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 compiling of Domesday book, was in the King's hands, Herold was lord of it in King Edward's reign, and also when he was King of England; but being slain in the battle of Hastings, it came to William the Conqueror. Two carucates of land belonged to it, 5 villains, and 20 bordarers, with 4 servi; there were 2 carucates in demean, and 4 amongst the men, &c. 5 acres of meadow, 3 mills, the moiety of a saltwork, &c. Several beruites belonged to it, or it extended into these following townships, &c. Alatorp, Torpaland, Stanhou, Stabyrda, Creik, Barsham, Snaring, Katestuna, and Norton, of which we shall treat in their place. In King Edward's time it was worth 8l. per ann. at the survey 43l. was 7 furlongs long, and 3 and a half in breadth, and paid 12d. gelt. (fn. 1)
Probably the river on which this town stands, might, in the Saxon age, be callen Fa; Ken always denotes a stream of water or river: thus Kennet, Kenfard; and frequently occurs, as Ham does for a dwelling. There are two towns in Suffolk called Fakenham.
Some ancient records say, that King William II. called Rufus, gave this great lordship to Hugh Capel, to be held by two knights fees, and that it descended to his son Hugh, and grandson Walter, and so to his daughters: Others say, that his name was Hugh Symired, that he was enfeoffed of it by King Henry I. and that on the death of Walter Symered his son, it reverted or escheated to the Crown, and King John granted it to William de Albiny Earl of Arundel, who was lord about the 7th of that King.
In the 25th of Henry III. Hugh Earl of Arundel was summoned to restore to the King this lordship, with that of Whaddon in Buckinghamshire, as escheats belonging to the Normans; on which the Earl pleaded, that he held not Fakenham entire, but that Reginald de St. Martin held one mill and 7 acres of marsh, and that he also paid to the prior of Castleacre 4s. per ann.; he was ordered to give a second plea, when he pleaded that his father and brother were seized of it, that the King gave him also livery of it; and he added, that when Normandy was lost, the Earl his father, who was there with King John, lost all his lands there; who being willing to recompense him in part of his loss, gave him Fakenham and Whaddon, and received his homage, promising, that as soon as he was possessed of Normandy, to restore his lands lost there, or give him as many lands there to make up the value; and that he had letters of seisin of this manor, and that of Whaddon. The chancery rolls being searched, it appeared, that in the 9th of King John, the sheriff of Norfolk had a command to deliver to William Earl of Arundel, the manor of Fakenham, which Al. de Morvil, or Marhil had, and was committed to him to keep till the King could restore to him his land in Normandy; and in the same manner it was commanded the sheriff of Bucks; but it appears, that in the said year Beatrix Countess of Provence in France had a grant of it for life; and in the following year a grant of a fair here. From the Countess it came to Alianore, Queen Consort to King Henry III. It was found in the 3d of Edward I. that this village, before it came into the hands of the Countess, and Queen aforesaid, paid shire scot to Gallow hundred lete, and the bailiff of that lete received 35d. of the inhabitants here, with the homage of Althorp, Snoring Parva, &c. Alianore, the King's mother, held it at this time, had the assise, and other liberties.
King Edward II. on the 11th of October, in his third year, gave it to Gilbert Earl of Clare, who dying without issue in the 7th of the said King, it was granted in the following year to David de Strabolgi Earl of Athol, with the advowson, till the lands of the said Earl, in Scotland, could be restored to him. (fn. 2)
On the 8th of February, in the 5th of Edward III. Robert de Ufford Earl of Suffolk had a grant of it; but soon after, about the 6th of that King, Isabel Queen dowager; who died seized of it in his 32d year.
In the 38th of this King, it was found on a pleading in Easter term, that the inhabitants of this town were not obliged to repair the causey, called Brig mill-dam, then broke down; and an assise was brought in the 43d of Henry III. on account of the mill-pool's being raised too high.
But the King, in his 46th year June 25th, gave it to his son, John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, and on his death it came to his son Henry IV. King of England, and Duke of Lancaster, and continued in the Crown till granted about the reign of King Charles I. to the Farmers of Barsham-East, or the Calthorps.
Sir Henry Spilman is surprised to find that a salina, or salt-pit, should, in Domesday Book, be mentioned as a part of this lordship, being six miles from the sea; but it is to be observed, that this salina lay in some place on the sea belonging to Herold, and after to him, when King; thus Necton, a town above 12 miles from the nearest part of the sea, had a salina, which lay at Lyn; Herold was lord of Necton, and had a fee in Lyn, which Ralph de Tony enjoyed at the survey.
The Church is a regular large pile, having a nave, a north and south isle, covered with lead, and a chancel covered with tiles; at the west a tower with 6 bells, and is dedicated to St. Peter; the ancient valor was 100 marks, and the present valor of this rectory is 35l. 6s. 8d. and pays first fruits and tenths.
On the 8 sides of the stone bason or font are several religious emblems, viz. of an angel, ox, lion, and eagle, to represent the 4 Evangelists; also that of the Trinity, a cross, crown of thorns, the King's arms; also on the pillar of it, the letter H, or L, in an old character, and a crown over it, to represent it as being in the dutchy of Lancaster, or built in King Henry the VIth's reign.
In memory of Rice Gwin, Esq. and Mary his wife, she died June 13, 1727, aged 66;—and this shield, gules, a chevron, between three lions rampant, or; Gwin, impaling, as I take it, Hammond, on a chevron, voided three doves.
In memory of Sir Christopher Calthorpe, Kt. of the Bath, and the last survivor of 68 knights, companions of that honorable order, eldest son of James Calthorpe, and Katherine his wife, daghter of Sir Edward Lukenor of Denham, in Suffolk, Kt. he died Febr. 7, 1717/8, aged 75 years.
In memory of dame Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Spring of Pakenham in Suffolk, Bt. wife of Sir Christopher Calthorpe, from the 19th of September. 1664, to the 7th of February 1715; mother of 14 children, of which 6 daughters, and all the sons, deceased before her.
Against the north wall is a murual monument, with the arms of
Calthorpe. Opposite to this monument, on the south side of the isle:
Lyeth the body of Christopher Calthorpe, Esq. grandson of Sir Christopher Calthorpe, Knt. of the Bath. The loss of a youth of such promising parts and ingenuity, and the last heir male of this elder branch of that antient family, can never be enough lamented: He died of a violent fever at the school of St. Edmund's, Bury, the 6th day of November, 1720, aged 13 years and one day.
In the middle of the chancel lies a large gray marble stone, whereon has been the portraiture of a priest in brass, and a rim of brass round; the upper part of the portraiture was lately remaining, with part of the rim, and these words: sexti, qui obiit die Sabbati:—There have also been 4 shields, one at each corner, of which the two lowest only remain, viz. a pelican vulning himself, and two cross keys in saltire, round which, Aperite mihi portas justitie. I take this to be in memory of Henry Keys, admitted rector of this church in 1405, rector also of Massingham Magna, clerk of the King's Chancery, keeper of the hanaper, archdeacon of Norfolk, who died in or about 1428.
In spem beatœ resurrectionis, sub hoc marmore conduntur, reliquiœ Christopheri Calthorpe, Armigeri, filii 4ti Christoph. Calthorpe de East Basham, in comit. Norf. militis Balnei, qui post longam valetudinem minus firmam, desiderium amicis, et flebilis omnibus animam Deo reddidit 7mo die Aug. Ao. Dom. 1713, anno œtat. 32. with the arms of Calthorpe, impaling De Grey; azure, a fess, between three chevrons, or.
Hic jacet Johannes, quem propè dilecta sua Catherina Wortley, quos amor et ecclesia conjunxit; separavit, et rerum, et hominum edax, tempus, et tumulus rapuit. Hanc anno Domini 1665, ætate integram. Hunc anno Dni. 1695, senectute fractum vicit, facilis victoria. Veniet, veniet tamen dies, quœ raptam dabit, quæ victum, invictum reddet. Vis plura lector, scias honestis ortas parentibus, et quondam hujus loci, nunc beatioris incolas.
In this church were the lights of St. Peter in the upper cross, St. Paul, the Trinity of the lower cross in the nave of the church, of the Virgin in her chapel, St. John Baptist, St. James, St. Anne in the south part of the church, St. Mary de la Pity, St. Peter on the pillar, St. Osith, St. Christopher, St. Mary in the wall, the Trinity on the pillar against our Lady in the wall; St. Andrew, St. Erasmus, St. Catherine, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Margaret; and in 1492, here was the light of good King Herry, which I take to be of Henry VI. esteemed a saint, &c. and burning by his image.
John Coole, by his will dated 1494, desires to be buried in the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, and gives his messuage in Fakenham mercate, with the garden, &c. 60 acres of lands, and a cottage, called Barbour's, to be sold with a close, called Fox-yerd, to find a priest in St. Thomas's chapel for his soul, &c.
I find the church porch to be used as a magazine for the hundred of Gallow in 1602; and on the 23d of June in that year, xxviilb. of powder, xxixlb. and xxiiiilb. to be lodged there, with quantities of matches, pickaxes, axes, &c.
Walter Symered, by deed sans date, gave to the monks of Castleacre his mill, called Brige-mill; and Odo, prior of Castleacre, granted it to Reinald de St. Martin, and his heirs, to be held at the yearly rent of 42s.