COCKLEY-CLEY, on the banks of a rivulet, 4 miles S.S.W. of Swaffham, is a scattered village and parish, containing 244 souls, and 4160A., of which 1500 acres form a high sandy heath, abounding in rabbits, and adjoining Swaffham Heath. The Hall, a neat mansion, with pleasant grounds, is the seat of T.R. Buckworth, Esq., owner of most of the soil, and lord of the manor, which was purchased of the Wodehouse family by the late Richard Dashwood, Esq.
The CHURCH (All Saints) is a venerable fabric, with a short round tower; and near it was a small chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, which was for many years occupied as the rectory-house, but what remains of it is now a cottage. There was also another church (St. Peter's,) at the east end of the village, said to have been burnt down in the reign of Elizabeth. The rectory of All Saints, and the vicarage of St. Peter, valued in the King's Book at £8. 17s. 1d., and in 1831 at £158, are consolidated, in the gift of T.R. Buckworth, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Robert Rolfe, M.A., who is also rector of Caldecot and Thurgarton, in this county, and of Yaxley, in Suffolk.
Sir Cloudesley Shovell, the celebrated admiral, and commander-in-chief of Queen Anne's fleet, is said to have been the son of a poor man of this parish, and the runaway apprentice of a shoemaker. He was lost on the coast of Scilly, in 1705, together with several distinguished officers, and 900 men.
In 1621, the Rev. Thomas Yorker left 10A. of land, in Oxburgh, and directed the rents to be applied, for five years, to the poor of Cockley-Cley, and every sixth year, to the poor of Oxburgh. This land is held by Sir H.R.P. Bedingfeld, on a 999 years' lease, at the small yearly rent of £3. The parish has 10A. of land in Swaffham, given by an unknown donor, and let for £10 a year, of which one-sixth belongs to the church, and five-sixths to the poor, who have also £3 a year out of New close, left by John Bagge. A piece of garden ground, belonging to the parish, is now occupied by three poor persons.
Buckworth Theophilus Russell, Esq. Hall Gathercole Titus land agent Sewell Daniel farmer Denny Isaac vict. Cock Matthews George blacksmith
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