An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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The church is dedicated to All the Saints; the advowson belonged to Forncet manor, till sold from it lately. When Norwich Domesday was made, the rector had a house and 16 acres of glebe; (fn. 1) the house is situate against the churchyard, and much the same quantity of glebe now remains. It was first valued at five, after at eight marks, and the monks of Thetford had a portion of tithes valued at 6s. 8d. It pays 4d. ob. synodals, and 1s. procurations, the old carvage was 3d. and Peter-pence 5d. ob. and the whole village paid 2l. 6s. 8d. clear to every tenth.
Eliz. Baspoole, widow, tied her estate in Wacton, now Mr. Joseph Cotman's of Great Yarmouth, for ever to pay 2l. 12s. yearly, to be given weekly at church, by 1s. a week in bread, to such poor people of the parish as constantly attend there.
Rectors of Great-Wacton.
Edm. Pooley, A. M. who had intruded during the rebellion, took institution, at the presentation of Sir William Platers and Sir Richard Onslow, Knts. trustees to the Norfolk family; at Pooley's death in 1697,
Is the only manor in this parish, except the parts belonging to Forncet, and to the honour of Richmond, (fn. 2) (of which this manor is held,) and to the honour of Eye, (fn. 3) both which extended hither; and the Duke of Norfolk, as lord of Forncet, and the lord of the honour of Richmond, are superiour lords of the commons and wastes, and had their letes here, though there is a lete belonging to this manor, the jurisdiction of which, extends to the tenants of the manor only, as the other letes do over the several tenants of the honours.
In 1235, Walter de Walys owned it, who was succeeded by Thomas de Camera or Chambers of Baketon, who in 1285, had lete or view of frankpledge, and assize of bread and ale of all his tenants here, by the King's grant; (fn. 4) this lete belonged to the King's hundred, and therefore the lord was obliged to pay 6d. per annum fee-farm for it, to the bailiff of the hundred. In 1298, Thomas son of Will. de la Chambre settled it on William Carleton, who resettled it on the said Thomas and Isabell his wife, in tail: it had then 130 acres, one mill, and 16 messuages belonging to it, and extended into Aslacton, Stratton, and Forncet. In 1315 the said Thomas was lord, and after him it came to the Parks, and passed with the manor of Park's in Aslacton, as at p. 177, 8, and so to the Dukes of Benhale in Suffolk, and after the death of that Sir Edward Duke who sold Aslacton, it went to
Sir John Duke, his son, who served as member of parliament for Orford in Suffolk. He married Eliz. daughter and coheir of Edward Duke, M. D. by whom he had four daughters: 1, Eliz. who died young; 2, Jane, married to John Brame of Campsey-Ash; 3, Anne, to Thomas Tirrel, Esq. of Gipping; and 4, Arabella, to Maurice Shelton of Barningham, Esq. and one son,
Sir Edward Duke, Bart. (fn. 5) who married Mary, daughter of Thomas Rudge of Staffordshire, but dying without issue, he gave it to his sister's son,
Greshaugh, La Vile's, or Bacon's Manor,
And anciently belonged to Richard la Vile; and in 1306, to Margery, widow of Walter le Waleys, and soon after to John de Dunhodde and Isabel de Haggele; in 1345, Thomas Grey, chaplain, and his parceners, had it; in 1370, Robert Bacon of Dickleburgh, lord of it, was outlawed for felony, and it was seized by the King, but Joan his wife recovered it, and held it in 1391, and at her death it went to the Crown, and was purchased by the lord of Park's manor, and joined to it, and so continues.
Hic jacet Abigail Sedley Vid: Filia Johannes Knyvet de Ashwould-thorp Armigeri, et nuper Uxor Martini Sedley de Morley Armigeri, (fn. 6) quæ diem obijt 15 Decem. Ao D. 1623.
Mallom, John (fn. 7) of Wacton, Gent. had a grant of arms anno 1685, viz.
Hic jacet Corpus Elizæ. Uxoris Johannis Mallom Generosi, et Filiæ Thomæ Stone Generosi, et Etheldredæ Uxoris ejus quæ obijt 12mo Die Sept. A. D. 1684. Etiam predictus Johannes Mallom obijt Aug. A. D. 1687.
Here is a vault on the north side of the chancel, in which are buried, Guliel. Soley 1725. He was of Pembroke-Hall, Cant. Susanna Soley, 1741. M. B. Soley, 1741, and Mary Baker, for whom there is a mural monument with the arms of Soley impaling
Stay hasty Traveller who 'ere you be, Tell if you can, what is become of me; Conscious of Guilt, my Soul, as one afraid, Fled from that Body, which now here is laid; Thoughtfull in Life, make it your chiefest Care, What you must be, as well as what you are; Death makes the stoutest hearts and hands to yield, Cease to dispute, and tamely quit the Field; And when approaching, makes all Living fear, To be they know not what, they know not where.
Over this door (the usual place for St. Christopher) is an ancient picture of that Saint, painted on the wall with "a terryble and fereful countenaunce," according to the description of him in the Legend, (fn. 8) and of as prodigious size, as the height of the wall would permit, though not so monstrous as the Legend makes him, for that says, "he was xii cubytes of length." At the uppermost corner towards the west, are the two tables of the Commandments, on the upper part of the one is Moses, and on the other Aaron, and by them Solomon's temple at Jerusalem; at the lower corner, on the same side, is a shield, and on it, the golden pot that had manna, (fn. 9) and Aaron's rod that budded, (fn. 10) types (I suppose) of the Aaronical priesthood; in the midst is a river, and the huge saint with "a grete pole in his hand in stede of a staffe, by which he susteyned hym in the water;" and on his shoulders is our Saviour represented as a child, "which prayed hym goodly to here him over the water;" and when Christopher "lyfte the Chyld on his Sholdres, and toke his Staffe, and entred the Ryver for to passe, the Water of the Ryuer arose, and swelled more and more, and the Chylde was heuy as Leed, and alway as he went ferder the Water incresed, and grewe more, and the Chylde more & more wexed heuy, in so moche that Christofer had grete Anguysshe, & was aferde to be drowned, and when he was escaped with grete Payne, and passed the Water, & set the Chylde a Grounde, he sayd to the Chylde; Chylde, you hast put me in grete Peryll, you weyst almost as I had had all the World upon me, I myght bere no greter Burden. And the Chylde answered; Christofer, marvayle the nothynge, for you hast not only borne all the Worlde upon the, but you hast borne hym that created & made all the Worlde, upon thy Shouldres: I am Jesu Chryst the Kyng to whome you servest in this Werke, and bycause that you know, that I saye to the Trouth, set thy Staffe in the Erth by thy Hows, & thou shalt se to Morrowe that it shall bere Floures and Fruyte. And anon he vanyshed from his eyen. And than Christofer set his Staffe in the Erth, & whan he arose on the Morowe, he found his Staffe like a Palmyr, beryng Floures Leues, and Dates." (fn. 11) And after this he was baptized, for when the King enquired his name and country, he answered thus, "tofore I was baptysed, I was named Reprobus, and now am named Christofer, tofore Baptysm a Cananee, now a Chrysten Man." And at the upper corner towards the east, is Noah's ark, the figure of Christian baptism, (fn. 12) by which we enter into the church, which is represented at the lower corner of the same painting, to which the Saint directs his steps: all this confirms my former observation at p. 239, vol. iv. that this Saint is always placed here (opposite to the font, which anciently stood always between the two doors) "in allusion to the water in baptism," notwithstanding what is said in the Palæographia Britannica, &c. Number II. page 65, against the truth of it. (fn. 13)
This rectory is valued in the King's Books at 5l. stands there by the name of Wacton-Magna Rectory, and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 45l. is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation.