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Lower Caldecote in 1086

Domesday Book was commissioned by William the Conqueror (1066-1087) at Christmas 1085. It was designed to show who held every piece of land in the newly conquered Kingdom of England. It was known colloquially as the Domesday Book because it was seen as being as final as the Last Judgement and as difficult to conceal things from. The book does not cover the whole country - Cumberland, Durham, Northumberland, and Westmorland were omitted and London and Winchester likewise, along with some other towns. A separate book, called Little Domesday covered the counties of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk and, despite its name, it is actually bigger and more detailed than the Great Domesday Book containing the other counties.

Domesday Book records four manors, or holdings in Northill. Two of these were held by Eudo the Steward, also known as Eudo, son of Hubert, who had twenty seven manors in Bedfordshire and other manors in other counties. Both his Northill estates comprised one and a half hides. One was tenanted by a man named Pirot, then other by a man named Ralph.

The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire associates Pirot's holding with the later Manor of Caminos alias Little Caldecote. Pirot had three villagers and a smallholder and a mill worth fourteen shillings. This would have been a watermill as there were no windmills in England at that date. This does, indeed, suggest that the manor may have been in the east of the parish of Northill and that the mill stood on the River Ivel, which lies just east of the Great North Road [A1].

Pirot's manor had belonged to a man named Raven in 1066, who had it from Wulfmer of Eaton, a thegn of King Edward the Confessor. It had then been worth twenty five shillings. This value had decreased to ten shillings by the time Eudo acquired it, though it had risen to twenty shillings by 1086. It is suggested by historians that the reason for the general lowering of the value of manors in the area is accounted for by William I's armies coming through Bedfordshire on their way to put down rebellions in the north. They would have lived off the land and no doubt have committed certain acts of vandalism in what was, to them, still alien, even enemy, territory.