An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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At the general survey called Winebotesham and Winebodesham, from its site, a dwelling by the water. (fn. 1)
Abbot of Ramsey's Manor.
King Edgar gave this manor, with one in Downham, into which it extended, to this abbey; (fn. 2) in the Conqueror's time it consisted of 2 carucates of land, to which there belonged 13 borderers, 2 carucates also in domain, &c. valued at 4l. per ann. but at the survey at 3l. (fn. 3)
In the 35th of Henry III. the abbot had a charter for free warren in all his demesne lands. At this town the gaol for the hundred of Clacklose, which belonged to the abbot as lord of the hundred, was kept; and in 1258, William Brito, one of the King's judges, held by the King's writ a gaol delivery of many robbers, &c taken in and without the abbot's liberty. (fn. 4) In the 3d of Edward I. this manor, with that of Helgey, the market of Dunham, and the hundred and half of Clacklose were found to be of 10 marks per ann. value to the abbot, and afterwards this manor alone was valued at 20 marks per ann.
In the reign of Henry V. John Bekeswell, steward to Thomas Botterwick, abbot of Ramsey, (fn. 5) accounted for 14l. 3s. 10d. per ann. the issues thereof. On the dissolution of abbies it came to the Crown, and King Henry VIII in his 36th year, gave it, with the advowson of the rectory of Downham, to Robert Miller, Gent. and Elianor his wife, to be held by the 40th part of a knight's fee; (fn. 6) and in the first of Queen Mary, Miller had license to alienate it to John Walpole of Colkirk in Norfolk, afterwards serjeant at law; and on May 16, Ao. 16 of Elizabeth, William Walpole (of Fittleworth in Sussex, and of Gray's-Inn, London) and Mary his wife convey it to Francis Gawdy and Elizabeth his wife, which Francis was afterwards a knight, and chief judge of the Common Pleas, whose daughter and heir, Elizabeth, being married to Sir William Newport, alias Hatton, had by him Frances, daughter and heir, married to Sir Robert Rich, (afterwards Earl of Warwick,) from whom it came by purchase to Sir Ralph Hare of Stow Bardolph, in or about the 9th of King James I. in which family it remains, Sir George Hare, Bart. being the late lord.
William Earl Warren had on the conquest, one carucate and an half of land, also one carucate and an half with 10 acres of meadow, valued at 40s. which 24 freemen held in the Confessor's time, by soccage, of the abbey of Ramsey, and constituted this manor here and in Downham. (fn. 7)
About the reign of Henry II. Baldwin appears to have an interest herem, and payed one mark per ann. rent, for lands of Richard Balliol. In the 13th of Henry III. a fine was levied between Roger de Frevil and Hamon Lanvese, of one carucate of land here, conveyed to Roger; (fn. 8) after this, in the 41st of the said King, it appears to be in the family of Ingaldesthorp, Isabella, widow of Thomas de Ingaldesthorp, being then found to hold the fourth part of a fee of the Earl Warren. In the 11th of Edward I. John de Ingaldesthorp died seized of it, as did Sir Thomas de Ingaldesthorp, in the 1st of Edward III. and his widow Beatrix held it in the 20th of the said King; and in the 46th of Edward III. Sir William de Ingaldesthorp died possessed of it, valued then at 10l. per ann. and in the 3d of Henry IV. it was held by the Lady Eleanor Ingaldesthorp.
Sir Edmund de Ingaldesthorp was by the last heir male of that family, who was lord, and on his death it came to Isabell his daughter and heir, who was married first to John Nevill Marquis Montacute, and after to Sir William Norris, Knt.; and in the 2d year of King Henry VII. mandamusses were awarded to find out the lands whereof the aforesaid Isabell died seized in the 16th of Edward IV. when her 5 daughters, by the Marquis, were her heirs; (fn. 9) Ann, married to Sir William Stoner, Elizabeth, to the Lord Scroop of Upsall, Margaret, to Sir John Mortimer, Lucy, to Sir William Fitz Williams Earl of Southampton, and after to Sir Anthony Brown, and Isabell, to Sir William Huddleston of Sawston in Cambridgeshire, who in her right was lord of this manor; and in the 22d of Henry VIII. Sir John Hudleston died lord.
Hermerus de Ferrariis, on the conquest, seized on 40 acres of land here, held by 3 freemen, in the time of the Confessor, which constituted this lordship; this town with Stow, are said to be one leuca in length, and half a one in breadth, and to pay 16d. at a 20s. gelt. The possessions of Hermerus descended to the Lords Bardolph of Wormegey, and became part of that honour or barony, and William Lord Bardolph, in the 38th of Henry III. had a grant of free warren here. In the reign of Henry VI. John Tonwell, senior, was lord, and held it of the aforesaid honour, and paid a quitrent for lands which he held here of the abbot of Ramsey. (fn. 10) In 1500, Peter Blake died possessed of it, and by his will, dated 21st of October, bequeaths it to his nephew Jasper Blake; Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Blake, Esq. William Skypwith, Esq. executors. Jasper died lord, as appears by his will dated 17th of July 1547. In the 18th of James I. Roger Pratt, Gent. held it; after this I meet with no further account of it, being soon after (as I conceive) joined to the above mentioned lordship.
The temporalities of the abbot of Ramsey were, in the reign of Henry VI. valued here at 18l. 16s. 8d. the spiritualities of the said abbot at 20s. being a portion out of the rectory; this was given September 15, in the 3d of Elizabeth, to Edward Warner and Ralph Shelton.
The Church of Wimbotsham is dedicated to St. Mary, is a single pile of rag-stone and bolder, covered with reed, with a broad square tower of the aforesaid materials, embattled and coped with free stone, with a carved pinnacle at each corner, in which hang three bells; round the Crown of the first is the name of the Virgin Mary in a cypher, with this motto, Ora pro nobis;—on the 2d, Celesti: Manna: Tua: Proles: Nos: cibat: Anna. It is in length about 52 feet, and about 22 in breadth, the roof is camerated and impanelled with oak, on the mitres of which are several small antique heads of saints, kings, &c. and at the east end the bust (as it seems) of the Virgin, with a legend.
On the head of an old seat of oak are the arms of Spelman of Narburgh, impaled by Blake; ermin, on a pile indented sable, bezanty, between two lions gambs erect and erased, gules, and an orle of escollops of the 2d, a bendlet over all, vert.
1541, Thomas Fretwell, A. M. on the death of the last rector, by John Hudleston of Sawston in Cambridgeshire. Thomas Fretwell, A. M. presbyter, non conjugatus, doctus, residet, hospitalis, ibidem, non prœdicat, nec licentiatus, duo. (fn. 11)
This rectory is valued in the King's books at 5l. 6s. 8d. and being accounted in clear value 39l. per ann. is discharged of first fruits and tenths; the synodals are 2s. procurations, 16d.—Old valor was 10 marks, Peter-pence 13d.
William, chamberlain to William, the 2d Earl Warren, gave the tithe of his land here, to the abbey of Castleacre; (fn. 12) Roger, son of Wimer the sewer, a dependant of the said Earl, gave and confirmed his tithe in this town, which his father and his mother Gilla had given to the said abbey.
Thomas Bilney, by his will, dated the 8th of September 1480, (fn. 13) desires to be buried in the church of St. Mary, Wimbotsham.
Jasper Blake, by his will dated the 17th of July 1547, and proved the 22d of August following, desires to be buried in the church of St. Mary, Wimbotsham, by the sepulchre of his wife; his second wife, Ann, mentioned therein, widow of John Bastard, and his eldest son Peter, and Richard Bachecroft executors; Thomas Townesend and Osbert Mundeford, Gent, supervisors. (fn. 14)