An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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This village is now in the liberty of the Duke of Norfolk, who is lord of it, as a member to his manor of Framlingham Earl; and it hath passed with that from early times. In 1285, Rog. le Bigot Earl of Norfolk, claimed to his manor of Biskele, a member of Framlingham Parva, view of frankpledge, assise of bread and ale of all his own tenants in Biskele, and it was allowed him in eire: the advowson always attended the manor, which wholly at first belonged to Roger Bigot, who granted off divers parts to be held of his barony. Bishop Stigand owned it in the Confessor's time, and gave it to his freeman named Genret, who held it under him; (fn. 1) Ralf Fitz-Walter had it; it was then worth 20, and was after raised to 50s., the village was half mile long and 4 furlongs broad, and paid 10d. ob. gelt. It had a church and 24 acres of glebe, valued at 2s. a year. Ulketel the Dane had then another part, (fn. 2) and Anslec a freeman another; (fn. 3) all which, after a long contest in the hundred court with Godric the sewer, Roger Bigot recovered, and had his manor completed by divers parts, in Surlingham, Rokelund, and Bramerton, being added to it.
The first part that he granted off, was to Saier or Saer de Biskele and Ada his wife, who survived him, and William de Biskele inherited, who was dead before 1233, for then Hugeline his widow, released all her right to the Prioress of Carrow, which house held it to the Dissolution; and now it belongs to Carrow abbey manor, and was always held of Forncet manor at half a fee; the Prioress being taxed for it at 52s. and 8d. temporal rents here; but in 1609, Charles Cornwaleis, Knt. in right of the wife of Sir Ralf Shelton, Knt. son and heir of Sir John Shelton, Knt, owners of Carrow, sold part of them to Ric. Osborn, Gent. The Prioress had a fald-course here.
Another part was granted by Bigot, the founder, to Langley abbey, who gave it at the foundation to that house, which was always taxed at 10s. for their lands here; and after the Dissolution it came to the wards. (fn. 4) It was held at a quarter of a fee of the Earl-Marshal, as of Framlingham-Parva manor.
In 1268, another part belonged to Tho. Rock, de Rupibus, or Rokele, and in 1286, Hen. de la Rokele, conveyed to Ric. de la Rokele, his manor in Trous, Biskele, &c. of which under Rokele's manor in Trows.
In 1303, Sir John de Biskele had a manor or free tenement, which in 1396, John, son of Adam de Norwico or Norwich, held it at half a fee of Rog. Bigod Earl of Norfolk; and in 1309, he levied a fine and settled it on himself for life, remainder to Nicholas his son; it then contained a messuage, 106 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, and 40s. rent, in Biskele, Kirby, &c. In 1427. John de Norwich had it, and gave it to the master of Metingham college, who held it in 1432, and after the dissolution of that college, it came to the Wards. (fn. 5)
The manor of Surlingham extends hither; and over all the tenants, except those of the Earl; the King hath the lete, as belonging to his hundred of Henstede, and the Prior of Norwich had commonage on the heath or common pasture between Bixley and Framlingham. (fn. 6)
5l. Bixley rectory, 45l. sworn clear yearly value.
Now consolidated to Framlingham-Earl.
So that it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation.
In Norwich Domesday, the rector is said to have an acre of land, but no house; it was first valued at 9, and after at 16 marks; it pays 3s. synodals, 7s. 7d. ob. procurations, 18d. Peter pence, and 3d. carvage; and the vill paid 32s. 2d. to each tenth. The Prior of St. Faith was taxed at 4s. for his temporals, and the chamberer of St. Edmund's Bury for his at 11s.
1303, Roger de Bykerwyke.
1304, John de Brigham. Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk and Marshal.
1316, Ric. de Lumbaudeshay. Thomas de Brotherton, the King's son, Earl of Norfolk, &c.
1318, Will. de Overton. Ditto.
1349, John de Hardleston. Mary Countess of Norfolk and Marshal, who soon after gave it to
Gilbert Arches, who was succeeded by Hen. Page.
1361, John de Thornham. Lady Mary de Brewse Countess of Norfolk and Marshal.
John de Frenge, changed in
1367, with John de Esterford, for Brockdish. Sir Walter Manny. 1419, Tho. Benny, John Lancastre, &c. attorneys general of John Earl-Marshal, who gave it to
John Sampson in 1421, at Benny's death. In 1426, John Duke of Norfolk presented
Will. Wyverton; and in
1467, Tho. Mastyr had it. In 1482, the Bishop by lapse collated.
Rob. Murcoth. In 1415, Eliz. Dutchess of Norfolk gave it to
Henry Bele. In
1490, John Custance had it by lapse, and resigned it in
1497, to John Dalle. In
1513, Robert Hubbard was rector, and after him
George Troghley, at whose death in 1528, Thomas Duke of Norfolk presented
Rouland Johnson, and in
1540, John Allen; whose successour
Ralf Hayton, died in 1570, and was succeeded by
Will. Bainbrigge, and he by
Henry Lynney, at whose death in
1601, John Holden had it of John Holland, feoffee of Thomas Duke of Norfolk.
1610, Nic. Ruste was rector, and in
1630, Rob. Cowel. (fn. 7) Giles Wilcox, rector.
1690, The Duke of Norfolk gave it to Will. Dilke. And at the death of David Fleming, who held it with Framlingham-Earl,
The Rev. Mr. Henry Goodall, the present rector, succeeded, and holds it consolidated to Framlingham-Earl, (which see at p. 434.) (fn. 8)
The church here is an antique small building, of one isle only, which, with the chancel, is 18 yards long and 5 broad; and is tiled, as is the south porch, and tower, which is low and square, and hath in it two small bells; on the biggest is,
Sancte Johannes Baptiste ora pro nobis.
It is dedicated to St. Wandragesilius the Abbot, to whose image pilgrimages were made in those days: (fn. 9) the present fabrick was built by William de Dunwich, who was one of the bailiffs of Norwich in 1272, for on a stone at the south-east corner of the chancel, are these words,
In the nave,
E. T. ob. 28 Nov. 1718. æt. 85. G. T. ob. 7 May, 1721, æt. 85.
On an old brass at the altar step,
Hic iacet Stephanus Mathu qui obiit rbii rvii die Julii A. D. M. cccc. lriiio, anime propicietur Deus Amen.
Bixley-Hall, the seat of the family of the Wards, is a well built handsome house, erected by the late Sir Edw. Ward, Bart. grandfather of Sir Randall Ward, Bart. the present owner: it is situate near the high road from Norwich to Bungeye, and fronts three ways; looking north towards Norwich, west against the road, and south through divers enclosures, towards the east part of Porland Heath. The Baronetage, vol. iii. p. 195, mentions
A Ward, married to Margaret Mortimer, (fn. 10) as father and mother of
John Ward, who by the marriage of the daughter and heiress of John, (fn. 11) son and heir of (fn. 12) Thomas (fn. 13) de Bosco or Bois, (fn. 15) of Kirbybedon, became lord of that manor in 1363, and was succeeded by
John Ward, Gent. his son and heir, who married Katherine daughter of Will. Appleyard, (fn. 14) lord of Bracon-Ash and Dunston; (fn. 15); his will was proved Oct. 27, 1445, (fn. 16) by which he ordered his body to be buried in the church of St. Mary at Kirby; and it appears that he was lord of the manors of Wodehouse, Bedons, alias Seams; and patron of two parts of the advowson of Kirby St. Andrew; having estates in Bixley, Surlingham, Bramerton, Rocklands, Framlingham, Trowse, and Witlingham; leaving
Robert Ward, Esq. who married the daughter of John Coppledeck, Esq. (fn. 19) and had
Robert Ward of Kirby, Esq. who by a daughter of Sir Giles Capel (fn. 20) of London, Knt. (ancestor of the Earl of Essex) had
Henry Ward of Postwick or Posswick, Esq. (fn. 21) who in 1553, was one of the representatives in the parliament held at Oxford, for the city of Norwich; (fn. 22) in 1562, he died seized of Kirbybedon manors, &c. of the manor and advowson of Postwick, of Plumstede-Magna manor, and other estates in many of the adjacent towns; of the manor, rectory, site of the monastery, &c. of Flitcham; and of the rectory of Barkway in Hertfordshire: he married Margaret, daughter of William Ugges of Pokethorp by Norwich, by whom he had several children, the eldest was
Edward Ward, Esq. of Postwick, who was the first of the family that settled at Bixley, and built the old hall there; in 1565, he was lord of Kirby-Bedon, and held it of John Leigh, as of his manor of Surlingham; by his will, he devised the manor of Barkway rectory, to his son Edward, with remainder to Joseph Ward, a younger son, brother to the said Edward; and soon after his decease, the two brothers joined, and sold it to Dame Susan Saltonstall; (fn. 23) he married Anne, daughter of John Havers of Winfarthing, Gent. (fn. 24) by whom he had 12 children; and dying in 1563, lies buried under an altar tomb in Bixley chancel, at the north-east part of it, with the crest and arms of Ward, impaling
Havers. The effigies of himself and wife with a faldstool between them, in a praying posture, with nine sons behind him, and three daughters behind her, still remain, and this inscription,
In fatall Tombe a Squire here lyes. inshrynde by Deathe, One Edwarde Warde. who lefte of twelve, ten Children deare, wyth Anne his lovinge Wife, on Maye Day past his Breathe, And Soule to God by Christe, though senceless Corpes lye heare, Obiit 1583, ætatis suæ 41.
Of all his numerous issue
William Warde, the sixth son, was the most remarkable; who being put apprentice, became a wealthy goldsmith in London, and jeweller to Henriette-Marie, King Charles the First's Queen, and was knighted by that King: the great fortunes which this gentleman raised, was owing to a lucky accident, soon after his setting out in trade, which I find thus related: Mr. Ward standing by his shop door in Lombard-street, a man in a sailor's habit passed by, whom he asked the usual question, whether he wanted any thing in his way? whose answer was, He could not tell! till he knew whether he had occasion for something he had to dispose of, which he would show him, if he pleased to go into the back shop; where Mr. Ward was surprised with a great number of rough diamonds, poured out of a bag upon the compter by the sailor, who at the same time asked him, if he had occasion for, or would buy any such things? and if so, what he would give for them? Mr. Ward answered he had, and would buy, if they could agree; which was soon done, so much to Mr. Ward's liking, that he invited the sailor, and all the ship's crew, to supper at a neighbouring tavern; where he treated them so generously, that the sailor whispered to him at parting, that he had such another parcel for him in the morning, if he pleased to buy; which Mr. Ward gladly accepted of, and bought them, gave the like treat, and parted merrily with mutual joy; the sailor for his ready cash, and the jeweller for the great advantage that he saw in his purchase. He soon fell to work upon the stones, which fully answered his expectation, and so much added to his fortunes, that he soon raised his reputation, and became one of the most eminent bankers in London. It after chanced, that Edward Lord Dudley having much impaired his fortune by irregular living, was advised by his friends, to apply to Mr. Ward, as an honest and substantial banker, for 20,000l. who told his Lordship at once, that the money was ready, upon producing satisfactory security; which his Lordship soon did; upon which, Mr. Ward told his Lordship, he thought he might be supplied better and more honourably, than by borrowing: and being asked, how? Mr. Ward said, he had an only son, and his lordship a grandaughter (named Frances) the only issue of his son and heir, Sir Ferdinando, deceased; and if they might be married together he would supply more than the present want: my Lord listened to it, the match was soon concluded, and so the two familes and estates became united. When Sutton Lord Dudley died, the married couple were not equal in honour; she, Lady Baroness Dudley, (the honour descending to females, on failure of heirs male,) her husband, only Mr. Humble Ward; but he, meriting much for seasonable supplies brought to his Majesty, was in consideration thereof, first knighted at Oxford in 1643; (fn. 25) and shortly after, advanced to the dignity of a Baron, by the title of Lord Ward, of Birmingham in Warwickshire, (fn. 26) from whom the present John Lord Ward is descended.
But to return to the eldest branch of the family.
Thomas, eldest son of the said Thomas and Anne, settled at Bixley, and married Eleanor; (fn. 27) daughter of Thomas Godsalve of BukenhamFerry, Esq. by whom he had
Thomas, who married Anne, daughter of William Peart of Essex, Esq. (fn. 28) and died in 1632, seized of the manor and advowson of Postwick, the manor of Great Plumstede, &c. leaving
Edward Ward of Bixley, Esq. his son and heir; who was knighted by Oliver Lord Protector, Nov. 2, 1657; he having been high sheriff of Norfolk in the preceading year, was continued in that office this year also: his first wife was a Catlyne, (fn. 29) by whom he had no issue; but he had several children by his second wife, (fn. 30) Eliz. daughter and sole heir of John Harbourne of Mundham, Esq. (fn. 31) grandaughter of William Harbourne of Mundham, Esq. who was sent ambassadour by Queen Elizabeth, to the Grand Segnior, as appears by her Majesty's letters patent dated Nov. 29, 1582. In the year 1660, 12 Car. II. Sir Edward was created a Baronet; which patent, it is said, was procured by Lord Ward, that the eldest branch of his family might not want a title of genuine honour. He died about 1664, seized of Postwick manor and advowson, lands and estates in Bixley, Framlinghams, Kirby, Trouse, Amringhall, Poringland, &c. held in soccage of the Duke of Norfolk, which he left to
Sir Edw. Ward, Bart. his eldest son, who died about 1684, and married Jane, (fn. 32) daughter of William Rant, M. D. of Thorpmarket and London; she died in 1671, leaving many children, the eldest of which was
Sir Thomas Ward, Bart. who died single in 1692, leaving his estate to his brother,
Sir Edward Ward, Bart. who married Barbara, daughter and coheiress of Leonard Gooch of Earsham in Norfolk, Esq. who is now living, and had issue,
Sir Edward Ward, Bart. who married Susan, (fn. 33) daughter and sole heiress of Mr. William Randall of Yarmouth, (fn. 34) merchant; she is still living, but Sir Edward died in March 1736, and was buried at Bixley; they had issue three sons, and two daughters, of which Thomas and Eliz. died young, Susan is now (1748) living and single, and
Sir Edward Ward, Bart. succeeded his father in the honour and estate; he was fellow commoner of Caius college in Cambridge, and dying single in 1742, was interred in the chancel; for whom there is a neat mural monument over the south door, with the arms of Ward, and this inscription,
Ostendunt Terris hunc tantum Fata.
Sacred to the Memory of Sir EDWARD WARD of Bixley, Bart. (Son of Sir Edward and Dame Susan his Wife) who at an Age exposed to Temptation, and prone to Vice, in Spight of the Contagion of Corrupt Examples, blush'd at every Vice, and practis'd every Vertue: Every humane and generous Principle, was implanted in his Soul by Nature, improved by Education, matured by practice; a large and diffusive Benevolence distinguished him to the World; to his Friends, Faith and Constancy inviolable, to his Relations, the purest Affection; and to his Mother, Piety and Tenderness beyond Example: At the University of Cambridge for the space of three Years, he pursued his Studies, with Diligence and Success, and being ready to enter into the publick and busy Scene of Life, fully prepared to satisfy the Expectation of his Country, the Hopes of his Friends, and the fond Wishes of a Parent, a malignant Fever put an end to his Life, in the 21st Year of his Age.
He died Apr. 7th, 1742.
Sir Randall Ward of Bixley, brother to Sir Edward, is the present Baronet.
The arms of Ward are, chequy or and az. a bend erm. Motto, Pense bien.
Crest, on a torce or and az. an outlandish deer trippant proper, collared and chained reflecting over the back or; which arms and crest were confirmed by Sir Gilbert Dethick, 22 Nov. 1575.
Some of the family have since used an antelope for their crest; and others, on a cap of maintenance, an eagle displayed or; but without any reason for so doing.
There are several achievements of the family in the chancel; one hath the motto, and crest of an antelop e.
Warde, quartering 9 coats; 1, Mortimer. 2 Appleyard. 3, Kemp. 4, Coppledick. 5, Capel. 6, Hawes. 7, Godsalve. 8, Pert. 9, Harbourn of Mundham. All these impaled with Harbourn.
That for the last Sir Edward, hath for a crest, on a cap of maintenance gul. turned up erm. an eagle displayed or.
Another hath Ward quartering Harbourn, and a coat of pretence of Gooch.
Another hath the crest of an eagle, Ward single, and a coat of pretence of Randal
Another hath Ward with the Ulster arms, quartering arg. a chevron gul. between three trees vert, impaling Harbourne of Mundham, and a coat of pretence of Harbourn.