PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

Domesday

[Image: Excerpt from the Domesday Book]
[Image: Durham Liber Vitae, folio 38r (extract)]

William 1 William, king, 1027/8-1087

Male
Author: SDB
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

Discussion of the name  

Summary

          

William the Conqueror’s career is well known and the subject of a major recent biography (Bates 2016). The aim of this profile is to estimate the scale and distribution of the ‘terra regis’ recorded in Domesday Book. The analysis forms part of a wider study of the Conqueror’s property in England and Normandy (Dymond, in progress).

Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

Profile

Introduction: the value of King William’s estates in 1086

Rex Welldon Finn observed that ‘It would be perfectly possible for two people to study and sum the statistics of Domesday Book and arrive at markedly different results’ (Finn 1971: xi). This has proved true of estimates of the value of the royal demesne in 1086. Corbett calculated that of £73,000, a round figure which he gave for the value of rural Domesday England in 1086, William’s potential manorial income was roughly £11,000 (Corbett 1926: 507–8). Unfortunately, neither figure accounted for any borough or town revenues which Corbett seemingly avoided (on the Domesday boroughs, see most recently Haslam 2012). Furthermore, since he did not show his workings, it has never been clear how he reached these totals. More recently, however, John Palmer has published a database which lists William’s estates entry by entry (Palmer 2010). This has proved valuable, for although the estimate presented here has been arrived at independently, has provided a useful point of comparison. The notes that follow explain all significant variances between this estimate and those recorded in Palmer’s database.

Some general observations about this process of comparison are worth making from the outset. The structure of Palmer’s database is such that it is not easy to arrive at totals for the value of King William’s property in 1086. Palmer has split properties and values into two tables: ‘TRWOwners’ and ‘BoroughTRWLords’. The former generally records the information relating to the rural manors; the latter treats the information contained within the borough entries. A triumph of Palmer’s database is that enables the user to list the property held by the king in 1086 entry by entry. A weakness, however, is that it leaves the user to combine the borough total with the terra regis total, and this is sometimes problematic because the same data is often duplicated in both tables. Therefore, if one combines the totals of these two tables, one would be counting many distinct values twice, producing an inflated value of the king’s property. However, just taking the ‘TRWOwners’ value will result in an undervaluation because whilst this table includes some borough values, it does not include everything which Palmer deemed to be royal property. Depending on what one does, the total is either too high by double-counting, or too low by omitting some of the borough values. The table below shows that it is possible to produce two valuations for King William’s property in 1086 using Palmer’s database, both of which are slightly inaccurate: £16,129.31 being an underestimate and £18,080.12 being an overestimate.


Shire

Dymond

TIC Value

(Dymond)

 

Of which Sub-

infeudated

(Dymond)

TIC Value

(Palmer)

Of which

Sub-infeudated

(Palmer)

Borough

(Palmer)

Total (TIC and Borough)

(Palmer)

Bedfordshire

£125.85

£20.85

£72.60

£7.60

£0.00

£72.60

Berkshire

£1,115.00

£76.97

£1,025.56

£92.46

£91.38

£1,116.94

Buckinghamshire

£248.86

£13.61

£236.93

£6.00

£0.28

£237.22

Cambridgeshire

£323.77

£121.70

£307.44

£72.85

£14.09

£321.53

Cheshire

£176.05

£132.00

£44.05

£0.00

£0.00

£44.05

Cornwall

£127.14

£12.14

£123.58

£8.58

£0.00

£123.58

Derbyshire

£140.27

£17.85

£147.80

£3.72

£0.00

£147.80

Devon

£996.31

£122.36

£985.67

£111.60

£0.00

£985.67

Dorset

£776.48

£24.06

£826.62

£12.48

£1.67

£828.28

Essex

£755.63

£222.52

£658.60

£119.67

£84.13

£742.74

Gloucestershire

£1,442.25

£673.86

£1,419.90

£289.96

£108.50

£1,528.40

Hampshire

£1,212.58

£81.82

£849.53

£41.20

£11.03

£860.55

Herefordshire

£484.55

£155.54

£411.15

£78.14

£60.00

£471.15

Hertfordshire

£209.69

£69.19

£199.70

£20.20

£30.00

£229.70

Huntingdonshire

£183.32

£95.00

£180.83

£95.00

£72.48

£253.32

Kent

£576.74

£227.66

£489.93

£77.93

£128.83

£618.76

Leicestershire

£175.16

£61.22

£164.13

£54.55

£66.83

£230.96

Lincolnshire

£843.82

£4.20

£656.33

£0.00

£368.00

£1,024.33

Middlesex

£1.38

£0.30

£1.38

£0.30

£0.00

£1.38

Norfolk

£1,385.52

£253.43

£1,354.63

£25.53

£90.00

£1,444.63

Northamptonshire

£623.83

£78.36

£514.97

£30.50

£175.50

£690.47

Nottinghamshire

£131.63

£7.03

£130.20

£0.00

£47.65

£177.85

Oxfordshire

£800.68

£51.02

£684.00

£37.00

£61.59

£745.59

Rutland

£172.00

£2.00

£172.00

£2.00

£0.00

£172.00

Shropshire

£47.83

£40.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

Somerset

£1,220.24

£66.57

£1,180.28

£42.35

£0.00

£1,180.28

Staffordshire

£152.44

£2.33

£150.45

£0.00

£3.50

£153.95

Suffolk

£634.69

£37.61

£637.71

£6.93

£20.00

£657.71

Surrey

£341.95

£29.02

£299.65

£9.65

£0.00

£299.65

Sussex

£114.80

£2.63

£91.60

£13.20

£0.00

£91.60

Warwickshire

£289.84

£37.52

£234.00

£0.00

£184.00

£418.00

Wiltshire

£1,573.43

£97.18

£1,557.83

£95.58

£175.09

£1,732.93

Worcestershire

£176.24

£38.80

£178.20

£5.75

£56.25

£234.45

Yorkshire

£251.07

£4.13

£142.07

£0.62

£100.00

£242.07

Total

£17,831.04

£2,880.46

£16,129.31

£1,361.33

£1,950.80

£18,080.12

Bedfordshire

The total for William’s property in Bedfordshire is £125.85, of which £20.85 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer reached a total of £72.60 of which £7.60 was subinfeudated. This difference of £53.25 is significant, and the overwhelming majority of it is down to customs, and payments to the queen and to the sheriff not recorded by Palmer (GDB 209–v: Bedfordshire 1:1a, 2a, 3, 5) These specified customs should be taken as additional to the total manorial value given that they are separately listed after this figure. Furthermore, one finds added descriptions that certain parcels did not belong in the royal demesne TRE but were added to the manors by the Taillebois family. There is additionally the £5 from the borough, taken down as held by Remigius, bishop of Lincoln as a subtenant of the king. However, Palmer treated Remigius as the tenant-in-chief in this case, and attributes the £5 to him, not to the king (GDB 209: Bedfordshire B).

Berkshire

The total value of William’s property in Berkshire was calculated to be £1115.00, of which £76.97 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer’s total for the terra regis came to £1025.56 of which £92.46 was subinfeudated, providing a difference in account of £89.44. Palmer valued the king’s property in the borough of Wallingford at £91.38, which would make up the essential difference between the two totals, however, Palmer’s figure for the terra regis also includes values for William’s borough property, thus, creating inaccuracy by counting several values twice (GDB 56–56v: Berkshire B1–9).

The difference of £89.44 is accounted for by different interpretations of the Domesday text. Palmer inclined to take the value (ualet) of the estate rather than the higher render (reddit). Domesday Book states that the borough of Wallingford in 1086 was worth (ualebat) £60, and yet it renders at farm (reddit ad firmam) £80 by tale (ad numerum) (GDB 56v: Berkshire B8). Palmer preferred to take the former figure for the value of the borough, and recorded £60 for this entry in the terra regis. Although peculiarly, he preferred £80 in his borough table for the same entry. There are several entries throughout the terra regis which similarly provide a value and a larger render. Entries in the terra regis for Berkshire that contain this formula of ‘ualet £, sed reddit £’ where the latter  is greater, are as follows (with the differences in parenthesis): 1:2 Thatcham (£4), 1:3 Cookham (£9), 1:4 Waltham (£5,), 1:10 Sparsholt (£3.75), 1:23 Bucklebury (£5.50), 1:31 Letcombe Regis (£5), 1:32 Kingston Lisle (£6), 1:37 Sutton Courtenay (£10), 1:38 East Hendred (£5), 1:39 Steventon (£8), 1:44 Aldermaston (£5.50). These estates cumulatively account for a difference between value and render or £86.75.

Buckinghamshire

William’s property in Buckinghamshire can be valued at £248.86, of which £13.61 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer valued the terra regis at £236.93 of which £6 was subinfeudated. Additionally, and separately, Palmer recorded £0.28 going to the king in 1086 from Buckingham. Adding these together (to get £237.21) does not involve any double counting of any data, and thus provides a difference between Palmer’s total and this one of £11.64. The vast majority of this difference is accounted for by the fact that Palmer does not record the £10 by tale (ad numerum) from the tolls (de theloneo) at Aylesbury (GDB 143: Buckinghamshire 1:1). The rest comes from the small values in the borough of the baronial holdings, preferably taken to be subinfeudated of the king in the borough (GDB 143: Buckinghamshire B3–13).

Cambridgeshire

William’s property in Cambridgeshire was worth £323.77, of which £121.70 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer valued the terra regis at £307.44, of which £72.85 was subinfeudated, thus undervaluing by £16.33. For the borough, Palmer had £14.09 listed for customs and land-rent (de landgable) (GDB 189: Cambridgeshire B10). However, while an addition of these two tables would seem to reconcile much of the difference in valuation, it would produce an inaccurate figure. Palmer’s terra regis table already counts this £14.09, so adding the two would be to count this figure twice. The difference of £16.33, therefore, can be explained by the £17 for the three mills and borough customs held by Picot the sheriff, as a subtenant of the king in the borough (GDB 189: Cambridgeshire B12–3). Neither of Palmer’s tables record these values, and for the terra regis he also recorded some repeated entries which slightly inflated the total: Abington (GBD 190: Cambridgeshire 1:16) is repeated at GDB 199v: Cambridgeshire 29:12. Information for Hinxton is repeated at GDB 190: Cambridgeshire 1:22 and GDB 189v: Cambridgeshire 1:10.

Cornwall

There is no borough entry for Cornwall, and Palmer calculated William’s total property value to be £123.58, of which £8.58 was subinfeudated, in 1086. It has been possible to calculate a slightly higher total of £127.14 of which £12.14 was subinfeudated. The difference of £3.57 comes from different interpretations of what Robert, count of Mortain is holding. Three entries in the terra regis mention land held by Robert, count of Mortain, coming in total to £3.50 (GDB 120: St Kew, Blisland, and Pendrim (Cornwall 1:4, 6–7). Palmer has taken this down as ultimately belonging to the count, however, since this information is listed in the ’terra regis’, it is possible to attribute this to William, with Robert holding as a subtenant, which accounts for the increase in the total subinfeudated share.

Cheshire

Cheshire was almost certainly operating as a palatine shire under Hugh, earl of Chester. At the end of the entries for the city of Chester (GDB 262: Cheshire C25), the text states that

In Cestrescrire tenet episcopus eiusdem ciuitatis de rege quod ad suum pertinent episcopatum. Totam reliquam terram comitatus tenet Hugo comes de rege cum suis hominibus. Terram Inter Ripe et Mersham tenuit Rogerius pictauensis. Modo tenet Rex.

[In Cheshire the bishop of the same city holds of the king what belongs to his bishopric. Earl Hugh with his men holds of the king all the rest of the land of the shire. Roger the Poitevin held the LAND BETWEEN THE RIBBLE AND THE MERSEY; the king holds it now.]

It is not clear whether the city of Chester was an exception to the rule that boroughs and cities were essentially royal, but based on the passage above, one can arguably attribute property to King William from Cheshire with Earl Hugh holding as a subtenant. A possible total for William’s property in Cheshire, therefore is £176.05 of which £132 was subinfeudated to Earl Hugh in 1086. The £132 subinfeudated to Earl Hugh comes from the city farm (GDB 262v: Cheshire C22–4). Palmer arrived at the same total for Chester but, as with Shrewsbury, he preferred to attribute the value to the earl as tenant-in-chief, rather than the king. Palmer calculated a total for William’s property in Cheshire of £44.05 of which none was subinfeudated. This figure comes from a summary at the end of a section dedicated to ‘the land between the Ribble and the Mersey’ (GDB 269v–270: Cheshire R1–7). It states that the six hundreds of West Derby, Newton, Warrington, Blackburn, Salford, and Leyland were ‘worth £145 2s 2d TRE; when Roger the Poitevin received it from the king it was worth £120. Now the king holds (tenet) it… The demesne (dominium) which Roger held (tenuit) is valued at £23 10s, what he gave to the knights is valued at £20 11s’ (GDB 270: Cheshire R7). This statement, combined with the aforementioned statement following the entries in Chester make it clear that Palmer was correct to attribute this £44.05 to the king in 1086, and not Roger the Poitevin. Roger eventually recovered these lands, but was seemingly deprived of them again, and was not in possession of them at the time of the Domesday survey.

Derbyshire

The total of King William’s property in Derbyshire was calculated to be £140.27, of which £17.85 was subinfeudated, in 1086. This compares with Palmer’s total for the terra regis of £147.80 of which £3.72 was subinfeudated. This total also includes the values for the borough of Derby (GDB 280: Derbyshire B1–16). Palmer therefore finds an additional £7.53 which can be partially accounted for by Darley and Ashbourne (GDB 272, 272v: Derbyshire 1:11, 14). These two estates were worth £4 and 20s respectively in 1086. However, they were also included in a summary total of five estates valued cumulatively at £40 of pure silver (puri argenti) written after the entry for Parwich (GDB 272v: Derbyshire 1:15). Palmer records this £40 total but also records the £5 for these two estates in addition, thus overestimating by £5. Furthermore, from the chapter on the land of the king’s thegns, Palmer attributes property to the king worth just over £3 in 1086 (GDB 278v: Derbyshire 17:1–4, 12, 21). However, it is not clear that this property should be attributed to the king rather than the thegns themselves as tenants-in-chief. Conversely, in the fee relating to the land of the abbey of Burton, it is clear that one carucate of land (which one can estimate at a value of £.60) in Appleby should be attributed to the king in 1086 because the text states that ‘modo habet rex’ (GDB 273: Derbyshire 3:2).

Devon

The total William’s property in Devon can be calculated to be £996.31, of which £122.36 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer valued the terra regis at £985.67 of which £111.60 was subinfeudated, thus resulting in a relatively small difference of £10.64. There are only a few entries where notable differences can be determined. Of the £18 rendered by the city of Exeter in 1086, Palmer’s database only reconciles £12, leaving £6 not recorded (GDB 100: Devon C2). Sherford, which belonged to the manor of Chillington, was held by the abbot of Battle in 1086, and was valued at £3 (GDB 100v: Devon 1:34). Palmer assigned the £3 of property to the abbot, whereas it is arguably preferable to assign it to the king with abbot holding as subtenant in 1086, since it is listed in the terra regis. Finally, to the manor of Langford, ‘the borough of Totnes rendered 20s to the king’s farm (ad firmam regis). The king granted (concessit) these to Iudichael’ (GDB 101: Devon 1:55). As far as can be seen, Palmer’s database does not reconcile this £1, but here it has been attributed to the king with Iudichael holding as a subtenant.

Dorset

Palmer’s total for the terra regis in Dorset was £826.62 of which £12.48 was subinfeudated. This is a complete total which incorporates the single notable value for the borough entry: 65s for Shaftesbury (GDB 75: Dorset B4). Additionally, in his Borough table, he recorded an extra £1.67 for some small irregular payments of how much each borough paid when the geld was levied, providing a grand total of £828.28 (GDB 75: Dorset B1–3). However, payments of geld and payments moneyers made when the coinage was changed were irregular and extra to income from the terra regis, and so these have not been recorded for the purpose of this survey. Therefore, a better total for the value of the terra regis in Dorset in 1086 is £776.48 of which £24.06 was subinfeudated, undervaluing Palmer’s total by £51.81. In addition to the aforementioned irregular payments from the borough, this difference is accounted for overwhelmingly in just one entry for the royal estates of Pimperne and Charlton Marshall (GDB 75: Dorset 1:5). Many of the royal estates in Dorset rendered one night’s farm (firmam unius noctis) in 1086, taken here, and by Palmer, to be around £100.  Pimperne and Charlton Marshall, however, render only half of one night’s farm: ‘It is not known how many hides there are because they did not pay geld TRE… This manor with its appurtenances and customary dues renders half of one night's farm (dimidium firmam unius noctis)’. In what was probably just a minor clerical error, Palmer’s database recorded this render as £100 rather than £50, thus overestimating the value of William’s estates by £50.

Essex

William’s property in Essex was worth £755.63, of which £222.52 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer’s figure of £658.60 with £119.67 subinfeudated, results in a deficit of £97.03. Overall, the entries for the royal estates in Essex are more complicated than in other counties and circuits. There is much room, therefore, for differing interpretations of the text in terms of both values of estates, and to whom the property should be ultimately attributed. However, the major differences can largely be accounted for by the problem of recording either the value of an estate (appretiatum est) or what it rendered in 1086. Such differences account for £90. The text states that Benfleet in 1086 ‘reddit’ £12 yet only ‘appretiatum’ at £8 (LDB 1v: Essex 1:1). Witham ‘inter totum ualet’ £20, ‘sed uicecomes inter suas consuetudines et placita de dimidio hundred, recipit inde’ £34, and £4 ‘de gersuma’ (LDB 1v–2: Essex 1:2). Similarly, Hatfied ‘ualet’ £60 in 1086 but the total payments equate to nearly £88 (LDB 2v: Essex 1:3). Between the value of Havering and what the sheriff expected to receive from it in 1086 there is a difference of £50 (LDB 2v–3: Essex 1:4). Finally, a difference of £7 comes from the borough of Colchester. Here Palmer only recorded the £80 for the borough render in 1086 and the £20 for the mint in 1086. However, there are some additional 150 shillings listed in this entry which should be attributed to the king (LDB 107: Essex B6).

Gloucestershire

William property’s in Gloucestershire was worth £1442.25, of which £673.86 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer’s total for the terra regis was £1419.90 with £289.96 subinfeudated. For the borough, Palmer additionally provides a value of £108.50 for William’s property, however all these borough values in have been replicated in his main table for the terra regis. This leaves a difference of account of £22.35, much of which is down to a difference of interpretation of the Domesday text for a complex entry for Wales. After listing several different sources of revenue, the entry concludes: ‘All these renders £40 12s 8d. Durand the sheriff gave (dedit) these same things to William of Eu for £55 at farm (ad firmam)’ (GDB 162: Gloucestershire W8). Palmer took £40.63 to be the value of the king’s property here, but since Durand gave these estates to William of Eu for £55 at farm, surely £55 is a more accurate representation of what was expected to be rendered to the king in 1086.

Another notable difference, albeit a small one in terms of value, is that Palmer included the two hides that a certain Tovi holds for £2 at Kings Stanley (GDB 169v: Gloucestershire 67:6). Tovi holds this land in alms of King William (elemosina regis W), but, since this is listed under the lands of Thurstan son of Rolf, the value has not been included here on the basis that, if it is not listed in the king’s fee, the value ultimately belonged to another tenant-in-chief.

Hampshire

The total value of William’s property in Hampshire came to £1212.58, of which £81.82 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer gave a total of £849.53 for the terra regis of which £41.20 was subinfeudated. This table includes £7 for the borough of Southampton, so there is no need to consider Palmer’s borough table for comparison. In this rather complex shire, which contains distinct sections pertaining to the New Forest and the Isle of Wight, we are left with a significant difference between the two totals of £363.06. Overwhelmingly, this difference is due to many royal estates having two different figures for value and render. In Hampshire, the render is always larger than the value in 1086, and a large part of the total difference, therefore, is down to Palmer having recorded the value of the estate rather than what it renders in 1086.

From the New Forest entries, Palmer attributed £7.40 from seven estates to the king in 1086 (GDB 51v: Milford, Ashley, Minstead, Bisterne, Crow (Hampshire NF9:35–9); GDB 50v: Canterton, Worldham (Hampshire NF10:4–5)). However, Palmer has arguably missed values contained within the entries of other fiefs which should be recorded as royal. Entries for several estates held by Roger, earl of Shrewsbury within the New Forest close with the formula, ‘Quod rex habet  solidos’: Sway, Hinton Admiral, Ashley, Barton, Beckley, Fernhill (GDB 51: Hampshire NF3: 2–3, 10–6). There are similar instances whereby Domesday Book makes it clear that estates held by tenants-in-chief contained portions of valued woodland within the forest, ‘siluam…in foresta’ (GDB 51: Walhampton (Hampshire NF3:8), Rowditch (Hampshire NF4:1), Hordle (Hampshire NF5:1); GDB 51v: Milford (Hampshire NF9:40), Utefel (Hampshire NF9:43); GDB 50v: Milton (Hampshire NF10:1), Arnewood (NF10:3)).  In total, the woodland in the New Forest rendered to the king in 1086 £11.10, which is a negligible difference but one that must be registered nonetheless. Finally, Domesday Book states that the abbess of Wherwell had a fishery and ‘a little land’ (parum terrae) within the borough of Southampton in 1086 rendering 10s (GDB 52: Hampshire S3). By its location in the borough, the value of this fishery should be attributed to the king with the abbey holding as a subtenant in 1086, however, Palmer does not record the value in his total for the terra regis, and in his borough table he attributes it to the abbess, not the king.

Herefordshire

William’s property in Herefordshire was worth a total of £484.55, of which £155.54 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer produced a total of £411.15 of which £78.14 was subinfeudated. This total includes the £60 ‘ad numerum de candidis denariis’ from the borough render and the £40 10s rendered to William from Archenfield (GDB 179: Herefordshire C15, A10). However, Palmer also records the £60 from Hereford in his borough table, and so to total both tables would be to count this figure twice.

Comparing against Palmer’s total, a difference of £73.40 is recorded. Around half of this difference comes from the interpretation of some contentious entries relating to Leominster (GDB 180: Herefordshire 1:10a–b). From these complicated entries Palmer takes £23.10 as the value, presumably based on the statement that ‘In all this render (In omni hoc redditu)… £23 2s are accounted for’. However, immediately after there is the statement that, ‘This manor is at farm (est ad firmam) for £60’. Therefore, it is arguable that the king expected £60 to be rendered to him in 1086, but with Palmer having preferred the smaller value, this entry thus accounts for a difference of £36.90 between the two totals. The rest of the differences comes from the entries immediately following that for Leominster. Before listing the estates, the Domesday texts prefaces the list with the statement, ‘Hae Terrae Infra Scriptae Iacebant ad Leofminstre TRE (These lands mentioned below lay in Leominster TRE)’ (GDB 180: Herefordshire 1:10c–11). Presumably Palmer took this to mean that the estates listed thereafter were no longer in William’s hands in 1086 because he did not include any of the figures and values from the twenty-six subsequent estates (GDB 180–v: Herefordshire 1:11–36). However, it is not clear that just because these lands had previously belonged to Leominster, they were therefore no longer in the king’s hands. Indeed, the fact that they are still listed in the terra regis suggests the contrary.

Hertfordshire

The total value of William’s property in Hertfordshire was £209.69, of which £69.19 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer calculated a value of £199.70 of which £20.20 was subinfeudated. This difference of £10 can be accounted for in the borough of (Hertford GDB 132: Hertfordshire B11). Palmer recorded the £20 assayed (arsas) and weighed (pensatas) rendered by the ‘surburbium’. However, in addition to this render there is also £10 by tale (ad numerum) from three mills. Curiously, Palmer recorded the £10 from the mills in his borough table producing a total of £30 for William’s borough property. As always, adding Palmer’s two tables together will not provide an accurate figure for William’s total revenue from Hertfordshire because one would then be counting the £20 for the suburbium twice, thus getting a figure of £229.70 which is too high.

Huntingdonshire

King William’s property in Huntingdonshire was calculated to be worth £183.32, of which £95 was subinfeudated, in 1086. This compares with Palmer’s total value for the terra regis, including the borough, as £180.83 of which £95 is subinfeudated (GDB 203: Huntingdonshire B1–21). The two totals are therefore very similar, with only £2.49 between them. This difference comes entirely from the borough. Whilst the two totals are in agreement concerning the landrent (landgablum) from the king’s burgesses and the borough render of £30, the borough entry also records some minor additional payments from a mill and some fishermen (GDB 203: Huntingdonshire B16–18, 20). These small additions have not been included in Palmer’s total, presumably on the basis that they made up part of the total borough render of £30. However, arguably, there is a case to be made that since these payments were listed separately, they were indented to be taken in addition to the borough render.

Kent

The total value of William’s property in Kent was £576.74, of which £227.66 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer gave a total of £489.93 for the terra regis, with £77.93 subinfeudated. This is a difference of just under £87 (£86.81). The major differences that account for Palmer’s underestimation can be found in the entry for Dartford from which a grand total of £108.66 can be attributed to King William in 1086 (GDB 2v: Kent 1:1). However, Palmer only recorded a total of £63. Furthermore, the single entry for the city of Rochester states that ‘he who holds it renders (ille qui tenet reddit) £40’; this ultimately must have gone to the king, perhaps held by the bishop of Bayeux or Rochester as a subtenant (GDB 2: Kent R1). Palmer, in his borough table, did record this £40 as going to the king in 1086. However, as is so often the case, adding his borough total together with that for the terra regis does not provide an accurate figure for William’s property in Kent. Doing so would be to double count around £90 worth of values from Dover and Canterbury which make their way into both of Palmer’s tables (GDB 1: Kent D7; GDB 2: Kent C1).

Leicestershire

William’s property in Leicestershire was, in 1086, worth £175.16 of which £61.22 was subinfeudated. Palmer, has recorded £164.13 for the terra regis, of which £54.55 was subinfeudated. The difference of £11 comes from the customs for a hawk and a packhorse listed in the entry for the city of Leicester (GDB 230: Leicestershire C4). Peculiarly, Palmer did record this figure in his borough table, but as always, one cannot simply add the two tables’ totals, because that would result in £55.80 being double-counted.

Lincolnshire

The total of King William’s property in Lincolnshire was calculated to be £843.82, of which £4.20 was subinfeudated, in 1086. This compares with Palmer’s figure for the terra regis of £656.33 of which nothing of value was subinfeudated. This table only includes £186.50 for the borough entries relating to Lincoln, Stamford, and Torksey, when in fact there is arguably £372.20 worth of royal property in the borough entries in Lincolnshire. Indeed, separately, Palmer’s borough table gave a total of £368 for the borough entries. Why only £100 of this is included in one of his tables, but not in the other, is not clear. Regardless, it is not possible to achieve an accurate total for William’s property in Lincolnshire by adding these figures together, from the risk of double-counting. For the city of Lincoln, Palmer only recorded the borough render of £100 (GDB 336v: Lincolnshire C27). However, there is an additional £154 that could be recorded in the following entries (GDB 336v: Lincolnshire C27–31). Similarly, Palmer only included the £50 for the borough render of Stamford, but not the additional £28 in customs (GDB 336v: Lincolnshire S16). There are several other payments for Stamford in 1086, not included by Palmer, totalling just over £3.50 (GDB 336v: Lincolnshire S5–6, 10). Palmer may have taken these as part of the £50 borough render, but it could be that they were additional. Finally, in the terra regis, there are three mills in Stoke and Nongtone which are, in total, worth 34s 8d seemingly missed in Palmer’s table (GDB 337v: Lincolnshire 1:12–3).

Middlesex

There is, of course, no description of London in Domesday. There is a blank folio (GDB 126 and most of 126v) at the beginning which must have been reserved for the entry for London which was not ultimately written up in GDB for whatever reason (see Munby 2011:135). Neither is there a heading in rubrics for the terra regis. After the list of those holding land in the shire, the next folio begins with a rubricated ‘MIDELSEXE’ at the top, followed by the estate entries (GDB 126v, 127). Unsurprisingly, there is not much room for different interpretations of the king’s property in Middlesex. For William’s property, a total £1.38, of which £0.30 was subinfeudated, cannot be disputed.

Norfolk

William’s property in Norfolk was worth £1385.52, of which £253.43 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer’s produced a total of £1354.63 with £25.53 subinfeudated. The difference of subinfeudated values is that Palmer’s database often has not separated out the values in complicated entries to the several groups of freemen, making comparison on this basis inconclusive. The total difference between the two main totals comes to £30.89; a strikingly small amount considering the number and nature of the entries. Much of this total difference is accounted for by the large number of estates containing renders of additional exactions (de gersuma). These extra payments are small (normally 20s, but sometimes 10s, 30s, or 60s), however considering that nineteen royal estates contain renders ‘de gersuma’, they collectively account for a difference of 390s or £19.50 (LDB 111, 120, 121v, 123, 126, 127, 128v, 129v, 131, 131v, 132–133, 133v–134, 135: Norfolk 1:11, 71, 85, 94, 133, 139, 150, 152, 163, 182, 185–6, 192–4, 197–9, 203). In every case Palmer did not record these payments as part of the value to the king.

There are several other notable differences. The Domesday text states that Mileham and Bittering, together as one manor, ‘renders nothing because it has nothing (nichil reddit quia nichil habet)’. It goes on to state that Godric ‘pays the rent for it (per ea censum reddit)’, and since it was valued at 20s in 1066, this could be taken as an estimated value, whereas Palmer recorded nothing (LDB 121: Norfolk 1:80). Croxton provides another example of an estate with a value different to what it renders. One notes that it is worth (ualet) 40s and yet it renders (reddit) 100s (LDB 136v: Norfolk 1:211). As always, Palmer preferred to record the value, but the render is preferable for the purposes of this research. The largest difference comes from the borough entries, embedded within the terra regis. For Norwich, there is £97 that could be classed as ultimately royal in 1086. However, Palmer only recorded £91 (presumably not counting the 100s for the Queen, the 20s to G[odric], nor the ounce of gold from the new borough (LDB 116–8: Norfolk 1:61–6). Finally, it was not possible to locate the entry for Thetford, and the 40s worth of render, in Palmer’s database (LDB 118v: Norfolk 1:69).

Outside the terra regis, Palmer has assigned some small parcels of property to King William in 1086, namely all the estates under the heading: ‘These are the freemen TRE not belonging to any farm whom Almaer keeps, who have been added to a farm TRW (Isti sunt liberi homines TRE ad nullam firma pertinentes quos Almarus custodit qui additi sunt ad firmam TRW)’ (LDB 272–v: Norfolk 64–64:9). It is not clear why Palmer has taken these down as royal in 1086, but they do not account for more than £2.50 in any case.

Northamptonshire

The value of William’s property in Northamptonshire totals £623.83, of which £78.36 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer only calculated £514.97 for the terra regis. of which £30.50 was subinfeudated, providing a difference of £108.86. Palmer also recorded separately in his borough table £175.50. However, as always, simply adding these two figures would produce an inaccurate total due to counting several values twice. Palmer’s terra regis total included £60.50 from the borough, but these values were also included in his borough table (GDB 219: Northamptonshire B36–7). Furthermore, there is the problem that the £40 for Edith’s manor and the £10 for King’s Cliffe, noted in the borough entry were also included elsewhere in the terra regis (GDB 219: Northamptonshire B36; GDB 220: Northamptonshire 1:26, 32). If one were to add the values from both of Palmer’s tables, this £50 would also be counted twice.

There are, of course, differences that come down to interpretation of the Domesday text. For Portland, Palmer recorded nothing for the 1086 value which is, indeed, true to the text (GDB 219v: Northamptonshire 1:5). However, one could take £12.50 as the value, which is 58s from its value TRE and the £9 12s which the king ought to have. For Apethorpe, no 1086 value is given in the text, but it could be presumed that it was the same as TRE and therefore one could take £13 7s (£13.34) as the value in 1086 (GDB 220: Northamptonshire 1:23). Similarly, Palmer has not recorded the values of the baronial borough holdings as subinfeudated of the king (GDB 219: Northamptonshire B2–38).

Nottinghamshire

The total of King William’s property in Nottinghamshire was calculated to be £131.63, of which £7.03 was subinfeudated, in 1086. This compares with Palmer’s total (including the borough) of £130.20 with nothing subinfeudated (GDB 280: Nottinghamshire B1–20). Comparison thus produces a small deficit of £1.43 for Palmer’s total. This minuscule difference is accounted for by the fact that Palmer did not include the 36s 7d (£2.03) paid by the messuages and houses of Roger of Bully and William Peverel (GDB 280: Nottinghamshire B8–9). There is, of course, the case to be made that this can be attributed to the king in 1086 on the basis that the property was in the borough, and therefore ultimately royal. Within the terra regis, both tables are in complete agreement, however, Palmer has also included just over £1 worth of property from ten estates in the chapter on the king’s thegns (GDB 292v–293: Nottinghamshire 30:11–2, 14–6, 28–9, 40, 44, 49). Aside from two of these estates, worth just £0.25 in total, where it is clear from the Domesday text that they were held by the king in 1086, arguably the others should be attributed to the thegns themselves, not the king. It is stated that Syerston GDB 293 (Nottinghamshire 30:40) ‘regis est’. GDB 293 (Nottinghamshire 30:44) seems to be a repeat of the same entry found at GDB 282 (Nottinghamshire 1:65).

Oxfordshire

The total value of the king’s property in Oxfordshire was £800.68, of which £51.02 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer gave a total of £684 for the terra regis of which £37 was subinfeudated. This value includes £60 for the borough, however, separately, in his borough table, Palmer gave a value of £61.59 (GDB 154: Oxfordshire B3). This is problematic because the £60 that Oxford pays is entered into both tables, so if one added the figures together in an attempt to reach a total for William’s property, it would count £60 twice. Counting the £60 once, the Palmer database would give a total of £685.59. However, this still leaves a large difference of £115.09 to reconcile.  Arguably there are more values in the borough that should be attributed to William in 1086: namely the entries B8–11 representing the baronial houses in the borough, valued at £10.83, which Palmer has ignored, but which have been taken down here to be subinfeudated of the king (GDB 154: Oxfordshire B8–11).

However, that still leaves a difference of £104.26 from the terra regis that was not included in Palmer’s database. This difference is accounted for by an entry at the end of the king’s chapter which lists several miscellaneous revenues pertaining to the borough, the mint, and wider shire customs not listed by Palmer (GDB 154v: Oxfordshire 1:12).

Rutland

The total value for William’s property in Rutland was calculated to be £172, of which £2 was subinfeudated, in 1086. This figure is in complete agreement with that found in Palmer’s database.

Shropshire

Shropshire, like Cheshire to the north, may well have effectively operated as a palatine shire with Roger, earl of Shrewsbury in charge. There is no section for the terra regis, and the lands previously held by King Edward, that would have normally passed to William, had seemingly passed to Earl Roger after 1066. At the end of the chapter describing the lands that Roger himself held in demesne there is a qualifying statement: ‘Earl Roger himself holds of the king (tenet de rege) the city of Shrewsbury and the whole shire (totum comitatum), and all the demesne (totum dominium) which King Edward had there’ GDB 254 (Shropshire 4:1:37). See Phillimore notes for the suggestion that comitatus here means ‘earldom’ because Earl Roger did not in fact hold the whole shire. There were eight other tenants-in-chief besides him. Conceptually, the borough has been treated ultimately as royal property. It is not clear whether exceptions to this rule should be made for Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury entry gives an account of the king’s customs TRE from 252 houses, many of which are ad hoc fines and payments. For regular payments TRE, the text states that 252 houses paid £7 16s 8d ‘de gablo (of rent)’, the city paid geld for 100 hides TRE, and that ‘all together this city rendered £30 a year. The king had two parts and the sheriff the third.’ (GDB 252: Shropshire C1, C12–3). The only explicit statement on 1086 is that ‘In the year preceding this survey (huius descriptionis) it rendered £40 to Earl Roger.’ (GDB 252: Shropshire C12). Palmer concluded that none of these borough payments should be treated as royal in 1086, and therefore recorded no property of value for King William. However, one could take the £7 16s 8d de gablo as going to William in 1086. Also, the £40 rendered to Earl Roger has been recorded as subinfeudated of the king, thus producing a total for William’s property in Shropshire of £47.83 of which £40 was subinfeudated.

Somerset

There is no separate borough entry for Somerset so comparison with Palmer’s database is made just on the terra regis. Palmer provided a total value of £1180.28 for William’s property, of which £42.35 was subinfeudated. Arguably, this total underestimates the value of William’s property in Somerset by nearly £40, as it is possible to attribute a total of £1220.24 to King William, of which £66.57 was subinfeudated. Around £20 of this difference is accounted for in passages describing subtractions from royal estates. For example, at the end of the entry for Somerton, Domesday Book states that ‘From this manor half a hide has been taken away at Deadmans Well which was [part] of the demesne farm of King Edward. Alfred d’Epaignes holds it, and it is worth 10s’ (De hoc maneria est ablata dimidiam hida Denesmodes Welle qui fuit de dominica firma regis .E. Aluredus de Hispania tenet et ualet .x. solidos) (GDB 86: Somerton Somerset 1:1). This formula is employed several times throughout the royal manors of Somerset with hides or virgates having been taken away, and a different landholder mentioned in 1086. Palmer has not taken these parcels of property to be royal, instead favouring to attribute the manor to the other landholder, i.e. in the case of Somerton, to Alfred. Arguably, however, on the basis that the information is listed under the terra regis, it could be that the property was still ultimately royal, but just not in demesne. In this way, Alfred and the other landholders should be seen as subtenants of the king rather than tenants-in-chief. The other major difference of account can be found in the entry for Bath, in which, in addition to the borough payment of £60 ad numerum and one gold mark, there are other payments such as the 100s rendered by the mint and the £11 of the third penny rendered by Edward the sheriff (GDB 87: Somerset 1:31).

Staffordshire

In Staffordshire, in 1086, William could expect a total of £152.45, with £2.33 subinfeudated, from his property. Palmer calculated a similar total of £150.45, with nothing subinfeudated, which includes the £7 owed to William from the borough revenues of Stafford (GDB 246: Staffordshire B12). The difference of £2 is one of interpretation of the Domesday text. For Mayfield, the text simply states that TRE it was worth 40s, but no indication is given of Mayfield’s value to William in 1086 (GDB 246v: Staffordshire 1:23). This is by no means certain, but it could be taken to be worth the same in 1086 as in 1066.

Suffolk

The total value of King William’s property in Suffolk was calculated to be £634.69 of which £37.61 was subinfeudated. This compares with Palmer’s total value for the terra regis and the borough of £637.71, of which £6.93 was subinfeudated (LDB 290–v: Suffolk 1:122). The two totals are therefore very similar, with Palmer recording an additional £3.02. As in other counties, Palmer has not recorded payments and renders ‘de gersuma’ in Suffolk totalling 80s from three estates: Parham, Mendesham, and Thurlow (LDB 285v–6: Suffolk 1:75–6, 90). In Bungay, Palmer recorded an additional 18s by taking how much the property ‘ualet’ rather than how much ‘reddit’ (LDB 288v: Suffolk 1:11). In Offton, Palmer seemingly attributed, in error, £2 to the sons of Bishop Herfast (LDB 285: Suffolk 1:69). Outside the chapter of the terra regis, Palmer attributed just over £3.50 as ultimately royal from the chapters on ‘Vaussores’ and ‘liberi homines regis’, but it is not clear from the text that these should be attributed to the king instead of the individuals themselves (LDB 446–v: (Suffolk 74:4, 7, 13, 15; 75:1–5). However, not included in Palmer’s total was just over £2 worth of property in the chapters on annexations (‘inuasiones super regem’), and disputes (‘De calumpniis’) between Odo, bishop of Bayeux and Robert Malet’s mother (LDB 448v, 450: Suffolk 76:15; 77:4). Here the text makes it clear that the property in question is ‘in manu regis’.

Surrey

For Surrey, there is no distinct borough entry. For the terra regis, Palmer calculated a total value of £299.65 of which £9.65 was subinfeudated. Arguably a more accurate total for William’s property value in Surrey was £341.95 of which £29.02 was subinfeudated. There is a difference between the two totals, therefore, of £42.30. In several estates, slight differences in interpretation led to a cumulative difference of £39.10 with Palmer’s total being lower. Again, Palmer is inclined to take the value (ualet) of the estate rather than what it renders (reddit) which is higher. Sometimes this is not much, for example, Guildford is valued (appreciatus) at £30, but it renders (reddit) £32 (GDB 30: Surrey 1:1a). However, it can be significantly more: Merton was valued (valebat) in 1086 at £35, but rendered (reddit) £43; and Ewell was valued in 1086 at £16, but it rendered £25 (GDB 30: Surrey 1:5; GDB 30v: Surrey 1:9). Furthermore, these estates often included small payments to the sheriff of 20s or 25s. These have been included as separate from and additional to the manorial totals which precede them in the text. Thus, for Woking, ‘TRE and afterwards it was worth £15 by tale (ad numerum); now £15 by weight (ad pensum) and 25s to the sheriff.’ (GDB 30: Surrey 1:2). Palmer presumably took these to be accounted for in the estate total and therefore undervalued it.

Sussex

As with Surrey, there is no distinct borough entry for Sussex, instead, Domesday almost treated the shire divisions, or rapes, as separate counties headed by their own boroughs (Munby 2011: 136). Pevensey was held by Robert, count of Mortain; Chichester and Arundel, by Earl Roger; and Lewes, by William of Warenne (GDB 20v: Sussex 10:1; GDB 23: Sussex 11:1–2; GDB 26: Sussex 12:1). In all the rape boroughs there is nothing explicitly belonging to King William in 1086. Even if one conceptually thinks of boroughs as essentially royal, these may be exceptions since they are not treated with conventional borough entries preceding the terra regis. However, in the land of William of Warenne at Lewes one finds £20 that can certainly be attributed to the king in 1086. For the borough of Lewes, the text states that, ‘Now it is worth £34, and from the new mint 100s and 12 [sic]. Of all these William [de Warenne] has a half and the king the other.’ (GDB 26: Sussex 12:1).

The total value of William’s property in Sussex can be calculated to be £114.80 of which £2.63 was subinfeudated. Palmer gives a total of £91.60 of which £13.20 was subinfeudated, thus producing a difference of £23.20. There are only two royal manors listed in the terra regis: Bosham and Rotherfield (GDB 16: Sussex 1:1–2). Domesday Book states that Bosham was valued at £40 in 1086 which is the figure that Palmer recorded. However, the entry goes on to explain that it rendered more, totalling a value of £65 which is preferable for the purposes of this research. Similarly, Rotherfield is valued at £12, but it renders £30 in 1086. While Palmer took the former figure, what William expected to receive from the estate is arguably reckoned in the latter. Finally, as mentioned above, Domesday Book states that in the borough of Lewes was a value of £34, and from the new mint, 112s. Of these values half went to William of Warenne and half to the king. It seems clear that of the total of £39.60, half (£19.80) should be attributed to King William in 1086. Conversely, Palmer seems to have attributed it all to the king who holds £26.40 as immediate lord, with £13.20 subinfeudated out to William of Warenne.

Warwickshire

The total value for William’s Warwickshire property in 1086 was £289.85 of which £37.52 was subinfeudated. Palmer’s recorded a total of £234 with nothing subinfeudated for the terra regis. In his separate borough table, Palmer recorded £184 for King William’s payments from the borough (GDB 238: Warwickshire B4). However, yet again, adding these two figures would give a seriously inflated total for the king’s property in the shire. Of the £184 in the borough, Palmer listed £145 (the figure for the royal manors and shire pleas) again in his table for the terra regis. £145 would be counted twice with this approach, but conversely, one cannot just take the total of £234 for the terra regis. To do so would be an undervaluation since it ignores the £39 in customs listed in the borough. Furthermore, there is the matter of the £16.84 for the sesters of honey rendered by the borough in 1086. Six of these sesters are valued at 15d whereas the other twenty-four, simply described as ‘cum majori mensua’, are not (GDB 238: Warwickshire B5). Normally such renders in kind, would not be monetized and entered into the total, however, the preceding entry states that TRE Warwick rendered, among other things, thirty-six sesters of honey ‘aut £24 8s pro imnibus quae ad mel pertinebant’ (GDB 238: Warwickshire B4). From this statement, one can make a calculation for an educated estimated value of a sester.

Wiltshire

The total value of King William’s property in Wiltshire was £1573.43, of which £97.18 was subinfeudated, in 1086. In Palmer’s database, he gave a total of £1557.83 of which £95.58 was subinfeudated for the terra regis, thus producing a small difference between the two totals of £15.60. The overwhelming majority of this difference is accounted for in two entries. In Malmesbury, an entry explains that Earl Harold had an acre of land in the borough which rendered 100s TRE, but it is not explicitly stated as to whom this acre of land belonged in 1086 (GDB 64v: Wiltshire B5). Arguably, since Earl Harold was the antecessor and no other 1086 holder is mentioned, this £5 should be attributed to the king, however, Palmer does not seem to have done so. Additionally, there is the entry for Aldbourne which states, ‘This manor renders £70 by weight (ad pensum), but by the English it is only valued at £60 by tale (ad numerum)’ (GDB 65: Wilshire 1:10). Palmer opted for £60 as the value to record here, whereas £70 is preferable if one is trying to evaluate how much the king is expecting to receive.

Worcestershire

The total value of William’s property in Worcester was £176.24, of which £38.80 was subinfeudated, in 1086. Palmer’s total for the terra regis came to £178.20 of which £5.75 was subinfeudated. Palmer’s borough table gave a separate total of £56.25 for William’s borough property but this is also included in his terra regis table, so this alone is an accurate total. The small difference of £2 is accounted for in Bushley. This estate, worth 40s, in the fee of the bishop of Worcester, ‘is now in the hand of King William (Modo est in manu regis W)’ (GDB 173: Worcestershire 2:30). However, this value should not be included towards the total on the basis that the estate is included, and its value reconciled, in the king’s fee for Herefordshire (GDB 180v: Herefordshire 1:44). There are two other estates in Worcestershire in the bishop’s fee that are in the king’s hand. Queenhill and Barley listed at GDB 173 (Worcestershire 2:36–7), are also included at GDB 180v (Herefordshire 1:45).

Yorkshire

The total of King William’s property in Yorkshire was calculated to be £251.07 of which £4.13 was subinfeudated. This compares with Palmer’s figure for the terra regis of £142.07 of which £0.62 was subinfeudated. This total also includes the values for the borough of Nottingham (GDB 298: Yorkshire C20). Palmer attributed just over £4.50 to individuals in the borough, however, arguably these borough values could be taken as ultimately royal (GDB 298–298v: Yorkshire C26–8, 30, 32). Different interpretations of several entries account for the total difference of £109 between the two totals. In the East Riding, Palmer did not record the 10s paid by the rent-paying tenant in Burton Agnes in 1086 (GDB 299v: Yorkshire 1Y:14). Nor did he record the 10s in East Newton in the North Riding (GDB 300v: Yorkshire 1N:76). A total of 268s (£13.40) is arguably missing from Palmer’s total from estates in the North Riding between Newsham and Dale; and a further 1060s (£53) are missing from the East Riding (GDB 300v–301: Yorkshire 1N:110–36; GDB 301: 1E:1–60). Finally, save for four estates, Palmer records no values for the West Riding in 1086 (GDB 301: Yorkshire 1W:25 Normanton; GDB 301v: Yorkshire 1W:30, 39, 53) Great Ouseburn, Minskip, Castley).

Bibliography

Bates 2016: D. Bates, William the Conqueror (London, 2016)

Corbett 1926: W. J. Corbett, ‘The Development of the Duchy of Normandy and the Norman Conquest of England’, The Cambridge Medieval History, Volume V: Contest of Empire and Papacy, ed. J. R. Tanner, C. W. Previté-Orton and Z. N. Brooke (Cambridge, 1926),  481–520, 885–94

Dymond in progress: ‘The Estates of William the Conqueror: Royal Property in England and Ducal Property in Normandy in the Eleventh Century’ (University of Oxford DPhil thesis, in progress)

Finn 1971: R. Welldon Finn, The Norman Conquest and Its Effects on the Economy 1066–86 (London, 1971)

Haslam 2012: J. Haslam, Urban-Rural Connections in Domesday Book and Late Anglo-Saxon Royal Administration, BAR, British Series 571 (2012)

Munby 2011: J. Munby, ‘The Domesday Boroughs Revisited’, ANS 30 (2011)

Palmer 2010:  J. J. N. Palmer, Electronic Edition of Domesday Book: Translation, Databases and Scholarly Commentary, 1086, 2nd ed. (2010), UK Data Service. SN: 5694, http://doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-5694-1.

Return to PASE Domesday homepage
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

© 2016 King's College London