PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England


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

Botic 2 Botic ‘of Hawksborough’ (Suss.), fl. 1066

Author: CPL
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

Discussion of the name



Botic 2 was a small landowner with ½ hide worth 5s. in the Weald of 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

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
Sussex 9,57 Heathfield Botiz Botic 'of Hawksborough' - Robert, count of Eu Osbern fitzGeoffrey 0.50 0.25 0.25 A Map
Total               0.50 0.25 0.25  



The name Botic occurs only once in DB, as that of a free man holding ½ hide of land in the Wealden hundred of Hawksborough in east Sussex. Its low assessment and valuation (5s.) belie the actual size of the holding on the ground, since the count of Eu’s tenant Osbern fitzGeoffrey had 5 villans with 3 ploughs there in 1086.

Botic’s holding was attached TRE to the head manor of Preston, located some 12 miles to the south-west in the gap in the South Downs formed by Glynde Reach, a short distance south-east of Lewes. Preston belonged TRE to the important Sussex thegn Cola (Cola 22), but Botic was specifically described as a free man (liber homo) and it is not possible to say what sort of tenurial relationship there was with the parent manor in 1066. Botic’s ½ hide had clearly begun as an outlier of Preston deep in the Weald, one of dozens of such places attached to downland and coastal manors many miles away. After the Conquest it was detached from Preston because it stood in a different rape, Botic’s land in Hastings, Preston itself in Pevensey. It was listed in DB in a group of similar outliers in the same hundred newly detached from different parent manors and held in 1086 by the count of Eu’s man Osbern fitzGeoffrey (Suss. 9:52–58).

It is difficult to be certain where in Hawksborough hundred Botic’s land or indeed any of Osbern’s six other holdings stood, since it is not possible to trace their descent forward from Osbern to their known later holders. On the analogy of the rest of the hundred, however, Osbern’s possessions are likely to have formed a single manor in 1086 despite being recorded as separate parcels.

Botic’s ½ hide can none the less be located tentatively and approximately by a process of elimination. Hawksborough hundred comprised only three large parishes, Burwash, Warbleton, and Heathfield. Botic’s ½ hide cannot have lain in Burwash parish, where all the identifiable later estates were held of the counts of Eu’s head manor of Burwash (VCH Suss. IX, 196–8), and so must be represented in DB by the count’s holdings in chief. Nor was it in Warbleton parish, where the later manors were all held of Warbleton manor, in 1086 held by the count’s subtenant Wibert (VCH Suss. IX, 206–8). That leaves only Heathfield parish, over 8,000 acres in extent, where in later centuries there was a manor of the bishops of Chichester and a cluster of other estates which had nothing to do with the bishop. The episcopal manor was apparently returned in 1086 as part of Bishopstone (VCH Suss. IX, 201–2), making the non-episcopal holdings in Heathfield the only part of the hundred which can possibly represent the 8 hides or so that Osbern fitzGeoffrey held in 1086.

It is worth noting that Heathfield parish included several farms and hamlets whose names proclaim pre-Conquest origins: five habitative names (three tūns and two worðs) with Old English personal names, another OE personal name with an element meaning ‘cleared land’, and a ‘new wīc’ documented as early as 1121 (PN Suss. II, 463–8). Botic’s ½ hide can thus be tentatively located somewhere in Heathfield parish and has been mapped at the church.



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)

VCH Suss. IX: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: The Victoria History of the County of Sussex, IX, ed. L. F. Salzman (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1937)

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