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 chief part of Fritton, or Free Town, to which the advowson belonged, was part of the honour and manor of Forncet, (fn. 1) and from its enjoying the liberties of the honours that extended hither, it might take its name, as being free from many things that other villages were subject to.
There was another small part held of the manor of Hemenhale, (fn. 2) by Thomas Trot and Alice his wife, in 1384. (See p. 183.)
Robert Malet, lord of the honour of Eye, which extends hither, (fn. 3) had two freemen here and their services.
And the honour of Richmond also extends into this village; for in 1636, it appears by the rolls of that honour, that Roger Warde, Gent. was amerced 20s. for detaining from the King, as lord of the honour, 1d. a year of ware-pound rent for his lands in Freton.
The Abbot of St. Edmund had lands here belonging to his manor of Moringthorp; (fn. 4) which he assigned with that manor to Robert de Vals, and it hath passed to this day with Moringthorp, or Thorp-hall manor, to which I refer you. To this also was joined one freeman and two bordars under him, and their services, which belonged till then to the King's hundred of Depwade
Besides these parts, there was a considerable share of the parish, which in the Confessor's time was held by Olketel a Dane, and freeman of Ederic de Laxfield's, the antecessor of Robert Malet, lord of Eye; and by Gifart, under Robert Fitz-Corbun at the Conquest: (fn. 5) and there were then 7 tenants of this manor that had power to sell their land, if their lord refused to purchase it of them; it was always worth 25s. and had the liberty of faldage; and the town was a mile long and half a mile broad, and paid 9d. to the geld. This was afterwards called Boyland manor, and hath passed ever since, as BoylandHall in Moringthorp, to which I refer you.
Another part of this village extended into Henstede hundred, (fn. 6) and was held of Roger Bigot's manor, at the 20th part of a fee, by Rainulf or Ralf, and belonged to Ulf the Dane in the Confessor's time. In 1264, Roger le Hayre, Eyre, or Ayer, was found to be a rebel against King Henry III. and to hold a manor in Freton of 100s. value, which the King seized; but in 1276, it was restored to William le Ayer; in 1306, Roger Ryvet had it, and in 1432, John Storer, and after Roger Bennet, by whom it was sold to the lord of Boyland, and so became joined to it.
The Manor of Bavent's Burtoft's and Hemenhale's,
Was infeoffed by the lord of Forncet, in Peter Fitz-Nicholas, to be held of Forncet at the 4th part of a fee; and in 1198, he settled it by fine on Eustace de Bavent and his heirs; and about 1210, Ralf de Freton and John his son, were lords; and in 1245, John de Burtoft, who in 1264 was found to be one of the rebels against Henry III. but having obtained his pardon in 1285, Ralf de Burtoft and Margaret his wife possessed it. In 1307, a Ralf de Burtofts was lord, and in 1315, Sir John de Sturmyn, Knt. who in 1327, had a charter for a weekly market and yearly fair here, and for free-warren, in this town, Stratton, and Moringthorp. (fn. 7) In 1329, Ralf de Burtoft, and Margaret his wife sold it to John de Hemenhale, and in 1331, the rest of their lands here; (fn. 8) in 1345, Sir Thomas de Hemenhale had it, and it continued in that family till about 1400, and then James Rees and Edmund Younghusband, held the lands and site of Hemenhale's alias Burtoft's manor in Freton; but the manor continued with Hemenhale, and Lady Lukyn now hath it. (fn. 9)
The church is dedicated to St. Catherine, was valued in the old taxation at 16 marks, and had a house and 11 acres of glebe; it paid 2s. 2d. synodals, 6s. 8d. archdeacon's procurations, 10d. Peter-pence, and 5d. carvage. And the whole village paid 3l. 10s. clear to every tenth.
Rectors of Fritton.
1300, Robert de Bosco, or Boys of Great-Thornham; he purchased the parsonage-house and a 2d rent in 1319, of William le Ey[?] and settled it on the church by license of mortmain from King Edward II. who presented him.
1349, Thomas Revet of Freton. Sir John de Segrave, Knt. lord of Forncet. He was deprived, because the King, as guardian to Sir John, recovered the next turn in his own court in 1352, and then he presented
1376, Henry Godchilde. Ditto. He changed with Beneyt for this, and Will. Mulsho, dean of the royal chapel of St. Martin le Grand in London, presented him to St. Catherine's in Colman-street, London, which was in his patronage.
1714, Tho. Holmes, A. M. had it, united to Flordon; he was presented by John Howse, senior Esq. who purchased the advowson; at his death John Howse, Esq. son of the said John, who is now patron, presented
The church and chancel are leaded, the south porch is tiled, the steeple is round at bottom, and octangular at top, and hath three bells. There is no memorial of any kind in this fabrick, except the arms of Bigot, Thetford abbey, and Brotherton, in the chancel windows.