North Greehow Hundred: Houghton

Pages 244-247

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

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Called Houghton in the Hole, by the hills, and in old writings Hacton, from its site by the hills, was a beruite to the King's manor of Wighton, in King Edward's time, and remained so at the survey; 4 carucates of land belonged to it, 5 villains, and 5 borderers, one carucate in demean, and 3 carucates among the tenants, with pasture for 1000 sheep, 3 acres of meadow, with 2 mills, and was half a leuca long, and half broad, paying 4d. gelt. (fn. 1)

The family of De Vallibus or Vaux, were early enfeoffed of this lordship, and was held in the reign of Henry II. and King Stephen, by Robert de Vaux, and Sir Oliver de Vaux was lord of Hocton, in the reign of Henry III. held in capite by the service of 20s. per ann. to the King, as lord of the hundred.

Sir John de Vaux dying in the 16th of Edward I. it came to his two daughters and coheirs, Petronilla, and Maud, who held it by the payment of 20s. to the hundred, and a quarter of wheat per ann. and had the lete, a gallows, and other royal liberties.

Nerford's Manor.

Petronilla married Sir William de Nerford, and held a moiety of it in her right, and in this family it continued till issue male failing, on the death of Sir John de Nerford, in the 38th of Edward III. it descended to his only daughter, Margery, who died possessed in 1417, leaving it (as I take it) to the Lord Cobham, and so passed as in Nerford manor, in Holt.

After this it came to the Lexham's, and William Lexham was lord, in the 31st of Henry VI. and one of the same name left it in the 15th of Henry VII. to his four daughters and coheirs.

Ross's Manor.

Maud, youngest daughter and coheir of Sir John de Vaux, had also a moiety, which by her marriage came to William Lord Ross of Hamlake, in which family it continued, and came, after the attainder of Thomas, Lord Ross, (fn. 2) to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who married Sir Robert Maners, whose son, George Lord Ross, inherited it, and was sold by Henry Earl of Rutland, his descendant.

In 1551, Martin Hastings, Gent. presented to the vicarage, but whether he was lord does not appear.

Gyles Symonds, of Hilderston. Gent. was lord of the town in the year 1571, and had livery of it, with the manor of Whitwell, by Refham, about the 1st of Elizabeth, and Henry Sidney, Esq. was lord in the 42d of Elizabeth. (fn. 3)

In 1720, Colonel Lee possessed it, and his son, Henry Lee Warner, Esq. died lord, and his son inherits it.

The tenths were 2l. 6s.—Deductions none.

The Church was dedicated to St. Giles, and was a rectory, valued at 12 marks; on its appropriation to the priory of St. Faith's, in Horsham, a vicarage was settled, valued at 5 marks, and the Peter-pence were 6d. ob. the present valor is 8l.

It is a single building, and of the same height with the chancel, covered with lead, and has a tower with three bells.

In the chancel, on a brass,

Hic jacet Dns. Joh. Fuller.—He was vicar.

In the chancel on the north side, on a mural marble monument adorned with arms, &c.

Memoriæ Sacrum Vivit hoc marmor Gulielmi Fenn, Generosi Deo obsequetissimi filij.

et Ecclesiæ Uxori suœ amantissimi mariti, Liberis indulgentissimi patris, ed Pauperibus.

Qui cælo maturus suum mortale exuit 5to. die Januarij An. Dni. 1702. œtat. 50.

Arms, argent, on a fess, azure, three escallops, of the first, in a bordure, ingrailed of the second.

Orate p. a'ia Joh. Gime quo'da' vicarij de Houton.

In the church and chancel there are several other stones, with inscriptions, relative to the Fenns. The following of whom are buried in their family vault, under the chancel:

William Fenn, Gent. ob. 5, Jan. 1702, œt. 50.

Mary, widow of William Fenn, Gent. ob. 29, March, 1725, æt. 66.

Thomas Fenn, Gent. ob. 9, Dec. 1709, œt. 33. sons of William and Mary Fenn.

William Fenn, Gent. ob. 18, Dec. 1710, œt. 29.

Ann, widow of William Fenn, Gent. ob. Sept. 1743.

John Fenn, Gent. ob. 15, Nov. 1741, œt. 34, son of William and Ann Fenn.

William Fenn, an infant, ob. Dec. 1741, son of John and Mary Fenn.

In the chancel are buried likewise under a marble stone,

Robert Swallow, Gent. ob. 25, June 1722, œt. 54.

Elizabeth, widow of Robert Swallow, and daughter of William and Mary Fenn, ob. 19, Jan. 1727, œt. 43.

In the church were these arms, azure two bars wavy, ermin, Holkham.

Of St. Bennet's of Holme abbey.—Argent, a chevron ingrailed, gules, between three mullets, pierced, or—Rugg.

It was appropriated before the reign of Edward I.


In 1330, John Freyssel, presented vicar by the prior of St. Faith's.

1372, John de Bedingham, by the King, it being a priory alien.

1372, Richard Clement. Ditto.

1375, Robert Edyman. Ditto.

1380, William Hermer. Ditto.

1386, Robert Barber, by the prior.

1394, Edmund Lehere, by the King.

1410, Constant. Heyward.

Robert Prat.

1416, John Lughburgh, by the King.

1470, John Bradfield, the Bishop, by lapse.

1476, John Fuller, by the Bishop.

1495, John Gime, by the King.

1530, Christopher Frost. Ditto.

1551, Mr. Thomas Steing, by Martin Hastings, who then (it may be presumed) held the impropriate rectory, with the patronage of the vicarage.

1553, John Walby, by Giles Mabbes.

Leonard Metcalf.

In the 6th of Elizabeth, Thomas Seafowle had the impropriated rectory, and advowson of the vicarage.

1576. John Lamynge, by Thomas Sydney.

1587, Henry Gillet, by Henry Sydney, Gent.

John Clithero died vicar in 1717, and Joshua Tompson was presented by Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, Bart.

1731, Henry Roberts, by Henry Lee Warner, Esq.

Robert Nisbit.

1740, Christopher Pigg, by H. Lee Warner, Esq.

1742, Samuel Hemington. Ditto.

Here was the gild of St. Giles, and of St. Mary.

In 1509, a legacy was given to the hermite of St. Catherine in this town.

The tempor alities of Walsingham priory were 16d.


  • 1. Hohtune i beruita, jacet huic man. iiii car. t're. sep. v vill. et v bor. sep. i car. in d'nio tc. iii car. hom. p. et mo. ii pastura mille ovia. iii ac. p'ti. ii mol. et ht. dim. leug. in long. et dim. in lat. et redd. iiiid. de gelto.
  • 2. See Ross's manor, in Holt.
  • 3. See in Walsingham.