An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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The name of this town does not occur in Domesday Book, as being included under the account of the Bishop of Thetford's capital manor of Elmham, to which township it joins. Many have fancied and concluded that if a town was not mentioned in the aforesaid book, that it was not then in being; but the design of that survey is to account for all the manors that were held at that time in capite, and as that is done under Elmham, there was no reason to mention this village, it being quite unnecessary.
That it was a part of the Bishop's manor of Elmham aforesaid appears also from a writ, or mandate of King Henry I. to Roger Bigot, (father of Hugh Bigot Earl of Norfolk) and Ralph Passelewe, to take care that Herbert Bishop of Norwich should hold all his land, as well as his men in Bruselea, and Alwyn, son of Flotein, his man, and others, with all their effects, &c. in the same manner as the Bishop held it, at any time in his brother's (viz. William II.) life, and at his death. (fn. 1)
In the 4th year of King Henry III. there was an assise to enquire who presented the last rector to the church of Brisle, which William de Stutvile, lord of Gressenhale, claimed against Pandulph Bishop of Norwich elect; the Bishop moved that he and his successours ought not to be impleaded, unless in the presence of the King, (his bench,) or justiciary, and if the King or his justiciary was not present he would not answer to it.
Walter Bishop of Norwich had a grant of free warren here in the 35th of Henry III. and in the 3d of Edward I. the Bishop had the assise, and other liberties from the Conquest.
On the exchange of the Bishop's lands in King Henry the Eighth's reign, it was granted with the manor of Elmham, to Thomas Cromwell, after Earl of Essex.
Richard Warner of Elmham, Esq. died lord: see there.
The honour and manor of Gressenhale also extended into this town, and in the 8th of Henry III. Pandulf Bishop of Norwich, by fine levied, granted to William de Stutevile, Lord of Gressenhale, the advowson of this church, the moiety of the patronage of the church of Bilney being granted by William to the Bishop.
Jordan Foliot claimed free warren in his demeans here, Ao. 15 Edward I. after this it came to the Hastings and so to the Le Stranges, as may be seen in Gressenhale; and Sir Henry L' Strange, Knt. of Hunstanton, is the present lord of this fee, and patron of the church.
The tenths were 6l.—Deduct 6s. 8d.
The Church is a regular pile, with a nave, a north and south isle, covered with lead, the chancel tiled, with a lofty embattled square tower, and four bells.
Against the south wall of the chancel are three stone seats.
On the pavement a stone
In memory of Sarah, daughter of John Rowell, Gent. of Walton in Norfolk, and Elizabeth his wife, an infant.
In memory of William Scrivener who died October 16, 1657.
In the nave a grave-stone
For Christ. Athowe, who died Oct. 22, 1585, aged 72.
One, deprived of its brass plate and inscription, with the shield of Taverner remaining, argent, a bend fusilleè, sable; this was
In memory of John Taverner, who died in 1548; he married first Alice daughter and heir of Robert Silvester of Brisley, his 2d wife was Anne, daughter of — Crow of East Bilney.
In the south isle, near the east end,
Orate p. a'ia Roberti Gogney qui obijt viiio. die Januarij Ao. Dni Mo. Vc. Vo. cuj, aie. &c.
In the church chest is a brass plate taken from a gravestone,
Orate p. a'ia Edmundi Gogney qui obijt ij die mensis Julij Ao. Dni Mo. Vc. xliiii, cuj; a'ie p' pitiet. &c.
In the north isle on the pavement, at the east end, a gravestone covered partly with seats, with the pourtraiture of a priest, and,
Orate p. a'i'a Johis Athowe, quo'da, rector de Horny'tofte, qi. obijt xviii die Maij Ao. Dni Mo. CCCCCXXXIo.
By it a mural monument of white marble, with the arms of Brograve, argent, three lioncels, in pale, passant guardant gules:
Hoc marmor erigitur sumptibus Simeonis Brograve, generosi, in sacram memoriam Susannœ uxoris ejus dilectissimœ, quœ mortem subivit 30 mensis Junij 1682, et unicum filium prolem reliquit; qui vitam deponens 18 April 1684. juxta maternum sepulchrum requiescit,
Here resteth the body of Simeon Brograve, Gent. who died Dec. 5, 1697. œtat. 67, Mary his 2d. wife survived him.
The family of Brograve lived here. Mrs. Brograve, widow, remarried Dr. Amias, and was buried by her first husband August 22, 1720.
Edward Brograve was taxed for his lands in 1659, to a militia rate at 72l. per ann.
In the said isle on a gravestone,
Of your charyte pray for the sowles of Robert Markante and Rose his wyffe, the whiche Robert decessed the iii day of Septe'ber in the yere of our Lord God MCCCCCXXV, on whose sowlls, Jesu have mercy, Amen.
St. Christopher is painted on the wall by the north door.
In the church was the arms of Hastings, of Bishop Spencer, and Bishop Becks.
Under the east part of the chancel is a crypta, probably an ancient charnel-house or cell to some hermit, or anchorite.
In the church were the guilds of the Trinity, and St. Bartholomew, St. Thomas the Martyr and St. John Baptist, the lights of St. Mary, All-Saints, St. Nicholas, and St. Bartholomew.
The temporalities of Normansburgh priory, in 1428, were 2s. 6d.; of Petreston priory 15d. ob.; Castleacre 5d.
The Church is a rectory, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, anciently valued at 16 marks, and paid 6d. Peter-pence; the present valor is 8l. 7s. 7d. q. and is discharged.
1303 Stephen de Debenham, rector, presented by the Lady Margery Foliot.
1339, Nich. de Laurence, by Sir Hugh de Hastings.
1348, John de Nessefeld, by Marg. relict of Sir Hugh de Hastings.
1348, William de Lanneye. Ditto.
1349, Robert de Wyntworth. Ditto.
1349 Hugh de Lydgate, by Hugh de Hastynges.
1352, John de Stow. Ditto.
John de Holdenby rector.
1361, Robert Pekke, by the assigns of Sir Hugh Hastyngs.
1391, John de Thorp, by Thomas de Morle, Marshal of Ireland.
1391, John Broughton. Ditto.
1395, Robert Edyman.
1435, John Hamond, by Edward Lord Hastings, in right of the manor of Stanfield.
Steph. Wilton, rector.
1440, Richard Neketon, by John Windham, Esq. in right of Margery his wife, relict of Edward Lord Hastings.
1446, Robert Newman. Ditto.
1453, John Attehoo. Ditto.
1466, Thomas Harryson, by Sir Hugh Hastings, Knt.
1504, John Smith, by George Hastings, Esq.
1537, William Flynt, by Hugh Hastings.
Henry Holmes, rector.
1577, John Hall, by the Queen.
1615, Richard Pepper, by Sir Hamon Le Strange.
1662, Thomas Wilson, by Sir Nicholas le Strange, Bart.
1680, Thomas Le Strange. Ditto.
1694, John Franklin, by Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Bart.
1704, William Waller. Ditto.
1711, James Martin. Ditto.
1727, John Francis, by Sir Thomas L'Estrange, Bart.
1742, Thomas Wetherhead, by Sir Thomas L'Estrange.
This town gave name to the deanery, which was taxed at 20s. the archdeacon of Norwich received of the dean of Brisley deanery, in the synod of St. Michael, for synodals 17s. and at Easter 17s. Peterpence paid in the whole deanery 18s. 4d.
In the year 1300, Simon de Fresingham, collated to the deanery by the Bishop of Norwich.
1304, John de Glynton.
1314, Richard de Hedersete.
1319, John de Norwich.
1331, John de la Coppe.
1341, John de Thoney.
1349, Robert de Stanmere.
In 1452, John Toke, by his will, orders that out of his goods, his executors should erect an house for a poor man, to be built on his land, called Caleys, and one acre to keep it in repair.