An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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William de Noiers, at the grand survey, was steward of this lordship, for the Conqueror, on the deprivation of Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, who was lord before the conquest, and held it as a lay fee, and as a beruite to his manor of Earsham: consisting of 2 carucates of land, 3 borderers, 2 carucates in demean, &c. half a carucate among the tenants, and 12 acres of meadow, &c. a mill, 2 runci, 4 cows, &c. and 30 socmen had 3 carucates of land, 8 carucates and 16 acres of meadow; there was a church endowed with 65 acres, 3 borderers, the moiety of a mill, and 12 socmen, with 25 acres, 3 carucates and 6 acres of meadow. There were also in the said town 10 socmen, with 2 carucates and a half of land, and 6 borderers, with 7 carucates and a half, and 8 acres of meadow, &c. and 21 socmen in Jerpestuna, who had 120 acres with 8 carucates of meadow; and 8 freemen were added to this lordship who held 12 acres, and half a carucate. It was 2 leucas long, one broad, paid 5s. 4d. gelt, and was valued in Earsham. (fn. 1)
It remained in the Crown till King Stephen granted it to Hugh Bigot, on his being created Earl of Norfolk; Hugh, his grandson, Earl of Norfolk, married Maud, daughter and coheir to the Marshals Earls of Pembroke, by whom she had Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk, and Sir Ralph, a younger son, who was enfeoffed of this lordship, and held it under the Earl; to this Ralph, Walter de Shipmeadow, of Suffolk, conveyed by fine, in the 24th of Henry III. his right of fishing in the river Waveny, between the towns of Stocton and Shipmeadow, and in the cutting of reed, rush, flag, &c.; he married Berta, daughter of the Lord Furnival, and died without issue, as did Roger, his brother, Earl of Norfolk; so that the inheritance came to Roger Bigod, eldest son of Hugh Bigot, who is said to be chief justice of England, and 2d son of Earl Hugh.
Roger being thus heir, and Earl of Norfolk, confirmed to his brother, Sir John Bigod, this lordship, and in the 15th of Edward I. was found to have free warren, the assise, a gallows, &c.; he died in the 33d of Edward I. when it was found to be held by him in capite, of the King. Roger, his brother, the Earl, having no children made the King his heir, and disinherited Sir John and his children in some disgust: Sir Henry Spilman says, that the Earl being indebted to him, he was too pressing on that account. He left by Isabel his wife a son, Sir Ralph. Sir John is said to have borne these arms, or, on a cross, gules, five escallops, argent.
Sir Ralph Bigot, son of Sir Ralph, sold in the 16th of Edward III. to Roger, son of Sir Edmund de Soterley, 11s. 0d. rent per ann. with the rent of 1500 herrings in Giselham, Soterley, &c.; he is said to have married Idonea, daughter and coheir of Robert Hertford of London, and was living in 21st of Edward III.
Sir John Bigod was his son and heir, and died lord about the year 1390, father of Sir Ralph, who married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Mortimer, of Attleburgh, by whom he had a daughter and heir, Elizabeth. Sir Ralph's will is dated at Geldeston, February 20, 1415, and proved in 1416, September 10; she survived him, and married to her 2d husband, Henry I m, Esq. and to her 3d, Tho. Manning, Esq.; by her will, proved in 1463, she was buried in the Augustine-friars church of Norwich, and gave to her husband Manning, her manors in Elingham Magna, &c.
Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Ralph Bigot, brought it by marriage to William Garneys, Esq. son of Robert Garneys, Esq. and Aveline his wife: his will is dated February 13, ao. 8 Henry V. whereby he gives to Elizabeth, his wife, this lordship, and the soke of Stockton, with the manor of Berys in Geldeston, &c. for life, and at her death to Ralph, his son and heir; names Robert his son, and, Margaret his daughter, to whom he gives legacies, and to Peter Garneys, Esq. his brother; also, to Ralph his son, after his wife's death, the manors of Redesham and Barsham, &c. in Suffolk, and that of Weston, to Robert his son, late Edmund de Redesham, and William Barsham's, which his father bought: his will was proved April 6, 1425. (fn. 2)
Ralph Garneys, Esq. of Kenton in Suffolk, inherited it, but died s.p. in 1446; and in the said year, Edmund Swathing, Esq. conveyed by fine, his right in this lordship to William de la Pole Marquis and Earl of Suffolk; and in the following year, Simon Brayles, clerk, &c. conveyed it with the soke of Stockton, and the manor of Geldeston, as trustee, when it was settled on the said Marquis, and Alice, his wife.
After this, in the first year of Edward IV. the aforesaid Alice, then Dutchess, and John, her son, Duke of Suffolk, was querents in a fine, and Margaret Swathing, Thomas Sharington, Amabil Morpeth, and William Garneys and Maud his wife, deforcients, (as heirs to Ralph Garneys) surrender their interest herein.
I have seen a particular grant of this Alice, as follows:— "Know all myne executors, and all folks, that I Alyse, Dutchess of Suffolk, have geven and granted to my dere and well-beloved sone John, Duke of Suffolk, and to my Lady Elizab. his wife, sister to our Soveryne Lord, King Edward 4, all my stuffe of plate of silver and gilte, and of gold, and all my beddys of cloth of gold, and of silk, and of arras, and of tapestre work, &c. with God's blessing and myne for ever. Dated at Eye, October 3, ao. xi. Edward 4. In witness of which thinge, to this my dede and graunte, signed of my hande I have sett my seale, Alyce."
On the attainder of Edmund de la Pole Earl of Suffolk, it came to the Crown, and was granted by King Henry VIII. to Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, and on his death, to Lady Ann of Cleves, and she held it in the second year of King Edward VI. then the divorced wife of King Henry VIII.
After this, it was again in the Crown, and Queen Elizabeth possessed it with the soke, valued in 1570, at 49l. 14s 3d. and was farmed of her by Mr. Smith, of Winston, paying a free farm rent. The soke took in the manors of Ellingham, Gillingham, Geldeston, Winston, Wyndele, and Kirkby-Cam: the court baron and lete for the soke, were then annually kept on St. Margaret's day; and the custom of the manor, &c. was, that the bailiff, or any tenant of the same, might take distress in the soken of any man, either dwelling or having goods within the same, (the debt being under 40s.) and have the action tried on St. Margaret's day; the sheriff of the county could not arrest within the soken, but break the writ, and direct the warrant to the bailiff of the manor, who executed it: by their charter they are not to serve at assise or sessions, and all the tenants have liberty to common, in the feu called Micklefen, which lyeth in Geldeston and Ellingham.
On the first of July, in the 3d of James I. this manor and soke were granted to Charles Duke of York, the King's son; and in the 17th of King Charles I. was held in fee-farm rent of him, by Simon Smith, Esq.
The Church is a rectory. In the reign of Edward I. Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk, and Earl-Marshal, as capital lord, was patron, and it was then valued at 12 marks; the rector had a manse with 30 acres of land; paid Peter-pence, 12d. Carvage, 6d. q. and it is dedicated to St. Michael.
In 1505, John Pinchebeke died rector, and was buried in the college church of Mettingham, and gave 11 acres of land in Kirkeby field, to his successours, with one acre and half in Winston field, to keep every year a certain and yere-day with messe and dirige; and to the church of Stockton, 11 acres of land in Winston; from the Mowbrays it came to the Howards Dukes of Norfolk, who were patrons. (fn. 3) John Sale, rector, ao. 15.
Hic jacet Johs. Sale, S.T.B in medicinâ licentiatus, egregiè in utraq; facultate doctus, legum insuper quas vocant communium non mediocriter peritus, qui postquam hic Stockton rector animarum curæ diligenter et fideliter p. quinquennium inservisset, ac tantum non collapsas rectoriæ ædes suis solis sumptibus instaurasset, isto sub marmore couditus est, 5 Martij,—15.
In the church, these arms; argent, a lion rampant, gules, bruised with a ragged staff, or, Steward, impaling azure, on a bend, wavy, or, three birds, sable, in a bordure of the second, with torteaux, Read, and
William Wright, of this town, buried in the church 1513, gives to the commoners of Stockton, 6l. on condition that they can find means to get more friends, and purchase as much land as shall purchase the whole fee. Reg. Johnson, fol. 226.