The story of our family...for my sons

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Woodrising, my favorite place in the morning...

The hamlet where Sir Richard Southwell was living was Woodrising, a hamlet of around 40 inhabitants, consisting of 16 houses (seven of them thatched with Norfolk reed), a church with a ruined tower, and nearly 1400 acres of arable, meadow and woodland, drained by the Blackwater River - which, a few miles downstream (just below the site of the old Hardingham watermill) becomes the River Yare. Woodrising seems to have had a steady population of around 100 to 150 from the 11th century to the end of the 19th century, and has certainly been a single estate since the time of Edward the Confessor. Before 1066 it was the property of a Saxon gentlewoman named Alfeva or Aelgifu, who also had considerable holdings at Grimston, Feltwell, Hockwold and Witton. At the Conquest Alfeva was expelled and the estate passed to William, Earl of Warenne. The family early enfoeffed of the estate took the name of de Rising and held the estate until 1370.

Many of the later lords of the manor were rich, powerful and eminent. Sir William de Witchingham (d. 1381) was a Judge of Common Pleas; Sir Robert Southwell (d.1514) was Auditor of the Exchequer and his son Sir Richard (d. March 1563/4) was a favourite of Henry VIII, visitor to the suppression of the monasteries in Norfolk and an executor of the king's estate; a later Sir Robert (d. 1598) was a Rear-Admiral and in command of one of the ships which defeated the Armada. Sir Francis Crane, who died in Paris in 1636 but was interred in Woodrising church, introduced the manufacture of fine tapestry to England, with a factory at Mortlake in Surrey.

John Weyland (d. 1767) built the great vaulted barn at Church Farm, which bears the inscription S (for Sheldon, his wife's family name), IW, 17, 58; his younger brother, Mark (d. 1797) was a Governor of the Bank of England, and his grandson John was a Fellow of the Royal Society. The Weyland family were probably the builders of most of the existing buildings in the parish, and the lordship remained with the family until in 1937 it passed to the 4th Earl of Verulam.

One of the rectors of St. Nicholas, Woodrising, Christopher Sutton, flourished as an author in the early 17th century, was knighted, became Canon of Westminster and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

The church appears to be 14th century with 16th century additions. The tower collapsed before 1742, though a letter to the Bishop of Norwich dated 1st July 1602 already reports that "the steeple ys in very great decay". The bell-frame was later re-erected in the churchyard under a thatched roof and is hung with a bell cast in Whitechapel in 1861.

Besides numerous memorials, the church is noteworthy as containing one of the few remaining church barrel organs in working order, built in 1826 and restored in 1958. (Notes of this pipe organ are activated by pins on a rotating barrel - like a giant musical box). The three barrels (one original, another from 1865) provide for 30 different hymn tunes.

The village sign, on the green outside the churchyard, erected in 1967, depicts Sir Robert and Lady Southwell outside the church (with tower still standing).

The present Woodrising Hall is at least the third building on the present site. The last hall, of which only the coach houses and walled garden now remain, was replaced after army dilapidations of World War II. The moat surrounding a yet earlier hall survives, and there are also two other moated sites and evidence of a Roman or Romano-British Villa within the parish.

The ecclesiastical parish is now `the combined benefice of Hingham, Scoulton and Woodrising', and, indeed, the land of Woodrising Estate extends into all three parishes. For local government purposes Woodrising is now in the civil parish of Cranworth, but unlike the rest of Cranworth receives its electricity and post via Hingham.

The estate is a well-known pheasant shoot, and anglers are well served by nearby Scoulton Mere (part of Woodrising Estate) and an artificial lake in Woodrising water meadows, which also contains a small camping site.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Patroit"

Sir William Wallace (Medieval Gaelic: Uilliam Uallas; modern Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; Latin: Guillelmum le Walois de Scotia militem; died 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, and was Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. In 1305, Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians.

Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland. He is the protagonist of the 15th century epic poem The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie, by Blind Harry. Wallace is also the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter and the Academy Award winning epic film, Braveheart.

Statue of Wallace at Edinburgh CastleAlthough he was a minor member of the Scottish nobility, little is known for certain of William Wallace's family history. Records show early members of the family as holding estates at Riccarton, Tarbolton, and Auchincruive in Kyle, and Stenton in Haddingtonshire. They were vassals of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland as their lands fell within his territory. It is believed by many historians that William Wallace's possible ancestor Richard Wallace came to Scotland in the 1130s in the service of Walter Fitz Alan who had been appointed Steward by King David I and settled in Ayrshire. There are several Ayrshire Wallace seals attached to the Ragman Rolls, but none of them display a lion (the traditional arms associated with Wallace) — using rather a saltire, a cross patty and a fleur-de-lis.

William Wallace was probably descended from one of Richard's sons who married into local Scottish land-owing families. Hence Wallace and his Scoto-Norman ancestors would have been well acquainted with Gaelic, French, Latin, Greek, and possibly an early form of Scots.

Some sources give the name of William Wallace's father as Malcolm Wallace, but the seal attached to a letter sent to the Hanse city of L├╝beck in 1297 appears to give his father's name as Alan. His brothers Malcolm and John are known from other sources. An Alan Wallace appears in the Ragman Rolls as a crown tenant in Ayrshire, but there is no additional confirmation. The traditional view regards Wallace's birthplace as Elderslie in Renfrewshire, and this is still the view of most historians,[9] but there have been recent claims[by whom?] that he came from Ellerslie in Ayrshire. There is no contemporary evidence linking him with either location, although both areas had connections with the wider Wallace family.

Wallace's year of birth can only be guessed at, although he was probably a relatively young man at the time of his military exploits and death.