An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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Or Oslac's town, and Estington, commonly called Aslington, was a berewic to the manor of Forncet, and was a league long, and half as much broad, and paid 9d. to the geld. (fn. 1) Here was a socman who held 6 acres, belonging to Alan Earl of Richmond, (fn. 2) and passed afterwards with the manor, which was granted from Forncet, when Roger Bygot infeoffed William de Verdon in William Rufus's time, as may be seen in my account of Brisingham, vol. i. p. 49; and it remained in the Verdons, till Wido de Verdun gave it in marriage with his eldest daughter Alice, to Nic. de Bruneste, who was to hold it of Verdon at one fee, and Nicholas gave it with Oriel or Muriel, his daughter, in marriage to Walter Malet and their heirs, together with Saxlingham. In 1263, John son of Alexander de Vaux, had a grant for a weekly market and yearly fair here, (fn. 3) and for free-warren in Cruchestoke, Boston, and Aslacton, by patent from Henry III. In 1288, Walter de Kerdeston held two fees, one here, and the other in Bulcamp in Suffolk, which were assigned to Will. de Roos of Hamlak, and Maud his wife, on the partition then made of the estate of her father John de Vaux of Holt and Cley. In 1296, it belonged to William de la Chambre, and was settled on Thomas de la Chambre. In 1306, it was settled by Reginald le Gros, on Oliver de Redham and Joan his wife, and was then held of Tho. de Verdon, who held it of Forncet. In 1309, Will. del Park of Ilketishale in Suffolk, (from whom the manor took the name of Parks,) and his partners, held the manor late Thomas del Chambre's, and the tenements late Ric. de Sething's, of Sir John Verdon, and he of the Earl-Marshal, in right of Elizabeth his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs of John son of James de Ilketshale; (fn. 4) Edm. de Specteshale and Margaret his wife, and Roger son of John de Specteshale having released their right, and all joined and settled the whole for life, on Amabilia wife of Richard de Shimpling, in whose right the said Richard was lord in 1315; but at her death it came to the Parks again, and Will. del Park (fn. 5) was lord in 1345, and in this family it continued, till Joan Park, the sole heiress of the family, inherited it; she first married John Duke of Brampton in Suffolk, by whom she had issue Thomas; secondly to John Strange, Esq. of Norwich, (fn. 6) who made his will in 1479, and ordered all right in this manor, and in Wackton and Hedenham Park's manor, to be released by his executors, to Tho. Duke and his heirs, he being the son of his first wife Joan, if he would grant Eliz. his second wife and widow, an annuity for life, of ten marks a year, which being done, it was vested absolutely in the said Tho. Duke and his heirs; he married Margaret, daughter and heir of Henry Banyard of Spectishall, and they had this manor with Park's manor in Wacton and Hedenham, and Brampton manor in Suffolk, which they left to William Duke of Brampton, who married Thomasine, daughter of Sir Edw. Jenny, Knt. and were succeeded by their son George Duke of Brampton, Esq. who married Anne, daughter of Sir Tho. Bleverhasset of Frenze (fn. 7) in Norfolk, their son, Edward Duke of Shadingfield in Suffolk, succeeded, who married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Ambrose Jermyn of Rushbrook in the said county, and left it to their son Ambrose Duke of Brampton in 1597, who died in 1609, seized of the aforesaid manors, leaving them to his son Edward, then six years old, who after he had attained to manhood, married Catherine daughter of Sir Thomas Holland of Wortwellhall, Knt. who in 1631, by the name of Edward Duke of Benhale, Esq. sold the manor to Sir William Platers of Prileston or Billingford, Francis le Neve of Wichingham, and Tho. Jacob, alias Bradlehaugh of Laxfield, in trust, for Sir William le Neve, Knt. This branch of the le Neves descended from Jeffry le Neve of Tivetshall, (fn. 8) and Alice his wife, whose son Laurence settled at Aslacton, where he was buried May 17, 1587, and by Aveline Martin his wife, left two sons, William and Jeffry: William, the eldest, married Frances daughter of John Aldham, Gent. of Shimpling (fn. 9) in Norfolk, who died in 1599, and he in 1609, leaving William le Neve their only son and heir, who was baptised the 1st of July 1592; he was educated at Caius college in Cambridge, (fn. 10) created herald by the title of Mowbray, June 29, 1624, soon after made York herald, afterwards Norroy, and at last Clarencieux, and knighted; in 1543, he was sent by King Charles I. the day before the battle of Edgehill, to the parliament army under the Earl of Essex, with a proclamation of pardon, to such as would lay down their arms; but when he offered to read it aloud in the Earl's presence, and to deliver the effect of it, that he might be heard of those that were present, the Earl rebuked him with some roughness, and charged him as he loved his life, not to presume to speak a word to the soldiers; for obeying which command, he was very uneasy ever after. He died unmarried at Hoxton near London, Aug. 15, 1661, and John le Neve, his brother, being dead before him, without issue in 1630, the manor and his estate, went to the heirs of his uncle Jeffry le Neve of Aslacton, who was born in 1578, and married Margaret daughter of Robert Burcham of Aslacton, by whom he had four sons; 1, Jeffry, the eldest, (fn. 11) who released to his 2d brother, Will. le Neve, clerk, of Aslacton; (fn. 12) he had two wives, (fn. 13) first, Jane daughter of Andrew Spring of Sidlesham-hall in Suffolk, by whom he had an only son John, who died without issue in 1666, and by Jane daughter of Richard Ailmer of Birdham in Sussex, his second wife, he had Mary, Jane, and William, who all died issueless, and Laurence le Neve, his eldest son and heir, who was lord here in 1697; he was then married, but had no issue, and his brother Richard le Neve, who was born in 1655, was unmarried in 1699; and after this, the manor was purchased by the Buxtons, by the name of Aslacton, Park's, or le Neve's manor in Aslacton, the free-rents being 1l. 7s. 5d. per annum, and the copyhold rents 8l. 6s. 10d. q. and Robert Buxton, Esq. of Chanons in Tibenham, (fn. 14) is the present lord, as also of William's manor in Aslacton (fn. 15) and Forncet, the quitrents of which are only 4s. 7d. a year.
The priory manor
Was given to the Prior of Thetford by Roger Bigot, their founder, (fn. 16) together with the advowson of the church, and remained in that monastery till its dissolution in 1540, (fn. 17) when it was given with that house to the Duke of Norfolk, and continued in that family till 1561, and then was sold to Charles le Grice of Brockdish, and John Tiler, who in 1564 settled it on John Rivet and Christopher Thetford, and in 1572, Andrew Thetford had it; in 1574, after Charles le Grice's death, it was granted to Andrew Mansfield of Norwich, Gent, and Jane his wife, whose daughter Susan was married to the said Charles, who died seized, and devised it to pay his debts; and it was sold to Thetford, and by him in 1598, to the Buxtons, in which family it now remains, Robert Buxton, Esq. being lord. The quitrents are 4l. 13s. per annum, and the fines of this and Park's manor are at the will of the lord.
The church is dedicated to St. Michael the archangel, and was given by Roger Bigot to the priory of Thetford, of his foundation, to which it was appropriated, and no vicarage endowed, but was served, as it is now, by a parish chaplain or curate, it being a donative in the gift and nomination of the impropriator: there was a rectory-house and two carucates of glebe; it was valued first at 10, after at 12 marks, and paid 2s. synodals, 6s. 8d. procurations, 10d. Peter-pence, and 2d. ob. carvage. The Prior was taxed for his spirituals at 12 marks, and paid 16s. to every tenth, and for his temporals 7l. 7s. 3d. In 1603, (fn. 18) Mr. Thomas Chandler, perpetual curate here, returned answer, that there then were, 129 communicants, and that this town paid 16s. to every tenth. There are now about 30 families, and weekly service, the salary being 20l. per annum.
The impropriation always attended the Priory manor, and was left by Laurence le Neve, Gent. to Reuben Gilman of Loddon, and his heirs, and he at his death gave it to his younger brother, Mr. John Gilman, the present owner.
Hic jacet humatus Willus: le Neve Generosus, Filius et Heres Galfridi le Neve et Avelinæ Martin Uxoris suæ qui Willus: in primis nuptijs, Francescam Filiam Johannis Aldham de Shimpling Armigeri Uxorem habuit ex quâ Will. primogenitum, secundis Nuptijs Annam. - - - - - - Generosi, desponsavit, ex - - - - filias, obijt 14° - - - - - Ao Dni. 1609.
Sub hoc tumulo Johannis Neveus primogenit' Galfridi Nevei Generosi, et Aliciæ Bret Uxoris ejus, dum vixerunt - - - - Johannis Generosi Uxore sua prolem habuit, Gulielmum, Thomam, Johannam, et Emmam, ob. 24° Die Nov. Ano Dom. 1559.
Laurence le Neve departed this life June 29, 1724, Æt. 74, he tied 10 acres of land in Aslacton, to pay to the parish officers 20s. per annum to be given to the poor; here are only two small cottages belonging to the parish.
In the chancel window is the picture of an infant in swadling clothes, (fn. 19) lying in a cradle, which, according to tradition, represents an orphan so left at the church style; this orphan was brought up by the parish, and from the town was called Aslac, and became a man of renown, being standard-bearer to King Edw. III.; he is said to have married the daughter of Sir Oliver Calthorp, Knt. of Burnham in Norfolk; and this window is adorned with these arms.
1, Calthorp and Strange. 2, Warren and Ditto. 3, Bovile and Ditto. 4, Mawtby and Ditto. 5, Mawtby and Clifton. 6, Lord Grey of Ruthyn, and Calthorp. 7, Calthorp and Withe. 8, Brewse and Calthorp. 9, Breton and Ditto. 10, Pierpound and Ditto. 11, Pierpound and Ufford. 12, Stapleton and Ufford. 13, Aslac and Calthorp. 14, Argentein and Calthorp. 15, Calthorp and Bacon. 16, Burgulion and Calthorp. 17, Burgulion and Kerdeston. 18, Burgulion and Mawtby.