Wrentham or Wretham
At the period of the Doomsday survey, this lordship was held by Robert de
Pierpoint, under the famous William, Earl Warren; and that family continued
interested in this parish until the time of King Edward III., when Sir Simon de
Pierpoint, of Belstead Parva, and Henstead, was living.
Sibilla, his daughter, married Sir Edmund de Ufford, third son of Sir Thomas
Ufford, and nephew of Robert, Earl of Suffolk. Sir Edmund died in 1374, when Sir
Robert, his son and heir, succeeded. He married Helen, daughter of Sir Thomas
Felton, Knt., and died in 1400.
Amey, their daughter and co-heir, married Sir William Bowet, Knt. (probably a
brother of Henry Bowet, Archbishop of York) . In the 11th of King Henry IV., Sir
William, and Amey his wife, resided in this parish. He died about the 10th of
the succeeding reign; she survived, and remarried Sir Henry Inglose.
The Doyleys, a Norman family of great antiquity, who became first settled at
Oxford, built the Castle and Bridge there, in 1071, and new walled the city; a
branch of which house, and the first concerned in this county, resided in this
parish; namely, John, son of Robert D'Oyly, whose descendant, in about the sixth
generation, married Anne, sister and sole heir of Thomas Legate, of Pondhall, in
Hadleigh; and removed thither. He died in 1447.
In the 43rd of King Edward III., Michael de Poinings died, seized of the manor
of Northall, in Wrentham; and in the 49th of the same King, Mr. Parkin states,
that John (or Edward) le Dispencer, son of Ela, sister and co-heir of John
Calverley, held the same; probably in trust.
In the 10th of the following reign, Richard, Lord Poinings, devised this
lordship to the lady Isabel his wife, for life; remainder to his son and heir,
Robert; who died possessed of the same, about the 25th of King Henry VI.; which,
with his other large possessions, for want of male issue, descended to Eleanor,
his cousin and next heir, the wife of Sir Henry Percy, Knt., afterwards Earl of
Northumberland. This lady was the daughter of Richard, Lord Poinings' brother.
"Wrentham Hall, in this parish, was the seat of the ancient family of Brewster,
from the reign of King Edw. VI., until the year 1797; when, by the sudden death
of the last heir male, that venerable mansion, and the estates belonging to it,
became the property of Mrs. Meadows, and John Wilkinson, Esq., aunt and first
cousin of the deceased; by whom the whole was sold, in 1810, to Sir Thos. Gooch,
of Benacre Hall, Bart.
"The Brewsters were gentry of consideration in this county for a long period;
but they appear to have attained their highest elevation during the Protectorate
of Oliver Cromwell, to whose party Robert Brewster, Esq., the then possessor of
Wrentham Hall, was a warm advocate. He sat in the Long Parliament which
dethroned the Monarch, for the borough of Dunwich, in the room of Henry Coke,
Esq., disabled for his loyalty. The writ issued for his election, by vote of the
house, bears date Sept. 2, 1645.
"Among the five gentlemen of Suffolk, to whom the representation of that county
was granted by Oliver Cromwell and his officers, in July 1653 (the assembly
commonly called Barebone's Parliament), appears the name of Francis Brewster. In
the Parliament of the succeeding year, Robert Brewster, of Wrentham, sat again
for Dunwich; and in that of September 1656, he was one of the ten
representatives of Suffolk, and voted for conferring the title of King upon the
The Earl of Stradbroke is the present owner of the lordship. Patron, Sir Thomas
Sherlock Gooch, Bart.
William Wotton, a learned divine, was born here, in 1666; of which parish his
father was rector. At the early age of ten years, he was admitted of Catherine
Hall, Cambridge. In 1679, he took his first degree, and afterwards obtained a
fellowship of St. John's College. On entering into orders, he obtained the
rectory of Middleton, and the sinecure of Llandillo, in Denbighshire. He died in
Dr. Wotton, published, "Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning," which book
was ridiculed by Swift, in his "Battle of Books;" "An Abridgment of the Roman
History;" "Memoirs of the Cathedral of St. David's and Landau;" and "Letter to a
Student in Divinity."
CHARITIES. The town estate consists of a tenement, occupied by poor
persons rent free; the town meadow, containing nearly three acres, rent
£3; and land, called "Bull Fen," rent
£3. It is unknown how the property was
acquired. The rents are carried to the overseers' general account. An allotment
of 25A. 1R. 18p., awarded for the use of the poor, lets at
£45 a year; and the rent is laid out in
coals, which are distributed among the poor inhabitants. A rent charge of
£l a year, given by Robert Edgar, for the
poor, is payable out of part of an estate in this parish, now the property of
Edward Holland, of Benhall, Esq.
1. To preserve the memory of an ancient family,
and their residence, which was taken down by Sir Thomas Gooch, soon after he
purchased the same, the above account was inserted in the "Gentleman's
Magazine," for 1812, part i., p. 313, with a view of Wrentham Hall, erected in
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page