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 watch town, might probably take its name from the watch that used constantly to be kept upon the Roman highway, at the entrance of Stratton, in order to guard the passage to their fortification at Taseboro.
At the Confessor's and Conqueror's surveys, the whole belonged to, and was included in, the manor of Forncet, (fn. 1) except one part, which belonged to the honour of Richmond, and afterwards became Park's manor here. (fn. 2)
Wacton-Parva, or Little-Wacton,
Which always attended the manor of Great-Moulton from that time to this, (as at p. 205,) in right of which, the third turn of the sinecure rectory here is still appendant to it. The other 3d part of the vil- lage of Wacton-Parva always belonged to Forncet, and a 3d part of the advowson, till it was lately purchased of the Duke of Norfolk, by the Rev. Mr. John Soley, rector of Stratton St. Mary, who hath also the other 3d part of the gift of Thomas-Bokenham Tirrel, lord of the manor of Park's in Great Wacton, to which it lately belonged, though formerly it was appendant to the manor of Stratton-hall, ac- cording to an agreement made in 1288, between Roger le Bigof Earl of Norfolk, and Gilbert de Borne and Eliz. his wife, owners of Strat- ton-hall, by which this turn was settled on them and their heirs.
Rectors of Wacton-parva.
1353, William Stannard, resigned. Sir Ralf de Shelton, Sir Thomas de Shardelow, Sir Richard de Boyland, Knts. Will. de Midelton, Hugh Curson, and Thomas Caroun, rector of Stratton St. Mary, feoffees of the manor of Bourne's or Stratton- Hall, to which this 3d turn belongs.
The church was dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, and when Norwich Domesday was made, the rector had a house and 16 acres of glebe; the revenues were so small, that it was not valued in the first taxation, but at the second it was valued at 40s. though not taxed. It then paid 12d. procurations, 9d. synodals, 5d. ob. Peter- pence, and 2d. ob. carvage; it now stands in the King's Books thus:
2l. 13s. 4d. Wacton-Parva Rectory 30l. clear yearly value. (fn. 3) so that being discharged, it pays no first fruits nor tenths, and is capable of augmentation.
In 1606, this parish was valued by itself, at 233l. 13s 8d. per annum to the taske or tax. The church was in constant use till about 1500, and then it began to be called a chapel, and in 1510, was re- turned to be in decay, and in 1520, it was so bad that service began to be omitted; and then there was a design of rebuilding it, though it never took place, for in 1522, William Cullyng of Wacton St. Mary, was buried there, and willed, "That when it shall please the Parissheners af the seid Wakton, to go about the halowynge of their churche, yf that they will doo geve the Bishop his Dener that Day, then I will that mine Executors shall soo geve the Bishop his sly- pende, as he and they may agree." (fn. 4) But notwithstanding this, it fell down and was never repaired. It stood on the piece of glebe now called Dove-house-Acre or Chappel-yard; but the foundations are ploughed over, though the rector, upon every institution, reads prayers there forenoon and afternoon, as in other rectories; the silver cup which belonged here is now the only cup in Great-Wacton church, as the inscription on it shows.
The parish is now so far swallowed up in Great-Wacton, that the bounds are not commonly known, (fn. 5) so that all the tithes are received by the rector of Great-Wacton, (fn. 6) there being no house, church, or parishioner, it is an absolute sinecure. The rector at this day being possessed of nothing but about 16 acres of glebe, and even that, pays all taxes, tithes, and rates, to Wacton-Magna, being rated at 5l. 10s. per annum, besides 4d. ob. synodals to the Bishop, and 1s. procura- tions to the archdeacon.
Twelve small pieces of this glebe laid intermixed in 10 or 12 enclo- sures of land belonging to Mrs. Martina Robe, widow, but are newly exchanged for the like quantity of land in two enclosures, containing about 8 or 9 acres, by consent of the Bishop, rector, and patrons.