An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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There are two villages of this name, one called East, or GreatPoringland, and the other, West, or Little-Poringland; both of them are in the liberty of the Duke of Norfolk, and formerly were but one village, the whole of which (except the parts of other manors which extended hither) came into the hands of Rog. Bigot, (fn. 1) and have continued in the Norfolk families ever since, descending in the same manner as Forneet manor, to which I refer you.
But the advowsons and other parts which were granted off by the Bigots, constituted other manors lying in both parishes, of which I shall treat separately. It is plain, that the church of Great Porland (as it is commonly called) was founded before the Confessor's time, for in his survey we find it mentioned, as having then 12 acres of glebe worth one shilling an acre, of which Ulketel, a Dane, was then patron, as belonging to the manor of Framlingham; to which, the chief part of this town always was, and now is, appendant: the style of the court anciently being Framlingham cx parte Poringland.
At the Conqueror's survey the towns were a mile and a quarter long, and a mile broad, and paid 12d. to the geld or tax. In 1285, Roger le Bigot, superiour lord of both the Porlands, claimed view of frankpledge, assise of bread and ale, and free-warren over all his tenants; and afterwards the Earl-Marshal, lord here, was sued for exceeding the bounds of his free-warren in Porland-Parva, by extending it above half a mile towards Shotesham, when it did not really extend over the way leading from Norwich to Bungeye, beyond which Sir John de Norwich claimed free-warren, and in all his demean lands Cruche-Stoke, Howe, and Porland, which liberty he had of the grant of King Edw. III.
The advowson of the church of Great-Porland, which belonged to the Earl's manor of Porland-Magna, as a member of his manor of Framlingham-Earl, was given with divers lands by the Bygod family, to Clement de Porland, whose son Roger de Porland and Joan his wife, gave it in Henry the Third's time, to the monks of St. Mary at Thetford; (fn. 2) in which house it continued till its dissolution, and then was granted with it to the Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 3)
This family sirnamed of the town, continued here many generations; John de Poringland and Katherine his wife owned the estate of that family in 1268, and in 1313, Roger de Porringland and Margaret his wife had it; and after them, Alexander their son; from whom descended Robert de Porland, a monk of Norwich, (fn. 4) and brother Ric. de Porland. a gray friar there; (fn. 5) as also, another of the same name, vicar of St. Stephen's: (fn. 6) this estate came to the Fustolfs, and was sold by Thomas Fastolf, Gent. in 1594, to Thomas Bransbye, Gent. (fn. 7) which family continued some time here.
RECTORS OF PORINGLAND-MAGNA, (fn. 8)
1349, Tho. de Mor of Saham, deacon, was presented by Mary Countess of Norfolk, by the King's grant, who had the temporals of Thetford priory in his hands, as an alien; he was one of the 60 clerks that the Pope dispensed with, being when instituted about 20 years old, on account of the great pestilence that had swept away most of the clergy in the diocese.
Abraham Barri, in whose time the church and chancel was rebuilt, and the chancel windows glazed; in the north window next the altar, part of an inscription still remains in remembrance of him, under his effiges in his priest's habit, holding the church in one hand, and the crosier and keys in another,
1410, Robert Spenser of Shadingfield; it seems he arched the inside of the chancel roof, for his arms still remain thereon, with those of the benefactors to the rebuilding of the church, which was finished in the year 1432, as the date on an upper south window shows: besides his own, there are the arms of Brotherton, Bateman, France, and England, with a label of three ar. and V. a cross ingrailed, ar. counterchanged.
This rector built the seats in the chancel, and the screens, and painted them neatly with the twelve Apostles, each having a sentence of the Creed in labels from their mouths; there are twelve other effigies of prophets, kings, and confessors, with labels also.
John Gascoigne, who held Little-Porland, and in 1603, returned answer that he had 94 communicants in his parish of Porlands, which were really united about 67 years since, and valued together at 6l. but at his death they were disunited again; and in 1612, the Duke gave it to
Sam. White, A. M. (fn. 9) who was succeeded by
1736, Arthur Womack, eldest son of Laurence Womack, late vicar of Buxton, and rector of Castor by Yarmouth, was instituted, on the presentation of Francis Taylor, Esq. and Francis Loggin, Gent.; he held it united to Hillington rectory, till Aug. 9, 1738, when he died, and was buried in the rails on the north side of the altar, being succeeded in Oct. 25, following, by
There are two porches both tiled, a leaded nave, and thatched chancel. (fn. 10)
The present fabrick (except the steeple, which is much older) was begun about 1400, and finished about 1432; the windows were glazed at the expense of divers benefactors, whose effigies and names, with their arms, were originally fixed in them, though now much defaced. There was a tabernacle of All the Saints, and two gilds, one of St. Anne, and the other of St. Andrew, held at the two altars, which stood in the nave, on either side of the entrance of the chancel. In the north windows are the following arms, &c. viz. of
Hare single, and Hare impaled with Bassingbourne. Parts of a man and woman praying, and over them, Sancta Trinitas unus Deus, miserrer Nobis. And the shield of the Holy Wounds, viz. Arg. a cross az. on which a wounded heart gul. in chief two hands, in base two feet, all cooped and wounded gul. and under it Jesu Christe. St. Sebastian holding an arrow. Our Saviour standing with the crown of thorns on, and the purple robe; his hands erected, and under him a woman on her knees praying, with this over her in a label,
In the south windows, St. Laurence. Brotherton's arms. A man. and woman kneeling, but their subscriptions lost, all but Uroris eius, There is a fine bust of the Holy Virgin crowned; and in the upper part of the east chancel gable in the churchyard, are three niches, in one of them, part of an effigies of the Trinity still remains.
And being discharged of first fruits and tenths, it is capable of augmentation. It pays 2s. syndols, 5s. procurations to the Archdeacon. (fn. 11) The Prior of Thetford had a pension paid by the rector of 13s. 4d. per annum, which is now paid to the Duke of Norfolk in right of that house. It paid 12d. Peter-pence, and 8d. carvage; and the town paid 1l. 8s. clear to each tenth, besides 5s. paid by the Prioress of Carrow for her temporals here, and 7s. by the chamberlain of the monastery of St. Edmund's Bury for his temporals, which were part of Brook manor, that extended hither. When Norwich Domesday was made, the rector had 10 acres of glebe, but no house, though now there is a very mean cottage, 10 acres and an half of glebe, and two pieces without contents; there is a piece of glebe about half a mile southward of the church, towards Howe, called the Old Churchyard, where the parish church originally stood, before it was removed for convenience to the site of the present church, which seems to have been done about William Rufus's time.
In 1503, John Prat of this town gave two acres of land in Poringland Field, at Car-mere, to keep a light burning before the image of our Lady of Pete, in the church, and 12 acres more (now the townlands) lying in eleven pieces (all of which are plainly described) to the church-wardens and parishioners for ever, on condition they pay the rector yearly for ever 4d. on Advent Sunday to say mass for the dead, and for his soul in particular; and also cause the bells to be rung that day; and the rest of the profits to be disposed of by the church-wardens, "Pro taxis Domini Regis, et alijs oneribus, predictis parochianis et villanis, in perpetuum venturis." (fn. 12)
Ever since the first union, the parishes joined in choosing officers, (as they do now as to overseers), but since the consolidation of it to Howe, they pay their church rate to Howe, as well as all their tithes, and choose one constable and one surveyor for themselves; Great Porland is valued to the tax at 421l. and Little Porland at 250l.
Was part of both the towns, which Rog. Bigot gave to Rob. Fitz.Roger Helke, or de Clavering, who in 1198 founded Langley abbey, to which he gave it; (fn. 13) and the abbots always held it of Forncet manor till the Dissolution; and in 1543, King Henry VIII. granted the manors of Porland, Rockland, &c. to John Corbet, Esq. who sold it immediately to Roger and John Gostlyn, and their heirs; and in 1548, at Roger's death, Agnes his only child, then married to John Poynet, had livery of them; and in 1588, Sir Thomas Gawdy, Knt one of the justices of the common pleas, died seized, and left them to Henry his son: in 1623, Sir Rob. Gawdy of Claxton, Knt. had them; and they continued in that family, till sold by Tho. Gawdy, Esq. and divers mortgages, to Mr. Crowe; and in 1723, Roger Crowe, Gent. was lord, who left it at his death to John Bedingfield of Beeston, Esq. the present owner.
Another part was granted by Rog. Bigot, to Robert Fitz-Roger aforesaid, which he did not give to his monastery at Langley, but was always held at half a fee of Forncet manor, by the Roscelines, to whom the Claverings had granted it; from whom it took the name of
Roscelines, or Rustelines in Poringland.
In 1235, Peter de Roscelyne held it of Rob. Fiz.-Roger; in 1317, Thomas, son of Sir Peter Roscelyne, Knt. let it to farm to Sir Walter de Norwich, at 6l. 11s. 8d. a year, when it extended into both Porlands, Cruchestoke, Shotesham, both Framlinghams, Yelverton, Trous, Brakendale, Surlingham, Kirkeby, Holveston, Bramerton, Rokeland, Lodne, and Langley. In 1327, William de Shotesham, Clerk, settled it on John de Shotesham and Margaret his wife; and in 1638, Edmund Doyley, Esq. died seized, and was found to hold it of the King's hundred of Henstede, in free soccage; Susanna his daughter being then only three years and nine months old. But whether the whole of this manor was manumised, or into what hands it afterwards came, I have not found.