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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Takes its name from its situation, by the broad water or lake. It belonged to Stigand in the Confessor's time, who held it as a berewic or hamlet belonging to the manor of Thorp. It was then two miles long, and seven furlongs broad, and paid 3d. 3q. to the Dane-geld. It had a church and 13 acres of glebe held in Frank-Almoign, but at the general survey it belonged to the Conqueror, (fn. 1) and Will. de Noiers looked after for him. It continued in the Crown, till King Henry I. gave the manor and advowson to Bishop Herbert, and they two settled them on the prior and convent, and the manor continued in the church till the Dissolution of the convent. In Edw. the First's time, it was found by an inquisition then taken, that it was ancient demean of the Crown and entitled to all the liberties of ancient demeans; that it was in the liberty of the convent, and had all the same liberties as Eaton manor, it being then in Humbleyard hundred. It had a common gallows and cucking-stool, free-warren, &c. This manor, with that of Ameringhall, paid a rent of a bridle and pair of spurs, or 3s. 4d in lieu thereof, to the Earl of Arundell. In Richard the Second's time, Robert Thugarton, and others, settled 120 acres of land, and one acre of meadow, and 2s. 2d. yearly rents, lying here, and in other towns, on the prior and convent; which in 1284, belonged to John Fitz Gilbert, (fn. 2) who then claimed view of frankpledge, and assise of bread and ale, of all his tenants in Lakenham. In 1428, the prior was taxed for his temporals at 15l. 10s. 8d. and the village paid to each tenth 1l. 13s. but had a deduction of 6s. 8d. for the lands of the religious, which were taxed by themselves.
The rectory continued appendant to the manor till about 1205, and then John de Grey Bishop of Norwich (fn. 3) appropriated it to the chamberlain of the monastery, reserving to himself all episcopal and parochial jurisdiction; upon this, a vicarage was erected, which in Norwich Domesday Book is rated at 40s. to the first fruits, but was not taxed; that is, not liable to any tenths, fifteenths, &c. as the rectory was, which was estimated at six marks, and paid 8s. every whole tax. The church was not visited by the Archdeacon of Norfolk, but was an exempt, as belonging to the Prior's manor, from all but episcopal jurisdiction; as to procurations, synodals, and Peter-pence, it was free, for it is not so much as mentioned in the Archdeacon's Register; neither is it valued in the King's Books; but being sworn of the clear yearly value of 30l. 1s. it is capable of augmentation. It seems, part of the profits went to maintain a cell of monks at St. Catherine's chapel on Muswold-hill, (see p. 425,) and the rest belonged to the chamberlain's office. This vicarage was afterwards endowed upon the statute, and the vicar is entitled to all the tithes in the parish, except those of corn or grain, which belong to the impropriator; (fn. 4) the present vicar having recovered all the small tithes of the demeans and Hall-farm, after a long suit for the same; for on March 17, 1735, the decree of the court of Exchequer was affirmed in favour of the vicar, by the House of Lords.
1386, Edmund Martin, lapse, who, the same year, changed for Worsted, with John son of Hugh de Kimberlee; at whose death it was kept void, and the chamberlain of the monastery received all the profits of the vicarage, as well as rectory, and served it by one of the monks, or a stipendiary curate, to the Dissolution, and so it was continued by the dean and chapter till 1610.
1610, Anthony Wilkinson, A. M. the King, by lapse; he was succeeded by
Ralph Marham, who was presented by the dean and chapter, and died vicar in 1626, and
Tho. Smith (fn. 5) was instituted, on whose death in
1666, John Harwood, A. M. succeeded.
As to the MANOR, when the priory was converted into a dean and chapter by Henry VIII. Ao. reg. 30, it was confirmed to them with their other possessions, and continued in the church till 3d June, 1 Edw. VI. and then the dean and chapter surrendered all their possessions to that King, who the 9th Nov. the same year, regranted great part of their possessions to them, and among other things, this impropriate rectory and church, and advowson of the vicarage, but he excepted the manors and rectories, and advowsons of the vicarages, of Hemesby and Wiclewood, and the manors of Martham and Lakenham; and also all messuages, lands, tenements, meadows, pastures, feedings, TITHES, rents, courts, leets, and other hereditaments, whatsoever, to the said manors belonging or accounted, as parts of the same manors and rectories; and also excepted all those lands, tenements, and tithes, assigned to the manor of Lakenham, out of the manors of Eaton and Ameringhall. By virtue of which, this manor only was vested in the King, the small tithes being passed away with the grant of the advowson of the vicarage; and thus they continued in the Crown till July 1st Ao. VI. reg. And then the King granted to Tho. Gresham, Esq. and his heirs, this manor, and rectory, and church of Lakenham, with the advowson and right of patronage of the vicarage of the church; and Lakenham wood, (fn. 6) and the two mills, &c. and the fald courses, and all tithes of what kind or nature soever, &c. But the said Gresham never enjoyed the rectory or advowson of the vicarage, the King having regranted them before, to the dean and chapter, who always enjoyed them. In 1563, Sir Tho. Gresham, Knt. mercer, and lord mayor of London, held this manor, with the rectory and manor of Westacre, and the manors and granges of Great and Little Walsingham, &c. of the King's manor of East-Greenwich, by fealty only, in free soccage, and not in capite: and he died seized, and Dame Anne his wife had it after him, who offered it to sale in 1580. In 1640, George Lord Berkley was lord here, he died in 1685, (fn. 7) and left it to George, his only surviving son, who being one of the Lords of the Council to Car. II. was created Viscount Dursley, and Earl of Berkley; and in 1693, it was owned by his 2d son James Berkley, A. M. one of the prebendaries of Westminster, who died about 1695; and in 1735, Jane Chaplin, widow, held it for life, remainder to the Hon. Henry Berkley, third son to Charles late Earl of Berkley, and brother to James Earl of Berkley.
The church is dedicated to St. John Baptist, and All the Saints, and had a gild called St. John's gild belonging to it, which was held before a remarkable image of the Baptist, which stood in the chancel, and here was also an image of St. Theobald, or Tebald, much frequented by pilgrims, which offered there, for every year the offerings at St. Theobald are accounted for, and amounted to 13s. and sometimes more, in a year. In 1452, Rob. Blickling, Esq. of Forwich, was buried in Carrow abbey church, and ordered that the cross near Cowhawe in Lakenham, between the city and Hereford bridges, should be well repaired at his cost, in honour of Christ was crucified.
Elizabetha Uxor Henrici Reeve de Bracondale in Comitatu Civitatis Norvici, Generosi, Morbo Decennali conflictata, neque per tot discrimina eluctari potens, quadraginta messibus peractis 15° die Mensis Aprilis 1690, placide in Domino obdormivit.