An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 8. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.
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William Earl Warren held a moiety of this town, by the gift of the Conqueror, of which Viulf, a freeman of Edric was deprived, 2 carucates of land belonged to it, 3 villains, 13 borderers, with 2 servi, 2 carucates in demean, 2 amongst the tenants, &c. 2 acres and a half of meadow, one runcus, 3 cows, &c. 40 sheep, 60 goats, and the moiety of the church, endowed then with 10 acres; 2 socmen had 20 acres of land, and half a carucate and an acre of meadow, valued then at 20s. but after, and at the survey at 40s. it was 9 furlongs long, 6 broad, and paid 8¾d. gelt; this manor was of the fee of Frederic, and came by an exchange for lands at Lewes in Sussex. (fn. 1)
Peter Braunche, in the 18th of Henry III. had a grant of two fees in this town and Gresham, with the advowson of the church belonging to it, from his father Richard, to be held of Richard, who held them of the Earl Warren; and several tenants and villains belonged to it. Richard was son of William Brauncke, and taken prisoner by King John in the war with his barons; and on the peace made between them and the king, about 1213, he obtained the King's license and writ to the sheriff of Norfolk, to make an aid on his tenants to ransom him; and Richard, son of Peter, in the 44th of Henry III. granted this lordship to the Earl Warren.
Roger de Stutevile had also an interest herein, in the 24th of Henry III. and is said to hold 2 fees of the Earl Warren and Surry, then in the King's hand.
King Edward II. in his first year, granted to Edmund Bacon, the lands in this town, late Robert Stutvile's, which eschaeted to his father; and Margery, late wife of Edmund, held 2 fees here, and in Gresham, of the Earl Warren, afterwards.
In the 40th of Edward III. there was a partition of the lands of the late Sir Edmund Bacon, between William Molyns and Margaret his wife, John Burghersh and Maud his wife, daughters of Sir Edmund; but others say, this Maud was daughter of Sir William de Kerdeston and Margery his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Edmund.
Walter de Wolterton and Christiana his wife were deforcients, and Brian Harsyke querent, in a fine of this manor, in the 6th of Henry VI.
Roger Bigot, ancestor of the Earls of Norfolk, had of the gift of the Conqueror, 2 separate tenures in this town, viz. one carucate of land, with 7 villains and 7 borderers, one carucate in demean, and one amongst the tenants; 2 socmen held 16 acres of land, with half a carucate; an acre and half of meadow, of which a freeman of Elwin was deprived, valued at 20s. at the survey at 40s.—Roger held also, on the deprivation of Alward, 2 socmen with 12 acres of land and 3 borderers who had half a carucate of ploughed land, which was valued in Felbrigg. (fn. 2)
In the 9th of Edward I. Roger Bigod (a younger branch of the Earls of Norfolk,) had a lordship here, and a grant of free warren.
Richer de Refham and Joan his wife granted by fine to Symon Bigot of Felbrig, 26 messuages, 215 acres of land, 6 of pasture, 104s. rent, and 2 parts of a mill in East-Herling, Palling, &c. with this manor and advowson.
In the 28th of Edward III. the King granted to Roger Fitz Simon de Felebrig, view of frankpledge here, and in Felbrigg, and in the 31st of that King, Thomas Leveriche of Suthstede confirmed to Sir Roger de Felbrigge, a fold-course in this town.
Sir Simon Felbrigg died possessed of it, in the 21st of Henry VI.
John Wymondham, Esq. by his will dated April 26, 1475, gave it to his son John, and in this family it still continues, Ash Windham, Esq. being lord in 1742, and patron.
William Windham, Esq. his son and heir, who died in 1761, leaving his son a minor: see in Felbrigg.
The tenths were 2l. 13s.—Deducted 3s.
The Church is dedicated to St. John Baptist, and consisted of 2 medieties, both belonging to the Earl Warren's manor.
In the beginning of King Edward the First's reign, each rector had a manse and 15 acres of land; the mediety of Thomas, the rector, was valued at 5 marks, and that of John the rector at 5 marks, Peter-pence 12d.
The present valor is 6l. 11s. 0b.
John de Sutton occurs rector, the 22d of Edward I.
1302, Richard de Sutton, instituted rector of a mediety, presented by the Bishop, a lapse.
1304, John Fitz Gilbert, by the Earl Warren.
1307, Alexander de Refham, to a mediety, by Richer de Refham, citizen of London: this mediety was sold to him by fine, in the 31st of Edward I. by Peter de Beckham.
1309, William de Bustow, by John Earl Warren.
1318, Adam de Brydelington. Ditto.
1339, Peter de St. John. Ditto.
1339, William de Hunting feld. Ditto.
1339, John Rayner. Ditto.
1349, Richard Fransham, by the Lady Joan de Barr, Countess Warren.
1371, Hugh Astel, by John Duke of Lancaster.
1371, William Asser. Ditto.
1376, John de Kendale, by John King of Castile and Leon.
1377, John Wyndesbury. Ditto.
1379, Gerv. Att-Wyke. Ditto.
1381, John Marcheford. Ditto.
1384, Thomas Longedale. Ditto.
1389, Richard Brown, by Sir Simon de Felbrigg, Knt.
1396, Robert Lane. Ditto.
1396, William Galpyn. Ditto.
1401, John de Lynford, by the King, as Duke of Lancaster.
1402, John Newman. Ditto.
1404, John Mundeford, by Sir Miles Stapleton, &c.
1412, Hugh Couteshale, by Sir John Howard.
1419, John Cony, by Sir Sim. Felbrigg.
1419, John Buxton. Ditto.
John Baker, rector.
1430, Roger Waker. Ditto.
1431, Robert Godfrey. Ditto.
1435, William Pope, by the feoffees of King Henry VI.
1446, Abraham Combe, by Catherine, relict of Sir Sim. Felbrige.
1449, William Snelling, by the King.
1457, Abraham Crome. Ditto.
1468, James Holderness, by John Wymandham, Esq.
1486, William Law, by the King.
1493, Mr. John Everard, L. L. B. by Sir John Wyndham.
1495, William Law, by the King.
John Plough, rector.
1531, Cuthbert Andrews, by Mr. Wyndham.
1554, Edmund Windham, by Sir Edmund Wyndham.
1570, Thomas Musgrave, by Fran. Windham, executor of Sir Edmund
1584, Thomas Musgrave, the Queen, by lapse.
In 1603, John Rose was rector, and returned 99 communicants.
Thomas Blofield died rector in 1675, and was buried in the church' where he hs this epitaph:
Memoriæ nunquam morituræ sacrum, Tho. Blofield, hujus ecclesrectoris, apud Cantabrig. e collegio Sci. Benedicti, A. M. obt. circa annum ætatis suæ sexagesimum sextum 18°. Nov. 1675.
Patrick St. Clair resigned in 1741, and Tim. Jones, presented by Ash Windham, Esq.
1760, John Alexander, by William Windham, Esq.
Here was the sepulchre light, that of Allhallows, St. Mary, and St. Nicholas, and the men's plough light.—St. John's drinking at Midsummer, Rogation drinking, and on Allhallows Thursday.
In the 12th of Edward II. the moiety of this church was settled with the hundreds of Gallow, &c. by John Earl Warren, on Thomas Earl of Lancaster and his heirs, and so became part of the dutchy of Lancaster.
There was a light in many churches, called the plough-light, maintained by old, and young persons who were husbandmen, before some image, and on Plough Monday had a feast, went about with a plough, and some dancers to support it.