Hundred of South Erpingham: Marsham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.

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'Hundred of South Erpingham: Marsham', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London, 1807) pp. 286-289. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

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Or the village at the marsh, commonly called Massam, lies south of Aylesham; the lordship and ad vowson of which, belonged to the late Earl of Yarmouth, whose estate is now on sale, according to the directon of his Lordship's will.

At the Confessor's survey, Herold had it, (fn. 1) and gave it to the bishoprick, and Erfast the Bishop held it; but when the Conqueror seized the lands of the see, William Beaufoe Bishop of Thetford obtained it of the Conqueror's gift, in fee and inheritance, as he did most of the old revenues of his bishoprick, and left it again to the see; with which it continued till 1535, and being then vested in the Crown, it continued there, till Queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir James Bulleyn, for a term of years; but about 1575 it was aliened from the Crown, for Robert Thetford, Esq. then owned it, and paid 18d. a year castle-gard to Norwich castle; it was after that, purchased by Sir Henry Hobart, and sold to the Freemans, and after that, to the Pastons.

This town is in the liberty of the dutchy of Lancaster, and the tenants of the manor always enjoyed freedom from toll, and all other liberties belonging to the dutchy, and tenants in ancient demean; the lord hath liberty of free warren or game, by charter from King Henry III. dated in 1250, who then granted it to Walter Bishop of Norwich. At the Conqueror's survey, it was a mile and 3 furlongs long, and 7 furlongs broad, and paid xid. to the geld or tax; the manor then extended into Stratton and Brampton, and there was a part of it in Marsham and Hevingham, which was granted to Walter Giffart, and constituted the manor of Catts, here and in Hevingham, of which see under that town.

This town paid clear to every tenth 3l. 6s. 8d. and the religious paid for their lands here 13s. 4d.

It is valued to the land tax at 408l. 13s. 4d. and pays 7s. 6d. to every 300l. levy of the county rate.

The ancient family of the Marshams took their name from this place, and removed hence to Norwich and Stratton Strawless, their present seat, of which family I shall speak under that place.

I find, that the manors of Snoring and Noers in Iteringham extended hither.

The church is dedicated to all the Saints, and there were two gilds held in it, one in honour of all the Saints, the other of St. John the Baptist; it was very full of images, with lights burning before them, for I find in the ancient wills registered in the Bishop's Office, that there were the lights of All-Saints, the Brown Rood, the High Rood, St. Thomas, St. Nicholas, St. Margaret, St. Catharine, St. Christopher, St. Erasmus, St. John, St. Sithe, St. Anthony, St. Rodiburt St. Anne, St. Mary of Pity, St. James, St. John Baptist, St. Swithen and St. Lawrence.

The tower is square, and hath four bells; the two isles, nave, chancel, and south porch are all leaded; the windows are very finely painted; in a north chancel window is the Virgin, with AVE GRA: DNS. T[ECUM] on the screens are many saints painted, and this inscription:

Orate pro animabus Johannis de Norton, et Margarete uxoris, quocum animabus Deus propicietur.

On the font are carved the seven sacraments of the Romish church, 4 saints and 4 confessors, and St. George and the dragon; on the north isle windows is St. Margaret standing on a dragon; in the south isle windows are the Apostles with the Creed in labels from their mouths. In the north isle east window is the crucifixion, and at bottom in four ovals the emblems of the four Evangelists, in the next window but one, are three fine effigies, with labels:

1. Sanctus Kenelmus Rer.

2. Sanctus Edmundus Rer.

3. Sanctus Edwardus Rer.

In the pane under St. Edmund is a man kneeling in a blue surcoat saying,

sancte Edmunde ora pro me.

And under him

Orate pro animabus Chome de Norton et Marie uxoris predicti Thome.

The wife kneels under St. Kenelm, and under St. Edward are two images, and this between them,

Ora pro me Sanrte Edwarde.

Orate pro anima Roberti Attevill.

In these windows are portraitures of St. Agatha, St. Ethelred, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. David, St. Brice, Christ's Baptism in Jordan, and many other saints and confessors.

The upper or clerestory windows are very perfect, and the several Orates fair, but so high I could not read them; there are the arms of England, France, Verdon, Clopton, Bavent, Morley, West Saxons, East Angles, emblem of the Trinity, &c. and in one of them,

Orate pro anima willieclmi attchille.

Pray for the Soul of John Bclknay, Gen.

Norwich see, impaling Bishop Wakering s cognizance, az. a pelican vulning herself proper.

Bishop Lyhert's arms, Jenny.

Moore, sab. a chevron between three mullets arg.

There is a large freestone in the nave, with the word Oblivio six times round this inscription:

Oblivio. Oblivioni datus, Sum Tanquam Mortuus a Corde, Oblivio.

On a broken brass, nailed upon a seat,

Orate pro anima Johannis Bysschay, qui obit Mcccclrrn et pro anima Agnetis Uxoris M. cccclxxxix et pro quibus tenentur.

On a black marble by the desk;

Here lieth Mrs. Margaret Lyng, by her Father and Mother, she lived most Part of her Days in Mr. Doughty's Family at Hanworth, and was from thence brought to this Place, October 18, 1698. Aged 74. whose worth and Goodness cannot be expressed within the limits of a Gravestone.

The rectory is valued in the King's Books at 10l. 10s. and stands by the name of Marsam rectory; it is sworn of the clear yearly value of 43l. and so is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; it was anciently valued at 24 marks, and the prior of Castleacre had a portion of tithes here, valued at half a mark; (fn. 2) it being formerly in the Bishop's own collation; the archdeacon had nothing to do here, and therefore received no procurations from the rector, who pays to the Bishop for synodals 22d. and for visitatorial procurations 2s. 8d.

The rector hath a rectory manor here.

John Swan gave by will, 20s. a year to the poor. Elizabeth Swan his wife, gave 15s. a year to the poor, ano 1693, to be paid every Easter Monday, out of certain lands in the parish.

In the north isle there are stones for Thomas Grix, 1720, 74. Thomas son of James Grix, 1712, 15. Mary wife of Andrew Dix, 1621.

In the south isle are stones for Susan Jeckel widow, 1704. 70. William Jeckel, 1728. 68.

At the altar. John, son of James and Anne Norris, born 1721, died 1725. John, another son, 1725. Thomas, another son, 1726. He was rector here, and is buried by his children.


The rectors were collated by the Bishops in right of the manor, and after that was aliened from the see, the lords of the manor (to which the advowson belongs,) always presented.

1321, Simon de Lauselle, subdeacon.

1353, Robert de Stratton, L. L. D. subdeacon, &c.

In 1424, Richard de Middleton was rector; see vol. iii. p. 495.

1461, Thomas Lord Bishop of Dromer in Ireland, resigned Aylesham vicarage for this, in exchange with Master Nicholas Stanton, L. L. B.

In 1509, Thomas Senyche, rector, commissary to the archdeacon of Norfolk; vol. iii. p. 656.

1530, William White, rector official to the archdeacon of Norwich. Ibid. p. 659.

1554, Commissary Berry held it with Aylesham, (see p. 275.) In.

1592, Ralf Dodge held it with Mannington.

Samuel Oates, (fn. 3) had it of the gift of Sir Henry Hobart; and in 1605, the King presented

Samuel Oates, junior.

The Rev. Mr. Pate (of whom at vol. iv. p. 62) was succeeded in

1717, by James Norris, who died in 1729, and was succeeded by

Robert Harvey, who held it united to Lyng, (see vol. iv. p. 400,) at whose death,

The Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Ponder, the present rector, succeeded, and holds it united to Lyng rectory.


  • 1. ERPINCHAM SVD hund. (Doms. fo. 153.) Terra Willi. Episcopi Tedfordensis, de feudo ejusdem. Marsam tenet Heroldus iiii car. terre, semper vi villani et xxix bordarij et aemper ii car. in dominio et iiii car. hominum, vi acr. prati silva de c. porcis et iiii socm. tenet Rogerus i car. terre et iii bord. et ii car. et i runcin. et ii anim. et xii porci et xxvi caprae, et vi vasa apum, tunc valuit vi libr. modo ix et habet i leugam, et iii quar. in longo et vii quar. in lato et xi den. de gelto. In Stratuna i. soc. xxx. ad Marsam et dim. car. et valet ii. sol. In Stratuna xviiii. soc. Heroldi in Marsam fo. 239. In Brantuna xxv. et dim. socman. soca in Marsam fo. 217. Terra Regis in manu Regis fo. 11. Tenebat in Caustuna Heroldus T. R. E. Marsam, Blikelinga et xxiii. soc. hec duo maneria tenet Wills. Episcopus, et Erfastus tenuit. These manors were then in the soc or jurisdiction of Cawston manor, and so became parcel of the dutchy.
  • 2. Thomas de Blumvile Bishop of Norwich, confirmed the charter of his predessor John de Grey, to the monks of Norwich, namely the tithes of his demeans in Marsham, reg. 1. fo. 37. and the convent settled them on NormanSpitel hospital in Norwich, as at vol. iv. p. 430. At p. 431 it appears to be compounded for, and the rector paid 5s. a year in lieu of this portion to Norman-Spitel, to which it was given by the prior and covent, who held it of the gift of Bishop John of Oxford. See also vol. iv. p. 560.
  • 3. Timothy, son of Sam. Oates, clerk, and Anue his wife, baptised 1581, Titus Oates his son 1583.