SIR EDMUND MOUNDEFORD, KNIGHT
(article three in the Moundeford Loop sequence)
Sir Edmund Moundeford, only son of Sir Edmund Moundeford, Knt, died in 1643 without issue, and with his death the Feltwell branch of the family came to an end. The Moundefords of Feltwell were a younger branch of the Hockwold family, Adam Moundeford, the first of the Feltwell branch, being the younger brother of Osbert Moundeford of Hockwold. This Osbert died in 1456 and by his Will he bequeathes to Margaret his wife a chamber in his house at Hockwold for her and her maid; and 12 marks yearly; also meat, drink, wood and candle. He also bequeathes £48 per annum to his brother Adam, and 20 sheep to Esselina, Adam's wife. Adam died in 1463; he and Esselina lie buried in the Church of Feltwell St. Mary.
In his history of Methwold Mr. Gedge tells us that the Moundefords had their town house at Methwold and that it was built at the beginning of the Tudor period; he gives a sketch of the house and a description of it. He also tells us that the Moundefords took their name from the neighbouring village of Mundford; also spelt Mundeford and Moundeford in old records.
Sir Edmund Moundeford had four half-sisters; one of them, named Elizabeth, married firstly Miles Hobart, Esquire, and secondly Sir Hugh Cartwright Knt.; she died in 1619, aged 83 years, and was buried in the south aisle of Norwih Cathedral. Another Sister, named Muriel married Sir Henry Clere, Bart., of Ormesby, son of Sir Edward Clere, a spendthrift who owned Bickling, of Ann Boleyn fame, and sold it and was long a prisoner in the Fleet. By this marriage there were two children, a son Henry and a daughter Abigail. Henry predeceased his father and was buried at Feltwell St. Mary. Abigail married a Col. John Cromwell, of London, and according to Rye's Norfolk Families, seems to have behaved very badly and ruined her husband; evidently she was a chip of the old block and took after her grandfather.
The name of Sir Edmund Moundeford appears in a law suit over the Methwold rabbits. Methwold warren was large and we are told was "famous to a proverb for rabbits." So numerous were they that proceedings were taken at different times for damage done, and in 1606 there was a cause pending in Chancery and another in the duchy courts of Lancaster, between the Lords of the adjacent towns, to whom Sir Edmund was one, and the Methwold warrener.
Sir Edward Moundeford gave and settled by deed, 10th September, 1642, two. several parts of marsh or fen ground in Feltwell - in South Fen one containing 600 acres, called Ten-feet Ground; the other containing 240 acres, called the Wannage - in trust, the profits to be applied, one-third in the yearly distribution "of frize or some other cloathing" among the poorer sort of people that have or shall be born in Feltwell; and two-thirds in support of a free school in the said town "for the teaching the children of the inhabitants grammar and other learning, freely." But when the clear rents were more than £60 per annum he desired the surplusage to be applied in the purchase of some convenient ground in Feltwell with a convenient house thereupon, or else to build one, for an almshouse for the placing and dwelling of poor, aged and impotent people inhabiting in Feltwell and then the surplusage above £60 per annum shall be yearly bestowed amongst the poor people of the said almshouse. Part of the land was taken by the Commissioners for the drainage of the Bedford Level, and the estate now (i.e., 1854) consists of 633 ac. 1ro. 18p. of Fenland and two houses. The School was erected by the trustees in 1839; the Almshouses in 1819.
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