PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

Domesday

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

Beorhtsige 23 Beorhtsige Cild, fl. 1066

Male
Author: CPL
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

  Discussion of the name  

Summary

Beorhtsige 23 (Beorhtsige Cild) was a major landowner of noble birth with nineteen manors spread across southern England from west Kent to the Bristol Channel and west Dorset, in all assessed at the equivalent of nearly 150 hides and worth £200. In Kent he had links with the family of Earls Godwine and Harold, but in Surrey his principal holdings were old-established manors, and in Hampshire he held land on lease from the New Minster. Two large manors in Kent and Wiltshire look to have been created out of royal estates, though how recently is not clear. Beorhtsige probably witnessed charters under the Danish kings and was certainly at court in the later years of Edward the Confessor. He survived the Conquest and was at William I’s court at Whitsun 1068. His son Alsige succeeded him as a lessee of the New Minster and acquired other property from the Normans but in 1086 did not hold any of his father’s other manors.

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
Dorset 49,12 Wootton Fitzpaine Bricsi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Aiulf the sheriff - 12.00 10.00 20.00 D Map
Gloucestershire 32,4 Westonbirt Bricsi Beorhtsige Cild - William fitzBaderon - 3.00 6.00 3.00 D Map
Hampshire 6,16 Micheldever Beorhtsige Cild Ælfwig, abbot of Winchester New Minster Riwallon, abbot of Winchester New Minster Alsige son of Beorhtsige 6.00 3.40 1.50 D Map
Hampshire NF9,20 Childenhurst Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king William, king Ælfric the small 5.00 8.00 0.00 D Map
Kent D25 Sutton and Aylesford lathes Brixi Beorhtsige Cild - - - 0.00 0.00 0.00 A Map
Kent 5,8 Lullingstone Brixe Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux Geoffrey de Rots 2.00 5.00 5.00 A Map
Kent 5,21 Plumstead Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux Scotland, abbot of St Augustine's Canterbury 4.50 10.00 12.00 A Map
Kent 5,26 Seal Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux William, king 0.00 0.00 1.10 A Map
Kent 5,26 Seal Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux Richard fitzGilbert 0.00 0.00 4.00 A Map
Kent 5,26 Seal Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux Geoffrey de Rots 14.00 30.00 26.00 A Map
Kent 5,29 Greenwich Brixi Beorhtsige Cild - Odo, bishop of Bayeux Gilbert, bishop of Lisieux 2.00 4.00 6.00 A Map
Somerset 24,27 Burnham on Sea Brixi Beorhtsige Cild - Walter de Douai - 2.00 3.00 4.00 D Map
Somerset 24,27 Burnham on Sea Beorhtsige Cild - Walter de Douai Rademer 2.00 3.00 4.00 D Map
Somerset 27,1 Stogursey Brixi Beorhtsige Cild - William de Falaise - 4.50 25.00 20.00 D Map
Somerset 46,16 Lilstock Bricsic Beorhtsige Cild - Ansger the cook - 5.00 5.00 5.00 D Map
Surrey 5,10 Hatcham Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux Gilbert, bishop of Lisieux 3.00 2.00 2.00 A Map
Surrey 19,32 Stoke D'Abernon Bricsi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Richard fitzGilbert - 15.00 4.00 4.00 A Map
Surrey 22,1 Compton Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Walter fitzOther - 14.00 8.00 9.00 B Map
Surrey 22,5 West Horsley Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Walter fitzOther - 9.00 7.00 5.00 B Map
Surrey 22,5 West Horsley Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Walter fitzOther 1 Englishman 1.00 1.00 1.00 B Map
Sussex 10,11 Itford Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Robert, count of Mortain William de Cahagnes 4.00 4.00 2.00 C Map
Sussex 11,67 North Stoke Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king Roger, earl Reynold de Bailleul 8.00 20.00 20.00 C Map
Sussex 13,49 Thakeham Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king William de Briouze Morin 'of Sussex' 19.75 13.33 9.52 C Map
Sussex 13,49 Thakeham Brixi Beorhtsige Cild Edward, king William de Briouze Morin 'of Sussex' 1.00 0.67 0.48 C Map
Wiltshire 25,1 Keevil Brixi Beorhtsige Cild - Ernulf de Hesdin - 16.00 20.00 26.00 D Map
Total               152.75 192.40 190.60  

Lord 1066

Shire Phil. ref. Vill Lord 1066 DB Spelling Holder 1066 Lord 1066 Tenant-in-Chief 1086 1086 subtenant Fiscal value 1066 value 1086 value Lord 1066 ID conf. Show on map
Kent 5,18 Horton Kirby Brixi Godhild 'of Horton Kirby' Beorhtsige Odo, bishop of Bayeux Ansketil de Rots 2.00 4.00 6.00 A Map
Total               2.00 4.00 6.00  

Profile

 

Two general considerations apply in identifying Beorhtsige Cild as a rich landowner with estates spread between Dorset and Kent. The first is the comparative rarity of the personal name in the eleventh century, when the overall pattern of usage shows a retreat from that in the tenth. There were five or six moneyers of the name active in the period 950–1010 but only two in 1010–66 (Beorhtsige 31–42), at least fifteen charter witnesses and other members of landed society in the tenth century (Beorhtsige 1, 5–11, 13–19, 25, 27, 29) but only four in the eleventh (Beorhtsige 20–23, 26). We should not, therefore, expect a multiplicity of very rich men with the name in DB: the name was not rare, but neither was it very common, with only six small landowners identifiable in 1066 (Beorhtsige 43–48) besides Beorhtsige Cild.

Allied to that is the size and value of the individual manors associated with the name in DB. To anticipate, of the nineteen manors which can be ascribed to Beorhtsige Cild, six were assessed at 10 hides or more, five between 5 and 10 hides, and eight at less than 5 hides, none under 2 hides. Values were on average above £1 per fiscal unit, so that seven of the manors were worth £10 or more, six between £5 and £8, and five under £5, none less than £2.

Beorhtsige is given the byname Cild only in four manorial entries and one other DB context. The last is the most telling: he was a holder of sake and soke in the west Kentish lathes of Sutton and Aylesford, appearing first in the list of fifteen individuals, a position which (on the identification presented here) reflected his standing nationally rather than just locally. His four Kentish manors were all in Sutton lathe, and lay concentrated within a stretch of 17 miles: Greenwich and Plumstead on the Thames, Lullingstone in the Darent valley, and Seal straddling Holmesdale and the Chartland to its south. His byname appears at all but Greenwich, but Greenwich was clearly his too, on grounds of size and proximity to Plumstead. Apart from Seal, the Kent manors had low assessments, but they were very valuable. Adding the small manor of Hatcham, which lay just over the Surrey boundary from Greenwich, they were worth £53 in 1066, with Seal accounting for £30 of that total. At Horton Kirby, just down the Darent valley from Lullingstone, Beorhtsige was also the commended lord of Godhild 3.

Beorhtsige had three other manors in Surrey besides Hatcham, spread over some 15 miles in the centre of the county: Compton on the North Downs west of Guildford, West Horsley on the Downs east of Guildford, and Stoke D’Abernon in the Mole valley below the scarp of the Downs a few miles further east again. In Surrey his byname appears only at Stoke. Those three manors were heavily assessed at a total of 39 hides, but were worth only £20.

Beorhtsige (without any byname) is also found holding three manors in Sussex, scattered over some 35 miles of the South Downs, from Itford in the Ouse valley below Lewes, west to Thakeham below the north-facing escarpment, and west again to North Stoke on a loop of the river Arun where it cuts through the Downs above Arundel. The three together were assessed at 32¾ hides and worth £38.

So far, we have a group of eleven manors across the three south-eastern shires, which other commentators have tended to accept in whole or part as belonging to Beorhtsige Cild (Blair 1989: 12; James and Seal 1990: 9; Blair 1991: 116; Clarke 1994: 265–6). They were worth the considerable sum of £107 in 1066, placing Beorhtsige Cild among the richest landowners, irrespective of any further identifications.

For various reasons it is more likely that Beorhtsige Cild was the Beorhtsige who held valuable manors elsewhere in southern England than that there was a namesake (or more than one) of similar rank. The wider search starts in the far west of Dorset, where Beorhtsige, thegn of King Edward, held a manor of 12 hides worth £10 at Wootton Fitzpaine, on the river Char 2 miles from the coast. The word for thegn is miles rather than the more usual tainus; elsewhere in DB miles denotes a French knight rather than an English thegn, though it was used for thegn in the witness lists of pre-Conquest Latin charters. Probably nothing should be read into the appearance of the term here, evidently a unique instance of a ‘thegn of King Edward’ being called a miles in DB.

Elsewhere in Wessex, three manors in Somerset, one in Wiltshire, one in south Gloucestershire, and two in Hampshire must be taken into account. The cluster of three manors on the Somerset coast was the most valuable group. The largest of the three was Stogursey, between the Quantock Hills and the sea, under-assessed at only 4½ hides but worth £25 when Beorhtsige’s Norman successor acquired it. Adjoining Stogursey, probably originally part of it (to judge by the place-names), and long afterwards dependent on it manorially and ecclesiastically (Ekwall 1960: 298, 445; VCH Som. V, 103, 104, 106), was the small manor of Lilstock, 5 hides worth £5. The TRE holder’s name was muddled as Britsitius in Exon (478b1) and Bricsic in GDB, but we are clearly dealing with the same person as Bricsius (Exon 369a1, 509a2) or Brixi (GDB) at Stogursey. Ten miles along the coast to the north the same man had the 4 hides of Burnham on Sea, worth £8. The whole Somerset group was 13½ hides worth £38.

The single Wiltshire manor assigned to Beorhtsige, Keevil, north-west of Salisbury Plain in the upper valley of the Wiltshire Avon, was very large, 16 hides worth £26 in 1086 (no TRE value is given). In Gloucestershire his manor of Westonbirt was 3 hides worth £6. 

Two manors in Hampshire bridged, geographically, the south-eastern and West Country manors discussed so far. Only one of them was assigned explicitly to Beorhtsige, the 5-hide manor of Cildeest, worth £8 in 1066 but added to the New Forest before 1086. Because of its afforestation, Cildeest did not survive as a vill, though it has been plausibly identified with the Childenhurst mentioned in 1339, itself a lost place in the forest parish of Brockenhurst (PN Hants: 55). It may be just a coincidence that the place-name incorporated the element cild which also provided Beorhtsige’s byname. A place-name formed from a byname would be rather remarkable, and in any case the 1339 spelling points to the plural rather than the singular of cild (so, ‘children’ or ‘young nobles’). 

The other Hampshire manor in question appears in connection with Alsige son of Beorhtsige, its holder in 1086. Alsige was both a king’s thegn (Hants 69:9–10, 21; IoW9:2) and a tenant of the New Minster (Hants 6:13, 16). In the first of his two New Minster entries, Alsige is named in full as Alsi filius Brixi, tenant of part of the abbot’s manor of Brown Candover at Woodmancott. Three entries further on, an Alsi without a byname appears as the 1086 tenant of 6 hides of the abbot’s great manor of Micheldever. The latter holding has been tentatively identified as Northington (VCH Hants III, 395) on the grounds that Northington is assigned 6 hides in the supposed foundation charter of the New Minster (S 370; Charters of the New Minster: no. 6); the charter is a late forgery, compiled no earlier than the second half of the twelfth century, but clearly the forger had access to some authentic information about the hidage of Northington. Alsige’s holding at Northington is only 4 miles from Alsige son of Beorhtsige’s at Woodmancott; but even if Northington is not the right location, there were hardly any parts of the Micheldever estate that were far from Woodmancott, and the Alsige who held at Micheldever was very probably Alsige son of Beorhtsige. The later descent of the two manors does not help with identification, since both were part of the abbot’s demesne (VCH Hants III, 395–6; IV, 186). All this is important because on the Micheldever holding, Alsige had been preceded as the abbey’s tenant TRE by his unnamed father: on this reading of the evidence, his father was Beorhtsige Cild.

Some of the manors in Wessex have been regarded by other commentators as belonging to the same Beorhtsige, linking together either Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire (Darlington 1955a: 66–7; Williams 1968: 32–3; VCH Wilts. VIII, 252; Hooper 1989: 28) or those and Gloucestershire too (Williams 1995: 22). The six were assessed at 44½ hides and worth £80. No one has hitherto linked Beorhtsige of Wessex with Beorhtsige Cild of the south-east. One historian has suggested a link between Beorhtsige of Hampshire and Beorhtsige Cild of Kent and Surrey, but without bringing in the Sussex and West Country manors, and mistakenly adding a holding in Essex (Blair 1991: 116) which belonged, rather, to Beorhtsige 44.

Adding all these properties together gives a total for Beorhtsige Cild of almost 150 hides (counting sulungs as double hides) worth £200 in 1066. The geographical pattern is cohesive for a landed estate on so large a scale: the maximum distance from the Quantocks to west Kent is only about 150 miles. The estate included an especially valuable manor (defined as worth £20 a year or more) in each of Somerset, Wiltshire, Sussex, and Kent.

There is further evidence that we are probably dealing with a single great landowner rather than two or more namesakes in the presence of a Beorhtsige as an occasional charter witness both before and after 1066.

Three charters of the Danish kings were witnessed by a thegn called Beorhtsige. The earliest was Cnut’s grant of 7 hides in south Dorset to his thegn Orc (Orc 1) in 1024 (S 961), witnessed eighth among twenty thegns by Byrhsie minister. The charter survives as an original and its authenticity has not been doubted. Next chronologically was probably Harthacnut’s grant of estates in east Sussex to the Norman abbey of Fécamp, between 1040 and 1042 (S 982), witnessed by Bricsih as tenth of probably eighteen men in a confused list of king’s priests and thegns. The charter has generally been treated as having suspicious features though it may well embody an authentic confirmation. Close in date to it is the appearance of Bryxsige minister as last of ten thegns witnessing Harthacnut’s grant of a small estate in Hampshire to the bishop of Winchester in 1042 (S 994). This charter survives in a single-sheet copy which is almost certainly original and authentic.

The fourth pre-Conquest charter where Beorhtsige appears as a witness, Edward the Confessor’s supposed confirmation of the possessions of Earl Harold’s minster at Waltham (Essex) in 1062 (S 1036), is in itself a forgery of the earlier twelfth century, but one where opinion is now persuasively in favour of accepting the names of the witnesses as having been taken from one or more authentic charters of the later years of Edward’s reign (Keynes 1987: 197–203, 209–10). Beorhtsige is named as Brixinus princeps, princeps here clearly meaning thegn. The four pre-Conquest charters, then, provide evidence that one or more king’s thegns called Beorhtsige witnessed royal charters in 1024, 1042, and probably the early 1060s, concerned with transactions in Dorset and Sussex. It is conceivable that the same thegn was active over a period of forty years, though also possible that two or even three men were involved.

Beorhtsige’s final appearance in a witness list is in the charter of William I (issued at Whitsun 1068 in the proper form of an Anglo-Saxon Latin diploma) which restored to the bishop of Wells a large Somerset manor stolen by Harold (Bates 1998: no. 286). He appears (as Brixi) second from last among a mixed group of Norman and English baronial and thegnly witnesses, many of whom had West Country estates.

Beorhtsige’s survival to 1068, after the military campaigns of 1066–7, helps to explain the distribution of his manors in 1086, when he had been succeeded by as many as twelve different Normans. Succession in Kent, Sussex, and (to some degree) Surrey was determined by geography, but in Wessex there were some antecessorial successions, probably implemented at an early date in the wake of the first deaths and dispossessions of English magnates after 1066. Beorhtsige’s West Country manors, however, were distributed piecemeal, and ended up in 1086 one each in the hands of Ernulf de Hesdin, Walter de Douai, William de Falaise, William fitzBaderon, Aiulf the sheriff, and Ansgar the cook. The construction of their fiefs thus needs some consideration.

Ernulf de Hesdin’s fief, focused on Wiltshire and Gloucestershire but with outliers as far away as Huntingdon, looks to have been built on antecessorial foundations, since its shape was very largely the result of his succession to Eadric, Wulfweard the white (Wulfweard 17), and another Wulfweard, though his two individually most valuable manors in 1086 had been added from other sources, one of which was Beorhtsige’s Wiltshire manor of Keevil. Ernulf did not receive Beorhtsige’s smaller manors in the area of his fief.

Walter de Douai’s fief seems to have had a more geographical basis and certainly no strong antecessorial element in its heartlands of Somerset and Devon. The single manor of Beorhtsige’s that he received was just one of a cluster put together from different sources in that part of Somerset. He did not receive Beorhtsige’s other two manors in the immediate vicinity.

William de Falaise’s smaller fief looks more geographically than antecessorially determined. Beorhtsige’s manor of Stogursey was his most valuable single acquisition by far, and indeed became the honorial capital of his successors the Courcys (Stogursey was ‘Stoke Courcy’: Ekwall 1960: 445), William (I) de Courcy having married William de Falaise’s daughter (VCH Som. VI, 132, 136, 138). Stogursey was central to the fief in 1086, and may have been given to William de Falaise with that purpose in mind.

Ansgar the cook was a king’s serjeant who appears to have had manors in Wiltshire and Essex too (unless there were namesakes). Beorhtsige’s manor of Lilstock was his only property of any value. Ansgar may have had links with his neighbour William de Falaise already in 1086, since Lilstock had passed into the hands of the lord of Storgursey no later than within a few years after 1100 (VCH Som. V, 104, 106).

Aiulf was sheriff of Dorset, with an estate concentrated in that shire. Once again, by far his most valuable manor was the only one of Beorhtsige’s that was given to him.

William fitzBaderon was a late arrival in England, successor to his paternal uncle Wihenoc as lord of the Welsh border castlery of Monmouth perhaps only a few years before 1086 (Lewis 1985: 332–3; Keats-Rohan 1999: 484). It is not certain that fitzBaderon’s predecessors as lords of Monmouth held manors like Beorhtsige’s Westonbirt far from the castlery.

Beorhtsige’s survival to 1068 or later and his co-option into the new regime explain why his lands were not handed en bloc to a single Norman successor (even allowing for non-antecessorial succession in the south-east), but rather allotted to new owners on a piecemeal basis and according to the local or regional needs of the Norman settlement. His son Alsige survived as a relatively important king’s thegn in Hampshire in 1086. Among his father’s property, only Woodmancott, on lease from the abbot of the New Minster, came to him.

Beorhtsige’s byname of Cild remains, for the moment, a puzzle. The consensus has been that it denoted something like ‘a young nobleman’ (Tengvik 1938: 243–5), but if that were the case, it is odd that men still had the byname when they were no longer young. Beorhtsige would be a case in point if he was the thegn who had witnessed charters as long previously as 1024 or even 1042. The standard dictionary definition of cild (‘a youth of gentle birth’: OED: child, n., sense I.5) owes too much to poetic usage in Middle English, to the neglect of its frequency as an Old English byname for men of all ages. Nothing like that sense is apparent when cild was used as a common noun. A better working hypothesis would be that the word developed a distinct meaning as a late OE byname, denoting nobility but not necessarily youth.

That makes Beorhtsige a member of some unidentified noble family. Most of his manors have no earlier history, in the sense that we cannot determine when they were created as separate entities or how long they had been held by Beorhtsige or his family. The limited evidence suggests that he had connections with the king and the family of Earl Godwine, as well as the New Minster, and much more speculatively points to his ancestors’ regional origins.

Two of Beorhtsige’s Kentish manors show his connections with the family of Earl Godwine. Plumstead, which stretched from vast marshes fronting the Thames across a narrow belt of good arable land into the wooded foothills of the North Downs (Hasted 1797–1801: 203 and map facing 184), was divided into two manors identical in assessment (2 sulungs and 1 yoke) and so similar in resources in 1086 that the division must have been made very recently before 1066. Each had land for five ploughs and woodland rendering five pigs, and each still had 17 villan tenements in 1086, though the number of smaller peasants (3 bordars as against 6 cottars) and tenant ploughteams (5 as against 6) differed. Each manor was worth £10 in 1066, though the values diverged later (Kent 5:21; 7:1). One was held in 1066 by Beorhtsige Cild from King Edward and had passed by 1086 to Bishop Odo, from whom the abbot of St Augustine’s held as subtenant; the other, held by the abbot as tenant-in-chief, had no TRE holder named in GDB, but was said in the abbey’s own records to have been held in 1066 by Sorag (IA 20).

St Augustine’s had two charters from the time of William I concerning Plumstead. One of them, evidently an incomplete copy of a diploma, takes the form of a grant by Bishop Odo confirmed by the king, and includes ‘half the vill which is called Plumstead’ (Bates 1998: no. 86). The other is the king’s grant and confirmation of ‘the land which is called Plumstead’, in which Bishop Odo released his claim to ‘that land’ (Bates 1998: no. 82). At first sight the latter seems to be dealing with the whole of Plumstead, but that impression is not borne out by the Domesday evidence. In fact the two charters taken together with DB tell a consistent story: Odo had half of Plumstead, granted it to the abbey, formally renounced his claim, and had the king confirm the transaction.

That reconstruction chimes with what the first of the charters says about Plumstead’s recent history: that half the vill rightly belonged to the abbey but ‘Earl Godwine had taken it away by deceit and wrongfully, and had given it to his son Tosti, which, however, King Edward had afterwards restored’ (Goduinus comes fraude et iniuste abstulerat, suoque filio Tostic dederat, quam tamen rex Euuardus [sic] postea reddiderat) (Bates 1998: p. 347). This must be the half of Plumstead which DB assigns to Beorhtsige Cild, whose tenure must therefore date to the time of Earl Godwine (d. 1053) or Tosti, unless he was the abbey’s tenant after King Edward restored it. Odo’s claim will have arisen because he succeeded Godwine as earl over Kent. Either way, it looks as if Beorhtsige’s tenure of Plumstead was recent and dependent. It was not an ancestral estate.

Beorhtsige Cild had other connections with Godwine’s family near by at Greenwich. Part of Greenwich, including the church, was in the manor of Lewisham, which belonged to the abbey of St Peter at Ghent (Keynes 1990: 177–81; S 728, 1002; Hasted 1797–1801: 413–14), but the rest was divided in 1066 into manors of 1 sulung apiece in the hands of Earl Harold and Beorhtsige. Bishop Odo acquired both sulungs after the Conquest and merged the two manors into one, so that there is a single DB entry and a single set of manorial statistics which does not reveal how they were divided before the Conquest. That in itself might be taken to indicate some pre-Conquest connection between the two parts. Nothing is said directly of the terms of Beorhtsige’s tenure at Greenwich, but it is not impossible that he held half the estate as a tenant of Earl Harold.

Beorhtsige’s largest and most valuable manor in Kent, by contrast, looks to have been derived from a royal estate. Seal gives every appearance of being a daughter-settlement: it has a name of late type, meaning ‘the hall’ (OE sele) (Ekwall 1960: 409) — tellingly, it was recorded in DB with the (French) definitive article, as Lasela — and its church was always reckoned a chapel of Kemsing (Hasted 1797–1801: 58; Everitt 1986: 88, 277). Kemsing was undoubtedly a royal estate in the mid tenth century: there is a charter of King Eadwig (955–9) granting land there to the matron Ælfswith (S 662), and in 961 the future St Edith, daughter of Eadwig’s successor King Edgar, was born at Kemsing to the king’s mistress Wulfthryth (Farmer 2011: 135–6). But Kemsing does not appear by name in DB and must surely have been included in Seal, along with the later manors of Knole and Bradbourne (both in Sevenoaks parish). All four manors long descended together in the same hands (Hasted 1797–1801: 51, 62), and Domesday Seal commanded extensive resources (19 ploughs, a fishery, woodland paying 75 pigs a year) which are likely to have covered a larger area than Seal alone. The Kemsing-Seal estate may have remained in private hands from the time of Eadwig’s grant onwards, though a continuing connection with kings is perhaps implied by the dedication of its church to the royal saint Edith, either after her death in 984 or more likely after her translation at Wilton (Wilts.) in 997.

Beorhtsige’s Wiltshire manor of Keevil also looks to have been cut out of a royal estate, Steeple Ashton, on the basis of nineteenth-century boundary evidence and the very unusual placing of Steeple Ashton church almost on the parish boundary (Kain and Oliver 2001: nos. 39/140–5; VCH Wilts. VIII, 198, 202, 211, 259, 261).

Otherwise, the clearest evidence for the status of Beorhtsige’s holdings is the survival of late pre-Conquest manorial churches at his Surrey manors of Stoke D’Abernon, Compton, and perhaps West Horsley (VCH Surr. III, 21–2, 355, 458–9; Blair 1991: 44, 116, 117, 118, 136; Taylor and Taylor 1980–4: I, 172; II, 573–4). Stoke and Compton, where the architectural evidence is clearest, were different in their built form, and we should resist any temptation to think that Beorhtsige Cild was necessarily responsible for their construction, but the existence of the churches suggests that his Surrey estates were long-established manors. That is even more clearly the case with West Horsley, which appears as a separate property in private hands and with its Domesday assessment of 10 hides as early as the reign of King Alfred, when another Alfred, ealdorman, perhaps of Surrey (Alfred 18), left it to his wife and daughter (S 1508). Curiously, another of the ealdorman’s beneficiaries and kinsmen mentioned in his will was called Beorhtsige (Beorhtsige 3). Is it conceivable that Beorhtsige Cild was descended from that family? Descent from a family which had been ealdormen of Surrey under King Alfred would explain his byname, and provides a context in which the spread of the family’s estates across the south-east and Wessex could be understood.

Bibliography

Bates 1998: Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum: The Acta of William I (1066–1087), ed. David Bates (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)

Blair 1989: John Blair, ‘An introduction to the Surrey Domesday’, The Surrey Domesday, [ed. Ann Williams and R. W. H. Erskine] (London: Alecto Historical Editions, 1989), 1–17

Blair 1991: John Blair, Early Medieval Surrey: Landholding, Church and Settlement before 1300 (Stroud: Alan Sutton Publishing and Surrey Archaeological Society, 1991)

Charters of the New Minster: Charters of the New Minster, Winchester, ed. Sean Miller, Anglo-Saxon Charters 9 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 2001)

Clarke 1994: Peter A. Clarke, The English Nobility under Edward the Confessor (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994)

Darlington 1955a: R. R. Darlington, ‘Introduction to the Wiltshire Domesday’, in The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of Wiltshire, II, ed. R. B. Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1955), 42–112

Ekwall 1960: Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960)

Farmer 2011: David Hugh Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 5th edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Hasted 1797–1801: Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, 2nd edn, 12 vols (1797–1801)

Hooper 1989: N. A. Hooper, ‘An introduction to the Wiltshire Domesday’, The Wiltshire Domesday, [ed. Ann Williams and R. W. H. Erskine] (London: Alecto Historical Editions, 1989), 1–30

IA: An Eleventh-Century Inquisition of St. Augustine’s, Canterbury, ed. Adolphus Ballard, British Academy Records of the Social and Economic History of England and Wales 4 (2) (London, 1920) [the text]

James and Seal 1990: Sue James and D. A. Seal, ‘An introduction to the Sussex Domesday’, The Sussex Domesday, [ed. Ann Williams and R. W. H. Erskine] (London: Alecto Historical Editions, 1990), 1–25

Kain and Oliver 2001: Roger J. P. Kain and Richard R. Oliver, Historic Parishes of England and Wales: An Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata (Colchester: History Data Service, 2001)

Keats-Rohan 1999: K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066–1166, I: Domesday Book (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1999)

Keynes 1987: Simon Keynes, ‘Regenbald the chancellor (sic)’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 10 (1987), 185–222

Keynes 1990: Simon Keynes, ‘The æthelings in Normandy’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 13 (1990), 173–205

Lewis 1985: C. P. Lewis, ‘English and Norman government and lordship in the Welsh borders, 1039–1087’ (Oxford University D.Phil. thesis, 1985)

PN Hants: Richard Coates, The Place-Names of Hampshire, based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (London: B. T. Batsford, 1989)

S: P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 8 (London, 1968), revised by S. Kelly, R. Rushforth et al., The Electronic Sawyer: Online Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Charters, published online through Kemble: The Anglo-Saxon Charters Website, currently at http://www.esawyer.org.uk/about/index.html 

Taylor and Taylor 1980–4: H. M. Taylor and Joan Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture, 3 vols, paperback edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980–4) 

Tengvik 1938: Gösta Tengvik, Old English Bynames, Nomina Germanica 4 (Uppsala: Almqvist and Wiksells, 1938)

VCH Hants: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: The Victoria History of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, ed. William Page [and H. A. Doubleday], 5 vols and index (London, 1900–14)

VCH Som. V: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of the County of Somerset, V, ed. R. W. Dunning (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1985)

VCH Som. VI: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of the County of Somerset, VI, ed. R. W. Dunning (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1992)

VCH Surr.: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: The Victoria History of the County of Surrey, ed. H. E. Malden, 4 vols and index (London, 1902–14)

VCH Wilts. VIII: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: The Victoria History of Wiltshire, VIII, ed. Elizabeth Crittall (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1965)

Williams 1968: Ann Williams, ‘Introduction to the Dorset Domesday’, The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of the County of Dorset, III, ed. R. B. Pugh (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1968), 1–60

Williams 1995: Ann Williams, The English and the Norman Conquest (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1995)

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