Marlsford or Merlesforda
In the reign of King Edward III., William de Marlesford, Gent., and Margaret his
wife, lived in this parish. He was owner of messuages, lands, and rents, here
and in Orford, Iken, and Sudbourn.
The manor to which the advowson was appendant, did anciently belong to the
Sackvilles, then to the Rokes, afterwards to the Drurys, and latterly to Sir
Walter Devereux, Knt.; since whose time the advowson has been sold from the
manor, and the following persons have presented to this church: John Mann,
Gent., in 1670; William Wright, Gent., in 1675; Sarah Aldhouse, the following
year; and, in 1698, Stephen Newcomer, rector of Ottley, in this county.
Sir Walter Devereux was the eldest son of Sir Edward Devereux, of Castle
Bromwich, in Warwickshire, Bart., by Catherine his wife, the daughter of Edward
Arden, of Park Hall, in the same county, Esq. He claimed to be Viscount
Hereford, and had that title allowed and confirmed to him, by parliament, in
1646. By Elizabeth, his second wife, the second daughter of Thomas Knightly, of
Borough Hall, in Staffordshire, Esq., he had issue five sons: Robert, the
eldest, with both his children, were drowned, during his father's life time; and
Leicester Devereux succeeded to the honor and estates upon the decease of his
He married, first, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir William Withipole, Knt,
in whose right lie inherited the lordship of Christ Church, in Ipswich; his
second wife was Priscilla, the daughter of John Catchpole. Walter, the third
son, married, but left no male issue: Edward and John died unmarried; and the
heirs male of the said Leicester Devereux, late Viscount Hereford, are long
since extinct, whereby the honor became lost to this county.
Sir Walter lived at Marlsford Hall1, in this parish,
in the reigns of King James and Charles I., and afterwards sold his estate here
to one Barber, a portman of Ipswich. In 1735, it belonged to Simon Dove, of
Barham, Esq.; and in 1764, Fynes Dove, clerk, was owner thereof: it now belongs
to William Shouldham, Esq., by purchase, who resides here.
About the latter part of the reign of King James I., William Alston, Gent., a
descendant from the Alstons, of Hall, in Newton, built a house in this parish,
where he afterwards resided. He married Avis, the second daughter of Jeffrey
Pitman, of Woodbridge, Esq., by whom he had issue three sons and five daughters.
His second wife was Margaret, the widow of Henry Groom, Gent., by whom he had no
issue. Mr. Alston died in 1641, and was buried in the chancel of this parish
Samuel Alston, Esq., his eldest son, succeeded; he was a magistrate for the
county, and a Major in the militia, in 1667, in the encounter with the Dutch, at
Felixstow. He died and was buried at Marlsford. Samuel Alston, his only son,
sold the paternal estate here to Sir Philip Skippon, the son of Major- General
Skippon, a commander in the rebel army, under Cromwell; and his descendant
removed to Bramford, near Ipswich.
In the reign of King Charles I., Thomas Smith, Gent., removed from Walsoken, in
Norfolk, to this village. He married Frances, the eldest daughter of Simon
Bloomfield, of Coddenham, in this county, Gent., by whom he had issue two sons,
and as many daughters; Frances, who married Allen Cotton, Esq., and Elizabeth,
John Sayer, of Pulham, Gent.
Thomas Smith, Gent., their eldest son, succeeded; he married Margaret, the
daughter of Thomas Leman, of Brameshall, in Wetheringsett, Gent., and by her had
issue Thomas Smith, their only son. He died in 1683, and soon after, his infant
son and daughter; and John Smith, of South Elmham, upon the death of his nephew,
inherited: he died without issue, and devised his estate in this parish, to the
above Allen Cotton, Esq.
He was the eldest surviving son of John Cotton, of Earl Soham, Esq., and held a
Captain's commission in the militia, in the reigns of King Charles II., James,
and William: at that time he resided at Easton, hut upon the death of his
brother-in-law Smith, removed to Marlsford, where he died.
ARMS. Devereux: argent; a fess, gules; in chief, three torteaus.
Alston: azure; ten stars, 4, 3, 2, and 1, or. Smith: argent; a
chevron, gules, between three cross crosslets, sable.
CHARITIES. Sir Walter Devereux, Knt., by deed, dated the 8th of James I.,
granted a yearly rent charge of £.6, out of
a messuage, formerly called Mapes's, and the lands thereto belonging, in this
parish, and Little Glemham, now the property of Mr. Geo. Bates, to the use and
benefit of the poor inhabitants of Marlesford, and those of most need. In or
about the year 1693, the yearly sum of 52s., devised by John Smith, was charged
upon a messuage, farm, and lands in this parish, now the property of Mr.
Shouldham. These annuities are distributed in coals among poor families. The
portion of dividends from Kersey's gift, to the poor of this parish, is
received, and applied according to the donor's intention.2
1. "A view of this house is engraved in Davy's "Suffolk Seats."
2. See Earl Soham.
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page