Eynford Hundred: Whitwell

Pages 292-296

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.

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Ralph, son of Ivo, was principal lord of this town, of which Ketel, a freeman, was deprived at the conquest: it consisted of 2 carucates and 15 acres of land, and 8 villains, 17 borderers and 4 servi, with 2 carucates in demean, 6 carucates among the tenants, 14 acres of meadow, &c. 3 mills, the moiety of a fishery, when Ivo entered on it, 2 runci, 6 cows, 80 swine, 50 sheep, 20 goats, and 6 skeps of bees. Two freemen had also half a carucate of land, with 3 acres of meadow, and 2 freemen one carucate of land, a carucate and 2 acres of meadow, with paunage for 5 swine; it was valued at 4l. per ann. but at the survey at 6l. and 16d. and these 2 freemen at 6s.; it was one leuca long, and half a leuca broad, paid 5d. gelt, when the hundred was taxed at 20s. (fn. 1)

Whitwell, alias Gambon's Manor.

In the 12th of King John, a fine was levied between Philip de Gyney, of a mill in Whitwell, which Maud de Gyney, mother of William, held in dower, whereby it was granted to Will. and Maud, and the heirs or Will. who granted license to Philip, and his brother Frary, to build a mill in Hackford, with a watercourse to it, through the land of the said William in Hackford, and Witewell, of the breadth of six, and 5 feet deep. And by a deed, sans date, William de Gyney confirmed to his brother Roger, the grant which the lady his mother had given him of an acre of land, with a messuage, late Ralph's, by the chapel of St. Nicholas in Whitwell, to be held of the said lady during her life, and after of him.

In the 34th of Henry III. William de Whitwell impleaded Walter Ingham for 2 carucates of land in this town, Refham, &c. and in 1260, presented to the church of Skeyton, which came to him by he marriage of Clarice, or Catherine, daughter and coheir of Hugh de Skeyton.

Richer de Whitwell was living in the 46th of that King, and had a lordship here. William, son and heir of Richer, paid relief in the 51st of that reign, for all his father's land; and Richer, son of William de Witwell, gave in the reign of Edward I. lands here, to Walsingham priory. Reg. Wals. fol. 102.

Sir William de Quitwell died lord in the 22d year of Edward I. seized of a manor here, (and of Skeyton and Runhall,) without issue; and John was his brother and heir, aged 40, and lord of Winterborn Kingston, in Dorsetshire; this John died in the 26th of the said King, seized of this manor, held of the honour of Gloucester, by the moiety of one fee, valued at 11l. 12s. per ann. and William was his son and heir.

In the 8th of Edward II. William de Whitwell held half a fee of the honour of Gloucester, and Roger Gyney 4 fees here, &c. of the said honour, as appears by the escheat rolls. William de Whitwell, and Catherine his wife, were living in the 18th of Edward II.; and in the 12th of Edward III. Nicholas de Hederset, as trustee, settled on William and Catherine, and their heirs, this lordship, with 3 messuages, 22 acres of land, 3 of meadow, 5 of pasture, and 44s. rent in Hackford, Alderford, &c. the said William was living in the 20th of that King, and father of Simon de Whitwell, who presented to the church of Skeyton in 1367: by his daughter and coheir, Cecily, it came to William Gambon, Esq. who was lord in 1378 and 1396; Richard their son died young, and had a son, Richard, who dying sans issue, John his brother, succeeded, and died possessed of it in 1432, leaving Ellen his wife in possession of it for life; then it came to Robert Sterne, Esq. lord ao. 22 Henry VI. son of Joan, (sister and heir of John,) by her husband,— Sterne; and Thomas, son of Robert, and Margaret his wife, dying without issue, July 3, in the first year of Edward IV. left Henry, his brother and heir, at whose death, in the 13th of that King, Henry his son was a minor, aged 4 years; on his death he was succeeded by Simon Sterne, who occurs lord in 1548, and in the 4th and 5th of Philip and Mary, sold it to Thomas and Robert (fn. 2) Coke, Gent. 2 brothers; Thomas dying, Robert held it during the minority of George, son and heir of Thomas; this George held his first court in October, the 18th of Elizabeth, and gave it in the 7th of James I. to Augustine Messenger, Gent. his brother-in-law, by Joan, the widow of Thomas Coke, who remarried Henry Messenger.

Roger Messenger, Gent. held his first court in the 3d of King Charles I. and in the 9th of that King, Augustine Messenger, Gent. and John Bendish, Gent. were guardians to Augustine Messenger, a minor, and held a court in 1659; this Augustine married Susan, daughter of Charles Prettyman, Gent. of Bacton in Suffolk.

By an inquisition taken October 4, in the 2d of Charles I. before William Leek, Esq. on the death of Augustine Messenger, who died June 10, in the said year, Roger was found his son and heir, aged 24, who dying without issue, was succeeded by Augustine his brother, who on his death in 1650, left Augustine his son and heir, who living a bachelor, left it on his decease, in 1630, to Robert Monsey, clerk, son of Thomas Monsey of Hackford, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and coheir of Thomas Messenger, Gent.

Robert, by Mary, his 2d wife, daughter of Roger Clopton, clerk, rector of Downham, in the Isle, had Messenger Monsey, M. D. physician of Chelsea college, now living.

Whitwell bore gules, a cross, patonce, argent,—Messenger, vert, a bend, voided, and ingrailed, argent, — Gambon, azure, a fess, between three eagles legs, couped at the thigh, or.

Ross's Manor.

The part of Whitwell, which constituted this lordship, was a beruite to Causton, and held by Harold in King Edward's days, and after when King of England; on his death, the Conqueror possessed it, containing one carucate of land; and 10 borderers, one carucate in demean, one among the tenants, &c. five acres of meadow, and was valued in Causton. (fn. 3)

This lordship was held of the family of de Vaux; Hugh de Vaux conveyed it by fine, to Adam, prior of Castleacre, (fn. 4) before Henry de Bath, John de Gatesden, &c. the King's justices, with 15s. per ann. ao. 35 Henry III. out of a mill here.

In the 11th of Edward I. on the death of Sir John de Vaux, it came to Robert Lord Roos, and Maud his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir John, and from the family of the Lord Roos, by marriage, to the family of Manners, afterwards Earls of Rutland, &c.

The inhabitants of this manor in the 26th of Richard II. claimed a freedom from toll, as ancient demean of the Crown.

Henry Earl of Rutland conveyed by fine, in the 33d of Henry VIII. this lordship to Ralph Symonds, Esq. and Elizabeth, his widow, held her first court in the 4 and 5 of Philip and Mary; Ralph was descended from John Symonds, Gent. of Suffield in Norfolk, father of John Symonds of Cley by the Sea, who died July 24, 1492, and had by Anne his wife, John his son and heir, who died January 14, and left by Anne his wife, who died May 31, 1512, Ralph abovementioned, who died February 2, 1557, and by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of William Bishop of Great Yarmouth, was father of Gyles Symonds, who by Catherine his wife, daughter of Sir Anthony Lee of Burston in Bucks, had Ralph, who married Anne, daughter of Jeffrey Cobb of Sandringham, Esq. and kept his first court in the 39th of Elizabeth, and was father of John Symonds, Esq. who kept his first court in the first year of Charles I. and left by Anne his wife, daughter of — Toothby of Lincolnshire: Gyles, his son and heir, who sold it to Augustine Messenger, Gent. in September, 1678, who gave it to Robert Monsey, clerk, lord of this manor, and that of Gambon's in 1707.

The tenths of this town were 4l. 10s. 6d. Deducted 12s. The temporalities of Pentney, 12d. Spiritualities of St. Faith's, 10s. Of Stoke college 1 mark.

The Church of Whitwell is dedicated to St. Michael, and was a rectory, but being granted by Sir John de Vaux, son of Sir Oliver, to the priory of Pentney, with one acre of land, was appropriated to it by Roger Bishop of Norwich, on the first of August, 1256, and a vicarage was ordained; the present valor of which, is 7l. 12s. 4d. The valor of the rectory was 15 marks. The church is leaded, has a square tower, with 5 bells, and a clock, and a chancel covered with lead.


1321, John Makehayt instituted vicar, nominated by the Bishop of Norw. presented by the prior, &c. of Pentney.

1345, Thomas Stulevill, collated by the Bishop, a lapse.

1349, Thomas Martyn, nominated by the Bishop, presented by the prior.

1375, John Benjamin. Ditto.

1413, William Fitz-Piers. Ditto.

1415, William Symond.

William de Spanley, vicar.

1423, John Skot.

1441, Simon Friskney.

John Bytham, vicar.

1477, Edmund Glydrow.

1492, John Robinson.

1493, Robert Northern.

William Stalworthy, vicar.

1525, Henry Danyel.

1541, John Warner, by the King.

1542, Christopher Lockwood, by the King.

In his 35th year, King Henry VIII. on December 3, granted to Robert and Gyles Townsend, Esq. this impropriated rectory, lately belonging to Pentney priory, with the advowson of the vicarage; and license was granted to Robert Townsend, Esq. in the said year, to alienate it to Robert Cooke, and Winefride his wife, who soon after alienated it to Thomas Bayfeld, in trust; and on April 18, in the said year, by indenture tripartite, betwixt Robert Coke, owner of the fee simple, of the parish church of Whitwell, and Christopher Lokwod, clerk, parson of Hackford, and vicar of Whitwell, of the 2d part, and Thomas Bayfeld, William Brese, &c. of Hackford, very and undoubted patrons of the vicarage of Whitwell, on the 3d part, witnesseth that as the church of Hackford, and the chancel, with all the church goods, ornaments and jewels, and most part of the houses in Hackford, were burnt by misfortune, the said church was consolidated to that of Whitwell, by William, Bishop of Norwich, all parties consenting.

William Colleson, vicar.

1601, William Dawson, by Sir Christopher Heydon.

1602, Robert Lambkyn.

1617, William Quelch.

1620, Robert Griffith.

1633, Robert Blofield.

1637, Thomas Symonds.

1684, John Pitts.

1689, Nathaniel Palgrave.

1706, John Palgrave.

1721, Robert Cory.

1750, Mr. Neal.

1758, Mr. Buckle, who occcurs vicar in 1760.

In the chancel, on a gravestone,

M. S. Augustini Messinger gen. et Susannæ uxoris ejus filiæ & cohered. Caroli Pretiyman, nup. de Bacton Suff. gen. qui reliquerunt unicum filium Augustinum, hæc obt. 5 cal. Apr. 1653, ætat. 35.—Ille 6 cal. Nov. sequentis anni ætat. 49—M. S. Augustini ab Augustino Messinger gen filii unici cui cælebs obt. 4 Oct. 1690.—Augustine Messinger, gent. died June 9, 1626, married to his 2d wife, Mary, daughter of Reynold Mead, Esq. of Essex.—Rachel, late wife of Augustine Messinger, gent. daughter of John Bowles, Esq. died May 25, 1609.— George Coke, gent. died February 7, 1609.

Aug. Barber, and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Monsey of Hackford, children of Nicholas Barber of Fresingfield, Suffolk, gent. by Anne Messenger, daughter of Aug. Messinger, he died August 7, 1656, she May 3, 1666.

The church stands in the same cemetery, or churchyard, as that of Reefham; on the south side of the church is a chapel, with the arms of Vaux on the stone-work, and in the church windows are the said arms, with those of Lord Ross.

In this town was also a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, valued at 7l. 15s. 9d. it belonged to the priory of Pentney, given by the family of de Vaux; at the Dissolution it was granted to Robert Townsend, Esq. and came after to Robert Coke, and to the dean and chapter of Norwich.

Roger de Gyney, parson of Wytewell, sans date, gave to Trinity church of Norwich, the homage of William at the chapel of Wytewell, 12d. per ann. out of his messuage between his court or hall, and the land of Sir William de Wytewell, Knt.; he also confirmed to Castleacre priory, the gift of his father, &c. of Ossemill, with an annual rent of 5s. (fn. 5) Gilbert, son of Richard and Adeleedis his wife, gave to the monks of Castleacre, 10s. out of the tithe of the mills here.

The prior of Horsham St. Faith's had 2 parts of the tithes of the demeans of Sir William de Whitwell, son of Richard de Whitewell; and Raymond the prior, leased it to Roger, prior of Pentney, for 26s. per ann.

On a gravestone also in the church,

Depositum Johs. Wigget, cives et Aldermanni Norwici, filii Gulielmi Wigget de Geist, in Norf. qui obt. sine prole ao. 1692, æt. 73. — Hic jacent cruviæ Thomæ filii Robt. Monsey, &c. obt. prid. cal. Feb. 1720, æt. 25.


  • 1. Terra Rainaldi filii Ivonis— Witewella tenet i lib. ho. T. R. E. ii car. t're. et xv ac. p. man. tc. et p. viii vill. mo. vii sep. xvii bor. tc. i p. iii s. mo. ii sep. ii car. in d'nio. te. et p. vi car. ho'um p. et mo. iiii et xiiii ac. p'ti. silv. lxxx por. iii mol. mo. ii et dim. prisc. qu'. rece. ii r. mo. i vi an. tc. lxxx por. mo. xxxiiii tc. l ovs. mo. lx. sep. xx cap. tc. vi vasa apu'. mo. xii et ii libi. ho'es. dim. car. t're. tc. et p. i car. et dim. mo. i et iii ac p'ti et ii libi. ho'es dim. car. t're. sep. i car. et ii ac. p'ti. silv. v por tc val. iiii lib. mo. vi lib. et xvid. Isti ii libi. ho'es. val. vi sol. et ht. i leug. in long. et dim. in lat. et redd. vd. in geldu' de hundret. de xxs.
  • 2. Robert was a lawyer of Lincoln's Inn.
  • 3. Terra Regis —In Witewella i beruita que jacet in Caustuna ten. Herald. T. R. E. i car. t're. tc. x bor. mo. vii sep. i car. in d'nio. tc. i car. hou'. mo. null. silva xx por. et v ac. p'ti. et e. in p'tio. de Castona.
  • 4. Reg. Castle. fol. 51.
  • 5. Reg. Castleacre f. 51.