An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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Church is dedicated in honour of the Invention of the Holy-Cross, was valued at 15 marks, and paid 20d. Peter-pence; (fn. 1) there is a noble new house built by Mr. Shuckburgh, and about 60 acres of glebe. There was a gild dedicated to St. Mary, and there were two lights continually burning in the church before the images of the Virgin and St. Nicholas. The rector anciently paid a pension of xis. per annum to the patron; it stands in the King's Books by the name of Caston alias Coston, valued at 11l. 19s. 2d. and pays 1l. 3s. 11d. yearly tenths, first fruits are 1l. 15s. 3d. and the synodals are 2s.
1305, 5 id. May, Tho. Thorneye. Will. de Castone.
1333, prid. id. Nov. John de Lenn, priest. Sir John de Caston, Knt. He resigned.
1338, 18 May, Sir Soloman de Swaffham, priest. Ditto. Change for Bishop's Eccles. He resigned.
1374, 31 March, John Barbour. Catherine, relict of Sir John de Caston, Knt. He was buried in the chancel.
1377, 31 Jan. John de Burewell. Ditto. He made the stalls, forms, and pavement on the north side of the choir.
1391, 8 August, John Sad. Catherine, Lady of Caston. He was buried in the churchyard, by Sir John Caston's tomb, under the north chancel wall.
1421, 13 July, Thomas Peck. Sir John Carbonell, Knt. He was buried in the church, on the south side between the image of the Blessed Virgin of Pete, and the image of St. Christopher.
1453, 20 June, Edward Elys. John Berney of Caston, Esq. Edmund Morle died rector.
1473, 20 Aug. Ambrose Ede. Will. Tendale, Esq. He died rector.
1502, 1 May, William Peper. (fn. 2) John Berney of Roedham, Esq.
1504, 18 Febr. John Treman; he resigned. Ditto.
1510, 19 Oct. John Crew; he resigned. Ditto.
1531, 30 Sept. John Weymer; he died rector. Ditto.
1533, John Beckham, rector. Ditto.
1541, 20 July, Robert Blundeston; he resigned. Ditto.
1558, 17 July, Richard Holmes; he died rector. Hen. Bernet, Esq.
1558, 13 Aug. Gregory Madys, resigned. Ditto.
1559, 22 March, John Blacklock, resigned. Ditto.
1572, 29 July, Richard Browne, resigned. Ditto.
1575, 23 June, Edmund Gelson, died. Ditto.
1579, 15 Aug. Will. Laurence, resigned. Ditto.
1585, 3 Febr. Will. Buck; he resigned. Tho. Berney of Reedham, Esq.
1598, 14 Aug. Christopher Sutton. Alice Berney, widow. He held it united to Wood-Rising.
1618, 1 June, John Sutton; he died rector. Will. Ireland, assignee of Alice.
1634, 20 Dec. John Beckham; he died rector. Henry Scottyng, &c.
1679, 7 May, Samuel Gray, died. Rich. Berney, Esq.
1681, 5 Oct. Charles Seppens, died, united to Scoulton.
1691, 9 Dec. John Dawney, died, united to Roydon.
1705, 7 April, James Smith. Anne Martell, widow.
1720, 20 April, George Shuckburgh, at Smith's death; he died rector. John Cotton, Esq. and Roger Burgoin.
1733, 20 April, John Lloyd, A. M. on Shuckburgh's death.
1735, 26 May, the Rev. Mr. Henry Burgh, clerk, A. M. on Lloyd's resignation, is the present rector. John Cotton, Esq. patron.
The church and chancel are thatched; the tower is square, and hath five bells in it; there are now no memorials, save one or two of the following arms, all which were in the windows in 1664.
Mortimer, quartering Fitz-Ralf.
Herling, quartering Mortimer, with Gonvile on a coat of pretence, supported by two unicorns.
The basket and garter for Chamberlain, and Chamberlain's arms.
Holdich's arms. Berney, Heveningham, and Gissing.
Caston quartering Berney.
Berney with an annulet sab.
Caston, gul. a chevron between three eagles displayed arg. The same with a label az. The same with a mullet sab.
In a north window of the chancel were two effigies of the Castons, one a knight kneeling, armed cap-à-pié, with a surcoat of Caston; the other, a woman kneeling, with the same arms on her gown.
Gul. a chevron between three bulls regardant or.
Vert, a chevron between three eagles displayed or.
In 1381, Katherine, widow of Sir John de Caston, Knt. was buried under the north chancel wall in the churchyard, by Sir John Caston, her husband.
There is an ancient inarched monument of the founder (probably one of the Castons) in the north wall of the church.
The temporals of the Prior of Lewes in this town were valued at 5l. 6s. 8d. and were lands given them by the Earl Warren, part of which the Prior assigned to Robert Mortimer, in exchange for lands which he gave the Prior in Hecham.
The present valuation is 479l. 6s. 8d.
There is an old house cross the road at the end of the steeple, said to be an inn for the reception of pilgrims on the Walsingham road, and hard by, stands an old cross.
On Caston common there is a tree grown in a very unusual manner, it was first a large willow, on the head or tod of which, an acorn, the key of an ash, an elder-berry, and a hasle-nut were lodged, (probably carried thither by the birds,) all which took root in the dirt and rotten part on the tod, and so run downwards till they reached the earth, and rooted in it, and continued growing till they split the body of the willow open, and so the first roots which ran from the tod to the earth are become a tree, and the outward rind of the willow being standing, there are five sorts of trees conjoined, viz. an oak, an ash, a willow, an hasle, and an elder.
Caston Hall Manor.
The whole town at the time of the Confessor was demean of the Crown, till Harold aliened it, and granted it to divers men, to be held freely of him, four freemen had 104 acres of land, and three acres of meadow, one socman had 10 acres, &c. and another socman had 40 acres in Stow, which belonged to this manor, though it was valued in Stow, to which it was joined by the Conqueror, as the two first parcels were afterwards to this manor, though at first by the Conqueror's own order they were laid to his manor of Saham: The town itself was given by that Prince to William Earl Warren, and was a league long, and half a league broad, and paid xi.d. gelt, (fn. 3) it is called Castetun, and Castletun, or the Castle-Town, (because it was dependant on, and belonged to the castle of Lewes,) and now by contraction Caston. The manor was held of the Earl Warren very early in King John's time; Rob de Caston, who was sirnamed from the town, had it; in 1200, Will. de Katestune and Ela his wife; in 1218, Peter de Nerford settled the advowson on Rob. de Katestune, by which it is plain that the manor and advowson continued in the Earl Warren till he separated them, the Castons being infeoffed in the manor, and the Nerfords had the advowson, both which were now joined, and hath continued so till lately. John de Caston, father of this Robert, was lord here, and of a manor in Secheford. In 1274, Sir Rob. de Caston, Knt. was one of the King's justices to enquire concerning the tenures of the manors of this and Grimeshoe hundreds, and had at the same time the assize of bread and beer allowed him in his manor, with weyf and trebuchet, all which had been immemorially enjoyed. In 1280, John, son of Robert de Caston, lived at Norwich; in 1285, William, son of Ralph de Caston, and Cecily his wife, had lands here and in Stox, settled on them by Henry, son of John de Caston; and this year Sir Rob. de Caston, Knt. lord here, gave lands in Norwich to St. Giles's hospital. In 1286, Will. de Caston had free-warren allowed him in his lands here, and in 1292, the manor was settled by Sir Robert de Caston. on Will. de Caston, and Margaret his wife, who were patrons in 1305. In 1328, Sir John de Caston, Knt. held a knight's fee here, and in Rockland-Toft, Tomson, Bykerton, Shipdham, Griston, and Rudham, with the churches of Caston and Grimston, of the Lord Bardolph, as of his manor of Wirmgeye, which belonged to Reginald de Warren, a younger son to the second Earl William; in 1309, John, son of Roger de Caston was lord, which I take to be this Sir John, who was not then knighted; in 1345, Will. de Burgh, and Solomon rector of Caston, held it as trustees; in 1355, Sir John de Caston, Knt. claimed a fee at the inthronization of the Bishop of Norwich, and threatened to bring a power of armed men and take it, (fn. 4) upon which the King wrote to Guy de St. Clere, sheriff of Norfolk, and John Mayn, his serjeant at arms, to make proclamation that none should dare to appear armed at that solemnity. Sir John died before 1374, and was buried in the churchyard, by the north chancel wall, leaving Katherine his wife, (fn. 5) who held it to her death, and then it descended to her daughters,
Elizabeth, married to Sir Robert Carbonel, son of Sir William Carbonet of Badingham in Suffolk, and
Mary, married to William Fastolf; but upon the failure of issue, (fn. 6) the whole came in 1401, to Thomas, son of Robert Carbonel, of Badingham aforesaid, who held it of Sir Thomas Bardolph, and he of the Earl of Arundel, as Earl Warren In 1421, Sir Robert Carbonel, Knt. was lord, and in 1424, Sir John Carbonel, Knt. (fn. 7) and Margery his wife, had it for their lives, and after to remain to Tho. Peck, clerk, who in the said year confirmed it to Robert Brewse, Knt. John Fitz-Rafe, Oliver Groose, Will. Paston, John Manning, Henry Pakenham, John Roys, and Robert Rous, in trust for Sir Rich. Carbonel, who settled the manor on Sir Tho. Tudenham for life, and after on Sir Will. Phelip, Sir Henry Inglose, Knts. Oliver Groose, and John Fitz-Rauff, his feoffees, and died in 1431, leaving John Carbonel, his son and heir, two years old, who died without issue, leaving Sir Robert Wingfield his next heir. In 1441, John Berney of Redham, Esq. died seized of the manor and advowson, and gave it to his son Philip, who by will dated in 1453, gave this and Caston's manor in Shipdham to John his brother in fee simple, but Henry Berney, Esq. was patron from 1558 to 1579; in 1506, John Berney of Redham left it to John, his son and heir, who held it with Barries manor in Rockland-Tofts, Caston, and Thompson; and in 1527, left them to John, his son and heir, who died seized in 1558, of Caston Hall, and Barries in Caston, and Thompson; in 1570, Henry Berney of Redham was lord, in which family it continued till Rich. Berney, Esq. who died in 1695, mortgaged it to Mrs. Anne Martell, who presented in 1705; and in 1709, they were sold to pay Mr. Berney's debts, by decree in Chancery, to Colonel Windham of Earsham, who conveyed the advowson to John Cotton, Esq. but kept the manor, Joseph Ash Windham, Esq. being now  lord.
In Caston and Thompson, is now united to Caston Hall, the style of the court running thus: Caston Hall in Caston, Barrie's, and Thompson. This came to the Castons, by Sir Rob. Caston's marriage with Joan, or Jane, daughter of Rich. Barry, and by Margaret their daughter and heiress; it went to her husband, Will. de Redham, whose daughter and heir, Margaret, married Thomas, son of John Berney of Witchingham, who settled at Redham, and his son John became possessed of Caston Hall, as is before observed, to which maner it hath been joined ever since.
In 1570, Rob. Southwell of Woodrising, is said to have a maner here, at this time, Mrs. Dey's of Scoulton; but I take it to be only part of Scoulton Newlands that extends hither, for I find no mention of any other but the aforesaid manors in any evidences, save that in 1662, Caston Tenths, with many other manors hereabouts, were parcel of the possessions of William Crane, Esq. of Woodrising, or of Edward Crane, Gent. and Mary his wife, for they levied a fine thereof to Robert Clayton, Gent. afterwards Sir Robert Clayton, Knt. whose heir possessed them. I imagine this may be part of Carbrook manor extending hither.
The next parish that we meet with, is