rent of 21bs. of pepper, out of this manor. Witnesses, Sir Constant. de Mortimer, Sir William de Kerdeston, Sir Adam de Clifton, Sir Roger de Norwich, John de Thorpland, Symon de Reynham, Richard de Holdyke, John de Brightwalton, &c.; and in the 20th of the said King, one quarter of a knight's fee here was held of the said Sir John, who held it (as it is said) of the King, by John de Wesenham; (fn. 15) but in the 5th year of Richard II. William Earl of Suffolk, son of Margaret, sister and heir of Sir Thomas de Norwich, was found to be the capital lord. (fn. 16) In the third year of the following King, Tho. Montchensy and Katherine his wife, held the same of Sir Robert Knolls, (the famous warriour,) and he of the King as Duke of Lancaster, having purchased this and the manor of Havill's in this town, most probably of John de Wesenham, who was lord of both; from Montchensy it passed with that of Hovill's to the Talboths, and were settled on Tho. Talboth, and Joan his wife, in tail, by fine in 19th Henry VI. by William Spoon and Thomas Clerk, their trustees; this Thomas Talbothe died lord, 14th Sept. 1474, and lies buried with his wife in the church of Northwold. The next account I meet with of this manor, is in 13th Henry VII. when a fine (fn. 17) was levied between James Hobart, &c. querents, and John Michell, senior, and John Michell, junior, &c. deforciants, of the manors of Hovell's and Dageney's in Northwold; and Walter Hobart, Esq. son and heir of Sir James Hobart, on the 24th Aug. in the 9th Henry VIII. settled them on Robert Ratcliff Lord Fitz-Walter, and others, to the use of himself and Ann his wife, (sister of the said lord,) and their heirs male; but in 31st Henry VIII. Walter Hobart, then a knight, with his wife, conveyed them by fine to John Ball. (fn. 18)
Havell's, or Hovil's manor.
Another part of the Earl Warren's fee or moiety of this town was given by that Earl to the Plaizes, of whom we have spoken at large in Weeting; and in 12th Henry III. Hugh de Plaiz granted to Ralph de Dunton the fourth part of a knight's fee here, to be held of him; (fn. 19) and in 13th Edward I. a fine was passed between John le Botiler, querent, Tho. Woolmer, and Alice his wife, impedients, of 12 messuages, 194 acres of land, and several other parcels of land, and 4l. rent, sold to John; (fn. 20) and in the 31st of the said King, he was found to hold half a fee of Sir Giles de Playz. But in 9th Edward II. William de Haville (from whom this lordship had its name) was lord; (fn. 21) and in 24th Edward III. a fine was levied between John de Wesenham, the aforesaid William and Margaret his wife, of this manor, conveyed to John, who, in the 35th of the said King, was found to die seized of the same. After this, it was held by Tho. Monchensy, and passed from him to Talbothe, &c. as is observed in the manor of Dageney's, to which it was then united, and Mrs. Holder is the present  lady.
Hugh de Norwold Bishop of Ely, in the reign of King Henry III. and John de Norwold Abbot of Bury, in 1280, who wrote the annals of this kingdom, and the dispute between Robert Grosthead Bishop of Lincoln, and Pope Innocent IV. were natives of this place.
The Church is dedicated to St. Andrew, and has its nave, north and south isles, with a chancel, all built with flint stones, boulder, &c. covered with lead; at the west end of the nave is a very large and lofty four-square tower, of the aforesaid materials, with quoins and embattlements of freestone, and eight pinnacles of stone, carved; in this tower hang five bells, and here is a clock, with a dial on the south side, fronting the street; this neat and strong tower was built in the reign of King Edward IV. as appears from the will of John Miller of Weeting, dated in 1473, wherein he bequeaths 20s. towards the building of it. (fn. 22)
The church is about 65 feet in length, and about 55 feet in breadth, including the isles; near the font lies a marble gravestone, and thereon the portraiture of a man in brass, but that of his wife is reaved, and on a plate of brass this,
This gentleman gave by will, in 1501, a messuage with 61 acres of land, to this town, for charitable uses, which they enjoy at this day. (fn. 23)
About the middle of the nave, on a grave-stone, is the portraiture
of a woman, that of the man being reaved, and on a plate,
Orate pro Animabus Roberti Dament et Alice Hroris sue, qui quiaem Robertus obit secundo die Mensis Aprilis Ao Dni. Millimo ccccco Hicesimo ouinto, quorum Animabus propitietur Deus, Amen.
On a small plate of brass, on one side of this stone, are the portraitures of three daughters, that with the sons, on the other, is reaved,
and instead thereof, a fragment of some old epitaph, thus inscribed,
Margaret. habe mercy. is now fixed thereon.
At the upper end of this nave, in the cross isle, lies a marble gravestone, once ornamented with a cup of brass, and having a plate thus
Praye for the Somle of Syr John Damson, the whych decesyd the xxviii. Dan of February in the Yere of our Lord Mcccccxxxi, on whose Somle Jesu habe Mercy.
Some few years past, just as you enter the chancel, there lay a
gray marble, with a plate thus inscribed,
Orate pro Animabus Thome Talbothe qui obiit xiiiio Die Septemb. Ano; Dni. M.cccclccib. et Johanne Hrotis eius, Ouorum Animabus propitietur Deus, Amen.
At the west end of this nave is a large gallery for the singers, and on the head of two old seats under it, a shield with a sword and a mace in saltier, in allusion to St. Andrew; here are also several leathern buckets and a fire engine, dated 1717, the gift of Henry Partridge, Esq. of Buckenham-House.
Fordham, sab. a chevron between three crosses fleuree or. The arms of Fordham Bishop of Ely, in the reign of King Richard II.; in his time it is probable this present church was built; and above these arms (at some distance) a mitre may be observed.
At the east end of the south isle is an ascent of two steps, and here are remaining two pedestals for statues; on a desk here are the three volumes of The Martyrs, by John Fox, the gift of Henry Partridge, Esq.
About the middle of the isle, in the wall near the foundation, in a large stone coffin, lies immured the founder of this part or isle, probably John Stalyng aforesaid; and near this is a mural monument of stone, in memory of Ann, daughter and heiress of John Hopkin of Ely, Gent, and wife of Tho. Gordon, Gent. who died 23d Feb. 1732, aged 22.
On the head of an oaken stall in the chancel is this shield carved, az. a saltier gul. between a mullet in chief, pierced or, and three doves (as they seem) arg. the greatest part of the same arms is now remaining in the hall of the rectory-house, and was some years past to be seen in the parlour windows, and near to it was painted the effigies of some rector, sitting alone, (as great as Epicurus himself) at a table well furnished with meat and drink, and this motto, Baudere et Epufari opportet.
Carmen THOMÆ SCOTI filij quondam Rectoris hujus Ecelesiæ, et a Sacris Domesticis Regi JACOBO, sub eodem marmore, una cum Matre Sepulti ab eodem dum in vivis esset compositum, sepulchro suo inscribendum, obt. 12o die Novemb. An. Incarnationis Christi 1616, Æt. suæ 68.
M. S. DEBORÆ NOVELL cujus Exuviæ subter Marmor hoc deponuntur, Uxoris Johan: Novell, S. T. P. Ille ex Agro Surriensi ortus, bonis Literis Cantabrigiæ enutritus, D. D. Wrenij [Episcopi Eliensis] a Sacris, Ecclesiæ hujus quondam Rector, sub Tyrannide Cromwellij Pseudo-Protectoris plura graviaque sustulit, tandem vero cum aurâ Benigniori frui licitum esset, vitâ orbatus est, Maij enim die primo, Anno Æræ Christianæ 1661, fatis cessit, et hic juxta positus est. Illa Annos 19 viro defuncto superstes fuit, Liberos peperit 11, Quorum pars major Morti succubuerunt, et circumcirca inhumantur. Conjugi fuit fida, proximis amica, vidua vere casta, familiæ decus, Matronis exemplar, sed heu! Extremum clausit diem An. salutis humanæ, 1679.
Against the east end of the north wall of the chancel is a large and lofty pile of clunch or chalk-stone; the upper part is of curious wrought spire-work, with arched canopies, adorned with many niches, and in them little pedestals for images; on the body or lower part are the effigies of three men in armour, and three trees, a tree between each man, all in a declining falling posture; this is, as I conceive, what was before the Reformation called The Sepulchre of our Lord; the posture of the men alluding to what the Scripture observes of the guard or keepers of the Sepulchre: And for fear of him the keepers did shake and became as dead men, and the earth did quake and the rocks rent, &c. These sepulchres were erected always (as I take it) on the north side of the chancel, near to the altar; thus Thomas Fienes Lord Dacres, by his will bearing date 1st Sep. 1531, bequeathed his body to be buried in the parish church of Herst Monceaux in Essex, on the north side of the high-altar, appointing that a tomb should be made for placing there the sepulchre of our Lord; (fn. 24) and Sir Henry Colet wills to be buried at Stepney, at the sepulchre, before Seynt Dunstan; (fn. 25) and his monument is to be seen at this day on the north side of the chancel of the said church. Great wax-lights were generally burning here, John Wethamstede Abbot of St. Alban's, appointed 12 waxlights to burn about the sepulchre of our Lord, and gave money for them for ever; (fn. 26) and great pomp and pageantry was used here on high festivals, on the day of the resurrection, or Easter day; the crucifix and the pix were taken out of this place, where they were deposited in a solemn manner on Good-Friday, by the priest, on the saying Surrexit, non est hic.
Against the south wall is a painted board ornamented with an urn,
and two Cupids above, below, with a book and two deaths heads, on
each side are foliages, festoons, &c. thus inscribed,
On this South-Side of the Chancel, lies the Body of ROBERT BURHILL, D. D. Rector of this Church, and Residentiary of Hereford, who by his learned Works, writ in Latin against the Champions of the Romish Church, did great Service to the Protestant Cause in general, as well as to the Church of England in particular. He was most intimate with the famous Sir WALTER RALEIGH, and assisted him in the Critical Part of his History of the World. Was also a good Antiquary and Poet, as well as a great Divine, which appears from several MSS. of his, now in Oxford; in this Place he took Sanctuary at the breaking out of the Troubles in Oct. 1641, to revive the Memory of so worthy and learned a Man, SAMUEL KNIGHT, D. D. Prebendary of Ely, erected this Table An. Dni. 1727.
France and England quarterly. (fn. 27)
Knowls (fn. 28) sideth a fess dancy between three leopards heads sab.
Talbot, arg. a cross between four lions rampant gul. (fn. 29)
Gul. three keys or. (fn. 30) The arms of the priory, and of the deanery of Ely.
Ralph de Pavely, who held part of this town of William Earl Warren, gave, in the reign of King Henry I. the tithes of his land here to the priory of Castle-Acre; tithe being in that age in the gift of any lord or owner, so that it was assigned or given to any church or religious house; (fn. 31) and Walcheline, son of Lambert de Rosei, who held also lands here of the aforesaid Earl, gave also the tithes of his land to the aforesaid priory. In 1265, Simon Bishop of Norwich, confirmed to Castle-Acre, in Haughton, Rockland, and Northwold, two parts of the tithes of the demeans of Baldwin de Rosci, Hugh son of Richard, Will. de Houghton, Robert de Katestun, Roger de Paveli, and Gilbert de Walsham. (fn. 32) And in the year 1277, when an inquisition was taken, the patronage of the church was found to be in the Bishop of Ely, but the Prior of Castle-Acre held two parts of the tithes of the lands which were of the fee of the Earl Warren. To avoid therefore disputes and troubles on this account, there was an ancient composition between the Priors, &c. of Castle-Acre, and the Rectors of the church, who, on the payment of 30s. per annum to the aforesaid priors, had the right and portion of tithes above-mentioned; and accordingly we find that in 1428, as I have observed before, the Prior of Castle-Acre was taxed at 30s. for the same. On the dissolution of that priory, it came to the Crown, and from thence to the Duke of Norfolk, and since that, has passed as a lay-fee through several hands, and the Rev. Mr. Pile of Lyn is the present  owner.
Mr. Walter de Stow occurs rector about 1290; the rector then had a house and a carucate of land, was valued at 41 marks, and paid 3s. Peter-pence. (fn. 33)
John Glatton; by his will, dated on Sunday after the Feast of St. Andrew, 1397, desires to be buried near the marble stone of Mr. Ralph de Pilton, and gives a silver cup to the altar of St. Etheldred in this church. (fn. 34)
1421, 17 Sept. John Drew; he was rector of Tharfield in Hertfordshire, and exchanged with Noble; by his will he desires to be buried in the church of St. Lawrence of Harpley in Norfolk, (of which church he was also rector,) between two pillars near the pulpit. (fn. 35)
1435, 17 April, Tho. Belton, on the death of Drew; he wills to be buried in the chancel of Northwold, and gives a silver cup to the altar of St. John Baptist in that church. (fn. 36)
1519, 26 May, Miles Ragon, on the death of Aldey. At his institution he swore to find a chaplain to celebrate in the church, according to the chantry's foundation, unless dispensed with by the Bishop.
1622, 1 May, Robert Burhill, S. T. B. in 1612; he was rector of Snailwell. (fn. 37)
1661, 15 June, Thomas Wrenn, M. D. and S. T. B.; he was son to Matthew Wrenn Bishop of Ely, educated in Cambridge, and created doctor of physick at Oxford, 2d Aug. 1653, by the Chancellor's letters, rector of Littlebury in 1660, and of Willingham in Cambridgeshire, on his resignation of this church. (fn. 38)
1662, William Holder, S. T. P. fellow of Pembroke-Hall in Cambridge, rector of Blechyndon in Oxfordshire, and afterwards of Tharfield in Hertfordshire, canon of Ely and St. Paul's, sub-deacon of the King's chapel, and sub-almoner; he is buried in a vault under St. Paul's, London. (fn. 39)
In 1277, Andrew de Ripa held a watermill here, (fn. 40) with the suit belonging to the same, and 48 acres of land, with a toft and its appurtenances, late Osbert de Ripa's; also 24 acres and 3 tofts, with a messuage, late Walter's, father of the said Andrew, paying 30s. yearly for all services, which were assigned towards the maintenance of a chaplain in the church of Northwold for ever, by the charter or deed of Hugh Bishop of Ely, and this chaplain was found by the rector, and called the chantry chaplain.
In this church there were the gilds of the Holy-Trinity and of St. John Baptist, as appears from the will of Sparhewe, widow, in 1489, who desires to be buried by her husband in the porch of the church of St. Andrew, and leaves legacies to those gilds. (fn. 41)
Robert Harwood, by his will, dated 18th May, 1517, (fn. 42) desires to be buried before the altar of our Lady in the church, gives 12 milch kyne to Trinity-Gyld, six of them to be let for 5s. by the yere, of which, 5s. 5d. to be paid evermore yerely upon Good-Fryday, to five poor persons of the town of Northwold, and 3s. 11d. of the same 5s. to be paid and distributed for a solemn dirige, to be kept for him and his friends evermore yerely upon Trinity-Monday, and 8d. given to the ringers the same day, and the other 6 kyne to be let at the price aforesaid, to the profit of the same gyld.
Richard Powle, vicar of Fouldon in 1479, gave about 40 acres of land, &c. in this town, to the township to repair the church, &c. (fn. 43) which they at this day  enjoy. In 1503, Robert Blake, parish priest of Oxboro, gave all his lands in Northwold, to repair that church for ever.