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 between Mundford and Bukenham-Parva, and may derive its name from the British word hlyn, (palus,) and so signifies a fenny or miry ford, or as some will have it, a spreading water, and in both these respects the passage over the river here to Ickburgh will very well answer, the ground near the water being boggy and a mere fen, two rivers uniting a little above the town. It may also derive its name from llwyn, which signifies, in the aforesaid language, a city or large town, and so may have respect to the Iciani of the Romans, which it seems to have also had some relation to, if not to have been part of it, having the same lords and owners at and before the Conquest; and as I have observed before, at the building of Mr. Nelthorp's house here, (in 1720,) two Roman urns were dug up; and in 1735, his gardener, digging in the plantation, about a furlong west of the house, fell on a pavement of flint-stones, under which he found a small Roman urn, in which were pieces of bones and ashes.
At the Conqueror's survey the town was held by two lords, Walter Giffard, and Roger Bigot, but the greatest part of it belonged to Walter, who was Earl of Bucks, as has been observed in Ickburgh, in which town, and here, he had 4 carucates and 35 acres of land, and 60 acres of meadow, which 14 freemen held in the time of the Confessor. (fn. 1) Giffard's part came by marriage (as I have mentioned in Ickburgh) to the Earls of Clare, and was held of them, being divided into two moieties or lordships.
One moiety was held by a family that assumed their name from the town, for in the 4th John, Thomas, son of Jeffry de Lynford, was lord, who purchased lands in the town of Rich. de Rising; (fn. 2) and 3d Edw. I. Stephen de Lynford had the assize of bread and beer here; but in the 34th of that King it was in the family of Cressingham, (fn. 3) when Amisius, (or Amos,) son of Roger of Cressingham-Magna, and Agnes his wife, settled it by fine on John de Cressingham their son, and Maud his wife; and in 1372, John de Cressingham, (son of John,) by his will, dated 22d Feb. bequeathed it to Thomas his son, and made Emma his wife, and Will. de Bodney his nephew, executors.
After this, Sir John Clifton, Knt. of Bukenham-Castle, was lord, who, by his will dated in 1447, ordered John Brigges of Quidenham to have an annuity out of it, (fn. 4) and that he should have the refusal, if he would buy it, which he accordingly did, and by his will dated in 1454, devised it to be sold to the Prior and Convent of St. Mary in Thetford, for eight-score marks; and by virtue of a license granted by King Henry VI. (fn. 5) the said Prior and Convent purchased of John Duke of Norfolk, Sir Tho. Tuddenham, Knt. Tho. Weleys, and Will. Brigges, the manor and advowson, and 80 acres of land, with the appurtenances here, and of John Heydon, and John Swan, one messuage and 350 acres of land, with the liberty of three folds in Lynford, and so the Prior became lord of the whole town, and held it till the dissolution of his house, and then King Henry VIII. in his 32d year, granted the whole to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, who being attainted in the 38th of the said King, it reverted to the Crown, and King Edward VI. 20th Febr. in his third year, granted it to Richard Fulmerston, and it came by the marriage of his daughter to Sir Edw. Clere, who was lord here; and on July 1, 23d Eliz. the reversion of it was granted by that Queen, to Philip Earl of Arundel, (fn. 6) a descendant of the aforesaid Duke of Norfolk, by whom it was sold to Francis Mundford, Esq. of Feltwell; and in 1603, was enjoyed by Sir Edw. Mundford, who then had his residence here, and his son Sir Edward dying in 1643, without issue, it was afterwards sold by his sisters and coheirs, to Mr. Turner, attorney at law, whose son, Sir Charles Turner, conveyed it, about 1717, to James Nelthorp, Esq. who built a very agreeable seat, with pleasant gardens, plantations, canals, &c. a little distance from the old hall, now the farm-house, and the only house in this place, besides the new hall.
From the inquisitions taken in the reign of Henry III. it appears that William Baldwyn held here a quarter of a fee of Jordan Foliot, and he of the Earl of Gloucester, and the Earl of the King, and this was the other moiety of Giffard's manor. In 8th Edward II. Rich. Foliot and his tenants held one fee and an half here, and in Elsing, Geyst, Twiford, &c. of the honour of Clare; but in 20th Edward III. John le Spicer and Stephen Baldwyn held the same of John Camois, and his parceners, and they of the Earl of Gloucester and Clare; (fn. 7) in 3d Henry IV. Rich. Gegghe, and his parceners, held of John de Camoys, one quarter of a fee, and he of the Earl of Clare, formerly William Baldwin's. After this, in the reign of Henry VI. it was conveyed with the other moiety, to the Prior and Convent of Thetford.
Here was also at the survey a little lordship held by Roger Bigot, which Alstan, a Saxon, was lord of in the Confessor's time. One socman, with 60 acres of land, and three of meadow, valued at 20d. and Stanart held it of Bigot. (fn. 8) This seems to be held in 9th Edward II. by Margaret Cosyn; and in 11th Edward II. a fine was levied between Walter Gyzun, and Catherine his wife, querents, and Walter, son of Henry de Constantinople, alias le Goldsmith, defendants, of 6 messuages, 250 acres of land, and 15d. rent here and in Bukenham-Parva, settled on Walter and Catherine, in tail; and 20th Edward III. Will. Longstaff, and William, son of Stephen Geson, was found to hold the eighth part of a fee, of John de Sneterton, citizen of Norwich, which, in 3d Henry IV. was held by Will. Shepherd and William, son of Stephen Geson, of Tho. Mowbray Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 9) After this it was united in the reign of Henry VI. to the other manors, and with them conveyed to the priory of Thetford.
The Church of Lynford has been demolished a long time; it stood in the south-west part of the court-yard, leading to the new hall, its site is enclosed, and planted with Scotch firs, where may be observed several of the foundation stones, and here several human bones were dug up.
17 Edw. I. John de Benhale. (fn. 10) Peter, son of Gilbert de BeechamWell.
The patronage appears by this to be separated very early from the manor; in 44th Edward II. a fine was levied between Eliz. Aspale, and others, querents, and Gilbert de Aspale, deforciant, of the patronage, with three messuages, 300 acres of land, and several rents in Cressingham-Magna, Pickenham-North, Hilburghworth, &c. and the manor of Hogeston, in Middlesex; and in the 45th of that King, Tho. de Heygham, William Runham, &c. released to the Lady Eliz. Aspale, all their right in the advowson and lands aforesaid.
1446, 18 Sept. Richard Sechitche, canon of West Derham; on the death of Shropham. He had license to leave his abbey in this form: Johannes permissione divina, abbas monasterij Beate Marie de West Derham, ordinis premonstratensis, Dioc. Norwic. dilecto nobis in Christo Richardo Sechitche confratri meo, in dicto monasterio nostro expresse professo, et in ordine sacerdotali constituto, salutem in auctore salutis. Tibi ut ad quodcunque beneficium ecclesiasticum, curatum vel non curatum, etiam si hospitale, vel alia libera capella fuerit, quod tibi conferri contigerit, licite valeas promoveri, et idem canonice obtinere, licentiam concedimus specialem, teque post possessionem adeptam pacificam, vel quasi dicti beneficij, sive hospitalis, vel alias cujuscunque, cum suis juribus et pertinentijs universis, a monasterio nostro dimissum, atque exoneratum esse decernimus per presentes. In cujus rei testimonium, &c.
After this, in 1455, the manor and advowson being sold to the Prior and Convent of St. Mary of Thetford, they obtained, in 1467, of Walter Hart Bishop of Norwich, an appropriation of the church, and on this appropriation, a pension of 3s. 4d. was to be paid yearly to the see of Norwich, from the monastery, and the church was served by a stipendiary curate till the Dissolution, and then coming into lay hands, the lord of the manor, as impropriator, was obliged to find a curate to supply it, though in the year 1598, on the 3d of August, I find by the institution books, that Tho. Jackler, A. M. was instituted, on the presentation of Sir Edward Clere, on the death (as it is said) of the last rector; but this is the only institution I have met with since that of Wygenhale in 1446. At present, the church being down, I do not find that there is any curate, or any allowance made to any person, the impropriator, as rector, making it a sinecure.