An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
This village lies east of the great Ouse, and north of the river Wissey; and here is a causeway over a fenny ground to Helgay, often overflowed, but fordable; from whence, it is probable, it takes its name.
Several lords at the survey were concerned in this town: Hermerus de Ferrariis, seized on 3 freemen, who held 24 acres in the Confessor's time, valued at 2s. of these only the protection was in his predecessor. (fn. 1) This, with other lands belonging to Riston, Beckswell, Dereham, &c. which Hermerus held, (and after him the Lords Bardolfs) made up the manors of Riston, and of Helgton, or Hembleton Hall, in this town. In the reign of Henry III. the family of Stradeset was found to hold a lordship of the Lord Bardolf, and of the honour of Wirmegey; and in the time of Edward III. Nicholas de Stradsete held here, in Stradsete, Barsale, &c. a knight's fee of the said honour. In the 9th of Edward III. Gilbert de Hethill, parson of the church of Tottenhall in Norfolk, gave to the prior of the Holy Cross of Wormegey a messuage, 40 acres of land, 5 of pasture and 5s. rent, in Fordham-Hithe: and Riston held, of the aforesaid Nicholas, paying 5s. per ann. and in the 16th of Richard II. John Davy, and others, aliened lands and tenements here, &c. to the said priory.
John Cavendish, and George Neffield, as heirs to the Stradsets, held the same in the reign of Henry VI. of the Lord Bardolf. The part thus given to the prior of Wirmegay was called Hembleton-hall, alias Uphall.
The priory of Wirmegay being dissolved, and annexed with all its appertenances to that of Pentney, came, on the general dissolution, to the Crown; and Queen Elizabeth granted the manor here, with the advowson of a moiety of the church to William Barber, and John Jenkins, on the 3d of August, in her 7th year; afterwards it came to the Skipwiths, who possessed it in the 40th of the said Queen.
Jeffrey Curpell held also, in the reign of Henry III. a manor here, in Roxham, West-Derham, &c. of the Lord Bardolf, which Roger Curpell gave in the reign of Edward III. to the priory of Wirmegay: this also was granted, together with the abovementioned, at the said time, to Barber and Jenkins, and so came to the Skipwiths.
St. Etheldreda (the church of Ely) had, in King Edward's reign, 3 bordarers, who held at the survey 12 acres, valued at 2s. and the abbot of Ely had seized on 30 acres, which a freeman held, 3 borderers, and half a carucate, valued at 4s. of this his predecessor had the protection only. (fn. 2)
This went along with the abbot's manor of Bexwell, and held in the reign of Edward I. by Stephen Bexwell. In the 14th of the said King, John, son of Henry de Deen, held lands of the Bishop of Ely, as did Stephen de Dunneby; and John de Deen and Maud his wife, in the said year, conveyed a moiety of the church of Fordham, belonging to him, to Robert de Benhale, and Robert to Hervey de Stanton, and so came to John de L'Isle; afterwards it was in the Skipwiths.
William Earl Warren had 111 acres, which 2 freemen were deprived of. (fn. 3) This belonged to his manor of Denver that extended here.
Rainold, son of Ivo, had seized on 3 freemen, with 25 acres, and were under protection; the abbot of Ramsey had the soc; also on one freeman, with 5 acres, of whom the abbot of Bury had the commendation, or protection, in King Edward's time, valued at 5s.; (fn. 4) this came after to the Earls of Clare and Gloucester, and was held by Jeff. Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex, in the time of King John, who gave it to his priory of Shouldham. On its dissolution, it came to the Skipwiths; ond the priory's temporalities here, in 1428, were valued at 10s.
The abbot of Ramsey had, in the time of the Confessor, and at the survey, 24 acres, valued at 2s. 8d. also the lands of a freeman containing 24 acres, valued at 3s.; (fn. 5) this, with the manor of Snore, (as will appear,) was held of the abbey. Ralph; Lord Bainard had 30 acres, which 3 freemen, and a borderer held: (fn. 6) this was afterwards held of the Lords Fitz-Walter, and was part of the manor of Fincham, &c. and valued there.
Thomas Gawsell, Esq. of Watlington, by his will dated Sept. 14, 1500, gives to his younger son Richard a manor here; and Ellen Gawsell, Gent. of Watlington, by her will, dated on St. Clement's day, 1504, gives to John her son the manor of Woodleves in Fordham, which came to the Skipwiths. (fn. 7)
Snore was a village, in the Confessor's time; nothing of it remains, but part of an old hall, now a farm-house, lying east of Fordham, The abbot of Ramsey had in the Confessor's time, and at the survey, half a carucate of land, valued at 10s. (fn. 8) Ralph, son of Ralph de Snora, was lord in the reign of Henry III. William de Snora, son of Ralph, paid homage for lands to the abbot of Ramsey, in his chamber at Hilgey manor, on Sunday after the feast of St. Paul, Ao. 21 Edward I. John de Snore lived in the reign of Edward III. and Robert de Snore in 1388. After this it was held by William Adamson, Tho, Brown, and Robert Atmore, by William Cobb, Nicholas Spalding, and Thomas Belyetter, and then came to the Skipwiths, who built a good hall, part of it still standing. In the 8th of Edward IV. John Billingburgh, treasurer of the abbot, received of William Skipwith, Gent. on Feb. 23, 26s. 8d. an annual rent out of this manor, and lands at Snore in Fordham, late Thomas Billyetter's, and Margaret his wife's. William Skipwith was lord in 1504, son, as I take it, of William aforesaid, and Margaret his wife, she dying in 1486. William Skipwith was lord in the 25th of Henry VIII. and by Margaret his wife left Edmund their son and heir, who died lord of Fordham and Snore-Hall in 1558. By his will, dated Nov. 12, 1557, he appoints William his son, and Catherine his wife executors; calls John Stornley, Gent. his brother. William occurs lord in 1588, and married Ellen, daughter of — Bachecroft of Bexwell: by his will, dated in 1588, he calls Thomas Batchcroft his brother-in-law. In the 17th of James I. Edmund Skipwith possessed it, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William Guybon, Esq. by his first wife, daughter of — Catelyne; and in 1651, Sir Ralph Skipwith, lord of Snore, and of Fordham. In 1616, Edmund Skipwith, Gent. paid an annual rent out of this manor to the lord of Swaffham manor in Norfolk. After this, Sir Thomas Viner, Lord Mayor of London, held it; from whom it came to the Smalls of Gloucestershire; and Viner Small, Esq. is lord, and of Fordham.
The tenths were, of Fordham and Snore 8l.—Deducted 1l. 6s. 8d. —Lete fee 16d.—Temporalities of Bromhill priory 5s.—Castleacre 9s. —Wirmegay 5s.—Coxford priory 10s.—Shouldham 10s.—West-Derham 5s.—Westacre 2s. 9d.—Norwich priory 12s.
The old church was a small pile, and falling down in 1780, is rebuilt. There were two medieties anciently belonging to it; one was appropriated to Wirmegay priory, to that of Norwich, and the church was dedicated to St. Mary. Wirmegey mediety was called the portion of John, who was rector in 1278. In 1306, Laurence de Massingham Magna, rector, presented by the prior of Wirmegey. It was appropriated in Febr. 1346, by Bishop Bateman, paying 20s. per ann. to the see of Norwich; this priory being annexed to that of Pentney, at the Dissolution, was granted Aug. 3, Ao. 7 Elizabeth, to William Barber and John Jenkins, and came after to the Skipwiths, &c. and to Viner Small, Esq. the present impropriator. Norwich mediety was called the portion of Goscelin, valued at 4 marks. John de Denver was rector in Edward the First's time. 1304, Matthew son of John de Stanton, rector, presented by Alexander de Walsoken, and Thomas de Briton. 1308, John de Ely, by Sir Hervey de Stanton. On April 3, Ao. 10 Edward III. license was granted to John de Lisle to give it, (which he purchased of Sir Hervey,) with a messuage, 6s. rent, &c. to Norwich priory, to find a chaplain to pray for the soul of the said John, and Mary his wife, Robert de Ufford, Thomas Rosceline, &c. and it was appropriated June 6, 1351; and is now held of the dean and chapter of Norwich.
In 1603, it was certified that there were 41 communicants.