Extract from Canon Jones History of Bradford on Avon:
The Domesday Book was completed in 1086, just twenty years fter the battle of
Hastings, and that remarkable record shows how the country had been portioned
out among the captains of the invaders. In Bradford, however, we seem to have
been comparatively favoured. The Abbey at Shaftesbury is still spoken of as possessed
of Bradford ; and amongst those who held lands here, by military service under
the King, are several whose names are clearly Anglo-Saxon.
Domesday Book contains
the following entries concerning Bradford and its dependencies.
Under the head
of Lands of the Church of Shaftesbury we have the following(1):-
xii. § 3.) " The same Church (Shaftesbury) holds Bradeford. It was assessed
in the time of King Edward at forty-two hides. Here are forty plough-lands (caracuta).
Thirteen of these hides are in demesne, where are eight plough-lands, and nine
servants, and eighteen freedmen (coliberti). Thirty-six villagers (villani) and
forty borderers (bordarii) occupy the other thirty-two plough-lands. There are
twenty-two hog-keepers. Thirty-three burgesses (burgenses) pay thirty-five shillings
and ninepence. And one of the holders pays seven quarts of honey. Two mills pay
three pounds. The market pays forty-five shillings. Here is an arpen(2) (arpenna)
of vines and fifty acres of meadow. The pasture is one mile and three furlongs
in length and three furlongs broad. The wood is three quarters of a mile long
and a quarter of a mile mile broad.
§ 5. " To the same manor
of Bradeford belongs Alvestone.(3) It was assessed in the time of King Edward
at seven hides, besides the above mentioned forty-two hides. Here are six plough-lands.
Four of the hides are in demesne, where are three ploughlands. The whole of Bradeford
with its appendages was and is valued at sixty pounds."
are also to be found under the head of ' Lands of Odo and other Thanes who hold
by military service under the King,' several entries, which seem to have reference
to our parish, though it is difficult in some instances to identify with anything
like certainty the places alluded to. Thus, Brietric is said to hold one hide
in Trole(1);-Vlf one hide in Bode-berie(2); -Uluric three yard lands in Wintreslie(3)
and one yard land in Tuder-lege(4):-Ulward four hides in Wintreslie.
same record, CUMBERWELL(5) is mentioned, in Cap. xxvii., under the lands of Humphrey
de L'lsle, the Lord also of Broughton and of Castle Combe. In § 5 it is said,-
Pagen holds Cumbrewelle of Humphrey. Levenot held it in the
time of King Edward and it was assessed at four hides. Here are five plough-lands.
Two plough-lands and a servant are in demesne. Two villagers and four borderers
occupy the other three plough-lands. Here are four acres of meadow and five acres
of wood. It is valued at three pounds. The King has one hide of this manor in
demesne where there is no land in tillage. And an Englishman holds half of it
of the King, which is worth eight shillings."
It is not
easy, for many reasons, to draw any very accurate conclusions from these entries
in Domesday Book. If we presume that the first extract gives us a general summary
of the whole parish, we have returned as arable land nearly 5000 acres, for such
would be the extent of the ' forty plough-lands' (carucatcs) mentioned. If Cumberwell
be not included in this summary, and as it is so specifically mentioned, it may
be reckoned separately, there will be an addition to this estimate of 'five plough-lands'
more, or some 600 acres. In the former case there would be more than two.fifths,
in the latter about half the land under the plough. Taking even the lesser calculation
it gives us a large proportion of arable land in the parish, and one much above
the average. It may perhaps be accounted for by the fact that it was Church land.
For as Turner remarks, " The Domesday Survey gives us some indications that
the cultivation of the Church lands, was much superior to that of any other order
of society. They have much less wood upon them, and less common of pasture ; and
what they had appears often in smaller and more irregular pieces; while their
meadow was more abundant, and in more numerous distributions."(1)
meadow and pasture land is reckoned at about four hundred acres; the wood
at about one hundred and forty acres. The small amount of the former is
perhaps accounted for by the fact of there being in these early times a very large
portion of common land unenclosed and uncultivated, which is not included in the
Domesdary reckoning. The latter calculation may relate principally, if not entirely,
to what is now called Bradford Wood, and does not include many pieces of wood-land
and coppice, that even to this day remain. If so, Bradford Wood, which is now
seventy acres in extent, must formerly have been double that size, by no means
an improbable supposition, as, in a survey of 1785 it is described as "about
105 acres," and within the memory of many now living( parts of it have been
grubbed up and tilled. Indeed, nothing is more evident than that in olden times
there was a much larger extent of wood-land than now. This is true of comparatively
modern days. In a schedule of lands and tenements leased out under the manor in
the eighth year of Charles I., hardly more than 200 years ago, there was one tenement
described as being in "Pepitt street, near Bradford wood." The wood
alluded to must have come right down almost into the middle of the town.(2)
may from the Domesday return, form a tolerable conjecture as to the population
of our parish, or manor, as it would have been called in these early days. Beckoning
those named as resident at Cumberwell, and assuming, in addition to those specifically
mentioned, a man for every mill, pasture, house, &c., (the plan adopted by
Eickman and Turner,) we have enumerated in all some 175 persons in various employments.
Supposing these numbers to have reference to the heads of families only, and taking
four as the average of a family, it would give us a population of about 700. Many
of these would, of course, live near the lands which they cultivated, so that
the population of the town could hardly have been more than from three to four
hundred at the most.
Wyndham's Domesday Book for Wiltshire, p. 150. [Jones's Domesday for Wiltshire]
An Arpen was perhaps something less than an acre. It varied in different districts.
Alvestone. It is not easy to explain how Alvestone was first reckoned as parcel
of the Manor of Bradford, nor when it was severed from it. The exact place alluded
to even may be a matter of doubt. There are two places in Gloucestershire, about
ten miles from Bristol, one called Olveston *nd the other Alveston, which till
lately were held as one living, and the Rectory impropriate of which now belongs,
as does that of Bradford, to the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. [This suggestion
is inadmissible. At a teter date, in his " Wiltshire Domesday, p. 196,"
the author put forth another conjecture. Brictric had a brother A Iwi; and a brother
of Brictric, Presumably Alwi, held Farlege (Monkton Farleigh) as his under-tenant,
in "* time of King William. Canon Jones remarks, 'o The name is now lost,
possibly be a memorial of Alwi," whose manor adjoined.]
§ 4. This is now Trowle; but as part of what is so called belongs to Trowbridge
parish, it is impossible to assign the hide of land held, as above, to Bradford
2 § 59. Conjectured to mean Btid-bury.
Winsley, see above, page 14. 4§ 61. Turleigh (?) S Cumberwell, see above,
By the Sev. W. H. Jones. 27
of Anglo-Saxons,' vol. ii. p. 552 (8vo edition, 1886.) See also on this subject
Hallam's ' Europe in the Middle Ages,' vol. iii. p. 360.
(2) In 1840, the estimated
quantity of land then cultivated as arable, eadow or pasture land, or as wood-land,
or common land, was as follows;_
Arable land .................. 4362 acres.
or Pasture land ...... 5956 acres
Common land ................ 209 acres
Since that time, however,
201 acres of common land have been enclosed and brought into cultivation. [And
since 1840, a good deal of arable land has been converted into pasture.']
whole number of heads of families in Wiltshire, according to Domesday, is 10,749.
This, according to the calculation above, would give a total population of about
42,000 souls. See Turner's ' Anglo-Saxons,' vol. iii. p. 255. [JTi is probably
too small a multiplier.]
2 William of Malmesbury's Chronicle, (A.D. 1139.)