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Shillington 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.

Shillington was a single holding in 1086. The was held by the Abbey of Saint Benedict in Ramsey [Huntingdonshire] and comprised 10 hides. It is referred to as being part of the Clifton Hundred. It had 27 villagers, 5 smallholders and 4 slaves as well as a "broken mill which pays nothing" and woodland for 100 pigs. This number of 36 represents the heads of household. To get an idea of the total population it is probably necessary to multiply this figure by a factor of at least four suggesting a total population to somewhere around 144. The mill would have been a watermill as windmills were unknown in England for the best part of another century. The value was £12, the same as it had been in 1066 when it had bene in the same ownership.

Another holding at Pegsdon was the same size in area and had a larger population – 37 villagers, 7 smallholders and 5 slaves. The holding was described as being in the hundred of Flitt. The holding at Higham Gobion, Flitt Hundred, was 8 hides and had 14 villagers, 2 smallholders and 5 slaves. It was held by Hugh de Beauchamp.