The Domesday Book was compiled on the instructions of William [the bastard] Norman conquerer of England. Essex features in the second volume [the Little Domesday Book, final compilation 1086 in Winchester]. The present day Parish of Wimbish includes the former Parish of Thunderley (with which it was combined in 1425). Here are translations of the two sections of the Domesday book that relate to our village
Hundred of UTTLESFORD [Udelesfort in the Latin text]
Ralph holds WIMBISH [Latin: Wimbeis] in lordship, which Aethelgyth held before1066 as a manor, of 8 hides. Always 3 ploughs in lordship. Then 21 men’s ploughs, now 15. Always 26 villagers; 1 priest. Then 19 smallholders, now 55; then 6 slaves, now none. Woodland, then 500 pigs, now 400; meadow, 40 acres. Then 2 cobs, 4 cattle, 60 pigs, 120 sheep, 4 beehives; now 2 cobs, 4 cattle, 28 pigs, 80 sheep, 4 beehives. Value then £12; now £20.
Ralph holds THUNDERLEY [Latin: Tunrefleam] from Aubrey which Ailmer, a free man, held before 1066 as a manor of 5 hides. Then and later 2 ploughs in lordship; now 3. Always 3 men’s ploughs; 1 priest; 11 villagers; 5 smallholders. Woodland then and later, 100 pigs, now 80; meadow, 12 acres. Then 120 sheep, 40 pigs, 60 goats, 8 cattle, 3 cobs, 5 beehives; now 140 sheep, 60 pigs, otherwise the same.
Value then and later £6; now £7
A hide is believed to be about 120 acres
Unlike many counties, Essex measured woodland in terms of how many pigs could live, foraging in the woodland. This was not how many pigs there actually were, they were theoretical pigs for "tax-return" purposes. No historian has yet provided a convincing relationship between how many theoretical pigs lived in a real acre.
The Domesday surveyors were supposed to record mills and fishponds. They were not listed for Wimbish or Thunderley, so presumably there were none.
The "then" "later" and "now" refer to
· THEN: before 1066
· LATER: the date William gave the land to its new (Norman approved) owner
· NOW: the date of the survey
These notes prepared by David Corke using the Essex Domesday Book (available for purchase, published by Phillimore, ISBN 0850334835.