PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England


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

Beorhtstan 16 Beorhtstan ‘of Toft’ (Cambs.), fl. 1066

Author: CPL
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

  Discussion of the name  



Beorhtstan 16 was one of five sokemen of Ely abbey who between them had 1 hide worth 60s. in south-west Cambridgeshire.

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

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB


Holder 1066

Shire Phil. ref. Vill Holder 1066 DB Spelling Holder 1066 Lord 1066 Tenant-in-Chief 1086 1086 subtenant Fiscal value 1066 value 1086 value Holder 1066 ID conf. Show on map
Cambridgeshire 44,2 Toft Brizstanus Beorhtstan 'of Toft' Wulfric, abbot of Ely Erchenger the baker - 0.20 0.60 0.40 A Map
Total               0.20 0.60 0.40  



As recently as the early 1030s Toft, in the heavy clays of the Bourn valley 5 miles west of Cambridge, had been a single estate with its northern neighbour Hardwick which paid the traditional farm in kind to Ely abbey. Between 1035 and 1066 Ely had concentrated its demesne in Hardwick and given away or sold much of Toft (Oosthuizen 2006: 24, 60–4, 130). One of the components was a hide of land divided in 1066 among five of Ely’s sokemen who were not free to sell or give away their land outside the abbey’s lordship: Alric Brunesune, Alwaru 3 (a woman), Hunnoth 1, Hunwine 13, and Beorhtstan 16. In the absence of information about their individual holdings they have been assigned equal share of 24 acres, though it is much more likely that there were four virgates, one of them shared between two of the sokemen. None of the five had any other land.

There is nothing to link Beorhtstan of Toft with either of his namesakes elsewhere in England in 1066.


Oosthuizen 2006: Susan Oosthuizen, Landscapes Decoded: The Origins and Development of Cambridgeshire’s Medieval Fields (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2006)

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