The English Historical Review/Volume 37/St. Benet of Holme and the Norman Conquest

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St. Benet of Holme and the Norman Conquest

The agrarian history of East Anglia in the middle ages is the natural result of the form of society described in the Domesday survey of that region, but the East Anglian Domesday is at present a record in isolation. Few documents have been published to illustrate the working of the characteristic East Anglian economy in the early decades of the twelfth century. The distinctive features of that economy, the absence of any standard peasant tenement, the loose attachment of free landowners to estates devoid of any geographical unity, the prevalence of the cash nexus as the tie uniting lord and man, undoubtedly persisted through this dark age. But at the present time any records which throw light upon East Anglian society in the two generations which followed the Conqueror's death are of value as rarities, quite apart from any intrinsic interest which they may possess.

The late thirteenth-century register of the abbey of St. Benet of Holme[1] contains important material of this kind. Essentially a collection of leases and grants of monastic property, it includes copies of many royal writs and private charters, and numerous incidental memoranda. Among these memoranda a hand of the fourteenth century has copied a detailed statement of the encroachments which the property of the abbey had suffered from Roger Bigod, the greatest landowner in Norfolk in 1086, and his men.[2] The original statement was composed between the election of Abbot Richer in or soon after October 1101 and Roger Bigod's death in 1107. It was a strictly contemporary record. It speaks of encroachments by the reeves of Ivo de Verdun in the year in which it was written. It may be regarded as an appendix to the schedule of 'Invasiones in Nordfulc' which concludes the Norfolk Domesday.[3]

Que Rogerus Bigot ⁊ homines eius de abbacia sancti Benedicti iniuste subtraxerunt.ʼ subscripta manifestant. Ipsemet .R. apud Smalebergam aufert quicquid Walterus tenet ⁊ quicquid habet in Tunstede hundred.[4] Ipse etiam Walterus aufert iniuste . Ulfkitelo homini nostro de Dilham .x. acras ⁊ quendam hominem.[5] Et in Ludham ferding in Scharstede .iii. acras quas tenuit Oswaldus . ⁊ Cnut rex dedit monasterio cum Horninga.[6] Et apud Westwyc. ipse .R. aufert .iiOS. sokemannos. Leffi [sic] ⁊ Howard.[7] Et apud Thurgertonam .xx. acras quas possederunt due mulieres . Blide ⁊ Tbie [sic] ⁊ iiii. homines.[8] Et apud Suthstede.ʼ domum Elfgari cum carrucata terre.[9] Et Elwyne de Basingham sedet super duas acras que pertinent ad aulam de Thurgertona.[10] Et in Tweyt .ii. acras ⁊ dimidiam ⁊ quendam hominem aufert ipse .R.[11] Et in Grengesvilla domum Wymundi presbiteri ⁊ quicquid pertinet domui. Et de pastura que adiacet aule.ʼ prepositus eius abstulit .xii. acras.[12] Et inter Poringlond ⁊ Magnam Schotesham .xv. acras.[13] Et apud Ludham ferding aufert ipse .R. scilicet in Hecham Elwine Ecses ⁊ quicquid possidet . ⁊ Edelwold cum dimidia possessione . ⁊ Elfpricum [sic] fratrem ems similiter.[14] Et in Fretone .vi acras.[15] Et in Catefeld dimidiam possessionem cuiusdam domus quam tenuit Bondus . ⁊ manredam cuiusdam mulieris cum .ii. acris.[16] In Waltona .ii. acras.[17] Et Ulf aufert dimidiam acram terre in Fleg.[18] Egelwy pater Stannardi abstulit apud … terram ⁊ aulam Ringolfi . qui cum abbate perrexit in Denemarke. Et ideo Egelwy illam terram reseysiuit ad manum regis . nunc autem nec rex nec sanctus Benedictus habet Et in eodem tempore seisiuit Lefchild cum terra sua ⁊ dimidiam manredam Elfredi . ⁊ dimidiam manredam Snuningi [sic] cum suis possessionibus . ⁊ Scotlande cum sua possessione.[19] Et Godricum presbiterum de Clypesby cum dimidia possessione.[20] Et in eodem tempore ad Reppes seisiuit ipse Egelwinus . Bonde pine ⁊ alterum Bondum filium Offles ⁊ Lefchild ⁊ Wlfmerum filium Sirici ⁊ Haward filium Tudeles.[21] Et Tukke fabrum apud Askeby ⁊ Estan cum sua possessione.[22] Et apud Sumertonam abstulit ipse .E. dimidiam manredam Anundi cum dimidia possessione.[23] Et filius Egelwy.ʼ Stannardus post abbatis Alfwoldi obitum apud Burch triginta acras de terra Eluiue . et tres manredas abstulit cum suis possessionibus.[24] Et apud Ouby abstulit ipse S. domum Leofchildi ⁊ dimidiam possessionem eius.[25] Et apud Tyrne dimidium possessionis Ulfketeli ⁊ .iiii. toftas terre quas ei Alfwoldus abbas accommodauit.[26] Et postquam abbas Richerus abbaciam suscepit aufert ipse .S. in Ouby Aileue cum dimidia possessione . ⁊ unam acram que pertinet ad aulam de Askeby.[27] In Askeby Wlfmerum filium Tukke cum tribus acris terre ⁊ unam manredam Edwini cum familia sua.[28] Et apud Saxlingham Iuc de Verdun aufert quinque sokemannos . scilicet . Colsweyn . Langebeyn . Truinwine . Stannard . Anund . ⁊ hos homines abstulit post mortem . Alfwoldi abbatis dum monasterium esset sub manu regis.[29] Et apud Multone aufert ipse .I. unani toftam cum segete . ⁊ de tofta ecclesie dimidiam acram . ⁊ de altera tofta dimidiam acram. Et apud Waketone auferunt prepositi eius Coleman ⁊ Wlricus . in hoc anno partem nemoris que ad nos pertinet . ⁊ partem nemoris ad Aselaketonam . aufert ipse .I. ⁊ homines illius.[30] Apud Tybenham aufert Walterus Canut .iias. toftas ⁊ quicquid ad illas pertinet. Et cum quidam noster homo uellet domum transferre sicut uicini fecerunt . scilicet Ringolf uenit ipse .W. ⁊ procidit lingna [sic] ⁊ artiffices [sic] uerberauit . ⁊ domum edifficare [sic] prohibuit.[31] Et iterum de Colesrode aufert quantum homines de uilla cognoscunt.[32] Et preter hec partes terre apud Antingham homines Rogeri . Gouti ⁊ socii sui auferunt quartam partem pasture qua fodiuntur turue.[33] Et in Stalham Rodbertus Dulum [sic] aufert sextam partem pasture ⁊ nemoris.[34]

At the time when the memorandum was written Norfolk was still a county sub lege Danorum. It is therefore natural that there should be a distinct Scandinavian element among the personal names which occur in the memorandum. It is much smaller than the Old English element, but it has a distinctive character. The names Gouti, Howard, Langebeyn, Ringolf, Anund, are rarely found in documents which relate to the Northern Danelaw. Bond or Bonde, one of the commonest native personal names in twelfth-century Norfolk, is rare in Lincolnshire. The names which occur in other portions of the register of St. Benet's produce the same impression. The Anglo-Scandinavian personal names which survived into the twelfth century form an immense mass of material upon which little work has been done as yet. But the suggestion may be hazarded that it may be possible ultimately to establish differences between the personal nomenclature of the several parts of the Danelaw which go back to the settlement of the ninth century itself.

Unlike Domesday, the present memorandum deals with individuals, not with classes of men. In two passages it speaks of sokemanni, but for the rest it tells nothing of the rank or status of the peasants to whom it refers. Nevertheless it provides valuable material for comparison with the terminology of Domesday. In particular, the word manreda, a Latin form of the Old English mannrœdenn, 'homage.', is interesting in this connexion. The word is used in the Old English Chronicle as late as the annal for 1137, but it does not seem to have been noticed in any private document written after the Norman Conquest.[35] The act of homage was the essential feature of the transaction by which a free man placed himself under the authority of a superior, and the present text suggests very strongly that mannrœdenn was the English word which the clerks who wrote the East Anglian Domesday represented by commendatio. The following writ issued by Earl Ralf of East Anglia shows that the word was current in that region before the date of Domesday:

Radulphus comes E. presbitero ⁊ omnibus baronibus de hundredo salutem. Sciatis me dedisse Grim capellano meo manredam Askitelis ⁊ quicquid tenet in Walsham cum sache ⁊ sokne ⁊ omni consuetudine ⁊ ingang ⁊ utgang ad opus ecclesie sancti Benedicti de Hulmo sicut egomet melius habui. Valete.[36]

This writ, which is probably translated from an Old English original, anticipates the numerous private charters which record the grant of a tenant's homage and land. The phrase 'manredam Askitelis et quicquid tenet' explains the more difficult 'tres manredas abstulit cum suis possessionibus' of the memorandum. The 'possessiones' are the tenements of the men whose homages were withdrawn from the abbey. It may also be noted that the phrase 'manredam Edwini cum familia sua', which occurs in the memorandum, anticipates the occasional twelfth-century charter formulas which convey to a third party 'homagium X cum sequela sua'.

In several passages the memorandum states that the abbey has lost half the manred of this or that individual. It is clear from the East Anglian Domesday that a man's commendation might be divided between two or more lords.[37] There has been preserved a copy of the writ by which the Confessor consents that Ælfric Modercope may bow to the two abbots of Bury St. Edmunds and Ely.[38] In other cases the division of a family inheritance might lead to a partition of the profits derived from the homage, the commendatio, of free tenants.[39] The language of Domesday proves that such partitions were, in fact, made,[40] though it is difficult to find early documents which illustrate them. One of the earliest records in the register of St. Benet's shows the abbot, as lord, dividing an estate with the manredae of the tenants upon it between three claimants:

Hec est conuencio que facta est ab abbate Richero inter Edricum ⁊ sororem ⁊ nepotem Goduuini monachi de terra apud Felmingham que pertinet ad candelam . reddens per annum .xxv. solidos. Partita est tota terra illa cum manredis eiusdem terre in duo . et accepit Edricus unam partem unde dabit per annum .xii. solidos ⁊ vi. denarios ad hos terminos . ad festum sancte Marie candelarum .iiii. solidos ⁊ duos denarios . ad pentecosten .iiii. solidos ⁊ duos denarios . et ad natiuitatem sancte Marie . quatuor solidos ⁊ duos denarios . Soror quoque ⁊ nepos Godwini acceperunt alteram partem terre . unde totidem solidos ⁊ totidem denarios dabunt ad candelam ⁊ ad eosdem terminos. Si reddiderint ⁊ conuencionem seruauerint.ʼ scilicet Edricus ⁊ soror ⁊ nepos Godwini.ʼ in pace teneant. Quod si non fecerint . tollatur ab eis terra. Testimonio domini abbatis Richeri . ⁊ Godwini monachi . ⁊ Gilberti monachi . Hermanni dapiferi ⁊ fratris eius Walteri . Roberti balistarii ⁊ filii eius Odari etc. Hec conuencio facta est apud hundredum de Walsham.[41]

The personal character of the relationship between lord and man expressed in the ceremony of homage explains the general character of the invasiones recorded in the memorandum. The lands of the abbey had suffered encroachment, though not to any very serious extent. The heaviest losses which the abbey had sustained consisted in the withdrawal of the homages and services of its tenants. It does not seem to have been difficult to induce or compel a man to do homage to a new lord without his former lord's consent. It need not be assumed that this withdrawal was always in defiance of law and custom. There is little doubt that most of the men of whose loss the memorandum complains were personally free—sokemen or liberi homines rather than villeins. They or their ancestors may well have enjoyed the liberty of choosing a new lord at their own will. Of actual violence there is little trace in the memorandum. The assault which Walter Canut made on Ringolf of Tibenham when he wished to move his house to a new place stands alone, and should not be taken as evidence of an unsettled state of society. Such episodes might occur at any time. They are often recorded upon the plea rolls of the thirteenth century.

Encroachments of the kind described in the memorandum were not confined to the period which followed the Norman Conquest. Early in the reign of Henry II Abbot William II obtained a writ commanding him to do justice between his church and one of its tenants who was deforcing it of lands in the hundreds of Flegg. The substance of the writ is entered by a later hand at the foot of a page in the register. It was copied with little care, and its text is imperfect. But judicial writs issued before 1168 are not common, and this example has value as an illustration of social conditions:

Memorandum quod dominus rex Henricus misit breue suum abbati Willelmo sub hac forma. Precipio quod plenarie rectum teneas ecclesie sancti Benedicti et monachis de Hulmo de Richardo filio Hugonis qui iniuste eis terras suas difforciat in Fleg et eas sine ullo seruicio tenet . terram . scilicet . que fuit Stannardi diaconi . xxv acras in campo et in marisco . octo acras . terram Swalegot . viii acras in campo et ii. in marisco . terram Wluan . iiii acras in campo . et .ii. in marisco . terram Laui . vi. acras . in campo et ii in marisco . terram Alfrici stein . ii. acras in campo et dimidiam acram terram Snuning [sic] . i. acram et i. percam infra nemus iuxta domum suam .iii. acras et super terram illam est unum horreum et omnes alie domus que sunt in curia preter aulam et solarium Et ⟨de⟩ dominio abbatis triginta acras et dimidiam et in marisco de Ouby . xl acras Et in Burc de terra Bertelot .lx. acras in campo et .x. in marisco Et in Sumertona et in Wyntertona .xvi hominia et lvi acras in campo et viii. in marisco . terram Eluuin [sic] nonne .xl acras in campo et vi. hominia [sic] . terram Goche in Clepesby . unam acram in campo. Et si non feceris etc.[42]

The resemblance between the encroachments of Richard son of Hugh and those which are recorded in the memorandum is curiously close. There is the same subtraction of small parcels of land and the same withdrawal of tenants' homage. There is no doubt that the hominia of the writ represent the manredae of the memorandum. It is an important social fact that St. Benet could still claim the homage of twenty-two tenants in the two villages of Somerton and Winterton. In this corner of Norfolk, at any rate, manorial discipline had not yet superseded the ancient bond of homage, with all that it implied of the tenants' original independence.

It is clear from the memorandum itself that the encroachments which it records were not entirely the work of Roger Bigod and his Norman followers. They had begun before Roger can have entered into full possession of his Norfolk fee. Alwi of Thetford, the Egelwy of the memorandum and one of the wealthiest antecessores of Roger Bigod in Norfolk, had undoubtedly filled some official position in that county in the years immediately after the Conquest. The Norfolk Domesday contains several passages which suggest that he may once have been sheriff, though he is never addressed in that capacity in any writ of William I. It was obviously in process of law that he seized the land of the fugitive Ringolf of Oby, and some of the other encroachments which are ascribed to him may be explained in the same way. In the confusion which followed the Conquest the distinction between the land of Alwi's inheritance and the land which he seized to the king's use might easily be blurred.

In a different connexion, the memorandum supplies a fragment of new evidence relating to the time which immediately followed the Conquest. The Abbot Alfwold of the memorandum was ruling at St. Benet's already in 1066. He is the Abbot Alwold to whom King Harold entrusted the defence of the coast in that year.[43] John of Oxnead, the thirteenth-century monk of St. Benet's, who records this fact, goes on to relate that the abbot suffered tribulations from the Conqueror, but returned to his abbey, and died on 14 November 1089. William of Worcester, writing in the fifteenth century, states that the abbot received the custody of Norfolk from Harold, fled into Denmark, and never returned to England.[44] On the question of the abbot's return the evidence of John of Oxnead is to be preferred. The precision of his chronology makes it certain that Ælfwold was still abbot of St. Benet's at the accession of William II. He was present at the great inquest of 2 April 1080 concerning the liberties of the church of Ely.[45] It follows that he is the abbot, unnamed in the memorandum, with whom Ringolf of Oby fled into Denmark, and Ælfwold of St. Benet's may be added to the list of Englishmen who after the Conquest sought for a time the court of Swein Estrithson. The abbot's return is implied in a charter granted by one of his successors named William, probably William I, 1127–34:

Notum sit presentibus ⁊ futuris del fidelibus . dompnum abbatem Willelmum ⁊ monachos ecclesie sancti Benedicti de Holm in conmmni capitulo dedisse ⁊ concessisse Petro camerario quecumque fuerunt Egelwardi de Houetone[46] in eadem uilla silicet [sic] Houetone ⁊ in North Walsham . uel in aliis locis . in terris ⁊ homagiis . in pascuis ⁊ pratis ⁊ moris . in bosco ⁊ plano ⁊ in omnibus rebus ⁊ consuetudinibus quas idem Egelwardus uncquam [sic] melius habuit una die ⁊ una nocte tempore Afwoldi abbatis. Ita ut nemo ex eisdem rebus aliquid habeat nisi per ipsum . set libere ⁊ quiete teneat omnia illa in feodum ipse Petrus ⁊ heres eius in perpetuum reddens inde singulis annis celerario octo solidos ad mensam fratrum pro omni seruicio tribus competentibus terminis . ad festum sancti Edmundi tres solidos . ad pascha duos solidos . octaua die ante festum sancti Benedicti in estate tres solidos. Huius donacionis sunt testes Adam dapifer. Richerus de Ouby etc.[47]

The Abbot Afwold of this document can be no other than the Alwold of John of Oxnead and the Athelwold or Alfwold of the memorandum. The reference to his abbacy as a note of date is important. It suggests, what is borne out by many documents in the cartulary, that, invasiones apart, the condition of St. Benet's free tenants underwent little serious change under the Norman kings. The following charter, for example, shows a tenant of native ancestry receiving between 1153 and 1168 land under the conditions which had governed its tenure for the previous two generations:

Sciant presentes ⁊ futuri fideles dei quod ego secundus Willelmus dei gracia abbas ecclesie sancti Benedicti de Hulmo communi consilio ⁊ uoluntate tocius capituli nostri concessi ⁊ dedi in feodo ⁊ hereditate Ricardo clerico totam terram aui sui Brictnod 7 Hagene patris sui in Burwde[48]. ⁊ insuper totam terram Swartingi in eadem uilla . quam emit ab heredibus illius terre saluis consuetudinibus ad aulam de Neteshirde[48] pertinentibus. Has uero terras habebit ⁊ tenebit predictus clericus Ricardus ⁊ heredes sui libere ⁊ quiete in campo ⁊ prato ⁊ in turbariis sicut unquam predecessores sui eas melius ⁊ liberius tenuerunt in uita sua . ⁊ eisdem consuetudinibus. Huius concessionis ⁊ donacionis sunt testes . Philippus capellanus . Willelmus presbiter de Neteshirda . Henricus medicus de Bolwyc . Richerus filius Odonis . Nicholaus miles de Tyrna . Henricus de Stiuekeswrde . Simundus de Ludham . .Hugo de Rollesby . Haraldus clericus . Wistanus prepositus . Reginaldus filius Wistani . Robertus de Ingham . Petrus filius Stannardi de Waxtonesham ⁊ multi alii.[49]

The documents in the cartulary make it evident that the payment of a rent in money formed the essential tie between the abbey and its tenants. The greater estates of the abbey were composed of scattered holdings held together by their contribution to a common firma.[50] But the tenant was the abbot's justiciable. A charter granted by Abbot Anselm between 1134 and 1140 brings out very clearly the fact that seignorial justice was a privilege to the tenant as well as a source of profit and influence to the lord:

Notum sit presentibus ⁊ futuris quod ego Anselmus dei gracia abbas ⁊ conuentus sancti Benedicti de Hulmo . dedimus ⁊ concessimus Wyther cognomento Turnel ⁊ suo heredi in feodo ⁊ hereditate .xii. acras quas Wlmerus de Ristone tenuit ⁊ unam acram quam Leuinggus cognomento Ludding tenuit in Erpingham hundred. Insuper ei dedimus ⁊ concessimus totam terram que pertinet ad dominium nostrum de Scothowe[51] in Tunstede hundred pro quatraginta denariis de redditu pro omni seruicio per annum . nec inde placitet contra aliquem nisi in curia abbatis ⁊ monachorum ubi hec largicio ei facta est in comuni [sic] capitulo. Ipse uero Wyther ⁊ heredes eius post obitum illius dabit singulis annis ad festum sancti Benedicti in estate quatuor denarios ad altare. Huius rei testes sunt . Adam presbiter de Tunsted Osbernus de Redham . Willelmus de Hobosse Eudo de Felmingham . Lambertus de Birkele . Hugo de Estone . Edricus pet Wlricus de Birnesuurde Eche Suetman . Godricus . Lelberd etc.[52]

The examples which have been given are perhaps enough to show the general interest of the early charters in the register of St. Benet's. It would be hard to find a series which illustrates more clearly the dealings of a great East Anglian religious house with its tenants. It is an important fact that these dealings throughout presuppose the existence of the peculiar form of society which is described in the Domesday survey of East Anglia.

F. M. Stenton.


  1. MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii.
  2. fo. 205.
  3. The text is reproduced with the punctuation of the manuscript, but capital letters have been inserted where sense demanded them. All the places mentioned in the memorandum and in the other documents which follow are in Norfolk.
  4. In Smallburgh a sokeman gave a ploughland to St. Benot T.R.E., and held it of the abbot in 1086 (D. B. ii. 219 b). In the same place there were twenty-eight other sokemen in 1086 with a ploughland among them. Roger Bigod had three free men there, of whom one had belonged to Robert Malet's predecessor, the other two to St. Benet, who possessed soke over all three (ibid. ii. 187). The Walter of the text cannot be identified in Domesday, but he is certainly identical with the Walter of Smallburgh whose gift to Thetford priory was confirmed by William Bigod, Roger's son (Mon. Ang. v. 149, col. 2).
  5. Domesday assigns to St. Benet a sokeman having thirty acres, one bordar, and a plough-team (ii. 219 b). The Ulfkitel of the text is probably identical with this sokeman.
  6. The phrase Ludham ferding comprises that portion of Happing hundred which is included in the Domesday description of St. Benet's manor of Ludham (ii. 220). It is probable that this portion was originally an exact quarter of the hundred, for Ludham paid 5s. of geld out of 19s. 6¼d. laid upon the hundred as a whole (Vict. County Hist., Norfolk, ii. 207). Another of these quarters was formed by Waxham and Happisburgh, paying 2s. 6d. each. 'Scharstede' is not separately entered in Domesday, nor is there any reference to this place in Cnut's charter founding St. Benet's abbey, which merely purports to grant the vill called Horning with its appurtenances of Ludham and Neatishead (Mon. Ang. iii. 83). The ferding as the quarter of a hundred is recorded twice in the Suffolk Domesday (Vict. County Hist., Suffolk, i. 358), but does not occur in the survey of Norfolk. It is difficult to connect the form ferding with the Old English feorðling, a quarter. It probably represents the Old Norse fiorðungr.
  7. Westwick only occurs in Domesday as an appendage to Roger of Poitou's manor of Tunstead (ii. 244 b), but between 1127 and 1134 Abbot William I granted to Adam son of Herman all that St. Benet possessed in Westwick and Tuttington (MS. Cott. Galba E. ii, fo. 55 b).
  8. In 1086 St. Benet had a manor of two ploughlands in Thurgarton (D. B. ii. 216). Roger Bigod had two bordars in Thurgarton who belonged to Hanworth and an unnamed free man held by a certain Ilving (ii. 179 b, 185).
  9. Domesday assigns nothing to St. Benet in Sustead. This ploughland may have been included in the survey of Thurgarton.
  10. See above, n. 1.
  11. In 1086 St. Benet held a manor of two ploughlands in Thwaite (D. B. ii. 218).
  12. This place is now divided between Stoke Holy Cross and Caistor by Norwich (Vict. County Hist., Norfolk, ii. 141). St. Benet held a manor of one ploughland there in 1086 (D. B. ii. 217). The land was granted at rent by Abbot Richer to William de Curecun, a tenant upon the Bigod fee, and the grant was confirmed by Richer's successor Anselm (MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii, fo. 56). It was afterwards granted by Abbot Daniel to Robert Picot (fo. 59 b). An original half of the chirograph is preserved in the Bodleian Library (Norfolk Charters, 607), but has never been published.
  13. In 1086 St. Benet held a manor of three ploughlands in Shottesham St. Mary, which may have extended into Poringland (D. B. ii. 217). Already before Domesday many men in this part of Norfolk who had once been dependents of St. Benet had passed under other lords. Four free men in Shottesham, formerly belonging to St. Benet, were annexed to Roger Bigod's fee (ii 185 b). Three free men and five sokemen of St. Benet were held by Walter Giffard in right of Bodin his antecessor (ii. 242 b). Walter also possessed one of St. Benet's sokemen who had been worth 2 orae (ii. 243). But it is probable that the encroachment recorded in the text is later than Domesday.
  14. Potter Heigham in Happing hundred, to which this entry relates, was presumably included in the Domesday description of St. Benet's manor of Ludham. It is to be distinguished from Heigham by Norwich, which also belonged to St. Benet. The only explicit reference in Domesday to Potter Heigham records that Godric of Heigham holds two free men with two acres who are worth two pence (ii. 272 b). There is nothing to connect these men with either Roger Bigod or St. Benet.
  15. Fritton between Ludham and Potter Heigham is doubtless included in the Domesday account of the former place.
  16. Nothing is definitely assigned by Domesday to St. Benet in Catfield. A berewick there was annexed to Roger Bigod's manor of Sutton (ii. 179 b).
  17. This place is now represented by Walton Hall, a mile north of Ludham, of which manor it probably formed a part.
  18. The Fleg of the text covers the hundreds of East and West Flegg, in each of which St. Benet possessed considerable estates.
  19. The Egelwy of the text is certainly identical with Alwi of Thetford, Roger Bigod's antecessor in many places (below, p. 233). The name of the place in which Ringulf's land lay was probably illegible when the present memorandum was copied into the cartulary of St. Benet. It may, however, be identified with Oby in the hundred of West Flegg, where Stanhard, Alwi's son, held of Roger Bigod in 1086 thirty acres which a free man named Ringulf had held in King Edward's time (D. B. ii. 174 b). Six free men with thirty acres were Stanhard's tenants annexed to this property in Oby; the four men named in the text are probably included among them. Roger Bigod claimed these men in virtue of the king's gift, and asserted that they belonged to the fee of Alwi of Thetford, his predecessor. St. Benet still possessed a manor in Oby to which ten free men belonged through commendation. Another free man with twenty-three acres in Oby is the subject of separate entry under St. Benet's fee (ii. 216 b, 217). Stanhard son of Alwi encroached further upon this estate after Domesday (below, p. 228, n. 4).
  20. Roger Bigod held by the king's gift a free man of St. Benet in Clippesby and two free men of St. Benet in Ormesby. Alwi had held these men at some period between the Conquest and 1086; Stanhard was Roger's immediate tenant at the latter date (D. B. ii. 174 b).
  21. The holdings of seven free men in Repps, four of them St. Benet's men, two of them Alwi's men, and one a man of Bishop Almar, were held in 1086 by Stanhard of Roger Bigod (D. B. ii. 174 b). The hundred also bore witness that an unnamed man of Roger Bigod seized half a free man of St. Benet, who is included among seven free men in Repps and Rollesby annexed to Roger's manor of Sutton (ii. 174). St. Benet's fee still included the holdings of six free men in Repps (ii. 217).
  22. There is nothing in Domesday to connect Alwi of Thetford with Ashby. It is, however, probable that Tukke and Estan are included among the six free men annexed to the estate in Oby which Ringulf had formerly possessed and Stanhard held of Roger Bigod in 1086 (D. B. ii. 174 b). St. Benet held a manor in Ashby which included thirteen sokemen (ii. 216 b).
  23. Roger Bigod claimed that the king had given to Alwi his predecessor a free man in Somerton with twenty-one acres (D. B. ii. 174 b). This free man may have been the Anund of the text.
  24. Abbot Ælfwold died on 14 November 1089. Stanhard's encroachments are therefore subsequent to Domesday. The property in Burgh St. Margaret of which Stanhard dispossessed St. Benet may be identified with a small estate comprising thirty acres of arable, four acres of meadow, three bordarii, and a demesne team assigned by Domesday to the abbey in Burgh (ii. 217). An important writ of William II commands that St. Benet's abbey and Raunulf the monk be put in seisin of, among other property, thirty acres and three bordars in Burgh (Mon. Ang. iii. 86; Davis, Regesta, no. lxxx). As this writ was issued after the death of Abbot Ælfwold, the identity of the thirty acres and three bordars to which it relates with the thirty acres and three manredae of the present text is hardly open to question. As, moreover, the writ expressly states that the property is assigned to St. Benet in the king's breves which are in his treasury at Winchester—that is, in the returns to the Domesday inquest—it follows that the word manredae is used in the present text to cover men who are described in Domesday as bordarii. The identification is valuable for its bearing upon the condition of the class of cottagers in East Anglia, for it shows that they, like the higher peasant classes, were bound to their lords by the tie of homage.
  25. Above, p. 227, n. 6.
  26. St. Benet held a manor of one ploughland in Thurne which included ten sokemen with forty-five acres (D. B. ii. 216 b). In 1086 Stanhard son of Alwi held under Roger Bigod in Thurne half a free man with twenty-one acres under whom there held one free man with four acres (ii. 174 b). Stanhard's tenure is probably explained by an entry in the list of Norfolk invasiones (ii. 277 b): 'In Turna i liber homo sancti Benedicti commendatione tantum xliii acrarum, et fuit exlex, et quia Aluuius fecit illegem habet dimidium terrae, in feudo Rogeri Bigot. …' It is a curious entry, and its interpretation is difficult. But it may be suggested that this free man, after his inlawry had been secured by means of Alwi, returned to occupy half his original holding under St. Benet. In that case he may be identical with the Ulfketel of the text, and the half of his tenement which remained to him may have been annexed by Stanhard, Alwi's son, at some time subsequent to Domesday, perhaps upon Ulfketel'a death.
  27. Above, p. 227, n. 2.
  28. Above, p. 227, n. 6. Wulfmer filius Tukke was probably the son of Tukke the smith of Ashby.
  29. Domesday assigns to St. Benet an estate in Saxlingham which Edric, a free man of Archbishop Stigand, had given to the abbey in pledge (ii. 217). It had already suffered encroachment between the Conquest and the date of Domesday; in King Edward's time there had been nine sokemen upon it, in 1086 there were five. As the encroachment attributed to Ivo de Verdun must have been made in or soon after 1089, it is highly probable that the five sokemen whose names are given in the text are the identical five sokemen who still remained under the abbey in 1086.
  30. Moulton, Wacton, Aslacton, and Tibenham are adjacent villages in Depwade hundred, south-south-west of Norwich. The only estate assigned to St. Benet in this hundred is a manor of Tibenham (D. B. ii. 221). It was not a large manor, but it may well have included tofts in Moulton and wood in Wacton and Aslacton. In 1086 the fee of Roger Bigod extended into all three villages. There is nothing in Domesday to connect Ivo de Verdun with any of them, but he afterwards gave two-thirds of his tithes of Moulton to Thetford priory (Mon. Ang. v. 141).
  31. On the last folio of the Norfolk Domesday Walter Canud is assigned the fifteen-acre holding of a free man in Tibenham, because Walter's predecessor had received it in pledge in King Edward's time.
  32. It is difficult to identify this place, which is not mentioned in Domesday. It presumably lay near Tibenham.
  33. In 1086 Roger Bigod possessed a manor at Suffield, adjoining Antingham on the south-east. There was also land of his fee in Antingham itself (D. B. ii. 184 b), and St. Benet held a manor there (ii. 216).
  34. St. Benet possessed a manor of one ploughland in Stalham (D. B. ii. 220 b).
  35. See the quotations in Boaworth-Toller, s. v.
  36. MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii, fo. 35 b. Earl Ralf had soke over St. Benet's land in South Walsham T.R.E.
  37. Vinogradoff, English Society in the Eleventh Century, p. 423.
  38. Thorpe, Diplomatarium, p. 416. It is, at the least, a remarkable coincidence that at Starston, Norfolk, in 1066, there was a free man common to the abbots of St. Edmunds and Ely (D. B. ii. 125 b; Vict. County Hist., Norfolk, i. 54).
  39. Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 74.
  40. As different men would pay different sums to their lord as an acknowledgement of his superiority, the common method of dividing the commendatio of a group of tenants between two persons must have been to divide the profits of each tenant's commendatio equally between them.
  41. MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii, fo. 54. The small estate which St. Benet possessed in Felmingham, worth twenty-one shillings in 1086, is described in D. B. ii. 219.
  42. MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii, fo. 63. The suit seems to have been ended by a compromise. The register, fo. 60, includes a copy of a charter by which Abbot William granted to Richard son of Hugh of Clippesby the service of Stannard the deacon's land in Clippesby, two acres in the same village, an acre in Repps, two parts of the meadow in Webfen, four other acres in Clippesby, and all the tenements which Richard's father had held of the abbey in Flegg. Richard on his part released to the abbey his claim to its land in Waxham and agreed to pay three shillings a year for the property described in the charter. The charter is probably later than the writ which has just been printed.
  43. Freeman, Norman Conquest, iii. 717.
  44. Itinerarium Willelmi de Worcestre, ed. Nasmith, p. 348.
  45. Davis, Regesta, no. 122.
  46. Hoveton St. John.
  47. MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii, fo. 60 b.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Burwood and Neatishead.
  49. MS. Cott. Galba, E. ii, fo. 60. The same impression of continuity is produced by another charter of the same abbot (ibid, fo. 60b): 'Ego Willelmus secundus deigracia abbas ecclesie sancti Benedicti de Hulmo … concessi et dedi in feodo et hereditate Henrico filio Asgar totam terram Edmundi prepositi cum filia ipsius herede terre illius sicut parentela eius postulauit. Hanc autem terram habebit et tenebit predictus Henricus iure hereditario … sicut unquam melius et liberius eam tenuit predictus Edmundus in uita sua tempore regis Henrici primi … pro duobus solidis de censu ad aulam per annum pro omnibus consuetudinibus et seruiciis.' This explicit acknowledgement by a lord that the daughter of a reeve possessed a right of inheritance to her father's land is good evidence of the free condition of men of this class at the middle of the twelfth century.
  50. In the reign of Stephen, Abbot Hugh granted certain land between Runton and Felbridge to Osbert the priest of Thurgarton for twelve pence a year, noting that these twelve pence belonged to the four pounds of Thwaite (fo. 57 b). In 1086 St. Benet's manor of Thwaite had only been valued at forty shillings.
  51. Scottow.
  52. fo. 56 b.