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Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, an ancient Sherwood Forest Village recorded in Domesday



Buckland’s 1896 Book - The History of Woodborough etc.


Buckland ~ CHAPTER II

WOODBOROUGH AT THE CONQUEST


WILLIAM the Conqueror deprived all the English landowners who had fought against him of their estates, which he gave to Norman lords or barons on condition that each of them supplied a fixed number of soldiers; each lord took an oath of allegiance to him; and each sub-tenant of the great lords swore allegiance to his lord as well as to his King, and was responsible for the supply of a smaller number of men to make up the number for which his lord was responsible. This was the “Feudal System” which turned the whole of England into a military camp, so that at the summons of the King armed men in tens and hundreds mustered from every village and town.

William gave enormous Estates to his natural son, William Peveril, which comprised the greater part of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and were called the Honor of Peveril. Peveril built himself a castle on the hill, which overhangs the Peak cavern at Castleton, and another on the precipitous rock, which commands the Trent valley at Nottingham. Woodborough was included in the Honor of Peveril, and was responsible for half a knight's fee. A full account of the "Honor de Peveril" is given in Dickinson, app: No. xviii, p.387.

The Domesday Survey ordered by William and completed in 1086 is the earliest record of real accuracy about most parishes in England. A facsimile of it may be seen in the Free Library at Nottingham. The entry under Woodborough runs as follows:

"Terra Archiepiscopi Eboracencis
Land of Archbishop of York 

"Bingehamhou Wapentake."
Bingham Wapentake.

"S. Maria of Southwell had Soke to Nortwell" after a long list of other places. 

In Udeburg vii boy ad geld. Ter ii car. 
In Udeburg seven bovates to the geld. Land of 2 carucates.

Ibi dim car in dnio et ii vill et I bord hnt i car. Ad Suduwelle pert.
There is half a carucate in demense and 2 villains and 1 bordar have one
carucate. It belongs to Suduwelle.

Ibidem hb i cleric sub arch i, bov ter ad geld.
In the same place 1 clerk has under the Archbishop 1 bovate to the geld.

Terra Tainorurn. Bernesedelawe Wapentake.
Land of the Theynes. Bassetlaw Wapentake. 

Manor. In Udeburg hb Ulchel iii boy ad geld. Ter ii car. Idem tenet de rege et ibi habet i car et iii vill et i bord cum i car et dim et i molin xx sold et i virg pas. Silva-past ii leu 1g et v qu lat. T. R. E. XX n XXX sol.
Manor. In Udeburg Ulchel has 3 bovates to the geld. Land of 2 carucates. The same holds it of the King and has there 1 carucate and 3 villains and 1 bordar with one carucate and a half and 1 mill of 20 shillings and 1 virgate of of pasture. Wood-pasture 2 leug æ long and 5 quarentens broad. Value in King Edward's time 20, now 30 shillings.

In Udeburg Aluric hb v boy ad geld. - Terra ii car quæ ibi stint cum in vill et 1 bord. Ibi molin XX soli. Jdem tenuit p. u.m T. R. E.
In Udeburg Aluric has 5 bovates to the geld. Land of 2 carucates, which are there with 3 villanes and 1 bordar. There is a mill of 20 shillings. The same held it for 1 manor in the time of King Edward.

Manor. In Udeburg hb Ulchel iii boy ter ad geld. Terra 1 car. Ibi hb Aldene iii vill hntes dim car. T. R. E. et n(e) v sol et iii den.
Manor. In Udeburg Ulchel has 3 bovates of land to the geld. Land of 1 carucate. There Aldene has 3 villanes, having half a carucate. Value in the time of King Edward and now, 5 shillings and 3 pence.

In order to understand this entry, some of the words used must be explained. The "Wapentakes" of the Northern Counties; corresponding to the "Hundreds" of the Southern Counties, were districts originally formed by counting the heads of families and varied in size, but the district once fixed remained the same whether the population increased or decreased. By a law of Edward the Confessor, Associations or "gylds," each consisting of ten heads of families, were formed for the maintenance of the peace. Ten such gylds formed the hundred or wapentake. The name is derived from 'weopon,' a weapon, and 'taccare' to confirm (quod per tactum armorum confederati sunt). When a man took command of the Wapentake, on a certain day all the heads of families met him; he dismounted from his horse; they rode to meet him; he raised his lance and they touched it with theirs. 

The "Geld" or the "Danegeld" was originally a tax for which the whole country was assessed by Ethelred to buy off the Danes, but it was made permanent and annually collected for the purposes of the King.

"Soc" was the power to hold a court to help collect the Danegeld.

The "Manor" or "demesne" or "lordship" was the estate of an English "theyn" or landowner, part of which was retained by the owner of the manor as his demesne or home farm, while the remainder was distributed to substantial tenants called "Villains," freemen who, while still retaining their own land, had bound themselves for safety's sake both to soil and theyn and paid rent according to the custom of the manor, by helping the theyn in harvest and in spring and autumn. There were also small tenants holding about five acres called "Bordars," because they paid rent in kind to the table or board of the lord. Besides these there were the "landless" men, or labourers, who had their cottage and garden and the privilege of turning out their cattle or swine on the waste of the manor, and worked on the home farm all through the year.

The "Carucate" or "hide" was as much arable land, about 50 acres, as could be managed by one plough and the beasts belonging to it, together with a suitable amount of woodland pasture. The amount varied, as the land was heavy or light, rich or poor, from 120 to 150 acres. In Woodborough it was probably about 120 acres.

The "Bovate" or "Oxgang" was as much arable land as one ox could plough in a year, which varied from 6 to 8 acres, together with the proportionate amount of woodland pasture. There were 6 bovates in a carucate. In Woodborough it was probably about 20 acres in all.

The "Virgate" was a measure of pasture; there were four virgates in a carucate, so that a virgate contained about 20 acres of pasture.

The "Mills," watermills not windmills, were a source of revenue to each manor, as the tenants might only grind corn at the lord's mill. Some only ground the corn of the manor lands, while others were let for a rent in money or kind. The value ranged from five to fifteen shillings, and represents the annual rent paid to the lord.

The "Woodland," which is always given, was not valued because of the timber, but because of the feed provided by the oak-trees for the swine of the villagers, for which they paid the lord of the manor.

The "leuca" contained 2560 English yards, being equivalent to 1½ English miles. Twelve "Quarentana" made one leuca. The quarentana was equal to an English furlong.

The average rent of a carucate or hide was nineteen shillings, which must be multiplied by 67½ to realize the value in our money. It works out at 10 or 11 shillings an acre. The geld was six shillings on the carucate, or one shilling on the bovate, a very heavy tax of more than six shillings on the £1, or 32 per cent.

The explanations of terms show the meaning of the Domesday Entry, that Woodborough as partly Church and partly Lay property.

The Church property of Southwell Minster consisted of 3½ carucates, (420 acres), of which 2½ carucates formed the demesne or farm of the Minster, while 1 carucate, (120 acres) was held by 2 villains and 1 bordar. The assessment to the geld was on 7 bovates, which was 7 shillings, or £23 12s. 6d. in our money. The Clerk or Prebend of Woodborough paid geld on one bovate, which implies that he owned about 20 acres.

The Lay property consisted of three manors and a small holding. Ulchel’s first manor contained 4½ carucates, (540 acres), of which 3 carucates, (360 acres) formed the demesne or home farm, while 1½ carucates, (180 acres) was held by 3 villains and 1 bordar. He had a watermill on the Dover-Beck. The assessment was on 3 bovates, or £10 0s. 0d. in our money. Ulchel's second manor contained 1 carucate, (120 acres), which was assessed on 3 bovates, or £10 0s. 0d. The equality of the assessment on these two manors so different in extent shows that the second contained a larger amount of arable land in proportion to its size, and as at present 1 have no information by which I can identify the manors, I can only guess that Ulchel's first Manor was on the site of Woodborough Hall, and included the hilly land up the valley, while the second manor was on the site of Mr. Bradshaw's Manor House, where the land is more suitable for the plough. Ulchel also had a Manor in Lambley. The third Manor belonged to Aluric and contained 2 carucates, (240 acres) on which were 3 villains and 1 bordar. This Manor also had a mill. The assessment was on 5 bovates, or £16 lOs. Od. in our money. This Manor therefore contained a larger proportion of arable land, and was probably on the site of Mr. Thorpe's Manor House and the Mill on the site of Woodborough Mill. Ulchel's Mill must have been higher up the Dover-Beck at Grimesmoor. Aluric also had land in Calverton. Then Aldene had half a carucate, (60 acres) on which was no Manor house, but which was probably part of his Manor in Lambley. It was held by 3 Villains.

So the principal inhabitants of Woodborough in AD. 1086 must have been the Bailiff of the Minster Farm, the Clerk or Prebend of Woodborough, the three English thanes, Ulchel, Aluric and Aldene, eleven villains, 3 bordars, and a small number of labourers. The whole population was probably less than 200, as the whole country only contained 4,000,000 at the peasant revolt in AD. 1377. Reckoning the Carucate at 120 acres, we have acounted for about 1400 acres out of 1869. But the Epperstone Manors of Aluric, Elsi and Uluiet extended into Woodborough, which makes a difficulty, until we realize that the boundaries of the manors did not coincide with those of the parishes. The Woodborough Manors may have extended into Epperstone, as the Epperstone Manors did into Woodborough.

Other points of interest are the number of water-mills on the Dover-Beck, two belonging to the Woodborough and four to the Epperstone Manors; the enormous forests on the hills, 2 leugae (3 miles) long, 5 quarentanæ (5 furlongs) wide, which surrounded the small clearings of arable land round the manor houses in the valley, the oaks shedding their acorns for the swine of the labourers, and the open glades providing grass for the cattle; the similarity of this forest to the size and shape of the present parish, and the names Uluiet, Aluric, Alden, from which come the local names Ulyett, Alvey and Allen.

William the Conqueror no doubt soon found reasons for turning out the English thanes, even if they had taken no active part against him. Ulchel, Uluric, Alden, who had held their manors under Edward the Confessor, are heard of no more after the completion of Domesday. Ralf, a Norman, who took the name de Wodeburg, became the Baron or lord of Woodborough, while Roger de Busli and Ralph de Limesin took Epperstone. Those were evil days for the English thanes, who became villains and bordars on their own lands. But the Norman lord soon became an Englishman.

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