An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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Part of this town was a beruite, or manor depending on the capital manor or honour of Mileham, held by Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, a lay fee in his own right, and was deprived of it by the Conqueror, and farmed of him by William de Noiers; 4 carucates of land belonged to it, 9 villains and 11 borderers, and 5 servi, with 4 acres of meadow, 2 carucates in demean, and 9 amongst the tenants, only 5 at the survey, but the rest might be recovered, also 2 socmen with 4 acres and a half of land, one runcus, one cow, and 16 swine, 104 sheep, and 20 goats, and was valued in Mileham. (fn. 1)
Soon after this, Alan, son of Flaald, to whom the Conqueror granted the manor of Mileham, had also this with it as an appendix to, or part of, the said manor. This Alan was ancestor of the noble family of the Fitz Alans Earls of Arundel, and lords this manor and of Mileham, to which town, for an account of them, I refer the reader.
Alan granted it to Sewald, with the hundred of South-Greenhow, and Launditch, to hold of him and his heirs; of this Sewald was John Le Strange, descended, (as may be seen in the hundred of Launditch,) who in the 52d of Henry III. held here one fee, was of age, and not a knight; and in the 55th of Henry III. having impleaded the rector of Litcham for keeping the evidences of his lordship from him, released the action by deed dated at Knokyn, which shows that this family was related to that of Knokyn, in Shropshire; by Isabella his wife he had two sons, John and Ralph; John, the eldest, married Clementia, relict (as it is said) of Jordan de Sackvile, and daughter of Sir William de Burgh.
In the 14th of Edward I. Baldwin de Frevyle, appears to have some interest herein, and sued his bailiff, Richard de Clerk, to give him an account of what he had received here, in Wellingham, and Wesenham; and in the same year he impleaded John le Strange de la Marche, to acquit him of the service and payment of 15s. scutage, which Robert Burnel Bishop of Bath and Wells demanded of him for the manor which he held for the life of the said John, belonging to Richard Fitz Alan Earl of Arundel, then in the custody of that Bishop, his guardian.
The jury, in the 15th of that King, find that the said Baldwin de Frevyle claimed frank pledge by the view of the King's bailiff, assise, weyf and stray in this manor; and in the 20th year of the said King a fine was levied between John son of Ralph L'Strange of Lutcham and Isabell his wife, querents, and John de Waltham, parson of Snoring Parva, and Richard de Sutton, their trustees, deforciants of several messuages, 140 acres of land, a mill, 15 acres of meadow, 15 of marsh, 15 of heath, 29s. 8d. rent in Lucham, Mileham, Titeshale, Stanford and Bittering Parva, settled on John Waltham, who reconveyed them to John, son of Ralph and Isabel, for their lives, remainder to John (son of the aforesaid John) and Clementia his wife.
This John, son of John, on whom the remainder abovementioned was settled, died, as appears from the eschaet rolls, in the 33d of Edward I. and Ralph was then found to be his brother and heir; but by a fine levied in the 2d of Edward II. John, brother of Ralph, left a son of his own name, as may be seen in Wellingham, and it seems to be entailed on Ralph.
Of this family was Alice, daughter of Sir John L'Strange, to whom Sir John Gedding sold, for 63 marks, all the messuages, lands, homages, rents, &c. in this town, by deed sans date.
After this I find it in the family of De Felton, who had an interest here in the reign of Henry III. when Robert de Felton held half a fee of John le Strange de la Marche, that is, of the marshes in Wales, &c. and John, of the Fitz Alans, lords of Mileham; and in the 25th year of Edward I. Robert de Felton had the grant of a mercate every week at his manor of Lucham, and a fair yearly on the day and morrow of the feast of All-Saints, with free-warren: this seems to be that Robert who was knighted at Westminster about this time, with 300 young gentlemen, sons of noblemen and knights, at the feast of Pentecost, with great solemnity, at the high altar in the abbey church, on the creation of the King's son, Prince of Wales, who was knighted also with them; in the roll he is styled Robert, son of Robert, son of Pagan; and John de Felton was lord in the 9th of Edward II.
Sir Thomas Felton, sen. granted in the 5th of Edward III. to Richard de Lambeth, citizen of London, 40l. per ann. out of his manor of Lutcham, and in the 20th of that King. Sibill de Felton was found to hold half a fee of the Earl of Arundel; and Sir Thomas de Felton, Knt. of the Garter, died seized of it in or about the 4th of Richard II. with the advowson of the church, and Mary, his eldest daughter, by Joan his wife, was found to be married to Sir Edmund Hengrave, and Sibilla to Sir Thomas de Morley: Sir Thomas Felton was governour of Aquitain in France, and taken prisoner in 1377.
It does not appear that either Hengrave or Morley had any interest in this lordship.
Joan de Felton, (fn. 2) widow of Sir Thomas, held it in the 4th of Henry IV. by half a fee, of the Earl of Arundel, and on her death (as I take it) it came to Cecilia, daughter of John Breton, Esq. of Wychingham Magna, by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir Hamon de Felton; who released to Sir Thomas Erpingham and his heirs, all her right in the manor of Felton's called Netherhall, in Litcham, and in the advowson of the church, in the 10th of the aforesaid King.
In the pedigree of the Wodehouses of Kimberley, (fn. 3) Sir Edward Wodehouse, who lived in the reign of Richard II. Ao. 1378, is said to have married a daughter and coheir of - - - - Erpingham," and that one of the family married Joan, a daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Erpingham, who brought the manor of Netherhall in this town into the family, is certain; but as Sir Thomas Erpingham was living in the reigns of Henry V. and VI. and died in 1426, it could not be his daughter and coheir Joan, who married the aforesaid Sir Edward Wodehouse.
John Wodehouse, Esq. famous in the wars of France, at Agincourt, &c. was an intimate friend and fellow soldier with Erpingham, being grandson of Sir Edward Wodehouse aforesaid, and died 1439.
This lordship was given by Sir Edward Wodehouse, Bart. in the reign of Charles the 2d, to Edmund his second son, on whose death, in 1727, it came to Sir John Wodehouse, and his son Sir Armine Wodehouse is lord.
Was in the days of King Edward, the lordship of Turchetel, but on the Conquest was granted to Hermerus de Ferrarijs, ancestor of the Lords Bardolf, barons of Wirmegay in Norfolk, when it contained 3 carucates of land, 3 villains, 3 borderers, 4 servi, 8 acres of meadow 2 carucates in demean, one amongst the tenants, &c. a mill, and 3 socmen held 4 acres and one virgate of land, &c. the moiety of the church, with 4 acres, and there belonged to the lord half a carucate of land, 2 borderers, the 4th part of a mercate, and William held it under Hermerus, and half a carucate, with 2 acres of meadow, &c. in Thorp, (Wesenham,) valued at 50s. and 10s. over: the whole was 8 furlongs long, 6 broad, including a manor in Roughum, and paid 7d. gelt. (fn. 4)
This lordship of the Lord Bardolf extended also into Dunham Magna, and East Lexham: that part of it which was in this town seems to be held by Sir John Gedding, and conveyed by him to Alice, daughter of Sir John Strange, for 63 marks, by deed sans date, as I have above mentioned.
In the 8th of Richard II. Thomas Gardiner, Esq lord of Gissing, held in right of his wife Cecilia, daughter of John Breton, Esq. and Mary his wife above mentioned a fourth part of this lordship, and in the 9th of the said King, a fine was levied, wherein John Petere of Long-Stratton, and Claricia, his wife, convey to Joan, widow of Sir Thomas de Felton, John de Waltham, and John Churchman, her trustees the manor of East Hall in Lutcham, and lands in Titleshale, from the heirs of Claricia, and in 18th of the said reign, the Lord Bardolf was found to hold in this town, East Lexham, Dunham Magna, Elingham Magna, and Kempston 5 fees.
Sir John Tiptoft had in right of his wife Jocosa, the third part of this manor 180, acres of land, 4 of pasture, the third part of a watermill, with rents of assise, and perquisites of court, by the 40th part of a fee: the lady Jocosa was a daughter and coheir of Edward Cherlton Lord Powys, by Alianore his wife, daughter of Thomas, and sister, and coheir to Edmund Holland Earl of Kent, widow of Roger Mortimer Earl of March, Joan, the other daughter and coheir of Edward Lord Powys, being married to Sir John Grey.
After this it came to Sir Thomas Erpingham, who was lord of the whole, and by his daughter and coheir Joan, to - - - - - - Wodehouse, and Sir Edward Wodehouse, by a fine levied in the 18th of Edward IV. was lord of East Hall and Nether Hall.
Temporalities of the the prioress of Carrow in 1428, 6d.; of Westcacre 6d.; of Castleacre 6d.
Agnes, widow of Ralph L'Strange of Lutham, gave to Castleacre priory 2s. rent per ann. payable by Edrich of Southacre, confirmed by John her son, sans date.
Benedict, prior of Castleacre, granted to Michael Harold of Titleshale 6 acres of land in Lucham, paying 3s. per ann.—witnesses, Alexander de Acra, Reyner de Acra, &c.
The town takes its name from the river Leche, or Litche, that runs by it, as Lechelade in Gloucestershire, &c.
The Church is dedicated to All-Saints, is a neat, regular pile, with a nave covered with reed, a north and south isle, and a chancel covered with lead; at the west end of the nave, a square tower of brick, with coins of free-stone, and embattled, with a clock and dial, built by Mathew Halcot, a tanner, who new cast the bells, and gave the clock.
In the nave lie several gravestones;
In memory of Philippa, wife of John Baly, and relict of Edward Girling, Gent. who died August 24, 1752, aged 52.
For, John Neale, Gent. son of John Neale, merchant in Wisbeach, and uncle to the late excellent rector of this parish, who died Feb. 12, 1727, aged 66.
In memory of Hellen Lawrence, widow, who died Jan. 16, 1741, aged 88 years, and near to her lyeth Mathew Helcot, and Franc. Lawrence, Gent. her two husbands.
For, Mathew Halcot, Gent. who died 1688, æt. 36, with a Latin inscription, and one for Mat. Halcot, Gent. who died August 7, 1707, aged 34.
Against the wall of the tower, fronting the nave, a mural monument of marble;
In memory of John Glover, Gent. erected by Martha his real sorrowful widow, who to perpetuate his memory has given 40s. per ann. payable out of lands in this parish, by the minister and church-wardens to the poor thereof, on the feast day of St. John the Evangelist, he died May 23, 1741, in his 48th year; with these arms on the summit, sable, a fess embattled, ermin, between three crescents, argent.
In the chancel a stone
In memory of John Wastell Gent. of this parish, who died April 19, 1710, aged 73.—For John Wastell, Gent. who died July 13, 1732, aged 54.
In memory of Edward Girling, late of Litcham, Gent. son of Edward and Ann Girling of Norwich, who died March 27, 1736, aged 30.—Vixit Legis municipalis peritus, in praxi sagax, integer, erga Deum pius, conjugis amans, erga parentes moriger amicis gratus, omnibus flebilis; and this shield, argent, on a bend, per pale, gules and azure, between two bendlets engrailed, sable, three lis of the first.
In the rails of the communion table, a grave-stone
In memory of William Neale, the late worthy rector of this parish, and vicar of Kempston, son of John Neale, (fn. 5) late rector of Mileham, and Elizabeth his wife died June 30, 1741. aged 56.
An altar monument in the church yard;
Reliquiœ Joh. Halcot, Gen. qui mortem obt. apud Lenne, 22 die Martij, A. D. 1678.
Corpus Matth. Halcot, Gent. qui hanc vitam meliori commutavit 30 July, 1675, œt. suœ 75, cujus sumptibus hoc campanile penitus constructum fuit, &c. 1669.
Hic jacet corpus Joh. Halcot, Armig. de Medio Temple, Londinensi quond. socij filij Matt. Halcot. &c. qui dedit lagenam, et calicem argent. altari hujus ecolesiœ, natus 1648, obt. - - - - - at. 33.
The ancient valor of the church of Litcham, with the portion of the prior of Castleacre, was 10 marks, Peter-pence 2d. ob.; present valor is 9l. 2s. 6d.
1319, Roger Bolewyk, instituted, presented by Sir John Felton.
1349, William Knyghtele, by the lady Sibilla Felton.
1379, Richard Rokel, by Sir Stephen Hales, Knt. and William de Rudham.
1422, Richard Smyth, by Sir Thomas Erpingham, Knt.
1425, Thomas Sharp, by ditto.
1425, Thomas Middleton.
1469, John Aylware, by Roger Townsend, Gent.
1474, Mr. John Bomor, by ditto.
1508, Laur. Bomor, by Sir Thomas Wodehouse.
1540, John Chadwick, by Roger Wodehouse.
1554, Richard Russell, by Sir Roger Wodehouse.
1556, John Wynder, by ditto.
1559, John Chadwick, by ditto.
1571, Richard Pachet, A.M. by the assignees of Sir Roger Wodehouse.
1573, Robert Johnson, by Roger Wodehouse, Esq.
1611, Robert Painter, by Sir Thomas Wodehouse. Richard Lacy.
1617, Edward Pagrave, by ditto.
In 1642, Luke Skippon compounded as rector for his first fruits.
Thomas Wilson occurs rector in 1662.
1681, Henry Tyrell, A.M. by Edmund Wodehouse, Esq.
1684, Franc. Amias, by ditto.
1688, John Cleaver, by ditto.
1741, Peter Smith, by Sir John Wodehouse, Bart.
Dame Mary Woodhouse, relict of Sir Roger, in 1634, left 3l. per ann. to the prior, and William Allee 40s. per ann.
In this church was the guild of All-Saints, and that of St. John Baptist; the light of our Lady, and that of the resurrection.
On the common in this parish was anciently an hermitage, and Thomas Cannon was hermit here.