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

Æthelræd 73 Æthelræd ‘of Leueberge’ (Kent)

Author: CPL
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

  Discussion of the name  



Æthelræd 73 held 2 acres worth 6 shillings in an unidentified vill in east Kent.

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
Kent 5,190 Leueberge Altet Æthelræd 'of Leueberge' Edward, king Odo, bishop of Bayeux Ansfrid Masculus 0.02 0.30 0.30 B Map
Total               0.02 0.30 0.30  



A third Æthelræd in Kent, plainly distinct from the west Kentish magnate Æthelræd of Yalding (Æthelræd 71) and the east Kentish landowner Æthelræd 72, is named in a non-standard Domesday entry which follows that for one of the two manorial holdings at Leueberge:

In the same place lived a certain Æthelræd who held 2 acres in alod from King Edward, and he held them from Ansfrid, and it was worth 6s.

Ibidem mansit quidam Altet qui tenuit de rege .E. iias. acras in alodium . 7 tenuit eas de Ansfrido . 7 appreciatur .vi. solidos.

Von Feilitzen rightly suggested that the unique spelling Altet was probably a mistake for Alret (i.e. Æthelræd) but confused the issue by also suggesting an improbable CG derivation (von Feilitzen 1937: 153).

The holding at Leueberge which precedes this one in DB was ½ yoke which belonged TRE to Leofwine and in 1086 was held from Bishop Odo’s fief by Ansfrid (Kent 5:189). DB seems to tell us that Æthelræd survived the Conquest and became a tenant of Ansfrid but had enjoyed tenure independent of Leofwine TRE; and also that he was not still in place as Ansfrid’s tenant in 1086. The value (or rent?) of 6s. for only 2 acres is astonishingly high: Leofwine’s ½ yoke (notionally 30 acres) in the same vill was worth 5s.; per acre that was only one eighteenth of the value of Æthelræd’s land. Either there is a mistake in the entry for Æthelræd’s holding (wrong number of acres? shillings for pence?), or there was something about it that DB is not telling us.

Leueberge does not survive as a place-name and has eluded precise identification. It lay in Bewsbury hundred, which stretched inland from the coast either side of Dover up on to the North Downs. The pattern of succession is no help with identification, since neither of the bishop’s tenants at Leueberge in 1086 had any other holding in the hundred. Nor is the position of Leueberge in the run of DB entries for the bishop’s fief, since this part of the return is arranged by the names of the subtenants, not geographically (Kent 5:185–96).

It has been argued, however, that the name Leueberge means ‘(at the) eleven barrows’ (Phill. Kent, note 5,189), which opens the possibility of locating it through archaeology, in particular from aerial photographic evidence for ploughed-out barrows and their ring ditches, which typically survive only as crop marks. The north-eastern fringes of the hundred coincide with a remarkable concentration of barrows, though none of the groups hitherto identified contains as many as eleven (Perkins 2010: esp. 285).

Another possibility is that Leueberge lay in Guston parish, which is otherwise represented in DB only by two rather small holdings amounting to 1 yoke 25 acres and 1½ ploughteams, seemingly far too little for the area of the later parish. Two Bronze Age barrows survived in Guston long enough to be mapped by the Ordnance Survey (Ashbee and Dunning 1960: 55, no. 7), though the parish was outside the area in which clusters of barrows were most numerous. Leueberge has been mapped provisionally in the southern part of Guston.

In all, three Æthelræds are documented in the vicinity of Dover in the mid eleventh century, in chronological order: a thegn of Edward the Confessor in the 1040s (Æthelræd 38), the man who lived at Leueberge in 1066 (Æthelræd 73), and of a canon of Dover who succeeded his father after 1066 and was living in 1086 (Æthelræd 77).

The earliest of the three demands a closer look. Edward the Confessor gave his thegn (optimas) Æthelræd (Æþelredus) (Æthelred 38) 2 sulungs at West Cliffe between 1042 and 1044 in a charter which survives as an original (S 1044; K 769). Eadric (Eadric ) held West Cliffe from King Edward in 1066 (Kent 5:186).

As the charter itself says, immediately east of the estate was the community of St Martin of Dover’s land at St Margarets at Cliffe (On east healfe þæs hiredes land to Dofran æt Clife). St Margarets and West Cliffe shared a place-name. Although GDB distinguishes them as Sancta Margarita and Wesclive, Clife is used for both places in the 1040s charter. The nineteenth-century boundaries of the two recommend the idea that West Cliffe was cut out of St Margarets at some point, perhaps newly so for Æthelræd 38 in the 1040s: St Margarets had a detached part west of West Cliffe, and the rectilinear parish boundaries here look very artificial (Kain and Oliver 2001: nos. 19/364–5). Æthelræd 73’s small allodial holding at Leueberge may have been in the next block of land west along the cliffs after West Cliffe and the detached part of St Margarets.

It is difficult to put substance on the feeling that the three Æthelræds of east Kent must have been connected. One possible reconstruction is that King Edward’s thegn in the 1040s gave his name to the others (sons of a local alod-holder and a canon of Dover) by standing as godparent.



Ashbee and Dunning 1960: P. Ashbee and G. C. Dunning, ‘The round barrows of east Kent’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 74 (1960), 48–57

K: John M. Kemble, Codex diplomaticus aevi saxonici, 6 vols (London: English Historical Society, 1839–48)

Kain and Oliver 2001: Roger J. P. Kain and Richard R. Oliver, Historic Parishes of England & Wales: An Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata (Colchester: History Data Service, 2001)

Perkins 2010: Dave Perkins, ‘The distribution patterns of Bronze Age round barrows in north-east Kent’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 130 (2010), 277–314

Phill. Kent: Domesday Book, ed. John Morris, 11: Kent, ed. Philip Morgan (Chichester: Phillimore, 1983)

S: P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 8 (London, 1968), revised by S. Kelly, R. Rushforth et al., The Electronic Sawyer: Online Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Charters, published online through Kemble: The Anglo-Saxon Charters Website, currently at

von Feilitzen 1937: Olof von Feilitzen, The Pre-Conquest Personal Names of Domesday Book, Nomina Germanica 3 (Uppsala: Almqvist and Wiksells, 1937)

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