From Domesday Book to the Hundred Rolls: Lordship, Landholding and Local Society in Three English Hundreds, 1066-1280

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis explores local society, covering the spectrum from the great lords to the heavily dependent peasants. A comparison of Domesday Book and the Hundred Rolls enables an assessment of how the structure of landholding altered between 1066 and 1279-1280, and the affect this had on lords and peasants and their positions in local society. Three case study hundreds in different counties are considered, providing the opportunity to consider the confluence of lordship and landscape in shaping the lives of the peasantry. Key themes that are considered are: changes in the relationships between
lords and tenants from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries; how these relationships were affected by subinfeudation and fragmentation of lordship; and the relative burdens placed upon peasants, and how this affected the balance of power between lord and tenant. Other factors that could affect the lives of the peasantry are explored, including the impact of the common law on the status of the peasantry and the extent to which this impacted their economic and social position within the local community. Moreover, interactions within local communities themselves (be that vill/manor/hundred) and the increased roles and responsibilities of these communities in royal government are also important themes. How did communities react to the pressures, obligations and opportunities that this provided? To what extent were men from different social and economic groups drawn into local government roles, and how aware were men and women in the localities of government procedure and legislation on a national scale? These questions are all considered in the context of population change and the implications this had for peasant holding size and levels of subsistence.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorStephen Baxter (Supervisor) & David Carpenter (Supervisor)

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