Hundred of South Greenhoe: Dudlington

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 Greenhoe: Dudlington', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London, 1807) pp. 87-94. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

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In the Conqueror's time, this township, then wrote Dudelingtuna, had two lordships: one held by the Earl Warren, the other by Ralph Lord Limesey, of whom see in Oxburgh.

The Earl Warren's Manor.

Thirty two freemen, held of this Earl, four carucates of land, which was held in the Confessor's time, by the same number of freemen; there were always amongst them five carucates, and Ogerus, one of them, had one carucate valued at 20s. It was then 8 furlongs in length, and 4 in breadth, paid 13d. to the gelt, and was valued at 4l. 5s. per annum, and in the Confessor's time at cs. (fn. 1)

On an inquisition taken the 24th of Henry III. Thomas Coke of this town was found to hold one fee and an half of this Earl, and the Earl of the King in capite; and in the 34th of the said reign Roger Coke held the same, and had view of frankpledge here without the King's bailiff, by which it appears to be the capital manor; (fn. 2) also in the 9th of Edward I. Robert Coke had the assize of bread and beer, and in the 9th of Edw. II. John de Hockham was lord.

Richard de Holditch, and William de Hockham, held in the 20th of Edw. III. three parts of a fee of John de Norwich, and he of the Earl, formerly held by Thomas Coke: (fn. 3) the family of Holditch appears to have possessions here before this; in the 7th of the said King, a fine was levied between Richard de Holdich, and Richard his son, querents, and William de Brome and Joan his wife, defendants, of 80 acres of land, 2 of meadow, 5 of pasture, and 30s. rent here and in Foulden, conveyed to Richard the father. In the 39th of the said Edward III. Richard Holdich had free warren granted him in all his lands here: in the 6th of King Richard II. Richard Holdych was lord, and lived here. And in the 9th of the said King, Richard Holdich and others alienated to the nuns of Marham, (fn. 4) Belets in Marham, 160 acres of land, 40 of meadow, and the rent of 10s. per annum in Marham, with lands and tenements in this town, to the value of 40l.

By an inquisition taken in the 3d of Henry IV. Thomas Holdych was found to hold this manor of Sir Robert Knolls, and he of the Earl of Arundel, the tenure unknown; and in the 7th of Henry V. Richard Holdych of this town was one of those gentlemen of ancient coat armour, who were returned by the justices of peace for the county, as one of the 20 lances to serve the King in the French wars. (fn. 5)

In the 4th and 5th of Queen Elizabeth, (fn. 6) Miles Holdych, son and heir of Richard, had livery of this manor, with those of Foulden, Colveston, (fn. 7) and Ranworth; and in the 13th of that reign, John Holdich, Esq. was lord, and Henry Holdich, Esq. occurs in 1592, 1603, who had by Susanna his wife, Elizabeth his daughter and heiress, married to Sir John Sidley of St. Clees in Chart Magna in Kent, whose son, Sir John Sidley, Bart. sold it in 1650, to

Robert Wilson, Esq. of Merton in Surry, who died 11th November, 1660, and was son of Rowland Wilson, merchant of London, who fined for alderman; by Catharine his wife, daughter of Richard Rudd, citizen of London, afterwards wife of John Highlord, alderman of London.

The said Rowland is said to have founded an alms-house at Merton. (fn. 8) Robert married Catharine, daughter of Edward Ashe, of London, merchant, father of Sir Joseph Ashe, Knt. and Bart.; his second wife was Joan, daughter of Mr. Parker of London, (fn. 9) merchant; by his first wife he had two sons, Robert Wilson, Esq. who died a bachelor in 1701, and Edward Wilson of Colveston, Esq. who married a daughter of Mr. Webster of Bungey in Suffolk, by whom he had

Robert Wilson, Esq. the present lord.

Of the family of Holditch, it appears by ancient evidences, that Gilbert Holdych of Foulden lived in the 32d of Edward I.; (fn. 10) and in the 2d year of Edward II. Richard appears to be his son; also Ralph, who was then married to Florentia; William Holdich, son of Ralph, occurs in the 16th of Edward III.

Richard Holditch, son (as I take it) of Richard aforesaid, was lord of this town 39th Edward III. and married Alice, daughter of John Berney of Witchingham, and had 2 sons, Richard and Thomas, and 3 daughters, Joan, Alice, and Margaret married to Nicholas Beaupre of Outwell in Norfolk.

Margaret, late wife of John de Pakenham, (fn. 11) daughter of Robert de Northwold, gave by deed, dated in the 16th of Edward II. land in Wretton, to Ralph de Holdich, and in the 16th of Edward III. Robert de Holdich of Foulden, John and William de Holdich, occur in a deed.

Richard Holdych and Agnes his wife lived in the 1st of Richard II. and 3d of Henry IV. (fn. 12) and had a daughter Ann, married to Henry Reepes of Thorp-Market in Norfolk.

Thomas Holdych died about the 7th of Henry VI. and his son Thomas was then found to be 30 years old, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Drew of Wygenhale St. Mary Magdalen, and had Margaret his daughter, married to Jeffrey Kerville of Islington in Norfolk.

Richard Holdich presented to Colveston in 1478, and John Holdich to South Pickenham in 1475, which John, as I take it, was the first husband of Elizabeth, afterwards wife of Robert Felmingham, Gent. who by her will dated 31st Jan. 1522, bequeaths her body to be buried in the church of the Black Fryars of Norwich, by the body of her late husband, John Holdich; (fn. 13) "and I wull a Coope browdrod upon the Back with oon Skochyn of Armes of my said Husband and myn be bought by mine Executors, to the Value of 20 Marks and better, and the same to be given to the Parish Church of Foulden." By her will it appears she had two sons by the said John, of which Robert was the eldest, and 3 daughters; Robert presented to Colveston in 1536, and had a daughter Ursula, married to Henry Hawes, Esq. of Helgey in Norfolk, and Frances, married to William Rookwood of Weston.

John Holdich lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and presented to Didlington in 1570, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Richers, Esq. of Swannington, and had a daughter married to Thomas Mayhew of Clipsby, Esq. lord of Colveston, &c.

The Lord Limesis's Manor.

In the time of the Confessor, Hardwin held here one carucate, a mill, and a fishery, valued at 20s. &c. and was granted by the Conqueror to Ralph de Limesio, a potent baron. (fn. 14) From the Lord Limesey, the capital lord, this part of the town descended to the Odinsels, &c. as may be seen at large in Oxburgh, and was held in the 24th of Henry III. by John de Burehall, of Hugh de Odinsels; (fn. 15) and in the 9th of Edw. II. by John de Sharnbourn; after this I meet with no further account of it, being sold, and united to the other lordship.

The church of Dudlington is a regular structure, having a nave and south and north isles, covered with lead; the length of the nave is about 49 feet, and the breadth, including the isles, about 40 feet; the rest of the nave is of oak, and the vault of it is supported by octangular pillars, forming 8 arches, 4 on a side. At the lower end of the nave, is a very large marble gravestone about 10 feet in length and 5 in breadth, having curious nichings and engravings on it, now almost obscured by age, in memory, probably, of some of the family of Holdich; but the brass plate with the inscription is reaved: at the west end of this nave stands a four-square tower of flint, (as the church is,) with quoins and embattlements of free-stone; in this tower were lately three bells, the second is dedicated to St. Michael, and thus inscribed;

Dulcis : Sisto : Melis : Campana Vocor : Michaelis.

The windows of the north isle are ornamented with blue glass and cinquefoils of gold, so that it is likely some one of the Bardolph family was a benefactor to, or founder of, the said isle. And in the uppermost window is a shield of the arms of Holdich.

In the east window of the south isle are the broken remains of the Virgin with the child Jesus in her arms; also the arms of Lord Bardolph; the said window is edged with text [M] and crowns over them. At the bottom of the uppermost window of this isle, is ermine on a fess gules three bezants, Dagworth, an ancient Suffolk family; Thomas de Dagworth was a parliamentary baron, and was sent into Britain with 100 men of arms, and 200 archers, in 1344.

In the middle window are the remains of two figures painted on the glass, one on the right hand has an antique gown flowered with roses, and over his head, which is broke off, the letter [H] for Howard; the other has a gown flowered gutty, the head of it is also gone.

In the windows is a broken shield, seemingly arg. a saltier azure, and ermine on a fess gul. three bezants.

And these arms:







The chancel is divided from the nave by an ancient screen, and is in length about forty, and in breadth about 16 feet, and has an ascent of three steps to the communion table, which is railed in; on the pavement lies a stone thus inscribed,

Under this Stone lieth the Bodies of John Wesne, Gent: and Elizabeth his Wife, who departed this Life December 25 and 26, in the Year of our Lord 1691.

Against the south wall, near the east end is a compartment of freestone, embellished with festoons, &c.; on the summit is, sable, a wolf saliant or, and in chief a flower-de-lis, arg. between two bezants of the 2d, Wilson; and in the centre, on a black marble, this inscription in letters of gold:

Here lyeth the Body of Robert Wilson of Didlington in the county of Norfolk, Esq; Son and Heir of Robert Wilson of Merton in the County of Surry, Esq; He departed this Life on the 10th of December 1701, in the 51 Year of his Age.

Under the shield is this motto, Deducet in portum.

On a like compartment against the north wall is this inscription,

Here lyeth the Body of Edward Wilson of Didlington, Esq; second son of Robert Wilson of Merton in the County of Surry, Esq; he departed this Life April 3, 1708, in the Year of his Age 55. Here also lyeth the Body of Katharine Wilson daughter to the said Edward Wilson, who departed this Life 29th September 1699. Here also lyeth the Body of Katharine Wilson, another Daughter of the said Edward Wilson, who departed this Life February 11, 1708.

Besides the arms already observed, there were formerly in the said church those of Harsick, and arg. on a saltier azure, a cinquefoil or, in the midst, quarterly, or, 2 lions passant azure in the 1st and 4th, and arg. a cross patonce azure in the 2d and 3d, Dudley and Malpas; also gul. three sea-fowls arg. Foulere, or Fowler.

The church of Dudlington was formerly a rectory, and in the patronage of the Earls of Warren and Surry, and John Earl Warren is said, about the year 1300, to have given the presentation to the convent of Marham in Norfolk. In the 27th year of King Edward I. Alexander was rector, and one Thomas de la Ware had a trial with him, and recovered a mark damage against him for impounding his free-bull; it was found by the jury that one Jeffrey de Overbeck formerly held here one messuage, and half a carucate of land of the Prior of Lewes, paying a fee tarm rent of 1 mark per annum, and had the liberty of keeping a free-bull here, time immemorial; and that Jeffrey Overbeck enfeoffed Simon de Caitey in the said messuage, land, and free-bull; and after that, Thomas de Ware and Beatrix his wife held the same. The church was appropriated to the convent of Marham, (fn. 16) on the 20th of December 1302, by John Bishop of Norwich, and a vicar endowed was to take place on the death of the rector.

William de London, rector in the time of Henry III.

Alexander, rector in the 27th of Edward I.


1302, Aug. 1st, Oliver de Wysete, the first vicar, was presented by the convent of Marham.

1302, William Picks de Thetford presented by the convent of Marham, and nominated by the Bishop of Norwich, as were the following vicars:

1316, Roger, son of Henry Baker, of Dudlington.

1335, Robert de Ingham.

1349, Nicholas Bolswell of Methelwold.

Peter Man occurs in the 3d of Richard II.

1397, Thomas Annfrey, res.

1407, John Elomy of Shropham, in exchange for the rectory of Stanefield in Norfolk.

1428, John Ereswell.

1431, Robert Hecocks, res.

1446, John Purle, res.

1450, John Passlylaw, canon of West Derham, res.

1466, Thomas Cley.

1473, John Aleyn.

John Lychefeld, res.

1482, Thomas Myntelyng.

Audrey Ellis, by will dated 4th April 1483, leaves money to St. John's gild here, St. Margaret's image, and the sepulchre.

1488, Stephen Brownyng, on the resignation of Myntelyng.

1504, Richard Carter, res.

1510, John Harpley, ob.

1517, Thomas Hedge, res.

1524, Thomas Smythe, ob.

1530, Thomas Mawdeson.

Robert Halman; he was also rector of Boughton and Colveston, and was deprived by Queen Mary.

1554, James London, ob. the Bishop by lapse.

1557, Richard Carter, A. M. presented by John Hare, Gent. for in the 38th year of King Henry VIII. this rectory, part of the possessions of the dissolved convent of Marham, was given to Nicholas Hare.

1558, John Echard, on the resignation of Carter. John Hare, citizen and mercer of London. Archbishop Parker, in his Certificatorium of the Clergy, a MSS. in Bennet college library, (inter Miscel. Nr. 5,) gives him this character: " Presbyter non conjugatus, indoctus, non residet, non hospitalis, in rectoriâ sua de Skarninge, non prædicat, nec licentiatus."

1570, Henry Hamond, on the death of the last vicar. John Holdich, Esq. who purchased the rectory, and the presentation to the vicarage, from John Hare.

Mr. Chapman, res.

1578, Edmund Turner, lapse, res.

1592, Thomas Hooper, A. M. Hen. Holdich, Esq.

1597, Jeffrey Hooper, A. B. on the promotion of Thomas Hooper, (to North Rungton) by Ditto. In his time, in his answers to King James concerning the state of the parishes, there were then 63 communicants. Res.

1615, Anthony Wilkinson, A. M. Benjamin Cooper of Yarmouth, merchant, patron of this turn.

1622, Benjamin Berwick, A.M. Tho. Edgeley and Tho. Carvel for this turn; he held this and Colveston annexed by union, and the rectory of West-Toftes with them by dispensation.

Andrew Needham, res.

1676, Wormley Martin, A. M. Borage Martin, Esq. of Thetford, patron of this turn.

At this time this church and that of Colveston were consolidated.

1685, John Ellis, A. M. the King by lapse. In 1617, license was granted to take down the Vicarage-house.

1720, the Rev. Mr. John Brundish, A. M. on the death of Ellis, was presented by Rob. Wilson, Esq. and now holds it united to the vicarage of Foulden.

Before the rectory was appropriated, it was valued at 20 marks; the rector had a manse, with 20 acres of glebe; and half the rectory is said to have been appropriated to the monastery of Lewes in Sassex, and confirmed by Thomas Bishop of Norwich in 1230, and was de novo appropriated to the nuns of Marham, by John Bishop of Norwich, 13 Kal. Januarij 1302, and a vicarage was endowed, taxed at the 3d part of the rectory.

The nuns at Marham were taxed for their spiritualities at 20 marks.

This vicarage is valued in the King's Books at 8l. 4s. 4d. ob. and being together with Colveston, valued at 40l. per annum, it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and is capable of augmentation; it paid 12d. Peter-pence. The Revision says, the Bishop's procurations are 2s. ob. synodals 2s. archdeacon's procurations 7s. 7d. ob.

This village paid 4l. 15s. clear to every tenth, besides 12s. on account of the lands of the religious, and there are not above 3 or 4 farm-houses, besides the hall, which stands south of the church.


  • 1. Terr. Willi. de Warren. In Dudelingatuna tenuere xxxii. liberi ho'nes iv. car. tre et adhuc tenent, semp. xv. bord. sub ipsis semp. inter eos v. car. et habet viii. quar. in long. et iv. in lato, et red. ad gelt. xiiid. de his tenet Ogerus j. car. tre. i. car. super eum xx. sol. tunc val. c. sol. mo iv. libr. et vs. (Domesd. fo. 96.))
  • 2. Inquis. 24 Hen. 3. Plac. Cor. 34 Hen. 3.
  • 3. Inquis. 20 Ed. 3. Fin. Norff. 7 Edw. 3. L. 2. N. 6.
  • 4. Eschaet. Nr. 103.
  • 5. Ragman's Bagg Exchequer.
  • 6. Lib. Liber. fol. 126, term Mich. 4 and 5 Eliz.
  • 7. See Colveston, vol. ii. p. 230.
  • 8. Awbrey's Antiquity of Surry, p. 227.
  • 9. From this marriage the Wilsons of Knighthorp in Leicestershire descend.
  • 10. Evid. Beding feld.
  • 11. Evid. Thomas Hare, Bart.
  • 12. Cart. 3 Hen. 4.
  • 13. Regist. Norman Norw. p. 37.
  • 14. Terre Radulfi de Limesio, Doms. fo. 245. Dudelingatuna ten. Hardwinus tc. et mo iii. bor. et i. serv. et i. car. silva ad xvi. por. ii. ac. prati i. mol. i. pisc. quo. rec. et mo i. runc. tunc xi. porc. mo v. tunc lx. oves mo vi. tunc val. xxs. mo v. similiter.
  • 15. Inquis. 24 Hen. 3.
  • 16. Lib. Institut. Norwic.