An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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On the deposition of Turchetel, who was a great and powerful lord, in the reign of the Confessor, King William I. granted it with many other towns of that lord, to Hermerus de Ferrers. Before the conquest there were three carucates of land held by 7 villains, &c. 15 bordarers, 8 servi, 40 acres of meadow, and one of wood. Three carucates in demean, a fishery, 5 beasts or horses for work, 26 breeding mares, 7 cows, &c. 240 sheep, &c. two skeps of bees, &c. and there belonged to this lordship, and soc, 5 free men, with all customary dues; there were also 17 freemen belonging to the lord's fold and protection, who had 24 acres, but the abbot of Ramsey, and Hermerus, at the survey, had the soc of them. All this was valued then at 8l. and there was a church endowed with 53 acres of land, valued at 3s.
Hermerus had also invaded, or seized on, in Stow, 34 acres of land, held in king Edward's time, by a freeman, and one carucate; and on 40 acres held by 4 freemen: the said freeman held in all 2 carucates, and the preceding lord (before Hermerus) had only the protection of them, and a moiety of the soc, with the abbot of Ramsey; this was valued at 20s.
The villages of Wimbotsham and Stow, were one leuca long, and half a leuca broad, and paid 16d. gelt to the King, when the hundred paid 20s. (fn. 1)
William Lord Bardolf had a charter of free warren, granted him in this town, an. 38 of Henry III. then called Le Estow, and an. 42; but Dugdale says, an. 28, the grant of an annual fair on the day, and morrow after the feast of the Holy Trinity. In the 3d of Edward I. the lord was found to have the assise of bread and beer, and the lete of his tenants. In this family, Barons of Wirmegay, (fn. 2) this lordship continued till the attainder of Thomas, Lord Bardolf, in the reign of Henry IV. who granted it an. 9, to Thomas Beaufort, his brother, afterwards Duke of Exeter, who possessed it in the 5th of Henry VI. and had a ferry here, the bridge not being then erected. Sir William Phelips was the next lord, and was succeeded by the Lords Viscounts Beaumont. William Lord Beaumont dying, sans issue, it eschaeted to the Crown, and Sir William Arundel Lord Matrevers, with the Lady Anne, his wife, obtained a grant of it on June 5, an. 8 of Henry VIII. but by a fine levied an. 3 and 4 of Philip and Mary, was conveyed to the Crown, by Henry Earl of Arundel, and on the 2d of January, in the said year, granted to Sir Nicholas Hare, Knt. and John Hare, Esq. excepting two marshes or fens in this town, called Bardolf's fen, and Piers Dole, or Le Fence, they being granted December 22, in the said year, to Edmund Beaupre, Esq. rented at 4l. 3s. 4d. per ann. and were parcels of this manor.
This family of Hare derive their pedigree from Jervis Earl of Harcourt, in France, who came into England with the Conqueror, and bore gules, two bars, or.—Sir John Hare, his son, married Anne, daughter of Eustace Crew Baron of De Monte Alto, (Monthaut:) he is said to have had a grant to bear, as an augmentation to his arms, the chief indented, or, and his Lady's arms were, azure, a lion rampant, argent. The other branch of Jervis Earl of Harcourt's family, from which the Harcourts, formerly Barons of Wingham, and the Lord Viscount Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt, in Oxfordshire, are descended, bear it, as Earl Jervis.
Sir John Hare, son of Sir John, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John de Ashton, who bore argent, a mullet, sable, and was father of William Hare, Esq. who, by Ann, daughter of Sir Thomas Mydelton of Lancashire, who bore argent, a cross engrailed, sable, was father of John Hare, Esq. who by Agnes, his wife, daughter of Sir John Shirley of Wiston, in Sussex, (who bore paly of six, or and azure, a canton, ermine,) had Sir Thomas Hare. Nicholas was his son, by Julian, daughter of Hussey, who bore barry of six, ermine and gules.
Nicholas married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas de Walsingham, whose arms were paly of six, argent and sable, a fess over all gules; Richard was his son and heir, by Elizabeth, daughter of John Seckford of Suffolk, who bore ermine, on a fess, gules, three escallops, or, and was father of John Hare, Esq. who by Jane, daughter of - - - - Nevill, whose arms were gules, on a saltire, argent, a mullet, sable, had Thomas Hare, Esq.; he married Joyce, daughter of John Hyde of Northburgh, who bore azure, a chevron between three lozenges, or; his son John, by Catherine, daughter of Richard de Anderson, had Nicholas Hare, Esq. of Homersfield in Suffolk, and by Margaret his wife, had John Hare, Esq. and Thomas Hare, L. L. D. chancellor of Norwich, rector of Massingham Magna, &c.
John married Elizabeth, daughter of — Fortescue, Esq. and had Nicholas Hare, (fn. 3) and John Hare, a mercer of London; Sir Nicholas was Speaker of the House of Commons, an. 31 Henry VIII. master of the rolls, and on the accession of Queen Mary to the Crown, lord keeper of the great seal; by Catherine, his wife, daughter and coheir of John Bassingborn, Esq. of Woodhall in Hertfordshire, was father of Michael Hare, Esq. his son and heir, who took to wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Hobart, Esq. of Hales Hall in Norfolk, and afterwards Mary, daughter of Sir John Brudenel of dean in Northamptonshire, and died sans issue, on the 30th of October, an. 4 and 5 of Philip and Mary.
Robert Hare, Esq. 2d son, was clerk of the Pells, some time a member of Cajus college, in Cambridge. About 1587, at the request and exhortation of Dr. Capcot, master of Corpus Christi college, and vice-chancellor, he collected in three large volumes, the chancellors and privileges of the University of Cambridge, and a fourth volume, containing the privileges of the town of Cambridge, compiled by him with great labour and expense, and presented by him to the University, to be carefully preserved in their publick chest, with a copy thereof for the use of the Vice-chancellor, and another for the Register, and afterwards conferred the like favour upon Oxford, to which University he bore no relation, and died sans issue, November 2, 1611.
The eldest branch, of this family being thus extinct, we return to John Hare, citizen and mercer of London, brother to Sir Nicholas, who by Dorothy his wife, had 8 sons; Nicholas, Ralph, Richard, Rowland, Edmund, Hugh, Thomas, and John.
Nicholas, the eldest, was a bencher of the Inner Temple, and in 1589 built Stow-Hall, the manor-house, at the expense of 40,000l. also a spacious dormitory adjoining to the chancel of Stow church, for depositing the remains of himself and family, and died in 1591, s. p. leaving his estate to his brother Ralph, who also died s. p. in 1601, and was succeeded by Richard, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Barnes; she remarried to George Rotheram, Esq. and, after to Sir George Perient, and died December 2, 1655, aged 90, having two sons, by Richard her first husband, Ralph and Richard.
Rowland, 4th son of John Hare, and Edmund the 5th son, died s. p. — Hugh, the 6th son, was a bencher of the Inner Temple, and master of the court of wards, and dying s. p. left, by his will, dated December 25, 1619, above 99,400l. to be equally divided between his two nephews, John Hare, grandson of his brother Richard, and Hugh Hare, son of his brother John, &c. which John married first, Lucy, daughter of — Barlow, Esq. and to his 2nd wife Margaret, daughter of John Crouch, Esq. and by her left two sons Nicholas and Hugh; Nicholas, died s. p. and Hugh was created, August 3, 1625, Lord Colerain in Ireland, from whom, by Lucy his wife, daughter of the Lord Montague, descended the Lords Colerain, and the Hares of Docking in Norfolk.
Ralph Hare, Esq. eldest son of Richard, son of John Hare, Esq. abovementioned, was created Knigth of the Bath, at the coronation of King James I. and married to his first wife, Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Holmden, alderman of London, by whom he had a son, John; his second wife was Anne, daughter of John Crouch of Cornbury in Hertfordshire, Esq. by whom he had no issue; she survived him and remarried Edmund Lord Montague of Boughton. Sir Ralph was remarkable for his extensive charity to the poor; in 1603, he erected six alms-houses at Stow, for 6 poor persons born in the parish, or had resided there for 10 years, and endowed them with lands for ever. In his lifetime he gave by deed to St. John's college in Cambridge, dated April 30, 1623, the rectory and glebe lands of the impropriate rectory of Marham in Norfolk, with the advowson of the vicarage, to be employed in erecting a library, and after in exhibitions for 30 poor scholars in that college, for ever; and dying in August 1623, was succeeded by his only son, John Hare, who was knighted in his father's lifetime, December 4, 1617, at Newmarket; he married Elizabeth, only daughter of Thomas Lord Coventry, lord keeper of the great seal, by whom he had 5 sons and 7 daughters, Ralph, the eldest, John of Bromsthorp in Norfolk, Nicholas of Harpham, &c.
Ralph, the eldest son, was created baronet July 23, 1641: by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Robert Crane, Bart. of Chilton in Suffolk, was father of Sir Thomas Hare, his successour; his 2d wife was Vere, sister to Horatio Lord Viscount Townsend, and his 3d was Elizabeth, daughter of —Chapman, Esq.; he was knight of the shire, in parliament, burgess for Lynn, and died in 1671.
Sir Thomas Hare, Bart. his son and heir, married Elizabeth sister of Sir Robert Dashwod, Bart. of Northbrook in Oxfordshire, by whom he had 4 sons, Sir Ralph, Sir Thomas, and Sir George, and Richard, who died young; also 6 daughters; Elizabeth, married to Sir Thomas Robinson, Baronet, and Mary to Thomas Leich of London, Turkey merchant; the others died single; Sir Thomas was knight of the shire in parliament, and died in 1693.
Sir Ralph, the eldest son, by Susan his wife, daughter and coheir of Walter Norborne, (fn. 4) of Calne in Wiltshire, had no issue, and dying in 1732, was succeeded by his brother, Sir Thomas, (fn. 5) who married Rosamond, daughter of Charles Newby, of Hooton-Roberts, in Yorkshire, Esq. by whom he had 2 daughters and coheirs, Elizabeth, married to the Reverend Mr. Moor, and Mary, to Thomas Harris, Esq. of Finchly in Middlesex; he died in 1759, and Sir George Hare, Bart. his brother and successour, died unmarried.
There is a bridge about 2 miles from the town, over the river Ouse, near to this is a fair kept every year, on Saturday before Trinity Sunday, and is considerable for the sale of horses, cows, &c. and in the fens is a good decoy belonging to the lord. I find that the new podike in the fens was made an. 1 Henry VI. in the lands of the Duke of Exeter, then lord of Stow.
The Church of Stow Bardolph is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and consists of a nave and a chancel, and a broad, but low, foursquare tower built of carr and rag stone, with buttresses of brick, in which hang five large tuneable bells. (fn. 6) The nave is in length about 47 feet and in breadth about 24; the roof is arched or camerated, plaistered, and covered with reed; at the west end is a neat stone font, with a cover of oak carved and painted, on which is this shield, (Plate I. Fig. 21.) In several places, gules, two bars and a chief indented, or, Hare; and this date, 1625; on the summit is a pelican vulned.
Here lys buried underneath this stone, A willing friend to all, a foe to none, A steward, true and faithfull, husband kind, A father tender, one of right Christian mind, His days consum'd with labour, care and pain, His body rests in hopes to rise again.
For many years he bore the trust consign'd, Nor lost the credit of an honest mind, This is true wisdom, this the way to live, For nobler treasures, than the world can give; When burnish'd gold is turn'd to common dust, And all the shining mammon's lost in rust, Happy the man, that's well prepared to go Where inexhausted mines of truer riches flow.
At the west end of the church is a large gallery, supported by 6 wooden pillars of the Ionick order. The nave is separated from the chancel by an handsome wooden screen; on the cornice are the arms of Hare, and on the summit in the centre of the screen, the King's arms, well carved and painted, fronting the nave; towards the chancel, a rose and crown, with the capital letters C. R. The chancel is in length about 30 feet, and in breadth about 16; it is camerated, plaistered, and covered with tile. The altar is railed in, and has an ascent of three steps of free-stone, with which the whole altarspace is paved, except the passage as you enter leading to it, which is of oak finiered: the altar is of Derbyshire gray marble, with a slab of the same, and was part of the old altar monument of Sir Ralph Hare, Knight of the Bath, which was taken down on the erecting that of Sir Thomas Hare, Bart. On the body of it are two ovals; in one, a dove is painted; in the other I. H. S. Over the altar in two pannels, are the 10 Commandments, over that the tremendous name of God in Hebrew, with a glory, and cherubims about it; and on each side of this a pannel; in one is the Lord's Prayer, in the other is the Creed with cherubims over them, and the walls on the north and south sides within the rails, are neatly wainscotted and painted. The whole altarpiece is ornamented with four columns of the Dorick order, fluted, painted blue, and veined with gold, supporting an entablature of the same.
In the east window of the chancel there was lately this shield; (Plate I. Fig. 23.) argent, three mullets in bend, sable, between two bendlets, gules, impaling argent, a cross ingrailed between four crescents, sable, and a lis, or, for difference; Pigot impaling Bernham. Margaret Pigot was prioress of Carhow, and that convent held the rectory.
This window being new glazed when the altarpiece was erected, these arms are now lost. Against the north wall of this chancel, were lately several banners, before the beautifying of it, with the arms of Hare, (Plate I. Fig. 24.) and (girony of twelve, or, and azure) Bessingbourne, quarterly.
On the north side of this chancel is a chapel, or burial-place for the family of Hare, built of brick, embattled with copings of free-stone, in length about 36 feet, and 16 in breadth, covered with lead; at the west end are the arms of Hare with the crest, a demy lion, and these letters, I. H. M. L. Anno Domini 1624. On a little white marble stone on the pavement at the west end, is Hare impaling, party per chevron, argent and gules, a crescent counterchanged, (Plate I. Fig. 25.) Chapman. John Posthumus Hare, son to the Honourable Sir Ralph Hare, and Elizabeth his wife, 1672.—On a grave-stone, with the arms of Hare, this round the verge,
Elizabeth the last wife of Sir Ralph Hare, Baronet, liv'd his widow above 13 years, dy'd March 17, 1683, and lyeth here at his feet, in hopes with him of a joyful resurrection, The trump shall sound, and the dead shall be raised.
Against the south wall is a neat altar monument of veined marble, with a gray marble slab, on which stand two veined pillars of the Corinthian order, with their capitals gilt with gold, supporting an entablature of the same and gilt, on which is the shield of Hare, between two pyramids of marble, and on the wall a piece of marble ornamented with foliages, festoons, death's heads, and hour-glasses, gilt with gold, this epitaph in letters of gold:
In Obitum præstantissimi viri Radulphi Hare Armigeri.
Octo fere novies (si demas quatuor) annos Exegi vitæ, hinc morti succumbo mihiq; Natalis Juli, fatalis June fuisti Cura fuit patriæ prodesse, fovere quietem, Tutari insontes, pacis defendere causam, Legibus addici, moderatis moribus uti, Corpore parvus eram, sed me vicinia dixit, Corpore pygmæum, benefactis esse gigantem.
On the north side, on a white marble stone, and veined, lies the statue of Sir Thomas Hare, Bart. in full proportion, cumbent on his right side, in the habit of a Roman, his arm resting on a cushion of alabaster, and is a curious and just piece of statuary; on it are the arms of Hare, with the distinction as a baronet, and a cherub on each side:
The glorious sun which sets at night, Appears next morning clear and bright, The gawdy deckings of the earth, Do ev'ry spring receive new birth, But life when fled, has no return, In vain we sigh, in vain we mourn, Yet does the turtle justly grieve her fate, When she is left behind without her mate, Not less does she, who rais'd this tomb, And wishes here to have a room, With that dear He, who underneath doth lye, Who was the treasure of her heart, the pleasure of her eye.
Memoriœ Sacrum Hugonis Hare, Armigi. interioris templi socii, qui Johannem Hare, milit. filium Radulphi Hare, Mil. Balnei, filiu. Richardi Hare, fratris ejusdem Hugonis et Hugone. filium Johan. Hare, armig'ri, alterius fratris ipsius Hugonis amplissimarum fucultatum hœredes scripsit, obit. calen. Feb. 4to. 1619.
Adjoining is a white marble monument with two pillars of the same, veined, of the Corinthian order, their capitals gilt, and supporting an entablature of the same, whereon is the shield of Hare, and on each side a pyramid of marble, and on a wall-piece of black marble, in letters of gold,
Vir bonus et sapiens observantissimus æqui Tam patriæ qua' pacis amans, et amatus ab illis Pauperibus natus, desolatisq; juvandis, Defensor juris, libertatisq; suorum Strenuus assertor, quid plura recenseo? Vitæ, Undecies senios fermè implens cælibis annos, Excessit vitâ, pulchroq; in margine templi, Quem modo condebat, Nicholaus conditur Harus.
The Church was a rectory endowed with 53 acres of land at the survey, and was given by Reginald de Warren, 2d son of William, the 2d Earl Warren, and Alice his wife, to the priory of Carhow: she was daughter and heir of William de Wirmegay, lord of Wirmegay: William Turbe Bishop of Norwich appropriated it. William de Warren, son of Reginald, confirmed it, and gave, with Muriel, his sister, on being veiled a nun here, 40 acres of land and a messuage, which he held in capite.
1300, Nicholas de Plumstede, presented by the convent of Carhow. (fn. 7)
On the dissolution of religious-houses, King Henry VIII. by letters patent, dated 2d of November, in the 30th year of his reign, granted to Sir John Shelton, Knt. of Shelton in Norfolk, this rectory and the advowson of the vicarage, and on the 26th of September in the 1st of Edward VI. Sir John alienated it to John Hare of London, mercer.
1561, George Longe, A. M. on the death of Dunning, presented by John Hare, citizen of London. Presbyter conjugatus, doctus, residet, hospitalis, ibidem, prœdicat, licentiatus, duo. (fn. 8) He was also rector of Southrey.
1674, Walter Drury, A. M. on the death of Parlet, presented by Lord Townsend, John Corrance, Thomas Savage, senior, Edward Barber and Robert Wright, Esq. as trustees for Sir Thomas Hare, a minor; rector also of Wimbotsham.
In 1622, Sir Ralph Hare, Knight of the Bath, gave lands in Wygenhale, called John's Load, and Walsingsham's Dole, to Thomas Fanshaw, Esq. &c. feoffees, &c. the profits to be for ever bestowed so as six poor inhabitants dwelling in Stow, in the alms-houses built by him, may have one shilling weekly given to each of them, every Sunday, in the parish church of Stow immediately after morning service; the overplus of the said profits (if there be any) to be bestowed in garments for the poor yearly, at the feast of the nativity of our Blessed Lord.
In this town, somewhat south of the church, and near to the high road, stands an ancient pile of flint and brick, &c. pointing east and west, and has been a chapel or hermitage; it is called at this day the Pool-house, and is now converted to a little farm-house belonging to Sir Thomas Hare: here seems to have been a gild belonging to it in 1467, called the gild of St. Botulph of Stow chapel, (fn. 9) and perhaps the chapel was dedicated to St. Botulph.