Wisset or Wisseta
This lordship was anciently vested in the Earls of Bretaign and Dukes of
Richmond: Peter de Savoy, Earl of Richmond, uncle to Queen Eleanor, consort of
King Henry III., obtained a grant of it, amongst other estates, from that
Monarch, in the 25th year of his reign; under the title of, "The Manor and Soke
of Wischete, in Suffolk, to hold of the Crown by Knight's service."
He died without issue, when it reverted to the Crown; and in the 16th of the
following reign, John de Vaux died seized of the same, leaving two daughters and
co-heirs. Upon the partition of his large possessions, the following year,
between his daughters, Petronel, who married to Sir William de Nerford, had this
manor assigned her, charged with £14 rent,
per annum; to be paid to Sir William de Roos, who married Maud, her sister. Sir
William held the same of the King, in capite, as of the honor of Richmond, by
the service of one Knight's fee.
It continued in the Nerford family; for after the death of William and Petronel,
John de Nerford, and Agnes his wife, in 1328, settled the same on themselves,
and their heirs male, intail. This Agnes was a Bereford, widow of Sir John
Argentein; and after Nerford's decease, remarried to Sir John Mautravers, sen.
She died in 1375, seized of this manor.
It then passed to John, son of Peter de Brews, Knt., and Margery his wife, who
was a Nerford. In 1383, Sir John settled it on trustees; and the following year
Sir Thomas Roos, of Hamlake, Knt., and Beatrix his wife, who descended from
Maud, the other daughter and co-heir of Vaux, had it; and is the same whom Kirby
says died seized thereof in that year.
The family of Hoo had some interest here soon after: William, second son of Sir
William Hoo, and Alice his wife, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas St. Omer,
was seated in this parish. He married Rose, daughter of Sir John Glemham, Knt.,
and died about the reign of King Edward IV., leaving issue Wm. and Thos. Hoo.
In the time of Queen Elizabeth, William Roberts, town clerk of Yarmouth, and
attorney-at- law in Beccles, purchased this lordship. He was living in the 40th
of that reign. His sister and heir brought it, by marriage, to Simon Smith,
Esq.; descendant of Sir Thurston Smith, of Cratfield, in this hundred, Knt.
It continued in this family until the decease of Thomas, son and heir of Sir
Owen Smith, Knt., in 1639; whose daughter and sole heiress, Frances, married
Charles, son of Major-General Fleetwood, so well known in the usurpation; and he
inherited, in her right. In 1648, Simon Smith, of Winston, in Norfolk, Esq.,
settled the entire estate of the Smiths, on them and their heirs.
Smith, second son of Smith Fleetwood, Esq., and grandson of the above, resided
at Wood Bailing, in Norfolk; where he deceased, and was buried in 1726:
Elizabeth, his only child, married Fountain Elwin, Gent., of Thurning, in the
same county; she died in 1732. This estate thereupon devolved upon her aunts,
daughters of the said Smith Fleetwood, Esq.
Wisset is now the property of Sir Edm. Cradock Hartopp, Bart., of Freathby, in
the county of Leicester; eldest son and heir of Edmund Bunney, Esq., and Anne
his wife, only daughter of Joseph Hurlock, Esq., by Anne, the eldest daughter
and sole heir of Sir John Hartopp. Anne Hurlock, at the decease of her parents,
be-came heir and representative of the family of Hartopp; and at the demise of
her kinswoman, Mrs. Jane Fleetwood, succeeded, by bequest, to the Fleetwood
property. Her husband assumed, by authority, the surnames of Cradock and
Hartopp; and was created a Baronet, in 1796.
This church bears evident marks of great antiquity; the tower is circular, and
the north and south doors are of early Norman architecture.1
ARMS. Nerford: gules; a lion rampant, ermine. Hoo:
quarterly; argent and sable. Fleetwood: per pale, nebule, sable and or;
six martlets in pale, counterchanged. Hartopp: sable; a chevron, ermine,
between three otters, passant, argent.
CHARITIES. The rents of a house and small garden in this parish, of which
the original appropriation for public uses is unknown, are applied to the
repairs of the church, and other ordinary expenses of the churchwardens. In
1774, these premises were demised by two of the feoffees, by lease for 99 years,
at the rent of £l 5s. 6d. a year; and the
lease is now vested in Robert Mayhew. A large sum of money has been expended in
building on the ground demised, by the party interested in the lease.
1. An etching of the former is given in Davy's
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page