An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Takes its name from its site on the river Yar, over which there is a ferry here. Bo and Ken bespeak a winding or bending stream of water. At the survey, there were three lordships in this town; the principal was in Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk, who held it of the abbey of Bury, to which it belonged in the reign of the Confessor, and was enfeoffed of it by Baldwin, abbot of Bury, in the time of the Conqueror.—It consisted of one carucate of land, eight bordarers, with one carucate in demean, two carucates of the tenants, &c. and nine acres of meadow, two beasts for burden, &c. two cows, &c. twenty-one sheep, valued then at 30s. at the survey at 20s. It was eleven furlongs long, and six broad, and paid 20d. gelt. To this manor belonged ten freemen, who held in commendation 66 acres of meadow, and 5 carucates, &c. valued then at 10s. and at the survey, at 20s. (fn. 1)
At the survey, the King had in this town one freeman, with 8 acres, who, with many others in different towns, were valued at 13l. and belonged to the soc, or King's manor of Walsham. Godric was steward of it for the King. (fn. 2)
Adam de Ratlesden held a moiety of them in the reign of Henry III. Emma his widow, in the 14th of Edward I. impleaded Dionysia, late wife of Warine Lord Monchensi, for the custody of the heir and lands of Adam. The said Emma presented to the church of Bokenham, having a third part of the advowson, there being three manors in the town, and each lord having a right. In 1319, Gilbert Lovel presented, and John de Ratlesden in 1337, who being a knight, presented in 1349; and before this, in the 17th of Edward III. Simon de Ratlesden was found to die possessed of a fee, held of the barony of Montchensi, lately the Earls of Pembroke, the Valences; and in the 43d of Edward III. William de Braham released to Adam de Hautbois, parson of Salle church, &c. feoffees, all his right in the manors of, Bokenham-Ferry and Assingham, and in all other lands and tenements which were Sir John de Rattlesden's, in the hundreds of Blofield and Walsham.
In 1390, Sir Richard Stury presented, and in 1395: about this time, those two fees seem to be in the tenure of one lord, and united, or at least the right of advowson belonging to these fees, was in one. Laurence Althorp, clerk, presented in 1401, and with his parceners, then held the part, late Rattlesden's, of the Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl of the Lord Mowbray, of which Roger de Esthall's heirs held the 19th part of a fee.
Sir Henry Inglose was lord in 1447; by his will in 1450 orders it to be sold; and his son, Robert Inglose, Esq. with Alianora his wife, convey it to William Norwich, in the 35th of Henry VI. with that of Hasingham. After this, it came to Sir John Jermy, senior, who, in his will, styles himself of Buckenham-Ferry, dated October 24, 1487, requires to be buried in the church of St. John of Metfield, and gives to the church of St. Nicholas, of Bokenham, 3s. 4d. and to the fabrick of every church, whereof he was patron, 20s.; to Margaret his wife this manor for life, with the advowson, and that of Hasingham, with a messuage called Lightfotys; after to be sold, and the money distributed to pious uses; but if Margaret sell them during her life, she to have half the money, &c. to every son and daughter of John Jermy his son, 5 marks out of the purchase-money of the manor, &c. 100 marks to be distributed to the poor on the day of his burial; and the 200 marks which he deposited in St. Bennet's abbey, to be disposed of in charitable uses. Margaret his wife, and Thomas Packfeld, abbot of St. Bennet's, executors; the 200 marks were for a priest to officiate for him.
In the 7th of Henry VIII. John Flegg, Gent. and Margaret Idel, widow, convey it to Sir Ralph Verney. In the 30th of that King, it was settled by Edward North, Esq. and Richard Giffard, Gent. on Thomas Godsalve, senior, of Norwich, and Elizabeth Potkyn, widow, whom he intended to marry, with 20 messuages and lands here, and in other towns. This Thomas died lord, September 7, in the 36th of Henry VIII. and lord of Hasingham, Lodne, and Heckingham, lately belonging to Langley abbey, two parts of Inglose and Washingfield manors in Lodne, Hardley manor, &c.
1, Sir John Godsalve, (fn. 3) by an inquisition taken, was found to die in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, seized of the manors of Loddon, Inglose manor in Loddon, Hockingham, Minyet's, in Seething, Cantley, Thurton, Langhale, Sething, Hasingham, and Bokenham-ferry: he was created Knight of the Carpet, at the coronation of King Edward VI. and commissioner of visitation in the said year.
3, Roger Godsalve, Esq. married Barbara, daughter of Richard Cutts, of Arkesdon, in Essex, Esq. and of Mary his wife, daughter of Edward Elrington of Essex. This Roger exchanged this manor for the priory of St. George, in Thetford, with Sir Edward Cleere; and on an inquisstion taken in the 13th of Charles I. Sir Henry Cleere, Bart. died seized, and Abigal was his daughter and heir, aged two months.
After this — Alcock, Gent. who married a Sotherton, was lord, and — Denny, Esq. who married Alcock's daughter, enjoyed it in 1660; he conveyed it to Sir Thomas Foot, Bart. from whom it came to the Onslows of Surry; in 171 - the lady Elizabeth Hastings possessed it, and sold it to Richard Berney, Esq. lord and patron in 1740.
In the 15th of Edward I. the jury find that the causey here to the ferry was common for men, horses, and carriages, and was broke, much to the damage of the whole country, and William de Felmingham, William de Westmere, Ralph de Langwode, John, son and heir of Adam de Ratlesden (who was a minor) ought to repair it, and were amerced.
William de Beaufoe Bishop of Thetford had also a lordship granted him by the Conqueror, which he held as a lay fee belonging to 2 freemen; Helias and Rainold held it under the commendation or protection of Almarus Bishop of Elmham, in the time of the Confessor, consisting of 57 acres of land, and 6 of meadow, and a carucate, &c. valued then at 6s. 8d. at the survey at 5s. Of these, and several other freemen in different towns adjoining, the King and the Earl had the soc, and sac. (fn. 4)
At the death of Bishop Beaufoe, it came by his grant, with many other lordships, to the see of Norwich. Walter Suffield, Bishop, had a charter for free warren, in the 35th of Henry III. as lord; the family of de Caston had an interest in it under the Bishops and the Lord Bardolf, as a member of the Bishop's capital manor of Blofield.
In the 3d of Henry IV. the jury present, that Hugh Rightwise, John Bole, and their parceners held lands, late James Rightwise's and Thomas de Hindringham's, of the Lord Bardolf, and he of the Bishop; likewise lands of the Castons, by the same tenure.
Sir Thomas Kerdeston, in the 26th of Henry VI. appears by his will to have the 3d part of the profits of the passage at this ferry, which came to him by descent, and the rent of a quarter of great salt paid by the tenants. (fn. 5)
In Buckenham-Hall were these arms, — azure, a chevron argent, between three - - -, or; Nokes impaling p. pale, gules and azure on a fess wavy argent, between three croslets, pattée. or, as many crescents sable, Godsalve.—Godsalve and Townshend.—Godsalve and Shelton.— Godsalve, and barry of six, or and azure, in chief three mullets, sable —. — Also Blundevile and Godsalve—Godsalve impaling quarterly, in the 1st and 4th sable, a fess counterembattled, between three lis, argent, 2d and 3d, an unicorn sable, attired or, and Semyet a cross croslet of the last.—Godsalve, impaling quarterly argent, a chevron gules, between three Cornish choughs proper.
The Church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, as most churches are, standing near some river, or water, is a rectory valued now at 6l. and discharged; the old valor was 5l. paid Peter-pence 11d. and carvage 2d.
John Ivory, by will dated 1487, to be buried by the font, gives 20l. to the new making of the roof of the nave of the church, and John Dik, priest, gave in 1509, to the making of a new isle, 20l. for the stone work, and 16l, for the timber. (fn. 6)