An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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Or Pliceham, Plicham, and Flicham, as it is wrote in Domesday book, taking its name not from Felix Bishop of the East-Angles, (as some have conceived,) but from its site, it not being the custom of the Saxons, to give names to towns from their lords, or any person; the ground here, as Spelman observes, abounds with springs and water; the priory was styled on this account, St. Mary de Fontibus, at the springs; (fn. 1) Quod ab oriente fontes ostendit aprico interdum meatu, interdum subterranco ludentes; therefore, from these flete ices, or waters, it takes its name; (thus Flixton in Suffolk, &c.) this is also called Fliceswell in Domesday book.—See in Ringsted-Magna, Smethden hundred.
Odo Bishop or Bayeaux, in Normandy, half brother to the Conqueror, had a lordship herein, granted to him on the expulsion of Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, which he held with the lordship of Snetsham, as a beruite to it, consisting of 7 carucates of land and an half, 18 villains, 14 borderers, 3 servi, and 8 socmen and 4 mills; there were 3 carucates also in demean, in Stigand's time, and 5 carucates among the tenants. (fn. 2)
On the rebellion of Odo against his nephew, King William II. he was deprived of it, and it was given to William de Albini, the King's butler, ancestor of the Earls of Sussex, of which family see in Rising, and was held of the Albinies by Ralph de Bellofago, or Beaufo.
But the chief manor, and the greatest part of this town, was granted to Roger Bigot, ancestor of the Earls of Norfolk, held by Algar of Stigand the Archbishop, (fn. 3) and Ralph, son of Walter, was enfeoft of it by Bigot, as a manor; it consisted of 2 carucates of land, 20 borderers, 3 servi, and 2 carucates in demean, in Algar's time; one carucate of the tenants, 5 acres of meadow, and a mill, one beast for carriage, 3 cows, paunage for 27 swine, &c. 180 sheep, and was valued then at 40s. at the survey at one; it was one mile and an half long, 5 furlongs broad, and paid 16d. gelt when the hundred was taxed at 20s. whoever was lord of it.
There also belonged to it a socman with 5 acres of land, valued at 2s. of this manor, and of all the men, Stigand, had the soc, and it was delivered to Roger Bigot, and the said Ralph held it. Roger had had also a socman with 30 acres, and a borderer with an acre of meadow, and 2 bovates, valued at 3s. a church also belonged to it, with 8 acres, valued at 8d. (fn. 4)
And the said Roger Bigot had seized on 80 acres of land, held by 10 freemen in King Edward's time, and Ranulph, or Ralph son of Walter, held this under Roger, with 6 acres and an half of meadow, and 2 carucates, valued at 12s. per ann. Roger's predecessor had only the protection; Stigand had the soc, and protection of one of them, and the soc of the rest. (fn. 5)
Roger Bigot, on the marriage of Maud his daughter to William de Albini aforesaid, gave them 10 knights fees in Norfolk, and among these, as I take it, were the tenures or manors here mentioned, and so joined to Albiny's other lordships.
William Earl Warren had also a lordship, out of which four freemen were ejected at the conquest, who had one carucate of land, held by 5 borderers, 6 acres and 2 carucates and an half of meadow, valuat 20s. this he claimed by virtue of an exchange. (fn. 6)
This was held of the Earl Warren also by the family of Beaufoe, and being thus enfeoft of the whole town, I shall treat of it as I find it from ancient evidences.
Ralph, son of Walter abovementioned, was ancestor of the family of Beaufoe. Agnes de Beaufoe, wife or widow of Ralph, with her daughter Almund, were attendants at the funeral of Maud, daughter of Roger Bigot, and wife of William de Albini, in the priory church of Wimondham, (lately founded by William,) about the year 1130.
Fulk de Beaufoe, who was lord in the reign of Henry II. dying without issue male, left 4 daughters and coheirs; Emme, who married Gilbert de Norfolk; Agatha, who married Sir Robert Aguilon; Joan, wife of Thomas de Ingaldesthorp, and Margery, wife of Robert Scales. The two first of these had only an interest in this town.
Agatha, by Sir Robert Aguillon, left also 4 daughters and coheirs, between whom her moiety was divided; Agatha, wife of Sir Adam de Cockfield; Isabel, of Luke de Ponyngs; Margery, of Jordan de Sackville, and after of Sir Gyles de Argenton; and Joan, of Sir Ralph Fitz-Bernard.
Came to Sir Luke de Poinyns, on his marriage with Isabel, daughter and heir of Aguillon; and about the end of the reign of Henry III. Thomas de Ponyngs, Andrew de Sackvile, Walter de Barnardeston, and John de Rocheford, were found to hold in this town and Appleton, 2 fees of the honour of Arundel; and in the 8th of Edward I. a fine was levied between Luke de Ponyngs, and Roger de Somercotes, and Maud his wife, (reliet of—Ponyns, father of Luke, as I take it) whereby Luke granted them the manor of Flitcham, for the life of Maud, with an annuity of 100s.
William Beauchamp, Michael de Poynings, Roger de Flytcham, and John de Bernadiston, held 2 fees and an half in this town, &c. of the honour of Arundel, in the 20th of Edward III. and Robert de Ponyns held half a fee of the Cliftons, in the 3d of Henry IV. and William Yelverton and John Scot, trustees of the Lord Ponyngs, demised it to Jerome Wodehouse, 3d son of John Wodehouse, Esq. in the 23d of Henry VI.
In the 21st of Edward IV. December 12, Richard Southwell, Robert and Bartholomew White, by deed, appoint Simon White, Robert and Thomas Wodehouse, Gent. (sons of John Wodehouse, Esq. their attornies, to receive rents due to them out of their manors of Ponyns, and Berneston in Flitcham, formerly Jeremy Wodehouse's.
After this, it was possessed by Sir Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, who conveyed it, in the 31st of Henry VIII. to Sir William Hollys, lord mayor of London, in 1538, ancestor of the Hollisses Dukes of Newcastle, who dying October 13, ao. 34 of that King, Thomas his son and heir, inherited it; who bore sable, on a bend, between two talbots, passant, and a dolphin embowed argent, three annulets, gules.
Sir Thomas, in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, passed it by fine to Henry Ward, with the lordship of Barneston, or Bernardiston, for 2900l. but his lady being jointured therein, and her father, Richard Pain, not agreeing to it, it came into that family, and from them, to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, before his attainder in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Philip Earl of Arundel, his son and heir, demised in the 28th of that Queen, to Richard Hovell of Flitcham, Gent. Flitcham-house, late the site of the priory, with all the appertenances, and the manors called Poyning's, Cockfield's, Bernardeston's, East-Hall, and Snoring, the lands, foldcourses, watermills, &c. thereto belonging, in the tenure of the said Hovel, for 15 years, at the annual rent of 257l. 6s. 8d. he paying also to the Bishop of Norwich, 6s. 8d. rent; to the dean and chapter, 3s. 4d. and to the archdeacon, 9s. 7d. ob. per ann. also to provide a curate for the church of Flitcham.
This Earl being found guilty of high treason, and dying a prisoner in the Tower of London, it came to the Crown, and King James I. on February 14, in his first year, granted the priory-house, and all the aforesaid manors, with the impropriated rectory, to Richard Locksmith, and Robert Bolleyn, they paying 170l. 11s. 5d. fee-farm rent per ann. In his sixth year, it was granted on February 12th to Henry Beck, Robert Bolleyn, &c. on the request of Sir Christopher Hatton. After this, the said King gave it to the Earl of Suffolk, in fee-farm, and the Lord Chief Justice Coke purchased it of him, and the fee-farm, rent of the Crown, and so descended to Thomas Coke, the late Earl of Leicester.
Jordan de Sackvill, who married Margery, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Aguillon gave name to it; his son Andrew occurs lord in the 28th of Edward I. In the 20th of Edward III. it was found that this lord, and the lords of Poynings, Cockfield's, and Barnardiston's manors, held here and in Appleton, 2 fees and an half, of the Earl of Arundell. Margery's 2d husband was Sir Gyles de Argenton.
About the year 1350, Elizabeth, wife of Sir Andrew Lutterell, had a grant of free warren in the manors of Flitcham Sackvill's in Norfolk, Moulton, Derbenham, &c. in Suffolk; she was the daughter of Hugh Courtney Earl of Devonshire, by Margaret his wife, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun Earl of Hereford; and married first, Sir John Vere, 3d son of John Earl of Oxford, was a lady of great wealth, and purchased this lordship, with the advowson or patronage of 2 canons in the priory here, of Sir John de Cheverston, in the 4th of Edward III.; she died in the 19th of Richard II. and Sir Hugh Lutterell, lord of Dunster castle in Somersetshire, was her son and heir, and died in the 6th of Henry VI.
In the 21st of Henry VI. John Spendlove, and Margaret his wife, John, son and heir of Adam Snoring, conveyed it by fine, to John Bertram of Saxlingham, by Holt in Norfolk, who by his will, on July 15, 1461, devised it to John, his second son, for life, with the advowson, or until he should be preferred to a greater benefice ecclesiastical, and then to go to the priory of Walsingham; and thus it was afterwards partly united to the manor of Snoring, in this town, and part came to Sir Richard Williams, and so to Sir William Hollys, and the late Earl of Leicester, as aforesaid.
By the marriage of Agatha, one of the 4 daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Aguillon, and Agatha his wife, with Sir Adam de Cockfield, this lordship was assigned to him; he died in the beginning of the reign of King Edward I. and Robert was his son and heir, on whose death, sans issue, it came to his sister Joan, ao. 25 of Edward I.; she was the wife of William de Beauchamp, and held by him in the 7th of Edward II. by whose daughter it came to Sir John de Chevereston, who was made by King Edward III. on his taking of Calais, the first governor or captain of it; by his first wife, Thomasine, he had John his son and heir, and Hugh his second son, on whom he settled this manor, by fine, in the 25th of the said King; but in the 44th of that King, Sir John sold it to the Lady Elizabeth, wife of Sir Andrew Lutterel, abovementioned, and so was united to the manor of Sackvill's.
Assumed its name from Sir Ralph Fitz-Bernard, on his marriage to Joan, another of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Aguillon, and in his descendant it continued many years; John de Bernardston held it in the 20th of Edward III. of the honour of Arundel; and in the 3d of Henry IV. Agnes, wife of John de Bernardston, held it of the Cliftons, and before this, Alexander, son of Walter de Bernardston, and Alice his wife, in the 2d of Edward II.
In the reign of Henry VI. it was united to the lordship of Poynings, and possessed by Jerome Wodehouse, and so passed with that, as is above shewn.
Besides the lordships above specified, Emma de Beaufoe, daughter and coheir of Fulk de Beaufoe, and sister of Agatha, had her right or part, a moiety in this town; she married Gilbert de Norfolk, who had a patent in the first year of King John, to enjoy all her inheritance for life, and dying soon after without issue, she obtained for 600 marks a license not to be distrained to marry, and to enjoy all her own inheritance, and also to have her dower, in that of her late husband.
Emma had a niece, Damietta, on whom she settled great part of this lordship, and married first, Thomas Avenel, by whom she had a son, Reginald, who died without issue.
Her second husband was Peter de Fuldon, by whom she had a son, Richard.
Damietta, in her widowhood, gave to the prior, &c. of Walsingham, in Norfolk, 30 acres of land, with half a foldcourse in this town; and her aunt Emma gave 2 acres of land, 28d. rent per ann. which Thomas Avenel was to pay her for lands she granted him on his marriage. This went by the name of Snoring manor in the reign of Edward IV. and on the dissolution of Walsingham priory, was granted, June 19, ao. 6 Edward VI. to Thomas (Thurleby) Bishop of Norwich, and his successours, and so continues.
The tenths of this village were 13l. per ann.
To those who search truly and deeply into sacred antiquity, it will frequently appear how the church of Rome has for many centuries past, even in the Saxon times, imposed on the credulity, the weakness, and ignorance of mankind, by their piæ fraudes, inventions, and traditions, false and spurious to the last degree, as will appear in the following instance.
Fælix, who is said to be the first Christian Bishop of the East-Angles, to have his seat at Dunwich in Suffolk, and to have died in or about the year 647, is made by the church of Rome, to be the founder of this town, to give name to it, to have converted these parts, and to have erected the first Christian church at Babingly, (a town adjoining to Flitcham,) and that he was assisted in this building, &c. by Thoke, a powerful man, lord of many townships in the neighbourhood, whom he had made a convert to the Christian faith.
In answer to this, I am to observe, that all towns in the times of the Britons, (many centuries before the time of Bishop Felix) took their names from their site, as this did from the Flices, that is the flete ices, springs, and ousiness of its soil, as I have already observed. Many of these ancient British, and old Saxon names, were changed by the Romish church, for the names of their fictitious saints; thus Slepe in Huntingdonshire, was changed and called St. Ives; thus Eynsbury, was called St. Neot's; thus old Verulam was changed to St. Alban's, and thus Bevdericksworth to St. Edmund's Bury.—As for Thoke, said to be a convert of St. Fælix, he was lord of West Walton, Harpley, Gressinghale, Sculthorp, Burnham Thorp, and many other towns; was a noble Saxon lord, or thane in King Edward's reign, and deprived of all on the conquest, as the book of Domesday will testify.
The Church of Flitcham consists of a nave, a south isle, with a porch, and a square tower in which hangs one bell, and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary; there has been a chancel and a north isle, now in ruins; the south isle is covered with lead, and the nave, and the porch are tiled.
At the west end, of the nave lies a black marble gravestone,
In memory of Christian, relict of Clement Leeds, of Reepham in this county, who died August 1, 1739, aged 73.
Another with the arms of Bendish, argent, a chevron, between three rams heads, erased, azure, attired, or.
Sub hoc lapide positum est corpus Francisci Bendysh, generosi, in adversis viri insigni patientia, in amicos non minore benignitate, qui expiravit 7 die Novemb. Ao. Dni. 1647, ætat. 63; Plurimis quondam oppressus, jam ærumnis, oppressionibus, malis omnibus dormit securus; beatissimam expectans resurrectionem.
On one with a brass plate,
Christ is to me both in life and in death, an advantage. Edward Runthwitt, born at Rippon in Yorkshire, departed this life the 16 day of July, 1614, in the 82d year of his age, whose body is returned to earth from whence it came, and his soul into the hand of God who gave it; —Blessed are the dead, &c. Rev. 14.
This church was anciently a rectory: Daniel de Merlay was rector in 1199, when a fine passed between him and Philip Fitz Robert, of 8 acres of land, bought of Philip, by Robert, father of Daniel, and conveyed to him, being given to this church. (fn. 7)
John de Merlai, rector in 1229, gave to the monks of Wimunda' two parts of the great and small tithes of the Earl of Sussex's land, the Arundel fee; who by another deed was to enjoy them for his life; this seems to be originally granted to that priory by the founder, with liberty of fishing here, &c. and John of Oxford Bishop of Norwich, in the reign of Henry II. made an agreement between the prior of Wymonham, and the rector, to have the tithes of the fee of the Earl of Sussex, on his paying 2 marks and an half per ann. pension, which was confirmed afterwards by Thomas de Blundevile, Bishop, and the spiritualities of the priory aforesaid, in this church, were so taxed in 1428.—Two parts of the tithes of the fee of William Earl Warren, were given by him to the priory of Castleacre, in the reign of King Stephen,
Afterwards, the rectory was appropriated to the priory here and a vicarage settled, and that was united and consolidated to the rectory, for which the prior had a patent in the 17th of Richard II. upon this the cure was probably served by one of the canons here, and on the dissolution it was granted with the priory, &c. to Ed. Lord Clinton, January 9, in the 30th of Henry VIII. and soon after to Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, who in the next year alienated it to Sir William Hollis, and so passed as the manor of Poynings, and is an impropriation belonging to the late Earl of Leicester.
The rectory was valued and taxed at 17 marks, 4s. 6d. and the vicarage at 8 marks, 8s. 10d. Peter-pence to the Pope 16d. and a pension of 6s. 8d. per ann. was paid to the Bishop of Norwich, out of the rectory.
John de Merlai, occurs rector 1229.
1316 Mr. John de Schutlington, instituted vicar, named by the Bishop of Norwich, presented by the prior and convent of St. Mary ad fontes de Flitcham.
John de Swanton.
1339, Richard de Swanton, presented by the prior, &c.
1349, Thomas de Plumsted. Ditto.
1349, Henry de Redesham. Ditto.
1369, Edmund de Heyford, named by the King, the see being void, presented by the prior, &c.
Reginald de Apulton, named by the Bishop, presented by the prior, &c.
After this the vicarage was consolidated to the rectory, and so came both into the priory in the time of Bishop Henry Spencer; on which a pension of 6s. 8d. per ann. was reserved, to be paid to the Bishop yearly, and 2s. to the archdeacon of Norwich, and 2s. to the sacrist of Norwich. This consolidation was confirmed by King Richard II. Ao. 17, and the prior had also a patent for the same, in the 9th of Henry VI.
Philip, sans date.
Frater Fulco Briton, occurs 28th of Edward I.
1332, Vincent de Flycham, prior.
1349, John de Flycham.
1374, Laurence de Weston.
1375, John de Hillington.
1404, John Flycham.
1438, Thomas Pope.
1448, John Lenn.
1458, John Dokkyng.
1467, William Wilkeshire, and occurs 1487.
1490, Mr. Richard Gottys, LL.B.
1498, Mr. Edmund Litchfield: quere if not Bishop of Calcedon.
John Martin, occurs prior 1514.
Thomas Podishe, occurs in 1526.
Was founded by Sir Robert Aguillon, in the beginning of the reign of Henry III. though some have said by Damietta aforesaid; but it appears on record that Aguillon was the founder and patron of it, in a suit between Andrew de Saukevil and William de Anemere, wherein Andrew, as heir to Aguillon, recovered his right of presentation of it, in 1300. (fn. 8) It was a cell to the priory of Walsingham, in Norfolk, canons of St. Augustine, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and not a nunnery, as Speed, Weaver, &c. have said; and was surrendered to King Henry VIII. together with Walsingham priory, by Richard, prior of Walsingham, on August 4, in the 30th of that King; valued, according to Speed, at 62l. 10s. 6d½. according to others at 55l. 5s. 6d. ob. q. on the 9th of January following, it was granted with all its appertenances, the priory manor, rectory, vicarage, and all other messuages, lands, &c. in Norfolk, belonging to it, to Ed. Lord Clinton; (fn. 9) soon after this it came to Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, who had the next year the King's license to alienate it to Sir William Hollis and his heirs; from Sir Thomas, his son, it came to Pain, and the Duke of Norfolk, &c. as in Poynings manor, and so to the Earl of Leicester.
It appears that in the 3d of Edward I. the prior held one carucate of land in pure alms, of the gift of Robert Aguillon, the founder, and was lord of a manor here, in the 9th of King Edward II. (fn. 10)
In the 13th of Edward II. the prior had a patent or license to purchase land to the value of 10l. per ann. and in the 44th of Edward III. Thomas Balle, and Nicholas Baroun gave to the prior a messuage and 120 acres of land in Anemere, held of the heirs of John Irvyc, Edmund de Thorp, and William Durant, by knight's service; (fn. 11) and there remained (as it is said) to the said Thomas and Nicholas, lands and tenements in Flitcham, held of Thomas de Poynings, by knight's service, valued at 40s. per ann.
Thomas de Flitcham, &c. aliened to this priory a messuage, 4 tofts, 133 acres of land, and the rent of 45s. in Flitcham, Appleton, Hillington, &c. in the sixth year of Richard II.; and in the 3d of Henry IV. the prior, Simon Barret, John Kirkman, Nicholas Bacon, &c. were found to hold a knight's fee and an half here; and the prior of St. Mary of Flitcham, in the 19th of Henry VI. had a confirmation of all grants, liberties, &c. belonging to his priory.
The temporalities and spiritualities of this priory in this town, were taxed at 43l. 17s. 3d. in the year 1428.
Brother Fulco de Briton, a canon here, seems to be presented to the priory in 1300, by William Anemer, but his right of presentation being set aside, it may be queried if he continued prior.
The patronage of it came from the Cockfields, &c. to the Cheverestons, and then to Elizabeth, widow of Sir Andrew Lutterell, (fn. 12) who on the 1st of August, in the 44th of King Edward III. purchased the patronage of this priory, together with the manor of Cockfield, at which time there were six canons here, sometimes called Prior et Confratres, also Prior et Canonici Ord. Sci. Augustini.
The temporalities of the prior of Westacre here were valued at 3s. per ann. in 1428.
Those of the prior of Walsingham at 20s. per ann. (fn. 13) —The prior of Fakenham's, at 4s. per ann.
John de Alneto is said to have given lands, and common of pasture here to the priory of Windham.
Sir John Godsalve had a pension out of this house of 13s. 4d. in King Edward the Sixth's time paid him.
In this parish was the remarkable hill or tumulus, where, in the Saxon age, the hundred court was held, in the time of William Rufus, in order to decide a controversy about lands at Holm, who issued out a commission to H. his chamberlain, to call together 3 hundreds and an half at this place, called Flicceham Burch. It is upon an hill about a mile above the town of Flitcham, in the hundred of Freebridge citra Lenne, on the west side of the way, leading from that town, to Sharnborne, being a square piece of ground about an acre, ditched about with an old large ditch, about 8 miles from Holm, where the lands lay, which were then claimed by the abbot of Ramsey.