PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

Domesday

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

Heca 4 Heca the sheriff (of Devon), fl. 1066

Male
Author: DWP
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

Discussion of the name

Summary

Heca 4 was the sheriff of Devon at the time of the Conquest and held seven estates in south Devon TRE, with a combined assessment of 12 hides and a total value of £16 10s.

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
Devon 17,32 Loddiswell Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - Judhael of Totnes - 2.00 5.00 5.00 B Map
Devon 17,38 West Portlemouth Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - Judhael of Totnes Fulk 'of Portlemouth' 1.00 2.00 0.50 B Map
Devon 17,49 Charleton Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - Judhael of Totnes - 5.00 5.00 5.00 B Map
Devon 17,64 Ringmore Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - Judhael of Totnes Ralph de La Pommeraye 1.50 1.50 1.50 B Map
Devon 17,69 Eggbuckland Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - Judhael of Totnes - 1.50 2.50 2.50 B Map
Devon 17,95 Langdon Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - Judhael of Totnes Waldin 0.50 0.50 0.50 B Map
Devon 21,18 Goosewell Heche Heca, sheriff of Devon - William de Poilley Robert 'the man of William de Poilley' 0.50 0.25 0.25 B Map
Total               12.00 16.75 15.25  

Profile

There are only seven estates in DB whose TRE holder was called Heca, and all are located within a 19-mile stretch of south Devon close to its coast or estuaries. Given the extreme rarity of the name Heca, the sizes of the estates involved, their relatively close grouping and the size of the overall holding that they would represent, it is almost certain that all of these estates were held TRE by the same man, Heca 4.

In the Exon entry (322b1) relating to the estate at West Portlemouth, Heca is described as vicecomes; the obvious conclusion is that he was sheriff of Devon at the time of the Conquest, although there is no independent confirmation of this (Green 1990: 35).

It is highly likely that Heca gave his name to one of his estates, the first element of the modern place-name Eggbuckland (simply Bocheland in DB) being derived from Heca (Gover et al. 1931-2: 227; von Feilitzen 1937: 228 n.5).

Although the name Heca is extremely rare in pre-Conquest England, the initial Hec- is consistent throughout the DB and Exon spellings and this strongly suggests that the name is distinct from that of Haca 1 (another Devon landholder TRE with a couple of small estates some 40 miles from those of Heca 4), the DB and Exon spellings of whose name have an equally consistent initial Hac-.

Bibliography

Gover et al. 1931-2: J. E. B. Gover, A. Mawer and F. M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Devon, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1931-2)

Green 1990: J. A. Green, English Sheriffs to 1154, Public Record Office Handbooks, 24 (London, 1990)

von Feilitzen 1937: O. von Feilitzen, The Pre-Conquest Personal Names of Domesday Book (Uppsala, 1937)

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