A STUDY IN THE STRUCTURE OF LAND HOLDING AND ADMINISTRATION IN ESSEX IN THE LATE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD
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This study explores some of the implications of the distribution of estates between the landholders of Essex in 1066. Emphasis is placed on the immediate background of land ownership in Essex during the reign of Edward the Confessor, though some attention is paid to the earlier history of the shire. The principal source for the investigation is the pre-Conquest data recorded in the Essex folios of Domesday Book. In the first part the broad outlines of the structure of landholding society are considered. Particular attention is paid to those with large amounts of land, although the less extensive holdings of, freemen and sokemen are also discussed. Charters, will's and other pre-Conquest documents provide information on the earlier tenurial history of some estates, and from them and other evidence a model is proposed of the trends in land tenure in Essex between c900 and 1066. In an appendix identifiable lay landholders are listed with details of their estates, whilst in the body of the text the pre-Conquest holdings of ecclesiastical institutions are examined in detail. The second part of the study considers the evolution of the institutions 'of public administration within the shire, and where relevant the influence upon them of powerful landholders. This influence is seen most clearly in the hundreds, and an attempt is made to reconstruct the earlier history of the 1066 Essex hundreds, in particular the evolution of those in the west of the shire. The varying fortunes of the Essex burhs are considered in the light of the output from their mints. To complete the picture evidence of pre-Conquest private lordship - soke, -and commendation - is examined.
AuthorsBoyden, Peter Bruce
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