Æthelræd 71 was a big landowner in west Kent known to have been named from his chief manor of Yalding. His three substantial manors, set close to one another, were assessed at only 5½ sulungs but worth £42. He was among the fifteen thegns of west Kent listed in DB as having sake and soke over their lands.
Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB
List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB
Æthelræd (Alret) of Yalding is named with his byname among the list of fifteen people who had sake and soke in the lathes of Sutton and Aylesford given among the preliminary material for Kent. That places him among the elite of west Kent and allows him to be identified as the holder of Yalding in the main text (spelled Aldret). Yalding passed after the Conquest to Richard fitzGilbert, whose only other manor in Kent, East Barming, had also belonged to an Æthelræd (Alret) who is clearly the same man. A third manor near by, Addington, went to Bishop Odo rather than Richard fitzGilbert, but its location and the rarity of the name Æthelræd (here Agelred) mean that it must have been his too.
The three manors lay close together in Aylesford lathe but in different hundreds, which may account for the three different spellings of Æthelræd’s name in DB. East Barming and Yalding were both on the Medway, respectively 3 and 7 miles upstream from Maidstone, with Addington 6 or 7 miles to their north-west. Yalding was a very large manor, with land for 16 ploughs and worth £30 a year in 1066, though beneficially assessed at only 2 sulungs. It evidently included the large vill of Brenchley to its south-west, not separately named in DB but which belonged in later centuries to fitzGilbert’s successors as lords of the honor of Clare (Hasted 1797–1801: V, 282–3); the two churches mentioned in the DB entry for Yalding must be Yalding and Brenchley (as Hasted 1797–1801: V, 158). Æthelræd’s three manors formed a substantial estate despite its low assessment; they included land for 25 ploughs, four fisheries in the Medway, and five mills, besides woodland and meadow, and an annual value of £42 was enough to place Æthelræd of Yalding in the top rank of Kentish society.
The two small estates in east Kent which have been assigned to Æthelræd 72 were less than 25 miles from Yalding. Although it is possible that they belonged to Æthelræd of Yelling, their size seems out of scale with the latter’s known manors.
Hasted 1797–1801: Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, 2nd edn, 12 vols (1797–1801)