PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England


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

Æthelwulf 55 Æthelwulf ‘of Kidderminster’ (Worcs.), fl. 1086

Author: CPL
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

  Discussion of the name  



Æthelwulf 55 held one virgate at Kidderminster in 1086.

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

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB






Kidderminster, on the river Stour in north Worcestershire, was an ancient minster which had become a royal estate assessed at 20 hides (the DB entry fails to say that King Edward had held it in 1066). A single virgate was recorded separately, in the hands in 1086 of Aiulfus, who had one plough and two slaves, with a value of 2s. which presumably represents his rent. Its precise location is not stated. Kidderminster included sixteen named berewicks in 1086, four of which are unidentified, but all the identified ones lay within a 4-mile radius of the minster church, so that Aiulf’s virgate is likely to have been within that area. Such a small holding, merely a peasant farm (though one worked with slave labour in 1086), is unlikely to have been the only holding of a Norman Aiulf, so that we are here dealing with an English Æthelwulf. Kidderminster was in the order of 20 miles from the south Worcestershire estates assigned to Æthelwulf 56 and the virgate at Kidderminster is unlikely to have belonged to the same man.

It is unclear why Æthelwulf’s virgate was singled out for separate mention within the Kidderminster entry, but it must have been something different from the ordinary peasant holdings of the twenty villans and thirty bordars enumerated in 1086. It was written up after the main entry for Kidderminster, following a note that King William had placed the manor’s woods in his forest and an account of 1 hide held by an unidentifiable William. Æthelwulf 55 was evidently not the unnamed reeve of Kidderminster, who held the land of a radknight with 1 plough and a mill, but beyond that it is hardly sensible to speculate.

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