An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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So called from its site, by a good water or stream, (as Godeston, and Godestow,) was the lordship of Ralph de Tony, (of whom see in Westacre,) at the survey, held by 1 freeman in the reign of King Edward the Confessor, who had a carucate of land; 6 villains and 7 borderers belonged to it, with 9 acres of meadow, and 2 carucates, there was paunage for 200 swine; one socman had 4 acres of land, and was valued in Necton, (Ralph's capital manor,) it was 6 furlongs long and 4 broad, and paid 6d. ob. gelt; this land went with Necton, but did not lie in it, (nor was valued with it,) in the time of King Edward, nor of Harold, and Roger Bigot claims it of the gift of the King, and by the delivery of it. (fn. 1)
Ralph de Tony, on the foundation of the abbey of Westacre, gave this lordship to it with the patronage of that church; and in the 9th of Edward II. the prior was returned to be lord, and so it remained till the general dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. who granted both the manor and patronage of the church to Sir Thomas le Strange of Hunestanton, December 4, in his 32d year, and his son Nicholas had livery of it at his father's death on January 16, Ao. 36 Henry VIII. being held by the 20th yart of a fee.
In the 3d of Elizabeth, Henry Canceler was lord of it, with 12 messuages in this village, Titleshal, Wyssenet and Patesley, also 3 tofts, 21 acres of meadow, 260 of pasture, 40 of wood, 100 of moor, 300 of furze and heath, with liberty of a fold in the aforesaid places, it being conveyed by fine to Robert Canceler from Nicholas le Strange in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary; and in the 16th of Elizabeth, license was granted to Henry Canceller to alien the manor and advowson to John Drury, Esq. called Norfolk Drury, (a younger son of John Drury of Rougham in Suffolk,) who married Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Sydney of Walsingham, by whom he had Robert Drury, Esq. of Docking, who died in 1624. The Drurys sold it to Sir Edward Coke, the judge, whose immediate heir, the Right Honourable the Earl of Leicester, died lord.
In this town is the old seat of Sir Edward Coke.
The temporalities of Westacre priory in 1428, were valued (in lands rent, a mill, &c.) at 3l 1s. 11d. ob.; of Normansburgh priory at 3s.; Walsingham priory 2s. per ann.
The tenths were 24s.—Deduct 6s. 8d.—Remains 17s. 4d.
In a book called Norwich Domesday, wrote about the beginning of King Edward the First's time, this town is called Godwick, alias Hendewyck, Hen expressing likely the name of the stream or rivulet of this Wick, as Henstede hundred, &c.; the church was then valued at 100s. and paid Peter-pence 6d. and in the patronage of Westacre priory; the present valor is 1l. 10s. 10d. and is discharged.
Philip de Longevil occurs rector in the 12th of Henry II. and John de Tilney in the 4th of Edward I.
1306, Peter de Geyton, presented by the prior of Westacre.
1322, William de Wolpit. Ditto.
1342, John Denever. Ditto.
1349, Andrew Godyn. Ditto.
1385, Alexander Cole. Ditto.
1395, John Brewster. Ditto.
1395, John Baxtere.
Thomas Smith, rector.
1421, William Dykk.
1432, Richard Barker.
1444, John Middleton.
1473, Frater John Grimesby, a canon of Westacre.
1474, John Wra, by the Bishop, a lapse.
1485, Robert Keteleston, by the Bishop, a lapse.
On December 15, 1630, Cuthbert Beacon, then rector of this church, and Samuel Leeds, then rector of Titleshall, this church was consolidated with that of Titleshal by the Bishop of Norwich, then at Ludham, Sir Edward Coke, the patron of both churches, consenting.
In 1716, Mr. Ducket, rector, see in Tittleshale.
There is nothing remaining of the old church, but part of the steeple.