An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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ST. GERMAN'S WIGENHALE.
William de Scohies had considerable lordships in Islington, and in Clenchwarton, at the survey, that extended, as it seems, into this town, and soon after came to Walter Giffard Earl of Buckingham, whose son Walter, and his Countess, gave to the monks of the church of Norwich, serving God at Lenn, (fn. 1) the church of St. German's of Wigenhale, together with a certain payment of 5s. per ann. which their chaplains received out of the same; to which deed, sans date, made in the presence and assent of William (Turbus, as I take it) Bishop of Norwich, Richard and Adam, chaplains to Walter and his Countess, Jeffrey, son of William, Philip de Gerardeville, Gerard de Redham, William de Archdeacon, William de Hastings, Peter Constable, &c. are witnesses; and William Bishop of Norwich confirmed the said grant, together with two parts the tithe of North Rungton and Middleton, belonging all to the demean of the fee of the said Walter.
William, son of Robert de Sculham, quitclaimed to Simon, prior of Norwich, for 100s. all his right in the advowson of the said church; witnesses, Sir Richard, son of Peter de Wigenhale, Sir Ralph Berry, Sir Walter, son of John de Wigenhale, sans date.
On the death of Earl Walter this lordship came to Rohesia, his daughter or sister, who being married to Richard Fitz-Gilbert Earl of Brion, &c. in Normandy, ancestor to the Earls of Clare, they became lords of this fee.
The ancient family of Fitton were very early enfeoffed herein. Sir Alan de Fitton or Philton, Elias de Fitton, Adam de Fitton, clerk, and Walter de Phiton, &c. were witnesses to a deed, sans date, of Hugh de Ross, of lands in Tydd St. Mary, in Lincolnshire.
About this time lived Sir Edmund de Fitton, lord of this manor of Fitton's, who had a daughter Alice, married to Sir William Howard, and a son, John de Fitton, who was one the justices appointed to take care of the preservation of the lands in Marshland from being overflowed, in the 15th of Edward I.
John de Fitton, and Margery his wife, in the 6th of Edward II. settled on themselves in tail, by fine, 20 messuages, a mill, 394 acres of land, 83 of meadow, 41 of pasture, 60 of heath, 120 of marsh, 60 of moor, and the rent of 11l. 13s. 4d. with 5 quarters of salt in Wigenhale, Tilney, Islington, &c. and in the 17th of the said King, by a fine levied between John de Fitton, and Amicia his wife; and Ralph de Edynesthorp, vicar of St. German's, 13 messuages, a mill, 250 acres of land, 62 of meadow, 24 of pasturre, 60 of heath, and 6 marks per ann. rent were settled on John and Amicia his wife, in tail, in Wigenhale, Islyngton, &c. remainder to Thomas, first son, and after to John, 2d son of John de Tilney.
In the first of Edward III. Sir Thomas Tilney, on April 12, had license of mortmain to settle 8l. per ann. out of 80 acres of his land in Wigenhale, Clenchwarton &c. and to give and assign it to the prior of Norwich, to find two secular chaplains, the one to serve at the altar of St. Thomas the Martyr, in the church of St. German's, and the other in the chapel of St. James in the manor of Fitton, and to pray for the souls of Robert de Fitton, and Alice his wife, Sir John de Fitton and Margery and Amicia his wives; Hervey de Saham, William de Saham, Godfrey, son of Berewenne, and Catherine his wife, William de Sculham, and Beatrix his wife, and the soul of the said Sir Thomas Tilney, when he departs this life, and the souls of his ancestors and benefactors for ever.
And accordingly lands were settled by a deed of the said Sir Thomas, dated at Wigenhale, on Monday after the feast of the Invention of the holy cross, in the first of the aforesaid King, which he had of the grant, &c. of Sir John de Fitton.
Afterwards Tilney's part and right in this manor was in the family of Braunch, and Catherine, Lady Braunch, widow of Sir John Braunch, gave by her will, dated at Castre Holy Trinity, on Sunday after the feast of St. Peter ad vincula, 1420, gives her manor here to her son William, with an injunction that it should descend to the heirs males of the family, and never be sold. Sir Philip was his eldest son; and to John her son, she gave the manor of Stodey in Holt hundred, and her body to be buried in the chantry of St. Thomas in this church, and to the repair of it 40s. Proved September 5, 1420; and William Braunch, Esq. of Spilsby in Lincolnshire, appointed Richard Tupland to be incumbent of the said chantry, by his deed, dated June 5, 1460, on the death of Henry Wigan, the last incumbent.
In the 2d of Edward VI. John Kervile is said to hold the manor of Braunch's, of Tyndale, by knight's service. Thomas Kervile was lord in the 3d of Elizabeth, and Henry was then found to be his son and heir.
Part of the manor of Fitton's in this town came to Sir William Howard, by the marriage of Alice, one of the daughters of Sir Edmund, and sister and coheir to Sir John de Fitton, which Sir William had considerable estates in these towns, as descended from the ancient family of De Wigenhale, who took their names from these towns. As the noble family of the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, Earls of Suffolk, Berkshire, Carlisle, Stafford, Effingham, &c. derive their descent from this truly great and eminent person, it will be excusable in me if I mention some things relating to this family, which, as far as I have yet seen, have not been observed by other authors.
The first that I meet with of the ancient family of de Wigenhale, is Peter, whose son, Simon de Wigenhale, was found to owe half a mark for exporting corn without license, in the 24th (1178) of Henry II. and at the same time Robert Passelew owed half a mark, Alured and Surard de Lenne, half a mark, on the same account. (fn. 2)
In an old pedigree of the family of the Howards, in Caius college Cambridge, Fulco or Fulk, stands at the head of it. Of this Fulco I find no account or voucher, that he bore the name of Wigenhale; but that Jeffrey was son of Fulco, appears from certain deeds, also that Alan was son of Jeffrey; that William was son of Alan, appears also from ancient deeds.
In the 8th of Richard I. (1197) a fine was levied between Peter son of Richard de Wigenhale, querent, and William, son of Alan de Clenchwarton, tenent of 4 carucates of land in Wigenhale, Clenchwarton, Tilney, Lenne, Islington, &c. granted to Peter, who reconveyed them to Alan.
This considerable parcel of land is said to belong to the fees of several lords, viz. of Simon Fitz-Richard, who held of the Earls of Clare; of Peter de Bekeswell, who held of the church of Ely; of the abbey of Bury; of the priory of Lewis; (fn. 3) of the Earl of Britain's fee; of the. Earl Warren's; of Godfrey de Lisewis, (that is the Earl Montfort's fee,) &c. and William grants to Peter and his heirs the tenement which Richard his father held of him in Wigenhale, with lands in Tilney, called Potter's Croft.
This William is said to have assumed the name of de Wigenhale; but by the fine above, he rather, at that time, seems to bear the same name with his father, viz. De Clenchwarton; but this is no objection or argument against his taking up afterwards the name of De Wigenhale.
They who are conversant in very ancient deeds, &c. may often observe, that persons who held different tenures or lordships, often varied their names according to the names of the towns wherein those their lordships lay, and their sons followed the same practice, not always taking the name of their father, but from the lordship of some town wherein they were enfeoffed.
This, therefore, makes a great difficulty in the settling of ancient pedigrees, when these practices and customs were so prevailing and common; and it appears by the aforesaid fine, that Alan de Clenchwarton and his son William de Clenchwarton, might justly do the same, as they had manors, &c. in both these towns. Thus Sir Peter de Hobbies, who, died ao. 1239, wrote himself Sir Peter de Hobbies, and Sir Peter de Calthorp, being lord of both these towns.
Sampson abbot of Bury, by his deed, sans date, (about 1200,) granted to William, son of Alan, his land in Wigenhale, the toft and croft which Seman and his wife Lestsware, held in Wigenhale, and which William de Sculham gave to that abbey, on his paying a pound of incense every year.
John was his son, who by the name of John, son of William de Wigenhale, in the reign of Henry III. was found to hold, with John de Hakebeche, the 3d part of a fee in Wigenhale and Tilney, of the honour of Richmond.
This John, son of Sir William de Wigenhale, (fn. 4) is said to have assumed the sirname of Howard, most likely from some office, trust of honour, or dignity committed to him.
Here I cannot but observe, that in the book of Domesday made by the Conqueror, I meet with a Saxon thane to have been lord of Boyton in Waltham hundred, and deprived of it at the conquest, called Hofward, a name of affinity, if not the same, with Howard.
To this I may add the ancient family of Ogard in Norfolk, of which was the famous Sir Andrew Ogard, who lived in the reign of Henry VI. lord of Old Buckenham, &c. in Norfolk, a name also of near affinity, betokening a guard over the sea, or certain waters.
And that John, son of Will. de Wigenhale assumed that name, appears from some old deeds. This John married Lucia, daughter of John Gernund, who was a person of considerable fortunes and eminency in that age, as appears by his being a witness to deeds, sans date, and taking place of John de Fitton, and Jeffrey de Kerville, lords of Wigenhale, &c. and is said to have borne, quarterly, gules and vert, an escarbuncle over all, or. By this Lucy, John, son of William de Wigenhale or Howard, had William Howard, his eldest son, and left Lucy his widow.
The Wigenhales being a numerous family, and many taking their names from the towns, either as lords or as natives, make it (as I observed) a difficult task to ascertain any thing absolutely before this time.
Sir Will. Dugdale was so sensible of this, and having, it is probable, not seen many evidences from fines, &c. (as I have in part here specified) places this William Howard at the head of this noble family, and, as he observes, "After much fruitless search to satisfy himself "as well as others."
In a deed, sans date, of John de Norwold, abbot of Bury, to John de Hakebech of Wigenhale, of messuages and lands there, some are said to be butted on Fitton's Green, with the common pasture, west, the great bank of Wigenhale, east, and butting on the lands of William Howard, &c. (fn. 5)
To this deed, Sir William de Pakenham, Richard Weyland, Adam de Hakebeche, Roger de Colvil, junior, Philip de la Fen, John FitzWalter, Knights, John de Fitton, William Howard, Daniel de Breccles, Robert de Norwold, &c. were witnesses. This was before his being knighted, which was in or about 1278. Being bred to the law, he became highly eminent, was retained by several persons of dignity, by societies and corporations, from whom he had a settled annual pension.
His chief place of residence was at East Winch, by Lynn, of which town he was lord: it is manifest he lived there from the 13th of Edward I. to the 34th of that King; in those years several presents were sent to him and his lady, from the corporation, for his good services to them, as appears from the Chamberlain's accounts of that town, extant at this day on rolls of parchment, and stand thus:
Item, in uno carcos. bovis misso Dne. Alicie Howard, usq; Wynch 11s. that is, for a carcase of an ox, and sending it to the Lady Alicie Howard, at Wynch, 6s.—Item, in vino p. duas vices miss. Dno. Willo. Howard, cum duob; carcos. vitul. et uno scuto apri xiiis.—that is, for wine sent twice to Sir William Howard, with 2 calves, and a collar, or shield of brawn, 13s.—Item, in duob; salmon. miss. Dno. Willo. Howard vigil Pasche xis.—that, is, for 2 salmons sent to Sir William Howard on the vigil of Easter xis.—By this it appears that he was a knight in in the year 1285, and some say he was made judge of the Common Pleas in 1280.
In the 14th of Edward I. Richard de Brandon and Agnes his wife conveyed lands in Wygenhale to him, by fine. In the 18th of that King, he purchased lands, and a mill in Wigenhale, and lands in Clenchwarton, by fine, of John, son of Richard de Wiggehale, also lands in Tilney of William de Rugham, and is then called William Howard of Wigenhale, and in the 21st of that King, he gave to the abbey of West Derham 22 acres of moor, and 28 of marsh, in Tyrington and Tilney, and being constituted one of the justices of the Common Pleas, in the 26th (1297) of Edward I. took his oath, and some say he was then made chief justice of the King's Bench.
In the 27th of the said King he purchased lands by fine of James, son of Thomas de Wigenhale, and in the 21st the abbot of Bury confirmed to him lands, called Abbots-Dale, for life;—witnesses, John de Fitton, John de Hakebech, John de Reynham, Robert de Rungeton, William de la Fenne, &c. and purchased lands of Robert Curson, by fine, in Tyrington, Tilney and Walpole, in the 33d of the said King; in which year he was made one of the justices of Trail Baston, to enquire after intruders on other men's lands, and malefactors, who committed murders, burnings, robberies, or other damages in houses, woods, parks, &c. the receivers and abettors of them. He was also at this time one of the King's council, and gave advice that if the King should prefer the Bishop of Byblis, whom the Pope had provided for, by his bull, to be prior of Goldingham in Scotland, that would be a derogation to the King's crown and dignity, and therefore not grantable; whereupon the King sent a letter of refusal to the Pope in the said year: the justices of Traylbaston, in commission with him, were John Botetourt, Nicholas Frembaud, and Roger Harewedon, for the Countess of Gloucester, Northampton, Oxon, Berks, Bedford, Bucks, Essex, Hertford, Rutland, Cambridge, and Huntingdon.
He was summoned, with other judges, (by writ dated January 8, in the 1st of Edward II.) who were of the King's counsel, to attend at the coronation, to be solemnized at Westminster, on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Valentine, and died, as is said, in the following year. It is highly probable that he was buried in the chapel of St. Mary, on the south side of the chancel of East Winch church, which chapel, I am inclined to think, was built by him, being lord of this manor, and residing there, as I have shown; several also of his successours lived there, and was buried there, whose grave-stones, about 2 centuries past, were to be seen; and Sir Robert Howard, his great-grandson, lived and died there in 1388, also buried in this chapel, and had a tomb erected over him, as may be seen in Weaver. (fn. 6)
Sir William married 2 wives; Alice, the first, was the daughter of Sir Robert Ufford, afterwards Earl of Suffolk, by whom he left no issue; his second wife was Alice, daughter of Sir Edmund Fitton of Wigenhale St. German's, who bore azure, three cinquefoils, argent, the arms of the Lords Bardolph, under whom he held lands, the colours only varied, by whom he had Sir John Howard, his son and heir; she survived him, and was living in 1310.
John was of age before his father's death, and married in the 2d of Edward II. Joan, daughter of Richard de Cornwall and Joan his wife, and afterwards heir to Richard her brother, who bore argent, a lion rampant, gules, in a bordure ingrailed sable, bezante, as descended from Richard Earl of Cornwall, son of King John, and Emperor of Germany. In the 15th of Edward II. a fine was levied between him and the lady Joan his wife, by which the manor of Wigenhale was settled on them for life, remainder to John, their son; was also then lord of East Winch, East Walton, and Terrington; and Joan, widow of Richard de Cornwall, on her daughter's marriage with Sir John, settled her lands in Pentney, Nereford, Alesthorp, East Walton, and the 3d part of her manor in Tirington, on him, and her daughter Joan, and their heirs.
At his death, in the 5th of Edward III. he was found to hold the manor of Wigenhale, (St. German's as I take it,) of the Lord Bardolph, paying 4d. ob. per ann. and of Thomas de Reynham, by 12d. per ann. and at this time the crosses in the arms of Howard are said to have been, botony, fitché; and their crest, out of a crown a pyramid, on the summit, a plume of feathers, as was to be seen in the chapel of East Winch, where this knight was buried, and had a gravestone, with his, and his lady's pourtraitures thereon in brass.
Sir John Howard, his son and heir, by the lady Joan, writes himself in the 10th of Edward III. of Wigenhale St. German's in a grant of land, at Seche, to William Duraunt of South Lynn, and in the 15th of that King, this knight, with Thomas Lord Bardolf, and Sir John de Thorp, were appointed commissioners to array the county of Norfolk, and to seize all persons who should rise up in arms against the King. (fn. 7) In 1346, he obtained a grant for a market every Friday, and a fair every year, at his manor of Wigenhale, on the feast of St. Mary Mag dalen, which fair is kept at this time, and the Lord Bardolf had the rent of 10s. 2d. per ann. conveyed to him by Sir John and Alice his wife, in 1348, by fine; by this lady Alice, (daughter and heir of Sir Robert de Bois of Fersfield, who bore ermine, a cross sable) he left Sir Robert his son and heir; she survived her husband, and died on Monday before the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin, in the 46th of Edward III.
What I have above observed of this family are occurrences taken from authentick records and evidences, and not mentioned for the most part by any author, and serve to clear up many things relating to it in ancient days; and to Sir William Howard, who undoubtedly was the chief founder of it. They who are desirous of seeing more of the Howards, may consult Dugdale's Baronage, the History of the Peerage, Mr. Blomfield's Hist. of Norfolk, in his 3d [vi.] vol. &c.
Sir John Howard, grandson of Sir Robert abovementioned, left by Joan his wife, sister and heir of Sir John Walton, an only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, who brought this lordship, and many others of this family, to John de Vere Earl of Oxford, in 1428, by marriage; and on the death of John de Vere Earl of Oxford, in 1526, it came to his three sisters and coheirs, Elizabeth, married to Sir Anthony Wingfield, Dorothy, to John Nevill Lord Latimer, and Ursula, to Sir Edward Knightley, who dying without issue, the Lords Latimer, and the Wingfields, had each a moiety of this manor.
Richard Everard, by his will dated May 20, 1566, gave the manor of Fittons, to John Everard, and by an inquisition taken at Hoxon, the last day of March, in 15th of Elizabeth, on the death of John Everard, the jury find that he died seized of it, 12 messuages, 300 acres of land, 100 of meadow, 200 of pasture, 10 of wood 100 of moor, 200 of marsh, and 40s. rent in Wigenhale St. Germain's, and Islington, on December 15, last past, without issue, and that Henry Everard, of Linstead in Suffolk, was his cousin and heir, all which were held of the Lord Latimer, and Sir Robert Wingfield, by fealty, and the payment of 1s. per ann.
The office of water-bailiff from Stapleswere, to Larks Hirne, was granted in the 16th of Henry VI. to Giles St. Loo, and in the 26th of that King, to John Ledred for life. The river Ouse, formerly between this town and Islington, used to run between certain banks, distant asunder, 12 perches, but by great floods became a full mile over, as appears from a petition to King Edward III. in his 36th year.
The Church is dedicated to St. German, was formerly a rectory valued at 24 marks, but being appropriated to the office of the cel arer in the church of Norwich, by John de Grey Bishop of Norwich, a vicarage was settled, valued at 6 marks, Peter-pence 7d.; the vicarage was in the presentation of the priory of Norwich, and is now in the dean and chapter, and the great tithes were let to Sir Robert Brown, Bart. the present valor of the vicarage is 6l. per ann. and is discharged of first fruits and tenths.
In the windows of the church were also the arms of Heydon, of Baconsthorp, Norwich priory, Lord Bardolf, Lord Scales, Howard, Ingaldesthorp; Fincham, impaling argent, a chevron between three bears heads couped, sable, muzzled or, Berry; also gules, a cross between four lions rampant; and argent, a lion rampant, azure.
In memory of Mrs. Martha Appleton, eldest daughter and coheir of Mr. Thomas Moor and Martha his wife, who died Oct. 10, 1653, wife of Robert Appleton, Esq; with the arms of Appleton, argent, a fess ingrailed, sable, between three apples leafed, vert, impaling Moor, sable, a swan, argent, in a bordure ingrailed, or.
In memory of Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Moor, and wife of— Wright, of Wainford, who dyed 1662, with the arms of Wright, sable, a chevron ingrailed, between three lis, or, on a chief, of the 2d, three spears heads, azure, impaling Moor; both their epitaphs are in doggrel verse, by their father Moor, who was so much in love with his Muse, that he made his own last will in verse.
In memory of the said Thomas Moor, who died November 7, 1667, aged 65.—and thus inscribed—Hic situs est Thomas Moore, generosus, qui annorum satur hac vita tandem peracta, in meliorem fœliciter transmigravit septimo die Novem. Ao. Dnj. 1657, œtatis 65.—Martha filia Roberti Appleton, Armigeij, et defuncti, nepotis monumentum hoc memoriœ ejus sacrum mœrens posuit.
1374, John de Ely, ditto; by his last will dated in this year he gives legacies to the Lady Isabel de Tilney, to Catharine Braunche, to the rep ir of Holm church, the altar of St. Mary there, and for the soul of Sir Edmund de Holm.