In the 9th of King Edward I., the demesne of this parish was in Nicholas de
Seagrave; but soon after, in Sir Walter de Norwich, who in the 5th of the
following reign, was made one of the Barons of the Exchequer, and obtained a
charter of free warren in this parish. He deceased in the 2nd of King Edward
Sir John de Norwich, Knt., succeeded; who also obtained a charter of free warren
for this manor, with his other possessions; and dying in the 36th of the above
reign, left his estate, of which this lordship was a part, to John, his
grandson; who died seized of the same, in the 48th of the same King, and left
it, with his other estates, to Katherine de Brews, daughter of Thomas de
Clavering, his cousin and heir.
This lady afterwards taking upon her the habit of a nun, William de Ufford, Earl
of Suffolk, son and heir of Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, by Margaret his
wife, sister of Thomas de Norwich, was found to be her next heir.
It appears, however, that a portion of this manor, with that of Brook Hall, in
this parish, was, by the executors of the above Sir John de Norwich, Knt., Vice
Admiral of England, appropriated to Mettingham College, founded by him; and at
the dissolution, in 1541, was granted to Sir Anthony Denny, and Sir Thos. Denny;
but shortly after became vested in the Rous family, and so continues; the Earl
of Stradbroke being the present proprietor.
Reginald Rabett, clerk, is the present representative of that ancient family. He
resides at his seat, near the church; in the centre of the lawn to which, stands
the remains of an old oak, celebrated in a ballad which records the flight of
Hugh Bigod from Bungay Castle.
Robert Gold, B.D., rector of Thorington, had an estate here; which (dying
without issue) he gave to Arthur Coke, Esq., third son of Sir Edward Coke, Lord
Chief Justice. The widow of Mr. Gold held it during her life, who remarried
Bloss, Alderman of Norwich.
In the chancel of this parish church, is an elegant monument to the memory of
Arthur, third son of that celebrated lawyer, Sir Edward Coke, Knt. It is thus
"Here lyeth byried Arthvr Coke, Esq. Third sonne of Sir Edward Coke, Knight,
late Lord Chiefe Jvstice of England, & of the Privye Covnsell of Kinge James.
Here lyeth also bvried in the same tombe, Elizabeth, davghter and sole Heire
Apparent of Sir George Waldegrave, Knight, wch. Elizabeth Christianly and
peaceably departed this life the 14th day of November, Anno Dni. 1627. And the
said Arthvr likewise Christianly and peaceably departed this life at Bury St.
Edmunds in this Covnty of Suffolk, on the 6th day of December, 1629."
"They had issue betweene them, livinge at their deceases, foure davghters, viz:
Elizabeth, Mary, Winifred, and Theophila, whom Almighty God prosper and
CHARITIES. Thomas Neale, by will dated in 1701, directed his widow and
executrix to cause a town-house to be erected, and fitted up, in Bramfield, for
the habitation of four poor persons or families, so that each of the said
persons or families might have a room, and other reasonable conveniences; and he
desired the said house to be employed for the habitation of four poor and aged
single persons; or if there should not be enough of such, then for married
couples without children; and that one of the persons inhabiting in the house,
should teach six poor children of the town, to read the Bible, if one of them
should be found capable so to do: and he gave the yearly sum of
£3, to be employed in paying such one of the
said persons to teach the said children: and he declared that the children
should be those of parents who, whilst living, took constant relief of the
parish; or, in default of such, then of parents who whilst living, took relief
of the parish when sick, or occasionally; or, in default of such, then of
parents the most poor or wicked. He also left the yearly sum of 10s., to buy
Bibles, and other religious books for the children; and he charged the said sum
of £3 10s. a year, upon his real estate,
therein mentioned, in this parish; now the property of Mr. Robert Howard, by
whom the rent charge is paid. Mary, the widow of the testator, afterwards the
wife of John Fowle, Esq., in 1708, left by will £100,
to be laid out in the purchase of land; the rents thereof to be applied for
repairing the almshouse, to be built pursuant to the will of the said Thos.
Neale: and, when there should be no occasion to repair the almshouse, then to be
distributed amongst the poor widows of the parish, or to be applied to put out
poor children of the parish apprentice. Elizabeth Archer by her will, dated in
1716, gave £80, for purchasing land; the
rent of which to be applied towards teaching poor children of the parish to
read, and to give each of them a Bible, when they could read it. An almshouse
was erected, pursuant to the above directions: it contains eight rooms,
inhabited by eight poor persons. There is also a school room in Bramfield,
appropriated, or belonging to the charity, which was built at the expense of the
parishioners. The sums bequeathed by Mary Fowle and Elizabeth Archer, appear to
have been expended in the purchase of a small farm, in the parish of Metfield;
comprising a house, barn, and 10½ acres of
land; rent £13 a year. The town estate here,
is a cottage and two acres of land, being copyhold of the manor of Bramfield,
and rented at £8 per annum; which is applied
in addition to the income arising from the almshouse and the school charities.
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page