An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Is wrote in Domesday Book, Ranapatone, and was the lordship of William Earl Warren; a freeman, who held it in King Edward's time, being expelled; there then belonged to it one carucate of land, 10 villains and 5 borderers, one servus, one carucate in demean, and one among the tenants; 2 acres of meadow, and 13 socmen held 3 carucates of land, with one borderer, they made always 3 carucates and an half, there were 4 cows, &c. and it was added to Gimmingham, the Earl's principal lordship. Gimmingham was then valued at 40s. at the survey at 8l. per ann. Ranapatone was in the Confessor's time, valued at 20s. at the survey at 60s. (fn. 1) See in Sustrand for its measure, &c.
The ancient family of de Plaiz was soon after the conquest, enfeoffed of this lordship, and held it of the Earls of Warren and Surry. Sir Hugh de Plaiz was lord in the reign of King Stephen. Sir Richard de Plaiz died lord in the 53 of Henry III and Gyles was found to be his son and heir, aged two years and an half, and was the King's ward.
In the 3d of Edward I. the assise of bread, &c. and frank pledge, belonged to it; this Gyles died young, (as it seems.) About 1300, William de Huntingfeld was patron of this church, in right of his wife: and in 1303, the Lady Joan, relict of Sir Richard de Plaiz, presented, as appears from the Institution Books of Norwich.
In the 9th of Edward II. Richard de Plais held it of the Earl Warren, and in the 18th of that King, he and Margaret his wife settled it in tail; in the said year, he and Richard his son settled lands in Feltwell; and Sir Richard de Plais presented to this church in 1321.
In the 20th of Edward III. Richard de Plays held one fee of the Earl Warren, and in the 26th of that King, levied a fine to John de Plays, his son, on his marriage with Margaret, his first wife, when this lordship was settled on them in tail, on paying 10l. per ann. to Sir Richard for life.
Sir Richard died in or about the 34th of Edward III. beyond sea, Margaret, (his wife, surviving him,) on October 14, in the 37th of the said King; John de Bois, cousin of Sir Miles Stapleton, and John Charman, parson of Systern, confirmed to Sir John de Playz, and Joan, his wife, and the heirs of their body, this lordship, with that of Toftrys in Norfolk, and Chelsworth in Suffolk; remainder to Miles Stapleton, Sir John de Sutton, senior of Wivenhoe in Essex, John de Cavendish, &c. witnesses, Richard de Holditch, Thomas Hounte, Osbern de Moundeford, senior, John de Tydd, &c. this was on his 2d marriage to Joan, daughter of Sir Miles Stapleton; Sir John died in 1389; his will was proved on July 16, in the said year, and was buried in the priory of Bromehill, in Wetyng, of which he was patron; appoints Joan, his wife, Sir John de Burgh, Sir Richard de Sutton, &c. executors; bequeaths to religious uses many legacies, &c. and to his wife all his wardrobe, and silver vessels, all his utensils and ornaments, belonging to his house, not before bequeathed, with all his other goods and chattels in his manors of Knapton, Toftrys, and Chelesworth; and to his son, Sir Simon Howard, all his armour and furniture of war.
Sir John Howard married Margaret, his daughter and heir, by his 2d wife, Joan, who inherited in her right this lordship, with that of Wetyng and Toftrys, in Norfolk; Chelsworth in Suffolk; OkelyMagna, Hanstead, and Benefeld Bury in Essex; and Foulmere in Cambridgeshire; and dying in 1437, Elizabeth, his grand daughter, by John his son, and Joan his wife, sister and heir of Sir Richard Walton, (which John, his son, died before him,) was heir to the Plays' estate. This Elizabeth married John de Vere Earl of Oxford, lord of this town, &c. in her right; he was beheaded in 1461, and she presented to this church in 1465; in the 12th of Edward IV. she settled this lordship, with those of Weting, Chelsworth and Walton-hall in Purley, in Essex, &c. on Richard, Duke of Gloucester, King Edward the Fourth's brother, in trust, for the use of her heirs, to preserve them in those difficult and dangerous times; but on November 26, in the 18 of Edward IV. the feoffees of the said Duke, confirmed to the dean and chapter of the collegiate church of St. George, at Windsor, this manor, with those of Chelsworth, and Benefeld hall, to endow a chantry in the said church.
John, her son, Earl of Oxford, was restored in blood and honour, on the accession of Henry VII. restored to his inheritance, and was succeeded by John Earl of Oxford, his nephew; and dying s. p. in 1526, his three sisters were his coheirs; Elizabeth, married to Sir Anthony Wingfeld, of Letheringham, in Suffolk; Dorothy, to John Nevill Lord Latimer, and Ursula, to Sir Edward Knightley; in 1529, Ann, Countess of Oxford, widow, presented to this church.
Ursula, wife of Sir Edward Knightly, dying without issue, the heirs of Sir Anthony Wingfeld, and the Lord Nevill, held this lordship; Sir Robert Wingfeld, son of Sir Anthony, had livery of a moiety about the first of Queen Elizabeth, and presented to this church, in 1564, by his assignees.
The moiety which the Lord Latimer, held, came to the Earl of Exeter, eldest son of William Cecil Lord Burleigh, by the marriage of Dorothy, daughter and coheir of John Lord Latimer, who died 1577, and presented to this church in 1613.
After this, in the 16 of James I. Thomas Blofield, Gent. died seized of the manor of Knapton, on February 7, in the 13th of King Charles I. held of the dutchy of Lancaster; Thomas, his son, died before him, leaving by Ann, his wife, a son, William, who was heir to his grandfather. This William sold it, or a moiety, (as I take it,) to Bernard Hale, S. T. P. master of St. Peter's college, Cambridge, son of William Hale, Esq. of King's Walden in Hertfordshire, and gave it to that college, who have a manor and patronage of the church, and died in 1663; his arms were azure, a bend counter-embattled, or. John Fowle, Esq. held it by lease from the college, or a moiety of the manor, and had an alternate presentation, in 1740.