Alderbury & Whaddon

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Alderbury & Whaddon in Domesday – 1086 AD


The Domesday survey carried out after the Norman conquest was all-encompassing, recording details of property and lands throughout the kingdom. William the Conqueror sent out his commissioners to survey the kingdom which 20 years earlier he had won in battle and the result, initially known as Liber Regis, the ‘King’s Book’, became the authoritative source of who owned what. Recourse to the book in subsequent years was a common means of resolving disputes and there was no appeal against it. Within less than a century, it had gained its nickname, Domesday, helped by quotation by the priesthood from Revelation 20:12, which stated: ‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works’. At the time of Domesday, Alderbury was known as Alwarberie. (It is also spelt Alwaresberie in the original Domesday). There are entries under three headings of interest to our history; the lands of Hervey (and others), servants of the King, the lands of Waleran the Hunter and the lands of the Canons of Lisieux. The latter has caused some confusion over the years as the entry pertaining to the land held by Alward the Priest was interpreted by Colt-Hoare in his ‘Modern History of South Wiltshire’ as being land belonging to the Canons of Lisieux. Domesday, however, clearly states that this land was held by Alward ‘from the King’ as was land under the same entry held by Osbern the Priest. It is possible that Colt-Hoare had therefore made an inaccurate translation from Domesday, although Henry Penruddocke Wyndham’s translation, published in 1788, reflects accurately the ‘ownership’ of the land at Alderbury. The land in Alderbury held by Edward is recorded as having belonged to Boda before 1066. The land held by Egenwulf from Waleran the Hunter was in Whaddon (then called Watedene); this was held by Bolla before 1066. Also in Whaddon, were lands held by two men-at-arms; this land was held by four thanes before 1066. It is recorded that these men could ‘go where they would’; thanes held land from the king, in return for military service, ranking between a freeman and a nobleman.














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