Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Chicksands > Chicksands in 1086

Chicksands in 1086

The 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. It contains three entries for Chicksands.

The first entry states that William of Cairon held half a hide from the Bishop of Lincoln. The value was twelve pence. Prior to 1066, the land had been held by Alwin Devil, and was valued at two shillings.

The second entry states that three freemen held three hides from Azelina, wife of Ralph Tallboy, as part of her dowry. It was valued at 20 shillings. Prior to 1066, the land had been held by four freemen, and it was valued at 25 shillings.

The third entry states that Walter the monk held one hide, also from Azelina. This land formed part of her marriage portion, and was also valued at 20 shillings. This land is recorded as containing a mill (a water mill). Prior to 1066, the land was held by Sweetman, Wulfmer of Eaton's man, and was valued at 30 shillings.

The difference in value between 1066 and 1086 is reflective of Norman armies travelling through Bedfordshire on their way to put down rebellions in the Fens and in the North and laying waste as they did so.