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Doomsday Book

Domesday Book Entry
An initial interpretation of the Domesday entry for "Rocheberie" would be :-
The Manor of Rugby was one of the estates of Thorkell of Warwick but was rented out to Edwulf for 50s ( £2.50 ) per year. Before the conquest the manor was held by Edwin and had been worth 40s ( £2.00 ) per year.

The manor was 2.5 hides with 6 plough lands. There was 16 acres of meadow and a mill for which the miller had to pay 13s 4d ( 67p ) per year in rent.

The manor farm worked 1 plough with 2 slaves working it. The rest of the manor was farmed by 11 villagers and 5 smallholders operating 5 ploughs.

At first sight this appears to give us the size of the manor, the amount of arable land and a population. However the Domesday Book was a tax return not a census and it's not that simple. Historians do not know the actual definitions of many of the terms used but careful analysis and comparison with other records has provided some clues.

Both the hide and the plough land are nominal units for tax assessment. The hide was the traditional Anglo-Saxon unit, the ploughland was an attempted replacement. Although both were nominally an area of arable land the assessment was adjusted depending on the population and the fertility of the soil.

The numbers of ploughs operated by the manor and villagers is probably the actual draught animals available converted to standard 8 oxen teams. Not the number of actual ploughs.

The numbers of villagers mentioned will be the heads of family who had tenancy agreements with the manor for land in the open fields. Each person may represent a large extended family with several generations.

The entry does not imply anything about the settlement of Rugby as anything owned by the manor will be included. In some places it has been proved that the entry includes land and people outside the modern parish, however this is probably not the case for Rugby.