An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 5. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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Commonly called Stoke Holy-Cross, anciently Cruche Stoke, from its parish church, which was dedicated to the honour of the Holy-Cross, was in many parts, belonging to the several manors of Shoteshams (fn. 1) Eaton, &c. (fn. 2) but the principal manor and church, which had 18 acres of glebe, then valued at 2s. per annum, belonged to Alwin of Thetford at the Confessor's survey, and to Roger Bigot at the Conqueror's, (fn. 3) and was then held of him by William Pecche, it being worth 26s. 6d. a year. There was another manor and church, which was anciently called Blakeworthe, and now
The Manor of Blackworth, or Blackforth Hall.
This part of the town was held by Walter, one of the Confessor's thanes, in part, and partly by Ketel the Dane, under Bishop Stigand, and was then in three parts or manors, which were all given by the Conqueror to Tovi, who made them one manor, the whole of this part, at the Conqueror's survey, laid in the hundred of Humble-yard, and had a church, and 23 acres of glebe and the moiety of another advowson, belonging to it; Stoke was then a mile long, and 4 furlongs broad, and paid xi.d. to the geld, without Grenesvill.
In Henry the Second's time Ralf Curzun of Flegg was lord, and sold a part of it, to be held at the fifth part of a fee, to Robert son of Rosceline, which constituted Rosceline's manor here, which joined to the manor of that name in Poringland, (see p. 443,) both which have been, and still continue, joined to this manor of Blackworth.
In 1229, Robert de Curzun granted it to Simon de Whatefield, and in 1267, Reginald de la Wade and Alice his wife conveyed it to Adam Abbot of St. Bennet at the Holm; when it contained a capital messuage, a carucate of land, and 13s. 4d. annual rent, in Stoke and Greynesvill, on condition the Abbot should find Reginald, during his life, 2 robes or 30 shillings sterling, one at Christmas, the other at Easter, and every week 14 loaves, and 8 flaggons of ale, such as the monks drank; and to Alice, if she outlived Reginald, 7 like loaves and 9 flaggons of ale; and thus this manor became joined to
The Manor of Greenesvill, or Grangvilles Rockells,
Which belonged to the Abbot of Holm, and contained that part of Greenesvill hamlet which laid in Stoke; this manor was confirmed to St. Benet's, by several kings and popes, but Abbot Conrade, who lived in Henry the First's time, granted to William Curzun the land of Greingville in fee, who thereupon sware fealty to the church, and to pay 60 selli of wheat; (fn. 5) and he also gave two parts of the tithes of his land at Blackworth, and at Fridestone or Freton to that monastery, and William his successour confirmed it; and Daniel Abbot of Holm granted it in fee to Robert Picot and Beatrice his wife, for the same rent; but Ralf Curzun, about the time of Hen. II. had it, and acknowledged that he held it in fee of the Abbot, and that if William Cursun of Wichingham should recover it against him, he would not sue the Abbot; (fn. 6) he gave also to the abbey 2 sheaves of the tithes of his demeans here, which was held by Sir Robert Cursun in 1239. This Robert, in 1218, sold half the manor to Richard de Rupella, or Rokele, viz. half a carucate of land, &c. containing an hudred acres, to be held by him and his heirs of the said Robert and his heirs, by the yearly rent of 30 combs of wheat, and the sale was inrolled before the itinerant justices in Eire at Norwich, the Sunday next after the feast of St. Agatha, among whom were Ralph Germyn, Walter de Verdon, Richard de Seinges, and John de Worthstede, and others; and Sir Richard, at the same time, released to the Abbot of Holm all his right in two sheaves of the tithe corn of the demeans of this manor, the Abbot, as chief lord of the fee, consenting to the alienation. Soon after this, Sir Richard granted it to Reginald de Karevilla, or Carvill, in marriage with his daughter Alice, and they afterwards conveyed it again to the Abbot of St. Bennet, who settled it on Sir Wil. de la Rokele, Knt. whose son, Sir Rich. de la Rokele, Knt. in 1296, had license of King Edw. I. to exchange this manor for that of Woodhall in Sandringham, which was accordingly done, and the Abbot released his right to Rokele in his possessions in Appleton, Sandringham, Newton, and Wolfreton, and so they became united to Rokele's manor in Appleton. In 1272 the other moiety was sold by Rob. Cursun of Town Berningham, and Ralf his son, to Sir Simon son of Richard Braunche, and it is said to lie in Cruchstoke and Castre, and the Abbot of St. Bennet confirmed the sale, on condition he was paid yearly 30 combs of wheat; and if it should happen that Sir Wil. de la Rokele, Knt. should recover the manor of Grengevill in the King's court, namely, that part of it which he had of the gift of Reginald de la Wade, against the said Abbot, then the said Simon need not pay the corn, to the said Sir William de la Rokele, as was used to be paid to Sir Robert de la Rokele his father.
In 1279, Sir Simon de Grinvile, or Sir Simon Braunch of Grinvile, died seized, and was succeeded by Peter Braunche, (fn. 7) who in 1215 had lete and view of frankpledge allowed him here.
The other part of the town called,
Belonged to Gilbert Pecche, and after that, to the Bydun family, and then to the Burgates, and Sir Baldwyn de Burgate, Knt. lord of it, and Rose his wife, gave many lands here to St. Bennet's abbey; and in 1272, John de Tyveteshall held it of Giles de Wachesham, of the manor of Thuriton in Suffolk, which was then owned by Giles son of the said Giles, at a quarter of a fee; in 1285, William de Montchensy was lord, and he and his tenants were summoned to do their suit to the King's hundred of Hensted, though he had a lete to his own manor.
This year all these manors of Stoke and Grenesvill united, and Andrew de Hengham conveyed them to Henry de Norwich and Catherine his wife, and in 1297, the Abbot of Holm let all his revenues here for life, to Sir Walter de Norwich, with the freechapel, by the site of this manor of Greenesvil, with chapel-land and chapel-acre, with the wood, and 56 acres of demeans joining to the site.
In 1301 there was an extent made of this manor, for Sir Walter de Norwich, then lord; (fn. 8) by which it appears, that the Prior of Hickling had 20 acres of land, and paid to the lord 2s. 6d. and 4 mine (fn. 9) of wheat; and the Abbot of St. Bennet held 53 acres of land, and the rents were 35s. 10d. besides the corn-rents, which were 9 quarters and an half and 2 fifth parts of a bushel.
In 1302, King Edward I. granted to Sir John de Norwich, Knt. and his heirs, free-warren in all his demeans, in Cruchestoke, Howe, Shotesham, Poringland, Sculthorp, Lyng and Great Massingham in Norfolk, Bromfield, Walpol, Melles, Wenhaston, Thorington, Shipmedowe, Metyngham, Ilketeshale, Redesham, and Dalyngho in Suffolk; and soon after this, Sir Walter purchased all he could in this neighbourhood; for in 1306, Sir Richard de Boyland granted to him and his heirs all the lands and tenements belonging to his manor of Hoe, lying in Shotesham, there being 25 tenants and their services, all which he added to this manor: the same year Reginald son of Nicholas de Shotesham sold him all his meadows and marshes between the watermill and Merkeshall Bridge, and William son of Peter But of Norwich, an estate in Blackworth village, in Cruchestoke parish, and lands by Grenesvill Hill, in Grenesvill Village in Cruchestoke aforesaid, and land abutting on the way called Ykeneldesgate; in 1308, Thomas son and heir of Sir Peter Rosceline, Knt. granted to Sir Walter de Norwich the yearly rent of 6l. 11s. 8d. to be received of his tenants in Poringland-Magna and Parva, Cruchestoke, Shotesham's, and other adjoining towns, by deed dated at Blackworth in Stoke, and thus Roscelines manor became wholly joined to this, though Thomas Rosceline, upon suing for it, was returned lord of Rosceline's manor in 1315. In 1322, St. Walter Norwich, Knt. and Catherine his wife, owned Blackworth in Stoke, and the several manors and fees joined to it, and this year the settlement of the Norwich's estate was made, and by fine levied between Sir John de Norwich, querent, and Remigius, parson of Hengham, and Walter de Thruston, parson of Sculthorp, deforciants; the manors of Sculthorp, Ling, Howe, and Blackworth, with the advowsons of Ling, (fn. 10) Sculthorp, (fn. 11) and Howe, after the decease of Katherine widow of Sir Walter de Norwich, Knt. and of Joan widow of Alexander de Clavering, were all settled on Sir John de Norwich and his heirs male, remainder on Thomas de Norwich, with remainder to Roger brother of Thomas. (fn. 12)
In 1343, Nicholas son and heir of John de Suffield, granted divers lands to Sir John Norwich, Knt.; and in 1353 Henry de Kenton, parson of Swanton-Abbots, did the like; in 1356, King Edward III. confirmed to Sir John Norwich, Knt. his charter of free-warren in all his manors and demeans. In 1372, Sir John settled this and other manors in trust, on Sir John Plais, Sir Robert Howard, Sir Roger Boys, Knts. and others. In 1374 this manor and Metingham castle, and other manors, at the death of Sir John Norwich, junior, Knt. descended to Katherine Brewse his cousin and heir, she being daughter and heir of Thomas, brother to Sir John Norwich the elder, father of Sir Walter, father of the last Sir John, and she settled it on her feoffees, with her other estate, as at p. 138. This Catherine, in 1378, took upon her a religious habit, and became a nun at Dertford, and Margaret her aunt became her heir, who first married to Sir Thomas Caily, Knt. and then to Robert Ufford Earl of Suffolk, whose son, (fn. 13) William Ufford Earl of Suffolk, inherited, and was lord of this manor, and died in 1381, and it passed from the Suffolk family to the Billingfords, and James Billingford, clerk of the crown, who had an annuity of 20li. per annum belonging to that office, was lord here, and of Stapleford in Hertfordshire in 1388; and in 1476, one of the same name had it, with the manors of Over and Netherhall in Toft Monacorum; in 1558, Edmund Billing ford of Stoke-holyCross, Esq. was buried in the chancel, by the tomb of Elizabeth his wife, and Catherine his wife survived him, Thomas his son inherited; he had a daughter married to George Sheffield, a brother named Richard, John Appleyard of Dunston, and Thomas Gresham, being his cousins; in 1571 his son Thomas was lord, and married Anne daughter of Sir Edmund Jenny of Knodeshall in Suffolk, and was succeeded by Edmund Billingford, who married Elizabeth Felton, a coheiress, and had Thomas, who first married Mrs. Harman, and then Mrs. Brown; (fn. 14) in 1610, Thomas Billingford settled Blackworth manor, and Roscelines, &c. on Samuel Style and Edmund Purdye, who held it with Stoke manor, then called old Hallsted manor, of the manor of Forncet, at 4d. per annum for castleward or forewatch, and the said manor was further held of Barningham manor, by a pound of pepper yearly; and soon after Edward Doyly, Esq. purchased the manor of Blackworth-hall, with the members belonging to it, viz. the manors of Stoke-holy-Cross, or Old-hallstede, Roscelines, Rockeles, and Grenesvilles, or Grangevilles, &c. and it hath passed ever since, as the manor of Shotesham, which see at p. 507, 8.
This manor hath lete, weyf, and stray, the fines are at the lord's will, and the woman's dowry is one moiety.
The Prior of Norwich had large revenues here, (fn. 15) in lands and rents of divers ancient donations to that monastery, and the advowson of the church was given and impropriated very early, for John son of Oliver de Vaux, lord here, acknowledged by deed under his seal, to the Prior and convent, that he had no right in any part of the advowson, on account of any feofament made him by John de Waxtunesham, his ancestors having long before given the advowson to the monastery, to which house it had been then long appropiated. Richard de Snaringes, (fn. 16) John son of Sir John de Gatesden, Knt. John son of Sir John de Nerford, Knt. and Lady Petronel his mother, Walter Penning and Bertrice his wife, William Karman, Ralf son of Tho. de Rickingale, Thomas de Nerford brother of John, and Agnes his wife, who was formerly the wife of John de Mautravers, and many others, were benefactors; in 1320 Brother Ralf de Hemesly, Prior of St. Mary at Hickling, exchanged lands with the Prior of Norwich, who was taxed for all his lands and temporal rents, at 31s. 9d. without those of the Abbot of Holm, which were taxed separately at 13d. The whole town and hamlets being charged to each tenth at 12li. but had a deduction of 2li. 13s. 4d. allowed on account of the lands of the religious here, they being taxed by themselves.
The rectory was appropriated to the chamberer's, or chamberlain's office in the priory of Norwich, (fn. 17) and had a vicarage presentative, and afterwards endowed, but was never taxed, so that it is not mentioned in the King's Books; and indeed the town itself is left out in Saxton's map of the county; the Priors of Norwich always presented to the vicarage, till the Dissolution, and then it was granted to the dean and chapter, (fn. 18) who are impropriators and patrons of the vicarage at this time; in Norwich Domesday, the chamberer, who was then impropriator, had a house and 24 acres of land; in the Revision it is thus entered: to the parsonage belong 26 acres of glebe, and the tithe corn only; to the vicarage, 22 acres of glebe, and all other tithes, and the spirituals of the Prior of Norwich were valued at 16 marks, and the temporals of the Abbot of Langley, at 4s. 7d. It formerly paid 2s. synodals, but no procurations to the archdeacon, it being one of the peculiars belonging to the dean and chapter; though now it seems otherwise, for in the Revision of the Archdeaconry of Norfolk, in 1630, it is thus entered,
Stoke-Holy-Cross vicarage; Elizabeth Burman, widow, is patroness and proprietary (by lease, I suppose, from the dean and chapter,) Oliver Harrison, clerk, who also holds Shotesham by a personal union, is vicar. The vicarage is valued at 5li. pays 10s. tenths, and 15d. procurations at the Bishop's visitation, 2s. synodals, and 6s. 8d. archdeacon's procurations. But notwithstanding this, I do not ever find the vicarage to have been in the King's Books, and instead of five pounds it was never estimated before the Reformation at but 5 marks, and not at all, that I can find since; but being not mentioned in the Valor, it is capable of augmention, if sworn to be under 50l. per annum clear; but it appearing, by Mr. Ecton's last Valor, published in 1742, not to be certified as yet; till that be done, it is incapable of that advantage.
In 1550 the dean and chapter paid to the Bishop of Norwich 6s. 8d. per annum for a parcel of tithes in this town lately belonging to the sacrist of Holm abbey. There was a gild held in this church, in honour of the holy-cross.
In 1342, Sir John Atte Cherche of Sweynestorp was vicar; in 1349, Thomas Curteys; 1372, John Hacoun, &c.
William Miller, vicar in 1597, Christopher Allen, who returned 60 communicants in 1603, was buried in 1606. John Alden buried in 1609, Oliver Harrison buried 1658, William Smith, vicar, 1693.
On the outside of the south wall of the church is a mural monument with this,
Memoriæ Sacrum Thomæ Havers Clerici, (fn. 19) qui Theologiâ, Medicinâ Chirurgiâ, et Lythotomiâ, doctus fuit, et expertus: Ergà Deum, Pius, Ergà Homines, justus; Pauperibus et Ægrotis semper Amicus, obiit 27° Die Junij Ao Domini 1719. Ætatis Suæ 60.
The Rev. Mr. John Curby, the present vicar, holds it united to Trowse.
The church stands on a very great eminence; the west part of the nave (which is 53 feet long) is tiled and the east part leaded; the chancel is tiled, and is 23 feet long, and 20 feet broad, as is the nave; it hath a south porch tiled, but no isles; the steeple is square, about 50 feet high, and hath three bells. The arms of Calthorp impaling Astley were in the windows, but are now gone.
Within the altar rails, lie Dorothy 2d daughter of John Burman, Gen. and Catherine his wife, born in 1649, buried in 1653, and also John son of John Johnson, Gent. and Mary his wife ob. 1681. Matthias their son 1677.
In the Womb, of this Tomb, Twins, in Expectation lay, To be born, in the Morn', of the Resurrection Day.
Here lieth Catherine Burman born Oct. 12, 1652, and died Nov. 1, 1656. Here lieth William Burman born March 1655, died Oct. 3, 1662, both descended of John Burman Esq; and Catherine his Wife.
In the chancel.
John Pearse Gent. 1658.
Legard arg. on a bend between six mullets gul. a cross patee or.
Robert Legard died March 19, 1715, Aged 57.
Mors, vitæ Finis est, et Initium, ergo Memento Mori; Familie Legardorum in Norfolciâ (fn. 20) Ultimus.
Legard, impales Crabb, sab. a chevron arg. between three crabs or wild apples proper.
Mary Wife of Robert Legard Gent. ob. Dec. 6, 1714, Aged 49. She was Daughter to William Crabb M. D. of Norwich.
Hodie mihi, Cras tibi.
Mary Wife of John Buckenham of Thorp Daughter of Robert and Mary Legard Oct. 18, 1711. 21. Anne their Daughter ob. 1711. 15. Jenny their Daughter 1696. Æt. 1. Year and 4 Months. Frances their Daughter 1708, Aged 3 Years and 9 Months.
ut nos, sic tu.
On a brass by the font,
Orate pro Anima Roberti Meke, qui obiit rrvo Die Novembris Anno Domini Mo. Uo. rrriiio. cuius Anime propicietur Deus.
It appears by Stoke Register that many good families, have inhabited here. 1538, John Curson and Anne Aylson married. 1547, George Sheffield and Margaret Billingford. 1549, Edmund son of Tho. Billingford buried. A great number of this ancient family are to be found here, many children born, of Thomas Billingford, Esq. and Dorothy his wife. 1576, Roger Gray, Gent. and Margaret Billingford married. 1584, Thomas Holl, Gent. and Mary Billingford. 1589, Thomas Billingford the elder, Esq. buried. Many of the Crowes and Flowerdewes are mentioned. 1606, John Alden, vicar, and Ancilla Love, Gent. married. Many of the Gooches, Stanows, and Wards, occur here. 1612, Catherine, widow of Thomas Billingford, senior, buried. 1612, Thomas Billingford, Esq. buried. 1627, Thomas Talbot, LL. D. and Dame Susan Doyly, married. Many of the Harrisons, Scriveners, Stiles, Armigers, Burmans, &c. 1639, John Robinson, A. B. buried. Abraham Caught, 1727. Æt. 42, &c.
Part of this hundred is enclosed, and part unenclosed; the soil is inclining to be light, and the greatest part of it is but middling, and was it not for the convenience of being improved, by muck so easily brought from the city of Norwich, it would be but mean land.