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Domesday Days
1080: Normans lord it over the land
Following the Norman Conquest, William was crowned king and gave lands to his loyal lords and knights. The defeated English (Saxons/Danes) worked the land for their Norman masters.
1086: Domesday Book
A detailed census was taken for William the Conqueror, covering almost every settlement in England. It was created for taxation purposes and is largely a list of productive resources across the kingdom, recording the number of households, resources, owners of the land and the tax paid to the king. It was undertaken at differing levels of detail and we are fortunate that Essex was amongst the most detailed. Swein's castle at Rayleigh (built in 1070) was the only Essex castle named in the Domesday Book.
Rochford Hundred
The region around Rochford was known as Rochford Hundred and is listed in the Domesday Book as being the largest 'Hundred' in Essex. It was much larger than the current Rochford District, stretching from the River Crouch in the north to the River Thames in the south and including the current areas of Southend and Leigh. 'Hundred' is a Saxon administrative term for a measure of land.
Bees and Wine
Beehives are noted in various places around the district. A vineyard and park are mentioned at Rayleigh. Watermills, ploughs, cobs (horses), pigs, etc were commonplace. Other productive resources included cattle, sheep, woodlands, fisheries, deer, crops and oxen.
Place names
Old place names were used in the Domesday Book: Bacheneia (Beckney); Berlinga (Barling); Berreuuera (Barrow Hall); Carenduna (Canewdon); Hachuuella (Hawkwell); Hocheleia (Hockley); Nesenduna (Ashingdon); Pachesham (Paglesham); Phenbruge (South Fambridge); Plumberga (Plumberow); Puteseiam (Pudsey Hall); Rageneia/Ragheleiam (Rayleigh); Rochefort (Rochford); Scopelanda (Shopland); Stanbruge (Great Stambridge & Little Stambridge); Suttuna (Sutton); Wachelingam (Great Wakering); Wacheringa (Little Wakering); Wateleia (Wheatley)
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