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 whole town, except four acres, was given by the founder of St. Bennet's abbey at the Holm in Norfolk, to that house, and at the Confessor's survey, Algar, a freeman, held it of the convent, (fn. 1) and it was then worth 20s. per annum and was a mile long and half a mile broad, and paid 8 pence towards every 20s. raised on the hundred, when the King taxed it. The Conqueror gave it to Ralf Bainard, of whom Godfride Bainard held it, at 30s. rent, when that prince took his survey. It continued in the Bainards with Merton (as in vol. ii. p. 299,) till Sir Fulk Baynard, the first of that name, who held it of Sir Robert Fitzwalters barony of Baynard's Castle, infeoffed the whole in Eudo, sirnamed de Skegeton or Skeyton, who was sole lord and patron; but the soc, (fn. 2) and chief lete, belonged to the hundred, as to the manor of Aylesham, and there was one tenement, which he held of the abbot of St. Benet, (fn. 3) which Eudo held of that convent in the Confessor's time, and his successour, Ralf de Beaufoe, in the Conqueror's, and his steward Radbod held it under him as of that house, (fn. 4)
Skeyton's Manor, or Skeyton Hall,
Eudo De Skeytone had two knights fees, and 5 bovates in Crostweyt, Boton, Tibenham, (see vol. v. p. 284,) and Skeyton. and left four sons (1) Sir Ralf, who died without issue, as (2) did Sir Richard de Skeyton, Knt. and (3) William his brother succeeded, who, in 1187 settled on the four daughters (fn. 5) of his brother (4) Hugh, (fn. 6) with warranty against Ralf, their only brother, (who was a priest, and rector here,) the 3d part of Skeyton manor and advowson, all which centred at last in William de Whitwell, who married Clarice de Skeyton, and this was the original of Whitwell-hall alias Gambon's manor here.
The other two third parts, or Skeyton-hall manor, this William died seized of, and left to Robert his son, who in 1236 sued William son of Isaac, son of Richard de Felmingham, to know by what authority he and his tenants commoned their cattle in Skeyton; who proved that Richard, his ancestor, was seized of that right, as belonging to his fee in Felmingham, and so recovered it. (fn. 7) In 1289, this advowson was settled to be presented to alternately, by Robert de Skeyton, in right of Skeyton-hall, and by William de Whitwell, in right of Whitwell-hall. In 1290 (fn. 8) Sir John de Skeyton, Knt. son of Sir Robert, was lord here and of Tibenham, (see vol. v. p. 284), and died in 1308; and John Fastolf, Knt. burgess of Yarmouth, sold to Sir Thomas Bavent, Knt. (who presented here as guardian in 1306), the wardship and marriage of Ralf, son and heir of Sir John de Skegeton, Knt. being given to Fastolf, by Sir Fulk Baniard, Knt. of whom Skeyton was held; in the presence of Sir William de Kerdeston, Knt. Sir William Roscelyne, Sir Roger de Gyney, and Sir Thomas Bardolf, Knts. In 1315 Sir Ralf de Skeyton was lord and patron, who in 1321 released to Alice Bretoun and her heirs, and to Robert Brian of Felmingham and Hawise his wife, and their heirs, all his claim in the homages, services, and customs which they formerly held of Sir Ralf, and Sara his mother, in Felmingham and Skeyton; he sealed with Vair erm. and sab. a bend. Felicia his widow was alive in 1358, but in 1323 Sir Ralf settled it, with Boton, on himself and
Maud de Nerford, and her sons, as in Boton, and in 1345 Alice, sister and heiress of Sir Ralf, then widow of Hautein, her second husband, released all right to the said Maud. In 1345, Sir William de Warren, Knt. held two parts of a fee in Skeyton, Boton, Crostweyt, and Tibenham, of the heirs of Fulk Baniard, and had issue, Edward, John, and William, and died in 1382, leaving to his son, Sir John Warren, Knt. whose wife Margaret carried it to her second husband, John Mayne-Wareyne, who had it in 1401, and held it in 1403, of Hadeston manor, and it passed with Booton, till it was purchased by
William Hare of Beeston, Gent. about 1532, who left it to Alice his wife, who remarried to Robert Rugge, alderman of Norwich, whose widow she was in 1559; and at her death, Audrey Hare, her nly daughter and heiress, carried it to her husband, (fn. 9)
Sir Robert Paston, Bart. who presented in 1666; and Whitewell-hall being joined to this, the whole hath remained in his family ever since, it being part of the estate of the late Earl of Yarmouth, who was sole lord and patron, though the lete belongs to the hundred, as a member of Aylesham manor.
Whitwell-Hall, or Gambon's Manor,
Contained a third part of the town, and came with Clarice or Cla rence de Skeyton to William de Whitwell, her husband; their son, Richer de Whitwell, succeeded, and then William, his son and heir, who died in 1293, leaving this and Whitwell's in Runhall, (as at vol. ii. p. 474,) to John his brother, who died about 1298, and left this manor, then valued at 5l. 10s. per annum, to Isabel his wife for life, who held it in 1315; and in 1324 William de Whitwell settled it on Catherine his wife, who presented in 1335, and owned it in 1345; Simon de Whitwell, (fn. 10) their son, had it, and died in 1371, and was buried before St. Maries altar in Skeyton church, by John de Whitwell his father, whose daughter and coheiress, Cecily, (fn. 11) married
William Gambon, (fn. 12) who presented in 1378, and had half this manor in 1393, and Richard their son was then 13 years old, and dying young, left a son, Richard, who inherited about 1429, at his grandfather's death; and John Gambon, Esq. his cousin, had it after him, and died without issue, seized of it in 1432, leaving Ellen his wife in possession during her life, and then it went to
Robert Sterne, son of his sister Joane, by her husband Sterne, whose son, Thomas, was also lord here, (fn. 13) and died issueless in 1460, and his brother Henry had it till 1467, whose son Henry was then at his death only four years old; he was lord here till his death, and then succeeded by Simon Sterne, who presented in 1548, and had the whole manor, Whitwell's part being now joined again to this; for in 1553 Simon Sterne of Skeyton, Gent. suffered a recovery of the manors of Whitwell's alias Gambon's in Skeyton, with the advowson, sc. the moiety thereof, and Whitwell alias Gambon's in Whitwell, by which they were settled on Robert Coke and Thomas Pain, in trust, for a jointure for Ellen his wife, as to Skeyton, and to himself in fee, as to Whitwell.
In 1591, Jonas Goldingham, Gent. and Edward Aldham, Gent. settled it on Henry Goldingham, Gent. and Leonard Gaston, Esq. with the third part of the advowson; and in 1601 Jonas and Henry Goldingham, Gent. settled it on Richard Dawtrey and Thomas Keble, and being after purchased by the Hobarts, it was joined to, and still remains with, Skeyton-hall manor aforesaid.
The Church is dedicated to all the Saints, and is leaded, as also the chancel; the south porch is tiled; there is a square tower and three bells, the least of which was given in 1506, by Peter Howys of Yarmouth. In the chancel window,
Robert King, formerly servant to William Earl of Yarmouth, was buried here in May 1727, in the 103d year of his age. He had an entire set of new teeth about ten years before his death. (fn. 14)
Valuation to the land-tax, 365l.;—county rate to a 300l. levy, 7s. 9d.; —old tenths, 3l. 16s.;—old valuation of the rectory, 15 marks;—synodals, 8d.;—Peter-pence, 8d.;—Bishop's procurations, 2s. 4d. ob.;— archdeacon's procurations, 7s. 7d. ob.
Here is a parsonage-house and about 28 acres of glebe, and in the New Valor is mentioned an outgoing of 12d. per annum to the steward. It is capable of augmentation, being discharged of first fruits and tenths, and stands thus in the King's Books: