An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Was the lordship of William Earl Warren: Toke, a Saxon thane, was lord of it in the reign of the Confessor, and Fredericus after him, but at the survey, on his expulsion, we find it held of the Earl Warren by Wimer: Toke had 2 carucates of land held by 6 villains, and 12 borderers with 4 servi, and there were 3 carucates in demean, 4 among the tenants, with 7 acres of meadow and of wood, 300 acres, two mills, 2 runci (horses for work,) 10 cows, and 40 swine, 40 sheep, 12 skeps of bees, and a church endowed with 18 acres of land, and one of meadow, always valued at 4l. per ann. and was of the fee of Frederic; it was one leuca long, and half a one and one rood broad, and paid 8½d. gelt. (fn. 1)
El is the initial syllable of many towns, and signifies water, and Ing is a meadow; El is also a river, as Elwick, in Durham, Elford, Northampton, &c.
Wimer, who held under Earl Warren, was his grand dapifer, or steward, and was enfeoffed of many lordships; from his family (who assumed the name of De Gressenhale, of which they were also lords,) it came by Isabel, sole heiress to the Stutevilles, barons of the realm, and from them it came by an heiress to Sir Richard Foliot, in the beginning of King Edward the First's reign.
In 1328, the Lady Margery de Foliot presented to this church, relict of Sir Jordan de Foliot, her son Sir Richard dying s.p. his two sisters, Margery, the wife of Sir Hugh de Hastings, and Margaret, wife of Sir John Camois, were his coheirs; Sir John and his Lady released their interest in this town to Sir Hugh and his Lady.
Sir Hugh was son of Sir John de Hastings, Lord Abergavonny, by Isabel his 2d lady, daughter of Hugh Le De Spencer Earl of Winchester; this Sir Hugh built the church of Elsing, and was there buried in 1347, as was his lady in 1349.
Sir Hugh Hastings, lord in the 3d of Richard II. had the grant of a mercate, and 2 fairs in a year, at this town, on the death of Sir John Hastings, s.p. in the 20th of Henry VII. it was found that he held this lordship of the dutchy of Lancaster, and George Hastings, Esq. his brother, was his heir.
John Hastings, Esq. son and heir of Sir Hugh, dying s.p. in the 35th of Henry VIII. left 2 sisters and coheirs, Anne, the eldest, married William Brown, Esq. second son to Sir Anthony Brown, master of the horse to King Henry VIII. and Knight of the Garter, and in her right was lord of this town and of Wesenham.
Of the descendants and families of Wimer, Stutvile, Foliot and Hastings, see at large in the town of Gressenhale.
Anne, daughter of Ant. Brown, Esq. was baptized at Wesenham in 1578.
Anthony, son of Thomas Brown, Esq. baptised there in 1611, as was William, son of Thomas, in 1615.
Thomas Brown, Esq. kept his first court at Wesenham, in 1631.
Thomas Brown, Esq. of Elsing, had a daughter, Camilla, married to Thomas Edwards, Gent. (of Wisbeach) at Elsing in 1659.
William Brown, Esq. of Elsing was lord in 1696, and by Ann his wife left Thomas, his son, the last heir male of this family, who by Mary his wife, daughter of Roger Pratt, Esq. of Ruston, in Norfolk, had a daughter and heir, Mary, married to —Green, Esq. lord in her right.
The Church is a rectory dedicated to - - - - - - - - - - - -, the ancient valor was 15 marks and paid Peter-pence 7d.; the priory of Castleacre had a portion of tithes, being two parts of the demeans of William de Stutevil, patron of the church of Ausing (as it is sometimes wrote) which the prior and convent let to farm to Master Ralph, rector, and his successours for ever, in 1251, at 2 marks of silver for ever, and confirmed by the Bishop and chapter, and patron; (fn. 2) the present valor is 5l. 11s. 9d. ob. and is discharged of tenths, &c.
In 1328, Master Richard de Shropham, instituted, presented by Lady Margery de Foliot.
1330, Mr. Matthew de Wygenhale. Ditto.
1349, William de Swynflete, archdeacon of Norfolk, by Lady Margaret de Hastings.
1361, John de Haldenby, by Lady Margery, wife of Sir Hugh Hastings.
1388, John Braun, by Lady Ann, relict of Sir Hugh Hastings.
In 1435, September 12, Sir Edward Hastings presented.
In 1485, Sir Hugh Hastings presented.
Mr. Robinson, rector.
John Hardy, died in 1733, and
Thomas Inyon succeeded, presented by Thomas Brown, Esq.
1741, Edward Barnwell. Ditto.
1744, Thomas Eglington, D. D. Ditto.
1747, John Wilson, by Mrs. Mary Brown.
The church is covered with lead and the chancel with tiles.
In the tower, which is four square, are 5 bells.
In the east window of the chancel are the portraitures of Sir Hugh de Hastings and the Lady Margaret his wife, who built the church; Sir Hugh in armour with his tabord of arms over it, and on his knees; that of his lady has on her gown, also her arms, &c. and on her knees; each supporting with both their hands a church, setting forth themselves as the founders; under him, or, a maunch, gules, with a file of three points, argent, as of a younger family, and under her, Hastings, impaling, gules, a bend argent, Foliot. In the midst of the chancel lies a large marble gravestone, whereon has been a rim of brass with an inscription, now spoiled, and the conclusion of it only remaining, viz. Cum Pater, Ave. On this is the portraiture of a knight in complete armour, a lion at his feet, with the arms of Hastings over his head, 2 angels support his helmet; in memory most likely (as by its site) of the founder.
Under them remains, in gwowe worchipe, yis churche hath been wrowt by Howe de Hastyng and Margaret hys wyf.
On an altar tomb, on the north side, with the arms of Brown, sable, three lionels passant, in bend, between two double cottises, argent, impaling.
Here lyeth Dame Anne, Sir Anthony Browne his wife, In hope of resurrection unto life. Whose lively working faith by charity, Deserves an everlasting memory. Seventy-two years she lived, a blessed adge, And finished in peace her pilgrimadge. She dyed 5 Oct. 1623.
Two blessed babes, her sonnes, with her doe lye. Francis the one, the other Anthonye. Where reste they three, 'till latter daye, Shall rayse them up to endles. joye.
Here is also another altar tomb, deprived of its brasses and inscription; by the incision of the stone to receive the brass letters, it appears to have been very ancient,
===Enterre: Fut: comfrare: Manour: Saint: FRAVNCES === BOVRLE: GIST: JCI: DE: KY: ALME: DEV: EYT: MERCY: probably in memory of some rector, who was a friar Franciscan.
I also find that Sir John Hastings, and the Lady Anne his wife, daughter of Lord John Morley, were here buried, about 1471.
On a gravestone, with the arms of Berney,
Here lyeth Wm. Berney, 4th son of Sir Richard Berney, Bt. aged 31, and died in 1658.—Also Rd. Berney, his only son, aged 23, and died in 1675.
In memory of Mary, daughter of Tho. Brown, Gent. and Mary his wife, buried Dec. 14, 1720.
Mole sub hac lapidum Thomasia conditur Hardy, Esinga vivens, Gloria, Fama Decus; Ante alias celebris pietate, laboribus, ore: Vana, Deum, requiem, sprevit, amavit, habet. Mortem obt. 12°. Oct. 1714.
In the church were the arms of Lord Bardolph, Vere Earl of Oxford, Hastings, and Valence Earl of Pembroke.