An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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At the grand survey, Alan, the great Earl of Richmond, was the capital lord of this manor, of which Lord, a freeman was deprived, and Godric, the King's sewer or bailiff, held it under Alan: it then consisted of 3 carucates of land and 10 villains, (3 of these lived in Beck) and of 21 borderers, two of these lived in Billingford; there were also 2 servi, and 3 carucates in demean, and 3 carucates and 3 acres of meadow among the tenants, paunage for 300 hogs: when Godric entered on it, there were 2 runci, now but one, 14 cows, &c. and there had been 60 goats, at the survey none, also there were now 7 skeps of bees; two socmen in this village, and 12 in Balderswell, held 48 acres of land, and 2 carucates and an half, &c. It was formerly valued at 100s. per ann. afterwards at 8l. and now at 10l. per ann. was one leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 8d. halfpenny to the King's gelt. (fn. 1)
How it passed from Godric, or when, does not clearly appear, but this, with many other lordships held by him, seem at his death, to have eschaeted to the Crown, and were granted by King Henry II. to Sir William de Monte Canisio, or Munchensy, grandson of Hubert Munchensy, who lived at the time of the Conquest.
Sir Warine de Munchensie held one fee here in demean, in the 20th of Henry III. and Sir William his son, was found, in the 3d of Edward I. to have free warren, and had unjustly appropriated to him the said liberties in Balderswell; he was also found to hold 2 fees here, and in Cley, of the honour of Richmond, paying 20s. per ann. castleguard to the honour of Richmond, which were extended at 45l. per ann. and had view of frankpledge, assise of bread and beer, &c. and in a roll of gaol delivery at Norwich, before Richard Boyland, and Hervey de Stanhow, and Robert Baynard, knights, justices in the 11th of Edward I. several malefactors were indited for trespasses in Foxley park.
This Lord William left an only daughter and heiress, Dionysia, who married Hugh de Vere, a younger son of Robert de Vere Earl of Oxford, and dying without issue, it descended to Adomare de Valentia Earl of Pembroke, son and heir of William de Valentia Earl of Pembroke, by Joan his wife, sister and heiress of William Lord Munchensie, which said Aymer was found, in the 17th of Edward II. to die possessed of it; and the Lady Mary de St. Paul, his widow, held it in dower at whose death, without issue, it came by marriage of Isabel (first sister and coheir to Aymer de Valentia) to John Hastings Lord Abergavenny.
John de Hastings Earl of Pembroke, lord of Weysford, and de Bergavenny, by deed, dated March 2d, in the 43d of Edward III. constituted Walter Amyas, parson of Framingham in Suffolk, &c. his feoffees in trust for the manor of St. Florence, and 40l. rent per ann. in the seignory of Castle Martyn in Pembrokeshire, in Wales, with the lordships of Saxthorp, Goderston, Holckham, and Burgh in Norfolk, held in dower by Mary de St. Paul Countess of Pembroke. John Hastings, the last of that name, Earl of Pembroke, dying without issue, in the 13th of Richard II. Reginald Lord Grey of Ruthyn was found to be his cousin and heir, of the whole blood, as lineally descended from Elizabeth, sister of John de Hastings, and daughter of John de Hastings, Lord of Abergavenny, by Isabel, sister and coheir to Aymer de Valentia Earl of Pembroke.
In this family, Lords of Ruthyn, and Earls of Kent, it was in the 20th of Henry VII. when George Grey Earl of Kent, left it to Richard his son and heir, who wasted great part of his estate in gaming, &c. and died in or about the 15th of Henry VII. at the George Inn, in Lombard-street, London, and was buried in the church of WhiteFriars, in Fleet-street: he sold this manor, with those of Sparham and Baldeswell, to Sir Charles Somerset, natural son of Henry Beaufort Duke of Somerset, created Lord Herbert of Gower, and of Chepstone, by King Henry VII. and Earl of Worcester, by King Henry VIII. to whom he was lord chamberlain: by his will, dated March 21, 1524, he orders his body to be buried in the collegiate church of Windsor, by his first wife, in the chapel of our Lady, and if he died so far off that his body cannot be carried to Windsor in 4 days, then to be buried in the next abbey or priory: gives to his wife, Eleanor, 600 marks in plate, and all his jewels, chains, &c. to his son Henry, his harness and artillery; his goods to be divided into 3 parts, one part to his son Henry, another to his son George, and the 3d part to his wife Eleanor; the manor of Brickhill, in Buckinghamshire, to his said wife for life, and after to his son George; his manor of Badmundsfeld, and Roydon in Suffolk, with those of Foxley, Baldeswell, and Sparham, which he bought of Richard Grey Earl of Kent, to the said wife, remainder to the children and heirs of him and her.
Sir George Somerset, 3d son of Sir Charles Earl of Worcester, lord of this manor, married Mary, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Boreley of Penhow in Monmouthshire, Knt.; he lived at Wickham-Brook in Suffolk. On an inquisition taken post mortem, June 6, in the 2d of Queen Elizabeth, he was found to die on May 10, last past, leaving, Charles his son and heir, aged 24, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Griesley of Colton in Staffordshire.
After this, it was possessed by Sir William Cordel of Long Melford in Suffolk, eldest son of John Cordel, Esq. (fn. 2) of Long Melford, (second son of Edm. Cordel, Esq. of Edmundton in Middlesex,) by Emma or Eve, daughter of Henry Webbe of Kimbolton in Huntingdonshire; Sir William was bred a lawyer, was speaker of the parliament, privy counsellor, master of the rolls to Queen Mary; he married Mary, daughter and heir of Richard Clopton of Castelyns in Groten, Suffolk, and Mary his wife, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Bozun of Lincolnshire, Knt. but died sans issue, on May 17, in the 23d of Elizabeth, and was buried in the church of Long Melford, under a fair tomb, having founded an alms-house in the said town, and endowed it well in diet and clothes for the poor. On his death it came to Francis his 2d brother, who died before he had livery of it; then to Edmund, his 3d brother, who died without issue, and so it descended to Joan their sister and heir, married to Richard Allington, Esq. 2d son of Sir Giles Allington of Horseheath in Cambridgeshire; the said Joan dying on January 4, in the first year of King James I. left 2 daughters and coheirs; Mary, who married Sir John Savage of Clifton in Cheshire; Sir Thomas Savage was their son, created Viscount Savage, and father of John, who was created Earl Rivers, and sold his right in this lordship, Baldeswell and Sparham, to Sir Ralph Winwood of Ditton-park in Bucks, secretary of state and privy counsellor to King James I. The other daughter and coheir, Cordelia, married Sir John Stanhope; Philip, their son and heir, (fn. 3) was Earl of Chesterfield, who sold his right or moiety in the aforesaid lordship, to Sir Ralph Winwood abovementioned; and Richard Winwood, son and heir of Sir Ralph, conveyed them to Alexander Pitfield, Esq. of Crosby-square, in London, who sold it to Edward Lomb, Esq. of Weston, in 1700, who presented in 1712; from the Lombs it came to John Hase, Esq. who presented in 1747, by Mary his mother, sister and heir to John Lomb, clerk.
In the church window the arms of Grey Earl of Kent, quartering Valence and Hastings Earls of Pembroke; ermine, a bend, compony, argent and sable, Curson: quartering gules, two lions passant, ermine, crowned, or, Felton; gules, three piles, or.