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Pulloxhill 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.

In 1086 Pulloxhill was held by Nigel d'Aubigny, who had thirty separate estates in the county. His manor at Pulloxhill was tenanted by two men, Roger and Rhiwallon and comprised ten hides. Rhiwallon is an unusual name and may be the same man who tenanted land in Roxton and Great Barford under Hugh de Beauchamp and in Chawston under both Hugh and William Speke. The manor had woodland for a hundred pigs. It also had eleven villagers, thirteen smallholders and two slaves. These twenty six men would have been just the heads of households and so to find the true number of inhabitants one must multiply this figure by at least four, suggesting something just over a hundred people, a decent sized settlement for the time. On later evidence this manor probably included at least some if not all the hamlet of Greenfield.

In 1066 eight freemen had held the manor but had clearly been disinherited by d'Aubigny's takeover. Under their management the manor had been worth £13 but this had sunk to £8 by the time d'Aubigny acquired it, though it had risen to £10 by 1086. It is thought the reason for this fall in value across much of Bedfordshire may have been due to depredations by William's Norman armies as they moved north to tackle rebellions.