Hundred of Grimeshou: Croxton

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.

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Francis Blomefield, 'Hundred of Grimeshou: Croxton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2, (London, 1805) pp. 150-155. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Hundred of Grimeshou: Croxton", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2, (London, 1805) 150-155. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Hundred of Grimeshou: Croxton", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2, (London, 1805). 150-155. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

In this section


This village stands at the south-east corner of the hundred: in the time of the Conqueror, when Domesday Book was made, it was called Crokestun, and was then in the King's hands, and kept for him by William de Noiers; Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury was lord in Edward the Confessor's time, when there were five carucates of land, and three in demean, it was then valued at 10l. per annum, at the survey at 40s. but paid 100s.; the whole was one leuca and a half in length, and one in breadth, and paid 20d. towards the 20s. gelt of the hundred. (fn. 1) (fn. 2)

Soon after this, the Conqueror gave the town to William the great Earl Warren, his son-in-law, who at the Conquest had the greatest part of the hundred given him.

Sibton Manor.

Part of this town was held under the said Earl, by Thomas, and Simon Sorrel, which Thomas, about the reign of Henry III. gave lands here to the abbey of Sibeton in Suffolk, which were afterwards, by deed without date, confirmed by Simon his brother; and from hence this manor took its name; and amongst the inquisitions taken in that King's reign, the Abbot of Sibeton was found to hold here the 20th part of a knight's fee: in the third of Edward I. the Abbot is said to hold the moiety of this town of the Earl Warren, and the Earl to hold it in capite. (fn. 3)

Besides the family of Sorrel, several other persons gave lands here to the aforesaid abbey. In 5th of Richard II. John de Beche of Syvelsho in Bedfordshire granted to Robert Ashfield, Thomas de Wroxham, parson of Alby, John de Norwich, &c. the rent of two marks per annum, and five shillings, or a thousand herrings (on Ash-Wednesday) to be paid by the Abbot of Sibeton, for lands held of him in Croxton; and William, nephew of Guy de Tornello, rector of Fornset, gave them lands here; and amongst the evidences of the Duke of Norfolk, are several small deeds of land given to this abbey by several persons, insomuch that the temporalities of that religious house, in this town, were taxed in 1428 at 10l. 4s. 6d. per annum, and were afterwards (at the Duke's request) assigned to the monks of Thetford, and at the Dissolution of abbies were given by King Henry VIII to the Duke of Norfolk; and in the ninth year of King James I. the Bailiff of Thomas Earl of Arundell and Surrey accounted thus for the profits of this manor; rent of assize and free tenants 16d. of customary tenants 35l. 7d. ob. and for land in the vicar's tenure 16d. This manor is now [1738] held by the Duke of Norfolk, and there was, a few years past, a park well stocked with deer; the house, which stands in it, was formerly known by the name of North-Wic, because it stands on the north winding of the river, in respect to Thetford, and is now called Croxton Park.

Bromhill Manor.

Another part of this town was held of the aforesaid Earl Warren, by the ancient family of De Plaiz, and was given by Sir Hugh de Plaiz, about the beginning of the reign of Henry III. to the priory of Bromhill in Norfolk, on his founding that religious house; and from the inquisitions taken in the said reign, the Prior of Bromhill appears to hold this manor or moiety of the town, of the heirs of the Plaizes. In the third of Henry IV. the Prior held it of Sir John Howard, (the heiress of the De Plaiz being married into that family,) and he of the Dutchy of Lancaster, then in the King's hands. (fn. 4)

In 1428, the Priory was taxed at 7l. 5s. 11d. for its temporalities in this town, and at 22 marks for its spiritualities, the rectory being appropriated to it.

This priory being suppressed before the general Dissolution, by a bull of Pope Clement VII. in the 20th Henry VIII. the manor was granted to Cardinal Wolsey, and on the Cardinal's fall, the King by exchange gave it to Christ's College in Cambridge, June 2, in the 23d year of his reign, (fn. 5) in which college it still remains.

Besides these manors, Walter Clere and Bertram Cryoll are found to have held lands here in the reign of King Henry III. (fn. 6) and in 4th Edward II. William Reymond of Thetford sold for 25 marks to John de Acre and Isabell his wife, arable lands in this town, which came afterwards to William Cat of Thetford, (fn. 7) who by deed dated on Sunday before the Feast of St. Andrew, 13th of Henry IV. grants to Roger Stoppusley, Edmund Blankpayn, &c. and their heirs, all his arable lands here, late John de Acres, and all his other lands arable in this town; and on July 3d, in 13th of the aforesaid King, license was granted to Roger Stoppusley, to convey to the prior and monks of Thetford 53 acres of land, with the appurtenances in Croxton and Thetford, and also to Edmund Blankpayn, to convey 30 acres of land lying in a field called Faucon Field, with the appurtenances in this village; and in 1428, these religious were taxed for their temporalities in this town at 2l. 1s. 8d.

The hospital also of St. Mary Magdalen in Thetford had an interest in this town, a fine being levied in the 35th Henry III. (fn. 8) between Stephen, custos of the said hospital, querent, Richard de Surrie and Sara his wife, impedient, of one messuage, and 43 acres and an half of land, with a fold course granted to the custos and his successours, and there was a chapel or religious house said to belong to them, called Domus Dei, near the church of Croxton, but I rather think it belonged to Domus Dei at Thetford, and after to the canons.

On the dissolution of these houses, the lands aforementioned came to Sir Richard Fulmerston, and were settled by him on feoffees, for charitable uses, viz. the founding and endowing a school and hospital at Thetford, and are accordingly applied at this day. (fn. 9)

The tenths of this town were 3l. 18s. 6d.

Croxton stands on the side of a hill, and there are some trees growing on its summit, which are seen many miles in this open and champain country, and are by way of distinction called Croxton HighTrees. In the fields of this town is a large mere, called Foul-Mere, (fn. 10) consisting of many acres of water.

The Church is dedicated to All-Saints; it is built of flint stone and boulder, and consists of a nave or body, to which is annexed a south isle, with good roofs of oak, covered with lead, and is in length about 38 feet, and in breadth, including the said isle, about 28 feet. On the pavement of the nave lies a grave-stone, in memory of Thomas Long, who died Aug. 26, A°. Dom. 1682. Another in memory of Mary White, daughter of Thomas Wight, who died Dec. 7, 1705, aged 23 years. And one in memory of Gregory Faux, who died March 18, A° Dom. 1697, aged 57. At the west end of the nave stands a very large font, with a capacious bason, supported by five pilasters of stone; the larger our fonts are, the greater is their antiquity, being made thus on account of immersion, which was in practice in the Saxon times, as is plain from the history of King Etheldred, II. son to King Edgar, who in his holy tincture (like Constantine Copronymus) defiled the font with natural excrements, and made Dunstan, the canonized saint, and then Archbishop of Canterbury, to exclaim or swear, Per Deum et Matrem ejus ignavus homo erit. William Wyrcester, in his Metra de Regibus Angliæ, has this distich on this subject:

Sacra statim natus Etheldredus violavit, Nam baptizatus, baptisterium violavit. (fn. 11)

And at this very day the fonts in country churches are generally capacious enough to admit of immersion, if requested by the parent of the child. A very worthy author treating on private baptism, (fn. 12) observes, that water once blessed in so sacred a purpose, should neither be put to common use, or thrown away irreverently into the kennel or sink, and I wonder our church (as the said author proceeds) has made no provision how the water used in the font at church should be disposed of; in the Greek church, particular care is taken that it never be thrown into the street like common water, but poured into a hollow place under the altar, called [Oalassidoin] vel [Choneion], where it is soaked into the earth, or finds a passage. The said reverend author, upon enquiry, will find that the fonts in most, if not in all, our country churches, have an hole and stopple at the bottom, as the holy-water pots also anciently had, which lets the water out into a pipe or channel, reaching from the mouth of the hole to the ground, where a cavity is made, on purpose to receive it, that it may soak into the earth, as is above observed in the Greek [Choneion], so that the practice of the ancients is a plain and a just example for us to imitate.

At the east end of the south isle is an ascent, where, in time of popery, there was an altar, as in most churches of that age.

At the west end of the nave stands a tower of flint, &c. the lower part of it is round, and a Danish work, the upper part is now octangular, and has a cap or cover of wood; in this tower hang three bells, one of them is dedicated to Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus inscribed:

Williami: Ungot Tapelli: et Petri Ungot et Anabule Parentum Suor.

The nave is divided from the chancel by an old oaken screen, on which is inscribed,

This chancel is in length about 24 feet, and in breadth about 15, and is covered with thatch; there is an ascent of two steps to the communion table, where, on the pavement, lie three marble gravestones, one in memory of Elizabeth Snelling, wife of George Snelling, of Lee in Kent, Esq. and mother of Mary Snelling, who married William Smith of Croxton, Gent. she died Sep. 26, 1678, aged 72. Another thus inscribed: Jan. 12, 1691, Tho. Smyth, Gent. departed this life, aged 45, he married Margaret, the eldest daughter of Will. Cropley of Shilland, in Norfolk, Esq. who died about three years before her husband, and were both survived by two children, William and Elizabeth. The third is in memory of Will. Smyth, Gent. who died Dec. 25, 1682, aged 47.

Against the north wall is a compartment of marble and stone, ornamented with a cherub gilt, and foliages, and on the summit a shield, Fletcher, arg. a chevron between three mullets sab. impaling Wood, per pale arg. and sab. a chevron between three martlets counterchanged, and on the body of it,

Here lyeth buried the Body of Thomas Fletcher, Esq; One of the Readers of Lincolnnes Inne, who married Frances The eldest Daughter of Robert Wood, Esq. late of Tharston, And had Issue by her nyne Sonnes, William, Thomas, Bartholomew, Robert, John, Charles, Thomas, Henery, and Anthony, & seven Daughters, Anne, Elizabeth, Jane, Elizabeth, Frances, Dorothy, & Alice. He departed this Life, the fourth of February, in the Year of our Lord God 1656. Here lyeth also the Body of the Said Frances Fletcher, who died 10th of May 1684.

In the east window is the shield of the Earl Warren.


1316, 12 Sept. Simon Peche. Joan, relict of Sir Giles Plaiz.

1337, 21 Nov. Roger Lugæardyne. Sir Gilbert Talbot, guardian to Richard, son of Richard Playz.

1349, 16 July, Robert de Caldewell. Sir Richard Playz, Knt.

1349, 1 Feb. William de Lyvermere. The Prior and Convent of Bromhill.

1361, 16 Oct. Simon Goss. Ditto.

1377, 31 March, Thomas Gardiner. Ditto.


In 1401, this rectory was appropriated to the priory of Bromhill, being the gift of Sir Richard de Playz, and a vicarage endowed, and taxed at 7 marks, which was presented to by the priory.

Before the appropriation the rector had a house and 50 acres of land, though now there is only half an acre of glebe, where the vicarage-house once stood. It paid 12d. Peter-pence, and 2s. synodals.

1403, 8 April, Peter Cok.

1414, 9 Feb. Walter Rothyng.

1433, 3 Sep. Philip Merton, canon regular of Bromhill, vicar, buried in the chancel.

1453, 24 May, Robert Curteys, canon, on the death of Merton.

1462, 28 July, Osbert Bucton, canon, on the death of Curteys.

1484, 9 Sept. Mathew Knyveton. The Bishop of Norwich.

1489, 7 Oct. Thomas Bryan. The Bishop.

1493, 19 July, Jeffrey Tony, canon of Bromhill, Thomas Axh., Prior, &c. Tony's will is dated 21st Nov. 1535, and proved 10th May, 1536, wherein he desires to be buried in the churchyard. He was the last presented by the Prior.

1536, 21 July, William Wardeman, on the death of Tony, by Christ-College, Cambridge, who are the present [1738] patrons. (fn. 13)

1546, Edward Leys, A. M.

1554, 30 July, William Hytchen.

1548, 18 July, Edmund Deyer, on the death of Hytchen. He was reinstated, being deposed by Queen Mary, probably as a married priest. (fn. 14)

1558, 5 Jan. John Abadam. The Bishop, by lapse.

Francis Slack.

1597, 27 Jan. William Jenkinson, A. B. on the resignation of Slack.

1632, 15 March, William Jenkinson. A. M. on the resignation of Jenkinson, senior.

1675, 22 Oct. John Chinery, A. M.; he held it with Bretenham.

1711, 5 March, The Rev. Mr. James Halman, A. B. now [1738] vicar, on Chinery's death.

The vicarage is valued at 6l. 13s. 4d.; tenths 13s. 4d. and is discharged of both, being in clear value but 23l. per annum, and in 1603 had 70 communicants.


  • 1. Regr. of x. & xv.
  • 2. Crokestuna, tenuit Stigandus T. R. E. semper v. car. terre tunc viii. vill. post. iiii. mo. nunc. ii car. in dnio. post et modo ii. tunc ii. car. homin. tunc i. mol. qu. post cepit Radulfus Comes. T. R. Willi, et iii. acr. prati. semper i. runc. vi. anim. xviii. porc. ccxv. oves, hic jacebant T. R. E. xvii. soc. de his habuit Willus. de Warrenna xvi. et Radulfus de Toeni i. tunc. val. x. lib. modo val. xl. sol. sed reddit c. sol. et iii. car. possent esse Totum habet i. leug. et dim. in longo et i. in lato, et reddit. xv. den. de xx. sol. de Gelto. (Domesday fo. 48.)
  • 3. Rot. Hund. in Cur. Recep. Scacij.
  • 4. Inquisit. A° 3 Hen. 4.
  • 5. Of this grant, &c. see more in Bromhill Priory in Weting.
  • 6. Inquisit. temp. Hen. 3. Pat. 26 Hen. 3. R. 2.
  • 7. Regist. Thetford, penes Pet. Le Neve, Norroy.
  • 8. Fin. Norff. Lig. 6. N. 1.
  • 9. See p. 79, note 8.
  • 10. See vol. i. p. 548.
  • 11. Lib. Niger, vol. ii. p. 530, published by Mr. Hearne.
  • 12. Wheatly on the Common Prayer, p. 383
  • 13. How this came to Christ's College, see more in Bromhill Priory in Weting.
  • 14. MSS. Misc. in Reg. Episc. Norwic.