Freebridge Hundred: Wigenhale St. Mary's

Pages 176-183

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.

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Hermerus de Ferrariis, who had by the gift of the Conqueror, lordships in Tilney, and Islington, was also Lord here; those manors extending here, which came after to the lords Bardolph.

The ancient family of Capravill, or Kervile, held the chief manor in this town, of the Lords Bardolph, and had their seat or residence here. Robert de Capravill, Simon, son of Roger, and Robert, son of Walter de Cherevill, and Jeffrey de Cherevile were living in the reign Richard I. (fn. 1)

Reginald de Karevilla, or Kervill, who married Alice, daughter or Sir Richard de la Rokeley, and had with her the lordship of Greenvill, in Stoke Holy Cross, lived in the reign of King John. Sir Frederick de Capravill was found to hold in Wigenhale, two knights fees of the honour of Wirmegay, of the Lord Bardolph, when an aid was granted to King Henry III. on the marriage of his sister Isabel, to the Emperor; and Robert de Cherevile, by deed sans date was a benefactor to the priory of Castleacre, and Alice de Cherevile, conveyed lands in Tilney, by fine in the 52d of Henry III. to Philip de Cherevile.

William, son of William de Kervile, of Wigenhale, bought lands of Edmund de Sexton, by fine, in the 21st of Edward I. (fn. 2) and Martin Snelling, and Agnes his wife, conveyed by fine to William de Kervill, and John, his son, lands in Tilney, in the 3d of Edward II. and William de Wigenhale, and Petronilla his wife, lands in Wigenhale, &c. to Jahn de Kervile, and a mill in the 17th that King; and one of the same name was witness to a deed in the 1st and 7th of Edward III.

After this lived Edmund Kervil, who married Alice, daughter and coheir of Sir John Tilney, of Quaplode, in Lincolnshire. Sir Robert Kervile of Wigenhale was son of this Edmund, (as I take it) and dying most probably in foreign parts, his heart was buried in this parish church: he is said to be the ancestor of the Kervils, of Watlington, and to have an elder brother, John, who married a daughter of Thomas Fitz Williams, Esq of Maplethorp, in Lincolnshire, and was lord of this manor.

Thomas Kervile, Esq. was lord in the year 1467, and had by Mary his wife, daughter and coheir of Gilbert Haultoft, of the isle of Ely, Baron of the Exchequer in the time of Henry VI. Humphrey was his son and heir, who married Alice, or Anne, daughter of John Fincham, Esq. of Fincham, by whom he had Humphrey, his son and heir, who married Anne, daughter of Jeff. Cobbe, Esq. of Sandringham, Norfolk and had 3 sons, and 7 daughters.

Thomas, his eldest, William his second, and Edmund the third, who married Catharine, daughter of William Saunders, Esq. she married to her second husband, John Spelman, Esq. of Narburgh, and to her third. Miles Corbet, Esq.

Alice Kervile, a daughter, married first John Bedingfeld, Esq and afterwards Sir John Sulyard, Knt.— Elizabeth married Robert Bozon, of Wissenset, Esq.—Eleanor to Neal, Esq.—Joan, to John Shouldham, Esq.— Catharine, to — Gawseli, Esq.—Margaret, first married Nicholas Dean of Wigenhale, Gent. and afterwards John Shorditch, alias Bexwell, Esq. of Bexwell, and Mary to —.

Thomas Kervil, Esq. the eldest son, married Alice, daughter of Sir Heny Bedingfeld of Oxburgh, by whom he had Henry Kervile, Esq. who, by Winefred, his wife, daughter of Sir Anthony Thorold, Knt and relict of George Clifton, Esq. of Nottinghamshire; her third husband was Sir Edward Gawsell, Knt. and Sir Henry Kervile, who married Mary, daughter of Franc. Plowden, Esq. by whom he had two children, who died in their infancy. He was a bigotted papist, and about November 1620, was accused by Sir Cristopher Heydon, Knt. that the Papists met at his house, in order to subscribe to and assist the Emperor, against the King of Bohemia, when King James I. requested a loan (for the recovery of the Palatinate) from the nobility and gentry of England, whereupon he was sent for to the council table, imprisoned some time, and his papers seized, but was afterwards released.

Sir Henry Spelman says that on his death, (1624,) the estate of the Kerviles came into the family of the Cobbs of Sandringham; (fn. 3) but it is certain it did not continue long so.

In the 21st of King Charles I. John Williamson, Gent. had a prœcipe to deliver it to Gregory Gawsell, Esq. who was eldest son of Thomas Gawsell, Esq. of Watlington, and dying unmarried in 1656, this lordship came to Hatton Berners, Esq. (son of Arthur Berners, Esq. of Finching field, in Essex, by Elizabeth his wife, eldest sister of Gregory Gawsell aforesaid,) who was high sheriff of Norfolk, in 1666, and on his death in 1713, it desended to Gregory his eldest son, who dying unmarried in 1715, his brother William was his heir, who married and had several children, and dying in 1727, this estate was soon after sold, in order to pay his debts, &c. to Sir Robert Brown, Bart. who was his Majesty's resident, or consul, at Venice, and created a Baronet in the 5th of King George II. was a member of parliament for Ilchester, in Somersetshire, and 1741, appointed paymaster of all his Majesty's works, and lord of this town; his arms,—gules, a chevron, between three fleurs-de-lis, or;—crest, on a wreath, a demy Lon rampant, gules, in his dexter paw a fleur-de-lis, as before;—motto, Gaudeo: he died October 5, 1760, leaving a widow and two daughters.

At a place called Wathden, or Waterden, in this parish, Serjeant Godard observes there was to be seen in his time some remains of a church, also bones that appear at a low ebb upon the river side.

The old hall, or manor-house, was a large building of brick, with a good tower, or gate-house, embattled and built by the Kerviles, with their arms thereon; the greatest part of it is pulled down, and inhabited by a tenant.

Westacre Priory Manor.

In the 14th of Edward I. Hubert, prior of Westacre, held lands here, as appears by a fine; in the said year, Robert, son of William, son of Ivo de Wigenhale, impleaded Hubert, prior, on account of lands here, and in the 34th of the said King, Robert de Walpole aliened lands to that priory.—Esch. N. 136.

In the 6th of Edward II. Jeffrey Sutton aliened lands to the aforesaid priory, viz. 60 acres of land in Wigenhale, Walton, Tilney, Tirington, &c. (Inquis. ad qd. damn. N. 15.) and in the 7th of the said King, William de Wigenhale aliened to the said house 102 acres of land, &c. 12s. rent in Wigenhale and Custhorp, by way of exchange; (Inquis. ad. qd. damn. N. 102:) also John Wigenhale 60 acres of land, 12 of meadow, with a messuage in Wigenhale, Tirington, Tilney, &c. in the said year. N. 112.

In the 3d of Edward III. the said prior was found to hold the 4th part of a fee in Wigenhale and Tilney of the Lord Bardolph.

In 1428, the temporalities of this priory here were valued at 14l. 9s. per ann. in land, rent, and a mill, and their spiritualities (that is the appropriated rectory) at 12 marks.

On the Dissolution it came to the Crown; and in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, lands belonging to this house, in the tenure of John Saunderson, were granted to Sir John Perrot, p. 2. on July 2, but the appropriated rectory was granted by Queen Elizabeth, in her 2d year, July 2, to John Harryngton, and George Burden, and the patronage of the vicarage remained in the Crown.

The Bishop of Ely had a little homage here of several free tenants, probably belonging to his manor of West Walton, which extended here, but it had not a lete.

The prior of Bernwell in Cambridgeshire was found to hold the fourth part of a fee in Wygenhale, of the Lord Bardolph, in the 3d of Edward III. and his temporalities in 1428, were valued at 2l. 13s. per ann.

The abbot of Derham, and Edward Noon, were found to hold in Wigenhale, and Tilney, in the 3d of Henry IV. two knights fees of the Lord Bardolf, 45 acres of land, meadows, &c. in Wigenhale, granted July 22, in the 7th of James I. to Robert Angel, and John Walker, called Heydole, lately belonging to West Derham abbey.

The prior of Wirmegey's temporalities, in Wigenhale, were valued at 2l. 3s. 10d. ob.

The abbot of Bury had a manor here, &c. valued at 2l. 0s. 6d. ob.

William de Sculdham, gave to this abbey, for his own soul, and that of Adeliza his wife, a toft, which Seman and his wife, Leofwot, held in the parish of Wigenhale St. Mary, and a croft in Waterdene, which Sampson, abbot of Bury, who lived in the reign of King Richard I. confirmed to William, son of Alan, ancestor (as it is said) of the family of the Howards. Regist. Sacrist. Bur. fol. 58, 59.

Queen Elizabeth, on April 10, in her 16th year, granted concealed lands, belonging to this abbey, in the tenure of William Prentys, William Hoe, and others, to Edward Dyer, and Henry Cressener.— P. 10.

The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a very regular pile, having a body, a north and south isle, and a chancel; the nave, or body is thatched, the isles, and a south porch covered with lead; in the steeple, which is foursquare, are 5 bells.

In the east window of the south isle, are azure, three cinquefoils, or, Lord Bardolf's arms; gules, six escallops, argent, Lord Scales, and gules, a cross ingrailed, argent, Inglethorp.

This east part is divided from the other part, by an oaken screen, and was an old chapel; here is a stately altar monument of marble and alabaster, whereon lie the effigies of a man in armour, and his lady in alabaster, resting their heads on cushions, with their hands in a supplicant posture; below them is the pourtraiture of a little girl, with her hands conjoined, and by her, a boy in swaddling cloaths; on one side of them is Kervill's arms, gules, a chevron, or, between three leopards faces, argent, impaling azure, a fess indented, in chief, two lis's, or, Plowden;—on the other side Kervil impaling Lovell, of Barton.—On the west end Kervile impaling sable, three bars, sable, over all, a bend ermin, Fincham; and Kervill impaling sable, three covered cups, argent, Boteler, or Butler.—At the east end Kervill, and Plowden in single shields. (fn. 4) On this stand 4 marble pilasters of the Corinthian order, with their capitals gilt with gold, supporting an entablature of the same; on the summit is a goat passant, sable, attired or; the crest of Kervill, and his arms as above.

On a black marble wall-piece this inscription:

Hic deponitur corpus Henricj Kervilj, equitis aurati, filij et hœredis Henricj Kervillj Armig. de Winefredâ conjuge suâ Antonij Thorold militis, filiâ procreati; uxorem duxit Mariam, Franciscj Plowden, Armig. gnatam, e quâ prolem binam, sed in cunabulis extinctum suscepit, Gervasium scilicet et Mariam; sororem habuit unicam, Annam Rob'. Thorald, Armig. nuptam, sine exitu defunctam, 26 Junij, 1624, obijt, et in illo antiqui sui stemmatis Kervillorum nomen, Quam reliquit conjux vitâ, eum sequuta est, consors morte Martij 6to eodem anno.

In the lowest window of this south isle is the triangular emblem of the Trinity; in the next, sable, a fess dauncette, between three mullets pierced, argent, Wesenham, and azure, or argent, two chevrons, sable, Dalling.—In the 3d window, azure, three cinquefoils, argent, Fitton,—and in the fourth, gules, a fess between six lis, argent, Thorp; and gules, a bend between six cross crosslets, fitcheè, argent, Howard.

In the west window, argent, a lion rampant, sable, crowned or, on his shoulder, a lis, argent, Morley.

On a marble stone lying near the east end of this isle;

Here lye the bodies of Grace and Katherine, daughters of Hatton Berners, Esq; and Bridget his wife, the only sister of Sir Symon Leach, of Devonshire, Kt. of the Bath; Grace dyed the 16th of July 1682, aged above 4 years, the other the 10th of November 1680, aged 4 months.—Also the bodies of William and Mary the son and daughter of William Berners, Esq; he dyed 13th of April 1718, aged 4 months; she the 1st. of April 1719, aged 4 months.

Adjoining lies a small marble stone, with an heart (in the centre) of brass, and round it 4 labels, or pieces of brass, each in form of a crescent, thus inscribed.—

Orate p. a'ia Dnj Robertj—Kervile Militis de Wigenhale—Filij Edmundi Kervile de—Wygenhale, cujus cor hic humatur.

At the lower end of the nave are several grave-stones, in memory of the Harwicks;—viz. of Sarah, daughter of Thomas Harwick, and Ann, who dyed 29th of May 1700.—Of Mary, daughter of Richard Earwick, Gent. and Etheldreda his wife who dyed May 9, 1702, aged 7 months.—Of Richard Harwick, Gent. who dyed April 8, 1691, aged 72.—Of Etheldreda, wife of Richard Harwick, Gent. who dyed December 31, 1694, aged 57.

In this nave stands a stately brass eagle, with its pedestal supported by three lions, with this inscription;

Orate p. aia Fratris Roberti Barnard Guardianj de Walsingham, Ao. Dnj. 1518.

Also a gravestone,

In memory of William Robinson, who dyed December 4, 1665, aged 55.

The seats here and in both the isles are of oak, and carved with the figures of saints, &c. and on the upper seat, on the south side, are the arms of Kervile, and Butler.

The windows over the arches of this nave have been curiously painted. In that over the 5th arch, on the south side, is the salutation of the blessed Virgin; in the upper window over the fifth arch, on the north side, is the figure of our Saviour, &c.; in the pannels below, the arms of Kervite, and Kervile impaling Lovel. In that over the fourth arch, St. Simon, under him Kervile impaling Butler.—St. Jude, under him Kervile alone. St. Matthias, under him Kervile impaling Fincham.— In that over the 3d arch St. Philip, under him Kervile, impaling sable, two piles, argent, Pyke.—St. Bartholomew, and under him Kervile, alone.—St. Matthew, under him Kervile, impaling, azure an eagle displayed, or, Shouldham, quartering gules, a chief ermin, Narburgh.

In the 2d window, under Saint John, Kervile impaling argent, a fess between six ogresses, in a bordure, ingrailed, sable, Deane.—St. Thomas, under him, Kervile, alone, and St. James the Great.—Over the 1st and lowest arch of this north isle, St. Peter, and St. Andrew.

It is to be observed that there were in these 4 lowest windows, the figures of the twelve Apostles, 3 in each window; those abovementioned are what remained when I viewed the church in 1730; as some of these are broken and lost through time, &c. so are also several impalements of the Kerviles, which shewed the matches, or marriages, of the family: in an ancient MS. I perceive there were also these following.

Kervile, impaling barry of six, or, and azure, a canton ermine. Gawsell:—Kervile impaling Haultoft, sable, four lozenges, ermine, in a bordure, ingrailed, argent, Kervile impaling Buresley.

The east part of the north isle was also a chapel, and is divided from the rest by a screen: in the east window, are the arms of Howard, also gules, a saltier ingrailed argent, Kerdeston, as I take it; and in the west window of the said isle, or, three barrulets, sable, (fn. 5) over all a lion rampant, gules; and sable on a bend argent, three lis of the first.

In the chancel east window is gules, a fess between six cross crosslets, or, Beauchamp; and on a canton, a maunch, gules, the arms of Tony, and anciently sable, a chevron, ermin, between three cross crosslets botony fitchè, and the Lord Scales.

On a marble grave-stone in the chancel, with the arms of Berners, quarterly, vert and or, impaling ermin, on a chief indented gules, 3 ducal coronets, or, Leach.

Here lyeth the body of Hatton Berners, Esq; who dyed November 23, 1713, aged 73.

Another with the arms of Barners,

In memory of Simon, first son of Hatton Barners, Esq; who dyed 1693, aged 18, and Bridget, his wife.

Also one for

Bridget wife of Hatton Barners, only sister, to Sir Simon Leach, of Devonshire, knight of the Bath, she died January 15, 1705.


In memory of William Barners, Esq. who dyed June 9. 1727, aged == years, and of Jane his wife, who dyed April 10, 1725, aged 41: with the arms of Barners, impaling three lions passant, 2 and 1. Another with the arms of Barners, for

Gregory Barners, Esq. who dyed February 14. 1715, aged 34 years.

In this church were also the arms of the see of Ely.—The EastAngles, or of Bury abbey; and azure, a fess between two chevrons, argent, Tendring.

Humphrey Kervile, of this town, by his will dated October 6, 1540, was here buried.

The vicarage is valued in the King's books at 12l. 10s. the King is patron. The ancient valor of it was 7 marks; Peter-pence 1d.

The church was appropriated to the priory of Westacre, in Norfolk, given to it by the Lord Bardolf, (as I conceive,) or by Ralph de Tonys, founder of that monastery.

The rectory was valued at 12 marks.

On the Dissolution it came to the Crown, and Queen Elizabeth in her second year, July 2, granted this rectory to John Harrington, and George Burden.

Here were lands belonging to St. Stephen's college, in Westminster, valued at 3l. per ann. which were granted in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, to Sir John Perrot,—p. 2, in the tenure of Thomas Jackson.


1316, Walter de Wolpet, instituted vicar, presented by the prior, &c. of Westacre.

1322, John de Rysing. Ditto.

1349, William de Oxwick. Ditto.
William Carpenter.

1358, Steph. Atte Crouch, of Marham, (exchanged for St. Matthew at Norwich). Ditto.

1366, John Wayte, (exchanged for St. Matthews at Norwich). Ditto.

1377, William de Enemeth. Ditto.

1383, John Boxstede, by the prior, &c. of Westacre.

1393, Thomas Wright, by &c.
Thomas de Gedney.

1413, Roger Philpot, by, &c.; he was chaplain of the free chapel of St. Rodegund, in St. Paul's, London, and exchanged with Gedney, by ditto.

1418, Constantine Fitz Ralph, (exchanged for Sculton). Ditto.

1419, Mr. John Verjaunt. Ditto.

1422, Edmund Bungay. Ditto.
Richard Proo.

1435, John Elwyn, (exchanged for Estbrig in Kent,) Ditto.

1453, Edmund Romney. Ditto.

1467, Sim. Stone. Ditto.

1491, Henry Brigges. Ditto.

1507, Robert Borough. Ditto.

1509, Robert Johnson, Bishop of Norwich, by lapse.

1515, William Lacie, by the prior, &c.

1541, Nicholas Thirkle, (by James Daniel, assignee of the prior, &c.) prebend of Norwich, and was a married priest.

1545, Peter Becke, by Mary Dutchess of Richmond and Somerset.

1554, Gawin Stock. Ditto.

1556, Edward Wilkinson, by the Crown.

1577, Thomas Sowter, by Queen Elizabeth

1591, Robert Fielden. Ditto.

1592, Thomas Tenaunt. Ditto.

1599, Richard Tomson. Ditto.

1599, John Crissall. Ditto.

1635, George Springal, compounded for first fruits, December 1.

Laurence Park, rector of Barton All-Saints.

1716, Joseph Barker, by the King, on Park's death.

1755, John Devall. Ditto.


Is an hamlet belonging to the parish of St. Mary Wigenhale. John de Sculham, (or Shouldham,) Ralph, son of Richard, son of Elias de Wigenhale, William, son of Walter de Tilney, and Bartholemew de Tilney, by deeds sans date, gave lands here to West Derham abbey. John de St. Dennis and Cecilia his wife, conveyed lands, here in the 5th of Edward I. by fine, to Richard de Brandon and Agnes his wife.

In the 8th of Edward II. Thomas de Warblington was found to hold one fee here, in Clenchwarton, Sechee, West-Winch, Hardwick, &c. of the honour of Clare; and in the 22d of Richard II. and 38th of Henry VI. the honour of Clare had lands here: and John de Briston, in the 8th of Edward IV. was found to die seized of a lordship in Sadlebow.

Richard Lacy, of this hamlet, by his will in 1509, desires to be buried in the church of St. Mary Wigenhale, and bequeaths 4 acres of arable land to the said church, to find wax candles to burn before the rood, every Sunday, and holyday, in time of divine service.

Robert Apreece, Esq. on July 7, 1662, sold his manor here to Mr. Daniel Rawlinson, citizen of London, who by his last will in 1667, left it to his eldest son, Sir Thomas Rawlinson, afterwards Lord Mayor of London, by whom it was settled in jointure, on Mary his wife, daughter of Richard Tayler, Esq. of Chiswick, in Middlesex, in 1680, and on her death, in 1724, it came to her eldest son, Thomas; and on his death, to his brother, Richard Rawlinson, LL.D. of London, who sold it in November 1735, to Sir Robert Brown, Bart. a fee farm rent of 5l. per ann. free from all charges, &c. being reserved out of it, and granted to the Doctor and his heirs for ever


  • 1. Robert de Capravill was witness to a deed of Robert de Watlington, in King Stephen's time.—Walter de Caprevilla appears to have a lordship here, and granted with the assent of Isabel his wife, Elmar, a villain, in free alms to the priory of Castleacre. Reg. Castleac. sans date.
  • 2. About this time William Chervill, and Thomas at the Grange held the eight part of a fee of the Earl Warren.
  • 3. Pasche Ao. 21 James I. N. 41.
  • 4. Also Kervile impaling ermine, a spread eagle, gules, Bedingfield; and sable, three goats, saliant argent, Thorod.
  • 5. Rather barry, or and sable, of &c.