Of the division of the earldom, lordship, and manor; and
of the state of the city in the conqueror's time.
William the Bastard, commonly called the Conqueror, began
his reign in the year of our lord 1066; and because Morker Earl of
Northumberland at first resisted him, he seized on his earldom; (fn. 1) and
though he afterwards submitted, and sware fealty to him, and had his
earldom of Northumberland restored, yet he was never admitted to
our earldom after his father Algar's death, (fn. 2) but the King being possessed of it, and of the whole of this city, which belonged to it, kept
it some time in his own hands, and afterwards divided it; for in the
year 1075 he gave the earldom of Norfolk and Suffolk to Ralf de
Waiet, Waher, or Guader, (fn. 3) a Norfolk man born, son of Ralf, an Englishman, by a Welsh woman; this Ralf, while the King was in Normandy, (fn. 4) and against his command, (fn. 5) (though the Saxon Chronicle says
the contrary,) married Emma, daughter of William Fitz-Osborne, or
Osbert, sister to Roger Earl of Hereford, cousin to King William, and
celebrated his nuptials with great pomp, at the city of Norwich, (fn. 6)
Waltheof, the great Earl of Northumberland, Roger Earl of Hereford,
with many other bishops, abbots, and barons, were present at it, and
there conspired against the King; but Waltheof repenting the next
day, informed Stigand the Archbishop, who sent for the King immediately; Earl Ralf and Earl Roger continuing in their purpose,
endeavoured to raise forces in their own countries, and sent to
Denmark for more assistance; but the keepers of the castles, and
the inhabitants of their earldoms, refused to join them, upon which
he retreated to his castle at Norwich, and having committed it
to the keeping of his wife, he there took ship, and went to LittleBritain; upon this, the King besieges the castle, but the lady held it
till he granted her his peace, and licensed her to go out of the realm,
and so she followed her husband, and by this means the earldom
came into the king's hands again, who that year held his Christmas
at Westminster, and there all the Englishmen that were at the Earl's
marriage at Norwich were grievously punished; (fn. 7) some had their eyes
put out, and others their estates forfeited to the King's use; and from
this time to the first year of King Stephen, the earldom with all its
profits was in the Crown, (fn. 8) but the manor was given by the King, free
of all custom or rent, to Roger Bigot, a Norman, who came over
with him and assisted him in his conquest, who had possession of it
before the general survey, as I find by Domesday-Book, fol. 105.
Terra Rogeri Bigoti. In TETFORT habet Rogerus in Dominio,
quietam ab omni Consuetudine, cui adiacebant Tempore Regis
Car. Terre, et modo similiter, semper ii. Car. in dominio
Bore. ii. Ser. i. Mol. xiii. Acr. prati t xxx. Acr. Terre. Fbi est i.
Mol. et v. Acr: prati. semper cxxviii. Oves, tunc val. vii. fib: post et
modo viii. de supradictis Bord. habet Rec Scotum de suo Capite
In BURGO habet Rogerus xxxiii. homines, sibi commendatos,
quos tenuit suns Anteressor, in quibus nichil preter Commendationem
habuit. Habet etiam i. Mon. quem tenet Turstinus Burgensis, hoc
teclamat de Dono Regis, sed Hund. nescit quomodo. Hic Mol. balet
xxxii. Sol. i. Ecclesia
That is to say, Roger Bigot holds that part of Thetford in demean, free from all rent, which in the time of the Confessor had
two carucates of land, and now hath the same, besides two other carucates held in demean, to which belong 20 bordars, two servants, a
mill, 13 acres of meadow, and 30 of land (arable). There is also one
mill with five acres of meadow, and a sheeps'-walk for 128 sheep, all
which in the Confessor's days was worth 7l. per annum, and now 8l.;
the whole belongs to Roger, except the customary contribution or
rent, paid by the head bordar, and that belongs to the King.
The said Roger hath in the burgh 33 men under his protection,
which his predecessor had, but they pay him nothing, only acknowledge him as their protector or lord; he hath also one mill, which
Turstin (sc. de Tetford) the burgess holds, as he pretends, by the
King's gift, but the jury of the hundred know of no such thing. This
mill is worth 32s. per annum; he hath also one church. All this was
settled on the abbey or priory that he founded here, and continued
in that house till its dissolution; the church, as I take it, was St.
Nicholas's, which always belonged to the abbey.
This was afterwards called Halwick, or Thetford Manor, but
the rents belonging to the King and the earldom, which remained
in the Crown till King Richard the First's time, were called, the
Dominion, Lordship, and sometimes, Manor of Thetford, which
I shall treat of by itself, being obliged to return to speak of the condition of the city in the Conqueror's time, viz. Ao 1085, in which year,
the Saxon Chronicle says, Domesday was wrote; though other historians, as Stow, &c. say in 1080, which cannot be, for William Bishop
of Thetford, who is mentioned in Domesday, as bishop at that time,
was not nominated to the see till 1085, (fn. 9) and so the survey could not
be taken till that year. It plainly appears, by comparing historians
with this record, that Thetford had always flourished and increased,
from the time that the Danes had quiet possession of it, to the Confessor's days. But from his time it decreased much, for the 943 burgesses that were then in the burgh were now declined to 720, there
being no less than 224 mansion-houses (fn. 10) empty or down. The earldom (fn. 11)
was now in the King's hands, who, after Stigand the Archbishop's
disgrace, seized the church of St. Mary, with the churches of St.
Peter, St. John, St. Martin, and St. Margaret, which were appendant to it, together with all their revenues, viz. 6 carucates of land,
wanting half a bovate, in the Confessor's time, which was afterwards
reduced to 2 carucates, and now to one; and 5 burgesses, 2 empty
houses, 12 acres of meadow, and pasturage for 35 sheep, all being of
40s. value then, and the same now, because three of the carucates
might be restored, and the other two are only turned into pasture,
all which the King gave to Arfast Bishop of Thetford, and his heirs,
who gave them to his sons, who now hold them. The bounds and
extent of this place were the same as at the Confessor's survey, the
King having two thirds of the customs and rents, as belonging to his
crown, and the other third in right of the earldom: on the Norfolk
side, the King had 1 carucate of land, 3 bordars, 1 servant, and 1
horse; and on the Suffolk side, there were 4 carucates, two parts of
which belonged to the Crown, and one to the earldom, and 4 acres
of land, which belonged solely to the Crown, besides those lands in
the liberty of St. Edmund, which the burghers held. (fn. 12) The whole
land on the Norfolk side was a league (fn. 13) long and half a league broad,
and two thirds of the rents belonged to the King, and one to the
earldom, but the King gave one of his thirds to Roger Bigot, who
added it to his manor that he had given him. It appears that 21 of
the burgesses held of the King 6 carucates and 60 acres of land, all
which were in the jurisdiction of St. Edmund, and so consequently
was that part from London-Road to Barnham-Bounds; besides this,
there was another mill held by two burgesses. The customs and
rents of this burgh were risen since the Confessor's time, for now it
paid the Crown yearly 50 pounds by weight, and the earldom 20
pounds blauc, (fn. 14) and 6 pounds numbered besides 40l. a year to the
King, in coin, and 16s. for two aids. (fn. 15) The Abbot of Bury's revenues
were not altered, the Abbot of Ely had his house and 3 churches and
2 mansions void, which paid rent to the King, one of the houses being
standing; the Bishop of Thetford had 20 free-houses, one mill, and
half the advowson of a church, (fn. 16) and Roger Bigot had, besides his
other revenues here, a free-house for his own residence, one monastery
and 2 bordars belonging to it. And this was the state of the town at
the Conqueror's survey. But least I should have made any mistakes
in this account, I shall add an exact transcript of Domesday-Book,
out of which it is gathered, that those who are better skilled than
myself in the old words that are there used may correct them, if there
should fortune to be any errours.
[Domesday, fol. 18.] Sub. Tit. Terre Regis in Manu Regis..
It is observable that this city paid no Danegeld, it being always
excused from that tax, by reason of the number of Danes that dwelt
Hund. de TETFOD in Tetford est i. Ecclesia Sancte Marie quam
tenebat Stigandus Archiepiscopus. modo tenent filii Arfasti Epicopi.
huic Ecclesie adiacent semper iiii. Ecclesie, Sancti Petri, Sancti Johannis, Sancti Martini, Sancte Margarite, t vi. Car. terre dimid.
Bobata minus. tunc. ii. Car modo i. semper v. Burgenses, t due
Mansure vacue t xii. Acr. prati et iii. Car. possunt restaurari t ii.
Car. remanent in Pastura. semper xxxv. Ones t bal. xl. s.
Terre Regis in, TETFORD ultra Aquam versus. NORFOLC. Est
una Leugata terre in longo t dimid. in lat. de qua Rer habet duas
partes. de his autem duabus, partibus tertia pars in Consulatu iacet.
de superiore Leugata R. Bigot, tertiam partem. Tota hec terra Medietas arabilis est. Altera in Pastura. in hac. terra habet Rec, i. Car.
t iii. Bor. t i. Serbum t i. Equum. et de Duobus Molendinis habet
Rer duas partes t Consulat. tertiam. habet etiam Rer, de tertio molendin. duas partes. t de his duabus partibus Comes habet tertiam.
De alia parte versus Suthfold est dimid. Leugat. terre in Longo t
dimid. in Lato. de hac terra tertia pars est ad Comitatus. iiii. Acr.
prati. Tota hec terra arabilis est t iiii. Car. possunt arare. In
Burgo arutem erant dcccxliii. Burgenes tempori Regis
de his habet Rer omnem Cousuetudinem. De istis hominibus erant
ita dominice Regis Edwardi, ut non possunt esse homines cuiuslibet sine Licentia Regis. Alii omnes poterant esse homines cuiuslibet. sed semper tamen Consuetudo Regis remandebat, preter Herigete.
Modo sunt dccxx. Burgens. t ccxxiii. Mansure vacue, de istis
habent vi. Car. t lx. Acr. quod tenent de Rege, et est
in Soka Sancti Edmundi. preter hoc habent ii. Burgens i. molendin.
hoc totum superius valebat tempore Regis Edwardi xxl. ad numerum.
t ad opus Consul. xl. ad num. modo reddit Regi Ll. ad pensum.t
Comiti xxl. Blancas t vil. ad numerum. Reddit etiam modo Regi xl.
lib. de Moneta. et semp. xvi. Sol. ad ii. Prebendarios. reddebat etiam
tempore Regis Edwardi iiii. Sestarios Mellis. et xld. et x. Pelles
Caprinas et iiii. Coria Bobina. In Burgo habet Abbas Sancti Edmundi i. Ecclesiam et i. Domum libere. Abbas de Ely iii. Ecclesias
t i. Domum libere et ii. Mansuras in Consuetudine, in una est Domus. Et Episcompus xx. Domos lib. et un. Molendin. t dimid. Ecclesiam. R. Bigot i. Dom. lib. et i. Monasterium t ii. Bor. ad Monasterium.