In all likelihood it had been so domiciled for some generations before Richard Lincoln led Elizabeth Remching to the altar; certainly long enough for the family to which she belonged to have acquired both wealth and position. The earliest known occurrence of the name in English records is nevertheless comparatively modern.
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It is found in the parish register of a small country village, lying some four and a half miles to the west of Hingham, called Carbrooke. Here, according to that register, Anne, the second daughter of Richard Remching, was baptised on the 23d day of September, The baptism of Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, does not appear. The village of Carbrooke is not without its historical as- sociations. In that year he died, and his widowed countess, Maud, as an act of piety donated the foundation, together with its entire endowment of lands and vassals, to the Knights Hospitallers of St.
John of Jerusalem. Thenceforth it was called the Commandery of Carbrooke — under which name its memory still survives. John the Baptist. Both lay to the south of the present church, on the site roughly indicated by the foreground of the illustration; and both, like the old Manor House where the Remchings lived, have long since totally disappeared. The present church of Carbrooke boasts no great antiquity. It dates from the early years of the sixth Henry's reign; but in it large portions of the older buildings doubtless still withstand the ravages of time. In the loft over its north porch some pieces of ancient armour are pointed out to the curious — the last poor relics of the doughty knights who once held sway in Carbrooke.
It was in this church that the children of Richard and Elizabeth Remching were baptised, all except the two eldest — Edward, known in his day as Edward Remching, gentle- man, and Elizabeth, who afterwards became the first wife of Richard Lincoln and gave her brother's name to her second son, Edward Lincoln of Hingham, father of the lad who emi- grated in In this church, too, on the 24th of March, , Richard Remching was buried.
His will contains no injunction that he should be so interred. The honour was conceded him because of his standing in the parish. He was Lord of the Manor of Carbrooke and the Commandery there. For the ancient Commandery was no longer the headquar- ters of a monastic body. Dirge was no longer sung, mass no longer said, the bede-roll of the faithful departed no longer told in ancient church or chapel.
Henry the Eighth had changed all that.
By a single stroke of the royal pen the ancient foundation had been "dissolved" — the hospitallers driven forth, unfrocked and beggared, the rich lands confis- cated, the opulent revenues diverted to swell the coffers of the King. The tenure was of the nature of leasehold, and on that basis the Remchings, father and son, held it for some forty-two years.
This we gather from the terms of his will, 2 under which each child receives a legacy of from twenty to thirty pounds in money — Edward at the age of twenty-two, the others at full age or marriage. His daughter Elizabeth's was twenty pounds — a sum ample to provide handsomely for her "bride-cart," or wedding outfit.
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In addition to the Manor and Commandery of Carbrooke, the lease of which had recently been renewed for a further term of years, Richard Remching left an estate comprising at least three hundred and forty-four acres of land, an annual rent-charge of twenty shillings, and liberty of faldage 3 for six hundred sheep in Carbrooke and the adjacent parishes. Soon after that event he married, and for the remainder of the Carbrooke lease occu- pied the lands and Manor House there, his widowed mother residing with him.
In , shortly after the Carbrooke lease expired, he sold the remaining property and removed to the neighbouring town of Thetford, where, dying in the year 1 Chancery Proceedings, Eliz. Paget and another v.
Elizabeth Remching, widow. Fine between Thomas May, pltf. Cuthbert's Church. Of Richard Remching, junior, Edward's youngest brother but one, we catch a cursory but entertaining glimpse in that lively panorama of the ages, the official Proceedings in Chan- cery, anno 1 2 The period, as all the world knows, was one of ruffs, and in the preparation of ruffs much ingenuity and starch were employed.
Queen Elizabeth, with an eye to the augmenting of her revenues, granted and sold to Richard Young of London, esquire, exclusive "lycence to make or bringe into this realme of England, and the dominions of the same, all kyndes of starche for the space of seaven yeres. Abdy, being short of capital for the venture, took to partner one Bowry, who, playing the knave, induced Abdy to go bond for him in large sums, and then, payment of his obligations falling due, incontinently left him to face the music of the courts and the terrors of the debtor's prison.
Amongst those whom Abdy had good cause to remember on this account was Richard Remching. He sued upon his bond, to the wretched starchmaker's "vtter vndooment. Abdy v. Bowry and others. Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Scott, folio The "saye gowne with the velvet cape," the "stuffe gowne that came from London," the "fyne smock late my syster's," the "sylke grogorane kyr- tle," the "stammell pettycoate with the redd sylken frynge," — brave and costly apparel, in which she was wont, in days gone by, to cut so stately a figure withal, — are no more for her bedecking.
They must now go to others — she, to the inevitable grave. Tearfully her children and grandchildren gather around her. The scrivener with his inkhorn and ready quill is at her bedside, embodying in rapid, formal lines her last behests. Firste I comend my soule into the hands of God my Maker, and my bodye to be buryed in the churche of the towne of Carbrooke, in the grave wherein my late husband Richard Remchinge was layed.
I give to the parishioners of the saide towne of Carbrooke my greate Bible, to remayne there in the churche for ever.hydbityterpperc.cf
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I give and bequethe fortie shillinges to be bestowed in making vpp and fmishinge a convenient wall and other necessaryes at the Springe called Beckett's Well, 1 beinge at the Abbey Barne Yardes, and next the myll in Wymondham. I give. That was a dozen years ago, and Mary is now the mother of seven daughters, each of whom, over and above some special token of their aged grandparent's regard, receives "a payre of course sheetes, a little prayer booke, and twentie shillinges in monie.
Richard Lincoln's repeated matrimonial experiments had met with scant approval at the Carbrooke Manor House. Notwithstanding the explicit directions to that effect con- tained in Elizabeth Remching's last will and testament, her mortal remains found no resting-place in her husband's grave within the church of Carbrooke. What memories of noble but futile am- bitions, of clash of battle, of troubled, tragic days, does not their name recall! Strong men, passing Wymondham church in the latter end of those days, averted their shuddering gaze from the gruesome Monitor dangling there upon the belfry, malodorous and horrible.
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John Kett had never seen it — it was before his day. Yet not so remote but that he had seen the chains and the ghastly bones in their embrace. In his youth they hung there still, and neither he nor any of his name would ever forget the text they clanked against the lofty stones : " Honour the King! Honour the King! The Ketts were undeniably of ancient lineage. As Le Chat they found a home in England either with or shortly after the coming of the Conqueror. Later they were called Le Cat, then indifferently Catt or Kett. In the sixteenth century the Ketts of Wymondham bore the additional distinctive name of Knight, though to what circumstance they owed the alias we do not learn.
They were armigerous, bearing, it is said: Or, on a f esse between three leopards' heads erased and cabossed azure, a lion passant argent. The first of the Wymondham family of whom we possess any certain lineal knowledge is Richard, and him we know only as the father of the first John.
So far as can be ascertained, neither Richard nor John Kett was a man of exceptional wealth. It was with the coming of Thomas the butcher that the tide of prosperity turned. The people of the time were exceptionally gross livers. Flesh meat formed an essentially large part of their limited diet. To this rule the great abbey on the hill overlooking Wymondham was no exception. The monks, it is true, en- joyed an annual rent, in kind, of two thousand eels from the 1 As a matter of fact, he was burned at the stake, in the ditch of Norwich Castle, on the 14th of January, , "for denying the deytye of Chnste.
On other days they consumed meat, and consumed it as freely as the inmates of cottage or mansion. Thomas Kett, the shrewd butcher of Damgate Street, Wymondham, cater- ing for these insatiable appetites, found ready favour with friar and abbot. Parcel after parcel of the finest monastic lands passed into his possession. Outside the abbot's domains, with what he drew from the purses of abbot and people, he pur- chased other lands. His flocks grew apace.
As early as the Court Leet sitting at Wymondham found the fields sadly overburdened with his sheep. So, at the expense of abbot and people, Thomas Kett grew rich and influential. He died, and Robert his fourth son proved himself no laggard in the path of prosperity. Profit- ing by his father's example, industry, and foresight, and com- bining in himself the allied lucrative vocations of butcher and tanner, he was speedily in a position to add to his share of the paternal estates the entire Manor of Gunvills, 1 com- prising five hundred and forty acres of land, ten messuages, and an annual rent-charge of one hundred shillings.
With this acquisition, made in November, i , or about a year be- fore Robert Kett's tragic end, the Ketts of Wymondham fell into line with the largest landed proprietors of mid-Norfolk. With the Ketts there rose into prominence another local family, the Flowerdews of Wymondham and Hethersett. Blood for blood, there was little to choose between them ; but the Ketts had drifted into trade, whilst the Flowerdews, keeping themselves unspotted from the world of commerce, had obtained commissions in various capacities under the 1 Feet of Fines, Norfolk : M.
Fine between Robert Kett, pltf. From this eminence they looked down upon the Ketts as social inferiors. A tacit rivalry was thus created, highly charged with the elements of danger. On the one side contemptuous arrogance, on the other hot resentment, made for open hostility. The situation did not long hang fire. The spark destined to ignite the tinder-like relations sub- sisting between the two rival houses, and to set all Norfolk in a blaze, was supplied by the growing unrest of the people. For they too had their resentments — resentments that ate like a canker into the very heart of the commonweal.
The great monastic houses stood empty and forsaken; the em- ployment and trade represented by their upkeep were lost ; the lands of prior and abbot, the poor man's readiest helpers and kindliest landlords, were in the grasp of royal favourites, bent, all too often, on extracting the uttermost farthing from their newly acquired possessions.