An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Or the village at the marsh, commonly called Massam, lies south of Aylesham; the lordship and ad vowson of which, belonged to the late Earl of Yarmouth, whose estate is now on sale, according to the directon of his Lordship's will.
At the Confessor's survey, Herold had it, (fn. 1) and gave it to the bishoprick, and Erfast the Bishop held it; but when the Conqueror seized the lands of the see, William Beaufoe Bishop of Thetford obtained it of the Conqueror's gift, in fee and inheritance, as he did most of the old revenues of his bishoprick, and left it again to the see; with which it continued till 1535, and being then vested in the Crown, it continued there, till Queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir James Bulleyn, for a term of years; but about 1575 it was aliened from the Crown, for Robert Thetford, Esq. then owned it, and paid 18d. a year castle-gard to Norwich castle; it was after that, purchased by Sir Henry Hobart, and sold to the Freemans, and after that, to the Pastons.
This town is in the liberty of the dutchy of Lancaster, and the tenants of the manor always enjoyed freedom from toll, and all other liberties belonging to the dutchy, and tenants in ancient demean; the lord hath liberty of free warren or game, by charter from King Henry III. dated in 1250, who then granted it to Walter Bishop of Norwich. At the Conqueror's survey, it was a mile and 3 furlongs long, and 7 furlongs broad, and paid xid. to the geld or tax; the manor then extended into Stratton and Brampton, and there was a part of it in Marsham and Hevingham, which was granted to Walter Giffart, and constituted the manor of Catts, here and in Hevingham, of which see under that town.
The church is dedicated to all the Saints, and there were two gilds held in it, one in honour of all the Saints, the other of St. John the Baptist; it was very full of images, with lights burning before them, for I find in the ancient wills registered in the Bishop's Office, that there were the lights of All-Saints, the Brown Rood, the High Rood, St. Thomas, St. Nicholas, St. Margaret, St. Catharine, St. Christopher, St. Erasmus, St. John, St. Sithe, St. Anthony, St. Rodiburt St. Anne, St. Mary of Pity, St. James, St. John Baptist, St. Swithen and St. Lawrence.
The tower is square, and hath four bells; the two isles, nave, chancel, and south porch are all leaded; the windows are very finely painted; in a north chancel window is the Virgin, with AVE GRA: DNS. T[ECUM] on the screens are many saints painted, and this inscription:
On the font are carved the seven sacraments of the Romish church, 4 saints and 4 confessors, and St. George and the dragon; on the north isle windows is St. Margaret standing on a dragon; in the south isle windows are the Apostles with the Creed in labels from their mouths. In the north isle east window is the crucifixion, and at bottom in four ovals the emblems of the four Evangelists, in the next window but one, are three fine effigies, with labels:
The upper or clerestory windows are very perfect, and the several Orates fair, but so high I could not read them; there are the arms of England, France, Verdon, Clopton, Bavent, Morley, West Saxons, East Angles, emblem of the Trinity, &c. and in one of them,
Here lieth Mrs. Margaret Lyng, by her Father and Mother, she lived most Part of her Days in Mr. Doughty's Family at Hanworth, and was from thence brought to this Place, October 18, 1698. Aged 74. whose worth and Goodness cannot be expressed within the limits of a Gravestone.
The rectory is valued in the King's Books at 10l. 10s. and stands by the name of Marsam rectory; it is sworn of the clear yearly value of 43l. and so is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; it was anciently valued at 24 marks, and the prior of Castleacre had a portion of tithes here, valued at half a mark; (fn. 2) it being formerly in the Bishop's own collation; the archdeacon had nothing to do here, and therefore received no procurations from the rector, who pays to the Bishop for synodals 22d. and for visitatorial procurations 2s. 8d.
Samuel Oates, (fn. 3) had it of the gift of Sir Henry Hobart; and in 1605, the King presented