Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB
List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB
The 2½ hides at Brocote were held as two manors TRE by Ælfric, Alweard, and Beorhtsige. The hides ‘were waste and are still in the king’s wood’ (Wasta fuerunt 7 sunt adhuc in silua regis); the phrase ‘are still in the king’s wood’ implies that they were in the king’s wood in 1066 too, and accounted for their status as waste.
Brocote is unidentified but can be located in general terms from the mention of the king’s wood and the fact that the succeeding entry for another hide in the same place was linked with a further hide at Staunton. Both Staunton and the other hide of Brocote were also, in identical wording, ‘waste and are still in the king’s wood’ (Herefs. 1:74). Staunton is in the hills along the northern edge of the Forest of Dean (from the twelfth century in Gloucestershire rather than Herefordshire), and Brocote is likely to have been in the same area. The recent identification with Redbrook, a couple of miles south of Staunton in the Wye valley, has much to recommend it. Redbrook, first named in 1216, was named from a ‘stream amongst the reeds’ (hrēod brōc) (PN Glos. III, 237), namely the brook which pours down into the left bank of the Wye here, formerly known as Red brook but now Valley brook. Brocote is probably the ‘cottage(s) at the brook’ (brōc cōt) (Phill. Herefs. note 1,73; cf. Gelling and Cole 2000: 7). Although the place-name is different, there are not that many other streams in this quarter of the Forest which could be the brōc in question. At 3½ hides in total, Brocote will have covered much of the later parish of Newland, which adjoined Staunton on the south (VCH Glos. V, 195–223).
The other holders of the manors that ‘were waste and are now in the king’s wood’ are only indirectly helpful in filling out an identity for Beorhtsige 46. Staunton had belonged to Earl Godwine (d. 1053) and the Beorhtric who held another part of Brocote might well have been the magnate Beorhtric son of Ælfgar (Beorhtric 36). This raises the possibility that other magnates were associated with the manors taken into the king’s wood. Edward the Confessor often stayed at Gloucester and hunted in the Forest of Dean (Barlow 1970: 174–5), so there was good reason for great men to acquire landed estates in the vicinity. On that reasoning, Beorhtsige may have been the magnate Beorhtsige Cild (Beorhtsige 23), but his partners at Brocote, Ælfric and Alweard, cannot be identified with magnates, and the DB entries under discussion here seem to have been carefully arranged to distinguish between the separate manors of the two great men (Beorhtric and Earl Godwine) and the grouped manors of the other three.
Where that leaves the identity of Beorhtsige 46 is not clear, since he seems to have had a single holding, not necessarily regarded as manorial (since the three men held only two manors), which was waste and in the king’s wood. Perhaps he held the land before a recent annexation to Edward’s hunting grounds, or perhaps he was a royal official with responsibilities for managing the woods and/or the hunting.
Barlow 1970: Frank Barlow, Edward the Confessor (London: Eyre Methuen, 1970)
Gelling and Cole 2000: Margaret Gelling and Ann Cole, The Landscape of Place-Names (Stamford: Shaun Tyas, 2000)
Phill. Herefs.: Domesday Book, ed. John Morris, 17: Herefordshire, ed. Frank and Caroline Thorn (Chichester: Phillimore, 1983)
VCH Glos. V: The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of the County of Gloucester, V, ed. N. M. Herbert (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1996)