The Domesday Survey in Somerset.

  In  1066  Duke  William  of  Normandy  conquered  England.He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later.

The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 at Gloucester at midwinter ... the King had deep speech with his counsellors... and sent men all over England to each shire ... to find out ... what or how much each landholder held ... in land and livestock, and what it was worth . The returns were brought to him. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners `to shires they did not know, where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey and report culprits to the King.

   The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged chiefly by omission of livestock and the 1066 population, and fair copied by one writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers, into a second volume, unabridged, which states that `the Survey was made in 1086'. The surveys of Durham and Northumberland, and of several towns, including London, were not transcribed and most of Cumberland and Westmorland, not yet in

England was not surveyed. The whole undertaking was completed at speed,  in  less  than  12 months though the fair-copying of the  main volume may have taken a little longer. Both volumes are now preserved at the Public  Record Office.  Some versions of regional returns also survive. They were to ask

The name of the place.

 Who held it, before 1066, and now?

How many hides?

How many ploughs, both those in lordship and the mens

How many villagers, cottagers and slaves, how many free men and Freemen

How much woodland, meadow and pasture?

How many mills and fishponds

How much has been added or takcn away? What the total value was and is

How much each free man or Freeman had or has? All threefold, before 1066

when King William gave it, and now; and if more can be had than at present                           


WALTER, OR WALSCIN, OF DOUAI. He is sometimes referred to by his name Walter (OG Walt(h)er, Forssner 243) and sometimes by the nickname variant of it (not discussed by PNDB, OEB or Ellis; Searle is misleading). This Walscin appears to be the Norman French version of an OG *Walzirc (sc etc. for z, see Zachrisson 37-8; PNDB 110-11; Forssner 39 and compare his spellings for Azelin) which would be a double-diminutive pet-form of Walter (an -in suffix derivative - see Forssner 278-9 - of the recorded -z suffix form Walz(e),see Bach l,i, para. 97.1;100.2).

 He is known as Walter in DB Surrey; as Walscin and W. in DB Dorset and in DB Wiltshire as Walter, W. and Walscin (Walscin ; Valscin ; Walcin') in DB Devon and DB Somerset.

Comparison of the usage of DB and Exon. for Somerset shows that the DB Landholders list has both forms; the chapter heading has Walter in DB, Walscin in Exon; that where DBcites the name in full (Walter 8, 7;11. 24,1; 6;17; 27 and Walscin 8, 34. 24, 3; 9; 21:46,5)

Exon agrees, but DB often cites only the initial W. where Exon. has either Walter (24,11-14) 18-20; 22-34; 37~ or Wa pcin (24, 2; 4-5; 7-8;10;15-16; 36) or both (24, 35) or W.too(see 21, 4 note below . Comparison in Devon shows that he is Walter in the Landholders list; the chapter heading has Walter in DB, Walscin in Exon; DB 23,1 matches Exon. Walter DB W., Walter and Walscin in 23, 5 are all represented as Walscin in Exon; DB Walscin in 23 6 is matched b  Exon DB W, is re resented in Exon. as Walscin for 23, 2; 4; 6-27 and as both Walter and Walscin for 20,3.  For both Devon and Somerset,the Terrae Occupatae refer to him as Walscin.

 The DB clerk appears to know that Walter and Walscin are the same man, so that W.will suff'ice as there is no need to distinguish between them. The Exon. clerk seems to be recording the use of the alternative personal name forms as they appeared in differerent returns before him.

 In this translation DB W. is expanded to the form used in Exon. Thus W(alter) orW(alscin) indicate that DB's W  is represented bv Walter nr Walscin. respectively in Exon.

Douai (dowai, douai in DB; duaco in Exon.) is in the departement of Nord in France:OEB87.


1,34 : Wulfurd White held PITNEY.Before 1066 it paid tax for 1 hide. Land for 1 1/2 ploughs. Humphrey holds 1/2 hide there ; he has 1 plough and meadow, 6 acres and woodland, 3 acres. The value was and is 20s;value of what the king has there, 10s.



8.1 Godescal holds STAWELL from the Abbot. Alfward held it before 1066; it paid tax for 2 1/2 hides. Land for 2 1/2 ploughs. In Lordship 1 plough; 3 slaves; 2 hides & 1 virgate. 3 smallholders with 1 plough & I virgate. Meadow, 20 acres.  5 cobs; 8 cattle; 200 sheep.

Value 40s; when he acquired it. 5s.

8.5 SUTTON (MALLET).Roger de Courseulles from Glastonbury Church. Named in the text as a dependency of Shapwick, this Sutone is later held by John Malet from the Abbot of Glastonbury (KQ.2B).

The Church holds Shapwick itself. Before 1066 it paid tax for 30 hides. Of these 30 hides Roger of Courseulles holds 5 hides in Sutton (Mallett) from the Abbot.

CHILTON (POLDEN)Roger de Courseulles from Glastonbury Church DB Ceptone is probably an error, see VCH p. 461 note 3. It is held from the Abbot in KQ 27, RH ü 135b.     

WOOLAVINGTON;Alfred d'Epaignes from the Abbot. he has 2 ploughs & 3 hides in lordship.   5 Slaves 12 villagers and 8 smallholders with 6 ploughs & 2 hides.11 cattle;13 horses; 33 pigs;151 sheep.Warmund holds 1/2 hide of this land from the Abbot; he has 1 plough in lordship.  4 smallholders. Value l0s.

Value of this land to the Abbot£12,to Roger £19,to Alfred £7

8.6 The Church holds MIDDLEZOY itself . Abbot Alnoth held it in 1066. Before 1066 it paid tax for 12 hides. Land for 20 ploughs, of which 5 hides are in lordship; 2 ploughs there; 2 slaves;12 freedmen 27 villagers and 13 smallholders with 14 ploughs & 7 hides.

Meadow, 30 acres; underwood,12 acres. I7 cattle; I8 pigs; 50 sheep .The value was £10; now £24. DB Sowi. The 12 hides probably included Othery and Westonzoyland;KQ28 NV 53; ECW no. 379 (= BCS 143).

8.7 Walter of Douai holds COSSINGTON from the Abbot. Alwin Pike held it from the Abbot before 1066; it paid tax for 3 hides.  Land for 6 ploughs, of which 1 hide is in lordship;1 plough there; 4 slaves , 9 villagers and 9 smallholders with 5 ploughs & 2 hides.

  Meadow,10 acres; underwood, 2 acres.1 cob; 6 cattle; 26 Pigs;26 sheep

The value was and is £6

8,17 The Church holds HAM itself. Before 1066 it paid tax for 17 hides. Land for 20 ploughs, of which 5 hides and 2 1/2 virgates are in lordship; 3 ploughs there; 5 slaves; 22 villagers and 21 smallholders with 8 ploughs & 3 hides & l½virgates.

Meadow, 30 acres; woodland, 16 acres. 2 cobs; 17 cattle; 10 pigs; 150 sheep.

Value £10; when Abbot Thurstan acquired it, £4. Of this manor's land Robert of Auberville holds 1 hide and 1 virgate from the Abbot, Serlo of Burcy 5 hides,Gerard Ditcher 3 virgates of land. Leofric, Alfwold and Aelmer held them before 1066; they could not be separated from the church. In lordship 2 ploughs; 4 slaves; 2 villagers and 14 smallholders with 2 ploughs. Meadow, 30 acres; pasture, 20 acres. In total, value 110s.



11.1 The Church of Rome of the Blessed Apostle Peter holds PURITON from the King.Queen Edith held it before 1066. 6 hides, but they did not pay tax, except for 5 hides. Land for 12 ploughs, of which 3 hides are in lordship; 2 ploughs there; 4 slaves;  11 villagers and 4 smallholders with 6 ploughs & 3 hides. Meadow,150 acres; pasture,150 acres. 2cows; 60 sheep.It pays £12 a year.


24.7 Rademar holds ?Crook from W(alscin). Edward held it before 1066; it paid tax for 1 virgate. Land for 1 plough, which is there in lordship, & 1/2 virgate, with 4 smallholders (who have) 1/2virgate.3 cattle; 3 pigs. Value l0s; when Walscin acquired it, as much. ?`CROOK'. Clearly ~ North Petherton Hundred (Exon 350 a 5). Cruk is held their in FA iv p.300 from William of Pawlett who also holds Pawlett (24,26) and by Thomas Trivett from John of Horsey {24,25). See NV 74; Cal. Inq. PM. 9 Ed I 1281 p. 238 The name is probably represented by field names Great and Little Crook in Bawdrip. See PSANHS lxvi (120)p56 ff. Other possible identifications are `Crosse' near Durston (VCH), or Croyce in Dunwear (Morland I p. 441.

24.21 Walscin holds BRIDGWATER Merleswein held it before 1066; it paid tax for 5 hides. Land for 10 ploughs. In lordship 3 ploughs; 5 slaves; 2 hides. 13 villagers, 9 smallholders and 5 cottagers with 8 ploughs & 3 hides.

  A mill which pays 5s; meadow,10 acres; underwood,100 acres   pasture, 30 acres.  13 cattle; 7 pigs; 6l sheep. Value when he acquired it, l00s; now £7.

24.23 Rainward holds BAWDRIP from W(alter). Merleswein held it before 1066; it paid tax for 2 hides. Land for 8 ploughs. In lordship 1 plough 6 slaves;1 hide. 11 villagers,7 smallholders and 3 cottagers with 5ploughs & 1 hide

A mill which pays 4s; meadow,100 acres; pasture, 40 acres 1 cob; 7 cattle; 20 pigs.

 The value was 50s; now 60s.

24.24 Rainward holds BRADNEY from W (alter). Alnoth the reeve held. it before 1066; it paid tax for 1 hide. Land for 1 1/2 ploughs.In lordship 3 virgates & 1 plough.  1 villager, 5 smallholders,1 cottager and 1 slave with 1 1/2 ploughs & 1 virgate. Meadow, 25 acres.  Value 20s; when he acquired it,15s.

24.25  Rademar holds HORSEY from W(alter). Alfward Glebard held it before 1066; it paid tax for 2 hides.Land for 7 ploughs.  In lordship 2 ploughs; 2 slaves; 3 virgates. 8 villagers, 6 smallholders and 3 cottagers with 5 ploughs & 1 hide & 1 virgate. Pasture, 24acres.  1 cob;10 cattle; 20 pigs; 50 sheep. Value £4: when Walter acquired it,60s

45.17    Land of Humphrey and of certain others.

 Aldred holds CRANDON from Humphrey the chamberlain.  He also held it himself before 1066;it paid  tax  for 1/2 hide.  Land for 1/2  Plough.  He has the whole in lordsship. 4 smallholders with 1 slave.

 A mill which pays 30d; meadow, 3 acres; underwood, 2 acres.1 pig Value 5s.

CRANDON. Later in North Petherton Hundred, but Fees 262 records that it was originaly part of Puriton and at Exon. 465 b 1 it might well be an entry for Loxley Hundred where Puriton~was in 1086. See 1 l,l note.



46,6:John the Usher holds 'Pignes' (North Petherton 18) from the King. Brictric held it before 1066; it paid tax for 1 hide and 1 virgate of land. Land for 2 ploughs. In Lordship 1 plough

2 villagers with 1 smallholder. A priest with 1 plough

2 smallholders. Meadow, 5 acres.


The Somerset Hundreds             

 WHITLEY Hundred  was a later l2th century amalgamation of Loxley and Ringoldsway, together with Ham and West Monkton which have their own Tax Returns. Loxley, named from a wood in Shapwick , was the western part of the Hundred, and included Middlezoy; Shapwick and places south-west, stretching to Puriton, later in Huntspill Hundred and  possibly Crandon . Ringoldsway, named from Reynalds Way near Butleigh wood ,  was the eastern half and contained Greinton, Ashcott and Pedwell and places south-east. Later detachments, Lattiford Blackford and Durborough are evidenced as part of this Hundred by Exon, order. Another part of Blackford, and all of Holton, not church holdings, seem to have been in the Bruton  group of Hundreds.                                                 

HUNTSPILL Hundred  consisted of only one hide according to the Tax Return and thus contained only one holding of Walter of Douai . Puriton , later the southern half of this Hundred, was in Loxlev in l086.14 mares , 6 wild mares.



North Petherton 18

I Adsborough

2   *Athelney (17)

3   Bawdrip

4aEast Bower

4bWest Bower

5   Bradney

6   Bridgwater

7   Chilton Trinity

8   Clayhill

9   Crandon

10 *Creech

St. Michael (17)

11 'Crook'

12 Dunwear

13 Durston

14 Hadworthy

15 Hamp

16 Horsey

17 Huntstile

18 Huntworth

19 *Lyng(17)

20 Melcombe

21 St. Michael Church

22 *West Monkton (20)

23 Newton

24 Pawlett

25 Perry

26 North Petherton

27 'Pignes'

28 Sandford

29 Shearston

30 Shovel

31 Stretcholt

32 Sydenham

33 Waldron

34 Walpole

35 Wembdon

36 Woolmersdon


Huntspill and Puriton 19

1 Alstone

2 Huntspill

   3 Puriton


Somerton 29

  1   Aller

  2  West Camel

  3   Lytes Cary

  4   Cary Fitzpaine

  S   Charlion Adam

  6   Charlton Mackrell

  7   *Langport (P)

  8   *'Litnes' (12b.d)

  9   Littleton

10   *Pitney (P)

11   *Podimore(20)

12   Somerton

13   LongSutton

14      Wearne (P)

15 Yeovilton


Whitley 20

1 Ashcott

2 Butleigh

3 Catcott

4 Chilton Polden

5 Compton Dundon

6 Cossington

7 Dundon

8 Edington

9 Greinton

10 Ham

11 Middlezoy

12 Overleigh

13 Pedwell

14 Shapwick

15 Stawell

16 Sutton Mallet

17 Walton

   18 Woolavington



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