Launditch Hundred: Fransham Magna

Pages 495-500

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 Fraudesham in Domesday Book, and was then the lordship of William Earl Warren. In King Edward's reign it was held by eleven freemen, of whom the predecessor of Fedric had the protection only, and afterwards Fedric was lord, who was ejected, and Gilbert then held it under William Earl Warren; there was one carucate and an half of land, 4 villains and 8 borderers, two servi, and 4 acres of meadow with 3 carucates, &c. one mill, &c. valued at 30 shillings. (fn. 1)

Frau, in the British tongue, is fluor lenis, a gentle run of water; (fn. 2) hence Franston and Framesden in Suffolk, Frenge, Norfolk, Frekenham, &c.

Gislebert or Gilbert, abovementioned, seems to be the ancestor of the ancient family of Fransham, lords of this town.

In the 10th year of King Richard I. a fine appears to be levied between Hervey, son of Juliana, petent, and Agnes de Fransham tenent, of one carucate of land here, conveyed to Hervey; and in the 19th of Henry III. Philip, son, of Odo de Fransham, conveyed by fine, levied in the King's court at Tatteshale, on Saturday next after the feast of St. Andrew, before Thomas de Muleton, Robert de Lexington, Oliver de Vaux, &c. the King's justices, lands to Ralph, prior of Castleacre, in this village; (fn. 3) and Sir Gilbert de Fransham, Knt. confirmed by deed sans date, to the said priory, all the lands and tenements which they had of the gift of Thomas, son of Reginald de Fransham.

Jeffrey de Fransham appears to have an interest here in the 34th of Henry III. and on a fine levied in the 52d of that King, on the foundation of Wenating abbey, Gilbert de Fransham was then lord, and gave his consent to the settling of lands belonging to his fee, and also was present, it being expressly said,

Et hœc concordia facta p'sente Gilberto de Fransham capitali domino, partis feodi, et illam pro se et heredibus concedente. (fn. 4)

This Gilbert married Beatrix, daughter of ——, afterwards married to Roger Gulafre.

On the inquisitions taken in the 3d of Edward I. Sir William de Fransham was found to be lord, and to have the assise of bread and beer, and that he paid to the sheriff of Norfolk, for a peace of arable land (pro cultura) called Pilewood 12d. per ann. quitrent, due from the conquest.

This William was the King's sub-escheator in the 20th of the said King, and a knight; and in his 32d year he settled by fine, this lordship on Jeffrey de Fransham his son, (as I take it,) and Jeffrey dying sans issue, was succeeded by his brother, Gilbert; for in the year 1323, Gilbert, son of Sir William de Fransham, presented to the rectory of this church.

In the year 1349, Gilbert de Fransham, probably son of Gilbert, presented, and Agnes de Fransham, widow of Gilbert, in 1388, which Agnes was buried, according to her will, dated April 24, 1404, in this church, her son, Jeffrey de Fransham, Esq. lord of this town, and his wife, Joan, being mentioned therein.

This Jeffrey died without issue in 1414; and his 5 sisters and coheirs were Alianore, Alice, Agnes Beatrix, and Agatha; and on Alianore, Agnes, and Beatrix, and their issue, this lordship was settled; Alice and Agatha having their shares of the inheritance in Scarning and Dillington.

Joan, widow of Jeffrey, was living in 1422, and then gave to the Austine-friars of Norwich, 100 marks; her grandson, Thomas Sharington, being then a friar there.

Oldhall's Manor.

Alianore, the first sister and coheir, married——, and had Joan, her first daughter and coheir, married to—Timworth: and Agnes, 2d sister, married to Ed. Swathing; Alice, 2d sister and coheir, married to Sir Edmund Oldhall, Knt. father of Sir William Oldhall, who presented to this church in 1446.

In the 23d of Henry VI. a fine was levied, wherein John Tymworth of Tymworth in Lincolnshire, and Catharine his wife conveyed their right in this manor, and in Skerning and Dillington, and the advowson to Sir William, then held of the dutchy of Lancaster.

Of the Oldhalls see also in East Derham, who died lord in 1451, and Henry his son in the 8th year of Henry VIII. leaving Edward his son aged 18.

After this it came to Walter Gorges, Esq. of Wroxhall in Somersetshire, son of Sir Theobald Gorges, by the marriage of Mary, daughter and heir of Sir William Oldhall, by Mary his wife, daughter of William Lord Willoughby of Eresby; and Edmund Gorges, son and heir of Walter, was in the custody of Sir John Howard, Knt. on the death of his father, Walter, in the 6th of Edward IV.; he was afterwards a Knt. and married a daughter of the said Sir John, by whom he had Edward Gorges, Esq. his son and heir.

In Easter term, in the 15th of Henry VII. Sir Edmund Gorges, Knt. and Edward his son, conveyed it by fine to Humphrey Conynsby, Esq. serjeant at law, Thomas Frowick, &c.

By an inquisition taken November 8, in the 7th of Henry VIII. Sir William Capel, Knt. was found to die seized of it, on September 6, last past, with the advowson of the church, and Sir Gyles was his son and heir, aged 30.

In this family it remains, the Right Honourable the Earl of Essex being the present lord.

Swathing's Manor.

Agnes, third sister and coheir of Jeffey de Fransham, married Edmund de Swathing, and had William de Swathing, whose son, Edmund, having a daughter and heir, Elizabeth, brought this part or share by marriage, to Henry Sharington, whose son Thomas held it in 1497; and Thomas was then found, on his death, to be his son and heir.

This Thomas Sharington, Esq. of Cranworth, settled it on Sir Robert Lovell, Sir John Audley, Sir John Timperley, Sir William Pyrton, Knights, &c. trustees, by his will, dated October 15, 1519, till his debts, &c. were paid, then to came to his son William and his heirs; but the said William and Ursula his wife, conveyed it with their right in the advowson, to Robert Hogan, Esq. in the 23d of Henry VIII. by fine; but it appears that Edward Mynne of Fransham Parva, (fn. 5) gave, by his will, dated March 21, 1542, to Nicholas his son, his part of the manor of Fransham Magna, which he bought of Thomas Sharington and his son, William Sharington, Esq. and Henry Mynne was found to die seized of this manor and advowson, January 25, 1565, and Nicholas was his son and heir, by Christiana his wife, daughter of —Mahew.

Curd's or Crudd's Hall Manor.

Beatrix, the fourth sister and coheir, married— Pesonhale, and had Jeffrey Pesonhale, her son and heir, who held her 3d part or share of this manor, in 1446; and in the 34th of Henry VI. Sibilla Boys, William Calthorp, Esq. &c. remitted, as trustees for this manor, all their right in the lands, tenements, and services, which they lately had of the demise of Sir Roger Harsyk, Nicholas Bokking, with John Crudde.

John Crudde, lord of it, was buried in this church in 1489, father, as I take it, of Nicholas Curdede, of Mekye-Fransham, as he styles himself in his will, in 1505, (fn. 6) and desires to be buried in the church, and bequeaths to Katherine his wife, his trede part of the manor of Fransham.

In the 10th of Henry VIII. John Curde conveyed to Robert Blagge, one of the barons of the Exchequer, this manor, with 30 messuages, 192 acres of land, also 30 messuages, 920 acres of land, in Fransham Magna and Parva, Dunham Parva, Skerning, Beeston, &c. and the advowson of this church.

The Curds descend probably from Jeffrey, son of Henry Crudde of Rougham, who was living in the time of Henry III.

But before this part came to the Curds, it seems to be in the hands of Thomas Gent, and Thomas Brown, who presented to the church in 1488, as lords of the 3d part of the manor of Fransham, as appears from the institution books.

About the reign of King Charles I. Isaac Harsnet of Colchester in Essex, Esq. (brother to Samuel Archbishop of York) was lord: he married Agnes, daughter of —Bruckham, of Wytham in Essex, by whom he had Samuel his son, who was sole executor to the Archbishop, and married Alianor, daughter of Thomas Cotton, of Stirston in Norfolk, Esq. by whom he had several children; Samuel, who was a lunatick, and 5 daughters; Barbara, the eldest, married to Edward Fisher, Gent. of Norfolk; Eleanor, the 2d, William Marsham, of Stratton Strawless in Norfolk, and afterwards to Sir Robert Drury, Bart, of Ridlesworth in Norfolk, who was killed in the great hurricane in 1703, dying without issue, &c. This Samuel lived at Curd's-Hall.

John Bekham, Gent. was lord of it, and dying unmarried, it was sold according to his will, to William Nelson, Gent. of Dunham Parva, in 17 - -, who is the present lord of it.

The lordship of Gressinghale extended into this village, as did the lordship of Swanton Morley.

The tenths of 5l. 10s. Deducted 10s.

In 1659, the feoffees of the lands belonging to the town of Necton, lying here, were charged in a militia rate at 40l. per ann.

The temporalities of the priory of Pentney, in 1428, were taxed at 8s.

In the 6th of Elizabeth these lands were granted September 18, to William Gryce and Anthony Forster, then in the tenure of G. Clements.

The temporalities of Westacre priory were 7s.; of Wendling abbey, 22s.; of Creke abbey, 10d.; of Castleacre priory, 15s. per ann.

The Church is dedicated to All Saints. The ancient valor was 16 marks, and paid Peter-pence, 5d. ob.

Sir Gilbert de Fransham gave two parts of the tithes of his demeans here, and in Scarning, to Castleacre priory, which was confirmed by Symon (de Wanton) Bishop of Norwich, in the reign of Henry III.

The present valor is 7l. 15s. and 9d. ob. and pays first fruits and tenths.


Alexander occurs rector, sans date.

Hugh, rector, ao. 14th Edward I.

John, son of Roger de Fransham, the Pope's chaplain or clerk, in the 6th of Edward I. presented, as I take it, by the Pope.

1323, Alexander de Fransham, presented by Gilbert de Fransham, son of Sir William de Fransham.

1327, John de Feryng, by ditto.

1334, Thomas de North Pickenham, by Gilbert de Fransham.

1349, Ralph de Beston, by ditto.

Simon Fincham died rector, 1388.

1388, Edmund Reeve, by Agnes, widow of Gilbert de Fransham, on whose death, Adam, a priest of London, succeeded, at the presentation of the attornies of Sir William Oldhall, in the vacancy of the see of Norwich, before Bishop Lyhert's time, (the right being in Joan Timworth, eldest daughter of Alianore, the first sister and coheir of Jeffrey de Fransham,) Sir William being then abroad in the King's wars: Adam enjoyed it but a short time, Sir William, on his return, not content with this presentation of his attornies, presented Edmund Oldhall an Adam's resignation; Sir William usurping this turn, on the right of presentation, which was in Edmund Swathing, son of William, son of Agnes, heir of the 2d part of this manor.

In March, 1446, John Boor succeeded

Oldhall, (who resigned) presented by Sir William Oldhall, who this turn usurped on the title of Geffrey Pesonhale, son of Beatrix, heir of the 3d part of this manor.

1448, John Skerning, abbot of Wendling, on Boor's resignation, presented by Thomas Gent, and Thomas Brown, lords of one part of the manor of Fransham.

1503, Thomas Palmer, by Thomas Sharington of Cranworth, Esq.

1529, Thomas Aspal, by ditto.

1533, Thomas Palmer, by Henry and Edward Mynne.

1552, Henry King, D. D.

1554, Robert Cannard, by Sir Giles Capel.

1559, John Brightif, by Andrew Clerk, Gent.

1579. Thomas Bowman, by ditto.

1608, Robert Ward, by Sir Arthur Capel: he was rector of Mileham, 1618, and D. D.

1623, John Bretton, by the assignees of Nicholas Mynne, Esq.; he was rector of Gressenhale.

1633, Robert Booth, by Edmund Doyly and Robert Booth, hac vice.

1660, Samuel Cushing, by Sir Arthur Capel, Knt.

1703, Richard Flack, by Samuel Flack, clerk.

1715, Charles Forster, by Dorothy Flack, widow.

1723, Daniel Burslem, the present rector, by the Earl of Essex.

In this church were the gilds of St. Catharine, All-Saints, Trinity, and St. Ann; the chapel of St. Catherine's, the chapel and light of St. Mary's.

At the east end of the south isle is an ancient chapel, at the entrance lies a large grey marble stone, whereon is the portraiture of a person armed cap-a-peè, his hands conjoined and elevated, as at prayers, within a curious arch or canopy work of brass inlaid in the stone; round the verge of it runs a fillet of brass, thus inscribed,

Hic jacet Galfridus Fransham, armiger, de Fransham, qui obijt in festo Jeronomi Doctoris, Ao. Dni. Millo. ccccxiiii, cuj; &c.

On brass shields are his arms, per pale, indented, 6 martlets counterchanged.

On a gravestone in the nave, the portraitures of a man and his wife, in their winding sheets, and on a plate,

Orate p. a'i'ab; Johs. Crudd et Elizab. uxor. sue, qui obijt. xvii die Septemb. Ao. Dni. m.cccclxxxix, quor; a'i'ab; &c.

Just under the arch of the steeple, lies also a stone with the portraiture of a woman in brass, in a winding sheet, and on a plate,

Orate p. a'i'a, Ceciliœ uxor. Johs. Legge, - - - - - - -.

In Rougham and in this town, there was also another lordship besides that abovementioned, belonging to the Earl Warren; two carucates of land held by Toke in the Confessor's time, one villain, 12 borderers, &c. 3 carucates in demean, and one and an half amongst the tenants, &c. valued before the survey at 50s. per ann. then at 60s.

All Fransham is said to be 9 furlongs long, and 8 broad, and paid 10d. gelt, and W. (it is said) held it, that is Wimerus, who was lord of Gressenhale, and came afterwards to the Stutviles. Robert de Stutvile, in the 3d of Edward I. claimed free warren here, and passed from him to the Foliots, lords of Gressenhale, and others, as may be seen in Rougham; 16 freemen also belonged to this manor at the conquest, with half a carucate and 8 acres of land.


  • 1. Tre Wilm de Warrenna—In Fraudesham tenuit. T. R. E. ii libi ho'es de quib; antec. Fedrici habunt com'd. tantu, p. Fedricus, mo. ht W et Gislebertus de eo, i car. et dim. terre. semp. iiii villi. et viii bord. tc. ii serv. et iiii ac. p'ti. semp. iiii car. silv lx porc. tc. i monn. mo. 1 et dim. semp. val. xxx sol.
  • 2. Frau, the name of a river in Wales.
  • 3. Regist. Castleac. fol. 110.
  • 4. Regist. Waltham Abb. fol. 119.
  • 5. Reg. Cook, Norw. p. 45.
  • 6. Reg. Rix. Nor. fol. 200.