A HISTORY OF SURREY estates of which the total assessment was over 50 hides were held 'of him by others. Omitting this last category, we find that exactly one-tenth of the assessed value of the county was in the hands of Harold himself, while the rest of his family held nearly half as much again between them. In Sussex, of course, they had absorbed between them a far greater proportion of the county. It has been weightily observed by Professor Maitland that As with the estates of the king, so with the estates of the earls, we find it im- possible to distinguish between private property and official property. . . . one of the best marked features of Domesday Book, a feature displayed on page after page, the enormous wealth of the house of Godwin, seems only explicable by the supposition . that the earlships and the older ealdormanships had carried with them a title to the enjoyment of wide lands. That enormous wealth had been acquired within a marvel- lously short time ... a great deal of simple rapacity is laid to the charge of Harold . . . but the greater part of the land ascribed to Godwin, his widow, and his sons, seems to consist of comitales Whether Harold's Surrey estates were connected or not with the earldom (as in the south-west of England), they point to a time when his influence was distinctly greater in the county than that of his brother Leofwine. The landed settlement, under the Conqueror, was materially affected by the existence of these estates of Harold. In Surrey, for instance, he reserved for himself the whole of those which his fallen rival had held in his own hands, except Wotton, to which Harold's title was questioned by the Domesday jurors. Of the manors that William thus obtained, he gave Battersea and Pirford, in exchange for Windsor,* to Westmin- ster, and bestowed Limpsfield on the abbey of his own foundation at Battle ; but all the rest he held in 1086. With the manors 'held of Harold by dependent thegns it was different. Tadworth and Little Bookham, which had been held of him by ' Godtovi,' were bestowed on William de Briouze (' Braiose '), while Oswold retained as a thegn of the King the Wisley estate he had held of Harold. The remaining five estates which had been held of him by various persons went to swell the fief of Odo bishop of Bayeux. In Surrey, therefore, there would seem to have been a certain method in the disposal of Harold's lands. Next to the house of Godwine we may place ' Alnod cild,' whose important manor of Bramley heads the fief of the bishop of Bayeux. An English noble, who was also known, from the chief seat of his power, as ' Alnod ' of Canterbury or of Kent, his wide possessions reached not only into Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire, but even into Oxfordshire, Northants, and Bucks. The Domesday scribes, who, as in Surrey, spoke indiffer- ently of William's predecessor as ' Harold ' or as ' earl Harold,' were similarly careless of the styles of dispossessed Englishmen, so that the ' Alnod ' who had held the great manor of Banstead may well have been the same man. His name, however, was not uncommon, and an ' Alnod 1 Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 168. 2 It is only from the Surrey Domesday that we obtain this information. Under Windsor itself Domesday gives us no hint that Edward had bestowed it on Westminster Abbey. 282
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/342
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