Annex 1

The entries in the Little Domesday Book for Stambourne = Stanburna, Toppesfield, & adjacent villages

My Phillimore edition has parallel texts. On the LH page are what is called a photographic reproduction of the specially designed type made for the 1783 edition of Abraham Farley the type itself was destroyed by fire in 1808. Mostly it is fairly easy to read but there are half a dozen consistent abbreviation marks for which I can find no key. My interpretations are:

  • A sign like a gallows leaning to the R & twice the size of the text. It is the Tindman nota used by AngloSaxon scribes and adopted by the Norman clerks. I will use § to represent it
  • A capital sized is the medieval gaelic Agus [written oygus] for &
  • A slightly ornate X ends and may begin a line
  • A lower case ‘h’ centred above an abbn is nonspecific it converts ac into acres & ten. into tenuit; there are 3 of these ciphers written above t.r.e.
  • A similar ‘z’ converts, e.g, qs into quis
  • A similar short wavy line ~ converts hnt into habet
  • A similar straight superscript converts dnio into domino
  • A mark like a figure 9 in the same position mainly represents the ending us but in one place it seems to convert p. into ‘then and later’ It appears on both Alestan(us)[sometimes] & Goti(us) [always]
  • A wiggle on the back of the downstroke of p makes it into per
  • The bold chapter numbers are on the top R H corner of the appropriate page.

The three entries mentioning Stanburna are:

  • 28.11 and This is a compound entry with Toppesfield
  • 90.26 & 33

The entry for Nortuna, indexed by the translator as being part of modern Cornish Hall End is:

  • 90.58

Section A on Stanburna

Chapter 28 is the LAND OF HAMO THE STEWARD
Section 11 on Stamburn and Toppesfield reads:

  • § Hund de hidingfort. In Scanburne {sic. this is the only place with this error} 7 in Topesfelde ten &
  • In Stambourne & in Toppesfield holds
  • Hamo.I.hid[h].in dnio. p Man. qd tenuit Goti(9)t.r.e.(with 3 superscript hs) Tc (line above the c)7p(9)
  • Hamo 1 hide in lordship as a manor which Goti held before 1066. Then & later
  • IIII car(h).in dnio.m.III.Sep()III. car(h). hom(h).XIIII vill.7.x.bord.7.
  • 4 ploughs in lordship, now 3. Always 3 men’s ploughs. 14 villagers; 10 smallholders
  • [From here I shall omit the abbn marks
  • I. fer. Silu. XL .porc. XV. ac. pti. Sep. III. runc. Tc. XXIIII
  • 6 slaves. Woodland, 40 pigs; meadow, 15 acres; always 3 cobs (my dictionary suggests weeds)
  • an. m. XIII. Tc. XL. porc. m. XX. Tc. CXX ou. m. C. IIII uafa.
  • Then 24 cattle, now 13; then 40 pigs, now 20; then 120 sheep, now 100; 4 beehives
  • apu. Et XV foc. sep. adjacent huic manerio. tenentes dim.
  • 15 Freemen have always belonged to this manor, who hold one half of a
  • hnt III. car. 7. XII. ac. pti. 7. V. bord. I. arpen.
  • hide less 10 acres & have 3 ploughs, meadow 12 acres, 5 smallholders, 1 arpent of vines
  • vineae. hec tra fuit in. II manerijs t.r.e. Tc. ual. Stanburna
  • This land was in 2 manors before 1066. Value then of Stambourne
  • .C. sol. Post. 7. m. VI. lib. 7 Topesfelda uelabat. tc. VII. lib. Post
  • 100s; later & now £6. Value then of Toppesfield £7; later
  • 7.m. VIII. lib. De hoc man tenent. V. milit. fol. i. cod. ptio.
  • and now £8. Of this manor 5 men at arms hold 58 acres. Value 20s in the same assessment

Chapter 90, sections 20 to 28 are titled GEOFFREY DE MANDEVILLES ANNEXATIONS

Section 26 on Stanburna reads:

  • In. Stanburna. dim. hid. ten. lib. ho. t.r.e. tc. 7. p. II. car. in dnio. m. nult
  • In Stambourne a freeman held half a hide before 1066. Then and later 2 ploughs in lordship, now none
  • III. bor. 7. I. fer. XII ac. pti. XL. fol. m. L
  • Always half a man’s plough; 3 smallholders; I slave; meadow, 12 acres; value then & later 40 shillings, now 50 [shillings].
  • Note 90.26 reads: STAMBOURNE. The Manor of Moone Hall there, V.C.H.568,n.11. It does not explain this extraordinary statement

Sections 31 to 33 relate to HAMO THE STEWARDS ANNEXATION but are not actually so titled section 33, inserted in tiny print & presumably added later, is on Stanburna & reads:

  • 7 in Stanburna. X
  • + xl. ac.(h) qs.(z) ten.(h) Alestan(9) lib. ho(). xii (or xxi, or xxx) libi. hoes. t.r.e. 7 adhuc. hnt Sep. ii. car. 7. iii. bor. 7. ual. xl. fol.
  • In Stambourne 40 acres, which Alstan (sic; not Alestanus), a free man, and 12 free men, held before 1066 and still have [JBE emphasises this point]. Always 2 ploughs ; 3 small holders. Value 40 shillings.
  • Note 90.33 reads: STAMBOURNE. See 28.11 for Hamo’s land there [& on the next line]
  • 40 acres… 40s. Interlined in the ms. [this relates to my note in the heading above]

Section B on Toppesfelda

see also 28.11 above & 20.33 under Ridgewell

Sections 49 to 78 relate to the ANNEXATION(S) OF RICHARD of Clare s.o. COUNT GILBERT. In Toppesfield these are:

  • 20.33 below
  • 90.56 is of 15 ac. worth 30s. held by Count Ralph himself which Alstan, a freeman, held t.r.e.
  • 90.57 is of 15 ac. + 8 ac. of woodland value 60s held by G. [probably Count Gilbert, but could be either Goti or de Greinvill] which Dove [duue] held t.r.e.
  • 90.56 + 57 could be the manor (now farm) of Scoteneys on the border with Yeldham

Section C In Nortuna (translated as Cornish Hall)

  • 90.58 In Cornish Hall Mascerel holds 55 ac. which Britric, a freeman, held t.r.e..
  • woodland 40 pigs; meadow 10 ac.; 13 men; value 40s

Section D Ridgewell (Rideuuelli) v.s. Toppesfield

Sections 1 to 80 (i.e. the whole) of Chapter 20 of LDB relate to LANDS OF COUNT EUSTACE of Boulogne (probably de GRENVILLE, a brother-in-law of King Edwardin Essex.

  • 20.23 Godwin, a freeman, held Ridgewell as one a manor t.r.e. of 2 hides 3 virgates with 31 men & 61.5 ac. + 6 ac. & 14 freemen worth £24. [This is the only entry for Ridgewell; there is no mention of Ridgewell Norton.]
  • 20.33 Bernard holds TOPPESFIELD from the Count which one freeman held t.r.e. 15 ac. + 6 ac.
  • 3 men . 20s. [though a small holding the wording suggests it was the most senior one]

Section E Birdbrook [Bridebroc]

LDB Chapter 37 Land of Ranulf, brother of Ilger

  • 37.11 1 freeman held it as a manor t.r.e. 2 hides 20 men Value £9

this is the [sole entry for Birdbrook it ; cannot have encompassed any of Stanburna]


Lands ofChapterareamenheld bymodern acres
The king1.122.5 h+16 ac21Otto the Goldsmith324
Count Eustace of Boulogne in Essex20.300.5h+10 ac3Guy75
 20.3137h+4 ac3Walfric & Guy62
Count Alan21.42.5h+16 ac59Hervey324
 21.738.5ac+2 ac2The Count61
Richard s.o. Count Gilbert23.548ac+6.5ac8Elinant82
 28.1336ac+7 ac82 men at arms65
 23.2260ac+3 ac11they are all freemen95
Annexation of Richard s.o. Count Gilbert from Brictric who held it t.r.e.90.5080ac  11Arnold120
Totals    men modern acres
     131 1289 acres
    x4 =524people2.2/acre
Compare with Stambourne    48 233 acres
    x4 =192people1.2/acre

These sizes & numbers seem to be in about the right proportion to the present number of modern acres.

This analysis of our Southern border was done to assess whether Cornish Hall [End] was included in Finchingfield or Stanburna by the LDB assessors. I see no clear answer but the overwhelming probability is that the Nortuna of LDB is the Ridgewell Norton of XVIII & XIX c maps & church parish and so is properly part of XX c Stambourne. The old parish boundaries are not clear nor have I discovered when Cornish Hall first appeared.

Return to Chapter 2 – Early history