An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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The church is dedicated to All the Saints; the advowson belonged to Forncet manor, till sold from it lately. When Norwich Domesday was made, the rector had a house and 16 acres of glebe; (fn. 1) the house is situate against the churchyard, and much the same quantity of glebe now remains. It was first valued at five, after at eight marks, and the monks of Thetford had a portion of tithes valued at 6s. 8d. It pays 4d. ob. synodals, and 1s. procurations, the old carvage was 3d. and Peter-pence 5d. ob. and the whole village paid 2l. 6s. 8d. clear to every tenth.
Eliz. Baspoole, widow, tied her estate in Wacton, now Mr. Joseph Cotman's of Great Yarmouth, for ever to pay 2l. 12s. yearly, to be given weekly at church, by 1s. a week in bread, to such poor people of the parish as constantly attend there.
Rectors of Great-Wacton.
1310, John Tayt. Alice de Hanonia Countess of Norfolk, in right of Forncet manor, which she held in dower.
1327, Edmund de Ketilburgh. By the Pope's provision.
1330, Will. de Berdefeld. Thomas Brotherton Earl of Norfolk.
1335, Roger de Dyngeley. Ditto.
1349, Roger Parleman, res. John Lord Segrave, Knt.
1352, John de Donyngton, shaveling, res. The King, in right of the Lord Segrave's manor of Forncet, then in his hands.
1361, John Bertram. Walter Lord Manney.
1403, Michael de Barsham lapse: he changed in 1404, for Flixton in Lothingland, with
Peter Cuttyng. Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk.
1428, John Long. John Duke of Norfolk, who in 1429, changed for Swerdeston with
1434, Thomas in le Fen of Wickmere. The King, as guardian to the Duke of Norfolk.
1440, David Hechinson. John Duke of Norfolk.
1447, Thomas Eckerislay. Ditto.
1451, Miles Roche, A. M. united to Waketon-Parva. Ditto.
1457, John Bole, lapse.
1484, Will. Brett. Ditto, united to Waketon-Parva.
1524, Robert Peryn, lapse.
1561, Edward Bowlynge. Tho. Duke of Norfolk: united to Waketon-Parva.
1567, Tho Watson. Ditto. He returned 67 communicants here, and held it united to Little-Wacton to his death, when he was buried here.
1613, Abacuc Cadiwould, A. M. The Earl of Northampton. He was sequestered in 1644, and died before the Restoration, when
Edm. Pooley, A. M. who had intruded during the rebellion, took institution, at the presentation of Sir William Platers and Sir Richard Onslow, Knts. trustees to the Norfolk family; at Pooley's death in 1697,
Layer Vinne succeeded; Ric. Vinne, Gent. patron of this turn; at his death in
1702, William Rant was presented by Claudius Grey, Gent. patron in full right, and held it united to Bunwell, and when he took Carleton-Rode he resigned it, and in
1715, The Rev. John Soley, senior, A. M. the present rector, and patron in full right, was presented by Will. Staffe of Willingham in Suffolk, and now holds it united to Stratton St. Mary.
Is the only manor in this parish, except the parts belonging to Forncet, and to the honour of Richmond, (fn. 2) (of which this manor is held,) and to the honour of Eye, (fn. 3) both which extended hither; and the Duke of Norfolk, as lord of Forncet, and the lord of the honour of Richmond, are superiour lords of the commons and wastes, and had their letes here, though there is a lete belonging to this manor, the jurisdiction of which, extends to the tenants of the manor only, as the other letes do over the several tenants of the honours.
It was first held by the family of the Wactons, and Stephen de Wacton, who had it in 1230, was the last lord of that name here.
In 1235, Walter de Walys owned it, who was succeeded by Thomas de Camera or Chambers of Baketon, who in 1285, had lete or view of frankpledge, and assize of bread and ale of all his tenants here, by the King's grant; (fn. 4) this lete belonged to the King's hundred, and therefore the lord was obliged to pay 6d. per annum fee-farm for it, to the bailiff of the hundred. In 1298, Thomas son of Will. de la Chambre settled it on William Carleton, who resettled it on the said Thomas and Isabell his wife, in tail: it had then 130 acres, one mill, and 16 messuages belonging to it, and extended into Aslacton, Stratton, and Forncet. In 1315 the said Thomas was lord, and after him it came to the Parks, and passed with the manor of Park's in Aslacton, as at p. 177, 8, and so to the Dukes of Benhale in Suffolk, and after the death of that Sir Edward Duke who sold Aslacton, it went to
Sir John Duke, his son, who served as member of parliament for Orford in Suffolk. He married Eliz. daughter and coheir of Edward Duke, M. D. by whom he had four daughters: 1, Eliz. who died young; 2, Jane, married to John Brame of Campsey-Ash; 3, Anne, to Thomas Tirrel, Esq. of Gipping; and 4, Arabella, to Maurice Shelton of Barningham, Esq. and one son,
Sir Edward Duke, Bart. (fn. 5) who married Mary, daughter of Thomas Rudge of Staffordshire, but dying without issue, he gave it to his sister's son,
Edm. Tirrel of Gipping, Esq. who sold it to his brother,
Thomas-Bokenham Tirrel of Belsted near Ipswich, Esq. the present lord.
The fines are arbitrary, the eldest son inherits, and it gives no dower.
There was a fourth part of a fee of the Forncet part, granted from it, and was to be held of it; this was called
Greshaugh, La Vile's, or Bacon's Manor,
And anciently belonged to Richard la Vile; and in 1306, to Margery, widow of Walter le Waleys, and soon after to John de Dunhodde and Isabel de Haggele; in 1345, Thomas Grey, chaplain, and his parceners, had it; in 1370, Robert Bacon of Dickleburgh, lord of it, was outlawed for felony, and it was seized by the King, but Joan his wife recovered it, and held it in 1391, and at her death it went to the Crown, and was purchased by the lord of Park's manor, and joined to it, and so continues.
The church and chancel are both of a height, and thatched; there is no porch, the tower is round, and hath three bells.
On a brass in the nave, are the arms of Knevet, with a crescent in a lozenge.
Hic jacet Abigail Sedley Vid: Filia Johannes Knyvet de Ashwould-thorp Armigeri, et nuper Uxor Martini Sedley de Morley Armigeri, (fn. 6) quæ diem obijt 15 Decem. Ao D. 1623.
At the entrance of the chancel, are two black marbles thus inscribed,
Hic jacet Corpus Katharine Uxoris Johannis Mallom Clerici, et Filiæ Timothei Mann Generosi, et Elizabethæ Uxoris ejus, quæ obijt 5 Die Maij A. D. 1685, æt. 66.
Mallom, John (fn. 7) of Wacton, Gent. had a grant of arms anno 1685, viz.
Gul. on a chief or, a lion passant of the field, between two mullets az. in base three chevronels braced arg. and this coat is impaled with Mann. (See p. 190.)
Hic jacet Corpus Elizæ. Uxoris Johannis Mallom Generosi, et Filiæ Thomæ Stone Generosi, et Etheldredæ Uxoris ejus quæ obijt 12mo Die Sept. A. D. 1684. Etiam predictus Johannes Mallom obijt Aug. A. D. 1687.
Mallom impales Stone, per pale erm. and gul. an eagle displayed az.
On two other black marbles in the chancel as soon as you enter it,
Sub hoc marmore Corpus Johannis Mallom Armigeri jacet qui vicesimo quarto Die Mensis Julij Ao Salutis 1728, æt. 58 diem clausit extremum.
Mallom impaling Suckling, and Mallom's crest, viz. an arm in pale cooped at the shoulder, sleeved proper, holding a cord with a tassel at each end, bent in form of a bow.
Depositum Elizabethæ Uxoris Johannis Mallom, Filiæq; Roberti Suckling de Woodton Armigeri natu maximæ; 14° Die Nov. Ao Salutis 1728, æt. 53 obijt.
Here is a vault on the north side of the chancel, in which are buried, Guliel. Soley 1725. He was of Pembroke-Hall, Cant. Susanna Soley, 1741. M. B. Soley, 1741, and Mary Baker, for whom there is a mural monument with the arms of Soley impaling
Baker, gul. a goat passant arg.
Mary wife of William Baker Clerk, Rector of Hedenham' and elder Daughter of John Soley Clerk, Rector of this Parish, was buried on the 17th Day of April 1741. aged 41.
— Wisest, Virtuousest, Discreetest, Best.
In the rails are buried John Fley, Gent. 2 Sept. 1647, 26. Walter Reyner, Dec. 10, 1655. Thomas Reyner, June 4, 1680.
On a black marble in the nave,
Samuel Cock died Oct. 17, 1727, aged 77.
Stay hasty Traveller who 'ere you be, Tell if you can, what is become of me; Conscious of Guilt, my Soul, as one afraid, Fled from that Body, which now here is laid; Thoughtfull in Life, make it your chiefest Care, What you must be, as well as what you are; Death makes the stoutest hearts and hands to yield, Cease to dispute, and tamely quit the Field; And when approaching, makes all Living fear, To be they know not what, they know not where.
Margaret his wife died Aug. 20, 1736, æt. 81.
There are three stones by the font for John Gilbert and his two wives, he died in 1680, Susan in 1659, and Eliz. in 1675. By the north door lies Stephen Hartley, 1664, and Joan his wife, 1671.
Over this door (the usual place for St. Christopher) is an ancient picture of that Saint, painted on the wall with "a terryble and fereful countenaunce," according to the description of him in the Legend, (fn. 8) and of as prodigious size, as the height of the wall would permit, though not so monstrous as the Legend makes him, for that says, "he was xii cubytes of length." At the uppermost corner towards the west, are the two tables of the Commandments, on the upper part of the one is Moses, and on the other Aaron, and by them Solomon's temple at Jerusalem; at the lower corner, on the same side, is a shield, and on it, the golden pot that had manna, (fn. 9) and Aaron's rod that budded, (fn. 10) types (I suppose) of the Aaronical priesthood; in the midst is a river, and the huge saint with "a grete pole in his hand in stede of a staffe, by which he susteyned hym in the water;" and on his shoulders is our Saviour represented as a child, "which prayed hym goodly to here him over the water;" and when Christopher "lyfte the Chyld on his Sholdres, and toke his Staffe, and entred the Ryver for to passe, the Water of the Ryuer arose, and swelled more and more, and the Chylde was heuy as Leed, and alway as he went ferder the Water incresed, and grewe more, and the Chylde more & more wexed heuy, in so moche that Christofer had grete Anguysshe, & was aferde to be drowned, and when he was escaped with grete Payne, and passed the Water, & set the Chylde a Grounde, he sayd to the Chylde; Chylde, you hast put me in grete Peryll, you weyst almost as I had had all the World upon me, I myght bere no greter Burden. And the Chylde answered; Christofer, marvayle the nothynge, for you hast not only borne all the Worlde upon the, but you hast borne hym that created & made all the Worlde, upon thy Shouldres: I am Jesu Chryst the Kyng to whome you servest in this Werke, and bycause that you know, that I saye to the Trouth, set thy Staffe in the Erth by thy Hows, & thou shalt se to Morrowe that it shall bere Floures and Fruyte. And anon he vanyshed from his eyen. And than Christofer set his Staffe in the Erth, & whan he arose on the Morowe, he found his Staffe like a Palmyr, beryng Floures Leues, and Dates." (fn. 11) And after this he was baptized, for when the King enquired his name and country, he answered thus, "tofore I was baptysed, I was named Reprobus, and now am named Christofer, tofore Baptysm a Cananee, now a Chrysten Man." And at the upper corner towards the east, is Noah's ark, the figure of Christian baptism, (fn. 12) by which we enter into the church, which is represented at the lower corner of the same painting, to which the Saint directs his steps: all this confirms my former observation at p. 239, vol. iv. that this Saint is always placed here (opposite to the font, which anciently stood always between the two doors) "in allusion to the water in baptism," notwithstanding what is said in the Palæographia Britannica, &c. Number II. page 65, against the truth of it. (fn. 13)
This rectory is valued in the King's Books at 5l. stands there by the name of Wacton-Magna Rectory, and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 45l. is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation.
The common called Wacton-Great-Green, is rated, and the going of each beast is usually let off at 12s. per annum.