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Flixton Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Flixtuna or St. Mary, South Elmham

In or about 1258, Margery, daughter of Jeffrey de Anos (not Hautvile), lord of Hillington, in Norfolk (from whom she derived the lordship of this parish, and Helmingham), and relict of Bartholomew de Creke, founded an Austin Nunnery, of the order of Fontebrault, in Flixton. Her first husband was Reginald le Clerk. In the 43rd of King Henry III., she levied a fine of the advowson of this parish church, to Alionora, the Prioress; and the Convent afterwards always presented to the vicarage. She also gave the rectory of the church of Shipmeadow; with divers lands and rents in Flixton, North Creake, and other places.

In 1280, she granted the patronage of the Priory to the Bishop of Norwich. Wm. Bateman, Bishop of that diocese, and founder of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, was a benefactor to this house; and drew up statutes for its governance. The manor of Faucons, and lands in Stuston, Brome, &c., were granted to this Priory in the 45th of King Edward III.; and a water mill here was annexed, valued in 1534, at 1 13s. 4d. per annum; and a mill in Combes, valued at 20s. per annum.

In the 17th of King Edward I., Beatric, the Prioress, conveyed by fine, her right in the churches of North Creake, in Norfolk, and Combes, in Suffolk, to Roger Fitz Peter Fitz Osbert, and Sarah his wife, who was the daughter of Margery, and heiress of the Creke family; in consideration of a grant by them of the manor of Flixton, with the moiety of the church, and the advowsons of the churches of Fundenhall and Denston, and lands in Wilby, in Suffolk, and North Creake: and in the 14th of the following reign, John, Bishop of Norwich, granted his moiety of the advowson of the church of Flixton, in exchange for that of Helmingham; and the whole rectory was then appropriated to the Prioress.

The foundress limited the number to eighteen nuns and a Prioress; but it never reached that number: at the dissolution there appears to have been not more than six or seven nuns. It was dedicated to the honor of St. Mary and St: Catherine; and the gross value, in "Liber Valorem," in 1534, was 40 15s. 0d. It was suppressed, by the bull of Pope Clement VII., in 1528.

In 1544, John Tasburgh, Esq., obtained a grant of this Monastery; and William Adair, Esq., is the present proprietor of the site, lord of the manor, and patron of the vicarage. Some slight remains of this nunnery are yet visible.

The family of Bateman became early interested here. Sir Bartholomew, of this parish, Knt., was eldest son of William Bateman, of Norwich, and Margery his wife, and heir to his brother, the Bishop, as well as his father. From him the Batemans, of Mendham, in this county, are descended in a direct line; that family having been seated there, and in this parish, ever since the Bishop's time. Sir Bartholomew was a benefactor to this nunnery, and was buried here. The Bishop, his brother, resided much at his Palace, in South Elmham; and purchased largely in that township, and its vicinity.

The Tasburgh family erected a good seat in this parish, pleasantly situated near the river Waveney, and not far distant from the site of the Abbey. It was built about 1615, by Sir John Tasburgh, and is a noble structure: it was originally surrounded by a moat, which has been filled up for some years. The style of the architecture is what has been denominated Inigo Jones's Gothic.1

This mansion and estate subsequently became, by purchase, the inheritance of William Adair, Esq.; and descended to his son, Alexander, for many years an eminent Army Agent, conducting a very extensive business; who deceased in 1834, aged 95 years. He was succeeded at Flixton Hall, by William Adair, Esq., the present proprietor; whose eldest son and heir, Robert Shafto, was created a Baronet in 1838, and resides there.

ARMS. Flixton Nunnery: azure; a St. Catherine's wheel, with a Calvary cross projecting from its chief, argent. Bateman: sable; three crescents, ermine, in a bordure engrailed, argent. Adair: party per bend, or and azure; three hands, couped at the wrist, gules. Crest: a Saracen's head, couped, affrontee, proper. Tasburgh: argent; a chevron between three pilgrims' staffs, on each suspended a pouch, sable, garnished, or.

CHARITIES. The town estate here consists of a house, and about six acres of land in Mendham, let at 18 a year: two closes in this parish, containing together about 4 acres, rent 4 a year; and two pieces of land in the same parish, the precise situation and extent of which is unknown: for one of them the sum of 1 10s. a year is paid, by Mr. James Dalliston; and for the other, 10s. a year, by Mr. John Gower. The rents, after deducting for outgoings and repairs, are applied in the payment of different expenses of the churchwardens office, and other public charges. William Adair, Esq., by his will, dated in or about the year 1782, bequeathed 300, three per cent, consols, upon trust; the annual dividends thereof to be paid to and for the benefit of the laboring and industrious poor of the parishes of Flixton, Homersfield, and St.

Cross, in the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk; and he gave to his nephew, Alexander Adair, Esq., the sum of 700, and also as much money as should he found in his charity bag at the time of his death; and he desired that the same should he by him laid out at interest, and that the annual produce should be, by him, or the owners of the testator's estate at Flixton, for the time being, annually given to such poor distressed objects of compassion as he or they should think proper. The dividends of the 300 are regularly laid out in the purchase of coals; which are given to poor persons of the places named in the will. The sum of 700, and of 320 1 3s. 7d., which was found in the testator's charity bag at the time of his decease, were laid out in the purchase of new South Sea Annuities; and the dividends thereof, 51 2s. 8d. a year, are applied in gratuities, to proper objects of charity, the purchase of coals, which are sold to the poor at reduced prices, and payments for the support of schools.

1. A view of this building is given in Davy's "Architectural Antiquities."

County of Suffolk

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

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