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 town takes its name from a little river or creak adjoining, termed by the Saxons [Crecca]. (fn. 1)
In Domesday Book it is accounted for, under the lands of William Bishop of Thetford; (fn. 2) (the see being not then removed to Norwich;) here were two carucates in domain in the Confessor's time, at the survey 3, one carucate amongst the freemen, then but half a carucate; now 8 acres of meadow, 2 mills, 2 fisheries or fish-ponds, 17 socmen who held 60 acres, &c. pannage for 60 swine, and 80 sheep: it was valued at 6l. in King Edward's time; now at 9l. was one mile long and half a mile broad, and paid 14d. gelt, when the hundred paid 20s. To this there belonged a church endowed with 20 acres of glebe valued at 20d. (fn. 3)
Cressingham, or the Dean and Chapter of Norwich's Manor.
This manor was enjoyed by the Bishops of the see till the reign of King Stephen, when Eborard the Bishop, being distressed in the wars between the King and the Empress Maud, was obliged to resign his right in this town and in part of Blickling in Norfolk, to two powerful knights and leaders, to preserve the rest of his bishoprick, (fn. 4) but this being done without the consent or advice of his convent, he afterwards entreated Pope Eugenius to absolve him, and that the said lordships might be restored to his church of Norwich: and accordingly this lordship came again into the Bishop's hands; and in the beginning of King John's reign, William the prior, and the convent of Norwich, granted to John de Grey, then Bishop, the fair of Linn, together with Geywode by Linn, the Saturday market at Linn, all pleas and profits whatever, which they had by virtue of their layfee, a messuage near the chapel of St. Nicholas at Lynn, to the west, a messuage near Surflet bridge, all their salt-pits in the said villages, and the toll there, in exchange for this lordship, and that of Secheford in Norfolk. (fn. 5)
On this exchange, the advowson of the church here was excepted, and that with the knights fees hereto belonging, being reserved to the Bishop and his successours, with the episcopal authority he had in other manors belonging to the convent, all this was confirmed by King John's letters patent, dated 10 June 1205.
After this, in 1239, it appears that the prior was lord; (fn. 6) and in 1274, he claimed the assize of bread and ale. (fn. 7) In 1283, an extent was made of this lordship, wherein it is recorded that it enjoyed all the liberties, which the Bishop and Prior of Norwigh had in their other manors, viz. view of frankpledge, lete, assize of bread and ale, gallows, and tumbrell, free bull and boar all the year, weyf and stray, two freefolds for sheep, and one for steers and heifers all the summer season. (fn. 8) It had arable land in several pieces, 34 acres and 3 roods, at 12d. per acre. Arable land 71 acres 2 roods and an half, at 10d. per acre. Arable land 79 acres and 6 roods, at 8d. per acre, &c. a watermill at Glosebrigg, valued at 40s. with a fishery in the said water and pool, seven parts in the heath, 36 hens at Christmas, at 1d. per hen, and 4 geese at Michaelmas, at 2d. per goose; also 32 quarters of oats, payable at St. Michael, at 15d. a quarter; and at Easter 160 eggs, with many customs, days-works, &c.
In 1317, Sir Walter de Norwich alienated to the prior and convent 3 messuages, 169 acres of land, and 12 of meadow, in CressinghamMagna, Parva, and Hopton; and on Friday the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John Baptist, in the same year, Richard de la River, Knt. and Maud his wife, gave license to Robert the Prior, and the convent of Norwich, to receive the lands, which Sir Walter held of them; (fn. 9) and Maud, relict of Sir Robert de Tony, gave her license also, some of the said lands belonging to the honour of Richmond being held by her.
John, son of Clement de Cressingham, and Avice his wife, gave also their license; and in 1316, Philip Payn of Hopton by Cressingham, confirmed what he held of Sir Walter, in the said villages, and what Sir Walter held of him, and William de Hockham confirmed the same for the payment of 3s. per annum. All this was purchased at 400 marks by John de Ely, alias Salmon, Bishop of Norwich, and given to the prior and convent, for the better endowment of the chantry priests founded by the said Bishop in the chapel of St. John the Evangelist built by him, at the west door of the cathedral, (for which see vol. iii. p. 499; vol. iv. p. 55, 6.)
This manor was always leased out by the priors; and in 1513, Sir Robert Southwell held it of the prior, paying 13l. 13s. 4d. in money, &c. per annum; soon after this it came to the Jenneys, who held it of the dean and chapter of Norwich, on the dissolution of the priory.
The branch of the Jenneys, lords here, descended from Will: Jenney of Knatshall in Suffolk, who was succeeded by his son, John Jenney of Knodeshale, Esq. who died in 1460, (see vol. iii. p. 156, 9, 65, 71,) and by Maud his wife, daughter and heir of John Buckle, by Joan his wife, daughter and heir of John Leiston, by Maud daughter and coheir of William Gerrard, Esq. he left Tho. Jenney, Esq. his 2d son, for whom see vol. iii. p. 178, 92,) and other children, besides his eldest son and heir, Sir Wil. Jenney, Knt. judge of the King's Bench, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Tho. Caus, Esq. and relict of Calthorp, by whom he left Sir Edm. Jenney Knatshall, his eldest son, who died in 1522, leaving Wil. Jenney, his eldest son, by Catherine, daughter and heir of Robert Bois, Esq. by Joan daughter and heir of Edmund Wichingham, Esq. son of Sir Roger Bois, by Sibil daughter and heir of Sir Robert Illeye, son and heir of Sir Edmund Illeye, by Alice his wife, daughter and heir of Edmund Plumstead: their second son Christopher, was knighted, and came and settled at Cressingham-Magna, when he married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of William Eyre of Cressingham, judge of the Common Pleas, by whom he had Elizabeth, married to William Steward, as at vol. ii. p. 454, and John Jenney, Esq. his son, who lived here in 1556; he married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Spring of Lavenham in Suffolk, afterwards wife of Edward Flood, Esq. and by her had William Jenney, lord in 1571, who married Amy, daughter of Edward Thoresby of Bocking in Essex, and had Henry Jenney, Esq. lord here in 1637, and John Jenney, lord in 1648, and Robert Jenney of London, merchant: Will. Jenney of Cressingham succeeded John, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Batchcroft of Bexwell, Esq. by whom he had Will. Jenney, Esq. barrister at law, of Lincoln's-Inn, who married Dinah, daughter of John Goldsmith of Stradset in Norfolk; he was buried here in 1687, and in 1688, Tho. Jenney, his brother, (fn. 10) was lord here, and sold it to alderman Farrington of London, who conveyed it to Samuel Grant, councellor of London, who held it in 1692, and Edw. Chute, Esq. purchased it of Grant, whose two sons, Lennard and Devereux, dying without issue, it descended to Thomas Lobb Chute, Esq. of South Pickenham, who holds it of the dean and chapter, paying at Ladyday and St. Michael together, the sum of 13l. 13s. 4d. also 15 combs of wheat per annum, and 16 combs of malt, the duty being allowed by the dean and chapter. It pays also to the Lady Humble, or her heirs, 11l. 8s. 7d. halfpenny free-farm rent per annum; to Horace Walpole, Esq. 5s. per annum free-farm rent; to the manor of Uphall in Ashill 1s. 6d. per annum, and to the King 3s. per annum; and in 1648, John Jenney, Esq. paid to the lord of the hundred 3s. 4d. for this manor; and in 1687, Thomas Jenney paid the same. The fine is certain at 4d. per acre, and the prior was taxed for his temporalties at 16l. 11d. ob. (fn. 11)
In a window of the parlour is a shield of Jenney, quartering in the 1st place, sable a chevron between three round buckles, or, Buckle; in the 2d, Vert. three sinister hands couped barways arg. bearing three hawks proper, Leyston; in the 3d, Sab. a cross or, between 4 wolves heads couped arg. Gerrard; in the 4th Arg. two bars and a canton gul. over all a bendlet sab. Bois; in the 5th, Ermine 2 chevrons sable, Illey; in the 6th, Arg three buckles masculy in bend between two bendlets sable. Gimingham; in the 7th, Gules a de-lis and a file of three in chief or, Plumstead; in the 8th, Witchingham; in the 9th, Quarterly or and az. on a bend gul. three escalops arg. and a mullet for distinction, Falstolf.
Hockham's, Glosebrig's and Ryley's.
By the survey we find that one Ralph, who held lands of the Bishop, disseised a certain freeman, of a carucate of land, who was in the King's soc, this was valued at 20s. (fn. 12) In the 24th of Henry III. Edmund de Hockham held here a moiety of a fee of William Boynton, he of William de Caston, and he of the Bishop of Norwich, and the Bishop of the King in capite. (fn. 13) Roger le Virley, Thomas de Cressingham, and John de Glossbrigge, held in the 27th of Edward III. the moiety of a fee, which John son of Clement formerly held of the Calthorps, who held of the Bishop; and in the 30th of the said King, Benedict and Laurence de Hockham, chaplains, and Peter le Gross, held a moiety of the heirs of Agnes de Boyton. In the 3d of Hen. IV. Richard Ryley held the moiety of the Calthorp tenure, and Richard Hockham held that of Boynton, &c. of John Methwold, and John, of the Bishop, as part of his barony; and in the reign of Henry VIII. Sir Christopher Jenney, in whom it was united to the manor of StreetHall, and so remains at this day.
Street-Hall, alias Straw-Hall.
This lordship consisted of lands partly royal domain in the Confessor's time, and given by that King to Ralph Earl of Norfolk, who forfeited it; and at the survey it was in the Crown, and held or farmed of the King by Godric, and partly of the lands of Edwin, (Earl of Mercia,) who had 1 mill valued at 60s. at the survey at 30s.; (fn. 14) this part was given by the Conqueror to Alan Earl of Richmond, the other part came by grant to de Bosco or Bois, as in Sporle.
This lordship was held in the beginning of King Henry III. by the family of Le Briton; Sir Ralph le Briton, by his deed sans date, granted to William le Briton his brother, and John his son and heir, (fn. 15) all his land at Sporle, Cotes and Kersingham, with the appurtenances, which he had of Henry de Veer, on the condition of entertaining him three times in the year, if he came to those places in person. The seal to this deed is curious; the Virgin with her child, seated under an arch, on each side of her is a wax taper burning, under this in a small arch is Sir Ralph on his knees, and this legend;
The reverse (fn. 16) is an antique head couped, with this legend.
Another part of this manor belonged to the Tonys from the Conquest; (fn. 17) and in 1263 Roger de Tony died seized of the manor of Steer-Hall, that is of the part held of the honour of Richmond; Maud, relict of Sir Robert, held it in 1282, when Sir Richard de la River, Knt. and Maud, held the other part; (fn. 18) after this, the two other parts united, and were held by the de la Rivers, the Garlikes, and by Sir William Paston the Judge in the reign of Henry VI.; and before, this, in 1274, Walter atte Street, who gave name to the lordship, was found to hold the same of the Tonys and the Britons: after this Sir William Paston, in the reign of Henry VIII. sold it to Dame Elizabeth Fitz-Williams; (fn. 19) and in 1622, it was conveyed to Talbot Pepys, Esq. and Richard Feveryere, Gent. by Clement Corbet, Esq. and Miles Fernley. In the reign of King Charles I. it was held by the Jenneys, and from them it came to Farrington, &c. as may be seen in the Dean and Chapter's manor, and is now possessed by Tho. Lobb Chute, Esq.
The church of Cressingham-Magna is an uniform building of flint, boulder, &c. and copings of free-stone, consisting of a nave, north and south isles, and a chancel all covered with lead, and is dedicated to St. Michael; the nave is about 48 feet long, and, together with the isles, about 42 feet wide, the vault of the nave is supported by pillars, each formed of 4 pilasters joined together, which bear up 8 neat arches, four on each side, and as many windows over them; the roof is of oak, having principals whereon are carved the effigies of bishops, priests, &c. At the west end of the nave stands the tower, of the same materials as the church, with a wooden cap covered with lead, and a weathercock thereon; in this tower hang four modern bells: in this tower (fn. 20) is a bell-sollar, or place for the ringers; such places were in ancient time frequently erected by the gifts of welldisposed persons, for the greater convenience and decency of their processions, that the priest and people coming in at the western door might not be any way incommoded by the ropes and ringers.
Hic in Resurrectionis spe requiescit Elizabetha Fludd Uxor Edwardi Fludd, Serenissimæ Elizabethæ Reginæ Ante-Ambulonis, (fn. 21) quæ prius fuerat Uxor Johannis Jenny Armigeri, Obdormivit in Christo die xvii Februarij Ano Salutis 1588.
Near to the reading-desk, on the pavement, lies a marble stone, with the portraiture in brass of a gentleman in a gown robed with fur; at his right side hangs a purse, the portraiture of his wife is reaved; on a plate below we read thus:
Orate pro animabus Willielmi Eyre Armigeri Legis periti, qucnodam unius Justriciariorum Domini Regis de Ouor' pro Comit' Suffolcie et Norfolcie, et Eliz' Uxoris eius, Unius filiarum thome Barnadiston Militis, qui quidem Willielmus obiit rriiii die Mensis Octobris Ano Dm' M U bii, et dicta Elizabetha obitt Die Mensis Ano Dni Mo Ouorum animabus propitietur Deus.
On the pavement near to the pulpit lies a marble gravestone with the portraitures of a man in armour, and his wife, in brass, on the right hand, with a string of beads by her side, and on a plate below is this,
In the windows over the fourth arch of the nave, on the north side, are two shields, one is gul. a fess and a file arg. the 2d is barry of eight arg. and azure, a griffin sejeant, over all, or, Cauz, impaling, arg. a fess between three mullets gul. and a broken shield of Hopton impaling Scargyl.
This Sir William was lord of Street-Hall, and built this isle; we are told also that he built the north isle of Tharfield church in Hertfordshire, (fn. 22) as appeared by an inscription in the east window there, where there was his own and lady's portraitures thus underwritten:
This Sir William was son of Clement Paston, Esq. and Beatrix his wife, sister and heir to Jeffry Somerton, Esq.; he married Agnes, daughter and coheir of Sir Edmund Berry, was a judge in the court of Common Pleas, in the reign of King Henry VI. and ancestor to the late Earl of Yarmouth.
Memoriæ Sacrum. Near to this place lieth interr'd the Body of William Smith, Esq; who departed this Life the 6th Day of December, Ano Domini 1596. Here also lieth the Body of Dorothy his Wife, who departed the 21st Day of Aug. Ano Domini 1629, they had Issue 3 Sons and 1 Daughter, viz. WilliamRobert Smith, and Sir Owen Smith, and Mary Smith.
Against the upper pillar of the south isle is a pedestal, and an ascent at the east end, and in the windows there, arg. on a chevron gul. three birds respectant, arg. their beaks and feet or, and an nulet sab. for difference.
To this south isle is annexed a porch covered with lead, and ornamented in several places with the letter M cut in stone, and a crown over it; also a sword erect, with a crown on the point, to represent, no doubt, St. Michael and his victory, to whom the church is dedicated; and the same insignia are on the tower.
And on that part facing the chancel is the triangular emblem of the Trinity. This chancel is in length about 37 feet, and in breadth about 18; the communion table is enclosed with rails and balisters; there is an handsome wainscot against the east wall, and that part of the roof that is directly over it is impanneled, and painted with stars, &c. and has these sentences:
Behind the screen are six stalls, three on each side of the chapel, wainscotted on the back, very much resembling the seats in collegiate churches and colleges, but now in a ruinous condition. The chancel hath 8 neat windows, 4 on a side; the arches of them are supported by beautiful pilasters, partly worked into the wall; against the east wall is a stone for the imago principalis, and an arch in the south wall where was the bason for the holy water, (fn. 23) and within the arch,
M.S. Elizabethæ Uxoris Thomæ Lobb Armigeri, Thomæ Chute Armigeri filiæ Natu maximæ qui patrem habuit Chalonerum è Com' Hants. Armig' in Comitijs Provincialibus non ita pridem Prolocutorem. Virtutis exercitatæ non minus quam Patriæ virum. Ipsa vero acceptam hanc a Proavis, si non adauxerit, propriam certe fecit, cum omnes quæ filiam, Uxorem, et Matrem commendare possunt, impleret partes, Hinc parvum fortasse videatur quod Patrimonio a Fratre Tho. Lenn. Chute, ei relicto, mariti locupleret Ædes, cum antea Cumulatiori multo dote se Virtutum omnium cohonestastat. Die Septembris Vicessimo Septimo Ano. Dni. 1725. Puerpura infeliciter extincta est, Filium unum, duasque Filiolas Connubialis Tori pignora relinquens, Memor et Mœrens hunc Lapidem posuit Maritus.
Quod suprà, Anima est, quod infrà, Corpus Henrici Lobb, qui natus est Saltash in Comitatu Cornwall, diù vixit in Piccadilly Westminster, non mediocris famæ Architecta, híc autem Recessum quærens, ipse etiam a Vitâ recessit, Die Septembris 25, 1706.
Collegij Greshamiensis apud Londinenses Prælector Theologicus, Academiæ A. D. MDCCVIII Procancellarius, Hujusce Ecclesiæ, antea de Salle in hoc Agro, Rector, Moritur, Aulæ, Collegio, Academiæ, Ecclesiæ, Vir Desideratissimus, V Idus Augusti A. D. MDCCXXVIII. Ætatis LXI.
In the chancel, as you enter, lies a gray marble with the effigies of
a priest in brass, the plate belonging to it is, or was lately, in the
church chest, and thus inscribed,
Hic iacet Johannes Aberfeid in decretis Bacclaureus quondam fector huius Ecclesie cuius anime propitietur Deus.
Hic jacet humatus Vir Reverendus Gulielmus Chambers, variis molestijs diutissimè fatigatus, solutus tandem ex Corporis ergastulo, placidè sicut vixerat, in Christo Obdormiens; obijt Septimo Die Januarij Ano Domini MDCCXX Ætat' suæ 55.
Godwin the deacon gave by his deed, to God and the Holy Trinity at Norwich, his church of Cressingham-Magna, and all things thereto belonging, the houses, household stuff, lands and animals, and whatever he had moveable and immoveable here, of the Bishop's fee, for his own soul, and that of Edina his wife, by the consent of his lord, Herbert the Bishop, and promised to take upon him the habit of a religious in the said church, when God should inspire, and his Lord Herbert command him, after the decease of his wife, and desired his lord to confirm the gift, which he hid about the year 1100. (fn. 24)
28 July 1237, John, son of Peter Saraceni, by the King, the see being void. (fn. 25)
1294, Sir Hugh de Cressingham occurs rector in this year, (fn. 26) rector also of Enderby, Kingsclere, Hatfield, Chalk, Borles, Barnton, Dodington, Reymerston, Rudderly, &c. prebendary of St. Paul's, and in several cathedrals, treasurer of Scotland, taken by the Scots in the battle of Stryvelin, and flayed alive by them; he was born in this town; there was a family of good account of the said name. (fn. 27)
1297, Robert de Fuldone. At this time the old pension of 4 marks per annum due from the Rector, to the Prior and convent of Norwich, was confirmed by the Bishop, and two shillings were added, granted on account of the exemption, viz. Liberty of keeping court Christian, allowed the Rectors of this church. "Ita quod nihil jurisdictionis in ipsâ ecclesiâ seu parochiâ ejusdem, quantum ad forum ecclesiasticum in posterum, aliquo tempore prior et conventus exigere valeant, seu vendicare quoquomodo. Volumus etiam et ordinamus quod idem rector et sui successores, excessus subditorum corrigend' in parochiâ memoratâ jurisdictionem ecclesiasticam, habeant sine omni contradictione dictorum priorum, et eosdem excessus, prout Deus inspiraverit, corrigant et reforment, &c. dat. 6 kal. Februarij 1297." (fn. 28) This church was then valued at 26 marks. The rector enjoys this exemption at this day, grants licenses, proves the wills, &c. of the parishioners; for more of this matter see vol. iv. p. 559.
1308, Roger de Snetesham, collated by the Bishop on the resignation of Fuldone; he was prebend of the college of the chapel in the Fields at Norwich 1306, archdeacon of Norwich 1320, of Sudbury 1324. (See vol. iii. p. 647.)
1316, The Bishop collated, as appears from the register; but the name is omitted; about this time the rector had a patent to purchase 3 roods and half an acre of land to enlarge his manse. (fn. 29)
1388, Thomas de Herderset, LL.D. on the resignation of Sturdy, chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and master of the King's Hall there, prebend of Rewfen and Gillingham in the church of Salisbury, rector of Gillingham and Hayes in Middlesex, a peculiar of the see of Canterbury, official to the Bishop of Ely, archdeacon of Sudbury, and rector of Yaxham in Norfolk.
1398, Henry Merston, he was rector of East Briggsford in Nottinghamshire, which he exchanged with Styrmyn for this, (fn. 30) prebend of Oxgate in St. Paul's 1401; in 1408, he exchanged the rectory of Aston Clinton in Bucks for that of Dodington in the isle of Ely, prebend of Wistow in the church of York 1415, of Southwell, Hoveden, and St. Stephen's Westminster, rector of Bluntesham in Huntingdonshire, and of East Derham in Norfolk, canon of Wells, prebend of Shaldeford, rector of St. Magnus London, and of Fulham in Middlesex, died in 1433, and was buried in St. Stephen's chapel Westminster.
1403, Henry Wells, alias Walton, L. L. B. custos of the free chapel of St. Edmund in Fulburn in Cambridgeshire 1389; in 1393, rector of Barton in Norfolk; in 1397, rector of Grimston Norfolk, and in 1401 dean of St. Mary's college in Norwich, archdeacon of Lincoln, died in 1421, and was buried in the abbey church of West Derham, to which he was a good benefactor.
1503, John Aberfield, dean of Fincham deanery, and commissary to the Bishop, and archdeacon of Norfolk; by his will, dated 22d of April, 1518, he gave legacies to the gilds of Corpus Christi and St. Michael here, and for a priest to sing for his soul, his father's and mother's in the church of Chedsey in Somersetshire for one year; (fn. 31) in 1505 prebend of St. Mary's college in Norwich, buried here, as his inscription shows.
1525, William Barlow, (fn. 32) rector by the Pope's dispensation, prior of Bromhill in Weting in Norfolk, afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph, St. David's, and Chichester.
Thomas Rokewood (fn. 33) occurs rector in 1562.
1582, John Grundye, S.T.B. (fn. 34) presented by the Queen. Res.
This chapel stood in a close about a mile from the town, south-east called Stone-Close, belonging to the rector, and was the chapel of an hermit. Here is a fair kept yearly now on the 3d of August, but formerly on the first, belonging to the rector, in right of this chapel, which was anciently parochial.
1622, Edward Francklin, S.T. B. chaplain to the Lord Chancellor Bacon; in 1621 he had a dispensation to hold the rectory of St. Laurence, with the vicarage of Kelvedon alias Easterfeld in Essex. In the rebellion he was ejected out of this and the rectory of Cressingham-Parva: in endeavouring to escape from the rebels, the point of a pale in his garden run into his groin, of which wound he died, leaving a widow and four children. (fn. 35)
Mr. Thomas Horrockes, put in by the Earl of Manchester. (fn. 36)
This rectory, with the chapel of St. George, (fn. 37) stands in the King's Books at 17l. 18s. 1d. ob. and pays yearly tenths 1l. 16s. 9d. ob. qr. and so is incapable of augmentation.
Eborardus Episcopus Norwicensis, &c. dono itaque et presente Deo confirmo in usus Monachorum nostrorum in nostrâ episcopali ecclesiâ Deo servientium, quicquid ego et predecessores mei Norwicenses Episcopi habuimus in Becham, &c. decimam de dominicâ aule de Cressingham, &c. tertiam partem decimarum de dominicâ de Sechesford, et de Elmham, (in Suff.) et de Humeresfield, &c.
Rector ejusdem a tempore immemoriali, exercuit et exercet omnem et omnimodam jurisdictionem ecclesiasticam, infra villam sive parochiam predictam, ex compositione antiquâ, inter priorem et conventum ecclesie cathedralis Sancte et individuæ Trinitatis Norvici, ac rectorem dicte ecclesie factâ, rectorque dicte ecclesie solvit pro jurisdictione predictâ decano et capitulo dicte ecclesie cathedralis annuatìm duos solidos legalis monete Anglie. Dictus enim rector, ejusdemque parochiani parochie predicte, antè dictam compositionem fuerunt subditi jurisdictioni peculiari dicte ecclesie cathedralis. Non visitatur ab archidiacono Norff. nec solvit incumbens, synodalia domino Episcopo Norvicensi, nec procurationes archidiacono Norfolcie.