Freebridge Hundred and Half: Wyken, alias Ashwyken, Lesiate, and Holt

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

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Francis Blomefield, 'Freebridge Hundred and Half: Wyken, alias Ashwyken, Lesiate, and Holt', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808) pp. 336-340. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "Freebridge Hundred and Half: Wyken, alias Ashwyken, Lesiate, and Holt", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808) 336-340. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "Freebridge Hundred and Half: Wyken, alias Ashwyken, Lesiate, and Holt", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8, (London, 1808). 336-340. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

In this section


Leuric, a Saxon freeman, held the chief lordship in Wiche, or Wica, (as it is wrote in Domesday book,) in the reign of King Edward, but the Conqueror conferred it on Rainold, son of Ivo. This Leuric was probably the great Earl of Coventry, in King Edward's time.

It consisted of two carucates of land, and Roger held it at the survey, under Rainold; in the Confessor's time, 12 villains belonged to it, afterwards but 7, with 3 borderers and 2 servi, with 20 acres of meadow; at the survey there was but one carucate in demean, formerly two, and one amongst the tenants, at the survey but half a carucate amongst them; seven socmen also belonged to it, who held under Roger 12 acres of land, 2 of meadow, and half a carucate of land, &c. formerly 200 sheep belonged to it, at the survey but 30, with the moiety of a saltpit, or work; in Leuric's time the whole was valued at 4l. per ann. at the survey at 40s. per ann. and one carucate might be recovered; the whole was 6 furlongs long, and broad, and paid 6d. gelt, when the hundred was taxed at 20s. whoever was lord of it. (fn. 1)

Alan Earl of Richmond had also a small lordship here, which extended into Bawsey, granted him by the Conqueror, on the expulsion of Ulwic, a Saxon freeman, who enjoyed it in King Edward's days, consisting of half a carucate of land, held by 7 borderers, with 9 acres of meadow, also half a carucate, the moiety of a mill, and the moiety of a saltpit, valued at 5s. per ann. and Ribald held it of Alan. Robert Malet had seized, in Lesiate, on two freemen who had 60 acres, and 4 of meadow, with a carucate and a borderer, and mill, valued at 5s. the predecessor of Roger Bigot had the protection only of them. (fn. 2)

These two lordships abovementioned also extended into two little adjoining towns, Lesiat and Holt, which towns are accounted for under this town of Wyken; Lesyate is still a distant separate parish, and has a church belonging to it, but Holt, or Holthouse, has none, and is now esteemed as part of the parish of Lesiate.

In the 6th year of Henry III. Hugh de Noiun or Nugun was lord of Wyke, Leziate, and Holt; and conveyed part of the said townships by fine to Odo, abbot of Caen in Normandy, lord of the manor of Wells or Wells priory in Geyton, reserving to himself, and his men of Wyke, common of pasture in the town of Holt; and at the said time, the abbot granted to Hugh, 7 acres of land and 3 of meadow, with several parcels of marsh. In the 44th of the said King, a fine was levied between John, then prior of Castleacre, querent, and Nicholas abbot of Caen, of lands in Wyke, Lesyat, Holt, Well, Geyton, &c. and in the said year, Amabilia de Wiken was found to hold 2 parts of a fee here, of Ralph Noioun, and the fourth part of one of Ralph Cheney.

Henry Nugun was found in the third of Edward I. to hold the lordship of Askewiken, &c. of the honour of Dover, and paying to the castle guard 20s. per ann. and to have the assise of bread, beer, &c. here we find this town called Askewyken: Wyke or Wyken, signifies a stream or run of water, Wi, Gui, and Eu, is often added to places, and expresses alone water: Guido, Wido, and Eudo, is a Christian name also, and I have met in ancient deeds, where one person has at different times wrote himself under in each of those different names; the adjunct Aske or Ash, we often meet with, and is not to be interpreted (as is, and has been frequently) to signify an ash tree, or place of ashes, but an aske, uske or ousy, that is wet or watery soil. (fn. 3) In the 10th of Edward I. it is wrote Askewyk, when Robert de Stokes, and Beatrix his wife, conveyed lands to Robert, son of Constantine of Westacre, lying in this town; and in the 11th of Edward II. Henry de Holt and Thomas de Fransham had 2 messuages, with lands in Askewyken, Bawsey, Geyton, Muston, &c. conveyed to them by Walter Ryvel of Ikworth, and Margaret his wife.

In the 20th of Edward III. John de Wyken, &c. was found to hold two parts of a fee in Wyken, and Geyton, of John Nugon, which Amabilia de Wyken formerly held.

The priory of Wells, in Geyton, appears also to have a lordship here from the grant abovementioned, of Hugh de Noiun, to Odo, abbot of Caen, &c. and their temporalities were valued in 1428, at 3l. 17s. 8d. per ann. This was afterwards granted, on the dissolution of the priories alien, together with that priory, to John Wodehouse, Esq. who had the rent of assise in Lysyate and Holt, as lord, in the 9th year of King Henry VI.

After this, John Jenkin, Gent. conveyed by fine, in the 28th of Henry VIII. the 3d part of the manor of Glosthorpe, with lands in Wyken, Lesyate, Holt, Geyton, &c. to Thomas Thuresby, Esq. (as in Glosthorp) and the said Thomas Thorisby died seized of the manor of Ashwyken, with its appertenances, in the 36th of Henry VIII. The Thorisbys seem to have lived here at this time. Edmund Thoresby, Esq. son of Thomas, by his last will, dated December 20, 1547, desires to be buried in the church of Ashwyken, appoints Ursula his wife executrix, and mentions his brother, Francis Thoresby, Esq. proved January 9 following. (fn. 4) In the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, Thomas Thoreshy, Esq. had livery of the manors of Ashwiken, Bawsey, Glosthorp, &c. being son and heir of Edmund. In this family it remained till about the year 1700, when Francis Thoresby, Esq. of Geywood, sold it to John Drury, Esq. who in 1675 presented to the rectory as lord.

The said John Drury, Esq. (a branch of the Drurys of Rougham in Suffolk) married Elizabeth, one of the daughters and coheirs of George Fowler, Esq. of Weeting, and was lord of Holt; from the Drurys it was conveyed to the Honourable Roger North, Esq. of Rougham in Norfolk, about the year 1700.

In 1754, George Wright, Esq. died seized of the manors of Ashwicken, Glosthorp, Lesyate, and Holt, with the advowsons of Ashwiken and Lesyate; and were advertised to be sold by a decree of chancery, on January 29, 1754. He was son of — Wright, Esq. of Sandy Downham, in Suffolk, and married a daughter of Roger North, Esq.

The Honourable John Spencer, Esq. bought them, and his widow now possesses them, or his son the Lord Spencer.

In the 16th of Richard II. Reginald Farmer, and others, aliened to the master of the gild of St. Mary, in Le Baylle de Thetford, one messuage called Chapel-Hall, another called Chaterys, and 26 acres of land in Thetford, one messuage, 80 acres of land, and 10 of pasture in Askewyken, with lands in Mildenhale and Croxton.

The temporalities of the prior of Pentney, in Wyken, were valued in 1428, at 18s. 11d. per ann. Those of the prior of Westacre, at 3s. 10d.

Concealed lands in Ashwyken and Lezyate granted April 10, ao. 16 Elizabeth, to Edmund Dyer, and Henry Cressener, with the rectories of Ashwyken and Lesyate.

The Church of Ashwyken is dedicated to All-Saints, and was appropriated to Westacre priory; the rectory was valued at 5 marks and an half, and the vicarage at 30s. and paid Peter-pence, 8d. and stands now charged with Lesyate, at 6l. 13s. 4d. and discharged of first fruits and tenths.


1316, John de Wreningham, presented to Ashwyken vicarage, by the prior of Westacre.

1349, William Chapman, vicar.

1351, John Trot.

John de Lexham.

1360, William de Geyst.

1361, John Mersey.

1367, Ralph Gerard alias Carleton.

1388, Richard Stangrene.

William Claypole.

1402, William Reynold.

1405, John Marsh.

1410, Robert Chalke.

1444, Thomas Wrestlingworth.

1456, William Pygot.

1459, Robert Dawes.

1476, Robert Skirlagh.

1491, John Smith.

1496, Thomas Dyman.

1508, John Trunch, by the Bishop, united to Lesyate.

1546, John Halsted, by the King.

1555, Thomas Serjeant, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1569, John Bramull, by the assignees of Sir Thomas Gresham.

1589, Peter Smith, by the Queen.

1600, Jordan Chadwick, by Sir Horatio Palavicini.

John Bramall occurs vicar in 1604.

1608, Osbert Howes, by Thomas Thursby, Esq.

1617, Robert Powis, by Thomas Thursby.

1633, William Holly, by the King, a lapse.

1675, Thomas Tyson, by John Drury, Esq.

1679, Bartholomew Algood, by John Drury.

1716, Martin Challis, by Elizabeth Janes, spinster.

1757, James Nind, by Philip Nind of London.

About the Reformation it became a rectory, and so continues.

Out of this rectory a yearly pension was paid of 26s. 8d. The rectory-house exchanged for one belonging to Thomas Thorisby, Esq. by Osbert Hopes, with the Bishop's consent, in 1609; and the pension then paid to him, as above, of 26s. 8d. In this church was the guild of St. Peter.

The Church of Lesyate was dedicated to All-Saints, and appropriated to the priory of Westacre; the rectory was valued at 5 marks and an half, and the vicarage at 30s.; and the patronage of it was in the priory, and paid Peter-pence, 6d.


1312, Edmund de Schipedene, to Lesyate vicarage, by the prior of Westacre.

1349, Walter Rychey.

1380, Adam Crask.

1382, John Lovedouse.

1390, John Baxtere.

1395, John Benne.

1397, Edmund Baldwin.

1400, Thomas Halle.

1405, Edmund Wodehouse.

1408, Richard Haxere.

1415, Roger Sket. William Gameleston.

1416, Hugh Wynehoute.

1424, Adam Neche.

1441, Bened. Whiting, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1442, Thomas Boterell.

1449, Robert Dawe.

1460, Thomas Marum.

1462, John Curteys.

1464, Richard Sparowe.

John Sever.

1474, Thomas Dyman: after this, it was united to Ashwyken.

In this church was the guild of St. Mary. Service is performed in this church every third Sunday, and two Sundays at Ashwicken.


  • 1. Terre Rainaldi filii Ivonis.—Wiche ten Leuricus lib. ho. ii car terre t. r. e. mo. tenet Rog. tc. xii villi. mo. vii. sep. iii bor. et ii ser. et xx ac. pt'i. tc. ii car. in d'nio. mo. i tc. i car. ho'um. mo. dim. Hic. jacent vii soc. xii ac. t're. et ten. idem. et ii ac. p'ti. sep. dim. car. tc. v an. tc. vii por. mo. tc. cc. ov. mo. xxx tc. dim. sal. tc. val. iiii lib. mo. xl sol. et i car. potest restaurari. Tota ht. vi quar. in long. et in lato. et reddit vid. de xx sol. de gelto qu'cq; ibi teneat.
  • 2. Terre Alani Comitis—In Wica et Boweseia dim. car. t're. ten. Uluic lib. ho. T. R. E. vii bord. ix ac. p'ti. dim. car. dim mol. dim. saline, et val. v sol. tenet dim. (viz. Ribald.)
  • 3. Ash or Esh, is the name of a river in Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Sussex, &c.
  • 4. Reg. Wymer Norw. p. 51.