The history of yeovil

domesday - Part two

Yeovil at Domesday

 

After the Conquest King William gave the manors of Yeovil to Robert, Count of Mortain and William, Count of Eu. The manor that was to become Kingston was held by tenant-in-chief Robert, Count of Mortain and half-brother to William the Conqueror. Robert also held Houndstone. William, Count of Eu was tenant-in-chief to that part of Yeovil and part of Preston Plucknett that would become Hendford manor. To this were added 22 free holdings, later known as "The Tenement" which would later became the medieval manorial borough under the Maltravers family, Lords of Hendford. Ansger de Montagud held that part of Preston Plucknett later known as Preston Bermondsey and Lyde was held by tenant-in-chief Roger Arundel.

Domesday Book records Ivle / Givele, Prestetone, Hundestone and Eslide in several entries as shown below. The total population (not including the separate entries for Preston, Houndstone and Lyde) was in excess of fifty households which was quite large for the time and the total tax assessment of eight geld units was very large and shows Yeovil to have been quite profitable for the lords.

 

This is the first extract of Domesday Book referring to Yeovil, written here as 'Ivle'. It was held by under-tenant Hugh Maltravers from William d'Eu. Hugh came over from Normandy and held ten manors, mainly in Somerset and north Dorset but also in Wiltshire.

Essentially this entry tells that Hugh Maltravers held Yeovil of William d'Eu and that in the time of King Edward it was held by Aelfstan of Boscombe who paid geld for six hides. Hugh held 1½ hides in demesne with a plough and three slaves while eleven villeins and fourteen bordars shared the remaining 4½ hides, sharing six ploughs between them. There were just three cattle, five pigs and thirty two sheep. It was worth eight pounds in 1066 and was worth the same in 1086. There are three cattle, five pigs and thirty two sheep. There is a mill worth ten shillings. To the manor have been added the twenty two messuages which were held in parage in King Edwards time by twenty two men who paid rent of twelve shillings.

This, the largest of Yeovil's manors, would become the manor of Hendford, part of Preston Plucknett (see below) and the manor of the borough of Yeovil. The mill was almost certainly a predecessor of Frogg Mill which was still operating into the twentieth century.

The twenty two messuages held 'in parage' means that twenty two men rented their properties in equality of condition, blood or dignity - presumably equal amongst themselves and for an equal annual rent of about 6½d each. This is generally accepted that certain rights and privileges had been granted to these twenty two men as freemen.

These twenty two messuages, later known as 'The Tenement', indicate that a small Saxon vill was within the the nucleus of the foundling borough of Yeovil. In Saxon terms, a vill was a small collection of houses, in other words a village. A statute of Exeter, 14 Edward I [1286 AD] mentions entire-vills, demivills, and hamlets.

The breakdown of this entry is as follows

Lords in 1066 Aelfstan, or Alestan, of Boscombe; men, 22

1086 Tenant-in-Chief William d'Eu

Lord in 1086 Hugh Maltravers

Taxable Units Taxable value 6 geld units. Payments of 12 shillings rent.

Value Value to lord in 1066 £8.
Value to lord c1070 £8 12s
Value to lord in 1086 £8.

Households 11 villeins, 14 bordars, 3 slaves

Ploughland 6 hides. 1 lord's plough team, 6 men's plough teams.

Other resources 1½ hides lord's lands. Meadow 33 acres. Pasture 30 acres.
1 mill, value 10 shillings

Livestock in 1086 3 cattle. 5 pigs. 32 sheep.

 

This is the second extract of Domesday Book referring to Yeovil, written here as 'Givele'. Robert, Count of Mortain was tenant-in-chief and held the lordship of this part of the manor for himself, while sub-letting the other part, as seen below, to an under-tenant. This was later to become the manor of Kingston and both parts were originally held by four Anglo-Saxon thanes - a thane being a man ranking above an ordinary freeman and below a noble in Anglo-Saxon England, especially one who gave military service in exchange for land.

Robert held one hide in demesne and there were two further hides with two bordars, or smallholders. The value was four shillings a year.

The breakdown is as follows

Lords in 1066 Thanes, four

1086 Tenant-in-Chief Robert, Count of Mortain

Lord in 1086 Robert, Count of Mortain

Taxable Units Taxable value 1 geld unit.

Value Value to lord c1070 £1
Value to lord in 1086 4 shillings

Households 2 bordars

Ploughland 2 hides.

Other resources 1 hide lord's lands.

Livestock in 1086 None listed.

 

This is the third extract of Domesday Book referring to Yeovil, and is actually the second part of Robert, Count of Mortain's manor that would become Kingston, as listed above in the second entry. This entry was made separately because although Robert was tenant-in-chief, is was sub-let to the under-tenant, Amund. It was a hide in size, valued at a pound and housed two bordars, five cattle, five pigs and ninety five sheep. There was also a mill valued at five shillings which was almost certainly the predecessor of Pen Mill.

The breakdown is as follows.

Lords in 1066 Thanes, four

1086 Tenant-in-Chief Robert, Count of Mortain

Lord in 1086 Amund

Taxable Units Taxable value 1 geld unit.

Value Value to lord c1070 ten shillings
Value to lord in 1086 £1

Households 2 bordars

Ploughland 1 hide

Other resources 1 mill, value five shillings

Livestock in 1086 5 cattle. 5 pigs. 95 sheep.

 

Although Preston Plucknett was not incorporated into Yeovil until 1928, for completeness this is the extract of Domesday Book referring to the eastern part of Preston Plucknett later known as Preston Bermondsey. The remainder of Preston Plucknett was included in the 'Ivle' of William d'Eu described in the first entry above.

Preston Bermondsey, called Prestetone in Domesday, was quite small with only nine households and had a similarly small value of just two geld units. In the time of King Edward it had been held by Alward but it is not possible to tell who this pre-Conquest lord Alward was as it was a very common name at the time. No tenant-in-chief is recorded since Ansger of Montagud held it directly from the king. There was a cob, or riding horse, five cattle and eighty sheep.

The breakdown is as follows

Lord in 1066 Alward

1086 Tenant-in-Chief

Lord in 1086 Ansger de Montagud

Taxable Units Taxable value 2 geld units

Value Value to lord c1070 16 shillings
Value to lord in 1086 forty shillings

Households 8 bordars. 1 slave

Ploughland 1 hide. 1 lord's plough team

Other resources Meadow 10 acres

Livestock in 1086 1 cob. 5 cattle. 80 sheep.

 

While Houndstone was not incorporated into Yeovil until recently, for completeness this is the extract of Domesday Book referring to Hundestone. With a total number of seven households this was considered quite a small population but it had a very small value of just one geld unit.

In the time of King Edward it had been jointly held by three thanes but post-Conquest Robert, Count of Mortain was tenant-in-chief and Ansger the Breton was under-tenant, probably the same Ansger de Montagud who held Prestetone above.

The breakdown is as follows

Lord in 1066 Three thanes

1086 Tenant-in-Chief Robert, Count of Mortain

Lord in 1086 Ansger the Breton

Taxable Units Taxable value 1 geld unit

Value Value to lord c1070 ten shillings
Value to lord in 1086 £1

Households 2 villeins. 3 bordars. 2 slaves

Ploughland 1 hide. 1 lord's plough team. ½ men's plough team

Other resources 0.62 lord's lands, Meadow 3.5 acres

Livestock in 1086 3 cattle. 50 sheep.

 

For completeness, this is the extract of Domesday Book referring to Lyde, the breakdown is as follows

Lords in 1066 Godwin, Saeric

1086 Tenant-in-Chief Roger of Arundel

Lord in 1086 Ascelin

Taxable Units Taxable value 2 geld units

Value Value to lord c1070 £2
Value to lord in 1086 £2

Households 1 smallholder. 4 slaves

Ploughland 2 hides. 2 lord's plough teams

Other resources 1.87 lord's lands. Meadow 4 acres. Woodland 2 acres.

Livestock in 1086 4 pigs. 53 sheep.

 

With a total number of five households this was considered a very small population and it had quite a small value of just two geld units.

It is not possible to tell who the pre-Conquest lords Godwin and Saeric were. Godwin was a very common name across the country but the name Saeric was only associated with twelve places in Domesday, mostly in Somerset.

The tenant-in-chief "Rogerius Arundel" held a Somersetshire barony of twenty-eight manors in Domesday and was tenant-in-chief of forty more, again mostly in Somerset and north Dorset and including locally Cary Fitzpaine, Charlton Mackrell, Cudworth, and Penselwood. No one precisely knows who he was, but the generally received opinion is that he was a kinsman of Roger de Montgomeri,

Similarly, it is not really clear who the under-tenant, Ascelin, was. The name appears several times in Domesday, all post-Conquest, and may not be the same person. A lord called Ascelin, possibly the same person, also held manors locally at Foddington, Stowell and Frome as well as Farrington Gurney, Ston Easton and West Harptree, all near Chewton.
 

 

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