A Short History of Bernards Heath

The Domesday Book - 1066

SANDRIDGE

The Abbot holds Sandridge himself. It answers for 10 hides. Land for 13 ploughs. In lordship 3 hides; 2 ploughs there; a third possible.

26 villagers have 10 ploughs. 2 cottagers; 1 slave.

1 mill at 10s; meadow for 2 ploughs; pasture for the livestock, woodland 300 pigs.

Total value 18; when acquired 12; before 1066 as much.

This manor lay and lies in the lordship of St Albans Church.

St ALBANS

The town of St Albans answers for 10 hides. Land for 16 ploughs. In lordship 3 hides; 2 ploughs there; a third possible.

4 Frenchmen and 16 villagers with 13 smallholders have 13 ploughs. 46 burgesses.

3 mills at 40s; meadow for 2 ploughs; woodland, 1000 pigs and 7s too.

Total value 20; when acquired 12; before 1066 24.

In this there are a further 12 cottagers, a park for woodland beasts, and a pond for fish. The said burgesses have hide.

 

Translation from "Domesday Book: Hertfordshire" by J Morris

From the Domesday Book it is clear that St Albans, with its 46 burgesses was considered to be a town, while Sandridge was simply a manor. It should be noted that there is a considerable amount of woodland for pigs and this supports the idea that much of the land around St Albans, which had been cultivated during the Roman period, had reverted to woodland. While the Heath is not mentioned, the earliest references to it in the 13th and 14th century call it Barnet Wood (i.e. burned wood). The "park for woodland beasts" suggests a continued interest in hunting.

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