An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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Hapeton, Habeton, or Harpton advowson, (fn. 1) was given by Sir Robert de Nerford, founder of Lingerescroft hospital by North-Creke, afterwards called the monastery of St. Mary de Pratis, or Creke abbey, to that house, to which it was appropriated, and was to be served by a chaplain or parish curate, to be nominated by the convent, and paid a competent annual stipend for the service, out of the profits; and Alice daughter of John Pounchard, formerly wife of Sir Robert de Nerford, confirmed it, with the moiety of the church of Wrenningham (as at p. 119,) as did King Edward I. in 1273. (fn. 2)
The church is dedicated to St. Margaret, was first valued at 7, and after at 8 marks, and had 23 acres of glebe; it paid 5s. procurations, 22d. synodals, 8d. Peter-pence; and 4d. carvage; and the Abbot paid for his spirituals, 10s. 8d. to each tenth, and for his temporals 25s. 1d. In 1314, John Ashwell, by royal license, aliened to the Abbot of Creke, three roods of land in Hapton, to enlarge the site of the rectory-house there. In 1426, Brother Robert Felbrigge, abbot of Creke, sold to John Flete and his heirs, a messuage called Dalyots in Hapton, and 4 acres of land, paying 2s. and an hen yearly to that house. In 1461, John Shelton, Esq. lessee to John, abbot of Creke, sealed to John Wode, then parish chaplain of Hapton, all the lands, houses, great and small tithes, for 10 years. About 1506, this monastery was looked upon as dissolved, because the abbot died without a convent, to elect another; whereupon, all the lands and revenues, by the procurement of the Lady Margaret Countess of Richmond, mother to King Henry VII. were settled on her college in Cambridge called Christ's college; and ever since, the impropriation hath remained in the master and fellows there, who nominate a perpetual curate to serve the parish, and pay him out of the profits, it having been esteemed a donative in their gift, ever since the foundation, and as such it now remains.
In 1603, Mr. Thomas Hutchinson, perpetual curate, returned answer, that there were 43 communicants, that the whole parish paid 50s. to each tenth, and that Christ's college had 23 acres of glebe. The Prior of Thetford was taxed at 22d. ob. for temporals here; the Prior of Walsingham 6d. the Abbot of Sibeton 10s. and the Prior of Bukenham 2s. 9d. ob.
The church hath no steeple, the nave is leaded, and the chancel thatched; in the east window are the arms of Thorp, Clifton, and Caily, and az. three croslets arg. but there are no other memorials. There is a bell hanging in a wooden frame in the churchyard.
By a deed without date, William Apuliensis gave to God and the church of St. Michael at Florendona or Flordon 3 acres in Habbetona or Hapton, between the land of Roger son of William the priest, and the glebe of St. Margaret's church at Hapeton, for the benefit of his own soul, and those of his father and mother, of Margaret his wife, and of Roger Glanvile, and all his ancestors; Safrid, the priest of Habbeton, and Michael the parish chaplain of Flordon, and many others, being witnesses.
The manor was joined to that of Fundenhale at the Conquest, by Walter de Dol; the church had then 15 acres of glebe. The town was a mile long, and a mile and a quarter broad, and paid 6d. 3q. to the geld. (fn. 3) It was always held of the Norfolk family, as of Forncet manor, at one quarter of a fee, and always attended the manor of Ashwell-thorp, as at p. 142, to p. 162, to which I refer you. The manor-house is called Hapton-hall, and was always the jointure-house of the Knevet family. The style of the manors now runs, Ashwellthorp with Wreningham, and Fundenhale with Hapton.
The manor of Forncet extended into this town, and hath done so ever since the Conquest, for then Herbert, chamberlain to Roger Bigot, (fn. 4) had a freeman and 15 acres; and another freeman late of Bishop Stigand, (fn. 5) held 30 acres, &c. and there were 4 freemen (fn. 6) that always belonged to Forncet, that held 36 acres, &c.
There was another part in this village of about 90 acres, and some small rents held by knight's service of William de Vallibus, or Vaus, and in 1221, was settled by William de Langham, on Robert de Nerford, and was held in 1341, by Robert son of William Dun, of Roger le Strange, lord of Knokyn, and Dame Joan his wife. In 1421, Sir Robert Carbonel, Knt. owned them, and after him, Sir John Carbonel and Margery his wife; which Sir John by his will proved in 1425, gave 10 marks to each of his executors, out of his manors of Breydeston, Caston, Shipdham, and of his lands and tenements in Brisingham, Hapton, &c.; and in 1426, they were held as parcel of Wormegey honour.
In 1345, Wido de Verdon, held a knight's fee in Brisingham and Hapton, (fn. 7) of the Abbot of Bury, and the Abbot of the King, in chief, or in capite.