Hundred of South Erpingham: Wolterton

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: Wolterton', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London, 1807) pp. 452-456. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]


The Church is dedicated to St. Margaret, who had also a gild here, and is a rectory valued at 8l. in the King's Books, and being sworn of the clear yearly value of 30l. it is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; (fn. 1) it pays 2s. every visitation for Bishop's procurations, and 9d. yearly synodals, and 5s. yearly for archdeacon's procurations; it is parcel of the Dutchy of Lancaster, and pays to every 300l. levy of the county-rate, 6s. 4d. and is laid to the land-tax at 325l. 15s. and paid to every tenth 1l. besides what was paid on account of the lands of the religious here, viz. the prior of Castleacre, whose temporals were valued at 3s.; the prior of Norwich's at 12d.; the prior of Walsingham's at 2s. 4d.; the prior of Waborne's at 7d.; and the prior of Ely's at 3s. 4d. for lands given in 1246, by Emma wife of Thomas Fitz-Warin; the hospital of St. Giles in Norwich had lands here, some of which were given in 1283, by Sir Roger de Wulterton, Knt. and others in 1323, by John, son of Roger Trusbut of Wulterton, and others by John de Martham.

The nave and chancel are both of a height, and are thatched; the south isle and north chancel vestry are down; the steeple is round at bottom and octangular at top, it hath two bells, on one of which,
Robertus Plummer me fecit, in Nonore sancte Margarete.

In the steeple window are the arms of Wulterton, and there were shields of Walcote, Ufford, with an annulet, Calthorp, Earl-Warren, Burgullion, Arundel, Sharnborn, Jenny, St. George, &c. some of which still remain.

On a brass plate,
Mic iacet Corpus Chome Langoon (fn. 2) et Margarete Uroris eius.

The windows of the church, which had the 12 Apostles with the Creed in labels from their mouths, and many arms and other ornaments, were glazed, and the church repaired, if not rebuilt, by John de Wulterton, whose effigies, with that of his wife, remains in a north window, and this under him;

Orate pro anima Johannis de Dolterton.

Wulterton, quartering gul. on a chevron arg. three cinquefoils bend or, a bend sab. quartering gul. three plates.

On a black marble by the altar,

Scamler, impaling Potts, and Godsalve quartered,

Here under resteth ANNE the Wife of JAMES SCAMLER, Esq; who died the 2d of May 1681, Aged 76 Years, and lived in a conjugal State with him about the space of 60 Years, being the eldest Daughter of Sir John Potts of Mannington, Knt. and Baronet, by his first Wife Barbara, who was the eldest Daughter of Roger Godsalve, Esq; waiting for a joyful Resurrection.

On anothe marble Scamler impales Potts,

Here lyeth the Body of James Scamler Esq; who died the last of October 1689, being about 80 Years of Age, by his last Will he bequeathed a Monthly Lecture, and built an Almeshouse in the Town, and left considerable Sums of Money, to pious and charitable Uses elsewhere.

Over these two marbles, against the east wall, is a mural monument, with a man and woman kneeling, and under them,

To me, to live is Christ, to die is Gain.

And the arms of Scamler and Potts.

A black marble hath Scamler's arms and no inscription, and another hath only V. S. the first of which is for James Scamler, junior, and the latter for Ursula Smith his sister.

Another black marble hath Houghton impaling Catline or Catlyn,

Here lieth the Body of Robert Houghton, Esq; who died August 1657, and also Judith his Wife, (youngest Daughter of Thomas Catlyn of Kirbycane in the County of Norfolk, Esq;) who dyed August 10, 1664.

On another black marble in the chancel,

Grey, gul. in a bordure ingrailed, a lion rampant arg.

Crest, a unicorn gul. armed, and collared with a crown, and spotted all over or.

Jacobus Grey, Armiger, ob. April 8, 1721. Æt. 38.

There is also a stone here for John Dowsing, who seated great part of the church.

The arms of Scamler, as at vol. iii. p. 560. Crest, a garb or tied up gul.

Scamler impales two swords in saltier hilted and panelled or.

Ditto impaling az. two fesses and a bend or, Potts.

The abbey of St. Bennet at the Holm, from the time of its foundation, had half this town and the moiety of the advowson, of the founder's gift at the Conqueror's survey; the rectory of that moiety had 4 acres of glebe; the manor was worth 20s. the town was 6 furlongs long and 5 broad, and paid 2d. ob. Gelt. (fn. 3)

The other part belonged (except 30 acres) to Wm. Earl Warren, who had it of the Conqueror in exchange, to it belonged the other moiety of the advowson; and the 30 acres, &c. he held of Ralf de Beaufo, and the King and the Earl had the lete and superiour jurisdiction, but the Earl Warren's and Beaufoe's parts were held of them by Turold, at the Conqueror's survey. (fn. 4)

The manor in Holm abbey was infeoffed by the abbot there, in one Humfry, whose son Reginald, in 1195, gave 30 acres of it to Helewise his sister; his son Walter took the sirname of Wolterton, he held a knight's fee of the abbot, as Holm Register tells us, and Roger de Wulterton paid for a quarter of a fee here, which he had of the gift of the Earl Warren, so that he became sole lord and patron, and held half a quarter of a fee of Robert Fitz-Roger, as of Horseford barony.

By deed without date, Sir Roger de Wolterton, Knt. sold to Simon de Hethersete and Margery his wife, all the estate late of Strangia de Wolterton his sister, here and in Iteringham. In 1315, Roger de Wulterton and Margaret his wife, settled this whole town and the advowson, and the third part of Iteringham advowson, on Thomas, parson of Eccles, in trust for their lives, with remainders to Walter, Alexander, John, and Thomas de Wolterton, their sons. In 1331, Roger de Wolterton presented John de Walcote, subdeacon, to this rectory, who resigned to Alexander, second son of Roger, and he in 1332, resigned to John de Wolterton his brother, who the next year resigned again to Alexander, who resigned in 1348 to William de Dalling in exchange for Field-Dalling; and in 1349 Roger de Wolterton presented William Waryn of Walcote, who in 1360 resigned to John de Swathyng in exchange for North Birlingham St. Andrew; he was presented by Sir John de Caston, Knt. In 1362, Roger de Wulterton, son of the former, and Maud his wife, held this manor, as parcel of the Dutchy of Lancaster, and Wulterton's manor in EastBarsham, and sealed with his arms, quarterly, or, B. a bend gul.; and in 1361 he presented Oliver de Swathing to this rectory, the advowson of which wholly attended this manor till its division.

It after belonged to John de Wulterton, and in 1401 to Walter de Wulterton; it afterwards came by two female heiresses, about 1437, to John de Briston, sen. Esq. and Edmund Moore, who divided it, and each had a turn in the advowson, and a separate manor in 1460.

Briston's manor descended to John de Briston, jun. Esq. who left it in 1467 to Ralf de Briston, who died seized of this, and the manor of Briston, and Downes manor in Snetisham in 1485, without issue, and John Copping was his heir; in 1563 John Stanley, Esq. settled the manor called Wolterton Coldham's, Ely-fee, and Walsingham-fee, and a faldcourse, on Henry Yelverton, and Miles Corbet, Esqrs. and it soon after went to the Houghtons; in 1595 Gregory Houghton, alderman of Norwich, died seized, and Robert his son and heir was then 12 years old.

It after became the seat of the Scamlers, and James Scamler, son of Edward, eldest son of Edmund Scamler Bishop of Norwich, was lord; he died here and is buried as aforesaid, with Anne his wife, in this chancel; leaving James his son and heir, who married Mary, daughter of Joseph Brand of Edwardeston in Suffolk, Esq. but died without issue about 1713; he had 3 sisters; Anne, married, but died without issue; Ursula, married to John Smith of Bury St. Edmund's, died at Wolterton without issue about 1716; Elizabeth, married to Thomas Gray, rector of Cavendish in Suffolk, who left the estate here to his son, James Gray, Esq. councellor at law, who died in 1721, and is buried here, leaving two sisters, Anne, and Penelope, the former married to—Browne, and Penelope, to— Wiseman, Esq. who are both widows, and now living, but the estate was sold to the Hon. Horatio Walpole, Esq.

The other moiety or Manor, which was Edmund Moore's, which came to William Sutton and Joane his wife, who in 1486 sold it to John Windham, Esq. in whose family it continued till 1542, and then Edmund Windham, Knt. and Susanna his wife, sold it to Edw. Lominer of Mannington, Esq with the advowson of the alternate turn, &c. and from that time it hath passed with Mannington, and was sold with that to

The Hon. Horatio Walpole, Esq. who is now sole lord and patron, and hath built an elegant family seat here, at which he generally resides; of whose family I design to treat at large under Houghton.


  • 1. RECTORS. John Hargaves, 1633, Paul Amirante, who was presented by John Potts, Esq. but was deprived of this and Irmingland in 1637, and was succeeded by Thomas Wolsey; in 1674, on Thomas Jackson's death, James Scamler gave it to Richard Burrel, A. M. who held it united to Iteringham; the Rev. Mr. George England was late rector here, and it is now consolidated to Wickmere, which see.
  • 2. In 1378 John Langdon owned an estate here. In 1506 Thomas Langdon was buried in the church before the image of our Lady of Pity; and John Langdon, Gent. succeeded him.
  • 3. Terra Sancti Benedicti de Holmo ad victum monacorum, fo. 197. In Vltretuna i. car. terre tenuit Sanctus Benedictus T. R. E. semper iiii. bordarij et i. car. et dim. i. acr. prati, tunc valuit xvi. sol. modo xx. sol. habet vi. quar. in longo et v. in lato et ii. ob. de gelto. dimidium ecclesie iiii. acr.
  • 4. Terre Will. de Warrenna, de escangio Lewes, Domsd. fo. 104. In Ultretune tenet idem (sc. Turoldus) iiii. bordarij, semper dim. car. de xvi. acr. omnes ecclesie de terra Willi. de Warrenna appretiate sunt cum manerijs. Terra Radulfi de Bellafago, fo. 217. In Ultretuna tenet Turoldus i. liber homo, xxx. acr. terre T. R. E. semper iii. bordar. et i. car. et val. x.s. Rex et Comes socam.