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Upper Broughton in the Domesday Book

The village as described in the Domesday Book and what it might have looked like.

The first written evidence we have about farming in the manor of Broughton is from 1086 in the Domesday Book. The detailed information, reported by men from the village, was recorded by officers of King William, probably at the Hundred meeting place near Bingham.

The entry for Upper Broughton falls under the first heading in the text for Nottinghamshire;

In (Upper) Broughton Earl Algar had 2 carucates of land taxable. Land for 7 ploughs.

The King has 2 ploughs and 24 villagers and 4 smallholders have 7 ploughs.

1 mill, 5 shillings

Meadow, 100 acres

Value in the days of King Edward £3.00; now £4.00


So, what does this tell us about farming in the village?

Firstly, and most importantly at the time, before the Battle of Hastings the manor had belonged to Earl Algar. He had been the Earl of Mercia and Broughton was just one of many manors he owned (187 are listed under his name in Domesday) He would have appointed a steward to run the manor for him and this would have been the lord the villagers knew.

The 2 carucates ( 1 carucate was approximately 120 acres) represents the amount of tax Earl Algar had to pay to Kin Edwardg for his land in Broughton

However we are now in 1086 and Earl Algar is dead, his lands, like all the land in the country, now belongs to King William. Soon William will give it to one of the knights who came to England with him, and the knight in turn will give it to one of his own followers, but the dues from the manor will pass back up the line with everyone taking their share.

‘Land for 7 ploughs’ is also best understood as a measure of taxation. After all, the new King wanted to get all the money he could from his new lands. So the tax due for the manor of Broughton was reckoned on the amount of land which 7 plough-teams could till in one year.

The actual land worked by the village people seems to be more than this; the king himself has 2 ploughlands but the villagers seem to have enough land for another 7 ploughs between them.

One thing we can be sure of is that a large area of the land around the village was growing crops!

To process the barley, corn and rye there was also a water mill on the Dalby brook, for which the King wanted a further 5 shillings tax per year.

The 100 acres of meadow probably lay along the valleys of the Dalby Brook and the Fairham brook where the land would flood in wet weather and make ploughing and corn growing impossible. It would grow lush grass though, which could be cut for hay and stacked to feed the few animals that were kept over the winter.

There is no mention of woodland in the account, though this was a vital resource for any community, both for collecting wood for fuel, fences and building, and for pasture for cattle, pigs and sheep. It seems likely that the poor cold land near the Fosse was still scrub, with small trees and undergrowth- not exactly woodland but providing similar resources for the village

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