Clackclose Hundred and Half: Wireham or Wereham

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.

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Francis Blomefield, 'Clackclose Hundred and Half: Wireham or Wereham', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807), pp. 502-509. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Clackclose Hundred and Half: Wireham or Wereham", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807) 502-509. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Clackclose Hundred and Half: Wireham or Wereham", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7, (London, 1807). 502-509. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

In this section


In the book of Domesday, called Wigreham, taking its name from a stream or run of water, issuing out of a pond in the midst of the town. In the reign of the Confessor, Toli was lord, who being deprived at the conquest, King William granted it to Rainold, son of Ivo, one of his Norman adventurers, with many other lordships in this county; when Toli was lord, there were 2 carucates of land, 15 villains, 8 bordarers, and 6 servi, with 20 acres of meadow, and paunage for 12 swine, two carucates in demean, with one and an half among the tenants, the moiety of a mill and a fishery, one runcus, 28 mares with 25 foals, 2 cows, &c. 90 sheep, at the survey, 260, valued at 100s. It was half a leuca long, and the same in breadth, (and paid six pence half penny to a 20s. gelt;) it had paid 8l. with all customary dues, and 4 freemen belonged to it with 12 acres. (fn. 1)

The great possessions of Rainold, came to the noble family of the Earls of Clare, who were the capital lords of the town.

Cavenham Manor.

Jeffrey Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex held it in the reign of King John, of the Earl of Clare, and on his founding the priory of Shouldham, gave a moiety of this town to the said priory; in the 33d of Henry III. the prior had a charter for free warren; by an old parchment roll, sans date, it appears that he had a moiety of the town, with several free tenants, villains, &c. held by the fourth part of a fee of the honour of Clare, one carucate of arable land, 10 acres of wood, free bull and boar, was patron of the church, which was appropriated to the priory, with 5 acres of glebe land; had the amercements of brewers and bakers in his homage, and owed once a year, suit of court at Clare. He had also 3 carucates of arable land, 10 of meadow, in pure alms, and freely of the gift of the aforesaid Jeffrey, with free tenants and villains, &c. and there belonged to him 2 windmills, the moiety of a water-mill, also a messuage, with 30 acres of arable land, formerly of the fee of William Say, who held in capite.

In the 3d of Edward I. the prior was found to have the lete, a gallows, &c. After the Dissolution, it was granted, March 2, in the 36th of Henry VIII. to Sir Edmund Beding feld of Oxburgh, knight, and Grace his wife, by the name of the manor and grange of Cavenham, with the great tithes of Wereham and Stoke, to be held by the 40th part of a fee, and the payment of 3l. 17s. 11d. rent per ann. and in this family it remained till about the year 1718, when Sir Henry Bedingfeld conveyed it to Edward Nightingale, Esq. of Kneesworth in Cambridgeshire, and Edward Nightingale, Esq. his grandson, is the present lord.

Cavenham grange is about a mile north-east of the town of Werham, and in the said parish; in 1570, the rent of assize of the free tenants, was 4l. 4s. 10d. of the customary ones, 10l. 16s. 10d. ob. q.

The temporalities of the priory of Shouldham, in 1428, for this manor here, and extending into Stoke and Wretton, were 32l. 4s. 9d. ob.

Wereham-Hall Manor,

Was anciently in separate tenures. In the 20th of Henry III. Robert Bardolf and Thomas Rede, held the fourth part of a fee, of the Earl of Gloucester and Clare; Robert married Avice, (or, as some say, Lora,) daughter and heir of John de Lound, son and heir of Anselm de Lound, lord of this manor, and by Avice, daughter and heir of Bardolf, it came by marriage to Sir Ingelram Belet, knight of the bath, who died in the reign of Edward I. and it descended to Robert his son.

In the 31 of that King, John de Bures and Clementia his wife, Ralph de Alemania, and Ann his wife conveyed lands by fine in this town, Crimplesham, Stoke, West Derham, Boketon, &c. to Robert Bardolf.

William, son of Theodore de Wyrham, passed by fine, messuages and lands in the said towns, &c. in the 7th of Edward II. to John of the Hall at Frenge, and Mary his wife, and in the following year, Robert Belet was found to die seized of a fee and an half held of the honour of Clare, in the said towns, &c. This William was probably descended from Walter, and Ralph de Wyrham, who had a lordship in Henry the Third's time. In the 15 of Edward I. Robert de Long was lord.

In the 23 of Edward III. John de Bensted, and Maud his wife, conveyed a moiety of this manor to John de Wesenham, and in the 31st Ralph de Hinton, and Beatrix his wife, sold to Richard Tooth 2 messuages, 100 acres of land, 16 of meadow, with 7s. rent per ann. in this town and Stoke, from the heirs of Beatrix.

Sir Richard Walkfare held it in the 40th year of the said reign, for life, as part of the inheritance of John de Denham, son and heir of Avice Walkfare, daughter, probably, and heir of Belet, married, first to Denham's father, and in the 50th of that King, this part was conveyed on Wednesday after the feast of St Faith, by the trustees of John de Denham, to Richard Tooth and Mary his wife, together with the manor of Wyron Hall in Wretton, &c. and before this, John de Denham and Maud his wife, granted in the 44 year, to Robert de Fransham, clerk, &c. in trust, a moiety of this lordship.

From Tooth it came to Roger Davy, and Alice his wife, and from them (as in Boughton Overhall manor) to Sir Lewes Orrell, who with Elizabeth his mother, convey this lordship with that of Wyron Hall, to Sir Thomas Lovell, Knt. of the Garter; and in or about 1615, Sir Francis Lovell of East-Herling, conveyed it to Sir Thomas Derham: from that family it came to Stephen Edgar. Gent. of Watlington in 1652; his son Thomas, sold it to Benjamin Dethick, Esq. in 1682, whose son, John Dethick, Esq. conveyed the manor and demean lands in 1751, (but not the hall) to John Heaton, Esq. of London.

The family of Dethick was originally of Dethick-Hall in the hundred of Winksworth in Derbyshire.

Dethick's Pedigree.

(fn. 2) (fn. 3) (fn. 4) (fn. 5) The arms of Dethick are, argent, a fess vairy, or and gules, between three water budgets, sable; Whittington, gules, a fess checque, or and azure; Attestrey, argent, on a bend, azure, three escutcheons, gules, and a chief of the 3d; Stafford, or, a chevron, gules, and a canton ermin; Frankville, argent, a dolphin embowed, sable, a chief bendy of six, or and gules;—Audley, gules, a frett, or;— Whatton, argent, a lion rampant, gules, surmounted with a bend, sable, charged with three crosier staffs, or; Chamberlain, gules, a chevron between three crescents, or; Bridges, sable, fretty ermin, a chief componee, or, and of the first; Swift, per pale, or and vert, three bucks passant counterchanged; Hare, gules, two bars, and a chief indented, or.


Stood in a close at the eastern part of Werham, on the west side of the lane that leads to Wretton, commonly called Stoneaks Close, but more probably Stokes-Close; it takes its name from a run or stream of water, here arising, and the manor extends into Wretton and Stoke. In the 16 Henry III. Stephen de Stokes and Basilia his wife held it, and granted, by fine, the advowson of the church of Wretton, to Angerius, abbot of West Derham, who had a moiety only, as it seems. Warine Goseman and his barons, held also, about the same time, another moiety: Stokes held his by a quarter of a fee, and Goseman his, by the 40 part of a fee, the capital lord being the Earl of Gloucester and Clare; John de Stokes, son of Roger de Stokes, held it in the reign of Henry III. of Peter de Narford, and he of the honour of Clare, by a quarter of a fee.

In the 15 of Edward II. Robert de Sale had an interest herein, and in the 8 of Edward III. Walter, parson of Dodington, as trustee, granted by fine, to Nicholas Gamage, and Alianore his wife, a moiety of this manor, which Guy de St. Clare. and Margery his wife, held in dower.

John Fynn, in the 20 of Edward III. was lord of the part which John de Stokes formerly held, and paid 4s. towards the making that King's eldest son a knight: in the 24 of the said King, John Bray, and Catharine his wife, daughter of John Fynn, and Christian, sister of Catharine, passed it, by fine, to John de Wesenham, citizen of London; after this, the trustees of John de Denham, &c. convey it to Richard Tooth, of Wyrham, and Mary his wife; from Tooth it came to Davy, &c. (as in Wereham Hall) and John Heaton, Esq. is the present lord.

The lete is in the lord of the hundred, and with Wretton and Stoke, is 2s. 6d.

The tenths were 6l. 16s. deducted 1l. 10s.

The Church is dedicated to St. Margaret, has a nave that is came rated, plaistered, and covered with reed, with a south isle covered with lead, a four-square low tower, with 4 pinnacles of free stone, and one bell; it is about 40 feet long and 40 broad; at the west end of the nave lie several gravestones in memory of the Adamsons; and at the east end, 2 gravestones, on which have been the effigies, on brass plates, of persons in their winding sheets, now reaved; at the east end of the south isle, is a mural monument of marble, &c. with the arms of Adamson, argent, three cross crosslets, fitchée, gules, impaling Clark, or, a bend ingrailed, vert.

In a vault, near this place, lies interred the body of Christopher Adamson, of this parish, gent. who died September 25, 1744, aged 71 years.

"In the same vault lies the body of Martha, the wife of John Heaton of London, gent. and daughter of the above-named Christopher Adamson, and Martha his wife, who died 15 December, 1743, aged 33, years. —In the same vault lies also the body of Susannah Adamson; the daughter of Mr. John Crutchfield, citizen of London, and Susannah his wife, and wife of Benjamin Adamson, one of the sons of the abovementioned Christopher Adamson, and Martha his wife, who died March 25, 1742, aged 27 years."

On this are also the arms of Heaton, argent, on a bend ingrailed, sable, three bucks head caboshed, of the first impaling Adamson; and Adamson impaling, azure, a cross checque gules and or, between four plates, Crutchfield.

The chancel is about 26 feet long, and 17 broad, covered with reed; on the pavement lies a stone in memory of John D'Artigues, curate of this church, who died in 1744.

The rectory, with the manse and 4 acres of land, were valued at 10 marks. Peter-pence, 13d.

Gilbert Earl of Clare, lord of this town, gave the tithe of his demean lands in the reign of King Stephen to the priory of Clare in Suffolk; this portion was valued in 1428, at 40s. per ann. (fn. 6) Jeffrey Fitz-Piers, lord, on his founding the priory of Shouldham, gave the advowson of the church (then a rectory) to the said priory, which being also at that time appropriated thereto, became a curacy, served by a canon of that convent. On the Dissolution, the great tithes were granted, with the manor of Cavenham, to Sir Edmund Bedingfield of Oxburgh, from which family they passed to Edward Nightingale, Esq. as is above observed. The small tithes continued in the Crown, till granted September 14, in the 18th of Elizabeth, to Adam Bland, &c. whose son conveyed his right to Francis Mundeford, Esq. in the reign of King James I. 43 communicants were returned to be in the parish. Lionel Life held these vicarial tithes in the reign of King William III. after him, Mr. Warren, who conveyed them to Roger Prat, Esq. of Riston, who names the curate.

William de Say, and Beatrix his wife, father and mother of Beatrix, wife of Jeffrey Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex, in whose right he was lord of this town, gave lands here, to Castleacre priory, and the rent of 5s. out of a mill; Simon Bishop of Norwich confirmed to the said priory, the 3d part of the tithes of Arnold de Meyscy, and Philip Engleys in 1265, (fn. 7) and the prior of Shouldham paid for this, 4l. 13s. 4d. but in the 4th of Edward IV. a composition was settled at 4l. per ann.

In the 16th of Richard II. John Davy aliened lands and a messuage to the priory of Wirmegey, and John Fincham, lands to the prior of Ely.

William Wigenhale, in the 6 of Edward II. aliened 300 acres of land with a messuage to Shouldham priory; and in 1428, the spiritualities of the abbot of Westminster, were valued at 13s. 4d.

In the church was the guild of St. Margaret, and by the town pond is a well dedicated to that saint. Wi or Wye, is a British word, signifying water; in Wales, and in Derbyshire, &c. are rivers of that name, also a considerable town in Kent.

The Priory and Manor of Winwaloe.

It was founded by the family of the Earls of Clare, and stood about a mile north-east of Wereham town. He was a British saint, and flourished about the year 550, an abbot, and canonized. (fn. 8) The first account I meet with of it, is in the 7th year of King John, when the Earls of Clare and Gloucester were found to hold a court here, (apud Scu' Wynewalum,) and in the reign of King Henry III. Margaret de Strageset, daughter of Rober de Strageset, gave (as appears) and released to West Derham abbey, all the lands which were her father's, lying in the fields surrounding the church of St. Winwaloch, comperting on the common of Werham: (fn. 9) it was a cell to the abbey af Mounstroll, or Musterol in the diocese of Amiens, in France, of the order of St. Bennet: the patronage of this cell was in the Earls of Clare; and the prior, about this time, held 60 acres of land here, in pure alms, of the gift of the Earls of Gloucester and Clare.

The Earls of Clare had a prison in their lordship here, for the honour of Clare; many actions and suits were here tried, and was looked on as a grievance; and the jury in the 3d of Edward I. presented it, being to the prejudice of the King, and county of Norfolk. The abbot and convent of Mustrol sold and conveyed it, in 1321, to Hugh Scarlet of Lincoln, and he conveyed it to the Lady Elizabeth de Burgo.

King Edward III. granted license April 9, Ao. 10, to the Lady Elizabeth de Burgo, sister and coheir of Gilbert Earl of Clare, to give and assign 7 messuages, 112 acres of land, 8 of meadow, 10 of pasture, with 10s. 8d.½. rent, in Wyrham, Boketon, Stoke, West Derham, Berton, and Narford, the fair of St. Wynewale, in Norfolk, to the abbot and convent of West Derham, to find a chaplain to celebrate divine service in the chapel of Winewaloe, for the soul of Gilbert Earl of Clare, and the souls of Elizabeth, and her ancestors, daily, for ever. (fn. 10) The deed of the said Elizabeth bears date on Sunday before the feast of St. Gregory the Martyr, in the said year; witnessed by Sir John Bardolf, Sir Robert de Scales, Sir John Howard, Robert de Well, Peter Talbot, Peter de Wells, and Robert de Dersingham.

Edmund de Mortimer Earl of March, &c. confirmed the said grant, with this proviso, that the chaplain aforesaid be a secular chaplain, and not a regular, and that the service in the abbey of West Derham be still continued, and not set aside on account of this service in the chantry of the chapel of St. Winwaloe, for the souls of Gilbert, &c. dated Ao 45. Edward III. John Lynge, abbot of West Derham, kept a court here, in the 17 of Henry VI. and 2d of Edward IV.

At the general dissolution of religious houses, it came to the Crown, and on 13 of September, in the 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, was granted with all its appertenances to Thomas Guybon, Esq. and William Mynn. to be held in free soccage of the honour of East Greenwich. William Guybon, Gent. conveyed it in the 9th of Elizabeth, to Francis Mundeford, Esq. of Werham. Thomas Methwold of ThomsonCollege, Gent. sold it, in 1633, to Sir John Hare, who kept a court here, in the said year, and Sir George Hare, Bart. his immediate heir, died lord.

What remains of this ancient priory is a building chiefly of free stone, about 35 feet long, and 30 broad, and from its site (standing east and west) seems to be the old chapel; in a writing about 1570, I find it wrote Wynhold Capella; it is now a farm-house, and here is annually a fair kept on the 8d of March, St. Winwaloe's day, of note for the sale of many horses, cows, &c. and this being generally a cold, and coarse season of the year, the storms at this time are commonly called Whinwall-storms, and this old rhyme decomes frequently quoted in the neighbourhood:

First comes David, next comes Chad, Then comes Whinwall, as if he was mad.

The temporalities of West Derham, with this priory, in Wyrham Wretton and Stoke, were valued at 7l. 2s. 8d. for lands and a mill &c. in 1428.

A little to the west of the church of Wyrham, is a well called St. Margaret's Well; in time of popery, on the day of that Saint, people diverted themselves with cakes and ale, musick and dancing; alms and offerings were brought, and vows made at such like sainted wells, and called, well-worship


  • 1. Tre. Rainaldi fil. Invonis. — In Wigreham ii car. tre. ten. Toli. lib. ho. T. R. E. tc. xv villi. p. vii. et mo. sep. viii. bor. tc. vi ser. mo. iiii. et xx. ac. p'ti. silva xii por. semp. ii car. in d'nio. tc. i car. et dim. ho'um mo. i. semo. dim. mol. et i. pisc. semp. i. r. et xxvii. eque et xxv. pulli et ii. an. tc. xv por. mo. vii. tc. lxxxx. ovs. mo. cclx. et val. c. sol. reddidit viii. lib. ad'omne' consuetud. Huic man. jacent iiii libi. ho'es de xii ac. Totum Wigreham ht. dim. leug. in long. et in lato, et reddit vid. et i oboiu'de xx sol. de gelto Regis.
  • 2. Robert was slain, with his son Thomas, on Palm Sunday, 1460, in TowtonField battle in Yorkshire; his daughter and heir brought Dethick-Hall to the Babingtons.
  • 3. John's first wife was Alice, daughter of Edmund Chattress of West Newton in Norfolk, Gent. by her he had no issue; Chattress bore, sable, a fess ingrailed, ermine, between three quarter foils, argent, pierced gules; Methwold, azure, six escallops, or.
  • 4. Ben. Dethick, Esq. had a daughter, Martha, married to — Clarke of London, linen draper.—Harrison bore p. fess, sable and or, in chief, three eagles displayed of the first.
  • 5. Sir John Dethick was lord mayor of London in 1656, and mercer; his first wife was Ann, daughter of Francis Smallpiece of Norwich, relict of Thomas Anguish, Gent. Martha was his 2d wife, and Anne, daughter of Thomas Jolliff, of Leek in Staffordshire, Esq. his 3d, by whom, and by his first wife, he had no issue surviving; he died at Totenham in Middlesex, where he had a country- eat, in 1671, and was buried in the church of St. Andrew, Undershaft, London.—Smallpiece bore, sable, a chevron between three cinquefoils, argent; Travers, argent, a saltire between four butterflies, sable.—Sir John had by Martha, two daughters, Elizabeth, married to Sir John Banks, and Susan to Edward Rudge of London, merchant.
  • 6. Monast Angl. p. 1006.
  • 7. Reg. Castleac. fol. 51. 82, 138.
  • 8. Lobineaux Histor. de Britan. Tom. i. — Commentar. Doctor. Smith in Becl. Martyrol. p. 362.
  • 9. West Derham Ledger Book-Abbat. Sci. Saluti in Monsterose sup. Mare.
  • 10. Evident. Dni. Tho. Hare, baron.