An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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In Domesday Book it is wrote Sciraforda, that is a ford, over a clear water; thus Sherbourn, Sharing. or Charing, Charleton, &c. and was the lordship of the Earl Warren, and held by 6 freemen, in King Edward's time, who were deprived of it on the Conquest. Six bordarers held of them 2 carucates, and 2 acres and an half of meadow; there was a church endowed with 12 acres, and was valued at 10s. but at the survey at 20s. per ann. was 3 furlongs long, and 3 broad, and paid 9d. ob. gelt, and came to the Earl by some exchange at Lewes in Sussex. (fn. 1)
In the reign of Henry III. it appears, that there were two lordships in this town, one held in the 35th of that King, by Sir Hugh de Plays, and another by Thomas de Snitterton; Plays manor was held of the Earl Warren, as above-mentioned, but Snitterton's was the manor of Taterford, that extended into this town.
Sir Richard de Plays and his tenants held here, in Toftes, &c. 3 fees of the Earl Warren, and by the marriage of Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John Plays, with Sir John Howard, was brought into that family, who died possessed of it, in the 16th of Henry VI. and Elizabeth Countess of Oxford, his grandaughter, was his heir; and her grandson, John Earl of Oxford, dying without issue, it came to his three sisters and coheirs; Elizabeth, wife of Sir Anthony Wing field, Dorothy, wife of John Nevill Lord Latimer, and Ursula, wife of Sir Edward Knightley, and the said Ursula dying without issue, her part came to the Wing fields and Lord Latimer, who were lords of it in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
The other part of this manor, which was held by Thomas de Snetterton, was, in the 35th of Edward I. possessed by Roger Breton, and Alice his wife, who held here and in Taterford, &c. one knight's fee; of this see in Taterford.
The family of the Townsends were after lords of Plays manor, in Shereford, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and Sir Roger Townsend, Bart. in 1630, in which family it remains, the Right Honourable George Lord Viscount Townsend being the present lord.
In this town was a watermill, with 20 acres of land, held of Sir John Howard's manor, which belonged to Knolles hospital, at Pontfract, and at the dissolution of it, were granted to Sir William Fermer, and Sir Richard Fulmerston, Ao. 3d of Edward VI. May 14, and was part of the manor of Taterford.
The tenths were 3l. per ann.
The temporalities of Fakenhamdam priory 15s. 8d. Lete fee to the lord of the hundred, 6d.
The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and valued at 12 marks.— Peter-pence, 10d.—The prior of Lewes had a portion of tithe, valued at 26s. 8d. per ann. The present valor is 9l.
1302, Thomas Gosdespais, rector, presented by the prior and convent of Lewes.
1315, Jeffrey Godwyn. Ditto.
1349, Mr. Thomas de Schirford. Ditto.
1401, John Seymour. Ditto.
1410, William Garnet. Ditto.
1416, Reginald Peper. Ditto.
1421, John Cok. Ditto.
1436, Thomas Clerk, Ditto.
1442, William Thorlowe. Ditto.
14—, David ap Jer. and Murich, by the Blshop, a lapse.
1460, William Reston, by the Bishop.
1721, John Branthwait, by Lord Townsend.
Roger Davy, goldsmith of London, gave by will, 1473, 10l. to cover the steeple.