An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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Kirby, or Kirkeby, signifies the dwelling at the kirken or churches; and Bidon or Bedon was added, to distinguish it from another village of the same name in this county; it being the name of the ancient lords of the capital manor; that it should take its name from its churches, is no wonder, there being two here, long before the Confessor's time; for in his survey, they were found to have each of them 10 acres of glebe, then valued at 12d. a year, and both belonged to Robert de Curson, who held them and the manor, of Roger Bigot, the town being half a mile long and as much broad, paid 20d. to the geld. (fn. 1) The part which Godric the sewer managed for the King, which formerly was Edric's, (fn. 2) and his own part, which formerly was Edwin's, (fn. 3) and the part which was the Bishop of Baieux's, (fn. 4) with the part of Bigot formerly Ulketel's, (fn. 5) constituted the manor belonging to Langley abbey, afterwards called Osbern's, which now is, and hath for some years past, been joined to the manor of Saham's and Wodehouse in Kirby-Bedon, into which town the several manors following extend, viz. Eaton, (fn. 6) Surlingham, (fn. 7) Framlingham, Trowse Rokeles, Witlingham, (fn. 8) and the Dutchy of Lancaster, of which several small parcels of land here, were held in 1447.
This manor continued in the Bigods after Curson's death, who held it of Roger Bigot at the survey, till Hugh Bigod Earl of Norfolk infeoffed it, with many others, no less than seven whole knights fees, in Helenald de Bidun, (fn. 9) who held also one fee in Wadley in Berkshire, of the honour of Warengeford. This Halenod gave the church of Hockham, with the consent of Agnes daughter of Pain Fitz-John, his wife, (fn. 10) to the abbey of Osney; in 1168, he and his wife granted a mark a year rent in Sutton, to Missenden abbey; and that they were persons of the first rank in those times, appears from the witnesses to this deed of gift, Adam son of Will. de Sutton, his principal clerk or chaplain: Benedict his chaplain, Nic. de Brunsted his sewer, &c. William Bishop of Norwich confirmed it; Humfry de Bidun was lord; and in 1170, John de Bidun held an honour containing five knights fees and an half, in the county of Northampton, as we learn from the Red Book of the Exchequer; but I do not find he was lord here, but John de Bidun, junior, his son, was, and died so, leaving Maud, daughter of Thomas Fitz-Bernard, (fn. 11) his widow, lady here; who re-married to John de Bokesford, and died seized in 1254, (fn. 12) when it was found, that John de Bidon died without issue of his body, and so his whole barony and estate descended to his five sisters, viz.
2, Amabilia, (fn. 13) whose son and heir, Miles de Beauchamp, held his part.
3, Sarah, whose three daughters inherited her part; Isabel, alive and held her part; Maud, who was dead, but Sarah her daughter then married to Rob de Walton or Wanton, was living, and held her part; Philippa was dead, but John de Croxton (or Oxinton, as sometimes called) held his part.
5, Ermengard, whose two sons, first John, sirnamed de Gatesend, was dead, but had issue, John de Gatesend, junior, his son, whose son, Ric. de Gatesend, held his share. 2d, Richard, whose son John was living, and enjoyed his part.
But several of these parts were united again very soon; for in 1256, John, son of John de Gatesend, had purchased so, that he was lord of one moiety. Before 1277, Hugh de Polsted had one part of Gatesden's moiety or manor, and James de Creike another, but about
1302, John de Saham had this moiety or manor, and the whole advowson; from whom it took the name of Saham's, which it still retains. John was succeeded by Hervy de Saham, who occurs lord and patron in 1320; and in 1332, Rob de Elmham, Christian, daughter of John de Saham, Ric. Merkaunt of Saham, Agnes, widow of William de Horpling, and Tho. de Hillington, were joint lords and patrons.
It after belonged to John Sturmy, and then to Hervy Rockhow, whose trustee, Tho. Panton, was lord in 1394; this Hervy was citizen and goldsmith of London, and presented here in 1412, and in 1423, Rob. Wirmegeye had it. In 1437, John Bacon of Baconesthorp, and Maud his wife, presented, and in 1482, John Burges and Margaret Wyrmegay had some time before infeoffed John Blake, Esq. and about 1503, it was purchased by James Hobart, Knt. (fn. 14) In 1506, Will. Lincoln of Norwich, Gent. was buried in the Black Friars there, and it appears by his will, that Rob. Wyrmegay had married his sister, for in it is this clause: 'I will that my executors endeavour to recover the third part of the manor of Saham's in Kirby, which was my sister Wormegay's right.' In 1553, Sir James settled it on his son, Miles Hobart, who had livery in 1571, but only of two thirds, for in 1546, Sir Nic. Hare, Knt. and Rob. Hare his son, had a third part; in 1550, Michael, son and heir of Sir Nicholas, had it, and in 1557, Sir Nic. Hare, Knt. master of the rolls, ordered that this manor, if his sons died without heirs male, and the third part of St. Andrew's advowson, which he had before settled with other estates in this hundred, on his son Michal, and Elizabeth his wife, in jointure, should go to his brother, John Hare, mercer, of London, and his heirs; who afterwards inherited it. In 1603, Sir Tho. Hobart, Knt. and Michael Hare, Esq. were lords and patrons; but in 1604, Owen Shepherd, Esq. was lord and patron. In 1610, the manor was settled in trust on Will. Spencer, and Will. Palmer, Gents. by the said Owen, who left it to Rob. Shepherd of Wicklingham, Esq. who was lord in 1660, as was Ambrose Shepherd, Esq. in 1693, when the three manors, of Saham's, Osberne's, and Wodehouse, were all united, and in 1712, belonged to
Wodehouse Manor in Kirkeby
Was originally a moiety of Bidon's or Saham's manor; Thomas Fitz-Robert, son of Maud de Bidun, having purchased several parts, obtained at last a division, and made it a separate manor; he came and dwelt by the wood here, and so called it Wodehouse manor, and assumed the sirname of De Bosco or Du Bois of Kirby, on that account; by which name, in 1280, he had the lete here, and all liberties of a lete: but in 1285, the King recovered it, and let it to him in fee-farm for ever at 6d. a year, payable to his hundred of Henstede: he was returned by the name of Tho. Fitz-Robert, to hold this manor, and that of Stowbidon, and lands in Thompson, of Baldwin Wake, as of his manor of Brunne in Cambridgeshire, at one fee. In 1301, Thomas de Bosco of Kirby-bedon, and Maud his wife, settled it on Robert de Hales their trustee, to the use of themselves for life, remainder to their heirs; and John de Bosco, who is often called John Atwood, their son, inherited it; whose daughter and heiress married to Ward, as you may see under Bixley. The manor had 10 acres in demean, 3 acres of meadow, 5l. quitrents, and 9 messuages held of it: and it extended in Apeton, Bramerton, Rockland, Yelverton, Wicklingham, Framlingham, Trowse, Bixley, Ameringhale, Lakenham, Caster, and Porland. In 1401, John Warde held it of Thomas Mowbray at half a fee; in 1572, Edw. Ward. In 1586, the manor of Kirby Wodehouse, alias Ward's, was conveyed by Stephen Coppin, Gent. and John Hewke, to Thomas Godsalve, Esq. and John Holland, Gent. and afterwards was purchased by the lord of Saham's manor, and joined to it, and so continues.
Langley Abbots, alias Osborne's Manor.
Roger Fitz-Ozbert held a fee here, which came to the abbey of Langley soon after, if not at its first foundation. The Abbot was always taxed at 36s. 9d. ob. for his manor of Kirby, which at the Dissolution came to the Crown, and was granted in 1543, by Henry VIII. to John Corbet, Esq. to be held by the rent of 3s. 8d. ob. a year; and immediately after, the King licensed Corbet to sell it to Robert and Thomas Osborne; (fn. 15) and Thomas was lord in 1572. In 1587, it was settled on Fiske, as trustee to the Osbornes; and in 1589, Tho. Osborne, Gent. settled it in trust on Will. Temperley, Esq. and Will. Money, junior, who in 1394, released it to Osborn again; and in 1605, Tho. Osborne, Gent. obtained license to alien it, and in 1672, John Coppledicke, Esq. was lord; and sometime after, it became joined to Saham's manor, with which it now remains.
The church of St. Mary at Kirby-Bedon, was appropriated to the abbey of Langleye, and the rectory was valued at 8 marks, and the vicarage at 5, but was not taxed; and so occurs not in the King's Books; it paid 2s. synodals: but in 1550, Bishop Thirlby released 20d. out of the synodals; the archdeacon's procurations are 6s. 8d. Peter-pence 12d. carvage 5d. and the vicar had a house in the churchyard.
Vicars of St. Mary,
1505, John Warmull had it by lapse, who was the last instituted to this church; it having been held as a curacy ever since the Dissolution, when the impropriation vested in the Crown, and was afterwards granted off; and in 1575, belonged to Rog. Manners, Esq. and afterwards to Sir Nicholas Hare, who sold it to Stephen Moss, and he to Mr. Fellow, who conveyed it to Henry Kimbold, and he to Thomas Dethyck in 1578; and afterwards
William Brooke, who had the manors, and was patron, rector, and impropriator, gave the impropriation to Edward Brooke his son, whose widow, Mrs. Eliz. Brooke, now owns it, and pays a stipend of 8l. per annum to the rector of St. Andrew's, for serving the cure; the rector of that parish, having been constantly curate here, ever since the Dissolution. In
1603, Hammet Hyde, curate, and rector of St. Andrew, returned answer, that there were then 40 communicants in this parish, that it was an impropriation, and that the impropriator constantly paid him his stipend out of the tithes.
The church stood east of St. Andrew's, their churchyards being parted by the road only; it is now in ruins; it had a south porch, nave, and chancel, the steeple is standing, and is round, and had two large bells, which were lately taken down, and placed in St. Andrew's church.
John de Kirby; (fn. 16) and in 1412, the said Hervy presented
1480, William, son of Robert Wirmegey, was instituted at the presentation of John Blake, Esq. feoffee of the manor, from John Burges and Margaret Wirmegey; he died, and in 1481, JOHN Ward, Gent. presented
Nic. Shepherd, who (as Walker says (fn. 17) ) was plundered and often imprisoned, and during his troubles, contracted so many debts for the support of himself and family, that at his death, his goods were seized, his widow utterly deprived of all maintenance, and reduced to great necessity; and was at last relieved by the charity of the corporation for ministers widows: whether he was any thing more than presented in the rebellion, I do not find; for in 1661, Robert Shepherd of Wicklingham, Esq. presented
The Rev. Mr. Ric. Brooke, son of the said Francis, who is the present rector, and holds it united to the consolidated rectory of All-Saints, St. Julian's, &c. in Norwich city. (fn. 20)
When Norwich Domesday was made, John de Gatesden was patron; the rector had then, as now, a house joining to the south side of the churchyard, and a grange or barn in the churchyard, and 2 acres of glebe; it was first valued at 11, and after, at 10 marks, and pays 2s. synodals, 6s. 8d. procurations, 12d. Peter-pence, and 6d. carvage. It stands thus in the King's Books,
So that it is capable of augmentation. The temporals of the Prioress of Carrow were valued at 37s. 8d. and the town paid to each tenth clear (without one pound paid by the religious for their revenues here) 5l. 13s. 4d. Here was a gild of St. John, for in 1558, Will. Necton of Norwich, sold half an acre belonging to this gild, which he had of the grant of Edw. VI.
The tower which stood at the west end of the church is down, but now there is fixed up in the lower part of it, a convenience to hang three bells in; the nave, chancel, and south porch, are all thatched; but the dormitory on the north side of the chancel, built by the Rockwoods, is leaded; and there are no isles; the porch was built in 1479, by the executors of Robert Osborne, who ordered his body to be buried in the churchyard, by Robert Connald and Joan his wife; and that over their three graves, they should build a church porch, which they did accordingly: at the east end of the chancel in the yard, there is an altar tomb for Thomas son of Robert Harris, Gent. and Grace his Wife. Jan. 9, 1680, aged 74.
This ancient family was fixed a long time here, and Dussing's Dale on Mushold-heath, (fn. 21) took its name from one of them.
Hic laret Johannes Dussing (fn. 22) t Uror eius, quorum animabus propicietur deus.
Near this, on a square marble fixed in the wall, This monument was repaired A. D. 1664, at the Charge of a Grandson of the entombed, viz. Nicolas Sheppard Rector of this Church, on whose Soul Jesus have Mercy.
M. S. Francisci Cremer, de hâc Parochiâ Generosi. Filij primogeniti Francisci Cremer de Ingolsthorp in Comitatû Norfolciæ Armigeri, Qui in Academiâ Lugduni sex Annos commoravit alumnus, et post Laborem multum in Studijs Mathematicis feliciter impensum, plurimis ingenij Dotibus indutus, animam suam, sub lætâ spe, Deo gratè reddidit, die 24° Feb. A. D. 1730. annoque æt. suæ 39°.
Juxta hoc Monumentum quoque sepulta jacet, sub spe ultimi judicij, Magdalena conjux prima supradicti Francisci Cremer Generosi, Filia unigenita Edwardi Coleman de Civitate Londini Generosi, unà cum quatuor Filijs, quos ille suscepit de Susannâ. conjuge suâ secundâ, et Relictâ, Filiâ Johannis Randal de Chedgrave, in Comitatû Norfolciæ Generosi.