An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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Roger, of Poictiers in France, had the grant of this town, of which Edric, a freeman was deprived, containing 4 carucates of land; 18 villains, and 12 borderers belonged to it then, with 2 carucates, and there were 8 carucates among the tenants, 6 acres of meadow, paunage for 60 swine, and there were 4 tenants, with half a carucate of land, and a carucate and an acre of meadow, one cow, &c. 200 sheep, valued at 4l. then, but at the survey at 8l. was one leuca long, and half a one broad, and paid 15d. gelt. (fn. 1)
This Roger was third son of Roger de Montgomery, a Norman, Earl of Montgomery, who attended the Conqueror into England, and commanded the centre of the van of his army in the battle of Hastings, and by Mabel his first wife, daughter and heir of William Talvace, son of William, son of Ivo de Bellesme, had three sons; 1st, Robert de Belesme, who inherited his father's and mother's estates in Normandy; 2d, Hugh Earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury, as his father had been; 3d, Roger of Poictiers, created Earl of Lancaster; 4th, Philip, a priest, and 5th, Arnulph, Earl (as said) of Pembrokeshire. Also 4 daughters; 1st, Emme, abbess of Almanisca; 2d, Maud, married to Robert Earl of Moreton; 3d, Mabel, to Hugh de Novo Castello; and Sibil, the 4th, to Robert Fitz Hamon, lord of Corboil in Normandy.
Roger de Montgomery, the father, was son of Hugh de Montgomery, by Jocelina, daughter of Turolf of Pont Andomare and Weva his wife, sister of Gunnora, Dutchess of Normandy, great grandmother to William the Conqueror.
Roger of Poictiers Earl of Lancaster had, besides this town, the lordships of Heynford, Spixworth, Crostwick, and Maidenston in this hundred of Taverham;—Cowlteshall in South Erpingham hundred;— Tunstade, Hofton, Riston, and Westwick in Tunstede hundred, in Norfolk; but rebelling against King Henry I. and taking part with his brother Robert Duke of Normandy, he was deprived of all his estates and earldom in England.
Robert Bertram (fn. 2) was afterwards lord of this town, and a Norman, but taking part with the French King, against King John, the said King in his sixth year, granted it to Peter de Nerford, who being accused of making great waste therein, the King reassumed it, and gave it Roger le Poure, at the request of Robert Fitz Roger, lord of Horseford, to be held at the King's will; and on his death, Robert le Poure, his son and heir, possessed it, and had a grant of freewarren in the 51st of Henry III. but in the following year conveyed it by fine to Thomas, son of William Bardolf, with the advowson of the church, who granted to Robert, an annuity of 20 marks for life, with a clause of distress in his manors of Spixworth and West Winch.
This Thomas, in the 15th of Edward I. claimed free-warren, the assise and view of frank pledge, and in the 18th of that King was impleaded by John, (fn. 3) the son of master Robert de Redmere, Thomas having view of frankpledge, and John having lands, in the town, and not appearing in his lete, or tithing, he had distrained John's oxen, who pleaded that he was a clerk, and a scholar, and that no clerks, or scholars, ought to be put into the tithing against their consent in any lete, and produced the Bishop of Norwich, and the chancellor of the University's letter, to testify the same; so that judgment was given against the lord of the leet, and that a clerk need not appear at the leet, without his presence was particularly necessary, and the oxen were restored to John.
In the 6th of Edward II. a fine was levied between John Bardolf and Christian his wife, querents, and Joan, daughter of Thomas Bardolf of Spixworth, deforciant, of this lordship and advowson, which Cecilia, widow of the said Thomas, held for life, of the honour of Lancaster, by one fee, and 10s. per ann. and in the 13th of Edward III. it was settled on John Bardolf and Christian his wife in tail, by Hubert, parson of Spixworth, and John, parson of Racketh; and the heirs of Thomas Bardolf, held it in the 4th of Henry IV.; who those heirs were, is not mentioned; but in the reign of Edward IV. John Skerning and Margaret his wife: John Thurlewind, Joan Burdon, John Burdon and Cecilia his wife, conveyed it with lands in Horstede, Crostwick, Below, &c. to John Winter, Esq. See in Spixworth.
By the will of John Briggs, Esq. dated at Salle, May 21, 1494, it appears that he died seized of it, and devised it to his wife Margaret, for life, after to Sir Henry Heydon, on his payment of 400 marks to his executors, and in the 15th of Henry VII. Edmund Paston and Margaret, late wife of Thomas Briggs, granted it by fine, with the advowson and warranty against the heirs of Margaret, to Sir Robert Clere, and Sir Robert Drury.
Sir Anthony Heveningham was lord in the 1st of Edward VI. and patron, and Mary, his widow, who married Phil. Appleyard, Esq. died possessed of it, December 12, in the 4th and 5th of Philip and Mary, and Arthur Heveningham, her son, inherited it, and Sir Arthur sold it with the advowson to Thomas Peck, Esq. alderman, and mayor of Norwich in 1586.
Thomas Peck, Esq. was lord in 1640, son and heir of William Peck, who died in 1634.
In 1688, the Earl of Yarmouth was lord, and in 1700; and Harbord Harbord, Esq. in 1740, was lord and patron, in which family it remains.
The tenths were 3l. 10s.—Deducted 22s.— Temporalities of St. Faith's priory 18d.
The sheriff's turn for the hundred was kept on Fretenham hill.