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Earl Soham Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Earl Soham, or Saham

This parish in Doomsday is called Saham, afterwards Sahara Barres, to distinguish it from the adjacent parish of Soham,, which Alfricus, Bishop of the East Angles, gave to the Monastery of St. Edmund, whereupon it was called Monks' Soham.

It was purchased by Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, in the time of King Stephen, of Hubert de Munchensi, descended from Munchensi, a Norman Baron, lord of Edwardston, in Babergh hundred, in the time of William the Conqueror. Gradually losing its ancient name of Soham Barres, and continuing, with Framlingham, parcel of the estates of the Earls of Norfolk and Suffolk, it acquired the name of Earl Soham, which it still retains.

Roger Bigod, the founder of Thetford Abbey, and Alice his wife, gave to that Monastery all the right that he had in the churches of his demesne; namely, that of this parish, with Kelsale, Earl Stonham, Yoxford, and the two Bradleys, with all the lands belonging to the same; all which Bishop Herbert appropriated to the said Monastery, after their next vacancies, reserving canonical obedience from the clerks that should serve them.

In the 7th of King Edward II., Thomas de Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, obtained of that Monarch, license for a market in this parish every Thursday; and free warren in all his demesne lands in Framlingham, Hoo, Stonham, and Hacheston. He died seized of the manors of Earl Stonham, Hollesley, Dunningworth, and Hoo; which he left to his second wife, Mary, daughter of William Lord Roos, and was buried in the Abbey at St. Edmund's Bury.

A grant of this lordship from the Crown, was made to Frances, relict of Henry, Earl of Surry, son and heir of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, in the 1st of King Edward VI. She was daughter of John Vere, Earl of Oxford, and remarried to Thomas Steyning, of Woodbridge, Esq., and afterwards of Earl Soham, by whom she had issue a daughter Mary, who in 1575, married Charles Seckford, Esq., M.P. for Aldeburgh in 1572. Mr. Steyning was steward of the manors of Framlingham and Saxted, from 1563 to 1577. In 1554, he and lady Frances1 presented to the rectory of this parish church.

John Cornwallis, Esq., purchased of the Earl of Suffolk, the manor, advowson, lodge, and park, of Earl Soham, and removed to this parish, from Badmgham, in Hoxne hundred. He was trustee to Thomas Howard, only son and heir of Philip, Earl of Arundel: was twice married, 1st. to Catherine, daughter of John Blennerhasset, of Barsham, Esq.; she died in 1584, and was buried in Baddingham church. His second wife was Elizabeth Wolsey, relict of William Tuthill, Gent., by whom he had no issue. Mr. Cornwallis deceased in 1615, and was buried at Cretingham,, in this hundred.

Thomas Cornwallis, Esq., his eldest surviving son, succeeded. He was M.P. for this county in the 21st of King James I., and married Mary, daughter of Edward Grimstone, of Bradfield, in Essex, Esq., by whom he had no issue. By his will, dated in 1625, he devised his estate in this parish, to Elizabeth his sister, the wife of Thomas Corderoy, of Hampshire, Esq. Mr. Cornwallis was also buried at Cretingham. Elizabeth Corderoy afterwards married to Edward Nynclion, of Whittle, in Essex, who sold this estate to John Cotton, of London, Esq.

He was the second son of Sir Alan Cotton, Knt, Lord Mayor of London in 1626, and served the office of High Sheriff for this county in 1644. Mr. Cotton had four wives, but had no surviving issue, except by the last, namely Anne, the daughter of Nicholas Revett, of Brandeston, Esq., by whom he had several children. He died in 1655, much in debt, from having disbursed large sums in support of the Royal cause, that were never repaid; which obliged Alan, his eldest surviving son, to sell this estate to Leicester Devereux, Viscount Hereford.

The executors of his son, Price Devereux, Lord Viscount Hereford, sold it to John Boyfield, Esq. It was lately the property of John Ayton, Esq., of Missenden Abbey, in Buckinghamshire.

In the time of Queen Elizabeth, Philip, son of Robert Stebbing, of Kettleburgh, resided in this parish; whose descendants afterwards settled at Wisset and Framsden, in this county. Oliver Stebbing, a grandson of the above Philip, lived here in the time of Charles I., and took the covenant.

The Rev. Francis Capper, M.A., died Nov. 13, 1818, at the rectory house in this parish, in his 83rd year, and in the 60th of his incumbency. He received the early part of his education at the school at Westminster, from whence he was removed to Christ Church, Oxford. In Oct. 1759, he was presented to the rectory of Monks' Soham, and in December following to that of Earl Soham. He was highly esteemed as a sound and conscientious divine; and in private life, justly endeared to his family, his parishioners, and his friends.

Mr. Capper was probably the oldest incumbent in the diocese. He bequeathed money to purchase so much stock in the four per cent, annuities, as with the dividends thereof, would purchase twelve loaves of bread, of 3d. each, to be distributed to the poor every Sabbath day.

ARMS. Cotton: azure; a chevron between three cotton hanks, argent.

CHARITIES. The parish estate here consists of two cottages, in five tenements, which together let for .9 10s. a year; and 46 acres of land, lying dispersed in the parish, which a- e let to yearly tenants, at rents amounting to .62 4s. per annum. These are applied for the benefit of such poor persons of the parish as the trustees think most necessitous and deserving. Robert Wyard, by will dated in 1G77, charged his lands, called "Hersewell, "in Worlingworth, with .5 a year, to be paid as follows: For a sermon at Earl Soham, on the 25th Feb. 10s.; to the poor of ditto, present at the said sermon, .1 5s.; to the person who ring the bell, 5s.; for an entertainment to the parish officers, and ringers of the bells, 10s.; and a like sum to be applied in the same manner and proportions, April 23, the feast day of St. George the Martyr. Joseph Kersey bequeathed by will, in 1816, the sum of .800, to be applied in the purchase of bank stock, the yearly interest thereof to be distributed in bread and coals, to the resident industrious poor of the parishes of Dallinghoo, Charsfield, Marlesford, and Earl Soham, for ever. The sum of .8 6s. 7d. a year, is received, and expended in the purchase of coals, which are distributed to the poor; being their portion of the dividends payable for this parish.

1. Her death is thus recorded in the register of Earl Soham: "Anno Domi 1577, Item the Ladye Ffrancis Countys of Surrye dyed the last of June in the year aforesaid, and was burryed at Fframlyngham. "No corresponding entry appears in the Framlingham register of burials.

County of Suffolk

Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page

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