An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 7. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1807.
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Or Wireton, from a stream of water running through it. This town is not mentioned in the book of Domesday, being accounted for under the manor or Cavenham; Wyron-Hall, &c. in Wereham, which were in, and had their site in Wereham, and there being no capital lordship that had its site in this town, is the cause of that omission.
In the 24 of Henry III. there was a suit carried on by the prior of Shouldham, whose manor of Cavenham extended therein, the prior claiming merchettam (for a marriage) from William de la Ferte of this town, who proving himself a freeman, and no villain, was acquitted. Merchetta was the fine of a mark, paid to be free from a savage custom in many manors, for the lord to lie the first night with the bride of his tenant. The lord of Cavenham, and the lord of Wyron-Hall and Wereham-Hall, are lords here.
The tenths of this town, and of Stoke Ferry, were 5l. 11s.—Deducted 11s.
The Church is dedicated to All-Saints, has a nave and a south isle, the nave covered with reed, and is about 54 feet long, the isle with lead, and together are about 28 feet broad; at the west end of the nave is a low four-square tower, and a small shaft; herein are 2 bells, on one, Hæc sit Sanctorum Campan'la Laude Bonorum; on the other, Celi Regina - - - - - - Semper sis Medicina.
At the east end of the south isle, lies a marble grave-stone, with part of a brass plate,
Orate p. a'ia. Johs, Bl. - - -
The chancel is about 23 feet long, and 17 broad, covered with reed; against the east wall, a large pedestal of stone, for imago principalis.
A moiety of the patronage of this church was in the lord of WyrunHall, and given by Peter de Narford, by deed, sans date, to West Derham abbey; the other moiety was granted to the said abbey, by Gilbert Buxi of Boketon, (Boughton,) and Hugh Buxi, and appropriated to the convent by Simon de Wanton Bishop of Norwich, in his sixth year, 1263; the last rector was Roger de Holkham.
On this appropriation, it was served by one of the canons of that abbey; on the Dissolution it came to the Crown, and was granted with the rectory-house and glebe lands, &c. September 14, ao. 18 Elizabeth, to Adam Bland. In the reign of Edward I. here was a rectory-house, and 10 acres of glebe. From Bland it came to Mundeford, Life, and Warren, and so to Roger Prat, Esq. the present impropriator, who by settling certain lands on this church, and that of Werham, has procured Queen Ann's bounty, so that both these curacies are now, together, worth 70l. per ann. and he is patron.
The spiritualities of West Derham, for this church, were 6 marks per ann.
Nicholas Lovel, Esq. of Wrotton, buried in this church, 1453. Richard Cowell, buried in the churchyard, 1515, gives legacies to the guilds of our Lady, Trinity, St. James, and St. John's.
Mrs. Forby, widow, about 1710, gave in land 4l. 10s. per ann. for the poor; and there is other land for the said use, of 1l. 6s. per ann. also 5s. per ann.
The learned Roger Gale, Esq. concludes, that as there are an infinite number of ancient villages, whose names are not mentioned in the book of Domesday, "That only those are mentioned who held either of the King, or of the church, who also held of the King in capite; and that those lands which were held by the English, who were not in arms, or by their council acted against King William, were not accounted for, or assessed in that book." (fn. 1)
But, I take this not to be the real case, those townships which are not mentioned, or accounted for in the aforesaid survey, stand charged in some manor, held of the King, or other lord, in some adjoining town, and so extending into these towns that are not mentioned. As for example; this township of Wretton, having the site of no manor in it, is not mentioned, but stands charged and assessed, under the manors of Wereham-Hall, and Wiron-Hall, the site of both these lordships being in Wereham, and also under Cavenham manor, in Wireham. It is certain, that all lands, both of the laity and clergy, were at the survey held of the King, directly in capite; and no land whatever, or township, was excepted, from the account then taken; and from the assessment then made, all were held under the Conqueror by military services, agreeable to its quantity, and quality; and since those towns that are not mentioned in Domesday, (nor having any manor in them,) are yet accounted for in the towns where their manors stood, and there assessed: it would have been improper to repeat, and charge again, what had been so properly and justly accounted for, where their site was.