Hundred of South Erpingham: Boton

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: Boton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London, 1807) pp. 352-359. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


Called also Botune, Tortune, and Bowton, was in two parts or manors at the Conqueror's survey, the one called afterwards Botonhall, and the other Midelton's in Boton and Wichingham, but the lete always attended the hundred, and Queen Elizabeth's steward held it.

Gueric a Dane, and Osbert a Saxon, held Botune in the Confessor's time, and Teheli had it of the Conqueror's gift, as a whole manor, including that socman and his services, which belonged to Herold at the first survey. (fn. 1)

The manor called Tortune, afterwards Midleton's, Herlewin had it in the Confessor's time, and was of the same value with Botune manor; (fn. 2) to this the Conqueror, when he gave it to Rainald-Fitz-Ivo added 2 socmen, which belonged formerly to Herold, and were valued with Causton manor. (fn. 3)

William de Schoies, or Scot, had a socman here, and the church had 9 acres of glebe, then valued at 6d. per annum only, and a 3d part of its advowson belonged to these three several parts of the village, the whole of which was then half a mile long, and as much broad, and paid 7d. geld.

The manor of Boton, and advowson, came to the Pecches, Jeffry and Simon (fn. 4) Pecche his son had it, and William Pecche granted it to Roger de Gyneto, or Gyney, the moiety of the advowson, William Bartholomew and Fulk de Gyneto, being witnesses to it; the said William in 1205 having recovered part of it against Ralf and Eborard, sons of Simon, father of William, who presented to it, and were lords of Midleton's manor, and of Scot's part, which was now joined to Midleton's.

Soon after this, Richard de Skeyton held this, (fn. 5) and Agnes de Baldeswell, and William de Thorp the other manor here, at half a fee, of the manor of Panworth-Hall in Ashill, and that of the Earl of Gloucester.

In 1255 Simon Pecche of Brandeston had free-warren in his manor here, and the whole advowson belonging to it; and in 1259 William Pecche, his son, agreed with John de Thorenton, lord of the manor of Midleton's, that they should present by turns.

In 1263 John son of Alexander de Vallibus or Vaux of Aslacton and Keswic, had a charter for free-warren to his manor here, and in Branteston; and in 1285, Roger son of William de Gyney, and Margaret his wife, released all their rights here to Richard de Skeyton, in whom both manors were vested; and in 1314 Petronella or Parnel de Nerford held Botune of the honour of Clare; and in 1315 Roger de Gynney held a moiety of her, as one manor, (fn. 6) and Ralf de Skeyton the other moiety, as another manor. In 1323 Oliver de Redham, and Ralf, rector of Skeyton, as trustees, settled this and Skeyton on Sir Ralf de Skeyton aforesaid for life, and then on Maud de Nerford and her two sons, Ralf and Edward.

This Maud (fn. 7) was concubine to William Earl Warren, and had by him these two sons, who took the name of Warren, the Earl having no legitimate issue; (fn. 8) and Sir Edward Warren, (fn. 9) Knt. (fn. 10) had the manor here; his 2d son, Sir John de Warren, Knt. succeeded him here, and was buried in Boton church in 1382; this Sir John, in 1347, was not in possession, for then Felicia de Skeyton held it in dower at half a fee, of Thomas de Nerford, who held it of the honour of Clare; Sir John married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir John Stafford of Wykham, Knt who afterwards remarried to John le Mayne Warren, who in 1401 was lord here; and in 1427, Laurence Mainwarren had it. In 1450 Sir Henry Inglose, Knt. gave the manor and advowson, to be sold by his executors; and in 1495 Henry Calthorp had it; he lies buried in the chancel, with his effigies, and this inscription on brass plates:

Orate pro anima Henrici Calthory Armigeri, qui obiit primo die Julii Ano Christi Mcccccrii cuius anime tr.

In 1529, Thomas Tropnel and others settled Boton and Skeyton manors on Lawrence Warren, Esq. and Sibil his wife; and in 1531 John Horseman kept his first court at Booton, and after him George. Horseman of Boton, Esq. (fn. 11) his son and heir, who was buried by his father in Boton church in 1558; Frances his widow, married after to Jocelyn, who had it, for in 1562 Frances Jocelyn, widow, kept court here; about 1570, George son of John Horseman had it, and conveyed it to Sir Christopher Heydon of Baconsthorp, Knt. who in 1573 sold it to Christopher Layer, alderman of Norwich, and his heirs, John Stanley, Gent. of Scothowe, Edward Fisher of Great Wichingham, Gent. Anthony Warner, John Mapes, clerk, and Thomas Armiger of Baconsthorp, being trustees; and the said Christopher held his first court here this year. (fn. 12)

The family of the Leirs or Layers, (fn. 13) are descended from George Layer of Bury in Suffolk, who lived in 1429; he increased his own estate by marrying Margaret, sole heiress of Peter Butefaunt, Esq. who after his death remarried to Henry Baniard of Bury. Their son,

William Layer, was sheriff of Norwich in 1526, mayor in 1537, and is buried in St. John Maddermarket, with his wife, being succeeded by his son, (fn. 14)

John Layer of Norwich, (fn. 15) who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Marsham of Norwich; he died in 1560 seized of good estates in Saxham, Faverton, Westley, Midleton, and Lowistolft in Suffolk; they left

Christopher Layer, their eldest son and heir, (fn. 16) who purchased Boton, was a merchant of Norwich in 1561, sheriff of that city in 1596, mayor in 1581 and in 1589, and burgess in Parliament for the city in 1584, and 1596; he was buried in the church of St. John Maddermarket in 1600, and died seized of Boton, &c. and Barbara his wife, 5th daughter of Augustine Steward of Norwich, was buried by him in 1604, (fn. 17) leaving three sons and five daughters.

Augustine Layer, his eldest son, married Susanna, daughter of Clement Herne, and died before his father, and

Thomas his son inherited at his grandfather's death in 1600, he being then 12 years of age, and Christopher Layer, Gent. his uncle, was his guardian; he married Susanna, daughter of Mr. Downing of Grimston in Norfolk, relict of Giles Bladwell, Esq. and was buried at Boton in 1644, and left

Christopher Layer (fn. 18) of Boton, his son and heir, who sold Midleton's manor here, and in Wichingham in 1649; and so it became joined to Wichingham manor; he married Susanna, daughter and coheir of John Frere of Ashen in Essex, who was living in 1659; they left Booton to

Christopher Layer of Booton, who married Mary, daughter of Mr. Cracheroode of Essex, relict of Mr. Bull, serjeant at arms; she is buried at Booton, but had no issue; so that Booton went to his nephew,

Christopher Layer of Aylesham, attorney at law, only son of his brother, John Layer of London, by Mrs. Bernard (fn. 19) of Caxton in Cambridgeshire. He married a daughter of Peter Elwyn of Aylesham, to whom he sold Booton in 1713; Peter was buried at Tutington in 1721, as was Peter his son in 1731, and Booton came to his nephew,

Peter Elwin of Booton, Esq. the present lord and patron, who resides in the manor-house called Booton Hall, which is about a quarter of a mile north-west of the church, on the opposite side of the road. He married Phillippa, third daughter of Thomas Marsham of Stratton Strawless, Esq. (fn. 20) by whom he hath four sons;

1, Peter, fellow-commoner of Caius College; 2, Thomas; 3, Fountain; 4, Hastings; 5, Robert; and two daughters, Anne and Dorothy.

The Church is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, and in 1447 there was a gild kept here to his honour, and another in honour of the Blessed Virgin.

Valuation to the land-tax, 380l. 10s.;—county-rate to a 300l. levy, 5s. 9d.;—old tenths, 2l. 12s.;—old valuation of the rectory, 15 marks; —synodals, 1s. 1d.;—N. V. 15d. ob.;—Bishop's procurations, 2s. 3d.; —archaeacon's procurations, 6s. 8d.

King's Books, 7l. 12s. 6d.—Bowton Rectory,—36l. clear yearly value.

It being discharged of first fruits and tenths, it is capable of augmentation.

The Prior of Walsingham was taxed for temporals here at 2s. 4d.; the prior of Longaville, at 5s. 8d.; the prior of St. Faith, 0d.; the sacrist of Bury at 12d.; and in 1447, Mary Magdalen college in Oxford had license to purchase lands here, and in Branteston, Salle, and Cawston; and in 1584, Queen Elizabeth, at the request of Henry Lord Wentworth, granted to Theopolitus Adams, and Thomas Butler of London, five roods by Booton church, &c. lately belonging to the gild here.

Rectors of Botone.

1308, Matthew de Redham.

1329, William de Playford, by lapse, succeeded by
Sir Nicholas de Colneye, about 1353.

1391, John Yop.

1564 Edward Fenton, (fn. 21)

1611, Robert Griffith. John Layer, Gent.

1633, John Mallom, A. M. Thomas Layer, Esq.

Gabriel Wright. Christopher Layer, Esq.

John Lawrence of Horseford, at whose death,

The Rev. Mr. George Ray, the present rector, was presented by Peter Elwin, Esq. the present patron, and holds it united to Oxnede.

There is no parsonage-house, but several glebes intermixed with other lands.

The tower is square, and hath four bells in it; the chancel is tiled, and the nave and north porch are leaded. The town is in the liberty of the dutchy of Lancaster.

Orate pro animbus Johannis Newhe, quondam de Boton, et Matildis Uxoris eius qui obiit Mo cccco ri quorum tc.

Orate pro anima Johannis Newke quondam de Boton qui obitt ro. die Decembris Ano Domini Mcccclrri cuius anime propicietur Deus.

This family were owners here many hundred years; in 1363 John Hewke of Boton and Alice his wife were living. In 1447 Richard Hewke of Boton, and John his son married Margaret, daughter of John Springwell, and died in 1471 as above; their estate belonged to Robert Muncey, clerk, in 1707, father of Dr. Mouncey, physician to Chelsea college.

Requiesco in Pace. Here resteth the Body of Mary one of the Daughters of Christopher Layer, Citizen and Alderman of Norwich, who deceased the 9th of October 1602.

Crest and arms of Layer, impaling Cracherood, a saltier er. between four lions heads erased.

Mary Wife of Christopher Layer, Esq; died January 3, 1710, Aged 52 Years.

Depositum Thomæ Layer Armigeri qui obijt 22 Aprilis 1644.

Hic jacet Edwardus filius primus Thomæ Layer, et Franciscæ Uxoris Suæ qui obijt 22 die Oct. 1641, Ætatis Suæ 16.

Here lieth the Body of Edward Fellowes, Gent. who was born at Inglefield in Berkshire, and died March 13, 1717, Aged 60 Years, being uncle to Elizabeth the Wife of John Mathews, of this Parish.

On a brass by the font,

Orate pro anima Rogeri Sehelyng, cuius anime tr.

Orate pro animabus Johanniz Chelyng et Elizabethe uxoris eius quorum animabus propicietur Deus Amen.

Orate pro anima Johanne nuper uxoris Johannis Shyllyng Senioris.

Hic jacet Johannis Cartere, cuius anime propicietur Deus. Amen.

In a north window, next the pulpit, a woman and man on their knees at prayers.

Orate pro animabus Johannis Mast

On a south window a man kneeling, from his mouth a label, on which,

Jesu Fili Dei Miserere mei.

Orate pro animabus Radulfi March ant, tc.

In the second, south, is Sir William de Kerdeston, and his lady, with the arms of Kerdeston, and this under them,

Orate pro animabus Domini Willelmi de Herdeston, et

On a label from her mouth,

Trinitas Sancte Conforta me in omini Opete bono.

On another from his,

Et una cum piis meum commendo.

There are several other broken effigies and inscriptions in the windows; and in the lower south window is the history of our Saviour entering Jerusalem, riding on an ass, and this,

Os anna Fili David.

The windows were very fine formerly, and had the following arms in them, but most are now lost.

Gyney, paly of six, or and gul. a chief erm. impaling Kerdeston.

Warren, chequy or and az. on a canton gul. a lion rampant arg. the canton and lion being Nerford's arms, quartering 1st, or, on a chevron gul. three swans arg. 2d, az. crusuly three lozenges or.

Gyney single, Calthorp with a crescent. Wichingham. Shelton. Herne or Heron, ar. three heronshaws or hernes sab.

In the house late Mr. Horseman's (or the manor-house) in the windows,

Horseman, arg. a pair of horse barnacles, between three torteauxes, on a chief per pale az. and gul. three roses arg.

Calthorp, with a crescent.

Whitby, arg. on a chevron az. an annulet of the field for difference, between three birds sab. impaling Bacon, az. three boars passant or, and sometimes arg. and az a fretté or.

Gerbridge, with an annulet sab. for difference. Bullen, impaling Butler.

In the chancel is a brass thus inscribed,

Orate pro anima Johanne Herward, qu abijt rvi die Aprilis, ruius anime propicictur Deus Amen.

This family had a good estate here, Robert Harward of Aldburgh married Mary, daughter of John Berney of Redham, and had Clement Harward of Aldburgh, their son and heir; but Robert, their 4th son, had Boton estate, and settled there; he is buried in Boton church, with his three wives; by Mary, daughter of Thomas Duke of Brampton in Suffolk, he had John, his 2d son, but heir, who married Bridget, daughter of Christopher Perne of West Barsham in Norfolk; he was buried here in 1568; Robert, his only son, died without issue, and Elizabeth, his sole daughter and heiress, married to Thomas, 2d son of Hamond Claxton of Great Livermere in Suffolk, who was 2d son of William Claxton of Cheston in Suffolk, and Elizabeth Throkmorton his wife, and so brought their Boton estate to the Claxtons, in which family it continued till lately.

Henry Herward, Gent. was buried in this church in 1531, and Clement Herward of Gressenhall was his brother, and John Herward of Elsing, Gent. was then living; in 1549 Thomas son of Robert lived here.

Herward's arms against the north wall of the church, viz.

Az. a fess gobonnè arg. and gul. between three owls of the 2d.

In 1330 William de Claxton, prior of Norwich, (of whom in vol. ii. p. 602,) first raised this family: of which, in 1476, Hamond Claxton was sheriff of Norwich, and mayor in 1485; and in 1619, Thomas Claxton was alderman of Norwich. In 1559 Hammond Claxton the elder of Cheston, Gent. was much in favour with Thomas Duke of Norfolk; Hammond Claxton of Livermere and Norwich married Anne, daughter of Thomas Clarke of Okeley in Somersetshire, who is buried in St. Mary's in Coslany in Norwich. Ano 1605, with the arms of Claxton and Clarke, as in vol. iv. p. 371, 490.


  • 1. Terre Teheli, Doms. fo. 273. H. de Sud.; Erpincham. Botuna tenent idem homines, (sc. Gvericus et Osbertus) i. car. terre, i. socm. Heroldi T. R. E. semper i. villanus et iiii. bordarij, et i. servus, et i. car. in dominio, et dim. hominum, et ii. acr. prati, silva xvi. porci tunc valuit xs. et modo soca in Caustuna, hoc totum fuit liberatum pro uno manerio.
  • 2. Fo. 227. terre Rainaldi filij Jvonis. In Tortuna tenet Herlwinus dim. car. terre semper v. bordarij et i. servus et i. car. in dominio et dim. hominum iiii. acr. prati et. val. x. sol. In eadem, idem ii. soc. Heroldi, de Caustuna lx. acr. terre et ii. bord. semper i. car. et iii. acr. prati, et val. xii. den. et habet dim. leug. in longo et dim. in lato, et vii. den. de gelto.
  • 3. Terre Willi. de Scohies, fo. 209. Tres partes de i. ecclesia ix. acr. et val. vi. den. et i. soc. iiii. In Tortuna et val. viii. den.
  • 4. This Simon granted much land and services in Botune, to the family sirnamed of the town. In 1247 Michael and William de Boton settled a messuage and 60 acres in Boton, on their daughter Margery, then an anchoress at Branteston, and then to Hugh and Giles their sons. In 1296 Robert de Boton and Basil his wife sold their messuage and 54 acres here to Thomas de Swathing and Margery his wife.
  • 5. The quitrents were then 5l. 14s. 11d. per annum, 4 quarters of wheat, and 20 quarters of barley. For this family see under Skeyton
  • 6. In 1332, Thomas son of Roger de Gyney, and Margery widow of Roger, settled the manor and advowson on the said Thomas, who in 1383, by the name of Sir Thomas Gyney of Heverland, Knt. had a confirmation of freewarren to his manor here. In 1442, Sir John Gyney of Dilham, Knt. by will, ordered William Paston and other his feoffees, to present Jeffry Haldeyn, vicar of Dilham, to this church when void; about 1449 it belonged to Sir Henry Inglose, Knt. of Dilham, inheritor of Geney's lands; at whose death it was sold, and so the whole became united, and remained so till Midleton's was sold from it again.
  • 7. Alice Hauteyn released all her right in Skeyton and Boton to this Maud.
  • 8. Glover's Collections of Cheshire, fo. 257.
  • 9. Sir Edward was alive in 1365, and Cecily, daughter and coheir of Nicholas de Eton, Knt. relict of John, son and heir of John Ardern, Knt. was his wife.
  • 10. He and his descendents bare Earl Warren's arms, and Nerford's in a canton, to show his extraction from the Earl Warren and Maud Nerford.
  • 11. They left these sons; 1st, Henry, 2d, George who had Boton, 3d, Edward, 4th, John 5th, William.
  • 12. Buried at Elsing in 1607.
  • 13. For their arms see vol. iv. 231, 293.
  • 14. See vol. iii. p. 219, 280, 359, 66; vol. iv. p. 473.
  • 15. This John had five brothers alive in 1559; 2, Christopher; 3, Thomas; 4, William; 5, George; 6, Nicholas; and 2 daughters, Elizabeth married to Bates, and Audry to Vynes.
  • 16. This Christopher had a sister, Mary Layer, buried at Booton in 1592, and 3 brothers, 2, Thomas Layer, merchant of Norwich in 1561, sheriff in 1567, thrice mayor in 1576, 1585, and 1595, member in parliament for the city in 1585 and 1606; he died in 1614, aged 78, having been 47 years an alderman; his picture remains in the Gild-hall at Norwich; he gave a stock of 5l. to St. Saviour's parish; and his widow, Mrs. Anne Layer, gave 50l. to be lent to young tradesman in the city. 3, John Layer. 4, William Layer of London, who married Martha, daughter of Thomas Wantor, and heir of Nicholas her brother, and left William Layer of Cringleford, who died without issue male; and John Layer, from whom the Layers of Shepreth in Cambridgeshire are descended.
  • 17. Christopher Layer of Norwich, the 2d son, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Rugge of Felmingham; Elizabeth their daughter was born in 1608, and died in 1682, was wife of Thomas Correy, Esq. and is buried in St. John Maddermarket. (See vol. iv. p. 296.) Thomas Layer of Booton, the 3d son, married Frances, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Waldgrave of Stanninghall, Knt. and lies buried in Cossey, as in vol. ii. p. 418, ob. 1629, and had Edward, buried here in 1641, Charles, and Francis, Layer. Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, married first to Thomas Corey, Gent. then to William Robinson, Gent. and is buried in St. Gregory's church in Norwich, Ano 1612; by Robinson she had an only child, Elizabeth, married to Francis Bacon, Esq. (See vol. iv. p. 277, 8.)
  • 18. He had 3 brothers; 2d, Thomas Layer of Beccles; 3d, Clement of Booton, &c. who died without issue.
  • 19. They had three daughters, Jane, Frances, and Susanna, sisters to Christopher.
  • 20. See p. 338.
  • 21. In the nave; Here lieth the Bodi of Master EDWARD FENTONE Preacher of the Word in BOTON xxxxvj Yeares, buried in the Yeare of our Lord 1610. Felton, Vert six falcons heads erased or.