An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Was the lordship of the Earl Warren; Toka, a Saxon thane, whom we have often mentioned, being deprived of it at the conquest, who had in King Edward's reign, 6 villains, 16 bordarers and 3 servi, with 3 carucates, and one carucate, and 3 acres of meadow belonging to his men, or tenants, 2 mills, one salt work, &c. 400 sheep, &c. 2 churches endowed with 60 acres, and 14 breeding mares, that pastured in the woods; this was held by Ralf, under the Earl Warren. It extended into Bagthorp, Houghton, Barmere, Sedistern, and Helgeton, valued in the whole, in King Edward's time, at 8l. and 10l. per ann. at the survey, with 20s. in demean; all Rudham being one leuca long, and one broad, and paid 4s. and 3d. gelt. (fn. 1)
This Ralph was the ancestor of the family of De Cainety, or Cheyney, of which was John de Cheyney, founder of Coxford priory; whose daughter, and heiress, Emma, as I take it, brought it by marriage to Michael Belet, about the year 1150. Of the family of this Ralph de Cheyney, see in Horseford, Taverham hundred.
The Belets were a family of great honour and worth; Hervey Belet lived in the reign of King Henry I. was father of Michael Belet, cupbearer to King Henry II. who served under the Earl Warren, at the coronation of Alianore, wife to that King; (he served that day for Hugh Earl of Arundel;) and married Emma, daughter and heir of John de Cayneto, or Cheyney, by whom he had Michael and Hervey Belet, &c. his sons. This Michael (as I take it) was a judge in the 32d of Henry II. and high sheriff of Leicestershire, in the 29th, 30th, &c. of that King. (fn. 2) On the 28th of Dec. Ao. 7° of King John, by a patent dated at Marlborough, he had a grant to himself and his heirs, of being the King's butler.—"Johannes Dei gratia, &c. Sciatis nos reddidisse et præsenti charta confirmâsse Magisto. Mich. Beleth, filio Mich. Beleth, et heredib; suis, officium suum de Pincernora nostra, et omnia alia, Jura ad pdict. officium ptin. cum omn. ptinentijs suis. habend. et tenend. de nobis et integre, et honorifice, sicut ipse Michael pater pdicti Magri Mich. vel aliquis antecessor. suorum officium illud melius, et liberius, &c. habuit et tenuit. Concessimus etiam eid. Mago. Mich. et heredibus suis omnes terras que fuerunt, Hervei Beleth, avi ejus, de cujuscunq; feodo fuerunt."—Witnesses, John Bishop of Norwich, Henry Bishop of Salisbury, Geff. Fitzpiers Earl of Essex, William Marshall Earl of Pembroke, Robert de Turnham, William Briwer, Peter de Stok, Geff. de Lucy, Geff. de Lutterell, &c.
In the 16th of King John, Hervey Belet was lord, and had a grant of a fair, to be held yearly, on the feast of St. Matthew, and the vigil of St. Matthew; this Hervey gave to the priory of Coxford to this lordship, as I shall here show.
Takes its name from its site, on a small stream, or rivulet, in this parish; Cock, or Cocker, occurs as the name of a river, as Cockermouth in Cumberland, Cockley, and Cockfield in Suffolk, &c.—William Chene founded in the church of St. Mary of Rudham, a priory, in the reign of King Stecen, but was removed to a place more East, called Coxford.
John de Caineto, Querceto, or de Cheyney, was a great benefactor, or founder of it, for canons of the order of St. Austin, and dedicated to God, and the Virgin Mary, who gave them the churches of East, and West Rudham, with their appertenances, and all the layland which Bruno and William, the priests, held, viz. what Ralph de Querceto, his grandfather, and Will, his son, held in perpetual alms; also the gardens of Freke, Godwin, Lambert, Wilmot, Warin, and Alman, the mill, and pool, of Cokeford Cadwellwang, the water of Taterset, and Kettleswang, and all Nowmerewang, Ralph Fitz Ulmar, and his land, Burstan, and his land, and this in exchange for the land of Almar de Gartun, which Moses holds, and the service of Somerled, the priest, and his land, which his uncle William de Querceto gave to him, Godwyn, the scrivener, and his land, and Pocheswda, and all the land of Marham, of his fee, the mill of Thorp, at the pond, with the pond, and the service which the men of the town are to do about the repairing of the bank of the said pool, and two men living nigh the mill, Godwin, and Ulfing his brother, and their lands, half the wood of Besefen, which is without the park, for the souls of his grandfather Ralph, and his wife, of his father and his wife, of William de Querceto, his uncle, and his wife, and Roger and his wife, his sisters, and Waleran de Rochford, except only the service of the Earl, (viz. Warren,) as free as his father held it: witnesses, Reinald de Warren, Ralph de Wibervilla, Ralph, son of Osmond, Sibila, wife of Sir John, Peter de Caineto, and Matthew his brother, Nicholas Clerk, and Godwin his brother, Scul.—and William his brother, Ralph, parson of Saxthorp, Mr. Will. Matin, Will. the priest, Nicholas de Staveley, Watch. —the deacon, Geff. de West Rudham, Ralph Avis, Nicholas, clerk of Barsham, Walter Clerk, and Albert, and Rigolf, Warin, and Robert de Croft; this is sans date; but the grant was renewed before William Bishop of Norwich, by the founder, in person; witness, William archdeacon of Norwich: this William was William Turb, elected Bishop in 1146; and William Fitz Humphrey, archdeacon, who was succeeded in 1149, by Roger, so that this benefaction foundation appears to have been in or between the years 1146 and 1149.
Hervey Beleth gave them the lordship of East Rudham, with lands in Geython, Marham, Sydistern, Beremere, and Croste, &c. for the maintenance of an hospital at Boycodeswade, built by him, and a secular chaplain to serve therein for ever, for his own soul, that of the Lady Emme de Kayneto, his mother, (fn. 3) and for the souls of his brothers, parents, and his ancestors, in pure alms. This grant or deed is sans date, but was in or about the 16th of King John, it was for a warden, and 13 poor people, to be under the government of the prior and convent of Coxford, and was dedicated to St. Andrew.
In the 11th of Henry III. the prior had a grant of a fair, on the feast of the translation of St. Thomas the Martyr, and the two following days, which was confirmed in the 35th of the said King, with piccage, stallage, &c.
In the 17th of Henry III. a fine was levied between William, the prior of Cokesford, petent, master Michael Belet, impedent, of the homage and service of Roger de Cressi of his fee in West Rudham, acknowledged by Michael to be the prior's right, as belonging to the manor of Cokesford, (of the gift of Hervey Belet, brother of Michael,) who gave them the manor of Rudham, which manor was given in frank marriage by the ancestor of Mich. to the ancestor of Roger Cressi; and the prior released to Michael 11 marks, due by the wills of Michael Belet, Emme de Cheyney, and Emme de Taney. This Roger de Cressi lived in the reign of King John, and was son of Hugh de Cressi, who married Margaret, daughter and heir of Will. de Cheney, uncle of Sir John de Cheney, the cofounder, who by this marriage had an interest here.
The prior paid 100s. on the aid granted to King Henry III. on the marriage of his sister to the Emperor of Germany, and held 2 fees of the Earl Warren, with tenements in East and West Rudham, with their churches, and that of Houghton, in pure alms, of Hervey Belet, with 30 acres of land in Bermere, of the gift of Nicholas de Bermere; and in the 41st of Henry III. the prior impleaded Simon, son of Richard de Pencethorp, for levying a mercate at Pencethorp to the injury of the prior's free mercate of East Rudham.
In the 3d and 15th of Edward I. the prior had the lete and free warren, with a free mercate on Monday, and a fair yearly on the vigil and day of St. Matthew the Apostle. In the 23d of that King, died William de Say, son and heir of Geff. Lord Say, and Alice his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir John de Cheney, which Geffrey confirmed to these canons all those grants which William de Cayneto, or Cheney, or John de Cheyney, nephew of that William, had made unto them; (fn. 4) and for the soul of Alice his wife, and the souls of his ancestors, &c. did, of his own gift, add the church of St. Margaret at Thorp; and this William, on his death, was found to have the patronage of this priory.
Sir Robert de Ufford gave them the mill of Thorp-Market, and Cecilia, his widow, daughter and coheir of Robert de Valoines, released her right in the pool and fishery, to William de Hempton, the prior, about the 10th of Edward II.—William de Hindringham gave 5 messuages, 16 acres of land, and 4s. rent, in East-Rudham and Houghton, in the 9th of Edward III. A fine was levied, in the 17th of Edward II. between Sir William Heron, Lord Say, and the lady Elizabeth, his wife, and Thomas Archbishop of York, &c. their feoffees, of the advowson of this priory, and 12 knights fees, in East and West Rudham, Cokeford, Houghton, Barmere, Siddistern, Marsham, Geyton, Midleton, Clenchwarton, Shouldham, Letton, Thorp-Market Stratton, Reedham, Taverham, Attlebrigg, Kettleston, Repham, Salle, Heydon, Corpusly, Creke, Stanho, Choseley, &c. with many knights fees in Surrey, Sussex, Bucks, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, and 36 in Kent; this lady being the daughter of William, sister and heir of John Lord Say, and so lineally descended from Geffrey de Say, who married Alice, daughter and coheir of Sir John de Cheney, founder of this priory; and, dying without issue, Sir John Clinton Lord Clinton, and Roger Lord Fenys, were found to be her cousins and heirs, as appears by the close rolls of Henry VI. and the Lord Clinton resigned or released to Roger Lord Fenys, his right in the patronage, in the 6th of Henry VI.
In 1428, their temporalities, in this town, were valued at 85l. 12s. 11d. per annum, the whole of their temporalities, at 143l. 19s. 4d. and the whole of their spiritualities, at 78l. 13s, 4d.—Total, 222l. 12s. 8d.
John Matthew, prior, granted, April 30, in the 20th of Henry VIII. to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, Kilverston manor, given to the priory by Margaret, (one of the daughters and coheirs of William de Cheyney,) wife of Hugh de Cressi, the Duke being collector of the subsidy granted by the clergy to the King, and the convent being in debt to the King, the Duke covenanted to discharge it, for which consideration they conveyed it.
At the Dissolution, it was valued, as Dugdale, at 121l. 18s. 10d. ob. as Speed, at 153l. 7s. 1d. which shows how low the visitors laid it from what is above said. King Henry VIII. on the 9th of May, in his 29th year, gave the manor of East-Rudham, with the site of the priory of Cokesford, the impropriate rectory, and patronage of the vicarage, to Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk. In the 21st of Elizabeth, Philip Howard Earl of Arundel, son to the said Duke, had license to alien it to Sir Roger Townsend, whose immediate heir, the Right Honourable George Lord Viscount Townsend, is the present lord.
The abbey church was standing (as Sir Henry Spelmanrelates) in the reign of King James I. (fn. 5) and in part of the abbey lived Henry Cornwaleys, Esq. (in the time of Queen Elizabeth,) who married Anne, daughter and coheir of Roger Rookwood, Esq. of Euston in Suffolk; and, in a parlour here, were the arms of the Duke of Norfolk, in a garter; and in a chamber, azure, a chevron, between three crosses, pattée, or; Calybut, quartering, or, a saltire vert; crest, a greyhound passant, azure, pierced on the shoulder with a martlet, argent.—Anne Calybut, daughter and coheir of Edgar Calybut, serjeant at law, was second wife of the said Henry Cornwaleys.
Besides the benefactors abovementioned, I find that William son of Robert de Hingoldesthorp, Tiphania de Pavili, Thomas de Pavili, Anselm de Hillington, Geffrey, son of Anselm de Hillington, Robert son of Robert the merchant, of Hillington, Lewes, son of Roger de Hillington, Richard de Merley of Hillington, Richard de Senges, and William, son of Augustine de Congham, gave them lands, sans date; Albert Bond gave them half a mark rent out of Bausey mill, in the time of Adam de Dalling, prior, in the time of Edward I.
In the 19th of Edward II. the prior had a patent for 3 messuages 100 acres of land, and 10s. rent in Grimston, Congham, Rydon Wyveling, and Appleton, granted by Maud de Tony; and in the 9th of Edward III. William de Hindringham gave 5 messuages, 16 acres of land, and 4s. rent, in this town, and Houghton, and, in the said year, they had a patent for the manor of Thorp, in West-Wretham, given by Thomas de Nethergate.—A parcel of Roman coins, in a little pot, is said to be found in the ruins of the priory in 1719.
John Wichingham succeeded, and resigned in 1463, when John Knollys, alias Clement, was elected; and, on his death, in 1478, Henry Mileham was elected, and occurs prior in 1498. John Matthews occurs prior in 1534, with John Nevill, and 8 other canons, subscribed to the King's supremacy, and, and on the dissolution of the priory, he had a pension of 15l. per ann. granted to him, as is said. By a fine levied, it appears, that Thomas was prior in the 21st of Henry VIII. and John Adamson after him, as Willis says.—Robart Sharington, chaplain, left to every indigent person, in the hospital of St. Andrew at Cokesford, money, in 1491. This was most likely the hospital abovementioned, called Boycodeswade.
In a south window of the chancel are the arms of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, France and England, quarterly, with a label of 3 points, ermine, impaling Castile and Leon, quarterly: those also of Gourney, and of Inglethorp: and, gules, a bend between six crosses, pattée, argent.