MERTON, commonly called Martin, is a small detached village, 1½ mile S. by W. of Watton, comprising in its parish 164 inhabitants, and 1349A. 2R. of land, all belonging to LORD WALSINGHAM, who resides in the HALL, a fine brick mansion in the Elizabethan style, erected on the site of the old one, about the year 1610. It faces the north, and has in front a curious gateway with a clock. It was thoroughly repaired, and the interior modernised by the late lord, about 12 years ago. The surrounding pleasure grounds, which have recently been greatly improved, are richly wooded, and some of the oaks in the park are of great age and size, one measuring 26 feet in circumference, six feet from the ground; and another 18ft. 8in.
William the Conqueror gave this manor to Ralph Baynard. The heiress of Fulk Baynard, Esq., carried it in marriage to Sir Thos. de Grey, who settled here in 1337. His descendant, Sir William de Grey, knt., was born here in 1719, and after being successively solicitor-general, attorney-general, and lord chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, was created Baron Walsingham, of Walsingham, on Oct. 17th, 1780. He died in 1781, and was succeeded by his son, Thos. de Grey, who died in 1818, when his son, George de Grey, succeeded. The latter died about 1830, and was succeeded by the late lord, who died in 1839, and was succeeded by his eldest son, the Rt. Hon. Thos. de Grey, the present baron.
The CHURCH (St. Peter) stands in the park, and has a round tower surmounted by a small wooden spire, and containing three bells. In the chancel are several monuments, with fine brasses of the noble family of de Grey. The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £6. 0. 5d., is in the patronage of Lord Walsingham, and incumbency of the Rev. Fras. Gregory Lemann, M.A. The tithes were commuted in 1843 for £200 per annum.
The Town Estate consists of five cottages and 5A., let for £20. 5s., applied with the church and poor rates. The poor have 20s. a year, left by Sir Wm. de Grey.
Walsingham Lord Merton Hall Lemann Rev. T.G., M.A. Rectory Seymour Mrs. Eliz. house keeper Wing Jeremiah land agent farmers Cook Isc. Matthews Thos.
Copyright © Pat Newby.