Hundred of Henstede: Witlingham

Pages 455-457

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.



This village was in two parts at the Confessor's survey; one belonged to Edric de Laxfield, and was a berewic to Eaton, as may be seen at p. 516, vol. iv. (fn. 1) and after passing a long time with the manor of Rokele's in Trowse, became joined to a manor in Kirby-bedon, (fn. 2) and after to Wadker's in Windham, as you may see at p. 506, vol. ii.

The principal manor of this village belonged to Bishop Stigand, and was held by Ulflet, a free-woman, in the Confessor's time, being then worth 20s. there was a church and 10 acres of glebe, valued at 12d. a year, and the whole was of Bishop Almar's fee; at the Conquest it was risen to 30s. a year, and the town was then half a mile long, and as much broad, and paid 7d. to the geld, towards every 20s. raised in the hundred. The Conqueror gave it to Roger Bigot, of whom it was held by Rob. de Curcun or Curson at the survey, (fn. 3) and after by William de Curcun his son, who sold it to Osbert and Parnel his wife, and they were infeoffed as at p. 129; and it continued with Carleton till 1320, and from that time with Cosley, in the Jernegans, as at p. 413, vol. ii. till the year 1342, and then Sir Peter Jernegan, Knt. conveyed it to Will. Berte. In 1371, Ric. le Spencer was lord; in 1393, George de Felbrigge and Amy his wife sold it to Will. de Ermyn, clerk, in trust for Edward Gerbridge and Cecily his wife, and their heirs. In 1432, John Coppuldike was lord, and afterwards Margaret daughter of John Coppledick, wife of Tho. Zouch, Esq. settled it with other manors, on Peter Arderne their trustee; for in 1478, Sir John Coppledick paid his relief for two fees; and in 1435, Sir John Coppledick, Knt. and Elizabeth his wife, sold it to Nicholas Hare and others, when it extended into Kirby-bedon, Trouse, Lakenham, Bixley, Framlingham, Yelverton, Norton Soupe-Cors, Newton-Flotman, Rockland, Bramerton and Surlingham; and in 1546, by the name of Sir Nic. Hare, Knt. he and Robert Hare had a grant of Saham's in Kirby-bedon, and of the impropriate rectory and advowson of Witlingham, and so it came joined to the manor; and in 1549, Robert Hare settled on Sir Nicholas Hare, Knt. and Miles Hare, his son and heir, this manor, impropriation, and advowson, with the manor and third part of the advowson of Kirby-bedon: this Miles was lord in 1559, when he paid his relief for two fees, which this manor was held by, to Rob. Kempe, Esq. feodary to the Duke of Norfolk, of whom it was held; and in 1609, Michael, son of Michael Hare, Esq. held it at two fees of Forncet manor, and in 1610, sold them to Owen Sheppherd, Esq. general receiver to Henry Howard Earl of Northampton, by which office he much advanced his fortunes; and it continued in the family till Rob. Sheppherd, Esq. barrister at law, sold it to Mr. Cock of Norwich, by whom it was sold to Edw. Pearce, Gent. (fn. 4) of Parsons Green in Fulham parish in Middlesex, son of Edw. Pearce of London, Esq. by Mary, daughter of Thomas Bishop of London, Gent. and grandson of John Pearce of Glyn, by Alice White of Lewes in Sussex, and by Mary daughter and coheir of Sir Dudley Carleton (by his second wife, Lucy Crofts of Crofts Castle in Herefordshire,) he had Edward Peirce, Lieutenant General, Colonel Thomas Peirce, Major General in 1693, and Mary, Lucy, Bridget, &c. Edward son of Lieutenant General Peirce, married a daughter of Major General Peirce, who now is his widow, and owns it.

The church was dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, and its advowson belonged to the manor: it was founded before the Confessor's survey, for it is entered there. In 1249, Richard de Rokele, lord of that part of the town which beonged to Rokele's manor in Trowse, claimed a right of presentation, against Agnes widow of Roger Fitz-Osbert, who then held the manor in dower; but upon proof that Will. de Curson, Fitz-Osbert's predecessor, always presented single, it was confirmed absolutely to the manor; and was after given by Peter Fitz-Osbert, (fn. 5) lord here, to the canons of St. Olave at Heringfleet in Suffolk of his father's foundation, and was immediately appropriated to their house, and having no vicarage endowed, they took the annual profits, and paid a chaplain or curate for serving the church, till the Dissolution, when it was granted to Sir Nicholas Hare, Knt. and from that time to this, hath passed with the manor, with which it now remains.

Norwich Domesday tells us, that it had a house and 12 acres of glebe was valued at five marks and an half, and was appropriated to the Prior of St. Olave, the synodals being 16d. the procurations 6s. 8d. the Peter-pence 5d. and carvage 4d. ob. and the vill paid 50s. to each tenth. The Prior of Norwich had a portion of tithes here, out of the demeans of Roger Fitz-Osbert, which was confirmed by Bishop Blundevyle, and settled on the celerer of the monastery; they were first valued at 40s. after reduced to 5s. only; and in 1513, the Prior of St. Olave compounded for them, with the Prior of Norwich, at 12s. per annum. The Prioress of Carrow had temporals here taxed at 3s. 10d.

In 1593, Mr. Stebbing was curate, and it was returned as a perpetual curacy. In 1603, in the Answers of the Parsons, among others is this entered, Tho. Cranforth is curate, it is an impropriation, of which Mr. Hare is proprietary, and pays to the curate a stipend of 4l. per annum, there are 40 communicants in this parish, which is in Brook deanery. In 1609, James Smith was curate. In the Revision of the Archdeaconry of Norfolk, made in 1630, it paid the aforesaid synodals and procurations, and Laurence Townley, curate, received a clear stipend of 4l. per annum.

But soon after, the church being dilapidated (for now the walls only, and a square tower remain) it was joined to Kirby-bedon (the manor of which, belonged at that time, to the same owner) and continued with it many years; and the rector of that church received the stipend and other ecclesiastical dues, and then performed the duty, by burying the parishioners at Kirby, &c. (fn. 6) but I am informed, that it is lately joined to Trowse, though by what authority I know not.


  • 1. Terre Regis quam Godricus servat. H. Heinestede. Doms fo. 28. In Aietuna i. berevita Wislingeham, tenuit Edricus T. R. E. de lxxx. acr. terre, semper ii. bord. tunc i. car in dominio post et modo iv. acr. prati. In Wislingaham i. liber homo Edrici commend. et in Brambertuna iii. et in Rokelunda i. de iv. et dim. habuit Edricus commendationem T. R. E. et Ulketel de uno et dim. et Aluredus tantum commendat. de dim. postquam Wills. Rex conquisivit Angliam, et R. tenuit omnes quando se forisfecit et post Godricus in ministerium Regis, hoc testatur hundret, modo Aitardus de Vals, et revocat ad feudum Episcopi Baiocensis de tenetura Aluredi antecessoris sui, et hundred. defic. ei quod non pertin. ad antecessorem suum; tenent isti omnes xl. acr. terre et iii. acr. prati ii. car. et post ii. modo i. et dim. hoc pertinet ad Aietunam. Terra Rogeri Bigoti. Heinestede H. Doms. fo. iii. In Wisinglingaham tenuit i. liberi femina Ulflet T. R. E. sub Stigando Episcopo clx. acr. terre, semper ix. bord. tunc i. car. et dim. in dominio post et modo i. et dim. hominum viii. acr. prati, et xiii. soc integri et iii dim. xlii. acr. terre et iii acr. prati, semp. i. car. et dim. tunc valuit xx. sol. post et modo xxx. habet dim. leug. in longo et iv. quar. in lato, et de gelto viid. quicunque ibi teneat et ecclesia x. acr. val. xiid. hec tota terra est defeudo Almari Episcopi et tenet idem Robertus, (sc. Rob. de Curcun.)
  • 2. Witlingham cum Walkeline's manor extends into Homersfield in Suffolk.
  • 3. See p. 128, 137. It was held of the Bigots, containing 4 carucates.
  • 4. Pearce, vert, a bend cotized or. Crest, a demi-pelican or, vulning herself proper. Middlesex Visitation Ao 1668.
  • 5. See p. 129.
  • 6. 1653, a register of all births, marriages, and burials, within the parishes of Kirby-bedon St. Andrew, and Wicklingham St. Andrew, begun in 1653. According to an act of parliament dated 24 Aug. 1653, Ambrose Shepherd, Gent. was chosen 24 day of Sept. 1653, to be register of the parish of Kirby St. Andrew, unto which the parish of Wicklingham St. Andrew, was at the general sessions of the publick peace, holden at the castle of Norwich in the shire-house there, Oct. 4, last according to the said act, united, &c. The act of union is dated Oct. 4. 1653, and entered in the county records. 12 Car. II. cap. 12, confirms such judicial proceedings done in the rebellion.