Aski 5 was apparently the priest of St Benet of Holme’s church of Little Moulton All Saints, and was lord of two very minor free men, though he may have held them illegally.
Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB
List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB
The four instances of the name Aski in Domesday Book are located so far apart for such small estates that there can be no question of identifying any of them as the same man, particularly not the priest Aski, since only here does the name appear as presbyter.
Among the lands of the king’s free men listed towards the end of the Norfolk folios was a tiny holding of just 2½ acres at Moulton St Michael in south Norfolk, belonging in 1086 to Gouti (Gouti 5) and Eskil (Eskil ). The text adds that ‘Aski the priest held them (eos tenuit), a man of the abbot of Holme, and gave his pledge (dedit uadem)’. The implication is that Gouti and Eskil held the land in 1066 too, and that their lord was Aski the priest, who was himself the man of the abbot of St Benet’s abbey at Holme.
The vill of Moulton was much divided TRE among free men and sokemen, none of whom was named in DB apart from Gouti and Eskil. The largest single holding was the 60 acres belonging to a free man who also controlled a church with 15 acres and 14 other free men with 20 acres. The other components were 6 free men with 57 acres, 1 sokeman with 10 acres, 9½ free men with 140 acres and under them 2½ free men with 15 acres, 4 free men with 6 acres, and 3 free men with 5 acres (Norf. 4:56; 9:98, 212, 223).
St Benet’s abbey at Horning on the river Bure was over 20 miles from Moulton, on the other side of Norwich. The abbey’s only property in the vicinity of Moulton was a holding at Tibenham, the next village to the south-west. No church was listed on that manor or on any of the other holdings at Tibenham (Norf. 4:56; 9:98, 217, 223, 226; 14:39; 29:7, 10; 66:107), and later in the Middle Ages Tibenham church belonged to the priory of Horsham St Faith, not to St Benet’s abbey (TE: NW.NF.DW.07), so it does not seem likely that Aski was the priest of Tibenham.
Nor was he the priest of Moulton St Michael, which was associated with the unnamed free man’s holding of 60 acres and was never in the abbey’s hands later. But Moulton in the later Middle Ages consisted of two parishes, Great Moulton, whose church was dedicated to St Michael, and Little Moulton, with a church dedicated to All Saints. All Saints church was abandoned in the mid sixteenth century and its parish united with Great Moulton under the name of Moulton St Michael. Crucially, All Saints Little Moulton was in the patronage of St Benet’s abbey (TE: NW.NF.DW.16). Aski thus seems likely to have been the priest of St Benet’s church of All Saints, Little Moulton, a church which was not itself recorded in DB.
In Little DB, pledges were most often recorded when a man had given security that he would surrender land which either had been adjudged was not his or where judgement was pending. It seems, then, that Aski the priest ought not to have held Gouti and Eskil and their 2½ acres, which would explain why they had been taken into the king’s lordship by 1086.
The names of Aski the priest and his sometime man Eskil stemmed from the same source, but they were given in such different spellings (the former Latinized as Ascius and the latter as Osketel, the normal spelling in south Norfolk and east Suffolk) that this is simply coincidence.
TE = Taxatio Ecclesiastica of 1291, consulted online in The Taxatio Database