Freebridge Hundred and Half: Appleton

Pages 328-332

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

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This name is partly British, and partly Saxon, being derived from Ab or Av, which signifies, and is the name of a river in Wales, and the Saxon Ton or Tun, a town; (fn. 1) thus in the Itinerary of Antoninus, Appleby is wrote Aballaba, seated on the river Eden in Westmoreland, and Appledore in Kent on the river Rother; and thus the river Avon in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, &c.

In Domesday book it is wrote Apletuna, and Appletuna, and was then divided into 2 lordships; Rr. Bigot, ancestor to the Earls of Norfolk of that name, was lord of one.

This was held in King Edward's time by Aba, under Stigand the Archbishop, for a manor, and had 2 carucates of land, 20 borderers, 2 servi, and 10 acres of meadow; there were 2 carucates in demean, and 4 and an half among the tenants, &c. valued at the survey at 50s. per ann. but before that at 40s. and there was a church then endowed with 12 acres, valued at 12d. (fn. 2)

The family of De la Rokele was very early possessed of this manor, held by them of the family of de Vallibus or Vaux, and they of the Bigots; in the time of King John, Richard de Rupella, or Rokele, was lord in the 22d of Henry III. Oliver de Vaux granted by fine, to Richard de Rupella, several lordships in Norfolk and Suffolk, to be held of him by the service of five knights fees; and in the 43d of the said King, Sir Richard de Rokele of Appleton was a witness to a deed of Sir Richard de la Rokele of Wokendon in Essex, of the manor of Gately in Norfolk.

In the 14th of Edward I. Richard, son of William de la Rokele, claimed the advowson of the church of Appleton, from the prior of Westacre, who is said to hold it unjustly, which Richard de Rupella, grandfather to this Richard, gave to that priory.

In the 16th of the said King, he was found to hold 5 knights fees here, in Watton, Trouse, &c. (on the death of John de Vaux in that year) of the said John. This Richard, in the 25th of the said reign, had the King's license to give to the abbot of St. Bennet of Holm, his manor of Grangville in Stoke Crouch, (fn. 3) in exchange for several tenants in Appleton, Newton, Sandringham, and Wolfreton.

Richard de la Rokele occurs lord in the 9th of Edward II. when the prior of Flitcham's manor was found to extend into this township; but in the 20th year of Edward III. William de la Rokele was found to hold one fee here of the Lady Ross, the Lady Margery, relict (as I take it) of William Lord Ross of Hamlake, a descendant of William de Ros, who married Maud, daughter and coheir of John de Vaux.

Afterwards it came to the Copledikes; Sir John Copledike held it in the 9th of Richard II. and in the 3d year of King Henry IV. John Copledike was found to hold it by one fee of the heirs of Lord Ross, and they of the King; but in the 18th of Edward IV. it was conveyed by fine from John Copledike, and Margaret his wife to John Coket; and Anthony Coket, Esq. conveyed it in the 36th of Henry VIII. to John Conysby, with the manor of Newton, viz. 20 messuages, 1000 acres of land, 100 of meadow, 200 of pasture, 100 of wood, 1000 of furze and health, and 6l. per ann. rent, in Appleton, Newton, Sandringham, Flitcham, &c. which Ann Cocket held for life; and Humphrey Coninsby, Esq. was lord in the 4th of Elizabeth. After this, it came to the Pastons.

In 1571, Clement Paston enjoyed it, the famous sea captain who built Oxnede hall, lately the seat of the Earl of Yarmouth; he was 4th son of Sir William Paston of Paston in Norfolk, by Bridget his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Heydon; Clement left it by will, to Sir Edward Paston, and died in 1597; Sir Edward was his nephew, son of Sir Thomas Paston, (5th son of Sir William Paston aforesaid,) and his Lady Agnes, daughter and heir of Sir John Leigh of Addington in Surry, Knt. this Sir Edward built Appleton-hall, and married Margaret, daughter of Henry Berney, Esq. of Reedham in Norfolk, by whom he had Thomas, his eldest son, from whom the Pastons of Berningham in Norfolk are descended. William, his second son, had this manor, and married Agnes, daughter and coheir of William Everard of Lyngstead, in Suffolk, Esq. by whom he had William his son, lord of Appleton in 1664, who by Mary his wife, daughter of James Lawson of Brough in Yorkshire, had William Paston of Appleton, Esq.; in this family it still remains; William Paston, Esq. of Horton in Wiltshire is lord.

The seat of this family, a very agreeable handsome pile, was burnt to the ground in 1767, and the family was in great danger of being, burnt in their beds, if a shepherd had not wakened them; on this, they removed to Horton in Wiltshire, and in 1720, John Paston, Esq. resided there, and was lord also of that place.—The hall seems to have been built in 1596, that date being on the gate-house, or lodge leading to it.

Another lordship in this village was granted to Peter de Valoins, a Norman chief, who held at the survey, Dersingham, to which town this was a beruite, and Babingley in this hundred; Culvesthorp in Smethden hundred; Patesley and Gateley, in Launditch hundred; Snoring, Ryborough Parva, and Saxlingham in Gallow hundred; Ryborough Magna, Testerton and Rudham in Brothercross hundred; Gunthorp and Edgefield, in Holt hundred; Binham Etduuella, (Wells,) Berlei, (Berney,) Walsingham and Holkham, in North-Greenhow hundred, and Dalling, in Einsford hundred.

Turgis held it under Valoins; there were then 2 carucates, one was demean land, and 5 borderers, 7 acres and an half of meadow, one servus belonging to it, and it was valued with the lordship of Dersinham, where see further of the Lords de Valoines. (fn. 4)

Part of this was granted to the prior of Flitcham, who in the 9th of Edward II. was found to have a lordship here; and in the 6th of Richard II. Thomas de Flitcham aliened with others, to this priory, a messuage, 4 tofts, 133 acres of land, with the rent of 45s. per ann. in this town, Flitcham, Hillington, &c. and the temporalities of the said house in 1428, were valued at 45s. in this village, and concealed lands here were granted by Queen Elizabeth September 2, ao. 20, to John Farneham lately the prior of Flitcham's.

In the 13th of Edward II. a fine was levied between John de Insula, (L'isle) junior, and John de Birston and Margaret his wife, of a messuage, 97 acres of land, and 6s. rent per ann. settled on de Insula in Appleton, Newton, Flitcham, &c.; and in the 16th of Edward III. another was levied between Ralph de Hynton, and Beatrix his wife, and Thomas de Castle-Rysing, John Atteforth, and John Maupas, clerks, of 4 messuages, 211 acres of land, 15 of meadow, 12s. and 6d. rent here, &c. which Mary de L'Isle held for life, conveyed from the heirs of Beatrix, to John Maupas.—Jeremy Wodehouse, and Anne his wife, William Daubeney, junior, and Cecilia his wife, Henry Usher, and Margaret his wife, conveyed also in the 31st of Henry VI. several messuages, and great parcels of land here, in Newton, and Flitcham, &c. to John Lovell; afterwards the Cobbs of Sandringham held this manor. In the 20th of Elizabeth, William, son of Jeffrey Cobbe, had livery of a lordship in Appleton; from the Cobbs it came to Sir Edward Atkins, and to Joseph Host, Esq. and so to Henry Cornish Henely, Esq. as in Sandringham, his manor of Babingley extending here.

The temporalities of the prior of Westacre in this town were valued in 1428 at 41s. per ann. Robert Dogget, in the 12th of Henry III. granted lands by fine to that prior.

In this town (which now consists of about 4 or 5 houses) a coin of Antoninus Pius was found.

The Church was dedicated to St. Mary; the rectory was appropriated to Westacre priory, and valued at 5l. per ann. and a vicarage was on this settled; the present valor of it is 8l. per ann.; the patronage of it is in the Pastons, who are also impropriators of the rectory; Peter-pence were 8d.

The church is mostly in ruins; it was covered with lead, and had a round tower, and is a single pile; I found horses chained together in the porch, and in the church, both in a filthy condition, and no door to the church.

At the east end lies a gravestone

In memory of Frances—,widow of Edward Paston of B—, Esq; who died Feb. 15, 1665, daughter to Sir John Sydenham of Brympton in Somersetshire.

On another,

Agnes Paston Gulielmi Everard, de Linstead, filia, vidua Gulielmi Paston, armig. mundanis vere vidua, in charitate clara. obt. xi. die Apr. A. D. 1676, ætat. suæ 73.

On a third,

Hic requiescit corpus Tho. Paston, militis, obt. apud Congham.

Henry Daniel of Appleton, Gent. was buried in this church in 1498, and Robert Daniel his son in 1539.

Southward of the church, about 50 yards, is a curious spring, called Holy-Well, and a little stream or rivulet proceeds from it.

Philip Sidenham occurs rector in the time of King John, presented by William de la Rokele, and in the 14th of Edward I. the prior of Westacre had license of having the advowson granted to him from Richard, son of William de la Rokele.


1310, William de Mildenhale, vicar by the prior, &c. Westacrs.

1314, Richard de Synterle Ditto.

1329, John de Wesenham. Ditto.

1349, Robert Man de Gothirst, by the prior, &c. of Westacre.

1355, William Portman. Ditto.

1361, William, son of Simon Smith, by the prior, &c. of Castleacre.

Richard Pulling.

1367, William Buntyng, by the prior, &c. of Westacre.

Simon occurs vicar in 1377.

1389, Thomas Laurence. Ditto.

1392, John de Holmesle. Ditto.

1407, Thomas Atefen, (an exchange for Creting St. Olave's.) Ditto.

1410, Thomas Sewale, (an exchange for Fornham Genev.) Ditto.

1412, John Cartere. Ditto.

1414, Robert Perlyngton, (an exchange for Dunton.) Ditto.

1417, John Amy. Ditto.

1418, Robert Perlyngton. Ditto.

1426, John Clerk. Ditto.

1492, Richard Jewylham, collated by the Bishop, on a lapse,

1528, Richard Howton, by ditto.

1531, Henry Bickham, by the prior, &c. of Westacre.

1581, Robert Bonning, by the Queen.

1584, John Gibson. Ditto.

1591, Robert Feilden, by William and Clemenl Paston, Esq.

1620, James Webster, licensed curate; the vicarage valued at 8l.

Stephen Beaumont, curate.

1705, Thomas Gill had the sequestration.

1705, William Day, presented by Joseph Coldham, assignee of — Paston, Esq. in the Court of Augmentation.

In the account of the receiver-general, in Henry the Eighth's time, 7l. per ann. was allowed to the vicar, and called a perpetual pension, by the receiver, ao. 13th of Elizabeth.


  • 1. See Baxter's Glossarium, p. 1.
  • 2. Terra Regis Bigoti, hundr. et dim. de Fedebruge. Applatuna ten. Alba ii car. t're. p. m. de Stigando sep. xx bor. et ii ser. x acr. p't. et ii car. in d'nio. et iiii car. et dim. ho'um. tnc. i r. tnc. vi por. mo. xxxv tnc.liii ov. mo. xiiii et val. tnc. xl sol. mo. l et ten. ide'. ecclie xii ac. et val. xiid.
  • 3. Reg. Hulm. p. 14.
  • 4. Terre Petri Valoniensis.—In Appletuna tenet Turgis i beruita que sep. jacet huic manerio (viz Dersingham) i car. t're. et i car. in d'nio. tnc. et p. iii bor. mo. v et vii ac. pt'i. et dim, tnc. et p. i serv. tnc. c. ov. mo. ii ov.