Freebridge Hundred: Wigenhale St. Peter's

Pages 183-186

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

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As the towns of Wigenhale St. Mary Magdalen, and St. Mary's, with their churches, stand on the west side of the great river Ouse, in Marshland, so the towns of St. Peter's, and St. German's Wigenhale, with their churches, stand on the east side of the said river, in that part of the hundred, that is called Freebridge citra Lynn.

Shouldham Priory Manor.

The two principal owners of this town, and at the conquest, seem to be William de Schoies; after that the Giffards, from whom the Earls of Clare descended, and Hugh de Monteforti, of whom see in Crabhouse, above mentioned.

In the reign of King John, Jeffery Fitzpiers Earl of Essex, who held large possessions of the honour of Clare, gave, on his foundation of Shouldham priory, all his lands here, with a moiety of the advowson of this church, which was appropriated to it, and William de Wygen hale, who held considerable lands of the said honour, aliened to the aforesaid priory 6 acres in Wigenhale, and many acres in several other towns.

The temporalities of this house in 1428, in land, rent, and a mill, were valued at 10l. 5s. 1d. per ann. and at the dissolution at 15l. 4s. per ann.; part of these lands was granted in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary, to Sir John Perrot, to be held by the 20th part of a fee, and in the 8th of Elizabeth, was in the possession of Henry Doyle. Perrot had lands, and a barn, granted to him July 27, in the 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary.

Thomas de Warblington and Simon Fitz Richard were found in the 8th of Edward II to hold lands of the Earl of Clare; see in Clenchwarton and Islington.

Hugh de Montfort's part came afterwards to the Lord Scales, and Ingaldesthorp; and in the 12th of Henry III. it appears by a fine, that a moiety of the advowson of this church was held by Thomas de Ingaldesthorp, and Robert de Scales.

In the 26th of Edward I. Robert de Rungeton, acknowledged that he ought to acquit the prior of Shouldham, of the service which Robert de Scales required of him, for the free tenement held of Robert, in Wigenhale, in pure and perpetual alms, and of 14 acres of land, with their appertenances: the family of De Lisewiz had also lands under the Lord Montfort's fee

Sir Robert Brown, Bart. late lord: his manor of St. Mary's Wigenhale extended here, and now is in his lady.

The Church of St. Peter's has a nave, or body, covered with tiles, a south isle covered with lead, a chancel with reed, and a square tower with one bell.

It consisted anciently of two rectories, or medieties, each valued at 11 marks, and paid Peter-pence 14d. one in the Earl of Clare's fee was very early appropriated to Shouldham priory, and a vicarage endowed, of which the prior was patron, but the Bishop of Norwich, for the most part presented; this on the Dissolution came to the Crown, and the vicar is presented by the Lord Chancellor, valued in the King's Books at 9l. and his discharged from the payment of first fruits, &c.

The other mediety in Montfort's fee was appropriated to Crabhouse priory, and no vicarage was settled, and called the mediety of Robert the rector, (in the 2d year of Richard II.) but the patronage appears to be in that house in 1310: of this moiety see in Crabhouse priory.

In the church windows were the arms of Kervile and of Shouldham, and in a north window sable, three mallets, argent, Rainham.

Here are gravestones,

In memory of John Harwick, gent, who died November 12, 1692, aged 72; and of Edmund, son of John, who died October 4, 1713, aged 65.

On the font two cross keys, St. Peter's arms.

Spark's chantry in this church was granted July 23, in the 4th of Edward VI. with all its lands and rents, &c. in the tenure of Robert More, to Nicholas le Strange; and in the 23d of Eliz. Peter Perse, cousin and heir of Humphrey Cony, late of this town, held part of these lands, being son of Thomas Perse, son of Margaret Perse, sister of John Cony, father of Humphrey.

Henry Doyle held all the lands and tenements with 25 acres in Wigenhale and South Lynn, in the 8th of Queen Elizabeth, lately belonging to the monastery of Shouldham, which were granted to Sir John Perrot, ao. 3d and 4th of Philip and Mary.


Ralph occurs rector of a moiety in Bishop Eborard's time, about 1130.
And Robert, rector, 1250, of a mediety.

1310, Robert de Well to a mediety by the prioress of Crabhouse.

1313, William de Redlington to a mediety, by the Bishop of Norwich.

1315, Clement de Wicton, vicar, by the Bishop of Norwich.

1319, Henry de Brom, vicar, by the Bishop.

1335, Walter Gerard, vicar, by the Bishop.

1349, Roger Colman, vicar, by the Bishop.

Peter de Winch, vicar.

1377, John Stalworth, by the Bishop.

1380, Robert Sutton, by the Bishop, &c.

1396, Nicholas Essex, by the Bishop, &c.

1401, Robert Attehill, by the Bishop, &c.
John Astyn died vicar, 1421.

1421, Richard de Wigenhale, by the Bishop, &c.

1423, Edmund Blake, by the Bishop, &c.

1431, William Craw, by the Bishop, &c.

1436, Edmund Gedney. Ditto.

1442, John Wastell. Ditto.

1459, William Ray. Ditto.

1461, John Garnon. Ditto.

1461, Henry Skendelby. Ditto.

1463, Gilbert Bylton. Ditto.

1470, Henry Lucas. Ditto.

1485, William Calvysbane, by the prior, &c. of Shouldham.

John Thacker.

1503, William Gerland, canon of Shouldham, indultu apostolico.

1528, Thomas Powdych, canon of the order of St. Augustine, by the Bishop.
John Moore.

1537, Thomas Moore, by the King.
John Toller.

1554, Thomas Johnson, by the Bishop, a lapse.

1559, Edward Williamson, by the Queen.

1562, Robert Binks, by the assignees of Sir Edward Gage, (fn. 1) united to Sir Mary Magdalen Wigenhale.

1583, Anthony Pygot, by the Queen.

1585, Roger London.
John Sealer.
Mahalal Rymes.

1661, Thomas Knight, A.M.

1729, Henry Robinson, by the King.

The present impropriator is Mr. Edwards.

In 1428, the spiritualities of Shouldham were valued at 11 marks; and the portion of the other moiety, viz. of Robert the rector, alias Crabhouse, was of the same value.


  • 1. The Queen and Sir Edward Gage, patrons at this time.