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 Stratum, the street or way that leads to the Roman settlement at Brampton; from which name, I take it to have been of Roman original; it passes by several names for distinction from the other towns of the same name in this county; as Stratton-Parva, juxta Hevingham, juxta Buxton, juxta Brampton, but more commonly in the last centuries, by that of Strawless, it standing in the midst of a heath, where formerly no corn grew.
The whole belonged to Herold in the Confessor's time, and at the Conqueror's survey, the chief part of it was held by Walter Giffard, and was appendant to Marsham manor; it had then three carucates of land, a wood able to maintain 30 swine, was worth 40s. per annum, and was a mile long and half a mile broad, and paid xid. to the geld towards every 20s. raised in the hundred. (fn. 1) This afterwards belonged to Richard Fitz Gilbert Earl of Clare, who infeoffed Rosceline in it, whose son William was lord and patron here, and was succeeded by William his son, who assumed the name of Stratton, from this his lordship, which was always held by them and their successours, lords here, of the honour of Clare, as it is at this day of the King, who in right of that honour is lord paramount of the waste, as appeared in a trial in Sir Edward Clere's time, who was lord here, when the lord and tenants recovered their right to all the trees belonging to them, growing on the waste, by proving that they immemorially had liberty to plant on the waste, and take down and convert all such trees at their pleasure.
There was then also another part here, which belonged to William Bishop of Thetford, (fn. 2) in his own right; this he gave to the see, and it was always held of it, after it was granted off.
A third part was then a berewic or appendant to Cawston manor, (fn. 3) from which it was soon separated, and joined to this manor.
William de Stratton lived in 1195, and afterwards I find Ralf, son of Robert de Stratton; this family centered in female heiresses; for in 1267 Reginald de Refham and Annora his wife held a 4th part of the advowson and manor, and sold it to Henry de Hauten or Houton, and Alice his wife, and this was after held by Alice Hauten, John de Refeham, and William Marshall. In 1271 Benedict de Dufford and Agnes his wife had the other parts of Stratton Streless; and before 1285, the whole advowson was sold to William de Merkeshale, who was sole patron. In 1312 the manor was settled by Eustace de Dalling, their trustee, on Reginald de Refham and Joan his wife in part; and in 1314 the heirs of Bartholomew Hauteyn, William de Merkeshall, and Reginald de Refham, held it at one fee of the honour of Clare, by the name of Stratton Parva.
In 1333 William de Merkeshall and Alice his wife had the manor and advowson settled on them in tail; in 1343 Rob. Clere and Alice his wife had two parts of the manor and advowson settled on them in tail, with remainders to William, Walter, Robert, and Nicholas, their sons; and in 1343 the said Robert and Reginald de Refham held two parts of a fee, late William Marshall's and John de Refham's, of the honour of Clare in chief; and in 1361 the other third part was purchased of William Bretoun of Essex, and Joan his wife, by Will. son of Robert Clere and Dionise his wife, who had the whole manor and advowson; and in 1365 they settled them on William de Wichingham, and other their trustees. Henry Clere was lord in 1369, and in 1395 Dionise his widow was lady; in 1442 Robert Clere, Esq. of Ormesby owned it, and by will in 1445, gave it, after the death of Elizabeth his wife, to Thomas his second son, and his heirs; in 1498 Sir Robert Clere had it after the death of Elizabeth his mother, and after him Sir John Clere, Knt. who left it about 1556, to Edward his son and heir, who had livery of it this year; it being head of the honour of Clere; this Sir Edward Clere, Knt. sold the advowson, manor, and whole estate, before 1560, to Henry Marsham, Gent. in whose family it still continues.
The family of the Marshams took their sirname from the neighbouring village of Marsham, where they inhabited from the time of Henry 1.; but the family being very numerous, I cannot pretend to trace them regularly, before the time of King Edward I. in whose time,
Thomas de Marsham, removed thence, and was a merchant in Norwich in 1350; he did not use the present arms of the family, but always sealed with a chevron between a mullet, and crescent in chief, and a croslet in base, and used a croslet for his crest; his son,
By his will dated in 1473, 24 July (in Regr. Paynot.) 13 Edward IV. he gave 12 marks to new make and glaze a window on the north part of Little-Stratton church, (fn. 4) and ordered himself to be buried in the middle of the nave of St. Margaret's church there, by Agnes his wife; over them lies a stone with this on a brass plate now remaining,
Besides a daughter Maud, who was living in 1473, he had a son, John, called in Evidences, senior, of Stratton; his will occurs in Regr. Spurling, fo. 53; he died in 1515, as did Ellen his wife, and are both interred in the nave of this church, with the following inscriptions on brass plates;
They had several children, as Agnes, alive in 1473, &c. and 4 sons. 2d, James, grocer in Norwich, who died in 1544, leaving Cecily his widow, and John his son, &c. for whom see vol. iv. p. 84. 3d, Thomas Marsham. 4th, another brother, who died a factor abroad in 1510, see vol. ii. fo. 192.
John Marsham, their eldest son, was the common ancestor of the Marshams of Stratton, Melton Parva, and Londom, from whence those of Kent descended; he was a grocer, and great merchant in Norwich, by which he much advanced his fortunes; in 1510 he was sheriff of the city (vol. iii. p. 192) in 1511 being in great favour with the commons, was sent up at the city's charge to King Henry VIII. to justify the city in relation to their contests with the prior and convent of Norwich, (vol. iii. p.193), in 1516 he was sent again to the King, with the mayor, to settle those contests, and had three horses, and two servants allowed him at the publick charge: in 1518 he was mayor, and died in 1525, and is buried in the church of St. John at Maddermarket in Norwich, in which parish he dwelt, in a large house of his own building, in the window of which the arms of Marsham, impaled with those of Elizabeth Claxton his wife, still remain; she survived him, and purchased Little Melton manor, as in vol. v. p. 11, and was buried by her husband in 1559. In 1534 his executors paid money towards building the Common-council chamber in the Gild-hall, (vol. iv. p. 229) in which his picture is still to be seen; (vol. iv. p. 231;) his will appears in Regr. Briggs, fo. 167. His inscriptions, &c. may be seen at vol. iv. p. 290; he had 5 sons and 8 daughters, of which Margaret Marsham, was buried by her father in 1563, Elizabeth was alive and married to Layer in 1557, &c.; his 4 elder sons were,
1. Henry Marsham of Stratton, who first, jointly with his brother Thomas, purchased the advowson, manor, and whole estate there, of Sir Edward Clere; he presented in 1544 and 1560, and dying without issue, it went to his brother,
3. Ralph Marsham of Norwich, who was one of the feast hainers or holders there, in 1547, (vol. iii. p. 225,) a great merchant in 1554, (vol. iii. p. 270,) lord of Little Melton, by his mother's gift, he having married one of her own family, viz a daughter of Hamond Claxton of Great Livermere in Suffolk, by whom he had two sons.
John Marsham, lord of Melton, and lord and patron of Wramplingham, whose son Richard was a tobacconist in Norwich, and left at his death his widow Mary, who in 1661, as guardian to her two children, John and Anne Marsham, presented to Wramplingham; the manor being sold, but the advowson excepted, (see vol. ii. p. 487).
Thomas Marsham, alderman of London, who by Magdalen Springham his wife, had six sons and four daughters, and from John their 2d son, descended Robert Marsham, Bart. now Lord Romney, whose descent may be seen at large in the Peerage, vol. iv. p. 298, edit. Lond. 1741. He uses the ancient arms of the family, without the croslets, and the
4, Robert, rector of this parish, was presented in 1560 by his brother Henry; it is to be remarked that this Robert was instituted to the rectory when he was not in orders, and only in the 16th year of his age; for in the 19th Institution Book, a dispensation is entered at length, confirmed by the Queen under the great seal; by which Mathew Parker Archbishop of Canterbury dispensed with Robert Marsham of Stratton-Strawless, scholar, ("ob laudibilia ejus studia, quibus conjicitur te esse eruditum") being then, but in the 10th year of his age, to hold the parish church of Stratton-Strawless, on condition he always goes in the clergyman's habit, staies at Cambridge in persuing his studies, and takes priests orders as soon as he can.
Thomas Marsham, Esq. the second son beforementioned, was a great favourite of the Norwich citizens, and much concerned in the government of that place, during his life; in 1548, he was elected member in Parliament for the city, (vol. iii. p. 263,) was mayor in 1554, (vol. iii. p. 277,) and was buried by his father in St. John's in 1557. Elizabeth his wife surviving him; at his death
Robert Marsham of Stratton, his son and heir, succeeded, and became lord and patron; he is buried under a stone here, which hath his arms on a brass plate, and an inscription, which is under the iron pallisades of a monument in the south chapel, and so could not read it, but that on Margaret his widow still remains loose in the church chest, on a plate, viz.
Hic jacet Margareta nuper Uxor Roberti Marsham Generosi, in Capella ipsius Roberti, Domini hujus manerii de Stratton Strawley, atque veri et indubitati Patroni istius Ecclesie, et postea uxor Henrici Lovell Armigeri, que obijt xxijo die Julij A. D. 1604.
Hic jacet Lucia nuper uxor Thome Marsham Generosi, in Capella ipsius Thome, Domini hujus manerij de Stratton Strawles, atque veri et inbubitati Patroni istius Ecclesie, Filia Edmundi Sucklinge, Sacre Theologie Professoris, Decani Ecclesie Cathedralis, Sancte Trinitatis Norwici, que obijt 16° Aprilis Ano Domini 1619.
The curious monument at the east end of the chapel, at the end of south isle, hath the arms of Marsham, and crest of a lion's head erased gul. with cross croslets fitché or. The cumbent effigies is this Thomas in his shroud leaning on a pillow, lying on an altar tomb of black marble; on the top are two angels blowing trumpets, one holds a chaplet, with the crest and arms of Marsham. Under the effigies is this,
Indomitæ Mortis potuissent nobile, clarum, Si Genus, Ingenium, Tela fugâsse Viris; Si Labor insignis, veneranda scientia Legum, Si quem [plisosis] larga beavit Opum; Non inclusa jacent, cujus modo membra Sepulchro, Tam citò calcâssent, pallida mortis Iter; Lubrica promisit fragilis sua gaudia Mundis, Gaudia promisit Mors super astra Poli: Mundi fallacis Curæ procul ite Prophanæ, Grande Lucrum CHRISTVS, Mors mihi Vita, Salus.
2. William Marsham, the 2d son, inherited at his father's death, and married Elinor, second daughter of Samuel Harsnet of Great Fraunsham, Esq. who after his decease married to Sir Robert Drury, Baronet, of Ridlesworth, and was killed in her bed by the fall of a stack of chimnies at Ridlesworth-Hall, in the November storm, in 1703, as in vol. i. p. 278, 82, and was there buried.
Against the south wall of Stratton chapel, in the south isle is a mural monument for this William, with the arms of Marsham impaling Harsnet, as in vol. iii. p. 567; he was lord and patron, and presented here in 1667.
Reponuntur hic Reliquiæ GULIELMI MARSHAM Generosi qui post novem Annos Conjugij cum ELINORE Filiâ Samuelis Harsnet de Fraunsham, in Comitatû Norfolcienci Armigeri, tandem Fato cessit, Viduaque, (nunc Conjux Roberti Druri de Riddlesworth Baronetti,) in piam Charissimi sui quondam Conjugis Memoriam, hoc erexit Monumentum; obijt xviii die Decembris A. D. 1674.
3. Henry Marsham of Stratton, his brother, inherited, for whom there is a large monument of black and white marble, in the Marsham's Chapel; and it is an altar tomb, on which are four effigies, facing the church; first Henry himself in a gown, kneeling on a cushion, with a book before him, and his hands erected, as are those of Anne Themilthorp his (second) wife; the third is Henry their son, and the fourth is Margaret, their infant daughter in swaddling clothes. On the top are the family arms and crest, and on the front of the tomb this,
Over Henry Marsham's effigies, I'M Come! to fill this Space, and Gone, T' embrace my dearest Wife and Son, Death did (to throw his Dart) delay, 'Till I to Grief my Vows should pay; This Monument, that Vault, these Pewes, And what of Ornament this Temple shewes, The Blew Coates, Donatives, and Alms in Fee, To Poor and Rich Posterity, These Vows are paid: But Oh! that Word, I Vow myself, to thee O Lord: This (which my Life could not discharge,) Kind Death hath taught to doe at large.
Thou wer't too quick and large to stay, Within thy little House of Clay; Such early manly Parts (which Ev'n) At Twelve did speak thee XXXVII. Presag'd, that one, so grave, so good, Would misse Life's common Period, And Heav'n must be obey'd, 'twas found, Thou'rt ripe for that, and now art Crown'd.
M. P. P. (fn. 5)
Over the woman, Here lie a virtuous Son and Mother, Who died in Kindness to each other Death seaz'd him first, when shee him freed, By yielding up herself in's stead, Which was no sooner done, but Hee Dyes too, to keep her Company.
He married for his second wife, Grace, daughter of Thomas
Bishop of Hasly-Hall in Thorndon in Suffolk, who after Marsham's
death, remarried to John Cornwaleis of Wingfield College in Suffolk;
she had no children, and is buried here. Her sister lies under a black
marble in the nave, with the crest of a bull's head erased, and the
arms of Alpe, Az. a fess er. between 3 alpes arg. impaling
Bishop, argent, on a bend cotized gul. 3 bezants.
Here lieth the Body of Mary, the Widow of Francis Alpe of Burston in the County of Norfolk, Gent. and Daughter of Thomas Bishop of Hasly-Hall in Thornedon in the County of Suffolk, Gent. she departed this Life the 27th. of March, 1687. and was Sister to the now Wife of Henry Marsham. (See Vol. i page 126)
Thomas Marsham, Esq. their son and heir, is the present lord and patron, and dwells in the family seat here, which was built by the aforesaid William Marsham; he married Dorothy, 5th daughter of Leonard Gooch of Earsham, by Dorothy his wife, who was sister to Sir Nevile Catline, of Kirby Caam in Norfolk; she is still living; he hath had by her the following issue, viz. four sons and six daughters;
2, Mary, now living, and widow of John Croshold, Esq. late mayor of Norwich, as in vol. iii. p. 443, by whom she had Alexander, who died student of Caius College in 1748, and 3 daughters, Mary, Phillipa, and Lucy, now living:
This town is in the liberty of the dutchy of Lancaster, is valued to the land-tax at 361l. per ann. pays 7s. 9d. to every 300l. levy of the county rate, and anciently paid to every tenth levied upon the hundred, 2l. 10s. but had 10s. deducted for the revenues of the religious here, they paying, by themselves. The town contains about 150 inhabitants.
The rectory stands thus in the King's Book, by the name of Stratton Strawley, was valued at 8l. 8s. 1d. ob. but being sworn of the clear value of 30l. it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation. It was valued in the old Valor at 12 marks, and paid 9d. Peter-pence; it now pays annually 22d. synodals to the Bishop, and 5s. procurations to the Archdeacon, and 2s. 1d. procurations at the Bishop's visitation. The temporals of the priory of Walsingham in this town were taxed at 2s. and the Prior of Longavile had a portion of tithes here, valued at one mark. There is a parsonage-house adjoining to the west part of the churchyard.
The Church is dedicated to St. Margaret, and had before their dissolution two gilds kept in it; one in the church in honour of St. Margaret, and another in the south isle chapel, in honour of the Virgin Mary, to whom that chapel was dedicated at its first foundation, by the Cleres, lords here. In the times of superstition, there were images of the several saints, with lights burning before them in service time, viz. of St. Margaret, which was the principal image, and always as such, stood in the east chancel wall, on the north side of the altar, (so that the officiating priest always stood directly under it,) St. Mary, in her chapel; St. John the Evangelist, and Baptist, St. Christopher, St. Nicholas, and St. Erasmus.
The present tower is square, and hath 6 bells in it, being a very large one, but not carried to that height as at first designed, by a third part; it was built in 1422, the old steeple being decayed, for in that year Reginald Crowe, chaplain of Horstede, gave a legacy to it, he being of the same family with Reginald, rector here, if not the same person, that had resigned; the Crowes were a family very ancient in this town; in 1199 and 1202, Robert, Walter, and Jeffry Crowe, brothers, had good estates here.
The nave is an ancient building; in an arch under the north wall lies its founder carved in Derbyshire marble; cross-legged, all in mailarmour, his belt by his side, and other accoutrements: Mr. Weever, fo. 812, by reason the Bardolfs arms are in the east chancel window, imagines him to have been of that family; but I think not, but rather take it to be Ralf de Stratton, the last of that name, who was lord and patron here, and the antique appearance of the effigies answers to the time, and his arms also, arg. a cross moline sab. remain in the north church window by him, and in the east chancel window; though the Strattons have since born, on a plain cross, 5 bezants.
There is an altar tomb in the churchyard on the south side, for Henry Lemon, 1741, Elizabeth his daughter 1737, Æt. 15. and for Henry, Sarah, Martha, his infant children, Anne his wife, Henry, Anne, and Mary, his children, survived him.
Mr. Thomas Bulwer of Buxton, who married Anne, daughter of Robert Marsham, gave an hundred pounds, the interest for the benefit of the poor; with 75l. of it, land in Marsham was purchased, and the rest remains in money at this time.