Wicklewood is on the north facing slope of the ridge and extends over the ridge to the parishes of Morley S Deopham village is situated on the top of a 200 feet ridge that slopes to the North. The land then rises again to the Watton-Norwich road. Lying in the valley bottom is the small hamlet of Hackford.
In Wicklewood at the bottom of the north facing slope is a small stream which, eventually, joins the Yare river system. This river flows into the sea at Yarmouth.
Rivers to the south of the area flow into the Ouse river system entering the sea near Kings Lynn.
The ridge is a watershed between the two river systems.
Wicklewood, a scattered village three miles north-east of Wymondham and ten miles south-west of Norwich, is incorporated in the Hundred of Forehoe.
Coming within the Rural Deanery of Hingham, Archdeaconry of Norfolk and Diocese of Norwich, the parish has an area of 1598 acres.
The Earl of Kimberley is Lord of Wicklewood Manor.
Domesday Book provides the earliest information on Wicklewood.
Wicklewood is written “Wiclurde” and “Wikelepude” in Domesday Book. Wick Anglo-Saxon “Wic”, a dwelling place of one or more houses, “Ley”, Anglo-Saxon leah, leag lega and ley, a woody neighbourhood, a ley field or district, and “Wode” a wood.
Termination in the Domesday Book form “Wiclurde” seems to imply that the place was once called “Wickleworth” from the Anglo-Saxon “Worth”, a farm. “Wiegl” is also a Danish personal name.
Following upon the Norman Conquest, William gave the land to Ralph Bainard along with 52 other manors.
Two Manors existed at the time of the Survey. Wicklurde, held by “Olfus” a Freeman in the time of Edward the Confessor, was then held by Ralph Sturman with eleven villeins and eight borderers.
This Manor was valued at forty shillings before the Survey, but after the Survey its value was increased to sixty shillings.
The other Manor was held by William de Warren in Wiclurde, and included one Freeman and one curicate of land, valued before the Survey at twenty shillings, but after the Survey, forty shillings.
The church of ‘All Saints’ was held by the former Manor, which was held of the Bainards, afterwards of the Fitz-Walters at half a knight’s fee.
The avowson of St. Andrew’s Church belonged to William de Warren’s manor, which was afterwards held of the Bardolphs.
The record called “Testa de Nevil” tells that Robert Fitz-Walter had a fee belonging to his barony of Baynard Castle, and that Nigel de Riffley held one half and that Robert Auger, son of Auger of Wicklewood, the other. In 1257 John de Dagworth settled two messuages, sixty acres of land and twenty shillings rent on Michael de Newton and Isabell, his wife.
Later in 1327 Robert Fitzwalters fee was divided up as follows:-
“Will de Hales and his tenants had half a fee; Robert de Riffley and his tenants had a fourth of a fee; Adam de Morley a fourth of a fee; and the Prior had the rest”
In 1401 Thomas de Hales held his manor at a quarter of a fee of the Earl of Rutland, and the Prior Joh Cok and John Skulton, held their part of the fee of that Earl to whom it belonged in right to his wife.
In 1443 Hales’ Manor was sold by William Calthorp and others to Will Rookwood esq. and Elizabeth, his wife, who sold it to John Widdham Esq.
Later the Manor passed to his son and Margaret his wife, who was the daughter of Sir John Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk.
In 1547 Sir Edmund Windham was Lord and in 1570, Roger Windham Esq.
Ampher’s or Almoner’s Manor
So called because it was appropriated to the office of the Almoner in the Cathedral of Norwich.
Various people gave their lands to the Convent at Norwich.
Richard, son of Nicholas de Agna of Wicklewood, gave to Nicholas, Prior of Norwich, and his Convent, certain lands in Wicklewood.
These lands had been held by his father of the church of All Saints. This was in 1267. Later the said Richard gave more land to the Prior of Norwich in 1272.
William, son of William Bardolf, gave to the Almoner of Norwich Convent, 28 acres of land.
In 1347, the Almoner was distrained in the court at Morley, to show by what right he raised a fold in Wicklewood, who proved his right to do so and to have in his fold not only sheep of the inhabitants, but of strangers.
In this register of 1347, there is a Charter of King Edward III, granting ‘free warren to the Convent; in all their demeans here’.
Almoner manor continued up to the reign of Henry VIII, The King exchanged and took away some of the states belonging to the Monastery, and then the Manor went to the Crown. At the time of Edward VI, it was let for nine shillings and four-pence per year clear.
In 1550 William Ruggs and Peter Gering had a grant on it.
In 1562 Thomas Reeve and Ralph Sherman had it.
In 1563 Richard Hobson had it.
In 1564 Robert Moulton of London, auditor to the Queen, owned it and presented it to the Vicarage.
In 1613 Thomas Skypp owned it.
In 1588 John Jubbs owned it.
In 1701 Martin Jubbs owned it.
In 1739 Christopher Bailey owned it.
Quitclaim, 1532, July 21. Edward VI.
SUMMARY: Quitclaim by William Tassell of Bury St. Edmunds in the county Suffolk, gentleman, to Martin Bolton of Bury aforesaid, gentleman, of all his right in the manor of Burfeldhall with its appurtenances and the tenements called "Taylours," "Ravens," and "Inghams" in the county Norfolk and their appurtenances in the vills and fields of Wymondham, Wyklewod, Wramplyngham, Bestorp, Depeham, and Morley in the said country; which were late of Roger Townesende, knight, and Richard Banyard, gentleman, now deceased.
Given on 21 July, 6 Edward VI. Signed by "me Wyllm Tassell."
WITNESSES: (endorsed) Thomas Androwse, John Nycholas, Thomas Mylles, and Nicholas Legg.
NAMES: I. Tassell, William. II. Bolton, Martin. III. Townsend, Roger. IV. Banyard, Richard. V. Andrewes, Thomas. VI. Nicholas, John. VII. Myles, Thomas. VIII. Legg, Nicholas
WITNESSES: (endorsed) Thomas Androwse, John Nycholas, Thomas Mylles, and Nicholas Legg.
Thomas Wetherby, the central figure in the party conflicts that brought Norwich to its knees in the 1430s and '40s, was probably another of these men.
He became a freeman there in 1416 but was already using the city as a base for mercantile activities in 1413 when he bought property at Cringleford.
In the same year he is seen as the holder of Hellesdon manor and was a participant in the election of county M.P.s.
His brother was established as squire of Wicklewood, but also later became a freeman of Norwich.
By 1440 Thomas was lord of the manors of Welborne, Brondale, and Intwood and held land at Swerdestone.
He had associations with Sir Thomas Tuddenham, John Heydon, and John Jenney (whose father-in-law he was), won the patronage of the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Suffolk, and was an executor of Bishop Wakeryng of Norwich.
At the end of his life he retired into quarters in Carrow priory, and was buried in Norwich's Augustinian friary - a choice more typical of gentry than burgesses.
Life of the People.
Close upon the Norman Conquest came the confiscation of Saxon estates for the benefit of the foreign conquerors.
Wicklewood was no exception to the rule, and the people soon felt the heavy hand of the Norman conquerors.
East Anglia, the richest agricultural area of England, received a new civilization but at a heavy cost in human freedom.
The Freeman of the Danelaw day had hitherto held back even under the Anglo-Saxon forms of feudalism.
Many of the Freemen could, under the old system, do what they would for employment, and the proportion of Freemen was much greater in East Anglia then anywhere else in England.
With the coming of the Normans the free man in most cases sank into the villein of the Manor.
The conditions of the people continued to be hard during the 12th and 13th centuries.
Bondsmen could be transferred along with the Manor, and 'Chevage' was a fine paid by the peasant if he married without his lord's consent.
Not all were badly treated. Some tenants have food and fire found them.
Certain writings suggest participation in meals at the Manor according to station.
At Honingham was a common oven for the use of the tenants.
According to an anonymous monk of Peterborough in his 'Descriptio Norfolicensium' written about 1300 the conditions of the peasants in Norfolk were very bad.
In his writings he mentions that 'the peasants gnawed and chewed bread made of tares do not know an ear of wheat when they see one, and live at night in their lord's sheepfold'.
Notice to the peasants to attend the Lord's court, held at the Manor, was usually given out at the church.
The low standard of housing, mud huts and thatched roofs, combined with a lack of cleanliness, did much to assist the spread of leprosy and the Black Death.
In common with the rest of the country, Norfolk suffered de-population as a result of this terrible visitation of 1347.
Although no records are available, we may be certain that Wicklewood did not escape unharmed.
We do know that the Castle Acre priory, a few miles distance from Wicklewood, only 11 members of this house survived the plague.
The plan of commuting services for money was spreading gradually over the country, but it was not complete when it was interrupted by the Black Death.
At least one-third of the whole population perished. It is plain that labour was very hard to obtain, and further since at the height of the plague, men were so terrified that they left the harvest in the fields to rot, corn became scarce.
This caused a rise in prices, and with the shortage of labourers, wages rose also. This hit the landowners hard.
It was a common complaint of that, whereas a woman's labour had cost half a penny a day, now it cost two pence or three pence.
Something clearly had to be done; and as the landowners were strong in Parliament the Statute of Labourers came into being.
Labourers were ordered to take the old rate of wages on the pain of imprisonment, branding with a hot iron, slavery or even death.
The rise in prices went on, and men could not live on the old wages.
An attempt was now made to return to the system when no wages were paid, when all paid services and the land where cultivated by serfs
What was needed was to refuse the Commutation payments, and make the serfs pay services once morel.
Men who had partly gained their freedom would not consent to lose what they had won, and soon all the peasants were infuriated with their lords.
In 1387 rising broke out in East Anglia and in all counties near London.
The writers, by burning Manor houses to destroy the records of the serfdom; hanging lawyers as being the person who made these deeds, and generally acting in a brutal way, made it impossible to treat them mildly.
Force was employed and the peasants' revolt was put down with great severity.
There was at this time a great demand for English wool and many lords started sheep farming instead of arable farming.
It paid better because less labour was required; a large farm laid down in grass only required one or two shepherds to attend all the sheep on it.
Thus sheep farming led to many men being out of employment.
The lord's also enclosed the waste and common land on which the serfs had in the past used to graze their cattle and this, too, made it hard for the serfs to keep their holdings.
So it was that the land-owners, who had at first struggled to keep their serfs, ended by trying to drive them off altogether.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Parliament tried to stop this process of enclosure for sheep farms, but without much result.
Nothing is more remarkable than the change in outlook of the peasants during the 14th century.
All the changes must have had a profound effect on the social life and conditions of the people of Wicklewood.
In the year 1440 Henry VI granted Wicklewood a market and two fairs.
These were held annually for two centuries. Following upon the Wars of the Roses came the growth of the woollen cloth trade with its promise of better and more prosperous times.
With its close proximity to Norwich it is likely that Wicklewood benefited as a result of this general prosperity