An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Called in Domesday-Book Danefella and Danefala, seated in a valley by the water. Here were two lordships, one of which (afterwards named Westhall) was held by Hugh, under the Earl Warren, who had a grant of it on the deprivation of Aluric, a freeman, who was lord in King Edward's reign, when it contained 2 carucates of land, and 3 acres, 2 carucates in demean, with 12 bordarers, and 3 freemen held 40 acres of land; there was also a carucate, &c. of meadow, and a fishery, valued then at 60s. at the survey at 40s. which was claimed by an exchange: the whole was one leuca long, and half a leuca broad, and paid 8d. gelt. The Earl had also 2 carucates of land, held before the conquest by Hosmunt, a freeman, with 8 villains, one servus, 8 acres of meadow, and a fishery. (fn. 1)
Hugh abovementioned, who was enfeoffed of this lordship by the Earl Warren, was ancestor of the family, who took their name, according to the custom of that age, from this town. Osbert de Denevela, lived in the reign of Henry I. (fn. 2) (probably son of Hugh) and gave tithe of his lands to the priory of Castleacre, founded by the Earl Warren. Walter de Denvere and Alice his wife were living in the 41st of Henry III; she was one of the aunts and coheirs of Henry, son of Osbert de Walpole, and had in her right a lordship in Walpole. Walter was lord of this manor, and in the said year had the assise of bread and beer, and other liberties. In the 52d of the said reign it was certified that he held one knight's fee; and, in the 3d year of Edward I. he had the lete, paying 8d. to the bailiff of the abbot of Ramsey; and with Nicholas de Harpley, and Robert, son of Godfrey de Wygenhale, was fined for not being knights. Of this family was John de Denver, who was living in the 20th of Edward III. the heiress of the family was married to the Goddards of Walpole and Tyrington, who quartered the arms of Denver, as may be there seen.
In 9th of Edward II. Peter de Spalding was lord, and presented to the mediety of St. Michael's of Denver, as lord of this manor. John, son of the said Peter, was lord in the 13th of Edward III. and had 30 messuages in this town, with 500 acres of land, 30 of meadow, and in Hilgey, Downham, Fordham, &c.
By an inquisition taken in the 20th of that King, Richard de Bradenham, and John de Foxley were returned to be lords; and, in the 9th of Henry IV. John Gourney, Esq. died lord, and of West Barsham. In the 47th of Edward III. the convent of West Derham had a patent for this moiety, (as I take it,) but I do not find them possessed of it.
In 1395, Walter Goddard presented to the aforesaid mediety as lord; and in the 15th of Henry VI. Robert Goddard of Tirington, Esq. Thomas Clifton, Esq. and Joan his wife, and Thomas Dereham, Esq. senior, convey by fine, two messuages, with lands, a free-fold in this town, Ryston, Fordham, &c. to William Dalling.
After this, in 1452, John Bennet, Gent. was lord; and by the marriage of Joan his daughter, it came to Thomas Derham, Esq.
Sir Nicholas Hare presented as lord in 1554; and by his will dated Sept. 26, 1557, conveyed all his interest in this lordship and advowson (after such interests as his cousins Audrey Hobart, and Alice Rugge, her mother, claim therein for their lives) to his heirs; and Michael Har, Esq. his son, by his will dated 1609, gives this manor, after the death of his brother Robert, to Nicholas Timperley, Esq. his nephew.
In 1617, Sir Thomas Hobart was lord; and Sir Miles Hobart, in 1637, and Edward Barber, Gent. presented as lord of this manor in 1660. About the year 1726, Mr. Towerson of Hadenham, in the isle of Ely, purchased it from the Barbers; and about the year 1730, conveyed it to Roger Pratt, Esq. of Ruston, the present lord; but the right of patronage was sold off before he purchased it.
William Earl Warren, had also another lordship in this town, which Osmund held of the Earl, consisting of 71 acres, held by 4 freemen, with half a carucate, who were under the commendation only of Hermer. In the said village were five freemen, and the moiety of another, with 36 acres, and half a carucate; these were under the protection alone of Osmund; but the abbot of St. Bennet had the soc of two of them; and there were here 3 freemen, with 2 acres of land, and 2 bordarers, which Osmund holds; the whole valued at 40s. (fn. 3)
Osmund, who was enfeoffed of this manor, and held it of the Earl, was (as I take it) ancestor of the family of De Kailey, or Caleye. John de Kailly, died lord about the 8th of King John, and his widow Margery in the following year, then the wife of Michael de Ponyngs, recovered dower from Adam de Kailli. Osbert de Cailly was lord in the reign of Edward I. and, in 1307, Michael de Cayli, conveyed it by fine to Adam de Cayli, and Edmund his son.
In 1324, Edmund, son of Sir Adam de Cayly, presented to a moiety of this church as lord of this manor; and Sir Adam de Clifton was lord and patron in 1349, &c. as heir to the Caillys, and succeeded herein by his 2d son, Sir Adam, who presented in 1402, and 1409; Sir Robert de Clifton, his son and heir, was lord in 1430. In the 13th of Henry IV. Sir Adam was found to die possessed of it; and this Robert his son was aged 26 years. Thomas Clifton, Esq. was son and heir of Sir Robert; and in 1463, John Tillesley, Esq. presented in right of Joan his wife, late relict of Thomas Clifton; and in the following year, Robert Clifton, son and heir of Thomas, conveyed by fine all his right in this lordship and advowson, which Joan Tillesley his mother held for life, to Sir William Willoughby, and Joan his wife.
Edward Willoughby, Esq. was lord and patron in 1491, and by his will dated October 23, was buried in the chancel of St. Mary's church of Denver. Soon after, in the 3d year of Henry VIII. John Willoughby, Esq. his son, lord of this manor, and Hugh Willoughby of Risley in Derbyshire, Esq. serjeant at arms to the King, by deed dated April 22d, covenant that Elizabeth, late wife of Robert Willoughby, late son and heir apparent of the said John Willoughby, should take to her husband George Willoughby, son and heir apparent of Hugh; and John was to settle on them this manor, and those of Berkley, Newport, Dursley, &c. in Gloucestershire.
John Willoughby, Esq. son of Edward and Isabel, was lord and patron in 1543, (fn. 4) and dying in 1557, was buried in this church before the crucifix. He left by Mary his wife a son William, aged 4 months, &c. at his father's death. It came afterwards to the Gawsells; Thomas Gawsell, son of Richard Gawsell, Esq. of Watlington, married Mary, widow of John Willoughby, Esq. and they presented in 1558.
Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Robert Gawsell, Esq. brought it by marriage to Robert Barber, Gent. by whom he had 3 sons: 1st, Edward, lord and patron of this church in 1660, who married Alice, daughter and coheir of Richard Batchcroft of Bexwell, Esq.; 2d, Thomas Barber, who had 2 wives; Martha, daughter of Robert Pearson, D. D. rector of Snoring Magna in Norfolk, and Joan, daughter and coheir of John Parlet of Lynn; 3d son, Gregory Barber, married Mary, daughter and coheir of Luke Constable of Swaffham, and left 2 daughters and coheirs. Edward Barber, who was lord of both the manors, and patron of both medieties, left no issue (as it seems) so that the estate came to Thomas Barber, son of Thomas, brother of Edward, by Martha. This Thomas look to wife Mary, daughter of Robert Marsh, Gent. and was father of Edward, who married — daughter of — Hopkins of Wilberton in the isle of Ely, who is said to have conveyed it to Mr. Towerson of Hadenham, in the said isle, who was lord in 1726, and soon after sold it to Roger Pratt, Esq. of Ruston, the present lord.
The tenths were 7l. 4s.—Deducted 1l. 10s.—Temporalities of Ramsey abbey, 7s.
The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and consisted of two medieties, or rectories, one called St. Michael's, or West-Hall mediety, the other St. Peter's or East-Hall mediety. It is a single pile, built of rag-stone out of neighbouring pits, and camerated with pannels of wood, covered with reed; at the west end is a four-square tower, and on that an octangular spire of wood, covered with lead, with 5 bells.
Against the north wall is an achievement with the arms of the professors of physic in the university of Cambridge, and of Caius college,
impaling argent, two bars, and in chief three lioncels, rampant, sab.
Brady. On the pavement is a black marble grave-stone, with the
said arms, and
"Depositum Roberti Brady, M. D. serenissimis principibus Carolo et Jacobo 2dis. medici ordinarii, regii apud Cantabr. medicinæ professoris, collegii de Gonville et Caius 40 circiter annos custodis vigilantissimi et benefactoris munificentissimi, qui postquam rem medicam et historicam summâ diligentiâ et fide, tam praxi, quam scriptis fæliciter exonaverat apud suos Denverienses, ubi primum hauserat spiritum, ullimum clausit diem Aug. 19, Ao. Dni. 1700, ætat. suæ 73."
This worthy gentleman gave a considerable paternal estate in the parish to Caius college, and 500l. towards the buying a perpetual advowson. Mr. Hearne, the Oxford antiquary, gives him this character, —Rob. Bradius plerisq; omnibus sequioris ævi historicis nostris Anglicanis sit anteferendus. (fn. 5)
Against the wall of the chancel rests a grave-stone, with the insignia of a Knight Templar. In the windows were checky, or and gules, a bend ermin, with an annulet, gules, Clifton; also gules, a chevron ermin, between three cinquefoils argent; also on the right shoulder of a woman's vest; or, on a saltire gules, five lozenges; and on the left shoulder, barry of six, argent and vert, Poynings. On the outside of the east window of the chancel is a mural monument of stone:
In vicino pulvere depositœ sunt exuviœ Francisci Jenny, A. M. 46. annos hujus ecclesiæ vigilantis et benigni pustoris, qui obt. Apr. 10, Ao. 1715, œtat. 70. and this shield;—ermin, a bend cottised, or.
St. Michael's Mediety.
Sir Walter de Denver was patron in the reign of Edward I. the rector had then a manse, and 16 acres of land, valued at six marks and a half: Peter-pence 12d.
1316, Robert de Stradesete instituted, presented by Peter de Spalding.
1321, Roger de Saham, by Mr. Ralph de Palgrave, clerk, hâc vice.
1322, Robert de Stokes. Ditto.
1342, John de Bradenham, by Richard de Bradenham, and John de Foxley; they recovered the patronage by suit against William de Barsale, and Margaret his wife.
In 1395, Thomas Atte Falgate of Tottyngton, by Walter Godard; in the 17th of Richard II. Sir Adam de Clifton, Knt. and Margaret his wife, sold this advowson, with three villains of their manor, to Walter Goddard, and Katherine his wife; and she and Walter conveyed lands here in exchange.
John Goddard occurs in 1420.
1452, William Payn, by John Bennet, Gent.
1474, John Spencer, A. M. Ditto.
1501, William Derham, by Thomas Derham, Gent. of Crimplesham.
1521, Ralph Steyke.
1537, William Blackey, by Thomas Derham, Esq.; he was deprived in 1553, being a married priest.
1554, John Willoughby, M. D. by Sir Nicholas Hare.
1558, Richard Burnet, M. A. by Michael Hare, Esq.
1561, Robert Harris. Ditto.
1566, Robert Elden, by Thomas Duke of Norfolk, hâc vice.
1577, Roger Gunson, A. B. by Thomas Seman, notary publick; in 1603 he was S. T. B. and rector of both medieties, and returned 180 communicants.
1617, Samuel Cooper, A. M. by Sir Thomas Hobart.
1637, Horace Woodhouse, by Sir Miles Hobart.
1642, John Carter.
1643, Cornelius Cushing.
1660, Nicholas Saunderson, A. M. by Edward Barber, Gent.
1669, Francis Jenney, A. M. Ditto.
1715, Nicholas White, A. M. by John Lightwin, clerk, president of Caius college, Cambridge.
1728, Daniel Greenway, A. M. master and fellow of Caius college.
1735, Daniel Munins, A. M. Ditto.
1738, Samuel Steadman, (ditto,) the present rector, D. D. archdeacon of Norfolk, prebendary of Canterbury, who holds both the medieties united, valued at 10l. 13s. 4d. and pays first-fruits, &c.
St. Peter's, or East-Hall Mediety.
Adam de Cayly was patron in the time of Edward I. when it was valued at 6 marks and a half, and paid Peter-pence 12d. There was a manse, and 16 acres of land.
1312, Simon de Cayly instituted, presented by William de Wasteny.
1324, John de Wygenhale, by Edmund, son of Sir Adam de Caly.
1333, Benedict de Neketon. Ditto.
1349, John Fox, by Sir Adam de Clifton.
1374, Henry de Redgrave. Ditto.
1374, Roger de Wotton. Ditto.
1402, William Marshall, by Sir Ad. de Clifton.
1409, William Warboys. Ditto.
1430, William Alby, a friar-preacher, by Sir Robert Clifton.
1463, John Lindesey, by John Tillesley, and Joan his wife.
1479, Hugh Serle, by William Lord Berkley.
1491, Robert Logge, by Edward Willoughby, Esq.
1497, Robert Edmunds. Ditto.
1505, Walter Symonds. Ditto.
1515, John Mason.
1518, William Carre, by Richard Gawsell, in right of Isabel his wife, late wife of Edward Willoughby, Esq.
1528, Richard Pycroft. Ditto.
1543, Jeff. Watts, by John Willoughby, Esq.; he was deprived in 1553, being a married priest.
1558, John Willoughby, M. D. Ditto.
1562, Richard Barnet, A. M. by Thomas Gawsell, and Mary his wife.
Edward Williamson. Ditto.
1582, Roger Gunson Ditto.
1608, Samuel Garey, L. L. B. by the King, a lapse.
1617, Ant. Southouse, A. M. by Robert Gawsell, Esq.
1626, Robert Wallis, A. M.
1627, Henry Rose, by Robert Gawsell, Esq. of Denver.
1660, Nicholas Saunderson, A. M. by Edward Barber, Gent.
1669, Francis Jenney. Ditto.
1715, Nicholas White, by Mr. Lightwin.
1728, Daniel Greenway, by Caius college, Cambridge.
1735, Daniel Munins. Ditto.
1738, Samuel Steadman, the present rector, ditto, archdeacon of Norfolk, prebend of Canterbury, &c. D. D.
Robert Gybbs, chaplain in 1420, gives by will a silver gilt cup to the high altar, to St. Mary's guild, and to John Godard, rector, legacies.— Edmund Cootes, by will in 1504, gives to the sepulchre light in the church 40s. and 2 tapers of wax of 3 pounds weight each: (fn. 6) to Our Lady's tabernacle and light 20s. and 20 moder shepe, with legacies to St. Mary's, Allhallows, and St. John Baptist's guilds.
In this parish is a noble bridge of stone, and a sluice over the great river Ouse.
From this place began a famous Roman way, extending to Peterborough, over the great level of the fens, about 24 miles. Dugdale says it was of gravel, &c. 3 feet thick, and 60 broad, now covered with the moor; that it went first to Charke, thence to March, Plantwater, and Eldernel, and so to Peterborough. (fn. 7)
King Henry VII. in his first year, on September 24, granted to Thomas Hatton the office of water-bailiff of Salter's lode, in this parish, during pleasure, with the annexed fees to be received by his own hands.