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Levington Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Levington, or Leuestuna

This village gave birth to that great and benevolent man, Sir Robert Hitcham, Knt., Serjeant at Law; of whom Mr. Ryce, in his manuscript of Suffolk families, gives the following brief notice: "In Levington was born Sir Robert Hitcham, Knt., the King's Serjeant, who gave to good uses Framlingham Castle, together with the lands, and mannour, and advowson, worth neere a thousand pounds per annum. He was not borne to 200 per annum (nor to 20, nor to 2., in the margin), and rose to an estate of about 1,500 per annu. He was a passionate man, but had a good wit, was very learned in the lawes, and spoke to admiration.

He left Robert Butts, Gent., his sister's sonne, heire to his estate in Levington, which had descended upon him from his ancestours. Mr. Butts is now living, this year 1655."

To this may be added, that he acquired the rudiments of his education at the Free Grammar School of Ipswich; and at an early age, removed from thence to Pembroke College, Cambridge; where he directed his studies, with great success, to the profession of the law, and afterwards entered himself at Gray's Inn.

In 1596, he represented the borough of West Looe, in Cornwall, in Parliament; in 1603, he was appointed Attorney General to the Queen, and became Lent Reader at Gray's Inn the following year: in 1616, he was made the King's senior Serjeant at Law; upon which he received the honour of Knighthood.

In the same year he held the office of Town Councillor for Ipswich; and was chosen, in 1623, one of the representatives for Orford, in this county, and so continued until 1628. He purchased the Framlingham property in 1635, and about the same period, a house in Ipswich, formerly called, and well known as "Seckford House," or the "Great House," in St. Matthew's (now occupied by William Rodwell, Esq., the present proprietor), where he passed the remainder of his life.

Sir Robert made his will in the following year, and devised his lordship of Burvalls, in this parish, to his nephew, Robert Butts, and his heirs, subject to certain payments to the testator's sister, to whom, and to her heirs, he also gave a certain farm, called "Watkins." He further wills, that there be presently built, after his decease, one Almshouse, at Levington, for six female persons, of the poorest and impotent of Levington and Nacton; the same to be built upon his tenement near the street there, and they to have the like allowance in all things, as the poor of Framlingham are appointed to have: to begin first with Levington, and so successively.

His will bears date the 8th of August, 1636, and he deceased the 15th of the same month and year. His remains were interred at Framlingham; and in Mr. Kirby's account of that parish, his benevolent bequests to that town are particularized.

The advowson is consolidated with Nacton, and the patronage of it belongs to Sir Robert Harland, Bart.

ARMS. Hitcham: gules; on a chief, or, three torteauxes.

In 1801, some men, in digging gravel, half-a-mile above Levington Creek, discovered an urn, containing some hundreds of Roman coins, of Gordian, Maximus, Posthumus, and other Emperors and Empresses of that period.

County of Suffolk

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

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