An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Godwin Earl of Kent, father of King Harold, was lord of this town, before the conquest, when the Conqueror took possession of it, and at the survey Godric was steward, or took care of it for him: it contained 2 carucates and an half of land with 10 borderers, one carucate in demean, one among the tenants, and 15 acres of meadow, 2 cows, 13 swine, and 160 sheep; and 36 socmen held 108 acres, and there were 6 carucates; 16 freemen also had 2 carucates of land, with 3 borderers, and 6 carucates and 14 acres of meadow, then valued at 50s. and which the freemen had at 40s. but at the survey paid 8l. quitrent, and 20s. as an income in tale; was one leuca long and one broad, and paid 18d. gelt whoever held it. (fn. 1)
In the Red Book of the Exchequer, ao. 12 Henry II. we meet with this account; " I, William de Colecherch, owe to my lord, Henry the King, the service of half a knighte's fee in Norfolk, of the ancient tenure from the conquest, for I will not that my service should be concealed, but that I would do that which I ought, and I did homage to thee, my Lord, and to my Lord Henry your son, and did my service to your sherif."
The tenure was this lordship of Hempstede; and in the 30th of the said King, Richard his son held the same half fee; Jeffrey Peche married his widow, her custody, with that of Sara his daughter, or niece, and his heir, being granted by the King to Hugh de Cressey, who married her to Roger de S'co Dionisio (St. Dennis), and in her right was lord, and living in the 4th of Henry III. (fn. 2) Sir Richard de St. Dennis was their son, and gave 50s. relief in the 22d of that King.
Hugh de St. Dennis had also an interest here, probably brother of Richard, who granted considerable lands to find a lamp burning always in the church of St. Andrew of Hempstede, before the image of St Margaret, for the health of his own soul, and that of his father and mother
Sir Richard de St. Dennis left 2 daughters and coheirs; Isabel, who married John Mansell, and Joan, who married Roger le Cook, or Ken, and between these this lordship was divided, and they were living in the 3d of Edward II.
By an inquisition, taken in the 14th of Edward I. February 3, Henry Mansel was found to die seized of a moiety, and John was his son and heir by Beatrix his wife, (who survived him) daughter of Thomas de Roudham; and Sir Walter Walcot held a moiety in the 29th of that King, and presented to the church in 1355.
John Mansel died seized of a moiety August 6, in the 35th of the said King, and Walter his brother inherited it, on whose death, Alice his sister was found to be his heir, the wife of John Billing, alias de Beckham.
About this time a messuage was found to belong to it; 30 acres of it valued at 7s. 6d.; 3 of pasture at 12d.; a windmill, at 3s. 4d.; rent of assise, 8s.; 18 days work in autumn, at a penny a day; 100 days in winter, each day a halfpenny; 6 hens at Christmas, each valued at 1d.; and 120 eggs at Easter, 4d. also 30 acres in demean, held of Reginald de Eccles and the prior of Okeburn, valued at 5s. per ann.
Alice had, by John de Beckham, 2 daughters and coheirs, Beatrix and Rose; Rose married Robert Robell of Great Yarmouth, and enjoyed the moiety, late Mansell's, and paid relief for it in the 41st of Edward III.
In 1383, John de Eccles of Billockby had a lordship here, and gives it, by will, to be sold, and appoints Robert Martham his executor. (fn. 3)
In 1398, Margaret, relict of Roger Gyney, by her testament, dated February 24, 1395, gives to her younger son, James Gyney, the manor of Hempstede, and lands in Eccles, with all her stock, on her death; and in the 3d of Henry IV. James Gyney, Esq. and Robert Robell, lords of Hempstede, were living; and in the following year, on an inquisition taken on Tuesday before the feast of St. Margaret the Vigin, at Norwich, John Strange escheater, Robert Robell was found to hold, at his death, February 24 past, a fourth part of this lordship, and Thomas was his son and heir
James Gyney abovementioned, married Ela, probably daughter or sister of Thomas Robell. In the first year of Henry V. on St. Valentine's day, Robert Wright of Smalburgh, John Elwyn of Eccles, &c. convey to him a moiety of this manor, and a fourth part of the same, with the advowson of the church, and the lands and tenements, late Reginald de Eccles, so that he had 3 parts of the manor.
Ela seems to have brought with her one moiety, late Robelles: she was in the year 1420, remarried to John Ingram; and in the 22d of Henry VI. she was the wife of William Pickering, when they, with Robert Martham, enfeoffed John Titleshale, &c. of three parts of this manor, late James Gyney's, by deed, dated May 20.
Soon after this, on the death of the said Ela, it was conveyed by her trustees, Robert Martham, &c. to Sir Miles Stapleton of Ingham, (fn. 4) who settled it on Elizabeth, his eldest daughter and coheir, on her marriage with Sir William Calthorp, who was lord of 3 parts in the 6th of Henry VII. and Sir Francis Calthorp was his son by the said Elizabeth, and he died seized of it in the 35th of Henry VIII. and William, his son, inherited it, who sold it about 1572 to Sir Robert Woods of Norwich, father of Robert Wood, Esq. by Anne, his wife, daughter of Augustine Steward, Esq. who married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of John Woolmer of Thurston, whose son, Robert, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Richardson, left Thomas Wood, Esq. father of Thomas Wood, Esq. by Anne his wife, daughter of Thomas Peyton, Esq. which Thomas, by Ellen, daughter of Thomas Eyre, Esq. had Thomas his son, lord and patron of this town and church, and of Braconash, in 1746.
The remaining fourth part was in the hands of Thomas Stodhagh, in the 10th of Henry VI. in which year, Thomas Stodhagh, and Catherine, his wife, John Stodhagh and Catharine his wife, convey it to John Haydon, &c. with 2 messuages, 200 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 60 of heath, trustees, whereby it was settled on Thomas and Catharine for life; remainder to John and Catharine his wife; and John Stodhagh of Hempstede, Esq. in 1485, wills to be buried in this church by his father; gives to Roger his brother 10 marks, and the same sum to Richard his brother, with a legacy to the rector of this church, to pray for him and Alice his wife, and for John Stodagh and Catharine his wife, (his father and mother,) for one year every Lord's day, (fn. 5) to William his son and heir he gives the manor of Badew Parva and Hatfield in Essex, and to Laurence his son his manor of Hempstede; proved April 21, 1486.
In the 11th of Henry VIII. John Palmer, Gent. enfeoffed Margaret Coot, William Paston, Esq. John Brampton, Esq. and Christopher Coot, Gent. on May 20, with 2 messuages, 100 acres of meadow, 10 of wood, and 20s. rent, &c. and in the 25th of that King, Christopher Coot and Elizabeth his wife convey it to William Lyster. After this it was in John Bishop of Worsted, Gent. and William Bishop sold it to Michael Baker of Bacton; Baker to Repps of Hempstead, and Repps to Gyles Godrey; and John Corbet, Esq. was lord of Stody's manor, alias Bishop's, in the 15th of James I.
The Church is a rectory, dedicated to St. Andrew, and was valued in the reign of Edward I. at 14 marks, then in the patronage of John Maunsel, lord of the manor. The rector had no house, but a grange and 17 acres. Peter-pence, 18d.
The present valor is 9l. 6s. 8d. and is discharged. In the chancel were the arms of Calthorp, Bacon, Stapleton, and Wythe; in the church those of Erpingham, Walton, and Stodagh, gules, on a chevron, argent, three blackbirds, proper, beaked, or, in a bordure indented, sable; and against the south wall, near the chancel, the effigies of a man and his wife, kneeling and painted;