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Walderswick Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Walburiswick or Wald-Berige-Wyc

A hamlet of Bliburgh, formerly both populous and wealthy, if we may judge from the size of its church, and the stateliness of its structure; and was held in high esteem by, and participated in many favors from the Crown. As trade decreased at Dunwich, by the alteration of that port, a proportionate increase took place at this port; when the town grew into repute, and established commerce with other ports.

It has subsequently experienced a sad reverse, principally from the decay of its fishery, by which the town was chiefly maintained before the reformation; and also several severe losses by fire, by which it became so impoverished, that in 1628, the magistrates granted a warrant for levying weekly contributions upon certain individuals resident in the vicinity, for its maintenance and support.

They became still further impoverished by maintaining expensive and vexatious law suits, against Sir Robert Brooke, and John, his son and successor, lords of this manor, concerning their quay, common, &c.; a relation of which, written in 1652, is given in Mr. Gardner's History of this place; by which it appears they were oppressively and unjustly deprived of their legal rights and privileges.

This state of things forms a melancholy contrast with the once prosperous situation of their predecessors, who erected that stately pile, the parish church, at their own sole expense; now in ruins, and unable to repair it.

Mr. Gardner has inserted in his work, the "History of Dunwich," many curious and interesting documents respecting the erection of this edifice; one of which, being of rare occurrence, and singularly curious, is here inserted, namely:

The Covenant fur Building Walberswick Steeple.

"This Bille endentyd Witnessith, that on the Tewesday next after the Feste of Seynt Mathie Apostle; the fourte Zeer of King Henry the sexte, a Comenaunt was maked byt-wyn Thomas Baugot, Thomas Wolfard, William Ambrynghale, and Thomas Pellyng, of the Town of Walbureswyk, on the one Partye; and Richard Russel, of Donewich, and Adam Powle, of Blythtburgh, Masons, on the other Partye, that is to seyne. That the fornseid Richard and Adam schal make, or do make a Stepel joyned to the Cherche of Walbureswyk fornseid; with foure Betraas, and one Vice, and tirwelse foote wyde, and sexe foote thikke; the Walles, the Wallyng, the Tabellyng, and the Orbyng sewtly, after the Stepil of Dunstale, well, and trewely, and competently; a Dore in the West also good, as the Dore in the Stepel of Halesworth, and a Wyndowe of foure Dayes above the Dore, sewtly after the Wyndowe of thre Dayes of Halesworth. And thre Wyndowes atte nethir Soler; and eche Wyndowe of two Days, and foure Wyndowes atte onerer Soler, the Wyn-dowe of thre Days sewtly after Halesworth. The fornseid Richard and Adam shal Werke, or doo Werke, on the Stepel fornseid, two Termes in the Zeer, saf the ferste Zeer zeerly, in the Tyroe of werkyng, of settyng, and leying; that is to sey, bitwixen the Festes of the Annuncyacion of our Lady, and Seint Mychel Arcbaungel: but if it be other Maner consentyd on bothe Partyes, and the fornseid Thomas Baugot, Thomas, William, and Thomas, shal fynde alle Maner of Mateer to the Stepel fornsaid; that is to ay, Frestoon, Lyme, and Calyan Wat, and Send; and alle Maner

Thyngge that nedith to stagyng, and wyndyng, and Schouellis, and alle Maner Vessel that is nedefull to the Stepel fornseid. And an Hows to werke inne, to ete, and drynke, and to lygge inne, and to make Mete inne; and that he hadde by the Place of werkyng. The fornseid Richard and Adam schal take of the fornsaid Thomas Baugot, Thomas, William, and Thomas, for the Zarde werkyng, 40 Scheelynggs, of laughfull Money of Inglond. And a Cade of full Herynge eche Zeer, in Tyme of werkyng. And eche of hem a Gowne of lenore ones, in the Tyme of werkyng; so that they scholden be gode Men, and trewe to the Werk fornsaid."

The manor and advowson has always passed with Bliburgh.

County of Suffolk

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

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