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Title: Feudal England: Historical Studies on the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

Author: John Horace Round

Release date: October 25, 2013 [eBook #44021]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Frank van Drogen, Lesley Halamek, Stephen
Rowland and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from scans of
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Second impression 1909
Third impression 1909


The present work is the outcome of a wish expressed to me from more than one quarter that I would reprint in a collected form, for the convenience of historical students, some more results of my researches in the history of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. But to these I have added, especially on Domesday, so much which has not yet seen the light, that the greater portion of the work is new, while the rest has been in part re-written. The object I have set before myself throughout is either to add to or correct our existing knowledge of facts. And for this I have gone in the main to records, whether in manuscript or in print. It is my hope that the papers in this volume may further illustrate the value of such evidence as supplementing and checking the chroniclers for what is still, in many respects, an obscure period of our history.

As a foreign scholar has felicitously observed:

Je lis avec plaisir le chroniqueur qui nous raconte les événements de son époque. Les détails anecdotiques, les traits piquants dont son œuvre est parsémée font mes délices. Mais comment saurai-je s'il dit la vérité si les pages qu'il me présente ne sont pas un roman de pure imagination? Dans les chartes, au contraire, tout est authentique, certain, précis, indubitable. Leur témoignage est contradictoirement établi, sous le contrôle de la partie adverse, avec l'approbation et la reconaissance de l'autorité souveraine, en présence d'une imposante assemblée de notables qui apposent leur signature. C'est la plus pure de toutes les sources où il soit possible de puiser un renseignement historique.1

An instance in point will be found in the paper on 'Richard the First's change of seal'.

A collective title for a series of studies covering the period 1050-1200, is not by any means easy to find. But dealing as they do so largely with the origins of 'Feudal England', I have ventured to give them this title, which may serve, I hope, to emphasize my point that the feudal element introduced at the Conquest had a greater influence on our national institutions than recent historians admit.2 Even Domesday Book has its place in the study of feudalism, rearranging, as it does, the Hundred and the Vill under Fiefs and 'Manors'.

To those in search of new light on our early mediaeval history, I commend the first portion of this work, as setting forth, for their careful consideration, views as evolutionary on the Domesday hide and the whole system of land assessment as on the actual introduction [pg 10] of the feudal system into England. Although I have here brought into conjunction my discovery that the assessment of knight-service was based on a five-knights unit, irrespective of area or value, and my theory that the original assessment of land was based on a five-hides unit, not calculated on area or value, yet the two, one need hardly add, are, of course, unconnected. The one was an Anglo-Saxon system, and, as I maintain, of early date; the other was of Norman introduction, and of independent origin. My theories were formed at different times, as the result of wholly separate investigations. That of the five-hides unit was arrived at several years ago, but was kept back in the hope that I might light on some really satisfactory explanation of the phenomena presented. The solution I now propound can only be deemed tentative. I would hope, however, that the theories I advance may stimulate others to approach the subject, and, above all, that they may indicate to local students, in the future, the lines on which they should work and the absolute need of their assistance.

Perhaps the most important conclusion to which my researches point is that Domesday reveals the existence of two separate systems in England, co-extensive with two nationalities, the original five hides of the 'Anglo-Saxon' in the south, and the later six carucates of the 'Danish' invaders in the north.3

No one, I may add, is better qualified to carry further these inquiries than Prof Maitland, whose brilliant pen has illumined for us the origins of English law. Himself engaged on the study of Domesday, he kindly offered to withhold his conclusions until my work should have appeared.4

Among the fresh points here discussed in connection with Domesday Book will be found the composition of the juries by whom the returns were made, the origin and true character of the Inquisitio Eliensis, and the marked difference of the two volumes compiled from the Domesday returns.

Of the six early surveys dealt with in conjunction with Domesday, I would call attention to that of Leicestershire as having, it would seem, till now remained absolutely unknown. It has long been a wish of mine to deal with these surveys,5 not only as belonging to a period for which we have no records, but also as illustrating Domesday Book. In 'The Knights of Peterborough' will be found some facts relating to Hereward 'the Wake', which seem to have eluded Mr Freeman's investigations, and even those of Mr Tout.

In case it should suggest itself that these papers, and some in the [pg 11] other portion of the work dwell at undue length on unimportant points, I would observe that apart from the fact that even small points acquire a relative importance from our scanty knowledge of the time, there are cases in which their careful investigation may lead to unforeseen results. At the last anniversary of the Royal Society, Lord Kelvin quoted these words from his own presidential address in 1871:

Accurate and minute measurement seems to the non-scientific imagination a less lofty and dignified work than looking for something new. But nearly all the grandest discoveries of science have been but the rewards of accurate measurement and patient, long continued labour in the minute sifting of numerical results.

The same principle applies to the study of institutional history. Whether we are dealing with military service, with the land, with finance, or with the king's court, 'the minute sifting' of facts and figures is the only sure method by which we can extend knowledge.

To those who know how few are the original authorities for the period, and how diligently these have been explored and their information exhausted, the wonder will be not so much that there is little, as that there was anything at all yet left to discover.

In a work dealing with the history of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a writer must inevitably find himself at times dealing with the same subjects as the late Professor Freeman. Without in any way disparaging the genius of that eminent man, one may deem it a duty to correct the errors into which he fell, and conscientiously to combat, as an obstinate and mischievous superstition, the conviction of his pre-eminent accuracy and authority on matters of fact. It would be far pleasanter to dwell only on his merits; but when one finds that, in spite of the proofs I have been producing for years, Mr Herbert Fisher, representing the Oxford school of history, can still declare Mr Freeman to have reached 'the highest standard of scholarly exactitude',6 it is evident that the works of the Regius Professor are still surrounded by a false glamour, and that one must further expose his grave liability to error. I cannot suppose that any competent scholar who may carefully peruse this work will in future venture to deny that, in spite of his many and his splendid gifts, Mr Freeman was as liable as any of us to error, or that however laudable his intentions, he was capable of precisely the same inaccuracy and occasionally of the same confusion as he denounced so bitterly in others.

It is, indeed, my contention, as I have already explained,7 that to these denunciations of the errors of others is largely due the [pg 12] conviction of Mr Freeman's supreme accuracy. The question raised may seem to affect the whole method of history, for if, as has been said, it is the argument of the scientific historian that we ought to prefer accuracy of fact to charm of presentment and to literary style, the proof that his method fails to save him from erring like any 'literary' historian strikes at the root of his whole contention.

Yet it is not the scientific method, but its prophet himself that was at fault.

Although I am here only concerned with inaccuracy in matters of fact, I would guard myself against the retort that, at least, Mr Freeman's errors are of little consequence as compared with that obliquity of vision which led Mr Froude, at all hazards, to vindicate Henry the Eighth. Without insisting on an absolute parallel, I trace a resemblance even here. Just as his bias against the Roman church led Mr Froude to vindicate Henry in order to justify the breach with Rome, so Mr Freeman's passion for democracy made him an advocate on behalf of Harold, as 'one whose claim was not drawn only from the winding-sheet of his fathers'. I have elsewhere maintained, as to Harold's election 'by the free choice of a free people', that Mr Freeman's undoubted perversion of the case at this 'the central point' of his history, gravely impairs his narrative of the Conquest, because its success, and even its undertaking, can actually be traced to that election.8 Unless we realize its disastrous effect on the situation both at home and abroad, we cannot rightly understand the triumph of the Duke's enterprise.

It had been my hope, in the present work, to have avoided acute controversy, but the attitude adopted, unfortunately, by the late Professor's champions has rendered that course impossible. One can but rejoice that his accuracy should find strenuous defenders, as it removes the reluctance one would otherwise feel in continuing to criticize it now. A case is doubly proved when proved in the teeth of opposition. But one expects that opposition to be fair, and the line my opponents have taken throughout cannot, by any stretch of courtesy, be so described. My difficulty, indeed, in dealing with their arguments on the Battle of Hastings, is that they do not affect or even touch my case. In spite of their persistent efforts to obscure a plain issue, there is not, and there cannot be, any 'controversy' as to Mr Freeman and the 'palisade'. For, while fully recognizing that the onus probandi lay on those who assert its existence, he failed, on his own showing, to produce any proof of it whatever.9 Mr Archer has ended,10 as he began,11 by deliberately ignoring Mr Freeman's words,12 on which my case avowedly rests, and without [pg 13] suppressing which he could not even enter the field. This, indeed, I have explained so often, that I need not again have disposed of his arguments had not Mr Gardiner, in the exercise of his editorial discretion, allowed him to make certain statements,13 and refused me the right of exposing them. A typical example will be found on p. 273.14

It is not only demonstrable error that justifies critical treatment; no less dangerous, if not more so, is that subtle commixture of guess-work and fact, which leaves us in doubt as to what is proved and what is merely hypothesis. In his lecture on 'The Nature of Historical Evidence', the late Professor himself well brought out the point:

Many people seem to think that a position is proved if it can not be disproved.... Very few see with Sir George Lewis—though Sir George Lewis perhaps carried his own doctrine a little too far—that in a great many cases we ought to be satisfied with a negative result, that we must often put up with knowing that a thing did not happen in a particular way, or did not happen at all, without being furnished with any counter-statement to put in the place of that which we reject.15

The question is whether a statement can be proved, not whether it can be disproved. Cases in point will be found on pp. 291, 298, 331-3.

It may, in view of certain comments, be desirable, perhaps, to explain that the study on the origin of knight-service appeared in Mr Freeman's lifetime,16 and that my open criticism of his work began so far back as 1882. It will be seen, therefore, that I challenged its accuracy when he was himself able to reply.

To those who may hold that in these studies excessive attention is bestowed on Anglo-Norman genealogy, I commend the words, not of a genealogist, but of the historian Kemble:

It is indispensable to a clear view of the constitutional law and governmental institutions of this country, that we should not lose sight of the distribution of landed estates among the great families, and that the rise and fall of these houses should be carefully traced and steadily borne in mind....

Amidst all the tumult and confusions of civil and foreign wars; throughout religious and political revolutions; from the days of Arminius to those of Harald; from the days of Harald to our own; the successions of the landowners and the relations arising out of these successions, are the running comment upon the events in our national history: they are at once the causes and the criteria of facts, and upon them has depended the development and settlement of principles, in laws which still survive, in institutions which we [pg 14] cling to with reverence, in feelings which make up the complex of our national character.17

The paper on 'Walter Tirel and his wife' may serve to show that in this department there is still needed much labour before we can hope for a perfect record of the great houses of the Conquest.

I have to thank Mr Murray for his kind permission to make use of two of the articles I have contributed to the Quarterly Review.. Some of the studies have previously appeared in the English Historical Review, and these are now republished with Messrs Longmans' consent. Lastly, I would take the opportunity afforded by this preface of acknowledging the encouragement my researches have derived from the approval not only of our supreme authority—I mean the Bishop of Oxford—but also of that eminent scholar, Dr Liebermann, whose name one is proud to associate with a work on mediaeval history.


[Note: I have not thought it needful to include in the index names of persons or places only introduced incidentally in illustration of arguments. The prefix 'Fitz', as in Geoffrey de Mandeville, has been retained as a useful convention, whatever the actual name may have been.]

1 Table chronologique des chartes et diplômes imprimés concernant l'histoire de la Belgique. Par Alphonse Wauters, vol. i, p. xxxi.

2 See pp. 198, 208, 404-5.

3 See p. 430.

4 Prof Maitland informs me that since the appearance of his Select Pleas in Manorial Courts, he has discovered the earlier occurrence of the word 'leet' (see p. 90).

5 See Domesday Studies.

6 Fortnightly Review, December 1894, pp. 804-5.

7 Quarterly Review., July 1892.

8 See Quarterly Review. as above.

9 See pp. 263-9.

10 English Historical Review, July 1894.

11 Contemporary Review, March 1893, pp. 335-55.

12 Norman Conquest (2nd Ed.), iii, 763-4.

13 English Historical Review, as above.

14 I have, therefore, been obliged to refer in some detail to these statements, while for those I have already disposed of I have given the references to the Q.R. and E.H.R.

15 Methods of Historical Study, p. 141.

16 English Historical Review, July 1891-January 1892.

17 The Names, Surnames, and Nicknames of the Anglo-Saxons. Read at Winchester, September 11, 1845.

[pg 15]


Nature of the Inquisitio Com. Cant., 19Criticism of the Domesday text, 26'Soca' and 'Theinland', 35The Domesday 'caruca', 40The Domesday hide, 41The five-hide unit, 47The six-carucate unit, 66The Leicestershire 'hida', 76The Lancashire 'hida', 79The Yorkshire unit, 79General conclusions, 82The East Anglian 'Leet', 88The words Solinum and Solanda, 91The 'Firma unius noctis', 96'Wara', 100The Domesday 'juratores', 102The Inquisitio Eliensis, 106The Ely Return, 114First mention of Domesday Book, 120  
THE LINDSEY SURVEY (1115-18) 149
The cartae of 1166, 189The 'servitium debitum', 197Scutage, aid, and 'donum', 209The total number of knights due, 228The normal knight's fee, 231The early evidence, 232The Worcester Relief, 241  
The name of 'Senlac', 259The palisade, 264Mr Freeman's authorities for it, 265My argument against it, 269The shield-wall, 273The disposition of the English, 277The Norman advance, 284The fosse disaster, 288The great feigned flight, 292The relief of Arques, 294Summary, 297Conclusion, 302  
Wace's meaning, 306Wace's authority, 309Wace and his sources, 313  

[pg 16]


[pg 17]




The true key to the Domesday Survey, and to the system of land assessment it records, is found in the Inquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensis. Although the document so styled is one of cardinal importance, it has, from accident, been known to few, and has consequently never succeeded in obtaining the attention and scientific treatment it deserved. The merit of its identification belongs to Mr Philip Carteret Webb, who published in 1756 a paper originally read before the Society of Antiquaries, entitled, A Short Account of Danegeld, with some further particulars relating to William the Conqueror's Survey. It is difficult to speak too highly of this production, remembering the date at which it was composed. Many years were yet to elapse before the printing of Domesday was even begun, and historical evidences were largely inaccessible as compared with the condition of things today. Yet the ability shown by Mr Webb in this careful and conscientious piece of work is well seen in his interesting discovery, which he announced in these words:

In searching for the Liber Eliensis, I have had the good fortune to discover in the Cotton Library a MS. copy of the Inquisition of the jury, containing their survey for most of the hundreds in Cambridgeshire. This MS. is written on vellum in double columns and on both sides of the page. It is bound up with the Liber Eliensis, and begins at p. 76a and ends at p. 113. It is written in a very fair but ancient character, not coeval with the Survey, but of about the time of Henry II. It was given by Mr Arthur Agard to Sir Robert Cotton, and is marked Tiberius A. VI 4. Your lordship and the Society will be of opinion that this is a discovery of importance, and what had escaped the observation of Sir H. Spelman, Mr Selden, and other antiquarians. A part of this valuable morsel of antiquity is already transcribed, and in a few weeks I hope to be able to communicate the whole of it to the Society (p. 26).

Mr Webb's discovery was known to Kelham, and duly referred to by him in his Domesday Book Illustrated (1788). It was also known to Sir Francis Palgrave, strong in his acquaintance with manuscript authorities, who alluded (1832) to the fact that 'fragments of the [pg 18] original inquisitions have been preserved',1 and described the MS. Tib. A. VI, of which 'the first portion consists of the Inquisitio Eliensis, extending, as above mentioned, into five counties; it is followed by the inedited Inquisitio', etc.2 It is, however, undoubtedly ignored in Ellis's Introduction to Domesday Book (1833), and 'even the indefatigable Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy', writes Mr Birch,3 'has omitted all notice of this manuscript in his Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts relating to the History of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. ii. (1865)'. This, however, is not strictly the case, for in his notice of the Domesday MSS. he observes in a footnoteid:

The Cottonian MS. [Tib. A. VI] has also a second and unique portion of this survey, which was not printed in the edition published by the Record Commission in 1816. It commences 'in Grantebriggesira, in Staplehouhund', and ends imperfectly 'et vicecomiti regis v. auras'.

These words prove that Sir Thomas had inspected the MS., which duly begins and ends with the words here given.

It is certain, however, that Mr Freeman, most ardent of Domesday students, knew nothing of this precious evidence, and remained therefore virtually unacquainted with the modus operandi of the Great Survey. The pages, we shall find, of the Inquisitio afford information that no one would have welcomed more eagerly than himself. Perhaps, therefore, it is not surprising that Mr N. E. S. A. Hamilton, when editing this document for the Royal Society of Literature (1876), should have supposed that it had been overlooked till then, or that he was 'the first to bring its importance to light' (p. vi). It is, however, much to be regretted that Mr De Gray Birch should have strenuously insisted that Webb (whose paper he actually names) and Kelham 'appear to have been strangely ignorant of the true and important nature of this manuscript',4 and should have repeated this assertion5 after I had shown at the Domesday Commemoration (1886) that the honour of the discovery really belonged to Mr P. C. Webb. One may claim that Webb should have his due, while gladly expressing gratitude to Mr Hamilton for his noble edition of the Inquisitio, which has conferred on Domesday students an inestimable boon.6

The printing of the document in record type, the collation throughout with Domesday Book, and the appending of the Inquisitio Eliensis, edited from three different texts, represent an extraordinary amount of minute and wearisome labour. The result is a volume as helpful as it is indispensable to the scholar.

[pg 19]

I propose in this paper to take up anew the subject, at the point where Mr Hamilton has left it, to submit the text to scientific criticism, to assign it its weight in the scale of authority, and to explain its glossarial and its illustrative value for the construction and the contents of Domesday Book.


Exact definition is needful at the outset in dealing with this document. The Inquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensi, which is entered on fos. 76-113 of Tib. A. VI, must be carefully distinguished from the Inquisitio Eliensis on fos. 38-68. Mr Hamilton doubted whether any one before him 'had distinguished between' the two, but this, we have seen, was a mistake. The distinction however is all-important, the two documents differing altogether in character. One would not think it necessary to distinguish them also from the so-called Liber Eliensis (which is not a survey at all) had not Mr Eyton inadvertently stated that our document has been printed under the title of Liber Eliensis.7

The Inquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensi (hereafter styled 'the I.C.C.') deals with the county of Cambridge alone, but, in that county, with the lands of all holders. The Inquisitio Eliensis (which I propose to style 'the I.E.') deals with several counties, but, in these counties, with the lands of the abbey alone. The latter was duly printed, with Domesday Book, by the Record Commission; the former remained in manuscript till printed by Mr Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton describes his record at the outset as 'the Original Return made by the Juratores of the county of Cambridge in obedience to the Conqueror's mandate, from which the Exchequer Domesday for that county was afterwards compiled by the King's secretaries', and as 'the original source from which the Exchequer Domesday for that county was derived'. Mr Birch here again repeats the words, insisting 'that we have in this very precious Cottonian MS. the original source from which the Exchequer Domesday of Cambridgeshire was compiled'.8

Such a description is most unfortunate being not only inaccurate but misleading. All that we are entitled to predicate of the document is that it is apparently a copy of the original returns from which Domesday Book was compiled. For 'the original source' of both we must look to the now missing returns of the jurors, the primary authority from which Domesday Book and the Inquisitio Com. Cant. are independently derived. This distinction is all-important, reducing, as it does, the Inquisitio from the rank of an 'original' to that [pg 20] of a secondary authority on the same level with Domesday Book.9 Mr Hamilton, like Mr Webb before him, assigned the handwriting of the Inquisitio to about the close of the twelfth century. The copy of the returns which it contains, therefore, was made about a century later than the returns themselves.

The problem then that we have to solve is this: 'Is the I.C.C. an actual transcript of these original returns, and if so, is it faithful?' I will not, like Mr Hamilton, assume an affirmative, but will attempt an impartial inquiry.

The two paths which we must follow in turn to arrive at a just conclusion are (1) the construction of the I.C.C., (2) collation with the Inq. Eliensis. For I hope to show that the latter record must have been derived from the same source as the Inq. Com. Cant.

Following the first of these paths, we note at once that while Domesday Book arranges the Manors according to fiefs, the Inq. Com. Cant., on the contrary, arranges them by hundreds and townships. Its system is regular and simple. For every hundred it first enumerates the principal jurors who made the return, and then gives the return itself, arranged according to townships (villæ). These townships are thus the units of which the Manors they contain are merely the component fractions. This is precisely what we should expect to find in the original returns, but it only creates a presumption; it does not afford a proof. For instance, it might be reasonably urged that these copies may have omitted certain items in the returns, just as Domesday Book omitted others.

To reply to this objection, we must turn to the second path; that is to say, we must collate the Inquisitio Eliensis with the Inq. Com. Cant. I shall prove below that the latter cannot have been taken from the former, which only covers a portion of its field, and that, on the other hand, the former cannot have been taken from the latter, because the Inquisitio Eliensis is accurate in places where the Inq. Com. Cant. is in error. Consequently they must both have been derived independently from some third document. This being so, if we should find that their versions agree closely, we may fairly infer that each is intended to be a faithful reproduction of the above 'third document'. In other words, if neither version omits items which are given in the other, we are entitled to assume that the copy is in each case exhaustive, for two scribes working independently are not likely to have systematically omitted the same items from the document before them.

What then was the 'third document' from which they both copied? Obviously it was either the original returns of the Domesday jurors, or a copy (exhaustive or not) of these returns. Now we cannot suppose that two scribes, working, as I have said, independently, [pg 21] would both have worked, not from the original returns themselves, but from a copy, and that the same copy of these returns—a copy, moreover, of the existence of which we have no evidence whatever. Moreover, in this hypothetical copy, there would, we may safely assert, have been some clerical errors. These would have duly re-appeared in both the Inquisitiones, and collation with Domesday Book would enable us to detect them. Yet in no single instance, though each of them contains errors, have I found a clerical error common to both. We are thus driven to the conclusion that in both these Inquisitiones we have copies of the actual returns made by the Domesday jurors.

One of the postulates in the above argument is that the Inq. Com. Cant. and the Inq. Eliensis 'agree closely' in their versions. Here is an instance in illustration:10

I.C.C. I.E.

Meldeburna pro x. sol[idis] se defendebat T.R.E. et modo pro viii. Et de his x. hidis tenet predictus abbas ii. hidas et Iam. virgam. v. carrucis est ibi terra. Una carruca et dimidia, et una hida et una virga in dominio, et dimidia carruca potest fieri. iii. Carucæ villanis. vi. villani, ix. bordarii, iii. cotarii, dimidium molendinum de iii. solidis, et viii. denariis. Pratum v. carrucis. Pastura ad pecora villæ, ccc. oves iii. minus, xxxiiii. porci. Inter totum valet c. sol., et quando recepit totidem. T.R.E. vi. lib. Hæc terra jacet et jacuit in ecclesia sancte Ædel. de eli in dominio.

Et de his x. hidis tenet Wido de Reb' curt de rege, &ca., &ca.

Meldeburne pro x. hidis se defendebat in tempore R. ÆD. et modo pro viii. Et de his x. hun[dredis] tenet abbas de eli ii. hidas et i. v[irgam]. v. carucis ibi est terra. I. caruca et dimidia, et i. hida et dimidia, in dominio, et dimidia caruca potest fieri. iii. carucæ hominibus. vi. villani, ix. bordarii, iii. cotarii. Pratum v. carucis. i. molendinum de ii. solidis et viii. denariis. Pastura ad pecora villæ. oves ccc., iiies. minus, et xxxiiii. porci. Inter totum valet v. lib. Quando recepit v. lib. T.R.E. vi. lib. Hæc terra jacet et jacuit in ecclesia sancte Ædel' ely in dominio.

In eadem villa habet Guido de Raimbecurt de rege, &ca., &ca.

These extracts are typical and instructive. They leave, in the first place, no doubt upon the mind that both are versions of the same original. This, which proves my postulate, will be shown below to possess a further and important bearing. But while these versions closely agree, we notice (1) independent blunders, (2) slight variants in diction. As to blunders, we see that the I.C.C. has 'sol[idis]' where the I.E. has the correct 'hidis', while, conversely, the I.E. reads 'hun[dredis]' where the I.C.C. has, rightly, 'hidis'. Again the I.C.C. allots to demesne an assessment of a hide and a virgate, but I.E. a hide and a half (i.e. two virgates). Collation with [pg 22] Domesday Book confirms the former version. Conversely, the I.C.C. assigns to the mill the value of three shillings and eightpence, but the I.E. of two shillings and eightpence. Collation with Domesday Book confirms the latter. Turning now to the variants, we may express them more clearly thus:

I.C.C.   I.E.
predictus abbas
dimidium molendinum
c. sol.
de his x. hidis tenet
in tempore R. ÆD.
abbas de eli.
i. molendinum.
v. lib.
v. lib.
in eadem villa habet.

These prove that verbal accuracy was not aimed at by the transcribers. The same freedom from its trammels is seen in the transposition of the 'mill' and 'meadow' passages, and, indeed, in the highly abbreviated form of the I.E. entries (in which a single letter, mostly, does duty for a word), which shows that the original version must have been either extended in the I.C.C., or (more probably) abbreviated in the I.E.

We are now in a position to advance to the criticism of the text of the Inq. Com. Cant., and to inquire how far it can be trusted as a reproduction of the original returns. In other words, are its contents more or less trustworthy than those of Domesday Book?

It might, no doubt, be fairly presumed that a simple transcript of the original returns was less likely to contain error than such a compilation as Domesday Book, in which their contents were (1) rearranged on a different system, (2) epitomized and partly omitted, (3) altered in wording. Mr Hamilton, indeed, who was naturally tempted to make the most of his MS., appears to have jumped at this conclusion; for he speaks in his preface (p. xii) of its 'superior exactness', and gives us no hint of omissions or of blunders. There are, however, plenty of both, as will be seen from the lists below, which do not profess to be exhaustive.

But we will first examine the instances adduced by Mr Hamilton. Out of ten examples in proof of its value, five are cases in which 'the want of precision in Domesday' leaves the identity of the tenant-in-chief 'undefined'. It is difficult to comment on these statements, because in all five cases the name is as carefully recorded in Domesday as in the I.C.C. Mr Hamilton's error can only, it will be found, have arisen from comparing the I.C.C. not with Domesday Book, but with the extracts therefrom printed in his work, which, being torn from their place, do not, of course, contain the tenant's full name, which in Domesday itself is given at the head of the list from which they are taken. Moreover, as it happens, this [pg 23] test demonstrates not the inferiority, but (in one instance at least) the superiority of Domesday, the I.C.C. (fo. 97, col. 2) reading 'Hanc terram tenuit comes alanus' [sic], where Domesday has (rightly) 'Hanc terram tenuit Algar comes'. The former must have wrongly extended the abbreviated original entry.11

Another of Mr Hamilton's examples is this:

'Hæc terra fuit et est de dominio æcclesiæ' (Domesday) is abbreviated from a long account of the holdings of Harduuinus de Scalariis and Turcus homo abbatis de Rameseio in the Cotton MS.

But, on referring to the passage in question, we find that the Domesday passage: 'Hæc terra fuit et est de dominio æcclesiæ' has nothing to do with that 'long account', but corresponds to the simple formula in the I.C.C., 'Hanc terram tenuerunt monache de cet'ero T.R.E. et modo tenent'. The example which follows it is this:

At pp. 38, 39 we see a curious alteration in the value of the land, which had risen from xv. lib. 'quando recepit' and T.R.E. to xvii. lib. at the time the return was made, and dropped again to xvi. lib. in the Domesday Survey.

This strange comment implies the supposition that the I.C.C. records an earlier survey than Domesday Book, whereas, of course, they are derived from the same returns, so that the discrepancy of xvi. and xvii. is merely a clerical error. One more instance, the 'curious reading' Harlestone in the I.C.C., is shown below to be merely an error in that MS. Such are eight of the examples adduced by Mr Hamilton. The remaining two merely illustrate not the superior accuracy, but the greater elaboration of the I.C.C. It has been absolutely necessary to dispose of these examples, in order to show that a critical estimate of the value of the I.C.C. has yet to be made.

Taking the omissions in the MS. first, we find some really bad ones. On fo. 79a (2), collation with Domesday gives this result:

I.C.C. (p. 12)12 D.B. (I. 196a)

II. hidas et dimidiam et x. acras tenuerunt.  [................................ .................................................. ...................................................]. Non potuerunt recedere sine licentia.

Tenuerunt ii. hidas et dimidiam et x. acras. Nec isti potuerunt recedere absque licentia abbatis. Et xix. sochemanni, homines regis E., tenuerunt ii. hidas. Non potuerunt recedere absque licentia.

[pg 24]

A similar 'run on' omission is found on fo. 109a (1):

I.C.C. (p. 79) D.B. (I. 200a, 193a)

Tenet Radulfus de bans de [Widone de] rembercurt terciam partem unius virge. I. bovi ibi est terra, et est bos  [.................................... ................................................. ................................................ ................................................. ..................................]
Valet et valuit semper xii. den.13

Tenet Radulfus de Widone iiiciam. partem i. virgatæ [Terra est i. bovi], et ibi est bos. Valet et valuit ii. sol., et vendere potuit, et iiiitam. partem unius Avere vicecomiti invenit.

In Oreuuelle tenet eadem æcclesia iiiitam. partem unius virgatæ. Terra est dimidio bovi et valet xii. den.

Another instance of 'running on' occurs on fo. 105a (1), where 'xviii. cotarii' (p. 67) is proved by Domesday to stand for 'xviii. [bordarii x.] cotarii'. Again on fo. 79b (2) we have this:

I.C.C. (p. 14) D.B. (I. 195b 1)

Eadiua unam hidam habuit et unam virgam [...................... ....] Socham huius habuit ædiua T.R.E.14

Tenuit Eddeua i. hidam et i. virgatam et Wluui homo ejus i. hidam et i. virgatam. Socam ejus habuit Eddeua.

So, too, on fo. 100b(1):

I.C.C. (p. 52) D.B. (I. 190a)

XI. carruce villanis xv. [villani, xv. bordarii, xi. servi. Unum mol' de xvi. denariis, et alii duo mol' de xxxii. denariis. Pratum] xvi. carrucis.

XV. villani et xv. bordarii cum xi. carucis. Ibi xi. servi, et i. molinus de xvi. denariis et alii duo molini xxxii. denariis. Pratum xvi. carucis.

The importance of such an omission as this lies in the proof of unintelligent clerkship and want of revision which so unmeaning an entry as 'xv. xvi. carrucis' supplies.

Omissions of another character are not infrequent. On fo. 95b (1) an entire holding of a virgate (held by a sokeman of Earl Alan) is omitted (p. 34). Another sokeman of Earl Alan (p. 32) has his [pg 25] holding (¼ virgate) omitted on the same folio (95a, 1), so is an entire holding of Hardwin's (p. 36) on fo. 96a (2). A demesne plough ('i. caruca') of Hugh de Port (p. 8) is omitted (78a, 1), and so are the ploughs ('et iiii. villanis') of Aubrey's villeins (p. 9) a few lines lower down. On fo. 90a (1) the words 'ibi est terra' are wanting (p. 15),15 and so are 'non potuit' on fo. 100 (A) 1.16 The word 'recedere' is left out on fo. 103b (2),17 and 'soca' just before (103 (B) 1).18 'Odo' is similarly wanting on fo. 90a (1).19 The note also on the Abbot of Ely's sokeman at Lollesworth (p. 95), is wholly omitted (fo. 113, B, 2), though found both in Domesday Book and in the Inquisitio Eliensis.20

Turning now to the clerical blunders, we find an abundant crop. We may express them conveniently in tabular form:

Folio Page
76 (a) 2. 'Auenam lvii. nummos,' for 'Aueram (ve)l viii. denarios' (D.B.) 2
76 (b) 1. 'Hominis' for 'ho(mo)' 3
77 (a) 2. 'In dominio et iii. villani', for 'una caruca in dominio et iii. villanis' 7
   Ibid.    'Mille de anguillis dimidium de piscina', for 'i. millen' et dimidium anguill'' (D.B.) 7
78 (b) 2. 'iiii. in dominio carucæ et iiii. hidæ in dominio', for 'iiii. carucæ et iiii. hidæ in dominio' 11
79 (a) 1. 'cuius honor erat', for 'cuius ho(mo) erat' 12
79 (b) 2. 'iiii. bobus', for 'iiii. bord(arii)' 14
91 (b) 2. 'valent iii.', for 'valent iii. den.' 21
92 (b) 2. 'xliii. car(ucis) ibi e(st) terra', for 'xl. acras terræ' 25
95 (a) 2. 'has v. h(idas) tenet', for 'de his v. h(idis) tenet' 33
95 (b) 1. 'et pro iiii. virgis', for 'et pro iii. virgis' 34
95 (b) 2. 'unam virgam minus', for 'dimi' virg' minus' (D.B.) 35
96 (b) 1. 'dimidiam virgam', for 'i. virg'' (D.B.) 38
97 (b) 1. 'Clintona', for 'Iclintona' 41
97 (b) 2. 'unam hidam', for 'dimidiam hidam' (D.B.) 42
100 (a) 1. 'Terra est vi. carucis', for 'Terra est v. carucis'21 50
100 (a) 2. 'ii. h(idas) et dimidiam virgam', for 'ii. hidas et i. virgam et dimidiam'22 (D.B.) 50
[pg 26] 100 (b) 2. 'vii. sochemanni', for 'iii. soch[emanni]'23 52
101 (a) 2. 'homities', for 'homines' 54
101 (b) 2. 'tenet pic' vicecomes quendam ortum de rege ii. hide', for 'tenet pic' vicecomes de rege ii. hidas'24 55
102 (a) 1. 'ii. boves', for 'ii. bord(arii)' 56
104 (b) 1. 'iiii. hidas et i. virgam', for 'iii. hidas et i. virgam' (D.B.) 65
105 (b) 2. bis 'Rahamnes', for 'Kahannes' 60
106 (a) 1. 'pro vi. hidis' (bis), for 'pro vii. hidis' 70
109 (b) 2. 'Fulcuinus tenet de comite Alano iii. cottarios', for 'Fulcuinus tenet de comite Alano. iii. cottarii' 82
110 (a) 1. 'ely tenuit ii. h(idas)', for 'ely tenuit i. h(idam)' (I.E.) 83
110 (b) 1. 'viiii. h(idis)', for 'viii. h(idis)' 84
111 (a) 2. 'liii. carrucis est ibi terra', for 'iiii. car' est ibi terra' 87

Besides these, Ralf 'de bans' is often entered as Ralf 'de scannis'. Again, we find such blunders as this:

I.C.C. D.B.

Hugo de portu tenet sneileuuelle. Pro v. hidis se defendebat T.R.E. et modo facit de feudo episcopi baiocensis (p. 3).

Tenuit Turbertus i. hidam sub abbate de eli. Et in morte ita quod non potuit dare neque separare ab ecclesia extra dominicam firmam monachorum T.R.E. (p. 63).

Abuerunt de soca S. Ædel' ii. hidas et dimidiam virgam de ely T.R.E. (p. 65).

Ipse Hugo tenet de feudo episcopi baiocensis snellewelle. Pro v. hidis se defend[ebat] semper.

Tenuit Turbern i. hidam de abbate. Non poterat separare ab æcclesia extra firmam monachorum T.R.E. nec in die mortis ejus.

Habuerunt ii. hidas et dimidiam vir[gatam] de soca S. Ædeldride de Ely.

In all these three cases the italicized words are misplaced, and in all three the explanation is the same, the scribe having first omitted them, and then inserted them later out of place. Having now criticized the text of the I.C.C., and shown that it presents no small traces of unintelligent clerkship, if not of actual ignorance of the terms and formulæ of Domesday, I turn to the text of Domesday Book, to test it by comparison with that of the I.C.C.


Among the omissions are, on i, 195 (b) 1, 'Item et reddebat viii. den. vel aueram si rex in vicecomitatu venit' (p. 5). At Kirtling [pg 27] (p. 11), 'et vta. caruca potest fieri [in dominio]' is omitted (i. 202 a). So is (p. 25) a potential demesne plough of John fitz Waleran (i. 201 b). The Countess Judith's sokemen at Carlton (pp. 20, 21) have their values omitted25 (i. 202, a, 2). 'Habuerunt dimidiam hidam, et,' is omitted (p. 28) in the entry of two sokemen of Godwine (201, b, 2). On i. 196 (a) 1, 'Terra est i. bovi' is wanting (p. 79). More important, however, are the omissions of whole entries. These are by no means difficult to account for, the process of extracting from the original returns, the various entries relating to each particular fief being one which was almost certain to result in such omissions.26

Moreover, two entries were occasionally thrown into one, a dangerous plan for the clerks themselves, and one which may sometimes lead us to think that an entry is omitted when it is duly to be found under another head. Lastly, the compilers of Domesday Book had no such invaluable check for their work as was afforded in the original by entering first the assessment of the whole township, and then that of each of its component Manors separately. But of this more below.27 The only wonder is that the omissions are, after all, so few. Perhaps even of these some may be only apparent. Hardwin's half-hide in Burwell (p. 6) is wanting; so is Aubrey's half-virgate in Badburgham, according to Mr Hamilton (p. 36), but the oversight is his. A virgate held in Trumpington by a burgess of Cambridge (p. 51) would seem to be not forthcoming, but its position was somewhat anomalous.28 Guy de Rembercurt held a hide and a virgate in Haslingefield (p. 73), though we cannot find it in Domesday; and in Witewelle (Outwell) two hides which were held by Robert, a tenant [pg 28] of Hardwin (p. 81), are similarly omitted, according to Mr Hamilton but will be found under 'Wateuuelle' (198, b, 2).

There are cases in which the I.C.C. corrects D.B., cases in which D.B. corrects the I.C.C., and cases in which the I.C.C. corrects itself. There are also several cases of discrepancy between the two, in which we cannot positively pronounce which, if either, is right. A singular instance of both being wrong is found in the case of Soham. The assessment of this township was actually eleven hides, its four component holdings being severally assessed at nine and a half hides less six acres, half a hide, one hide, and six acres. The I.C.C. at first gives the total assessment as eleven hides and a half, while D.B. erroneously assesses the first of the four holdings at six hides and forty acres in one place, and nine hides and a half in the other, both figures being wrong. A most remarkable case of yet another kind is found in Scelford (Shelford). Here the entry in I.C.C. agrees exactly with the duplicate entries found in D.B. Yet they both make nonsense.29 But on turning to the Inquisitio Eliensis we obtain the correct version. As this is a very important and probably unique instance, the entries are here given in parallel columns:

Inq. Eliensis. Inq. Com. Cant. D.B. i. 198 (a) 2. D.B. i. 198 (a) 2.

i. hidam et dim. et vi. acras quas tenuerunt vi. sochemanni de socha abbatis ely, de quibus non potuerunt dare nec recedere nisi iiics. virgas absque ejus licentia. Et si alias vendidissent tres virgas, predictus abbas semper socham habuit T.R.E.

Tenuerunt vii. [sic] sochemanni i. hidam et dim. et vi. acras de soca abbatis de ely. Non potuerunt recedere sed soca remanebat abbati.

Tenuerunt vii. [sic] sochemanni i. hidam et dim. et vi. acras de soca abbatis. Non30 potuerunt recedere cum terra, sed soca remanebat æcclesia de ely.

Tenuerunt vii. [sic] sochemanni i. hidam et dim. et vi. acras de soca abbatis de ely. Non potuerunt recedere cum terra, sed soca remanebat æcclesiæ Ely.

Here the Inquisitio Eliensis version shows us that the estate had two divisions held by different tenures. Three virgates the sokemen were not free to sell; the other three they might sell, but if they did, [pg 29] 'predictus abbas semper socham habuit'.31 The two divisions of the estate are confused in the other versions. But all three of these correspond so exactly that we are driven to assign the error to the original returns themselves. In that case the compiler (or compilers) of the I.E. will have corrected the original return from his own knowledge of the facts, which knowledge, I shall show, he certainly possessed.

This brings us to the errors of Domesday. For comparison's sake, I here tabulate them like those of the I.C.C.:

Folio Page
i. 189 (b) 2. 'mancipium', for 'inuuardum' (I.C.C.) 4
i. 195 (b) 1. 'Terra est ii. carucis et ibi est', for 'Terra est i. carucæ et ibi est' 15
i. 199 (b) 1. 'xxx. acras', for 'xx. acras' (I.C.C.) 15
i. 196 (a) 2. 'iiii. villani ... habent iii. carucas', for 'iiii. villani ... habent iiii. carucas' 21
i. 199 (b) 1. 'De hac terra tenet', for 'adhuc in eadem villa tenet' (?)32 29
i. 198 (a) 1. 'tenet Harduuinus i. virgatam' for 'tenet Hardeuuinus dim. virgatam' (I.C.C.) 38
i. 194 (b) 1. 'ii. hidas et i. virg. terræ', for 'ii. hidas et una virg. et dimidiam' (I.C.C.) 64
i. 199 (b) 2. 'xvi. sochemanni', for 'xv sochemanni' 65
i. 198 (b) 1. 'tenet Durand ... i. hidam et i. virg.', for 'tenet Durand i. hidam et dim. virg.' 67
i. 200 (a) 1. 'In dominio ii. hidæ et dim', for 'In dominio ii. hidæ et dim. virg.'33 67
i. 200 (b) 2. 'tenet Radulf de Picot iii. virg.', for 'tenet Radulf de Picot i. virg.' 80
i. 196 (b) 2. 'tenet Robertus vii. hidas et ii. virg. et dim.', for 'tenet Robertus vii. hidas et i. virg. et dim.' 74
i. 200 (a) 1. 'vii. homines Algari comitis', for 'vi. homines Algari comitis' 84

Comparing the omissions and errors, as a whole, in these two versions of the original returns, it may be said that the comparison is in favour of the Domesday Book text, although, from the process of its compilation, it was far the most exposed to error. No one who has not analysed and collated such texts for himself can realize the extreme difficulty of avoiding occasional error. The abbreviations and the formulæ employed in these surveys are so many pitfalls for [pg 30] the transcriber, and the use of Roman numerals is almost fatal to accuracy. The insertion or omission of an 'x' or an 'i' was probably the cause of half the errors of which the Domesday scribes were guilty. Remembering that they had, in Mr Eyton's words,34 to perform 'a task, not of mere manual labour and imitative accuracy, but a task requiring intellect—intellect, clear, well-balanced, apprehensive, comprehensive, and trained withal', we can really only wonder that they performed it so well as they did.

Still, the fact remains that on a few pages of Domesday we have been able to detect a considerable number of inaccuracies and omissions. The sacrosanct status of the Great Survey is thus gravely modified. I desire to lay stress on this fact, which is worthy of the labour it has cost to establish. For two important conclusions follow. Firstly, it is neither safe nor legitimate to make general inferences from a single entry in Domesday. All conclusions as to the interpretation of its formulae should be based on data sufficiently numerous to exclude the influence of error. Secondly, if we find that a rule of interpretation can be established in an overwhelming majority of the cases examined, we are justified, conversely, in claiming that the apparent exceptions may be due to errors in the text.

The first of these conclusions has a special bearing on the theories propounded by Mr Pell with so much ingenuity and learning.35 I have shown, in an essay criticizing these theories,36 that the case of Clifton, to which Mr Pell attached so much importance,37 is nothing, in all probability, but one of Domesday's blunders, of which I gave, in that essay, other instances. So, too, in the case of his own Manor of Wilburton, Mr Pell accepted without question the reading 'six ploughlands', as representing the 'primary return',38 although that reading is only found in the most corrupt of the three versions of the Inquisitio Eliensis, while the two better versions (B and C texts) agree with Domesday Book, and with the abbreviated return at the end of the A text itself (Tib. A. VI fo. 67, b, 1), in giving the ploughlands as seven. Really it is nothing but waste of time to argue from a reading which is only found in one out of five MSS., and that one the most corrupt.

This brings me to the existence and the value of duplicate entries in Domesday. Mr Hamilton describes as 'a curious reading' the words in the I.C.C., 'sed soca remanebat Harlestone'. Now it so happens that in this case we have five separate versions of the original entry: one in the I.C.C., one in the I.E., and three in Domesday Book. Here they are side by side:

[pg 31]

(p. 46)
(p. 106)
(I. 200, a, 2)
(Ibid., in margin)
(I. 191, a, 2)
Et potuit recedere quo voluit sed soca remanebat Harlestone. Potuit recedere cum terra sua absque ejus licentia, sed semper remansit socha ejus in ecclesia sancte Ædel' ut hund testantur. Recedere cum terra sua potuit, sed soca remansit æcclesiæ. Vendere potuit, sed soca Abbati remansit. Potuit recedere sine licentia ejus, sed soca remansit Abbati.

The value of such collation as this ought to be self-evident. It is not only that we thus find four out of five MSS. to be against the reading 'Harlestone' (which, indeed, to any one familiar with the survey is obviously a clerical error), but that here and elsewhere we are thus afforded what might almost be termed a bilingual inscription. We learn, for instance, that the Domesday scribe deemed it quite immaterial whether he wrote 'recedere cum terra ejus', or 'vendere' or 'recedere sine licentia'. Consequently, these phrases were all identical in meaning.39

Considerable light is thrown by the I.C.C. on the origin of these little known duplicate entries in Domesday. In every instance of their occurrence within the limits of its province they are due to a conflict of title recorded in the original return. They appear further to be confined to the estates of two landowners, Picot, the sheriff, and Hardwin d'Eschalers, the titles of both being frequently contested by the injured Abbot of Ely. Why the third local offender, Guy de Raimbercurt, does not similarly appear, it is difficult to say. He was the smallest offender of the three, and Picot the worst; but it is Hardwin's name which occurs most frequently in these duplicate entries.40 The principle which guided the Domesday [pg 32] scribes cannot be certainly decided, for they duplicated entries in the original return which (according to the I.C.C.) varied greatly in their statements of tenure. Thus, to take the first three:

I.C.C.   D.B.
fo. 79 (b) 1, 'Tenet Harduuinus descalariis'.41 leftbrace I. 190 (b) 2, 'Tenet Harduinus sub abbate'.
I. 199 (a) 2, 'Tenet Harduinus'.
fo. 90 (b) 2, 'Tenet Harduuinus de abbate'. leftbrace I. 190 (b) 1, 'Tenet Harduinus de Escalers de abbate'.
I. 199 (a) 2, 'Tenet Harduinus'.
fo. 92 (a) 2, 'Tenet Harduuinus de rege'. leftbrace I. 199 (b) 2, 'Tenet Harduinus de abbate'.
I. 199 (a) 2, 'Tenet Harduinus'.

Here, whether the original return states Hardwin to hold (1) of the abbot, (2) of the king, or (3) of neither, the scribes, in each of the three cases, enter the estates (A) under the Abbot's land, as held of the Abbot, (B) under Hardwin's land, as held in capite. And it is singular that in all these three cases the entry of the estate under the Abbot's land is the fuller of the two.42

On the whole it would appear that the Domesday scribes did not consistently carry out a system of duplicate entry, though, on the other hand, these entries were by no means due to mere clerical inadvertence, but were prompted by a doubt as to the title, which led to the precaution of entering them under the names of both the claimants.

But the chief point of interest in these same entries is that they give us, when we add the versions of the I.C.C. and the I.E., four parallel texts. At some of the results of their collation we will now glance.

(fo. 92, b, 2)
(p. 107)
(I. 190, b, 2)
(I. 199, a, 2)
Hanc terram tenuerunt iii. sochemanni homines abbatis de ely. Non potuerunt recedere absque licentia ejus. Hanc terram tenuerunt iii. sochemanni sub predicto abbate ely. Non potuerunt vendere terram suam sine eius licentia. Hanc terram tenuerunt iii. sochemanni homines abbatis de ely. Non potuerunt dare nec vendere absque ejus licentia terram suam. Hanc terram tenuerunt iii. sochemanni. Vendere non potuerunt.

[pg 33]

(fo. 79, b, 1)
(p. 102)
(I. 190, b, 2)
(I. 199, a, 2)
iiii. sochemanni tenuerunt hanc terram T.R.E. Et non potuerunt recedere sine licentia abbatis de ely. Hanc terram tenuerunt iiii. sochemanni T.R.E. de abbate ely. Non potuerunt recedere vel vendere sine licentia abbatis ely. Hanc terram tenuerunt iiii. sochemanni, nec potuerunt recedere sine licentia abbatis. Hanc terram tenuerunt iiii. sochemanni abbatis de ely. Non potuerunt vendere.

These extracts illustrate the use of the terms dare, vendere, recedere, etc. They are supplemented by those given below:

I.C.C. D.B.   I.E.
(76, a, 1) (I. 196, b, 1)    
Potuit dare sine licentia domini sui terram suam. Terram suam tamen dare et vendere potuit.    
(76, b, 2) (I. 199, a, 2)   (p. 101)
Absque eius licentia dare terram suam potuerunt, sed socham eorum habuit archiepiscopus. Sine ejus licentia poterant recedere et terram suam dare vel vendere, sed soca remansit Archiepiscopo.   Potuerunt dare vel vendere terram suam. Saca remansit abbati.
(76, b, 2) (I. 196, b, 1)    
Potuit dare cui voluit. Potuit absque43 ejus licentia recedere.    
(77, b, 2) (I. 195, b, 1)    
Potuerunt recedere cum terra ad quem dominum voluerunt. Potuerunt receder sine licentia eorum.    
(78, a, 1) (I. 190, b, 1)    
Potuerunt recedere cum terra sua absque licentia domini sui. Dare et vendere potuerunt.    
(90, a, 2) (I. 190, b, 2)   (p. 102)
Non potuerunt recedere sine licentia abbatis. Non potuerunt recedere sine ejus licentia. rightbrace Non potuerunt recedere vel vendere absque eius licentia.
  (I. 200, a, 2)  
  Non potuerunt vendere sine ejus licentia.  

[pg 34]

(105, a, 2)
(I. 200, a, 1)   (p. 109)
Potuerunt dare et vendere sine soca. Terras suas vendere potuerunt. Soca de viii. sochemannis remansit in abbatia de ely.   Potuerunt dare vel vendere cui voluerunt, sed saca eorum remansit eidem abbati.
(113, b, 1) (201, a, 1)   (p. 112)
Potuerunt recedere sine soca. Terram suam vendere potuerunt. Soca vero remansit abbati.   Potuerunt dare preter licentiam abbatis et sine soca.

No one can glance at these passages without perceiving that dare, vendere, and recedere are all interchangeably used, and that even any two of them (whether they have the conjunction 'et' or the disjunction 'vel' between them) are identical with any one. It would be possible to collect almost any number of instances in point. Further, the insertion or omission of the phrase 'sine' (or 'absque') 'ejus licentia' is immaterial, it being understood where not expressed. So too with the words 'cui voluit'. In short, like the translators to whom we owe the Authorized Version, the Domesday scribes appear to have revelled in the use of synonym and paraphrase.44 Our own conceptions of the sacredness of a text and of the need for verbal accuracy were evidently foreign to their minds.

Glancing for a moment at another county, we have in the Survey of Leicestershire a remarkable instance of a whole fief being entered twice over. It is that of Robert Hostiarius:

Robertus hostiarius tenet de rege ii. car. terræ in Howes. Terra est iii. carucis. In dominio est i. caruca et iii. servi, et viii. villani cum i. bordario habent ii. car....

Idem [Turstinus] tenet de R. iiij. car. terræ in Clachestone. Terra est ii. caruca. Has habent ibi iii. sochemanni cum ii. villanis et ii. bordariis. Ibi viii. acræ prati. Valuit et valet x. solidos.

Tetbald[us] tenet de Roberto ii. car. terræ in Clachestone. In dominio est i. caruca cum i. servo et iii. villani cum i. bordario habent i. car. Ibi vi. acræ prati. Valuit et valet x. solidos.

Robertus filus W. hostiari, tenet de rege in Howes ii. cari terræ. Ibi habet i. car. in dominio et iii. serv[os] et viii. villani cum i. bordario habentes ii. car....

Idem Turstinus tenet de Roberto in Clachestone iiii. car. terræ et Tetbald[us] ii. car. terræ. Ibi est in dominio i. caruca et iii. sochemanni et v. villani et iiii. [sic] bordarii cum iii. carucis et i. servo. Ibi xiii. acræ prati. Valuit et valet totum xx. solidos. Has terras tenuerunt T.R.E. Outi et Arnui cum saca et soca.

[pg 35]

Here the last two entries (both relating to Claxton) have been boldly thrown into one in the second version, which also (though omitting the number of ploughlands) gives additional information in the name of Robert's father, and in those of his predecessors T.R.E. This is thus an excellent illustration of the liberty allowed themselves by the compilers of Domesday.

An instance on a smaller scale is found in the Survey of Cambridgeshire, where we read on opposite pages:

In Witelesfeld hund'. In histetone jacet Wara de i. hida et dimidia de M. Cestreforde et est in Exsesse appreciata, hanc terram tenuit Algarus comes (i. 189 b).

In Witelesf' h'd. In histetune jac' Wara de hida et dimidia de Cestres' man. et est appreciata in Exexe. Algar comes tenuit (i. 190).

The second entry has been deleted as a duplicate, but it serves to show us that the scribes, even when free from error, were no mere copyists.45


The extracts I have given above establish beyond a doubt the existence among the 'sochemanni' of two kinds of tenure. We have (1) those who were free to part with (vendere) and leave (recedere) their land, (2) those who were not, i.e. who could not do so without the abbot's licence. This distinction is reproduced in two terms which I will now examine.

In the Inquisitio Eliensis and the documents connected with it there is much mention of the 'thegnlands' of the Abbey. These lands are specially distinguished from 'sokeland' (terra de soca). Both, of course, are distinct from the 'dominium'. Thus in one of the Conqueror's writs we read:

Restituantur ecclesiæ terræ que in dominio suo erant die obitus Æduardi.... Qui autem tenent theinlandes que procul dubio debent teneri de ecclesia faciant concordiam cum abbate quam meliorem poterint,... Hoc quoque de tenentibus socam et sacam fiat.46

Now this distinction between 'thegnland' and 'sokeland' will be found to fit in exactly with the difference in tenure we have examined above. Here is an instance from the 'breve abbatis' in the record of Guy de Raimbercurt's aggressions:

[pg 36]

In melreda ii. hidas et dim. virg.

In meldeburne ii. hidas et dim.47 et dim. virg.

Hoc est iiii. hidas et iii. virg. Ex his sunt i. virg. et dim. thainlande et iiii. hidas et dim.48 de soca.

On reference to the two Manors in question, there is, at first sight, nothing in the I.C.C., the I.E., or Domesday to distinguish the 'thegnland' from the 'sokeland'. Of the first holding we read that it had been held T.R.E. by 10 sochemanni 'de soca S. Edelride'; of the second, that it was held by 'viii. sochemanni ... homines abbatis de Ely'. But closer examination of the I.C.C. reveals, in the former case, this distinction:

De his ii. hidis et dimidia virga tenuit i. istorum unam virgam et dimidiam. Non potuit dare nec vendere absque licentia abbatis. Sed alii novem potuerunt recedere et vendere cui voluerunt.49

Here then we identify the virgate and a half of 'theinland'—though held by a sochemannus—and this same distinction of tenure proves to be the key throughout. Thus, for instance, in the same document 'Herchenger pistor' is recorded to have seized 'in Hardwic i. hidam thainlande et dim. hidam et vi. acras de soca' (p. 177). Reference to the I.C.C., D.B., and the I.E. reveals that the former holding had belonged to 'v. sochemanni homines abbatis de ely', and that 'isti non potuerunt dare neque vendere alicui extra ecclesiam S. Edeldride ely'.50 But the latter holding had belonged to a sochemannus, of whom it is said—'homo abbatis de ely fuit: potuit recedere, sed socam ejus abbas habuit'.51

This enables us to understand the distinctions found in the summaries appended to the Cambridgeshire portion of the I.E., and recorded in the Breve Abbatis. Indeed they confirm the above distinction, for the formula they apply to holders 'de soca abbatie ely' is: 'Illi qui hanc terram tenuerunt de soca T.R.E. vendere potuerunt, sed saca et soca et commendatio et servitium semper remanebat ecclesia de ely.'

These terms are valuable for their definition of rights. Over the holder of land 'de soco' the lord had (1) 'saca et soca', (2) 'commendatio et (3) servitium'. If the land was thegnland then the [pg 37] Abbot received 'omnem consuetudinem' as well.52 We will first deal with the latter class, those from whom the Abbot received 'consuetudo', and then those who held 'de soca'.

For contemporary (indeed, slightly earlier) evidence, we must turn to the Ely placitum of 1072-75.53 The special value which this placitum possesses is found in its record of the services due from sochemanni, and even from freemen. It thus helps to interpret the bald figures of Domesday, to which it is actually anterior. The first two instances it affords are these:

In breuessan tenet isdem W. terram Elfrici supradicte consuetudinis. In brucge tenet ipse W. terram etfled ejusdem modi.

The consuetudo referred to was this:

Ita proprie sunt abbati ut quotienscunque preceperit prepositus monasterii ire et omnem rei emendationem persolvere. Et si quid de suo voluerint venundare, a preposito prius licentiam debent accipere.

The corresponding entries in the I.E. run thus:

'In Brugge una libera femina commend' S. Ædel. de lxxx. ac. pro manerio.

In Beuresham ten[uit] Ælfricus i. liber homo commed' S. Ædel.54 lx. acras pro manerio' (p. 165).

Thus we obtain direct evidence of the services due from commended freemen owing 'consuetudines'. Turning now to those of sochemanni, we have this important passage:

Willelmus de Warena tenet quadraginta quinque socamans in predicta felteuuella qui quotiens abbas preceperit in anno arabunt suam terram, colligent et purgabunt segetes, adducent et mittent in horrea, portabunt victum monachorum ad monasterium, et quotiens eorum equos voluerit, et ubicunque sibi placuerit, totiens habebit, et ubicunque forsfecerint abbas forsfacturam habebit, et de illis similiter qui in eorum terram forsfecerint.

Item Willelmus de uuarenna tenet triginta tres socamans, istius consuetudinis in Nortuuolda.

Item W. tenet quinque socamans istius modi in Muddaforda.

Supradictus Walterus et cum eo Durandus, homines hugonis de monte forti, tenent xxvi. socamans supradicte consuetudinis in Maraham.

Collating as before from the I.E. the relative entries, we find they run thus:

[pg 38]

Felteuuelle ... Huic manerio adjacebant T.R.E. xxxiiii. homines cum omni consuetudine, et alii vii. erant liberi homines,55 qui poterant vendere terras, sed soca et commendatio remansit S. Ædel. (p. 132).

In felteuuella tenet W. de uuarenna xli. sochemannos ... Super hos omnes habebat S. Ædel. socam et commendationem et omnem consuetudinem. Illorum vii. liberi erant cum terris suis, sed soca et commendatio remanebat S. Ædel. (p. 139).

IIII. sochemanni adjacent [sic] huic manerio [felteuuella] T.R.E. Et modo habet eos W. de Warenna (p. 138).

Nortuualde ... Huic manerio adjacebant T.R.E. xxx. sochemanni cum omni consuetudine. Et alii iiii. liberi homines qui poterant vendere terras, sed saca et commendatio remanebat S. Ædel. (p. 132).

In Nortuualde S. Ædel. xxxiiii. sochem [annos] ... S. Ædel. [habuit] socam et commendationem et omnem consuetudinem de illis xxx. tantum; et iiii. erant liberi homines, socam et sacam et commendationem [super hos] S. Ædel. habebat56 (p. 139).

Mundeforde ... Huic manerio adjacebant T.R.E. septem sochemanni cum omni consuetudine (p. 132).

In Mundeforde S. Ædel. vii. sochemannos cum omni consuetudine (p. 139).

Huic manerio [Mareham] T.R.E. adjacebant viginti vii. sochemanni cum omni consuetudine, sed postquam Rex W. advenit, habuit eos hugo de Munfort preter unum (p. 130).

[Terre hugo de Munford.] In mareham xxvi. sochemanni quos tenet [sic] S. Ædel. T.R.E.57 ... hanc terram receperunt58 pro escangio, et mensurata est in brevi S. Ædel. (p. 137).

Here then we identify these four cases: Feltwell, with its 41 sochemanni (more accurately described as 34 s. and 7 liberi homines) attached to one Manor and four to another—45 in all; Northwold, with its 33 or 34;59 Muddiford with 5 or 7;60 and Marham with its 26.

The three former Manors lay in the Hundred of Grimeshoe, the fourth northwards, towards the Wash. Just to the south of the three Manors, over the borders of Suffolk, lay Brandon, where Lisois de Moustiers had usurped the rights of Ely over six sochemanni.

In Lakincgeheda et in Brandona vi. sochemanni S. Ædel. ita quod non potuerunt vendere terras liberati liseie antecessori eudo[nis] dapif[eri] ... Post eum tenuit eos eudo et tenet cum saca et soca (p. 142).

The record of the placitum, drawn up during the tenure of Lisois, shows us their limited services: 'Isti solummodo arabant et c'terent [pg 39] [sic] messes ejusdem loci quotienscunque abbas præceperit.' The difference between these services and the others we have seen recorded is considerable.

Yet another group of sokemen on Suffolk Manors rendered these services:

Ita proprie sunt abbati ut quotienscunque ipse præceperit in anno arabunt suam terram, purgabunt et colligent segetes, portabunt victum monachorum ad monasterium, equos eorum in suis necessitatibus habebit [abbas], et ubicunque deliquerint emendationem habebit semper et de omnibus illis qui in terris eorum deliquerint.

This is practically the same definition as we had for the other group, and suggests that it was of wide prevalence. A notable contrast is afforded by the entry: 'In villa que vocatur Blot tenet ipse R. iiii. homines qui tantum debent servire abbati cum propriis equis in omnibus necessitatibus suis.'

We have now examined the consuetudines due from those 'qui vendere non potuerunt', and may turn to the rights exercised over the other class. Excluding 'servitium' (which is usually omitted as subordinate or comprised in the others), these are: (1) 'commendatio' (2) 'saca et soca'. The distinction between the two meets us throughout the survey of the eastern counties. A man might be 'commended' to one lord while another held his soca. Thus we read of Eadwine, a 'man' of the Abbot of Ely: 'Potuit dare absque eius licentia, sed socam comes Algarus habuit.'61 That is to say, he was 'commended to the Abbot of Ely', but Earl Ælfgar had the right of 'sac and soc' over him.62

So too in the case of three 'liberi homines', commended to the Abbot in Norfolk. He had no right over them, but such as commendation conferred 'non habebat nisi commendationem', while their 'soca' belonged to the King's Manor of Keninghall.63 Conversely, the Abbot of Ely had the 'soca' of a 'man' of Earl Waltheof,64 and a 'man' of John, Waleran's nephew.65 'Commendatio', of course, took precedence as a right. Thus we read of the above three 'liberi homines'—'Hos liberos homines tenet [tenuit] Ratfridus, postea W. de Scodies, et abbas saisivit eos propter commendationem suam' (p. 133).

[pg 40]

In the above extracts we saw 'liberi homines qui vendere poterant' distinguished from 'Sochemanni', who could not sell. But we also saw that the two classes were not always carefully distinguished. We find, moreover, that the 'liberi homines' were themselves, sometimes, 'not free to sell'. Thus 'tenuit anant unus liber homo sub S. Ædel. T.R.E. pro manerio ii. carucatas terræ sed non potuit vendere' (p. 142). Some light may be thrown on this by the case of the estate held by Godmund, an abbot's brother:

Totam terram quam tenebat Gudmundus in dominio, id est Nectuna, sic tenebat T.R.E. de S. Ædel. quod nullo modo poterat vendere, nec dare; sed post mortem suam debebat manerium redire in dominio ecclesiæ; quia tali pacto tenuit Gudmundus de Abbate (p. 144).

With this we may compare these entries:

In Cloptuna ... Ædmundus commendatus S. Ædel. unam carucatam ... quam non potuit vendere nec dare (p. 150).

In Brandestuna Ædmundus presbyter terram quam accepit cum femina sua dedit S. Ædel. concedente femina T.R.E. ea conventione quod non posset eam dare nec vendere. Similiter de Clopetona' (p. 152).

In these cases the holder had only a life interest. Exactly parallel with the second is the case of 'Eadward', citizen of London, who gave lands to St. Paul's, reserving a life interest for himself and his wife—'et mortua illa Sanctus Paulus hereditare debuit'.66

The above commendation of Edmund the priest ought to be compared with that of 'unus liber homo S. Ædel. commendatus ita quod non poterat vendere terram suam sine licentia abbatis', and of 'i. liber homo S. Ædel. Commendatus ita quod non poterat vendere terram suam extra ecclesiam (sed sacam et socam habuit stigandus in hersham)'.67 Thus both those who were free to sell and those who were not, might belong to the class of 'liberi homines'. The essential distinction was one, not of status, but of tenure.


Yet more definite and striking, however, is the information on the Domesday caruca afforded by collating D.B. with the I.C.C. I referred at the Domesday Commemoration (1886) to the problem raised by the caruca,68 and recorded my belief that in Domesday the word must always mean a plough team of eight oxen. The eight oxen, as Mr Seebohm has shown, are the key to the whole system of the carucate and the bovate. In Domesday, as I argued, the formula [pg 41] employed involves of necessity the conclusion that the caruca was a fixed quantity. Such entries, moreover, as 'terra i. bovi', 'terra ad iii. boves', etc., can only be explained on the hypothesis that the relation of the bos to the caruca was constant. But as the question is one of undoubted perplexity, and as some, like Mr Pell, have strenuously denied that the number of oxen in the Domesday caruca was fixed,69 the evidence given below is as welcome as it is conclusive:

I.C.C. D.B.
fo.   96 (a) 2: 'Dimidiæ caruce est ibi terra.' I. 202 (a) 2: 'Terra est. iiii. bobus.'
fo. 103 (a) 2: 'iiii. bobus est terra ibi.' I. 190 (a) 1: 'Terra est dimidiæ carucæ.'
fo. 103 (b) 2: 'Dimidiæ caruce est ibi [terra].' I. 196 (b) 2: 'Terra est iiii. bobus.'
fo. 112 (b) 1: 'iiii. bobus est ibi terra.' I. 201 (a) 1: 'Terra est dimidiæ caruce.'
fo. 112 (b) 2: 'iiii. bobus est ibi terra. Et ibi sunt. Pratum dimidiae caruce.' I. 202 (b) 1: 'Terra est iiii. bobus, et ibi sunt, et pratum ipsis bobus.'

It is absolutely certain from these entries that the scribes must have deemed it quite immaterial whether they wrote 'dimidia caruca' or 'iiii. boves'; as immaterial as it would be to us whether we wrote 'half a sovereign' or 'ten shillings'. It is, consequently, as absolutely certain that the Domesday caruca was composed of eight oxen as that our own sovereign is composed of twenty shillings. And from this conclusion there is no escape.70

Another point in connection with the caruca on which the I.C.C. gives us the light we need is this:

I.C.C. D.B.
fo. 102 (a) 2: 'ii. carrucis ibi est terra. Non sunt carruce nisi sex boves.' I. 200 (b) 1: 'Terra est iii. carucis. Sed non sunt ibi nisi boves.

Here the Domesday text is utterly misleading as it stands. But the I.C.C., by supplying the omitted 'sex', gives us at once the right sense.


Similar to its evidence on the Domesday 'plough' is that which the I.C.C. affords as to the hide and virgate. In my criticism of Mr Pell's [pg 42] learned paper, I strenuously opposed his view that the hida of Domesday was composed of a variable number of virgates, and I insisted on the fact that the Domesday 'virgate' was essentially and always the quarter of the geldable 'hide'.71 The following parallel passages will amply prove the fact:

I.C.C. D.B.
fo. 102 (a) 1: i. hidam et dimidiam et unam virgam. i. hidam et iii. virgatas terræ.—i. 194 (a) 2.
fo. 102 (a) 1: dimidiam hidam et dimidiam virg'. ii. virg' et dimidiam—i. 194 (a) 2.
fo. 103 (a) 1: dimidiam hidam et dimidiam virg'. virg' et dimidiam—i. 198 (a) 2.
fo. 103 (b) 1: i. hida et dimidia et dimidia virg'. i. hida et ii. virg' et dimidiam—i. 190 (a) 2.
fo. 103 (b) 2: i. hida et dimidia et i. virg'. i. hida et iii. virg'—i. 198 (b) 1.
fo. 106 (b) 2: iiii. hidæ et dimidia et una virg'. iv. hidæ et iii. virg'—i. 200 (b) 1.
fo. 112 (a) 2: xi. hidæ i. virg' minus. x. hidæ et iii. virg—i. 192 (b) 1.

These are only some of the passages of direct glossarial value.72 Indirectly, that is to say by analysis of the township assessments, we obtain the same result throughout the survey passim.73 Here, again, we are able to assert that two virgates must have been to the scribes as obviously equivalent to half a hide as ten shillings with us are equivalent to half a sovereign. For here, again, the point is that these scribes had no knowledge of the varying circumstances of each locality. They had nothing to guide them but the return itself, so that the rule, in Domesday, of 'four virgates to a hide' must have been of universal application.

But not only were there thus, in Domesday, four virgates to a hide; there were also in the Domesday virgate thirty Domesday acres. Mr Eyton, though perhaps unrivalled in the study he has bestowed on the subject, believed that there were only twelve such acres, of which, therefore, forty-eight composed the Domesday hide.74 It is, perhaps, the most important information to be derived from the I.C.C. that a hundred and twenty Domesday acres composed the Domesday hide.75

[pg 43]

We have the following direct statements:

I.C.C. D.B.
fo. 105 (b) 2: 'una virg' et x. acre in dominio'. i. 202 (b) 1: 'In dominio dimidia hida xx. acras minus.'
fo. iii. (a) 1: 'tenet Rogerus comes xx. acras.' i. 193 (b) 1: 'tenet comes ii. partes unius virg'.'

If 20 acres were identical with two-thirds of a virgate, there must, in a whole virgate, have been 30 acres; and if a virgate, plus 10 acres, was equivalent to half a hide minus 20 acres, we have again a virgate of thirty, and a hide of 120 acres. But the conclusion I uphold will be found to rest on no isolated facts. It is based on a careful analysis of the Inquisitio throughout. Here are some striking examples:

fo. 92 (b) 1. 'Belesham pro x. hidis se defendit.'

  H. V. A.
Abbot of Ely 9 0 0
Hardwin     80
'Almar'     40
  —— —— ——
  10 0 0

fo. 99 (b) 1: 'tenet hardeuuinus de scal' vi. hidas et i. virgam et vii. acras de rege.'

  H. V. A.    
Ely Abbey 0 9 rightbrace  
7 Sokemen 0 6  
3 Sokemen ½ 0 0  
'Alsi' ½ 0 0 T.R.E.
2 Sokemen   1 7  
5 Sokemen   0  
  —— —— ——  
  6 1 7    

fo. 79 (a) 2: 'Suafham pro x. hidis se defendit.'

  H. V. A.
Hugh de Bolebec 0 10
Geoffrey 1 3 0
Aubrey de Ver ½ 0 20
  —— —— ——
  10 0 0

[pg 44]

fo. 90 (a) 'choeie et stoua pro x. hidis se defenderunt.'

  H. V. A.
Odo 1 0 0
Reginald ½ 0 2076
Picot (1) 3 3 0
Picot (2) 0 10
  —— —— ——
  10 0 0

fo. 96 (a) 2: 'Pampeswrda pro v. hidis et xxii. acris se defendit.'

  H. V. A.
Abbot of Ely 2 0
Two Knights 1 0 22
Ralf 'de scannis'   3 0
Hardwin     10
Picot     5
Hardwin   ½77 0
A priest   ½ 0
  —— —— ——
  5 0 22

fo. 107 (a) 2: 'Barentona pro x. hidis se defendit.'

  H. V. A.
Robert Gernon 7 78 0
Chatteris Abbey 2 0 0
Ralf     20
Walter fitz Aubrey     40
Picot   ½ 0
  —— —— ——
  10 0 0

[pg 45]

fo. 108 (a) 2: 'Oreuuella pro iiii. hidis se defendit.'

  H. V. A.
Earl Roger 1 1⅓ 0
Durand   3⅓ 0
'Sigar'   1⅓ 0
Picot   5
Walter fitz Aubrey   1 0
Robert   1 0
Ralf 'de bans'   079
Chatteris Abbey   ¼ 079
  —— —— ——
  4 0 0

This last example is, perhaps, the most remarkable of all, in the accuracy with which the virgates and their fractions, by the help of the five acres, combine to give us the required total.

But, it may be asked, how far does the Inquisitio, as a whole, confirm this conclusion? In order to reply to this inquiry, I have analysed every one of the Manors it contains. The result of that analysis has been that of the ninety-four townships which the fragment includes (not counting 'Matingeleia', of which the account is imperfect) there are only fifteen cases in which my calculation does not hold good, that is to say, in which the constituents as given do not equal the total assessment when we add them up on the above hypothesis of thirty acres to the virgate, and four virgates to the hide. This number, however, would be considerably larger if we had to work only from D.B., or only from the I.C.C. But as each of these, in several cases, corrects the errors of the other, the total of apparent exceptions is thus reduced. Hence I contend that if we could only get a really perfect return, the remaining apparent exceptions would largely disappear.

In some of these exceptions the discrepancy is trifling. Thus, at Triplow, we have 2 acres in excess of the 8 hide assessment—a discrepancy of 1240. At 'Burch and Weslai' we have a deficit of 5 acres on 10 hides, that is 1240. At 'Scelforda' the figures of D.B. give us an excess of 7 acres on the 20 hide assessment, that is 72400. The I.C.C. figures make the excess to be 12 acres.

Another class of exceptions is accounted for by the tendency of both texts, as we have seen, to enter a virgate too much or too little, and to confuse virgates with their fractions. Thus at 'Litlingetona' our figures give us a virgate in excess of the assessment, while at 'Bercheham'80 and again at 'Witlesforde' we have a virgate short of [pg 46] the amount. At 'Herlestona' we have, similarly, half a virgate too much, and 'Kingestona' half a virgate (15 acres) too little. Lastly, at 'Wicheham', the aggregate of the figures is a quarter of a virgate short of the amount.

A third class of these exceptions is due to the frequent omission in the I.C.C. of estates belonging to the king. Thus at Wilbraham it records an assessment of 10 hides represented only by two estates of four hides apiece. But on turning to Domesday (i. 189 b) we read: 'Wilborham dominica villa regis est. Ibi ii. hidæ.' The missing factor is thus supplied, and the apparent discrepancy disposed of. So, too, at 'Haslingefelda' (Haslingfield), where the I.C.C. accounts only for twelve hides and three virgates out of an assessment of twenty hides. Domesday here, again, supplies the missing factor in a royal Manor of seven hides and a virgate. We thus obtain, instead of an exception, a fresh illustration of our rule.


  H. V. A.
Rex 7 1  
Picot 4 3  
Count Alan 1 ½  
The same ½    
Geoffrey de Mandeville 5    
Guy de Raimberccurt 1 1 3
Count Alan     12
  —— —— ——
  20 0 0

Domesday omits altogether, so far as I can find, the holding of Guy, an omission which would upset the whole calculation. But, in the case of Isleham, the apparent exception is due to the I.C.C., not to Domesday Book. Its assessment, in that document, is given as four hides. But the aggregate of its Manors, as there recorded, gives us an assessment of three hides plus eighty acres. Here any one who was rash enough to argue from a single instance (as Mr Eyton and Mr Pell were too apt to do) might jump at the conclusion that the hide must here have been of eighty acres. Yet Domesday enables us to collect all the constituents of the 'Vill', among them the king's estate, here again omitted. The real figures, therefore, were these:

  H. V. A. D.B.
The King 6 0 40 i. 189 b.
Bishop of Rochester 0 20 i. 190 b.
Hugh de Port 0 20 i. 199 a.
Earl Alan     40 i. 195 b.
  —— —— ——  
  10 0 0  

[pg 47]

Isleham, then, was a normal ten-hide township, and confirms, instead of rebutting, the rule that the geldable hide contained 120 acres.81

The remaining exceptions are 'Somm[er]tona' partly explained by the omission of terra Regis, 'Bathburgeham' (Babraham) with 21 acres short of an assessment of 7 hides, and Carlton, which fitly closes the list of these exceptions. For here, on an assessment of 10 hides, we have, according to the I.C.C., 27 acres short, but, according to D.B., 53½ (27 + 20 + 6½). A demonstrable blunder in Domesday Book and a discrepancy between it and the I.C.C. are responsible, together, for the difference.82 Thus we see how wide a margin should be allowed, in these calculations, for textual error.

It is necessary to remember that there were three processes, in each one of which error might arise:

I. In the actual survey and its returns, 'by reason of the insignificance of some estates, or by reason of forgetfulness, or inaccuracy, or confusion, or doubt on the part of local jurors and witnesses, or of the clerks who indited their statements'.83

II. In the collection and transmission of the returns, by the loss of a 'leaflet or rotulet of the commissioners' work'.84

III. In the transcription of the returns into D.B., or into the I.C.C., plus, in the case of the former, the rearrangement and abridgment of the materials.

We may now quit this part of our subject, claiming to have settled, by the aid of the I.C.C., a problem which has puzzled generations of antiquaries, namely: 'What was the Domesday hide?'85 We have shown that it denoted a measure of assessment composed of four (geld) virgates or a hundred and twenty (geld) acres. What relation, if any, it bore to area and to value is a question wholly distinct, on which the next portion of this essay may throw quite a new light.


It is one of the distinctive and valuable features of the Inq. Com. Cant. that it gives us the total assessment for each Vill of which it [pg 48] treats before recording the several Manors of which that Vill is composed, the aggregate assessments of which Manors make up the total assessment for the Vill. In this feature we have something which Domesday does not contain, and which (independently of its checking value),86 gives us at once those Vill assessments which we could only extract from the Domesday entries by great labour and with much uncertainty. Let us see then if these Vill assessments lead us to any new conclusions on the whole assessment system.

The first point that we notice is this. The five-hide unit is brought into startling prominence. No careful student, one would suppose, of Domesday, can have failed to be struck by the singular number of Manors in the hidated portion of the realm, which are assessed in terms of the five-hide unit, that is to say, which are entered as of five hides or some multiple of five hides. This is specially the case with towns, and some years ago, in one of my earliest essays, I called attention to the fact, and explained its bearing in connection with the unit of military service.87 Yet no one, it would seem, has been struck by the fact, or has seen that there must be some significance in this singular preponderance of five-hide Manors. Now what the Inquisitio here does for us is to show us that this preponderance is infinitely greater than we should gather from the pages of Domesday, and that when the scattered Manors are pieced together in their Vills, the aggregate of their assessments generally amounts either to five hides or to a multiple of the five-hide unit. Thus the rural townships are brought into line with towns, and we learn that in both the assessment was based on the five-hide unit.

Let us now take a typical Hundred and test this theory in practice:

Hundred of Staines
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 11-17)
Vill. Hides Ploughlands Valets
Bottisham 10 20 £16 0 0
Swaffham (1) 10 16   11 10 0
Swaffham (2) 10 13¼   12 10 0
Wilbraham 10 17   20 0 0
Stow-cum-Quy 10 11   14 10 0
  —  ——   —   —
  50 77¼ £74 10 0

Here we have five Vills varying in area from eleven ploughlands to twenty, and in value T.R.E., from £11 10s to £20, all assessed alike at ten hides each. What is the meaning of it? Simply that ASSESSMENT BORE NO RATIO TO AREA OR TO VALUE in a Vill, and still less in a Manor.

[pg 49]

Assessment was not objective, but subjective; it was not fixed relatively to area or to value, but to the five-hide unit. The aim of the assessors was clearly to arrange the assessment in sums of five hides, ten hides, etc.

Take now the next Hundred in the Inq. Com. Cant.:

Hundred of Radfield
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 17-25)
  Hides Ploughlands Valets
Dullingham 10 16 £19 5 0
Stetchworth 10 13¼ 12 15 0
Borough Green and Westley 10 17 17 1 4
Carlton 10 19½ 18 10 0
Weston 10 19¼ 13 15 0
Wratting 10 15¾ 8 8 0
Balsham 10 20 12 13 4
  ——  ——  —  —
  70 120¾ £102 7 8

Here again we have seven Vills varying in area from thirteen and a quarter ploughlands to twenty, and in value from £8 8s to £19 5s, all uniformly assessed at ten hides each. The thing speaks for itself. Had the hidation in these two Hundreds been dependent on area or value, the assessments would have varied infinitely. As it is, there is for each Vill but one and the same assessment.

Note further that the I.C.C. enables us to localize holdings the locality of which is unnamed in Domesday: also, that it shows us how certain Vills were combined for the purpose of assessment. Thus Borough Green and Westley are treated in Domesday as distinct, but here we find that they were assessed together as a ten-hide block. By this means we are enabled to see how the five-hide system could be traced further still if we had in other districts the same means of learning how two or three Vills were thus grouped together.

We may now take a step in advance, and pass to the Hundred of Whittlesford.

Hundred of Whittlesford
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 38-43)
  Hides Ploughlands   Valets
Whittlesford 12 rightbrace 20 11 rightbrace 20 £15 2 0 rightbrace £34 2 0
Sawston 8 9 19 0 0
Hinxton     20     16         20 10 0
Icklington     20     24½         24 5 0
Duxford     20     20¼         27 5 0
          ——         ——
      80     80¾         £106 2 0

[pg 50] Here we are left to discover for ourselves that Whittlesford and Sawston were grouped together to form a twenty-hide block. And on turning from the above figures to the map we find the discovery verified, these two Vills jointly occupying the northern portion of the hundred. Thus, this hundred, instead of being divided like its two predecessors into ten-hide blocks, was assessed in four blocks of twenty hides each, each of them representing one of those quarters so dear to the Anglo-Saxon mind (virgata, etc.), and lying respectively in the north, south, east and west of the district. Proceeding on the lines of this discovery, we come to the Hundred of Wetherley, which carries us a step further.

Hundred of Wetherley
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 68-83)
  Hides Ploughlands
Comberton 6 rightbrace 20 7 rightbrace 32
Barton 7 12
Grantchester 7 13
Haslingfield     20     2288
Harlton 5 rightbrace 20 7 rightbrace 27⅞
Barrington 10 15⅜
Shepreth 5
Ordwell 4 rightbrace 20 5516 rightbrace 29316
Wratworth 4 5⅜
Whitwell 4 5
Wimpole 4 5
Arrington 4
      80     111116

It is important to observe that, though the grouping is my own, the order of the Vills is exactly that which is given in the Inq. Com. Cant., and by that order the grouping is confirmed. Note also how, without such grouping, we should have but a chaos of Vills, whereas, by its aid, from this chaos is evolved perfect symmetry. Lastly, glance at the four 'quarters' and see how variously they are subdivided.

Advancing still on the same lines, we approach the very remarkable case of the adjoining Hundred of Long Stow.

Now it is necessary to explain at the outset that, the Inq. Com. Cant. being here imperfect, it only gives us the first two of the above 'quarters', its evidence ending with Bourne. But, by good fortune, it is possible to reconstruct from Domesday alone the remaining half of the Hundred, and thus to obtain the most valuable example of the system we are engaged in tracing that we have yet met with. The grouping I have adopted is based on the figures, but in some [pg 51] cases it is obvious from the map: Eltisley and Croxton, for instance, which form a ten-hide block, occupy a projecting portion of the county all to themselves, while Caxton adjoins them.

Hundred of Longstow
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 83-89)
  Hides Ploughlands
Eversden 8⅓ rightbrace     25 13⅜ rightbrace 38116
Kingston 8⅓     8916
Toft and Hardwick 8⅓     16⅛
Grandsen 5 rightbrace     25 9 rightbrace 32½
Bourne 20     [23
Gamlingay     20 rightbrace 25      
Hatley rightbrace 5      
[Unnamed] ¾      
Croxton 7 rightbrace 10 rightbrace 25      
Eltisley 3      
Caxton     10      
Caldecot rightbrace 5      
Long Stow      

Several points are here noticeable. Observe, in the first place, how the twenty-five hide 'quarter' which heads the list is divided into three equal blocks of 8⅓ hides each, just as we found in Wetherley Hundred that one of the twenty-hide 'quarters' was divided into five equal blocks of four hides each. In these cases the same principle of simple equal division was applied to the quarter hundred as we saw applied to the whole hundred in the first two cases we studied—the Hundreds of Staines and of Radfield. Notice next how the two Vills of Toft and Hardwick, which are separately surveyed in Domesday under their respective names, are found from the Inq. Com. Cant. to have combined (under the name of 'Toft') in a block of 8⅓ hides. Lastly, it should not be overlooked that the ¾ hide not localized in Domesday fits in exactly with Hatley to complete its five hides.

The chase now becomes exciting: it can no longer be doubted that we are well on the track of a vast system of artificial hidation, of which the very existence has been hitherto unsuspected. Let us see what further light can be thrown by research on its nature.

On looking back at the evidence I have collected, one is struck, surely, by the thought that the system of assessment seems to work, not as is supposed, up from, but down to the Manor. Can it be possible that what was really assessed was not the Manor, nor even the Vill, but the Hundred as a whole? This view is so revolutionary, so subversive of all that has ever been written on the subject, that it cannot be answered off-hand. We will therefore begin by examining [pg 52] the case of the Hundred of Erningford, which introduces us to a further phenomenon, the reduction of assessment.

Hundred of Erningford
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 51-68)
  T.R.E. T.R.W.      Ploughlands
Morden (1) 10 8 20
Tadlow 5 4 10½
Morden (2) 5 4 10¾
Clopton 5 4 7
Hatley 5 4 7
Croydon 10 8 11½
Wendy 5 4
Shingay 5 4 6
Litlington 5 4 11
Abington 5 4
Bassingburne 10 8 22
Whaddon 10 8 14¾
Meldreth 10 8 20½
Melbourne 10 8 19½
  –— ———
  100 80 171

Here we have, as in the last instance, a Hundred of exactly a hundred hides (assessment). But we are confronted with a new problem, that of reduction. Before we form any conclusions, it is important to explain that this problem can only be studied by the aid of the Inq. Com. Cant., for the evidence both of Domesday and of the Inq. El. is distinctly misleading. Reduction of assessment is only recorded in these two documents when the Manor is identical with the Vill. In cases where the Vill contains two or more Manors, the Vill is not entered as a whole, and consequently the reduction on the assessment of that Vill as a whole is not entered at all.

After this explanation I pass to the case of the above Hundred, in which the evidence on the reduction is fortunately perfect. The first point to be noticed is that in four out of the five Hundreds that we have as yet examined, there is not a single instance of reduction, whereas here, on the contrary, the assessment is reduced in every Vill throughout the Hundred. That is to say, the reduction is conterminous with the Hundred. Cross its border into the Hundred of Wetherley, or of Triplow, and in neither district will you find a trace of reduction. Observe next that the reduction is uniform throughout the whole, being 20 per cent in every instance. Now what is the inevitable conclusion from the data thus afforded? Obviously that the reduction was made on the assessment of the Hundred as a whole, and that this reduction was distributed among its several Vills [pg 53] pro rata.89 Further research confirms the conclusion that these reductions were systematically made on Hundreds, not on Vills. There is a well defined belt, or rather crescent, of Hundreds, in all of which the assessment is reduced. They follow one another on the map in this order: Erningford, Long Stow, Papworth, North Stow, Staplehow, and Cheveley. Within this crescent there lies a compact block of Hundreds, in no one of which has a single assessment been reduced. They are Triplow, Wetherley (? Cambridge90), Flendish, Staines, Radfield, Chilford and Whittlesford. Beyond the crescent there lie 'the two Hundreds of Ely', in which, so far as our evidence goes, there would seem to have been similarly no reduction. As the two horns of the crescent, so to speak, are the Hundreds of Erningford and Cheveley, we will now glance at the latter, and compare the evidence of the two.

Hundred of Cheveley
(Inq. Com. Cant., pp. 9-11)
  T.R.E. T.R.W.      Ploughlands
Silverley rightbrace 10 4 rightbrace 6 8 rightbrace 12
Ashley 2 4
Saxon Street 5     3     793    
Ditton 5     392   (or 4) 10    
Ditton 10     1     16    
Kirtling 10     6     21    
Cheveley 1091                

As a preliminary point, attention may be called to the fact that the grouping of Ashley and Silverley, although they are surveyed separately in the Inq. Com. Cant., is justified by their forming, as 'Ashley-cum-Silverley' a single parish. So too, Saxon Street may be safely combined with Ditton, in which it is actually situate. We thus have a Hundred of fifty hides divided into five blocks of ten hides each, and thus presenting a precise parallel to the Hundred of Staines, the first that we examined.

[pg 54]

And now for the reductions. As the Vill of Cheveley, unluckily, is nowhere surveyed as a whole, we have in its case no evidence. But of the five remaining Vills above (counting Ashley-cum-Silverley as one), four we see had had their assessments reduced on a uniform scale, just as in the Hundred of Long Stow. Now this is a singular circumstance, and it leads me to this conclusion. I believe that, precisely as in the latter case, the assessment of the Hundred as a whole was reduced by twenty hides. This was equivalent to 40 per cent, which was accordingly knocked off from the assessment of each of its constituent Vills. One of the Dittons is clearly an exception, having nine hides, not four, thus knocked off. I would suggest, as the reason for this exception, that Ditton having now become a 'dominica villa regis' (Inq. Com. Cant., p. 10), was specially favoured by having a five-hide unit further knocked off its assessment, just as in the case of Chippenham (Ibid., p. 2).94

It has been my object in the above argument to recall attention to the corporate character, the solidarité of the Hundred. This character, of which the traces are preserved in its collective responsibility, even now, for damages caused by riot, strongly favours the view which I am here bringing forward, that it was the Hundred itself which was assessed for geld, and which was held responsible for its payment. Although this view is absolutely novel, and indeed destructive of the accepted belief, it is in complete harmony with the general principle enunciated by Dr Stubbs, and is a further proof of the confirmation which his views often obtain from research and discovery. Treating of 'the Hundred as an area for rating', he writes thus:

There can be no doubt that the organization of the Hundred had a fiscal importance, not merely as furnishing the profits of fines and the produce of demesne or folkland, but as forming a rateable division of the county.95

Now there are several circumstances which undoubtedly point to my own conclusion. We know from the Inq. Com. Cant., that the Domesday Commissioners held their inquiry in the Court of each Hundred, and had for jurors the men of that Hundred. Now if the Hundred, as I suggest, was assessed for geld as a whole, its representatives would be clearly the parties most interested in seeing that each Vill or Manor was debited with its correct share of the general liability. Again we know from the Inquisitio Geldi that the geld was collected and paid through the machinery of the Hundred; and its collectors, in Devonshire, are 'Hundremanni'. The Hundred, in fact, [pg 55] was the unit for the purpose.96 Further, we have testimony to the same effect in the survey of East Anglia. But as that survey stands by itself, it must have separate treatment.97

I need not further discuss the collective liability of the Hundred, having already shown in my 'Danegeld' paper how many allusions to it are to be found in Domesday in the case of urban 'Hundreds'.98 It is only necessary here to add, as a corollary of this conclusion, that the assessment of a single Manor could not be reduced by the Crown without the amount of that reduction falling upon the rest of the Hundred. Either therefore, that amount must have been allowed ('computatum') to the local collector as were terræ datæ to the sheriff, or (which came to the same thing) the assessment on the Hundred must have been reduced pro tanto.

I now proceed to apply my theory that the Hundreds themselves were first assessed, and that such assessments were multiples of the five-hide unit.

We are enabled from the Inq. Com. Cant., to determine the assessments of eleven Hundreds.99 Nine out of these eleven Hundreds prove to have been assessed as follows:

Erningford 100
Long Stow 100
Triplow 90
Staplehow 90100
Whittlesford 80
Wetherley 80
Radfield 70
Cheveley 50
Staines 50

This list speaks for itself, but it may be as well to point out how convenient for the Treasury was this system. At the normal Danegeld rate of two shillings on the hide, an assessment of fifty hides would represent £5, one hundred hides £10, and so on.

Can we discover in other counties traces of this same system? Let us first take the adjacent county of Bedfordshire.

I am anxious to explain that for the means of utilizing the Bedfordshire evidence I am entirely indebted to the Digest of the Domesday of Bedfordshire by the late Rev. William Airy (edited by his son, the Rev. B. R. Airy101). It was, most happily, pointed out to the author [pg 56] by the Rev. Joseph Hunter 'that what we want is not translations but analyses of the surveys of the several counties' (p. viii). To this most true remark we owe it that Mr Airy resolved to give us a 'digest' instead of that usual 'extension and translation', which is perfectly useless to the Domesday student. It is easy to take from the record itself such an instance as these Beauchamp Manors entered in succession (213): Willington 10 hides, Stotford 15; 'Houstone' 5, Hawnes 5, 'Salchou' 5, Aspley 10, Salford 5; but it is only Mr Airy's work that enables us to reconstruct the townships, and to show how fractions—apparently meaningless—fit in, exactly as in Cambridgeshire, with one another. His work is all the more valuable from the fact that he had no theory to prove, and did not even add together the factors he had ascertained. His figures therefore are absolutely free from the suspicion that always attaches to those adduced to prove a case.

Risely   Tempsford   Wymington
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
7 0   1   0 3
1 0   1 1   3 0
½ 0   4 1   4 0
½ 0   2 0   ½ 0
1 0   1 ¼   0 3
            1 0
——————   ——————   ——————
10 0   10 0   10 0
Cople   Eversholt   Clophill
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
4 0   2 0   5 0
5 3   0   4 0
0 1   ½ 0   1 0
——————   ——————   ——————
10 0   10 0   10 0
Northill   Portsgrove   Chicksand
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
0   1 0   ½ 0
0   0   0
½ 0   1 0   3 0
0   ½ 0   1 0
——————   ——————   ——————
10 0   10 0   10 0
Eyeworth   Holwell   Odell
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
9 0   0  
1 0   0   5 1⅔
——————   ——————   ——————
10 0   10 0   10 0

[pg 57]

Pavenham   Houghton Conquest   Dean
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
0   5 0   4 0
5 0   ½ 0   2 ½
0   0   2
            0 ½
——————   ——————   ——————
10 0   10 0   10

Of these fifteen ten-hide townships, the last is selected as an instance of those slight discrepancies which creep in so easily and which account for many apparent exceptions to the rule. Passing to other multiples of the five-hide unit we have:

Oakley   Thurleigh   Blunham
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
4 0   0 1   4 1
1 0   ½ 0   0 1
      ½ 0   ½ 0
      0 1   10 0
      3 0      
      ½ 0      
——————   ——————   ——————
5 0   5 0   15 0
Marston   Roxton   Dunton
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
10 leftbrace 2 (less ½ virg.)   1 1   10 leftbrace 8 1
8 (plus ½ virg.)   0 4   1 3
5 leftbrace 1     1 1   10 leftbrace 5 0
½     1   0
3     8 3   ½ 0
—————————   ——————   ——————
15     0   20 0   20     0

I now give three illustrations of slight discrepancies:

Streatley   Sutton   Eaton Socon
H. V.   H. V.   H. V.
1 0   5 leftbrace 0 3   20 0
4 1   1 0   6 3
4⅓ 0   0   0
0   ½ 0   0 ½
0   0   9 1
      0   0
          2 0   2 ½
          0 3   0 1
          ½ 0      
          1 0      
——————       ——————   ——————
9 3⅔       9   40 1

[pg 58]

In the first case there is a deficiency of 1120, and in the second of 780, while in the third we find an excess of 1160. No one can doubt that these were really ten-hide, ten-hide, and forty-hide townships. We have to allow, in the first place, for trivial slips, and in the second for possible errors in the baffling work of identification at the present day. One can hardly doubt that if a student with the requisite local knowledge set himself to reconstruct, according to Hundreds, the Bedfordshire Domesday, he would find, as in Cambridgeshire, that even where a township was not assessed in terms of the five-hide unit, it was combined in an adjacent one in such an assessment.

We will now cross the border into Huntingdonshire, and enter the great Hundred of Hurstingston. This, which may be described as a double Hundred, was assessed, Domesday implies, at 200 hides. Quartering this total, on the Cambridgeshire system, we obtain fifty hides, and this quarter was the assessment allotted to the borough of Huntingdon.102 The total assessment of the Hundred was thus accounted for:

Huntingdon 50
St. Ives (Slepe) 20
Hartford 15
Spaldwick 15
Stukeley 10
Abbots Ripton 10
Upwood 10
Warboys 10
Calne 6 rightbrace  
Bluntisham 20½103
Somersham 8  
Wistow104 9
Holywell 9
Houghton 7
Wyton 7
Broughton 4
Catworth 4105

[pg 59]

Passing on into Northamptonshire, we come to that most curious document, which I shall discuss below (see p. 124), and which was printed by Ellis (Introduction to Domesday, i. 187 et seq.). Ellis, however, can scarcely have read his own document, for he speaks of it as a list 'in which every Hundred is made to consist of a hundred hides'.106 This extraordinary assertion has completely misled Dr Stubbs, who writes:

The document given by Ellis as showing that the Hundreds of Northampton each contained a hundred hides seems to be a mere attempt of an early scribe to force them into symmetry.107

It is greatly to be wished that some one with the requisite local knowledge should take this list in hand and work out its details thoroughly. In capable hands it should prove a record of the highest interest. For the present I will only point out that its contents are in complete harmony with the results that I obtained on the Hundred in Cambridgeshire; for it gives us Hundreds assessed at 150 (four), 100 (nine), 90 (two), 80 (four), 60 (one), and 40 (one) hides, with a small minority of odd numbers. This list throws further light on the institution of the Hundred by its recognition of 'double' and 'half' Hundreds. Note also in this connection the preference for 100-hide and fifty-hide assessments, which here amount to thirteen out of the twenty instances above, and in Cambridgeshire to four out of nine. These signs of an endeavour to force such assessments into terms of a fifty-hide unit will be dealt with below.108

In Hertfordshire, as indeed in other counties, there is great need for that local research which alone can identify and group the Domesday holdings. So far as single Vills are concerned, Bengeo affords a good illustration of the way in which scattered fractions work out in combination.

  H. V.
Count Alan   0 1
Hugh de Beauchamp   6 0
Geoffrey de Mandeville   3 1
Geoffrey de Bech leftbrace 5 1
Peter de Valognes   0 ½
    25 0

[pg 60]

If we now push on to Worcestershire, we find a striking case in the Hundred (or rather the triple Hundred109) of Oswaldslow. Its assessment was 300 hides;110 and I am able to assert that of these we can account for 299, and that it contained Manors of 50, 40, 35, 25 (two), and 15 hides.111 We have also, in this county, the case of the Hundred of Fishborough, made up to 100 hides, and remarkable for including in this total the fifteen hides at which Worcester itself was assessed. The special value of this and of the Huntingdon instances lies in its placing the assessments of a borough on all fours with the assessment of a rural Manor, as a mere factor in the assessment of a rural Hundred. By thus combining town and country it shows us that the assessments of both were part of the same general system. This is a point of great importance.

This case of the Hundred of Fishborough is, however, peculiar. The entry, which was prominently quoted by Ellis (who failed to see its true significance), is this:

In Fisseberge hundred habet æcclesia de Euesham lxv. hidæ. Ex his xii. hidæ sunt liberæ. In illo Hundredo jacent xx. hidæ de dodentreu. et xv. hidæ de Wircecestre perficiunt hundred.112

Now this entry is purely incidental, and its real meaning is this. In the true Hundred of Fishborough (adjoining Evesham on the east), Evesham Abbey held sixty-five hides (assessed value), of which twelve were exempted from payment of geld, a statement which can be absolutely verified from the details given. To this aggregate was added the fifteen hides of Worcester (though in another part of the county), together with twenty hides of the distant Hundred of Doddentree. A total of 100 hides was that arrived at. Now the Hundred of Doddentree had itself made up to about 120 hides,113 by the addition of eighteen hides, which belonged to Hertford as to 'firma'.114 A reduction, therefore, of twenty hides suggests a complicated process of levelling the local Hundreds, which may remind us how large a margin must be allowed for these arrangements.

Before leaving Worcestershire, attention should be called to the great Manor of Pershore, which Westminster Abbey held for [pg 61] 200 hides, and to the 100 hides connected therewith under the heading 'Terra sanctæ Mariæ de Persore'.

In Somerset we find some good instances, with the help of Mr Eyton's analyses.

Hundred of Crewkerne
Merriott (5 + 7) 12 rightbrace 15
Seaborough (1½ + 1½) 3
Hinton St. George 13 rightbrace 25
In Crewkerne 12
Hundred of Whitstone
East Pennard (19 + 1) 20
Baltonsborough 5
Doulting (14 + 3¼ + 2¾) 20
Batcombe (10¼ + 2 + 7¾) 20
Ditcheat (5 + 5½ + 6½ + 5½ + 1 + 7) 30½
Pilton (6½ + 3 + 5 + 5 + 2) 21½
Stoke St. Michael 3

There are also abundant cases of Manors which work out similarly such as Walton and its group (4½ + 5 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 2½ = 20), Butleigh (7½ + 8 + 2 + ½ + 2 = 20). Again, in the Hundred of Frome we find eight Manors (Camerton, Englishcombe, Charterhouse Hinton, Norton St Philip, Corston, Beckington, Cloford, and Laverton), assessed at ten hides each, in addition to divided Manors, such as Road (9 + 1), and Tiverton (7½ + 2½).115

We will now pass to Devon and examine the assessments of its Hundreds. Of these thirty-one are entered in the Inquisitio Geldi. Now, as four virgates went to the hide, such assessments as 25¾, 9¼ hides, show us that the simple doctrine of probability is in favour of only one Hundred in every twenty proving to be assessed in multiples of the five-hide unit. Yet we find that those so assessed form an absolute majority of the whole. When classified, they run thus—50 (four), 40 (one), 30 (two), 25 (four), 20 (five): total, 16 Hundreds.

It will at once be observed that these assessments are, as nearly as possible, on one half the scale of those we met with in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. But this must be taken in conjunction with the fact that the Devon and Cornwall assessments are altogether peculiar. 'In Devon and Cornwall, where the scope of the gheld-hide was enormous, it was necessary to introduce another quantity, intermediate between the virgate and the acre. This was the [pg 62] Ferndel or Ferdingdel, to wit, the fourth part of the next superior denomination, the fourth part of the virgate.'116 One might at first sight be tempted to suggest that the hide was in these two counties a term of higher denomination when we find Manor after Manor assessed at a fraction of a hide, while in Cornwall the 'acra terræ' was clearly a peculiar measure.117 Yet in some Manors adjacent to Exeter or to the neighbouring coast the assessment is much less abnormally low, though even there moderate. There is much scope, here also, for intelligent local research, although we may conclude, from the evidence of the Pipe Rolls, that the hide represented the same unit here as elsewhere, as it would seem did the Devonshire Hundred, in spite of its singularly low average assessment. Indeed, it represented a larger, not a smaller, area than usual. I shall deal with this phenomenon below, and endeavour to explain its significance. For the present it is only necessary to insist on the evidence that the Hundreds afford of assessment on the five-hide system.

Indeed, though I definitely advance the suggestion that the assessment was, in the first instance, laid upon the Hundred itself, and that the subsequent assessment of its Vills and Manors was arrived at by division and subdivision, the truth or falsehood of this theory in no way affects the indisputable phenomenon of the five-hide unit. On the prominence of that unit I take my stand as absolute proof that the hide assessment was fixed independently of area or value, and that, consequently, all the attempts that have been made by ingenious men to discover and establish the relation which that assessment bore to area, whether in Vill or Manor, have proved not only contradictory among themselves, but, as was inevitable, vain.

The late Mr Eyton did much to destroy the old belief held by Kemble and other well-known writers that the Domesday hide was an areal measure and to substitute the sounder view that it was used as a term of assessment, and Mr Chester Waters, in his Survey of Lindsey (1883), claimed that the 'key to the puzzle' had been thus finally discovered. Canon Taylor, on the other hand, at the Domesday Commemoration (1886), claimed that if his own most ingenious theory of the relation of the geld-carucate to area could be more generally extended, 'many volumes of Domesday exposition, including, among others, Mr Eyton's Key to Domesday, may be finally consigned al limbo dei bambini'.118 Mr Pell's theories—the inclusion of which at enormous length in Domesday Studies119 cannot be too[pg 63] deeply regretted—require a passing notice. According to him, the Domesday hide was virtually an areal term; but the interests of truth and of historical research require, as to his confident calculations, very plain speaking. Although I devoted to the investigation of Mr Pell's theories a deplorable amount of time and labour,120 I would rather state the inevitable conclusion in the words of that sound scholar, Mr W. H. Stevenson:

All the fanciful calculations that Mr Pell has based upon this assumption, including his delicious 'Ready Reckoner', may be safely left to slumber in oblivion by the Domesday student who does not wish to waste his time.

The only abiding principle underlying Mr Pell's calculations is that the figures in Domesday, or wherever found, have to produce a certain total that Mr Pell has already fixed upon. To do this, virgates may mean hides, carucates may mean virgates, and, in short, anything may mean anything else.121

Although Mr Eyton also indulged in 'fanciful calculations', and committed the fatal error of combining facts and fancies, he was at least on the right track in discarding the notion that the Domesday hide denoted a fixed area, and in treating it as a term of assessment. At the same time, the acceptance of my theory that this assessment was not determined by the real value of the Manor or Vill, but was unconnected with it, would be, of course, destructive of all his calculations.

The five-hide unit which lies at the root of my theory is found ever to the front, turn where we will. In Oxon122 we find entered in succession the Bishop of Lincoln's Manors 90, 60, 40, 50, 50 hides, while if we work through the southern extremity of the county (lying south of Ewelme), following the bend of the Thames, we find the assessments are as follows: Preston Crowmarsh, 5; Crowmarsh Gifford, 10; Newnham Murren, 10; Mongewell, 10; Ipsden, 5; North and South Stoke, 20¼; Checkenden, 5; Goring, 20; Gethampton, 6½; Whitchurch, 10; Mapledurham, 10; Caversham, 20; Dunsden, 20; Bolney (8) and Lashbrook (12) 20; Harpsden, 5; Rotherfield, 10; Badgemoor, 5; Bix 5. So too on the western border we have in succession Churchill, 20; Kingham, 10; Foxcote (1) and Tilbury (14), 15; Lyneham, 10; Fyfield, 5; Tainton, 10; Upton, 5; Burford (8) and Widford (2), 10; Westwell, 5.123

Berkshire undoubtedly offers a fruitful sphere of study. On the one hand, we have so large a proportion of Manors assessed at [pg 64] 5, 10, 15, 20 hides, and so forth as to strike the reader at once without special research; on the other, we find these archaic assessments reduced under the Conqueror in the most sweeping manner, and the old system thus effaced. Fortunately for us in this case its existence is recorded in the Domesday entries of the previous assessments. What is here, as elsewhere, wanted is a thorough local analysis of the hidage, Hundred by Hundred. For no county is such an analysis more urgently needed.

In Bucks the Primate's three Manors are of 40, 5, 30 hides, while nine Manors of Walter Giffard follow one another with these assessments: 20, 10, 10, 20, 3½, 10, 5, 5, 10; and in Gloucestershire we are met on every side by Manors of 5, 10, 15, 20 hides, and so on. In Surrey, the Primate's six Manors are assessed at 30, 20 80, 5, 20, 14 hides. As a proof that this feature is in no way of my own creation, I will take the Wiltshire Manors selected by Mr Pell for his tables. Seven out of the eleven selected by him are five-hide assessments, being 5, 10, 20, 40, 20, 5, 10. The marvel is that any one can have failed to observe the general occurrence of the fact.

In Middlesex the five-hide unit is peculiarly prominent. We have only to glance at the pages of Domesday to be struck by such assessments as Harrow (100 hides), Fulham (50 hides124), Isleworth (70 hides), Harmondsworth (30 hides), while on folios 129b-130, we have seven Manors in succession of which the assessments are 15, 35, 30, 30, 7½, 15, 10, representing 3, 7, 6, 6, 1½, 3, 2, multiples of the five-hide unit. But, here again, conspicuous as is this unit even in the case of Manors, its prevalence would be still more apparent, if we could reconstruct the Vills. Thus, for instance, in the Hundred of Spelthorne we find these assessments:

  Hides Folio
Staines 19 128
'In Speletorne Hundred' 1 128b
'Hatone' 129
Haneworde 5 129
'Leleham' 2 129
'Exeforde' 1 129
'Bedefunt' 2 129
Felteham 12 129
Stanwelle 15 130
'Bedefunde' 10 130
'West Bedefunde' 8 130
'Haitone' 1⅚125 130
'Leleham' 8 130b
'In Hundredo de Spelethorne' 126 130b
'Cerdentone' 5 130b

[pg 65]

'Exeforde' is Ashford, which 'appears from a very early period till after the dissolution of the monasteries to have been an appendage of Stains'.127 Thus we obtain an assessment of 20 hides for Staines cum Ashford. So too we have at once for Laleham an assessment of ten hides, while that of East and West Bedfont was, we see, twenty hides. The most striking case, however, is that of Hatton; for, if we add to its two named Manors the nameless estates in the above list, the four fit in like a puzzle, giving us an aggregate assessment of exactly five hides.

The hundred, therefore, was assessed thus:

Stains with Ashford 20
Stanwell 15
West Bedfont 10
East Bedfont 10
Laleham 10
Feltham 12
Hanworth 5
Charlton 5
Hatton, etc. 5

Let us now connect the territorial with the institutional unit. Dealing in my 'Danegeld' essay with the evident assessment of towns in terms of the five-hide unit, I traced it to the fact that 'five hides were the unit of assessment for the purpose of military service'.128 The evidence I have adduced in the present paper carries further its significance; but we must not allow its financial to obscure its military importance. I appealed, at that time, to the Exeter instance:

Quando expeditio ibat per terram aut per mare serviebat hæc civitas quantum v. hidæ terræ;

and to the service of Malmesbury:

Quando rex ibat in expeditione vel terra vel mari habebat de hoc burgo aut xx. solidos ad pascendos suos buzecarlos aut unum hominem ducebat secum pro honore v. hidarum.129

Of course this brings us to the notoriously difficult question of the thegn and his qualification. With this I am only concerned here so far as it illustrates the prevalence of a five-hide unit. Mr Little, who holds that Maurer, followed by Dr Stubbs, has gone too far, and that 'there is no proof of any general law or widely prevalent custom which conferred on the owner of five hides pure and simple the title, duties, and rights of a thegn',130 sets forth his view thus:

What then is the meaning of the frequent recurrence in the laws of possession of five hides of land as the distinctive mark of a particular rank?

[pg 66]

An explanation may be hazarded: at the end of the seventh century it was the normal and traditional holding of a royal thegn.... It is not too much to infer from the parallelism of the two wergelds, that five hides formed also the regular endowment of a Saxon king's thegn.131

Dr Stubbs' views will be found in his Constitutional History (1874), i. 155-6, 190-2, and those of Gneist in his Constitutional History (1886), i. 13, 90, 94. The latter writer follows Schmidt rather than Maurer, but sums up his position in the words: 'Since under Ælfred and his successors every estate of five hides is reckoned in the militia system as one heavy-armed man, the rank of a thane becomes the right (as such) of a possessor of five hides.'

Lastly, it is an interesting and curious fact that we owe to the five-hide unit such place-names as Fivehead, Somerset; Fifehead, Dorset; Fifield, Oxon; Fifield and Fyfield, Wilts; Fyfield, Hants; and Fyfield, Essex—all of them in Domesday 'Fifhide' or 'Fifehide'—as well as Fyfield, Berks, which occurs in Domesday as 'Fivehide'. Philologists will note the corruption and its bearing on the original pronunciation.

To the probable antiquity and origin of the five-hide system I must recur, after glancing at the evidence for the northern and eastern districts of England.


The subject that I now approach is one of the highest interest. I propose to adduce for my theory convincing corroborative evidence by showing that the part which is played in the hidated district of England by the five-hide unit is played in the Danish districts by a unit of six carucates. In other words, where we look in the former for 'v. hidæ', we must learn to look in the latter for 'vi. carucatæ terræ'.

One must dissociate at the outset this six-carucate unit from the 'long hundred', or Angelicus numerus, with which Mr Pell confused it. In Mr Stevenson's instructive article on 'The Long Hundred and its use in England',132 he has clearly explained that this reckoning only applied to a whole hundred, which, if a 'long' hundred, was really 120. Any lesser number was reckoned in our usual manner. This is seen at once in the test passage at Lincoln (D.B., i. 336a), where 1,150 houses are reckoned as 'novies centum et lxx.', because 'hic numerus Anglice computatur, id est centum pro cxx'.133 The persistence, [pg 67] in Lincolnshire, of the long hundred is well shown in the Inquisitiones post mortem on Robert de Ros, 1311, among those printed by Mr Vincent.134 We there read of 'c. acre terra arrabilis per majorem centenam que valent per annum lx. s. prec' acre vj. den.', at Wyville and Hungerton (on the border of Leicestershire); while at Claxby and Normanby (in the north of the county) we have 'cc. acras per minorem centenam et valent c. s. prec' acre vj. d.' Again, at Gedney (in the south-east), we have 'cc. acre terre arrabilis per majus centum et valent per annum xxiiij. li'. prec' acre ij. s. et iiijxx. acre prati et valet per annum viij. li., prec' acre ij. s. Et cxiij. acre pasture per majus centum et valent per annum ix. li. xix. s. vi. d. prec' acre xviij. d.' On the same property there were due 'ccciiijxx. opera autumpnalia cum falcis, et valent xxxvj. s. viij. d., prec' operis j. den.', so that these also were reckoned by the long hundred.

Mr Stevenson was not aware of this evidence, but admitted that as the Domesday passage refers to 'such a Danish stronghold as Lincolnshire, it is not free from the suspicion of Danish influence'. His own evidence from a sixteenth-century rental135 is subject to a similar criticism. For the general use, therefore, of the 'long hundred' in England he is compelled to rely on the Dialogus de Scaccario and Howden's description of the new survey of 1198, the 'hide or ploughland' being described in both cases as of a hundred acres, where the 'hundred' must have meant 120. But I venture to think that the use of this reckoning for the ploughland, or archaic 'hide', does not establish its general employment. In Domesday, certainly, it is only at Lincoln that we find it actually recognized, houses being reckoned everywhere else on the usual system.

I think, therefore, that we fairly may hold the Anglicus numerus, or long hundred, to have specially prevailed in the 'Danish' districts, which were also assessed, we shall find, in sums of six and twelve. But what was the boundary of this Danish district? It was not the border between Mercia and Wessex, for Mercia was itself divided between the 'six' and the 'five' systems.136 Of the two adjacent [pg 68] Mercian shires, for instance, of Leicester and Warwick (afterwards united under one sheriff), we find the latter decimal and the former duodecimal. The military service of Warwick and Leicester was arranged on the same method, yet Leicester sent twelve 'burgesses' to the fyrd where Warwick sent ten. But, it may be urged, the two shires were divided by the Watling Street, the boundary (under the peace of Wedmore) of Danelaw. Was then the Danelaw the district within which the systems prevailed? No, for the Danelaw, under this treaty, included all Cambridgeshire and other hidated districts. The answer, therefore, which I propound is this: The district in which men measured by carucates, and counted by twelves and sixes, was not the district which the Danes conquered, but the district which the Danes settled, the district of 'the Five Boroughs'.

Dependent on these 'Five Boroughs' were the four shires of Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, and Lincoln. For two of the Boroughs, Lincoln and Stamford, both belonged to this last shire, which was, indeed, the stronghold of the system.137 Between Stamford and Cambridge we have the same contrast as between Warwick and Leicester, for while Cambridge was divided into ten wards ('custodiæ'), Stamford was divided into six. Lincolnshire, as I have said, was the stronghold of the system, and it is in Lincoln itself that we find Domesday alluding eo nomine to the Anglicus numerus, the practice of counting 120 as 100.

Now in the peculiar district of which I am treating there occurs an important formula which covers Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Notts. Domesday has nothing like it for the other parts of England. Here are the three passages in which we find it recorded:

Lincolnshire Yorkshire Derby and Notts

Pax manu regis vel sigillo ejus data, si fuerit infracta, emendatur per xviii. hundrez. Unumquidque hundret solvit viii. libras. Duodecim hundrez emendant regi et vi. comiti.—i. 336b.

Pax data manu regis vel sigillo ejus, si fuerit infracta, regi solummodo emendatur per xii. hundrez, unumquidque hundret viii. libras.

Pax a comite data et infracta a quolibet ipsi comiti per vi. hundrez emendatur, unumquidque viii. libras—i. 298b.

In Snotingehamscyre et in Derbin scyre pax regis manu vel sigillo data, si fuerit infracta, emendatur per xviii. hundrez, unumquidque hundret viii. libras. Hujus emendationis habet rex ii. partes, comes terciam. Id est xii. hundred emendant regi et vi. comiti—i. 280b.

[pg 69]

For comparison with these three passages we may turn to the charter of immunities confirmed to York Cathedral by Henry I, Stephen, and Henry II. We there read:

Si quis enim quemlibet cujuscumque facinoris aut flagitii reum et convictum infra atrium ecclesiæ caperet et retineret, universali judicio vi. hundreth emendabit; si vero infra ecclesiam xii. hundreth infra chorum xviii. ... In hundreth viii. libræ continentur.138

As there were twelve carucates in the 'Hundred', so it paid twelve marcs, which, if we can trust the above explanation, themselves came to be termed a 'Hundred'. Moreover, the 'Hundreds' themselves were grouped in multiples of six. So too the Yorkshire thegn who held six Manors or less paid three marcs to the sheriff; if he held more than six, twelve marcs to the king (Domesday, i. 289b).

It is a special feature of the 'Danish' district that each territorial 'Hundred' contained twelve 'carucatæ terræ'. This point is all-important. Just as a 'Hundred' to an Anglo-Saxon suggested one hundred 'hides', so to the Danes of this district it suggested twelve 'carucates'. Nay, to the men of Lincolnshire there could be no more question that twelve carucates made a 'Hundred' than there could be now, among ourselves that twelve pence make a shilling. If we turn to the Lindsey Survey,139 a generation later than Domesday, we obtain proof to that effect. We find that Survey, in three instances, adding up all the estates of a tenant within a Wapentake, and giving us the result in 'Hundreds' and 'carucates'. Here are the actual figures:

Car. Bov.   Car. Bov.   Car. Bov.
2 4   12 0   12 0
2 0   10 0   11 4
2 4   10 6   3 0
11 0   8 0   1 0
5 0   6 0   2 0
11 0   1 4   3 0
8 6   0 4   3 4
            1 0
            0 6
            2 0
            1 6
————   ————   ————
H.  3   6 6140   H.  4   0 6141   H.  3   5 4142

[pg 70]

Now we must observe that these 'Hundreds' are not districts with 'a local habitation and a name'; they are merely sums of twelve carucates produced by compound addition. We further find, at the head of the survey of each Wapentake, a note that it is reckoned to contain so many 'Hundreds', with the explanation, in some instances that in each 'Hundred' were 'xii. carucatæ terræ'.143 But even here the real unit is shown to be 'six carucates', for several Wapentakes contain an odd 'half-hundred', while in that of Horncastle this is actually entered as 'six carucates'.

Here are the nineteen Wapentakes, with the number of Hundreds assigned to each, and the number of 'carucatæ terræ' that such Hundreds would imply:

West Trithing
Wapentake Hundreds Car. terr.
Manley [ ]½    
Aslacoe   90
Lawress 12   144
Corringham 5   60
Axholme 4   48
Well 7   84
North Trithing
Walshcroft 8   96
Haverstoe   90
Bradley 144 [and 3 bov.] 42⅜
Ludborough 3   36
Yarborough 14   168
Bolingbroke 8   96
Gartree 6   72
South Trithing
Candleshoe 10   120
Calceworth 10   120
Wraghoe 9   108
Hill 6   72
Lothesk 10   120
Horncastle   78

All the above, it will be seen, are multiples of the six-carucate unit. That the aggregate of recorded 'carucatæ terræ' appears to differ, though slightly, from the totals here given only shows how vain is the [pg 71] argument that, because the recorded aggregates of Hundreds may often be uneven figures, there could therefore have been no system at work such as I contend there was. Clerical error and special alterations have both to be allowed for.

It has never, so far as I know, been pointed out that these Lindsey Trithings were so arranged as to contain an approximately equal number of 'Hundreds'. So far as it is possible now to reckon them, the South Trithing contained 51½, the North Trithing 51½, and the West Trithing 49½. Fifty 'Hundreds' would represent 600 carucatæ; and it is, to say the least, a singular coincidence that, in the archaic territorial list that has hitherto baffled investigation, the North Gyrwa, South Gyrwa, and Spalda are reckoned each at 600 hides.145

I shall now give some instances of Lindsey townships assessed on the basis of the six-carucate unit:

  Car. Bov.
Willoughton 3
  6 0
Faldingworth 2 4
1 0
2 4
  6 0
Reepham 0 4
0 6
4 6
  6 0
Thoresway 0 2
5 6
  6 0
Benniworth 2 4
3 4
  6 0
Thorganby 1 7
0 5
1 6
0 6
1 0
  6 0
Beelsby 4 4
1 0
0 4
  6 0
Riby 1 4
4 4
  6 0
Rigsby 3 6
2 2
  6 0
South Kelsey 4 4
Thornton le Moor 1 4
  6 0

[pg 72]

These instances will illustrate the value of the Lindsey Survey in enabling us to group the fractional assessments which appear in Domesday Book. Here are some other varieties:

  Car. Bov.
Dunholm 5 3
2 5
2 0
2 0
  12 0
Glentham 3 0
0 10
Glentham and Caenby 7 6
  12 0
Scotton 0 4
0 4
2 0
6 0
  9 0
Irby-on-Humber 1 4
1 0
0 4
  3 0
Somerby 2 4
0 6
  3 0
Barrow-on-Humber 11 0
1 0
  12 0
South Elkington 4 0
8 0
  12 0
Winteringham 11 0
1 0
  12 0
Nun Ormsby 2 2
4 4
2 2
  9 0
Croxby 0 3
0 5
1 0
1 0
  3 0
Worlaby 2 2
0 6
  3 0

Lastly, to complete the parallel with the Leicestershire Hundreds infra, we may take this case (cf. p. 63, note 122):

Claxby and Well 14
Claxby 10

[pg 73]

Precisely the same system prevailed in Holland as in Lindsey, for the 'Testa de Nevill' preserves for us the constituents of a Holland Wapentake, that of 'Elhou':

Pinchbeck 12
Spalding 12
Weston 6
Moulton 6
Whaplode and Holbeach 18
Fleet 6
Gedney 8 rightbrace 12
Lutton 4
Sutton rightbrace 12

The Lindsey Survey would describe such a Wapentake as containing 'Seven Hundreds'.

Crossing the border from Lincolnshire into Rutland (i.e. the Rutland of Domesday), we find the same system at work that meets us in the Lindsey Survey. We read:

In Alfnodestou Wapent' sunt ii. Hundrez. In unoquoque [sunt] xii. carucatæ ad geldum.... In Martinesleie Wap' est i. hundret, in quo xii. carucatæ ad geldum.—D.B., i. 293b.

On analysing the contents of these Wapentakes, we find this statement fully borne out, the former containing twenty-four, and the latter twelve, 'carucatæ terræ'. These are carefully contrasted throughout with the 'terra carucæ' or areal measure.146

In Yorkshire, Notts and Derby, we have less direct evidence. Sawley, in Derbyshire, has indeed been alleged to be entered in Domesday as a Hundred of twelve carucates, but Domesday does not justify this assertion being made.147 I would rather trust to the notable formula, which, as I explained at the outset, is common to these counties for proof that they also were arranged in 'Hundreds' of twelve carucates.

The prevalence, however, of assessment by sixes, threes, and twelves, meets us on every side, as does, in hidated districts, the assessments by fives and tens. At the outset, for instance, of the survey of Yorkshire we have the district 'gelding' with the city assessed at eighty-four (12×7) carucates (which would be described [pg 74] in Lincolnshire as seven 'Hundreds'). We have two lists of the details, which are given here.148

  Car. terræ   Car. terræ  
Archbishop 6   Archbishop 6
Osboldeuuic 6   Osboldeuuic 6
Stocthun 6   Stochetun 6
Sa'bura 3   Sa'bure 3
Heuuarde 6   Heuuorde 6
Ditto 3      
Fuleford 10   Fuleforde 10
Round the City 3   Round the City 3
Cliftune 18   Cliftune 18
Roudclif 3   Roudeclif 3
Ouertun 5   Ouertune 5
Sceltun 9   Scheltune 9
Mortun 3   Mortune 3
Wichistun 1   Wichintun 3
  '84'      '84' 

These lists have a value independent of their illustration of the arrangement in threes and sixes. They show how Domesday breaks down, when it supplies a check upon its own evidence, by failing to make its details agree with its total; and they further show by the discrepancy between them how easily error may arise, and how rash it must be to argue from a single case.149

Yorkshire presents other traces, in its Hundreds, of the same system. Thus the townships in the Hundred of 'Toreshou' follow one another in this order: 18, 18, 20, 6, 18, 8, 12, 12 (8+4), 6, 18, 8, 18, etc. (infra, p. 80).

But my strong evidence is found in an invaluable survey of Leicestershire, unknown till now to historians,150 which does for the carucated districts just what the Inq. Com. Cant. does for the hidated ones. Here we find the townships grouped in small blocks of from six to twenty-four 'carucatæ terræ', as a rule with almost monotonous regularity. And these blocks are further combined in small local Hundreds, of which the very existence is unknown to historians and antiquaries,151 and which are usually multiples, like the Lincolnshire Wapentake, of the six-carucate unit.

It will be remembered that in the case of Cambridgeshire, I selected for my first two examples a Hundred of 50 hides, composed of 5 Vills assessed at 10 hides each, and a Hundred of 70 hides, composed [pg 75] of 7 Vills, assessed at 10 hides each. In Leicestershire, precisely in the same manner, I shall begin with the simplest forms and select Hundreds of 36 and 48 carucates, composed of Vills uniformly assessed at 12 carucates each.

Hundred of Scalford
Scalford 12 (11½ + ½)
Goadby 12 (6 + 6)
Knipton 12 (8¾ + 3¼)
Hundred of Kibworth
Kibworth (Beauchamp) 12  
Kibworth (Harcourt) 12  
'Bocton' 12  
Carlton 12 (10 + 1¼ + ¾)

From these we may advance to other combinations:

Hundred of Harby
Harby and Plungar       18    
Stathern       18    
Hundred of Tong
Tong       12    
Kegworth       15 rightbrace 18
Worthington       3
'Dominicum'       12    
Hundred of Langton
Langton (1) rightbrace 24 leftbrace 14½   (11¼ + 3¼)
Thorp (Langton)    
Langton (2)    
Tur Langton rightbrace 24 leftbrace 12    
Shangton 12   (10 + 2)

With these types as clues we are in a position to assert that where the total assessment of a Hundred varies but slightly from a multiple of six, there must have been some slight error in one of the figures. Thus Hundreds of 35½, 341316 carucates, etc., may be safely assumed to have been Hundreds of 36 carucates; those of 41, 43⅞, etc., [pg 76] would be of 42 carucates; those of 48⅞, 50, etc., would be of 48 carucates. These slight discrepancies, precisely as in Lincolnshire, are accounted for by Vills of 6 or 12 carucates, being entered as of 5⅞, 51316, 6¾, or 11⅞, 13, etc. Thus:

Hundred of Eastwell
Vills   Carucates
Eastwell 12 (2 + 6 + 4)
Eaton 12¼ (3¼ + 916 + 8716)
Branston 12 (7½ + 4½)

The most usual Leicestershire Hundreds are those of 36, 42, and 48 carucates, which, be it observed, would be described in the language of the Lindsey Survey as 'Wapentakes' of 3, 3½, and 4 'Hundreds' respectively. The name may be different: the thing is the same.152

It will have been seen by this Survey that the 'Vills', single or grouped, were assessed precisely as in Cambridgeshire, save that there the assessment was reckoned in fives and tens, while here it was in sixes and twelves.


The case of Leicestershire introduces us to a very curious point. Leicestershire is not one of those counties to which the singular formula that I discussed above refers. This suggests that it was not arranged in 'Hundreds' of twelve carucates. The above Survey confirms this, for it shows us Hundreds resembling in character those found in the hidated districts. But although the twelve-carucate unit of the 'Hundred' is not found in Leicestershire, we do find in it a group-unit, and that unit is the hida. Just as we have seen the Hundred used in two wholly different senses, so also was the 'hida'. The quite peculiar way in which 'hida' occurs in Leicestershire (which was not a hidated but carucated district) completely baffled Mr Eyton, and was misunderstood by Mr Pell.153 Both writers failed to observe not only that the use of 'hida' is here of a peculiar character, but also that the normal 'hida' of Domesday (from which they could not emancipate themselves) would be quite out of place in this carucated district.

[pg 77]

The first point to grasp is that this Leicestershire 'hida' was a term which, locally I mean, explained itself. It is used at least a dozen times in the Survey of Leicestershire without any mention of its contents. Those contents must have been, therefore, familiar and fixed. But what were those contents? Three incidental notices enable us to determine them:

231 (a), 2: 'Ibi est i. hida et iiiita. pars i. hidæ. Ibi sunt xxii. car' terræ et dimidia.'

236 (a), 1: 'II. partes unius hidæ, id est xii. car' terræ.'

237 (a), 2: 'II. partes unius hidæ, id est xii. car' terræ.'

Just as the 'Hundred' of Lincolnshire was a sum of twelve carucates, so the 'Hide' of Leicestershire was a sum of eighteen carucates.154 Working in the light of this discovery (for as such I claim it), we find that the other 'hides', thus interpreted, give us an aggregate of 'carucates' obviously suitable to the recorded ploughlands.155 It may, however, be fairly asked why Domesday should speak in one place of half a 'hide', and in another of nine 'carucates'; in one place of a hide and a third, and in another of twenty-four carucates. The answer is that the singular love of variety which distinguishes Domesday in Cambridgeshire (as we saw) is at work here also. For instance, two equal estates are thus described: 'Willelmus iiii. car' terræ et dimidiam et iii. bovatas, et Rogerus iiii. car' terræ et vii. bovatas' (fo. 234a). The same instinct which led the scribe to enter these seven bovates as half a carucate plus three bovates, led him also to enter ten and a half carucates as half a hide plus a carucate and a half (fo. 237a).

But to the rule I have established there is a single exception. We read of 'Medeltone' in this shire: 'Ibi sunt vii. hidæ et una carucata terræ et una bovata. In unaquaque hida sunt xiiii. carucatæ terræ et dimidia' (fo. 235b). The actual formula employed is unique for the shire, and the figures are specially given as an exception. But, with singular perversity, Domesday students have always been inclined to pitch upon the exceptions as representing the rule, forgetting that it was precisely in exceptional cases that figures had to be given. In normal cases they would have been superfluous.

Several years have elapsed since I wrote the above explanation, but I have decided to publish it exactly as it originally stood. In the meanwhile, however, Mr Stevenson has dealt with the subject in an article on 'The Hundreds of Domesday: the Hundred of Land' (1890).156 He has advanced the ingenious theory that the Leicestershire [pg 78] 'hida' was only a clerical error for H[undred], and that it was really that 'Hundred' of twelve carucates which we meet with in the Lindsey Survey. To prove this, he reads an entry on 236a, 1, as 'Ogerus Brito tenet in Cilebe de rege ii. partes unius hidæ, id est xii. car[ucatæ] terræ', and claims that this gloss defines the 'hida' as a 'hundred' of twelve carucates. I confess that to me such a rendering is in the highest degree non-natural. If we speak of 'two-thirds of a yard, that is twenty-four inches', we should clearly imply that the yard itself was thirty-six inches, not twenty-four. Similarly, I claim to render the 'gloss' as implying that the 'hida' itself contained eighteen carucatæ, not twelve.157 If I am right, Mr Stevenson's suggestion that this 'hida' was really a 'Hundred' also falls to the ground.

After careful study of the Domesday Survey of Leicestershire, I definitely hold that in that county 'carucata terræ' was the geld-carucate and 'terra x car[ucis]' the actual ploughlands.158 Now there are only three instances in which the Survey records the assessment both in terms of the 'hida' and in 'carucatæ terræ', and in all three the figures support my own theory. The Abbot of Coventry's Burbage estate (231a, 2), where a 'hide' and a quarter equates 22½ 'carucatæ terræ', is a test-case, and Mr Stevenson there takes refuge in a suggested 'beneficial hidation'. The exact formula, no doubt, is peculiar, but reference to the text shows that 's[un]t' has been interpolated between 'ibi' and 'xxii.' I suspect that the scribe had written 'ibi' (from the force of habit) when he ought to have written 'id est'.

I close this portion of my essay by applying my own theory to the case of 'Erendesbi' (Arnesby). The relative entries are:

'Episcopus Constantiensis tenet in Erendesber iiias. car[ucatas] terræ et dim. et unam bovatam (231).'

'W[illelmus] Pevrel tenet dim. hidam et iii. bovatas terræ in Erendesbi (235).'

Put into figures they work out:

  Car. Bov.
Bishop of Coutances 1
William Peverel 9 3
  12 0

So that Arnesby was a typical Vill assessed at twelve carucates.159

[pg 79]


There is one other case of a peculiar 'hide' in Domesday. This is that which is found in the land 'between Ribble and Mersey', that district of which the description offers so many peculiarities. We find it divided into six hundreds, and of the 'hides' in the first, that of (West) Derby, we read: 'In unaquaque hida sunt vi. carucatæ terræ' (i. 269b). Whether or not that explanation applies, as is believed, to the whole district, we have here again a 'Danish' place-name brought into direct relation with the six-carucate unit. On the opposite bank of the Mersey lay the Wirral peninsula, in which this system of assessment cannot be traced.

Mr Green alluded to the Danish 'byes' as found, by exception, 'about Wirral in Cheshire',160 and held that Norsemen from the Isle of Man had founded 'the little group of northern villages which we find in the Cheshire peninsula of the Wirral'.161 I cannot find them myself. In his 'Notes on the Domesday Survey, so far as it relates to the Hundred of Wirral'162 (1893), Mr Fergusson Irvine, in a paper which shows, though somewhat discursive, how much can only be done by intelligent local research, has collated all the Domesday entries. 'Raby' is the one place I can there find in the peninsula with the 'bye' termination; while out of fifty-one entries twenty refer to places with the English termination 'tone', and the Anglo-Saxon test-words 'ham' and 'ford' are found in four others. There were, doubtless, Norse elements in the peninsula, but they were not strong enough to change the place-names or divide the land on their own system. In the same way, Chester had its 'lawmen', though it was not one of the Five Boroughs, nor is what I have termed the Scandinavian formula applied to Cheshire in Domesday. So, too, there were lawmen at Cambridge, and their heriot included eight pounds,163 which occur in the above formula as the twelve marcs of the Danish 'Hundred'. Yet the whole system of Cambridgeshire was non-Danish. It was only, in short, where the northern invaders had settled down as a people that they were strong enough to divide the land anew and organize the whole assessment on their own system.


We have seen that the unit of assessment for the carucated districts of England was 'vi. carucatæ terræ', just as five hides was the old unit in the south. We have also seen that the former reckoning extended over those districts which the Danish immigrants had settled. There remains the question whether the Danes had merely [pg 80] substituted six for five in the pre-existing arrangement, or had made a wholly new one for themselves based on actual area.

It is primâ facie not probable that they can have adopted the latter course, for the uniformity of their assessment proves its artificial character. Yet, in his remarkable paper on 'The Ploughland and the Plough',164 Canon Taylor has arrived at the conclusion that:

The geldable carucate of Domesday does not signify what the carucate usually signifies in other early documents. The 'carucata ad geldum' is not as commonly stated by Domesday commentators, the quantity of land ploughed in each year by one plough, but it is the quantity tilled in one year in one arable field by one plough.165

This 'novel and important proposition', as its author truly described it, was probably the most notable contribution to our knowledge that the Domesday Commemoration produced. The Canon's theory, which (so far as his own East Riding is concerned) he certainly seems to have established, is, at first sight, fatal to mine. But, on the other hand, my own theory can be proved no less clearly for Leicestershire, where the 'carucata terræ' and the ploughs are often connected in about the same ratio as in Yorkshire.166 This leads us to inquire whether, even in the East Riding (where his theory works best), we may not find traces of that assessment by the six-carucate unit which I advocate myself. Such traces in Yorkshire we have already seen,167 but there is other and stronger evidence.

If we take the modern Wapentake of Dickering (the first on Canon Taylor's list) and examine its three Domesday Hundreds of Turbar, Hunton, and Burton, we obtain these results:168

Turbar Hundred
Hundemanebi     24
Ricstorp, Mustone, Scloftone, and Neuton     18
Flotemanebi     6
Muston and Neuton     6
Fordun and Ledemare     6
Burton, Fulcheton, and Chelc     30
Chelc (2), Ergone, Bringeham, Estolf,
Fodstone, and Chemelinge
Nadfartone     23¾
Pochetorp     6
Helmeswelle and Gartune     44

[pg 81]

Hunton Hundred
Flaneburg and Siwardbi 24½    
Marton 9    
Bredinton 18    
Hilgertorp 6    
Wivlestorp and Basingebi 12    
Frestintorp 9 rightbrace 29½
Eleburne ½
Eston 6
Bovintorp 14
Gerendele 12    
Ricton, Benton and Spetton 24    
Bocheton 12    
Fleuston 14 rightbrace 27
Stactone 6
Foxhole 7
Burton Hundred
Burton 12    
Grenzmore (4+2) 6    
Arpen (4+8) 12    
Chillon (30+11+7) 48    
Roreston (9+3) 12    
Logetorp (1½+5½) 7 rightbrace 36
Thirnon 7
Ascheltorp (4+2) 6
Torp 3
Cherendebi 13
Caretorp (5+4+3) 12    
Rodestain (8+8+8) 24    
Twenc 17¼    
Suauetorp 9    
Fornetorp (4+14) 18    
Butruid 12    
Langetou (9+6) 15 rightbrace 42
Buitorp 5
Bruneton 3
Galmeton 8
Binneton 6
Widlaueston 5    

The evidence of this last Hundred is so overwhelming that it cannot be gainsaid.169

I claim, therefore, that my theory holds good even in Canon Taylor's stronghold, but I do so without venturing to dispute the accuracy of his own. How far they can be reconciled I leave to others to decide.

There are certain difficulties, however, which his brilliant suggestion must raise. It is the essence of his theory that in a two-field Manor the ploughland of 160 acres (half fallow) was assessed at one 'carucata terræ', while in the three-field Manor the ploughland of 180 acres (a third fallow) was assessed at two. This would be an obvious and gross injustice. Again, remembering that, according to the Canon, the proportion of 'carucatæ' to ploughlands should be either 2 to 1 or 1 to 1, what are we to make of such figures as these, taken at a venture from a page of the Leicestershire Survey (232a, 1):

[pg 82]

Carucatæ Ploughlands Carucata Ploughlands
1 2 12 8
1 ½ 11⅛ 7
2 1 9 4
5⅝ 4 7 6
2 1 6 5
2⅝ 4 2 4
1 1 10 7
6 4 9 6
8⅞ 6 ½
½ ½ 6 4 (thrice)
28 22 4⅞ 3

It is certainly difficult to discover any regular or consistent assessment in a system where the ploughland was represented by anything from ½ carucata to 2¼ carucatæ. There is, however, in so many cases an approximation to an assessment of three carucatæ for two ploughlands, that there seems to have been some underlying idea, if we could only trace it out. But for this there is needed a special investigation of all the carucated counties, a work of great labour and requiring local co-operation. If we could have tables for each county, arranged Hundred by Hundred and Vill by Vill, showing in parallel columns the ploughland and the carucatæ ad geldum, we could then, and only then, venture to speak positively. Till that is accomplished we are not in a position to explain how a system of assessment, based on actual area, could result in aggregate assessments uniformly expressed in terms of the six-carucate unit.


In seeking a clue to the origin of that artificial assessment, of which the traces, whether more or less apparent, linger on the pages of Domesday, I propose to exclude the carucated district, because we require, as I have said, more complete evidence as to the system pursued within it, and because, being associated with the settlement of the Danes it represents a later introduction, while the very name 'carucate', as I observed in Domesday Studies, has, unlike the mysterious 'hide', an obvious connection with the ploughland. Confining ourselves to the district assessed in terms of the 'hide', we seek to learn the origin of the system by which, as I contend, it was divided for the purpose of taxation into blocks, each of which was expressed in terms of the five-hide unit.

Now if we follow the clue afforded by the Cambridgeshire evidence, and hold that the assessment was originally laid not on the Manor, nor even on the Vill, but on the Hundred as a whole,170 [pg 83] it might be suggested that the Hundred itself subdivided the amount among its constituent elements. In practice, indeed, from the nature of the case, this principle must have prevailed in every town assessed at a Hundred or Half-Hundred, for where an urban community was assessed in 'hides' the burgesses must, as in later days, have settled among themselves the proportion to be borne by individuals or individual properties. If, then, they were able to do this, and if, as I hold, town and country were assessed on the same principle, as part of the same system, what was to prevent their neighbours, in the court of the rural Hundred, similarly distributing among its constituents their respective shares of the common burden?

We might even be tempted to go far further than this, and to carry our discoveries to a logical conclusion. If, as is asserted, direct taxation ('geld') began in England with the need for raising money to buy off the Danes, let us ask ourselves how the Witan would proceed when confronted with a demand, let us say, for £10,000. As there had been hitherto, ex hypothesi, no direct taxation, there would be no statistical information at their disposal, enabling them to raise by a direct levy the sum required. Their only possible resource, we might hold, would be to apportionate it in round sums among the contributory shires. Proceeding on precisely the same lines, the county court, in its turn, would distribute the quota of the shire among its constituent Hundreds, and the Hundred court would then assign to each Vill its share. As the Vills were represented in the Hundred court, and the Hundreds in the Shire court, the just apportionment of the Shire's quota would be thus practically secured. The arrangement would, moreover, be as satisfactory to the Witan as it was fair to the contributors inter se; for, by this gradation of responsibility, the payment of the whole was absolutely secured. This explanation is very tempting, and, indeed, such a system of apportioning liability is to be traced from time immemorial in the Indian village community.171 Moreover, if the ratio of 'hides' to ploughlands were found to vary to any marked extent, according to county, the hypothesis that the quota, in the first instance, was laid upon each county would duly explain the ratio assessment being higher or lower in one county than in another.

But such an hypothesis would imply that this assessment dated only from the days of Æthelred, or circ. 1000. Now the five-hide unit, on the contrary, was undoubtedly an old institution. Church lordships, the easiest to trace, appear to have retained their hidation unchanged from early times, and the 'possessio decem familiarum' of Bede seems to carry the decimal system back to very early days. Mr Seebohm, indeed—though, like others, he had failed to [pg 84] discover the existence of the five-hide system—saw in this 'possessio' of Bede a connecting link with the Roman decuria, just as he saw in the Roman jugatio the possible origin of English hidation. And we must, of course, trace its artificial arrangement (1) either to the Romans, (2) or to the Britons—assuming them to have had the same system as existed in Wales for the food-rents, (3) or to the English invaders.

Arrested at this point by the difficulty of assigning to the system I have described its real origin, I dropped these studies for some years in the hope that there might come from some quarter fresh light upon the problem. As I cannot, however, for lack of evidence, propound a solution capable of proof, I will content myself with indicating the line of research that offers, I venture to think, the most likelihood of success.

The proportionate sums contributed by the several counties to the Danegeld present a fruitful field of inquiry, but one, it would seem, as yet unworked. Mr Eyton, it is true, observed that 'in Devon and Cornwall the scope of the gheld-hide was enormous',172 that is, in other words, the assessment was strangely low, but it did not occur to him to seek the cause of the phenomenon he observed. If, as was the case, West Wales was assessed on quite a different scale to the counties adjoining it on the east, it may suggest a conclusion no less important than that, when the latter were originally assessed, West Wales was not yet a portion of the English realm. But, before concluding that the hide assessment is proved to be as ancient as this, we must see whether it is possible to detect any principle at work in the total assessments of the several counties, any relation between their area and the sums they contributed to the geld as entered in the Pipe Roll of 1130, our first evidence on the subject.

For such an enquiry it is especially needful to insist on breadth of treatment. In the first place, the modern area of the counties may vary more or less from the original extent;173 in the second we have no proof that the assessment had always been the same, though the tendency in early days, no doubt, was to stereotype such figures. We must not, therefore attempt close or detailed investigation but if, on a review of the whole evidence, we detect certain broad features, uneffaced by the hand of time, we may fairly claim that we have in these the traces of a principle at work, the witness to a state of things prevailing in the distant past.

On comparing the contributions to a 'geld' at two shillings on the hide with the (modern) area of counties, we find that a rate of about a pound for every seven square miles prevailed widely enough to be almost described as normal.

[pg 85]

The three eastern counties work out thus:

  Square Miles (At 17) Actual Sum
  £ £ s d
Norfolk 2,119 30257 330 3 2
Suffolk 1,475 21057 235 0 8
Essex 1,542 22027 236 8 0

In all three cases the proportion to the square mile is between a sixth and a seventh of a pound. In Cambridgeshire it is just under, in Sussex, just over, a seventh:

  Square Miles (At 17) Actual Sum
  £ £ s d
Cambridgeshire 820 11717 114 15 0
Sussex 1,458 20827 209 18 6

Most remarkable, however, is this Midland group:

  Square Miles (At 17) Actual Sum
  £ £ s d
Leicestershire 700 100 100 0 0
Warwickshire 885 12637 128 12 6
Worcestershire 738 10537 101 5 7
Gloucestershire 1,224 17467 179 11 8
Somerset 1,640 23427 227 10 4

It is remarkable, not only for this agreement inter se, but also for the sharp contrast it presents to the groups of counties, lying respectively to the south-east and the north-west of it. The former approximates a rate twice as high, namely, two-sevenths of a pound to the square mile:

  Square Miles (At 17) Actual Sum
  £ £ s d
Buckinghamshire 745 21237 204 14 7
Oxfordshire 756 216 239 9 3
Berkshire 722 20627 200 1 3
Wiltshire 1,354 38667 388 13 0

Taking this group as a whole, it paid £1,032 18s 1d, a curiously close approximation to the £1,02147 which my suggested rate of 27 would give. Middlesex was so exceptional a county, that one hardly likes to include it, but there also the rate was a little over two-sevenths.

On the other hand, the counties to the north-west of what I have termed the Midland group are assessed at a rate singularly low. Nottingham and Derby, with a joint area of 1,855 miles, contributed only £108 8s 6d, representing one-seventeenth;174 while Staffordshire, with its 1,169 miles, is found paying £44 0s 11d, [pg 86] a rate scarcely more than one twenty-seventh. Passing to the opposite corner of the realm, we have Kent, always a wealthy county, assessed at the phenomenally low rate of about one-fifteenth (£105 2s 10d, as against 1,555 miles), rather less than half that of Essex to its north, and Sussex to its west.

It would seem impossible to resist the conclusion that in these widely differing rates we have traces of a polity as yet divided, of those independent kingdoms from which had been formed the realm. Kent, for instance, which had so steadily maintained, first, its independent existence, and then its local institutions, had succeeded in preserving an assessment that its neighbours had cause to envy. In the west, Cornwall similarly enjoyed a low, indeed a nominal assessment while that of Devon, though higher than this, was so significantly lower than those of Somerset and Dorset175 as to remind us that here, in part at least, the 'Welsh' long held their own. If the incidence of geld were shown by shading a map of England, on the plan so successfully adopted in Mr Seebohm's great work, it would show that the heavily assessed counties were those which formed the nucleus of the old West-Saxon realm.176 All round this nucleus the map would shade off sharply, another sudden change marking the Danish counties on the north, the Jutish kingdom on the east, and the British district in the south-west. It is, perhaps, worthy of remark that Shropshire was assessed twice as heavily as the adjoining county of Stafford, possibly because part of it was added, at a very early period, to the kingdom of the West Saxons. If Mr Eyton was right in his reckoning that Kesteven was assessed twice as heavily as Lindsey, and Lindsey, in turn, twice as heavily as Holland, it would illustrate the survival of local distinctions even within the compass of a modern county, as well as the 'shading off' tendency of which I have already spoken.

The point I have here endeavoured to bring out is that if the system of artificial assessment were of Roman or British origin, we should expect to find it fairly uniform over the whole country, whereas we find, on the contrary, the very widest discrepancies. It might be urged, perhaps, that these were due to the differing conditions of particular counties, to their more or less partial reclamation, for instance, of the date when they were assessed. But this would not account for the grouping I have traced, and would imply that each county ought to differ indefinitely. Nor would it explain the case of Kent, where a county that must have been foremost in early development and prosperity enjoyed a phenomenally low assessment.

[pg 87]

Another objection that may be raised to my hypothesis is that the Hundred, as an area for police and rating, was a comparatively late institution, and that if the artificial system of assessment were as ancient as I suggest, it could not have operated, as we saw, in Cambridgeshire, it did operate, through the 'Hundred'. It is, however, admitted that the thing represented by the 'Hundred' was, whatever its original name, of immemorial antiquity, as the intermediate division between the Vill and the Shire or kingdom. Approaching the subject from the legal standpoint, Professor Maitland has pointed out that the Hundred having a proper court, which the Vill had not, was the older institution of the two, and has skilfully seized on the differentiation of villages originally possessing one name in common as a hint that some such subdivision may have been going on more widely than is known. It seems to me to be at least possible that the district originally representing a Hundred, and named, as we are learning, in most cases from the primitive meeting-place of its settlers, was reckoned as so many multiples of five or ten hides, and that this aggregate was subsequently distributed by its community among themselves.177

If it be not presumption to touch on the controversies as to the Hundred,178 I would suggest that while agreeing with Dr Stubbs, that the name of 'Hundred' may be traced to the ordinance of Edgar179 —which did not, however, create the district itself—I cannot reconcile it with the view to which he leans in his Constitutional History, that 'under the name of geographical hundreds we have the variously sized pagi or districts in which the hundred warriors settled'; and that we should 'recognize in the name the vestige of the primitive settlement, and in the district itself an earlier or a later subdivision of the kingdom to which it belonged'.180 For my part, I have never been able to understand the anxiety to identify the district known, in later days, as a 'Hundred' with an original hundred warriors, families, or hides. The significant remark on the 'centeni' by Tacitus, that 'quod primo numerus fuit, jam nomen et honor est', would surely lead us to expect that by the time of the migration the 'Hundred' had become, like the 'hide' of Domesday, a term even more at variance with fact. Indeed, in his masterly 'Introductory sketch', Dr Stubbs observed that the 'superior divisions' made by the 'new-comers' would 'have that indefiniteness [pg 88] which even in the days of Tacitus belonged to the Hundreds, the centeni of the Germans', and that their 'system' would be 'transported whole, at the point of development which it has reached at home'.181

The suggestion I have made as to the origin of the five-hide system is tentative only, and must remain so until we have at our disposal for the whole hidated region that complete and trustworthy analysis of assessment, on the need of which I again insist, at the risk of wearisome iteration.


In Norfolk and Suffolk we find Domesday recording assessed values not, as everywhere else, at the outset of an entry, but at its close; not in terms of hides and carucates, but in terms of shillings and pence. Instead of saying that a Manor paid on so many 'hidæ' or 'carucatæ terræ', Domesday, in the case of these counties, normally employs the phrase: 'x denarii de gelto'. Its meaning is that to every pound paid by the Hundred as geld the Manor contributed x pence.182 Thus, in the case of a Hundred assessed at a hundred hides, the formula for a five-hide Manor would be here 'xii. denarii de gelto', instead of the usual 'defendit se pro v. hidis', or some such phrase as that. There is an exact parallel to this method of recording assessed values in the case of fractions of knights' fees where portions of land are entered as paying so much 'when the scutage is forty shillings', instead of being assessed in terms of the knight's fee.183 This system would seem, however, to have been understood imperfectly if at all. I may, therefore, point out that its nature is clear from the case of the Suffolk Hundred of Thingoe.

The case of this Hundred is singularly instructive. We find its twenty 'Vills' grouped in blocks, precisely as in the Cambridgeshire Hundreds, and these blocks are all equal units of assessment, like the ten-hide groups of the hidated districts. But in this case we can go further still, for we are not dependent on Domesday alone. The portion of a special Survey executed about a century later (circ. 1185) for Abbot Sampson of St Edmund's, which relates to its Hundred, is [pg 89] fortunately preserved, and gives us the name of the twelve 'leets' into which this Hundred was divided.184

Here are the divisions recorded in it, with the Domesday assessment (in pence) of each Vill placed against its name.

    £ s d
I. leftbrace Barrow 7      
Flemington 6      
Lackford 6      
      19 0 1 7
II.   Risby 20 0 1 8
III. leftbrace Saxham (A) 7      
Saxham (B) 7      
      20½ 0 1
IV. leftbrace Hengrave 10      
Fornham 10      
      20 0 1 8
V. leftbrace Ickworth      
Hargrave 7      
      21 0 1 9
VI. leftbrace Brockley 7      
Rede 7      
Manston 6      
      20 0 1 8
VII.   Whepstead 20 0 1 8
VIII. leftbrace Hawstead 13½      
      20 0 1 8
IX.   Horningsheath 20 0 1 8
X., XI., XII.   Sudbury 60 0 5 0
        £1 0

[pg 90]

The two records—Domesday and the Inquest—thus confirm one another, and their concurrent testimony establishes the fact not only that the Suffolk Hundred was divided into blocks of equal assessment, but that these blocks were known by the name of 'leets'.

Now Professor Maitland, in his Dissertation on the 'History of the Word Leet',185 pronounces this 'the earliest occurrence of the word' that he has seen. But I can carry it back to Domesday itself. Though not entered in the Index Rerum, we find it in such instances as these:

'H[undredum] de Grenehou de xiv. letis' (ii. 119b).

'Hund[redum] et dim[idium] de Clakelosa de x. leitis' (ii. 212b).

I think it probable that in these cases the entry happened to stand first on the original return for the Hundred, and so—as in the I.E., where it is derived from the original returns—the general heading crept in. Though Professor Maitland has to leave the origin of the word unexplained, it seems to me impossible to overlook the analogy between the Danish lægd, described by Dr Skeat as a division of the country (in Denmark) for military conscription,186 and the East Anglian leet, a division of the country (as we have seen) for purposes of taxation.

Sudbury, it will be observed, was a quarter of the Hundred of Thingoe,187 just as Huntingdon was a quarter of a Hundred,188 and Wisbech a quarter of a Hundred.189

Having thus obtained from the Hundred of Thingoe the clue to this peculiar system, we can advance to more difficult types. The Hundred of Thedwastre, for instance, was divided not into twelve blocks, each paying twenty pence in the pound, but into nine blocks, each paying twenty-seven. This assessment allowed a margin of 3d for every pound (i.e. £1 0s 3d); but in the case of Thedwastre the total excess was only 1½d on the pound (i.e. £1 0s 1½d). I group the Vills tentatively, thus:

[pg 91]

I.   Barton     27
II. leftbrace Fornham rightbrace 26½
Rougham 20
III. leftbrace Peckenham 13½ rightbrace 26½
Bradfield 5
Fornham St Genevieve 8
IV. leftbrace Thurston 16 rightbrace 27
Woolpit 11
V. leftbrace Rushbrook 7 rightbrace 27
Ratlesden 20
VI. leftbrace Hessett 18 rightbrace 28
Felsham 5
Bradfield 5
VII. leftbrace Gedding 5 rightbrace 26
Whelnetham 10
Drinkston 11
VIII. leftbrace Ampton 7 rightbrace 27½
Tostock 10½
Staningfield 10
IX. leftbrace Tinworth 14 rightbrace 26
Livermere 12
          241½   (£1 0s 1½d)

The same unit of 27 (x9)—or, which comes to the same thing, 13½ (x18)—was adopted in Risbridge Hundred. In this case no less than five Manors are assessed at the same unit—13½d. So, again, in the Hundred of Blackbourn the units are 34½d and 17¼d, one Manor being assessed at the former, and five at the latter sum. Such is the key to the peculiar system of East Anglian assessment.

It is to be noted that 'twenty shillings'190 represents ten hides at two shillings on the hide (the normal Danegeld rate), and thus suggests that in Norfolk, as in Cambridgeshire, the Hundreds were normally assessed in multiples of ten hides. The point, however, that I want to bring out is that the Hundred, not the Manor, nor even the Vill, is here treated as 'the fiscal unit for the collection of Danegeld'.191


Several years ago I arrived at the conclusion that the identity of these two words was an unsupported conjecture. So long as it remained a conjecture only, its correction was not urgent; but since then, as is so often the case, the result of leaving it unassailed has been [pg 92] that arguments are based upon it. There appeared in the English Historical Review for July 1892 a paper by Mr Seebohm, in which that distinguished scholar took the identity for granted, as his no less distinguished opponent, Professor Vinogradoff, has done in his masterly work on Villainage in England.

I believe the alleged identity was first asserted by Archdeacon Hale, who wrote in his Domesday of St. Paul's (1858), p. xiv:

The word solanda, or, as it is written at p. 142, scolanda, is so evidently a Latinized form of the Anglo-Saxon sulung, or ploughland, and approaches so near to the Kentish solinus, that we need scarcely hesitate to consider them identical.

Let us start from the facts. In the Domesday of Kent we find the form solin, or its Latin equivalent solinum, used for the unit of assessment, like the hide and the carucate in other counties. In the Kent monastic surveys it is found as sullung or suolinga. But when we turn to the Domesday of St. Paul's, we find—first, that instead of being universal, as in Kent, it occurs only in three cases; secondly, that the form is solande, solanda, scholanda, scolanda, or even (we shall see) Scotlande; thirdly, that it is not employed as a unit of assessment at all.

The three places where the term occurs in the Domesday of St. Paul's are Drayton and Sutton in Middlesex, and Tillingham in Essex. Hale would seem to have arrived at no clear idea of what the word meant. At p. xiv he wrote that 'a solanda consisted of two hides, but probably in this case the hide was not of the ordinary dimension'. At p. lxxviii he inferred, from a reference to 'la Scoland' in a survey of Drayton, that '"ploughed land" would seem to be opposed to "Scoland"'. At p. cx he was led by the important passage—'De hydis hiis decem, due fuerunt in dominio, una in scolanda, et vii. assisæ'—to suggest that it 'appears to denote some difference in the tenure'. This last conjecture seems the most probable. If we take the case of Sutton and Chiswick, we read in the survey of 1222:

Juratores dicunt quod manerium istud defendit se versus regem pro tribus hidis preter solandam de Chesewich que per se habet duas hidas, et sunt geldabiles cum hidis de Sutton.

Hale (p. 119) believed that this Solande de Chesewich was no other than the Scotlande thesaurarii of 1181, namely the prebend of Chiswick. The above passage should further be compared with the survey of Caddington (1222):

Dicunt juratores quod manerium istud defendit se versus regem pro x. hidis ... preter duas prebendas quæ sunt in eadem parochia.

The formula is the same in both cases, and a solanda was clearly land held on some special terms, and was not a measure or unit of assessment at all. Indeed Hale himself admitted that it could not be identified with one or with two hides.

Fortunately I have discovered an occurrence of the word solanda [pg 93] which conclusively proves that it meant an estate, such as a prebend, and was not a unit of measurement. We have, in 1183, a 'grant by William de Belmes, canon of St. Paul's, to the chapter of that church, of the Church of St. Pancras, situate in his solanda near London' (i.e. his prebend of St. Pancras), etc.193 This solves the mystery. The three solandæ at Tillingham were no other than the three prebends—Ealdland, Weldland, and Reculverland—which that parish actually contained.194

Hale, however, misled Mr Seebohm, who in his great work on the English Village Community (p. 54), wrote of Tillingham:

There was further in this Manor a double hide, called a solanda, presumably of 240 acres. This double hide, called a solanda, is also mentioned in a Manor in Middlesex [Sutton], and in another in Surrey [Drayton]195; and the term solanda is probably the same as the well-known 'Sollung' or 'solin' of Kent, meaning a 'ploughland'.

Proceeding further (p. 395), Mr Seebohm wrote:

Generally in Kent, and sometimes in Sussex, Berks and Essex, we found, in addition to, or instead of, the hide or carucate, or 'terra unius aratri', solins, sullungs, or swullungs, the land pertaining to a 'suhl', the Anglo-Saxon word for plough.

Unfortunately no reference is given for the cases of Sussex and Berks, and I know of none myself.

Turning now to the learned work of Professor Vinogradoff, we find him equally misled:

Of the sulung I have spoken already. It is a full ploughland, and 200 acres are commonly reckoned to belong to it. The name is sometimes found out of Kent, in Essex for instance. In Tillingham, a Manor of St. Paul's, of London, we come across six hides 'trium solandarum'. The most probable explanation seems to be that the hide or unit of assessment is contrasted with the solanda or sulland196 (sulung), that is with the actual ploughland, and two hides are reckoned as a single solanda (p. 255).

Lastly, we come to Mr Seebohm's reply to Professor Vinogradoff (ante, pp. 444-465). Here the identity is again assumed:

Along with parts of Essex, the Kentish records differ in phraseology from those of the rest of England. Their sullungs of 240 acres occur also in the Manors of Essex belonging to St. Paul's, and the custom of gavelkind and succession of the youngest child mark it off as exceptional. Mr Vinogradoff ... shows that in the Kentish district, and in Essex, where the sullung or solanda takes the place of the hide, and where gavelkind prevailed, the unity of the hides and virgates was preserved only for the purposes of taxation and the services; whilst in reality the holdings clustered under the nominal unit were many and irregular.

[pg 94]

I yield to no one in admiration for Mr Seebohm's work, but the question raised is so important that accuracy as to the fact is here essential. (1) Sullung is nowhere found in Essex, but only solanda; (2) Solanda does not occur 'in the Manors' referred to, but at Tillingham alone; (3) In Essex it nowhere 'takes the places of the hide', as it does in Kent; (4) The Essex instance adduced by Professor Vinogradoff is taken from a Manor where solanda does not occur.

Two issues—quite distinct—are involved. In the first place, Mr Seebohm contends that Professor Vinogradoff must not argue from 'the custom of Kent' to the rest of England, because (inter alia) Kent, unlike the rest of England, was divided into sulungs, which points to some difference in its organization.197 This contention is sound, and is actually strengthened if we reject the identity of sulung and solanda. But, in the second place, he endeavours to explain away the Essex case of subdivision at Eadwulfsness, to which the Professor appeals, by connecting it with the Kentish system through the term solanda. This, as I have shown above, is based on a misreading of the evidence, and is contrary to the facts of the case.

Let us then look more closely at the Essex instance of subdivision. It is taken from one Manor alone, the great 'soke' of Eadwulfsness, in the north-east corner of the county. This 'soke' comprised the townships of Thorpe 'le soken', Kirby 'le soken', and Walton 'le soken' (better known as Walton-on-the-Naze). Such names proclaim the Danish origin of the community, and it is noteworthy that the 'hidarii', on whom the argument turns, are found only at Thorpe and Kirby, the very two townships which bear Danish names. This circumstance points to quite another track. That the system in this little corner of Essex was wholly peculiar had been pointed out by Hale, and it might perhaps have originated in the superimposition of hides on a previous system, instead of in the breaking up of the hide and virgate system. But this is only a conjecture. The two facts on which I would lay stress are that at Thorpe, according to Hale, 'the holders of the nine hides (in 1279) possessed also among them seventy-two messuages', which, by its proportion of eight to the hide, favours Mr Seebohm's views; and that the holdings of the 'hidarii' were rigidly formed on the decimal system (such as 60, 30, 15, 7½ acres, or 40, 20, 10, 5 acres),198 unlike the holdings of an odd number of acres on the Kentish Manors of St. Augustine's. The reason for the Essex system was clearly the necessity of keeping the holdings in a fixed relation to the hide, that their proportion of the hide's service might be easily determined. These two points have, perhaps, I think, been overlooked by both of the eminent scholars in their controversy.

[pg 95]

Before leaving the subject of the sulung, one should mention perhaps that it was divided (as Mr Seebohm has explained) into four quarters known as juga, just as the hide was divided into four virgates. Mr Seebohm bases this statement on Anglo-Saxon evidence,199 but it is abundantly confirmed by Domesday, where we read of Eastwell (in Kent): 'pro uno solin se defendit. Tria juga sunt infra divisionem Hugonis, et quartum jugum est extra' (i. 13). So far all is clear; but Professor Vinogradoff, on the contrary, asserts that 'the yokes (juga) of Battle Abbey (in Kent) are not virgates, but carucates, full ploughlands' (p. 225). This assertion is based on a very natural misapprehension. In the Battle Manor of Wye (Kent) we find that the jugum itself was divided into four quarters, called 'virgates' which were each, consequently, the sixteenth, not, as in the hidated district, the fourth of a ploughland. Professor Vinogradoff, naturally assuming that the 'virgate' meant the same here as elsewhere, inferred that four 'virgates' (that is, a jugum) must constitute a full ploughland. But this change of denotation goes further still. The Battle Cartulary records yet another 'virgate', namely, the fourth (not of a ploughland, but) of an acre! This led me, on its publication, to wonder whether we have here the clue to the origin of the somewhat mysterious term 'virgate'. Starting from the acre, we should have in the virgata (rood) its quarter, with a name derived from the virga (rod) which formed its base in mensuration. The sense of 'quarter' once established, it might be transferred to the quarter of a jugum, or the quarter of a hide. This is a suggestion which, of course, I advance with all diffidence, but which would solve an otherwise insoluble problem. The relation of the bovate to the carucate, and of the jugum to the sulung, are both so obviously based upon the unit of the plough-team that they raise no difficulty. But the term 'virgate' does not, like them, speak for itself. If we might take it to denote merely a 'quarter' of the hide, it would become a term of relation only, leaving the 'hide' as the original unit. Should this suggestion meet with acceptance, it might obviously lead to rather important results.

Mr Elton, in his well-known Tenures of Kent, attaches considerable importance to a list, 'De Suylingis Comitatus Kanciæ et qui eas tenent', in the Cottonian MS., Claud. C. IV, which he placed little subsequent to Domesday. Having transcribed it for collation with the Survey, I came to the conclusion that it was not sufficiently trustworthy for publication, for the names, in my opinion, involve some anachronism. The feature of the list is that it shows us as tenants-in-chief, the leading tenants of Bishop Odo; and the change of most interest to genealogists is the succession of Patrick 'de Caurcio' to the holding of Ernulf de Hesdin.

[pg 96]


The curious and evidently archaic institution of the firma unius noctis was clearly connected with the problem of hidation. In Somerset the formula for a Manor contributing to this firma was:

Nunquam geldavit nec scitur quot hidæ sint ibi (i. 85).

In Dorset it ran:

Nescitur quot hidæ sint ibi quia non geldabat T.R.E. (i. 75).

In Wiltshire we read:

Nunquam geldavit nec hidata fuit, or nunquam geldavit: ideo nescitur quot hidæ sint ibi.200

In all these entries the 'hide' is recognized as merely a measure of assessment quite independent of area.

Hampshire affords us, in a group of Manors, a peculiarly good instance in point. Of Basingstoke, Kingsclere, and 'Esseborne', we read:

Rex tenet in dominio Basingestoches. Regale manerium fuit semper. Numquam geldum dedit, nec hida ibi distributa fuit....

Clere tenet rex in dominio. De firma Regis Edwardi fuit, et pertinet ad firmam diei de Basingestoches. Numerum hidarum nescierunt....

Esseborne tenet rex in dominio. De firma Regis Edwardi fuit. Numerum hidarum non habent....

Hæc tria maneria, Basingestoches, Clere, Esseborne, reddunt firmam unius diei (39).

Other Manors are found about the county displaying the same peculiarity.

Ipse rex tenet Bertune. De firmâ Regis E. fuit, et dimidiam diem firmæ reddidit in omnibus rebus.... Nunquam in hid(is) numeratum fuit.... Numerum hidarum non dixerunt.

Ipse rex tenet Edlinges in dominio. Hoc manerium reddidit dimidiam diem firmæ tempore Regis E. Numerum hidarum nesciunt (38).

Manors, such as Andover, not hidated, clearly belonged to the same system, though neither their value nor their render is given.

Thus, then, within the limits of Wessex, in the four adjacent counties of Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hants, we find surviving, at the time of the Conquest, an archaic but uniform system of provision for the needs of the Crown by the assignment of certain [pg 97] estates or groups of estates, the render of which was expressed in terms of the 'firma noctis' or 'firma diei', and which, unlike the country around them, had never been assessed in 'hides'.

Mr Seebohm hints slightly at this firma system,201 but only speaks of it as existing in Dorset. Nor does he allude to the significant fact of such Manors having never been hidated. It would lead us far afield to speculate on the origin of this system, or to trace its possible connection with the Welsh gwestva.202 Nor can we here concern ourselves with the few scattered traces of it that we meet with elsewhere in Domesday. Its existence in four adjacent counties, with non-hidation as a common feature, is the point I wish to emphasize.

The system of grouping townships in the west for the payment of a food-rent (firma unius noctis) was exactly parallel to the grouping in the east for the payment, not of rent but of 'geld'. We can best trace this parallel in Somerset, because the firma unius noctis of the days before the Conquest had been there commuted for a money payment at the time of Domesday. Turning to the Cambridgeshire hundred of Long Stow, we find one of its 'blocks' (of twenty-five hides) divided into three equal parts, while another is divided into three parts, of which one is half the size of the two others. And so in Somerset we have Frome and Bedminster combined in one group for the payment of this firma, and the two Perrotts similarly combined with Curry. Frome and Bedminster are each assigned the same payment, but in the other group the contribution of one is half that of the two others.

Here are the Somerset groups of demesne, each charged with the render of a firma unius noctis.

  Commutation   £ s d
Somerton (with Borough of Langport) 79 10 7 rightbrace 100 10
Chedder (with borough of Axbridge) 21 0
North Petherton 42 8 4 rightbrace 106 0 10
South Petherton 42 8 4
Curry Rivell 21 4 2
Williton       rightbrace 105 17
Frome 53 0 5 rightbrace 106 0 10
Bruton 53 0 5
Milborne Port (with Ilchester)         79 10
[Bedminster203         21 0 2½]

[pg 98]

Of these two last, Milborne Port is entered as having paid three-quarters of a firma noctis under the Confessor, while Bedminster—though in the midst of this group of firma Manors—is alone in having no render T.R.E. assigned to it. One is tempted to look on the two as originally combined in one firma (like Somerton and Chedder), save that the whole width of the county divides them, while in the other cases the constituents are grouped geographically.

The Wiltshire Manors, each of which rendered a firma unius noctis, were:

  Ploughlands Valets
Calne 29  
Bedwin 79  
Amesbury 40  
Warminster 40  
Chippenham 100 £110
'Theodulveshide' 40 £100

From the figures given for Somerset and Wilts, it may fairly be concluded that, in this district, the value of the 'firma' was about £105. In Somerset, however, there was clearly a special sum, £106 0s 10d, on which calculations were based.

An examination of Mr Eyton's statements on the firma unius noctis in Somerset and Dorset would prove a peculiarly conclusive test of his whole system.

In the case of Somerset one need not dwell on his giving its amount for the Williton group as £105 16s 6½d, when the sum named is £105 17s 4½d, although absolute accuracy is, in these matters, essential. We will pass at once to the bottom of the page (ii. 2), and collate his rendering of Domesday with the original:

'T.R.E. reddebat dimidiam firmam noctis et quadrantem' (Domesday). 'Reddebat T.R.E. dimidiam noctis firmam et unum quadrantem' (Eyton).

Domesday gives the payment (in a characteristic phrase), as three-quarters [a half and a quarter] of a firma noctis. Mr Eyton first interpolates a 'unum', and then overlooks the 'quadrantem', with the result that he represents the due T.R.E. as a firma dimidiæ noctis (i. 77). So far, this is only a matter of error per se. But Domesday records the commutation of the due T.R.W. at £79 10s 7d. This proves to be three-quarters of the commutation, in two other cases, for a whole firma noctis (£106 0s 10d). Mr Eyton, however, imagining the due to have been only half a firma set himself to account for its commutation at so high a figure (i. 77-8). This he found no difficulty in doing. He explained that 'this was not a mere commutation', but 'was doubtless a change which took into consideration the extra means and enhanced value of Meleborne'.

[pg 99]

The probability is, then, that what we have called the enhanced ferm, was enhanced by something less than the gross profits we have instanced; that is, that a part of those profits, say the Burgage rents, or some of them, had contributed to the dimidia firma noctis before the commutation.

All these ready assumptions, we must remember, are introduced to account for a discrepancy which does not exist.

Great masses of Mr Eyton's work consist of similar guesses and assumptions. Now, if these were kept scrupulously apart from the facts, they would not much matter; but they are so inextricably confused with the real facts of Domesday that, virtually, one can never be sure if one is dealing with facts or fancies.

And far more startling than the case of Somerset is that of Dorset, the 'Key to Domesday'. Mr Eyton here held that Dorchester, Bridport, and Wareham paid a full firma unius noctis each, the total amount being reckoned by him at the astounding figure of £312 (p. 70)! Exeter, which affords a good comparison, paid only £18 (as render), though the king had 285 houses there: the three Dorset towns in which, says Mr Eyton, the Crown had 323 houses, paid in all, according to him, £312. The mere comparison of these figures is sufficient. But further, Mr Eyton observes (p. 93), that in 1156 'Fordington, Dorchester, and Bridport' were granted by Henry II to his uncle, 'as representing Royal Demesne to the annual value of £60'. This is an instructive commentary on his view that Dorchester and Bridport alone rendered £208 per annum. Our doubts being thus aroused, we turn to Domesday and find that it does not speak of any of these towns as paying that preposterous firma. The right formula for that would be 'reddit firmam unius noctis' (p. 84). Instead of that, we only have 'exceptis consuetudinibus quæ pertinent ad firmam unius noctis' (p. 70). The explanation is quite simple. Just as in Somerset, Mr Eyton admits, Langport and Ilchester, although boroughs, were 'interned' in groups of Royal demesne, paying the firma unius noctis, so in Dorset the boroughs were 'interned' in groups of Royal demesne. Indeed one of these groups was headed by Dorchester, and is styled by Mr Eyton the 'Dorchester group'. But he boldly assumed that 'Dorchester' must have two different meanings:

[A] We assume about 100 acres to have belonged to the Domesday Burgh, and perhaps 882 acres to represent land, subinfeuded at Domesday, and annexed to Dorchester Hundred. [B] It follows that we assume about 429 acres, [to be that] ... which here figures [fo. 75] under the name Dorchester.

It is not too much to say that any one, who refers to pp. 70-3, 78-101 of the Key to Domesday, will find that the singular misconception as to the Dorset Boroughs makes havoc of the whole calculation. But here again the point to be insisted on is not the [pg 100] mere mistake per se, but the elaborate assumptions based upon it and permeating the whole work.204

Apart from the Manors grouped for a firma unius noctis, if we take the comital Manors (mansiones de comitatu) of Somerset, which were in the King's hands in 1086, we find their rentals given on quite a different principle to those of the Manors in private hands.

(1) They are entered as renders ('reddit'), not as values ('valet').

(2) The sums rendered are 'de albo argento'.

(3) In at least ten out of the fifteen cases, they are multiples of the strange unit £1 3s.

As this fact seems to have escaped Mr Eyton's notice, I append a list of these Manors, showing the multiples of this unit that their renders represent:

  £ s d  
Crewkerne 46 0 0 40
Congresbury 28 15 0 25
Old Cleeve 23 0 0 20
North Curry 23 0 0 20
Henstridge 23 0 0 20
Camel 23 0 0 20
Dulverton 11 10 0 10
Creech St Michael 9 4 0 8
Langford 4 12 0 4
Capton205 2 6 0 2

Whatever this strange unit represented, it formed the basis in these Manors of a reckoning wholly independent of the 'hides' or ploughlands of the Manor, and as clearly artificial as the system of hidation I have made it my business to explain.


The meaning of 'Wara' is made indisputable by the I.C.C. When land was an appurtenance, quoad ownership, of a Manor in one township, but was assessed in another in which it actually lay, the land was said to be in the former, but its 'wara' in the latter. As this 'wara' was an integral part of the total assessment of the township, it had to be recorded, under its township, in the I.C.C. Here are the three examples in point:

[Histon.] De his xx. hidis jacet Warra de una hida et dimidia in hestitone de manerio cestreford. Hanc terram tenuit comes alanus [sic] et est appretiata in essexia (p. 40).

[pg 101]

[Shelford.] De his xx. hidis tenet petrus valonensis iii. hidas de firma regis in neueport.... Hæc terra est berewica in neueport, sed Wara jacet in grantebrigge syra (p. 49).

[Trumpington.] De his vii. hidis [tenet] unus burgensis de grenteburga i. virgam. Et Warra jacet in trompintona, et terra in grantebrigga (p. 51).

To these I may add a fourth instance, although in this case the name wara does not occur:

[Bathburgam.] De his vii. hidis tenet Picotus in manu regis dimidiam hidam et dimidiam virgam. Hæc terra jacet in cestreforda et ibi est appretiata xxx. sol. in essexia (p. 36).

The lands at Histon and 'Bathburgam' were mere outlying portions of the royal Manor of Chesterford in Essex, and those at Shelford were a 'berewick' of the royal Manor of Newport, also in Essex. But they were all assessed in Cambridgeshire, where they actually lay.

So also we read under Berkshire (61b): 'Hæc terra jacet et appreciata est in Gratentun quod est in Oxenefordscire, et tamen dat scotum in Berchesire'. Again (203b) we read under Pertenhall: 'Hec terra sita est in Bedefordsire, set geldum et servitium reddit in Hontedunscyre'. A good instance of the same arrangement in another part of England is found in those Worcestershire Manors which were annexed as estates to Hereford, but which were assessed in those Worcestershire Hundreds where they actually lay (see p. 60).

A similar expression is applied to the possession of 'soca'. Thus under Shelford we read:

De hac terra adhuc tenuerunt iii. sochemanni dimidiam hidam sub gurdo comite. Non potuerunt recedere sine licentia comitis gurdi. Et soca jacebat in Witlesforda (p. 48).

Here the land was in Shelford, but the jurisdiction (soca) was attached to Earl Gyrth's Manor of Whittlesford.

Prof Vinogradoff has dealt with 'the word wara' in his Villainage in England (i. 241-4), and asserts that the 'origin and use of the term is of considerable importance'. But he does not allude to the above evidence, and I cannot follow him in his argument. While rightly disregarding Mr Pell's fanciful derivation from 'warectum', he asserts that:

We often find the expression 'ad inwaram' in Domesday, and it corresponds to the plain 'ad gildam [sic] regis'. If a Manor is said to contain seven hides ad inwaram, it is meant that it pays to the king for seven hides.... The Burton cartulary, the earliest survey after Domesday, employed the word 'wara' in the same sense.

One cannot disprove the first proposition without reading through all Domesday for this purpose. I can only say that I do not remember [pg 102] ever meeting in Domesday Book with such an expression. The solitary instance of its use known to me is in the Liber Niger of Peterborough (p. 159), where we read: 'in Estona sunt iii. hidæ ad in Waram'; and there the relevant entry in Domesday has no such expression. Of the statement as to the Burton cartulary, one can positively say it is an error. Its 'waræ' have quite another meaning and are spoken of as virgates would elsewhere be.

Collation with what I have termed the Northamptonshire geld-roll renders it clear that 'wara', in Domesday, represents the old English word for 'defence', in the sense of assessment, the 'defendit se' formula of the great Survey leading even to the phrase of 'Defensio x. acrarum', for assessment to Danegeld, which is found in the first volume of Fines published by the Pipe-Roll Society.


I now approach the subject of the Domesday juratores.

The lists of these in the I.E. and in the I.C.C. afford priceless information. The latter gives us the names for all but three of the Cambridgeshire Hundreds, the former for all Cambridgeshire (one Hundred excepted) and for three Hertfordshire Hundreds as well. The opening paragraph of the I.E. tells us 'quomodo barones regis inquisierunt, videlicet per sacramentum vicecomitis scire et omnium baronum et eorum francigenarum et tocius centuriatus presbyteri prepositi vi. villani [sic] uniuscuiusque ville'.206 Careful reading of this phrase will show that the 'barones regis' must have been the Domesday Commissioners. The difficulty is caused by the statement as to the oaths of the sheriff, the tenants-in-chief (barones), and their foreign (? military) under-tenants (francigenæ). The lists of juratores contain the names of many francigenæ in their respective hundreds, but, so far as I can find, of no tenants-in-chief. The sheriff, of course, stands apart. His name indeed in the I.C.C. is appended to the list of jurors for the first Hundred on the list, but is not found in the I.E. Moreover, it should be noted that the above formula speaks of all the tenants-in-chief, but only of a single Hundred court. Two hypotheses suggest themselves. The one, that the sheriff and barones of the county made a circuit of the Hundreds, and then handed in, on their oaths, to the commissioners a return for the whole county; the other, that the circuit was made by the commissioners themselves, attended by the sheriff and barones. In the former case it is obvious that the commissioners would fail to obtain at first hand that direct local information which it was their object to elicit: and further, when we find the sheriff and barones [pg 103] charged with wrongdoing in these very returns, it is, to say the least, improbable that they were their own accusers, especially in the case of such a sheriff as Picot, at once dreaded and unscrupulous.

It seems, therefore, the best conclusion that the Domesday commissioners themselves attended every Hundred court, and heard the evidence, sometimes conflicting, of 'French' and 'English'.207

The order in which the Hundreds occur must not be passed over, because their sequence distinctly suggests a regular circuit of the country. Here is the sequence given in our three authorities: the I.C.C., the I.E., and the list of jurors prefixed to the latter:

Staplehow Staplehow Staplehow
Cheveley Cheveley Cheveley
Staines Staines Staines
Radfield Flammenditch Erningford
Flammenditch Childeford Triplow
Childerford Radfield Radfield
Whittlesford (208) Flammenditch
Triplow Triplow Whittlesford
Erningford Erningford Weatherley
Weatherley Weatherley Stow
Stow Stow Papworth
Papworth Papworth Northstow
Northstow Northstow Chesterton
  Chesterton Ely

On comparing the first two of these lists it will be found that (except in the case of three contiguous Hundreds, which does not affect the argument) the Hundreds are taken in a certain sequence, which is seen, on reference to the valuable map prefixed to Mr Hamilton's book, to represent a circuit of the southern portion of the county from north-east to north-west, followed by an inquest on the district to its north, the 'two Hundreds' of Ely.

The third list, on the other hand, misplaces the Hundreds of Triplow and Erningford altogether, and wholly omits that of Childeford. The transposition and omission are both notable evidence that the B and C texts, as I shall urge, were derived from some common original which contained these defects.

The essential point, however, is that a circuit was made of the county whether merely by the sheriff, or, as seems most probable, [pg 104] by the Domesday Commissioners themselves—the 'barones regis' of the record—who must have attended the several Hundred-courts in succession.

But when we speak of the Hundred-court it is necessary to explain at once that the body which gave evidence for the Domesday Inquest was of a special and most interesting character. It combined the old centuriatus—deputations of the priest, reeve, and six villeins from each township (villa)—with the new settlers in the Hundred, the francigenæ. A careful investigation of the lists will prove that half the juratores were selected from the former and half from the latter. This fact, which would seem to have been hitherto overlooked, throws a flood of light on the compilation of the Survey, and admirably illustrates the King's policy of combining the old with the new, and fusing his subjects, their rights and institutions, into one harmonious whole. Conquerors and conquered were alike bound by their common sworn verdicts.209

We have the lists, in all, for eighteen Hundreds, fifteen in Cambridgeshire and three in Herts, of which two were 'double'. There were, practically, for each Hundred exactly eight juratores, half of them 'French' and half 'English'. But the two 'double' Hundreds had sixteen each, half of them 'French' and half 'English'. Although it is recorded that 'alii omnes franci et angli de hoc hundredo juraverunt', it is obvious that the eight men always specially mentioned were, in a special degree, responsible for the verdict. Their position is illustrated, I think, by the record of a Cambridgeshire placitum found in the Rochester chronicles. This is the famous suit of Bishop Gundulf against Picot the sheriff in the County Court of Cambridgeshire,210 which affords a valuable instance of a jury being elected to confirm by their oaths the (unsworn) verdict of the whole court:

Cum illis (i.e. omnes illius comitatus homines) Baiocensis episcopus, qui placito præerat, non bene crederet; præcepit ut, si verum esse quod dicebant scirent, ex seipsis duodecim eligerent, qui quod omnes dixerant jure jurando confirmarent.

Now we read of this jury:

Hi autem fuerunt Edwardus de Cipenham, Heruldus et Leofwine saca de Exninge, Eadric de Giselham, Wlfwine de Landwade, Ordmer de Berlincham, et alii sex de melioribus comitatus.

[pg 105]

Investigation shows that the names mentioned are local. The land in dispute was a holding in Isleham in the Hundred of Staplehoe. One juror, Eadric, came from Isleham itself, two from Exning, one from Chippenham, one from Landwade, while the sixth, Ordmer, was an under-tenant of Count Alan, in the Manor from which he took his name (Badlingham), and was a Domesday juror for the Hundred. These six, then, were clearly natives chosen for their local knowledge. The other six, chosen 'de melioribus comitatus', were probably, as at the Domesday inquest, Normans (Franci). Thus the double character of the jury would be here too preserved, and the principle of testimony from personal knowledge upheld.

So again in the Dorset suit of St. Stephen's, Caen (1122),211 the men of seven Hundreds are convened, but the suit is to be decided 'in affirmatione virorum de quatuor partibus vicinitatis illius villæ'.212 Accordingly, 'sexdecim homines, tres videlicet de Brideport, et tres de Bridetona, et decem de vicinis, juraverunt se veram affirmationem facturos de inquisitione terræ illius'. The names of the jurors are carefully given: 'Nomina vero illorum qui juraverunt, hæc sunt'. Again in the same Abbey's suit for lands in London, 'per commune consilium de Hustingo, secundum præceptum regis, elegerunt quatuordecim viros de civibus civitatis Londoniæ qui juraverunt'. And in this case also we read: 'Hæc sunt nomina illorum qui juraverunt.... Et hæc sunt nomina eorum in quorum præsentia juraverunt.'213

This corresponds, it will be seen, exactly with the writ to which the Inquisitio Eliensis was, I hold, the return: 'Inquire ... qui eas (terras) juraverunt et qui jurationem audierunt' (infra, p. 114).

Enough has now been said to show that the names of the Domesday jurors recorded for each Hundred represent a jury of eight, elected to swear on behalf of the whole Hundred, and composed of four foreigners and four Englishmen, in accordance with the principle that the conflicting interests ought to be equally represented.214

We may take, as a typical set of juratores, those for the Hundred of Erningford, the survey of which, in Mr Hamilton's book, occupies pp. 51-68. I give them in their order:

[pg 106]

[Francigenæ] [Angli]
Walterus Monachus Colsuenus
Hunfridus de anseuilla Ailmarus eius filius
Hugo petuuolt Turolfus
Ricardus de Morduna Alfuuinus odesune

All four francigenæ can be identified in the Hundred. Walter held a hide and a quarter in 'Hatelai' from the wife of Ralf Tailbois; Humfrey, a hide and a quarter in 'Hatelai', from Eudo dapifer;215 Hugh, a hide and a half in 'Melrede', from Hardwin de Scalers; and Richard, three virgates in 'Mordune', from Geoffrey de Mandeville. Of the Angli, Colsuenus was clearly Count Alan's under-tenant at three townships within the Hundred, holding in all two hides; 'Ailmarus', his son, was, just possibly, the 'Almarus de Bronna', who was a tenant of Count Alan in two adjacent townships, holding two hides and three-eighths; 'Turolfus' and 'Alfuuinus' cannot be identified, and were probably lower in the social scale.

It will be observed that Colsweyn belongs to a special class, the English under-tenants. He is thus distinct at once from the Francigenæ, and from the villeins of the township. He and his peers, however, are classed with the latter as jurors, because they are both of English nationality. In the great majority of cases the English juratores cannot be identified as under-tenants, and may therefore be presumed to have belonged to the township deputations.


The record known by this name has long been familiar to Domesday students, but no one, so far as I know, has ever approached the questions: Why was it compiled? When was it compiled? From what sources was it compiled? These three questions I shall now endeavour to answer.

First printed by the Record Commission in their 'Additamenta' volume of Domesday (1816), its editor, Sir Henry Ellis, selected for his text the most familiar, but, as I shall show, the worst of its three transcripts (Cott. MS., Tib. A. VI), though he knew of what I believe to be the best, the Trin. Coll. MS., O. 2, 1, which seems to be the one styled by him 68 B 2.216 In his introduction he thus described it:

[pg 107]

The Inquisitio Eliensis is a document of the same kind with the Exeter Domesday; relating to the property of the Monastery of Ely recorded afterwards in the two volumes of the Domesday Survey (p. xiv).

From this it would seem that Ellis believed the Inquisitio, at any rate, to be previous to Domesday Book, but he practically left its origin altogether in doubt.

Sixty years later (1876) the Inquisitio was published anew, but without any further solution of the points in question being offered.217 For this edition three MSS. were collated, with praiseworthy and infinite pains, by Mr N. E. S. A. Hamilton. Taking for his text, like Ellis, the Cottonian MS. Tib. A. VI, which he distinguished as A, he gave in footnotes the variants found in the MSS. at Trinity College, Cambridge, viz.: O. 2, 41 (which he termed B), and O. 2, 1 (which he distinguished as C). In Mr Hamilton's opinion (p. xiv) the 'C' text 'appears to have been derived from the "B" MS. rather than the Cottonian' ('A'). From this opinion, it will be seen, I differ wholly.

A careful analysis of the three texts has satisfied me beyond question that while C is the most accurate in detail, it is marred by a peculiar tendency to omission on the part of its scribe. This, indeed, is its distinctive feature. Now B cannot be derived from C, because it supplies the latter's omissions. On the other hand, C cannot be derived from B, because it corrects, throughout, B's inaccuracies. Consequently they are independent. More difficult to determine is the genesis of A, the worst of the three texts; but as it virtually reproduces all the inaccuracies found in B (besides containing many fresh ones), without correcting any, it can only be inferred that B was its source. Thus we have on the one hand C, and, on the other B (with its offspring A), derived independently from some common source. And this conclusion agrees well with the fact that a long catalogue of lands abstracted from the House of Ely is found in C, but not in A or B,218 and with the circumstance that the famous rubric ('Hic subscribitur inquisitio'), which heads the inquisition in A and B, is placed by C at the end of the lists of jurors.219

Starting from this conclusion, let us now proceed to ask, what was the document from which B and C copied independently? Clearly, it was not Domesday Book, for outside the eastern counties they record the returns in full, like the Inq. Com. Cant. itself. Were they then taken from the original returns, or at least from the copy of those returns in the Inq. Com. Cant.? This point can only be determined by close analysis of the variants; if we find B and C containing occasionally the same errors and peculiarities, although copied [pg 108] independently, it follows that the document from which they both copied must have contained those same errors and peculiarities. Let us take the case of Papworth. The right reading, as given both in Domesday and the Inq. Com. Cant., I have placed on the left, and the wrong reading, in B and C, on the right:

[tenet abbas] ii. hidas et iii. virgas et dim. [virgam].

I. hida et i. virga et dimidia [virga] in dominio.

[tenet abbas] ii. hidas et dim. virgam et220 iii. virgas.

I. hida et dimidia virga et una virga221 in dominio.

Here are some further illustrations of errors in the I.E.:

D.B. and I.C.C. I.E.

VIII. hidas et dimidiam et dimidiam virgam.... In dominio iii. hidæ et dimidia (p. 18).

II. carruce in dominio. Et tercia potest fieri (p. 21).

I. hida et dimidia et xii. acræ in dominio (p. 87).

tenet Radulfus de Picot (p. 85).

Johannes filius Waleranni (p. 27).

VIII. hidis et dimidia et dimidia virga ... iii. hidæ et dimidia et dimidia virga in dominio (p. 104).

IIIIor. carruce ... in dominio.

I. hida et xii. acræ in dominio (p. 110).

Rod[bertus] tenet de vicecomite (p. 110).

Johannem filium Walteri (p. 103).

Again, the clause 'Tost222 pro viii. hidis et xl. acris', which ought to head the Hardwick entries, is wrongly appended in the I.E. (p. 110) to a Kingston entry with which it had nothing to do. So too, 'hoc manerium pro x. hidis se defendit [sic] T.R.E. et modo pro viii. hidis', which belongs to Whaddon, is erroneously thrown back by the I.E. (p. 107), into Trumpington, a Manor in another Hundred. It is singular also that all the MSS. of the I.E. read 'iii. cotarii' (p. 101), where D.B. and the I.C.C. have 'iii. bordarii' (p. 3), and 'x. cotarii' (p. 101), where they have 'x. bordarii' (p. 6): conversely, the former, in one place, read 'xv. bordarii' (p. 107), where the latter have 'xv. cotarii' (p. 63).

In comparing the text of the I.E. with that of the I.C.C., we shall find most striking and instructive variants in the lists of juratores for the several Hundreds. Take, for instance, the lists for the Hundreds of Cheveley and Staines, which follow one another in both MSS.

[pg 109]

I.C.C. I.E.
caueleie cauelai223
Ric[ardus] Ric[ardus] prefectus huius hundreti.
Euerard[us] filius Brientii Æduuard[us] homo Alb[er]ici de uer
Radulfus de hotot Radulfus de hotot
Will[elmu]s de mara Will[elmu]s de mara
Stanhardus de seuerlei Standard224 de seuerlaio
Frauuin[us] de Curtelinga Frawinus225 de quetelinge226
Carolus de cauelei Brunesune Carlo de cauelaio227
Vlmar[us] homo Wigoni et o[mne]s alii franci et angli juraverunt Wlmar' homo Wighen228

The second name on these lists can be conclusively tested. For the relative entry in the I.C.C. is 'Esselei tenet euerard[us]229 filius brientii de Alberico'. This proves that the I.C.C. is right in reading 'Euerard[us]', while the I.E. is right in adding 'homo Alb[er]ici de uer'.

These are the lists for Staines Hundred.

I.C.C. I.E.
stane stanas
Harold[us] Alerann[us]
Roger[us] Rogger[us] homo Walt[er]i giffardi230
Aleranus francigena  
Ric[ardus] fareman Ric[ardus] p[]fectus hui[us] hundreti
Huscarl de suafham231 Huscarlo de suafham231
Leofuuin[us] de bodischesham Leofuuin[us]
  Harald homo Hard[uuini] de scalariis
Alric[us] de Wilburgeham et omnes franci et angli. Aluric[us] de Wiburgeham et alii omnes franci et angli de hoc hundreto.

In these two lists the points to strike us are that Harold is placed first on one list and seventh on another; Aleran third on one list and first on another; and 'Fareman' distinguished more clearly in the I.E. than in the I.C.C. as a separate individual.

[pg 110]

If we now collect from the other Hundreds some instances of instructive variants, we shall obtain important evidence.

I.C.C. I.E.
Rob[ertus] de Fordham Rob[er]tus angli[cus] de Fordham
Picotus vicecomes [Omitted]232
Walterus Monac[us] Walt[erus]233
Gerardus Lotaringus de salsintona Girardus lotherensis
  Herveus de salsitona
Pagan[us] homo hardeuuini Paganus dapifer Hard'
Rad[ulfus] de scannis Radulfus de bans234
Fulco Waruhel Fulcheus homo vicecomitis
Rumold[us] de cotis Rumold homo comitis Eustachio
Will[elmu]s Will[elmus] homo picoti vice comitis
Wlwi de doesse Wlwi de etelaie
Godlid de stantona Godliue
I.C.C. I.E.
flamencdic flammingedich
Robert[us] de Hintona Rodb[er]t[us] de Histona
Fulcard[us] de Dittona Osmundus parvus
Osmund[us] parvulus Fulcold homo abbatis de Ely
Baldeuuinus cum barba Baldeuuinus cocus
Æduuin[us] presbyter Æduuinus presbyter
Ulfric[us] de teuersham Wlfuric de teuersham
Silac[us] eiusdem villæ Syla
Godwun[us] nabesone Goduuine de fulburne

It is impossible to examine the italicized variations in these parallel texts without coming to the conclusion that they must have been independently derived from some common original, an original containing more detail than either of them. On the other hand, the comparatively close agreement between the texts of the actual returns in the I.C.C. and the I.E. leads one to infer that these were copied with far more exactitude than the comparatively unimportant surnames of the jurors. For us the value of these variations in the jurors' lists lies in the evidence afforded to the origin of the existing MSS.

The object of this careful scrutiny has been to prove that as certain errors and peculiarities are found in two independent MSS., they must have existed in the original document from which both were [pg 111] copied, and which was neither the I.C.C. transcripts nor the original Domesday returns. What then was this document? It was, and can only have been, the true Inquisitio Eliensis, the date and origin of which I shall discuss below. Further, I should imagine this document to have probably been a roll or rolls, which—on its contents being subsequently transcribed into a book for convenience—was allowed, precisely as happened to the Domesday rolls themselves, to disappear. In perfect accordance with this view we find the whole contents of the Inquisitio arranged for a special purpose, and no mere transcript of the Domesday returns. Thus, after abstracting all the entries relating to the Cambridgeshire estates, and subjoining a list of houses held in Cambridge itself, it proceeds to add up all the items independently, and record their total values to the Abbey. This analysis is carried out for several counties (pp. 121-4), and is, of course, peculiar to the Inquisitio, although inserted between the abstracts of the Domesday returns for Cambridgeshire and Herts. So too the breviate or short abstract of the estates (pp. 168-173), which was part of the original document—for it is found in all the derived MSS.—must have been specially compiled for it, and so also was the Nomina Villarum (pp. 174-83).

Another peculiarity of the Inquisitio is the care with which it records the names of sokemen on the Abbey estates when omitted in the I.C.C. and D.B. This may lead us to ask whether its compilers supplied these names from their personal knowledge. We might think not, for in some cases they are recorded by the D.B. and the I.C.C., while in one (p. 106) the I.E. actually omits the name, reading only 'quidam sochemanus', where the other two documents (p. 46) supply his name ('Fridebertus'). From this we might infer that the names were probably recorded in the original returns, but deemed of too slight importance to be always copied by the transcriber. Yet the balance of evidence leads me to believe that the I.E. did supply names from independent knowledge. With the values, however, the case is clearer. The I.E. contains special and exclusive information on the value of socman-holdings, and must, I think, have derived it from some other source than the original Domesday returns. Here are some instances in point.

I.C.C. I.E.
III. sochemanni fuerunt ... secundus homo abbatis de Ely tenuit ii.235 hidas ... Potuerunt recedere (p. 83). In Erningetone fuit quidam sochemannus, Ædwardus, et habuit i. hidam. Homo abbatis Eli fuit in obitu regis Ædwardi, sed terram suam vendere potuit; sed soca semper S. Ædeldrede remansit (p. 110).

[pg 112]

X. sochemanni ... et i. istorum homo abbatis de Ely fuit. Dimidiam hidam habuit. Non potuit dare neque vendere, et ii. istorum, homines predicti abbatis, iii. virgas habuerunt, vendere potuerunt; soca remansit abbati (p. 91).
In Ouro fuit quidam sochemannus nomine Standardus, qui dimidiam hidam habuit sub abbate ely. Non potuit ire ab eo nec separare ab ecclesia et valet viginti solidos. Et modo habet Hardwinus. Et alii ii. sochemanni iii. virgatas habuerunt. Potuerunt dare vel vendere sine soca cui voluerunt et modo tenet Hardwinus. Et valet xv. solidos (p. 112).
Et xus [sochemannus] homo abbatis de ely fuit. i. hidam et dim. habuit. Et omnes isti recedere potuerunt; et vendere terram suam cui voluerunt (p. 95). Quidam sochemannus sub abbate eli i. hidam et dim. tenuit T.R.E. potuit dare sine licentiam [sic] eius, sine socha. Et modo Picot vicecomes tenet eam sub abbate ely. Valet x. sol. (p. 113).

This last passage, of itself, is full of instruction. Firstly, the I.E. alone gives the value of the holding. Secondly, the I.E. preserves the 'sine socha' which qualifies the holder's right. Now D.B. gives the last clause as:

Hi omnes terras suas vendere potuerunt. Soca tantum hominis abbatis de Ely remansit æcclesiæ.

This qualification corresponds with the 'sine socha' of the I.E., and is, we should observe, wholly omitted in the I.C.C. Thirdly, the three versions of the original return employ three different words to express the same one—'recedere', 'vendere', 'dare'. Fourthly, the superiority of the C text of the I.E. over B (which makes two blunders in this passage) and of B over its offspring A (which adds a third) is here well illustrated. Fifthly, the phrase 'Picot vicecomes tenet eam sub abbate ely' differs notably from Domesday, which assigns the estate to Picot unreservedly, and still more from the I.C.C. which reads 'tenet Robertus de Picoto vicecomite in feudo regis'.

The next example is taken from the township immediately preceding.

I.C.C. I.E.
V. istorum (sochemannorum) homines abbatis de Ely fuerunt. Et unus istorum i. virg. et dim. habuit. Non potuit recedere. Et alii iiii. habuerunt v. hidas et i. virg. Potuerunt recedere sine soca (p.95). Fuerunt quinque sochemani T.R.E. unus istorum sugga nomine habuit una virg. et dim. sub abbate ely. Non potuit recedere. Et valet x. sol. Et alii iiiior sochemani v. hidas et i. virg. tenuerunt de abbate eli. Potuerunt dare preter licentiam abbatis et sine socha et modo tenet eam Picot vicecomes de abbate ely et valet iii. lib. (p. 112).

[pg 113]

I have said that in all these cases it might perhaps be held that the additional details found in the I.E. were not due to special information possessed by its compilers, but were derived from the original returns, though omitted by their other transcribers. It is possible, however, to put the matter to the test. If, anticipating for a moment, we find that we have, for the eastern counties, in Domesday the actual materials from which the compilers of the I.E. worked, we can assert that any additional details must have been supplied from their own knowledge. An excellent instance in point is afforded by Tuddenham, in Suffolk:

D.B. I.E.
In Tudenham Geroldus i. lib' hominem ... comend' Saxæ de abbate T.R.E. xii. ac' pro man', iii. bord' Semp' i. car. ii. ac' prati ... val. iii. sol.; et in eadem ii. liberi homines comend' i. sancte Æ. et alter comend' heroldi x. ac', et dim. car. et val. ii. sol. Hoc tenet Geroldus de R. [de Raimes] (ii. 423b).

In Tudenham i. li. homo Ælfric' commend' S. Ædel' xii. ac' et iii. b. et i. c. et iii. ac' prati et val. viginiti iii. s.

In eadem i. l. ho' hedric'236 commend' S. Ædel' viii. ac' et val' xx. den. Hoc tenet R. de Raimes (p. 151).

One knows not, truly, which blunder is the worst, that of the Domesday scribe, who has converted a probable 'S. æ',237 i.e. Ely Abbey, into 'Saxæ', or that of the compiler of the I.E., who, by interpolating the word 'viginti', has converted three shillings into three-and-twenty. But the point is that the latter could name the Abbot's sokeman (nameless in Domesday) and could supply his acreage and the value of his holding. The actual details seem to have been:

  Acres Pence
Abbot's sokeman 8 20
Harold's sokeman 2 4
  10 24

Domesday records the totals only.

Enough has now been said of the twelfth century transcripts in which alone are preserved to us the contents of the Inquisitio. We have seen that they point to the existence of some common original, which, while closely parallel with Domesday, as a record of the Abbey's possessions, contained certain special features and additional information. Why, when, and from what sources that original was compiled, I shall now endeavour to explain.

[pg 114]


The theory I propound for the origin of the so-called Inquisitio Eliensis is that it was the actual return ordered by that writ of the Conqueror,238 of which a copy is given in all three MSS. (A, B, C) and which is printed in Mr Hamilton's book, on p. xxi (No. VIII). I give the wording of the writ, followed by the heading to the Inquisitio with which it should be closely compared.

Willelmus Rex Anglorum Lanfranco archiepiscopo salutem.... Inquire per episcopum Constantiensem et per episcopum Walchelinum et per ceteros qui terras sanctæ Ædeldrede scribi et jurari fecerunt, quomodo jurate fuerunt et qui eas juraverunt, et qui jurationem audierunt, et qui sunt terre, et quante, et quot, et quomodo vocate [et] qui eas tenent. His distincte notatis et scriptis fac ut cite inde rei veritatem per tuum breve sciam. Et cum eo veniat legatus abbatis.


Hic subscribitur inquisicio terrarum, quomodo barones regis inquisierunt,239 videlicet per sacramentum vicecomitis scire et omnium baronum et eorum francigenarum, et tocius centuriatus, presbiteri, prepositi, vi. villani [sic] uniuscujusque ville; deinde quomodo vocatur mansio, quis tenuit eam tempore R.E., quis modo tenet, quot hide, quot carruce240 in dominio, quot hominum, quot villani, quot cotarii, quot servi, quot liberi homines, quot sochemanni, quantum silve, quantum prati, quot241 pascuorum, quot molendina, quot piscine, quantum est additum vel ablatum, quantum valebat totum simul,242 et quantum modo, quantum quisque liber homo vel sochemannus habuit vel habet. Hoc totum tripliciter, scilicet tempore regis Æduardi, et quando Rex Willelmus dedit et qualiter modo sit, et si potest plus haberi quam habeatur.

Isti homines juraverunt, etc., etc.

Especially important is the fact that the return contains the jurors' names, in accordance with the express injunction to that effect in the Conqueror's writ.

Now if this theory meet with acceptance, and the writ be taken to refer, as I suggest, to the Domesday Inquest itself, it follows that the Bishop of Coutances and Bishop Walchelin were the heads of [pg 115] the Domesday Commission for this district. This, of course, has been hitherto unknown; but it adds to the presumption in favour of the facts that Bishop Walchelin is not mentioned in any of the Ely writs as taking part in the placita concerning the Abbey's lands, and that, therefore, the only Inquest in which he could have been concerned was the Domesday Inquest itself. It should be added, however, that these two Bishops may have been, respectively, the heads of two distinct commissions for adjoining groups of counties.

The heading to the Inquisitio Eliensis is so well known, and has been so often quoted by historians, that it is a gain to fix its status, the more so as it has been loosely described as the 'official' instructions for the Survey itself. We may also determine the date of the writ as the very close of the Conqueror's reign. For it must have been issued between William's departure from England, circ. September 1086, and his death (September 1087).

And now, how was the return compiled? It deals, we find, with six counties, arranged in this order: Cambridgeshire, Herts, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Hunts. For Cambridgeshire it copies, clearly, from the original returns. For Herts it must have done so also, because it gives full details, which are not found in Domesday Book. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that, for these two counties, it gives the jurors' names (for the hundreds dealt with), which it could only have obtained from those original returns. For Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk, on the contrary, it simply gives the same version as the second volume of Domesday Book, and omits accordingly the jurors' names. The case of the four Manors in Hunts I leave in doubt, because the version in the Inquisitio (pp. 166-7) has more details than that of Domesday, though the latter is here exceptionally full, and because it places first the Manor which comes fourth in Domesday (i. 204). The additional details (as to live-stock) are such as we might expect to be derived from the additional returns; but the names of the witnesses for the Hundred are not recorded, a fact to be taken in conjunction with the belated entry of these Huntingdonshire Manors not following, as they should, those in Cambridgeshire and Herts.

In addition to the Inquisitio itself, as printed by the Record Commission, there is a record, or collection of records, which follows it in all three MSS., and which is printed in Mr Hamilton's book (pp. 168-89). Although its character is not there described, it can be determined. For in the Inquisitio there are three references to the 'breve abbatis de ely' (pp. 123-4), all three of which can be identified in the above record (pp. 175-7). It is noteworthy that the record in question is only complete in C, which confirms my view that B and its offspring A were independent of C.

Though the word Breve in Domesday Book normally means the king's writ, there are passages which seem to have been overlooked, [pg 116] and in which it bears another and very suggestive meaning. One of them is found at the end of the Survey of Worcestershire and was foolishly supposed by the compilers of the index volume (pp. 250, 315) to relate to lands held by 'Eddeva' and entered immediately before it. The passage is an independent note, running thus:

In Esch Hund' jacent x. hidæ in Fecheham et iii. hidæ in Holewei et scriptæ sunt in brevi de Hereford.

In Dodintret Hund' jacent xiii. hidæ de Mertelai et v. hidæ de Suchelei quæ hic placitant et geldant, et ad Hereford reddunt firmam suam, et sunt scriptæ in breve regis (i. 178).

All four places are found on fo. 180b, 'Feccheham' and 'Haloede' [sic]243 together (under 'Naisse' Hundred244) as paying a joint ferm—'Merlie' (Martley) under 'Dodintret' Hundred and Suchelie (Suckley), now in Herefordshire, as 'in Wirecestrescire' (cf. i. 172).

It is clear then that Domesday here uses 'breve' of a return, not of a writ, and I venture to think the word may refer to the abbreviated entries made in Domesday Book itself as distinct from those in extenso found in the original returns.245

This usage is found in both volumes. We read of land at Marham, Norfolk, held by Hugh de Montfort; 'est mensurata in brevi Sanctæ Adeldret' (ii. 238), where the reference is to the 'Terra Sanctæ Adeldredræ' (ii. 212), and of Hurstington Hundred, Hunts, 'Villani et sochemanni geldant secundum hidas in brevi scriptas' (i. 203). The reference, in both cases, is to the text itself.

The former of these two phrases is repeated in the Inquisitio Eliensis,246 a fact of some importance if, as I venture to think, it is there meaningless. The point is worth labouring. We see that the phrase cannot have occurred in the original returns, where all the entries relating to Marham would have come together. But if it was only applicable to Domesday Book itself—where the fiefs were separated—then must the I.E. have copied from Domesday Book.

This, indeed, is the point to which I am working. For Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk, I believe, the compilers of the Inquisitio (1086-7) must have worked from the second volume of Domesday as we have it now. We see it firstly, in the order of the counties; secondly, in the absence of the jurors' names; thirdly, in the system of entering the lands. With a fourth and minute test I have dealt just above.

But to make this clearer, we must briefly analyse the return. The Cambridgeshire portion extends from p. 101 to p. 120. It extracts from the original returns, Hundred by Hundred, all that relates to the Abbey of Ely. Following this is a note of its possessions in the Borough [pg 117] of Cambridge247 (pp. 120-1), and then summaries of the Abbey's estates, in dominium and thainland and socha, in all six counties, and of the lands held by Picot the Sheriff, Hardwin d'Eschalers and Guy de Raimbercurt, to which it laid claim as its own (pp. 121-4). Then we resume with Hertfordshire, the extracts from the original returns (pp. 124, 125). Both the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire portions close with the words, 'De toto quod habemus', etc., referring to the totals worked out by the Abbey from the entries in the original returns.

With Essex, we enter at once on a different system. This portion, which extends from p. 125 to p. 130 (line 8), is arranged not by Hundreds but by fiefs. It first gives the lands actually held by the Abbey (as coming first in Domesday), and then those of which laymen were in possession. To the latter section are prefixed the words: 'Has terras calumpniatur abbas de ely secundum breve regis'. From Essex we pass to Norfolk, the entries for which, commencing on p. 130 with the words 'In Teodforda', end on p. 141 at 'Rogerus filius Rainardi'. These again are divided into two portions, namely, the lands credited to the Abbey in Domesday (pp. 130-6), and those which it claimed but which Domesday enters under other owners (pp. 137-41). Between the two comes the total value of the former portion and a list of the Norfolk churches held by the Abbey. Last of the Eastern counties is Suffolk, which begins on p. 141 at 'In Tedeuuartstreu hund.', and ends on p. 166. This also is in two portions, but the order seems to be reversed, the alleged aggressions on the Abbey's lands coming first and its uncontested possessions last. The latter portion begins on p. 153, where the B text inserts the word 'Sudfulc'.

The following parallel passages are of interest as showing how closely the I.E. followed D.B. even when recording a judicial decision.

D.B. I.E.
In dermodesduna tenuerunt xxv. liberi homines i car. terræ ex quibus habuit sca. Al. commend. et socam T.R.E. Tunc vi. car. modo ii., et iii. acre prati, et val. xx. sol. Rogerus bigot[us] tenet de abbate, quia abbas eam derationavit super eum coram episcopo de sancto Laudo, sed prius tamen tenebat de rege (ii. 383). In dermodesduna tenuerunt xxv. lib. homines i car. terre ex quibus habuit S. Ædel. sacam et socam et commend. T.R.E. Tunc vi. car. modo ii., et iii. acre prati, et val. xx. sol. R. bigot tenet de Abbate quia Abbas eam dirationavit super eum coram episcopo constantiensi. Sed prius tamen tenuit de rege (p. 157).

The one variation, the Bishop's style, has a curious parallel in Domesday Book (i. 165), where under the rubric 'Terra Episcopi Constantiensis' we read 'Episcopus de Sancto Laudo tenet', etc.

[pg 118]

We may take it then that the compilers of the Inquisitio Eliensis worked for Cambridge and Herts from the original returns, but, for the eastern counties, from the second volume of Domesday. What are the corollaries of this conclusion? They used, for some reason or other, the second volume of Domesday, but not the first—if, indeed, it then existed. Speaking for myself, I have always felt not a little uneasy as to the accepted date for the completion of Domesday Book.248 Mr Eyton went so far as to write:

Imperial orders have gone forth that the coming Codex, the Domesday that is to outlive centuries, is to be completed before Easter (April 5th, in that year [1086]), when King William himself expects to receive it in his Court and Palace of Winchester (Notes on Domesday, 15).

And he explicitly stated that:

On any hypothesis as to the time taken by the different processes which resulted in Domesday Book, the whole, that is the survey, the transcription, and the codification, were completed in less than eight months, and three of the eight were winter months. No such miracle of clerkly and executive capacity has been worked in England since.249

But was it worked then? All that the chronicle says of the King is that the 'gewrita wæran gebroht to him', a phrase which does not imply more than the original returns themselves.

Of course, the chief authority quoted is the colophon to the second volume:

Anno millesimo octogesimo sexto ab incarnatione Domini vicesimo vero regni Willelmi facta est ipsa descriptio non solum per hos tres comitatus sed etiam per alios.

It seems to have been somewhat hastily concluded that because the Survey ('Descriptio Angliæ') took place in 1086, Domesday Book (which styles itself Liber de Wintonia), was completed in that year. The phrase 'per hos tres comitatus' proves, surely, that 'descriptio' refers to the Survey, not to the book.250

[pg 119]

I have never seen any attempt at a real explanation of the great difference both in scope and in excellence between the two volumes, or indeed any reason given why the Eastern counties should have had a volume to themselves. For a full appreciation of the contrast presented by the two volumes, the originals ought to be examined. Such differences as that the leaves of one are half as large again as those of other, and that the former is drawn up in double, but the latter in single column, dwarf the comparatively minor contrasts of material and of handwriting. So, too, the fullness of the details in the second volume may obscure the fact of its workmanship being greatly inferior to that of the first. Of its blunders I need only give one startling instance. The opening words of the Suffolk Survey, written in bold lettering, are 'Terra Regis de Regione' (281b). I have no hesitation in saying that the last words should be 'de Regno'. Indeed, the second formula is found on 289b, as 'Terra Regis de Regno', while on 119b under 'Terra Regis', we read 'hoc manerium fuit de regno'. So also in the Exon Domesday 'Terra Regis' figures as 'Dominicatus regis ad regnum pertinens'.251 The muddled order of the tenants-in-chief for Norfolk and for Suffolk—where laymen precede the church252 —is another proof of inferiority, but only minute investigation could show the hurry or ignorance of the scribes.

Now, all this might, I think, be explained if we took the so-called second volume to be really a first attempt at the codification of the returns. Its unsatisfactory character must have demonstrated the need for a better system, which, indeed, its unwieldy proportions must have rendered imperative. So drastic and so successful, on this hypothesis, was the reform, that while these three counties had needed a volume of 450 folios, the rest of England that was surveyed—some thirty counties—was compressed into a single volume of 382 folios, and on a system which rendered consultation easier and more rapid. In every respect the first volume is a wonderful improvement on the second, but the authorities may have shrunk from ordering the latter to have been compiled de novo, when the work, though unsatisfactory, had once been done.

This, it must of course be remembered, is all hypothesis, a hypothesis suggested by the facts. If it were proved that at the time when the Ely return was made, the 'second' volume had been compiled, and the 'first' had not, I should have established my case. But it might be urged that the 'first' volume did exist at the time, and that the Ely scribes used the returns instead, because they contained fuller information. To this I reply, so far as the details of the estates [pg 120] are concerned, that neither the terms of the writ nor the heading of the Inquisitio involved the inclusion of such details as Domesday Book omitted. If the scribes inserted them, it must have been merely because they inserted everything they found in the records from which they copied. It might still be urged that they went to the returns for the names of the juratores; but why, if so, did they not do so for the three eastern counties? It certainly seems to me to be the most satisfactory explanation that the materials supplied for compiling this return, as being the recognized official records, were the so-called 'second' volume of Domesday, and (for the rest) the original returns.


No one nowadays should require to be told that the pseudo-Ingulf's dealings with Domesday are devoid of all authority. Some, however, may still believe in the tale found in that 'Continuatio' of his chronicle which is fathered on Peter of Blois. It is there that Ellis found (putting Ingulf aside) the only case of an appeal to its witness before the reign of John.253

With the 'Continuatio' I shall deal below,254 but I would observe, while on the subject, that the 'pseudo-Ingulf' (charters and all) was, I believe, largely concocted by the help of hints gathered from Domesday Book.

The absence of any authoritative mention, in its early days, of our great record gives a special importance to an entry in the Chronicle of Abingdon (ii. 115-6), where we read that Abbot Faritius was impleaded by certain men:

Sed is abbas in castello Wincestre coram episcopis Rogero Saresberiensi, et Roberto Lincolniensi, et Ricardo Londoniensi, et multis regis baronibus, ratiocinando ostendit declamationem eorum injustam esse. Quare, justiciarorum regis judicio obtinuit ut illud manerium, etc. ... sed quia rex tunc in Normanniâ erat, regina, quæ tunc præsens erat, taliter hoc sigillo suo confirmavit.

Then follows the Queen's writ, announcing the decision of the plea held in the royal 'Curia', together with the names of the 'barons' present. These names enable us to determine a certain limit for the date of the plea. 'Thurstinus Capellamus', for instance, implies that it was previous to his obtaining the See of York in 1114, while the presence of Richard, Bishop of London, places it subsequent to July 26, 1108. It must, therefore, have been held during the King's absence between July 1108 and the end of May 1109; or in his later absence from August 1111 to the summer of 1113.

[pg 121]

The action of the Queen in presiding over this placitum illustrates a recognized practice, of which we have an instance in Domesday itself (i. 238b), where it is stated that Bishop Wulfstan, 'terram deplacitasse coram regina Mathilde in presentia iiiior. vicecomitatuum'. The Queen's description of the Curia Regis as 'curia domini mei et mea' should be compared with the phrase employed by the Queen of Henry II, who, similarly acting in her husband's absence, speaks of the Great Justiciar as 'Justicia Regis et mea'.

But the essential portion of the passage before us is this:

Sciatis quod Faritius abbas de Abendona in curia domini mei et mea, apud Wintoniam in thesauro ... per Librum de Thesauro, diratiocinavit quod, etc.

The court was held 'in castello Wincestre', says the narrative, 'apud Wintoniam in thesauro', says the record. Both are right, for the Royal Treasury was in Winchester Castle.255

But what was the 'Liber de Thesauro'? I contend that it was Domesday Book, and can have been nothing else. For, passing now to the Dialogus de Scaccario (circa 1177), we there read in reply to an inquiry as to the nature of Domesday Book (which 'in thesauro servatur et inde non recedit'): 'liber ille de quo quæris sigilli regii comes est individuus in thesauro' (I. XV.). The connection of the Book with the Treasury is brought out strongly in the Dialogus, and leads to the presumption, as Mr Hall perceived, that the Treasury being originally at Winchester, the Book was there also—as indeed we see it was under Henry I.256 On the date of its removal to Westminster, there has been much discussion between my friend Mr Hall and myself.257 Mr Hall relies mainly on the Dialogus de Scaccario, and on the inferences he draws from it, for the early removal of Domesday to Westminster, and the establishment there of the royal Treasury. For myself, I claim for the Winchester Treasury greater importance and continuity than he is willing to admit. The leading records, of course, were stored there as well as treasure. We find William Rufus speaking of 'meis brevibus ... qui sunt in thesauro mea Wyntoniæ';258 and we read that, on his father's death, 'pergens apud Wincestre thesaurum patris sui ... divisit: erant autem in thesauro illo lx. m[ille] libræ argenti excepto auro et gemmis et vasis et palliis.'259 Heming's Cartulary describes the [pg 122] Domesday returns as stored 'in thesauro regali', and Henry of Huntingdon states that 'inter thesauros reposita usque hodie servantur'.260 Now, as the Treasury was in Winchester Castle at the time of the above suit, and as it had been in 1100261 and 1087, so it was still at the accession of Stephen in 1135, and at the triumph of Matilda in 1141. This is absolutely certain from the Chronicles, nor do they ever mention any other Treasury. Moreover, the contents of this Treasury in 1135—'erant et vasa tam aurea quam argentea'—correspond with those described by the Dialogus forty years later: 'vasa diversi generis aurea et argentea'. Lastly, there is a piece of evidence which has not yet been adduced, namely, that in his Expugnatio Hibernica (1188), Giraldus, speaking of that ring and letters which John of Salisbury declared had been brought by him from the Pope, and were 'still stored in the Royal Treasury', writes of

Annulum aureum in investituræ signum ... qui statim simul cum privilegio in archivis Wintoniae repositus fuerat.

Giraldus certainly must have looked on the Royal Treasury at Winchester as the only recognized repository for all such objects as these.

Mr Hall, indeed, has gradually modified his original position that 'Ingulphus saw the Domesday register, as it now exists, at Westminster', and that it was sent there for good from Winchester 'early in the reign of Henry I',262 but he still places the establishment of 'the' Treasury at Westminster, in my opinion, too early. It is the gradual decay of Winchester as the capital and seat of administration that makes it difficult to say positively when or how the national records, Domesday Books among them, were transferred to Westminster. We have seen at least that, in its early days, the 'Liber de Wintonia', as it styles itself, had its home within the walls of the Royal castle of Winchester; and I cannot but think, now as at first, that it began by visiting Westminster for Exchequer sessions only.263

In any case, we have seen its witness appealed to on a far earlier occasion than had hitherto been known. In my paper on 'An Early Reference to Domesday',264 I quoted an even earlier mention of the 'Descriptio Angliæ', but here again the reference seems to make rather to the Domesday Survey itself than to Domesday Book, the 'Liber de Thesauro'.

As an appendix to this paper, I give the pedigree of the Domesday MSS. according to the views I have expressed.265

[pg 123]



1 English Commonwealth, II, ccccxliv.

2 Ibid.

3 Domesday Book, p. 42.

4 Athenæum, 1885, I, 472, 566-7; Domesday Book, 1887, p. 44.

5 Domesday Studies (1891), II, 488.

6 Inquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensis Cura N. E. S. A. Hamilton, 1876.

7 Notes on Domesday (1877), reprinted 1880, p. 15.

8 The italics are his own, Domesday Book, p. 42. Cf. Domesday Studies, II, 486-7.

9 It is not even proved that the I.C.C. is copied from the original returns themselves. There is the possibility of a MS. between the two. See Addenda.

10 These extracts are extended and punctuated to facilitate the comparison. Important extensions are placed within square brackets.

11 Curiously enough, the cases in which the I.C.C. does really supplement the Domesday version, that is, in the names of the holders T.R.E. and of the under-tenants T.R.W., were left unnoticed by Mr Hamilton.

12 The references to pages are to those of Mr Hamilton's edition. The portions within the square brackets are the passages omitted.

13 In this instance the omission is so gross that it attracted Mr Hamilton's notice. He admits in a footnoteid that his MS. 'confounds two separate entries'. It would, however, be more correct to say that the MS. here omits a portion of each. It is easy to see how the scribe erroneously 'ran on' from the first portion of one entry to the second portion of another. This entry has a further value, for while D.B. convicts the I.C.C. of omitting the words 'de Widone', it is itself convicted, by collation, of omitting the entry, 'Terra est i. bovi'.

14 The I.C.C. here wholly omits one of the three holdings T.R.E. 'The three hides and a virgate', at which the estate was assessed, were thus composed: (1) three virgates held by Huscarl, (2) a hide and a virgate held by Eadgyth, (3) a hide and a virgate held by Wulfwine, her man. It is this last holding which is omitted. Note here that the Domesday 'hide' is composed as ever (pace Mr Pell) of four virgates.

15 'i. caruce [ibi terra] et est caruca.'

16 'Ita quod [non potuit] dare vel vendere' (p. 50).

17 'Potuerunt [recedere] qua parte voluerunt'—p. 62 (Mr Hamilton noticed this omission).

18 'Sed [soca] eius remansit ædiue' (p. 61).

19 'Tenet [Odo] de comite Alano' (p. 15).

20 'Soca tantum hominis abbatis de Ely remansit æcclesiæ' (D.B.); 'sine socha' (I.E.).

21 The latter is the reading of D.B., and is the right one because confirmed by I.E.

22 This, like the similar cases where D.B. is given as the authority for the second reading, is proved arithmetically (vide infra).

23 The I.C.C. enumerates only three, which is the number given in D.B.

24 The words 'quendam ortum' had occurred just before, and are here wrongly repeated.

25 'Inter totum valent et valuerunt xii. den.' This was exclusive of the value of the Manor, which by the way the I.C.C. gives as sixteen pounds and D.B. at six pounds, one of those cases of discrepancy which have to be left in doubt, though D.B. is probably right.

26 Mr Eyton, in his Notes on Domesday (p. 16), called attention to this. 'The result,' he wrote (of the Lincolnshire Domesday), 'as to arrangement, is in certain instances just what might have been expected from some haste of process.... The hurried clerks were perpetually overlooking entries which they ought to have seen.'

27 Mr Eyton (Ibid., pp. 17, 18), while ignoring this valuable and most important feature, notes the employment of a similar device in Domesday Book itself in the case of Yorkshire. 'Against such errors and redundancies a very simple but effective precaution seems to have been adopted by some clerk or clerks employed on the Yorkshire notes. Before transcription was commenced an index was made of the loose notes of that county. This index gave the contents of each Wapentac or Liberty in abstract under the appropriate title; then the measure in carucates and bovates of each item of estate; and lastly (interlined) some hint or indication to whose Honour or fief each item belonged. This most clerkly device will have saved the subsequent transcribers much trouble of roll-searching and a world of confusion in their actual work.'

28 'Warra jacet in trompintona, et terra in grantebrigga.'

29 To say that the sokeman 'non potuerunt recedere sed soca remanebat abbati', is nonsense, because if they were not able 'recedere', the question of 'soca' could not arise. The formula 'sed soca', etc., is only used in cases where there was a right 'recedere'.

30 In this case the 'n[on]' has been added by interlineation.

31 The meaning, I think, is clear, though badly expressed, 'alias' being, seemingly, put for 'illas'.

32 This error arose thus: The original return (see I.C.C.) ran: 'De his v. hidis' (i.e. in 'Campes') tenet Normannus de Alberico dimidiam hidam.' The Domesday scribe read this hurriedly as implying that Norman's half hide was part of Aubrey's estate here (two and a half hides), whereas it was reckoned and entered as a separate estate.

33 Proved by collation with I.C.C. and I.E., which agree with each other.

34 Notes on Domesday, p. 16.

35 Domesday Studies, pp. 227-363, 561-619.

36 'Domesday Measures of Land' (Archæological Review, September 1889; iv, 130).

37 Domesday Studies, 188, 354.

38 'vi. carucis ibi est terra'. See Addenda.

39 Compare the equivalent tenure recognized in William of Poitier's charter to Bayonne: 'Le voisin qui voulait abandonner la cité sans esprit de retour avait le droit de vendre librement tout ce qu'il possédait maisons, prairies, vergers, moulins.'

40 We have three separate statements (of which more anon) of the aggressions of these three men on the Abbey's lands. Taking the one printed on pp. 175-7 of Mr Hamilton's book, we find that of the twelve estates grasped by Hardwin, all but one or two can be identified as the subject of duplicate entries in Domesday. (A disputed hide and a half in 'Melrede', though not mentioned in this list, is also entered in duplicate.) But neither of the estates seized by Guy de Raimbercurt is so entered in Domesday. The first two of those which Picot is accused of abstracting are entered in duplicate, but not the following ones. There is one instance of a duplicate entry of another character, relating to half a virgate (D.B., i, 199, b, 2, gives it erroneously as half a hide, but D.B., i, 190, a, 1, rightly as half a virgate), which Picot, as sheriff had regained for the king against the 'invading' Aubrey.

41 The I.E. adds 'sub abbate ely' in each case, but is, from its nature, here open to suspicion.

42 This is not always the case. At Whaddon, for instance, the entry under Hardwin's land is the fuller. It is noteworthy also that in this case the later entry (i. 198, b, 1) is referred to ('Hæc terra appreciata est cum terra Hardwini') in the earlier one (i. 191, a, 2).

43 This same change of phrase is repeated four times on two pages (pp. 4, 5).

44 So, for instance:

'de appulatione navis' (I.C.C.) = 'de theloneo retis' (D.B.).

'ferarum siluaticarum' (I.C.C.) = 'bestiarum siluaticarum' (D.B.).

'silua ad sepes refici.' (I.C.C.) = 'nemus ad claud. sepes' (D.B.).

45 Compare the I.C.C. version on p. 100, infra.

46 Inq. Com. Cant., pp. xviii, xix.

47 'Et dimidiam' [hidam] is omitted in B, and (oddly enough) in Domesday itself.

48 All three MSS. err here, as the reading should clearly be 'dim. virg.'

49 b. 65. This distinction between the one and the nine, but not the size of the holding, is preserved in D.B.; while the I.E., though preserving it, gives the numbers as two and eight.

50 This is the I.E. and D.B. version. For 'extra ecclesiam', the I.C.C. substitutes 'sine ejus [abbatis] licentia'.

51 'Soca remansit abbati' is the D.B. and I.E. version. It should be noted that the I.E. and Breve Abbatis give 'herchenger pistor' as the despoiler, while the I.C.C. and D.B. record him only as a 'miles' of Picot the sheriff. This is a case which certainly suggests special local knowledge in the compiler of the former documents, who also gives the sokeman's name—Siward.

52 Thus 'In Branmmeswelle ... lxx. liberi homines unde abbas habuit sacam et socam et commendatio et omnes consuetudines ... In eadem villa iiii. liberi homines* unde abbas habuit sacam et socam et commendationem' (p. 161).

* 'Commend' abbati' (D.B., ii 387 b).

53 Inq. Com. Cant., 192-5. see paper on it, infra.

54 'In soca et commendatione abbatis de eli' (D.B., ii. 441).

55 'Soca et commendatione tantum' (D.B.).

56 'iiii. liberi homines soca et commendatione tantum' (D.B.).

57 'T.R.E. ad socham' (D.B.).

58 'Recep'' (D.B., ii. 238).

59 The Breve Abbatis records 34.

60 Ibid., 7.

61 I.C.C., fo. 110 (b) 1. Cf. D.B., I. 199 (a) 2, and I.E., p. 110.

62 'Socam comes Algarus habuit' = 'soca remansit comiti Algaro'. See, for instance, the similar case in which a 'man' of Earl Waltheof 'terram suam dare vel vendere potuit, sed abbas de Rameseia socam habuit' (I.C.C., fo. 122, b, 2), where D.B. has: 'dare potuit, sed soca remansit abbati de Ramesy' (i. 202, b, 1).

63 'Et in eadem villa iii. liberi homines ... de quibus abbas non habebat nisi commendationem: soca in kanincghala regis.'

64 'Hanc terram tenuit godmundus homo comitis Waltevi; soca vero remansit abbati ely' (p. 115).

65 'Unum liberum hominem unde abbas habet sacam et socam tantum' (p. 140).

66 Domesday Studies, p. 556.

67 Inq. El., pp. 140, 141.

68 Domesday Studies, p. 209.

69 Domesday Studies, p. 187.

70 It is essential to bear in mind that the Domesday scribes had nothing to guide them but the bare words of the return, so that if they thus equated these expressions, they can only have done so because the rule was of universal application.

71 Archæological Review, vol. i, p. 286.

72 Compare also the Exon. Domesday, where 'Stoches', which is entered 'pro. ii. virgatis et dim.' appears in D.B. as 'dim. hida et dim. virga'.

73 See below, and ante, p. 17, note.

74 Key to Domesday, p. 14.

75 It is to this evidence that I made allusion in Domesday Studies (p. 225). Similar evidence as to the Domesday carucate is found in the Inq. El. (Ed. Hamilton, pp. 156, 178) where 'lx. acre' equate 'dim. c[arucata]'.

76 D.B. erroneously reads 'xxx.' (30) by the insertion of an 'x' too many. The I.C.C. correctly reads 'xx.' (20), its accuracy here being proved by the above arithmetic. Thus the I.C.C. corrects a reading which (1) would, but for it, appear fatal to the belief that 30 acres = a virgate; (2) would upset the above arithmetic. This ought to be clearly grasped, because it well illustrates the element of clerical error, and shows how apparent discrepancies in our rule may be due to a faulty text alone.

77 Here, as in the preceding instance, Domesday is in error, reading 'one virgate' ('i virgata') where the I.C.C. correctly gives us half a virgate ('dimidiam virgam'). The remarks in the preceding note apply equally here.

78 Here, again, Domesday is in error, reading two and a half virgates, where the I.C.C. has one and a half.

79 These two entries are by a blunder in the I.C.C. (see above, p. 23) erroneously rolled into one (of ⅓ virgate). In this case it is Domesday Book which corrects the I.C.C., and preserves for us the right version.

80 The I.C.C., which is very corrupt in its account of this township, gives us a deficiency of 1 hide 0½ virgates.

81 The apparent exception was caused by the Inq. Com. Cant. reading 'pro iiii. hidis', and omitting the words 'xl. acras minus', the true assessment of the Manor, when the king's estate was excluded, being 'three hides less forty acres'.

82 The blunder consists in treating 6½ (geld) acres as part of the Countess Judith's estate, whereas they had been reckoned separately; the discrepancy is due to D.B. reading 'ii. acras', where the I.C.C. has 'xxii. acras'.

83 Eyton's Notes on Domesday, p. 12.

84 Ibid., p. 13.

85 Dr Stubbs' remarks 'on the vexed question of the extent of the hide' will be found in a note to his Const. Hist., vol. i (1874), p. 74. Mr Eyton (Key to Domesday, p. 14) asserted that the Domesday hide contained 48 geld-acres. Prof Earle in his Land Charters and Saxonic Documents (1888) reviews the question of the hide, but leaves it undetermined (pp. lii-liii, 457-461).

86 See above, p. 27.

87 Antiquary, June 1882, p. 242. See also Domesday Studies, vol. i, p. 119.

88 The I.C.C. omits the king's Manor (7¼ hides, 8 ploughlands).

89 I do not here discuss the cause of the reduction. Indeed, this would be hard to discover; for the original assessment was distinctly low, whether we compare it with the aggregate of ploughlands or of valuation. It is true that the total of valets which had been £235 0s 4d T.R.E., and was £203 8s 4d at the time of the survey, had fallen so low as £161 18s 4d, when the grantees received their lands, but, even at the lowest figure, the assessment was still moderate.

90 'Burgum de Grentebrige pro uno Hundredo se defendebat.'—D.B., i. 189.

91 This figure is arrived at by adding to the 'hida et dimidia et xx. acræ' of Domesday, and the Inq. Com. Cant. the 'viii. hidæ et xl. acræ', which the latter omits, but which Domesday records. The sum is exactly ten hides.

92 Domesday reads 'iii.', and Inq. Com. Cant. 'iiii.'

93 I.C.C. reads 'x.'

94 'Per concessionem ejusdem regis' (Domesday). Compare also the five hides knocked off the assessment of Alveston by Henry I, and another ten hides off that of Hampton (Domesday Studies, pp. 99, 103).

95 Const. Hist., i, 105.

96 See below, p. 87.

97 See also Domesday Studies, i, 117.

98 Domesday Studies, i, 122-30.

99 The fragments of the Hundred of Papworth and North Stow, which it contains, are too small to enable us to speak with certainty.

100 Correcting the Inq. Com. Cant. by adding from Domesday the royal Manors in Isleham and Fordham.

101 Bedford, 1881.

102 'Huntedun Burg defendebat se ad geldum regis pro quarta parte de Hyrstingestan hundred pro L. hidis.'—Domesday, i, 203.

103 Adjoining Manors held by the Abbot of Ely.

104 I have not attempted to group these six Manors, as we have not sufficient information to warrant it. They would, however, form two groups of twenty hides each, or one of twenty-five and another of fifteen.

105 There are five entries relating to Catworth (fos. 205b, 206, 206b, 217b), which, by the addition of 11 hides (1 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 1), would bring up its assessment to 15; but as they are all credited in Domesday to other Hundreds, and as there are two Catworths surveyed, I have adhered to the above figure.

106 Introduction to Domesday, i, 134. The italics are his own.

107 Const. Hist., i, 99.

108 This point brings further into line the towns and the rural Hundreds, through the 100-hide and the 50-hide assessments of the former. (See my 'Danegeld' Essay in Domesday Studies.)

109 Edgar spoke of it as three Hundreds.

110 'Unum hundret quod vocatur Oswaldeslaw in quo jacent ccc. hidæ.'—D.B., i., 172b.

111 It also contained one 23-hide and two 24-hide Manors, which were once perhaps, of 25 hides. The Church of Worcester, also possessed, outside this Hundred, Manors (inter alia) of 20, 15, 10, and 5 hides. (See below, p. 143.)

112 D.B., i. 175b.

113 I make the aggregate 118½ hides.

114 'Quæ hic [Dodintret hundred] placitant et geldant et ad Hereford reddunt firmam suam.' It would have been said in Cambridgeshire that their 'wara' was in Doddentree Hundred.

115 Eyton's Somerset Survey, ii, 25.

116 Eyton's Dorset Domesday, p. 14.

117 I drew attention in the Archæological Review (vol. 1) to a Cornish survey of 21 Ed. I. (Testa de Nevill, p. 204), in which every Cornish acre contains a Cornish carucate.

118 Domesday Studies, p. 172.

119 'A New View of the Geldable Unit of Assessment of Domesday.' Ibid., pp. 227-363, 561-619.

120 Archæological Review, i, 285-95; iv, 130-40, 391.

121 Ibid., iv, 325.

122 A curious hint of the grouping of Vills is afforded in Oxfordshire by Adderbury and Bloxham. Domesday first gives us an assessment of 34½ hides in the two, and then 15½ hides in Adderbury, making in all, for the two, 50 hides, the same as Banbury.] (Return to p. 72)

123 This evidence is rendered available by the useful Notes on the Oxfordshire Domesday, published by the Clarendon Press in 1892.

124 40 + 5 + 5.

125 'Unam hidam et iiies. virgatas et iiiciam. partem de i. virgata.'

126 'Dimidiam hidam et iiiciam. partem dimidiæ hidæ.'

127 Lysons. So also Domesday: 'soco vero jacebat in Stains'.

128 Domesday Studies, i. 120. See also supra, p. 45, and the case of Northampton, infra.

129 Domesday, i. 64b.

130 English Historical Review, 1889, iv. 729.

131 English Historical Review, 1889, iv. 728-9.

132 Archæological Review, iv. 313-27.

133 Mr Stevenson, perhaps, is rather too severe on Canon Taylor's 'Carucate' remarks in the New English Dictionary. Strictly, no doubt, the Canon was mistaken, with Mr Pell, in reckoning 120 as 144 'by the English number'; but the evidence in his paper on 'the plough and the ploughland' seems to establish a practice of counting by twelve instead of ten.

134 Genealogist, N.S., vi. 160-1.

135 Archæological Review, iv. 322.

136 On this point one may compare with profit 'the making of the Danelaw' (858-78), by the late Mr Green (Conquest of England, pp. 114-29), who had devoted to this subject much attention. He discusses the limits of Eastern Mercia, the district of the Five Boroughs, in the light of local nomenclature (Ibid., pp. 121-2), and includes within it, on this ground, Northamptonshire, while observing that the country about Buckingham, which formed the southern border of the 'Five Boroughs', has no 'byes'. My own evidence is wholly distinct from that of local nomenclature, and defines more sharply the district settled and reorganized by the Danes. The hidation of Northamptonshire is peculiar, a unit of four (reminding one of the Mercian shilling) coming into prominence. Still, it was not carucated, but retained its assessment in hides.

137 Stamford is assigned to Lincolnshire by Domesday, but is now in Rutland. The 'Rutland' of Domesday (the northern portion of the county as at present constituted) was included, we shall find, in the carucated district by which it was surrounded on the north.

138 Reg. Mag. Alb. at York, pars. ii. 1. Quoted by Canon Raine, in his edition of John of Hexham (who applies these formulæ to Hexham itself), p. 61.

139 vide infra, p. 149, et seq.

140 'Suma iii. hundr' et vi. car. et vi. bov.'

141 'Suma iiii. hundr' et x. car.' (a wrong total).

142 'Summa iii. hundr' et v. car. et iiii. bov.'

143 See also on these Hundreds Mr Stevenson's remarks in English Historical Review, v. 96, which have appeared since I made these researches.

144 This appears to be a clerical error. The actual figures represent 'Hundreds'.

145 The Northern division by threes and sixes is responsible, of course, for the six 'sheaddings' of the Isle of Man. On their connection with the 'scypfylleth' of three Hundreds see Vigfusson in English Historical Review, ii. 500.

146 The aggregate of these areal measures does not bear out the statement of Domesday regarding them, the former Wapentake containing eighty-four ploughlands, where Domesday allows it only forty-eight.

147 The entry is far more suggestive of the 'Hundreds' (vide infra) in Leicestershire, on the border of which Sawley stood. This remark applies also to the entry (i. 291b) that Leake (Notts) 'jacet in Pluntree Hund'.

148 See D.B., i. fos. 298, 298b, and fo. 379.

149 As Mr Pell did in the case of Clifton.

150 vide infra, p. 160.

151 'There is no trace of any,' writes Canon Taylor (Domesday Studies, i. 74).

152 As with maenols and trevs in North and South Wales.

153 Mr Pell tried to explain it by assuming that the Leicestershire carucates were really small virgates of the hida in question!

154 This at once shows the absurdity of taking these eighteen carucates to be eighteen 'virgates' of a normal hide, and of all the reasoning based thereupon.

155 See more below on this point.

156 English Historical Review, v. 95.

157 Mr Stevenson, moreover, should surely, to obtain the meaning he wants, have extended car as 'car[ucatarum]'.

158 I also hold the formula 'T.R.E. erant ibi x car[ucæ]' to refer to ploughs, not ploughlands.

159 Note that the assessment of 2⅝ carucates represented 2½ ploughlands, and that of 9⅜ carucates only 7 ploughlands. No relation, therefore, can be traced here.

160 Conquest of England, p. 121 note.

161 Ibid., p. 276.

162 Chester Archæological Journal, vol. v.

163 'De harieta Lagemanorum habuit isdem picot viii. lib,' etc. (i. 189).

164 Domesday Studies, i. 143-86.

165 Ibid., 157.

166 According to Canon Taylor's ingenious theory, the ratio should be 1 to 1 (for two-field Manors), or 2 to 1 for three-field Manors. But in Leicestershire there is a remarkable prevalence of the 3 to 2 ratio, which his theory can, at best, only explain as exceptional.

167 Supra, p. 74.

168 The figures are taken from the 'Index' to the Hundreds at the close of the first volume of Domesday Book, and the names are arranged in the same order as they are there found.

169 There is plenty of similar evidence elsewhere in the shire. Thus we find the Craven Manors assessed at 6, 6, 6, 3, 3, 4, 6, 10, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 3, 3, 3 carucates. These assessments would give us 24 (6 + 6 + 6 + 3 + 3) + 24 (4 + 6 + 10 + 2 + 2) + 18 (3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3) + 11 (2 + 3 + 3 + 3).

170 Supra, pp. 51, 62.

171 Compare the 'Reparto de la contribucion', found in the Spanish village communities, the members of which apportioned the assessment among themselves.

172 Key to Domesday: Dorset, p. 14.

173 The anomalous position of Rutland also was, of course, a disturbing element.

174 This low assessment is equally obvious in that of the several Manors.

175 Probably 127, as against about 16 for Somerset and Dorset jointly.

176 See Mr Green's maps in his work, The Making of England, and Mr Freeman's map of 'Britain in 597', in vol. i. of his Norman Conquest. The figures for Hampshire, unfortunately, are wanting in the roll of 1156, as in that of 1130.

177 Even if such assessment were not required, at first, for financial reasons, it might be necessary for such obligations as eventually formed the 'trinoda necessitas'.

178 See Stubbs, Select Charters, pp. 67-9, and Const. Hist., i. 96-9.

179 Select Charters, p. 67.

180 Vol. i., pp. 98, 99. Cf. Select Charters, p. 67: 'It is sometimes stated that the Hundred is a primitive subdivision consisting of a hundred hides of land, or apportioned to a hundred families, the great objection to which theory is the impossibility of reconciling the historical Hundreds with any such computation.'

181 Select Charters, p. 6.

182 Thus, the first entry for East Anglia (ii. 109b) has 'de xx. solidis reddit xvi. d. in gelto.'

183 Compare also the very curious system of 'purses' adopted by the Cinque Ports. The 'purse' was £4 7s, and to every 'purse' Sandwich, for instance, paid twenty shillings, while, whenever it paid twenty such shillings, its four 'members' were assessed to pay three and fourpence apiece towards it.

184 'In hundredo de Tinghowe sunt xx. villæ ex quibus constituuntur ix. lete, quas sic distinguimus.' Gage's Suffolk, p. xii.

185 Select Pleas in Manorial Courts (Selden Society), I., lxiii.—lxxvi.

186 Ibid., p. lxxvi.

187 'De gelto v. sol'' (D.B., ii. 286b). Sudbury was an outlying portion of the Hundred of Thingoe, in which is situated Bury St Edmunds, of which we read (D.B., ii. 372): 'quando in hundredo solvitur ad geldum i. libra, tunc inde exeunt lx. d. ad victum monachorum.' This substitution, apparently, of Sudbury (as three leets) for Bury St Edmunds (of which the monks received the geld) deserves investigation.

188 See p. 58.

189 'Wisbeche, quæ est quarta pars centuriatus insulæ' (Liber Eliensis p. 192).

190 'In Sparle et in Pagrave, xviii. d. quando hundret scotabat xx. solidos et in Acra vi. d. et in pichensam xii. d. quicunque ibi teneat' (ii. 119b). See also note 182.

191 See Domesday Studies, p. 117.

192 Reprinted from the English Historical Review, October 1892.

193 Ninth Report on Historical MSS., App. I, 38.

194 Domesday of St. Paul's, p. iv.

195 This is a slip. Drayton was in Middlesex, and the words (which Mr Seebohm quotes) are 'cum una hida de solande'.

196 I know of no authority for this form.

197 The 'Lathes' of Kent of course point in the same direction.

198 Professor Vinogradoff states, on the contrary, that 'all are irregular in their formation'.

199 English Village Community, pp. 54, 139, 396.

200 The phrase 'quot hidæ sint ibi' is of importance because such formulae as 'T.R.E. geldabat pro ii. hidis, sed tamen sunt ibi xii. hidæ', have sometimes been understood to imply two geldable, but twelve arable hides, whereas both figures refer to assessment only.

201 English Village Community, 212 note.

202 We might also compare the droit de gîte on the other side of the Channel.

203 I am indebted for these identifications to Mr Eyton's work.

204 It is a further and fundamental error that Mr Eyton speaks of the firma unius noctis as 'borough taxation', whereas it was essentially of the nature of rent, not taxes.

205 I am indebted for these identifications to Mr Eyton's work.

206 We should perhaps read this as explaining the composition of the centuriatus, viz.: 'the priests, the reeves, and six villeins from each Vill'.

207 Of this conflict there is a good instance, almost at the outset of the Cambridgeshire survey (p. 3): 'Hanc terram posuit Orgarus in vadimonio ... ut homines Goisfridi dicunt. Sed homines de hundredo neque breve aliquid neque legat' R.E. inde viderunt, neque testimonium perhibent.'

208 Whittlesford omitted, because in this Hundred no lands were held or claimed by the Abbey.

209 Compare Wilkins, 125 (quoted by Palgrave, English Commonwealth, i. 464) on English and 'Welsh' in Devon: 'Disputes arising between the plaintiffs and defendants of the two nations were to be decided by a court of twelve "lawmen"—six English and six Welsh—the representatives of the respective communities. And it may be observed that the principle which suggested this dimidiated tribunal was generally adopted in our border law.'

210 Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 339.

211 Palgrave's Commonwealth, ii. 183.

212 This seems of great importance as a very early instance of the quatuor villatæ system, on which see Gross's 'The Early History and Influence of the Office of Coroner' (Political Science Quarterly, vol. vii, No. 4), where the researches of Prof Maitland and others are summarized.

213 Only four, however, of the fourteen actually swore: 'reliquos vero decem quietavit Willelmus abbas, qui parati erant jurare'.

214 The number eight perhaps, is unusual for the jury of a Hundred but we have an instance in 1222, of a 'jurata per octo legales cives Lincolniæ et præterea per octo legales homines de visneto Lincolnie' (Bracton's Note-book, ii. 121); and see Addenda.

215 His surname is there omitted, but his identity is proved by Humphrey 'de Anslevilla' occurring elsewhere as an under-tenant of Eudo.

216 So I conclude from his Introduction to Domesday, i. 22, note 2.

217 Inquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensi, pp. 97 et seq.

218 Ed. Hamilton, pp. 184-9.

219 Ibid., pp. 97, 101.

220 C omits 'et'.

221 Here the scribe of C, puzzled by the evident corruption of the text from which he copied, read 'inv[enit]'.

222 'Toft' (rightly) in C.

223 Chauelæi, C.

224 Stanhard[us], B, C.

225 Frauuis, C.

226 Chertelinge, C.

227 Cheleia, C.

228 Wigeni, C. This was 'Wigonus de mara' (I.C.C.) or 'Wighen' (D.B.) Count Alan's under-tenant at Ditton.

229 Eurard[us] in D.B.

230 'Juraverunt homines scilicet Alerann[us], Rogger[us] homo Walteri Giffardi' omitted in C.

231 A sokeman of the Abbot of Ely at Suafham.

232 Staplehoe Hundred.

233 This is a noticeable case because 'mo' has been interlined in B text of I.E., and because this man can be identified in I.C.C. and D.B. as an under-tenant in the Hundred.

234 The I.E. version ('bans') is the right one.

235 Rectius 'I. hidam'.

236 C text.

237 Commend' 'S. ae.' is found on 386b, ad pedem.

238 From internal evidence I hold this writ to have been sent from over sea. It cannot have been issued by William Rufus, for the Bishop of Coutances rebelled against him in 1088, and William Rufus did not go abroad till later in his reign.

239 This is usually quoted 'inquirunt', which is the wrong reading.

240 The right reading.

241 Quantum in C text.

242 The text here seems to be corrupt, C reading 'tunc' for 'simul'. As the 'tunc' and 'modo' formula is represented in the next clause, it seems more probable that 'simul' is the right reading, and refers to the totals entered in the Inquisitio. In that case the words 'et quantum modo' are an interpolation.

243 Hallow near Worcester.

244 Note, Ash—'Esch'—'Naisse'.

245 Compare the heading of the 'breve abbatis': 'Hic imbreviatur quot carucas', etc., etc. The returns of the Norman barons in 1172 were styled 'breves'.

246 Ed. Hamilton, p. 137.

247 This also seems to have been taken from the detailed original returns.

248 So far back as 1887 I raised this question, writing: 'Indeed, heretical though the view may be, I see no proof whatever that Domesday Book was itself compiled in 1086' (Antiquary, xvi. 8).

249 Domesday Studies, pp. 526, 626.

250 The most erroneous date that has been suggested for Domesday is the year 1080. Ellis wrote, referring to Webb's 'short account', that 'the Red Book of the Exchequer seems to have been erroneously quoted as fixing the time of entrance upon it as 1080' (i. 3). Mr Ewald,* following in his footsteps, has repeated his statement (under 'Domesday Book'), in the Encyclopædia Britannica; and, lastly, Mr de Gray Birch asserts on his authority that 'this valuable manuscript' is not responsible for that date (Domesday Book, p. 71). All these writers are mistaken. The Diologus de Scaccario, indeed, does not mention a year, but Swereford's famous Introduction, in the Red Book of the Exchequer, does give us, by an astounding blunder, the fourteenth year of the Conqueror (1079-80) as the date of Domesday (see below, p. 210).

* Author of Our Public Records.

251 I am not sure that even the 'pertin[ent] ad rege[m]' of the 'first' volume (100b) is not a mistake for 'regnum'.

252 On fo. 17 is a curious deleted list of church fiefs in Essex, which has no business there.

253 Introduction to Domesday, i. 354.

254 vide infra, p. 154.

255 Henry, says Orderic, in 1100, 'concito cursu ad arcem Guentoniæ, ubi regalis thesaurus continebatur, festinavit'.

256 This account of the Winchester placitum is taken from my second article on 'The Custody of Domesday Book' (Antiquary, xvi. 9-10).

257 Academy, November 13, 1886; Domesday Studies, p. 537 note; and Mr Hall's Antiquities of the Exchequer, chap. i.

258 Mon. Ang., iii. 86.

259 Hen. Hunt., 211; Richard of Hexham says of Henry I's charter of liberties that 'in ærari suo apud Wintoniam [eam] conservari præcepit' (p. 142).

260 Domesday Studies, 546-7.

261 Supra, note 255.

262 Athenæum, November 27, 1886.

263 See also Domesday Studies, 547 note2.

264 Domesday Studies, 539 et seq.

265 It will be observed that I do not touch the Liber Exoniensis.

266 Possibly at second-hand, see p. 20 note (Footnote: 9, above), and Addenda.

[pg 124]


This remarkable document was printed by Sir Henry Ellis (1833) in his General Introduction to Domesday (i. 184-7) from the fine Peterborough Cartulary belonging to the Society of Antiquaries (MS. 60). I shall not, therefore, reprint it here, but will give the opening entry as a specimen of its style:

This is unto Suttunes (Sutton) hundred, that is an hundred hides. So it was in King Edward's day. And thereof is 'gewered' one and twenty hides and two-thirds of a hide, and [there are] forty hides inland and ten hides [of] the King's ferm land, and eight and twenty hides and the third of a hide waste.

We have seen (supra, p. 59) that Ellis not only erred, but even led Dr Stubbs into error, as to the character of the 'hundreds' enumerated in this document. Except for that, I cannot find any real notice taken of it, although it has been in print over sixty years. It appears to be not even mentioned in Mr Stuart Moore's volume on Northamptonshire in Domesday; and no one, it seems, has cared to inquire to what date it belongs, or what it really is.1

Now, although written in old English, it is well subsequent to the Conquest, for it mentions inter alias 'Rodbertes wif heorles', who, we shall find, was Maud, wife of the Count of Mortain. It also mentions William and Richard Engaine, Northamptonshire tenants in Domesday. On the other hand, it cannot be later than 1075, for it speaks of lands held by 'the lady, the King's wife'; and this was Edith, Edward's widow, whose Northamptonshire lands passed to King William at her death in 1075. Of the very few names mentioned, one may surprise and the other puzzle us. The former is that of 'the Scot King', holding land even then in a shire where his successors were to hold it so largely: the other is 'Osmund, the King's writer', in whom one is grievously tempted to detect the future Chancellor, Saint and Bishop. But, apart from his identity, his peculiar style, exactly equating, as it does, the Latin 'clericus regis', emboldens me to make the hazardous suggestion that we possibly have in this document an English rendering of a Latin original, executed in the Peterborough scriptorium.

For what was the purpose of the document? It may be pronounced without hesitation to be no other than a geld-roll, recording, it [pg 125] would seem, a levy of Danegeld hitherto unknown.2 There are three features which it has in common with the rolls of 1084: it is drawn up hundred by hundred; it records the exemption of demesne; and it specifies those lands that had failed to pay their quota.3

Its salient feature is one that, at first sight, might seem to impugn its authenticity. This is the almost incredible amount of land lying 'waste'. If we confine our attention to the land liable to geld represented by the first and fourth columns in my analysis below, we see that by far the larger proportion of it is entered as 'waste': yet this witness to a terrible devastation is the best proof of its authenticity; for it sets before us the fruits of those ravages in the autumn of 1065, which are thus described by Mr Freeman, paraphrasing the English chronicle:

Morkere's Northern followers dealt with the country about Northampton as if it had been the country of an enemy. They slew men, burned corn and houses, carried off cattle, and at last led captive several hundred prisoners, seemingly as slaves. The blow was so severe that it was remembered even when one would have thought that that and all other lesser wrongs would have been forgotten in the general overthrow of England. Northamptonshire and the shires near to it were for many winters the worse.

Mr Freeman, had he read it, would have eagerly welcomed our record's striking testimony to the truth of the Chronicle's words.

The devastation that our roll records had been well repaired at the time of Domesday; but we obtain a glimpse of it in the Rockingham entry: 'Wasta erat quando rex W. jussit ibi castellum fieri. Modo valet xxvi. sol.' (i. 220).

But it is not only that the entries of 'waste' on our roll are thus explained: they further prove it to be, as I have urged, a 'Danegeld' roll. For, when we compare it with the Pipe-Roll of 2 Henry II (1156), we find the latter similarly allowing for the non-receipt of geld from land 'in waste'; and it is specially noteworthy that the portion thus 'waste' is in every case, as on our roll, entered after the others. The fact that the geld was remitted on land that had been made 'waste' is now established by collation of these two records.

Incidentally, it may be pointed out that as our document bears witness to the devastation of Northamptonshire in 1065, so the first surviving roll of Henry II illustrates the local range of devastation under Stephen. In Kent, which had been throughout under the [pg 126] royal rule, the waste was infinitesimal; in Yorkshire it was slight; but in the Midlands, which had long been the battle-ground of rival feudal magnates, it was so extensive that, as here in Northamptonshire after the Conquest, there was more land exempted as 'waste' than there was capable of paying.

Before leaving this subject I briefly compare the cases of Northamptonshire and of East Sussex. In the former, we have seen, it is only our document that preserves for us evidence of the ravages in 1065; Domesday does not record them, because they had then (1086) been repaired. But in East Sussex, the entries are fuller; and as was observed by Mr Hayley, an intelligent local antiquary:

It is the method of Domesday Book, after reciting the particulars relating to each Manor, to set down the valuation thereof, at three several periods, to wit, the time of King Edward the Confessor, afterwards when the new tenant entered upon it, and again at the time when the survey was made. Now it is to be observed in perusing the account of the Rape of Hastings in that book, that in several of the Manors therein at the second of these periods, it is recorded of them that they were waste, and from this circumstance it may upon good ground be concluded what parts of that Rape were marched over by, and suffered from the ravages of the two armies of the Conqueror and King Harold; and indeed, the situations of those Manors is such as evidently shows their then devastated state to be owing to that cause.4

Mr Freeman's treatment of this theory was highly characteristic. In the Appendix he devoted to the subject5 he first contemptuously observed of the allusion to Harold's army:

This notion would hardly have needed any answer except from the sort of sanction given to it by the two writers who quote Mr Hayley. I do not believe that any army of any age ever passed through a district without doing some damage, but to suppose that Harold systematically harried his own kingdom does seem to me the height of absurdity.

And he, further, indignantly denied that such a King as Harold was 'likely to mark his course by systematic harrying'. Now, Mr Hayley had never charged him with 'systematic harrying'; he had merely traced with much ingenuity, the approach of his army to Senlac by the damage, Mr Freeman admits, its passage, when assembled, must have caused.

The fact is that Mr Hayley had, and Mr Freeman had not, read his Domesday 'with common care'.6 The latter started from the hasty assertion that:

the lasting nature of the destruction wrought at this time is shown by the large number of places round about Hastings which are returned in Domesday as 'waste'.

[pg 127]

Hence he argued, Harold, even had he been 'Swegen himself'—

could not have done the sort of lasting damage which is implied in the lands being returned as 'waste' twenty years after. The ravaging must have been something thorough and systematic, like the ravaging of Northumberland a few years later.

The whole argument rests on a careless reading of Domesday. It was on passages such as these that Mr Hayley had relied:

Totum manerium T.R.E. valebat xx. lib. Et post vasta fuit. Modo xviii. lib. et x. sol.

Totum manerium T.R.E. valebat xiiii. lib. Postea vastatum fuit. Modo xxii. lib.

Totum manerium T.R.E. valebat cxiiii. sol. Modo vii. lib. Vastatum fuit.7

Thus, so far from being returned in 1086 as 'waste', these Manors, we see, had already recovered from their devastation at the Conquest, and had even, in some cases, increased their value. And so Mr Freeman's argument falls to the ground.

But as he was eager to vindicate Harold from a quite imaginary charge, I will try to clear William from Mr Freeman's very real one. Having wrongly concluded that the ravages were 'lasting', and must therefore have been 'systematic', Mr Freeman wrote:

There can be little doubt but that William's ravages were not only done systematically, but were done with a fixed and politic purpose (p. 413) ... there can be little doubt that they were systematic ravages done with the settled object of bringing Harold to a battle (p. 741).

Possibly the writer had in his mind the harrying of the lands of the Athenians, as described in the pages of Thucydides: but how can it have been politic for William, not only to provoke Harold, but to outrage the English people? It was Harold with whom his quarrel lay; and as to those he hoped to make his future subjects, to ravage their lands wilfully and wantonly was scarcely the way to commend himself to their favour: it would rather impel them, in dread of his ways, to resist his dominion to the death.

But if William's policy be matter of question, Domesday at least is matter of fact; and Mr Freeman's followers cannot be surprised at the opposition he provoked, when we find him thus ridiculing a student for a charge he never made, and proved to have himself erred from his careless reading of Domesday.

I now append an analysis of the roll, showing the proportion of land 'gewered',8 of 'inland', of terra regis, of land which had not [pg 128] paid (in square brackets), and of 'waste'. The totals in square brackets are those given in the document; the others are those actually accounted for.

    Inland Terra Regis Waste Total
Sutton 21⅔ 40 10   28⅓ 100 [100]
Warden 17¾ 40     41¼ 99 [99]
Cleyley 18 40     42 100 [100]
Gravesend 18½ 35 5   41½ 100 [100]
'Eadbolds Stow' 23½ 45 5   26½ 100 [100]
'Ailwardsley' 16½ 40   [6½] 37 100 [100]
Foxley 16 30 21   33 100 [100]
Wyceste 199  40 20   21 100 [100]
Huxlow 8 15     39 62 [62]
Willybrook 7 11 31   13 62 [62]
Upton Green 50 27   [3½] 29½10  110 [109]
Neuesland [80½]11 59   [8] 12½   [160]
Navisford 15 14     33 62 [62]
Polebrook 10 20     32 62 [62]
Newbottlegrove 44⅞ 72     33⅛ 150 [150]
Gilsborough 16 68     66 150 [150]
Spelho 20½   [Borough 25] [16] 28½ 90 [90]
Wiceslea W. 10 40     30 80 [80]
Wiceslea E. 15 34     31 80 [80]
'Stotfald' 9⅛ 40     50⅛ 99¼ [100]
Stoke 18 [10]       12   [40]
Higham 49½ 44     56 149½ [150]
'Malesley' 12 30 8   30 80 [80]
Corby 12¼ 12¼ [?4] 10¾ 47¾ [47]
Rothwell 10 20 [7½]   4512 [60]
'Andwertheshoe' [?26]13 25     39   [90]
Ordlingbury 29½ 24½     21 80 [80]
'Wimersley' 41 60     49 150 [150]

The persons mentioned as not having paid can in most cases be identified. Thus 'Robert the Earl's wife' is one of those in Rothwell Hundred, whose land was 'unwered'. This was clearly Maud, wife of Count Robert of Mortain, who had been given lands by her father, Roger of Montgomery, at Harrington in this Hundred. Domesday, it is true, where it figures as 'Arintone', knows it only as [pg 129] 'Terra æcclesiæ de Grestain' (222 b); but a charter of Richard I (per Inspeximus) confirms to the Abbey 'ex dono Matildis Comitisse Moreton ... xxxii. hidas terre quas dederat ei pater suus Rogerus de Montegomerico, scilicet apud Haxintonam [sic] viii. hidas, etc.'14 As the lands had first been given to Roger, then by him to his daughter, and, finally, by her to the Abbey, I cannot think our document earlier, at any rate, than 1068. Edith, whose name proves it not to be later than 1075, is entered as 'the lady, the King's wife', holding eight hides in Neuesland Hundred, and again as a holder in Rothwell Hundred, under the name of 'the King's wife'. Both entries, doubtless, refer to her wide-spreading Manor of 'Tingdene' (i. 222), parts of which lay in both the above Hundreds. Of the other holders we may notice 'Urs' (? Urse d'Abetot), and 'Witeget the priest'; but these are quite eclipsed by Richard and William Engaine, of whom the former occurs twice and the latter thrice on the roll. In Spelho Hundred 'Richard' seems to be credited with ten hides at 'Habintune' on which 'nan peni' had been paid. In Domesday his holding at Abintone is given as four hides (i. 229). In the same Hundred, William's land at 'Multune' is in default. Moulton is not entered under his fief in Domesday, but under that of Robert de Buci we find a 'William' holding of him a hide and a virgate and a half in Moulton. This was William Engaine, as was the 'William' of our roll; and in the Hen. I-Hen. II survey,15 we find land in Moulton entered as of Engaine's fee. Still more interesting is it to note that so late as 25 Ed. I. more than two centuries after Domesday, John Engayne is found holding half a fee in Moulton of Ralf Basset, and Basset of the King in capite. For, as our Leicestershire survey shows,16 the Domesday fief of Robert de Buci had passed to Basset, of whose heir, therefore, Engayne held, as his ancestor had held of Robert de Buci, in the days of William the Conqueror.

It is particularly instructive to follow out the Northamptonshire fief of William Engaine. In Domesday (i. 229) he is entered only as 'Willelmus' holding 3½ hides in Pytchley (Piteslea), and Laxton (Lastone), worth at that time, £3 10s. 'Vitalis' Engaine was his heir in 1130, for the Pipe-Roll of 31 Hen. I (p. 82) records his discharge of a debt to the crown 'ut rehabeat terram suam de Laxetona'. And this is confirmed by the survey of 1125 in the Liber Niger of Peterborough, where we read under 'Pihtesle' (p. 162): 'Et Vitalis reddit iii. solidos pro i. virga', this being the 'i. virga' assigned to him in the list of Peterborough knights (Ibid., p. 169). The 'Rotulus de Dominabus' (1185) shows us the 'Piteslea' estate in the hands of Margaret Engaine, makes it worth £6, and mentions that her heir [pg 130] was Richard Engaine (p. 14). The 'Testa de Nevill' (p. 37) enters Richard 'de Angayne' as holding five carucates of land in 'Pettesle' and 'Laxeton' worth £6 a year. It tells us, further, that he held them by serjeanty—'et est venator leporum, et facit servitium'. From the nature of this return I assign it to the inquest of 1198, in which case it is of some value, as identifying five carucates under the new assessment with the 3½ hides recorded in Domesday.17 Fulc de Lisures, on the other hand—the heir of the Richard Engaine of Domesday—returned himself in 1166, as the King's forester in fee and attending the King's person, with his horn hanging from his neck.18

The association of Pytchley with hunting is carried back even further still. For Richard and William Engaine had for their predecessor in title, Ælfwine the huntsman ('venator'), who owned their lands when King Edward sat upon the throne.

Among the lands deducted we observe in Spelho Hundred 'fif and xx. hida byrigland'. This represents the assessment in hides of the Borough of Northampton, and, so far as I know, is the only mention of that assessment to be found. In my paper on 'Danegeld and the Finance of Domesday', I pointed out that Bridport and Malmesbury were assessed at five hides each, Dorchester, Wareham, and Hertford at ten hides, Worcester at fifteen, Bath and Shaftesbury at twenty, etc.19 Northampton (we now see) was assessed in the same manner, and Chester and Huntingdon at no less than fifty hides each. Thus they admirably illustrate assessment in terms of the five-hide unit. We find this primitive system obsolete in 1130, when a borough gave an 'auxilium' where its county paid Danegeld. But our roll implies that, here at least, it was already obsolete in the early days of the Conquest; for the twenty-five hides of 'byrigland' are, for the payment of 'geld', deducted from the Hundred.

From the date I have assigned to this document (ante-1075), it may fairly claim to represent our earliest financial record. Its illustrative value for Danegeld and the Hundred, and consequently for Domesday Book, will be obvious to every student.

1 I have found, since this was written, that it was printed by Mr T. O. Cockayne in his little-known Shrine (pp. 205-8), and pronounced by him (in error) to be 'evidently' of the date 1109-18.

2 I opposed in 1886 (Domesday Studies, pp. 86, 87) the accepted view that no Danegeld was levied by the Conqueror till the winter of 1083-4 and discussed (Ibid., 88-92) the Inquisitio Geldi, which, as Mr Eyton showed (Key to Domesday), belongs to that date. It has been persistently confused with the Exon Domesday (being bound up with it), as by Mr Jones, in his Wiltshire Domesday (pp. xxxvii., 153 et seq.), and Professor Freeman (Quart. Review, July 1892, p. 22).

3 It was connected, I find, by Mr Cockayne with military service, not with Danegeld.

4 Quoted in Ellis's Introduction to Domesday, i. 315-6.

5 Norm. Conq., iii, 741-2.

6 The phrase employed by Mr Freeman in criticizing Professor Pearson.

7 See Ellis, ut supra.

8 'Wered', like 'Wara' (supra, p. 100), refers to assessment and corresponds with the 'defendit se' phrase in Domesday. It seems here to represent the land which had actually paid.

9 Wrongly given by Ellis and Cockayne as 'xviii'.

10 Wrongly given by Ellis as 'viii. and xx'.

11 The MS. reads, 'thus micel is gewered ... viiii. and xx. hida and i. hida and viiii. and fifti hida inland'. The text is clearly corrupt.

12 There is no entry for 'waste' in this hundred, so that possibly the words 'xv. hida westa' are omitted.

13 There are clearly some words omitted here in the Peterborough transcript. We must read: 'and thereof is "gewered" [? 26 hide and] five and twenty hides inland'.

14 Monasticon, vi. 1090.

15 Infra, p. 175.

16 Infra, p. 173.

17 See my paper on 'The great carucage of 1198' (English Historical Review, iii, 501 et seq.).

18 'Et ego ipse custodio forestagium Regis de feodo meo; et debeo ire cum corpore Regis in servitio suo paratus equis et armis, cornu meo in collo meo pendente.'—Lib. Rub., i, 333.

19 Domesday Studies, pp. 117-9.

[pg 131]


(Temp. Henry I)

The interesting 'Descriptio militum de Abbatia de Burgo' is found in the same MS. as the Northamptonshire Geld-roll.1 It was printed by Stapleton in the appendix to his Chronicon Petroburgense (pp. 168-75),2 but no attempt was made to date it. The name of Eudo Dapifer proves that it cannot have been compiled later than 1120. On the other hand, it cannot well be earlier than 1100, for some of the Domesday tenants had been succeeded by their sons—Robert (?) Marmion, for instance, by Roger, and Coleswegen by Picot—while the mention of 'Gislebertus filius Ricardi', possibly the son of Richard of 'Wodeford' (i. 224b), points in the same direction. As the majority of names, however, seem to be those of Domesday tenants, it is probable that the list is not later than the Lindsey survey itself, if, indeed, it is not earlier. The first entry it contains is a good specimen of its value:

Asketillus de Sancto Medardo tenet de abbatia de Burch in Hamtonascira x. hidas et iii. partes i. virgæ, et in Lincolnescira iii. carrucatas et inde servit se vi. milite. Et de feudo hujus militis dedit rex Willelmus senior Eudoni Dapifero in Estona hidam et dimidiam et mandavit de Normannia in Angliam Episcopo Constantiarum et R. de Oilli per breves suos ut inde darent ei excambium ad valens in quocumque vellet de iii. vicinis comitatibus; sed abbas noluit.

We duly find 'Anschitillus' in Domesday, holding 'Witheringham', Northants and 'Osgodeby', Linc., of the Abbot (i. 221b, 345b). In the same way we are enabled to identify the 'Rogerius Infans' of our list with 'Rogerius' who held 'Pilchetone', according to Domesday (i. 221b), of the Abbot, 'Ascelinus de Waltervilla' with the 'Azelinus' of Domesday (Ibid.), 'Gosfridus nepos Abbatis', with 'Goisfridus' who held in 'Sudtorp' (Ibid.), and 'Rogerius Malfed' with that 'Rogerius' who held of the Abbot at Woodford (i. 222). 'Rogerus', on the other hand, who held in Domesday two hides at Milton, Northants (i. 221b), and seven bovates at Cleatham, Linc. (i. 346), is represented in our list by the entry:

Turoldus de Meletona ii. hidas in Hamtonascira, et in Lindeseia vi. bovatas, et inde servit se altero milite (p. 171).

The chief lesson taught us here is the rashness of assuming the identity of tenants happening to bear the same name. For even [pg 132] among the few who are named as holding of the Abbot of Peterborough, we have found three Rogers quite distinct from one another.

The entries which follow are of value as absolute proofs of succession:

Domesday Descriptio Militum

In Dailintone tenet Ricardus de abbate iiiior. hidas (i. 222).

In Risun habuit Elnod iiii. bovatas terre ad geldum ... Nunc habet Colsuan de abbate Turoldo (i. 345b).

Rodbertus filius Ricardi iiii. hidas in Hamtonascira, et inde servit se altero milite (p. 175).

Picotus filius Colsuaini habet dimidiam carrucatam in Rison, quam abbas dedit patri suo tali servicio quod esset ad placita abbatis et manuteneret res suas et homines suos in scira et in aliis locis (p. 175).

This second entry not only records a peculiarly interesting enfeoffment, but identifies 'Colsuan', the Abbot's under-tenant at Riseholme, with no less a person than the conqueror's 'English favourite Coleswegen, ... an Englishman who, by whatever means, contrived to hold up his head among the conquerors of England'.3

As sons, in such cases as these, have succeeded their fathers, it need not surprise us that our list comprises some names that are found in the Liber Niger survey of 1125.4 Vivian, whom, it tells us, Abbot Turold had enfeoffed at Oundle (p. 175) occurs there in that survey (p. 158), as does Robert d'Oilli at Cottingham (pp. 159-73).5 Vitalis ('Viel') Engaine had succeeded William (Engaine) at Pytchley both in our list and in the survey of 1125 (cf. ante, p. 129).

One of the most interesting and important points in this list of knights is the gleam of new light it throws on Hereward 'the Wake'. In it we read:

Hugo de Euremou iii. hidas in dominio et vii. bovatas in Lincolneshira, et servit pro ii. militibus.

Ansford iii. carucatas et servit pro dimidia hida [sic].

Now Hugh de Euremou is the name of the man who, according to the pseudo-Ingulf, married Hereward's daughter. Here we have [pg 133] proof of his real existence, and are enabled moreover to detect him, I claim, in that Hugh who, as a 'miles' of the Abbot, held three hides at 'Edintone' [Etton, Northants] in Domesday (i. 222). Mr Freeman speaking of the vacancy at Bayeux in 1908, wrote:

William at once bestowed the staff on Turold, the brother of Hugh of Evermont [sic], seemingly the same Hugh who figures in the legend of Hereward as his son-in-law and successor.6

But the French editors of Ordericus, in a note to the passage from which this statement was taken (iv. 18), speak of our man as 'Hugue d'Envermeu, donateur du prieuré de St. Laurent d'Envermeu à l'Abbaye de Bec'.7

Turning for a moment from Hugh to Ansford, we read in the Lincolnshire 'Clamores':

Terram Asford in Bercham hund' dicit Wapentac non habuisse Herewardum die quo aufugiit (D.B., i. 376b).

About this entry, as Mr Freeman observed, 'there can be no doubt'. But as the result of his careful inquiry,8 he limited 'our positive knowledge', from Domesday, to this entry and to two in the text of the Lincolnshire survey (364b-377). It is strange that he did not follow up the clue the 'Clamores' gave him. The relevant entry in the text of the Survey is duly found under the Peterborough fief:

In Witham et Mannetorp et Toftlund habuit Hereward xii. bovatas terræ ad geldum.... Ibi Asuert [sic] homo abbatis Turoldi habet, etc....

Berew[ita] hujus M. in Bercaham et Estou i. carucata terræ ad geldum. ... Ibi Asford habet, etc....

In Estov Soca in Witham iiii. bovatæ terræ et dimidia ad geldum.... Ibi Asfort de abbate habet, etc.... (i. 346).

This is the 'terra Asford' referred to in the 'Clamores', and, as amounting to 3116 carucates, it is clearly the 'iii. carucatas' assigned in our list to 'Ansford'. Thus, through his successor Ansford, we have at last run down our man; Hereward was, exactly as is stated by Hugh 'Candidus', a 'man' of the Abbot of Peterborough; and his holding was situated at Witham on the Hill,9 not far from Bourne, and, at Barholme-with-Stow a few miles off, all in the extreme south-west of the county. This is the fact for which Mr Freeman sought in vain, and which has eluded Professor Tout, in his careful life of the outlaw for the Dictionary of National Biography.

We are now in a position to examine the gloss of Hugh 'Candidus', showing how 'Baldwin Wake' possessed the holdings both of Hugh and of Ansford:10

[pg 134]

Primus Hugo de Euremu. Baldwinus Wake tenet in Depinge, Plumtre, et Stove feoda duorum militum.... Et præterea dictus Baldewinus tenet feodum unius militis in Wytham et Bergham de terra Affordi. Et prædictus Baldewinus de predictis feodis abbati de Burgo debet plenarie respondere de omni forensi [servitio].

Here we see how the legendary name and legendary position of Hereward were evolved. The Wakes, Lords of Bourne, held among their lands some, not far from Bourne, which had once been held by Hereward. Thus arose the story that Hereward had been Lord of Bourne; and it was but a step further to connect him directly with the Wakes, by giving him a daughter and heir married to Hugh de Evermou, whose lands had similarly passed to the Lords of Bourne. The pedigree-maker's crowning stroke was to make Hereward himself a Wake,11 just as Baldwin fitz Gilbert (de Clare) is in one place transformed into a Wake.12 The climax was reached when the modern Wakes revived the name of Hereward, just as 'Sir Brian Newcome of Newcome' set the seal to his family legend by giving his children 'names out of the Saxon calendar'.

Returning to Hereward himself, we find Mr Freeman writing (of the spring of 1070):

At this moment we hear for the first time of one whose mythical fame outshines all the names of his generation, and of whom the few historical notices make us wish that details could be filled in from some other source than legend.... Both the voice of legend and the witness of the great Survey agree in connecting Hereward with Lincolnshire, but they differ as to the particular spot in the shire in which he is to be quartered. Legend also has forgotten a fact which the document has preserved, namely, that the hero of the fenland did not belong wholly to Lincolnshire, but that he was also a landholder in the distant shire of Warwick. But the Survey has preserved another fact with which the legendary versions of his life have been specially busy. Hereward, at some time it would seem, before the period of his exploits, had fled from his country.13

Let us first dismiss from our minds the alleged fact as to Warwickshire. There is absolutely nothing to connect the Count of Meulan's tenant there with the Lincolnshire hero; indeed Mr Freeman admits in his appendix 'that the Hereward of these entries may be some other person' (p. 805). Legend had an excellent reason for ignoring this alleged 'fact' as had 'romances' for having 'perversely forgotten' to mention the deeds or the fate of William Malet in the Isle (Ibid., p. 473). We must also dismiss the 'fact'—'undoubted history' though it be (Ibid., p. 805)—of Hereward's 'banishment' at [pg 135] some time between 1062 and 1070. For the Survey gives no date; it merely speaks of 'die quâ aufugiit' (i. 376b), which phrase, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, must be referred to his escape from the 'Isle',14 when (1071) in the words of Florence, 'cum paucis evasit'. This at once explains the Domesday entry (ante, p. 160), for he would, of course, have forfeited his holding before that date.

'But leaving fables and guesses aside,' in Mr Freeman's words, 'we know enough of Hereward to make us earnestly long to know more' (p. 456). My proof that the English hero was a 'man' of the Abbot of Peterborough explains why 'Hereward and his gang', as they are termed in the Peterborough Chronicle, 'seem', Mr Freeman is forced to admit, 'to be specially the rebellious tenants of the Abbey', as distinct from the Danes and the outlaws (p. 459). And the vindication, on this point, of Hugh Candidus' accuracy makes one regret that Mr Freeman, though eager for information as to Hereward, ignored so completely that writer's narrative. It is in absolute agreement with the Peterborough Chronicle, Mr Freeman's own authority, but records some interesting details which the Chronicle omits.15 These place Hereward's conduct in a somewhat different light, and suggest that he may really have been loyal to the Abbey whose 'man' he was. His plea for bringing the Danes to Peterborough was that he honestly believed that they would overthrow the Normans, and that the treasures of the church would, therefore, be safer in their hands. He may perfectly well have been hostile to the Normans, and yet faithful to the Abbey so long as Brand held it; but the news that Turold and his knights were coming to make the Abbey a centre of Norman rule against him16 would drive him to extreme courses. Professor Tout has made some use of Hugh, but says, strangely, that 'the stern rule of the new Abbot Turold drove into revolt the tenants', when his rule had not yet begun.

Again, there is now no doubt where Hereward ought 'to be quartered'. Two other places with which the Domesday survey connects him are Rippingale and, possibly, Laughton to the north of Bourne. Living thus on the edge of the fenland, he may well have been a leader among 'that English folk of the fenlands' who rose, [pg 136] says the Peterborough Chronicle, in the spring of 1070, to join the Danish fleet and throw off the Norman yoke. And the prospect of being ousted from his Peterborough lands by a follower of the new French abbot would have added a personal zest to his patriotic zeal.

Mr Freeman, followed by Professor Tout,17 holds that the story in the false Ingulf is not to be wholly cast aside, as it may contain some genuine Crowland tradition;18 but he has not accurately given that story. It might hastily be gathered, as it was by him, that it was Hereward's mother-in-law who 'very considerately takes the veil at the hands of Abbot Ulfcytel', whereas it was, according to the Gesta, his wife who did this. The Gesta version, he writes, 'of Turfrida going into a monastery to make way for Ælfthryth is plainly another form of the story in Ingulf, which makes not herself but her mother do so'. But if the Historia Ingulphi (pp. 67-8) be read with care, it will be seen that 'mater Turfridæ' should clearly be 'mater Turfrida', the reading that the sense requires. So there is here no opposition, and Ingulf merely follows the Gesta version.

As for the honour of Bourne, it can be shown from the carta of Hugh Wac in 1166, from our list of knights, and from the Pipe-Roll of 1130, to have been formed from separate holdings and to have descended as follows:

The honour of Bourne

(see p. 359)

[pg 137]

The Psuedo-Ingulf's version runs:

The Psuedo-Ingulf's version

It will be seen how skilfully the author of this famous forgery brings in the names of real people while confusing their connection and their dates. Richard de Rullos, for instance, was living shortly before 1130, yet is here described as living under the Conqueror, though represented as marrying the great granddaughter of a man who was himself in the prime of life in 1062. The whole account of him as an ardent agriculturist, devoted to the improvement of live-stock and the reclamation of waste, is quaintly anachronistic; but the fact of his being a friend and benefactor to Crowland is one for which the writer had probably some ground. For my part, I attach most importance to his incidental statement that the daring deeds of Hereward the outlaw, 'adhuc in triviis canuntur', an allusion, perhaps unnoticed, to a ballad history surviving, it may be, so late as the days when the forgery was compiled.

But, leaving Hereward, no entries in this list are more deserving of notice than those which bring before us the famous name of Nevile:

Gislebertus de Nevila [tenet] ii. carrucatas in Lincolnescira, et servit Abbatiæ pro ii. hidis et inde inventi i. militem (p. 171).

Radulfus de Nevila [tenet] x. carrucatas in Lincolnescira et i. hidam et dimidiam in Hamtonascira et servit se tercio milite (p. 175).

Hugh Candidus wrote of the former:

Heres Galfridi de Nevile tenet in Lincolnescire, scilicet in Waletone [sic] justa Folkingham, et Yoltorpe duas carrucatas terra et inde facit plenum servitium unius militis (p. 59).

With this clue we are enabled to detect Gilbert de Nevile in that 'Gislebertus homo Abbatis', who held of the Abbot (D.B., i. 345b) at 'Walecote' (Walcot near Folkingham). So also Hugh 'Candidus' writes of the other Nevile fee:

[pg 138]

Heres Radulfi de Nevile tenet decem carrucatas terræ in Lincolnshire, scilicet in Scottone Malmetone; et in Norhamtonscire unam hidam et dimidiam, scilicet in Holme, Rayniltorp, et inde facit plenum servitium trium militum (p. 55).

It is, then, Ralf de Nevile that we have in that 'Radulfus homo Abbatis', who held of him at 'Mameltune', and 'Rageneltorp' with 'Holm' in Domesday (i. 345b, 346)—Manton, with Raventhorpe and Holme (near Bottesford, co. Linc.)—for Hugh, of course, has blundered in placing the two latter places in Northamptonshire.20 The Testa, more exact, enables us to add Ashby to Holme and Raventhorpe as part of one estate, held as a single knight's fee. Scotton, in the same neighbourhood, was held by 'Ricardus' in Domesday, but, in the hands of Nevile's heirs, represented a fee and a third.

Between Ralf and Gilbert de Nevile on fo. 346 we find 'Gislebertus homo Abbatis' holding ten bovates at Hibaldstow. This was the 'Gislebertus Falvel' of our return, not Gilbert de Nevile.

The last Domesday name I shall identify is that of the Abbot's under-tenant 'Eustacius', who held of him at Polebrook, Clapton (Northants), and Catworth (Hunts). He was, I believe, the same as that Eustace who held land, as a tenant-in-chief, at Polebrook, Northants, and with that Eustace the sheriff ('Vice-comes') who held (at Catworth, Hunts) also in capite. Indeed the abbot's tenant is identified with the latter in the story of the foundation of Huntingdon Priory (Mon. Ang., vi. 78), where, as in our list, we find that his two knights' fees soon passed to Lovetot.21

We may learn from this identification that two different tenants-in-chief and at least one under-tenant may prove to be all one man, just as, on the other hand, we found three distinct Rogers among the Domesday under-tenants of the Abbot. An additional conclusion is suggested by the name 'Eustachius de Huntendune', given to this sheriff in the Inquisitio Eliensis.22 For we find Picot, the Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, similarly styled in Domesday (i. 200), 'Picot de Grentebrige'. 'Ilbert de Hertford', I think, was the Sheriff of Hertfordshire,23 and Hamo, a contemporary sheriff of Kent, attests a charter as 'Hamo de Cantuaria'. Turold, sheriff of Lincolnshire, [pg 139] is found as Turold 'of Lincoln' (see p. 255), and Hugh, sheriff of Dorset, as Hugh of 'Wareham', while Walter and Miles 'of Gloucester', Edward and Walter 'of Salisbury', are also cases in point. Hugh 'of Leicester' was sheriff of Leicestershire temp. Henry I, while Turchil 'de Warwic' (D.B., i. 240b) may possibly have owed that appellation to the fact that his father Ælfwine was sheriff of Warwickshire. Enough, in any case, has been said to show that it was a regular practice for sheriffs to derive, as often did earls, their styles from the capital town of their shire.

1 Society of Antiquaries' MS. 60.

2 Ed. Camden Society.

3 Norman Conquest, iv. 219. We know aliunde that 'Picot filius Colsuani' was the son of Colswegen of Lincoln. It would seem to be of this estate that we read in the 'Clamores': 'Abbas de Burg clamat iiii. bov. terræ in Risun terra Colsuani, et Wap' testatur quod T.R.E. jacuerunt in æcclesia Omnium Sanctorum in Lincolia.'

4 Society of Antiquaries' MS. 60. Printed by Stapleton ut supra.

5 But possibly the Robert d'Oilli of our list may be the first Robert (who, as 'Robertus' in Domesday, held Cranford of the Abbot), while the tenant of that name in 1125 may be the second Robert, entered in the Pipe-Roll of 1130, and living temp. Stephen.

6 William Rufus, i. 571. He makes it 'Evermouth' in the Norman Conquest.

7 Envermeu lay on the coast some 19 miles to the east of Dieppe.

8 'The legend of Hereward' (Norman Conquest, iv. [1st Ed., 805).

9 With its hamlet of Manthorpe and Toft with Lound.

10 Ed. Sparke Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores [1723].

11 Professor Tout throws out the unlucky suggestion: 'the Wake, i.e. apparently the watchful one'.

12 See the new Monasticon on Deeping Priory, and the rubric to Baldwin's charter. The true parentage of Baldwin fitz Gilbert will be shown infra in the paper on 'Walter Tirel and his wife'.

13 Norman Conquest (1st Ed.), iv. 455-6.

14 Norman Conquest (1st Ed.), iv. 484. Professor Tout, however, follows Mr Freeman, and accepts an earlier 'flight from England' as a fact. One must therefore insist that 'the whole story has no historical basis'.

15 I am tempted, indeed, to suggest that Hugh may have had before him that lost local 'account of Hereward's doings', which was inserted (but, according to my own view, in an abbreviated form) into the earlier chronicle, according to Professor Earle (see Norm. Conq., iv. 461, note 3). This solution would explain everything, and would, if accepted, greatly increase the importance of Hugh's chronicle.

16 Cf. William of Malmesbury in loco.

17 Dictionary of National Biography.

18 Appendix on 'the Legend of Hereward', ut supra.

19 The names of the churches he bestowed on the Priory illustrate the constituents of the Honour of Bourne.

20 The name of Ralf de Nevilla occurs in full in the Lincolnshire 'Clamores' (i. 376b), annihilating the old assertion that this famous surname is nowhere found in Domesday. (See my letter in Academy, xxxvii. 373.)

21 It is specially interesting to trace his holding at Winwick, Hunts, which then lay partly in Northants. As 'Eustachius' he held in capite at 'Winewincle' (i. 228), as 'Eustachius Vicecomes' at 'Winewiche' (i. 206), and as 'Eustacius', a tenant of the Abbot, at 'Winewiche' (i. 221). In the first two cases his under-tenants are given as 'Widelard[us]' and 'Oilard[us]', doubtless the same man. For 'Winewincle' we should probably read 'Winewicke'. See also p. 222, infra.

22 Inq. Com. Cant., Ed. Hamilton, p. 111.

23 Ibid., 56, 192.

[pg 140]


(Temp. Henry I)

We have, in the case of the see of Worcester, the means of testing some of the changes which took place among its tenants within a generation of Domesday. This is a survey of that portion of its lands which lay within the county of Worcester. Although printed by Hearne in his edition of Heming's Cartulary (fos. 141, 141d), it escaped notice, I believe, till I identified it myself in Domesday Studies (p. 546). As it follows immediately on the transcript of the Domesday Survey of the fief, the fact that it represents a later and distinct record might, at first sight, be overlooked.

In spite of the importance of Heming's Cartulary in its bearing on the Domesday Survey, the documents of which it contains the transcripts have been hopelessly confused and misunderstood. Professor Freeman, dealing with them, came to utter grief,1 and as for Mr De Gray Birch, he not only took this Survey temp. Henry I to be a portion of Domesday itself, which 'should be collated with the original MS. at the Record Office',2 but even repeated Ellis's blunder,3 that the names in a document temp. Bishop John [1151-7]4 represent 'the list of jurors for the Hundred of Oswaldeslaw' at the Domesday Survey.5

From a writ entered on fo. 136 we may infer that there had been some dispute between the Sheriff and the Church of Worcester as to the number of hides in the county for which the latter should be rated.6 This Inquest or Survey was the consequence of that dispute, and resulted in the issue of the writ. Its date is roughly determined by the facts that Urse d'Abetot was dead when it was made, while the Count of Meulan is entered as a tenant, so that we may probably date it as later (at the earliest) than 1108, and previous to the death of the Count of Meulan in July 1118.7

[pg 141]

Let us now compare, Manor by Manor, the earlier with the later Survey:

Domesday Survey temp. Henry i
Chemesege Kemesige
Bishop [13] Bishop 13
Urso 7 Walter de Beauchamp 9
Roger de Laci 2    
Walter Ponther 2 Hugh Puiher 2
  ——   ——
  24   24
Wiche Wike
Bishop Bishop 3
Urso Walter de Beauchamp 10½
Robert Despenser ½ Nicholas (de Beauchamp?) ½
Osbern fitz Richard 1 Hugh fitz Osbern 1
  ——   ——
  15   15
Fledebirie Fledebyri
Bishop 7 Bishop 3
Bishop of Hereford 5 Bishop of Hereford 5
Urso 12    
Robert Despenser 5 Walter de Beauchamp 22
Alricus archid[iaconus] 1    
Roger de Laci 10 Hugh de Laci 10
  ——   ——
  40   40
Breodun Bredune
Bishop 10 Bishop 13
Monks 4 Monks 4
Ælricus Archd. 2    
Urso 16 Walter de Beauchamp 16
Durand 2 Gile (? bertus) 1
Brictric fil' Algar (in king's hands) 1 King 1
  ——   ——
  35   35
Rippel et Uptun Rippel et Uptun
Bishop 13 Bishop 14
Ordric 1    
Siward 5    
Roger de Laci 3 Hugh de Laci 3
Urso 1    
Ralph de Bernai (in king's hands) 1 Walter de Beauchamp 6
Brictric fil' Algar (in king's hands) 1 King 2
  ——   ——
  25   25

[pg 142]

Bishop 25½ Bishop 22
Richard 2 Bishop 2
Ansgot Walter de Beauchamp 5
Stephen fil' Fulcred 3 'Dæilesford' 3
Hereward 5 'Eunilade' 5
Monks 1 Monks 1
  ——   ——
  38   38
Tredingtun Tredintun
[Bishop 17] Bishop 17
Monks 2 Monks 2
Gilbert fil' Thorold 4 'Langedun' 4
  ——   ——
  23   23
Norwiche Northewike
Bishop Bishop
Urso Walter de Beauchamp 10
Alric Arch' 1    
Walter Ponther Hugh Puiher
Herlebaldus 1 King 1
  ——   ——
  25   25
Ovreberie cum Penedoc Werebyri et Penedoc
The Church of Worcester 6   6
Seggesbarne Segesberewe
The Church of Worcester 3   3
Scepwestun Scepwestune
The Church of Worcester 2   2
Herferthun cum Wiburgestoke Herfortune cum Wiburga Stoke
The Church of Worcester 3   3
Grimanleh Grimeleage
The Church of Worcester 2   2
Robert Despencer 1 Walter de Beauchamp 1
  ——   ——
  3   3
Halhegan cum Bradewesham Hallhagan cum Bradewasse
The Church of Worcester 1 [The Church of Worcester 1]
Duo Radmanni 2 Walter de Beauchamp
Roger de Laci Roger de Laci
Walter de Burh ½ Count of Meulan 1
Hugh de Grentmesnil ½    
  ——   ——

[pg 143]

Cropetorn cum Neothetune
Church of Worcester 14 Monks 15
Robert Despencer 11 Walter de Beauchamp 9
Urso 6 Robert Marmion 7
Abbot of Evesham 9 Abbot of Evesham 9
[Ibid. 10] Ibid. 'quiete a geldo' 10
  ——   ——
  50   50
Total for Oswaldslaw Hundred
Hides Tenants Heming's Total
(ut supra) (ut supra) 'He sunt ccc. hide ad
24 Bishop     93½ Osuualdes lauues hundret.'  
40 Monks     39    
35 Walter de Beauchamp     90 'Episcopus habet in  
25 King     4 dominio' xciiii.
38 Hugh Puher rightbrace   'Monachi' xl.
23 Hugh de Laci 13   'Walterus de Bealcamp' xx.8
25 Roger de Laci      
24 Robert Marmion 7   'Alii barones' lxiii.
50 Bishop of Hereford 5   'Rex' iii.
Abbot of Evesham 19      
299 Hugh fitz Osbern 1 72½    
  Count of Meulan 1      
  Gile (?bertus) 1      
  Alii 12      
  Nicholas (? de Beauchamp) ½   'Quiete apud Hamtun a geldo' x.
        ————   ——
        299   230
Huerteberie Heortlabyri
Church of Worcester 20 Bishop 15
    Walter de Beauchamp 5
Vlwardelei Wlfwardile
Church of Worcester 5 Monks 5
Stoche Stoka
Church of Worcester 10 Monks 10
Alvievecherche Ælfithe cyrce
Church of Worcester 13 Bishop 13
Clive cum Lenc Clive cum Leng
Church of Worcester 10½ Monks 10
Fepsetenatun Fepsintune
Church of Worcester 5 Monks 1
Walter Ponther 19 Hugh Puiher 19
Roger de Laci 5 Hugh de Laci 5
  ——   ——
  11   7

[pg 144]

Church of Worcester 14 Bishop 13½
    Walter de Beauchamp ½
  ——   ——
Ardolvestone et Cnistetone Eardulfestun et Cnihtetun
Church of Worcester ('de victu monachorum') 15 Monks 15
Total 'Summa in Kinefolka'
Bishop 41½ 'Episcopus in dominio xli.'
Monks 41 'Monachi xli.'
Walter de Beauchamp 'Walterus de Bealcamp vi.'
Hugh de Laci 5 'Hugo de Laci v.'
Hugh Puiher 1 'Hugo Puiher i.'
  ——   ——
  94   94
In Oswaldeslaw 299
Outside ditto 94

Summa hidarum, quas episcopus habet in toto vicecomitatu est ccc. et quater xx. et xvii. cum his quas Abbas de Evesham tenet de Oswaldes Lauue.10

It will be seen that of these 397 hides only 393 are accounted for above. The explanation is this. Of the five hides held in 'Fepsintune' by the Church of Worcester in Domesday, only one is entered in the above list, the other four being wholly omitted, both in the list itself and in the total. These four omitted hides bring up the 393 to 397, the exact sum that we have to account for.

If the Manors in the above Survey are examined with care seriatim, it will be found that they bear manifest witness to the aggressions of Urse d'Abetot, who, we may gather from this Cartulary, was the bête noire of the Church of Worcester. The various extensions of his Domesday holdings, as at 'Fledebyrie', where twelve hides had been increased to twenty-two, were partly due to the accession of the lands he inherited from his brother, but partly also to his absorption of the lands of other tenants and of portions of the episcopal demesne. All the benefit of these accessions passed to his son-in-law and successor, Walter de Beauchamp.

But perhaps the most important information that this Survey gives us is to be found in the light it throws on the succession to Robert 'Dispensator'. That he was brother to Urse d'Abetot is, of [pg 145] course, generally known. His relationship to the Marmions is the crux. I deal with it under the Lindsey Survey,11 which shows us his Lincolnshire fief in the hands of Roger Marmion. In the present Survey we find that of the seventeen hides and a half which Robert Dispensator had held, at the time of Domesday, from the Bishop, only seven were held by Robert (not Roger) Marmion when this document was compiled, the rest being held by Walter de Beauchamp. We thus learn that here, as in Leicestershire, the fief had been divided between the two.12

But this Survey further tells us—if we may trust the text—that, in this succession, Roger Marmion had been preceded by Robert. One may throw it out as a possible suggestion that, in addition to the wife of Walter de Beauchamp, Urse d'Abetot may have had a daughter who married Robert Marmion.13 On the forfeiture of his son Roger, such a daughter would have pressed her claim, and, though the inheritance of Urse himself may, by special favour, have been regranted to Walter, she may have obtained a share of the fief of her uncle, Robert 'Dispensator'. But this can only be conjecture.

Of the other points of family history on which this Survey throws light, one may mention that Hugh 'Puher' had succeeded Walter 'Ponther', that Osbern fitz Richard (of Richard's Castle) had been succeeded by his son, Hugh fitz Osbern; and that though, as in 1095,14 the name of Hugh de Laci supplants that of his brother Roger, yet that, if we can trust the text, Roger had in one Manor been allowed to retain his holding, in accordance with a policy which is believed to have been practised, namely, that of keeping a hold, however small, on the forfeited. The name of the Count of Meulan also, the supplanter of Grentmesnil, will be noticed, and that of a 'Nicholas', whom, as the successor in a small holding of [pg 146] Robert Despencer, one might perhaps be tempted to identify with the mysterious Sheriff of Staffordshire, Nicolas de Beauchamp.

There are fragments of two other early surveys relating to Worcestershire, which, as they contain the names of Walter and of William de Beauchamp respectively, may be roughly assigned to the reigns of Henry I and of Stephen. The first, which is found in an Evesham Cartulary,15 is mainly an abstract of Domesday, but contains a later and valuable analysis of Droitwich, with an important reference to the Exchequer. The other16 begins in the middle of a survey of what seems to be the Church of Worcester's fief, records the lands held, as under-tenant, by William de Beauchamp, and shows us the Domesday fief of Ralf de 'Todeni' in the hands of his heir, Roger de 'Toeni'.


Hee sunt x. hidæ in Wich'. De Witton' petri corbezun ii. hidas. De feodo sancti Dionysii Ricardus corvus et Willelmus filius Oueclini tenent i. hidam. De sancto Guthlaco Willelmus filius Ricardi tenet i. hidam. De Johanne de Suthlega Ricardus filius Roberti tenet i. hidam. De Pagano filio Johannis Godwi tenet dimidiam hidam. De Waltero de bello campo Theobaldus et petrus tenent dimidiam hidam. De la Berton' de Gloucestra [see Glouc. Cartu.] Randulf filius Ringulfi tenet dimidiam hidam. De monachis Gloucestrie Baldwinus et Lithulfus dimidiam hidam. De Comite Warewice Randulfus et Essulf filii Ringulf tenent iii. virgatas. De Waltero del Burc Randulf et Essulf dimidiam hidam. De Westmonasterio Theobaldus et Walterus fil' Thorald i. hidam. De Almega fil' Aiulfi et mater ejus i. hidam. De Battona Aiulfus presbyter i. virgatam. De Wichebold Rogerus de Bolles i. virgatam. De monachis fil' Grim tenet i. virgatam. De Kinefare et Douerdale i. virgatam. Alewi caure et socii ejus dimidiam virgatam.15a

H[oc] debet computari ad Scacarium Regis vicecomiti Wirecestrie. Habes x. hidas ad Danegeld et Wasto forestæ ii. hidas.

Et in Ederesfeld vi hid[æ]. Et in happeworda i. hid[a]. Et in Biselega i. hid[a]. Et in Burlega i. hyda.

Fragment of a Survey subsequent to 1130 and perhaps circa 1150

(Cott. MS. Vesp., B. xxiv. fo. 8.)

... manerio de hambyry. Estona Ric' dimidiam hidam. In hundredo de Camele. In Waresleia v. hidæ de manerio de hertlebery. Summa quater xx. et xiii. hidæ.

In hundredo de persora habet ecclesia de Westmustier has terras quas tenet Willelmus de bello campo. Hekintona iii. hidæ et iii. virgatæ. Chaddesleia ii. hidæ. Langeduna Osmundi i. hida et dimidia. Colleduma [pg 147] iii. hidæ et iii. virgatæ. Graftona Ebrandi i. hida et iii. virgatæ. Flavel et pidelet v. hidæ. Newentona x. hidæ. Broctona Inardi iii. hidæ. Pidelet radulfi iii. hidæ. Berford v. hidæ. Branefford i. hida. Wicha Inardi iii. hidæ. Burlingeham ii. hidæ et i. virgata. Cumbrintona ii. hidæ. Poiwica Willelmi de bello campo i. hida. Newebolt i. hida. Medeleffeld i. hida de poiwica. Ad bergam i. hida. Olendene i. hida. Arleia i. virgata. Poiwica Inardi i. hida. Summa lx. hidæ et dimidia.

In predicto hundredo de persora feudum Abbatis persore. Belega xxi. hidæ. Branefford i. hida. Wadberga iii. hidæ et dimidia. Cumbrintona i. hida et dimidia. Lega Ricardi dimidia hida. Walecote et torendune i. hida et dimidia.

In hundredo de Leisse tenet idem Willelmus Chirchlench iiii. hidas de abbatia de Evesham. Croulega v. hidas de feudo Osberti filii hugonis.

In hundredo de Clent. Belua viii. hidæ de feudo folwi paganelli. Salawarpa v. hidæ de feudo Rogeri Comitis. Item Salawarpa i. hida de feudo episcopi Cestrie. Chaluestona i. hida de feudo Roberti filii Archembaldi. Apud Wich dimidiam hidam Gunfrei. Item apud Wich i. hidam de terra Sancti Guthlaci quam Rodbertus filius Willelmi tenet. Item ibidem dimidiam hidam de Cormell' quam Gilebertus tenet. Cokehulla ii. hidæ et dimidiam de feudo regis. Hactona iii. hidæ de feudo episcopi baiocensis. Escreueleia i. hida. Summa tocius cclxiiii. hidæ et dimidia et dimidia virgata.

Terra rogeri de toeney. Esla iii. hidæ. Bertona iii. hidæ et iii. virgatæ. Alcrintona ii. hidæ. Linda ii. hidæ et ad halac i. hida. Mora hugonis i. hida et dimidia. Werueslega ii. hidæ et dimidia. Alboldeslega ii. hidæ et dimidia. Rudmerlega i. hida et dimidia. Estlega i. hida Geldans et una hida quieta. Sceldeslega i. hida. Almelega Ricardi de portes xi. hidæ.

In the former of these two fragments we recognize in John of Sudeley the younger son of Harold, son of Earl Ralf. It would be of interest if we might identify his tenant, Richard fitz Robert, with the younger son of his brother, Robert. The succession in the tenancy of the Crowland hide (St Guthlac's) needs explanation. In Domesday (176) Urse held Dunclent of Nigel the physician, who held both here and at Droitwich under Crowland Abbey. It must have been through him at Droitwich also that William fitz Richard became tenant, for Robert fitz William (who was clearly the latter's son) held here of Walter de Beauchamp in the second fragment.

It is in tracing William de Beauchamp's succession, as under-tenant to his grandfather Urse, that we find the chief interest of the second fragment. He has succeeded him, for instance, as tenant to the Abbeys of Westminster, Pershore, and Coventry (the fief of the last having now become that of 'the Bishop of Chester'). At Wadborough, however, it was Robert 'Dispensator' whom he had succeeded as tenant of Pershore. In one case we find him holding of Robert fitz Erchembald, whose Domesday predecessor we thus learn was William Goizenboded (177b). We may also note his tenure of Madresfield (now Lord Beauchamp's seat)—the earliest mention, [pg 148] I think, of the place—as a limb of Powick. Fulk Paynell, of whom William held at Beoley, had now succeeded to the Domesday fief of William fitz Ansculf, whose tenant 'Robert' may have been Robert 'Dispensator'. Osbern fitz Hugh had similarly succeeded to the Richard's Castle fief held, in Domesday, by his grandfather.

I append a partial comparison of Domesday with the Henry I survey so far as concerns Droitwich, where property, owing to its value, was divided among many owners.

Domesday Temp. Henry I
  H.   H.
Willelmus filius Corbucion (Witone) 2     Petrus Corbezun (de Witton) 2
Church of St Denis 1     'De feodo sancti Dionysii Ricardus corvus et
Willelmus filius Oueclini'
De Sancto Guthlaco Nigellus Medicus 1     De Sancto Guthlaco Willelmus filius Ricardi 1
Heraldus filius Radulfi Comitis 1     De Johanne de Suthlega Ricardus filius Roberti 1
        De Pagano filio Johannis Godwi ½
Urso tenet Witune in Wich et Gunfrid
de eo
½ rightbrace leftbrace De Waltero de Bello Campo Theobaldus
et Petrus
Æcclesia sancti Petri de Glou. ½ De la Berton de Gloucestra Randulf filius
In Wich est dimidia hida quæ pertinet ad
aulam de Glou.
½     De monachis Gloucestrie Baldwinus et
        De Comite Warewice Randulfus et Essulfus
filii Ringulf
        De Waltero del Burc Randulf et Essulf ½
Ibi duo presbyteri [de Westmonasterio]
tenet i. hidam que nunquam geldavit
1     De Westmonasterio Theobaldus et Walterus
fil' Thorald
Isdem [Radulfus] tenent in Wich i. hidam
de x. hidis[geldantibus]
1     De Almelega fil' Aiulfi et mater ejus 1

1 See my paper 'An early reference to Domesday' (Domesday Studies, pp. 542-4).

2 Domesday Studies, p. 513; Domesday Book (S.P.C.K.), p. 305.

3 Introduction to Domesday, i. 19.

4 Domesday Studies, p. 547.

5 Domesday Book (S.P.C.K.), pp. 78, 305.

6 There was a similar dispute about the same time in the case of Abingdon Abbey and its possessions in Berkshire (Abingdon Cart., ii. 1600).

7 This, however, as I have elsewhere shown must remain a presumption, as it is possible that, owing to the youth of his heir, he may have been entered as nominal tenant for some time after his death (see p. 155).

8 MS. now destroyed here.

9 'Non geldat.'

10 p. 116.

11 Infra, pp. 149 et seq.

12 We are enabled by this Survey, and by the division it records, to carry up the history of Elmley, the original seat of the Beauchamps, to Domesday itself. The great Manor of Cropthorne, by Evesham, was held by the Church of Worcester. In Bengeworth, one of its 'members', Urse d'Abetot, had seized an estate of five hides (Heming's Cartulary fo. 125b). His brother, Robert Despencer, had seized two other 'members', Charlton ('Ceorlatuna') and Elmley (Ibid.). In Domesday we are merely told that Robert held eleven hides in Cropthorne. But the present Survey fortunately mentions that the portion which fell to Marmion's share was seven hides in 'Charlton'. This leaves four hides for Elmley, which, added to the five hides of Urse d'Abetot in Bengeworth, makes exactly the nine hides here entered to Walter de Beauchamp. We thus learn how the Beauchamps became possessed of Elmley. And this calculation is confirmed by the entry in the Testa (p. 41): 'Willelmus de Bello Campo ... in Elmeleg in dominico iiij. hidas.'

13 It is worth noting that we find, in Domesday, both a Robert and a Walter holding of Urse in Worcestershire.

14 See p. 244 infra.

15 Harl. MS., 3,763, fo. 80.

15a Harl. MS., 3,763, fo. 80.

16 Cott. MS. Vesp., B. xxiv. fo. 8.

[pg 149]



This 'invaluable Survey', as Mr Stevenson has termed it,1 might be described as a miniature Domesday for each of the Wapentakes in the three trithings into which Lindsey was divided. For although drawn up, Wapentake by Wapentake, as is the Leicestershire Survey, Hundred by Hundred, the lands within each Wapentake described are grouped under the names of the holders of fiefs, instead of being entered Vill by Vill. It was doubtless compiled, like other surveys, in connection with the assessment of the 'geld'.2

Remarkable from a palaeographic standpoint, as well as from the nature of its contents, the record, which is found in a Cottonian MS. (Claud. C. 5), has been singularly unfortunate in its editors. As Mr Greenstreet truly observed:

The indefatigable Hearne, seeing that the manuscript related to a very ancient period of our history, and recognizing its great importance, printed it in the Appendix to his 'Liber Niger', but he does not appear to have properly examined either the question of the date of the writing, or the internal evidence.... As a natural consequence of his superficial examination, he associates it wrongly with the reign of Henry II.

Stapleton, of course, knew better than this, and assigned the survey at one time to circ. 1108,3 but in his Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniæ4 to 1106-20. It was subsequently investigated and analysed with great care by Mr Eyton, whose note-books, now in the British Museum, show that he adopted the sound method of comparing it in detail with Domesday Book. After his death Mr Chester Waters issued (1883) an annotated translation of the text, with an introduction, analysis, etc., in which the place-names were carefully identified, and the same system of comparison with Domesday adopted.5

It is, unfortunately, necessary to explain that Mr Waters in the table of contents described his translation as 'from the Cotton MS., Claudius C. 5', and wrote on the opposite page:

This MS. engaged the attention of Thomas Hearne, the antiquary, who has printed it amongst the additaments to his edition of the Liber Niger Scaccarii; but Hearne was one of those industrious but uncritical antiquaries who had no conception of the duties of an editor of the importance of accuracy.

[pg 150]

Knowing the high opinion entertained of Mr Waters' works,6 I accepted his translation in all good faith as 'from the Cotton MS.' and was, I confess, not a little startled to discover from Mr Greenstreet's facsimiles that it was made not from the Cotton MS., but from that inaccurate edition by Hearne, which Mr Waters had mentioned only to denounce. On fo. 4b a whole line, containing three entries, was accidentally omitted by Hearne, and is, consequently, absent also from Mr Waters' version. On collating the two, however, I found, to my great surprise, that matters were even worse than this, and that Hearne's text was far less inaccurate than Mr Waters' own, the erroneous figures found in the latter being almost always correctly given by the 'uncritical' Hearne. As for the version given by Mr Waters, even in the very first Wapentake, there are three serious errors, five carucates being given as three, nine as seven, and eleven as two! And for Bradley Wapentake (p. 27), his figures are so erroneous that, according to him, 'Radulf Meschin alone had 42 cars. 6 bovs. in this Wapentake', though his real holding was only fifteen cars. three bovs. With another class of resultant errors I shall have to deal below.

To the enterprise of Mr Greenstreet scholars were indebted for an édition de luxe of the record in facsimile, which made its appearance shortly after the treatise of Mr Waters. Unfortunately, no attempt was made in the appended literal translation to identify the names of places or persons, while such a word as '[ap]pendiciis', which occasionally appears in the survey, is mistaken for a place-name 'Pendicus'. The book enjoys, however, the great advantage of an index.

The identification of places and of persons in Mr Waters' treatise shows extraordinary knowledge; but both Mr Eyton and Mr Waters had the provoking habit of making important assertions without giving their authority. I expressed a wish in the Academy, at the time, that Mr Waters would give us some clue as to his sources of information, but as he did not think fit to do so, we have to test his statements as best we can for ourselves. Now we learn from him on p. 36 that 'Walter fitz William', a tenant at South Willingham, was 'brother of Simon mentioned above', namely of 'Simon fitz William (ancestor to the Lords Kyme)'. This is impressive until we discover that the actual words in the survey (as indeed in Hearne's text) are 'Walt[erius] fil[ius] Walt[eri]i' (fo. 11 b).7 To an expert such a test as this will prove significant enough. But to turn from an actual misreading of the text to cases in which are incorporated interlineations, not part of the original text, but written in later times, we find Mr Waters—like other antiquaries who had followed Hearne's text—stating [pg 151] that 'Ranulf [Meschin] is twice styled in the Roll Earl of Lincoln, but there is no record of his creation, and no other authority for possession of the earldom' (p. 8). The difficulty vanishes when we discover that this supposed style was a mere interlineation made by a much later hand.8 So again we read on p. 30:

Richard, Earl [of Chester], has 6 cars. in Barnetby-le-Wold, where [William], the constable of Chester, is his tenant [as his father was Earl Hugh's in Domesday].

But on turning to Mr Greenstreet's facsimiles, we find that the survey had nothing about 'the constable of Chester', the words 'constabularia [sic] Cestrie' being only a faint interlineation by a later hand.

And even where a reference to the true text does not at once dispose of the matter, these statements of Mr Waters are, on other grounds, open at times to question. He assumes, for instance, that Hugh fitz Ranulf, who occurs as a landowner in the survey, was a younger son of Ranulf Meschin, afterwards Earl of Chester (p. 12). No such son would seem to be known; and this assumption, moreover, does violence to chronology. For the pedigree it involves is this:


Now William de Roumare was not old enough to claim his inheritance from the King till 1122, and his half-brother, Ranulf, was some years younger than he was, as the words of Orderic imply in 1140. Consequently Hugh, the youngest brother, can have been only a boy in 1122. How then could he, as Mr Waters alleges, have held a fief in right of his wife so early as 1115 or thereabouts?

In this assumption, however, he only follows Stapleton, to whom he here refers, and who relied on an abstract in the cartulary of Spalding (fol. 416 a, b). This abstract which cannot, from its form, preserve the wording of the original charter, runs:

Sciant tam presentes quam futuri quod Hugo frater Rannulfi comitis Cestrie et Matild' uxor ejus, fil' filia [sic] Lucie comitisse concesserunt, etc., etc.

Stapleton boldly rendered the obviously corrupt words as 'son and daughter-in-law of the countess Lucia',9 and hence pronounced this Hugh to be 'a married brother of the whole blood' to the second [pg 152] Randulf, Earl of Chester.10 As he only knew their gift to Spalding to be 'prior to 1141', no chronological difficulty was caused by this view; but the occurrence of Hugh's name in the Lindsey Survey, as already in possession of his small fief, at once raises the difficulty I have explained. The solution that occurs to me is that the Hugh fitz Ranulf of our survey, and the 'Hugo frater Ranulfi Comitis Cestrie' of the Spalding charter, was a brother, not of the second but of the first Earl Ranulf, and that the words 'fil' filia Comitisse Lucie' were introduced in error by the compiler, whose head was full of the Countess Lucy, and who had here confused the two Earls Randulf.

Stapleton, Mr Waters has justly observed, was 'facile princeps of Anglo-Norman genealogists'.11 Yet I venture to think that, as he here mistook a brother of the first Earl Ranulf for a son, so he confused William Meschin, another and better known brother, with William de Roumare, the Earl's stepson, afterwards Earl of Lincoln. William Meschin was not merely a considerable landowner in Lindsey, but had also estates in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, as our survey of those counties show.12 Stephen, according to Stapleton, created him Earl of Cambridge.

Remembering the dictum of Dr Stubbs that 'Stephen's earldoms are a matter of great constitutional importance', it is worth while to examine this earldom of Cambridge.

In one of Stapleton's greatest essays, that on Holy Trinity Priory, York,13 he writes of this William Meschin, that

By King Stephen he was made Earl of Cambridge, as we learn from the following extract from a charter of Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, in 1139, founding the nunnery of Haverholm, in the parish of Ruskington, of the order of St. Gilbert of Sempringham. 'But this donation ... we have confirmed ... by the testimony of Rannulph, Earl of Chester, and of William, Earl of Cambridge, his brother' (p. 34).

The words in the original are:

Testimonio Rannulfi comitis Cestriæ et Willelmi comitis Cantebrigiæ fratris ejus (Mon. Ang., v. 949).

Now, though Stapleton is positive on the point, speaking again of 'William Meschin, Earl of Cambridge' (p. 35), and though this learned paper well sustains his reputation, yet he has here beyond question gone astray. Earl Randulf, first of his name, appears as deceased in the Pipe Roll of 1130. He could not therefore have been the Earl Randulf of 1139, who was his son and namesake. Therefore [pg 153] the latter's 'brother', the Earl of Cambridge, could not have been William Meschin, who was his father's brother.14 A short chart pedigree will make the matter clear:


The pedigree shows my solution of the mystery. The two brother-earls of 1139 are those who are found so constantly together, and who were jointly concerned, next year, in the surprise of Lincoln, but who were really only half-brothers, though they spoke of one another as 'frater'.

The identity of the 'Earl of Cambridge' is thus clearly established; but there of course remains the question why he is not here styled 'Earl of Lincoln'. Every mention of him as Earl of Lincoln is later, if this charter be rightly dated, so that he may possibly have changed his style. It is really strange that precisely as William, Earl of Lincoln, is here once styled Earl of Cambridge, so William, Earl of Arundel, is twice styled Earl of Lincoln, as I have shown in my Geoffrey de Mandeville (p. 324), though in that case also the fact had never been suspected. It is most tempting, if rash, to suggest that the reason why the Earl of Lincoln was at first Earl of Cambridge is that the Earl of Arundel (Sussex) was at first Earl of Lincoln, and thus kept him out of that title.

In any case an error has now been corrected, and one of Stephen's alleged earls disposed of.

The question of the date of this interesting survey is no less puzzling than important. Mr Greenstreet held that 'there is hardly any room for doubting' that it was previous to 1109. This conclusion was based on a misapprehension, and Mr Waters claimed to have 'established' the date as 'between March 1114 and April 1116' (pp. 2-4). In this conclusion he would seem to have been anticipated [pg 154] by Mr Eyton, as is shown by that writer's note-books,15 but I cannot accept the identical and somewhat far-fetched argument on which they relied. They obtained their limit on the one hand from a passage in 'Peter of Blois', and on the other from the fact that Robert, the King's son, is entered in the roll as 'filius Regis', and 'was therefore not yet Earl of Gloucester', whereas he was certainly Earl, they say, 'before Easter, 1116', when he witnessed as Earl, a charter they both assign to that date.

Of the latter date I disposed in my paper 'The Creation of the Earldom of Gloucester',16 in which I showed that Robert did not become Earl till several years later. The other evidence, if it cannot be disproved, cannot at least, be relied on. For, without asserting that the chronicle assigned to 'Peter of Blois' is so daring a forgery as the 'Historia Ingulphi', of which it is a 'continuatio', it must be plainly described as absolutely untrustworthy. Apart from the passage on Cambridge University,17 we have a description 'Inclyti Comitis Leycestriæ Roberti tunc validissimi adolescentis, burgensiumque suæ dictæ civitatis' in 1113, and of his presence, with his knights, at the laying of the Abbey foundation stones next year.18 Now the future Earl of Leicester was some nine years old at the time, and his father, the Count of Meulan, lived till 1118. So also, about the year 1114 we meet with 'Milonis Comitis Herfordensis', who did not become Earl of Hereford till 1141, and whose father, Walter of Gloucester, was living long after 1114; while on the next page we find the notoriously false Countess Lucy legend, with the additional blunder of converting her son, the Earl of Lincoln, into her husband's brother!19 It is in the midst of all this that we have the vital passage on which Mr Waters relies:

We know from the Continuator [sic] of Peter of Blois (p. 121) that Stephen and his elder brother Theobald were on a visit to Henry I, at Oxford, at some period between March 7th and August 1st, 1114, when Theobald is described as Count of Blois, and Stephen as 'pulcherrimus adolescens dominus postea rex Anglorum'. It is manifest that at this date Stephen was not yet Count of Moreton, so the Roll must be later than March 7th, 1114 (p. 3).

The fact that this alleged visit is connected by 'Peter' with intervention in favour of the Abbot of Crowland, will not lessen the suspicion under which the evidence must lie. Crowland was guilty of 'hiring', Dr Stubbs has severely observed, 'Peter of Blois, or some pretended Peter who borrows an illustrious name, to fabricate for her an apocryphal chronicle'.20

[pg 155]

The actual proof of the survey's date is minute, no doubt, but conclusive. In the Lindsey Survey, 'the sons of Ragemer' (himself the Domesday under-tenant) are found holding of Walter de Gant; therefore their father, at the time of the survey, had been succeeded by them in this holding. But, as 'Rachmar, son of Gilbert', he is found attesting a charter of Maud, Walter de Gant's wife, to Bridlington Priory, which is addressed to Thurstan, Archbishop of York, and which therefore must be later at the very least than his election, August 15, 1114. Therefore Ragemer was alive after that date, and the survey, at the time of which he was dead, can consequently scarcely be earlier than 1115. On the other hand, we can scarcely place it later than the death of the great Count of Meulan in the summer of 1118,21 though, as I have urged in the Genealogist, the lands he had held might still be assigned to 'the Count of Meulan', till his fiefs were divided among his sons, who were boys at the time of his death. On the whole we may safely assign the survey to 1115-1118, and in any case it cannot possibly be later than the close of 1120.

As, according to Stapleton, the best authority, it is in this survey that the name of Marmion first appears in England, it may not be inopportune to examine here the accepted pedigree of that house. In the Roger Marmion of our survey we have its undoubted ancestor, but of Robert Marmion, who appears on its opening folio as a tenant of Walter de Gant at Winteringham, one cannot speak so positively. In Domesday Winteringham, as 12 carucates, was held of Gilbert de Gant by 'Robertus homo Gilberti' (354b): in our Survey eleven22 of these carucates were held of Gilbert's son Walter by Robert Marmion, and the twelfth in capite by Roger Marmion. Mr Waters (p. 17) identifies the former with the Domesday under-tenant, which is a tempting solution, were not the Domesday Robert also under-tenant at Risby (which was held in our survey not by Marmion, but by Walter de St Paul). It seems to me more probable that Robert, the under-tenant in our survey, was, as Mr Waters, contradicting himself, elsewhere observes (p. 14), the son and heir of Roger. Yet of Roger Marmion's estate at Fulstow, Mr Waters writes (p. 27): 'Roger's father, Robert Marmion, was tenant there in Domesday of Robert Dispenser.' This would give us an interesting clue. But on turning to Domesday (363b), we find that it is only one more mistake of Mr Waters, its 'Robertus' being no other than Robert Dispenser himself.23

[pg 156]

Stapleton, who worked out the descent, held that Roger's son Robert, who had succeeded by 1130, and who was slain in 1143, was father of the Robert who died in 1218. I would rather interpolate another Robert between the two:


The pedigree really turns on the charter of Henry III in 1249, to Philip Marmion, confirming the royal charters to his ancestor. Mr Stapleton declares that Henry inspected and confirmed

The charter which King Henry, his great-great-grandfather, had made to Robert Marmyon, great-grandfather of Philip Marmyon, of having warren in all his land in the county of Warwick, and especially at Tamworth; and likewise of the charter of King Henry, his uncle ['Avunculus noster' is the reading transcribed on the rolls, obviously in error of 'atavus noster'], which he had made to the said Robert of having warren in all his land of Lindesay (Rot. Scacc. Norm., II. cvi.).

This abstract is strangely inaccurate, considering that Stapleton had, clearly, examined the Inspeximus24 for himself. Henry VI inspected and confirmed:

[pg 157]

It is clear then that Henry III inspected the charter of his grandfather ('avus') Henry II (not, as Mr Stapleton wrote, his great-great-grandfather'), in 1155, to Robert Marmion, 'proavus' of Philip. This, it will be seen, could only be the Robert whom I have inserted in the pedigree. Nor can Mr Stapleton's 'atavus' assumption be accepted in view of the facts. The 'avunculus' and namesake of Henry III would duly have been the 'young king' Henry (crowned 1170). If 'avunculus' is a clerical error, the word to substitute is 'avus'; but the careful way in which the charter distinguishes the King's two predecessors is quite opposed to the idea that they were in both cases his grandfather.

As against the evidence afforded us by the charter of Henry III, we have the statements and documents relating to Barbery Abbey, a daughter of Savigny. It is alleged that the house was first founded in 114025 by that Robert Marmion who was slain at Coventry in 1143.26 Stapleton accepted this without question. Yet, so far as documents are concerned, we have only the charter of Robert Marmion (1181), in which he speaks of his father Robert as beginning the foundation.27 If that father were indeed the Robert who was slain in 1143, Stapleton's pedigree is duly proved as against that which I derive from Henry the Third's charter. But for this identification we have only, it would seem, the obiter dictum of the 'Gallia Christiana' editors, while the fact that the first Abbot was appointed about 1177,28 combined with the fact that Robert Marmion, in 1181, was avowedly completing that foundation which his father's death had arrested, certainly seems to point to his father's benefaction being then recent, and little previous to the said appointment of the first Abbot. In that case his father would be not the Robert who died in 1143, but a Robert who, as I suggest, came between the two.29

[pg 158]

Leaving now this question of pedigree, there is a theory as to the name of Marmion which one cannot pass over in silence, because it has received the sanction even of Stapleton. Writing on the date of the Lindsey Survey, that eminent authority observes:

Robert Le Despenser [Dispensator] was brother of Urso de Abbetot, whose other surname, Marmion, is equivalent in Norman French to the Latin word Dispensator; and as Robert Marmion died in 1107, it was probably in the following year that this catalogue was written.30

His meaning, though clumsily expressed, as was sometimes the case, is that the Latin 'Dispensator' represented the name 'Marmion'. This theory would seem to be derived from the word 'Marmiton' (not 'Marmion') which means not a 'Dispensator', but a scullion, the most despised of the menials employed in the kitchen. There was indeed in old French a rare word 'Marmion', but according to Godefroy, it was equivalent to 'Marmot', the name of the Marmoset. In any case, therefore, this illustrious surname, immortalized by Scott

They hailed him Lord of Fontenaye,

Of Lutterworth and Scrivelbaye,

Of Tamworth tower and town

had nothing to do with 'Dispensator', but meant either a scullion or a monkey, and was one of those nicknames that the Normans loved to inexorably bestow on one another.

What was the actual relation of the Marmions to Robert 'Dispensator' is a problem as yet unsolved. Mr Waters wrote:

It is generally believed that Scrivelsby and the rest of the Honour of Dispenser came to the Marmions through the marriage of Roger Marmion's grandson,31 Robert Marmion, who was the husband of Matilda de Beauchamp, the grand-daughter of Urso de Abitot, and grand-niece of Robert Dispenser. But the Roll proves that Roger Marmion was the immediate heir of Robert Dispenser (p. 14).

I know of no such general belief. Stapleton, to whom one would naturally turn, had pointed out long before, in his 'Rolls of the Norman Exchequer', that this survey proves Roger Marmion to have held the Lincolnshire fief of Robert 'Dispensator',32 while those who have identified the latter magnate with Robert 'Marmion' have traced the descent of Scrivelsby in the Marmions even from the Conquest.33

[pg 159]

In any case, as I wrote in my Ancient Charters (1888) of a document there published:

The succession of Urse [de Abetot] to this [Lincolnshire] fief is a genealogical discovery which throws a wholly new light on the very difficult problem of the relation of Marmion to Despenser, and is fatal to the assertion of Mr Chester Waters that 'Roger Marmion was the immediate heir of Robert Dispenser'.

Moreover, in the Leicestershire Survey,34 and still more in that of Worcestershire,35 we have evidence that Robert's inheritance was shared between Beauchamp and Marmion which points there also to descent through Urse de Abetot. In my Geoffrey de Mandeville (pp. 313-5) I have suggested that in their rivalry for Tamworth,36 the Marmions embraced the cause of Stephen, and the Beauchamps that of Maud, their variance being terminated under Henry II by a matrimonial alliance. Such a compromise was common enough. It was agreed on in the case of Grantmesnil; it was carried out at this very period in that of Fitzharding and Berkeley; it was again resorted to at a later stage in the history of the house of Berkeley; it was arranged in the case of Hastings; and it was repeated in that of Boleyn, where the Butler inheritance was at stake.37

1 English Historical Review, v. 96.

2 I have discussed above (pp. 69-72) the bearing of its evidence on the problem of Domesday assessment, so need not recur to the subject here.

3 See note 31 below.

4 Vol. II. p. xcvi.

5 A Roll of the Owners of Land in the parts of Lindsey ('Reprinted from the Associated Architectural Societies Reports and Papers').

6 In consideration of which he received a pension on the Civil List.

7 There is a similar error on fo. 13, where the 'William fitz Aubrey' of Mr Waters proves to be 'filius Albrede' (not Alberici).

8 Hearne duly prints it as an interlineation.

9 Rolls of the Norman Exchequer, II. clvi.

10 He further hazarded the erroneous conjecture that Roheis, Countess of Lincoln, was his daughter.

11 Gundrada de Warrenne, p. 9.

12 See pp. 171, 179, infra.

13 pp. 1-237. Bound up in the York volume of the Royal Archæological Institute.

14 Stapleton indeed exposed himself unconsciously by stating on the very same page that William Meschin's lands had passed to his heirs 'prior to 1138', so that he could not be the Earl of 1139.

15 See on this point the important letters of Mr Greenstreet and Mr J. A. C. Vincent to the Athenæum, May 9 and June 27, 1885.

16 Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 420 et seq.

17 Ed. Gale, pp. 114, 115.

18 Ibid., pp. 118, 119.

19 Ibid., pp. 124, 125.

20 Lectures on Mediæval and Modern History, p. 148.

21 Survey of Lindsey, p. 2.

22 Mr Waters, in error, states two.

23 It is an illustration of the ignorance prevalent on early genealogy that even Mr Freeman could write of 'Mr Chester Waters, than whom no man better deserves to be listened to on any point of genealogy, especially of the Norman genealogy of the eleventh and twelfth centuries' (English Historical Review, iii. 690).

24 Rot. Pat. 27 Hen. VI, part i, m 30.

25 Neustria Pia, 683.

26 Gallia Christiana (1874), xi. 452.

27 Neustria Pia, 881; Gall. Christ., xi., Instr. 86.

28 Gall. Christ., xi. 452.

29 Since this was written I have found that Mr C. F. R. Palmer, in his admirable little treatise on the Marmion family (1875), duly inserts this intermediate Robert. Mr Palmer has shown himself by far the best authority on the subject, and has printed a valuable charter of Stephen to Robert Marmion.

30 Paper on 'Holy Trinity Priory, York', p. 208 note. This identification is accepted by no less an authority than Mr A. S. Ellis (Domesday Tenants of Gloucestershire, p. 69).

31 i.e. according to Stapleton's pedigree.

32 And Mr Palmer independently had done the same in his History of the Marmions (1865).

33 Lodge's Scrivelsby: the Home of the Champions.

34 See p. 174.

35 See p. 174.

36 It is certain that Tamworth originally belonged to Robert 'Dispensator', and equally certain that it was held successively by Roger and Robert Marmion under Henry I.

37 See my Early Life of Anne Boleyn, pp. 25-7.

[pg 160]



Asserting the importance of the Lindsey Survey, Mr Chester Waters observed that 'this is the sole record of its kind which deals with the interval between the completion of Domesday in 1086, and the compilation of the Pipe-Roll of 1129-30, and that no similar return of the landowners of any other county is known to exist' (p. 2). And, indeed, it would seem that the survey to which I now address myself has hitherto remained unknown. It is found in the form of a late transcript on an unidentified roll in the Public Record Office.1

Comprising the whole of Gosecote Wapentake, and in part those of Framland and Gartree, it retains for these divisions the Domesday name of Wapentake—they are now 'Hundreds'—while subdividing them into small 'Hundreds', of which the existence seems to have been hitherto unsuspected. Proceeding, like the I.C.C., 'Hundred' by 'Hundred', and Vill by Vill, it enables us, like that document, to reconstitute the aggregate assessments, and thus affords priceless evidence on 'the six-carucate unit'.2 But apart from this, it is invested with no small importance from that 'great want of documentary evidence' for the reign of Henry I which Mr Hunter rightly lamented in his elaborate introduction to the first great roll of the Pipe (p. ii). It affords us new and trustworthy evidence on the many vicissitudes of the great fiefs, and enables us, while tracing the fortunes of their owners, to see how the first Henry provided for his novi homines, showering escheats and royal demesne on the trusty officials he had raised 'from the dust', as well as on his favourite nephew, Stephen, Count of Mortain.

The date of this survey is thus determined. The frequent mention of 'Rex D[avid]' places it subsequent to his accession to the throne in April 1124. On the other hand, the name of Ralf Basset (the justiciar) shows it to be anterior to his death; and he was dead before Mich., 1130 (Rot. Pip., 31 Hen. I). Moreover, it speaks more than once of Hugh de Leicester as 'Vicecomes', and Hugh's shrievalty seems from the Pipe-Roll to have terminated at Mich., 1129. We may therefore place this survey between the spring of 1124 and the autumn of 1129, with a likelihood of its having been compiled nearer the latter date.

[pg 161]

Text of the Survey

... 'Comes Lerc[estri]æ vj. car.

H[undredum] de3 Langeton'.—In eadem villa Comes Lerc[estriæ] xj. car. et j. virg. Ibidem Ric[ardus] Basset iii. car. et. j. virg. In thorp Eustaci[us] iij. car. et. iij. virg. In alia Langeton' Abbas de Burg' iiij. car. et iii. virg. Ibidem Henricus de pport j. car. In thurlington idem Henricus xij. car. In sscanketon' Comes Lerc[estriæ] x. car. Ansch' ij. car.4

H[undredum] de Chiburd'.—In eadem villa xii. car. de feodo Ansch'. In alia chiburd' Walt[erus] de Bell' campo xj. car., Ricardus Basset j. car. In bocton Comes Leicestriæ xij. car. In carleton' idem Comes x. car. Et Monachi Sancti Arnulphi v. virg. Et de ssoch' Regis iij. virg.5

H[undredum] de Knossinton.—In eadem villa ij. car. de Honore de Blida. Et Henricus de ferr' iij. car. et. iij. virg. In Osolinstona Rex D[avid] vij. car. In Picwell et in Lucerthorp de feudo Rogeri de Moubray xv. car. In Neubotel Robertus de ferr' j. car. et dim. In Burg' Marm' iij. car. In Balbegrave vj. car. iij. bov. minus de Soch[a] Regis. In Mardefeud iij. car. de eadem Soch[a]. In alia Mardefeud iij. car.6

Gosecote Wap'

H[undredum] de Lodinton[e], in Sceftinton[e] Norm[annus] de Verdun viij. car. et dim. Ricardus Bass[et] iij. car. et dim. In Gokebia Normannus de Verdun vj. car. In Adelacston[e] v. car. et j. virg. de feodo Regis David. Et de Soch[a] Regis iij. virg. In Ludinton[e] Ricardus Basset xii. car. In Thorp et in Twyford Ricardus de Roll[os] ix. car. j. bov. minus. Ibidem Henricus de ferr[ariis] ix. car. j. bov. minus. Et de Soch[a] Regis v. car. Ex hiis Grimbaldus tenet dim. car. et Rex D[avid] j. car. In Norton[e] x. bov. Walter de Bello campo vj. car. Et Roger de Moubray iiij. car. et iij. virg.7

H[undredum] de8 Tilton.—In eadem villa ij. car. j. bov. minus de Soch[a] Regis. Ibidem Walt[erus] de Bello campo iij. car. Archiepiscopus9 j. car. In Neuton[e] Walter de Bello campo iiij. car. Roger de Moubray viii. car. In Lousebia Rex David xij. car. In Watebergia Dominicum Regis iiij. car. In Hallested Normannus de Verdun iij. car. j. virg. minus.10

H[undredum] de bebia.—In eadem villa Abbas de Croyland xij. car. In Cahiham iiij. car. de Soch[a] Regis. Comes Lercestrie ij. car. In Hung'ton ix. car. In Siglebia ix. car. et. vj. bov. et dim. de11 Comite Lercestriæ. Ibidem Comes Cestrie iij. car. Ibidem Ricardus Basset ij. car. Robertus de ferrer[iis] v. bov.12

[pg 162]

H[undredum] de Barkbia.—In eadem villa v. car. de feodo de Belvar[o]. In Hamelton' et in thorp vi. car. de eodem feudo, et de feodo Comitis Lercestriæ j. car. et dim. In Thormedeston Canonici iij. car. In Crocheston[e] ij. car. et j. bov. et dim. de Soch[a] Regis. In Neubold[e] Robertus de ferer[iis] j. car. et dim. In Barnesby Rex iij. car. et dim. bov. Ibidem Comes Lercestriæ xiij. bov. In Gadesby [t]erra13 Reg[is] viij. car. et dim. et dim. et dim. [sic] bov. Ibidem Episcopus Lincolniensis viij. bov. Comes Lercestriæ j. car. et dim. bov. Ricardus Basset dim. car. Rex D[avid] ij. car.14

H[undredum] de Essebia.—In eadem villa Rex David v. car. Ibidem Hugo de Lerc[estria] j. car. In Humberstay Roger de Ram[is] viij. car. Ibidem Walter de Mustere j. car. Rad[ulfus] de Martinwast iij. car. In Mardegrave Comes Lercestriæ xij. car. In thurmedeston idem Comes car. [sic.] Idem in Burstall ix. car. Idem in Anlepia vij. car. Idem in Anesting[e] vj. car.15

H[undredum] de Resebia.—In eadem villa Ricardus Basset v. car. Ibidem Comes Cestrie ij. car. et dim. Rex David iiij car. et dim. In Quenburg[o] xij. car. de feodo de Belvar[o]. In Siefton[e] Comes Lercestriæ xij. car. In Brokesbya Comes [sic] Cestrie v. car. Rex David j. car. quam Pip[er]d tenet. In Quenebia vj. car. de feodo de Belvar[o]. In thurketleston[e] de feodo Comitis viij. car. In Cropeston[e] iiij. car. In Rodeleia terra Regis v. car.16

H[undredum] de Magna Dalbia.—In eadem villa Episcopus Lincolniensis ix. car. et dim. Radulfus Basset j. car. et iij. bov. Ibidem Wil[elmus] Gam[erarius] j. car. In frisebia Comes Cestrie iij. car., et de Soch[a] Regis viij. car. In Rederbia Comes cestrie vi. car. In Asfordebia Comes Lercestriæ xiij. car. In Wartnadeby de Soch[a] Regis vi. car.17

Hundredum de Dalbia super Wald'.—In eadem villa ix. car. de feodo Edwardi de sar[esbiria], Comes Lercestrie iij. car. In Grimestona de Soch[a] Regis iij. car. j. bov. et dim. minus. Ricardus Basset iij. car. In Saxebia Comes Lercestrie v. car. et de Soch[a] Regis j. car. In Siwaldebia Comes Lercestrie vj. car. In Cosinton[e] Comes Cestrie vj. car. In Horton[e] Robertus de Jor' ij. car.18

H[undredum] de Turstanestona.—In eadem villa Thomas x. car. et iij. virg. Ibidem Roger de Moubray xiiij. bov. In Wileges ij. car. de eodem feudo. In Rachedal[e] vj. car. de eodem feudo. In Houbia vij. car. et j. virg. de feodo Thome. Ibidem de feodo Albemarl' iiij. car. et iij. virg.19

H[undredum] de tunga.—In eadem villa cum appendiciis xij. car. de feodo Roberti de ferr[ariis]. In Caggworth Comes Cestrie xv. car. In Wrdintona iij. car. secundum cartam Regis et s[uper] dictum20 hominum hundredi xij. car.21

[pg 163]

H[undredum] de22 Luaeb'.—In eadem villa j. H[ida] et xiij. car. cum appendiciis. In cherlega vj. car. et dim. In Dixeleia et in Geroldon et in Thorp ix. car. In Hantirna est dim. H[ida].23

H[undredum] de Beltona.—In eadem villa Normannus de Verdon vj. car. In Overton[e] Ricardus Basset iiij. car. In Wrdinton[e] j. car. In alia Overton[e] Robertus de ferr[ariis] ij. car., ibidem Comes Cestrie j. car. In Stanton Robertus de ferr[ariis] ij. car. Ibidem Normannus de Verdon iij. car. In Dailescroft Philippus de Bello Campo Maresc[allus] j. car. In Doninton Comes Cestrie cum appendiciis xxij. car. et dim. In Witewic Comes Lercestrie j. car. et dim. Ibidem Robertus de ferr[ariis] j. car. et dim.24

H[undredum] de Dichesword.—In eadem villa Robertus de ferr[ariis] vj. car. et j. virg. Comes cestrie vj. car. Ibidem Comes iij. car. et dim. Normannus de Verdon j. car. et ij. bov. In Hanthirn[e] ix. car. In Widesers iij. car. Willelmi de Gresel[e]. Idem in Lintona j. car. In blakefordeb[ia] Comes Lercestriæ iij. car. In Culverteb[ia] ij. car. et Robertus de ferr[ariis] j. car. In Wodete Robertus de ferr[ariis] j. car. et dim. In Alton[e] Comes Lercestriæ j. car. et dim. Idem in Raveneston[e] j. virg. et dim. Ibidem Comes Cestrie iij. virg. et dim. Et Comes War' ij. car. In Suipestona Hugo vic[ecomes] ij. car.25

H[undredum] de Seyla.—In eadem villa Robertus de ferr[ariis] vij. car. In alia Seyla idem vj. car. Idem in Bocthorp j. car. Idem in appelbia j. car. et j. bov. Idem in Strecton j. car. et dim. Idem in Durantestorp ij. car. quas Walkelinus tenet. Idem in Swepeston[e] vj. car. In Neuton ij. car. In Actorp dim. car. In Chilteston Comes cestrie j. car. Idem in Alpelbia dim. car. In Assebia Comes Lercestriæ iij. car. In Pakinton Hugo Vicecomes v. car. Idem in Osgodesthorp dim. car. In scegla Henricus de Alben[eio] ij. car. que pertinent ad defencionem de Swepeston[e].26

H[undredum] de Shepesheved.—In eadem villa Comes [        ]27 et in wacthon[e] et in Lokinton et in Aminton ij. h[idas] et dim. et iiij. car. In Wacton[e] Normannus de Verdon ij. car. et ij. bov.28

Framelaund Wap'

H[undredum] de caleverton[e].—In eadem villa xij. car. de feodo Willelmi de Alben[eio]. In Someredebia Robertus de ferr[ariis] v. car. Ibidem Roger de Moubray vj. car. Ibidem Robertus Marm[ion] iij. car. et in Burg[o] iij. car. In Dalbia Robertus de ferr[ariis] v. car. et j. bov. de feodo tessun. Ibidem Roger de Moubray xv. bov. In Wittok Walt[erus] de bello campo j. car. et dim. In Gillethorp Roger de Moubray iij. car. Idem in Burg[o] j. car. In Neubold Robertus de ferr[ariis] j. car. et dim.29

[pg 164]

H[undredum] de Estwell.—In eadem villa Robertus de ferr[ariis] ij. car. Ibidem Roger de Moubray vj. car. Robertus de insula iiij. car. In aitona idem Robertus iij. car. et ij. bov. Et de Belvero dim. car. et dim. bov. Ibidem Robertus de insula viij. car. et iij. bov. et dim. In Branteston[e] Episcopus Lincolniensis vij. car. et dim. Robertus de Insula iiij. car. et dim.30

H[undredum] de Melton[e].—In eadem villa Roger de Moubray xv. car. Idem in Burton[e] xj. car. et vij. bov. Et de Honore blide iij. car. Robertus de ferr[ariis] ix. bov. In Fredebia ix. car. et ij. bov. et dim.31

H[undredum] de Chirchebia.—In eadem villa Roger de Moubray xxiiij. car. Idem in chetlebia viiij. car. In Sixtenebia iiij. car. et dim. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Rex D[avid] iiij. car. et dim. In alebia ix. car. de feudo Rogeri. Ibidem Rex David iij. car.32

H[undredum] de Droctona.—In eadem villa Comes de Moretonio xij. car. In thorp Comes Lercestriæ xij. car. In brantingbia vj. car. de eodem feodo. In Ringolfestorp ij. car. et ij. bov. de eodem feodo. Robertus de ferrer[iis] j. car. et vj. bov. In Wyfordebia iiij. car. et dim. de blide. Roger de Moubray j. car. et dim. In chetelby et Holewell[e] ix. car. de feodo Basset. Episcopus Lincolniensis j. car.33

H[undredum] de Scaldeford.—In eadem villa Rex David xj. car. et dim. Ricardus Basset dim. car. In Goutebia Roger de Moubray vj. car. In Knipton Comes de Moriton[io] viij. car. et vi. bov., et Willelmus de Alben[eio] iij. car. et ij. bov.34

H[undredum] de35 Waltham.—In eadem villa Comes Lercestriæ xvj. car. et dim. Alanus de creon ij. car. et dim. In Stonesbia idem Alanus viij. car. In Caston Robertus de ferr[ariis] ix. car.36

H[undredum] de Barcheston.—In eadem villa Willelmus de Alben[eio] xxiij. car. G. Camerarius j. car. In Saltebia et berthaldebia xx. car. de feodo Peuerelli. In Garthorp Willelmus Mesch[in] vij. car.37

H[undredum] de Sproxcheston[e].—In eadem villa Rex David viij. car. Alanus de Creon ij. car. Ibidem filius Gilberti ij. car. In Bucheminest[re] et in Seustern[e] ix. car. et dim. de feodo Episcopi Lincolniensis. Ibidem Robertus de ferer[iis] dim. car. Willelmus Mesch[in] v. car. In Sessebia Rex David iij. car. Robertus de ferrer[iis] iij. car.38

[pg 165]

H[undredum] de Claxton[e].—In eadem villa xvi. car. et dim. et dim. bov. Ibidem Henricus Tuchet xj. car. j. bov. minus. In Houwes de feodo de Beluer vij. car. et dim.39

H[undredum] de Stapelford.—In eadem villa x. car. de feodo Roberti de ferrer[iis]. In Wymundeham et in thorp xxvij. car. et dim. de eodem feodo. Ricardus Basset iij. car. et dim.40

H[undredum] de Herdebia.—In eadem villa et in plungar xvij. car. de feodo Willelmi de Alben[eio]. Ibidem Ricardus Basset j. car. In Stacthirn Willelmus de Alben[eio] viij. car. et dim. Ibidem Roger de Moubray viij. car. Robertus de Insula j. car. et dim.41

H[undredum] de Botlesford.—In eadem villa et Moston et Normanton[e] Willelmus de Alben[eio] xxxij. car. Ibidem Agnes de Gaunt ij. car. In Moston[e] Robertus de Insula j. car. et dim.42

[H]undredum de crocstona.—In eadem villa Comes Maur[itonii] xxiiij. car. In Harestan idem Comes xij. car.'43 ...


The work of identifying the places named in this survey is difficult, not only from the corruption of the text, but also from the fact that many of them are only obscure names, needing, for their perfect ascertainment, local knowledge. A careful study of the map will show that these Leicestershire 'Hundreds', unlike those to which we are accustomed in the hidated districts, were strangely intermingled among themselves. Another of their peculiarities is that just as we find the reconquered 'shires' named each after its capital town, so these 'Hundreds' were each named after one of their Vills instead of after some natural object—probably the meeting-place of the primitive moot44 —as so often in the south of England.

It is important to observe that, except for this survey, we should not even have known of the existence of these 'Hundreds' in Leicestershire. And when we compare the entry on our roll—'Framelaund Wap'. Hundredum de Calevertone. In eadem villa xii. car.'—with that in the Derbyshire Domesday: 'Morelestan Wepentac. Salle Hundred. In Salle et Draicot et Opewelle ... xii. car.' (i. 273), it is scarcely possible to resist the conclusion that, in this passage relating to Sawley, divided only by a river from Leicestershire, we have a glimpse of the same system existing in Derbyshire also. That is to say, that Sawley was not a 'Hundred' of twelve carucates,45 [pg 166] as has been suggested,46 but was the caput of a 'Hundred' similar to those of Leicestershire. I believe, indeed, that in our survey we see the system on which these counties were surveyed in 1086. The original returns will have been drawn up Wapentake by Wapentake, and 'Hundred' by 'Hundred'. But when transcribed into Domesday Book the entries were arranged under Wapentakes alone, and the headings of the 'Hundreds' omitted. In the case of Sawley alone the heading slipped in, immediately preceding the entry of the Manor, as it must have done on the original return. It is thus that I account for the mention of 'leets' slipping into the Norfolk Domesday, in two cases, from the original return;47 just as, in Cambridgeshire, the total assessments of Impington and Chatteris have slipped, from the original returns, into the Inq. Eliensis,48 though duly omitted in Domesday Book.

One more point should be noticed. The somewhat mysterious entry of land belonging 'ad defensionem de Swepestone' is at once made clear when we compare it with that 'Defensio x. acrarum', to which I have appealed49 in discussing 'Wara', and which, like the 'wered' of the Northamptonshire geld-roll,50 refers to assessment for Danegeld.

We will now collate some of our 'Hundreds' with the relative entries in Domesday.

Lodington Hundred
(1086) (1124-29)
Rex 12 Norman de Verdon
    Richard Basset
Rex 6 Norman de Verdon 6
Countess Judith 6 King David's fee
    Rex ¾
Robert de Buci 12 Richard Basset 12
Rex Richard de Rullos
Thorpe Sackville
    Henry de Ferrers
East Norton
[?Rex 3] [Richard Basset]
Robert dispensator Walter de Beauchamp 6
Geoffrey de la Guerche Roger de Mowbray
  ——   ——
  12   12

[pg 167]

Tilton Hundred
Rex 2 Rex
Robert Despencer 3 Walter de Beauchamp 3
Archbishop of York 1 Archbishop 1
  ——   ——
Newton Burdet
Geoffrey de la Guerche 6 Walter de Beauchamp 4
Hubert serviens ½ Roger de Mowbray 8
Countess Judith 9 King David 12
Rex 3 Rex 4
Rex Norman de Verdon
Beby Hundred
Crowland Abbey 10½ Crowland Abbey 12
Rex 4 Rex 4
Hugh de Grantmesnil Earl of Leicester 91316
    Earl of Chester 3
Rex Richard Basset 2
    Robert de Ferrers
Barkby Hundred
Robert de Todeni 18 'Belvoir' 5
    'Belvoir' 6
Barkby Thorpe
Adeliza de Grentmesnil Earl of Leicester
Hugh de Grentmesnil 10    
Hugh de Grentmesnil Canons [of St Mary de
Castro, Leicester]52
[pg 168]Croxton
    Rex 2316
Newbold Folvile
Henry de Ferrers 1 Robert de Ferrers
Rex 4⅝ Rex 3116
    Earl of Leicester 1⅝
Rex 8⅜ Rex 8916
Rex 1 Bishop of Lincoln 1
Countess Judith 2 Earl of Leicester 1116
    Richard Basset ½
    King David 2
Hundred of Ashby
Ashby Folvile
Countess Judith 453 King David 5
Countess Judith Hugh of Leicester 1
Humfrey camerarius 154    
Hugh de Grentmesnil?   Roger de Ramis 8
    Walter de Mustere 1
    Ralf de Martinwast 3
Hugh de Grentmesnil 7 Earl of Leicester 12
Adeliza de Grentmesnil 1    
    Earl of Leicester [10]
Hugh de Grentmesnil 6 Earl of Leicester 9
'In manu Regis' 4 Earl of Leicester 7
Hugh de Grentmesnil 2 Earl of Leicester 655

[pg 169]

Rearsby Hundred
Robert de Buci Richard Basset 5
Rex 1⅞ Earl of Chester
Countess Judith King David
Geoffrey de la Guerche 9 'Belvoir' 12
Hugh de Grentmesnil 9 Earl of Leicester 12
Earl of Chester 2 Earl of Chester 5
Countess Judith ¾ King David 1
Robert de Todeni 2 'Belvoir' 6
Robert de Todeni
(in South Croxton)
Hugh de Grentmesnil 9 Earls [of Leicester] 8
Rex 5 Rex 5
Dalby Hundred
Great Dalby
Bishop of Lincoln 8 Bishop of Lincoln
Robert de Buci 1 Ralf Basset 1⅜
Humfrey Cam. 1 William 'Gam' 1
Rex (Barrow) 1 Earl of Chester 4
Rex 8 Rex 8
Rex (Barrow) Earl of Chester 6
Rex (Rothley) 12 Earl of Leicester 13
    Radulfus Framen
Rex 6 Rex 6

[pg 170]

Hundred of Dalby on the Wolds
Dalby on the Wolds
Ralf fitz Hubert 9 Edward of Salisbury 9
    Earl of Leicester 3
Rex 21316 Rex 21316
Robert de Buci 3 Richard Basset 3
Rex 1 Rex 1
    Earl of Leicester 5
Hugh de Grentmesnil Earl of Leicester 6
Earl of Chester 6 Earl of Chester 6
Robert de Lorz 4 Robert de Jor' 2
Guy de Raimbercurt 12 Thomas 10¼?
Guy de Raimbercurt [18] Roger de Mowbray 1¾?
Robert de Buci 2 Roger de Mowbray 2
Robert de Buci 6 Roger de Mowbray 6
Dru de Bevrere 'Albemarle'
Hundred of Tong
Henry de Ferrers 21½ Robert de Ferrers 12
Earl of Chester 15 Earl of Chester 15
Henry de Ferrers 4   3 or 12

In the case of this last Hundred our survey records a conflict of testimony and, in so doing, mentions incidentally (as would Domesday) the witness of the Hundred-court. Henry de Ferrers in the Domesday Survey, is credited with 21½ car. in 'Tunge cum omnibus appendiciis', and with four in 'Werditone' (i. 233). But here Tong, 'cum appendiciis', is reckoned at twelve car. only. There remained, therefore, to be accounted for a large balance of car., and these the men of the Hundred assigned to his Manor of Worthington. [pg 171] It is desirable to analyse some of the fiefs in our survey, and, by comparison with Domesday, to trace their descent or origin.

Roger de Mowbray's fief
(1124-29) (1086)
  car [Geoffrey de la Guerche]  
Picwell and Lucerthorp 15 Pichewelle and Luvestorp 14
East Norton East Norton
Newton Burdet 8 Newton Burdet 6
    [Robert de Buci]  
Wileges 2 Wilges 2
Rachedale 6 Ragendele 6
    [Geoffrey de la Guerche]  
Somerby 6 Dalby 4
Dalby 1⅞ Dalby
Gillethorp 3 Godtorp
Burg 1 Burg 1
Eastwell 6 Eastwell 6
Melton 15 Melton  
Burton 11⅞ Burton 11⅞
[Fredebie 9516 Fredebie 10]
Chirchebia 24 Cherchebi (17 + 7) 24
Kettleby 9(?) Chettlebi 8
Sixtenebia Sistenebi (2½ + 2)
Alebia 9 Alebia
Wyfordebia Wordebia
Goutebi 6 Goutebi 6
Stacthirn 8 Stachetone
Anschitel's fief
  car   car  
Scanketon' 2 Scantone 2 Robert de Veci.
Chiburd 12 Chiborne 12 Robert de Veci.
Edward of Salisbury's fief
Dalby on the Wolds 9 Dalbi 9 Ralf fitz Hubert.
William Meschin's fief
Seustern 5 Seustern 5 William Lovet.
Henry de Albini's fief
Scegla 2 Sela 2 Nigel de Albini.
Gilbert's son's fief
Sproxcheston 2 Sprotone 2 Godfrey de Cambrai.
William Chamberlain's fief
Great Dalby 1 Dalby 1 Hunfridus Camerarius.

[pg 172]

Thomas's fief
Thrussington 10¾ rightbrace
18 Thrussington 18 Guy de Raimbercurt.
Count of Mortain's fief
Broctone 12 Broctone 12 Rex.
Knipton Cnipeton Rex.
Croxton 24 Croxton 24 Rex.
Harestan 12 Horstan 12 Rex.
Alan de Craon's fief
Stoneby 8 Stoneby 8 Guy de Craon.
Waltham Waltham Guy de Craon.
Sproxton 3 Sproxton 2 Guy de Craon.
William de Albini's fief
Cold Overton 12 Cold Overton 12 Dru de Bevrere.
Knipton Knipton Robert de Todeni.
Herdebi and
17 Herdeby 17 Robert de Todeni.
Stacthirn Stacthirn Robert de Todeni.
Bottlesford 32 Bottlesford 24(?) Robert de Todeni.
Henry Tuchet's fief
Claxton 10⅞
Claxton 6 rightbrace
10½ Robert Hostiarius.
Robert Hostiarius
Richard Basset's fief
Chiburd 1      
Skeffington Skeffington Rex.
Lodington 12 Lodington 12 Robert de Buci.
Sileby 2 Sileby Rex.
Gaddesby ½      
Reresby 5 Reresby Robert de Buci.
Grimstone 3 Grimstone 3 Robert de Buci.
Overton 4 Overton 4 Robert de Buci.
Kettleby and 9 Holwell
5 rightbrace
Robert de Buci.
Holwell Kettleby
Goatby 6 Goatby 6 Robert de Buci.
Scaldeford   Scaldeford ½ Robert de Buci.
Wymondham Wymondham Robert de Buci.
and Thorpe
Hardebi 1 Hertebi 1 Robert de Buci.

The fief of Richard Basset is that of a typical man, of one of those trusted officials who flourished under Henry I. We know not the fate of Robert de Buci, a Domesday baron in Leicestershire and Northants; but as two, at least, of his Leicestershire estates passed, we have seen, to Mowbray, it was, we may infer, forfeiture or [pg 173] escheat that brought his fief into the king's hands, and enabled him to divide it among his own favourites. We learn from the evidence to which I am coming that the eight carucates in Swinford and Walcote, and the two in little Ashby which Robert de Buci had held in 1086, were in the hands of Geoffrey Ridel ninety years later. We may then infer, though they are not included in the sphere of our survey, that they had been obtained, like the rest, by Basset temp. Hen. I.56

The elaborate fine made at Leicester, June 31, 1176,57 has an important bearing on the Bassets' Leicestershire possessions. Not only does it specify the lands they held at Swinford (with Walcote), Ashby, and Fleckney, but it mentions their fee of Madeley, Staffordshire. Now the descent of this Staffordshire fee can be traced by charters on the same roll.58 One of these (No. 12) is a confirmation, by Robert de Stafford, of Madeley to Geoffrey Ridel, to be held as his 'antecessores' had held it. This was Geoffrey, son of Richard Basset, by Maud Ridel, as is shown by the fact that the first witness to the charter is Hervey de Stretton, who held two knights' fees of Stafford in 1166,59 and that another is Robert Bagot, who held a quarter of a fee,60 while Geoffrey Ridel himself then held one, namely, Madeley.61 But the enrolling scribe confused him with his (maternal) grandfather and namesake (d. 1120), and thus wrongly assigned this charter to the reign of Henry I, and threw the whole descent into utter confusion. The right clue is found in a charter of Robert 'de Toni' (i.e. de Stafford), 'conceding' Madeley to Robert 'de Busa' (alias 'de Busci'), 'per servitium unius militis'.62 This fee, therefore, must have come to the Bassets with the rest of the Buci estates; and we thus learn that this must have been late in the reign of Henry I, for the names of the witnesses to this charter prove that it must be subsequent to 1122.63

As Robert de Buci was then in possession, it cannot have been, here at least, till later that Basset succeeded him.

Among the points to be observed in the descent of the above fiefs are Edward of Salisbury's succession to that of Ralf fitz Hubert,64 the appearance of Henry de Albini, founder of the [pg 174] Cainho line, as successor to Nigel, and the portions of the great Belvoir fief, held in Domesday by Robert de Todeni, now owned by Robert de L'Isle and William de Albini 'Brito'. In the midst of great but vanished names, it is pleasant to meet with one, at least, still surviving in the male line: William de Gresley, holder of Linton (a Derbyshire hamlet close to Gresley), had succeeded, there and at 'Widesers', Nigel, a tenant of Henry de Ferrers in 1086 (D.B., i. 233b).65 In this 'Nigel', therefore, it would seem, we have Nigel de Stafford, Lord of Drakelow (D.B., i. 278).

I will close with the names of those who had succeeded the Domesday tenants-in-chief.

Count of Meulan   Earl of Leicester
Earl Aubrey   (Escheat)
'Countess' Godgifu    
'Countess' Ælfgifu   Earl of Chester (Donnington)
Earl of Chester   Earl of Chester
Hugh de Grentmesnil   Earl of Leicester
Henry de Ferrers   Robert de Ferrers
Robert de Todeni   William de Albini
Robert de Veci   [Anschitil]
Roger de Busli   [Honour of Blyth]
  leftbrace Walter de Beauchamp
Robert Dispensator Robert Marmion
  Henry Tuchet (10⅞)
Robertus Hostiarius, (10½)    
Ralf Mortimer    
Ralf fitz Hubert   Edward of Salisbury
Guy de Raimbercurt   [Thomas]
Guy de Craon   Alan de Craon
William Peverel   Honour of Peverel
William Buenvaslet   Comes War'?
William Loveth   Will. Meschin
Geoffrey Alselin    
Geoffrey de 'Wirce'   [Escheat]
Godfrey de Cambrai   the son of Gilbert
Gunfrid de Cioches    
Humfrey Camerarius   Willelmus Camerarius
Drogo de Bevrere   Albemarle
Nigel de Albini   Henry de Albini
'Countess' Judith   King David

1 Q.R., Misc. Bdle. 558, I.P.R., 8113; Knight's Fees, Com. Leic.

2 See pp. 75-6.

3 MS. 'in'.

4 Langton, Thorpe Langton, Tur Langton, Shangton.

5 Kibworth, Burton Overy, Carlton Curlieu.

6 Knossington, Owston, Picwell and Leesthorpe, Newbold, Burrow, Baggrave, Marefield.]

7 Skeffington, Allexton, Thorpe and Twyford, East Norton.

8 MS. 'in'.

9 MS. 'Archid'.

10 Tilton, Loseby, Whadborough, Halstead.

11 Interlined.

12 Beeby, Keyham, Hungerton, [? Sileby.]

13 MS. injured here.

14 Barkby, Hambleton, Thorpe, Thurmaston, South Croxton, Barsby, Gaddesby.

15 Ashby, Humberstone, Belgrave, Thurmaston, Birstall, Wanlip, Ansty.

16 Rearsby, Queensborough, Syston, Brooksby, Rothley, Thurcaston, Cropston.

17 Great Dalby, Frisby, Rotherby, Asfordby, Wartnaby.

18 Dalby on the Wolds, Grimston, Saxelby, Sileby, Cossington, Hoton.

19 Thrussington, Ragdale, Hoby.

20 MS. illegible.

21 Tong, Kegworth, Worthington.

22 MS. 'in'.

23 Loughborough, Charley, Dishley, Garendon, Thorpe, Hathern.

24 Belton, [? Coleorton, Worthington, Staunton Harold, Castle Donington, Whitwick.]

25 Diseworth, Hathern, Linton (Derby), Blackfordby, Ravenstone, Snibston.

26 Seal (Nether and Over), Bogthorpe, Appleby, Stretton on le Field, Donisthorpe, Swepston, Oakthorpe, Ashby, Pakington, Osgathorpe.

27 Blank in MS.

28 Sheepshed, Whatton, Lockington.

29 Cold Overton, Somerby, Burrow, Dalby, Withcote, Newbold.

30 Eastwell, Eaton, Branston.

31 Melton Mowbray, Burton Lazars, Freeby.

32 Kirby Bellars, Abkettleby, Sysonby.

33 Nether Broughton, Thorpe, Brentingby, Wyfordby, Abkettleby, Holwell.

34 Scalford, Goadby, Knipton.

35 MS. 'in'.

36 Waltham, Stonesby, Coston.

37 Barkstone, Saltby, [? Bescoby, Garthorpe.]

38 Sproxton, Seustern, Buckminster, Saxby.

39 Clawson, Hose.

40 Stapleford, Wymondham, Edmondthorpe.

41 Harby, Plungar, Stathern.

42 Bottesford, Muston, Normanton.

43 Croxton, Harston.

44 See the valuable list, for Dorset, in Mr Eyton's Key to Domesday, p. 143.

45 The Lincolnshire 'Hundred'.

46 Waters' Survey of Lindsey, p. 5; Eng. Hist. Rev., v. 100; supra, p. 73.

47 Supra, p. 90.

48 Ed. Hamilton, pp. 113, 116.

49 Supra, p. 101.

50 Supra, p. 127.

51 Including Hambleton and Hungerton (6) in Domesday.

52 By grant of Robert, Count of Meulan.

53 In Newbold.

54 In Barnsby.

55 Given (as 24 virgates) to Leicester Abbey.

56 See also supra, p. 130.

57 Infra, p. 388.

58 Sloane Cart., xxxi. 4.

59 Liber Rubeus, Ed. Hall, p. 266.

60 Ibid., p. 268.

61 Ibid.

62 Sloane, xxxi. 4, No. 10.

63 They are 'Nigellus de Aubeni, Ran[ulfus Comes Cestrie, Galfridus Cancellarius, Simon decanus Lincolnie, Willelmus fil' Reg', Thomas de Sancto Johanne, Willelmus de Aubeny Brito, Unfridus de Bohun et alii.' The Dean's occurrence so late is worth noting.]

64 Compare 'The Barons of Criche' (Academy, June 1885).

65 That William was his son is proved by the Ferrers Carta (1166), which enters 'Willelmus filius Nigelli' as the tenant of four fees under Henry I, and as succeeded, in 1166, by his son Robert.

[pg 175]


(Hen. i-Hen. ii)

This 'Hydarium' of Northamptonshire is found in a Peterborough Cartulary (Cott. MS. Vesp. E. 22, fo. 94 et seq.). It is drawn up Hundred by Hundred, like the surveys of Leicestershire and of Lindsey, and is, therefore, probably connected with the assessment of Danegeld. Although it is of special value for reconstituting the Domesday Vills, the assessment it records so often varies from that which is found in Domesday that we cannot institute a close comparison. The introduction of a 'parva virgata' further complicates the reckoning. That the original document was written on a roll is shown by the use of the phrase 'per alium rotulum'. The statement on fo. 97b that there ought, at one place, to be half a hide more 'per rotulos Wyncestr[ie]', would seem to refer to Domesday; but on the next page we read:

In Pytesle Abbas de Burgo v. hid. [et] dim. set tamen in Rotulis Wyncestr[ie] vi. hid. et iii. parvas virgatas.

Since Domesday records this holding as 'v. hid. et una virgata terræ', the reference (if the text of the survey is right) must clearly be to some other record preserved in the national treasury.

I append about a fifth of the Survey as a specimen of the whole.


Twywell. Albr[icus] camerar[ius] ii. hidas de feudo Abbatis de Thorneya. Ibidem de feudo Comitis David. Ibidem de feudo Abbatis Burgi i. magnam virgatam.

In Slipton i. hidam et unam virgatam de feudo Will'i de Corcy. Ibidem Ricardus filius Hugonis ii. partes unius hidæ de feudo Burgi. Ibidem Rogerus nepos Abbatis tertiam partem unius hidæ de eodem feudo.

In Suburc [Sudboro'] ii. hidas [et] dim. de feudo Westmonaster'.

In Lofwyc [Luffwick] Th——1 i. hidam et unam virgatam de feudo de Deneford. Ibidem Radulfus Fleming i. virgatam et dim. de feudo Comitis David. Ibidem Wydo frater ejus i. magnam virgatam de feudo de Thorneya.

In Drayton Albr[icus] camerar[ius] dimidiam hidam de feudo R[egis].

In Yslep [Islip] idem Albri[cus] de feudo Regis. Ibidem iiiior. sokemanni Regis i. hidam de feudo Westmonaster'.

In Audewyncle [Aldwinkle] Abbas de Burgo iiii. hidas [et] dimidiam quas Ascelinus de Waterville tenet. Ibidem Galfridus de Glynton i. magnam virgatam de feudo Glovernie pertinens ad Barton. Ibidem Ricardus filius Wydonis iii. hidas dim. virg. minus de feudo Regine [sic].

[pg 176]

Item in Benifeld [Benefield] Willelmus le Lisurs iii. magnas virg. de feudo Regis.

In Bernewelle [Barnwell] Robertus de ferariis vi. hidas et i. magnam virg. de feudo Regis. Ibidem Reginaldus le Moyne vi. hidas de feudo de Rammeseye.

In Lilleford Willelmus Olyfart v. hidas de feudo Regis Scotie.


In Tytheni [? Tichmarsh] Robertus de Ferr[ers] x. hid. Ibidem Ascelinus de Waterville iii. hid. et i. virg. et tres partes dim. hid. de Burgo.

In Thrapston Radulfus fil. Oger ii. hid. et i. virg. de feudo de Brunne. Ibidem Robertus filius Edelinæ i. hid. et i. virg. de feudo de Clare.

In Torpe et Achirche Ascelinus de Waterville vi. hid. [et] dim. de feudo Burgi.

In Clopton Walterus i. hid. et i. virg. de feudo Regis. Ibidem iii. hid. [et] dim. de feudo Burgi. Ibidem Ascelinus dim. hid. de feudo Burgi.

Wadenhowe [Wadenhoe]. Albricus de Ver ii. hid. et i. virg. de feudo Regis David. Ibidem Wymunt de Stok[e] i. virg. de feudo Burgi. Ibidem Rogerus Infans ii. parvas virg. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Wivienus de Chirchefelde dim. hid. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Galfridus de Gonthorp ii. hid. de eodem feudo. In Catteworthe i. hid. [et] dim. de feudo Burgi.


In Pokebroc Robertus de Cauz i. hid. et. i. virg. de feudo Regis. Ibidem Walterus de Clopton ii. hid. et dim. de feudo Burgi. Ibidem Rogerus Marmium i. hid. et i. virg. de eodem feudo.

In Armeston [Armston] de Burgelay ii. hid. [et] dim. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Turkil i. hid. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Wydo Maufee i. hid. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Galfridus de Gunthorp ii. partes dim. hid. de eodem feudo. Ibidem Tedrik' iii. partes de dim. hid. de eodem feudo.

In Pappele [Papley] i. hid.

In Lillington [Lutton] i. hid.

In Hennington Berengerus le Moyne ii. hid. [et] dim. de feudo de Rammes[eye]. Ibidem Ricardus filius Gilberti i. hid. et i. virg. et dim. de feodo Burgi. Ibidem Wydo Maufe dim. hid. et dim. virg. de eodem feodo. Ibidem Reginaldus le Moyne dim. hid. et dim. virg. de eodem feodo.

In Kynesthorp [Kingsthorp] Walterus de Lodington i. hid. et i. virg. de feodo Burgi. Ibidem Willelmus de Chirchetot dim. hid. de feodo Regis.

In Therninge [Thurning] Rogerus Marmioun iii. parvas virg. de feodo Burgi.

In Ayston [Ashton] Abbas de Burgo iiii. hid. in dominico. Ibidem Papilun dim. hid. de eodem feodo. Ibidem Leuenoth dim. hid. de eodem feodo.

In Undele [Oundle] Abbas in dominico vi. hid. Ibidem Vivien i. parvam virg.2

[pg 177]

Duo Hundred de Nasso

In Stinton Willelmus de Lisurs ii. hid.

In Bernak Fulco paynel iii. hid.3

In Wirthorpe Abbas Croylaund ii. hid. Ibidem de feodo Eudonis Dapiferi i. virg.

In Eston [Easton] Simon i. hid. [et] dim.

In Peychirche [Peakirk]. In Etton. In Northburgo dim. virg.

In dominico Abbatis de Burgo sancti Petri lxx. hid. et iii. virg. et dim.

Hundred de Sutton

In eadem villa [King's Sutton] Dominus Rex habit in dominico iiii. hid.

In eadem villa Willelmus de Quency i. hid. [et] dim. et parvam virg. terre de Comitat[u] Leycestr[ie]. Ibidem Alfredus viii. parvas virg. de Gilberto de Pinkeny. Ibidem Paganus i. hid. et dim. et i. parvam virg. de feodo Comit[is] Leycestri[ie], Robertus filius Osberti tenuit.

In Evenle i. hid. et i. parvam virg. de feodo Comit[is] Leyc[estrie].

In Preston dim. hid. de feodo Comit[is] Leyc[estrie].

In Croulton [Croughton] iiiior. parvas virg. de feodo Comit[is] Leyc[estrie]. Ibidem Sewar' i. hid. et ii. parvas virg. de feodo Leyc[estrie]. Ibidem Brien filius Comitis i. hid. [et] dim. et ii. parvas virg. de feodo de Walinford.

In Neubottle Regis [sic] de Reynes vi. hid. et i. parvam virg. de feodo Comitis Leyc[estrie], Willelmus de Lepyn tenuit.

In furningho [Farningho] iiii. hid. de feodo Comitis Leyc[estrie].

In Cherlington [Charlton] Maynardus i. hid. [et] dim. et i. parvam virg. Ibidem Simon Chendut i. hid. [et] dim. de feodo de Berkamstede et i. parvam virg. Ibidem Odo dapifer viii. parvas virg. de feodo de Colescestra.

In Gremesbir' [Grimsbury] Aunsel' de Chokes ii. hid. et iiii. parvas virg. scil. quarta pars ii. hid.

In Middleton Willelmus Me[s]chin i. hid. et dim. et i. parvam virg. de feodo Willelmi de Curcy.

In alia Middleton [Middleton Chenduit] Simon Chendut ii. hid. de feodo de Berkamstede.

In Thayniford [Thenford] Mainfenn de Walrentone i. hid. Ibidem Robertus Basset i. hid. de feodo de Walingford.

In Ayno [Aynho] Willelmus de Mandeville iii. hid.

In Middelton monachi de sancto Eu'ald4 ii. hid.

In Walton i. hid. cum ii. virg. in Sutton quas Suouild tenuit.

In Gildeby i. hid. et vii. parvas virg. de feodo de Mortal' [sic].

Hundred de Albodestowe

In Chacombe iiii. hid. de feodo Episc. Lincoln.

In Evenle ii. hid. et [sic] i. parvam virg. minus quas Alouf de Merke tenuit.

In Thorpe [Thorpe-Mandeville] ii. hid.

In Stanes [Stene] Gilbertus de Pinkeny ii. hid.

[pg 178]

In Colewyth [Culworth] Willelmus ii. hid. et iiii. parvas virg. Ibidem Otuer i. hid.

In Stotebyr[e] [Stotesbery] ii. hid. quas monachi Norht'5 tenent.

In Rodestone [Radston] ii. hid. de feodo Comitis Cestr[ie].

In Wytefeld [Whitfield] Gilbertus de Monte ii. hid. et ii. virg. in dominico.

In Merston [Merston St Lawrence] Radulfus Murdac iiii. hid. de feodo Comitis Leyc[estrie].

In Siresham Thomas Sorel i. hid. [et] dim. Ibidem Comes Leyc[estrie] i. parvam virg. Ibidem Gilo dim. hid. Ibidem Willelmus filius Alui' [? Alan] iiii. parvas virg.

In Helmendene [Helmedon] Willelmus de Torewelle iiii. hid. de feodo Comitis Leyc[estrie].

In Chelverdescote dim. hid. Idem. Comes Leyc[estrie].

In Brackle et Hausho [Hawes] idem Comes vii. hid. [et] dim.

Hundred de Wardon

In Wardon Ricardus foliot6 ii. hid. [et] dim. et i. magnam virg., scilicet quarta pars i. militis de feodo Regis in capite.

In Estone [Aston] et Apeltreya [Apeltre] Willelmus de Bolonia vii. hid. de feodo Comitis de Mandeville.

In Bottolendon [Boddington] Fulco Paynel7 ii. hid. una ex illis de feodo Cestr[ie]. Ibidem Willelmus Meschin i. hid. Ibidem i. hid. de feodo Episcopi Lincoln.

The only writer, it would seem, who has used this important survey is Bridges, who refers to it throughout in his Northamptonshire as of the time of 'Henry II'. A good instance of the confusion caused by this assumption is seen in the remarks of Bridges as to Barnack (ii. 491), where he is puzzled by our record, giving as its lord, not Gervase Paynell, but Fulc Paynell (who was really his grandfather). To refute his conclusion, it is sufficient to refer to the first name entered—that of 'Albricus Camerarius'. This was no other than Aubrey de Vere, a trusted minister of Henry I, who was made by him Great Chamberlain in 1133, and who was slain in May 1141.8 His Northamptonshire estate descended to his younger son, Robert, who, as 'Robertus filius Albrici Camerarii', made his return as a Northamptonshire 'baron' in 1166.9 There can, therefore, [pg 179] be no confusion between Aubrey the Chamberlain (d. 1141) and his eldest son and namesake. Yet if, from the occurrence of his name, we pronounced the date of this survey to be 1133-41, we should be in error. There are names belonging to an earlier, as to a later, date than this.

Among the earliest are 'Ricardus filius Wydonis', the son and successor of Guy de Raimbercurt, a great Domesday tenant-in-chief; Walter fitz Winemar, whose father was both a tenant in capite and under-tenant in Domesday; and Ralf fitz Oger, whose name illustrates the value of these early surveys; for the entry proves that Oger, the Northamptonshire tenant-in-chief (D.B., i. 228), was identical with Oger 'Brito', the Lord of Bourne, Linc. (i. 364b), and that the son and successor of this Oger was Ralf. We also recognize Roger Marmion, who was succeeded, under Henry I, by Robert; Nigel de Albini, the founder of the house of Mowbray; Michael de Hanslape, who died under Henry I; and 'Robertus filius Regis', who became Earl of Gloucester circ. 1122. Other tenants, living temp. Hen. I, are William de Mandeville,10 William Meschin, Richard Basset, Viel (Vitalis) Engaine, Baldwin fitz Gilbert, and Brian fitz Count. As for Ascelin de Waterville and Alouf de Merke, they are found as under-tenants in Domesday itself. On the other hand, such a name as 'Comes Warenn de Morteyn' points to the latter years of Stephen's reign, or to the early days of that of Henry II; while the mention of the earldoms of Arundel, Ferrers (Derby) and Essex preclude, of course, an earlier date than 1140.

After careful examination, I propound the solution that this survey was originally made under Henry I, and was subsequently corrected here and there, to bring the entries up to date, down to the days of Henry II. The late transcriber, to whom we owe the survey in its present form, has incorporated these additions and corrections in a single text with the most bewildering result. We trace exactly the same process in the Red Book of the Exchequer. In the Black Book the later additions that were made to the barons' cartae of 1166 are distinguished by the difference in handwriting. But in the Red Book these interpolations are found transcribed in the same hand as the genuine original returns. To the uninitiated this has been the cause of no small confusion. So, too, in the above list of Peterborough knights (p. 157), the very first entry, made temp. Hen. I, has been carried on by a later hand to the time of Henry III. But there Stapleton, who transcribed the list, carefully discriminated between the two.11 It is probable that the lists of Abingdon knights, published in the Abingdon cartulary, are rendered untrustworthy in places from the same cause of error.

The transcriber's ignorance is clearly shown by such a name as [pg 180] 'Comes Mauricius', which is evidently his erroneous extension of an original 'Comes Maur'', i.e. Count of Mortain! So also we are enabled to detect proof of the theory I advance in such an entry as 'Willelmus Meschin de feodo Wellelmi de Curcy'; for William de Curcy held, temp. Henry II, the barony held by William Meschin (his maternal grandfather, according to Stapleton12) temp. Henry I. Thus, the original entry will have run 'William Meschin', while a later hand, in his grandson's days, will have added, by way of substitution, 'De feodo William de Curcy'.13 Our transcriber, combining the two, has, of course, made nonsense of the whole. The same explanation applies to the entry, 'Robertus filius Regis de feodo Glovernie', where the first three words represent the original entry, while the others were added, probably under Henry II, to connect the holding with the fief of [the Earl of] Gloucester. 'Brien filius Comitis de feodo de Wallin[g]ford' is another instance in point, and so, I suspect, is 'Odo [sic] dapifer de feodo de Colcestra'; for I take it that the entry was originally made in the lifetime of Eudo Dapifer (d. 1120) and that, as his 'honour' passed into the King's hands, the 'de feodo de Colcestra' was added at a later time.14

I have given sufficient of the survey to prove that, in spite of confusion and corruption, it possesses a real value. If we take, for instance, Polebrook ('Pochebroc'), a township of five hides, we find that in Domesday (221b, 228) Eustace ('the Sheriff') held a hide and a quarter in capite and three hides and three quarters as a tenant of Peterborough Abbey (see p. 138). Now our survey shows us the former holding in the hands of Robert de Cauz, while the other has been broken up, two-thirds of it passing to Walter 'de Clopton' and one-third to Roger Marmion.

Just below, in the case of Hemington, also a Vill of five hides, which was equally divided between the Abbeys of Peterborough and Ramsey, we read in Domesday that 'iii. milites' held the Peterborough half (221b). Our survey enables us to distinguish their tenancies—Richard fitz Gilbert holding a hide and three-eighths; Guy Maufe, five-eighths of a hide, and Reginald le Moyne the same.15 But we can go further and identify the first, from his holding, as the son of Gilbert Fauvel, the Domesday tenant (see p. 138); while the second was the heir, and probably the son of Roger Malfed (see p. 132).

[pg 181]

One more instance may be given. Our survey reckons Clapton ('Cloptone') as five and a quarter hides, of which 'Walter' held one and a quarter in capite. Here again he had succeeded Eustace, whose Domesday estate at 'Dotone' (228) ought, as Bridges conjectured, to have been entered 'Clotone'.16 On the other hand, his tenancy of the Abbot at 'Clotone' had been broken up, half a hide of it passing to Ascelin de Waterville. All this goes to show that the fief of Eustace the Sheriff did not, as has been alleged, descend to his heirs.

Such an entry as 'In Lilleford, Willelmus Olyfart v. hidas de feudo Regis Scotiæ' is peculiarly suggestive. It reminds us that David Holyfard, godson of King David of Scotland, and his protector in 1141, was the founder of the house of Oliphant; and in the family's possession of Lilford (which was held of the Countess Judith in 1086) we see the origin of their Scottish connection. William 'Olifard' was of Northamptonshire, and Hugh 'Olifard' of Huntingdonshire in 1130;17 while Hugh 'Olifart' (of Stoke) was a knight of the Abbot of Peterborough in rather earlier days. The earliest member of the house, however, it would seem, on record is Roger Olifard, who witnessed (doubtless as his tenant) Earl Simon's charter to St. Andrew's, Northampton, granted, probably, not later than 1108. This, of course, is but one of the cases in which the son of a Norman house settled in Scotland through its King's connection with the earldoms of Huntingdon and Northampton.

At the close of the survey I have here discussed there is a list of the knights of Peterborough (fos. 99b, 100) holding in Northamptonshire. It ought to be carefully compared with the one I have examined above (p. 131), being, it seems probable, about a generation later. Such entries as these, at least, are conclusive for the holding to which they refer:

Paganus de Helpestun terciam partem unius militis (Chronicon Petroburgense, p. 171). Roger fil[ius] Pagan[i] in Helpestun terciam partem i. militis (Vesp. E. xxii., fo. 100).

In the same way, Roger Marmion had been succeeded by Robert. This second list is of special value from the fact that the Peterborough carta of 1166 gives no particulars of the knights or of their fees.

1 Or Sh——.

2 See Chronicon Petroburgense, p. 158.

3 See Bridges' Northamptonshire, ii. 491.

4 St. Evroul, Grantmesnil's in Domesday.

5 St Andrew's Priory, Northampton.

6 The heir of Guy de Raimbercurt.

7 Clearly Fulk Paynel the first, Founder of Tykford Priory.

8 Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 81.

9 See also as to Twywell itself. Mon. Ang., ii. 603:

'Ego Albericus, regis camerarius terram de Twiwell quamdiu vixero de domino abbate Guntero et monachis de Thorneya per talem conventionem teneo adfirmam.'

'Ego Robertus filius Albrici camerarii regis terram de Twiwelle quamdiu vixero de domino abbate Roberto et monachis de Thorneia per eandem conventionem in feodi firmam teneo per quam conventionem pater meus ante me tenuit.'

The Great Chamberlain occurs again on fo. 97b, where we read:

'In alia Adington Albric[us] Camerar[ius], ii. hid. de feodo Regis.'

10 If, as probable, the son of the Domesday Baron.

11 Chronicon Petroburgense, pp. 168-9.

12 Holy Trinity Priory, York, p. 35.

13 Since this was written I have come across a curious confirmation of the hypothesis advanced. In the Lindsey Survey (Ed. Greenstreet), an entry on fo. 20, in the original ran: 'Comes Odo [tenet] in Aldobi', above which a later hand has interlined, 'De feodo Comitis Albemerle'. It is curious that in the same survey another later interlineation—'Comes Lincoln'—was, though distinguished by Hearne, incorporated with the text by Mr Waters (see p. 151).

14 Eudo was identified with Colchester.

15 Giving a total of 2⅝, instead of 2½—a trivial discrepancy.

16 It is singular that in Sussex the 'Cloninctune' of Domesday is, conversely, an error for 'Doninctune'. The source of the error in both cases must have been the likeness of 'cl' to 'd' in the original returns, on which these names cannot have begun with a capital letter.

17 Rot. Pip., 31 Hen. I.

[pg 182]


'The growth of knighthood is a subject on which the greatest obscurity prevails; and the most probable explanation of its existence in England, the theory that it is a translation into Norman forms of the thegnage of the Anglo-Saxon law, can only be stated as probable.'—Stubbs, Const. Hist., i. 260.

In approaching the consideration of the institutional changes and modifications of polity resulting from the Norman Conquest, the most conspicuous phenomenon to attract attention is undoubtedly the introduction of what it is convenient to term the feudal system. In the present paper I propose to discuss one branch only of that process, namely, the introduction of that military tenure which Dr Stubbs has termed 'the most prominent feature of historical feudalism'.

In accordance with the anticataclysmic tendencies of modern thought, the most recent students of this obscure problem have agreed to adopt the theory of gradual development and growth. The old views on the subject are discredited as crude and unhistorical:2 they are replaced by confident enunciation of the theory to which I have referred.3 But when we examine the matter closely, when we ask for details of the process by which the Anglo-Saxon thegn developed into the Norman knight, we are met at once by the frank confession that 'between the picture drawn in Domesday and the state of affairs which the charter of Henry I was designed to remedy, there is a difference which the short interval of time will not account for'.4 To meet this difficulty, to account for this flaw in the unbroken continuity of the series, a Deus ex machinâ has been found in the person of Ranulf Flambard.

Now this solution of the difficulty will scarcely, I venture to think, bear the test of investigation. It appears to have originated in Dr Stubbs' suggestion that there must have been, between the days of Henry I and of William I, 'some skilful organizing hand working [pg 183] with neither justice nor mercy'5—a suggestion subsequently amplified into the statement that it is to Ranulf Flambard 'without doubt that the systematic organization of the exactions' under William Rufus 'is to be attributed',6 and that by him 'the royal claims were unrelentingly pressed', his policy being 'to tighten as much as possible the hold which the feudal law gave to the king on all feudatories temporal and spiritual'.7 There is nothing here that can be called in question, but there is also nothing, be it observed, to prove that either 'feudal law' or 'military tenure' was introduced by Ranulf Flambard. Indeed, with his usual caution and unfailing sound judgment, our great historian is careful to admit that 'it is not quite so clear' in the case of the lay as of the church fiefs 'that all the evil customs owed their origin to the reign of William Rufus'.8 And, even if they did, they were, it must be remembered, distinctly abuses—'evil customs', as Henry I himself terms them in his charter—namely (in the matter we are considering), 'excessive exactions in the way of reliefs, marriages and wardships, debts to the crown, and forfeiture. In the place,' we are told, 'of unlimited demands on these heads, the charter promises, not indeed fixed amercements, but a return to ancient equitable custom'.9 All this refers, it will be seen, to the abuse of an existing institution, not to the introduction of a new one. The fact is that Ranulf's proceedings have been assigned a quite exceptional and undue importance. Broadly speaking, his actions fall under a law too often lost sight of, namely, that when the crown was strong it pressed, through the official bureaucracy, its claims to the uttermost; and when it found itself weak, it renounced them so far as it was compelled. Take, for instance, this very charter issued by Henry I, when he was 'playing to the gallery', and seeking general support: what was the value of its promises? They were broken, says Mr Freeman, to the Church;10 they were probably broken, says Dr Stubbs, to the knights;11 and they were certainly broken, I may add, to the unfortunate tenants-in-chief, whom the Pipe-Roll of 1130 shows us suffering from those same excessive exactions, of which the monopoly is assigned to Ranulf Flambard, and which 'the Lion of Justice' had so virtuously renounced. I might similarly adduce the exactions from the Church by that excellent king, Henry II (1159), 'contra antiquum morem et debitam libertatem'; but it is needless to multiply examples of the struggle between the interests of the crown and those of its tenants-in-chief, which was as fierce as ever when, in later days, it led to the provisions of the Great Charter. What the barons, lay and spiritual, complained of from first to last, [pg 184] was not the feudal system that accompanied their military tenure, but the abuse of that system in the excessive demands of the crown.

Mr Freeman, however, who had an equal horror of Ranulf Flambard and of the 'feudal system', did not hesitate to connect the two more closely even than Dr Stubbs, though invoking the authority of the latter in support of his extreme views. The passages to which I would invite attention, as expressing most concisely Mr Freeman's conclusions, are these:

The system of military tenures, and the oppressive consequences which were held to flow from them, were a work of the days of William Rufus.

If then there was any time when 'the Feudal System' could be said to be introduced into England, it was assuredly not in the days of William the Conqueror, but in the days of William the Red. It would be more accurate to say that all that we are really concerned with, that is, not an imaginary 'Feudal System', but a system of feudal land-tenures, was not introduced into England at all, but was devised on English ground by the malignant genius of the minister of Rufus.12

As the writer's line of argument is avowedly that of Dr Stubbs, it is only necessary to consider the point of difference between them. Where his predecessor saw in Henry's charter the proof that Ranulf Flambard had abused the existing feudal system by 'excessive' and 'unlimited' demands, Mr Freeman held, and endeavoured to convince us, that he had introduced not merely abuses of the system, but the actual system itself.13 The question virtually turns on the first clause of the charter;14 and it will not, I think, be doubted that Dr Stubbs is right in adopting its natural meaning, namely, that the novelty introduced by Ranulf was not the relevatio itself, but its abuse in 'excessive exactions'. Indeed, even Mr Freeman had virtually to admit the point.15 If, then, the argument breaks down, if Ranulf cannot be shown to have 'devised' military tenure, how are we to bridge over the alleged chasm between the date of Domesday (1086) and that of Henry's charter (1100)? The answer is simply that the difficulty is created by the very theory I am discussing: it is based on the assumption that William I did not introduce military tenure,16 combined with the fact that 'within thirteen years after the [pg 185] Conqueror's death, not only the military tenures, but the worst abuses of the military tenures, were in full force in England'.17 But, here again, when we examine the evidence, we find that this assumption is based on the silence, or alleged silence, of Domesday Book.18 Now no one was better aware than Mr Freeman, as an ardent student of 'the great Record', that to argue from the silence of Domesday is an error as dangerous as it is common. Speaking from a rather wide acquaintance with topographical works, I know of no pitfall into which the local antiquary is more liable to fall. Wonderful are the things that people look for in the pages of the great survey; I am always reminded of Mr Secretary Pepys' writing for information as to what it contained 'concerning the sea and the dominion thereof'.19 Like other inquests, the Domesday Survey—'the great inquest of all', as Dr Stubbs terms it—was intended for a special purpose; special questions were asked, and these questions were answered in the returns. So with the 'Inquest of Sheriffs' in 1170; so also with the Inquest of Knights, if I may so term it, in 1166. In each case the questions asked are, practically, known to us, and in each they are entirely different. Therefore, when Mr Freeman writes:

The survey nowhere employs the feudal language which became familiar in the twelfth century. Compare, for instance, the records in the first volume of Hearn's Liber Niger Scaccarii. In this last we find something about knights' fees in every page. In Domesday there is not a word—20

it is in no spirit of captious criticism, but from the necessity of demolishing the argument, that I liken it to basing conclusions on the fact that in the census returns we find something about population in every page, while in the returns of owners of land there is not a word. As the inquest of 1166 sought solely for information on knights and their fees, the returns to it naturally contain 'something about knights' fees in every page'; on the other hand, 'the payment or nonpayment of the geld is a matter which appears in every page of the [pg 186] survey' [of 1086] because 'the formal immediate cause of taking the survey was to secure its full and fair assessment'.21 Nor is this all. When the writer asserts that 'in Domesday there is not a word' about knights' fees, he greatly overstates his case, as indeed is shown by the passages he proceeds to quote. I shall be able to prove, further on, that knights' fees existed in cases where Domesday does not mention them, but even the incidental notices found in the Great Survey are quite sufficient to disprove its alleged silence on the subject. As Mr Freeman has well observed:

Its most incidental notices are sometimes the most precious. We have seen that it is to an incidental, an almost accidental notice in the Survey that we owe our knowledge of the great fact of the general redemption of lands.22

Here then the writer does not hesitate to base on a single accidental notice the existence of an event quite as widespread and important as the introduction of knight service.23

I have now endeavoured to make plain one of the chief flaws in the view at present accepted, namely, that it is mainly grounded on the negative evidence of Domesday, which evidence will not bear the construction that has been placed upon it—and further that, even if it did, we should be landed in a fresh difficulty, the gulf between Domesday and Henry's charter being only to be bridged by the assumption that Ranulf Flambard 'devised' and introduced military tenure, with its results—an assumption, we have seen, which the facts of the case not only fail to support, but even discountenance wholly.

Let us pass to a second difficulty. When we ask the advocates of the view I am discussing what determined the number of knights due to the crown from a tenant-in-chief, we obtain, I venture to assert, no definite answer. At times we are told that it was the number of his hides; at times that it was the value of his estate. Gneist, who has discussed the matter in detail, and on several occasions, has held throughout, broadly speaking, the same view: he maintains that 'since Alfred's time the general rule had been observed that a fully equipped man should be furnished for every five hidæ, but it had never been established as a rule of law as in the Carlovingian legislation':24 consequently, he urges, 'a fixed standard for the apportionment of the soldiery was wanting' at the time of the [pg 187] Conquest, and this want was a serious flaw in the Anglo-Saxon polity. William resolved to make the system uniform, and

the object that the royal administration now pursued for a century was to impose upon the whole mass of old and new possessors an equal obligation to do service for reward. The standard adopted in carrying out this system was approximately that of the five hides possession of the Anglo-Saxon period; yet with a stricter rating according to the value of the produce.25

The difficulty encountered in ascertaining this value was a main cause of the Domesday Survey being undertaken. This is Gneist's special point on which he invariably insists: 'Domesday book laid the basis of a roll of the crown vassals';26 upon it, 'in later times, the fee-rolls were framed'.27 By its evidence, 'according to the extent and the nature of the productive property, could be computed how many shields were to be furnished by each estate, according to the gradually fixed proportion of a £20 ground rent'.28 For 'the feuda militum thus computed are no knights' fees of a limited area',29 but 'units of possession', the unit being £20 in annual value.

Dr Stubbs, on the other hand, while rejecting the view that military service, since the days of Alfred, had been practically fixed at one warrior for every five hides,30 leans nevertheless to the belief that the knight's fee was developed out of the five-hide unit, and that the military 'service' of a tenant-in-chief was determined by the number of such units which he possessed. But, as he also recognizes the £20 unit, there will be less danger of misrepresenting his views if I append verbatim the relevant passages:

The customary service of one fully armed man for each five hides was probably the rate at which the newly endowed follower of the king would be expected to discharge his duty ... and the number of knights to be furnished by a particular feudatory would be ascertained by inquiring the number of hides that he held.31 The value of the knight's fee must already have been fixed—twenty pounds a year.32

[pg 188]

The number of hides which the knight's fee contained being known, the number of knights' fees in any particular holding could be easily discovered.33

All the imposts of the ... Norman reigns, were, so far as we know, raised on the land, and according to computation by the hide: ... the feudal exactions by way of aid ... were levied on the hide.34
It cannot even be granted that a definite area of land was necessary to constitute a knight's fee; ... It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the extent of a knight's fee was determined by rent and valuation rather than acreage, and that the common quantity was really expressed in the twenty librates, etc.35

The variation in the number of hides contained in the knight's fee.36

Mr Freeman's views need not detain us, for he unhesitatingly accepts Dr Stubbs' arguments as proving that the Norman military tenure was based on 'the old service of a man from each five hides of land'.37

We find then, I submit, that the recognized leaders of existing opinion on the subject cannot agree among themselves in giving us a clear answer, when we ask them what determined the amount of 'service' due from a Norman tenant-in-chief, or, in other words, how that 'service' was developed in unbroken continuity from Anglo-Saxon obligations.

The third point that I would raise is this. Even assuming that the amount of 'service' bore a fixed proportion—whether in pecuniary or territorial units—to the extent of possession, we are, surely, at once confronted by the difficulty that the owner of x units of possession would be compelled, for the discharge of his military obligations, to enfeoff x knights, assigning a 'unit' to each. A tenant-in-chief, to take a concrete instance, whose fief was worth £100 a year, would have to provide ex hypothesi five knights; if, as was quite usual, he enfeoffed the full number, he would have to assign to each knight twenty librates of land (which I may at once, though anticipating, admit was the normal value of a knight's fee), that is to say, the crown would have forestalled Henry George, and the luckless baro would see the entire value of his estate swallowed up in the discharge of its obligations.38 What his position would be in cases where, as often, he enfeoffed more knights than he required, arithmetic is unable to determine. I cannot understand how this obvious difficulty has been so strangely overlooked.

The fourth and last criticism which I propose to offer on the [pg 189] subject is this. If we find that under Henry II—when we meet with definite information—a fief contained, as we might expect, more 'units of possession' than it was bound to furnish knights (thus leaving a balance over for the baro after sub-infeudation), we must draw one of two conclusions: either this excess had existed from the first; or, if the fief (as we are asked to believe) was originally assessed up to the hilt for military service, that assessment must, in the interval, have been reduced. In other words, Henry I—if, as Dr Stubbs in one place suggests,39 he was the first to take a 'regular account of the knights' fees'—must have found the land with a settled liability of providing one knight for every five hides, and must, yet, have reduced that liability of his own accord, on the most sweeping scale, thus, contrary to all his principles, ultroneously deprived himself of the 'service' he was entitled to claim.

Having completed my criticisms of the accepted view, and set forth its chief difficulties, I shall now propound the theory to which my own researches have led me, following the same method of proof as that adopted by Mr Seebohm in his English Village Community, namely working back from the known to the relatively unknown, till the light thrown upwards by the records of the twelfth century illumines the language of Domesday and renders the allusions of monks and chroniclers pregnant with meaning.

1. THE 'CARTAE' OF 1166

In the formal returns (cartae) made to the exchequer in 1166 by the tenants-in-chief (barones) of England, of which the official transcripts are preserved in the Liber Niger and the Liber Rubeus, we have our earliest glimpse of the organization of that purely feudal host among whom our lands had been parcelled out to be held, as I shall show, by military service. We have, therefore, in them our best starting-point for an inquiry into the origin and growth of military tenure in England.

It may be well perhaps, at the very outset, to contrast these cartae of 1166 with those of the Domesday Inquest eighty years before.40 For the essentially feudal character of the former is at once, by the comparison, thrown into relief. The original returns of the Domesday Inquest were made Hundred by Hundred; those of 1166 were made fief by fief. The former were made by the jurors of the Hundred-court; the latter by the lord of the fief. Thus, while the [pg 190] one took for its unit the oldest and most familiar of native organizations, the other, ignoring not only the Hundred, but even the shire itself, took for its unit the alien organization of the fief.41 The one inquest strictly continued, the other wholly repudiated, the Anglo-Saxon system.

It is consequently worse than lost labour to examine these two inquests, based as they are on opposite systems, and giving us as they do a cross-division as if they were but successive editions of the national register or rate-book.

The first point to be considered is this: What was the information which the tenants-in-chief were called upon to supply in these returns? It was not, as Dr Stubbs and others have supposed, the amount of 'service' due from each fief to the crown.42 The information asked for was the number of 'milites' actually enfeoffed by each 'baron' and his predecessors in title, with the number of 'servitia' due from each such 'miles' to the 'baron'. In this distinction, missed by Dr Stubbs, we find the key to the problem. The crown, we shall see, must previously have known the total amount of 'service' due from each fief; but what it did not know, and what it wished to know, was the number of knights' fees which, up to 1166, had been created on each fief.

Although there is great diversity in the form of return adopted—a diversity which imparts to the cartae a pleasant flavour of character—it may fairly be assumed that, as in similar cases, they were called for throughout the realm by one uniform writ. If we may deduce the purport of that writ from the collation of those returns which refer to it most explicitly, we must infer that the information asked for was to be given under four heads:

(1) How many knights had been enfeoffed before the death of Henry I?

(2) How many have been enfeoffed since?

(3) How many (if any) remain to be enfeoffed to complete the 'service' due from the fief. Or, in other words, what is the balance of your 'service' remaining chargeable to your 'demesne'?

(4) What are the names of your knights?

In support of these statements I append the whole of the relevant returns.

[pg 191]

Bishop of Exeter Archbishop of York Bishop of Durham
Praecepistis mihi quod mandarem vobis per breve meum sigillatum et apertum, non quot servitia militum vobis debeam, sed (1) quot habeam milites feffatos de tempore Regis Henrici avi vestri, et (2) quot post mortem ipsius, et (3) quot sint super dominium meum.43 Praecipit dignitas vestra omnibus fidelibus vestris clericis et laicis, qui de vobis tenent de capite in Eboracsira, ut mandent vobis per literas suas, extra sigillum pendentes (1) quot milites quisquis habeat de veteri feffamento de tempore Regis Henrici avi vestri, scilicet de die et anno quo ipse fuit vivus et mortuus, et (2) quot habeat de novo feodamento feffatos post mortem bonae memoriae avi vestri ejusdem, et (3) quot feoda militum sint super dominium uniuscujusque, et (4) omnium illorum nomina, tam de novo feffamento quam de veteri feffatorum quae sint in illo brevi scripta, quia vultis quod si aliqui ibi sunt qui vobis nondum fecerunt ligantiam, et quorum nomina non sunt scripta in rotulo vestro, quod infra dominicam primam xlae ligantiam vobis faciant (p. 412). Praecepit nobis, domine, vestra sublimitas, quod literis nostris sigillatis, extra sigillum pendentibus, vobis mandaremus (1) quot milites feffatos haberemus de veteri feffamento et (2) de novo, scilicet, anno et die quo Rex Henricus fuit vivus et mortuus et de [sic] post mortem ejus ... (3) super dominium vero nostrum, de quo similiter mandare præcepistis, etc. (pp. 416, 418).]

[pg 192]

Herbert De Castello Engelard De Strattone Robert De Brintone
Michi et comparibus meis mandastis ut vobis per breve nostrum pendens extra sigillum, mandaremus (1) quot milites antiquitus feodatos de tempore Regis Henrici avi vestri habeamus et (2) quot de novo feodamento.... Et hii omnes ligantiam et homagium vobis fecerunt (pp. 275-6). Michi et ceteris comparibus meis qui de vobis tenemus in capite per litteras vestras mandastis ut vobis per breve nostrum pendens extra sigillum mandaremus (1) quot milites habeamus de veteri feodamento de tempore Henrici Regis avi vestri, et (2) quot habeamus de novo feodamento (p. 276). Michi et aliis comparibus meis per litteras vestras innotuistis ut per fidem et ligantiam quam vobis debemus per breve nostrum pendens extra sigillum mandaremus (1) quot milites haberemus de veteri feodamento de tempore Henrici Regis avi vestri, et (2) quot milites haberemus de novo feodamento post tempus Regis Henrici avi vestri, et (3) quot milites habeamus super dominium nostrum.... Et vobis quidem et filio vestro ligantiam et homagium fecerunt (p. 277).44

Let me here break off for a moment to consider one of the most important points suggested by this great inquest, namely, the issue of the writs under which it was held. It has been generally assumed that each tenant received his writ direct from the crown; and a casual reading of the cartae might, perhaps, favour such a view. I have, however, been led to the conclusion that a general writ was issued to the sheriff of each county, and that its terms were communicated by him to the several tenants-in-chief, whose capita baroniæ lay within his jurisdiction.

Baderun of Monmouth has heard the writ read out in the county court;45 Earl Patrick also has heard the writ read out.46 William fitz Siward derives from the sheriff, he tells us, his knowledge of the writ:47 even the bishop of Chester has received his instructions from the sheriff.48 But more especially do I rely upon the return of the Archbishop of York because he recites the tenor of the writ in terms which can leave no doubt that it was addressed, through the sheriff, to the whole shire collectively.49 If the Archbishop of York did not receive a special writ, we may fairly infer that no other tenant can have done so.

[pg 193]

Further, I believe that as the 'barons' received their instructions from the sheriffs, so they also sent in their returns through those officers. The memorandum, for instance, on the missing carta of Osbert fitz Hugh informs us that it was brought to the exchequer by William de Beauchamp. Now, William de Beauchamp was sheriff of the shire. This would account for the grouping of the returns 'per singulos comitatus', as Swereford expresses it, and indeed this arrangement would but follow the existing practice of collecting the scutage shire by shire.

Returning now to the terms of the inquiry, it is obvious that the tenant (baro) to whom such queries were addressed must of necessity have belonged to one of these three classes—

(a) Those who had created the exact number of knights' fees sufficient to discharge their 'service'.

(b) Those who had created more than sufficient.

(c) Those who had created less than sufficient.

This last class requires some explanation. When the number of knights' fees created was not sufficient to discharge the baron's 'service', the balance of that service remained charged on the non-infeudated portion of his fief, that is, on the 'demesne', and was technically said to be 'super dominium'. It is all-important that this should be grasped, for it might otherwise be supposed that such a phrase as 'quot milites super dominium' implied the existence of actual knights enfeoffed on the demesne, which, to those who realize the working of the system of knight-service, is an absolute contradiction in terms. This, it will be found, beautifully explains the first article of the Assize of Arms (1181)—that every tenant is to keep in stock harness for as many knights 'quot habuerit feoda militum in dominio suo'.50 That is to say, that if, after deducting the knights actually enfeoffed, there remained due from his fief a balance of knight-service, he must keep in readiness harness sufficient for those knights whom he would have to provide himself to discharge that balance.51

Having made this point clear, I now pass to the immediate object of the inquest of 1166. What that object was, no one has as yet discovered. Dr Stubbs, for instance, in his preface to the Pipe-Roll of 1166, writes: 'On the immediate purpose for which the inquiry was made—and it can scarcely be doubted that it was for the collection of a scutage—we shall look for further information in the rolls of the succeeding years.' My own researches enable me to [pg 194] assert that this inquest formed part of a financial revolution hitherto ignored, which deserves to be compared with those other innovations in administration and finance that characterized the latter half of the twelfth century in England.

When we come to place side by side the returns of 1166 and the payments made upon those returns in 1168, we find (at least, on the lay fiefs) the same distinction in both between 'the old feoffment' and 'the new'. But while the returns, as we saw, were made under three heads,52 the payments were made under two, namely, under the two feoffments. The reason of this difference can be established beyond dispute: the exchequer clerks had, in every instance, added the returns under the third head to those under the first, and classed them together as 'old feoffment'. This is one of the points which, I think, have never been hitherto explained.

Plenty of examples might be given, but these two will suffice. Walter de Aincurt returns 24 fees de veteri, 5 de novo, and 11 super dominium. The exchequer, in 1168, records him as paying on 35 fees de veteri, and on 5 de novo.53 Richard de Haie returns 11 fees de veteri, 4 de novo, and 5 super dominium. The exchequer records him as paying on 16 de veteri, and 4 de novo.

The main point, however, on which I propose to insist, is that these returns were intended to provide, and, as a matter of fact, did provide a new feudal assessment, wholly superseding the old one, in no case to the advantage of the tenant, but in many to the advantage of the crown. The modus operandi was as follows. Instead of either adhering to the old assessment (servitium debitum), or uniformly substituting a new one based on the fees actually created, the crown selected in every case whichever of these two systems told in its own favour and against the tenant of the fief. If he had enfeoffed fewer knights than his servitium debitum required, the crown retained that servitium as the irreducible minimum of his assessment; but if he had created an excess of fees, the crown added that excess to his pre-existing assessment and increased the 'service' due from him pro tanto. This discovery is no conjecture, but is capable of arithmetical demonstration.

It should be noticed how skilfully the queries were framed in the inquest of 1166, to entrap the unwary tenant, and make him commit himself to the facts. If his enfeoffed knights were short of the required number, he was caught under the third query; if, on the other hand, he had an excess, he was caught under the others. Now, did the 'barons', when they made their returns, anticipate this sweeping and unwelcome reform? Presumably not. They appear to have drawn up their cartae carefully and willingly, few of those who [pg 195] had an excess of knights taking even the precaution of mentioning their servitium debitum.54 The church, moreover, from the terms in which her payments are thenceforth entered (vide infra), must have uniformly and systematically adopted an attitude of protest. Yet there is no trace of such protest in her returns. May we then infer that the crown sought to deliberately entrap its tenants? Two circumstances might favour that view. In the first place the tenants had to make their returns extra sigillum pendentes, thereby solemnly committing themselves;55 in the second, the tenants would, of course, have been tempted to conceal or understate their excess of knights, had they foreseen the use that the crown would make of their returns.

The question may very fairly be asked, 'What check had the crown upon a tenant in the event of the latter omitting some of his "excess" fees?' The answer is supplied, I think, by a clause in the invaluable return of the northern primate. He there requests that his return may be accepted 'without prejudice', as a lawyer would say, in case of his omitting some small fees. That is to say, these formal returns might be brought up as evidence against tenants-in-chief who had omitted some of their fees, proving that they had thereby themselves disowned their right to the fees in question.56

Two points strike one strongly in the preparation of these returns. The first of these is the difficulty experienced in compiling a correct list of under-tenants and their holdings; the second is the employment of the 'Inquest' as a means of ascertaining the particulars.

Taking the former of these, we find Hugh Wac writing, 'si amplius inquirere possim, notificabo vobis'; and Guarine 'de Aula', 'si plus possim inquirere, faciam vobis scire'; so too the Bishop of Ely, 'de hiis vero certi sumus, et si amplius inquirere poterimus libenter vobis significabimus'; and the Bishop of Bath, 'si certiorem inquirere poterimus veritatem, nos illam vobis significabimus'; and Alfred of Lincoln, 'si plus inquiri potest, inquirere faciemus'. The Bishop of [pg 196] Exeter makes his return, 'sicut eam diligentius inquirere potui'; the Abbot of Tavistock, 'quantum inde sollicitius inquirendo scire potuit'. Hugh de Lacy, in a postscript to his return, adds a fee 'quod oblitus sum'; while the Earl of Clare has to send in a subsequent rider, containing an entry, 'quod ego postquam misi cartam ... recordatus sum'.

From this difficulty it is a short step to the inquests which it seems in some cases to have necessitated. The Abbot of Ramsey heads his return, 'Haec est inquisitio'; the Earl of Warwick similarly commences, 'Hoc est quod inquisivi per homines'. Earl Patrick makes his return, 'secundum quod de probis et antiquis hominibus meis inquirere potui'. 'Fecimus inquirere,' writes the Bishop of Bath, 'per legales homines meos.... Haec autem per eos inquisivimus.'

This brings us directly to the very important inquest referred to in the carta of the Earl of Arundel:

Dominus noster Rex Henricus quadam contentione quae surrexit inter milites de honore de Arundel de exercitu quodam de Walliis, elegit iiij. milites de honore, de melioribus et legalioribus, et antiquioribus ... et fecit eos recognoscere servitia militum de honore, et super legalitatem et sacramenta eorum inde neminem audire voluit.

Mr Eyton argued elaborately on genealogical grounds that this inquest must have taken place under Henry I, but indeed it is quite obvious from the language of the carta itself that this was so. It is, consequently, worthy of notice for its bearing on 'the sworn inquest'. While on this subject, attention may be called to the unique entry in the Pipe-Roll of 12 Henry II (1166): 'Alanus de Munbi debet xl. s. quia non interfuit Jurat' feodorum militum' (p. 8). Investigation proves (through what is known as the Lindsey Survey) that Alan was an under-tenant of the honour of Brittany, the successor of that Eudo who held in Mumby temp. Domesday. This fact throws light on the entry, by suggesting that the inquest referred to concerned the honour of Brittany, the number of fees in which was then and subsequently doubtful.

But to return. It is infinitely easier to trace the change brought about by the inquest of 1166 in the case of the church fiefs than of the lay ones. For on the former it was uniform and glaring. Previously to 1166 the church tenants had paid on their servitium debitum alone; after 1166 they paid, as a rule, on all the fees actually created upon the fief. Thus the assessment of the Bishop of Durham was raised at a blow from ten fees to more than seventy.57 There were[pg 197] several equally striking cases among the prelates. Now, whether or not the church tenants feared something of the kind, they had generally been careful in their returns to set forth their servitium debitum, and when, in 1168, they were uniformly assessed on their total of fees, their uniform protest is expressed in the formula 'quos non recognoscit' applied to the payment on their excess knights. Such is the meaning of this puzzling formula which is peculiar to the church fiefs.58 In these cases it wholly replaces the de veteri and de novo assessment which, from 1166, was applied to the lay fiefs.


The essential feature we have to keep in view when examining the growth of knight service is the servitium debitum, or quota of knight service due to the crown from each fief.

This has, I venture to think, been obscured and lost sight of in the generalizations and vague writing about the 'gradual process' of development. It is difficult for me to traverse the arguments of Gneist, Stubbs and Freeman, because we consider the subject from such wholly different standpoints. For them the introduction of knight service means the process of sub-infeudation on the several fiefs; for me it means the grant of fiefs to be held from the crown by knight service. Thus the process which absorbs the attention of the school whose views I am opposing is for me a matter of mere secondary importance. The whole question turns upon the point whether or not the tenants-in-chief received their fiefs to hold of the crown by a quota of military service, or not. If they did, it would depend simply on their individual inclinations, whether, or how far, they had recourse to sub-infeudation. It was not a matter of principle at all; it was, as Dr Stubbs himself put it, 'a matter of convenience',59 a mere detail. What we have to consider is not the relation between the tenant-in-chief and his under-tenants, but that between the king and his tenants-in-chief: for this was the primary relation that determined all below it.

The assumption that the Conqueror cannot have introduced any new principle in the tenure of land lies at the root of the matter. Assuming this, one must of course seek elsewhere for the introduction of knight service. Have not the difficulties of the accepted view arisen from its exponents approaching the problem from the wrong [pg 198] point of view? The tendency to exalt the English and depreciate the Norman element in our constitutional development has led them I think, and especially Mr Freeman, to seek in Anglo-Saxon institutions an explanation of feudal phenomena. This tendency is manifest in their conclusions on the great council:60 it colours no less strongly their views on knight service. In neither case can they bring themselves to adopt the feudal standpoint or to enter into the feudal spirit. It is to this that I attribute their disposition to bring the crown face to face with the under-tenant—or 'landowner' as they would prefer to term him—and so to ignore, or at least to minimize the importance of the tenant-in-chief, the 'middleman' of the feudal system. Making every allowance for the policy of the Conqueror in insisting on the direct allegiance of the under-tenant to the crown, and thereby checking the disintegrating influence of a perfect feudal system, the fact remains what we may term the 'military service' bargain was a bargain between the crown and the tenant-in-chief, not between the crown and his under-tenants. It follows from this that so long as the 'baron' (or 'tenant-in-chief') discharged his servitium debitum to the crown, the king had no right to look beyond the 'baron', who was himself and alone responsible for the discharge of this service. It is, indeed, in this responsibility that lies the key to the situation. If the under-tenant of a knight's fee failed to discharge his service, it was not to him, but to his lord, that the crown betook itself. 'I know nothing of your tenant,' was in effect the king's position; 'you owe me, for the tenure of your fief, the service of so many knights, and that service must be performed, whether your under-tenants repudiate their obligations to yourself or not'. In other words the 'baron' discharged his service to the king, whereas the baron's under-tenants discharged theirs to their lord.61 So the Dialogus speaks of the under-tenant's 'numerum militum quos domino debuerat'.

Let us then apply ourselves directly to the quotas of military service due from the 'barons' to the crown, and see if, when ascertained, they throw any fresh light on the real problem.

No attempt, so far as I know, has ever been made to determine these quotas, and indeed it was the utter want of trustworthy information on the subject that led Swereford to undertake his researches in the thirteenth century. Those researches, unfortunately, leave us no wiser, partly from his defective method and want of the requisite [pg 199] accuracy; partly from the fact that what he sought was not abstract historical truth, but practical information bearing on the existing rights of the crown. We must turn therefore to the original authorities: (1) the cartae baronum, (2) the annual rolls. These were the two main sources of Swereford's information, as they must also be of ours. In the next part of this paper I shall deal with the evidence of the rolls, as checking and supplementing the cartae baronum.

I shall analyse the church fiefs first, because we can ascertain, virtually with exactitude, the servitium debitum of every prelate and of every head of a religious house who held by knight service. The importance of these figures, together with the fact that they have never, so far as I know, been set forth till now, has induced me to append them here in full detail.

See Service Due See Service Due
  knights   knights
Canterbury 60 Bath 20
Winchester 60 London 20
Lincoln 60 Exeter 17½62 
Worcester 50 [60] 'Chester' 15
Norwich 40 Hereford 15
Ely 40 Durham 10
Salisbury 32 Chichester 4 [2] 
York 20 [7]     

Every English See then in existence is thus accounted for with the solitary and significant exceptions of Carlisle and Rochester. The latter See, we know, had enfeoffed knights for their names (temp. Henry I, I think, from internal evidence) are recorded in the Textus Roffensis (p. 223);63 the former had been created after the date when, as I shall argue, the Conqueror fixed the knight service due from the fees.

[pg 200]

In the above list the figures in brackets refer to the assessments previous to 1166. Three changes were made at, or about, that date. The Bishop of Worcester, in accordance with the protest he had made from the beginning of the reign, obtained a reduction of his quota from sixty knights to fifty; while the Archbishop of York's servitium was raised from seven knights to twenty, and that of the Bishop of Chichester from two knights to four. These changes are known to us only from the details of the prelate's scutages; there is nothing to account for them in the relevant cartae, and we can only infer from the formula quos recognoscit that the two bishops whose servitia were increased acquiesced in the justice of the crown's claim.

Proceeding to the 'service' of the religious houses:

House Service Due House Service Due
  knights   knights
Peterborough 60 Wilton 5
Glastonbury 40 [60] Ramsey 4
St Edmundsbury 40 Chertsey 3
Abingdon 30 St Bene't of Hulme 3
Hyde 20 Cerne64 2 [3] 
St Augustine's 15 Pershore 2 [3] 
Westminster 15(?)   Malmesbury 3
Tavistock 15(?)   Winchcombe 2
Coventry 10 Middleton 2
Shaftesbury 7 [10] Sherburne 2
St Alban's 6 Michelney 1
Evesham 5 Abbotsbury 1

The changes of assessment on religious houses were few, and are thus accounted for. Glastonbury, which paid on sixty knights in the first two scutages of the reign, paid on forty in the third and in those which followed. Pershore paid on three in the first scutage, protesting that it was only liable to two, and from 1168 it was only rated at two. Shaftesbury, which had paid on ten knights in the first scutage, was assessed at only seven in the third scutage and those which followed. [pg 201] Cerne also succeeded in getting its assessment reduced from three knights to two. With these changes should be compared the letter of Bishop Nigel of Ely to Ramsey Abbey certifying that it was only liable to an assessment of four knights. Two cases remain which require special treatment—Tavistock and Westminster.

Although Tavistock, in the first scutage, appears to have paid on the anomalous assessment of ten and a half knights its payment on fifteen in the two succeeding ones may fairly be taken as evidence that this was its servitium debitum.65 Its abbot, however, made no reference to that servitium in his return, and—by an exception to the regular practice in the case of church fiefs—we find him charged, not on the fees, (1) 'quos recognoscit', (2) 'quos non recognoscit', but on those which were enfeoffed 'de veteri', and 'de novo' just as if he were a lay tenant. As his fees 'de veteri' were sixteen, this figure recurs in successive scutages, until in 3 John we find him contesting as to one knight ('unde est contentio') who, doubtless, represented the difference between fifteen and sixteen.

The case of Westminster presents considerable difficulty, the entries relating to its payments of scutage being very puzzling. The abbey's fees lay chiefly in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire—especially Worcestershire—and it is under this county that we find it ultimately (i.e. from 1168 onwards) assessed at fifteen fees, an assessment which the abbot himself seems to have claimed, in the first scutage, as the right one.

Taking then the servitium debitum of all the church fiefs, at their earliest ascertainable assessment, we obtain this result:

Bishops 458½
Heads of religious houses 318
Capellaria de Bosham
Grand total 78466

Far more difficult is the calculation of the servitium debitum from the lay fiefs. The list which follows is constructed from the evidence of the cartae and the rolls, and, though substantially correct, is liable to emendation in details. It only comprises those fiefs the servitium of which I have been able to ascertain with certainty or probability.

[pg 202]

Robert 'filius Regis' 10067
Earl Ferrers 80 (? 60)68
Honour of Totness 75
Honour of Tickhill 60 (?)69
Robert de Stafford 60
Count of Eu 60 (?)70
Earl Warrenne 60 (?)71
Lacy of Pontefract 60
Roger de Mowbray 6072
Earl of Essex 60
Walter fitz Robert (of Essex) 50
Honour of Richmond 5073
Gervase Paynell 50
Reginald de St Valery 50 (?)74
Patrick, Earl of Salisbury 40
Walter de Aincurt 40
William de Montfichet 40
Payn de Montdoubleau 4075
William de Roumare 40 (?)76
Hubert de Rye 35
Hubert fitz Ralf (Derbyshire) 30
[pg 203]Walter de Wahulle 30
William fitz Robert (Devon) 30
William de Traci 3077
Robert de Valoines 3077
Maurice de Craon 3077
William de Albini (of Belvoir) 3077
Bernard Balliol 3078
Roger de Arundel 3079
Walter de Mayenne 30 (?)80
Robert de Albini (Bucks) 25
Robert fitz Hugh 25
Alfred of Lincoln 25
Ralf Hanselin 25
William de Braose 2581
Oliver de Traci 2581
Gerard de Limesi 25 (?)82
Walter Waleran 20
Richard de Hay 20
Honour of Holderness 20
William de Windsor 20
Hugh de Bayeux 20
William de Vesci 20 (?)83
Daniel de Crevecœur 20 (?)84
Thomas de Arcy 20 (?)85
Hugh de Dover 15
Walter Bret 15
Baderon de Monmouth 15
Earl Richard de Redvers 1586
Adam de Brus 15
[pg 204]Hamo fitz Meinfelin 15
Osbert fitz Hugh 15 (?)87
? Hugh de Scalers 1588
? Stephen de Scalers 15
Gilbert de Pinkeni 15
Geoffrey Ridel 15
Robert Foliot 15
Robert de Choques 15
Robert de Caux 15
William Paynell 15 (?)
Richard de Reimes 10
Roger de Buron 10
Richard fitz William 10
William fitz Alan 10
Richard de Cormeilles 10
Roger de Kentswell 10
William Trussebut 10
Nigel de Lovetot 10
Manasser Arsic 10
Richard de Montacute 10
Wandrille de Courcelles 10
Walter de Bolebec (Bucks) 10
Robert de Hastings 10
Lambert de Scotenni 10
Drogo de Montacute 10 (?)89
William de Reimes 10 (?)90
William de Helion 10 (?)91

Graeland de Thani of Essex owed seven and a half knights (the half of fifteen), and Roger de Berkeley probably the same. Those who owed a servitium of five knights were Robert fitz Harding, Baldwin Buelot, Simon de Cancy, Nigel de Lovetot (of the honour of Tickhill), Amfry de Cancy, Hugh de Dover (of the honour of Brunne),92 Walter de Bolebec (Northumberland), Robert de Brus, Roger Bertram, and probably Stephen de Bulmer,93 and Herbert 'de Castello'.

The cases in which the servitium can be shown not to have been a multiple of five are comparatively few. That of Simon de Beauchamp [pg 205] of Bedford was 54, of William Fossard 33½, of Humphrey de Bohun 30½, of William Malet 20⅙, of Robert de Beauchamp (of Somerset) 17, of William fitz John (of Harptree) 13¾, of William Blund 12, of Hugh Wac 10⅛, of William de Ros, William fitz John (of Weston) and William de Beauchamp (of Worcestershire) 7, of John de Bidun and Jocelin de Lovaine 5½.94 But these, it will be seen, are quite insufficient to overthrow the accumulated array of evidence on the other side, and some of them are, doubtless, capable of explanation. The Bohun fief, for instance, in 1162 paid on exactly 30 fees.

It is impossible to resist the inference, from such evidence as we have, that the amount of the servitium debitum was a matter of custom and tradition, and could not usually be determined by reference to written grants or charters. On this point the returns of three Essex tenants are most instructive, while their similarity is so striking, that, as in the case of the Shropshire formulæ, it can scarcely be due to accident. The Earl of Essex closes with the words: 'et homines mei dicunt mihi quod debeo Domino Regi lx. milites'. Walter fitz Robert, who follows him, writes: 'et hoc mihi homines mei intelligere faciunt, quod debeo inde Regi servitium de l. militibus'. William de Montfichet ends thus: 'et hoc faciunt homines mei mihi intelligere—quod pater meus deserviebat per xl. milites'. With these expressions we may compare those of William fitz Alan's tenants, who assert that his Norfolk fief 'non debet domino Regi nisi i. militem ... ut antiqui testantur'; that his Shropshire fief 'non debet Regi nisi x. milites in exercitu ... sicut antiqui testantur'; and that, as to his Wiltshire fief, 'non sumus certi quod servitium debeat Regi de hoc tenemento'. The Abbot of Chertsey, also, states his servitium debitum with the proviso 'secundum quod scire possumus'. These expressions explain the uncertainty as to the servitium debitum in such cases as the See of Worcester and Ramsey Abbey.95

[pg 206]

The same principle applies to the relation between the tenant-in-chief and his under-tenant. Thus the very first entry in the cartae runs as follows:

Willelmus de Wokindone iiij. milites et dimidium; et praeter hoc, ex testimonio curiae meae, dimidium exigo, quem ipse se non debere defendit.

Of another tenant on the same fief we read: 'praeter hoc, ex testimonio curiae meae, adhuc j. militem exigo'. Here, we see, appeal is made not to record evidence, but to oral testimony. So, too, the Bishop of Exeter adds this clause to his return:

Et praeter hos omnes, sicut a multis audivi, comes Gloucestriæ, et comes Hugo, et comes de Clare debent tenere de Exoniensi Episcopo; sed nullum ei servitium faciunt vel recognoscunt.

Surely in all such cases as these the obvious inference is that the tenant had been enfeoffed sine carta, or in the very words of the Provisions of the Barons (1259) 'feofatus sine carta a tempore conquestus vel alio antiquo feofamento' (§ 1).

And now for my theory. No one can have even glanced at the lists I have compiled without being instantly struck by the fact that the 'service' is reckoned in round numbers, and is almost invariably a multiple of 5, if not of 10.96 This discovery, of course, is absolutely destructive of the view that it always represented the number of five-hide (or £20) units contained in the fief. Further, the number of differing fiefs assessed at precisely the same figure proves that the assessment was wholly arbitrary and cannot have been even the round sum which approximated most nearly the number of such units.97 What then was the true determinant in the light of these conclusions? I reply—the unit of the feudal host.

'On the continent,' writes Gneist, 'fifty milites, or at least twenty-five, were reckoned to one banneret; in England, in proportion to the smaller scale of enfeoffments, a smaller number appears to have formed the unit of the constabularia.'98 He is right: the English constabularia, where I find it referred to, consists of ten knights.99 It is interesting to trace this unit and its multiples recurring in [pg 207] the narratives of Irish warfare, under Henry II, and in other struggles.100 We meet with it also in the grant by the Empress to Geoffrey de Mandeville, in 1141, of 'feodum et servicium xx. militum' and in Stephen's grant to him of 'lx milites feudatos'.101

The next step is to show that the Normans were familiar with servitium debitum in terms of the ten-knight unit when they landed in England. For this we have only to refer to Wace. For in the 'Roman de Rou', as quoted by Mr Freeman himself, we find William fitz Osbern assuring the duke as to his barons:

Vostre servise dobleront:

Ki solt mener vint chevaliers

Quarante en merra volontiers,

E ki de trente servir deit

De sesante servir vos velt,

E cil ki solt servir de cent

Dous cent en merra bonement.102

The servitium debitum, therefore, was a standing institution in Normandy, and 'to the mass of his (William's) followers', as Mr Freeman frankly admits,103 a 'feudal tenure, a military tenure, must have seemed the natural and universal way of holding land'. When we find them and their descendants holding their fiefs in England, as they had been held in Normandy, by the service of a round number of knights, what is the simple and obvious inference but that, just as Henry II granted out the provinces of Ireland to be held as fiefs by the familiar service of a round number of knights,104 so Duke William granted out the fiefs he formed in England?

If to escape from this conclusion the suggestion be made that these servitia debita were compositions effected by English antecessores, it need only be answered that the fiefs acquired were wholly new creations, constructed from the scattered fragments of Anglo-Saxon estates. And though in the case of the church fiefs this objection might not apply, yet we have evidence, as I shall show, to prove that their servitia also were determined by the conqueror's will, as indeed might be inferred from their close correspondence with those of the lay barons.

But if the lands of the conquered realm were so granted to be held by a servitium debitum of knights, the key of the position is won, and [pg 208] the defenders of the existing view must retire along the whole line; for, as Mr Freeman himself observed, 'Let it be once established that land is held as a fief from the crown on condition of yielding certain services to the crown, and the whole of the feudal incidents follow naturally.'105

I am anxious to make absolutely clear the point that between the accepted view and the view which I advance, no compromise is possible. The two are radically opposed. As against the theory that the military obligation of the Anglo-Norman tenant-in-chief was determined by the assessment of his holding, whether in hidage or in value, I maintain that the extent of that obligation was not determined by his holding, but was fixed in relation to, and expressed in terms of, the constabularia of ten knights, the unit of the feudal host. And I, consequently, hold that his military service was in no way derived or developed from that of the Anglo-Saxons, but was arbitrarily fixed by the king, from whom he received his fief, irrespectively both of its size and of all pre-existent arrangements. Such propositions, of course, utterly and directly traverse the view which these passages best summarize:

The belief that William I divided the English landed property into military fees is erroneous.... According to the extent and the nature of the productive property it could be computed how many shields were to be furnished by each estate, according to the gradually fixed proportion of a £20 ground-rent.106

There is no ground for thinking that William directly or systematically introduced any new kind of tenure into the holding of English lands. There is nothing to suggest any such belief, either in the chronicles of his reign, in the Survey, which is his greatest monument, in the genuine or even in the spurious remains of his legislation.... As I have had to point out over and over again, the grantee of William, whether the old owner or a new one, held his land as it had been held in the days of King Edward.107

There can be no doubt that the military tenure ... was itself introduced by the same gradual process which we have assumed in the case of the feudal usages in general. We have no light on the point from any original grant made by the Conqueror to a lay follower; but ... we cannot suppose it probable that such gifts were made on any expressed condition, or accepted with a distinct pledge to provide a certain contingent of knights for the king's service.108

If my own conclusions be accepted, they will not only prove destructive of this view, but will restore, in its simplicity, a theory which removes all difficulties, and which paves the way to a reconsideration of other kindred problems, and to the study of that aspect of Anglo-Norman institutions in which they represent the feudal spirit developed on feudal lines.

[pg 209]


Precious for our purpose as are the cartae of 1166, their evidence, as it stands, is incomplete. It needs to be supplemented by the early Pipe-Rolls of Henry II's reign. By collating these two authorities we obtain information which, singly, neither the one nor the other could afford. All those entries on the rolls which relate to scutagia, auxilia or dona require to be extracted and classified before we can form our conclusions. Hitherto, historians have remained content with repeating Swereford's obiter dicta, as extracted from the Liber Rubeus by Madox, without checking these statements by the evidence of the rolls themselves.

The question of Swereford's authority is one which it is absolutely necessary to deal with, because his statements have been freely accepted by successive historical writers, and have formed, indeed, the basis on which their conclusions rest. Now the presumption is naturally in favour of Swereford's knowledge of his subject. His introduction to the Liber Rubeus is dated 1230, and he tells us that he had been at work among the records in the days of King John, under William of Ely109 himself: he wrote with the actual rolls before him; he had been intimate with the leading officials of the exchequer, and enjoyed full knowledge of its practice and its traditions. I cannot wonder that, this being so, his positive assertions should have been readily believed, or that Mr Hall, when, for a short time, I was associated with him in preparing the Red Book for the press, should, with a kindly bias in favour of so venerable an authority, have shrunk from my drastic criticism of his famous introduction to that volume.

On the other hand we have Swereford's own admission that he worked from the rolls alone.110 These rolls are, for all purposes, as accessible to us as they were to him, while we possess the advantage of having, in contemporary chronicles, sources of information which he did not use, and with which, indeed, he shows no sign of being even conversant. We must go, therefore, behind Swereford and examine for ourselves the materials from which he worked.

Passing, for the present, over minor points, I would fix on the 'Great Scutage', or 'Scutage of Toulouse', as the test by which Swereford's knowledge and accuracy must stand or fall. If he is in error on this matter, his error is so grievous and so far-reaching that it must throw the gravest doubt on all his similar assertions. The date of the expedition against Toulouse was June 1159 (the host having been summoned at Mid-Lent): from the chroniclers we [pg 210] learn that, to provide the means for it, and especially to pay an army of mercenaries, a great levy was made in England and beyond sea. The roll of the following Michaelmas records precisely such a levy, and the payments so recorded must have been made for the expenses of this campaign. But we can go further still; we can actually prove from internal evidence that sums accounted for on the roll of 1159 were levied expressly for the Toulouse campaign.111 Yet we are confidently informed by Swereford that this levy was for a Welsh war, and that the scutage of Toulouse is represented by the levies which figure on the rolls of 1161 and 1162. He appears to have evolved out of his inner consciousness the rule that a scutage, though fixed and even paid in any given year, was never accounted for on the rolls till the year after.112 But as even this rule will not apply to his calculation here, one can only suggest that he was absolutely ignorant of the date of the Toulouse campaign.113 The value of Swereford's calculations is so seriously affected by this cardinal error, that one may reject with less hesitation his statement that the scutage of 1156 was taken for a Welsh war, and not, as there is evidence to imply, for a campaign against the king's brother. Swereford, again, may be pardoned for his ignorance of the fact that scutage existed under Henry I,114 but when he unhesitatingly assigns the Domesday Survey to the fourteenth year of the Conqueror (1079-80), he shows us that the precision of his statements is no proof of their accuracy. On both these points he has misled subsequent writers.115

The incredible ignorance and credulity even of officials at the time are illustrated by the fact that the Conqueror was generally believed to have created 32,000 knights' fees in England, and that Swereford plumed himself on his independence in doubting so general a belief.116 His less sceptical contemporary, Segrave, continued to believe it, and even Madox hesitates to reject it.

The persistent assertion that the Cartae Baronum were connected with, and preliminary to, the auxilium ad filiam maritandam of 1168 is undoubtedly to be traced to Swereford's ipse dixit to that effect. He distinctly asserts that the aid was fixed (assisum) in the thirteenth year (1167), that the returns (cartae) were made in the same year (1167), and that the aid was paid and accounted for in the fourteenth [pg 211] year (1168).117 Modern research, however, has shown that the returns were made quite early in 1166, while the youthful Matilda, we know, was not married till October 1168. This throws an instructive light on Swereford's modus operandi. Finding from the rolls that the payments made in 1168 were based on the returns in the cartae, and not being acquainted with the date of the latter, he jumped to the conclusion that they must have been made in 1167, it being his (quite unsupported) thesis that all levies were fixed in the year preceding that in which they were accounted for on the rolls.

Proceeding further, we find him explaining (p. 9) that he omits the aid of 1165, 'quoniam probata summa auxilii propter hoc non probatur numerus militum'. And yet this aid, the last to be taken before the returns of 1166, is of special value and importance for the very purpose he speaks of. It is, indeed, an essential element in the evidence on which I build; and this compels me to discuss the point in some detail.

Those who contributed towards this aid either (1) gave arbitrary sums for the payment of servientes—whose number was almost invariably some multiple of five—or (2) paid a marc on every fee of their servitium debitum. We are only here concerned with those who adopted the latter course. Now let us take the case of those who adopted this alternative in the counties of Notts and Derby, and compare their payments with their servitium debitum as known to us from other sources.

Payments (1165)   Service (1166)
  marcae knights
Hubert fitz Ralf 30 30
Ralf Halselin 25 25
Robert de 'Calz' 15 15
Roger de Burun 10 10

In this case there is no doubt as to the servitium debitum, for it is ascertained from the cartae themselves. Having then proved, by this test, the exact correspondence of the payments, I turn to the case of Devonshire.

Payments (1165)   Service (1166)
  marcae knights118
Robert 'filius Regis' 100 (?)
William de Traci 30 (?)
William de Braose 25 (?)
Oliver de Traci 25 (?)
Abbot of Tavistock 15 15
William fitz Reginald 1 1
Ralf de Valtort 1 1
Robert fitz Geoffrey 1 1

[pg 212]

Here we are supplied by this roll with four important servitia which would otherwise be absolutely unknown to us. And they happen to be of special interest. For while the carta of William de Braose returns twenty-eight fees, and that of Oliver de Traci twenty-three and a half (though he pays on thirty and a half),119 their payments in 1165, by revealing their servitium debitum, show us that their fiefs represent the two halves of the Honour of Barnstaple (which, therefore, was assessed at 50 knights) then in their respective hands. Again, William de Traci returns his fees in his carta as twenty-five and three-quarters, and says nothing about any balance on his dominium, as he should have done. Hence we should not have known his servitium but for the roll of 1165.

Swereford's extraordinary failure to understand this roll aright is possibly due to the fact that most of the relevant payments are entered without mention of their object. He seems to have been very dependent upon the rolls explaining themselves, and to have worked in the spirit of a copying clerk rather than of an intelligent student.

One more example of his errors will suffice. In his abstracts from the aid 'ad maritandam primogenitam filiam regis' (1168), we read:

Abbas Gloucestriæ de promissione, sed non numeratur quid; sed in rotulo praecedenti dicitur:—Abbas Gloucestriæ debet xxxviij. l. ij. s. vj. d. de veteri scutagio Walliae.

Now (1) the amount of the abbot's contribution is duly entered on the roll ('xl. marcas de promissione de eodem auxilio'), and it is not paid in respect of fees, but is a voluntary proffer; (2) the phrase in the preceding roll is not 'de veteri scutagio', but 'de veteri exercitu'; (3) the payment there recorded represents a contribution of fifty servientes, and had nothing to do with scutage, for the abbot (as Swereford should have known) did not hold by military service, and ought not, therefore, to figure in his lists at all.120

Let us turn, therefore, to the rolls themselves. Now, although the language of the exchequer was not so precise as we could wish, it is possible, more or less, to distinguish and classify these levies. Thus, we have of course a typical 'aid' in the levy for the marriage of the king's daughter (1168), while, on the other hand, we have an equally typical 'scutage' in 1156, in the payments made by the church tenants in lieu of military service.

On the institution of 'scutage' there has been much misconception. It is placed by our historians among the great innovations wrought by Henry II, who is supposed by them to have introduced it [pg 213] in 1156.121 Here we see, once again, the danger of seeking our information on such points secondhand, instead of going straight to the fountainhead for ourselves.

John of Salisbury implies that scutage was no novelty in 1156 when he writes, not that the king imposed it, but that he 'could not remit it'. This inference is at once confirmed by the appearance of scutage eo nomine in the reign of Henry I.

The following charter is found in the (MS.) Liber Eliensis (Lib. III), No. xxi, and in the Cottonian MS. Nero A. 15:

H. rex Anglorum Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Abbatibus, Comitibus, etc. Salutem. Sciatis me condonasse Ecclesiæ S. Ætheldredæ de Ely pro Dei amore et anima Patris et Matris meae et pro redemptione peccatorum meorum, et petitione Hervei ejusdem Ecclesie Episcopi 40 libras de illis 100 libris quas predicta Ecclesia solebat dare de Scutagio quando Scutagium currebat122 per terram meam Anglie: ita quod Ecclesia amodo inperpetuum non dabit inde nisi 60 libras quando Scutagium per terram evenerit, et ita inperpetuum sit de predictis libris Ecclesia predicta quieta. T. Rogero Episcopo Saresberiensi, Gaufrido Cancellario meo et Roberto de Sigillo et Willelmo de Tancarvilla et Willelmo de Albineio Pincerna et Radulfo Basset et Gaufrido de Clintona et Willelmo de Pondelarche. Apud Eilinges in transitu meo.

This is followed by (No. xxii) a grant of Chatteris Abbey to the church of Ely;123 and this again is followed, in a register of Chatteris Abbey,124 by a remission of 6s 7d Wardpenny hitherto paid by that abbey. The first and third charters receive singular confirmation, being thus accounted for in the Pipe-Roll of Henry I:

Et idem Episcopus debet ccxl. li. ut rex clamet eum quietum de superplus militum Episcopatus, et ut Abbatia de Cateriz sit quieta de Warpenna (p. 44).

This entry, moreover, connects the scutagium with the system of knight-service (superplus militum).

It is delicious to learn, on comparing the records, that the virtuous king who made these grants for the weal of his parents' [pg 214] souls and the remission of his own sins, extorted from the church, for making them, an equivalent in hard cash.125

Again, the (MS.) Cartulary of St Evroul contains a confirmation by Randulf, Earl of Chester (1121-29) of his predecessor (d. 1120) Earl Richard's benefaction, 'liberam et quietam ab escuagio', etc., etc. The list of the Abbot of Peterborough's knights (see p. 131) is a further illustration of knight-service temp. Henry I, while the entry as to Vivian, who was enfeoffed by Abbot Turold: 'servit pro milite cum auxilio' (Chron. Petrob., p. 175), must refer to the somewhat obscure 'auxilium militum' of the period. So also, it would seem, must the curious charter of Eustace, Count of Boulogne,126 in which he speaks of his knights serving: 'sive in nummis, sive in exercitu, sive in guarda', under Henry I. Most important of all, however, is a passage on which I have lighted since this essay first appeared. In reading through the letters of Herbert (Losinga), Bishop of Norwich (d. 1119), I found this appeal to the Bishop of Salisbury, in the king's absence from England:

In terris meis exiguntur quinquaginta libræ pro placitis, cum earundem terrarum mei homines nec in responsionem nec in facto peccaverint.127 Item pro militibus sexaginta libræ quos [? quas] tanto difficilius cogor reddere, quanto annis præteritis mea substantia gravius attenuata est (Ed. Giles, p. 51).

The sum is that to which the Ely contribution is reduced by the above charter, and the death of the writer in 1119 proves the early date of the payment.

Indeed, a little consideration will show that payment in lieu of military service, which was the essential principle of scutage, could be no new thing. The two forms which this payment might assume—payment to a substitute, or payment to the crown—both appear in Domesday as applicable to the fyrd; the former is found in the 'Customs' of Berkshire, the latter in other passages. From the very commencement of knight service, the principle must have prevailed; for the 'baron' who had not enfeoffed knights enough to discharge his [pg 215] servitium debitum, must always have hired substitutes to the amount of the balance. Nor is this a matter of supposition: we know as a fact, from the Abingdon Chronicle and the Ely History, that under William I knights were so hired.128 Here it should be noted, as a suggestive fact, that the 'forty days' of military service, though bearing no direct proportion either to the week or to the month, do so to the marc and to the pound. The former represents 4d, and the latter 6d, for each day of the military service.129 It may fairly be assumed that this normal 'scutage' would be based on the estimated cost of substitutes paid direct. Thus the only change involved would be that the tenant would make his payments not to substitutes, but to the crown instead.

There is a valuable entry bearing on this point in the roll of 8 Henry II (p. 53). We there read:

Et in liberatione vii. militum soldariorum de toto anno quater xx. et iiii. li. et xviii. s. et viii. d. Et in liberatione xx. servientium de toto anno xxx. li. et vi. s. et viii. d. Et in liberatione viii. Arbalist' viii. li. et xvi. sol. Et in liberatione v. vigilum et i. Portarii vi. li. et xvi. d.

This represents 8d a day to each of the seven knights for a year of 364 days, which, be it observed, corresponds precisely with the statements in the Dialogus: 'Duo milites bajuli clavium quisque in die viii. [den.] ratione militiae; asserunt enim quod equis necessariis et armis instructi fore teneantur', etc. (i. 3). And so, we see, a scutage of two marcs, such as that which was raised for the expedition of Toulouse (1159), would represent, with singular accuracy, 8d a day for the forty days of feudal service, or exactly a knight's pay. Again the pay of the serviens, recorded in this passage, works out at a penny a day for a year of 364 days, which has an important bearing, we shall find, on the roll of three years later (11 Henry II). A similar calculation shows that the porter received 2d a day, and the vigil 1d—the very pay assigned him in the Dialogus (i. 3). There is another similar passage in the roll of 14 Henry II (p. 124):

[pg 216]

Et in liberatione i. militis et ii. Portariorum, et ii. vigilum de Blancmost' xviii. li. et v. sol. Et in liberatione xl. servientum de Blancmust' de xxix. septimanis xxxiii. li. et xvi. s. et viii. d. Et xx. servientibus qui remanserunt xxiii. septimanas xiii. li. et viii. s. et iiii. d.

Here again the knight's pay works out at 8d a day, while the porters, the watchmen, and the servientes received 1d. Specially valuable, however, are the entries (to which no one, I think, has drawn attention) relating to the small standing guards kept up in the summer months at 'Walton' and Dover.130 Eventually the payments to these guards were made from the central treasury ('exitus de thesauro'), and are therefore appended, on the rolls, to the list of combustiones where no one would think of looking for them.

On the roll of 10 Henry II we find: 'Liberatio iiii. militum et ii. servientum de Waletone a festo Ap. Phil' et Jac' usque ad festum S. Luce xxiiii. li. et xx. d.' This works out at exactly 8d a day for the miles, and 1d for the serviens. On the roll of the next year the five knights at Dover are paid £25 for 150 days' service, or exactly 8d a day each. So too on the roll of the thirteenth year we read: 'Liberatio iiii. militum de Waletone xxiii. li. et ix. s. et iiii. d. de clxxvi. diebus.... Et ii. servientibus de clxxvi. diebus xxix. sol. et iiii. d.' Here again the miles gets 8d, the serviens 1d a day. It is needless to multiply instances, but it may be added that similar calculations show the sailors of Richard's crusading fleet to have received 2d and their boatswains 4d a day.

It is, perhaps, possible to trace a complete change of policy in this matter by the crown. The Conqueror, we may gather from divers hints, was anxious to push forward the process of sub-infeudation, that as many knights as possible might be actually available for service. As the chief danger lay, at first, in the prospect of English revolt it was clearly his policy to strengthen to the utmost that 'Norman garrison', as we may term it, which the feudal system enabled him to quarter on the conquered land.131 But as the two races slowly coalesced, the nature of the danger changed: it was no longer a question of Norman versus Englishman, but of danger to the crown from war abroad and feudal revolt at home. Thenceforth its policy would be no longer to encourage personal service, but rather payment in lieu thereof, which would provide the means of hiring mercenaries, a more trustworthy and useful force. Clearly the accession of the Angevin house would, and did, give to this new policy a great impetus.

[pg 217]

The first levy to which the rolls bear witness is that of 1156. As this was only raised from the church fiefs, Henry II was, as yet, confining himself strictly to the precedent set him, as we know, in his grandfather's reign. This levy was at the rate of one pound on the fee, and was made on the old assessment (servitium debitum).

I have already shown that the levy in question was not, as alleged, an innovation. Dr Stubbs writes: 'The peculiar measure of the second year was the collection of scutage from the knights' fees holding of ecclesiastical superiors,132 a measure which met with much opposition from Archbishop Theobald at the time';133 and speaking of William of Newburgh, he suggests that 'possibly in William's estimation the consent of St Thomas took from the scutage on church fees its sacrilegious character'.134 But if the institution was fully recognized under Henry I, how was it 'sacrilegious'? Theobald's 'opposition' in 1156 can only be inferred from the king's reply explaining the necessity for the levy,135 and was clearly directed, not against the principle, but by way of appeal against the necessity in that instance. Miss Norgate holds that 'no resentment seems to have been provoked by the measure', although she sees in it 'the origin of the great institution of scutage'.136 Then there is the question of the object for which the levy was made. Swereford says 'pro exercitu Walliæ',137 and this misled, through Madox, Dr Stubbs (who wrote 'the scutage of 1156 was also for the war in Wales',138) and Gneist.139 The former writer, however, has elsewhere140 pointed out that 'its object was to enable Henry to make war on his brother'; and Miss Norgate gives the same explanation.141 Swereford's error, I believe, can undoubtedly be traced to an entry on the Pipe-Roll of the third year (1157) recording the payment by the Abbot of Abbotsbury of two marcs 'de exercitu Walie'.142 But this [pg 218] must refer to the Welsh campaign of that year, not to the foreign trouble of the year before.143

The next levy was 'the scutage of Toulouse' in 1159. This, 'the great scutage' of Miss Norgate,144 is, strange as it may seem, on the Pipe-Roll itself almost uniformly styled not a scutage, but a donum. The explanation given by Swereford is wholly inadequate, and is this: 'Intitulaturque illud scutagium De Dono ea quidem, ut credo, ratione quod non solum prelati qui tenentur ad servitia militaria sed etiam alii abbates, de Bello et de Salopesbiria et alii tunc temporis dederunt auxilium'.145

Miss Norgate, adopting this explanation, writes:

The reason doubtless is that they were assessed, as the historians tell us, and as the roll itself shows, not only upon those estates from which services of the shield were explicitly due, but also upon all lands held in chief of the crown, and all church lands without distinction of tenure; the basis of assessment in all cases being the knight's fee, in its secondary sense of a parcel of land worth twenty pounds a year. Whatever the laity might think of this arrangement, the indignation of the clergy was bitter and deep. The wrong inflicted on them by the scutage of 1156 was as nothing compared with this, which set at nought all ancient precedents of ecclesiastical immunity, and actually wrung from the church lands even more than from the lay fiefs.146

I am obliged to quote the passage in extenso, because, in this case, the accomplished writer betrays a singular confusion of ideas, and misrepresents not only the levy, but also the point at issue. The whole passage is conceived in error, error the more strange because Miss Norgate enjoyed over her predecessors the advantage of writing with the printed roll before her. The lay estates were not, as implied ('all lands held in chief of the crown'), in any way exceptionally assessed: in no case was the basis of assessment the unit alleged by the writer; and as to the 'church lands', a reference to the roll will show that all over England there were only eight cases in which those not owing 'services of the shield' contributed (and that in no way as an assessment on imaginary knights' fees) to this levy, while in six out of the eight their contributions were so insignificant that their collective amount barely exceeded £50.147

[pg 219]

The true explanation is probably to be found in the fact that only a portion of the tax was raised by way of scutage. As this great levy has been wrongly supposed to have consisted of a scutage alone,148 and as it played an important part in the development of direct taxation, I propose to set forth, for the first time, the various methods by which the money was raised. These were eight in number:

I. (Fixed) A donum of two marcs on the fee from the under-tenants of the church, raised by fiefs on the old assessment (servitium debitum).
II. (Fixed ?) A donum of (it is said) two marcs on the fee from the under-tenants of the lay barons, raised partly by counties and partly by fiefs.
III. (Arbitrary) A donum from the church tenants-in-chief themselves, irrespective of their fees.
IV. (Arbitrary) A donum from some of the non-feudal religious houses (tenants in elemosina, and not by military service).
V. (Arbitrary) A donum from the towns.
VI. (Arbitrary) A donum from the sheriffs.
VII. (Arbitrary) A donum from the Jewries.
VIII. (Arbitrary) A donum from the moneyers.

Of these, the first was strictly regular, being merely a repetition of the scutage of 1156, at the rate of two marcs instead of twenty shillings. The second presents some difficulty. Subject to correction, there are some fifteen cases in which the payment is made separately by fiefs, and in which the rate is clearly two marcs, while there are twenty-two in which the milites of the county pay as a group through the sheriff, and in which, therefore, we cannot actually test the rate of the levy or the manner of raising it. Swereford's ipse dixit as to the rate in these latter cases was probably based on analogy, here our only guide.

With the third and fourth divisions we return to sure ground. To them I invite particular attention, because it is to them (and especially to the third) that apply the complaints of the church chroniclers, and not (as has always, but erroneously, been supposed) to the perfectly legitimate levy of two marcs on the fee. It is necessary to emphasize the fact that the matter has been wholly misunderstood. The bitter complaint of John of Salisbury that Henry, on this occasion, 'omnibus (contra antiquum morem et debitam libertatem) indixit ecclesiis ut pro arbitrio ejus satraparum suorum conferrunt in censum', would have been without meaning had it referred (as alleged) to the latter levy (or even to the insignificant sums contributed ut supra by eight foundations); but when we learn that, over and above this legitimate levy, a far larger sum was arbitrarily [pg 220] wrung from the church, the truth and justice of the protest are at once made evident. I here give two tables illustrative of this exaction. Each is divided into three columns. In the first column I give the number of the knights due from each bishopric and each religious house. In the second column I give the marcs due, and paid on this occasion, on the old assessment (servitium debitum). In the third will be found the exaction complained of, namely, the dona extorted from the spiritual 'barons' themselves.

Sees Knights due Donum of Knights
(in marcs)
Donum of Tenant
(in marcs)
Winchester 60 120 500
Lincoln 60 120 500
Worcester 60 120 200
Norwich 40 80 200
Bath 20 40 500
London 20 40 200
Exeter 17½ 35 150
Chester 15 30 100
Durham 10 20 500
York 7 14 500
Total 619 3,350
Religious Houses Knights due Donum of Knights
(in marcs)
Donum of Tenant
(in marcs)
Peterborough 60 120 100
St Edmund's 40 80 200
Glastonbury 40 80
Abingdon 30 60 60
Hyde 20 40 150
St Augustine's 15 30 220
St Alban's 6 12 100
Evesham 5 10 60
Wilton 5 10 20
Ramsey 4 8 60
St Benet of Hulme 3 6 30
Pershore 3
Chertsey 3 6 60
Cerne 3 6
Winchcombe 2 4
Middleton 2 4
Sherburne 2 10
Abbotsbury 1 2
Total 482 1,092½

[pg 221]

We thus obtain a grand total of 1,101 marcs raised from the church by legitimate scutage, and 4,442½ (or, adding the dona from non-feudal houses, 4,700) marcs by special imposition.149 This distinction at once explains the real extortion of which churchmen complained;150 and shows that it had nothing to do with scutage, but was a special imposition on the church fees from which the lay ones were exempt.151 The idea of the impost was not improbably the adjustment of inequalities in cases where the knight-service was a quite inadequate assessment; the precedent created was not forgotten, and it proved in later days a welcome source of revenue.

The discovery of this exaction identifies, it will be seen, in spite of Swereford's error, the levy accounted for on the roll with the famous 'scutage of Toulouse'. And if even further proof were needed, it is found in an incidental allusion which clinches the argument. Giraldus Cambrensis (iii. 357) refers to Bishop Henry of Winchester assembling all the priests of his diocese 'tanquam ad auxilium postulandum (dederat enim paulo ante quingentas marcas regi Henrico ad expeditionem Tholosanam)'. The sum here named is that which he paid in 1159, as my table shows. Its destination is thus established, as also, it may be noted, the means by which he was expected to recoup himself.

As to the scutage on the lay fiefs, the general impression, broadly speaking, is that Henry replaced his English feudal host by an army of mercenaries paid from the proceeds of a scutage of two marcs per fee on all lands held by military service.152 But is that impression confirmed by the evidence of the rolls? Without setting forth the evidence in detail, I may sum it up as amounting to this: that the grouped payments found under twenty-two counties153 present, I think, a total of 1,895 marcs, while those of the fiefs which paid separately amounted to 666. This gives us a grand total of 2,561 marcs, representing, of course, 1,280 knights. Now although the [pg 222] amount of knight service due to the crown from its English realm has been, as we shall see, absurdly exaggerated, the above number, I need scarcely say, must represent a minority of the knights due from the lay fiefs. This sets the matter in quite another aspect. In spite of the passage in Robert de Monte, on which the accepted view is based,154 the roll presents proof to the contrary, and indeed the words of Robert show that he knew so little of the levy in England as to believe that it was wholly arbitrary. There are, perhaps, indications that the fiefs which, on this occasion, paid scutage, were largely those in the king's hands,155 and if we add to these the escheated honours, of which the scutage would be paid through the sheriffs, we must conclude that the great bulk of the tenants who had a choice in the matter served abroad with their contingents and did not pay scutage.

Before taking leave of 'the great scutage', another point demands notice. Gervase of Canterbury sets forth its proceeds in terms of great precision:

Hoc anno rex Henricus scotagium sive scutagium de Anglia accepit, cujus summa fuit centum millia et quater viginti millia librarum argenti (i. 167).

Quite desperate attempts have been made to reconcile this statement with the actual sums raised. In his preface to the Gesta Henrici Regis, Dr Stubbs suggests that Gervase included in his total the scutage of two years later (1161), but adds that, if so, the rolls are very incomplete. In his Constitutional History he speaks of 'this [scutage] and a very large accumulation of treasure from other sources, amounting, according to the contemporary writers, to £180,000' (i. 457), but admits, in a footnote, that 'the sum is impossible', and throws out as probable a different explanation. Miss Norgate writes that 'the proceeds, with those of a similar tax levied upon Henry's other dominions, amounted to some £180,000'.156 But Gervase distinctly states that this sum was raised from England. Now the actual sum raised, by scutage, in England (1159) was £2,440 in all, as I reckon it, while the special clerical impost produced some £3,130 in addition. Consequently, no ingenuity can save the credit of Gervase. He was not, after all, worse than his fellows. We shall find that when mediæval chroniclers endeavour to foist on us these absurd sums they require much bolder handling than they have ever yet received.

[pg 223]

Pass we now to the third levy, that of 1161. For this the rate was again two marcs on the fee according to Swereford (followed, of course, by subsequent writers), though the study of the roll (7 Henry II) reveals that in many cases, on the lay fiefs at least, the rate was one marc. Both this and the levy of the following year are most difficult to deal with in every way. We have seen that an entry on the roll of 1163 led Swereford to believe that the levy of 1161 was made for the Toulouse campaign, and Dr Stubbs has made the suggestion that it might have been raised to defray 'debts' incurred on that occasion;157 but the difficulties in the way of accepting this view seem insuperable.158

The fourth levy, which is that of 1162 (8 Henry II), was at the rate of one marc, and is recorded by Swereford, but not by Dr Stubbs.159 Though richer in names than that of 1161, it is even less useful for our purpose, as the sums entered are most irregular, perhaps owing to the adoption of a new method of collection.160 Neither of these levies affords, in the absence of corroboration, trustworthy evidence on the servitium of any lay fief.

The fifth levy, on the other hand, in 1165 (11 Henry II), affords most valuable evidence, although it is ignored by Swereford and by those who have followed him. It is, however, of a singular character. The money was raised, we gather from the roll, on two different systems:

(I) By a fixed payment at the rate of one marc on the fee (old assessment).

(II) By an arbitrary payment of certain mysterious sums, which prove to be multiples of the unit 15s 3d. But there is no fixed proportion to be traced between the amount paid and the number of servitia due. Numerous instances are found of a single knight's fee being charged with a sum equivalent to five of these mysterious units. Magnates, again, are found paying apparently strange sums, which prove on dissection to represent 50, 100, 200 and even 300 of these units. The clue to the mystery is found in an entry on the Pipe-Roll of the following year (12 Henry II), which proves that this unit was the pecuniary equivalent of a serviens, and that the various payers had 'promised' the king so many servientes for the war in [pg 224] Wales.161 Such 'promises' were evidently offers, made independently of the actual service due from the 'promising' party. Following up this clue, we see that the Abbot of Abingdon must, like the Bishop of Hereford, have promised 100 'serjeants',162 that the Abbot of St Alban's must have done likewise,163 while the Bishop of London must have promised 150, in addition, be it noted, to paying a scutage of a marc on each knight's fee (20) of his servitium debitum.164 For the rolls of 1162 and 1163 prove that he had duly paid the scutage of the former year, and that this was a further payment. The varying form of these entries should be observed, for it was evidently quite immaterial to the clerks whether they wrote '5 serjeants' or their equivalent—76 shillings and 3 pence.165 Taking the pay of the serviens at 1d a day, the unit in question would represent six months' pay (for a year of 366 days).

But, for our present purpose, we must confine ourselves to the scutage proper. The passage on which I would specially dwell is the entry on the roll in which the custos of the archbishopric of Canterbury 'reddit compotum de cxiii. li. de Militibus de Archiepiscopatu de ii. Exercitibus' (p. 109).166 In the first place, we have here, surely, witness to the two Welsh campaigns of this year, which Mr Eyton adopts, following Mr Bridgeman,167 but which Miss Norgate rejects.168 Secondly, this sum resolves itself, on analysis, into two constituents of 84¾ marcs each. Now the return for the archbishopric the following year is: 'Archiepiscopus habet iiijxx. et iiijor. et dimidium et quartam partem feffatos.'169 Having set forth this exact corroboration, I will briefly trace the servitium of the See. In 1156 and 1159 it pays no scutage when the other church fiefs do, but within six months of Theobald's death it pays to the scutage of 1161 on a servitium of sixty knights, being then in the hands of the crown. Under Becket, in 1162, it is once more omitted; but in 1165 it again pays, as we have seen, and now not on sixty knights but on [pg 225] 84¾. In 1168 it contributes, on the same amount, to the auxilium, and in 1172, but the latter year is the first in which the recognoscit formula is employed, enabling us to determine that, as in 1161, the servitium debitum was sixty knights.

The typical difference between these sixty knights and the 84¾ actually enfeoffed will serve to illustrate the point on which I insist throughout. Had the fee been held by its tenant, he would have raised 84¾ marcs, paid sixty to the crown, and kept 24¾ for himself.170 But when a custos held the fief, he could keep nothing back, and therefore paid over the whole. We have, I think, an illustration of the same kind in the payment (p. 202, note 76) by the custos of the Romare fief, 'de noviter feffatis' (noviter, be it observed not yet de novo).

Having brought the levies down to 1165, I hope it has now been made clear that the officials of the exchequer were well aware of the amount of servitium debitum from every fief, the levies being always based on the said amount. Swereford, therefore, was quite mistaken in the inference he drew from the inquest of 1166:171 indeed, his words prove that he completely misunderstood the problem.

This was the last levy raised previous to the making of the returns (cartae) in 1166. These returns were followed in 1168 by the first levy on the new assessment. I have already dealt with the changes which this new assessment involved, but I would here again insist upon the fact that the church and the lay fiefs were not dealt with alike, the latter being assessed wholly de novo, while the former retained their old assessments, while accounting separately, and under protest, for the fees in excess of their servitium debitum. So far as the lay fiefs were concerned, their servitia, congenital with Norman rule, were now swept away. Here, from the single county of Northumberland, are three cases in point:

1162 1168

De scutagio Walteri de Bolebec. In thesauro v. marcae.172

Walterus de Bolebec redd. comp. de iiii. marcis et dim. de eodem auxilio.

Idem debet xlviii. s. et v. d. pro tribus Militibus et iiabus. terciis partibus Mil. de Novo feffamento.

[pg 226]

De scutagio Stephani de Bulemer. In thesauro v. marcae.

Stephanus de Bulemer redd. comp. de iiii. marcis de eodem auxilio.

Idem debet xxiii. s. et iiii. d. de i. milite et dim. et quarta parte Mil. de Novo feffamento.

De scutagio Radulfi de Wircestria. In thesauro i. marca.173

Radulfus de Wigornio redd. comp. de i. marca de eodem auxilio pro i. milite.

Idem debet xiii. s. de dim. Mil. et de i. tercia et de i. septima parte Mil. de Novo feffamento.

The change thus made by the restless king was permanent in its effect, and thenceforth the only assessment recognized was that based upon the fees, which, by 1166, had been created de veteri and de novo.174

Before leaving the subject of this levy, there is one point on which I would touch. When we find, as we often do, that the sum paid in 1168 in respect of a fief does not tally with the number of fees recorded in the cartae, we must remember that in the Liber Niger and Liber Rubeus we have not the original cartae, but only transcripts liable to clerical error. Checking the cartae by these payments, we constantly find cases in which the number of fees should be slightly greater than is recorded in the carta.175 I suspect that the transcriber, in these cases, has omitted entries in the original carta, and this suspicion is strongly confirmed by the fact that where the original return enables us to test the transcript, we find in the great carta for the honour of Clare that the original transcriber has omitted half a fee of William de Hastinges, has left out altogether the entry 'Reginaldus de Cruce, dimidium militem', and has changed the quarter fee of Geoffrey fitz Piers into half a fee; while in that of the Bishop of Chichester, Robert de Denton's half fee is converted into a whole one. The later (Red Book) transcriber has made a further omission.

Another source of discrepancy may be found in the dangerous resemblance of formulae. Thus the carta of Ranulf fitz Walter records [pg 227] three and three-quarter fees duly accounted for. Yet his payment in 1168 is not £2 10s but £2 4s 5d. The explanation is that the holding was really three and one-third fees,176 but the transcriber read 'iij[a.] pars' (one-third) as 'iij. partes' (three-quarters).

How easily such errors arose may be seen in the elaborate entries on Simon de Beauchamp's fief. Here the formula 'decem denarios quando Rex accipit marcam de milite', correctly reproduced in the Black Book, becomes 'x. denarius', etc., in the Red Book. The former expression means 'tenpence in the marc' (i.e. one-sixteenth of a fee); whereas the latter is equivalent to 'the tenth penny in the marc' (i.e. one-tenth of a fee), and upsets the whole reckoning. The correct formula is a not uncommon one and should be compared with the 'de xx. solidis viii. denarios' (eightpence in the pound) which is given as the holding of two knights of the honour of Clare, and represents the thirtieth of a fee.177

Lastly, I think that, on further examination, there are three fiefs of which the servitia debita, though at first sight irregular,178 may fairly be brought into line as multiples of the constabularia. That of Bohun, though implied by the carta to be thirty and a half knights, paid in the fifth and eighth years on exactly thirty; that of Malet, though similarly given as twenty and one-sixth in the carta, is returned in the Testa de Nevill as exactly twenty;179 that of Beauchamp of Hacche, though distinctly given as seventeen in the carta, will be found, on careful collation of the rolls for 7 and 8 Hen. II, to be claimed by the exchequer as 17 + 3, i.e. 20.

Here also, perhaps, it may be allowable to glance at the foreign parallels to fiefs of sixty fees and smaller multiples of five. There is a charter of Charles the Fair (1322-28) 'qua Alphonsum de Hispania "Baronem et Ricum Hominem" Navarræ creat; et, ut Baronis et Rici Hominis statum manu tenere possit, eidem de gratia speciali 60 militias [knight's fees] in regno sua Navarræ concedit modo consueto tenendos et possidendos',180 while an edict of earlier date proclaims: 'De Vasvassore [i.e. baron] qui quinque milites habet, per mortem [? pro morte] ejus, emendetur 60 unciæ auri cocti, et per plagam [? pro plaga] 30, et si plures habuerit milites, crescat compositio sicut numerus militum.'181

[pg 228]


'Ad hoc solicitius animum direxi ut per regna Angliæ debita Regi servitia militaria quatinus potui plenissime percunctarer.'182 So writes Swereford, who proceeds to explain that neither the famous Bishop Nigel himself, nor his successor, Bishop Richard, nor William of Ely (ut supra) had left any certain information on the subject; while he (Swereford) could not accept the common belief that the Conqueror had created servitia of knights to the amount of 32,000.183 The cause of his failure is found in the fact that he confused two different things: (1) the debita Regi servitia, which formed the only assessment of fiefs down to 1166; (2) the assessment based on the cartae of 1166, which superseded the debita servitia, and is not evidence of their amount.184 But then, as I have already explained above, the exchequer official was concerned only with the actual claims of the crown; for him the original 'service due' had a merely academic interest.

There are two estimates for the total of which we are in search. One is 32,000 knights; the other 60,000.

'Stephen Segrave,' Dr Stubbs reminds us, 'the minister of Henry III, reckoned 32,000 as the number' (which confirms Swereford's statement); but he himself wisely declines to hazard 'a conjectural estimate',185 adding that 'the official computation, on which the scutage was levied, reckoned in the middle of the thirteenth century 32,000 knights' fees, but the amount of money actually raised by Henry II on this account, in any single year, was very far from commensurate'. Gneist repeats this figure, but holds that 'as far as we may conjecture by reference to later statements, the number of shields may be fixed at about 30,000'.186

On the wondrous estimate of 60,000 I have more to say. Started by Ordericus,187 this venerable fable has been handed down by Higden and others, till in the Short History of the English People it has attained a world-wide circulation.188 Dr Stubbs has rightly dismissed the statement 'as one of the many numerical exaggerations of the early historians';189 but neither he nor any other writer has detected, so [pg 229] far as I know, the peculiar interest of the sum. What that interest is will be seen at once when I say that Ordericus, who asserts that the Conqueror had so apportioned the knight-service 'ut Angliæ regnum lx. millia militum indesinenter haberet' (iv. 7), also alleges that the number present at the famous Salisbury assembly (1086) was 60,000. It is very instructive to compare this 'body whose numbers were handed down by tradition as no less than sixty thousand',190 with the 'sixty thousand horsemen'191—'ut ferunt sexaginta millia equitum'—of thirteen years earlier, and with the number of the Norman invaders, 'commonly given at sixty thousand',192 of seven years earlier still. It is Ordericus, too, who states that the treasure in Normandy at the death of Henry I was £60,000. His father seems to have left behind him the same sum at Winchester, for, though the chronicle left the amount in doubt, 'Henry of Huntingdon,' Mr Freeman observed, with a touch of just sarcasm, 'knew the exact amount of the silver, sixty thousand pounds, one doubtless for each knight's fee'.193 He also reminds us, as to the crusade of William of Aquitaine, that 'Orderic allows only thirty thousand. In William of Malmesbury they have grown into sixty thousand. Figures of this kind, whether greater or smaller, are always multiples of one another'.194

Pursuing the subject, we learn from Giraldus that the Conqueror's annual income was 60,000 marcs.195 Fantosme speaks of marshalled knights as

Meins de seisante mile, e plus de seisante treis,

and the author of the Anglo-Norman poem on the conquest of Ireland gives the strength of the Irish host, in 1171, as 60,000 men. Even 'Sir Bevis', if I remember right, slew in the streets of London 60,000 men; and Fitz Stephen asserts that, in Stephen's reign, London was able to turn out 60,000 foot.196 It may, also, not be without significance that 60,000 Moors are said to have been slain at Navas de Tolosa, and that William of Sicily was said to have bequeathed to Henry II three distinct sums of 60,000 each.197

[pg 230]

The fact is that 'sixty thousand' was a favourite phrase for a great number, and that 'sixty' was used in this sense just as the Romans198 had used it in classical times and just as Russian peasants (I think I have read) use it to this day. The 'twice six hundred thousand men', who were burning to fight for England,199 and the £180,000 (60,000 × 3) of Gervase (1159), are traceable, doubtless, to the same source.

How strangely different from these wild figures are the sober facts of the case! The whole of the church fiefs, as we have seen, were only liable to find 784 knights, a number which, small as it was, just exceeded the entire knight service of Normandy as returned in 1171. As to the lay fiefs it is not possible to speak with equal confidence. I have ventured to fix the approximate quota of 104 (more or less), of which ninety-two are in favour of my theory: forty-eight fiefs, of five knights and upwards, remain undetermined.200 If the average of knights to a fief were the same in the latter as in the former class, the total contingents of the lay barons would amount, apparently, to 3,534 knights; but, as the latter one includes such enormous fiefs as those of Gloucester and of Clare, with such important honours as those of Peverel and Eye, we must increase our estimate accordingly, and must also make allowance for fiefs omitted and for those owing less than five knights (which are comparatively unimportant).

Making, therefore, every allowance, we shall probably be safe in saying that the whole servitium debitum, clerical and lay, of England can scarcely have exceeded, if indeed it reached, 5,000 knights.

Indefinite though such a result may seem, it is worth obtaining for the startling contrast which it presents to the 60,000 of Ordericus, to the 32,000 of Segrave,201 and to the 30,000 of Gneist. The only writer, so far as I know, who has approximated, by investigating for himself, the true facts of the case, is Mr Pearson;202 but his calculations, I fear, are vitiated by the unfortunate guess that the alleged 32,000 fees were really 6,400 of five hides each. It is a hopeless undertaking to reconcile the facts with the wild figures of mediæval historians by resorting to the ingenious devices of apocalyptic interpretation.

[pg 231]


Much labour has been vainly spent on attempts to determine the true area of a knight's fee. The general impression appears to be that it contained five hides. Mr Pearson, we have seen, based on that assumption his estimate of 6,400 fees, and other writers have treated the fee as the recognized equivalent of five hides. The point is of importance, because if we found that the recognized area of a knight's fee was five hides, it would give us a link between the under-tenant (miles) and the Anglo-Saxon thegn. But, as Dr Stubbs has recognized, the assumption cannot be maintained; no fixed number of hides constituted a knight's fee.

The circumstance of a fee, in many cases consisting of five hides, is merely, I think, due to the existence of five-hide estates, survivals from the previous régime. We have an excellent instance of such fees in a very remarkable document, which has hitherto, it would seem, remained unnoticed. This is a transcript, in Heming's Cartulary, of a hidated survey of the Gloucestershire Manors belonging to the See of Worcester. I believe it to be earlier than Domesday itself, in which case, of course, it would possess a unique interest. Here are the entries, side by side, relating to the great episcopal Manor of Westbury (on Trym), Gloucestershire.

Cartulary Domesday

Ad uuestbiriam203 pertinent l. hide. xxxv. hidas in dominio habet203 episcopus, et milites sui habent xv. hidas. In icenatune v. hidas, In comtuna v. hidas, In biscopes stoke v. hidas.

Huesberie. Ibi fuerunt et sunt l. hidae.... De hac terra hujus Manerii tenet Turstinus filius Rolf v. hidas in Austrecliue et Gislebertus filius Turold iii. hidas et dimidiam jn Contone, et Constantinus v. hidas jn Icetune.... De eadem terra hujus Manerii tenet Osbernus Gifard v. hidae et nullum servitium facit.... Quod homines tenent (valet) ix. libras.

The three five-hide holdings, we find, figure in both alike, but Gilbert fitz Thorold's holding of three hides and a half appears in addition in Domesday. The inference, surely would seem to be that Gilbert was enfeoffed between the date of the survey recorded in the Cartulary and the date of the Domesday Survey. If so, the former survey is, as I have suggested, the earlier; and in that survey we have the three tenants of five-hide holdings described eo nomine as the bishop's milites.

In the cartae of 1166 we have fees of 5 hides,204 of 4,205 of 6,206 [pg 232] of 10,207 of 2½,208 and even of 2;209 also of 5 carucates,210 of 11,211 and of 14.212 Cartularies, however, are richer in evidence of this discrepancy. Thus the six fees of St Albans contained 40 hides (an average of 6⅔ hides each), the figures being 5½, 7, 8½, 6, 5½, 7½.213 So too in the Abingdon Cartulary (ii. 3) we find four fees containing 19 hides, three containing 14, a half-fee 4, a fee and a half 13, one fee, 10, 5, 9. On the other hand, if we take 20 librates as the amount of the fee—which it was already, as Dr Stubbs observes, in the days of the Conqueror—the cartae confirm that conclusion.214 We must therefore conclude that the knight's fee, held by an under-tenant, consisted normally of an estate, worth £20 a year, and was not based on the 'five hides' of the Anglo-Saxon system.


We will now work upwards from the cartae to the Conquest.

Allusions to early enfeoffment are scattered through the cartae themselves. Henry fitz Gerold begins his return: 'Isti sunt milites Eudonis Dapiferi', and Eudo, we know, 'came in with the Conqueror'. We learn from another return (Lib. Rub., p. 397) that Henry I had given William de Albini, 'Pincerna, de feodo quod fuit Corbuchun xv. milites feffatos'. Now this refers to 'Robertus filius Corbution', a Domesday tenant in Norfolk. The Testa, again, comes to our help. Thus we learn from Domesday that Osbern the priest alias Osbern the sheriff (of Lincolnshire) was William de Perci's tenant at Wickenby, co. Lincoln, but the Testa entry (p. 338a) proves that William had enfeoffed him in that holding by the service of one knight.215 So too Count Alan (of Brittany) had enfeoffed his tenant Landri at Welton in the same county for the service of half a knight (Ibid., 338b), and we find his son, Alan fitz Landri, tenant there to Count Stephen, a generation later than Domesday, in the Lindsey Survey. The barony of Bywell in Northumberland, we read in the Testa (p. 392a), had been held by the service of five knights216 since the days of William Rufus, who had granted it on that tenure.217 After this we are not surprised to learn that the barony of Morpeth [pg 233] had been held 'from the Conquest' by the service of four knights, and that of Mitford as long by the service of five (Ibid., p. 392b), or that those of Calverdon, Morewic, and Diveleston had all been similarly held by military service 'from the Conquest'. In Herefordshire, again, John de Monmouth is returned as holding 'feoda xv. militum a conquestu Anglie'.218 So too Robert Foliot claims in his carta (1166) that his predecessors had been enfeoffed 'since the conquest of England';219 and William de Colecherche, that his little fief was 'de antiquo tenemento a Conquestu Angliae' (L.R., p. 400); Humphrey de Bohun enumerates the fees 'quibus avus suus feffatus fuit in primo feffamento quod in Anglia habuit' (Ibid., p. 242), and refers to his grandfather's subsequent enfeoffments in the days of William Rufus (p. 244), while Alexander de Alno similarly speaks of sub-infeudation 'tempore Willelmi Regis' (p. 230). To take one more instance from the cartae, an abbot sets forth his servicium due to Henry, 'sicuti debuit antiquitus regibus predecessoribus ejus' (p. 224). This brings us to the instructive case of Ramsey Abbey.

Dr Stubbs refers to a document of the reign of William Rufus as 'proof that the lands of the house had not yet been divided into knights' fees'.220 But he does not mention the striking fact that the special knight service for which the abbot was to be liable is distinctly stated to have been that for which his 'predecessors' had been liable.221 As this charter is assigned to 1091-1100, the mention of 'predecessors' would seem to carry back this knight service very far indeed. And we have happily another connecting link which carries downwards the history of this knight service, as the above-named charter carries it upwards. This is the entry in the Pipe-Roll of 1129-30:

Abbas de Ramesia reddit compotum de xlviij. li. xj. s. et vj. d. pro superplus militum qui requirebantur de Abbatia (p. 47).222

Further, we have a notable communication to the abbot from Bishop Nigel of Ely, which must refer to the scutage of 1156 or to that of 1159 (probably the former):

Sciatis quod ubi Ricardus clericus223 reddidit compotum de scutagio militum vestrorum ad Scaccarium ego testificatus sum vos non debere regi plusquam quatuor milites, et per tantum quieti estis et in rotulo scripti.224

[pg 234]

Lastly, we have the return in the Black Book (1166):

Homines faciunt iiii. milites in communi in servitium domini regis, ita quod tota terra abbatiae communicata est cum eis per hidas ad prædictum servitium faciendum.

Prof Maitland, writing on the Court of the Abbey of Ramsey, in the thirteenth century, observes that:

The Abbot is bound to provide four knights, and (contrary to what is thought to have been the common practice) he has not split up his land into knights' fees so that on every occasion the same four tenants shall go to the war ... the process by which the country was carved out into knights' fees seems in this case to have been arrested at an early stage.225

The case of Ramsey was undoubtedly peculiar, but in the third volume of the Cartulary, now published, we have (pp. 48, 218) fuller versions of the Abbot's return in 1166. The second of these is specially noteworthy, and reads like a transcript of the original return.226 Here we see separate knights' fees duly entered, with the customary formula 'debet unum militem'. But the service was certainly provided in 1166 and afterwards 'per hidas'. Further inquiry, therefore, is needed; but we have in any case, for Ramsey, a chain of evidence which should prove of considerable value for the study of this difficult problem.

The phenomenon, however, for which we have to account is the appearance from the earliest period to which our information extends of certain quotas of knight-service, clearly arbitrary in amount, as due from those bishops and abbots who held by military service. When and how were these quotas fixed? The answer is given by Matthew Paris—one of the last quarters in which one would think of looking—where we read that, in 1070, the Conqueror

episcopatus quoque et abbatias omnes quae baronias tenebant, et eatenus ab omni servitute seculari libertatem habuerant, sub servitute statuit militari, inrotulans episcopatus et abbatias pro voluntate sua quot milites sibi et successoribus suis hostilitatis tempore voluit a singulis exhiberi (Historia Anglorum, i. 13).

This passage (which perhaps represents the St Albans tradition) is dismissed by Dr Stubbs as being probably 'a mistaken account of the effects of the Domesday Survey'.227

[pg 235]

But the Abingdon Chronicle, quite independently, gives the same explanation, and traces the quota of knights to the action taken by the Crown:

Quum jam regis edicto in annalibus annotarentur quot de episcopiis quotve de abbatiis ad publicam rem tuendam milites (si forte hinc quid causae propellendae contingeret) exigerentur, etc.228

Moreover, the Ely Chronicle bears the same witness, telling us that William Rufus, at the commencement of his reign,

debitum servitium quod pater suus imposuerat ab ecclesiis violenter exigit.229

It also tells us that, when undertaking his campaign against Malcolm (1072), the Conqueror

jusserat tam abbatibus quam episcopis totius Angliae debita militiae obsequia transmitti;230

and it also describes how he fixed the quota of knights due by an arbitrary act of will.231 The chronicler, like Matthew Paris, lays stress upon the facts that (1) the burden was a wholly new one; (2) its incidence was determined by the royal will alone.232

Here, perhaps, we have the clue to the (rare) clerical exemptions from the burden of military tenure, such as the abbeys of Gloucester and of Battle.233

The beginnings of sub-infeudation consequent on the Conqueror's action are distinctly described in the cases of Abingdon and Ely, and alluded to in those of Peterborough234 and Evesham. At the first of these, Athelelm

primo quidem stipendariis in hoc utebatur. At his sopitis incursibus ... abbas mansiones possessionum ecclesiae pertinentibus inde delegavit, edicto cuique tenore parendi de suae portionis mansione.235

[pg 236]

At Ely, the abbot

habuit ex consuetudine, secundum jussum regis, prætaxatum militiae numerum infra aulam ecclesiae, victum cotidie de manu celerarii capientem atque stipendia, quod intollerabiliter et supra modum potuit vexare locum.... Ex hoc compulsus quasdam terras sanctæ Ædeldredae invasoribus in feudum permisit tenere ... ut in omni expeditione regi observarent, [et] ecclesia perpetim infatigata permaneret.236

For Canterbury we have remarkable evidence, not, it would seem, generally known. In Domesday, of course, Lanfranc's milites figure prominently; but the absence of a detailed return in 1166 leaves their names and services obscure. Now in the Christ Church Domesday there is a list of the Archbishop's knights,237 in which are names corresponding with those of his tenants in 1086. It can, therefore, be little, if at all, later than the Conqueror's reign. It is drawn up exactly like a carta of 1166, giving the names of the knights and the service due from each. Its editor, instead of printing this important document in full, has, unfortunately, given us six names only, and—mistaking the familiar 'd[imidium]' and 'q[uarterium]' of the list for 'd[enarios]' and 'q[uadrans]'—asserts that the contributions of the knights are 'evidently ... expressed in terms of the shilling and its fractions',238 thus missing the essential point, namely, that they are expressed in terms of knight service.

As Lanfranc had done at Canterbury, as Symeon at Ely, as Walter at Evesham, as Athelelm at Abingdon, so also did Geoffrey at Tavistock,239 and so we cannot doubt, did Wulfstan at Worcester. The carta of his successor (1166) distinctly implies that before his death he had carved some thirty-seven fees out of the episcopal fief. Precisely as at Ely, he found this plan less intolerable than the standing entertainment of a roistering troop of knights.240

The influence of nepotism on sub-infeudation, in the case of ecclesiastical fiefs, is too important to be passed over. On every side we find the efforts of prelates and abbots thus to provide for their relatives [pg 237] opposed and denounced by the bodies over which they ruled. The Archbishop of York in his carta explains the excessive number of his knights: 'Antecessores enim nostri, non pro necessitate servitii, quod debent, sed quia cognatis et servientibus suis providere volebant, plures quam debebant Regi feodaverunt.' The Abbot of Ely, we are told by his panegyrist, enfeoffed knights by compulsion, 'non ex industria aut favore divitum vel propinquorum affectu'.241 Abbot Athelelm of Abingdon, says his champion, enfeoffed knights of necessity;242 but a less friendly chronicler asserts that, like Thorold of Peterborough, he brought over from Normandy his kinsmen, and quartered them on the abbey lands.243 The Tavistock charter of Henry I restored to that abbey the lands which Guimund, its simoniacal abbot (1088-1102), had bestowed on his brother William. Abbot Walter of Evesham and his successor persisted in enfeoffing knights 'contradicente capitulo'.244

So, during a vacancy at Abbotsbury under Henry I, 'cum Rogerus Episcopus habuit custodiam Abbatiæ, duas hidas, ad maritandam quandam neptem suam, dedit N. de M., contradicente conventu Ecclesiæ'.245 Henry of Winchester has left us a similar record of the action of his predecessors at Glastonbury.246 His narrative is specially valuable for the light it throws on the power of subsequent revocation, perhaps in cases where the corporate body had protested at the time against the grant. Of this we have a striking instance in the grants of Abbot Æthelwig of Evesham, almost all of which, we read, were revoked by his successor.247 Parallel rather to the cases of [pg 238] Middleton and Abbotsbury (vide cartas) would be the action of William Rufus during the Canterbury vacancy.248

It was to guard against the nepotism of the heads of monastic houses that such a clause as this was occasionally inserted:

Terras censuales non in feudum donet: nec faciat milites nisi in sacra veste Christi.249

And by their conduct in this matter, abbots, in the Norman period, were largely judged. But this has been a slight digression.

Now that I have shown that in monastic chronicles we have the complement and corroboration of the words of Matthew Paris, I propose to quote as a climax to my argument the writ printed below. Startling as it may read, for its early date, to the holders of the accepted view, the vigour of its language convinced me, when I found it, that in it King William speaks; nor was there anything to be gained by forging a document which admits, by placing on record, the abbey's full liability.250

W. Rex. Anglor[um] Athew' abbati de Euesh[am] sal[u]tem. Precipio tibi quod submoneas omnes illos qui sub ballia et i[us]titia s[un]t quatin[us] omnes milites quo mihi debent p[ar]atos h[abe]ant ante me ad octavas pentecostes ap[ud] clarendun[am]. Tu etiam illo die ad me venias et illos quinque milites quos de abb[at]ia tua mihi debes tec[um] paratos adducas. Teste Eudone dapif[er]o Ap[ud] Wintoniam.251

Being addressed to Æthelwig, the writ, of course, must be previous to his death in 1077, but I think that we can date it, perhaps, with precision, and that it belongs to the year 1072. In that year, says the Ely chronicler, the Conqueror, projecting his invasion to Scotland, 'jusserat tam abbatibus quam episcopis totius Angliae debita militiae obsequia transmitti', a phrase which applies exactly to the writ before us. In that year, moreover, the movements of William fit in fairly with the date for which the feudal levy was here summoned. We know that he visited Normandy in the spring, and invaded Scotland in the summer, and he might well summon his baronage to meet him on June 3rd, on his way from Normandy to Scotland, at so convenient a point as Clarendon. The writ, again, being witnessed at Winchester, may well have been issued by the king on his way out or back.

The direction to the abbot to summon similarly all those beneath [pg 239] his sway who owed military service is probably explained by the special position he occupied as 'chief ruler of several counties at the time'.252 We find him again, two years later (1074), acting as a military commander. On that occasion the line of the Severn was guarded against the rebel advance by Bishop Wulfstan, 'cum magna militari manu, et Ægelwius Eoveshamnensis abbas cum suis, ascitis sibi in adjutorium Ursone vicecomite Wigorniae et Waltero de Laceio cum copiis suis, et cetera multitudine plebis'.253 The number of knights which constituted the servitium debitum of Evesham was five then as it was afterwards, and this number, as we now know, had been fixed pro voluntate sua, in 1070, by the Conqueror.

We find allusions to two occasions on which the feudal host was summoned, as above, by the Conqueror, and by his sons and successors. William Rufus exacted the full servitium debitum to repress the revolt at the commencement of his reign.254 Henry I called out the host to meet the invasion of his brother Robert.255 In both these instances reference is made to the questions of 'service due' that would naturally arise,256 and that would keep the quotas of knight service well to the front. That these quotas, however, as I said (supra, p. 205), were matter of memory rather than of record, is shown by a pair of early disputes.257

Let us pass, at this point, to the great survey. I urged in the earlier portion of this paper that the argument from the silence of Domesday is of no value. Even independently of direct allusions, whether to the case of individual holders, or to whole groups such as the milites of Lanfranc, it can be shown conclusively that the normal formulae cover unquestionable military tenure, tenure by knight service.258

[pg 240]

An excellent instance is afforded in the case of Abingdon Abbey (fol. 258b-9b), because the formulae are quite normal and make 'no record of any new duties or services of any kind'.259 Yet we are able to identify the tenants named in Domesday, right and left, with the foreign knights enfeoffed by Athelelm to hold by military tenure,260 owing service for their fees 'to Lord as Lord'. There are some specially convincing cases, such as those of Hubert, who held five hides in a hamlet of Cumnor,261 and whose fee is not only entered in the list of knights:262 but is recorded to have been given before Domesday for military service.263 Another case is that of William camerarius, who held Lea by the service of one knight;264 so too with the Bishop of Worcester's Manor of Westbury-on-Trym, where the homines of Domesday appear as milites in a rather earlier survey.265

Again, take the case of Peterborough. The Northamptonshire possessions of that house are divided by Domesday (fol. 221) into two sections, of which the latter is headed 'Terra hominum ejusdem ecclesiae', and represents the sub-infeudated portion, just as the preceding section contains the dominium of the fief.266 Here 'Terra hominum ejusdem' corresponds with the heading 'Terra militum ejus' prefixed to the knights of the Archbishop of Canterbury (fol. 4). The Peterborough homines are frequently spoken of as milites (fol. 221b, passim), and even where we only find such formulae as 'Anschitillus tenet de abbate' we are able to identify the tenant as Anschetil de St Medard, one of the foreign knights enfeoffed by Abbot Turold.267

But it is not only on church fiefs that the Domesday under-tenant proves to be a feudal miles. At Swaffham (Cambridgeshire) we read in Domesday (fol. 196) 'tenet Hugo de Walterio [Gifard]'.268 Yet in the earlier record of a placitum on the rights of Ely, we find this tenant occurring as 'Hugo de bolebec miles Walteri Giffard', while in 1166 his descendant and namesake is returned as the chief [pg 241] tenant on the Giffard fief. The same placitum supplies other illustrations of the fact.269 The cases taken from the Percy fief and from the honour of Britanny afford further confirmation, if needed, of the conclusions I draw.270

It will startle the reader, doubtless, to learn that there is in existence so curious a document as a list of knights' fees drawn up in Old English. Headed 'these beth thare Knystene londes', etc., and terming a knight's fee a 'knystesmetehom', it has been placed by the Editors of the new Monasticon (ii. 477) among documents of the Anglo-Saxon era, but belongs, I think (from internal evidence), to about the same period as the cartae (1166). The original is extant in a Cartulary now in the British Museum.


It was urged in the earlier part of this paper that Ranulf Flambard had been assigned a quite unwarrantable share in the development of feudalism in England. But so little is actually known of what his measures were that they have hitherto largely remained matter of inference and conjecture. It may be well, therefore, to call attention to a record which shows him actually at work, and which illustrates the character of his exactions by a singularly perfect example.

The remarkable document that I am about to discuss is printed in Heming's 'Cartulary' (i. 79-80).271 It is therefore most singular that it should be unknown to Mr Freeman—to whom it would have been invaluable for his account of Ranulf's doings—as it occurs in the midst of a group of documents which he had specially studied for his excursus on 'the condition of Worcestershire under William'.272 It is a writ of William Rufus, addressed to the tenants of the See of Worcester on the death of Bishop Wulfstan, directing them to pay a 'relief' in consequence of that death, and specifying the quota due from each of the tenants named. The date is fortunately beyond question; for the writ must have been issued very shortly after the death of Wulfstan (January 18, 1095), and in any case before the death of Bishop Robert of Hereford (June 26, 1095), who is one of the tenants addressed in it. As the record is not long, and practically, as we have seen, unknown, one need not hesitate to reprint it.

W. Rex Anglorum omnibus Francis et Anglis qui francas terras tenent de episcopatu de Wireceastra, Salutem. Sciatis quia, mortuo episcopo, honor [pg 242] in manum meam rediit. Nunc volo, ut de terris vestris tale relevamen mihi detis, sicut per barones meos disposui. Hugo de Laci xx. libras. Walterus Punher xx. libras. Gislebertus filius turoldi c. solidos. Rodbertus episcopus x. libras. Abbas de euesham xxx. libras. Walterus de Gloecestra xx. libras. Roger filius durandi [quietus per breve regis]273 x. libras. Winebald de balaon x. libras. Drogo filius Pontii x. libras. Rodbert filius sckilin c. solidos. Rodbert stirmannus lx. solidos. Willelmus de begebiri xl. solidos. Ricardus and Franca c. solidos. Angotus xx. solidos. Beraldus xx. solidos. Willelmus de Wic xx. solidos. Rodbertus filius nigelli c. solidos. Alricus archidiaconus c. solidos. Ordricus dapifer274 xl. libras. Ordricus blaca275 c. solidos. Colemannus276 xl. solidos. Warinus xxx. solidos. Balduuinus xl. solidos. Suegen filius Azor xx. solidos. Aluredus xxx. solidos. Siuuardus xl. solidos. Saulfus xv. libras. Algarus xl. solidos. Chippingus xx. solidos.

Testibus Ranulfo capellano & Eudone dapifero & Ursone de abetot. Et qui hoc facere noluerit, Urso & bernardus sasiant et terras et pecunias in manu mea.

The points on which this document throws fresh light are these. First, and above all, the exaction of reliefs by William Rufus and his minister, which formed so bitter a grievance at the time, and to which, consequently, Dr Stubbs and Mr Freeman had devoted special attention. On this we have here evidence which is at present unique. It must therefore be studied in some detail.

Broadly speaking, we now learn how 'the analogy of lay fiefs was applied to the churches with as much minuteness as possible'.277 One of the respects in which the church fiefs differed from those of the lay barons was, that on the one hand they escaped such claims as reliefs, wardships and 'marriage', while, on the other, their tenants, of course also escaped payment of such 'aids' as those 'ad filium militem faciendum' or 'ad filiam maritandam'. In this there was a fair 'give and take'. But Ranulf must have argued that bishops and abbots who took reliefs from their tenants ought, in like manner, to pay reliefs to the crown. This they obviously would not do; and, indeed, even had they been willing, it would have savoured too strongly of simony. And so he adopted, as our record shows, the [pg 243] unwarrantable device of extorting the relief from the under-tenants direct. This was not an enforcement, but a breach, of feudal principles; for an under-tenant was, obviously, only liable to relief on his succession to his own fee.278

It would be easy to assume that this was the abuse renounced by Henry I.279 But distinguo. The above abuse was quite distinct from the practice of annexing to the revenues of the crown, during a vacancy, the temporalities. This, which was undoubtedly renounced by Henry, and as undoubtedly resorted to by himself and by his successors afterwards, was, however distasteful to the church,280 a logical deduction from feudal principles, and did not actually wrong any individual. It could thus be retained when the crown abandoned such unjust exactions as the Worcester relief, and it afforded an excellent substitute for wardship, though practically mischievous in the impulse it gave to the prolongation of vacancies.

There are many other points suggested by the record I am discussing, but they can only be touched on briefly. It gives us a singularly early use of the remarkable term 'honour', here employed in its simplest and strictly accurate sense; the same term was similarly employed, we have seen, in the case of Abingdon (1097), where we also find the fief described as reverting to the crown vacante sede.281 It further alludes to a special assessment by 'barons' deputed for the purpose; it affords a noteworthy formula for distraint in case of non-payment; and it gives us, within barely nine years of the great survey itself, a list of the tenants of the fee, which should prove of peculiar value.

If the sums entered be added up, their total will amount to exactly £250. It is tempting to connect this figure with a servitium debitum (teste episcopo) of fifty fees at the 'ancient relief' of £5 a fee; but we are only justified in treating it as one of those round sums that we find exacted for relief under Henry II, especially as its items cannot be connected with the actual knights' fees. The appended analysis will show the relation (where ascertainable) of sums paid to hides held.

[pg 244]

Domesday, 1086 The Relief, 1095
  h. v.   £ s
Roger de Laci   23 2 Hugh de Laci 20 0
Walter Ponther   10 2 Walter Punther 20 0
Gilbert fitz Thorold   7 2 Gilbert fitz Thorold 5 0
Bishop of Hereford   5 0 Bishop Robert [of Hereford] 10 0
Abbot of Evesham   9 0 Abbot of Evesham 30 0
Walter fitz Roger   8 0 Walter de Gloucester 20 0
Durand the sheriff   6 0 Roger fitz Durand 10 0
        Winebald de Balaon 10 0
Drogo   10 0 Drogo fitz Ponz 10 0
Schelin   5 0 Robert fitz Schilin 5 0
        Robert Stirman 3 0
Anschitil   2 0 Anschitil de Colesbourne 10 0
        Roger de Compton 1 0
Eudo   1 3 Eudo 3 0
        William de Begeberi 2 0
        Richard & Franca 5 0
Ansgot   1 2 Angot 1 0
        Berald 1 0
        William de Wick 1 0
        Robert fitz Nigel 5 0
Ælfric the archdeacon   4 0 Ælfric the archdeacon 5 0
Orderic rightbrace 6 1 Orderic the Dapifer 40 0
Orderic Orderic Black 5 0
        Coleman 2 0
        Warine 1 10
        Baldwin 2 0
        Swegen fitz Azor 1 0
        Alfred 1 10
Siward   5 0 Siward 2 0
        Sawulf 15 0
        Ælfar 2 0
        Cheping 1 0
          £250 0

The comparison of these two lists suggests some interesting conclusions. Roger de Laci, forfeited early in the reign for treason, had been succeeded by his brother Hugh. 'Punher' supplies us with the transitional form from the 'Ponther' of Domesday to the 'Puher' of the reign of Henry I. The identity of the names is thus established. Walter fitz Roger has already assumed his family surname as Walter de Gloucester, and his uncle Durand has now been succeeded by a son Roger, whose existence was unknown to genealogists. The pedigree of the family in the Norman period has been well traced by Mr A. S. Ellis in his paper on the Gloucestershire Domesday tenants, but he was of opinion that Walter de Gloucester was the [pg 245] immediate successor in the shrievalty of his uncle, Durand, who died without issue. This list, on the contrary, suggests that the immediate successor of Durand was his son Roger, and that if, like his father, he held the shrievalty, this might account for the interlineation remitting, in his case, the sum due. In this Roger we, surely, have that 'Roger de Gloucester' who was slain in Normandy in 1106, and whom, without the evidence afforded by this list, it was not possible to identify.282

The chief difficulty that this list presents is its omission of the principal tenant of the see, Urse d'Abetot. One can only assign it to the fact of his official position as sheriff enabling him to secure exemption for himself, and perhaps even for his brother, Robert 'Dispensator'. Their exemption, however accounted for, involved an arbitrary assessment of all the remaining tenants, irrespective of the character or of the extent of their tenure. With these remarks I must leave a document, which is free from anachronism or inconsistency, and as trustworthy, I think, as it is useful.

It is my hope that this paper may increase the interest in the forthcoming edition of the Liber Rubeus under the care of Mr Hubert Hall, and that it may lead to a reconsideration of the problems presented by the feudal system as it meets us in England. Nor can I close without reminding the reader that if my researches have compelled me to differ from an authority so supreme as Dr Stubbs, this in no way impugns the soundness of his judgment on the data hitherto known. The original sources have remained so strangely neglected, that it was not in the power of any writer covering so wide a field to master the facts and figures which I have now endeavoured to set forth, and on which alone it is possible to form a conclusion beyond dispute.

1 Reprinted, with additions, from the English Historical Review.

2 'The belief which has come down to us from Selden, and the antiquarian school, a belief which was hitherto universally received, that William I divided the English landed property into military fees, is erroneous, and results from the dating back of an earlier [? later] condition of things.'—Gneist, Const. Hist., i. 129.

3 'There can be no doubt that the military tenure, the most prominent feature of historical feudalism, was itself introduced by the same gradual process which we have assumed in the case of the feudal usages in general.'—Stubbs, Const. Hist., i. 261.

4 Stubbs, servitia, i. 260-1. So too Freeman.

5 Stubbs, servitia, i. 261.

6 Ibid., i. 298.

7 Ibid., i. 298, 301.

8 Ibid., i. 300.

9 Select Charters, p. 96.

10 Norm. Conq., v. 380.

11 servitia, i. 581.

12 N.C., v. 377; cf. History of William II, pp. 335, 337, 'The whole system, a system which logically hangs together in the most perfect way, was the device of the same subtle and malignant brain.'

13 Ibid., p. 374.

14 'Si quis baronum meorum, comitum sive aliorum qui de me tenent, mortuus fuerit, heres suus non redimet terram suam sicut faciebat tempore fratris mei, sed justa et legitima relevatione relevabit eam.'

15 'In that charter the military tenures are taken for granted. What is provided against is their being perverted, as they had been in the days of Rufus, into engines of oppression.'—N.C., v. 373.

16 N.C., v. 372; servitia, i. 261.

17 N.C., v. 373.

18 Palgrave, as Mr Freeman observes, 'strongly and clearly brought out the absence of any distinct mention of military tenures in Domesday'. Dr Stubbs more cautiously wrote: 'The wording of the Domesday Survey does not imply that in this respect the new military service differed from the old.' (servitia, i. 262.) Mr Freeman confidently asserts: 'Nothing is more certain than that from one end of Domesday to the other, there is not a trace of military tenures as they were afterwards understood.... We hear of nothing in Domesday which can be called knight-service or military tenure in the later sense.' (N.C., v. 370, 371.) Mr Hunt (Norman Britain) follows the same line, and Gneist, vouching Palgrave, Stubbs, and Freeman, repeats the argument. (servitia, i. 130.)

19 'I spoke to Mr Falconberge to look whether he could out of Domesday Book give me anything concerning the sea and the dominion thereof' (1661).

20 N.C., v. 465.

21 N.C., v. 4.

22 Ibid., p. 42.

23 As so much stress has been laid on the argument from Domesday, it is desirable further to demonstrate its worthlessness by referring to the Lindsey Survey (vide supra, p. 149). This survey can only be a few years previous to 1120, and was therefore made at a time when, ex hypothesi, feudal tenures had been established for some time. Yet here, also, page after page may be searched in vain for any mention of 'knights' or 'fees'.

24 Gneist, servitia, i. 132.

25 Gneist, servitia, i. 118.

26 Ibid., i. 156, 133, 124.

27 Ibid., i. 130.

28 Ibid., i. 156.

29 Ibid., i. 133.

30 Stubbs, servitia, i. 192. I do not quite understand the passage that 'it is probable that the complete following out of the Frank idea [exact proportion of service to hides] was reserved for Henry II, unless his military reforms are to be understood, as so many of his other measures are, as the revival and strengthening of anti-feudal and pre-feudal custom'. (Ibid.) The allusion is, clearly, to the assize of arms; but was that assize based on fixed quantities of land? Mr Little has discussed the five-hide question in the English Historical Review, xvi. pp. 726-9 (vide supra, p. 65).

31 Ibid., i. 262.

32 Ibid., i. 262.

33 servitia, i. 386.

34 Ibid., i. 581.

35 Ibid., i. 264-5.

36 Ibid., i. 432.

37 'The growth of the system of knights' fees out of the older system of hides is traced by Stubbs. The old service of a man from each five hides of land would go on, only it would take a new name and a new spirit' (N.C., v. 866).

38 This argument, of course, applies, mutatis mutandis, to a five-hide unit as well.

39 servitia, i. 265.

40 Henry of Huntingdon (p. 207) speaks of the Domesday returns by the same name (cartae).

41 Domesday Book occupies a medial position, being arranged under counties, but within each county, under fiefs.

42 Compare the carta of the bishop of Exeter, Præcepistis mihi quod mandarem vobis non quod servitia militum vobis debeam, etc. Dr Stubbs writes: 'The king issued a writ to all the tenants-in-chief of the crown, lay and clerical, directing each of them to send in a cartel or report of the number of knights' fees for the service of which he was legally liable.'—Const. Hist., i. 584.

43 The bishop of 'Coventry' expresses it: 'numerum ... eorum si quos in dominio tenemus, et eorum nomina' (p. 263).

44 These references are to the pages of the forthcoming edition of the Liber Rubeus. It will be observed that the second three returns are too closely alike for accidental coincidence; the three Shropshire 'barons' who made them must have been in some communication. Note here the remarkable use of the term 'compares'.

45 Audivi praeceptum vestrum in consulatu Herefordiae.

46 Audito praecepto vestro.

47 Praeceptum vestrum, per totam Angliam divulgatum, per vicecomitem vestrum Northumberlande ad me, sicut ad alios, pervenit.

48 Mandavit nobis ... Vicecomes Stephanus, ex parte vestra quatinus, etc.

49 Praecepit dignitas vestra omnibus fidelibus vestris, clericis et laicis, qui de vobis tenent in capite in Eboracsira ut mandent, etc.... Quorum ego unus, etc.

50 It should be scarcely necessary to warn the reader against confusing the dominium, or non-infeudated portion of the entire fief, with the dominium, or demesne portion, of each Manor upon that fief.

51 An instance in point is afforded by the Bardolf barony (i.e. fief) temp. John: 'Heres Dodon' Bardulf tenet feoda xxv. militum per totum. Inde xv. milites sunt feoffati et x. feoda sunt super dominium' (Testa de Nevill, p. 19).

52 (1) Old feoffment, (2) new feoffment, (3) demesne.

53 He and his successors are consequently found paying, time after time, on thirty-five fees.

54 William de Beauchamp, of Worcestershire, is virtually a solitary exception. He inserts, cavendi causa, this significant clause: 'De hiis praenominatis non debeo Regi nisi servitium vii. militum, nec antecessores mei unquam plus fecerunt, sed quia dominus Rex praecepit michi mandare quot milites habeo et eorum nomina, ideo mando quod istos [i.e. 16] habeo fefatos de veteri feffamento; sed non debeo Regi nisi servitium vii. militum.' But William was a sheriff at the time, and may have had special information which put him on his guard.

55 Compare the case of the Irish bishops six years later (1172), who sent the king 'litteras suas in modum cartae extra sigillum pendentes' (Howden). Note also that the addition of the seal made the return essentially a carta. In Normandy, the tenants by knight-service were only required (1172) to seal the return (breve) of their servitium debitum.

56 The point is of some importance in its bearing on the right of the individual to assess himself, which is held in this case to have been exercised. 'The assessment,' writes Dr Stubbs, 'of the individual depended very much on his own report, which the exchequer had little means of checking.'—servitia, i. 585.

57 By one of those slips so marvellously rare in his writings Dr Stubbs writes that 'the Bishop of Durham's service for his demesne land was that of ten knights, but it was not cut up into fees' (i. 263). What the bishop said was that he owed no service for his demesne, because there were already over seventy fees created on his fief, though he only owed ten.

58 This is one of the points on which Madox is completely at sea. He quotes the case of the Bishop of Durham (1168) as an instance of 'Doubts about the number of knights' fees' (Baronia Anglica, p. 122); and he writes, of the above uniform formula: 'This uncertainty about the number of the fees frequently happened in the case of ecclesiastical persons, Bishops, and Abbots.'—Exchequer, i. 647.

59 servitia, i. 264.

60 See my papers on 'The House of Lords; the Transition from Tenure to Writ' (Antiquary, October and December 1884, April 1885).

61 See, for instance, the language used in the carta of Ralf de Worcester (p. 441): 'Teneo de vobis in capite de veteri fefamento feodum i. militis, unde debeo vobis facere servitium i. militis. Et de eodem feodo Jordanus Hairum debet mihi facere partem servitii,' etc. In Normandy (1172), the phrase ran: 'quot milites unusquisque baronum deberet ad servicium regis, et quot haberet ad suum proprium servicium'.

62 Sometimes Exeter pays on 15½ (14, 33, Hen. II), but 17½ (2, 5, 7, 18 Hen. II) is the normal amount. The explanation of this odd number is found in the Testa de Nevill (p. 226) where ('Veredictum militum de Rapo de Arundel') we read: 'Episcopus Exoniensis tenet de Domino Rege de Capellaria de Boseham vii. feoda militum et dimidium.' The Bosham estate (as belonging to Osbern) had formed part of the episcopal fief in Domesday, but (the bishops having founded a church there) we find it assessed and paying separately as 7½ fees.

63 I have found a case bearing upon this point and reported at great length (Thorpe's Registrum Roffense, pp. 70 et seq.). It arose from an attempt of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1253, to distrain the Bishop of Rochester for the 'auxilium ad filium regis primogenitum militem faciendum'. The bishop 'posuit se super recordum rotulorum de Scaccario, per quos rotulos poterit et illa quam rex contra episcopum et etiam illa quam archiepiscopus contra episcopum movit questio diffiniri. Didicerat enim episcopus per unum fidelem amicum quem in scaccario tunc habebat quod nunquam tempore alicujus regis pro aliquo feodo episcopatus aliquod fuit regi factum servicium vel datum scutagium.... Unde consulebat quod audaciter poneret se episcopus super recordum rotulorum de Scaccario, nichil enim tenet episcopus per baroniam de rege, sed per puram elemosinam, quod non est dicendum de aliquo episcopatu Anglie, nec de Archiepiscopatu, nisi dumtaxat de Karleolen. Cumque cum audacia institisset episcopus, quod decideretur per rotulos de Scaccario quibus creditur in omnibus illis sicut sancto evangelio', etc., etc. The barons of the exchequer examined the rolls, 'a tempore primi conquestus' (?) and reported: 'nusquam invenerunt episcopum Roffensem solvisse aut dedisse aliquod servicium regibus temporale'. But the dispute was not finally decided till 1259. The clue to the matter is found in the Canterbury 'Domesday Monachorum' (8th Report Hist. MSS. i. 316), where a list of the archbishop's knights, perhaps coeval with Domesday (vide infra, p. 236), is headed by 'Episcopus Roffensis' with a servitium of ten knights to the Primate.

64 Cerne had to provide 'ten' knights ad wardam at Corfe Castle, or 'two' ad exercitum (vide cartam).

65 This indeed is proved by an extract quoted by Madox (Exchequer) from the Roll of 22 Hen. II (rot. 10a).

66 The effect of all the changes of assessment we have traced under Henry II would only be the reduction of this total to 774.]

67 Roll of 11 Hen. II. (This was, of course, the son of Henry I by Edith.)

68 The custos of his fief paid scutage for eighty knights in 1159, but he speaks 'de meis lx. militibus' in his carta.

69 The undoubted assessment in 1162. Afterwards it is found paying on sixty and a fraction.

70 'Lx. milites ... habere solebat pater meus' (carta).

71 This figure is given in the Liber Niger, but is really derived from his recorded payments.

72 Tot habuit milites feodatos ... scilicet lx. de antiquo feodo (carta).

73 In Yorkshire alone. In all England, many more.

74 This figure is taken from the payments in 1161 and 1172.

75 Roll of 11 Hen. II.

76 Ibid. It is impossible, within the compass of a note, to discuss the two consecutive and most important entries on the Roll (pp. 37-8), which represent a payment by the Earl of Chester on 20 fees, 'pro feodo Turoldi vicecomitis', and by Richard de Camville on 40 fees, 'pro feodo Willelmi de Romara'. I called attention to the former entry in the Academy (April 21, 1888), but did not at that time explain it. Mr R. E. G. Kirk undertook to explain 'its real meaning' (Genealogist, v. 141), which, however, he completely mistook (Ibid., July 1891). The two entries, I think, should be read together as relating to the estates of the famous Lucy, the common ancestress of the earl and of William. If so, they may refer to a fief with an original servitium of 60 knights, of which one-third was in the hands of the Earl of Chester, and two-thirds in that of his cousin. Independently of the light they throw on the obscure history of this divided and contested fief, they are of value for the unique reference (in this Roll) to 'noviter feffati' (vide infra). The total (including these) for the two fiefs is 663180. There is no return for the earl's Lindsey fief in 1166, but William de Roumare's return acknowledges 57 fees. If to these we add the 9½ fees which, it says, had formerly existed in addition, we obtain 66½. This suggests that the one fief of 1166 represents the two of 1165. It should be added that the Hampshire fief of William de Roumare is paid for as 20 fees in 1159 and 1162, and was similarly accounted for by Richard de Camville in both these years.

77 Roll of 11 Hen. II.

78 He omitted to send in a carta in 1166; but, both before and after, he paid on 30 fees.

79 He twice pays on 30 fees before 1166, in which year his fief was held by Gerbert de Percy. Subsequently, as the honour of Poerstoke (Poorstock), it always pays on 30.

80 This is a very difficult case. Walter's carta might easily be read as implying a servitium debitum of 20 fees, and his fief paid on 29 de veteri and 1½ de novo. But careful scrutiny reveals that the words 'hos iiijor. milites qui has predictas terras tenent' are preceded by six names. If they refer, either to the four names immediately preceding, or (which is more probable) to the four knights who held his lands but rendered him no service, the total of his servitium debitum would, in either case, be 30.

81 Roll of 11 Hen. II.

82 He paid on 25 fees in 1162.

83 'Feodum xx. militum de rege de veteri feffamento quod pater suus tenuit' (carta).

84 He paid on 20 fees in 1161, but the subsequent assessment of the fief varies considerably.

85 He paid on 20 fees in 1162 and 1165, and returned his fees in 1166 as 20 de veteri and ¾ de novo.

86 The scutages record him as paying always on 15 knights quos recognoscit—the formula for servitium debitum.

87 His payment on 15 fees in 1161 probably represents his servitium debitum. His total enfeoffments were 23.

88 Hugh and Stephen de Scalers are the names given in the cartae, but Henry and William de Scalers held the fiefs at the time.

89 He paid 10 marcs in 1168, though his carta only records 9-5/6 fees.

90 A difficult fief to deal with, but almost certainly the half of an original Reimes fief owing 20 knights (vide supra).

91 Apparently 15 at first, and 10 later.

92 i.e. the Peverel Honour of Bourne, Cambridgeshire (held in Domesday by Picot, the Sheriff), not Bourne, Lincolnshire, held by the Wakes.

93 He only pays on 5 fees in 1162, and the excess de novo in his carta is accounted for, he says, by the necessities of his position.

94 This is not proved for the latter fief.

95 Compare with these allusions to a traditional servitium debitum the significant words of Wace (Roman de Rou):

'Ne ke jamez d'ore en avant,

Ço lor a miz en covenant,

N'ierent de servise requis,

Forz tel ke solt estre al paiz,

E tel come lor ancessor

Soleient fere a lor Seignor,'—

which are the reply to the fears of the barons (Norm. Conq., iii. 298):

'Li servise ki est doblez

Creiment k'il seit en feu tornez,

Et en costume seit tenu

Et par costume seit rendu (lines 11272 et seq.).'

96 It can be shown that the 'service' in Normandy was based on precisely the same five-knight unit.

97 'The estates of the twenty greatest feodaries in Domesday Book contain, according to the ordinary computation, 793, 439, 442, 298, 280, 222, 171, 164, 132, 130, 123, 119, 118, 107, 81, 47, 46 and 33 knights' fees.'—Gneist (Const. Hist., i. 334).

98 servitia, i. 289.

99 For instance, the Abbot of St Edmund's 'quinquaginta milites' are spoken of as 'milites de quatuor constabiliis' with 'decem miles de quinta constabilia' (Memorials of St Edmunds, Ed. Arnold, i. 269, 271).

100 Robert fitz Stephen lands with 30 knights, Maurice de Prendergast with 10, Maurice fitz Gerald with 10, Strongbow with 200, Raymond the Fat with 10, Henry himself with either 400 or 500, etc.

101 See my Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 103.

102 Lines 11253 et seq. The figures, however, are far too large, and savour of poetic licence.

103 N.C., v. 368.

104 Meath with a servitium debitum of 100, Limerick of 60, Cork with two servitia of 30 each.

105 N.C., v. 378.

106 Gneist, C.H., i. 129, 156.

107 Freeman, N.C., v. 372, 371.

108 Stubbs, C.H., i. 261.

109 Mr Hall informs me that is the name of the official referred to.

110 'Prout rumor ex rotulis ad me devenit.'

111 See p. 221 infra.

112 'Et nota quod quandocumque assidentur scutagia, licet eodem anno solvantur, annotantur tamen in annali anni sequentis' (Red Book, ed. Hall, p. 8).

113 It is just possible that the source of his error is to be found in a solitary entry on the roll of 1163: 'Advocatus de Betuna reddit compotum de vi. li. xiii. s. iiii. d. de auxilio exercitus de Tolusa' (p. 9)—which refers to the levy of 1161.

114 'Temporibus enim regis Henrici primi ... nec inspexi vel audivi fuisse scutagia assisa' (p. 5).

115 vide supra, p. 118 note.

116 'Illud commune verbum in ore singulorum tunc temporis divulgatum.'

117 See Red Book of the Exchequer, pp. 5, 8.

118 See list of church fiefs.

119 His carta is corrupt.

120 'Abbas Gloucestrie tenet omnes terras in libera elemosina.'—Testa, p. 77.

121 'A new impost specially levied (1156) upon some of the ecclesiastical estates, under the name of scutage' (Norgate's Angevin Kings, i. 433). 'The famous scutage, the acceptance of a money composition for military service, alike for the old English service of the fyrd' [this, of course, is a misconception], 'and for the newer military tenures, dates from this (1159) time' (Freeman's Norman Conquest, v. 674). 'The term scutage now (1156) first employed.... As early as his second year (1156) we find him collecting a scutage, a new form of taxation' (Stubbs' Const. Hist., i. 454, 458, 581, 590).

122 The phrase 'debet scutagium quando currit' is of course, a normal one.

123 'Teste Gaufrido Cancellario et Willelmo de Albineio Pincerna et Gaufrido de Clintona et Pagano fil Johannis. Apud Sanctum Petrum desuper Divam.'

124 Cott. MS. Julius A., i. 6, fo. 74a.

125 These charters have an independent value for the light they throw, in conjunction with the roll, on the movements of the king. The roll itself alludes to the occasion on which the king crossed from Eling—'ex q[uo] rex mare transivit de Eilling[es]'—and as it is assigned to Michaelmas, 1130, the entry cannot refer to his departure at that very date, especially as these charters are not paid for among the nova proceedings of the year. They must therefore have been granted at his previous departure (August 1127), when he must have crossed from Eling and have gone to S. Pierre sur Dive (and Argentan) in Normandy. Pleas were heard before him at Eling on this occasion (Rot. Pip., pp. 17, 38), and are referred to in a charter of Stephen to Shaftesbury Abbey.

126 Printed in Athenæum, December 2, 1893.

127 Cf. Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 105.

128 'Abbas locum sibi commissum munita manu militum secure protegebat; et primo quidem stipendiariis in hoc utebatur' (Cart. Abingdon, ii. 3). 'Unde abbas tristis recedens conduxit milites', etc. (Historia Eliensis, p. 275). So too Bishop Wulfstan is found 'pompam militum secum ducens qui stipendiis annuis', etc. (W. Malmesb.)

129 It is singular that in his admirable work, The English Village Community, pp. 38-9, Mr Seebohm connects 'the normal acreage of the hide of 120 a., and of the virgate of 30 a., with the scutage of 40s per knight's fee', and argues that 'in choosing the acreage of the standard hide and virgate, a number of acres was probably assumed corresponding with the monetary system, so that the number of pence in the scutum should correspond with the number of acres assessed to its payment'. It need hardly be observed that the institution of scutage was, on the contrary, long posterior to that of a hide of 120 acres.

130 Walton was at the mouth of the Orwell and the Stour, and was thus an exposed port towards Flanders as Dover was towards France. It is noteworthy that when the Earl of Leicester did invade England from Flanders a few years later, it was at 'Walton' that he landed.

131 Compare Will. Pict.: 'Custodes in castellis strenuos viros collocavit ex Gallis traductos, quorum fidei pariter ac virtuti credebat, cum multitudine peditum et equitum, ipsis opulenta beneficia distribuit,' etc.

132 Should not this rather be 'from ecclesiastical tenants-in-chief holding by military service'? For it was neither collected from knights' fees, nor with reference to their existing number.

133 Preface to Gesta Henrici Regis, II. xciv. So too Const. Hist., i. 454: 'The practice was, as we learn from John of Salisbury, opposed by Archbishop Theobald'; and (i. 577) 'Archbishop Theobald had denounced the scutage of 1156'; and (Early Plant., p. 54) 'he made the bishops, notwithstanding strong objections from Archbishop Theobald, pay scutage'.

134 Preface to Gesta Henrici Regis, II. xcviii.

135 'Honori et utilitati ecclesiae tota mentis intentione studiosius invigilabit. Verum interim', etc. John of Salisbury (Ep. cxxviii). Note that 'ecclesiae' is the church at large, not the See of Canterbury.

136 Angevin Kings, i. 443.

137 Red Book, p. 6.

138 Preface to Gesta Henrici Regis, II. xcv.

139 Const. Hist., i. 454.

140 Ibid., i. 164.

141 Angevin Kings, i. 458. Both writers quote the passage from John of Salisbury (Ep. xcxviii), on which this explanation is based.

142 His servitium debitum was one knight.

143 The force for the Welsh campaign was raised, as we learn from Robert de Monte (alias de Torigni), 'by demanding that every three knights should, instead of serving in person, equip one of their number', as Dr Stubbs rightly puts it (Const. Hist., i. 589), and not, as he elsewhere writes (preface to Gesta Henrici Regis, II. xciv.), by requiring every two to add to themselves a third, 'by which means, if we are to understand it literally, 90,000 knights would appear from 60,000 knights' fees'. The real number would probably be under 2,000.

144 'This impost, which afterwards came to be known in English history as the "Great Scutage"' (Angevin Kings, i. 459).

145 Liber Rubeus, p. 6.

146 Angevin Kings, i. 461.

147 The abbots of Shrewsbury, Thorney, and Croyland; the abbesses of Barking, Winchester, and Romsey. The total of their dona amounted to £51 13s 4d.

148 Not, however, by Dr Stubbs (Preface to Gesta Henrici Regis, II. xciv-xcvi).

149 Dr Stubbs, independently, reckons the total payments of the church at £3,700 (Gesta Henrici Regis), which does not differ greatly from the above calculation (£3,167 6s 8d).

150 'Ille quidem gladius quem in sancte matris ecclesiae viscera vestra paulo ante manus immerserat cum ad trajiciendum in Tolosam exercitum tot ipsam marcarum millibus aporiastis.' Gilbert Foliot (Ep. cxciv).

151 'Nec permisit ut ecclesiae saltem proceribus coaequarentur in hac contributione vel magis exactione tam indebita quam injusta.' John of Salisbury (Ep. cxlv). Swereford, though confused in his account of the tax, points out that levy was made 'non solum super praelatos, verum tam super ipsos, quam super milites suos' (L.R., p. 6).

152 Gneist, for instance, writes: 'The first general imposition took place in 5 Henry II for the campaign against Toulouse, with two marcs per fee from all crown vassals' (servitia, i. 212).

153 Entered as 'Dona militum comitatus', not to be confused with the 'dona comitatus', a special levy of the following year (6 Hen. II), raised, it will be found, from the western counties, from Stafford in the north to Devonshire in the south.

154 'Rex ... nolens vexare agrarios milites ... sumptis lx. solidis Andegavensium in Normannia de feudo uniuscujusque loricae et de reliquis omnibus tam in Normannia quam in Anglia, sive etiam aliis terris suis, secundum hoc quod ei visum fuit, capitales barones suos cum paucis secum duxit, solidarios vero milites innumeros' (p. 202, ed. Howlett).

155 This was certainly the case with the fiefs of Simon de Beauchamp and the Earl Ferrers, two of the most considerable.

156 Angevin Kings, i. 462.

157 'A second scutage was raised in the seventh year, probably for payment of debts incurred for the same war, the assessment being in this, as in the former case, two marcs to the knight's fee.' (Preface to Gesta Henrici Regis, p. xcv.)

158 If it was raised for this purpose, it must have been levied either (1) from all tenants-in-chief, which it certainly was not; or (2) from the same contributors as in 1159, which a comparison of the two rolls will at once show it was not; or (3) from a new set of contributors, which was also not the case, for the prelates, the Ferrers fief, etc., are found contributing as before.

159 Const. Hist., i. 582.

160 Instead of a fief paying en bloc, it seems to have paid through the sheriffs of the counties in which it was situate.

161 'Episcopus de Heref' reddit compotum de lxxvi. libris et v. solidis de promiss[ione] c. Servientium de Wal' (p. 84).

162 'Abbas de Abendona reddit compotum de lxxvi. libris et v. solidis de promise sione servientium in Waliam' (rot. 11 Hen. II, p. 74).

163 'Abbas de Sancto Albano reddit compotum de lxxvi. libris et v. solidis de Exercitu' (Ibid., p. 19).

164 'Episcopus Lond' reddit compotum de xiii. libris et vi. sol. et viii. den. de Servicio militum.... Idem reddit compotum de cxiiii. marcis et v. sol. de promissione servientium Walie' (Ibid., p. 19).

165 'Willelmus de Siffrewast reddit compotum de lxxvi. sol. et iii. den.... Hugo de Bochelanda reddit compotum de. v. servientibus' (Ibid., p. 75). Compare the love of variety in Domesday, supra, pp. 41, 42, 77.

166 'Scutagium de ii. exercitibus' in next roll (rot. 12 Hen. II).

167 Itinerary of Henry II, p. 79 et seq. Compare also the payment from the Giffard fief 'de secundo exercitu' (p. 25).

168 Angevin Kings, ii. 180, note.

169 Liber Rubeus, p. 193.

170 This was the point on which Abbot Sampson insisted, against his knights, at St Edmund's. In the case of Canterbury, the inquest of 1163 would have ascertained the actual number of the archbishop's knights and their fees.

171 Ignorasse quidem haec [debita] servitia militaria Regis ... successores subsequentium argumento non immerito potuit dubitare: quia cum Rex Henricus ... traderet, a quolibet sui regni milite marcam unam ... exegit, publico praecipiens edicto quod quilibet praelatus et baro quot milites de eo tenerent in capite publicis suis instrumentis significarent' (Liber Rubeus, p. 4).

172 'Teneo de vobis ... feodum i. militis, unde debeo vobis facere servitium i. militis' (carta).

173 'De hoc predicto feodo debet Regi v. milites' (carta).

174 It must always be remembered that, as explained above, in cases where the requisite number of knights had not been enfeoffed by 1166, the balance de dominio was added to those actually created, as de veteri together.

175 Thus Daniel de Crevecœur pays on one fee (de veteri) more than his carta records, William de Tracy on half a fee (de veteri), Adam de Port on one, the Earl of Gloucester on two, the Earl of Warwick on two and a half, Maurice de Craon on one, the Abbot of Hulme on a quarter of a fee, William de Albini (Pincerna) on one, Henry de Lacy on one and a half, William de Vescy on one, Bertram de Bulemer on a half, and William Paynell on one (these figures are all subject to correction). The case of William de Vescy is specially conspicuous, because the nineteen fees enumerated are distinctly spoken of as twenty.

176 This brings it into relation with the Constabularia of which it thus formed just a third.

177 The same formula is found in Domesday applied to hidation in East Anglia, where the assessment of Manors is expressed not in terms of the hide, but in fractions of the pound. (vide supra, p. 89.)

178 vide supra, p. 205.

179 'Willelmus Malet tenet Cari de Domino Rege et alias terras suas per servicium viginti militum' (p. 163).

180 Ducange (1887), ii. 581.

181 Ibid., viii. 255. Ducange indeed asserts that five knights was the qualification in Normandy for barony, but the statement is based on a mistaken rendering and is elsewhere disproved.

182 Liber Rubeus, p. 4.

183 'Illud commune verbum in ore singulorum, tunc temporis divulgatum, fatuum reputans et mirabile, quod in regni conquisitione Dux Normannorum, Rex Willelmus, servitia xxxii. militum infeodavit' (Ibid.).

184 Swereford, it is clear, failed to grasp the great change of assessment in 1166.

185 Const. Hist., i. 432.

186 Ibid., i. 157. Dr Stubbs rightly rejects Mr Pearson's conjecture that the number of 32,000 applied to the hides, and that 'the number of knights' fees, calculated at five hides each, would be 6,400'.

187 'His temporibus militiam Anglici regni Rex Willelmus conscribi fecit et lx. millia militum invenit, quos omnes, dum necesse esset, paratos esse praecepit.'

188 'A whole army was by this means encamped upon the soil, and the king's summons could at any moment gather 60,000 knights to the royal standard.'

189 Const. Hist., i. 264. Compare pp. 16, 17.

190 Freeman (Norm. Conq., iv. 694).

191 Ibid., iv. 562.

192 Ibid., iii. 387. In Social England (i. 373) we read that 'William is believed to have landed in England with at least 60,000 men, 50,000 horse and 10,000 foot'. But on turning to p. 306 of that great effort of co-operative genius, we learn that only 'some of William's ships carried horses to the number of from three to eight—as well as men'. So the number of his ships (396, according to Wace) is as great a difficulty as the proportions of Noah's Ark.

193 William Rufus, i. 17.

194 Ibid., i. 313.

195 'Annui fiscales redditus ... ad sexaginta millia marcarum summam implebant.'

196 'Sexaginta millia peditum' (p. 4).

197 'Sexaginta millia silinas de frumento, sexaginta millia de hordeo, sexaginta millia de vino' (Richard of Devizes, ed. Howlett, p. 396).

198 'Sexaginta accipitur indefinite de magno numero. Sexcenti saepe usurpatur pro numero ingenti et indefinito' (Forcellini, Totius Latinitatis Lexicon).

199 'Bis sex sibi millia centum' (Carmen de bello Hastingensi).

200 It must be clearly understood that these figures cannot be absolutely accurate. Some honours are omitted, it seems, in the returns from which we have to work, and for these allowance must be made.

201 '[1235] Sicut Stephanus Segrave ... asserebat et affirmabat vetus scutagium ad xxxii. millia scuta assumabatur et irrotulabatur; et ad tantundem plene et plane potuit novum scutagium de novis terris assumari' (Ann. Monast., i. 364).

202 'Nine thousand for all England would be a large estimate at any time of the twelfth century' (Early and Middle Ages, i. 375).

203 The italics represent Anglo-Saxon characters.

204 Lib. Rub., pp. 188, 214, 237, 238, 292.

205 Ibid., pp. 211, 214.

206 Ibid., pp. 214, 292.

207 Lib. Rub., p. 292.

208 Ibid., pp. 200, 210.

209 Ibid., p. 210.

210 Ibid., pp. 390, 444.

211 Ibid., p. 429.

212 Ibid., pp. 431-2.

213 M. Paris, Additamenta, p. 436. This list, which seems scarcely known, is very valuable for its early date, being, I think, about contemporaneous with the cartae of 1166.

214 L.R., pp. 229, 245, 356.

215 'Et predictus Willelmus dedit predictas tres carucatas terre Osberto vicecomiti pro servicio unius militis.'

216 Together with castle-guard of thirty knights at Newcastle.

217 'Post tempus domini Regis Willelmi Ruffi, qui eos feoffavit.'

218 Testa, p. 69.

219 'Post Conquestum Angliae' (Liber Rubeus, p. 332).

220 Const. Hist., i. 263.

221 'Et deinceps tres (milites) mihi habeat sicut antecessores sui faciebant in septentrionali parte fluminis Tamesie' (1091-1100).—Ramsey Cartulary, i. 234.

222 Compare the Ely entry (supra p. 213) for 'superplus'.

223 Could this have been Richard fitz Nigel himself?

224 Ramsey Cartulary, i. 255. Compare with this expression 'in rotulo scripti', the Conqueror's command (infra), that the number of knights 'in annalibus annotarentur'.

225 Select Pleas in Manorial Courts, p. 50.

226 It enables us to correct such an entry in the Black Book as 'Radulfus Maindeherst', by identifying him with Ralph Mowyn, the tenant at Hurst. It supplies an entry as to Henry de 'Wichetone' (Whiston) which is omitted in L.R., and entered in L.N., with wrong name and wrong holding; and, better still, it shows that Silvester of Holwell held only 2 hides, not 12, as given in error, both in L.N., and L.R. The existence of this error in both bears, of course, on their relation (cf. p. 287, supra).

227 Const. Hist., i. 357. Gneist writes that Matthew's statement 'is for good reasons called in question by Stubbs' (servitia, i. 255, note).

228 Cartulary of Abingdon, ii. 3.

229 Historia Eliensis (ed. 1848), p. 276.

230 Ibid., p. 274.

231 'Praecepit illi (i.e. abbati) ex nutu regis custodiam xl. militum habere in insulam.' Ibid., p. 275. This is the very servitium debitum that appears under Henry II.

232 Compare for the initiative of the crown, the Domesday phrase, 'miles jussu regis', and the statement that Lanfranc replaced the drengs of his See by knights at the royal command ('Rex praecepit.')

233 Madox writes (Baronia Anglica, p. 114) bitterly and unjustly: 'In process of time, several of the religious found out another piece of art. They insisted that they held all their land and tenements in frankalmoigne, and not by knight-service.' In the cases he quotes, 'this allegation' was perfectly correct, and was recognized as such by the judges.

234 Turoldus vero sexaginta et duo hidas terrae de terra ecclesiae Burgi dedit stipendiariis militibus' (John of Peterborough, ed. Giles).

235 Cart. Abingdon, ii. 3.

236 Liber Eliensis, p. 275.

237 'De militibus Archiepiscopis.' 8th Report on Historical MSS., i. 316.

238 Ibid.

239 A charter of Henry I (Mon. Ang., vi. 496) addressed 'Willelmo Episcopo Exoniensi et Ricardo filio Baldwini vicecomiti' (see p. 25637) contains the clause: 'Prohibeo ne aliquis præter monachos ipsas terras amplius teneat vel alias aliquas quæ de dominio ecclesie fuerunt, exceptis illis quas Gaufridus abbas dedit ad servicium militare.' Abbot Geoffrey is said to have died in 1088. A curious difficulty has been raised about the words in italics. It is argued in Alford's Abbots of Tavistock (p. 68) that as, according to Mr Freeman, military tenures did not exist in Abbot Geoffrey's day, there was perhaps a second abbot of that name to whom that charter refers. But he is only introduced by Mr Alford under protest; and we see now that there is no need for him. Henry's charter being witnessed by Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury, William, the King's son, and the Count of Meulan, at Odiham, belongs, I may observe to 1114-16.

240 'Quis stipendii annuis quotidianisque cibis immane quantum populabantur' (Will. Malmesb., Gesta Pontificum).

241 Liber Eliensis, p. 275.

242 Cart. Abingdon, ii. 3.

243 Ibid., p. 2331: 'misit ... in Normanniam pro cognatis suis, quibus multas possessiones ecclesiae dedit et feoffavit, ita ut in anno lxx. de possessionibus ecclesiae eis conferret.'

244 Cott. MS. Vesp. B. xxiv. f. 8, 'Randulfus frater abbatis Walterii habet in Withelega iii. hidas de dominio, etc., etc. ... dono Walterii Abbatis contradicente capitulo'. This was the 'Rannulfum [sic] fratrem ejusdem Walteri abbatis ... qui cum fratre suo tenebat illud placitum' (temp. Will. I), whom the Bishop of Worcester's knights challenged to trial by battle (Heming's Chart. Wig., ed. Hearne, p. 82). His holding was represented in 1166 by the fees of Randulf de Kinwarton and Randulf de Coughton. Other cases of contested enfeoffment by Abbots Walter and Robert are those of Hugh Travers and Hugh de Bretfertun.

245 See the carta of 1166, which explains how this holding became half a fee.

246 'Miles quidam, Odo nomine, dono praedecessoris mei Sifridi abbatis, ob graciam cusjusdam consobrinae suae, quam idem Odo conjugem duxerat ... tria maneria de dominio sibi astrinxerat ... invitis fratribus. Alius quidam ... dono abbatis ... tamen absque fratrum consensu manerium possidebat' (Domerham, p. 306).

247 ' De his terris quas, ut diximus, suo tempore acquisivit, quibusdam bonis hominibus pro magna necessitate et honore ecclesiae dedit, et inde Deo et sibi fideliter quamdiu vixit serviebant' (Chronicon Evesh., p. 96). His successor, Walter (1077-86), incited by his own young relatives, 'noluit homagium a pluribus bonis hominibus quos praedecessor suus habuerat suscipere eo quod terras omnium, si posset, decrevit auferre' (Ibid., p. 98). In the result, 'dicitur quod fere omnes milites hujus abbatiae haereditavit' (Ibid., p. 91).

248 He begged Anselm that 'terras ecclesiae quas ipse rex, defuncto Lanfranco, suis dederat pro statuto servicio, illis ipsis haereditario jure tenendas, causa sui amoris, condonaret' (Eadmer).

249 Foundation charter of Alcester Priory.

250 Three other documents are found on the same folio. Of these the first is addressed to Lanfranc, Odo of Bayeux, Bishop Wulfstan, and Urse d'Abetot, and witnessed by Bishop Geoffrey (of Coutances) and (like our writ) by Eudo Dapifer, being also witnessed, like it, at Winchester. It is noteworthy that it grants Æthelwig the Hundred of Fishborough 'in potestate et justitia sua'.

251 Cott. MS. Vesp. B. xxvi. f. 15[18].

252 'Rex commisit ei curam istarum partium terrae ... ita ut omnium hujus patriae consilia atque judicia fere in eo penderent' (Hist. Evesham).]

253 Florence of Worcester.

254 'Cernens itaque rex grande sibi periculum imminere, debitum servitium ... exigit' (Liber Eliensis, p. 276).

255 'Rex Henricus contra fratrem suum Robertum, Normanniae comitem, super se in Anglia cum exercitu venientem, totius regni sui expeditionem dirigit' (Cart. Abingdon, ii. 121).

256 In the former case, between the crown and its tenant; in the latter, between the tenant and his under-tenant.

257 'Idem [Godcelinus de Riveria] dicebat se non debere facere servitium, nisi duorum militum, pro feudo quem tenebat de ecclesia, et abbas et sui dicebant eum debere servitium trium militum' (Cart. Abingdon, ii. 129). 'Cum a quodam duos milites ad servicium regis exigerem (tantum enim inde deberi ab olim a commilitonibus didiceram) ipse toto conatu obstitit, unius dumtaxat se militis servicio obnoxium obtestans.'—Henry, Abbot of Glastonbury (Domerham, p. 318).

258 Thus undermining Mr Freeman's argument: 'We hear of nothing in Domesday which can be called knight-service or military tenure in the later sense; the old obligations would remain; the primeval duty of military service, due, not to a lord as lord, but to the state and to the king as its head, went on,' etc. (Norm. Conq., v. 371).

259 Norm. Conq., v. 865.

260 Cartulary of Abingdon, ii. 3-7.

261 'In Winteham tenet Hubertus de Abbate v. hidas de terra villanorum' (i. 58b).

262 'Hubertus i. militem pro v. hidis in Witham' (p. 4).

263 'In Wichtham de terra villanorum curiae Cumenore obsequi solitorum, illo ab abbate cuidam militi nomine Huberto v. hidarum portio distributa est' (p. 7).

264 See Cart. Ab., ii. 138. Cf. Domesday, i. 58b: 'Willelmus tenet de abbate Leie.'

265 See p. 231.

266 This distinction, it will be found, is preserved in Henry's Charter of Liberties (1101): 'nec ... aliquid accipiam [1] de dominico ecclesiae vel [2] de hominibus ejus'.]

267 See my paper on 'The Knights of Peterborough', supra, p. 131.

268 In the transcript of the original return it is: 'habet hugo de bolebech ... de waltero giffard'.

269 Inquisitio Eliensis (O. 2. 1), f. 210, et seq. (see below, page 349).

270 See p. 166.

271 Hemingi Chartularium (ed. Hearne), 1723.

272 Norman Conquest, vol. v.

273 Interlineation.

274 Dapifer to Bishop Wulfstan.

275 He witnessed, as 'Ordric Niger', the conventio between Bishop Wulfstan and Abbot Walter of Evesham, and was perhaps Bishop Wulfstan's reeve (Heming, p. 420).

276 Probably Bishop Wulfstan's chancellor.

277 Although, from his ignorance of this document, Dr Stubbs was not aware of Ranulf's modus operandi, its evidence affords a fresh illustration of his unfailing insight, and of his perfect grasp of the problem even in the absence of proof. 'The analogy', he writes, 'of lay fiefs was applied to the churches with as much minuteness as possible.... Ranulf Flambard saw no other difference between an ecclesiastical and a lay fief than the superior facilities which the first gave for extortion.... The church was open to these claims because she furnished no opportunity for reliefs, wardships, marriage, escheats, or forfeiture' (Const. Hist., pp. 298-300).

278 It has been urged to me that relief on mutatio domini was a recognized practice, but I cannot find proof of it in English feudalism.

279 'Nec mortuo archiepiscopo, sive episcopo, sive abbate, aliquid accipiam de dominico ecclesiae vel de hominibus ejus donec successor in eam ingrediatur.'

280 There is a very important allusion to it, as introduced under Rufus, in the Abingdon Cartulary, ii. 42: 'Eo tempore [1097] infanda usurpata est in Anglia consuetudo, ut si qua prelatorum persona ecclesiarum vita decederet mox honor ecclesiasticus fisco deputaretur regis.'

281 Compare the words of the chronicle on the king claiming to be heir of each man, lay or clerk, with the expression 'honor in manum meam rediit'.

282 'Rogerium de Glocestra, probatum militem, in obsessione Falesiae arcubalistae jactu in capite percussum' (William of Malmesbury, ii. 475).

[pg 246]

[pg 247]




It is probable that in spite of all the efforts of that school which found in Mr Freeman its ablest and most ardent leader, the 'fatal habit', as he termed it at the outset of his magnum opus 'of beginning the study of English history with the Norman Conquest itself', will continue, in practice, to prevail among those who have a choice in the matter. It was characteristic of the late Professor to assign the tendency he deplored to 'a confused and unhappy nomenclature', for to him names, as I have elsewhere shown,1 were always of more importance than they are to the world at large. More to the point is the explanation given by Mr Grant Allen, who attributes to the unfamiliar look of Anglo-Saxon appellatives the lack of interest shown in those who bore them. And yet there must be, surely, a deeper cause than this, an instinctive feeling that in England our consecutive political history does, in a sense, begin with the Norman Conquest. On the one hand it gave us, suddenly, a strong, purposeful monarchy; on the other it brought us men ready to record history, and to give us—treason though it be to say so—something better than the arid entries in our jejune native chronicle. We thus exchange aimless struggles, told in an uninviting fashion, for a great issue and a definite policy, on which we have at our disposal materials deserving of study. From the moment of the Conqueror's landing we trace a continuous history, and one that we can really work at in the light of chronicles and records. I begin these studies, therefore, with the Conquest, or rather with the coming of the Normans. For, as Mr Freeman rightly insisted, it is with the reign of Edward the Confessor that 'the Norman Conquest really begins':2 it was 'his accession' that marked, in its results, 'the first stage of the Conquest itself'.3

[pg 248]

As he, elsewhere, justly observed of Edward:

Normandy was ever the land of his affection.... His heart was French. His delight was to surround himself with companions who came from the beloved land, and who spoke the beloved tongue, to enrich them with English estates, to invest them with the highest offices of the English kingdom.... His real affections were lavished on the Norman priests and gentlemen who flocked to his court as to the land of promise. These strangers were placed in important offices about the royal person, and before long they were set to rule as Earls and Bishops over the already half conquered soil of England.... These were again only the first instalment of the larger gang who were to win for themselves a more lasting settlement four and twenty years later. In all this the seeds of the Conquest were sowing, or rather ... it is now that the Conquest actually begins. The reign of Edward is a period of struggle between natives and foreigners for dominion in England.4

One has, it is true, always to remember that if Edward, on his mother's side, was a Norman, so was Harold, as his name reminds us, on his mother's side, a Dane. Nor is it without significance that, on the exile of his house (1051), he fled to the Scandinavian settlers on the Irish coast, and found, no doubt, among them those who shared his almost piratical return in 1052.5 The late Professor's bias against all that was 'French', together with his love for the 'kindred' lands of Germany and Scandinavia, led him, perhaps, to obscure the fact that England was a prey which the Dane was as eager to grasp as the Norman. But this in no way impugns the truth of his view that 'the Norman tendencies of Edward' paved the way for the coming of William. Nor can we hesitate to begin the study of the Norman Conquest with the coming of those, its true forerunners—

'Ke Ewart i aveit menéz

Et granz chastels è fieux dunez,'

and with whom may be said to have begun the story of Feudal England.

Professor Burrows is entitled to the credit of setting forth the theory, in his little book upon the Cinque Ports,6 that Edward the Confessor 'had evidently intended to make the little group of Sussex towns, the "New Burgh" [? afterwards Hastings], Winchelsea, and Rye, a strong link of communication between England and Normandy', by placing them under the control of Fécamp Abbey. He holds, indeed, that Godwine and Harold had contrived to thwart this intention in the case of the latter; but this, as I shall show in my paper on the Cinque Ports, arises from a misapprehension. [pg 249] This theory I propose to develop by adding the case of Steyning, Edward's grant of which to Fécamp is well known, and has been discussed by Mr Freeman. It might not, possibly, occur to any one that Steyning, like Arundel, was at that time a port. But in a very curious record of 1103, narrating the agreement made between the Abbot and De Braose, the Lord of Bramber, it is mentioned that ships, in the days of the Confessor, used to come up to the 'portus S. Cuthmanni' [the patron saint of Steyning], but had been lately impeded by a bridge that had been erected at Bramber. Here then was another Sussex port placed in Norman hands. Yet this does not exhaust the list. Mr Freeman seems to have strangely overlooked the fact that the great benefice of Bosham, valued under the Confessor at £300 a year, had been conferred by Edward on his Norman chaplain, Osbern, afterwards (1073) Bishop of Exeter, whose brother, in the words of the Regius Professor, was the 'Duke's earliest and dearest friend', and who, of course, was of kin both to William and to Edward. Now this Bosham, with Thorney Island, commanded a third Sussex harbour, Chichester haven.7

But at London itself also we find the Normans favoured. The very interesting charter of Henry II, granted by him, as Duke of the Normans, in 1150 or 1151, to the citizens of Rouen, confirms them in possession of their port at Dowgate, as they had held it from the days of Edward the Confessor.8 Here then we have evidence—which seems to have eluded the research of our historians, both general and local—that, even before the Conquest, the citizens of Rouen had a haven of their own at the mouth of the Walbrook, for which they were probably indebted to the Norman proclivities of the Confessor.

The building of 'Richard's Castle' plays a most important part in Mr Freeman's narrative of the doings of the Normans under Edward the Confessor. We hear of its building, according to him, in September 1051:

Just at this moment another instance of the insolence and violence of the foreigners in another part of the kingdom served to stir up men's minds to the highest pitch. Among the Frenchmen who had flocked to the land of promise was one named Richard the son of Scrob, who had received a grant of lands in Herefordshire. He and his son Osbern had there built a castle on a spot which, by a singularly lasting tradition, preserves to this day the memory of himself and his building. The fortress itself has vanished, but its site is still to be marked, and the name of Richard's castle, still borne by the parish in which it stood, is an abiding witness of the deep impression which its erection made on the minds of the men of those times.... Here then was [pg 250] another wrong, a wrong perhaps hardly second to the wrong which had been done at Dover. Alike in Kent and Herefordshire, men had felt the sort of treatment which they were to expect if the King's foreign favourites were to be any longer tolerated.9

Accordingly, Godwine, Mr Freeman wrote, demanded (September 8, 1051) 'the surrender of Eustace and his men and of the Frenchmen of Richard's Castle'. In a footnote to this statement, he explained that '"the castle" [of the Chronicle] undoubtedly means Richard's Castle, as it must mean in the entry of the next year in the same Chronicle'.10 Of the entry in question (1052) he wrote: '"The castle" is doubtless Richard's Castle.... Here again the expressions witness to the deep feeling awakened by the building of this castle.'11 So, too, in a special appendix we read:

A speaking witness to the impression which had been made on men's minds by the building of this particular Richard's Castle, probably the first of its class in England, is given by its being spoken of distinctively as 'the castle' even by the Worcester chronicler (1052; see p. 309), who had not spoken of its building in his earlier narrative.12

We have, thus far, a consistent narrative. There was in Herefordshire one castle, built by Richard and named after him. It had been the cause of oppression and ravage, and its surrender, as such, had been demanded by Godwine in 1051. A year later (September 1052) Godwine triumphs; 'it was needful to punish the authors of all the evils that had happened' (p. 333); and 'all the Frenchmen' who had caused them were at last outlawed. But now comes the difficulty, as Mr Freeman pointed out:

The sentence did not extend to all the men of Norman birth or of French speech who were settled in the country. It was meant to strike none but actual offenders. By an exception capable of indefinite and dangerous extension, those were excepted 'whom the King liked, and who were true to him and all his folk' (ii. 334).... We have a list of those who were thus excepted, which contains some names which we are surprised to find there. The exception was to apply to those only who had been true to the king and his people. Yet among the Normans who remained we find Richard, the son of Scrob, and among those who returned we find his son Osbern. These two men were among the chief authors of all evil (ii. 344).

That is to say, the Lord of Richard's castle, on whose surrender and punishment Godwine had specially insisted, was specially exempted, as guiltless, when Godwine returned to power.13

[pg 251]

In me, at least, this discrepancy aroused grave suspicion, and I turned to see what foundation there was for identifying the offending garrison of 1051 with that of Richard's castle. I at once discovered there was none whatever.

We have here, in short, one of those cases, characteristic, as I think, of the late Professor's work, in which he first formed an idea, and then, under its spell, fitted the facts to it without question. The view, for instance, of the unique position of Richard's castle as 'the castle' at the time is at once rendered untenable by the fact that, on the return of Godwine, Normans fled 'some west to Pentecostes castle, some north to Robert's castle', in the words of the Chronicle.14 Moreover, the former belonged to Osbern, 'whose surname was Pentecost' (cognomento Pentecost), who, as we learn from Florence, was forced to surrender it and leave the country, as was also the fate of another castellan, his comrade Hugh.15

It is important to observe the clear distinction between Richard, son of Scrob, of Richard's castle, and Osbern Pentecost, of Pentecost's castle, of whom the former was allowed to remain, while the latter was exiled. But it is another peculiarity of Mr Freeman's work that he was apt to confuse different individuals bearing the same name.16 In this instance, he boldly assumed that 'Pentecost, as we gather from Florence [?] ... is the same as Osbern, the son of Richard of Richard's castle, of whom we have already heard so much' (ii. 329), although the latter, a well-known man, is always distinguished as a son of his father, and never as Pentecost. And he further assumes that 'Pentecost's castle' was identical with Richard's castle, 'the first cause of so much evil' (Ibid.). These identifications led him into further difficulty, because Osbern, the son of Richard, is found afterwards holding 'both lands and offices in Herefordshire' (ii. 345). To account for this, he further assumes as 'certain that Osbern afterwards returned' (Ibid.). This assumption led him on to suggest that others also returned from exile, and that 'their restoration was owing to special entreaties of the King after the death of Godwine' (ii. 346). The whole of this history is sheer assumption, based on confusion alone.

Now let us clear our minds of this confusion, and keep the two castellans and their respective castles apart. On the one hand, we have Richard, the son of Scrob, who was left undisturbed at his [pg 252] castle, and was succeeded there by his son Osbern;17 on the other hand, we have Osbern, 'whose surname was Pentecost', and who had to surrender his castle, to which the guilty Normans had fled, and to go into exile. Can we identify that castle? I would venture to suggest that it was no other than that of Ewyas Harold in the south-west corner of Herefordshire, of which Domesday tells us that Earl William had re-fortified it ('hoc castellum refirmaverat'), implying that it had existed, and been dismantled before the Conquest. It heads, in the great survey, the possessions of Alfred of Marlborough, and although its holder T.R.E. is not mentioned, we read of the two Manors which follow it: 'Hæc duo maneria tenuit Osbernus avunculus Alveredi T.R.E. quando Goduinus et Heraldus erant exulati' (i. 186). Mr Freeman, of course, assumed that this Osbern was identical with Osbern, the son of Richard, the Domesday tenant-in-chief. This assumption is not only baseless, but also most improbable: for Alfred was old enough to be father-in-law to Thurstan (Mortimer), a Domesday tenant, and would scarcely therefore be young enough to be nephew to another Domesday tenant-in-chief. I would suggest that his uncle was that Osbern 'Pentecost' who had to surrender his castle and flee on the return of Godwine and Harold. This would exactly fit in with the Domesday statement, as also with the dismantling of Ewyas Castle.18

Ewyas Harold fits in also with the chronicle's mention of the Normans fleeing 'west' to Pentecost's castle.

We have now seen that Richard's castle did not stand alone, and that there is nothing to identify it with that Herefordshire castle ('ænne castel') of which the garrison had committed outrages in 1051, and which is far more likely, so far as our evidence goes, to have been 'Pentecost's Castle'. Mr Freeman rightly called attention to 'the firm root which the Normans had taken in Herefordshire before 1051, which looks very much as if they had been specially favoured in these parts' (ii. 562); and he argued from this that Earl Ralf had probably ruled the shire between 1046 and 1050. The Earl would naturally have introduced the foreign system of castles, as he did the foreign fashion of fighting on horseback. Indeed, speaking of the capture of Hereford in 1055, Mr Freeman wrote:

It is an obvious conjecture that the fortress destroyed by Gruffyd was a Norman castle raised by Ralph. A chief who was so anxious to make his people conform to Norman ways of fighting would hardly lag behind his neighbour at Richard's castle. He would be among the first at once to provide himself with a dwelling-place and his capital with a defence according to the latest continental patterns (ii. 391).

[pg 253]

But if this is so, he would have built it while he ruled the shire (as Mr Freeman believed he probably did) from 1046 to 1050, and would, in any case, have done so on taking up its government in 1051.19 Consequently he would have had a castle and garrison at Hereford in 1052. But Mr Freeman, describing Gruffyd's raid in that year into Herefordshire, and finding a castle mentioned, assumed that it could only be Richard's castle,20 although, a few lines before, he had admitted the existence of other castles in the shire.21 Even in 1067 he would have liked to hold that Richard's castle was the only one in Herefordshire, but the words of the chronicle were too clear for him.22

I have endeavoured to make clear my meaning, namely, that Mr Freeman's view that 'Richard's castle' stood alone as 'the castle', and that Richard and his garrison were the special offenders under Edward the Confessor, is not only destitute of all foundations, but at variance with the facts of the case. When we read of Herefordshire (1067) that

The Norman colony, planted in that region by Eadward and so strangely tolerated by Harold, was still doing its work. Osbern had been sheriff under Edward, even when Harold was Earl of the shire, and his father Richard, the old offender, still lived (iv. 64)—

we must remember that the conduct of Harold was only strange if Richard, as Mr Freeman maintained, was 'the old offender'. If, as Florence distinctly tells us, he was, on the contrary, void of offence, Harold's conduct was in no way strange.23

[pg 254]

Let us now turn from the Herefordshire colony, planted, I think, not so much by King Edward as by his Earl Ralph, just as Earl William (Fitz Osbern) planted a fresh one after the Conquest.

Among the Normans allowed to remain, on the triumph of Godwine's party in 1052, Florence mentions 'Ælfredum regis stratorem'. On him Mr Freeman thus comments:

Several Ælfreds occur in Domesday as great landowners, Ælfred of Marlborough (Osbern's nephew) and Ælfred of Spain, but it is not easy to identify their possessions with any holder of the name in Edward's time. The names Ælfred and Edward and the female name Eadgyth seem to have been the only English names adopted by the Normans. The two former would naturally be given to godsons or dependants of the two Athelings while in Normandy [i.e. after 1013].24

An appendix, in the first volume, devoted to Ælfred the giant—who appears in Normandy, circ. 1030—claims that Ælfred is a name so purely English that the presumption in favour of the English birth of any one bearing it 'in this generation is extremely strong',25 and that it was only adopted by 'a later generation of Normans'. Mr Freeman seems to have been unaware that in Britanny the name of Alfred enjoyed peculiar favour. I find it there as early as the ninth century,26 while I have noted in a single cartulary seventeen examples between 1000 and 1150. Among these are 'Alfridus frater Jutheli' (ante 1008) and Juthel, son of Alfred (1037). Now, at the Conquest, 'Judhael, who from his chief seat took the name of Judhael of Totnes, became the owner', in Mr Freeman's words, 'of a vast estate in Devonshire, and extended his possessions into the proper Cornwall also'. But we know from charters that this Judhael was the son of an Alfred, and was succeeded by another Alfred, who joined Baldwin of Redvers at Exeter in 1136.27 In the same county, as Mr Freeman reminds us, we have another Breton tenant-in-chief, 'Alvredus Brito'. In all this