Beorhtstan 15 was one of two men sharing 1 hide worth probably 8s. 4d. in the marshland Levels of east Sussex.
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 DB Spelling
Holder 1066 ID conf.
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Beorhtstan 'of Langney'
Robert, count of Mortain
Ranulph 'the man of Robert, count of Mortain'
Langney, literally ‘the long island’ (PN Suss. II, 447), rises out of the marshy Levels 2 miles south-west of the Roman fort at Pevensey, overlooking the beaches where Duke William’s army came ashore on 28 September 1066. In 1086 it was divided into two separate hides of land, each held by two bordars presumably with ½ hide apiece for which they paid 30d. rent, a value of 10s. in all. Before the Conquest one of the hides had been held ‘as an alod’, meaning independently of any lord, by Leomær 5 and Beorhtstan 15, the other by Ælfheah perhaps in the same way. The TRE value of 16s. 8d. for the whole of Langney implies that each ½-hide tenement was then worth 50d. The economy of a ½-hide tenement in this landscape is likely to have included use of summer grazing in the marshes besides arable cultivation on Langney island itself.
None of the three men who held Langney in 1066 had land elsewhere, and we must suppose that they were the predecessors of the bordars farming there in 1086, perhaps even identical with them. Bordars were usually low in the socio-economic order, but ½ hide was an exceptionally large holding for a bordar, more than was farmed by many whom DB calls villans.
There is nothing to link Beorhtstan of Langney with either of his namesakes elsewhere in England in 1066.
PN Suss.: A. Mawer and F. M. Stenton with J. E. B. Gover, The Place-Names of Sussex, 2 vols, English Place-Name Society 6 and 7 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929–30)