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Early Medieval Oakley

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website.

The site of a possible Anglo-Saxon barrow has been suggested by place name evidence. The name Bucklow, occurring near Oakley, is suggested as derived from Bucca's Hlaw, meaning barrow of an Anglo-Saxon named Bucca. The crown of Oakley Hill is suggested as a possible location [HER 786].

Oakley first enters English history in 988. Ramsey Abbey in Huntingdonshire maintained a cartulary in the Middle Ages, that is, a record of all the deeds and grants of land in possession of the abbey. This cartulary records that in 988 a man named Alfelinus died and gave both Oakley and Potton to the abbey.

The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire published in 1912 states that Alfelinus can be identified as Ælfhelm of Wratting, a wealthy thegn from Cambridgeshire. When compiling a charter of confirmation during the reign of King Edward the Confessor [1042-1066] the monks at Ramsey claimed that they received Oakley from a man named Eadnoth, son of Godric. Ælfhelm’s will refers to Godric as his son-in-law.

Ramsey Abbey is not mentioned in connection with Oakley in the Domesday Book of 1086. Their land may be identified with the hide belonging to Countess Judith, which had belonged to Godwine, a thegn of King Harold in 1066. By 1086 this hide was tenanted by Miles Crispin and seems to later have become part of the Manor of Ocle-cum-Clapham.