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Domesday places.

As we prepare for the arrival of Domesday Book, showing in our P J Ross Magna Carta Vault from May 27th to September 3rd, Dr Erik Grigg our in-house expert explores what the Lincolnshire pages reveal about our county from 1068. Recieve a 10% online discount on All Inclusive tickets to see this unmissable document. 

The Domesday Book lists landholdings by county and usually has the main towns in each shire first. In Lincolnshire this means Lincoln, Stanford and Torksey are listed first. That may sound odd to people today as Torksey is hardly a big modern town, but just before the Norman Conquest it was. There were burgesses (freemen of a town) recorded in Louth, Boston and Grantham so we know they were towns, but they are not recorded separately. Despite its prominent position in the book, Torksey was in decline. Before the Norman Conquest there had been 213 dwellings, by 1086, 111 we in ruins. By 1086, it no longer had the mint or pottery industry it once had, but there is one special duty required of the people of Torksey mentioned in the Domesday Book that hints of its former importance. The citizens of Torksey were still required to convey any royal messengers to York either by their own ships or other means.

The rest of Lincolnshire is recorded by landowner, so if a settlement had multiple owners you have to piece together the information from multiple entries. Mablethorpe (Malbertorp or Maltetorp in Domesday) is divided between the lands of Hugh d'Avranches Earl of Chester, Gilbert de Gant and Ranier de Brimeux. From these we can work out that there was at least one plough tem there, land for 20 oxen and 20 acres of meadow. At the back of each county's chapter is a list of lands in dispute and from Lincolnshire's section we can see that the Bishop of Durham had laid claim to some of Earl Hugh's lands in Mablethorpe.

Some places in the Domesday Book are now deserted like Greetwell to the east of Lincoln. Domesday says it was in the possession of Roger de Busli (or Bully, which is in Normandy) who also held land in Cheshire and Nottinghamshire. There was land for 5 ploughs and Thoraldr (Roger’s man, presumably a sub-tennant) had 3 ploughs. It tells us there were 5 villagers and 6 smallholders with 4 ploughs, a church, two fisheries and a mill. Today the church is still there and one house, but only lumps in the ground where the cows graze mark where the village once lay.