An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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This town in Domesday Book is written ELESHAM, that is, the village at the leas or pasture by the water, which exactly answers to its situation; the whole town with its berewics of Scipedan, Brundal, and Crachefort or Crakeford, belonged to Guert or Guerd, the Dane, (fn. 1) who was a great owner in this county, and at that time the manor extended into Tatituna or Tutington; it had 6 carucates in demean, and among the several tenants and berwicks, the whole was no less than 18 carucates; the woods here were then large enough to maintain 400 swine, there were 20 villeins, 88 bordars or tenants, that paid poultry and other provisions, for the lords board or table; two servants in the house, and 60 socmen or tenants, that ploughed the lord's land, and held a carucate and half among them; the manor was then worth with its berwicks, 12l. per annum, and was 2 miles long and as much broad, and paid 20d. to the geld or tax, towards every 20s. raised by the hundred; and Crakeford hamlet was then four furlongs and an half long, and four furlongs broad, and paid 4d. gelt towards every 20s. raised in the hundred. The whole came to Ralf Earl of Norfolk, but on his forfeiture, the Conqueror seized it, and Godric managed it for him; and when the survey was taken by that prince, about the year 1086, it appears that the manor was raised from 12 to 25, and was now worth 29l. a year, besides 20s. as an annual fine: the parts in Tutington and Crakeford were now separated from the manor, and were first held by William Earl Warren, of whom Humphry, nephew of Ralf, brother of Ilger, held them; and after he forfeited them Drogo or Drue had them, but the King claiming them from him, Warren recovered them as his ancient inheritance.
From this time the manor continued in the Crown, whole and undivided, till King Richard the First's time, and he it was that divided it, by giving a part to Bury abbey, which was the original of Sexton's manor here, and by granting another part off, which was the original of Bolwick's manor; so that now there are 4 manors in this town, the capital, or Lancaster manor, Rectory and Vicarage manor, Sexton's and Bolwick's; of all which, I shall speak separately.
Aylesham, ex parte Lancastrie, or Lancaster's.
Aylesham whole town was in the hands of Henry II. and he held it in right of his Crown, from the Conqueror, his progenitor; and in 1156 he had assigned it to his brother William for life, for his better support and honour, with Cawston. In 1199 Eustace de Nevile farmed them both of King John, till 1213, and then that King directed his writ, to the sheriff of Norfolk, to deliver possession of Aylesham to Baldwyn de Ayre; but in 1226, the King give it to Hubert de Burgo or Burgh Earl of Kent, and so it became joined to Cawston and the hundreds. In 1227, the tenants pleaded, that when King Richard I. went to the Holy Land, he conveyed the manor for a time to Eustace de Nevile, who sold many parcels of the demeans, to several of the tenants, who were now ordered to produce their grants, which several did, and they were all allowed, and those that did not, lost their land; and the same year, John le Grey pleaded, that he held his manor of Sheringham of this manor, by 12d. per annum paid at Lammas day, (fn. 2) and the service of one fee; in 1296 it was in the King's hands, for Richard Cailly his bailiff distrained John Holmgey, for 4s. 11d. rent for a place called Holmecroft, which was held by the said rent, and the service of being provost or reeve of the King's mill, and mercate of Aylesham; and it passed with Cawston (which see) till about 1330, and then Queen Isabel, the King's mother, had it for life, and died seized, and then it continued in the Crown till 1371, when it was first made parcel of the dutchy of Lancaster, by the King's giving it to his son, John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, and the heirs of his body, and from that time it became the head, or principal town of that Dutchy, (fn. 3) in this county.
This John took his name from the town of Gaunt, where he was born, being fourth son to King Edward III. and was created Earl of Richmond in 1342, the revenues of which earldom he then exchanged with the King; this man was King of Castile and Leons, Duke of Guyen, Acquitaine and Lancaster, Earl of Richmond, Derby, Lincoln, and Leycester, and high steward of England; he had three wives,
1. Blanch, daughter and coheir of Henry Duke of Lancaster, by whom he had Henry, afterward King of England; 3d Phillippa, wife to John King of Portugal; 2d, Elizabeth, married to John Holland Duke of Excester.
His second wife was Constance, daughter and one of the coheirs, of Peter King of Castile, by whom he had issue; Catherine, married to Henry, son of John, King of Spaine, with the title to the kingdoms of CASTILE and LEONS.
His third wife was, Katherine, daughter of Pain Roet, alias Guien, King of Armes, and widow of Sir Otes Swynford, Knt. by whom he had issue before marriage; first, John, sirnamed Beaufort, Earl of Somerset and Marquis of Dorset; 2d, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester and Cardinal of St. Eusebius, and Chancellor of England; 3d, Joane Beaufort, first married to Ralf Nevile 1st Earl of Westmorland, and after to Lord Robert Ferrers.
He died seized of the dutchy and manor, in the 22d of Rich. II. 1398, being the greatest subject of the English Crown; so great, that "as great as John of Gaunt" then was and still remains, one of our English proverbs.
At his death Katerine his widow held it for life, (fn. 4) and at her death,
Henry Plantaginet, son and heir of John of Gaunt, inherited it, who being crowned King by the name of Henry IV. united the whole inheritance of Lancaster unto the Crown, since which, the ducal title of Lancaster hath been drowned in the title of the regal dignity. But in honour of the house of Lancaster, this King instituted the Dutchy Court; to the end, the lands belonging to the dutchy, might in all following times be distinguished and known from the lands of the Crown. (fn. 5)
It was after granted by the King, to Sir Thomas Erpingham, Knt. for life, and in 1414, King Henry the Vth settled it on his feoffees, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard Bishop of Norwich, Walter Hungerford, John Phelip, Knts. Hugh Mortimer, John Woodehouse, John Leventhorp, Esqrs. and others, together with the manors of Wighton, Fakenham, Snetesham, Gimmingham, Tunsted, &c. and the hundreds of north and south Erpingham, Gallowe, and Brothercross, with many others in divers counties. In 1460, it was settled among others on trustees, to fulfil the will of King Henry VI.; and in 1474, Edward IV. settled it on Elizabeth his Queen for life; and from that, to the present time, it hath belonged to the Crown, as parcel of the Dutchy of Lancaster, of which it is now held, by the Right Hon. John Hobart Earl of Buckinghamshire, the present lord.
Edward III. granted for him, and his heirs and successours, to John of Gaunt Duke of Aquitain and Lancaster, and Blanch his wife, that they and the heirs of their bodies, and all their tenants of the lands and fees, which were in the possession of Henry Earl of Lancaster, in the sixteenth year of Edward III. anno 1341, should be for ever free, from panage, (fn. 6) passage, (fn. 7) paage, (fn. 8) lastage, (fn. 9) stallage, (fn. 10) tallage, (fn. 11) carriage, (fn. 12) pesage, (fn. 13) picage, (fn. 14) and ferage, (fn. 15) throughout all England, and other places in the King's dominion; and King Rich. II. granted to the said Duke, all Fines, forfeitures, and amerciaments, of what kind or nature soever, of all his men and tenants in the said lands or fees, and all estrap and wastes, whatsoever, in the said fees; together with all forfeitures for murder and felony committed in the said fees, or by tenants of the fees in other men's lands; and also all the goods of felons de se, and forfeitures to the clerk of the markets, in as ample a manner as the said King had them before this grant; and further, the said King granted the assize of bread, wine, and beer, and all victuals, to be under a clerk of the markets, appointed by the said Duke, and that the King's clerks of the markets shall not enter the fees, to exercise any jurisdiction there, and that the said Duke should have the chattles of all fugitives and outlaws in the said fees; the said Duke was also to have execution by his own officers, of all writs, summons, processes, extracts and precepts, so that no sheriff, bailiff, or other officer of the King, was to enter into the liberty, or exercise any office or jurisdiction therein, unless in default of due execution, by the proper officers of the liberty; the said Duke was also to have weyf, and stray, deodands, and treasure found in the liberty, &c. and Henry IV. confirmed the whole, by consent of parliament, and ordained for himself and heirs, that in the whole dutchy of Lancaster, all these royal franchises, privileges, and grants should for, ever stand valid and in full force, and be executed by the proper officers of the Dutchy; and Edward IV. in the first year of his reign, confirmed all the liberties to the tenants of the Dutchy; as did many of the succeeding Kings, so that there are now proper officers, as coroners, stewards, clerks, of the markets, &c. appointed for the liberty of the Dutchy, in the several counties it extends into.
Had its rise out of the capital manor; it being given by King Richard I. (fn. 16) in free alms to the monastery of St. Edmund at Bury in Suffolk, to find four wax tapers continually burning at St Edmund's Shrine in that church, the manor being then 10l. a year; this was confirmed by King John, to Sampson, abbot there, and was held formerly under King Richard, before he granted it; (fn. 17) half by William Bardolph, and half by John de Hastings; it appears that in this King's reign, the manor-house here was called Abbot's Hall; but the whole being soon after appropriated to the Sacristan or Sexton of that monastery, it took the present name of Sexton's; and it is a wonder in our law, as Sir Henry Spelman says, (fn. 18) for one manor to be held of another, by the rod, at the will of the lord, and granted by copy of court-roll, as the manor of Sexton's is, of the manor of Ailsham; but military fees are often so held.
In 1296 it was found, that all the tenants of this manor were obliged to grind at the abbot's water-mill; in 1285, the abbot of St. Edmund had view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, free warren, or liberty of game, and a ducking-stool, in this manor; which in 1428 was returned to be of 27l. value, to the sacrist of the monastery annually, but at the Dissolution it was fallen under 20l. per annum. By the dissolution of Bury abbey, it fell into Henry the Eighth's hands, who granted it in 1545 to Edward Wood and his heirs, to be held in capite of the King's manor of Ailesham, by the 40th part of a Knight's fee, and 55s. 8d. ob. rent; he left it to Robert Wood, his son and heir, at his death in 1547, who was mayor of Norwich in 1578, as you may see at p. 84, and from that time it hath passed as Braconash; and Thomas Wood, Esq. of Braconash is now lord. As also of
The Manor of Bolewike,
Which takes its name from Master Henry de Bolewic, who gave name to it, also to the manor-house called Bolwick-Hall, and there was a mill near it, heretofore called Bolewic-mill; it was first granted from the great manor by King John, to Hugh de Boves, at a quarter of a fee; passed then to the Bolewics, and from them to the Whitwells, and in 1261 Richard de Whitwell held it; in 1297, John father of William of Whitwell; held this and Skeyton in 1389, Robert Salle, Knt. left his manor of Bolewicke; to Frances his wife, for life, and then to be sold; he lived at Oxnead, and was killed by the rebels in Richard the Second's time, (fn. 19) and at his wife's death William de Danby, called Lord Latimer, and Thomas Trussel, his executors, sold it. It passed through various families, (fn. 20) and was sold in 1518 by Agnes Milton, widow, to Thomas Aleyn and his heirs, and in 1537 Henry Aleyn sold it, to Margaret Wimer, widow; and soon after it came to the Woods. (fn. 21)
The Vicarage Manor
Doth now, and always did from the appropriation of the church, belong to the vicar, it being then settled on the vicars for ever: before that time it belonged to the rectory; the advowson of which was appendant to the manor, till William Rufus, lord here, gave to the abbey of St. Martin at Battle in Sussex, which was founded by the Conqueror, the church of Eilesham, with the chapels of Stivecaie, (Stifecay, or Stukecay,) with two parts of its tithes, and Shipeden with two parts of its tithes, and Brundele in like manner, and Banningham in like manner, and the mediety of the church of Ingworth, and all the fee or manor that Brithric the parson of Ailesham held, namely this manor, and the land of one socman in Aylesham, added to this manor; (fn. 22) and Ailesham rectory afterwards became (the Bishop's consent being obtained) appropriated to Battle abbey, which had about two 3d parts of the great tithes, and the vicar had all the small-tithes of the whole town, and the greattithes of about a 3d part of the town, the site of the rectory-house, and the whole manor thereto belonging, settled on him and his successours, all which the vicars have enjoyed to this day; and further, the Bishop on settling the appropriation, reserved to himself the nomination of all the vicars, and accordingly the Bishops always nominated to the abbots, who presented on their nomination, to the Dissolution; but for some time past, the dean and chapter of Canterbury have presented to the vicarage without such nomination from the Bishop of Norwich. In 1285, Robert then vicar of Ailesham, had the assize of bread and beer of all the tenants of his manor, and all other liberties belonging to a manor. (fn. 23) The vicarage being then valued at 28 marks. It now stands in the King's Books by the name of Ailesham vicarage, and is valued at 17l. 19s. 7d. and pays first fruits, and 1l. 15s. 11d. ob. yearly tenths, and is consequently incapable of augmentation; the Peter-pence were 19d. the visitatorial procurations are 4s. 6d. synodals 2s. 8d. archdeacon's procurations 7s. 7d. ob. In 1367, King Edward III. granted license for the vicar, to enlarge the site of the rectory, which was then, as now, the vicarage-house, which joins to the south side of the churchyard, and the present edifice is a handsome new brick building, erected wholly by Mr. Jonathan Wrench, late vicar there, father of the present vicar; the Terrier hath 5 acres of glebe.
The appropriate rectory was valued at 70 marks, and being granted by Henry VIII. after the Dissolution, to the dean and chapter of Canterbury, and confirmed by Queen Elizabeth, it is now held by lease of that church, and the chancel here is repaired, part by the appropriator, and part by the vicar.
Vicars of Ailesham.
1225, Bishop Pandulf consented to the appropriation, and collated Rodfrid his nephew to the vicarage; (see vol. iii. p. 482;) for on the settlement of the vicarage, the Bishop reserved the nomination of the vicars to the see, and accordingly the following vicars were nominated by the Bishops, and presented by the abbots of Battle.
1542, Richard Redman, clerk, who had a grant of the next turn of the nomination, from Richard Nix Bishop of Norwich, gave it to Master John Bury, that vile persecutor, whose name ought to be branded to posterity, for an evil doer; (fn. 24) he was commissary to the Bishop, (fn. 25) and by that power, did abundance of mischief: being a proper instrument for such a man as Bishop Nix was: (fn. 26) he resigned in
1584, Moses Fowler, S. T. B. by lapse; he was succeeded by John Furmarie, S. T. B. who was presented by Alice Norgate, widow, by a lease from the late abbot and convent of Battle. He is buried in the chancel under a stone, having two brass plates thus inscribed: (fn. 27)
John Furmary Bachelor of Divinitie, in the Universitie of Cambridge, Archdeacon of Stowe, Prebend of Walton in the Church of Lincolne, and Vicar of the Parish Churc hof Aylisham, a learned Devine, a painful Preacher, a loveing Husband, a kinde Father, and a charitable Neighbor, and now a blessed Citizen in Heaven, dyed the 4th of August
Margery Furmary sole Wife and Widowe to John Furmaty paynefull in hir Laboure, provident for her Charge, faithfull to hir Friends, and mercifull to her Enemies, now resteth in the Lord, She dyed the 28th Day of October 1622, in the 74th Yeare of her Age, not thro' the distemperature of a diseased Body, but thro' the Violence of a murderous Hand, and hereby lieth buried.
Intrabat Scelus iste Domos, et Stamina sacra Rumpebat, cadit illa cruentæ Præda Rapinæ: His ego progenitus quo post hæc Fata superstes De stirpe excisa, solus relicta propago; Cuncta regis Deus, O faxis Mihi nec mea Morte Vita unquam careat, careat nec Mors mea Vita, Inque tuos simul Amplexus, Vultusque Parentum Seu Vitæ Ærumnis tenendam, seu Morte cruenta.
1699, died Mr. Nathaniel Gill, vicar of Aylesham, and rector of Burgh by Aylesham, he was ejected from both in the Rebellion, and lost a temporal estate of 60l. per annum, had a wife and 4 children, and being a great loyalist, was of course a great sufferer in those times. (Walker, p. 253, 259.) After Gill,
Mr. Jonathan Wrench, who built the vicarage-house, was brother to Sir Benjamin Wrench, M. D. of Norwich, (fn. 28) he is buried here, but some time before his death, resigned to
The Church is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, and had gilds in it, held to the honour of St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Margaret, St. John Baptist, and All-Saints; this noble pile was built by John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, and is a regular building having a nave, two isles, two transepts, a chancel, and two isles thereto adjoining; a square tower, chimes, clock and ten bells, with a small broach or spire on the top; there is an old charnel-house at the end of the chancel; the porch is covered with lead, as is the whole building; the south transept chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and was fitted up new in 1489, at the expense of Thomas Aleyn, senior, of Lyng, and other benefactors; on the south window there remains a neat painting of the Salutation; this window was made all new of stone and glass in 1516, at the cost of Jone wife of Robert Bell, citizen of Norwich. In 1471, Katherine, widow of Robert Purdy, was buried by her husband, and gave legacies to the lamps burning before the high altar, to the light before the holy rood, to the light burning before the image of the blessed Virgin in her chapel, to the fraternity of St. Michael the Archangel in the church, to Nicholas her son, a chantry priest here, and to the light maintained by the money collected at the plowlode of Hundegate. The north transept was called St. Peter's chapel, and that saint's Gild was kept in it, as appears from the will of William Praty, who was buried in it in 1490; the south chancel isle was St. Thomas's chapel.
Orate pro anima Margarete Noward, nuper uxoris Ricardi Howard, ac quondam uxoris Edwardi Cutler, Maioris (fn. 29) Civitatis Norwici, que obiit rr die Decembris Ano Dni' Mo ccccolxxxiiio cuius anime propicietur Deus.
Ye worldly greatnes that passeth here me bye Pray for my Sowle with Charitie, I you pray For I Robert Orwell departed, here I lye And Marion my Myffe under thes Stones in Clay. As we be now, so ye be, another Day Schall lye as lowe, consumed wite dredsfull Deth. In nomine Thesu so no nay, Ouia ad te omnis Caro beniet
Orate pro anima Chome Mymer, quondam de Aylesham Worsted Weaber, qui cum multis bonis suis propriis istam Eccle- siam in Vita sua ct post Mortem charitatibe ornabit, qui obiit iiiio die Junii Ano Christi, MVobii cuius anime propicietuc Deus.
He is represented in his winding sheet; the adorning of the church here mentioned, still appears; the screens being beautifully painted with saints, martyrs, and confessors, as was the roof; the remaining inscription shows us, that this work was done in 1507, at the charge of this Thomas Wymer, Joan and Agnes his wives, John Jannys, and others, whose names are now lost.
This John and Agnes were father and mother to Robert Jannis, grocer, sheriff in 1509, and mayor of Norwich in 1517, and 1524; who out of affection to the place of his birth, founded a Free-School here, and endowed it with 10l. per annum, clear, paid from the city of Norwich, as at p. 397, vol. iv.
He lies buried in St. George's church at Colgate in Norwich; (see vol. iv. fo. 467;) his picture is in the Guildhall, (see vol. iv. p. 229,) to which he was a great benefactor, and I have one of the same kind and age in my own possession.
Here lies interr'd John Jegon, Esq; second sonne to that Reverend Father in God, John Jegon Doctor in Divinity, and some time Bishop of this Diocese, he was not of many Years, yet his modest Carriage and Behaviour equall'd him with the Antientest, he was much addicted to the Enquiry of Learning and the Arts, for which cause, he betook himself to the University, from whence after some continuance, he passed to the Jnnes of Court: but desirous still of more, then here colud be attain'd to; like Elias, that he might the better mount unto Heaven, there to contemplate on the perfection of his Creator, he laies aside his Mantle, which is here locked up in the common Wardrobe the Earth. 'till at the last Day he shall come to put it on againe, he dyed the 14th of September 1631, being af Age 19 Yeares and a half, in whose Memory his sad Mother, caused this Inscription to be made.
See here's noe Pyramis, here is no costly Peece, That boasts of Memphis, or all skilfull Greece, He wrongs thy better Part, mistakes thy worth, That thinks carv'd Statues, can set Thee forth, False Mettals need the Artist's Help, to add Ought to the purer Gold, would shewe him madd, And stately Structures, in vain on Thee were spent, Thou to thyself, art the best Monument.
The Font is neatly carved; on it are the emblems of the four Evangelists, the instruments of the passion, a crucifix, the arms of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, Lord Morley, Bourchier, St. George, and a cross floré.
Elizabeth wife of Joseph Elden of Aylesham, ob. March 12, 1724. Æt. 52. Joseph Elden, Nov. 22, 1726, Æt. 63. Thomas Coulson, July 1. 1726. 66. Martha his Wife, Sept. 8, 1727. Æt. 76: Anne, Daughter of Thomas Wilde, Gent. and Mary his Wife 1656.
Elizabeth Riseborow, 1698. Mary Springall her Daughter 1728, Æt. 83. Samuel Soame Senior Gent. 1726, 74. Elizabeth Wife of Thomas Soame, 1727. 24. Elizabeth Daughter of Samuel & Mary Soame, 1724. 34. Samuel Soame their Son, 1724, 35.
M. S. Sub hoc Marmore contumulatæ sunt, Maria Samuelis Fuller de Magnâ Jernemuthâ Armigeri, Filia Johannis Jermy Junioris verò de Bayfield Armigeri, Uxor, et Maria, eorum proles unica, quarum illa, nata Martij 31, 1681. denata est Aprilis 3, 1712. Hæc vero nata est Nov' 8 denata Feb' 14, 1707.
M. S. Sub hoc Marmore sepulta jacet Maria, Gulielmi Starkey de Pulham Clerici, Filia, Johannis Jermy Junioris, vero de Bayfield Armigeri, Uxor, natam Oct. 8. 1690. mortuam Aug. 17 1714, memorat hæc Tabella, brevi et ipsa interitura.
M. S. Jvnæ Filiæ unicæ et Hæredis Johannis Chare, de Wandsworth in Comitatû Surriæ Armigeri, et Johannis Jermy de Bayfield, in Comitatû Norfolciæ Armigeri, Uxoris, quæ obijt 2do die Octobris, A. D. 1734, et Ætatis suæ 85.
Hic requiescunt Ossa et Cineres, Johannis Jermy de Bayfield, in Comitatû Norfolciæ Armigeri; Oriundi ex Johanne Jermy Milite, ex Margareta uxore ejus, unâ Filiarum et Cohæredum Rogeri Bigot Comitis Norfolciœ, et Comitis Mareschalli Angliæ, Tempore Edwardi Secundi Regis Angliœ. Qui quidem Johannes Jermy de Bayfield, nupserit Janæ Filiæ Johannis Chare de Wandsworth in Comitatû Surriœ Armigeri, cum quâ in connubio Annos 58 feliciter Vitam agebat, et ex quâ, hic juxta positâ, suscepit Liberos, Johannem, Aliciam et Gulielmum, de quibus Gulielmus Parentum ad Latera jacet, Johanne et Alicia Superstitibns, obijt 18 die Decem. Ano Dni' 1735. Annum agens 83°.
On the north side in the churchyard is an altar tomb enclosed in an iron pallisade, having the crest and arms of Scot, a boar cooped with an arrow pierced in at the upper part of the head, and out of the mouth, proper.
Exuviæ FRANCISCI SCOTT Armigeri, jacent hìc repositæ, Francisci Scott de Camberwell in Agro Surriensi Armigeri, et Luciæ uxoris ejus, Filij natû maximi, Stirpe inclytâ et per antiquâ Prognati, hujusce oppidi Incolæ, Comitatûsque Irenarchœ: Pauca ergò meminisse Illo digna sat erit: Munia Magistratûs cauti vigilanter confecit, Leges atque Jura municipalia omnibus indiscriminatìm administravit, Fraudem inhibens omnimodam, parùm Abhorrens Famam, pro nihilo Pompam habens, Ostentationem omnem neglectìm et vaniloquiam præterijt, utpote, qui Se non animo efferens, Honorem ullum haud quæreret, Operam maluit totam Reip. offerre suam, e Rebus humanis ad plures migravit, Die Decemb' 12 Annoque Salutis 1740, Ætatis 69°.
This Francis Scott, Esq. married Katherine, Daughter and heir of John Thompson of Burgh by Aylesham, but had no issue; he was son of Francis Scott, Esq. of Camberwell, by Lucy only daughter and heir of Peter Vancourt, merchant in London; who was 2d son to Sir Peter Scott of Camberwell in Surry, Knt. by Elizabeth daughter of Edmund Kiderminster of Langley in Bucks, Esq. Sir Peter being son of Acton Scott, and Anne Edmunds his wife; Sir Peter died about 1622, and Acton Scott was living in 1596,
PRAY. FOR. THE. GOOD. PROSPERYTE. AND. ASSTATE. OF. ROBERD. MARSHAM. AND. IONE. HIS. WYFE. THE. WICHE. THIS. HOWSE. THEY. CAWSID. TO. BE. MADE. TO. THE. HONOR. OF. THE. TOWNE. BE. THIR. QWYCK. LYVES. FINES. 1543
The freé-school slands not far from the churchyard; it was first founded by Robert Jannys, mayor of Norwich in 1517, and endowed with ten pounds a year, paid by the treasurer of the great hospital at Norwich, of which the mayor, &c. of the city are governors, it being due quarterly, and the manor of Pakenhams in Shropham is tied for it, (see vol. iv. p. 397,) and Archbishop Parker founded two scholarships in Corpus Christi, commonly called Bennet College, in Cambridge, and appropriated them to this and Windham school (see vol. iii p. 310, 11, 12, 15, 16,) one of the scholars must be born in Aylesham, but it is sufficient for the other to be educated at the free-school there, and he must be sent up to the college by the nomination of the mayor and court of Norwich: the other to be admitted by the college without any such nomination. I am informed also, that the schoolmaster receives an annuity of 10l. out of the watermill at Aylesham, which originally belonged to the manor; and in 1370 was granted by King Edward III. to Sir Robert Knolles, and Constance his wife, but fell to Queen Elizabeth, in 1562, by the attainder of John Withe. (fn. 30)
In 1585, there was a great dispute about the nomination of the schoolmaster, before Edmund Bishop of Norwich; the officers and townsmen of Ailesham having chosen Robert Sutton, A. M. schoolmaster, and the vicar, with the consent of the Bishop, and John Suckling, Esq. mayor of Norwich, Sir William Heydon, Knt. &c. William Danson, who was admitted accordingly.
In 1479, John Northawe was buried in the church porch, and gave a black velvet altar cloth, and founded a wax candle, to burn a whole year before the image of the Virgin Mary, at the east end of the chancel, and lights before St. John Baptist, and St. Peter's images, and a legacy to St. Margaret's gild, and 23s. 4d. to John Green his chaplain, to go the next jubilee year to St. James at Compostella, and there pray for his soul.
1506, John Boller, priest, was buried in St. Thomas's chapel in this church, by his father, and ordered 30 marble stones, of the length and breadth of those covering his father's, to cover his grave with. He gave to the church a pair of organs, and willed that they should serve both the quire, and Lady mass, and that they should be set in the same key, with the great organs in the church, and the principal pipe to be five quarters of a yard long, of good metal and sweet harmony, and shall stand on that side the choir next our Lady's chapel, to serve both; (fn. 31) he gave legacies to the gilds of our Lady, and St. John, at his altar in the chapel at the east.
In the White Register of Bury abbey, folio 27, are divers deeds of benefactions to that monastery in this town, by which it appears, that Henry son of Agnes de Ingworth, gave them a tenement here, Richard his brother did the same, William son of Henry de Ingworth gave 7 acres, and Margery his sister 4d. per annum rent, and Alice her sister the same, Hugh, dean of Ingworth deanery, was a benefactor and so was William le Mey, and Robert son of Robert de Aylesham.
An agreement was made between William de Hoo, sacrist of St. Edmund's monastery, and so lord of Sexton's manor, and Agnes relict of William son of Bartholomew, by which she released 4s. 6d. annual rent to the monastery.
Richard I. confirmed to God and St. Edmund, and Abbot Sampson, and the monks at Bury, and their successours, 10l. rent in the soke of Aylesham, (fn. 32) viz. 5l. rent and demeans, which William Bardolph held, and other 5l. paid by John Hastinges, John the chaplain of Ailesham, Hugh the dean of Ingworth, Peter de Calthorp, and 26 tenants more, to find a good and sufficient light always burning at the shrine, before the body of the blessed martyr St. Edmund.
In 1512, William Rushburgh gave a fodir of lead of 4l. value, towards covering the cloister of Binham abbey, and founded a priest to sing in Aylesham church, for his soul, and the souls of Sir John Windham, and Sir Roger Townshend, Knts. and of his father and mother; and another priest in the church of St. Alban, to sing for his own, and Sir Henry Rushburgh soules, and gave legacies to Sir William Rushburgh of St. Albans, and for a stone over his mother's grave in St. Michael's churchyard there, he gave Coldham Hall in Ailesham to Cecily his wife, paying 10l. per annum to John Swan, alderman of Norwich; Sir Thomas Windham, Knt. and Roger Townshend, Esq. were supervisors.
This town, in the time of Edward the 2d and 3d, was the chief town in the county for the linen manufacture; in old records, nothing more common than the Ailesham webs, the fine cloth of Ailesham, the Ailesham linens, &c. but about the time of Hen. VIII. I find it much decreased, and the woollen manufacture had got the upper hand; and about James the First's, time it was chiefly inhabited by knitters, even men, women, and children, are said to be employed at that work, which is now decayed every where, the modern invention of weaving of stockings, breeches, waistcoats, and gloves, having almost demolished it.
It is a neat little market town, of about 120 families; the situation of it is on the river Bure, (fn. 33) in the most agreeable and pleasant part of Norfolk, and it is much frequented in the summer season, by reason of the Spaw, which is a spring about half a mile distant from the town, the water of which tasting very strong of the mineral, is esteemed of great service in asthmas; it is purgative, and is said to be of the vitriolick kind; and being touched with galls, or an oaken leaf, turns very black immediately.
The market was on Saturday, but by authority altered to Tuesday, and there were then two fairs allowed, the first of which is held on the 12th of March, and the second on the second Tuesday in September. The fine certain of the manor is 2½d. an acre. It paid formerly to every tenth 11l. besides 2l. 10s. paid by the religious for their revenues; the bridge over the Bure is reparied by the county.
Thomas Hudson, glover, of Aylesham, an honest laborious man, having a wife and three children, bore a good will to the Gospel, and having learned to read of Anthony and Thomas Norgate, greatly profited in spiritual knowledge, about the time that Queen Mary came to the throne; when God's service being forced to gave place to Popish errours and superstition, he fled into Suffolk, and stayed there a long time, but his wife and children being troubled at his absence, he returned and concealed himself about half a year, till Commissary Berry, vicar of the town, suspecting him to be at home, went to his wife and threatened to burn her, if she would not discover where her husband was; which when Hudson knew, he grew more bold and zealous, spent his time in prayer, singing psalms, and godly exhortations with his neighbours; and going now publickly about, he was taken by the constables, at the information of one Crouch, and carried to the vicar, who examined him what the Sacrament was? he said, worms meat; my belief is in Christ crucified. Again he asked him, whether he belived the mass, to put away sin? he replied, no! God forbid, it is a patched up monster. At this Berry fumed, and said he would write to the Bishop his good lord, who, he trusted, would handle him according to his deserts: oh! Sir, said Hudson, there is no lord but God; which angered him again: however he asked him, whether he would recant or no? to which Hudson replied, God forbid, I had rather die many deaths than do so. Upon which Berry seeing all persuasions vain, sent him bound to the Bishop, like a thief; who kept him in prison a month, which time he spent in praying and reading; and on the 19th of May, 1558, he was burnt at Norwich, with two other martyrs in the same fire, as you may see in vol. iii. p. 274.
In 1306, Eustace de Kimberley was vicar here. 1312, Richer of Aylesham resigned North Elmham for this. 1429, Thomas Boof or Booth, vicar. 1547, Thomas Wilby, and not Whitby, was vicar. John Hunt, S. T. B. was presented by King James I.; and in 1614, 11 August, John Hunt, S. T. B. was instituted again, at the presentation of the dean and chapter of Canterbury. "ad corroborandum titulum, et in majorem cautelam." Thomas Paske, S. T. P. succeeded Hunt, and at his death, in 1634, John Phillips; succeeded in 1663 by Nathaniel Gill; and he in 1668 by Robert Fawcet; and he in 1700 by Mr. Wrench. Here was a gild of St. Mary.