An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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MASSINGHAM MAGNA, or DERTFORD'S.
At the survey no distinction is made of the townships of Great and Little Massingham, so that it seems at that time to be undivided, and occurs under the name of Masincham, and Marsincham, being seated on a wet, or marshy meadow or common. The principal manor was then in King William the Conqueror.
Herold was lord of it in the time of the Confessor, (and when he was King, and slain at the battle of Hastings) when there were 3 carucates of land and 4 villains, and when Roger (Bigot) farmed it under the King, one borderer, 4 servi, and an acre of meadow, 2 carucates in demean, paunage for 10 swine, and 25 socmen belonged to it, with 3 carucates and 20 acres of land; there were also 6 carucates and an half, &c. valued then at 40s. at the survey at 10l. per ann. but of the 25 socmen in King Edward's time with all their customary duties belonging to this manor, Wido Angevin has 20, who held 2 carucates of land, with 58 acres and the fourth part of an acre. William de Warren has also 3 of them, who hold 120 acres and an half, and Roger Bigot has one with 15 acres; and William de Sores one, with 10 acres. Ralph Baynard had also taken possession of the lands of 14 freemen, with 12 villains. The whole was one mile long, and half a mile broad, and paid 20d. to a 20s. gelt. (fn. 1)
Besides this lordsip, the Conqueror had in the hundred of Docking, Southmere, Titchwell, and Stanho;—in Weyland hundred, Saham, Girston, Caston, and Breccles;—in Fourhow hundred, Hingham;—in Mitford hundred Flockthorp;—in Galgou hundred, Fakenham, Althorp, Thorpland, Creik, Stiberd and Kettleston;—in Brodercross hundred, Dunton, and Norton;—in Holt hundred, Holt, Cley, Sniterley, Hempstede, Bathely, Burston, Hunworth, Stodey, Bayfield, Glanford, Gunthorp, Scarnton, and Merston;—in North Greenhow, Wighton, Houghton, Holcham, Quarles, Egmere, Well, Warham, Stukey, Hindringham, Walsingham, and Datling;—in Walsham, hundred, Motheton, and Bastwick;—in West Flegg hundred Martham and Clipsby;—in Heinsted hundred, Framingham;—in Diss hundred, Watlingsete, and Burston;—in Eynsford hundred, Folsham, Whitwell, and Brantestan;—in Taverham hundred, Taverham, and Felthorp;— in South Erpingham hundred. Caston, Oldton, Stratton, Colby, and Wickmer;—in Tunsted hundred, Felmingham;—in East Flegg hundred, Ormesby, and Runham;—in Clavering hundred Rildincham: also possessions and lordships in Norwich, Yarmouth, and Thetford; there were also many other lordships which Godric (his bailiff) took care of, and also William de Noiers (as we shall show) for the Conqueror.
This lordship remained in the Crown till King Henry I. gave it to Robert, son of Ernisius, whose son Eudo enjoyed it; but Robert, Eudo's son, rebelling against King John, it was granted September 15, by that King's letters patents dated at Winchester in his 18th year to Jeffrey Fitz-Peter Earl of Essex, whose sons, Jeffrey and William de Mandevile, Earls of Essex, by Beatrice his first wife, daughter of William de Say, inherited it, and dying without issue it came to John Fitz John, who was son of John Fitz Jeffrey, son of Jeffrey Fitz-Peter, the aforesaid Earl of Essex, by his second wife, Aveline.
William de Maundevile Earl of Essex, and lord, gave to Elias de Chenduit 100s. rent per ann. out of this lordship, and enfeoft Geffrey, son of John Le Syre, in 18 acres and an half of land, and in service due to him in harvest, with his part of the heath, and one mark per ann. rent to be paid out of the same to the nuns of Shouldham.
John Lord Fitz John, in the 3d of Edward I. granted Roger Bishop of Norwich, and to the church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich, the advowson of the church of St. Mary of Massingham, belonging to this lordship: on his death it came to his brother, Richard Fitz John, Ao. 4 of Edward I. a baron of the realm, who granted it by his deed, dated at London on the the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, in the 6th of the said King, to Sir Thomas de Weyland, the judge. Stow calls him the King's chief justice; he was, in the 17th of the said reign, found guilty of notorious bribery and corruption, his whole estate and his goods were confiscated, and he was banished the kingdom. The aforesaid historian relates, "that being convicted, and fearing to yield himself to the King's mercy, he went to the Friars-minors, at Babwell in Suffolk, took on him the habit of a gray friar, but being discovered by some of his servants, he was watched and guarded, and after two month's siege, went out, forsaking his friar's coole, and was taken and sent to the Tower."
After this, King Edward II. on November 22, in his eleventh year, granted it to Sir Walter de Norwich in fee farm, paying 8 marks per ann. into the Exchequer, who died seized of it in the 3d of Edward III. and the said King, at the request of his mother, Queen Isabel, gave the said 8 marks per ann. to the nuns of Brodholm in Nottinghamshire.
In the 8th of Edward III. Sir John de Norwich was lord, and had a grant of a weekly mercate, on Friday, and of a fair for 3 days yearly, on the vigil, day, and day after St. Simon and Jude, dated June 10, at Newcastle on Tyne; witnesses, William Archbishop of York, Richard Bishop of Durham, Treasurer, John de Eltham Earl of Cornwall, the King's brother, John de Warren Earl of Surrey, Henry de Percy, William de Montacute, Ralph de Nevill, steward of the household, &c.; and in the 31st of the said reign, Sir John had a grant of free-warren here, &c. on November 10; in the same year on June 16, license was granted to the prioress, &c. of Brodholm to release to him the rent of the 8 marks per ann. he occurs lord in the 36th of that King, and to have the lete.
On the death of Sir John de Norwich, s. p. it descended to Catharine Brewse, who was daughter and heir of Sir Thomas, brother of Sir John de Norwich, (father of Sir Walter, who was father of the late Sir John,) and a nun at Dertford in Kent; and appears to be possessed of it in the 1st of Richard II. on September 3, in the 8th of that King, license was granted to John Daventre, parson of Broom, Walter Berkley, vicar of Kimberley, John Cranehouse, Edmund Lakenheath, &c. (trustees of the aforesaid lady,) to amortise this manor, with its appertenances, fairs, mercates, &c. to the prioress of Dertford, to find a chaplain to celebrate in the infirmary of that house, to take care of (and for the relief of) the sick, and the sisters therein.
At the Dissolution it was farmed by Henry Beding feld, Esq. and on January 21, in the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, granted, with the advowson of the church, by the name of Massingham Magna, alias Dertford, alias Lady manor, to Thomas Gresham, Esq. afterwards a Knight, and founder of the Royal Exchange in London, who died lord of it.
On the death of the Lady Anne Gresham, his relict, at Osterleyhouse, in Middlesex, November 23, in the 39th of Elizabeth, she was found to die seized of it, held by the 20th part of a fee; and Sir William Read, was her son and heir, aged 50: she was a daughter of Will. Fernley, Gent. of West Creeting in Suffolk, and had to her first husband, William Read, a merchant of London, of the family of the Reads of Beccles in Suffolk, and was father of Sir William, who kept a court here as lord, July 21, in the 9th of James I.
In 1595, William Laurence, the Lady Ann Gresham's bailiff, accounted for the revenues of this lordship for one whole year.—Rent of assise of the free and bond tenants 10l. 2s. 7d. for the farm and site of the manor, with 2 fold courses, and demean lands, 206l.; for a tenement and land 20s.; profits of a court with a lete 8s. 3s.—Total 217l. 10s. 10d.—Paid 4s. for 4 suits to the sheriff's turn, to the bailiff of the hundred.
This lordship came to Charles Yallop, Esq. (only son of Sir Robert Yallop, Knt. of Bowthorp by Norwich, and Dorothy his wife, daughter of Clement Spelman, Esq. of Grays Inn, London, a Baron of the Exchequer) on his marriage with Hellen, only daughter and heir of Sir Edward Barkham, Bart. of Westacre; whose son and heir, Edward Yallop, alias Spelman, Esq. conveyed it to Sir Robert Walpole Earl of Orford, and in that family it remains.
Monks, or Castleacre Priory Manor.
Robert, son of Ernisius, lord of Massingham Magna, gave by the advice of his wife, &c. to the monks of Acre, in pure alms, 10 acres of his demean land, and all the land, which his men had given and sold to the monks, viz. of William, son of Scule, 2 curtilages, with an herbergate, &c. and 22 acres in the fields, 12 acres, part of the heath thereto belonging, and 9 acres, s. d. (fn. 2) (fn. 3)
Robert confirmed the gifts of his grandfather Robert, and that of Eudo his uncle, who gave 5 acres: in this deed he mentions the gift of his grandfather to be where the site of their houses were: the said Eudo also gave 4 acres in Massingham, at Rainham-Gate, with many liberties, &c.
Herbert, son of Richard de Massingham, and Lefled his wife, with Yvo and William his brothers, gave 60s. in charity; witnesses, Yvo, the priest of Massingham, Bond, the provost of the monks, William, son of Torald, Warine de Massingham, &c. which deed was offered up on the altar of St. Mary at Acre (Castleacre priory church) in the sight of the witnesses to it, and of many others.
William, son of Herbert of Massingham, gave them a foldcourse here and on the heath, with part of the heath; witnesses, Alan, and Alexander de Ingaldesthorp, Henry, son of Hugh de Geyton, Adam de Wulferton, John le Syre, Ralph his brother, Phil de Brecham, &c.
Jeffrey de Massingham, and his brethren, Ivo, Adam, Philip, Thomas, &c. granted to them 40 acres of land here, and all testified and swore to it, on the holy Gospel, in the chapter of the monks at Acra, and every one of them (that this grant might be more confirmed) made an impression with their teeth on wax, that was placed on the chirograph, instead of a seal; and for this grant the monks gave them 10s.; witnesses, Master Steph. de Burham, Yvo, the presbyter, &c.
Adalicia de Claromonte confirmed to them the gift of Geffrey de Favarches (called in the schedule Le Fanniard, and Le Fannard, and was founder of Walsingham abbey) of lands in Massingham Magna, paying 4s. per ann. for all services; witnesses, Her. de Montemorentino (Mountmorency) Peter de Sengham, the sewer, William de Timerword (Timworth) William de Wigreham, Richard de Montfitchet, Margaret de Montfitchet, &c.
Robert de Briencourt confirmed the said lands, to be held of him, paying 3s. rent per ann. saving the service due to the King; witnesses, John de Briencourt, Bartholomew, dean of Walsingham, Geffrey, dean of Fincham, Maurice de Barsham, Robert de Dive, Adam, son of Roger de Suldham, &c.
Master Robert de Bilney gave them a moiety of a mill in Massingham, and one rood of land, they paying 3d. per ann. and also released the suit or custom due from the monks tenants in Massingham thereto, so long as Alexander, bailiff of the monks, who farmed it, held the same.
Alan, son of Richer of Massingham, confirmed lands given them here by Jeff. son of William de Massingham, at Paynes Wong, 5 acres at Galtreshill, Medue Croft, &c.; witnesses, Sir Geff. le Syre, Master Edmund de Massingham.
Robert de Frevill quit-claimed to them all that he held of his fee in Massingham freely, in men, land, customs, &c. as it was given to him, with 2 parts of the tithe in all things; witnesses, Robert, his father, Ralph de Baliol, William de Ernevill, William de Sarcell, Ralph de Capravill. William, the 3d Earl (Warren) confirmed this gift, and 5s. rent in Massingham, of the gift of Ralph, son of Alveric, in Massingham.
Hugh, son of Robert de Massingham (lord of Massingham Parva) confirmed to them 5 acres, and all the donations of his father and predecessors; witnesses, Ralph de Patesle, Hugh de Bukeham, Jeffrey de Congham, Master Sim. de Acra, Robert, father of Hugh, son of Ralph, gave them 10 acres, &c.
Ralph de Kailli, and Elias his brother, gave to the monks of Lewis (that is to Castleacre, being a cell to it) all their father's land in Massingham, which Hugh their brother held of Elias, paying a mark of silver; and Elias gave to Ralph 12d. per ann. rent, which they both gave to the monks, laying the deed upon the altar at Hecham (in Norfolk;) and with them Robert de Kailli and Richard his brother, and William, son of Renier, their kinsman, released their right of succession in the land; (fn. 4) and for this gift, Ralph, son of Goce de Linna, gave to Elias 10 marks, to Ralph 4s. and to William 5s. that Ralph, son of Gose, might hold it for ever of the church, paying a pound of pepper yearly, and a pound of cumin; witnesses, Geff. and Alan de Snetesham, Ralph and Peter de Hunstanton, &c. and before the sock of all Hecham.
On a precept's being issued out to distrain the prior of Castleacre fo default of suit of court to the Earl of Gloucester, Mr. John Lewis, clerk, their attorney, appeared at a court held at Walsingham, on Wednesday on the feast of St. Catherine, 1310, before Robert de Bures, steward, and others, and produced a writing signed by Sir William de Clare, (one of the sons of Gilbert Earl of Gloucester, and his wife, sister to the Earl of Pembroke,) wherein he quit-claimed for himself and his heirs, to the prior, all suit of court, which he required of him and his men, for a certain tenement belonging to his fee in Massingham, on the payment of 10s. per ann. to him and his heirs; witnesses, - - - - - - - - - - -, Earl of Gloucester, his brother, Sir William de Brews, Sir Walter de Scoteney, Sir Henry de Suny, &c.
There being a dispute with the prior relating to the tithes of his manor, William Bishop of Norwich ordained that the prior should pay yearly to the churches of Massingham, for the tithes of their demean lands, &c. xvs.; (fn. 5) and because it lay in two parishes of the churches of Massingham, the portion to be paid to the church of St. Mary, after the death of Yvo the priest, should be 10s. and the portion to that of All-Saints 5s. per ann.; witnesses, William, archdeacon of Norwich, Master Stangr. Ern. Lupell, Geff. de Massingham, Geff. de Depeden, &c. This seems to be in the time of William Turbus, Bishop of Norwich, and before the year 1149, when William, the archdeacon, was dead.
On the dissolution of the priory of Castleacre, this manor was granted to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, to be held of the King in capite, December 22, in the 29th year of King Henry VIII.; from the Duke of Norfolk it came to the Walpoles, and John Walpole, serjeant at law, was found to hold it, whose son and heir, William, had livery of it in the 8th of Elizabeth.
Massingham Priory Manor.
In the town of Great Massingham was a cell, or small priory, belonging to Castleacre priory, dedicated to the Virgin and St. Nicholas, and often called in old writings the Hospital of St. Mary; it was founded by Nicholas le Syre, of Massingham: this Nicholas was witness to a deed of Richard, son of Edward de Massingham, who gave land, and 3d. rent per ann. to the priory of Castleacre, sans date.
Many of the said name were witnesses to grants of land to that priory, (fn. 6) but sans date; viz. Sir Geffrey le Syre, (fn. 7) John le Sire, and Ralph his brother. I take him to be the same person who in the 45th of Henry III. granted by the name of Nicholas de Massingham, by fine, to the prior of the hospital of St. Mary of Massingham, one messuage, a mill, 2 carucates of land in Massingham Magna and Parva, 5s. rent and a furlong of heath here, &c. in Marham, West Wenyz, (Winch,) and Sechethe, with all homages, services of freemen and villains, wards, reliefs, paying an annuity of 15l. per ann. to Nicholas for life, 5l. per ann. to John his brother, and to Jeane his sister 6 marks
In the time of the said King, the prior of Massingham Magna was found to hold one knight's fee of the Earl of Warren; in the 3d of Edward I. he was found to hold 2 carucates in Massingham, of the gift of Nicholas le Syre, part, as it is said, of the King's fee; and in the 21st of that King, John Lambeth and others aliened lands in Mas singham to the said priory; in the 34th of the same reign, Simon Broke and others aliened lands in Massingham Magna, and in the following year, the prior of Beeston; this prior, Simon de Felbrigg, and others, held lands in Beiston, Runton, East Harling and Massingham Magna, of the fee of Roger Bygod Earl of Norfolk.
In the 3d of Edward II. Henry de Massingham aliened 4 messuages, and 128 acres of land in Massingham; in his 7th year Simon Knout, and others, aliened divers parcels of land in Massingham Magna; and in the 5th of the said King, Simon Broke of Brandon, and Catherine his wife conveyed by fine to the prior, lands in the said town.
In the 12th of Edward II. 6 acres, and many other parcels of land, were purchased by them; also in the said reign, John de Deneby aliened a messuage and 11 acres; John de Hinton, 30 acres, a messuage and 8 acres; and Richard Shipdam aliened a messuage and 2 acres of lands, to Jeffrey the prior, in Massingham Magna, and the said Richard aliened to Geffrey, prior of Massingham Magna, lands here in the 9th of the said King, as did John, son of Robert de Holme, and Agnes his wife, in the 14th of that reign.
In the 3d of Edward III. Humphrey of Schipedam gave lands: in the 20th of that King, the prior was found to hold the 4th part of a fee in Massingham Magna and Parva, and West Winch, of the Earl-marshall: and in the 22d of Richard II. he was found to hold lands of the fee of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, in Massingham Magna and Parva.
On its dissolution it was granted January 21, in the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, with the manor and rectory of Langham, and advowson of the vicarage, the manor of Merston, and the advowson of the rectory, the manor of Walsingham, the manor of Combs, and advowson of the rectory, and the manor of Narford, to Thomas Gresham, Esq. On the death of Sir Thomas Gresham, in 1579, it came to his lady, Anne, and on her decease to her son Sir William Read, by her first husband, who held it with his lordship of Massingham Magna, or Dertford's; and is now in the Earl of Oxford, as may be there seen.
Bishop Tanner says, (fn. 8) that the buildings of this priory manor being decayed, it was united in 1475, to Westacre priory, and was a cell of two canons and two poor men, to that priory.
William Earl Warren had a lordship and a carucate of land, which Alflet a freewoman, was deprived of; to this there belonged 3 borderers and one servus, with a carucate valued at 15s. his predecessor had only the protection of them, and King Herold had the soc. Rainold, son of Ivo, claimed it as belonging to his fee, and Wihenoc was seized of it; and the father of Rainald, and Rainald himself was, and the hundred witnessed it. (fn. 9)
The ancient family of Massingham seem to enfeoffed of part of it; Robert, son of Ralph de Massingham, Herbert, son of Richard de Massingham, &c. were benefactors to the prior of Castleacre's lordship in this town, as by their deeds sans date; as was Robert de Frevil, who had a fee of the Earl Warren, and William Earl Warren confirmed the grant of 20s. per ann. in land, to the monks of Castleacre in this town, which Robert Frevill, junior, gave at his death; these Frevills were living about the reign of Henry I.
In the reign of Henry III. the Felthams were lords; and in 1301, John de Feltham presented to the church of Allhallows or All-Saints, in this town, and Thomas de Feltham in 1315. John de Feltham was witness to a deed of Sir John de Norwich in the 20th of Edward III. and presented in 1349; he held half a fee of the lord Tateshale, and the King, as guardian of Thomas de Feltham in 1370, &c.; this Thomas was found to die in the 43d of Edward III. and to leave John his son and heir, aged 3 years; this John died (as I take it) in the 5th of Richard II. a minor, and in the said year Richard Ottewy presented as lord.
Edmund de Brunham held it by half a fee, in the 9th of Richard II. and in 1402, Edmund Belzetter, burgess of Lynn, was lord, and by his will in 1417, gives it, with the advowson of All-Saints church, to be sold by his executors, and the money issuing thence to be expended by his executors in masses for his soul, and to the poor. (fn. 10)
Afterwards it was possessed by John Wodehouse, Esq. who presented in 1427, and Jeremy Wodehouse, Esq. his son, in 1434. On December 12, in the 21st of Edward IV. Richard Southwell, Robert Clere, and Bartholomew White, Esq. appointed Simon White, Robert and Thomas Wodehouse, sons of John Wodehouse, Esq. their attornies, to receive rents due to them out of this manor, late Jeremy Wodehouse's.
Thomas Alowe, Gent. in the 3d of Elizabeth, August 26, received of William Yelverton, Esq 9l. for the farm of 2 hundred and an half sheep going in Feltham's course, and in the 8th of the said Queen, William Walpole, Esq. had livery of this manor, with one in Winebotsham, &c.
William de Scohies had a manor held of him by Ralph, son of Herluin, out of which Godwine, a freeman, who held it in King Edward's reign, was expelled, containing one carucate of land, with 6 villains, and one carucate in demean, then valued at 10s. at the survey at 5s. The predecessor of William de Warren had only the protection, but the soc belonged to the King's manor of Massingham. Godwin above mentioned was father of King Harold, and Earl of Kent. (fn. 11)
Sir Geffrey de Favarches (called in the chartulary of Castleacre, Le Fanniard) gave lands belonging to this fee to the priory manor; he is said to have held the fifth part of a fee, which came mostly to the monks, who held it of the Earls of Clare.
On an inquisition taken in the 52d of Henry III. the prior of Castleacre was found to hold the 5th part of a fee in Massingham Magna, of the Earl of Clare; this was afterwards held of the Earl of March, in Henry the Sixth's reign.
Roger Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk, had 40 acres, which a freeman was owner of, before the conquest, and Humphrey de Cuelai held it under Roger, with 2 borderers, valued at 18d. Alwy, after the conquest, had seized on it; the soc belonged to the King's manor. (fn. 12)
Sir Roger de Felbrig held it, in 1280, in right of his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs of Gilbert de Norfolk; and Simon de Felbrig, in 1303, and Sir Robert de Herling, in the reign of Henry VI.
Rectors Of St. Mary's.
The old valor of this rectory, with the portion of the prior of Castleacre, 40 marks; the portion of the abbot of Nutley in the said church, 7s. 7d. (fn. 13) Peter-pence, 14d.
The monks of Castleacre, on the decease of Ivo the priest, or rector abovementioned, were, by composition, to pay 10s. per ann. to St. Mary's church, and 5s. to All-Saints, for the tithes of their demean lands in these parishes. Regist. Castleac. fol. 18.
Per varios casus, hic jacet (et inturbatum jacet) corpus Johs Beregij D.D. qui fuit filius Johs Beregij S.T.D. hujus ecclesiæ rector, obt. 9 die mensis Novemb. Ao. Dni. 1690.—Sacrificium Deo; with these arms, argent, a saltire ingrailed between four escallops, sable.
Rectors Of All-Saints.
Sir Robert Sygon, of Len Bishop, priest, by his will, in 1505, bequeaths his body to be buried in the church of St. Mary of Massingham, gives a legacy to St. John Baptist's guild there, 7 acres of land to the common profights of the said town, to pay and discharge the leyte money of 8s. by yere, and to pay the holy brede loofe, and the money longyng ev'ry Sunday for ever: a close called Rysing-Yard, with half an acre of land, and 23 acres of land in the fields of Massingham, in divers pieces. (fn. 14)
Item, to the commonalty of Massingham, with the croft, an acre of land and an half, lying in Lenn-Way, with all the appertenances, and implements thereto belonging, to make their common drinkyngs of the plow day, and odyr times at their pleasure, so that they every yere kepe myne obit, ringing a peale for my soule, and sing a mass for ever, and do odyr good deeds.