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Pegsdon 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.

Pegsdon was held by Ramsey Abbey [Huntingdonshire]. It comprised ten hides and contained 37 villagers, 7 smallholders and 5 slaves – 49 people. This number 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 200, vastly bigger than some places which are, today, much bigger than Pegsdon.

The manor also contained two watermills and woodland for sixty pigs. Before 1066 the manor had been worth £12. This had sunk to £10 by 1086, perhaps a result of depredations by Norman armies marching north and east to quell rebellion. The manor seems to have been amalgamated with the manor of Shillington at a very early date, both being held by Ramsey Abbey.