Domesday pages for Essex

Domesday Book
A few distant estates owned by the Abbey of St Edmund


Suffolk Landowners in 1086
Beccles
The entry for Beccles is doubly interesting. Not only does it show the enormous quantities of fish that the abbey at Bury consumed in a year, but illustrates that Beccles was a sea-going fishing port at this time.

SUF 14,120
Land of [the Abbey of] St Edmund's
WANGFORD Hundred

St Edmund's held BECCLES before 1066;
2 carucates of land as a manor.
Always 2 villagers;
25 smallholders.
Then 2 slaves.
Always 1 plough in lordship; [***] men's [ploughs].
Meadow, 10 acres;
woodland for 8 pigs.
1 market,
26 burgesses;
the Abbot has 3 parts of the market and the King [has] the fourth [part].
2 cobs.
In the same [Beccles] 30 Freemen with every customary due; 1 1/2 carucates of land.
Under them, 20 smallholders.
Then 7 ploughs, now 8.
But they could sell their land before 1066.
1 church with 24 acres.
This manor then paid 30000 herrings; now 60000.
It has 1 league in length and 8 furlongs in width;
16d in tax.

Note on Beccles

It is interesting to note this comment, shown below, from the Domesday heading "Norfolk Lands of the King," about 32 burgesses fleeing from Norwich, 22 of whom set up in Beccles. Several reasons are given including "partly by Waleran". Waleran was a royal official, whose duties included the confiscation of land. Some streets in Norwich had been seized and demolished to make way for the new royal castle there. He may have been the same Waleran who elsewhere in Domesday is recorded as gaining lands by redeeming ransoms from men that he captured during the battle of Hastings in 1066.

NFK 1,63
Land of King William

Of the burgesses who dwelt in the Borough of NORWICH 22 left and dwell in Beccles, the Abbot of St Edmund's town
and 6 [dwell] in Humbleyard Hundred and they have quitted the Borough;
also in THORPE [St Andrew], the King's [manor], 1, on the land of Roger Bigot 1, under W[illiam] of Noyers 1, and Richard of Saint-Clair [has] 1.
Those fleeing and the others remaining have been utterly devastated partly because of Earl R[alph] [Wader]'s forfeitures, partly because of fires, partly because of the King's tax, partly by Waleran.

Southwold (Sudholda)
Landholder 14, entry 162 and 163.
This entry illustrates that the abbey at Bury was also supplied with fish from well outside the boundaries of the Liberty of St Edmund. Southwold lay across two separate Hundreds.

Bishop's Hundred

SUF 14,162
Southwold has 9 furlongs in length and 5 in width. This tract of land extends from the sea to Yarmouth. Tax of 2d.

Blything Hundred

SUF 14,163
St Edmund's holds Southwold for the supplies of the monks as a manor; 1 carucate of land.
5 villagers; 4 smallholders,
1 plough in lordship; 4 men's ploughs.
Meadow, 4 acres.
1 cob, 4 cattle, 3 pigs, 30 sheep.
The half of 1 sea-weir and the fourth part of another half.
Then it paid 20,000 herrings; now 25,000.
St Edmund's has full jurisdiction.


Essex Landowners in 1086
Harlow, in Essex
ESS 11,2
Land of the Abbey of St Edmund's
Half-Hundred of Harlow.

St Edmund holds Harlow now as then as 1 manor and 1 hides.
Then as now [there were] 2 ploughs in demesne and the men [had] 6 ploughs and [there were] 12 villans, 15 bordars and 4 slaves.
[There is] woodland for 150 pigs.
[There are] 30 acres of meadow, 1 mill, 4 horses, 25 head of cattle, 3 colts, 50 pigs, 60 sheep, 5 hives of bees.
To this manor were added 3 hides TRW, which 5 free men held TRE.
In these [hides] are now as then 6 ploughs in demesne, 8 bordars, 4 slaves.
[There is] woodland for 100 pigs.
[There are] 14 acres of meadow.
Then as now the manor was worth 8
and the 3 hides were then worth 70s.; now 4.

Prepared for the St Edmundsbury History Project
by David Addy, November 2009

Books consulted:
The Domesday Book - Facsimile with Translation, published by Phillimore Suffolk volume
Domesday Book textbase available online as Domesday Explorer
The Domesday Book Alecto version on CD-Rom


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