An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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In this section
Meretuna, Merton, or Martin, as it is now called, took its name from some meer, or large standing water within its bounds, for such is the Saxon word [Mere]. During the Confessor's reign it belonged to Ailid, who then held it at three carucates and one virgate, there being wood enough to maintain 240 hogs, and a walk for 150 sheep; there were then 29 tenants or socmen, who held 2 carucates of land among them, and one socman, who held 20 acres of land belonging to the manor, which laid in Grestuna or Griston; the whole manor was worth 5l. afterwards rose to 6l. and in the Conqueror's time was worth 8l. per annum. The town was then two miles long, and a mile broad, and was taxed at 15d. to the geld. (fn. 1)
At the Conquest it fell to the Conqueror, who gave it
Ralph Bainard, Baignar, or Baynard, (fn. 2) one of his principal Normans, who came over with him, (along with Hatestuna, or Bunwell manor, which always passed as this did, till it was sold by the De Greys to the Buxtons,) he left it to
Juga Baynard, his widow, who was succeeded by
Jeffry Baynard, her son and heir, who was succeeded by
Will. Baynard, who taking part with Helias Earl of Mayne, Philip de Braose, William Malet, and other conspirators, against Henry I. lost his barony of Baynard's Castle, which, upon his forfeiture, was given by the King to
Robert, a younger son of Richard Fitz-Gilbert, progenitor to the ancient Earls of Clare, from which Robert, the noble family of the Fitz-Walters descended, of which family the manors of Merton, and Hadeston or Bunwell were always held, as of Baynard's castle, the head of the barony, by a younger branch of the Baynard family, to which these manors were given before the forfeiture, so that they were never forfeited, but continued in that branch, till Isabell, a coheiress of it, carried them to Sir Thomas de Grey, her husband.
The first of this younger branch that I meet with was
Sir Robert Baynard, Knt. lord of this manor; I am apt to believe he was son of Ralf, brother to Jeffry Baynard, father to William Baynard that forfeited his barony; this Sir Robert was a great favourer of the monks of Lewes, (fn. 3) to which house he confirmed 60 acres of his demeans in this town, and divers tenants, with the advowson of the church, and the tithes of the corn of his manor, the advowson of the church of Ristone, and two parts of the tithes of his manor of Hadestonhall, or Bunwell, all which they had enjoyed from the time of the illustrious King Richard, as
Sir Fulk Baynard, son and heir of Sir Robert, says in his deed of confirmation, which is dated in Lewes chapter-house, in the presence of Sir Osbert de Cailly, Sir John de Ingolvesthorp, Sir Robert de Caston, Knts. &c.; this Fulk married Petronilla, daughter of Rob. Mantel of Essex, with whom he had all Robert's land in Semplingham or Shimpling, in Suffolk, after the death of Ralf Mantel, who held it for life; this Fulk had two sons,
Jeffry Baynard, his second son, was a priest, promised to be provided for by the Prior of Lewes, to the value at least of 20 marks per annum, with some ecclesiastical benefice in Norwich diocese, and therefore in the mean time, the Prior gave him to farm all his lands in this town of Merton, paying only the rent of 4s. and two pounds of wax per annum to the chief lord, with all the tithes of the demeans of Fulk Baynard, for which he was sworn to be faithful, and to pay his rent, and not to alien any of it, and that the parson for the time being shall not by his means intrude into the messuage or tithes: Sir Fulk Baynard's seal, and the dean of Kerbrook Comandry's are annexed to it. (fn. 4)
Sir Fulk Baynard, eldest son and heir of Sir Fulk, held 8 fees and an half in Merton, Hadeston, &c. of Robert Fitz-Walter, as of his barony of Baynard castle; (fn. 5) in the time of Henry III. he held in Merton one fee, of which John de Gurney held one quarter of him; he confirmed all the gifts of his ancestors to Lewes monastery; in 1225, King Henry III. granted Fulk Baynard a license to have a market at Merton; in 1256, (fn. 6) he was fined for not being knighted, and was obliged to take that honour; in 1271, he had lands at Hadenham in Cambridgeshire settled on him and Alice his wife, by John and Phillippa de Ditton, whose daughter she seems to be.
In 1274, he had assize of bread and ale in Merton, Weyf, Trebuchet, and free-warren, and paid 28s. rent for this and Hadeston, every 24 weeks, to the guard of Baynard castle. In 1286, he was one of the three or four conservators of the peace for this county, an office then of great trust, succeeded by those now called Justices of the Peace, (fn. 7) he died in 1305, and left
Sir Robert, his son and heir, who was lord here in 1315, and at his death left it to
Fulk Baynard, his son and heir, who in 1327 held 8 fees and an half of Rob. Fitz-Walter, in Hadeston, Martin, Bunwell, Carleton, Tibenham, Tompson, Threkeston, and Therston; this Fulk left three daughters his coheirs; Isabell, Emme, and Maud; Isabell married Sir Thomas de Grey, Knt. and had Merton, Bunwelt, &c. (fn. 8) for her share, in whose family it hath continued ever since.
There were many younger branches of this Baynard family, that had good estates in other parts of Norfolk; but as they had no relation to this place, I omit mentioning them; nay so late as 1565, Will. Baynard, gent. had lands in Merton.
The family of the Grais, Greys, Graas, or Grays, for by all these names they are spoken of in ancient evidences, are all descended from
Anscitil, or Anschitil de Grey, a Norman, who-came in with the Conqueror, being sirnamed from the place of his residence, and had large possessions of that Prince's gift; (fn. 9) the Peerage, p. 148, gives us a higher account of this family, but it being conjecture only, I chose to go no higher than Anschitil, whose son, Richard de Grai, was a benefactor to Eynesham abbey, and was succeeded by John de Grey, (fn. 10) his son and heir, whose second brother, John de Gray, was Bishop of Norwich, and his third brother, Henry de Grey, (fn. 11) was in great favour with Richard the First, (fn. 12) as is evident from the grant that Prince made him of the manor of Turroc in Essex, in the year 1194, and that he was in the good graces of his successour, King John, is evident, not only from the confirmation of his predecessour's grant, but from his publick charter of special privilege, to hunt the hare and fox in any lands belonging to the Crown, excepting the King's own demean parks. (fn. 13) Neither did he loose his prince's favour after this King's death, for Henry III. his successour, in the very first year of his reign, gave him Grimstone manor in Nottinghamshire, which was part of the possessions of Robert Bardolph, to support him in his prince's service. (fn. 14) After this he married Isolda or Odeyne, sister (fn. 15) and coheir (fn. 16) of the said Robert, and in 1224, had the third part of all his estate in his wife's right.
John de Grey, his uncle, was also a great favourite of King John's, who, in the first year of his reign, made him Archdeacon of Gloucester; (fn. 17) and the very next year, viz. 1200, Sept. 24, Bishop of Norwich, and afterwards Chief Justice of England, in all which posts he behaved so well, that the King would fain have made him Archbishop of Canterbury, but was outwitted by the Pope; in 1211, he was made Lord Justice of Ireland, where he staid two years; he died as he returned in his Embassy from the Pope, at Pictou, Oct. 24, 1214, and was buried in his cathedral at Norwich. (fn. 18)
Henry aforesaid left four sons by Isolda his wife, viz.
1. Richard, whose principal seat was at Codnovre in Derbyshire, of whom you may see in Mr. Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i. fol. 709, his descendants being parliamentary barons, their lives and noble actions being there recorded.
2. John, who was sometime Justice of Chester, and progenitor to the noble families of Grey of Wilton, Ruthyn, Groby, Marquis Dorset, and Viscount Lisle, the generations and transactions of which families are recorded in the aforesaid volume fol. 712, &c.
3. Will. de Grey, or Graa, third son of the said Henry, was first of Landford in Notinghamshire, then of Sandy-Acre in Derbyshire, (fn. 19) and after of Cavendish in Suffolk; (fn. 20) he left
John de Gra of Cavendish, Esq. his son and heir, and Henry Grey, his second son.
4. Robert de Grey of Rotherfield, whose family is largely treated of in the aforesaid author, fol. 723, they also being parliamentary barons.
Sir Tho. de Grey of Conerth in Suffolk, Knt. son and heir of John de Grey, Esq. of Cavendish, afterwards of Greyshall in Cavendish, was married before 1306, to Alice, daughter and sole heiress of Sir Rich. de Cornherd, or Cornerth, Knt. (fn. 21) after which match, perc [gap] ternal arms of Grey to be born by so many families, he [gap] tted them, and assumed those of Cornherd, which he and his descendants to this day have born as their paternal arms, viz. az. a fess bween two chevrons or, which arms the Cornherd, or Cornerth family took in imitation of the Bainards, their superiour lord, of whom they held a great part of their estate, whose arms are the same exactly as Cornherd's, only the field and chevrons differ in colour. In 1321, Tho. de Grey, and Alice his wife, held divers lands in Great Cornerth, of Rich. Cornerd, their father, value 5l. 3s. per annum, and of the Abbess of Malling, lands worth 10s. per annum; of the said Richard a messuage and one carncate of land there, worth 4l. 3s. 2d. and also Cavendish manor, worth 10l. 13s. 4d, at one fee, and also of William de Buteveyln, one messuage, one carucate, and 60 acres of land, one acre of meadow, and 10s. rent in Little-Conerd, Bures, Newton, Waldingfield, Illeigh, Preston, Torp, and Lillesey, worth 3l. 11s. per annum, at the 4th part of a fee; and also they held more of the inheritance of the said Alice, a messuage and one carucate of land in Bernardeston, of Arnold de Mounteney, by the service of one halfpenny to the scutage when laid, which house and carucate were worth 6l. 13s. 4d. per annum. Thomas died in 1321, Alice his wife surviving him; in 1322, she settled lands on her sons, Roger and John.
Sir Thomas de Grey, Knt. their son and heir, succeeded, and married Isabell, eldest daughter and coheir of Fulk Baynard of Merton, Esq. and had Merton, Bunwell, &c. for her share; he came and settled at Merton, in the ancient seat of the Baynard's, whose arms he always bore, quartered with his own (or Cornerth's) in her right, and their posterity have always done the same. In 1337, they settled the manor of Merton, lands in Hockwold, the manor and advowson of Bunwell, on themselves in tail, Merton manor being then held by Katherine, widow of Fulk Baynard, in dower. In 1345, he held one fee in Merton, of John Fitz-Walter, who held it of the King, which was lately Fulk Baynard's, one quarter of which Thomas Gernoun held of the said Thomas; this quarter of a fee in Merton was first the inheritance of the Bardolfs, given by Robert Bardolf with Isolda to Henry de Grey, her husband, in whose family it continued till one of them infeoffed it in the Castons; in the time of Henry III. William de Caston held it of Hugh Bardolf, who held it of the King in capite; in 1345, Thomas Gernoun held it; in 1401, Tho. Jermyn held it; in 1453, Robert, son and heir of Henry Pakenham, Esq. deceased, appointed Will. Pakenham of Shropham, his attorney, to deliver to Will. Mounteney, citizen and skinner of London, Rich. Caus, Gent. and others, seizin of all his lands, rents, services, &c. in Merton, Thomson, Watton, and Griston, which Henry Pakenham, his grandfather, and Henry his father, William Mounteney, clerk, John, rector of Cressingham-Parva, now dead, had of the feoffment of Tho. Gernon of Threxton, cousin and next heir of John Gernon of Merton aforesaid. At their deaths they left it to Sir Roger de Grey of Merton, Knt. who, by will proved in 1371, (fn. 22) declares that he had infeoffed Sir William Bawde priest, and others, in his manors of Cavendish, Little-Cornerth, and Preston in Suffolk, and Merton in Norfolk; he ordered his father Sir Thomas Grey's debts to be paid, and that Alice his wife should have an annuity of 20 marks per annum, and Mr. Thomas Grey, his brother another of the same sum, the manor of Little-Heneye, worth 10l. per annum, to go to two priests yearly. The profits of his manor of Hadeston or Bunwell, to raise portions for his two daughters, and if Thomas his son die before either of his daughters marriages, then their fortunes to be at the disposition of Sir William Bawde. The will is dated at Dover, and is in French.
Thomas de Grey, his son and heir, died a minor, leaving two sisters.
Margaret, after married to Sir Thomas Shardelowe, and
Joan, to Thomas Pynchbeke, and then this manor was divided into three parts; Tho. Grey, clerk, their uncle, had one third part, which in 1388 he settled on Pynchbeke and his wife, and so they had two thirds, and Sir Tho. Shardelowe and Margaret his wife the other third, the whole being intailed for want of issue of the neices, on Tho. de Grey, their uncle, and his heirs, as it seems they did; for in 1402,
Tho. Grey, clerk, held this manor, and the whole of the estate of the Greys of Norfolk, and died possessed of it before 1404, for in that year,
Fulk de Grey, Esq. son of Fulk de Grey and Margaret his wife, nephew and heir to Tho. de Grey, clerk, had livery of his estate in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, being lord of Vernon's manor in Elm in Cambridgeshire, in right of Eleanor Vernon, his mother, Merton, &c. he married Eleanor Bernardeston, and was succeeded by
William de Grey of Merton, Esq. who married Christian, daughter and coheir of John Manning of Great-Elingham; (fn. 23) by his will dated 3d Nov. 1474, (fn. 24) ordered his body to be buried in St. Peter's church of Merton, by Christian his wife; his stone now lies in the middle alley, it had four escutcheons, the first with Grey's arms still remain, the second was Grey quartering Baynard, the third was Grey quartering Manning, and the fourth was Grey impaling Manning, and this inscription,
Orate pro Animabus Willi: de Greb Arnugeru et Christianæ uroris eois Fillie Johis: Mannynge nuper de Ellingham Magna Gener: et pro Animabus omnium Benefactorum Suorum, et pro Anima bus pro quibus tenentur. Oui auidem willus: obiit in festo Sci: Martini Epi: Anno Dni: Mcccclrriv Dicta Christiana obiit om festi Sci: Petri ad vincula
William de Grey of Merton, Esq. his son and heir, had two wives, Mary, daughter of Sir Hen. Bedingfield of Oxburgh in Norfolk, and Grace, daughter of Thomas Teye, Esq. widow of Francis Hethe of Worlington, to whose two daughters he was guardian; Agnes, the second, dying young, was buried at Merton, Margaret, the second, married George Bokenham of Snitterton, Esq. after the death of his first wife, Christian, daughter of William de Grey, her guardian. (fn. 25) In 1492, Sir Henry Grey of Keteringham, (fn. 26) settled that manor by will, for want of heirs of the body of Anne, his daughter-in-law, wife of Tho. Hevenyngham, Esq. on this William and his heirs, but I cannot say positively how near related they were; in 1494, he held the manor of Merton and Hadston, alias Baynard's in Bunwell, of John Ratcliff Lord Fitz-Walter, and Edmund was his son and heir. Against the north wall, there is a monument for this William and his two wives, the brasses are all remaining, save the inscriptions, which are torn of, his effigies, in armour, with die arms of Grey and Baynard quartered, is in a kneeling posture, having his helm lying by him, a scroll, and Grey's arms quartering Baynard over his head, behind him are his five sons in loose gowns, with a disrobed scroll over their heads; opposite to him is Mary Bedingfield, his first wife, kneeling, with her three daughters behind her; over her head is another imperfect scroll, and the arms of Grey quartering Baynard, impaling Bedingfield, quartering Tudenham. Behind them, is Grace Teye, his second wife, behind her, their two daughters with dishevelled hair; over her has been a scroll, besides the arms of Grey quartering Baynard, impaling Teye of Essex, a fess in chief three martlets, in base a chevron.
Edmund Grey, Esq. his son and heir married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Spetman, Knt. and died seized of this and Bunwell manor in 1548, and is buried in the chancel, with this inscription fastened on a brass on the north chancel wall, with De Grey quartering Baynard, impaling Spelman,
Here by underneath ineth edmund be seen Esq; who married elisabeth be Doughter of Sir John Spelman ant. and deceased this present Life the 20th Dan of Auguste 1548.
Thomas de Grey of Merton, Esq. eldest son of William de Grey, by Mary Bedingfield, his first wife, did not inherit his father's estate; he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Rich. Fitz-Lewes, Knt. but had no children; after her death he was ordained priest, and lived fortyone years in orders, and dying in an advanced age, lies buried with his wife in the south isle, for whom there is this inscription on a brass plate against the wall,
In this He ineth buried under one Stone Thomas de Gren Esquire and Elizabethe his Wife, Doughter of Sir Richarde Fits Lemes knight, and after her desease made himselfs, preast and solided rli neares and departed out of this Lnfe the first of September 1556.
Arms: De Grey quartering Baynard, impaling Fitz-Lewes, (fn. 26) chevron between three trefoils.
Thomas de Grey, Esq. son and heir of Edmund, married first Anne, daughter of Henry Everard of Lynsted in Suffolk, Esq. secondly, Temperancé, daughter of Sir Simond Carew of Anthony in Cornwall, by whom he had no issue; she outlived him, held Bunwell in jointure, and remarried to Sir Christopher Heydon of Baconsthorp, Knt.; he died seized of Hadston or Baynard's manor in Bunwell, held of the Earl of Sussex at one fee, Berryhall manor in Ellingham, late Manning's, held of the Earl of Sussex as of his manor of Atleburgh, the advowson of Bunwell, held of Sir Thomas Lovell by fealty, and 13s. 4d. rent; the manor of Merton, held of the Earl of Sussex, as of his manor of Woodham-Walter in Essex, parcel of Fitz-Walter's alias Baynard's barony, 300 acres of land, 100 acres of pasture, 20 acres of wood, 1000 acres of marsh, and 300 acres of bruary, a foldcourse and commonage for 100 cows, in Tompson, Griston, Watton, Totington, and Merton, held of the Queen in capite, by the 20th part of a fee. (fn. 27) He was buried under a fair marble at the east end of the south isle, having three shields on it, two at the head, viz. his own arms impaled with his two wives:
Everard, on a fess between three stars, three mullets.
Carewe, three lions passant. And at his feet
Grey and Baynard quartered. The inscription is,
Here under lyeth intombed the Boon od Cho de Brey Esq. Sonne and Heyce of Edmund de Brey Esq. who deceased the 12t of May 1562, and sted in Suffoke Esquier, and to his second Wiffe Cemperance the Daughter of Sir Wymonde Carcwe of anthony in Cornewell Knight, Whose Soul God Pardon.
Thomas de Grey, Esq. his son and heir, was only seven years old at his death, and so became ward to Queen Elizabeth, but died a minor in 1556; his estate went to his uncle,
Rob. Grey, Esq. who had livery of it that very year he married Anne, daughter of Sir Tho. Lovell, Knt. and died Feb. 28, 1600, and is buried in the chancel, on the south side of which, against the wall, is a monument with the effigies of Time at the top, with the mantle, crest, and arms of Grey impaling Lovel, arg. a chevron az. between three squirrels sejant gul. and this inscription, Hic requiescunt Robertus de Grey Armiger qui obijt 28 Die Februarij Anno domini 1600 & Ætatis suæ 70.
Ac Anna Uxor ejus, Filia Thome Lovell de Harlinge Militis. Ex quorum nato unico & Hærede, Gulielmo de Grey milite per Doam: Annam Uxorem ejus, Filiam Jacobi Calthorpe de Cockthorpe milit: Conjugio jam per triginta Annos beatè continuat: prodijt hæc clara Soboles, Filij.
Robertus, eorum Filius primo-genitus Ætate sua sex Mensium, Ex hac vita migravit. Anno Dom. 1606. Robertus, Modo Hæres apparens.
Jocobus, Edmondus, Gulielmus, defunct: Phillipus, defunct: Gulielmus Superstes.
Barbara, nupta Tho.
Anna, nupt: Cottono Gascoigne Gen: defunct. Ellena, nupta Talmach Castle Armigero.
Dorothea, nupt: Jacobo Reynold Armigero.
Antecessorum Memoria, Honore magis et longiùs viget, Quando eorum Pietas & Providentia, in Posteris suis relucent.
Anno Dni: 1652.
Sir William de Grey, Knt. only son and heir of Robert, was as eminent for his probity as descent; he married Anne, daughter of Sir James Calthorp of Cockthorp, Knt. and died Oct. 19, 1632, seized of Merton, Bunwell, Berry Hall in Ellingham, a manor in Bichamwell and Cawston's manor in Conard-Parva, with the lands commonages, and faldage aforesaid, and lies buried in the chancel by his father, leaving
Sir Robert de Grey his son and heir, 20 years old at his father's death, who was knighted, with Christopher Athoe of Bichamwell, Esq. by King Charles the First, June 23, 1641; (fn. 28) he married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of William Bridon of Ipswich, Gent. and died in 1644, and was buried in the chancel under a large grave-stone, having a brass shield at each corner,
1. Grey or Cornerthe impaling Calthorp.
2. Grey, viz. barry of six with an annulet for difference, (fn. 29) impaling Bridon a bend ingrailed.
3. Grey with the annulet single.
4. Bridon single. In the middle is a brass escutcheon with mantle and crest, viz.
First Grey with an annulet; second Grey, alias Cornerth; third Bainard; fourth Manning; and this inscription,
Here under lyeth the body of Sir Robert de Grey Knt. (Sonne and Heyre of Sir Robert de Grey, Knight, late of Merton deceased) who married Elizabeth one of the Daughters and Coheyres of William Bridon late of Ipswich Gent. and had issue by her, William late deceased, Barbara and Anne now living, and departed this Life the 20th Day of October Anno Dni: 1644.
At his death
James de Grey, Esq. his next brother, succeeded; he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Martin Stutevile of Datham in Suffolk, Knt.; they are buried under a black marble in the chancel, with the following inscriptions. De Grey's crest.
1. Grey, viz. barry of six with an annulet.
2. Grey, alias Cornerthe.
4. A bend.
5. A fess indented erm. between six croslets.
6. Manning; all impaling.
Stutevile, a saltier ingrailed ermine.
Exuviæ Viri Honorabilis Jacobi de Grey Armigeri, Filij Secundi Gulielmi de Grey militis, et dominæ Annæ Uxoris suæ, qui ex Elizabetha, Filia Martini Stutfield de Dalham in Agro Suffolciensi militis, charissimâ Sponsa prolem Reliquit, Gulielmum de Grey Armigerum, Filium Unicum, Elizabetham, Susannam et Annam, Filias; et tertio Die mensis Junij Anno Dni: Mdclxv, Spiritum Deo reddidit, et in Pace hic requiescit, Carnis resurrectionem Expectans Gloriosam, in Adventu Salvatoris Domini nostri Jesu Christi. In memoriam Conjugis clarissimi Et merentissimi Marmor hoc Reponendum curavit.
Also under this stone lieth the Body of Elizabeth de Grey Daughter of Sir Martin Stutevile of Dalham in the county of Suffolk Knt. She Departed this Life upon the 15th Day of September 1696 in the 80th Year of her Age, her wholl Life having bene a continued Example of great Vertu & Prudence.
William de Grey, Esq. their only son succeeded, who was burgess in Parliament for Thetford in 1685, and married Elizabeth, sister and coheir of Tho. Bedingfield of Darsham in Suffolk, Esq.
Thomas de Grey, Esq. his son and heir, succeeded, he was chosen for Thetford in 1705, and again in 1708, and since that time hath worthily served in parliament for the county, and is now justice of the peace, as many of his predecessors have generally been. Wednesday 7th June, 1721, an Act of Parliament passed for discharging several estates in the county of Norfolk and Suffolk from the uses contained in the marriage settlement of Tho. de Grey, Esq. and for settling other estates in the said counties to the same uses. The said Thomas is now  lord and patron, and hath issue by Elizabeth, daughter of Will. Windham of Felbrigge in Norfolk, Esq. Thomas de Grey of Christ's college, Cambridge, who is clerk in the secretary's office, Will. de Gray of Trinity Hall in Cambridge, Elizabeth married to the Rev. Mr. Edward Chamberlain, rector of Cressingham-Magna in Norfolk, and Catherine, now single.
As to the arms, in all MSS. visitations, &c. per Hawley, claren, temp. Edward VI. per Harvey, claren. temp. Elizabeth, per Bishe, claren. anno 1664, they have constantly used the arms of Cornerd; and in Bishe's visitation, the quarterings are thus entered:
1. Grey, alias Cornerd, az. a fess between two chevrons or.
2. Baynard, arg. a fess between two chevrons az.
3. Barnston or Bernardeston, az. a fess dancette er. between six croslets arg.
4. Manning, quarterly az. and gul. over all a cross patonce between three trefoils slipped or.
Crest, on a torce of his colours, a dragon's erased or.
Monuments in the church of St. Peter at Merton, besides those already taken notice of, are
A grave-stone in the church, which a MS. tells me, was for
"Mary Wife of William de Gray son and heir of William de Grey, and Sister to Edmund Bedingfield Esq; she died Apr. 5. 1480."
Arms were Grey or Cornerth impaling Baniard. Grey quartering Baniard, impaling Bedingfield, quartering Tudenham.
It appears by the same MS. that formerly in the north and south
windows opposite to one another, in the entering into the chancel,
stood the coat of De Gray or Cornerth quartered with Baniard,
erected in 1403. And in a south window, at the upper end of the
church, was the effigies of St. Edmund, in his princely robes, holding
in his left hand an arrow; and lower in the same window was depicted the portraiture of Sir Robert Clifton, Knt. kneeling. with his
hands held up, in armour, with his mantle and coat of arms thereon,
quartered with Caily's, with a book before him, and in a scroll from
Sancte Edmunde ora pro nobis.
In the same window was an effigies of a De Grey kneeling, on his
mantle his coat armour impaled with Baniard, and this,
Orate pro Animabus Roberti Clifton (fn. 30) militis as [Will.] de Brey Armigeri et pro bono Statu Alicie nuyer Croris corundem et pro quorum....
By which it appears, that she put it up after the death of both her husbands, their souls being prayed for in it. This is now gone.
On a stone in the south isle, plated with brass, there are two hands holding a heart, upon which the word Trebo, and from the heart two scrolls; on the first, Trebo quod fiedemptor meus bibit; on the second, Et in nobissimo Die Surect......Salbatorem meum.
Dic Jacet Alicia quondam Aror Johnis: ffyncham filli senioris Johis: fyncham Due quidem Alicia fuit fillia thome Bedyngfeld Armigeri et Soror Marie Brey, et que quid: alicia ob. rrii die Maii Ao Dui: Mcccclriiii cuius aie: ppiciet: deus.
The arms were Fincham, three bars and a bend erm. impaling Bedingfield, but are now lost.
There is a stone in the nave disrobed of its brasses, but had this inscription,
Orate pro Anima Christianæ Buckenham nuper uroris Georgil Buckenham filiæ Willi: de Grey Armigeri, que obiit riiio die Junii Anno dni: Mcccclrrrrii et pro Anima Agnetis Keth quondam Fillie Francisci Keth Armigeri que diem clausit ertremum, viz. rriiiii Mail Mcccclrrrriiii.
On a stone in the chancel, having De Grey's arms in a lozenge,
Here lyeth the Body of Anne the Daughter of James de Grey Esq; late of this Parish, She died Febr. 4. 1702 in the 50th Year of her Age.
On a stone near the former, having the same arms,
Here lyeth the Body of Susan de Grey Second Daughter of James de Grey Late of this Place Esq. By Elizabeth de Stutvillee Daughter of Sir Martin de Stutvillee Of Dalham in the County Of Suffolk Knt.
She departed this Life the 30th Day of Dec. 1697 in the 47th Year Of her Age In Affection to whose Memory her Brother in Law Sir William Rant Of Thorp Market in this County Knt. hath at his own Charge Caused this Marble To be laid.
On a white stone.
Here lyes the Body of Mrs. Mary Warren Who exchanged this Life for a better Dec. 8. 1661. To whom God grant a joyful Resurrection.
In the windows of the church there were formerly the arms (fn. 31) of Grey impaling Baynard, and the following arms.
Bernardeston, az. a fess dancette erm. between six croslets arg.
Banyard. Manning. Bedingfield. Spelman. Everard. Carew. Lovell. And
Teye of Essex, arg. a fess between three martlets, and a chevron az.
Clifton and Caily quartered, quartering Albany.
Burnell, arg. a lion rampant - - - - in a bordure ingrailed
Grey, impaling a chevron between three trefoils slipped.
The chancel is tiled, and the south porch, the nave, south isle, and north porch, are leaded, the steeple is round, having in it three bells; its roof is flat, but formerly was pyramidal.
The seat of Thomas de Grey Esq. who is lord and patron, stands a little distance from the church, on the south-west part.
The Church is dedicated to St. Peter, was given by Jeffry Baniard, and confirmed by Roger Baniard, his son, and Fulk Baniard, his grandson, to the monks of St. Pancrace at Lewes in Sussex; namely, the church and parson of Merton, with his land, and also the tithes of the demean lands of the Hall, and 80 acres of his gift. The rectory, in Edward the First's time, was valued at 13 marks, the Prior of Lewes's portion at 10 marks, Peter-pence 19d. It is in the archdeaconry of Norwich, and deanery of Breccles; the temporals of the Prior of Lewes were taxed at 41s. 3d. William, son of John Bacon of Griston, gave to William Prior of Lewes his right in a messuage and 46 acres of land, 2s. 6d. rent in Merton, all which revenues continued in that monastery till its dissolution, and then came to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and were after sold to the Greys. It stands in the King's Books by the name of Marton alias Merton, and is valued at 6l. 5d. and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 40l. 5s. it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and so is capable of augmentation.
This town paid 3l. 10s. 6d. to the tenths, and is valued at 241l. to the land tax.
1266, Roger de Skerning, the Bishop's nephew. The Prior of Lewes.
1295, Will. de Berdewell. Fulk Baynard promised the monks, that if they would present
Walter de Berdewell, his chaplain, their rectory should receive no damage by it; and therefore, in 1302, the Prior presented him.
1310, 2 non. June, Thomas de Bautre, by the Pope's provision, by John de Abbatsbury, canon of the church of Sarum.
William Packet; he resigned.
1324, prid. non. Maij, Edmund de Vienna, in exchange for Faringho in Lincoln diocese.
Robert Vause; he resigned.
1350, 5 Feb. John Jay, priest. In 1374, there was a composition made between the Prior and Rector, by which the rector was for ever to have all their portion of tithes in Merton, with a toft called LewesYard, and 50 acres called Lewes-Lond.
William Bulcock, LL. licentiat.
1388, 3 Dec. Tho. Large, change with a prebend in Astely in Werwickshire.
1409, 5 Sept. Sir William Large, priest, on Sir Thomas Large's resignation.
1448, 28 Apr. Sir Peter Lock, priest, Master of Thompson Coll. on Large's death.
1505, 6 Aug. Sir Richard Crofts.
1507, 10 Sept. Sir John Pory, chaplain.
John Harrison was the last presented by the Prior.
1557, 14 Apr. Bernard Hall, on Harrison's death. Thomas Duke of Norfolk.
1560, 12 Oct. Mr. Edward Marsh, on Hall's resignation; he had Threxton. Tho. de Grey.
Ambrose Simpson; he resigned.
1580, 6 May, Henry Ryce. Lapse. He was deprived.
1590, 21 Dec. John Cross, A. B. buried May 31, 1620, the same day with Margaret, wife of Tho. Cross, rector of Threxton. Tho. Hopkins, LL. B. patron for his turn only.
1620, 30 Aug. Tho. Cross, united to Threxton, buried here 1640. Will. de Grey.
1640, 21 Sept. Tho. Reynolds, on Crosse's death. Rob. de Grey, Esq.
1676, Mr. Samuel Warren, rector, buried, anno æt. 77.
1676, 18 Oct. Joshua Chadwick, A. M. buried in 1695.
1731, Alexander Croshold, rector, buried Dec. 14, 1731.
1731, 12 Feb. The Rev. Mr. John Borret, clerk, is the present  rector, and holds it united to Griston. Thomas de Grey, Esq. is the present patron.
Marriages from the Parish Register.
1593, Christopher Craigge, A. M. to Anne Dover. 1600, Will. Graye, Esq. to Anne Calthorp, Gent. 1617, Tho. Gibbon, Esq. to Mrs. Barbara de Grey. 1623, Cotton Gaskin, (Gascoign,) Esq. to Mrs. Anne de Grey. 1630, Tolmach Castle, Esq. to Hellen, daughter of Sir William de Grey, Knt.
1631, James Rannols, Esq. to Dorothy, daughter of Sir William de Grey, Knt. 1633, Edward Bullock, Esq. to Mary, daughter of Anne de Grey. 1634, John Palgrave, Esq. to Anne Pastoyne, widow, (Paston.) 1639, Christopher Attoo, Esq. to Penelope, daughter of Sir William de Grey. 1686, Sir John Rouse of Henham in Suffolk, Bart. and Mrs. Anne Wood. 1734, the Rev. Mr. Edward Chamberlain (rector of Cressingham-Magna) and Mrs. Eliz. de Grey.
Burials in this church.
1600, Anne, wife of Rob. Gray, Esq. 7 March. 1600, Rob. de Grey, Esq. 10 Sept.
1616, William; 1618, Elizabeth; 1621, another Elizabeth; 1628, Philip; 1631, Catherine, all children of Sir William de Grey, Knt. who was buried himself in 1632.
1631, Mary, daughter of Talmach Castle, Esq. 1636, William, son of Robert de Grey, Esq. and Elizabeth his wife. 1644, Sir Robert de Grey, Knt. 1656, Barbara, daughter of James de Grey, Esq. and Elizabeth his wife. 1662, the worthy Lady Anne de Grey, widow, formerly espoused to Sir William de Grey, Knt. 1665, James de Grey, Esq.
1686, Major William de Grey, Esq. Flebilis omnibus, nulli flebilior quam mihi. I. C.
1687, Elizabeth de Grey, his widow. Ingens dolor stupet.
1687, William, their son. 1689, Major Edmund de Grey. 1696, Madam Elizabeth, relict of James de Grey, Esq. 1697, Mrs. Susan de Grey. 1702, Mrs. Anne de Grey.
1717, Mrs. Elizabeth de Grey. 1717, William, son of Thomas de Grey, Esq. 1727, Charlott, daughter of Thomas de Grey, Esq.