Hundred of Grimeshou: Wilton

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

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'Hundred of Grimeshou: Wilton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2, (London, 1805) pp. 174-177. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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West of Weting, and on the north side of the Ouse-Parva, stands this village, which derives its name from its site, a town of water or springs; as it always had the same lords with Hocwold, from the Confessor's time to this present, I shall treat of the temporal state of it in that place, it being now called Hockwold-Wilton, though in old writings, more properly, Wilton-Hockwold, this being the head town of the two. Domesday, fol. 49, tells us that the King had 3 bordars in Wella (which I take to be Hocuuella) belonging to his manor of Methelwold.

The Church of Wilton is dedicated to St. James; it has only a nave or body, with a chancel, built of flint and boulder, and covered with reed; the nave is in length about 57 feet, and in breadth about 30. At the upper end, near the reading-desk, lies a marble stone with a brass plate thus inscribed,
Orate pro anima Johannis Buckton, qui obiit vo die Febr. Ao Dni: Mo ccccco ri. et pro anima Johanne Hroris eius quorum Aanimabus propicietur Deus.

At the west end of the nave stands a strong four-square tower of flint, &c. with quoins and embattlements of freestone, in which hang five bells, and on that is an octangular spire of freestone.

The chancel is about 38 feet in length, and 22 in breadth; against the south wall is a compartment of stone, and on the summit,

Colborne, arg. a chevron between three bugle-horns sab. garnished or, impaling

Tyrrell; and under it the following epitaph,

Here lyeth the Body of Mary, the Wife of EDW. COLBORNE, sometime of Bramford in the County of Suff: Gent. Eldest Daughter of Robert Tyrrell of Wilton in the County of Norff: Esq. and with her three Sons, which she bore to the said EDWARD, viz. Edward, Robert, and Richard. She departed this Life the 30th of Nov. 1683, in the Year of her Age 44.

Hoc in Memoriam Charissimæ, Conjugis posuit prædictus Edvardus Colborne.

On the north side is a curious worked arch in the wall, and below, in old grave-stone without any arms or inscription; probably this night be for the sepulchre of our Lord, of which see in Northwold.

There is an ascent of three stone steps to the communion-table, and behind the table is an old wainscot partition, which runs the breadth of the chancel; on a pannel of this wainscot are two priests Kneeling at an altar, with their books open before them; on another pannel, the figure of St. John the Evangelist, with the cup, and a dragon issuing out of it, and on a label, In principio erat Herbum,, under him the portraiture of a man kneeling, and this label, Ora pro obis beate Jacobe; on a third pannel, the figure of St. John Baptist, with a lamb, &c. and a label, Ecce Agnus Dei;; under him the porraiture of a woman bidding her beads, and this label, Omnes Sancti lpostoli orate. pro nobis. On the pannels by St. John the Evangelist, are shields of the arms of the Lord Scales, Lord Poinings, Lord Arundel, Earl Warren, and St. George.

There are two head-stones in the churchyard, the first hath a shield sab. a fess between three bells, and a hand holding a club for a crest,

1. In memory of THO. BELL, who was born in the House of Allbe, in Middleborough parish in Scotland. He died Febr. 14, 1714, aged 60.

2. In Memory of the Wife of THO. BELL, her Maiden Name ELIZ. PAIN, died a Right of Burgess of Dumfres in Scotland, Nov. 22, 1725. (fn. 1)

At 20 Years of Age I little thought, That hither to this Place I should been brought, Therefore as in the Lord I put my Trust, I hope I shall be blest amongst the Just.

The Prior of Lewes was taxed for his spiritualities, or portion here, in 1428, at 50s.

The Prior of Flitcham for his temporalities 6s. 8d.

The Prior of Bernwell for his marsh 3s.

When Norwich Domesday Book was composed, this was a rectory; the rector had a house, and 40 acres of glebe land, and the Prior and convent of Lewes in Sussex had the patronage given them, by one of the Earls Warren, who founded the priory.


1299, 15 Oct. Thomas de la Lee. The Prior of Lewes.

1338, 16 March, Henry de Cockham. John Earl Warren, the advowsons of all the benefices belonging to the priory of Lewes being given to that Earl by the King, who assumed at this time the priory aliens on his wars with France, into his own hands, and Lewes was one of them.

1340, 5 Apr. Roger de Honynton, on the resignation of Cockham. John Earl Warren.

After this, the patronage of the rectory, with the glebes, pensions, &c. were bought by the Master and Fellows of Gonvile hall in Cambridge, of Hugh de Chintriaco, prior, &c. of Lewes, and Sir Edmund Hengrave, with the license of Richard Earl of Arundel lord of the fee; (fn. 2) and the rectory was about the year 1350 appropriated by Wm. Bateman Bishop of Norwich, to that college. At this present time [1738] it belongs to the said College, and is said to consist of one acre and two roods of hempland, and two common parts, containing 50 acres, besides 120 acres of arable land, with the tithe corn, &c.


1386, 22 Aug. William Sondesham, presented by the Master and Fellows of Gonvile Hall, as were all the following vicars.

1393, 27 Feb. John Bomond.

1402, 6 Dec. Robert Doraunt.

Walter Drew.

1446, 7 Dec. William Gawnton, on the resignation of Drew.

John Shipmeadow.

1452, 10 March, John Wilson, on the resignation of Shipmeadow.

1461, 30 Dec. William Bylt, on the resignation of Wilson.

1478, 23 Apr. Thomas Jay. Lapse.

1487, 12 Sep. Thomas Hulet.

1491, 3 Oct. Henry Smyth, on the resignation of Hulet.

1503, 28 March, Simon Cowper, on the death of Smyth.

1508, 28 July, Edmund Kypar, (fn. 3) on Cowper's death.

Thomas Dynne.

1528, 11 June, Robert Raynold, on Dynne's deprivation.

William Farlam.

1530, 27 March, Henry Barker, on Farlam's resignation.

Thomas Ireland.

1547, 14 March, Robert Longe, on Ireland's resignation.

1557, 29 Nov. Richard Sharpe, on the death of Long.

1579, 15 July, Robert Fermour, on the death of the last vicar. In his answer to King James's queries in 1603, he says there were 160 communicants.

1613, 19 Jan. Anthony Doughtie, A. M. rector also of Cranwich.

1645, 23 Apr. Thomas Randolph, A. M. on the resignation of Doughtie.

1665, 14 Feb. William Long, A. M. on the cession of Randolph.

1680, 4 July, Charles Long, A. M. on the death of Long.

1681, 26 May, Laurence Topcliffe, LL. B. on the cession of Long.

1720, 13 Sep. the Rev. Mr. Thomas Macro, A. M. the present [1738] rector, on the death of Topcliffe. He was afterwards lecturer of Bury, and is now minister of Great Yarmouth, and D. D. and holds it united to Hockwold. The Master, &c. of Caius College.

This vicarage is valued in the King's Books, at 6l. 7s. 6d. and was discharged of first fruits, as appears from the answer of the clergy in 1603; the tenths were 12s. 9d. and of these it was discharged by Queen Anne, being in clear value 41l. per annum.


  • 1. I am informed they were pedlers.
  • 2. The deed of Hugh Prior of Lewes is dated 28th Edward III. Cart. divers. Comit. in Cur. Recept. Scacarij.
  • 3. In his will, dated 8th Feb. 1525, mention is made of the chapel of our Lady in the church of St. James of Wilton; (Regr. Grundesburgh, fo. 130;) he desires to be buried in the choir, before the image of St. James, gives money to the common torches, and to the three gilds there; proved 29th March, 1526. And John Ketryngham, by will dated 1st Sept. 1306, gives to the five gawdies in the chapel of our Lady, to continue there two yere, every year a pound of wax. (Regr. Rix.)