ST. GERMAN'S WIGENHALE.
William de Scohies had considerable lordships in Islington, and
in Clenchwarton, at the survey, that extended, as it seems, into this
town, and soon after came to Walter Giffard Earl of Buckingham,
whose son Walter, and his Countess, gave to the monks of the church
of Norwich, serving God at Lenn, (fn. 1) the church of St. German's of
Wigenhale, together with a certain payment of 5s. per ann. which
their chaplains received out of the same; to which deed, sans date,
made in the presence and assent of William (Turbus, as I take it)
Bishop of Norwich, Richard and Adam, chaplains to Walter and his
Countess, Jeffrey, son of William, Philip de Gerardeville, Gerard de
Redham, William de Archdeacon, William de Hastings, Peter Constable, &c. are witnesses; and William Bishop of Norwich confirmed
the said grant, together with two parts the tithe of North Rungton and
Middleton, belonging all to the demean of the fee of the said
William, son of Robert de Sculham, quitclaimed to Simon, prior of
Norwich, for 100s. all his right in the advowson of the said church;
witnesses, Sir Richard, son of Peter de Wigenhale, Sir Ralph Berry,
Sir Walter, son of John de Wigenhale, sans date.
On the death of Earl Walter this lordship came to Rohesia, his
daughter or sister, who being married to Richard Fitz-Gilbert Earl
of Brion, &c. in Normandy, ancestor to the Earls of Clare, they
became lords of this fee.
The ancient family of Fitton were very early enfeoffed herein. Sir
Alan de Fitton or Philton, Elias de Fitton, Adam de Fitton, clerk, and
Walter de Phiton, &c. were witnesses to a deed, sans date, of Hugh
de Ross, of lands in Tydd St. Mary, in Lincolnshire.
In the 55th of Henry III. Robert de Fytton purchased by fine of
William de Hevyngham and Gratiana his wife, and her heirs, 36 acres
of land, and 32 pence rent, per ann. in Wigenhale.
About this time lived Sir Edmund de Fitton, lord of this manor of
Fitton's, who had a daughter Alice, married to Sir William Howard,
and a son, John de Fitton, who was one the justices appointed to take
care of the preservation of the lands in Marshland from being overflowed, in the 15th of Edward I.
John de Fitton, and Margery his wife, in the 6th of Edward II.
settled on themselves in tail, by fine, 20 messuages, a mill, 394 acres
of land, 83 of meadow, 41 of pasture, 60 of heath, 120 of marsh, 60
of moor, and the rent of 11l. 13s. 4d. with 5 quarters of salt in
Wigenhale, Tilney, Islington, &c. and in the 17th of the said King, by
a fine levied between John de Fitton, and Amicia his wife; and Ralph
de Edynesthorp, vicar of St. German's, 13 messuages, a mill, 250 acres
of land, 62 of meadow, 24 of pasturre, 60 of heath, and 6 marks per
ann. rent were settled on John and Amicia his wife, in tail, in Wigenhale, Islyngton, &c. remainder to Thomas, first son, and after to John,
2d son of John de Tilney.
John de Fitton, styled Sir John in some writings, dying without
issue, Thomas de Tilney, son of John de Tilney, by a sister of John
de Fitton, succeeded in the estate abovementioned, settled on him.
In the first of Edward III. Sir Thomas Tilney, on April 12, had
license of mortmain to settle 8l. per ann. out of 80 acres of his land
in Wigenhale, Clenchwarton &c. and to give and assign it to the prior
of Norwich, to find two secular chaplains, the one to serve at the altar of St. Thomas the Martyr, in the church of St. German's, and the
other in the chapel of St. James in the manor of Fitton, and to pray
for the souls of Robert de Fitton, and Alice his wife, Sir John de Fitton and Margery and Amicia his wives; Hervey de Saham, William
de Saham, Godfrey, son of Berewenne, and Catherine his wife, William
de Sculham, and Beatrix his wife, and the soul of the said Sir Thomas
Tilney, when he departs this life, and the souls of his ancestors and
benefactors for ever.
And accordingly lands were settled by a deed of the said Sir Thomas, dated at Wigenhale, on Monday after the feast of the Invention
of the holy cross, in the first of the aforesaid King, which he had of
the grant, &c. of Sir John de Fitton.
In another deed, dated May 12, 1327, it is expressed that these two,
who were to officiate, were to be secular priests, and to serve at the
altar of St. Thomas in the church of St. German's.
Afterwards Tilney's part and right in this manor was in the family
of Braunch, and Catherine, Lady Braunch, widow of Sir John
Braunch, gave by her will, dated at Castre Holy Trinity, on Sunday
after the feast of St. Peter ad vincula, 1420, gives her manor here to
her son William, with an injunction that it should descend to the heirs
males of the family, and never be sold. Sir Philip was his eldest son;
and to John her son, she gave the manor of Stodey in Holt hundred,
and her body to be buried in the chantry of St. Thomas in this church,
and to the repair of it 40s. Proved September 5, 1420; and William
Braunch, Esq. of Spilsby in Lincolnshire, appointed Richard Tupland
to be incumbent of the said chantry, by his deed, dated June 5, 1460,
on the death of Henry Wigan, the last incumbent.
In the 2d of Edward VI. John Kervile is said to hold the manor of
Braunch's, of Tyndale, by knight's service. Thomas Kervile was lord
in the 3d of Elizabeth, and Henry was then found to be his son and
The manor of Fitton's is now in the corporation of Lynn.
Part of the manor of Fitton's in this town came to Sir William
Howard, by the marriage of Alice, one of the daughters of Sir Edmund,
and sister and coheir to Sir John de Fitton, which Sir William had
considerable estates in these towns, as descended from the ancient family of De Wigenhale, who took their names from these towns. As
the noble family of the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, Earls of Suffolk,
Berkshire, Carlisle, Stafford, Effingham, &c. derive their descent from
this truly great and eminent person, it will be excusable in me if I
mention some things relating to this family, which, as far as I have
yet seen, have not been observed by other authors.
The first that I meet with of the ancient family of de Wigenhale, is
Peter, whose son, Simon de Wigenhale, was found to owe half a mark
for exporting corn without license, in the 24th (1178) of Henry II.
and at the same time Robert Passelew owed half a mark, Alured and
Surard de Lenne, half a mark, on the same account. (fn. 2)
In an old pedigree of the family of the Howards, in Caius college
Cambridge, Fulco or Fulk, stands at the head of it. Of this Fulco I
find no account or voucher, that he bore the name of Wigenhale; but
that Jeffrey was son of Fulco, appears from certain deeds, also that
Alan was son of Jeffrey; that William was son of Alan, appears also
from ancient deeds.
In the 8th of Richard I. (1197) a fine was levied between Peter
son of Richard de Wigenhale, querent, and William, son of Alan de
Clenchwarton, tenent of 4 carucates of land in Wigenhale, Clenchwarton, Tilney, Lenne, Islington, &c. granted to Peter, who reconveyed
them to Alan.
This considerable parcel of land is said to belong to the fees of several lords, viz. of Simon Fitz-Richard, who held of the Earls of Clare;
of Peter de Bekeswell, who held of the church of Ely; of the abbey
of Bury; of the priory of Lewis; (fn. 3) of the Earl of Britain's fee; of the.
Earl Warren's; of Godfrey de Lisewis, (that is the Earl Montfort's fee,)
&c. and William grants to Peter and his heirs the tenement which
Richard his father held of him in Wigenhale, with lands in Tilney,
called Potter's Croft.
It is very probable that this Peter, son of Richard de Wigenhale,
was some near relation to William, son of Alan de Clenchwarton, by
this trust reposed in him, in this fine.
This William is said to have assumed the name of de Wigenhale; but
by the fine above, he rather, at that time, seems to bear the same name
with his father, viz. De Clenchwarton; but this is no objection or argument against his taking up afterwards the name of De Wigenhale.
They who are conversant in very ancient deeds, &c. may often
observe, that persons who held different tenures or lordships, often
varied their names according to the names of the towns wherein those
their lordships lay, and their sons followed the same practice, not always taking the name of their father, but from the lordship of some
town wherein they were enfeoffed.
This, therefore, makes a great difficulty in the settling of ancient
pedigrees, when these practices and customs were so prevailing and
common; and it appears by the aforesaid fine, that Alan de Clenchwarton and his son William de Clenchwarton, might justly do the same,
as they had manors, &c. in both these towns. Thus Sir Peter de
Hobbies, who, died ao. 1239, wrote himself Sir Peter de Hobbies, and
Sir Peter de Calthorp, being lord of both these towns.
Sampson abbot of Bury, by his deed, sans date, (about 1200,) granted to William, son of Alan, his land in Wigenhale, the toft and croft
which Seman and his wife Lestsware, held in Wigenhale, and which
William de Sculham gave to that abbey, on his paying a pound of
incense every year.
John was his son, who by the name of John, son of William de Wigenhale, in the reign of Henry III. was found to hold, with John de
Hakebeche, the 3d part of a fee in Wigenhale and Tilney, of the honour of Richmond.
In the said reign I find Sir John de Wigenhale, witness to a deed
of—Kervile, sans date.
This John, son of Sir William de Wigenhale, (fn. 4) is said to have assumed
the sirname of Howard, most likely from some office, trust of honour,
or dignity committed to him.
How, in Saxon, signifies a Hill or Mound, and so it may signify
from the ward or care that he had of some particular fortification, or
castle on a hill, or care over the sea banks, &c.
Here I cannot but observe, that in the book of Domesday made by
the Conqueror, I meet with a Saxon thane to have been lord of Boyton in Waltham hundred, and deprived of it at the conquest, called
Hofward, a name of affinity, if not the same, with Howard.
To this I may add the ancient family of Ogard in Norfolk, of which
was the famous Sir Andrew Ogard, who lived in the reign of Henry
VI. lord of Old Buckenham, &c. in Norfolk, a name also of near affinity, betokening a guard over the sea, or certain waters.
And that John, son of Will. de Wigenhale assumed that name, appears from some old deeds. This John married Lucia, daughter of
John Gernund, who was a person of considerable fortunes and eminency in that age, as appears by his being a witness to deeds, sans date,
and taking place of John de Fitton, and Jeffrey de Kerville, lords of
Wigenhale, &c. and is said to have borne, quarterly, gules and vert,
an escarbuncle over all, or. By this Lucy, John, son of William de
Wigenhale or Howard, had William Howard, his eldest son, and left
Lucy his widow.
The Wigenhales being a numerous family, and many taking their
names from the towns, either as lords or as natives, make it (as I observed) a difficult task to ascertain any thing absolutely before this
Sir Will. Dugdale was so sensible of this, and having, it is probable,
not seen many evidences from fines, &c. (as I have in part here specified) places this William Howard at the head of this noble family,
and, as he observes, "After much fruitless search to satisfy himself
"as well as others."
Of this William I shall give certain occurrences taken also from
authentick evidences, and not mentioned (as far as I can perceive)
by any other author.
In a deed, sans date, of John de Norwold, abbot of Bury, to John
de Hakebech of Wigenhale, of messuages and lands there, some are
said to be butted on Fitton's Green, with the common pasture, west,
the great bank of Wigenhale, east, and butting on the lands of William
Howard, &c. (fn. 5)
To this deed, Sir William de Pakenham, Richard Weyland, Adam
de Hakebeche, Roger de Colvil, junior, Philip de la Fen, John FitzWalter, Knights, John de Fitton, William Howard, Daniel de Breccles,
Robert de Norwold, &c. were witnesses. This was before his being
knighted, which was in or about 1278. Being bred to the law, he
became highly eminent, was retained by several persons of dignity,
by societies and corporations, from whom he had a settled annual
His chief place of residence was at East Winch, by Lynn, of which
town he was lord: it is manifest he lived there from the 13th of Edward I. to the 34th of that King; in those years several presents
were sent to him and his lady, from the corporation, for his good
services to them, as appears from the Chamberlain's accounts of that
town, extant at this day on rolls of parchment, and stand thus:
Item, in uno carcos. bovis misso Dne. Alicie Howard, usq; Wynch 11s.
that is, for a carcase of an ox, and sending it to the Lady Alicie
Howard, at Wynch, 6s.—Item, in vino p. duas vices miss. Dno. Willo.
Howard, cum duob; carcos. vitul. et uno scuto apri xiiis.—that is, for
wine sent twice to Sir William Howard, with 2 calves, and a collar,
or shield of brawn, 13s.—Item, in duob; salmon. miss. Dno. Willo.
Howard vigil Pasche xis.—that, is, for 2 salmons sent to Sir William
Howard on the vigil of Easter xis.—By this it appears that he was a
knight in in the year 1285, and some say he was made judge of the
Common Pleas in 1280.
In the 14th of Edward I. Richard de Brandon and Agnes his wife
conveyed lands in Wygenhale to him, by fine. In the 18th of that
King, he purchased lands, and a mill in Wigenhale, and lands in
Clenchwarton, by fine, of John, son of Richard de Wiggehale, also
lands in Tilney of William de Rugham, and is then called William
Howard of Wigenhale, and in the 21st of that King, he gave to the
abbey of West Derham 22 acres of moor, and 28 of marsh, in Tyrington and Tilney, and being constituted one of the justices of the
Common Pleas, in the 26th (1297) of Edward I. took his oath, and
some say he was then made chief justice of the King's Bench.
In the 27th of the said King he purchased lands by fine of James,
son of Thomas de Wigenhale, and in the 21st the abbot of Bury confirmed to him lands, called Abbots-Dale, for life;—witnesses, John
de Fitton, John de Hakebech, John de Reynham, Robert de Rungeton,
William de la Fenne, &c. and purchased lands of Robert Curson, by
fine, in Tyrington, Tilney and Walpole, in the 33d of the said King;
in which year he was made one of the justices of Trail Baston, to
enquire after intruders on other men's lands, and malefactors, who
committed murders, burnings, robberies, or other damages in houses,
woods, parks, &c. the receivers and abettors of them. He was also
at this time one of the King's council, and gave advice that if the
King should prefer the Bishop of Byblis, whom the Pope had provided for, by his bull, to be prior of Goldingham in Scotland, that
would be a derogation to the King's crown and dignity, and therefore not grantable; whereupon the King sent a letter of refusal to the
Pope in the said year: the justices of Traylbaston, in commission
with him, were John Botetourt, Nicholas Frembaud, and Roger
Harewedon, for the Countess of Gloucester, Northampton, Oxon,
Berks, Bedford, Bucks, Essex, Hertford, Rutland, Cambridge, and
He was summoned, with other judges, (by writ dated January 8,
in the 1st of Edward II.) who were of the King's counsel, to attend
at the coronation, to be solemnized at Westminster, on the Sunday
next after the feast of St. Valentine, and died, as is said, in the following year. It is highly probable that he was buried in the chapel
of St. Mary, on the south side of the chancel of East Winch church,
which chapel, I am inclined to think, was built by him, being lord of
this manor, and residing there, as I have shown; several also of his
successours lived there, and was buried there, whose grave-stones,
about 2 centuries past, were to be seen; and Sir Robert Howard, his
great-grandson, lived and died there in 1388, also buried in this chapel,
and had a tomb erected over him, as may be seen in Weaver. (fn. 6)
Sir William married 2 wives; Alice, the first, was the daughter of
Sir Robert Ufford, afterwards Earl of Suffolk, by whom he left no
issue; his second wife was Alice, daughter of Sir Edmund Fitton of
Wigenhale St. German's, who bore azure, three cinquefoils, argent,
the arms of the Lords Bardolph, under whom he held lands, the
colours only varied, by whom he had Sir John Howard, his son and
heir; she survived him, and was living in 1310.
John was of age before his father's death, and married in the 2d of
Edward II. Joan, daughter of Richard de Cornwall and Joan his wife,
and afterwards heir to Richard her brother, who bore argent, a lion
rampant, gules, in a bordure ingrailed sable, bezante, as descended
from Richard Earl of Cornwall, son of King John, and Emperor of
Germany. In the 15th of Edward II. a fine was levied between him
and the lady Joan his wife, by which the manor of Wigenhale was
settled on them for life, remainder to John, their son; was also then
lord of East Winch, East Walton, and Terrington; and Joan, widow
of Richard de Cornwall, on her daughter's marriage with Sir John,
settled her lands in Pentney, Nereford, Alesthorp, East Walton, and
the 3d part of her manor in Tirington, on him, and her daughter
Joan, and their heirs.
At his death, in the 5th of Edward III. he was found to hold the
manor of Wigenhale, (St. German's as I take it,) of the Lord Bardolph, paying 4d. ob. per ann. and of Thomas de Reynham, by 12d.
per ann. and at this time the crosses in the arms of Howard are said
to have been, botony, fitché; and their crest, out of a crown a pyramid, on the summit, a plume of feathers, as was to be seen in the
chapel of East Winch, where this knight was buried, and had a gravestone, with his, and his lady's pourtraitures thereon in brass.
Sir John Howard, his son and heir, by the lady Joan, writes himself in the 10th of Edward III. of Wigenhale St. German's in a grant
of land, at Seche, to William Duraunt of South Lynn, and in the 15th
of that King, this knight, with Thomas Lord Bardolf, and Sir John de
Thorp, were appointed commissioners to array the county of Norfolk,
and to seize all persons who should rise up in arms against the King. (fn. 7)
In 1346, he obtained a grant for a market every Friday, and a fair
every year, at his manor of Wigenhale, on the feast of St. Mary Mag
dalen, which fair is kept at this time, and the Lord Bardolf had the
rent of 10s. 2d. per ann. conveyed to him by Sir John and Alice his
wife, in 1348, by fine; by this lady Alice, (daughter and heir of Sir
Robert de Bois of Fersfield, who bore ermine, a cross sable) he left Sir
Robert his son and heir; she survived her husband, and died on
Monday before the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin, in the
46th of Edward III.
Sir Robert Howard resided for the most part on his manor-house,
at East Winch, and died there in 1388, and was buried according to
his will, in the chapel of St. Mary, belonging to that church.
What I have above observed of this family are occurrences taken
from authentick records and evidences, and not mentioned for the
most part by any author, and serve to clear up many things relating
to it in ancient days; and to Sir William Howard, who undoubtedly
was the chief founder of it. They who are desirous of seeing more
of the Howards, may consult Dugdale's Baronage, the History of the
Peerage, Mr. Blomfield's Hist. of Norfolk, in his 3d [vi.] vol. &c.
Sir John Howard, grandson of Sir Robert abovementioned, left by
Joan his wife, sister and heir of Sir John Walton, an only daughter
and heir, Elizabeth, who brought this lordship, and many others of
this family, to John de Vere Earl of Oxford, in 1428, by marriage;
and on the death of John de Vere Earl of Oxford, in 1526, it came to
his three sisters and coheirs, Elizabeth, married to Sir Anthony Wingfield, Dorothy, to John Nevill Lord Latimer, and Ursula, to Sir
Edward Knightley, who dying without issue, the Lords Latimer, and
the Wingfields, had each a moiety of this manor.
Richard Everard, by his will dated May 20, 1566, gave the manor
of Fittons, to John Everard, and by an inquisition taken at Hoxon,
the last day of March, in 15th of Elizabeth, on the death of John
Everard, the jury find that he died seized of it, 12 messuages, 300
acres of land, 100 of meadow, 200 of pasture, 10 of wood 100 of
moor, 200 of marsh, and 40s. rent in Wigenhale St. Germain's, and
Islington, on December 15, last past, without issue, and that Henry
Everard, of Linstead in Suffolk, was his cousin and heir, all which
were held of the Lord Latimer, and Sir Robert Wingfield, by fealty,
and the payment of 1s. per ann.
In the 40th of Elizabeth, Simon, and Edmund Green, Gent. had a
prœcipe to surrender to William Downing, the manor of Fitton's in
This manor was lately possessed by Sir Robert Brown, Bart. and
is now held by his widow.
The office of water-bailiff from Stapleswere, to Larks Hirne, was
granted in the 16th of Henry VI. to Giles St. Loo, and in the 26th
of that King, to John Ledred for life. The river Ouse, formerly between this town and Islington, used to run between certain banks,
distant asunder, 12 perches, but by great floods became a full mile
over, as appears from a petition to King Edward III. in his 36th year.
In the 13th of Elizabeth August 18, - - - - - - Jenyns, and Ed. Forth
had a grant of the fishery in the river Ouse, from Knight's Goole, to
Staplewere, with the toll and profits of German's bridge.
The Church is dedicated to St. German, was formerly a rectory
valued at 24 marks, but being appropriated to the office of the
cel arer in the church of Norwich, by John de Grey Bishop of Norwich,
a vicarage was settled, valued at 6 marks, Peter-pence 7d.; the vicarage was in the presentation of the priory of Norwich, and is now in
the dean and chapter, and the great tithes were let to Sir Robert
Brown, Bart. the present valor of the vicarage is 6l. per ann. and is
discharged of first fruits and tenths.
It consists of a nave, and a south isle covered with lead, and a
north isle with tiles, and a chancel.
Some time past the floor of the church was found to be at least 8
feet below the high water mark of the adjoining river Ouse. The
tower is four square, and there are 4 bells.
On a gravestone in the church,—
Orate p. aia Ele Elwyn quo'd. uxoris Will. Elwyne—Orate p. aia.
Willi. Elwyn, generosi, qui obt. octavo die Apr. Ao. Dni. 1508.
On an old seat the arms of Fincham.
In the east window of the north isles were the arms of Fitton, and,
Orate p. Joh. de Phittone et Margeria, uxore ejus: who probably
built this isle, and was here buried.
In the windows of the church were also the arms of Heydon, of
Baconsthorp, Norwich priory, Lord Bardolf, Lord Scales, Howard,
Ingaldesthorp; Fincham, impaling argent, a chevron between three
bears heads couped, sable, muzzled or, Berry; also gules, a cross
between four lions rampant; and argent, a lion rampant, azure.
In the chancel a gravestone,
In memory of Mrs. Martha Appleton, eldest daughter and coheir of
Mr. Thomas Moor and Martha his wife, who died Oct. 10, 1653, wife
of Robert Appleton, Esq; with the arms of Appleton, argent, a fess
ingrailed, sable, between three apples leafed, vert, impaling Moor,
sable, a swan, argent, in a bordure ingrailed, or.
In memory of Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Moor, and wife of—
Wright, of Wainford, who dyed 1662, with the arms of Wright, sable,
a chevron ingrailed, between three lis, or, on a chief, of the 2d, three
spears heads, azure, impaling Moor; both their epitaphs are in
doggrel verse, by their father Moor, who was so much in love with
his Muse, that he made his own last will in verse.
Here is also a gravestone,
In memory of the said Thomas Moor, who died November 7, 1667,
aged 65.—and thus inscribed—Hic situs est Thomas Moore, generosus,
qui annorum satur hac vita tandem peracta, in meliorem fœliciter
transmigravit septimo die Novem. Ao. Dnj. 1657, œtatis 65.—Martha
filia Roberti Appleton, Armigeij, et defuncti, nepotis monumentum hoc
memoriœ ejus sacrum mœrens posuit.
Floret post cineres Phœnix, post funera vivit,
Morus, namq; mori, se sua musa vetat.
1304, William Howard, instituted vicar, presented by the prior, &c.
1307, William de Shropham. Ditto.
1309, Alexander de Berney. Ditto.
1314, Ralph de Edingthorp. Ditto.
1327, William de Mintling. Ditto.
1329, Simon Trenchaunt. Ditto.
1348, John, occurs vicar.
1350, Lambert de Spalding.
1354, James de Ely.
1374, John de Ely, ditto; by his last will dated in this year he
gives legacies to the Lady Isabel de Tilney, to Catharine Braunche,
to the rep ir of Holm church, the altar of St. Mary there, and for the
soul of Sir Edmund de Holm.
1374, William de Schetlington.
1400, Richard Gore.
1402, Vincent Rughton.
1410, John Tele.
1420, Walter Bedford.
1425, William Okele.
1429, William Flye.
1439, John Keddon.
1439, Thomas Savyn.
1454, John Blakemore.
1462, John Wolby.
1486, William Hardwyke.
1532, Christopher Clerk.
John Toller, vicar.
1554, John Sayer, by the assignees of the prior of Norwich.
1555, Andrew Tucke, by the dean and chapter of Norwich.
1559, Edward Williamson, ditto, united to St. Peter's Wigenhale.
1582, Cuthbert Williamson.
1715, Henry Herdman, on the death of Thomas Myars, by the dean,
&c. of Norwich.
1725, Jerem. Brown. Ditto.
1727, William Smith. Ditto.
Henry Robinson. Ditto.
1740, George Kilner. Ditto.
1749, Thorogood Upwood. Ditto.
The tenths of all the Wigenhales, were 37l.—Deducted 2l.
The temporalities of Norwich priory in Wigenhale were 8l. 0s.8d.
ob. and the cellarer's 2s.—Walsingham priory 1s.