An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 4, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part II. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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(79) The Parish of St. Giles
Is also a small ward, (fn. 1) and is part of the New Burgh, (see Pt. I. p. 20,) made in the Conqueror's time, when the church was founded by Elwyn the priest, in his own estate, and was given by him to the monks of Norwich, after he had procured an indulgence of 20 days pardon, to all persons that would come and offer here, on St. Giles's day, or seven days after, and Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury appropriated it to the monks; (fn. 2) it being then a rectory that paid 6d. synodals to the Bishop, whose jurisdiction this parish is subject to, as also to that of the Archdeacon of Norwich.
It was afterwards settled by the monks on their infirmary, and no vicarage being endowed, it was always served by a parish chaplain, and is a donative in the dean and chapter, who appoints the chaplain, and the Bishop licenses him. In ancient evidences it is called St. Giles on the Hill, and that very properly, it being on a very great eminence, whence the lower part of the city appears as a large valley, which makes a most beautiful prospect; it is often called St. Giles of Over New-port, and sometimes of Potter-gate. The rectory, at the appropriation, was valued at 40s.
The tower is large, square, and very lofty, being 40 yards high, for which reason in 1549, a cresset or large lantern for a fire beacon was fixed on its top; (fn. 3) there is now a clock and eight bells, two trebles beind added in 1737. The great bell (fn. 4) is rung daily the winter half year at six in the morning, (fn. 5) and eight at night, and at five in the morning and nine at night the summer half year. The nave, two isles and south porch, are all leaded; the chancel was quite demolished in 1581, when the dean and chapter gave to the trustees of this parish, "all the lead, timber, iron, and stone, which did come and remain of the decayed chancel of this church, for a stock to be put out for the encouragement of poor traders in this parish," (fn. 6) by which means they eased themselves of all repairs at once, for the chancel belonged and was to be maintained by them. There was a hermitage in the churchyard, and in 1428, Sir Richard was hermit here. There was also a cross, and an image of the Trinity in a niche in the wall on the west side of the steeple.
In the west end of the south isle there was a chapel, altar, and image of St. Catherine, with a light burning before it; and against one of the pillars, there was a famous rood called the Brown-rood. There was a gild of St. Mary kept before the altar of the Virgin of Pity. The west window in the north isle, was adorned with the history of our Lord's passion; and there were lights (either wax tapers, or lamps) burning before the images of St. Mary, St. John Baptist, St. Christopher, (whose effigies, of a monstrous size, (fn. 7) with his staff sprouting by him, was painted over the north door,) St. Giles, St. Unkumber, and St. Wilegesortis; besides those that continually burned before the holy-rood or cross, the holy sepulchre, and the sacrament.
Persons buried in this church as appears by their wills, are: 1424, Rob. son of Will. de Dunston and Cecily his wife, by Christian his first wife, and ordered Margaret his second wife, to give 5l. towards repairing the tower. 1448, Henry Pykyng, by the south nave door by St. Catherine's altar. 1459, Christian, relict of John Brosyard, buried in the south porch by her husband. 1496, Ric. Gosslin, in the yard at the steeple's end, before the image of the Blessed Trinity, and gave a legacy to the brown-rood on the pillar. 1506, John Carter, in the nave; in which there are modern stones for, Susan wife of Will. Copman, 1737, 87. Will. Copeman 1719, 72. Near the font Eliz. relict of Colonel Cobbe, late of Sandringham-hall, 1698. A wife of Roope daughter of Ansell, Esq. 1687. James Finch, 1699, 45. John Ansell, Esq. 1693. Anne his widow, 1695. Francis Bristow 1697.
Under thses Stonys lyght Thomas Colchester (fn. 8) and His Wyt Jone, on hose Sowlys God have Mercy. Amen.
Robert Baxter, merchant, was buried before the great rood in 1429, and gave 20l. for a suit of vestments; 12 marks for a missal, and 7 marks for a gilt silver cup; and in 1470, Ric. Baxter, Gent. was buried by his mother in the church, and gave a jewel and pair of silver cruets.
Orate pro animabus Ricardi Purdaunce quondam Maioris istius Cibitatis, qui obiit in Festo Sancti Marci Ebangeliste Anno Dni. Millimo: cccco rrro. serto et Domina Margareta Uror eius quorum animabus propicietur Deus, Amen.
JUDITHÆ CROSS-GROVE amicissimæ necnon dilectissimæ Consortis HENRICI CROSS-GROVE, Typographi Norvicensis (Subter memorati) Quod Reliquum, in hoc Sepulchro repositum est. Commissa erat Mortalitati vicesimo primo Januarij 1682, super Æthera autem erepta, (candidissimam animam Deo reddere) septimo Februarij 1742. Laudabiliter multæ fecerunt, ipsa vero superavit Omnes. Supremum munus Maritus mœrens posuit.
Spe non exiguâ lætæ Resurrectionis Exuviæ Henrici Cross-Grove, Typographi Norvicensis, subter sunt humatæ, In Orbe minimè tranquillo, Dolenter migravit Aug. 14, 1683. Ad snperos necnon alacriter evasit, Sept. 12, 1744.
M. S. ROBERTI SNELL Generosi, Viri, popularibus suis ob mores integros, Fidemq; spectatam charissimi: Egenis per vitæ spacium usque Liberalis, nec minus in Funere evasit, Ecclesiæ qualis, quantusq; Benefactor, huic Parochiæ DONA satis indicant.
Uxorem Duxit Elizabetham, Gulielmi Browne de Elsing in Com. Norf. Arm. et Annœ Uxoris ejus, Filiam, quæ obijt 31°. Oct. Anno Dom. MDCCXXVII°. Ætat. 32°. et apud Elsing cum suis sepulta jacet, alteram habuit Uxorem Margaretam, Antonij et Margaretœ Ransome, de Civitate Norwicensi, Natam, quæ obijt 15° Oct. Ano. Dni. MDCCXXXV°. Ætat. 38°. Tandem Familiæ solus superstes Robertus, Ipse morti succubuit, 17° Nov.
He gave a noble set of plate for the service of the altar, upon
which, the branch hanging in the church was bought with the old
plate; there are two flaggons double gilt, as the whole set is, one
weighs above 51 ounces, and the other above 49. On each are these
Poculum Benedictionis cui Benedicimus, nonne Communicatio Sanguinis Christi est.
Adrian Payne Gent. and some time Sherife and Alderman of this Citie, was interred in this Vault the 4th Day of May 1686, who gave a hundred and twenty Pounds to this Parish of St. Giles for ever, for the clothing of poor Men and Women in Gownes once every Year, in the Moneth of November, as farre as the annual Profits of the said Summe would extend. For the Performance whereof, a Peice of Land or Inclosure knowne by the Name of the Lower Church-Close in Hanworth, of the north side of that Church, contayning about fourteene Acres, &c. is settled and secured by Rob. Doughty of the said Towne in the County of Norfolk Gent. (being Son in Law to the said Adrian) for the Payment of six Pounds per Ann. for ever, upon the last Day of October in each Yeare, (fn. 9) to those in Trust, to see this Charitie disposed, who are to be tenn in number, Inhabitants of this Parish, and are to be renewed by the remainder, at the Request of the Parishioners hereof, when six or seven at most of the said ten be dead.
In 1528, Edward Grewe, chaplain here, gave his messuage, yard, &c. to the parish for ever, "toward repayring the church, or releving the Pore." They were vested in trustees, and have continued so ever since, and were lately leased out for 500 years to Thomas Andrews, carpenter, at 3l. per annum rent charge, to be paid by half yearly payments at Lady and Michaelmas, in the church porch, and for want of payment the feoffees may seize the premises. This messuage stands on the north side of the street, between the church and the gates, not far from the lane leading by the steeple: and adjoining to the west side of this messuage, are the parish houses formerly called
The alms-houses, which were heretofore three tenements near the common-well, given Oct. 17, 1583, by the will of John Balliston, to be vested in feoffees, who are to permit and suffer the churchwardens to receive the clear yearly profits, and to "make distribucion to the poore in manner and fourme following, (fn. 10) that is to sey, the weke before Michaelmas, the weke afore Christmas, and the weke after Easter, in the church of St. Giles, and the ministre shall then request the pore people, all they that receive almes, (fn. 11) and all other that have need of Almes, to come to church these three days beforeseid, being flesh daies, and he shall say service, and request them to pray to God, for the preservacion of the prince and of the nobell councell, and give thanks to God, for that it pleased God, to incline his harte, that gave this distribution, and they shall place their selves fower and fower together, that be above the age of eleaven yeres, and every fower of them, shall have sett before them a twopenny wheat loffe, and a galland of beste bere, and fower pound of beef and broth, as it rise off the meate, and in their own vessels, as it is already begonne and the minister shall have for every of the seid thre daies, fower pence for his paynes, and this to be done yerely." March 20, 1735, they were conveyed by the feoffees by way of lease for 500 years to Stephen Cullyer, mason, for a clear rent charge of 40s. per annum payable at Lady and Michaelmas in St. Giles's church porch, with power to seize on the premises for non-payment. The money is distributed to the poor as directed; and the distribution is called St. Giles's-feast.
The houses called the Pit-houses from a common pit formerly on their south side, stand on the triangular piece opposite to the southeast part of the churchyard. They were given to the parish in 1509, by James Wadnow and John Mason, chaplains, being then a messuage and 3 renters, &c.; the feoffees are to permit the church-wardens to receive the profits, who are to lay the whole out annually in repairing or adorning the church of St. Giles, at their own discretion; there are always to be ten feoffees, and when eight are dead, the parish to choose eight new ones, and the two old ones must renew to them. Sept. 14, 1726, the feoffees leased the whole out for 500 years to Will. Foster, mason, at 6l. per annum, clear of all taxes, to be paid every Lady and Michaelmas, by even portions, and for want of payment, the premises may be seized.
1650, Dec. 20, the parishioners purchased of William Gargrave, innholder, and Alice his wife, an annuity of 30s. per annum, payable to the church-wardens, out of all the houses lately called the Ram, and now the Black-swan inn, in St. Giles's-street, opposite to the church, to be paid every 9th day of Dec. and if it be unpaid 20 days after, they may seize the premises. This was purchased with money given by Mary Godwyn, late of this parish, for the benefit of the poor; and accordingly it is distributed every New-year's day by the church-wardens and overseers, in bread or money.
1612, Thomas Pye, alderman, and Anne his wife, settled the almshouses in St. Gregory's for the uses expressed at p. 222, "the places to be filled by the three most ancient justices of peace for the county of the city, being aldermen, or any two of them." (fn. 12)
In 1479, Edmund Bukenham, Esq. gave a tenement in this parish to find a lamp before the high-altar here, and before the sepulchre yearly at Easter in St. Mary's college in the Fields, but it was seized at the Reformation.
(80) God's-house, was given for an alms-house, by John le Grant in Edward the First's time, and in 1310, was confirmed by Thomas his son, to the parish; it was in St. Giles's-street in lower Newport, and was rebuilt by Bishop Lyhert, whose arms, with those of the see, were on each side of the old Gate-house before it was pulled down; but the nomination of the poor people to inhabit here, being in the Bishop, (though they were to be parishioners,) it was seized with the rest of the revenues of the see, and so became a private property ever since. The old house was pulled down by Mr. Rob. Gamble, who built the present house standing on its site.
There was formerly a hermit dwelling over St. Giles's-gates: and just on the outside of them, was a leper-house, founded in Edward the Third's time, by Balderic or Baudry de Taverham, who in 1343, settled it for that use on the city, as his original deed now in the Gildhall, in old French, shows us. It was not dissolved, but continued an hospital or sick-house, as long as the house at St. Stephen's-gates, which see at p. 167.
The nave of the church and two isles, are 27 yards long, the isles are four yards wide each, and the nave is eight yards wide. The whole was rebuilt at once in Richard the Second's time, together with the tower; which is the reason it is so neat and uniform a building; it appears that the families of Scales, Thorp, Clifton, Caily, Shelton, Calthorp, and Vaus, were great benefactors to it; their arms now are, or lately were, in the windows, together with or, a lion rampant gul.; gul. in a bordure or, a cross arg.; gul. on a chevron arg. three roses proper. The principals of the roof are supported by angels holding shields, on which England and France quartered, St. George. The arms of the Priory, arg. a cross humettè gul. &c.
7. Celi Regina, languentibus sit Medicina. (fn. 13)
To the Memory of Mr. William Goddard, who having for some time apply'd himself to Trade, with strict Punctuality and great Probity, closed thist emporary scene in a prudent Retirement: His Ability and Disposition to be serviceable, endearing him to the Affection of his Acquaintance, render'd his latter Days more extensively usefull, and made his loss sustain'd by his Death sensibly felt, and justly lamented. He died the 6 of March 1742, in the 47th Year of his Age. Also two of his Children, viz. Mansfield Goddard died the 28 July, 1743, aged 12 Years, and Sarah died in her Infancy.
In 1587, Crumpton assigned his lease to the parishioners, who chose John Lowe their parish chaplain; (fn. 14) he died in 1626, and was succeeded by Mr. Ric. Gamon.
In 1650, deans and chapters being laid aside, Henry Drewry was instituted rector, and appointed Will. Stinnet his curate; he continued rector till his death, about 1678, and then the dean and chapter leased it to Tho. Blome.
The religious concerned here were, the Abbot of Sibton, taxed for temporals at 2s. 6d.; the Prior of Hickling 6s.; the Prioress of Carrow 6s. 3d.; the Dean of the chapel in the Fields 8s. 6d. and the Prior of Norwich 10s. which were small rents appropriated to the infirmary and cellerer. Escawin, with the consent of Muriel his wife, gave his lands and houses by this church, to the convent, for their souls; (fn. 15) and the monks received them into their fraternity, granting them to be honourably among them. In 1293, Henry, son of Henry le Counte of Norwich, formerly one of the butler's to Henry I. gave them a house in Pottergate.
In Dr. Prideaux's account, the whole is said to be arbitrary contribution, then about 24l. per annum, but it is now about 50l. per annum, and has been lately augmented by lot with 200l. of Queen Anne's bounty. Here is service and a sermon once every Sunday, and prayers every Friday.