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The following article was in the ‘Mercury’ September 8th, 1860 describing the generous action of Steven Clissold

For the information of our readers who may not  have  heard  the  antecedent circumstances in connection with this event, we may state, that for some time past the Rev. E. M. Clis-sold, Rector of Wrentham—and son of the generous donor—has been in the habit of con-ducting a religious service in the village Reading-room, on Sabbath evenings, but that building being found attended with so many inconveniences, and with such scanty accom-modation, a more spacious room was much to be desired. The Rev. S. Clissold no sooner discovered the wants of his son's parishioners than he at once proposed a remedy, in the raising of an entirely new structure, to be used on Sabbath evenings for religious wor­ship, and on other days for any other purpose that can possibly promote the well-being of the villagers.  On  Wednesday  the  25th  of April last, the foundation stone was laid by the highly esteemed wife of the Rector, amid cir­cumstances of general rejoicing, and on Wed­nesday last the building was formally opened, and is now ready to be devoted to the purposes for which it has been constructed.

Not the least pleasing feature in connection with  this  event  is  the  genuine Catholic spirit of the Rev. S. Clissold, which imparts far greater grandeur to the scheme, than art or embellishment could ever afford. He declares his willingness to recognize as brethren all denominations of Christians, resident in the village, to whom the Hall is as much available for social or other purposes—free of charge— as those belonging to the Church with which he himself stands identified, and this is indeed a  bright  and  cheering  fact.     There  has,  for

years past—especially in rural parishes—been too much bigotry and strife amongst professedly religious men, ever to suffer Christianity to flourish, and the sooner it is ended the better will it be for the cause of truth. To Wren­tham then we point the attention of all who fancy themselves holier than their brethren, for there we hope and believe it may with truth be said " See how these Christians love one another !"

 In the past Wrentham has been called Wrancham, Wrantham, Wretham and Wrettingham. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book. In 1086 the whole of the lands of Wrentham were held by William de Warrens of Varennes, who was one of William the Conqueror's great knights. Having fought at the battle of Hastings and having been involved in the invasion plans he was given 300 manors, half in Suffolk and Norfolk. These included Wrentham, Benacre and Henstead.  Later he was created Earl of Surrey, built a castle in Holt, Norfolk, founded Lewes Priory in Sussex and lived mostly at the castle at Lewes. He died in battle in 1089. At this time, the Parish was divided into 6 manors which consisted of 1760 acres of arable land on which the parish was taxed and 604 acres being composed of wood, common and waste land.  A parish was like a miniature kingdom.  There was an approximate total population of 540. The total population of England was 2 million so Wrentham was considered to be a large settlement. This is shown by the fact that it had two churches, one on the current site and the other the site of which is unknown.

In the centuries which followed the Norman Conquest, the manors were substantially developed, particularly Perpounds, which was South of Wrentham Hall and Poinings, which was North Hall.

In 1307 the tenant in chief of the Manors of Wrentham, known as South Hall and North Hall were the Valences family (Earls of Peinbroke) and under them the lands were held by the families of Pierrepoint and Poynings respectively. These families and their descendants continued to hold the manors until, just prior to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I(1553-1603), it passed to the Brewster family.

The Old Town Hall

Wrentham Hall by E. Gates and also lands in Norfolk. In St. Nicholas church, Humphrey Brewster is depicted in military costume of the period in the brass on the wall of the sanctuary near his burial place. Other members of the family are buried below the floor of the sanctuary.