Manor of Freston


W A Copinger, Taylor Garnett, Evans & Co Ltd 1910


MANOR was in Saxon times held here by Robert, son of Wimarc.  It consisted of 6 carucates of land, 24 villeins, 4 bordars, 2 ploughteams in demesne and a belonging to the men.  Also 8 acres of meadow, a mill, some sort of a church, 11 beasts, 40 hogs, and 140 sheep, worth £8.  The soc belonged to Robert.  At the time of the Survey this manor was held by Richard, son of Earl Gislebert, the ploughteams belonging to the men were reduced to 6, the beasts were only 3, also the hogs, and there were 101 sheep; the value of the whole had, however, increased to £11 10s.  It was a league in length and half a league in breadth and paid in a gelt 10d.

The only other holding in this place was that of Robert, who also had the sec.  It consisted of 30 acres in demesne, a ploughteam, and an acre of meadow, worth 10s.   At the time of the Survey Emulf held this estate of Suane, of Essex.


In 1234 the hall, manor, and advowson were held by Philip de Freston, who was admitted a free burgess of Ipswich at this time, and in 1316 by John de Freston, who in 1319 had a grant of free warren here.

According to Davy, however, John de Holbroke died seised of the manor in 1316,’ and Margaret his Widow had a part in dower in 1330, being succeeded by her son and heir, Sir Thomas Holbroke, Knt.  But the manor appears to have continued in the Freston family for at least a century later, until Margaret, daughter and heir of Thomas Freston, married Thomas Wolferston, of Freston, who died before 1458. On Thomas Wolferston’s death the manor passed to his daughter and heir Elizabeth, who married William Latimer, of Freston, and after his death took as a and husband Robert Thorpe.  He died in 1480, and the manor passed to his son and heir, Wm. Latimer, who married Anne, daughter of Edmund Bocking, of Ash Bocking, and was succeeded by his son and heir, Edward Latimer, who married Mary, daughter of Christopher Thwaites, of Manningtree, and died and was buried at Freston 23rd May, 1540, when the manor went to his son and heir, Christopher Latimer, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Wingfield.

In 1553 the manor was sold by Christopher Latimer to Thomas Gooding, of Ipswich, and 2nd son of Matthew Gooding, of Blaxhall, and the sale was effected by a fine levied in Easter term this year. We meet with a fine of the manor again in 1577 levied by Richard Patrycke and others against the said Thomas Gooding and others, but this was probably by way of settlement.

Thomas Gooding married first a daughter of Robert Harlwyn, of Campsey Ash, and secondly Dorothy.  He was a portman of Ipswich in 1560. His will is dated 10th April 1595, and was proved 13th November the same year. By his will he gives to Robert Gooding his eldest son, and to his heirs, a yearly rent charge of 26s. 8d. Out of his lands in Kesgrave, to the intent that he or the owners of Freston Hall shall bestow the same upon the poorest inhabitants of Freston from time to time.  Also he gave to the said Robert Gooding and his heirs for ever another yearly rent charge of 20s out of his said lands to the intent that he or they should yearly procure therewith some honest, learned, and godly preacher to make four sermons in Freston church.

On his death 30th October 1595, the manor passed to his son and heir, Robert Gooding.  He married Margaret, daughter of James Radcliffe, of Norwich, sister of William Radcliffe. His will is dated 23rd December 1601 and it was proved 10th February 1602.   He was buried at Freston 23rd January 1601, and the manor passed to his son and heir, Thomas Gooding.  He married Mary, daughter and heir of Thomas Burlz, of Debden, by his first wife Dorothy, daughter of William Cresswell, of Prittlewell, county Essex.  He made his will 11th August 1624, and it was proved 13th October following. He died 12th August 1624, and the manor passed to his eldest surviving son, Robert Gooding aged 12 at his father’s death.

This Robert Gooding in 1635 sold the manor to John Havers, of Stockelston, co. Leicester.  There were Chancery Proceedings over this sale which was made in consideration of £2,175, the purchaser alleging that subsequently to the contract the vendor had cut timber and that the estate was encumbered.  Particulars of the suit will be found in Muskett’s Suffolk Manorial Families.

The manor was later vested in the Wrights. It was held by John Wright, who married Rachael, eldest daughter of John Fuller, of Ipswich, and died the 11th February 1723· The Wrights separated the manor and advowson, and sold their possessions to the Thurston, Tacon, and other families.

The manor was then acquired by Charles Berners who died in 1815,from which time the manor has devolved in the same course at the Manor of Erwarton, and is now vested in Charles Hugh Berners, of Woolverstone Park.

One of the most interesting objects upon the banks of the Orwell is Freston Tower, belonging originally to the manorial estate.  ” It is a strong quadrangular brick building, about ten feet by twelve, with a polygonal turret at each angle.  It is six storeys high, and contains as many rooms, one above another, communicating by a winding staircase, which, on the exterior, forms the principal face of the edifice, having three sides and numerous windows.  The best apartment seems to have been on the fifth storey; it is higher than any of the others, and was probably hung with tapestry, as the small nails yet left in the wood seem to indicate.  The top is formed by a number of open arches, and each of the small turrets at the angles terminates in a pinnacle.    The windows are square, and except in the principal apartment very small.  In this building there is but one fireplace, which is on the ground floor, and even that seems to be of recent construction, and to have no chimney; whence it is probable that this place was rather an occasional pleasure retreat, or watch-tower, than designed for the purpose of permanent habitation.  Excepting a farmhouse, at the distance of a few yards, no trace of any building appears near the tower.”

“As there is among the records of the manor,” says the Suffolk Traveller, ” a very exact and particular account of the manor-house, and all the outbuildings and offices to it, in Henry the VII’s time, and no mention is there made of the tower, it is pretty certain it was not then built; so that it is reasonable to suppose it to have been the work of the Latymers. From the smallness of the windows in all the other rooms, it looks as if they were built chiefly for the support of the uppermost room, which, having large windows on three sides of it, seems to have been contrived by some whimsical man for taking rather a better view of the river Orwell than can be had on the neighbouring hill.”

Arms of FRESTON: Arg. on a chevron, Sab. 3 cinquefoils, Or. Of GOODING: Or, a fesse between six lions’ heads erased Gules. Of WRIGHT: Or, on a chevron between 3 greyhounds courant Sab. as many trefoils striped Arg. Of BERNERS: See Erwarton Manor, in this Hundred.