An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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In the Confessor's time Earl Godwin held this town, which was then of the annual value of 3l. but rose to 4l. and at the Conqueror's survey was worth 5l. 1s. 4d, and 20s. fine or income; it was a mile long and 4 furlongs broad, and paid 3d. three farthings geld or tax. It belonged to the Conqueror, who entrusted it to Godric's care; (fn. 1) and there were 2 freemen and their services, worth 5s. a year, held by Ralf Stalra of William de Warren. (fn. 2)
It continued in the Crown till it was granted to the Earls of Pembrook, and Aymer de Valence was both lord and patron. The patronage continued in the Pembrook family, and was sold by George Earl of Shropshire about 1574, to the lord of the manor, and it hath continued with it ever since; but the manor was granted by Aymer de Valence Earl of Pembroke, (fn. 3) to Walter, son of Walter Tirrel of Mannington and Iteringham, who was lord in 1249, and left it to Hugh his son, (fn. 4) who died without issue in 1291, and left it to John, (son of William Tirrel of Iteringham, brother of Walter,) who died about 1324. Maud, his daughter and heiress, being married first to William de Hewell alias Fewell, who was lord in her right, as was Henry Lumner, her second husband. She had issue Joan, Margaret, and William de Fewell, but in 1401 Henry Lumner, grandson probably of the aforesaid Henry, held it in right of his late wife, the heiress of Maud Fewell; the said Henry in 1391 settled lands in this town and Dunston on the dean of Chapel in the Fields in Norwich, and dying about 1402, left it William Lumner, his son and heir, who married Margaret, daughter and coheir of Thomas Monwaux of Woodalling in Norfolk, Esq. whose son William built the present hall, embattled, castleway, according to a license obtained of the King; on the battlements stand several small guns, and the pile being of stone and black flints gives it an agreeable look. The arms of Lumner, sable, on a bend azure, cotised ermin, and three escalops gules, quartering or, a saltier gules. and on a chief of the same three escalops argent, Monwaux, were carved on the wainscot; he died about 1494. In that year Thomas Brigg, Esq. who married Margaret his widow, made his will, and left all his utensils here. William Lumner her son was lord in 1509, and was succeeded by his son Edmund, who in 1540 was one of the commissioners of sewers, and married Jane, daughter of William Yelverton of Rougham in Norfolk; and dying in 1558, she remarried to John Dodge, Esq. (son of John Dodge of Wrotham in Kent by Catherine, daughter of John Leighton of Watlesburgh in Shropshire, who was son of John Dodge by Elizabeth daughter of John Carleton of Epping in Essex, auditor to King Henry. VIII.) who was lord in her right in 1572, and Edmund Lomner, son of Edmund aforesaid, releasing his reversion in this lordship, it came to Edmund Dodge's son, and to the two daughters of John Dodge, Esq. by Jane aforesaid, Ann, and Mary; Edmund Dodge and his sister Mary, who married Peter Houghton, alderman of London, and afterwards Sir Thomas Vavasor, Knt. marshal to King James I. releasing their rights to Anne their sister, who married first to John Potts of this town, and after to Sir Christopher Heydon, Knt. of Baconsthorp, who died on January the 28th, 1642, aged 75, and was buried at Baconsthorp, and her son, Sir John Potts, became lord, and patron of the church.
The family of Potts was very anciently seated in this town, (William Potts in 1274 was sued by Tirrel, then lord, for encroaching, and appropriating to himself the feed of a certain highway, extending from Mannington to the Ker,) and were considerable yeomen, or landowners. The first that raised it, was John son of Roger Potts, a student of Lincoln's-inn, a lawyer of eminence and reputation, who married Catherine daughter of Sir Philip Boteler of Wood-hall in Hertfordshire, Knt. and had a grant of arms to him and his heirs, from Robert Cooke, Clarencieux, dated 1585; azure, two bars, over all a bend or; crest an ounce sejant spotted, collared and chained, or, John Potts, Esq. his son, was also a student in Lincoln's inn, and married Ann, one of the daughters of John Dodge, Esq. aforesaid and is buried in this parish church, under an arched altar monument, on the north side of the altar; no inscription now remains: on it are the arms of Potts quartering Dodge, barry of six or and sable, over all a pile with a plate and gutte de larme: he died about the year 1600. John Potts their son and heir was knighted, and afterwards created a baronet by letters patent dated August 14, 1641: he married Ursula, daughter of Sir John Willoughby, and lies buried here under a marble gravestone, with the arms of Potts, and Willoughby, or, on two bars gules, three water budgets, 2 and 1, argt. and, Here lye the bodies of Sir John Potts, Knt. and Bart. and dame Ursula, his most dearly beloved wife (one of the daughters of Sir John Willoughby of Risley in the county of Darby Knt.) who living happily together 30 years, had issue 3 sons, John, Francis (fn. 5) and Charles, and one daughter named also Ursula; (fn. 6) they died not at one time, and so could not be buried in one grave; yet desired to be so near, as under one cover which is since performed.
An humble Cell hides underneath this stone, Two (whilst they lived) by God and Love, made one, Death try'd to separate them, but in vaine, For Love caused Death to join them here again; Living they join'd in race for Heav'nly prise, And dead are join'd in rest, and hope to rise.
One Joy, one Grief, one Grave, one Christ alone, Confirms them happy, join'd for ever one.
Frances, eldest (fn. 7) sister of Sir John, married Edward Sadler, and had Frances, wife of George Hunt, who lies buried here under a grave-stone thus inscribed:
Here lies interred the body of Frances, the wife of George Hunt Gent. being sole daughter of Edmund Sadler Esq; by Frances his wife, the eldest sister of Sir John Potts Kt. and Bart. she left one son named William, and three daughters, Ann, Frances, and Elizabeth, she died in October 1646, and resteth in hope of a blessed resurrection.
Sir John Potts, Bart. succeeded his father, and married, first, Susan daughter of Sir John Heveningham of Ketteringham, Knt. and secondly Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Samuel Brown, one of the judges of the Common Pleas, by whom he had no surviving issue; by Susan he had Sir Roger Potts, who by Mary, sole daughter and heiress of William Davy of Great Ellingham, had four sons and a daughter. Sir Roger died October 14, 1711, and his lady in March 1701, and she was buried at Great Ellingham.
Sir Algernon Potts, Bart. was third son to Sir Roger, and inherited the honour, James, the eldest son, dying young, and Philip, the second son, before his father; he married Frances daughter and coheir of— Calibut of Saham Tony, relict of Thomas Crane of Norwich; they are both buried in this church, dying both in November 1717, leaving no issue.
Sir Charles Potts, his only surviving brother, succeeded him, who was a citizen and merchant-tailor of London; and married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Newman, Gent. of Baconsthorp, who died September 2d, 1706, and was buried at Great Ellingham; (fn. 8) his second lady was Mary Smith of London; but having no issue the honour was extinct in him: he was buried in this church near the altar, under a black marble grave stone, with this inscription:
"In hope of a joyful resurrection here under lies the body of Sir Charles Potts Bart. he died January 14, in 1731, aged 56 years."
He quartered the arms of Dodge, Lumner, Davy, Gourney, and Bishop of Yarmouth; who bore argt. on a bend cottised gules three bezants. As appears by his achievement.
His last lady survived him, and dying February 7, 1736, aged 61, was also here interred. Susan, only sister of Sir Charles, was married to Matthew Long of Dunston, Esq. and after the death of Lady Potts this manor and township, with the advowson, was conveyed to the Honourable Horatio Walpole, Esq. the present lord.
The Parish Church is a small pile, built by the Earl of Pembroke, the arms of the family De Valentia being carved in stone over the door; it has no steeple, or bell, the nave and chancel tiled, but now falling much into decay; it had till lately service once a month. Besides the inscriptions above mentioned, on a stone with a brass plate, by the south side of the altar, is this:
Here lies Katherine the wife of Thomas Lougher Rector of Letheringset, daughter of John Potts, Esq; who died in October, 1631.
Katherine Lougher, A lower, taken Higher.
Here lies a lover of the Deitye, Embalm'd with odours of her pietye; Here lies she, nay; this lower did aspire, Here lye her ashes, she is taken higher.
Mœrens posuit T. L.
The rectory is charged in the King's Books at 1l. 16s. 5d. ob. and being in clear value 6l. 13s. 4d. is discharged, &c. and is capable of augmentation; it pays 5d. ob. visitatorial procurations, 2s. 8d. per annum to the archdeacon, and 9d. synodals to the Bishop: the ancient valor was 4 marks, and Norman's portion in it was 20s. The prior of Ely was taxed for his temporalities 6s. 8d. The prior of Waburn for his 30s.
It is in the dutchy of Lancaster, is taxed at 100l. per annum, and pays to every 300l. levy of the county rate 10d.
1324, John de Watenhull, by the King, guardian to the heir of Aymer de Valentia Earl of Pembroke.
1326, John Falconer on Watenhull's resignation by Mary de St. Paul Countess of Pembroke.
1329, William de Hingham, by ditto on an exchange for a rectory in London diocese. Ditto.
1334, Thomas de Raundes. Ditto.
1342, Hugh Ode. Ditto.
1344, John Tirrel. Ditto. On Ode's resignation.
1350, William Beverych.
1369, Roger Cocks.
William de Newby.
1372, John Warrener exchanged with Newby for Kymbel in Lincoln diocese. Ditto.
1382, William Danvers. The King, as guardian to Thomas Earl of Pembroke; he resigned the same year to
John Weston, who soon exchanged it for Fulsutton in York diocese with
1404, John Scarle, instituted also then to Saxthorp free chapel, presented to both by Robert Braybrook Bishop of London, &c. feoffees of Reginald Grey of Ruthyn, Knt. In
1574, George Earl of Shropshire was patron; but in
1577, Robert Green was presented to it with the rectory of Irmingland, and Corpusty vicarage, by Sir Christopher Heydon.
1589, Ralph Dodge.
1611, Samuel Wicks, by Sir Christopher Heydon.
Clement Bacon succeeded Wicks; and Paul Amirante succeeded Bacon.
1633, Edmund Deye, presented by Thomas Hacon, by grant from John Potts,
1633, John Money, on Deye's resignation.
Nicholas Bacon succeeded Money.
1671, Richard Burrel, on Bacon's resignation by John Potts, Esq.
1678, Michael Bott, A. M. on Burrel's resignation.
1706, Thomas Bond on Bott's death.
1710, Roger Coleman, on Bond's resignat. by Sir Roger Potts, Bart.
1726, Benjamin Knight on Coleman's resignation by Sir Charles Potts, Bart.
The Rev. Mr. Richard Sibbs is the present rector and of Sisted and Norwood: Berningham.
In the Philosophical Transactions for January 1718, page 766, there is an account of the sinking of three oaks into the ground at this town, communicated by Peter le Neve, Esq. Norroy.
On Tuesday July 23, 1717, in the day time, to the astonishment of those that were present, first one single Oak, with the roots and ground about it was seen to subside, and sink into the earth, and not long after, at about 40 yards distance, two other Oaks that were contiguous, sunk after the same manner, into a much larger pit, being about 33 feet diameter, whereas the former is not fully 18. When the first tree sunk, it was observed, that the water boiled up in the hole, but on the sinking of the greater pit, that water drained off into it from the former, which now continues dry; the depth thereof to the firm bottom is 9 feet, 3 inches, and the tree that stands upright in it, is 3 feet 8 inches girt, and its trunk about 18 feet long, the other two trees are something smaller; the soil on which they grow is gravelly, and under that a quicksand over a clay, upon which there are springs, which fill large ponds adjoining to Mannington-Hall, at about a quarter of a mile distance.
The nature of the soil seems to afford us a reasonable conjecture at the cause of this odd accident, the springs running over the clay, at the bottom of a bed of very minute sand, such as quicksands usually are, may reasonably be supposed in many ages to have washed away the sand, and thereby excavated a kind of subterraneous lake, over which those trees grew, and the force of the winds on their leaves and branches agitating their roots, may well have loossened the sand under them, and occasioned it to fall in more frequently than elsewhere by which means in length of time, the thin bed of gravel being only left, it became unable to support its own weight, and that of the trees, and so broke in.