Stanhoe and Barwick in Little Domesday Book, 1086
The survey of England carried out by king William I in 1086 was an impressive piece of work even by modern standards. In just a year, clerks recorded land ownership and other details covering almost all the country. The survey was so thorough that it was compared to God’s examination of human souls on the great day of reckoning – hence the name Domesday.
The survey details for most of the country were edited down in several stages to produce the main Domesday Book. The counties of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk are lucky in that their editing was less severe, so the resulting Little Domesday Book includes more detail than does the main volume, though the handwriting is not as decorative.
Stanhoe has four entries in Little Domesday, reflecting the fact that the village was the property of three different landowners and fell into two different administrative districts (Hundreds). The neighbouring village of Barwick has a single entry. Below are translations of the five Domesday entries, arranged by landowner.
Our sources were the facsimiles and translations available from the National Archives and the 1984 Phillimore translation by Susan Morris.
Domesday Book images: Professor J.J.N. Palmer, George Slater, opendomesday.org
The Open Domesday project
Open Domesday is the first free online copy of Domesday Book. As of April 2019 it doesn’t yet have full-page images for Norfolk, but you can see the records for Stanhoe and Barwick with larger versions of the images above.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux
In Stanho [there were] 12 free men under Stigand in King Edward’s time; then [there were] 4 carucates of land [and] 4 ploughs, afterwards and now 3. And the whole of Stanhoe is 1 league in length and 4 furlongs in breadth and pays 14½d. in a 20s. geld.
Ælfric, a free man, held Stanho under Stigand in King Edward’s time as 1 carucate. Then [there was] 1 plough; afterwards and now [there were] 2 oxen and 1 bordar. It is worth 16s. and belongs to Fakenham.
And [there is] another berewic, Stanhou, comprising 1 carucate of land. There have always been 3 villans. Then [there was] 1 plough in demesne and now [there are] 2 [ploughs belonging to the] men.
William de Warenne
Stanho, 1 free man, Ulfketel, [holds] in patronage only 1 carucate of land [with] 3 bordars. There has always been 1 plough, and it is worth 20s.
Simon holds Berewica [Barwick]; 2 free men: 1 was Harold’s man, and the other under the patronage only of the predecessor of Frederic. They have 1 carucate of land: always 12 bordars, always 1 plough, half a plough [belonging to] the men, always 1 cob, then 30 sheep, now 160. Half a church, 10 acres. And one free man under patronage only, 60 acres of land, 2 bordars, always half a plough. Value then 15s., now 20s.
An area equivalent to 0.4 hectares. A plot of land measuring 40 metres by 100 metres has an area of one acre.
An outlier; a manor whose income was grouped with that of a geographically separate place. Not to be confused with Berewica, the Anglo-Saxon name for Barwick.
Stanhoe was within Docking Hundred, but some of the king’s land in Stanhoe is listed under Gallow Hundred, which contained the Creakes, the Burnhams and Fakenham.
The Stanhoe land belonging to Gallow Hundred was eventually purloined by Creake Abbey, which explains why the parish boundary to the east of Stanhoe comes so close to the centre of the village. Stanhoe men in the 1950s still remembered the re-drawing of the boundary.
A smallholder, a low-status farmer with a little land of his own.
A unit of land, and probably in East Anglia also a fiscal measurement. Nominally the amount of land served by one plough, and probably about 120 acres. Equivalent to a bovate elsewhere in England.
Pence (from Latin denarii). The silver penny was the only type of coin in common use at the time of Domesday; to make halfpennies and farthings, pennies were cut into halves and quarters. In terms of retail prices, a penny in 1086 would be worth £2–3 today. In terms of earnings, its current value would be more like £50 (see Measuring Worth).
Land farmed by the lord of the manor.
The main royal tax. An East Anglian village was assessed in terms of the number of pence it was expected to contribute when its Hundred paid 20 shillings.
An administrative district within a county. Norfolk contained 35 Hundreds. Stanhoe’s Hundred, Docking, was one of the smaller ones; from Titchwell and Brancaster on the coast it extended southwards to Shernborne in the west and Bircham in the east.
A villager; a small farmer with a little more land than a bordar.
|s.||Shillings (from Latin solidi). A shilling was worth 12 pence, but was a unit of account only; the first shilling coin did not appear until the time of Elizabeth I.|