St. Mary In The Marsh,
St. Mary In The Marsh, called Cow-Holm, that is, the marsh where the cows fed, that part of
the city now called Conesford being originally called Couesford or
Cowsford, from the ford they passed over to come to this holm or
marsh, all which was then in the parish of Thorp, and came with that
manor to Bishop Herbert; (fn. 1) before whose time all the inhabitants
were buried and received the sacraments at Thorp; and as a proof of
it, till the Reformation all the rectors in Blofield deanery came in
procession to this church every Whitsun-Monday, as to a church in
There was a chapel here before Herbert's time, belonging to its
mother church of Thorp, which that Bishop pulled down, and rebuilt
the present church, and gave it, with all Cowholm, to the Prior and
Convent, who always presented, the dean of their manors inducting
to it, as one of their peculiars.
The rectory was valued at 5l. 10d. was not taxed, and so paid no
first fruits, but 10s. 1d. tenths, 12d. synodals, and 15d. procurations;
but being sworn of no value, it was discharged of tenths.
In 1499, all the lands and gardens, with the cellerer's dove-house,
within the Precinct, paid their tithes and offerings to this church; it
being, from Herbert's time, the parish church of the Precinct: the
prior, and since that, the dean and chapter, paid the rector a pension
of 3l. 6s. 8d. a year; and the cellerer for the tithe of his gardens,
offerings of the servants at Christmas, Easter, &c. paid 53s. 4d. per
annum. (fn. 2) The
Of this church were,
1272, Master Simon de Skerning. (fn. 3)
1311, Tho. de Langele.
1324, John de Dudelington.
1332, Tho. Mannyngs of Hindolfstone.
1334, Mr. John de Brisele. His will is proved before the dean of
the manors, of the prior and convent.
1357, Rob. de Ashele, who changed for Saxlingham-Nethergate in
1360, with Ric. Skyn.
1369, Will. de Sharington.
1369, Simon de Bukbrok.
1376, Rob. de Howe.
1390, Mr. Rob. Cook of Thurgarton.
1393, Will. Bernham, in Bac. Dec.
1405, Tho. Dallyng, who changed for Warham All-Saints, in
1406, with Will. Bacon.
1409, Jeffry Simonds.
1410, Will. Bernham again; he resigned for Blofield.
1420, Peter Skelton, resigned.
1425, John Hancok, he died rector.
1431, John Waryn, resigned.
1432, Will. Sekyngton, LL. B. resigned.
1459, Edm. Keche, resigned.
1466, John Hornese, alias Sipton; Bishop of Ross.
1471, John Styward, by lapse.
Jeffery Lawnder died rector.
1506, Henry Sharpe. Ditto.
1507, John Farewell.
1514, Rob. Jackson, he died rector in 1526; the brass taken from
his stone in this church is now in Mr. Rolf's hands, with this on it,
Orate pro anima Domini Roberti Jackson quondam Rectoris
istius Ecclesie, A. D. M. N.orrhio.
1526, The venerable and religious father in Christ, Rob. Catton,
Prior of Norwich, on the presentation of Thomas Godsalve, by grant
from the convent.
1528, Will. Chaumberleyn, he died rector.
1533, Will. Frankysh.
1546, Ric. Underwood, by lapse.
1547, John Basse, by lapse.
1559, John Tollar.
In 1564, John Parkhurst Bishop of Norwich, John Tollar, recto
here, and John Salisbury dean, and the chapter, patrons of St. Peter
per Mountergate, St. Mary in the Marsh, and St. Vedast, commonly
called St. Vast's or Faith's, agreed to consolidate the said parishes;
the church of St. Vedast being down, and this rectory being of small
value, they were consolidated to St. Peter's aforesaid, which church
was large enough for all the three parishes, the income of which,
when united, would be but small, the dean and chapter having reserved all St. Mary's tithes lying in the Precinct, and all pensions,
and also all the tithes of the gardens lying out of the Precinct on the
north side of St. Vast's-lane, as enclosed with a wall or pale, down to
the river, for a rector to be instituted in Jesus chapel in the cathedral,
which was to be assigned to the parishioners of St. Mary, dwelling in
the Precinct; and their rector was to have all things within the Precinct, as his predecessors had, and was to pay all things as they did,
all ornaments, plate, &c. belonging to St. Mary's, being to be removed thither, the Bishop assuming a strange and unwarrantable power
of desecrating the said church; (fn. 4) an example I never met with in any
age before, or since; and not only so, but of converting the structure
itself to the use of the cathedral; and on the first of June following,
by virtue of the act of the 37th Henry VIII. by consent of the Bishop,
incumbent, patrons, mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty of the
city, that part of the rectory and parsonage of St. Mary aforesaid,
lying within the Precinct, and the gardens aforesaid lying without the
Precinct, were consolidated to the chapel of St. John the Baptist in the
south isle of the cathedral, for the better maintenance of the said isle
and chapel, and for the better relief of the incumbent there; (fn. 5) which
said isle, called St. John's isle, was henceforth to be called the parish
church of St. Mary and St. John for ever: and the parishioners
inhabiting in the Precinct were bound and obliged for ever, to hear
and receive the sacraments there, instead of the church of St. Mary,
and were to be accounted parishioners of the said chapel or isle, and
to pay to the parson there, all their tithes, offerings, &c. and the
sextry yard joining to the south side of the said isle was appointed
the burial-place for all the parishioners: (fn. 6) the site, lead, bells, and
buildings, of the church of St. Mary, with the churchyard and ground
on the north and south sides thereof, were reserved to the use of the
dean and chapter; and the plate, jewels, books, and other ornaments,
to the parishioners, to be carried to St. John's. The parson of St.
Mary and St. John, and his successours, being obliged to pay to the
Queen's Majesty, the Bishop, and Archdeacon, and their successours,
all manner of tenths, subsidies, pensions, senages, visitation money,
and proxies, in such manner as was always paid.
Upon this, the dean stript it of its lead valued at 160l. which he sold,
and it was sworn in 1568, that he never brought one penny of it to
account, nor yet of the lead that was sold off the dorter or dormitory;
and Dr. Gascoign, the chancellor, stript the inside, and pulled down
much of the stone work, having bought it of the dean and chapter for
80l. which was shared, as is mentioned at p. 7.
Afterwards the bells were sold, and it stood useless for some time,
till it was turned into a dwelling-house, as it still remains, standing in
the Lower-Close, on the right hand going to the ferry, it being
inhabited by Mr. Holland, a hatter, some few years since.
In 1421, John Metfield, chaplain, was buried in the churchyard.
In 1460, Will. Sekyngton, some time rector here, was buried in the
cathedral, and gave a vestment of black and white silk, an ordinal,
and a new processional to this church.
In 1516, William Elsy, who was buried in St. George's of Colgate
church, gave to this church a white vestment, in honour of God and
our Lady, of 4 marks value, and 20s. to buy a small copper cross,
1539, John Horn was buried in the steeple in the belfry.
1540, James Wallington was buried upon the bank before the south
church door, and gave 10l. towards repairing the church.
Soon after this consolidation, the dean and chapter, desirous to
have the south isle clear, agreed with the parishioners, and assigned
them the chapel of St. Luke the Evangelist, for their parochial church;
and the isle between that chapel and the south transept of St. John's
isle from which they were removed, for the burial-place of the principal parishioners, which hath continued so ever since, though it was
done by verbal agreement only, no instrument, since that of the last
consolidation, being made concerning it.
At Tollar's death, this rectory lapsed to the Bishop, who, in
1569, 17 Jan. collated Thomas Read to the consolidated rectory of
St. Mary in the Marsh, and St. John in the Cathedral: and in
1579, 10 Febr. the dean and chapter presented Richard Sadlington
to the said rectory.
From which time I find no institution, the rectory having been
served, as it now is, by a
Sequestrator or Curate.
In 1616, Tho. Askew, curate here, died.
1617, George Saunders, curate.
1662, John Harwood. See p. 10.
The present  curate is the Rev. Mr. David Fleming, rector
of Bixley and Framlingham Earl in Norfolk. See p. 11.