An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Is so called from its site, the river Nar (fn. 1) running on the north side of it. Sir Henry Spelman, in his Icenia, p. 142, relates, that John Brame, a monk of Thetford, who lived in the reign of Henry IV. in a MS. history, (quoted frequently by Dr. Caius in his History of Cambridge,) maintains Narburgh to have been a city, in the time of Uter Pendagron King of Britain, about the year 500: governed by Earl Okenard; that it was besieged seven months by Waldy, a king in the neighbourhood, who on the taking it, entirely rased it.
Though this account may savour too much of the cloister, it is evident, that it was a place of eminence in the Saxon age, from its name, and the works adjoining to it. At this time, a curious large military foss or ditch, with its mound, runs from this town to Beacham-well and Berton, Eastmore fen-ground; by this entrenchment, the hundred of Clackclose, was so well secured, that no passage or entrance could be into it, but by admission here, or over the rivers Ouse, Wissey, and and Nar, which surrounded the other parts of it. At the head of this foss, near to Narburgh-Hall, was a lofty artificial hill, serving as a fort or encampment; at the foot of this hill, about the year 1600, several human bones, and pieces of armour were dug up, Sir Clement Spelman then making a garden there. (fn. 2)
At the general survey, it was the lordship of Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk, held by Alwi in the Confessor's time, when 33 villeins belonged to it, 10 borders and 6 carucates of land. It was a mile long, and 10 furlongs broad, and paid 12d.; when the hundred gelt was 20s. it was always valued at 8l. (fn. 3)
Robert de Narburgh lived in the reign of Henry II. and held the 4th part of a fee of William Baron of Wormegay. (fn. 4)
John de Narburgh, (fn. 5) with the assent of Adeliza or Alice his wife, granted and confirmed to the monks of Castleacre his turbary here, called Open Fen, and two acres of meadow given to them by his father Reginald, by deed sans date; (fn. 6) about 1239,
Hamon de Narburgh (fn. 9) held half a fee in 1285.
William de Narburgh a manor here, and the advowson of the church; and in 1323, William de Narburgh was lord. In 1328, one of the said name appears by a roll of the honour of Wirmgay, to hold this manor, and a part of the advowson of the church, by one fee, and two parts of a fee, suit of court, castle guard, and waytfee at Wirmegay, of the Lord Bardolph, and he of the Earl-Marshal. In 1461, William de Narburgh died lord, and bequeathed his body to be buried in the church of Narburgh, by his wife Alice, daughter of Robert Clere; he appoints
William his son executor, and his brother Edmund Clere, supervisor; this William was one of those 20 gentlemen of this county, who were returned to be gentlemen of ancient coat-armour, and were summoned to serve King Henry VI. as lances, in defence of the kingdom. (fn. 10)
His son William did not long survive him; his will was proved 10th of January, 1461, and bequeaths his body to be buried by his wife Elizabeth in the church aforesaid. This last William left two daughters and coheirs,
Elizabeth, (fn. 11) married to John Bocking, Esq. of Langham, who died in 1477.
Thomas Shuldham, Esq. by his wife Ela, had Thomas, his son and heir, who by will dated in 1514, bequeaths his body to be buried in the monastery of Pentney in Norfolk, and gave Elizabeth his wife 10l. per annum during life, out of this manor, and the 3d part of all his manor in Marham for her dowry, to his brother John Spelman the manor of Narburgh, with the appurtenances, the watermill, advowson of the church, &c. and to his heirs for ever, according to an agreement made before Mr. Francis Calybut, viz. paying for the same to his sonnys, Edward, Thomas, and William, and to his daughters, Margaret, Elizabeth, Anne, Philippa, Ela, "and to the child in my "wyffs bely, 400 marks evenly;" he appoints his brother John Spelman, and John Fincham, executors; accordingly, in 1526, a fine was levied of this lordship, (fn. 12) between John Spelman, then serjeant at law, (afterwards one of the judges of the King's Bench, and a Knt.) and Elizabeth Shouldham, conveyed to Spelman, whose heir and descendant,
On an inquisition taken in the 24th of Henry III. the Prior of Westacre was found to hold one knight's fee, here in pure alms of the Lord Bardolf, of the gift of the Narburghs, and in the 3d of Edward III. the prior held the same, as appears from a roll of the honour of Wirmegay, (fn. 13) but the services of castleguard, &c. were released by the Lords Bardolph, and several free tenants of the Prior are named in the said roll; on the Dissolution of the priory it came to the Spelmans, and a fee farm rent of 1l. 5s. 7d. per annum is paid for it.
In 1239, Agnes Livermere was found to hold the 3d part of a fee of Pain Tipetot, and he of the Lord Bardolph, that Lord of the Earl of Norfolk, and the Earl of the King in capite; in 1328, it was held by John Drayton, son of John de Drayton, and had been held by Peirs Rouchin and John Crane, and castle-guard, waytfee, &c. were due and performed for it at Wirmegay. In the beginning of Henry the Fourth's reign, it was in the hands of John Grace, with its appurtenances in Pentney: it afterwards was possessed by the Spelmans, and on an inquisition taken at Norwich in 1546, on the death of John Spelman, Esq. son of Sir John, he was found to have held this lordship of the King in capite, by the 20th part of a fee; this also is united to the other manors.
The ancient seat of the Spelmans stands about a furlong east of the church, and is called Narburgh-hall; it is for the most part built of stone and brick, and has had a moat about it; it was erected by Judge Spelman in the time of Henry VIII. and was lately sashed, and stands very pleasantly; over the porch are the arms of Spelman and Narburgh quarterly, impaling Froyk and Sturgeon, quarterly. In the bow window of the hall are the said arms, and gules a cross ingrailed in a bordure arg. Leigh. In the great parlour, azure, an eagle displayed or, Shuldham, and barry of six arg. and sab. a bend over all ermine, Fincham; also sab. a chevron ermine between three bulla heads arg. Saunders.
The name and family of Spelman, is of great antiquity; in the Register of Missenden abbey in Bucks, fol. 94, William Martel gave to that abbey 40s. rent per annum issuing out of Snapes and Aldeburgh in Suffolk; and the land which Turstan the Frenchman held, which on his death, he gave to his servant,
William's land, who was lord of Brokenhurst in Hampshire; and in Testa de Nevil, he is said to hold Brokenhurst by the service of sending a servant with an habergeon for 40 days, in England, and to find litter for the King's bed, and hay for his palfreys, when he came to Brokenhurst. He died about the 16th of Henry III. and left
1st, Peter Spelman of Brokenhurst, who died without issue in 1290, and made his two sisters his heirs; Maud, married to John de Grymsted, and Catherine to Richard de Testwood, who carried off Brokenhurst, and the chief part of the old estate of the family.
Sir Henry Spelman, Knt. was buried at Christ's-Church in Hampshire in 1270, and left two sons; David, his second son, by Aveline his wife, had John Spelman, who settled lands on Isabel his wife, lying at Attleburgh in Norfolk in 1304.
Robert, his youngest, had his lands at Attleburgh, and went from thence into Suffolk about 1349, and was succeeded by Sir Anthony Spelman, his son, in 1391, whose son and heir, Robert Spelman, Gent. lived in St. Gregory's parish in Sudbury in 1421, and married a Grimston.
John Spelman, the eldest, was the first of the family that was lord of Bekerton manor in Stow (see vol. ii. p. 279, &c.) he always wrote himself, of Spelman's Place in Stow. After the death of Alice his first wife, he married a second wife, named Joan, by whom he had one daughter, married to William Kemp, and four sons; he died in 1392; his 2d son was John, his 3d William, whose daughter and heir married to John Aleyn of Earlham; his 4th son, Stephen, who was alderman and sheriff of London, died without issue in 1404, and was buried in St. Michael Queenhith, London. (Stow's Survey of London.)
Henry Spelman of Stow, the eldest, built the old part of Bekerton-Hall, or Spelman's Place, as in vol. ii. p. 279; he was buried at Stow in 1432, and Isabel his wife was buried by him in 1444; he had 2 sons; Robert, the youngest, was master of St. Gregory's chapel in Sudbury, and rector of Snitterton, of whom see vol. i. p. 421.
John, the eldest, lived at Bekerton, and was in most of the commissions for the county, by the name of John Spelman of Stow, Esq. where he was buried in 1460, as was Catharine, daughter of Thomas Styward of Swaffham in Norfolk, his first wife, in 1432; by Maron his second wife he had two sons, John and William, and by his first wife two sons and two daughters; Katharine, married to William Clipesby of Clipesby in Norfolk; he died in 1441, and is buried at Askeby; and she remarried to Edmund Paston. Agnes, the second daughter, married to Thomas Fincham of West-Winch in Norfolk, Gent.; Robert was the second son, and
Henry Spelman, Esq. the eldest, lord of Bekerton, after his marriage with Ela, relict of Thomas Shouldham, Esq. daughter and coheir of William de Narburgh, came and settled here; being the first of the family that ever settled, and had any thing to do at Narburgh; he was lord of Carbonels in Rockland, (see vol. i. p. 478,) and had for his second wife, Christian, daughter and coheir of Thomas Manning of Great-Ellingham in Norfolk, (fn. 14) by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Jenny, for whom see vol. i. p. 488; he was buried at Narburgh by Ela his wife, and was recorder of Norwich in 1491, (See vol. iii. p. 191, and his inscription, among the monuments in this church.) By his second wife he had two sons; Thomas, the eldest son, lord of Ellingham-Magna, (fn. 15) and Brecles-Parva, married Anne, daughter and coheir of John Conyers, Esq. and by her had John, who died without issue, and Henry, who was heir to his brother and father. See vol. i. p. 484, 8. Christopher, the second son, married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Jeffry Ratcliff, as at vol. i. p. 45. By his first wife he had three daughters; Elizabeth, married to John Goldingham, Esq. and is buried here; Anne to Edward Mackwilliams of Stanebridge in Essex; Catherine to Richard Sefoul of Waterden; and three sons,
Henry, inherited, and was lord of Rockland Tofts, but dying unmarried in 1533, (fn. 16) the whole inheritance vested in the third brother,
Sir John Spelman (fn. 17) of Narburgh, Knt. second Justice of the King's Bench, and before that, one of the most eminent barristers of his time; he married Elizabeth daughter and coheir of Sir Henry Frowick or Froyk of Gunnersbury in Middlesex, by whom he had 13 sons and 7 daughters; (fn. 18) 1st, Elizabeth, married to William de Grey of Merton, Esq. (see vol. ii. p. 304;) 2d, Dorothy, to Thomas Heydon of Baconsthorp, Esq. and afterwards to William Cobb of Sandringham, Esq.; 3d, Ela, to George Jernegan of Somerleyton in Suffolk, Esq.; 4th, Bridget, to Osbert Mundeford of Feltwell, Esq.; (vol. ii. p. 193, 7;) 5th, Martha, to Alexander Brockdish of Brockdish in Norfolk, Esq.; 6th, Alice, to Francis Soame of Wantesden in Suffolk, Esq.; 7th, Anne, who died single.
2, Henry Spelman of Congham in Norfolk, Esq. (fn. 19) first married to Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Knevet, by whom no issue; secondly to Frances, daughter of William Saunders of Ewell in Surrey, Esq. and by her had,
That great antiquary and most learned knight, Sir Henry Spelman, an honour to the college where he was educated, (fn. 20) as also to the town and county he was born in: his Glossary; History of Sacrilege; Treatise De non Temerandis Ecclesijs, and other numerous valuable works, will show posterity his great learning; his Icenia or History of Norfolk, which he intended, was the first design of that kind in relation to this county, that I have met with, and great pity it is, that all his collections on that subject, except the fragment of that name, published in his Posthumous Works, should be dissipated and lost; but to rescue his person from the same fate, the author of this work hath here inserted his likeness, taken from an original picture painted in his own time, in honour of him who was so useful a member to his country, and so great a promoter of the laudable study of the general antiquities of the kingdom, and the particular ones, of this his native county; he was sheriff of Norfolk in 1605, and died at London in 1641, (fn. 21) having married Eleanor, eldest daughter and coheir of John le Strange of Sedgeford in Norfolk, Esq. by whom he had, Sir John Spelman of Heydon in Norfolk, (fn. 22) who died at Oxford in 1643, and married Anne, daughter of Sir John Townesend of Raynham.
John Spelman, Esq. the eldest son, buried here in 1545; he married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Bleverhasset of Frense, who after his death remarried to John Eyre, Esq of Lyn; she was buried here in 1558, and he in 1561, as the inscription shows.
Thomas Spelman, their eldest son, died without issue, (fn. 23) and his brother,
John Spelman of Narburgh, Esq. inherited, buried here in 1581; he had two wives; Judith, daughter of Sir Clement Higham of Barrow in Suffolk, buried in 1570, by whom he had Clement and William; and Catherine, daughter of William Saunders, Esq. (fn. 24) of Ewell in Surrey, by whom he had twin sons, and one daughter, viz. Robert, (fn. 25) Francis, and Bridget; (fn. 26) William, the youngest son by Judith, died without issue, but
Sir Clement, the eldest, was sheriff for the county in 1598–9; he married for his first wife, Alice, (fn. 27) sole heir of Edmund Kervile of Wigenhale, Esq. (fn. 28) by whom he had no issue; but by his second wife, Ursula, daughter of Sir John Willougby of Rysley in Derbyshire, he had Clement and John, and dying in 1607 was buried here, as his inscription shows.
Clement, the eldest son, was recorder of Notingham, and in commission of oier and terminer for the midland circuit, and justice of the peace in Notingham and Norfolk, and died unmarried in 1679. He now stands right up, enclosed in a pillar in this chancel, so that the inscription on the pillar, is directly against his face.
John Spelman, Esq. of Narburgh, his brother, married Anne, daughter of Sir John Heveningham, by whom he had 4 sons and 8 daughters, of which I find, Ursula married John Potts, Esq. John their son being baptized at Narburgh in 1618; Elizabeth married Mr. Stephen Edgar of East Bilney in 1671, and had issue; Abigail, married Christopher Crowe of East Bilney, Esq. April 13, 1662, and had issue; Mary married Mr. Henry Towers, of Helgeye; Catharine married 1st to Mr. Bird, and after, about 1674, to Mr. William Houghton, vicar of Sharnborne, &c.; he sat twice in parliament, and died in 1662, as his inscription shows, to which I refer you, leaving
Mundeford Spelman, Esq. his son and heir, who had three wives; 1st, Mrs. Rushworth of Suffolk, who had no issue; 2d, Anne, daughter of Edward Walpole of Houghton in Norfolk, knight of the Bath, who was buried here, and had several children that died young; 3d, Julian, daughter of Miles Branthwayt of Hethel in Norfolk, Esq. who was buried here in 1734, and he in 1723, leaving three sons and one daughter, married to Mr. Allen of Lyn, merchant.
The church of Narburgh is dedicated to all the Saints, and has a nave, a north and a south isle, and a chancel built of flint, &c. the nave is in length about 60 feet, and about 30 in breadth, including both the isles, (fn. 29) and is covered with reed. This nave or body is of great antiquity, much older than the isles or chancel, as is plain from the form of its building, and its different order or way of workmanship; the inside of it is camerated and impannelled with wainscot, the mitres of these pannels are ornamented with shields, many of which, through length of time, are lost and decayed, what are remaining and could be distinguished are here blazoned, though the colours in many are now very obscure, most of them relating to marriages in the Shouldham, Narburgh, and Spelman families.
1, Sable, three mallets arg. Reynham. 2, Heydon of Baconsthorp. 3, Arg. a chevron sable, between three cross croslets, gul. 4, Arg. a cross patonce, vert, Sefoule. 5, L'Strange. 6, Drury. 7, Mondford of Feltwell. 8, Sab. on a bend arg. three flowers-delis of the 1st Rungeton. 9, Arg. three water budgets gul. Ross. 10, Gul. on a chevron arg. three cross croslets fitché of the 1st, Wilton. 11, Sab. a fess dauncetté between three mullets pierced arg. Wesenham. 12, Clifton of Bukenham castle. 13, Arg. on a chevron gul. three roses of the 1st, Knowles. 14, Corbet. 15, Az. three piles wavy gul. Gernon. 16, Arg. a fess gul. between three eagles displayed sab. Elmham. 17, Jenny. 18, Scales. 19, Arg. a cross ingrailed, gul. Inglethorp. 20, Arg. a frett sab. surmounted with an escoteheon gul. De la River. 21, Bleverhassey. 22, Sab. a chevron ermine between three bulls heads caboshed, Saunders. 23, Arg. two bars between two mullets in chief pierced, and an annulet in base sable. 24, Quarterly azure and gules a cross flory between five trefoils or, Manning. 25, Arg. a fess between two chevrons gul. Peche. 26, Sab. a chevron between three estoils or stars, arg. Brewster. 27, Azure a maunch or, Conyers. 28, Arg. a fess between two chevrons sab. 29, Sab. a chevron between three lions rampant, arg. 30, Sab. three mullets pierced or. 31, Quarterly gul. and azure four crosses pattee arg. 32, Bouchier. 33, Beauchamp. 34, Lovel. 35, Arundel. 36, Reppes. 37, Spelman.
These arms are in Narburgh church, besides those already mentioned. This church being thus remarkable for so many shields, it may not be improper to speak a word or two on that subject. The bearing of arms is no doubt very ancient, some ascribe the institution of them to Cham, others to Osyris, Hercules, &c. who painted certain signs on their shields, bucklers, &c. which were afterwards called arms; (fn. 30) thus Osyris is said to have born a royal sceptre, ensigned on the summit with an eye; Hercules a lion rampant, holding a battle axe; these marks served not only to distinguish men in the wars, but also tribes, regiments, and particular nations and countries; the Athenians bare an owl, the Persians an archer, the Romans an eagle; and God (we see) approved of these armorial ensigns; for when Moses led the children of Israel through the wilderness to the land of promise, he commanded that every one of them should pitch by their own standard, with the ensign of their father's house, Numbers, Chap. X. from whence it is observable there were two marks of distinction; 1st, Standards fixed on a pole for regiments, every regiment consisting of three tribes; 2dly, Ensigns or arms appropriated to particular tribes or families; and as all the twelve tribes were distinguished from one another by particular standards, so it is the opinion of the Hebrews, that they had figures on them, and according to the Chaldee Paraphrase, and Lightfoot, the standards were distinguished from one another by their colours, as well as figures, and each standard was of the colour of that stone in the pectoral upon which the name of the tribe, to which it belonged, was written: the figures on the standards of the four principal tribes are these: in that of Judah was born a lion, in that of Ephraim an ox, in that of Reuben the head of a man, and in that of Dan an eagle with a serpent in his talons, which are indeed the four most perfect animals; and it is presumed, that the Cherubims, which God ordered to be put over the ark, had the figures of these four standards about them; and in this manner it is, that God represents himself in Ezekiel I chap. insomuch that the prophet saw the lion, the man, the eagle, and the ox all at once, and this is the explanation of that so difficult and so magnificent a vision, according to some; and from hence it is probable that the four Evangelists assumed or had the same emblems and figures ascribed to them.
Arms, in length of time, became the rewards which princes and generals bestowed on martial men in the field, to perpetuate the memory of their valour and meritorious actions to their children and posterity. Alexander the Great (it is said) gave, by the advice of Aristotle, such marks of honour to his soldiers; and Charles the Fourth bestowed on Bartholas, a learned lawyer and a skilful statesman, this coat of armour, or, a lion rampant, his tail forked gul. which descended to his heirs. These arms were then explacito; but Paulus Jovius affirms, that in the reign of Frederick Barbarossa the Emperor, who died in 1189, that is in the beginning of our King Richard I. the bearing of arms began to be fixed; those marks and pictures used before that time in shields, banners, and standards, were but devices and impresses, and not hereditary to single families; and it is observable, that in and about those days, many, who were engaged in the Holy War, and had taken the crusade, assumed crosses, stars, &c. to show their zeal as many families in England did, which their descendants continue to this age. Camden, and Pierre Pithdu, a Frenchman, observe that arms in Christendom became hereditary and descendible, in the beginning of the reign of our Henry III. and since that time, Kings have dispensed such marks of honour by their heralds, who ought to be fit officers qualified by learning and experience to invent such arms, as may be most proper, for the quality and merit of those appointed to receive them; yet always reserving to themselves the supreme jurisdiction of judging what rewards shall be most suitable to their deserts: another way of bearing arms, and much practised in former times, was, when gentlemen who had served great lords and barons, either in the wars abroad, or at home in some honourable employments, and being enfeoft by them in lands, &c. assumed the arms of their chiefs, only varying the colours, or making some little additions to their charges, as may be instanced in several families in England, and particularly in this county, in the ancient families of Calthorps, Breccles, Thorp, Ward, Winter, Barningham, Baldock, Beckham, Caley, Clifton, Tatshall, &c, who all bear the field cheque in imitation of the arms of that powerful baron the Earl Warren and Surry; also in the families of Walpole, Gerbridge, De Grey, Hemenhale, Tendring, Peche, &c. who all bear a fess between two chevrons, in imitation of the great Lord Baynard, and Lord Fitz-Walter; and in the families of L'Strange, Hetherset, Sharnburn, Monthall, Bukenham, Stapleton, Morley, &c. who all bear the lion rampant, in imitation of that great lord the Earl of Albany. The reason why arms are so frequently seen in churches in this manner, or in painted glass, Burton gives us in his History of Leicestershire, p. 97: I have observed (says that author) that they who were either lords of the manor, patrons of the church, or benefactors thereto, or held any fees or lands of inheritance within the parish, did usually set up their coat armour, and sometimes their pictures, (drawn as near to the life as they could,) in the windows, and many times several coats were set up in lieu of matches, before either impaling or quartering was in use, which were therefore set up as in places more eminent, remarkable, and freest from injury and violence.
Hic requiescit Nehemias Ingram, Benjamini hujus Parochiæ Vicarij, apprimè fidelis Frater, Londini quondam Mercaturæ navavit operam, Vir verè pius, benignus omnibus, præsertim Pressurâ laborantibus Ano Domini 1728, Ætat. 64.
M. S. Hoc sub Marmore Juliana, Uxor Benjamini Ingram hujus Ecclesiæ Vicarij, Henrici Harcock de Worstead in hoc Comitatû Generosi Filia, cujus anima plusquam devotissima, Ergastuli hujus impatiens, nec non Angelorum anhelans consortium, Cherubini Armata pennis, in Cælum avolavit, Feb. 14 Ano Salutis 1695, Æt. 32. Prædicti Benjamini, secunda hic requiescit Uxor charissima, priori nequaquam impar, Elizabetha, Johannis Davy de Walton orientali Generosi Filia Ano Dom. 1728, Æt. 58. Novembris vicessimo tertio 1735, Ætatis suæ 75, Sub hoc Marmore supradictus requiescit Ille Benjaminus.
On the head of two stalls or seats, at the east end of this isle, are the arms of Spelman and Narburgh, and Froyk and Sturgeon; and at the west end is a large antique font of stone, and near it 12 buckets, with the arms of Spelman on them.
The north isle, of different form and workmanship from the nave, is not above half the length of it; this is an additional building and not so antique as the body of this church. Isles, as may be seen from old wills, were frequently added to the nave or body of churches by religious devout persons, and were particular chapels or oratories distinct from the church, and dedicated to some saint; here the founder and his family were generally buried, and chantries were frequently kept, and some priest or priests had annual pensions to officiate and sing mass for the souls departed of the founder and his family; sometimes they were founded by some society or fraternity of persons, called in those days a gild, who also had their priests to officiate in the same manner for those of their society, &c.
Near the east end of this isle, is a lofty gray marble altar monument raised against the wall, with a wall piece of the same; on this wall-piece is the portraiture of a man and his wife on their knees, before two seats or desks engraven on a brass plate; the man has a label, viz With the Lord there is Mercy; also the woman, viz. and with hym is plenteous fiedemption. On a brass plate under them,
Here do I lye John Eyer, late Receyvor Generale to Elizabethe the Quenes Majestie in the Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cantabridge, and Huntynton, and one of the Maisters of her hyghe Court of Chancerye, and Margaret his Wyfe, one of the Daughters of Sir Thomas Bleverhaiset of Frens Knight, late Wyfe of John Spelman Esquire, Sone and Heyre apparent of Syr John Spelman Knyght, which John Eyre dy'd the xxth Daye of May, the Yere of our Lord MV LXI. and in the thirde Yere of the Raing of Elizabeth by the Grace of God Quene of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faithe, and the said Margaret dy'd the xvth Day of December in the Yere of our Lord MDLVIII.
This John Eyre, as Sir Henry Spelman observes in his History of Sacriledge, p. 247, was a great purchaser of religious houses that were dissolved by King Henry VIII. and bought of that King, the Friars Carmelites, the Gray Friers, the Friars Preachers or Black Friars, and the Augustin Friars at Lynn, &c. He was possessed also of Bury abbey, and died without issue.
1st Quarterly in 1st and 4th arg. on a chevron in a bordure ingrailed sab. bezant three quaterfoils arg. Eyre, in the 2d and 3d Townsend. This is over the man, quarterly Eyre and Spelman, this is the middle escutcheon, and quarterly Eyre and Townsend; impaling 1st, Bleverhasset, and his quarterings in the second place Lowdham.
Sir Ralph Bleverhasset married Joan, or Jane, daughter and heir of John Loudham, son of Sir Thomas Lowdham of Lowdham in Suffolk, which Joane died 1501. In the 3d quarter Kelweden, Jane, daughter and heir of Sir William Kelweden of Braxsted in Essex, was married to John Lowdham of Lowdham, father of the aforesaid Sir Thomas Lowdham. In the fourth Orton. In the fifth Skelton, and in the 6th and last quarter, Bleverhasset.
In a window of this isle is the figure of St. Catharine, and in the east window the arms of Narburgh of Narburgh, gul. a chief ermine; the south isle is of the same length with the nave, and is covered will lead; in the uppermost window of this isle are some remains of the figures of the Virgin Mary and of Elizabeth, mother of St. John Baptist, and over them, in a label, Unde hoe Micht ut beniat Mater Domini ad me. This was to represent the Virgin Mary's visitation of Elizabeth, and the Romish church has a festival styled Our blessed Lady's visitation of St. Elizabeth, which is fixed on the second of July. To this isle is annexed a porch; there are two arches in the walls of this isle facing the church, where it is probable the founders were buried; and at the west-end of it stands a four-square tower of flint, (fn. 31) embattled with quoins and copings of free-stone, in which hang four bells. At the east end of the nave stands the chancel, in length about 30 feet, and in breadth about 18, of the same materials with the church. On the pavement of this chancel lie several marble gravestones; near the east end are these,
Here lyeth the Body of Mundeford Spelman, Esq; Son of John Spetman, and Anne his Wife, born August 1st, 1640, he was a Man of a most exemplary Piety in Prayers to, and in praising the great God of Heaven and Earth, and in relieving the Necessities of the poor Widow and Fatherless, was his constant Employ and delight of his Life. These are the Actions which will turn to Account on that great Day, when endless Wealth, pompous Titles and the Noise of Victories, the Pride of Learning will at best be but useless Things. By Julian his Wife, Daughter of William Branthwayt of Hethbel, Esq; he left Issue three Sons and one Daughter, he dyed the 30th of January, in the Year of our Lord 1728, in the 33d Year of his Age.
Anna Uxor Mundefordij Spelman Armig' filia Domini Edwardi Walpole de Houghton hujus Comitatûs Equitis Balnei, et Susannæ unius Filiarum et Cohæredum Domini Roberti Crane de Clifton, in Agro Suffolcienci Militis, et Baronetti, obijt 29 September Ano Domini 1691.
Near to this lies a marble ornamented with four shields of brass, Spelman quartering Narburgh, Froyk, and Sturgeon. Spelman and Narburgh quarterly with an impalement now obscure, these two are on the summit. At the bottom of the stone, Spelmaa and Narburgh quarterly, and Bleverhasset quartering Loudham, Orton, and Kelveden, and two impalements, Braham; Sir Thomas Bleverhasset married Margaret, daughter of John Braham of Wetheringset in Suffolk, Esq.; the second Roydon of Roydon in Suffolk. On the said stone is the portraiture of a man in brass and on a plate,
Here lyeth John Spelman, Esq; (Sonne and heyre Apparen of Sur John Spelman Knyght,one of the Justices of the Pices before the Knng to be holden, and dame Elizabeth his wyfe, which John married Margaret oon of the Daughters to Sir Thomas Bleverhasset Knyght, and dame Margaret hi Wyfe, and had Jusse at the Daye of his deth, and Decessed the 27 Day of December, in the here of our Lord God MUoRLU. and the rrbii Yeare of the Raigne of Kyng uenty the viii on whose Sowle Jesu habe Mercy.
Here lyeth the Body of John Spelman Esq; who first had to wyfe judyth one of the daughters of syr Clement Uigham, Knt. and after, katheryne the Daughter of William saunders, Esq; who had at the Day of his drath four Sons and one Daughter lybing, viz. Clement and William of the Body of the said Judith, and Robert, Francys, and Bryget, of the Body of the said Kathe ryne which John Deceased the rrvii Day of aprill, Ano Domini
On the said stone is the portraiture of a man in brass, his hands in a praying posture; crest, a wild man proper, a chaplet on his head, and a wreath of leaves round his middle, vert; his left hand by his side; he holds in his right hand a ragged staff, but leaves sprout from the top of the dry wood; which makes me think it was designed as an emblem of the Resurrection. There are three shields of brass; the 1st is Spelman and Narburgh, quarterly; the 2d Spelman and Narburgh quarterly, impaling
Weever observes that on this stone were the arms of this Henry Spelman and Ela his wife, daughter and heir to William de Narburgh, and of Christian, daughter and coheir of Thomas Manning, Esq. and of Elizabeth his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Jenny, Knt.; but at the end of the chancel, against the south wall, is a pedestal or pillar of stone, about 7 or 8 feet in height, and thereon stands the statue of Clement Spelman, Esq. in his robes, as a councellour and recorder, carved out of alabaster, and in full proportion, and on the pedestal is this inscription,
In this Place doth rest the Body of Clement Spelman, Esq; Recorder of Nottingham, and in Commission of Oier and Terminer for the Midland Circuit, and in Commission of the Peace for the Counties of Nottingham and Norfolk, he deceased January 30, 1679, Aged 72 Years.
At the east end of the north part of the chancel is a small arch in the wall about 7 feet from the ground, and in it lies a demi-statue of a lady carved out of stone, and couped at the middle, in miniature, being but about a foot long, her head-dress seems very antique, her hands are conjoined on her breast, holding a heart, and she rests on her back; within the arch against the wall, is this inscription only, in letters of gold.
This is a piece of great antiquity, and this lady is said to have died in 1293, and probably the date was formerly inscribed here, for in an old MS. of monuments, collected about the reign of Queen Elizabeth, I find it mentioned in this manner, Dna' Agatha Narborough obijt 1293.
Near to this against the same wall is a large altar monument of gray marble, and in a wall-piece of the same, a plate of brass, thereon the portraitures of a man and woman on their knees before two desks, and this label over the man,
On the robes of the woman are the arms of Froyk (fn. 32) and Sturgeon quarterly. On a plate of brass above, our Saviour's resurrection is represented, and on another plate this epitaph:
his wyfe, which had riii Sonnes and vii Danghters of there Bodyes between them begitten, the which Syr John decessyd the rrvi Day of February, in the Nere of our Lord Bob MURLUu, and the said Dame Elizabeth decessyd the v day of Povemner, in the yere of our Lord MULUJ, on whose Sowls Jesu have Mercy, Amen. (fn. 33)
Near to this, against the same wall, is a very large altar monument of veined marble, on which lies the statue of a woman in a recumbent posture, and a dress agreeable to the age she lived in, resting her right hand on a cushion, and holding in her left hand a book; behind the woman, on a little rise or ascent, lies the statue of a man in complete armour, resting his right hand on a cushion; these statues are of alabaster, and painted over; to this monument there is annexed a stately lofty wall-piece of the same marble, on the summit whereof are two arches, one on the right hand, the other on the left; in the arch on the right hand kneels a little girl; within the arch are the arms of Spelman, and over it Spelman quartering Narburgh, Froyk and Sturgeon. In the arch on the left hand is a tent or pavilion, and under that, an infant male child; in that arch are the arms of Spelman, and over it Spelman quartering Narburgh, Froyk, and Sturgeon, and impaling,
Quartering in the 2d quarter, gul. a lion passant guardant arg.; and in the 3d, sable a fess humettè ermine, between three griffins heads erased arg. Hawe of Helgey in Norfolk, and in the fourth, Willoughby. In the opening between these arches is this inscription:
Clementi Spelman Equiti Aurato, Norfolciœ (Anno Domini 1599) Vice-Comiti, qui primò duxit Annam filiam unicam et Hæredem Edmundi Carvill Armig' eâque sine prole defuncta, secundò duxit Ursulam filiam alteram Johan' Willoughby de Risley in Comitatu Derbiœ militis, susceptisq; Johanne et Clemente filijs obiit 24 die Septemb' 1607, Conjugi suo charissimo ipsa Dna' Ursula ob merita pietatis, et concordiæ, memoriæ et amoris Symbolum, hoc mœrens posuit Monumentum.
Over this inscription is Spelman quartering in the second quarter Narburgh, in the 3d, Froyk, in the 4th arg. two bars wavy gul. a chief cheque or and azure, Adrian. In the 5th, gul. two wings conjoined in a bordure argent, Pouncy. In the 6th, azure, semy of cross croslets, and three crescents arg. Mansell. In the 7th, arg. on a cross fleury sab. five bezants, Cornwall. In the 8th, gul. two pales vairy arg. and az. on a chief or, a lion passant sab. Patrick. In the 9th az. frettè gul.
A little lower against the said wall is a neat altar monument of marble covered with a black marble slab, having a wall-piece of marble, ornamented with foliages, deaths heads, &c. and this inscription:
M.S. Hic requiescit eximiæ Pietatis Vir, Clero benevolus, munificus Egenis, Johannes Spelman Armiger, qui Patriæ Charus, Regni Comitjis Senator bis interfuit, Obdormivit in Christo Jan. 31, Ano Salutis 1662. Ætat. 56, unicam habuit Conjugem verè Generosam, Annam, Johan' Heveningham Equitis Aurati filiam, quæ 4 Filios et 8 Filias enixa, Jun' 12, 1649, Reliquias deposuit mortales, dum veniente Domino resurgent Immortales. Mundefordius filius, piè posuit.
Here lieth the Body of Charles Le Gros late of Croswight, Esq; which Family for many Generations flourished in that Place, he left by Elizabeth his Wife, Daughter of William Turner, Esq; two Daughters, the Eldest of which married John Spelman, Esq; of this Place, and the other, Thomas Western of Great Abington in the County of Cambridge, Esq; he died the 14th Day of October 1736, in the 85th Year of his Age.
In the reign of King Edward I. the prior and convent of Westacre in Norfolk held two parts of the great tithes appropriated to them. The 3d part or portion was then in the patronage of Adam Bygot, and to this, there was a rector instituted; this is said not to pay any tenths, and that the vicar payed synodals, &c. for it. Bygot's part was valued at vi. marks, the Prior of Westacre's 2 parts at 12 marks, and the vicarage at v. marks, but was not taxed.
1355, Robert Aldhouse. (fn. 34) Sir Thomas de Brembre, Sir William de Bergh, rector of Cantele, and Richard de Rougham.
1514, William Starkworth or Shortwayt, chaplain. He was also vicar of Narburgh, to which vicarage this portion was now consolidated; and on the dissolution of Westacre priory, (fn. 35) the whole came into the King's hands, and was given to the Spelmans; and in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, John Spelman had it, paying 4l. per annum to the Crown; he became the impropriator of the whole rectory, and Mundeford Spelman, Esq. about the year 1680, (fn. 36) gave unto Mr. Carlton, then vicar of Narburgh, all his impropriated tithes of the said parish, and settled them upon him and his successours for ever; which impropriated tithes at an easy composition are said to be worth 60l. per annum, of which the far greatest part is paid out of the lands of the said worthy donor, which he hath in the said parish.
Vicars of Narburgh.
1577, Francis Goldyngham, ob. In his answer to King Jumes's Queries, he says, there were 112 communicants in this parish. By Christian his wife he had Christopher a son, &c. He was buried here 10th of September, 1607.
1660, Edward Carleton. John Spelman, Esq. (fn. 37) buried 16 May 1692.
1692, Benjamin Ingram. (fn. 38) (See his inscription.) Mundeford Spelman, Esq.
This vicarage is valued in the King's Books at 9l. 10s. and pays yearly tenths 19s. Synodals 2s. Visitatorial procurations 2s. 4d. ob. Archdeacon's procurations 7s. 7d. ob. The portio decimarum appropriatarum in the King's Books 1l. 13s. 4d. Tenths 3s. 4d.; the whole being undischarged, it is incapable of augmentation.
At the east end of the churchyard are the foundations of a dilapidated chapel, about 30 yards distant from the chancel's end; it was 12 yards long and 8 wide; the churchyard contains 2 acres, the vicarage-house joins to the south side of the churchyard, and hath some glebe by it.
Thomas Shuldham of Narburgh bequeaths his body to be buried in this chancel, and appoints John Shuldham his brother his executor, mentions his wife Ela and his father Thomas, his sons and daughters Simon, Edmund, Margaret, and Beatrix, dated 15 January 1471. He owned a good estate here, but no manor, and gave legacies to the three gilds, of St. Mary, Trinity, and All-Saints.
Huïc Mariœ à pectore ad femur usque, secunda fuit adunata filia, mortua quidem, sed ejusmodi inter hanc et vivam communicatio, ut hâc spirante, in illius corpoe visibilis dabatur motio: biceps fuit huic fœtus cujus capita quatuor sustentabant humeri, totidem annexis non tantum brachijs, sed et manibus, à pudendis etiam (quæ fuerunt duplicia) in quatuor femora, totidemque dividebatur crura, necnon et pedes omnino perfectos.
1717, Thomas Colton of St. George's at Colgate Norwich, and Margaret Platfoot of Pentneye, married. 1683, Mary daughter of Francis and Mary Aires, baptized 23d of December. 1707, Mr. John Davy, buried. Elizabeth wife of Mr. Thomas Gonvile of WestWalton, buried.