An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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BRECCLES-MAGNA, OR GREAT BRECCLES.
The church of Breccles-Magna was dedicated to St. Margaret, and was appropriated to the priory of West-Acre: the rectory was taxed at 12 marks, the vicarage was valued at 6 marks, but was not taxed; it paid 15d. Peter-pence. There were two gilds, one dedicated to St. Margaret, the other to the Holy-Trinity. (fn. 1)
1305, 6 non. July, Tho. de Stow-Bidon, chaplain. The prior of West-Acre.
1331, 3 non. March, John de Saxlingham.
John de Salthouse, buried in the churchyard by the south church door, anno 1377.
1377, 30 June, John Spinneys.
1382, 10 Nov. John Fincham, buried in the churchyard in 1390.
1390, 26 Apr. John Powe, of Tiryngton.
1393, 17 Sep. Will. Walman, buried in the church in 1432.
1421, 21 Nov. Stephen de Swafham, alias Paly, on Walman's resignation.
1425, 10 Jan. Will. Joynture, resigned.
1427, 13 May. Rob. Langwade.
1433, 17 Feb. Will. Durant.
1441, 12 May, Bartholomew Lowell.
1445, 19 Apr. Nicholas Essex.
1447, pen. Feb. Rich. Garnon.
1452. 7 Nov. Rob. Hoper.
1463, 3 Oct. Roger Parke, died vicar.
1502, 16 Dec. John Bosom. In 1504, Robert Perry was buried in the church, and gave 4 acres and an half of land in Breccles-Field, to find two wax tapers of a pound weight burning before the sacrament at the high-altar, and a messuage and 4 acres of land for a certeyn for ever, viz. the vicar to have a penny every Sunday in the year, to say De Profundis for the souls of James, Thomas, and Robert Perry, and if he neglects it, the poor to have it in alms for ever. He was a benefactor to the two gilds in Breccles, and the three in Hockham.
1510, 14 Feb. Edw. Butterworth. Edmund Wanton of Breccles, in 1507, gave three acres in Puttock-Croft, for a perpetual light before the holy sacrament and St. Catherine.
1521, 3 Jan. Sir Thomas Lowthe, who was the last presented by the convent. (fn. 2)
1542, 10 July, Stephen Jonson. The King. Nicholas Louth.
1543, 30 Apr. Edw. Buckeley. Mary Dutchess of Richmond. Robert Picto, resigned.
1563, 24 May, Rich. Clegge. The Queen. He died vicar.
1573, 17 June, Thomas Atkinson. Francis Woodhouse, Esq. who joined the impropriation to the manor.
1620, 2 Jan. Samuel Hardyng. John Webb of Breccles, Esq. He resigned, but held it united to Rockland St. Andrew.
1628, 28 Aug. Sam. Warren. John Webb, of Breccles, Esq. (fn. 3) at whose death it became void, and was returned among the void livings at the Restoration, in 1662, and since hath had no incumbent instituted, it having been held as a donative, named to by the impropriator, who pays 13l. 6s. 8d. per annum only, for the curate's stipend, and takes the whole profits.
1689, Daniel Bret, curate.
1709, Samuel Rudland, curate.
The Rev. Mr. James Smith, vicar of Stow, is the present  curate.
The vicarage is 7l. 17s. 11d. in the King's Books, sworn of the clear value of 13l. 9s. 8d.; it paid 3l. 12s. 8d. to the tenths; 2s. synodals; the temporals of the Abbot of Bec, with the Prior of Okeburne, were taxed at 4s. and belonged to their Wrotham estate.
The temporals of West-Acre Prior were taxed at 3s.; the spirituals, viz. the appropriate rectory, at 12 marks.
This town is valued to the tax at 341l. per annum.
The Church hath an ancient steeple joined to its west end, which
is round at bottom and octangular at top; it hath only one bell, thus
Dos Prece Saptiste, galbent tua Dulnda, Chciste.
The chancel and church are leaded, the south porch is tiled; on a black marble in the chancel,
Webb's arms impaling Richardson.
Here rests the Bodyes of JOHN WEBB, Esq; and of MARY his Wife, Daughter of Sir THOMAS RICHARDSON, Lord Chief Justice of England, She died March 10, 1656, aged 56. He Octob. 25, 1658, aged 70 Years.
Near this lies a small oval black marble, with these words only,
STAT. UT VIXIT, ERECTA.
This is placed over the coffin of Ursula Webb, daughter of the said John Webb, Esq. and Mary Richardson, wife of Sir William Hewyt, Knt. who was interred in an upright posture by her own desire, according to the purport of the inscription. By her lies her husband under a black marble, on which are the arms of,
Hewyt impaling Webb, with a raven for a crest, and this,
Here under lieth the Body of Sir WILLIAM HEWYT, Knight, who married URSULA WEBB, Daughter to JOHN WEBB, Esq; he died Apr. 4, 1667, aged 52 Years.
Arms in the windows were,
Arg. a fess between two chevrons or.
Arg. three bezants, a canton az.
Breccles, at the Conquest was in three parts; the first part, in Harold's time, was held by 8 freemen, who had then five carucates, these were seized, with all their land, by the Conqueror, and laid to his manor of Saham; there were then 5 socmen, and half a carucate; and 15 acres, which the steward of Saham sold to Eudo, Earl Ralph's man, who was to hold them by the rent of a bridle; (fn. 4) this he added to the Earl's manor of Elingham-Parva, upon whose forfeiture, when Robert de Blund had the management of that manor, he received of them 10s. 8d. a year, but now they are laid again to the King's manor of Saham, which is in his own hands, and so they pay no rent to Godric; there was also another freeman, whose rent and services were worth 2s. per annum, besides a quarter of an acre, and right of commonage, which in the Confessor's time, and now, belongs to Saham, but Godric claims it as belonging to Earl Ralph's fee in Stow, and says that he farmed it of the Earl two years before he forfeited, and of the King two years after, and brings one of the King's men of Stow to prove it. Breccles was then a league long, and half a league broad, and paid 11d. gelt, and the King and the Earl had the soc.
The next part was held by a freeman in the Confessor's time, and contained a carucate of land, but at the Conquest it belonged to the King, and was farmed by Godric, who made it a berewic to Sporle, with which manor it was valued. (fn. 5)
The third part belonged to Ralph de Tony, who joined it to, and valued it with, his manor of Necton. (fn. 6)
The first part belonged to William de Warren Earl of Sussex, by gift from the Crown, and he gave it to Thomas, (fn. 7) son of Godfrey, son of Albert a Frenchman, who came over at the Conquest, along with the manors of Grimston, Burnham, &c. for which reason he assumed the coat of his lord, varying only the colour, viz. chequy or and sab. which the Breccleses always bore, though sometimes with a fess arg. This Thomas and his descendants assumed the name of Breccles, and oftentimes are called by the name of Grymston, both which manors belonged to them; at his death, Peter, his son, was made a Knight, and inherited, and at his death left it to Sir Thomas, his son and heir, who died without issue, leaving his manors and advowsons of Breccles, Burnham, Grymston, &c. to Christian, his only sister and heir, who died without issue, upon which her uncle Peter inherited, who died also issueless, leaving it to Bartholomew, his brother and heir, who left it to Alice, his daughter, who married to John de Breccles, and both were alive in 1276.
This John afterwards married Elizabeth, daughter of Jeffery, brother of Thomas de Grimstone, who died without issue, so that his neice Elizabeth, at the death of Agnes his widow, inherited LittleBreccles manor; in 1286, he was attached for holding a whole knight's fee, and being no knight; this John purchased the lands, &c. that belonged to Tony at the Conquest, and so joined them to the manor; he left it to Benedict, his son and heir, who gave the advowson to West-Acre priory, according to the order of his father; he held Grimston manor and advowson, Burnham manor, and the mediety of the advowson of St. Mary's at Burnham West-gate, of the Earl of Arundel, this, and Little-Breccles manor, and had weyf and stray, a free bull and free boar, and a leet held by the King's bailiff, but all the amerciaments belonged to him: he died in Edward the Second's time, and was succeeded by John Breckles, his son and heir, who left it to Benedict, his son and heir, who had it in 1402; it seems Constance, his daughter, had it, for in 1441 she levied a fine of it to William Warner and others, in trust, by which it was settled on her brother, John de Breckles, who left it to his two daughters; Alice, married William de Compton, who left John Compton, whose daughter, Margery, died without issue, and her part went to the heirs of Margery, the other daughter of John de Breckles, which Margery married Theobold de Thorlee, and left a daughter only, named Margaret, who married to Robert de Brome in Henry the Fifth's time, and they left three daughters; Katherine, married to Henry Starmere, in 1463; Elizabeth, to Rob. Harington; and Margaret, to Will. Fenne, who all joined with Thomas and Hugh, sons of Will. Fenne, and sold the manor to Sir Edw. Woodhouse of Kimberley, Knt. in 1469, he left it to Sir Thomas Woodhouse, his son, who left it to his second son, John Woodhouse of Breccles, who in the time of Henry VIII. married Anne, daughter of William Spelman, Esq.; and left Francis Woodhouse of Breccles their son and heir, who held it of Rob. Southwell, Esq. as of his manor of Saham; in 1551, he settled it on Will. Yelverton, who had it in 1564, and was found to hold Grimston and Congham manors, and to have license to settle this on Sir Thomas Cornwalleis, Knt. and Tho. Shelton, Esq.; but it was in trust, for in 1595, Francis Woodhouse aforesaid was lord of BrecclesMagna, and Bule's manors, which were soon after conveyed to John Dowfyld of Euston, Gent. Will. Webb of the same, and Hen. Branthwait, Esq.; who conveyed them to Sir Rob. Gardiner of Breccles, whose heir married John Webb, who was settled in the manor in 1619, after Sir Robert's death, and Ursula Webb, the heiress of that family carried it to her husband, Sir William Hewit, who died in 1667, and left it to Gardiner Hewet, Esq. who sold it to Wormley Hetherset, who gave it from Edmund, his only son, to his four daughters; Jane, married to Thomas Squires of Elm by Wisbitch; Sarah, married to James Barker of Shropham, son of John Barker of Thorndon; Elizabeth, to Edw. Owen of Coventry; and Mary to Joseph Randol, alias Baylis, of London, who purchased in all the parts, and left it to Mary his widow for life, who now enjoys it; remainder to Mr. Rich. Baylis, her only son, who married Philadelphia, granddaughter to Sir Philip Ryley, by whom he hath one son Robert an infant.
There is a separate fishery belonging to the manor, called Breccles Mere, and a good old seat, or manor-house, in which the present owner resides; it is called Breccles-Hall, but was not the site of the manor of that name, but of the capital manor of Great Beccles.
Breccles Hall, Bule's, Lingwise, or Diver's Manors,
Came from the Crown, and in 1280 belonged to Sir Warine de Muntchensy, which family granted off large parcels of it to divers persons. In 1304, William, son of William de Breccles, and William, son of Thomas de Breccles, held 7 messuages, a mill, 88 acres of land, 10s. rent, part of it in Breckles, Stowbydon, Bekerton, Griston, and Caston. It continued sometimes in the Breccles; but in 1498, Tho. Sayve of Breccles, Gent. was buried in the chancel, and gave his manor of Breccles-Hall, in Breccles, after his wife's death, to Osbert Sayve, Gent. his son; in 1545, James Payne and William Atmere had the manor of Lingwise, alias Divers, in Breccles, settled on them, by William Tassell and Margaret his wife, when it contained 3 messuages, 60 acres of land, 10 of meadow, 70 of pasture, 2 of marsh, and 10s. rent. In 1577, Francis Woodhouse, Esq. was lord of Breccles Hall, and Bule's manors, (fn. 8) which he joined to the manor of GreatBreccles, with which they still continue.