An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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There are now only 2 or 3 cottages, or houses, standing of this village, on the London road to Lynn, called Foston-Gap: in Domesday Book, it is wrote Fodeston and Fodesthorp. The chief lordship was in the church of Ely.
At the survey, there belonged to it a carucate of land, and 3 villains, with 2 bordarers, one carucate in demean, and half a one amongst the tenants, with 2 acres of meadow; 80 sheep, &c. valued at 20s. It was 4 furlongs long, 3 broad, and paid 4d. gelt. Ulchetel, the man (or vassal) of Hermerus de Ferrariis, lord of Wirmegay, a town adjoining, claimed it, as free to be seized on, not being church lands, and was ready to prove it by battle, ordeal, or any other legal manner; and there was another ready to prove, in the same manner, that it belonged to the church on the day that King Edward died; the whole hundred also witnessed, that it belonged to the church of Ely in King Edward's time. (fn. 1)
From this outrageous claim, we may perceive with what violence and oppression the Conqueror and his adherents behaved on the conquest, being not contented with the lands of the laity, that they seized on, but made such notorious false claims on the lands of the religious, so that they were by no means secure in their possessions.
However, the church maintained her right. In the 9th of Edward II. the prior of Ely was lord, and so continued till the dissolution, and was granted afterwards to the dean and chapter of Ely, where it continues, and was held of them by the late Sir George Hare, Bart.
Rainold, son of Ivo, had half a carucate of land, and a bordarer, with half a carucate, valued at 10s. and Ralph held it of him, and Wihenoc had invaded it. (fn. 2) This came afterwards to the Earls of Clare; Jeffrey Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex held it of them; and, on his founding the priory of Shouldham, gave it to that house, in the reign of King John; and the prior had a charter for free warren here, in the 33d of Henry III. At the Dissolution it came to the Crown, and King Edward VI. gave it with lands in Totenhill, &c. on May 6, Ao. 7°. to Thomas Mildmay, Esq. and Sir Thomas Mildmay, in the 25th of Elizabeth, sold it to Francis Gawdy, serjeant at law, and so came to the Earl of Warwick, who conveyed it to William Butts, Esq. in the 19th of James I. and Leonard Butts sold it to Sir John Hare, Knt. of Stow-Bardolf, in which family it remains.
Hermerus de Ferrariis lord of Wirmegay, had seized on 40 acres, a carucate, and 3 acres of meadow, which 6 freemen held under protection only of his predecessor; and because they were in want of pasture, they paid rent to him for it; it was valued at 5s. (fn. 3)
In the reign of Henry III. Alexander le Moyne, or Monk, and his parceners, were found to hold the 4th part of a fee of the Lord Bardolf, as of the honour of Wirmegay; he was son of Sir Peter le Moyne, and gave rents to the sisters of St. Mary Magdalen in Norwich.
In the 3d of Edward III. Benedict Russell, &c. held lands, and in the 20th, John Russel had the 4th part of a fee here, and in Thorp, called Russele Moyns: afterwards, the Beaumonts being capital lords, and forfeited to the Crown, King Henry VIII. on September 10, Ao. 33, granted it to the dean and chapter of Ely, and is now vested in them, and held lately by Sir George Hare, Bart.
The tenths were 1l. 10s.—Deducted 6s. 8d.—In the 16th of Richard II. John Fincham, &c. aliened to Ely priory a messuage, 27 acres of land, 3 acres of meadow, 6 of pasture, with liberty of a fold here and in Garboysthorp. The temporalities of that priory were valued, in 1428, at 33s. and 4d.—The temporalities of Shouldham priory at 50s. and ½.—Of Wirmegey, at 5s. 10d.
Here was formerly a church, but now no remains of it; it was a rectory, dedicated to St. Peter, valued at 8 marks; and paid Peterpence 10d. and in the patronage of Ely priory.
In 1312, John Aleyn instituted, presented by the prior, &c. of Ely.
1319, John Bottiller. Ditto.
1335, Reginald de Ely. Ditto.
1347, John de Lek occurs rector.
1348, R. de Barington. Ditto.
1353, William de Hancford. Ditto.
William Portman resigned 1355.
1355, Robert Man. Ditto.
1361, Thomas Atte-Dele de Fodeston. Ditto.
1409, Thomas Geyst. Ditto.
1439, Thomas Greneley. Ditto.
In 1449, the church was appropriated to Ely priory by W. Hart Bishop of Norwich, on account of the poverty of its revenue, and the prior was to find a curate, and to pay the Bishop a pension of 3s. 4d. per ann.; the dean and chapter have the impropriation, and is leased to the Hares.