An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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That is a ham or dwelling by the river Cong, as called by the ancient Britons; thus Congleton, also, a town in Cheshire.
William Earl Warren and Surrey had a carucate of land held before the conquest by a freeman, and 14 borderers, one carucate in demean, with half a carucate amongst the tenants, the moiety of a fishery; 12 freemen also held half a carucate, with 15 acres of land the moiety of a salt-pit, and 8 acres of meadow, valued at 20s. which he had by an exchange of lands at Lewes in Sussex.
He had also the patronage of a church here, and one carucate of land held by a freeman, eleven borderers, and one servus, with 10 acres of meadow; there was one carucate in demean, and 5 freemen held 8 acres of land, and half a carucate, with a mill, valued at 20s.
And one freeman here, and 2 freemen in Grimstun, had each a carucate of land, 14 borderers, a carucate and an half, and 15 acres, and 11 of meadow; and 8 freemen half a carucate and 11 acres of land, the moiety of a salt-pit, valued at 22s. per ann. (fn. 1)
What the Earl Warren held as above mentioned, at the survey, was afterwards held under him by different persons, but the principal part of it was granted to a family, who being enfeoffed herein, assumed the name of Congham, as lords of it. Walter de Congham was lord, and Jeffrey de Congham, and gave their tithe to the priory of Castleacre, in the time of Henry I.
Jeffrey de Congham held 2 carucates of land, with a messuage here and the advowson of the church of the priory of Castleacre, before the reign of King Henry III. and about the 20th of that King, William de Congham was found to hold 3 parts of a fee of the Earl Warren.
In the 52d of the said King, Hugh Jernegan and Ela his wife released by fine to Robert, son of John de Fransham, a messuage, 90 acres of land, and 10s. rent, here and in Hyllington, with all their wards, reliefs, escheats, &c. being Ela's inheritance, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas de Ingaldesthorp; and in the 16th of Edward I. Thomas de Jernemutha (Yarmouth) and Aveline his wife, sold lands here to John de Congham.
At an assise held at Lynn, on Thursday in pentecost week, in the 30th of Edward I. before R. de Rocheford and Henry Spigurnel, the jury found Ralph de Congham to hold a messuage, 2 carucates of land, and the advowson of a church of the prior of Castleacre, by the service of 30s. per ann. and the rent being in arrears, the prior strained for the same, and Adam de Congham, with others unknown, recovered the seizure, so that the prior recovered damages to the value of 9l. and Adam was taken into custody.
About this time, Henry Digon and Philippa his wife, and Reginald de Sprouston held 2 parts of a fee of the heirs of Jordan Folyet; this Reginald presented as lord to the church of St. Andrews in, 1300, and 1305, and in the reign of Edward II.
Robert de Repps was found to hold a quarter of a fee in this town, and Geyton, of the Earl of Pembroke, as of the castle of Acre; but in 1329, and 1343, Reginald de Baldeswell, and in 1349, Thomas de Baldeswell, presented to the church aforesaid, as chief lords of this fee; in 1367, Adam Humpfrey of Refham, and in 1385, but soon after in 1388, Adam Pyk; and in 1400, Edmund Belytter, alias Belzeter, who with his parceners were found to hold the fourth part of a fee in the next year; and in 1416, it was in the hands of John Spicer, who then presented.
Reginald de Baldeswell, Robert Chappe, junior, &c. held lands, late John Congham's, in the 20th of Edward III. of Hugh de Hastings and John Camoys of the manor of Gressenhale, which Henry Digon and Reginald de Sprouston formerly held.
After this it came to the Pastons, and John Paston, son and heir of William Paston, in 1446, released to Thomas Daniel, Esq. and his heirs, all his right herein; the said Thomas presented as lord in 1448, and in 1475. Henry Wodehouse presented as lord, and Sir Edmund Wodehouse, in 1479, after this Sir Henry Colet in 1482, and 1487, probably as a trustee or mortgagee, (he was a citizen and lord mayor of London) for in 1504, and 1522, Sir Thomas Wodehouse was lord and patron; and in the 31st of Henry VIII. this manor was conveyed by Thomas Wodehouse, Esq. to H. Jordan, Gent. who presented in 1552; and from him to Humphrey Bastard, who was lord in 1580. Humphrey, in the 26th of Elizabeth, released to William Bladwell of Thurlow Magna, in Suffolk, all his right herein; but in 1595, Henry Spelman, Esq. was lord and patron, and afterwards his son, Sir Henry Spelman, who was born here, a gentleman of eminent worth and fame at this day, for his learning and knowledge in antiquity; as appears from his works that are published by Doctor Gibson, Bishop of London, with his life, &c.
He was son of Henry Spelman, Esq. of this town, by Frances, his first wife, daughter of William Saunders of Ewell in Surry, Esq. second son of Sir John Spelman, Knt. of Narburgh, 2d judge of the King's Bench, by Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Henry Frowick of Gunnersbury, in Middlesex. Sir Henry, by his wife Eleanor, eldest daughter and coheir of John L'Estrange of Sedgsford in Norfolk, Esq. had Sir John Spelman, his son and heir, and Clement Spelman, (fn. 2) his 2d son, a cursitor baron, &c.—Sir John, his eldest son, married Anne. daughter of Sir John Townsend of Rainham in Norfolk, was educated at Cambridge, (probably in Trinity College, where his father was a student,) and wrote several learned treatises, as may be seen in Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. and when King Charles I. retired to Oxford, about 1642, he followed him, died there in Brasen Nose college, of the camp disease, July 24, and was buried on the 26th of the said month, 1643, in the church of St. Mary, at Oxford, leaving this character, that he was Vir acerrimi judicii, summi ingenii, et probatissimæ morum suavitatis.
In 1638, Sir John presented to the church of St. Andrew, as lord and patron; and in 1674, Roger Spelman, Esq. of Holme, who was his eldest son, and had a brother, Charles, who presented in 1684, from whom it came to Charles Spelman, rector of the church of St. Andrew.
After this, the manor was conveyed to the Mordants, Sir Charles Mordaunt, Bart. of Massingham-Parva, (of whom see there,) being the present lord.
Rusteyn's and Reed Hall Manor.
The manor of Grimston, held by the Earl of Sussex and Arundel extended into this town. (fn. 3) In the 27th of Henry III. William de Rustengh held of the honour of Rysing, on knight's fee assigned in dower, to Isabel, widow of Hugh Earl of Arundel. This family was early enfeoft in this lordship; several of them gave lands, &c. by deeds, sans date, to the priory of Wimondham, soon after its foundation. Nigel de Rustenden, or Rusteyn, and Robert de Rusteyn, gave them a marsh in Snetesham, and 40 acres of land in Sharnbourn, for his own soul, and that of Aldreda his wife; and Roger de Rustein gave a mill in Snetesham: he lived about the reign of Henry II. and married Etheldreda, daughter of Roger de Dersingham, relict of Jeffrey de Sharnbourn; William Rusteyn, lord of this manor, accompanied William Earl of Sussex and Arundel into the Holy-land, and was there knighted by him, in Richard the First's time.
William Rusteng conveyed in the 8th of Edward I. to Alice, one of his daughters and coheirs, on her marriage with Ralph de Kirketon, a messuage, with lands in this town, Grimston, Hillington, Rysing, Rydon, &c. and the said William impleaded, in the 18th of that King, Robert Lord Monthaut, lord of Rysing, and his servants, for expeditating a dog of one of his villains, and recovered damages, this village being found to be out of the liberties of Rysing chase; and to this fee the church of All-Saints in Congham belonged, which was appropriated to the priory of Windham.
In the 20th of Edward I. the heirs of the Lady Alice Rusteyn, and their tenants, were found to hold half a fee of the heirs of Robert de Tateshale.
Thomas Thursby, Esq. was lord of Rusteyn's and Reed-hall, in the reign of Henry VIII. and died seized of them in the 36th of that King, and several great parcels of land in this town, Geyton GeytonThorp, Rydon, &c. held of the honour of Tateshale, by knight's service, leaving Edmund his son and heir, as appears from the escheat rolls; and Thomas Thursbye was lord in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign; but in the 39th of Elizabeth, Henry Spelman, Esq. was possessed of the manors of Rustein's and Reedhall, with messuages, &c. in Rydon, Grimston, Hillington, &c. in which family it remained some time.
Anthony Hamond of Wooton, Esq. was lord in 1750, and his son inherited it. The present lord is Henry Cornish Henley, Esq. as in Sandringham.
Tatishale's, Petegar's, or Beleter's.
Eudo, son of Spiruwin, ancestor of the family of the Tatishales, had also a manor here, that of Hillington extending into this town; part of this was held by John de Thorp, in right of Alice his wife, in the 31st of Edward I. of Robert de Tateshale, by three quarters of a fee; the church of St. Mary's of Congham belonged to this fee of Tateshale, which afterwards descended to his heirs; for in 1329, the King presented to that church, as guardian to John de Orreby, and came to that family by the marriage of Isabel, one of the coheirs of Tateshale.
In the 4th of Edward III. Robert, son of John de Thorp, was found to hold of John Congham, in soccage, a messuage, and lands here; and in the 14th of that King, John, son of Robert de Thorp, Knt. was found to hold of Richard Belhouse, by homage and the service of 3s. per ann. a messuage, and lands here; in the preceding year, this John, granted to the abbess of St. Clare, in the Minories, without Aldgate, London, and her successours, an annuity of 20 marks out of his lands here, and 20 marks out of his lands in Combs, and Helmingham in Suffolk; as did Robert de Martham a like annuity out of his lands in Martham, Repps, &c. in Norfolk, during the life of Catherine widow of John, son of Sir Oliver de Ingham.
In the 19th of Edward III. a fine was levied between Robert Chape, junior, and Christiana his wife, querents, and Sir John Bardolf of Mapledurham, deforcient, of the 3d part of this manor, and lands here, with the services of divers tenants, conveyed to Robert; and in the 39th of that King, Richard Holdich had an interest herein, and a grant of free warren.
The family of Cromwell, as heirs to Orreby, were capital lords of the fee; and Ralph de Cromwell, Lord Tateshale, presented to St. Mary's church in 1391; and in the 3d of Henry IV. Edmund Belzetter, alias Belytter, Richard Chappe, and Richard Holditch, held half a fee of the Lady Maud Cromwell.
Thomas Shouldham, Esq. by his deed dated on Thursday before the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, in the 33d of Henry VI. released all his right here, to William Bozun, in lands, &c. formerly Sir Richard Belhouse's.
The principal part or fee was, in 1487, in Sir Robert Ratclyff, who then presented to the church aforesaid; in 1517, in Thomas Wyndham, and Robert Drury, and continued in the Windhams several years, and came afterwards to Sir Henry Spelman, in whose family it remained, as is shown in the manor of Congham.
But though the principal part was thus conveyed, yet a part of the Tatishale manor which was in the Thorps, in the reign of Edward I. remained till conveyed by them to the L'Estranges; Henry L'Estrange of Hunstanton, Esq. died possessed of the manor of Congham, and Massingham-Parva, in 1483. John L'Estrange, his 3d son, died lord in 1517, and by the marriage of Barbara, his only daughter, (fn. 4) came to Robert Mordaunt, in which family it still remains; Sir Charles Mordaunt, Bart. being the present lord, as may be more fully seen in Massingham-Parva.
This I take to be the manor called corruptly at this day Petegar's, probably from Beleter, who was lord in Henry the Fourth's time.
There was also another lordship held by Berner, captain of the cross-bowmen, in the Conqueror's army, consisting of 60 acres of land, and 3 acres of meadow, held by a freeman and a borderer, and half a carucate held by 4 freemen, with 3 acres of meadow; the whole valued at 10s. per ann. these freemen he claimed by the gift of the Conqueror; (fn. 5) and the said Berner had lordships given him in Grimston and Hillington, in this hundred; in Sharnburn, in Docking hundred; in Askell, and Scoulton in Weyland hundred; in Overstrand, in North Erpingham hundred; in Pikenham, in South Greenhow hundred, and in Hackford in Eynesford hundred.
This was most probably held by Pycot, then by Burdeliz, and the lords of Albon's manor, (as may be seen in Hillington,) and probably was sold in Henry the Sixth's time, by the Irminglands, to the L'Estranges, it being now, as I take it, part of the estate of Sir Charles Mordaunt, Bart. in this town.
The tenths of this town, and Roydon, were 5l. 3s. 0d. Deduct 10s. 3d. ob.
In the 12th of Henry III. Emme, daughter of Roger de Bintre, and Robert her son, conveyed by fine to Aiana, daughter of Jeffrey de Rydon, and William, son of Humphrey, of the same town, certain services and customs, and 40 acres in Rydun and Congham, for 10s. per ann.
By an inquisition taken at East Derham, September 24, in the 15th of King Charles I. it was found that Robert Norris, Gent. died December 8, in the 11th of that King, seized of a messuage, 125 acres and an half, in Congham and Hillington, six acres of which, viz. 3 in Gall-fen of marsh, and 3 of Mill Close, were held of the King, in capite, as of the honour of Clare, and the rest of the several lords in soccage.
Lands here in the tenure of Thomas Canne, belonging to Blackburgh priory, were granted July 17, in the 2d of Queeen Mary, to John Grene, and William Genyns.
The Church of St. Andrew is a single pile covered with lead, and has a tower four-square, embattled, and 2 bells; on the northe side is a chapel covered with tile; on the north wall of it this inscription; Paterno jussu Henri. et Johs. Spelman, milit. alam hanc pie instituit Rogs. Spelman, absolvit autem Carolus Spelm. hujus eccles. tandem rector, Ao. Dni. 1686. The chancel is tiled; and within the rails of the communion table lie several marble gravestones;
H. S. E. Carolus Squire A. M. scholæ Lennensis p. annos novem præceptor celebris, ecclesiæ hujus et de Massingham Pa. rector dignissimus, sacerdos doctus, pius probus, vir varia et perpolita eruditione ornatus, historicis et humanioribus in literis maxime versatus, amicus plane simplex, comes jucundissimus, desideratissimus, obt. 20 Aug. 1752, ætat. 56. Marito optimo, uxor mœrens posuit.
On one with a brass plate,
Hic requiescunt Henricus Spelman, armiger, et Francisca, uxor ejus, filia Gulieli. Saunder, armigi. qui habuerunt exitum inter eos clarissimum doctissimumq; virum Hen. Spelman, militem, Erasmum Sp. generosum, et Elizab. filiam; dictoq; Henrico filio nati fuerunt p. Elianoram Le Strange uxor ejus unam filiarum et coheredum Johan. Le Strange, armigeri, 4 filii & 4 filiæ, viz. Johs. Spelm. miles, qui duxit in uxorem Annam, filiam unicam Joh. Townsend, militis, Henr. et Francis. Spelman qui obierunt in vita patris sine exitu, et Clem. Spelm. qui duxit in uxorem Martham Mason, unam filiarum et cohered. Francisci Mason, armigi. et Dorothea nupta Rano. Whitfeld, militi, uni servientum Dni. Caroli Regis ad legem, Anna nupta Tho. More, armigero. Kath. nupta Robo. Raworth. armigero, et Alicia nupta Johai. Smith, generoso; dictus Henr. Spelm. avus obt. 7 Oct. 1581, dicta Francisca ava, 15 Oct. 1622.
Here also lies the body of Roger Spelm. Esq; son and heir of the abovenamed Sir John Spel. knight, who married the daughter and heiress of Robert Strutt, of Lincoln's-Inn, Esq; and died Novr. 27, 1678. On the brass the arms of Spelman,—sable, platee, between two flaunches, argent, impaling, sable, a chevron, ermine, between three bulls heads, argent, Sanders.
In memory of Charles Spelman, son of Roger Spelm. Esq. who died March 3. 1684; with the arms of Spelman.
For Barbara, relict of Henry Mordaunt Esq; who died Decr. 25, 1690.
On one with a brass plate,
Hic et hac pro tempore quiescunt reliqiuæ Tho. Bendich Rici. de Essex, armigeri, et Rici. Barb. Edwi Thomæ liber, quorum ossibus et memorie Elizabetha Dudleyorum prosapia mœrens relicta P. E. obt. Junii 13 Ao. Dni 1632, ætat. suæ 33.
On the south side of the chancel, a gravestone with the arms of Mordant, impaling L'Estrange,
In memory of L'Strange Mordant, son of Henry Mordant, a grandson of Sir L'Strange Mordant of Norff. bt. by Barbara his wife, daughter of Richd. Catlyn, Esq; he had issue Henry and a daughter Barbara, and died Decr. 4, in the 63d year of his age, 1691, here also lieth Barbara his relict, who died Apr. 4. 1729. aged 86.
In the churchyard a monument,
In memory of Richd. son of Rd. Catlyn Esq; of Kirby Cane, in Norff. who died July 12, 1711, born May 8, 1636, and was one of the society of Lincoln's Inn; with the arms of Catlyn.
1300, Ralph de Sprouston, presented by Reginald de Sprouston.
1305, Reginald de Fakenham, by ditto.
1329, Alan de Wesenham, by Reginald de Baldeswelle.
1343, Peter de Felthorp, by ditto.
1349, Richard Kiffold, by Thomas de Baldeswell.
1367, Richard Thurkeld, by Adam Humphrey of Refham:
1385, Gregory Bolour, by ditto.
1388, Ralph Gosfeld, (on an exchange for North Rungton) by Adam Pyk.
1400, Ralph de Lenton, by Edward Belytter.
1416, Adam Rougham, by John Spicet, burgess of Lynn.
1448, Roger Ashton, by Thomas Daniel, Esq.
1462, Thomas Moot, by the Bishop of Norwich, a lapse.
1472, Robert Smith, by ditto, a lapse.
1475, John Cossey, by Henry Woodhouse, Esq.
1479, William Halysdale, by Sir Edward Wodehouse, Knt.
1482, Nicholas Palmer, by Henry Colet, citizen of London.
1485, John Askugh, by ditto.
1487, Henry Symson, by Sir Henry Colet, Knt. In September, 1497, the Bishop of Norwich granted to the inhabitants of this parish, his letters patent, to gather the alms of the city and diocese of Norwich, to re-edify this church.
1504, Thomas Cook, by Sir Thomas Wodehouse.
1522, Thomas Dale, by Sir Thomas Wodehouse. Thomas Sele.
1552, Cuthbert Heymersham, by Humphrey Jordan, Gent.
1580, James Dewhurst, by Humphrey Bastard.
1595, Edmund Mundeford, by Henry Spilman, Esq.
1619, Townesend Wilson, by Henry Spilman, Knt.
1638, Townesend Wilson, by Sir John Spilman, Knt.
1673, Valentine Husband, by Roger Spilman of Holme, Esq.
1684, Charles Spilman, by Charles Spilman; in this year, this church was consolidated with that of St. Mary's.
1706, Richard Flack, by Samuel Flack, Esq.
1715, Charles Foster, by Dorothy Flack, widow.
17—, Charles Squier, A. M. on Foster's death.
1752, Edmund Nelson, by Mrs. Bridget Squier, widow.
This rectory is valued at 6l. 10s. per ann. and is discharged.
The priory of Castleacre had a portion of tithe valued at 40s. per ann.
Here were the guilds of the Holy Trinity. and St. John Baptist.
Eborard Bishop of Norwich confirmed to the priory of Castleacre tithes granted to them.
John of Oxford, Bishop in 1181, confirmed to them 2 parts of the tithe of the demean of Augustine, in Congham; and Simon, Bishop in 1265, confirmed to them 2 parts of the tithes of the demeans of Augustin, and of Jeffrey, son of (Ralph de Congham) and all the tithe of the demean of Richard de Wigenhale, and of the nuns of Blackburgh; this portion was valued at 40s. per ann.
St. Mary's is a rectory, the old valor was 3l. 12s. Peter-pence, 6d. the present valor 6l. and is discharged.
1329, Edm. de Lena, presented by the King, as guardian to Jn. de Orreby.
1349, Hugh Atte Bryk de Hoggeston, by Sir John Orreby, Knt.
John de Staunton, died; his will dated; November 13, 1385.
1385, Thomas Wrattyng, by the King.
Thomas Pitscok, by Ralph de Cromwell Lord Tateshale.
1415, John Cowton, by the Lady Maud Cromwell.
1416, John West, by ditto.
1439, Richard Peyntour, by Ralph Lord Cromwell.
1463, Stephen Rydeswell, by the Bishop of Norwich, a lapse.
1468, Richard Hayton. Ditto.
1472, Richard Burgeys. Ditto. Richard Cranwath.
1487, Richard Ketylston, by Sir Robert Ratclyff.
1492, Thomas Rust. Ditto.
1517, John Furnes, by Thomas Wyndham, and Robt. Drury. William Swann.
1552, John Smith, by the assignees of Sir Edmund Wyndham.
1554, Cuthbert Heymersham, by Sir Edmund Wyndham.
1580, James Dewhurst, by John Lestrange, Gent.
1598, Edmund Cartwright, by the Queen.
1602, John Williamson, by Henry Spilman, Esq.
1603, Edward Mundeford, by ditto.
16- -, Jeremy Spilman.
1643, Thomas Wilson, by the King.
1673, Valent. Husband, by Roger Spilman.
1684, Charles Spilman, by Charles Spilman.
1706, Richard Flack.
1715, Charles Foster, by Dorothy Flack, widow.
1723, Benjamin Squire, by Dorothy Foster, widow.
17--, Charles Squire.
1752, Edmund Nelson, by Bridget Squire, widow.
In this church was St. Ann's guild.
This rectory was consolidated to Congham St. Andrew, in 1684; the church is dilapidated, the rector receives all the tithes of the three Conghams, and pays 20l. per ann. to the impropriator of All-Saints.
This church was given by Adam, son of Alverede, or Alured, to the priory of Wymondham, and confirmed by William Earl of Sussex, appropriated and annexed to the chamberlain's office in that house, being valued at 7 marks, 3s. 4d.; Peter-pence 6d. and William de Albini Earl of Sussex gave the tithe of two parts of his demeans in Congham and Rising to the said priory. (fn. 6)
The prior of Castleacre let to farm two parts of the demean of the Earl Warren, in this town, to the priory of Wimondham at 10s. per ann.
Roger, son of Wimer, sewer of the Earl Warren, confirmed the grant of his father of the tithe of his lands here, and his right and interest in the church.
Richard Aguillon and Ela his wife confirmed to the priory of Castleacre, John; son of Ailward Mite, with his tenement and all that belonged to him in Congham and Ridune, paying to them 6s. per ann. witnesses, Robert Aguillon, Manasser Aguillon, Daniel de Merlei, William Aguillon, Richard, his brother, William de Cateston, Robert de Stratton, William Wachesham, William de Pinkeni, Richard de Neketun, William de Waleis, &c. (fn. 7)
Ela de Fervile, wife of Richard Aguillon, had these witnesses to her confirmation, William de Warren, Reginald de St. Martyn, Michael de Munteni, Walter de Wanci, God. de Grimeston, &c.
Robert, son of John de Binetre, confirmed to them the homage of Alan, son of Jeffrey de Ridune, his tenement, &c. in Congham and Ridun; witnesses, Sir Peter de Pelevile and Peter his son, Reginald, son of Edmund de Geyton, Ingel. de Ridune, &c.
In 1428, their temporalities were valued at 1l. 16s. 0d. per ann.
The prior of Pentney's temporalities were valued at 1s. 6d. and of Wirmegay here at 2s.
Coxford priory had lands also, granted by Queen Elizabeth, January 10, 1586, to Edward Cleere, Knt. of Blickling, who on the 25th of the said month and year, conveyed them to Robert Bozoun of Birston, viz. 100 acres, abutting on Massingham heath, paying to Sir Edward and his heirs, 23s. 4d. per ann. and doing suit to his court at Blickling.