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Saturday, November 29, 2014

40.2. Establishing the Durnfords Wiltshire - and the old Saxon Town of Durnford

Prior to the invasion in 1066, Wiltshire, and the town of Durnford were farmed by the Saxons.

In fact the town was already named at the time of the invasion.  The residents would have been known as   First name de Durnford, which then can be very difficult in tracing particular lineages, as not all the residents would be from the same family.  In 1086 there was a population of 300.

In the Baroncy list the first distribution of Wiltshire was in 1086.

Castle Combe                                      WiltshireHumphrey de Insula1086
Erlestoke                 Wiltshire    Roger I de Mandevilletempus H I
Trowbridge              Wiltshire    Brictric                               1086
West DeanWiltshire                   Waleran the Huntsman       1086
ChitterneWiltshire                      Edward of Salisbury           1086

Elston-in-Orcheston St GeorgeWiltshireOsbern Giffard        1086
Keevil                                       Wiltshire Ernulph de Hesdingpre.1091

In 1086, William of Eu held a 16 hide estate called Durnford, later Great Durnford Manor. Richard Fitzgilbert, Earl of Pembroke, who died in 1176, held this at the time of his death

Durnford was well populated in 1086 with an estimated population of between 300 and 350 people. I 

In 1086 William of Eu (d. c. 1095) held a 16-hide estate called Durnford. Much of it evidently became Great Durnford manor, the remainder Southend manor and the manors and other estates of Netton and Salterton. In 1086 it included 4 houses in Wilton.

GREAT DURNFORD manor, sometimes called Northend manor, was held by Richard Fitz Gilbert, earl of Pembroke (d. 1176), possibly a descendant of William of Eu. On Richard's death the overlordship may have been taken into the king's hands;  afterwards it was held by William, earl of Salisbury .  1196), descended like Amesbury manor to William Longespée, styled earl of Salisbury (d. 1250), and was last mentioned in 1243.

Richard, earl of Pembroke, subinfeudated the manor to John Bishop,  presumably the John Bishop who held it in 1191–2.  Jordan, son of John Bishop, held it in 1242–3,  and John Bishop (d. c. 1324), a Wiltshire coroner, held it in 1317.

It passed to John's relict Alice and to their son Jordan,  who in 1344 conveyed it to his daughter Beatrice and her husband John Everard.  In 1361 Beatrice settled it on her daughter Edith and Edith's husband Richard Marwardine, who together sold it in 1416 to Sir John Blackett, perhaps a feoffee.

Blackett's feoffees sold it in 1426 to Walter Hungerford, (fn. 108) Lord Hungerford (d. 1449). The manor passed to Walter's son Sir Edmund, who in 1469–70 settled it on his son Edward (will proved 1507).  After Edward's death it passed in the direct line to Robert (d. 1517), Robert (will proved 1558), Walter  (d. 1601), and John  (d. 1636). John's relict Elizabeth (will proved 1650) held the manor for life, after which it again passed in the direct line to Edward  (will proved 1667), Sir George (d. 1712), and Walter (d. 1754). Walter devised it to his nephew John Keate (d. 1755). It passed to John's son Lumley Hungerford Keate (d. s.p. 1766) and, as tenants in common, to Lumley's sisters Henrietta Maria, from 1769 the wife of George Walker, and Elizabeth Macie, a widow.

Brictric son of Algar was a powerful Saxon thane whose many English landholdings, mostly in the Westcountry, are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

According to the account by the Continuator of Wace and others, in his youth Brictric declined the romantic advances of Matilda of Flanders (c. 1031 – 1083), later wife of King William the Conqueror, and his great fiefdom was thereupon seized by her. Brictric's lands were granted after her death in 1083 by her eldest son King William Rufus (1087–1100) to Robert FitzHamon (died 1107),

GREAT DURNFORD manor, sometimes called Northend manor, was held by Richard Fitz Gilbert, earl of Pembroke (fn. 98) (d. 1176),

Durnford parish  lies between Salisbury and Amesbury.  Its main part, on the east bank of the Christchurch Avon, contains the villages or hamlets of Great Durnford, Little Durnford, Netton, Salterton, and Newtown; Normanton, nearby on the west bank, was a detached part. 

In 1885 Normanton, c. 656 a., was transferred to Wilsford parish, and Durnford parish was reduced to 3, 102 a. (1,255 ha.).

The parish has simple boundaries. The main part is bounded by the Avon on the west and a long and straight road across downland on the east: an estate in the south part of the parish was defined by those boundaries in the 10th century. The short east and west boundaries of Normanton are marked by the Avon and a line of barrows respectively; the long boundaries between them cross downland and are roughly straight.

It was a very substantial Saxon town, and was established in the Iron Age before Stonehenge 

On the downs of both parts of the parish there was much prehistoric activity. In the main part a group of barrows on Little down is possibly Bronze-Age,  Ogbury camp is an early Iron-Age hill fort of c. 62 a.,  and there may have been a small settlement on the high ground south-east of Great Durnford from the early Iron Age to the 4th century A.D. 

A prehistoric field system of 450 a. lies north of Ogbury camp, one of 400 a. and one of 160 a. lie south of it.  Normanton down is in the hinterland of Stonehenge.

On it there is a Neolithic mortuary enclosure,  an extensive Bronze-Age cemetery with barrows of several types, and a ritual shaft 100 ft. deep and 6 ft. wide which contained votive offerings. A hoard of pewter, found c. 1635 and possibly Roman, may have been on the downland of Normanton.

The villages and hamlets of the parish all have Saxon names and all stand on gravel near the Avon. In the main part of the parish there were evidently only two estates in 1086, Durnford in the north and what was later called Little Durnford in the south.

There may already have been several settlements; later the larger estate was subdivided and there were five settlements in the main part of the parish each with an east—west strip of land on which there were open fields.

The north end of Great Durnford, the south end of Great Durnford, Little Durnford, Netton, and Salterton were almost certainly such settlements in the 13th century; Newtown had been planted as an offshoot of Salterton by the early 14th century  but did not have its own fields.

Great Durnford. The village has three elements, the north end, the south end, and a 20th-century part east of the south end. For the first two the riverside road from Amesbury formed a village street.
The north end includes the church, the site of a house which belonged to the prebendary of Durnford,  the vicarage house, and Durnford Manor.

Little Durnford

In the Middle Ages Little Durnford was presumably, like the others in the parish, a small village beside the Avon. Most of its buildings were presumably near the ford, after which the village was named and by which an east—west road crossed the river

King Edgar granted to his chamberlain Winstan 3 cassati in 963 and 4 cassati, including the 3, in 972.  Although said to be at Avon, Winstan's estate was that later called LITTLE DURNFORD manor.

There were evidently open fields at Little Durnford in 963

It passed to Wilton abbey which held 4 hides at Durnford in 1066.  The manor was subinfeudated, but the abbey continued to receive a small rent from Little Durnford until the Dissolution.

Three Englishmen held Little Durnford of Wilton abbey in 1066, Edward of Salisbury in 1086.

The manor may have passed to Edward's descendants, earls of Salisbury,  but by 1222 had been further subinfeudated. William, styled earl of Salisbury, was recognized as overlord in 1242–3,  and the overlordship evidently descended like that of Shrewton to later earls of Salisbury.

 In 1086 there was enough land for 3 teams: there were 4 bordards and 1 team of 6 oxen on the demesne, and two Englishmen had 2 teams on the other arable land. There were 12 a. of meadow and 4 square furlongs of pasture.

In 1222 John, son of Bernard, and his wife Sibyl conveyed the manor to William of Durnford,  who held it in 1242–3.

In 1242–3 William Longespée, styled earl of Salisbury, was overlord of ¼ knight's fee in Durnford, later called SOUTHEND manor and presumably part of William of Eu's estate in 1086.

The overlordship apparently descended with the overlordship of Shrewton and the earldom of Salisbury until the 15th century  or later.

Walter son of Bernard was the *mesne lord in 1242–3 and William of Durnford held the estate of him. From then until 1410 the manor descended with Little Durnford manor.

In 1286 William of Durnford, presumably another, conveyed it to (Sir) Henry de Préaux, who conveyed it in 1322 to John Wahull or Woodhill (d. 1336).

*(in feudal society) a lord who held land from a superior lord and kept his own tenants on it

There were two open fields in 1348. The demesne of Little Durnford manor then had 60 a. in each, 4 a. of meadow, and pasture for 8 oxen. It had been leased by 1409;  it perhaps included then, as it did later, all Little Durnford's farmland, making formal inclosure of the open fields unnecessary.

Durnford Church

Salisbury cathedral owned Durnford church from c. 1150 or earlier.  Although no licence to appropriate is extant the cathedral is known from later evidence to have taken the great tithes from most of the parish.

 By c. 1150 it had endowed a prebend with the RECTORY estate.  In addition to the tithes the estate included 3 houses and 1 yardland with pasture rights given to Durnford church by Isabel de Tony or her husband Walter son of Richard in the mid 12th century

Isabel and Walter also gave all tithes from their land in the parish.  In 1405 the prebendary was said to have 43 a.,  in 1622 c. 120 a.

 In 1086 William of Eu's estate evidently included the whole parish except Little Durnford and Normanton. It had land for 14 ploughteams: 2 were on the 4 demesne hides with 2 servi, 12 were shared by 26 villani and 37 bordars. There were 30 a. of meadow and 20 square leagues of pasture


The open fields of Salterton were worked from Salterton village and, by c. 1300, from Newtown. In 1299 the demesne of Salterton manor comprised 140 a. of arable, 18 a. of meadows, and a possibly several downland pasture worth 12s. The arable was estimated at 300 a. in 1309 and, if the figures for 1299 and 1309 are correct, there may have been a two-field system with an amount comparable to the 140 a. left fallow in 1299.

In 1309 the demesne comprised, besides the arable, a downland pasture for 250 sheep, and a pasture for 16 oxen. There was a freehold of 2 yardlands, and since 1299 the number of customary holdings had been reduced to eight, each of 1 yardland. Like tenants at Netton each yardlander owed labour service on 32 occasions between 1 August and 29 September or 4s. additional rent. The freehold and three or more of the customary holdings were evidently based at Newtown.  In 1421 the demesne was said to comprise c. 200 a. of arable, 40 a. of meadow, and 300 a. of pasture: some of the 300 a. were several. (fn. 308)

In 1086 there was a mill at Little Durnford and three others in the remainder of the parish excluding Normanton. (fn. 321) Great Durnford manor included a mill in the later 12th century and the earlier 14th. (fn. 322) There was a mill on Southend manor in 1389 (fn. 323) and in 1612, when there were two or more under one roof. (fn. 324) Durnford Mill at the south end of Great Durnford is likely to stand on the site of the mills on Southend manor.

Records of Great Durnford manor court survive for 1537–52, 1590–3, 1601, 1605, 1609, 1622–1713, and 1730– 6. At the court common husbandry was regulated and copyhold tenants were admitted; among offences presented were fishing in the Avon from boats, encroaching on and building on the waste, and failing to repair buildings. John Duke, a freeholder, was often presented in the earlier 17th century for failing to keep his part of the river bank in good repair.

Records of a court leet held twice yearly on the Rectory estate survive for 1412–14. The tithingman presented offences by brewers and at three courts the unlawful raising of the hue and cry.

At Salterton manor court, records of which survive for 1674–1713, 1718–51, and 1766–1807, copyhold business was transacted, common husbandry was regulated, and encroachments on the waste were presented. From the later 18th century the court was held only when business required it.

Records of courts held for Little Durnford were extant c. 1407, but none is known to have survived.

In 1275 Roger la Zouche claimed to have gallows and hold the assize of bread and of ale in Normanton.  No record of a court of the manor is known.

The present church at Great Durnford was built c. 1140,  evidently belonged to Salisbury cathedral
 c. 1150, and was confirmed to the cathedral in 1158. Its revenues were used to endow a prebend,  and a vicarage had been ordained by c. 1281.

Walter, the vicar, was murdered in the vicarage house c. 1281

ST. ANDREW'S church was so called by c. 1150.  It is of rubble with ashlar dressings and comprises a chancel, a nave with north and south porches, and a west tower.  The chancel and the nave are both of c. 1140.  The chancel has thick walls and a pilaster buttress on the north side, and the chancel arch has a single order of chevrons.

St Andrew's Church Durnford

The north and south walls of the nave are divided into four bays by pilaster buttresses, and the doorways have semicircular patterned tympana surrounded by chevrons. The chancel was substantially altered in the 13th century and most of the architectural features to survive in it are of that date. The tower was built in the later 13th century, the roofs of the chancel and the nave were reconstructed in the 14th, and new windows were inserted in the south wall of the chancel and in the nave in the 15th.
Old grave headstones

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this amazing blog.
    I am related to the Edgecombe family and the Pomeroy family on my direct maternal line from Millbrook near Rame Head.