PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

Domesday

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

Leofgifu 9 Leofgifu ‘of Lilley’ (Hertfordshire), fl. 1066

Female
Author: DWP
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

  Discussion of the name  

Summary

          

Leofgifu 9 was commended to Earl Harold (Harold 3) and held three estates in Hertfordshire TRE. These estates had a total assessment of 8 hides and were valued at 20s TRE, of which the largest was at Lilley, and Leofgifu 9 held both Lilley and Kings Waldon as manors. Kings Waldon and Wellbury were held by Ilbert the Sheriff (Ilbert 1) after the Conquest but were in King William’s (William 1) hands by 1086; the manor at Lilley passed to Geoffrey de Bec (Geoffrey 17).

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

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

Profile

That all three estates were held by someone with the name Leofgifu and who was associated with Earl Harold points strongly towards these being held by the same woman, even though the succession for Lilley was not the same as that for Kings Waldon and Wellbury. Although only the entries for Kings Walden and Wellbury explicitly specify that Leofeva 9 ‘could sell’ (uendere potuit) her land without Earl Harold’s permission, the main formula (tenuit X de Y) used in all three entries indicates – in Circuit III – that her relationship to Earl Harold was one of commendation rather than dependent tenure (cf. Baxter 2007: 228). Furthermore, the close geographical proximity of these three estates, each held TRE by women with the same name, encourages the view that all were held by the same woman; this is put beyond reasonable doubt by the fact that the Domesday Book entry for Wellbury notes that it was held by the same Leofgifu who held Lilley.

It is unlikely that Leofgifu 9 can be the same woman as Leofgifu 16, even though the latter also held an estate in Hertfordshire (albeit fifteen miles away from those of Leofgifu 9) and shared the same name, because Leofgifu 16 was described as a widow (which Leofgifu 9 was not), had no known association with Earl Harold, and her estate passed to a different successor.

It is unlikely that Leofgifu 9 can be the same woman as Leofgifu 11, because although they shared the same name, were landholders of a similar scale and Leofgifu 11’s estates lay in the adjacent county of Bedfordshire, Leofgifu 11 was commended to King Edward (Edward 15) and Earl Waltheof (Waltheof 2) rather than to Earl Harold and her estates passed to different successors.

It is unlike that Leofgifu 9 can be the same woman as Leofgifu 8, because although they shared the same name and Leofgifu 8’s estates lay in the adjacent county of Cambridgeshire, Leofgifu 8 was commended to Eadgifu ‘the Fair’ rather than to Earl Harold and her estates were considerably smaller than those of Leofgifu 9 and passed to a different successor.

Bibliography

Baxter 2007: S. Baxter, The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2007)

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