Annex 2

Analysis of LDB entries

The four entries in LDB related to the present size of Stambourne:

ReferenceCh 28 Sn11Ch 90 Sn26Ch 90 Sn33Ch 90 Sn58
TitleHamo’s landDe Mandeville’s annexationHamo’s annexationditto
DescriptionTwo manorsManor of Moone HallNoneNortuna
Notes by JBEIncludes GrenvillesAgreedManor of Stambourne HallRidgewell Norton
Owner t.r.e.Goti [Gotius]A freemanAlstan [Alestanus]Britric
Occupied by:HamoG de Mand’lHamoMascerel
Hides1 = 120 acreshalf = 60 acres40 ac.=60 acres55 ac.=83.5
Ploughs42 + 121
Villagers14  5
Slaves61 3
Woodland40 pigs  40 pigs
Meadow15 ac.=2212 ac.=18nil10 ac. =15
Cobs (runc.)3   
Smaller owners15 freemen 12 freemen 
Hides½ hide less 10 ac. = c. 50 acres   
Meadow12 ac. =18   
Arpents of vine1, say 3 acres   
Men at arms5   
Their ac.[s]58=87 of value 20s   
Stanburna£ 650s40s40s
Topesfelda£ 7   
 £13 Total value excluding Topesfelda £10.10s
[this factor of 6/13 is used to identify the fraction of joint entries appertaining to us]
No of men in Stanburna56 x 6/13 = 2951614=64 men
Approx: x 4 = population  = 256 people
Hides + ac.s297×6/13=137786098.5 = 374
arpents3  3
   total of modern acres377

The village in 1996 is roughly rectangular in shape and is located along a NE axis. It is some 3 x 1 miles with a protrusion to the SW of some half a mile square; this last part was later known as Ridgewell Norton. The boundaries are irregular and follow field outlines; they are not defined by any natural features.

It is surrounded on its four sides by Ridgewell to the N, Birdbrook & Toppesfield to the E & W and Finchingfield, of which Cornish Hall End is a part, to the South. All these villages are clearly described in L D B so it is most probable that Stambourne now is roughly the same area & shape as it was in 1088 AD.

Thus Stambourne now occupies some 2000 modern acres. This corresponds well with the tillable fields & meadowland in the listing accompanying the 1837 Tithe Map; they total some 1815 acres.

In 1088 the acre, which in this text of the LDB is written, ac. signified simply an arable space: there is no clear indication what full word or area the abbreviation represents. A comparison of the two valuations in chapter 90: viz.

  • Sn 26 50s for half a hide [60 acres] + 12 ac.
  • Sn 33 40s for 40 ac.

suggests that the ac.s of Stanburna were about one and a half times the size of modern acres. The modern English acre was standardised by K Edw I @ 40 rods long by 4 rods wide = 660 x 66 feet = 4840 sq yds. A square mile is 3097660 sq yds = 640 acres.

The taxable unit of area was the Hide which represented the average size of a farm and is estimated to be between 60 & 180 modern acres; commonly 120. The word carucate does not appear in our entry (though it does in Bridebroc).

The size & precise site of the single arpent of vine is unknown; it is simply described in the unit of French origin.

From these data it seems that the population is probably calculated correctly but that only a fraction of the total area of land was considered worthy of record. It is known that there was a large area of ‘Wast’ remaining in 1711. Already by 1088 most forest had been cleared, for only 15% of England was covered in trees, much the same as Stambourne now. 35% was tilled & 25% was pasture again 1088 was much the same as now.

It is probable therefore that woodland supporting 40 pigs did account for most of 2000 x 15 % = 300 acres, though this figure would need also to include any that went unrecorded in the two smaller entries in chapter 90. Land called ‘wast’ was commonly found at the boundaries of manors: it may well have been in wide tracts separating those three manors traditionally held to make up the village. These manors could, in 1088, have corresponded to the three separate LDB entries. Even if this wast amounted to 50 % of the area, several hundred modern acres of usable land must be unrecorded in Domesday or accounted for by the unknown size of the abbreviation ac. [for ‘acre’ or some similar word] in the Phillimore version of the LDB text.

On these assumptions the area accounted for is

  • 78 + 60 acres as hides = 138 acres
  • plus 39 + 12 + 40 +65 in Nortuna = 156 of the larger units equivalent to 234 acres
  • plus 1 arpent of, say 3 acres
  • giving a total of 375 modern acres.

There is thus good agreement between the two methods of calculation and, if the assumptions be correct, less than half of the land now usable is recorded.

Our main entry is of a mixture of our land with that of Toppesfield owned by Hamo. It is likewise their main record and they also have 3 smaller entries recorded in annex 1B.

The entry 90.58 is translated CORNISH HALL and recorded in annex 1C. I cannot trace the authority for this. Mascerel was a brewer (c.f. mash). Reaney [EPNS 426427] says “formerly ‘Norton’“ and the text clearly says In Nortuna. However, Reaney confuses the issue by attributing the name to one Henry Norton in his Stambourne section on pp 456-457. This is probably the reverse of the error he made by attributing the origin of my name to Enticknap’s copse in Surrey. Nortuna also appears in Essex LDB for Norton Mandeville, near Ongar and for Cold Norton; in these two places it is not further qualified either. Ekwall records these latter two but not “Cornish Hall” and merely comments that Norton is very common & means ‘north tun’.

This large area could well be our present SW protrusion of 1/4 sq mile; at 97 acres plus some ‘wast’ and perhaps the adjacent area now called Stambourne Green it is not far removed in size from the 172 acres which later belonged to the de Stanburns in this part of the village.

I am sufficiently convinced that this is the correct interpretation to have included Nortuna with Stambourne & have not left it with the present village of Cornish Hall End (the church of which is Victorian) which is now in the civil parish of Finchingfield. It therefore appears in this story in five places:

  • It appears on the map in Chapter 1
  • On p2.1 in the introduction to this chapter there is a skeleton description
  • On p2.7 appears this description deduced from LDB 90.58
  • On p3.17 in the analysis of the Queens College deeds as they elucidate the history of the de Stanburns
  • This section of Chapter 3; Annex 3 is the major geographical description of it
  • On p6.1 under Lay subsidy
  • In Ch 9 it is mentioned in the section referring to Queens College itself

My present view is that the two major beneficiaries of King William the Bastard, of whom Hamo is by far the larger {some £9 in value as against 40 s for de Mandeville} were not in fact accorded all the land. A substantial proportion appears to have been left with its former Saxon Thegns under whatever feudal form of tenure was conducive to firm governance. The entry in Ch 28 Sn 11 describing his gift is far more detailed and complex than the others suggesting an intention to preempt any dispute.

In particular I am impressed by the statement that Alstan and xii freemen (though the xii is ill printed and may even be xxx) “held [land] before 1066 and still have”; it was of value 40s. He does not appear to have kept his holding of Scoteneys so it will have been different land. This sounds rather as if a deal was struck to prevent a strong man and his xii freemen, perhaps in association with the 5 ‘milites’ from causing trouble.

Return to Chapter 2 – Early history