An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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On the south side of the Wissey, and on the opposite shore to Ickburgh, stands this village, through which the London road leads, where there is a brick and stone bridge over the river, a little distant from the town, for the safety of travellers. In the time of the Saxons, the river was no doubt fordable at this place, and the ford being defended and secured by some fence or fort, it being the very inlet into the Iciani, might derive its name from [Mund], which signifies in the Saxon tongue a rampart or place of defence. The other ford above it being called Linford, from its miry and watery passage.
This village was given to the monastery of Ely, in the reign of King Edgar, by Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester; (fn. 1) at the survey it is thus accounted for, St. Etheldred or Audry always held 3 carucates of land here, 16 acres of meadow, the right of half a mill, and was valued at 40l. per annum. There were seven socmen that belonged to this manor, with all their customary dues, which William Earl Warren is now possessed of; it is one league long, and half a one broad, and pays 11d. gelt. (fn. 2)
The manor or part of the town belonging to the church of Ely was afterwards called West Hall, and was held in the reign of King Henry II. by Gerold, the King's Chamberlain; and in the 11th of King John, a fine was levied between William de Alneto, petent, and Henry, son of Gerold, tenent, of half a knight's fee in this town, (fn. 3) and half a one in Cerney, in Gloucestershire, which William granted to Henry, he granting William 60s. rent in this town, which the said Henry held of his elder brother, Warine, and be of the Bishop of Ely; and in 24th Henry III. a fine was levied between Jeffery Prior of Bromhill, petent, and Warine aforesaid, (fn. 4) whom Robert de Insula, and Alice his wife, daughter of Henry Fitz-Gerold, called to warrant of a rent of mixtling and barley, which the Prior was wont to receive of Henry Fitz-Gerold, out of lands in this town.
In 44th Henry III. Robert de Insula, and Alice his wife, conveyed by fine to Gerard de Insula, second son (as I take it) of Robert and Alice, a messuage and two carucates of land here, with the advowson of the church of Mundford; and in the 46th of the said King, a fine was levied between the said Gerard, and Alice de Insula or L'Isle, of this manor, whereby she releases to Gerard and his heirs, in tail, all liberties, &c. therein, paying a rose only yearly, instead of 10l. per annum, which he was obliged to pay to Robert, her late husband. (fn. 5)
This family of Lisle held of the descendants of Warine Fitz-Gerold, of whom Henry Fitz-Gerold, as has been observed, held it in the reign of King John, whose daughter and heir, Alice, married to Sir Robert Lisle; and in the 51st year of King Henry III. Margaret de Riparijs Countess of Devonshire, daughter and heir of the aforesaid Warine, brought an action of dower against Isabell de Fortibus Countess of Albemarle, for half a knight's fee in this town; (fn. 6) but the right of these families will plainly appear from this pedigree. (fn. 7)
In 3d Edward I. Sir Gerard de Insula, or Lisle, was found to hold the moiety of this town of the Bishop of Ely, as part of his barony, and he of the King, and had the assize of beer and bread; (fn. 8) and in the 12th of the said King, Rob. de Insula acquitted Gerard of the scutage which the Bishop of Ely demanded, for half a knight's fee here, and the service of one rose, which Gerard held of Robert, and of the scutage and relief due on the death of Alice de Insula, whose heir the said Robert was: this Gerard was summoned in the 10th of the aforesaid King, amongst the barons to attend the King in his Welsh expedition, and in the 15th year he was summoned, to consult with Edmund Earl of Cornwal, then custos of England, on the King's absence at Gloucester, and to be prepared with horse and arms, for the expedition into Wales. (fn. 9)
But in the year 1300, Sir Warine was lord, and presented to the church; and in 9th Edward II. was returned to be lord; (fn. 10) and being concerned with the Earl of Lancaster in the Barons wars against the King, was hanged at York, in the 14th year of the said King, leaving Gerard, his son and heir, then aged 23; this Warine is said to have held it of Sir Rob. de Lisle, by the service of a sparhawk, and there were then 2 watermills in the said town; and in the 20th of Edward III. Sir Gerard de Lisle held half a fee of Sir John de Lisle, and he of the Earl of Albemarle, and the Earl of the Bishop of Ely; but in the year 1361, Sir Warine de Lisle, son (as I conceive) of Gerard, was lord, and presented to the church, and died lord without issue, in 50th Edward III.
In the 5th of King Richard II. Sir Robert Lisle granted the manor to Sir John Plais, Knt. of Weting, in exchange for the manor of Fretewell in Oxfordshire; (fn. 11) this Sir John being the last heir male of the family, left it to William Beauchamp, and others, his feoffees, to be alienated to his priory of Bromhill; and in 1396, Sir Robert Knolls, and John Drew, rector of Harpley, presented to the church, as feoffees of the manor, in the same year; in 1401, Richard Payne, John Bodney, Richard Gegg, Robert Gallion, John Brossyard, and Richard de Hockham, sold the manor (not being able, most likely, to obtain a license of mortmain) to
Richard Seyve, who held it by half a fee in 3d Henry IV. and
died seized of it, with 4 messuages, 300 acres of land and pasture, 10
acres of meadow, and 10s. rent; (fn. 12) this Richard had by Margaret his
wife, John his son, who being lord, presented to the church in 1453
and in 1477. In 1518,
William Seyve was lord and patron, who died 8th April, the 20th Henry VIII. and left Christopher his son and heir, aged 10 years; but in 1556,
Roger Woodhouse, Esq. seems by the Institution Books to be lord and patron; and soon after, Richard Killingworth, who presented in 1561; in 1574, John Killingworth, and in 1577, Richard Killingworth. In 1634, Feb. 26, Gyles Killingwood, Esq. died seized of it, and left by Elizabeth his wife, James, his son and heir, aged 15 years.
Soon after this, it was purchased by
Sir Gyles Allington, Knt. and settled on James his son, by Dorothy, his second wife, daughter of Michael Dalton; and he dying young by a fall from his horse, it came to
William Lord Allington, son of Giles; and on the death of the last Lord Hildebrand, Lord Allington, it descended to
The present  Duke of Somerset.
William Earl Warren, who had many lordships of the monastery of Ely, by exchange at the Conquest, had 7 socmen in this town, belonging to St. Audry, with all their customary dues, who held one carucate and an half, valued at 10s. per annum. (fn. 13)
He had also half a carucate of land, and two acres of meadow, which was held by a freeman of Herold's, valued at 10s. per annum.
These parts made up this manor of East Hall, of which
Osbert de Mundeford was lord in 34th of Henry III. (fn. 14) and it was held of John de Cockfield and his parceners, who held it of the Earl Warren, and the Earl of the King; it is probable it descended to the Cockfield's by the marriage of the daughters and heirs of Fulk de Beaufo, of whom see in Wilton and Hockwold.
This lordship was then held by the fourth part of a knight's fee; and in the 3d of Kng Edward I.
Adam de Mundeford was lord, and had the assize of bread and beer of his tenants; (fn. 15) and in 1396, Osbert de Mundeford died seized of the same, as appears by his will; (fn. 16) and by the daughter and heir of Osbert de Mundeford, who died in 1456, it came to
Sir William Tyndale, Knt. but did not continue long in that family; for in the 32d of Henry VIII.
Robert Canon was possessed of it; and in the 26th of Queen Elizabeth, Robert Canon, cousin of Robert, had livery of it. (fn. 17) About the year 1630, it was purchased by
Sir Giles Allington, and from him it descended (as is before observed) to
The present Duke of Somerset.
Besides the manors above-mentioned, Roger Bigot had at the survey 60 acres of land, and two of meadow, held by a freeman in the time of the Confessor, valued at 2s. per annum. (fn. 18) This was afterwards held by Gerold, the King's Chamberlain, and then by Henry his son, &c. (as is observed in West Hall,) and so descended to the Lisles; and in 1st Edward I. Isabell de Fortibus Countess of Albemarle acknowledged that she ought to acquit Alice de Insula of the service which Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk demanded, for half a knight's fee here. (fn. 19) And in the 12th of the said King, Robert de Insula acknowledged that he acquitted Gerard de Insula of the service which Roger Earl of Norfolk demanded of him, for suit of court to his manor of Fornsete, and of homage, relief, and scutage, which the Bishop of Ely demanded for his manor of West Hall, held by Robert of the Bishop, and also of the scutage which Isabell de Fortibus demanded, for one knight's fee and an half, for the manor of Kingston-Gerold in Berkshire, and of the scutage and relief due on the death of Alice de Insula, whose heir the said Robert was. This was always held by the lords of West Hall, of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk; and in the 6th of Henry VI. Richard Seyve held it of the Dutchy of Lancaster, lately belonging to Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk; and in 11th Henry VI. it was found to be held of John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, of his manor of Forncet, and being thus united to the other manors, it is held by
The Duke of Somerset.
The tenths of this town were 3l. 1s. 10d.
The leet is in the lord of the hundred.
The Church is dedicated to St. Leonard; (fn. 20) it is a single pile of flint, &c.; the body is in length about 60, and in breadth about 26 feet, and is covered with tiles; at the west-end stands a four-square tower, of the aforesaid materials, embattled, with copings and quoins of freestone; herein hang three bells, the second is thus inscribed:
Quesumus Andrea Famulorum, suscipe Uota.
A wooden screen divides the body from the chancel, on which is the King's arms carved in stone, and painted; the chancel is about 30 feet in length, and 17 in breadth, covered with reed; on the area lies a grave-stone, in memory of Thomas, son of Thomas Walton, and Agnes his wife, who died 1st Feb. 1704, aged two years, and of Thomas, another son, who died 12th March, 1710, aged 5 years. The communion table is railed in, and has an ascent of three steps.
At present there are no shields remaining, but formerly there were:
Gul. on a chevron arg. three roses of the first, which is the shield of Sir Robert Knowls, the great warriour in the reign of Edward III. and Richard II.; impaling
Sab. a bend ragule arg. between six bezants. Crest, a ram's head arg. armed dexter or, sinister az.
Knowls, as before, with a rose or for distinction, on the sinister side of the shield, for John Knowls, rector of Harpley in Norfolk.
Tindal, and arg. a fess ingrailed between three Catharine-wheels sab. quartering
Mundford, arg. three flowers-de-lis gul. Crest, a bull's head erased arg. armed or. (fn. 21)
1300, 18 June, John de Burtone. Sir Warine de L'Isle, Knt.
1310, 30 March, William de Middleton. Ditto.
1349, 3 July, Symon de Wetherych. Sir Gerard de Lisle.
1352, 18 Aug. John de Ashton, on the death of Wetherych. Ditto.
1361, 18 Sept. Richard Mile. Sir Warine de Lisle.
1361, 14 Dec. Hugh de Arderne. Sir Warine de Lisle.
1362, 10 May, William Waryndeford, on the resignation of Arderne. Ditto.
1376, 12 May, Henry de Rotheby. Sir Warine de Lisle Lord Teys.
1377, 4 Aug. Solomon de Haywoode. Lapse.
1396, 8 April, Edmund Berry. Sir Rob. Knollys, and John Drew, rector of Harpley.
1396, 2 Octob. Roger Gallion. Rich. Payene, John Bodeney, Rich. Gegge, Rob. Gallion, John Brossyard, and Rich de Hokham.
Roger Exedene. (fn. 22)
1401, 12 May, Thomas Hokham, on the death of Exedene. Rich. Payene, &c.
1412, 3 March, William Atte-Mylle. Joh. Schragger of Methwold, and Margaret his wife, late wife of Roger Seyve, who bought the manor and advowson.
1420, 1 John Wyrmegey, on the resignation of Atte-Mylle. William Debenham, and Richard Hockham of Hockham. He had been rector of Fincham St. Michael, and exchanged with AtteMylle.
1420, 16 Jan. John Reys. William Debenham of Ipswich, &c. Bartholomew Colet.
1453, 11 Nov. John Bemptbow, on the resignation of Colet. John Seyve.
1455, 5 June, William Ewett, on the resignation of Bemptbow. Ditto.
1461, 5 Aug. George Eleys, (fn. 23) on the resignation of Ewett. Ditto.
1477, 28 Febr. William Wyghtlowe, on the death of Eleys. Ditto.
1502, 14 Jan. John Goose, (fn. 24) on the death of Wyghtlowe. Tho. Holdich, Gent.
1518, 5 Feb. Thomas Falke, LL.B. on the death of Goose. William Seyve.
1556, 11 Sep. Nicholas Saunders, on the death of Falke. Arthur Kendrike, on a grant of the turn from Roger Woodhouse, Esq.
1556, 11 Dec. Baldwin Derham, on the death of Saunders, he was also rector of Downham in Norfolk.
1561, 26 July, John Locky, (fn. 25) on the resignation of Derham. John Killingworth, Gent.
1474, 14 July, John Norton, on the death of Locky. Ditto.
1577, 16 Aug. John Oxburrowe, on the resignation of Norton. Richard Killingworth, Gent. In his answer to King James's queries in 1603, he observes that there were 86 communicants in this parish.
1608, 21 July, James Tayler, A. M. Giles Killingworth, Gent.
1683, 7 Oct. John Lambe, A. M. on the resignation of Watson. Giles Killingworth.
1662, 4 Aug. Sam. Terrand, A. M. on the death of Lambe. William Lord Allington.
1690, 9 May, John Ellis, on the death of the last rector. Hildebrand Lord Allington. Vicar also of Didlington.
1720, 14 Dec. the Rev. Mr. Hen. Harrison, on the death of Ellis. Hildebrand Lord Allington. Rector also of West-Tofts.
The church is a rectory valued in the King's Books, at 7l. 17s. 6d. and being 40l. per annum in clear value, is discharged of first fruits, &c.