The chief part of Fritton, or Free Town, to which the advowson
belonged, was part of the honour and manor of Forncet, (fn. 1) and from its
enjoying the liberties of the honours that extended hither, it might
take its name, as being free from many things that other villages were
There was another small part held of the manor of Hemenhale, (fn. 2) by
Thomas Trot and Alice his wife, in 1384. (See p. 183.)
Robert Malet, lord of the honour of Eye, which extends hither, (fn. 3)
had two freemen here and their services.
And the honour of Richmond also extends into this village; for in
1636, it appears by the rolls of that honour, that Roger Warde, Gent.
was amerced 20s. for detaining from the King, as lord of the honour,
1d. a year of ware-pound rent for his lands in Freton.
The Abbot of St. Edmund had lands here belonging to his manor
of Moringthorp; (fn. 4) which he assigned with that manor to Robert de Vals,
and it hath passed to this day with Moringthorp, or Thorp-hall manor,
to which I refer you. To this also was joined one freeman and two
bordars under him, and their services, which belonged till then to the
King's hundred of Depwade
Besides these parts, there was a considerable share of the parish,
which in the Confessor's time was held by Olketel a Dane, and
freeman of Ederic de Laxfield's, the antecessor of Robert Malet, lord of
Eye; and by Gifart, under Robert Fitz-Corbun at the Conquest: (fn. 5)
and there were then 7 tenants of this manor that had power to sell
their land, if their lord refused to purchase it of them; it was always
worth 25s. and had the liberty of faldage; and the town was a mile
long and half a mile broad, and paid 9d. to the geld. This was afterwards called Boyland manor, and hath passed ever since, as BoylandHall in Moringthorp, to which I refer you.
Another part of this village extended into Henstede hundred, (fn. 6) and
was held of Roger Bigot's manor, at the 20th part of a fee, by Rainulf
or Ralf, and belonged to Ulf the Dane in the Confessor's time. In
1264, Roger le Hayre, Eyre, or Ayer, was found to be a rebel against
King Henry III. and to hold a manor in Freton of 100s. value, which
the King seized; but in 1276, it was restored to William le Ayer; in
1306, Roger Ryvet had it, and in 1432, John Storer, and after Roger
Bennet, by whom it was sold to the lord of Boyland, and so became
joined to it.
The Manor of Bavent's Burtoft's and
Was infeoffed by the lord of Forncet, in Peter Fitz-Nicholas, to be
held of Forncet at the 4th part of a fee; and in 1198, he settled it by
fine on Eustace de Bavent and his heirs; and about 1210, Ralf de Freton and John his son, were lords; and in 1245, John de Burtoft, who
in 1264 was found to be one of the rebels against Henry III. but having obtained his pardon in 1285, Ralf de Burtoft and Margaret his
wife possessed it. In 1307, a Ralf de Burtofts was lord, and in 1315,
Sir John de Sturmyn, Knt. who in 1327, had a charter for a weekly
market and yearly fair here, and for free-warren, in this town, Stratton,
and Moringthorp. (fn. 7) In 1329, Ralf de Burtoft, and Margaret his wife
sold it to John de Hemenhale, and in 1331, the rest of their lands here; (fn. 8)
in 1345, Sir Thomas de Hemenhale had it, and it continued in that
family till about 1400, and then James Rees and Edmund Younghusband,
held the lands and site of Hemenhale's alias Burtoft's manor in
Freton; but the manor continued with Hemenhale, and Lady Lukyn
now hath it. (fn. 9)
The church is dedicated to St. Catherine, was valued in the old
taxation at 16 marks, and had a house and 11 acres of glebe; it paid
2s. 2d. synodals, 6s. 8d. archdeacon's procurations, 10d. Peter-pence,
and 5d. carvage. And the whole village paid 3l. 10s. clear to every
It stands thus in the King's Books,
9l. Fritton Rectory. 40l. clear yearly value.
It is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and is capable of
There is a messuage and 10 acres of town-land, and the following
religious houses had temporals here taxed as follow;
The Prior of the monks at Thetford 30s. (fn. 10) The Abbot of Windham
10d. the Prior of Dunmow 2s. and the sacrist of St. Edmund at Bury
4s. 4d. (fn. 11)
Rectors of Fritton.
1293, Master Hamon de Gatele, who held it with East-Tuddenham;
1300, Robert de Bosco, or Boys of Great-Thornham; he purchased
the parsonage-house and a 2d rent in 1319, of William le Ey[?] and
settled it on the church by license of mortmain from King Edward II.
who presented him.
1349, Thomas Revet of Freton. Sir John de Segrave, Knt. lord
of Forncet. He was deprived, because the King, as guardian to Sir
John, recovered the next turn in his own court in 1352, and then he
1375, John Beneyt. Margaret Lady Segrave, and Marshal.
1376, Henry Godchilde. Ditto. He changed with Beneyt for this,
and Will. Mulsho, dean of the royal chapel of St. Martin le Grand in
London, presented him to St. Catherine's in Colman-street, London,
which was in his patronage.
1380, Robert son of Ralf in the Willows.
1387, Hen. Gille. Ditto. Afterwards rector of Holesle.
1394, John Wilby. Ditto. Deprived in 1434, and
William Horne had it of the King, as guardian to the Duke
of Norfolk. He was deprived the same year, and
John Gybelot had it and resigned in
1441, to Thomas Joye. John Duke of Norf. Resigned.
1447, John Machon. Ditto.
1458, John Turnor, ob. Ditto.
1489, Thomas Clerk. Eliz. Dutchess of Norf. Resigned.
1496, Nic. Saunders. Ditto.
1528, Sir Lancelton Wharton, resigned. Tho. Duke of Norfolk.
1536, Will. Hughson, ob. Ditto.
1559, John Collison. Ditto.
1565, John Midleton, resigned. Ditto.
1557, Reginald Nuthall, resigned. Will. Dix and Will. Cautrell, assignees of Thomas Duke of Norfolk. In 1603, he returned
1616, Thomas Cronshay, or Crausley, resigned. Henry Jermyn
this turn. In
1627, Ralf Smith of Fritton, Gent. having purchased the advowson
of the Norfolk family, presented
George Cooke, who in 1636, was suspended by Bishop Wren,
for not complying with the Rubrick; but after his submission, he was
restored, and died rector; and in
1661, Samuel Snowden, A. M. was presented by Mr. SMITH, and at
his resignation in 1668, he presented
John Smith, A. B. who held it united to Hemenhale. In
1697, John Smith was presented by Anne Smith, widow, and held
it united to Hardwick; and at his death in
1714, Tho. Holmes, A. M. had it, united to Flordon; he was presented by John Howse, senior Esq. who purchased the advowson; at
his death John Howse, Esq. son of the said John, who is now
The Rev. Mr. Martin Baily, the present rector, who holds it with
the rectory of Wrentham in Suffolk.
In 1536, Margaret Sporle widow, gave five marks to make the
covering for the font.
The church and chancel are leaded, the south porch is tiled, the
steeple is round at bottom, and octangular at top, and hath three bells.
There is no memorial of any kind in this fabrick, except the arms of
Bigot, Thetford abbey, and Brotherton, in the chancel windows.
In the yard, against the south chancel wall, under an altar tomb
Thomas Holmes A. M. Rector here 14 Years, he died in
Aug. 1729, aged 44. He left the World with a great Assurance
to be made Pertaker of a glorious Resurrection.