The manor and advowson was given to the monks of Ely, along
with Bridgham, and the rest of the possessions of that abbey in Norfolk, all which were confirmed by King Edgar in the year of our
lord 970, (fn. 1) (see p. 436) but was divided before the Conqueror's time by
the Abbots, into divers parts, they reserving the advowson, part of
the demeans, and a few small rents only, to themselves, all which
they joined to their manor of Bridgham, with which it was assigned at
the erection of that see, to the bishops thereof, who always presented
to this church, as they do at this day; the advowson not being appendant to Bridgham manor, did not pass to the Crown at the exchange of that manor. In 1277, it was found by an inquisition, that
the Bishop of Ely had the free gift and patronage of this church, (fn. 2)
that it was in the archdeaconry of Norfolk, and deanery of Rokelond,
but the Abbot of St. Alban's had two parts of both the small and
great tithes, of the demeans of Alexander de Royinges, (or Rothynges,
as the family was after called,) except 40 acres, which the rector was to have the whole tithes of, and the Prior of Thetford had
two parts of the great and small tithes, of the demeans of William de
Carleton, and the lady Sarah Le-Noreise, except 48 acres, which belonged solely to the rector; and also two parts of the great and small
tithes of the demeans of Alexander Purri, (fn. 3) and Godfride de Snareshille, except 12 acres which the rector had the whole tithe of, all
which were given by Roger Bigot at the foundation of the priory, (fn. 4) at
which time he was lord of that whole part, which was now divided,
and held by the said William, Sarah, Alexander, and Godfride. This
portion was taxed at one mark, and so was the portion of the Prior
of St. Alban's.
The rectory was valued at 4l. 12s. 6d. in the King's Books, but
being sworn of the clear yearly value of 40l. 6s. 8d. a year, it is discharged of first fruits and tenths, and consequently is capable of augmentation. It is a small parish of near 100 inhabitants; in 1603,
it had 48 communicants; it paid 55s. to the tenths, and is now
assessed at 119l. to the King's tax.
At this town there have been divers Roman coins ploughed up; (fn. 5)
I have seen a very fair one of Vespasian, thus circumscribed, IMP.
caes. vespatian. aug. cos. viii. pp.; the reverse was a Mercury
holding an urn, and S.C.; there are also urns found here; I have seen
a small one of red earth, that held about half a pint, all which make
me apt to think, that this town, and not Bretenham in Suffolk, might
be the Combretonium of Antoninus, and the Conventronum et ad
Convecin. in the Peutegerian Tables; (fn. 6) and the rather, because I never
heard of any Roman antiquities found at the other Bretenham; but
whether the name in English implies a town on the Breton, or, in
Welsh, a great valley or low place upon the Breton, I confess I know
not; but the situation is in a great valley, or low place, upon that
river which runs from Quidenham-Mere to Thetford, the name of
which I have not met with.
The Church and parsonage-house were burnt down in 1693: the
nave was rebuilt, but the chancel was not; there is a square tower
and one bell; the nave and south porch are tiled. This is written on
the north wall,
By this Place lyeth the Body of Roger Beales, who died June
29, 1711, and was Church-Warden alone for the Town of Bretenham, and built this Church after the Fire, being the 18th Day
of May, in the Year 1693, and laid out all the money, before he
made his Rate, to gather in any Money, and whose Names, and
what every Man paid.
Charles Wright [lord] 29l. 6s. 6d.; Mr. John Newcomb [rector]
21l. 1s.; Roger Beales 12l. 12s.; John Sele 6l.; Roger Howes 3l. 18s.
Tho. Townsend 1l. 13s.; Richard Lovick 1l. 19s. &c.
Rectors of Bretenham St. Andrew.
1303, 5 id. May, a sequestration was granted to Alfred de Brok.
1303, 6 id. Aug. Roger de Orford.
1309, 6 id. Aug. Richard de Denesford, accolite.
1309, 17 kal. Jan. Tho. de Haytone, priest.
1328, 5 kal. Feb. John de Derby, priest.
1335, prid. id. Feb. He had license, as chaplain to the Bishop of
Ely, to let his rectory, and not reside upon it. The above were presented by the Bishop of Ely.
1345, 22 July, Tho. Elyot de Swaffham-Market, priest, on the resignation of John Breidesdale de Derby. The King, by reason of the
vacancy of the See. (fn. 7)
1349, 24 Octob. Tho. Burchard, priest. Brother Alan Prior of Ely,
attorney of Tho. Bishop of Ely, who was beyond sea.
1356, 11 Febr. Peter de Berton, priest. The King, on account of
the temporalities of the Bishoprick, then in his hands.
1361, 25 Aug. Will de Nessingwik, accolite on Berton's resignation.
1363, William de Derkewey.
Thomas de Wilton.
1372, 30 Nov. Tho. de Clypesby, priest, on Wilton's resignation.
John Bishop of Ely.
1373, 26 June, John de Conguresbury, shaveling. (fn. 8) The King, the
see being void.
1376, 15 June, Walter De-la-more, priest. The Pope, by provision or reservation.
1394, 30 Sept. Ralph Lemburgh, priest. Ditto.
1401, 12 Aug. William Aleyn, priest. The Bishop of Ely.
1403, 4 July, William Lylye, priest. Ditto.
1442, 7 Jan. Will. Dorant, priest, on Lylye's death. John, vicargeneral to the Bishop of Ely. (fn. 9)
1449, 24 Febr. Will. Gilberd, bachelor in the decrees. Lapse.
1454, 30 Dec. Thomas Walle, on Gilberd's resignation.
1466, 7 Octob. John Fustour, on Walle's resignation.
1470, 8 June, John Kaa.
1502, 10 April, Tho. Watson, on Aleyn's death,
1511, 9 June, John Eldred,
1542, 10 Aug. Sir Tho. Horne, chaplain, on Eldred's death,
1544, 23 July, Will. Collison, on Horne's death,
1554, 14 May, John Thirkelby,
1559, 1 July, Robert Dixon, priest,
1562, 11 Nov. Hugh Weston, priest, on Collinson's resignation.
1566, 19 June, Sir Thomas Smith, on Weston's resignation.
1569, 5 May, Robert Westley,
1571, 13 Febr. Tho. Green, clerk, on Westley's resignation. The
above were presented by the Bishop of Ely.
1581, 30 Aug. John Townsend. The Queen, lapse.
1600, Mr. John Wolf.
1608, 2 Aug. Richard Mucklestone, A.M. who held it united to
Thurston in Depwade hundred. The Bishop.
1612, 10 Dec. Richard Pemberton, A.M. Ditto.
1624, 2 July, William Alcock, A.M. The King, lapse.
1627, Alexander Pistor, S.T.P. The Bishop.
Edward Furnace, clerk.
1636, 31 May, Tho. Cordell, A. M. by the promotion of Edward
Furnace. The Bishop.
Thomas Pell, united to Bridgham. Ditto.
1663, 23 Dec. Will Monford, A.M, on Pell's death. Ditto.
1666, 25 Nov. Tho. Hetherset, A. M. on Monford's death. Ditto.
1675, 17 Aug. John Chinery, on Wormley Hetherset's (fn. 10) death. Ditto.
1686, 19 Aug. Edmund Newcomb, united to Knatishall in Suffolk.
1701, 10 Oct. The Rev. Mr. Thomas Lone, the present  incumbent; and now holds it united to Kilverstone. Ditto.
The whole at first belonged to the Abbot of Ely, as aforesaid, by
whom it was divided into several parts; the first two parts belonged
to John, Waleram's nephew, at the time of the Conquest, (fn. 11) and had
been held by two freemen under the abbot in the time of the Confessor; the next was held by Eudo the Sewer in the Conqueror's time, (fn. 12)
and by Turgis in the Confessor's; and Lesius claimed it against Eudo,
who recovered it from him, and then held it. (fn. 12) Another part belonged
to Roger Bigot, of whom William de Burneville held it at the survey; (fn. 13)
the whole was then two miles long, and a mile and quarter broad,
and paid 14d. ob. geld, the lord of the hundred being then (as he is
now) lord paramount of this town, and after this there was no less
than six manors here, viz. the Bishop of Ely's, which was joined to
Bridgham, and ever after passed with it; the manor of Catton, or
Carleton Hall, Burnvile's manor, the two manors called Rothyng,
or Rothyng Hall, and the manor called Brethenham's.
Catton, or Carleton Hall,
Belonged to Edudo the Sewer, and in 1230 was settled by Richard de
Meisy, on Richard Fitz-Richard, and was after in a family sirnamed
de Carleton; Will. de Carleton held it in 1277, but how long it
continued in that family I do not find; the Bretenhams had it in 1314,
and Will. de Bretenham was then lord; it seems as if the Prior of
Thetford was lord of it afterwards, till the Dissolution, but whether in
trust or in right of his monastery I cannot say; but in 1543, the
King licensed Nicholas Rookwood, prothonotary of the Common
Pleas, to sell it to Sir Ralph Warren, Knt. alderman of London,
whose son, Richard Warren of London, Esq. settled it on Elizabeth
his wife, in jointure, who after his death married the Lord Knevet;
the reversion, after her death, came to Sir Oliver Crumwell, in right
of Joan his mother, heiress of Richard Warren; he sold the reversion
to Sir Bassingbourne Gawdy, who purchased the Lady Knevet's right,
and in 1606, Framlingham Gawdy, Esq. sold it to Thomas Wright
of Kilverstone, Esq. in whose family it remained, till it was lately sold
by Thomas Wright of Kilverstone, Esq. to Mr. George Proctor, the
present  lord.
Was held of Roger Bigot, by William de Burneville, as is aforesaid,
whose daughter Avice gave it to the prior of the monks at Thetford,
and it was confirmed to them by King Henry II. (fn. 14) The Prior joined
it to his manor of Rothyng Hall, from which it never was separated.
Belonged to Eudo the Sewer, and in 1198, to Richard de Brethenham,
after to John de Brethenham, and after to Alexander de Bretenham,
and in 1218, Richard de Brethenham held it, and had a carucate in
demean, held of Clare honour at half a fee. In 1297, Will. de Bretenham and John de Brockdish had it; (fn. 15) in 1299, the Lady Sarah LeNoreise held it, and half Bretenham's part was settled on Rushworth
college, (fn. 16) and John de Brockdish's part was divided into several parcels; (fn. 17) for in 1345, Tho. de Brockdyssch, Rob. de Welholme, and William de Bretenham, held that quarter of a fee of the Earl of Gloucester,
which formerly belonged to John de Brokedysh: and after this it was
divided in many small parcels, all which were purchased, some by
the Master of Rushworth college, and some by the Prior of Thetford,
and added to their manors; the other part which was not settled on
Rushworth, was held by William de Bretenham, and passed to the
monks at Thetford, along with their manor of Rothyng Hall, as you
may see, at p. 287, where there is an account also of the separate
fishery belonging to this manor.
Rothyng Hall, or Rutten Hall,
Was the capital manor, and was owned by John, Waleram's nephew,
at the Conquest, and in Richard the First's time by Alexander de
Rohinges, Roynges, or Rothyng, who, in Henry the Third's time, is
said to hold it at half a fee of Margery de Riparijs, who held it of
the Earl of Arundell, as of his hundred of Shropham, belonging to
his castle of Bukenham, and the Earl of the King in chief. In 1301,
Henry de Rothinge held of the King, as of his honour of Albemarle,
at half a fee, one capital manor-house, 80 acres of land, one piece of
meadow, and six acres bruery, liberty of a free-fold, 20s. rents of
assize, and other rents and services in Brethenham, the whole being
valued at 50s. 9d. and also 100 acres in the said town, of William de
Bretenham, by the service of 12d. a year, and Alexander was his
son and heir, who, in 1308, possessed it; in 1314, (fn. 18) Alexander de
Rothing, William de Bretenham, the Prior of Thetford, and the
Master of Rushford, were lords of the manors in this town. This
Alexander it was that divided the manor into many parts, by selling
half a fee held of the honour of Clare, to Robert Baynard, Hugh
Stopusle, and others, who settled all their parts on Thomas Gardiner,
clerk, rector of Croxton, in trust for the Prior of Thetford. In 1345,
Henry de Rothing held the other part, which he divided into two
manors, and sold one to the Herlings, whose heiress gave it to Rushworth college; and this was that Rothing Hall manor, that belonged
to the college, to which there was 60 acres, and a toft added by Will.
Fullere, and others; (fn. 19) and in 1374, he sold the other part to Rob. de
Batisforth, Robert Benbrus, clerk, Richard Pareys, James de Bretenham, John Purri, and Tho. Fullere, who, in 1385, settled it on Tho.
Gardiner, rector of Croxton, and he conveyed it, with Baniard's
part, to the Prior of Thetford, who was taxed for the first part at 16s.
and for this, at one mark; and these constituted that manor called
Rothyngs, alias Rothyng Hall, to which the Prior joined his manor
of Burnvilles; and in 1413, Alexander, master of Rushworth college,
Tho. Crowe, John Mannyng, Will. Parys, and John Greene, clerks,
fellows there, released to the Prior of St. Mary at Thetford a yearly
rent of 6d. paid them by the Prior, out of lands in Bretenham, and
thus there were two manors called Rothing Hall, to the Dissolution,
and then they both came to the Earl of Surrey in 1542, who reunited
them; and in 1556, Thomas Duke of Norfolk held it in capite of the
Queen, and in 1572 it belonged to the Earl of Surrey; and in 1583,
Phillip Earl of Arundell sold it to Tho. Lovell, Esq. and in 1622, Sir
Francis Lovell, Knt. and William Lovell, Esq. sold it to Tho. Wright
of Kilverstone, Esq. in whose family it continued till Tho. Wright of
Kilverstone, Esq. lately sold it to Mr. George Proctor of Thetford,
who is the present lord [1737.]