An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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By Castleacre, is a little village on the north side or point of the hundred. In the Confessor's time, Osmund was lord; (fn. 1) and at the general survey, it was royal domain, and farmed or held of the Conqueror by Godric, and occurs by the name of Nieutuna, the NewTown, or rather the town near the water, as (Ni-Eu-Tuna) may be interpreted
When Godric entered on it, there were eight villeins, and the same number at the Confessor's time, 2 carucates at all times in domain, and in the Confessor's time, and after, 6 carucates amongst the men, and there were always two mills and half a salt-pit, (fn. 2) and six freemen had their mansions or dwelling here; it was five furlongs in length, and five in breadth, and paid 9d. gelt.
In the reign of King Henry I. William son of Robert was lord of this town, who gave, by deed sans date, to the priory of Castleacre annual rent of 10s. issuing out of his mill here, in pure alms for the health of his own soul, his father Robert's, his brother John's. The witnesses were William the priest of Kemestun or Kempston, William de Blumville, Walter de Halteyn, Ralph son of Baldwin, William Bardulf, Humphrey de Duneham, Hubart de Acra, William de Pagrava, &c. (fn. 3) This was that William de Bosevilla (as I take it) who in the said reign gave also by deed sans date to the aforesaid priory the church of Newton, for the soul of King Henry I. (who most likely gave him this lordship,) his children, &c. and Eborard Bishop of Norwich confirmed the said grant. (fn. 4)
About the reign of King John, Hubert de Burgo, the King's chamberlain, and afterwards Earl of Kent, was lord, and confirmed the gift of his ancestor, William de Bosville; and in the reign of Henry III. (fn. 5) John de Burgh was found to hold here one knight's fee of the Earl of Albemarle by the service of one pair of gilt spurs of the price of 12d. per annum, and the Earl of the King in capite; and the said John had view of frankpledge without the King's bailiff. William son of Robert de Pagrave of Pagrave had lands, and had a lordship which was (as I conceive) his lordship of Pagrave that extended into this town, and confirmed to the aforesaid Hubert de Burgh the site of a mill called Kirk Mill in Newton, and the suit of all his men here, and in Pagrave to it; and covenanted that he and his heirs should grind all their corn and malt here, with a clause of distress on him, &c. to do the said suit, his heirs and men paying for ever a pound of cumin, or three halfpence per annum, John de Dunham, Alan and Roger de Wesenham, Hamon and William de Acra, William de Wigenhall, Edmund de Walsingham, Reginard de Marham, and John Extraneus, or Le Strange, &c.
In the 15th of Edward I. Michael de Caudewell or Cankewell was lord, and was found to have view of frankpledge, assize of bread and beer, weyf, &c. (fn. 6) This Michael was son of Baldwin de Caudewell who purchased this manor of John de Burgh then deceased, in 15th of Edward I. but in the 11th of Edward II. a suit (fn. 7) was commenced between Alice daughter of Michael de Cankewell, and John de la Warr, and Joan his wife, Edmund de Combes and Robert Fitz-Walter, heirs of John son of Hubert de Burgh, concerning the right of this manor, which was awarded to Alice; and in the 19th of the said reign a fine was levied between John le Leche and Alice his wife, (the aforesaid Alice, as I presume,) querents, Henry vicar of the church of Newton, and Roger le Barkere, chaplain, defendants, of this manor, which was settled on John and Alice his wife for their lives, remainder to Nicholas and Hamon their sons in tail; and Richard Holdich, by his deed indented, dated at Newton on Monday next after Easter, in the 8th year of Richard II. confirmed to Sibill, widow of Nicholas Le Leche, this manor with the appurtenances which she had of the feoffment of her husband Nicholas, for life only, with remainder to William le Leche, son and heir of Nicholas, and to the heirs of his body; remainder to Catherine, daughter of the said Nicholas, and Agnes widow of William le Leche; by her deed in French, dated at Castleacre on Monday the Feast of St. Nicholas, in the 2d of Henry IV. writing that whereas the King had granted to John Payn, his chief butiler, the ward and marriage of her husband's and her son and heir, with the manor of Newton and all other his lands in Norfolk, she the said Agnes released all her right of dower in all the said lands during the continuance of the patent, to the patentee, for an annuity of 40s. sterling.
In the 12th of Henry VI. William Leche and Catherine his wife were found to hold this lordship, with one tenement in Oulton, and one in Caston, of the honour of Albemarle; (fn. 8) and Robert their son dying sans issue, Catherine, sister to the said William, married to Wysbeche of Wysbeche, having by him a son, Simon Wysbeche; he was his kinsman and heir; but of this family of Wysbeche I meet with no further account.
In the 1st of Richard III. Thomas Gent of Kempostn, and Robert Mounsey of Castleacre, enfeoffed Thomas Candeler, John Baker, Francis Calibut, and William Fisher of Castleacre, in lands here, with the moiety of a fold course, all formerly belonging to Edmund Gourney, and afterwards to William Hawtrey of West-Lexham, then Roger Prior's of Castleacre, and after that John Chapman's of Newton, also in 22s. and one halfpenny rent, payable out of several lands.
In the 28th of Henry VIII. Thomas Beckham held it, after Beckham Sir William Turner of East Bashom, then Thomas Termar, Esq. then Sir Robert Dynne, then Mr. Briggs, and about 1571 John Laxford, and Edmund Laxford in 1637: about the middle of the last century, Mr. John Nabs, whose daughter being married to Riches Brown, Gent. they conveyed it to Mr. Thomas Patrick of Castleacre, by whose daughter and heir Hellen, it came by marriage to Matthew Halcote, Gent. of Lytcham, (fn. 9) and his grandson, Mr. Matthew Halcote of Howe by East Derham is the present lord.
The church of Newton is dedicated to All-Saints, has a body or nave with a chancel of flint and boulder covered with thatch; (fn. 10) between the nave and chancel is a low four-square tower with quoins of freestone, with a wooden cap or cover; through the arch of this tower is the passage between the nave and chancel, in the tower hang two bells, and the staircase served also for the rood-loft, part of which is still standing. This is the only church in the deaneries of Cranwich and Fincham built in this collegiate or cathedral fashion. The old church of Westminster, built by the Confessor, (fn. 11) is generally said to have been the first that was erected in England of this model, and it is very probable that this was built about the same age, having the face of great antiquity, being a low, dark, and heavy pile; the whole length is about 67 feet, breadth about 16. The communion table is railed in, and there is a gravestone near it in memory of Miras Clerk who died June 27, 1699, aged 59. It was appropriated in the reign of Edward I. We find from the register called Norwich Domesday, that the rectory appropriated had no land belonging to it, that the vicar had no house, but what he hired, and had tithe of peas and beans; the rectory was valued at 8 marks, and the vicarage at 40s. but paid no tenths but 10d. Peter-pence.
1227, Robert de Creic, presented by the Prior and Convent of Castleacre. (fn. 12)
1559, John Hardie, (fn. 13) presented by Thomas Duke of Norfolk.
1566, Robert Audeley. Thomas Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 14)
1603, Joseph Colman, presented by the Bishop of Ely, (fn. 15) in whose patronage it now continues.
The vicarage is valued in the King's Books at 2l. 15s. but is discharged of first fruits and tenths, being but 20l. per annum, clear value, synodals 16d.; procurations 5s. and it is capable of augmentation.
Dr. Kennet observes, that the impropriations of Newton and Narford in Suffolk, belonging to the see of Ely, when the leases of them were renewed by Dr. Lany Bishop of Ely, an augmentation was reserved of 10l. per annum to the vicar of Narford, and 12l. per annum to the vicar of Newton; but he is under a mistake in saying they were in Suffolk.