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History and antiquities of the county of Norfolk (Volume 9) online

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Wadcton, or Watton. This was the rife of Wat-
ton's free tenement, which was afterwards joined to
the manor oi Curfon. He was one oi thofe barons


W A Y L A N D. 105

that Hood againft Henry III. in defence of their li-
bmits; but he foon left them, and ever afterwards
adhered firmly to the king, who having proved his
fidelity, immediately after his vitforv at Evefhani
made him flieriff of Norfolk, and Suffolk, and in
1 266 governor of Norwich caftle. In i 280 he had a
pillory, trebuchet, afiize of bread and beer, and a
weekly market in this town, with liberty of free-war-
ren allowed him in Eire; and in 1282 upon the
marriage of his daughter Maud with William tic
Roos, he fettled the manor on them and their heirs ;
in i 286 the faid William and Maud were found to be
feifed of the manor, and the aiorefaid privileges, and at
the death of this John de Vaux, in the iGth of Edward
I. his whole eftate was divided between his two co-
heirefTes. Petronill, married to Will, de Nerford, who
had Thurfton, Shottefham, Appleton, Holt, Sec. in
Norfolk, and others, to the number of 25 fees, and
Maud, married to William de Roos as aforefaid, had
Reepham, Hockford, Watton, half Holt, Cleye, &:c.
in all about 19 fees. Thomas Arundell, in right of
Margery ROOJ-, his wife, was lord. She went a pil-
grimage to Rome, returned fafe to England, and died
in 1372, fo that it never came to William, her (on and
heir, who was an active warrior in Prance in the 20th
of "Edward III. and was in that great expedition for
raifing the fiege of Aguiilon, which the duke of Nor-*
mandy had laid with 100,000 men. After that, in
the battle of Crefly ; and, after that, in the iainc
year, at the battle of NcwcaUle-upon-Tyne, where
the king of Scots, and his nobles, were taken prifon-
eis. Next year he went into Fiance with the Black
Prince, and was at the winning of Calais ; but in
1351, going a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he died
without iilue, leaving Thomas, his brother, his heir,
who inherited this manor; he was alfo a brave man,
being in the Black Prince's fervice at the battle of
H 3 Poidicrs,

jo6 H U N D R E D O F

Poi&iers, where John king of France was taken
prifoner. In 1383 he, and Beatrix his wife, widow
of Maurice Fitz-Morris, earl ofDcfmond, and daugh-
ter of Ralph, earl of Stafford, were feifed of this ma-
nor; and in 1414 it went to this John, their fon, then
lord Roos of Harnlake, who was alfo a great warrior,
and, as Dugdale tells us, no lefs eminent for his piety,
as is manifefl from the pilgrimage that he made to
Jerufalem, in which he died at Paphos, in the ifle of
Cyprus, by the bad air of the country, Auguft 6, in
the i yth of Richard II. without iffue, leaving fir Wil-
liam de Roos, knt. his brother, his heir, who was
fome time lord treafurer of England, and died in 1414,
leaving it to John lord Roos, his fon and heir, who
in 1419 was feifed of this manor, and a fifhcry be-
longing to it, but being unhappily (lain about this
time in the French wars, with William his brother,
Thomas lord Roos, his brother, inherited. He, fol-
lowing the example of his gallant anceilors, had the
fate of a fhort life, dying in 1430, leaving Thomas,
his fon, then an infant, his heir, who had livery of
his inheritance in 1445, though he was not of age.
He always faithfully adhered to the Lancafler intereft,
for which, in the J ft of Edward IV. he was attainted
in parliament, and his lands feifed into the king's
hands, and foon after he died at Nevvcaftle, leaving
Edmund, his eldcfl fon, his heir, who was forced to
fly beyond fea in his youth, but was reftored by act
of parliament in the ift of Henry VII. But this ma-
nor, after the attainder in 1462, was given to Richard
Roos, and Robert Weffingham, who reftored it when
it was reverfed. This Edmund died in 1508, and
the manor went to fir Thomas Lovell, knight of the
garter, who married Ifabcl, one of the filters and co-
heirefTes of the faid Edmund deceafed, and fir Robert
Manners, who married Eleanor, the eideft fifter, and
jn 1534 Thomas lord Roos, fon of fir Robert, was


W A Y L A N D. 107

lord of this, Holt, Cley, Snitterly, Hackford cum
Whitwell, Houghton, 8cc. or a moietv of them:
aficr this it was fold, feemingly, to the Gynnevs ; for
in i 570 Thomas Gvnney was lord; then it came to
the Palmers, and Thomas Palmer was impropriator,
lord of Monks-Wick, and patron. In 1609 Ed-
ward Palmer, gent, of Tcflcrton, prefented : it feems
they were joined in lir Edward Barkham, km. for in
1608 he had purchafed Curfon's manor; in 1632
was lord of Watton-Hall, Monks-Wick, patron, and
impropriator, and fo continued till after 1660, when
it was fold to Mr. William Samwell, of DeanVYard,
Weflminfter, who died in 1676, leaving it to Ann,
his wife, daughter of fir Denner Strut, of Little War-
ley, in EfTex, bart. who after his deceafe re-married
John, third ion of fir Philip Wodehoufe, of Kimber-
Icy, who died in 1718, and (he in 1720; then it
went to Ann, daughter and heir of William Samwell,
efq. who married William Henry Fleming, cfq.

William Henry Fleming, efq. was a captain in the
royal navy for many years, and afterwards a rear-ad-
miral : he ferved the office of high fherifF of this
county in the year 1735, and died a lew years fince,
leaving a ion and daughter.

His fon, the prefent fir William Fleming, fuc-
ceed:d heir in the eftate, and was knighted by his
prefent majefty, George 111. Coon after his acceifion,
in the life-time of his father, the admiral : fir William
commanded a company in the Norfolk militia.

His daughter was married to captain Farmer, the
gallant commander of the Quebec man of war, cf
thirty-two guns, which wa:> blown up in engaging the
Surveillame, a French frigate of fuperior force, and
\vhopeiifhed in that action (Oclober, 1779); for
H 4 whofe

io8 H U N D R E D O F

whofe intrepid conduct, and as a recompence for
fuch confumrnate valour, his majefty was pleafed to
confer the dignity of a baronet on his ddci! fen,
George, now fir George Farmer, bart. a youth then
upon the foundation at Eton college, and fince en-
tered, by his majeily's fpecial appointment, a mid-
fhipman in the royal navy. His rnajefty was alfo
pleafed to order five hundred guineas, out of his privy
purfe, to the widow of captain Farmer, then near
her time, to defrav the expences of her lying-in.
Captain Farmer was wounded in the wrift early in
the engagement, which he bound up with his handker-
chief, and continued engaging: he received two
other wounds afterwards. The French commander
of the Surveillante died of his wounds: his {hip
had made no refinance for fome time to the Quebec,
but feeing the Quebec on fire, he would not fuffer
the colours to be {truck.

The following particulars of the engagement be-
tween the Quebec and Surveillante, off Ufhant, were
given by the firfl lieutenant of the Quebec, who ar-
rived at Portfmouth October 28, 1779, from Bred,
on his parole, being taken up by the Surveillante,
and carried into that port : " At the time the Que-
bec took fire, fhe was lying athwart the hawfer of the
Surveillante, clofe on board; the Surveillante had
cealed firing upwards of half an hour, and alt her
men were below, but the officers continued obuinate,
and would neither flrike the colours, nor fuffer them
to be ftruck, though there was not the fmalleii en-
couragement; : {uch conduct reduced captain Farmer
to the neceihty of ordering his guns to be pointed
downward, fo as for the fhot to go through the fri-
gate's bottom; confequently one difcharge would
have done her bufinels, and the captain was actually
making every preparation in his power to fave her


W A Y L A N D. 109

men. At this critical juncture the alarm of fire was
given from fevcral places, owing chiefly to the
wadding of the enemy's guns, which had fallen on
board, and in the heat of the engagement were un-
noticed: at the time the alarm was given the fires
had gained fufficiem ftrength. to defy every effort
that cculd be made to conquer them. The officers
of ihe Surveillante feeing the imminent danger their
frigate was in from the fire in the Quebec, gave their
crew notice, and every effort was immediatelv made
to clear her of the Quebec, and row her a durance
off before the Quebec blew up, which, from the
i aging of the flames, they expccled every minute.
Captain Farmer, dcfpairing of affiftance from the fri-
gate's rowing away, and the cutter being at too great
a diltance, and to leeward, with all the calmncfs of a
philofopher, and a Briton, advifed the crew to Qiift
for themfelves, by fwimming either for the cutter or
the French frigate. The greatcft part of the crew
that 'were able immediately dripped and leaped over-
board, fome fwimrnirig for the one vcffel, fome for
the other. The firft lieutenant leaped off from one
fide of the forccaflle, fwam for the frigate, and
got fafe on board. Captain Farmer leaped off from
the other fide, and fwam for the cutter ; after he had
fwam fome time, his ftrength failed him, and he
called to feveral of his people that had gained a boat
which had been call a-drifc, but it is prefumed the
people were too much agitated to hear him, or to give
him affiflance; fo he called in vain, and funk in the
deep. Thofe who gained the boat the Rambler cut-
ter took up. Thofe who were left on board for the
moil part pcrifhed, fome few excepted, who were
taken off the wreck by a Portuguefe brig. Much the
greater part of thofe who fwam for the trench frigate
got fafe on board, there being, very fortunately for
them, the greater part of the rigging towing over-


board, otherwife they mud inevitably have pcrifhed,
for the French were fo fully employed with pumping,
to keep their frigate a-float, and with rowing to clear
her from the Quebec when fhe fhould blow up, that
it would have been impoffible for them to have af-
forded the fmalleft affiftance. As the people got on
board, they were conduced, by the centinels, down
the cable tier, but foon after came on deck, and
worked at the pumps with the utmoft alacrity ; and
it is probable that the frigate owed her fafety to them,
for the crew were fo much exhaufled through pump-
ing, that it was once refolved to leave her, and go on
board their cutter ; but the Quebec's brave fellows
faved them the trouble, and they got fafe into Breft.
The officers were fuffered to walk about Breft with
great freedom, and, on their giving their parole not
to ferve again during the war (unlefs an exchange of
prifoners fhould take place) were readliy permitted
to embark on board a Dutch fbip,

CURSON'S MANOR was made up of divers parcels
r.f the manors of Watton-Hall, and Rokele's, fold
off at different times, and held by the Curfons. In
1453 Henry, fon of Henry Pakenham, efq. had it,
and after divers purchafes it was fold by Thomas
Sharp "to fir Edward Barkham, who joined it. to his
other manors.

ROKELE'S MANOR, now called Rockell's, received
its name and rife from Richard de Rupella (that is,
Of the Little Rock) or Rokele, who obtained the fir ft
grant of it from Oliver de Vaux, lord of the town
in 1 237 ; and in 1287 it was in one of that name. In
1345 Peter deStremby held it at half a fee of the ca-
pital manor. In 1385 Leonard Kerdeflon had it,
and in the fame year fir John Coplcdike, knt. was in
poffefiion of it. In 1432 William Heton owned it.


W A Y L A N D. in

In 1 504 fir Henry Colct had it fettled on him by
fine, having purchafcd it of Hugh Denys, x. In
i r )6'3 Dionife Topps forfeited ii to the crown, and
the queen granted it iu exchange to Roger Caievv ;
and in 1613 Anther, y Carcw fold it to William
Ileighoe. In 1672 Thomas Scott, the elder, of
Wation, by will left it to Thomas Scott, his grand-
fon, he having purchafcd it of Thomas Heighoc.
It now (fays Blomfield) belongs to Peter Barker, gent.
\vho reficles in the manor-houfe, which (lands about
half a mile north-can: of the town, againft the com-
mon called Walton-Green.

This is a fmall market town, fituate juft into the
wood land, but near the filand, or open part of the
county ; it is a good thoroughfare, and its market is
uo dcfpicable one, great quantity of butter being fent
through ihis place to Downham-Bridge, from whence
the factors tend it to London by water.

The town's name is oddly exprefled by a rebus, or
device, carved on the market qrofs. viz. a W. a hare,
and a tun; now a haie being often called by the
country people wat, that joined with the tun cannot
fail making Wattun, though for further direction the
\V. is prefixed.

The church was placed by the old manor-houfc
(which is now quite demolifhed), and ftands between
the prefent town and Watton -Green, no doubt but
iixed fo at firfl for the joint convenience of the te-
nants of the feveral lordfliips, which induced the ca-
pital lord to fix his houfe near it ; ir was built, in
all appearance, about Henry I. by Fitz-Walter, and
dedicated to St. Giles, though it fecms about the
time of Henry VI. to have been re-dedicated to St.
friary. There were three guilds held in it. It was



given by Ralph Fitz-Walter to the prior of Thetford,
tt'ho got it appropriated to his houfe, the impropria-
tion being valued at twenty marks, and the vicarage
at five marks ; the faid Ralph gave the farm, lands,
and houfe, that Ernald, the prieft, who was then rec-
tor, held of him, with all the tithes, and alfo fixty acres
of his demefnes, called Eilewardes-Hage-Wood, and
divers rents, 8cc. which conftituted the manor called
Monks-wick, they being taxed for their temporal
rents belonging to it at 155. The vicar at the im-
propriation had all the fmall tithes fettled on him,
and an annual portion out of the great tithes of 265.
d. which is now paid by the impropriator, out of
the Wick-farm, every Lammas-Day ; he is alfo to re-
pair the chancel, but the vicar was to pay the Peter-
pence, which was igd. a year, is. 8d. fynodals. 6s.
8d. procurations, and to have the tithe wood of the
parifh.and all mortuaries, which are ft ill paid accord-
ing to the ftatute; he hath alfb a vicarage-houfe and
ten acres of glebe ; it is valued in the king's books
at 7!. 5d. and being fworn of the clear yearly value
of 49!. 6s. gd. it is difcharged of firfl fruits and
tenths. The town paid 61. 35. 4d. to the tenths, and
is valued at 677!. 6s. 8d. to the land tax.

The prior of Pentney had temporals in this town*
valued at 45. per annum, given by Robert de Vaux,
the founder.

The church is very fmall, which (Lews that the
town is increafed fince its foundation; it is only
twentv vards long, and including the two ailes, ele-
ven yards broad ; the fteeple is round i.t bottom, and
octangular at top, having three bells in it.


* Mon. Ang. vol. 2, fol. 19, apud Wadyngton, as it is there

W A Y L A N D. 113

The north porch, two ailes, and nave, arc leaded,
and the chancel is tiled; the remains of a curious
crucifix carved in ftone, on the front of the north
porch, may flill be feen.

In a window in the fouth ailc arc the arms of
Thetford priory.

There are three or four flones difrobed of brafTcs.,
under which, probably, fome perfons of diflinclion,
were formerly buried; one had four fliields of arms
on it.

On a mural monument againft the north chancel
wall, Samwell impaling Wodehoufe, and his creft of
the hand and club. On a coat of Pretence. Alfo,

Strutt, Sacred to the memory of Ann Wodehoufe, daugh-
ter of fir Denucr Strutt, of the county of E/fex, baronet*
widow of William Samwell, efq. lord of this manor, and
patron of this Living, and alfo of John Wodehouje, tfq.
of this county, obijt 19 Aug. 1720. JLia. 72.

Againft. the fame wall, on another monument, arc
the arms of Fleming, impaling Samwell, Hie fit<z
funt reliquiae Anna Fleming, Jilia Gulielmi Samwell, ar~
migeri, de comitalu Norihampt: et WiUau: Hcnnce
Fleming,, de hac par ochia, armigcri, uxons, exemplar. f;V-
tutis & rciigic-nis pieti/Jlmum relinquentis, animam Dea
rtddidit, Apr His vicefuno otfavo 1728, anno cctatis quin-
quagcjjimo quarto ; hie quc.que jacet Blanch Allen, fupra:
memorati Willi. Henrici Fleming mater, obijt xvn Au-
gnjli. MDCCXXIX, anno tftatis LXII.

There are three half acres of land belonging to ihis
parifh, two of \vhich lie in ihc field, and the third
in Lammas meadows.



There are alfo alnns-houfes, with half an acre cf
land, founded by Edward GoafTe, of Thrcxton,
who died in 1612, and is buried at Saham. The
following claufe concerning thefe alms-houfes is
taken from his will: " 1 will, that four of the poor-
" eft aged couples dwelling in Watton fhall have
" their dwelling in the alms-houfes during the term
" of their natural life, and alfo an annuity of 5!.
41 per ann. (for ever) granted out of my houfcs and
" lands lying and being in Griflon, to be equally di-
" vided amongft them yearly, during the time of
" nine years, at four feveral payments, at the feafts
" of the Annunciation, St. John the Baptift, St. Mi-
V chael the Archangel, and the Nativity of our
" Bleffed Saviour ; and in the tenth year, only the
" fum of 505. and the other 505. to be laid out in
" repairing the alms-houfes, if need require, at th$
' difcretion of the feoffees."

In 1673, on Saturday the 2$th of April, there
happened a moft dreadful fire in this town, which
burnt down above fixty houfes, befides barns, flables,
and out-houfes, the butchers fhambles, Sec. to the
value of 7450!. and goods to the value of 2660!. for
\vhich there was a brief granted to gather over all
England till the 2oth of Sept. 1673.

Between this town and Merton, on the left hand,
lies VVayiand-wood, commonly called Wailing-wood.
The name is a plain corruption of Weyland, and is
the very demefne ef, and gives name to the hundred,
as is plain from the fherift's turn, which was always
kept at a certain place in this wood, which is now
owned by Thomas de Grey, cfq. of Merton.


W A Y L A N D. 115

There are feveral annual fairs here; one on Mi-
chaelmas Day, another on Sts. Simon and Jude's
Day, Sec. but we do not meet with any account of
them in any evidences that we have feen.

Watton is a fmall but neat market town, twenty-
one miles from Norwich, to which an excellent turn-
pike road is now made by acl of parliament; it is
twelve miles from Thetford, ninety-fix to London,
feven from Hingham, ten from Eaft Dereham, and
eight from SwafFham. Its fairs in 1778 were on
February 2, May 6, and September 7.

In 1730, September 30, the Rev. Thomas Pigge
was prefented to this vicarage by the late William
Henry Fleming, efq.


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Online LibraryAnna Riggs MillerHistory and antiquities of the county of Norfolk (Volume 9) → online text (page 31 of 31)