The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross,
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An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk...
by the Late Rev. Charles Parkin, A. M.
Volume IX, London, 1808 pages 408 - 411
William De Beaufoe
Bishop of Thetford was lord in his own right, and held it as
a lay fee at the survey, on the deprivation, or
death of Guert, brother of King Harold, who was slain with that
King at the battle of Hastings, who had 4 carucates of land,
31 villains, 4 borderers, and 5 servi; there were 4 carucates
in demean and 8 carucates, with 8 acres of meadow among the tenants,
a mill &c, and 17 socmen held 80 acres of land, and 4 carucates:
here were two churches, with 16 acres, valued at 16d. valued
formerly at £8 at the survey at £20 was one leuca
long, and one broad, and paid 2s. gelt; 60 acres were taken from
this manor, and possessed then by Peter de Valoins.
Pope Alexander the
Third, in 1176, confirmed to John Bishop of Norwich the rectory
of this church. Herbert the bishop of
Norwich had before this granted a portion of tithe out of it
to the prior of Norwich, which was valued at £3 10s. per
ann. And John Bishop aforesaid, gave to Ralph Hindolveston, chaplain,
(or vicar,) two parts of the tithes of his demean, with all the
small tithe of his hall or palace, saving the monks portion.
In the 6th of Henry III. Pandulf, bishop elect, gave a fine to
have a mercate here weekly, (till the King came of age) and Walter,
the Bishop in the 35th of that King, had a charter of free warren
in his demeans. The Bishop of Norwich, in the 15th of Edward
I claimed the assize, view of frank pledge, a gallows, and a
weekly mercate on Thursday; and it seems he had a castle here.
It remained in the see till the exchange made between King Henry
VIII in his 27th year, and Bishop Rugg, of lands and manors,
when it came to the Crown, and was granted on January 21, in
the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, to Thomas Gresham, Esq.; by
the marriage of his natural daughter, it came to Sir Nathaniel
Bacon, Knt. Second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper, and
by his eldest daughter and coheir, Anne, to Sir Roger Townsend,
Bart. In which family it remains, the right honourable Viscount
now possessing it.
The Church is a vicarage
dedicate to St. Andrew, and being anciently a rectory was valued
at 30 marks. Peter-pence 10d. ½.
And the vicarage at 4 marks; the present valor is £4 10s.
8d.; the Bishop of Norwich has the impropriated rectory, and
the advowson of the vicarage.
Was held of the fee of Norwich, by the family of De Melton,
of Melton Constable. Jeffrey de Melton, Peter de Melton, or De
Constable, his son, and Jeffrey his son, were lords. On the death
of Geffrey, it was , on a division of the estate, in the possession
of the Cockfelds, and Astleys, by the marriage of two of his
sisters and coheirs, as may be seen in Melton and Blakeney.
Sir John de Cokefeld presented to the church in 1305 and 1310,
and the lady Cecilia de Cockfeld in 1322.
The Church is a rectory dedicated to St Mary; ancient valor was 5 marks. Peter-pence 2d; the priory of Norwich had a portion of tithe valued at 10s. The present valor is £3. 6s. 8d.
1305 Oliver de Kirkeby Instituted, presented by Sir John de
Mr Calthorp patron in 1742