In Domesday it occurs by the names of Cleia, Cleiatorpa, (that is
Cleie-Thorp,) and Cley, and takes its name from the stream or
river (fn. 1) that rises at the head, and runs through the midst of the town,
and so to Goderstone and Oxburgh, where it falls into the Wissey.
Two freemen, and after them, Ralph Earl of Norfolk, held in the
Confessor's time, lands here; at the survey it was in the King's hands,
(the Earl having forfeited it for his rebellion,) and was managed for,
or farmed of, the King by Godric, it having 4 carucates then in domain, now two, 6 freemen, 2 mills, and was one mile long, and one
broad, valued once at 6l. afterwards at 4l. and then at 5l. and paid
14d. to the gelt. (fn. 2)
Soon after this, it was given by the Conqueror to Alan Earl of
Richmond, who had large possessions at Swaffham, &c. in this county,
and was held of that honour by William Fitz-Richard, whose daughter
and heir being married to Roald Conan Duke of Britain and Earl
of Richmond, granted it to him about the year 1166. (fn. 3) After this the
Barons de Monte Canisio, or Montchensey, held this manor of the honour of Richmond; and under them, William de Blount held this lordship and lands, valued at 8l. per annum, in the reign of Richard I.
being then in ward with Jeffery Fitz-Piers Earl of Essex, (fn. 4) and by the
inquisitions made in the 20th of Henry III. it is found to be half a
knight's fee; and in the 24th of the said King, William de Valoyns
was found to hold the fourth part of a fee, of the heirs of Richard
Fitz-Humphrey, they of the heirs of John le Briton, he of the heirs of
Warin Fitz-Alan, they of Dionysia de Montchensey, she of the Earl of
Richmond, and the Earl of the King in capite; and Henry de Orniton
alias de Burston, held a 4th part of the said Dionisia; and in the
same year a fine was levied between Brian Fitz-Alan, petent, and
William de Montchensey, (whom William le Blount called to warrant
3 parts of a knight's fee in Cley,) except the 20th part released to
Warin, who regranted to Brian, the 3d part of the said 3 parts, excepting the advowson of the church, (fn. 5) and the capital messuage, which
were to remain to Warin; this 3d part consisted of 297 acres and an
half of arable land, 20 of meadow, 100 of heath, all lying west of the
town, (fn. 6) and the third part of a piece of land by the said messuages to
the west, the 3d part of the foreign heath, where the freemen of the
town have common; the 3d part of a windmill and watermill, and the
homages and services of several freemen and villeins.
In the reign of Edward I. the chief part of this manor seems to
have been in the possession of the Valoyns, or Waleyns, held of the
Montchenseys; (fn. 7) William Lord Montchensey, held here and in Foxley,
in the 8th of that King, two knights fees of the honour of Richmond,
and paid 20s. per annum to the castle-ward there, and the said two
manors were then extended at 45l. per annum; and in the 15th of
the said King, Sir William Waleyns was found to be lord, and to have
free warren in his domain lands here, and the assize of bread and
beer, weyf, &c. This Sir William, as appears from old evidences,
held one capital messuage, 214 acres of land, 5 of pasture, 18 of
heath, liberty of two fald-courses, a free bull and boar, with a windmill, of Sir Robert de Valeyns (fn. 8) by half a knight's fee, and paid to
Richmond castle 4s. 8d. per annum; Sir Robert held of William Lord
Montchensy, and he of the honour of Richmond; and the said Sir
William, also held 287 acres and an half of the said fee, which his
villeins held of him, and had free warren, weyf, and stray, assize
of bread and beer, and toll for carriages through the town by ancient
custom. (fn. 9)
Sir Edmund de Pakenham (fn. 10) was lord in the 8th of Edward II. who
with Rohesia his wife settled, by a fine then levied, this manor on
themselves for life, remainder to Robert son of Edmund in tail, remainder to the right heirs of Roesia; (fn. 11) by this it appears to have been
her inheritance, and probably she was daughter and heir of Valoyns;
and in the 17th of that King, the aforesaid Edmund de Pakenham,
Henry de Aula, and Peter Tirrel, were found to hold one fee of the
barony of Montchensy, which at that time, by descent, belonged to
Aymer de Valence Earl of Pembroke; but in the 16th of Edward III.
a fine was levied between Thomas de Saxham, clerk, Theobald de Pakenham, Robert de Coneweston, chaplains, querents, Hugh de Saxham
and Roesia his wife, (widow, as I take it, of Thomas de Pakenham,)
defendants, of the manor of Cley juxta Swaffham, and the advowson, conveyed to Thomas in trust, as it seems, for the Saxhams; for in
the 20th of that reign, Hugh de Saxham was found to hold the moiety
of a fee late William de Walvins: in the 26th of the said king, Sir
Thomas de Saxham, (fn. 12) was lord; (fn. 13) and in 1384, John de Saxham died
seized of this lordship and advowson of the church of All-Saints, and
by his will bequeathed his body to be buried in the chapel of St.
Mary, in the church of the Holy Trinity of Ingham, in Norfolk,
and appoints Sir Roger de Boys, Sir Miles de Boys, and Robert de
Ashfield, his executors. This John was son of Robert de Saxham,
and had considerable possessions in Saxham-Parva, and Troston in
Suffolk; and in the 5th of Richard II. about two years before his
death, had given to the priory of the Holy Trinity of Ingham, for
the redemption of captives, this manor of Cley; and Thomas Moore,
clerk, John de Saxham, rector of Saxham, Rich. Cratfield, and Rob.
de Ashefield, were appointed by him trustees for so doing; and in the
16th of Rich. II. Tho. Moore, Rob. de Ashfield, &c. alienated, with the
King's license, this manor of Cockley Cley, (fn. 14) to the said priory; who
were to find one chaplain in their church, to pray for the soul of
the said John de Saxham, his ancestors and successours.
In the 3d year of King Henry IV. the priory of Ingham, was
found to hold half a knight's fee of the Earl of Pembroke, and they of
the honour of Richmond, (fn. 15) and also the 4th part of a fee of the heirs
of Richard Fitz-Humphrey, who held of the heirs of Le Briton, &c.
of the aforesaid honour. This was held by the said priory until its
dissolution, when it was granted by King Henry VIII. to William
Wodehouse of Waxham, Esq. and in the 29th of that king, a fine was
levied between Robert Hogan, and Bridget his wife, querents, William
Wodehouse, and Ann his wife, and Thomas Wodehouse, defendants, of
this manor of West-Hall, 4 messuages, and the liberty of 3 sheepfalds. (fn. 16) Soon after this, in the 33d of the said King, a fine was levied
between the aforesaid Robert and Bridget, and Thomas Hogan, defendants, and Sir Edmund Beding feld, Henry Beding feld, and
Catherine his wife, querents, of the said manor, &c. and in this family
it still remains, Sir Henry Bedingfield, Bart. being the present
Takes its name from the family of Langwade, and was held of the hohour of Richmond, by the 4th part of a fee, and so, with that of West
Hall, contained all that the Earls of Richmond held here in capite.
The site of this lordship appears (by some ditches and entrenchments
cast up) to have been at the utmost western limits of the fields of
this town, a little to the south of Langwade-Cross, the pedestal of
which is still remaining, by the road that leads over the long wade
or passage over the river, adjoining to the bounds of Goderston,
which wade gave name to the Langwades, and to the cross also.
The Langwades were a family of great antiquity; Robert, son of
Sir Robert de Valeyns, gave by deed sans date, to Robert son of Ralph
de Langwade, the right of servitude which he had in Richard, son of
Robert, son of Hamon de Cley, (fn. 17) the said Ralph and Robert gave,
about the reign of King Henry III. (by deed sans date) this manor to
the abbey of West Derham in Norfolk; and in the 15th of Edward I.
the Abbot of West Derham (as I have above observed) held an 100
acres of land, a freefald, &c. In this abbey it remained leased out by
the abbot, &c.; it extended into the fields of Oxburgh, Caldecote, and
Shingham, and William the abbot granted, 12th July, in the 11th of
Henry VIII. a lease of it for 40 years, with a close called Fryth-Croft
in Shingham, to Sir Thomas Beding feld of Oxburgh, paying to the
abbot 33s. and 4d. per annum, the said abbot reserving to himself all
wards, marriages, reliefs, profits of court, &c.
Ralf de Tony also held in this town 3 socmen, who held one carucate of land, and one bordarer, and the King had the soc and sac of
the socmen: (fn. 18) this was part of the manor of Caldecote, that extended
here; and at this time is held by Sir Henry Bedingfield.
In the time of the Confessor, Toli held lands here; at the survey,
Ernald held them of Rainald, son of Ivo; 3 socmen held 20 acres,
of whom the King had the soc; in the Confessor's time there were 2
carucates in domain, at the survey, one valued in the Confessor's
time at 3l. per annum, at the survey at 2l. (fn. 19)
The lands which Rainald, son of Ivo held, descended to the Earls
of Clare. In the reign of King Stephen, Peter de Cley, son of Sir
Ralph de Clay, held this lordship; and gave part of it, with the advowson of the church of St. Peter, belonging to it, to the priory of
Bukenham, in Norfolk, viz. 51 acres and an half of profitable arable
land in the fields of Cley, the homage of William Fitz Alan, and
Roger his son, and Alice his daughter, and the Toft, and Croft, of the
said William; (fn. 20) and the church of St. Peter was accordingly appropriated to the aforesaid priory in 1177, as appears from a certificate
of the Bishop of Norwich in 1476, (on search of his evidences,) to
the Barons of the Exchequer, (fn. 21) and John de Cley, son of Peter de Cley'
released by fine to the prior of Bukenham, in the 24th of Henry III:
50 acres of land here; and from an ancient roll about this time, I find
that the prior had also appropriated 23 acres of glebe land, and a
freefald which Sir Peter de Cley, had granted.
About the said time, Sir Simon Fitz Richard held this manor, then
consisting of one messuage, 140 acres of land, &c. with a freefaldage,
free bull, &c. in domain, and free warren of the Earl of Gloucester,
by the 4th part of a fee, and the Earl of the King in capite, of the
honour of Clare, and Sir Simon held of the said Earl 12 score acres
of land, and half a messuage, and a fald-course, with free tenants,
and villeins here.
In the 21st of Edward I. Thomas de Reppes gives to William Mortimer, rector of Sculthorp, Thomas de Burwell, and Richard de Depham, for a certain sum of money, his manor of East-Hall in Cley,
in the 23d of that King, they grant it to Thomas son of Adam de
Clifton, for life, and then to Sir Adam de Clifton, and his heirs; but
Thomas de Reppes occurs lord in the 9th of Edward II. (fn. 22) and in the
20th of Edward III. Thomas de Reppes, junior, was found to hold
the 4th part of a fee of the honour of Clare, which Simon son of
Richard, formerly held; (fn. 23) and in the 40th of that King, William de
Keteringham grants to Thomas Old-hall, of Clay, Edmund his son,
&c. this manor, which he had of the feoffment of Adam de Cliffton;
and the said Thomas Oldhall held his first court here, in the 45th of
the said reign.
In the 3d year of Henry IV. Edmund Oldhall was lord; and in the
33d of Henry VI. Edmund Oldhall and Richard Schragger (as feoffees,) were lords, and the said Edmund died seized of it; as appears
by his will, dated 12th of May, 1460; but in the 17th of Edward IV.
Roger Langdon, and John Crudde, convey to Sir Robert Chamberlayn, Knt. Thomas Chamberlayn, &c. this manor which they lately
had by the feoffment of Jeffery Cranewys; but in the 22d of the said
King, Thomas Chamberlayn, Esq. Simon Blake, Gent. and Thomas
Hewar, grant to Edmund Bedingfeld, Esq. all their right in the
manor of East Hall, which they hadby the grant of Jeffery Cranewys.
Thus this part came to the Beding felds; and on the dissolution of
the priory of Bukenham, their part was granted to William Wodehouse
of Waxham, Esq. and was conveyed, as has been showed in West Hall,
to Sir Edmund Bedingfeld, &c. in the 33d of Henry VIII. and Sir
Henry Bedingfield, Bart. is the present lord.
The Earl Warren's Manor.
William Earl Warren held also at the survey half a carucate of
land, which Osmund held in the Confessor's time with Hilburgh;
there were 5 bordars at the survey, who held one carucate and an
acre of meadow, valued then at 10s. at the survey at 15s. He had
also 3 beasts for burden, 6 geese, pannage for 20 hogs, 102 sheep,
and 1 hive of bees; also 14 acres in Cleia, which two freemen held in
the Confessor's time valued at 7d. (fn. 24)
These lands, as I take it, lay near the lands of Hilburgh, which
Osmund held in the reign of King Edward the Confessor, which town
also was the lordship of the Earl Warren, at the survey; and in
the time of King Henry III. Alexander de Wanton and Margaret his
wife, (as appears from ancient evidences,) held 28 acres of land here,
and a freefald, by the 3d part of a fee of Stephen de Ware, (fn. 25) and paid
4d. per annum, and the said Stephen held (by the same service,) of
Osbert de Cailly, and he of the Earl Warren, and the Earl of the King
in capite, as of his honour of Castleacre, and Alexander, had a villein,
who held of him a messuage and 10 acres of land, valued at 7d. per
annum, and Andrew, son of Richman, holds of the said Alexander
freely, two messuages, and 54 acres of land, paying 5s. per annum
and 8d. to the scutage; and the said Alexander has 4 tenants, who
hold freely of him 34 acres, and pay 2s. 3d. per annum. And Richard,
son of Thomas de Goderston, holds 1 messuage and 40 acres domain
of Sir Osbert de Cailly, by the 6th part of a fee, and pays to his lord
3d. per annum; after this I meet with no further account of it, it
being united to the other lordships.
The tenths of this town were 7l.
In 1248, the Abbot of West-Derham, with the priory of Winwaloy, was taxed for temporalities in Cley All-Saints at 6l. 4s. 8d.
The Prior of Bokenham for his, in Cley St. Peter's, 3l. 17s. 11d.
And for his spirituals in St. Peter's 8 marks.
The lord of the hundred has the lete for the east part of the
town, or Cley St. Peter's; the lete-fee is 1s. and he also has the
lete for that part of the town called Langwade, as appears from the
ancient hundred court rolls, and the Lord of Goderston has the lete
for the western part of the town, or All-Saints.
All-Saints church stands at the west end of the town; it is built
chiefly of flint, consists of a nave, a south isle, and a chancel covered
with lead; the nave is in length about 35 feet, and including the
south isle, about the same in breadth; at the west end of the nave is
a round tower of flint, embattled with freestone, in which is one bell.
At the west end of the nave lies a marble gravestone with a plate
of brass thus inscribed,
Here lieth the Body of John Dusgate, Gent. who died
Anno Domini 1645, had two Sons and one Daughter I. D. M. D.
And these arms on a brass shield,
Dusgate, arg. three magpies proper.
The Dusgates family was of good account in this town; I find
that in 1492, from a field-book made in that year, that they had considerable possessions; one of the family sold their house here to the
Woodehouses, and Richard Dashwood, Esq. bought it of that family,
and built to it, whose son, Richard Dashwood, Esq. has his residence
As you ascend the nave, lies another gravestone with a brass plate,
Here under lieth the Body of Francis Dusgate, late of this
Parish, Gent. who died the 25th Day of June, Anno Domini
1633, Ætatis suæ 58.
The chancel is in length about 32 feet, and in breadth about 18,
and is separated from the nave by a new wooden screen painted; the
communion table is railed in, and has an ascent of two steps, and the
east end of the chancel is mostly of free-stone.
1300, John de Cley, was presented by William de Waleyns. (fn. 26)
The rector had then a manse with 80 acres of land, the rectory was
valued at 12 marks, Peter-pence 8d. synodals 21d. procurations 6s. 8d.
1315, William de Bokeland. Sir Edmund de Pakenham.
1339, Hugh de Saxham. Sir Hugh de Saxham.
1342, Henry de Pakenham. Thomas de Saxham, rector of Troston, in Suffolk, Robert de Drinkeston, Robert de Coneweston,
chaplain, and Theobald de Pakenham. He was rector of Hopton
in Suffolk, and exchanged with Hugh de Saxham.
1342, Thomas de Saxham. Thomas de Saxham, &c. He died
in 1379, in which year, on the 18 July, his will was proved, and was
buried in the chancel. (fn. 27)
1379, William Huggelord of Oxburgh. Richard Holdych; he
died in 1384, and his will was proved 20th October, and is buried in
the chancel. (fn. 28)
1384, Henry Burwode. John Saxham.
1387, Roger Withery, on the resignation of Burwode. Sir Miles
Stapleton, Knt. John Pyshale, clerk, Richard de Cratfield,
parson of Lyng, and Robert Ashefield, clerk. Withery was a
chantry priest in the collegiate church of St. Mary of Raveningham.
1402, Simon Cobale, the prior and convent of Ingham.
William Docking, by his will dated 24th June, 1415, bequeaths
his body to be buried before the altar of St. John Baptist, on the
south side of this church, (fn. 29) gives 20l. to the glazing of a window near
the said altar, the repair of the tower, and to the maintenance of a
priest to pray for him, and his parents, and for Robert Salle, John
Harlewin, John Maddy, William Warner, &c.
James Walsingham resigned in 1427, to
Richard Dycon, ob. The Prior, &c.
1464, Richard Ereswell, ob.
1515, William Echard, ob. The Prior, &c. to this church, with the
chapel of St. Mary, annexed.
1533, John Fulgeam, (fn. 30) resigned
William Lyster of Hempstead, by virtue of a presentation hac
vice from the Prior of Ingham.
1563, Robert Gibson. Anthony Bedingfeld.
Thomas Nuce, rector also of Oxburgh, res.
1585, Thomas Yorker, ob. Robert Constable, Gent. by a grant
from Edmund Bedingfeld, Esq.
1626, Christopher Shene, A. M. ob.
Edward Shene, S. T. B. rector of East Lexham, by a grant
from Sir Henry Bedingfeld.
1683, William Constable. John Fincham, Esq.
1691, Henry Meriton. The King by lapse, united to Oxburgh, of
which he was rector.
1691, William Constable again, on the resignation of Meriton, ob.
Thomas Doughty, Gent.
1701, John Frost, S. T. B. ob. The Chancellor, Masters, Fellows, &c. of the University of Cambridge.
1706, Thomas Rowell, A. M. Sir Henry Bedingfield, Bart.
rector also of Cressingham-Magna.
1718, John Bains, A.M. on the death of Rowell, by Sir Ralph
Hare, Bart. rector also of Ringstead St. Andrew in Norfolk. He
was succeeded by
The Reverend Mr. Toppin, the present rector, who hath
This rectory is valued in the King's Books at 8l. 17s. 1d. and being
48l. per annum clear value, is discharged of first-fruits and tenths, and
is capable of augmentation. In the Archdeacon's Register it is
said, that the vicarage of St. Peter, and the rectory of All-Saints are
St. Mary's chapel has been time immemorial converted into a
house for the rector of All-Saints; it is a very ancient pile, as appears from its case of flint, &c. and the building is much more antique
than the present mother-church of All-Saints; the nave or body is
loftier than the chancel part, which is in the form of a crescent,
according to the Danish taste and custom; and the old arch at the
east end is still remaining, where is the light or window for this part,
now a kitchen; the whole is about 31 feet in length, and 21 in
breadth; about the walls of the nave may be observed several small
arches, where the old windows were.
The first account I meet with of this chapel is from an old roll, (in
the reign of Henry III.) wherein Sir William de Valeyns is said to
have the advowson of the church of All-Saints endowed with 108
acres of land, one of pasture, and a freefald, with the chapel of St.
Mary, (which he keeps to his own use,) of the gift of Sir William
Blund, formerly lord of the village. It may not be improper here
to observe that this Sir William descended from Gilbert de Blund or
Blount, (who came into England with the Conqueror, and had
large possessions given him in Suffolk, and founded at Ixworth, of
which he was lord,) a famous priory for canons regular of St. Augustin; this Sir William was killed at the battle of Lewes in Sussex,
between King Henry III. and his barons, in 1262, and left his estate
to his two sisters and heirs, Agnes, who married Sir William Criketot;
and Rohesia, who married Sir Robert de Valeyns; this Sir William
Blund bore lozenge or and sable; and Valeyns, bore arg. three piles
wavy gules. In 1384, mention is also made of this chapel in a will; (fn. 31)
and in 1533, the Bishop of Norwich gave license to the rector of AllSaints, to have the sacrament of the holy Eucharist in the said
chapel, by which it appears that it was not then profaned; but soon
after, it was made the rectory-house, for the rector of All-Saints, and
so continues to this day. In 1731, the late rector's (the Rev. Mr.
Bain's) workmen clearing the well (on the north side of the house,)
which caved in, the bones and remains of 3 persons were found adjoining, as they were laid when buried; and in the garden here, many
human bones have been dug up, which shows it to have had the privilege of burial, which was seldom granted to any chapel, when the
mother-church was so near.
St. Peter's church stood at the east end of the town, adjoining to
the garden walls of Richard Dashwood, Esq.; the wall of flint, wherewith the churchyard was enclosed may still be observed, and the
steeple of the church, (which is said to have been accidentally burnt
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth,) was standing about 50 years past.
It was appropriated (as has been observed) to the priory of Bokenham, and served by a stipendiary curate. In the reign of Edward I.
it was valued at 8 marks; there was a manse, with 24 acres belonging
to it, synodals 18d. Peter-pence 6d. procurations 6s. 8d.
William Lause served the cure in the 20th of Edward IV. and had
for his yearly stipend 6l. 6s. 8d.; and William Ingham served it, in
the 21st of the said King, for 5l. 13s. 4d. (fn. 32) The pious prior and convent, by ejecting Lause, saved 13s. 4d. per annum, and set a glorious
example to all impropriators.
In 1506, Robert Smith of Cley by Swaffham bequeaths his body by
will, to be buried in this church, at his father's feet; and, "I will
have all the Church of St. Peter pathed at my Cost, with the Stone
I have bought; except where I shall be buried, for there I will
have a Marble-stone, like my Fathers: I will have my Executors
set a Stone-Cross, upon the Hill between Lyn, and Cley, (fn. 33) and
another in the Ling, at South Pickenham-Gate. I give to the
Prior Thomas Catfield, and the Convent of the Holy Trinity at
Ingham, 12 Acres and an half of Land with a Foldgate, and an
half Acre in Cley, which I purchased of Thomas Glover, for a 100
Years; for to keep a Mynde-Day, for the Soules of my Fader and
Moder, and Me, and my Wife, in the Vigil of St. Peter in chayne,
in St. Peter's church, at Cley; the Priest shall have for saying
Exequias 4d. and a Mass Penny on the Morrow to be offered, the
Ringers in Time of saying Exequias 4d. And at an 100 Years
End, the Land to be sold, and Plate to be bought to be kept as a
Treasure, and used in perpetual Memory of Me and my Friends,
among the Brodern and Sisters of the said House."
On the 8th of January, in the 36th of Henry VIII. this rectory
impropriate, with the appurtenances, divers messuages, lands, &c. in
South Pickenham, lately in the tenure of John Dusgate, were granted
by the King to George Heaton, and William Toker, and soon after,
on the 10th of February, in the said Year, the King gave license to
Heaton, &c. to alienate them to Sir Edmund Bedingfield, and his
descendant Sir Henry Bedingfield, possesses the rectory at this day.
In these churches were several gilds, that of St. Peter, in this
church, to which 9 acres and half of freehold-land belonged, as
appears by the old Field Book.
The gild of All-Saints, in the church of that name, to this 9 acres
of freehold land, and 9 acres of copyhold, belonged; in this church,
as I take it, was also the gild of our Lady; to this there was one
acre of free land given; and Alexander Codling of CressinghamMagna, by his will dated the 10th May, 1465, gives legacies to the
gilds of Corpus Christi, and that of St. Mary of Cley. (fn. 34)
|New-Close at the west end of the town, let for||2l.||0s.||0d. per an.|
|Land in Swaffham, let for||1l.||16s.||6d. per an.|
Land in Oxburgh, given by the reverend Mr. Yorker, rector of
Cley All-Saints, let for 3l. per annum; the profits of this every sixth
year belongs to Oxburgh.