An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Called Swanton Abbots, from the Abbot of Holm, who was lord of it, to distinguish it from other towns of the same name in this county.
The Register of Holm abbey (fo. 6) tells us, that it was given to that convent soon after its foundation, by Saxi, a Saxon nobleman, and at the Conquest it appears to be one of the manors settled for the monks maintenance, (fn. 1) and it was then valued at 3l.; the church had 7 acres glebe, and the town was above a mile long and as much broad, and paid 4d. to the geld, towards every 20s. raised by the hundred.
By deeds without dates, entered in Holm Register, it appears that William de Whitwell and Clarice his wife, released to Reginald, abbot of St. Bennet's, all right of commonage in this town and North-Walsham, which, before this, belonged to his manor of Skeyton; and Robert, son of William de Skeyton released all his right of common of pasture in Swanton, and Walsham woods, which before belonged to his manor of Skeyton; and Richer, son of Clarice, released also; and Sir Reginald le Gros also released all right to common in the wood here, and many others conveyed divers lands and rights to the monastery, so that the Abbot was sole lord of the whole town; and had free warren allowed in eire: and what is mentioned in the Atlas, at p. 271, is false, and doth not at all relate to this Swanton, which was always held in chief of the King, as parcel of the Abbot of Holme's barony, with which it came to the see of Norwich, and in 1546 was let to Sir William Paston, Knt. together with the advowson, as at large in vol. iv. p. 542. The manor now goes with the late Earl of Yarmouth's estate, it having been in the hands of the Pastons ever since the aforesaid time. And the whole town is in the dutchy of Lancaster. (fn. 2) It paid to every tenth 35s. clear, is valued to the land-tax at 252l. 16s. 3d. and pays 6s. 3d. to every 300l. levy of the county rate, and the Abbot of St. Bennet's was laid for his manor, lands, mill, rents, &c. at 10l. 9s. 6d. and the almoner of that convent, for his revenues here, at 6s.
The Church is dedicated to St. Michael, is in the deanery of Ingworth, and the archdeaconry of Norwich, and pays to the archdeacon 3s. 4d. procurations, and 9d. synodals to the Bishop, (fn. 3) and a pension of 16s. 8d. in right of Holm abbey; (fn. 4) and 19d. ob. visitatorial procurations; it was anciently valued at 6 marks, and is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation. It stands thus in the King's Books:
6l. 10s. Swanton Abbatis rectory, 34l. clear yearly value.
By deed without date Nicholas, rector of Swanton, agreed with the Abbot of St. Bennet, that if he enjoyed all great and small tithes, he would pay the Abbot 3s. a year for 60 sheaves called Nuns sheaves, and the old pension for the tithe sheaves of the Abbot's demeans, so that the pension of 16s. 8d. paid by the Rector to the Abbot, was now fixed.
In Edward the First's time,
Thomas de Walcote was presented by the Abbot.
1311, Henry de Berney.
1314, Alexander de Berneye, rector here, exchanged this for Heighham by Norwich, with
William de Broke. (See vol. iv. p. 506.)
1331, John Pain,
1341, Roger Springheus, who in 1342 exchanged this with
Sir Andrew Springheus, for St. Peter of Maydewell in Lincoln diocese.
1353, Henry de Kenton.
1408, Roger Crede.
1477, Stephen Multon; he was buried in the chancel by the reading-desk, his effigies in brass still remains on his stone, and this,
Orate pro anima Stephani Multon, qui obiit rrbiiiodie Junii AnoDni Mcccclrrvii. cuius anime propicietur Deus Amen
The abbots always presented, and after them the bishops, &c. till leased out, and then the Pastons.
Richard Lubbit, rector here, was sequestered in the Usurpation, according to Walker, Part II. fo. 296.
In 1698, Theophilus Browne, A. M. was presented by the Earl of Yarmouth, and held it united to Calthorp, and it is now held by
The Rev. Mr. John Gallant.
Bartholomew de Wichingham was buried in this church in 1497, leaving Isabel his wife, and Edmund and Andrew his sons, and had a considerable estate here. The arms of Le Gros were in the windows, but are now gone; gul. a cross floré arg. remains.
There are memorials in the chancel for, Mary Wife of John Fox 1722, 57. John Fox, 1718, Æt. 5. William Fox 1705, 73. Anne his Wife, 1706. 65.
In the church, Margaret Wife of John Wegge 1621.
Elizabeth Knolls the third Daughter of John and Margaret Wegge, the only Wife of Phelip Knolls, Mother of 3 Children, Thomas, John, Mary, dying Anno Christi 1641, September 18, Aged 60 Years, lies here interred, expecting a joyful Resurrection.
Valedictio Filij Johannis, qui hoc posuit.
Chara vale mea, chara Vale, tua Funera flevi, Me consolatur, Cœlica Vita tua.