An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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The principal lordship of this town was granted at the Conquest to Godric the King's sewer or steward, and was held by him of the King, at the grand survey, of which Edwin, a freeman, (as the book of Domesday sets forth) was lord in King Edward's reign, and now deprived; this Edwin was (as I take it) the great Earl of Mercia, and it is to be observed that the Conqueror's resentment was so great, that titles of honour are not bestowed, for the most part, on the greatest English noblemen who were living and held estates before the Conquest; Harold King of England, Godwin Earl of Kent, his father, &c. are styled freemen. In Edwin's time here were two crucates of land, 2 villains, 16 borderers, 2 servi, 2 carucates in demean, 4 among the tenants, with 6 acres of meadow, the moiety of a mill, paunage for 100 swine. When Godric entered on it there were 2 runci, 7 cows, &c. and 60 sheep, 10 skeps of bees, and a freeman had 30 acres of land with one of meadow, and half a carucale; here was also a church endowed with 40 acres and 6 acres of wood, the whole valued in King Edward's reign at 60s. at the survey, at 100s.; it was one leuca long and 10 furlongs broad, and paid 8d. ob. gelt. (fn. 1)
This Godric had a grant of many lordships on the conquest, and held these following at the survey;—In South Greenhow hundred, Godeston, Oxburgh, and South-Acre.—In Fourhow hundred, Wramplingham and Tokethorp.—In Walesham hundred, Walesham and Opeton.—In Heinstede hundred, Stoke, Porland, Framingham, Ulverton, Holveston, Rockland, Bramerton, South. Berlingham, Kirkeby, and Appleton.—In Lothing hundred, Halgeton, Ashby, Claxton, Norton, Carleton, Wasing ford, Sisland, and Alemunton.—In Eynford hundred, Sparham and Bintry.—In Taverham hundred, Beseton.—In Humbleyard hundred, Melton Magna and Parva, Hederset, Colney, Dunston, Swardeston, Flordon, Swainsthorp, Keswick, and Keningham.—In Clavering hundred, Heckingham, Hales, Southwood.
After the death of Godric, this lordship came the Crown, and was granted by King Henry II. to Sir William de Montchensy, grandson of Hubert de Monte Canisio, who came into England with the Conqueror, in which family it continued till Dionysia, only daughter and heir of William Lord Montchensy, brought it by marriage to Sir Hugh de Vere, a younger son of the Earl of Oxford, who presented to this church in 1303; on her death, s.p. it descended to Adomare de Valentia Earl of Pembroke, son and heir of William de Valentia Earl of Pembroke, by Joan, his wife, sister of William Lord Montchensy, and aunt of the aforesaid Dionysia. On the death of the said Aylmer, in the 17th of Edward II. Mary de St. Paul Countess of Pembroke, his late wife, held it, and on her death it was assigned to Isabel, (first sister and coheir to Adomare,) the wife of John Hastings Lord Abergavenny; in this family it remained, till the decease of John Hastings Earl of Pembroke, s. p. in the 13th of Richard II. when Reginald Lord Grey of Ruthyn, was found to be his cousin and heir, lineally descended from Elizabeth, sister of John de Hastings, and daughter of John de Hastings Lord of Abergavenny, by Isabell, sister and coheir of Adomare de Valentia Earl of Pembroke.
The lords abovementioned held in capite, and this lordship was held of them, by the family of De Stivekey, or Stewkey; Bartholomew, son of Hubert de Stivekey, held a quarter of a fee in the 20th of Henry III. and in the 53d of that King, Jeffrey Stivekey and Sybill, his wife, conveyed by fine to Walter, son of Walter Tyrell of Manington, lands there and in Iteringham and Saxthorp; and Walter conveyed to Jeffrey, and his wife, their interest in the lordship of Sparham.
In the 17th of Edward II. the heirs of Jeffrey de Stewkey were found to hold the fourth part of a fee of the Earl of Pembroke, and in 1393, John Stivecle, &c. presented to this church.
The Hastings Earls of Pembroke inherited it as heirs to the Valentia family, as did the Greys Lords of Ruthyn, Earls of Kent, in the 20th of Henry VII. when George Grey Earl of Kent left it to Richard his son and heir, who sold it before his death to Charles Somerset, natural son of Henry Beaufort Duke of Somerset, created Lord Herbert of Gower, &c. and Earl of Worcester, as in Foxley; and Sir George Somerset, 3d son of Charles Earl of Worcester, was lord in the year 1539, and presented to this church, and Charles Somerset, Esq. his son, by his assigns, in 1569.
Robert Giggs of Sparham, Gent. had an interest in this lordship, under the Earls of Kent; by his will dated April 2, 1534, he desires to be buried in the church of Sparham; by Alice his wife, he had a daughter and heir, Anne, who married first, John Blakeney, Gent. by whom she had a son, John Blakency, and afterwards married Thomas Clere, who was then her husband. (fn. 2) Robert Giggs was lord of Barkyn's in Filby, &c. patron of that church, lord also of a manor in Cromer, and of the manor of Waterhouse, late Thomas Blakeney's, Esq. in Thompson; it was proved May 1, 1535, Thomas Clere being his executor.
This Robert was a relation of Sir Thomas Gegges of Rollesby, living in 1433, whose daughter, Eleanor, married Roger Atte Townsend, Esq. of Rainham.
John Blakeney, Gent. had a moiety of this manor in the 4th of Edward VI.
This family was descended from William de Blakeney, one of the bailifs of the city of Norwich in the 26th of Edward III. before that city had a mayor. It appears from the register of Sparham, that Charles, son of Charles Blakeney, Gent. and Dionysia, his wife, was baptized March 13, 1585, and William their son, December 24, 1593.—John Blakeney, Gent. and Elizabeth Green, married May 28, 1574.—Lancelot Blakeney of Sparham married at Stanhow, March 3, 1583, Grisell, daughter of - - - - - Cantrell of Stanhow, and was buried there December 8, 1632. Thomas, son of Lanselot and Grisell, was baptised December 6, 1584, at Stanhow, and Henry their son baptized at Sparham, September 19, 1586.
In a house, west of the church, where the Blakeneys lived, are to be seen in a window these arms; quarterly, in the first, sable, a chevron ermin, between three leopards faces, or, Blakeney; in the 2d sable, a frett ermin, and a chief checque, argent and of the first, Giggs; barry of six, gules and sable, 3, 2, and 1 tops, argent, Topps, in the 3d; and in the 4th quarter, or, a chevron azure, between three lions couchant gules - - - - -
In another shield, Blakeney, with his quarterings as before, impaling Breton of Wichingham, with his quarterings,—1st, quarterly per fess indented, gules and argent, a mullet in the 1st quarter sable, Breton.—2d, argent, a chevron between three seals feet erased, sable, Yarmouth. (fn. 3) —3d, gules, two lionels passant, ermin, crowned, or, Felton; —in the 4th, ermin, on a chief gules, five lozenges of the first, Ger bridge;—in the 5th, sable a fess between two chevronels, or; the 6th as the first, Breton:—another shield, Blakeney, impaling azure 5 escallops or, Methwold.
From the Somersets, the chief lords, as above observed, it was conveyed to Sir William Cordel, Knt. of Long Melford in Suffolk, and from that family by the marriage of Joan, their sister and heir, to Richard Allington, Esq. so to the Earl of Rivers, to Winwood, Pitfield, and Edward Lombe, Esq. as in Foxley, and by Mary, sister and heir of John Lombe, clerk, came by marriage to John Hase, Esq. who presented in 1747, and remains in that family.
Was (I take it) a part of Godric's lordship, and held by a family of the said name. William, son of Alexander de Sparham, lived in the reign of Richard I. Sir William de Sparham, son of William de Sparham, had license from Walter Bishop of Norwich, in 1246, to have a chantry in his chapel, in his court at Ouby, and held part of a fee here. (fn. 4)
Hubert de Sparham, and Beatrix, were living in the 35th of Henry III. as appears by a fine, and then manumitted Humphrey de Baldreswell, their villain; the heirs of Bartholomew de Sparham held the fourth part of a fee, and Adam de Sparham a fourth part of Adomare de Valentia Earl of Pembroke, in the 17th of Edward II. on the death of that Earl, as by the eschaet rolls; and William de Sparham held a fourth part of the Lord Grey of Ruthyn, in the 3d of Henry IV.
This William had a son, John, who dying s.p. his 2 sisters were his coheirs; Beatrix married to John de Folcard, and Maud to Edmund Colman; this John Folcard was an alderman of Norwich, in the 28th of Henry VI. and purchased lands in Wichingham St. Mary; so John his son was living at Sparham, and lord in the 7th of Edward IV. and by Joan his wife, (who after his death married Thomas Papworth,) was father of William Folcard, who by Joan his wife, (his widow in the 34th of Henry VIII.) left Thomas his son and heir, who dying s.p. his estate came to his two sisters and coheirs; Alice, the wife of John Coke of Ryston, and Joan, the wife of Thomas Boley. John Coke was lord in right of his wife, and left Robert Coke, Esq. of Sparham, his son and heir, whose immediate descendant, the Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Leicester, died lord, as in Holkham.
Cordel bore, gules, a chevron between three griffins heads, erased, argent, Somerset, quarterly, France and England, in a bordure, ermin.
Folcard, sable, a chevron, between three covered cups, argent.
There was also a lordship in this town, held by Robert Grenon, of which Ulric, a freeman, in King Edward's reign was lord, and ejected at the conquest; 3 carucates of land belonged to it, 5 villains, and 5 borderers with 2 servi; there were 2 carucates in demean, and 2 carucates with 5 acres of meadow among the tenants, the moiety of a mill, &c. 6 sheep and 25 goats, with 3 socmen, who held 30 acres and half of land; a carucate belonged also to it when Grenon rented it, and Osbert held it under Grenon; in Ulric's time it was valued at 60s. at the survey at 4l. (fn. 5)
Grenon had also on the conquest, the manors of Norton and Rington in Clavering hundred, of Baconsthorp in South Erpingham hundred, of Loddon in Lothingland hundred, and of Thorp in North Erpingham hundred.
This lordship came also into the King's hands, soon after the survey, and was granted to the Montchensys, and so came to the Earls of Pembroke. Avelina de Mauteby was returned to be lady of it in the 9th of Edward II. and Robert de Mauteby was found to hold one fee here, of the Earl of Pembroke, in the 35th of Edward III. Peter Mauteby, Esq. by his will, dated October 4, 1438, requires to be buried in the church of Sparham, St. Mary; and in the 20th of Henry VI. Sir Simon Felbrig, &c. trustees of Robert Mauteby, Esq. settle this lordship on John Paston, Esq. who had married Margaret, daughter and heir of John Mauteby, Esq. (son and heir of the said Robert) for life, remainder on Margaret. Margaret Paston, widow of John Paston, Esq. by her will, proved December 18, 1484, gives to each poor household in this town, late her tenants, 6s. Sir William Paston was lord in the reign of King James I. and held then (as said) of the Lord Morley, and valued at 15l. 4s. per ann.
About the year 1600, the rent of this lordship in the whole amounted to 107l. 2s. 1d. ob. q.
Hacon's lordship came also to the Crown, and was united to the other manors: it consisted of 30 acres of land, and one borderer, half a carucate and 2 acres of meadow, of which a freeman was deprived, valued at 4s. (fn. 6)
In the 3d of Edward I. this village was fined 5s. by William Riffard, then high sheriff, for not doing suit and service to the sheriff's turn.
The tenths were 7l. 5s. deducted 45s.
The Church is a regular pile, consisting of a nave, north and south isle, covered with lead, a square tower at the west end of the nave, embattled, with 5 bells, and a chancel that is tiled
It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was formerly a rectory, valued with its vicarage at 25 marks; the priory of Norwich had also a portion of tithe valued at 4 marks per ann. it consisted of two part of the tithes of the demeans of Walter de Sparham; and in 1308 was farmed by the rector at 40s. per ann. Peter-pence 6d. present valor 9l. 17s. 11d.
In the 7th of Edward I. William Fitz-Warin impleaded Bartholomew de Sparham for the right of patronage, and it was then allowed him.
1303, Thomas de Kensington, presented by Sir Hugh de Veer.
Symon de Gaynsburgh occurs rector in 1341.
1346, Nicholas Janing, by William de Clynton, Earl of Huntingdon.
1351, John Foucher, by ditto.
1355, Robert de Burwood, by the Lady Julian Hastings Countess of Huntingdon.
1375, James de Whitwell, by the King, on the minority of John Hastings Earl of Pembroke.
1387, Thomas de Wortham Ditto.
1393, John, son of Robert de Thornham, by John Styvecle, &c.
1417, William Ince, by Reginald de Grey Lord Hastings, Weysford and Ruthin.
1424, John Burdeux, by ditto.
1454, Thomas Scroope, Bishop of Dromore, by Edm. Grey Lord Hastings; he occurs suffragan to the Bishop of Norwich in 1463.
William Mustarder occurs rector 7th of Edward IV.
1493, Mr. John Wardall, S.T.B. by George Grey Earl of Kent.
1505, Richard Dykke, by Richard Grey Earl of Kent.
1539, Maur. Johns or Jones, by Sir George Somerset, Knt.
1541, William Smith, by ditto.
1554, Christopher Dixon, by his assignees, &c.
1569, William Cockman; by the assignees of Charles Somerset, Esq.
1572, Richard Bourne, by the assigns of Sir William Cordell, Knt. and Jane, relict of Richard Allington, Esq.
1608, Zorobabel Bourne, by Sir Edward Coke, and Sir Philip Stanhope, Knights.
1662, Thomas Cupper, by Richard Winwood of Quainton in Bucks, Esq.
1676, Thomas Brome, by ditto.
1688, John Taylor, by Alexander Pitfield, Esq.
1708, William King, by the executors of Edward Lombe, Esq.
1711, Robert Whitefoot, by the Queen.
1712, James Hunt, by Edward Lombe, Esq.
1743, John Lombe, by John Hase.
1747, Jos. Hogan, ditto, died rector 1763.
1763, Mr. Athill, by Mrs. Hase.
Joan Bust, widow, gave by her will, in 1481, all her lands and tenements to the building of a new isle in the south side of the church of Sparham.
Peter Mychell, parish priest, buried at the steeple door, before the image of our Lady, in 1526.
To the rectory belong convenient houses, with 66 acres of glebe land, whereof 10 are wood ground, also a little manor.
In the chancel a gravestone,
In memory of Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Neve of North Tudenham, wife of Thomas Cupper, rector of this parish, who died Feb. 20 1662.—Hic jacet Wills. Musterdar, quonda' rectr. ecclie.
On a stone with a brass plate, at the east end of the nave,
Orate p.a'i'a. Clementis Wulugby de Sp'ham qui obt. tricesimo die mens. Nov. ao. Dni. m. cccc. nonagessimo. VII. cuj. &c.
A priest in his vestments,
Hic jacet Richardus Dykke, quond. rector huj. ecclie.
Orate p. a'i'a. Willi. Folcard generosi, cu. &c.
Orate p. a'i'a. Joan Par quond. uxor Johs. Par, armigeri, et Matildefilie eoru. nup. uxor. Clement. Wulugby, que obt. XVII die Maij. A.D. m. cccclxxxxiii. quor. &c.
At the east end of the south isle.
Pray for the sowle of Elianor Cresnal, late the wife of ThomasCresnal, 1544.
The windows of the south isle have been finely illuminated with the effigies of saints, &c. There remain the shattered arms of Lord Grey, quartering Hastings, Valence, &c. and impaling Percy, quartering Lucy.
The emblem of the crucifixion, azure, 2 hands, and 2 feet, in saltire, and an heart between, proper and wounded. Coke impaling Folcard, sable a chevron, argent, between three cups covered, or;—argent, six cross crosslets fitche, sable, on a chief, azure, two mullets pierced of the first, Lord Clinton; azure, six lioncels rampant, argent Leybourn.
Thomas de Blumvyle Bishop of Norwich, confirmed the grant of John de Grey Bishop of Norwich, of the tithe of 2 parts of the demeans of Ralph de Sparham, of the gift of the said Ralph, to the priory of Norwich (fn. 7)
William de Sparham gave lands to the priory of Walsingham, in Ernald's Croft. (fn. 8) Their temporalities valued at 16d. per ann. King Henry VIII. on May 2, in his 36th year, granted to Nicholas Bacon, and Thomas Skipwith, messuages and lands late Walsingham priory's; John Atkinson, and Maud his wife, held them ao 8 of Elizabeth; and William Curson, Esq. held messuages and lands lately belonging to Beck Hospital, in the said reign.
Temporalities of St. Faith's 5s. 5d. of Bromholm priory 57s. 11d. ob.
In the church, by the old rood loft, on a gravestone,
Of your charitys pray for the sowles of Robert Gyggs, and Alys his wife, the which Robert deceased the 4th day of April, in the year of our Lord God, 1534; and the said Alys deceased the 1st of July, in 1535; with their portraitures in brass, and these arms; quarterly, in the first and fourth sable fretty, ermine, a chief checque, argent, and of the first, Gyggs; in the 2d quarter, barry nebuly, argent and vert, on on a fess three, and in chief, sable, three tops or, Topps; (fn. 9) —in the 3d, or, a chevron, azure, between 3 lions couchant, guardant gules.