The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1. Originally published by WS Crowell, Ipswich, 1846.

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'Pakefield', in The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1, (Ipswich, 1846) pp. 279-287. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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situated on a bold cliff, is constantly suffering from the encroachments of the German Ocean. In Domesday Book it is written Pagefella, and Gurth held an estate here with a mediety of the church and 16 acres and a half of glebe land, valued at five shillings. This was granted, at the Conquest, to Earl Hugh, but is not recorded as a manor. The lordship is called Rodenhall, and was the property of Tored. In the reign of Henry III., Edmund de Wymundhale had free-warren in his lands in Pakefield, but it does not appear that he held the manor; and Henry de Colville had wreck of sea here in the twenty-first year of the same King's reign. In the reign of Edward II., the manor of Rodenhall, or Rothenhall, was held by John de Rothenhall, and in 1419 it was returned that John de Rothenhall held this lordship, at the day of his death, of the King, as of his honour of Chester, by the service of an eighth part of a knight's fee, and Thomas Rothenhall was his son and heir. This Thomas had a sister Elizabeth, and both being minors at the time of their father's death, the manor of Rothenhall escheated to the Crown in 1427, or the following year, apparently on their decease.

"Medietas M'ni vocat Rothenhall cum pten in com: Suff: tam p'mortem Johis Rothenhall, quam racone minoris etat Thome, fil: et hered: p'dc'i Johis Rothenhall, et Eliz: sororis et hered: ejusd: Thome, ad manus R. devenerunt. Quod quidem maner: integrum tenet'r de R. ut de Hon: Cestr: p' servic: quarti partis unius feod: Mil: quodque Anna soror p'dc'i Johis Rothenhall est heres p'dce Elizabethe, et etatis xxi annor." (fn. 1)

There appears considerable intricacy in the preceding record, but it is evident that all the parties mentioned therein were dead, or had disposed of their interests in Pakefield, within a few years after its date; for Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Philip Branch, Knt., and widow of John Clere, Esq., of Ormesby, in Norfolk, but who afterwards married the aforesaid Sir John Rothenhall, by her will dated on the 16th of October, 1438, and proved on the 9th of July, 1441, gave to Robert Clere, her son, all her goods at Castor, and her manor of Horninghall there; and Henstead, Rothenhall and Claydon manors in Suffolk; to him, his heirs and assigns for ever, after the payment of her debts, &c. (fn. 2) The lordship appears to have been shortly after in the possession of Thomas Bardolph, Esq., who, with Alice his wife, presented to the Rothenhall mediety of the church in 1445. Upon the death of this Thomas Bardolph, Alice, his widow, re-married to John Southwell, Esq. In the thirty-second or thirty-third of Henry VI., William Bonds, who was probably a trustee or executor, conveyed the manor of Rothenhall in Pakefield, to John Southwell, and this Alice, his wife. (fn. 3) Southwell, however, had presented to the church in 1451, which was two years previous to this conveyance. In the twenty-ninth of the same King's reign, John Southwell represented the borough of Lewes in Parliament, and resided at Barham Hall, in Suffolk.

In the thirty-sixth of Henry VIII. the manor was parcel of the possessions of the college or hospital of Herringby, in Norfolk, and was granted, under the Privy Seal, on the 13th of April, in the same year, to William Woodhouse, of Waxham, Knt. It then paid 22s. 4½d. per annum to the college. (fn. 4) In 1645, it was conveyed by William Tasker to Robert Proctor, Esq., (fn. 5) from whom its descent has been traced under Kessingland, in which parish part of the lordship lies.

The Manor of Pyes

was anciently the lordship of Sawale Trysth, and afterwards belonged to the family of Drayton. Thomas de Drayton left a daughter, who married John Pye, from whom the manor was called. It was next held by William Jenney, Esq., and in the seventeenth of Henry VII. was the estate of Edmund Jenney. In the twentieth of Henry VIII. it was held by Henry Hobart, Gent.; and in the thirty-third of the same reign by James Hobart. In 1560, it belonged to Henry Hobart, Esq., by whose family it seems to have been united with Gisleham. (fn. 6) The abuttals of land mention the manors of Pakefield and Kirkley, but there does not appear to be any manor called Pakefield; and the manor of Kirkley was formerly called Fastolfs. (fn. 7)

The old manor-house at Pakefield, which belongs to the heirs of Mr. Morse, as lord of Rothenhall, stands between the turnpike-road and the sea. It is now occupied as a farm-house, but preserves much of its ancient character. There were formerly three projecting gables in its front, though only two now remain. Some windows which face the north retain their original glazing and ponderous lead-work.

The manor of Broomholm, now the property of Samuel Morton Peto, Esq., extends into this parish. There was formerly much common land in this vicinity, which is now enclosed. In Pakefield were 109 acres, and in the adjoining village of Gisleham the wastes included 233 acres, as appears by an old award in the parish chest, dated August 2nd, 1799. The tithes of Pakefield are fixed at £205 per annum, and the Rector has 15 acres and a half of glebe in Pakefield, and one acre in Mutford. The population in 1841 amounted to 495 souls.

Maria Selling, of Topcroft, in the county of Norfolk, by will, dated the 2nd of April, 1687, left the following bequest to the parish. "A rent charge of twenty shillings per annum on her lands, lying in Pakefield, to be paid quarterly into the hands of the overseers of the said parish, to be distributed at their discretion to the poor of the said parish; and in case of the non-payment of the said sum of twenty shillings, or any part thereof, in manner and form as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the overseers to enter into all and singular the lands and premises aforesaid, and intended to be chargeable with the said sum, and to take the issues and profits thereof until they be, and shall be satisfied and paid all said arrears of the said rent, together with their and every and their costs and charges thereon."

Notwithstanding the power of entry devised to the overseers of Pakefield by the above will, the annual charge has not been paid for the last six or seven years.

Mrs. Dodd, who died in 1814, devised, by her will, so much money as would purchase £5 a year, interest, to be invested in the public funds, and that the same should be equally divided annually at Pakefield church to ten poor aged persons, of the parishes of Pakefield and Kirkley, not under sixty years of age, and who should be in the habit of frequenting their parish churches every Sunday, except prevented by sickness or bodily infirmity.

The rectory of Pakefield was in medieties from a period before the Norman Conquest, (fn. 8) each mediety having its patron, who presented to his portion upon every vacancy in succession, and not in alternate patronage; so that there were two rectories, and two incumbents in one parish church. This continued to be the case till about the year 1645, after which date one rector was instituted to both medieties by the two patrons, and was considered as holding two benefices. But on the 30th of June, 1743, Thomas Gooch, then Bishop of Norwich, consolidated these medieties upon the petition of Sir John Playters, Bart., and Edward North, Clerk, the patrons of the advowsons of the two medieties, subscribed by the churchwardens, overseers, and principal inhabitants of the parish. The petitioners prayed his lordship, "that in order for the more comfortable and better support of a future rector, and the enabling the keeping of hospitality, one mediety of the said rectory of the parish church of Pakefield might be consolidated to the other mediety of the same church in future, for the taking place on, or upon the first vacancy happening of the same, or either of them, by any ways or means soever from thenceforward for ever." To this petition the Bishop replies that, "Whereas we are informed that till very lately the same clerk hath been presented to both medieties, ever since the year 1645, by reason whereof no good account can now be given, how either the glebes, tythes, and other ecclesiastical dues, or the duties of the cure, were divided between the two rectors, so that the present rectors are at a loss to know their distinct rights and duties, and the parishioners are at a loss to know what share of their dues they are to pay to the rectors of either mediety, and which rector they are to call upon to visit them when sick, to baptise their children, and bury their dead; and whereas we are further informed that the fruits, tythes, profits, and other the ecclesiastical emoluments belonging to both the said medieties of Pakefield are but of the yearly value of £50, which is too insufficient for the proper maintenance of two clerks, according to the decency of the clerical order, and the enabling and keeping hospitality, we therefore, &c., consolidate and incorporate for ever, the two separate medieties, &c., into one whole and entire rectory. Sir John Playters, and his heirs, to have the first alternate presentation after the decease of Philip Richardson, and Edward North, or the survivor of them; and afterwards the said Edward North, his heirs and assigns, to present. Provided always that all the buildings now belonging to the said two medieties be in all future times kept up, and sufficiently repaired."

By deed, dated the 5th of August, 1772, John North, of Benacre, in the county of Suffolk, B.A., then resident at Geneva, sold the next right of presentation, and the advowson of his mediety, to Robert Neslin, of Wheatacre All Saints, in Norfolk, for £180.

Mr. Neslin presented to the consolidated medieties in 1780; but in 1798, Robert Sparrow, and George William Paddon, Esquires, were patrons, and had the alternate patronage. The right of the latter gentleman, however, seems to have fallen, by purchase, or otherwise, to Robert Sparrow, Esq., as we find the aforesaid deed of sale to Neslin, and all other papers relating to the consolidation of the medieties, among the archives of the Earl of Gosford.

The parsonage-house, mentioned in the preceding deeds, stands on the north side of the church-yard, and is a very ancient but mean building of stone.

The Church,

which was evidently erected for the equal accommodation of two congregations, consists of two portions or aisles, of similar architecture and dimensions, divided by a range of seven pointed arches, resting on octangular pillars, finished with plain moulded capitals. Each portion had its separate altar, raised on a flight of steps, beneath which was a charnel-house, common to both medieties, and formerly entered from without, though now approached by stairs beneath a trap-door in the northern aisle. A screen of elaborate workmanship extended through both portions of the edifice, of which the lower compartments remain: these are painted alternately scarlet and green, and diapered with ornaments of foliage, the colours of which are still fresh and effective. Stairs in the north and south walls gave access to the respective roodlofts. There is a square tower at the south-west end of the church, constructed with very massive walls, in which hang four bells.

Some niches in the walls of the interior were opened about twenty years since, and found to contain fresco paintings in the same vivid style as the screens. One, on the south side, exhibits the figures of the Virgin and Christ. Stone seats for the congregation are carried across the face of the western wall, as may be frequently seen in our older churches.

There is a fine octangular font of stone, sculptured with the emblems of the four Evangelists, and which, from its position, seems to have served at the sacrament of baptism for both medieties. It was covered, till very lately, by a wooden model of the upper portion of the tower and spire of Norwich Cathedral, which is now removed to the vestry. This model is about seven feet high, and was made by an ingenious inhabitant of the parish about seventy years since. The condition of the church is neat and reputable, and owes much of this to the liberality of Dr. Leman, a late incumbent, who new-floored and repaired it at his own expense, and erected the present pulpit, which is said to have superseded one of very ancient and elaborate workmanship. (fn. 9)

In the east window of the north aisle are the arms of Sparrow, in modern stained glass, as represented on the accompanying engraving:—arg. 3 roses and a chief gules. There is a small piscina, and a seat for an ecclesiastic, without any canopy.

There seems to be some uncertainty as to the dedication of the church. In the list of institutions, preserved in the record-office of the Bishop of Norwich, the incumbents "in parte australi," or the southern aisle, are inducted to Pakefield All Saints, while the north aisle is simply styled "Pakefield altera medietas." It is probable, however, that this portion of the church was dedicated to St. Margaret, as Gillingwater mentions an old communion cup, now no longer to be heard of, which bore the inscription of

He tells us it had also the date of 1367, which was more probably 1567. The communion cup and stand in present use were "the gift of Robert Leman, M.A., 1769." The following character of this excellent man is inserted in the parish registers. "Sept. 8th, 1779. Died, at his seat at Wingfield Castle, the Rev. Dr. Leman, Rector of the medieties of Pakefield, Vicar of Mendham, and Curate of Carlton Colville, in Suffolk. He was an admired preacher, and a strenuous assertor of the rites and ceremonies of the church of which he was so bright an ornament, and indefatigable in every part of the pastoral office."

"Rogerus Borell, Eccliē de Pakefeld, 6 die Oct: A° D'ni 1384, condidit test: suum apud Henyngham, et legat corpus suum sepeliend: in ecchā Sci Botolphi, in Henyngham: legat Thome Burch, nepti suo diversa." (fn. 10)

Pakefield registry begins in 1680.

Monuments.—Against the east wall of the south aisle is a very pleasing brass effigy of Richard Folcard, Rector of the mediety "in parte australi," who died in 1451. His hands are conjoined in prayer, and from his mouth proceeds a label, on which is written in Latin, "I will celebrate the mercies of my God for ever."

On a large stone, now placed upright against the north wall, are figures in brass, commemorating John Bowff or Bowfe, his wife and eleven children. The circumscription is in the English language, and appears very curious; but as the stone laid originally on the floor, it became much worn by the feet of successive congregations, and is in part defective. John Bowff died,—if my reading of the figures can be relied on,—in 1417; he was probably the father of Robert Boof, who, with John Brown, and Thomas Bonde, presented to the mediety of Pakefield All Saints in 1421. As near as I can decipher the legend, it may be given as follows:

Philip Richardson, fifty-one years Rector of Pakefield and Kirkley, died Oct. 8th, 1748, aged 82. In preaching constant, in life exemplary.

Anne Cunningham, widow of John Cunningham, Esq., of Clapham, in Surrey, died August 11th, 1819, aged 65 years. The tablet to her memory was erected by her two sons, John William Cunningham, Vicar of Harrow, and Francis Cunningham, Rector of this parish, in gratitude for her unceasing solicitude for the welfare of their souls and bodies.

Elizabeth, wife of M. M. Wotton, died 26th December, 1776, aged 32 years. Also, M. M. Wotton, Gent., died 27th December, 1820, aged 74 years.

Rectors of Pakefield All Saints.

Rectors. Date. Patrons.
Peter de Rothenall
Sequest: med: com: Tho: de Drayton 1308 Petronilla de Drayton.
Continuatio sequest: eidem usq: ad Tri: S: Petri ad vinc: 1309
Sequest: med: Jōi de Rothenhall 1311
Joēs de Rothenhall 1311 Peter, fil: Lewalli de Rothenhall.
Robert Testard, de Gavesford 1313 Peter de Rothenhall.
Joēs le Man, de Mutford 1316 Id.
Joēs de Rothenhall 1349 Joēs, fil: Pet: de Rothenhall.
Will: de South Birlingham 1349 Id.
Robert Graunt 1392 Lewall: de Rothenhall, de Pakefield.
Thomas Hatfeld 1409 Geo: Leuthorp et Thos: Grymesby.
Robert Graunt 1411 Rich: Witherley et Will: Pyke.
John Toke et Will: Brown.
John Gerveys 1421 John Brown, Robert Boof, et Thos: Bonde.
Richard Folcard 1445 Thos. Bardolph, Esq., and Alice his wife.
Thomas Rokesby 1451 John Southwell, Esq.
William Fryston
Rectors. Date. Patrons.
Thos. Warde 1458 William Jenney, Esq.
Edward Jenney 1488 Edmund Jenney, Esq.
William Hunter
Edward Jenney 1493 Id.
Robert Hunter 1503 Id.
William Stephenson
Arthur Frythe 1536 Henry Hubbard, Esq.
Henry Harryson 1541 Id.
John Gayton 1552 Id.
Robert Nudde 1558 Henry Hobart, Esq.
John Towne 1570 Thomas Playters, Esq.
John Deunce Bishop, by lapse.
William Wyncoppe 1583 William Playters, Esq.
Thomas Yeowle 1589 James Hobart, Esq.
James Wadsworth 1598 Id.
Richard Sadlington 1603 William Hannam.
John Edwards 1616 William Bell.
Edward Barnes
William Bacon 1645 Richd. Newson, execr. of Nathl. Roe, clk.
William Bacon 1680 Sarah Bacon.
Philip Richardson 1697 Daniel Procter, Esq.

In this mediety a light was burnt before the image of Our Lady.

Pakefield, Altera Medietas.

Rectors. Date. Patrons.
Thomas de Drayton 1309 Christiana, relict of Henry Berry.
Thomas de Spyney 1335 Hugo de Berry.
Joēs fil: Willi, fil: Stephani de Brom, juxta Bungay 1338 Id.
William Colevill 1345 Id.
Henry de Fordham 1351 Edmund Berry.
Joēs Cressy, de Hupton 1365 Id.
William Fesaunt 1374 Alicia Berry.
Alanus Miller 1377 Ead.
Roger Borell, de Hedingham 1382 Ead. rel. Edm. Berry, of Tuddenham.
Galfridus Elvard 1384 Ead.
Robert Graunt
Henry Graunt, of Shadingfield 1421 William, son of Sebball Rothenhall, of Pakefield.
Thomas Bretlond 1452 John Tymperley and Henry Bredfield.
William Fryston 1458 William Jenney.
John Crawford 1489 Thomas Aslack, Esq.
Simon Petytt 1505 Bishop, by lapse.
John Ibbe 1523 William Kelslake, Esq.
Augustine Thirkill 1549 Thomas Playters, Esq.
William Wyncoppe 1584 The Queen.
Richard Sadlington 1603 William Hannam.
William Girlinge 1616 Martin Girlinge, sen.
Edward Bonn 1634 Sir Thomas Playters.
William Bacon 1642 Sir William Playters.
William Bacon 1680 Lionel Playters.
Edward North 1742 The King, for this turn, by death, cession, or otherwise by lapse of time.
Robert Leman 1766 William Leman, Gent.
George Paddon 1780 Robert Neslin, Gent.
Richard Turner 1802 Robert Sparrow, Esq.
Francis Cunningham 1814 Id.

Population of Pakefield in 1841,—495.


  • 1. Esch. 6 Hen. VI.
  • 2. Blomefield. MSS. Jermyn and Davy, &c.
  • 3. Blomefield.
  • 4. Id.
  • 5. MSS. Jermyn and Davy.
  • 6. MSS. Jermyn and Davy.
  • 7. Id.
  • 8. Domesday Book.
  • 9. Gillingwater.
  • 10. Will Book, Norwich.