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Studham 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 Studham was in the hands of Robert de Tosny, his tenant being one Baldric. The manor consisting of 6 hides and included 10 villagers, 1 smallholder and 4 slaves as well as woodland for 100 pigs. These fifteen people are just the heads of household and need to be multiplied by a factor of about four to give an idea of the true population - perhaps about 60.

In 1066 the land had belonged to Oswulf, son of Fran, a thegn of King Edward the Confessor and had then been worth £8. By the time de Tosny acquired it the value had fallen to £2, and by 1086 had risen to £4. This drop in value of land across Bedfordshire between 1066 and 1086 was, historians consider, due to the depredations of William I's armies as they marched north to quell rebellion.

Robert de Tosny had a separate holding at Barwythe, then in the Hertfordshire potion of Studham. This extended to five hides and, once more, Baldric was his tenant. The manor included three villagers and a priest "and a Frenchman", wit hfour smallholders - a total of nine. The eight laymen's families would mean a total of around 33 all told - just under a hundred for the whole of the modern parish of Studham. The manor had woodland for a hundred pigs. Once more, it had belonged to Oswulf, son of Fran in 1066 and had been worth sixty shillings, reduced to thirty when de Tosny acquired it and forty shillings in 1086.