An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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At the survey Ralph de Tony held this village, as a berwic depending on his manor of Necton: it was in length one mile, and half a mile in breadth, and paid 3d. gelt. (fn. 1)
This manor passed in the Toneys with Necton; and in 1274 Ralph de Tony claimed the assize of bread and beer, free-warren, gallows, weifs and strays. In 1309 died Sir Robert de Tony, lord and patron of the church, held by half a knight's fee of the honour of Richmond; it was then valued at 18l.; and in 1317, Maud de Tony his widow had part of her dower here; the said manor being entailed on Robert de Tony and Maud his wife.
Having thus passed hitherto with Necton, it was separated by Henry VIII. who sold it to Robert Hogan, and he to Sir Richard Southwell, who was lord in 1543; and in 1558 settled it to his own use, and his heirs male, remainder to Thomas son of Sir Robert, brother of Sir Richard, in tail male, after the death of Anthony Southwell, (brother also to the said Sir Richard,) and of Ann his wife, with remainder to Francis, Robert, and Henry, brothers of Thomas, in tail male, &c.; and in 1621, the manor and advowson were alienated by Sir Thomas Southwell to Thomas Goffe; and by an inquisition taken after the death of Thomas Goffe, (son of Edward Goffe,) who married Frances, daughter of Mr. Whale, and died March 30, 1638, it appears that it was held in capite by the 50th part of a knight's fee, and Thomas his son was 10 years old and Edward his second son afterwards sold it to Thomas Crane, merchant of Norwich, who left it to his wife, who was daughter of Mr. Calybut of Saham-Tony, for her life; (she afterwards married Sir Algernon Potts, Bart.) and on her decease in 1717, it came to Mr. Thomas Shuckforth of Saham Tony, his sister's son, who soon after sold it to Thomas Lobb, Esq. and he, to Mr. Knopwood of Threxton, but the advowson was sold to the Rev. Mr. John Soley, junior, of Long-Stratton, and is now in the Rev. Mr. Brundish.
King John, in the beginning of his reign, gave to Robert FitzRoger the lands which Stephen de Longo Campo held in Cressingham, and which Henry de Vere of Drayton, Addington, &c. in Northamptonshire, held in Mutford in Suffolk, &c. which Henry married a daughter and heir of Hildeburg, who was daughter and heir of Balderic de Bosco or Bois; to whom King Henry I. gave Mutford, Gapeton, &c. in augmentation of his barony of Baldemund, for 40l. per annum, which he had promised him for his service; and Stephen de Longo Campo De Lutcham married the other daughter and coheir, and had lands in Cressingham for his share. This I take to be the manor of Hopton, and the rather, because a few years since I saw the arms of Fitz-Robert in a window of this church, who was a descendant of Fitz-Roger, and Robert Fitz-Roger is said to be lord of Cressingham and Mutford in 1207.
In 1317, Richard de la Rivere, Knt. and Maud his wife, licensed Robert the prior, and the convent of Norwich, to purchase of Sir Walter de Norwich the lands, tenements, rents and services, which Sir Walter held of Sir Richard in Cressingham-Magna, Parva and Hopton; and about the same time Philip Payn of Hopton confirmed to the said prior, the said lands purchased in Hopton, by which it appears they were lords of the fee. (Regr. 5 Eccl. Norwic. p. 109.) Also John son of William de Hockham confirmed the same.
In 1405, a fine was levied between Robert Gurnay of Cressingham-Parva, and Thomas Stodhagh, querents, and Edward Howard and Catherine his wife, deforciants, of several parcels of land, and the liberty of a foldcourse here, and in Hopton.
And in the reign of King Henry VII. Sir Robert Lovel had a right in this manor. In the 19th of Henry VIII. a fine was levied between Christopher Jenney, Esq. &c. querents, and Anthony Gurnay, Esq. and Margaret his wife, defendants, one of the daughters and heirs of Sir Robert Lovel, Knt. deceased, of the fourth part of the manor of Hopton, and of 8 messuages and lands in Cressingham-Magna and Parva, Hilburgh, Bodney, Threxton, and Hopton. In 1537, a fine was levied between William Methwold, Esq. querent, and Sir John Mordaunt, Knt. and Elen his wife, defendants, of the 4th part of this manor, 8 messuages, and 400 acres of land, 80 acres of meadow, 100 acres of pasture, 2 acres of wood, 200 acres of furze and heath, 300 of moor, and 40s. rent in Cressingham-Parva and Magna, Threxton and Hopton. In 1556, Thomas Edows was lord; and in 1593, Eufemia Edows, in the reign of King Charles I. John Angnish, in right of his wife, in that of King Charles II. Mr. Thomas Rivington, of London. In the year 1692, Mrs. Elizabeth Fortescue held it; in 1704, the Lady Dorrington. About 10 years past, one Butterworth had possession of it; but he being ejected, Mr. Cooper, attorney at law, is now in possession. It paid an annual free-rent to the hundred of South Greenhoe, as the hundred rolls show.
The church is dedicated to St. Andrew, and has its nave, north and south isles, built of flint, &c. The roof of the nave is supported by stone pillars, forming 4 arches on the north side, and three on the south, the nave and south isle are covered with lead, but the north isle with tile; the old roof of this isle decaying some years past, the present roof is raised so that the spars cover part of the windows over the arches of the nave, and darken the church on that side; the east end of the north and south isles is taken in with oaken screens, and were anciently two chapels, (fn. 2) belonging most likely to the two manors; the holy water pot in the south isle is still to be seen; these chapels are now in a dirty condition, and unpaved. The church is in length about 51 feet, and in breadth, including the isles, about 40.
At the western part of the south isle of this church stood a foursquare tower of flint, &c. now in ruins, the east and north sides of it only remaining. A bell hangs on the north side of the tower, and is covered with a wooden cap.
The chancel is in length about 32 feet, and in breadth about 14; in the east window is or, two chevronels gul. Fitz-Robert, and in the same window, there were very lately the arms of Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, lord here.
In the reign of King Edward I. Norwich Domeday tells us that Ralph de Tony was patron, the rector had an house or manse with 40 acres of glebe, it was valued at 21 marks, paid for Peter-pence 6d. procurations 6s. 8d. synodals 18d.
1603 Richard Goodman occurs again: in his answer to King James's enquiry, he says there were 80 communicants in this parish; the King then patron, the heir of Sir Robert Southwell being under age, and in ward, ob.
This rectory is valued in the King's Books at 13l. 12s. 6d. but is discharged of first fruits and tenths by the act of Queen Anne, being sworn of but 40l. per annum clear value, and so it is capable of augmentation. It hath a rectory-house and about 40 acres of glebe.
In Parvo Cressingham habet Rex in dominio ii. liberos homines de i car. terre et habent ii. car. et ii. villan. et i. bord. at al iii. villan. et i. bord. iv. acr. prati et reddit xii. sol. Radulfus de Toenio hucusque habuit. (Doms. fo. 301.)