Hundred of Earsham: Mendham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Hundred of Earsham: Mendham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5, (London, 1806) pp. 372-387. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section


Nedham in Mendham.

Nedham, adjoins east to Brockdish, on the great road; and is originally a hamlet and chapelry to Mendham, which is a very extensive place; the parish church stands just over the river, and so is in Suffolk; but this hamlet and the adjacent part between it and the parish church, on the Norfolk side, were no less than two miles and five furlongs long, and seven furlongs broad, at the Conqueror's survey, and paid 7d. to the geld or tax; and the part on the Norfolk side (exclusive of the bounds of this ancient hamlet) was called Scotford, or the part at the ford, (over which there is a good brick bridge built, called Shotford bridge at this day,) and for many ages had a rector presented to it, who served in the church of Mendham, by the name of the rector of Shotford portion in Mendham.

Part of Herolveston or Harleston then belonged to Mendham also; and now, that part of the town opposite to the south side of the chapel, on which the publick-house called the Pye stands, is in Mendham.

Mendham parish church is dedicated to All the Saints, and was originally a rectory, one turn of which, was in Sir William de Huntingfield, founder of the priory here, to which he gave it, and the other in Sir Thomas de Nedham, who gave it to William Prior of the Holy Trinity at Ipswich, and the convent there, to which it was appropriated by Thomas de Blundeville Bishop of Norwich, in 1227, when the vicarage was settled to consist of a messuage and 24 acres of land, 6 acres of meadow and marsh, with all the alterage belonging to the church, and the tithes of the mills, hay, turf, and fish, and all sorts of pulse, and 10s. per annum rent; viz. from the Lady Eve de Arches half a mark, &c. (fn. 1) and the said Prior was to pay all dues to the bishop and archdeacon, except synodals; (fn. 2) and Henry de Diss, chaplain, the first vicar here, was presented by the Prior of Ipswich. The account of this church in Norwich Domesday is thus; the Prior of the Holy Trinity of Ipswich hath the moiety of the church of Mendham, appropriated to his convent, and hath a house and two carucates of land, and receives the tithes of the demeans of Sir Thomas de Nedham; this was valued formerly at 15 marks. The Prior of Mendham hath the other moiety, and receives the tithes of Sir William de Hunting field, and his moiety is valued at ten marks. Sir Thomas de Clare is patron of the third part, which the vicar holds of the fee of Cockfield, and is valued at tive marks.

The chapel of St. Peter at Nedham was in all probability founded by the Nedham family, and most likely, by Sir Thomas de Nedham himself, for his own tenants; and being so far from the mother-church of Mendham, was made parochial, and hath separate bounds, officers, administration of sacraments, and burial; it is under the episcopal, but exempt from the archidiaconal jurisdiction; for it pays neither synodals, procurations, nor Peter-pence: and in 1329, a perpetual composition and agreement was made between the parishioners of the mother-church of Mendham, and those of the chapel of Nedham; by which, in lieu of all reparations and dues to the parish of Mendham, they agreed to pay 18d. every Easter-day, towards the repairs of Mendham church, as an acknowledgment that they were members of it. In 1411, the parishioners of Nedham, complained to Pope John XXIII. that their chapel was not well served, though the Prior of Mendham was well paid his tithes; upon which, a bull directed to Alexander de Totington Bishop of Norwich, issued; (fn. 3) commanding him to oblige the Prior of Mendham to find, and give security to him, that that convent would always find a parochial chaplain resident in Nedham, well and duly to serve the chapel there: and ever since, the impropriator of Mendham nominates the parish chaplain. In 1603, it was returned that

Mr. Andrew Wily, clerk, was curate, that there were 220 communicants, and that it was an impropriation; the herbages being reserved for the maintenance of the minister, who hath now the vicarial tithes, amounting to about 14l. per annum, for which it is served once every fortnight;

The Rev. Mr. John Tracey being the present curate.

The steeple is round at bottom and octangular at top, and hath four bells in it; the south porch and nave are tiled; there are several stones, but none with inscriptions on them, all their brasses being reaved: the chancel was wholly rebuilt in 1735, of brick, and tiled (though less than the old one was) by William Freston, Esq. who is interred in it; for whom there is a mural monument on the south side, with the

Crest of Freston, viz. a demi-greyhound arg. collared sab. and his arms,

Az. on a fess or, three leopards heads gul. which were first granted to the Frestons of Yorkshire, (fn. 4) impaling

Kedington, and this inscription,

Memoriæ sacrum, Gulielmi Freston de Mendham in Agro Norfolciensi, Armigeri, qui ex hac Vitâ demigravit 26° Die Oct. A. D. MDCCXXXIXo. Ætatis LVo. Et Margarettæ Uxoris Charissimæ, Filiæ et Herædis Henrici Kedington, Armigeri, quæ nimio ob Mariti obitum indulgens Dolori, Die 2do. Julij animam efflavit Anno Dni. DCCXLIo. Ætatis LIo. Vincula Amoris inter eos arctissima ut ad Amorem mutuum nihil posset accedere. Ex his nati sunt octo Liberi, Quorum sex jam Superstites; Maria Filia natû maxima, 20° Die Mensis Junij mortem obijt A. D. MDCCXL. Æt. XVII. Et in hoc Adesto (cum Johanne Fratre Infantulo) humata jacet. Hoc Monumentum Pietatis Ergo Coke Freston Filius natû maximus posuit.

Anno Domini MDCCXLVI.

This chapelry hath a lete held in it by the Duke of Norfolk's steward, it being in his Grace's liberty, who is lord paramount in right of his hundred of Earsham, over all the Norfolk part of Mendham; and in 1285, Roger Bigot, then lord of the hundred, had free-warren allowed him here.

The abbot and convent of Sibton in Suffolk had a fishery, and water-mill called Fryer's Mill, in this place; (fn. 5) which was let with their grange and manor of Weybrede in Suffolk; which in 1611, belonged to George Hering of Norwich.

This hamlet originally belonged to the Abbot of Bury, (fn. 6) and was infeoffed by one Frodo at the Conquest, whose descendants took the sirname of Nedham, and contrary to the common rule, gave their name to this place; it should seem that the family extinguished in several heiresses, by the many parts or manors it was divided into; and now there are four manors still subsisting here.

The first is a very small one, called Sileham Comitis, ex Parte Norfolk; and was originally part of the Earl's manor of Sileham, from which it was separated, and now belongs to Mr. James Bransby of Shotesham.

The second is called Denison's, or Denston's manor: this was given to the priory of Mendham, to which it belonged till its Dissolution.

This monastery was founded in King Stephen's time, by Will. son of Rog. de Hunting field, with the approbation of Roger his son and heir, who gave the whole isle of Mendham, called Medenham, or the village of meadows, to the monks of Castleacre, on condition they should erect a church of stone, and build a convent by it, and place at least eight of their monks there: in the place called Hurst, or Bruningsherst, being then a woody isle on the Suffolk side of the river; accordingly, monks being placed there, the founder ordered that they should be subject to Castleacre monks, as a cell to that house, in the same manner as Castleacre itself was, to the monastery of St. Pancras at Lewes in Suffolk; and that to the church of Cluni or Clugny in France: but after the death of the founder, the Prior of Castleacre covenanted with Roger de Hunting field his son, (who was also a great benefactor,) to maintain at least eight monks at Mendham, and not to depose the Prior there, unless for disobedience, incontinence, or dilapidations of the house.

Their founder gave the whole island of St. Mary of Mendham, with Ulveshage and the Granges there; and many other lands, rents, and homages; and all his lands in Crochestune, and his homagers there, which were all to be employed by the Prior, to the maintenance of Mendham monks, except half a mark of silver to be paid yearly to the priory of Castleacre, as an acknowledgment of their depending as a cell to that monastery; (fn. 7) he gave them also, St. Margaret's church at Linstede, and St. Peter's there; the moiety of the church of Trideling; an aldercarr and 11 acres by the mill, of Thomas de Mendham; and the third part of the tithes of his demeans in Suttorp; and 5s. rent in Bradenham; together with all his right in the church of Mendham: to all which, William the Dean of Redenhall, and others, were witnesses. And Stephen de Saukeville released all his right in Hurst. In 1239, Richard son of Benedict, after his decease, settled a messuage and 60 acres of land on this priory. In 1386, Sir Robert de Swillington, Knt. Sir Roger Bois, Knt. John Pyeshale, clerk, and Robert de Ashfield, settled the patronage of this monastery, on Isabel Countess of Suffolk. This house and all its revenues, were given by King Henry VIII. together with the lands of the dissolved priories of Ankerwick in Lincolnshire, and Little Marlow in Buckinghamshire, to the then newly restored monastery at Bisham or Butlesham in Berkshire, in 1537, (fn. 8) by way of augmentation to the value of 661l. 14s. 9d. per annum for the maintenance of an abbot and 13 monks of the Benedictine order. But that monastery was short-lived and soon fell; and this house, &c. in 1539, was granted to Charles Duke of Suffolk, and with it, this manor of Denston's, which, 2d 3d Philip and Mary, was conveyed to Richard Freston Esq. and Anne his wife, and he was lord of it in 1567; and it continued in his family some time: it now belongs to Mrs. Frances Bacon of Earlham, widow.

The prior was taxed for all his temporals in Mendham on the Norfolk side, at 4l. 12s. 11d.

From the rolls of this manor, I find the following Priors of Mendham, to have kept courts here.

1239, John. 1250, Simon. 1336. Nic. Cressi; he died this year, and Sir Rog. de Hunting field, patron of the priory, kept a court during the vacancy.

1340, John de Waltun; succeeded in 1342, by Henry de Berlegh. 1353, William. 1382, John de Tomston. 1400, Robert. 1420, John Betelee succeeded. 1449, Sir Tho. Rede. 1487, Sir Tho Pytte. 1501, Sir Tho. Bullock. 1523, Simon. Robert Howton, sub-prior, and Sir Ric. Pain, monk.

The third manor is called Bourt's and was owned by Daniel Bourt in 1345, and after by John le Straunge and Thomas de Hales, who held it at half a fee of the heirs of Roger de Hunting field; it after belonged to the Grices of Brockdish, for which family I refer you thither. In 1600, Thomas Pawlet, Esq. conveyed it to Thomas Leigh and John Godfrey; and it now belongs to Sir Edmund Bacon of Gillingham, Bart.

The fourth manor is called Gunshaw's, which see at p. 348.

To this hamlet, joins the aforesaid portion of Mendham, called

Shotford in Mendham,

Which contains two manors, called Whitendons, or the Whitehills, and Seameares, each of which originally presented alternately to the portion of Shotford in Mendham church.

Rectors of Shotford portion.

1317, Ralf son of Sir William de Ingham, accolite. Lady Maroya, relict of Sir John de Ingham, Knt. for this turn

1318, Walter of Ipswich, priest.

1328, Jeffry de Swanton.

1332, Roger Nicole, priest. John son of Robert de Ingham, attorney to Sir Oliver Ingham, Knt.

1339, Roger de Hempstede.

1347, Robert at Wode. Lady Isabel Queen of England.

1349, Giles Arches of Mendham, to the rectory of the third part of the church of Mendham, called Shotford portion in Norfolk. Sir Roger Lord Strange of Knokyn, Knt. He resigned in 1350, and the Lady Joan le Strange gave it to

Robert de Harwoode; afterwards the noble Sir Miles Stapleton, Knt. having the whole advowson, gave it to Mendham priory; and on the 3d of July, 1385, it was appropriated to the monastery of the blessed Virgin Mary at Mendham, and no vicarage ordained, so that the Prior received all tithes whatever of the whole portion, paying a pension of 6s. 8d. yearly to the Bishop, and finding a chaplain to perform a third part of the service in Mendham church: which service was after turned into that of a chantry priest, who was to officiate in St. Mary's chapel on the east side of Mendham churchyard; and that service ceased in Edward the Sixth's time, and the chapel was granted by the Crown into lay hands, and is now used as a malt-house.

The manor of Semere's

At the Conqueror's survey, belonged to Roger of Poictou, third son of Roger de Montgomery Earl of Arundel, and was held in the Confessor's time by a freeman named Ulfriz: (fn. 9) it was then valued at 10s. and after at 20. It divided into two parts, one belonged in 1311, to Alice and Edmund de Sancto Mauro or Seymor, Knt. and Joan his wife, from which family it took its name: this Sir Edmund, in 1335, infeoffed it with the manors of Sileham and Esham, and their advowsons, in Sir John Wing field, Knt. as trustee; and Laurence Seymour, parson of the united churches of Sileham and Esham, and Ralf his brother, released all their right; and the next year, Sir John released them to John son and heir of Sir Edward Seymour, Knt. It appears, that in 1291, John de Brampton held the other part of Elizabeth de Ingham at half a fee, and that it then divided, the one half continuing in the Inghams, of which Sir John Ingham, Knt. was lord, and Maroya or Mariona, his widow, in 1217. In 1331, Sir Oliver Ingham, Knt. and it passed with that family, till Sir Miles Stapleton gave it to Mendham priory, when it became joined to Denston's in Nedham. The other part, now Semere's manor, was sold to Sir John Wingfield by Laurence de Seymor; and in 1349, John Garlek and Sara his wife conveyed their third parts of Sileham, Esham, and this manor, and their advowson, to him. In 1401, Edw. Hales was lord; in 1551, it was sold to Henry Floteman, and it is now owned by John Kerrich of Bury M. D.

Whitendons, or Wichendons manor,

Belonged to Humfry, a freeman of Edric's in the Confessor's time; and to Robert Malet, lord of the honour of Eye, in the Conqueror's; (fn. 10) it after belonged to a family sirnamed De Arcubus; and in 1226, William de Arches and Eve his wife gave it to the Priory of the Holy Trinity at Ipswich; in which house it continued till its dissolution, when it came to the Crown, and the first year of Edward VI. 1546, he granted the advowson of Sileham and its appurtenances, this manor of Wichendon, and all the tithes and glebes, in Mendham, Nedham, and Metfield, late in the tenure of Richard Freston, Esq. to the said Richard and his heirs; (fn. 11) who upon this grant, came and settled in the manor-house here; and his descendants have continued in it to this time.

This Richard, in 1534, (fn. 12) appears to be treasurer, and a great favourite of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk; and an intimate acquaintance of Sir Rob. Budde, who was master of Wingfield college, and chaplain to his grace; and by his interest it was, that he obtained several great grants from the Crown; (fn. 13) among which, he had Denston's manor in Nedham, and many lands belonging to Mendham priory: he was afterwards knighted, and lies buried with Dame Anne Coke his wife, in Mendham chancel, for whom there is a monument against the east part of the north wall, with the arms of Freston impaling Coke, which shows that he outlived his wife, and died in 1557; and was succeeded by

Richard, his son and heir, who married Cecily, daughter of Thomas Felton, Esq.; (fn. 14) she lies buried in the chancel, under a stone, on which is her effigies, and the following inscriptions in Roman capitals on brass plates:

Cecilia Freston, (fn. 15) Filia Thomæ Felton Arm. Uxor dicti Ricardi, viro Amore Charissima, habuerunt sex Filios et 2 Filias et obdormivit in Domino 6 Sep. 1615. Christus mihi Vita.

An adjoining stone hath the arms of Freston with a mullet, impaling Felton, and his image in brass, and this,

Ricardus Freestone Armiger, (fn. 16) vir singulari Pietate, Eraditione, et Integritate, qui obdormivit in Domino 27 Nov. 1616. mors mihi lucrum.

William Freston, Esq. their eldest son, inherited; and in 1620, settled the manor on Alban Pigot, Esq. with the patronage of Nedham chapel; and the same year, Sir Robert Heath, Knt. recovered it against Pigot, and conveyed it to Freston again; he died soon after, and

Richard his brother inherited, and died seized of this and Denston's manor in 1634; (fn. 17) he is buried under a stone in the chancel, with his crest and arms, impaling in fess, an inescutcheon, on which a plain cross between three crosslets formy fitché, the sharpened parts pointing towards the inescutcheon; and on a brass plate this,

Animam Creatori, Marmoreo presenti Monumento, Ricardus Freston (dum vixit, in Agro Norfolciensi Armiger) Corporis Reliquias, amicis omnibus sui desiderium, 20 Dec. A. D. 1634, reliquit, non procul a cujus dextrâ, Pater Materque ejus requiescunt. Vitam vixit summâ cum Pietate, tum morum probitate, laudabilem Amicitiam magnâ cum Sinceritate coluit.

By this lies a stone with Freston's arms single.

Hic jacet Corpus Richardi Freston Armigeri, Filij Richardi Freeston de Mendham in Agro Norfolciensi Armigeri, qui hinc translatus est ad supera, Flore Juventutis suæ, vir summis dotibus Animi et Corporis, recumbens in Christi merita, obijt 14 Augusti 1648.

Anthony Freston, brother of the said Richard, (fn. 18) was buried Oct. 13, 1655; Lydia his wife lies buried in the chancel under a stone, with the arms of Freston impaling on a chief indented, two hands cooped at the wrist.

Ledia Wife of Anthony Freston, younger son of Richard Freston Esq; ob. 22 Mar. 1651.

Anthony, son of the said Anthony, married Bridget, (fn. 19) daughter of Henry Coke, Esq. of Thorington in Suffolk, and Margaret Lovelace his wife; which Henry was son to Sir Edward Coke and Dame Bridget Paston his wife, and had a daughter,

Penelope, late wife of John Smith of Cratfield in Suffolk, buried here in 1681, æt. 51, whose marble lies in the altar rails, and hath

Smith's crest, viz. an arm cooped at the shoulder, holding a chaplet; the arms are, Barry of six arg. and sab. in chief three barnacles of the 2d, (which coat was granted to the Smiths of Lincolnshire,) quartering a chevron ingrailed between three garbs, and a lion rampant impaling Freston.

Eliz. Daughter of Anthony Freston Esq; and Bridget his Wife, was buried May 4, 1716, æt. 62.

Theophila their youngest daughter, married James Rant, Esq. and is buried here with this,

Hic jacet Sepulta Theophila Uxor Jacobi Rant Armigeri, Filii natû quarti, Gvlielmi Rant de Yelverton in Com. Norf. Armigeri, et Elizæ. Uxoris secundæ: Theophila prædicta, minima natû Filia fuit, Antonij Freston de Mendham in Com. Norf. Armigeri, et Brigidæ Uxoris ejus, E Vitâ excessit 12° Die Aprilis A.D. 1721, Ao Æt. 55. Duos Filios superstites reliquit, viz. Frestonum et Gulielmum.

Si quæris, Lector, qualis sub marmore dormit Fœmina! Scito brevi, casta, benigna, pia.

Rant's arms as in vol. i. p. 204, impaling Freston.

Over the south chancel door is a mural monument thus inscribed,

Beneath this Monument lyeth interred the Body of Edward Freston, Gent. youngest Son of Anthony Freston of Mendham in the County of Norfolk, Esq; and Bridget his Wife, Daughter of Henry Coke of Thorington in the County of Suffolk, Esq; he died 28 Day of Dec. 1708, Ao, Æt. 43. As also the Body of Elizabeth the Wife of Edward Freston, and Daughter of John Sayer of Pulham St. Mary the Virgin, in the County of Norfolk, Gent. she died the 25 Day of Sept. 1727, Ao Æt. 55.

Freston's crest and arms, impaling Sayer, as at p. 31, vol. iv. and crest on a cap of maintenance, a dragon's head erased vert.

Another monument more west, against the south wall, hath the arms of Freston impaling,

Cooke, or, a chevron ingrailed between three cinquefoils az. on a chief of the 2d, a lion passant guardant az.

M. S. Sub hoc marmore conditæ sunt reliquiæ Richardi Freston, Arm. hominis adprimè pij; mariti Uxoris amantissimi, Parentis, propitij, et clementis Domini: Vis plura Lector? Scies, hoc Monumentum a Maria Uxore ejus, Filia viri colendissimi, Domini Gulielmi Cooke, in Agro Norfolciensi, quondam Baronetti; Amoris et Pietatis Ergo extructum, ut omnes qui huc venient et intuentur, tam clari exempli memores sint et æmuli, et Vitâ cum eo fruantur æternâ, obijt 22 Junij 1721, æt. 68.

William Freston and Margaret Kedington his wife, who are buried in Nedham chapel as before, left this manor, impropriation, and a good estate, to

Coke Freston, Esq. their eldest son, who now owns them, and dwells in the site of the manor, called Wichingdon-hall.

In the Suffolk part of Mendham, there are four manors; the first is called

Mendham's-Hall, or Mendham-Hall,

From the ancient lords of it, who took their sirname from the town: it originally belonged to the Abbot of Bury, and was infeoffed by Baldwin Abbot there, in Hugh de Vere, of whom Nicholas de Menham had it; in 1205, William de Mendham, and in 1239, Benedict son of Serlo de Mendham conveyed a messuage and 10 acres to the prior of Ipswich, who had obtained in 1230 a release from Robert Byhurt, of all his right in Mendham advowson. In 1285 Thomas de Mendham, who was lord also in 1306; in 1312, John de Mendham had it; in 1318, John son of John de Mendham, and Christian his wife, sold it to the lord of

Kingshall in Mendham, (fn. 20)

To which it hath been joined ever since. This manor belonged to the King, according as its name intimates, and was settled by Edw. I. on Queen Eleanor his first wife, after whose death it came to the Veres Earls of Oxford; and Sir Robert Vere, in 1314, sold it to Sir John de Fresingfield, Knt. son of Seman de Fresingfield; at which time, Robert son of John de Mendham, released to him all right in Mendham's-Hall manor; and in 1317, Sir John sold them to Sir Walter de Norwich, Knt. and his heirs, the Earl of Oxford releasing all right; Sir John de Insula, or L'isle, Sir John de Foxele, and Sir John Abel, Knts. Barons of the King's Exchequer, Sir John Muteford, justice of the King's Bench, and others, being witnesses. In 1353, Sir John de Huntingfield held those manors late of Thomas Earl of Oxford, at half a fee. In 1363, it was presented that William de Huntingfield held the river Waghene as a separate fishing, from Mendham bridge to King's-hall mill, and that he had the fishery there, as belonging to his manor of King's-hall. In 1369, Will. de Huntingfield held it for life; and in 1370, John Deyns, rector of Toft in Lincolnshire, and Richard Wright of Holbech, chaplain, his trustees, released to Roger de Huntingfield, who, with his trustees, John de Seckford, parson of Somercotes, John de Linstede, parson of Cawston, Tho. Horne, rector of Huntingfield, and others, soon after, settled them on Mendham priory: in which they continued to its dissolution, and then were granted to Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, and his heirs, by King Henry VIII. in 1540, along with the lete of Metfield, and

The manor of Mendham Priory,

Which was given to it by its founder. They after belonged to the Frestons, and in 1551, Richard Freston was lord; in 1619, Sir Thomas Holland of Quidenham, Knt. sold to Edw. Ward of Mendham in Suffolk, Esq. the site of Mendham priory manor, now called Mendham'shall, &c. Kings-hall meadow, &c. the park, the manor of Mendhamhall, &c. with the letes thereto belonging, situate in Mendham, Withersdale, and Waybrede; all which, he purchased of Anthony Gosnold of Clopton, Esq. Anthony Gosnold of Swillington, Gent. Robert Gosnold of Ottley in Suffolk, Esq. Thomas Laurence of St. James's in S. Elmham, Gent. Michael Wentworth of Rogersthorpe in Yorkshire, Esq. Thomas Wales of Thorp in Norfolk, yeoman, and Loye Browne of Norwich: and the said Thomas, and Dame Mary his wife, sued a fine, and passed a recovery to the use of the said Edward Ward the elder, and his heirs; together with the fishery in the river Wayveneth. It came afterwards to the Baxters, and thence to the Gardiners of Norwich; and was sold by Richard Berney, Esq. recorder of Norwich, executor to Stephen Gardiner, Esq. late recorder there, to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Whitaker, late rector of Fresingfield, whose widow now owns them. They have a lete here, and another in Metfield, belonging to them; they give dower, and the eldest son is heir.

I find the following memorials relating to the Baxters in this church:

Depositum Stephani Baxter Generosi, qui decessit 12 Die Sept. 1696, æt. 79,

On a neat mural monument are the arms of

Godbold, az. two long bows in saltier or. Crest, an arm cooped at the shoulder az.

M.S. V. C.mi. D. Gulielmi Godbold Militis, ex illustri et perantiquâ Prosapiâ oriundi, qui post septennem peregrinationem, animi excolendi Gratiâ, per Italiam, Greciam, Palœstinam, &c. in solo natali in bonarum Literarum Studijs consenescens, morte repentinâ obijt Londini, Mense Aprilis Ao MDCXIIIC. Ætatis LXIXo. Hoc Monumentum designavit vir integerrimus, et sinceræ Probitatis Exemplar, Thomas Baxter Generosus, quem Testamenti sui Curatorem instituit; ipso autem Thomâ, morte subitaneâ perempto, collapso super eum Equo, nocte intempestivâ et tenebrosâ. IIII Calendas Septemb. MDCXC. Franciscus Gardiner de Civitate Norwicensi Armiger, ejusdem Thomœ Baxter sororis maritus, et Testamenti Curator, posuit. Baxter with a label of three, (see p. 212,) impaling D'eye, as in vol. ii. p. 345.

Hic reposita, beatam præstolatur Resurrectionem Fæmina, Pietate et Virtute insignis, Elizabetha Filia Thomœ Dey, de Insula, sive Eay in Agro Suffolciensi Armigeri, Uxor Thomæ Baxter de Mendham in eodem Agro Generosi, cui prolem edidit Masculam unam, alteramque fœminam, Quarum utramque ipso die lustrico et renata simul et denata est, annos nata triginta sex, nupta plus minus septendecem; obijt 27 Dec. 1681.

The next manor here, is called


From Gilbert de Walsham, who held it of the Abbot of Bury in the time of King Ric. I. at one fee; and lately it belonged to the Hobarts, who lived in the site of it, till Anthony Hobart, Gent. sold it to Mr. Robert Bransby, senior, of Shotesham, who sold it to Mrs. Sarah Woogan, wife of the Rev. Mr. Holmes, rector of Fresingfield, who now owns it.

I find the following account of the Hobarts buried here:

In the chancel on brass plates, Hobart's arms with a label of three.

William Son of James Hobart of Mendham Esq; died 9 March 1641. aged 3 Months.

Hobart with a crescent, on a stone at the east end of the nave, part of which is covered by a seat.

Hic expectant Christi adventum relliquiæ Jacobi Hobart Arm. (Filij unici Edwardi Hobart, dum vixit de Langley in Agro Norfolciensi Armigeri) qui Vitâ per 57 annos, piè justè, et sobriè peractâ, Patriam repetijt 20 Aug. Ao 1669: Cujus fœlici memoriæ, castissima illius Uxor, Brigetta (Gulielmi Spring, nuper de Pakenham Suffolciâ Militis Filia,) hoc &c.

An adjoining stone hath the arms of Hobart impaling Spring, as at vol. ii. p. 485.

Resurrectionem in Christo hic expectat Brigetta, Jacobi Hobart Arm. Relicta, Filiaque Gulielmi Spring nuper de Pakenham in Agro Suffolciensi Militis, quæ dum vixit Pietatem coluit et 26° Die Jan. placidè in Domino obdormivit A0 Sal. 1671.

Vivit post Funera Virtus.

On a black marble in the south isle,

Hic jacet Jacobus Filius et Hæres, Jacobi Hobart nuper de Mendham, Armigeri, ultimo Die Martij ad Cœlestem Patriam emigravit Ao Xti. 1673, æt. 23.

Animam Cœlo, Corpus humo reddidit.

Miles another Son, buried Jun. 8, 1686.

Edward Hobart, Esq; Son of James Hobart of Mendham, Esq; did 4 Nov. 1711, æt. 60. James his eldest son died 7 Aug. 1676, æt. 1 Mens. Sarah a Daughter 1689. Thomas a Son 1698, æt. 1 An. And John, Anthony, and Elizabeth, other Children buried here, and Lydia a Daughter in 1691.

Lydia Daughter of Edward Hobart Esq; and Penelope his Wife, died 31 Oct. 1680, æt. 1 An. 7 Mens.

Her Time was short, the longer is her Rest, God calls them soonest, whom he loves best.

There is an under manor or free-tenement, called Midletonhall, in this town, which belongs to Mrs. Whitaker, and is a good old seat; here Richard de Midleton lived in 1373, and William his son in 1390, who was succeeded by William his son; on whose marriage in 1392, it was settled on Margaret his wife, with estates in South-Elmham and Redenhale: this family always sealed with a fess erm. between three croslets; and it continued in it a long time. In 1457, William Midleton owned it, and Robert Midleton in 1467, who lived here in 1491. In 1558, Henry Reppes of Mendham died seized of it, and of Thorney manor in Stow in Suffolk, and gave them to Anne Wodehouse, alias Reppes, for life, with remainder to John Reppes, son of his brother Francis, remainder to John Reppes his brother, &c. In 1562, Ric. Whetley, rector of Homersfield, leased his rectory to Bassingbourn Gawdy of Midleton-hall in Mendham, Esq. by whom it was sold, and so became joined to the other manors.

There is an ancient seat here called Oaken-hill, (but no manor,) in which the family of the Batemans have resided ever since the time of William Bateman Bishop of Norwich; and William Bateman, only son of William Bateman, Gent. of Mendham, lately deceased, now dwells there: (see vol. iii. p. 506;) most of this family have had the christian name of William, ever since the Bishop's time.

Mendham church is a good building, with a square tower and five bells; having its nave, two isles, and south porch leaded, and chancel tiled, in which are the following memorials, besides those already taken notice of:

In the north isle window, France and England in a bordure gul. impaling or, an eagle displayed sab. quartering Morley.

And this on a stone,

M. S. Aliciæ Filiæ Henrici Borret de Stradbrook in Agro Suffolciensi Generosi, ob. 4 Oct. 1690, æt. 49.

Expectans ultimum Sonum Tubæ.

On a mural monument against the north chancel wall,

In medio hujus-ce Templi Tramite, juxta Cineres matris suæ Pientissimæ, Theop. Rant, suos etiam voluit deponi Frestonus Rant Armiger, cum quo unà sepeliuntur Urbanitas, et suavissima Facetiarum copia, cum quo unà abripiuntur ditissima placendi vena, animusque arctioris Amicitiæ necessitudini accomodalus, Hoc Juvene adempto, vix alterum reperies, aut literarum Scientiâ præcellentiorem aut humanitate Parem, cum difficilem Legis Angliœ Doctrinam, universum ferè Quinquennium apud Hospitium Grayense Studio sanè Laudabili prosecutus est, acerba suis, luctuosa sodalibus, gravis omnibus, labori vitæque mors Finem imposuit 23° Sept. Ao 1728, æt. suæ 27°. Et Luctûs et Pietatis Monumentum, Pater suus amantissimus, Jacobus Rant Armiger, hoc marmor posuit.

James Rant, Esq. his father, is since dead, and buried by him, and Will. Rant, Esq. his only surviving son, now lives in MendhamPriory, which is situated just by the river Waveney, about five furlongs south-west of the church, where there is a good old chapel still left, which is kept clean and neat; but there is no manor remaining with the site.

In the chancel,

Tirrel impales a chevron between three stags passant. James Tirrel Esq; May 22, 1656, 48. and left behind him his dear Consort his 2d Wife, and two Daughters by her, Eliz. and Jane. Eliz. his Widow died 1697. James his Son 1640.

In the churchyard are memorials for William Bateman, Gent. Jan. 9, 1659, æt. 70.

Hic spe plenâ resurgendi, situm est depositum mortale Johannis Kerrich Clerici Rectoris de Sternefield in Comitatû Suffolciæ, Qui, dum vixit, Dei Gloriam et animarum Salutem sedulò Studuit ob. 14 Maij. A. D. 1691, æt. 28°. Hic juxta jacet etiam Henricus Kerrich Frater supradicti Johannis qui obijt Apr. 17°, A.D. 1687, æt. 18. John Kerrich ob. June 24 1704, æt. 72. Mary his Wife, ob. 18 March 1708, æt. 76. James their Son 29 Apr. 1715, æt. 44.

In 1469, Walter Nyche or Neech of Mendham, was buried in AllSaints church there, before St. Nicholas's altar, and gave 12d. to every monk of Mendham, and five marks for a new tabernacle at St. Nicholas's altar; he owned an estate here, which had continued many generations in his family. In 1610, 21 Jan. Anne Neech married to William Bateman, Gent. to whose family the estate now belongs. He left Katerine his wife, Alice and Margaret, his daughters; and three sons, Robert, John le Senior, priest, and John le Junior; from whom descended the Rev. Mr. Anthony Neech, late rector of Snitterton, of whom in vol. i. p. 110, 421.

The vicarage stands in the King's Books at 5l. 5s. 2d. ob. and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 23l. 4s. 7d. is capable of augmentation, and was augmented accordingly by the Rev. Mr. Whitaker, late rector of Fresingfield, the patron, who presented his nephew, the Rev. Mr. Thomas Whitaker, the present vicar.

Vicars here.

1228, Henry de Diss, the first vicar, presented by the Prior of Ipswich, as were all the succeeding vicars to the Dissolution.

1305, Walter le Shepherd.

1318, Benedict.

1320, Hervy del Welle of Mendham.

1329, William son of John Gibbs of Kenford, who resigned in

1347, to John de Reppes, priest, in exchange for Shelton mediety.

1364, Edward de Flete.

1394, John de Hunstanton.

1505, Sir Jeffery Lowen.

1534, Will. Grave.

1631, Thomas Trendle, buried here 18 June the same year.

1632, George Fen.

1653, Mr. John Harward, minister.

1671, John Mayhew, sequestrator.

1677, Mr. Ric. Jennings, sequestrator, succeeded by Mr. Child, sequestrator; who was succeeded by the present vicar's predecessor,

Mr. Seth Turner, who was presented by Mr. Stephen Baxter,-and was vicar above 50 years; he is buried here.

Medefield, or Metfield, (fn. 21)

Is also another hamlet and parochial chapel of Mendham, the great tithes of which, belong to the impropriator there, who nominates and pays the stipendiary chaplain. The Rev. Mr. John Mendham, vicar of Weybrede, hath it now; and I am informed, there is a good house and glebe given to the serving minister since the Reformation.

The chapel is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and hath a square tower, clock, and three bells; on the biggest is this,

Munere Baptiste, Benedictus sit chorus iste.

The south porch, nave, and chancel, are leaded. There are stones for John Norton 1609. Anne wife of John Francklin, Gent. daughter of William and Elizabeth Blobold, Gent. 1636, and left John, William, Elizabeth, and Anne. Will. Browne 1660, 70.

Francis Smallpeece Esq; Son and Heir of Tho. Smallpeece Esq; and Anne his Wife. 1652.

Smallpeece, S. a chevron ingrailed between three cinquefoils ar. Crest, a bird rising.

But this hamlet is of chief remark, as being the ancient seat of the Jermys.

It seems this manor, called

Metefield In Mendham,

Was anciently of the fee of the abbot of Holm, of whom it was held in the time of Richard I. at half a fee, by Hugh Burd; after which, it was escheated to the Crown, and was granted to Thomas de Brotherton, son to King Edward I. who married Alice, daughter of Sir Roger Hales of Harwich, Knt. whose sister Joan, (fn. 22) married to Sir John Germyn or Jermy, Knt.; and in 1325, the said Thomas conveyed to his brother-in-law, Sir John Jermy, Knt. two parts of this manor, and the third part to his wife, for the assignment of her dower. In 1353, Sir John Germy, Knt. held it at a quarter of a fee of the manor of King's-hall in Mendham. In 1385, Sir Will. Jermy, Knt. was buried here; Elizabeth his wife survived him. In 1428, Sir John Jermy, Knt. and Margaret Mounteney his wife, owned this and Withersdale manors; and he it was, that rebuilt this church and manor-house, where he placed the matches of his family in the windows; and his own arms are carved several times on the timber of the roof, and are still in several windows, and in stone on the font; he died in 1487, and was buried at the north-east corner of the chancel; his inscription was cut in old text letters on his stone, but it is so worn and broken, that this only remains,

Johannes Jermy Miles quondam Dominus et qui obiit

By his will in Register Aleyn, fo. 330, which is dated at BukenhamFerry, Oct. 24, 1487, he appointed to be buried here, and gave a legacy to this church, and those of Bukenham-Ferry and Hasingham, of which he was patron; he ordered 100 marks to be distributed to the poor on his burial day, and gave the manor and advowsons of Bukenham and Hasingham, to be sold, after his wife Margaret's death: he gave 200 marks to the Abbot of St. Bennet at the Holm in Ludham, to found a chantry priest to sing mass daily there, for him and his family for ever; he is called Sir John Jermy, senior, Knt.

Sir John Jermy, junior, Knt. his son and heir, married Elizabeth, daughter of Will. Wroth of Enfield, Esq. and had two sons; from Thomas, the younger son, descended the Jermys of Bayfield in Norfolk, under which place I design an ample account of the family. And

John Jermy, Esq. the eldest son, continued the family at Metfield; he married Isabel, daughter of John Hopton, Esq. and lies buried in the chancel by his grandfather, with this on a brass plate on his stone;
Orate pro animabus Johannis Jermy et Jsabelle Uroris sue, unius Filiarum Johannis Nopton Armigeri, qui quidem Johannis obiit riiio Die Januarii Anno Domini Mo vc iiii. Quorum anima- bus propicietur Deus Amen. (fn. 23)

Jermy, arg. a lion rampant guardant gul. impaling Hopton, as at vol. iii. p. 553.

Edmund Jermy, Esq. his son and heir, married a daughter of William Booth, Esq. and left Sir John Jermy of Metfield and Brightwell, Knight of the Bath; (fn. 24) who by Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Teye, Knt. had Francis Jermy of Brightwell, Esq. who by Eliz. daughter and coheir of Sir William Fitz-Williams of Ireland, Knt. had Sir Thomas Jermy, Knight of the Bath; who by Jane, daughter and heiress of Edward Stuart or Styward, of Teversham in Cambridgeshire, had four sons, Thomas, Edmund, John, and William, of which,

Thomas, his eldest son, settled here, for whom there is an altar tomb at the north-east corner of this chancel, with the arms of Jermy, and a griffin proper for the crest, and this,

Thomas Jarmy Esq; Sonne and Heire of Sir Thomas Jarmy Knight of the noble Order of the Bath. 21 Dec. 1652.

Since which time, the manor hath been sold from the family, and now belongs to Walter Plommer, Esq.

I have an account, which says, that more gentlemen kept coaches in Mendham, than in any place in Suffolk, and that in 1642, many cavileers in these parts, raised a sum for the King; among which in this town, Richard Baxter, Gent. lord, 30l. Rob. Harper 30l. William Bateman, senior, 10l. James Terrold. Gent. 10l. William Jacob 20l. Will. Herring 3l. &c. Thomas Jermy, Esq. 20l. Anthony Freston, Gent. 5l.

In Charles the Second's time, Sir William Godbould lived here, and Colonel John Hobard; and Edward Ward, Esq. justice of the peace, in K. James the Second's time.


  • 1. This house and land was settled in 1226, on the priory of Ipswich, by William de Arches and Eve his wife, with half a carucate of land, and a manor thereto belonging in Mendham, called Whitendon.
  • 2. The deed of endowment Ao 1723, was among the evidences of the Frestons.
  • 3. Dat. Bonon. xv. cal. Jun. Ao Cons. Primo. Andreas Wyly Scotus, sacellanus (ut ait) Levinie [Lenox] Ducis, est curatus hujus ecclesie, in quam multis transactis annis fuerunt due medietates sive portiones, quarum una appropriata prioratui Sce. Trinitatis in Gyppeswico, altera prioratui de Mendham, nulla vicaria est fundata, nec taxatur, nec solvit sinodalia, nec procurationes. So that it is totally exempt from the archdeacon, but the two medieties were in Mendham church, and not in this chapel. Revisio Archid. Norfolk, Ao 1630.
  • 4. Freston of Suffolk, arg. on a chevron sab. three cinquefoils of the field.
  • 5. The convent of Redlingfield in Suffolk had lands here, taxed at 2s. 6d. and the monastery of St. Faith at Horshem's land was taxed at 4s.
  • 6. Terra Abbatis de Sancto Eadmundo. Hersam dim. Hund. Doms. to. 180. In Menham tenet Frodo de Abbate i. car. terre et 30 acr. quod tenuit ii. socman. et sub eis xi. villan. et vii. bord. tuncinter omnes v. car. mo vii. silv. lii. porc. xii. acr. prati, appretiatum est in Menham, tunc i. mol. mo nullus, habet (sc. Menham) ii. leug. et v. quar. in longo, et vii. in lato, et de Gelto viid. In Herolvestuna tenet Frodo i. villan. et dim. de viii. acr. et pertinet in Menham.
  • 7. Regr. Castleacre, fo. 62,3, 135. See Monast. Angl. tom. i. fo. 631.
  • 8. MSS. Ashmole, p. 463. See Tanner's Notitia Monastica, fo. 508. Hist. Norf. vol. iv.. 454, &c.
  • 9. Terre que fuere Rogeri Pictaviensis, Hersam dim. Hund. Doms fo. 243. In Scotoford tenuit Ulfriz i. liber homo T. R. E. i. car. terre et xv. acr. semper x. villani et iii. bord. semper i. car. in dom. et ii. car. hom. silva xl. porc. et vii. acr. prati tunc x. sol. modo xx.
  • 10. Terre Roberti Malet, dimid. Hundret. Hersam. Doms. fo. 77. In Scotoford tenet Humfridus quam tenuit i. liber homo Edrici commend. de xliii. acr, terre et semper ii. villan. et ii. bordarij semper inter homi. nes i. car. silva xv. porc. et iii. acr. prati, semper val. x. sol.
  • 11. 1562, John Freston Esq. is mentioned.
  • 12. In 1534, he had a lease for 99 years of Bliburgh benefice, and Walderswick chapel, from John Righton Prior of Bliburgh, and the convent there.
  • 13. 28 H. VIII. The King leased for 21 years, to Ric. Freston of Mendham in Suffolk, Esq. the site of Thorneholm monastery in Lincolnshire, with 276 acres of land, and 145 acres of pasture, belonging to that priory.
  • 14. In 1568, this manor was settled in trust, on Martin Calthorp, Esq. and others.
  • 15. These are the children of Richard Freston and Cecily Shelton buried here. Mary Freston, first daughter, buried 1661. Cecily, second daughter, 1602. John, their 3d son, 1661. Thomas, their 4th son, 1635. Mary his wife, daughter of Mr. Duke of Suffolk, buried 1643. Edward, their 5th son, buried 1661.
  • 16. He was lord and patron of Wickham-Skeith in Suffolk.
  • 17. Susanna his wife was buried March 30, 1644, their daughter Cecily in 1631, and their daughter Susanna 1632.
  • 18. William his first son was buried Mar. 26, 1621. Felton, the 4th son, 1656. Elizabeth his daughter, wife of Stephen Baxter, Gent. was buried in the church in 1654.
  • 19. Margaret Freston, their first daughter, buried Aug. 25, 1653. Lydia, their 2d daughter, March 13, 1656. Bridger, their third daughter, Aug. 17, and Cecily, their 4th daughter, Oct. 11, 1692.
  • 20. Called in 1328, Kenynghale in parochia de Mendham.
  • 21. Or the field by the meadows.
  • 22. See Vincent's Discovery of Brook's Errors, fo. 343, and Pat. 19 Edw. II pt. ii. mem. ic.
  • 23. See Weever, fo. 783.
  • 24. This Sir John purchased of Sir Thomas Pope, the manors of Foxhall, Codenham, Creting, and Stonham, which late belonged to the priory at Ipswich.
  • 25. Fuit hic Rogerus filius tertius Rogeri de Montgomeri Comitis Arundel et Salopesbur. vide Dugd. Bar. vol. i. fo. 27. vol. ii. fo. 32.