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 a lordship belonging to the Earl Warren, but Toke, a great Saxon Thane, held it of the fee of Frederick, in the reign of the Confessor, 3 carucates of land belonged to it, 12 villains, and 34 bordarers, with 6 servi, &c. 5 carucates amongst the men, paunage for 20 swine, 4 acres of meadow; 3 mills, with 4 runci, or beasts for burden. Thirty socmen also belonged to this manor, with their customary dues, with a carucate and an half, and 4 carucates; and two other socmen held 40 acres in Toffas, and under these were 12 bordarers, with an acre and a half, and 2 carucates, and a church endowed with 40 acres; the whole valued in King Edward's time at 6l. and after, at 10l. per ann. but farmed at 15l. but was not able to raise that sum. It was half a leuca long, and the same in breadth, and paid 6d. gelt; and there were 12 mares that went in the woods, valued at 12s. a church, with 60 acres. (fn. 1)
The family of De Pavili, or Pavilleys, were, soon after the conquest, enfeoffed of several lordships by the Earls Warren, and of Surrey, and, as I take it, of this. Ralph de Pavili lived in the reign of Henry I. and was a benefactor to the priory of Castleacre. (fn. 2) Thomas de Pavely, a Norman, held this lordship, with a moiety of that of Stiberd, in the 3d of Henry III. Eustachia de Pavely was in possession of it, in 34th of that King, as appears by a fine, and distreyned Alured le Merchant for suit of court; and in the 41st of the said reign John Earl Warren is said to hold it, by the grant of the King, on the death of Reginald de Pavely, a Norman, and was valued at 24l per annum, held with Styberd, by the 3d part of a fee. This Reginald died in his journey to Jerusalem.
In 1262, John Earl Warren, by deed, granted to the monks of Castleacre, this manor, from the feast of St. Peter and Paul, for one whole year, for 242 marks, to be repaid by him on the said feast, in 1263; and, in default, to remain to them in perpetual alms. And the said Earl, in the 3d and 15th of Edward I. was found to have the assise, free warren, and other liberties, &c. with a moiety of Styberd, of the gift of King Henry III.
John Earl Warren and Surrey, by deed, dated at Lincoln, August 5, in the 10th of Edward II. gave to Sir Walter de Norwich, and dame Katherine, his wife, this manor and advowson, in exchange for that of Skredington, in Lincolnshire; (fn. 3) and the King confirmed the grant by letters patent, dated at Lincoln, Aug. 8th, in the said year. Sir John de Norwich, son of Sir Walter, settled it in the 4th of Edward III. on himself, and Thomas and Roger, his brothers, in tail; and Sir John was lord in the 20th of that King. This Sir John had, by Margaret his wife, a son Walter, who died before his father, leaving a son John, by Walenna his wife, daughter of Sir Miles Stapleton, and heir to his grandfather.
By an inquisition taken at Walsingham, on Thursday next after the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, in the 48th of Edward III. Sir John de Norwich was found to die seized of this lordship, with a messuage not valued, a pigeon-house, valued at half a mark per ann. a watermill, at 26s. and 8d.; 260 acres of land, valued at 65s. per annum at 3d. per acre. Court and lete, at 15s.; of rent assise, 8 marks. He is said to have died on the feast of the circumcision, then last past, and Catherine Brews, daughter of Sir Thomas de Norwich, son of Sir Walter and Catherine, and brother of Sir John, was his cousin and heir; who by her deed at London, on Saturday after the feast of St. Valentine, in the 49th of the said King, granted to John Daventre, parson of Broom, and Edmund de Lakyngheth, this manor, having paid to the King 20 marks license for so doing, on condition of their paying to her, and her heirs, 40l. per annum for the same. This Catherine was the widow of — Brews, of Salle, in Norfolk, and at this time had took the veil, being a nun, in the priory of Dertford, in Kent; on May 18, in the first of Richard II. she resigned all her right and claim thereto; and the said John and Edmund had license on June 27, in the 4th of that King, to enfeoff Sir Robert Knollys and Constance his wife, in the same.
As this Sir Robert was a person of remarkable merit and eminency for his conduct and valour in his time, and as he lived and died at his manor-house in this town, I shall take the liberty of inserting several occurrences of his life, that I have met with, from old evidences. He is by most authors said to be born of mean parentage in the county of Cheshire, though Dugaale seems to suggest the contrary, as if descended from a family of note, or account, in their times; he was at first however a person of low fortune, but be taking himself to a mistary life, he became an eminent commander under King Edward III. In the wars of France, from being a common soldier, and acquired great fortunes; had a grant of White-castle, and that of Fenchery, in Britanny, and in the 32d of that King, took the city of Auxerre. &c. for the King of Navarre. In 1360, Constantina his wife sailed over into Britanny and carried to his assistance 20 men of arms, 14 archers, on horseback, &c. and had provided for him, at her own charge, 3 ships and 2 crays; and in 1365, John Duke of Britanny, for his services, gave him many lands, &c.—In the 44th of the said reign, he was retained to serve the King again, in the wars of France, for two years, from the nativity of St. John Baptist, in 1370, with 2000 men of arms, and 2000 archers; none of the men to be raised out of Northumberland, Durham, or Westmorland; and so great was the destruction he made, that the sharp points, and gable-ends of the houses, &c. that he overthrew, were called Knowles Mitres. In the 2d year of King Richard II. he was with John Duke of Lancaster in his Spanish expedition, and had letters of protection, then dated July 16, being a Knight of the Garter.
In the 4th of Richard II. he had a grant of the manor of St. Pancras in Middlesex, to him, and his wife Constantia, (fn. 4) and for his good services in subduing Wat Tyler's rebellion, was enfranchised a member of the city of London, in the said year; and having made a vow to go to Rome, had, in the 13th of that King, a license for himself and 12 persons, and for what money he would by a bill of exchange, and to stay there as long as he would, with protection for all his lands, tenants, and servants, during the time of his absence. In the 3d of Henry. IV. John Gerneys released to him, and Sir Hugh Brown, Knt. 2 messuages, and 34 shops, in the parish of St. Mary, at Hill, in Billingsgate Ward, London, to be settled on Sir Robert's college, or hospital, at Pontefract in Yorkshire.
He died full of years, aged 92, at his manor-house in this town, (Grafton says at London,) on August 15, 1407, and was honourably buried in the body of the church of the Carmelite friars, in Fleet-street, London, by his Lady Constantia. Who this lady was does not appear, from any historian that I have seen. In the church of Harpley and in this of Scalthorp, are arms of Sir Robert, who bore, for the most part, gules, on a chevron, argent, three roses of the first seeded, or, impaling argent, a fess dauncé between three leopards faces, sable, bore by Beverly, a family of good account in Yorkshire, which I presume was her name, Leland says she was of mean birth, and born at Pontfract, in Yorkshire, and prevailed on her husband to found the college there, and not at Sculthorp, as he intended. (fn. 5) As a Knight of the Garter, he had supporters to his arms:—two naked savages, standing by two trees: the crest a ram's head, as appears from his seal.
Sir Henry Chauncy relates, that he left Thomas his son, who married Margaret, daughter of—, widow of John Chichely, chamberlain of London, who had issue, Robert Knowles, heir to Sir Robert, who married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of William Troutbeck of — in Cheshire, and left a daughter and heir, Anne, married to Henry Frowyk; (fn. 6) but from a manuscript that I have seen, Margaret aforesaid, widow of John Chicheley, was the daughter of William Knowles, citizen and grocer, of London, by whom she had three daughters and coheirs; Christian, married to John Harvey; Agnes, to William Kenes; and Elizabeth, to Sir Thomas Kiriel. Dugdale says, that from this Sir Robert descended the Knowles Earls of Banbury, in the time of King Charles I. but this does not appear clearly and that family, is it certain, bore a different arms. (fn. 7) It seems more probable that he had a daughter and heir, Emme, or Margaret, married to John Babington, Esq. of Ardington, in Devonshire, 5th son of Sir John Babinton, and Bennet his wife, daughter and heir of Symon Ward of Cambridgeshire. He had also a brother Thomas, who married Isabella, daughter and heir of Sir John Northcote, from whom descend the Knowles of ColdAshby, in Northamptonshire. (fn. 8)
He obtained in the wars of France such immense wealth, that King Richard II. pawned several of most valuable jewels, and silver vessels to him; and as his fortunes were great, so were his charitable acts and works equal to them. He built the stately bridge at Rochester over the Medway, with a chapel, and a chantry at the east end of it; the churches of Sculthorp, and Harpley, and re-edified the conventual church of the White-friars, for the most part. In the 4th of Richard II. he had license to amortise to the Carthusian priory, in London, 40l. per ann. out of the manor of Dunstall in Kent. In the 8th of that King, license was granted to him, and Constantia his wife, to found the college of Pomfret, in a house of theirs, and the King then incorporated them; and on June 11, in the 10th of Richard II. Sir Robert granted to Robert Braybrook Bishop of London, Sir John Cobham, Knt. John Drew, clerk, and John Seymer, of London, all his manors, lands, tenements, advowsons, &c. in Norfolk;—Witnesses, Sir Robert Fineye, Sir Robert Mortimer, Sir John de Tudenham, Sir John de Clifton, Knts. and Jeff. Fransham, Esq. This was in order to settle them on the aforesaid college.
In the 8th of Henry IV. Sir Robert conveyed by fine to his trustees John Drew, and John Seymour, of London, this lordship, with those of Dunton Kettleston, Taterford, Taterset, and Burnham, &c. and by an inquisition, taken at East Rudham, in Norfolk, in the said year, on Tuesday after the annunication of the Virgin, before William Roos the King's eschaetor, it was found that it would not be to the King's loss, &c. if he granted license to John Drew, parson of Harpley, and John Seymer of London, to give and assign to John Stedman, master, or custos, and the chaplains of the college of the Holy Trinity, called Knolles Almeshouse, in Pontfract, and their successours, the manors of Sculthorp, Dunton Kettleston, Taterford, Burnham Overy, with the appertenances, and the advowsons of the churches of Dunton cum Doketon, Taterford, and Sculethorp, for their maintenance, and that of the poor men therein, serving God; and it was then found that this lordship was held in capite, by the third part of a fee, and valued at 20l. per ann. beyond all reprises. (fn. 9)
Leland observes that it was a college, with an hospital joined to it; in the college was a master, with 6 or 7 prestes, and in the hospital, 18 poor men and women, and was valued at 180l. per ann. Besides the messuages, &c. in London, &c. abovementioned; there was also one in Darlington, settled on the said hospital.
On the dissolution of the said hospital, this lordship, with the ad vowson of the rectory, was granted May 17, in the 3d of Edward VI. to Sir William Fermer, and Sir Richard Fulmerston; Sir William dying seized of it, it came to his nephew, Thomas Fermor, Esq. of East-Barsham, who in the 24th of Elizabeth, aliened by license 5 messuages, 6 tofts, 200 acres of land, 147 of pasture, in this town, and Fakenham, to Salathiel Kyndersley, clerk.—William Fermor, Esq. son of Thomas, was lord in 1627, whose daughter and heir, Mary, being married to James Calthorp, Esq, he was lord in her right, and she dying without any surviving issue, it came to his son, Sir Christopher Calthorp, who died seized of it 1717, and by his daughters and coheirs, to Sir Thomas L'Estrange, Bart. and on his death to Sir Henry, his brother. as in East Barsham, and on his death to his two sisters, and their heirs.
Alan Earl of Richmond, at the survey, had 15 acres of land in this town, valued at 20d. which, as I presume, was also possessed by, and went along with, the lords of this manor of Sculthorp, as I find no further account of it. (fn. 10)
The Church is dedicated to St. Mary or All-Saints, the ancient valor was 50 marks, and the prior of Lewes had a portion of 40s. per ann. out of it, of the gift of the Earl Warren, and valued in the rectory; William Earl Warren was patron, in the reign of Edward I. when the rector had a manse, with 80 acres of land,—Peter-pence 6d.
In the church were these arms, p pale, argent and gules, a lion rampant, ermine, Norwich, lords of this town. Of Edward the Confessor, Mortimer of Attleburgh, John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, impaling, quarterly, Castile and Leon, Beauchamp, Erpingham, Thomas of Woodstock Duke of Gloucester, Stafford, Fellbrig, and gules, three bars gemelles, or, on a canton argent, five billets sable, Inglos; Woodhouse; and argent, a fess ingrailed, between three Catherinewheels, sable; gules, on a chevron argent, three roses of the first, seeded or; also the said arms, with a bordure azure, bezanty, Knowles, impaling, argent, a fess dauncette between three leopards faces sable, Beverly, in many places, wife of Sir Robert.
The monks of Lewes, in defence of their portion of tithe, produced the grant of William Earl Warren, the deed of William Bishop of Norwich, the confirmation of Pope Eugenius, the deed (fn. 11) of William de Pavele, rector of Sculthorp, who hired the same of the monks for life, and Nicholas, rector, held the same for life, paying 4 marks per ann. dated 1219.