Hundred of South Erpingham: Olton

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: Olton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London, 1807) pp. 370-374. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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Or the old town, hath its church dedicated to St. Peter and Paul; its tower is square and hath three bells; the nave and two transept chapels are leaded, and the chancel is tiled. On three brasses on a stone in the nave;

1, Here laye Edmund Bell, and Katherine his wife, Whoe thirty Six years, did live Man and Wife, They had three Sons, and Daughters three, Farewell! our Friends all, in Heav'n we hope to See. (1636.)

2, Here lye Katteren the Wyfe of Edmund Bell, For her Vertues many Thousand she did excell, And now with God, in Heaven she dwell. (17 Sept. 1617.)

3. Thomas son of Edmund Bell Dec. - - Aged 80 years and 8 Months.

A black marble for Anne wife of Thomas Bell, 22 July 1730, 47, with this,

Non mortis Ictû maxima Pars tui Deleta, Recti mens sibi conscia Rogis et Urnæ insultat, Altum Quod coluit petitura Cœlum;

At flebit Almo pauperies frequens Lenita Dono, Te Pietas tuis Ornata Votis, Te Sagacis Ingenij memores Camenæ.

In the north chapel, which is dedicated to St. James, are Croft's arms in a window, and on a black marble there are the crest of Smith, a buck couchant, and that of Crofts, a bull's head cabossed, and

Smith of Lincolnshire, barry wavy of six arg. and sab. in chief, three pair of barnacles of the 2d, impaling

Crofts of Suffolk, or, three bulls heads coopè sab. (See p. 325.)

Here lyeth the Body of Sir Owen Smith of Ermingland, Knt. who lived in great Reputation 43 Years and 16 Days, he married Alice the eight Daughter of Sir John Crofts of Saxham, in Suffolk, Knt. she in remembrance of 8 Years perfect conjugal Love passed together, hath placed this Stone, he died in the Lord the 28th day of March, 1637.

On another by the former,

Here lieth the body of Alice relict of Sir Owen Smith of Ermingland, Knt. the eight Daughter of Sir John Crofts of Saxham in Suffolk, who lived a Virgin 20, a Wife 8, a Widow 41 Years 6 Months; beloved of the Poor, honoured of the Rich, and favoured of God; she left this Life Oct. 7, 1678, and left Executrix the Right Honourable the Ladie Anne, Relict of John Lord Lovelace, Baron of Hurley in Berks, and Daughter to the Right Honourable Thomas Lord Wentworth, Earl of Cleveland, and Baron of Netlestead, and Anne his Countess, eldest Daughter of Sir John Crofts, and Sister to the interred; In Memory whereof she hath laid this Stone, and with the Deceased, thro' the Merits of Christ, expects a Resurrection.

In this chapel are two brass plates thus inscribed,
Orate pro anima Johannis Pykton, qui obiit A. D. Mo Uviii. ruius anime Tc.

Orate pro anima Sysilie Pyhotn, que obiit A. D. Mo U rir. cuius anime, Tc.

The church belonged to the manor, till Hubert de Burgh Earl of Kent, for his own soul and that of Alice his wife, gave it with the church of Bedingham, to Walsingham priory, and the canons there, and King Edward I. confirmed it in 1280. (fn. 1) The Register of this priory, in the Cotton Library, informs us, that it was soon after appropriated to that house, and a vicarage endowed, which the Bishop of Norwich was always to nominate to, and the prior present at his nomination; the vicar was to have all the offerings and small tithes (see vol. v. p. 123, 33) of the whole town, and the great tithes of all the lands, except those belonging to, or held of the manors of Saxlingham's and Leeche's in this town, and all the great tithes belonging to them, were to be the canons, who were to repair the chancel at all times; and it appears that the brook between Olton and Irming and parted those villages; Thomasde Blumville Bishop of Norwich consented to the impropriation of it about 1285. The vicars that I have met with follow.

1337, John le Marshall, priest nominated by the Bishop, and presented by the prior of Walsyngham, as all the vicars were till the Dissolution.

1349, John de Estfield; he resigned in

1352 to Thomas de Buxton.

1377, Thomas James.

1405 John.

1500, Thomas Seaman.

1579, Clement Palfryman died, and Nicholas Bell, and Edmund Buck, gave it to

William Crosdell, and it was afterwards enjoyed by Charles Hallifax, Andrew Haliburton, and Edward Appleyard, and by

The Rev. Mr. Timothy Bullimere, senior, late vicar.

The town is in the dutchy of Lancaster, and there were formerly three gilds here, of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin, and St. John Baptist. The vicarage is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation, it standing thus in the King's Books,

8l. 5s.—Owlton vicarage,—clear yearly value.

Valuation to the land-tax. 308l. 10s.;—country-rate to a 300l. levy, 7s. 3d.;—the old tenth 4l. 10s.;—synodals. 9d;—visitat. procurations 2d. ob. qr.;—Archid. procurations. 7s 7d. ob.;—old val. of living, 8 marks.

The prior of Walsingham was taxed at 10 marks for his impropriate tithes, and the vicar for the vicarage, at 2 marks; (fn. 2) at the Dis solution, the impropriation remained in the Crown, till King Edward VI. Ano 1551, granted it with the advowson of the vicarage to John Dodington, and William his son, and their heirs, and since that, they belonged in 1573 to Sir Christoper Heydon, afterwards to Edward Holl, Thomas, Richard, and Nicholas Bell, and now Mr. Bell is impropri ator and patron.

The prior of Fakenham Dam, alias Hempton, had a mill and lands here, for which he was taxed at 46s. 8d. as was the prior of Weyborne for his temporals at 3s. and the prior of Coxford for his at 6s.

There was an ancient chapel here, demolished in Edward the First's time; and in 1326 brother John de Ixning, preceptor or master of Kerbrook hospital, let the plat of ground belonging to his hospital called the Chapel Yard in Olton, and they had a manor here, which was purchased of the Crown by Sir Richard Southwell, and hath passed ever since with Carbrook-Woodhall, as at vol. ii. p. 343, Sir William Clayton of Blechingley in Surrey being lord of it.

Here is a fine spring, called the Spaw, being a strong mineral, much frequented formerly, before the Spaw at Aylesham had gained its reputation.

This whole town (except one freeman and his tenure, which was the Abbot of Holm's) belonged to the manor of Cawston as a berewic to it, (see p. 254,) and passed as that did till it was divided by the lords of Cawston, granting off parts to divers persons. (fn. 3)

Saxlingham's Manor

Was granted from Cawston, by King Richard I. to Robert de Saxlingham, whose son Roger had it in 1198. It continued in this family many ages, and in 1208 John de Saxlingham had it, Miles de Saxlingham, rector of Linford, and Adam de Saxlingham (of whom in vol. v. p. 502) were his brothers. In 1383 Thomas de Saxlingham had it; in 1389 Henry his brother, and Margaret daughter of Henry, were his heirs. In 1478 John Heydon of Baconsthorp died seized of three of the four manors in this town, viz, Saxlinghams, Olton'shall, and Leeches.

Olton's-Hall Manor

Was granted to Sigar de Olton, (fn. 4) and went to Robert son of Sigar, and Beatrice his wife, and to Richard their son, who was lord in 1260; in 1290 Roger de Olton had it, and in 1302 Thomas, and Ralf, his sons had it, and also in 1327, and after, it came to the Heydons, and was joined to Saxlingham's manor, as was also

Leeche's Manor

Here, for in 1440 John Canon and Alice his wife, daughter and heiress of William Leeche, released to Sir John Tudenham, Knt. and John Heydon, the reversion of Leeche's manor, after his mother's death; and in 1353 John Lynacre released all his right, to John Heydon, as did Agnes Bacon, late wife of William Leeche, (fn. 5) and Nicholas, son and heir of John Canon and Alice his wife, daughter of the said William Leche and Agnes Bacon, and Sir John Curson, Knt. their feoffee.

I need mention no more of this manor, it having before this time passed with Leeche's manor in Cawston, as at p. 260.

Olton's, Saxlingham's, and Leeches, being joined, they have passed through the Heydons, &c. with Cawston manors, and were sold by Sir John Hobart, Knt. and lady Frances his wife, to Erasmus Earle, Esq. and Augustine Earl, Esq. of Heydon is now lord, (see p. 247.)

The Lete extending over these three manors was purchased of the Crown in Queen Elizabeth's time, and is to be kept yearly on Lammas day, with Heydon lete.

Olton's-hall manor is fine certain, at 4s. an acre, and 4d. per acre quitrent.

Leeche's manor is fine certain, at 2s. an acre, and 2d. per acre quitrent.

Saxlingham's is fine certain, at 12d. an acre, and 6d. per acre quitrent.

There were also divers rents, and a manor, belonging to the honour of Clare, which was also united to these manors; for in 1625, Anthony Page, Gent. who had all of them of Sir Christopher Heydon, paid 20s. for a year's rent, for the manor here, which late belonged to the honour of Clare, and Thomas Page, junior, and John Page, junior, sold them to the Hobarts.

In 1316, William Howard, late held Clare honour manor here, and it attended the Howard family, &c. and after came to Henry VIII. (see vol. ii. p. 410, 11,) and continued in the Crown, till granted off by Queen Elizabeth.


  • 1. Mon. Ang. vol. i. fo. 21, 2.
  • 2. Olton habet domum mansionalem pro vicario residente, modo legatum vicarie per Nicholaum Bell, nuper patronum, ut patet per testamentum dicti Nicolai. (E Revisione Archidiaconatus.)
  • 3. Terra Regis in manu Regis, Doms fo. 12. Erpincham Sud. H. Huic etiam manerio (sc. to Causton) semper jacebam beruita, Oulstuna i car. terre. semper ix bordarij, semper i car. in dominio, et i car. hominum et iii acr. prati, silva lx porci, m° i runcinus et viii porc. et iiii socm et dim. et medietatem hujus dimidij tenebat Rads. quando foris fecit cx acr. et val. xv den. i car. terre et xl acr. semper i villanus et ii car. et i acr. prati et est in pretio de Caustuna. Unum ex illis socm. vendidit prepositus de Caustuna x sol. et Rads. eum tenebat quando foris fecit, et hab. xiii acr. et val. xvi den et ex eisdem socmannis Rads. quando foris fecit, erat saisaitus de uno, et habet v acr. et val. viii den. Huic manerio additus est i liber homo Sancti Benedicti lxxxiii acr. terre T. R. W. semper iii vill. tunc et post i car. mo ji boves, et val. v sol.
  • 4. This was a very ancient and numerous family; their arms, are quarterly gul. and vert. I find Eborard de Olton, Jeffry his son, Walter de Olton, and Mariot his wife, Ralf and Richard, sons of Agnes de Olton, all mentioned in deeds without date. (Ex Evid. Augustini Earle, Armig.)
  • 5. Nicholas Leche, William his son, and Robert his grandson, and Sibill his sister and heiress had this manor. Leche, er. on a chief indented az. three ducal coronets or.