An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1805.
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This church is dedicated to St. Martin, and when Norwich Domesday was made, was valued at 20 marks, and the portion of the Prior of Castle-Acre, at 20s. it paid 7s. 7d. procurations, 6s. 6d. synodals, and 11d. ob. Peter-pence.
At this time there was a college of secular canons or chaplains, that eat together, and lived in a collegiate manner.
Simon de Wanton, or Walton, Bishop of Norwich, confirmed to the monks of Castle-Acre two parts of the tithes of all the demeans of the monks of Norwich lying in Tompson, and Toftes, in 1265; and in 1316, there was a perpetual composition made between the prior of Castle-Acre and the rector of Thompson, for the said tithes, which were given them by William de Raleigh Bishop of Norwich, out of nine score and 10 acres of the monks lands lying in Thompson, late Will. atte Churche's of Thompson, for two marks a year.
There was a gild dedicated to the Trinity, and a light kept burning before the image of St. Mary, where her gild was held, and there was another gild dedicated to St. Martin.
1303, Brian de Saham.
1308, 17 kal. Sept. Master Ralf Buttetourt. Sir Guy de Butetourt, Knt. and Ada his wife. (fn. 1)
1318, prid. kal. Aug. Rob. de Harbling. Rob. de Aula or (Hall) of Thomeston.
1349, 5 Dec. Will. de la Chambre. Sir Thomas de la Shardelowe, and John his brother.
1349, 11 Feb. John Spore of Berton. The Master and Brethren of the chantry at Berton by Mildenhale.
So that it appears, that the college of Thompson had its first rise in Edward the First's time, from the Boutetourts, lords of Thompson, and were supported by them without any endowment; afterwards some of the chaplains were sent to Berton chantry, and soon after were removed hither, for in
1349, 10 March, Will. de la Chambre of Ereswell was presented to this rectory by the Master and Chaplains of Thompson college, which advowson their founder had given them.
1350, 7 April, William Bateman Bishop of Norwich, and Simon Bozoun Prior there, at the request of Sir Thomas de Shardelowe, Knt. and John his brother, who had founded a perpetual chantry of six chaplains in the church of Tompson, at the altar of St. Martin, in honour of St. Martin, the Holy Virgin, and all the Saints, for the souls of Sir John de Shardelowe, his father, and Agnes his wife, mother of the said Sir Thomas, and for their own souls, and those of all the faithful deceased, appropriated the church to the said college or chantry, to the use of the master or custos, and his brethren, there being no vicarage reserved, (fn. 2) but the church was to be served by one of the chaplains, and the master was to pay an annual pension of four marks, and due obedience to the Bishop, who, if the chaplains did not choose a master in a set time, was to collate to the mastership by lapse, and if they elected him, he was still to be confirmed by the Bishop, who reserved to himself and successours all episcopal jurisdiction in the said church.
In 1369, April 28, Joan widow of Sir John de Shardelowe, Knt. one of the founders, took upon her the vow of chastity, and became a religious votary in this college of Thompson, where she died; the manner of this solemn vow was thus, she appeared before Thomas Percy Bishop of Norwich, in the private chapel of his manor-house at Thornage, where he then resided, and at mass she kneeled down before the Bishop, (Master Will. Blithe Archdeacon of Norfolk, Sir Simon de Babingle, and Will. le Swineflete, and others, being present as the Bishop's witnesses,) and joining her hands, he took them into his hands, and then she vowed in these words:
"Jeo Johanne qui fuy la femme Johan de Shardelowe, avowe et promette a Dieux et a nostre Dame Seinte Marie, et a Seint Martin, et as toutz seintz, de vivere en perpetuele chastete a terme de ma vie, a vous reverent pere en Dieux Sire Thomas par la grace de Dieux Evesque de Norwiz, et en vostre presence, et en la presence, de Sire Thomas de Shardelowe chevaler, Sire Johan Grene mestre de la chauntrie de Thomestone, John Clovylle et autrez." (fn. 3)
Masters of the College.
1353, 17 May, John Grene of Thompson, elected unanimously by the Brethren, and confirmed by the Bishop.
1378, Alex. de Horsted; he resigned.
1356, 15 Oct. Sir Stephen Feltham.
1368, John Grene was rechosen master.
1419, 14 Sept. Master Thomas Bushell; he resigned.
1425, 6 Jan. John Mayster, resigned; he died chaplain here in 1451, and was buried in the churchyard.
Rob. Swetenham, died master.
1432, 17 March, Roger Philpot, collated by the Bishop; in
1435, 11 June, He was rechosen by the Fellows, and died master.
1439, 18 March, Will. Bettys. Lapse. Resigned.
1464, 27 Oct. Peter Lock. Lapse; he was rector of Merton.
1487, 22 Sept. Mr. John Whittert, in Dec. Bac. Resigned.
1490, 28 Aug. Mr. Ambrose Ede, Decret. Dr. Died master; he was chancellor rector of Oxburgh, Caston, &c.
1503, 16 July, John Wyatt; he was rector of Feltwell. Lapse. Resigned.
1518, 21 May, Mr. Rich. Alay, alias Hoke, died master, and rector of Northwold.
1519, 19 March, Mr. Rob. Dikar. Lapse. Resigned.
1524, 12 July, Master Roger Rawlins.
1534, Master Robert Audeley, Archdeacon of Berkshire, who resigned his college, with all its revenues to the King, it being then valued at 52l. 15s. 7d. ob.; Nicholas Marwell and others were fellows, and signed the supremacy. (fn. 4)
The impropriator is to find a curate to serve the church, he being in the place of the college, who were obliged to serve it by the terms of the impropriation deed, and did so to the Dissolution, and it hath been served by curates ever since.
1738, The Rev. Mr. James Smith, curate, named by the impropriator.
BENEFACTORS TO THIS COLLEGE AND TOWN.
1391, John Methelwold, (fn. 5) and others, settled lands in Langford, West-Tofts, and Shropham, on this college, viz. a messuage and 13 acres in Shropham, with that church and St. Andrew's chapel annexed.
John Jesse, clerk, gave three roods in Tomson, held of HockhamMagna manor at 18d. per annum.
The church-wardens, in 1541, held an alms-house by the church, abutting south on Church-lane, by the free rent of 2d. per annum to great Hockham manor.
1383, Sir Roger de Wylacham, Knt. was buried in the church, under an arch between the church and chapel of St. James, Katherine his wife executrix.
1435, John, son of Simon Chapman, gave to St. Martin's chantry here, two manors called Warner's and Redham's, with their courts, rents, fald-course, and services, which they had of the feoffment of John Grene, clerk, Ric. Crowe, John Bokenham, jun. John Berton, clerk, Rob. More, and Will. Herberd.
1467, William Warner of Thompson, Esq. buried in the church here, was a benefactor to all the gilds, and gave the college 20l. to keep his obijt.
1541, John Flowerdew of Hetherset, Gent. had Bradker Hall in Shropham, which belonged to this College, and was held of GreatHockham manor, by one fee and suit of court, and 8s. 1d. per annum, and Roger Fytpot Master of the college, did homage to Edward Lord Bergavenny for it, Nov. 15, 1436.
1599, William Furmage of Barnham in Suffolk, gave 10l. to the poor, and Sir John Crofts settled an acre of land in Ratlesden in Suffolk, on Rob. Futter of Islington, Rob. Futter of Thompson, Gent. Tho. Dey of Scoulton, &c. to the town's use.
I saw Sir Thomas Shardelowe's will in the Commons, by which it
appears that he himself, father and mother, wife, and all his ancestors,
were buried in this church, though there are no memorials remaining
over any of them, save his own stone, which lies in the south chapel
of St. James, before the altar of St. Martin, which chapel he founded
for his college, but the inscription is imperfect; he seems to be in a
habit much like a priest; only these words are legible,
Drate Salbetur quit fuit cuius anime propicietur Dens. Amen
This Sir Thomas de Shardelowe was second son to John de Shardelowe, Justice of the Common Pleas in 1333, and he and Sir John, his elder brother, to whom he was heir, granted the advowson of Couling in Suffolk to the custos and scholars of Trinity Hall in Cambridge, to be appropriated to their use.
The rules of the college were, that the fellows or chaplains should be all obedient to their master, should live and lie in one house, and eat and drink in commons together, and none of them to victual or lodge out of the college; all to meet every morning in the church at matins, and every evening at vespers, and one to say daily mass according to their foundation.
They were endowed with the manors of Thompson, Bradker in Shropham, Citty or Shudy-Campes in Cambridgeshire, the impropriations of Thompson and Shropham, and the advowson of that vicarage and lands in Saham and Bradenham; all which at the Dissolution were given to Sir Edmund Knevet, Knt. in the 34th Hen. VIII. in as ample a manner as Rob. Awdelye, last master, there resigned it on July 3d last past; and two years after, Sir Edmund and Anne his wife sold it to John Maynard, mercer of London, who two years after sold it to Anne Paine, widow; and A 2d Elizabeth, Walter Paine and Elizabeth his wife aliened it to Alexander Raye, Gent. Thomas Payne, Gent. and Anthony Gamage, citizen of London, who in 1561, conveyed it to Rob. Futter, who, Ao 31st Elizabeth, conveyed the college manor and rectory to Henry his brother; and in 1622, Rob. Futter, junior, recovered it against Fran. Beding field, Esq. and Edw. Bedingfield, Gent.; and in 1653, the said Robert had the manor of Thompson, the site of the college, four messuages, one dove-house, &c. 40s. rent of assize, and a fald-course, and the impropriate rectory of Thompson.
Robert Futter sold the rectory to Colman, which the Rev. Mr. Roger Colman at his death left deeply mortgaged, Barber Colman, his son and heir, having the equity of redemption, but the mortgagee is in possession. (See vol. i. p. 223.)
And the site of the college, and the college manor, to Mr. Rich. Cater, father of the Rev. Mr. John Cater, rector of Elingham, the present  owner, to whom I acknowledge myself obliged, as well for his encouragement of this work, as also for the sight of his evidences, which he favoured me with.
The Church is leaded, the tower square, the chancel tiled; there is a south chapel and south porch, the vestry is down, the old stalls in which the master and fellows used to sit are still remaining with the arms of Shardelowe on them, with the differences of mullets, cinquefoils, &c.
In the windows,
Az. a crown or.
Or, three chevrons, gul. on each three delises arg,
Futter, sab. a swan arg. between two flaunches or.
Hic jacet Corpus Richardi Cater Generosi qui obijt Anno Domini Mdccxxvii. et Ætatis suæ septuagessimo quarto.
Robert Futter of Thompson College Gent. died May 12, 1652, Jane his Wife died March 25, 1643; Henry their son died 18 March 1648, in the 18 year of his Age. Ex dono Edmundi Bedingfield, Esq.
Rob. Futter died 21 Nov. 1603. Mary his wife, May 22, 1588.
Rowland Thompson of Thorpmarket in Norfolk, son of Matthew Thompson of the ancient family of Thompson of Tinmouth Castle in Northumberland, descended from the Thompsons sirnamed of this town, had this coat confirmed by Cambden, Claren. 12th Jan. 1602,
Az. a lion passant gardant or, in a bordure arg. Crest, an armed arm az. holding a broken spear in the gauntlet.
Smith of Thompson bears, arg. a chevron or between three cross croslets sab.
The Prior of Castle-Acre's temporals were taxed at 18s.
The Prior of Thetford's at 2s. 7d.
The town paid 2l. 6s. 8d. to the tenths, and is now assessed at 432l. 13s. 4d. to the land tax.
The church is exempt from the Archdeacon's jurisdiction, but subject to that of the Bishop and Archbishop, being in Breccles deanery, and Norwich archdeaconry, but it is not mentioned in the King's Books, it having been discharged ever since its appropriation.
This town now is, and always was, in several parts, there being no less than five parcels or lordships at the Conqueror's survey.
1. William Earl Warren had one carucate, six freemen, 12 acres of meadow, &c. the whole was worth 49s. and had it in exchange.
2. Roger Bigot had 40 acres of land, &c. worth 3s.
3. Isaac had a carucate of land worth 20s. of the fee of Earl Ralf, as part of his manor of Stow.
4. Berner the Archer had another carucate, worth 16s. which belonged also to Earl Ralf.
5. Roger Bigot had one freeman and 15 acres, &c. and the King and the Earl had the soc of the whole town, which lying in so many parcels, was valued in Stow, and the other manors of the separate owners, so that we meet not with the measure, nor geld paid for the town. (fn. 6)
The confusion of the manors are so great, that I cannot pretend to trace their divisions and subdivisions exactly.
The record called Testa de Nevile tells us, that Maud de Rochford held half a fee here, of the fees belonging to the Byduns, so that this was that part that was Isaac's.
In 1218, Martin de Bodekesham and Agatha his wife, Roger de Rude and Margaret his wife, and Rob. de Caston, had 10s. rent of assize here.
This was afterwards Barrie's manor.
In 1247, Will. de Monasterijs conveyed a part of this town to Jeffry Crowe.
In 1274, John Methelwold, lord of Lang ford, claimed free-warren here, but could produce no evidence, and therefore John Buck and Theobald his son, whom he had prosecuted for hunting, were discharged.
In 1275, Peter de Breccles and Agnes his wife conveyed a part to Roger Crowe and Margaret his wife.
In 1281, Tho. Fitz-Roberts held a fee in this town, Kirby, Stowe and Shipden, of Baldwin Wake.
In 1282, Robt. de Thomeston was lord of the capital manor, and patron of the church, and left three daughters his heiresses; Katerine, married to De la Sale, and had issue, Philip de la Sale; Margaret, to Roger Crowe; and Agnes, to Peter Copsey, and they all held the manor and advowson in common, there being no partition made; (fn. 7) Philip de la Sale conveyed to Henry de Barsham two acres of land here, and the advowson, for 15 years, but the other heirs brought their action against him, and pleaded that the advowson belonged to Stow-Bydun manor, which was let to the said Robert for term of years, and the said Robert presented last, as to an advowson that he held by lease; but Philip and Henry said that Robert presented to it, as belonging to his manor of Thompson, and in his own right, and it being proved to be so, and no division made of the manor or advowson, the heirs recovered, and it was adjudged that they had all an equal right, and so could not present single.
In 1286, the jury for the hundred found that William de Thomeston, lord here, who was father of Robert, used to come twice a year, with his steward and four men to the sheriffs turn, till within 30 years last past, and that Warine de Muntchensi withdrew one man from coming, to the King's damage of 2s. per annum, and that Dionise de Molekan now is in possession of the withdrawn man, and is in court, and says that she holds the manor in dower of the inheritance of William Mouncekan, her son, who says that Warine de Muntchensy, Moncekan, or Molekan, his father, died seized of the man so withdrawn, and upon proving it, he was discharged.
In 1304, John Crowe of Thompson purchased much here of John de Geyton.
In 1308, part of the town was held by Fulk Baynard of Rob. Fitz–Walter, and Sculton manor extended into this town, and had 20s. rent here; this after was called Burdeloss's manor.
In 1325, Stephen le Briton of Shropham sold lands here to John Herring of Tempson and Lettice his wife.
In 1307, Guy de Butetort and Ada his wife had purchased the Crows part, and so became owners of the capital manor and advowson, in which Tho. de Reppes pretended some claim; and after that, it came into the hands of Sir John Shardelowe, Knt. Justice of the Common Pleas, and he settled it on Sir John, his eldest son, and Thomas his brother, who founded the college, and gave the advowson and part of the manor to it, though part of it continued a manor which was not settled, and was called
Buttort or Butter's Hall in Thompson,
Which, in 1429, William Phelip, Knt. John Edmund of Cranworth, Esq. and Margaret his wife, conveyed to Richard - - - - in trust; and in 1468, John Edmundys died seized; in 1523, Tho. Spring was lord; in 1547, Sir John Spring died lord, and William, his son, succeeded; in 1571, Ambrose Jermyn sold it to Lionel Talmach; in 1586, Tho. Bright, senior, settled it on Robert and Henry his sons, after his death, and Will. le Hunt, Esq. was lord in 1660; in 1673, John Gage of Camberwell in Surrey conveyed it to Tho. Grundy of Westminster, who left it to John his brother, and it now belongs to Mr. Underwood of London.
The part conveyed to the college was called Thompson manor.
In Henry the Fifth's time, John Herring of Thompson, clerk, died seized of lands, &c.
In 1315, Aymer de Valence, Maud de Tony, John de Thorp, Jeffry Burdeleys, Agnes de Caston, Rob. Hall, Guy Butetort, Master Roger Buttetorle, and Ralf Camoys, were lords and owners of manors that extended hither.
In 1353, John and Tho. Shardelowe his brother, settled a messuage and 40 acres of land in Thompson, on the college there, which was held of the Prior of Hautenprisse.
In 1401, Ric. de Aula or Hall, and his parceners, held six parts of half a fee of Thomas Camois.
In 1512, Tho. Blakeney, Gent. died seized of Waterhouse manor here. In 1535, Rob. Griggs of Sparham, Gent. died seized of it, and Mr. Futter of Shelton, descended from the ancient family of that name in this town, is the present  lord.
In 1570, the Queen, John Spelman, Rob. Grey, Philip Audeley, and Rob. Futter, had manors here.
In 1605, Burdelos manor, which was the part that formerly belonged to Scoulton manor, Baynard's, Warner's, and Redham's, which were all in the college, and included in their manor of Thompson, belonged now to John Futter, and passed in that family as aforesaid.
Barrie's manor in Thompson hath been many ages united to Caston Hall in Caston, and so continues at this day, as you may see at p. 286.
I am lately informed, that Mr. Futter, at his death, left the college, college manor, and impropriate rectory, to Mr. Ware, his sister's son, who sold the rectory to Mr. Colman, the college and manor to Mr. Cater, father of the Rev. Mr. Cater, the present  lord, and part of the college lands to Mr. Tho. Barker, whose sons now enjoy them: the Barkeres or Barkers are an ancient family here.
And thus having gone through this hundred, which is chiefly inclosed, the greatest part of it being a strong soil, and pretty well wooded, I shall proceed in the next place to the hundred of Fourhou, or Forehoe.